Nevada Bans Commercial Reptile Collecting!

The Great Basin collared lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores) is one of the many desert species now protected by the ban.

Good news for reptile lovers! Following up on last week’s post regarding the same issue, we’re very pleased to share that Nevada has permanently banned commercial reptile collection.

The Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners ruled in a 6-1 decision to overturn the state’s unlimited reptile collection policy, which many herpetologists (amphibian & reptile biologists) felt was threatening native reptile populations. Nearly half a million specimens had been collected for commercial sale in the past 30 years.

Western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) can be found almost anywhere in Nevada!

The ruling is a wonderful benefit towards the conservation of the unique species of Nevada’s Great Basin and Mojave desert ecosystems. Biologists and ecologists were unsure of the impact decades of continued unlimited take would have on various reptile species’ distribution and age structure, but feared it could have negative effects. Age structure, the distribution of individuals at different ages in a population, is important for population health because a certain number of younger individuals must live on in the wild to replace aging ones, and a quota of available breeding individuals must be met to maintain to the population.

Now our little scaly friends will be given the chance to thrive in Nevada’s beautiful and varied landscapes for years to come. Be sure to keep an eye out for any lizards sunning themselves the next time you’re out in the desert — or your backyard!

Aaron Huelsman

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