Range: Extreme southern Canada, south to Indiana and west to Nebraska
Habitat: Rolling prairies, farmland, wooded streams, marshes, and dunes
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Wild Diet: Meadow voles, deermice, eggs, fledgling birds, newborn rabbits
Zoo Diet: Pre-killed mice and chicks
These snakes are excellent climbers but are usually seen on the ground near streams or marshes. When excited they often assume an S-shape with mouth open and vibrate their tails on surface litter, sounding like a rattlesnake. They may gather in large numbers at favored hibernation sites, usually abandoned rock-walled wells.
Mating is from April to July. The female lays eggs from late June to early August. The young, 10 to 13 inches in length, hatch from late August to October.
Gestation: 55 to 70 days
Litter: 6 to 29 firm, leathery eggs
Conservation Status: Least Concern
- The name refers to the "fox-like" odor associated with the discharge of anal fluids when the snake is threatened. This defensive mechanism is usually abandoned in captivity. Although hatchlings and young specimens adjust well to captivity, adults frequently do not do well.