All mammals begin life drinking their mama’s milk. But once they grow up, different beasts eat different feasts. And how much each critter eats might surprise you. Some of Missouri’s tiniest mammals have ginormous appetites. A 3-inch-long least shrew, for example, can gobble down more than its weight in insects every day. To accomplish the same feat, you’d need to eat about 240 quarter pounders! On the other hoof, large mammals often consume less than you might think. A 700-pound bull elk nibbles only about 20 pounds of grass each day.
How good are you at measuring a mammal’s meals? Let’s find out. For each critter, check the choice that correctly completes its fact.
- Better than a bug zapper: During peak feeding times, a little brown myotis (aka little brown bat) can swoop, snatch, and snarf down 1,200 mayflies, beetles, and other insects in one ___ . A. minute B. hour C. day
- Put your ear to a molehill and you might just hear the tiny tunneler’s tummy rumble. An eastern mole may eat half its weight in worms, grubs, and other underground creepy-crawlies each ___ . A. minute B. hour C. day
- In the fall, an eastern chipmunk has just one thought in its furry little head: storing enough food for winter. In oak- and hickory-rich habitats, a hard-working ’munk can gather more than 160 acorns in a single ___ . A. hour B . day C. week
- Super snoozer: During hibernation, a 400-pound black bear may not eat a single thing for nearly four ___ . A. days B. weeks C. months
- River otters waste little time digesting their dinners. When an otter munches and crunches a crayfish, the crayfish’s remains turn up in the otter’s droppings in about one ___ . A. minute B. hour C . day
- A gray squirrel, which weighs about as much as an NFL football, eats more than 100 pounds of acorns, hickory nuts, and other foods in one ___ . A. week B. month C. year
- Barely bigger than a bratwurst, least weasels are the world’s smallest meat-eating mammals. But don’t let their small size fool you. To fuel their ferocity, a least weasel eats half its weight in mice every ___ . A. day B. week C. month
- Beavers eat bark and use branches to build dens and dams. Using only its teeth, this furry chainsaw can gnaw down a willow tree that’s thicker than your leg in under five ___. A. seconds B. minutes C. hours
- After stuffing its belly with a big meal, a bobcat is purrfectly happy to skip eating for a few ___ . A. hours B. days C. weeksC . day
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Angie Daly Morfeld