Fox Snakes

In some areas, fox snakes and gopher snakes have crossbred in the wild.
Fox Snakes Scientific Classification
Scientific name
P. vulpinus and P. ramspotti
Fox Snakes Physical Characteristics
Brown, Grey, Beige, Chestnut
approximately 20 years
Fox Snakes Distribition

Fox snakes are a sort of non- poisonous rat snake that populate locations of The United States and Canada eastern and west of the Mississippi from Missouri north right into southerly Ontario, Canada. They do not normally go beyond 4.5 feet in size yet can get to 6 feet. They are outstanding rodent control, specifically around barns and areas.

Incorrect identification instances torment these snakes; they rattle their tails when they end up being anxious and they have a similar color scheme to the Massasauga rattlesnake. Individuals eliminate them when they puzzle fox snakes with Massasauga rattlesnakes. As if their actions had not been sufficient for an instance of incorrect identification, their heads are a copper to bronze shade, making individuals think they’re poisonous copperheads.

Impressive Realities Concerning Fox Snakes

  • Fox snakes are close relatives to king snakes and gopher snakes.
  • Their markings resemble Massasauga rattlesnakes.
  • They are outstanding mountain climbers although they do not hang around in the trees at all times.

Where to Discover Fox Snakes

Western fox snakes normally populate the sides of woodlands near rivers and various other water resources. They’re rarely in the water and favor to stay in somewhat dry problems. They do not normally stay in city locations yet can stay in barns and deserted structures where they really feel there’s security and rodents exist. This species has a versatile diet and will certainly eat mice, birds, young rabbits, lizards, and amphibians; although the grownups have a tendency to prefer cozy- blooded victim. While these snakes are nimble mountain climbers, they favor to be on the ground and frequently conceal under rocks, logs, or in old rodent burrows.

The reverse of their western mates, eastern fox snakes stay in open meadows, marshes, and grown areas; they favor wetter atmospheres These snakes have a tendency to prefer ground- nesting birds and rodents.

Like all rat snakes, fox snakes are outstanding mountain climbers and can go almost anywhere looking for a dish; throughout the springtime and drop they’re mainly diurnal, yet throughout the summer season can additionally be energetic in the evening. Juveniles of both species will certainly eat lizards and amphibians, and create a preference for cozy- blooded victim as they expand.

Fox Snake’s Scientific Name

These Pantherophis genus snakes are participants of the Colubridae family and are very closely pertaining to king snakes and gopher snakes. Pantherophis indicates “panther snake,” after their seen pattern. Fox snakes do not appear like foxes; nonetheless, like foxes, they launch a dreadful- scenting musk when they really feel intimidated.

The eastern fox snake’s scientific name, Pantherophis vulpinus indicates “Fox- like panther snake,” it’s additionally a little bit of an use words. They’re called after Rev. Charles Fox (1815– 1854), that gathered the species’ holotype.

Researchers called the western fox snake after Joseph Ramspott, for this reason, Pantherophis ramspotti; Ramspott was a college student operating in the Crother- White laboratory at Southeastern Louisiana College when he died in 2004.

Kinds Of Fox Snakes

There are 2 acknowledged fox snake species that separate at the Mississippi; eastern fox snakes ( P. vulpinus) and western fox snakes (P. ramspotti). When biologists initially called the western fox snake, they recommended separating both species at the Mississippi, and unsurprisingly, their varieties do not overlap in locations where that terrific river circulations.

These 2 species were thought about the very same for a long period of time, and just in the last 15 years (offer or take), were they acknowledged as different species. So, on a great deal of web pages, you’ll see P. vulpinus provided as a western fox snake and a western fox snake ( P. ramspotti) provided as P. vulpinus. Either snake might be provided as Elaphe vulpina. Yes, it’s truly that perplexing.

Eastern fox snakes crossbreed with wild gopher snakes, and due to the fact that they are rat snakes, they are additionally very closely pertaining to king snakes, making that sort of hybridization in nature an opportunity also. There’s no proof that the western fox snakes crossbreed in the wild yet anything is feasible.

Fox Snakes: Population and Preservation

In many locations, both fox snake species have secure populaces. A couple of states in which they take place checklist them as intimidated or vulnerable, yet both the western and eastern fox snakes get on the IUCN Redlist as Least Concern.

Incorrect identification is the largest hazard to these snake species; nonetheless, they’re additionally vulnerable to being struck by automobiles on roadways and pressed out of their setting by property growth.

Recognizing Fox Snakes: Appearance & Summary

The eastern fox snake has a tan or gold brownish history with dark brownish or red- brownish places down the size of its body. It has a yellow and black checkerboard pattern on its stomach, and its head varies in shade from copper to bronze with a brief, squashed nose. Hatchlings and juveniles are similar yet have a grey history rather and could have a dark line in between their eyes in addition to their heads, and an additional one behind the eyes, prolonging to the neck. These lines discolor as they develop.

West of the Mississippi, the western fox snake just truly varies in its base shade; it has a tendency towards having a grey base shade throughout its life.

Both snakes are lengthy and slim yet do not frequently go beyond 4.5 feet. Their typical grown-up size is someplace in between 3 and 4 feet yet can get to virtually 6 feet in size. As a matter of fact, the biggest fox snake on document got to 70 inches in size. Their sharp tails have dark and light bands.

Similar to various other snake species, fox snakes have the ability to squash their heads when they really feel intimidated, so the head form is not a dependable consider figuring out whether it’s poisonous; nonetheless, both fox snake species have rounded students rather than the cats- eye students of the vipers.

Exactly How Harmful are Fox Snakes

They’re not harmful in any way; nonetheless, prior to taking care of among these you ought to be completely certain that you have actually recognized it appropriately. The high quantity of misidentifications makes it that a lot more crucial that you obtain it right the very first time.

These non- poisonous, safe snakes can just attack and spread out smelly musk on you. The bite you’ll require to clean up like any kind of scrape, the musk will certainly take some cleaning. Some records state that it adheres to you nearly as terribly as skunk spray.

Their standard hazard action goes like this:

  • It might ice up in position, wishing you go by without seeing it; or it will certainly attempt to wriggle away prior to you obtain close sufficient to see.
  • After that, it will possibly coil up and rattle its tail. It might additionally attempt to strike at this moment. The tail rattling is reminiscient of rattlesnakes, yet some refute mimicry; they observe that lots of snakes all over the world show the very same actions– also where rattlesnakes do not live.
  • If the attacking efforts and posturing weren’t sufficient to frighten you off, its last alternative is to launch musk from its cloaca. According to witnesses, this things scents similar to fox waste matter; for this reason the snake’s name.

Fox Snake Habits and Humans

You’re more probable to run into an eastern fox snake; they’re attracted to water, similar as humans. They additionally live better north than do western fox snakes. Both species are valuable and desireable animals to have about. They work rodent control and will certainly do every little thing they can to avoid of your method.

They are not hostile or harmful to humans in any way, and also older grownups have a tendency to be hesitant to attack.


  1. Reptile Database | Eastern Fox Snake, Available here:
  2. Reptile Database | Western Fox Snake, Available here:
  3. Western Fox Snake | MN Dept. of Natural Resources, Available here:
  4. Michigan State University | Natural Features Inventory, Available here:
  5. Illinois Natural History Survey | Herpetology Collection, Available here:
  6. What is a Fox Snake? | Ontario, Canada, Available here:
  7. Western Fox Snake | IUCN Redlist, Available here:
  8. (1970)

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