Strange but True!

By MDC | March 1, 2019
From Xplor: March/April 2019

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

  • As you might have guessed, swamp rabbits live in wetter habitats than their cottontailed cousins. One downside to this waterlogged lifestyle is finding a dry place to use the bathroom. So bayou bunnies often leave droppings on logs and stumps.
  • Ah-chooo! In terms of the number of spores released, red cedar trees rank near the top of Missouri’s pollen producing plants. On spring days, male cedars release so much pollen it sometimes looks like clouds of smoke are rolling off the trees.
  • When lunging after prey, northern pike can reach speeds of 10 mph. Although this doesn't sound like such a fintastic feat, Michael Phelps — who has won more Olympic medals than any other person — can swim no faster than 6 mph.
  • Butt out! During spawning season, male creek chubsuckers stake out territories in shallow, pebble-strewn streams. If a rival male strays too close to another chubsucker, the two fish fight by butting each other with their bumpy heads.
  • With their heavy, leathery armor, you wouldn't expect ninebanded armadillos to be speed demons. But they are. The football-shaped mammals can reach speeds of 30 mph — about as fast as a frightened cottontail.
  • American woodcocks rock their bodies backward and forward while searching for food. Biologists aren't sure why the chubby birds do this, but vibrations from the motion may bring earthworms — a woodcock’s favorite snack — to the surface.
  • Virginia rails are perfectly built for moving through dense vegetation. Along with their skinny bodies — they are, in fact, skinny as a rail — they have extra-tough forehead feathers that can withstand the wear and tear of pushing through cattails and rushes.

Also In This Issue


Cute pets doing funny things must make up half the internet, right? But after looking through thousands of animal photos, we at Xplor are sure of one thing. Wild critters are just as funny as Fido and Fluffy. Need proof? Check out these meme-worthy shots.

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