Blog About Us Membership Support Us
Resident groundhog Queen Charlotte predicted an early spring!
Chipmunks and ground squirrels are among the few animals that truly hibernate.

As the weather turns cold, many animals have gone into hibernation to get through the winter.

But hibernation isn't the only type of dormancy an animal can experience, and winter isn't the only time of year animals might go to sleep or reduce their activity to survive.

The environment that an animal lives in affects their dormancy behavior greatly.

Animals might go through hibernation, brumation or estivation (aestivation). These terms can be confusing because there are similarities between them all, but there are distinct details that make each process different.

Most people are f… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
Post a Comment
Opossums are known for their strong sense of smell. As an enrichment activity, Museum naturalists might hide the opossum's food in a box so she can smell her meal and scavenge for it just like she would in the wild.

Have you ever walked through Creature Cavern and wondered about the interesting objects in the animal enclosures?

Sometimes you might see large cardboard boxes, branches, snake sheds or hanging toys where our animal residents live.

It may look like these objects do not belong in there, but in fact they do! The other Naturalists and I put these objects in with the animals to give them enrichment. 

Enrichment is a way to keep animals active, thinking and exploring, just like they do in nature. It is important that our animals continue to use their natural instincts and behaviors, even t… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
Post a Comment
Marvin Bouknight, Charlotte Nature Museum director, names the Eastern Screech Owl as his favorite Museum resident.

Maybe you can't ask a mother to choose her favorite child, but you can ask a naturalist to choose a favorite animal!

Although we don't play favorites when it comes to caring for the animals that live at Charlotte Nature Museum, certain animals hold a unique appeal for our equally unique staff members.

Marvin Bouknight, director
I have been interested and excited about any and all wildlife as long as I remember. When I was 13 years old, I saw a film in school about owls and became fascinated by them and the ornithologists that were studying them. Knowing that I was interested in birds an… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
Post a Comment
Hibernating animals such as groundhogs gorge themselves during fall harvest season to build up reserves of fat that will keep them warm during their long winter’s nap.

Autumn is officially here – time for raking leaves, sipping pumpkin lattes, putting together Halloween costumes and trading shorts and swimsuits for pants and jackets.

But humans aren’t the only ones who prepare for a seasonal change. Our furry, feathered and scaly friends know it’s fall too.

Here are some changes in local wildlife behavior you might notice:

• Both farmers and animals are busy during fall harvest season. Hibernating animals such as groundhogs, chipmunks and bears feast on nature’s buffet of berries, apples, nuts and seeds to build up reserves of fat that will keep them w… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
Post a Comment
Mosquitoes can carry and transmit diseases, so it’s important to find a way to keep these pests off of you.

Mosquitoes have been out full force this year due to the extremely wet summer, so our naturalists have been fielding lots of questions about them. They are fascinating creatures!

Some mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of stagnant water, while others lay their eggs in damp soil where flooding will occur. Once they hatch from eggs, young mosquitoes need water to grow into their larval, pupal and adult stages. We’re most familiar with the adult mosquito, which does not reside in water but travels to find food.

Both male and female mosquitoes rely on nectar-producing plants and flower f… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
Post a Comment
Want more backyard gardening tips? Be sure to stop by the Museum this Saturday for Earth Day Play Date.

Spring has sprung and it’s time to start your spring gardening!

When planning and planting your spring garden, you want to keep several things in mind.

Make sure you plant something that is non-invasive. You don’t want your yard or garden taken over by an aggressive plant.

Avoid poisonous plants. Believe it or not, there are many plants where some or all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested. Keep this in mind if you have children or pets that will be in your yard. Know the plants you are planting, and find out if they would be a danger in your yard.

Try to stick with native p… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
Post a Comment

Top Contributors

Ask a Naturalist

Post a question, make a comment.

16 Posts

From the Director

Marvin Bouknight

3 Posts

Nikki Panos


2 Posts