Coluber constrictor oaxaca - Mexican Racer
Mexican Racer Snake Control & Removal
There are several steps to dealing with snake problems: making your property less inviting to snakes; discouraging the presence of, or getting rid of, the rodents and other small animals they feed upon; and dealing with any snakes that are already there.
Mexican Racer Snake (Coluber constrictor oaxaca)
Believe it or not, snakes can be great to have around. After all, they love to eat rodents! But when they move inside (or even near to) our homes, often something must be done. Here’s what you need to know when dealing with a possible racer snake on your property.
Mexican Racer Snake Habits
Mexican racers are found throughout Mexico, and in southern Texas. It is considered to be a subspecies of the Eastern Yellowbellied Racer; the two subspecies are distinguished by the number of lip scales they possess. Average adult size is 2.5 – 5 feet long (66-157 cm). Adult mexican racers are slender, and are an olive gray-green, with a yellow underside. As with all racers, the juvenile coloring is remarkably different: juveniles have a tan or cream colored body with brown or grey blotches. Their color gradually changes as the snake ages, becoming solid olive grey-green around a year old.
Racers are fast moving, highly active, diurnal (active during the day) snakes. Mexican racer diet consists primarily of small rodents (including common household pests such as rats and mice), small birds, chipmunks, lizards, toad and frogs, and other snakes. Juveniles often consume soft-bodied insects, such as crickets and moths.
Despite their scientific name of constrictor, they do not constrict to suffocate their prey, but hold it in place and subdue it. Small prey items are often simply swallowed alive.
Mexican racers are curious snakes with excellent vision, and will sometimes raise their head above the grasses they are crawling in to see their surroundings. Racers can flee quickly from potential predators. However, once cornered they put up a vigorous fight, biting hard and often. They are difficult to handle and will writhe, defecate and release a foul smelling musk from their cloaca. Rattling their tails among dry leaves, racers can sound convincingly like rattlesnakes. They are not poisonous, but their bites can be painful. If bitten by a racer, see a doctor; even with nonpoisonous bites there’s a small risk of infection.
Since racers will eat so many different small animals, they can be found in a variety of areas – wherever they can find food. Most racers prefer open, grassland type habitat where their keen eyesight and speed can be readily used, but they are also found in light forest and even semi-arid regions. Areas of water, brush, trash or wood piles, roadsides, swamps, and residential areas are also favored by this snake. They are usually not far from an area of cover to hide in.