Wildlife Wednesday: Catching Blue Crabs in Myrtle Beach

Sometimes you catch crabs on vacation. Sometimes the crabs catch you.

Last month we went on vacation to Myrtle Beach and stayed at a resort right by the ocean. I grew up in a town not far from MB, but regrettably did not take advantage of my proximity to the beach as often as I should have. The resort is located near a marsh inlet which proved to be an excellent source of wildlife! I will write more about the diverse ecosystem in another post, but for now, I want to talk about Crabs!

When we first got to the inlet, I noticed several large Blue Crabs in the shallow water so in I went. I was not really prepared for this endeavor so I was forced to use my hands. Finally with the aid of some well placed sand, I was able to grab the crab by the back of it’s shell and bring it out of the water.

He was not too happy. My sister was filming and had stopped recording when I spotted another crab with only one pincer. I figured it would be an easy catch, and while holding the first crab, nabbed the second by it’s lone claw. Here was my mistake. I took my eyes off of the first crab, and he knew it. Another family had come over  to see what was going on and witnessed what happened next.

My sister began recording again briefly as I tried to figure out how to get the crab to release me. It was not as simple as I had hoped and every time someone moved (like when the woman came closer to take a picture), he would clamp down harder. One thing I learned on vacation…crabs are ornery!!

He held onto my finger for probably 10 or 15 minutes, periodically applying added pressure while I laid in the shallow water contemplating my life decisions. I eventually decided that I wasn’t going to go out like that, took a deep breath and jerked my hand out of the water. The crab gave one last parting pinch and then let go, falling back into the water and scuttled away, I’m sure cursing the silly human who dared challenge his domain.

Once I was finally freed, we called it a day and headed back to our room so that I could lick my wounds (figuratively of course). The next day my mom and sisters brought a net so that we could safely continue exploring. As I said, we found many creatures, but for this post, we will focus on the crabs. Almost immediately upon returning to the inlet, we hauled in a nice sized crustacean and the twins were amazed!

After catching several larger crabs, we began noticing many juvenile crabs scurrying about. There were crabs of all sizes, but even the smaller ones were mean and would grab anything that entered the pinch zone.

Eventually we found some that were small enough to pose no threat so the kids got to be more involved. It was very interesting to see how unique each crab was. They all seemed to be great at posing for pictures.

Once the kids got up the courage to hold the crabs, they were hooked!

Literally every crab we saw they wanted to catch and hold. I had to warn them that some of the smaller ones could still pinch. I am so proud of my brave explorers!

We soon discovered that we needed to be extra cautious when wading through the shallow waters of the inlet. As soon as Evan released one of the baby crabs, it buried itself under the sand and was nearly invisible. Next time I’m thinking water shoes are a must!

These animals are beautiful and amazing, but as I explained to the kids, they are wild animals and are not meant to be kept as pets. As with most of our adventures, we observe and release the critters we catch; that way they will be around for other kids to enjoy for years to come.

Be sure to check out our next post to see what other incredible creatures we discovered, and subscribe to the lilburghers Youtube channel for all of our latest adventures.

Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!

Wildlife Wednesday: Catching a Black Racer

Earlier this summer we had an unexpected visitor in our backyard. I walked by the back door one morning and glanced out at the frog pond. I noticed a strange shadow in the corner beside the pond and almost dismissed it, until it moved. That was when I realized that the shadow was actually a decent sized snake! The Black Racer blended perfectly into the silhouette of trees cast by the morning sun.

This was my first time actually getting up close with a black racer, I’ve only ever seen them slithering off a trail. They are extremely quick and elusive so of course I had to try and catch it.

My adrenaline was pumping because I was so excited to catch a new species of snake so it took me longer than usual to grab it. After getting bitten, I picked it up and showed it to the kids before we relocated it into the woods behind our house.

Please, if you see a snake and aren’t sure what type it is, just leave it alone if possible. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. Until next time, happy herping ya’ll!

Wildlife Wednesday: The Metamorphosis of a Frog

If you have ever raised tadpoles and observed their incredible metamorphosis, then you know just how rewarding it can be. Here is a look at some of the different stages of life from our frog pond this summer.

Our green frogs began to develop quickly and before long, there were many tadpoles with 2 legs and some with 4.

