While attending a music festival in Baltimore, I couldn't help but stop by a natural park nearby. The Patuxent is definitely more of an urbanized park, but a little further in there were some gorgeous wetlands; albeit surrounding by signs that read, "Caution: Unexploded Munitions."
Anyway, the wetlands were teaming with wildlife as there were many amphibians, crayfish, turtles, fish, insects, and even a surprise black rat snake at the bank's edge.
Eastern American Toad
Not a lot to say about this regular staple of the Eastern United States. Toads are voracious insect killing machines and are commonly seen by people near porch lights or in driveways. This is what one looks like in it's natural habitat. As you can see, they're quite camouflaged!
Tiger Beetles in Copulation (mating).
While walking back in easily 100 degree heat coming off the road, I stumbled upon a group of Tiger Beetles mating. These beetles are remarkable as they are one of the fastest animals in the world. Nat Geo recently published an article about how they move so fast they have to stop, because they temporarily go blind due to the speed at which they travel. Bone-on, my Coleopteran friends.
Black Rat Snake
Near the waters edge, I stumbled upon this beautiful fully grown black rat snake. This snake was about 6' in length and spent its entire time trying to flee, only rearing back after grabbing it. These are extremely docile snakes which serve extremely important functions in our ecosystem. Judging by this snake's location, it's likely been helping keep the amphibian population in check.
So really, you can look at this update as a walk through the food web. On the simplistic scale, the frog eats the beetles, the snake eats the frog. If we killed all the snakes, the frogs would overpopulate, eat too many beetles and then eventually starve and drop off and the birds of prey that eat the snakes would also lose that important food item (eagles, hawks, etc).