Reptiles of Ohio

Reptiles have long fascinated people. In recent years, biologists have recognized that the class Reptilia should actually include all of the birds, if it is to include all descendents of a particular ancestral form. This is because crocodiles and alligators are more closely related to birds than to lizards. While this makes sense from a scientific standpoint, in common English usage, the term reptile is still reserved for the alligators and crocodiles (crocodilians), turtles, tortoises, lizards, snakes, and the tuatara, a lizard-like animal found only on several tiny islands off the coast of New Zealand. It is not a lizard, but rather the last representative of a group of reptiles that flourished about 200 million years ago.

Ohio's wealth of natural resources includes some 47 types of reptiles. As with so many of our wild species, the demands we have placed upon the land have greatly reduced their numbers. All of us must keep in mind that being good stewards of the land requires that we take care of not just some, but all of our natural resources - even the box turtle lumbering across the highway and the harmless garter snake in the backyard.