Sunday, January 08, 2017

Jewel # 270 (Jan. 4, 2017)

“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,

Fringed-Toed Lizards

“Thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone.  
Teach me Thy way, O Lord.”
(Psalm 86:10-11)

There are more than 2,000 kinds of lizards throughout the world, and the fringed-toed lizard is perhaps the most amazing of all.  It gets its name from the small, tough scales on its hind toes that swivel like tiny paddles when making its way across loose sand.  It can run over this loose sand with amazing speed or, when necessary, dive into it for safety. 

This is a cute little creature with a slender, orange body about three inches long.  They live in southeast California and southwest Arizona, also in northwest Sonora and northeast Baja, California.  This lizard lives comfortably there among huge sand dunes that are also occupied by tarantulas, rattlesnakes, rabbits, quail and a wide variety of other creatures.

Rough, furrowed skin covers the lizard’s body, but its underbody, throat and legs are smooth.  Its flat body and pointed snout, provided by the Creator, aid when diving headfirst into loose sand for safety.  With surprising speed, it buries itself completely and disappears from view, either lying motionless beneath the sand or moving off quite a distance without being detected.

How can this creature breathe under the sand?  The Creator has taken care of that need in a remarkable way.  He has given it a special nose like no other creature has.  Part of its nose is a trap beyond which sand cannot pass, although allowing the small amount of air to pass which it requires.  When back on the surface, it simply blows out the trapped sand.

The lizard’s eyes have been given additional protection from harm.  Each eye has two overlapping lids, preventing even the tiniest speck of sand from reaching the delicate part of the eyeball.  One of these lids acts just as yours does—blinking up and down when something threatens; the other moves from side to side to do the same thing.  If, as rarely happens, a speck of sand gets past this double guard, it simply wipes it away with a fringed toenail of a hind leg.

This lizard apparently gets sufficient moisture from eating the flower buds, stems, leaves, and seeds of desert plants.  If this is not enough, it can move out into the morning fog that condenses and runs down its furrowed skin into its mouth, which it holds lower that the rest of its body for that purpose.  Besides the desert plants, it also eats ants, beetles, grasshoppers and caterpillars.

As the opening verse expresses, we can see an example of the marvellous designing that speaks of the greatness and wonder of God and His creation even in a little creature like this.  Pondering this, the psalmist said, “Teach me Thy way, O Lord” (Psalm 86:11).  That excellent desire should be in the heart and mind of each of us also. 

Love you all - Grandpa  

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