The presence of amphibians has been well documented in the Santa Cruz Mountain Region since the 1850s. As a result of comprehensive regional species inventories, a variety of amphibian species are known to exist on many of the District ’s open space preserves including the California tiger salamander, the Pacific treefrog, the California red-legged frog, and the California newt.


District lands are also home to many reptiles, including numerous types of snake. It is not uncommon for visitors to see one of many types of garter snakes during a hike on District preserves. Other known reptiles that can be spotted on District land include the northern alligator lizard, northwestern fence lizard, and the California kingsnake.

Three species of rare reptiles and four species of rare amphibians are known to occur on District preserves. The western pond turtle is the only native turtle in this region of California and can sometimes be seen basking on logs of ponds in the preserves. The California red-legged frog occurs in ponds and slow stream edges of several preserves. Steelhead fish and coho salmon spawn in some of the streams that flow westward to the Pacific Ocean.

  • santa cruz garter snake
  • red legged frog
  • rough skinned newt