ANIMAL: Western Fox Snake Pantherophis ramspotti Type of Animal: Colubrid Habitat: Woodland, fields, dunes, prairie, farmland, forest, woodland/forest edge, abandoned rural buildings, sheds, barns, pastures, marshland, grassland Location(s): W of Mississippi River in S Minnesota, Iowa, N Missouri, Nebraska, SE South Dakota Appearance: Gray/tan/light background w/ pronounced dark brown/reddish-brown blotches along body, interspersed w/ smaller dark brown blotches along sides, rusty/copper/orange head w/ reduced/faded markings, juveniles light gray w/ dark blotches, fairly robust snake Food/Diet: Rodents, rabbits, birds, frogs, eggs, insects Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, & herpetoculture Lifestyle: Solitary Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young-Snakelet Group-Solitary Weight: Male-2 lbs Female-1.9 lbs Gestation: 2 months Life Span: 15 years Body Length: Male-3.6 ft Female-3.28 ft Young-1.5 ft Tail Length: 1 ft Main predators are larger snakes, bears, wolves, coyotes, foxes, owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, bobcats, large waterbirds, badgers, dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, otters, weasels, & pigs. Breeds in spring & lay 6-30 eggs in July-August. Kills prey by constriction. Diurnal during spring & fall, but more nocturnal during summer. They bask to increase body temperature & accumulate energy. They hibernate in underground dens during the winter. Primarily terrestrial but can climb trees & swim as well. Males fight by wrestling each other. They can make decent pets. Their shape helps them move through grass w/o making much noise. Teeth point towards back of mouth. Like most snakes, they breathe using forked tongue. Fun Fact(s): Like other snakes, they don’t have eyelids & can’t blink/close their eyes. Often mistaken for larger nonvenomous bull snakes & venomous copperheads. 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 very docile. Hisses & sometimes makes a rattly sound when threatened. When it does this, it’s sometimes killed due to being mistaken for venomous rattlesnake. They’re very valuable since they control rodent populations.