Matt Pardue, our State Land Steward, has taken some amazing photographs on his travels around the state.
This stinkpot turtle is also known as the common musk turtle due to its ability to release a foul musky odor from scent glands on the edge of its shell, possibly to deter predation.
The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America. They are omnivores whose diets greatly depend on location and season.
Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants whose prey-trapping mechanism features a deep cavity filled with a liquid known as pitfall trap.
Black rat snakes are between 3 1/2 and 7 feet long, with shiny black scales on their back and a light colored belly. They are excellent swimmers and climbers, and will use these skills to catch a variety of food from bird eggs to frogs.
The Fowler's toad is usually gray or greenish gray with three (3) or more warts within each dark spot on its back. They are usually found in association with flood plains and river bottoms, as well as woodland borders.
The Oklahoma grass pink orchid is in a group of terrestrial orchids, and is a good indicator species for high-quality surface and ground water.
The great egret is a large heron with all-white plumage and stands up to 1 meter (3.3 feet) tall.
This is an immature black-crowned night heron that was photographed at our Cypress Island Preserve at Lake Martin. These herons do not fit the typical body form of the heron family. They are relatively stocky with shorter bills, legs and necks than their more familiar cousins, the egrets and "day" herons. Their resting posture is normally somewhat hunched.
The green lynx spider is the largest North American lynx spider. It is often used for pest management in cotton fields because it has been observed to hunt several moth species and their larvae that are crop pests. They also prey on beneficial insects however, such as the honey bee.
The Leather flower (Clematis crispa) is a perennial found throughout the southern United States.
The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey, or raptor, found in North America. It is an opportunistic feeder which subsists mainly on fish. It builds the largest nest of any North American bird.
The Black-bellied whistling duck can be found seasonally in Louisiana's Gulf Coast. There is a large population of several hundred that winter each year at Audubon Park in New Orleans, Louisiana. This specie's upright stance, long pink legs and long neck make it almost unmistakeable. The extensive white in the wings is obvious in flight, but less so on the ground.
The Southern Leopard Frog is a species of mostly aquatic true frog found in the south-eastern third of the United States. They are generally green or light brown in color, with dark brown or black blotching. This species prefers shallow, freshwater habitats such as streams, ponds or lakes.
The Roseate spoonbill is a gregarious wading bird. It feeds in shallow fresh or coastal waters by swinging its bill from side to side as it steadily walks through the water. The spoon-shaped bill allows it to sift easily through mud. It feeds on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, newts and very small fish.
The Blue gray gnatcatcher is a tiny, long-tailed bird that lives in deciduous forests and scrublands. It is constantly in motion, flicking it's white-edged tail from side to side, scaring up hiding insects.
The Prairie king snake is found throughout the midwestern and southeastern United States. Their preferred habitat is open grasslands with loose, dry soil, not far from a permanent source of water. Their diet consists primarily of rodents, but they will also consume lizards, frogs and occasionally other snakes. They are nonvenomous.
Spiny softshell turtles are one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. They are mainly carnivorous, and they eat any aquatic life small enough to capture, including crawfish, insects and fish.
The white-tailed deer is a medium-sized deer native to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America as far south as Peru. Note the fuzzy velvet on the antler spikes on this young male.