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Protecting Wildlife

Redwoods and Wildlife

Protecting coast redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains ensures that a rich diversity of life thrives here. From the humble banana slug crawling across the forest floor and steelhead trout swimming the shady streams to mountain lions roaming across vast territories and endangered marbled murrelets nesting high in the old-growth canopy, the redwood forest pulses with life.

Here are some of the most iconic and fascinating animals we support when we protect redwoods.

Here are some of the most iconic and fascinating animals we support when we protect redwoods.

Banana slugs are native to the redwood forests of the Pacific coast in North America, and you can often see them out and about when the forest is wet. Visit redwood forest parks in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and you can see banana slugs making their way through the forest floor. Just remember to watch your step on the trail! Learn more about banana slugs.


Love them or hate them, bats are an important part of our ecosystem. They help control insect populations and even pollinate some flowers. And they love to roost in redwoods. The large basal hollows (openings)—known colloquially as goose pens—that form at the base of old-growth redwoods from fire may be easy for bats to navigate. Redwood bark is also soft, with deep crags in which smaller species have been found to shelter. A great place to find nesting bats is around the perimeter of forests near waterways—bats like to rest nearby to where they hunt.

Marbled Murrelet

Listed under the Endangered Species Act since 1992, the marbled murrelet is a rare and elusive seabird, under threat by oil spills, unsustainable fishing, and onshore habitat loss. Marbled murrelets are small and chunky—they’re often described as a flying potato with a beak. For more than half the year, birds sport greyish feathers with black-dipped wings and heads; during breeding season, adults turn a mottled brown. Marbled murrelets fly over the redwoods at dawn and at dusk—en route to the ocean to catch fish, or to their hidden nest in redwood canopies. Learn more about the marvels and mystery of the marbled murrelet.


The California Newt (Taricha torosa torosa) are spellbinding little beasts—and surprisingly deadly. The glands in their slimy skin secrete the potent neurotoxin tetrodotoxin, which is also found in pufferfish and harlequin frogs. Hundreds of times more toxic than cyanide, it’s strong enough to kill most vertebrates, including humans—but only if ingested. So, as a general rule, try to restrain from eating one.

Red-legged Frogs

California’s official amphibian, and a federally listed threatened species, the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) is the largest native frog in the western United States.Their habitat must stay moist and cool through the summer, including slow-moving streams, ponds, and upland shelters such as rocks, small mammal burrows, logs, dense vegetation , and even, man-made structures, such as culverts.

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