Friday, April 23, 2010

April Blues!

Sometimes in order to find something, you've got to do a bit of research. I've always found that the more you understand about a species, the better chance you'll have of putting yourself into a situation to find it. There's a particular snake species that has given me a bit of fit here in Michigan, and that snake is the Blue Racer. It's considered to be a relatively common snake, but they seem to be very locally distributed. I've seen a handful, but mostly I encounter them dead on roads in the summer. So this spring I became determined to find some racers before the cover got too thick. I had heard reports and rumors of these snakes inhabiting some areas in Montcalm County, which is directly south of where CMU lies in Isabella County. So after a bit of research, I was able to zone in on a few areas including this one.

This particular set of fields intrigued me because of the amount of hedgerows and adjacent woodlands. Blue Racers are big active snakes, and although they prefer open areas, they often work transition zone areas because it gives them access to cover and open space, aiding in thermoregulatuon. So after scouting some of these areas, a good friend and I headed out one day to see what these fields held, in hopes we would find our target.

Upon arrival, I was pleased to see the few clumps of isolated shrubs and trees. The area looked picture perfect for racers. No more than ten minutes after stepping into the first field we got to, we were greeted with this sight.

We were able to snag both individuals out of the small tree, possibly a mating pair. Each measured out over the four foot range, big snakes. I've seen racers elsewhere in Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and the Michigan variety are much more heavy bodied. After taking a few bites, we were able to shoot some pictures of these magnificent snakes.

Blue Racer - Coluber constrictor foxii

The next week, my friend Curtis Hart drove up from southern Michigan to join me for a day. After knocking out a few targets, we scouted some other fields where I had seen racers a few days before. Here's the field we walked on this particular afternoon.

 Not long after entering the field, Curtis called out that he had found one. Once again, this snake was found stretched out in a low lying shrub.

Blue Racer - Coluber constrictor foxii

Not long after spending time with this first snake. I heard another moving about along a hedgeline and noticed a head periscoping from the long grass. It was nice to cash in on a spot that I had scouted and done some research on. Target acquired and apprehended.


  1. Sweet website Nick, and beautiful pictures, as always.