Species at Risk

Eastern Fox Snake (Pantherophis gloydi)

The Eastern Fox Snake has been on the endangered list since 2008

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About the Eastern Fox Snake

The Eastern Fox Snake is the second-largest snake in Ontario and can grow up to 1.7 meters. Its body is yellow to light brown with large, dark brown blotches down the back and two alternating rows of smaller patches along the sides. This snake has a reddish brown head with dark bars around the eyes and a yellow chin. Its belly is also yellow with alternating brown patches. When threatened the snake can secrete a strong smelling substance or vibrate its tail on leaves mimicking the sound of a rattle snake


This snake eats mainly small animals including frogs, birds, and occasionally eggs.


The Eastern Fox Snake is found in the Great Lakes region in Ontario, Michigan, and northern Ohio. In Ontario, the snake is found in the Georgian Bay region, the east shore of Lake Huron, and the north shore of Lake Erie.
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Eastern fox snakes mostly unforested habitats such as shorelines, prairies, rock barrens and wetlands but are most commonly found in shoreline habitats. However, they do use forests, especially along the eastern shore of Georgian Bay. Females require rotting or mossy logs, stumps, or decaying leaf piles with appropriate conditions for incubating eggs.

In southwestern Ontario, fox snakes are able to survive in a heavily altered environment and will use building foundations, drainage ditches, old wells etc. In these areas, nesting sites often consist of old piles of rotten leaves, wood chips and compost.

Reason for endangerment

The species has been isolated to a few small areas, some of which coincide with agricultural land during the snakes mating season, and are subject to high densities of roads. Roads cut off populations as well as put them at further risk of being hit by cars because they tend to bask on the warm surface.There are no large protected areas for this species. They are also subject to persecution and illegal collection for the wildlife trade. People will also kill them on sight because they mistake them for rattlesnakes.