Snapping Turtle Roll

As I walked on the boardwalk past the entrance to the Black Bear Exhibit I heard splashing noises and low hissing sounds beneath me. Looking over the railing I could see two snapping turtles rolling in the water below the walkway. Common in our wetland and any other water habitat in the area, common snapping turtles typically breed in the spring to early summer. I’ve seen what appears to be mating attempts once in August and again this month (September).Read more

Looking For Frogs?

For you herpetologists out there, there are still frogs to be seen here at the Museum. That’s not to say that you can’t see frogs here in any month of the year, you can. I’ve seen bullfrogs at the edge of the water while there was ice covering our wetland! They are, however, much more difficult to locate during the cold months and many species are dug into the ground or leaf liter of the forest in late fall andRead more

More Cold Weather Snake ID

In the previous post, I mentioned that some herpetological references state that venomous snakes in our area have broad, arrowhead-shaped heads and that non-venomous snakes do not. I also mentioned that some species of non-venomous snake “flatten themselves, the head included, to appear more threatening when disturbed.” Here are a handful of examples of that behavior. All are non-venomous garter snakes found at various locations here at the Museum. First, the typical head of an eastern garter snake. Now, several snakesRead more

Copperhead vs Northern Water Snake

A slightly different version of this was posted in May of 2013. I know, it’s cold outside. Temps are in the mid-20s as I write and snakes are nowhere to be seen. Most of you are probably not going to spend a whole lot of time outdoors during the next few days, so why not sit back, grab a cup of joe (or cocoa), and brush up on your snake identification skills. Besides, we start seeing water snakes in our WetlandsRead more

Basking in the Rain

It was warm for the first week of February. Spring peepers and chorus frogs were calling and yellow-bellied sliders were out basking. There was very little sun, but the turtles were out just the same, occupying nearly every log, rock, or shoreline of the Wetlands. Somewhere around 3 PM the sky opened up and rain came pouring down. Chip, the turtle pictured above, wasn’t bothered by rain. In fact, she seemed to enjoy it. After all, she’s an aquatic turtle. If you’reRead more

Rough Green

I was just about to enter Catch the Wind from Explore the Wild on the back side of the outdoor loop trail when I spotted something stretched out on the path fifty feet or so ahead of me. It was either a snake or a twig that had fallen from a nearby tree. If a snake, it was a thin one. I increased my pace. As I sped up, two mourning doves that were also in the path, thinking I wasRead more