Core Activities


Two thirds of Ontario's reptiles and several amphibian species are listed as Special Concern, Threatened, or Endangered on the federal or provincial endangered species at risk lists. Habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality, illegal collection, and other human activities have extirpated many populations and continue to threaten these species. Local populations need your help to protect their habitat and prevent other activities that are threatening them. Conversely, healthy populations are an indication of good environmental quality, particularly water. So what can you do to help?

For Individuals

  • participate in this atlas project by submitting reptile and amphibian sightings. This will help improve our knowledge of local species' distributions.
  • support your county's stewardship council, local field naturalist clubs, and other conservation organizations.
  • avoid ATV or snowmobile use in sensitive habitats like shorelines and shallow wetlands. These habitats are home to many reptile and amphibian species, and ATV or snowmobile use in such areas kills adults, destroys nests or hibernating individuals, as well as damaging habitat.
  • protect beach areas for nesting turtles.
  • leave fallen wood on the forest floor, or scatter a few untreated pine boards, for salamander shelter.
  • create or leave rock piles in sunny locations.
  • cavity trees (i.e., snags) may shelter snakes. Leave them standing if the eventual failure of the tree won't pose a hazard.
  • refrain from mowing fields that are not being used, and allow them to return to a natural state to create snake habitat.
  • roadkill is a serious threat to reptiles and amphibians. Pay attention for these animals and stop (safely!)to help them across the road, preferably in the direction they're already going. At the very least, do your best to avoid running them over. One way is to simply avoid driving on warm rainy nights.
  • never remove native reptiles and amphibians from the wild. Removal is a serious threat to many species and it is illegal to remove most reptile and amphibian species from the wild.
  • never release a non-native or "pet-store" animal into the wild.
  • when boating, watch your wake in areas where turtles bask. Also watch for swimming turtles, which are often killed by boat propellers.
  • always keep your pet on a leash.
  • leave beaver dams in place.
  • avoid pesticide use.

For Communities

  • install road signage alerting drivers to the potential presence of turtles and snakes.
  • install barriers and tunnels/underpasses to help guide animals safely away from, or under, roads.
  • avoid and discourage the in-filling of wetlands.
  • maintain and enhance natural shorelines.
  • establish or maintain unmowed buffer zones around ponds and along streams.
  • discourage the use of pesticides and excessive amounts of fertilizer.
  • provinces, states and countries often adopt emblematic plant and animal symbols (e.g., the provincial flower). Adopt a local reptile or amphibian species as the "official" one for your community.
  • establish no-wake zones in known turtle basking areas.

Assistance for this project was provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources


The Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk

This project is supported by Ontario Nature