Western diamondback rattlesnake
The Western diamondback rattlesnake calls the dunes and grasslands of Padre Island National Seashore home.

Photo by Kyle Christensen

The following reptiles have been documented at Padre Island National Seashore. The common and scientific names have been given for each.

Texas Glossy Snake - Arizona elegans arenicola
Texas Scarlet Snake – Cemophora coccinea lineri
Mexican Racer - Coluber constrictor oaxaca
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake - Crotalus atrox
Great Plains Rat Snake - Elaphe emoryi
Eastern Hognose Snake - Heterodon platyrhinos
Mexican Milk Snake - Lampropeltis triangulum annulata
Western Coachwhip - Masticophis flagellum testaceus
Diamondback Water Snake - Nerodia rhombifera
Desert Massasauga - Sistrurus catenatus edwardsi
Flat Head Snake - Tantilla gracilis
Checkered Garter Snake - Thamnophis marcianus
Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake - Thamnophis proximus orarius
Lined Snake – Tropidoclonion lineatum

Western slender glass lizard
The Western slender glass lizard is a legless lizard that can sometimes be seen during the day foraging in the dunes and in animal burrows.

Photo by Kyle Christensen


Keeled Earless Lizard -Holbrookia propinqua

Western Slender Glass Lizard -Ophisaurus attenuatus

Six-lined Racerunner -Cnemidophorus sexlineatus

Great Plains Skink -Eumeces obsoletus

Texas Spotted Whiptail -Cnemidophorus gularis

Spot-tailed Earless Lizard -Holbrookia laceretus

Mediterranean Gecko - Hemidactylus turcicus

Green Anole - Anolis carolinensis

Ground Skink - Scincella lateralis

Texas Horned Lizard -Phrynosoma cornutum

Rosebelly Lizard -Sceloporus variabilis marmoratus

Texas Spiny Lizard -Sceloprus olivaceus

Kemp's ridley sea turtle
Rehabilitated male Kemp's ridley sea turtle being released at Malaquite Beach.

NPS Photo

Sea Turtles

Leatherback sea turtle - Dermochelys coriacea

Green sea turtle - Chelonia mydas

Kemp's ridley sea turtle - Lepidochelys kempii

Hawksbill sea turtle - Eretmochelys imbricata

Loggerhead sea turtle - Caretta caretta

All five of the sea turtle species found in the Gulf of Mexico find something they need at the park and in its adjacent waters. Kemp's ridley sea turtles nest here more than at any other location in the United States. Juvenile green sea turtles live in the waters here year-round, and adults nest on Padre Island in low numbers. Loggerhead sea turtles also nest in the park in low numbers and forage off shore. Leatherback sea turtles travel through the Gulf and historically nested here. Hawksbill sea turtles also travel through the area, finding food and rest along the way. All of these species are federally listed as either endangered or threatened. Padre Island National Seashore is the only location in Texas where nests from all five of these species have been found.

Our Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery, the only division of its kind in the National Park Service, works to monitor and protect these animals. In spring and summer, nesting turtles are protected, examined, and tagged. A few are tracked using satellite telemetry. Nests are moved to protected areas and monitored until they hatch. When possible the public is invited to watch newly hatched sea turtles make their way to the Gulf. Thousands of visitors and numerous media attend these public hatchling releases each year.

In winter, turtles that become cold stunned are rescued, rehabilitated by partners, and then released back into the Gulf. When possible, the public is invited to watch these cold stunned turtles get released. Stranded turtles found at any time of year, alive or dead, are rescued, examined, or collected. Other research projects are conducted periodically to learn more about how to help these rare and amazing reptiles.

Padre Island National Seashore and the National Park Service have been part of the story of the Kemp's ridley since the 1970s. The work conducted by the Seashore, led by Dr. Donna Shaver, is an important part of global efforts to save sea turtles. This work could not be accomplished without the help of many partners, volunteers, and communities.

Red-eared slider on the road
Red-eared slider

NPS Photo

Terrestrial Turtles

Red-eared Slider - Trachemys scripta elegans

Yellow Mud Turtle - Kinosternon flavescens

Texas Tortoise - Gopherus berlandieri

Common Snapping Turtle - Chelydra serpentina

Ornate Box Turtle - Terrapene ornata

Texas Diamondback Terrapin - Malaclemys terrapin littoralis

Last updated: August 6, 2020

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi , TX 78480


361 949-8068
This is the primary phone number for the Malaquite Visitor Center at Padre Island National Seashore.

Contact Us

Stay Connected