Antiguan racers are relatively small and non-venomous. Males are usually about three feet long and are dark brown in color with creamy blotches. Females are typically much larger and are silver-grey in color with brown blotches. These snakes are known to be gentle in temperament and pose absolutely no threat to humans.
Prior to colonization, these snakes were common to all of Antigua. However, the arrival of Europeans in the 15th century brought many nonnative rats to the area that would eat, among other things, Antiguan racer eggs. Soon the rat population began to skyrocket, and settlers introduced Asian mongooses to help eradicate them. Instead of eating rats, the diurnal mongooses preferred to prey upon Antiguan racers and the lizards they depended on for food. Within a short time of mongooses being introduced, Antiguan racers vanished, and most considered to them to be extinct.
A population of 50 Antiguan racers was discovered on Great Bird Island in the early 1990’s, apparently able to survive as no mongooses had been introduced there. Since then, conservation efforts have led to the population expanding tenfold, prompting conservationists to rid more islands of mongooses and give the Antiguan racer additional habitat.