Reptiles and Amphibians


Amphibians and reptiles, a.k.a herpetofauna, are a group of animals called ectotherms meaning they use the environment to control their body temperature. Amphibians have porous skin and are semi-aquatic, living part of their life cycle in the water and part on land. In contrast, reptiles have scaley skin and are better adapted to live in dry areas where water is less available. 

Jack Baldelli

These characteristics mean they are often found in a wide variety of habitats. Santa Catalina Island has a range of wet and dry habitats making it a good home for a diverse array of amphibians and reptiles. Snakes are the most abundant group of herps on Catalina with 5 confirmed species including the rare Catalina Island Two-Striped Garter Snake.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Why Do We Care?

Amphibians and reptiles play an important role in the environment as early indicators of poor water quality, predators of small rodents, and as prey for species like the endemic Catalina Island Fox. However, these species are under numerous threats including disease, worsening drought conditions, and predation from invasive bullfrogs.

What do we do?

The Conservancy is increasing long-term monitoring of these important species to better understand their abundance and distribution across the island. In 2022, Conservancy biologists initiated coverboard and visual surveys that will be conducted annually to look at changes in herpetofauna diversity.