WILDLIFE OBSERVATION AT CAVE OF THE MOUNDS
Wildlife habitat is an important aspect of land management at Cave of the Mounds and many local species can be observed around the grounds and on the Interpretive Trails. Specialized plantings, such as the Rock & Rain Gardens encourage a wide array of butterfly and moth species. The Prairie and Oak Savanna Restoration projects provide a natural home for small mammals, snakes, and important pollinating insects. A variety of amphibians can be found around and near the natural intermittent stream and in the surrounding forest edge environment. New in 2008, Interpertive Trails along our Natural Heritage Land Trust conservation easement give visitors a peek into the forest life cycle processes of oak regeneration, decomposition, and mixed deciduous forests. All of these habitats offer wildlife the opportunity to benefit from these protected green spaces by living, hunting and raising their young.
There are many insects that make their home here at Cave of the Mounds and we are happy to provide an environment that supports the ongoing development of local insect biodiversity. Most importantly, we are providing habitat to some species of concern including pollinating bees and moths, like the impressive Luna Moth shown above (left). Many native plants are selected and planted specifically for their ability to attract and support these species.
Large and small mammals use the grounds for home and hunting. White Tailed Deer beds, areas of flattened grass, can often be observed in the tall grasses during the early morning hours. Tracks of fox, coyote, rabbit, racoon, skunk, and squirrel indicate a wealth of wildlife living and thriving here.
Bats seem the obvious companion to a cave, and although there are no bats inside Cave of the Mounds, the sky above the savanna and prairie come alive with the flutter of these winged mammals. Little Browns, Big Browns and Hoary bats keep pest insects in check for a good portion of the year.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Reptiles and amphibians love the mix of sun and rocks throughout the gardens as well as the damp, cool intermittent streambed. The Common Garter snake, Milksnake, American Toad and Spring Peeper are all species that have been observed here. Occaisionally, these cold-blooded creatures can be seen on warm sunny mornings around the prairie, rock boulders and stream areas allong the new Interpretive Trails.
Learn more about Bird Watching at Cave of the Mounds.
Travel Green Wisconsin: Cave of the Mounds is proud to be a charter member of the Travel Green Wisconsin certification program which encourages businesses to adopt sustainable practices in order to reduce their environmental footprint.