From Xplor for Kids
September 2015 Issue

Into The Wild: Your Backyard at Night

Publish Date

Sep 01, 2015

Look

If you stay up late, you might find a luna moth fluttering around your porch light. Luna moths have big, fuzzy bodies and lime-green wings. Spots on their wings look like angry eyes. When the spots show, they startle would-be predators, giving the moth time to fly away.

Did You Know?

Gray treefrogs have a handy trick to hide from hungry hunters. As they move around, their skin changes color to match whatever they are clinging to. Look for these little frogs climbing on windows to zap bugs near porch lights.

Take a Closer Look

Shine a flashlight at your lawn, and you might see it sparkle with dozens of spider eyes. But fear not. The eyes belong to wolf spiders, which are harmless. Wolf spiders don’t build webs. Instead, they prowl through the grass looking for prey, such as crickets.

Heads Up!

Raccoons, skunks, and opossums rarely turn down a free meal. To avoid unwanted guests, place trash in a can that has a tight, locking lid and feed your pets indoors.

Look

To a hungry bat, a streetlight is like an allyou- can-eat bug buffet. Keep an eye out for the little flying mammals fluttering under the lights at dusk. A single bat can bag up to 1,000 insects in an hour.

Look

Set your alarm for 3 a.m. on October 22. That’s when the Orionid meteor shower peaks, sending hundreds of shooting stars streaking across the night sky. Shooting stars aren’t really stars but bits and pieces that have crumbled off a comet. The debris flares up as it falls through Earth’s atmosphere, giving dreamers something to wish upon.

Did You Know?

Katydids are Missouri’s loudest insect. To attract a mate, males produce an earsplitting hum that can be louder than a lawnmower. On a still night, the hum can be heard nearly a mile away.

Listen

How do you know hoo’s hooting in your backyard? Eastern screech-owls give a quavering whinny. Great horned owls go “hoo, huh-HOO hooo, hooo.” And barred owls give a series of hoots that sound like, “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?”

Also in this issue

Get Out!

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

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.

Strange but True

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

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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