Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Jewel # 200 (Dec. 31, 2014)


“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,

Dugong, the Sea Cow

“O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all.”
(Psalm 104:24)

Most of us have never seen a dugong, because they live in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the waters around Australia.  They are a close relative of manatees, which are more familiar to us.  In many ways, the dugong’s habits are like porpoises’, but they are larger, often between 8 and 15 feet feet long and weighing up to 750 pounds.  They are air breathing mammals, but like the sea lions of the north, they have heavy bones which help them submerge quickly.  Their nostrils automatically close when underwater, where they can remain from 5 to 8 minutes before returning to the surface for air.

Like dolphins and whales, dugongs stay close by their mates, usually traveling as a family with their calf beside them.  If one is injured, the other stays close by, helping it rise to the surface for air.  The female, which usually has one calf each year, floats on her back when nursing it and cradles the little one in her flippers.  This permits the calf to breath while nursing.

Unlike dolphins and whales, dugongs do not eat fish or marine life.  Their diet is strictly seaweed and grasses that grow beneath the water’s surface.  This explains the nick-name “sea cow.”  God has equipped them especially for this kind of life.  Since they feed mostly in the twilight or darkness, He has given them large eyes that have a protective, transparent covering instead of eyelids.  Their ears are only openings on each side of their heads, yet they have excellent hearing.

Besides having efficient flippers, dugongs have forked tails similar to whales, which help them to maneuver swiftly.  Their upper lips are covered with long, tough, bristle-like hairs which help them select plant food.  Their teeth are designed to quickly cut through the tough stems of seaweed and other water plants.  An adult will eat almost 100 pounds of food each day.  Where large numbers group together, they use up the food supply and must move to another location.  Dugongs can stand on their tails in shallow water.

Dugongs have been around since the days of creation and were given all their abilities to survive when the Lord God created them.  All their needs were provided for when they were placed on the earth.

As the many wonders of God’s creation come to our attention, it is good to think about His counsel: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).  We know He is the Creator of all things, but He is more than that to those who believe His Word: “He will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth . . . and to believe in the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).

Besides being your Creator, is He also your Saviour?

Love you all,
Grandpa 

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