Western Fox Snake
Western Fox Snake
(Elaphe vulpina)

Interesting facts:
When a western fox snake is disturbed, it rapidly vibrates the tip of its tail. The vibration of the tail against the leaf litter can sometimes resemble the sound of a rattlesnake's rattle. Because of this, people sometimes confuse this gentle snake with a rattlesnake; however, it is not dangerous.

A young western fox snake is grayish-white with blackish blotches. As it matures and ages, it becomes tan with reddish-brown blotches. The male is larger than the female. The fox snake ranges from 36-60 inches in length.

Habitat and behavior:
This snake is found in black-soil prairies in the northern half of Illinois. It can be found even in plowed fields and pastures. Early spring to late fall it is active by day, hunting, and basking. The female lays from about 8 to 27 eggs in the soil. They hatch in late August or early September.

Fox snakes feed on small mammals such as mice, voles, and baby rabbits and birds.

Distribution and status:
The western fox snake is common in Wisconsin and Iowa, and in the northern half of Illinois in prairie areas, but not in forested areas.