Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Reptiles of Ohio

Throughout the semester, our class has studied many families of reptiles, both local and worldwide. This blog will highlight the Ohio species that we hope to find during our excursions into the field.

TESTUDINES

Chelydridae


Chelydra serpentina  (Common Snapping Turtle)
Status: Least concern (2)
Range/Distribution: Across Ohio, but absent in some counties(1). Native to eastern 2/3 of United States, except south Florida and south Texas (3). Family found in eastern North America, Mexico, and Central America, and Northern South America.
Characteristics: No supramarginal scutes and no prominent ridges on dorsal carapace, although the carapace has a posteriorly jagged edge. Highly reduced and cruciform-shaped plastron. Longest tail of any turtle relative to body size. Average adult size ~35 pounds (1) and 47 cm long (carapace length). Single row of marginal scutes. Carapace is dark and drab while underside is fleshy and yellow.
Biology: Aquatic, on land only to lay eggs. Primarily herbivorous, but opportunistic omnivores. Nests from May-July, laying 20-50 eggs. Rathke’s glands often used to produce deterring musk.
Fun Fact: May be confused with Macrochelys temminckii (alligator snapping turtle), but Chelydra serpentina is about half the size and does not have a worm-like tongue lure. Macrochelys is found only in the southern US, NOT in Ohio. Chelydra serpentina is the largest turtle in Ohio (1).

References:
Vitt and Caldwell. 2009. Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles, Third Edition. Elsevier Inc., Burlington MA, USA.
(3)    http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=1225


Kinosternidae


Sternotherus odoratus (Stinkpot Turtle)
Status: Least Concern4
Range/Distribution: Eastern United States, from Texas westward and from Florida to Ontario, Canada STATEWIDE: Throughout Ohio 1
Characteristics: Adults primarily 5-14cm; large triangular shaped heads with yellow-green striping that runs horizontally from the nose to the neck. The general body color is from black to brown.1 The carapace is highly domed, with a reduced plastron that can be hinged anteriorly.1 Sternotherus odoratus also have Rathke’s glands that produce a pungent yellow musk that is released when the turtle is threatened. 1,2Biology: Sternotherus odoratus is a primarily aquatic turtle that spends its time on the bottom of bodies of water (rivers, lakes, ponds) and primarily only comes onto land to bask or to lay eggs. Their diet is carnivorous and includes small aquatic invertebrates and fish. They are oviparous and lay 2-9 eggs in burrows, under rotted logs, and in moist soil that is near water.1,2 Sex of hatchlings are temperature determined (TSD). 3Fun Fact: Has papillae in tongue that allow it to respire under water and reside under water for long periods of time.
References:





Trionychidae


Apalone spinifera (Spiny Softshell Turtle)
Status: Least concern (3)
Range/Distribution: Scattered counties across Ohio (1). Native to Midwest United States (4). Subfamily found in Asia, Indonesia, North America.
Characteristics: No dermal scutes, fleshy lip, reduced plastron and extremely flattened, tan to brown carapace. Long neck and snorkel-like snout. Vertebrae more clearly seen than in Apalone mutifica. Cranial end of carapace has small, conical spines (1). Large, dark, circular markings on the carapace, distinguishing it from Apalone mutica (1). Adult length of 8-20 inches (2). 
Biology: Aquatic, opportunistic omnivores. Egg incubation lasts 28 days - 10 weeks. Sexual dimorphism with females larger than males (1).
Fun Fact: May be confused with Carettochelys, but Carettochelys is native to northwest Australia and southern New Guinea. Also, Apalone forelimbs do NOT have 2 large claws.

References:

Vitt and Caldwell. 2009. Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles, Third Edition. Elsevier Inc., Burlington MA, USA.



Apalone mutica (Smooth Softshell Turtle)

Status: Least concern (3)
Range/Distribution: Some southern and some eastern counties of Ohio (1). Native to northeast and Midwest United States, from Tennessee and North Carolina into Canada (4). Subfamily found in Asia, Indonesia, North America.
Characteristics: No dermal scutes, fleshy lip, reduced plastron and extremely flattened, tan to brown carapace. Long neck and snorkel-like snout. The nostrils are not ridged, distinguishing it from Apalone spinifera (1). Adult length of 6-15 inches (2).
Biology: Aquatic, opportunistic omnivores. Egg incubation lasts 28 days - 10 weeks. Sexual dimorphism with females larger than males (1).
Fun Fact: May be confused with Carettochelys, but Carettochelys is native to northwest Australia and southern New Guinea. Also, Apalone forelimbs do NOT have 2 large claws.

References: Vitt and Caldwell. 2009. Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles, Third Edition. Elsevier Inc., Burlington MA, USA.
(4)    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/rsg/maps.html#na


Emydidae


Chrysemys picta marginata (Midland Painted Turtle)
Status: Least Concern
Range/Distribution: From Northern Alabama to Quebec, from Illinois to eastern Pennsylvania; STATEWIDE: Throughout the entire state. Characteristics: Size range from 10-25cm-carapace length. The carapace is flattened and dark brown to black in color. There are red markings on the lower edge of the marginal scutes of the carapace that help distinguish this species from other members of Testudines. The limbs are olive- black in color and have red markings and lines. The head and neck contain only yellow striping, with two stripes coming from behind each eye and two yellow stripes on the bottom of the chin. The plastron is yellow with occasionally some dark marks near the center. Within this species, there are 3 other subspecies- The eastern painted turtle (Chysemys picta picta), the western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii), and the southern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta dorsalis), with hybridization. Distinguishing between the subspecies can be made by several characteristics. The western pained turtle is the largest subspecies and will usually grow to 25cm long. The plastron on the western painted turtle is pink to red with a large amount of green and yellow markings. There are also some yellow markings that can be seen on the carapace. The southern painted turtle is the smallest subspecies at a maximum CL of 15cm; there is also a prominent red stripe down the center of the carapace. The plastron is almost completely void of all markings. The eastern painted turtle is easily distinguished not just from other subspecies but other turtles in North America are that the scutes on the carapace are directly aligned with each other. The vertebrals and costals are directly next to each other, instead of the typical alternating pattern seen on other subspecies. In addition, there can be a pale stripe down the center of the carapace. 
Biology: Chrysemys picta marginata is an aquatic turtle that lives in slow moving waters. It can be seen routinely basking in groups on logs and rocks throughout the day. They are omnivores and eat primarily aquatic insects and vegetation. They have Temperature Sex Determination. Mating occurs in fall and spring and nesting occurs from May-July. Nests can be as far as 600 yards from shore. Typical clutch sizes are form 4-10 eggs and females can lay multiple clutches per year. They will burrow into sandy and muddy bottoms of water during the winter and will respire via their mouth and cloaca. 
Fun Fact: Most Widespread turtle in North America



