Central Texas Whipsnake (M. t. girardi)
Desert Striped Whipsnake (M. t. taeniatus)
Found 4 miles East of Sierra Blanca, Texas in April of 2001, approx. 3.5 feet.
Size: A long, thin, very fast snake up to 72"
Range in Texas: West and Central Texas
Comments: Although most field guides show the range of the Desert Striped Whipsnake to cover Hudspeth County and show the Central Texas Whipsnake a little to the East, the majority of Whipsnakes that I find in Hudspeth county look more like the Central Texas Whipsnake. In fact, the majority of whipsnakes that I find in Hudspeth County have no stripes. Most are a solid black or dark brown with occasional faded white cross bands. I have found a couple with stripes but not as many as the other pattern type. The snake pictured above has the most striping (although very thin and faint) of any whipsnake that I have found so far. Notice the reddish-brown blotches below the stripes, a trait more common on the Central Texas Whipsnake and some coachwhips.
Like the coachwhips and racers, the whipsnakes have a high metabolism and move constantly. This makes them a somewhat difficult snake to keep. If there are any screens in the aquarium, you can bet that they will rub the end of their nose off trying to find a way out. If you do decide to keep one of these, they pretty much eat anything that moves; mice, grasshoppers, lizards (their mainstay), small birds, etc. They, like the racers and coachwhips are VERY fast. Given any type of cover, they are very difficult to catch and even more difficult to photograph. As you can see in the first thumbnail, the whipsnake is sometimes an arboreal species. Click on the second thumbnail below for a closer look at whipsnakes head.