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Coachwhip, southwest New Mexico


Masticophis flagellum


photo taken 14 May 2010 about 2pm in sw New Mexico, between Lordsburg and Animas, in Hidalgo County.


Snake was in the middle of a quiet road. I drove past it and stopped. The road is sufficiently quiet and wide that it is possible to park in the middle of the road. I walked back to the sunny side of the snake and took several photos. I then walked back to the car and returned with my close-up lens, but when I tried to get closer, the snake fled. This is the third coachwhip which I have photographed.


There are seven types of coachwhip in North America. One of these is considered as a distinct species and the other six are considered as subspecies of Masticophis flagellum. According to Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico by Degenhardt, Painter, and Price, the principle subspecies of coachwhip found in New Mexico is the Western Coachwhip, Masticophis flagellum testaceus, but in the southwest corner of the state (where my photo was taken), this intergrades with the Red Coachwhip, M. f. piceus.


Closer view



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Taken on May 14, 2010