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Mojave River Valley Museum
Coachwhip SnakeRed racer
Coluber (Masticophis) flagellum
Family: Colubridae Order: Squamata Class: Reptilia
DISTRIBUTION, ABUNDANCE, AND SEASONALITY
Joshua Tree National Park Wildlife
Red Coachwhip Masticophis flagellum piceus Prefers open areas with high visibility (common) California Striped Racer Masticophis lateralis lateralis ...
Death Valley Snakes
Western Coachwhip (Red Racer) Masticophis flagellum piceus Common throughout park; often seen crossing roads; very fast and heat-tolerant; an agressive snake ...
Coachwhip and gopher snakes are two of the more common snakes seen at Ash Meadows. During the heat of mid-summer, many reptiles and amphibians become ...
Brattstrom, B. H., and J. W. Warren. 1953. A new subspecies of racer, Masticophis flagellum, from the San Joaquin Valley of California. Herpetologica 9:177-179. Carpenter, C. C. 1958. Reproduction, young, eggs, and food of Oklahoma snakes. Herpetologica 14:113-115.
Cowles, R. B. 1946. Carrion eating by a snake. Herpetologica 3:121-122.
Cunningham, J. D. 1959. Reproduction and food of some California snakes. Herpetologica 15:17-19.
Fitch, H. S. 1970. Reproductive cycles in lizards and snakes. Univ. Kans. Mus. Nat. Hist. Misc. Publ. 52:1-247.
Hayes, M. and F. Cliff. 1982. A checklist of the herpetofauna of Butte County, The Butte Sink and Sutter Buttes, California. Herp. Review 13:85-87.
Miller, A. H., and R. C. Stebbins. 1964. The lives of desert animals in Joshua Tree National Monument. Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 452pp.
Ortenburger, A. I. 1928. The whipsnakes and racers: Genera Masticophis and Coluber. Mem. Univ. Mich. Mus. 1:1-247.
Stebbins, R. C. 1954. Amphibians and reptiles of western North America. McGraw-Hill, New York. 536pp.
Stebbins, R. C. 1972. California amphibians and reptiles. Univ. California Press, Berkeley. 152pp.
Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. 2nd ed., revised. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 336pp.
Wilson, L. D. 1970. The coachwhip snake, Masticophis flagellum (Shaw): Taxonomy and distribution. Tulane Std. Zool. Bot. 16:31-99.
Wilson, L. D. 1973. Masticophis flagellum. Cat. Am. Amphibians and Reptiles 145.1-145.4.
Wright, A. H., and A. A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of frogs and toads of the United States and Canada. Cornell Univ. Press, New York. 640pp.
Photo by Chris Brown
Photo by Chris Brown
Scientific name: Masticophis flagellum piceus
Common name: Red Coachwhip or Red Racer
Size: 24.4-54.3 in (62-138 cm)
Distinguishing characters: A species with highly variable dorsal coloration; tan, grey, red, or pink with bold black or brown crossbars or blotches on neck which may blend together; venter pink; slender body and tail; large eyes with round pupils; often described as a red snake with a black head.
Juveniles: Black, brown or tan transverse bands on lighter background; black neck markings absent in hatchlings and faint in juveniles less than 24 in (61 cm) in length.
Similar species: Masticophis lateralis: Has distinct yellow lateral stripes.
Additional notes: A fast moving diurnal snake that is difficult to capture. Bites, excretes musk and twists body when handled. Large individuals should be handled with caution.
The fastest snake in the Mojave, it moves about during the day in search of grasshoppers, lizards and small rodents. When threatened, it imitates a rattlesnake by curling into a striking position and vibrating its tail.