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Black Rat or Black Racer???


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Posted by Paul on October 02, 2000 at 09:59:06:

Black Rats vs Black Racers. I'm in New Castle, Delaware.
A neighbor asked me to look at a snake behind his apartment (I have a reputation with the neighborhood kids of keeping snakes). I thought it was a Black Rat snake but I haven't seen a Black Racer since I was in 4th grade (I'll be 40 years old next month) so I can't remember the comparison.
My field guide said that both can have white under their mouth. It was about 3.5' in length and not as "round" in its girth. More of a flat bottom. It was nice and shiny with a smaller head (that made me think of a rat snake since I keep a corn snake). I reached over a line of bushes to touch it and it didn't hiss, nor any aggresive movements, but just slowly moved away into a hole in the side of the apartment where the Air Conditioner tube goes into it (much to my terrified neighbor's fright). Yes, I calmed him down (his wife was a different
matter). What would be the KEY elements in distinguising a Black Rat from a Black racer (I know black rats have keeled scales, but I forgot to focus on looking for that at the time).
We covered the area under the hole in the side of the apartment with white Talc powder so that when the snake leaved the hole, we'll see the trail and then plug the hole. To give it a place to hide, we've placed a big piece of thin plywood for it to hide under. Today is supposed to warm up so it might leave today.

Thanks for any info you can provide.

Paul



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