THE SQUIRREL: THE WALNUT-LOVER
this section, we are going to learn about some of the very
interesting qualities Allah has given squirrels. We are sure
what you will read about these loveable little beings will
also amaze your friends.
Squirrels live mostly in the forests of Europe
and north America. They are about 25 centimetres (10 inches)long.
That is the size of two of your hands. Behind them and often
suspended over their backs are their tails, wide, upright
and furry, and almost the same size as their length. There
is surely a purpose why Allah, Who creates everything with
a purpose, has given squirrels such a tail: Thanks to this
long tail, a squirrel can jump from one tree to another without
losing its balance.
The sharp little nails of a squirrel allow it
to climb trees without difficulty. It can readily run along
branches, hang upside-down and move while in this position.
A grey squirrel in particular can jump from the tip of a branch
to the branch of another tree four metres (13 feet)away. While
jumping, it extends its fore and hind limbs and glides. Meanwhile,
its flattened tail both maintains its balance and serves as
a rudder to steer it. It can even experience free-fall from
a branch nine metres (30 feet) above the ground and land smoothly
on the ground on four feet.
TEETH THAT ARE RENEWED WHEN BROKEN
most other animals, squirrels do have methods of communication
with one another. Red squirrels, for example, upon seeing
an enemy, shake their tails and begin to make excited
Squirrels, who can run on high tree branches
also use their tails for balance. They change their
direction by rotating their tails. The tails of squirrels
serve the same function as the rudder of a vessel. The
whiskers of a squirrel also play a major role in their
keeping their balance. When squirrels' whiskers are
cut, they cannot maintain their balance. This aside,
they also use their whiskers to sense the objects around
them at nights.
Children! Do you know that some squirrel
species can also fly? All the "flying squirrel" species
in Australia, whose heights vary from 45 to 90 centimetres
(18 to 35 inches), live on trees. We cannot say that
they really fly. They make long jumps from one tree
to another. These creatures, who move among trees like
gliders, have no wings but "flying membranes". The "sugar
glider", a kind of flying squirrel with a flying membrane
that extends from the fore to hind limbs, has a narrow
body and long tassel-like hairs. In some species, the
flying membrane is made up of furry skin. This membrane
extends to the wrist of the forelimb. The gliding squirrel
jumps from the trunk of a tree and can traverse about
30 metres (100 feet) at a time by means of a glide-like
effect produced by its stretched membrane. In some cases,
they can even make six successive glides, covering a
total distance of 530 metres (1,740 feet).
they don't move, the bodies of these small animals quickly
lose heat and they become vulnerable to freezing. For
this reason, sleeping is a great threat to squirrels.
However, Allah has created various protective mechanisms
for every species, enabling them to survive under unfavourable
environmental conditions. During sleep, for instance,
squirrels just curl their fluffy tails tightly around
their bodies. The tail of the squirrel is just like
a coat. On wintry days, their tails save them from freezing.
let's consider once again what these loveable squirrels can
accomplish. You already know that squirrels can perform gymnastic
moves in the air quite easily, such as jumping from one tree
to another without falling and, furthermore, target very tiny
branches from a distance and skilfully hold on to them like
a trapeze artist.
how? Well, squirrels can achieve all these feats by using
their hind limbs, their keen eyes, which make good adjustments
for distances, their strong paws, and their tails, which enable
them to maintain balance. But, have you ever thought who has
given squirrels these features and taught them how to use
them? Since it is impossible for a squirrel family to take
a ruler and measure the heights of trees and lengths of branches,
how do they measure distances as they jump from one tree to
another? Furthermore, how do they jump and bounce so fast
without getting hurt or crippled?
No doubt, it is Allah Who has created these
animals together with the features they have and taught them
how to use them. Furthermore, squirrels possess all the necessary
skills and physical attributes to reach walnuts, chestnuts,
hazelnuts and pine nuts, the hard-shelled fruits that grow
on top of high trees. As with all other animals in nature,
Allah specially created squirrels so that they can readily
attain the kind of food they need.
wintertime it becomes hard for squirrels to find food, so
in summer they gather food to eat in the long, cold months
ahead. Squirrels are among those living beings that store
food for winter.
