Wildcat Mountain State Park Nature
The sheltered and scenic Kickapoo River Valley supports fish, deer, beaver and many other kinds of animals, birds and plants. Wildcat Mountain is an official Wisconsin Watchable Wildlife site.
Red squirrels chatter from treetops. If you hike into one's territory, it may scold you with a shrill cry and quivering tail.
Large pine and hemlock trees, native to northern Wisconsin, grow here because the north-facing cliffs at Mount Pisgah remain cooler than the surrounding valleys. The trees on Mount Pisgah never fell to the axe, nor was Mount Pisgah ever grazed. Preservation of this virgin timber is one reason Mount Pisgah was designated as a state natural area in 1952.
One of the unusual plants on the north-facing cliffs is walking fern. Its long, narrow, arching leaves radiate from the roots. Leaf tips that touch the ground sprout new plants. This is how the plant "walks" and spreads across a cliff. Other ferns include interrupted fern and maidenhair fern.
Along the Kickapoo river, some cliffs are large enough to create an isolated humid environment capable of supporting rare plants. You'll see something new and interesting with each turn of this crooked river - sandstone cliffs covered with mosses, ferns, and wildflowers and shaded hemlocks.
Birds you may see include wild turkeys, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures.
In spring and late summer through autumn, many birds migrate along the Kickapoo River. Look for Canada geese, tundra swans, sandpipers and great blue herons.
Reptiles in Wildcat Mountain State Park include Eastern hog-nose snakes, five-line skinks and red-bellied snakes, which like moist, grassy areas. The snakes are not poisonous and quickly slink away from people if startled.