10.06.2004 - Here it is. I probably get more emails about this snake than any other. This snake is incredibly common, especially throughout Florida, and people see it, don't know what it is, take a photo, email it to me, and ask exactly
what crazy new species of snake they've discovered. The answer is that it's a baby Black Racer. I sometimes answer that it's a juvenile Black Racer or a hatchling Black Racer, but it's a baby Black Racer all the same.
Many snakes change color and pattern as they mature. I'm not sure exactly why, but my guess is that the color pattern on the babies is suited toward camouflage, and by the time it grows into an adult, the color changes either to reflect a better, updated camouflage to suit the new adult environment, or the adults are not as vulnerable to predators, and thus can adopt colors that are better for other reasons, such as attracting a mate, or who knows.
Click here to see photos of the Adult Black Racer Snake, which is black.
Anyway, yes, the above snake looks nothing like an adult black racer, which, as the name implies, is jet black. Regardless of color, this little snake behaves similarly to the adult, in that it's aggressive. In fact, these baby snakes are more aggressive than the adults. The adults tend to dart away at top speed. The baby racers don't have that speed, and thus they tend to stand their ground, shake their tails violently like a rattler, and strike repeatedly. Unfortunately for them, this is all just a show, and they are totally harmless, and if you want to eat one, you'll have no problem whatsoever. YUM!
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Are colorful snakes the poisonous ones? When you look at the population of snakes around the world, the colorful ones often tend to be the most venomous; however, when you talk about North American snakes, there is only one colorful snake you really need to worry about. The coral snake is a beautiful but deadly creature with red, yellow, and black banding. It kills it prey with neurotoxic venom. The other venomous snakes in this region of the world are not so spectacular in hue, though they have a beauty all their own. Many snakes with color and pattern, like the young Black Racer, look like they might be venomous, but they are harmless. The pit vipers, which make up most USA venomous snakes, are a more camouflaged group, having colors and patterns in more earthy tones. So well concealed are these snakes that you might never see one if it was a few steps from you. This is also the reason why so many people accidentally encounter a venomous snake while out for a walk. Most snakes are ambushers, waiting for their prey before they strike. The unknowing hiker can easily step directly on a rattlesnake or a copperhead without ever realizing it—one reason why tall boots are recommended.
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Seeing a snake at or in your home is something that you don't want to see frequently. Unfortunately, seeing a black snake at your home is something that you can't always prevent because they are so common. There are many different types of black snakes, one is called the black racer. They get their name honestly and are faster than other species of snake and if you approach them, they will more than likely take off in a different direction to escape.
The baby black racer is normally less than two feet in length and is gray with blotches that are normally brown or red in tint. The blotches fade away as they age to an adult. Once a baby black racer reaches adult size, they will be two to four feet in length but no more than six feet maximum. The adults will be solid black in color on the body with the throat and chin being white. The baby will look nothing like the adult when you see them because of the blotches, which will fade away as they grow.
Most baby black racer snakes follow the same pattern as the adults when it comes to habitats. They want something that is close to the water and something cool. Sometimes they prefer dark places like the attic and that is why sometimes you can find them in the attic or under the porch. They can also be found in the landscape near the home because of the coolness. Black racers are normally active during the day but prefer to sleep at night either in burrows or underneath boards, a woodpile, or tin. These snakes hunt by using their sight to find their prey so they are very observant.
The black racers can live on insects, toads and frogs, birds and bird eggs, mice, moles, and rats, as well as salamanders and lizards. They can even handle eating another snake if necessary. When they capture their prey, they do not constrict it, instead, they consume it while it's alive. Reproducing Facts
Black racers mate in the spring season.
The female racer can be sexually mature between the first and second year.
During the mating season, the black racer snake's behavior can be aggressive more than other times.
Black racer snakes normally lay their eggs in warm places that are hidden away, such as under leaves, sand, or dirt. They also make their nests in holes found in rock walls or crevices in buildings.
The female can lay up to 36 eggs in the early part of summer. Then the eggs hatch in the late part of the season towards early fall.
After laying the eggs, the female black racer will normally leave the eggs after a week.
When the black racer babies hatch from the eggs, they are completely functional with eyes open.
Black Racers in your Attic
Black racers are known to be able to climb so if you want to avoid having one live in your attic, it's important that you find a professional that can help remove them as soon as possible.