A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

New Additions in 2011


observation link

These are some of the new pictures, sounds, and video that I have added to the site in 2011.

The links lead to pages which include thumbnails and other links to the new content. You will have to search the page to find them.
The most recent additions are on top of the list.
The list of additions to the site in 2010 can be seen here.


Sean Kelly contributed pics of an introduced Barred Tiger Salamander that he found in his garage in San Diego County during a November rain.

Stuart Young sent in pics of a very cool Large-blotched Ensatina with an unusual zig-zag pattern with much more orange coloring than is usual from Mt. Palomar, plus, a Monterey Ensatina from nearby.

Ameet Zaveri sent in a pic of an unusual patternless Northern Pacific Rattlesnake from near Mt. Diablo.

I discovered that the drop-down menus at the top of each page don't work on mobile devices, at least not with Safari on the iPod I tried, so I have expanded the links on the bottom of each page to make sure they lead to all of the features on the site.

I updated the Mediterranean Gecko maps to better keep track of their spread around California. They seem to be moving up the I-99 corridor and around the western Mohave.  And someone just sent me a report of geckos found in San Diego.

Michelle Tollett sent in some nice pictures of Desert Tortoise burrows and scat. Some might think this web site is already full of too much fecal material, but nevertheless, if you have any photos of herp scat that you have positively identified and want to sling my way, I'd be most obliged.


Lori Grennan asked me to identify some juvenile bullfrogs in her backyard pond, then sent me a couple of pictures of an adult Bullfrog eating a lesser goldfinch. It's a wonder there are any birds left at all between the cats and frogs and plate glass windows and deforestation etc. etc.

Brad Norman and Alan D. Barron found a Forest Sharp-tailed Snake in Del Norte County - the first confirmed Contia of either species from the county.  A very nice range extension that helps to fill in a big gap in the species' range.

I haven't been getting any new pictures myself, so I've been putting up lots of miscellaneous videos that I haven't got to yet (but I'm too lazy to list all of them here...)

Lots more juvenile IDs coming in: Katie Zarn sent in a picture of a tiny juvenile sharp-tailed snake from the Carmel Valley with red side stripes and a dark body, looking a bit like a striped racer with red stripes, and David Fong sent in a pic of a juvenile Southern Pacific rattlesnake, probably just born, flattened out in defensive mode, looking like a sidewinder.


It must be September, because I've been getting lots of emails asking me to identify juvenile snakes people are finding on their property, mostly gopher snakes, with some others thrown in including rattlesnakes, racers, and black-headed snakes. Tom Harkins found a juvenile Red Diamond Rattlesnake in his backyard and let me use the picture.

Joe Garcia returned to the same spot in Monterey County where he photographed Ensatina brooding eggs in early  August, and found some little hatchlings along with some eggs that haven't hatched yet. Two days later he returned and took more pictures showing that now all of the eggs have hatched, leaving me to wonder how long the young stay with the females before dispersing on their own. I'm guessing they will stay until the fall rains begin- which could be a month or more.

A couple of new pictures of a Desert Striped Whipsnake Richard Porter found out at night in the rain with its mouth open, as if it was drinking raindrops.

Adam Clause contributed pictures of a brown Inyo Mountains Slender Salamander with few pale iridophores.

Vince Semonsen sent in pics of California Red-legged frogs and tadpoles from Santa Barbara County.

Video and pics of male and femaleNorthern Zebra-tailed Lizards.

Jeanne Jackson sent in some pics of three alligator lizards in breeding mode, with two males biting onto the head of the female. But it looks like maybe one of the males is a California Alligator Lizard, while the others are San Francisco Alligator lizards. Either that or the second male has a completely different color and pattern than the other two.

Chris Arai sent in some nice pics of a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake eating a very large rabbit.

Adam Clause contributed a bunch of pictures including several protected species taken under state scientific collecting and federal recovery permits, and some other counties and morphs not previously shown here: Great Basin Whiptail, Granite Spiny Lizard, Chuckwalla, Diablo Gartersnake, California Tiger Salamander, San Gabriel Slender Salamander, California Treefrog,
Cascades Frog, Western Spadefoot, and Tailed Frog.

I've added a page with links to organizations where herp sightings can be reported.These are not scientific collections, so they welcome input from non-academics.

