Rudy Mancke


Naturalist Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene which began it's long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Before coming to television, Rudy served as the natural history curator at the South Carolina State Museum for 10 years, and was a high school biology and geology teacher. He earned a degree at Wofford College, attended graduate school at the University of South Carolina, and received honorary doctorate degrees from the College of Charleston, Winthrop College, and Wofford College.

Rudy Mancke currently hosts NatureNotes on both SCETV and South Carolina Public Radio.

Contact Rudy Mancke

Ways to Connect

Snakes and Lizards

Jun 6, 2018
A Black Rat Snake.
Stephen Lody Photography [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Listeners report sights of snakes... and of an snake "impersonator."

Spotted Wintergreen

Jun 5, 2018
Spotted Wintergreen in flower, with fruit.
dogtooth77 [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Spotted Wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) is a "lovely little plant."

Cannonball Jellyfish

Jun 4, 2018
Cannonball Jellyfish at Smyrna Dunes Park.
Andrea Westmoreland [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Found on Folly Beach...

A Bard Owl
John Triana [CC BY 3.0 US], Regional Water Authority,

Why would Crows harass Bard Owls?

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly
James Holland [CC BY-NC 3.0 US],

A listener spots a Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly.

A Brown-Headed Cowbird [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A Brown-Headed Cowbird is a brood parasite.

Wood Storks

May 29, 2018
Wood Stork
Irene Atkinson,

A listener spots a pair of Wood Storks...

Mantis Shrimp

May 28, 2018
A Mantis Shrimp
Roy L. Caldwell, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley (National Science Foundation) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This shrimp has front appendages reminiscent of the those on a Praying Mantis.

Heart Urchin

May 25, 2018
A Heart Urchin, Brissus latecarinatus.
Philippe Bourjon [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

An interesting find on Fripp Island...

Ring Necked Pheasant

May 24, 2018
A Ring Necked Pheasant
Becky Matsubura [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A beautiful bird spotted in Ridgeway--is it native?

The Southern House Spider
Edward L. Manigault [CC BY 3.0 US], Clemson University Donated Collection,

A mighty big spider in the basement...

The White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar
Distant Hill Garden [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The bristles on this caterpillar can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Lyre Leaf Sage
Scott.zona [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flicr

Listeners ask about two plants with descriptive common names.

The Snake on the Porch

May 18, 2018
Eastern Garter snake, Florida.
Glenn Bartolotti via Wikimedia Commons

The Eastern Garter snake is common in South Carolina.

The Wool Sower Gall

May 17, 2018
A Wool Sewer Gall.
Jessica Lucia [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

This fuzzy gall is always found on White Oaks.

The Tulip Tree

May 16, 2018
A Tulip Tree in flower.
Erica Maxine via Pixabay

One common name for this tree is "Tulip Poplar." However, it is not in the poplar family, but in the magnolia.

SC Public Radio

Woodpeckers will sometimes compete for already-existing holes.

Chinese Privet
Chris Evans, University of Illinois,

Privet, or Ligustrum japonicum, is a naturalized plant, and can be hard to control. Its flower has a strong, sweet odor.

Red Salamander

May 11, 2018
A Northern Red Salamander.
John Clare [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

You'll find this salamander mostly on the Piedmont and in the mountains, sometimes on the Coastal Plain.

A Summer Tanager.
Julian Londono, Flickr

Whether passing through or nesting here for the summer, there are lots of species returning to South Carolina right now.

A Metallic Wood-Boring Beetle.
John Flannery [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

A Dorchester listener, walking in the park, spots an interesting insect...

Butterflies Are Out!

May 8, 2018
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly.
Peter Miller via Flickr

Monarchs, Zebra Swallow Tails, Black Swallows, and many more are out.

Snake in the Attic

May 7, 2018
SC Public Radio

A listener finds a "snake skin" in the attic...

Backyard Snakes

May 4, 2018
A Dekay's snake (Storeria dekayi), aka Brown snake.
David Cappaert,

Brown Snakes and Red-Bellied Snakes are common in backyards.

The Sora

May 3, 2018
The Sora (Porzana carolina) is a small waterbird, of the family Rallidae, sometimes also referred to as the Sora Rail or Sora Crake.
Mike Baird [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

This species is found around fresh water marshes and flooded fields.

Wheelbug nymphs and eggs.
Fat Gordy at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

A gang of recently-hatched wheel bugs emerge from their egg mass... "Kinda scary."

Sweet Leaf Galls

May 1, 2018
Symplocos tinctoria, Common Sweetleaf.
James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society, [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Horse Sugar, or, Sweet Leaf plants are the only host for Sweetleaf galls.

Green Tree Frog

Apr 30, 2018
American Green Tree Frog
Brett Hondow [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

This frog's range is expanding from the Coastal Plain to the Piedmont.

Gibraltar Import

Apr 27, 2018
Giant Fennel
James Gaither [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

A listener brings a plant home to the Lowcountry from Gibraltar, and it's thriving!