Abundance and species richness of snakes along the Middle Rio Grande riparian forest in New Mexico

Heather Bateman, Alice Chung-MacCoubrey, Howard L. Snell, Deborah M. Finch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


To understand the effects of removal of non-native plants and fuels on wildlife in the riparian forest of the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico, we monitored snakes from 2000 to 2006 using trap arrays of drift fences, pitfalls, and funnel traps. We recorded 158 captures of 13 species of snakes from 12 study sites. We captured more snakes in funnel traps than in pitfalls. The most frequent captures were Common Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula), Gopher Snakes (Pituophis catenifer), Plains Black-headed Snakes (Tantilla nigriceps), and Plains Hog-nosed Snakes (Heterodon nasicus). We did not detect an effect of non-native plants and fuels removal on the rate of captures; however, we recommend using other trapping and survey techniques to monitor snakes to better determine the impact of plant removal on the snake community. Compared to historical records, we did not report any new species but we did not capture all snakes previously recorded. Black-necked Gartersnakes (Thamnophis cyrtopsis), which are closely tied to aquatic habitats, were not captured during our study; possibly indicating the loss of off-channel semi-aquatic habitats along the Middle Rio Grande.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalHerpetological Conservation and Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009


  • Exotic plants
  • Habitat
  • Non-native
  • Reptiles
  • Restoration
  • Rio Grande
  • Riparian forest
  • Snakes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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