North American Racer (Coluber constrictor) - Ohio Herp Atlas

North American Racer Coluber constrictor

Both the Northern Black Racer and its larger relative, the blue racer, occur in Ohio.The blue racer – may be a gunmetal gray with a distinct greenish or bluish cast – frequents western Ohio.The Northern Black Racer – a uniform medium or plain black throughout – occurs in eastern Ohio. A diagonal line drawn across the state from Hamilton County to Ashtabula County would roughly mark the area where the populations overlap. Intergrading often occurs in this area of overlap, resulting in the blue and Northern black racer intergrade, Coluber constrictor constrictor x foxii. This intergrade may be indistinguishable from either parent or may possess their combined characteristics. Although racers are among the swiftest and most graceful of all our snakes, their top speed is only eight to 10 miles an hour. They are extremely nervous and become very aggressive when an attempt is made to capture them. They strike viciously and can inflict a painful bite with their small, but numerous teeth. When alarmed, they rapidly vibrate the tip of their tail, as do many other species of snakes. Racers rely more on vision than other snake species, and will often approach a person or other potential predator. Should you accidentally place yourself between a racer and its underground retreat, you might interpret its rapid movement towards you as an attack, when in fact it is just the snake’s attempt to escape to safety. Racers have an extremely varied diet, including everything from rodents to grasshoppers, other snakes, birds and eggs, and even the occasional small turtle! LENGTH: 36”–60”

Text courtesy of the Ohio Division of Wildlife:

Distribution Map
Distribution of the North American Racer (Coluber constrictor)
North American Racer (Coluber constrictor)