Micranthes virginiensis (also called Saxifraga virginiensis)
The name "saxifrage" means "rock-breaker." The meaning of the name helps you remember the habitat of early saxifrage—rock outcroppings, ledges, glades, and bluffs. In Missouri, it blooms February through June.
This large, slender, nonvenomous snake usually escapes in an explosive burst of speed. It is fast-moving and thrashes when captured, which led to the stubborn myth that this snake can whip a person to death.
The eastern collared lizard is colorful and has a long tail. If surprised in an open area with no rock crevices nearby to dart into, it often runs on its hind limbs with the forward part of the body held upright.
The eastern musk turtle is one of the world’s smallest turtles. It has a dark, domed upper shell and reduced lower shell. It occurs along our Mississippi River counties and in the southern two-thirds of the state.
The eastern river cooter is a broad-shelled aquatic turtle with a seemingly small head. It is most abundant in the rivers and sloughs of southern Missouri but also has taken up residence in some of our large reservoirs.
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