Left: gopher snake
Top right: fence lizard
Bottom right: side-blotched lizard

Terrestrial herpetofauna are reptiles and amphibians that occur primarily on land. They can be found in all Coastal Southern California national parks and include species such as salamanders, lizards and snakes.

  • Twelve species inhabit Cabrillo National Monument and the Point Loma peninsula: Pacific slender salamander (Batrachoseps major), legless lizard (Anniella pulchra), orange-throated whiptail (Aspidoscelis hyperythra), alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata), skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus), Western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana), Southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus), night snake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha (torquata)), California kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula), striped racer (Coluber (Masticophis) lateralis), and gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer).
  • Seven species occur at Channel Islands National Park: California slender salamander (Batrochoseps pacificus), Pacific slender salamander, alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata), Island fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis becki), side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana), the endemic island night lizard (Xantusia riversiana) and Santa Cruz Island gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer). The Island fence lizard and Santa Cruz lsland gopher snake are recognized as endemic subspecies.
  • The Santa Monica Mountains has the most terrestrial herpetofauna diversity with 26 species occurring within the park boundary: arboreal salamander (Aneides lugubris), California slender salamander (Batrochoseps pacificus), Pacific slender salamander (Batrachoseps major), ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii), legless lizard (Anniella pulchra), coastal whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris), alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata), skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus), horned lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii), Western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana), yellow-bellied racer (Coluber constrictor), Southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus), night snake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha (torquata)), California kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula), mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata), blind snake (Leptotyphlops humilis), red coachwhip (Coluber (Masticophis) flagellum), striped racer (Coluber (Masticophis) lateralis), and gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer), coast patch-nosed snake (Salvadora hexalepis), black-headed snake (Tantilla planiceps), two-striped garter snake (Thamnophis hammondii), red-sided garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) and lyre snake (Trimorphodon lyrophanes).

A number of terrestrial herpetofauna studies have been and continue to be implemented by parks and their partners. Data gathered from these studies provide better information in the conservation and management of these species. Learn more about each project from the links below.