Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Albino Mystery

Remember a few weeks ago I showed you the black racer whose skin was being shed? I found out his skin isn't being shed, that's the actual color of his skin on the last third of his body. Is this an albino mystery, or a snake skin anomoly? What do you think?

Just like before I saw him coming out of his secret hiding place with his head held high above the blades of grass. I decided to try and get some better photos of him, as close as I dared.

I noticed if I go outside when he's coming out of his hiding place, he ducks back in, so I have to wait till he is completely out and going across the lawn. Then I run like crazy to get outside before he heads into the woods to hunt. When he was all the way out this time, that's when I noticed the skin was still white on the last third of his body, amazing. I knew he should have shed his skin by now, so I was sure I had a rare patterened snake in my yard. Then I thought he might have been injured or born with a defect. I was so curious.

Later as I was looking at my photos, I tried to find a photo of a snake with similar skin colorations on google images. Finally I found another one. Guess what, much to my surprise, I discovered he isn't a black racer at all. He's an Eastern Coachwhip Snake, or Masticophis flagellum flagellum, which is often mistaken for a black racer, except the coachwhip has these same color variations of the skin. I love learning things like this, it keeps life interesting.

I know some of my readers don't like snakes, but if we didn't have snakes we'd be overrun with rats and mice. I think I'm lucky to have this snake in my backyard and it's nice to solve a mystery. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Isn't the Internet just amazing with all the information it gives us with a few clicks while comfortabley seated? That would have remained an unsolved mystery years ago.
    I have no problem with snakes. Have yet to see one in Arkansas.

  2. Hi Patti, thanks, I'm at the library because our internet and phone are down at home, so it's great when it works, but not so good when it doesn't, Ha.

  3. How interesting. The way they rise up kind of freaks me out, but all in all, very cool pest control.

  4. Hi Cindy, thanks, yeah it is kind of freaky they way they do it. He keeps his head up that way motionless and looks for prey, if I go outside he ducks back in that hold immediately, his eyesight must be really good. I think he needs to raise up to see over the grass which we keep tall to conserve moisture in the lawn. Every once in a while he bobs his back and forth like he's ready to strike, I haven't seen him strike yet though, but I'll keep an eye out.

  5. i am ok with snakes as long as they aren't poisonous! you are so right about them keeping the mice and rat population in check.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment