Thursday, June 11, 2009
Biking on the Military Ridge Trail west of Verona and shepherding critters across the path to safety
We took a little ride on the Military Ridge Trail yesterday afternoon. The sun was mostly blocked by clouds but occasionally broke through. Riding along the Military Ridge Trail, we found ourselves shepherding critters across the trail so they wouldn't be bisected by passing bikes.
This little guy was enjoying the warmth right in the middle of the trail (click on photo to enlarge). When we used a stick to try to prod him into motion, he attacked it so ferociously we first thought he was a juvenile rattlesnake. But he doesn't look very lethal, no fangs were visible, and I suspect he was just a garter snake putting on a defensive display. Anybody know for sure? (We did get him off the trail by snagging him around the middle with the stick and flipping him into the grass.)
This crayfish was making its way across the Military Ridge Trail back to the Sugar River on the other side. We gave him an encouraging prod now and then with a stick and stayed with him till he was out of harm's way. (I know, I could just have picked him up and moved him myself, but I suffer from an irrational fear that these guys will somehow reach around and grab me with those big pincers.) Bigger (about five inches, maybe a bit more) and darker than the ones I've seen before. After some amateur sleuthing, I'm guessing this is an invasive species, the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus_clarkii, indigenous to Louisiana. Anybody know for sure?