Discover Maryland's Herps

Discover Maryland's Herps

Welcome to the wonderfully weird and winning world of amphibians and reptiles that make their home in Maryland!

Collectively called herps (from herpetology , the study of amphibians and reptiles), these animals were once labeled “cold-blooded” unlike birds and mammals that were “warm-blooded”. Today biologists know that herps use environmental temperatures to regulate their body temperatures in a process called ectothermy and the term “cold-blooded” is inaccurate.

Though they share ectothermy, amphibians and reptiles are more different than they are alike. Broadly speaking, amphibians have soft skin easily penetrated by water; they lay their eggs in water or damp places to keep them moist. Reptiles have dry, scaly skin impervious to water; their eggs have a shell that holds moisture for the developing young.

If you've found a herp and aren't sure what group it belongs to, click on the silhouette below to link to the field guide for that group.

Amphibian groups in Maryland are salamanders, newts, frogs, and toads.

Salamander Shape

Frog Shape

Toad Shape

Salamanders & Newts



Maryland reptiles groups include turtles, snakes, and lizards.

Turtle Shape

Snake Shape

Lizard Shape

Turtles & Tortoises



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Maryland Amphibian
and Reptile Atlas Project

"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.