A turtle in some grass. 

SOUTH CHARLESTON — New regulations making it unlawful to take or possess most native reptiles and amphibians for any reason are now in effect in West Virginia.

“Reptiles and amphibians are a valuable wildlife resource and unfortunately we’ve had several large poaching cases involving these animals,” said Kevin Oxenrider, amphibian and reptile program leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. 

“When it comes to the illegal wildlife trade, people don’t think about turtles, snakes and salamanders. But these animals call West Virginia home, so we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect them so they can continue to serve their ecological function in the environment.”

Prohibited Native West Virginia Amphibian and Reptile Species

The new regulations prohibit the taking and possessing of 26 salamander species, 13 frog and toad species, 6 lizard species, 23 snake species and 12 turtle species.



Streamside salamander

Jefferson salamander

Spotted salamander

Marbled salamander

Small-mouthed salamander

Green salamander

Eastern hellbender

Cave salamander

West Virginia spring salamander

Four-toed salamander

Common mudpuppy

Red-spotted newt (eastern newt)

Red-backed salamander

White-spotted slimy salamander

Northern ravine salamander

Northern slimy salamander

Valley and ridge salamander

Cumberland plateau salamander

Cheat Mountain salamander

Yellow-spotted woodland salamander

Cow Knob salamander

Southern ravine salamander

Shenandoah Mountain salamander

Wehrle’s salamander

Midland mud salamander

Northern red salamander

Frogs and Toads

Blanchard’s cricket frog

Eastern cricket frog

American toad

Fowler’s toad

Cope’s gray treefrog

Gray treefrog

Pickerel frog

Northern leopard frog

Wood frog

Mountain chorus frog

Spring peeper

Upland chorus frog

Eastern spadefoot


Eastern six-lined racerunner

Northern coal skink

Common five-lined skink

Broad-headed skink

Eastern fence lizard

Little brown skink



Eastern copperhead

Eastern wormsnake

Northern black racer

Timber rattlesnake

Northern ring-necked snake

Eastern hog-nosed snake

Eastern kingsnake

Eastern black kingsnake

Eastern milksnake

Common watersnake

Northern rough greensnake

Smooth greensnake

Eastern ratsnake

Red cornsnake

Gray ratsnake

Northern pinesnake

Queen snake

Dekay’s brownsnake

Red-bellied snake

Common ribbonsnake

Eastern gartersnake

Eastern smooth earthsnake

Mountain earthsnake



Midland smooth softshell

Eastern painted turtle

Midland painted turtle

Spotted turtle

Wood turtle

Northern map turtle

Ouachita map turtle

Eastern river cooter

Northern red-bellied cooter

Eastern musk turtle

Woodland (eastern) box turtle

Red-eared slider

Exceptions to New Reptile and Amphibian Regulation

While the new regulations make it unlawful to take or possess native reptiles and amphibians, there are exceptions for individuals who have written permission from the WVDNR Wildlife Resources Chief. Individuals may also legally take and possess bullfrogs, green frogs, snapping turtles and eastern spiny softshell turtles.

“We know that these turtles and frogs are commonly collected for consumption, so we wanted to make sure there was an exception that allowed folks to still take them and eat them,” Oxenrider said.

Authorization to Possess Lawfully Obtained Reptiles or Amphibians

The new regulations also allow for individuals who came into possession of a prohibited native reptile or amphibian before March 23, 2021 to obtain authorization from the WVDNR to lawfully maintain possession of the animal for the rest of its life. 

Those who wish to request an authorization letter should contact their local WVDNR district office or complete an online application, available at WVdnr.gov. Authorization requests must be submitted no later than March 31, 2022. ο

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