If it's wildlife you
can you give you
It seems to be common for the vast majority of the population to fear spiders and snakes and
I've learned well that education and confrontation are the best cures. Unless you try to get bit
by one, spiders will cause no harm and they are quite intriguing to watch. Once I spent
almost an hour watching a spider build and re-build it's web. Now that is some wildlife
watching! One of my favorites is the yellow garden spider. We don't see a lot of them at
ArdPark but when we do they are usually somewhere around the All American cabin. Here at
ArdPark we also see a lot of wolf spiders, spiny-bellied orb weavers and funnel web spiders.
Wolf spiders are often mistaken for tarantulas because they tend to appear somewhat furry.
Learn more about these and other Missouri spiders in the Missouri Department of
Conservation's Guide to Common Missouri Spiders.
Snakes on the other hand, in my opinion, are not beautiful no matter how you slice it! Years
ago, before purchasing the property at ArdPark, I was terrified of snakes and frequently
dreamed about them, but not anymore! Don't get me wrong; they still make me jump and I
don't like them anymore than before, but my fear has passed. Sometimes fear comes simply
from the unknown. Refusing to allow snakes or anything else to put a damper on my
enjoyment of the great outdoors, I came up with a plan. The Missouri Department of
Conservation publishes numerous brochures about snakes and I ordered all that were
available. First, I thought, now that I'll be encountering snakes more often, I better be able to
identify one from another. In the beginning it was difficult to even look at pictures of snakes
but I muddled through and studied hard. Soon I was able to easily identify a copperhead from
a banded water snake, a king snake from a cottonmouth and so on. With the help of my ever
patient husband, each time we saw a snake he encouraged me to get closer and closer and I
did, reviewing it's every pattern and detail. As time marched on, my fears faded and my
dreams stopped completely. These days, when the 6' black snakes are holed up in the wood
pile and in the way of working, I'll pick them up with a stick, put them in a bucket and
transport them to a new temporary home a little ways out in the woods (with a lid on the
bucket of course). Now that is progress! Anybody can do it, with anything they fear. All you
have to do is confront it head on!
Missouri is home to venomous snake species and ArdPark is no stranger to them.
Copperheads are the most common but also the least aggressive, and you may see one at
ArdPark. Can you name Missouri's 5 venomous snakes? Did you know that all snakes swim?
When walking in the woods, should you step on or over logs and big rocks? Find the answers
to those questions and more in the Missouri Department of Conservation's publication
Snakes of Missouri.
More Wildlife Viewing and
Photography Venues in the
Huzzah Conservation Area
This 6,000 plus acre property is managed for a variety of game and non-game
wildlife. Within the Huzzah Conservation Area is the Colonel Plassmayer Wildlife
Viewing Trail which is a segment of the Courtois section of the Ozark Trail. The
remains of the Scotia Furnance and Iron Works are also located on this land.
The Ozark Trail
(Berryman to Steelville, Missouri)
The 40 mile Courtois Section of the Ozark Trail encompasses a portion
of the Berryman loop trail. Hazel Creek and the Berryman Trail are 2
access points close to ArdPark Cabins. The Ozark Trail also runs
through the Huzzah Conservation Area, both of which are wonderful
venues for wildlife viewing and photography.
Area Information and Map
Ozark Trail Association
Pearl G. and John J. Sizemore
Relatively flat woodlands comprise this recently
opened 180 acre area. There is a parking lot. No
John N. and Melba S. Anderson Memorial
This flat terrain area opened to the public in 2007. There are 2
wildlife watering holes on this 340 acre parcel. A parking lot is
available. No developed trails.
Forest land for 337 acres. There is a
parking lot. No developed trails.
Eighty forested acres lie here
just 5 miles south of Steelville.
There is a fire tower and a
wildlife watering hole.
Both cabins at ArdPark include free literature about several different kinds of
wildlife, including spiders and snakes. Please be kind to all wildlife you
may encounter, including spiders and snakes. Do not kill them. They
are an important part of our ecosystem, serve a valuable purpose in the world of
nature and deserve to live as much as you and me. The simple approach is don't
bother them and they won't bother you. Remember that even arachnids flee
when humans come near. And black snakes are really good guys for eating
venomous copperheads and maintaining the mice population.
More Personal Wildlife Photos from
A hungry doe tries to get the very
Turkey get in on the
A doe waits patiently while a raccoon
rules the roost
A spike buck listens closely in
wildlife is a fun
time for us.
like these with a
game camera is
just a bonus!
ArdPark is a
ArdPark property is loaded with
wildlife and so is the Mark
Twain National Forest that
surrounds our cabins and
campground. Quiet guests who
wake up early or stay up late
may see deer, turkey, fox,
raccoons, owls, armadillos,
coyotes, bobcats and even
We've never seen the bobcats or bears but have seen their distinct tracks and more than
one reliable source in the area has caught both on film. We followed an armadillo around
the yard one night and I find it quite entertaining talking to the owls in the evening. The
woods here are also home to large populations of squirrels, woodpeckers, hawks, herons
and a variety of other bird species. We have our fair share of snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs
and spiders too. Any one of these creatures can easily be spotted during the daytime.
Additional wildlife viewing and photography venues on Missouri Conservation
lands are listed below.
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