From Xplor for Kids
April 2012 Issue

Strange But True

Publish Date

Apr 01, 2012

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

  • American toads inflate their bodies like warty balloons to make it tough for snakes to swallow them. Got a frog in your throat? Nope, a toad.
  • Three-toed box turtles are Missouri’s longest-living reptiles. Most reach their 60th birthday, and some live 100 years or longer.
  • Only female mosquitoes suck blood. They need the protein in blood to lay eggs. Males sip flower nectar and plant juices.
  • Little brown bats are better than bug zappers for keeping insects at bay. In an hour of hunting, a single bat can stuff its belly with 1,000 bugs!
  • To lure predators away from their chicks, killdeer moms and pops thrash about and drag their wings pitifully, pretending that their wings are broken.
  • Nectar from red columbine contains twice as much sugar as nectar from other colors of columbine. This extra jolt of sweetness helps attract energyguzzling pollinators such as hummingbirds.
  • Channel catfish dads guard their nests from egg-eating predators for nearly two weeks until the eggs hatch and the baby catfish grow large enough to swim away.
  • When digging just below the surface, eastern moles tunnel about a foot a minute. At that rate, the 6-inch-long mammals can burrow the length of a football field in five hours.

Also in this issue

You Discover

April and May are Goldilocks months—not too hot nor too cold. Wildflowers pop up, songbirds migrate, and fish finally find their appetites. Here are just a few things to discover.

Predator vs. Prey: Bass vs. Crayfish

The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.

How To: Make a Turkey Call

In April and May, male turkeys gobble and show off to attract a mate. While their minds are preoccupied with finding girlfriends, gobblers can be lured in close by mimicking the sounds of a lovesick hen.

Giants of the Night

The moth flutters silently, mysteriously through the night. Her wings are impossibly large and glow green like an emerald in pale moonlight. She is a luna moth, named for the moon, for the night, and on this, her last evening on Earth, she’s searching for a place to lay her eggs.

The Adventures of Bionic Bird and Robo-Deer

Most hunters obey the law. When they don’t, conservation agents are pros at catching them. But to bust some poachers, conservation agents need a little help. That’s where we come in.

Wild Jobs: Collared-Lizard Researcher Amy Conley

Collared-lizard researcher Amy Conley snares skittish reptiles with a lasso of dental floss.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods

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