The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh, with free general admission, offers numerous educational exhibits on amphibians and reptiles of the state and beyond. Be sure to follow the museum’s calendar of upcoming events to not miss out on offered programs, workshops and field trips. The museum’s herpetology research collections has served as the major repository for amphibian and reptile research specimens from North Carolina for over a century. Staff in the museum’s research and education sections serve as an invaluable source of information. Have a question for a museum naturalist? Ask it here.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) Wildlife Diversity Program studies, manages, protects, and educates the public on nongame and endangered wildlife species in the state, including native amphibians and reptiles. The NCWRC produces the magazine Wildlife in North Carolina, which often features herpetological-related articles, and fact sheets on the status of species in the state. Be sure to support the NCWRC Wildlife Diversity Program through the purchase of a really cool license plate that features our state frog, the Pine Barrens treefrog.
The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro exhibits native amphibians and reptiles, and their herpetology staff conduct field research and outreach programs to support the conservation of wild amphibians and reptiles in the state, such as hellbenders.
The North Carolina Herpetological Society (NCHS), “dedicated to reptile and amphibian conservation since 1978,” is a must-join organization for anyone, including youth, interested in amphibians and reptiles of North Carolina. The Society meets bi-annually and issues a newsletter, offers educational and outreach programs, small research grants, manages stewardship properties for the benefit of amphibians and reptiles, and serves as a resource for identifying species, among other activities. Notably, the Society spearheads Project Bog Turtle and Project Simus to conserve and study bog turtles and southern hognose snakes, two of the state’s threatened reptile species.
North Carolina Partners in Amphibian & Reptile Conservation (NCPARC) aims to “conserve amphibians, reptiles and their habitats as integral parts of North Carolina’s ecosystems and culture through proactive and coordinated public/private partnerships,” and is another must-join organization for anyone in the amphibians and reptiles of North Carolina. The organization meets annually and communicates through regular e-newsletters, spearheads the North Carolina Calling Amphibian Survey Program (CASP) and other research and outreach projects, and serves as an important information resource on conservation of amphibians and reptiles in the state. NCHS and NCPARC meet jointly, approximately every two years, as a “North Carolina Congress of Herpetology.”
Found an injured or sick wild turtle (or other amphibian and reptile)? The NC State Turtle Rescue Team is a non-profit organization run by veterinary students at the College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University. The TRT treats and releases rehabilitated turtles (and other herps) back into the wild.
The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center does likewise for sick, injured and stranded sea turtles.
Search the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences online database to learn about past and present distributions of amphibians and reptiles in the state based on vouchered specimens housed in the museum’s herpetology research collections.
The Amphibians and Reptiles of North Carolina website and its accompanying Snakes of North Carolina app for iPhones and iPads provide species accounts and photographs of most species found in the state (here are 2011 and 2020 checklists).
The HERP Project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro provides experiences and resources in education, conservation and field ecology of amphibians and reptiles for students and members of the public interested in North Carolina herpetology.
The NC Biodiversity Project is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote public interest in the state’s native species and ecosystems, including amphibians and reptiles.
The NCWRC North Carolina Alligators Project is gathering sight observations of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in the state to improve understanding of its geographic range and population status.
The North Carolina Sea Turtle Project run by NCWRC monitors sea turtle populations on our state’s beaches, a massive undertaking that relies heavily on volunteers to find and guard nests, stranded and injured sea turtles.
The Box Turtle Connection trains volunteers to monitor populations of our state reptile, the Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina), throughout North Carolina.
The Herpetofauna of the Duke Forest project at Duke University uses volunteer scientists to monitor amphibians and reptiles in the Duke Forest Teaching & Research Laboratory.
The Terrapin Tally trains volunteers to conduct kayak surveys on designated routes in coastal NC to help monitor populations of Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin).
Tracking Red-Eared Sliders and Gecko Watch are iNaturalist projects dedicated to tracking the spread of the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) and the Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) outside of their native ranges. Both of these invasive species have become established in North Carolina.
The Orianne Society’s Snapshots in Time Project is a citizen science project that investigates the possible effects of climate change on the timing of breeding of spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) and wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) throughout their ranges, including here in North Carolina.
The classic Reptiles of North Carolina (1995) written by our two Emeriti Curators of Herpetology, William M. Palmer and Alvin L. Braswell, remains the most comprehensive work on the reptile fauna of the state.
No enthusiast of the amphibians and reptiles of North Carolina could be without the essential field guide Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, 2nd Edition (2010), authored by our Collections Manager Jeffrey C. Beane, Curator Emeriti Alvin L. Braswell and William M. Palmer, and colleagues Joseph C. Mitchell and Julian R. Harrison III.
A Guide to the Snakes of North Carolina (2005), Frogs and Toads of North Carolina: Field Guide and Recorded Calls (2007), and Snakes of the Southeast (2015) provide expanded coverage of these components of the state’s herpetofauna.
Is it venomous? Learn more about our six fascinating, venomous snake species in this handy little guide to the Venomous Snakes of North Carolina (2003) authored by our Emeriti Curators of Herpetology Alvin L. Braswell and William M. Palmer, and Collections Manager Jeffrey C. Beane.