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Critter of the Quarter - Racer

May contain: snake, reptile, animal, and cobra

“The most common snake you will never see”, sounds like a challenge to some.  This species, however, manages to avoid being observed by even seasoned biologists.  It avoids detection by living in California’s grasslands; by being green and well-hidden; and the final method is in its name—Racer.  Racers are extremely common in California and throughout the entire southern half of the United States.  They are so well camouflaged, as well as being remarkably fast, that when most people see this snake the first thing they say is, “I think I saw a snake.”

Racers move through grasslands with their head held up like a periscope, which helps them to see their prey: insects, spiders, lizards, frogs, birds and their eggs, and other small animals.  These snakes are common in both McNabney and Moorhen Marshes but are rarely detected.  The best time to find one is in the early morning hours of a warm day.  This snake will sit out in open areas of trails while it warms up for its very high-paced lifestyle.

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