DEEP: Northern Black Racer

Northern Black Racer

(Coluber c. constrictor)

{Northern Black Racer Snake}

IDENTIFICATION: A large black snake, body cylindrical in cross section, scales smooth, venter blue-black, with a white chin. The head is poorly defined from the rest of the body, being only slightly wider than the neck. Adult total body length 850-1660 mm.

The northern black racer is one of two large black snakes found in Connecticut, where it is widely distributed, except in the state's northwestern corner. The racer is also uncommon at elevations above 900 feet, though there are scattered records from sites up to at least 1300 feet (Klemens, 1993). Racers are a declining species within the state, having disappeared from many areas due to habitat change, fragmentation, and loss. An active, diurnal hunter, this large, swift snake searches for its prey over an extensive home range. Racer populations decline or disappear in areas where the amount of foraging space is reduced, such as in developed areas. Racers prefer open fields and transitional zones between forest and field, and in some areas of the state, notably Fairfield County, they have become quite rare, while the black rat snake has become increasingly common. This may be due to the black rat snake's competitive advantage in mature forests, commonly found in Fairfield County.

Snakes | Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut