Strange but True

By |
From Xplor: March/April 2018

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

Warty leaf beetles are the same size, shape, and color as caterpillar poop, which is called frass. The beetles’ frasstastic disguise allows them to hide in plain sight from birds and other predators.

  • American crows and fish crows look nearly identical. Although the birds know who’s who, the only reliable way for a person to tell them apart is by their caws — oops, calls. American crows have a harsh, rattling caw. Fish crows have a shorter, morenasal call.
  • Frogs are capable of closing their eyes. They blink to protect their peepers and keep them moist. They shut their eyes when they swallow food. But as far as biologists can tell, frogs don't close their eyes when they sleep.
  • Bombs away! If a mama short-eared owl is flushed off her nest, she often poops on the eggs as she flies away. The stinky smell may keep predators from sniffing out the nest or from eating the eggs.
  • Alvin? Simon? Theodore? In the spring and fall, eastern chipmunks sometimes gather together to sing at favorite sites in the forest. Their songs — which are simply quick, loud chips — may attract songbirds, who fly in to see what's up.
  • Shocking! Flowers talk to using electricity. If a flower hasn’t been visited recently by a bee, it gives off static electricity. The static tugs on tiny hairs on a bee's back, letting the insect know which flowers still have nectar.
  • Goodness snakes alive! The bullsnake is Missouri’s longest snake. It can reach a length of up to 8 feet. The flat-headed snake is Missouri's shortest snake. It rarely grows longer than 8 inches.

Also In This Issue

Boy in Mud
Animals don’t mind a mess. In fact, they love getting muddy.
Speckled Kingsnake in the grass
Fold up our mini field guide and find 10 great snakes near you.

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