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FAQ: Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas

Spring peeper © Joe Crowley

Are you still collecting data for the atlas?

After 10 years of data collection by more than 12,000 volunteers, in 2019 Ontario Nature transitioned the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) by wrapping-up the data collection phase and shifting to data analysis phase. While the ORAA is no longer collecting observations, the need to document reptiles and amphibians across the province remains. We encourage you to continue submitting any future observations through the Herps of Ontario project on iNaturalist or directly to the Natural Heritage Information Centre for species at risk.

I see the same animal in the same location every day. Should I submit a sighting every time that I see it?

No. If you are reasonably certain that you are seeing the same animal, you only need to report it once per year. If there are places that you plan to revisit regularly, consider waiting two to four weeks between visits. Alternatively, you could implement one of Ontario Nature’s Long-term Monitoring Protocols  to monitor species in the same location throughout the year.

What if I find an empty turtle shell or a snake skin?

Please report old body parts. Take lots of photos of the top, bottom and face of snake skins. This will help experts identify the species. The Endangered Species Act prohibits the keeping of any dead endangered or threatened species – including body parts such as a turtle shell.

At my neighbourhood pond, I heard three green frogs and one bullfrog, and I saw a snapping turtle. Can I submit this as one observation?

No. You should report instances of multiple species seen at the same time and at the same location as individual submissions. The general rule is to report each species once per location per date. Check out the iNaturalist help page for more information on uploading sightings.

I have observations from a previous year. Should I still submit it?

Yes. If your data hasn’t already been submitted to the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, NHIC, Ontario Herpetofaunal Summary Atlas or the Toronto Zoo, we strongly encourage you to report it to iNaturalist Herps of Ontario project.

Are there any resources available for volunteers?

Yes. Our website and the ORAA publication include detailed species accounts that provide information about the ecology and biology of each species, identification characteristics, and range maps.

What are some tips to steward reptiles and amphibians?

There are several easy ways to get involved in reptile and amphibian conservation. Read more about how you can help the ORAA publication.

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