Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 13 results
Media
Photo of an ornate box turtle walking.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Terrapene ornata
Description
The ornate box turtle usually has four hind toes. Its high-domed shell is usually smooth on top, lacks a ridge, and is brown with yellow lines. Look for it in grassy habitats.
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
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
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
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 an eastern spadefoot
Species Types
Scientific Name
Scaphiopus holbrookii
Description
The eastern spadefoot is a stout, toadlike amphibian with large, protruding eyes, vertically oval 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 between the eyes on the snout. Look for it along the Missouri River floodplain, from the Iowa border to about Hermann.
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 oval pupils, short legs, and large feet. There is a raised area between the eyes. It occurs in counties along the Missouri River.
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.