Blue Racer

Coluber constrictor foxii
Species Status: Endangered in Canada
Action Required: Reintroduction, population augmentation, and monitoring and research

Blue Racer (Coluber constrictor foxii)

Fast-moving and shy of humans, the blue racer is one of Canada’s rarest snakes, with fewer than 400 individuals left in the entire country.

One of Ontario’s largest snakes, blue racers are slender blue-grey snakes with a black mask around the eyes and white undersides. Reaching almost 2 metres in length, they prey on rodents, insects, birds, and other snakes.


Blue racers prefer semi-open habitats such as savannahs, alvars, grasslands, fields and open woodlands during the active season (April to October). Winters are spent in communal hibernation sites such as burrows or rock crevasses.


In the U.S, Blue Racers are found in several northern states, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In recent decades their range in Canada has shrunk from several areas on the mainland of Southern Ontario to one isolated population on Pelee Island, making them one of the province’s most endangered snakes.


Although habitat loss is the primary threat to the Canadian Blue Racer population, individuals may also fall victim to road mortality, agricultural equipment, and intentional human persecution.


Recommended Recovery Actions

The Blue Racer Recovery Strategy cites hibernation and nesting locations as the areas most important to the species’ continued survival. In recent years, efforts have been made to protect and restore blue racer habitat on Pelee Island, with tree removal and a prescribed burn taking place to maintain savannah conditions. Surveys to estimate the population size of blue racers on Pelee Island are currently being carried out (2020-2022) to update the estimate done from 2000-2002, along with recent genetic studies to determine the long-term sustainability of the Canadian blue racer population.

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