WESTERN YELLOW-BELLIED RACER. Coluber constrictor flaviventris
long and slender; tail tapering to a fine point (fig. 62a);
scales of back all smooth (without keels) and placed in 17 rows. General
coloration above uniform olive brown, becoming greenish or bluish on
sides of body and plain yellow on whole of under surface.
lower levels in western part of Yosemite region. Recorded from 3 to 6
miles east of Coulterville and from floor of Yosemite Valley. Lives
chiefly in grassland.
The Yellow-bellied Racer, often known as Blue Racer,
is less common in the Yosemite section than is its striped relative. The
present species is essentially an inhabitant of grasslands or meadows
and the scarcity of this sort of habitat in the region is no doubt the
factor which limits its numbers. Our local specimens, three in number,
were all obtained in grassy places.
The Yellow-bellied Racer is closely related to the
Black Snake of the eastern United States, and like that species has a
rather aggressive disposition. When come upon, a Yellow-bellied Racer
will first endeavor to escape, and it is able to travel at surprising
speed. But if cornered or if pinned down under a stick or a person's
shoe it will usually turn upon, and endeavor to bite, its captor. This
action though somewhat terrifying to the average person is without
serious consequences. The Racer has no venom, and the most it can do is
to puncture the skin on a person's finger and perhaps cause a little