Wildlife

Wildlife at the Arboretum

In addition to a world-class collection of plants, the Arboretum is home to animals large and small. Let wild animals remain wild: observe from a safe distance, and do not feed or touch wildlife. Please help protect the flora and fauna by leashing your dog.

New! Wildlife Bingo

Print a bingo card [pdf] (the pdf contains four different cards) and start searching for wildlife and signs of their activity in the landscape. Check off each box as you find the item. The first in your group to check off four in a row, wins!


Help Keep Coyotes Wild

Coyotes thrive in urban and suburaban areas and have become a fact of life in Boston. They are typically shy and elusive, and will generally avoid people at all costs.

Do not feed coyotes or leave food or trash in the Arboretum. Leash your dog, as coyotes are known to view small dogs as potential food and large dogs as competition. If you see a coyote in the landscape, do not approach the animal and make loud noises to scare it away. For more information on coyotes, visit Mass Audubon or Mass Wildlife websites.


Birds

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Unusual sightings may be reported on wildlife sightings board in the Hunnewell Visitor Center lobby or by email.

To improve bird habitat, the Arboretum installs bird feeders each winter near the Hunnewell Building. The feeders are removed in spring once there is ample natural bird food in the landscape. Stay warm and cozy as you view birds from the window of the Hunnewell Visitor Center.

This Bird Checklist[pdf] includes 188 species of birds that have been recorded over the past century within the 281 acres of the Arnold Arboretum. Print it out and see how many species you can find when you visit.

Insects

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Insects are everywhere. In fact, insects and other arthropods comprise more than 80% of the world’s known animal species.

Plant lovers tend to like or dislike bugs based on what they do for (or to) our flora. We embrace bees because they pollinate flowers, and spiders because they eat more harmful bugs. Less welcome are destructive, plant-munching critters like winter moth caterpillars.

Love them or hate them, there are thousands of fascinating creatures to discover if you stop and look closely!

Mammals

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Did you know that more than a dozen mammal species either live in the Arboretum or have been spotted here?

Many of these animals are secretive, so you may need to be quiet (and lucky!) to catch a glimpse of them. Also, many mammals are either nocturnal (active at night) or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), so plan an early morning visit for the best chance of a sighting.

Pond Life

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The three ponds in the Bradley Rosaceous Collection—Dawson, Faxon, and Rehder, named for former Arboretum staff members—are teeming with wildlife. In the summer months look for small fish, frogs, turtles, dragonflies, and damselflies. You may even see a heron fishing for food!

Please use the stone ramp to safely observe the water creatures. This will protect the pond edges from erosion. Use caution and do not feed or remove animals from the pond.


See more great Arboretum wildlife photos on flickr, and share your own.