This week has brought a parade of baby reptiles throughout the Preserve including some very adorable red belly snakes, hognose snakes, ring-neck snakes and snapping turtles. These babies have some big obstacles to overcome before winter arrives. On their way to wintering sites, burrows and ponds, baby reptiles are easy snacks for many animals. The cold nights of late summer and fall slow their movements and they seek warm basking spots in conspicuous areas to warm up in the mornings. That’s when we see them on the trail or on our porches and driveways. That little bit of sun will warm their bodies so they can continue their journeys. Their parents aren’t nearby watching and teaching them how to do all of these things, so they must rely on their instincts. If you encounter one of these beautiful creatures, wish them well and leave them to follow their instinctual path. Removing them or trying to over-winter them in captivity will likely cause them many more problems than we think. While good intentioned, these actions set the animal back precious warm days needed to find the perfect wintering site.