Each of the animals listed here has a question for you: If I tell you where I am in the Chesapeake watershed this winter, can you tell me who I am?

Blue Crab
Little Brown Bat
Oyster Toadfish
Painted Turtle
River Otter
Tundra Swan

1. I am buried in the mud in the bottom of a pond or stream. I am not breathing, although I may absorb some oxygen through my skin if the conditions are right.

2. I am buried in the mud or sand at the bottom of some of the deepest sections of the Bay. Only my eye stalks and breathing channels can be seen.

3. I’m a tiny creature, but my burrow — which can be more than 10 feet long — is not. It is well-stocked with seeds and nuts for me to snack on. It is lined with a blanket of leaves to keep me warm.

4. I am chilling out in shallow fresh or brackish (slightly salty) water of the Chesapeake and its tidal rivers. I come here every winter to eat the Bay’s grasses, as well as any wheat or grain I can find in farm fields. I’ll stay here until there are warmer temperatures and food back home.

5. I am “hanging” out with others of my kind in a cave or unused mine with high humidity and temperatures above freezing. Please do not disturb me. Waking up uses a lot of my stored energy. If it happens too often in winter, I may not have enough to survive until spring.

6. My body turns into a furry toboggan in winter, when you can find me sliding along the ice or down slopes for hundreds of yards, using my back feet as paddles when necessary. I spend a lot of time in icy water, too. If there are not enough holes in the ice, I might dig a hole in a beaver dam to get to open water.

7. I join all of my other roommates in the hive. We keep warm by eating honey and “shivering” our flight muscles, which creates heat. We take turns moving from the outside of our cluster to the inside so none of us gets too cold.

8. Come winter, I’ll move from my summer home in shallow waters among oyster reefs, wrecks or other dark, secluded spots to the Bay’s deeper channels.


1. Painted Turtle
2. Blue Crab
3. Chipmunk
4. Tundra Swan
5. Little Brown Bat
6. River Otter
7. Honeybee
8. Oyster Toadfish