|Volume 22 Number 11 November 2020||
God designed amazing features and abilities when He created animals. Among reptiles that have the ability to shed skin as they grow are rattlesnakes. They keep the rattle, the pit organ with its infrared heat detectors and Jacobson’s organ with its advance sense of smell. The rattlesnake hunts many different small animals, but among its common food are ground and wood squirrels. These small rodents have been designed to cope well with the attacks by their mortal enemy. Let’s look at the ways God has designed the squirrels with the ability to avoid being lunch for the rattlesnake.
California ground and wood squirrels have been given very sly ways to avoid being detected and eaten for lunch. These squirrels have been observed practicing unique camouflage techniques. One just recently observed in these squirrels is snakeskin eating and skin bathing. In a recent report in the journal Animal Behavior, Donald Owings and Barbara Clucas detail the practice of skin eating. It seems that in order to give the squirrels a fighting chance against the extraordinary hunting abilities of the rattlesnake, God has given the squirrels a few tricks of their own.
The squirrels were observed picking up shed skins of rattlesnakes and eating them, then licking their fur, which is thought to transfer the smell of the snake to the fur of the squirrel. Snakes have really poor eyesight. This would confuse the snake’s sense of smell by “snake smell” on what must surely act and look like a squirrel. However, the snake’s ability to see is very poor, and so it is probably of little help in the hunting strategy. In addition to the bath in snake solution, these amazing squirrels will also roll in areas where rattlesnakes have been lying. This also transfers snake smell to the fur of the squirrel and helps to confuse the hunting ability of the rattlesnake.
The squirrels can also avoid a lethal snake strike by changing the temperature of their tails. Since the rattlesnake is using its heat detector to find its prey, the target will be the area of the body that the snake “sees” as the hottest. If this is the tail, which has less muscle and blood vessels, any poison that the snake gets in will have less effect on the squirrel. An attack on a squirrel’s tail would also give it a head start in an unexpected direction. Some types of squirrels even have partial immunity to snake poisons.
So even in the behavioral abilities of the squirrel, we can see the marvelous design of the Creator. Let’s always give God the praise for the things that He has done for the animals of the world and marvel at it, too.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love is God’s commandment to us. Faith is important, and hope is, too, but the greatest is love.
Jesus commanded – not advised or encouraged but commanded – us to love one another as He love us (John 13:34). That’s a pretty steep command, isn’t it? Yet, as Christians, we must try to live up to it. He ultimately showed His love on the cross, and we show our love by giving of ourselves for others.
Today, how will you show the world God’s love? How will you live your life in a way that might prick a heart? How will you bring someone to God?