Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Black Racer Looking Blue

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.


  1. All right Steve...I haven't left yet... I saw that in my reader list and closed my eyes until I got to comments!!!
    I will not be testing my eyes on that one ; }
    You can keep your snakes down there...I will deal with the Maine garter snake ..thank you!!!!!
    Hope you enjoy your snakes.....
    Grace ...thanks for the good wishes teaser!!!

  2. What a handsome fellow! With a higher snake count this year, you should have a lower little critter count. I love seeing snakes in my garden because I know I'll have fewer slugs.

  3. Hi Grace. I would think that you'd be happy to see snakes on my blog, because every one I show is too far away to get into your backyard.

    Hi Lois. I think I've got enough little critters to keep a whole herd of snakes happy.