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What kind of snake is this?

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Offline fc7cuda

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What kind of snake is this?
« on: March 11, 2012, 10:04:09 PM »
On the River Road last Saturday mid morning...

Thanks
Tom
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Offline Al

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2012, 10:41:28 PM »
On the River Road last Saturday mid morning...

Thanks
Tom

Looks like a Red Racer to these uneducated eyes.

Al

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Offline RichardM

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2012, 10:50:07 PM »
On the River Road last Saturday mid morning...

Thanks
Tom

Looks like a Red Racer to these uneducated eyes.
aka Coachwhip.

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Offline stingrey

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 06:34:25 AM »
Yep, it is a coachwhip indeed!
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Offline Juan Cuatro Lados

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 08:18:59 AM »
It's a red racer.  They're unusual in that they're moving around in the middle of the day.  Heard a big racket one day from a group of birds up in a cottonwood tree.  Finally figured out the birds were trying to chase off one of these snakes that was raiding a nest 20 feet up in the tree.  They're known as chirioneros (sp?) by local Mexicans, which is odd.  If my limited Spanish is correct that translates to "squeaker".

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Offline stingrey

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2012, 12:25:09 PM »
Actually, the coachwhip does tend to move around during the day just as much as it would at night. In fact, I'd venture to say that it is just as easy to see this diurnal serpent during the day if you are looking for 'em. The fact that they are diurnal AND that they see fairly well leads me to believe that they tend to flee sooner than usual during the day once a "threat" has been determined/spotted. That may be why someone might have better luck spotting these guys at night rather than during the day.
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Offline fc7cuda

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2012, 05:31:50 PM »
My first thought was also Red Racer, but it appered to have the darker color spots that differs from others I've seen.  When it was done posing, "it took off like a whip" to borrow a phrase.  Quickly like a RR or a Coachwhip would do.

Thanks to all for your input.  :notworthy:

Tom
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Offline Al

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2012, 07:24:57 PM »
I think Shane gave us this heads up:



Al

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Offline Geezer

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 09:51:28 PM »
I once saw one of those five or six foot beauties lying in the grass by the creek at Fresno, just above Dodson Trail. It was broad daylight, and the snake just lay there 5 feet away for 20-30 seconds before gliding off. It was a nice pink color with big dark lozenges on its back, just like the one in the River Road photo. This one was more pink than red. No photo. I guess I'm no herp because I never tried to figure out exactly what it was. Now, however, I find that my two snake books (Audubon and Snakes and Other Reptiles of the Southwest) both say that adult racers have no pattern, though the "neonates" do. My question for herps: Could a 5-6 foot long snake be "a neonate?" And if not, what is this durned thing?

Thanks for your thoughtful input!

Geezer

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Offline Geezer

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2012, 10:22:37 PM »
Herps! Aren't you going to bite?

Geezer

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Offline stingrey

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2012, 05:58:37 AM »
Not sure on the "neonates" part, and I know things that we don't know of go bump out there in the park, but in every bit of info gathered from rangers, the coachwhip does not normally show a pattern, but it is not impossible for the banding to be present on a coachwhip (aka red racer).

p.s. the question could have also been posed as "Herps! Aren't you going to strike?"

:)
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Offline Geezer

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2012, 11:29:46 PM »
Thanks, Stringrey for coming back to this important topic! For a while I thought the Herps were on strike.

My conclusion: Either my snake books are wrong or this is a 5-6 foot neonate.

I hope some degreed Herp will unload on this.

Geezer

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Offline stingrey

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2012, 05:55:37 AM »
According to the different bits of info I found online:

Neonates are the name for snakes that were just born through live birth. Boas, rattlesnakes, garters, and some others use live birth. A live birth is the way that humans come into the world. When you were born, you came out alive. You did not come out in an egg or in some other type of film.

Neonate is the term identifying a snake during the time from which it is first born to roughly double its hatchling weight.

Whichever the case may be, coachwhips lay clutches of eggs. Being said, and based on the fact that my "Texas Snakes - A Field Guide" and "National Audubon Society - Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians" does touch on color variations (where the Nat. Audubon book elaborates and notes this phase) from when born to when fully grown, I guess it *could* be a "neonate", but that would not change the actual type of snake from its current guess of coachwhip.

I will say "guess" only because of the color variation, but I will mean coachwhip because that is what I would peg it as based on what it really looks like. Plus we saw two coachwhips (aka red racers) when James and I were out in Big Bend last time... Both were banded somewhat...



The above is one of the two I'm referring to. Some of the color variation is due to shadows and distance, but the snake, while on the road, showed a definite banding pattern against its pale counterparts. While SOME of the coachwhips we've seen (James would have to chime in to confirm or deny) have been strikingly red or orange, some have also been pale and slightly banded.

Another thing that coachwhips love to do maybe more than some other snakes I've seen in the park on a regular basis is lift their heads off the ground. Better for them to be able to see you (with their pretty good eyesight) and better for you to see their big eyes to even more readily identify these guys from other variations out in the park.



Not that other snakes won't lift their head up to get a better look at things, just that when pitted against books from the area and behavioral patterns, looks, and confirmations from people in the area, I'd have to say that this type of animal, banded or not, is most likely a coachwhip with a color variation.
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Offline Geezer

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2012, 10:45:55 PM »
Those are some nice photos, Stingrey! Have you got any more photos of long, slender snakes in Big Bend?

By the way, I guess my "Snakes and other Reptiles of the Southwest" was in error when it referred to neonates in connection with racers, because I read that like coachwhips they lay eggs.

Looking at my Audubon snake book, which seems to be sounder on the science, as it does not refer to "neonates" but to the "young" of the racer, I see that it refers to coachwhips as "Masticophis flagellum" and racers as "Coluber constrictor." This seems to indicate that they are different species.

Just to make things more interesting, I also noted that Audubon mentions a striped racer, which it identifies as "Masticophis lateralis." This snake has a single yellow or orange stripe on each side. Evidently not what we saw in Tom's photo.

To rephrase my question: Could a 5-6 foot snake be a young one?

Geezer

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: What kind of snake is this?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2012, 08:55:17 AM »
Red racers are colubrids in the same family as king snakes, I believe.

Very curious and active creatures.  We have a Sonoran Desert King snake at our house.

Coachwhips have a wide range with many color variations.  We saw one in Colorado at Canon City once, but were unable to catch it.

 


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