Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 18 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 yellow mud turtle.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Kinosternon flavescens
Description
The yellow mud turtle is a small, uniformly colored, semiaquatic turtle restricted to certain counties in west-central, northeastern, and southwestern Missouri. It is an endangered species in our state.
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
Photo of an eastern snapping turtle walking on land with algae on shell.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chelydra serpentina
Description
A large aquatic turtle with a big pointed head, long thick tail, and small lower shell, the eastern snapping turtle is common throughout the state, anywhere there is permanent water.
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. 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. Occurs statewide.
Media
Eastern gartersnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis (eastern gartersnake) and T. s. parietalis (red-sided gartersnake)
Description
The eastern gartersnake and red-sided gartersnake are Missouri's most common gartersnakes. The color is variable, but there are normally three yellowish stripes, one down the back and one on each side. There are narrow black bars between the scales along the upper lip.
Media
Image of fowler's toad
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anaxyrus fowleri
Description
Fowler's toad is the common toad of gravel and sand bars along our many Ozark streams and rivers. It is also the most common toad in the Bootheel lowlands.
Media
Photo of a Rocky Mountain toad in lawn grass.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii
Description
The Rocky Mountain toad has a number of irregular dark brown or black spots on the back and a white belly. It occurs in the Missouri River floodplain, mostly from the central to the far northwestern parts of the state.
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
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.
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.