Clemmys guttata (Spotted Turtle)
Status: Endangered (IUCN), Threatened in Ohio
Range/Distribution: Along Eastern United States from Florida to Maine in the North; also from Ontario to New York and westward to Indiana. STATEWIDE: Nothern 2/3 of state. 
Characteristics: Small (8-12cm) turtle with a gray to black body and a smooth, flattened, and black carapace. The carapace and body is covered in distinctive yellow spots. There can be orange or yellow coloration on the forelimbs, head, and/or neck area. Females grow larger than males. Some characteristics to tell them apart are that males have longer tails, concave plastrons, and females have more spots on average.  
Biology: Semi-aquatic turtle that is carnivorous and feeds on small insects and invertebrates, along with small fish and some vegetation. These turtles are active mostly during the spring months and may undergo summer dormancy. They tend to stick to sluggish waters of marshes, ponds, and slow moving rivers. 1-8 eggs are laid from May-June and the sex of hatchlings is temperature determinant. The nesting locations are moist soils and vegetation.

References:
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Clemmys_guttata.html

http://srelherp.uga.edu/turtles/clegut.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clemmys_guttata#CITEREFErnst1972
http://www.flipseekllc.com/wildohio2009reptiles.pdf
http://www.public.iastate.edu/~nvalenzu/Valenzuela_Publications/Valenzuela2004_ReptilianTSD_Chapt09.pdf
Photo source
http://www.empireoftheturtle.com/Florida/clemmys_guttata.htm


Emydoidea blandingii (Blanding's Turtle)
Status: Endangered
Range/Distribution: Northern counties along Lake Erie.Characteristics: The defining characteristic of the Blanding’s Turtle is the bright yellow throat and chin. The Blanding’s also has a hinged plastron similar to the Eastern Box Turtle but it is not as effective. Their length typically ranges from 5”-7”. Biology: Breeding occurs between April-November and incubation lasts 50-75 days. Clutch sizes range from 6-21 eggs and the young leave the nest 28-35 days after hatching.  Blanding’s turtles are typically found in marshy shorelines, streams, meadows and forest swamps but can be found on land moving between wetlands.


Graptemys geographica (Map Turtle)
Status: Least concernRange/Distribution: Statewide Characteristics: Differentiating between  the Northern Map Turtle and the False Map turtle can be difficult. The Northern Map Turtle lacks two yellow dots below the eyes. Females reach sizes near 10” while males rarely exceed 5” in carapace length.Biology: Breeding occurs in the spring and fall and the nesting period is from May-July. Incubation is 50-70 days and clutch sizes range from 12-14 eggs. They prefer large deep bodies of water such as rivers and lakes.





Graptemys pseudogeographica (False Map Turtle)
Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: Limited to the Scioto River and its oxbows.
Characteristics: Differentiating between the False Map Turtle and the Northern Map Turtle can be difficult. The False Map Turtle has a yellow patch behind the eye which can extend to the top of the head and is shaped like a hockey stick. Another defining characteristic separating it from the Northen Map Turtle is the two yellow spots below each eye. The Northern Map Turtle lacks both the yellow patch behind the eye as well as the yellow spots below the eye.
Biology: Breeding occurs in the spring and fall and clutch sizes range from 12-22 eggs. It is unknown if these turtles are native to Ohio or were introduced at some point. 




Pseudemys concinna (Heiroglyphica River Cooter)
Status: Least Concern
Range/Distribution: Ohio, Western Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Western Georgia.
Characteristics: Length 12-16”, brownish green colored with contrasting yellow stripes on body, yellow stripes under chin in Y-shape and swirled yellow pattern on carapace that darkens with age, flattened carapace, C-shaped second pleural scute, tooth-like cusps in upper jaw for eating vegetation, and large webbed feet for swimming.  The species Pseudemys concinna hieroglyphica differs from other P. concinna by a more intrinsically patterned carapace and well developed green on yellow plastron pattern.
Biology: Live in aquatic habitats with dry areas for basking (which they share with sliders and painted turtles).  Freshwater to brackish water (rivers, lakes, ponds and marshes) with dense vegetation is ideal, especially oxbow regions of rivers.  Diurnal, fast swimmers, large home ranges, sleep in water vegetation, highly herbivorous but generalist predators and scavengers too determined by availability of food, cannot swallow out of water but will hunt/forage outside of water to eat upon it’s return, have been known to actively fish, males are smaller than females, nest dug by female in sandy loam at the water’s edge, females lay 10-25 eggs  in one or more clutches, Alligators and muskrats prey on juveniles, can live up to 40+ years old.
Fun Fact: The long claws of the male river cooter are used to stroke the female's face during courtship activities.  You can tell a male from a female by these longer claws.
References:Carr, Archie. 1952. Handbook of Turtles: The Turtles of the United States, Canada, and Baja California. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, N.Y.
Ernst, Carl H. & Barbour, Roger W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.
Ernst, C. H., Lovich, Jeffrey E. & Barbour, R. W. 1994. Turtles of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.
Iverson, John B. 1992. A Revised Checklist with Distribution Maps of the Turtles of the World. Earlham College. Privately Published. Richmond, Indiana.
Pritchard, P. C. H. 1972. Encyclopedia of Turtles. T. F. H. Publications. Neptune. N.J.
Smith, Hobart M. & Brodie Jr., Edmund D. 1982. A Guide to Field Identification: Reptiles of North America. Golden Press. New York, N.Y.
Pic1:http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/


