Northern Black Racer Snake
IN MARYLAND

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What does the northern black racer snake look like?

The northern black racer snake is one of the longest snake’s native to Montgomery County. This slender snake can be found at lengths up to 5’ foot or even 6’ foot. Many Montgomery County residents confuse this species with the black rat snake because the body structure and color looks a lot alike. The belly is grayish or a shade lighter the back which is blackish or charcoal color. The snout is dark bronze or brownish and some may have a patch of white on the throat under the mouth.

Juvenile’s northern black racer snakes look very different then the adults. When the young hatch from their egg they have a dark gray to brownish pattern on their back. They have a plain creamy color on the belly and in some cases it will have black dots in an irregular pattern. They will have some small black or brownish dots laterally on their sides. The head is mostly brownish with various amounts of gray. As the juveniles age the lighter colors will darken and the patterns will fade in to the blackish or charcoal color like the adults. By the age of 3 the juvenile colors and patterns are completely gone.

Where is the northern black racer snake found in Montgomery County?

The northern black racer snake is found in every type of environment in Montgomery County. This species is very abundant and it is very common for Montgomery County residents to see at least one in the spring, summer or fall. Between March and October snake control professionals in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac, Gaithersburg, Damascus, Olney, Laytonsville, Poolesville, Rockville and Silver Spring remove the northern black racer snake from homes and backyards on a daily bases.

Frightened Montgomery County residents often call snake removal professionals because they have a snake in the basement, kitchen or in the attic. About 1/4th of these snakes removed from homes are northern black racer snakes.

What animals pray of the northern black racer snake?

Northern black racer snakes are prayed on by owls, hawks, raccoons, fox, opossums and other snakes. Bullfrogs and large birds will also feed on juveniles.

Is the northern black racer snake venomous?

The northern black racer snake is not venomous however they will bite if provoked. This snake is extremely fast and has an accurate strike. Snakes have bacteria in their mouths that can cause infection. Most people that are bitten have no problem however some has a bad reaction. If you are bitten wash the womb out and keep watch for any swelling or redness. Seek medical attention if needed. If you pick this species up they will defecate on you and release a terrible smelling musk on you.

What does the northern black racer snake eat?

The northern black racer snake eats small rodents, frogs, lizards, bird eggs, birds, baby birds, bats, mice, small rats and other small rodents. Juveniles will feed on soft bodies insects like crickets or moths.

What are the habits of the northern black racer snake?

The northern black racer snake does not chase people however they can be aggressive and they will bite hard and respectively if they feel threatened. This snake likes to hang in bushes and low branches of trees. This is a very smart and curious snake and they have excellent vision. They are known to pick their head up higher than the grass and look around for predators or prey. Daytime is the northern black racer snakes preferred roaming time.

What are the hibernation habits of the northern black racer snake?

The northern black racer snake hibernates in logs, tree stumps, under discarded mattresses, under piles of rock or firewood, under piles of trash, and any other area that provides protection from winter’s extreme cold temperatures. This species will also hibernate in ceilings and wall cavities of homes and buildings. Hibernation begins in October and ends in April.

What are the reproduction habits of the northern black racer snake?

The northern black racer snake mates in April or May after hibernation. Eggs are laid in June or July and hatched in July or August. Like many snake species in Montgomery County the black racer snake will sometimes mate in the fall before they start hibernation however the female stores the sperm until hibernation is over in April when the sperm is released and the eggs and fertilized. Several northern black racer snakes will lay their eggs in the same location and sometimes with other species.

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