Bustards--the great and the little...
 Herons--the heron, the bittern,...
 Storks--the stork and the...
 The adjutant and the marabou
 Cranes--the common, crowned, and...
 Ibises--the scarlet ibis, the sacred...
 Pelicans (continued)
 Bower birds--the satin, spotted,...
 Pheasants--the golden, silver,...
 Cormorants and darters
 The parrot house--the red and blue...
 The parrot house--the sulphur-crested...
 Guillemots and gannets
 The brush turkey
 Geese--the cape barron goose, the...
 The albatros
 Swans--the white swan, the black...
 Divers and grebes--the great northern...
 Sea gulls--the great black-backed,...
 Ducks--the mandarin duck, the common...
 The puffin, the razor-bill, and...
 The reptile house--crocodiles
 The reptile house--crocodiles and...
 The reptile house--tortoises
 The reptile house--turtles
 The reptile house--monitors and...
 The reptile house--iguanas
 The reptile house--skinks
 The reptile house--geckos
 The reptile house--chameleons
 The reptile house--toads
 The reptile house--frogs
 The reptile house--salamanders
 The reptile house--snakes
 The reptile house--the puff adder...
 The reptile house--the cobra and...
 The reptile house--rattlesnake...
 The reptile house--the water viper...
 The reptile house--the hog-nosed...
 The reptile house--pythons
 The reptile house--boa constri...
 Back Matter
 Back Cover





PELICANS- (continued). . 23


THE REPTILE HOUSE (continued)-GECKOS ....69
THE REPTILE HOUSE (continud)- SNAKES .. 79
THE REPTILE HOUSE (continued)-SNAKES .. 81

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/TEST000004/00001
 Material Information
Title: The zoo
Physical Description: 96 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wood, Theodore, 1862-1923
Weir, Harrison, 1824-1906 ( Illustrator )
Wood, J. G ( John George ), 1827-1889
Evans, Edmund, 1826-1905 ( Engraver , Printer )
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
E. & J.B. Young & Co ( Publisher )
Publisher: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
E. & J.B. Young & Co.
Place of Publication: London ;
New York
Manufacturer: Engraved and printed by Edmund Evans
Subjects / Keywords: Zoos -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Zoo animals -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Animals -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Brighton
United States -- New York -- New York
Summary: Descriptions of the habits of various birds and reptiles found at the zoo.
Statement of Responsibility: by Theodore Wood.
General Note: Continuation of 'The zoo' by J.G. Wood.
General Note: Illustrated by Harrison Weir.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002239980
notis - ALJ0518
oclc - 85104440
System ID: TEST000004:00001

Table of Contents
        test 4
        Page 1
    Bustards--the great and the little bustards
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Herons--the heron, the bittern, and the egret
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Storks--the stork and the adjutant
        Page 13
        Page 14
    The adjutant and the marabou
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Cranes--the common, crowned, and demoiselle cranes
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Ibises--the scarlet ibis, the sacred ibis, and the glossy ibis
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Pelicans (continued)
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Bower birds--the satin, spotted, and gardening bower birds
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Pheasants--the golden, silver, peacock, and impeyan pheasants
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Cormorants and darters
        Page 31
        Page 32
    The parrot house--the red and blue macaw, and the kaka parrot
        Page 33
        Page 34
    The parrot house--the sulphur-crested cockatoo, and the shining and ground parroquets
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Guillemots and gannets
        Page 37
        Page 38
    The brush turkey
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Geese--the cape barron goose, the bernicle goose, and the bean goose
        Page 41
        Page 42
    The albatros
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Swans--the white swan, the black swan, and the black-necked swan
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Divers and grebes--the great northern diver, the great crested grebe, and the dabchick
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Sea gulls--the great black-backed, black-headed, and scissor-bill gulls
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Ducks--the mandarin duck, the common sheldrake, and the eider duck
        Page 51
        Page 52
    The puffin, the razor-bill, and the terns
        Page 53
        Page 54
    The reptile house--crocodiles
        Page 55
        Page 56
    The reptile house--crocodiles and alligators
        Page 57
        Page 58
    The reptile house--tortoises
        Page 59
        Page 60
    The reptile house--turtles
        Page 61
        Page 62
    The reptile house--monitors and teguexins
        Page 63
        Page 64
    The reptile house--iguanas
        Page 65
        Page 66
    The reptile house--skinks
        Page 67
        Page 68
    The reptile house--geckos
        Page 69
        Page 70
    The reptile house--chameleons
        Page 71
        Page 72
    The reptile house--toads
        Page 73
        Page 74
    The reptile house--frogs
        Page 75
        Page 76
    The reptile house--salamanders
        Page 77
        Page 78
    The reptile house--snakes
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    The reptile house--the puff adder and the horned viper
        Page 83
        Page 84
    The reptile house--the cobra and the haje
        Page 85
        Page 86
    The reptile house--rattlesnakes
        Page 87
        Page 88
    The reptile house--the water viper and the copperhead
        Page 89
        Page 90
    The reptile house--the hog-nosed snake and the black viper
        Page 91
        Page 92
    The reptile house--pythons
        Page 93
        Page 94
    The reptile house--boa constrictors
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Back Matter
        Back Matter 1
        Back Matter 2
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
        New Page
Full Text




