Skip to main content

SOS’s Top 3 Most Impressive Animal Sightings in 2013

At Sierra Outdoor School, we are always observing the natural world around us.  Unique animal sightings make for exciting moments.  Here are the most remarkable creatures spotted by naturalists and students at Sierra Outdoor School  in the year of 2013.


Sierra Nevada Ensatina



During hunts for decomposers, several groups of students have found the Sierra Nevada Ensatina, a type of salamander. As amphibians, salamanders are cold blooded and their body temperatures depend upon the outdoor air temperature. This explains why they can often be seen basking on rocks in the sun.  When it gets too cold, they take shelter underground where it is warmer and some even hibernate.  Some of these critters are special in that they breathe through their skin and can regenerate their tails.   


Flying Squirrel


The elusive and legendary Northern Flying Squirrel was spotted around the gym at SOS by several naturalists.  Contrary to the name, these creatures do not actually fly but glide.  They use a flap of skin, or paragrim, on their sides to help them coast from tree to tree.  Flying Squirrels can be found throughout North America, east of North Carolina and all the way out to California.  They enjoy eating mushrooms and help the spread the spores of the mushrooms they eat.


Jerusalem Cricket


Students and teachers from Fauncher Creek were thrilled to find a Jerusalem Cricket on the blacktop one evening in November.  Go figure, this creature just so happens to be nocturnal.  Full grown Jerusalem Crickets can be as big as two inches.  When threatened, these bugs may emit a strong odor and inflict a painful bite.  The origin of the name ’Jerusalem Cricket’ is highly debated.  However, the nickname ‘Potato Bug’ comes from the story that this creature could eat an entire potato for one meal.



Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more impressive creatures out there. Comment below to share your findings!

- Kim "Cedar" Pedersen

Comments

  1. Very cool post. Thanks for sharing what the kids are finding at SOS!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Meet a Naturalist - Nova

Have you ever wondered what it's like to work at SOS? Get to know our Naturalists in a new monthly video series, entitled "Meet a Naturalist". Our first installment features Naturalist Maddie, "Nova". Check out the video below!


Give Plants a Chance: Erosion and Giant Sequoias

What is Erosion? Erosion is the gradual degradation (breaking down) of rock and other natural material, by wind, water, gravity, and even animals. Erosion happens all around us on hillsides, the edges of riverbeds, beaches, and cliff walls. It is an entirely natural and necessary process; erosion is responsible for the dispersion and recycling of rocks and minerals into sediment, which enriches soil and provides opportunities for new life to emerge!

          However, human induced erosion is not natural, nor beneficial to our local environment. Scientists have estimated that global rates of erosion have increased 10-40 times its natural rate, due to human influence and activity. If you are looking for signs of human induced erosion, it is particularly obvious alongside walking trails in parks and forests.



Every year, our Sierra Outdoor School Naturalists take hundreds of of students on field trips to Calaveras Big Trees State Park, aptly named for the beautiful Giant Sequoia …

Meet a Naturalist - Badger

On our next installment of "Meet a Naturalist" we talk to Phil "Badger" to find out what he would do if he were given an elephant. Check out the video below!