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One of these animals is poisonous and the other is venomous. Do you know the difference?

Did you know that venomous and poisonous are not the same thing?

A lot of times, we use the word poisonous as a blanket term for all animals that have toxins that can hurt us, but venomous and poisonous are actually very different things.

Let's start with poisonous. You may have heard this word many times. An animal that is poisonous can hurt you if you touch it or eat it. The animal itself is the thing that is toxic.

A lot of poisonous animals are frogs and salamanders. Toxins seep out of the pores all over their skin. If you were to touch them, you could get the toxins on your fingers and they would be absorbed into your skin. This is also why we should not eat poisonous animals; it's an even quicker way to get the toxins into your body.

On the other hand, venomous animals h… Keep reading.

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For a lot of people, spring is a time of growth, warmer weather and the sniffles. What about spring causes us to have to keep a packet of tissues handy at all times? In a word: allergies.

For a lot of people, me included, spring is a time of growth, warmer weather and the sniffles.

So what about spring, in particular, causes us to have to keep a packet of tissues handy at all times? In a word: allergies.

What this means is that our bodies have had a bad reaction to something. For example, some people are allergic to peanuts or dairy, and when they eat or touch it, their body tries to get rid of or protect them from it.

The severity of an allergic reaction can vary. If you have a minor allergy to something, coming in contact with the item can cause you to sneeze, get a runny nose or have itchy eyes.

What causes most springtime allergies? Pollen!

Pollen is tiny little grains that trees, grasses and weeds emit to make new plants. Certain plants release pollen i… Keep reading.

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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 warm during their long winter’s nap.

• Why did the snake cross the road? To get to its winter den! These cold-blooded animals have no way to keep warm when the temperatures drop, so you’re more l… Keep reading.

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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 for their nutrition.

Mosquitoes do not actually bite; instead, they pierce and suck. Their mouth, called a proboscis, acts like a straw.

Only female mosquitoes require a blood meal and feed on … Keep reading.

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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 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 a variety of … Keep reading.

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Weaving a wonderful web

It’s 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 their webs that is sometimes referred t… Keep reading.

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