Wildlife Spotlight takes a deep dive into individual species or groups of living things you’ll encounter outdoors. Here you’ll find cool facts about exciting wildlife, from wildflowers and grasshoppers to tigers, mushrooms, and whale sharks, and all that falls between.

 

Do you have a species or group you’d love to learn more about? Let me know on theĀ contact page!

5 mind-blowing bugs that are active in winter

For those who don’t like bugs, winter is a great time to spend time outdoors. The usual biting insects are gone, and even ticks are less active. While insects have many clever ways of surviving winter, there are nonetheless a small number that stay active. These mind-blowing winter bugs are a real source of excitement for nature nerds like me, …

What is mistletoe?

As the winter holidays approach, we are reminded of familiar, longstanding traditions. Even though they may be popular, they can also be mysterious. Where did they come from in the first place? One of my favorite examples is mistletoe. Between pop songs and Christmas carols, everyone seems to love the flirty thought of puckering up under the mistletoe. But what …

14 wild cicada facts

In many parts of the world, the familiar drone of insects is a welcome sign of summer. While crickets serenade us by night, cicadas are among the loudest and most active daytime singers of the bug world. These big, loud, and surprisingly stealthy insects are more often heard than seen, and have a truly alien appearance. In this Wildlife Spotlight …

18 awesome facts about tigers

With their terrific strength, mysterious nature, and stunning beauty, tigers have fascinated people for thousands of years. These incredible predators are the epitome of wild, and inspire awe and admiration worldwide. But how well do you really know tigers? With this Wildlife Spotlight post, you can become a tiger superfan by learning these 18 awesome tiger facts. 1. Their orange …

9 wild facts about milkweeds

If you’ve done any research into wildflowers or wild gardening, you’ve probably heard about milkweeds. These pretty and widespread wildflowers are super important for native biodiversity and can attract a lot of fascinating pollinators. You can find milkweeds throughout most of North and South America as well as part of Africa. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 70 …

What are springtails?

My friend Steve recently sent me a video of some mystery animals from his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When he walked outside on a spring day after some rain showers, he spotted a weird, blue-gray puddle on the pavement. It didn’t shine like water. He thought maybe it was an oil stain or paint mark. It seemed almost granular, and… …

What is a lichen?

Sometimes of the coolest things in nature are small and hard to notice. Using a magnifying glass, we get a window into entire micro-worlds in our back yards or on a bouldering cliff. In this Wildlife Spotlight post, I want to introduce you to an amazing organism that you have seen before if you’ve ever been outside. But, chances are …

All about the Opossum

In this Wildlife Spotlight post, I’d like to put in a good word for an animal that people see all the time but tend to misjudge: the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana). These cat-sized, fuzzy, long-whiskered beasts tend to have a polarizing effect on people. Everyone seems to think they’re either hideous or adorable. They have a reputation for being dim-witted, …

Amazing facts about water striders

The insect world is filled with weird and impressive animals with under-appreciated abilities. Since they’re so small and short-lived, we often fail to notice their miraculous feats and fascinating lifestyles. This means that we end up missing plenty of true natural wonders. Water striders are a great example. While biblical accounts of walking on water are considered divine miracles, we …

What is a Kinkajou?

I recently had my first encounter with the animal celebrity of this week’s Wildlife Spotlight, the kinkajou (Potos flavus). During a visit to Costa Rica last month, some friends and I stayed up chatting long after sunset. We were savoring a cool evening after the swelteringly hot days of the dry season in Guanacaste. “Something’s moving in the trees!” my …