Eastern Fox Snake

Eastern Fox Snake Pantherophis vulpinus

Type of Animal:

Unforested wetlands, emergent open cattail wetlands along lake shorelines/associated large rivers/impoundments, marshy areas, meadows adjacent to marshes, wet meadows, fields adjacent to marshes, vegetated dunes, beaches, ditches, farm fields, pastures, woodlots, rocky areas, woodlands, flat partially drained areas, grassland, areas near lakes/ponds, swamps, vacant urban lots, rock riprap, dikes, residential properties, prairie, savanna, lakeplain oak openings, open dunes, shorelines/shoreline edges, rock barrens, forests/forest edges, building foundations, hedgerows, old wells, old fields, drainage canals, pine barrens, dry hardwood areas, streams, small creeks, forest edges near open fields

E of Mississippi River in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, & S Ontario

Light golden brown to grayish to yellowish w/ dark brown/black spots/blotches & yellow checkerboard belly pattern, juveniles paler than adults w/ gray/brown blotches & more distinct head markings

Small mammals, birds, eggs, amphibians, lizards, insects, earthworms, fish

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, & herpetoculture


Additional Info:

Young: Snakelet
Group: Solitary

Male: 2 lbs
Female: 1.9 lbs

2 months 

Life Span:
15 years

Body Length:
Male: 4.5 ft
Female: 3.5 ft
Young: 1.5 ft

Tail Length:
1 ft

Main predators of adults are larger snakes, bears, canids, raptors, bobcats, waterbirds, badgers, cats, raccoons, skunks, otters, weasels, mink, & pigs. Large fish, frogs, turtles, snakes, shrews, & rodents prey on young.
Kills prey by constriction.
Hibernate in underground dens in winter.
They can make decent pets.
Primarily terrestrial but can climb trees & swim as well.
Shape helps them move through grass w/o making much noise.
Diurnal during spring & fall but more nocturnal in summer.
Females lay clutches of 6-30 eggs in July & August.
Males fight by wrestling each other.
Bask to increase body temp & accumulate energy.
Like most snakes, they breathe using forked tongue.

Fun Fact(s):
Like other snakes, they lack eyelids & can’t blink/close eyes.
Sometimes called “chicken snakes” since they eat young chickens/eggs sometimes.
Called “fox snake” since it gives off fox-like musky odor when handled.
When left alone, these snakes are very docile.
Hisses & sometimes make rattly sound when threatened. When it does this, it’s sometimes killed due to being mistaken for rattlesnake.

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