S we come away from the Bears' Pit, and their stilt-like legs, and straighten out their
pass along the Terrace Wall opposite long, slender necks, we can see that they
the Monkey House, we find the Water-fowls' are not very much less than six feet in
Lawn upon our right hand. There are a height. And they are such handsome birds,

-',,.r-- -_ '' \

-- ;: -, < -- -


good many odd-looking birds in this enclo-
sure; but the very first upon which our eyes
rest are sure to be the Flamingos.
For they are such big birds, in the first
place--almost as tall, if not so stoutly built,
as the emus. When they stand upright on

too, with their beautiful scarlet plumage,
their pure white bodies, and the black quill-
feathers of their wings. Let us stand and
watch them for a little while.
How oddly they twist and curl their long
necks about. One would really think, at






NEW YORK: E. & J. B. YOUNG & Co.


:1---- -- -r ;.ii





ON the Water-fowls' Lawn, besides the
flamingos, we shall generally see
some birds which are not water-fowl at
all, but which are well worth stopping to

look at for a short time. Among these are
the Bustards.
As we may easily see by looking at their
stout legs, and the feet with the three great
toes all set in front, these are running birds,
like the ostrich and the emus. Very swift of
foot indeed they are, and when once they
are alarmed it is hardly possible to overtake

They are very wary, too; so wary, that it
is most difficult to capture or shoot them.
Those who hunt the bustard are obliged to
make use of all kinds of tricks in order to

approachit. Sometimes theyhide themselves
in a cart filled with corn or vegetables, with
a hole left here and there through which they
can take aim. Sometimes they dress them-
selves up like labourers, and pretend to be
busy in the fields, drawing nearer and nearer
to the birds by degrees, until they are close
enough to fire. Or they dig a pit in the
ground, and put one of their number in it

~- a-
L~J~t~- '
--~ ?r


to lie in wait, while the others drive the
bustards towards him. And with all these
precautions they often fail to obtain a
Even while sleeping at night bustards can-
not be taken by surprise; for they always
gather together in small flocks, over which
two old birds are appointed to keep guard.
These birds watch all through the night; and

their sight is so keen that they can detect the
approach of an enemy long before he is near
enough to do them any harm.
Although they can run with such speed.
bustards are not at all swift of wing, and
very seldom take to flight unless they are
obliged to do so. As they are such heavy
birds, they cannot rise at once, but have to
"take a run" first, and then spring into the
air, just as a man does if he wishes to leap
over a wall or a gate.

WE shall always find an example or two
of the Great Bustard in the Gardens. This
bird was once very common in England, and
large flocks used to roam over the marshes
and fens, and in such waste places as Salis-
bury Plain. But by degrees they were killed
down, until now, in this country, a bustard
is a very rare sight indeed. In times of
hard frost, however, some of these fine birds

nearly always fly over from the Continent,
and a few winters ago, when the frost was
very severe, and lasted for many weeks, quite
a number were killed in different parts of the
The male bustard is very much larger than
his mate, and measures about three feet six
inches in length from the tip of his beak to
the end of his tail. When he spreads his
wings, they measure nearly eight feet from
tip to tip. On his neck, spreading out on


either side, are a number of stiff, slender
feathers, which from a little distance look
very much like a moustache ; and he has a
large pouch in his throat, in which he is said
to carry water to his mate while she is sitting
upon her eggs.
When the little bustards are hatched out,
the mother is obliged to take very great care
of them, for they are very good to eat, and
are looked upon by foxes, eagles, kites, and
hawks as a great dainty. Until they are old
enough to take care of themselves she feeds
them upon grasshoppers and other small
insects; and they are very fond of ants' eggs.

