Southwestern Center for Herpetological Research - Conservation - Preservation - Education - Public Information - Research - Field Studies - Captive Propagation - Advancing knowledge and understanding of the herpetofauna of the American Southwest


Unlike some states, Arizona does not classify protected species as being either threatened or endangered.  Instead, those species that the Arizona Game and Fish Commission have determined to be in need of protection are simply classified as having No Open Season by an Arizona Game and Fish Commission administrative order.

Arizona currently classifies 8 amphibians, 8 snakes, 2 lizards, and 2 turtles as having No Open Season.  In addition, 4 taxa including 2 amphibians, 1 snake, and 1 turtle are classified as being endangered or threatened and are provided additional protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) (1973).

Arizona Game and Fish Commission regulations prohibit the taking of any species classified as having No Open Season without the issuance of a scientific collecting permit issued by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.  Amphibian and reptile species that are not classified as having No Open Season and that are not classified as either Threatened or Endangered by the ESA may be taken subject to Arizona Game and Fish Commission regulations.

Many species have bag and/or possession limits. Certain areas of the state may be closed to the taking of some species. You must have in possession a valid Arizona hunting or combination hunting and fishing license for the take of reptiles other than soft-shelled turtles. A valid Arizona fishing or combination license is required for the take of amphibians and soft-shelled turtles. It is also important to note that Arizona does not list sub-species and that their listing may not reflect current taxonomic standings. For a more comprehensive explanation of the laws, rules, and Commission orders visit Arizona Reptile and Amphibian Regulations 2009-2010, and Arizona Revised Statutes Title 17.

The species listed below are those that have No Open Season in Arizona or that have been classified as Threatened or Endangered under the ESA:


Plains Leopard Frog (Rana blairi) - No Open Season

Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) - No Open Season

Relict Leopard Frog (Rana onca) - No Open Season

Lowland Leopard Frog (Rana yavapaiensis) - No Open Season

Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Rana chiricahuensis) - No Open Season.  Classified as Threatened under the ESA.

Ramsey Canyon Leopard Frog (Rana subaquavocalis) - No Open Season.  (No longer recognized as a valid species but
                                                                                        rather as a synonym of R. chiricahuensis)

Tarahumara Frog (Rana tarahumarae) - No Open Season

Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) - No Open Season (ONLY in eastern Santa Cruz & southwestern Cochise
                                                                    Counties.) The subspecies A. t. stebbinsi is classified as Endangered under
                                                                    the ESA.


Sonoran Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis palarostris) - No Open Season

Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum) - No Open Season (ONLY in Cochise County)

Mexican Garter Snake (Thamnophis eques) - No Open Season, ESA Status Pending

Narrow-headed Garter Snake (Thamnophis rufipunctatus) - No Open Season

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) - No Open Season

Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus) - No Open Season

Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi) - No Open Season. The subspecies C. w. obscurus is also classified as
                                                                       Threatened under the ESA.

Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) - No Open Season


Flat-tailed Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma mcallii) - No Open Season

Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum) - No Open Season


Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata) - No Open Season

Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) - No Open Season. The Mojave population located north of the Colorado River is
                                                            also classified as Threatened under the ESA.

| Home | The American Southwest Defined | Snakes of the American Southwest | Lizards of the American Southwest |
| Turtles of the American Southwest | Crocodilians of the American Southwest | Amphibians of the American Southwest |
| SWCHR Discussion Forums | Join SWCHR Today | Photo of the Month Awards |
| Awards for Photographic Excellence | Herpetological Papers & Articles | Protected Species | Herpetological Dictionary |
| Southwestern U.S. Regional Weather | Herpetological Bookstore | Southwestern Herp Events |
| SWCHR News & Announcements | A Call & Papers and Photos | Credits & Acknowledgements |
| Gerald Keown - A Brief Biography | Herpetological Links | Webmasters - Link to SWCHR | Contact Us |

Advancing knowledge and understanding of the herpetofauna of the American Southwest

© 2007 - 2010 Southwestern Center for Herpetological Research

Powered by
All photographic images and articles used on this site are used with permission of the respective photographer or author and are protected by copyright. Unauthorized use is prohibited without written consent of the individual photographer or author.