Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Reptile & Amphibian Inventory

Another page that will be under construction for the rest of my life!!  I’m hoping my Amphibian list will get longer.  I’m learning the frog and toad calls so if I can’t see the little guys I can at least know they are there by their song.

References for information on these “herptiles.”

Reptiles

Brown Snake or DeKay’s SnakeStoreria dekayi
BullsnakePituophis melanoleucus
Common Garter SnakeThamnophis sirtalis
Eastern Plains Garter SnakeThamnophis radix
Western Fox SnakeElaphe vulpine

Some interesting reptile facts:

  • Non-venomous snakes have a pointed tail!!
  • Snakes do not have eyelids or ear openings
  • Wisconsin snakes are usually active between April and October
  • Shedding is triggered by growth and scale wear. Their vision is impaired while shedding and can be more irritable during this process.
  • Their tongue is their primary means of locating food
  • All snakes are carnivores
  • After feeding, snakes will “yawn;’ this realigns their jawbones.
  • Loss of prairie habitat makes maintaining and growing snake populations difficult

Amphibians

Eastern American ToadBufo americanus
Eastern Gray TreefrogHyla versicolor
Green FrogRana Clamitans melanota
Northern Spring PeeperPseudacris crucifer
Pickerel FrogRana palustris
Western Chorus FrogPseudacris triseriata

Some interesting amphibian facts:

  • Wisconsin has 12 frog species; all are mostly nocturnal
  • Amphibians shed their skin periodically. It is based on season, climate, and food supply. Many eat their shed skins for their nutrients.
  • To avoid predation, their best defense is to remain undetected.
  • Toads emit a burning sensation and puff up their bodies, making it difficult to swallow.
  • They overwinter by producing a glycol-like fluid that allows their body fluid to freeze but not the cells.
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation is the cause for population declines.
  • Frogs and salamanders are indicators of environmental conditions because their skins are vulnerable to pollutants.
  • Amphibs offer a number of benefits, from high-quality food for other “critters” to skin secretions that are used for medicinal purposes.

Other information of note:

Madison Audubon has a great CD of Wisconsin frog songs for sale. It’s easy to learn their songs. Contact them at info@madisonaudubon.org

If you like citizen science projects, there is a opportunity to participate in the Wisconsin Frog & Toad Survey. This is a website packed with good information on toads and frogs.