Front Cover
 Title Page
 Back Cover

Group Title: child's illustrated book of natural history
Title: The Child's illustrated book of natural history
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00005252/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Child's illustrated book of natural history contents first series, The boa constrictor, The lizard, The crab, The turtle ; second series, The rattlesnake, The crocodile, The lobster, The frog
Alternate Title: Natural history
Physical Description: <18> p., <8> leaves of plates : ill. ; 33 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Ashmead, Duffield ( Publisher )
Publisher: Duffield Ashmead
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Publication Date: 1868
Copyright Date: 1868
Subject: Reptiles -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1868   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1868
Genre: Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00005252
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA6600
notis - ALG3638
oclc - 49712888
alephbibnum - 002223389

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Back Cover
        Page 28
        Page 29
Full Text

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STHE BOA CONSTRICTOR is among serpents what the elephant is
Smong animals, by far the largest of its tribe, as it measures from thirty to
forty feet in length, and sometimes attains to the thickness of an ordinary
man Different species of this reptile are found in the East Indies, in
Africa, and in some parts of South-America. Its color is of a dusky yel-
lo-, marked with large brown spots; the scales are round, small and
SThoigbih destitute of fangs and :venom, nature has endowed them with
-adegree of muscular power which renders them terrible. Fortunately,
they are not common in situations much frequented by man, but are chiefly
found i, tie: arshy regions of tropical climates. Although sufficiently
e active when fasting .or hungry, they become very sluggish after having
I gorged their prey, at which time they are most easily destroyed. In order
S. to obtain their food, they attach themselves to the trunk or branches of a

I tree, in a situation likely to be visited by animals for the sake of pasture
.or water. There the serpent swings about in the air, as if a branch of the
tree, until some luckless animal approaches; then, suddenly relinquishing
its position, swiftly he seizes the victim, and coils his body around its throat
and chest, until, after a few ineffectual cries and struggles, the animal is

suffocated and expires. In producing this effect, the serpent does not
merely wreathe itself around its prey, but places fold over fold, as if desi-
rous of adding as much weight as possible to the muscular effort; these
folds are then gradually tightened with enormous force, and death speedily
An instance is recorded of one of these creatures, who had been
waiting for some time near the brink of a pool, in expectation of its prey,
when a buffalo approached, unconscious of the presence of so terrible an
enemy. The serpent having darted upon the poor animal, it instantly
begun to wrap it in its folds; and at every turn, the bones of the buffalo
were heard to crack as loud as the report of a gun. Unable to escape,
it struggled and roared, but could not get free; till, its bones being
crushed to pieces, and the whole body reduced to a mere mass, the
serpent untwined itself in order to swallow it at leisure. To prepare'for
this, and also to make it slip down the throat the more easily, it licked the
whole body over. It then gradually swallowed it at one morsel, the buffalo
being nearly three times as thick as itself.
If the Boa Constrictor misses its prey at the first spring, nothing can
stop its pursuit; for it rushes forward with the greatest velocity, clears with
a bound a considerable space, swims like a fish, and climbs to the top of
the loftiest trees. It is said to be particularly fond of the flesh of negroes;

yet this creature is an object of their worship, as it was that of the an-
cient Mexicans.

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THE TURTLE, of which there are several species, is found in many
parts of the world. The great Mediterranean Turtle is the largest. It is
found from five to eight feet long, weighing from six hundred to nine
hundred pounds; but, unfortunately, it is of little or no use, as its flesh is
unfit for food.
Of all the different kinds, that called the green Turtle is the most
noted, and the most valuable. The delicacy of its flesh, and its nutritive
qualities were, for a long time, known only to our seamen and the inhabi-
tants of the coasts where they were taken. At present, the Turtle is very
well known among us, and is become a favorite food of epicures. This
animal generally weighs about two hundred pounds, though there are some
that do not exceed fifty.
The Turtle seldom leaves the sea, except to deposit its eggs. Its
chief food is a submarine plant, that covers the bottom of some parts of
the sea, not far from the shore. At the time of breeding, they forsake
their usual haunts, and sometimes take a voyage of several hundred miles
to deposit their eggs on some favorite shore. When the female has done
laying her eggs, she covers the hole in which they are deposited so dexter-
ously, that it is no easy matter to find the place. She then returns to the

