• Canoers

    Ozark

    National Scenic Riverways Missouri

Reptiles

Image of a copperhead

Osage Copperhead       

      (Copyright Bill O'Donnell)

Reptiles are little appreciated but important parts of forest ecosystems. The park is home to several species of turtles, including the three toed and the ornate box turtles, snapping turtles, red eared sliders, softshell turtles and others. Lizard species include the abundant five lined skink, the broad headed skink, the fence lizard and the uncommon collared lizard. The collared lizard or "mountain boomer" may be found in rocky areas called glades on some hilltops. These dry sparsely vegetated areas resemble the regions where the collared lizard is much more at home: the desert southwest. There are 25 species of snakes in the park, including four venomous species. The most common of these is the copperhead, but timber rattlesnakes, pygmy rattlensakes and water moccassins may also be found. Bites from snakes are rare, but do happen. treat any snake with respect, do not try to capture, kill or disturb the snake, and your chance of being bitten are very slim. All reptiles, including snakes and box turtles are protected. It is illegal to kill or collect any species in the park, with the exception of softshell and snapping turtles which may be harvested in season.

Fire Benefits Collared Lizards

A scholarly paper on Collared Lizards

Did You Know?

Water cascading through a shut in

"Shut Ins" are an Ozark term for small canyon-like areas where water and rock struggle. Ozark National Scenic Riverways' Rocky Falls is the best known in the park, but there are several more in less easily accessible areas such as near Klepzig Mill. More at www.nps.gov/ozar More...