Amphibians and Reptiles

Although amphibians and reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates that look similar on the surface, there are some specific differences that set them apart. Amphibians lay their eggs in water, and most change from water-breathing juveniles to air-breathing adults. Frogs, toads, salamander, newts and mudpuppies are all amphibians. Reptiles are “amniotes.” This means that most, like birds and some mammals, lay shell-encased eggs on land and start life as air-breathing juveniles. Snakes and turtles are reptiles.

In 2007, the Forest Preserve District began to update a 1987 countywide survey of reptiles and amphibians. The presence or absence of certain species will help ecologists determine the overall health and quality of the county’s ecosystems and formulate restoration efforts.

Frogs and Toads

Frogs and toads are easily identified by their webbed fingers and toes, bulging eyes, nonexistent tails and long, powerful legs.

Salamanders, Newts and Mudpuppies

Salamanders, newts and mudpuppies have slender bodies, long tails, short noses and four limbs.

Snakes

Snakes are long, legless reptiles that are covered in overlapping scales. They have no external ears and have permanently fused transparent eyelids called brille.

Turtles

Turtles’ distinctive, protective shells set them apart from other reptiles.
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