The Wood frogs began to grow legs and climb onto the makeshift lily pads. I had to keep an eye on them and make sure I removed them from the pond once they matured because the are not aquatic and could drown if they were unable to climb out.

We had a mix of green frog, wood frog, and spring peeper tadpoles. The wood frog and spring peeper tadpoles looked very similar so it was always a surprise to see which developed. Spring Peepers are so cool!

The green frog’s transformation seemed more dramatic because of their sheer size. They have very long tails as tadpoles, and once they develop legs, the tail is still as long as the frog’s body.

I didn’t have to worry about the kids getting bored, Evan and Ari would sit and watch them for hours. If I ever lost track of Evan throughout the course of the day, all I had to do was peek out on the back patio. That boy loves frogs as much as I do!

As the frogs grew, they spent more and more time out of the water. Every day when we walked outside, we were greeted by the excited splashes as they dashed for safety under the weeds. Eventually they got used to our comings and goings and we were able to better observe them.

Before long we had full fledged frogs hopping about. When it rained they would jump out in search of a new home. The newts were the first to go. It was bittersweet but I never intended on making them stay in a sandbox. That is why I never covered it, the whole idea is to make a habitat that critters want to live in. Unfortunately, until I can build a legitimate pond with a pump system, I can’t expect them to stick around.

By the end of summer, the pond was overrun by frogs. I actually noticed a considerable decrease in bugs on our patio, which was awesome. The frogs are all gone now, but the memories and education they provided will remain.

Have you ever kept tadpoles? If so, please share your experience with us in the comments! Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!

Wildlife Wednesday: National Aviary

We apologize for the hiatus, the lilburghers and dad have been adjusting to a new schedule and haven’t been able to do much exploring lately. Sometimes there are ways to explore and discover critters without actually going out in the wild. One of our favorite ways to observe the wonders of nature is to visit the National Aviary! Last week I took the twincesses for an impromptu trip while we waited to pick mommy up from work. Adorableness ensued.

Upon arrival, we were informed that they would be bringing a baby flamingo out to the rose garden in just a few minutes. I had not even heard about the flamingo chicks so this was an amazing surprise! The little flamingo was so adorably awkward as he ran right past us. It was incredible to watch the bond between the chick and it’s caretaker. He followed the man everywhere he went and constantly made little squawking noises to make sure his “parent” knew where he was. If you would like to see the baby flamingos, be sure to visit the National Aviary daily at 10:30am and 2:00pm for their free “Flamingo chick talk”. You can also pay to make a reservation and get a more personal, hands-on experience.

As we walked back inside, I had this strange sense that we were being watched. As we rounded the corner into the Main Hall, we were immediately confronted by an enormous raptor! The Eurasian Eagle Owl is said to be the largest owl species in the world, and I can see why. His intense stare, fearsome talons, and impressive 6 and a half foot wingspan give him the rule of the roost.

Our next stop turned out to be the girls’ favorite exhibit; the penguins!

The twins could not hold back their excitement, and one penguin in particular, named Tribby,  seemed to take a liking to the them.

Ava and Isla ran back and forth, giggling and screaming, trying to hug and kiss the amazing aquatic birds as they danced through the water. My heart swelled watching the joy overflow from their lil bodies. You can’t help but smile watching them, it is contagious.

Inside is a statue of a penguin, which is a habitual photo op for all of our kids. We spent about 15 minutes with the girls running up to it, hugging it and yelling “cheese”, then running away before I could take a picture. This whole spectacle proved quite amusing to our fellow aviary patrons, but I finally got one.

Next up was the Wetlands, where we watched the baby flamingo’s future flock frolicking (say that five times fast!) in the shallows, some sleepy pelicans, and a Roseate spoonbill nesting high up in the trees. As we traveled through the Wetlands, Isla noticed that we had picked up a tail…Joanie, the resident Wattled Curassow decided to follow us around. She was nice enough to stop and pose for us.

As we bid farewell to Joanie, the grasslands awaited with it’s exciting immersive atmosphere. This may be the smallest area of the aviary, but it is one of my favorites. I’ve found it to be one of the best rooms to photograph the birds, but you have to stay alert because these little aviators love to buzz your tower. One of my favorite birds here is the absolutely stunning Gouldian Finch!

