• Photo of the steep natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns

    Carlsbad Caverns

    National Park New Mexico

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  • Scenic Loop Road Closed

    The 9-mile scenic Loop Road (Desert Drive) is closed due to flood damage. The road will reopen as soon as repairs are done. This scenic road does not affect access to the visitor center or the cave.

  • All Camping & Backcountry Caving Suspended Until Further Notice

    All camping and backcountry/recreational caving in the park has been suspended until further notice due to flood damage on backcountry roads and trails.

Reptiles

Texas banded gecko (Coleonyx brevis) is the only species of gecko in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Texas Banded Gecko (Coleonyx brevis) is the only species of gecko in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
NPS Photo
 

Among the 46 species of reptiles in the park are the Gray-banded Kingsnake, an endangered species in New Mexico, and two state-threatened species: the Rio Grande Cooter (a turtle) and the Mottled Rock Rattlesnake. Though rare in the state, the Mottled Rock Rattlesnake is the most common snake seen in the park.

Rattlesnakes are far less common in the park than lizards. Most often seen are the several species of Whiptail Lizards, Spiny Lizards, and Horned Lizards. There are also two species of skinks and one gecko. Among the non-venomous snakes are the Chihuahuan Hook-nosed Snake, Trans-Pecos Ratsnake, and Mountain Patch-nosed Snake.

The park also provides habitat for four species of turtles, one of which-the Ornate Box Turtle-is not aquatic.

Herpetofauna Checklist [347k PDF]

Did You Know?

The natural entrance of Carlsbad Cavern.

In 2003, a park employee found a piece of a stone scraper within view of Carlsbad Cavern's entrance that goes back to Ice Age Indian hunters. In 2004, archeologists found fragments of two spear points of the Midland-style Paleo Indian projectile points of some 10,000 years ago.