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Eastern Coachwhip Snake

Eastern Coachwhip

12.06.2004 - Sweet! My first Eastern Coachwhip! I've been reading about this snake, and always wanted to catch, or even see, one. Today I finally got my chance. A customer called about a snake terrorizing his lawn, and now hiding under a large piece of plywood. I arrived at the house, and upon lifting said plywood, out shot this snake like a lightning bolt! The Coachwhip is the fastest snake in North America! But it's not faster than me. I pounced with my super duper lightning mongoose speed, and captured the hapless serpent. It struck a few times, but I was wearing thick gloves. I was gentle with the snake and bagged it, and took the above photo before relocating it.

The Eastern Coachwhip, (Masticophis flagellum flagellum) is a non-venomous snake. It's thin, and can grow to eight feet long! It has large and distinct scales. It's a fairly rare snake in the Orlando area. Perhaps they were hunted down and killed, based on the myth that they'd roll into a hoop, chase down people, and whip them to death with their tails. Of course, I have a suspicion that habitat destruction is a more relevant factor.

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Coachwhip snakes striking - The coachwhip snake is a small species of snake capable of very fast movements. There are a lot of myths surrounding this animal, many originating from the speed of the animal. One such myth involves the coachwhip snake striking out or chasing down a person that threatens it. This is not typical behavior for this animal. Like most snakes, the coach whip is shy around people. It’s impressive speed creates an illusion of aggression if the snake moves toward the person in an effort to escape. Another popular myth claims that these serpents will chase a person down, somehow overpower the victim, strangle them, and then make sure the victim is dead by placing their tail up the person’s nose. While this is a terrifying story, the coach whip is much too small to overpower a human of any size. These animals eat rodents, lizards, and other small animals. They tend to appear like they want to strike, but this quick, agitated movement is only an attempt to scare off predators. If you have been bitten, the wound is usually mild and does not require treatment.

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