Category Archives: nature

Mr. Nature: Mosasaurus

The Komodo dragon of Indonesia is, as Bob and Ray observed, the world’s largest living lizard. Full-grown at ten feet long and 300 pounds, occasionally it eats… people.

Some thousands of years ago, certain monitor lizards in Australia grew to be twice the size of a Komodo dragon. But they were pipsqueaks compared to the Mosasaurus of the Cretaceous Period (or whenever–we don’t want to take such things too seriously).

As you can see in this clip from Jurassic World, the Mosasaur was very, very big–up to thirty or even forty feet long, depending on the species. Mosasaurs are all the rage in dinosaur movies today, and of course their size is exaggerated therein. Closely related to today’s monitor lizards, the Mosasaur was likely the supreme predator of its time. Instead of legs it had flippers, so it had to stay in the water. And no, it was not as big as a New Jersey township.

What hath God wrought? We can only marvel at the scanty remains of these gigantic creatures that are no longer with us. Where they are now, only the God who made them knows. But maybe someday He will tell us.

Town ‘Terrorized’… by Turkeys?

turkeys 3

Did I read that right–the town of Tom River, NJ (where my sister lives), is being “terrorized” by… wild turkeys? (

It could be a 1950s horror movie: Attack of the Wild Turkeys. “See the turkeys take revenge for all those Thanksgiving dinners! See it if you dare!” See them–according to nooze reports–pecking roofs, breaking windows on cars, and “attacking residents.” A former major league baseball player went so far as to tweet the governor, pleading for the state to rescue the beleaguered township: “They trashed my yard!” he laments.

It’s supposedly a “gang”–do turkeys have gangs?–of 40 to 60 birds. Their favorite target, we are told, is the 55-and-over community called Holiday City. Do the turkeys know it’s called that? No wonder they’re on the warpath.

Having lived in the suburbs all my life, I don’t know much about wild turkeys. I do know you can’t shoot them in New Jersey. Not that it would be a good idea for a lot of residents to cut loose with the lead. The houses are way too close together for that.

Some of you who grew up in the country, what do you say? Are turkeys dangerous to humans? Has anyone ever been killed and eaten by turkeys? Did the turkeys want succotash and cranberry sauce with that?

Well, the earth is the Lord’s (Ps. 24), not ours: we just live on it. A few years ago, one day, we had some wild turkeys in our neighborhood. They strolled across the street to St. Francis Cathedral and stood around by the Christmas creche. They looked like they belonged there.

Can we say the same?

‘A Rat as Big as a Car’ (2014)

We think of rodents as little creatures. But what if you could see a rodent ten feet long, five feet high, and as heavy as a pair of polar bears?

Actually it looks like a capybara, the largest rodent still around today.

See the source image

Josephoartigasia supposedly died out two million years ago, before anyone was around to set out giant mousetraps. All we can say for sure is that we aren’t able to find it anywhere today.

Imagine the size of the exercise wheel you’d need to buy.

A Kuddly Kiwi

This is a baby kiwi in a zoo somewhere. He still needs some help feeding himself, but he’ll learn.

Kiwis, native only to New Zealand, are birds with certain characteristics found in mammals, not birds. Marrow in their bones, for instance: other birds’ bones are hollow. And the feathers are very much more like hair than feathers.

See the source image

Remember Kiwi shoe polish? Back when everybody had to shine his shoes–none of this wearing sneakers to school (or church!). I wonder why they named a shoe polish for the kiwi. This was the brand we always used at our house, when I was growing up.

How *Big* Did Dinosaurs Get?

See the source image

Awesome and mighty are the works of your hands, O Lord!

See that tiny red dot under the dinosaur? It’s an adult human being. By comparison, the dinosaur, Amphiceolias, would have been like a walking apartment building.

So many new discoveries are being made in dinosaur paleontology these days, I can hardly keep up with them–and I do try. Now that scientists are looking in places where they haven’t looked before, in South America and Asia, they’re always finding new ones. And one of the themes of those discoveries is “bigger and bigger and bigger!”

These animals, as living things, are virtually unimaginable. There’s just nothing like them anymore. What would it be like, to see one? The earth must have shaken when they walked. And how much did they have to eat, to support such bulk? When I was a boy, the Brontosaurus was acclaimed the biggest dinosaur. But these new ones would have made one of those look like a baby.

Just contemplating these animals ought to make us feel humble. There may even have been creatures that were bigger, much bigger, than these that take our breath away. Was there, after all, no limit to how big they could grow? What must their world have been like?

Awesome and mighty are His works.

Did Somebody Say ‘Meerkats’?

Somebody’s been dropping hints about meerkats, not that I need a lot of prodding to post some meerkat video. They’ve gotten very popular because they like to stand on their hind legs and look like they understand what’s happening around them.

These are actually African mongooses (mongeese?) who live in small colonies–sort of like mongooses trying to be prairie dogs.

Mr. Nature: The Hummingbird Moth

Jambo, Mr. Nature here–and would you believe it? I have never seen a hummingbird. I’ve never seen a hummingbird moth, either, so I can’t say how much they resemble one another.

But watch this moth. Like  hummingbird, it can fly backwards. I’ve never seen a moth or butterfly do that. It can also hover as it sucks nectar from a flower.

How can two creatures so widely unrelated be so similar to one another? Attributing this to evolution based on blind chance and environmental opportunities seems like a real stretcher to me.

God’s stuff–it does give us a lot to think about.

Cute Little Pikas

This has got to be the cutest animal in North America–the pika. Bigger than a hamster, smaller than a rabbit, the pika is related to a man named Rudolph Zipple. Uh, check that–they’re related to rabbits. They live mostly in the Rocky Mountains, in boulder fields above the tree lines: “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make their houses in the rocks” (Proverbs 30:26)

We’ve Got Honeybees

See the source image

Enough of nooze, enough of politics: let’s look at some of God’s stuff instead. In this case, I only have to look out my living room window.

Because my wife has been so sick–she’s getting better now, praise God: and thank you all for your prayers, the Lord has heard them–we didn’t have a garden this year. We let our little garden plot grow wild, and by the end of the summer, had a lush growth of wonderful little white flowers. Queen Anne’s lace, they’re called.

And the bees just love ’em! Early in the morning, the bumblebees are already at work. Then come the little native bees. And a little later, hallelujah–honeybees!

We hear that honeybees are in trouble everywhere–disease and habitat destruction being the chief culprits. For a while there we weren’t seeing any honeybees at all. But wherever their hive is (we don’t know), the tiny white flowers of the Queen Anne’s Lace are bringing them here. Once the day warms up a little, we’ve always got honeybees. And it pleases us to think we’ve got something that they like–flowers that we never planted, but that God has provided.

Thank you for that, O Father!

Something Different: Cozy Tapirs

Even if you know about these animals, you probably never think about them. But this keeper at the Dartmoor Zoo has two tapirs to take care of, and they really seem to like him. It doesn’t look like they’d be hard animals to make friends with.

Tapirs, found in Brazil and Southeast Asia, are related to rhinos and horses. As a boy I found them fascinating–even if there wasn’t a toy tapir to be had for love nor money, for my collection of toy animals. I would’ve liked to have one for a pet, but somehow that never happened.

A guy named Masho says he had one, but he’s a pathological liar.

%d bloggers like this: