No other mammal on earth has a faster metabolism than the shrew. Since they are the smallest mammals, they have a greater body surface to mass ration, meaning that they lose body heat faster than any other mammal. Therefore, in order to maintain their body heat and metabolism, shrews eat constantly while awake.
The American water shrew, Sorex palustris, is one shrew that has confused scientists by doing the exact opposite of what they expected. With a body length of about three inches attached to a three inch tail, this little shrew barely weighs in at half an ounce. Unlike most other shrews, this little guy readily takes to the water in search of food.
From along streams and lakes from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains, they will dive under the water in search of small fish, tadpoles, snails, aquatic insects and virtually anything else that moves.
Some of those lakes and streams can be pretty cold, so a team of researchers led by Professor Kevin Campbell, from the University of Manitoba, set out to determine how the water shrew copes when diving. During their study, they observed the shrew’s behavior while diving as well as monitored its body temperature before the dive, during the dive and afterwards and what they found has them confused and baffled.
Most aquatic mammals slow down their metabolism and lower their body temperature when diving underwater. This conserves on oxygen and allows the animal to remain underwater longer. However in the case of the water shrew, they found the exact opposite to occur. Just before plunging into the cold water, the shrew actually increases its body temperature instead of lowering. Of course this causes the shrew to use up oxygen quicker, they shorten their dives to a brief 5-7 seconds.
The researchers are not sure how the shrew is able to heat its body up in such a short time before the dive. They postulate that it may be accomplished by shivering or possibly using brown fat to produce the sudden increase in heat, but they really have no concrete explanation for the phenomenon.
As a wildlife biologist, I chuckle when I read reports like this about an animal that does the opposite of what’s expected and they have no clue as to why. Yes, I’m curious as to what the sudden heat increase mechanism is, but I can’t help but see the hand of our marvelous Designer in the workings of the American water shrew. It’s obvious to me that God designed them specifically for diving underwater for food and gave them a way to keep their bodies warm enough to survive.
Diving Shrews Warm Up Before Taking The Plunge, Red Orbit, July 5, 2012.
by Tedd and Margy Tripp
From interaction with their peers to the instruction and correction that they receive at home, children interpret their experience from a worldview that seeks to answer their fundamental questions: Who am I? What do I exist for? Where can I find joy?
As parents, we need to be providing our children with a consistent, persuasive, and biblical framework for understanding the world God has made and their place in it. The instruction that we provide for them should not only inform their mind; it should be directed towards persuading their hearts of the wisdom and truthfulness of Gods ways. We must impress truth on our children’s hearts, not to control or manage them, but to point them to the greatest joy and happiness that they can experiencedelighting in God and the goodness of his ways.
Instructing a Childs Heart is an essential follow-up to Tedd Tripp’s previous bestseller, Shepherding a Childs Heart. This book gives practical instruction aimed at helping parents instruct their children in ways that will persuade them of God’s wisdom. Instead of focusing solely on changing a child’s behavior, the authors help us to look at the heart of the child. Point your child toward the happiness they will find from doing things God’s way!
“This book brings the Bible into the parents’ lives in a fresh way. It is one thing to say that parents must use the Bible for parenting. It is another thing to show how that is actually done. Instructing a Child’s Heartprovides practical, real life instruction on how to do just that.” John Younts (Author of Everyday Talk)
“Tedd and Margy Tripps Instructing a Childs Heart is a biblical and practical sequel to Shepherding a Childs Heart.” Marvin Olasky (Editor-in-Chief, WORLD Magazine)
Paperback; 200 pages