Protect Rattlesnakes from Senseless Killings

Target: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Daniel Ashe Goal: List the desert massasauga rattlesnake as an endangered species so that its population may be protected The desert massasauga rattlesnake is a distinctive creature found in the grasslands of…  Source:

GR:  Rattlesnakes of the western U. S. tend to be shy, non-aggressive regulators of small mammal populations.  Like gophersnakes that kill by squeezing, rattlesnakes are part of the complex equation that produces a balanced ecosystem.  Removing them might disrupt the balance and lead to other losses.  This petition will remind the Director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service that people are paying attention.

The Sacred Snake

Today is world snake day: maybe you should run out and do something nice for our scaly limbless friends (though don’t hug them—they don’t like that)! Sadly though, many people do not appreciate sna…



GR:  Interesting article.

Keep Large Constrictor Snakes Out of the Pet Trade

In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed listing nine large constrictor snakes as injurious under the Lacey Act, which would significantly reduce the trade of these species as pets. However, in January 2012, only four of the nine species were listed. USFWS is still considering the remaining five species of snakes for listing and is soliciting public comments on the matter.

Large constrictor snakes have become established in parts of Florida and are consuming native wildlife, including endangered and threatened species. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that all nine species of these large constrictor snakes present a “high” or “medium” risk of becoming invasive.


GR:  Express yourself.  Sign the Humane Society’s petition.

Learn about Arizona snakes.

Arizona Wildlife Notebook Second Edition

Arizona Wildlife Notebook Introduction

Base Layer for Notebook Cover

Base Layer for Notebook Cover

The second edition of my “Arizona Wildlife Notebook” will be off to the printer (CreateSpace) as soon as I finish the cover.  This edition has introductions and checklists for 12 groups of Arizona animal species:  Amphibians, ants, bats, birds, butterflies and moths, dragonflies and damselflies, fish, grasshoppers, lizards, mammals, snakes, and turtles.  Groups in bold type are new to the Notebook.  The introduction to each group covers the group’s conservation issues and provides references for printed and online field guides.  The checklist for each group includes scientific and common names and conservation status.  I alphabetized each checklist by scientific name, and I included an index for all the common names. Continue reading

New Arizona Wildlife Notebook

Arizona Wildlife Notebook, Second edition

Arizona Wildlife Notebook CoverI have completed the second edition of the Arizona Wildlife Notebook!  The new Notebook has four more species groups than the first edition, and it has an expanded index.  The most important change is in the conservation status for each species.  This time, I standardized the information so that future changes will be easier to track. Continue reading

Arizona Snakes–Checklist and Conservation Status

By Garry Rogers

Arizona Snake Conservation



Snakes form an important element in the flow of energy through Earth’s web of life.  Normally, they help control rodent and amphibian populations while serving as food for larger carnivores.  Things aren’t normal anymore.  Rodent, snake, and carnivore populations are declining and becoming separated by the assault from human activities ranging from habitat destruction for roads and buildings, to direct predation by domestic cats and dogs.  Thus, human activities are severing local and global connections within the web.   The total effect is difficult to predict. Continue reading

Wildlife Rescue in Arizona

Wildlife Rescue in Arizona

Great Horned Owl chicks

Great Horned Owl chicks

“Baby animals you see are probably not orphans; parents are usually nearby.”

Wildlife Rescue in Arizona is licensed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  Visit the AZGFD website for a list with contact information and taxa treated.  A second list includes other animal charities in Arizona.  Find more information from local veterinarians and animal control departments of local governments.

These organizations provide additional information:

Arizona Wildlife Notebook, Volume I: The Vertebrates

Wildlife Notebook: The Vertebrates

Arizona Wildlife Notebook, Volume I: The Vertebrates

This notebook has complete checklists for the amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, lizards, snakes, and turtles that live in Arizona. A brief introduction to each checklist provides references to field guides and notes on conservation. Symbols in the lists show the conservation status of all Arizona species as of July 1, 2012.

Continue reading

Rattlesnake Species Conservation in Arizona

Rattlesnake Species in Arizona

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), lists 13 rattlesnake species on its website (  Some species include two or three subspecies.  Subspecies are separate populations that are often only slightly different from the other populations of the species.  Including the accepted subspecies listed on the AZGFD website, there are 19 kinds of rattlesnakes in the state.  Eighteen of them belong to the genus Crotalus.  Desert Massasauga, belongs to the genus Sistrurus.

The photograph shows a Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli pyrrhus).  It is from the Arizona Herpetological Association website at:

Counting species is tricky, because not everyone uses the same names.  The scientific names, the genus, species, and subspecies are ‘Latinized’ terms that are the same everywhere.  Common names are much more variable.  For example, AZGFD lists Crotalus viridis viridis as the Green Prairie Rattlesnake, but the Arizona Herpetological Association lists the same species as the Prairie Rattlesnake.  The AFOSA wildlife blog provides more information on species names.

Rattlesnake Conservation

Humans are affecting all of Arizona’s rattlesnakes.  It is in this regard that subspecies are particularly important.  The habitat of one subspecies may be more heavily damaged than the habitat of another subspecies.  Thus, it is not helpful to list an entire species as needing protection when only one subspecies is in jeopardy.  AZGFD lists six rattlesnake species and subspecies as the most affected by human impacts.  They are the Arizona Ridge-Nose, Desert Massasauga, Green Prairie, Hopi, New Mexico Ridge-nose, and the Western Twin-spotted.

In 2011 the Center for Snake Conservation (CSC) began holding snake counts.  Volunteers conduct two types of counts, by automobile and on foot.  Everyone can take part.  The CSC provides instructions, tool kits, and manages the counts.  Learn more and sign up for the fall or spring count at the CSC website.

AZGFD maps show seven species and subspecies of rattlesnakes might occur in the Agua Fria River Basin.  They are the Arizona Black, Black-tailed, Mojave, Sidewinder, Southwestern Speckled, Tiger, and Western Diamondback.  The Western Diamondback is the most dangerous.  It is the largest, and will stand its ground and defend itself when threatened.  The AFOSA wildlife blog provides a checklist of all of Arizona’s snakes.