From Xplor for Kids
January 2016 Issue

Strange But True!

Publish Date

Jan 01, 2016
  • In frigid winter weather, striped skunks curl up for power naps that can last several weeks. During these super-sized slumbers, the musky mammals burn fat like marathon runners. Female skunks, in particular, may drop 40 percent of their weight.
  • Over a third of all the Indiana bats in the world spend winter hibernating in Missouri’s caves. During their deep sleep, the little bug munchers crowd together on cave walls in clusters of up to 500 bats per square foot.
  • Ozark witch hazel zooms to bloom first in Missouri most years. In mid-January — often while snow still blankets the ground — the shrubby trees unfurl frilly, flashy flowers to lure any flies, moths, or bees that may be buzzing about.
  • Northern saw-whet owls normally eat mice, but they occasionally prey on birds — sometimes birds bigger than themselves. They are known to take robins and even pigeons, which weigh three times more than a saw-whet.
  • Although they’re not much bigger than a hummingbird, golden-crowned kinglets can survive temperatures more than 40 degrees below zero. The hardy brrrds often huddle together on chilly nights to stay warm.
  • Why doesn’t a duck's foot freeze in icy water? Plumbing. As warm blood flows down a duck’s leg, it passes alongside cold blood returning from the foot. This cools the blood down so it doesn’t lose much heat but keeps it warm enough to avoid freezing.
  • Every inch of a catfish's slippery skin, from its whiskery barbels to the tip of its tail, is covered with taste buds. But this sense-sational skin isn’t made to savor flavors. It helps a catfish nab snacks in dark, murky water.
  • Next time you complain about having to eat broccoli, consider the cottontail. Rabbits eat their own droppings. By having food pass through their digestive tracts twice, bunnies absorb more nutrients.

Also in this issue

Get Out

Don't miss the chance to discover nature at these fun events.

Into The Wild: Snowy Trail

Don’t stay inside when the snow gets to blowing. Head into the wild to see nature coming and going. (Just don’t forget to bundle up!)

Feathered Feeding Frenzy

Nothing brightens a gray winter day faster than watching a flock of colorful birds gobble seeds at a bird feeder.

Red's Winter Hunt

Out from his den, a red fox blinks, adjusting to the morning light. He’s up early, hoping to fill his growling tummy.

How To: Build a Wren House

Wrens are divas of the bird world — though small, they have oversized attitudes and sing loud, cheerful songs. Build a wren house this winter so you’ll be ready for the show when spring arrives.

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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