A peek at Florida's Nature
Black Snake

Don't miss the poem Black Snake Molting at the bottom of this page!

Southern Black Racer
The name Black Snake is a nickname for the Southern Black Racer which is one of Florida's most common snakes. It is not poisonous, but be careful if you see one because it will bite to defend itself, especially if it is cornered. When it crawls through the grass, it often holds its head up like a periscope to search for food. (It especially likes lizards and small rodents.) As the Southern Black Racer's name suggests, it can move very quickly.This slender snake can grow to be about four feet long. It has smooth black scales on the top and sides. It has a white chin and gray undersides. The eyes can be yellow or red. If you are lucky enough to see this snake yawn, you will find that the inside of its mouth is bright pink. The Black Snake is a daytime snake. It likes to sun itself on bushes, in the grass or even on the branches of  trees.

Above, a Black Racer sunning himself on some bushes

Above, a Black Racer has turned gray
and is almost ready to molt

Like other snakes, the Black Racer sheds its skin as it gets bigger, or when it suffers from an injury. A few days before it molts, its skin begins to turn dull gray and the snake develops a bluish coating over its eyes. During this time it stays out of sight and is not very active. When the time comes for it to shed its skin, the snake uses the coarseness of the surfaces around it to snag the outer layer of skin so it can move forward and leave the skin behind. It might rub against the ground or grass or rocks or even concrete. Sometimes it will use the bark of a tree which is a handy rough surface.

Above, Black Racers are black again after they
have shed their outer skin

Below are photos of two empty skins of Black Snakes that were left behind after the snakes molted. One skin was found on the ground and one on the branch of a tree. Believe it or not, both of the snakes shown above actually live in a hole in a dead branch of an oak tree. Scroll down past the photos to read a poem about one of the Black Snakes while it was molting.

Above, the skin from a Black Racer after the snake
 molted in a tree

A Black Racer's skin after a snake molted in the leaves
on the ground

We hope you enjoy this poem about
the Southern Black Racer...

Black Snake Molting
mini posters are available here

 All photos on this website by J.A. Heintz
All written material by D.C. Heintz

Copyright 2010 D.C. Heintz. All rights reserved.

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