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This sly guy eluded biologists and naturalists for nearly 20 years.

Northern Mexican Gartersnake

Posted August 14, 2013. Photo by Doug Hotle/ABQ BioPark.

For two decades, scientists searched the Land of Enchantment for the northern Mexican gartersnake (Thamnophis eques megalops). Many thought the gartersnake was locally extinct. Then just this summer, BioPark herpetologists finally happened upon three individuals.

A male was brought back to Albuquerque’s zoo to show that these sneaky snakes are still present in the Gila wilderness. He has been joined by another male and two females, which are all part of a breeding and reintroduction program.

At first glance, it is easy to confuse northern Mexican garters with one of the seven other gartersnake species in the state. It takes a skilled eye to discern the slight differences.

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