Amphibians and Reptiles
Florida has a diverse assemblage of amphibians and reptiles consisting of at least 144 species. Although the life histories of amphibians and reptiles are very different, Florida’s herpetofauna share threats to their persistence, including invasive species, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, disease, collection, and habitat degradation. Many of these threats can be reduced by proper habitat management. While some species, such as cave salamanders, are habitat specialists, many are generalists that can even be found in man-made habitats such as agricultural berms, transitional areas, altered landscapes, etc. With many herpetofaunal species, failing to find the animal may not indicate its absence. Many of these species are difficult to find because they are cryptic, fossorial, or only seasonally conspicuous. Their secretive natures make determining their distributions difficult. To make effective management decisions, managers must often conduct surveys themselves, rather than rely on existing data that may be incomplete.
The following pages include groups of amphibians and reptiles either by taxonomic categories or habitat categories. It is recommended that qualified biologists conduct herpetofaunal surveys following receipt of a scientific collection permit, where applicable. Regularly viewing specimens in a museum or laboratory is beneficial when conducting surveys in order to identify trapped individuals correctly.
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Disclaimer: Surveys that require the handling or possible disturbance of an imperiled species are not recommended for a majority of projects. Projects that do meet this requirement, such as for research purposes or species relocations, require either a scientific collection permit issued by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or a species permit issued by the FWC, depending on the species in question.