Western Yellow-bellied Racer

Western yellow-bellied racer near Trail, BC

The western yellow-bellied racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) is blue listed (at risk) in British Columbia. The racer is the fastest snake in Canada. Contrary to what the species' Latin name, constrictor, suggests, racers do not strangle their prey—they normally catch and swallow small prey alive.


Biodiversity Interactive Map - Western Yellow-Bellied Racer


  • Racers are widespread throughout North America and Central America, from Maine to southern British Columbia and south as far as the Florida Keys and northern Guatemala.
  • Racers occur in the interior of British Columbia including the South Columbia, Kettle, Okanagan, Similkameen, Nicola and Thompson watersheds.
  • Racers are only known from the extreme southwest of the Columbia Basin from the Pend d?Oreille to Trail


Yellow-bellied racers frequent a variety of open habitats. In the Columbia Basin these include dry open upland forests, grasslands and shrubby habitats.


  • Females produce a maximum of one clutch of eggs each year, though some breed only once every two years
  • In B.C., mating is in May
  • From four to seven eggs laid in June or July
  • Incubation period can last from 40 days to two months

Listing and Date

Listing Date
B.C. List Blue 2000
COSEWIC SC November 2004

Threats to Species

  • Habitat loss and the expansion of urban areas.
  • Fire suppression and forest encroachment into open habitats.

Select Reports

Full Report Listing (most recent on top):

For more information on this species, visit The Species at Risk Public Registry and /or The BC Species and Ecosystem Explorer where you should enter "racer" in the species Name field.



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