THE Little Bustard is sometimes found
in England, but only, as a rule, when the
weather is very cold indeed. This bird is
much smaller than the great bustard, for,

instead of being as large as a turkey, it is
rather less than a pheasant. We may know
the cock, in the nesting season, by the white
ring round his neck, and the broad white
band a little beneath it; but during the rest
of the year, strange to say, he puts off this
colouring, and becomes very much like his
The little bustard does not seem to be
quite so wary a bird as that about which
we have just been reading, and is said not
to be afraid of a man on horseback. The
hunters sometimes kill it by riding round
and round it in a circle, and drawing gradu-
ally nearer as they do so. Meanwhile the
bird, seeing that they do not come straight
up to it, fancies that it is not discovered,
and does not try to run away until it is
too late to escape.

.4 1S




W E may always be quite sure of finding and then he strikes at them with his beak so
some Herons in the Gardens; and suddenly and so quickly, that they have no
we cannot do better than stop for a little time to swim away. Sometimes he catches
while in order to an eel, which gives
look at them. him a great deal of
Whatodd-looking trouble ; for it wrig-
birds they are, with gles and twists about
their sharp, strong so much that he can-
beaks and their long, not swallow it. So
slender legs One he takes it to the
of them is standing / I bank, and dashes it
just opposite to us. over and over again
He hashisheadsunk upon the ground un-
between his shoul- ". til it is dead.
ders, just as though The beak of the
he had no neck at heron is so strong
all, and one leg is and sharp that it can
.tucked up unde- deal a really terrible
neathhisbody. How' blow; and when the
still he is! And yet bird fights, it always
how closelyhe seems strikes at the eyes of
tobewatching every- its adversary. Once
thing that is going 'a tame heronwas put
on around him!- into a large cage, in
That is the way in which five owls were
which he stands --- living. The bird
when he is watching quarrelled with these
for prey. He feeds during the night, and
chiefly upon fishes ---- when morning came
and, when he feels _-* -- --- it was found that it
hungry, he wades out had blinded four of
into some pool or them, and had also
stream, and there stands patiently waiting until pecked out one of the eyes of the fifth.
a fish comes swimming by. You would hardly Herons, indeed, seem always to be rather
notice him, even if you were quite near, for quarrelsome birds. About four years ago, a
he always likes to take up his post under the very curious sight was seen in Wimbledon
shelter of a bush, or an overhanging bank; Park. A pair of swans were quietly swimming
and he really stands almost as still as if he upon the lake, when no less than seven
had been turned into stone, herons flew down, and began to attack them.
The fish never seem to see him at all. He Over and over again they struck at the swans'
does not move until they are close beside him ; eyes with their powerful beaks. But the


swans beat them back with their wings, and,
after a hard struggle, succeeded in driving
them away.
Have you ever seen a heron in the air?
You may always know it by the way in which
it carries its long legs stretched out straight
behind it, while its neck is stretched out
straight in front. It flies well, however,
though it looks so awkward, and often travels
for quite a long distance in search of food.
never live
very far away
from water.
If possible,
they always
like to build
in the high
trees upon a
small island, ,,
so that they
can fly down
and hunt for ,
fish without 1' l
going farfrom -, '
their nests. A
number of
herons al-
ways build -:I
together, and
sometimes -- .
one may see -- --
fifty or sixty
nests in quite
a small clump
of trees. The
nest is made
of stout twigs, lined with hair and grass and
wool, and is often as much as a yard across.
When it is quite finished, the mother bird
lays in it four or five pretty sea-green eggs.

IN olden days another kind of heron, called
the Bittern, was very common in England.
But now it is hardly ever seen. It is very

like the heron in its habits, but hunts for fish
by night instead of by day. It has a most
peculiar cry, so loud and deep that it has
been likened to the bellowing of a bull.
This, however, is only heard during the nest-
ing season; and at other times the bird utters
a hoarse caak, caak," very much like that of
the heron.

