Species Lists

Reptiles and Amphibians

This is a list provided by Joe Collins of the most common amphibians and reptiles that are seen on or near the Kansas River. Photographs taken by Suzanne Collins are provided on our Critter Corner along with links to the Kansas Herpetological Society species accounts (if you click on the photos you will get a pop-up window with the species account in it).

Download the enitre booklet as a pdf file:

2009 Collins, Joseph T. & Suzanne L. Collins. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Snakes. Second Edition. Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. Pp. 69. (2.31 MB)

You can contact Joe at:

Joseph T. Collins, Director
The Center for North American Herpetology (CNAH)
1502 Medinah Circle, Lawrence, Kansas 66047
email: jcollins@ku.edu


 Common Name

 Scientific Name

 Eastern Tiger Salamander

 Ambystoma tigrinum
 Plains Spadefoot  Spea bombifrons
 Great Plains Toad  Anaxyrus cognatus
 Woodhouse's Toad  Anaxyrus woodhousii
 Blanchard's Cricket Frog  Acris blanchardi
 Plains Leopard Frog  Lithobates blairi
 Bullfrog  Lithobates catesbeianus
 Common Snapping Turtle  Chelydra serpentina
 Common Musk Turtle  Sternotherus odoratus
  Northern Painted Turtle  Chrysemys picta
  False Map Turtle  Graptemys pseudogeographica
  Slider  Trachemys scripta
  Smooth Softshell  Apalone mutica
  Spiny Softshell  Apalone spinifera
 Western Rat Snake  Scotophis obsoletus
 Eastern Racer  Coluber constrictor
 Northern Water Snake  Nerodia sipedon
 Common Garter snake  Thamnophis sirtalis
 Eastern Hognose snake  Heterodon platirhinos




This is a list provided by Dr. Raymond Pierotti, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Kansas. Birds—common/conspicuous species found associated with the river and discussed in the lesson The Winged Ones. Species lists by counties can be downloaded from the Kansas Ornithological Society website.



 Common Name



 Scientific Name



 Wood Duck

 Aix sponsa

 Blue-winged Teal

 Anas discors


 Anas platyrhyncos

 Canada Goose 

 Branta candensis


 Bucephala albeola

 Snow Goose

 Chen carerulescens

 American Coot

 Fulica americana

 Herring Gull

 Larus argentatus

 Ring-billed Gull

 Larus delawarensis

 Common Merganser

 Mergus merganser

 Pied-billed Grebe

 Podilymbus podiceps

 Double-crested Cormorant

 Phalacrocorax auritis

 Least Tern

 Sterna antillarum

 Forster’s Tern 

 Sterna forsteri

 Common Tern

 Sterna hirundo

 Wading Birds


 Spotted Sandpiper

 Actitis macularia

 Great Egret 

 Ardea alba

 Great Blue Heron

 Ardea herodias

 Green Heron

 Buteroides viresecens


 Charadrius vociferous

 Birds of Prey

 Bald Eagle 

 Haliaeetus leucocephalus


 Pandion haliaetus

 Perching Birds

 Belted Kingfisher

 Ceryle alcyon







This is a list provided by Dr. Raymond Pierotti, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Kansas. Common mammals that can be seen near or in the Kansas River.


Species accounts can be found online at


You can contact Ray at:

Dr. Ray Pierotti
Division of Biological Sciences
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045


* Aquatic species: likely to be seen in the river itself
+ Rare or exceptionally shy: Sightings of this species are special.

Opossums (Family Didelphidae)
Virginia Opossum Didelphis virginiana
The only Marsupial native to North America.

Hares and Rabbits (Family Leporidae)
Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus
The only rabbit (of 4 Kansas species) likely to be seen along the Kaw.

Squirrels (Family Sciuridae)
Southern Flying Squirrel Glaucomys volans +
Beautiful and graceful, likely to be seen at night. Has huge dark eyes.
Woodchuck Marmota monax +
Fox Squirrel Sciurus niger

Beavers (Family Castoridae)
Beaver Castor canadensis *

New World Mice and Rats (Family Cricetidae)
Woodland Vole Microtus pinetorum
Small dark mouselike creature, with small ears and short tail.
Eastern Woodrat Neotoma floridana
Big and attractive, look for its nests which are complex piles of sticks.
Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus *
Smaller than a beaver, does not have a flat tail.
White-footed Mouse Peromyscus leucopus
Small, beautiful mice with large ears and big dark eyes.

