Excuse me, I was just leaving
I snapped a picture of this large fox snake a few minutes after I stepped over him on my way into the garage.
Even though (or maybe largely because) I’ve spent much of my life working outdoors in areas where poisonous snakes were fairly common, I like snakes. And the wooded bluffs of our property are ideal fox snake habitat (they’re also ideal habitat for ratsnakes and the rare massasauga rattler). So my reaction to unexpectedly stepping over a largish snake was to reach for a camera, not a shovel.
The fox snake is one of Minnesota’s largest snakes. They eat small animals, birds, eggs, frogs, and lizards. Fox snakes belong to the rat snake group and kill their prey by constriction.
When fox snakes are harassed, they vibrate their tails and strike. Because of this and their superficial resemblance to rattlesnakes, they’re commonly killed by humans who don’t realize their importance in controlling rodent populations.
The largest fox snake on record was observed in the county where we live.
Because this snake is big enough to eat the chicks that should hatch out here in about a week, if I keep seeing him around I’ll catch him and relocate him to a chicken free coulee in the area.