When the 20th century started, this animal didn’t exist, scientifically. There were rumors of it, coming out of central Africa, but nothing official. Not until 1901.
Hi, Mr. Nature here, with the only animal in the giraffe family that’s not a giraffe–the okapi. This one’s in a zoo. The wild ones live in the Congo rain forest.
This gorgeous animal illustrates an unsolvable problem in cryptozoology: once a cryptic creature actually turns up, it immediately ceases to be crytozoology and becomes just plain zoology. The poor cryptozoologists, by definition, can’t have any specimens!
One of my aunts gave me a wonderful toy okapi when I was about five years old: wish I still had it. It may be in my brother’s toy box.
We pray God defends and preserves these beautiful animals that He’s created.
Whether kittens are using your leg for a ladder, or cuddling on your shoulder while a tiny duckling cuddles on the kitten, you can count on kittens for a shot of sanity. And all things good, all things loving, all things wholesome and life-giving… they’re all God’s stuff. All His gifts to us–to keep us going till we receive eternal life.
Linda mentioned this yesterday: Ouroboros, “that eateth his own tail,” an ancient symbol of sorcery.
Hi! Mr. Nature here, and welcome to the world of folklore and real stuff. The Worm Ouroboros, in addition to being the title of a really cool fantasy by E.R. Eddison, is folklore. Just like those stories of the Hoop Snake, down South, which supposedly takes its tail in its mouth and rolls down a hill.
But there’s also the armadillo lizard of South Africa, and here he is:
Why does he grip his tail in his mouth? Is it some kind of lizard yoga exercise? No–it’s a defense against being swallowed by a snake. Who wants to swallow a ball of spikes?
I used to have a couple of armadillo lizards. In the total absence of anything to be afraid of, mine never bit their tails. They were spunky little lizards, with a lot of go to them.
But of no use whatsoever in any kind of magic. (Not that I tried!)
These video clips, taken at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania, preserve the memory of an animal that is now supposedly extinct–the thylacine, aka “Tasmanian tiger,” once upon a time the largest living marsupial carnivore. The last one died at the zoo in 1936.
Mr. Nature here, with an animal that I wish was still alive. And it may be. Over the years, hundreds, if not thousands, of people have claimed to have sighted living thylacines on the Australian mainland. Some of them back up their claims with videos, a few of which look quite convincing. So it’s possible there may be a few of them left, roaming the outback. The long, stiff tails, and the stripes along the back, are distinctive: no other animal has them.
Jack and Ellayne encountered a much larger version of a thylacine in Lintum Forest, carrying off, in its massive jaws, the front half of a knuckle-bear.
I don’t think God likes it when we kill off members of His creation.
But I also believe He’ll bring them back, someday, somewhere–if He hasn’t done it already, someplace where they’re safe from us.
It’s just over-the-top cool, the way this little guy can change color. And fast, too! But that’s not his only specialty. His feet are perfect for gripping twigs and branches, his tail is prehensile, and his eyes in their turrets can move independently of one another, scoping for prey in all directions.
Do we really believe that anything as wonderful and complicated as this chameleon is truly the result of random chance spun out over kazillions of years?
Nah. It’s God’s stuff. He made them–and He must’ve had fun doing it.
The nooze is its usual rancid self today. I think I prefer some of God’s stuff this morning. Like this:
Because otters are so acrobatic and graceful in the water, I can’t tell whether there’s just one otter in this little pond or several. When they maneuver underwater, it’s confusing. Certainly this cat’s confused. And the other is just as curious about the cat. We wonder: might an unusual friendship come of this? It’s a wild otter, not a household pet. All we know is that, in dealing with animals of such high intelligence as cats and otters, any prediction is a long shot.
When I was a boy, there were still a few people in my town who kept chickens. Grandpa had a chicken coop, but no more chickens. He had them years ago, and my mother had vivid memories of–well, let’s not talk about that.
I had no idea that chickens have so much personality. Dig the video of the chicken playing with two baby otters. God is giving us a glimpse of something here. I think He really is.
Is this little kid blessed, or what?
Thanks to Patty’s friend, Carol, who sent us this picture.
Hi, Mr. Nature here, with a critter I’d never heard of before today–the Owl Moth. My friend Susan saw one on her porch last night.
Owl moths are native to eastern North America and also found in Asia and Australia. It’s kind of a rare thing to spot one. The one in the photo is probably the wrong species, but they’re all pretty much the same. It’s the big eye-spots that make it look like an owl staring at you–especially if you’re out at night with just a flashlight.
As Rev. D. James Kennedy used to say, “Ain’t chance grand?”
These striking moths are as God created them. God’s stuff, as we say.
Jambo, backyard safari fans! Mr. Nature here, with the Red Salamander, Pseudotriton ruber ruber, a critter I haven’t seen since I was a boy.
This gorgeously-colored salamander was the crown jewel of salamander-collecting in my neighborhood. Only rarely did you find one. I remember vividly the time I rolled away a bit of telephone pole laid at the end of Maple Street to keep cars from rolling into the woods and getting stuck. And there it was: flaming red with black spots and a salmon-pink belly. I’m pretty sure that was the last time I saw one.
You can keep a Red Salamander in a terrarium with moss and leaf-litter, a bit of bark to hide under–which it will do most of the time–and plenty of nice soft grubs and caterpillars to eat. Don’t let the terrarium environment get hot or dry. Now that I’m all grown up, I recommend not capturing the salamander at all: just let him go about his business, and enjoy his handsome colors for a minute or two. They’re much larger than most of the other salamanders around here–about the size of a grown man’s finger.
Just another beautiful bit of God’s stuff.