Visit the reptiles at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
The Gulf Coast region is a perfect place for family vacations, given that there are dozens of attractions and hundreds of things to do in the area. If you're looking to get away from it all, though, Fort Morgan is the Gulf Coast destination of choice. Home to Fort Morgan State Historic Park and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, the area offers plenty to do for families who rent Fort Morgan beach houses - especially if your family is the outdoorsy type.
Looking for some activities to do with the kids? Take a nature walk through Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge's many trails and see if you can spot the various types of reptiles. Lizards, snakes, turtles and alligators will thrill the curious child, and Mom and Dad might just love learning more about these species. Make a checklist with these animals on it before you leave your Fort Morgan beach house.
The biggest reptile of the bunch, the American alligator, might be the most thrilling sight for the kids. This massive species, which is more than 150 million years old, resides mostly in the freshwater rivers, swamps and marshes of the southeastern U.S., so look for it when you're walking through the wetlands of the park.
It's less likely you'll spot one of these turtles than you'll see signs of them. The loggerhead, and to a lesser extent the Kemp's Ridley turtle, nest on the coast of Fort Morgan, and appreciate the dark, quiet beaches of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge during their summer nesting seasons. Look for tire-like tracks in the sand that lead straight out to the water on the Gulf beaches or near Fort Morgan condos.
Unlike the sea turtle, the gopher tortoise lives inland in the forests of this 7,000-acre wildlife refuge, not on the beaches. These long-lived, threatened reptiles tend to burrow deep into the ground, and their burrows are often protected. Look for them in dry parts of the park, like sections of the Pine Beach Trail.
This little lizard's name is self-explanatory - it had five whitish stripes running vertically down its black or dark brown body. Males sometimes have bright orange jaws during breeding season, and young skinks have electric blue tails, but otherwise these lizards generally camouflage well with the maritime forest, swamp or dune habitats. They can grow as long as eight inches.
Eastern glass lizard
You might not recognize this species, especially not for the reptile that it is. The eastern glass lizard is commonly confused with a type of snake, because it is completely legless. It slithers like a snake, but it's different in that it has moveable eyelids, inflexible jaws and ear openings on the outsides of its head. This lizard loves the refuge's wetlands and on the sandy floor of some of the forested areas, as well as its coastal dunes.
You may see other lizards, snakes and turtles while you are visiting Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, too, so bring your camera and a pencil and paper to describe what you see!
Categories: Fort Morgan | Nature & Trails