Western Yellow-Bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon)
Description: It is a subspecies of the eastern racer. It is nonvenomous and is recognized by its long and very slender shape. It is visually similar to the eastern yellow-bellied racer, which is also green, blue or brown with a recognizable yellow underside. Also named for its color, the western yellow-bellied racer is also gray with red or brown blotches when young.
Habitat: Endemic to the Western United States, including California, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Montana and Colorado.
Diet: The eastern racers are fast-moving, highly active, diurnal snakes. Their diet consists primarily of small rodents, frogs, toads, lizards, and other snakes. Some subspecies are known to climb trees to eat eggs and young birds. Juveniles often consume soft-bodied insects, such as crickets and moths. Despite their specific name, constrictor, they do not really employ constriction, instead simply subduing struggling prey by pinning it bodily, pressing one or two coils against it to hold it in place instead of actually suffocating it. Most smaller prey items are simply swallowed alive.
Reproduction: In C. constrictor, mating takes place in the spring from April until early June. Around a month later, the female lays three to 30 eggs in a hidden nest site, such as a hollow log, an abandoned rodent burrow, or under a rock. The juveniles hatch in the early fall. A newborn is 8-10 in (20–26 cm) in total length. Maturity is reached around 2 years old. Eastern racers have been known to lay their eggs in communal sites, where a number of snakes, even those from other species, all lay their eggs together.
Photo credit: Jrtayloriv