Welcome to the Northwestern California      
          natives section of the HCHS!

Most of the species represented will be from
Humboldt, Del Norte, western  Siskiyou, and
Trinity Counties, although other counties
and states may be included.
...Reptiles and Amphibians of
Northwestern California and Beyond...
Reptiles and Amphibians
Northwestern California
A diversity of herpetofauna exists within the
southwestern reaches of the Pacific
Northwest.  Up to 22 species of reptiles may
be found within the perimeter of the four
counties. This includes 15 snakes, 6
lizards, and 1 species of turtle.  Amphibians
in the area include 6 frogs, 1 toad, 2 newts,
and  15+ salamanders.
Some species are widespread.  Others live
in small isolated  niches.  Some are listed
as threatened or endangered.  A  number of
subspecies and intergrades exist, and
possible inter-special hybrids may be found.
Striped Whipsnake  (Masticophis taeniatus)
The Turtle
Frogs and Toads
Salamanders and Newts
Arboreal Salamander  (Aneides lugubris)
Clouded Salamander  (Aneides ferreus)
Dunn's Slalamander  (Plethodon dunni)
Red-bellied Newt  (Taricha rivularis)
Siskiyou Mountain Salamander  (Plethodon stormi)
One reptile and one amphibian not listed above are the Pygmy Short-horned Lizard (Phrynosoma douglasi) and the Long-toed
Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) both of which fall on the northeastern confines of Siskiyou County.  Also a  small area in
Shasta County harbours the
Shasta Salamander (Hydromantes shastae).  The California Newt (Taricha torosa) may be found south
of Humboldt in Mendocino County.  Although not within our normal area of study, these animals could be included in the group that  
comprises California's northwestern herps.  The list of course would be more expansive if we also included the Bay Area and other
surrounding counties.
Foothill Yellow-legged Frog  (Rana boylii)
Panther Flat Campground - Smith River,
Del Norte County, CA   August 19, 2006
Simply click the underlined links
Scott Bar Salamander  (Plethodon asupak)
Northwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis occidentalis) - male
North of the mouth of the Eel River (west of Loleta, CA) 04-22-2007
Please use the list below to access
species-specific information.  Some links
cover more than one species, while some
individual species may be covered by more
than one link.

Many  species pages have not yet been
written, as this is still a work in progress.  
Still to come are informational pages that
will primarily  deal with field observation
techniques, taxonomy, and anatomy; these
will hopefully  aid in specimen discovery
and recognition as well as promote
responsible field-herping advice.
(Project and site coordinated by Steven Krause)
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Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile)
Mouth of Redwood Creek - Orick, CA
November 24, 2007
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Wandering Salamander
Aneides vagrans)
[near Cutten (Eureka, CA)]
February 27, 2008
Coast Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans terrestris)
Hidden Beach near Klamath, CA
August 23, 2007
Sharp-tailed Snake (Contia tenuis)
Horse Linto Creek (near Willow Creek, CA)
April 7, 2007
W. Sagebrush Lizard
Sceloporus graciosus graciles)
Taylor Lake [Siskiyou County, CA)
June 17. 2007
Western Pond Turtle
Clemmys marmorata)
Van Duzen River
[near Carlotta, CA]
July 1, 2007
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Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
(Crotalus oreganus oreganus)
Matthew's Creek - So. Fk.
Salmon River (Siskiyou Co.)
July 20, 2007
Mountain Garter Snake
(Thamnophis elegans elegans)
Matthew's Creek - So. Fk.
Salmon River (Siskiyou Co.)
July 20, 2007
Oregon Garter Snake
(Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus)
Matthew's Creek - So. Fk.
Salmon River (Siskiyou Co.)
July 19, 2007
Pacific Gopher Snake
Pituophis c. catenifer)
Hiouchi Flat (Del Norte
April 21, 2009
(Ensatina eschscholtzii)
Jedediah Smith
Redwood SP
March 18, 2008
California Red-sided Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis)
Elk River - Headwaters Forest Reserve,  CA       May 2006
Oregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzi oregonensis)
Sequoia Park - Eureka, CA      October 2005
Pacific Giant
Salamander (larval)
(Dicamptodon tenebrosus)
East Fork of Willow
(Humboldt County)
May 10, 2008
January 2008
Common Side-blotched
Lizard - Joshua Tree NP
January 13, 2008
San Diego Night Snake
Rancho Penasquitos
San Diego, CA
January 18, 2008
Garden Slender
Rancho Penasquitos
San Diego, CA
January 18, 2008
Valley Garter Snake
T. s. fitchi (possible infernalis
Carruthers Compartment (RNSP)
(No. Humboldt Co.) April 7, 2009

Keeping native snakes
happily fed is not
always easy, so it is
always recommended
that you do your
research if you choose
to keep one.  Many of
our smaller natives
have very selective
diets, and some prey
are not available at the
pet store.  This
becomes a tedious
quest for wild-caught
prey...  The key phrase
here is "high

This Oregon Garter snake
feeds primarily on fish and
amphibians.  Many feeder
fish sold at the pet store
contain thiaminase, which
interferes with thiamin
absorption and can cause
neural damage in the
snake over time.  Goldfish
are known as "junkfish"
and contain  thiaminase.  
While "Lefty" occasionally
is fed a WC tadpole or frog
(parasites are also always
a risk), his main diet is
trout fillet and  eyeballs!

"Sharpie" the Sharp-tailed
Snake is primarily a slug
eater in the wild, but will
also feed on small
plethodont salamanders.
Refusing slugs in
captivity, this snake feeds
exclusively on
Batrachoseps (slenders),
which are often a chore to
find year-round.  Slender
salamanders have also
been a staple for "Ringo"
the Ring-necked Snake
(see listing for

I spent a number of
months regretting my
capture of a San Diego
Night Snake, since it
feeds on small lizards,
their eggs, and small
snakes (also often difficult
to obtain).  Fortunately, I
breed corn snakes.  Due
to the present
overabundance of
recessive genes in these
snakes, hatchlings often
come with kinked spines
or other health anomalies.
These individuals have
currently solved my
problem with the Night
Snake.  These examples
should provide food for
thought in regards to
keeping wild-caughts.

Please  understand that a
CA fishing license is
required for the keeping of
all native herps and any
herps upon which they
might feed.
on the
Spring is here, and the
rain is still in the air.
Please watch your step
when you are hiking, as
many of our local
salamanders are still
making their migrations to
and from  to their natal
breeding grounds.
Count on seeing Newts,
Northwesterns, and Pacific
Giants on the move.  
Plethodonts will also be
coming out of the
"woodwork" and talus to
enjoy the cool moisture
before it disappears with
the onset of summer.
Rough-skinned Newt at College
of the Redwoods (10-28-2008)
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