Thursday, September 18, 2008

Morphing Racers

When a racer starts out life, it is a completely different looking snake (see top pictures) than when its an adult (other pictures). I misidentified the baby racer when I found it. I thought I had found a Desert Glossy Snake or a Night Snake. It took eyes more expert than mine to identify the snake. I am not a complete walking field guide like a select few are (I hate to admit that). After about a year, the racer's cool pattern gives way to a solid green or an almost turquoise color. I haven't ever kept racers for very long, so I have not ever been able to observe the transformation from a pattern to a solid color. I am not sure if this occurs in one shed or over a period of time. I could probably do some quick research to find out this, but I guess I don't need to know it. The adult Yellow-Bellied "Mormon" Racer pictured was one of the best looking racers that I have ever come across. Its pretty green scales were flawless and its belly was banana yellow. Wild racers are typically "beat up" from their normal wear and tear activities. On the list of snakes that I would not collect from the wild, racers are at the top. They cannot race in a terrarium and deserve to be free.