Strange but True

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From Xplor: May/June 2019

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

  • To find food in the dark, bats emit sounds and listen as they echo off of nearby insects. But some moths have a sort of invisibility cloak — sound-muffling fur on their wings — that helps them hide from moth munching bats.
  • Salad for breakfast? During hibernation, black bears may go 100 days without eating. When they wake up from their winter snoozes, they eat grasses and other green vegetation to restart their sleepy digestive systems.
  • Wood nymph Butterflies have ears in their armpits. To be more specific, their ears are located at the base of their wings. Air-filled tubes in the wings act like hearing aids and funnel sounds to the ears.
  • Opossums have a secret superpower: Snake venom doesn’t hurt them. A molecule in the mangy marsupial’s blood seems to neutralize venom. Scientists are studying if the molecule could be used to treat human snakebite victims.
  • The amount of food eaten by baby barn swallows may seem hard to, well, swallow. From hatching until leaving the nest, swallow chicks gobble nearly 100,000 insects. This requires mom and dad to feed the babies up to 350 times a day!
  • Baby beavers leave the lodge when they’re about 2 years old. Although it’s funny to think mom and pop give their buck-toothed bambinos the boot, biologists believe young beavers leave by choice so they can start families of their own.
  • Newly hatched northern bobwhites are barely bigger than a bumblebee. And even though they weigh only as much as six small paper clips, the little fluffballs can scurry around and catch insects soon after exiting their eggs.

Also In This Issue

Young critters have lots to celebrate on Mother’s Day.

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