Minnesota Reptiles

 
Class Reptilia

Reptilia is the class of animals that is characterized by breathing air, laying tough-shelled amniotic eggs, and having dry skin covered in scales and/or scutes (bony plates).

There are 9,766 reptile species worldwide. There are 29 reptile species native to and currently found in Minnesota.


common snapping turtle

 

 

           

Recent Additions

 
Plains garter snake
   

Plains garter snake (Thamnophis radix) is a medium-sized, nonvenomous snake. It is found through Minnesota except in the arrowhead region, but is most common in the western and metro counties. It is similar in appearance to, and difficult to distinguish from, the much more common and widespread eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis).

The two species are distinguished by the position of pale lateral stripes and by markings on the upper jaw. Plains garter snake has pale lateral stripes on the third and fourth scale rows counting up from the belly scales. Each of the scales on the upper jaw (labial scales) has a bold black outline. Eastern garter snake has pale lateral stripes on the second and third scale rows, and none or at most one or two of the labial scales have a bold black border.

  plains garter snake
  Photo by Bill Reynolds
   
   
   

Dekay’s brown snake
   

Dekay’s brown snake (Storeria dekayi) is a small nonvenomous snake, the second smallest snake found in Minnesota. It is relatively common but not often seen except by professional and amateur herpetologists. Although it is active during the day it is most often found by turning over a rock or a board lying on the ground. When threatened it will strike repeatedly, but its bite is neither venomous nor painful. Its mouth is not big enough to bite humans.

This species is identified by a row of black spots on each side of the pale dorsal stripe; and the cream-colored belly scales that are unmarked except for a very small black spot at each end.

  Dekay's brown snake

Blanding’s turtle
   

Blanding’s turtle is a long-lived, medium-sized turtle. Its conservation status in Minnesota is threatened and it is listed as a species in greatest conservation need. Threats include habitat degradation and road mortality. It occurs mostly in the eastern half of the state but also in scattered locations in western Minnesota. It is seldom seen because it is the first turtle to submerge when disturbed and the last to emerge after being disturbed.

This species is identified by the smooth, high domed shell and by the bright yellow chin and throat.

  Blanding’s turtle
  Photo by Pamela Freeman
   

Western fox snake
   

This is a medium to large, nonvenomous snake. It is one of the four largest snakes in Minnesota. Adults are usually 36 to 56 in length. In Minnesota it occurs mostly in the Mississippi, St. Croix, and Minnesota River valleys. It can be found from April to October in prairies, agricultural fields, woodland openings and edges, lowland meadows, river bottoms, and rocky outcroppings near water.

In the spring and fall adults move about during the day. In the hot summer they move about at night. When confronted they will often vibrate their tails producing a buzzing sound. In leaf litter or dry grass the sound resembles that of a rattlesnake. The reddish head resembles a copperhead. For these reasons the snake is often mistaken for a poisonous one and killed by humans.

  western fox snake
  Photo by Brian Johnson
   

Other Recent Additions
   

wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)

redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)

prairie skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           
Profile Photo Video      

Profile Photo Photo

Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)

 

Blanding’s turtle

common snapping turtle

common garter snake

Dekay's brown snake

western painted turtle

plains garter snake

prairie skink

timber rattlesnake

western fox snake

 

Profile Photo Photo

common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

 
     

common map turtle (Graptemys geographica)

 
  Photo Photo

common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

 
Profile Photo Photo

Dekay’s brown snake (Storeria dekayi)

 
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eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos)

 
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eastern racer (Coluber constrictor)

 
     

false map turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica)

 
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five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)

 
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gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer)

 
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lined snake (Tropidoclonion lineatum)

 
     

massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus)

 
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milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum)

 
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northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon)

 
     

Ouachita map turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis)

 
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painted turtle (Chrysemys picta)

 
Profile Photo Photo

plains garter snake (Thamnophis radix)

 
Profile Photo Photo

prairie skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis)

 
     

rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta)

 
Profile   Photo

redbelly snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)

 
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ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus)

 
     

six-lined racerunner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus)

 
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smooth greensnake (Liochlorophis vernalis)

 
     

smooth softshell turtle (Apalone mutica)

 
     

spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera)

 
  Photo Photo

timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

 
Profile Photo Photo

western fox snake (Mintonius ramspotti)

 
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western hognose snake (Heterodon nasicus)

 
Profile   Photo

wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)

 
         

 

 

No Species Page Yet?

If you do not see a linked page for a reptile in the list at left you can still upload a photo or video as an email attachment or report a sighting for that reptile. Click on one of the buttons below and type in the common name and/or scientific name of the reptile in your photo, video, or sighting. A new page will be created for that reptile featuring your contribution.

 

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