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Amphibians on the Kern River Preserve


Mammals    Birds     Reptiles     Amphibians      Fish     Butterflies     Dragonflies     Grasshoppers    Insects including spiders

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 Watershed

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 at you?


PACIFIC CHORUS FROG   Pseudacris (Hyla) regilla   (AKA Pacific Tree Frog - Hyla regilla)


Length 1-2"

A 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. 

WESTERN TOAD   Anaxyrus (Bufo) boreas


Length  2˝-5"

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.

BULLFROG    Lithobates (Rana) catesbeianus

Common   (Introduced)

Length 3˝-8"           

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.

The 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.

It 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 original text. 

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. 

P. O. Box 1662

Weldon, CA 93283

(760) 378-2531

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.

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Kern River Preserve • P.O. Box 1662 • 18747 Hwy. 178 • Weldon, CA 93283
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This site was created on October 21, 1998. Please Email to make comments or offer suggestions.