Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Belle Isle: Michigan Nature Zoo

The Michigan Nature Zoo is the new zoo on Belle Isle. There used to be a little zoo there when I was a kid, but it closed because the Detroit Zoo is not far away and much better equipped for exotic animals. The Belle Isle zoo reopened recently as the Michigan Nature Zoo, which focuses on native species. They're still putting in new exhibits and raising money, but it's a cute little place and it's free!
 When you first walk in, you're greeted by these giant rocks of salt. These were mined from underneath Detroit. There are huge salt mines under Detroit and Lake Huron.
 These are baby gar! Gar are related to pike and muskellunge. They can get pretty big. Google 'alligator gar' and you'll see some big ones. They're adorable when they're babies.
 These are perch. I used to fish for these when I was a kid and went fishing Up North with my dad.
 A black rat snake. He was moving around a lot which is why the picture is blurry. It was the only snake they currently have on exhibit. They aren't venomous but they can be kind of cranky.
 This is one of my favorites-it's a snapping turtle. They look so cool, like a little dinosaur. I would not want to get snapped by one though, they can break fingers with their bite force.
 One of the native Michigan turtles. I forget which one. He was chilling out near the glass.
 I like this picture because the turtle is actually coming out of the pond. Then the other one is sitting there waiting for him. I think the one in the pond is a painted turtle but I can't quite tell.
 These are the largest salamanders in Michigan. I had no idea these even existed in Michigan. I've never seen one in the wild before.
It's a mudpuppy! They're very similar to axolotls. Apparently you can catch them in rivers occasionally, but I've never caught one. I think they're kind of cute.