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Reptiles and Amphibians Checklists of the United States

Amphibians and Reptiles of the Yuma Field Office

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Yuma, Arizona

BLM Arizona Yuma Field Office

The Yuma Field Office encompasses 1.6 million acres of public land in Arizona and California. Habitats vary from aquatic river, lake, and marsh environments to terrestrial uplands with broad sandy plains, rocky foothills, and desert mountains. Vegetation ranges from wetland and riparian species such as cattail, willow, and cottonwood, to desert plants like creosotebush, palo verde, and saguaro cactus.

Spadefoot toads, desert iguanas, rosy boas, and many more species find food, water, cover, and room to roam on your public lands. Among their many uses; these lands serve as a habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species. This list of 58 amphibians and reptiles found within the boundary of Yuma Field Office has been prepared to help you better appreciate, and more fully experience, our desert wildlife.

Please be alert and sensitive to the disturbance your presence may cause some species. Enjoy wildlife from a distance. For information concerning State or Federal laws pertaining to wildlife, please contact your nearest representative of the Arizona Game and Fish Department or California Department of Fish and Game.

If you observe an animal that is not listed here, we would appreciate being informed. Please send your comments to:

Bureau of Land Management
Yuma Field Office
2555 East Gila Ridge Road
Yuma, AZ 85365


An abundance code follows each species name. These are general and should be used only as a guide.

A - Abundant - Present in large numbers in suitable habitat
C - Common - Usually seen in suitable habitat
LC - Locally Common - Inhabits fairly restricted areas; usually seen in these areas
U - Uncommon - Present, but not often seen
R - Rare - Seen very infrequently



Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) R
Although its status is uncertain, this species has been found near Yuma.

Frogs and Toads

Couch Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchi) LC
Mainly found near Yuma. Occupies a wide variety of habitats and breeds in temporary pools or irrigation ditches.
Southern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus multiplicatus) U
Inhabits lowland areas in the eastern part of the field office, breeding in quiet streams and temporary pools.
Sonoran Desert Toad (Bufo alvarius) C
Formerly called the Colorado River toad, this species no longer occurs along the river. The largest western toad, it is usually found near permanent water.
Woodhouse Toad (Bufo woodhousii) A
Prefers sandy areas near permanent water and is often found near agricultural fields. A widespread species that breeds in standing water.
Red-spotted Toad (Bufo punctatus) LC
Prefers desert waterholes or pools of intermittent streams in rocky canyons and washes.
Great Plains Toad (Bufo cognatus) LC
Found in desert areas throughout the Field Office boundaries. Its loud and long choruses re common for several nights after heavy rains.
Pacific Treefrog (Hyla regilla) LC
Occurs in the Colorado River Valley, usually in low plant growth near water.
Lowland Leopard Frog (Rana yavapaiensis) R
The native leopard frog in this area. This species has become very rare because of predation from non-native sportfish and introduced bullfrogs, and competition from the Rio Grande leopard frog.
Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Rana berlandieri) C
This introduced frog occurs along the Gila River in areas of permanent water vegetated with cattails or other plants. It may travel some distance from water.
Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) A
First introduced for food, the bullfrog is always near permanent water. It is a voracious predator on invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, small birds, and mammals, and may be a factor in the decline of many sensitive species.



Sonoran Mud Turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense) R
Almost always found in or adjacent to water.
Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) U
A completely terrestrial desert dweller and a vegetarian. Most active in spring and late summer.
Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera) C
An introduced species found in the Colorado and Gila Rivers and irrigation canals.


Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) C
Ranges from barren dunes and creosotebush flats to rugged mountainsides. Active at night.
Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) LC
An introduced species, this gecko is found in or near homes in the Yuma area.
Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis) C
Commonly found on creosotebush flats. More tolerant of high temperatures than other lizards, this species moves about after others have sought shelter from the sun.
Common Chuckwalla (Sauromalus obesus) LC
Primarily a rock-dwelling lizard that can grow to over 16 inches long.
Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) C
Inhabits desert pavement or other areas with little vegetation.
Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma notata) LC
Restricted to fine windblown sands of dunes, flats, and washes with little vegetation.
Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma scoparia) LC
Similar in habits and habitat to the Colorado Desert fringe-toed lizard; this species is found in the La Posa and East Cactus Plain dune fields north of Quartzsite, Arizona.
Common Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) LC
Found south and east of Yuma
Desert Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus insularis) U
Prefers rocky canyons, washes, and slopes with sparse vegetation and occurs throughout most of the field office. Often seen basking on large boulders.
Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) U
A fast runner that avoids areas of dense brush.
Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister) C
Found in a variety of habitats, from creosotebush to cottonwood, willow, or mesquite thickets along the Colorado River.
Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana) A
This widespread species occurs in all four North American deserts. It occupies a variety of habitats and is active throughout the year.
Long-tailed Brush Lizard (Urosaurus graciosus) A
Found in desert areas of loose sand with scattered shrubs or trees.
Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus) A
Commonly found in urban areas on fences and walls. Its natural habitats include trees and rocks, especially in riparian areas.
Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos) C
The "horny toad" is often associated with creosotebush, saltbush, and cactus along washes and edges of sand dunes.
Flat-tailed Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma mcallii) U
Occurs west of the Gila Mountains and south of Yuma. This species is generally limited to areas of windblown sand with sparse vegetation.
Regal Horned Lizard (Phyrnosoma solare) U
The largest of the horned lizards. Usually found on rocky and gravelly plains, hills, or slopes in the eastern portion of the field office.
Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis) LC
This secretive lizard can be found in rock crevices or under fallen branches.
Western Whiptail (Cnemidophorus tigris) A
An active, diurnal lizard that prefers open level areas with sparse vegetation where it can run at high speed.
Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum) R
Rarely seen, the Gila monster is a venomous lizard that inhabits lower mountain slopes and plains. It is very secretive, spending most of its time undergound or in rocky crevices.


