A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California

New Additions in 2016


observation link

These are some of the new pictures, sounds, and video that I have added to the site in 2016.
Most of these come from other photographers who I want to thank. I don't list everything that I add myself.

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, but most of them are usually put at the bottom of the gallery of thumbnails.
The most recent additions to the site are on top of the list below.
The list of additions to the site in 2015 can be seen here.


Tim Valentine sent in some more pics of Moorish Geckos from San Diego County.

Adam Clause contributed a bunch of great pictures from Mono County - Great Basin Whiptail, Desert Banded Gecko, Panamint Alligator Lizard, Desert Night Lizard, Panamint Rattlesnake, Northern Desert Nightsnake, Southwestern Thread Snake, Mohave Patch-nosed Snake.

Jared Heald sent in pics of an Arboreal Salamander and its habitat from an unusually open treeless location in Stanislaus County.

James Maughn contributed pictures of a very dark, maybe melanistic, Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander.


Pictures of a very colorful Mearns' Rock Lizard from the northern edge of their range in Riverside County from Lou Hamby.

An Arboreal Salamander from San Jose from John Roberts.

New pictures of Pacific Gopher Snakes from Tim Iddings and Belinda Sikes.

Grayson Sandy sent in pictures of some of the Northwest Lineage forms of Black Salamanders from Humboldt County, including one in a defensive pose that I did not know was used by any of the Aneides salamanders.

Lou Silva contributed pictures from an amphibian census in Sonoma County of a California Red-legged Frog, a Rough-skined Newt Larva, and an adult Rough-skinned Newt being attacked by a predatory diving beetle.

Tony Kurz contributed a picture of a Smith's Black-headed snake from Tulare County.

Huck Triggs sent in a picture of a Coloado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard from a county not yet represented here - San Diego. I've seen them there, just never could get any decent pictures.

Kim Orta and Adrian Sotomayor sent in a picture of a rattlesnake from near Idyllwyld for ID that turned out to be one of the very dark Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes known from that area.


Zach Lim contributed a picture of a very dark San Francisco Gartersnake he saw in Santa Cruz County, about as far south as they go.

Jay Selman is either one of the luckiest or unluckiest people in Orange County, depending on your perspective, since he regularly finds Red Diamond and Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes on his property, including a recent Southern Pacific Rattlesnake on his doorstep of which he contributed a picture. The snakes are lucky because he simply moves them to another location.

Mark Mendelsohn contributed some NPS pictures of a Two-striped Gartersnake eating a California Treefrog.

An anonymous contributer sent in a picture of a Long-nosed Snake from Bakersfield, the first example of this species from the southern part of the eastern San Joaquin Valley on this site.

Madeline Hyman sent in a picture of a Western Black-headed Snake she was fortunate to see crossing a hiking trail in the morning in Brentwood.

Jennifer Rosta sent in a picture of a baby Desert Banded Gecko found in her greenhouse.

Jeff Hopkins contributed a picture of a Coast Gartersnake with no red coloring from Santa Barbara County about a half mile from the ocean.

Rachel Sowards Thompson contributed a picture of an Oregon Gartersnake basking on a rock in the Eel River.

Bill Bachman contributed some pictures of a defensive Red Diamond Rattlesnake and habitat.


Paul McClenahan sent in pictures of a juvenile Greater Brown Skink, something new for the site.

Mark Mendelsohn contributed his NPS pictures of a Two-striped Gartersnake eating a tadpole. People send me lots of pictures of gartersnakes eating fish, but few people seem to photograph the snakes eating tadpoles.

I have put up a video of a Gray Ratsnake in Tennessee that crawls away slowly, then buzzes its tail in the dry leaves to scare me away, letting me get close-ups of its tail as it crawled off.

Andy Klotz contributed a picture of a colorful Granite Night Lizard with an interesting dark-phase pattern.

Zach Lim contributed pictures of a blue Northwestern Gartersnake from Washington, an Aquatic Gartersnake intergrade from almost as far south in Marin County as you can get, and a dark Northern California Legless Lizard from Santa Cruz County.

Mike Pecora and Patrick Briggs both contributed pictures of Common Sharp-tailed Snakes from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the middle of Fresno County, which adds a new location to the range map, and might represent a range extension if they care to follow that up.

Kiahna Garcia contributed a picture of a small juvenile Red Racer, something I didn't have a picture of, from Orange County.

