Southern Black Racer

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on April 11, 2011

This weekend, I let my dogs out and saw something very odd.  A snake was frozen trying to pretend to be a stick so we would not see it.  The dogs moved on, but I sat on the porch and watched.  The snake was a black snake and was laying with it’s head about six inches off the ground.  After things got still, this snake started looking around a bit, as if hunting.  Finally, after five or ten minutes, it lowered itself and slid to the ground and leisurely moved over to a pile of landscape timbers.  Using its’ nose, the snake moved some debris and slid under the timbers.

I could not get to my camera, so do not have a picture of the snake.  However, it turns out to be a Southern Black Racer.  This snake was engaging in a behavior called “basking”, much like someone laying out in the sun.    Good to know I had not imagined this!

Southern Black Racers (Coluber constrictor priapus) is non-venomous, although if you attack, it will bite.  So will most animals, for that matter.  These snakes are beneficial.  They eat what they can catch — mice, frogs, lizards, other snakes, bird eggs.  I was excited about getting to watch it for a while.  I guess the snake decided I was harmless.

Although many people dislike snakes, they are an important part of the ecosystem.  While I will kill a poisonous snake up at the house, for the most part, I regard snakes as cheap pest control.  Where do you stand on the snake question, and why?



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline Clemmons April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I agree they’re good pest control. I hate when they eat bird eggs, but am all for them chowing down on mice and rats! I just want the snakes to stay AWAY from me.

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Reece July 7, 2011 at 9:44 am

I like snakes a lot but have had to kill my fair share of rattlesnakes. Definitely cheap pest control, and very beautiful, depending on the type. I don’t even mind rattlesnakes too much actually, because what other animal will just sit there and warn you not to come any closer? As long as you aren’t just running through the brush on a hot summer day, you shouldn’t have any problems.
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