The eastern fox snake’s genius is in its mimicry. It smells like a fox and swishes his tail in the leaf litter, sounding like a rattlesnake when alarmed.
The length of the eastern fox snake is 3 to 6 feet with coloration of yellowish or light brown marked with bold chocolate-brown to black blotches down the midline of the back and tail. There are two alternate rows of smaller blotches on the sides. The belly is yellow with dark squarish blotches. A dark band runs from the eye to the angle of the mouth. A second band runs from eye to mouth. This snake is often mistaken for a copperhead.
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The Eastern fox snake often vibrates its tail when threatened. The sound of the tail rustling the leaf litter sounds like that of a rattlesnake and acts as a powerful deterrent to predators.
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.