Through the month of April, as parks across the state remain closed, Saluda Shoals is bringing their park to you with fun animal facts and videos of local wildlife. The park is also hosting a nature awareness lesson with Ranger Rachel featuring a fun nature lesson, craft activities, and cool biofacts, presented for young children on May 2, via their Facebook page.
Once parks are open again, folks can look forward to seeing all of these beautiful and interesting local wildlife in person. You may even be lucky enough to catch glimpses of them in your backyard.
For example, keep an eye out for the Eastern Bluebird!
The male Eastern Bluebird has a bright blue head and wings, while the female has a grayish head and blue wings. Bluebirds eat mostly insects like beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and caterpillars. They build their nests from March until August, out of grass, pine needles, fur, and twigs. Females lay between 3 and 6 pale blue eggs.
During late spring and early summer, many backyards will be visited by Dragonflies.
Dragonflies lay their eggs in water, and their larvae can live underwater for up to two years. Dragonfly larvae are aquatic and eat just about anything – including smaller fish and other insects! Dragonflies have been known to hunt other insects like mosquitoes and gnats, eating their prey in mid air while continuing to fly. A single dragonfly can eat hundreds of mosquitoes a day. Dragonflies can fly in any direction, including directly up or sideways, and they can see in almost 360 degrees around themselves.
Did you know that the White Tailed Deer is South Carolina’s State Animal? Here’s more you might not know about them…
White-tailed deer have greyish colored fur in the winter and reddish-brown fur in the summer. Males will begin to grow antlers in the early spring and by late summer they are fully grown. Female white-tailed deer primarily sense danger through smell. White-tailed deer can swim, jump up to 10 feet in the air, and spring up to 30 miles per hour. They are herbivores, meaning their diet consists mainly of twigs, leaves, and grass. White-tailed deer are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk.
In the evenings, you may even see Bats flying around your backyard throughout the spring and summer…
Bats are nocturnal and use echolocation to see in the dark by emitting high-pitched sounds and listening for the direction of echoes. Many types of bats eat insects and can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes an hour, usually consuming their entire body weight in insects. Bats only give birth once per year, and the baby bat is called a Pup. For more information on Bats and a fun craft activity, Saluda Shoals park ranger Rachel has a full video on the Saluda Shoals Facebook Page here.
Another fun animal neighbor in South Carolina are Beavers!
The second largest rodent in the world, beavers can grow to be around 3 feet long and over 55 pounds. Beavers are primarily nocturnal, just like bats, and use their tail to alert nearby beavers of predators by loudly slapping the water. For more information on beavers, park ranger Zach has another video on the Saluda Shoals Facebook Page here.
Now that you’re all caught up, visit the Saluda Shoals Facebook Page throughout April to get new information on local wildlife and fun activities to do while the park is closed.