Mother Nature is the artist. I just collect the memories…

Wounded Coachwhip

I got a call about 2 weeks ago.  A friend of mine caught a Red Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum piceus) in his backyard, and wanted to know if I could help it.  It had a small, but fairly deep skin injury.  Kind of looked like he got stuck on a thorn, and it ripped him open, and pushed the skin up underneath itself.  So I brought this thing home to see if I could help.  He ate a live hopper mouse straight away, so the first hurdle was past…getting him to eat.

I pulled the flapper out using tweezers, and tried to let it heal back down in place, but it didn’t work.  After 3 days, it was dry, and curling back underneath, so I moistened it with some betadine, straightened out the flapper, and cut it off. 

This morning, he ate a frozen and then thawed hopper mouse, which is a fantastic sign of recuperation and adapting to captivity, and the wound is showing signs of healing.

You can see the wound site there below the markings on his neck...

Closeup of the wound

You can see in the closeup that the remaining healthy skin has started to heal and form scarring where it has re-attached to the underlying flesh.  You can also see signs of scale definition beginning to re-develope in the flesh, itself.  Luckily, it wasn’t an injury that was deep enough to cause muscle damage, and while it will be a decent scar…he should have a complete recovery, and make a fantastic addition to the collection.  It is, afterall, illegal to release them from captivity once they have been captured…

Thanks for taking the time to look!

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4 responses

  1. Poor little guy–glad he’s on the mend. Will he always have the scar, or will it disappear the next time (or subsequent few times) he sheds?

    August 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    • Tough to say. He will likely be scarred for most of the rest of his life, but it probably will get smaller and smaller, and may eventually disappear altogether.

      August 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm

  2. Jay

    Congrats on saving the little bugger. Masticophis are an awesome species to work with. they have an alertness and overall awareness quality that many herps do not.

    Thats a very deep wound in relation to body size, it looks clean though and with him feeding so eagerly oe would think it will heal and he will make it. How is he doing now?

    August 10, 2010 at 11:18 am

    • He is doing well. I haven’t gotten any updated pictures yet as I have simply been too busy. But he does seem to be recovering well, and is going into his first opaque cycle in captivity.

      August 12, 2010 at 7:53 am

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