Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 60 results
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 Great Plains ratsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pantherophis emoryi
Description
The Great Plains ratsnake is seldom seen. It has numerous brown blotches along the body, a brown eye stripe, and a spearhead marking on top of the head.
Media
Image of a western smooth earthsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Virginia valeriae elegans
Description
The western smooth earthsnake is a small, slightly stout snake with a conical head. It is plain-colored, generally gray, light brown, or reddish brown, with no distinct markings. It is found statewide, except for the northwestern corner.
Media
Image of a western mudsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Farancia abacura reinwardtii
Description
The western mudsnake is a harmless swamp dweller of Missouri's Bootheel lowlands. It is burdened with misinformation and imaginative folklore. But it turns out that fact is more interesting than fiction.
Media
Photo of an eastern yellow-bellied racer.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Coluber constrictor flaviventris
Description
The color of eastern yellow-bellied racers is uniform but varies from olive, tan, brown, or blue to nearly black. The belly may be yellow, cream, or light blue gray. This nonvenomous snake occurs nearly statewide.
Media
Black snake with orange and yellow stripes crossing a gravel road.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Thamnophis proximus proximus
Description
Our subspecies of western ribbonsnake is named for the attractive orange (or yellowish) stripes running the length of its body. A member of the gartersnake group, this species is found statewide, but seldom far from water.
Media
Image of a speckled kingsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lampropeltis holbrooki
Description
This handsome snake is generally black, but a white or yellow spot in the center of most of the scales makes it look speckled. The belly is yellowish with some irregular black markings. Like the rest of our kingsnakes, this species vibrates its tail when alarmed.
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 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.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Deirochelys reticularia miaria
Description
The western chicken turtle is a small-to medium-sized turtle with an oval shell and extremely long neck. It is endangered in Missouri, occurring only in the Mississippi Lowlands in the extreme southeastern part of the state.
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.