Relative Abundance of Vermont’s Reptiles

January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2021

These tables give a rough idea of the relative abundance and distribution of Vermont’s herptiles. The comparisons are subject to bias by the audibility, visibility, notoriety, and ease of identification of species. For example, since salamanders don’t call and are usually under cover, they are reported less often than frogs. Consequently, the species are sorted by taxonomic group so that some of these biases are alleviated. However, some other biases remain. For instance, Eastern Ribbonsnakes when observed may be assumed to be Common Gartersnakes and hence they may be under-reported. Aquatic species of turtle that bask only infrequently are probably reported less often than terrestrial or basking species.

Still, these tables help the Scientific Advisory Group decide if the state rank and/or state status of a species needs to be reevaluated. Species are listed in descending order of the number of “sites” from which they have been reported. Errors in the number of known sites and towns for the more abundant species are almost certainly included and those numbers are changing monthly. There are a total of 255 “towns” (political units including towns, cities, gores, and unincorporated areas) in the state of Vermont.

Methodology: We broke the State up into a grid for each species that corresponded to the species’ site size using ArcGIS Pro. Each grid cell was considered to be a potential site. We considered a site to be occupied if an individual was reported within the grid cell.

State Ranks in the tables below are as of December 2022.


Species # of Towns # of Sites State Rank State Status Site Size SGCN Status
Painted Turtle 187 383 S5 2.0km
Snapping Turtle 213 362 S5 3.0km
Wood Turtle 164 179 S3 SC 4.8km High
Northern Map Turtle 28 37 S3 SC 4.2km
Eastern Musk Turtle 10 8 S2 SC 8.0km Medium
Eastern Box Turtle 8 8 N/A Unconfirmed 2.6km
Spotted Turtle 4 5 S1 E 2.0km High
Spiny Softshell 10 3 S1 T 50.0km High


Species # of Towns # of Sites State Rank State Status Site Size SGCN Status Last Observed
Common Gartersnake 225 972 S5 0.5km
Eastern Milksnake 173 687 S5 0.5km
Ring-necked Snake 184 569 S4 0.5km
Red-bellied Snake 204 528 S5 0.5km
DeKay’s Brownsnake 87 330 S4 0.5km Medium
Smooth Greensnake 109 293 S3 0.5km Medium
Common Watersnake 54 230 S3 1.0km Medium
Eastern Ribbonsnake 11 20 S2 SC 2.6km High
Eastern Ratsnake 15 12 S2 T 6.4km High
North American Racer* 9 7 S1 T 9.6km High 2014
Timber Rattlesnake 5 2 S1 E 12.8km High
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake** 2 2 N/A Uncon. 3.2km

The Ring-necked Snake’s state rank was changed from S3 to S4 in 2013 by the Scientific Advisory Group.

*Only two reported since 2008.
**Two neonates found in Vernon.


Species # of Towns # of Sites State Rank State Status Site Size SGCN Status
Common Five-lined Skink 2 22 S1 E 0.5km High

Additional Background on the Relative Abundance Tables for Vermont Reptiles and Amphibians

These tables are intended to give the reader an idea of the relative abundance and distribution of Vermont herptiles based on the data in the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Database. The more common the species, the less accurate the data presented. Exact locations of some reports are difficult to pin down and the large number of reports of more common species makes it certain that some mistakes are included, particularly in the number of sites per species for S4 and S5 species. Still, the relative rankings within taxonomic groups should be accurate. Numbers of towns and sites for this set of tables were generated by Matt Gorton using Herp Atlas data. Site sizes were generated by Erin Talmage and edited by Jim Andrews.

Both the reptile and amphibian charts summarize data that were gathered by volunteers and professionals using a variety of methods. Records from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2021 were included. All reports that had been assigned an unverified status in the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Database were omitted and have not been included in these charts. For rare and often misidentified species, records without vouchers (photos, shed skins, specimens) that came from disjunct locations were not included. In addition, records that were assumed to be released pets were not included. However, for common species in appropriate habitat we did include records that were well described but not accompanied by a voucher photo or specimen. Salamanders identified as Jefferson X Blue-spotted Complex were omitted since they could not be placed in any one species or group.

The size of a “site” varies with the species. For all species, we used a site-size we felt was appropriate for the species based on its natural history as observed in the field and reported in the literature. Over time, as additional data are gathered, these site sizes may need to be adjusted.