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Why Do Snakes Shed Their Skin?

Why Do Snakes Shed Their Skin?

  • 8/25/2015 8:13:00 AM
  • View Count 6662
All animals shed their skin. Some just do it in more grandiose (and visible) style. While humans “shed” millions of skin cells every day, snakes and other animals shed a layer of skin in one continuous piece, a process called ecdysis, which occurs between four and 12 times a year.
8 Iowa Animals You May Not Know are Threatened or Endangered

8 Iowa Animals You May Not Know are Threatened or Endangered

  • 8/11/2015 8:57:00 AM
  • View Count 9095
Nothing sounds more common than a mouse, owl, turtle or bat, but in Iowa, loss of habitat and other threats are creating serious conditions for different species of these critters, landing them on Iowa’s threatened and endangered species list.
Go Exploring: 14 Iowa Wildlife Tracks to Look For

Go Exploring: 14 Iowa Wildlife Tracks to Look For

  • 8/7/2015 9:18:00 AM
  • View Count 18668
When you’re out enjoying Iowa’s great outdoors, how often do you think to look down? One of the best ways for a burgeoning photographer, hunter or wildlife enthusiast to figure out what types of animals are around is to look for tracks.
6 Animals You Might Not Know are Protected in Iowa

6 Animals You Might Not Know are Protected in Iowa

  • 7/17/2015 8:59:00 AM
  • View Count 34645
An animal doesn’t need to be endangered to receive legal protection. In Iowa, there are plenty of animals that might frighten or startle you, but these animals have important roles in our state’s ecology. So the next time you see one of these animals don’t panic, and consider what they contribute to the environment around you.
6 Nature Foolers: Can You Tell the Difference?

6 Nature Foolers: Can You Tell the Difference?

  • 7/10/2015 7:54:00 AM
  • View Count 4815
Mimicry is about more than flattery for these Iowa organisms. Looking similar to a dangerous model helps the mimics of these pairs avoid confrontation, predation and disturbance, particularly from animals that learn to pick a meal based on what its prey looks like. Can you tell the difference?
Wildlife Rehabbers: What it Takes

Wildlife Rehabbers: What it Takes

  • 6/19/2015 10:07:00 AM
  • View Count 5438
A summer storm. A crack of lightning. A thick tree limb crashes to the ground. From a cavity, once 20 feet above ground, high pitched “chirring” and scratching can be heard. A couple whiskered noses poke out, just ahead of the oh-so-familiar black masks. A litter of raccoons is displaced. Now what?
Bee Beautiful – 5 Tips to Attract Pollinators to Your Backyard

Bee Beautiful – 5 Tips to Attract Pollinators to Your Backyard

  • 4/29/2015 9:29:00 AM
  • View Count 12326
One out of every three bites of food we eat relies on pollinators, mostly insects, to reproduce. Unfortunately, bees (colony and solitary), butterflies and moths, bats, birds and beetles are facing challenges due to habitat loss, disease, parasites and pesticides.
Leave Wildlife Babies in the Wild

Leave Wildlife Babies in the Wild

  • 4/17/2015 7:05:00 AM
  • View Count 8620
If you find an animal baby that appears to be on its own, don’t worry. Generally, one of its parents is nearby, watching.
Finding Injured Wildlife: What to Do

Finding Injured Wildlife: What to Do

  • 4/3/2015 6:52:00 AM
  • View Count 8254
When Pete Vande Poppe spotted a great horned owl along Highway 60 near Alton about a month ago, he knew something wasn’t right. He swung by home to tell his wife, Gretchen. She grabbed the camera and off they went, finding the owl in the grass alongside the road.
Cool Things You Should Know About Prairie Chickens

Cool Things You Should Know About Prairie Chickens

  • 4/2/2015 9:22:00 AM
  • View Count 6253
Early in April, eerie, hollow booming reverberates over a field near Kellerton, the last remnant of greater prairie chicken habitat in Iowa. Go to the lek, or breeding ground, to hear the males begin their courtship rituals. Watch as they shrink and expand leathery orange sacs on each side of their necks to make the haunting sounds that hens love.
How Do Birds Know to Return in the Spring?

How Do Birds Know to Return in the Spring?

  • 3/27/2015 8:07:00 AM
  • View Count 5789
Common sense tells us birds fly south in the winter to escape the harsh conditions of the north, and return “home” in the spring when the weather improves. While that theory doesn’t fly in the face of truth, it isn’t altogether factual, given most birds are well-equipped to handle extreme temperatures.
Build a Bluebird House [Tutorial]

Build a Bluebird House [Tutorial]

  • 3/13/2015 4:49:00 AM
  • View Count 11349
Bluebirds should be arriving soon in Iowa, so now's a great time to clean out those bluebird boxes, or if you don't have one yet, to build your own!
Why Are Robins So Big in the Spring?

Why Are Robins So Big in the Spring?

