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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences - Home Yellowstone in Winter

2010 Q & A

January 18, 2010

What types of animals did you see and how close were you?

Allen, Brawley Middle, Iredell Co.

We saw many animals at fairly close range along the park road such as bison, Elk, Coyotes, Moose, waterfowl, and even one Bighorn Sheep ram. Other animals, such as eagles, wolves and a more distant Bighorn Sheep, we could see well enough to identify, but needed to use our binoculars to see details.

Do the animals use the thermal features to stay warm in the winter?

Mrs. Winnís 3rd grade, Pinnacle Elementary, Rutherford Co.

Yes, some do. The ground is warmer and can act like an electric blanket. Also, there tends to be less snow in the thermal basins, which makes it easier for animals like bison and Elk to get to the grass they feed on. Many of the park's rivers and streams receive runoff from the thermal basins, which helps keep them from freezing. This provides places for animals like waterfowl and River Otters to have access to open water.

Are snowshoes heavy and difficult to walk with? How much weight can a snowshoe take before it sinks into the snow?

Kelsey, Ethan, Patience & Hailey, Rosman Elementary, Transylvania Co.

The first time you put on a pair of snowshoes they do feel heavy because youíre not used to wearing something that big on your feet. With a little practice they are easy to walk with. The benefit of using snowshoes is that they allow you to walk in deep snow without sinking in deeply. You sink deeper in fresh snow than you would in older, more compacted snow.

 

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