British Columbia is a northern province, meaning there is not much consistent warmth for warm-blooded reptiles such as snakes, turtles, and lizards to live in safely. Still, some species exist here.


22 species of amphibians live in British Columbia. Many of these species are peripheral, meaning their normal range is outside of BC.  Frogs and toads (13 in total) and salamanders (9 species in total) make up the amphibian population.

A person is most likely to encounter one of British Columbia's amphibious residents in the southern regions. Lakes and slow-moving rivers host most of the species, but a few have adapted to the fast water found in the lower elevation, mountainous zones. Especially keep an eye out while visiting the temperate rain forests of BC!



British Columbia Salamanders


Unlike typical amphibians, some species in BC do not divvy their lives between land and water. Tiger Salamanders, for example, spend their entire mature lives underwater. In opposition, Wandering Salamanders lay their eggs on land.

British Columbia Snakes


Nine species of snakes are spread across the southern half of British Columbia. One third of the species are varieties of garter snakes, including the Western Terrestrial, Northwestern, and Common varieties. Rubber boas, gopher snakes, and racers make up the rest of the non-venomous species present throughout BC. The only venomous snake present is the Western Rattlesnake. Arid regions are the most likely places to encounter rattlers, especially the Okanogan Valley in south-central BC.


British Columbia Lizards


Three species of lizard also inhabit South BC. Furthest reaching among them are the Northern Alligator Lizards, which inhabit coastal, mountainous, and inland plateau regions. The Western Skink generally sticks to the more arid region of the Southern Interior. Most isolated in habitat among British Columbia's lizards are the European Wall Lizards. They can only be found in the city of Victoria.

British Columbia Turtles


The largest sea turtle in the world, the leatherback, is an infrequent visitor to the waters off BC's coast. It is considered threatened in the region. Fishermen sometimes haul in dead leatherback turtles in their longline sets. Sightings date back to 1931.

The smaller, freshwater Western Painted Turtle, inhabits most of the southern half of British Columbia. The Red-eared Slider is another freshwater turtle that inhabits southern reaches of BC, including Vancouver Island.