Rare Reptile and Amphibian Conservation
Reptiles and amphibians listed as Endangered, Threatened, or of Special Concern in Massachusetts include 5 species of sea turtles, 4 freshwater turtles, 1 brackish water turtle, 1 tortoise, 4 snakes, 3 salamanders, and 1 toad. These species typically require a mosaic of habitat types to complete their annual life cycle and travel long distances over land in the process. In their travels they often cross roads, which make them particularly vulnerable to road mortality. Most of the state-listed reptiles and amphibians require one type of habitat for overwintering, another for breeding and for some yet a third for nesting. For example, Blanding's Turtles often move from marshland overwintering locations to vernal pools for breeding and feeding in the spring and require well-drained, open canopy upland areas for nesting.
Reptile and amphibian conservation is achieved by protecting the habitats in which these species live, not only from outright destruction, but also from habitat degradation due to invasive exotic plants, succession, and roads. Education is another key component of conservation. For example, some species are particularly prone to incidental collection and others are killed due to human fears and misperceptions.
In addition to the state-listed species we are currently requesting observation data for a few additional species of interest. For more information check out our page on Reptiles and Amphibians of Undetermined Status.
Interested in learning more about turtle conservation? Check out our
page on Turtle
Information and Conservation Tips.
If you are a property owner or land manager interested in protecting rare species populations on your property, see our Species Protection Guidelines for several rare turtles and salamanders.