Common Names: Northern black racer, eastern racer
A species of nonvenomous, colubrid snake, often mistaken for an eastern ratsnake. One way to distinguish between the ratsnake and black racer is that the racer has a ridge over it's eye, while the ratsnake does not have this raised scale. Adult racers can typically vary from 20 to 60 inches in total length. A typical adult specimen will weigh around 1.2 lbs, with little size difference between the sexes. The patterns vary widely between subspecies. Most are solid-colored. All subspecies have a lighter-colored underbelly. Juveniles are more strikingly patterned, with a middorsal row of dark blotches on a light ground color. The tail is unpatterned. As they grow older, the dorsum darkens, and the juvenile pattern gradually disappears.
Frequently near water but also in brush, trash piles, roadsides, swamps, and suburbs. Most racers prefer open, grassland type habitat where their keen eyesight and speed can be readily used, but they are also found in light forest and even semi-arid regions. They are usually not far from an area of cover to hide in.