Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 18 results
Media
Image of American Bullfrog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates catesbeianus (formerly Rana catesbeiana)
Description
The American bullfrog is Missouri’s largest frog. This common species is easy to hear on warm nights when the males call a deep, sonorous “jug-a-rum, jug-a-rum” that can be heard from half a mile away.
Media
Image of an eastern collared lizard
Species Types
Scientific Name
Crotaphytus collaris
Description
The eastern collared lizard is colorful and has a long tail. If surprised in an open area with no rock crevices nearby to dart into, it often runs on its hind limbs with the forward part of the body held upright.
Media
Image of a false map turtle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Graptemys pseudogeographica pseudogeographica
Description
The false map turtle is a medium-sized aquatic species with a low ridge along the center of the upper shell. A thick yellow line behind each eye forms a backward L shape. It occurs in large rivers and reservoirs in central, northeastern, northwestern, and southeastern Missouri.
Media
Image of a gray treefrog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hyla versicolor and H. chrysoscelis
Description
Sticky pads on fingers and toes enable these two gray treefrogs to climb and rest on vertical surfaces. In fact, you might occasionally see one resting quietly on the siding of your house, if you live near suitable treefrog habitat!
Media
Image of a great plains toad
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anaxyrus cognatus
Description
Unlike other true toads in Missouri, the Great Plains toad has a raised hump (called a “boss”) between the eyes. Look for it along the Missouri River floodplain, from the Iowa border to about Hermann.
Media
Image of a green frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates clamitans (formerly Rana clamitans)
Description
The green frog looks similar to a bullfrog but is smaller and has a ridge of skin along the sides of the back that is not found on bullfrogs. It is a game animal in Missouri.
Media
Image of a green treefrog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hyla cinerea
Description
The bright green treefrog hides perfectly among cattail leaves, where it rests until evening. Then it begins hunting for insects.
Media
Northern Cricket Frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Acris crepitans
Description
The northern cricket frog is a nonclimbing member of the treefrog family. It lacks the adhesive toe pads associated with treefrogs. The subspecies formerly called Blanchard’s cricket frog is no longer recognized.
Media
Image of a northern leopard frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates pipiens
Description
The northern leopard frog is a medium-sized frog with dark spots on the back. Two skin folds run down each side of the back. In Missouri, it only occurs in our northwestern counties.
Media
Photo of an ornate box turtle walking.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Terrapene ornata
Description
The ornate box turtle usually has four hind toes. Its high-domed shell is usually smooth on top, lacks a ridge, and is brown with yellow lines. Look for it in grassy habitats.
See Also

About Reptiles and Amphibians in Missouri

Missouri’s herptiles comprise 43 amphibians and 75 reptiles. Amphibians, including salamanders, toads, and frogs, are vertebrate animals that spend at least part of their life cycle in water. They usually have moist skin, lack scales or claws, and are ectothermal (cold-blooded), so they do not produce their own body heat the way birds and mammals do. Reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes, are also vertebrates, and most are ectothermal, but unlike amphibians, reptiles have dry skin with scales, the ones with legs have claws, and they do not have to live part of their lives in water.