Terrapene carolina (Eastern Box Turtle) 
Status: Vulnerable; Populations decreasing (Turtle populations are in danger in other states, including Maryland, because of pesticides and people taking them out of the wild for pets. Along with habitat loss, a significant threat to Ohio’s box turtles is death by crossing roadways).Range/Distribution: Found from southern Maine and southern Ontario to the Gulf Coast and Midwest of the United States, with isolated populations occurring in eastern Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula.  Also in woodlands throughout Ohio (other genera released in parks: T. hornata, T. bauri).  Characteristics: Length 4.5-6”, Highly domed carapace with a wide variety of dark brown/black markings with a maze of yellow streaks, body blackish brown with yellow blotches, orange or red colored eyes, named for centrally-hinged plastron enabling it to front and rear portions to draw up against the carapace and close it’s body inside for protection.Biology:  Found in forest and edge habitats with a higher relative humidity, hide under rotting logs/decaying leaves/other plant debris during the summer and venture out only during early morning or evening, swim and soak in streams and puddles to keep cool, hibernate in the winter under dead leaves or inside tree stumps, generalist omnivores with diet ranging from vegetation & fungi to gastropods & insects to carrion, temperature dependent sex determination (males develop at cooler temperatures than females), females dig nests in forest floor and lay multiple egg clutches a year of 1-9 eggs, predators include raccoons/minks/skunks/coyotes.Fun Fact: A unexpected rain shower after a dry spell will bring out cause a great spurt of box turtle activity as they emerge from the foliage.
References:
The U.S. Forest Service. Reptile Database: Terrepine carolina. 2012
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/animals/reptile/teca/all.html
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.  The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search
Pic1:http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/WI/223/4070/PreviewComp/SuperStock_4070-1841.jpg
Pic 2: http://www.michigan.gov/images/eastern_box_turtle_underside_102932_7.jpg

Trachemys scripta (Red-Eared Slider)
Status: Least Concern; Populations stable (A few native colonies in southern Ohio counties, but most populations of red-eared sliders in the state are probably the result of discarded pets - an illegal practice that may endanger native wildlife).
Range/Distribution:  From Indiana to New Mexico through Texas to the Gulf of Mexico.  Native to Southern Ohio but found throughout state because released as pets.
Characteristics: Length 5-8”, Broad red or orange patch behind each eye (red “ears”; or in rare occurrences: yellow or too dark to see), green eyes with black intersecting stripe, greenish brown carapace with yellow and black bands, yellowish plastron with a black blotch on each scute, greenish body with yellow stripes, Males have longer nails on their front feet.
Biology: Found in aquatic habitats, ideally permanent slow-moving water sources with mud bottoms, bask on rocks and logs found on the water, hibernate by burrowing in soil or mud during the winter to escape the cold, though they have poor hearing they are very sensitive to vibrations in water, expand home ranges when populations increase - moving across land to other bodies of water in search of resources, diet includes aquatic plants, small fish, and decaying material, female turtles dig nests offshore and lay their eggs, males court females by stoking them with long nails on their front feet, males also court females by swimming backwards in front of them and fan their faces with water, live up to 30+ years old.
Fun Fact: “Sliders” get their name from their habit of sliding off rocks and logs when startled while basking.
References:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans). 2012.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/species/slider/
Pic 1: http://www.petinfospot.com/pictures/Turtle,Red-eared_Slider.jpg
Pic 2:http://www.herpnet.net/
SQUAMATA: SAURIA

Phrynosomatidae


Sceloporus undulatus garmani (Eastern Fence Lizard)
Status: Least concern 
Range/Distribution: Southern Ohio; Southern New Jersey to central Florida, west to eastern Kansas, and eastern Texas, southeast New York, and Northeast Pennsylvania 
Characteristics: Small in size (4-71/4 inches); sexual dimorphism; females are typically gray and conspicuously patterned on top; females have a series of dark, wavy (undulating) lines across back, which are yellow, orange, or reddish at the base of the tail; the belly of females are whitish with scattered black flecks; males are usually brown and heavily marked on the bottom; sides of the belly in males are greenish blue, this bright color is bordered by black, and males also have a broad bluish area at the base of their throat; both sexes have a dark line running along the rear surface of their thigh.
Biology: Climb trees; prefer dry, wooded hillsides, and rocky cliffs; often seen on rail fences or on rotting logs; the only spiny lizard found within this range.
References:The reptile database Reptiles of Ohio field guide.Division of wildlife 1-53. Conant, R., J.T. Collins. 1998. 
A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America 3:232-234.

Scincidae





Scincella lateralis (Ground Skink)


Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: Southern Ohio; Southern New Jersey to Florida Keys, west to eastern Kansas and west central Texas, Illinois, northeast Montana and Coahuila
Characteristics: Very small (3-53/4 inches); smooth, golden brown to blackish brown; dark dorsolateral stripe; brown color varies by location; ventral side is white or yellowish; “window” in lower eyelid in the form of a transparent disc which the lizard can see through with its eye closed.
Biology: Typically found under large rocks or by sifting through leaf-litter; consumes insects; when running it makes lateral, snake-like movements; and does not climb often.

References:EMBL Reptile Database
Reptiles of Ohio field guide. Division of wildlife 1-53.Conant, R., J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America 3:262. 




Plestiodon fasciatus (Five-lined Skink)
Status: Least Concern
Range/Distribution: Throughout Ohio; New England to North Florida, west to Wisconsin, eastern parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
Characteristics: 5-8.5 inches. Variable depending on age and sex. Hatchlings have five yellow-white stripes on a black background and tails are bright blue.  As they age, stripe color dulls and background color lightens, tail turns gray, females retain pattern, and have a broad dark band extending back from the eye. Male become uniform olive to brown. Orange-red appears on jaws during breeding season. To differentiate it from other members of this genus by counting 26-30 longitudinal rows of scales around the center of body, four labials anterior to the subocular, two enlarged postlabial scales.
Biology: Found in rock piles, decaying debris, cutover woodlots with rotting stumps and logs, abandoned board and sawdust piles. Usually found in damp habitat. Mainly terrestrial but sometimes climbs trees where insects are abundant.

References:
Conant, R. and J. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians Peterson field guide.


Plestiodon laticeps (Broadhead Skink)
Status: Least Concern
Range/Distribution: Southern Ohio; Southern Pennsylvania to Northern Florida, Eastern Texas, to Southern Illinois.
Characteristics: 6.5-12.75 inches. Large body size. Males olive-brown with swollen jowls and orange-red heads. Coloration variations much like P. faciatus. To identify this species, look for 30-32 rows of scales at the midbody. Five labials anterior to the subocular. No enlarged postlabials.
Biology: Habitats vary, though considered a woodland species. Found in swamp forests to empty urban lots. Most aboreal of skinks. Found within trees and tree holes.

References:
Conant, R. and J. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians Peterson field guide.







Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus (Northern Coal Skink)
Status: Least Concern
Range/Distribution: Isolated colonies in Southern Ohio; Disjunct from New York to North Carolina and Kentucky.
Characteristics: 5-7 inches. Broad dark lateral stripe 2.5 to 4 scales wide. One postmental scale. Light stripe through posterior supralabials. Rows of scales around midbody usually 25 or less. Young with blue tail, but patterned like adults. 
Biology: Humid portions of wooded hillsides preferred. Found in areas in proximity to springs and rocky bluffs. Will find refuge in water and under submerged rocks.

References:
Conant, R. and J. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians Peterson field guide.


SQUAMATA: SERPENTES

Colubridae: Natricinae


Nerodia sipedon sipedon (Northern Water Snake)


Status:  Least Concern
Range/Distribution:  Present from Maine to southern Alabama to eastern Louisiana, west to eastern Colorado and up to Minnesota.  May inhabit any permanent body of water.  Present throughout the state of Ohio. 
Characteristics:  Looks superficially to resemble a Cottonmouth, with a reddish brown to gray to slightly black appearance.  This snake is patterned with dark neckbands and alternating dark patches on the dorsal surface.  These patches and bands tend to become darker with age and can occasionally lead to a nearly uniform black or dark brown appearance. 
Biology:  Most commonly found basking near water to allow for an easy escape when startled.  Typically fearful of people and are quick to attack when grabbed.  Most common form of defense is secreting odors from their musk gland.  The mating season of this snake is from April to June, parturition occurs from August to November.  The favorite diet includes amphibians, fishes, other reptiles or even smaller mammals, very opportunistic feeders.
Fun Fact:  These snakes are not venomous, but bites will bleed profusely due to anticoagulant properties in the snake’s saliva.

References: 
Hallermann, J., Baker, B., & Schmidt, J. (1996, April 5). The reptile database. Retrieved April 15,2012, from Peter Uetz website: http://www.reptile-database.org/db-info/Contributors.html 
 Dewey, T., & Hammond, G. (n.d.). Division of reptiles and amphibians. Retrieved April 15, 2012, from University of Michigan website: http://www.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/rep_amph/index.html 



Nerodia sipedon pleuralis (Midland Water Snake)

Status: Least Concern




Range/Distribution:  East to North Carolina and west to Oklahoma, Illinois and Louisiana. Southern Ohio.
Characteristics:  Superficially looks very much like N.s.sipedon, however, the markings on the dorsal surface do not seem to get darker with age. 
Biology:  Mainly active at night, this species of water snake feeds on salamanders, frogs and tadpoles, much like its relatives. 

References:
Hallermann, J., Baker, B., & Schmidt, J. (1996, April 5). The reptile database. Retrieved April 15,2012, from Peter Uetz website: http://www.reptile-database.org/db-info/Contributors.html 
 Dewey, T., & Hammond, G. (n.d.). Division of reptiles and amphibians. Retrieved April 15, 2012, from University of Michigan website: http://www.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/rep_amph/index.html 




Nerodia sipedon insularum (Lake Erie Water Snake)
Status: Endangered
Range/Distribution:  Restricted to the islands of western Lake Erie (Pelee, Kelleys, etc.). 
Characteristics:  Dark markings found on dorsal surface are very pale or missing, compared to the common watersnake.  They range in color from green to grey to slightly brown, and their ventral surface is very pale, either white or yellow.  Occasionally there may be a pale orange or pink color down the center of the ventral surface. 
Biology:  Able to coexist with people, even though they are listed as endangered.  They have greatly benefitted from the building of docks and shoreline protection around the islands.  The favorite food of the Lake Erie water snake is the round goby, which has become a nuisance in the Great Lakes recently, and is thus partly responsible for the control of the invasive round goby population.

References:
Hallermann, J., Baker, B., & Schmidt, J. (1996, April 5). The reptile database. Retrieved April 15,2012, from Peter Uetz website: http://www.reptile-database.org/db-info/Contributors.html 
 Dewey, T., & Hammond, G. (n.d.). Division of reptiles and amphibians. Retrieved April 15, 2012, from University of Michigan website: http://www.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/rep_amph/index.html 





Nerodia erythrogaster neglecta (Copperbelly Water Snake)
Status:  Endangered


Range/Distribution:  Typically found in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.  In Ohio it is known to currently only occur in Williams county (northwestern Ohio), but small populations may exist elsewhere throughout the state. 
Characteristics:  Dorsal side is typically black or dark-brown and uniform throughout.  Defining characteristic is a brightly colored ventral surface, ranging from different shades of red or orange. 
Biology:  Similar aggression patterns to N.s.sipedon, eager to attack when handled, and are very active during both the day and night.  Enjoy basking and can often be found sunning on logs or rocks near water.  Feed mainly on frogs, salamanders, and tadpoles in the swampy wetlands that they prefer to inhabit.  Most active from the first week in April to early November.
References:  
Hallermann, J., Baker, B., & Schmidt, J. (1996, April 5). The reptile database. Retrieved April 15,2012, from Peter Uetz website: http://www.reptile-database.org/db-info/Contributors.html 
 Dewey, T., & Hammond, G. (n.d.). Division of reptiles and amphibians. Retrieved April 15, 2012, from University of Michigan website: http://www.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/rep_amph/index.html 
 


Regina septemvittata (Queen Snake)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: S.E. Canada, United States (OH)
Characteristics: Adult Queen Snakes are approx. 34-92.2 cm in length. They have no sexually dimorphic characteristics. They are dark brown/olive colored. They have a yellow stripe running horizontally from their labial scales down the length of their body. Their ventral side is yellow, with 4 thing dark stripes running the lengths of their body, which converge at the end of the tail. They have keeled scales. Adult Queen Snakes may appear similar in appearance to Garter snakes, but they have divided anal plates, and lack dorsal stripes.
Biology:  Queen Snakes are crayfish specialists, and so they only occur in areas with a sufficiently high crayfish population.They are semi-aquatic, living in and around freshwater streams to hunt prey. They are viviparous, but females exhibit no parental care. Adults are primarily solitary, except for the mating season.

