Herping and Exploring the Madrean Sky Islands of Arizona
The most biologically and ecologically diverse region in North America.
Banded Gila Monsters
Arizona Black Rattlesnake
Green Mojave Rattlesnake
Regal Ringed-Necked Snake & much much more!
Learn outback survival skills
Explore spectacular wilderness
Led by Expert herpetological/Wilderness guide/fully qualified wilderness medic
This tour will focus on the Herpetofauna of the Region, although many other rare mammals and birds of North America inhabit the area (such as the Mexican Jaguar). And for those interested in ecological habitats, they'll also be intrigued by the several zones that will be encountered on this journey.
Greig Smith Travels in association with Panthera Journeys welcome you to join us on a truly magnificent adventure in Herpetofauna. We love to share our passion for herping this area, where the populations of flora and fauna continue to thrive!
Craig C. Canady, FP-C, ACSM, Founder of Panthera Journeys
Craig is an exceptionally talented individual. His passion for wildlife and the great outdoors is infectious. From a young age, Craig began exploring wilderness regions ranging from the Grand Canyon, The Sierra Nevada desert, The Rocky Mountains, Arizona, California, Utah, Florida to Alaska and more.
As his experiences in the back-country grew, so did his expertise in survival training, wilderness medicine, and map orienteering. Before long he began working as a professional wilderness guide in the canyon country of Northern Arizona, Southern Utah and also in Alaska. He is a registered Paramedic, Critical Care Medic, Flight Paramedic and Wilderness Search and Rescue Paramedic. With wide ranging travel experience, he has also gone on expeditions throughout Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Galapagos, Columbia, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and also Borneo. Craig considers himself exceptionally lucky, where his love of adventure travel and wildlife has turned into his career. Enabling him to share his passion for ecology and conservation with others. At home, he cares for and breeds various reptiles including colubrids, boids, and native/non-protected species of Venomous Snakes of Arizona
Panthera specialise in herpetological and wilderness tours with a particular focus on ecology, survival training and conservation.
Day One - Arrive & stay at airport hotel: Best Western Plus Tucson Int'l Airport Hotel & Suite
Day Two - 10am pickup at Tucson International Airport Hotel. Transport to Rio Rico, AZ for Three Nights Lodging and check-in. Begin our herping safari in the Atascosa and Pajarito Mountains two hours before sunset. Herp the maze of forest roads in the Coronado National Forest. Elevation 4,000 to 5,500ft (1220 to 1700 metres). Return to Rio Rico Lodge between midnight and 1am.
Day Three - 7am Rise and breakfast at Rio Rico Lodge. Depart at 8am for a Scenic drive into the Patagonia and Huachuca Mountains. Elevation 4’000-9’000ft (1’220-2’745m). Herping via road cruising and hiking (moderate). 2pm Lunch and Winery Tour/Tasting (optional) in Sonoita, Arizona. One hour prior to Sunset Herping via Road Cruising. Return to Rio Rico Lodge by midnight.
Day Four - Rise and breakfast at 8am. Depart at 9am for the scenic Santa Rita Mountain Range. Hiking and road cruising. Lunch at 1pm in Historic Tombstone, Arizona! A one hour drive to the Rincon Mountain Range. Hiking and Road Cruising for the target species: Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Rincon Locale). Return drive through the Empire Mountains. Nocturnal Road Cruising. Arrive Rio Rico Lodge around midnight.
Day Five - Rise and breakfast at 0630. Depart at 0730 and hotel check-out for a 2 hour journey through a number of Sky Islands enroute to the Chiricahua Mountains and adjacent San Bernadino Valley. Elevation 4’000-9,700ft (1’220-3’000m). Explore the most ecologically and biologically diverse region of the Arizona Sky Islands (as well as all Flora and other Fauna). 1400 Lunch in Portal Arizona (Chiricahuas). Check-in for 2 nights Lodging at the Portal Lodge. Road cruising on a maze of roads through the San Bernadino Valley. Target- Desert Massasauga. Return to Portal Lodge by 1am.
