Indoor Exhibit Animals
These smaller animals are on permanent display in the Museum’s indoor exhibit hall.
Learn More About These Animals...
Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio)
Wingspan: about 20 inches /50 centimeters
Weight: about 6 ounces /180 grams
- Perhaps the worst-named bird, Eastern Screech Owl calls can be described as whinnies, trilling whistles, or a harsh rasp.
- Screeches come in a range of colors, from gray to brown to rusty red.
- This small owl survives very well in human suburbs.
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
Wingspan: about 44 inches / 110 centimeters
Weight: about 3 pounds /1,400 grams
- Great Horned Owls are the first birds to begin nesting in Massachusetts every year, sometimes laying their eggs in January.
- These owls don’t build their own nest. Instead, they take possession of an unused hawk, crow, or even eagle nest.
- Just about anything up to the size of a rabbit can be on a Great Horned Owl’s dinner menu, even skunks. Owls have virtually no sense of smell, a good thing when you’re skunk hunting!
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Length: 36 – 60 inches / 90 – 150 centimeters
Weight: 20 – 32 ounces / 580 – 900 grams
- Rattlesnakes use their heat-sensing pits to specialize in hunting small, warm-blooded mammals such as mice, chipmunks, shrews, and meadow voles.
- The snake’s rattle is made from scraps of shed skin. The number of rattles does not reveal the snake’s age, as the rattles may break and fall off and the snake does not shed on an annual schedule.
- Rattlesnakes in the Blue Hills are threatened by a recent outbreak of a fungal skin infection, which is fatal without treatment. Timber Rattlesnakes are considered “Endangered” in Massachusetts.
Eastern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)
Length: 24 – 36 inches / 60 – 90 centimeters
Weight: 8 – 12 ounces / 225 – 340 grams
- Copperheads have a heat-sensing pit located between each eye and nostril. This pit helps them locate the small mammals and frogs which are the main sources of food.
- Copperheads in the Blue Hills spend the winter in crevices between the rocks on the hillsides, but move into the wetland areas between the hills in summer.
- Because of their scarcity and declining numbers, Copperheads are an “Endangered” species in Massachusetts.
Honeybees (Apis melifera)
Length: about 3/8 of an inch / 1 centimeter
Weight: 0.004 ounces /0.1 gram
- Honeybees are domestic animals which were introduced to North America by European colonists in the seventeenth century.
- Because they have a complex social structure, successful colonies of honeybees can number in the thousands, many more than are found in the tiny colonies of native bumblebee species.
- The industrialization of agriculture, use of persistent pesticides, and pests inadvertently transported by international trade have all greatly reduced the ability of Honeybees to survive in this country.