New pics and videos of Northern Red-legged Frogs, Red-spotted Gartersnake and Northwestern Gartersnake.


I put up a great new video of a big adult California Red-legged Frog eating at the edge of a pond. The frog got used to my presence and chowed down as grasshoppers kept landing next to him. I made a second movie in a larger format in slow motion so you can see the frog's huge pink tongue in action.

New pics and video of Cascades Frogs and tadpoles in Siskiyou County.

Sean Kelly sent in a nice series of pics of a California Striped Racer eating a Great Basin Fence Lizard.

A few new videos of some very approachable Great Basin Collared Lizards out in the Nevada desert. In one, I even reach out and touch him on the back a couple of times before he jumps off the rock. His approachability wasn't because it was early and cold and he wasn't warmed up yet. It was 91 degrees in the mid afternoon and the rocks were so hot I couldn't touch them.

Some nice new close videos of Long-nosed Leopard Lizards, including one slowly wriggling its long tail. I don't know if the lizard was using its tail as a lure to attract smaller lizards or if it was just nervous that I was watching it from a few feet away.

Video and pics of a couple of Great Basin Whiptails.

Pics and video of a tiny juvenile Western Yellow-Bellied Racer from way out in Modoc County.

New pics and video of a Western Yellow-bellied Racer (thanks to Richard Porter for finding it for me), a Great Basin Rattlesnake from Nevada, and a Great Basin Collared Lizard that let me get really close.

Joe Garcia sent in some great salamander pictures - two huge fat female Monterey Ensatinas brooding eggs under a house that he took on August 3rd. You can even see the eyes of the embryos. I can't get over how fat those salamanders are! 

Sylvia Durando sent in a picture of a very long San Diego Alligator Lizard up in her Mulberry Tree. I've seen them on tree trunks, but never up on a tree branch like this.

Scott Peden got some artsy shots of a Santa Cruz Gartersnake in a pool that was converted to a pond in Santa Cruz County.

James Maughan sent in a picture of a very dark, almost blue Coast Gartersnake from Santa Cruz County.

Karen Sieglitz sent in something I didn't have yet - a good picture of a juvenile Great Basin Whiptail which shows the back striping and blue tail.


Suzanne Camejo sent in several pictures of a San Diego Gopher Snake that she freed after it was trapped in nylon netting on her apricot tree.

New pics and video of a Sierra Gartersnake and a Sierra Alligator Lizard and pics of a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, all from a nice spot in the Sierra Nevada that Chad Lane took me to and pics of my campsite rattler that was pestered by a gray squirrel and its alarm call. The camp host told me they'd already killed 3 rattlesnakes this month, so it's probably already the fourth. No amount of reasoning with people like that can convince them to leave the snakes alone, especially when there are children in the area.

Pics of some Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes from Mare Island on a survey with Lou Silva and Mark and Tim Dayton, who are doing a herp survey of the old Navy Base.

Richard Porter sent in pics of a dark Sierra Gartersnake from El Dorado County and a San Joaquin Coachwhip.

Some new pics of Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged frog and pics and video of Yosemite Toad, including a male calling.

Some great new aquarium pics of Sierra Newt larvae from the spot where I photographed eggs and breeding adults in March.

New pics of California Red-legged frogs, including this guy who got used to me sitting onshore next to him and let me put the camera only a few inches away from him as he sat in ambush mode, then jumped and ate a bug and jumped back onto the shore right next to me. Maybe it's pathetic that I can't even scare off a frog anymore...

A bunch of great pics from Rob Schell, California Tiger Salamander larva and eggs, a currently undescribed salamander from Breckenridge Mountain, California Red-legged Frog Tadpole, Western Spadefoot Tadpole, Mohave Glossy Snake, an intergrade Mountain/Wandering gartersnake from the Sierra Nevada, a Baja Collared Lizard, and a Cope's Leopard Lizard.

New videos of Kern Plateau Slender Salamander, Sequoia Slender Salamander, Gregarious Slender Salamander, Gabilan Mountains Slender Salamander, Kings River Slender Salamander, Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamander, Owens Valley Web-toed Salamander, Dunn's Salamander, Van Dyke's Salamander, Western Red-backed Salamander, Desert Glossy snake, Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Patch-nosed Snake, California Alligator Lizards, Long-nosed Leopard Lizard, Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard, Puget Sound Gartersnake, and another Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake.

Michael Starkey sent in a picture of a very pale, possibly albino, California Tiger Salamander larva.

Lori Grennan sent in a picture of a tiny Sierran Treefrog that's pale blue with touches of pink.

New pics of Great Basin Gopher Snake, Red Diamond Rattlesnake, Chuckwalla, and a very cool pale Desert Nightsnake from John Worden.

I crawled under a bush with a very friendly Northern Desert Iguana and tossed him a desert willow flower which he gobbled up for the camera. More fun than feeding squirrels in the park. (Thanks to Benjamin Lowe for identifying the flower.)

Up in the Sierras I saw a pretty gravid female Western Sagebrush Lizard and went to get my noose to try to catch her for photos, but when I returned I saw that she had joined a male and another female, so I put down the noose and got out the video camera and got lots of video of them basking together, moving around, lifting their tails, doing push-ups, running off to sunnier spots then returning, and even what looks like snuggling and cuddling, if you're into anthropomorphism. I condensed about 40 minutes of activity into three short videos.

I have added a description of the recent split of the Desert Tortoise into two species, separated by the Colorado River. This adds a second species of tortoise to the Arizona list, but doesn't change anything in California except the common name, which nobody is every going to use: Agassiz's Desert Tortoise. I really really dislike naming species with a possessive proper name. Unless it's mine. Gary's Slimy Salamander, anyone?

A short video of the Western Black-headed Snake that Stuart Young found when we were night walking in the desert. I must have walked right past that thing...

Video of a defensive and striking San Diego Gophersnake.

I've put up videos of a couple of Rosy Boas from May.   What? You want me to call them Northern Three-lined Boas? Never...

Some video of an interaction between a male and a female Great Basin Fence Lizard wherein yet another male lizard is rejected. They have to score sometime...

A couple of new videos of a Northern Watersnake I found with Richard Porter in Placer County.

Some Mojave Sidewinders from Inyo County, including video.

Some California Glossy Snakes from San Diego County.

Some Chuckwallas from Inyo County.

A Panamint Rattlesnake from Inyo County.

A good comparison shot of a Northern Sagebrush lizard basking on a rock next to a Great Basin Fence Lizard and some other new pics of GB Fence lizards.

A Long-nosed Leopard Lizard let the video camera get right in its face in Inyo County.


Lately I've been modifying and making a bunch of new additions to my Photos From the Field Page, which is becoming one of my favorites.

A big colorful Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard from Inyo County.

A colorful adult Kern Plateau Slender Salamander and a group of 3 Western Sagebrush Lizards spotted nearby basking together, including two gravid females and a male. Who says lizards aren't cute? I took a lot of video of them interacting and cuddling but it will take some time before I can get it edited. They became used to my presence and eventually came up to within a few feet of me. I thought they were curious about me until I realized their spot was becoming shaded and they were only coming up to me because my area was still in the sun.

A Great Basin Gopher Snake and a big California Kingsnake found on a road at night in Inyo County.

I finally edited a short video of a Great Basin Spadefoot (spade footage, according to Richard Porter :) that I found back in April that slowly buried itself in the sand to get away from a couple of frog nerds with cameras.

Debbie Frost watched a pair of Great Basin Gopher Snakes mate in her Lassen County yard, then photographed one of them eating a kangaroo rat. Lucky for us she had her camera.

Daniel Harris saw a lizard run under a rock and lifted the rock to find out that it ran right into the coils of a juvenile Pacific Gopher Snake and sent in a couple of pictures.

Martin Nicolous sent in a picture of a Pacific Gopher Snake that he found way out on the Berkeley Marina where a park was build on land fill. There's not a lot of undeveloped land out there, but somehow the snakes are still there.

Beverly Gandall found some Great Basin Fence lizards at a park on the Orange County coast that had yellow on the sides and armpits, not the typical coloring for this species.

I have been adding lots more pics and videos of Southern California herps:

A video of a defensive Baja California Lyresnake striking.
A video of a Long-nosed Snake defensively coiling and smearing itself with blood.
A bizarre-looking African Clawed Frog tadpole, with two feelers that make it look something like a catfish.
Several Peninsular Leaf-toed Geckos, found one night while spotlighting rocks.
A Southern Pacific Rattlesnake with its tracks on the road.
A Granite Night Lizard with some video of some lizards out on rocks at night.
A San Diego Gopher Snake with its tracks on the road.
A couple of nice Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnakes from Imperial County.
A Western Black-headed Snakethat Stuart Young found in a sandy wash one night while we were walking a rocky desert hillside.
Two San Diego Ring-necked Snakes found stretched out on a dirt road in the morning (including video).
A juvenile Coast Horned Lizard.
A couple of Red-Diamond Rattlesnakes.
A Long-nosed Leopard Lizard from some Imperial County sand dunes.
In a short video, a male Baja California Brush Lizard is noosed by Stuart Young, then put back on his rock.
a Colorado River Tree Lizard. Now that I finally photographed this subspecies, I'm sure they'll decide to sink all the subspecies...
a Long-tailed Brush Lizard that was basking on top of a tumbleweed in the 95 degree heat;.
a beautiful Rosy Boa (Northern Three Lined Boa...) from Black Mountain in Imperial County along with a captive female from there that Stuart Young let me photograph (I've also put up a few pictures of some of his other locality boas).
a Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake from Black Mountain in Imperial County (including video).
a Sonoran Gophersnake from Imperial County;
a huge Desert Blind Snake from Imperial County (with video). This guy was just oozing slime....
a Colorado Desert Sidewinder with some cool video of it sidewinding and lunging.
a Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake with very little red from Imperial County.
a huge Desert Threadsnake found on the road one night in Imperial County.
a Long-tailed Brush Lizard found at night on a bush in San Diego County.
a Peninsular Banded Gecko from San Diego County.
a Coast Patch-nosed snake - (with video) I wish I'd found it, but it was found by Tim Burkhardt who made sure it didn't get away before I photograph it. That was the only San Diego County herp he hadn't yet seen, so I'm glad he got it, but now it's my turn!

Stuart Young sent in pics of a juvenile Baja Collared lizard and a nice colorful breeding female Mearn's Rock Lizard.

I put the video camera on the dashboard one night while road cruising and eventually a Baja California Lyre Snake showed up on the road. I cut together a short video of the experience, so you can herp vicariously (minus the loud music and hours of boredom, which I left out.) It might look like I stopped in the middle of the road, but actually I drove ahead and parked safely before running back to film the snake from closer up.

New pics of a couple of Arizona lizards - a huge male Sonoran Collared Lizard who let me get really close, and a little juvenile that I discovered resting in the shade a couple of feet from where I was standing, and a juvenile Regal Horned Lizard.


Mark Hilands sent in a picture of a neonate Coast Patch-nosed snake he found in Santa Clarita, which was photographed by Andreas Kettenburg.

Last year he sent in a juvenile Western Red-tailed Skink from the Kingston Mountains, this year Keith Condon found an adult male with breeding colors.

Brian Hinds sent in a picture of a very nice San Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake.

Naomi Schiff sent in a picture of a pair of California alligator lizards she saw paired up and rolling down a hill in the East Bay. That would make my hike...

Lauren Tyson found a pair of California Toads in amplexus in her pond in Riverside County and sent in a pic for ID. May seems late for this, but maybe they're just practicing...

A couple of videos of Granite Spiny Lizards - a male and female interacting, and a male doing his territorial push-up display. When I was a kid, I used to catch these very wary lizards by hand, but now I can't seem to get closer than 50 feet before they run away so I have to use digital zoom and settle for a fuzzy picture. It also didn't help that the wind was blowing so hard, I could hardly keep the camera still on the tripod.

Lots of new pictures of herps from San Diego and Imperial Counties:
Northern Desert Night Snake
; (including video).
Leaf-nosed Snake (including video);
Colorado Desert Sidewinder;
Northern Three-lined Boa (I'll never get used to this new name);
Baja California Lyresnakes (including video);
Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (including video);
Peninsular Banded Gecko;
Peninsular Leaf-toed Gecko (including video);
Desert Banded Gecko;
and Mediterranean Gecko (including video).

Speaking of Rosy Boas, I've added new pics of 5 different snakes seen recently.

I have changed the Rosy Boa taxonomy to what seems to be the latest accepted 2-species taxonomy that is bound to anger all the rosy enthusiasts out there... And, I've heard that there is another change in the works...

I have added a new alien snake to the California list - the Brahminy Blindsnake, which was recorded and documented in the December 2010 Herp Review.

Edgar Ortega of the Central Valley Herpetological Society sent in a picture of an alien watersnake found in the valley near Manteca. This could be the beginning of what some have feared would happen - the spread of Nerodia into the irrigation canals of the valley.

I've been working on a section about herps found on California's major islands for a while now and I've decided it's finished enough. It needs some work, and some visits to a few more islands, but the list is fun.

Debbie Frost sent in some pictures of a rarity on this site - a Northern Desert Horned Lizard found near Honey Lake in Lassen County. She was able to get close to it and watch it run towards her to catch a fly. They like more than just ants, it seems.

Ben Witzke contributed some pictures of an awesome green patternless Northern Pacific Rattlesnake that almost matches the intense green color people have told me they've seen.

New videos of a Garden Slender Salamander, a Clouded Salamander, a Two-striped Gartersnake, Monterey Ensatina, Sharp-tailed snakes, California Red-sided Gartersnake, Mountain Gartersnake, Santa Cruz Gartersnake, Oregon Alligator Lizard, a juvenile Red Racer, and a California Legless lizard detached tail to add to my lizard tail tragedy hall of shame.

New video of some very confused California Red-legged frogs in amplexus with California Toads intead of female frogs, including the sounds of their release calls.

First Blindsnakes was changed to Threadsnakes, now Leptotyphlops has been changed to Rena. I'm just followin' orders.

Just in time for the summer blockbuster season, comes an exciting video of a Northwestern Fence Lizard taking a dump off the edge of a fence, aimed right at me, and followed with an in-your-face push-up display. Everybody's a critic...

Owen Holt contributed some pictures of Western Sagebrush Lizards from the Santa Cruz Mountains.

William Flaxington contributed some great pics of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains lineage of California Legless Lizard.

Katie Drexhage sent in some pics of a very cool dark morph Two-striped Gartersnake from San Luis Obispo County with no stripes or spots.

Holly Lane watched two male Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes wrestling over a female and sent in some pics. Some day maybe I'll stumble on the combat dance....

New pics of some very cool black and blue Puget Sound Gartersnakes.

Nick Esquivel contributed pics of a Coast Mountain Kingsnake and a Sierra Mountain Kingsnake.


Amber Carson got some great close pictures of a lizard in her yard that is usually difficult to approach - the Granite Spiny Lizard.

New pics of some Northwest salamanders - a beautiful yellow Van Dyke's, a Western Red-backed Salamander, and a couple of Larch Mountain salamanders.

Richard Porter sent in pictures of a California Kingsnake from Yolo County with lots of yellow bands.

Nick Esquivel contributed some pictures of a couple of patternless herps - a California Toad and a San Francisco Alligator Lizard that appears to be amelanistic.

Lara hartley let me use some outstanding pictures she took of two male Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnakes in combat. I wish I'd been there to see it...

Check out the french fries bag with a rough-skinned newt on it. David Felize found at Burgerville in Portland and sent me a picture of it. They like newts and give their employees cheap health insurance. Where do I apply?

Some new pics of a Clouded Salamander, a Siskiyou Mountains Salamander, and an Oregon Slender Salamander.

Laura Najaf-abadi found two Mountain Garter Snakes mating in her yard and sent in a picture.

Richard Porter and I spent a productive day herping the bottom of the Sierra Nevada foothills in Placer County, finding a huge adult non-native Northern Watersnake, Sharp-tailed Snakes, a nice Mountain Garter Snake with a bright yellow dorsal stripe, and a juvenile Northern Pacific Rattlesnake.

I've added pictures of a nice big heavily-spotted Arboreal Salamander from Monterey Bay, a juvenile SF Alligator lizard from the same area.

April has been Legless Lizard month for me. I photographed one in Bakersfield with the reddish underside, which might be a unique taxa when more is published about them, a black one from the Monterey Bay, and one in Riverside county that dropped its tail just to make me sick and promise that I'll never pick up another frightened lizard ever again. (Until the next one comes along...)

I've added new pictures of California Newts from LA County, Black-bellied Slender Salamanders, a pretty little Pacific Ring-necked Snake found in wet woods while looking for salamanders, like the Yellow-Eyed Ensatina I found, some Western Spadefoot tadpoles I stumbled upon in Riverside County, a little Desert Glossy Snake that defecated on camera, and a huge beautiful Garden Slender Salamander in LA County.

