Black Racer Snake

Black Racer snake, also known as the Southern black racer, or the Black Runner, is a common species of serpents mostly found in and around the southern regions of the United States. Black racer snakes are non-venomous. These snakes are basically timid by nature and are mostly harmless, if not attacked or threatened.

Black Racer Snake Scientific Classification

Animalia
Chordata
Reptilia
Squamata
Colubridae
Coluber
Coluber constrictor priapus

Table Of Content

Scientific Classification

Black Racer Snake

Animalia
Chordata
Reptilia
Squamata
Colubridae
Coluber
Coluber constrictor priapus

Black Racer Snake

Black Racer Snake

Description

Size: The average size of black racer snakes is 20-56 inches. The maximum length of an adult black racer can go up to 70 inches approximately.

Body: They have a slim body, covered with smooth scales, with 17 rows of dorsal scales in the middle of their body.

Color: The black racer is marked with dull colors all over its body. Their dorsal side is black, contrasted with a grey belly and a white jaw-line and throat. The juvenile black racer is usually grey in color, with clear reddish brown blotches, that fade into a solid-colored tail.

Vision: These snakes are considered to be color blind.

Distribution

Black racers are very common in Southern part of the United States. It is widely spread throughout the mainland of Florida, as also the Florida keys. Outside Florida, it is also found throughout the Eastern regions of the US, from NE Texas.

Black Racer Snake Photos

Black Racer Snake Photos

Black Racer Snake Distribution

Black Racer Snake Distribution

Habitat

These non-poisonous snakes are mainly found in grasslands, bushy areas, prairies, scrub, sand hills and those areas that are much wooded.

Diet

The Black Racers usually prey upon rodents, like rats, insects, other smaller snakes, moles, lizards, frogs and toads, and even birds and bird eggs. They have a huge appetite, as compared to other snakes in the area. Ecologically, their dietary habits are garden-friendly since they prey upon many such animals, which actually stand as enemy to the garden plants and crops.

Black Racer Snake Eggs Images

Black Racer Snake Eggs Images

Black Racer Snake Eggs Pictures

Black Racer Snake Eggs Pictures

Behavior

The locomotion of these creatures is extremely quick. They can glide, swim and climb at unbelievably quick speed. They are very skilled swimmers and opportunistic predators.

Threats and Predators

Predators, such as hawks and other birds prey upon Black Racer snakes. Even domestic dogs and domestic cats are their predators.

Humans are the biggest threat to these snakes. A large number of these creatures are either killed by car accidents or are intentionally killed out of fear, or at times, even by mistake for their close resemblance to another type of venomous snakes in the area, Water Moccasin.

Black Racer Snake Belly

Black Racer Snake Belly

Black Racer Snake Images

Adaptations

Baby Black Racers have the power to camouflage. They adapted themselves as according to their places of habitat. Because these snakes dwell mostly in grassy or woody areas, they are often found in a kink position, resembling a fallen branch.

The black racer has a very characteristic defensive mechanism. When in danger, the snake vibrates its tail in dense grass generating a vibrating sound, which sounds very similar to the sound created naturally by the rattle snake’s tail.

Black Racers move around in such places where they are vulnerable to human attacks, or being attacked even by pet dogs and cats, or being preyed upon by hawks and other birds. For this reason, these snakes can move incredibly faster and are even excellent climbers, compared to the other snake species. The snakes also need to move fast because, they, typically, are daytime hunters. This speed in locomotion has been particularly possible for their natural smooth skin and scales.

Molting

Black Racer snakes usually shed their skin once a year.

Mating Season and Reproduction

The mating season of these serpents is the springtime, mostly between late April and the first half of June. Their breeding season extends from June to early July. Male Black Racers become sexually ready between the age of 1 and 2 years, whereas the female’s age of sexual maturity is between 2 and 3 years.

Baby Black Racer Life Cycle

The total number of baby black racers that can take birth at a time is a wide range varying between 3 and 32. During birth, the juvenile Black Racers are 6 inches long. The adult snakes do not feed their babies nor protect them. The baby Black Racer mostly survives by the process of camouflage.

Baby Black Racer Snake

Baby Black Racer Snake

Black Racer Snake Eggs

Hibernation

Like most other snake species, the black racers hibernate in underground shelters during the coldest winter months (around late October), and emerge in mid March. These snakes hibernate in large numbers and with other species of snakes. Their hibernation mostly occurs in rock crevices or old burrows by the hillsides. The snakes bask outside of the den for weeks beforehand. The black racers can often use the same den for many years.

Lifespan

The creatures can live up to 10 years both in the wild, as also in captivity.

Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List has included this snake under the ‘least concern’ status. This species of snake is pretty much abundant in some places. However, the Canadian province of Ontario has given it some legal protection, because of the gradual decrease in its count. These snakes have also become very uncommon in Michigan.

As a pet

The Black Racer cannot become a good pet because it can never get over its nervous disposition.

Interesting Facts

    • The baby Black Racers have a survival rate of around forty percent, which signifies that, generally, only about eight babies get to survive through the first year of their life.
    • Although Black Racers share some characteristics common to the constrictor snakes, the scientific name ‘constrictor’ given to these serpent species is a big misnomer, since these snakes display very little of the behavioral patterns which give a constrictor its name. As for instance, Black Racers never coil around their preys to suffocate them before devouring them down.
  • Although, the bite of this snake is harmless, but its needle-sharp teeth can inflict bleeding upon its victim.

5 responses to “Black Racer Snake”

  1. Jeremy says:

    There numbers in Florida is also on the decline over the last few years as more and more private properties are coming up in their habitats. I hope the authorities take note of this.

  2. Lisa Watson says:

    I had one get in my house yesterday. I finally located him and herded him back outside this afternoon. I keep birds, and was worried he’d get hungry and try to get one.

  3. it’s a beautiful snake.

  4. Barb says:

    Someone said they can kill a poisonous snake. Is that true?

  5. Beverly Johnston says:

    I am in Eastham Mass, Cape Cod, and saw one in my yard 2 weeks ago. After he left, I measured the strip of lawn where he was stretched full out. 52″. I never saw such a thing! The animal specialist on Martha’s Vineyard says that if they feel threatened, they “stand their ground” and are aggressive, even toward large humans. Yikes! I don’t like them.

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