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Jeff Davis County, Texas

Map by Joseph E. Forks
Text by Troy Hibbitts

click to enlarge


Jeff Davis county is primarily an upland county, with the Davis Mountains and surrounding plateau making up the bulk of the county. In the extreme western part of the county, lies the only other mountain range in Jeff Davis county, the Sierra Viejas. Jeff Davis county is made up predominately of Tertiary volcanic rocks and gravels eroded from these formations. Jeff Davis county encompasses 2,259 square miles.


Jeff Davis county receive an average of about 18.5" of rain per year, with the mountainous areas receiving slightly more, and the grassland areas somewhat less. Pinyon-juniper-oak habitats dominate the mountainous areas, with a scattering of Ponderosa pine at the higher, wetter elevations. Jeff Davis county is much grassier than most counties where alterna are found, with extensive grasslands dominating much of the western portion of the county, and grasses are also common in the Pinyon-juniper-oak habitats of the uplands.


Jeff Davis county has a population of 2,062 individuals - a population that is growing fairly steadily. Most individuals live in the vicinity of Ft. Davis. Valentine is the only other community. Business here is primarily cattle ranching.


Gray-banded Kingsnakes can be found throughout the Davis Mountains along the roadways in any areas where extensively fractured rock outcrops are present. Roads collected include TX Hwys 17, 118, and 166, as well as FM 1832 and 1837.

Boy Scout Road, FM 1832
A long-time favorite road among snake collectors, this road actually has only about 2-3 miles of good alterna habitat along it, although a number of alterna have been collected here. On weekend nights, traffic can be high along this road as parents drop their kids off at the scout camp. DO NOT TRESSPASS onto the Scout camp property!



Limpia Canyon, TX 17
Between Ft. Davis and Wildrose Pass, Tx Hwy 17 follows the canyon of Limpia Creek, and several good stretches of L. alterna habitat exist here. Traffic pressure can be high, and there are numerous blind curves which can be fairly dangerous, so proceed with caution when collecting here.


Tx 118 - between Ft Davis and McDonald Observatory





McDonald Observatory, Tx 118
In the vicinity of McDonald Observatory, NW of Ft. Davis there is one tremendous road cut which has produced a small number of alterna. However, this area is very high elevation, mostly over 6000 feet, and therefore cools rather rapidly at night.



Musquiz Canyon, TX 118
To the SW of Ft. Davis, TX 118 passes through Musquiz Canyon, a fairly impressive stretch of alterna habitat, where strangely few alterna have been collected. Traffic can be high here, as the road connects Ft. Davis and Alpine, two of the largest towns in the Trans-Pecos.

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