Nature

Some things in nature can’t be organized into neat categories, so the Nature category encompasses topics that span more than one category.


Wildlife attracted to dead trees

I often notice snags because of the woodpecker holes or woodpeckers drumming on the tree. However, woodpeckers aren’t the only ones utilizing snags. Snags (any dead or dying standing tree) are considered wildlife trees because they often provide more habitat for wildlife when dead than when alive. Wildlife utilize snags…

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Animals move atop and beneath snow

Winter can bring a range of snow conditions from minimal snow to deep snow with an icy crust. Whether the snow condition is favorable or not depends on how the animal moves through it or on it. Deep snow can be a disadvantage or an advantage for predators. When deep…

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Animals utilize self-amputation for numerous reasons

Northern alligator lizards and western blue-tailed skinks possess two unique abilities in the animal world–they can self-amputate their tail and grow it back. The process of voluntarily shedding a limb or tail is called autotomy and the ability to grow it back is called regeneration. Animals capable of autotomy include…

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Can you imagine having more than two eyes?

Most familiar to us are animals with two eyes. But some animals have more than two eyes–a spider has eight eyes, a lizard three eyes and sea stars have one eye on each arm. A grasshopper has two compound eyes on the sides of its head, an eye behind each…

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Do animals see what we see?

We often assume the world looks the same to everybody, including animals, but it doesn’t. A red tulip isn’t red for everyone. The details on a flower petal cannot be seen by every animal either. There are many types of eyes and ways in which eyes “see”. The standard to…

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Ice: A truly unique substance

Ice skating. Ice fishing. Skiing. Sledding. What would winter be like without snow and ice? When the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit the landscape turns into a winter wonderland of snow and ice. Most of our winter activities involve some form of ice. Ice, the solid state of water,…

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How do animals beat the heat?

On sweltering 90-plus degree days we can retreat to basements or air conditioned buildings but how do animals beat the heat? Often animals gain relief from the heat in some of the ways we do– taking a dip in the water, finding shade and sweating. Ponds provide more than a…

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More to a fire than flames and ashes

Staring into a campfire, watching the flames flicker and flare until the wood is reduced to glowing red coals can be mesmerizing. The warmth of a campfire is welcome on cool summer nights while camping or on cold, winter hikes during a lunch break. How does wood produce heat and…

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Animals prepare for winter by caching nature’s bounty

As gardeners were harvesting the bounty of their summer’s garden before the first frost, animals were harvesting nature’s bounty. Stockpiling food for winter is important when an animal’s food source will be hidden by snow. Just as gardeners follow specific instructions for preserving, animals have their own techniques to prevent…

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