Saturday, October 18, 2008

Black Racer Snake

So, a few days ago, Molly came into the house at about 10:30 at night in a bit of a panic. She had been out picking tomatoes in the garden by flashlight. (WHO PICKS TOMATOES BY FLASHLIGHT) Anyway, she noticed that a snake had gotten twisted up and died in some garden netting. She made Jake promise to go get the dead snake out of the garden. And then she nagged him hourly for a couple of days until he finally went down to the garden to retrieve the dead snake. At first glance, Jake thought. Wow, that's a pretty big dead snake. I wonder how come he hasn't begun to decompose yet. After a minute or two of net cutting, the reason the snake hadn't begun to decompose became readily apparent. The Snake turned and looked Jake dead in the eye. As a general rule, Jake does not appreciate when dead things spring back to life. It gave him a bit of a start. Now, Jake was faced with a dilemma. How do you cut loose the big black snake without becoming a big black snake snack. (Try to say that ten times fast)

Jake enlisted Scribbles to help in the effort. She held down the snake's head while Jake carefully over the period of hour cut away the netting loop by loop from the snake. When the snake was finally freed, it rose about a foot up into the air, opened it's mouth about as wide as your hand, and attempted to eat Jake's face. So much for gratitude. The snake then quickly headed off into the brush pile behind the house.

Jake consulted a friend who is a snake expert. His friend believes that the snake is a Black Racer. Black Racer's eat lots of things and are good at keeping the rodent population down. I wish we had a few of these snakes around our house in Virginia during our war with the rodent population.

According to, The Black Racer is Common statewide, but declining in many areas. A familiar diurnal species that occurs in virtually all terrestrial habitats. Most frequently encountered in open forest and forest edges, and along brushy margins of aquatic habitats.

According to the University of Georgia, Black Racers are only active during the daytime and are most active in warm weather. At night and during cool weather they take refuge in burrows or under cover such as boards or tin. Racers hunt by sight and are often observed actively foraging during the day. They are not active at night. They eat a wide variety of prey including insects, lizards, snakes, birds, rodents, and amphibians. In turn, they are preyed upon by a variety of predatory birds, mammals and snakes such as kingsnakes and larger Racers. When captured, prey are not constricted and are consumed alive. Racers are faster than most other snakes, very agile, and generally flee when approached, often climbing into small trees or shrubs. If cornered, however, they do not hesitate to bite. Although primarily terrestrial, they climb well and are occasionally observed sleeping in vegetation at night. Racers mate in the spring, and females lay up to 36 eggs in early summer. Eggs hatch in late summer or early fall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love these snakes. I have them all over here in Florida. My dog loves to eat the skin sheds.