God Gave Predators the Tools They Need

God Gave Predators the Tools They Need - such as the great gray owl

The balance we see in the natural world is strong evidence for design rather than chance. God gave predators the tools they need to control the population of animals that reproduce in large numbers. Owls are a great example of skillful predators. Rodents can cause significant harm to humans if their populations get out of control. However, in some cases, humans have interfered with the natural function of the predators of mice and rats, allowing the population of those rodents to grow to the point of threatening human populations.

In places where humans have not interfered with the natural balance, the design features of predators allow them to control rodent populations. Winter snow cover benefits rodents because they can move under snow. This security would let rodent numbers explode were it not for predators designed to catch them under the snow. One of those predators is owls.

An owl can capture a rodent under two feet of snow by detecting infrasonic low-frequency sounds. Dr. Cristopher Clark at the University of California, Riverside, has been studying how the design of owls allows them to have this skill. Using modern equipment, Dr. Clark has found that only low-frequency sounds can penetrate deep snow. The owl’s facial disk is especially sensitive to these low-frequency waves, and the infrasonic detectors are located right behind each eye. The owl will hover in midair over a spot where it senses prey. When the owl receives the low-frequency sounds, it plunges into the snow to grab the prey with its talons.

Between owls, foxes, and some subsurface animals, God gave predators the tools they need to control the rodent population, protecting humans. The predators’ special equipment is required to remove the rodents, and the design of that equipment indicates it was not a mere accident.

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: “Snow Hunting Owls” on nwf.org and in National Wildlife magazine Winter 2024, page 8.