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Wild About Nature

Jul 23, 2012

Janet Halfmann grew up on a crop and dairy farm in mid-Michigan with a dad who loved animals and nature. “That love rubbed off on me,” admits the author of more than 35 books.

“Today, whenever I go on a walk, I have to pause several times to watch a dragonfly or butterfly, check out a new blossom, or try to find the bird that’s singing,” Janet says. “I’m constantly amazed by the stories that nature has to tell.”

One of those “nature stories” inspired Janet to write Little Skink’s Tail, about a lizard who snaps off her bright blue tail to escape a hungry crow, then daydreams of having the tails of other forest animals. “I was amazed by how common it is for a lizard to snap off its tail to escape a predator,” Janet explains. “The lost tail continues to wriggle, distracting the enemy and often allowing the lizard to sneak away. This practice is so common that in some species it is hard to find a lizard with its original tail.

“I was especially fascinated by the young of lizards called skinks, which often have flashy, bright blue tails,” she says. “Young skinks are attractive to predators, and a brightly colored tail helps them survive. Enemies notice the flash of color first and attack the tail. The youngster escapes tail-less but alive. And the tail grows back!”

Read more about Janet’s wildlife stories and find out how she “captures” her ideas on The Studio.