Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Jewel # 37 (Aug 4, 2009)

"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up MY JEWELS."  (Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,

"Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind . . . [every] beast of the earth after his kind."  (Genesis 1:24)

The stealthy Bobcat

Bobcats live in southern Canada, in many places in the United States, and as far south as lower Mexico.  They are just as much at home in deserts and sagebrush as they are in forests or on rocky hillsides.  Shy and stealthy, it is their sharp hearing that warns them to hide quickly from danger.  Being well camouflaged, they are difficult to spot.  Hikers have been startled to see one standing nearby, watching them, then suddenly disappearing.

The Bobcat is a pretty animal, looking much like a large domestic cat.  However, its  black, stubby tail and buff-coloured fur, patterned with black markings and a solid black streak down its back, immediately identify it.  A full-grown, thirty pound male stands about twenty inches high and is almost three feet long.  The bobcat is the most abundant wild-cat in the U.S.

The Bobcat is a wonderful hunter.  It stalks its victim by creeping a few inches at a time, with its body pressed to the ground.  It patiently waits until it is close enough to make a lightning dash and then pounces on its victim.  Rabbits are a favorite food, and farmers appreciate the bobcat's help in keeping their numbers down, as well as rats, mice and gophers.  Unwary birds are frequently caught, and even turtles and fish are scooped out of shallow water.  Although its piercing howls at night have frightened campers, the bobcat does not attack humans.

These outdoor cats are careful to keep themselves clean by licking their fur frequently.  In winter their fur is thick and heavy, but they shed this heavy coat in summer.  This reminds us of the Creator's kindness to all animals in caring for their needs in all seasons.  And this care of animals also reminds us of His sure promise to people who love Him:

"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper" (Hebrews 13:5-6).

The mother bobcat prepares for her expected kittens (three or four in a litter) by searching for a hidden den or a cave and lining the floor with soft materials.  She does all the work alone, including gathering food and training.  When the kittens are born, they are blind for nine or ten days.  At three months she teaches them to find their own food, and at nine months they leave to begin independent lives.

How interesting it is to see how the Lord God cares for all the wild creatures He has placed on the earth.  But of more importance is knowing that in His love to every man, woman, boy and girl, He not only watches over us even more carefully, but He invites us to take our cares to Him as well.

"Casting all your care upon Him: for He careth for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

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