What Makes a Good Observation?

Your field sightings of reptiles and amphibians are valuable. All of them.

Our survey is designed so that anyone can contribute useful information from any town in the state. There are no assigned territories or required training sessions. People can contribute on whatever level they are comfortable; the time and place are up to them. Most individuals have quietly taken the time to report those reptiles and amphibians that they see at home or while in the field. Many important discoveries occur by just being in the right place at the right time. A great deal of useful information can be obtained from just reporting road-killed reptiles and amphibians. People interested in local history can help by finding old newspaper reports of reptiles and amphibians or locating references in town documents or local histories. We even have a convenient form for your use.

A record should be well-documented, so we offer some suggestions on how to write up your observations for the form. Good photographs of the specimen greatly enhance the quality of a record, but they are not required for the record to be useful. We can also help with some search tips to help find these animals. We also have some useful sources of Information on New England Reptiles and Amphibians.

It is absolutely acceptable to report the same species from the same location; if you are sending such a report, please try to get some documentation (photos, audio recordings, and such—especially if you didn’t have that the first time), or perhaps measure the length of the animal. Is the weather different this time? Is it in the same habitat? Once we know a species is some place, it becomes very interesting to learn about what sizes (ages) are present at what times of year in what types of habitats.

Submit records online:

Fill out and submit the sighting form.  If you prefer, you can just send an E-mail with the same information asked for on the form.  If you have photos, video, or audio recordings to submit with your record, please attach them to the form or send them in an email to jandrews@vtherpatlas.org. Please be sure to tell us which record the additional documentation goes with.  Please include your email address on the form so we can contact you if we have any questions about your report.

Note for iNaturalist users: Please also submit your reports to us. Don’t worry about duplicating reports, as we only pull select reports from iNaturalist. In addition, we can more easily get the important information we need when you submit directly to us, and you will receive a personal e-mailed response to your submission with answers to any ID, natural history, or conservation questions.

If you have a hardcopy photograph(s) or audio recordings of your sighting:

Please email Jim Andrews (jandrews@vtherpatlas.org) with details about your sighting or fill out the form. Hardcopies of photos or tape recordings can be mailed to:

Jim Andrews
Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas
642 Smead Road
Salisbury, VT 05769

If you prefer, you may download a 2-page blank form as a PDF file, and print, fill out, and mail the form along with photos or recordings to the same address.