With its copper coloured head people sometimes mistakenly call this snake a Copperhead, a venomous snake that does not live in Ontario.
- Adult body length reaches 80 to 140cm (31 to 55 in.).
- Yellow or orange-brown background colour with dark blotches down back and sides.
- Belly is patterned like a yellow and black checkerboard.
- Copper-coloured head with little or no markings.
- Young may eat frogs and insects, but adults prefer rodents and bird eggs.
- Foxsnakes are constrictors.
Habits and Reproduction
- Emerge from winter hibernation sites (a frost-free shelter such as mammal burrows or rock crevice) in mid-April.
- Usually return to hibernation sites by late September.
- Foxsnakes hibernate communally, sometimes in large numbers.
- If frightened it will vibrate its tail sounding similar to a rattlesnake. This snake is not venomous and will more likely musk than bite if handled.
- Can swim long distances.
- An average of 14 eggs are laid in late June and July under the protection of a decaying log or shallow burrow.
- Young hatch in late August or September. They are 23-26cm long, greyish with reddish brown blotches and a dark bar on the head.
- Females reach maturity in 5 years.
- Rocky shores, beaches, and marshes.
- Generally found within 30 metres of Georgian Bay and unlikely to be found beyond 1km from the Bay.
- Habitat loss particularly of important habitat such as hibernation sites, road mortality and direct persecution are the greatest threats to this snake.
- The eastern foxsnake only occurs in 3 areas; approximately 70% of the population is in Ontario and there are remnant populations in northern Ohio and Michigan. It is considered a globally threatened species and its survival will be highly dependent on areas such as eastern Georgian Bay
- Please report sightings of foxsnakes especially if you notice areas where they are gathering in the fall.
- Watch out while driving. Far too many foxsnakes are killed along our roadways.