Other common names

Coachwhip, Racer

Basic description

Most adult coachwhips are about 42-60 inches (107-152 cm) in total length. This is a very long and slender snake with large and prominent eyes that have yellow irises. Adults typically have a dark brown or black head, neck, and anterior (front) part of the body, which changes to light tan posteriorly. Juveniles are brown or tan with indistinct dark crossbands down the neck and back.

Range in Florida

Coachwhips are found throughout mainland Florida in every county. However, they are not known to occur on the Florida Keys, and they appear absent from much of the wetlands south of Lake Okeechobee.

Assessment of risk to people and pets

Non-Venomous. Coachwhips are not dangerous to people or pets, but they will readily bite to defend themselves. Coachwhips are not aggressive and avoid direct contact with people and pets. Virtually all bites occur when the snakes are intentionally molested.

Comparison with other species

blue-black snake with red marking under its jaw
Photo courtesy of Todd Pierson.

Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi) Non-venomous

Black Racer
Photo courtesy of Luke Smith.

North American racer (Coluber constrictor) Non-venomous

Share your observations

You can help scientists better understand the biology and distribution of this species by sharing your observations. Send photos or videos of interesting observations, along with associated information, by emailing the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum for documentation in the Museum’s Herpetology Master Database. You can also post your observations on iNaturalist.

Additional helpful information

Do you have snakes around your house? Learn how to safely co-exist with snakes.

Still have questions about snakes or identifications? Feel free to email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum with your questions or feedback on this profile.

Banner photo courtesy of Jennifer Cundiff. Please credit any photographers on the page and see our copyright policy.