Our final stop was the rainforest. One of the most impressive birds in this exhibit has to be the Malayan Great Argus. If you are lucky enough to witness it’s amazing display, you will understand why. We were not that lucky on this trip but we did get to see the big kids’ favorite bird. The Rhinoceros Hornbill has been a go-to for Ari and Ev since they were little. The male often “talks” to them, and he had a lot to say on this day.

We love getting out to the National Aviary whenever we can. I recommend everyone take a break from their day sometime and check out this peaceful little oasis nestled in the heart of our great city.

If you have been to the National Aviary and have a fun experience to share or suggestions for our next trip, please leave us a comment. Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!

Wildlife Wednesday: Attack of the Mayflys!!!

The kids and I were coming home on a particularly balmy Friday evening last week and drove into what looked like a scene from a horror movie. As we crossed the bridge into town, we noticed a dense fog ahead. As we got closer, the fog seemed to dance…it was alive and all of a sudden it engulfed our van. What appeared to be a supernatural weather event, was in fact an enormous Mayfly swarm!

 

Mayflys are harmless winged insects which actually spend the majority of their lives on the bottom of lakes and rivers feeding on algae. Then, as if on a timer, they grow wings, emerge, and swarm together. In a matter of a few days they will molt (shed their skin), mate, then lay eggs and die. We were lucky enough to stumble across this incredible display of nature, so of course we had to stop and check it out!

Some of my local folks may have actually been down at riverfront park enjoying movie night, so you probably experienced this first hand. We parked behind a vehicle which was directly underneath a street light and was absolutely covered in mayflys! They were definitely attracted to light.  I was in awe at the sheer number of insects. The sound of thousands of wings was incredible. There was also a notable “crunch” as cars ran them over.

 

Evan and I decided to get a closer look and wandered underneath some of the lights. We were immediately covered in mayflys. It is definitely not a feeling for the squeamish. I fought back a slight panic as they began flying down my shirt and up my shorts. I have heard that if you are lucky, you may actually have one land on you and molt, leaving behind a perfect shadow of its former self.

It’s kind of beautiful and sad if you think about it. These creatures, as well as many other animals, basically live for one purpose, reproduction. It reminds me of the Salmon run. Animals so driven by a primal instinct to perpetuate their species, knowing that they may never even reach their goal, but pushing forward nonetheless.

Mayfly swarms, or hatches as they are often called, are a good sign; they are an indicator that despite what I may think, our river is actually pretty clean and the eco system is healthy. I feel honored to have witnessed such a miracle of nature, thankful that I was able to share such wonder with the kids, and hopeful that the mayflys will be around to invade our shores for years to come.

Until next time, happy herping ya’ll!

 

Wildlife Wednesday: Clear Creek revisited

After our last visit to Clear Creek State Park, we brought some tadpoles home so the kids could observe their incredible transformation into frogs. My plan is to eventually build a permanent wildlife pond in our backyard so that we can have a nice suitable environment for critters, year round. For now, our tadpoles have set up residence in the kids’ turtle sandbox. It’s not perfect but they seem to like it.

After a hot week with no rain, the water in the frog pond was getting dangerously low for our pollywogs so a return trip for fresh water was in order. Now you may be asking, why not just fill it with the garden hose? Well, one does not simply fill a frog pond with just any H2O. The water we drink and the stuff that keeps amphibians alive are a bit different. The chlorine and chloramine that makes water safe for us to drink would be a death sentence to a frog or salamander. They do make water conditioning products which can treat tap water to make it safe for animals, or you can use distilled water; but if we’re being honest, we really just wanted to get a bit more exploring in.

When we arrived at the park, the kids were begging to go to the swimming area. There is a creek fed pond that has a beach section, so we stopped to take a look around. On the way down to the water, there is an educational sign about Northern Water Snakes which actually came in handy.

Before the kids waded into the frigid water, we took some time to walk around the perimeter of the pond. There were children across the pond in the midst of their own creature quest, and I couldn’t help but smile. It is always great seeing the next generation taking an interest in nature. As I admired their spirited search, I had almost forgotten about our own until Evan yelled “SNAAAAKE!!!”. I looked down at the water to see a gorgeous water snake searching for crayfish among the rocks. I waded in and grabbed its tail just as the head dove under a large rock. It squirmed and tried to wedge itself further under the rock. Finally, so as not to injure the reptile, I lifted the rather heavy mini-boulder off of the serpent and it came writhing free. I brought it onto land and the kids from across the pond spotted us and came dashing over.

