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Amphibians and reptiles of Mount Rainier National Park facts for kids

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Rana cascadae 6092
Cascades Frog

There are 14 species of amphibians and 5 species of reptiles known to occur in Mount Rainier National Park.


  • Family: Newts Salamandridae
  • Family: Mole Salamanders Ambystomatidae
    • Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) inhabits the northwest Pacific coast of North America. These fairly large salamanders grow to 8.7 in (220 mm) in length. It is found from southeastern Alaska on May Island, through Washington and Oregon south to the mouth of the Gulala River, Sonoma County, California. It occurs from sea level to timberline, but not east of the Cascade Divide.
    • Long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum, Baird 1849) is a mole salamander. It is an ecologically versatile species living in a variety of habitats, ranging from temperate rainforests, coniferous forests, montane riparian, sagebrush plains, red fir forest, semi-arid sagebrush, cheatgrass plains, to alpine meadows along the rocky shores of mountain lakes. Adults can be located in forested understory, hiding under coarse woody debris, rocks, and in small mammal burrows. During the spring breeding season adults can be found under debris or the shoreline shallows of rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Ephemeral waters are often frequented.
  • Family: Pacific Giant Salamanders Dicamptodontidae
  • Family: Lungless Salamanders Plethodontidae
    • Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii) is a complex of plethodontid (lungless) salamanders. found in coniferous forests, oak woodland and chaparral from British Columbia, through Washington, Oregon, across California (where all seven subspecies variations are located), all the way down to Baja California in Mexico.
    • Larch Mountain Salamander (Plethodon larselli) is a species of salamander in the family Plethodontidae. It is endemic to the United States. The Larch Mountain salamander occurs in the Cascade Mountains of southern Washington and northern Oregon. In Washington, it occurs from the Columbia River Gorge to just north of Snoqualmie Pass. Its natural habitats are temperate forests and rocky areas.
    • Van Dyke's Salamander (Plethodon vandykei) is a salamander in the order Caudata and the family Plethodontidae. Like most terrestrial salamanders Van Dyke's Salamander lives near lakes, rivers, and streams under various objects such as rocks, logs, and bark. Salamanders' habitat range from wide open lowlands up to heavily wooded mountains. It is in this wood that they lay their eggs. The species is endemic to the western portion of the state of Washington, northern Idaho, and northwestern Montana in the U.S. It is predominantly located in hilly or mountainous regions such as the Olympic Hills, the Willapa Hills and the Cascade Mountains.
    • Western Redback Salamander (Plethodon vehiculum) is a species of salamander in the family Plethodontidae. It is found in Canada and the United States. Its natural habitats are temperate forests and rocky areas. Colored stripe on back changes from red to yellow.


  • Family: Lizards Anguidae
  • Family: Boas Boidae
    • Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) are the most northerly of boa species. The distribution of Rubber Boas covers a large portion of the western United States, stretching from the Pacific Coast east to western Utah and Montana, as far south as the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles in California, and as far north as southern British Columbia. Rubber Boas have been known to inhabit a wide variety of habitat types from grassland, meadows and chaparral to deciduous and conifer forests, to high alpine settings. They can be found at elevations anywhere from sea level to over 10,000 feet (3,000 m).
  • Family: Garter Snakes Colubridae
    • Northwestern garter snake, (Thamnophis ordinoides), is a species of colubrid snake endemic to North America. In the United States it is found in Oregon, Washington, and California; in Canada it is found in British Columbia. It is the most common snake in the park. The northwestern garter snake is small, with adults averaging around 36–53 cm (14–21 inches) in total length. It is most commonly found on the edge of meadows, surrounded by forest.
    • Wandering Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans vagrans) is a subspecies of the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake, a species of colubrid snake residing only in Southwestern Canada, and Western United States. Seven subspecies are currently recognized. Most snakes have a yellow, light orange, or white dorsal stripe, accompanied by two stripes on its side of the same color. Some varieties have red or black spots between the dorsal stripe and the side stripes. This snake often inhabits coniferous forests, and is relatively aquatic.
    • Valley Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi) is a subspecies of the common garter snake. It is a snake indigenous to North America. Most garter snakes have a pattern of yellow stripes on a brown background and their average length is about 1 metre (3.3 ft) to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft). The common garter snake is a diurnal snake. In summer, it is most active in the morning and late afternoon; in cooler seasons or climates, it restricts its activity to the warm afternoons.

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