When it isn’t hanging in hallways causing couples to kiss, mistletoe grows in trees. Birds eat the plant’s berries, which are filled with sticky jelly and a single seed. When birds poop, the seeds stick to branches, take root, and begin growing.
Who needs a sled when you have a slick, furry belly? To move through the snow, river otters build up speed then tuck their legs to their sides and sliiiiide. If a slope is really slick, otters often slide down it over and over again just for fun.
To keep from turning into frogsicles, some bullfrogs burrow into mud at the bottom of rivers and ponds during winter. But being snug as a frog in the mud has drawbacks. If oxygen runs low, the frog must swim to a new spot or it could croak.
When insects are scarce, whitebreasted nuthatches go nuts for nuts. The little birds, which are often seen creeping headfirst down trees, are named for their habit of cramming acorns into bark then pecking them open to “hatch” out the seed.
When weather turns nippy, flying squirrels snuggle together inside hollow trees. Their furry bodies can warm the den by 30 degrees, and the more squirrels there are, the toastier it gets. Fifty squirrels have been found packed into a single tree!
Bad ear day: An opossum’s ears and tail are practically hairless. This can cause problems in winter. Without fur to keep them warm, the tips of these body parts often freeze and fall off.
Tower, we’re going to need a longer runway. To take flight, American coots pitter-patter across the water’s surface, flapping their wings furiously. The chubby birds must run for several yards to get airborne.
Angie Daly Morfeld
Nichole LeClair Terrill