NOTE: There is no collecting, fishing, or hunting on the preserve. If you see any animal or plant on the preserve, please
take only pictures and memories. Do not disturb nesting birds. Do
not go off trail.
Salamanders in the Kern River
The amphibian life in the Kern River Valley is surprising in its
diversity. Many salamander species are
found all throughout the region but none have
been reported so far on the Kern River Preserve. Amphibians
are the bridge between the water and land animals. Of the
major classes of animals, amphibians prove to be the best indicators
of impending environmental disaster. Most have extremely thin skin
that reacts quickly to environmental changes. One of the first signs
of the ozone hole depletion was the disappearance of many types of
frogs from the continent of Australia. Now many
frogs are suffering from introduced chytrid fungus,
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis which has caused massive die-offs
of amphibians throughout the world. Gauge the ecological
health of your own yard, do you have any toads or tree frogs peeping
PACIFIC CHORUS FROG
Pseudacris (Hyla) regilla
(AKA Pacific Tree Frog - Hyla regilla)
small frog with a black stripe running from the snout through and
beyond the eye. The body color can change rapidly from light to
dark in a short period of time. In just a few minutes these frogs
can morph through various hues of tan, green, gray, and brown.
Adults shelter in rock crevices, under bark, in burrows and on
streamside vegetation. Mating occurs in spring. At this time males
enter the water, inflate their throat pouches, and utter loud krack-ek sounds at one second intervals for long periods. When
numerous males are calling their chorus is deafening. Frequently
found in ponds, marshes, grassland, and even in the sinks of the
preserve cabins. This frog has a big voice for such a tiny animal
and is the most frequently heard frog in California.
TOAD Anaxyrus (Bufo) boreas
This is the most encountered amphibian
in the west. Common on lawns and in gardens. The upper surface of
this toad is dull green with light brown warts. There is a
conspicuous thin white stripe down the hack. It is most active at
dusk and at night. The small individuals hop but the larger adults
walk. The Western Toad finds shelter under rocks, logs or boards on
the ground in the cooler parts of grassland and woodland areas. If
you pick one up don’t be surprised when the toad 'pees" on you. This
toad makes a 'peeping sound', especially when picked up.
Lithobates (Rana) catesbeianus
This is the largest frog in California.
It was introduced from the eastern U. S. as a game species. Their
introduction has been the cause for the dramatic decline of many
native animals. This frog's appetite is almost solely responsible
for the threatened status of two of California's frog species.
Bullfrog is usually olive colored with a light green head. A fold of
skin extends from the eye around the large, conspicuous eardrum.
Highly aquatic it is found in marshes, ponds, and along streams.
is wary by day but can readily be found at night by its eye shine
and easily caught when dazzled with light. Frightened individuals
may give a guttural "yaow" sound when they leap into water and
adults give a deep hyung...hyung vocalization. Bullfrogs eat
insects, small fish, frogs and tadpoles, turtles, small snakes,
birds, and small mammals.
Based on the checklist written by Mark
Schroeder and published by the Kern River Preserve 1982. Designed
and rewritten by Alison Sheehey, this version retains much of the
Have you seen other reptiles or amphibians on
the preserve? Let us know so we can update our list. Do you have a
photo to share? We would love to fill in the gaps. Are you a
herpetologist just aching for a volunteer project, then climb
aboard. We need all the help we can get. Thanks for visiting.
Weldon, CA 93283
About Audubon Kern River Preserve
The Kern River Preserve is managed by
Audubon California for the preservation of one of California’s
largest contiguous cottonwood-willow riparian forests and the
wildlife it supports.
Audubon Kern River Preserve supporters provide financial and volunteer support for Preserve outreach, education, wildlife habitat protection & stewardship.