Endangered Species in Santa Cruz County - Reptiles

San Francisco garter snake

San Francisco garter snake

Scientific Name: Thamnophis sirtalis tetraenia

Status: E

The San Francisco Garter Snake is a colorful garter snake, averaging 2-3 ft. in length. It can be recognized by its mid-dorsal stripe of greenish-yellow bordered by a black and a red stripe on each side which may be broken or divided. The belly is greenish-blue, and the top of the head is red. All known populations of this species occur in San Mateo County, CA. It mates in early March, and lives on a diet consisting primarily of frogs, toads, immature newts, fishes and occasional small mammals.

Habitat: Near freshwater marshes, ponds, and slow-moving streams; upland areas near pond/marsh habitat are important in fall and winter. Marshes provide important feeding and breeding habitat; often basks on floating algae or rush mats or on grassy hillsides near drainages and ponds; seeks cover in bankside vegetation such as cattails, bulrushes, and spikerushes, and in rodent burrows.

Threats: Urbanization has destroyed most prime habitat, leaving highly fragmented populations.

To Learn More:

  • CA Dept. of Fish and Game
    Provides status notes (including distribution, habitat and breeding) about the rare, threatened, and endangered animals and plants of California.
  • CalPhotos Database
    Enter species name, common or scientific, in search box to access browseable photographs on the species.
  • NatureServe Explorer
    Enter species name in the search box to access a detailed description of habitat, behavior, food, current conservation status, ecological and distribution data, with citations to relevant management reports.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Comprehensive page of kids' species information from the Sacramento office of U.S. Fish & Wildlife.

Last updated by villasenora on April 16, 2015

Browse by Status Key

E — Endangered

T — Threatened

CH — Critical Habitat

PE — Taxa proposed for listing as endangered

PT — Taxa proposed for listing as threatened

PCH — Critical habitat which has been proposed

C — Candidate species for which the Fish and Wildlife Service has on file sufficient information on the biological vulnerability and threats to support proposals to list as endangered or threatened

D — Delisted due to Recovery