|The mountain ranges of
southern Arizona, June 2022
|Crote 1: Started the trip off right with this
beautiful red speckled rattlesnake (Crotalus pyrrus)
found near Borrego Springs
||Truly a beautiful snake
|| Crote 2: Almost a guaranteed snake in the
deserts around Borrego, the Colorado desert sidewinder (Crotalus
||One of my favorite snakes to find near Borrego,
the Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed snake (Chionactis
||Banded geckos (Coleonyx variegatus) are
also a very common lizard found at night in southern
|Crote 3: we took a trail to find the Arizona
black rattlesnake (Crotalus cerberus), which Rob
spotted just before sunset
||The crew photographing the AZ black. It was very
difficult to capture the true beauty of this snake in
its natural habitat. So many subtle colors.
||This snake was pretty calm and posed nicely for
||Dustin pulled this Chihuahuan green toad (Anaxyrus
debilis) out of a well where it could not escape.
||Another species saved from the well, a juvenile
great plains toad (Anaxyrus cognatus).
|A strange beetle landed on Dustin's snake hook.
The eyespots were really cool.
||Some cool birds came to the bird feeder in the
back yard of the airbnb in Portal, including these
||A pair of Gambel's quail getting a drink
||A western earless lizard (Holbrookia maculata)
||One of the holy grail birds of the Chiricahuas,
the elegant trogon. This bird flew right into view.
Unfortunately, the sun had gone down, and this was the
best photo I got.
|Crote 4: This prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) was sitting in the road right in front of a border patrol agent.||The agent was a little concerned when he realized that we were photographing a rattlesnake. He moved up the road a bit.||We went up in elevation looking for twin-spots, but only found one of their favorite prey items, the Yarrow's spiny lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii)||Another cool animal up near the rocky talus was this red-faced warbler||Back at the airbnb, these male ornate tree lizards (Urosaurus ornatus) were doing battle.|
|One of the males had a royal blue chin, while the
other had a lime green chin.
||The darker male appeared to the aggressor.||Beautiful sunset at granite gap||We were encouraged by the sight of snake food, a kangaroo rat.||There was a light rain and shortly after, I
spotted this Sonoran coral snake (Micrurus
|What an amazingly beautiful snake! One we didn't expect to see.||It seemed so out of
place in the dry desert.
||Closeup of the coral snake. It was quite small and jittery, making it difficult to get a great shot.||The crew
photographing venomous snakes. L to R, Nipper Read, Eric
Burke, Dustin Grahn and Phil Wolf.
||Crote 5: Just as we found the coral snake, the guys came in on the walkies that they had found a western black-tailed rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)|
|What a gorgeous
||Crote 6: I almost
stepped on this living land-mine, a beautiful Granite
Gap western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox).
||A nice western banded
gecko was found in the yard of the airbnb.
||Crote 7: A nice
Mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) was
waiting for us at the driveway of the airbnb.
Crote 8: The next day found us in the Huachucas with a banded rock rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi).
|Let's play spot the klaub!||Another fun species
to find, the Slevin's bunchgrass lizard (Sceloporus
slevini) was found in the same habitat as the
||A very dark ornate
tree lizard displaying on his rock.
||A Sonoran spotted whiptail (Aspidoscelis sonorae) that was found alongside the Slevin's and tree lizards.||Rob found this friendly little western diamondback under a board in the back yard of the second airbnb.|
|A nice sunset in Saguaro National Park||Although we didn't see any herps in the SNP, we did see this nice tarantula||A nice canyon treefrog (Hyla arenicolor) was found near a number of his dead relatives in a box canyon.||Crote 9: We were all pretty happy to find this AZ ridge-nosed rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi)!||One of the most beautiful snakes in the Huachucas.|
|Dustin feeling dejected as he watched a klaub disappear under a rock before getting a photo.||A nice red alligator lizard (Elegaria kingii) found in the Huachucas.||Another of several
Klaubs found on this trip. This one was a gorgeous blue
||A very old and colorful Sonoran gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis). We gave this guy a drink in exchange for his photo.||Another awesome Klaub.|
|Rob spotted this tiny juvenile on the crawl. Cute little bugger.||A nice red-spotted toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) was active at dark in the mountains.||A heartbreaking find
was this beautiful yellow montane black-tail that had
just been lethally clipped by a car.
||A very nice Yarrow's spiny up in the mountains. Look at that blue tail!||Another lifer, the Chihuahuan black-headed snake (Tantilla wilcoxi). Dustin flipped this one. I can't believe it held still for photos.|
|What a motley crew! L to R, Dustin, Nipper, Eric, Rob, Phil, and Justin.||Brothers of the water jug, Nipper and Rob.||On the drive home, I
saw several Great Basin gopher snakes (Pituophis
catenifer deserticola) on the beaver dam slope.
