Black Snare (coluber constrictor; C. bas-canion, B. and G.), a very common snake, generally distributed over North America. The head is oval and long; the snout prolonged and rather pointed; the nostrils are lateral, very large mar the snout, and open outward and a little backward; the eyes are large and bright, the pupil black, and the iris very dark gray; the body is long and slender, and covered with large smooth scales above, and with broad plates below; the tail is also long and slender, and, according to Holbrook, may be used as a prehensile instrument; according to Dr. Storer, the abdominal plates are 184, and the caudal scabs 85. The color above is a dark bluish black; below, slate-colored; chin and throat pure white, with occasionally a few black spots; the margin of the jaws and snout yellow. The usual length is from 4 to 5 ft., of which the head is 1 1/2 inch, and the tail about 16 inches; one was killed at I ling-ham, Mass., in 1842,7 ft. long, which had enfolded and severely crushed in its coil a rabbit, and which had in its body 15 quails' eggs unbroken, and some of them containing the young bird. It is very active, being from its rapid motions frequently called "the racer;" it climbs trees with easy facility, and is often found en-twined around bushes containing birds' nests.

It frequents shady and shrubby places near ponds and streams, though it is very fond of basking in the sun. It feeds on mice, moles, frogs, toads, lizards, eggs, and young birds; the larger specimens prey upon squirrels, chickens, and even young rabbits; it is very destructive to young birds, and a noted robber of nests. Its first specific name indicates that it possesses the power of destroying its prey by the constriction of its folds; this power is known to many a schoolboy, around whose leg or arm it has coiled when the human robber of birds' nests has come into contact with the serpent thief similarly inclined. The one killed at Hingham had a rabbit in its coil; but it doubtless seizes its smaller and ordinary prey with its mouth only. It is very daring, and during the breeding season will often attack persons passing at a distance; its bite is perfectly harmless. There is no good evidence that it has any power of fascination as implied in the second specific name above given, its victims being taken by activity and direct assault.

Black Snake.

Black Snake.