Reptiles of Columbia County, Oregon

Reptiles aren’t common in cool northwest Oregon but ours do have some character. All of our local reptiles are harmless, and will invariably attempt to escape rather than bite. Several species, especially the turtles and some of the snakes, are struggling to survive in our area due to development of their habitat and the introduction of invasive species like bullfrogs and bass.

List of all reptiles recorded in Columbia County

Western Pond Turtle – drab mottled head and a drab shell. This is a sensitive-critical species missing from much of its historical range in Oregon. (photo © Jeff Harding)
western painted turtle columbia county oregon
Western Painted Turtle – bright yellow lines on head with reddish lower shell. A sensitive-critical species in Oregon, though doing better than the pond turtle. (photo © John D Reynolds)
Red-eared Slider – distinct red blotch (“Yellow-bellied Slider” has yellow near the eye instead). Yellowish bottom shell. An introduced species in Oregon. (photo © Jon Hakim)
Western Skink – Shiny skin with stripes on side. Young ones have a blue tail. A rarely-seen species here, limited to rocky outcroppings with access to lots of sun. (photo © Jon Hakim)
Northern Alligator Lizard – Comes in many shades of dull brown. The common forest lizard, appearing in any clearing with a little sun, including backyards. (photo © Jon Hakim)
Northern Rubber Boa – Solid brown on top with “rubbery” skin. Lives in meadows but spends its time underground, hunting for rodent nests and lizards. (photo © Jon Hakim)
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake – White stripe on top that is indented on the edges. A rarely-seen garter snake in our region, preferring meadows near streams. (photo © Jon Hakim)


Red-spotted Garter Snake – Red spots on the sides with a straight-edged stripe on top. Prefers living near water where it hunts frogs, tadpoles, and fish. (photo © Jon Hakim)
Northwestern Garter Snake – Straight-edged stripes that can be red, yellow, orange, or other colors. Found in forest clearings, eating slugs and worms. (photo © Jon Hakim)
Western Yellow-bellied Racer – Beautiful bluish-gray snake has a bit of yellow on the belly. Only found in open areas with lots of sun. (photo © Jon Hakim)
northwestern ringneck snake northwest oregon columbia county
Northwestern Ringneck Snake – Slate above with orange ring on the neck, brilliant orange-to-red below. Almost never seen here. (photo © Matt Dagrosa)

Pacific Gopher Snake – Our largest local snake, yellowish-tan with brown blotches. Rarely seen, only being found in a few meadows. (photo © herpingwestusa)

Have you taken a picture of a reptile? Enter it into our “Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians” project on iNaturalist! We’re collecting data on all the reptiles and amphibians of the county for a long-term study. It’s easy to upload the photos from your computer or just post directly to iNaturalist with their mobile app.

Columbia County Reptiles and Amphibians oregon

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