Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 60 results
Media
northern rough greensnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Opheodrys aestivus aestivus
Description
The northern rough greensnake is a long, slender snake common in the Ozarks. It is light green above with a white or yellowish belly, and the scales on the back have small ridges or keels that feel rough to the touch. Its beautiful green color helps this mild-mannered insectivore blend in with the trees that are its home.
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
little brown skink
Species Types
Scientific Name
Scincella lateralis
Description
The little brown skink is a ground-dweller with dark brown or black stripes and speckling along the sides. Hiking along a forest trail, you may hear these small lizards scurrying through dead leaves, but you seldom see them.
Media
photo of juvenile southern coal skink
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis
Description
The southern coal skink is secretive and few people know about it. This lizard has a wide, coal-black line along its sides. During the breeding season males have an orange head.
Media
Photo of a western ratsnake curled up in grasses under a fence.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pantherophis obsoletus
Description
The western ratsnake, a glossy black snake, is one of Missouri’s largest and most familiar snakes. Its size and dark color make it seem imposing, but it is as harmless to humans as it is bad news for rodents!
Media
Image of a lined snake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tropidoclonion lineatum
Description
The small, secretive lined snake looks similar to a gartersnake. It is mainly brown to grayish brown, with three lighter-colored stripes down the length of its body and a distinctive double row of half-moon-shaped markings along the belly.
Media
Eastern gartersnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis
Description
The eastern gartersnake is Missouri's most common gartersnake. The color is variable (dark brown, greenish, or olive), but there are normally three yellowish stripes, one down the back and one on each side.
Media
Photo of a northern red-bellied snake on a rock.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Storeria occipitomaculata
Description
The red-bellied snake is one of our smallest snakes. It is generally gray brown or reddish brown on top, bright red or orange below. This harmless species is sometimes mistaken for a young copperhead and needlessly killed.
Media
Photo of a flat-headed snake held in someone’s hands
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tantilla gracilis
Description
The flat-headed snake is Missouri's smallest snake. It is found in the southern half of the state except the far southeastern corner.
Media
Image of a rough earthsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Haldea striatula (formerly Virginia striatula)
Description
The rough earthsnake is a small, plain-looking snake of open, rocky woodlands in the Missouri Ozarks. It normally doesn’t exceed 10 inches in length.
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.