sea, and leaves her eggs to be hatched by the heat of the sun. In about
twenty-five days the eggs are hatched, and the young Turtles are seen
bursting from the sand, and going directly to the sea.
At the commencement of their journey to the shore for the purpose
of breeding, the Turtles are fat. ad in good condition. It is at this time
that those who are engaged in the business prepare to take them. With
this intent, they let her proceed to the greatest distance from the sea, and
when she is most busily employed in scratching a hole in the sand, they
sally out and surprise her. The manner pursued in taking them is to turn
the Turtle on her back, which utterly disables her; but as the creature is
strong, and struggles very hard, it is no easy matter for two men to turn
her over. When thus secured, they go to the next, and in this manner, in
less than three hours, they have been known to turn forty or fifty Turtles,
each of which will weigh from a hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds.
The lean of the green Turtle tastes and looks like veal, the fat is green, and
very sweet. They are common on the coasts of Jamaica, and the other
West India Islands.
The shell or horny plates of the Turtle is an article of commerce, and
is of great value. It is used for combs and knife-handles, and in various

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THE COMMON LIZARD, 'or as it is sometimes called, the nimble
Lizard, is .the most gentle and. inoffensive of all the tribe to which it
belongs. 2Like all the others, ts head and body are covered with scales.
Its usual length, from the nose to the .end of the tail, is from six to seven
inches, of which the tail makes. nearly, .two-thirds.,: This part tapers from
the root to the extremity, where it end in a sharp point. It lives entirely
on the land, and is frequently seenin spring, or during fine weather, basking
in the sun, on a wall or on a sloping green bank.
Professor Bell, in his History of British Reptiles," gives the following
graphic account of this Lizard: "This agile and pretty little creature is the
common inhabitant of almost all our heaths and banks in most of the
districts of England, and extending even into Scotland; it is also one of
the few reptiles found in Ireland. On the continent its range does not
appear to be very extensive. It is not found in Italy, nor, I believe, in

SFrance, and is probably confined, in a great measure, to our own latitude.
Its movements are graceful, as well as rapid; it comes out of its hiding-
place during the warm parts of the day, from the early spring till the
autumn has far advanced, basking in the sun, and turning its head with
a sudden motion the instant that an insect comes within its view; and

darting like lightning on its prey, it seizes it with its little sharp teeth and
instantly swallows it. Thus it will often take a great many of the smaller
The eggs of the Lizard are not placed in the sand to be hatched by
the warmth of the sun, as is the case with the sand Lizard, but the young
are produced alive, fully formed, able to run about, and very soon after-
wards to take their own food.
The green Lizard, which differs from the above, is generally confined
to warm countries. The upper part of its body is of a beautiful green,
variegated with yellow and brown, the under part being of a whitish color.
It is only in warm countries that it shines with all its superb ornaments,
like gold and precious stones. In these regions it grows to a larger
size than in more temperate countries, being sometimes thirty inches in
length. It is a gentle creature, and, if taken when young, may be rendered
Like other reptiles, Lizards can subsist for a long time without food.
Towards winter they become torpid, but revive again in the spring, and
recommence their sportive evolutions, improving in agility as the warm
weather advances.

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THE CRAB is found both in fresh and salt water, and also upon
land. In shape it differs very much from the lobster, but entirely resembles
it in its habits. The tail in this animal is not so apparent as in the lobster,
being that broad flap that covers a part of the belly, and which, when
lifted up, discloses the eggs deposited there in great abundance. It resem-
bles the lobster in the number of its claws, which are two, and its legs,
which are eight, four on each side.
The habits of crabs are various; some are exclusively aquatic, and
remain on the sand or rocks, at great depths in the sea; others inhabit
excavations formed in the soft coral reefs or bars on certain coasts;
some spend their days altogether on shore, living in burrows or dens,
forined in a moist or boggy soil; others resort to the rocky flats or beaches,
to bask in the sun, where only an occasional wave dashes over them, and
seek refuge in the sea when alarmed; while some species inhabit holes
upon the highest hills and mountains of the West Indies.
The land Crab is found in some of the warmer regions of Europe, and
in great abundance in all the tropical climates of Africa and America; of
these, some are delicious and nourishing food, others are poisonous; some
are not above half an inch broad, others are as much as a foot across;

