MARYLAND AT A GLANCE

WILDLIFE

REPTILES


[photo, Red Cornsnake (Pantherosphis guttatus), Dept. of Natural Resources exhibit, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland]

Red Cornsnake (Pantherosphis guttatus), Dept. of Natural Resources exhibit, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, September 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


[photo, Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra s. serpentina), Annapolis, Maryland] Although reptiles are classified by four orders, only two are found in Maryland: Scaled Reptiles (squamata), and Shelled Reptiles (testudines). While Shelled Reptiles encompass only turtles, Scaled Reptiles include Snakes (serpentes), and Lizards (lacertilia).

Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra s. serpentina), Annapolis, Maryland, May 2012. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina), Glen Burnie, Maryland] As diverse as their types, Maryland reptiles have many options during the colder months. In addition to hibernation and migration, brumation is a trait unique to reptiles. When reptiles brumate, they remain semi-dormant, going months without food. Still, they remain aware of their surroundings, but only move to secure water.

A permit may be necessary to own a reptile, but one is required in order to breed or sell native species.

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina), Glen Burnie, Maryland, June 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys t. terrapin), Dept. of Natural Resources exhibit, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland] Classified as testudines, turtles come in many shapes and sizes. From the Diamondback Terrapin, to the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Maryland exemplifies this diversity. Known as "sea turtles", members of the Cheloniidae family possess distinct flippers instead of legs, and spend most of their lives underwater. Due to human and animal predations (as well as risks associated with their extensive travels) all species of sea turtles found in Maryland are classified as either endangered, or threatened.

Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys t. terrapin), Dept. of Natural Resources exhibit, Maryland State Fair, Timonium, Maryland, September 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


[photo, Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherosphis alleghaniensis), Glen Burnie, Maryland] In Maryland, snakes are found mostly in rural and wooded areas. While most are harmless to humans, two species are poisonous: Copperhead, and Timber Rattlesnake.

Whether possessing flippers, feet, or nothing at all, numerous examples of Maryland's reptile populace are on display at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherosphis alleghaniensis), Glen Burnie, Maryland, May 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


MARYLAND REPTILES


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

All reptiles noted below are native to Maryland.

Brownsnake, Northern (Storeia d. dekayi)
Carnivore; nocturnal; serpentes; approx. 15 inches long; gray-brown color, with lighter dorsal stripe edged in black spots. Can live as long as seven years; prefers rocky terrain, but commonly occurs in urban and suburban areas. Also known as Dekay's Brownsnake.

Cooter, Northern Red-bellied (Pseudemys rubriventris)
Omnivore; testudines; 10 to 12 inches long; weighs up to 10 lbs.; distinct bright red "belly", with dark brown to black patterns. Also known as American Red-bellied Turtle.

Copperhead, Integrated (Agkistrodon c. contortrix X mokasen)
Poisonous; carnivore; serpentes; 4 to 36 inches long. Intergrade of the Northern and Southern Copperheads. Color ranges from tan to brown, with distinct "hourglass-shaped" bands of darker color (although not all bands will be this shape); juveniles possess yellow tail, used to draw prey. Found on the lower eastern and western shores of the Cheaspeake coastal plain.

Copperhead, Northern (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen)
Poisonous; carnivore; serpentes; 4 to 36 inches long; color ranges from tan to brown, with distinct "hourglass-shaped" bands of darker color (although not all bands will be this shape); juveniles possess yellow tail, used to draw prey. Prefers coniferous forests and swamps. While mistaken for northern water snake, copperhead bands are wider at belly, and taper to spine. Also known as American Copperhead, Death Adder, and Moccasin.

Cornsnake, Red (Pantherosphis guttatus)
Carnivore; diuranal; serpentes; hibernates during winter months; 4 to 6 feet long; orange to brown-yellow scales, with black outlined patches of red along spine; skilled climber. Can live as long as twenty years; prefers overgrown fields, meadows and marshes. Also known as Red Ratsnake.

Earthsnake, Eastern Smooth (Virginia v. valeriae)
Carnivore; serpentes; 7 to 10 inches long; brown, gray, or red in color; burrower. While mistaken for mountain earthsnake, eastern smooth earthsnake scales are more flush and smooth. First recorded specimen, Kent County.

Earthsnake, Mountain (Virginia valeriae pulchra)
Carnivore; serpentes; 7 to 13 inches long; brown, gray, or red in color; prefers coniferous forests, mountainous terrain. Mistaken for eastern smooth earthsnake, but mountain earthsnake scales are more keeled, or rough.
Classified as Endangered in Maryland.