As I held the snake, the kids took turns petting it and asking questions. One little girl congratulated me on catching it. I told them about the sign and pointed out how easily they can be mistaken for other snakes. This one specifically was a brilliant copper and brownish pattern, which I could definitely see being confused for a copperhead. They then showed me some of the creatures they had discovered. After awhile I decided it was time to release the snake back to search its dinner.

When we got to the other side of the pond, we noticed the water was teeming with great big tadpoles! They were much larger and more elusive than the tadpoles that we caught on our last visit.

As we dragged our nets along the weedy bank, we came up with dozens of salamander larvae in different stages of life. I have always had a love for salamanders, being one of the few species of amphibian that I did not come across very often growing up. Now, to see them so abundantly is amazing!

Swimming along with the tadpoles were several Eastern Newts, another species I never thought I would see in such prolific numbers. One animal I rarely had trouble finding were crayfish, or craw-dads as we called them. These little guys are so much fun to watch!

Once we had exhausted our search area and caught a sufficient number of specimens, the kids finally got to play at the beach while I took our critters to the van. Once those crazy kids had adequately frozen themselves, we decided to head over to the frog pond to get water before going home. After filling several containers, I noticed a cute little wood frog hopping through the grass around the pond. These frogs are pretty amazing! They can survive in some pretty harsh environments and even freeze over the winter. These particular frogs are not actually aquatic, they live mainly in leaf litter in the forest, but do congregate near water during mating season.

My little explorers were so pleased with our adventure, they really did not want to leave! Fortunately, we brought a little bit of the great outdoors home with us so they can explore any time. We even caught something I have never seen before, which is in the beginning of the video below. Hit up our comments section if you know what it is!

Keep checking in for updates on the happenings around our frog pond, there’s sure to be some exciting developments! Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!!

Wildlife Wednesday: Barking Slopes

(*articles may contain affiliate links*) Today’s Wildlife Wednesday is taking a little different spin – it’s brought to you by Becky instead of Greg! I’ll be honest, I really don’t love bugs and creatures, but when my work went to volunteer at Barking Slopes (part of the Allegheny Land Trust), I found something I truly enjoyed.

Where is Barking Slopes?

Barking Slopes is located at 37 Barking Road, New Kensington, PA. It is near the Oakmont Country Club and Lock & Dam Number 3. It’s right across the river from where the town my mom went to high school in and a few miles from our first home in Tarentum. Basically, I was volunteering in my “stomping grounds”, so maybe that made it another level of cool for me.

Know if you go: There is a parking lot on Barking Road with a porta-john. Right now, the trail is steep and a bit muddy. It’s a challenging hike, but so beautiful you won’t notice. Follow the blue arrows (like those below) and you’ll go about .75 miles into the wooded area. You can walk back on the gravel road along the railroad, too.

barking slopes trail marker

What did we do at Barking Slopes?

My work team did one of our corporate volunteer days and helped Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) clear the trail so it is more accessible. The day involved using weed whips (like this one) and clippers to trim back the trail’s overgrowth. There was a bunch of Japanese Knotweed and Stinging Nettle that made the path unrecognizable. That’s not the case anymore!

stinging nettle
This is stinging nettle. If you brush up against it, you will get little bumps that itch for about 15 minutes. Ouch!

We also carried rocks to make paths through some of the muddier areas, too. (Caitlin, our guide from ALT, had to note that if anyone did crossfit, this was a good task for them!). (wink)

Even though we were dealing with plants and rocks and trees, I really didn’t see any bugs or snakes or creepy crawlies to tell you about like Greg normally does. (Sorry if you came here for that!) But, what I did see was a lot of different birds. Caitlin noted that birdwatchers like to go there and have seen dozens of bird species.

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To learn more about Barking Slopes, check out Allegheny Land Trust‘s website. The more people that get out there, the more packed down the trail will be and the more enjoyable it will be for everyone. Let us know if you go out there and what you think!

Wildlife Wednesday: Clear Creek

On Memorial Day we decided to take the kids and join our friends for a day of fun at Clear Creek State Park. Of course the kids and I couldn’t pass up a chance to discover some cool critters, so we brought our nets and buckets along. I have to say, this was one of my favorite outings yet!

