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July 29, 2015 (Lakeside) – Who knew we had pink or red snakes in East County?

Sarka-Jonae Miller snapped this photo in Lakeside today near the Santee border, close to Riverford Road off State Route 67.  Our researcher team soon identified the reptile as a red racer snake, also known as a red coachwhip for its tail that appears braided like a whip.

Red racers are fast-moving snakes that are not poisonous and will sometimes eat other snakes. They do  not make good pets, however, as they can be aggressive and bite handlers, also emitting a foul odor or even playing dead to trick predators to leave it alone. 

They are fairly common in our desert areas and can climb trees or even cacti in search of its prey. 

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Nice photograph!

That's a great photo that Sarka-Jonae Miller snapped. The information about the snake presented in the article is very sound, but I wouldn't use the term 'aggressive' to describe a snake. They won't chase you down or pick a fight with you, because you're a LOT bigger than they are, aren't on their menu, and they don't want to volunteer themselves to be killed by you. Like all snakes, they are very easily frightened and will defend themselves passionately as any creature that doesn't want to die. But if you leave them alone, they'll be quite delighted to return the favor. As with all wild animals, they are best appreciated from a distance. Their presence is a good thing, and may help reduce the chances of you meeting a rattlesnake in the same area.