Living In A Forest
In our neighborhood of over 700 homes, we have a very diverse group of residents, but did you know you have many more neighbors than pay HOA dues? No, I am not ranting about delinquent homeowners, but calling attention to our furry friends calling our backyards home. You see, we live in a forest here in CHP, the Harbison State Forest to be exact. And if you take a few minutes to enjoy the walking trails we are so lucky to have, you will see the vast amount of wildlife we live with here.
Some of the more frequent visitors you probably see on the daily are our beautiful squirrels, opossums and raccoons. It makes sense we have so many tree dwelling mammals with all these trees, but did you know that they actually help the trees as well? They consume the fruit and nuts on our local trees and help spread those seeds farther than the wind, helping keep our tree populations healthier.
Other common faces you have probably discussed on our local Facebook page are the snakes. We are home to 38 different species of snake here in South Carolina and only 6 of them are venomous. But don’t worry, according to DNR, “The venomous species tend to be secretive and are less frequently encountered. All snakes are nonaggressive when left alone.”
Our Flying Friends
Here in Chestnut Hill we are also home to an amazing assortment of birds from the bright red of the Summer Tanager to the screeching of our local Barn Owl. On any morning you can take a walk down to the clubhouse and spot 15 to 20 different bird species flying and singing around you, not including the geese and ducks floating on our ponds. I personally have seen the Bald Eagles that nest and call our neighborhood home, flying around near the clubhouse as well as the Great Blue Heron that seems to enjoy fishing early in the mornings. Having a such a diverse bird population is an amazing blessing for us as many of our local friends are considered endangered, so make sure you stop and listen to their songs!
Coming back to the ground, you will find we still haven’t really touched the amount of neighbors we have here that haven’t seen the ending to Game Of Thrones. Take the Whitetail Deer, they are so common we have to hunt them to keep their population under control, or they start to want to marry their sisters and that just ain’t right! But don’t fret, to make up for the hunting seasons every year, we named the White-tailed deer the official state animal in 1972.
Beavers, coyotes and wild hogs call our hood home and can create mayhem with our natural resources if we do not keep them in check. If you are lucky you may also spot a Spotted or Striped Skunk as well as the beauty of the Red Fox.
Then if you look down you will find we are home to some of the biggest, baddest, loudest insects in the nation! Speaking of loud, have you ever seen a Cicada, they look like aliens?! Millipedes and Spinybacked Orbweavers can be found coming out as the sun goes down and if you stand under our streetlights you will see so many moths you might think it is a Hitchcock movie. One moth that always makes me laugh is the small bird dropping moth. Yep, it really does look like bird poop.
With so many native animals sharing the few square miles that make up CHP I could go on for pages, but to see a full list of local wildlife click here. We the residents of Chestnut Hill are fortunate to call the Harbison State Forest home and share the wonders of life with our smaller neighbors. So please remember that the next time the driver in front of you stops to help that turtle cross the road, we all live here together.