Thursday, January 7, 2010


Before the beginning of the 2008 field season, I promised myself I would spend a little time looking for one of Michigan's largest snake species. The state is home to two subspecies of Fox snake; the Western Fox Snake inhabits the pine barrens of the western Upper Peninsula while the Eastern Fox Snake is found in the coastal marshes of the southeast Lower Peninsula. Not only is the Eastern Fox Snake a threatened species in Michigan, but its habitat is also one that is in need of constant management and protection. An invasive cattail known as Phragmites has choked much of these coastal marshes and outcompetes native cattails. However, some areas of coastal marsh are still in good shape and have native species still in control.

Fox snakes are one of the more attractive species in the state and their size makes them equally impressive. Several trips to the coastal marshes this summer produced severals snakes ranging from 2.5-5 feet. It was a privilege to be able to help a local herpetologist with his work on these snakes during the summer and is something I hope to do in the future.

Eastern Fox Snakes - Elaphe vulpina gloydi

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