Strange but True

By MDC | January 1, 2024
From Xplor: January/February 2024

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

Female stoneflies want rock stars for boyfriends. In the dead of winter, males crawl out of icy Ozark streams and tap their bellies on hollow branches. If a female is impressed by the drum solo, she taps back.

An eastern cottontail can wiggle its nose up to 120 times a minute. The rapid wiggling exposes nearly 100 million scent receptors to odors in the air. This helps the rabbit sniff out dinner or danger.

When a little brown bat is chasing bugs across the summer sky, its heart can beat up to 1,000 times a minute. But during winter hibernation, its heart slows waaaaay down and may beat only 20 times a minute.

Once coyote couples tie the knot, they’re in it for the long run. The yappy, snappy, quick, and crafty wild dogs often stay with the same mate for their entire lives.

An airliner flying over the state of Nevada at 21,000 feet struck a migrating mallard. Though it’s possible other kinds of waterfowl can fly even higher, this is the highest flight ever documented for a duck in the United States.

Long-tailed ducks have been found diving to depths of 240 feet. During food-finding expeditions, the deep divers spend three or four times longer underwater than they do on the surface.

Rude awakening: Great horned owls are known to prey on wild turkeys that are roosting in trees. In a typical attack, an owl swoops in silently, grabs the sleeping turkey with its talons, and both birds tumble down in a semi-controlled fall.

Also In This Issue

Red Shouldered Hawk

Make this mini field guide to learn about Missouri’s birds of prey


Hungry muskrats are the architects of the marshes where they live.

This Issue's Staff

Artist – Matt Byrde
Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Designer – Les Fortenberry
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Subscriptions – Marcia Hale
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber