Washington Reptiles

Order Testudinata: Turtles

Chelydridae: Snapping Turtles
Chelydra serpentina, Snapping Turtle. Ponds and lakes. Introduced west of Cascades, possibly established locally.

Emydidae: Box and Basking Turtles

Actinemys marmorata, Western Pond Turtle. Ponds and slow streams. Formerly local near Puget Sound in King, Pierce, and Thurston counties, and near Columbia River in Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties. Now virtually extirpated, but transplanted and recovering in a few areas.

Chrysemys picta, Painted Turtle. Ponds and lakes. East of Cascades and out to coast along Columbia River, also many introduced populations west of Cascades.

Trachemys scripta, Pond Slider. Lakes. Introduced in Puget Sound region, where now very well established.

Cheloniidae: Sea Turtles
Caretta caretta, Loggerhead Sea Turtle. Marine. Occurs rarely offshore.

Chelonia mydas, Green Sea Turtle. Marine. Occurs rarely offshore.

Lepidochelys olivacea, Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. Marine. Occurs rarely offshore.

Dermochelyidae: Leatherback Turtle
Dermochelys coriacea, Leatherback Sea Turtle. Marine. Occurs regularly offshore.

Trionychidae: Softshell Turtles
Trionyx spinifer, Spiny Softshell. Lakes and ponds. Individuals repeatedly sighted in Lake Washington, presumably introduced.

 

Order Squamata

Suborder Sauria: Lizards

Phrynosomatidae: Spiny Lizards
Phrynosoma douglasii, Pygmy Short-horned Lizard. Sagebrush steppe and grassland. Columbia Basin.

Sceloporus graciosus, Sagebrush Lizard. Sagebrush steppe. Columbia Basin.

Sceloporus occidentalis, Western Fence Lizard. Many habitats, usually wooded. Local around Puget Sound, east slope of Cascades, and Blue Mountains.

Uta stansburiana, Common Side-blotched Lizard. Sagebrush steppe. Columbia River from Douglas County southward.

Scincidae: Skinks
Plestiodon skiltonianus, Western Skink. Dry woodland and sagebrush, often near rocks and water. Throughout east of Cascades.

Anguidae: Anguid Lizards
Elgaria coerulea, Northern Alligator Lizard. Forest. Northern border of state and from east slope of Cascades west to coast.

Elgaria multicarinata, Southern Alligator Lizard. Dry oak, pine, and riparian woodland. Lower east slope of Cascades from Kittitas County southward.

Suborder Serpentes: Snakes

Boidae: Boas
Charina bottae, Northern Rubber Boa. Forest and dry woodland. Throughout state except center of Columbia Basin; much more often seen east of Cascades.

Colubridae: Colubrids
Coluber constrictor, North American Racer. Sagebrush steppe, grassland, and open woodland. Throughout east of Cascades; formerly present in Puget Sound area.

Coluber taeniatus, Striped Whipsnake. Sagebrush steppe. Sagebrush steppe. Southern part of Columbia Basin. 

Contia tenuis, Common Sharp-tailed Snake. Forest or grassland, usually in moist areas. Very local in Pierce, Skamania, Chelan, Kittitas, and Klickitat counties; perhaps extirpated from western Washington.

Diadophis punctatus, Ring-necked Snake. Dry woodland. Very local in southern third of state.

Hypsiglena chlorophaea, Desert Night Snake. Rocky areas in sagebrush steppe. Along Columbia, Okanogan, and Snake rivers.

Lampropeltis zonata, California Mountain Kingsnake. Oak woodland, often in canyons. Along Columbia River in Skamania and Klickitat counties; rare.

Pituophis catenifer, Gophersnake. All open habitats including dry woodland. Widespread east of Cascades.

Thamnophis elegans, Terrestrial Gartersnake. Open woodland, wetlands, also streams in steppe. Throughout state but more local west of Cascades than other garter snakes.

Thamnophis ordinoides, Northwestern Gartersnake. Moist woodland, wetlands, and meadows. West of Cascades and local in Kittitas County.

Thamnophis sirtalis, Common Gartersnake. Open woodland, meadows, wetlands, also lakes and streams in steppe. Throughout state.

Viperidae: Vipers
Crotalus oreganus, Western Rattlesnake. Rocky areas (usually) in sagebrush steppe, grassland, and dry woodland. Throughout east of Cascades.

Compiled by Dennis R. Paulson. Taxonomy and names updated December 2013 by DRP from Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding, seventh edition, Committee on Standard English and Scientific Names, Brian I. Crother, ed., 2012. Distribution information from Dvornich, K. M., K. R. McAllister, and K. B. Aubry. 1997. Amphibians and reptiles of Washington State: Location data and predicted distributions. Volume 2 in Washington State Gap Analysis - Final Report, (K. M. Cassidy, C. E. Grue, M. R. Smith and K. M. Dvornich, eds.), Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Washington, Seattle.