Field notes and photography by Bryan D. Hughes

Diamondbacks of Eddy County, New Mexico

In the 3 weeks I spent herping the areas around Carlsbad, New Mexico, I found a good amount of Western Diamondbacks, Crotalus atrox. It’s usually the same in Arizona … I expected a greater number of Prairie Rattlesnakes to show up, but I only saw one the whole time I was there (though I did see 6 of them dead on the road as I was leaving the state). The diamondbacks were interesting though, in being generally different than the Arizonan snakes I am used to. They tended to be longer, skinnier, and dark.

Here’s a big old boy I found one evening just before the sun went over the Guadalupe mountains.

Here’s another one from a few years back. What a beautiful snake …

My parents live in Carlsbad, so even though I didn’t find everything on my list, I know I eventually will.

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7 Responses to “Diamondbacks of Eddy County, New Mexico”

  1. Jill says:

    that first pic is pretty awesome. I love snakes and herps in general but I’m not as good as looking for them as I am with birds. Any tricks for snakes you wanna share? (or salamanders?). I saw a black-tailed (i think? ) in the Guadalupes recently. I’ll put a picture up in the next few days of that guy. I almost stepped on him, which was mildly unnerving. He was a looker, but not too big.

  2. Bryan says:

    Thanks, and I’d LOVE to see the black-tailed. That was my target this Spring in that range, and I am glad to have found one. Any pics you can share would be very appreciated … I’ll watch the blog for it.

  3. Crotalus says:

    Me again, from your other blog.

    If you go tramping around near Carlsbad, watch out for the beast called Horse Crippler!

    I have a story from there. My left ear doesn’t hear well; in fact, I can’t hear a rattlesnake’s rattle through it. I was out looking for the aforementioned Horse Crippler Cactus, when I heard that distinctive buzz, but I couldn’t zero in on it! I was scared at first, because I didn’t see it at my feet, but I couldn’t find it! Finally, I turned far enough to my left, and there was the diamondback about 15 feet away, doing his beast Colonel Gadsden flag. First time a rattler really had me going.

  4. Crotalus says:

    Er, “BEST Colonel Gadsden”.

  5. Crotalus says:

    Oh, yeah! I forgot! Is the milk snake easy to care for? And, I’m jealous, you lucky dog!

  6. Bryan says:

    Is the Horse Crippler that short, sharp agave-looking plant that glanced off my bone in my foot via boot and flesh last May?

  7. Bryan says:

    The milksnake is actually not easy to care for at all, mostly because of his temperament. It hasn’t eaten much during winter, but will again soon. It’s a MEAN little thing!

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