Strange but True

By | September 1, 2016
From Xplor: September/October 2016

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

Get a grip!

To help them hang on to slippery, slimy fish, ospreys have pokey pads on the soles of their feet. The pads must work. Ospreys catch up to seven out of every ten fish they go after.

Birds aren’t the only animals that migrate.

In September, monarch butterflies point their antennae southward and flutter as far as 3,000 miles to evergreen forests high in the mountains of central Mexico.

Cottontails aren’t Missouri’s only bunny.

Swamp rabbits live along streams and in wetlands in the Bootheel. As their name suggests, the water-loving wabbits — um, rabbits — are strong swimmers and often jump in the water to escape predators.

After an aphid lion finishes eating an aphid…

…it adds its victim’s shell to the pile of other victims on its back. Biologists believe this creepy camouflage helps hide aphid lions from ants, birds, and other predators.

Ants in your pants?

Common grackles sometimes crouch over anthills and let the angry insects crawl all over their bodies. Why? Ants release acid, which biologists believe helps rid the grackles’ feathers of parasites.

The harmless hog-nosed snake sure looks deadly.

When threatened, it hisses and flattens its head like a cobra. But the snake is a big fake. If its bluff fails, the hognose rolls onto its back, flops out its tongue, and pretends to be dead.


When frightened, a meadow jumping mouse uses its oversized hind feet to jump up to 12 feet in a single bound. If the tiny mouse were human-sized, it could leap over six school buses parked end-to-end.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

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