A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

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Coachwhips found in California

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Not Dangerous (Non-poisonous) 
Coachwhips and Racers do not have venom that is dangerous to most humans.

Coachwhips are long, slender, fast-moving snakes of open, hot, dry areas. Color is variable; tan, silver,brown, reddish, or black, with irregular blotches or bands and black on the neck. The tail is very long and thin and appears braided, like a whip. Active during daylight, this snake is usually found on the ground, often basking in the sun in the early morning on desert roads. They are also found underneath boards and other debris, especially on cold or overcast days.

Three subspecies occur in California. The Baja Coachwhip is very rarely observed in extreme southern San Diego County, the San Joaquin Coachwhip is threatened in the Central Valley, having lost much of its former habitat, and the Red Coachwhip is very common in the deserts and coastal southern California.
snake snake snake
© Linda Morgan
Red Racer - Masticophis flagellum piceus 
(also called Red Coachwhip)
snake snake snake
© Patrick Briggs
San Joaquin Coachwhip - Masticophis flagellum ruddocki
snake snake
© Dick Bartlett
© Chris Gruenwald
Baja California Coachwhip - Masticophis fuliginosus 

Red: Coluber (Masticophis) flagellum piceus
Red Racer
(Red Coachwhip)

Orange: Coluber (Masticophis) flagellum ruddocki -
 San Joaquin Coachwhip

Blue: Coluber (Masticophis) fuliginosus -
Baja California Coachwhip

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