Mon-Fri, throughout the day

Naturalist Rudy Mancke, host of ETV's NatureScene, shares his knowledge of plants and wildlife each weekday on NatureNotes. These 1-minute snippets offer you a chance to find out about diverse topics having to do with the natural world. From the inner workings of our world's ecosystems, to plants & animals unique to South Carolina, to tips on beautiful sites to visit, you'll learn more about the world around you on NatureNotes.

NatureNotes Archives (January 2010- August 2014)

Ways to Connect

Carolina Anoles

5 hours ago
A Carolina anole trying to intimidate its reflection.
ronardios/Flickr, via Wikimedia Commons

  Carolina anoles are common in the state. If a male meets another male, they are likely to "display" by raising the ridges on their backs.

Beware the Bristly Caterpillar

5 hours ago

"Bristly" caterpillars, like the one for the buck moth, often sting with those bristles.


May 30, 2016
Snowbell, styrax platanifolius
Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

One way to identify this shrub is by its large leaf.

A giant water bug.
Brett Hondow/Pixabay

No, it's not "a roach with grabbers." It's a giant water bug, and it's the largest true bug in South Carolina.

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.

The Softshell Turtle Has a Wide Range

May 23, 2016
Gulf Coast Spiny Softshell Turtle
James Harding/

A listener finds a Gulf Coast spiny softshell turtle. These turtles have a wide range: South Carolina, west to Texas and north up the Missouri River system to Montana and the Dakotas, then east to western New York. They are found throughout the state South Carolina and in Georgia except in the mountains and south-central portions of the Coastal Plain.

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.