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Fireflies are a sure sign of the approaching summer. These amazing bugs light up the night using an incredible ability called bioluminescence, which means

Have you ever spotted a firefly? Fireflies are a sure sign of the approaching summer season.

These amazing bugs light up the night using an incredible ability called bioluminescence, which means “living light.” But that’s not the only thing fascinating about fireflies…

What is a firefly?

Firefly is a common name for a very large group of beetles. There are more than 2,000 species of beetles with similar glowing abilities and behavior all over the world. Around Charlotte, you’ll hear them called lightning bugs or fireflies. There are over 40 species of firefly native to our area alone!… Keep reading.

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Despite its small size, this young gray squirrel is ready to be on its own. Most mammals have a very short childhood.

Spring is the season of new life. Around Charlotte, there are lots of new babies arriving every day. Many animals start the next generation in this season of plentiful resources.

While a baby might look too young to be on its own, many animals — especially mammals — have a relatively short childhood. It’s important to leave these youngsters where they belong so they can establish territories and grow into adults.

What animal babies can we expect to encounter in Charlotte? How can we tell if they’re safe to be out on their own? The answer varies by species.

Grey squirrels (Sciurus caro… Keep reading.

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While bees gather nectar, they also pick up pollen. As they move from flower to flower, they spread the necessary cells that the plants need to reproduce and create their own offspring, encapsulated in seeds within fruits.

Queen Charlotte isn't the only one looking forward to spring! This season is an exciting time for humans and animals alike.

The change of seasons brings warmer temperatures and more sunlight for longer periods. This difference from the winter season of cold and short days triggers physical and behavioral changes in many living things.

The increase in temperature causes many plants to grow much more quickly, creating more food for most animals.

Many flowering plants switch into high gear in response to increased sunlight conditions, growing their reproductive systems, flowers. These fl… Keep reading.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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