The Black Racer snake is one of the most common snakes in North America. However, the black racer snake is only one of the several racer snake subspecies and it can be found primarily in the Eastern part of the United States. The specific states that they populate include Ohio, Southern Main, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. Black racers are commonly seen because they are very active during the day and are killed out of fear because they resemble the poisonous cottonmouth. Black racer snakes have black back with grey bellies, large eyes and white chins. There are many other colored racers such as the yellow and tan racers, but they live in the middle and western parts of the United States. Black racers are long (measuring up to 5 feet long) and thin so that they can escape quickly when they feel threatened.
The black racer snake makes their home in a lot of different regions and landscapes. Black racers can be found in the wooden areas of the east coast in rotting logs, leaves, wood piles, shrubs and thickets, as well as in crevices in rocky cliff faces in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They are also swimmers so they can make their homes in marshes and swamps as well as lived in mildly populated agricultural fields. Black racers eat anything that they can catch and overpower. Some of their meals include toads, lizards, small rodents, small birds, insects and eggs. The black racer is very fast and will chase its victims down and crush them into the ground until they suffocate. However, this snake is not without its own predators such as hawks, owls, large dogs and humans. These snakes are often the victims of traffic accidents and being hunted and killed because they are often mistaken for other poisonous snakes.
The black racer snake is non-venomous and its first method of defense is to flee, but it has been known to stand its ground and strike when challenged by a predator. These snakes are also great swimmers and climbers making their escape options even more versatile. Black racer snakes will often spend the nights and colder months in burrows with other snakes to keep warm and this is why they are only active during the hottest parts of the day. They are often found in shrubs and small trees to keep out of the reach of predators. They can be handled, but do not like it at all and will flail their tails wildly if you pick them up. The black racer snake is color blind like most other snakes but use their vision as the primary source for hunting down prey.
Black racer snakes breed in the early spring and the eggs are hatched in early autumn. The eggs will be hatched in a protected burrow or place that would be hard to reach by predators and each breading season a single female will lay up to 35 eggs. Once the eggs are hatched, little if any interest is paid to them by the mother. Baby black racers, like most snakes, are fully independent once they break out of their egg. Instead of relying on the protection of larger snakes, like their mother, the baby black racer will depend entirely on its ability to camouflage itself into the environment to escape the notice of predators. Because of this baby and juvenile black racers will be a brownish red color and then turn black when they reach two feet in length. These snakes will shed their skin several times a year, especially before or after the breeding season.
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Florida Black Racer Snake Information