A VERY beautiful heron, called the Egret,
lives in the
great swamps
of North and
/ '". South Ame-
S. rica. This
S handsome
-- bird is pure,
I r- owy white.
X. \ hen it is
a tbout three
ea \irs old, a
',c' great train of
Io-.. : e feathers
rows from
[Is shoulders ,
i n .l falls down
i- ver its back.
S" These fea-
thers are
much used
i -n- for making
S featrher-brush-
I,-, Ir dusting
furniture. But
the birds are
so wary that
it is not at all
easy to approach them, and the feathers,
therefore, are sold at a very high price.
Sometimes, in a lady's hat or bonnet, you
may see a delicate tuft of feathers, which
are called "osprey." They do not come
from the true osprey at all, however, but are
part of the plumage of this beautiful white





HERE are some of the Storks, of which
there are always several to be seen in
the Gardens.
These, like the -::.
herons, all be- ,.
long to the great
family of the
Wading Birds.
You may always
know a Wading
Bird when you
see it, by its long,
stilt-like legs.. i
For allthesebirds
feed upon fish,
frogs, tadpoles, '
water-snails, and ., ._)
other small crea- -
tureswhich livein
pools or streams;
and so, of course, -
they must be able '
to wade into the
water in order to _. s
catch them. And
their long legs en-
able them to do
this without wet-
ting their bodies.
You will notice, too, that they always have
very long and strong beaks, with which to
seize their victims.
To us who live in England it would seem
very strange indeed to see storks walking
about in our streets, and building their great,
untidy nests on the roofs of our houses.
But in many countries this is a very common
sight indeed, and no one is at all surprised at
it. In Holland, for example, numbers of
wild storks are to be seen in every town.
They appear early in the spring, having flown

over from their warm winter home in Africa;
and they stay until the cool autumn days
warn them to fly away southward again.
SThose who live
in the towns are
always very glad

they know that
.--- .- the hungry birds
will eat all the
refuse of the
streets. If this
refuse were not de-
stroyed, it would
quickly decay,
and poison the
air, and perhaps
give rise to dread-
ful diseases.
Then, again,
Storks are very
fond of eating
frogs. Now in
Holland, where
there are a great
-many dykes and
ditches, frogs
would soon be-
comefar tooplen-
tiful if they were not destroyed in some way.
But the storks devour so many that their
numbers are always kept down ; so that these
great, long-legged birds make themselves very
useful in two different ways.
Another dainty of which the stork is
very fond is an eel; and it may often be
seen searching for one in the mud at the
bottom of a pond. When it catches one
it wades to shore, and then bangs it upon
the ground, over and over again, until it
is dead.



Once upon a time, storks were very with just a slight hollow in the middle in
common in England. The country was very which the eggs can rest. The young ones
marshy then, and the birds could find plenty are most comical little creatures, like little
of fish, and frogs, and tadpoles. But now balls of fluffy down, with long necks and
that so much of the fen and marsh land has very long beaks.
been drained, they Now let us look for
hardlyevervisit us; and a moment or two at
one is only seen now the Adjutant, which is
and then. a kind of big stork
Some people, how- with a huge beak, and
ever, keep them as a long neck with
pets, and let them run scarcely any feathers
loose in their gardens, upon it. It comes from
where they destroy India.
great numbers of snails Why, its beak is even
and slugs, and other bigger than that of the
mischievous creatures. stork Yes ; and the
I once knew a lady bird has been known
who had two tame to seize a cat with it,
storks. They were and swallow it at one
allowed to run about mouthful! A fowl,
just as they pleased; I too, is easilyswallowed,
and their great amuse- and the butchers and
ment was to chase the poultry-keepers in
cats which often came the towns where the
into the garden. As adjutant lives have to
soon as a cat appeared, be very careful that
the storks ran at it as the bird does not
fast as their long legs snatch up their goods
would carry them and as it walks along the
then the cat, frightened streets.
almost out of its wits, The adjutant is very
would clamber up into 'fond of the sunshine,
the nearest tree, and -_ t and stands in a very
stay there until some- odd position in order
one came out to drive to enjoy it. First it
the storks away. hangs down its long
Yet the stork is not neck, until the tip of
really a fierce bird, in spite of its long, sharp its beak nearly touches the ground, and then
bill. It never seems to fight with other it spreads its great wings straight out from its
birds, as the heron does; and it will even body. If we happen to visit the Zoo on a
allow itself to be picked up without using its very hot summer's day, we shall very likely
beak. see the bird in this strange attitude. And
The nest of the stork is only a bundle of we shall notice that it stands almost as still
sticks and reeds, heaped clumsily together, as if it were carved out of stone.




