I was crossing one of the prairie openings yesterday evening when I heard the sound of a snake moving rapidly through the dried grass. I hurried ahead of the sound and intercepted this Black Racer as it entered a clearing beneath a large cedar.
Note: Grace is scheduled to have her final cataract surgery today. I thought this would be a good subject to test her newly restored vision.
It stopped at my appearance and compressed its body laterally to form a ridge down its back. I assume this was to appear larger and less vulnerable to a potential threat. This is the first time I’ve had a racer behave in this manner.
I wasn’t moving, so the snake began to coil its body. I call this a Black Racer because it’s the only racer we’re supposed to have in this area. I have also read that the only difference between the black and blue subspecies is the color, so I’m not sure that this one shouldn’t be called a Blue Racer. However it’s called, it was a beautiful specimen and quite willing to interact with me for a while.
As it coiled its body, the snake kept its head directed straight at me. It whipped its tongue at me every time I moved, all the time tightening its coils.
Once satisfactorily coiled, it settled in to stare. I thought at first that the blue coloration could just be the result of the snake preparing to shed. After watching for a while, I decided that the colors were just too bright and the eyes too clear for shedding to be imminent. I think this is just the way the snake is colored.
If I remained still for a while, the snake would begin to move off.
If it saw me make any movement at all, it would pull itself back and continue the face off.
I moved my hand off to the side and the snake followed along. It wasn’t about to back down.
The sunlight was rapidly disappearing, so I left the snake to continue whatever activity I had interrupted. Things are looking good for this to be a very snaky summer.