Reptiles and amphibians
I've been scared of snakes ever since I moved to California. The tales people tell spark my imagination until I shudder at the thought of it all -- a den of squirming rattlesnakes right off a main trail; boas on Mount Tam ready to squeeze a hiker to death; rattlesnakes that swim in lakes.... I decided to educate myself and got a copy of A Field Guide to Snakes of California, by Philip R. Brown (order this book from Amazon.com). Turns out there aren't as many venomous snakes in California as I imagined. I am now able to observe most snakes without screaming.
        Lizards, on the other hand, are one of the least frightening creatures I can imagine. The way they frantically scurry across the trail, and their love of demonstrating pushups, makes me laugh just about every time.

Rattlesnake
Rattlesnake
(Crotalus), spring, Mine Hill Trail, Almaden Quicksilver County Park

Garter snake
Garter Snake
, Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

King snake King snake (Lampropeltis getula), spring, crossing Alpine Road from Russian Ridge to Skyline Ridge

Skink
Northern alligator lizard
(Gerrhonotus coeruleus), Samuel P. Taylor State Park

Garter snake
Garter Snake,
Wunderlich County Park

Horned lizard
Horned lizard, spring, Eagle Peak Trail, Mount Diablo State Park

Giant salamander
California giant salamander (Dicamptodon ensatus) eating a mouse, winter, Cataract Trail, Mount Tamalpais

Gopher snake
Gopher Snake,
autumn
Loma Alta Open Space Preserve

Newt
Newt,
Ancient Oaks Trail, Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

Lizard
Lizard,
Wunderlich County Park


Link:
CalPhotos http://elib.cs.berkeley.edu/photos/fauna/

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