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Golden Gate National Recreation Area Riddles

Last updated about 2 years ago

Test your knowledge about the animals and plants that live in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area!

Ask your friends to read the riddles out loud, then let them figure out which animal or plant is described in each riddle. Click on a thumbnail to see images, videos, quick facts and additional information about each organism.

You can download the riddles (PDF)for printing or displaying on a screen. You can also download a large format poster (PDF, 26 x 22.5 in) with pictures of the organisms.

Play the Memory Game!

Icon: Deer Mouse, Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan

  • 66905_88_88 Plantae > Poaceae

    Distichlis spicata

    Common Saltgrass

    I am broadly distributed in North, Central, and South America.

    I grow in coastal saltmarsh habitats, as well as inland salt flats and other salty soils.

    I am a grass with erect stems that grow to around 30 to 50 cm tall, often in dense stands.

    My leaves have salt glands that help me excrete excess salt.

  • 67014_88_88 Animalia > Varunidae

    Hemigrapsus oregonensis

    Bay Shore Crab

    I have a nearly rectangular upper shell.

    I have visible fringes of "hair" on my legs.

    I feed mainly on seaweeds, especially green algae.

    I am common in salt marshes all along the northern Pacific coast of North America.

  • 72696_88_88 Animalia > Myidae

    Mya arenaria

    Softshell Clam

    My native home is the Atlantic Ocean, but I was introduced to San Francisco Bay by the 1870s and spread as far north as Alaska by the 1950s.

    I live buried in sand or mud.

    I have a hard shell and thick tube-like "siphons" that are used to bring in water, which I filter for food particles then expel.

    Many humans say I am delicious.

  • 78373_88_88 Animalia > Muridae

    Microtus californicus

    California Vole

    I live mainly in California.

    I am found in grassy fields, meadows, and around wetlands.

    I am active mainly during the day, but try to stay hidden from predators in runways I make through the grass and shallow underground tunnels.

    I eat green vegetation when I can, but lots of roots and seeds during the dry summer.

  • 86280_88_88 Animalia > Gobiidae

    Clevelandia ios

    Arrow Goby

    I live in the water along the Pacific coast from Canada to Mexico.

    To keep me safe from predators and drying out, I often live in burrows in mud or sand made by shrimps or worms.

    I am quite small, just around 4 to 6 cm long.

    I feed on tiny bits of algae and invertebrate animals, sometimes placing large food particles near crabs and waiting for them to shred them into pieces I can eat.