Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reptile and Amphibian Adventure

I am back in Columbus, however, yesterday, Megan, Myself and Tim walked along the Cuyahoga River in Munroe Falls. The Metroparks serving Summit County has created a great bike path running from Munroe Falls to Kent. I rode my bike many times along this trail when I lived with my parents. I wanted to check out a small pond adjacent to the bike trail, about 1 mile east of State Route 91. We mixed in in exercise with reptile looking! Although I didn't see what I was really hoping for, which was some salamander egg masses, the pond was still there and was teeming with reptiles and amphibians. The first thing I saw was a large male green frog poised right at the water's edge. I could tell he was a male by looking at his eardrum...the large circle behind his eye, that is in fact bigger than his eye, gives him away as a male. I could tell he was a green frog by looking at the two folds of skin that run from behind the eye, parallel to each other, back to the rear of the animal. Next, Megan spotted a great eastern garter snake. We think he was cruising around the edge of the pond looking for other, smaller green frogs. Across the way we heard more leaves rustle, and sure enough, another eastern garter was cruising the opposite bank and making a rucous as it lunged for frogs. Perhaps the coolest part of the visit to the pond were the painted turtles. We found six in this small pond, no bigger than my city lot sized back yard. I wonder if they had found refuge here after the Cuyahoga River restoration project. You see, Munroe Falls was named after an artificial dam that had been across the river in the center of town in one form or another since the early 1800's. But since the dam severely limited the amount of oxygen in the river, the local community worked with the county to remove the dam. The pool behind the dam, a long slough of slow moving water, was the perfect habitat for painted turtles. Now that dam is gone, the river is free flowing, and would be better suited to species like common map and spiny soft-shelled turtles. Anyways, the painted turtles had to find a place to go, and I wonder if some of them made it to this little pond!





Posted by Picasa

No comments:

Post a Comment