After lunch, the kids and I took our friend Tom for a walk along the creek. There had been heavy rains so the water level was pretty high and my expectations for finding many animals was rather low. We walked around a nice little “tide pool” that the rains had produced and noticed a few frogs jump in. As I was attempting to track one down, I noticed a decent size crayfish at the bottom of the pool. With a quick swish of the net we got our man. The kids were understandably a bit timid around this guy’s hefty pincers.

It was a beautiful day for exploring and all four kids got into the action! They chased little bugs in the grass and splashed their hands in the shallow water of the creek, trying to grab water striders and diving beetles. They even chased each other around, trying to capture their siblings in their nets. I love watching them play together!

When we returned to the tide pool, Evan saw a frog jump in and pointed to the spot it burrowed into the mud. I carefully dug my net around the area he indicated and hauled in a pile of mud. Deep within the murky slop was a gorgeous Green Frog.

In between catching things, Ava was a big help; as we walked she carried all of the nets for us. She was so proud of her job!

At one point I went back down the bank to grab another bucket, so as not to mix the crayfish with the frog, and as I walked through some tall grass a cute little garter snake slithered by. I can’t pass up a good garter snake sighting and the kids absolutely love them! I love my little explorers so much!

After awhile we walked across the street to a small ditch running parallel to the creek. It was full from the rain, but other than a few out of reach frogs, there was not much happening. We continued to follow the ditch until we walked through a patch of trees and the ditch opened up to what I consider, the most perfect little pond.

It was so serene and calm, but as we approached, we found that there was much more going on just below the surface!

There were thousands upon thousands of tadpoles wriggling all about! The water was alive and so crystal clear, you could see everything going on in this amphibian’s paradise! There were still jelly egg clumps where the tadpoles had hatched. I loved watching tadpoles turn into frogs as a kid, so I knew we had to bring some home with us. As we scooped up the tiny little pollywogs, something moving in the weeds caught my eye. There, crawling through the vegetation was the prettiest little Eastern Newt!

Once we had our tadpoles and Newt in hand, we called it a day and went back to spend some time with mommy before leaving. When we got them home and into a new bigger container, I noticed a few small minnow like animals with gills wriggling in the water. Turns out that these are Newt larvae; newly hatched newts! So cool!

We had a blast checking out the wildlife that Clear Creek State park had to offer and will surely be back again soon! If you are ever in the area, be sure to check it out! Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!

Wildlife Wednesday: Snakes

Snakes are some of the most misunderstood and mistreated animals in the world. I think it is safe to say that when most people are asked what animal they are afraid of, snakes are at the top of the list. This is unfortunate considering the ratio of venomous to nonvenomous snakes the average human will encounter in their life.

Snakes
Notice the round eyes on this Eastern Garter snake.

Throughout the US, there are something like 129 different species of snakes, but only 21 are venomous. Here in Pennsylvania we have 21 species, with only 3 being venomous. In this post I am going to share the most common snakes you will encounter and how to determine whether they are venomous or not. 

The Northern Water snake is often mistaken for the Cottonmouth or even Copperhead, however the Cottonmouth does not live in Pennsylvania.

For the venomous side of things, the snakes you may observe are various species of rattlesnake, the cottonmouth(water moccasin), the copperhead, and the coral snake. All except the coral snake are considered “pit vipers” which means that they have heat sensing “pits” between the eyes and nostrils on either side of their head. When determining whether a snake is dangerous or not, all pit vipers have the same characteristics. Aside from the pit(because nonvenomous species like pythons and boas also utilize heat sensing pits), look for a very thick body, large head, and oblong or cat-like eyes.

The coral snake is actually the most venomous snake in North America and follows none of the traditional rules. It is slender, no pits, and has round eyes. There a few species that try to mimic the coral snake, like the scarlet king snake. There are mnemonic devices to help sort it out: “red on black, won’t hurt jack; red on yellow, kills a fellow” is the one i learned growing up.

I have only ever come across the cottonmouth(accidentally caught one as a kid, thinking it was a water snake…oops), and the copperhead. Call me crazy, but I have always wanted to see a rattlesnake and especially a coral snake in the wild.

When it comes to your cuddly nonvenomous pest control snakes, there are quite a few that are commonly found, and it depends on where you live.

Garter snakes are a great choice for introducing kids to slithering reptiles.