Dogs (Family Canidae)
Coyote Canis latrans
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes
Gray Fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus +
Graceful, with small ears, moves like a cat. Can even climb trees.

Procyonids (Family Procyonidae)
Raccoon Procyon lotor

Weasels (Family Mustelidae)
River Otter Lutra canadensis *
Big and playful. Slides down muddy banks.
Striped skunk Mephitis mephitis
Long-tailed Weasel Mustela frenata +
Mink Mustela vison *
Smaller than otter. Might be confused with a small dark cat.

Cats (Family Felidae)
Mountain Lion Felis concolor +
Look for the big long tail. It is unmistakeable.
Bobcat Lynx rufus +
Short tail. Might be mistaken for a big short-tailed housecat.

Deer (Family Cervidae)
White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus
Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus
Big ears. Only seen in the western counties along the river.

* Aquatic species: likely to be seen in the river itself.
+ Rare or exceptionally shy⎯Sightings of this species are special.






This list was provided by Craig Thompson, Biologist, EPA Region 7

Notes: * Extirpated in Kansas
(T/E) = Threatened or Endangered in Kansas



 Common Name


  Scientific Name  In Kansas River

 Mucket (T/E)

 Actinonaias ligamentina   

 Slippershell mussel *  

 Alasmidonta virdis    

 Elktoe (T/E) 

 Alasmidonta marginata  


 Amblema plicata  

 Flat floater (T/E)   

 Anodonta suborbiculata  

 Giant floater    

 Pyganadon grandis     Yes

 Paper pondshell    

 Anodonta imbecillis  

 Cylindrical papershell

 Anodontoides ferussacianus  

 Rock pocketbook (T/E)   

 Arcidens confragosus   

 Western fanshell (T/E)

 Cyprogenia aberti  

 Butterfly (T/E)   

 Ellipsaria lineolata  


 Elliptio dilitata   

 Snuffbox *   

 Epioblasma tiquetra  

 Wabash pigtoe   

 Fusconaia flava   

 Plain pocketbook   

 Lampsilis cardium     

 Neosho mucket (T/E)   

 Lampsilis rafinesqueana     
 Fat mucket         Lampsilis siliquoidea

 weathered/relict shells

 Yellow sandshell         Lampsilis teres

 weathered/relict shells

 Fluted-shell (T/E)      

 Lasmigona costata  

 White heelsplitter      

 Lasmigona complanata  Yes

 Fragile papershell       

 Leptodea fragilis  Yes

 Black sandshell *  

 Ligumia recta  


 Ligumia subrostrata  weathered/relict shells


 Megalonaias nervosa  

 Threehorn wartyback      

 Obliquaria reflexa  weathered/relict shells

 Hickorynut *     

 Obovaria olivaria  weathered/relict shells

 Round pigtoe  

 Pleurobema coccineum     

 Pink heelsplitter   

 Potamilus alatus   Yes

 Pink papershell     

 Potamilus ohioensis  Yes


 Potamilus pupuratus  

 Ouachita kidneyshell (T/E)   

 Ptychobranchus occidentalis  

 Rabbitsfoot (T/E)   

 Quadrula cylindrical     


 Quadrula metanevra  


 Quadrula nodulata   


 Quadrula pustulosa  weathered/relict shells


 Quadrula quadrula  Yes


 Strophitus undulatus    


 Toxolasma parvus    


 Tritogonia verrucosa  


 Truncilla truncata  weathered/relict shells


 Truncilla donaciformis  Yes


 Uniomerus tetralasmus   Yes

 Ellipse (T/E)   

 Venustaconcha ellipsiformis  

 Purple wartyback   

 Cyclonaias tuberculata   


Asiatic Clams, Corbicula fluminea, are an introduced species that now occurs in the Kansas River

* Extirpated in Kansas

(T/E) = Threatened or Endangered in Kansas



Laura Calwell,
Mar 12, 2010, 10:22 AM
Laura Calwell,
Mar 12, 2010, 10:23 AM
Laura Calwell,
Mar 12, 2010, 10:24 AM
Laura Calwell,
Mar 12, 2010, 10:23 AM