• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

Reptiles

Nature and Science

California red-sided gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis)

Today there are 6,800 reptile species on earth; the major groups are alligators/crocodiles, turtles, lizards, and snakes. All reptiles are cold-blooded, and have bodies covered in dry, horny scales. Some reptiles lay eggs; others give birth to live young. Reptiles are distinguished from amphibians by the presence of scales.



The 14 species of reptiles found at Point Reyes National Seashore are found in a wide variety of habitats. Turtles utilize habitats such as freshwater ponds, streams, drainage ditches, marshes, stock ponds and the open ocean. Lizards occur in almost every habitat except the dampest innermost forest and the tidal salt marsh. Snakes prefer warm and dry environments, therefore the humid environment at Point Reyes limits the population sizes of several species.



View Reptiles of Point Reyes National Seashore species list (15 KB PDF, Adobe® Acrobat Reader® required).



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Did You Know?

Dorsal view of a gray whale breaching. Photo by Merrill Gosho/NOAA.

The Endangered Species Act turned 40 on December 28, 2013. 99 percent of the plants and animals protected by the ESA have been saved from extinction, including the bald eagle, brown pelican, gray whale, and peregrine falcon, all of which can be seen at Point Reyes. More...