||Was very happy to find this California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californea) in SW Utah. Finally a live one!||This DOR Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosus) would have been Crote 10 if it had been alive. Poor guy got hit after getting a good meal.|
|Second trip in September, 2022
|The trip began with the release of this tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) that needed relocation||A short hike yielded this greater earless lizard (Cophosaurus texanus), one of my favorites||Another juvenile
great plains toad
||The Chihuahuan green toads are so cool!||We found this checkered garter snake (Thamnophis marcianus) near some wetlands.|
|Another amphibian, a Mexican spadefoot (Spea multiplicata) was seen on the road||I was very happy to see this species! The Sonoran desert toad (Incilius alvarius), a colorful juvenile.||This was a typical
adult specimen of the Sonoran desert toad.
||A cool natural history event, a Couch's spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii) eating a tarantula. Didn't seem like he was doing so well.||This beautiful longnose snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) was a welcome find|
|A large katydid was found on the road.||This spider had dispatched a praying mantis. We saw two such events.||A beautiful sunrise
on the border of AZ and NM
||This alligator lizard was an unexpected find in the desert.||The crew photographing a big WDB. Chuck, Dustin and Steve.|
|A nice pink western diamondback||This hybrid mojave X prairie rattlesnake was hit just prior to our arrival. The area along the AZ/NM border is the area where these are found.||A nice striped
plateau lizard (Sceloporus virgatus) found at
high elevation in the Chiricahuas.
||Chuck heard this
twin-spot rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) that was
right below where Dustin was standing.
||Another lifer! What a cool snake. Shown here in typical habitat.|
|This small snake was pretty cooperative and posed nicely for photos.||Top view shows how these snakes get their name of twin-spot rattlesnake.||He retreated into a
crack, which made for a cool photo.
||How lucky can you get?! Another twin-spot! Steve spotted this one that was in shed and basking on a rock.||A vinegaroon. It gave Dustin a nice spray of vinegar. Crazy looking arachnids!|
|A very beautiful
Sonoran gopher snake was found while road cruising.
||This juvenile western
diamondback rattlesnake was the next snake observed on
black-tailed rattlesnakes are so beautiful!
||This snake was
observed just coming onto the side of the road. He was
pretty well behaved and posed nicely.
||Which one are you?
Another lifer, a hooded night snake (Hypsiglena sp.)
|This species hasn't
been formally described to science yet. Another cool
||Dustin found this
little Klaub under a log just after sunset.
rattlesnakes are such beautiful snakes!
||Look at that blue!
|A cool centipede
found under a rock. These are food items of the montane
||This juvenile eastern
patch-nosed snake (Salvadora grahamiae) was found
under AC close to where the klauberi was found.
||A fellow herper
alerted us to this AZ ridge-nosed rattlesnake. It was in
shed, but still very cool looking.
||Another banded rock
rattler found in a different canyon. Such a nice reduced
||Such a nice contrast
of blue on pink. Such cool buzztails!
|Steve spotted this
juvenile mountain short-horned lizard (Phrynosoma
photographing a klaub. Chuck, Dustin and Steve.
leopard frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis) was
rescued from a pit.
||Canyon treefrogs have
to be the toughest amphibians.
||Another lifer, an
elegant earless lizard (Holbrookia elegans).
|A very large and fast
centipede. Impressive insects!
grasshoppers, like this horse lubber, were seen on a
hike down one of the border canyons.
||A juvenile Clark's
spiny lizard (Sceloporus clarkii).
||A cool red-backed
jumping spider was found near its mate.
||Dustin spotted this
patch-nosed snake on the side of the road.
|A very nice looking
black-necked garter snake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis)
with an army green body and light blue head.
||Steve spotted this
lifer Yaqui black-headed snake (Tantila yaquia)
during a pitstop.
||A beautiful sunset on
the border of Mexico. The clouds were crazy!
||A slow night of road
cruising yielded this western diamondback.
||We hiked this
juvenile western banded gecko. Amazing how they can
survive in such a harsh environment.
|Dustin's (and our)
lifer green ratsnake (Senticolis triaspis)!
||This young green rat
was just developing his green coloration.
||It was great to see
this species in the wild! Not a bad way to end the trip!
Species List (43 total) over two trips:
Crotalus lepidus klauberi
Pituophis catenifer affinis
Pituophis catenifer deserticola