The Herps: Vermont’s Reptile and Amphibian Species

These are the species of reptile and amphibian known to occur and breed in the state of Vermont. Click on a species name for more information about each species and to see photos and range maps.

Accepted Name, State Rank, and State Status,
as of January 2018

Common Name

Scientific Name

Rank

Status

SGCN
Priority

Reptiles

Reptilia (Class)

Turtles
Testudines (Order)
Spiny Softshell Apalone spinifera S1 T High
Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina S5
Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta S5
Spotted Turtle Clemmys guttata S1 E High
Wood Turtle Glyptemys insculpta1 S3 SC High
Northern Map Turtle Graptemys geographica S3 SC
Eastern Musk Turtle Sternotherus odoratus S2 SC Medium
Lizards and Snakes
Squamata (Order)
Lizards Lacertilia (Suborder)
Common Five-lined Skink Plestiodon fasciatus S1 E High
Snakes Serpentes (Suborder)
North American Racer Coluber constrictor S1 T High
Timber Rattlesnake Crotalus horridus S1 E High
Ring-necked Snake Diadophis punctatus S4 12
Eastern Milksnake (a.k.a. Spotted Adder) Lampropeltis triangulum S514
Common Watersnake Nerodia sipedon S3 Medium
Smooth Greensnake Opheodrys vernalis S3 Medium
Eastern Ratsnake Pantherophis alleghaniensis2 S2 T High
DeKay’s Brownsnake Storeria dekayi S4 Medium
Red-bellied Snake Storeria occipitomaculata S5
Eastern Ribbonsnake Thamnophis saurita15 S2 SC High
Common Gartersnake Thamnophis sirtalis S5

Amphibians

Amphibia (Class)

Salamanders
Caudata (Order)
Jefferson Salamander Ambystoma jeffersonianum S2 SC High
Blue-spotted Salamander Ambystoma laterale S3 SC Medium
Spotted Salamander Ambystoma maculatum S5 Medium
Northern Dusky Salamander Desmognathus fuscus S5
Northern Two-lined Salamander Eurycea bislineata S5
Spring Salamander Gyrinophilus porphyriticus S4
Four-toed Salamander Hemidactylium scutatum S2 SC Medium
Mudpuppy Necturus maculosus S2 SC High
Eastern Newt Notophthalmus viridescens S5
Eastern Red-backed Salamander
Plethodon cinereus S5
Frogs (including Toads)
Anura (Order)
American Toad Anaxyrus americanus3 S5
Fowler’s Toad Anaxyrus fowleri4 S1 E13 High
Gray Treefrog Hyla versicolor S5
American Bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus6 S5
Green Frog Lithobates clamitans7 S5
Pickerel Frog Lithobates palustris S5
Northern Leopard Frog Lithobates pipiens9 S4
Mink Frog Lithobates septentrionalis10 S3
Wood Frog Lithobates sylvaticus11 S5
Spring Peeper Pseudacris crucifer S5
Boreal Chorus Frog Pseudacris maculata5 S1 E High

1 Glyptemys insculpta used to be called Clemmys insculpta.
2 Pantherophis alleghaniensis was Elaphe alleghaniensis until 2008. Before changing to Elaphe alleghaniensis, its name was Elaphe obsoleta.
3 Bufo americanus was changed to Anaxyrus americanus in 2008.
4 Bufo americanus was changed to Anaxyrus fowleri in 2008.
5 Psuedacris maculata (Boreal Chorus Frog) was determined to be Psueudacris triseriata (Western Chorus Frog) in 2007.
6-11 All the Vermont species listed in the Rana genus were reclassified into the Lithobates genus in 2008. Rana sylvatica became Lithobates sylvaticus.
12 The Ring-necked Snake’s state rank was changed from S3 to S4 in December 2013.
13 Fowler’s Toad was listed as Endangered in 2015.
14 Milksnake was renamed Eastern Milksnake in 2017.
15 The spelling of sauritus was corrected to saurita in 2017.

Crother, B. I. (ed.). 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, With Comments Regarding Confidence In Our Understanding, Eighth Edition. SSAR Herpetological Circular 43:1-102.


Hypothetical Species

The species listed below have never been confirmed as native or established in Vermont. They are listed as hypothetical species because although we have received reports from Vermont and populations exist very close to our borders, there is not enough information to confirm their identification or location, or existing reports may be of escaped or released pets or accidentally transported animals.

Salamanders
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander Desmognathus ochrophaeus
One specimen of a juvenile from central Vermont may be of this species. Otherwise, the distribution of this species is believed to have an eastern boundary of the Hudson River and Lake Champlain. No populations have been located.
Northern Slimy Salamander Plethodon glutinosus
Specimens labeled from Caledonia Country in Vermont at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have long been questioned. They are believed to be mislabeled. No populations have been located.
Marbled Salamander Ambystoma opacum
One historic photo of this species is labeled “Vermont” and an historic field record from Fair Haven is from a credible source. A population of this species may eventually be located in southern Vermont, most likely along the Connecticut River drainage. No populations have been located.
Turtles
Eastern Box Turtle Terrapene carolina
The occasional reports of single adult animals are assumed to be released pets. Reports near the southern Connecticut River Valley could possibly be native turtles. No populations are known.
Blanding’s Turtle Emydoidea blandingii
Widely disjunct populations of this species suggest that populations could potentially exist in Vermont. One well-documented record could be a released pet. No populations have been located.
Snakes
Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake Heterodon platirhinos
Two well-documented records of this species in Vernon suggest local populations, but those reports were both of hatchling snakes found close to each other during the same week. One possible explanation is that a clutch of eggs was transported to Vermont by accident. Populations are very close (~15 miles) to the Massachusetts and New York border, so a native population may certainly be confirmed in Vermont one day.

 


Explanation of Legal Status & Information Ranks

State Status

As per the Vermont Endangered Species Law

E: Endangered—in immediate danger of becoming extirpated in the states
T: Threatened—high possibility of becoming endangered in the near future

Information Categories

Not established by law

PE: Proposed for endangered.
PT: Proposed for threatened.
SC: Special Concern: rare; status should be watched.
SGCN: Species designated as having the Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in Vermont’s Wildlife Action Plan. Listed as either high or medium priority conservation for funding through the State Wildlife Grants Program.

State Ranks of Plants, Animals, and Natural Communities

State ranks are assigned by the Wildlife Diversity Program (in the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife) based on the best available information. They are not established by law. Ranks are reviewed annually.

S1:
At very high risk due to extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer populations or occurrences in the state), very steep declines, or other factors.
S2:
At high risk due to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors.
S3:
At moderate risk due to restricted range, relatively few populations, or occurrences (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors.
S4:
Locally common or widely scattered to uncommon: not rare.
S5:
Common: widespread and abundant.
SA: Accidental in the state.
SE: An exotic established in the state.
SH: Known from historical records only.
SR: Reported from the state, but without persuasive documentation.
SRF: Reported in error, but this error persisted in the literature.
SP: Possible in the state but no reported or documented records.
SSYN: No longer considered a taxon in the state.
SZ: Not of practical conservation concern because there are no definable occurrences.
SX: Extirpated from the state.
SU: Status uncertain.
?: Denotes provisional rank.