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West Virginia Reptiles And Amphibians

Timber RattlerWest Virginia is home to a variety of reptile and amphibian species. From the eastern hellbender to the spotted turtle, we are a state rich in herpetological diversity. To find out more about each individual species and current herpetological research, visit Marshall University’s Herpetology Lab (www.marshall.edu/herp) webpage.

WVDNR funded projects and herpetological research:
With 35 salamander species, 14 frog and toad species, 13 turtle species, 6 lizard and skink species, and 20 species of snakes there is much to learn and study here in West Virginia. Many past and current reptile and amphibian projects have been funded by the DNR. Most studies have been conducted by Dr. Tom Pauley of Marshall University. His 30-plus years of research has provided the DNR with most of what we know about reptiles and amphibians in West Virginia.

Species of Concern:
Several amphibian and reptile species are on our rare species list. There are many reasons why a species may be considered rare in West Virginia. Some species such as the White-spotted salamander are rare because they have extremely narrow range. This particular species only occurs in a small area on the West Virginia/ Virginia border. 

Other species are considered rare because of recent declines due to habitat destruction, decreased water quality, or other human interferences. For example, many people are unaware that the Timber rattlesnake is a species in decline. Senseless killing and habitat loss are the chief reasons for the decreased numbers of this species. 

For other species, West Virginia is at the edge of their ranges or we do not have suitable habitat. Populations may be stable elsewhere but they are rare here. These species are of special concern because if population declines are occurring, they are usually noted at the species periphery. The Six-lined racerunner, a lizard, has only been found in one location in West Virginia. It is a common species to the south and west of West Virginia.

Click here for Sounds of Spring - Listen to frogs in RealAudio
Click Here for Past And Current Reptile and Amphibian Projects
Click Here Identifying Venomous and Nonvenomous Snakes Information Sheet - (PDF 58.1 KB)
Click Here to Download the Salamanders of West Virginia Brochure - (PDF 739KB)
Click Here to Download the Snakes of West Virginia Brochure - (PDF 812KB)

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