Elms Environmental Education Center

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Critters of the Elms

Spotted Salamander


By late February the vernal pool at Elms was loaded with spotted salamander eggs. Therefore, we know that the adults come to the area but we never see them. This is because they often travel at night and can easily hide under leaf litter in or around the pool.



Rhinoceros Beetles 2012

Fifty (more or less) rhinoceros beetles (Xyloryctes jamaicensis) found at Elms! The males with the big horns are particularly amazing looking. The adults can fly. Perhaps you have seen one come to your porch light.

Students holding the Rhino beetles!

Seventh grade students working in the Elms native plant nursery were thrilled to found lots and lots of these impressive beetles in the pots with our ash trees.  The adult beetles feed on ash tree foliage and the larvae feed on the roots of ash as well as decaying organic matter. We are unsure if our ash trees will survive such a large infestation. Oct. 2012.

Smooth Earth Snake Oct. 2012

Smooth earth snakes (Virginia valeriae) grow to be 7 to 10 inches (18-25.4 cm). They are most often found hiding beneath logs, leaf litter, or other debris and eat earthworms and soft-bodied insects. This species is viviparous, giving live birth to as many as 14 little snakes in the late summer.

This snake was discovered in one of the native plant demonstration gardens at Elms. Some visiting 7th graders enjoyed the find. Oct. 15th 2012.

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