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The groundhog is probably the most commonly known mammal in our region that goes through a true hibernation. Hibernating is what certain animals do to survive extreme weather.

Winter is approaching fast. Many animals have migrated or acquired a thicker coat to prepare for the cold, while others animals are getting ready to hibernate.

What does hibernate mean? Hibernating is what certain animals do to survive extreme weather. It's an interesting adaptation that is a state of inactivity. The animal's heart and breathing rates go down as well as their body temperature. This allows the animal to use very little energy through the cold months.

Why is this beneficial for the animal?

During the winter, food can be very hard to find. It becomes more stressful and draining for the animal to constantly forage or search, usually coming up empty handed. Because of this, spending more time asleep or in a state of hibernation gives the animal a higher chance of su… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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Naturalist Leslie Wilhoit holds a corn snake.

When I tell people I am a naturalist, I usually get weird looks because they aren't entirely sure what that entails.

Whenever I try to explain what exactly I do, it is really hard to put it in words. The easy answer for me is simply, everything. A naturalist's job can incorporate many different things, depending on where you work.

At Charlotte Nature Museum we have three naturalists. We have large programs we are in charge of but on a daily basis we do roughly the same things. For example, I am in charge of public programs, class curriculum and Butterfly Pavilion, but the other naturalists help me with daily upkeep.

Because there is a lot to do at the Museum, we have many checklists and scheduled programs to make sure we get everything thing done in a timely manner.

Every day … Keep reading.

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Charlotte Nature Museum Members enjoy exclusive access to the Museum for Spinning Spiders & Creepy Crawlers, our October Creature Feature.

From ghosts and superheroes to witches and princesses, our littlest Charlotte Nature Museum Members trick-or-treated their way into our hearts at Saturday's Boo Bash.

Boo Bash gave Members exclusive access to the Museum for Spinning Spiders & Creepy Crawlers, our October Creature Feature. They enjoyed arts and crafts, face painting, storytelling, mini golf and live animal encounters, all before the Museum opened to the public.

Check out our slideshow at right to see photos from this spook-tacular event.

Not a Member? Click here to discover the benefits.…

Filed Under: In the Museum
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The flying squirrel might be the animal that is hardest to see at the Museum. Flying squirrels are arboreal, or tree dwelling, so they like to make nests up high. They are also nocturnal animals, so they are awake at night and sleep during the day.

Many animals at Charlotte Nature Museum are out and about when you visit, while some are more of a challenge to see.

But there is a clear reason for this. Most of the animals that don't move often or are hidden are nocturnal animals.

Nocturnal animals are awake at night and sleep during the day. (Animals that are awake during the day are called diurnal.)

Some of our animals that are nocturnal include the flying squirrel, skunk and opossum. Because the Museum is only open during the day, our nocturnal animals typically are sleeping or hiding while visitors are here.

The flying squirrel might be the animal that is hardest to see at the Museum. Flying squirrels are arboreal, or tree dwelling, so they like to make nests up high.

Our flying squirrel prefers to make a small nest … Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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A Charlotte Nature Museum naturalist cleans a young water snake that was caught in a glue trap.

Although commonly used for pest control in homes and commercial buildings, glue traps can have unintended consequences for wildlife, something that Charlotte Nature Museum had a run in with recently.

A woman brought in a small snake stuck in a trap, which we quickly identified as a juvenile water snake. The snake was so saturated in the glue, it could not move. Its jaw was disjointed and stuck in an awkward, painful-looking position.

Naturalists immediately went to work on the snake, gently rubbing mineral oil onto its shiny scales while prying it away from the glue.

Once extracted from the trap itself, more work was still in store. The glue had encased the snake in a thick, gummy mess.

After more than an hour of concentrated work, the water snake was finally cleared of all… Keep reading.

Filed Under: The Wild Around Us
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Whether it was a nature walk, habitat building, fishing or creek crawling, Summer Camps at Charlotte Nature Museum are messy, sweaty, silly, educational and, above all, unforgettable.

The Summer Camp season recently end, which makes me very sad.

I enjoy Summer Camps so much; it's probably my favorite time of the year.

We have a lot of different kinds of Camps here for kids from ages 3 - 10 years old. Most of this season, I have had the pleasure of helping teach the Camps for Pre-K and Rising Grades 4 - 5.

From day to day, the themes change but the fun and excitement stays the same.

For the youngest Campers we spend a lot of time talking about the differences between types of animals and being able to identify them by sight. We went on a lot of nature walks to find birds, bugs, and every once in a while we would see reptiles or mammals.

The Campers loved finding animals, whether out in nature or on exhibition in the Museum, and always enjoyed making craft… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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