Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Northern Black Racer

I’m sure that a few of you have already identified the above photo of a Northern Black Racer as one that has been hanging on my office wall for the past two years. Others of you are probably not aware of the fact that I have an office. I’ve posted about 3,000 photos to this blog so far and this is only the second that was not taken within a week of the post date. It was taken by me at Blue Jay Barrens and there are two reasons why I’ve chosen to use it today. First, I wanted to use the following photos that were taken a few of days ago, but I failed to get a head shot and if you’re going to talk about snakes, I think you really need a close-up photo at the start. Second, I love this shot and will probably never encounter another wild Black Racer that is willing to pose as well as this individual.

There’s one place at Blue Jay Barrens that seems to attract Black Racers and I specifically went there with an eye to finding snakes. Even when you’re expecting it, a snake in the grass is hard to see.

It was early enough in the day that I thought the snakes would be rather chilly and lethargic. This snake didn’t move at all as I approached. The first sign that you’ve come too close to a Black Racer is a rapid vibration of the tail, but this individual seemed frozen. Since the snake was perfectly still, I thought I could crawl up and get some close-up shots.

Still no movement on the snake’s part. The snake’s head and body were streaked with dried mud and I could imagine it recently emerging from some cold, wet pocket in the soil. I leaned in a little closer and the snake was suddenly absent. The speed of its departure assured me that it had become sufficiently warmed by the sun. About ten feet to my right, I caught sight of a second racer heading for cover. No close-up, hence my decision to use the older photo.

Here’s where the snakes like to call home. I spend all this time trying to create a natural ecosystem at Blue Jay Barrens and they prefer to live in an old junk pile. Excuse me, I don’t have any junk piles, I meant to say historical site.


  1. I'm glad that fellow didn't decide to take a taste of you for breakfast!

  2. Hi Steve...Just letting you know I came by ...I hate snakes ....did you remember that lol

  3. Hi, Lois. He was really quite tame. My camera was only a foot from his face and I had to keep waving my hand to get him to stick out his tongue.

    Hi, grammie g. I know about you and snakes. I'm just trying to find one cute enough to change your mind.