Lake George Reptiles and Amphibians

Wildlife Conservation Protects Threatened Species  

These include 5 species of turtles, 10 species of snakes, 9 species of salamanders, 9 species of frogs and toads, and 1 species of lizard.

Turtles of Lake George

The Lake George area is the recorded habitat for five different species of turtles: the Northern Map Turtle, Eastern Painted Turtle, Wood Turtle, Common Musk Turtle, and Snapping Turtle. There is also the possibility of a sixth turtle in the area, the Spotted Turtle, however, there is no confirmed evidence, only a reported sighting of this species. Both Wood and Spotted turtles are "species of special concern" in New York State, and the Northern Map turtle is listed as a “species of greatest conservation need” by the NY State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (DEC 2005).

Northern Map Turtle

Northern Map Turtle

Eastern Painted Turtle

Eastern Painted Turtle

Wood Turtle

Wood Turtle

Common Musk Turtle

Common Musk Turtle

Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle

Spotted Turtle

Spotted Turtle

More information about each of these species of turtles can be found in our Field Guide to the Turtles of Lake George.

Snakes of Lake George

There are 10 species of snakes that have been documented within the Lake George watershed.  Species recorded during the New York State Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project (1990-1999) are:

  • Northern Water Snake (Nerodia s. sipedon)
  • Northern Brown Snake (Storeria d. dekayi)
  • Northern Redbelly Snake (Storeria o. occiptomaculata)
  • Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
  • Northern Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus edwardsi)
  • Northern Black Racer (Coluber c. constrictor)
  • Smooth Green Snake (Liochlorophis vernalis)
  • Black Rat Snake (Elaphe o. obsoleta)
  • Eastern Milk Snake (Lampropeltis t. triangulum)
  • Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

 

Timber rattlesnake on shore
Timber rattlesnake swimming

The most notable of the snake species in the area is the Timber Rattlesnake. The timber rattlesnake, a threatened species, is a stocky, venomous snake. It is quite variable in color, ranging from yellow with a series of V-shaped crossbands, to almost solid black. The tail ends in a broad, loose series of rattles that make a distinct buzzing sound when shaken, warning all of their presence. Only occasionally seen, this species is most frequently encountered on rocky slopes within hardwood forests. Their preferred prey are small rodents up to the size of chipmunks or red squirrels. The heat-sensitive pits between the eyes and nose help this snake catch prey even at night. Young are born live in late summer and follow the scent trail of their mother back to the den to hibernate for the winter. Length: three to four feet, rarely to five feet. Timber Rattlesnakes are protected by wildlife conservation efforts in New York, as they are considered a status of "Threatened".

Frogs and Toads of Lake George

There are 9 species of frogs and toads that have been documented within the Lake George watershed.  Species recorded during the New York State Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project (1990-1999) are:

  • Eastern American Toad (Bufo a. americanus)
  • Northern Spring Peeper (Pseudacris c. crucifer)
  • Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)
  • Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
  • Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)
  • Mink Frog (Rana septentrionalis)
  • Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)
  • Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)
  • Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)
Frog with lily pad

Salamanders of Lake George

There are 9 species of salamanders and 9 species of frogs and toads that have been documented within the Lake George watershed.  Species recorded during the New York State Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project (1990-1999) are:

  • Jefferson salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum)
  • Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
  • Red-Spotted Newt (Notophthalmus v. viridescens)
  • Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
  • Allegheny Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus)
  • Northern Redback Salamander (Plethodon cinereus)
  • Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)
  • Northern Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus p. porphyriticus)
  • Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)

Lizards of Lake George

Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus).--The Five-lined Skink, a lizard, is found in deciduous forests and is frequently associated with timber rattlesnake habitat. This rare species is not listed as special concern in New York, but is of concern in neighboring Vermont. The species is at the northern portion of its range in New York and has a very limited distribution in the Lake George/Lake Champlain region as well as the southern portion of the Hudson Valley. This species prefers mesic wooded areas and talus slopes.

More Information

More information about the reptiles and amphibians in Lake George and New York State can be found at the NYS Amphibian and Reptile Atlas