I HAVE not yet told you nearly all there
is to tell about the Adjutant, which is
really one of the most curious and interesting
birds in the Gardens.
In the first place,
sad to say, he is by
no means brave.
This seems rather
surprising, for one
would think that so
large and strong a
bird, with such a
long and sharp
beak, would be
afraid of scarcely
any foe. Yet the
adjutant will run
away from even a
little child who
boldly faces him.
In fact, the bird is
like those big,
cowardly boys
whom we some-
times hear about,
and whom we call
by the ugly name
of "bullies "; for
he is always ready .
to attack a small ---
animal, but is quite -
sure to run away if
he thinks that he is
likely to be hurt
But, on the other
hand, he is a very useful bird. In India,
the country in which he lives, many of the
towns are not nearly so well kept as those
in our own country. If there is some refuse
to be thrown away, for instance, the people

will often throw it out into the street and
leave it lying there, although there is no one
to gather it up and cart it away. Now if
this refuse were to
be left where it is
thrown, some of it
would be sure to
become putrid, and
poison the air, thus
giving rise to many
diseases. But the
adjutant, which
is never interfered
with, and so be-
comes very tame,
is always walking
j about in the streets,
ready to snap up
any kind of food
with which it may
meet; and it does
its work so well
that, very soon
after any offal is
thrown out, it is
almost sure to be
found by one of
these birds, and
When an adju-
-- tant is hungry, it
will often hover
high up in the air,
just as the vulture
does, and scan the
ground beneath it
in search of food. It has wonderful eye-
sight, for its eyes are like telescopes, and
nothing seems to escape its gaze. In fact,
we may look upon it as one of Nature's
dustmen, whose business it is to remove all


decaying substances, and so to keep the
earth, the air, and the water constantly pure.
But the adjutant is very useful in another
way as well, for it is very fond of a snake
for dinner, and knows just how to kill it, if it
should happen to be one of the poisonous
kinds, before it
has time to use
its fangs. Now ,
are very plentiful
in India, and
their bite is so
deadly that they
kill thousands of
human beings
every year. By
devouring them,
therefore, the
adjutant does a
very useful work
indeed, and we
can very well
understand why
it is allowed to
walk about just
where it pleases,
even in the busy
streets of the
The adjutant
is often kept as
a pet, and soon ', -
becomes very
fond of a master a
who treats it
kindly. One .
tame adjutant,
however, had to
be carefully watched, for he used to stand by
his master's chair at table, and snatch the
food off the plates when he thought no one
was looking at him. And one day, when his
master's back was turned, he seized a whole
boiled fowl, and swallowed ii before it could
be taken away !
Hanging from the lower part of the adju-

tant's neck we notice a very curious pouch.
This can be filled with air at will. As the bird
grows older the pouch increases in size, until it
reaches a length of sixteen or eighteen inches.
Another very odd-looking bird is the Whale-
headed Stork.
This is some-
times called the
Shoe Bird, be-
cause its beak,
which is very
large indeed, is
of very much the
shape of a shoe.
It is found in the
great swamps
which border the
river Nile, and
feeds on the
snakes, reptiles,
and fishes which
it -finds in the
pools, or on the
marshy ground
between them.
Sometimes, too,
it will feast upon
the carcass of an
animal which
has fallen into
the water and
been drowned,
tearing the flesh
------ from the bones
with its great
beak just like a

tant's cage is a second, in which we may gene-
rallysee another large stork-like birdcalledthe
Marabou. On its sides grow large tufts of very
beautiful feathers, which are quite as valuable
as the handsome plumes of the ostrich.
This bird comes from Africa, and is said to
be just as useful in the native villages as the
adjutant is in the towns of India.





Q UITE close to the storks are the Cranes,
three or four different kinds of which
are always to be seen
in the Gardens. Of
course we must stop
for a few minutes to
look at these; and
very odd and interest-
ing birds we shall find
If we are very for-
tunate, perhaps we
shall see one of them
dancing. Quite sud-
denly he begins to hop
up and down over and
over again, flapping out
his great wings straight
from either side of his
body, and every now
and then stopping for
a few moments to bow
his head and long neck
down to the ground.
Most comical he looks,
and very few people
can help laughing when
they watch his ridicu-
lous movements.
Or perhaps, while we -'. -
are looking at them, -
one of the great long- ,
legged birds will catch
sight of another on the
other side of the wire
fence, and the two will
run fiercely at each other, stopping just be-
fore they reach the fence, and then scream-
ing as loudly as they possibly can. We shall
be quite surprised to find what deep, strong

