Blue Racer (Coluber constrictor foxii)

The greyish-blue, elongated, slender blue racer snake may reach a maximum length of two meters. However, some still need help to elude detection. They have whitish ventrals and a white-golden face mask. This species has two preocular and two postocular scales around the eye. Despite their incredible speed, these snakes may sometimes exhibit hesitation. Out of the 11 subspecies of racers, these are by far the most peculiar. It’s also feasible to mistake this snake for another species. Like many other species, they may rattle their tail in the leaves to mimic the sound of a rattlesnake when they sense danger. More frequently than not, people confuse elder blue racers for rat snakes and mistake miniature blue racers for fox snakes.

Procreation

The breeding season for blue racers runs from April to May in the spring. In late June, the female will produce anything from 5 to 28 oval eggs with a leathery shell that is 2.5 to 3.9 cm long. The hatchlings must use their “egg tooth” to make an incision to get out. The eggs hatch from mid-August to late September in the late summer, and the young are between 8 and 11 inches (20 and 30 cm) long.

Blue Racer Snake

Although decaying logs are the most popular nesting environment, blue racers often lay their eggs underground in abandoned animal burrows beneath rocks, sand, tree holes, leaf litter, and decomposing organic debris. Collective nesting is a regular occurrence for blue racers; sometimes, they even pair up with other species, such as the eastern fox snake, to form their nests. These snakes mature sexually between the ages of two and three.

Preservation / Dangers

Road fatalities, persecution, and human development pose a danger to this vulnerable snake species. Based on its listing as a unique concern species in Wisconsin, the United States, and its listing as endangered in Canada, the COSEWIC classifies the blue racer as “Endangered.” Only the eastern parts of Pelee Island are home to the species, and the last known sighting of the blue racer in Canada was in Ontario in 1983.

The species is protected from significant alteration or loss of habitat deemed essential to its survival since it was listed as endangered on Ontario’s Endangered Species List in 1971.  The IUCN still needs to assess the blue racer for its red list.

The blue racer snake lives where?

The whole lower peninsula of Michigan, the southernmost point of the upper peninsula, northern Indiana, Illinois, parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, as well as the southernmost point of Ontario, Canada—Pelee Island in Lake Erie—are all within the range of blue racer snakes. 

Blue Racer Snake

They like a relatively dry atmosphere with patches of sunshine and some cover. Most racers are terrestrial, meaning they live on the ground; nonetheless, they prefer open woodlands, fields, thickets, and places around wetlands. They also often scale snakes to eat them. However, blue racer snake populations are diminishing because of habitat loss and degradation, as is the situation with many other species on our planet.

Which foods do blue racer snakes eat?

Blue racers are diurnal hunters or those that hunt during the day. Because of this, they can stay concealed all night while their predators are out hunting. Newborn racers’ food sources will include grasshoppers, beetles, and crickets. Frogs, rodents, small birds, and other snakes are among the many items that adult blue racers eat. These snakes’ primary predators are raccoons, coyotes, foxes, and prey-seeking birds.

How many eggs do female blue racer snakes lay?

After a long hibernating period, April marks the beginning of the mating season, which lasts until May. Males will engage in territorial disputes with other males. Female snakes lay five to twenty-six eggs annually, around June. The young, growing seven to twelve inches long, will hatch between August and September after laying their eggs in a covered, protected environment.

Do we fear the extinction of blue racer snakes?

Even though several subspecies of the Eastern Racer Snake need assessment, the IUCN Red List classifies it as Least Concern. 

Blue Racer Snake

Blue racer snakes face threats in many areas of their range, including Ontario, Canada. Ryan Wolfe of the University of Toronto oversees this population estimate study and is looking at restoration techniques. They will better know how to care for the land, enabling racer populations to flourish there. Although it’s becoming harder to locate them because of habitat loss, degradation, and conflict between humans and animals, they are not deemed endangered in the author’s home state of Michigan. The northern part of the lower peninsula has seen some development.

The Number of People Together With the Way Things Currently Stand in Terms of Conservation

Due to the loss of its natural environment and the decreasing supply of food that it needs to survive, the blue racer snake in Canada is considered an endangered species. In addition, the state of Wisconsin has given it the status of a species of particular concern, a classification that only comes up sometimes. It includes neither the population size nor the range of the species. On the other hand, it demonstrates that the overall population of eastern racer snakes is stable and most likely maintains itself at around one million individuals. It is the approximate range of the population. We do not see it as a significant concern since it has not yet occurred.

Visual Appeal and Synopsis

The blue racer’s smooth back scales are either solid electric blue or grayish. There are instances when it has a white or cream-colored belly and a yellow neck. This snake’s narrow head is the same width as the rest of its body. When fully mature, the snake may reach 35 to 60 inches. If you look closely, you can notice black scales around the circular eyes on the face of a blue racer. It seems as if it is mask-wearing.

The appearance of juvenile and adult blue racers differs. With deeper brown or gray splotches running down their back, these young snakes are brown or gray. The borders of the splotches are black. Blue racers that have just hatched may grow as long as 14 inches! The juvenile blue racer, which is two or three years old, has lost its scale pattern and acquired the adult’s stunning electric blue or gray coloring.

Methods for recognizing a blue racer snake:

  • On its back are solid electric blue or grayscale scales.
  • a cream or white belly
  • Perhaps a yellow neck
  • slim build and smooth scales
  • Around its round, black eyes are black scales.

How Perilous Do They Seem?

The venom of blue racers is absent. Since they are not toxic, they are not as hazardous as many other snakes in North America, such as the eastern coral snake and the timber rattlesnake. But slowly! One story describes the agony of a blue racer snake bite. An extensive amount of blood often results from a blue racer snake bite wound. Therefore, firmly press a soft cloth to the incision while administering first aid to stop the bleeding from a bite. 

After that, give the wound a soap and water wash. As the wound heals, keep an eye on it and cover it with a fresh bandage. Bacteria from the snake’s bite or soil that seeps into the incision might sometimes cause an infection. If you see any redness or swelling, have the bite site checked out by a medical specialist? Antibiotics could be necessary for an infection.

Human Behavior and Snakes

These snakes are uncommon to see because of their swiftness and timidity. This snake may quickly slip away to hide in a burrow or behind a clump of vegetation if it notices a person coming. There are things people may do to improve their chances of witnessing one of these snakes if they live in their region. It may be desirable for someone who owns land close to a field or grassy meadow to preserve specific patches of tall grass on their land. Blue racer snakes like to hang around in these places. Imagine all the places you could hide! Additionally, promoting blue racers may help reduce the number of rodents living close to your home.

Conclusion

Blue racers reproduce in the spring from April to May. The females lay 5 to 28 oval eggs, each with a leathery shell that is 2.5 to 3.9 cm long. The eggs hatch between mid-August and late September in the late summer, and the hatchlings utilize their “egg tooth” to create an incision to escape. They often deposit their eggs in abandoned animal burrows under rocks, sand, tree holes, leaf litter, and decaying organic detritus.

Between the ages of two and three, blue racers sexually develop. Preservation measures are essential because of traffic deaths, persecution, and human growth. Except for the eastern regions of Pelee Island, the blue racer is only considered “Endangered” in Wisconsin, the United States, and Canada by COSEWIC. As the species was categorized as endangered on Ontario’s Endangered Species List in 1971, it is protected from significant change or loss of habitat considered necessary for its existence.

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