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One-hundred twenty three (123) species of reptiles and amphibians have been reported from the State of New Mexico, 166 if subspecies are included (Degenhardt et al., 1996).  Not all of these species will be found on the alluvial plain of The Ranch; however, a large number of them have been reported from Eddy County.  Eddy County includes not only our Holocene alluvial plain but a diverse environment including lakes, streams, rivers, forest, and caverns.  Therefore, the reptiles and amphibians reported below for Eddy County may not be found at The Ranch yet many of them will be.  

The reptiles and amphibians listed below were reported in Degenhardt et al. as being found in Eddy County.  As folks at The Ranch report sightings, we will include appropriate information about the observer and any circumstances of interest.  

Please leave reptiles found at The Ranch alone and they will generally leave you alone.  There is a discussion of venomous snakes at the end of this Webpage that includes information on emergency treatment.  The five snakes found in Eddy County that are poisonous to humans are all rattlesnakes - IF A SNAKE FOUND NEAR THE RANCH DOES NOT HAVE A RATTLE, IT IS NOT POISONOUS.


ORDER CAUDATA - Salamanders

Family Ambystomatidae - Mole Salamanders

Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium - Barred Tiger Salamander

ORDER ANURA - Frogs and Toads

Family Pelobatidae - Spadefoots

Scaphiopus couchii - Couch's Spadefoot

Spea bombifrons - Plains Spadefoot

Spea multiplicata - New Mexico Spadefoot.  Lucy Billings first identified this Spadefoot on a Windmill Vista lot.  Judy & John McCain found quite a few of them under many of the lights in the park in an evening after a nice rain (June 2001).


Family Leptodactylidae - Tropical Frogs

Eleutherodactylus angusti latrans - Eastern Barking Frog

Family Bufonidae - Toads

Bufo cognatus - Great Plains Toad

Bufo debilis insidior - Western Green Toad.  A rain in mid-June 2001 brought out quite a few toads and frogs around The Ranch.  This Green Toad was found a few hours after dark over by the light at the north end of the Ranch House.  The green color and flattened body with a rather pointed nose make this toad relatively easy to spot.

Green Toad

Bufo punctatus - Red-Spotted Toad

Bufo speciosus - Texas Toad

Bufo woodhousii - Woodhouse's Toad.  This identification of Woodhouse's Toad is not certain.  

Woodhouse's Toad

Family Hylidae - Treefrogs

Acris crepitans - Northern Cricket Frog

Family Ranidae - True Frogs

Rana berlandieri - Rio Grande Leopard Frog

Rana blairi - Plains Leopard Frog

Rana catesbeiana - Bull Frog


Family Chelydridae - Snapping Turtles

Chelydra serpentina serpentina - Common Snapping Turtle

Family Emydidae - Box and Water Turtles

Chrysemys picta bellii - Western Painted Turtle

Pseudemys gorzugi - Western River Cooter

Terrapene ornata ornata - Ornate Box Turtle.  John & Judy McCain spotted an Ornate Box Turtle out in the storage area at the back of The Ranch.  Turns out that it was male based on the red knobs on his front legs and his red eyes.  The female has yellow knobs on her front legs and her eyes are more brown.  Several folks have reported finding a Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) around The Ranch; however, this species is not known to occur in New Mexico, rather it inhabits the Mojave and Colorado Deserts (Nevada & Arizona).  They probably observed the Ornate Box Turtle.


Trachemys scripta elegans - Red-Eared Slider

Family Kinosternidae - Mud Turtles

Kinosternon flavenscens flavenscens - Yellow Mud Turtle

Family Trionychidae - Softshell Turtles

Trionyx spiniferus - Spiny Softshell

ORDER SQUAMATA - Lizards and Snakes


Family Crotaphytidae - Collared and Leopard Lizards

Crotaphytus collaris - Collared Lizard

Gambelia wislizenii - Leopard Lizard

Family Phrynosomatidae - Zebratail, Earless, Spiny, Tree, Side-Blotched, and Horned Lizards

Cophosaurus texanus scitulus - Southwestern Earless Lizard

Holbrookia maculata - Earless Lizard

Phrynosoma cornutum - Texas Horned Lizard.  John & Judy McCain noted a horned "toad" on their lot in late May 2001.  This was exciting since the Texas Horned Lizard population has declined in Texas in recent years due to the widespread use of pesticides.  It is great to see them here in New Mexico.

Phrynosoma douglasii hernandesi - Mountain Short-Horned Lizard

Phrynosoma modestum - Roundtail Horned Lizard

Sceloporus arenicolus - Sand Dune Lizard

Sceloporus magister - Spiny Lizard

Sceloporus poinsetti poinsetti - Crevice Spiny Lizard

Sceloporus undulatus - Southern Prairie Lizard

Urosaurus ornatus - Tree Lizard

Uta stansburiana - Side-Blotched Lizard

Family Gekkonidae - Geckos

Coleonyx brevis - Texas Banded Gecko

Family Teiidae - Whiptails

Cnemidophorus exsanguis - Chihuahuan Spotted Whiptail

Cnemidophorus grahamii - Checkered Whiptail.  Lucy Billings spotted a Checkered Whiptail and got a good photo of him.  John & Judy McCain have been watching several of them on their lot including a really large specimen.  These are common Whiptails on The Ranch.

