Species group: Corn and Rat Snakes
Scientific name: Pantherophis vulpinus
Western Fox Snakes are found in the northern parts of the United States, more specifically in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Their habitats include prairie grasslands, farmlands, woods, pastures, dunes, and marshes.
Appearance / health:
Maturing to about 50 inches in length, the large and heavy bodied Western Fox Snake has a tan to yellowish brown body with large dark brown to black blotches on the back and smaller lighter blotches on the sides. A dark band crosses the head in front of the eyes and a thin stripe runs from the eye to the jaw. The belly is cream to yellow with dark spots. The scales are slightly keeled.
Behavior / temperament:
The diurnal and terrestrial Western Fox Snake got its name from the musk it releases when threatened – the smell is similar to the excretions of a fox. The Western Fox Snake is popular in the pet trade because it is docile and rarely bites. When distressed, it coils and rears its head, and shakes its tail, which, if hitting dry leaves sounds like a rattlesnake’s noise.
Western Fox Snakes are best kept in enclosures that mimic their natural habitats.
Western Fox Snakes are predatory constrictors that feed on rodents, birds, rabbits, voles, frogs, and other snakes and small animals. They also consume eggs and nestling birds.
Western Fox Snakes mate in late spring to early summer (April to July). Eggs averaging 18 per clutch are laid sometime in July, and hatch in September.
Fox snake The name fox snake comes from the odor of their musk, which is said to smell like a fox. I have never smelled a fox so I cannot verify this, but I think fox snakes' musk is much less strong-smelling than garter snake musk.
The only species of rat snake common in northern Illinois. Similar in most respects to red rat snakes (corn snakes), except for coloration. Adults about two feet and longer usually settle down and eat well in captivity, but smaller individuals in my experience tend to be fussy and often refuse to eat. Adults eat small mammals and birds. They prefer live prey but will sometimes take fresh dead prey. My sister's cat would often bring home mice, shrews and small birds. Sometimes I managed to get these away from the cat before they were too eaten, and my adult fox snakes would usually eat these.
The name fox snake comes from the odor of their musk, which is said to smell like a fox. I have never smelled a fox so I cannot verify this, but I think fox snakes' musk is much less strong-smelling than garter snake musk..
From JB May 1 2009 12:46AM
An Attractive but Over-Looked Ratsnake
I’ve never quite understood why western fox snakes have not received more attention from snake aficionados. Heavy-bodied and as attractive as the more commonly-kept ratsnakes, they make fine, long-lived pets and are not difficult to breed…all-in-all, a good choice for novices or experienced keepers, and certainly in need of attention and study.
Fox snakes tend to be shyer than black, gray and similar ratsnakes, and should be handled with care. They tend to release their musk quite readily (as a zookeeper experienced with animals ranging from ants to elephants, I can confirm that it indeed has a fox-like odor) and of course will bite if pressed. But whether handle-able or kept as a display animal, they are well-worth investigating..
From findiviglio Jan 23 2016 8:44PM