Reptiles can be found throughout the Lakeshore in all of the different habitat types. Of the 18 species of reptiles known to occur, only 6 or 7 may be found on the islands. The islands are difficult for these species to get to and historically the numbers were probably about the same. Midland painted turtles, common garter snakes, and northern ring-necked snakes are the 3 species which are most likely to be found on either island. Common snapping turtles, eastern hog-nosed snakes, Dekay’s brown snakes, and northern ribbon snakes have also been found found during field work studies. Other reptiles found within the Lakeshore include the wood turtle, Blanding's turtle, eastern box turtle, spotted turtle, five-lined skink, midland brown snake, eastern smooth green snake, eastern milk snake, northern red-belly snake, northern water snake, and blue racer (snake). None of these species are poisonous and are typically harmless unless handled by an over-curious youngster. The Lakeshore is included within the potential habitat area of the Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake, but they have not been verified as living within the Lakeshore. Please do not capture or handle any of these species as they are all threatened by habitat changes, road mortality, and people wanting a cute pet (especially the turtles).
Did You Know?
The sand and gravel bluffs on the Lake Michigan shore in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are 450 feet above the lake level providing outstanding views and sunsets. On a clear day, you can see South Manitou Island. More...