formerly Ridgefield + Wilton Magazine
What is the best place to find snails, besides in the garden? – Jennifer Meikle, Educator at Woodcock Nature CenterMost gardeners would prefer to find snails anywhere BUT their gardens! The main issue with snails in your garden is that they spread disease! Although they are not guests we want in our gardens, these shelled gastropods are fascinating creatures. The Quick Gloss, Compound Coil and Whitelip snails are some of the most commonly found species in CT. These species live in forests and wetlands among damp, decaying wood and leaf litter. Snails play a vital role in our ecosystem. They’re a food source for all sorts of mammals and birds, provide calcium to birds, and are important players in the forest decomposition process.
I know a lot about the over 30 animals I care for at the nature center including snakes, but how many species of snakes live in CT?– Allegra Jacobs, Animal Care Coordinator at Woodcock Nature Center
There are 14 native snake species here in CT – only two of which are venomous! The venomous snakes are the Northern Copperhead and the Timber Rattlesnake. The Northern Copperhead can be found around here but are the least venomous snake you could encounter. The Timber Rattlesnake can only be found in northwestern Litchfield County and in the Meshomasic State Forest, which spans across 4 towns in central CT. Eastern garter snakes are the states most widespread species. Northern water snakes and common ribbon snakes are two other species that are easily found in our community. If you find a snake in your backyard, consider yourself lucky…free rodent control!
What is slime mold and where should I look for it?– Tommy McCarthy, Educator at Woodcock Nature Center
A slime mold is a brainless, single-celled organism that is often confused with fungus! These organisms have no legs or appendages but can move simply by changing their shape. Researchers have discovered that they even have the ability to “learn” and can go through mazes. Slime molds are most commonly found on soil, forest floors, mulch and rotting logs. In the food web, they are important decomposers and help to recycle nutrients. There are over 900 different species of slime molds and many of them have hilarious names like, “Dog Vomit”, Carnival Candy”, “Chocolate Tube” and “Wolf’s Milk.” How fun is that! Who say’s nature isn’t cool? •