The Southern black racer is a very common subspecies of the Eastern racer. It's non-venomous and is found in the Southeastern United States. Adults are usually thin with a jet black dorsal side with a grey belly and white chin. Juveniles are gray in color with distinct reddish-brown blotches that fade into a solid-colored tail. These snakes are quite fast, giving rise to the name "racer".
Southern black racers are found throughout the southeastern United States. They live in forests, pinelands, open woodlands, grassy areas, brush, hardwood hammocks, prairies, sandhills, desert, scrub, and cypress strands. They are also often seen in fields and suburban yards.
Southern black racers are solitary creatures. They are active during the day spending their time hunting or basking in the sun. These are very fast-moving snakes which can also climb and swim well. Racers are not dangerous and when spotted, they usually flee, relying on their speed. Members of this species generally do not tolerate handling and typically strike and flail wildly every time they are handled. Their common defense against predators is defecating a foul-smelling musk.
Southern black racers between March and August. Females lay up to 20 eggs. The young measure around 15 cm at birth and are fully independent.
There are no major threats to Southern black racers at present. However, man remains the greatest enemy of these snakes. Many are killed on highways and others are intentionally killed out of fear. The white chin causes some people to kill this snake, believing that it is a cottonmouth – a venomous snake more commonly called a Water moccasin.
Southern black racers are important for the ecosystem they liven in as they control many populations of their prey. These snakes are also the main prey species for local predators such as hawks.