Strange but True

  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds can fly up, down, forward, backward, sideways, and even upside-down. The tiny birds can streak toward a flower at 25 mph and come to a dead stop in a space no longer than your pointer finger.
  • Better than a bulldozer: Woodchucks dig a network of burrows and underground chambers in which to live. Their tunnels may stretch almost 80 feet, and the woodchuck may remove nearly 700 pounds of soil during construction.
  • Why so blue? During mating season, the inside of a double-crested cormorant’s mouth turns bright blue. When a female approaches a male’s nest site, he spreads his beak wide open to show off his sky-colored pie hole.
  • There’s a good reason why zebra swallowtail butterflies usually lay only one egg on each pawpaw plant: The baby caterpillars will happily eat any of their siblings that crawl too close.
  • Common merganser babies often hitch a ride on their mother’s back as she swims through the water. This offers the little fluff balls some safety from fish and other underwater predators.
  • Dutchman’s breeches contain druglike chemicals. Cattle that eat too many of these spring-blooming wildflowers often foam at the mouth and stagger around as though they were drunk.
  • Like four peas in a pod: Nine-banded armadillos always give birth to four — no more, no fewer — identical babies, either all boys or all girls. It takes a couple months for baby ’dillos to develop the protective armor adults possess.

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