CNDDB News Blog

  • July 16, 2021

July 16th is World Snake Day! Snakes (AKA danger noodles) shouldn't cause alarm. Usually it's humans which do them harm. When they see us they want to run away...or noodle along their own way. These elegant reptiles with elongated bodies are often misunderstood and underappreciated, and out in the wild, they are threatened by habitat loss, climate change, and disease.

The CNDDB is currently actively working on mapping southern rubber boa (Charina umbratica) since they are under review to be listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Other snake species that are at the top of our minds include the giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas), which is negatively impacted by the recent droughts in California, and the south coast gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis pop. 1), which has some taxonomic uncertainties that could use further research and are likely in decline due to loss of habitat in Southern California.

How can you help these lovely creatures? The CNDDB currently tracks the following 16 snakes:

  • Southern rubber boa (Charina umbratica), State Threatened, US Forest Service Sensitive Species
  • California glossy snake (Arizona elegans occidentalis), Species of Special Concern*
  • San Bernardino ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus modestus), US Forest Service Sensitive Species
  • Regal ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus regalis), Species of Special Concern
  • San Diego ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus similis), US Forest Service Sensitive Species
  • San Joaquin coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum ruddocki), Species of Special Concern
  • Baja California coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum fuliginosus), Species of Special Concern
  • Alameda whipsnake (Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus), State Threatened, Federally Threatened
  • Santa Cruz Island gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer pumilus)
  • Coast patch-nosed snake (Salvadora hexalepis virgultea), Species of Special Concern
  • Giant gartersnake (Thamnophis gigas), State Threatened, Federally Threatened
  • Two-striped gartersnake (Thamnophis hammondii), Species of Special Concern, US Forest Service Sensitive Species
  • Santa Catalina gartersnake (Thamnophis hammondii pop. 1)
  • South coast gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis pop. 1), Species of Special Concern
  • San Francisco gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia), State Endangered, Federally Endangered, Fully Protected
  • Red-diamond rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber), Species of Special Concern, US Forest Service Sensitive Species

*See our previous blog post on accessing information regarding species listed as Species of Special Concern.

If you know someone who has data on any of these snakes, send them our way! If you have found these snakes, submit your observations through our Online Field Survey Form. Together, we can help fill in knowledge gaps to better represent these species and assist with conservation.

A rattlesnake coiled up in a hole
CNDDB's own Ryan Elliott recently photographed this beautiful rattler after his kids named her Vivian the Viper and scared her into a hole. Ryan tried encouraging Vivian to emerge, explaining that the kids are basically harmless, but she was having none of it!

Categories: Education and Awareness
  • April 1, 2021

A curious mind never runs short of unanswered questions. While the great mysteries remain unsolved, we can offer to shed some light on the CNDDB.

We have gathered our most frequently asked user questions and created a new FAQ page. Topics include CNDDB lingo, data submission, tools and products, subscriptions, and more.

If you take a look at the page and feel like you still have unanswered questions, write us an email and we will get in touch with you. If we get enough questions, we may address those in future blog posts and/or update the FAQ page.

Categories: Education and Awareness, General
  • March 19, 2021

A bottom-up view of old-growth redwood forest at Headwaters Forest Reserve
Old-growth redwood forest at Headwaters Forest Reserve. BLM photo by Bob Wick.

Imagine: Trees all around you as far as the eye can see. The sounds of birds chirping and squirrels scampering about. Patches of sunlight flickering in through the branches. If you haven’t guessed it already, you have found yourself in one of the world’s most important ecosystems: a forest!

Covering about one third of the Earth’s land surface, forests are incredibly crucial environments that provide economic, ecological, health, and recreational benefits for people around the world. After the worldwide successes in conservation and management that came from the International Year of Forests in 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21st as the International Day of Forests in 2012. The purpose of International Day of Forests is to celebrate and raise awareness on all types of forests and encourage forestry activities that help maintain and conserve them year after year. This year’s theme is Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being, which is particularly meaningful in California after the devastating 2020 wildfire season.

Forests are home to almost 80% of Earth’s terrestrial species, making them the most biodiverse ecosystems on land. Approximately 1.6 billion people rely on forests for vital resources such as food, medicine, employment, and shelter; even more people utilize forests for recreational and social benefits. After all, who doesn’t love a peaceful walk or picnic surrounded by beautiful trees? Unfortunately, about 10 million hectares of forest are lost every year due to deforestation, and about 2 billion hectares face degradation. Deforestation accounts for approximately 12 to 20 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and puts species that need forests to survive at risk. By focusing on forest management and restoration, we can begin to combat climate change while also securing the habitats used by endangered species and continuing to provide important goods and services for people around the world.

Here in California, we have approximately 33 million acres of forest to celebrate! Whether it is the awe-inspiring giant sequoia or the unique western Joshua tree, California boasts a variety of incredibly diverse trees and forests. Take some time to observe International Day of Forests by learning about ways you can get involved in forest conservation, visiting a local forest, or simply appreciating the trees in your neighborhood. If you happen to spot some rare California trees, be sure to submit your findings!

Categories: Education and Awareness