The Little One

 A lot of times when we visit zoos, we like to see the “unusual” animals – the smallest species, the largest, the fastest, or the strongest. In some cases, we ooo and ahhh over rare colour variations like white tigers and albino pythons. As a penguin keeper, I’ve always kind of hoped one of my penguins would hatch out in a unique colour variation called leucism. Leucistic animals simply have less pigment in their scales, hair, fur, or feathers so they are a lighter or sometimes pure white version of the normal colouring. This sounds like I’m describing an albino animal but the difference is that leucistic animals still have the normal skin and eye colour where albino animals have no pigment there either. The white tigers I mentioned before are good examples. They still have stripes but they are lighter brown and the orange areas are white instead, but if you look at their eyes and lips, you will see they are the normal colour. Leucistic penguins end up having white feathers in the normal places and blonde feathers where they should have black or grey feathers. 

 

A leucistic African Penguin among his naturally coloured counterparts


Our colony of penguins has yet to produce a leucistic chick, but we recently had another type of unique baby: the smallest African Penguin I’ve ever seen. His name is Thumper and though all penguin chicks are adorable, he has an extra measure of cute! The average weight of one of our penguins is between 2.8 and 3.3 kilograms (around 7-12 pounds). The other two chicks raised with Thumper, Chip and Marty, weigh right around 3.0 kilograms. Thumper weighs just 2.0 kilograms. Thumper is just small proportioned all over. He has tiny feet, a short beak, and dainty wings. In fact, when we put his identification band on his wing, we only used 4 plastic beads instead of the usual 6 because that would have made the band wider than his wing. I love all of the birds I care for, but I readily admit that Thumper holds a special place in my heart.

 

Left to right: Chip, Thumper, and Marty

 
When Jesus was on Earth, He often picked the unusual people to pay attention to. Not the ones we would pick: the strongest, the smartest, the richest, or the best looking. He chose the weak, the humble, the faithful, the willing, and the child-like. Even His disciples were the “wrong” people for someone who was expected to save the world. Most had ordinary jobs like being fishermen. And yet, God used every single person that Jesus chose for great things. Even if that great thing was just going back to their town and telling their friends and family about Him. It is actually a wonderful thing to realize that God doesn’t need us to be extraordinary before He can use us. He makes us extraordinary when we are willing to be chosen by Him.

But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.'” 1 Samuel 16:7

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