A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

New Additions in 2006

observation link

The following links lead to updated pages which include some of the new pictures and other content I have added to the site in 2006 (Sorry, I don't always remember everything.) The list of additions to the site in 2005 is here.


Frog and Toad Identification section is now up.

Last month I received email from a man in Germany asking me to identify a fence lizard that was found in a shipment
to a BMW plant from Stockton. I contacted Guntram Deichsel in Germany and he sent me some pictures of the lizard
and the complete story of this lucky little traveller. You can look and read more here.

Texas Indigo Snake
Texas Patch-nosed Snake
Texas Rose-bellied Lizard
Texas Spiny Lizard

I have finally put up some more excellent pictures from Patrick Briggs:

California Treefrog
Yosemite Toad
California Red-legged Frog
Northern Leopard Frog
Coast Gartersnake
San Joaquin Coachwhip
San Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake
Southwestern Threadsnake
Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizards
Great Basin Collared Lizard


Four Oregon Gartersnakes from creeks in Oregon from Joshua Puhn, of

Pacific Treefrog and California Treefrog comparison pics from a creek in LA county

California Black-headed Snake from Jeff Teel

I've added a section for herps from outside California, the Northwest, or the Southwest, creatively titled Miscellaneous Herps. It's a sort of catch-all for any herp pics I want to put up that don't fit elsewhere. Eventually I will merge everything into one list or a database, but that's a ways off.

Red-striped Ribbon Snake
Texas Greater Earless Lizard
Ground Skink
Texas Toad
Blanchard's Cricket Frog
Texas Brownsnake
Mourning Gecko
Metallic Skink
Green Anole


Pacific Gophersnake from Del Norte County courtesy of Alan Barron

Western Spadefoots from Patrick Briggs

Several Rough-skinned Newt metamorphs and larvae

Two great pics of a Santa Cruz Gartersnake eating a newt from

Alan Barron sent in lots of great pictures of Tiger Salamanders from Grass Lake, California and a Del Norte County Pacific Gophersnake

Mediterranean Geckos - A few pictures of juveniles and an adult
Rio Grande Leopard Frog and some new habitat pics
Spiny Softshell and some new habitat pics
Rana catesbeiana and habitat
Red-spotted Gartersnakes from Oregon
Northwestern Ring-necked snake from Oregon


Ryan Shatto contributed pictures of San Diego County rattlesnakes -
Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake
Red Diamond Rattlesnake

Jeff Mintz sent in some pictures of a Mono County Great Basin Rattlesnake

Alan Barron contributed more pictures of herps from Del Norte County - a
Northwestern Ring-necked snake and a
nearly patternless Northwestern Gartersnake Michael Inaba sent me a couple of pictures of a California Black-headed Snake he found crossing a road one August night near Ojai

You may have seen his articles and pictures in Reptiles Magazine. Patrick Briggs has sent me some more excellent pictures of California herps, including some really cool comparison shots between species -

San Joaquin Coachwhip
Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard
Orange-throated Whiptail
Flat-tailed Horned Lizard
Granite Spiny Lizard, including one picture with male, female, and juvenile
Sierra Fence Lizard
Sagebrush lizard with Fence lizard comparisons
California Whiptail
Sharp-tailed Snake
Monterey Ring-necked Snakes from Ventura County and western Kings County
Great Basin Gophersnake
Sonoran Gophersnake
A Pacific Gophersnake eating an egg
Longnosed snake from Bakersfield
Juvenile Striped Racer
Gilbert's Skink
Skilton's Skink


Some of my additions for the month include:

Yosemite Toad
Goode's Desert Horned Lizard - P. p. goodei
Pacific Tree Frog - new tadpoles, a series of a recent metamorph, and new recordings of the release call, trilled encounter call, and enhanced one-note call.
American Bullfrog - tadpoles, adults, and a series of a recent metamorph.
Southern Long-toed Salamander larvae
Cascades Frog including some beautiful frogs from Siskiyou County, a new eggs and tadpoles page, and some calling male sounds! It took me a couple of years to get to the breeding spot at the right time, but I managed to do it this year.
Rana muscosa - lots of new pics, a new eggs and tadpoles page, and recordings of calling males.
Western Sagebrush Lizard

Thanks to Chris Rombough's understanding of the timing of their breeding cycle, I was able to make recordings of
Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs
, and get lots of new pictures of Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs from Oregon along witha Mountain Gartersnake (Willamette Valley variation).
I have also made a new Foothill Yellow-legged Frog eggs and tadpoles page.

Jacoson Shedd sent some great shots of a California Whiptail from the Sutter Buttes, along with some Northwestern Fence Lizards. He also contributed a nice CA Legless lizard, Sierra Gartersnake, and a Coral-bellied Ring-necked Snake.

