Listen to "Reptiles in Winter" on Pinnacle Points.
During the winter, squirrels are congregating in their leafy nests, birds are migrating, but what about the reptiles at Pinnacle Mountain State Park? They are entering brumation!
Yes, even juvenile Stinkpot Turtles need to brumate during the winter.
Credit Matthew Friant
Brumation is when cold-blooded animals, such as reptiles and amphibians, enter a hibernation-like state during the winter; however, they don’t sleep the whole time! On warm days during the winter, you can find snakes, lizards, and turtles soaking up the sun on Pinnacle Mountain or on the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers. But when it gets brutally cold, snakes and lizards will be burrowed into rock crevices, rotten logs, and leaves, while aquatic turtles will be submerged in mud on the bottom of rivers and streams to help insulate themselves from the cold. Many reptiles won’t eat for weeks, or even months, during this time, surviving off of fat stores and an extremely low metabolism. When they emerge in mid to late March, the reptiles of Pinnacle Mountain State Park will be out and about, warming up and getting ready for the New Year!
Juvenile Banded Water Snake (non-venomous) emerging as the temperature warms.
At Pinnacle Mountain State Park, the trees have knees. The Bald Cypress trees, at least. These giant, water-loving trees grow in and around the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers, and play an important role in the life of the park’s lowland forests.
Long before Pinnacle Mountain State Park became a park, two of Arkansas’s most famous writers lived in a house near its base. The house, which sits next to Chief White Horse stable, was called Remembrance Farm. The writers who lived there were John Gould Fletcher and his wife, Charlie May Simon.
Geologists from all over the world come to explore Pinnacle Mountain State Park’s unique geological formations, and many have described the park as “pure geographical chaos.”
Pinnacle Mountain, and Little Rock itself, marks the point where various geographic regions in the state collide, including the Arkansas River Valley, Mississippi Alluvial Plains, Gulf Coastal Plains, and the Ouachita Mountains. This creates an extremely diverse landscape.
Ask around in Central Arkansas and you will run into few people who are unfamiliar with Pinnacle Mountain, or simply, “Pinnacle,” as most locals call it. However, Pinnacle Mountain has not always carried that title.
Pinnacle Mountain State Park has gone through several changes over the past century. In the 1920s, the area’s rocky slopes became the perfect place to harvest shale and sandstone for a variety of construction projects. The eastern slope of Pinnacle Mountain, where the East Summit Trail is today, was the major source of sandstone used to build the Lake Maumelle Dam in 1956. Segments of the East Summit Trail and the Base Trail follow the old quarry roads.