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 SCETV and South Carolina Public Radio.

Contact Rudy Mancke

Ways to Connect

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

Yes, we do: the Southern Unstriped Scorpion (Carolinianus) can be found around the state; and the Striped Southern Scorpion can be found on the coastal plane.

Eastern Garter Snake

Dec 8, 2016
Eastern garter snake, Florida.
Glenn Bartolotti via Wikimedia Commons

The Eastern Garter Snake is usually first of the snakes in this area to come out in the Spring and the last to go into hibernation in the Fall.

The Camel Cricket

Dec 7, 2016
A Spotted Camel Cricket.

The Schultz family wants to know what kind of arthropod is hanging out near their backdoor.

A Spotted Orbweaver.
National Park Service

The Spotted (Forest) Orbweaver that a listener saw under the eaves of his home was in a place that these arachnids aren't usually found.

Earthstar Scleroderma

Dec 5, 2016

A listener reports a fungus she can't identify.

Happy Arbor Day!

Dec 2, 2016
Stock photo of a tree.

The date for Arbor Day varies across climate zones.

An Ailanthus Webworm Moth.
Ryan Hodnett [CC SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This moth is a wide-ranging, introduced species.

"A Beautiful Fellow"

Nov 30, 2016
An adult Black Rat Snake.

A listener spots "a beautiful fellow" in the dog park.

It's Not a Lizard

Nov 29, 2016
A Southern Red-Backed Salamander.
Greg Schechter [CC 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Salamanders have wet skin and no scales. Lizards have dry skin and scales.

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae),  Krohn conservatory, Cincinnati, OH.
Andrew C/Flickr

The Cloudless Sulpher is a large butterfly that flies in the fall of the year.

A female Broad-Tailed Hummingbird.
Peter Wallack [CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Western Hummingbirds do migrate as far east as South Carolina in the Winter. So, clean those feeders and re-hang them and you might get some visitors.

This Thanksgiving take a walk outside with your family.

A juvenile Red Tailed Hawk.
Brocken Inaglory [CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

A listener spots a bird having its "breakfast" in the middle of a busy street in downtown Charleston.

Columned (Columnar) Stinkhorn Mushrooms.

A listener finds some eggs in mulch near his house. One has opened to reveal a "crazy" sight.

Eastern Cottenmouth

Nov 21, 2016
An Eastern Cottonmouth Snake, agkistrodon piscivorus
Geoff Gallice, Gainesville, FL; via Wikimedia Commons

Most water snakes in South Carolina are non-venomous. The Eastern Cotton mouth is one of the exceptions.

The Carolina Mantis

Nov 18, 2016
A female Carolina Mantis.
Happy1892, via Wikimedia Commons

A listener spots South Carolina's State Insect: the Carolina Mantis.

A Long "Tailed" Wasp

Nov 17, 2016
An Ichneumon wasp ovipositing through wood.
Richard Bartz, via Wikimedia Commons

Ichneumon Wasps can penetrate wood in order to lay eggs.

Rudy reads a section from Wordsworth's Lines Written A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting The Banks Of The Wye During A Tour, July 13, 1798 .

A Canebrake Rattlesnake.
Ltshears, via Wikimedia Commons

South Carolina's resident rattlesnake is the Canebrake Rattlesnake.

The caterpillar for the Skiff Moth is green and looks like a seed pod.

A Pink Spotted Hawk Moth.

The Pink-Spotted Hawk Moth is a strong flyer.

A Midland Water Snake, Nerodia sipedon pleuralis.
Peter Paplanus/Flickr

The answer is, "You bet!" The Midland Water Snake is well designed to do just that kind of thing.

An "Eye-Popping" Plant

Nov 9, 2016
Fruit of the Euonymus americanus.
John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A visually striking plant when it fruits, the is sometimes called Hearts A Busting, or a Strawberry Bush.

The Hognose Snake

Nov 8, 2016
Eastern Hognose Snake
Wikipedia. Creative Commons License

This snake can flatten its head like a Cobra when threatened; but, it's not venomous.

Two Loons
USFWS/Gary J. Wege

Sometimes, all you need is a single bone to identify a species.