My quest this year to videotape calling and amplexing CA Red-legged Frogs and to get pictures of their eggs was partly successful. I found some eggs, and some amplexing males - only the males were all amplexing California Toads... Maybe next year.... I also got some video and sound of a male giving his release call while being mobbed by a couple of toads which I'll put up some day when I get to it.

Richard Porter found and photographed a couple of the introduced Northern Water Snakes in Roseville.

Brian Blackwelder found a pair of Mohave Rattlesnakes in the Antelope Valley during the wildflower bloom. Poppy watchers beware...

Another pair of mating San Diego Alligator Lizards from Jason Rosenberg.

Brad Sillasen and Will Flaxington sent in pics of a Baja California Lyre Snake they found west of the Providence mountains, showing that it is the lyrophanes subspecies, not the lambda.

Will Flaxington sent in pics of Guadalupe Canyon, a rugged isolated locality for the Desert Slender Salamander.

More name changes - I've merged the Western Pond Turtles subspecie, dropped the subspecies of S. magister and elevated Taricha sierrae to full species following the latest SSAR taxonomy, which is now being changed online instead of every few years. This makes keeping up even harder.

Some nice new pics of Gregarious Slender Salamanders.


Richard Porter contributed pics of a Western Yellow-bellied Racer with some nice red coloring.

Domiane Forte sent in a nice picture of her 6-year-old herper holding a San Diego Alligator Lizard with its jaws around a potato bug.

No more "Nastycophis" and no more Barred Spiny Lizards: I have finally made the change from Masticophis to Coluber and split Sceloporus magister uniformis into S. m. magister and S. uniformis. These changes were past of the 2008 SSAR species list that I did not adopt due to skepticism and the fact that it takes me hours to make these seemingly simple changes. And there are a few more to make because now they've changed Leptotyphlops, Lichanura, Taricha torosa, and others, including S. magister again. Doh!

New pics of Baja California Treefrog eggs. Now I need tadpoles. I never bothered to get any because I thought I had them completely covered - until they split them into 3...

Special Animals List January 2011 updates were made. Very little has changed, most notably the candidate listings for Rana muscosa and Rana sierrae

I have revise d the California species lists to a slightly different format. I'm not sure it's the best one yet. At some point I might try just organizing them alphabetically by genus instead of alphabetically by family, then genus.

Joe DiDonato let me use several great pictures of California Tiger Salamander eggs and larvae, including an unusually light larva and one poor larva caught by a giant water bug. That's one that won't ever leave the pond... and some pictures of California Red-legged Frog tadpoles and larvae, including some nice comparison shots with Pseudacris tadpoles.

Mark Gary sent in a wonderful comparison shot of the eggs of 3 species of frogs in a small pond in Contra Costa County - California Red-legged Frog, Sierran Treefrog, and California Toads along with some other shots of CRLFs.

The best way to counter the evil message of the legend of St. Patrick on his saint's day is to go out and find some snakes. (Bar hopping and drinking a few pints are a close second.) This year gave me looks at a couple of San Diego Mountain Kingsnakes and a Two-striped Gartersnake. (I wonder if there's a snake removal service somewhere called St. Patrick's...)

Some new pictures and video of some of the southern blotched ensatinas - Large-blotched Ensatina and Yellow-blotched Ensatina.

Michael G. Starkey with Save the Frogs sent in a picture of a male California Red-legged Frog attempting to breed with an American Bullfrog, illustrating another troubling conservation problem for these already beleagured frogs.

More new pics and videos of a San Diego Alligator Lizard, Western Red-tailed Skinks, San Joaquin Fence Lizards, and some video of a calling male Baja California Treefrog.

Brian Hinds donated pics of two unusually colored Mohave Shovel-nosed snakes.

I've revised my herp regulations page to include the 2011 regulations. Basically, they're exactly the same as they have been for years, old taxonomy and all.

I have added a bunch of new pictures and video of Sierra Newts in and out of breeding ponds, along with some recently-laid eggs, and pictures of a tiny juvenile Sierra Nevada Ensatina, and some Sequoia Slender Salamanders.

Another pair of courting San Diego Alligator Lizards courtesy of Bret Gross and his iPhone camera.

March starts out with a couple of nice Gabilan Mountains Slender Salamanders, some Santa Lucia Mountains Slender Salamanders, and a couple of Monterey Ensatinas.

