• Sun beginning to set at Harpers Ferry, as seen from Maryland Heights. Photo by NPS Volunteer Buddy Secor.

    Harpers Ferry

    National Historical Park WV,VA,MD

Reptiles

Eastern water snake

Queen snake near Bull Falls.

NPS photo

Don't be surprised to find an eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina) or a black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta) crossing your path when exploring the park. These reptiles are often seen both in the mountains and within the lower historical district. Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), and stinkpot turtles (Sternotherus odoratus) also live in the park. Other snakes found here include the eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), queen snake (Regina septemvittata), northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), and timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus). Lizards frequently spotted within the park's forests include the five-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus) and the northern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus).

Previous inventories identified 5 turtle, 10 snake, and 3 lizard species in the park. An ongoing reptile survey will be completed in 2003, providing an even more accurate and detailed inventory of the park's reptiles.

Did You Know?

The present day view from Jefferson Rock is still breathtaking.

Thomas Jefferson visited Harpers Ferry in 1783 and wrote "The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature."