“Snake Road” In Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest To Close Week Of March 15

March 16, 2020

Snake Road" in Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest will close this week for the annual migration of reptiles and amphibians to their spring habitats from the limestone bluffs in which they wintered.

Ryan Somma - Broadhead Skink

Ryan Somma/Wikipedia

Broadhead Skink (Eumeces laticeps) is one of many herp species found in or near the Shawnee National Forest.

LaRue Road and Forest Service Road No. 345 also known as "Snake Road" will be closed to vehicle traffic for about two months to allow these herps, some that are listed as threatened and endangered in the state and the country, to safely cross the road.

9 Days On Shawnee National Forest's Snake Road Of Illinois

The road will remain open to people on foot, so if you are near the area, it would be an opportune time to see a lot of reptiles and amphibians in a single location, and especially on the two mile road.

The state is home to 35 snake species, including water moccasins, southern copperhead, blue racer, northern scarlet snake, northern and prairie ring necked snake, and southern black racers, just to name a few. 

The road closure also is ideal for those who love to watch birds, see native plants and observe insects as well. For more information on Snake Road and the migration, visit the Shawnee National Park website. 

Common names of some of the species you might encounter on or near Snake Road include:

  • Spiny Softshell 
  • Northern Red-Bellied Snake 
  • Spotted Salamander 
  • Chorus Frog
  • Slimy Salamander 
  • Broadheaded Skink 
  • Eastern Hognose Snake 
  • Red Milk Snake
  • Midland Water Snake 
  • Western Ribbon Snake 
  • Eastern Rough Green Snake 
  • Eastern Garter Snake
  • Western Lesser Siren 
  • Marbled Salamander 
  • Small-Mouthed Salamander 
  • Midwest Worm Snake
  • Central Newt 
  • Zigzag salamander 
  • Long-Tailed Salamander
  • Black Rat Snake
  • Cave Salamander 
  • American Toad 
  • Fowler's Toad
  • Copperhead
  • Blanchard's Cricket Frog 
  • Northern Spring Peeper 
  • Eastern Grey Treefrog 
  • Black Racer
  • Bullfrog 
  • Green Frog 
  • Southern Leopard Frog 
  • Midland Brown Snake
  • Common Snapping Turtle 
  • Stinkpot Turtle 
  • Eastern Box Turtle 
  • Ringneck Snake
  • Eastern Painted Turtle 
  • Red-Eared Turtle 
  • Northern Fence Lizard
  •  King Snake
  • Ground Skink 
  • Western Cotton Mouth 
  • Five-Lined Skink
  • Western Earth Snake 
  • Western Mud Snake 
  • Diamond-Backed Water Snake

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