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Coyote Skull Activity | K-3 Grade

Side view of a taxidermied coyote

Coyotes are widely known as clever animals. Commonly heard, less commonly seen, and rarely surprised, coyotes are able to survive in all kinds of habitats thanks to their ability to eat lots of different foods.

Explore a coyote skull and learn about how these tricky creatures are able to adapt to eating different foods, and how teeth and skeletons can tell us a lot about how an animal survives!

Materials Provided:

Use this activity with our rentable coyote specimen! Learn more about kit and specimen rentals HERE.

Animals in Their Habitat Activity | 2nd grade

Redwood forest

What do animals need to survive? This short lesson explores that question and dives into the different kinds of places where animals can live, and how different animals can survive in their habitats. It’s up to you to use the clues to figure out which animals live nearby! 

Learn more about mammals with these resources in our Online Museum Store.

Post by: Ellen

Skull Detectives Activity | 2-3 grade

beaver skull

There’s a mystery that we need to solve. What do these animals eat? Observe three different native animal skulls and learn about different types of teeth to solve this mystery! 

In this 30-40 minute activity, students will use a slideshow to guide them. Students will learn about the different types of teeth that animals have, and how teeth can be clues that help us figure out what an animal eats. Students will observe three different native animal skulls and make educated guesses about if they are a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore. Based on their learning, they will draw one of the animals and label the different types of teeth. 

This activity was adapted from the Our Animal Neighbors Program for distance learning and is for 2nd and 3rd graders. It can be used with younger grades, but students may need assistance with reading.

Materials provided:

Learn more about mammals with the resources in our Online Museum Store.

Post by: Elise

Our Animal Neighbors: Western Gray Squirrel

Western gray squirrel

Have you seen a western gray squirrel quickly climbing a tree or running fast to cross the street in between cars? What else have you seen it do? Is there one that you see daily? I see one every day, climbing up and down a tree outside of my home. It often sits close to the fence, flicking its tail back and forth. Sometimes I feel like it does this just to taunt my dog, who is captivated by the squirrel on the other side of the fence.

Western gray squirrels live in Santa Cruz all year long. They mostly eat seeds and are known to steal from people’s bird feeders. They nest up in trees in “dreys”, which are made out of twigs and lined with moss or fur. They hide their food in caches (secret food storages) and will return to them when food is scarce. Their alarm call sounds like a bird chirp and it is used to warn others of a predator or danger in the area. 

Fun Facts:

  • Their large tail helps them balance when climbing and jumping between trees.
  • They can live up to 8 years old.
  • Their teeth never stop growing – they can grow up to 6 inches per year. Their teeth are never that long though because they are constantly wearing them down when they eat hard seeds. 
  • A group of squirrels is called a scurry.

CLICK HERE for a coloring sheet of a grey squirrel!

Here’s a video of Squirrel Sounds! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVRJsCsqFB0-

Post by: Elise