• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

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  • Visitor Center is closed

    The Visitor Center and bookstore will be closed for several weeks for construction. A temporary Visitor Center will be set up in the parking lot. The trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open during this period. No entrance fees will be collected.

Coachwhip

coachwhip snake hiding in a tree

Coachwhip

NPS Photo

Coachwhip
Masticophis flagellum

Body length: 36 - 102"
Diet: Small mammals, birds, lizards, snakes, and insects

Coachwhips are fast, day-active snakes. They are rarely encountered at Tonto National Monument, but are often seen at lower elevations, closer to Roosevelt Lake. They are one of Arizona's fastest snakes, officially clocked at 3.6 miles per hour (although they seem much faster).

An unusual feature of this snake is that it may be completely black, completely red, completely brown, or some combination of these three colors. In many areas there appears to be no rhyme or reason to this coloring, and black, brown, and red snakes may live side-by-side. Thus "black racers", "red racers" (as they are sometimes called), and coachwhips are really just different color types of the same snake.

Did You Know?

western diamondback rattlesnake

Tonto National Monument is home to at least 160 species of birds, 6 species of amphibians, 32 species of reptiles, 26 species of land mammals, and at least 14 species of bats. More...