Skunks, Snakes, and Spiders: The Least Are the Greatest

I love the underdog. The unlovable. The least regarded. Yes, even spiders, snakes, and skunks. Oh yes, skunks. One moonlight evening, I literally stumbled over one of those considered as such. A skunk! At first, I had thought it was my cat and nearly reached down to pet it, but it scampered over by the bird feeder, into the moonlight. This is when I noticed it was a skunk! It continued to feed on the spilled birdseed. I neither acted hastily nor tried chasing it away. The amazing thing is that I detected no scent. It was only when he heard a dog bark that I could smell his scent. I perceived this as the skunk determined me to be no threat him or her. There are exceptions, however, since my 5-year-old once chased after one late at night during a “potty break” saying, “here, kitty, kitty, kitty…”.

Amazingly, those we despise hold the most surprise. They are positive contributors for humans, and for the global ecosystem. This is only a small sample.

Ant lions: This veracious eater digs hole in the ground, creates a crater from which no insect larger than the crater, can escape. It devours ants, roaches, silverfish, termites, spiders, etc. They can eventually spread all around the foundation of homes (we have them encircled) and act as a barrier to ants and they are not house-intrusive.

Bacteria: From 500-1000 different kinds, they are vital to human life. Sixty percent of our immune system is in our stomach which functions due to bacteria located there.

Bats: A mosquito’s worst nightmare, consuming nearly their own weight in hours of feeding.

Bees: They pollinate most of the world’s food crops (besides producing honey).

Birds: Control populations of flying insects, crawling insects, underground insects, tree-harming insects, overabundance of insects.

Cats: The Black Plague would have been severely lessened in effect and they keep the rodent population from exploding.

Deer/Antelope, etc.: They prune lower branches promoting upward growth, cloven-hoofs do a nice job of planting tree nuts, walking or in flight.

Dogs: Do I really need to say anything here? I like dogs. This one’s all about me. LOL

Dragonflies: Heavy consumers of mosquitoes, flies, gnats, etc.

Frogs/Toads: Remarkable mosquito pest service, while tadpoles eat hundreds of mosquito larvae.

Mosquitoes: With the rapid decline of the bee populations threatening the world's food crops, the mosquito (especially the male, the vegetarian of the species and a veracious pollen eater/thus pollinator) will move up to rank as the great pollinators of the world.

Opossum: Loves termites’ nests, snake eggs, most insects.

Sharks: The thin out dead, diseased or dying species, thus strengthening the species.

Skunks: Also love termite nests, spiders, rodents, snake eggs, most insects, delicacies. These include black widows and scorpions.

Snakes: Too many rodents? Snakes can get to where the other species can not. They can slither down rat holes, devouring the young and old rodents alike.

Spiders: Great aphid destroyers these are; aphids are those tiny creatures that destroy flowers and vegetable plants, almost invisible to the naked eye. Grasshoppers perish in great numbers also by the spider (particularly when newly hatched).

Squirrels: They are excellent tree planters (they can never remember where they buried every nut…hey, I can’t remember where I set my car keys either). They also don’t like swinging or broken branches, perceiving them as a threat, so they have been observed as chewing off the ends of the branches and, in effect, trimming trees of their broken limbs and branches.

Termites: Dead, dying or decaying trees in the forest, speeds decomposition, returns nutrients to soil.

Turtles: Consuming dead and decaying animal and vegetable matter.

Vultures: Recycling back dead, dying or decaying carcasses. This prevents the spread of disease near these areas.

Worms: Worms both aureate and enrich/fertilize the soil. Their holes allow air to plants roots and their remains (castings) are highly enriched plant foods.

So before you call an exterminator, crush that bug on the floor or chase away those nocturnal mammals, think of how they positively contribute to the world’s ecosystem and another species…us! Give regards to the least regarded by society…the impoverished, the homeless, single parents. They deserve dignity and respect. I have always loved the underdog. God even notices a tiny sparrow when it falls to the ground; how much more precious and of value are you to Him? God loves those of a humble and contrite spirit but resists the proud. Come to Him and He will surely not turn you away.

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