Click on each animal to go to their list for Kansas!


bulletAre Vertebrate animals.  They have an internal bony skeleton.
bulletAre cold-blooded.  They cannot maintain their body temperature by internal means.
bulletHave a dry, scaly skin or a shell.
bulletLay eggs with a tough outer shell, or have live birth.  The eggs have an internal membrane called the amnion, which helps protect the developing embryo from injury and drying out.  In some species of snakes, the eggs hatch internally and the young are born live.
bulletLay their eggs on land.
bulletHave claws on their toes (excepting snakes).

Currently, there are about 6,500 recognized species of reptiles in the world, divided into 5 living orders.  Within Kansas 67 species are recorded from 16 families in 2 orders.

Classification of living organisms has undergone a profound revolution within the last thirty years due to the advent of DNA analysis and the new taxonomic discipline of cladistics, which does not necessarily use the classical Linnean hierarchy (Kingdom-Phylum-Class-Order-Family-Genus-Species) to sort out how creatures are related to each other.  The position of turtles, for instance, is a contentious issue currently.   For more information, see the link to the Tree of Life website in the resource list.

The species list below is based on "A Checklist of the Vertebrate Animals of Kansas", 3rd edition, 2005, by George Potts and Joseph Collins.  This publication is available from the Kansas University Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045-7163.

For a pdf version of the Kansas list, click here Kansas turtles & reptiles list
(On a Windows system, download the file by right clicking on the link and choose "Save Target As" to save it to your hard drive, then open it from there.   You will need Acrobat Reader to view this file.  If you don't have that software already, you can get it for free from Adobe.)
In this list, the scientific name of each species follows the common name and is written in italics.

bulletThere is a species portrait page done for the Ornate Box Turtle.
bulletRange maps and population status for the seven reptile species on the Kansas Threatened & Endangered Species list may be found in the Kansas Wildlife Refuge.
bulletBasic information on all Kansas snakes may be found within the Snake's Burrow!

(15 Species in Kansas)

    Family Crotaphytidae - Collared Lizards
        Eastern Collared Lizard - Crotaphytus collaris

    Family Phrynosomatidae - Prairie, Earless & Horned Lizards
        Lesser Earless Lizard - Holbrookia maculata
        Texas Horned Lizard - Phrynosoma cornutum
        Prairie Lizard - Sceloporus consobrinus

    Family Scincidae - Skinks
        Coal Skink - Eumeces anthracinus
        Five-lined Skink - Eumeces fasciatus
        Broadhead Skink - Eumeces laticeps
        Great Plains Skink - Eumeces obsoletus
        Southern Prairie Skink - Eumeces obtusirostris
        Northern Prairie Skink - Eumeces septentrionalis
        Ground Skink - Scincella lateralis

    Family Lacertidae - Wall Lizards
        Western Green Lacerta - Lacerta bilineata
        Italian Wall Lizard - Podarcis sicula

    Family Teiidae - Whiptails
        Six-lined Racerunner - Aspidoscelis sexlineata

    Family Anguidae - Glass Lizards
        Western Slender Glass Lizard - Ophisaurus attenuatus

(38 Species in Kansas)

    Family Leptotyphlopidae - Slender Blind Snakes
        New Mexico Blind Snake - Leptotyphlops dissectis

    Family Colubridae - Harmless Egg-laying Snakes
        Eastern Glossy Snake - Arizona elegans
        Eastern Racer - Coluber constrictor
        Prairie Kingsnake - Lampropeltis calligaster
        Common Kingsnake - Lampropeltis getula
        Milk Snake - Lampropeltis triangulum
        Coachwhip - Masticophis flagellum
        Rough Green Snake - Opheodrys aestivus
        Great Plains Rat Snake - Pantherophis emoryi
        Western Rat Snake - Pantherophis obsoletus
        Gopher Snake - Pituophis catenifer
        Longnose Snake - Rhinocheilus lecontei
        Ground Snake - Sonora semiannulata
        Flathead Snake - Tantilla gracilis
        Plains Blackhead Snake - Tantilla nigriceps

    Family Dipsadidae - Slender Rear-fanged Snakes
        Western Worm Snake - Carphophis vermis
        Ringneck Snake - Diadophis punctatus
        Night Snake - Hypsiglena torquata

    Family Natricidae - Harmless Live-bearing Snakes
        Plainbelly Water Snake - Nerodia erythrogaster
        Diamondback Water Snake - Nerodia rhombifer
        Northern Water Snake - Nerodia sipedon
        Graham's Crayfish Snake - Regina grahamii
        Brown Snake - Storeria dekayi
        Redbelly Snake - Storeria occipitomaculata
        Checkered Garter Snake - Thamnophis marcianus
        Western Ribbon Snake - Thamnophis proximus
        Plains Garter Snake - Thamnophis radix
        Common Garter Snake - Thamnophis sirtalis
        Lined Snake - Tropidoclonion lineatum
        Rough Earth Snake - Virginia striatula
        Smooth Earth Snake - Virginia valeriae

    Family Xenodontidae - Robust Rear-fanged Snakes
        Western Hognose Snake - Heterodon nasicus
        Eastern Hognose Snake - Heterodon platirhinos

    Family Crotalidae - Pit Vipers
        Copperhead - Agkistrodon contortrix
        Cottonmouth - Agkistrodon piscivorus
        Timber Rattlesnake - Crotalus horridus
        Prairie Rattlesnake - Crotalus viridis
        Massasauga - Sistrurus catenatus

(15 Species in Kansas)

    Family Chelydridae - Snapping Turtles
        Common Snapping Turtle  Chelydra serpentina
        Alligator Snapping Turtle - Macrochelys temminckii

    Family Kinosternidae - Mud & Musk Turtles
        Yellow Mud Turtle - Kinosternon flavescens
        Common Musk Turtle - Sternotherus odoratus

    Family Emydidae - Box & Basking Turtles
        Northern Painted Turtle - Chrysemys picta
        Common Map Turtle - Graptemys geographica
        Ouachita Map Turtle - Graptemys ouachitensis
        False Map Turtle - Graptemys pseudogeographica
        River Cooter - Pseudemys concinna
        Eastern Box Turtle - Terrapene carolina
        Ornate Box Turtle - Terrapene ornata
        Pond Slider - Trachemys scripta

    Family Trionychidae - Softshell Turtles
        Smooth Softshell - Apalone mutica
        Spiny Softshell - Apalone spinifera

For more information on reptiles, see these resources:


For detailed information on the distribution of reptiles in Kansas,
visit the Kansas Herpetofaunal Atlas.


If you have a strong interest in Great Plains reptiles, you may wish to join
the Kansas Herpetological Society.


Visit the Tree of Life website to see how cladistic analysis presents the classification of animals.

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