some are of a dirty brown color, and others beautifully mottled. That called
the violet Crab, of the Caribee Islands, is the most noted, both for the
delicacy of its flesh and the singularity of its habits. These Crabs live on
land, but come down to the sea in the months of April or May, in millions
at a time, to deposit their spawn. Under the guidance of an experienced
commander, they march in a direct line, allowing nothing to turn them
from their course. Having reached the sea shore, they deposit their eggs
in the sand, and recommence their toilsome march towards their upland
retreats. On their seaward journey, they are in full vigor and fine condi-
tion; and this is the time when they are caught in great numbers for the
table. Their flesh, which is very white, is highly esteemed. Returning
from the coast, they are exhausted, poor, and no longer fit for use.
Crabs generally live on animal matter, especially when in a state of
decomposition, though some of them are very fond of certain vegetables,
and become a great nuisance, destroying large quantities of sugar cane, by
cutting it off and sucking the juice.
The Crab generally shows great timidity, and is very expeditious in
effecting its escape from its enemies. If suddenly alarmed, it will, like the
spider, pretend to be dead, and will watch an opportunity to sink itself into
the sand, keeping only its eyes above ground. They are naturally quarrel-
some, and frequently fight among themselves. Their claws are then terrible
weapons, with which they lay hold of each other's legs; and wherever
they seize, it is difficult to make them give up their hold; if a claw be
lost in the combat, it will be renewed from the joint at which it was
broken off.





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THE OROCOD LE is a native of Asia and Africa, and was an object
of worship with the ancient Egyptians. It is one of the animals called
amphibious, because it can live either in water or out of it. It is very
large, sometimes exceeding twenty feet in length. The upper part of its
body has a hard covering of skin like armor, resembling curious carved
work, so strong that a musket ball cannot pierce it. Its mouth is furnished
with two rows of formidable teeth. Its eyes are large, projecting out of
the head, but immovable, so that it can only see directly before it. Its
hinder legs are the longest, and the toes are united' by a membrane like
that which unites those of a duck. Its tail is so powerful that it can with
a single blow overturn a canoe.
The Crocodile feeds on fish, floating carrion, and dogs or other animals,
which it is enabled taSurprise as they come to drink at the water's edge,
but man frequently fifs a victim to its voracity. In revenge for this treat-
ment, all nations annoyed with this pest, have devised various methods
of killing it. The plan which the African adopts to kill this formidable
creature, displays considerable ingenuity and courage. Having wrapped a
thick cloth round his arm, and provided himself with a long knife, he
proceeds to the known haunt, usually a reedy swamp or river. The moment

the Crocodile perceives him it rushes at him with open mouth, but is coolly
received by his antagonist, who thrusts his covered arm between its jaws.
The teeth cannot pierce through the thick folds of the cloth, so that his
arm only gets a smart squeeze, and before the creature can disengage itself,
he adroitly cuts its throat.
Crocodiles are seen in some places lying for whole days stretched in
the sun and motionless, so that a person not used to them, might mistake
them fot trunks of trees- covered with a rough and dry bark. They breed
near fresh waters, and produce their young by eggs. At the end of-thirty
days they are hatched by the heat of the sun, and are soon able to provide
for themselves.
The alligator of America, closely resembles the Crocodile; the principal
mark of distinction is, that the former has its head and part of the neck
more smooth than the latter, and the snout is wider and more rounded at
the extremity.
The lakes and rivers of the warmer parts of America, are full of these
reptiles, and are the dread of all living animals. It pursues fish with ex-
ceeding dexterity, by driving them into a creek, and then plunging amid
the terrified mass, and devouring them at its pleasure. It also catches
pigs, dogs, and other animals, that venture near the river. In that case,
as the animal is too large to be swallowed entire, the alligator conceals it
in some hole in the bank until it begins to putrefy, when it is dragged

out and devoured.
In the fall of the year, the alligators leave the lakes and rivers to seek
for winter quarters, by burrowing under the roots of trees, or covering
themselves with earth.




