Animals of Iowa


Whitetail Deer and Wild Turkey Tracking

Take a hike in a nearby woods and search for signs of Iowa’s most popular game species.  After looking over the information sheet, what types of sign do you think you will find?  Why?  Now actually look and see how many of the signs of this animal you can find.  What do you think the deer or turkey was doing at the time it made the sign?  Take a seat next to a tree and be very still and quiet.  Watch for squirrels and if you are lucky, you may be able to spot a deer or turkey!  Nearby Lake McBride State Park or Kent Park would be good locations for this.  Do you think the deer or turkey in your area are overpopulated?  Get in a group and discuss why you do or do not think so.  What could we do as individuals to help this problem if you think there is one?

Tracking Tips and Tricks

Shed Hunt

The spring is a great time to get out into the woods and look for discarded antlers from the whitetail deer.  Each year the bucks drop their antlers after the breeding season.  When the snow disappears, they can be found.  Don’t wait too long though because animals like squirrel love to nibble on them for extra minerals.  A couple good places to start looking for sheds are areas where deer congregate such as bedding and feeding areas.

Animal Mates Game

Develop a list of common animals from Iowa and then assign each child in your group one animal in secret.  Give each animal out twice.  Have the children become the animal by walking, making sounds, and behaving like it.  No talking is allowed. Have the children find their mate.  When the mates are found, start another round.

Animal Crafts at Home

Visit this site and do some of the fun and creative activities listed.

Books and Information

  1. I Took a Walk by Henry Cole (Ages 4-8)
  2. Critters of Iowa, Pocket Guide by Wildlife Forever
  3. Peterson Flash Guides, Animal Tracks, by Olaus Murie,
  4. Whose Tracks Are These? A clue book of Familiar Forest Animals by Jim Nail (Ages 4-8)
  5. Animal Habitats, Judy Press (Ages 9-12)
  6. Iowa Wildlife Viewing Guide, A Falcon Guide
  7. Deer Habitat and Clues sheet
  8. Iowa’s Wildlife Habitats, Iowa DNR
  9. Mammal Tracks and Scat by Lynn Levine & Marta Mitchell
  10. City of North Liberty Green Spaces map
  11. Iowa Mammals Iowa Association of Naturalists
  12. Iowa Wildlife Management Iowa Association of Naturalists
  13. Iowa Food Webs and Other Interrelationships Iowa Association of Naturalists
  14. Iowa Biodiversity Iowa Association of Naturalists
  15. Adapting to Iowa Iowa Association of Naturalists
  16. Iowa Habitat Loss and Disappearing Wildlife Iowa Association of Naturalists
  17. Peterson First Guide Urban Wildlife
  18. Mammals A Golden Guide

Animal Related Board Games

The White’s Tale

Into the Forest – Nature’s Food Chain Game

North American Animals Card Game





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