Episode 22: Beat the Heat, Kick the Cold, and Stay Hydrated (ft Alicia Oberg)

Subscribe for more episodes! Find That's My Favorite on your favorite podcast app.

< Back to Episode List

alicia hugs a ponderosa pine

Fuzzy flowers, tree popsicles, bumblebee shivers, nocturnal cacti, jackrabbit ears, and vulture poop. This episode has everything! Join Alicia and Allan as they discuss the odd adaptations of plants and animals to the constant stress of harsh weather and extreme climates.

Editor’s Note: Alicia wanted to correct herself- she said pasque flowers have five petals when they, in fact, have six!

Alicia loves evergreens, like this Ponderosa Pine. These giant trees blanket the American West, where they deal with the heat, the cold, and plenty of fire, all while protected by their thick plate armor of flame-resistant bark. Fun fact: these trees also prune their own branches as they grow, so fire can’t climb up the lower limbs!


A common Kansas evergreen would be the ubiquitous Eastern redcedar with its scaly needles and berry-like cones.

Arid Adaptations

The thin, waxy leaved Honey Mesquite tree with its thorny branches provide some refuge for animals in the arid environments of the Southwest.

The prickly pear cactus uses every hour of the day to complete its photosynthesis. The Great Plains prickly pear (Opuntia polyacantha) can be found in the western portion of the state

(Photo credit: Greg Shchepanek)
(Photo credit: Greg Shchepanek)

Also, Allan wanted to add three things:

  1. Mutually antagonistic muscle pairs “work against each other” in the sense that when one contracts, the other elongates. A good example of this would be your bicep and tricep. You have many muscle pairs like this in your body, and they do a lot of the work when it comes to shivering thermogenesis.
  2. The Loop of Henle being considerably longer in some mammals (like the Ord’s Kangaroo Rat) also gives the kidney more time to reclaim and conserve water from pee, which helps with concentrating their uric acid (MUCH less wasteful than urine).
  3. Look at this jackrabbit’s ear veins. That is all.