Here’s a quiz to work on while eating the chocolate and jellybean eggs that the Easter Bunny brought you. Match the animal with the description of its egg.
Black Rat Snake
1. Before laying my eggs (May–June), I build several false nests to confuse any predators searching for my youngsters before they hatch. When I choose the final spot, I usually lay six to eight flexible-shelled eggs that will hatch from September through October. In some areas, my eggs may not hatch until the next spring.
2. My egg case — a small black rectangular pouch with a horn at each corner — often washes up on shore. It is usually empty, although sometimes, I am still inside it. If I am, please put me back in the water. My case is sometimes called a mermaid’s purse.
3. I lay 5–30, smooth-shelled, oblong eggs under logs or leaves, or even in the abandoned burrow of another animal. Although I usually lay just one clutch of eggs a year, I have been known to lay two — if the conditions are right.
4. The color of my eggs is so distinctive that a shade of blue is named for them. After I hatch, my parents will carry the egg shells a distance from the nest to dispose of them to keep the location of the nest a secret from predators.
5. My mother may release up to 20,000 eggs while spawning. We attach to underwater plants until hatching in three to five days. The best water temperature is 75–86 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water gets too hot, we young tadpoles may be born with abnormalities. If the water gets too cold, my egg will not develop and I will not hatch.
6. My tiny egg (less than a 10th of an inch wide and long) is cream to light green with tiny ridges. My mother lays each egg by itself underneath a milkweed leaf. In three to eight days, we will hatch into caterpillars.
7. My egg will have plenty of room. The nest can be as big as 10 feet across. My parents also add greenery to the nest. No one is totally sure why, but some believe that the greenery repels insects or serves as a sign that our nest is in use and well-tended, so others should stay away.
1. Wood Turtle
2. Clearnose Skate
3. Black Rat Snake
4. American Robin
6. Monarch Butterfly
7. Bald Eagle