Science: Rattlesnakes & Owls

Prairie dogs, burrowing owls and rattlesnakes—so says an old legend—all live happily together in the same holes. For years zoologists have protested that this kind of thing is very unlikely. But many a rural Midwesterner refuses to give up the legend. Farmers testify that they have seen owls and prairie dogs coming out of the same hole. Some maintain stoutly that they have seen an owl go down a hole and a moment later heard the buzzing of a rattler there.

In the current Natural History, Ornithologist Lewis Wayne Walker explains the basis for this widespread belief. While he was watching...

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