Garter Snake © Larry Manning

Take 5: Gutsy Garter Snakes

The most widespread of all snake species in Massachusetts, the Eastern Garter Snake can frequently be spotted out sunning itself on rocks and logs in sunny forest clearings, grassy meadows, backyards, and in freshwater habitats. While garter snakes are basically harmless, they may release an unpleasant-smelling secretion when they are handled so, as with all […]

Common Garter Snake © Catherine Luce

Take 5: Garter Snakes

The Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), one of the most commonly seen snakes in Massachusetts, is also the official state reptile. They sport long, yellow stripes down the length of their bodies, which are typically green, brown, or even black, and average about 20-22″ in length, but can grow up to 54″ long. You may be startled […]

Common Garter Snakes © Michael Onyon

Take 5: Sublime Snakes

Snakes tend to get a bad rap, but they’re actually fascinating creatures that can help control pests like rodents and slugs thanks to their carnivorous diet. Plus, the vast majority of snakes that you’ll find in the Northeast are not dangerous. In fact, of the 14 snake species found in Massachusetts, only two are venomous—the […]

Four Reasons to Appreciate Snakes

The 14 species of snakes in Massachusetts don’t get enough love and appreciation. So, in honor of World Snake Day on July 16, we thought we’d share just a few reasons that we should celebrate their presence. 1. Snakes eat garden pests Consider yourself lucky if you have DeKay’s brownsnakes in your yard. These small, shy […]

Snapping Turtle © Mark Renehan

Take 5: Snapping Turtles

Every year in late spring and early summer, adult female turtles cross the roads of Massachusetts in search of nest sites. One of the biggest (literally) culprits is the Snapping Turtle. Found in all sorts of water bodies, from rivers to lakes to marshes, the Snapping Turtle can grow up to 19” long. It has […]

Dustin Ledgard leading a silly Camp Olympics activity involving shaving cream

In Your Words: Dustin Ledgard

In Your Words is a regular feature of Mass Audubon’s Explore member newsletter. Each issue, a Mass Audubon member, volunteer, staff member, or supporter shares his or her story—why Mass Audubon and protecting the nature of Massachusetts matters to them. In the Spring 2020 issue, we interviewed three counselors from Mass Audubon’s Wildwood Camp. You can also […]

American Mink © Mark Lotterhand

Take 5: Mink Outside the Box

American Minks are members of the weasel family, averaging between 2 and 3.5 pounds, smaller than some of their cousins, Fishers and River Otters, but larger than others, such as ermine or long-tailed weasels. They share many traits with otters, including webbed feet and a coating of oil to keep their fur waterproof. They are […]

Eastern Chipmunk © Susumu Kishihara

Take 5: Don’t Get Cheeky With Me

The industrious Eastern Chipmunk spends its days, especially this time of year as the weather is getting colder, gathering and storing food in their burrows, which will sustain them during the winter.  Seeds, berries, nuts, and fruit are the mainstay of the chipmunk’s diet, but they also eat insects, insect larvae, slugs, snails, and earthworms. […]