Charlie Painter

Photos of Charlie

Charlie lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday morning, May 12. Charlie was the herpetologist for New Mexico Game & Fish. Charlie was an avid herper and did a lot of conservation work for the state. Charlie was active in the New Mexico Herpetological Society and was just as friendly a guy as you could meet. He co-authored Amphibians & Reptiles of New Mexico with Bill Degenhardt and Andrew Price (1996). This volume is the most informative book out there on herps for New Mexico. Charlie worked with Rom Whittaker in India with King Cobras. He has been an inspiration to many herper in New Mexico and across the country. Here are a few things people have said about him on social media:

"I just learned a few moments ago that New Mexico State Herpetologist and good friend, Charlie Painter passed away early this morning. Charlie was one of the true great herpetologists and one of the planet's nicest and most humble people. The herpetology world is definitely at a huge deficit today. My personal memories will always be cherished of my brief time in this man's presence. Please, respect his family's privacy and join me in mourning the loss of this fine human being." –Doug Hotle

“This is sad news indeed. I was fortunate enough to spend time in the field with Charlie back in the 1990s. He was a great guy to have as a mentor of sorts. I learned a lot from him and he was an amazing field cook as well! He'll be missed!” –Bill Gorum

“Charlie Painter, a great man and great herpetologist. His contribution to the field of herpetology is unmatched. Things and techniques that I have learnt from him are the reason behind what little I can do in field of research today. When I visited him in 2012 we spoke a lot about how much can be done in the field of herpetology in India. He had dreamt about doing a radio telemetry on one of the most elusive snakes of India - Malabar Pit Viper. I wish I will be able to fulfill his dream someday. Charlie you have been and will always be a guiding light and inspiration.” –Devadatta Naik

“I hear that Charlie Painter passed away this morning after a long illness. The world of southwestern herpetology has lost one of its great ones. He will be missed. Be at peace sir.” –Peter Lindsey

“Charlie Painter, a terrific scientist and a good guy. He spent most of his career as herpetologist for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and was recognized internationally. Charlie passed away today. Those of us that had the good fortune to know and work with Charlie will miss him a great deal. Those species that benefited from his tireless efforts to protect the natural world lost a very important champion. Thank you Charlie.” –Ray Powell

“RIP Charlie Painter, 1949-2015: retired NM Game and Fish herpetologist, co-author of an outstanding book on the herpetology of that state, friend to many, renowned field chef--he certainly made his mark, personally and professionally” –Harry W. Green

“Charlie Painter gave his ok to import the Gila monster I have. This has kept me busy and going. I have been grateful for this 9 years running now. I met him once a couple of years ago and am glad I could shake his hand to thank him. To say his life influenced mine in a positive way is a huge understatement.” –Jerry Tuttle