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Can You Pet a Southern Black Racer

  • Pet Care

Can You Pet a Southern Black Racer?

The Southern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor priapus) is a species of nonvenomous snake native to the southeastern United States. The species is also known as the Black Field Snake, due to its preference for field and forest habitats. Though it is a relatively small and harmless snake, it can induce fear for many people. After all, it’s a snake! However, it may seem surprising, but a Southern Black Racer can actually be a great pet, if the proper steps are taken.

Southern Black Racer as a pet

An Overview of the Species

The Southern Black Racer is a shiny, black, slender snake with a pointed head, and averages between two to five feet in length. They are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day, and are known to be fast-moving and quite curious. These snakes feed primarily on rodents, frogs, lizards, and insects such as grasshoppers and crickets. Southern Black Racers are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. A clutch of four to 11 eggs is typically deposited in a dark, humid environment such as underneath rotting logs or buried in the leaf litter.

Considering a Southern Black Racer as a Pet

Despite appearances, these snakes can make great pet, once you learn how to properly care for them. First and foremost, it is important to obtain a captive bred baby from a local reptile breeder or pet store, rather than removing a wild-caught specimen from its natural habitat. Additionally, if you choose to bring one of these snakes into your home, you should ensure that it has access to an enclosure that is large enough for it to roam around comfortably. As for dietary needs, Southern Black Racers needs to be fed several small meals a week, such as live mice, crickets, and other small insects.

Handling a Southern Black Racer

It is important to note that, like all snakes, Southern Black Racers require a slow and gradual approach when it comes to handling. They are naturally wary of humans, and need to be given time to adjust to their new environment and to learn to trust you as their handler. You should always wash your hands before and after handling your snake, and ensure that you never grab them too quickly or forcefully.

Bonding with Your Snake

The key to forming any bond with your snake is taking it slow, and allowing the snake to get used to its environment and your scent. To start this process, you can sit facing the enclosure with your hands away from the snake, speaking softly and patiently waiting for the snake to come close. Over time, your snake will learn to trust you and may even come to recognize your voice. From there, you can gradually off small amounts of food through the feeder dish in your enclosure.

Creating the Right Enclosure for Your Snake

It is important to create an appropriate habitat for your snake, so that it can feel comfortable, secure, and most importantly, safe. The enclosure should be no smaller than the length and width of your snake, and the enclosure needs to be made from sturdy, non-toxic material that won’t break down or become a safety hazard for the snake. You will also need to add a substrate for the floor of the enclosure, such as sand or mulch that has been cleaned of any contaminants. You should also make sure to add rocks, logs, and other hiding places for your snake.


The Southern Black Racer is a beautiful, nonvenomous snake native to the southeastern United States. Not only is it a fascinating species, but it can make a great pet as well. With the proper care and respect, these snakes can become accustomed to their handlers and form a strong bond over time. So, if you’re up for the challenge, you can certainly give petting a Southern Black Racer a try!

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