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Oregon Wildlife Species

Reptiles


Turtles
ODFW Turtle images on Flickr | Living with Turtles | Oregon's Native Turtles Video
Western Painted Turtle
Western Painted Turtle
-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-
Western Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta

Western Painted Turtles need marshy ponds, small lakes, slow-moving streams and quiet off-channel portions of rivers. They prefer waters with muddy bottoms with aquatic vegetation. Open ground for nesting and logs for basking help keep this species healthy.

These painted turtles occur in the Blue Mountains and Willamette Valley ecoregions. In the Columbia Plateau, East Cascades and West Cascades ecoregions, they live only along the Columbia River.

western pond turtle
Western Pond Turtle
-Photo by Al St.John-
Western Pond Turtles Clemmys marmorata

Pond Turtles prefer marshes, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. They need sparse vegetation nearby for digging nests and like to bask on logs.

They can be found in the Coast Range, East Cascades, Klamath Mountains, West Cascades and Willamette Valley ecoregions. Population declines are due to habitat loss, degradation of nesting areas by invasive plants, competition from non-native turtles and disease. Predators include raccoons and invasive bullfrogs and fish.

Sea Turtles
Loggerhead Turtle
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-
Loggerhead Caretta caretta
Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle
-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-
Green Turtle Chelonia mydas
Leatherback Turtle
Leatherback Turtle
-Wikipedia-

Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea

Proposed critical habitat for this endangered species includes Oregon waters.
Lizards

Lizards are more like ancient reptiles than either snakes or turtles. There are more than 2,500 species of lizards known in the world and they range from legless, snake-like varieties to the better known, four legged type with five toes on each foot and scaly skin. Most lizards lay eggs but some give birth to live young. Most eat insects and small animals; some eat plants. Many lizards are very fast and most can swim. Some can even "swim" through the sand just below the surface.

Lizards don't like to be caught and several species will take some pretty drastic steps to get away... like letting their tails break off! Should one of these lizards be caught from behind, its tail will separate from the body, leaving the predator holding a tail that seems to have a life of its own, slapping and wrapping itself all around. With luck, the sacrificial tail will keep the predator occupied just long enough to let the lizard get away, and begin to grow a new tail. Many lizards can let their tails break off numerous times and they will just grow back. In fact, some lizards have been known to break off their own tails and eat them when food was scarce. It's a lizard's sack lunch.

Oregon has a variety of lizards within its borders. Everything from the wide-spread swifts or fence lizards to alligator lizards (which have a personality to match their name) to the dinosaur like horned lizards, sometimes called horny toads, of southeastern Oregon. But the most common lizard in Oregon is the skink. Skinks can be recognized by their smooth, glossy scales.

Northern Aligator Lizard
Northern Alligator Lizard
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

Northern Alligator Lizard Elagaria coerulea

This lizard prefers humid areas, such as the edges of meadows in coniferous forests, and is also found in riparian zones. This is the only lizard found in the cool coastal forests of northern Oregon.

The Northern Alligator Lizard eats small invertebrates (termites, beetles, ticks, spiders, millipedes, and snails), and occasionally takes small birds, mammals, and other lizards.

Southern Aligator Lizard
Southern Alligator Lizard
-Wikipedia-

Southern Alligator Lizard Elgaria multicarinata

The Southern Alligator lizard is found in a variety of habitats from grassland and chaparral to oak woodlands and edges of open coniferous forests, as well as riparian zones and moist canyon bottoms. It requires thickets, brush heaps, downed logs, or rock piles for cover.

This carnivorous lizard feeds primarily on small invertebrates (slugs, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets), but also is known to feed on bird eggs, nestlings, other lizards, and small mammals.

Mojave Black-collared Lizard
Mojave Black-collared Lizard
-Wikipedia-

Mojave Black-collared Lizard Crotaphytus bicinctores

This lizard is found in a variety of desert shrub vegetation types, but is most dependent on the presence of rock outcrops, boulders, or talus slopes.

The Mojave Black-collared Lizard is an aggressive carnivore that eats a variety of other reptiles and large insects, such as crickets and grasshoppers, as well as some plant material.

 

Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
-Wikipedia-

Long-nosed Leopard Lizard Gambelia wislizenii

These lizards are found in open desert shrublands, particularly where islands of sand have accumulated around shrubs, and are absent where a dense grass understory would inhibit their ability to run.

The Longnose Leopard Lizard eats large insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles, and also takes small vertebrates, including pocket mice, side-blotched lizards, whiptails, and fence lizards. Some plant material (flowers, berries) is eaten when available.

Pygmy Short-horned Lizard
Pygmy Short-horned Lizard
-Wikipedia-

Pygmy Short-horned Lizard Phrynosoma douglasii

The Short-horned Lizard occurs in sagebrush deserts, juniper woodlands, and open coniferous forests. It prefers open areas with sandy soils, but is also found on rocky soil.

Ants make up a large part of the diet, but beetles, caterpillars, spiders, and sowbugs are also eaten.

