How high do birds fly? Test your nature knowledge

  • By Sharon Wootton Herald columnist
  • Friday, February 24, 2012 4:18pm
  • Life

The rainy winter weather is the perfect opportunity to stay indoors and learn a little bit about the world outside. Test your nature savvy:

1. What insect takes the longest time to develop into an adult?

A. Dragonfly

B. Mantis

C. Cicada

D. Firefly

2. Insect antennae are often called feelers because they can touch objects or other insects. But “feelers” is the wrong term because the antennae are also used to:

A. Smell

B. Listen

C. Send signals to the opposite sex

D. Act as a light receptor

3. How high can some migrating birds fly?

A. ½ mile

B. 1 mile

C. 1½ miles

D. 2 miles

4. How did the ladybug get its name?

A. From the Latin for red and black beetle

B. It’s the beetle of the Virgin Mary

C. Its dainty manner reminds some of a lady

D. An 18th century scientist’s daughter named it

5. How many legs does a centipede have?

A. 30

B. 100

C. 250

D. 350

6. How fast can a centipede run?

A. As fast as 15 inches a minute

B. As fast as 17 inches per second

C. As fast as 30 feet per hour

D. As fast as 57 inches per second

7. What frog is the best long jumper in North America?

A. Leopard frog

B. Bull frog

C. Mexican tree frog

D. Long-legged cricket frog

8. What is a capercaille?

A. A large grouse in Europe

B. A butterfly common in the Northwest

C. A South American water snake

D. A burrowing toad of the Southwest

9. How long can cockroaches live without a head?

A. Come on, be serious!

B. Two minutes

C. Two hours

D. Two weeks

10. Bonobos (formerly known as pygmy chimpanzees) engage in what practice?

A. Barter

B. Monogamy

C. French kissing

D. X-rated behavior

11. Which of the following giggles when it’s tickled?

A. Mice

B. Bear cubs

C. Aye-ayes

D. Rats

12. How far away can polar bears detect their prey?

A. 100 yards

B. 20 miles

C. 10 miles

D. 1 mile

13. Some species build cemeteries for the dead.

A. Ants

B. Beetles

C. Coyotes

D. Ferrets

14. What is a flock of goldfinches called?

A. A bevy

B. A parliament

C. A charm

D. A watch

15. How many degrees can an owl swivel its head?

A. 340 degrees

B. 180 degrees

C. 300 degrees

D. 270 degrees


1. C. The slow-growing cicada spends 17 years as a nymph, underground, feeding on tree root sap before crawling out. It lives about a month as an adult.

2. A. An insect’s antennae is its nose, although it also uses them for touch.

3. D. Geese, ducks and swans have been seen on radar at 2 miles high.

4. B. Ladybugs were so admired in the Middle Ages that they became associated with the Virgin Mary, thus becoming the “Beetle of Our Lady.”

5. A, B, C, D. Centipedes have as few as 30 or as many as 350 legs, depending on the species.

6. B. Who holds a stopwatch on a centipede, anyway?

7. A. The bullfrog can jump about six feet, or almost nine times its length. But the leopard frog can jump more than five feet, or nearly 13 times its length, giving it the title.

8. A. The largest capercaille in captivity weighed 15.9 pounds.

9. D. Two weeks. Seriously.

10. C, D. For bonobos, sex is a social interaction designed to bond, make up after a fight and create alliances. French kissing is just part of the show, which includes just about all partner and position combinations.

11. A, D. Mice and rats giggle, but bats can sing.

12. B. Now there’s a schnoz.

13. A. They gather their dead and form cemeteries (piles), probably recognizing an ant as dead by the smell of decomposition.

14. C. While a flock of goldfinches is called a charm, quails travel in a bevy and nightingales in a watch.

15. D. An owl has 14 vertebrae, allowing more turning capabilities than humans or giraffes, which have seven vertebrae.

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