Species at risk by type

A list of species at risk for the selected Ontario region.

Snakes and Lizards

  • blue-racer

    Blue Racer (Coluber constrictor foxii)

    Status: endangered

    The Blue Racer is among the most graceful and swiftest of Ontario's snakes, though it only reaches a top speed of 12 to16 kilometres per hour. It is easily startled and will flee if threatened. It will also imitate a rattlesnake by vibrating the tip of its tail in leaf litter to produce a buzzing sound.

  • eastern-foxsnake

    Eastern Foxsnake (Carolinian population) (Pantherophis gloydi)

    Status: endangered

    If frightened, this harmless snake will mimic a rattlesnake by vibrating the tip of its tail in leaf litter to produce a buzzing noise.

  • common-five-lined-skink

    Gray Ratsnake (Carolinian population) (Pantherophis spiloides)

    Status: endangered

    This snake is an excellent climber and may be seen up a tree or bush sunning, preparing to shed its skin or hunting for prey.

  • common-five-lined-skink

    Common Five-lined Skink (Carolinian population) (Plestiodon fasciatus)

    Status: endangered

    When attacked by a potential predator, a skink's tail can autotomize: spontaneously break off and thrash for several minutes, distracting the predator so the lizard can escape. The tail is able to grow back at a rate of about six millimetres a week.

  • queensnake

    Queensnake (Regina septemvittata)

    Status: endangered

    Queensnakes are excellent swimmers and can often be seen swimming and hunting underwater for their main food source - freshly-moulted crayfish. When freshly moulted, crayfish are soft, defenceless and easier to swallow. Ironically, during winter hibernation, crayfish turn the table and will eat juvenile and hibernating Queensnakes.

  • massasauga-rattlesnake

    Massasauga (Carolinian population) (Sistrurus catenatus)

    Status: endangered

    The Massasauga is very shy and prefers to hide or retreat from enemies rather than bite them. If threatened, it will shake its tail as a warning and strike only as a last resort to protect itself if it can not escape.

  • butlers-gartersnake

    Butler's Gartersnake (Thamnophis butleri)

    Status: endangered

    The Butler's Gartersnake exhibits a peculiar behaviour called side-winding. When excited, it will vigorously wriggle from side to side, making little forward progress.

  • timber-rattlesnake

    Timber Ratlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

    Status: extirpated

    Individuals return to the same hibernation site year after year.

  • lake-erie-watersnake

    Lake Erie Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon insularum)

    Status: special concern

    Lake Erie Watersnakes can be a paler colour than watersnakes found elsewhere in Ontario. This is believed to be an adaptation that helps the snake camouflage on the pale limestone beaches characteristic of the islands it inhabits.

  • common-five-lined-skink

    Common Five-lined Skink (Southern Shield population) (Plestiodon fasciatus)

    Status: special concern

    When attacked by a potential predator, a skink's tail can autotomize: spontaneously break off and thrash for several minutes, distracting the predator so the lizard can escape. The tail is able to grow back at a rate of about six millimetres a week.

  • eastern-ribbonsnake

    Eastern Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis sauritus)

    Status: special concern

    Many species of snakes lay eggs, but Eastern Ribbonsnakes give birth to live young.

  • eastern-hog-nosed-snake

    Eastern Hog-nose snake (Heterodon platirhinos)

    Status: threatened

    Unlike other snakes that tend to hibernate in groups, the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake usually spends the winter months alone. It may hibernate in a pre-existing burrow or dig a burrow in the ground with its snout.

  • eastern-foxsnake

    Eastern Foxsnake (Georgian Bay population) (Pantherophis gloydi)

    Status: threatened

    If frightened, this harmless snake will mimic a rattlesnake by vibrating the tip of its tail in leaf litter to produce a buzzing noise.

  • gray-ratsnake

    Gray Ratsnake (Frontenac Axis population) (Pantherophis spiloides)

    Status: threatened

    This snake is an excellent climber and may be seen up a tree or bush sunning, preparing to shed its skin or hunting for prey.

  • massasauga-rattlesnake

    Massasauga (Great Lakes - St. Lawrence population) (Sistrurus catenatus)

    Status: threatened

    The Massasauga is very shy and prefers to hide or retreat from enemies rather than bite them. If threatened, it will shake its tail as a warning and strike only as a last resort to protect itself if it can not escape.

Updated: October 16, 2017