Graced with ample rains this year, the Puma Ranch is blooming with new plant growth which feeds the bugs that feed the critters and the critters that eat critters. Case in point, reptiles. Santa Barbara’s foothill canyons are prime habitat for all manner of beautiful lizards and snakes that are an important part of of our coastal sage ecology in controlling rodent populations. Most are non-venomous such as the California Kingsnake and Gopher Snake featured below, but a few like the Western Pacific Rattlesnake can be deadly so take care when walking through bush or around boulders where reptiles like to sun. And never pick up a snake unless thoroughly trained in identification and handling.