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Creature Feature

Cheetahs named to honor America’s fastest man and woman

On top of their Olympic medals, America’s fastest man and woman have another cause for pride. They’re the namesakes of two of the world’s fastest animals, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s cheetah twins born April 23 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va.

Good for the garden and for myth making

Masters of disguise, praying mantises camouflage themselves to capture beetles, bees, spiders, lizards and even frogs, then dine on the prey head-first.     Mantises don’t hunt their prey. Instead, they wait unmoving and invisible on a leaf or twig, ready to seize any insect or amphibian unfortunate enough to cross paths.

Young whitetail deer growing fast

In the last couple months, you may have seen small white-spotted deer curled up in brush and leaves or taking tentative walks through the woods — or across the road. It’s the tail end of fawning season for whitetail deer. After six or seven months of gestation, a new batch of fawns has arrived in the world.
Buck moth caterpillars are interesting to look at, but don’t touch!
 

Baby birds growing bigger

Nests throughout Chesapeake Country are full of baby birds. Fluffy young osprey are learning to tear their fish into bites in nests topping nearly every channel marker and many utility poles. Mom and Pop Osprey are still delivering the fish to their fast-growing babies.

Ancient sea creatures provide food for birds, medicine for us

On the beaches of the Chesapeake, you can consort with creatures that predate the dinosaurs and whose existence you’ve benefited from if you’ve been to the doctor in the past 30 years.     Especially if you get up very early in the morning.

At Annmarie Garden, nature and art live in harmony

Among art from the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Solomons stand seven houses occupied by bluebirds.     Bluebirds are masterpieces in the world of gardening, both for their beauty and for their appetite for garden bugs. So Annmarie is more than happy to host them. To encourage the birds to add life to art in the garden, staff artists have hand-painted the houses. Baby bluebirds are now growing feathers amid the woven grasses and pine needles that make up bluebird nests.

To stop emerald ash borers, you’ve got to think like a bug

To stop a thief, you’ve got to think like a thief. To stop a bug, you’ve got to get more basic.     That’s what Maryland Department of Agriculture has learned in its 10-year effort to stop the inexorable march of the emerald ash borer.

Baby warthogs, prairie dog pups, small-clawed otters and zebra foals

Yes, panda infertility is a problem. But while we’re waiting for the experts to solve it, plenty of other babies are looking adorable in our regional zoos.

Avenue Q’s puppet actors are ready to steal the show

The human actors who’ll bring Avenue Q to the stage of Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre from July 5 to 29 are already hard at work. They’ll invest over 100 hours in the production before the high intensity of tech week begins June 28, according to Theatre president Carolyn Kirby. But, she says, you’ll hardly have eyes for them.