The Western Fox Snake

I went for a run today on a section of Decorah trails. There are regular mile markers, some nice art along the way every now and then, and some very pretty sights. Around mile 3, I was admiring a particularly nice looking view out onto a river when I happened to notice an odd stick coming up. As I got closer, the stick kept looking weird until I finally realized it was a snake!

It was actually really cute. It blended right into the pavement. No longer than a foot. I wasn’t sure if it was a real snake for a while because it didn’t move whatsoever as I walked by (on my own side of the trail). I thought about carrying on and leaving him to his chillin’ but then I got worried that one of the many bikers on the trail might not notice him soon enough and would run him over (he was taking up a good portion of the trail). So I found a long stick and gently poke/guided him back into the grass. Once he was back in the grass, he mosied off quickly and I did like-wise.

When I got back home, I was curious to find out about my little friend so I set about researching Iowan snakes. I got to this website via Wikipedia which lists all of snake species in Iowa. After perusing through a few snake profiles, I am 92% certain this guy was a Western fox snake.


A) He looked a lot like this example:

B) His body looked constrictor-like and he didn’t bare any fangs when I poked him out of the trailway.

C) He was on the smaller side so he was probably young which means his grey color and black markings fit his species’ norm.

D) He was out and about during the day time.

I was relieved to find out I hadn’t been bothering a poisonous snake. I was also happy/sad to find out that most of the Iowan snake species are protected by law in some way. The happy part is that it’s good they have that protection; the sad part is that they need protection.


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