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

Minks in South Carolina?

50 minutes ago
American mink (Neovison vison)
tsaiproject [CC BY 2.0] via Flicker

The American mink (Neovison vison) is a semiaquatic species of mustelid native to North America, though human intervention has expanded its range to many parts of Europe and South America.

Northern Scarlet Snake

Aug 11, 2020
Northern scarlet snake
Glenn Bartolotti [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Cemophora coccinea, commonly known as the northern scarlet snake, is a species of nonvenomous snake in the family Colubridae. The species is native to the southeastern United States. 

A male tile-horned beetle
cotinus [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Members of the Prionus genus are large and usually brown or black. All members of the genus Prionus have twelve or more strongly toothed or even flabellate antennomeres on their large antennae. Common North American species include the "Tile-horned Prionus", Prionus imbricornis, the "California root borer", Prionus californicus, and the "Broad-necked root borer", Prionus laticollis.

Large Milkweed Bug

Aug 7, 2020
Large milkweed bug
Ryan Hodnett [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Oncopeltus fasciatus, known as the large milkweed bug, is a medium-sized hemipteran (true bug) of the family Lygaeidae. It is distributed throughout North America. It ranges from Central America through Mexico and the Caribbean to southern areas in Canada. Costa Rica represents this insect's southern limit. It inhabits disturbed areas, roadsides and open pastures.

Sleeping Carolina Wren

Aug 6, 2020
A Carolina wren asleep on the porch. [CC BY-NC 4.0]

Immature Carolina wrens will often tuck themselves into the corner of a porch for the night.

An orchard orbweaver spider, Jekyll Island, GA.
gailhampshire [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Leucauge venusta, known as the orchard spider, is a long-jawed orbweaver spider that occurs from southern Canada to Colombia, along the East coast, reaching into the central US ,also in South Asia.The web is often oriented horizontally, with the spider hanging down in the center.

Baby eastern cottontail rabbits in their nest
Jhansonxi [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Some listeners find a nest full of baby rabbits...

Cicada Killer Wasps

Aug 3, 2020
A cicada killer wasp with a cicada.
Bill Buchanan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Adult eastern cicada-killer wasps are large, 1.5 to 5.0 centimetres (0.6 to 2.0 in) long, robust wasps with hairy, reddish and black areas on the thorax (middle part), and are black to reddish brown marked with light yellow stripes on the abdominal (rear) segments. The wings are brownish. Coloration superficially resembles that of some yellowjacket and hornet species.

Painted Buntings

Jul 31, 2020
A male painted bunting
Dan Pancamo [CC BY-SA 2.0]

The painted bunting (Passerina ciris) is a species of bird in the cardinal family, Cardinalidae, that is native to North America. The bright plumage of the male only comes in the second year of life.

Cassis tuberosa (king helmet snail), San Salvador Island, Bahamas
James St. John [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A listener reports finding the beautiful shell. Cassis tuberosa, the king helmet, is a species of very large sea snail with a solid, heavy shell.

Eastern Rat Snake

Jul 29, 2020
An eastern rat snake
Stephen Lody Photography [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

A listener's question: Are rat snakes vulnerable to predators after swallowing large prey?

Kudzu Bugs

Jul 28, 2020
Kudzu bugs, Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Santee, North Carolina
Judy Gallagher [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Megacopta cribraria, also called the bean plataspid, kudzu bug, kudzu beetle, globular stink bug and lablab bug, is a shield bug native to India and China, where it is an agricultural pest of lablab beans and other legumes.

A southern copperhead.
Tom Spinker [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The copperhead is one of South Carolina's two venomous snakes. Rudy shares some tips on how to make the enviroment of your yard less attractive to them.

Cliff Swallow Nests

Jul 24, 2020
Cliff swallows nesting under a bridge.
Marlin Harms, via Wikimedia Commons

Cliff swallows build gourd-shaped nests made from mud with small entrance holes. They build their nests tightly together, on top of one another, under bridges or alongside mountain cliffs. Living in large populations, these aerial insectivores use extensive vocalizations to communicate warnings or food availability to the other individuals.

Eastern narrow-mouthed toad
Missouri Dept. of Conservation

Gastrophryne carolinensis, the eastern narrow-mouthed toad, is a species of microhylid frog. It is a relatively small, toad-like amphibian found in damp, shady habitats. While not a true toad it is so called because it is terrestrial. It is found in the United States, from southern Maryland to the Florida Keys, west to Missouri.