Reptiles of the Northwest

This week, I am visiting some awesome friends in Northern California. I know many winter residents of La Ventana return to California, Oregon, Washington or British Columbia, so this week’s column is about the reptiles of the Northwest and how they compare with the reptiles of Baja.

As I am originally from Bend, Oregon, the reptiles of the High Desert are close to my heart, so we will start with them. The more arid climate regions of the three US states host Baja equivalent reptiles with some slight variation: racers replace coachwhips; gopher snakes lose their vibrant oranges and reds; rattlesnakes get moodier; and fence lizards are everywhere! Even the little Short-Horned Lizards are similar to the Baja Horned Lizards.

Moving on, we enter the enchanting forests extending throughout much of the Northwest. From Oregon to Baja California Sur, California King Snakes thrive for over 1,000 miles. Ring-necked snakes hang out under bark and rocks, as well as garter snakes – so many garter snakes! Exhibiting a similarly impressive show of adaptability are the gopher snakes, which range from BC, Canada, to BCS, Mexico. Little rubber boas also inhabit the forests throughout the region and are related to the rosy boas of Mexico.

Although these reptiles are all different, they share one common fact: throughout the entire West Coast, only rattlesnakes are dangerous. – If you want to talk or walk reptiles, email