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Nature Trivia

Jan 24, 2021

Want to connect with nature on those bone chilling days of winter? You can create a game of outdoor trivia to play with family and friends while you wait out the weather. Here's a dozen to get you started with answers and pictures below.

  • What showy tree’s wood is used to make mandolins and violins?
  • What migrating owl can be seen on the ground in winter grasslands?
  • What animal changes to a heavier coat of a different color during winter?
  • What mammal has a tail nearly half its body length and wraps around itself for warmth?
  • What birds huddle up in a circle to stay warm and watch for predators?
  • What is Missouri’s largest lizard?
  • What common – and much disliked – plant is a close relative of the cashew?
  • What is Missouri’s closest relative to the toucan?
  • What Missouri mammal is a close relative of the kangaroo?
  • What is Missouri's largest rodent that can weigh up to 60 pounds?
  • What translucent, non-native creature has adapted to Missouri waters where it feeds on plankton?
  • What shaggy tree provides nuts that are sweet and good to eat, if you can collect them before the squirrels do?

Answers: Sugar maple tree, short-eared owl, white-tailed deer, red fox, bobwhite quail, Eastern collared lizard, poison ivy, woodpeckers, opossum, beaver, freshwater jellyfish, shagbark hickory.

Strange But True

In each issue of the MDC’s Xplor Magazine, kids can discover the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that happens in nature with “Strange But True.” Use these facts to wow your friends and family with even more nature trivia, such as:

  • An eastern chipmunk often sleeps atop the pile of nuts it gathered for winter. In the fall, its bumpy bed is near the roof of its burrow. But by spring, the hungry ’munk has eaten its stash, and the bed has dropped to the floor.
  • Least shrews are Missouri’s smallest mammals. Fully grown, the insect-eating animals are barely bigger than your dad’s thumb and weigh less than a ketchup packet from a fast food restaurant.
  • Super sneakers: When stalking prey, bobcats place their back paws in the exact same places that their front paws once were. This helps the cat stay purrfectly silent, so it can slink close before pouncing on prey.
  • According to scientists, the spray from a spotted skunk smells even worse than the spray from its much larger and more-common cousin, the striped skunk.

Xplor Magazine is great for kids! You can read the latest digital issue on our website.

Special thanks to Matt Seek, Bill Graham, Francis Skalicky, and Jenna Todoroff.

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Freshwater Jellyfish
Freshwater Jellyfish

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Quail Covey
Quail Covey

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Female Opossum
Female Opossum

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Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Red-Bellied Woodpecker

short-eared owl.jpg

short-eared owl
Owls found on prairies will be the focus of hike at Shawnee Trail Conservation Area.
Short-eared owls are winter visitors to many native grasslands in southern Missouri. On Feb. 8, people can go on a Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) hike to look and listen for these owls at MDC's Shawnee Trail Conservation Area in Barton County.

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