Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Jewel # 108 (April 4, 2012)

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,

The African Aardwolf

"O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast.  How excellent is Thy Loving-kindness, O God!" 
(Psalm 36:6-7)

The aardwolf, sometimes call earth wolf, lives in the dry, open areas of eastern and southern Africa.  It is related to the hyena, though smaller, and looks like a dog with extra-large ears and a pointed muzzle.  It is about three feet long and has a bushy, black-tipped tail of the same length.  Like hyenas, it has a sloping back and hind legs shorter than those in front.  Its fur is rough, coarse and yellowish striped, with a crest down its back that rises in angry bristles when it is attacked.

In spite of its fierce looks, loud barks and roaring, the aardwolf is harmless, shy and nocturnal, sleeping in underground burrows during the day and doing its hunting at night.  Although it has strong claws and sharp teeth, it uses them only for defense or for getting food.  It eats mostly large insects, white ants and harvester termites.  It finds these last two by breaking into nests and mounds with the sharp claws on its five-toed, strong front feet.  Since these insects are its main food, the Creator has provided it with a sticky tongue to help catch and consume as many as 200,000 harvester termites in a single night.  It may also eat eggs, some small mammals and birds.

Because of the aardwolf's sharp claws and teeth, plus the fact that it can spray enemies with a foul-smelling fluid, this animal is left pretty much alone.  The claws are important for digging the deep burrows where it sleeps. These burrows are cleverly designed.  Three or four pairs of aardwolves each have their own burrow, and each burrow is extended farther into a central chamber where, on occasion, the aardwolves come together.  In bad weather they stay underground for days at a time, but when the weather is clear, some will interrupt their day time sleep to enjoy an outdoor sunbath.

If an empty burrow is available, they use it and avoid digging their own.  However, they still have to make changes to provide a room where babies, usually triplets, are born.  Like dogs, their babies are blind and helpless at birth, but in less than a year they are fully grown.

It is not likely anyone would want to make pets of aardwolves.  But in spite of their unusual characteristics, they are part of God's creation, and He takes care of them even though they are unaware of it.  The Bible tells us of His love and care, and each of us should respond as the psalmist did when he wrote, 

"The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.  All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord" (Psalm 145:9-10).

Do you give Him praise and thanksgiving for His care of you?

I love you all,

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