Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region

James H. Harding
A guide to reptiles and amphibians in the Great Lakes region, by one of the nation's leading experts


Now featuring an updated look—same great content inside.

Most people have limited knowledge about the reptiles and amphibians found in the Great Lakes area, so they do not realize the importance of these species to the environment. This book by James H. Harding is a welcome volume that is sure to increase the awareness and knowledge of these often-misunderstood Great Lakes animals.

Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region offers thorough coverage on all the important subjects and issues confronting the world of herpetology today. While being a volume of great usefulness to naturalists in this field of study, it is also accessible to high school and college students. It serves as a handy reference tool for the many people who live in the Great Lakes wilderness areas and for tourists venturing into the wild for the first time.

James H. Harding is among the most respected herpetologists in the Great Lakes area. Throughout his career at the Cranbrook Institute for Science and Michigan State University, Harding has been very active in educating people about snakes, turtles, toads, and lizards through his numerous books, articles, and presentations.

Praise / Awards

  • "The real beauty of the book is in its nearly half-page colour photographs for all species, both those with full accounts and the marginal and questionable forms. These are quite literally breath-taking, sharp and typical for each species. They are well worth price of the book by themselves, and give it a place on every Ontario naturalist's shelf."
    The Canadian Field-Naturalist, Volume 113; September 13, 1999
  • "This is one of the few books that I must (and will) have three copies of—one for home, one for the office, and one in the car, just so I'll never be without it. It is that well written, that reader friendly, and that valuable a resource. And I intend to make it a required text for my herpetology course the next time I teach it."
    —Martin J. Rosenberg, Case Western Reserve University, NOAH
  • "Extraordinary photographs enhance this well researched book."
    Northeastern Naturalist
  • "One of the nicest [herp guides] I've seen recently is this new guide to the herpetofauna of the Great Lakes region. . . . The photos are excellent. . . . If you live in the Great Lakes Region, you'll find this a great book. In fact, if you live anywhere in the northeastern U.S. you'll find it of more than passing interest, as it covers almost all the species found from Pennsylvania north. . . . [T]he longer than usual discussions of many aspects of natural history will give you hours of interesting reading and introduce you to herps beyond the field guide level. Highly recommended."
    Reptile Hobbyist
  • "Harding's book is a job well done and represents an effort which others would do well to emulate. . . . [O]ne of the best deals in contemporary U.S. herpetological literature."
    Tortuga Gazette , (a publication of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club)
  • ". . . an essential tool for 'herp watching' in the Great Lakes region."
    Farm & Dairy
  • ". . . should serve as an excellent guide for anyone interested in the Herpetofauna of northeastern and north-central United States."
    Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society
  • ". . . a welcome addition to the regional natural history series published by the University of Michigan Press. . . . I rank this book among the best of the state or regional herpetologies that have been published in recent years. Everyone interested in the herps of the upper Midwest will want a copy."
    Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society

Look Inside


Introduction to Herpetology     1

Definitions and Origins     1

Classifying Amphibians and Reptiles     5
A Classification and Checklist of Great Lakes Amphibians and Reptiles     10
Amphibians and Reptiles in the "Age of Mammals"     13
Amphibians and Reptiles in the Ecosystem     14
Amphibians, Reptiles, and People     18
Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles     19
Effects of Glaciation on Amphibian and Reptile Distribution in the Great Lakes Region     21
Environments for Great Lakes Amphibians and Reptiles     27
Observing and Studying Great Lakes Amphibians and Reptiles     31
Venomous Snakes and Snakebite     34

Accounts of Species
Amphibians (Class Amphibia)     39
Salamanders (Order Caudata)     39
Mudpuppies (Family Proteidae)     41
Mudpuppy     41
Sirens (Family Sirenidae)     45
Western Lesser Siren     45
Newts (Family Salamandridae)     49
Eastern Newt (Red-spotted Newt and Central Newt)     49
Mole Salamanders (Family Ambystomatidae)     55
Spotted Salamander     55
Blue-spotted Salamander     60
Jefferson Salamander     64
Small-mouthed Salamander     68
Marbled Salamander     72
Eastern Tiger Salamander     76
Lungless Salamanders (Family Plethodontidae)     81
Northern Dusky Salamander     81
Mountain Dusky Salamander     85
Northern Slimy Salamander     88
Red-backed Salamander     91
Ravine Salamander     96
Four-toed Salamander     98
Northern Spring Salamander     102
Northern Red Salamander     106
Northern Two-lined Salamander     109

Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)     113
True Toads (Family Bufonidae)     115
Eastern American Toad     115
Fowler's Toad     119
Treefrogs and Relatives (Family Hylidae)     123
Blanchard's Cricket Frog     123
Striped Chorus Frog (Western Chorus Frog and Boreal Chorus Frog)     126
Northern Spring Peeper     130
Gray Treefrog (Eastern Gray Treefrog and Cope's Gray Treefrog)     133
Typical Frogs (Family Ranidae)     139
Bullfrog     139
Green Frog     143
Mink Frog     147
Wood Frog     150
Northern Leopard Frog     154
Pickerel Frog     158
Reptiles (Class Reptilia)     163

Turtles (Order Testudines)     163
Snapping Turtles (Family Chelydridae)     167
Common Snapping Turtle     167
Musk and Mud Turtles (Family Kinosternidae)     174
Common Musk Turtle     174
Pond and Box Turtles (Family Emydidae)     179
Spotted Turtle     179
Wood Turtle     184
Bog Turtle     190
Eastern Box Turtle     194
Blanding's Turtle     201
Common Map Turtle     206
Painted Turtle (Midland Painted Turtle and Western Painted Turtle)     212
Red-eared Slider     216
Softshell Turtles (Family Trionychidae)     221
Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle     221
Lizards (Order Squamata, Suborder Lacertilia)     227

Skinks (Family Scincidae)     229
Five-lined Skink     229
Northern Coal Skink     233
Whiptails and Racerunners (Family Teiidae)     237
Six-lined Racerunner     237
Glass Lizards and Alligator Lizards (Family Anguidae)     242
Western Slender Glass Lizard     242

Snakes (Order Squamata, Suborder Serpentes)     247
Typical Snakes (Family Colubridae)     251
Northern Water Snake (Northern Water Snake and Lake Erie Water Snake)     252
Copper-bellied Water Snake     257
Queen Snake     261
Kirtland's Snake     265
Common Garter Snake (Eastern Garter Snake and Chicago Garter Snake)     269
Butler's Garter Snake     274
Short-headed Garter Snake     278
Eastern Plains Garter Snake     281
Northern Ribbon Snake      285
Western Ribbon Snake     288
Brown Snake (Northern Brown Snake and Midland Brown Snake)     291
Northern Red-bellied Snake     295
Snooth Green Snake     299
Racer (Northern Black Racer and Blue Racer)     303
Black Rat Snake     308
Western Fox Snake     312
Eastern Fox Snake     316
Eastern Milk Snake     320
Northern Ring-necked Snake     324
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake     328
Pit Vipers and Vipers (Family Viperidae)     333
Eastern Massasauga     334
Timber Rattlesnake     339
Marginal and Questionable Species     345

Resources    355
Bibliography and Information Sources     355
Recordings of Frog and Toad Vocalizations     360
Herpetological Organizations     361
State and Provincial Regulatory Agencies     362
Glossary     365
Index      371

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 400pp.
  • 68 color photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1997
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06628-5

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  • $24.95 U.S.

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