Eastern Racer (Coluber constrictor)

Description: Adults Racers in Nebraska are typically greenish or olive. However in extreme eastern Nebraska dark blue individuals can be found. Juveniles (below 20 inches) have 65-97 spots down the body and numerous spots on the belly.

Habitat: Prairies, grasslands, open brushy fields and open woods.

Size: Typical adult length: 76-127 cm (30-50 in); Maximum 42 inches (Collins & Collins 1993).

Diet: Insects, frogs, lizards, snakes, and small mammals.

Natural History: Very fast moving, slender snake that is active during the day. Unlike a rattlesnake that is a 'sit and wait' predator, the Racer actively pursues a wide variety of prey.

Adults Racers use their speed to try to escape humans, however the spotted juvenile Racers will sometimes try to mimic rattlesnakes by vibrating their tail and striking. This might be a good idea against some predators, but it may well encourage humans to kill Racers because they are mistaken for rattlesnakes.

Although not as viscous as the Coachwhip, the Racer will readily bite and defecate foul liquids if handled. The bite of the Racer may break the skin, but poses little threat except by infection. The bite of this and any nonpoisonous snake should be promptly given first aid.

Similar species:

  1. Smooth Green Snake smaller, only up to about 20 inches. Young Racers of this size are still spotted