San Francisco Bay Wildlife
Wildlife of the San Francisco Bay Area

Reptiles of San Franscisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area boasts several species of reptiles, including different types of snakes and lizards. Although generally harder to see, Bay Area reptiles are an interesting part of the local fauna. The lists below include all Bay Area species including some uncommon and introduced species.

Sea Turtles

  1. Leatherback Sea Turtle - Dermochelys coriacea
  2. Green Sea Turtle - Chelonia mydas (Very rarely seen in Northern California)
  3. Olive Ridley Sea Turtle - Lepidochelys olivacea (Very rarely seen in Northern California)

Turtles and Tortoises

  1. Western Pond Turtle - Actinemys marmorata
  2. Red-eared Slider - Trachemys scripta elegans (Introduced, not native to California)


  1. Western Fence Lizard - Sceloporus occidentalis
  2. Sagebrush Lizard - Sceloporus graciosus
  3. Common Side-blotched Lizard - Uta stansburiana
  4. Western Skink - Eumeces skiltonianus
  5. Gilbert's Skink - Plestiodon gilberti
  6. California (Southern) Alligator Lizard - Elgaria multicarinata
  7. Northern Alligator Lizard - Elgaria coerulea
  8. Tiger (California/Western) Whiptail - Aspidoscelis tigris
  9. Blainville's (Coast) Horned Lizard - Phrynosoma blainvillii
  10. California Legless Lizard - Anniella pulchra


  1. Rubber Boa - Charina bottae
  2. Glossy Snake - Arizona elegans
  3. Western Yellow-bellied Racer - Coluber constrictor
  4. Alameda Striped Racer (Alameda Whipsnake) - Coluber lateralis euryxanthus (Endangered)
  5. California Striped Racer - Coluber lateralis lateralis
  6. Sharp-tailed Snake - Contia tenuis
  7. Forest Sharp-tailed Snake - Contia longicaudae (recently discovered)
  8. Ring-necked Snake - Diadophis punctatus
  9. California Nightsnake - Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha nuchalata
  10. Common Kingsnake - Lampropeltis californiae
  11. California Mountain Kingsnake - Lampropeltis zonata
  12. Gopher Snake - Pituophis catenifer
  13. Long-nosed Snake - Rhinocheilus lecontei
  14. Western Black-headed Snake - Tantilla planiceps
  15. Aquatic Gartersnake - Thamnophis atratus
  16. Western Terrestrial Gartersnake - Thamnophis elegans
  17. California Red-sided Gartersnake - Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis
  18. San Francisco Gartersnake - Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia
  19. Western Rattlesnake - Crotalus oreganus

Reptile Articles/Links


Compare Gopher Snake and Western Rattlesnake - note head shape, body thickness and tail shape
  • Nice guide, with photos, to the Reptiles and Amphibians of the Bay Area by Gary Nafis on 
  • Amphibians and Reptiles of Henry W. Coe State Park 
  • Identifying California Lizards page at This is a wonderful site with a lot of technical details about each species. 
  • A photographic guide to snakes of the Bay Area by Richard Stallcup. 
  • Identifying California Snakes page at 
  • East Bay Parks identification guide for snakes. 
  • Common Grassland Snakes of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Cindy, Dipper Ranch, Jun 2015. Good overview with photos. 


  • EPA Endangered Species Fact Sheet on Alameda Whipsnake, with detailed range information. 
  • Northern Pacific Rattlesnake Tracker, KQED Quest video story, Aug 2011. 




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Leatherback Turtle
Leatherback Sea Turtle - Dermochelys coriacea (Monterey Bay)
Photo credit Kate Cummings, Blue Ocean Whale Watch
Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle - Chelonia mydas (Southern California)
Photo credit HarmonyonPlanetEarth
Western Pond Turtle
Western Pond Turtle - Actinemys marmorata
(Shell Ridge Open Space)
Red-eared Slider
Red-eared Slider - Trachemys scripta
(Shadow Cliffs)
Southern Alligator Lizard
Southern Alligator Lizard - Elgaria multicarinata
(Alameda County)
Western Skink
Western Skink - Eumeces skiltonianus
(Santa Clara County)
Photo credit J. Maughn
Western Fence Lizard
Western Fence Lizard - Sceloporus occidentalis
(Mines Road)
Blainville's Horned Lizard
Blainville's Horned Lizard (Coast Horned Lizard) - Phrynosoma blainvillii
(Mount Diablo)
Photo credit Mathesont
California Whiptail
California Whiptail - Aspidoscelis tigris
(Santa Clara Co.)
Photo credit J. Maughn
Aquatic Gartersnake
Aquatic Gartersnake - Thamnophis atratus
(Mines Road)
California Red-sided Gartersnake
California Red-sided Gartersnake - Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis
(Mines Road)
Sharp-tailed Snake
Sharp-tailed Snake - Contia tenuis
California Kingsnake
California Kingsnake - Lampropeltis californiae
(Mines Road)

Gopher Snake - Pituophis catenifer
(Mines Road)
Western Rattlesnake
Western Rattlesnake - Crotalus oreganus
(Alameda County at night)

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