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The blue racer is a gun-metal gray with a distinct greenish cast that usually reaches anywhere from 36 to 60 inches in length. However, interbreeding often occurs in the area where the populations of the black and blue racer overlap, resulting in the blue and black racer intergrade, Coluber constrictor constrictor x foxi. This intergrade may be indistinguishable from either parent, or may possess their combined characteristics.
As their common name suggests, the snake is very fast and can move at speeds of almost 4 and a half miles per hour. The species lifespan in the wild ranges from 15 to 20 years. While crawling, it is known to be extremely alert, with its head raised above the ground.
The juvenile blue racers eat crickets and other insects such as spiders or worms, adult snakes feed mainly on small rodents, frogs, birds and other smaller snakes such as the ringneck snake.
The snake is an active forager and despite their scientific name, it isn’t really a constrictor.
Distribution And Habitat
The blue racer occurs in western Ohio. A diagonal line drawn across the state from Hamilton County to Ashtabula County would roughly mark the area where the populations of the black and blue racer overlap. Although racers are among the swiftest and most graceful of all our snakes, their top speed is only 8 to 10 miles and hour. They are extremely nervous and become very aggressive when an attempt is made to capture them.
They strike viciously and can inflict a painful bite with their small, but numerous teeth. When alarmed, they rapidly vibrate the tip of their tail, as do many other species of snakes. Their diet consists for insects, spiders, small frogs, small reptiles, and young rodents and shrews.
During the spring, females lay their eggs in hidden nests, such as a rotted stump or log, and old mammal burrow, or a nest cavity in the leaf litter or sand. Peak breeding activity occurs from April to June, and the 5 to 28 eggs typically hatch in August or early September. The hatchlings will have to use their “egg tooth” to cut their way out.
The most common predators of adult blue racers include large birds of prey like hawk, owls, etc., and carnivores animals like foxes, raccoons, etc.
Dogs and cats are known to feed on juvenile blue racers; whereas the eggs and hatchlings form food of numerous, big and small, birds and animals.