Striped Racer Snake

Racer Snake

Striped Racer Snake

The fastest snake I have ever seen.  I once watched a striped racer chase a lizard across a hillside; and if I hadn’t known better, I would have thought this slender snake was being blown by a strong gust of wind.


He flipped and flopped; his body never seemed to really touch the ground.  He quickly vanished, so I don’t know if the lizard escaped…but I doubt it.


Also known as the California Whipsnake, they are primarily found in chaparral habitat among rocky outcroppings.  For more click here.  A long snake at 3+ ft. (90-120 cm), they move through shrubs to avoid predators and capture prey.

Striped Racer, Calif.

Striped Racer, Calif.


With speed as their best defense, the snake’s stripes affect the predator’s vision in a way that the attacker continues to see the snake for a second or so after the snake has already escaped.


A snake that can do illusion tricks and flies across hillsides — impressive.


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander



47 thoughts on “Striped Racer Snake

  1. We used to see racers in Nevada when I was a kid. Haven’t seen one in decades. We used to see rubber boas too, but they also seem to have disappeared. Last one I saw was in an Idaho pine forest. Even the rattlesnakes are getting scarce.

    • Racers and rattlesnakes are not rare where I live, and I have come to enjoy them both a lot. I used to be afraid of snakes, but having shared space with them for years now, I like them. I liked your comment, CS, appreciate it. 😀

    • Bill I think you have a secret love for black mambas — you think everything looks like a black mamba. Thanks, dear Bill, for bringing a smile to my face today. 😀 😀

  2. The question is – is their venom poisonous to humans? We only have one indigenous snake in the UK – the Adder…and so am always fascinated with the variety found in other countries. Thank you, Jet for another informative post. Janet:)

  3. Snakes aren’t popular nor favorite of most humans but they do help keep balance on the proliferation of certain rodents, vermin in general which tend to breed many times a year. Thanks for the post Jet! 🙂

  4. What a great description to go with the wonderful photos of the Striped Racer snake—I could picture the whole scene perfectly. I love snakes (from a distance) but I have only had the pleasure of seeing one in the wild a couple of times. Both times it was a garter snake and I was thrilled to see it. I’d love to have witnessed the scene you described so well. Thanks again for another interesting and informative post! :))

    • Dear Jeannie, thanks so much for your upbeat and enthusiastic comment. I am delighted you enjoyed reading about the racer today. I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead…. 😀

    • It’s funny you mention that, Sue, because when I googled it there were many other racers that sprang up ahead of the snake. So glad to hear from you Sue! I’ll check in to your site, see where you are in your adventure…. 😀

      • I’m so happy to learn you arrived safely back, Sue. yippee! So happy your adventure was a success, I’ve already enjoyed the photos and stories, and know there will be more too. 😀 😀

      • Jet there definitely are many more to come. We came home with a digital trunk load so to speak. Thank you for your generous feedback over the posts. Very much appreciated.

    • That’s right Inese–he’s in a shrub that’s about waist-high. They like the shrubs for safety from predators. Good eye! Many thanks for your numerous visits and wonderful comments. 😀

  5. I may have seen one on our recent trip at Hosmer Lake. Same markings, but a lot smaller and shorter (a baby perhaps?) It was in front of pile of rocks and then it disappeared in a flash. I kept looking at that pile of rocks but never saw it again. Lovely shots. I never managed to even think about grabbing the camera. Our zippy friend was gone far too fast.

    • I like your phrase “our zippy friend” because they sure are zippy! They like the rocks, so maybe that’s what it was. Great to have you visit Gunta — have a wonderful holiday weekend. 😀

    • It’s refreshing to hear from someone who’s fascinated in snakes, Andrea. They are fascinating creatures, with that jaw that unlocks so they can eat big morsels, and the seasonal shedding of the skin. In folklore they are a symbol of transformation, as you may already know. Very glad you enjoyed the post Andrea. 😀

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