‘Snake Road’ Farm in Illinois for Reptile and Amphibian Crossing

UNION COUNTY, Ill. – The US Forest Service has closed a small gravel road in the Shawnee National Forest to allow the safe migration of reptiles and amphibians.

Every spring and fall, tens of thousands of snakes and other small animals traverse a small stretch of gravel road between a series of limestone cliffs and the LaRue Marsh. According to the Forest Serviceabout 66% of amphibians and 59% of reptiles in Illinois are found in this zone.

The Forest Service generally closes snake road for spring migration from March 15 to May 15. The animals will move from their hibernation places in the cliffs to the swamp. Due to warmer weather and increased reptile and amphibian activity, the road was closed on March 5.

The road is closed again from September 1 to October 30 in the fall as the animals retreat to the cliffs for the winter.

While the road is closed to vehicles, people are allowed to walk. The land is a federally protected research area, so collecting, handling, or interfering with the animals is prohibited.

The following species can be found migrating along Snake Road:

Courtesy of Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • spiny soft shell
  • Northern red-bellied snake
  • Spotted salamander
  • chorus frog
  • slimy salamander
  • Broad-headed skink
  • hog-nosed snake
  • red milk snake
  • midland water snake
  • Western ribbon snake
  • Eastern Rough Green Snake
  • eastern garter snake
  • little western mermaid
  • marbled salamander
  • small-mouthed salamander
  • midwestern worm snake
  • central newt
  • Zigzag Salamander
  • Long-tailed salamander
  • ratsnake
  • cave salamander
  • American toad
  • Fowler’s Toad
  • copper head
  • Blanchard’s cricket frog
  • Northern Spring Vignette
  • Eastern gray tree frog
  • black runner
  • Bullfrog
  • green frog
  • southern leopard frog
  • Midland brown snake
  • common snapping turtle
  • musk turtle
  • Eastern box turtle
  • collared snake
  • Eastern Painted Turtle
  • red-eared slider
  • North Fence Lizard
  • snake king
  • ground skink
  • western cottonmouth
  • five-lined skink
  • western earth snake
  • western mud snake
  • Diamondback Water Snake

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