Bears, Burls, and Butter-butts

Top Photo: Mimi bear (right) and Gus bear. After grazing on some winter grass, Mimi bear seemed to be headed for the culvert pipe attraction in her enclosure to slip inside for a nap. Gus bear was already engaged. With a sidelong glance at the slumbering male bear, Mimi slinked off to greener pastures. Recently, Ranger Brooke found a small piece of pine branch with a growth attached. She asked me what I thought it was. I reasoned it aRead more

Familiar Faces

If you’ve spent any time walking the paths at the Museum of Life and Science, the following faces may be familiar to you. All of them, save one, are residents in some form. Above (banner photo) is one of our ring-tailed lemurs (Satyrus). Snakes are always a possibilty, even in winter. If you do see a snake during winter it’s probably a brown snake or possibly a garter snake. Everyone has seen one or more of our four black bearsRead more


It’s well known here at the Museum that black bear Mimi likes a little wade in the pool every now and then. Here, she chills at the waterfall on a hot and humid day.Read more

The Ice Is Upon Us

If you’ve had to go outside of your house lately, you’re no doubt aware that it’s cold out there. I spend a good part of the day outside. I confirm. It’s cold! Our wetland doesn’t often freeze, once each year, if at all. It’s annual freeze has come. We have two water features, besides the wetlands, on our outdoor acreage, a waterfall in each of the black bear and red wolf enclosures. The waterfall in the black bear enclosure neverRead more


I was standing at the Secondary Black Bear Overlook. A whiny, scratchy, mew sound was coming from the shrubs just inside the chain-link fence and to the left. I knew from the sound that it was a yellow-bellied sapsucker, but I couldn’t see the bird. The woodpecker was making quite a bit of noise, but where was it. Finally, I could see the fresh wells drilled by the bird. The wells were on the main trunk of a viburnum whichRead more


The Animal Keepers cleaned the bear pool this week. The pools of water at the base of the Main Black Bear Overlook need to be cleaned every six months. The ponds collect much debris and algae and need cleaning. The cleaning often exposes all sorts of creatures, from crayfish to frogs. This exposition sometimes attracts opportunistic predators. It’s well known here at the Museum that red-shouldered hawks wait silently on perches along the edges of the Wetlands or in the swampRead more

FLASH! Marked Turtle Seen In Wetlands

On Friday (3/15), a Yellow-bellied Slider bearing a notch in her shell was seen basking on a log next to the Main Wetlands Overlook. This turtle was marked last year by myself as part of a turtle survey. It could not be determined which of some dozen turtles it was since only one notch was visible (some of the turtles have notches on both sides of their shells, left and right), however, it was clearly one of last year’s subjects.Read more

You snooze, you lose

Yona had the yard all to herself yesterday afternoon as Gus snored away in the cave, Mimi reluctantly slept outside the cave on her little bed of straw, and Virginia snoozed up on the cliff. She took advantage of the time alone to enjoy the bear chow offerings left by the Animal Keepers on one of the four stumps in front of the Bear House. Take your time and enjoy, Yona, everybody else is off stacking z’s.Read more

Catching Up

As predicted, dragonflies have been steadily emerging from the deep. I’ve seen numerous Common Whitetails and Common Baskettails, fresh out of their nymphal skins, fly off to a safe place to further dry and harden before starting their life cycles anew; feeding, mating, and ovipositing in the Wetlands. Hatchling Yellow-bellied Sliders continue to be seen hiking down the paths and trails of the Museum heading for the Wetlands or other suitable bodies of water in which to take up residence.Read more

The Finer Points…

…of identification of the Black Bears at the Museum of Life + Science. If you’ve spent any time around the Black Bear Exhibit you probably already know that we have four Black Bears on display, Mimi, Virginia, Gus, and Yona. You may also know how to tell them apart from one another, Mimi has two thin white lines on her chest, Virginia has a large white “V” on her chest, Gus is long and lanky, and Yona is the smallest ofRead more