Rudy Mancke


Naturalist Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene which began it's long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Before coming to television, Rudy served as the natural history curator at the South Carolina State Museum for 10 years, and was a high school biology and geology teacher. He earned a degree at Wofford College, attended graduate school at the University of South Carolina, and received honorary doctorate degrees from the College of Charleston, Winthrop College, and Wofford College.

Rudy Mancke currently hosts NatureNotes on both South Carolina ETV and South Carolina Public Radio.

The oak hedgehog gall on White Oak (Quercus alba) leaf, caused by a Cynipid gall wasp, is one of the many types of galls that are created when various species of wasps lay eggs on oaks.
Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons

Galls are created in plant tissue due to the powerful enzymes given off by an immature gall-forming insect as it grows.

Pepper vine with fruit.
USchick, via Wikimedia Commons

The pepper vine is common in South Carolina. While the fruit seems to be useful for some wildlife, it's not something you'd want to try.

A listener in Spartanburg sees a water snake catch its prey, a bullfrog, on the Cottonwood Trail.

The Southern Unstriped Scorpion, vaejovis carolinianus.
Sesamehoneytart, via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, you can find the Southern Unstriped Scorpion in South Carolina.

A Killdeer with its nest and eggs.
Mykola Swarnyk, via Wikimedia Commons

  A listener spots a bird which nests and lays its eggs on the ground, then stands guard.

  A listener shares a count of the bird species in the Rock Creek area of Great Falls.

Privet in flower.
Bidgee, via Wikimedia Commons

  Privet has flowers with a beautiful smell. But, it takes over wherever it grows, crowding out native species.

An eastern king snake.

Aside from being a powerful constrictor, the eastern king snake is resistant to the venom of all poisonous snakes found in South Carolina, and will actually eat one!

Tulip Trees

May 12, 2016
A tulip tree in bloom.

The tulip tree is sometimes called "tulip poplar," though it's actually related to the magnolia.

Snake vs. Toad

May 11, 2016
Eastern garter snake, Florida.
Glenn Bartolotti via Wikimedia Commons

Eastern garter snakes are common in South Carolina. With their flexible jaws, they can eat some fairly large prey.

An Unexpected Gift

May 10, 2016
Polyphemus Moth
Organic, via Wikimedia Commons

  A grandfather gives his granddaughter a cocoon from which emerges a moth with much larger wings than she expected.

A wood duck box.
Rusty Clark/Flickr

A listener finds rat snakes in his wood duck box, in spite of all precautions.


Rosy Maple Moths

May 6, 2016
A rosy maple moth on a pane of glass in Durham, NC.
Rhododendrites, via Wikimedia Commons

The rosy maple moth is one of the most beautiful moths in South Carolina.

A common whitetail dragonfly, male.
Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons

    You'll find plenty of common whitetail dragonflies in South Carolina in the Spring--especially near water.

Canebrake Rattlesnakes

May 4, 2016
A canebrake rattlesnake
Ltshears, via Wikimedia Commons

In the Spring, if you see one juvenile canebrake rattlesnake, be careful--there may be more.