Winter Mammals of Iowa: Southern Flying Squirrels

The Southern flying squirrel is Iowa’s smallest squirrel. Although they live statewide, it can be difficult to spot them. The flying squirrel is nocturnal so they will sleep during the day. Usually they will sleep in tree cavities which can make it difficult to spot them. They are typically solitary animals during the summer, however, Read More »

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Winter Mammals of Iowa: White-Tailed Jackrabbit

The white-tailed jackrabbit can commonly be spotted in western and northern Iowa. It is the largest member of the rabbit and hare family. It weighs in the range of six to ten pounds. White-tailed jackrabbits have an interesting adaptation when it comes to the different seasons. Their fur can be a different color depending on Read More »

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Was the Turkey Almost Our National Bird?

Word on the street is that the turkey was almost our national bird. With Thanksgiving Day occurring this week, what better time to dig deeper into this question. Back when the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson were given the task to design Read More »

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Red Foxes in the Winter

The weather is getting colder and winter is on its way. The red fox is one of the two species of fox that Iowa has. How do they survive the cold Iowa winters? Red foxes do not hibernate, but they are less active during the winter to conserve their energy. They will usually just curl Read More »

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Nuts about Squirrels

Squirrels are one of the most common critters around, but how much do you know about this remarkable rodent? Here are 10 facts that will make you nuts about squirrels! The Indian giant squirrel is the biggest species of squirrels. It can grow up to be 36 inches long! The African pygmy squirrel is the Read More »

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How’d the Hedgehog Get Its Name?

There are 15 species of hedgehogs in the world. Each species is similar, but they each have small characteristics and habitual differences. The typical body length of a hedgehog is 5 to 12 inches long and the average length of the tail is 1-2 inches. They weigh about 1-2 pounds. The hedgehog has quite a Read More »

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Bat Appreciation

October is bat appreciation month! Overall, bats get a relatively bad reputation for their unique characteristics. While it is bat appreciation month, we should really appreciate them all year long. Bats offer a variety of benefits. Here are some of the great work they do for their ecosystems: They control the insect populations. Bats eat Read More »

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Holiday Gift Guide 2020

Check out our Holiday Gift Guide to find gifts for everyone on your list. We’re very excited to share some of the items from our gift shop. While the Nature Center is free to enter and explore, we always appreciate donations and purchases from our gift shop. The proceeds help us do what we do Read More »

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What’s happening in the hive? Varroa mites

bees with varroa mites

Bees have so many issues to deal with. There’s a lack of nectar and pollen sources as wildflower populations diminish. Pesticides like neonictinoids are harming their nervous systems (read about that here). There’s unexplained colony collapse disorder. And then there are varroa mites. So many invasive species have caused catastrophic effects on different parts of Read More »

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