California mountain kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata)

The California mountain snake has red, black, and yellow striped coloration.
The California mountain kingsnake is harmless to humans. (National Park Service)
Category: Reptiles
State status: Candidate
Vulnerability to climate change (More details)

Moderate

If you see this species, please share your observation using the WDFW wildlife reporting tool or email us at  wildlife.data@dfw.wa.gov. Be sure to include a photo of the species for verification and location (latitude/longitude coordinates) of your observation. 

In Washington, the California mountain kingsnake occurs at the northern extreme of its range and the population is isolated from the rest of its range by approximately 200 miles. The species’ range in Washington is small with few individuals documented. They occur in the Columbia River Gorge in an area of the state that is likely to see increased development and vehicular traffic over the next decade.

Climate vulnerability

Sensitivity to climate change

Moderate

No information exists regarding the sensitivity of this species to climate change. Due to its occurrence in moist, typically open riparian, microhabitats in Oregon White Oak-Ponderosa Pine forest, this species may have some sensitivity to altered precipitation and fire regimes, particularly as an egg-layer with only weakly calcified eggs (such eggs are strongly affected by solid moisture levels), that result in habitat loss or degradation. In Washington, species distribution is extremely small (around 20 mi.) and at the northern extent of the range, and occurrence is isolated and disjunct from the rest of the range by 200 miles. Based its reproductive mode, oviposition or active-season habitats that become either too wet or too dry may place it at a reproductive or physiological disadvantage. Further, it may be dietarily dependent on several egg-laying reptiles (especially western fence lizards and western skinks) that may be similarly affected.

Confidence: Moderate

Exposure to climate change

Moderate

  • Changes in precipitation
  • Altered fire regimes
  • Increased air temperatures
Confidence: Moderate

Conservation

This species is identified as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) under the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). SGCN-classified species include both those with and without legal protection status under the Federal or State Endangered Species programs, as well as game species with low populations. The WDFW SWAP is part of a nationwide effort by all 50 states and five U.S. territories to develop conservation action plans for fish, wildlife and their natural habitats—identifying opportunities for species' recovery before they are imperiled and more limited.
This species is identified as a Priority Species under WDFW's Priority Habitat and Species Program. Priority species require protective measures for their survival due to their population status, sensitivity to habitat alteration, and/or recreational, commercial, or tribal importance. The PHS program is the agency's main means of sharing fish and wildlife information with local governments, landowners, and others who use it to protect priority habitats for land use planning.