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Niobrara National Scenic River Reptiles

Reptiles occupy a special niche within the Niobrara Valley. Turtles are frequently observed while canoeing the Scenic River. Species such as snapping, painted, and spiny softshell turtles can be seen warming themselves on rocks or streambanks on a sunny day.

The ringneck snake occurs in deciduous forest oriented areas of the valley and reaches its western limits there, while the eastern hognose snake also occurs in the valley and is otherwise only marginally distributed across the Sandhills. Others commonly found in the area include prairie rattlesnakes, bull snakes, and red-sided garter snakes.

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Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.