This lizard burrows into the soil when inactive.

Desert Horned Lizard
Desert Horned Lizard
-Wikipedia-

Desert Horned Lizard Phrynosoma platyrhinos

The Desert Horned Lizard is found in flat or gently rolling deserts covered with sagebrush or salt-desert shrub. It prefers areas with scattered bushes and loose, sandy soil, but sometimes occurs in rocky areas or on hardpan.

Primary foods are ants and beetles. It also feeds on insect larvae, spiders, crickets, flies, and small grasshoppers.

Sagebrush Lizard
Sagebrush Lizard
-Wikipedia-

Sagebrush Lizard Sceloporus graciosus

As their common name implies, these lizards are found in sagebrush habitats, but also occur in chaparral, juniper woodlands, and coniferous forests. They require well-illuminated open ground near cover and are primarily ground dwellers.

They eat a variety of small invertebrates, including crickets, beetles, flies, ants, wasps, bees, mites, ticks, and spiders.

Western fence lizard
Western Fence Lizard
-Photo by Dave Budeau, ODFW-

Western Fence Lizard Sceloporus occidentalis

The Western Fence Lizard occupies a wide range of habitats, from desert canyons and grasslands to coniferous forests. It requires vertical structure in its habitat, such as rock piles of logs. It is absent from dense, humid forests and flat desert valleys.

This lizard is insectivorous, and feeds on crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, ants , wasps, leafhoppers, and aphids. Some spiders are taken as well.

Side-blotched Lizard
Side-blotched Lizard
-Wikipedia-

Side-blotched Lizard Uta stansburiana

The sie-blotched lizard is found in sagebrush, juniper, and shadscale habitats. It is often found on sandy bottoms of washes or canyons, especially in the presence of scattered rocks.

This small lizard feed mostly on smaller invertebrates such as spiders, mites, ticks, sowbugs, beetles, flies, ants, and small grasshoppers.

Western Skink
Western skink

Western Skink Eumeces skiltonianus

The Western Skink is found in moist places, such as under rocks or logs, in a variety of habitats from grassland and chaparral to desert scrub, juniper woodlands, and coniferous woodlands and forests. Rocky areas with some moisture, such as riparian zones, are favored.

This skink feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates, including beetles, grasshoppers, moths, flies, spiders, and earthworms.

Western Whiptail
Western Whiptail
-Wikipedia-

Western Whiptail Cnemidophorus tigris

The Western Whiptail is fond in eastern Oregon deserts and semiarid shrublands. It is most common in flat, sandy areas and along dry washes.

These Lizards are primarily insectivorous. In a food habits study in southeastern Oregon, they ate caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles. They also eat spiders, scorpions, and other lizards.

Plateau Striped Whiptail
Plateau Striped Whiptail
-Photo by Maholyoak-
Plateau Striped Whiptail Cnemidophorus velox
Snakes
ODFW Snake images on Flickr | Living with snakes
Rubber Boa
Rubber Boa
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Rubber boa Charina bottae

The Rubber Boa occurs in a variety of habitats, from desert scrub, foothill woodlands, and grasslands through deciduous and coniferous forests. In the Oregon coast ranges, it is found commonly in forest clearings that contain rotting stumps and logs. It is absent from the immediate vicinity of the coast north of Coos Bay.

Rubber Boas are constrictors and eat small mammals, especially young mice and shrews.

Racer
Racer
-Wikipedia-

Racer Coluber constrictor

The Racer is found in a variety of open habitats, including sagebrush flats, juniper woodlands, chaparral, and meadows. It avoids dense forests, high mountains, and very dry areas, and seeks cover under rocks, logs, or dense shrubs

This species feeds on lizards, smaller snakes, frogs, toads, small mammals, birds and their eggs, and some insects. Young racers eat crickets, grasshoppers, and other insects.

Sharptail Snake
Sharptail Snake
-Wikipedia-

Sharptail Snake Contia Tenuis

This snake is found in moist areas in coniferous forest, deciduous woodlands, chaparral, and grasslands. It frequents open grassy areas at forest edges and usually occurs under the cover of logs, rocks, fallen branches, or talus.

The sharptail snake appears to specialize in feeding on slugs.

Ringneck Snake
Ringneck Snake
-Wikipedia-

Ringneck Snake Diadophis punctatus

The Ringneck Snake requires moist microhabitats such as downed logs, rocks, or stumps. it is found in a variety of vegetation types, but is most closely associated with pine-oak woodlands and moist canyon bottoms. It also can be abundant in Willamette Valley grasslands.

These snakes feed mainly on small lizards, snakes and salamanders and also slugs, earthworms, frogs, and insects.

Night Snake
Night Snake
-Wikipedia-

Night Snake Hypsiglena torquata

In the Northwest, the night snake frequents arid desert scrub habitats near rocky outcrops or rimrock. It takes refuge in talus slopes or rocky crevices during the day.

