From Xplor for Kids
February 2014 Issue

Strange But True

Publish Date

Feb 01, 2014

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

  • You’ve heard of couch potatoes, but how about pouch potatoes? Minutes after they’re born, baby opossums crawl into their mother’s pouch — and stay there for the next 70 days!
  • Great blue herons usually grab fish between the top and bottom parts of their beaks. But sometimes the leggy birds stab fish with their knife-shaped beaks. Fish kabobs, anyone?
  • Great horned owls don’t give a hoot about cold weather. The hardy hooters start nesting in January, earlier than any other bird in Missouri. Their eggs can survive temperatures of 10 degrees below zero.
  • Double-crested cormorants produce less oil than most other water birds. Without oil to coat their feathers, cormorants get waterlogged easily and must spend lots of time drying their feathers in the sun.
  • Least shrews are tiny animals with enormous appetites. The 3-inch predators eat nearly their weight in insects, worms, and snails every day. An average-sized 4th grader would need to snarf down 200 apples daily to keep up.
  • No bones about it. Paddlefish don’t have a single bone in their fishy bodies. Instead, their skeletons are made of cartilage, the same sort-ofbendy, sort-of-stiff tissue that’s found in your ears and the tip of your nose.
  • Flying squirrels don’t really fly, but, wow, can they glide! With a tall-enough tree to launch from, these squirrelly skydivers can glide 190 feet — about as far as five school buses parked end to end.

Also in this issue

You Discover

With winter almost gone and spring right around the corner, there’s plenty for you to discover outside in February and March.

Predator Vs. Prey: Hooded Merganser vs. Bluntnose Minnow

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

How To: Find North Without a Compass

Being able to find north without a compass is a handy skill to master.

Large and in Charge

Missouri's giants rule the outdoors.

Little Owl, Big Attitude

The only thing small about an eastern screech-owl is its size.

Wild Jobs: Turkey Trapper

Biologist Jason Isabelle catches wild turkeys — with a rocket-net.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Brett Dufur
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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