It's not just human beings who love living here in Maryland. Many creatures -- furry, feathered, and fishy -- all call Maryland home. However, not all of these animals have gotten the opportunity to thrive. There are endangered and threatened species fighting to make a living in the Old Line State. Take some time to learn about these 3 fellow Marylanders that need a little help to get by!
What's brown, slimy, and hiding in the waterways of Maryland? The hellbender, of course! Don't let the scary name fool you. These creatures are large salamanders that have no interest in harming humans. Pollution and urban development have made life harder for these guys, but so has an interest in collecting unusual species. You can admire one of these amazing amphibians safely at the Maryland Zoo if you want to see one for yourself!
2. Little brown bat
Bats are another creature that get a bad rap for being scary. But in reality, bats do a lot for us. They keep insect populations down (including by eating mosquitos -- thanks!) and provide food for other creatures. However, a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome has decimated bat populations all over the country. You can do your part by being mindful of where you go caving so you don't contribute to the spread.
3. Piping plover
Small and quick, you may have seen a piping plover on your last trip to Ocean City. (Ever see the short 'Piper' by Pixar? These guys look very similar.) This cute shorebird calls the shores of Assateague Island home; in fact, that's the only breeding site in the state that they use! That's why it's so important to pay attention to the restrictions on beaches during the breeding season. If the sign says keep out, keep out!