voices they have, for their cry sounds almost
like the blast of a trumpet.
Once a pair of cranes
were kept in captivity
by a farmer, and treat-
., : ed as pets. Before
Very long one of them
S died; but the other,
which was allowed to
run where it pleased,
soon formed a great
friendship with a bull.
Day after day he would
S go into the stable, and
S drive away the flies
II which troubled his
strange friend. When
the bull was let out
into the farm-yard, the
Crane would walk up
._- .~ and down beside him,
... sometimes running on
for a few yards, in order
., to dance for a moment
or two, and sometimes
stopping to bow low, as
though out of great
respect. In the after-
noon the bull was
driven out to pasture,
and the crane always
went with him, often
for a distance of nearly
-- two miles. When the
pair arrived at the
meadow, the bird
would take leave of his friend, with many
low bows, and go off to search for food for
himself, always returning, however, in time to
walk back with the bull when he was driven


home. When the bull bellowed, the crane
would answer him, by uttering his loud,
trumpet-like note. And this odd friendship,
we are told, went on for several years.
In times of old, cranes were very plentiful
in England, and numbers of their nests
might have been found among the reeds in
the marshes and fens. In those days their
flesh was often eaten, and at royal banquets
a boiled or
roasted crane
was always one
of the dainties.
But as time
went onthebird
became more
and more
scarce, until
now a wild
crane is hardly
ever seen in the i
British Islands. .'
In some- --
partsof Europe, -
however, these -
birds are still
very abundant. -- -
Every autumn -- -
large flocks fly -;" -'"
over France, to
return again in
the following
spring. The
farmers do not at all like to see one of these
flocks settling in their fields, for, although
cranes feed chiefly upon insects, worms, and
the small animals which they can catch in
streams and marshes, they are very fond of
corn, which they dig out of the ground with
their long beaks.

BESIDES the common crane, we are almost
sure to see in the Gardens two or three ex-

amples of the Crowned Crane. We can
easily recognize this very handsome bird
when we see it by its bright scarlet and white
cheeks, and by the golden crest or crown "
upon its head.
The crowned crane is fond of sitting in a
very odd position, the knees, as we call them,
resting upon the ground, while the feet pro-
ject far in front. These so-called "knees,"
however, are
really the
ankles, so that
the bird is rest-
ing upon the
whole soles of
its feet, instead
-- of upon the toes
S.',. only. At times
S--- this bird will
dance and bow,
just like the
common crane;
and its voice is
so loud that it
is said to have
.-. been heard
. ,"'--- from a distance
S- of nearly two
-- _miles.

very handsome
crane is the
which we may know by its snowy-white
ear-tufts, and the blackish-grey plumes
which hang from its breast. This bird is
very common in many parts of Africa and
Asia, and if we were to pay a visit to one
of the great African swamps, we should very
likely see several hundreds of demoiselle
cranes wading about in the water, and
searching busily for the snails and insects
upon which they feed.





AFTER we have watched the cranes for
awhile, let us make our way to the
Terrace Walk, which is quite close by. On
the farther side of this we shall find a large
enclosure, covered over with wire netting.
This is called the Night Herons' Pond, and
we have already visited it once, in order to
look at the curious, long-necked flamingos.
Now I want you to notice some other birds,
called Ibises, which live in the same enclo-
There are quite a number of different
kinds of ibises, for r, ore tliin tli;rt 1i, .
been found in (dill.. int i.ir it
world. Of course ,.: I-i n. r .t .. .
all of these in tl-h (ir.l.-ns bn ,
we may always ho -.ii: l -
ing two at least c. toi !,:t
curious, namel, tlh
Scarlet Ibis and t I. .
Sacred Ibis. ,
The first :-
of these is a -.
really lovely -- '
bird; one of -. 1' I.
some, indeed, ,.
of allthebirds
in the Gar-
dens. We can I i
tell it at a
glance by its_
bright scarlet --- -
p 1 umag e,
which is mark-
ed only by a
few patches
of black. Those who have seen this bird in
South America, its native country, tell us that
it is even more beautiful there, and that when

it is captured, and taken to a colder climate,
its feathers become paler in colour every time

The scarlet
ibis is very
fond of bask-
ing in the sun-
shine on hot
summer days.
Perhaps we
shall see it
doing this.
First of all
it leans for-
-ward, and
bends down
S- i' its head until
its beak almost rests
/ upon the ground.
S Then it half opens its
wings, and raises them
over its back, as if it were
about to fly; and then all the
Splumage of the body begin to
tremble and shake, just as if
the bird were shivering with
cold. Sometimes it will remain
in this odd position for many
minutes together.

