Three major groups of reptiles are found in the park: turtles, lizards, and snakes. You can see where to find many of these reptiles on the Species Mapper.
Turtles are strangely constructed reptiles. A turtle’s body is encased in a hard shell that consists of an upper and lower half known as a carapace and plastron respectively. Turtles have no teeth. Their jaws are covered by sharp-edged, horny plates that allow the animals to shear and tear their food. Most turtles live in or near water, but lay shelled eggs on land. One of the Smokies most common species, the Eastern Box Turtle, is almost entirely terrestrial, although it may soak in a puddle on very hot days.
Eight turtle species inhabit the park:
Chelydra serpentina—Snapping turtle
Chrysemys picta picta—Eastern painted turtle
Graptemys geographica—Common map turtle
Terrapene carolina carolina —Eastern box turtle
Sternotherus minor peltifer—Stripeneck musk turtle
Apalone spinifera spinifera—Eastern spiny softshell
Trachymys scripta troostiii—Cumberland slider