Black Racer Snake

From Ohio History Central
Black Racer Snake.jpg

There are two racers in the state of Ohio, the Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor) and the Blue Racer (Coluber constrictor foxi). The black racer is black with no markings. The blue racer is a gun metal gray, with a greenish cast. The black racer lives in the eastern portion of the state, in habitats with rocky ledges, pastures, fields, and woodlands. The blue racer lives in similar habitats in the western portion of Ohio.

In the area where their ranges overlap, there is interbreeding between the two species, however there is little to no difference in their appearance. Racers breed from April to May, producing 10-12 eggs. Upon maturity, the snake reaches an average of 36-60 inches (seventy-three inches maximum).

Racers are diurnal reptiles that feed on small prey, such as mammals, frogs, lizards, other snakes and insects.

The racer is fast (hence the name), reaching speeds of 8-10 miles per hour. It tends to be nervous and very aggressive when encountered, striking out, biting often and vibrating the tip of its tail. Despite is scientific name, it is not a constrictor. It is nonvenomous.

Because racers are beneficial to farmers by eating rodents and the fact that, between the black and blue racers, they are found in all 88 Ohio counties, the Ohio Legislature named the black racer the State Reptile in 1995.

See Also