Strange But True

By | October 1, 2013
From Xplor: October/November 2013

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

  • Northern mockingbirds learn new songs throughout their lives. Older birds may have 200 tunes stashed in their song book. With so many to choose from, mockingbirds mix it up and sing a different set of songs in the spring than in the fall.
  • You think you have a messy room? Deer mice foul up their nests so badly with food and droppings, they must move to a new home every few weeks. The mice often use abandoned bird nests and weave plants over the top for a roof.
  • Eastern wood rats have a hoarding habit. If they find a shiny object, they trade it for what they’re carrying and stash the treasures back in their nests. Because of this, campers sometimes find sticks where pocketknives or car keys used to be.
  • Thirteen-lined ground squirrels usually have 13 stripes — seven light stripes and six dark stripes. But some squirrels have more stripes and some have fewer stripes. The squirrels, however, don’t seem to keep count.
  • Yellow-bellied sapsuckers hammer holes in trees to lap up the sweet sap that pours out. The sweet-beaked birds turn sour when other animals try to suck their sap and often chase away hummingbirds, orioles, and other woodpeckers.
  • Hellbenders are homebodies. Missouri’s largest salamanders can live more than 30 years in the wild, but they rarely stray more than a few hundred yards up or downstream from where they were born.
  • Antlers, ahoy! White-tailed deer can swim 13 miles per hour. That’s twice as fast as Michael Phelps, the seemingly superhuman swimmer who has won more Olympic medals than anyone else.

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