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Zebra-tailed lizard perched atop a small rock

See some of Utah's native reptiles and amphibians at unique DWR event

Zebra-tailed lizard perched atop a small rock

Zebra-tailed lizard

Moab — Summer is a great time to learn about wildlife species that have adapted to hot environments. Reptiles and amphibians are remarkable, often misunderstood creatures that thrive throughout Utah. If you want to learn more about these highly specialized species and see them up close, come to a unique Utah Division of Wildlife Resources event being held on Friday, Aug. 19.

Reptiles and amphibians have been around for hundreds of millions of years, evolving to live in extreme environments ranging from ponds to deserts. Reptiles and amphibians can be lumped together as "herptiles," but they are distinctly different wildlife groups.

Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates with scaly skin that rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature. Utah is home to many native reptiles, including 31 snake species, 24 lizard species and five species of turtles and tortoises.

Amphibians have smooth skin that is permeable to water and oxygen, making them adapted to semi-aquatic environments. There are 15 species of amphibians native to Utah, including frogs, toads and salamanders.

"These incredible animals are often underappreciated," DWR Southeastern Outreach Manager Aaron Bott said. "But their diversity and natural histories are amazing. From the wetlands to the high deserts, they play important roles in the ecosystem. We are very excited to share our knowledge and enthusiasm for snakes, lizards, frogs and other species at this event."

Event details

This free event will be held on Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Scott and Norma Matheson Wetlands Preserve at 934 Kane Creek Blvd. in Moab. The event will go until sundown.

Biologists will be available to show attendees live reptiles and amphibians found in Utah. They will also provide information and answer questions about the various species' natural history, behavior and biology.

“This event will be a great way to have some family fun and deepen your appreciation for Utah's diverse wildlife species,” Bott said.

Participants are encouraged to bring water, bug spray and camping chairs to the event. Evening temperatures in Moab this time of year can fluctuate so be sure to dress appropriately and to bring layers.

While the event is free, attendance will be limited to 30 people, so participants need to register in advance on Eventbrite. More details regarding the specific meeting location will be provided upon registration. For more information about the event, call Bott at 435-609-9589.

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