Bits & Bobs – Why Don’t Animals Need a Barber?

While many of us make periodic trips to the barber, most nonhuman mammals always appear in perfect trim without a barber. The reason for this is that hair grows in a cyclic manner. A relatively long period of growth (that varies with the type and location of the hair) is followed by a short period of rest after which the hair is released from the follicle, and a new growth cycle begins forming a new hair. Thus the length of the growth cycle determines the length of the hair. If hair grew longer and longer without being released from the follicle, it would be disastrous for the mammals that don’t visit a barber. Can you imagine, for example, a squirrel dashing through the branches, dragging a couple feet of hair? The Lord thinks of everything!

Hair grows about 0.3 mm per day. Within a year, our scalp and beard can produce nearly five inches (13 cm). By comparison, the longest hairs on our arm have a growth cycle of less than two months. The growth cycle of scalp and beard hairs varies from individual to individual but can be several years. A Vietnamese man was reported to have the longest scalp hair, which measured over 20 ft. (6 m) long. According to a BBC News report in June 2004, he claimed not to have cut his hair in more than 30 years.

We stand in awe of Christ our Creator, who has lavished such exquisite design and complexity on even the hairs of our body. We are greatly comforted by Christ our Protector, who has numbered the very hairs of our head and will not permit one hair to be harmed if it is not His will. And finally, we are eternally grateful for the amazing grace of Christ our Saviour who allowed His own hairs to be plucked from His cheeks as He endured taunting, torment, and death for our sins.

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6, KJV).

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