The Wildlife of Los Angeles

One of the great things about living in Southern California is the proximity of open space to just about all developed areas. I live in Los Angeles, and am rarely more than a 30 minute drive from a solid hike in the backcountry. Today, the hiking destination was Las Virgenes Canyon, a hilly area on the west side of the San Fernando Valley.

For much of the year, the SoCal backcountry is yellow, dry, and crunchy, but for a couple of months in the spring, after the winter rains but before the summer heat, there’s a little water and the hills are green flecked with yellow mustard grass.

On today’s hike, I encountered all sorts of creatures – frogs and swarms of tadpoles in small seasonal ponds,hawks, small mammals, and even a very large rattlesnake poking his head out of the bushes on the side of the trail. There’s nothing like almost stepping on a rattlesnake to liven up the senses. From then on, every stick lying on the trail becomes a potential snake…

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