Rat or Racer?

padkison

Arachnoangel
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Dec 8, 2005
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Pretty sure this is a juvenile Black Rat Snake rather than a racer. Still has some pattern visible. About 18" long. Wanted to check to be sure as my son would like to keep, but Racers make bad pets (bitey).





 

padkison

Arachnoangel
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Thanks. It's pretty pissy right now, but I expect it will calm down over time.
 

pitbulllady

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Definately a Black Rat; as has been pointed out, it has not only the checkered pattern on the belly and the white throat, but also white upper lips, and keeled scales. Racers have smooth scales and I've never seen a Southern Black Racer with white upper lips or any white on the belly. Most of the Racers we have here in the Carolinas have very dark eyes, too, so that you can barely distinguish their pupils from the iris. Not all Racers make lousy pets, though; I've had quite a few which became very tame and fed readily on mice, though those specimens are few and far between. ALL snakes tend to be nasty if held by the back of the head, though. While it might be necessary to restrain a venomous snake or large constrictor that has an attitude, it won't go far with taming a snake. Ratsnakes in particular tend to tame down a lot quicker if free-handled, though they have an interesting habit of striking OTHER people, besides the person holding them, a trait they share with Coachwhips, if other people move too quickly up on them or past them.

pitbulllady
 

Mushroom Spore

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ALL snakes tend to be nasty if held by the back of the head, though...Ratsnakes in particular tend to tame down a lot quicker if free-handled, though they have an interesting habit of striking OTHER people, besides the person holding them, a trait they share with Coachwhips, if other people move too quickly up on them or past them.
I noticed much the same in my ball python too, oddly enough, with the exception that they're a very docile species. So he just flinches away from anything touching his head, and recoils to hide under my hair in the latter situation. Snakes, go figure. :confused:
 

pitbulllady

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I noticed much the same in my ball python too, oddly enough, with the exception that they're a very docile species. So he just flinches away from anything touching his head, and recoils to hide under my hair in the latter situation. Snakes, go figure. :confused:
It's not really that odd, when you think about it: when a predator attacks a snake, what's the first part of the snake a predator usually goes for? Predators like hawks and cats will typically bite the snake's head first to subdue it; even snake-eating snakes start by swallowing another snake head-first. Some snakes have even evolved tails that look like their heads, to fool would-be predators. It's only natural for a snake to be apprehensive, in the least, about being grabbed and held behind its head like that, since the person doing so is unwittinging mimicking a predator's attack and keeping that snake in defense mode all the time.

pitbulllady
 
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