References:
Loup, J. 2004. “Regina septemvittata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 17, 2012 at                 http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Regina septemvittata.html
Uetz, Peter.; et all. “Regina septemvittata” (On-line). The Reptile Database. Accessed April 17, 2012 at http://reptiledatabase.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Regina&species=septemvittata&searchparam=%28%28taxon%3D%27Natricinae%27%29%29



Thamnophis butleri (Butler’s Garter Snake)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: MidWest United States, Southern Canada
Characteristics: Adult Butler’s Garter Snake have a approx. length of 38-73.3cm. They have dark brown/olive bodies with 3 distinct yellow or orange dorsal stripes, with possible dark spots in between stripes. They have keeled scales and narrow heads. Their ventral side is yellow or orange, with black spots running along the edge. Butler’s Garter Snake are sexually dimorphic, with males being smaller than females, qith longer tails. They can be distinguished from the Eastern Garter Snake because their dorsal stripes occupy scale rows 2-4, while the Eastern Garter Snake’s stripes are confined to the 2 and 3 row.
Biology: Butler Garter Snakes live in and around wet meadows and prarires near ponds and lakes. They eat mostly crayfish or small rodents, and are generally solitary, except for when hibernating. During summer months, their actions are mostly nocturnal, and they hibernate in groups in hibernaculum underground during the winter. They breed upon leaving the hibernaculum each year and are ovoviviparous.

References:
Loup, J. 2004. "Thamnophis butleri" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 17, 2012 at                 http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thamnophis_butleri.html
Uetz, Peter.; et all. “Thamnophis butleri” (On-line). The Reptile Database. Accessed April 17, 2012 at http://reptiledatabase.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Thamnophis&species=butleri&search_para m=%28%28taxon%3D%27Natricinae%27%29%29





Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis (Eastern Garter Snake)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: S. Canada, USA (OH), Gulf of Mexico area
Characteristics: Eastern Garter Snakes can grow up to 46 -123cm in length. They have variable coloration, though most are dark brown/olve with three yellow or orange dorsal stripes. The stripes may be not well defined, or interspaced with dark spots, giving them a checkerboard pattern. They have keeled scales, with heads that are slightly wider than their body. Their tongues are red tipped with black, and their chin, neck, and ventral side are pale yellow or white.
Biology: The Eastern Garter Snake is highly adaptive, living in many different habitats, though it prefer wet or moist soils near bodies of water. They typically eat amphibians, although they also eat a larger range of prey when needed. They typically hibernate throughout the winter time, though they can be seen basking on rock son some winter days. They can be distinguished from their similarly appearing Butler’s Garter Snake by the stripes on their back. In the Eastern Garter Snake, the dorsal stripes are confined to scale rows 2 and 3, while the Butler’s Garter Snake has stripes that extend onto the fourth scale row.

References:
Loup, J. 2004. "Thamnophis sirtalus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 17, 2012 at                 http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Thamnophis_sirtalus.html
Uetz, Peter.; et all. “Thamnophis sirtalus” (On-line). The Reptile Database. Accessed April 17, 2012 at  http://reptiledatabase.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Thamnophis&species=sirtalus&search_para m=%28%28taxon%3D%27Natricinae%27%29%29



Thamnophis radix radix (Eastern Plains Garter Snake)
Status: Least Concern; Endangered in Ohio


Range/Distribution: S. Canada & U.S. – Wyandot County, OH
Characteristics: Small to medium sized snake (18-26 inches in length).  A distinguishing feature of T. radix radix versus other Thamnophis species is the presence of yellow lateral stripes on the third and fourth scale row.  The dorsal lateral stripe is more orange than the yellowish lateral stripes. Ventral scales grayish green with black dots along the margins.
Biology: Ovoviviparous species that is typically active from April-October.  Diet preferences include: slugs, earthworms, amphibians, small mammals, and birds. Commonly inhabits wet prairie and meadow habitat.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plains_gartersnake.jpg#filelinks





Thamnophis sauritus sauritus (Eastern Ribbon Snake)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: SE Canada, USA – Pan OH
Characteristics: Small to medium sized snake (18-24 inches in length). Similar looking to common garter snakes, however have a distinctive long tail, comprising one-third its entire body length. Reddish-brown body color with yellowish lateral stripes on the third and fourth scale rows. Dorsal stripe is yellow-greenish tinge in color.  This species can also be recognized by its completely white supra- and infra-labial scales and a white preocular scale.
Biology: Ovoviviparous species that is typically active April-October, but will hibernate in colder temperatures.  Diet preferences include: fish, tadpoles, salamanders, frogs, and toads. Commonly inhabit riparian zones along lakes, ponds, swamps, but have also been found in wet prairie, meadows, and moist woods.

References:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/EasternRibbonSnake.jpg





Thamnophis sauritus septentrionalis (Northern Ribbon Snake)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: Canada & U.S. – Northern OH
Characteristics: Small to medium sized snake (18-26 inches in length). Similar looking to common garter snakes, however have a distinctive long tail, comprising one-third its entire body length. Dark brown-black body color with yellowish lateral stripes on the third and fourth scale rows. Dorsal stripe is also yellow and commonly masked with brown pigment. This species can also be recognized by its completely white supra- and infra-labial scales and a white preocular scale.
Biology: Ovoviviparous species that is typically active April-October, but will hibernate in colder temperatures.  Diet preferences include: fish, tadpoles, salamanders, frogs, and toads. Commonly inhabit riparian zones along lakes, ponds, swamps, but have also been found in wet prairie, meadows, and moist woods.

References:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/61818086@N03/5625266951/sizes/m/in/photostream/



Storeria dekayi wrightorum (Midland Brown Snake)


Status: Least Concern
Range/Distribution: Within Ohio: Western half and Northern Ohio; S. Maine, S. Canada, to North Carolina.
Characteristics:
8-12 inches, record 20.75 inches. Dark downward streak on side of head. Scales keeled. Has two parallel rows of dark spots down their back, these spots are connected by dark crossbands forming a ladder-like pattern. Color varies from light yellowish-brown/gray to dark brown.  The 4 mid-dorsal scales are usually lighter than rest of the body.  Interbreeding between the Midland Brown and the Northern Brown snake occurs frequently, resulting in a combination of characteristics. The midland brown snake has 176 or more ventral and subcaudal scales; the Northern brown snake has 175 or fewer.
Biology: Do not bite when captured. Defend themselves with musk glands. Found hiding under stones, logs, old boards, and other such debris, where they feed on snails, slugs, worms, and soft-bodied insects.

References:
Conant, R. and J. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians Peterson field guide.
Reptiles of Ohio Field Guide. Division of Wildlife 1-53.





