Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 44 results
Media
Three-toed box turtle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Terrapene carolina triunguis
Description
This 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
Species Types
Scientific Name
Kinosternon subrubrum hippocrepis
Description
Although well equipped for an aquatic existence, the Mississippi mud turtle spends as much time wandering about on land as it does in water. Look for it in the Mississippi Lowlands of Missouri’s Bootheel.
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 red-eared slider
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trachemys scripta elegans
Description
An attractive turtle with yellow pinstripes and red ears, this species is commonly seen basking on logs or rocks—until you get too close, and they slide into the water.
Media
Photo of a central newt adult on a plastic aquarium plant.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Notophthalmus viridescens louisianensis
Description
A small, olive-brown salamander with a fascinating life cycle, the central newt lives in and around woodland ponds and swamps in all but our far northwestern counties.
Media
midland brownsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Storeria dekayi
Description
DeKay's brownsnake is a small, secretive species that prefers moist environments. It can be gray to brown to reddish brown, and it usually has a tan stripe running down the back, bordered by two rows of small brown spots. The top of the head is usually dark.
Media
Photo of a small-mouthed salamander.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambystoma texanum
Description
The small-mouthed salamander is a medium-sized, dark gray to black or dark brown salamander with a small head and mouth. In Missouri, it’s found nearly statewide — but not in the Ozarks.
Media
Image of a plains spadefoot
Species Types
Scientific Name
Spea bombifrons
Description
The plains spadefoot is a stout, toadlike amphibian with large, protruding eyes, vertically elliptical pupils, short legs, and large feet. There is a raised area between the eyes. It occurs in counties along the Missouri River.
Media
Image of an eastern spadefoot
Species Types
Scientific Name
Scaphiopus holbrookii
Description
The eastern spadefoot is a stout, toadlike amphibian with large, protruding eyes, vertically elliptical pupils, short legs, and large feet. In Missouri, it occurs in eastern counties along the Mississippi River and in the Bootheel.
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 on the snout. Look for it along the Missouri River floodplain, from the Iowa border to about Hermann.
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.