clock 10 am – 5 pm
Blog At the Museum

MLS Mailbag No. 1

Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on in which I take your questions about the Museum of Life and Science and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and we have a little fun along the way!

Let’s get to it.

How often do you repaint the dinosaurs? – Courtney

It’s no secret we love our dinos here at the Museum — they’re a huge part (pun intended) of our institutional history! Did you know that the Dinosaur Trail was originally coined the “Pre-History Trail” and first opened to the public in June 1967?!

Black and white image showing two men aiding in the construction of a scale replica of a brontosaurus at the Museum of Life and Science.
Our original Brontosaurus model being constructed. You can still see its smiling face just off Ellerbe Creek Trail near campus.

Just like any other outdoor exhibit, the Dinosaur Trail is exposed to the elements and needs to be regularly maintained and repaired. We’re lucky to work with the talented folks from Scenic Artistry in Maryland for this task, but the last time the dinosaurs were painted was 2017. Ideally, they’d get their glow-ups on a two to three-year timeline but, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re a little overdue.

An image showing most of an Alamosaurus and two Museum staffers helping to restore it.
Exhibits graphic design expert Jennifer Armstrong (on ladder) restoring the Alamosaurus in 2017.

Stay tuned to our social channels for future behind-the-scenes content!

Do bantam chickens lay eggs? If so, how often? – merriwethersteckmann on Instagram

I turned to Animal Care Specialist Nicole for help answering this one and the conclusion is yes! Bantam chickens like the ones in the Farmyard do lay eggs … but they’re MINI. For those who are not up on their chicken lingo, “bantam” just refers to any small variety of fowl, like chickens or ducks. Other than their smaller size, they’re pretty much the same as their standard-sized counterparts — same coloring, same love for mealworms and feed, and eggs!

An image showing two eggs. The smaller bantam chicken egg is on the left and is roughly two-thirds the size of the egg on the right, a store-bought chicken egg.
A bantam egg (left) and a store-bought chicken egg (right).

Our chickens are on the older side, so they don’t lay as often as they used to. We get one every other day for now, but they can (and do) lay every day. They slow down or stop in the winter when the days are shorter. Currently, Charlotte the white-crested black polish bantam chicken is the only gal laying, but as we move into spring, the others will start to lay as well.

As for the eggs, they’re unfertilized which means there won’t be any chicks, so we use them around the Museum to boost other animals’ diets.

A photo with a hand holding a bantam chicken egg in the foreground, and Charlotte the chicken in the background.
Charlotte with one of her eggs … and a xylophone.

Will y’all be getting a new copperhead? – khokhobeanie on Instagram

As many of you know, we lost our beloved copperhead Stryker late last year and her former habitat has been empty since. The short answer is yes, we will have a copperhead back in Carolina Wildlife and, according to Senior Director of Animal Care Sherry Samuels, the goal is this year.

Sherry said the sooner a new snake arrives, the better, because reptiles must go through a 90-day quarantine before they can enter their habitat in Carolina Wildlife.

“Ideally, we would be able to take a copperhead from another institution similar to us,” Sherry said. “A copperhead coming from another institution is already receiving veterinary care and familiar with life under human care. A wild copperhead is not what we want. We’d like to leave those that are in nature there.”

A photo of the late Stryker the copperhead, coiled up in her habitat in Carolina Wildlife.
Stryker the copperhead, who made her home at the Museum from 2014 until her passing in December 2022.


There you have it, Mailbag No. 1 is in the books! I hope you will join me next week for more questions and more answers. 

If you have a question you’d like answered or love the smell of the Farmyard in the morning as much as I do, you can drop us a note here