Storeria dekayi dekayi (Northern Brown Snake)


Status: Least Concern
Range/Distribution:Within Ohio: Western half and Northern Ohio; S. Maine, S. Canada, to North Carolina.
Characteristics: 8-12” in length. Dark downward streak on side of head. Northern Brown snakes are almost identical to Midland Brown Snakes. Both have two parallel rows of dark spots down their back, but on the Midland Brown Snake these spots are connected by dark crossbands forming a ladder-like pattern. Color varies from light yellowish-brown/gray to dark brown.  The 4 mid-dorsal scales are usually lighter than rest of the body.  Interbreeding between the Midland Brown and the Northern Brown snake occurs frequently, resulting in a combination of characteristics.
Biology: Defend themselves with musk glands, are not aggressive. Found under stones, logs, boards and other cover objects and feed on snails, slugs, worms and soft-bodied insects.

References:
Reptiles of Ohio Field Guide. Division of Wildlife 1-53. 





Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata (Northern Redbelly Snake)


Status: Least Concern
Range/Distribution: Northwest Ohio; Nova Scotia to Central Florida, eastern parts of Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma.
Characteristics: 8-10 inches, record 16 inches. Three light nape spots well defined; black pigment on sides and back of head. Light mark on the 5th upper labial scale, bordered below by black. Fairly light middorsal stripe. Most specimens are grey, a few black. Belly color usually red, sometimes yellow or orange. Scales keeled and in 15 rows. Anal divided.
Biology: Spotty distribution and very secretive. Common in many mountainous or upland parts of the Northeast. Often found near or in open woods.

References:
Conant, R. and J. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians Peterson field guide.



Virginia valeriae valeriae (Eastern Smooth Earth Snake)


Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: Southern Ohio; New Jersey to Florida; west to Iowa, Kansas, and Texas
Characteristics: Scales rows 15; scales mostly smooth, but usually have faint keels near tail; usually have tiny black spots on dorsum; gray to light brownish gray coloration; more stout bodied and lacks patterning unlike the Northern brown snake; seven to ten inches in size; and small head.
Biology: One of the most secretive snakes in North America, usually hiding beneath flat rocks; viviparous; invertebrate diet; habitat includes abandoned fields or surrounding trails, back roads, especially near deciduous forests.

References:
Conant, R., J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America 3:324-325.
EMBL Reptile Database
Reptiles of Ohio field guide. Division of wildlife 1-53.
http://www.google.com/imgres?q=Virginia+valeriae+valeriae&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw=1189&bih=598&tbm=isch&tbnid=1PIx6G0GbyPmPM:&imgrefurl=http://flickriver.com/photos/nclarkii/3464039470/&docid=1mFPI-Cqn-3nBM&itg=1&imgurl=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3664/3464039470_157b701339.jpg&w=500&h=334&ei=UZOJT8CPI6jk0QHC_8C0CQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=90&vpy=244&dur=598&hovh=160&hovw=232&tx=121&ty=79&sig=100564942625994707340&page=1&tbnh=121&tbnw=159&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:12,s:0,i:95


Colubridae: Dipsadinae


Diadophis punctatus edwardsi (Northern Ringneck Snake)


Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: Throughout Ohio, except for the west-central and extreme northwest counties; Nova Scotia to northeast Minnesota; south through uplands to north Georgia and northeast Alabama; north in Mississippi Valley to Illinois
Characteristics: Golden collar around the neck; dorsal coloration is variable, bluish black, bluish gray, slate, or brownish; ventral side is yellow and occasionally has a row or partial row of small black dots down the center; ten to fifteen inches in size; smooth scales; anal scales divided. 
Biology: Commonly found in cutover areas which include a large amount of hiding places; hide under ricks, logs, pieces of bark, or other rotting wood; consume salamanders, earthworms, small snakes, lizards, and frogs; oviparous; when caught, display a mild temperament and discharge contents of their musk glands; mainly nocturnal.

References:
Conant, R., J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America 3:330-331.
EMBL Reptile Database
Reptiles of Ohio field guide. Division of wildlife 1-53.
 http://www.google.com/imgres?q=Diadophis+punctatus+edwardsii&start=87&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw=1189&bih=598&tbm=isch&tbnid=GtQAFJxdJdCiTM:&imgrefurl=http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/punctatus/Interesting&docid=L4KwT4uGeL1t9M&imgurl=http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2792/5744878906_8cd3c961a4.jpg&w=500&h=333&ei=spmJT5y2KueQ0QHc2528CQ&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=674&sig=100564942625994707340&page=5&tbnh=136&tbnw=175&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:10,s:87,i:26&tx=124&ty=85



Heterodon platyrhinos (Eastern Hognose Snake)


Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: Southern Ohio; New Hampshire to southern Florida; west to Minnesota; southeast South Dakota, Kansas, and Texas
Characteristics: Upturned snout, which is keeled; variable coloration, yellow, brown, gray, olive, orange, or red; normally spotted, but black or plain gray are also common; ventral side is mottled, green or gray on yellow, light gray, or pinkish; Underside of tail lighter than belly; twenty to thirty-tree inches in length. 
Biology: Found in dry, sandy areas; shows several different behaviors, hissing, head and neck spreading, and playing ‘possum; flattens head to form a cobra-like hood; consume toads and invertebrates.

References:
Conant, R., J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America 3:327-328.
EMBL Reptile Database
Reptiles of Ohio field guide. Division of wildlife 1-53.
 http://www.google.com/imgres?q=Heterodon+platirhinos&start=86&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw=1189&bih=611&addh=36&tbm=isch&tbnid=V-YyL3Y3x-vVFM:&imgrefurl=http://www.herp-pix.org/heterodon/slides/P1010423.html&docid=atkDe0BulRa92M&imgurl=http://www.herp-pix.org/heterodon/P1010423.JPG&w=800&h=602&ei=O6eJT-KTDcTj0QHSv9mACg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=107&vpy=69&dur=382&hovh=195&hovw=259&tx=111&ty=82&sig=100564942625994707340&page=5&tbnh=137&tbnw=177&ndsp=22&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:86,i:5



Carphophis amoenus amoenus (Eastern Worm Snake)



Status: Least Concern
Range/Distribution: Southeastern Ohio; New England to South Carolina, central Georgia, and central Alabama
Characteristics: Looks like a common earthworm; dorsal side is plain brown; belly and adjacent one or two rows of dorsal scales are pink; pointed head; two internasal and prefrontal scales; smooth and opalescent scales; Eight to ten inches in size; distinct from the Midwest Worm Snake because it does not have each prefrontal scale fused with the corresponding internasal.
Biology: Rarely encountered in the open; can be found under large, flat pieces of rock, under logs, and other debris; prefer moist ground; consume worms and other soft-bodied invertebrates; oviparous.

