Masticophis lateralis - California Whipsnake or Striped Racer
Photos by Chris Brown

Scientific name: Masticophis lateralis

Common name: California Whipsnake or Striped RacerStriped Racer in Buckwheat

Size: 22.4-49.2 in (57-125 cm)

Distinguishing characters: A slender species; black, or brownish on dorsum; lighter color toward tail; yellow or white dark-edged stripe down sides from back of head to vent; white, cream or pale yellow venter becoming salmon/pink at tail; large eyes with round pupils; smooth scales.

Juveniles: Similar to adults.

Dimorphism: None

Similar species: Masticophis flagellum: Lacks lateral striping. Thamnophis hammondii: Has keeled scales and red tongue.

Additional notes: An alert, fast moving, diurnal snake that is difficult to capture. May bite and excrete musk when handled.

Return to Snakes
Last update: 05 March 2003