Exhibit Animals

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 groups of our animals.

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.
  • Tiger Salamander: Largest land living Salamander in North America. Like frogs, Salamanders lay eggs in water and the young live as larvae until they develop lungs. Adult Tiger Salamanders spend much of their life in damp soil or leaves on the forest floor, only returning to water to breed.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Leopard Frog: Once the most widespread frog species, it is now less common due to human activities and ecological factors. The Leopard Frog has a life span of 2 to 4 years in the wild. They eat beetles, flies, worms, and smaller frogs. They capture prey with patient waiting until they pounce!
  • Wood Frog: Found near water and usually in wooded areas, these frogs are recognized by their "robber mask", a black band that stretches past both eyes to their eardrums. One of the first to breed in early spring, they can be heard calling while there is still snow on the ground. They are very active and can jump farther than most frogs. They eat beetle, flies, caterpillars, and other insects. 
  • Gray Tree Frog: Inhabits all elevations of wooded areas with diverse surroundings such as swamps, ponds, lakes, old field, and a variety of other places. The colors of a Gray Tree Frog vary with its background and environmental factors such as season and humidity. They eat most insects and insect larvae. Predators of the Gray Tree Frog are birds, snakes, other frogs, and small mammals.
  • 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.
Painted Turtle
Fox Snake Web
Blandings Turtle Web
Explore the Wild Side of Springbrook!

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!