Did you know that we have 36 species of reptiles in Wisconsin? Unfortunately, more than half of them are listed as endangered, threatened, or a species of special concern. These animals are vulnerable and critically important to the health and balance of our ecosystems. That’s why we established the Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Fund, an endowment fund which will provide ongoing support for conservation, education, research, and monitoring of Wisconsin’s native amphibian and reptile species.

 

Here are five amazing reptiles that are native to Wisconsin and need your help:

Slender Glass Lizard

Many people don’t realize that we have lizards here in Wisconsin – and we do! In fact, we have four lizard species that live here, including the slender glass lizard, a state endangered lizard. The slender glass lizard is legless, and lives in sandy prairies and savannas in south central Wisconsin. It overwinters in burrows underground by forcing its body through loose sandy soils.

Ornate Box Turtle

Wisconsin’s only box turtle, the state endangered ornate box turtle is able to pull all of its limbs inside its shell and completely enclose itself for protection. These small, colorful turtles live in dry, sandy prairie habitat in southern Wisconsin. Fun fact – NRF has helped scientists research and monitor Wisconsin’s ornate box turtle populations by helping to fund “turtle dogs”, specially trained Boykin spaniels who are trained to detect these hard-to-find creatures in the wild .

Eastern Hog-nosed Snake

One of Wisconsin’s 21 snake species, the eastern hog-nosed snake (named for its up-turned nose) is known for its unique behaviors. For example, if this snake feels threatened, it will either puff up like a cobra (even though they are completely harmless), or play dead by flipping on its back, wiggling around like it’s in pain, vomiting, and then lying still until the attacker goes away. This interesting species is widespread in Wisconsin, occurring in grassland, oak savanna, and sand prairies, as well as southern forests.

Prairie Skink

The prairie skink, a species of special concern, is one of Wisconsin’s four lizard species. They are found in just a few counties in far northwestern Wisconsin, living in pine barrens or bracken grassland habitats. Although secretive most of the year, during the breeding season, the jaws and throats of male prairie skinks turn bright orange, to help attract females.

Lined Snake

A species of special concern, the lined snake was only recently discovered in Wisconsin, back in 2011. This elusive species is nocturnal and semi-fossorial, meaning it spends most of the day under rocks, leaf litter, or logs. They are found in just a few counties in southern Wisconsin’s grasslands.

You can help

The Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Fund is an endowment fund created to provide ongoing support for conservation, education, research, and monitoring of Wisconsin’s native and vulnerable amphibians and reptiles. You can donate by mailing a check or online. Just let us know that you want your gift directed to the Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Fund.

CD Besadny Conservation Fund Awardees 2019

Every year the CD Besadny Conservation Fund awards grants to new and original projects that involve and affect underserved communities, take advantage of local resources and partnerships, and demonstrate real outcomes.

Piping plovers return to Green Bay

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of the projects we support through our Bird Protection Fund: the banding of federally endangered piping plover chicks near Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Wild Alaska

Discover Alaska, a rugged, mysterious, and breathtaking experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. From glaciers that seem to reach the clouds to the big game wildlife that makes Alaska the epic wilderness it is, you will be mesmerized by its untouched landscape.

Bats & Owls & Snakes, Oh My!

In honor of the spookiest season—October—we’re busting some myths surrounding traditionally “scary” creatures that deserve a snuggle just as much as any other cute creature.

The Wonders of Africa

In October 2020, we will be traveling from Zimbabwe to Zambia to Botswana, experiencing their movie-like landscapes and what makes them unique to Africa.

2020 Bird Protection Fund Projects

The Bird Protection Fund has decided upon its 2020 Priority Projects, with more than $60,000 going towards priority bird conservation projects that range from research to reintroduction efforts.

2018 Photo Contest Winners

Every year you send us your best photos that capture incredible moments from our Field Trips. Our 2018 Photo Contest winners give us an inside look into the unique experiences and critical conservation being done throughout the year – take a look!

Exploring the Canyonlands of the Southwest

The southwest is home to some of America’s most iconic landscapes, as well as several stunning national parks. In March 2020, we will be travelling to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Monument Valley Navajo Park with professional naturalist Paul Regnier and professional geologist Dr. Roger Kuhns.

NRF board member Bill Smith named to Natural Resources Board

NRF board member Bill Smith has recently been appointed to the Natural Resources Board (NRB), the governing body of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Hundreds of ‘Birdathonners’ Raise Funds for Bird Conservation Efforts in Wisconsin

The Great Wisconsin Birdathon is one of the most popular “bird-a-thon” style fundraisers in the nation, bringing in over $400,000 since it was created in 2012 to raise funds for bird protection efforts for Wisconsin birds.