ANIMAS RIDGE-NOSED RATTLESNAKE
Crotalus willardi – Meek 1905
Crotalus willardi obscurus – Harris 1974
In Mexico, this rattlesnake is found only in the Sierra San Luis of Sonora and Chihuahua; it also occurs in the United States in the Animas and Peloncillo Mountains.
I am extremely fortunate to have seen this snake once, in the Peloncillo Mountains of Hidalgo County, New Mexico. In August, 2005 two friends and I made a spur of the moment trip to this range on the slight chance we would see an obscurus, and obviously it worked out well for us! It took us a mere 45 minutes of poking around to locate this beautiful adult snake. Other species found the same day in this area were Sceloporus virgatus, Urosaurus ornatus, Trimorphodon biscutatus lambda, and Crotalus molossus molossus.
In the United States, this snake is strictly protected on a federal level. Populations in both the United States and Mexico are stable, and it appears that there is no immediate concern as to the existance of this snake in the wild. It’s limited geographic distribution and supposed threat of rampant collection are the reasons for obscurus to be protected in the U.S.
Campbell, J. A. and W. W. Lamar. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, New York, 870 pp.