shortsasters

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Who made this nest?

The Question: We saw this large nest while hiking in Wisconsin. Who made it? Submitted by: Claudia, Wisconsin, USA (click on photos and graphics to expand) The Short Answer: Actually, this is not a nest, it’s what’s called a witch’s broom (also witches broom or witches’ broom). A witch’s broom is an abnormally dense growth […]

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Do dragonflies mean safe drinking water?

The Question: Someone recently told our young son that if you see a dragonfly near water (such as a pond), then it is safe for humans to drink the water. Is this true? Submitted by: Jean, Minnesota, USA (click on photos and graphics to expand) The Short Answer:  Dragonflies are indictors of water quality, but […]

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What are these bubbles all over the lake?

The Question: In early June, I took a kayak trip on Winton Lake, starting out before sunrise and getting to the area where these photos were taken just as the sun was coming up. There were green bubbles all over the lake. After the sun came up, they began to break up and were gone […]

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What is this long, skinny insect?

The Question: I found this on my driveway. It doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen. It was about 7.5 cm (3 in.) long. What is it? Submitted by: Debbie, Manitoba, Canada (click on photos and graphics to expand) The Short Answer: Debbie, this is a water scorpion, almost certainly the brown water scorpion (Ranatra […]

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Why did these coyotes attack?

The Question: Why did coyotes attack me and my dogs? Submitted by: Jessie, Arizona, USA (click on photos and graphics to expand) The Longer Question from Jessie: “I live in central Arizona, and was out walking my three dogs on a rarely used trail at approximately 8:30 a.m. Part of the trail passed by a […]

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