Polk County Conservation

Commonly Misunderstood Nature Myths

This podcast was produced by Polk County Conservation and funded by Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education program or REAP-CEP.

Welcome to the Nature Game Show! And here is your host…. Heidi Anderson

Oh thank you….. and welcome to the show…. Today’s topics are myths surrounding Iowa’s wild plant and animal life. So let’s get started. Contestant number one here is your first question…

Water moccasins are commonly found all over Iowa. True or False?


Oh sorry! That statement is FALSE! Water moccasins, also known as cottonmouths, are not found in Iowa. Their range extends across the southeastern portion of the United States, including southern Missouri. In Iowa you’re more likely to see a northern water snake. Northern water snakes are not venomous and eat fish, frogs, and salamanders.

Contestant number 2, here is your question…

If a tick is attached to you, the best way to remove it is to hold a lit match to the tick and it will drop right off. True or False?


Oooh…that is false! Do not, I repeat, do not burn, prick or crush an attached tick as it may release infected fluids. If you find a tick attached, use fine pointed tweezers to pull it out. Place the tweezers as close to the skin as possible and around the tick’s mouthparts. Avoid crushing the tick’s body and gently pull the tick out. Wash your hands and disinfect the bite site and tweezers.

Contestant number 1, back to you…

Poison Ivy rash is contagious and breaking the blisters releases oil that can spread. True or False?


Correct! Poison ivy produces a poisonous, oily irritant called urushiol (oo-roo-she-all) on the plant’s stem, roots, branches and leaves. Contact with this oil can cause an allergic reaction. Rubbing the rashes will not spread poison ivy to other parts of your body (or to another person). You spread the rash only if oil has been left on your skin. If the blisters break and ooze, the fluid does not contain the oil that causes the rash in the first place. And by the way, poison oak does not grow in Iowa!

You’re up contestant number 2…

A daddy longlegs is one of the most poisonous spiders in the world. True or False?


Correct! This statement is far from true. Daddy longlegs, also called Harvestmen, are not even true spiders. These arachnids have only one body section that is segmented, two eyes, no silk, no venom, and do not have fangs.

We’re all tied up. Here’s the tie breaker question….

Bats are blind. True or False?


Hold on, hold on! Whoever said bats are blind is false is our winner! Bats do have eyes and can see quite well, plus they eat tons of insects and are very beneficial animals.

Well that’s all the time we have today. I want to thank our contestants for playing. Join us next time for myths surrounding big foot, Lochness, and the Yetti.

This podcast was funded by REAP-CEP which is a program the State of Iowa invests in to enhance and protect the state's natural and cultural resources. REAP provides money for projects through state agency budgets or in the form of grants. For more information about REAP, visit www.iowareap.com.

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