Species group: Racers
Other common names: Florida Black Racer
Scientific name: Coluber constrictor priapus
The Southern Black Racer is one of the more common subspecies of non-venomous snakes in the Southeastern United States. These snakes are quite active during the day, which increases the chance of sightings. They will eat almost any animal they can overpower, including, rodents, frogs, toads, and lizards. They have been known to charge at people in an attempt to frighten them, but will usually retreat – if challenged. Members of this species generally do not tolerate handling – even after months in captivity – and will typically strike and flail wildly every time they are handled. They are quite fast, giving rise to the name "racer".
The Southern Black Racer is an excellent swimmer and climber, and is aptly named because it has incredible speed and is very difficult to capture. When cornered it will fight—its tiny sharp teeth can deliver a painful but non-venomous bite. Escape is its best defense, but the animal has been known to occasionally turn and pursue humans or other potentially threatening animals that have ceased their own pursuits. Like many other species, the Black Racer will vibrate its tail in dry leaves and grass and the resulting sound is reminiscent of the noise made by a Rattlesnake. The snake favors wooded areas, brush and thickets although it is also commonly seen in suburban yards. While hunting it can travel at good speed even with its head elevated well off the ground.
Appearance / health:
The Southern Black Racer is usually thin with a jet black dorsal side with a grey belly and white chin.
Their diet consists primarily of rodents, frogs, and lizards, and some subspecies are known to climb trees in order to eat eggs and young birds. Juveniles often consume soft-bodied insects, such as crickets and moths.
handling, proper temperatures, aggressive snake, bad tempers, ferocious Black Racer, captivity
My Black Racers
Before I go into this, I must say that my experiences with these gorgeous snakes may be the exception rather than the rule. I have had several, two of which were hatched from found eggs, and three that were wild caught adults. The two babies were incredibly sweet, cute, and docile, readily feeding on small lizards and later pinkies. Unfortunately, I was very careless and left my snake room door open, and my cat got in, opened their tank, and ate them. I still get mad at myself, because of my own stupidity I lost two gorgeous little reptiles. The wild caught adults were captured in my backyard. I missed my little babies, so I decided to see if I could tame and adult. I was successful. I captured two females and was given one male that had gotten trapped in a porch. All three grew to be easily handleable, tractable racers. It was awesome to get out a real Black Racer for the kids at the summer camp I volunteered at! The male and one female were like slender corns, I could handle them and they fed on F/T fuzzy mice of tongs. The other female was a bit more nervous but still handleable, but she would only eat live pinks and F/T or live lizards. I was only bitten by them during the first week or so of "taming" them. Unfortunately, I no longer work with these beauties, and it is my hope that one day someone can breed them and produce captive bred babies, because these handsome, intelligent, interesting snakes really deserve a chance in the hobby. In my opinion, they can become docile animals, but require someone with tact and patience. But, they are not hard to keep, and could make an exciting challenge for a hobbyist looking for something different..
From leopardsnow Oct 28 2015 7:59PM
The ferocious Black Racer
Black Racers are extremely strong and highly aggressive. They should be treated with the same caution as you would treat a venomous snake because even though racers do not have venom, they have the ability to lunge quickly right at your face. This snake should not be approached in the wild. If you have children, do not get this snake. In fact, hobbyists who are considering getting a venomous snake are told to start with a Black Racer first to get used to the aggressive nature..
From ScalyAdventures Dec 9 2012 4:41PM