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Articles tagged as Cole Student Naturalists

Avian snow angels

This past week, a crow in the middle of Bell Field caught my eye as it was picking around at something in the snow. Naturally, I tromped all the way over and found the exciting marks of a crime scene: an avian snow angel. In the snow I found the…

Winter Hexapods: The Amazing Snow Flea

Now that we are back in the double digits, some of you may be wondering, what is out there moving around the Arb? Mice can be found hopping through the snow and the shrimp are active in Spring Creek, but there is another, often overlooked little creature that begins moving…

Otters in the cannon

You might not expect to see otters in the Arboretum, but not so long ago they were an important part of southern Minnesota river ecosystems—including our own Cannon river. Throughout the state, populations of the North American river otter declined in the 19th century as they were hunted for their…

Understanding animal coloration

Sometimes animal coloration has an obvious adaptive explanation. Snowshoe hares are white in winter because individuals that blended with the snow were less likely to get eaten than those that didn’t. A kingsnake that looks like a venomous coral snake is less likely to get preyed upon than one that…

The polar vortex put in perspective

It’s 4th week for students on campus, and the steady escalation of academic workload is rivaled only by the parallel and seemingly vengeful intensification of winter as temperatures plummet past contemporary Antarctic standards. As students and staff prepare fortifications against the impending freeze, so, too, is the Arboretum. As you…

Turtle-y awesome

Turtles, nine species of which live in Minnesota, are really neat. Some evidence for turtles’ greatness: they are like “pond coyotes” in that they eat just about anything; all freshwater turtles in Minnesota spend all of the winter underwater (they can survive because they breathe through their butts…“cloacae” if you…