Gartersnake, Eastern (Thamnophis s. sirtalis)
Carnivore; serpentes; 18 to 26 inches long; hibernates during winter months; dark green in color; distinct three stripe pattern ranging from gray to yellow. Can live up to ten years; prefers marshes, meadows, and gardens.

Greensnake, Northern Rough (Opheodrys aestivus aestivus)
Insectivore; diurnal; serpentes; 20 to 30 inches long; bright green body with white to yellow bellies. While mistaken for smooth green snake, rough green snake scales are more keeled, or rough.


[photo, Eastern Kingsnake, Glen Burnie, Maryland] Greensnake, Smooth (Opheodrys vernalis)
Insectivore; serpentes; bright green body, with off-white belly; 12 to 36 inches long; Prefers meadows and prairies. Mistaken for rough green snake, but smooth green snake scales are more flush, and smooth. Also known as Grass Snake.

Kingsnake, Eastern (Lampropeltis getula getula)
Carnivore; serpentes; diurnal; shiny black body, with distinct white or yellow bands; 36 to 48 inches long; usually found near bodies of water. Resistant to venom, eastern kingsnake diet may include copperheads and rattlesnakes. Also known as Chain Snake.

Kingsnake, Mole (Lampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculata)
Carnivore; serpentes; nocturnal; 30 to 40 inches long; smooth, shiny body that is brown or olive with brown-red blotches on back and sides; yellow-brown belly. Lives in other animals' burrows or in the soil.

Eastern Kingsnake, Glen Burnie, Maryland, May 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Lizard, Eastern Fence (Sceloporus udulatus)
Insectivore; lacertilia; 4 to 7.3 inches long; ranges from gray to brown. Female has black stripes along back. During mating season, male shows distinct bright blue patches on throat and belly. Prefers forests, and spends most of its life in trees.

Milksnake, Coastal Plain (Lampropeltis triangulum elapsoides X triangulum)
Carnivore; serpentes; nocturnal; non-venomous; 24 to 36 inches long; red-black blotches on back; light neck collar. Intergrade of the Scarlet Kingsnake and Eastern Milksnake.

Milksnake, Eastern (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum)
Carnivore; serpentes; nocturnal; non-venomous; 24 to 36 inches long; slender body that is tan or brown with 32 or more red and black blotches down body in rows; gray or tan "Y,"- "V,"- "U,"- or "A"-shaped pattern at base of neck; checkerboard belly.

Pinesnake, Northern (Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus)
Carnivore; serpentes; body is light brown, covered in patches of black, and dark or reddish browns; 48 to 66 inches long. Prefers coniferous forests, and farmland. Also known as Common Pinesnake.

Racer, Northern Black (Coluber c. constrictor)
Carnivore; serpentes; Dark gray to black coloring; averages 71 inches long. While classified in the constrictor species, the Black Racer actually does not constrict. Instead, it pins its prey by coiling around it, then swallows it whole.

Racerunner, Eastern Six-lined (Aspidoscelis s. sexlineatus)
Insectivore; diurnal; lacertilia; hibernates; 6 to 9.5 inches long; tail is usually two-thirds of total length; ranges in color from dark green to black, with six distinct yellow to green stripes running from head to tail. Prefers grasslands with dry soil.


[photo, Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherosphis alleghaniensis), Glen Burnie, Maryland] Ratsnake, Eastern (Pantherosphis alleghaniensis)
Carnivore; serpentes; 47 to 72 inches long; completely black except for white chin and throat. Checkerboard pattern on belly. Prefers deciduous forests; nests in hollow trees, or empty rodent dens. Also known as Black Rat Snake.

Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherosphis alleghaniensis), Glen Burnie, Maryland, May 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Rattlesnake, Timber (Crotalus horridus)
Poisonous; carnivore; serpentes; 35 to 60 inches long; distinct head is noticably wider than body, with "rattle" on tip of tail. Prefers deciduous forests, and rocky terrain.
Classified as Endangered.

Scarletsnake, Northern (Cemophora coccinea copei)
Carnivore; serpentes; diurnal; non-venomous; 14 to 20 inches long; red and white or yellow blotches separated by black lines; prefers sandy soils in pine woods.

Seaturtle, Atlantic Hawksbill (Eretmochelys i. imbricata)
Carnivore; testudines; 30 to 35 inches long; brown, green, or black shield-shaped top shell, though some have the "tortoise shell" pattern; yellow bottom shell, chin, and throat; four overlapping scutes on each side of top shell; two pairs of scales between eyes.
Classified as Endangered.

