"Coastal view, Cabrillo National Monument, 2015." by U.S. National Park Service , public domain
Native Herptiles Field Guide
Native Herptiles Field Guide for Cabrillo National Monument (NM) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Native Herptiles Field Guide C ABRILLO N ATION AL MONUMENT C ABRILLO N ATION AL MONUMENT Native Herptiles Field Guide About the Ecosystem Field Guide Our Role Cabrillo Guide 1 C ABRILLO N ATION AL MONUMENT About the Ecosystem Cabrillo National Monument is home to 12 species of herptiles – six species of snakes, five species of lizards, and one amphibian, the Garden Slender Salamander. Long-term monitoring of these species began in 1995 by Dr. Robert Fisher (SDSU, then USGS), as part of a larger scale study of herptile species in Southern California. National Park Service took over monitoring at Cabrillo in 2000 to continue assessments of possible decline in species’ numbers. Because the Point Loma peninsula is island-like (surrounded on three sides by ocean, and cut off by development to the north), and due to their limited home ranges, these animals are extremely susceptible to population decline and extirpation (no longer existing in a particular area where they historically were found). Eight reptile species are thought to have already been extirpated from the peninsula: Coronado Island Skink, Red Diamond Rattlesnake, Western Yellowbellied Racer, Coast Horned Lizard, Red Coachwhip, Two-striped Gartersnake, California Glossy Snake, and the Western Long-nosed Snake. R E T U R N T O 2H O M E P A G E C ABRILLO N ATION AL MONUMENT Field Guide WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? Snakes • Elongated, legless reptile without eyelids Lizards • Reptile typically with long body, detachable tail, four legs, and moveable eyelids Amphibian • No lungs; breathe through their skin 3 FIELD GUIDE Reptiles - Snakes California Kingsnake California Striped Racer San Diego Gopher Snake San Diego Night Snake San Diego Ring-necked Snake Southern Pacific Rattlesnake R E T U R N T O 4F I E L D G U I D E SNAKES California Kingsnake Lampropeltis californiae Active Period: Daytime in cooler weather, night, dusk and dawn in hot weather Description: 2.5 - 3.5' long with smooth, shiny scales; alternating bands or lateral stripe of black or brown and white or light yellow. Distribution: Southwest North America Interesting Facts: Preys upon rattlesnakes because it is immune to rattlesnake venom. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 5 RETURN TO SNAKES SNAKES California Striped Racer Coluber lateralis lateralis Active Period: Daytime Description: A long, thin snake with smooth scales; body is olive, gray, or black in color with two yellow or cream stripes on either side of the body that extend to the tail. Distribution: California and Baja California Interesting Facts: Excellent eyesight; “periscopes” in shrubs looking for prey, usually lizards. This species does not constrict, but rather chomps down on prey whole. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 6 RETURN TO SNAKES SNAKES San Diego Gopher Snake Pituophis catenifer annectens Active Period: Daytime and hot nights Description: Large snake with tan or light yellow body with brown or black blotches on back and sides; dark stripes in front of eyes and behind each eye. Distribution: California and Baja California Interesting Facts: Often misidentified as a rattlesnake because of their size and similar markings. When threatened they will flatten their head and rattle their tails. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 7 RETURN TO SNAKES SNAKES San Diego Night Snake Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi Active Period: Nighttime, dusk and dawn Description: Small, slender snake with narrow flat head; color matches environment - from light gray to cream with gray or brown blotches on back and sides; slit pupils. Distribution: California and Baja California Interesting Facts: Rear-fanged and technically venomous, but harmless to humans. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 8 RETURN TO SNAKES SNAKES San Diego Ring-necked Snake Diadophis punctatus similis Active Period: Cloudy days, dusk, and at night Description: Small, thin snake with smooth scales; body is black - gray - olive in color with orange band that circles the neck; underside of tail is bright red/orange. Distribution: California and Baja California Interesting Facts: When threatened, will flip and coil body to show off bright coloration - a deterrent to predators. Fanged and venomous, but harmless to humans. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 9 RETURN TO SNAKES SNAKES Southern Pacific Rattlesnake Crotalus oreganus helleri Active Period: Nighttime when hot, daytime when warm Description: Heavy-bodied pit viper with triangular head and rattled tail; brown - olive brown body with dark blotches outlined in white; dark barred tail. Distribution: California and Baja California Interesting Facts: Contrary to popular belief, baby rattlesnakes are NOT more dangerous than adults! This species gives live birth and hunts through heat sensing. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 10 RETURN TO SNAKES FIELD GUIDE Reptiles - Lizards Orange-throated Whiptail Southern California Legless Lizard Great Basin Fence Lizard San Diego Alligator Lizard Western Sideblotched Lizard R E T U R N T O 11 FIELD GUIDE LIZARDS Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail Aspidoscelis hyperythra beldingi Active Period: Daytime Description: A slim lizard with a long slender tail and dark back with less than or equal to six white stripes. The tail can be twice the length of the body. The throat is orange. Distribution: Southwest North America Interesting Facts: Juveniles have a bright blue tail (as seen in right photo). RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 12 RETURN TO LIZARDS LIZARDS Great Basin Fence Lizard Sceloporus occidentalis longipes Active Period: Warm conditions Description: A small lizard with spiny scales. Can appear brown, gray, or black with irregular crossbars or all black. Males have blue on the sides of belly and throat. Distribution: Western North America Interesting Facts: Their blood contains a protein that kills the bacteria in ticks that causes Lyme disease. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 13 RETURN TO LIZARDS LIZARDS Southern California Legless Lizard Anniella stebbinsi Active Period: Cool conditions Description: A small, slender lizard with no legs, smooth, shiny scales, and a blunt tail. Its back is light brown, its sides are yellow, its underside is pale yellow. There are three black stripes down its back and sides. Distribution: Southern California and Baja Mexico Interesting Facts: This lizard looks like a snake except it has eyelids and can detach its tail. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 14 RETURN TO LIZARDS LIZARDS San Diego Alligator Lizard Elgaria multicarinata webbii Active Period: Daytime; nocturnal in hot weather Description: A large lizard (up to 16" in length) with large, bony scales and a triangular-shaped head. Color is brown, gray, or yellow, sometimes with red or orange mixed in with 9 - 13 dark bands on the back. Eyes are light yellow. Distribution: Southwest North America Interesting Facts: Due to its large size and head shape, it is often mistaken for a snake at first glance. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 15 RETURN TO LIZARDS LIZARDS Western Side-blotched Lizard Uta stansburiana elegans Active Period: Daytime, warm temperatures Description: A small brown-gray-yellow lizard with smooth scales and often with dark spots or chevrons on back. A dark blue-black mark behind front legs gives this species its name. Distribution: Western North America Interesting Facts: There are three types of males: dominant males, submissive males, and sneaker males. RETURN TO FIELD GUIDE 16 RETURN TO LIZARDS FIELD GUIDE Amphibians Salamander R E T U R N T O 17 FIELD GUIDE AMPHIBIANS Garden Slender Salamander Batrachoseps major major Active Period: Humid and damp conditions Description: A small, thin salamander with short limbs and grooves down its sides. Gray above, with a reddish, or copper color on the tail, snout and shoulders, sometimes forming blotches. Four toes on the front and back feet. Distribution: Southern California and Baja California Interesting Facts: Salamanders do not breathe through lungs, but through their skin and the tissue in their mouths. R E T U R N T O 18 FIELD GUIDE C ABRILLO N ATION AL MONUMENT Our Role The core mission of the National Park Service is to protect and preserve natural resources, processes, systems, and values of America’s parks. Our philosophy is to protect, and restore when necessary, native ecosystems and let natural processes play out. Park Rangers and Volunteers document their observations of flora and fauna. Scientists conduct research to try to understand the status and trends of the species and systems they protect. This information is vital to advising park management and philosophy. Connect With Us To learn more about how you can help, visit: • NPS Website • Field Notes R E T U R N T O 19H O M E P A G E C ABRILLO N ATION AL MONUMENT Cabrillo Guide Rules for Exploration: Activity: • Stay on the marked trails/sidewalks 1. Walk around and see how many species of herptiles you can find. • No picking or taking of any items • Pack it in, pack it out - No littering 2. Observe a herptile’s behavior for 3 minutes. What do you think it is doing? R E T U R N T O 20H O M E P A G E C ABRILLO N ATION AL MONUMENT All Rights Reserved © 2017 Editor: Nicole Ornelas, Stephanie Root & Samantha Wynns Photos: M. Ready, S. Root, P. Simpson, W. Tam References: www.californiaherps.com Cabrillo National Monument 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive San Diego, Ca. 92106 WWW.NPS.GOV/CABR R E T U R N T O 21H O M E P A G E