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Planning a field trip? Our 2014-2015 Education Guide is now available. Click on Education to download. From cake to snakes, Charlotte Nature Museum birthday parties are Wild By Nature.
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Leave a comment to help us choose a name for our new baby alligator.

Snappy, our American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), was homeward bound last week.

Museum Coordinator Gail Lemiec transported him back to Alligator Adventure in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he came from in 2011. We were sorry to see him go but he had grown too large for the exhibit in the Great Hall at Charlotte Nature Museum.

American alligators hatch out of their eggs at about 9.5 inches long and grow about one foot per year until they reach six feet long. Their growth slows down then, but females average 8-9 feet, while males get a little larger at 10-12 feet. In fact, the largest recorded alligator found in North Carolina was 12 feet, 7 inches long. But that is not the largest alligator recorded in the United States, which was found in Mississippi and was a whopping 19 fee… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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A Museum staff member displays a corn snake, a naturally docile breed that is friendly with guests.

One of the coolest animals I get to work with is the snake. We have lots of different species that live at the Museum, including pine, corn, black rat, yellow rat, copperhead, ribbon, northern water, king and garter snakes.

Most of the snakes stay on exhibition in Creature Cavern, but we have a few that we're able to bring out for Animal Encounters. This means you can touch them!

Whenever I handle a snake, the first question a guest usually asks is, "Will it bite?" This is a great question to ask because it's important to maintain the highest level of safety around any animal.

Anything with a mouth can bite — it's true — but people also have mouths and can bite. This doesn't mean we go around biting things all the time, and it's the same way with our snakes.

Snake mainly bite… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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WCNC anchor Larry Sprinkle stopped by the Museum recently to give parents some ideas for entertaining their children this summer.

Check out the video below to see Larry pet an opossum, interview Grandpa Tree, explore the fairy garden in Fort Wild and more!

Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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Copperheads have a distinct hourglass pattern on their skin. Young copperheads also have a bright green tail. Photo credit: Virginia Herpetological Society

We are lucky that we don't have many venomous snakes here in Mecklenburg County. We mostly only have to keep our eyes out for copperheads. So, do you know how to identify one?

There are several ways to tell if a snake is a copperhead, but the easiest and safest way is to look at their pattern. The darker spots on the back of the snake are in an hourglass shape, meaning they are wider on the sides and thinner in the middle.

If you look at a copperhead from the side, the hourglass spots touch the ground. Most similarly patterned snakes have spots that do not reach all the way to the underside of the snake.

Copperheads also have diamond-shaped heads and cat-like eyes. These two characteristics are not as easy to spot as the snake's patterned skin, so it can make identifying much ha… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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Don your wings and fly in this Saturday for the second annual Fairy Festival.

Something's aflutter at Charlotte Nature Museum…

Don your wings and fly in for the second annual Fairy Festival, happening this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

We'll have activities throughout the Museums to celebrate the wonders of spring and delight magical creatures of all ages:

• Discover your fairy or gnome name in the Naturalist Lab
• Get your hand painted in Peetie's Place
• Go on a fairy door scavenger hunt in Creature Cavern
• Strike a pretty pose and have your picture made on a special toadstool in the Great Hall
• Create art with Pixie Playdough on the Deck
• Build a fairy or gnome house along the Paw Paw Nature Trail
• Make your own fairy or gnome wand in Fort Wild
• Blow bubbles in the Fairy Garden

Be sure to stop by Dragonfly Theatre at 10:30 a.m. or 1… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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Despite the myth, mother birds won't abandon their young after they've been touched by a human. Before you consider touching or moving a baby bird, first make sure the animal has truly been abandoned.

We get a lot of calls from worried residents about baby animals, especially this time of year. Spring is the perfect time to see young rabbits, birds and other sorts of native animals around.

But what should we do if we think one has been abandoned or hurt?

First make sure the animal has truly been abandoned. Cottontail rabbits are out of the nest in as little as three weeks, and their mothers only visit the nest to feed. This occurs twice a day for as little as five minutes! You can mark the top of the nest with thin twigs in a tic-tac-toe pattern, and the mother will move the sticks when she visits.

Unless you can see the deceased mother nearby, watch from a safe distance to see if the mother returns after a few days. If the baby has flies buzzing around it or is covered in fec… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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Grandpa Tree

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