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Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory.

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Contact information
For more information, contact:
Rori Paloski
608-264-6040

Eastern Foxsnake (Pine) (Pantherophis vulpinus)

Eastern Foxsnake (Pine) photo.
Photo © A.B. Sheldon
  • Family: Colubridae (Non-venomous snakes)
  • Status: Common
  • Size: 36-56 inches

range map

Species range

The foxsnake has many large reddish-brown, chocolate brown or black mid-dorsal blotches along its back and other smaller blotches on its sides on a background color of yellow, tan or olive gray. The head of adults is usually a dark copper, rust or orange color. They live in a variety of open habitats including marshes, sedge meadows, prairies and old fields. Their diet consists primarily of rodents and ground-nesting birds. Young foxsnakes will occasionally eat amphibians. This species is the most frequently encountered snake in people's homes, especially if the house has an old rock foundation where the snake(s) may be hunting for food or hibernating in the basement. The foxsnake is often mistaken for the venomous copperhead due to its head color, and subsequently is often killed. Copperheads do not live in or near Wisconsin. Foxsnakes are also often mistaken for rattlesnakes, as they often "rattle" their tails in dry leaves, grasses or against objects when disturbed. Their pointed tail distinguishes them (and all other Wisconsin snakes with pointed tails) as a non-venomous species in Wisconsin.

Photos


Eastern Foxsnake (Pine)  [Photo #10006]

Adult fox snake.

Photo by Rori Paloski, WDNR.

Eastern Foxsnake (Pine)  [Photo #10007]

Adult fox snake.

Photo by Rori Paloski, WDNR.

Eastern Foxsnake (Pine)  [Photo #1010]

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Last revised: Wednesday, October 18, 2017