The wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) is a medium-sized turtle, recognizable by its sculpted shell and orange coloration on the neck and forelimbs. Considered a semi-aquatic and semi-terrestrial turtle, they overwinter in streams and spend most of the late spring and summer in upland habitats. Threats include development of upland habitats near streams, mortality from mowing and agricultural machinery, mortality from vehicles on roadways, and illegal casual or commercial collection. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in all six states in BCR 14.
Reptile / Amphibian
The timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) is a large, thick-bodied snake between 3 and 5 feet long. Individuals may be mostly black or patterned with yellow and brown. They have a broad triangular head and keeled scales that give a rough appearance. At the end of the tail is a large, blunt rattle. In New England, they are listed as extirpated in Maine and Rhode Island, and endangered in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. They are sit-and-wait predators feeding mostly on small mammals.
The spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) is a small, 3- to 5-inch dark or black turtle with yellow or orange spots marking its smooth carapace, head, and limbs. The number of spots is variable and changes with age; hatchlings typically have one spot per scute, while adults may have more than 100. Though the spotted turtle is considered semi-aquatic, it spends considerable time on land. The spotted turtle is declining throughout the eastern United States and receives protection from most states within its range.
The smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis) is a brightly colored small snake with a long streamlined tail. It is a brilliant grass-green snake with a yellow to cream-colored belly and no additional markings. The scales are smooth. They are accomplished climbers and while active during the day, they remain well-concealed. It is not a well-studied snake, but local accounts indicate populations are declining. Loss of wetlands and fragmentation by roads are major reasons for their decline. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in four states in BCR 14.
The northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) is a 2- to 3½-inch slender brownish or green frog with two or three rows of irregular rounded dark spots with pale borders. It is often confused with the pickerel frog (Lithobates palustris), which has squarish dark spots and bright yellow or orange inner thighs. They are most often associated with rivers and floodplains. Threats include habitat conversion due to development, mortality from mowing and agricultural machinery, mortality from vehicles on roadways, and mortality and reduced fitness from pesticides.
The northern black racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor) is a long slender 36- to 72-inch black snake with a white chin that inhabits a wide variety of early successional habitats. It occurs at the northern edge of its range in southern Maine, central New Hampshire, and southern New York. Threats include development of upland habitat, habitat loss and mortality from sand and gravel mining, mortality from vehicles on roadways and utility rights-of-way, human persecution, den compaction from equipment, and habitat succession from grass and shrublands to forests.
The mink frog (Lithobates septentrionalis), sometimes called the “frog of the north,” is a 1½ - to 3-inch greenish frog with irregular spots mottled along the back and hind legs. It is often confused with the green frog (Lithobates clamitans melanota), but often lacks a dorsal ridge and the webbing on the toes of hind feet extends to the last joint on the 4th toe and to the tip of the 5th toe. The most conspicuous identifying characteristic is the strong “rotten onion” smell when handled.
The Fowler’s toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) is a small 2- to 3-inch toad that typically has three or more warts in each of the largest, dark spots with the dorsal area mostly brown or gray. The belly and chest are usually unspotted, unlike the commonly confused American toad (Anaxyrus americanus). Other key identifying characteristics include a parotoid gland that touches the postorbital ridge and, unlike the American toad, a lack of a large tibial wart. The two toad species will hybridize where they overlap and may produce intermediate characteristics.
As its name implies, the five-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus) has five cream-colored lines extending the length of its greenish black body. Juveniles have bright blue tail tips that eventually fade to bronze with age. Five-lined skinks are broadly distributed and common in parts of their range, but rare or declining in many states. Habitat loss or degradation is a major cause of population declines, along with predation and collection for the pet trade. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in three states in BCR 14.
The Eastern ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus) is a very slender snake measuring 16 to 35 inches. It has three yellow or greenish stripes running down the surface on scale rows three and four. The tail (starting at the cloaca and ending at the tip) is long and thin and measures 1/3 the length of the body. It is often confused with the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). They are usually found near aquatic habitats, have relatively small home ranges, and rarely move more than 16 feet from water.