The Black Racer

A Case of Mis-identification part I

Throughout the entire state of Florida, there is a black snake that is most commonly found out in natural areas as well as residential neighborhoods. It is called the Southern Black Racer, Eastern Racer, or just Black Racer. They can grow to around 4-5 feet long and their slim bodies have smooth gray and black scales as well as having a white chin and throat.

Racers are no danger to people and in fact, are harmless. They are fast and nimble as their name would suggest and if you approach one, it will probably flee away rather quickly.

Southern black racer at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park in Indian River County, Florida
Black Racer from Overhead


In this post, the black racers are a subject for consideration in terms of them being mis-identified in two ways. First of all, due to their dark color, they can be incorrectly thought to be a venomous Cottonmouth Water Moccasin. However those snakes have thicker heavier bodies with a more rough looking scale and quite blocky heads. See next image– Notice the difference in scales as well as head shape.

A mature WATER MOCCASIN/COTTONMOUTH snake where the coloring has darkened. This makes the banding less distinguishable. Notice the wide blocky head shape and rough scales.

Read part II 

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