The Ozark zigzag salamander is small, slender, and dark, with a narrow, somewhat lobed dorsal stripe that can be yellow, orange, or red. This woodland species lives in Missouri’s southwestern counties along the Arkansas border.
The pickerel frog is medium-sized, with square or rectangular spots in two parallel rows down the back. There is a wide ridge of skin along each side of the back. It is absent from the northwestern third of Missouri.
An attractive, medium-sized snake of wet meadows and marshes, the plains gartersnake spends warm summer days basking in the sun or searching for food. Winters are spent underground, probably in abandoned rodent tunnels.
The plains hog-nosed snake differs from the eastern hog-nosed snake by having a sharply upturned snout and black pigment on the underside of the tail. This species has always been rare in Missouri and has probably been extirpated.
A medium-sized spotted frog, the plains leopard frog is found in pastures, prairies, and marshes. The ridge of skin along each side of the back is broken, and the small posterior section is raised toward the back. It is not present in the Ozarks.
The plains spadefoot is a stout, toadlike amphibian with large, protruding eyes, vertically elliptical pupils, short legs, and large feet. There is a raised area between the eyes. It occurs in counties along the Missouri River.
The prairie kingsnake is fairly common over most of the state. The overall color is tan, brownish-gray, or greenish-gray. Numerous dark blotches down the back and sides are brown, reddish, or greenish brown. It lives in prairies and open woods and on rocky, wooded hillsides.
This shy, reclusive, nonaggressive rattlesnake used to live in floodplain wetlands of the Mississippi, Missouri and Grand rivers, but as those wetlands have been drained and destroyed, the massasauga has disappeared with them. Now it is an endangered species.
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