April 18, 2013
Posted By: Ask a Naturalist
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 plants. Native plants are well suited to your soil and climate. In North Carolina, the widespread use of non-native plants is threatening the population of native plants.
There are... Keep reading.
Its that time of year again where it seems with each turn, we encounter one of our favorite animals to fear: the lovely spider.
The truth is I am actually very fond of these little guys; they play such an important role in the ecosystem and are often not given enough credit by us humans. In fact, just this morning, I was observing numerous spiders creating intricate insect catching systems in my backyard. In the short five minutes I was outside, I discovered a small triangulate orb weaver (Verrucosa arenata) in the grass, a small cluster of basilica spiders (Mecynogealemniscata) in the process of weaving and a beautiful black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) dangling from her web. These spiders are known for creating a zigzag down... Keep reading.
Summer is in full swing! And, I think there is nothing more relaxing than sitting outside on a warm summer night watching the lightening bugs put on their show. However, these beautiful nights are often accompanied by sweltering hot days than can sometimes be a little more than just uncomfortable. Many humans, as well as animals often find themselves constantly seeking shade and refreshing water during these extra hot days.
Shade can be found in many places where there are towering structures, but nothing can compare to the natural shade trees provide. Trees provide cool and well-lit areas where people can continue to participate in favorite summer recreational activities without the worry of overheating... Keep reading.
Well, spring has sprung and Museum Naturalists are fielding calls about orphaned wildlife. Contrary to popular belief, most baby animals have not been abandoned; parents will leave the nest to search for food and will often remain hidden if you are nearby.
If you should happen upon a baby animal that you believe is an orphan, do not disturb the nest.
First, find a hiding spot and watch for the parents to return; depending on the species the parents may be away for a few minutes or a couple of hours.
If after several hours you have not seen the parent return, call either your local Department of Natural Resources or a local wildlife rehabilitator. These organizations will provide instructions as to the best way to deal with your specific situation. ... Keep reading.
How much do you know about local wildlife and what they do to survive the cold season? Take the following quiz and test your knowledge (check back next week for the answers).
With Charlotte enduring one of the coldest winters on record we cannot help but wonder how local wildlife is faring. Some animals will migrate; others will hibernate, while others will stay around and find out how to stay warm well fed and safe during the cold winter months.
1. How do chipmunks spend the winter?
a. Migrate, they head south for warmer weather
b. Pupate, they metamorphose and form a pupa
c. Hibernate, they become inactive and go into a state of dormancy with a slower breathing and heart rate and a change in body temperature
d. All of the above
2. How do most insects... Keep reading.
Regular visitors to our Museum have no doubt seen or heard one of our four-legged visitors on the Paw Paw Nature Trail
a white-tailed deer.
The many deer you may have seen frequently enters and exits the Museums grounds of its own accord. Deer have a range of approximately two square miles and often seek refuge in areas providing shelter, food and water. The natural supply of nuts and woody material on the Paw Paw Nature Trail and nearby greenway, and the abundant water supply from Little Sugar Creek create an ideal habitat. The neighborhood surrounding the Museum has a significant white-tailed deer population with regular reports of sightings of individuals and groups in residential backyards.
Please resist the urge to feed the deer in your backyard or... Keep reading.