Sunday, May 13, 2007

Rogersville City School

While traveling back home on Friday, eighth graders from Rogersville City School visited the Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest and saw plenty of wildlife. The group had the boardwalk to themselves as public school students across South Carolina continue to take the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT).

The Rogersville students saw several species of snakes, including the juvenile Red-bellied Water Snake (Nerodia erythrogaster) shown in the image. The species name is derived from the Greek words erythros (red) and gaster (belly). This species eats fish and amphibians.

Can you identify the plant next to where the young snake is resting? Deer have no problem eating it and snakes can often be found sunning themselves in the middle of it. You would likely be miserable for days if you were to be that intimate with this plant. It is poison ivy (Rhus radicans). The oil in the plant is what irritates human skin and it can remain potent for up to a year on clothes and equipment. Washing areas of exposed skin with warm, soapy water and washing all clothing after returning from areas with poison ivy is the best way to prevent any unpleasant reactions.

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