Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 33 results
Media
Black snake with orange and yellow stripes crossing a gravel road.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Thamnophis proximus proximus
Description
The orange-striped ribbonsnake is a type of gartersnake named for the attractive orange or yellow stripes running the length of its body, alternating with wide black stripes. It is found statewide, but seldom far from water.
Media
Image of a blanding's turtle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Emydoidea blandingii
Description
Blanding’s turtle has an oval, moderately high-domed upper shell and a long head and neck. This turtle is endangered in Missouri and occurs only in the extreme northern corners of the state.
Media
Eastern musk turtle (stinkpot)
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sternotherus odoratus
Description
The eastern musk turtle is one of the world’s smallest turtles. It has a dark, domed upper shell and reduced lower shell. It occurs along our Mississippi River counties and in the southern two-thirds of the state.
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
Mississippi mud turtle resting on damp stream bank
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 a green frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates clamitans (formerly Rana clamitans)
Description
The green frog looks similar to a bullfrog but is smaller and has a ridge of skin along the sides of the back that is not found on bullfrogs. It is a game animal in Missouri.
Media
Image of a northern crawfish frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates areolatus circulosus
Description
A very secretive species, the northern crawfish frog spends most of its time hidden burrows, typically those made by crayfish. It is restricted to native prairie or former prairie areas and is a species of conservation concern in Missouri.
Media
Image of an american toad
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anaxyrus americanus (formerly Bufo americanus)
Description
American toads are well-known and occur statewide. Missouri has two subspecies: the eastern American toad in the northern half, and the dwarf American toad in the southern half.
Media
Spring Peeper
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pseudacris crucifer
Description
The voices of spring peepers are a true announcement that winter is ending. These small, slender frogs can be several overall colors, but seeing an X on the back is a good way to ensure your identification.
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.