Seaturtle, Green (Chelonia mydas)
Carnivore; testudines; 36 to 48 inches long; olive, brown, gray, or black oval or heart-shaped top shell; cream or yellow bottom shell; four scutes on each side of top shell; one pair of scales between eyes.
Classified as Threatened.

Seaturtle, Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Carnivore; testudines; 23 to 27.5 inches long; olive green, gray, or black heart-shaped top shell; bottom shell is white; gray or olive head and flippers; five scutes on each side of top shell.
Classified as Endangered.

Seaturtle, Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea)
Carnivore; testudines; largest sea turtle; 53 to 70 inches long; brown or black top shell covered with leathery skin and may have white or pink blotches; seven ridges along body; white bottom shell has five ridges; head and limbs are black or green with white or pink blotches.
Classified as Endangered.

Seaturtle, Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Carnivore; testudines; 31 to 45 inches long; weighs 170 to 350 lbs.; yellow-brown skin, with reddish-brown shell. Distinguished by disproportionately large head. Largest hard-shelled turtle in world.
Classified as Threatened.

Skink, Broad-headed (Plestiodon laticeps)
Carnivore; lacertilia; juveniles possess striped faces and bright blue tails; adult females retain striped face, while male faces turn red to orange; blue tail fades with age.


[photo, Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus), Glen Burnie, Maryland] Skink, Common Five-lined (Plestiodon fasciatus)
Carnivore; lacertilia; 5 to 8.5 inches long; juveniles have five white or yellow stripes on the head, a black body, and blue tail; adult females have the stripes, but a brown body; adult males have some stripes and are tan or olive with jaws that turn orange during mating season.

Skink, Little Brown (Scincella lateralis)
Carnivore; lacertilia; 3 to 5.8 inches long; gold or brown body with dark stripe; light belly. Also known as Ground Skink.

Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus), Glen Burnie, Maryland, July 2011. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Skink, Northern Coal (Plestiodon a. anthracinus)
Carnivore; lacertilia; 4.5 to 7 inches long; four light stripes on back and wider stripes on side; males have orange-red markings on the sides of the head.
Classified as Endangered in Maryland.

Slider, Red-eared (Trachemys scripta)
Omnivore; testudines; brumates during winter months; 8-13 inches long; distinct red stripe on each side of head.

Snake, Common Ribbon (Thamnophis sauritus sauritus)
Carnivore; serpentes; diurnal; non-venomous; semi-aquatic; brown head, black body, three yellow or cream stripes down back; 18 to 26 inches long.

Snake, Eastern Hog-nosed (Heterodon platirhinos)
Carnivore; serpentes; diurnal; 20 to 33 inches long; color varies from yellow, brown, gray, orange or red with dark blotches to black or dark gray; upturned snout; hiss then play dead when approached.

Snake, Integrated Ring-necked (Diadophis p. punctatus X edwardsi)
Carnivore; serpentes; diurnal; non-venomous; 10 to 15 inches long; cream-yellow neck collar that may be broken; yellow belly that may have black spots; gray, black or brown back.

Snake, Northern Red-bellied (Storeia occipitomaculata occipitomaculata)
Insectivore; serpentes; nocturnal; non-venomous; 8 to 10 inches long; three cream spots on neck; red belly; black marks on sides and head; light brown, gray, or black body with thin black stripes.

Snake, Northern Ring-necked (Diadophis punctatus edwarsi)
Carnivore; serpentes; diurnal; non-venomous; 10 to 15 inches long; cream-yellow neck collar; yellow belly that may have black spots; gray, black or brown back.

Snake, Northern Water (Nerodia s. sipedon)
Carnivore; serpentes; semi-aquatic; hibernates during winter months; saliva is mild anticoagulant, but poses little risk to humans. Mistaken for copperheads, but northern water snake bands are wider at spine, and taper to belly.

Snake, Queen (Regina septemvittata)
Carnivore; serpentes; diurnal; semi-aquatic; non-venomous; 13.5 to 23 inches long; color is brown or dark green on the top with a yellow stripe on the bottom; yellow-white belly with four dark stripes.

Snake, Rainbow (Farancia erytrogramma erytrogramma)
Carnivore; serpentes; nocturnal; semi-aquatic; 36 to 44 inches long; glossy, iridescent body; three red stripes on a blue-black body; red belly with black spots.
Classified as Endangered in Maryland.

Snake, Southern Ring-necked (Diadophis punctatus punctatus)
Carnivore; serpentes; diurnal; non-venomous; 10 to 15 inches long; cream-yellow neck collar that is broken or notched; yellow belly that has half-moon-shaped spots; gray, black or brown back.


[photo, Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys t. terrapin), Tawes Building, Dept. of Natural Resources, Annapolis, Maryland] Terrapin, Northern Diamondback (Malaclemys t. terrapin)
Carnivore; testudines; 4 to 9 inches long; gray, brown, green, yellow, or black wedge-shaped top shell; concentric rings on each scute; small knobs run down the top shell; head and limbs are gray with black flecks; black "mustache" above yellow or pink lips. State Reptile of Maryland.

Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys t. terrapin), Tawes Building, Dept. of Natural Resources, Annapolis, Maryland, October 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Turtle, Bog (Glyptemys muhlenbergii)
Omnivore; testudines; 3.5 to 4 inches long; top shell is black, olive, or brown and has knobs; scutes may have red or yellow starbursts in center; bottom shell is black with cream blotches; yellow, orange, or red patch on sides of head.
Classified as Threatened.

Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys t. terrapin), Tawes Building, Dept. of Natural Resources, Annapolis, Maryland, April 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina), Glen Burnie, Maryland] Turtle, Eastern Box (Terrapene c. carolina)
Omnivore; estudines; 4.5 to 6 inches long; black or brown high dome-like top shell with knobs and yellow, orange, or olive patterns; scutes have concentric rings; bottom shell is hinged; eyes are red (males) or yellow-brown (female).

Turtle, Eastern Mud (Kinosternon s. subrubrum)
Herbivore; estudines; 2.8 to 4 inches long; brown or yellow oval-shaped top shell; two hinges; triangular scutes.

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina), Glen Burnie, Maryland, October 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina), Glen Burnie, Maryland] Turtle, Eastern Musk (Sternotherus odoratus)
Omnivore; estudines; 2 to 4.5 inches long; black or brown top shell is arched; two yellow or white stripes on head, neck, chin, and throat. Also known as the Stinkpot.

Turtle, Eastern Painted (Chrysemys picta picta)
Omnivore; testudines; 4.5 to 6 inches long; olive or black top shell with red markings on edge; scutes are in lines; yellow spots on either side of head and yellow striped along jaw and through eyes; black head; yellow or orange belly.

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene c. carolina), Glen Burnie, Maryland, June 2015. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Annapolis, Maryland] Turtle, Eastern Snapping (Chelydra s. serpentina)
Omnivore; Testudines; 9.8 to 19 inches long. Lives 30-40 years; lays average of 50 eggs between April-Nov. Prefers shallow ponds, lakes, and streams. Largest freshwater turtle in Maryland.

Turtle, Eastern Spiny Softshelled (Apalone s. spinifera)
Omnivore; testudines; 8 to 16 inches long; tan top shell has black circles, is flat and leathery, not scaled, and has spines at the front; bottom shell is white or yellow; elongated snout and large nostrils.
Classified as In Need of Conservation.

Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra s. serpentina), Annapolis, Maryland, May 2012. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


Turtle, Midland Painted (Chrysemys picta marginata)
Omnivore; testudines; 4.5 to 7 inches long; olive or black top shell with red markings on edge; scutes are not in lines, but alternate; yellow spots on either side of head and yellow striped along jaw and through eyes; black head; gray shadows on belly.

Turtle, Northern Map (Graptemys geographica)
Omnivore; testudines; 3.5 to 11 inches long; olive top shell with yellow-orange lines and knobbed; bottom shell is yellow; yellow spot behind eyes; light-colored jaw.


Turtle, Spotted (Clemmys guttata)
Omnivore; estudines; 3.5 to 4.5 inches long; black top shell has yellow or orange spots and is slightly dome-shaped; eyes are brown (males) or orange (females).

Turtle, Wood (Glyptemys insculpta)
Omnivore; testudines; 5.5 to 7.5 inches; top shell looks like wood; scutes are knobbed; bottom shell is yellow with black markings; nicknamed the "redleg" turtle due to the coloring on the bottom of chin and legs.

Watersnake, Red-bellied (Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster)
Carnivore; serpentes; semi-aquatic; non-venomous; 30 to 48 inches long; brown or black back; red-orange belly and throat; thick body.

Wormsnake, Eastern (Carphophis a. amoenus)
Carnivore; serpentes; nocturnal; non-venomous. Looks like an earthworm; brown body with pink body; 7.5 to 11 inches long; burrows in soil.

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