North Dakota has a sparse fauna of amphibians and reptiles. While individual populations may get quite high, species diversity is low. The semi-arid climate provides only marginal conditions for breeding and hibernation of amphibians, while low winter temperatures and the short growing season appear to be primary limiting factors for reptiles. Several of the species listed below are very rare or infrequently found and are in quite localized populations. Slimy or dry, snakes, lizards, and salamanders are some of the most feared and misunderstood members of the animal kingdom. The prairie rattlesnake ( Crotalus viridis ) is the only poisonous reptile in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. They have more reason to fear us than we do them.
The rattlesnake will ignore or avoid us unless surprised or provoked. Then, watch out! Do not attempt to capture or kill snakes. Observe and enjoy them from a distance and remember that all wildlife is protected in a national park. Common sense and an appreciation for the benefits and beauty of reptiles and amphibians will protect both them and you. Order Common Name Scientific Name REPTILES Common Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina Western Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta Soft-shelled Turtle Trionyx muticus Sagebrush Lizard Sceloporus graciosus Short-horned Lizard Phrynosoma douglassi Western Plains Garter Snake Thamnophis radix Red-sided Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis Western Smooth Green Snake Opheodrys vernalis Plains Hognose Snake Heterodon nasicus Yellow-bellied (Blue) Racer Coluber constrictor Bullsnake (Gopher Snake) Pituophis melanoleucus Prairie Rattlesnake Crotalus viridis AMPHIBIANS Tiger Salamander Ambystoma tigrinum Plains Spadefoot Toad Scaphiopus bombifrons Great Plains Toad Bufo cognatus Rocky Mountain (Woodhouse's) Toad Bufo woodhousei Boreal Chorus Frog Pseudacris nigrita Leopard Frog Rana pipiens