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A Photographic Atlas of the Herpetofauna of the Ouachita Region

Ringed salamander (Ambystoma annulatum)

(Above) Ringed salamander (Ambystoma annulatum).  Ringed salamanders are a regional species found in parts Arkansas, Oklahoma & Missouri.  This fossorial species spends most of its life underground much like a mole and belongs to a family of salamanders nicknamed "Mole" salamanders.
(Below) Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum).  Spotted salamanders inhabit much of the Eastern U.S. and are found primarily in woodlands.  They also belong to the Mole salamander family and generally are only found above ground when they migrate to breeding ponds and during their short breeding season which lasts a few weeks. 



(Above) Ouachita Dusky salamander (Desmognathus brimleyorum).  A species restricted primarily to the Ouachita Mts.

Basking Missouri Cooters (Pseudemys concinna)
on Lake Ouachita.

Common Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
A common species with a bad attitude and reputation!

Red Milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum syspila)
The Jewel of the Ouachitas for a Herpetologist!

Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)

(Above) Speckled Kingsnakes are a very beneficial snake to have around your farm, land or house because they eat hundreds or rodents in their lifetime.  They also eat other snakes, including venomous ones.  

Rough Green snake (Opheodrys aestivus)

Eastern Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum) juvenile

(Above) Coachwhips are very fast-moving snakes and are streamlined for speed and can reach short bursts of up to 15 mph!  They are diurnal/daytime hunters, with large eyes for spotting prey which consists of lizards, other snakes, rodents and anything they can quickly ambush.   


 (Below) Small snakes found in the Ouachita Mts: A Brown snake (Storeria dekayi)(back & left side); A Western Worm snake (Carphophis vermis)(top & front-center); & a Western Smooth Earth snake (Virginia valeriae elegans)(middle).  All three snakes are small in length (< 12 inches) and harmless.    


(Above & Right) Yellowbelly Water snake (Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster). One of five harmless Water snakes found in the Ouachita region.  Unfortunately many people confuse the harmless species with Cottonmouths and needlessly kill them. 


(Above) A Western Smooth Earth snake (Virginia valeriae elegans).

Common Map turtle (Graptemys geographica)
A juvenile c. 1 inch long, a tiny turtle!

Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorous...
Smiling snake, showing why it's named a Cottonmouth!

Venomous snakes
(Above, below & lower right)

Western Pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius streckeri)

(Above & right) Pygmy rattlesnakes make up for their small size with a big attitude!  At most their rattle sounds like a bee buzzing.  It's important to wear boots while hiking because these small snakes can be easily missed and stepped on, leading to a bite on the toes or ankle. 

Timber rattler (Crotalus horridus)

Thanks to USACE Park Ranger Daniel Adams for the loan of his camera to take the Copperhead photo to the right.


Eastern Hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos).

(Above) Hognose snakes win the Academy Award for best actor and can put on quite a show when encountered.  Hognoses will act very aggressively, strike, huff and puff, but it's just a show, they will not bite.  If the first act doesn't encourage you to leave them alone their next act is to play Opossum.  Suddenly the snake will act as if it is dying and go into convulsions, often regurgitate its last meal and roll over and play dead.  This once again is just an act for if you roll them over upright, they will immediately roll back over and play dead again!  This once common species has declined greatly over much of its range.

Special Note: To the average person the Hognose snake (above) and the Pygmy rattlersnake (below) could be confused with one another.  All the more reason to learn to identify your venomous snakes!      

Western Pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius streckeri)

Venomous closeup!
Timber rattler (Crotalus horridus)

Southern Copperhead (Agkistrodon c. contortrix)

Pg. 10: BIG Trees of Lake Ouachita!