Africa's Flying Squirrel

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
It is easy to see how the African flying squirrel got its name, even though it is not really a squirrel nor does it actually fly. It lives high in the trees of Africa and is rarely seen, because it is active mostly at night.
This flying squirrel is about the size of an American gray squirrel with a bushy tail as long as its body. The Creator gave this pretty little fellow smooth, soft, mole-like fur. He also supplied it with several special features for its survival.
One of these features is a fold of skin on each side of the body that connects the front and back legs. When the squirrel stretches out its legs, the folds of skin also stretch to form gliding "wings." It seems to be flying, but it is actually gliding.
Because the folds of skin are attached so securely to its body, this squirrel cannot walk or run. Most of its traveling is done by gliding from one tree to another. When ready to glide, it lowers its head and pushes off with its hind legs. Using its bushy tail as a rudder, it glides through the air to a lower point on another tree. Anyone watching this spectacular glide would think it would crash. But at the last instant, it turns and lands head up, ready to explore the new tree. This is the way the Lord God created this flying squirrel, and even the young do not have to practice these moves.
This animal has an unusual method of climbing trees. Like a measuring worm, it grasps the trunk with its front claws, arches its body, and pulls up both hind feet. Then, with the claws of the hind feet clinging tightly, the front feet let go and move upward. In spite of this awkward way of climbing, it moves quickly up the tree. It is helped in its climb by tough scales covered with sharp, hard spikes which are found near where the tail and body are joined. These spikes dig into the trunk, not only helping the hind legs to hold tightly, but also helping to push the body upward.
God has made a way of life for each of His creatures. Man, God's special creation, has been told in the Bible of two ways. Man is warned in Prov. 14:1212There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12) that "there is a way which [seems] right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death." But in John 14:66Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6), the Lord Jesus is called "the way, the truth, and the life." He is also called the "new and living way" by which we can "draw near [to God] with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:20,2220By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Hebrews 10:20)
22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22)
). Which way are you following?