This will be a running list of the animals we spot around our house so once I identify them I don’t have to look them up again. Forgive me if my classifications and identifications are wrong. I’m open to any corrections to my attempt at being a zoologist.

Gastropods & Worms – Animals that have no legs, with the exception of snakes.

Birds – Animals that have two legs, and generally fly.

Amphibians & Reptiles – Animals with four legs, or no legs (snakes), but with a lack of hair.

Mammals – Animals with four legs, and hair. Not counting the friends who come over walking upright.

Insects – Animals with six legs.

Arachnids – Animals with eight legs.

Centipedes & Millipedes – Animals with too many legs.

Resources for identifying fauna:


  • Seek – I’ve just started using this app, but so far it has been really useful and accurate. Take a photo of a plant or animal with your phone, and it will identify the subject.


  • Common Dragonflies of California by Kathy Biggs – Unfortunately out of print, but you can check it out from Humboldt County Library.
  • Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Peter & Judy Haggard – Excellent resource for covering the non-obvious insects. Photographs of various stages of the insect’s life are invaluable.
  • Spiders of California and the Pacific Coast States by R.J. Adams – I can’t even leave this book out around the house. Super detailed, yet whenever I find a spider, I can’t find an exact match. I prefer books that use photographs rather than drawings like this one does. Still, it’ll teach you more about spiders than most people want to know.

Web Sites

  • Worm Watch – Indispensable for identifying those squiggly underground worms.
  • Bug Guide – Easy to use identification for insects, arachnids, centipedes, and millipedes.
  • California Herps – Great resource for identifying and learning about California’s reptiles and amphibians.
  • SpiderID – Search for photos of spiders similar to what you found, plus you can join to submit your own photos of identified and unidentified spiders.
  • Wikipedia – I usually go to Wikipedia to learn more about a species once I’ve identified it, and to get public domain photos for those I’ve been unable to photograph myself.
  • Natural History of Orange County – Even though Ferndale is a long way away from Orange County, the photos on this site are very helpful in finding the right species, especially for wasps.
  • Oregon Gastropods – We’re not too far from Oregon and have the same coastal climate so this was useful for identifying the slugs and snails.