Meet the Critters

Meet the Critters! The Ornate Box Turtle

This week on Meet the Critters, we’re introducing you to the state reptile of Kansas: the ornate box turtle!  This turtle is a protected species in Kansas, as well as five other Midwestern states (Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, and Wisconson).  The ornate box turtle is a species of concern in these states because they are vulnerable to threats from several areas.  Agriculture and development are two of the biggest threats to these turtles.  Ornate box […]

Meet the Critters! The Yellow Mud Turtle

This week, we’re meeting the yellow mud turtle!  The yellow mud turtle is an abundant resident of Cheyenne Bottoms, living in quiet, still water, preferably in areas with a muddy bottom.  They spend their days hanging out in the mud, hunting for food.  They are also well adapted to surviving droughts, they will burrow into the mud to avoid the baking heat.  During winter, they either burrow into the mud, or take up residence in […]

Meet the Critters! The Bullsnake

Inada web

After a Thanksgiving break, we’re back with this week’s Meet the Critters!  The star of this week’s show is the bullsnake, also known as the gopher snake.  We’ve got a beautiful bullsnake here at the KWEC, she was caught as a very young snake right when the Center opened in 2009.  She’s about 3 years old, and bullsnakes in captivity can live to over 30 years!  Today, our bullsnake is over 6 feet long and […]

Meet the Critters! The Six-lined Racerunner

Meet the six-lined racerunner!  An abundant inhabitant of the United States, the six-lined racerunner is known for its lightning quick speed – they’ve been clocked at 18 mph!  Found mostly in warm, dry areas such as open fields or sparse woods, this lizard darts around at ground level, rarely climbing. Six-lined racerunners eat a wide variety of invertebrates, from crickets to flies to spiders.  They eat so many insects that in several states they  are […]

Meet the Critters! The Great Plains Toad

Our female Great Plains toad.  You may notice a slight resemblance to a certain Star Wars alien...

Our classroom is home to over 30 live critters native to Cheyenne Bottoms.  This week, we’d like to introduce you to the Great Plains toad.  We have two Great Plains toads here at KWEC, a male and a female.  This nocturnal species is very long lived, up to 10 years in captivity. The Great Plains toad is found throughout the western United States.  They prefer to live in grasslands near water, which makes Cheyenne Bottoms […]

Meet the Critters! The Big Brown Bat

The big brown bat uses those enormous ears to locate its insect prey.

Meet the big brown bat!  We’ve got three of these little guys here at the KWEC, and they’re some of our favorite critters.  Myths about bats are everywhere, so we’ll try to clear some of those up this week! Myth #1: Bats are blind.  Not true!  All bat species can see.  However, since they hunt at night, they have evolved to use their hearing rather than their sight. Myth #2:  Bats will try to fly […]

Meet the Critters! The Common Kingsnake

common kingsnake 1

The common kingsnake is our star this week on Meet the Critters.  The common kingsnake is considered to be the most beautiful snake native to Cheyenne Bottoms, and our resident here at KWEC is no exception.  Their striking black and yellow patterns are like no other snake found on the refuge. Kingsnakes  got their name from their habit of eating other snakes, including venomous snakes.  They kill their prey by constricting, and are known to […]

Meet the Critters! The Common Snapping Turtle

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In this fourth installment of our Meet the Critters series, we’d like you to meet the common snapping turtle.  This prehistoric looking beast is found from the east coast of North America all the way to Colorado, and from Florida to Canada.  We have two common snapping turtles here at the center, a young turtle whose shell measures about four inches, and a much older turtle whose shell measures about 10 inches.  You’ll have to […]