Bluebirds in the Snow

This from Mr. Nature, via the Texas Bluebird Society–look at all those bluebirds! I’ve never seen one in the flesh, although supposedly we have some in New Jersey. Are these among the most beautiful birds in all the world, or what?

And they can cope with winter. If they can, we can. Sure, we put out feeders for them, and that’s a help. But they can probably get by without us. God made them as they are.

And spring is coming–honest. I wouldn’t kid you about that.

Tranquility Break: Freshwater Jellyfish

Freshwater jellyfish aren’t rare, but Mr. Nature has never seen one. Another reader reports, “I grew up on a lake that had thousands and thousands of these living in it.” Here we have them in an aquarium.

They’re roughly the size of a dime or a penny, they eat microscopic plankton, and are totally harmless as far as human beings are concerned. I don’t know about you, but I find it quite soothing to watch them. We don’t know exactly how this happens, but they can unexpectedly appear in abundance in bodies of water that never had them before. Some fish do this, too. Birds seem to be involved somehow. Well, they would be, wouldn’t they?

I wouldn’t surprised to hear that many of you had never heard of any such thing as freshwater jellyfish and find the whole idea surprising. That’s God’s stuff for you. There’s always something new to discover in Creation.

Sanity Break: The Maned Wolf

 

Jambo! Mr. Nature here, coming to you from Brazil.

What is that? Is it a fox on stilts?

No, it’s an animal few of us in North America have ever heard of, the South American maned wolf. It’s not a wolf, it’s not a fox, it’s just a weird canine that lives in South America. As you can guess by the people calmly watching it, the maned wolf is no threat to human beings. Actually, there aren’t that many of them left.

They don’t bark and they don’t roar: their vocalization sounds like a little bit of both. It seems like it’s safe to leave out table scraps for them.

God’s stuff: endless variation on the basic themes.

Animals That Beat the Winter

Here are five animals who show off their Creator’s handiwork by the way they cope with winter.

God’s stuff works!

Mountain goat–they climb like flies on glass; pronghorn–60 mph; fox hunting for field mice under the snow; grizzly bear and cubs–she knows when an avalanche will hit; fuzzy little pikas stocking up a winter’s food supply safely underground: well, yeah! Our God is an awesome God!

And the things we can see tell us much about those things we can’t see! St. Paul was right about that.

Mr. Nature: The Mastodon

The Fall of the Carnivorous Mastodon | WIRED

My wife was watching a video about mastodons when I came in from smoking my cigar and doing a crossword puzzle, and it moved me to seek out pictures of this wonderful prehistoric animal.

Jambo! from Mr. Nature. Our safari today takes us nowhere, geographically; but it does take us back in time, to visit with America’s native elephant genus, the mastodon. We are told it was hunted out of existence, by America’s first modern humans, some ten thousand years ago. Take that for what it’s worth: all we know for sure is that there are no more mastodons.

I often wonder–shall we ever see these creatures? They are part of God’s creation, and He has the entire universe at his disposal. In the restoration of all things, will the mastodon be restored, too?

I like to think so.

Mr. Nature: The Flying Lemur

Jambo! Mr. Nature here with more of God’s stuff, which is thousands of times better than man’s stuff and always works (as opposed to our freakin’ computers!). Today our safari takes us to Indonesia and the Philippines to meet the colugo, aka “the flying lemur.”

It isn’t really a lemur, although it seems to be more closely related to lemurs than to anything else. It’s sort of a primate, but not quite a primate. In other words, zoologists really don’t know where to put this creature.

But if you put it up a tree, it can easily glide to another tree 100 yards away. Kinda of like a flying squirrel, only bigger–two to four pounds.

And now I have to duck out of here before the computer blows up or something.

Mr. Nature Bonus Video: Snake Plays Possum, Too

Yesterday we posted a video of an opossum fooling two dogs by playing dead–“playing possum.” The act can fool humans, too.

But voila! Here’s a harmless little snake that does the same thing. If he feels threatened, the hognosed snake will put on a fierce threat display; and if it doesn’t work–well, then it’s time to play dead. Upside down, tongue hanging motionless: he’ll even release a chemical that makes him smell dead.

Hognosed snakes in zoos and homes stop playing dead because they don’t feel threatened anymore. As the top item on their menu is live toads, I don’t recommend them as pets. But it’s cool that God gave two such widely unrelated animals the same almost-unique from of self-defense.

 

Mr. Nature: Camouflaged Flounder

Jambo! Mr. Nature here–with a reminder that even though our key social and political institutions can be debauched and broken by human wickedness and stupidity, and stolen out from under us by Democrats… God’s stuff still works.

Behold the flounder, which most of us know best as fillets in the seafood section of our supermarket. Many of us have caught them on hook and line. But how many of us have ever seen them change color? Well, not many, because it happens underwater.

But change color they do, like the chameleon, like the octopus; and being flat, with both eyes on the same side of the head (the top side), helps them to hide in the sand. Oddly enough, when they’re born, the eyes are on opposite sides, like they are in other fish. They migrate as the flounder matures. Actually I think that’s even more remarkably odd than the color-changing.

All these weird little things about the flounder–put them all together, and you have a very successful fish.

 

God’s Stuff: Red Eft

How about some of God’s stuff, instead of man’s?

Red efts are immature Eastern newts. They live on land instead of in the water. When they grow up, they turn green and head for the nearest pond.

I can’t think of any other animal clad in this vermilion shade, and I’ve never seen video that quite fully captures the brilliance of this color. The eft can afford to be conspicuous: any animal that eats one has poisoned itself. Like toads, efts’ skin is full of toxic chemicals.

It’s easy enough to refraid from eating them; and we can enjoy their gorgeous color to our hearts’ content.

Stumping Mr. Nature

Pin on bone, tooth, claw, and horn

Petty’s friend emailed her a picture of a small skull that a squirrel was carrying around her yard today, and she wanted to know what kind of skull it was. So she asked me to identify it. All those hours of my childhood spent poring over Mark Trail comics in the Sunday newspaper have to be good for something.

My first thought was “cat,” although the skull seemed kind of small for a cat’s. (That’s a cat skull, above.) It obviously belonged to a carnivore–long, sharp fangs, large muscle attachments for a powerful bite. I was able to rule out skunk, badger, and weasel. What other kinds of small carnivores do they have in Florida? Everything was saying “cat” to me except the size: only three inches long.

I have to admit I’m stumped. Of course, Florida is tricky for the amateur zoologist because of all the exotic animals that have been introduced there. It’s not a mongoose. What else have they got running around there? Or is it really just the skull of an unusually small cat?

If any of you out there live in Florida and would like to pinch-hit for Mr. Nature, please be my guest.