Relative Abundance of Vermont’s Reptiles and Amphibians

January 1, 1987 to December 31, 2011

Jim Andrews, Elizabeth Volpe, & Erin Talmage
12/28/12

This information has been updated, and split into two pages, one for reptiles; the other for amphibians. Please refer to those pages instead. You should be automatically redirected to the reptile one.

These tables give a rough idea of the relative abundance and distribution of Vermontís herptiles. The comparisons are subject to bias by the audibility, visibility, notoriety, and ease of identification of species. For example, since salamanders donít call and are usually under cover, they are reported less often than frogs. Consequently, the species are sorted by taxonomic group so that some of these biases are alleviated. However, some other biases remain. For instance, Eastern Ribbonsnakes when observed may be assumed to be Common Gartersnakes and hence they may be under-reported. Aquatic species of turtle that bask only infrequently are probably reported less often than terrestrial or basking species.

Still, these tables help the Scientific Advisory Group decide if the state rank and/or state status of a species needs to be reevaluated. Species are listed in descending order of the number of “sites” from which they have been reported. Errors in the number of known sites and towns for the more abundant species are almost certainly included and those numbers are changing monthly. There are a total of 255 “towns” (political units including towns, cities, gores, and unincorporated areas) in the state of Vermont.

State Ranks are as of July, 2007.

Vermont Amphibian Records

January 1, 1987 to December 31, 2011

Salamanders

Species # of Towns # of Sites State Rank State Status Site Size SGCN Priority
Eastern Newt 221 1151 S5   0.5km  
Spotted Salamander 218 861 S5   0.5km Medium
Eastern Red-backed Salamander 239 777 S5   0.5km  
Northern Two-lined Salamander 216 557 S5   0.5km  
Northern Dusky Salamander 191 413 S5   0.5km  
Spring Salamander 102 181 S4   0.5km  
Blue-spotted Salamander Group 57 175 S3 SC 0.5km Medium
Jefferson Salamander Group 54 94 S2 SC 0.5km High
Mudpuppy 26 38 S2 SC 0.5km High
Four-toed Salamander 21 26 S2 SC 0.5km Medium

Frogs

Species # of Towns # of Sites State Rank State Status Site Size SGCN Status Notes
Green Frog 253 1373 S5 0.5km
Wood Frog 257 1170 S5 0.5km
Spring Peeper 234 1042 S5 0.5km
American Toad 250 1002 S5 0.5km
Gray Treefrog 163 519 S5 0.5km
Pickerel Frog 175 456 S5 0.5km
American Bullfrog 170 423 S5 0.5km
Northern Leopard Frog 74 357 S4 0.5km
Mink Frog 43 75 S3 0.5km
Fowler's Toad 2 2 S1 SC 0.5km High Missing since 2007
Boreal Chorus Frog 1 1 S1 E 0.5km High Missing since 1999

 

Vermont Reptile Records

January 1, 1981 to January 1, 2006

Turtles

Species # of Towns # of Sites State Rank State Status Site Size SGCN Status
Painted Turtle 173 506 S5   2.0km  
Snapping Turtle 174 409 S5   3.0km  
Wood Turtle 124 184 S3 SC 4.8km High
Northern Map Turtle 19 39 S3 SC 4.2km  
Eastern Musk Turtle 13 14 S2 SC 8.0km Medium
Eastern Box Turtle 6 7 N/A Hypothetical 2.6km  
Spotted Turtle 4 5 S1 E 2.0km High
Spiny Softshell 8 2 S1 T 50.0km High

Snakes

Species # of Towns # of Sites State Rank State Status Site Size SGCN Status Notes
Common Gartersnake 229 1171 S5 0.5km    
Milksnake 152 637 S5 0.5km    
Red-bellied Snake 164 423 S5 0.5km    
Ring-necked Snake 129 258 S3 0.5km    
DeKay's Brownsnake 68 189 S4 0.5km Medium  
Smooth Greensnake 85 165 S3 0.5km Medium  
Northern Watersnake 39 98 S3 1.0km Medium  
Eastern Ribbonsnake 7 18 S2 SC 2.6km High  
Eastern Ratsnake 11 17 S2 T 6.4km High  
North American Racer 10 7 S1 T 9.6km High Missing since 2008
Timber Rattlesnake 5 2 S1 E 12.8km High  
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake 2 2 Hyp Hypothetical 3.2km    

Lizards

Species # of Towns # of Sites State Rank State Status Site Size SGCN Status
Common Five-lined Skink 2 17 S1 E 0.5km High

Notes

Both the reptile and amphibian charts summarize data that were gathered by volunteers and professionals using a variety of methods. Historical records (before January 1, 1981) were not included, nor were records entered after August 1, 2006.  Any unverified or negative records were omitted and have not been included in these charts.  In order to eliminate multiple records from the same area, we included the column entitled “Number of Sites.”  We defined a minimum site as a location that is equal to or greater than one-half kilometer from the nearest reported location (2 x 0.25 km). If two or more records were gathered within a half-kilometer of each other, they were considered to be the same site.

In the column entitled “Number of Records,” the charts do not include long-term monitoring data (cover check, cover boards, drift fence, egg-mass counts, LT Drift Fence, minnow traps, radio telemetry, snake covers). 

In this chart, all individuals identified as Jefferson X Blue-spotted Complex were omitted from all three columns, as they could not be placed in either group.

Site Sizes

Rule 1: Although we know many species have a much smaller home range, we used 0.5 km as a minimum distance between two sites (0.25 km each). This allows for the possibility that two adjacent reports could each be on the outside of a considered 0.25 km home range.

Rule 2: If a species is known to travel > 0.5 km regularly over the course of a year, we determined the minimum distance between two sites to be twice the average distance traveled by an individual based on distances in the published literature.

Rule 3: If we have evidence that an animal was found in the center of a range (i.e. vernal pool or den site) we could not assume that they were outliers in their range and hence two sites may be closer than 0.5 km, or twice the determined site size of that species.