The eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos) is a thick bodied snake measuring 20 to 35 inches with a characteristic upturned snout and keeled dorsal scales. The dark phase tends to be uniform grayish-black. It has a dramatic defense display including hissing, mock-striking, and playing dead. Generally, they need sandy, gravelly soils typically associated with open fields, river valleys, pine forests, and upland hillsides. High-ranking threats include development of upland habitats, sand and gravel mining, and mortality from vehicles on roadways.
Reptile / Amphibian
The eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) is a small 4.5- to 7-inch terrestrial turtle with a highly domed shell and variable patterning. Color patterns of the carapace typically consist of irregular yellow or orange markings over a brown or black base. The skin is uniformly dark with yellow or orange markings. They use a variety of dry and moist upland habitats. Females excavate nests in the summer in loose, loamy soil in open areas. Winter hibernation usually occurs under soil, decaying vegetation, or mammal burrows in forests.
The blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale) is a dark-bodied salamander measuring 3½ to 5 inches and speckled with blue or white flecks and spots across the back, side, and tail. They are most commonly found in moist hardwood forests and wooded swamps, marshes, and bogs. They hybridize with Jefferson salamanders. Threats to this species include development of upland habitat and associated edge effects, filling of wetlands for development, and mortality from vehicles on roadways. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in all six states in BCR 14.
The black rat snake (Pantherophis spp.) is a long, powerful constrictor reaching up to 6 feet in length. Adults are mostly black or brown with white, yellow or red in between the scales. The undersides are mostly white with dark blotches. Throughout their range, rat snakes are declining in many states. Populations are threatened by habitat alteration, collection for pet trade, roads, and increasing homogeneity of habitats from clearing or maturation of abandoned fields. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in four states in BCR 14.
The Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) is a 7- to 9-inch turtle with yellow speckles that often run together to form streaks on the carapace. It is easily identified when basking from its characteristic yellow throat and chin. It uses a variety of shallow wetland habitats including marshes, swamps, bogs, ponds, and vernal pools. Females make long distance upland movements in search of suitable sandy or loamy, full-sun, nesting habitats where they are most vulnerable to mortality from vehicles when crossing roadways.