Strange but True

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From Xplor: May/June 2017

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

  • Don’t make a squeak. Barn owls have the best hearing of any animal ever tested. Using nothing but their ultra-keen ears, the nocturnal birds can find and catch mice in total darkness.
  • Here tonight, gone tomorrow. The blossoms of Missouri evening primrose last only a day. The flashy flowers unfurl in the late afternoon, bloom through the night, and wilt the next morning.
  • White-tailed deer fawns turn into toddlers almost instantly. A few minutes after birth, a fawn can stand on its skinny legs and take its first wobbly steps.
  • If a coyote tries to nibble on a Texas horned lizard, it’s in for a nasty surprise. When threatened, horned lizards shoot blood from their eyes. The blood tastes terrible and startles predators, giving the lizard time to scurry away.
  • Prickly pears are twice as pokey as other pointy plants. In addition to its long spines, Missouri’s native cactus is also armed with clusters of tiny, barbed prickles.
  • Like many birds, bobolinks have built-in compasses. Iron oxide (a kind of metal) is found in a bobolink’s beak and brain. Earth’smagnetic field tugs on the metal, which helps the bird know the direction it’s traveling.
  • Red fox pups love to play with sticks, feathers, and bones. If the fox family moves to a new den, the parents carry the pups’ toys to their new home.

Also In This Issue

Illustrated beaver
Construction is a family affair for these buck-toothed builders.

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