Animals at the Museum

Yesterday we all went to the NC Science Museum in Raleigh for Homeschool day. We got to select two programs that were being put on by the museum staff. So the girls picked one on animals and one about the butterfly garden outside the museum along Jones St.

The first session was about animals, and after the first stuffed owl, all the others were live animals. They showed us a box turtle, a corn snake, a bullfrog, a cotton-tail rabbit, and finally a chinchilla from South America. After learning about the animal, the staff brought most of them around for us to touch.

First was the corn snake. It was still cold from the night, but was starting to warm up and move around. The girls both touched the smooth scales.

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Petting a Corn Snake

After we had seen the other animals and heard stories, they got out the bunny. Then, realizing they were almost out of time, the staff decided to let the children pet the bunny on their way out. Another lady said she wanted to bring out her favorite animal too, and they could pet both on the way out.

So we got to see an animal we’d never seen in person before, this cute chinchilla. One thing I noticed was that its whiskers were vibrating rapidly as it sniffed around. We also found out that it fur is as soft as is reported — one of the softest things I’ve touched.

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The Chinchilla

The bunny was waiting out in the hallway for us as we left.

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Petting the bunny

The second class was outside at the front of the museum. The lady talked about all the insects that visit the wildflower garden. The most interesting were the Monarch caterpillars crawling on the milkweed plants and the dragonfly nymph skins that were in the little pond (a lot like cicada skins).

Wildlife in Lake Lure

Sunday we slept late again. We got suckered into listening to a sales pitch from the condo management under the pretense of getting some information on the area. After the girls had lunch and a nap I took the girls to the indoor pool to swim. The water was nice and warm, but we all got cold getting out. That made CE grumpy.

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Later that afternoon we all went for a walk down to the golf course and saw a small herd of deer on the green. When we got back, and while CDF was cooking dinner, I was looking out the front window with the girls — we were looking for another feral dog that had been sleeping in the picnic shelter outside our building — and MD said, “What’s that?” I looked at the small animal running across the parking lot toward our car: a skunk! It ran under the Escape and down the hill.

More Rabbits

The other day when I got home from work, I noticed a wild rabbit sitting beside the driveway eating (or out for silflay if you’ve ever read Richard Adams’ wonderful novel). It was content to stay there while I parked the car, went inside, and then came back out with the camera.

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Bunnies

Since we moved, almost three years ago, we’ve enjoyed seeing the wild rabbits that live around us. This year there haven’t been many about. In comparison, last year we had two or three regulars to the clover patch in our back yard.

So we were quite pleased to see this baby bunny in the front ditch as we went out for a bike ride. It sat very still while I went back to get the camera. It didn’t move until I got closer and it decided to make a run for the woods, making a wide circle around the bikes.

Bunny in the Grass

Interestingly we saw another adult rabbit on the bike ride a few blocks away from our street.

Snake!

When we got home from church, I spotted a snake in the driveway. It was sunning itself near the double gate. I pulled up slowly and got out to see what it was. Our dog was so happy we were home, that she didn’t spot it until I started poking at it. Unfortunately that scared it under my car, where additional poking sent it scrambling into a wheel to hide.

At that point, CDF was “trapped” in the car, since she wasn’t about to walk to the house with even a small chance of crossing paths with a snake. So I ended up carrying her from the car to the porch! I’m sure we were a sight. 🙂

After I got them in the house, I checked on the snake again. It has come out of the wheel and was resting on the driveway. So I was able to shoe it out and direct it into the woods. As best I could tell it was a Redbelly Water Snake (more pictures), harmless, but not good pets.