THE LOBSTER is an inhabitant of the sea, and is of,very extraor-
dmary form." It has two great claws, which are its instruments for provision
and defence; these, by opening like a pair of nippers, have great strength,
and take a firm hold; they are notched like a saw, which still more
increases their tenacity. Besides these powerful instruments, which may
be considered as arms, the Lobster has eight legs, four on each side, and
these, with the tail, serve to give the animal its progressive and sideline
motion. Between the two claws, is the animal's head, very small, and fur-
nished with eyes that seem like two black, horny specks on each side; and
these it has the power of advancing out of the socket and drawing in at
pleasure. The tail is the chief instrument of its motion, and with this it
can raise itself in the water. Under the tail is lodged the spawn in great
abundance. This is preserved with great care till it has arrived at ma-
turity, when the young animal drops off into the water, and immediately
seeks refuge in clefts and crevices of rocks at the bottom of the sea. In
a short time it grows considerably, but as the shell does not grow in like
manner, the body bursts the shell and casts it off; and thus the Lobster
is left for sometime in a most defenceless state, and becomes not only the
prey of fish, but also of such of their brethren as are not in the same con-

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edition. The Lobster is equipped in its new shell in two or three days,
and is as hard as that which it has just cast aside; and it. may be seen
now much it has grown in a few days, fQr by comparing the old .shell with
the new one, it will be found that it has increased upwards of one-third
in size.
The Lobster changes its shell once every year, and it is difficult to
conceive how. they are able to draw the muscles of their claws out of their
hard covering. The fishermen say, that during the pining state of the
animal, before casting its shell, the limb becomes contracted to such a de-
gree as to be capable of being withdrawn through the joints and narrow
passage near the body.
At certain seasons of the year, Lobsters never meet each other with-
out an engagement. In these combats, to come off with the loss of a leg
or a claw is no great loss, for in a few weeks a fresh one is produced,
almost as large and powerful as the old one, though it never becomes so
large as the other claw; and this is the reason why we sometimes see the
claws of Lobsters of unequal size. The pincers of one of the claws are fur-
nished with knobs, and those of the other are sharper, and more in'the form
of a saw. With the former pincer the Lobster keeps hold of the stalks of
sea-plants, and with the latter it cuts and minces its food. The shell of the
Lobster is black when taken out of the water, but becomes red by boiling.
The most common method of taking Lobsters is in a basket attached
to a cord and buoy, in which is put the bait, and then thrown to the bot-
tom, where the water is not more than thirty or forty feet deep. The Lob-
sters creep into this basket for the sake of the bait, but not being able to

get out again, they are thus taken captive.

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THE RATTLESNAKE is a native of America, and is not met with
in any part of the Old World. Some are over six feet in length; but the
usual size is from four to five feet. In most particulars it resembles the
viper; like that animal, having a large, flat head, and a small neck. The
eyes are very brilliant, and are furnished with a thin membrane, which pro-
tects them from dust.
The venom of the Rattlesnake is said to be more virulent than that of
any creature of the same class. The poison is inserted into the body of its
victim by means of two long, sharp-pointed teeth or fangs, which grow,
one on each side of the upper jaw. The root of each fang rests on a kind
of bag, containing a certain quantity of liquid poison; and when the animal
bites, a portion of this fluid is forced through an opening in the tooth, and
lodged at the bottom of the wound. Another peculiarity of the poison-
teeth is, that, when not in use, they turn back, as it were, upon a hinge,
and lie flat in the roof of the animal's mouth.
Some persons have imagined that the Rattlesnake has a power of fas-
cinating its prey. The idea probably arose from the circumstance of the
smaller animals, on which this snake subsists, becoming so terrified at the
sight of their enemy, as to lose their self-possession when in its presence.

