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Posted by chrish on April 06, 2003 at 22:41:40:
In Reply to: Mexico Herping posted by Jeff Judd on April 06, 2003 at 21:43:56:
I go down to Mexico Herping/birding at least once per year (more often if I can). We spend a lot of time on the Gulf Coast, but we have been down to Chiapas and over to Sinaloa and Durango as well as herping on the central plateau. Basically I have herped a lot of the country.
Herping in Mexico is no problem usually. Habitat destruction is rampant, so you won't usually find as many herps as you would in the US, particularly in the tropical wet areas. Snakes in particular are few and far between in those areas in my experience (I think it was Bill Lamar that once said one snake a day is a good average for herping in neotropical rainforests). Occasionally you hit a hot spot where one species is really common, but in general you have to work for snakes.
Collecting is a problem. Simply put, don't. Trying to get scientific permits is a problem as well, even with legitimate projects. It can make it easier if you have a collaberative research project with a Mexican national.
Herping and photography has never been a problem for me. Realize, Mexico is a very poor country and so you don't find trashpiles, etc to herp because anything that can be reused generally is. Hunting at night in the forested areas can be incredible rewarding.
Road hunting can be productive, but often the few good roads are extremely busy, both with vehicular and pedestrian traffic and the roadside habitat is very degraded. There are exceptions, but you usually have to look around to find a good herping road.
Don't get me wrong. I love travelling in and herping in mexico. I hardly speak any spanish but the people there have always been friendly and helpful.
Other things to remember -
It isn't as cheap as it used to be even 5-6 years ago. Most inexpensive hotels are getting up in the $25-30/night range (where they used to be less than $10). Obviously more in tourist areas.
Gasoline is probably over $3 per gallon at this time (it is usually close to double the US average price).
I also suggest you do a lot of reading about travelling in Mexico if you haven't done so in the past. It is a great country to travel in, if you know what you are doing.