THAT silvery white bird,
with a glossy black head and
neck, and the plume of black
feathers falling over its wings
and tail, is a Sacred Ibis.
Look at it well, for it is a most
interesting bird. It is found

in many parts of Africa, and was once very
plentiful in Egypt. In that country, in olden
days, the people used to worship it; and if




they found its dead body, they used to wrap
it up with spices, and make it into a mummy,
just as they did with the bodies of kings and
other great men when they died. This is the
reason why the bird is called the sacred ibis.
No doubt you think that they must have
been very silly people to worship a bird.
But then we must remember that those
ancient Egyptians were far more ignorant
than we are now, and also that the ibis always
came to their
country just as
the river Nile
began to rise,
and went away
when it fell. ..
Now in order
that you may-- -' *
understandwhy .
led the people
to worship the
bird, I must tell
you that Egypt
is very unlike -'
other countries,
for it often hap- --
pens that sev- -
eral months
pass without ..
even a shower
of rain. We '
might think, --
therefore, that
the crops would
nearly always
perish for
want of moisture. Every year, however, the
river Nile rises and overflows the country;
and, when it falls again, it leaves behind it
several inches of a rich mud, which remains
moist for some little time. In this mud the
crops are sown, and are very soon ripe, arid
ready for cutting.

So, you see, the harvest of Egypt quite
depends upon the Nile; and this led the
people, when they knew no better, to think
that the river itself must be a kind of god,
which would refuse to help them if they
offended it. And as the sacred ibis always
came and went away with the floods, they
thought that the river must be very fond of
it, and that therefore, they ought to worship
it too !
The real rea-
son why the
.' bird always
'..'.' ...^ came just when
the floods were
i:' beginning to
rise was that it
might feed on
the small ani-
mals which
were washed
up by the river.
For it is very
fond of snails,
', and slugs, and
Sworms; and its
-_- long beak en-
ables it to dig
these out even
when they are
deeply buried
in the soft mud.

THERE is an-
other kind of
ibis, called the
Glossy Ibis,
which changes mn colour as it grows older,
so that a grown-up bird is not in the least
like a young one. This is the only kind of
ibis which is ever found wild in England.
All the ibises are very easily tamed, and
soon learn to know their owner, and to
follow him about almost like dogs.




W HEN we leave the night heron's pond,
After looking for a little while at the
ibises, let us turn to the left, and walk for a
short distance along the Terrace Wall. This
will soon bring us to a small enclosure, close
to the Water-fowls' Lawn, and not very far
from the Monkey House, in which we shall
see quite a number of Pelicans.
These are very curious and interesting

birds. They are not so handsome, perhaps,
as a good many others, for their plumage
is almost always plain white, with just a
slight tinge of rosy pink. But they are
very odd indeed in many ways, and there
is a good deal that we ought to learn about
In the first place, they are very fond of
the water, and are able to swim well. We
should at once guess, indeed, that they must
be good swimmers if we were to look at
their feet, which are webbed just like those
of a duck, a goose, or a swan. The bodies
of all these birds, in fact, are boats ; and the

feet are the paddles with which they row
themselves through the water.
But the most curious part of the pelican is
its beak. As the bird walks about, this does
not look very different from the beak of many
another large bird. It is very big, no doubt,
and very long; but we do not notice anything
very remarkable about it. But underneath it
is a long, deep pouch, of a dull orange colour,

which is so large that it can be made to hold
no less than two gallons of water. The bird
can tuck this pouch up, so that it can
scarcely be seen at all; but when it is fully
spread out it looks very big indeed.
The pelican uses this pouch as a kind of
basket. It feeds entirely upon fishes; but it
does not always want to eat them as soon as
it catches them, and very often they have to
be carried home to the nest for the little
ones. So it puts them in this curious pouch,
and sometimes carries quite a number of
victims packed away in it together. When it
gets to its nest it turns its prisoners out, and


gives some to its mate, some to its little
ones, and eats the rest itself.
Sometimes, however, it has the misfortune
to be robbed of its victims before it has time
to get to land. For there is a kind of hawk,
which is a big, strong bird, and which,
although it is very fond of fish, does not at
all like the trouble of catching them for it-
self. Perhaps, too, it is not very successful as
a fisherman. As soon, therefore, as it sees a
pelican flying towards the shore with its

may often see a kestrel doing when it is
searching the ground beneath it for field-
mice. As soon as it sees a fish swimming
near the surface it darts swiftly down,
snatches it up, and then rises back into the
air to look for another victim.
Travellers tell us that large flocks of
pelicans often hunt together in this way, and
that they sometimes rise so high into the air
that, big birds though they are, they can
scarcely be seen. They also say that the

