Meet native animals you rarely see. Several have come out of hiding to live in the Animal Corner building on the museum’s Lower Courtyard. Drop by to see our personable porcupine and skunks.
Animal Corner Residents:
North American Porcupine:
The EcoTarium’s resident porcupine is named Sergeant Pepper and has been with us since 2002. You can often find him up high in his Animal Corner habitat, demonstrating his excellent climbing skills.
Did you know…
- Porcupines are very active in the summer, looking for food to gain weight, but in the winter, they often slow down and go into a hibernation-like state known as torpor.
- Porcupines have up to 30,000 barbed quills on their body! But don’t worry: contrary to popular belief, they can’t shoot them at you.
- Porcupines are the second largest rodent in North America, only falling behind beavers.
Two skunks live at the EcoTarium, named Stormy and Misty. While they mostly live in their Animal Corner habitat, they will sometimes come out for educational programs as well!
Did you know…
- Skunks are opportunistic omnivores and will eat bugs, grubs, seeds, nuts, roots, vegetables, fruits, eggs, or even human garbage. They have long claws to help them dig and find food.
- Skunks can spray a foul odor up to 16 feet to help defend themselves against their many predators.
- Skunks are nocturnal, which means they mostly sleep during the day and wake up at night to look for food.
The EcoTarium’s two resident squirrels are named Barb and Nancy. They are most active in their Animal Corner habitat at night, as this species of squirrel is nocturnal.
Did you know…
- Flying squirrels cannot actually fly, but instead use a flap of skin called a patagium to glide short distances. For every foot a flying squirrel climbs vertically, they can jump and glide three feet horizontally.
- Flying squirrels will eat a variety of foods as omnivores, including insects, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
- Flying squirrels live very high in trees and are not often found on the ground in the same way gray or red squirrels are.
- American kestrels are North America’s smallest falcon. They range in weight from about 90 to 150 grams and only have a wingspan of about 20 to 24 inches.
- American kestrels are sexually dimorphic, which means there are visual differences in size and coloration between males and females. Male kestrels are about 1/3rd smaller than females and have slate-blue coloring on their wings, while females are larger and have brown and black wings.
- American kestrels are excellent flyers, capable of diving at fast speeds and hovering in place in order to hunt their prey, which includes insects, small songbirds, and rodents.
While all enclosures have been specially designed to meet the natural needs of the species as well as to accommodate any physical limitations of the individual animal, animals need novel experiences to use their natural instincts on a regular basis. This is called “enrichment” and it is a regular part of good husbandry (care of animals by humans).
You can support a variety of our enrichment programs by purchasing items from our Amazon Wish List which will directly get your items to our resident wildlife. Click on the button below to see how you can help: