Holy Jim Falls is one of the most popular hikes in Orange County. During one of our treks to the falls, we came across this near dead (someone had tried to decapitate it) rattlesnake at the foot of an interpretive sign near the official trailhead.
We grabbed a stick and moved it off-trail.
This wild fast moving snake was about 4 feet long. It had very shiny scales and fled quickly to the bushes when I approached. Because the white markings were only present close to the jaw and it had glossy scales I think it is a northern black racer, though it also could have been an eastern rat snake.
We found this juvenile crossing the gravel driveway at the forest edge. It's a beautiful black and pale/lime yellow color making a nice greenish pattern. It was quite tame, tolerating being photo'ed before quietly moving back under the leaf litter (hardwood bottomland forest).
Made in San Jose, California.
Size ~ 25 - 30 cm.
Please help to identify species.
Other view of head on www.flickr.com/photos/eugenezelenko/4534883102/