“I liked to go on the road and catch the blue racers and sort of scare my brothers,” she said. “I’d drape them around my neck and around my wrist. I was the ultimate tomboy when I grew up here in Manistee and I loved the Great Lakes. “
~Ann Romney recalling her Michigan childhood (article)
While Mitt Romney’s “the trees are the right height” memories of Michigan drew some laughter, I doubt that anyone would laugh at tomboy Ann Davies with a couple of blue racers draped around her arms.
A large gray or blue snake with smooth scales. The head is usually darker than the body, though the chin and throat are white. The belly is light blue or white. Young racers are grayish, with a pattern of darker blotches and spots. Adult length: 4 to 6 feet.
Racers inhabit a variety of places, including open woods, meadows, hedge rows, marshes, and weedy lake edges. They are alert, active snakes that may climb into low bushes to escape enemies. These snakes feed on rodents, frogs, smaller snakes, birds, and insects. Although they will bite if cornered or grabbed, racers are not venomous.
Females lay 6 to 25 eggs in rotting wood or underground during June and July. The young racers hatch in late summer and, as noted above, are colored differently than the adults.
Racers have been found through most of the Lower Peninsula (except the northernmost sections) and the southern tip of the Upper Peninsula. Once common, their numbers have fallen in many places. Needless persecution by humans as well as habitat loss are probable factors in this decline.
The Coluber constrictor Eastern Racer entry from Animal Diversity Web says that the blue racer is one of several different racer subpopulations and adds a lot more information and photos including that in the wild, racers have been known to live over 10 years. You can also watch a cool video of a BIG blue racer by the Saline Snake Guy.
d charvat writes that they saw this good-sized blue racer while hiking in the Middleville MI state game area. Check it out background big and see a lot more cool shots from out and about in their slideshow.