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Blue Racer <image courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources>

  • Adult body length: 36 - 60 inches, record 72 inches.
  • Length when hatched: 8 - 13 inches.
  • Breeding period: April and May
  • Young per year: 5 - 28 eggs
  • Typical foods: Small mammals, birds, frogs, lizards, other snakes and large insects.


The Blue Racer is a long, fairly slender snake with back, sides and belly colored plain black. Usually there is some white color on the chin and the throat. The scales are smooth, without keels, and the anal plate is divided.
This snake is similar in appearance and habit to its close relative, the Black Racer. Interbreeding with the Black Racer often occurs where their two ranges overlap. Resulting offspring sometimes display characteristics of both parents, or may look the same as one of the parents.

Overall Range
A bit of southwestern Ontario, Michigan and northwestern Ohio west to southeastern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.
Range in Ohio
Western, northern and central parts of the state.
Blue Racer Ohio Map

Local Habitat
Open areas including prairies, open woodlands, and regions of lakes and bogs.


This fast-moving snake is diurnal. Even though it is a good climber it seems to spend most of its time on the ground. Observers of snakes can find this species in almost any rural situation within its range in Ohio. When on the hunt for food an individual typically holds its head up, above the ground, and moves rapidly through undergrowth.
Sometimes, when threatened, the Blue Racer will move into bushes or small trees. When annoyed by a person it becomes very aggressive and strikes out at its tormentor. And its bite can be rather painful. A threatened Blue Racer often will vibrate its tail rapidly, making a buzzing sound that can be mistaken for a rattlesnake.
During the winter, Blue Racers often hibernate in large numbers and with other kinds of snakes. This typically occurs on rocky hillsides.


ODNR, Division of Wildlife, "Species A-Z Guide"

University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web

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The Ohio Historical Society (OHS)
Date of last revision: 06/25/2003
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