The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking people to help spot reptiles and amphibians in Michigan by reporting sightings of turtles, frogs, toads, snakes, salamanders and lizards.

The DNR's request is part of the Herp Atlas Project. The Herp Atlas Project is the first statewide inventory of reptiles and amphibians ever conducted in Michigan. Its purpose is to document the distribution of Michigan’s reptiles and amphibians, collectively known as herpetofauna or “herps.”

“We need Michigan’s citizen scientists to send us information about the reptiles and amphibians they see,” said Herp Atlas Project coordinator Lori Sargent. “We need information on all species, no matter how common or rare they are.”

Although local surveys have been performed in several areas, the Herp Atlas is one of just a few to be conducted over multiple years. Observations of all herp species will continue to be collected, and data collected will be mapped to evaluate species’ distribution over the entire state.

“With continued effort, we can document changes in herp populations,” added Sargent. “The atlas will also serve as a baseline for looking at distribution changes.”

Citizen scientists can enter their sightings online. There is also a mobile app available for download from the website.

Observations must be verified by a knowledgeable source or by submission of a photo or recording. Animals should NOT be killed for the purpose of identification.