Rattlesnake Collection

Bob Ashley in front of his
Chiricahua Desert Museum reptile exhibits

The main emphasis of the Chiricahua Desert Museum is upon Rattlesnakes, indeed it is often called the "rattlesnake museum". Included in its on-show and off-show areas are an impressive array of American and Mexican rattlesnakes (I counted 25 taxa*). Over a two day period I photographed representatives of all of these rattlesnakes, except the Mojave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutelatus) as I had already photographed two specimens caught outside the museum. In some cases representatives of morphologically different populations of the same subspecies were photographed.

There were also melanistic and albino forms of some species and again I set out to photograph all colour varieties, although I generally avoid non-natural "cultivars".

The rattlesnakes are represented below, each by full body and close-up images, and they have been separated into those species occurring in a) Arizona and New Mexico - the main emphasis of the collection; b) those species from elsewhere in the United States, and c) Mexican endemics.

A few colubrid snakes from the Southwestwere also photographed as time permitted.
unfortunately there was insufficient time to photograph any of the lizards, ie. Arboreal alligator lizard (Abronia graminea), Baja rock lizard (Petrosaurus thalassinus), Reticulated Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum suspectum) and Rio Fuerte beaded lizard (Heloderma horridums exasperatum). Next time.....

* A taxon (pl. taxa) is a biological unit ie. genus, species, subspecies. I use the term here to combine species and subspecies. I actually counted 18 species from two genera but 25 taxa when subspecies were included. This may or may not have been the full tally at the time of my visit but I am sure it will increase as the Museum obtains additional taxa to fill some of the gaps, especially in relation to the rattlesnakes of the American Southwest.


Some of the Chiricahua Desert Museum reptile exhibits



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