Herping Las Vegas area from June-December

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
ikeman0702
Posts: 4
Joined: April 22nd, 2013, 4:18 pm

Herping Las Vegas area from June-December

Post by ikeman0702 » April 15th, 2019, 10:14 am

I'm looking to go to Las Vegas to do some herping and was asking for a little help. Not sure exactly when I'll be going this year but I have some options on when I can go it's for 2 days and 3 nights it will either be early June, mid August, late November or early December. I was wondering which time I'd have the best luck finding some herps either road cruising or walking around. I'm a carpenter and the apprenticeship school let's everyone come visit all expenses paid. I figured I'd make it more exciting and do some herping. Thanks.

User avatar
Bryan Hamilton
Posts: 1217
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm

Re: Herping Las Vegas area from June-December

Post by Bryan Hamilton » April 15th, 2019, 11:01 am

That's a tough time for the Mojave desert. Things usually peak mid spring and the mojave desert doesn't get he beneficial growing season rains like the sonoran desert. If you head south to the sonoran desert, mid August can be really productive. Its usually too hot around vegas in august, even at night.

That said you can still road cruise in June. You can find lizards out basking in early mornings.

There might be a pulse of fall activity. My experience in the winter has been that nothing is moving or out.

You can try to use elevation to your advantage.

Have fun. Its a beautiful landscape and when you hit it right its magical for reptiles. The mojave desert is tough and I appreciate everything I find.

Jimi
Posts: 1844
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Herping Las Vegas area from June-December

Post by Jimi » April 15th, 2019, 4:27 pm

My answer would be a lot like Bryan's, "of your 4 options 2 are hopeless, 1 pretty much sucks unless you can stay up REAL late at night, and 1 isn't really that bad". Winter, August, and early June, respectively. August depends if there's clouds and humidity - if so, it isn't always awful. If it's hot and sunny - yuck.
You can try to use elevation to your advantage.
This is good advice. Heed it. If things have cooked out by then down at the river elevation, just go uphill until conditions are prime. Trust me, in early June this year, there are areas way up high that might not even be melted yet. But regardless, early June is usually nearing the end of prime time in the Mojave-Great Basin borderlands. Can be excellent, or meh.

I was just down around 3000' and it felt several weeks "late" relative to most years. In other words it felt more like late March than mid April. If the weather turns dry and hot all could change, but...I think you're gonna be OK in early June this year.

I'd recommend walking in the early AMs, take a midday break, then get back out cruising later in the afternoon until maybe 11PM. Try some of everything between river elevation and about about 5500'.

There's a friendly little Vegas crew that enjoys meeting people for some herping - especially if you offer to reciprocate some time.

good hunting!

ikeman0702
Posts: 4
Joined: April 22nd, 2013, 4:18 pm

Re: Herping Las Vegas area from June-December

Post by ikeman0702 » April 16th, 2019, 8:33 am

Thanks for the help you guys I'm going on the early June trip, it was setup today. I'm probably only able to look in the mid afternoon and and night so road cruising is what I was thinking about doing mostly and national parks etc. I didnt realize how soon the temps warm up down around death valley area. I've seen alot of people posting things in red rock canyon NCA. Would that be a good place to check out different elevations?

User avatar
Bryan Hamilton
Posts: 1217
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm

Re: Herping Las Vegas area from June-December

Post by Bryan Hamilton » April 16th, 2019, 8:41 am

Red Rocks is closed at night so not a great place for road cruising.

Jimi
Posts: 1844
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Herping Las Vegas area from June-December

Post by Jimi » April 16th, 2019, 12:59 pm

Would that be a good place to check out different elevations?
Either the mainstem Colorado or either of its nearby tributaries - the Virgin and the Muddy rivers- offer good opportunities, within 60 to 90 minutes of town, for low-elevation walking and cruising. They all also offer nearby mountain ranges that go up to 6000' at least. Some of those also offer some mid-elevation cruising opportunities if you like (to look for e.g., Panamint speckled, or Great Basin rattlesnakes). Definitely all offer mid-elevation walking opportunities.

For cruising I'd suggest that, at low elevations, paved or dirt is alright, but as you go higher, dirt is only good in daylight. After dark, go paved or pound sand.

Your best chances of getting into some animals would probably come from getting in touch with some locals who have it pretty wired. Every year is a little different. And, strange as it sounds, everyone seems to have a spot that is generally well-liked, but which they hate because they always strike out there. So don't be surprised to hear different reports about this road or that one. And even the places everyone thinks are generally pretty good, can still throw a strikeout now and then. Like Bryan said, "it's the Mojave, stupid!" Ha ha, OK he didn't say that, but those of us who know it all sort of feel that way. The Mojave gives, or doesn't, and you don't have much to say about it. You just have to give it your best shot, and take what you get - a 20-snake night, or skunked.

good hunting

Bob McKeever
Posts: 113
Joined: July 9th, 2010, 4:39 pm

Re: Herping Las Vegas area from June-December

Post by Bob McKeever » April 19th, 2019, 9:39 am

Bryan & Jimi offer good thoughts. Might be able to fine-tune things a little based on current circumstances at the time of your visit. Contact me via PM at that time.
Bob

Post Reply