Sonoran whipsnake. (Advocates for Snake Preservation)

How can we benefit from having a snake in our neighborhood or backyard? What can we do to make it safer to have venomous snakes near our homes? These are some of the questions that the Advocates for Snake Preservation (ASP) are trying to help members of the public answer with the support of the Share with Wildlife program. They have developed a suite of online resources useful to New Mexicans who have snakes as neighbors.

There are over 50 species of snakes found in New Mexico, only 10 of which are venomous. Snakes provide important ecosystem services, including preying on other animals that can carry diseases that impact humans and their pets, including plague and lyme disease. They also prey on animals that may cause damage to your home or car (i.e., small mammals). Seven of the snakes found in New Mexico are listed as threatened or endangered by the state or federal government, meaning that these snakes are given extra protections by state and/or federal laws. ASP is trying to help New Mexicans better understand the snakes that they may encounter near their home, on a hiking trail, at local parks, or other places.

In 2022, ASP developed a video to accompany their brochure, entitled the Snake Country Survival Guide, which provides information about the downsides of killing or moving snakes and suggestions for ways to make yards less attractive to snakes and what to do if you come across a venomous snake. The video has some great images of snakes and fleshes out the content of the brochure.

In 2022, ASP also worked to expand the content on their website to include a species list relevant to snakes beyond southwestern New Mexico. As part of their online video series, Snakes Are Everything, ASP released Snakes are Survivors in March, 2022, which overviews what happens when snakes are translocated, including how to improve outcomes for “nuisance” snakes. ASP’s website contains detailed information about snakes found in southwestern New Mexico, especially Grant County where they are located. ASP also provides presentations virtually and in-person and attends festivals and other events to share information about living with snakes. Their staff will also happily help you to identify a snake or visit your property (if you live in southwestern New Mexico) to help evaluate what could be done to minimize the potential for conflicts with snakes or even how to make your land more wildlife-friendly and attractive to non-venomous snakes.

Snakes of New Mexico Field Guide. (Advocates for Snake Preservation)

Snake rescue work. (Advocates for Snake Preservation)

Advocates for Snake Preservation’s logo.