Education Animals

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Lakeside Nature Center’s Display Hall. Photo © Aaron Bono

Lakeside Nature Center features several live, native Missouri species on display. Our education displays include:

Eastern American Toad
Gray Treefrog
Green Treefrog
Northern False Map Turtle
Ornate Box Turtle
Western Painted Turtle
Spotted Salamander
Blue Catfish
Eastern Gray Squirrel
Southern Flying Squirrel
Eastern Mole
Virginia Opossum
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
Eastern Milksnake
Northern Cottonmouth
Speckled Kingsnake
Timber Rattlesnake
Western Pygmy Rattlesnake
Western Ratsnake

Wilma, Ornate Box Turtle

Wilma, Ornate Box Turtle. Photo © Juanita Bach

Born in 1938, Wilma is Lakeside Nature Center’s oldest resident education animal.

Wilma was found when she was just a hatchling turtle by a young couple. They took her home with them and continued to house and take good care of her for over 60 years. When they were unable to properly care for her, she was brought to the Nature Center where she lives today.

Turtles don’t live long or healthy lives if people keep them inside their homes without proper care. For that they need a variety of good foods, fresh water, warmth and sunlight.  She either needs to hibernate underground outside in winter or feel her home space to be as warm as a summer day all winter long.

For more information on ornate box turtles, go to

Cody, Coyote

Photo © Juanita Bach

Photo © Susie Harris

Photo © Susie Harris

‘Cody’, the resident male coyote at Lakeside, came to the center because of unfortunate circumstances. In 2012, he was found as an eyes-closed pup in a den, and was kept as a pet for the first 8 months of his life. Because he was so young, he became imprinted on humans. Additionally, he was raised around dogs and did not have a natural fear of being around them. Not only was it illegal to have a coyote as a pet, but the ‘finder’ also had concerns about him becoming dangerous as he matured. Cody was confiscated by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and transferred to a local wildlife rehabilitator with the intent of preparing him for release back to the wild. Unfortunately, because of his imprinting on people, they were not able to ‘wild him up’ enough to feel confident that he would stay away from people and pets. In 2013, permission was granted by MDC for Lakeside Nature Center to provide a permanent home for him. It was with the financial assistance of Friends of Lakeside Nature Center, KC Parks & Rec, and private donations that Cody was given a second chance to live a long, fulfilled life.
For more information on coyotes, go to

Eastern Gray Squirrel. Photo © Juanita Bach

For more information on eastern gray squirrels, go to

Western Hognosed Snake. Photo © Juanita Bach
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