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      Nature Report: Crawling Creatures

      The menacing rattle of a big diamondback cuts thru the early morning calm. The tell tale buzz sends a potent warning not to approach the coiled serpent. Perhaps it would be best to leave this end of the pond to the sunning rattler.

      The warmth of summer has brought out the creatures that crawl, and South Texas is home to an impressive array of fascinating snakes, lizards and insects.

      As the rising sun warms the sandy soil, the Texas horned lizards begin scampering about, and while they may look a bit formidable in their spiky armor, the horny toad is no danger to man. The shy lizards don't bite or sting, and if they can't scamper away, they will bury themselves in the sand to escape predators.

      The long-horned beetle may look somewhat fearsome as it scuttles along with its extravagant antennae, but they too are harmless. These beetles are content to crawl, but when the need arises they are capable flyers.

      Another creature you may discover as the shadows lengthen is the centipede, and while an encounter with one can be a painful experience they pose little threat if you remember to shake out your boots. This six inch specimen is probing the recesses of an old deer skull. They are remarkably long lived insects and have been documented to reach six years of age.

      One colorful crawler you definitely want to avoid is the coral snake. They are extremely venomous, but are not likely to bite unless provoked. Most accidents occur when people foolishly attempt to handle them.

      The South Texas wildlands are home to many intriguing creatures that crawl, and even the ones that bite and sting are worthy of respect.