Dueling with a Diamondback in the Desert: Roadrunner vs. Rattlesnake!

DUELING  WITH   A  DIAMONDBACK  IN  THE  DESERT:  ROADRUNNER  vs.  RATTLESNAKE!  

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Let their table become a snare before them; and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.   (Psalm 69:22)

Roadrunner-approaches-coiled-Rattlesnake-in-desert

Sometimes hunting backfires: the hunter becomes the hunted!

Recall how Haman, in the Book of Esther, plotted to persecuted the Jews, to death, during his heyday in the Persian Empire?  The result was the opposite of his diabolical scheme, however – and it was the Jews who deftly ended as victors (over their persecutors), with Haman himself being hanged to death, on the very gallows that he had constructed for hanging his Jewish rival, Mordecai!(1)

Amazingly, the animal kingdom sometimes sees something comparable happen – such as the scrubland showdown that sometimes occurs when a rattlesnake decides to prey upon a roadrunner. For an action-packed documentation of such a do-or-die duel, see the National Geographic video footage (“Roadrunner vs. Rattlesnake”) posted at  http://video.nationalgeographic.com/tv/roadrunner-vs-rattlesnake  (slightly longer than 2 minutes).

Rattlesnake-attacks-Roadrunner.Natl-Geo-youtube-pic

Hence, here is a poetic tribute (in limerick format) to the roadrunner, whom God caringly designed to “hold its own”, and then some (!), when dueling with a diamondback in the desert!

RATTLESNAKE  ATTACKS  MAMA  ROADRUNNER!

(JJSJ’s poetic review of predator-prey turnabout)

A rattlesnake, hunting for prey,

Met Mama Roadrunner that day;

The coiled snake grinned with glee,

But the fowl did not flee —

Thus, a bird, the snake aimed to slay.

 

The roadrunner brave, the snake brash;

Twin fangs lunged – but no gash!

The bird’s flesh he had missed —

The bird jumped, the snake hissed;

Again, the snake struck in a flash!

Rattler-fangs-ready2bite.Pinterest

Missed again! – the bird jumped aside!

Once again, snake-fangs were denied;

So the shrewd snake re-set,

As the bird watched the threat —

Then a target the roadrunner eyed.

 

The roadrunner now used her skill,

To bite the snake hard, with her bill!

Between the fangs, she had bit —

Vise-clamped bite! – she won’t quit!

Fangs dangling, the snake couldn’t kill!

Roadrunner-bites-Rattlesnake.Pinterest

Struggle, wiggle, — the trapped snake did strain,

To loose the bird’s grip, but in vain!

The bird’s bite, firm and fierce —

The snake’s fangs, naught could pierce;

The snake’s plight, now dire, with pain!

Roadrunner-biting-smashing-Rattlesnake-head

The bird aims – the snake’s head now bashed

On rocks, the snake’s head, thrashed and smashed.

Hammering the snake’s head,

Till it’s broken and dead —

The snake’s crown is thus cracked and crashed.

Roadrunner-biting-crushing-Rattlesnake-head

This showdown, so furious and fast,

Ends with the rattler breathing his last;

The snake thought he found prey,

But on that fateful day,

‘Twas the snake as roadrunner’s repast!

Roadrunner-eats-Rattlesnake.closeup

Of this duel, the moral is clear

(If, your own life, you hold dear):

A predator, one day,

On the next, may be prey!

And Mama Roadrunner, you’d best fear!

Roadrunner-in-desert.SanDiegoUnionTribune.jpg

Roadrunners are fast. These chaparral birds live in deserts and xeric scrub (such as sage-dominated scrublands), and in other rural and semi-rural regions of America’s Southwest, feeding on bugs, scorpions, lizards, and snakes.

But can roadrunners survive showdowns with diamondback rattlesnakes? Yes! Although roadrunners are famous for running from danger, they aggressively attack rattlesnakes, face to face—i.e., bill to fangs!  Amazingly, God has so designed the roadrunner that it can speedily aim at the face and fangs of a striking rattle, using its pointed bill to bite (and clamp) onto the rattler’s open mouth, between the upper fangs, rapidly lock-biting the snake in a death-grip. Then the bird repeatedly thrashes and crushes the serpent’s head against rocks—killing the rattlesnake. The victorious roadrunner then eats the dead diamondback!(2)

The arid, torrid wastelands that we call deserts are relatively inhospitable, for most creatures, yet God has providentially fitted some animals to fill desert habitats—such as desert rats, rabbits, roadrunners, and rattlesnakes.(3)

God loves variety!   (For some Bible-based analysis regarding this timeless truth, see “Valuing God’s Variety”, posted at http://www.icr.org/article/valuing-gods-variety/ .)

Desert-dwelling creatures — like Roadrunners (or Diamondback Rattlesnakes!)  —  daily demonstrate that fact, for those who have eyes to see.  And sometimes, if you happen to live in the America’s Southwest,  you need not journey all the way out to a desert, to see such God-created marvels as the resilient roadrunner.    (Meep, meep!)

Roadrunner-on-table

References

 (1)  Esther 7:10.

(2)  “Roadrunner vs. Rattlesnake”, National Geographic video clip, posted at http://video.nationalgeographic.com/tv/roadrunner-vs-rattlesnake .

(3)  Many creatures are providentially fitted to fill hot or cold desert (and similar xeric scrub) habitats, e.g., the Sage Grouse, named for its sagebrush-nesting habits and for eating sagebrush buds and leaves. See James A. MacMahon, Deserts (Alfred A. Knopf, 1986), especially page 583 & plate 545. See also, generally, Knut Schmidt-Nielsen, Desert Animals: Physiological Problems of Heat and Water (Dover Publications, 1979), especially pages 204-224 (desert birds) & pages 225-251 (desert reptiles).


PHOTO CREDITS:

Rattlesnake showdown with Roadrunner:  National Geographic video

Roadrunner approaching Rattlesnake: Viral Portal

Roadrunner bites Rattlesnake: Pinterest

Roadrunner biting/smashing Rattler: Viral Portal

Roadrunner thrashing/crushing Rattler’s head: National Geographic video

Roadrunner running in desert: San Diego Union Tribune

Roadrunner eating Rattle:  Kami.com

Roadrunner on patio table:  original source unknown / RockDoveBlog


 

 

 

Celebrating the Life-Saving Heroism of Alaskan Dog Mushers (and their Sled Dogs) – Repost

What an interesting article that James J. S. Johnson wrote on his blog. I thought you might enjoy it. The video of an actual dog slide ride is really challenging.

rockdoveblog

 Celebrating the Life-Saving Heroism of Alaskan Dog Mushers (and their Sled Dogs)

James J. S. Johnson, JD, ThD, CNHG

sleddogs-alaska-iditarod

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  Galatians 6:10

Imagine a celebration of Siberian husky sled dogs, harnessed together as a racing team, guided by their human driver (called a “musher”), zooming across frigid snow trails in rural Alaska:  this is what happens in a commemorative festival/event called the IDITAROD TRAIL RACE.  (See the YouTube video footage below.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI3bliK7R94

The Iditarod is an outdoors reenactment-like celebration of dogsled mushing, to remember the heroic relay race – through day and night, blizzard winds, snow, and ice – to save human lives, during a life-or-death crisis in January-February AD1925, when a highly contagious diphtheria plague struck like a serial killer, menacing the almost-unreachable population of Nome, Alaska.

The crisis…

View original post 1,707 more words

Birds in Hymns – God Sees The Little Sparrow Fall

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) w chicks©USFWS

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) w chicks©USFWS

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 KJV)

Birds in Hymns – God Sees The Little Sparrow Fall

Words by  Ma­ria Straub, 1874 (1838-1898)

Music – Pro­vi­dence, by Sol­o­mon W. Straub

God Sees The Little Sparrow Fall

God sees the little sparrow fall,
It meets His tender view;
If God so loves the little birds,
I know He loves me, too.

Refrain

He loves me, too, He loves me, too,
I know He loves me, too;
Because He loves the little things,
I know He loves me, too.

 

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) by Ray

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) by Ray

He paints the lily of the field,
Perfumes each lily bell;
If He so loves the little flow’rs,
I know He loves me well.

Refrain

He loves me, too, He loves me, too,
I know He loves me, too;
Because He loves the little things,
I know He loves me, too.

 

Song Sparrow in white flowers by Daves BirdingPix

Song Sparrow in white flowers by Daves BirdingPix

God made the little birds and flow’rs,
And all things large and small;
He’ll not forget his little ones,
I know He loves them all.

Refrain

He loves me, too, He loves me, too,
I know He loves me, too;
Because He loves the little things,
I know He loves me, too.

* * *

What a great promise!

*

To See More Birds in Hymns – Click Here

*

Birds of the Bible – God’s Providence To His Creatures

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) being raised by a Reed Warbler©WikiC

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) being raised by a Reed Warbler©WikiC

The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. (Psalms 145:9 NKJV)

The following thoughts and verses are from R. A.Torrey’s Topical Textbook under the category of The Providence of God.

Preserving His creatures:

Lilian's Lovebird (Agapornis lilianae) by Africaddict

Lilian's Lovebird (Agapornis lilianae) by Africaddict

You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You. (Nehemiah 9:6 NKJV)

Northern Cardinal by Aestheticphotos

Northern Cardinal by Aestheticphotos

Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O LORD, You preserve man and beast. (Psalms 36:6 NKJV)

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) by Nikhil Devasar

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) by Nikhil Devasar

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. (Matthew 10:29 NKJV)

Providing for His creatures:

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) flock ©USFWS

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) flock ©USFWS

These all wait for You, That You may give them their food in due season. What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good. (Psalms 104:27-28 NKJV)

Western Great Egret (Ardea alba) With Fish by AestheticPhotos

Western Great Egret (Ardea alba) With Fish by AestheticPhotos

Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalms 136:25 KJV)

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. (Psalms 147:9 KJV)

Seashore at MacDill AFB by Lee

Seashore at MacDill AFB by Lee

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

Lee’s addition:

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) ©WikiC

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) ©WikiC

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV)