• Theodore Roosevelt National Park

    Theodore Roosevelt

    National Park North Dakota


"Rattlesnakes are only too plentiful everywhere; along the river bottoms, in the broken, hilly ground, and on the prairies and the great desert wastes alike...If it can it will get out of the way, and only coils up in its attitude of defence when it believes that it is actually menaced." Theodore Roosevelt

North Dakota has a sparse fauna of amphibians and reptiles. While individual populations may get quite high, species diversity is low. The semi-arid climate provides only marginal conditions for breeding and hibernation of amphibians, while low winter temperatures and the short growing season appear to be primary limiting factors for reptiles. Several of the species listed below are very rare or infrequently found and are in quite localized populations.

Slimy or dry, snakes, lizards, and salamanders are some of the most feared and misunderstood members of the animal kingdom. The prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) is the only poisonous reptile in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. They have more reason to fear us than we do them. The rattlesnake will ignore or avoid us unless surprised or provoked. Do not attempt to capture or kill snakes. Observe and enjoy them from a distance and remember that all wildlife is protected in a national park.

Common sense and an appreciation for the benefits and beauty of reptiles and amphibians will protect both them and you.

Order Common Name Scientific Name
REPTILES Common Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina
Western Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta
Soft-shelled Turtle Trionyx muticus
Sagebrush Lizard Sceloporus graciosus
Short-horned Lizard Phrynosoma douglassi
Western Plains Garter Snake Thamnophis radix
Red-sided Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis
Western Smooth Green Snake Opheodrys vernalis
Plains Hognose Snake Heterodon nasicus
Yellow-bellied (Blue) Racer Coluber constrictor
Bullsnake (Gopher Snake) Pituophis melanoleucus
Prairie Rattlesnake Crotalus viridis
Yellow-bellied racer
Yellow-bellied racer

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