Amphibians & Reptiles

Western Skink

Only a few species of herptiles (reptiles and amphibians) are found on the refuge. This includes 5 species of snakes, the western painted turtle, 2 frog species (Pacific chorus and Columbia spotted), and 2 salamanders (the tiger and long-toed). The western skink is the only lizard species.

  • Wildlife Viewing Tips

    Kepple Overlook

    The patient observer will be rewarded with many wildlife viewing opportunities. Early morning and evening are the best times to observe wildlife. Spring migration occurs from mid-March through mid-May and fall migration from September through November. Most waterfowl can be found on wetlands along the auto tour route. A variety of other wildlife may be observed along the trails in the riparian, ponderosa pine forest, or grassland habitats. 

    Binoculars, camera, field guides, water, and a lunch will contribute to a pleasant visit. Quietly listen for calls and songs and wait for wildlife to resume their activities. Use your car as a blind for wildlife viewing and photography. Observation blinds may be available to allow a close-up view of wildlife with minimal disturbance.

  • Spotted Frog

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    The spotted frog, a highly aquatic species, has been experiencing population declines in the western portion of its range and the status of populations in eastern Washington is not well known. It is listed as a candidate for threatened or endangered status under the federal Endangered Species Act. It is also listed as a candidate for the endangered species list in Washington.

  • Tiger Salamander

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    Although the tiger salamander as a species is described as the most widely distributed of all North American salamanders, the blotched tiger salamander, the sub-species found on the refuge, has a range restricted primarily to the Columbia Basin and the Great Basin of southeastern Idaho. This species is also restricted to permanent and semi-permanent habitats especially in its neotenic form. The breeding season for most species in this guild begins in early spring (February to March) as soon as wetlands become free of ice.

  • Rubber Boa

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    This boa species is one of only 2 native constrictor species found in the United States. Its tail and head are shaped very similarly.  It burrows into large, rotten logs and is commonly found in moister forest stands.