'Gator on Durham Creek, Berkeley County
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

Ron Russell has been catching alligators in the Lowcountry for nearly 30 years.  Each fall, people hire him as a guide for the state's public hunt.  But this year, he says gators, especially the big ones, were harder to find.

"We've harvested the heck out of them with all three programs the last 12 years," said Russell.  "I think it's going to start showing up we can't maintain this every year without it actually hurting the population dramatically.  I've already seen the decrease in population just in this area."

Bluejay Feathers

Nov 17, 2017
Blue Jay feathers.

A listener finds some distinctive feathers...

Fishbones on the Beach

Nov 16, 2017
SC Public Radio

Interesting bones found on the beach..

Cooperhead Combat

Nov 15, 2017
A southern Copperhead.
Tom Spinker [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds a pair of copperheads engaging in a "combat dance."

Hentz Orb Weavers

Nov 14, 2017
Hentz's orb weaver (Neoscona crucifera).
Joseph Berger,

This spider hides during the day and comes out into the center of its web at night.

Coral polyps on Molasses Reef, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Brent Deuel [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

People picture coral reefs as bursting with color and teeming with a variety of undersea life, which many are. But their number is shrinking, says College of Charleston biologist Phil Dustan, because they are hyper-sensitive to temperature changes, and climate change is warming the ocean to intolerable levels for many reefs. In his 40-plus years of studying reefs, Dustan said, the Florida Keys, for example, have probably lost 90 to 95 percent of their living coral reefs.

Stinkhorn (Phallus ravenelii).
Norman D. Davis,

Its common name says a lot about how this mushroom attracts flies and other insects to spread its spores.

Long-Tailed Skipper

Nov 10, 2017
A Long-Tailed Skipper.
Andreas Kay [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

This beautiful butterfly is common in the Southeastern U.S.

A curve-lined owlet moth caterpillar.
Carol Snow Milne/YouTube

A listener spots a rarely-seen caterpillar.

SC Public Radio

A listener spots a black rat snake in the midst of "recycling" a hummingbird.

Saddlebag Dragonfly

Nov 7, 2017
A black saddlebags dragonfly.
David Cappaert,

The markings on the base of the hind wings are reminiscent of saddlebags bouncing on a horse in motion.

Tig Girdler Beetles

Nov 6, 2017
A twig girdler beetle.
Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,

You may not often see twig girdler beetles in South Carolina, but, you will see their handy work.

Acorn Weevils

Nov 3, 2017
An acorn weevil.
Bruce Marlin [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

The acorn weevil is common in South Carolina.

Black Tupelo

Nov 2, 2017
Black tupelo tree leaves turn brilliant red-orange in the fall.
Jean-Pol Grandmot [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Black tupelo, or black gum trees, are common in South Carolina and are among the first to change color in the fall.

Island Applesnails

Nov 1, 2017
An Island Apple Snail.
Roo Reynolds [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

Apple Snails are an invasive species, released into South Carolina's environment by the dumping of aquariums by hobbyists.

Camel Crickets

Oct 31, 2017
A male camel cricket.
Jenn Forman Orth [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Camel crickets and closely related cave crickets belong to a large group of insects. They are found throughout the world with over 100 different kinds found in the United States and Canada.

"There is no season..."

Oct 30, 2017
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Matthew Brady/Library of Congress [Public Domain]

Sea Cucumbers

Oct 27, 2017
A sea cucumber.
US Embassy Canada

A listener finds hundreds of sea cucumbers on the beach at Pawleys Island.

Sooty Tern

Oct 26, 2017
An adult sooty tern.
Duncan Wright, USFWS [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

A lowcountry vet finds a juvenile sooty turn, likely blown in by a storm.

Heliconius charitonius (zebra longwing butterfly),Florida.
By James St. John [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The zebra longwing butterfly is not common in South Carolina.

Black Witch Moth

Oct 24, 2017
A male Ascalapha Odorata or commonly known as the Black Witch Moth.
Happycoder89 [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

A listener finds a black witch moth--a rare species for South Carolina.

Vaejovis carolinianus - Southern Unstriped Scorpion.
Glen Peterson [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The southern unstriped scorpion was, for many years, the only scorpion found in South Carolina

It is the only scorpion native to much of the Appalachian states: Kentucky, West Virginia (S), Virginia (SW), North and South Carolina (W), Georgia (North, not coastal or southern, where Centruroides hentzi is found), Alabama (N, ditto), Mississippi (NE), Louisiana (tiny, disjunct, area NE of Baton Rouge near MS border), and Tennessee.

Red Bats

Oct 20, 2017
Eastern Red Bat, Lasiurus borealis (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae)
Matthew O'Donnell [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Red bats are common South Carolina.

Red-Eyed Vireo

Oct 19, 2017
Red-eyed Vireo
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarre [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A listener spots a red-eyed bird he cannot identify.

Smelly Caterpillar

Oct 18, 2017
Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio troilus)  Frozen Head Natural Area & State Park, Morgan County, Tennessee.
Michael Hodge [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The caterpillar of the spice bush swallowtail butterfly can produce a "strange" odor when disturbed.

Sistrurus miliaris miliaris, the Carolina pigmy rattlesnake.

Hiking in Mistletoe State Park a family finds two Carolina pigmy rattlesnakes, the most distinctly patterned, and variably colored subspecie of the pygmy rattlesnake group.

The snake ranges from eastern North Carolina, southwestward through most of South Carolina, across central Georgia and Alabama, and into a small portion of east central Mississippi.

"Woodbines in October"

Oct 16, 2017
SC Public Radio

Rudy shares poems by Charlotte Fiske Bates, "Woodbines in October," and "

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Like the Cicada Killer wasp, the large European Hornet also collects insects to feed its larvae, a beneficial habit, but sadly it has a destructive activity of girdling twigs. Removing the bark allows the adults to access the nutritious exuding sap and to collect fiber to build its nest. If the twig is completely girdled, the portion above it dies, a condition called flagging, which makes the plant unsightly and you’ll want to prune away the dead wood.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. It sounds like a tabloid headline – man and dog frantically escape from huge flying wasp! But it’s a true story—I got an email from a gentleman saying that he and his dog was dive bombed by a hummingbird sized wasp that sent them fleeing into the safety of their house.

A female common yellowthroat.
Tnolley [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

The female common yellowthroat songbird is harder to identify than the male, especially in its first year.