From Xplor for Kids
September 2015 Issue

Strange but True

Publish Date

Sep 01, 2015

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

  • Puff Daddy: Giant puffball mushrooms can grow larger than a beach ball and weigh more than 40 pounds! The humongous funguses grow from May to October in woods, pastures, and backyards throughout Missouri.
  • Osprey are excellent anglers. After snagging supper, the talon-ted birds turn their fish missiles to face forward. The fish cut through the wind better this way, which makes it easier for the osprey to fly.
  • Yellow and black garden spider silk is tiny but tough. A single strand of silk long enough to circle the Earth would weigh less than two pounds. Ounce for ounce, however, the silk is nearly as strong as steel.
  • During mating season, male elk produce an earsplitting squeal that sounds like the elk swallowed a flute and a trumpet and is blowing through both at the same time. The eerie calls, known as bugles, can be heard more than half a mile away.
  • To float like a boat, ducks coat their feathers with oil. The oil is produced by a gland at the base of the duck’s tail. Ducks spread the oil with their bills, and in no time, water rolls off their feathers like, well, water off a duck’s back.
  • Grass carp often eat their body weight in plants each day. Although they grow quite large — Missouri’s record weighed 71 pounds — the fish aren’t great at turning plants into weight. Half the vegetation a carp eats passes through its body undigested.
  • Scents make sense. To attract a mate, female hellbenders release natural perfumes, called pheromones. One whiff of this love potion helps males find the female, even if she’s hidden under a rock.

Also in this issue

Get Out!

With summer winding down, and fall gearing up, there’s plenty to discover outside.

Into The Wild: Your Backyard at Night

Nighttime is the right time to find cool creatures in your backyard.

Jeepers, Peepers

You can learn some eye-opening things about an animal by focusing on its vision.

Shelly's Guide to Cool Caves

Cave biologist Shelly Colatskie shows us what makes cave life cool.

How To: Partake in Persimmons

At the end of September, purplish-orange persimmons ripen and drop from the branches of their knobby-barked trees.

This Issue's Staff:

Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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