skip to main content

Sea Life, Animals
& Exhibits

black-racer Click/Touch photo to view enlargement.

Black Racer

One of the key facts about black racers to remember is that they are fast moving, hence their name, and will use their speed to escape from most threatening situations. If cornered, however, they can put up a strong fight and will bite hard and repeatedly. If they feel threatened, they are also known to vibrate their tails in leaves and grass in order to mimic the sound of a rattle snake. As well being very fast moving on land, black racers are also very good swimmers and tree climbers.

Habitat

Found in forest areas, brushes, thickets, fields, anywhere that is heavily grassed.

Diet

When on the hunt for food an individual typically holds its head up, above the ground, and moves rapidly through undergrowth. Black racers hunt by sight and eat a wide variety of prey including insects, lizards, snakes, birds, rodents and amphibians. To eat its prey, the snake will suffocate and crush its victim into the ground (compared to most constrictors which coil around their prey). When hunting, a Black Racer will attack quickly, usually attacking in grassy areas – or in water. In general, it chooses its location carefully.

Behavior

Mating takes place in the spring, from April until early June. Around a month later the female will lay anywhere from 3 to 30 eggs and will hatch in the early fall. Baby black racers look much different than adults. They come born with numerous spots, both black and white. These spots merge together, as well as darken, as the snake grows older.

Predators

A large majority of these snakes are killed by vehicles; furthermore, many of this species are killed on purpose out of fear. Its appearance is very similar to a Water Moccasin, a poisonous snake that is found in similar locations as a Black Racer. Other threats to the Black Racer include the hawk, as well as other larger birds.