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Striped Racer Masticophis lateralis


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Striped Racer
credit: Stickpen

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Family: Colubridae, Colubrid Snakes view all from this family

Description Slender, 2 yellowish stripes along its back, set against a dark brown or black back. Smooth scales, 17 rows. Divided anal plate.

Dimensions 76.2-152.4cm. (30-60")

Endangered Status The Alameda Striped Racer, a subspecies of the Striped Racer, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as threatened in California. After years of habitat degradation, mainly due to urbanization, this snake survives only in five separate populations in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Other factors altering the habitat have been livestock grazing and fire suppression. Without regular natural wildfires clearing out the underbrush, wooded areas build up excess brush and ground litter, and when a fire does occur it is much hotter and more destructive than a natural fire. The five populations today are separated from one another by highways and other obstacles that make it very difficult for them to breed with each other and expand the gene pool.

Subspecies California - Yellow stripes. San Francisco Bay to Sierra's western slopes, California.
Alameda - Orange stripe. San Francisco Bay, California.

Breeding Breeds in spring. 6-11 eggs laid May-July, 54mm (2 1/2") long. Hatch August-October.

Habitat Open desert, oak woodland, pine forest, chaparral, and associated open landscapes.

Range California to Baja California, along coast and Sierra Nevada.

Discussion Diurnal. diet of lizards, small snakes, birds and mammals. Uses its sight to find its prey, rather than smell. Non-venomous but will bite if handled or caught.