The Complete List of Every Official US State Reptile (With Pictures!)

Written by Deniz Martinez
Published: February 12, 2024
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Only about half of the states in the United States have named an official state reptile. However, two of these states have two each, and one has three! Read on for the complete list of state reptile symbols, including photos and facts about each. Can you guess which reptile is the most popular pick?

Alabama: Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis)

Alabama Red-Bellied Cooter Turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis)

The Alabama red-bellied turtle is endemic to the state’s Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.

©Alabama_red-bellied_turtle_US_FWS.jpg: Josh Roswell/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. TCO / public domain - License

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Alabama named the Alabama red-bellied turtle its official state reptile in 1990. The IUCN currently lists it as an endangered species.

Arizona: Arizona Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi willardi)

Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake, Crotalus willardi

The Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake is a venomous pit viper species native to the sky islands of the Southwest U.S. and Mexico.

©Matt Jeppson/Shutterstock.com

Arizona named the Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake its official state reptile in 1986.

California: Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

Desert tortoises escape extreme desert temperatures by digging subterranean burrows.

©John Andrus/Shutterstock.com

California named the desert tortoise its official state reptile in 1972. The IUCN currently lists it as a critically endangered species.

California: Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

Leatherback Sea Turtle laying eggs after returning to the ocean

The leatherback is the world’s largest living turtle species.

©irin717/iStock via Getty Images

California also named the leatherback sea turtle its official state marine reptile in 2012.

Colorado: Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta belli)

The western painted turtle is the largest painted turtle subspecies.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

Colorado named the western painted turtle its official state reptile in 2008.

Florida: American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

american alligator mother with 9 babies riding on her back in the canal

South Florida is the only place where both native alligators and crocodiles co-exist in the wild.

©Marc Pletcher/Shutterstock.com

Florida named the American alligator its official state reptile in 1987.

Florida: Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)

Caretta caretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtle) at Océanopolis, Brest, France.

The loggerhead is the largest living hard-shelled turtle and the second-largest living turtle overall after its cousin, the leatherback.

©Strobilomyces, CC BY-SA 3.0 - License

Florida also named the loggerhead sea turtle its official state saltwater reptile in 2008.

Florida: Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

The gopher

tortoise

is native to the Southeastern United States.

©Kristian Bell/Shutterstock.com

Florida also named the gopher tortoise its official state tortoise in 2008. The IUCN currently lists it as a vulnerable species.

Georgia: Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) walking in the road.

The gopher tortoise is a keystone species whose burrows provide shelter for hundreds of other species in Southeastern U.S. longleaf ecosystems.

©Kristian Bell/Shutterstock.com

Georgia named the gopher tortoise its official state reptile in 1989.

Illinois: Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

The painted turtle is named for the vibrant red, orange, and yellow colors on its skin and shell.

©KARI K/Shutterstock.com

Illinois named the painted turtle its official state reptile in 2005.

Kansas: Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata)

The ornate

box turtle

is also known as the western box turtle.

©Matt Jeppson/Shutterstock.com

Kansas named the ornate box turtle its official state reptile in 1986.

Louisiana: American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

american alligator mother with 9 babies riding on her back in the canal

Mother American alligators protect their young for up to their first year of life.

©Marc Pletcher/Shutterstock.com

Louisiana named the American alligator its official state reptile in 1983.

Maryland: Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

diamondback terrapin

Diamondback terrapins inhabit brackish coastal tidal marshes.

©Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com

Maryland named the diamondback terrapin its official state reptile in 1994.

Massachusetts: Garter Snake (Thamnophis spp.)

Garter snakes are small and slender with yellow and black stripes along its body. They are found in North America and commonly seen near rivers, lakes, and ponds.

Garter snakes are found across North and Central America.

©iStock.com/rkhalil

Massachusetts named the garter snake its official state reptile in 2006. The state has two native species in this genus: the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) and the ribbon snake
(Thamnophis sauritus).

Michigan: Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

The painted turtle is a member of the pond turtle family and has webbed feet for swimming.

©KARI K/Shutterstock.com

Michigan named the painted turtle its official state reptile in 1995.

Minnesota: Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)

Blanding’s turtle is named after American naturalist Dr. William Blanding (1773 – 1857).

©Ryan M. Bolton/Shutterstock.com

Minnesota proposed the Blanding’s turtle as its official state reptile in both 1998 and 1999; however, it has yet to be made official. The IUCN currently lists it as an endangered species.

Mississippi: American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

american alligator mother with 9 babies riding on her back in the canal

American alligators range across the Southeastern U.S. into the northeastern corner of Mexico.

©Marc Pletcher/Shutterstock.com

Mississippi named the American alligator its official state reptile in 2005.

Missouri: Three-Toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis)

Three-toed Box Turtle (terrapene carolina triunguis)

The three-toed box turtle is native to the South Central United States.

©IrinaK/Shutterstock.com

Missouri named the three-toed box turtle its official state reptile in 2007.

Nevada: Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

Desert tortoises spend about 95% of their lives in their burrows.

©John Andrus/Shutterstock.com

Nevada named the desert tortoise its official state reptile in 1989. The IUCN currently lists it as a critically endangered species.

New Jersey: Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii)

Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii)

The bog turtle is endemic to the Eastern U.S. and is North America’s smallest native turtle.

©Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com

New Jersey named the bog turtle its official state reptile in 2018. The IUCN currently lists it as a critically endangered species.

New Mexico: New Mexico Whiptail Lizard (Cnemidophorus neomexicanus)

The New Mexico whiptail lizard (Cnemidophorus neomexicanus)

The New Mexico whiptail lizard has an unusual reproductive strategy, relying on interspecific hybridization and parthenogenesis, as all breeding adults of the species are female.

