Wet Coachwhip Snake

I got a video of a Coachwhip Snake (Masticophis flagellum testaceous) swimming in the irrigation ditch. I know a lot of people have trouble with snakes, but they are really quite beautiful. It’s not often I see a Coachwhip Snake taking a swim. After we got back from checking on the owls and walking in the bosque this morning, I wrote a song to go with the video appropriately named Coachwhip Snake. I recorded the song and put it all together in the above video this afternoon. Enjoy!

Coachwhip Snake
Lyrics: Timothy Price
Music: Timothy Price

Slither swimming in the ditch
Sloppy sine wave between the wake
Slips the bank scales in cross-stitch
Stops and eyes me with suspicion

We stand we stare he and me
Paparazzo and snake admiration

Masticophis flagellum testaceous
That’s what I said
Beautiful snake, braided scales
Colubrid whipped up in western red

Slither swimming in the ditch
Sloppy sine wave between the wake

We stand we stare he and me
Paparazzo and snake admiration

Masticophis flagellum testaceous
That’s what I said
Beautiful snake, braided scales
Colubrid whipped up in western red

44 thoughts on “Wet Coachwhip Snake

    • Thanks, Maj & Sher. I’m happy you liked both. What kinds of snakes do you have up your way?

  1. Most commonly seen around houses are little garter snakes. Barns are home to black snakes which can get up to 6 feet. We also have corn snakes, rat snakes and water snakes. The most common venomous is the copperhead. There are a few sightings of timber rattlers, and even more rare is the cottonmouth. There is only one county in the state with it. On the record there are supposed to be 39 species total.

    • The only dangerous snake we have out here are rattlesnakes. The Prairie rattlesnakes are quite toxic. The Western Diamondbacks are not as toxic, but they can deliver a lot of venom. We have Garter snakes, Hognose snakes and Ring-necked snakes, which are rear-fanged and mildly venomous, but not dangerous. We mostly see Coachwhip, Garter snakes, and Bull snakes around here.

      • I’ve had personal encounters with copperheads, who become nearly invisible in the fall on leaves. I also was in a wash in the Sonoran desert outside of Tucson while working for the Soil Conservation Service. There at eye level was the biggest Western Diamondback I’ve ever seen. He let me know he was there, and was cocked and ready. I think I went straight up 2 feet and back 3 feet without touching the sand!

      • I can imagine you jumped. Fortunately, rattlesnakes are pretty good about warning you before they strike. I don’t think that’s the case with Copperheads from what I understand.

      • You are correct, copperheads never give a warning, and will cross a span of 2 feet more or less to come after you if you are in their space. I know, been there twice now.

      • I believe you. Fortunately, I’ve not had encounters with Copperheads or Water Moccasins.

  2. So many interesting lyrics. Thanks for sharing this new song. A beautiful “western red”. This snake is less threatening with the cool music.

    • Thanks, Vanessa. Coachwhip snakes will act tough, but they prefer to be left alone, like most snakes.

  3. Well, as you probably remember, I don’t like snakes but I really enjoyed this post and the great footage and music. But you won’t see me swimming in that water…

    • Thanks, Herman. I am well aware you are not a snake fan. Therefore, I’m really happy you like the video and music. I won’t swim in that ditch either.

  4. Great work. I like the good timing of the rythms from the music and the snake’s movements when swimming, or posing with the perceiving tongue.

    • Thanks, Puzzleblume. I am you like the video and music. The swimming did go well with the beat.

  5. Cool!
    I’m not a fan of snakes as we are avid nature people here in the desert and I am constantly looking for them. We have seen our share of rattlers.

  6. One time I was sitting on the bank of the Kankakee River in its state park, and after at least 10 minutes of sitting, a huge snake shot up out of a hole in a tree next to me and plunged into the river and swam away, fast and furious. I had never seen a snake move so fast. My guess is that it was a water moccasin, we get a lot of those around here. I was a bit of a wreck after that. Whatever type of snake that was, if it had wanted to attack me, I wouldn’t have stood a chance at self-defense. I never went wading in that river again.

    • Fast moving from a tree sounds like a black snake or blue racer of sorts. Snakes rarely attack unless they feel threatened.

  7. That is a beautiful snake! Cool video too! I’m now ok with snakes I know are non-venomous and have photographed a couple from a distance. Living in the forest, I had to learn the differences.

    • Thanks, Leah. Other than curiosity and observing snakes, there usually isn’t much reason to get to close to them on purpose. Except, I like to play with snakes.

  8. Nice! He sure is long, I have handled a lot of snakes in my life, but for some reason seeing them swim freaks me out! Must come from an experience I had as a kid, not a pleasant one! Masticophis flagellum testaceous, kinda catchy!

  9. That’s a really nice looking Masticophis flagellum testaceous.
    (copied and pasted)
    I like this snake, and hope it is not poisonous.
    I have to ask, did you know what kind of snake it was when you saw it?
    The song is a lot of fun, and “Masticophis flagellum testaceous” works perfectly in the lyrics.

    • Thanks, Resa. Yes I knew it was a Coachwhip Snake. I am very familiar with these snakes. They are not venomous. But they are fast, and very defensive when cornered.

    • Thanks, Gabriela. I haven’t been dancing other than for videos. Laurie is the painter.

    • Thanks, Marina. I’m going to have you finding all kinds of critters “cute” that many people can hardly look at. Coachwhip snakes have a lot of character the way the raise their heads to look at you. One afternoon I was walking back to the house and I spotted a large coachwhip crawling my direction. Sasha ran up to the snake, it struck at her without missing a slither, She jumped up and back about three feet, and the snake quickly and boldly crawled within inches of me and disappeared into the echinacea. I would have loved to have gotten photos or video of Sasha’s encounter with the snake, but it happened way to fast.

      • Oh, that would have certainly be a scene to capture!!!!
        My sole encounter with a snake was at a countryhouse where I was roller skating when I saw it last minute realizing it’s not a branch! I freezed on the tip of my skates but so did the snake as it stood like a small cobra measuring me up. After a 2-3 minutes of frozen time, he/she turned and left. Never knew what kind it was.

      • It can be a bit disconcerting when a branch turns out to be a snake.

  10. What a fun song Tim, amazing video and great lyrics as well. He looks like a poisonous snake but glad he isn’t. They swim similarly to the water moccasins and he is so long. Hugs, Joni

    • Thanks, Joni. Coachwhip snakes are really pretty, but the are nervous and not much fun to handle like bull snakes and hognose snakes.

      • I couldn’t believe how fast he was. I have to admit I am afraid of snakes. We get black racers here and those scare me too. However of course we would never harm one. That snack looked like he was at least three feet long also. If I saw that coming at me it would really scare me. My husband and I have enjoyed spending time on your site together. You are a multitalented man. Love 💕 Joni

      • The coachwhip in the video was about 6 feet long. It was a large adult. You probably get black and blue racers along with black rat snakes.

      • Oh my that is such a long snake that would have really scared me. I am glad we don’t have those guys around here, at least not that I have seen anyway.

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