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.

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Banded water snake
Tom Spinker [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr.

The Banded Watersnake is typical of the Coastal Plain.

An "Unexpected Critter"

Apr 10, 2020
SC Public Radio

Hiking on the Palmetto Trail a listener encounters and Armadillo.

"Spoiling for a Fight"

Apr 9, 2020
An Eastern Cottonmouth snake, agkistrodon piscivorus
Geoff Gallice, Gainesville, FL; via Wikimedia Commons

A listener has an encounter with an Eastern Cottonmouth.

A Cooper's Hawk
TexasEagle [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

A Cooper's Hawk dispatches its prey in an unusual way.

Gill Lice

Apr 7, 2020
SC Public Radio

A fisherman makes an unusual find...


Apr 6, 2020
An anhinga.
Wknight94 [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The scientific name of these "Water Turkeys" is Anhinga anhinga

Mystery Feather

Apr 3, 2020
A black vulture
Tony Hisgett [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A listener finds a feather that most likely belonged to a black vulture.

Painted Bunting

Apr 2, 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; in the first year they can only be distinguished from the female by close inspection.

Eastern Screech Owl

Apr 1, 2020
A Eastern Screech owl
Dick Daniels [CC BY-SA 3.0] Wikimedia Commons

The eastern screech owl or eastern screech-owl (Megascops asio) is a small owl that is relatively common in Eastern North America, from Mexico to Canada. This species is native to most wooded environments of its distribution, and more so than any other owl in its range, has adapted well to manmade development, although it frequently avoids detection due to its strictly nocturnal habits.

North American Beaver

Mar 31, 2020
North American beaver
Ryan Hodnett [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The North American Beaver was once driven to near-extinction.

The House Finch

Mar 30, 2020
A male house finch
John Beson [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Originally only a resident of Mexico and the southwestern United States, they were introduced to eastern North America in the 1940s.

Wheel Bug Eggs

Mar 27, 2020
The egg mass and some newly hatched wheel bugs (Arilus cristatus).
Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

Wheel bugs prey on caterpillars and beetles, such as Japanese beetles, the cabbage worm, orange dogs, tent caterpillars, and the Mexican bean beetle, all of which they pierce with their beak to inject salivary fluids that dissolve soft tissue.

A double-crested cormorant
DaPuglet [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) is a member of the cormorant family of seabirds. Its habitat is near rivers and lakes as well as in coastal areas, and is widely distributed across North America, from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska down to Florida and Mexico.

Netted Chain Fern

Mar 25, 2020
Netted Chain fern
NC Wetlands [CC BY 2.] via Flickr

This species is native to the southeast United States, but ranges all the way up the East Coast of the United States and Canada to southern Nova Scotia. It favors moist, sandy, acid soils, and has appeared in areas in the interior of the US around acid mine seeps, thus being one of the few species to benefit from acid mine drainage.

Eastern Hognose Snake

Mar 24, 2020
Eastern hognose snake
John Brantmeier [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

The defensive behavior of this non-venomous snake makes it seem a threat to humans. It is not.