Lizards, Frogs, and Toads
- You may keep up to 5 individuals of any species of reptile or amphibian for personal use.
- No threatened or endangered species may be kept.
- There is a ban on collecting northern diamond-backed terrapins, spotted turtles, and eastern hellbenders (even though these species are not theatened or endangered. (4VAC15-360-10).
- It is unlawful to "offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, or purchase, at any time or in any manner, any wild bird or wild animal or the carcass or any part thereof, except as specifically permitted by law." (§ 29.1-521)
The most commonly occurring lizard around homes is the common five-lined skink. There are 2 other closely related and similar appearing species, the southeastern five-lined skink and the broad-headed skink. The juveniles of these three species always have a bright blue tail. The adult males of all three species may have a reddish-orange head with rather large jaws. Adult females will usually have at least faint light colored lines from head to tail with a darker brown background. These lizards are not venomous or poisonous, they are harmless and only eat bugs. These lizards are often misidentified as salamanders since they have small, very smooth scales that make them appear slick and shiny. There is no substance to use to repel these animals directly. Spraying for insects may discourage these lizards from staying around, since insects are their main source of food.
Salamanders may be encountered around homes during rain events, or underneath landscaping objects, outdoor trashcans, outdoor pet food or water bowls, and similar outdoor objects. These animals need to stay moist so they will usually be under something or within mulch and the like. Sometimes people will mistakenly identify certain lizards as salamanders, and vice versa. Like frogs and toads, when pets encounter these animals, they may try to catch and/or eat them. There is a toxin on the skin of all amphibians, but with our native species it only makes them taste bad and may cause your pet to only produce a small amount of vomit or foam around the mouth. Such symptoms will soon pass after they have dropped the salamander and leave it alone. Otherwise, these animals are harmless, and only eat insects, grubs, and slugs.
Many frogs and toads may occur around homes and gardens. They are harmless and eat insects. Toads and tree frogs are often attracted to homes and immediate yard areas at night when there is an outdoor light that attracts insects, which in turn attracts the frogs and toads that want to eat the insects. The males of these animals will call loudly in groups throughout spring and summer; exact time of year will depend upon the species. The main purpose of these calls is to attract mates. Such calls are usually most prominent during or shortly after rain events. Much like lizards, there is no substance that can be used to repel frogs directly. Spraying for insects may discourage them from staying around, since insects are their main source of food.
When pets encounter these animals, they may try to catch and/or eat them. There is a toxin on the skin of all amphibians, but with our native species it only makes them taste bad and may cause your pet to only produce a small amount of vomit or foam around the mouth. Such symptoms will soon pass after they have dropped the frog or toad and leave it alone.
For more information on reptiles and amphibians, visit the Virginia Herpetological Society website.