Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 18 results
Media
Photo of a northern watersnake rearing back in grass on land.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nerodia sipedon sipedon
Description
The northern watersnake is gray to reddish brown with dark brown crossbands. The belly is cream-colored with black and reddish half-moon markings. This is Missouri’s most common watersnake.
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
Three-toed box turtle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Terrapene carolina triunguis
Description
This 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
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
Image of an american toad
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anaxyrus americanus americanus (formerly Bufo americanus)
Description
The eastern American toad is medium-sized, with horizontal pupils and with a kidney-shaped gland behind each eye. Despite their rough complexion, these common, harmless toads are endearing to most people.
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
Image of a gray treefrog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hyla versicolor (Gray Treefrog) and Hyla chrysoscelis (Cope's Gray Treefrog)
Description
Sticky pads on fingers and toes enable Missouri's two gray treefrogs to climb and rest on vertical surfaces. You might occasionally see one resting on the siding of your house, if you live near suitable treefrog habitat!
Media
Image of a northern leopard frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates pipiens
Description
The northern leopard frog is a medium-sized frog with dark spots on the back. Two skin folds run down each side of the back. In Missouri, it only occurs in our northwestern counties.
Media
Photo of a southern leopard frog.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates sphenocephalus (formerly Rana sphenocephala)
Description
The southern leopard frog is an excellent jumper and quickly leaps into water when startled. From March through July, the males make chuckling or quacking calls from shallow water. Occurs statewide except for the northwestern corner.
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.
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.