  • 3/5/2015 10:24:00 AM
  • View Count 7501
Just like the first sighting of a robin marks spring for many people, so does the arrival of animal babies. But in this case, robins aren’t big in the spring because they’re ready to lay eggs. They’re not bigger at all – just really cold.
Wetlands Project Sinks Hole-in-one

Wetlands Project Sinks Hole-in-one

  • 3/5/2015 4:35:00 AM
  • View Count 1520
The cackle of pheasants has returned along the north and west sides of Okoboji View Golf Course in Spirit Lake after a major watershed improvement project created wetlands and native prairie on 350 acres.
Learn More About the Least Weasel

Learn More About the Least Weasel

  • 2/25/2015 4:10:00 AM
  • View Count 1854
While it can still be common in specific locales in northern Iowa, for the most part, the least weasel is now pretty rare in Iowa.
Jump Into Winter Wildlife Tracking

Jump Into Winter Wildlife Tracking

  • 2/25/2015 3:28:00 AM
  • View Count 3620
Kids (of all ages!) love discovery, and what better way to feed that need than by turning snowbound winter days into a fun family or couple’s outing. Better yet, set aside time for regular outdoor jaunts to create a memorable tradition.
Winter Camouflage and Coloration in Iowa's Wildlife

Winter Camouflage and Coloration in Iowa's Wildlife

  • 2/20/2015 4:18:00 AM
  • View Count 2947
For many Iowa animals, the stark landscape – bare trees and a bright white groundcover – makes them stand out more in the winter, which is good news for those who enjoy watching wildlife. But for a few Iowa critters, winter is a time for them to blend in with the scenery.
Rice Lake Returns

Rice Lake Returns

  • 2/13/2015 9:03:00 AM
  • View Count 2659
The topic was lake restoration, but in 2009, the small group of lake users living near Rice Lake wasn’t ready to discuss pulling the plug on the 1,000-acre shallow lake straddling the Worth-Winnebago county line.
Go Shed Antler Hunting

Go Shed Antler Hunting

  • 2/13/2015 8:54:00 AM
  • View Count 43544
Whitetail deer have about a two-month shedding period in Iowa, beginning mid-Jan. and ending mid-March. Around Feb. 20 is the best time to start looking for shed antlers.
The Mighty Mink: Cool Things You Should Know

The Mighty Mink: Cool Things You Should Know

  • 2/13/2015 7:12:00 AM
  • View Count 13391
Built much like its larger relative the otter, the mink has a long, sleek body about 2 feet long. It has short, stubby legs, a long neck, small ears and eyes and a long, thick tail. In fact, one third of the mink’s length is tail.
Go Calling Under the Owl Moon

Go Calling Under the Owl Moon

  • 2/3/2015 8:57:00 AM
  • View Count 14120
February’s full moon is nicknamed the owl moon, as the crisp night air is filled with the calls and hoots of mating owls. Trek into the woods with the young and young at heart to practice calling owls.
What's the Difference Between a Groundhog and a Woodchuck?

What's the Difference Between a Groundhog and a Woodchuck?

  • 1/29/2015 9:08:00 AM
  • View Count 6843
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? We’ll never know because the Marmota monax’s common name (woodchuck) is not representative of this mammal’s habits or habitat, but reflects the early English pronunciation of the Cree word for this creature—wuchak.
Tips for Better Winter Bird Feeding

Tips for Better Winter Bird Feeding

  • 1/15/2015 10:37:00 AM
  • View Count 7797
If winter cold and snow drive you indoors, open a colorful cold-weather window with hours of bird-watching entertainment. Iowans spend more than $300 million annually watching wildlife, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Much of that comes from feeding birds, especially through our cold weather months. Use these tips to attract the most birds.
Tips for Spotting Bald Eagles this Winter

Tips for Spotting Bald Eagles this Winter

  • 1/9/2015 10:18:00 AM
  • View Count 5247
Winter is the best time in Iowa to spot a majestic bald eagle soaring overhead or swooping down to the water to catch a fish.
What Do Snakes Do in the Winter?

What Do Snakes Do in the Winter?

  • 1/9/2015 5:43:00 AM
  • View Count 4247
Snakes, being cold-blooded, rely on their surroundings to regulate body temperature. Like other ectothermic animals, they bask in the sun to warm up, seek shade or water to cool down. So, when conditions are not conducive for temperature regulation, they brumate.
Cool Things You Should Know About Deer

Cool Things You Should Know About Deer

  • 1/9/2015 4:56:00 AM
  • View Count 12520
Even though the white-tailed deer is one of Iowa’s most well-known critters, here are some cool facts you may not know about deer.
Four Animals You Didn’t Know Lived In Iowa

Four Animals You Didn’t Know Lived In Iowa

  • 1/7/2015 4:04:00 AM
  • View Count 32174
Before Europeans began settling in Iowa, our landscape looked much different – not just the vista views of prairies and oak savannas, but the wildlife that called it home. You’d be hard pressed to find many elk, bison, black bear or lynx in the Iowa wild today, but not that long ago, they roamed our state.
Myth Busters: Do Cold-blooded Animals Get Cancer?

Myth Busters: Do Cold-blooded Animals Get Cancer?

  • 1/6/2015 10:29:00 AM
  • View Count 1823
Cold-blooded animals like snakes, fish and sharks do get cancer, likely from polluted waters and foreign substances. While many questions still surround this issue, scientists hope the unique ways these animals deal with cancer might give hope for cancer treatments and possible cures in humans.
New Year's Iowa Checklist: Where to Go, What to Do Month By Month

New Year's Iowa Checklist: Where to Go, What to Do Month By Month

  • 1/6/2015 7:42:00 AM
  • View Count 12912
It’s a New Year. I don’t do resolutions. So, call this a New Year's Outdoor Checklist; places or events across Iowa for each month. Most are return trips for me; worth a second or seventieth visit. A couple, I haven’t taken the time yet to check out. Maybe it will remind you of a few special outdoor ports of call, in the months ahead.
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