Eastern Coachwhip

Eastern Coachwhip       Masticophis flagellum

Type of Animal:

Plains, sandy pine woodlands, pine-palmetto flatwoods, cedar glades, creeksides, marshland, swampland, grassland, open pine forest/woodland, open mixed woodlands, sandhills, coastal areas, barrier islands, scrub, coastal dunes, fields, prairies, power line right-of-ways, agricultural areas, savanna, salt marshes, creek valleys, sand dunes, desert scrub, open oak woodland, beaches, shorelines, river estuaries, rocky hillsides, exposed rock formations, woodland edges, manmade structures, dry rocky glades, brushy/open wooded hillsides, brush

Ranges from SE N Carolina to Florida to N part of SE Louisiana in E & from E Kansas/E Oklahoma/E Texas to S Missouri, Arkansas, & Louisiana in W, absent from Mississippi Delta, isolated pop in CS Kentucky

Long & slender, black head/neck, smooth scales/color look like braided whip, some animals uniform tan/cream, melanistic phase occurs, large head, tan/light brown tail, light brown body, dark brown to black on 1st third of body, 2 longitudinal rows of dark spots along underside, large eyes, young animals tan & very slender w/ irregular darker bands/white markings on head/neck, belly brown, tan, light yellow, or pink

Birds, insects, lizards, other snakes (including venomous species), small mammals, baby alligators, amphibians, spiders, carrion, turtles, bird eggs, young tortoises

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & wildlife centers


Additional Info:


Adult-2.6-4 lbs
Young-23.8 oz

1.5-3 months 

Life Span:
12-16 years

Body Length:
Adult-5.3-7.75 ft
Young-3.25 ft

Tail Length:
3 ft

Main predators of adults are alligators, snapping turtles, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, pigs, larger snakes, raptors, bears, dogs, cats, otters, & corvids. Carnivorous/omnivorous mammals & smaller predatory birds prey on young.

Swallows prey alive & sometimes beats prey against ground.

Actively hunts by smell/sight & is diurnal. These snakes don’t lie in wait.

Females lay up to 30 eggs in a clutch.

Fun Fact(s):
There’s a myth that this snake intentionally attacks people & whips them w/ its tail, which is false. However, these snakes defend themselves aggressively if cornered & will bite. Prefer to flee if possible.

These snakes can move as fast as 4 mph.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *