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- Rori Paloski
Herps of Wisconsin Amphibians and reptiles
Wisconsin is home to 19 species of amphibians (frogs and salamanders) and 37 reptiles (snakes, turtles and lizards). Of these, seven are listed as endangered, one is threatened and 21 are listed as special concern. Additionally, the eastern massasauga is a candidate for federal listing. For detailed information on the rare amphibian and reptile species in the state, including photos and life history information, please see Wisconsin's rare animals.
More information on each group and individual species is available in our Herps of Wisconsin guidebooks.
Frequently asked questions
Find answers to commonly asked questions from the very general to specifics on the groups listed below.
All native herptiles are considered protected and have some level of protection. An overview of state regulations related to amphibians and reptiles can be found in Wisconsin's Amphibian and Reptile Regulations .
For any planned land disturbing activities, an Endangered Resources Review should be conducted prior to beginning the project to ensure that there will not be any impacts to rare species and that planned activities are in compliance with Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law (s. 29.604 Wis. Stats.), as well as other laws pertaining to rare species.
If your Endangered Resources Review has required or recommended timing restrictions or the installation of amphibian and reptile exclusion fencing in relation to a species’ inactive period, the last day of each species inactive period for the current year is listed below - i.e., fence installation or work during a species inactive period must be completed by the date listed below.
|Species||*Fencing deadline||Date finalized?|
|Blanding’s turtle (N of Hwy 10)||April 10, 2015||Y|
|Blanding’s turtle (S of Hwy 10)||April 7, 2015||Y|
|Blanchard’s cricket frog||March 31, 2015||Y|
|Butler’s gartersnake||March 31, 2015||Y|
|Eastern massasauga rattlesnake||April 15, 2015||Y|
|Eastern/northern ribbonsnake||April 1, 2015||Y|
|Ornate box turtle||April 1, 2015||Y|
|Queensnake||April 15, 2015||Y|
|Slender glass lizard||April 15, 2015||Y|
|Western ribbonsnake||April 1, 2015||Y|
|Wood turtle (N of Hwy 10)||April 10, 2015||Y|
|Wood turtle (S of Hwy 10)||April 7, 2015||Y|
|*Fencing deadline indicates the deadline for installing amphibian/reptile exclusion fencing and the date when the species is likely to become active for the year.|
Wisconsin frog and toad survey
Northern cricket frog calling
The primary purpose of the citizen-based Wisconsin frog and toad survey (WFTS) is to determine the status, distribution and long-term population trends of Wisconsin's frog species. The WFTS was initiated in 1981 in response to known and suspected declines in several Wisconsin species. The WFTS began annual statewide surveys in 1984 and is now one of the longest running amphibian monitoring projects in North America.
For more information on the WFTS and to learn how you can participate please visit the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Website
Wisconsin turtle conservation program
Ornate box turtle
The Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program (WTCP) is a citizen-based monitoring program designed and implemented by the DNR. The main goals of the WTCP are to catalog species' statewide distributions and to document high turtle mortality locations along roads in order to promote effective management and conservation of Wisconsin’s 11 turtle species. Find out how you can help.
All native herptiles are considered protected, but have different levels of protection. Endangered and threatened species (including parts and all life stages) may not be collected, dead or alive, or possessed without first having a valid endangered species permit. Species classified as "protected wild animals" may not be collected in Wisconsin. The species listed below have NO OPEN SEASON.
|Endangered and threatened herps|
|Blanchard's cricket frog||Acris crepitans|
|Eastern massasauga rattlesnake||Sistrurus catenatus catenatus|
|Ornate box turtle||Terrapene ornata|
|Eastern ribbonsnake||Thamnophis sauritus|
|Western ribbonsnake||Thamnophis proximus|
|Slender glass lizard||Ophisaurus attenuatus|
|Wood turtle||Glyptemys insculpta|
|Protected wild animals|
|Blanding's turtle||Emydoidea blandingii|
|Gray ratsnake||Pantherophis spiloides|
|Timber rattlesnake||Crotalus horridus|
|North American racer||Coluber constrictor|