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Amphibian and Reptile Checklists of the United States

Platte River Valley and Rainwater Basin

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Kearney, Nebraska


As you travel through this area, you will undoubtedly encounter one or more species of terrestrial vertebrates residing here. The following lists contain 10 species of amphibians, and 20 species of reptiles which have been reported in the area. Many of these animals are rare or extremely inconspicuous so your chances of seeing them are slim.

Some are often heard but not seen and these are the toads and frogs. The timing of their chorusing during courtship is as predictable as the arrival of certain species of birds. If you are out watching cranes or waterfowl on a warm day in late March or early April, you will hear western chorus frogs, a tiny treefrog about an inch in size with a voice that sounds similar to that produced by running your fingernail along the teeth of a plastic comb. I have heard them as early as March 5 but more commonly around March 21-25. The plains spadefoot toad breeds from early May through August and is stimulated by rainfall. Their call can be confused with a calf bawling. The earliest I've heard them is April 22. The guttural clucking of southern leopard frogs begins in mid-April while the first trilling of rocky mountain toads is usually in early May. A true sound of summer is the low "jug-o'rum" call of the bullfrog. Late May through July is when this species is heard. Being able to recognize the voices of these "lowly" inhabitants simply adds to the enjoyment of being out in the field on any spring day.

(Adapted from Lynch, J. 1985. Annotated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nebraska. Trans. Nebr. Acad. Sci. 8:33-57.)


SALAMANDERS (Order Caudata) STATUS ___ Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) Rare
FROGS AND TOADS (Order Anura) STATUS ___ Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) Rare ___ Great Plains Toad (Bufo cognatus) Common ___ Woodhouse's Toad (Bufo woodhousii) Abundant ___ Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) Rare ___ Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) Abundant ___ Plains Leopard Frog (Rana blairi) Common ___ Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Fairly Common ___ Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) Uncommon ___ Plains Spadefoot (Scaphiopus bombifrons) Common
TURTLES (Order Chelydra) STATUS ___ Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) Common ___ Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) Fairly Common ___ Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata) Rare ___ Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera) Abundant
LIZARDS (Order Serpentes) STATUS ___ Blue or Green Racer (Coluber constrictor) Rare ___ Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) Rare ___ Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus) Rare ___ Western Hognose Snake (Heterodon nasicus) Rare ___ Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) Rare ___ Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) Rare ___ Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis) Rare ___ Bullsnake (Pituophis catenifer) Fairly common ___ Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) Rare ___ Plains Garter Snake (Thamnophis radix) Common ___ Red-sided Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) Common ___ Lined Snake (Tropidoclonian lineatum) Rare

For additional information, and to report rare observations, contact
                      Mr. Gary R. Lingle
                      Platte River Whooping Crane Trust
                      2550 North Diers Avenue, Suite H
                      Grand Island, Nebraska 68803

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