First Adventures in Arizona!

Hi everyone!

Well, I have been in Arizona for a few days now and I feel like I am settling in. The weather has been a bit crazy with the tail end of a hurricane coming up from the south.

Upon arriving in Tucson on Saturday night (12 September) I was met by my friend Matt who took me out to one of his local spots to road cruise. For those of you who don’t know road cruising is a very effective way of finding reptiles and amphibians in certain parts of the world. By driving around slowly at night you can find all manner of species crossing the road or simply basking on it.

We headed off into the hills and very quickly found our first species, Couch’s spadefoot toad (Scaphiopus couchii) that was quickly followed by a Western banded gecko (Coleonyx variegatus). This is a close relative of the Yucatán banded gecko we find at Las Guacamayas during the Project Chicchan expeditions.

The excitement of these two species quickly escalated as we came across our first snake of the evening, a stunning tiger rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris)! By the end of the evening we had found all three species of rattlesnake found in this particular area of Arizona, having added black-tailed rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) and Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) to our list!

What a start to my time here!

A couple of days later we headed out to Tonto National Forest to conduct the first of two surveys for the endangered narrow-headed gartersnake (Thamnophis rufipunctatus). Unfortunately our trip was cut short due to a flood warning and seeing as we were working in a narrow canyon stream we decided it would be best to play it safe and leave early. We did still get one day or survey work in and found three wandering gartersnakes (Thamnophis elegans vagrans) and a beautiful Arizona mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana) also turned up crossing the road on our way back to camp.

Now I am back in Tucson waiting for the weather to pass, it rained heavily in the hills last night and now the sun is shining again. That should help drive the humidity up a notch and bring the snakes out after the last few days of relatively cold weather. Lets see what tonight brings!

– Cheers Rowland!

Published : 20th September 2014


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