Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 34 results
Media
Photo of an eastern hog-nosed snake.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Heterodon platirhinos
Description
The eastern hog-nosed snake has an upturned snout and can hiss loudly and spread its neck like a cobra. If this defense fails to ward off an enemy, the snake may thrash around, open its mouth, roll over, and play dead.
Media
Image of a Great Plains ratsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pantherophis emoryi
Description
The Great Plains ratsnake is seldom seen. It has numerous brown blotches along the body, a brown eye stripe, and a spearhead marking on top of the head.
Media
Image of a bullsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pituophis catenifer sayi
Description
Missouri's largest snake, the bullsnake may hiss loudly and vibrate its tail when alarmed, but it is nonvenomous. This species is extremely valuable in controlling destructive rodents.
Media
Image of a variable groundsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sonora semiannulata semiannulata
Description
The variable groundsnake is a small species with smooth, shiny scales and highly variable coloration. In Missouri, it is restricted to open, rocky hillsides of the southwestern corner of the state.
Media
Image of a western smooth earthsnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Virginia valeriae elegans
Description
The western smooth earthsnake is a small, slightly stout snake with a conical head. It is plain-colored, generally gray, light brown, or reddish brown, with no distinct markings. It is found statewide, except for the northwestern corner.
Media
Photo of an eastern yellow-bellied racer.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Coluber constrictor flaviventris
Description
The color of eastern yellow-bellied racers is uniform but varies from olive, tan, brown, or blue to nearly black. The belly may be yellow, cream, or light blue gray. This nonvenomous snake occurs nearly statewide.
Media
Photo of a northern scarletsnake on a rock surface in Georgia.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cemophora coccinea copei
Description
One of Missouri's most brilliantly colored snakes is extremely rare to find. The northern scarletsnake is similar in pattern and color to the more common red milksnake but has a red or orange snout and a spotless, white belly.
Media
Image of a red milksnake
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lampropeltis triangulum
Description
One of Missouri’s most beautifully colored snakes, the harmless eastern milksnake often is misidentified as the venomous coralsnake, which is not found in Missouri.
Media
Image of a six-lined racerunner lizard
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aspidoscelis sexlineata
Description
The six-lined racerunner is a fast, alert ground dweller that don’t usually climb trees. Also called field-streaks and sand lappers, racerunners are close kin to the whiptail lizards you might know from the western United States.
Media
prairie lizard
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sceloporus consobrinus
Description
The small, gray to brown, rough-scaled prairie lizard is common in open forests. It often lives around country homes and rock gardens and on stacks of firewood and split rail fences.
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.