Many animals make their home at Springbrook Nature Center. Most live in our forest, prairie, savannah and wetlands. A few enjoy an easy, dependent (on humans) life style in the exhibits of the Interpretive Center.
Human visitors are welcome to visit both animals in our interpretive center or within the park!
Within the Park
Over 2000 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, fish, trees, shrubs, insects, wildflowers and other plants make their home at Springbrook Nature Center. This includes 200 species of birds and 350 unique plant species.Explore our trails - you never know what your might find!
In the Interpretive Center
Springbrook's exhibit animals are common to Minnesota and may even be found in our natural areas! Here are a few animals you may see when you visit (subject to change as we expand!):
- Common Snapping Turtle: Largest and most common of MN's turtles. They eat almost anything organic, and love vegetation, but are also opportunists and will often eat fish, baby ducks and geese. They are aggressive and may bite.
- Blanding's Turtle: These medium-sized, semi-aquatic turtles have a moveable hinge on the turtle's bottom shell, the plastron (bony plate on the underside of the body.) This hinge allows the turtle to almost completely close its shell for protection from predators. The Blanding's Turtle is a threatened species in MN due to habitat destruction.
- Western Painted Turtle: Widespread in North America and named for its brightly colored lower shell. Painted Turtles are aquatic with web feet. They eat crayfish, insects, worms, minnows and aquatic plants. They do not have teeth so they swallow their food whole or tear it apart with their claws.
- Black Rat Snake: Harmless to humans, they are known as rodent eaters, but will eat other things and are the only arboreal snake in MN, frequently climbing trees for small rodents and birds. Kills prey by constriction. If threatened, it will vibrate its tail in dead leaves to simulate a rattle to worn off enemies. This snake is slowly losing its habitat to in urban and suburban areas.
- Corn Snake: One of the most common snakes known to people, but not native to MN. It is non-venomous, and kills its prey (rodents and other small animals) by constricting it. The Corn Snake received its name from the pattern on its belly, which looks like Indian corn.
- Bull Snake: MN's largest snake species, up to 6 feet long! The "Gentle Giant" of MN snakes, it is very docile and quite adaptive to human handling. But it can be very aggressive in the wild and puts on a threatening front with its loud hiss and vibrating tail.
- Green Frog: Found in a wide variety of habitats that surround most inland waters. Breeding takes place in late spring, and they can produce 1000 to 5000 offspring. Their average life span is unknown in the wild, but captive Green Frogs can live up to 10 years. They eat a variety of insects and other invertebrates from both land and water. Predators of the Green Frog include snakes, larger frogs, turtles, herons, other wading birds, raccoons, otters, and humans.
- American Toad: Found throughout North America, these toads have an immense ability to adapt to surroundings as long as there is a semi-permanent water source to use during breeding season. In the wild, their average life span is one year. They eat insects and other invertebrates including snails, beetles, slugs and earthworms. The American toad catches its prey by shooting out their sticky tongues.
- Western Fox Snake: Light brown in color with black spots, Western Fox Snakes like to live near water. They can both climb and swim! They are constrictors, and eat animals such as mice, birds and frogs. They sometimes give off a musky odor that smells like a fox, hence there name "Fox Snake".