A Frog with… Antifreeze

Jambo! Mr. Nature here; and today our safari takes us to Alaska… in search of frogs!

What? Frogs in Alaska? Isn’t it too cold for them?

Not for the wood frog, it isn’t. These handsome brown frogs, with their black masks like raccoons, are able to live in these chilly climes because their bodies produce a kind of natural antifreeze. They go into suspended animation and wake up again in the spring.

God’s stuff–wow!

Baby Lizards Hatching

I picked this video because I wanted to see what kind of lizards would hatch from these eggs that somebody says he “found” by his home. They appear to be baby geckos of some kind.

Here at Chez Leester, one of my fence lizards once astounded us by laying a whole batch of perfect little eggs. I phoned the reptile house at the Staten Island Zoo to find out how to care for the eggs (put them in sphagnum moss and keep them out of direct sunlight)–and what do you know? Every one of those eggs hatched, and I had a whole terrarium full of tiny little fence swifts.

When lizards hatch, they’re fully equipped to make their way in the world. It’s really something to see!

Don’t Harm This Bug!

House pseudoscorpion (Chelifer cancroides) in our kitchen | Insect species,  Wood trim, Insects

In real life, the bug in the picture above is very, very small. It’s the house pseudo-scorpion (Chelifer cancroides)–not an insect, but an arachnid–and is highly beneficial to us humans.

Jambo! Mr. Nature here, with a critter that’s mostly too small to be noticed, although it can be found in very many homes. And if you’ve got them in your home, you’ve got a good thing.

Pseudo-scorpions don’t harm us or our stuff, and here’s what they eat: carpet beetle larvae, clothes moth larvae, book lice… and bedbugs! (The USS Connecticut, desperately trying to fight off a bedbug infestation, could use twenty or thirty thousand of these little guys.) There’s a good chance you have them in your home but have never noticed them.

If you think you have a pseudo-scorpion, you probably need to look at it under a magnifying glass to be sure. If you can then see it’s not a pseudo-scorpion, it’s almost certainly something bad that you ought to get rid of. But if it does turn out to be a pseudo-scorpion, release it and let it go about its business.

I wonder how many bedbug or clothes moth infestations never got off the ground because of pseudo-scorpions.

The Song of the Walrus

Jambo, everybody! Mr. Nature here; and today our safari takes us to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium to visit their singing walrus, “E.T.”

Somehow it has never occurred to me before that walruses might have voices. Now I know better.

I wonder what it would be like, to be aboard a little ship in Arctic waters, late at night, with the whole scene shrouded in fog so you can barely see your hand in front of your face–and then, from out of the foggy darkness, you hear… this.

If you didn’t know it was a walrus, what would you think?

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.