I have added another new alien lizard to the California state list. It's a hybrid of two species of all-female whiptails found in Arizona and New Mexico and Mexico which has been called Aspidoscelis flagellicauda x Aspidoscelis sonorae Complex (Gila Spotted Whiptail x Sonoran Spotted Whiptail). They have been found in Orange County around Irvine for a couple of years in at least three different locations and they appear to be spreading.

Pics of a nearly colorless Northern Pacific Rattlesnake from Humboldt County.

Kirsty Coulter sent in some pictures of a neotenic Coastal Giant Salamander in a creek along with an Oregon Gartersnake.

Patrick Ward contributed pictures of an unusually cooperative Granite Spiny Lizard.

Patrick Briggs contributed pictures of a Desert Night Lizard, a huge Pacific Gopher Snake, and a Northern Western Pond Turtle.

Lou Silva contributed pictures of a juvenile Great Basin Rattlesnake and an adult Northern Desert Horned Lizard from Nevada.

Bill Bachman contributed pictures of Boreal Toad metamorphs and a Great Basin Fence Lizard from Idaho.


Max Plihal sent me a picture of a Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake that lacks any red or yellow coloring. It looks like it came out of a black and white movie.

The new CDFW Special Animals list was released so I added the revisions to my species accounts. There were quite a few taxa previously listed as Species of Special Concern that were changed to "Watch List." I'm not sure exactly why or what that means.

I have added a new alien lizard to the state list - the Indo-Pacific Gecko, based on documentation in Herp Review last December (so I'm a little slow) of three known established populations in Los Angeles and Orange County. These girls spread very fast, but so far they have been pretty-well contained.

Mark Gary went back to the place where he photographed some Arroyo Toad tadpoles in May and photographed some of the recently-metamorphosed little toads.

I've put up a lot of new pictures taken on a trip to the eastern part of the U.S., including a number of salamanders from the Appalachian region that I was able to photograph thanks to some invaluable assistance from a guy I like to call the Salamander King of Tennessee:

Pygmy Salamander
Northern Red Salamander
Southern Ravine Salamander
Northern Pygmy Salamander
Weller's Salamander
Marbled Salamander
Spotted Salamander
Black-bellied Salamander
Yonahlossee Salamander
White-spotted Slimy Salamander
Blue-ridged Two-lined Salamander
Northern Gray-cheeked Salamander
Carolina Mountain Dusky Salamander
Red-cheeked Salamander
Long-tailed Salamander
Three-lined Salamander
Pickerel Frog
Wood Frog
Fowler's Toad
Oak Toad
Eastern American Toad
Green Frog
Cope's Gray Treefrog
Snapping Turtle
Eastern Box Turtle
Gray Rat Snake
Northern Water Snake
Northern Black Racer
Eastern Wormsnake
Northern Ring-necked Snake

Casey Moss sent in some pictures of juvenile Northern Leopard Frogs from Merced County.


I have split the California Mountain Kingsnake into two species as is now recognized by the SSAR. The two species are Lampropeltis zonata and Lampropeltis multifasciata. Please send your hate mail to the SSAR and the researchers whose genetic analysis concluded that there are at least two species within the L. zonata complex.

Jared Heald sent in a bunch of pictures of Coast Mountain Kingsnakes and some screaming red Coast Gartersnakes from the peninsula along with a Santa Cruz Gartersnake.

Jude Magann and Larry Zheng took some pictures of a Green Sea Turtle from a wharf in Monterey and sent in some pictures of that remarkable sighting.

Bo Zaremba contributed pictures of a Western Side-blotched Lizard and a California Whiptail from Monterey County and some Blue Spiny Lizards from Texas.

Claudie Inoue contributed pictures from Santa Fe: a beautiful pink Western Coachwhip, a Prairie Rattlesnake, and a Bullsnake drinking from an artificial pond.

Huck Triggs contributed pictures of a Baja California Collared Lizard, a San Diego Alligator Lizard feeding on a beetle, a San Diego Nightsnake, and a picture and short video of mating Blainville's Horned Lizards.

Benjamin German contributed pics of a huge Pacific Gopher Snake from Monterey County along with a California Glossy Snake and some California Night Snakes, all from an unusual area (for this site, anyway) - the western side of the inner Coast Range at the eastern edge of Monterey County.

Holly Lane contributed a picture of a very pretty female Western Side-blotched Lizard from Fremont Peak in San Benito County.

An anonymous contributor sent me a picture of what, by range, is probably a San Diego Alligator lizard from an area previously not on my range map in the Central Valley in Stanislaus County.

Joshua Nyhus sent in a picture of a San Diego Alligator Lizard with a huge forked tail.

Mike Ryan contributed pics of Chuckwalla and Whiptail from Apple Valley.

