Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 5 of 5 results
Media
Image of an osage copperhead
Species Types
Scientific Name
Agkistrodon contortrix
Description
The eastern copperhead is the most common venomous snake in Missouri. Its color varies from grayish brown to pinkish tan, with distinctive hourglass-shaped crossbands.
Media
Image of a northern cottonmouth
Species Types
Scientific Name
Agkistrodon piscivorus
Description
The cottonmouth is named for the cotton-white lining of its mouth, which it opens wildely when alarmed. This dangerously venomous, semiaquatic snake occurs in the southeastern corner of Missouri, with a spotty distribution in the Ozark Region.
Media
Image of a massasauga
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sistrurus tergeminus tergeminus
Description
The prairie massasauga is a shy, reclusive, nonaggressive rattlesnake. It used to live in floodplain wetlands of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Grand rivers, but it is now endangered.
Media
Image of a timber rattlesnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Crotalus horridus
Description
Missouri’s largest venomous snake, the timber rattlesnake, is dangerously venomous, but there are few cases of rattlesnake bites in our state. It frequents rough country, is mostly nocturnal in summer and few Missourians ever encounter it.
Media
Image of a western pygmy rattlesnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sistrurus miliarius streckeri
Description
The western pygmy rattlesnake is small and colorful, with a slender tail and tiny rattle. Its vibrating rattle is a faint buzz that sounds like a grasshopper. It occurs in the eastern Missouri Ozarks and in some counties bordering Arkansas.
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.