20-65 inches. Racers are shiny black with white throats in the Florida Parishes. Racers in the Mississippi Valley and low areas of the southeastern part of the State are gray with black masks and whitish undersides. Those in the southwestern part of the state are tan to olive with whitish or yellow bellies, and snakes from the uplands of central and northern Louisiana are slate-gray or blue-gray with pale spots and white bellies. Juvenile racers are pale gray with a row of reddish brown spots down the back and smaller spots on the sides, but lose this pattern during their second year. The scales are smooth and in 17 rows.
Racers prefer open country and partially open woodlands, but occur in forests as well. They readily climb shrubs and low trees. Racers bite vigorously when captured and are often territorial in early spring, so much so that they have been known to stand their ground rather than flee when confronted by humans. They lay from 6-29 eggs.