From Xplor for Kids
July 2016 Issue

Strange but True

Publish Date

Jul 01, 2016

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

  • Female American eels spend most of their lives in rivers. But when it’s time for them to become mama eels, they swim thousands of miles downstream and into the open ocean to have their babies in the waters near Bermuda.
  • To escape from dogs and other predators, spotted skunks scamper up trees. It’s best not to mistake these bushy-tailed skunks for a bushy-tailed squirrel. A spotted skunk can spray as well — and smell as bad — as their larger cousin, the striped skunk.
  • Mama sharp-shinned hawks are bigger than daddy hawks, and their larger size helps them catch bigger prey. As a result, baby sharp-shins are fed first by their dads. But as the babies grow, and their appetites increase, mom takes over feeding duty.
  • Tiger beetles are one of the fastest animals on Earth. To catch prey, the six legged speedsters boogie along at a blistering 125 body lengths per second. If the beetles were human sized, they could run more than 200 miles per hour!
  • Many animals eat plants. Bladderwort eats animals. The floating plant is covered with air-filled bladders. Each bladder has a trap door. When a teeny tadpole or insect swims by, the trap door opens, water rushes in, and the victim is sucked inside.
  • A toad’s skin won’t give you warts, but it can ooze poison. The poison isn’t strong enough to hurt people, but if a dog or cat chews on a toad, the toxin can make them sick.
  • Killdeer build their nests on the ground, often in grassy pastures. To keep cows and horses from trampling their eggs, the little birds fluff up their feathers, spread out their tails, and charge the hoofed creatures, hoping to scare them away.


Also in this issue

Get Out!

Don’t miss the chance to discover nature at these fun events!

Into The Wild

Trees, like all living things, eventually die. But don’t despair. Fallen trees create habitat for all kinds of wild creatures.

Pond Pad: Life Above and Below

Lots of cool critters hang around a pond. But don’t let the peaceful water and pretty flowers fool you.

War Birds

Ounce for ounce, ruby-throated hummingbirds are the fiercest creatures in Missouri.

Predator Vs. Prey: Prairie Vole vs. Badger

Badger vs. Prairie Vole: the struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight.

How to: Train a Hummingbird to Perch On Your Finger

Ruby-throated hummingbirds may be Missouri’s tiniest bird, but they’re also fearless. With a little patience, you can coax one of the bold birds to perch on your finger.

This Issue's Staff:

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
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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