Black racer : Coluber constrictor


Description :

The mature racer has very smooth shiny scales with a divided anal plate. There are 17 scale rows midbody, and 15 near the tail. The normal coloration is a very dark and uniform dorsum with variations ranging from black, bluish, gray, to olive brown.
The head is narrow but still wider than the neck with very distinct brow ridges. The chin and throat areas vary from white to yellowish progressing back to a ventrum Racer closeup, Photo by David Byres
that could be black, dark gray, light blue, white, cream or yellow. The average adult length ranges from 90-190 cm. The juvenile racers are strongly patterned with grays, browns, and reds. The coloring fades as the snake grows older and at 74cm all traces have usually disappeared. Male racers can be distinguished from the female of the species in that the tail is longer with a wide base, sometimes even a bulge. The female's tail tapers abruptly from the body.


Breeding:

Mating takes place in the spring, from late April until early June. In June or early July the female will lay 3-32 oval, white eggs in a hidden nest site.
Black racer. Photo by David ByresSuitable nest sites may be a rotted stump or log, and old mammal burrow, or a nest cavity in the leaf litter or sand. The eggs are 2.5 to 3.9 cm long and are coated with small nodules resembling hard, dry grains of salt. Hatching usually occurs in August or early September with young size approximately 39cm long.
Males become sexually mature in 1 to 2 years, while females mature slower, approximately 2 to 3 years. Racers on average live approximately 10 years in the wild. Racers have been known to oviposit communally.
Racers are carnivores. They have very broad diets that consist of insects, frogs, lizards, nestling birds, small mammals, and even other snakes. Their food is not constricted, as the scientific name would imply, instead a loop of the snake's body is thrown over the struggling victim, pressing it down. racer. Photo by David Byres
Despite its common name, the racer's actual speed is about 6.5 kilometers per hour, or about the rate of a human's brisk walk. If approached by a predator the racer's first option is usually to flee to a nearby burrow, thick vegetation, or rock crevice.