Reptiles and Amphibians


Turtles are cold-blooded animals that require a heat source in order to maintain body temperature. Eggs are laid at various times of the year. When breeding season comes along, turtles use the Earth’s magnetic field to travel back to their birthplace to mate and lay their eggs. Often times, turtles are the victims of accidents on the road. If you see a turtle trying to cross, please help it along by taking it to the side of the road that it was headed to!

If one has been hit by a car or has sustained trauma, keep the turtle warm and deliver to your local wildlife clinic or rehabilitator as soon as possible. Other indications for treatment are: abnormal or asymmetric swellings on the head, legs and tail, shell rot (eroded, discolored shell), nasal discharge, or a broken beak.


Snakes are also cold-blooded. The young can be born live or hatch from eggs, depending on the species of snake. Snakes are not active in the winter. Any snake found outside during the winter, especially when there is snow cover, has compromised health and should be brought into the WMC for treatment. Caution must be exercised when dealing with snakes as there are venomous species in Illinois; however, all but the Eastern massasauga live in the southern third of the state. Some species of non-venomous snakes, such as the king snake and eastern fox snake, display mimikry by using their tails as a rattle; these are more likely to be found in east-central Illinois.

Found a reptile or amphibian in need? Please refer to our Wildlife Help and Resources page: