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Coluber constrictor

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Coluber constrictor is a species of nonvenomous, colubrid snakes commonly referred to as the eastern racers. They are primarily found throughout the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains, but they range north into Canada, and south into Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. There are currently 11 recognized subspecies.

Description Edit

Racers typically grow to around 3½ feet (107 cm) long, but some subspecies are capable of attaining lengths of 6 feet (1.8 m). Their patterns vary widely between subspecies. Most are solid colored as their common names imply, black racers, brown racers, blue racers or green racers. Runner is sometimes used instead of racer in their common name. All subspecies have a lighter colored underbelly: white, a light tan or yellow in color. 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.[1]

Behavior Edit

Racers are fast moving, highly active, diurnal snakes. Their diet consists primarily of small rodents, frogs, toads, lizards, and other snakes. [2] Some subspecies are known to climb trees in order to eat eggs and young birds. Juveniles often consume soft-bodied insects, such as crickets and moths Template:Citation needed. Despite their specific name of constrictor, they do not really employ constriction, instead simply subduing struggling prey by pinning it bodily, pressing one or two coils against it to hold it in place instead of actually suffocating it. Most smaller prey items are simply swallowed alive.

They are curious snakes with excellent vision, and are sometimes seen raising their head above the height of the grass they are crawling in to view what is around them. Aptly named, racers are very fast and typically flee from a potential predator. However, once cornered they put up a vigorous fight, biting hard and often. They are difficult to handle and will writhe, defecate and release a foul smelling musk from their cloaca. Rattling their tails among dry leaves, racers can sound convincingly like rattlesnakes. [3]

Habitat Edit

Frequently near water but also in brush, trash piles, roadsides, swamps, suburbia; it is the most common snake in residential neighborhoods in Florida. It spends most of its time on the ground, but it's a good tree climber and may be found in shrubs and trees where the calls of birds draw attention to it. [4]

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.

Reproduction Edit

Mating takes place in the spring, from April until early June. Around a month later the female will lay anywhere from 3 to 30 eggs in a hidden nest site such as a hollow log, an abandoned rodent burrow, or under a rock. The 8-10" (20-26 cm) long juvenile racers hatch in the early fall. Maturity is reached in approximately 2 years. Racers have been known to lay their eggs in communal sites, where a number of snakes, even those from other species, all lay their eggs together.

Symbol Edit

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The northern black racer is the state reptile of Ohio.[5] Template:-

Subspecies Edit

File:Coluber constrictorPCCP20030612-1115B.jpg

Gallery Edit

References Edit

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  1. Conant, Roger. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin. Boston.
  2. http://www.corkscrew.audubon.org/wildlife/snakes.html
  3. http://www.umass.edu/nrec/snake_pit/pages/bracer.html
  4. http://www.corkscrew.audubon.org/wildlife/snakes.html
  5. 5.031 State reptile. LAWriter: Ohio Laws and Rles. Lawriter LLC (2008). Retrieved on January 22, 2011.
  6. Eastern and Western Yellow-bellied Racers, COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report

fr:Coluber constrictor it:Coluber constrictor nl:Geelbuikslang pt:Corredora-azul

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