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Red Coachwhip

Coluber flagellum piceus

Description:

Dark snake with red marks and yellow/orange eyes. It has some dried mud on the top of its head. I stayed camped out, down wind in one spot for over 40 min and it didn't come out :( Is this a dark version of a Red Coachwhip, Coluber flagellum piceus? "A slender fast-moving snake with smooth scales, a large head and eyes, and a thin neck. Large scales above eyes. 17 scale rows at mid body. Coloration is variable; light brown, pink or reddish above with pink, brown, or black bands across the neck. Black and yellow phases of this subspecies are found outside of California. The dark coloring is interspersed with light coloring creating a banded or saddled appearance, with dark coloring surrounding the light scales. Color typically changes to a solid tan or reddish coloring along the length of the long thin tail. The braided appearance of scales on the tail (like a whip) gives this snake its common name." - California Herps

Habitat:

Chaparral at Lake Hodges. "Ranges throughout southern California from Ventura county to the Baja California border and north around the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains though the Great Basin desert into northwestern Nevada, and south through Nevada and much of Arizona to part of Sonora and Baja California. Apparently intergrades with C. f. rudocki in eastern Kem County." - California Herps


No species ID suggestions

5 Comments

LOL, Jason, you crack me up. Thank you for your detailed comment and confirmation!!!

Emma, I was very excited. I've been searching for a snake for months. I just happened to see something move out of the corner of my eye. I stopped and focused on this one peeking out of the hole. It never came further than these images regardless of my not moving for 40 min. I finally gave up when it went back in the hole with the first rain drops of an approaching storm. I'm paying for it now! No one should stay in that position for that long :)

Hema Shah
Hema Shah a year ago

What was the feeling when you saw it peeking out?

Hema Shah
Hema Shah a year ago

amazing, Cindy!!

jansonjones
jansonjones a year ago

Thus, ergo, in conclusion, and so on: My guess is red coachwhip! Right with you!

jansonjones
jansonjones a year ago

I don't know California snakes very well at all, but that's definitely a species of coachwhip. By "definitely" I mean "I'm pretty sure"... Heh. California herps (http://www.californiaherps.com/snakes/sn...) lists three subspecies in California: red racer (Coluber flagellum piceus), San Joaquin coachwhip (C. f. ruddocki), and Baja California coachwhip (C. fuliginosus) [NOTE: Some folks consider coachwhips as genus Masticophis, not genus Coluber]. Anyhow, the Baja is marked only at the southern tip of Cali and the San Joaquin much farther north. That leaves red coachwhip, as you guessed. The coachwhips of the American southeast can be quite variable in color, so if this is darker than what you'd usually find, that doesn't negate the possibility. Our coachwhips down here can be anywhere from jet black to pale orange!

Escondido, California, USA

Lat: 33.06, Long: -117.07

Spotted on Apr 30, 2012
Submitted on May 1, 2012

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