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Specimen of the Month: Eastern Fox Snake

By guest contributor and Summer Naturalist Intern, Cade Campbell While harmless to humans, fox snakes are quite the opposite to their rodent prey. Fox snakes are the largest snake species found in the Northwoods, growing over five feet in length. They live in sunny, open meadows and pine savannahs mostly south of Cable, but are likely spreading farther north. Like all other snakes in Northwest Wisconsin, they are nonvenomous. This means capturing feisty, biting prey such as deer mice, rats and chipmunks can be a problem even for the largest, most experienced snakes. Luckily, they are excellent constrictors and usually dispatch any mammal or bird prey with a quick and painless squeeze, rather than suffocation, to avoid a dangerous injury. In the winter, they take refuge deep below the snow, protected in rock piles or other underground crevices. Eastern Fox Snake ( Pantherophis vulpinus ). Photo by Mike Day Fox snakes often have shiny, orange-tinted scales that might resemble a red fox’s

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