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Ontario Nature Publishes Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas

The most comprehensive and current source of information about reptiles and amphibians

Blanding's turtle © Joe Crowley

Ontario, January 9, 2024 – Ontario Nature launched the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas publication, a ground-breaking community science project aimed at advancing the study and conservation of Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians. After more than 10 years of data collection, the atlas is the most comprehensive source of information about Ontario’s herpetofauna.

Ontario is home to 47 native species of reptiles and amphibians, including 15 snakes, 8 turtles, 1 lizard, 11 salamanders, 10 frogs and 2 toads. The species are experiencing alarming global declines. Federally, 26 (55%) are listed as species at risk in Canada. Provincially, 23 (49%) are listed as species at risk in Ontario. The atlas publication is a pivotal response to this crisis, leveraging over a decade of dedicated data collection by more than 12,000 contributors.

“The decline of reptiles and amphibians in Ontario is largely because of humans such as through habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality, environmental contamination, disease and poaching. The atlas helps prevent their ongoing decline by enhancing knowledge about the extent of their distribution and ecology.” – Jenna Quinn, Conservation Science Manager, Ontario Nature

With more than 480,000 expert-vetted submissions, the atlas documents the distribution of reptiles and amphibians in Ontario. This wealth of information will inform ongoing conservation efforts by providing vital insights to conservationists, researchers and policymakers. It is a milestone in the field of herpetology. Atlas data have already increased the knowledge of at-risk species in Ontario, contributed to reports and recovery plans, influenced land use planning and guided habitat stewardship programs.

Through extensive outreach efforts, the atlas project has successfully increased public awareness and appreciation of Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians, and it outlined the urgent need for their conservation. It has also encouraged Ontarians from across the province to participate in community science at an unprecedented scale. From 2009 to 2019, the atlas staff and supporters led more than 260 events, engaging more than 27,000 people.

While Ontario Nature is no longer collecting observations, the need to document reptiles and amphibians across the province remains. Ontarians are encouraged to continue submitting observations through the ‘Herps of Ontario’ project on iNaturalist or directly to the Natural Heritage Information Centre for species at risk.

You can help protect the reptile and amphibian population by getting involved in reptile and amphibian conservation on your property, on the road and in your community. You can also support and volunteer for reptile and amphibian conservation groups in your area.

The atlas is 443 information-packed pages, with accounts of all native reptiles and amphibians in Ontario. The publication’s detailed text is supported by more than 70 maps and 300 photographs. Additional chapters include the project’s history of, results highlights, conservation concerns and more. You can read the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas publication for free online or order a hard copy of the publication for more ways that you can help.

For more information or to arrange an interview with an expert or local contributor, contact:


Photos are available on request.

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Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 150 member groups across Ontario (charitable registration # 10737 8952 RR0001). For more information, visit ontarionature.org.