Night Snakes tend to feed on cold-blooded prey, especially lizards and their eggs, frogs, toads, salamanders, large insects, and small snakes.

These snakes are primarily nocturnal, and are more active on relatively cool nights of early summer.

Common Kingsnake
Common Kingsnake
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Common Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula

This snake is most common in thick vegetation along watercourses, but ranges into farmland, chaparral, and deciduous and mixed coniferous woodlands in the Rogue and Umpqua river valleys of southwestern Oregon.

Common Kingsnakes usually feed on other snakes, but have been known to take small turtles, birds and their eggs, frogs, lizards, reptile eggs, and some small mammals.

California Mountain Kingsnake
California Mountain Kingsnake
-Hoda Sondassi, USFWS-

California Mountain Kingsnake Lampropeltis zonata

This species is found in pine forests, oak woodland, and in chaparral of southwestern Oregon valleys. It is usually found in, under, or near rotting logs in open wooded areas near streams.

The California Mountain Kingsnake preys upon snakes, lizards, birds and their eggs, and some small mammals.

Striped Whipsnake
Striped Whipsnake
-Photo by K.S. Matz-

Striped Whipsnake Masticophis taeniatus

In the Northwest, this snake is found in grasslands, sagebrush flats, rocky stream courses, and canyon bottoms. Elsewhere it also frequents juniper and pine-oak woodlands. In southwestern Oregon, it is found in dry bushy areas close to rocks.

Young Striped Whipsnakes feed primarily on lizards and insects. Adults also take snakes, small mammals, young birds, and insects.

Gopher Snake
Gopher Snake
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Gopher Snake Pituophis catenifer

The Gopher Snake occurs in a wide variety of habitats, from deserts and grasslands to woodlands and open forests. It frequents agricultural regions, especially where there is brushy cover such as fence rows.

Diet varies according to size, with young eating insects, lizards, rodents, and birds and their eggs. Adults can take larger prey, occasionally as large as rabbits.

Western Ground Snake
Western Ground Snake
-Photo by Kory Roberts-

Western Ground Snake Sonora semiannulata

The Ground Snake is found in arid desert scrub vegetation with sandy soil, usually under surface objects or in areas with some surface moisture, such as the edges of washes.

This snake feeds on small arthropods such as spiders, scorpions, centipedes, crickets, and grasshoppers. It also takes insect larvae.

Pacific Coast Aquatic Garter Snake
Pacific Coast Aquatic Garter Snake
-Wikipedia-

Pacific Coast Aquatic Garter Snake Thamnophis atratus

This highly aquatic snake is found in wet meadows, riparian areas, marshes, and moist forests near rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. It requires streams with thick riparian vegetation (for escape) and exposed boulders for basking.

it takes aquatic prey such as small fish and fish eggs, salamanders, tadpoles, frogs, toads, earthworms, and leeches.

Western Terrestrial Garter Snake
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Western Terrestrial Garter Snake Thomnophis elegans vagrans

This species is found in a variety of habitats. To make matters more confusing, four subspecies are found in Oregon, each of which has somewhat different habitat preferences. All can be found in moist areas such as marshes and lake or stream margins, but tow may occur some distance from water.

The diet varies among subspecies, the more aquatic forms feed on fish, frogs, tadpoles, and leeches, which are eaten in the water. Terrestrial forms take frogs and toads, but also lizards, small mammals, salamanders and slugs.

Northwestern garter snake
Northwestern garter snake
-Wikipedia-

Northwestern garter snake Thamnophis ordinoides

This snake is found in meadows and at the edges of clearings in forests. It prefers areas with dense vegetation but, when basking, can be found in open areas or on talus slopes. It occurs in wooded areas on the floor of the Willamette Valley. This garter snake is commonly found in suburban areas and city parks.

The Northwestern Garter Snake feeds mainly on slugs and earthworms, but also takes insects, small salamanders, frogs, fish, small mammals, and possibly nestlings of ground nesting birds.

Common garter snake
Common garter snake
-Photo by Dave Budeau, ODFW-
Common garter snake Thamnophis sirtalis

Much variability in coloration exists in the common garter snake but the best identifying characteristic is a stripe down the middle of the snake's back.

While the common garter snake frequents wet meadows, and forest edges, it occurs in a variety of habitats far from water, including open valleys and moist coniferous forest.

Smaller snakes eat earthworms, but adults feed on a variety of vertebrate prey, including frogs, toads, salamanders, birds, fish, reptiles, and small mammals. Invertebrates, including slugs and leeches, are also eaten.

Western Rattlesnake
Western Rattlesnake
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Western Rattlesnake Crotalus viridus

Although they occur in a wide variety of habitat types, from deserts and chaparral to open forests, Western Rattlesnakes usually occur near rocks, cliffs, or downed logs. They overwinter in dens, which are usually located on south-facing rocky hillsides exposed to sunshine.

Western Rattlesnakes feed mainly on small mammals, including mice, gophers, squirrels and rabbits, but will also take birds lizards, and amphibians.

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