Todd Battey contributed several excellent pictures of a male Zebra-tailed Lizard

Continuing his excellent additions illustrating herps from Del Norte County, Alan Barron has contribued lots of pictures showing some of the variations of:
Del Norte Salamanders
Painted Ensatinas
Southern Torrent Salamanders
California Slender Salamanders,
Coastal Giant Salamanders, and
Wandering Salamanders

Northwestern Salamanders
(and breeding habitat),
Clouded Salamanders,
Dunn's Salamanders,
Rough-skinned newts,
Tailed frogs and tadpoles,
Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs,
Northwestern Alligator Lizards, and
Northwestern Fence Lizard

Bruce Edley:
Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake
Zebra-tailed Lizard
Lyre Snake

Emily Chebul:
Striped Racer
Mating Sideblotched lizards

Julie Nelson contributed two movies of Yosemite Toads calling and amplexing.


Ken Pitts contributed shots of a pinkish Coast Horned Lizard

Alan Barron has donated a number on nice pics from Del Norte County and the north coast.
Northern Red-legged Frog - a bright red one
Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
Tailed Frog - metamorph
Black Salamander - adult and juvenile
Painted Ensatina
Scott Bar Salamander
Oregon Gartersnake
Boreal Toad

Julie Nelson contributed some pics of Yosemite Toads, eggs, and tadpoles from the Sierra National Forest.

Some much-appreciated new pictures were contributed by R. D. Bartlett:

Baja Ratsnake
Southern Leopard Frog
Sonoran Mud Turtle
Texas Spiny Softshell
Bezy's Night Lizard

Steve Broggie contributed a great picture of two male Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes in combat.

David Tobler sent in a great picture of a Great Basin Rattlesnake from Mono County.

Julie Nelson sent me a really cool video of a Great Basin Spadefoot digging into the sand and burying itself somewhere near Pyramid Lake in Nevada.

Will Wells, master of Collared Lizards, sent in a great in-situ pic of a Baja Collared Lizard

Bruce Edley sent in pics of a Coastal Rosy Boa and a Zebra-tailed Lizard


Mark Gary sent in some pics of Black Toad eggs and tadpoles

Todd Battey sent in some pics of Red-spotted toads and eggs.

Trips into the field in late April and May with Dick Bartlett, Jeff Lemm, John Stephenson, and others, provided me with new pictures and sounds of lots of species and habitats, too much stuff to list here, but here are most of them:


Western Yellow-bellied Racer - C. c. mormon
California Kingsnake - L. g. californiae (including a nice chocolate Yuba County snake)
Valley Gartersnake - T. s. fitchi
Pacific Gophersnake - P. c. catenifer
Sounds of a very angry hissing Pacific Gophersnake
San Diego Gophersnake - P. c. annectens
Sierra Gartersnake - T. couchii
Mountain Gartersnake - T. e. elegans
Northern Pacific Rattlesnake - C. o. oreganus (several pics of adults and a juvenile)
Southern Pacific Rattlesnake - (adult and juvenile)
Rubber Boa - C. bottae
Southern Rubber Boa - C. umbratica
Sharp-tailed Snake - C. tenuis (including new comparisons of the long-tailed and short-tailed forms)
Desert Night Snake - H. t. deserticola
Long-nosed Snake - R. l. lecontei
San Diego Mountain Kingsnake - L. z. pulchra (including a strange aberrant juvenile)
Two-striped Gartersnake - T. hammondii
Red Coachwhip - M. f. piceus
Mesa Verde Night Snake - H. t. loreala


Desert Spiny Lizard - S. magister (from Utah)
Desert Iguana - D. dorsalis
Baja Collared Lizard - C. vestigium
Sonoran Collared Lizard - C. nebrius
Island Fence Lizard - S. o. becki
Northern Brown Skink - E. g. placerensis (a male in breeding colors)
Red-tailed Skink - E. g. rubricaudatus
Orange-throated Whiptail - A. h. beldingi
Sierra Alligator Lizard - E. c. palmeri
California Alligator Lizard - E. m. multicarinata
San Diego Alligator Lizard - E. m. webbii
Oregon Alligator Lizard - E. m. scincicauda
Tucson Banded Gecko - C. v.bogerti
Eastern Collared Lizard - C. collaris (a brilliant blue male from Oklahoma)
Long-tailed Brush Lizard - U. graciosus
Tree Lizard - U. ornatus
Arizona Night Lizard - X. v. arizonae
Utah Night Lizard - X. v. utahensis
Sideblotched Lizard - U. stansburiana (Santa Cruz Island)
Desert Horned Lizard - P. p. calidiarum
Coast Horned Lizard - P. coronatum
Yuman Desert Fringe-toed Lizard - Uma rufopunctata


Oregon Spotted Frog - R. pretiosa
Great Basin Spadefoot - S. intermontana (adult and tadpoles, including a series of a recent metamorph.)
Blanchards Cricket Frog - A. c. blanchardi
Columbia Spotted Frog - R. luteiventris
Cascades Frog - R. cascadae (including eggs and tadpoles)
Northern Red-legged Frog - R. aurora (new tadpoles pics, including a series of a recent metamorph.)
Pacific Treefrog - P. regilla (including lots of pictures of tadpoles and metamorphs.)
California Treefrog - P. cadaverina

Lots of new frog sounds:

