Strange but True

By | September 1, 2015
From Xplor: September/October 2015

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

  • Puff Daddy: Giant puffball mushrooms can grow larger than a beach ball and weigh more than 40 pounds! The humongous funguses grow from May to October in woods, pastures, and backyards throughout Missouri.
  • Osprey are excellent anglers. After snagging supper, the talon-ted birds turn their fish missiles to face forward. The fish cut through the wind better this way, which makes it easier for the osprey to fly.
  • Yellow and black garden spider silk is tiny but tough. A single strand of silk long enough to circle the Earth would weigh less than two pounds. Ounce for ounce, however, the silk is nearly as strong as steel.
  • During mating season, male elk produce an earsplitting squeal that sounds like the elk swallowed a flute and a trumpet and is blowing through both at the same time. The eerie calls, known as bugles, can be heard more than half a mile away.
  • To float like a boat, ducks coat their feathers with oil. The oil is produced by a gland at the base of the duck’s tail. Ducks spread the oil with their bills, and in no time, water rolls off their feathers like, well, water off a duck’s back.
  • Grass carp often eat their body weight in plants each day. Although they grow quite large — Missouri’s record weighed 71 pounds — the fish aren’t great at turning plants into weight. Half the vegetation a carp eats passes through its body undigested.
  • Scents make sense. To attract a mate, female hellbenders release natural perfumes, called pheromones. One whiff of this love potion helps males find the female, even if she’s hidden under a rock.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White