Its name is given to it on account of the wonderful apparatus witn
which its tail is furnished. This consists of a series of hollow, horn-like
substances, placed loosely one against the other, in such a manner as to
produce a rattling noise when the tail is shaken; and as the animal, when
intending an attack, gives action to the tail, timely notice is afforded of
the threatened danger. It is said that the number of pieces of which this
rattle is formed indicates the age of the snake, as a fresh portion grows
every year.
The certain death which ensues from this terrible creature's bite,
makes it an object'of dread wherever it is found. It moves along with the
most majestic rapidity; neither seeking to offend the larger animals, nor
fearing their insults. If unprovoked, it never meddles with anything but
its natural prey; but when accidentally trod upon or pursued, it then makes
a desperate resistance. It erects itself upon its tail, throws back its head,
and -inflicts a wound in an instant. As soon as the wound is inflicted, the
pain is intolerable, and grows more violent every moment; the limb swells,
the venom reaches the head, which soon becomes enlarged; the eyes are
red and fiery; the heart beats quick with frequent interruption; the pain
becomes insupportable, and some expire under it in five or six hours; but
others, who are of stronger constitutions, survive the agony for a few hours
longer, only to sink under a general mortification, which speedily ensues.
The effect of music upon snakes is very powerful, and is often em-
ployed by the serpent-charmers of India. The Psalmist, when speaking
of the wicked, says, "Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; they are

like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; which will not hearken to the
voice of charmers, charming never so wisely."

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THE FROG is a harmless and useful animal, and is found in all
parts of Europe and America. Whereer there is a river or a pond, Frogs
are to be met with; and when great numbers are collected together, their
croaking may often be heard from a great distance. In the spring, espe-
cially, it is so very loud that it becomes troublesome to all in the neigh-
borhood. Before rain, also, their voices are in full exercise, and they are
then heard with unceasing assiduity, welcoming the coming shower. It is
stated, that no barometer is ever more certain than the Frog is, in foretelling
an approaching change of weather.
The female produces a great many eggs at a time. In about twenty-
one days the egg is seen to open a little on one side, and the beginning of
a tail to peep out, which becomes more and more distinct every day.,
About two weeks after this, the animal begins to move about; and in about
three months after the eggs are laid, it arrives at perfection. Before this
period it is termed a tadpole.
The Frog lives for the most part out of the water, but when the cold
nights begin to set in, it returns to its native element, always choosing
stagnant waters, where it can lie, without danger, concealed at the bottom.
In this manner it continues torpid, or with but very little motion, all the

winter. At the approach of spring, the Frog is roused from a state of
-slumber to a state of enjoyment. This animal lives upon insects of all
kinds; but it never eats any except those that are alive. It continues
fixed and immovable till its prey comes sufficiently near, when it jumps
forward with great agility, darts out its tongue, which is furnished with a
glutinous substance, and whatever insect it touches, adheres to it, and is
thus held fast till it is drawn into the mouth.
There are several species of the Frog, and some of them are eaten in
different parts of the world for food. The edible Frog is the species used
in France and Germany; it is considerably larger than the common kind,
and is very plentiful in those countries. The creatures are brought from
the country, twenty or thirty thousand at a time, to the large cities, and
sold to the dealers, who have froggeries for them, which are pits four or
five feet deep, dug in the ground, the mouth covered with a board, and, in
severe weather, with straw.
The bull-Frog is an inhabitant of this country. It is very voracious,
feeding upon worms, fish, and even young fowl. It grows to a large size,
measuring sometimes seven inches in length. The legs and thighs only
are eaten. They are rather dear, being considered a great delicacy. They
are caught in various ways; sometimes in the night, by means of nets, into
which they are attracted by the light of torches that are carried out for the
purpose; and sometimes by hooks, baited with worms, insects, flesh, or even
a bit of red cloth.
One of the plagues which God visited upon Egypt, on account of
Pharaoh's wickedness, consisted of vast quantities of Frogs which came up

out of the waters and covered the land.


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