Strange But True

By | June 1, 2014
From Xplor: June/July 2014

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

  • Jaw brawl: When male collared lizards meet, they often open their mouths wide to show off their jaw muscles. Lizards with bigger muscles bite harder, so this gives each lizard a chance to size up the other and decide whether to fight or run away.
  • Holy inflight meal, Batman! Little brown bats use their wings and tails like catcher’s mitts to bag bugs while they fly. The bats transfer the morsels to their mouths in midair. Eating in flight allows a bat to top off its tummy in only an hour or two.
  • Cooper’s hawks dive bomb through forest openings to prey upon unsuspecting songbirds. But dodging tree branches at high speeds isn’t easy. In a study of more than 300 Cooper’s hawk skeletons, nearly 25 percent showed evidence of broken bones.
  • From late June through September, tarantulas can be seen scurrying across roads in southern Missouri. The wandering spiders are usually lovestruck males searching for a girlfriend. Males may travel three-quarters of a mile for romance.
  • The robust conehead katydid is Missouri’s loudest insect. To attract a mate, males produce an earsplitting hum that can reach 116 decibels, which is louder than a lawnmower. On a still night, the hum can be heard nearly a mile away.
  • All that flying a Canada goose does is pretty honking hard on its feathers. Geese molt, or shed, their worn-out and damaged flight feathers in late June. It takes about a month for new feathers to grow back, and during this time the geese can’t fly.
  • Coyotes are Missouri’s fastest land animal. The cagey canines can zip across grasslands at a blistering 43 miles per hour. That’s doggone fast! Compared to coyotes, humans are at the back of the pack, reaching speeds of only 27 miles per hour.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

Brett Dufur
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