Sunday, March 18, 2012

Black Racer

Most people use the phrase “A snake in the grass” in reference to an undesirable situation.  I’ve always considered a snake in the grass to be a positive condition calling for investigation and celebration.  This Black Racer is giving what I like to call the Jurassic Park pose.

A dark face and pale nose usually indicate a racer.  Racers may act aggressively if captured, but will normally retreat from danger.  A slow approach can get you quite close to these snakes.  Vibration of the tail indicates the snakes discomfort with your proximity and is usually a prelude to rapid retreat.  Some people are startled when a racer retreats directly towards them.  This has happened to me several times, but it makes sense when I’m only a couple of feet away, that it would be safer and faster to rush past me than to turn around and go the opposite direction.

This was my first view of the snake.  It’s easy to spot a black snake in the pale grass of late winter.

I’ve momentarily mistaken hoses and branches for snakes on many occasions.  The misidentification lasts less than a second.  There’s really nothing else that looks like a snake.

I’ve viewed many serpentine items with diamond patterns, but there’s nothing that comes close to the scales of a snake.

I eventually crowded in too much and caused the snake to take off into an opening beneath a cedar root.  I hope this is just the first of a multitude of snake encounters to be experienced this year.


  1. Hi Steve....Your the snake in the did warn me ; }
    I close my eyes and scrolled down here haha..
    Hope your having a lovely Sunday chasing down I just hoping this unusually warm days we are having doesn't bring out any of here!! Garter snakes are about all I can take!!

  2. What great images, especially that first one. I always like to see snakes in my garden, too, because I know they eat the slugs that eat my flowers. :)

  3. Hi Grace. It's supposed to be above 80 degrees here for the next three days, so I bet every snake we have will be out. Fortunately for you, so many other things are coming out that it'll probably be a while before I post snakes again.

    Hi Lois. The deer are the most common flower eaters around here, so I guess I need some bigger snakes.