Red-spotted Toad
- B. punctatus
Bullfrog - R. catesbeiana
California Treefrog - P. cadaverina
Rio Grande Leopard Frog - R. berlandieri
California Toad - B. b. halophilus
Arroyo Toad - B. californicus


Pacific Slender Salamander - B. pacificus
Oregon Slender Salamander - B. wrightorum
Relictual Slender Salamander - B. relictus
Kern Canyon Slender Salamander
Black-bellied Slender Salamander - B. nigriventris
California Tiger Salamander - A. californiense (including animals from Santa Barbara County and hybrids, and larva)
Blotched Tiger Salamander - A. t. mavortium
Sierra Ensatina - E. e. platensis
Oregon Ensatina - E. e. oregonensis
Yellow-eyed Ensatina - E. e. xanthoptica
Monterey Ensatina - E. e. eschscholtzii
Arboreal Salamander - A. lugubris
Coast Range Newt - T. t. torosa
Del Norte Salamander - P. elongatus
Western Long-toed Salamander - A. m. macrodactylum
Clouded Salamander - A. fereus


Becca Morn submitted a nice picture of a California Giant Salamander

T. s. pickeringii
T. ordinoides

Thanks to the help of Jim Lynch and Lisa Hallock I was able to record some Boreal Toads in two locations in Washington and get some pictures of an amazingly green Boreal Toad and some breeding habitats.


Lots of new salamander pics, a few lizards, and lots of new habitat shots for many species:
Yellow-eyed Ensatina
Red-bellied Newt
Northwestern Salamander
Wandering Salamander
California Newt
California Slender Salamander
Santa Lucia Slender Salamander
Southern Torrent Salamander
Del Norte Salamander
Painted Ensatina
Dunn's Salamander
Black Salamander
Shasta Salamander
Coronado Skink
Skilton's Skink
Variegated Skink
Pacific Treefrog

California Toad
Oregon Spotted Frog eggs, and habitat

I've added a recording of a nice typical loud chorus of Pacific Treefrogs, along with some pictures showing the different underside and throat coloring of male and female frogs and some egg masses.

Thanks to Marc Hayes who generously took me around his study areas in Klickitat County, Washington, I was able to record the release calls of Oregon Spotted Frogs. Cool temperatures and cloudy skies were probably responsible for a lack advertisement calls to record, but Chris Rombeaugh walked with me for miles through a wet marsh where I finally recorded a short example of one male calling faintly at the end of the day.

Thanks to the help of Susan Whitford of the Santa Lucia Conservany and David Keegan, I made some recordings of
California Red-legged Frogs
and got some new pictures of habitat and egg clusters. Also photographed was a very feisty
California Red-sided Gartersnake.

Ross P. sent in a picture of a hypomelanistic Whitewater kingsnake with a typical snake from the same area.

Bruce Edley sent in some San Diego County lizards - Baja Rock Lizard, Granite Night Lizard, Desert Night Lizard.

It must be the season for aberrant Cal Kings, because Josh Rosenstein sent in another nice one from LA County.

Brian Hinds sent in some shots of the type of excellent grassland habitat in San Diego county that is very quickly getting destroyed by bulldozers and development. He also sent in some pics of Coastal Rosy Boas and their habitat, and a California Black-headed Snake, a species that I wish I could find...

Brian Hubbs and Brian Hinds contributed another great aberrant California Kingsnake picture from Orange County.

Jackson Shedd sent in a great picture of the underside of a male Nevada Zebra-tailed lizard, something I've been meaning to get myself, but it's much easier to have you guys do all the hard work...


Thanks to Kelly McAllister of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, who took me to his study site, I was able to take some pictures and record the sounds of breeding Oregon Spotted Frogs.

John Schilling donated some pictures of an beautiful albino Arboreal Salamander he found along with the normal phase.

I was extremely lucky to accidentally discover some calling Northern Red-legged Frogs and get some recordings of them.

Years ago I made a chart of gartersnake scale counts to help me identify problem gartersnakes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't , especially with species with variable scale counts. I have made this key to identifying Californa gartersnakes into a web page and added some links to illustrations of scale counts. I will probably add more illustrations at some point.

The 2006 Fishing Regulations have been added.

Todd Battey gave me a pic of the underside of a nice pink Kern County Red Coachwhip.


I added a collection of herping pics to keep me inspired in the winter doldrums. Eventually I hope to expand this into a bigger herping section.

Several pics of Long-toed salamanders in breeding season.

The site redesign is finally completed, with new standardized javascript navigation menus at the top of every page. If your browser is unable to use javascript, then the menus will not appear. There are a few other changes, including picture indexes which include thumnail pictures of all CA species and links to their main pages, to give you yet another way to find stuff.

Todd Battey sent in some pictures of Native American pictographs from California which include a large lizard, probably a chuckwalla.

Bobby MacGregor sent in a picture of a California Glossy Snake - a hard-to-find snake from Fresno County.

David Tobler sent in a picture of a nice black-bellied Mendota phase California Kingsnake.

Signs of the times.

Rattesnake signs.

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