Frogs, Turtles, Snakes, and Other Herps are in Trouble
Frogs, Turtles, Snakes, and Other Herps in Trouble
Before you say you’re not disappointed that frogs, turtles, snakes, and other
herps, as they’re called, are in trouble, read on.
Herptiles, or “herps” may be among the most misunderstood of species. Most
are not nearly as dangerous as people fear them to be. In fact, they are
beneficial in the chain of life. Herps eat insects, rodents, and other pests.
Herp numbers are in decline in the United States and worldwide, largely because
of the loss or degradation of habitat. Amphibians have been dubbed the aquatic
“canary of the coal mine” because they reveal the subtle declines in
Different species of amphibians and reptiles have specific habitat needs, and
you could help those species by developing particular habitats. You can help
herps by improving habitat for wildlife in general. Some of the steps that help
most wildlife species, including herps, are:
- Keep or establish natural vegetation along ponds, streams, wetlands,
fields, and wherever else possible to protect the land and provide food and
cover for wildlife.
- Large habitat areas are more valuable to herps than a series of small
areas. Try to keep from cutting up or “fragmenting” large areas.
- Establish well-vegetated corridors to connect patches of habitat, so
herps can travel from one to another with protection.
- Protect and restore wetlands, including seasonal wetlands, which are
some of the most important amphibian habitat.
- Establish buffer zones with native vegetation around wetlands.
- Leave logs, snags, and other woody debris.
- Leave protective vegetation 50-75 feet wide along streams to guard
against streambank erosion and to provide cover for herps.
- Manage cattle carefully near streams.
- Manage forestland for a diversity of understory plant habitats.
- Use selective spot spraying or wick application if herbicides are
applied near waterways. Avoid them if you can.
For more information about conservation practices that can improve wildlife
habitat on your land, stop at the
local NRCS office.
Did you know....
Snakes can go for months without eating. Many turtles live for more than 50
years. Some frogs can survive being frozen for long periods of time. The world
of herptiles--amphibians and reptiles-- is a fascinating one.
If you encounter any problems with the file provided on this
page, please contact Technical Resources at 406-587-6822.
The following documents require
645: Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (PDF; 191 KB)