Step outside your home at night in these early summer days, and you just might feel like you’re deep in a tropical jungle. The air is wet, bugs are fluttering about. There’s a constant chime of cicadas and a rhythm of croaking frogs. Something scurries by in the trees above you, shaking the dew off the leaves.
The muggy, warm days bring out the critters we may love or hate, but their presence is a constant reminder of the lushness of south Louisiana. Wildlife thrives here in a way it might not in other urban areas. Just head over to BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp to see for yourself—it’s surrounded on all sides by office parks, townhomes and residential subdivisions. Yet once you step onto the boardwalks above the swampy waters, it feels like you’re far away from the bustle of the city.
For our June cover story, we wanted to dive deep into the wild places of Baton Rouge. From the creature encounters you might have in your own backyard—think snakes, opossums and even foxes—to the exotic animal attractions around us that draw families and visitors, we got up close to it all.
In this month’s pages, we take you to visit the kangaroos, otters and wild cats at Barn Hill Preserve near Ethel, as well as the sharks, stingrays and seahorses of the new Blue Zoo inside the Mall of Louisiana. We even browse through the many curios and animal specimens stored in the LSU Museum of Natural Science, and get tips on photographing wildlife from one of Louisiana’s most renowned outdoor photographers. It’s our hope these stories help you take a second to observe and appreciate all that nature has to offer around us here in Baton Rouge.
Throughout the rest of the magazine, we also have stories on Baton Rouge’s Black Men Run chapter, how the pandemic has increased local pet adoptions, the work that sexual assault services provider STAR is doing in the wake of LSU’s sexual misconduct findings, and so much more. Flip through it all in our digital edition below, or find a print copy at a newsstand near you.
We hope you enjoy the issue, and we’d love to hear all your feedback—whether it’s about your most fascinating animal encounters, or otherwise! Send us an email at [email protected].