By Kathy Kranking and Hannah Schardt

Spirals are just about everywhere in nature. Look around—and around and around. You may find some!

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A sea animal called a nautilus (NAH-tuh-luss) built this amazing shell. As the nautilus grew, its shell grew, too—getting bigger and bigger, growing around and around the center. This cutaway view shows you what a beautiful spiral shape the nautilus made.

The huge, curved horns on a male bighorn sheep may weigh 30 pounds—as much as all the bones in his body put together! These bighorn rams, or males, look peaceful. But if two rams are both interested in the same female, they may bash their horns together in a violent fight.

The divided leaves of this fern are called fronds. As the fronds push their way out of the earth, they form tight coils called fiddleheads (because they look like the tops of violins). As the fern grows, the fronds will unfurl into lacy leaflets.

This Florida tree snail has a beautiful shell that spirals into a point. When threatened, the snail pulls its body up inside the shell and closes it tightly. The shell also keeps the snail’s moist body from drying out.


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A moth has a long, tongue-like proboscis (pruh-BAH-suss) that it uses as a straw to sip nectar. When it’s not eating, it curls the proboscis into a spiral that tucks under its head. That way, it doesn’t have to fly around with its “tongue” hanging out!

This chameleon twirls its tail into a neat spiral as it walks along the sand. No tripping over its own tail for this lizard!

The trunk of this elephant takes on a spiral shape as it lifts leafy branches to the elephant’s mouth. That strong, flexible trunk has as many as 40,000 muscles. Your whole body has fewer than 650!


Taking a break from swimming, a seahorse twists its tail around a piece of coral. The tail acts as a finger to hold on.

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The strong winds of a hurricane spin and roar at more than 75 miles an hour. That little open spot at the center of the huge, swirling storm is called the eye of the hurricane. Inside the eye, the weather is calm and quiet.

Its long body coiled around a tree branch, this green tree python waits for a tasty lizard, bird, or small mammal to pass by. When the prey gets within reach, the snake will strike out and grab its lunch.

That’s all, folks! This little tail on a pig is short and curly—the better to keep it tucked safely near the body and out of harm’s way.

Now that your head is spinning with spirals, check out this swirly cinnamon snack recipe!

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