Zach Lim sent in pics of a California Toad, Coast Mountain Kingsnake, California Striped Racer, and a San Francisco Garternsnake emerging from a gopher hole and basking next to a Coast Gartersnake.

Bob Peterson sent in a picture of an Albino Corn Snake for ID which he let me use on my Feral Pet Herps identification page.

Valencia Orzalli contributed a picture of a California Striped Racer found in Nevada County.


Lady Li Andre contributed some pictures of a colorful juvenile Common Chuckwalla she photographed in Joshua Tree NP in April.

Ryan Sicola sent in a picture of a very interestingly patterned Sierra Mountain Kingsnake from Kern County.

Mark Gary contributed some picture of Arroyo Toad tadpoles from San Bernardino County.

Curtis Croulet contributed pictures of a Riverside County Skilton's Skink and a Blainville's Horned Lizard covered with blood after using its blood-squirting defense behavior.

Dallas Jolly photographed a very unusual striped Mohave Desert Sidewinder in Kern County and contributed his pictures.

Pictures of a pair of copulating California Alligator Lizards in Sacramento contributed anonymously.

Luke Talltree sent in some pictures of a patternless Pacific Gopher Snake from Santa Cruz County.

Tom Day sent in pictures of a male Green Anole displaying his dewlap and a picture and video of a Coast Patch-nosed Snake eating a San Diegan Tiger Whiptail.

Will Flaxington found of one of the Holy Grails of California herping - a Regal Ring-necked Snake, and contributed a picture, the
first one of this subspecies I have from the state.

Mark Gary contributed some salamander pictures - Black Salamanders from the northwest and Shasta lineages, and a Columbia Torrent Salamander from Oregon.

Jeff Kahler contributed a picture of a big Desert Glossy Snake from the Palm Springs area.

James Buskirk sent in some comparison shots of male and female Western Zebra-tailed Lizards on the same rock.

Woody Davis sent a short video of two adult male Pacific Gopher Snakes wrestling for dominance during the May breeding season in Napa County .

Pictures from Spencer Riffle from mostly the North Coast: Pacific Treefrogs breeding, a patternless Oregon Gartersnake, a nearly patternless Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, a bluish California Red-sided Gartersnake from what seems to be the north end of the range of the blue morph, and a Coral-bellied Ring-necked Snake.

Tim Valentine sent in pictures of hatchling Blainsville's Horned Lizards and a Moorish Gecko.

Sean Kelly sent me a link to his very cool YouTube video of two striped California Kingsnake males in combat.

Laurel Rose sent in a picture of a Pacific Gopher Snake she saw crossing a path in the middle of a park in San Francisco.


Someone anonymously contributed pictures of two male San Diego Alligator Lizards courting the same female in Newport Beach.

Benjamin Martinez contributed a picture of a California Alligator Lizard climbing a tree in his Sacramento yard.

Filip Tkaczyk sent in pictures of a melanistic Northwestern Gartersnake with blue side stripes and a red-flecked dorsal stripe from King County Washington.

Ryan Sikola sent in pictures of a Southern Sierra Legless Lizard from Kern County.

Graham Garber sent in a shot of a San Diego Gophersnake he saw climbing on a rock in Riverside County.

Allen Vinson contributed a picture of a beautiful male Northern Alligator Lizard from the Sonoma/Mendocino intergrade area.

Douglas S. Brown sent in pictures of a colorful juvenile Chuckwalla and its mud hills desert habitat.

Bill Bachman contributed pictures of mating Mojave Sidewinders and a Mojave Patch-nosed Snake.

A striped California Kingsnake patrolling some iceplant vegetation on a bluff over the ocean in San Diego County.

Jeff Nordland sent in pics of Large-blotched Ensatinas and a hybrid.

Ketarah Shaffer sent in pics of a hatchling Great Basin Fence Lizard and a San Diego Alligator Lizard she found in her sink.

Some California Red-legged Frog eggs and California Toad eggs from February.

James Buskirk sent in more pictures from Baja California - California Treefrog, Western Spadefoot Tadpoles and pond, San Diego Gophersnake, Checkered Gartersnake, and a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake.

Rod sent in a picture of an almost invisible Northern Pacific Rattlesnake he came very close to at Lake Folsom.

Zach Lim found a California Lyre Snake in the Granite Mountains.

Linda Hamilton photographed an alien map turtle in a pond and sent in some pictures for my feral pets page.

Kathleen Scavone sent in a great picture of two male Northwestern Fence Lizards squared off in a territorial dispute.

