Meet the Animals

In addition to the vast natural wildlife at Dodge Nature Center, Dodge plays home to many animals who are selected for their educational value. In keeping with our dedication to preserve the natural world, many of our captive animals are endangered, recovering from low population numbers, or are farm animals that provide valuable educational opportunities about sustainable agriculture.

Our farm animals are available for viewing from outside of the pasture fences in the summer.  Our outdoor raptor mew near the main office provides an exceptional opportunity to see our birds of prey.  Our reptiles and amphibians live in a climate controlled environment, and are not available for public viewing.

 

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Raptors

The raptors living in the Voight Raptor Mew near the main office came to Dodge Nature Center due to permanent injury and unreleasable status.

Bald Eagle: Dodge Nature Center’s Bald Eagle came from the Raptor Center in October 2013. The national symbol of the United States was once an endangered species, but with education about Bald Eagles and the importance of protecting their habitat, there are now about 50,000 Bald Eagles in the United States. 

Barred Owl:  The Barred Owl lives all across the United States and eats mammals.  Its call sounds like “who cooks for you, who cooks for you-u-u-u-u all?” Dodge Nature Center’s Barred Owl was also hit by a car and is blind in one eye.

Red-tailed Hawk: When Red Tailed Hawks are young, their tails are brown, not red. They are the most widespread hawk in the United States and can be found almost everywhere except the tundra.  The Red Tailed Hawk at Dodge Nature Center cannot fly due to a broken collarbone.

Turkey Vulture: This common North American scavenger hunts using its keen eyesight and sense of smell.  Unlike many birds they don’t vocalize, only making grunts and hissing sounds. The Turkey Vulture came to Dodge from the Raptor Center in 2016 due to a broken wing.



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Farm Animals

Farm animals are available for viewing from outside of pasture fences in the summer.

Percheron/Morgan Horses: Dodge has a two horse team, both males. This crossbreed used popular for pulling people in carts and sleighs, but are also known to be strong enough to do farm work. We needed a pair that would be used to the motion and sounds of children. Horse brothers Terry and Tony came from an Amish family in Iowa and were largely trained and worked by their eight children.

Clun Forest Sheep: Dodge Nature Center is home to a few Clun Forest Sheep. This breed originally grazed grassy mountain tops, but now munches on plants growing in our pasture.

Guinea Hogs: Dodge Nature Center owns a handful of the last 200 remaining guinea hogs in the world.  The piglets are much gentler than other breeds, so they can be used for educating children about farm life.

San Clemente Island Goats: The San Clemente goat is named for its place of origin, historically residing on San Clemente Island, located 68 miles west of San Diego, California. Due to geographical isolation and removal tactics used by the U.S. Navy, the San Clemente Island goats are now a critically-endangered heritage breed. With less than 500 goats left, a male and female of this rare breed can be found at Dodge Nature Center’s farm.

Wyandotte Chickens: Wyandotte Chickens are black and white dappled chickens. This breed is quite vocal and will often make soft clucking noises. 

Welsummer Chickens: Welsummers are prized for their large, dark, terracotta-brown eggs. Hens lay about 160 eggs per year, supplying many baby chicks for Dodge Nature Center’s farm tours. These beautiful birds have also played a role in marketing. The famous Kellogg’s cereal box rooster, Cornelius, is none other than a Welsummer.

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Reptiles and Amphibians

For the safety of our visitors and animals, Dodge Nature Center’s reptiles and amphibians live behind locked doors. Visitors can meet these animals in person by registering for one of our reptiles and amphibians programs or participating in an outreach program.

Snakes

Eastern Fox Snake: Found in Minnesota and neighboring states, the Eastern Fox snake is light brown with dark brown or black markings.  These snakes eat small mammals, eggs, and young birds.

Bull Snake: The Bull Snake has a yellow body with dark to reddish brown spots. They eat small mammals, frogs, birds, and eggs and are found in the wild near open woodlands, prairies, and fields in Southeast Minnesota.

Turtles

Snapping Turtle: Snapping Turtles are found all around Minnesota in lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks.  They grow to almost a foot and a half and eat aquatic insects, fish, frogs, crayfish, snails, and plants.

Painted Turtle: Found in creeks, ponds, rivers, and lakes, Painted Turtles compete with Snapping Turtles for food.

Amphibians

Northern Leopard Frog: The Northern Leopard Frog is found near water throughout Minnesota.  They are greenish brown with two to four rows of dark spots.

Bull Frog: These large frogs are found in southern Minnesota and lay 5,000 to 20,000 eggs one time each year.  Bull frogs range in color from bright green to dark olive green with white bellies.

Tiger Salamander: Found near water, wetlands, and coniferous forests, the Tiger Salamander’s back is dark brown with yellow spots.  They have small eyes and eat earthworms and insects. 

December 2018 Activities

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