Lizards, Crows, and Slugs
Mike Heisler

This might seem a little strange. I want to talk about animals. I was struck this week while reading the February 15th edition of World magazine with how God’s animal kingdom is more closely intersecting our own. And you don’t need to go on a hike in the woods to find it. We keep developing land and moving around. We are both, human and animal, learning how to better live with one another.

The first one involves a quote from Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “The days of Noah’s Ark in the air are hopefully coming to an end.” Some of you might be wondering what that means. It’s a clear biblical reference, thank you Sara. But what’s the problem? Currently the US Department of Transportation allows passenger-certified “emotional support animals” to accompany airline passengers free of charge (emphasis is mine). Southeast Airlines handles over 190,000 emotional support animals per year. American Airlines carried 155,790 in 2017.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking about guide dogs and such. Animals trained to be around people and behave properly. Oh, but it’s closer to Noah than you realize. Passengers have “certified” cats, rabbits, peacocks, squirrels, turkeys, ducks, pigs and yes, miniature horses. (These Cute Miniature Horses Can Now Travel With You On Domestic Flights As Emotional Support Animals) DOT is proposing some rule changes to limit this to specially trained service animals. (Our own Diane Bird is a flight attendant. Ask her about her experiences with animals.)

In Lake Worth Beach, Florida, police were summoned to a home when a neighbor said she heard a woman screaming, “Help, hlep, let me out.” Deputies were relieved to find that the screamer was a 40-year-old green parrot named Rambo.

Next we go to Rochester, Minnesota, where city employees are tasked with stopping an invasion. Armed with lasers, starter pistols and bird calls they are “herding” a massive flock of crows from downtown to a cemetery just north of the city center. The crows have been coming the past few winters and make a mess on the streets not to mention the noise. I have seen large flocks of crows in the trees surrounding the AD White house on Cornell’s campus in the past but nothing requiring armed intervention.

In the Welch town of Wrexham. A set of traffic lights were sabotaged. City officials found that slugs had oozed their way into the control panel and shorted out the power supply.

Finally, raining lizards. On January 21 South Florida received a National Weather Service warning for … iguana showers! Or is it a chance of light iguana fall, or maybe a drizzle of lizard? Apparently, as temperatures drop into the 30s the lizards are stunned and fall from the trees. Most recover unharmed in the morning. Not only might you not want an iguana in your hair they can hurt too. Some of them weigh nearly 20 pounds. Is snow really so bad?

In Genesis 1:20-26 God created the fish, birds and animals, before man. Then man is created and given dominion over the animals (1:28). In chapter 2, verse 20, Adam gets to name the animals. There is a harmony going on. Of course sin soon enters and dominion goes from stewarding to exploiting and we eventually see near extinction of various species brought on by over zealous “dominion”. Fortunately we’ve retreated some from those days and many animals are recovering and returning and they are showing up in some unexpected places.

My prayer is that we can appreciate what God has created, take good care of it and learn to live together in ways that benefit all of us.

PS I just read about a live owl that was found on the side of the road. It couldn’t fly and was taken to a vet hospital. The problem? It was too fat to fly! A two week diet took off the needed weight and it’s been released.