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

Last updated: February 7, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


(573) 323-4236
Call (573) 323-4236 for Big Spring Entrance Station, located south of Van Buren, MO. Call (573) 226-3945 for the Alley Spring General Store, located west of Eminence, MO. Call (573) 858-3297 for Round Spring Ranger Station, located north of Eminence, MO.

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