Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Thunder Bay District, Ontario

At least 25 species of amphibians and reptiles have been found within the Thunder Bay District of Ontario. Of these, only 17 species can be considered native species (13 amphibians, 4 reptiles). At least eight species of escaped pet and introduced exotic or ‘accidental’ species have occasionally been found in the district but do not persist. The checklist was compiled by Dr. Stephen Hecnar (Department of Biology, Lakehead University) by using his own records and those of his colleagues. Most of these records are also documented in the published literature or archived in the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA).

Nomenclature and taxonomy follow the Committee on Standard English and Scientific Names 7th edition of the official names list of the joint herpetological societies of North America (Crother et al. 2012). The Thunder Bay District checklist will be updated on this website if new species are verified or to reflect taxonomic changes made by the committee.

This list is current as of July 2016.

Common or Rare Species Documentation

The occurrence or distribution of amphibians and reptiles in Northern Ontario has not been documented as well as records of birds, fish, mammals. Ontario Nature’s ORAA welcomes records of all amphibian and reptile species from naturalists and the general public. Records can be reported online, in a spreadsheet, or using a cellular phone application. Please also report any rare species sightings to S. Hecnar at Lakehead University.

Status, Rarity, and Activity Peak* Codes

  • C – Common, abundant and/or widespread
  • LC – Locally Common, abundant at some sites
  • R – Rare, low abundance
  • A – Accidental - 
  • I – Introduced
  • ES – Early Spring
  • LS – Late Spring
  • S – Summer
  • F – Fall

* "activity peak" for the frogs and toads refers to calling activity 

Anurans (Frogs & Toads)

Species name Status & rarity Activity peak
Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) C ES-LS
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) C LS
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) LC LS-S
Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) A LS-S 
Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) C ES
Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) LC LS
Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) C S
Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) C S
American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) C LS-S
*Tropical Treefrogs A  

*Several species of tropical frogs occasionally occur in the district and usually are found in imported plants and vegetables. These species will not survive outdoors in boreal winters.

Caudatans (Salamanders)

Species name Status & rarity Activity peak
Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) R ES,F,W
Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) LC LS,S,F
Blue-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale) C ES-LS
Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) R LS
Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) R LS,S,F

Testudines (Turtles)

Species name Status & rarity Activity peak
Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) C LS-S
Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) R S
**Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta) I LS-S

**Occasionally individuals of this common pet species that have escaped or been released are reported. This southern species will not survive outdoors in boreal winters.

Squamates (Snakes & Lizards)

Species name Status & rarity Activity peak
Common Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis) C LS,S,F
Red-bellied Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) R LS,S,F
Gray Ratsnake (Pantherophis spiloides) I LS,S,F
***Exotic snakes I  
****Tropical Lizards A LS,F

***Several species of exotic snakes kept by local pet collectors have escaped. Most are southern species that will not survive boreal winters.

****Occasionally tropical lizards have arrived in the district as ‘stowaways’ in imported plants or produce. These species will not survive outdoors in boreal winters.