Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 11:05 EDT

Coachwhip (Whip Snake)

The Coachwhip or Whip Snake, Masticophis flagellum, is a non-venomous snake of the snake family Colubridae. It is found throughout the southern United States from coast to coast. They can also be found in the northern part of Mexico. They live in open grassland habitat, but may also be found in light forest habitat.

Coachwhips are thin bodied snakes, with small heads and large eyes that have round pupils. They vary in color greatly, although most reflect the colors of their natural habitat. Scales are patterned almost so that at a glance, the snake looks as if it were braided. Subspecies are hard to distinguish in areas where their ranges overlap. Adult Coachwhips can grow to beyond 63 inches in length.

Coachwhips actively hunt and eat lizards, small birds, and rodents. They are diurnal. They tend to flee at the first sign of a potential threat. They are very fast snakes and can often move faster than a human. They are also curious snakes with good eyesight. Sometimes they will raise their head above the grass line to see what is around them.

Photo by LA Dawson

Coachwhip Whip Snake