Do you see a large rectangular sheet of plywood? That’s not trash, it’s a coverboard!


Coverboards are used by herpetologists and citizen scientists to study and survey an area for reptiles and amphibians. Large sheets of wood or metal are attractive to these critters because they create desirable environmental conditions. A metal coverboard made of corrugated tin is usually placed in an open area exposed to the sun which produces a dry and warm microhabitat that snakes and other reptiles enjoy. Coverboards made of plywood are often placed in wooded areas because they retain moisture and produce a damp and cool microhabitat that attracts amphibians, such as salamanders and toads, as well as many insects!


It can take a long time for reptiles and amphibians to find these added environmental features.  To see if our coverboard has attracted any critters, gently lift the board a few inches off the ground at a time. Don’t be surprised if a few critters quickly scurry away. The slower you lift, the more likely you are to catch a glimpse of who’s moved in. Remember to never handle animals unless you are confident in the species and their ecology. Admiring them from afar is your best bet at keeping them and you safe.