Lizards, on the contrary, are to be found on any sunny day during the winter when they come forth to warm themselves after a freezing night. At such times they snap up occasional flies and other insects. Gerrhonotus scincicauda, Uta stansburiana and Sceloporus bi-seriatus are the most intrepid of the lizards that dare the rigors of a none-too-gentle climate and warm themselves in the rays of the winter sun. Up in the mountains where the snow falls during the winter, one may see the hardy little swifts (Uta) scamper about the rocks in the sun a few feet away from shady nooks where large patches of snow lie evaporating, while down at a lower altitude may be found other lizards, and even snakes at times. In captivity the lizards feed readily through the winter.
The hiding places of lizards may easily be found in the winter by overturning heaps of boards, stones, logs, etc. At that time of the year, especially after a heavy frost, they are easily captured, for they are quite sluggish. The Horned Lizards usually bury themselves in the ground, where they sometimes dug out accidentally. Snakes in this part of the country hibernate under haystacks, piles of boards, etc., but usually they seem to pass the winter in gopher or ground squirrel holes in the ground.
Between last Christmas and New Years I caught one "Water" Snake and one Western Garter Snake on a particularly warm day in a valley between the city of Los Angeles and the ocean. Near Dulzura I caught one more "Water" Snake and this winter received two small unidentified snakes from Calexico, where there is an arid tropical climate. Even in the desert around Calexico, snakes are more scarce in winter than they are in summer; though, if the truth must be told, they are not plentiful there at any time.
I have not known of any case of Clemmys marmorata - Southern California's only turtle-being found in the winter.
"... a valley between the city of Los Angeles and the ocean."
My research has discovered that in 1913, when the Lorquin Natural History Club was founded, the first field trip of the new club took place in 1913 and they visited the Ballona Valley. Insects, mollusks, plants, reptiles, amphibians, and birds were observed and collected. Young Paul was 16 years old.
My hope is that Los Angeles residents will welcome the amphibians and reptiles to the prairie-like meadows and scrub lands at the baseball fields of the Ballona State Ecological Reserve. This landscape is indeed a geography of hope that is very special with so much potential for natural history study that is educational recreation for everyone if they open their heart and mind to nature!