Paul Ruthling (1897-1972): Los Angeles Snakes

Robert Jan "Roy" van de Hoek, President
Ballona Institute
Los Angeles, California 90293
İMarch 17, 2013

Robert "Roy" van de Hoek
Los Angeles, California
March 17, 2013
Paul Ruthling (1897-1972) was a very special natural historian of Los Angeles County. For example, he was a young man, only 18 years old, when he authored several natural history articles in 1915 and 1916 about reptiles and amphibians in the scientific publication called COPEIA. Featured here is the first article that he wrote entitled: "Los Angeles Snakes" which two years later was revised in 1917 in LORQUINIA because he discovered that LeConte's Snake also occurred in Los Angeles. Today we know the LeConte's Snake by another name as the Long-nosed Snake. In his opening sentence of his article, Paul states that he found these 14 snakes in 1913 and 1914. This indicates that he was only 16 years old and already had a keen interest in herpetology.
Los Angeles, California
February 20, 1915

The following snakes were observed within one-half day's walk of the city of Los Angeles during the years 1913 and 1914:
1.- Rosy Boa, Lachinura roseofusca. (Cope)
2.- Pacific Bull Snake, Pituophis catenifer. (Blainville)
3.- Boyle's King Snake, Ophibolus getulus boylii. (Baird & Girard)
4.- Coral King Snake, Ophibolus zonatus. (Blainville)
5.- Red Racer, Zamenis flagelliformis frenatus. (Stejneger)
6.- Blue Racer, Zamenis constrictor flaviventris. (Say)
7.- Striped Racer, Zamenis laterale. (Hallowell)
8.- Western Garter Snake, Thamnophis parietalis. (Say)
9.- Pacific Garter Snake, or "Water-snake," Thamnophis hammondi. (Kennicott)
10.- Patch-nosed Snake, Salvadora grahamiae. (Baird & Girard)
11.- Western Ring-necked Snake, Diadophis amabilis. (Baird & Girard)
12.- *Rock Snake, Hypsiglena ochroyncha. (Cope)
13.- *Tantilla, Tantilla eiseni. (Stejneger)
14.- Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus oregonus. (Golbrook)

*Hitherto unrecorded from this locality.

Robert "Roy" van de Hoek
Los Angeles, California
March 17, 2013
In 1915, nearly 100 years ago, Paul Ruthling was very curious about all the amphibians and reptiles of Los Angeles. Three years later he would leave Los Angeles to go to Mexico, where he would continue his special natural history discoveries with reptiles and amphibians found there. A few years later he would return to the U.S. in New Mexico and then later in Arizona. The hope is that Los Angeles residents will welcome the recovery of amphibians, both salamanders and frogs to uplands and vernal wetlands at the baseball fields of the Ballona Wetlands State Ecological Reserve. This geographic area is very special habitat that is misunderstood by many scientists and managers in the government. 1