Xplor More: Which Winter Critter Are You?

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

Ever wonder which winter critter you’re most like? Take our quiz to find out. For each question, circle the letter next to the answer that best describes you.

Where’s your favorite place to go for dinner?

  1. A grill would be great. Give me meat, meat, and more meat.
  2. Seafood sounds swell — the fresher the better.
  3. Let’s hit a snack shack where I can nibble on nuts and chips.
  4. Forget dinner! Bring me dessert.
  5. How about a buffet? I like a little of everything.

It’s Valentine’s Day. What’s the best way to win your heart?

  1. Sing sweet songs to me.
  2. Leave a note to let me know you’re interested.
  3. Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday! I’m happy being single.
  4. No one likes a showoff — except for me.
  5. A kiss is the only way to know if it’s true love.

What’s the best way to spend a winter day?

  1. Gobbling up snacks.
  2. Let’s go sledding!
  3. Curled up asleep in my cozy home.
  4. At the beach. I can’t stand the cold.
  5. Hanging out with friends.

How would your friends describe you?

  1. Clever.
  2. Playful.
  3. Busy.
  4. Feisty.
  5. Loud.

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

  1. Find a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  2. Spend more time fishing.
  3. Save more for my future.
  4. Travel to another country.
  5. Plant some trees.

Which letter did you circle the most?

A: Red foxes are carnivores, which means they eat mostly meat. In winter, they leap high into the air to pounce on rodents hiding under the snow. Foxes are clever and often outwit dogs and other predators. In the winter, female foxes give shrill yowls to attract a mate.

B: River otters feel at home in the water and can swim fast enough to catch fish for dinner. As one of Missouri’s most playful animals, they’re often seen sliding down snowy slopes on their bellies. Otters mark logs and rocks with their scent to let other otters know they’re looking for love.

C: Although some eastern chipmunks are active during winter, many are curled up asleep in their cozy underground dens. In the fall, they’re among Missouri’s busiest animals, scurrying to and from their nests to stockpile acorns for winter meals. While they’re not unfriendly, chipmunks prefer to have time to themselves.

D: Ruby-throated hummingbirds drink sweet nectar from flowers and feeders. Tiny but feisty, they spend much of their day chasing each other away from nectar sources. Male hummers show off for females by making looping, U-shaped flights. Before winter arrives, hummers buzz off to warmer countries like Mexico and Belize.

E: Blue jays eat many things including acorns, insects, and eggs. They flock to feeders to eat seeds, often using loud calls to scare away other birds. In the fall, jays bury acorns to eat later, but many are forgotten and sprout into trees the following spring. Blue jay couples “kiss” by nibbling each other’s beaks.

To learn more about these and other animals, scurry over to mdc.mo.gov/field-guide.

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