July 18, 2011

Welcome to the Science Center

By Program Intern Dani Diermeier

We have some exciting news! We recently added two new members to our Education Staff here at the Science Center, and boy, are you going to love them! When I say staff I bet you thought of the human kind, but I am talking about new education animals. A baby woodchuck and a long-tailed weasel cleared quarantine and will be making program appearances soon. In honor of our new staff members here is an overview about these animals for your reading pleasure.

Woodchucks, also called groundhogs, are the underground engineers of New Hampshire, which you may have experienced in your own backyard! Their burrows can be five feet deep and forty feet long with different chambers throughout. Woodchucks are very tidy rodents and use only one of those chambers for a bathroom. The other ones are used as sleeping quarters, and maybe even a nesting site for young. The burrows have two or more openings for quick entrances and exits. If you want to see a woodchuck in the wild it isn’t very hard, you just have to know where to look. They usually make their home in a nice field that is about a football field in size. You can see them during the day (which is when they are active) munching on dandelions, clover, and other delicious green plants. Remember, you can also come see one here!

Long-tailed weasels are quick and agile predators found throughout most of the entire eastern United States (the southern tip of Florida is just too warm and populated I suppose!). Almost their whole diet consists of small rodents such as meadow voles and mice. They are active year round; their beautiful rich brown coat turns white in the winter. This provides them with camouflage, making it easier for them to hunt their food and also to not become food for someone bigger! The fur of our new weasel here at the Science Center will turn white during the winter too, so make sure you plan a trip to come see him.

Now that you know a little more about our newest additions, I hope you show off your new knowledge about these animals by telling all your friends about them and where to find them (which is here at the Science Center of course!!).

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