Can cause death in most vertebrates

27 March 2007


Including humans, if eaten in sufficent quantity’.
California Newt (Taricha torosa) Photo by Jessica Oster.

Others have bemoaned the paucity of their local herpetofaunae (for example here, and here). California is a large, varied state and boasts roughly 160 reptile and amphibian species1. In suburban Davis, I can hope to see maybe four or six different types of herps (excluding Connie and Blizzard). But a recent trip up to the Coast Ranges reminded me of California’s largely hidden bounty of slimy and scaly tetrapods.

Turtles aren’t really terribly diverse anywhere but seem to get along most places. Of the twelve species in California, four are introduced, five are marine, and two are restricted to the southeast desert. In Davis, I’m most likely to see non-native Sliders (Trachemys scripta) or whatever other pet species have been dumped in the UCD arboretum.

Northern California has but one native turtle species, the Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata). We were happy to stumble upon two doing their best clast impression in the bottom of a creek.


Above image links to turtle capture video

with weak Steve Irwin(rip) retread. Sorry.

Frogs and toads come up next highest on the list with twenty-five species. Of these, the Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla) is one of the most widely distributed and probably most frequently encountered anuran in the state. Nearly every campground restroom boasts at least one resident ‘tree’ frog.

Sure enough, the turtle pond had a treefrog hanging around, in this case doing her best impersonation of a rockfrog.

to come: newts, lizards and snakes. oh my.

1 – This and almost all other facts and figures from the incredibly expansive Californiaherps.com

3 Responses to “Can cause death in most vertebrates”

  1. Sarda Sahney Says:

    Great pics, thanks for taking the time, most of us forget to look at what thrives in our own backyards!

  2. Marya Effe Says:

    Aahhh the diversity of Davis! The Arboretum is similiar to a junk yard but for aquatic pets, check out Putah Creek for some cool Fish! Great job on the site!


  3. […] most toxic plants, as well as toxic animals and fungi that rely on passive delivery of toxins (e.g. newts) are considered poisonous but not […]


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