The Living Desert
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Snakes and Lizards

Snakes and  Lizards (including Geckos)

The Living Desert accepts native injured reptiles into our Wildlife Rehabilitation facility. As with all wildlife, our mission is to rehabilitate snakes and lizards for release back where they were found.
The Living Desert does not relocate snakes or lizards and does not advocate the removal of healthy animals from the wild.

The Living Desert does not accept pet snakes or lizards. If you are unsure whether you have found an injured native snake or lizard: consult a field guide, click here or call The Living Desert Wildlife Rehabilitation line at 760-568-2330​.

How to identify an injured snake or lizard
● Bleeding/broken bones
● Animal attack
● Severe limping (lizards)

*If a snake or lizard seems lethargic, or moves very slowly, it might just be cold. Reptiles are cold-blooded (ectothermic) and rely on their surroundings to regulate their body temperature. You may see snakes and lizards lying on warm pavement at dusk or early morning, to get warm. During the middle of hot days, they may be hiding in the shade or underground where it is cooler.

How to contain injured snakes and lizards
● Be gentle. They have small, delicate ribs.
● Do not hold a lizard/gecko by the tail. Their tails can break off easily.
● Line a box with paper towels or newspaper.
● Place the animal inside the box and keep it in a warm, quiet, dark place away from pets.
● Transport to an animal rehabilitator as soon as possible.

Snakes – Rattlesnakes
Reptiles are extremely sensitive animals. In this warm climate, they are most active in the early mornings and at dusk. If you live in the desert, it is important to understand how to safely live around snakes rather than trying to exterminate them. Snakes, especially rattlesnakes, are territorial. Re-locating a rattlesnake is extremely risky, will most likely lead to its death, and will open up its previous territory for a new rattlesnake to move in.

Taking wild animals out of the wild is illegal.
If you have a rattlesnake that has taken up residence on your property, it is a good idea to educate yourself and your family on what to do if you are bitten. Rattlesnakes in the Coachella Valley are not typically aggressive, but will defend themselves if provoked. If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone – and keep local rodent populations in check. If you want to discourage snakes from coming into your yard, remove any piles of wood, debris or other items where rodents can live and hide.

The Coachella Valley is rich in snake and lizard species; we are fortunate to live alongside these amazing desert inhabitants.
For more information on California snakes, how to deter them from making your property their home, and for instructions on what to do if bitten, click here.

Snake Identification:
Lizard identification:

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