Lemmon Lake in the Joppa Preserve is a special place. This unique environment attracts and abundance and variety of wildlife rarely seen anywhere, much less within the city limits of a major metropolitan area like Dallas, Texas.

Lemmon Lake in early June.

One of the most unusual things about this lake is its life-cycle. That’s right, Lemmon Lake lives and its dies. Over the course of long, hot, dry summers Lemmon Lake evaporates away to nothingness, only to fill up again with the coming of rain in the fall, winter, and early spring.

The transitions are important times for the resident wildlife. They provide amazing opportunities for some animals and certain death sentences for others.

Right now Lemmon Lake is about to complete a major step in it life-cycle. It is nearly completely dry. Only two small pools of water remain on the main lake bed.

Dozens of juvenile gar are trapped in these pools with time running out and nowhere to go. But, the rapidly evaporating water will not cause the death of these fish. Instead, it will be the lake’s resident predators. Coyotes, Bobcats, and Feral Hogs will find the lure of these hapless fish irresistible, and they will come to these pools at night to feed.

The video below shows the current state of the lake. You can see the struggling gar in their shrinking pools of water. You can see the long, dry lake bed crisscrossed with the tracks of Coyotes, Bobcats, and Feral Hogs.

After dark the real action begins. Feral Hogs approach the pools cautiously at first, and then more boldly. They wade back and forth through the water trying to snap up the slippery gar in their path. Later, the hogs become curious about my cameras and come over to examine them.

Its a whole other world in the Joppa Preserve after dark.