John Urquhart

The familiar, high-pitched “peep peep” of the spring peeper is one of the first sounds of the season, a signal that plant and animal life is emerging from its winter dormancy. No fewer than 13 species of frogs and toads in Ontario can be heard calling from late March until August. Nearly 50 species of reptiles and amphibians inhabit our province, but, regrettably, one-third of Ontario’s amphibians and three-quarters of its reptiles are now designated as species at risk. Many reptiles native to Ontario are on the brink of local extinction.

Because so little is known about these increasingly rare creatures, Ontario Nature has partnered with other conservation organizations to gather data on the location, populations and ranges of turtles, snakes, salamanders, frogs and toads. Such a huge undertaking requires an army of volunteers to record sightings across the province.

Citizen scientists are welcome to join us in our efforts to protect species that are disappearing from Ontario. All sightings are important. Recording the whereabouts of common species, dead animals, shed snakeskins, turtle shells or any other evidence that indicate that a species was in a specific location is of value.

If you would like to learn more about the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas and to contribute to it by reporting any reptiles or amphibians you have seen, visit our website at www.ontarionature.org and click on “Reptile and Amphibian atlas.” Submitting an observation takes only a few minutes and will help save these animals from extinction.