• Kevin Esser

San Francisco Bay Area

At the end of our great US road trip, we went back to San Francisco. But before flying home to Germany, we stayed a couple of days close to SF. During my work as a naturalist guide in Costa Rica, I met Tony and his wife. At the end of our great night walk back then, we decided to stay in touch and meet again in California.

So now was finally the time to team up for some herping in the Bay Area. Tony showed us different spots to look for animals and we were really successful. Besides cool salamanders and a cute Pacific Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus amabilis), we found one of the rarest and most beautiful snakes in the world: the San Francisco Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia)! A dream came true, seeing this stunning snake in the wild. After this amazing day in the field, we went to a bar to enjoy a cold beer together. Thank you, Tony! Hopefully we will meet again... in the USA, Costa Rica, Germany or somewhere else.


Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica - Yellow-eyed Ensatina
Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica - Yellow-eyed Ensatina
Batrachoseps attenuatus - California Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps attenuatus - California Slender Salamander
Diadophis punctatus amabilis - Pacific Ring-necked Snake
Diadophis punctatus amabilis - Pacific Ring-necked Snake
Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia - San Francisco Garter Snake
Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia - San Francisco Garter Snake
Happy herping team
Happy herping team

On the remaining days Samira and I went to the familiar places and also some new ones, to hike in nature and look for animals. We made some further sightings and pictures. On our last day shortly before heading for the airport, I spotted a "hard to see" juvenile Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon).


Taricha granulosa - Rough-skinned Newt
Taricha granulosa - Rough-skinned Newt
Taricha granulosa - Rough-skinned Newt
Taricha granulosa - Rough-skinned Newt
Thamnophis elegans terrestris - Coast Garter Snake
Thamnophis elegans terrestris - Coast Garter Snake
Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia - San Francisco Garter Snake
Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia - San Francisco Garter Snake
Pseudacris sierra - Sierran Treefrog
Pseudacris sierra - Sierran Treefrog
Do you see the snake?
Do you see the snake?
Coluber constrictor mormon - Western Yellow-bellied Racer
Coluber constrictor mormon - Western Yellow-bellied Racer

Our time in the Bay Area was the perfect conclusion of this tour. I was incredible happy to celebrate my 30th birthday together with Samira, hiking in nature and observing San Francisco Garter Snakes. We are already looking forward to visit the States again one day!

39 views