Fascinating creatures populate world

Published 12:06 pm Saturday, May 14, 2016

We live in such a fascinating world, yet often we do not even take notice. We are unaware of so many things.

Take insects, for instance. Some we barely notice. They are just out there flying around. Others we hate because they carry germs, bite us, or annoy us with their presence. Amazingly, insects have a muscular system that could consist of as many as several thousand individual muscles.

One of those hated insects is the common housefly. It constantly shows up in places where it is uninvited. Did you know that houseflies pre-digest their food by pouring saliva over it before they eat it? Yuk!

As well as bees, those houseflies can beat their wings up to 100 times a second to keep themselves flying. They have bigger bodies and smaller wings than butterflies that beat their wings from four to twenty times a second during flights.

And then there are certain types of beetles that squeeze out drops of blood through their joints or legs upon being attacked. Its blood tastes so bad that it repels its attacker. Quite a clever defense mechanism, is it not?

Here is something you might not know. Sheep are afraid of running water. If someone leads them to a body of running water, it scares them so much that they scatter and run away. Actually, I heard that from a man who left a veterinary practice for the ministry. He mentioned it in connection with verse 2b of the 23rd Psalm which speaks of our Lord as our shepherd: “He leads me by the still waters.”

Here is something I had never dreamed of about horses. They have built-in air bags. That is according to some Canadian researchers who say that the artery that takes blood to a horse’s brain passes over two air-filled pouches at the base of a horse’s skull. When horses run at full speed, the air keeps the blood cool.

I have always loved watching chipmunks. It is amusing to see them scamper across the yard with their jaws stretched almost to the size of their heads. They disappear into their underground burrow. Those burrows, which can extend up to 30 feet, are the chipmunks’ residence and the storage area for all that food they gather.

Are you familiar with swallow-tailed kites, birds of prey, that breed in Alabama and some other southeastern states? They arrive at their breeding grounds already paired.

Turning to aquatic wonders, did you see the animated movie, “Finding Nemo” some years ago? The star of that movie is a fish—a colorful clownfish. The clownfish changes gender as it matures.

Remember how a great white shark attracted so much attention by scaring the daylight out of moviegoers with its attack on people in “Jaws?” It proved a real monster, both by its actions and the amount of money it generated at box offices–$260 million.

Wouldn’t you agree that there are some fascinating creatures that populate our world?


Nina Keenam is retired from the newspaper business. Her column appears on Saturdays.