Category Archives: nature

Bonus Video: Gator on the Golf Course

Here’s a little something we never have to contend with in New Jersey. But even in Florida–willya look at the size of that gator!

Note that the alligator, for all its bulk, walks with its belly high up off the ground. The man with the camera might have a few anxious moments if he reflected that even very large gators are capable of short bursts of real speed. At that distance, the gator could catch the man if he really wanted to. Just a little somethin’ to think about…

A Cat You Never Heard Of

Hi, Mr. Nature here, with a cat you never heard of: the wild Manul of Central Asia, also known as Pallas’ Cat. Scientists consider it a kind of living fossil. It’s about the size of a regular domestic cat, looking much fatter because of its thick fur.

The Manul looks cute and cuddly, but zookeepers–and there aren’t many of these critters in the zoos of the world–say it’s very difficult to tame. It seems the Manul has a short fuse. But we’ve all known cats like that, and at least the Manul has good looks going for it.

God took the basic cat template and created all kinds of variations on the theme. That’s what makes the music of Creation such a complicated symphony, and one that never runs out of surprises.


Image result for images of black walnuts

No, it’s not an artillery barrage I’m hearing, It’s our nearby walnut tree pelting the earth.

The nuts in the picture are peanuts, compared to our black walnuts. Ours are roughly the size of baseballs, and just a little heavier. The tree is full of hundreds of them–and don’t be standing under one, when it comes down. The other day one struck my writing chair and broke a hole in it.

We can’t make use of them because it’s way too labor=intensive to get the nut out. Under the green rind there used to be a layer of yellow stuff which by now has turned all black and gooey and disgusting. Squirrels like to perch on a branch over my head and spit this gunk onto my manuscript. They’re lucky I don’t have a slingshot.

Once the yard is covered with hundreds of these nuts, maybe even thousands of them, the footing becomes extremely iffy. Easy to turn your ankle!

In spite of all these drawbacks, though, I can still understand that these nuts are God’s stuff and He made them for a reason. They’re even sort of cool, and I have to admit I do enjoy picking one up, taking my stance on an imaginary mound, going into my glorious Luis Tiant windup, and firing a strike past Johnny Bench–who isn’t really there, but you get the idea.

He hasn’t gotten a hit off me yet.

Bonus Video: ‘Magic Rabbit’

It’s not a rabbit at all, but a pika–furry little animals that live on mountainsides, amid the rocks. We have some in North America.

This is the “Ili Pika,” from a remote region of China. Until these photos were taken, it hadn’t been seen in 20 years. Please ignore the narrator’s blather about Global Warming causing this animal to go extinct. They only say that to make you believe you have to give the government a lot more of your money and expanded powers to trouble your lives.

Yes, it would be a tragedy to lose such an adorable little creature. Maybe a captive breeding program could ensure its survival. If it lived in America instead of China, something like that would already be happening.

Wing Surgery… On a Butterfly

Just to remind ourselves that humans are made in the image of God, and therefor capable to love and mercy and grace, here’s somebody who repairs the broken wings of butterflies. I don’t know about you, but to me it seems a saintly thing to do. Good for the butterfly, and good for your soul.

Maybe if we can learn how to be kind to these humble creatures, we can learn how to be kind to one another.


Video Treat: Your Friendly Chameleon

Hi, Mr. Nature here–with the friendliest chameleon that I ever saw. You’d swear this lizard loves its owner! And is totally at ease with him.

Many years ago, we had a gorgeous pair of Jackson’s chameleons. The male of that species has three long horns on his head: most impressive. They were bursting with good health when we got them, ate crickets dusted with vitamin powder, zapping them at long range with their tongues… and in a few months, sickened and pined away. We then learned that was the experience most people had with pet chameleons. But much has been learned since then about keeping chameleons healthy, and now a lot of folks can manage it.

Meanwhile, dig those colors! I never saw a chameleon put on quite as gaudy a display as that. I wonder if selective breeding played a part: even years ago, chameleons bred readily in captivity.

When my Jacksons crawled up my forearm, their grip was very, very powerful and it sort of hurt. My iguana, who in other respects was quite friendly to them, hit the ceiling when the male tried to use his back as a ladder. Apparently the chameleon in this video has a gentler touch.

Chameleons never fail to fascinate me–another little bit of God’s stuff that He must have very much enjoyed creating!

Sanity Break: The Pangolin

No,it’s not an animated pine cone. It’s an animal some of you have never heard of–the pangolin.

Hi, Mr. Nature here, with a look away from the news–basta, basta! as they say in Italy–and toward some more of God’s cool stuff. Pangolins live in Asia and Africa, eat insects, and are protected by an armor of keratin scales. Keratin is the stuff your hair and fingernails are made of. The pangolin is the only animal in the world that has such scales.

The pangolin in this video is a pet enjoying a nice mud bath. In the background you can hear the owner muttering about what a job it’s going to be to clean him. Ah, well, it’s one of the things we do for our pets. Because we love them, and then love us, and the Lord Our God loves both them and us.

The Marine Sloth

Is this a cool animal, or what–a sloth that lives and feeds underwater?

Hi, Mr. Nature here, with another retro critter whose like seems to have vanished from the earth–the marine sloth. It’s even kind of hard to imagine such a creature.

Please ignore the heavy-handed Evolution fairy tale, this being the only marine sloth video I could find. They always wind up talking about acquired traits, ignoring their own findings that DNA is terribly conservative and doesn’t work that way. Just enjoy the animal for what it is, or was–another example of God’s creative work.

By Popular Demand: Painted Turtle’s Courtship Dislay

Hi, Mr. Nature here. And I promised “Unknowable” he would see a turtle’s courtship dance today, so here it is. There’s actually quite a lot of video on this subject, but most of it’s a little muddled.

The male painted turtle has the long claws for gently caressing the female. The female is larger than the male in this species.

Most North American water turtles are closely related, even if they look very different from one species to another, so it’s not unusual to see a young, inexperienced painted turtle trying to court a false map turtle or a red-eared slider.

Our poor turtle was trying to court a ceramic turtle, which produced from him a very long and drawn-out courtship ritual during which he tried every trick in the book. We did not foresee this when we thought this would be a nice little decorative touch for his surroundings, and installed the fake turtle. He couldn’t tell it from the real thing, and it must have been a trying experience for him.

Attack of the Killer Koalas

When my Aunt Gertie visited Australia, she declined to have her picture taken cuddling a koala in her arms. At the time, I thought she was overdoing to caution.

Hi, Mr. Nature here, with something I never knew about koalas–don’t tick them off! I mean, really, all the koalas I ever saw, till now, never seemed to do anything but make like cozy little teddy bears. I should’ve known better. Here are two of them in a zoo, where by now they ought to have learned how to get along together, winding up in a Pier 6 brawl over a favorite perch. Don’t worry–neither of them actually got hurt. My two cats act like this all the time, shame on them.

I don’t mean to persuade you to change your minds about koalas. No, I was just surprised to learn that they, like everybody else, have tempers.

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