Wandering about in the Winter Woods

The staff and friends at Reptiles Alive have a great time hiking in the winter.  While many of the warm weather loving reptiles are hidden away, other wonders of the natural world reveal themselves. Last week, while my brother Will Seitz was visiting from his home in Volcano, HI, we went for a hike down Difficult Run to the Potomac River in Great Falls, VA.

You might not think about it, but poison ivy is still around in winter. Poison ivy is deciduous, so it loses all its leaves in winter – but BEWARE – the bare stems and vines still contain the poisonous oil that can cause itchy rashes in many people. This fuzzy looking vine might look fun to touch, but trust me, don’t do it!

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Lichen is a combination of plants and fungi living together. You can find lichens growing on rocks and branches throughout the forest. The gray tree frog is a native frog that has camouflage to look like a lichen. The tree frogs are hibernating now, but lichens are out for you to enjoy.

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There are many native plants that produce berries, but there are also certain landscape plants that have escaped and begun to grow in the wild. Some of these exotic plants can out-compete native plants, which can create problems for native wild animals.

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We had a GREAT time at GREAT Falls! The winter is an awesome time to get outside and take a hike in the woods.

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