As a child I was enthralled with reptiles, mesmerized by the unending stare of a snake and the myriad geometric patterns and colors of turtle and lizard scales. I would spend hours trekking through nearby fields and streams in search of all things slimy and scaly- a habit I never grew out of. Growing up in the Midwest, species of the western US up until now were encountered only as pictures in books and childhood daydreams. After relocating to the west coast, much of my free-time is spent in the field attempting to catch a glimpse of the native reptile and amphibian species of central California. More recently, I have become interested in identifying and untangling the seemingly unfathomable number of bird species found here on the Central Coast. As I encounter local species of reptiles, amphibians and birds I will be posting pictures of these animal encounters along with interesting natural history facts about each specimen. There is so much beauty within the world to be discovered and appreciated; why not start in one’s own backyard.
Here we have our most common amphibian species of the area, Pseudacris sierra, the Sierran Treefrog. These little beasts tend to reach a maximum size of about 2 inches or less and come in a variety of colors and patterns that can change in response to temperature and habitat. Regardless of an individual’s chosen garb, the dark ‘mask’ through the eyes and a ‘y’-shaped blotch on the center of the head are nearly always present.
They are found pretty much anywhere capable of maintaining at least a drop or two of moisture – including downtown Pismo! Treefrogs are a regular inhabitant of my courtyard, and I derive much interest from listening to their calls and observing their patterning, much more so than a normal adult man should. I even occasionally find a frog or two indoors, to which I kindly escort them out. You ain’t helping to pay no rent, freeloader! Sit tight, soon we’ll discuss calls and differentiating males from females.