Herping the Siouxland
Blue Racer: (Coluber
These magnificent serpents can grow to 5 feet long but are fairly
slender. They are a dull olive green above with bright yellow bellies.
(The skin between the
is often a bright turquoise blue.) These snakes have only been found in areas
where rugged, rocky, prairie habitat still exists. They have not been officially
documented in the Minnesota Valley west of Mankato. Scattered populations have
been found from Mankato down to the Mississippi Valley.
sightings of these rarely seen snakes Anywhere would be greatly
appreciated as their numbers seem to be declining as well.
And they don't call 'em Racers for
nuthin: They have excellent eyesight and will not hesitate to quickly vanish
upon the first hint of danger. There are reports that these fast moving snakes
will chase people! Actually...if a Racer sees you coming it will try to flee
immediately. However...they have a home range and know every square foot of
their territory and if you happen to be standing near it's favorite hole it will
quickly crawl towards you in an attempt
seek safety. (I've seen this happen more than once and it does give you a good
scare!!!) You have to admit, though, it's a good trick they pull in order
to stay alive. These snakes will eat a wide variety of food: Small Mice, Frogs,
Salamanders, Insects and other Snakes are consumed as well.
Hatchling Racers are heavily patterned and look nearly identical to baby Fox
Snakes. During it's 3rd year it gradually loses the speckled pattern and becomes
light green. The photo down below gives you a better idea of the size and
coloration of these marvelous animals.
found 5 of these snakes under an old barn door. I caught 2, one crawled 15 feet
up into a tree, the 4th one simply vanished before our eyes, and this brave
junior biologist quickly grabbed the biggest one of all. (He was 4 feet tall at
the time. The snake measured in at over 5 feet long) Now keep in mind: Racers
will bite! This one didn't. Instead it quickly rewarded it's captor by crapping
profusely all over the front of his shirt and pants!!! He held on though long
enough to get a great photo. (Don't be alarmed: His Mom was along with us at the
time) I always recommend bringing a child along on expeditions. They have quick
reflexes and because they are built lower to the ground they usually see the