Black Racer Snake

Black Racers are very fast-moving, non-venomous, black snakes with a bluish cast to their scales. Other local common names for this handsome snake are Black Runner, Blue Racer, and Blue Runner.

Most Racers do not enjoy being handled. Black racers eat mostly mice and rats, so are extremely beneficial snakes to have around.

Racers move very quickly and can be out of sight in the blink of an eye.

Black Racers hunt down their prey. They move quickly along the forest floor, with their head held high, always alert. When prey is detected, Racers quickly grab it and swallow it whole, sometimes while it is still alive.

The “constrictor” in their scientific name is a misnomer. I suppose, it was once thought that they squeezed their prey, but now scientists know that they don’t. However, the name stuck.

Notice the hint of blue where the sun is hitting the scales of this young Black Racer. This is why some people in Louisiana call them Blue Runners.

There is also a species of Racer which inhabits other parts of the United States which is called the Blue Racer. Common names can be deceiving, with different species being given the same common name or with the same species being called different common names in separate locations.

The odd looking “kinked” posture of this individual is often seen. Some believe that this is a defense mechanism. They look a lot like a fallen branch.

Another defensive reaction is that when threatened, if running away is not successful, they will hide in the brush and rattle their tails in dry leaves, sounding much like a rattlesnake.

Very young black racers are marked differently from the adult of the species. The young are speckled with black, white and tan spots. As they age, they darken into adult coloration.

Black Racers have a reputation for biting when they are caught. It seems that they develop this defense mechanism very early in life.

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