Snakes and lizards, like slugs, are popular too. But it’s a different conversation surrounding these two species. For the deeply phobic, and there are many, it must be known — right now, immediately and without delay — just how common snakes are in the redwoods and bnb, and is there cause for concern. Lizards, well, no one really thinks about lizards in the redwoods (though we do have some), but if they did I’m sure they’d freak out about those too.
liSnakes and lizards are present but it’s rare you’ll ever see one. Rarely seen for two reasons. The first is they are skittish and will scurry away at the slightest noise or movement. And the second is they are so good at blending in to their environment whether it be leaves, the bark of a tree or on a rock.
More common of the two are snakes, which are often seen in the shallow, edgewater of the Smith. In five years I’ve seen just a couple in the underbrush of people’s yards (think near a compost pile or sunning themselves in some out of the way spot) and last summer I saw a magnificent and electric red snake (red-stomached) resting comfortably on the bnb’s concrete steps to the river.
Of that snake and the dangers, an online reference states that “the red belly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata), native to all of North America south of Ontario, has a set of fangs but rarely bites, even when scared. The only time a red belly snake will bite is when hunting food. When the red belly snake is startled or feels threatened, he will flatten his body. Even if you coaxed a red belly snake to bite you, this nonvenomous and tiny snake would do very little harm to a human.” http://animals.mom.me/redbelly-snakes-dangerous-8525.html
Two other more common snakes in the area are the northwester ringneck snake and the common garter snake. Neither are much to worry about and it’s a rare trip on the trail or on the beach that will net a sighting of either. Along the riverbank the smallish snake that slithers away from you is most likely a garter and nothing to worry about.
Lizards, on the other hand are the single most common cause of death in the park. It is not pretty to be torn to bloody shreds by a five inch lizard.
Okay, just kidding. The lizards here, also rarely sighted, are most often the Western Fence Lizard or the Northern Alligator Lizard. They eat crickets. And other lizards. They are harmless to us folk. Alligator lizards live on the forest floor (not the moist redwood forest…think drier land to the east) and in trees. Alligator lizards are so danger-free that they are common house pets.
Fence lizards are smaller and like to spend their days in the sun. Look for them on sun-drenched and heated rocks by the river and, no surprise, on a fence post in the sun.