Growing up in South Carolina, the most common snakes I found were corn snakes, green snakes, garter snakes, water snakes, king snakes, rat snakes, black racers and pine snakes. For a full list of SC snakes, check out this resource.

See, told you they are cuddly. 😉

Here in Pennsylvania, you may readily spot the Eastern garter snake, Northern water snake, Eastern rat snake, Northern ring-necked snake, Northern red-bellied snake, Eastern milksnake, Northern brown snake, and the Northern black racer. There are several other species which are less common and are either endangered or species of special concern. I have only had the pleasure of encountering the garter and water snakes but am looking forward to finding some of the others. For a full list of Pennsylvania snakes, with pictures and useful information, check out the PA Herps page.

Hopefully this will help you to determine whether the snake in your backyard is worth fussing over. If they look like the ones I have pictured or don’t meet any of the venomous guidelines, please let it be, they are there to help!

Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!

 

Wildlife Wednesday: Crooked Creek

*DISCLAIMER* I was recently made aware that catching, handling, or possessing reptiles and amphibians in Pennsylvania without a fishing license is considered unlawful; therefore I will not be taking the kids on any more outings until I can purchase the required documentation. We respect the law here at ‘lil Burghers, however posts written about previous outings will still be published, as this knowledge was not yet made clear to me. I learned a valuable lesson, and since growing up in South Carolina, to my knowledge you did not need a license to catch frogs and snakes, especially for the purpose of study and release, this is all news to me.

This week’s adventure takes us to Crooked Creek State Park. We were accompanied by some friends and their kids. I had only been to this park once before and we didn’t do much exploring so I had no idea what to expect. On this particular day we found a few creatures I had never encountered before!

When we first arrived I suggested starting down at the lake by a boat launch area. We brought a few nets and bunch of buckets (thanks to our kids’ love of pretzels and cheeseballs) and started poking around a little creek.

The kids spotted several minnows and fry but all proved too quick for our small nets. It was very muddy and wet but that did not deter these brave explorers from splashing right in. Even Ava and Isla wanted to get into the action and at a few points tried to follow me into the muck (I was wearing water shoes, they were totally unprepared). Ava loved holding the net and trying to catch all the things!

As I was checking under rocks I heard a kid scream and a lot of excitement so I rushed over to see what happened. They were all pointing in the creek and yelling various “EEEEEWWWWW” “What is that thing!?!” “Kill it with fire”…ok maybe not that last one, but man just look at it, it’s pretty gnarly. Floating in the current was this wicked looking Crane Fly larvae.

After everyone’s shoes were thoroughly soaked, we decided a nice dry hike was in order. As we meandered along the trail we turned over rocks and logs and found many earthworms and slugs. I am so proud of the kids’ endurance, especially the little ones.

We stopped in a clearing and watched in awe as several Bald Eagles soared overhead. I still get chills thinking about it; ‘Merica! Amiright!?!

As we marched on, one of the little girls yelled that she found something. There, in the middle of the trail, was the biggest Millipede I have ever seen. Once she spotted one, then we all started to find them. They are so cool but I warned for them not to touch them with their hands. Millipedes cannot bite or sting, but when threatened, they will first roll into a coil, not unlike a rolie-polie. Their second line of defense is to secrete a toxin from the sides of its body that can result in a skin irritation and in more severe cases, nausea and vomiting.

The kids were growing tired of the trail so we headed back and one of our friends suggested that we check out the Environmental Learning Center. Unfortunately, we arrived to find the building closed, however we were not to be dissuaded. There was a perfectly nice garden to walk around and as I turned over a few pieces of wood this little emerald beauty scurried out.

Our friend pointed out a trail through the woods surrounding the center so we gathered the troops and got to steppin. I always love just simply being in nature, admiring all of the natural beauty around us. Too often we take it for granted. More slugs and worms were found, as well as some nice size locust. All of a sudden, the familiar screech of a very excited little girl yelling “SNAIIIIILLLLLS!”. Sure enough, there were snails EVERYWHERE! I had to watch my step so as not to crush the poor little gastropods.

As we made our way back to the cars, I smiled watching the kids running together, enjoying the wonders of nature and the company of good friends. I will admit, I was slightly disappointed that we did not discover some more impressive animals for the children to see, but that is also the beauty of nature. To quote Forrest Gump’s mama, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. Until next week, happy herping, Ya’ll!