After a lot of work, which I hope never to have to repeat, I have finally changed some frog scientific names to reflect the Amphibian tree of life changes that were made a few years back. Bufo to Anaxyrus, etc. I still don't like them, but you can't fight progress forever. It seems like they have been well accepted now, although since AmphibiaWeb still does not use them, I'm still skeptical. Here's the new Frogs List.


Oscar Johnson sent in a wonderful addition to the site - a picture of an Arboreal Salamander from Southeast Farallon Island. They were once considered a separate subspecies, but no more, because of their heavy spotting, and this one does have a lot of spots.

It's that time of year again, so I've added a few new salamander pictures: Larch Mountain Salamander, Painted Ensatina, Del Norte Salamander, Black Salamander, Limestone Salamander, Hell Hollow Slender Salamander, Arboreal Salamander , breeding Rough-skinned Newts, Oregon Ensatina, and Yellow-eyed Ensatina, along with a juvenile San Francisco Alligator Lizard, juvenile and adult California Alligator Lizards, California Toads, and a Northern Rubber Boa.

Natalie McNear contributed pics of a very cool and very dark Northern Rubber Boa with a dark orange belly.
Chad Lane let me use his picturse of a patternless Side-blotched Lizard from San Joaquin County, a California Night Snake from Calaveras County, and a Hell Hollow Slender Salamander.

James Rexroth sent in pics of California Tiger Salamander and California Red-legged Frog from San Joaquin County.

Brian Hinds sent in a picture of an unusually pale and spotted Desert Night Snake.

February is breeding season for a number of amphibians in the Northwest and I've been snooping around some breeding ponds:

After going out on a number of cold and rainy nights to a breeding pond during a few Februarys, hoping to get some shots of the nocturnal breeding activity of Western Long-toed Salamanders, this year I succeded... sort of. I'd seen salamanders and eggs in the water before, but this year I saw a couple of females laying eggs on two different nights, and got a short look at what looked like courtship behavior. It seems like they do that under the cover of leaves, so it would be very difficult to film it outside of an aquarium. Not to mention that the lights I need to see and film them scare them away. (But still make the video dark and grainy. Diurnal newts are so much easier...) At any rate, I've added several videos of some salamanders and their eggs in and out of the water, including the females laying eggs, and even a still shot of the eggs on a stick after one female left.

Northwestern Salamanders have been breeding, also. I've added two videos of a breeding pond with eggs and some views of a paedomorph (adult with gills) take during a night survey of the pond when we saw several paedomorphs and some mature larvae, but no transformed adults.

Brian Hubbs commanded me to put up a picture he just took of a bunch of basking Southern Pacific Pond Turtles in Santa Barbara County. I know better than to disobey the Kingsnake. (Or to forget to remind you to buy his books.)

Tess Prenger sent in a picture from February 8th of some early San Diego Alligator lizard mating.


Stuart Young sent in a picture of a Desert Banded Gecko with small spots instead of bands from Imperial County. I've heard the looked like this out by the sand dunes. And a striped intergrade glossy snake, and a comparison of the undersides of male and female Black-tailed Brush Lizards.

Steven Krause sent in some pictures of a nice dark Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake that he found one summer in dark lava fields in San Bernardino County. It reminds me of chocolate. Maybe I just need to have some lunch.

Stuart Young and his kids noosed some nice male Cope's Leopard lizards last summer down by the border and sent in some pics.
He also sent in pics of an Arroyo Toad, a San Diego Banded Gecko, and a great shot of a Granite Night Lizard eating a spider.

A short video of spadefoot tadpoles in Arizona last summer, and metamorphosed tailed juveniles, taken over about a week, as the rain pool slowly dried up. They were probably Plains Spadefoots, but they could also be New Mexico Spadefoots. I don't know how to tell the difference looking only at tadpoles or tailed juveniles.

A video of Rough-skinned newts swimming in a breeding pool in February of 2010. Next time I have to remember to use a polarizing filter...

Bloodthirsty Oregon Ensatinas go on a vicious rampage in a new short video to start out the new year.
OK... not really - they're just as boring and uncooperative as all the other salamanders in my videos, which is understandable since they're terrified secretive nocturnal animals suddenly exposed to the daylight and asked to perform, but at least these guys moved a little bit more than most of the others.

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