Kaylee Cox & Natalie Zimmerman c/o 2022)
This February, a 30-pound male bobcat presented to the Wildlife Medical Clinic after a long journey from western Illinois. He was found on the side of the road by Illinois DNR who brought him to a local veterinarian (and former WMC volunteer!) who was able to stabilize the bobcat and begin diagnostics to assess the patient. There, radiographs revealed that this bobcat had pelvic fractures, likely from being hit by a car, as well as several bullet fragments throughout its abdomen. Because this veterinarian is a former WMC volunteer, she knew exactly who to call for continued care – our very own veterinary staff here at the Wildlife Medical Clinic! After the arrangements were made, this bobcat’s three-hour journey across Illinois began.
Jamie Booth c/ o 2023
With summer finally creeping out, we are starting to see some of our warm weather wildlife starting to emerge! The most common snake in Illinois is the garter snake, and this is definitely one of the best creatures to come across in your yard. These snakes are roughly 2-3 feet long and are non-venomous, so they pose very little risk to humans. In fact, garter snakes provide some incredible vermin control by eating mice, voles, small insects, and more! This decreases potential disease spread and helps to keep gardens healthy. In addition to being environmentally helpful, garter snakes are also one of the more beautiful snakes we see. With varying colors, garter snakes have three yellow stripes on their bodies with some having additions of red throughout. Another interesting fact about garter snakes is that they are one of the few snake species who give birth to live young instead of laying eggs! Their young are small, being about 6 inches at the time of birth. Each snake can live anywhere from 3-10 years, depending on how fortunate they are to stay out of contact with dangerous humans. It can be a frightening sight to see a snake slithering around the yard, but these animals are immensely important for our ecosystems to keep everything running smoothly. If you ever come across a garter snake, we can guarantee that they want to interact with you even less than you want to interact with them! We recommend trying to shoo them away gently, making sure to never corner them. Snakes tend to get a bad reputation, but everything has its place in the world, and these little serpents are doing their best to contribute!
By: Lauren Vincent, Class of 2023
Milkweed is a native Illinois perennial plant that serves a unique role in our backyard ecosystems and across the country. This plant is the only host for Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) making it critical for their survival. With progressive urbanization and habitat loss, milkweed distribution has plummeted, bringing the monarch populations down with it.