Santa Cruz Aquatic Garter Snake

Reptiles and Amphibians

Midpen preserves are home to many reptiles and amphibians, including numerous types of snakes, frogs, and lizards. 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 inhabit many Midpen open space preserves including the California tiger salamander, the Pacific treefrog, the California red-legged frog, and the California newt.

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

Reptile and Amphibian Species Spotlight

Get an in-depth look into some of the most iconic and unique reptile and amphibian species that can be found in Midpen preserves. Click on a species to learn more about its habitat, habits and defining features. 

Western pond turtle and red-legged frog image

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. The red-legged frog also serves as a food source for the federally endangered San Francisco garter snake. 

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