Reptiles are a significant component of the native biodiversity in virtually every natural terrestrial and freshwater habitat in the southeastern United States. Despite being often overlooked, reptiles are vital components of southeastern ecosystems. They can serve important roles as both predators and prey, forming critical trophic links in many ecosystems, and can serve as indicators of environmental integrity. Comprehensive accounts of regional species composition and richness are fundamental to initiating meaningful monitoring or research programs applicable to conservation issues.

Up to 60 species of reptiles could possibly occur on the Outer Banks. According to recent investigations of reptile occurrences on the Outer Banks (Tuberville et al. 2005, Gaul and Mitchell 2007), 59 species of reptiles have been documented in Dare County, North Carolina, since 1588. Of these, 32 species of reptiles have been documented at Cape Hatteras National Seashore (highlighted):



Alligator mississippiensis



Chelydra serpentina

Common snapping turtle

Chrysemys picta

Eastern painted turtle

Clemmys guttata

Spotted turtle

Deirochelys reticularia

Eastern chicken turtle

Kinosternon subrubrum

Eastern mud turtle

Malaclemys terrapin

Diamondback terrapin

Pseudemys concinna

Eastern river cooter

Pseudemys floridana

Florida cooter

Pseudemys rubriventris

Red-bellied turtle

Sternotherus odoratus

Common musk turtle

Terrapene carolina

Eastern box turtle

Trachemys scripta

Yellow-bellied slider

Sea Turtles

Caretta caretta


Chelonia mydas

Green turtle

Dermochelys coriacea


Lepidochelys kempii

Kemp's ridley


Anolis carolinensis

Green anole

Cnemidophorus sexlineatus

Six-lined racerunner

Eumeces fasciatus

Five-lined skink

Eumeces inexpectatus

Southeastern five-lined skink

Eumeces laticeps

Broadhead skink

Ophisaurus attenuatus

Slender glass lizard

Ophisaurus mimicus

Mimic glass lizard

Ophisaurus ventralis

Eastern glass lizard

Sceloporus undulatus

Fence lizard

Scincella lateralis

Ground skink


Agkistrodon contortrix


Agkistrodon piscivorus


Carphophis amoenus

Worm snake

Cemophora coccinea

Scarlet snake

Coluber constrictor

Black racer

Crotalus horridus

Canebrake rattlesnake

Diadophis punctatus

Ringneck snake

Elaphe guttata

Corn snake

Elaphe obsoleta

Rat snake

Farancia abacura

Mud snake

Farancia erytrogramma

Rainbow snake

Heterodon platirhinos

Eastern hognose snake

Heterodon simus

Southern hognose snake

Lampropeltis calligaster

Mole kingsnake

Lampropeltis getula

Eastern kingsnake

Lampropeltis triangulum

Scarlet kingsnake or milksnake

Masticophis flagellum


Nerodia erythrogaster

Plainbelly water snake

Nerodia fasciata

Banded water snake

Nerodia sipedon

Northern banded water snake

Nerodia taxispilota

Brown water snake

Opheodrys aestivus

Rough green snake

Regina rigida

Glossy crayfish snake

Rhadinaea flavilata

Pine woods snake

Seminatrix pygaea

Black swamp snake

Sistrurus miliarius

Pigmy rattlesnake

Storeria dekayi

Brown snake

Storeria occipitomaculata

Redbelly snake

Tantilla coronata

Southeastern crowned snake

Thamnophis sauritus

Ribbon snake

Thamnophis sirtalis

Garter snake

Virginia striatula

Rough earth snake


Gaul, R.W. and J.C. Mitchell. 2007. The herpetofauna of Dare County, North Carolina: History, natural history, and biogeography. Journal of the North CarolinaAcademyof Science. 123(2): 65-109.

Tuberville, T.D., J.D. Willson, M.E. Dorcas, and J.W. Gibbons. 2005. Herpetofaunal species richness of Southeastern National Parks. Southeastern Naturalist. 4(3): 537-569.

Did You Know?