From Xplor for Kids
August 2014 Issue

Strange But True

Publish Date

Aug 01, 2014

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

  • American kestrels, like many birds, can see ultraviolet light. Voles — small rodents that kestrels love to gobble — mark their grassy trails with urine. To humans, the urine is invisible. But because a kestrel can see ultraviolet light, the urine glows like a neon sign pointing to dinner.
  • White Bass hunt together in large, tight schools. The bass swim fast, chasing scads of shad to the surface, where the water boils with shad jumping to avoid being chomped. Unfortunately for shad, what goes up, must come down.
  • Flower mites are too tiny to travel far by walking. So how do they get from flower to flower? They ride the beak bus. When a hummingbird sticks its snoot in a flower, the mites make a mad dash up the bird’s beak and hunker down in the hummer’s nostril.
  • Badgers and coyotes sometimes hunt together. These toothy teammates spell trouble for ground squirrels. If a squirrel scurries from its burrow, the crafty coyote pounces on it. If a squirrel stays put, the burly badger digs it up for dinner.
  • Spin cycle: Black-andyellow garden spiders usually eat their webs at night and re-spin new ones before morning. This is no easy feat. Large webs may often contain 60 feet of silk.
  • Cattle egrets follow herds of cattle to snap up insects stirred up by the lumbering livestock. Plucky egrets occasionally perch on top of a cow to pick yummy ticks off the cow’s back.
  • To a hungry frog, a baby Copperhead’s wiggling green tail looks like a tasty caterpillar. But when the frog approaches, the sneaky snake strikes, and the frog becomes a meal instead of eating one.

Also in this issue

You Discover

With summer winding down, and autumn gearing up, there’s plenty to discover outside in August and September.

How To: Keep a Lion as a House Guest

Antlions are tiny insects that dig small, cone-shaped pits in sandy soil.

Nothing Beats a Bull's-Eye

Shooting a compound bow is a sure-fire way to build skills and have fun - in competition and out in the field.

Campfire Cooking

Good food can make a great camping trip totally awesome. Next time you pitch a tent, give these yummy recipes a try.

Wild Jobs: Ombudsman Tim Smith

If you have questions about conservation, ombudsman Tim Smith will get you answers.

This Issue's Staff:

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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