Jambo, everybody, Mr. Nature here–with something that you should absolutely positively never try to do.
The guy in this video got away with it. But if his feet had slipped on the wet grass…
Mother alligators and crocodiles guard their nests, and some continue to guard the babies after they’ve hatched, going so far as to transfer them to a nursery pond where it’s easier to keep an eye on them. Gators do not take kindly to anyone messing with their babies.
Most reptiles don’t bother, but alligators do. It’s such a departure from standard reptilian behavior, one is tempted to conclude that gators and crocs aren’t really reptiles at all, but rather are in a class by themselves.
Anyway, gator nests and nursery ponds are good places to avoid–at all times.
It’s not a worm, it’s not an insect–in fact, scientists still don’t know what it is for sure.
Presenting the Peripatus, aka the Velvet Worm, aka the Walking Worm. There are many species living throughout the Southern Hemisphere and around the Equator. They’re small, they come out mostly at night, and they creep around the leaf litter–so they aren’t often seen.
Jambo! This is Mr. Nature, with more of God’s stuff. We have plenty of fossils of various walking worms, and those look just like the worms we have today. They’ve had all that time–half a billion years! say the Darwinists–to evolve into Gender Studies professors, and look at ’em: they’re still walking worms.
Well, heck–they’re good at being walking worms, they’ve got it down to a science. Some species lay eggs, some bear live young. They all eat small insects, spraying a sticky good onto their prey to immobilize it. They are as God created them. They have no power to harm us in any way, and they look cool. Fascinating little creatures.
Jambo, everybody! Mr. Nature here.
The Komodo dragon, the world’s largest living lizard, often looks to us like he’d be slow and clumsy. That’s because they’re often filmed right after they eat; and when they eat, they gorge themselves and waddle around all bloated.
But here in a park–yes, it’s a park, not a wilderness: you can see the nice bike lanes–a Komodo dragon decides he’d like a haunch of venison. As he approaches, in plain sight, the deer decide it’s time to move out. And they decide just in time–he almost catches one! And then gives chase.
He can’t catch up to a deer running flat-out, but he’s still going pretty fast.
If you’re thinking of visiting Komodo Island, where these lizards are the apex predators, be very, very sure that you can outrun this critter. Each year they do manage to catch and eat a tourist or two.
(Sheesh, it’s a freakin’ park! Imagine that coming at you in Roosevelt Park. I’m gonna have nightmares…)
It’s almost Thanksgiving, we’ve already had some bitter cold weather, with a few snow flurries–and the other night, outside, Patty heard the last cricket of the summer chirping away. Calling to whom, we can’t imagine.
Jambo, Mr. Nature here–and the first time I tried to get this video on youtube, I just got all this Indian and Pakistani cricket news. No, no–not that cricket!
I love to listen to the crickets. I used to buy them as food for my turtle, but had to give that up real fast because I got kind of attached to the crickets. What did they ask of me? Water, wheat germ, a little place to hide. It was something to come downstairs on New Years morning to the sound of crickets merrily chirping away, and all that snow and ice outside.
A healthy cricket can live for a year or so, but not outdoors. Unless they can get inside a house, they won’t make it through the winter.
And I’m here to tell you they’ll go right on laying eggs until the end. No fear of running out of crickets!
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.
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!
Isn’t this just beautiful? The red salander, Pseudotriton ruber ruber–when I was a boy, you could find them in my neighborhood. That was before the political party that claims to be “for” the environment paved everything over.
My friends and I collected salamanders. The most common were the little redbacks. They were just about everywhere. But every now and then you’d find a red salamander–bright red, speckled with black, with a salmon-pink underbelly. Like living jewels.
I still look for salamanders, occasionally, but the only ones left are redbacks. There are no more gorgeous red salamanders around here. They had to go, to make way for nail salons and trendy restaurants. And now, high rise tenements. Makes our town more urban, dontcha know.
In the restitution of all things we shall see Creation as the Lord Our God created it. And I’m sure He won’t forget to include these salamanders.
Jambo! Mr. Nature here: and our safari today takes us into the world created by artist Rudolph Zallinger in his 1947 mural, The Age of Reptiles.
I am particularly interested in Podokesaurus–because it has a cool name, hardly anyone has ever heard of it, and it’s so much smaller than all the other dinosaurs. In the picture above, you can just make it out: it’s that tiny little thing just below the Plateosaurus (the big purple thing) that’s bending over to much some plants.
Podokesaurus was discovered in 1910, in Massachusetts, by a Mt. Holyoke College geology professor and her sister, who were taking a walk together and happened to spot traces of bones in a boulder that had somehow split open–and what are the odds of that? The original fossil was destroyed in a fire in 1917, but the casts were saved; and in 1958 another Podokesaurus specimen was found. This one, scientists estimated, grew maybe up to nine feet long. The one found at the college was only three feet long.
When I was a little boy I used to gaze in fascination at pictures of this mural: must’ve spent hours doing it. This was another world. I couldn’t tear myself away.
Nowadays Zallinger’s renderings of dinosaurs are considered wildly inaccurate; but in 1947 they were Settled Science.
One thing about Podokesaurus–it was small enough to hide. Keep your eyes peeled, next time you go camping.