Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)
Sub-order Serpentes, Family Colubridae
Northern Black Racer
Coluber c. constrictor
Photo of Adult Northern Black Racer courtesy of John White
36 - 60 inches. Record - 73 inches.
Photo of Habitat for Northern Black Racer
courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Dry open grassy areas or open forest adjacent to grassy areas. They can also be found in urban, suburban and agricultural areas, and on barrier islands.
How to Find
Walk along field-forest edges, particularly in Spring and Summer. These are the fastest snakes we have (thus the “racer”) and can flee readily, but will also stand their ground and strike repeatedly. Bite and release musk when handled, squirming to get away. Non-venomous, but the bite can be painful.
Distribution in Maryland
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
To see older newsletters, please visit the MARA Resource Page.
The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.