Cnemidophorus gularis gularis - Texas Spotted Whiptail

Cnemidophorus inornatus - Little Striped Whiptail

Cnemidophorus sexlineatus viridis - Prairie Lined Racerunner

Cnemidophorus tigris - Marbled Whiptail

Family Scincidae - Skinks

Eumeces multivarigatus epipleurotus - Variable Skink

Eumeces obsoletus - Great Plains Skink


Family Leptotyphlopidae - Blind Snakes

Leptotyphlops dulcis dissectus - New Mexico Blind Snake

Leptotyphlops humilis segregus - Trans-Pecos Blind Snake

Family Colubridae - Colubrids

Arizona elegans - Glossy Snake

Bogertophis subocularis subocularis - Trans-Pecos Rat Snake

Diadophis punctatus - Ringneck Snake

Elaphe gutta - Rat Snake

Gyalopion canum - Western Hooknose Snake

Heterodon nasicus - Western Hognose Snake.  The Eastern Hognose Snake, Heterodon platyrhinos, is commonly called the Puff Adder, a name that tends to confer a sinister quality to this harmless snake.  The Western Hognose has a similar behavior when confronted so it too has an undeserved reputation.  When first confronted, it may bluff by neck spreading, inflating its body, hissing, and striking but it will seldom actually bite.  If continued to feel threatened, it will curl up and feign death!  CT Hancox killed a Hognose he found hiding under some lumber on his lot at The Ranch in late May 2001.  

Hypsiglena torquata - Night Snake

Lampropeltis alterna - Gray-Banded Kingsnake

Lampropeltis getula splendida - Desert Kingsnake

Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana - Arizona Mountain Kingsnake

Lampropeltis triangulum celaenops - New Mexico Milk Snake

Masticophis flagellum - Coachwhip.  Cecy and Larry Neitz observed a Coachwhip in the grassy area near the horseshoe pits at The Ranch around the first of May 2001.


Masticophis taeniatus taniatus - Desert Striped Whipsnake

Nerodia erythrogaster transversa - Blotched Water Snake

Pituophis melanoleucus - Gopher Snake

Rhinocheilus lecontei - Longnose Snake.  Cecy Neitz observed the Longnose Snake on the access road from Hwy 31 to The Ranch around the first of May 2001.

Salvadora deserticola - Big Bend Patchnose Snake

Sonora semiannulata - Ground Snake

Tantilla hobartsmithi - Southwestern Black-Headed Snake

Tantilla nigricepts - Plains Black-Headed Snake

Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis - Western Blackneck Garter Snake

Thamnophis marcianus marcianus - Checkered Garter Snake

Thamnophis proximum diabolicus - Arid Land Ribbon Snake

Family Viperidae - Vipers


Crotalus atrox - Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.  Lou & Barb Novy killed a Diamondback Rattlesnake early in the Spring of 2001.  That was followed by Gene & Carol Wessman killing another on their lot in the middle of May.  Several dogs were bitten during the season in 2001.  The photo of John Williams holding a Diamondback Rattlesnake was taken in 1998 after it was killed on Lot 77.

Crotalus lepidus klauberi - Banded Rock Snake

Crotalus molossus molossus - Blacktail Rattlesnake

Crotalus viridis - Western Rattlesnake

Sistrurus catenatus edwardsii - Desert Massasauga


According to Dr. Sean P Bush, MD, FACEP (Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine) an average of 5.5 deaths per year occurs as a result of snakebite in the U.S., most of these after rattlesnake bites. Estimates range from 30,000 to 110,000 deaths occurring each year from snakebite worldwide. Up to five times as many suffer permanent morbidity.

Venomous snakes in New Mexico include the pit vipers (Family Viperidae) of  the genera Crotalus (Rattlesnakes) and Sistrurus (Massasauga) and also some members of the Family Colubridae, Rear Fanged Snakes.  

Pit vipers may be identified by a heat-sensing pit in front of and just below (anterio-inferior) the eye, elliptical pupils, a triangular-shaped head and undivided sub-caudal scales. New Mexico rattlesnakes may be identified by a rattle at the tip of the tail.  The venom of pit vipers is hemotoxic, affecting the blood, and the bite is generally not fatal to humans.  Symptoms appear quickly after a bite and include swelling, pain, chills, weakness, pulse and respiratroy irregularities, numbness, nausea, and ultimately bleeding and the sloughing of affected tissue.

According to Hare (1995), there are at least 10 species of snakes "in the desert Southwest that have enlarged rear teeth and some sort of venom-producing glands."   In Eddy County, these rear-fanged snakes include the Western Hognose Snake, the Night Snake, and the Southwestern Black Headed Snake.  The venom produced by these snakes is not sufficiently toxic to harm a human; however, a bite could produce an itch, redness, and swelling.

If you or your pet is bitten, take the victim to a hospital immediately.  Keep the victim calm, warm and comfortable.  Do not waste time applying a tourniquet or administering any other first aid, just get to a hospital as soon as possible.  Detailed treatment information is available from eMedicine.comIf your physician is not aware of the particular treatment for the poison of a species of snake, contact the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center at 1-800-432-6866.


Behler, J. L. and F. W. King.  1996.  National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians.  14th Printing. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York.

Degenhardt, W. G., C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price. 1996.  Amphibians & Reptiles of New Mexico.  Univ. New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  

Hare, T., 1995. Poisonous Dwellers of the Desert.  Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, Tuscon, Arizona.

Stebbins, R. C. 1985.  A Field Guide to the Western Reptiles and Amphibians.  The Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts.

Stoops, E. D. and A. Wright. 1997.  Snakes and other Reptiles of the Southwest. 3rd Edition. Golden West Publishers, Phoenix, Arizona.

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SKP Co-op Retreat of New Mexico, Inc.
P.O. Box 109
Lakewood, New Mexico 88254
Phone 575-457-2303 & FAX 575-457-2100
email: skpranch@pvtn.net