A Few More Sightings From the Wild

June 14, 2013 | Greg Dodge

It’s been a while since I’ve come upon an adult Red Swamp Crawfish hiking across the path in Explore the Wild. I’d seen a bunch of the younger and smaller crawfish caught and used in Wetlands Teaching Programs, but hadn’t seen adults out and about for some time. The heavy rains of the past week brought them out of the water and on to the “road.”

This Red Swamp Crawfish rears back and challenges passersby on the path in Explore the Wild.

Last week I posted about a mourning dove building a nest in a willow tree in the Wetlands. The nest is complete and the bird is apparently sitting on eggs. I have one concern, the nest is directly over the water. Dove nests are typically rather flimsy affairs, any nestling that happens to fall out of the nest will have a tough time making it to shore.

This mourning dove seems to be sitting on eggs.

And finally, I noticed a young Garter Snake in the grass alongside the path.

This young Garter Snake was just off the path in Explore the Wild.

Garter snakes have been seen at all times of the year here at the Museum. Although I’ve seen a fair share of them on the ground, I’ve most often see them dangling from the talons of a Red-shouldered Hawk. Be careful little garter!

When disturbed they will often flatten out their body and head which creates a more intimidating profile, even coiling up and striking at a curious onlooker.

The broad head of a venomous snake is the illusion created by the flattened head of this adult garter.

Taking a defensive stance, this garter is ready to strike. The snake is nonvenomous but intimidating.

Garter Snakes are common in our area, even more so in the mountains to our west. They are more cold tolerant than many of the other local snakes, which helps explain why they’re active year round.

Keep your eyes peeled, you never know what might pop up here at the Museum!

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