Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge this week on Where’s My Backpack at http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/09/06/travel-theme-hidden/ is Hidden.
Whenever I go in search of wildlife at nature centers or forest preserves I find that most things usually manage to stay hidden. Many creatures in nature are masters of disguise, it’s a necessity if they want to stay alive, and it sometimes takes a keen eye and a considerable amount of patience to spot them in their native habitat.
It was quite a while before I found this toad sitting on the dry bed of the Wabash River in Lafayette Indiana, last summer. We had been told there were hundreds of them, by a family returning from a walk along by the river, but this was the only one that I managed to discover hiding in plain sight.
These garter snakes were well hidden among the autumn leaves at Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington, Illinois, until I almost stepped on them and they naturally became somewhat agitated.
The praying mantis always presents a challenge when I’m looking for him in the garden. He blends in so well with the surrounding foliage. This is what makes him such a formidable predator and butterflies or, in this case, bees had better beware.
Their egg cases are equally well-camouflaged as they wait through the autumn and winter months to release their precious contents in the spring.
Frogs usually keep fairly well hidden as I approach the water’s edge at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg and it’s not until I hear a startled “peep” or the more full-throated “burp” of a bullfrog as they leap back into the pond, that I realize they’re there.
This elk seems to blend in well with it’s woody background. Here in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, the elk prefer to remain hidden among the trees during the hot summer weather. I can’t say I blame them.
Another place that can get extremely hot during the summer months is The Badlands in South Dakota, where thousands of these prairie dogs scurry about, doing whatever prairie dogs do, until a warning call sends them running for the nearest burrow where they stay hidden until it’s safe to return to the surface.
The art of staying hidden is an essential part of life for most creatures in the wild but every once in a while we are lucky enough to discover their hiding places, however, we should always respect their privacy and hopefully leave them as we found them.