NC Wildlife Fun Facts: Who's Joining us on the Job?
Updated: Feb 13
Spotting wildlife on the job sites always stops us in our tracks – especially when their slithering by slowly. The opportunity to appreciate the flora and fauna of western North Carolina adds a new dimension to working outdoors every day. Let us share with you some fun facts about a few of our latest work friends.
Working on a 55-acre clearing in Rutherfordton we stumbled across this guy gliding by, no surprise as eastern king snakes are terrestrial creatures most active during the day. These constrictors consume many types of prey from rodents and birds to lizards and even fellow snakes like cottonmouths, copperheads, and rattlesnakes. They can reach up to four feet in length, making them hard to miss when crossing your path.
Eastern Box Turtle
These turtles will likely be on a job site much longer than us as they live roughly 30 years, sometimes up to 50 years. They also have a relatively small range they call home, typically less than 1,000 feet. Being mostly terrestrial, eastern boxturtles eat a wide variety of foods such as plants, fruits, insects, eggs, and fish. You've likely spotted a turtle like this guy yourself as their the most common terrestrial turtle in the eastern United States,
Virgina Land Snail
This land snail can be found in almost every type of land habitat from wetlands to urban streets, we found him chilling by a stream during a house site prep on Gateway Mountain. Their size ranges from teeny tiny to the size of a quarter and they typically live 2-5 years in the face of predators but much longer in captivity. You might catch these guys sleeping on the job as they can take naps ranging from a few hours to 3 years!
American Giant Millipede
We're not getting too close to these creepy crawlies. When threatened, they may curl up and release a noxious liquid that can cause burns and irritate eyes or skin. This giant millipede isn't so giant, reaching up to four inches long. They're commonly found on the forest floor consuming leaf litter and decomposing logs. Their 'skin' is water permeable so they search for humid and damp areas to spend their time, which may be why we spotted this one near Lake James.
At first glance, we thought this was a Carolina Mantis, but the longer wings and thin light line on its side tell us this is a Chinese Mantis. This makes sense as they are the most common mantis species. This invasive species was first released around 1896 and are hard to control as they rarely eat what you may target them to prey on, going for whatever is easiest to find. They're also not guaranteed good for your garden as they eat both pests and pollinators.