A ~ C ~ S~N~A~K~E~S

Snake Breeders Based in Leicestershire, England, UK      


Leioheterodon madagascariensis


Madagascan Hognose Snakes are a mildly venomous, medium/large colubrid species with a very slightly upturned snout which is used for digging.  A species which is particularly active during the day (diurnal) and very energetic which makes them an extremely interesting and amusing captive to observe. 

They are one of three species of the Leioheterodon genus of snakes from Madagascar. Leioheterodon madagascariensis are considered to be the largest of the genus and have scales which are much more keeled than the other two species.

Unlike some hognose species where there is a considerable size disparity, there does not appear to be any outwardly visual difference between male and female Leioheterodon species.

Some of the common names include malagasy or giant hognose, madagascan menarana snake, checkered hognose 

Experience Level Intermediate

Lively and energetic but fairly easily tamed.


Hognose snakes are mildly venomous and possess enlarged rear fangs. They are not considered particularly dangerous to humans with reactions to bites ranging from no reaction or only a slight tingling sensation to severe swelling and numbness.

In general, hognose snakes are all about bluff and normally have no desire to bite however we have found Leioheterodons are slightly more likely to bite than other hognose species but this may be due to the majority of specimens being wild caught. They are mostly ambush hunters and bites are more likely an accidental or inaccurate feeding response therefore use of tongs for feeding is recommended.

Captive Variants Wild Type
Expected Adult Length 130 to 180cm
Recommended Housing

Vivarium or plastic tubs.

We prefer to use tubs as we found them to be much easier to keep clean however none of our Madagascan Hognoses are particularly large and we may move them into vivariums at a later stage.

Other requirements:

-Water bowl.  We offer a water bowl large enough for them to bathe in, some use it to bathe and some do not.

-A minimum of 2 hides (1 in the cool end and 1 in the warm end) at least one of which should be moist

-Deep substrate for burrowing

Good ventilation is essential.

Temperature Range

24C (75F) to 32C (90F).

Recommended Heating

When using a deep substrate, vivs are a great deal easier to maintain the correct temperature with overhead heating than using a heat mat under the tub. 

Viv - Guarded Ceramic heater or heat mat

Tub - Heat mat, we mount ours on the wall to avoid the problem of the deep substrate blocking the heat.

Whichever method is used, the temperature should be controlled by a suitable thermostat and monitored using a digital thermometer.

Origin Madagascar, Nosy Be, Nosy Sakatia & Comoros Islands
Natural Environment

Madagascar is an extremely varied region and therefore Malagasy Hognose snakes could potentially inhabit  most environments including, but not limited to, tropical, mountains, forests, deserts, coastal, grasslands, rocky areas. 

Recommended Substrate

Hognoses enjoy digging and we therefore recommend and use a deep (2 to 3") covering of aspen. If using a deep substrate care should be taken to ensure that the correct temperature is maintained particularly when heating with a heat mat or cable as the substrate will act as an insulator. The temperature underneath the substrate could quite easily be 5C (9F) higher than on the top of the substrate.

Due to their diverse natural environment, variety is the key to success with hognose snakes from Madagascar.  Offer as many different areas as you can, observe them and let them teach you which they prefer.

Natural Diet Small Mammals, Amphibians, Birds, Lizards and their eggs, snake eggs and there is limited evidence that young animals may also eat arthropods.
Primary Captive Diet


Other Observations In our experience Madagascan Hognose snakes have an innate fear of cats and dogs therefore keeping them out of sight of each other is recommended.

Hognoses can be very intimidating when approached, as they may hiss, rear up, strike in your general direction, usually with a closed mouth or even flatten out like a cobra but it is mostly a bluff and if you ignore it, they will more often than not cease this activity. We have found that with the larger hognose species, they are more likely to try to flee than to stand their ground.

Recommended linksAccount of a Madagascan Hognose Bite (Leioheterodon madagascariensis )

This care guide has been written by us at AC Snakes for your information and guidance.
It will be updated and expanded as regularly as we are able, however it should not be used as your only source of care information.
Prior to purchasing any animal it is strongly recommended that you research extensively to ensure that you can provide the correct care for your pet.
Last updated May 2012

Website and all images copyright A C Snakes | www.acsnakes.co.uk | Created and maintained by Adam & Charlotte Wilford