Yellowstone provides a valuable study area; information about the status and trends of reptiles here may shed light on declines documented in other high-elevation protected areas of the western United States. Many reptiles congregate to breed or overwinter, and they can be adversely affected by disturbance or loss of key sites.
Bull snakes are often mistaken for rattlesnakes because of their appearance and behavior.
Prairie rattlesnakes are the only dangerously venomous snakes in Yellowstone.
Rubber boas are usually found in rocky areas near streams or rivers with nearby shrubs or trees.
Number in Yellowstone
Six species: bull snake, prairie rattlesnake, rubber boa, sagebrush lizard, valley garter snake, and wandering garter snake. They are less studied than amphibians in Yellowstone.
The Yellowstone Resources and Issues Handbook, updated annually, is the book our rangers use to answer many basic park questions.
Parker, J. and S. Anderson. 2001. Identification guide to the herptiles of Wyoming. Cheyenne, WY: Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Patla, D.A. and C.R. Peterson. 1999. Are amphibians declining in Yellowstone National Park? Yellowstone Science. 7(1): 2–11.
Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A field guide to Western reptiles and amphibians. 3rd edition. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co.