Las Cruces, NM

Desert Creatures In and Around Las Cruces

There are all sorts of interesting creatures in the the desert around our Las Cruces homes; you may have some of these guys right in your own back yard. Don't just kill the little guy, find out what it is so you can make an informed decision as to what to do with it. Some creatures that look really scary are actually very beneficial and would never hurt you. Scroll down to learn more about the creatures in your own back yard.

Tarantula spider


Tarantula Spiders

They may look big and scary, but they are not poisonous to humans. Yes, they do have fangs and their bite is painful, but you would really have to make one mad to make him want to bite you. These guys eat insects so they are good to have around. The ones you see in the desert around Las Cruces are usually either brown or black with the brown ones being female and the black ones males.




These are not centipedes. They may have a ton of legs, but unlike the centipede, they won't hurt you. In fact they are kinda fun because when touched they curl up into a ball. Millipedes eat decaying plant matter, so they are beneficial. Just keep them out of your garden as they can be damaging to young seedlings. The best times to see millipedes is in the evening, right after a rain.

Blister beetle


Blister Beetles Epicauta texanus

Now these guys can put the hurt on you! Blister beetles do just what their name says. Damaging to many garden plants. They usually come in hoards and strip the leaves off plants in a matter of hours. Here is a video of them mating and stripping the leaves off Mesquite bushes. Click here.

Bull Snake


Bull Snakes

These guys are not poisonous. Do not hurt them, they are very beneficial. They eat mice and other disease carrying rodents. The bull snake will hiss and shake its tail like a rattlesnake in order to try to scare you away, but all he really wants to do is to be left alone. Many people kill them thinking they are rattlers but these are very good snakes and should never be killed.

Twice-stabbed ladybird beetle


Ladybugs or Ladybird Beetles

This little guy is a still a ladybug but he only has two spots and he is black instead of red. He is the Twice-stabbed ladybird beetle, Chilocorus stigma. He loves to feed on scale insects, which are hard to control, so let him live!

Horny toad lizard


Horny Toad or Horned Lizard

Probably one of the easiest lizards to catch. They are fun to hold, turn them upside down in your hand and watch them enjoy having their belly stroked. They are not dangerous, in fact they are very beneficial as they voraciously eat ants. When scared they puff up their bodies to look larger and if really threatened they can squirt a stream of blood up to five feet, from the corners of their eyes.

Horsehair worm


Horsehair Worms

If you have a pond, you probably have them, but not to worry, they won't hurt you. Horsehair worms can be found in the irrigation ditches along the Rio Grande, back yard ponds and other water sources. They look like horse hairs, thus their name, but they are not harmful to humans. Horsehair worms only parasitize Invertebrates such as Insects.

Giant Red Velvet Mite


Giant Red Velvet Mite Trombidiidae

These fuzzy little colorful mites are in the spider family and only about a quarter inch long. They won't hurt you or your plants, they feed on ants and termites, so they are good guys to have around.

More desert creatures will be crawling in soon so keep checking back.



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