One chapter of Clint’s and my book, “Herping Texas,” covers the Big Thicket region. In the chapter, I talked about finding tan racers, including one that had been run over on FM 943, as follows (p. 33):
“I would take this specimen for the museum collection at the University of Texas at Arlington, but I hated putting this slender and graceful serpent into a plastic bag. I would much rather have seen her for a moment alive, slipping from pavement through roadside grasses like a bolt of lightning and into the safety of the forest. Like other racers and coachwhips, these snakes are alert and visual, with large, bright eyes set beneath a small ridge that gives them a stern expression – like that of a hawk. They scan their surroundings and detect movement of lizards or other small creatures, and they are swift and agile predators. Such an animal deserves better than to be run down on the road.”
Turns out that there was a second racer nearby, slipping out of sight and then boldly returning, so that I was able to catch him for photographs later. What could explain it? I hope you’ll read the book and find out!
Herping Texas: The Quest for Reptiles & Amphibians, Michael Smith & Clint King. Texas A&M University Press (release date November 5).