There’s a Safari Right in Your Backyard

If you have a pond, stream, piece of lakefront, or even a puddle or birdbath in your backyard, you probably have a safari full of creatures you’ve completely overlooked as you’ve enjoyed God’s creation. But don’t blame yourself—these incredible creatures are only visible under a microscope.

From beautiful to bizarre, these microscopic monsters are a sight to behold. Just as the elephants, rhinos, and zebras of the African safari should inspire awe of the Creator, so should the rotifers, paramecia, and amoebas of your backyard pond.

If you own a microscope and splash a drop of pondwater on a slide, what might you see?

Cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae): You don’t need a microscope to observe this. Look for “slime” on the surface or bottom of your pond–what you’re seeing is a large colony of microscopic creatures. But don’t let the gross appearance throw you off: cyanobacteria (which aren’t technically algae, despite the common name) produce much of the oxygen we breathe. Chlamydomonas: These green, slightly oblong “dots” might be observed zipping around your slide, thanks to the presence of two flagella. These amazing “propellers” move this tiny creature rapidly through the water. Each flagellum takes over forty proteins to work and involves the equivalent of a drive shaft, universal joint, bushings, bearings, rotors, and a stator. Diatoms: This brown alga comes in all shapes and sizes, with some looking like miniature chandeliers, snowflakes, or crowns. But that’s not even what truly makes them unique. They’re the only creatures that have cell walls made of transparent silica. In other words, they live in houses made of glass.Planaria: These are animals, albeit very tiny ones. As flatworms, they are predators or scavengers, hunting other microscopic pond dwellers. If they lose their head, no fear, they’ll just grow a new one (and the head will grow a new body—it’s a “two for one” deal). Those heads contain ear-like structures that detect chemicals rather than sounds, meaning they “taste” with their “ears.” Tardigrades (water bears): Famous for their ability to survive in virtually any environment (even the vacuum of space or direct solar radiation), thanks to a severe kind of hibernation, water bears help break down plant matter. They’re found in virtually any and every environment, including your backyard pond and the frozen summits of the Himalayas. It’s such a bizarre-looking microscopic creature, it’s even featured in a Star Trek series!

God’s wonders are all around—but why do I share about these specific ones today? Well, you can meet some of these microscopic monsters in an episode (“Monsters in the Microscope”) from Season 3 of Unlocking Science, a fascinating family science show featuring former high school science teacher “Mr. P” (Roger Patterson). You’ll be amazed by the incredibly wide variety of creatures found in just one regular drop of pondwater. And you’ll be even more in awe of the One who designed each of those creatures.

I encourage you to subscribe to Answers TV to enjoy Unlocking Science, and nearly 5000 other Creator-honoring programs. Unlike most streaming platforms, you won’t be overwhelmed with evolutionary and LGBTQ content on Answers TV—you’ll find programs that honor God and his Word, teach a biblical worldview, and are safe for the whole family. And it’s only $4.99 a month (or $39.99 for a whole year).

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Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.






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