References:
Conant, R., J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America 3:333-334.
EMBL Reptile Database
Reptiles of Ohio field guide. Division of wildlife 1-53.



Carphophis amoenus helenae (Midwest Worm Snake)


Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: Southern Ohio; Illinois, eastern Arkansas, south to the Gulf
Characteristics: Similar looking to the common earthworm; dorsal side is plain brown; belly and adjacent one or two rows of dorsal scales are pink; pointed head; two internasal and prefrontal scales; smooth and opalescent scales; Eight to ten inches in size; distinct from the Eastern Worm Snake because each prefrontal scale is fused with the corresponding internasal.
Biology: Not typically in open areas; found under large, flat pieces of rock, under logs, and other debris; usually in moist ground; consume worms and other soft-bodied invertebrates; oviparous.

References:
Conant, R., J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America 3:333-334.
EMBL Reptile Database
Reptiles of Ohio field guide. Division of wildlife 1-53. 


Colubridae: Colubrinae


Opheodrys vernalis (Smooth Green Snake)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: Northeastern United States and into Southeastern Canada.
Characteristics:  Grows to 12 - 20 in.  Bright green dorsal scales with yellowish to white ventral scales; scales smoothO. vernalis is very similar in appearance, but smaller and thicker bodied (relative to length) than O. aestivus.
Biology:  Primarily terrestrial; rarely climbs.  Feeds on insects and spiders.  Generally found inhabiting prairie remnents1.
Fun Fact:  As with other members of this genus, scales fade to a dull blue after death.

References:
Conant, R. and J. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians Peterson field guide.



Opheodrys aestivus (Rough Green Snake)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: Southeastern United States; range extends from Eastern Mexico to Southern Ohio and to the Atlantic coast.
Characteristics:  Grows to 22-32 in. and very slender. Bright green dorsal scales with yellowish to white ventral scales; scales keeled, anal scales divided.
Biology:  Often found in dense thickets of vegetation lining streams or lakes, especially willow-lined streams1O. aestivus is an excellent climber; arboreal, but known to be semiaquatic.  Feeds on insects and spiders. 
Fun Fact:  Color changes to a dull blue after death; road-killed snakes with such coloration in Ohio likely belong to this genus.  

References:
Conant, R. and J. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians Peterson field guide.





Coluber constrictor foxii (Blue Racer)
Status: Endangered


Range/Distribution: Midwestern United States; range extending from most of Ohio (excepting Southern and Eastern Ohio) to the lower peninsula of Michigan and Eastern Iowa. 
Characteristics:  Grows to 36 – 60 in.  Dorsal scales are plain blue (or greenish/grayish) and darker near head, ventral scales are blueish and somewhat pale; white coloration in the region of the chin and throat; as with C. constrictor constrictor, juveniles (typically less than 30 in.) may exhibit blotchy patterning with grays, browns and reds. Scales smooth, anal scales divided.  
Biology:  Diurnal snakes, mostly terrestrial but may climb trees to escape predators.  Generally, quick to flee, but might fight fiercely when cornered; also, may shake tails to disturb dried leaves to mimic the sounds of rattlesnakes. C. foxii found in open habitats.  Feeds on a wide variety of foods (rodents, birds, snakes, eggs, grasshoppers etc.)1

References:
Conant, R. and J. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians Peterson field guide.





Coluber constrictor constrictor (Northern Black Racer)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: Most of the Northeastern United States; a line through Eastern  and Southern Ohio marks the edge of its range. 
Characteristics:  Grows to 36 – 60 in.  Dorsal and ventral scales are black, and often with a small amount of white in the region of the chin or throat; however, juveniles (typically less than 30 in.) may exhibit blotchy patterning with grays, browns and reds.  Scales smooth, anal scales divided.  
Biology:  Diurnal snakes, mostly terrestrial but may climb trees to escape predators.  Generally, quick to flee, but might fight fiercely when cornered; also, may shake tails to disturb dried leaves to mimic the sounds of rattlesnakes.  Feeds on a wide variety of foods (rodents, birds, snakes, eggs, grasshoppers etc.)1

References:
Conant, R. and J. Collins. 1998. Reptiles and Amphibians Peterson field guide.




Pantherophis obsoletus obsoletus (Black Rat Snake)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: C/E USA (SE Nebraska, E Kansas, Oklahoma, E Texas, SE Minnesota, S/E Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, S Michigan, W Vermont, Pennsylvania), S Canada.
Characteristics: Rat snakes are on average 42-72 inches (106.7-183 cm) in length and are covered with keeled scales. The coloration is a shiny black, with any variations of lighter color being displayed on the skin between the scales.
Biology: They are oviparous and can lay clutches of up to 40 eggs. Common rat snakes are excellent climbers and will be found in trees often. Rat snakes are primarily rodent eaters but will also consume lizards and frogs. The Eastern rate snake is a constricting colubrid, and thus kills with its strong bodily coils.

References:
Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles.  Vitt, Caldwell. 2009.
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Pantherophis_obsoletus.html



Pantherophis vulpinus (Fox Snake)
Status: Least Concern


Range/Distribution: USA (east of the Mississippi River: Wisconsin, Illinois, E Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio), SW Canada
Characteristics:  The Fox snake is reported at sizes from 91 to 137 cm, with a published record of 179. The general coloration pattern is blotched with either light brown or black spots. The head can be brown to reddish, the belly yellow and black checkered, and the scales are lightly keeled. It should be noted that juveniles have a completely different coloration scheme - The dark spots are a full brown surrounded by black or dark brown. On the head, a dark transverse line runs anterior to eyes and a dark line also runs from eye to angle of jaw, yet these fade with age.
Biology: Fox snakes are found in grasslands, prairies, dune areas, farm fields, pastures, and woodlots and are usually located close to water. They are actively mating from April to July and the  female will lay her eggs from late June to early August. The clutch can vary in size from 6 to 29 eggs, leathery in nature, that are between 4 and 5 centimeters. The young will then hatch from late August to October. Prey items include small mammals and occasional birds captured and killed with constriction.
Fun Fact: In a form of behavioral mimicry, they will often shake their tail tip in detritus to produce whipping, rattlesnake-like noises when agitated. This is to advertise its presence but often unfortunately identifies them as a threat to humans who will then take actions to kill.

References:
Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles.  Vitt, Caldwell. 2009.



Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum (Eastern Milk Snake)
Status: Not Assessed


Range/Distribution: Maine to Minnesota, Wisconsin, N Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, S Quebec (Canada).
Characteristics: L. triangulum triangulum can grow from two to three feet long. The ventral scales present a black and white checkerboard pattern, while dorsally, a v-shape blotch is on the nape of the neck.
Biology: There are twenty five subspecies of L. triangulum but the only one that occurs within Ohio is L. triangulum triangulum. This is a true constrictor and will squeeze the breath out of its prey with multiple, muscular coils. The prey of choice is often mice and the milksnake may sometimes enter buildings or barns in search of food. They prefer activity at night and are cryptic and reserved during daytime hours. When agitated it may bite, but it is non-venomous and the fangs will barely puncture skin. They are oviparous snakes.  
Fun Fact: The common name for the Ohio subspecies comes from its tendency to inhabit rodent-infested barns. It was said that at night, they would milk the cows – hence the miksnake moniker.

Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles.  Vitt, Caldwell. 2009.





Lampropeltis getula nigra (Black Kingsnake)


Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: Southern Ohio; West Virginia to southeast Illinois, south to central Alabama
Characteristics: Similar looking to the Eastern Kingsnake, but with a chain-like pattern, which is greatly reduced and shown by small white or yellow spots; some can have numerous yellow spots on body; size ranges from 36 to 45 inches; smooth scales; single anal scales.
Biology: Bask in open spaces in the early spring and fall, other than these times very secretive; can be found under logs and rocks; nocturnal; live in dry, rocky hills, open woods, dry prairies, and stream valleys; consume small mammals, lizards, birds, and small snakes; immune to all normal quantities of venom from native venomous snakes.

References:
EMBL Reptile Database
Reptiles of Ohio field guide. Division of wildlife 1-53.
Conant, R., J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America 3:368-369.


Viperidae: Crotalinae


Agkistrodon contortrix mokasan (Northern Copperhead: Mokasan)


Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: Found throughout New England as far south as Florida and extending throughout much of the eastern half of the U.S. and into parts of northern Mexico.  In Ohio, A. c. mokasen is found primarily in the southeast parts of the state.
Characteristics: A. c. mokasen ranges from approximately 24–36 inches in total length as adults, reaching up to 53 inches.  They are brownish copper in color with darker brown bands that frequently have small dark spots within them.  Scales are weakly keeled, and at least the anterior subcaudals are undivided.  Like all crotaline snakes, they possess a pair of infrared-sensitive labial pits between the eyes and nares.  They are one of three venomous snakes found in Ohio (all of which are in Crotalinae), and are the only Ohio pit viper that lacks a rattle.  When young, the tip of the tail is a lighter and often yellowish.
Biology: A. c. mokasen are most often found on rocky, wooded hillsides, although they can also be found in floodplains and ridge tops.  Like most crotaline snakes, they are viviparous.  They are primarily active at night, when they hunt a variety of small vertebrate prey.  During the winter they hibernate, typically in communal dens.  Although they lack a rattle, if disturbed, they will vibrate their tail as a defensive display and strike.

References:
Conant, R., and J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America, Third Edition, expanded. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Co., Pp. 397–398.
EMBL Reptile Database (http://www.reptile-database.org)
Reptiles of Ohio Field Guide. Division of wildlife 1-53.



Sistrurus catenatus catenatus (Eastern Massassauga)


Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: S. c. catenatus is found primarily in the Great Lakes areas of the U.S. and Canada.  In Ohio, they have a scattered distribution throughout the state, and are considered endangered in Ohio.
Characteristics: Adults typically range from 18.5–30 inches long, potentially reaching 39.5 inches.  They are brownish grey to almost black with large black/brown spot on the dorsal surface of the body and three rows of smaller lateral spots.  The ventral scales are black with irregular lighter markings.  They possess an undivided anal scale.  Like all crotaline snakes, they possess a pair of infrared-sensitive labial pits between the eyes and nares.  They are one of three venomous snakes found in Ohio (all of which are in Crotalinae), and one of two that possesses a rattle at the end of the tail.  The other species of rattlesnake in Ohio is the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), which is generally larger than S. c. catenatus and possesses a mixture of small and large scales on the crown of the head, unlike S. c. catenatus, which possesses nine large scales (plates) on the crown.
Biology: S. c. catenatus are typically found in wet prairies, bogs, swamps, and other wetlands, but can also be found in dry forest.  Like most crotaline snakes, they are viviparous.  If threatened, they will vibrate their tails, producing a characteristic sound with the rattle.  They primarily hunt small mammals, but will also consume a variety of small vertebrates.  They hibernate during the winter, often in communal dens.



References:
Conant, R., and J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America, Third Edition, expanded. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Co., Pp. 397–398.
EMBL Reptile Database (http://www.reptile-database.org)
Reptiles of Ohio Field Guide. Division of wildlife 1-53.




Crotalus horridus (Timber Rattlesnake)


Status: Least concern
Range/Distribution: C. horridus are found throughout much of the eastern half of the U.S.  In Ohio, they are found in the very southern part of the state.
Characteristics: C. horridus typically ranges from 36–60 inches as adults, potentially reaching up to 74.5 inches.  There are a number of color morphs of C. horridus, although only two are generally found in Ohio.  The yellow morph features dark bands (which break up into dorsal and lateral rows of spots anteriorly) on a background of brownish yellow.  The black morph features dark bands on a background of dark brown, and individuals may even be completely black.  Scales are keeled and the anal scale is undivided.  Like all crotaline snakes, they possess a pair of infrared-sensitive labial pits between the eyes and nares.  They are one of three venomous snakes found in Ohio (all of which are in Crotalinae), and one of two that possesses a rattle at the end of the tail.  The other species of rattlesnake in Ohio is the Eastern Massasauga (Crotalus horridus), which is generally smaller than C. horridus and possesses nine large scales (plates) on the crown of the head, as opposed to the mixture of large and small scales on the crown in C. horridus.
Biology: C. horridus typically inhabits wooded areas.  Like most crotaline snakes, they are viviparous.  If threatened, they will vibrate their tails, producing a characteristic sound with the rattle.  They primarily hunt small endothermic vertebrates.  C. horridus hibernates during the winter, typically in communal dens.

References:
Conant, R., and J.T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians eastern and central North America, Third Edition, expanded. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Co., Pp. 397–398.
EMBL Reptile Database (http://www.reptile-database.org)
Reptiles of Ohio Field Guide. Division of wildlife 1-53.



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