Atoka Wildlife Management Area

Reptiles and Amphibians of the Atoka Wildlife Management Area

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   The Atoka Wildlife Management area is located in southeastern Oklahoma in Atoka County, approximately 12 miles north of the city of Atoka. It contains about 6,440 acres. Adjacent and south of the Atoka WMA is the Atoka Public Hunting Area, which covers 13,292 acres. The habitat varies from rocky hillsides, open flatland, to riparian valleys. Some of the open flatlands contain mixed grass prairie plant communities. Hillsides are covered by oak-hickory forests and some areas, especially in the Atoka Public Hunting Area, contain stands of pine and red cedar. Riparian areas contain mixed oak-hickory along with some willows and cottonwoods. A variety of ponds and lakes are also available on the WMA. More detailed information on the general habitat and area can be found at:

   The patchwork of habitats at Atoka WMA and the Atoka Public Hunting Area provides habitat for a wide diversity of amphibians and reptiles, including a few mixed grass prairie species (e.g., Western box turtles), and many eastern deciduous forest species (e.g., Brownsnakes). A few species characteristic of the Upper Coastal Plain occur on or near the WMA (e.g., the Glossy Crawfish Snake). Similar to other WMAs, the Atoka Wildlife Management area is an excellent place to see many species of amphibians and reptiles of Oklahoma in their natural habitat, especially during April, May, June and September.

Mixed hardwood forest
Rocky hillside in forest
Forest edge habitat
Open habitat in uplands of Atoka WMA
Typical managed pond
Pond in open grassland habitat

We surveyed amphibians and reptiles of the Atoka WMA during spring and summer of 2007. We used a variety of techniques to observe and register amphibians and reptiles during our survey. They include haphazard searches through all habitats; drift-fence trapping with funnel and pitfall traps, hoop net trapping for turtles, night searching of ponds and streams, and road cruising for some nocturnal species. We established two sets of drift-fence arrays. Each array consisted of three plastic fences approximately 8 m in length with minnow traps on each side of each wing. Centrally placed pitfall traps were added after determining that no archeological or historic sites were present. Twenty arrays were established in two different drainage valleys. Each array was monitored at least once per day over a 2.5 month period. We recorded all amphibians and reptiles trapped and released most animals at the site of capture. A drawing of the funnel trap array appears below as well as a photograph of an array.

Structure of one drift-fence array
Photograph of a drift-fence array at Atoka WMA

   We documented nine turtle species in four families, eight lizard species in four families, 24 snake species in two families, 13 frog species in four families, and three salamander species in two families. An additional eleven species (two salamanders, two frogs and three lizards, one turtle, and three snakes) are likely to be eventually found at Atoka because all have been found nearby.

   Field work for this survey was conducted by the following researchers from the University of Oklahoma: Donald B. Shepard, Laurie J. Vitt, Janalee P. Caldwell, Tim Colston, Randy Lewis, Gabriel C. Costa, and Buddy Brown (Morris High School). All field studies were conducted under the auspices of Scientific Collecting Permits (all participants) issued by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and an IACUC protocol issued by the University of Oklahoma. Voucher specimens and tissues collected during this study are deposited in the Herpetology Collection and the Genomic Resources Collection, respectively, of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman.

No reptiles or ampibians are considered endangered and threatened in Oklahoma (see Threatened and Endangered Species of Oklahoma).

Click one of the following for a downloadable checklist of amphibians and reptiles of the Atoka WMA (doc file)(pdf file)

                        **Click on photographs below to view individual species accounts, each of which includes advice                on how to observe each species in the field.

Family Emydidae
Mississippi Map Turtle
(Graptemys kohnii)
Gulf Cooter
(Pseudemys concinna)
Three-toed Box Turtle
(Terrapene carolina)
Ornate Box Turtle
(Terrapene ornata)
Family Emydidae
Family Trionychidae
Family Kinosternidae
Red-eared Slider
(Trachemys scripta)
Spiny Softshell
(Apalone spinifera)
Eastern Mud Turtle
(Kinosternon subrubrum)
(Sternotherus odoratus)
Family Chelydridae
Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
Family Phrynosomatidae
Family Anguidae
Family Teiidae
Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus consobrinus)
Western Slender Glass Lizard
(Ophisaurus attenuatus)
Prairie Racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus)
Family Scincidae
Little Brown Skink
(Scincella lateralis)
Southern Coal Skink
(Plestiodon anthracinus)
Five-lined Skink
(Plestiodon fasciatus)
Broad-headed Skink
(Plestiodon laticeps)
Family Colubridae
Western Worm Snake
(Carphophis vermis)
Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer
(Coluber constrictor)
Prairie Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)
Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
Prairie Kingsnake
(Lampropeltis calligaster)
Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)
Louisiana Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
Eastern Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum)
Plain-bellied Watersnake
(Nerodia erythrogaster)
Banded Watersnake
(Nerodia fasciata)
Northern Diamond-backed    Watersnake
(Nerodia rhombifer)
Rough Greensnake
(Opheodrys aestivus)
Great Plains Ratsnake
(Pantherophis emoryi)
Texas Ratsnake
(Pantherophis obsoleta)
Texas Brownsnake
(Storeria dekayi)
Flat-headed Snake
(Tantilla gracilis)
Western Ribbonsnake (Thamnophis proximus)
Texas Gartersnake
(Thamnophis sirtalis)
Rough Earth Snake
(Virginia striatula)
Smooth Earth Snake
(Virginia valeriae)
Family Viperidae
Southern Copperhead
(Agkistrodon contortrix)
Western Cottonmouth
(Agkistrodon piscivorus)
Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake
(Crotalus atrox)
Timber Rattlesnake
(Crotalus horridus)
Family Ranidae
Southern Crawfish Frog
(Lithobates [Rana] areolata)
(Lithobates [Rana] catesbeiana)
Green Frog
(Lithobates [Rana] clamitans)
Southern Leopard Frog
(Lithobates [Rana] sphenocephala)
Family Hylidae
Blanchard's Cricket Frog
(Acris crepitans)
Green Treefrog
(Hyla cinerea)
Gray Treefrog
(Hyla versicolor/chrysoscelis)
Strecker's Chorus Frog
(Pseudacris streckeri)
Family Hylidae
Family Bufonidae
Cajun Chorus Frog
(Pseudacris fouquettei)
American Toad
(Bufo americanus)
Woodhouse's Toad
(Bufo woodhousii)
Family Microhylidae
Eastern Narrow-mouth Toa
(Gastrophryne carolinensis)
Great Plains Narrow-mouth Toad
(Gastrophryne olivacea)
Family Plethodontidae
Family Salamandridae
Many-ribbed Salamander
(Eurycea multiplicata)
Western Slimy Salamander
(Plethodon albagula)
Eastern Newt
(Notophthalmus viridescens)
Lesser Siren
(Siren intermedia)
Small-mouthed Salamander (Ambystoma texanum)
Hurter's spadefoot
(Scaphiopus hurteri)
Pickerel Frog
(Rana palustris)
Alligator Snapping Turtle
(Macrochelys temminckii)
Eastern Collared Lizard
(Crotaphytus collaris)
Mediterranean Gecko
(Hemidactylus turcicus)
Prairie Skink
(Plestiodon septentrionalis)
Northern Scarlet Snake
(Cemophora coccinae)
Texas Nightsnake
(Hypsiglena torquata)
Gulf Crayfish Snake
(Regina rigida)
Western Pygmy Rattlesnake
(Sistrurus miliarius)


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This page last modified August 1, 2011