This may seem a silly post to some, but I have been trekking through the book of Deuteronomy lately and was absolutely floored by some of the animals listed in Chapter 14. So, this post is dedicated to the animals I did not know existed until I read Deuteronomy 14. Some of them may seem normal, others, not so much. Just for fun, I will also list whether or not they were edible by the law.
The Roebuck [or Roe Deer] – EAT!
The Roe Deer is a relatively small deer, with a body length of 95-135 cm (3.1 – 4.4 ft), a shoulder height of 65-75 cm (2.1 – 2.5 ft), and a weight of 15-30 kg (33-66 lb). It has rather short, erect antlers and a reddish body with a grey face. Its hide is golden red in summer, darkening to brown or even black in winter, with lighter undersides and a white rump patch; the tail is very short (2-3 cm, or 0.8 – 1.2 in), and barely visible. Only the males have antlers. The first and second set of antlers are unbranched and short (5-12 cm, or 2 – 4.7 in), while older bucks in good conditions develop antlers up to 20-25 cm (8-10 in) long with two or three, rarely even four, points. When the male’s antlers begin to regrow, they are covered in a thin layer of velvet-like fur which disappears later on after the hair’s blood supply is lost. Males may speed up the process by rubbing their antlers on trees, so that their antlers are hard and stiff for the duels during the mating season. Unlike most cervids, roe deer begin regrowing antlers almost immediately after they are shed.
The Rock Badger [Rock Hyrax] – DO NOT EAT!
The skull of the Rock Hyrax has a pair of long tusk-like tusk and molars that resemble rhinoceros‘ molars. The forefeet are plantigrade, and the hindfeet semi-digitigrade. The soles of the feet have large, soft pads that are kept moist with sweat-like secretions. Male hyraxes are slightly larger than females
The Cormorant – DO NOT EAT!
Cormorants and shags are medium-to-large seabirds. They range in size from the Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus), at as little as 45 cm (18 in) and 340 g (12 oz), to the Flightless Cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi), at a maximum size 100 cm (40 in) and 5 kg (11 lb). The recently-extinct Spectacled Cormorant (Phalacrocorax perspicillatus) was rather larger, at an average size of 6.3 kg (14 lb). The majority, including nearly all Northern Hemisphere species, have mainly dark plumage, but some Southern Hemisphere species are black and white, and a few (e.g. the Spotted Shag of New Zealand) are quite colourful. Many species have areas of coloured skin on the face (the lores and the gular skin) which can be bright blue, orange, red or yellow, typically becoming more brightly coloured in the breeding season. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes, as in their relatives.
The Hoopoe – DO NOT EAT!
The Hoopoe is a medium sized bird, 25–32 cm (9.8-12.6 in) long, with a 44–48 cm (17.3-19 in) wingspan weighing 46-89 g (1.6-3.1 oz). The species is highly distinctive, with a long, thin tapering bill that is black with a fawn base. The strengthened musculature of the head allows the bill to be opened when probing inside the soil. The hoopoe has broad and rounded wings capable of strong flight; these are larger in the northern migratory subspecies. The Hoopoe has a characteristic undulating flight, which is like that of a giant butterfly, caused by the wings half closing at the end of each beat or short sequence of beats.
The song is a trisyllabic “oop-oop-oop”, which gives rise to its English and scientific names.
I’m sure, at this point, someone is asking themselves why exactly I chose to post this. Well, sometimes, I am entertained by the smallest of things as a child. Today, I was watching my friends 4-year-old entertain himself by running up and down the sitting steps in the children’s section of Borders. I think we should all learn to be happy with things so simple.
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.