However, squirrels are very careful while gathering
their food. They don't store fruits and meat, the kind of
food that decays quickly. If they gathered them, they would
become hungry in the wintertime. For this reason, squirrels
collect only durable dry fruits like walnuts, hazelnuts and
is Allah Who gives this knowledge to squirrels at birth and
enables them to take their nutrition. Here, we witness one
of the attributes of Allah: Allah is "ar-Razzaq", that is,
"the One Who continually provides sustenance to every living
being He has created".
Squirrels store their food for winter by burying
it in various places. Thanks to their perfect sense of smell,
they can detect the smell of nuts covered by 30 centimetres
(12 inches)of snow.
Squirrels carry their food in their sacs and
take them to their nests. In their nests, there are more than
one store, most of which they have forgotten. Certainly there
is also a divine reason for this, because in time the dry
fruits forgotten by squirrels under the earth grow into new
Would you like to learn a bit more about rabbits,
the loveable little living creatures we sometimes keep in
our houses as pets? We always think of them with their snow-white
fur, which we take such pleasure in stroking, and the way
they gnaw carrots. Let's explore some of the interesting characteristics
of these animals with which we are not familiar:
If you try to approach a rabbit, you will immediately
recognise how fast it escapes. Do you know that these creatures
can readily sense their enemies with their long ears even
while their heads are down eating grass? Owing to this keen
sense of hearing, you can hardly approach them without them
noticing you. Before long, they will perceive a minor noise
or movement and will run away.
become 50 to 70 centimetres (19 to 27 inches) long when they
grow into adults. Their hind limbs are longer and stronger
than their forelimbs. That is why they can run 60 to 70 kilometres
(37 to 43 miles)per hour and can leap six metres (20 feet)
forward at a time. A rabbit can move faster than a car travelling
within the city does.
All rabbits possess these characteristics at
birth. Allah has created them as fast runners and thus enabled
them to escape their predators easily.
What do you think the answer of a rabbit would
be if we were to ask it, "Which food do you like most?" Yes,
you are right! He would certainly say "carrots." (Meanwhile,
remember that carrots are good for our eyes.) Well, do you
know that rabbits live in the warrens they dig under the ground,
and that carrots grow towards the depths of the earth? As
you may understand from this question, carrots have been created
in the most appropriate way to meet rabbits' needs.
for us, human beings, Allah has made everything easy to use.
Take, for instance, the orange you eat in wintertime. If it
were not in segments, it would be very hard for you to eat
it, because it is so juicy. However, Allah, Who has created
everything you see around you, has also created this delicious
fruit full of vitamin C in its segmented form, ready to eat,
in its special package. Now back to rabbits! A rabbit can
easily gnaw a carrot with its continually growing front teeth
that give it such a lovely look.
from their nutritional needs, Allah has given living creatures
many features that make life easy for them. Various rabbit
species with different characteristics live on earth. Rabbits
living in cold regions, for example, are mostly white in colour.
This is an important feature that makes them invisible on
the snow and enables them to hide themselves effortlessly.
Wild rabbits, which are relatively bigger than other rabbits,
have longer limbs and ears. The desert American rabbit, on
the other hand, has quite large ears. These ears help rabbits
to keep themselves cool.
nature, most animals live in particular territories they mark
out for themselves. This is similar to us living in our comfortable
homes surrounded by our family members. Animals and animal
groups usually avoid entering other animals' territories.
"Leaving a scent" is a method employed by animals to mark
their territories. Gazelles, for instance, leave a substance
with a scent similar to tar on long thin branches and grasses
to mark their territory. This substance, secreted from the
glands under their eyes, informs other gazelles that this
field is already occupied. Reindeer, on the other hand, have
scent glands on the tip of their hind feet with which they
mark their territory. Rabbits mark their territories with
glands on their chins.
we have seen, Allah has created animals with very interesting
and important characteristics. Learning all these makes us
astonished at the flawless creation of Allah. We remember
that Allah is our Creator and we feel grateful to Him. Remember
that Allah has commanded people to think about His blessings
and be thankful. In a verse of the Qur'an, Allah informs us
that He will reward those who are thankful:
We will recompense the thankful. (Surah Al 'Imran:
Children! So, you must also remember to be thankful
for the blessings and beauty with which you are surrounded.