Coluber constrictor

North American Racer

Coluber constrictor

Photo taken by Chris Slesar.

Coluber constrictor

Photo taken by Kris Andrews.
More images from google

Distribution of C. coluber in Vermont

Distribution Map

View the larger PNG image
Download a printable PDF (1.2 MB)


The Racer is a slender snake that has a black body with a satin sheen and smooth scales. The underside is a solid white or gray. Sometimes they show an iridescent blue on either side of the belly. They have a tan nose, white under their chin, and a strong eyebrow ridge. As adults they are 4-6 feet long (the longest documented in Vermont is 70 inches). The Racer is very fast and quite nervous.

When they are young, Racers look similar to Milksnakes, but they do not have the white "Y" on the back of the head that the Milksnakes have. The Ratsnake has a patterned, not solid, underside.


They inhabit open pastures, power lines, and meadows, near rocky ridges.


This species has a state natural heritage rank of S1 (rare). The North American Racer is threatened in Vermont and has been designated a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (high priority) in Vermont’s Wildlife Action Plan. Please report all sightings of this species in Vermont. Take photos if possible. Even historic sighting information is useful.

More Info

The North American Racer has been known by the common name "Eastern Racer".

Species summary written by Kaile Burgess.

View Other Species: