Found at Fairchild: Baby Racer in the Grass

Found at Fairchild: Baby Racer in the Grass

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

One of our horticulturalists (thanks, Mike) with a shared interest in reptiles alerted me to this immature southern black racer (Coluber constrictor priapus) in the grass between the Rainforest and Cycad Circle. These are native to the Southeast, and beyond with slight variations, and are our allies in keeping the rodent population down to a natural level. They are NOT venomous, but will bite or attempt to do so if you grab one. That's reasonable enough; wouldn't you do the same if threatened?

The adults are a rather dull gray, very shy and will "race" away as soon as you spot one. They are known to raise their heads, cobra-like, and will whack their tail-ends repeatedly against dry leaves, in imitation of a rattlesnake.

The babies are beautifully patterned.