Description: Racers are large, relatively slender snakes known for their speed. They have rather large eyes, smooth scales, and in North Carolina are solid black as adults, although some have a whitish chin. As juveniles, racers are gray or brown with dark reddish-brown spots running along their backs. Juveniles are typically gray with darker brown spots. Racers can be distinguished from black rat snakes because of their uniform color, slender bodies, and smooth scales.
Feeding/Diet: Racers do not constrict, but chase their prey down and swallow it alive. They eat a variety of animals, including small rodents, lizards, frogs, insects, and other snakes.
Activity/Behavior: They are active only during the daytime and have very good vision. When out and about, they are very alert and often hunt with their heads raised above the ground.
Habitat/Range: Black racers live in a variety of habitats, but are often found in somewhat open areas where they can bask in the sun.
Reproduction: During June or July, the black racer lays 4–31 eggs, which like its relative, the coachwhip, has small bumps like grains of salt all over its surface.
Miscellaneous: Although they are often confused with the black rat snake, the black racer can be easily distinguished by their smooth scales. Although racers will often aggressively defend themselves and will usually bite repeatedly if picked up, they do not chase people as is often claimed. When pursued, they often climb into bushes or trees to escape their would-be captor. Though they are fast for a snake, a person can easily outrun one on open ground.