Meet the Critters

Meet the Critters! The Grasshopper Mouse

This week, we’re introducing you the the most ferocious mouse around, the Northern Grasshopper Mouse!  Grasshopper mice are mostly carnivorous, though they will snack on seeds and fruit when available.  It’s estimated that in the wild, up to 89% of their diet is made up of insects and other meat.   Their prey includes grasshoppers, scorpions, beetles, crickets, and even giant centipedes and small birds.  These nocturnal mice are also known for howling like a tiny […]

Meet the Critters! The Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel

Continuing our series “Meet the Critters,” this week, we’d like to introduce you to the thirteen-lined ground squirrel.  The thirteen-lined ground squirrel is related to prairie dogs, marmots, and chipmunks, and is common throughout the Great Plains.  This small rodent grows to about 11 inches in length (including the tail) and sports a handsome striped coat.  There really are 13 stripes, 7 dark stripes separated by 6 lighter ones.  Often, they can be spotted “standing […]

Meet the Critters! The American Kestrel

This week, we’d like to introduce you to the American Kestrel,  the smallest raptor in North America.  Here at KWEC, we have a male American Kestrel.  Pippin was brought to Prairie Park Nature Center in 2011 with a broken wing.  Once he was healthy enough to place,  he came to KWEC to be a program bird.  His wing never healed enough for him to fly, but Pippin is still very active.  He is not generally […]

Meet the Critters! The Red-eared Slider

This week on Meet the Critters, we’re introducing you to a common sight in ponds and creeks around Kansas – the red-eared slider!  Red-eared sliders get their names from two things:  the first is the bright patches of red right behind their eyes, the second is their reaction to being startled while basking – they slide right into the water to escape. While red-eared sliders are almost entirely aquatic, they do require places to get […]

Meet the Critters! The Western Hognose Snake

  Our classroom is home to over 30 live critters native to Cheyenne Bottoms.  This week, we’d like to introduce you to the western hognose snake.  Our hognose is one of our newest additions to KWEC, we purchased the male from a captive breeder only a month ago.  He is just a few months old, and with luck, could live to 20 years or more! The western hognose snake is found throughout western North America,  […]

Meet the Critters! The Tiger Salamander

This week’s critter is the tiger salamander!  The tiger salamander is the state amphibian of Kansas, and an all around handsome critter.  They’re named for their beautiful stripes, which help them stay camouflaged. We’ve got two tiger salamanders here at KWEC, and they are about three years old.  A tiger salamander can live to be 15 years old in the wild, and up to 20 years in captivity! Tiger salamanders can grow to be up […]