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Reptiles and Amphibians

A Plains Leopard Frog tries to blend in with the wetland vegetation.Frogs, toads, snakes, and turtles inhabit most of the Upper Souris NWR.


Frogs  The Northern leopard, or meadow frog, can jump a distance of five to six feet at a time.  During the summer, they can be found long distances from a body of water.  Wood frogs have a dark mask around their eyes and can be found near moist woodlands.  Western chorus frogs are only 1 1/2 inches long, making them North Dakota's smallest frog.  Their distinctive call can be heard from April to June.
Salamanders      Tiger salamanders can be found almost anywhere that is damp.  They are usually bicolored with spots, bands, bars, or blotches of color.  They will eat almost anything they can find.
Snakes  The common garter snake, plains garter snake, redbelly snake, smooth green snake, and western hognose snake inhabit the Upper Souris NWR.  They are all non-venomous and generally harmless. Common garter snakes are often found in residential areas, the plains and smooth green snakes prefer grasslands and marshes, redbellies prefer woodland edges, and the hognose prefers sandy, graveled areas within grasslands or trees.
Toads  The Canadian toad, or Dakota toad, lives along the margins of lakes and smaller wetlands.  They can be 2-3 inches in length and are generally green to brownish-red, with brownish-red warts.

Turtles  The western painted turtle is a common sight.  The backs (or carapaces) are generally black, greenish, or brown.  Yellow lines decorate their head, neck, and legs.  They prefer to eat worms, minnows, and aquatic insects.  Snapping turtles can be found at the Upper Souris NWR, although they are more difficult to spot.  They are a dull greenish-black color and can weigh up to 65 pounds.  Their jaws are very strong and are used to capture and crush their prey.  They eat invertebrates, fish, amphibians, other turtles, and small mammals.


Learn more about North Dakota reptiles and amphibians from the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center 
Last Updated: Mar 03, 2014
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