Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 13 results
Media
Image of a red-eared slider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trachemys scripta elegans
Description
The red-eared slider is an attractive aquatic turtle with yellow pinstripes and red ears. It is commonly seen basking on logs or rocks and occurs statewide, except for a few northern counties.
Media
Photo of a southern painted turtle basking on a log.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chrysemys dorsalis
Description
The southern painted turtle is small and has a prominent yellow, orange, or red lengthwise stripe down the middle of the upper shell. In Missouri, this aquatic turtle is found only in the Bootheel region.
Media
Image of a five-lined skink
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plestiodon fasciatus
Description
The common five-lined skink is one of Missouri's most abundant skinks. Adults are olive or tan with lengthwise stripes. It is often called the blue-tailed skink for the coloration of juveniles. Occurs nearly statewide.
Media
Photo of Broad-headed skink on ground among leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plestiodon laticeps
Description
The broad-headed skink is a large, smooth-scaled lizard that lives in the southern two-thirds of Missouri. It is frequently confused with the common five-lined skink, which is smaller.
Media
Photo of a southern red-backed salamander on an oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plethodon serratus
Description
The southern red-backed salamander is small and slender, with a distinct, narrow, red or orange stripe along the back that has saw-toothed edges. It hides under rocks, mosses, and rotten logs in Ozark forests.
Media
A reddish-brown salamander with an orange stripe down its back is curled on a moss-covered rock.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plethodon angusticlavius
Description
The Ozark zigzag salamander is small and slender, with a narrow, somewhat lobed back stripe that can be yellow, orange, or red. This woodland species lives in Missouri’s southwestern counties along the Arkansas border.
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.
Media
Three-toed box turtle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Terrapene carolina triunguis
Description
The three-toed box turtle usually has three hind toes. Its high-domed shell usually has a top ridge and is olive or brown with faint yellow or orange lines. Look for it in woodland habitats.
Media
painted turtle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chrysemys picta bellii
Description
The western painted turtle is a small, brightly colored aquatic turtle. The upper shell is smooth and has a red-orange outer edge. The colorful lower shell has a prominent pattern of brown markings. It is found nearly everywhere in the state except the southeast region.
Media
Photo of a northern red-bellied snake on a rock.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Storeria occipitomaculata
Description
The red-bellied snake is one of Missouri's smallest snakes. It is gray or reddish brown on top, usually with narrow stripes, and bright red or orange below. It occurs nearly statewide but appears to be absent from the northwest and southwest corners.
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.