©Elliotte Rusty Harold/Shutterstock.com

New Mexico named the New Mexico whiptail lizard its official state reptile in 2003.

New York: Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

A Closeup of a Large Snapping Turtle (Chelydra Serpentina)

The common snapping turtle is the most widespread snapping turtle species.

©Joseph M. Arseneau/Shutterstock.com

New York named the common snapping turtle its official state reptile in 2006.

North Carolina: Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

As its common name suggests, the eastern box turtle is a subspecies of the common box turtle found in the eastern half of the United States.

©Breck P. Kent/Shutterstock.com

North Carolina named the eastern box turtle its official state reptile in 1979.

Ohio: Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor)

northern black racer

The northern black racer is a subspecies of the North American racer

.

©Breck P. Kent/Shutterstock.com

Ohio named the northern black racer its official state reptile in 1995.

Oklahoma: Common Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)

The collared lizard is named for the black banding around the neck and shoulders.

©iStock.com/SteveByland

Oklahoma named the common collared lizard its official state reptile in 1969. It was the first state to name an official state reptile.

South Carolina: Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)

Caretta caretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtle) at Océanopolis, Brest, France.

The loggerhead is the most widely distributed sea turtle species, found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea.

©Strobilomyces, CC BY-SA 3.0 - License

South Carolina named the loggerhead sea turtle its official state reptile in 1988.

Tennessee: Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

Eastern box turtles have variable coloration on both their skin and shells, with red, orange, yellow, brown, and black patterns.

©Breck P. Kent/Shutterstock.com

Tennessee named the eastern box turtle its official state reptile in 1995.

Texas: Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum)

Animal Facts: Horned Lizards

The Texas horned lizard ranges across the South Central U.S. and northeastern Mexico, making it the most widely distributed horned lizard species.

©Matt Jeppson/Shutterstock.com

Texas named the Texas horned lizard its official state reptile in 1993.

Texas: Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles

The Kemp’s ridley is the world’s most endangered sea turtle species.

©JB Manning/Shutterstock.com

Texas also named the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle its official state sea turtle in 2013. The IUCN currently lists it as a critically endangered species.

Utah: Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum)

Lizard Gila Monster( Heloderma suspectum)

The Gila monster is the only venomous lizard native to the United States.

©Vaclav Sebek/Shutterstock.com

Utah named the Gila monster its official state reptile in 2019.

Vermont: Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

The painted turtle is the most popular pick on this list!

©KARI K/Shutterstock.com

Vermont named the painted turtle its official state reptile in 1994.

Virginia: Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)

Eastern Garter Snake with babies (Thamnophis sirtalis s.), NJ

Eastern garter snakes are ovoviviparous, meaning they give birth to live young.

©Breck P. Kent/Shutterstock.com

Virginia named the eastern garter snake its official state snake in 2016.

West Virginia: Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

The timber rattlesnake is one of only two venomous snake species native to West Virginia, the other being the northern copperhead (

Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen

).

©Mark_Kostich/Shutterstock.com

West Virginia named the timber rattlesnake its official state reptile in 2008.

Wyoming: Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma spp.)

Greater Short-horned Lizard, Phrynosoma hernandesi

Horned lizards are also known as “horned toads” due to their superficial similarity to toads; however, toads are amphibians.

©Nathan A Shepard/Shutterstock.com

Wyoming named the horned lizard its official state reptile in 1993. While a specific species was not named in the original legislation, the only regularly occurring species in the state is the greater short-horned lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi). 

Summary of “The Complete List of Every Official US State Reptile (With Pictures!)”

StateReptileYearNotes
AlabamaAlabama Red-Bellied Turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis)1990
ArizonaArizona Ridge-Nosed Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi willardi)1986
CaliforniaDesert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)1972
CaliforniaLeatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)2012state marine reptile
ColoradoWestern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta belli)2008
FloridaAmerican Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)1987
FloridaLoggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)2008state saltwater reptile
FloridaGopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)2008state tortoise
GeorgiaGopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)1989
IllinoisPainted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)2005
KansasOrnate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata)1986
LouisianaAmerican Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)1983
MarylandDiamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)1994
MassachusettsGarter Snake (Thamnophis spp.)2006common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) & ribbon snake
(Thamnophis sauritus)
MichiganPainted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)1995
Eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)proposed in 1998 & 1999
MississippiAmerican Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)2005
MissouriThree-Toed Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis)2007
NevadaDesert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)1989
New JerseyBog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii)2018
New MexicoNew Mexico Whiptail Lizard (Cnemidophorus neomexicanus)2003
New YorkCommon Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)2006
North CarolinaEastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)1979
OhioNorthern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor)1995
OklahomaCommon Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)1969
South CarolinaLoggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)1988
TennesseeEastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)1995
TexasTexas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum)1993
TexasKemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)2013state sea turtle
UtahGila Monster (Heloderma suspectum)2019
VermontPainted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)1994
VirginiaEastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis)2016
West VirginiaTimber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)2008
WyomingHorned Lizard (Phrynosoma spp.)1993greater short-horned lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi)
SOURCES: Herpedia, IUCN, state government websites

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Deniz Martinez is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on biogeography, ornithology, and mammalogy. Deniz has been researching, teaching, and writing about animals for over 10 years and holds both an MS degree from American Public University earned in 2016 and an MA degree from Lindenwood University earned in 2022. A resident of Pennsylvania, Deniz also runs Art History Animalia, a website and associated social media dedicated to investigating intersections of natural history with art & visual culture history via exploring animal iconography.

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