Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 10 results
Media
Image of a cave salamander
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eurycea lucifuga
Description
The cave salamander is a common amphibian of the Ozark Plateau. It lives in caves, springs, and rocky streams. Recognize it by its normally bright orange skin dotted with dark brown or black spots.
Media
eastern coachwhip
Species Types
Scientific Name
Coluber flagellum flagellum
Description
The eastern coachwhip is a long, slender, nonvenomous snake that usually escapes in an explosive burst of speed. It thrashes when captured, which led to the stubborn myth that this snake can whip a person to death.
Media
Photo of an eastern hog-nosed snake.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Heterodon platirhinos
Description
The eastern hog-nosed snake has an upturned snout and can hiss loudly and spread its neck like a cobra. If this defense fails to ward off an enemy, the snake may thrash around, open its mouth, roll over, and play dead.
Media
Image of a red milksnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lampropeltis triangulum
Description
One of Missouri’s most beautifully colored snakes, the harmless eastern milksnake often is misidentified as the venomous coralsnake, which is not found in Missouri.
Media
Photo of a flat-headed snake held in someone’s hands
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tantilla gracilis
Description
The flat-headed snake is Missouri's smallest snake. It is found in the southern half of the state except the far southeastern corner.
Media
Photo of a northern red-bellied snake on a rock.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata
Description
The northern red-bellied snake is of our smallest snakes. It is generally gray brown or reddish brown on top, bright red or orange below. This harmless species is sometimes mistaken for a young copperhead and needlessly killed.
Media
Photo of a northern scarletsnake on a rock surface in Georgia.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cemophora coccinea copei
Description
One of Missouri's most brilliantly colored snakes is extremely rare to find. The northern scarletsnake is similar in pattern and color to the more common red milksnake but has a red or orange snout and a spotless, white belly.
Media
Image of a variable groundsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sonora semiannulata semiannulata
Description
The variable groundsnake is a small species with smooth, shiny scales and highly variable coloration. In Missouri, it is restricted to open, rocky hillsides of the southwestern corner of the state.
Media
Photo of a western ratsnake curled up in grasses under a fence.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pantherophis obsoletus
Description
The western ratsnake, a glossy black snake, is one of Missouri’s largest and most familiar snakes. Its size and dark color make it seem imposing, but it is as harmless to humans as it is bad news for rodents!
Media
Photo of a western wormsnake on a white background.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Carphophis vermis
Description
The western wormsnake is a small, two-toned snake that lives in wooded areas or rocky hillsides. It is usually purplish brown above and salmon pink on the belly and lower sides. It is found statewide, except for the Mississippi Lowlands.
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.