fox_snakeFox Snake

Pantherophis vulpinus

Description

Fox Snakes have yellow backs with large dark brown or black splotches. Their bellies are covered in black and yellow checks. Their heads are red or orange in color.

Size

An adult Fox Snake measures 3-5 feet long.

Adaptations

  • The Fox Snake is non-venomous and kills its prey by strangulation.
  • A snake’s long and slender shape helps it to move through grasses without making very much noise.
  • Snakes’ teeth point towards the back of their mouth. This helps them to keep their prey items, which are swallowed whole, moving in the right direction.
  • Snakes breathe by using their tongues! The forked ends of the tongue fit into two holes in the snake’s mouth that are part of Jacobsen’s organ. This organ transmits information about the smell to the brain.

Diet

A Fox Snake primarily eats rodents, although it may also consume frogs, birds, and eggs. At Cosley Zoo, the Fox Snake is fed mice and chicks.

Reproduction

Fox Snakes mate in June or July, and about 30 days later, the female lays her eggs. Females lay between 7 and 29 eggs at a time. Young snakes measuring 8-12 inches long hatch in August or September. Newly hatched snakes are independent and require no parental care.

Shelter and Space Needs

Fox Snakes are found in a variety of habitats, including prairies, farm fields, and woodlands. They are most often found in moist areas near rivers or streams. Fox Snakes can be found in Western Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Northern Illinois.

Life Expectancy

Unknown.

Relationship With Man

Fox Snakes are beneficial to people because they help to control the rodent population.

Fun Facts

  • The entire body of a snake is covered with scales—even its eyes! Because of this, snakes have no eyelids and cannot blink or close their eyes.
  • Although many people think that snakes are slimy, their scales really just feel dry. Snakes have diamond-shaped scales on the top of their body, and long skinny scales called scutes on their undersides.
  • Most snakes don’t eat every day. Snakes such as anacondas that prey on larger animals may have the ability to go several months between meals.