Snake whips (Snakewhips) are a type of single-tailed whip. The name snake whip is derived from the fact that this type of whip has no handle inside and so can be curled up into a small circle which resembles a coiled snake. They were once commonly carried in the saddlebag by cowboys of the old west.
Snake whips are dynamically similar to bullwhips and are used in much the same way, the most obvious difference being the lack of any stiffening in the handle. Instead, the whip is loaded with lead shot in the butt end of the thong, how much depending on the type and size of the whip. The effect is equivalent to that of a much thicker bullwhip but with full flexibility - ideal if compact dimensions are required. Snake whips crack louder and hit harder than bullwhips but are less mobile and not so good for multiple cracking routines.
Like a bullwhip, a snake whip has a removable cracker.
There is concern within the SM community about blood-borne diseases like Hep. C and HIV. Concerns have been raised as to whether or not they can be transmitted by a whip. Consequently some people prefer a whip with a removable cracker (such as the snake whip). While small snake whips can be used for SM play, the additional length resulting from the cracker makes it much more difficult to use indoors. It is possible to get very short snake whips (3 foot/1m) but the very short length makes the whip much more difficult to control accurately.