Day Six - Rise and Breakfast at 7am. 8am Depart to the Peloncillo Mountains via the San Bernadino Valley. Herping- Cruising and hike until midday. Lunch in the Historical Town of Bisbee, Arizona. Road cruise and explore the Southern Chiricahua Mountain Range for the Green Mojave Rattlesnake and other species. Return to Portal for early dinner. Nocturnal road cruise the lower and higher elevations of the Chiricahuas searching for a variety of species of Reptiles and Amphibians. Return to Portal Lodge by midnight.
Day Seven - Rise and Breakfast at 7am. Explore the Pinaleno Sky Islands at higher elevations rising to Mt Graham for montane herp species at 2’700 meters. Cooler temperatures and herping via road cruising and hiking. Search for diurnal species including The Arizona Black Rattlesnake and The Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake. Return to Tucson at 5:00pm for two nights lodging at Airport Hotel. Dinner in Tucson at more of a civilized restaurant! Herping in the “Burbs” of Tucson and return to hotel for an early night in preparation for an amazing hike and herp for the final journey of the tour on day eight.
Day Eight - Early Rise and Breakfast at 6am. Depart for the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness for a day hike and herp in one of Arizona’s most scenic areas. Habitat for a variety of mammals, birds and herps, including the Banded Gila Monster and The Arizona Black Rattlesnake. Riparian species including the Regal Ringed-Necked Snake and various species of Garter Snakes, inhabit the area. Depart and return to Tucson at 5pm. Dinner enroute in Oracle, Arizona. Return to Tucson Airport Hotel.
Day Nine - Fly out.
Ground Transportation, Lodging, Food/Snacks, (excluding Alcohol), All Park Fees and Experienced Guide fees as per itinerary. All accommodation as per itinerary. All meals as specified. All transport costs (vehicle & fuel). Qualified wilderness medic/herping guide fees.
Anything not included in the “Inclusions” section above.
The Arizona Sky Islands Region inhabits the following Genus/Species of Reptiles and Amphibians:
Crotalids (Vipers) | Northern Blacktail Rattlesnake | Twin Spotted Rattlesnake (Protected Species) | Desert Massasauga Rattlesnake (Protected Species) | Banded Rock Rattlesnake (Protected Species) | Arizona Black Rattlesnake | Arizona Ridgenose Rattlesnake (Protected Species) | Mojave Rattlesnake | Western Diamondback Rattlesnake | Tiger Rattlesnake
Rear-Fanged | Sonoran Brown Vinesnake | Sonoran Lyresnake | Elapids | Sonoran Coral Snake | Colubrids | Black-necked Garter Snake | Mexican Garter Snake | Checkered Garter Snake | Regal Ring-necked Snake | Sonoran Gopher Snake | Sonoran Whipsnake | Arizona Glossy Snake | Variable Sandsnake | Chihuahuan Hook-nosed Snake | Thornscrub Hook-nosed Snake | Desert Nightsnake | Hooded Nightsnake | Northern Green Rat Snake | Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake |
Desert Kingsnake | Desert/Mexican Black Kingsnake (Intergrade) | Arizona Milksnake | Mexican Hognose Snake | Eastern Patch-nosed Snake | Western Patch-nosed Snake | Sonoran Coachwhip | Sonoran Whipsnake | Smith’s Black-headed Snake | Plains Black-headed Snake | Chihuahuan Black-headed Snake | Yaqui Black-headed Snake |
Madrean Alligator Lizard | Regal Horned Lizard | Texas Horned Lizard | Zebra Tail Lizard | Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard | Clark’s Spiny Lizard | Earless Lizard | Ornate Tree Lizard | Southwestern Fence Lizard | Slevin’s Bunchgrass Lizard | Striped Plateau Lizard | Arizona Striped Whiptail | Gila Spotted Whiptail | Sonoran Spotted Whiptail| Desert Grassland Whiptail | Canyon Spotted Whiptail | Western Banded Gecko | Eastern Collared Lizard | Elegant Earless Lizard | Venomous Lizards | Gila Monster- (Banded and Reticulated) "Federally Protected Species"
Ornate Box Turtle (Protected) | Sonoran Mud Turtle | Sonoran Desert Tortoise
Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Protected) | Lowland Leopard Frog | Canyon Tree Frog | Barking Frog | Western Narrow-Mouthed Frog
Green Toad | Red Spotted Toad | Couch Spadefoot Toad | Plains Spadefoot Toad | Mexican Spadefoot Toad
Sonoran Tiger Salamander "Protected Species"