Critter Corner

An inside look at some of the critters that inhabit Goose Pond FWA. Written by George Sly

February 2018
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Critter Corner No. 25 – The Spiny Softshell Turtle by George Sly

By George Sly | February 16, 2023 |

Previous Critter Corner episodes have discussed the common snapping turtle and red-eared slider.  Another interesting turtle species documented during the 2010 Biodiversity Survey at Goose Pond FWA is the eastern spiny softshell turtle. Softshell turtles are so-named because their carapace is covered by a thick, leathery skin rather than the large, keratinized scutes (scales) of…

Critter Corner No. 24: The American Carrion Beetle

By George Sly | October 10, 2020 |

A recent encounter with the carcass of a white-tailed deer (dead of unknown cause), has left me to ponder the world of the scavenging insects. Necrophila americana (shown above) is a good example. This particular beetle is 0.5 to 0.75 inches in size. It has a yellowish thorax with a dark center. The wings are…

23. The Prairie Vole (Microtus ochrogaster)

By George Sly | March 10, 2020 |

If I were to ask you to guess what the most abundant mammal inhabiting GPFWA is, you might first think of white-tailed deer. They seem to be abundant almost everywhere in Indiana. Perhaps the muskrat or the mink, a common predator-prey duo of the wetlands, would come to mind. All would be good conjectures. But,…

Critter Corner No. 22 – The Giant Water Bug

By George Sly | April 23, 2018 |

  With several thousand acres of shallow water, it should come as no surprise that Goose Pond FWA is home to an abundant, varied, and highly interesting assemblage of aquatic macroinvertebrates. The prefix macro- means big enough to see without a microscope and the suffix invertebrate refers to their lack of a backbone. Hidden from…

Critter Corner No. 21 – The Red Bat

By George Sly | December 19, 2017 |

Critter Corner No. 21 – The Red Bat by George Sly (photo courtesy So. Conn. St. Univ.) A recent presentation on bats to a group of Sullivan Elementary School second graders reminded me that this was a group which has, up until now, been totally neglected in my Critter Corner blogs. Time to remedy that…

Critter Corner No 20 – The Fowler's Toad by George Sly

By George Sly | November 15, 2017 |

In previous blogs I have discussed some of the frogs to be found at Goose Pond FWA. During the 2010Biodiversity Survey conducted at GPFWA, eight species of anurans (frogs & toads) were found. In this edition of Critter Corner let’s learn a bit more about the only toad species found during the survey Bufo fowleri.…

Critter Corner No 19 – The Fox Squirrel By George Sly

By George Sly | July 4, 2017 |

Critter Corner No. 19 (photo by Judy Gallagher – Discussing the Fox Squirrel as a member of the GPFWA fauna may seem a bit surprising. After all, we normally associate the property with wetland and prairie habitats primarily. These are hardly the sorts of places one would expect to find an arboreal (tree dwelling)…

Critter Corner No. 18 – The Red-eared Slider by George Sly

By George Sly | March 17, 2017 |

 Sherman Minton’s authoritative Amphibians & Reptiles of Indiana (1) notes that this turtle emerges, in southern Indiana, from its period of winter inactivity in early April. But, this book was published in 2001. In our rapidly warming world, Mother Nature seems to be re-writing the rules. By mid-February 2017, large numbers of Pond Sliders were…

Critter Corner No. 17 – The Praying Mantis by George Sly

By George Sly | February 24, 2017 |

  Past episodes of Critter Corner have dealt with some of the mammals, reptiles, and amphibians of GPFWA. One might claim that I have missed the boat by not acknowledging the presence, and importance, of members of the largest taxonomic group of animals on the planet – the insects. Fans of these creatures would have…

Critter Corner No. 16 – The Prairie Kingsnake by George Sly

By George Sly | October 2, 2016 |

Photo Courtesy of Missouri Dept. of Conservation      My earliest recollection of meeting a snake, one which I could identify to species, happened when I was just a youngster. Engaged in a lively outdoor game of hide and seek, I leaped over a roadside culvert and took shelter in the ditch below. As I lie…