Strange but True

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From Xplor: September/October 2018
  • Blue jays can whistle a hawk’s shrill call. Biologists think they do this to alert animals about nearby raptors or scare birds off nests so the jays can eat the eggs.
  • Slimy safety goggles: When dining on ants, narrow-mouthed toads push the skin on their foreheads over their eyes to protect their peepers from ant bites.
  • Little brown bats are better than bug zappers for keeping insects at bay. In an hour of hunting, a single bat can stuff its belly with 1,000 bugs!
  • Open wide. Biologists estimate the age of a white-tailed deer by looking at the deer’s teeth. Older deer have fewer baby teeth and their molars (chewing teeth) are more worn down than those of younger deer.
  • When an American white pelican wishes for fishes, it plunges its beak underwater like a dip net. In a single scoop, the brawny beaked bird can gather 3 gallons of water — and several unlucky fish.
  • American toads inflate their bodies like warty balloons to make it tough for snakes to swallow them. Got a frog in your throat? Nope, a toad.
  • Temperature decides whether snapping turtles will be born boys or girls. Turtle eggs kept around 75 degrees hatch as mostly males. Eggs kept below 70 or above 80 hatch as mostly females.
  • A cottontail can raise 35 rabbits in a year. Whew! That’s a bunch of babies. But it pales compared to a prairie vole’s output. Missouri’s most prolific mama mammal can produce 83 babies a year!

Also In This Issue

Jumping spider
Get eyeball to eyeballs with these awesome arachnids, and you’ll spy lots to love.
illustration of crows feed their young
It’s 6 a.m. on a Tuesday, and the busybodies next door have already been snooping around. They’ve discovered that one of your neighbors forgot to put the lid on his trash can. They know that another left her cat outside all night. And they checked to see if the guy down the street refilled his bird feeder. Nope. It’s still empty.

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