A juvenile racer is grey with large brown, black or reddish blotches down the back, small spots along the sides and large dark eyes. The pattern fades with age however, disappearing when the snake reaches 25-30 inches in length. Racers are very fast movers, and typically flee when threatened, or in danger. On some occasions, they will put up a strong fight when cornered, biting hard and often. The Racer's small sharp teeth can deliver a painful, but non-venomous, bite.
Rattling their tails among dry leaves, racers can sound convincingly like rattlesnakes, and have mistaken often because of this. If captured, they are very difficult to handle as they will writhe, defecate and spray musk in an attempt to escape. Black Racers are diurnal (daylight) hunters, and are very much active in the daylight hours. They eat rodents, birds, frogs, lizards and insects. Small mammals, other snakes and insects are preferred food items, although Racers take a wide variety of prey. They will even feed on young of their own species.