Although reptiles are not universally liked or appreciated, they have long fascinated people. Mere mention of the word reptile brings shudders to some, while to others it conveys visions of elegance and beauty. Reptiles belong to the class Reptilia, which includes alligators and crocodiles (crocodilians), turtles, lizards, snakes, and the tuatara, a lizard-like animal found only on several tiny islands off the coast of New Zealand. It is not a lizard, but rather the last representative of a group of reptiles that flourished about 200 million years ago.
Ohio's wealth of natural resources includes some 47 species and subspecies of reptiles. As with so many of our wild species, the demands we have placed upon the land have greatly reduced their numbers. All of us must keep in mind that being good stewards of the land requires that we take care of not just some, but all of our natural resources--even the box turtle lumbering across the highway and the harmless garter snake in the backyard.