Western Blind Snake (Leptotyphlops humilis) U
Sometimes called "worm snake" because of its burrowing habit.
Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata) U
This snake does not require permanent water, but is attracted to streams and desert waterholes. It is primarily nocturnal.
Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus) R
This species may occur in the Kofa Mountains. It is seldom found in the open.
Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus) C
A nocturnal and secretive species, this snake prefers sandy or gravelly creosotebush plains.
Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum) C
The coachwhip, or red racer, uses a variety of habitats but generally avoids dense vegetation. More tolerant than other snakes of dry, hot conditions, it may be active even during the heat of the day.
Striped Whipsnake (Masticophis bilineatus) U
This species reaches the limit of its range near the Kofa Mountains.
Sonoran Whipsnake (Masticophis bilineatus) U
May be found in the Kofa Mountains. It forages on the ground or climbs shrubs or trees after prey.
Western Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora hexalepis) C
Active primarily during daylight hours. It occurs from desert plains to lower mountain slopes.
Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans) A
This constrictor occurs in a variety of habitats, generally preferring open areas. It is an excellent burrower and is mainly active at night.
Gopher Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus) C
A good burrower and clumber, this snake is active during the day, except during the hottest weather.
Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula) C
Occupies a wide variety of habitats and feeds on a variety of prey, including rattlesnakes. It becomes nocturnal during hot weather.
Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) A
A good burrower, this snake spends the daylight hours underground.
Checkered Garter Snake (Thamnophis marcianus) LC
Occurs in riparian areas and irrigated lands.
Ground Snake (Sonora semiannulata) LC
A small, secretive, nocturnal snake. It inhabits rocky hillsides or sandy areas near thickets of mesquite, arrowweed, and willows.
Western Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis occipitalis) A
Living in areas with loose soils like sand dunes or washes, this snake can "swim" rapidly through the sand. Active during the day in spring and crepuscular to nocturnal during warmer months.
Banded Sand Snake (Chilomeniscus cinctus) U
Another "sand swimmer" this snake seldom emerges on the surface except at night. Found in sandy open desert and washes in rocky uplands south and east of Yuma.
Lyre Snake (Trimorphodon biscutatus) U
A venomous, rear-fanged snake, this species is not dangerous to people. It is nocturnal and occurs in rocky canyons or hillsides.
Night Snake (Hypsiglena torquata) C
Another mildly venomous snake, harmless to humans, this species is nocturnal and can be found in many habitat types.
Western Coral Snake (Micruroides euryxanthus) U
A secretive species generally not inclined to bite, this species' venom is very dangerous and can cause respiratory paralysis.
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) C
The largest western rattlesnake, this snake can be found almost anywhere, but is often seen in dense riparian growth. If not provoked or frightened, it is usually not aggressive, and may nit rattle if approached quietly.
Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli) U
Prefers rocky mountainous areas where it blends in well with the background. An alert and nervous snake, it will often hold its ground if cornered.
Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes) LC
Prefers areas with fine windblown sand, especially hummocky areas with creosotebush. Named for its characteristic sideways movement.
Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) U
Inhabits mountainous areas with rockslides, cliffs, and outcrops, and avoids the barren desert. Active both day and night and usually not aggressive, its activity increases after summer rains.
Mojave Rattlesnake (Cratalus scutulatus) C
An excitable rattlesnake with the most potent venom of all Arizona Rattlesnakes. This species is found in a variety of habitats, but is most common in areas with scattered shrubs or trees and is usually not found in dense vegetation or rocks.

This resource is based on the following source:
Bureau of Land Management.  No date.  Amphibians and Reptiles of the Yuma
     Field Office Arizona. Bureau of Land Management.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
Bureau of Land Management.  No date.  Amphibians and Reptiles of the Yuma
     Field Office Arizona. Bureau of Land Management.  Unpaginated.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     (Version 30DEC2002).

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