There are three subspecies of masticophis taeniatus found in the range of this work. Two are only marginal to this area.
They move fast. They are diurnal. They like it hot. They are usually seen whipping across the road, but I have also found them in bushes and small trees.
They will bite when captured.
The ones that I have seen eating in the wild have been eating lizards. They will also eat rodents, and, probably, small snakes and birds.
CENTRAL TEXAS WHIPSNAKE
Masticophis taeniatus girardi
The central Texas whipsnake is found in all the counties covered by this work.
These snakes are usually seen crossing the roads during the heat of the day. Rarely are they seen at night. I do, however, occasionally find them in crevices at night.
They are a handsome thin, long dark snake. Their color is almost black, with coppery color coming up the sides from the ventral surface. In some specimens, the coppery or mahogany color predominates.
The following pictures are from a specimen found by AndrewG off Hwy. 277, NE Val Verde County.
The body is dark, appearing almost black on most specimens, but with beautiful copper-colored bands along the body. The underside of the tail is reddish.
DESERT STRIPED WHIPSNAKE
Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus
The desert striped whipsnake is found only in the far wstern part of the state in a thin band below the New Mexico border.
Masticophis taeniatus schotti
The Schott's whipsnake is found in the southern portion of the state and barely ranges into Val Verde County.