From Xplor for Kids
June 2013 Issue

Strange But True

Publish Date

Jun 01, 2013

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

  • A Rattlesnake adds a new section to its rattle each time it sheds its skin. The rattle is made of keratin (careuh- tin), the same stuff human fingernails are made of.
  • Katydids have ears on their legs, just below their knees. The insects, which are related to grasshoppers and crickets, pinpoint sounds by raising one leg and then the other.
  • The Spiders living in a patch of woods the size of a football field eat more than 80 pounds of insects a year. That many bugs would weigh as much as 320 quarterpound hamburger patties.
  • Niangua darters are homebodies. The only place on the planet you’ll find these colorful, minnowsized fish is in a handful of streams in south-central Missouri.
  • Nature’s knitters: Baltimore orioles weave hanging, sock-like nests in the outermost branches of trees. Orioles dangle their nests from skinny branches to protect their eggs from chubby raccoons and snakes.
  • Although they’re not much bigger than a Polish sausage, pound for pound, Least Weasels bite harder than any North American mammal. The pint-sized predators need big bites to take down prey twice their size, such as chipmunks.
  • Eastern red bats can fly 40 miles per hour. The mouse-size mammals have to fly fast to feed their furry faces. They eat half their weight in insects every night!
  • Eastern Kingbirds rule. To protect their nests, the robin-sized birds dive-bomb squirrels, hawks, and people. They’ve even been known to knock blue jays out of trees.

Also in this issue

You Discover

There’s tons of fun in the sun for you to discover in June and July. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Predator vs. Prey: Garter Snake vs. Toad

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

How To: Build a Worm Hotel

You can recycle newspapers, turn kitchen scraps into garden fertilizer, and raise a never-ending supply of fishing bait.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Camouflaged critters have an edge in the dangerous game of survival.

Pirates of the Big Muddy

Ahoy, me hearties! Climb aboard to explore a Missouri River sandbar.

Wild Jobs: Naturalist Traná Madsen

Naturalist Traná Madsen wrangles spiders, snakes, and salamanders to connect people with nature.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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