Strange But True

By | August 1, 2013
From Xplor: August/September 2013

Your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature.

  • Sproing! Nine-banded armadillos spring straight up when startled. This gives the armored animals a jump on hungry coyotes and other predators, but it doesn’t work so well for dodging cars.
  • Caspian terns plunge beak-firsti nto water to catch fish. Teenage terns have a tough time learning this technique. Until they master it, they mooch food from mom and pop.
  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds normally beat their wings about 50 times a second. That’s fast, but it’s a bummer compared to a lovestruck hummer. When trying to impress a mate, male hummers flap their wings 200 times a second.
  • Fox Squirrels have sweat glands between their toes. When a squirrel gets excited or hot, its paw prints become wet from sweat.
  • Crunchy! Purple martins gobble down gravel and eggshells. The gritty bits stay in the birds’ guts to help grind up the hard skeletons of insects that martins eat.
  • Monarch caterpillars munch milkweed, a poisonous plant. But the caterpillars aren’t harmed. In fact, the more milkweed caterpillars eat, the more toxic they become. By the time they turn into butterflies, they’re so toxic, birds that eat them throw up.
  • Female plain pocketbook mussels wave lures that look like small, swimming fish. When a big fish strikes at the lure, the mama mussel squirts out a cloud of tiny babies. The baby mussels attach themselves to the fish for a free ride.
  • Badgers use long, sharp claws to dig up their dinner of voles, mice, and ground squirrels. At full speed, the furry dirt-drills can disappear underground in less than a minute. They can even out-dig a person with a shovel!

And More...

This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White