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Creature Feature

Chesapeake Bay gets a summer show

Go out on the Bay this summer and you’re likely to see dolphins. Not just two or three but huge pods of the big aquatic mammals, arcing out of the roiled water.     Dolphins are familiar sights on ocean horizons. Not so much in the Chesapeake, though they are seasonal visitors.

A barking good time for all at Quiet Waters Park

On a perfect June day, more than 2,200 humans and their canine companions showed their support for the Anne Arundel County SPCA at the 25th annual Walk for the Animals, rescheduled from its original torrentially rainy May date.     Humans and canines of all shapes and sizes teamed up at the record-breaking event June 19 at Quiet Waters Park for a 5K run and walk. The fur was flying all morning as dogs — both large and small, fluffy and fuzzy — strutted their stuff along the park paths.

After rescue and recuperation, turtles released on World Sea ­Turtle Day

After seven months of swimming circles doing rehab in the pools at the National Aquarium, two juvenile green sea turtles have returned to the open wilds of the ocean, stronger and healthier.     The duo swam into the waters off Assateague Island National Seashore on June 16. The date marked World Sea Turtle Day and coincided with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Turtle Week as well as the National Park Service’s centennial and the Aquarium’s Animal Care Center’s 25th anniversary.

Scientists refute their reputation as oyster bandits

The rays are back. Anglers and paddlers are already spotting schools — sometimes called fevers — of cownose rays in Bay waters.     Perhaps this year they will be met with a warmer welcome than in years past thanks to a long-awaited acquittal for their impacts on wild oyster populations.

A Senior Dog Sanctuary retiree can be your new best friend

Parents assure their children that the old family dog was taken to a farm with lots of new friends and green grass. Most of us know how that really turned out. Now there really is a farm for senior dogs, a sanctuary at that.     Val Lynch is a doctor and rescuer of dogs. In April 2015, the Lynch family mission expanded to old dogs in need. Now battered, beaten and abandoned elders have a special place at the ­Senior Dog Sanctuary of Maryland.

But not so great for forests

Robins and sparrows sing the praises of our unending rain. Their beaks and bellies are filled with wriggling worms.     Earthworms surface as wet conditions make easy work of relocating. No, worms don’t come up to escape drowning. They are capable of surviving several days submerged.     The vibration of raindrops sounds like the predatory rumble of moles looking for a snack, causing the worms to head for the surface, where fishermen and hungry birds find them. Some birds have shifted to eating an earthworm-only diet.

Goats are fuel-efficient lawn-care specialists

Removing noxious weeds and invasives can be grueling. Imagine having to pull, cut and clear over 30-plus acres.     Good thing goats are happy to do the job for us. Two new gals are on the meadow management team at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. The pair come from Kinder Farm Park’s 4-H program.     “Celeste and Ginger, who were named by a public vote, have been here a week and have already eaten up all the vegetation in their first pen,” says volunteer coordinator Mel Fegler, whose usual helpers are human.

Happy Mothers Day to Linne’s two-toed sloth Ivy

Does Hallmark make cards for sloth mothers? Not likely, so let’s send a special Happy Mother’s Day wish to Ivy at the National Aquarium. Ivy, a Linne’s two-toed sloth, gave birth to a baby girl, named Fern, two weeks ago.     The baby sloth is the newest ­addition to the Upland Tropical Rain Forest and the sixth sloth born at the National Aquarium.     “We’re thrilled to welcome Fern,” says Ken Howell, curator of the Rain Forest exhibits.

Beekeepers know it takes a healthy Earth to build a healthy hive

Spending your free time with thousands of stinging insects may seem odd. But love is a funny thing, and passion arises unbidden from unlikely sources.     Across Bay Country, devotees of the humble honeybee lovingly tend their hives and work to help them thrive. At the same time, beekeepers are caught up in an impassioned fight to protect bees.

Celebrate Calvert Marine Museum’s favorite mammal

A trip to the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons is only complete once you have visited the resident river otter, Squeak.     Squeak plays in an 8,000-gallon freshwater tank that features windows both indoors and outdoors. Since the death of his companion Bubbles, Squeak has been the only otter at the Marsh Walk exhibit. That’s about to change.