Over the last several weeks, we’ve talked a lot about the cool critters you can find in our area, but there are some animals that might take you by surprise this summer. Read on to find out more!
Teeny, tiny toadlets
Depending on where you live, you may have already seen some toads on the move around dawn and dusk. But by mid-summer, the toadlets will be emerging! From June to September, toadlets (and froglets) begin to leave the ponds where they spent the first part of their lives. Keep a close eye on the lawns near those bodies of water, and see if you can spot some tiny toadlets hopping around. Their coloring helps them blend in, but using a little extra caution can help you spot these adorable amphibians.
Guiding Question: What do you notice about this toadlet? Why do you think it’s called that? Can you remember some of the differences between frogs and toads?
Beautiful green June beetles
These gorgeous beetles are mostly diurnal (active during the day). They pupate in late spring and the adults generally emerge in June and July. Although they look similar to dogbane and Japanese beetles, green June beetles are actually much larger and measure in at about one inch long. They adults like to eat sap and ripening soft-skinned fruit.
Guiding Question: Does this beetle remind you of any other insects we’ve talked about? How is what it eats similar to or different from the diets of other insects?
Surprise! It’s an ambush bug
Take a close look at some wildflowers and you might see some cool insects. Maybe a spider, maybe a beetle…or maybe you’ll come across an ambush bug! As their name suggests, these insects hide on flowers to ambush their prey. It’s hard to believe, but they routinely capture prey more than 10x their own size!
Guiding Question: What do you notice about this jagged ambush bug? What do you notice about its coloring? How about its legs? How do you think those things help it?
Make your own colorful butterflies
Celebrate some of the colorful critters of the summer by making your own crayon shaving butterflies! Click here for the instructions. Then be sure to share your creations with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Guiding Question: If we wanted to make these butterflies look like butterflies we’ve seen outside or at the Nature Museum, what colors would we use? How would we design them?
Mystery Bags with Nicole
Nicole is back with another Mystery Bags video. Can you guess what natural mystery object she’s describing today? Click here to check out the video.
Guiding Question: What clues were most helpful? What clues were least helpful? How would you have described her mystery object instead?
Behind the Scenes
We spotted this beautiful common snapping turtle digging a nest for her eggs near the Nature Museum! As you start to explore parks, ponds, and lakes this summer, see if you can spot other turtles making their own nests.