Mark Gary sent in the monthly tiger salamander pond picture along with pictures of some huge CA tiger salamander larvae.


Dave Goodward sent in pictures of a Baja California Brush Lizard from San Diego County.

Another study of western rattlesnakes has concluded that there are 6 full species making the 3 subspecies found in California full species, Crotalus oreganus, Crotalus helleri, Crotalus lutosus.

Michael Phillips sent in some good pics of a San Diego Alligator Lizard.

Lou Silva contributed pics of a California Kingsnake and a California Nightsnake from Solano County, where nightsnakes just barely range. I had to change my range map to include it.

An unusual Western Red-backed Salamander with the dorsal color mostly only on the tail from Seth Erickson.

A baby speckled rattlesnake from Douglas Brown.

James Buskirk added more pics of Baja California herps - a zebra-tailed lizard, a San Diego Alligator Lizard, a California Toad, and a Baja California Coachwhip.

Frank Buechter from Germany (who has a cool web site about Malpolon, the smartest snake in Europe) sent in an update to his California Rattlesnakes Identification poster, with new pictures of the heads.

I have added the Common Coqui (frog) to my list of established California frogs, not because they are significantly established, but so maybe it will help to spread the word to be concerned about them spreading here from Hawaii and Florida. However, in my research, I discovered that while they have exploded in Hawaii, breeding far more often than they do in Puerto Rico, they have been mostly contained to nurseries and greenhouses in Florida due to their need for heat and moisture. So I am hopeful that that's what will happen in southern California, which is drier than Floridia, even under non-drought conditions.

Grayson Sandy sent pics of a pale Ensatina and a very dark black salamander, both from Humboldt County.

I was sent several pictures of a San Diego Alligator Lizard battling a California Striped Racer on a driveway in Temecula.

James R. Buskirk sent in pictures of a number of species from Baja California Norte: California Red-legged Frog, Arroyo Toad, California Treefrog, Two-striped Gartersnake, Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail.

Jeff Nordland sent in a video of Large-blotched Ensatinas on a road during a rainy night in San Diego County.

The new fishing regulations have been posted. I have updated the herping regulations page.
There are no changes from last year, or the year before....
When are they going to fix their mistakes and update their taxonomy !!?


Bill Bachman contributed pictures of a Desert Patch-nosed Snake from Imperial County and a Long-nosed Snake from San Diego.

Joel A. Germond contributed pictures of a Western Yellow-bellied Racer and two California Striped Racers from San Luis Obispo County.

Spencer Riffle sent in pics of Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander, Red-bellied Newt, Del Norte Salamander, a Northern California Legless Lizard, and a Rough-skinned Newt with an unusually white belly.

Mark Gary continues his series of pictures of California Tiger Salamander eggs that he has photographed in a pond in January, with some now from early February that show gilled embryos and eggs that have recently hatched.

I have also received an anynymous picture or a large adult California Tiger Salamander discovered under a woodpile in the Sierra Nevada foothills.


Zach Lim sent in pictures of some Speckled Black Salamanders which seem to have smaller spots than the normally large-spotted form that he photographed in Sonoma County.

Jared Heald sent in some pics of nor cal herps that love this rainy time of year - California Tiger Salamanders, Western Spadefood, and Common Sharp-tailed Snake.

Grayson Sandy sent in a nice picture of a Yellow-eyed Ensatina in a defensive pose.

Evan sent in a picture of a heavily-spotted Arboreal Salamander he found after it walked under his front door in a rain storm.

Mark Gary sent in some pictures of a large California Giant Salamander and a comparison shot with a tiny slender salamander.

Spencer Riffle sent in a bunch of great pictures - a Santa Cruz Black Salamander, Wandering Salamanders, California Tiger Salamanders from the Santa Barbara County population, two courting Monterey Ensatinas, Northern Red-legged Frogs in amplexus, a male Coastal Tailed Frog, and a Foothill Yellow-legged Frog.

The third Yellow-bellied Sea Snake of the season has been found on a beach in Coronado, only the fourth on record.

Zach Lim sent in some excellent pics of a Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander and some Santa Cruz Black Salamanders along with one of a Forest Sharp-tailed Snake.

Nathan Smith sent in pics of a very nice high red California Glossy Snake from San Diego.

Brandon Hunsberger sent me a picture of a Skilton's Skink found in suburban Sacramento along the American River. I'm wondering how far west along the river the species might occur.

Mark Gary took the monthly California Tiger Salamander breeding pond picture and also sent in a photo of one of several California Tiger Salamander eggs that have already been laid in the pond.

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