Skyline Drive Status
For the most current Skyline Drive Status, call 540-999-3500, choose Option 1, and then Option 1. You can also use Facebook and Twitter for updates. More »
Night Closures of Skyline Drive
Skyline Drive will be closed at night (5:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m.) through January 5, 2014 to concentrate Ranger patrols in problem areas during hunting season. More »
Species within this class are cold-blooded, such as snakes, lizards, and turtles. Reptiles have an external covering of scales or horny plates and breathe by means of lungs. Reptiles do not form a distinct evolutionary group as birds and mammals do. Instead, the Class Reptilia consists of four orders which are very different from each other. As an example, lizards are more closely related to birds than to turtles. Reptiles differ from amphibians in that they have dry, waterproof skin and they lay eggs with shell coverings. In addition they have more advanced circulatory, respiratory, excretory, and nervous systems.
There are twenty-six species of reptiles found at Shenandoah including eighteen snakes, five turtles, and lizards.
Man's fear of snakes likely results in large numbers of them killed each year. Others (including turtles) perish from motor vehicle activity along Skyline Drive. Additionally, illegal collecting (poaching) of certain species such as timber rattlesnakes or box turtles, accounts for additional losses. These animals are usually sought for their value in the illegal pet trade and black market arenas. Currently, the park has little information as to how these illegal activities may be affecting reptile populations.
One useful reference on reptiles found at Shenandoah National Park is:
Mitchell, J.C. 1994. The Reptiles of Virginia. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.
One website that provides photographs and helpful biological information about reptiles is:
Listing of this website does not and is not intended to imply endorsement by the National Park Service of commercial services or products associated with the site.
Did You Know?
The 600' long Marys Rock Tunnel was completed in 1932 and the public considered it a scenic wonder. It became iconic and tunnel images were used on everything from post cards to jewelry.