Surprises at Huntley Meadows

May 31, 2010

I love being surprised by something that I see on an outing. This little guy certainly did the trick Sunday in Huntley Meadows Park.

On a walk through a wooded section of the trail, a squirming mass with legs in the air caught our attention. “What is that?”

The lady and I weren’t sure, so we watched it for a while. After a few seconds it popped up and angled itself in our direction. This little guy is a crawfish (crayfish or crawdad also depending on what you’d like to call it), the freshwater crustacean similar to lobsters.

Why was it on the trail? I have no idea. With every step that we took it repositioned itself to face us. Out of concern that it would be stepped on (It was literally in the middle of the trail just sitting there) I took a small piece of bark and held it in front of the animal. It then backed up until it was sitting off to the side of the trail.

On the boardwalk there weren’t many birds besides the typical Red-winged Blackbirds and Canada Geese, but the muskrats were out in large numbers.

I’m not sure of the different causes at play, but I haven’t seen any beavers recently. I would assume that the beavers and muskrats would have similar preferences in terms of temperatures and feeding habits, but I could be wrong.

Although most of my sightings usually occur in the area of the boardwalk, Sunday was a little different.

On the path out of the park I was hit by a mix of excitement and sadness to see this:

A baby squirrel had, for whatever reason, been running around on the trail. A passerby said that the creature ran up to him and he picked it up. As we sat there for a few minutes, he debated what to do with it.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done for a lost or abandoned baby. Like anything else in nature, what happens happens. There’s a chance that it fell out of the nest. I also wouldn’t exclude the possibility that if it was the runt of the litter it was forced out. By picking the animal up, the park guest, despite his good intentions, has taught the squirrel that large creatures will comfort it and are okay to run up to. That probably won’t end well for the baby, who still can’t climb.

When it was finally returned to the ground, it looked around at the small crowd that had gathered, and ran back to the foot of the person who had been holding it.

We left before seeing how he handled the situation. What would you have done?

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Surprises at Huntley Meadows”

  1. Renee Says:

    I would take it to a wildlife rescue/rehab center – pretty sure there’s one in NoVA.


  2. […] I love being surprised by something that I see on an outing. This little guy certainly did the trick Sunday in Huntley Meadows Park. On a walk through a wooded section of the trail, a squirming mass with legs in the air caught our attention. "What is that?" The lady and I weren't sure, so we watched it for a while. After a few seconds it popped up and angled itself in our direction. This little guy is a crawfish (crayfish or crawdad also dependin … Read More […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: