Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History

Animals at the Frehner Museum

Not all of our animals come from Utah, but they each represent a species that is normally found within the state. Come visit us to see these majestic creatures, and more, in our museum.

The Dancing Calves

The Dancing Calves is our most famous piece in the museum. The calves were born on May 8, 1949, to a cow belonging to Willard Lund of Paragonah, Utah. They were polycephalic, meaning they have more than one head. They also shared a single heart, set of lungs, and a digestive tract. Sadly, they died during birth. The Dancing Calves gained notoriety in the 1950's because they were falsely associated with radioactive fallout from nuclear testing. They have been in Cedar City for decades and have been on display in West and Gail Segmiller's Desert Pearl Cafe, formerly on Main Street, and in various places on Southern Utah University's campus. The Dancing Calves have found a permanent home in our museum.

Canada Lynx

The Canada Lynx, Lynx canadensis, is not found in Utah. However, it is part of the Lynx genus, which includes the bobcat, that is commonly found in the Rocky Mountain ranges.  Historically, the Canada Lynx could be found in forests all over Canada and Alaska, with some populations extending south into the northwestern United States. Due to its decreasing numbers in the United States, the Canada Lynx was listed as an endangered animal in March 2000. It lives in forests where it can hunt its prey, usually the snowshoe rabbit. The lynx is larger than a bobcat, and is over twice the size of a domestic cat. The Canada Lynx is easy to recognize with its long, black ear tufts; short, black-tipped tail; and large, rounded feet. The feet of the Canada Lynx are adapted to walk in the snow by having paws that are much larger than normal. Essentially, they have snowshoes for feet.

Mule Deer

The mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus, is named for its ears, which are large like a mule. This deer is native to the Rocky Mountains and is only found in regions west of the Missouri River. The mule deer differs from other dear by its body size, black tail, the size of its ears, and the configuration of its antlers. The mule deer’s antlers are bifurcated, meaning they “fork” as they grow, rather than branching from a main beam, like the whitetail deer. They also have excellent eyesight and hearing, which warns them of approaching dangers. The female deer is known as a doe, and baby deer are known as fawns. Mule deer live in multi-generational groups with family that are related to the doe and their offspring. Their diet consists of shrubs, broad-leafed herbs, grasses, and trees.

Ptarmigan

The rock ptarmigan, Lagopus muta, can be found in arctic and subarctic regions through Eurasia and North America, including Greenland. It is the official bird for the territory of Nunavut, Canada, and affectionately called the “snow chicken” in the United States. The ptarmigan makes its home in rocky mountainsides and tundra regions, where it feeds primarily on birch and willow buds, along with other plant species. Insects are fed only to their chicks to help them develop. The ptarmigan’s feathers seasonally camouflage with white in winter and brown in spring and summer. The word ptarmigan comes from the Scottish Gaelic tàrmachan, which means croaker. It was given this name due to the croaking song the male makes.

Red Fox

The fox, Vulpes, is part of the Canidae family, a lineage of carnivorous dog-like mammals, such as wolves, jackals, and coyotes. The red fox, Vulpes vulpes, is most commonly red, but can come in a variety of colors, like the silver fox in our museum. The red fox, including its silver form, has the widest distribution range of any carnivore. These mammals are present across the entire Northern hemisphere; from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, Central America, and Asia. The red fox has also been introduced to Australia, where it is considered an invasive species and a threat to native animals. Because of its ability to be resourceful in its environment, the red fox has gained a reputation for being intelligent and cunning. The red fox usually lives in pairs, or with small family groups, and lives on a diet of small rodents. A female fox is called a vixen and young cubs are called pups or kits.

Western Canadian Moose

The moose, Alces alces, is the largest living member of the deer family. The moose in our museum is a Western Canadian Moose, Alces alces andersoni. Moose typically live in forest regions with temperate to subarctic climates in the Northern Hemisphere. Moose have leaf-like antlers, instead of the twig-like antlers found on deer. Their diet consists of vegetation, both on the ground and in the water. Moose are unique from other deer species in that they do not form herds. They are generally sedentary and slow moving animals, but can become aggressive and move quickly if they are angered or startled. A female moose is called a cow and a young moose is called a calf.

This page was updated April 2016.