-- -zz--,


-~;-..- --

pouch full of victims, it dashes down upon it,
and begins to buffet it with its wings. The
frightened pelican immediately thinks that it
is going to be killed, and screams with terror.
This is just what the hawk wants, and, as
soon as the pelican opens its beak, it
snatches a fish out of its pouch, and flies
away with its booty in triumph !
If a pelican is angry or annoyed, it gene-
rally opens and shuts its beak several times
with a loud snapping noise, which can be
heard for some little distance.
When this curious bird is looking for prey,
it often hovers high up in the air, just as you

birds always fly off to their fishing-grounds
early in the morning, and catch enough fish
for their breakfast before the sun is high.
When their mates and young ones have been
fed, and their own hunger is satisfied, they
fly away to a sand-bank, or to a clump of
trees, and begin to preen their feathers with
their long beaks. Having done this very
carefully, they take a nap until the heat of
the day is over, and then fly back to their
fishing-grounds, in order to obtain another
meal before nightfall. When the pelican
goes to sleep, it turns its head half round,
and rests its long beak upon its back.



PELICAN S.-(Continued.)

THERE is still a good deal for us to learn
about these very curious and interest-
ing birds.
Those who have watched them in the
countries where they live tell us that they
often hunt for fishes in a very clever manner.
A number of the birds arrange themselves in
a semi-circle, and then swim towards the

---^-, .

-. ..,


shore, approaching closer and closer to one
another as they do so. By this plan, of
course, they drive a number of fishes along
before them, and catch them without any
difficulty when they get into shallow water !
When the fish have to be caught in a river,
the birds behave rather differently. They
then divide themselves into two parties,
which enter the stream two or three hundred
yards apart, and then swim towards one
another. The frightened fish, of course,

dash away before them, only to find out
before long that there are enemies in front as
well as behind; and in a very few minutes
most of them are caught and packed away
in the pouches of the ingenious pelicans.
In many old books about natural history
you may read that the mother pelican feeds
her young ones with blood drawn from her

- w

own breast. But this is not true, for she
really feeds them with small fishes, which she
or her mate have caught and carried home
to the nest in their great pouches. We can
easily see, however, how this curious mistake
came to be made. If you look at a pelican's
bill, you will at once notice that the tip is of
a bright rosy red colour. Now, as the bird
turns her head round sideways, so as to
allow the little ones to get at the fish, her
beak of course rests against the white feathers


of her body; and no doubt people, noticing
this, -mistook the red tip for blood, and so
thought that the bird was wounding herself
in order to provide food for her offspring.
In each wing of the pelican there is a large
tuft of fine, hair-like feathers ; and in conse-
quence of these the bird is very much sought
after. It is often caught by means of a fish-
ing rod and line. The hook is baited with a
minnow, which is kept quite close to the sur-
face by means of a float and the pelican,
flying along, sees the fish, attempts to get it
into its pouch, and is caught by the hook.

Of course it tries very hard to break away ;
but before it can do so the hunter rows up to
the spot in his boat, and carefully cuts off the
plume of feathers from each wing. He then
releases the hook and allows the bird to fly
away, in order that it may grow new plumes
in the place of those which he has taken.
The best time to watch the pelicans in the
Gardens is just as they are being fed. This
is a very amusing sight, for every bird is
jealous of all the rest, and wants to get all
the fish for itself. They all become very
excited indeed when they see the keeper
approaching, and thrust out their long bills
between the bars of the enclosure, each try-
ing very hard to push the others aside, in

order that it may obtain a larger share of the
food. Then one of them will think, perhaps,
that it is not being properly treated, and will
open its beak as widely as it can, and begin to
scold its companions very loudly and angrily.
But the keeper is very careful to see that
each of the party gets just his own proper
t:ii.:. .-iin... and no more, and, if he sees one
of the greedy birds snatching up a fish that
belongs to another, will pass it by until its
turn comes again.
If you are fortunate, too, you may see one
of these great birds indulsiesg ii a game of

play ; and a very amusing sigh a it s. The
bird tumbles about in the water, dabbling
with its beak just as if it were catching fish ;
then it splashes a quantity of water into the
air, by means of its huge wings ; and lastly
it comes ashore, stands still, and flaps its
wings quickly to and fro, sending a shower
of spray all round it, just as a dog does after
he has been enjoying a swim.
In the northern parts of Africa pelicans
are sometimes seen in enormous flocks.
One well-known traveller tells us that he
has seen a lake nearly a square mile in
extent completely covered with them, and
says that, from a little distance, they looked
like huge water lilies.

-_ '. -





ONE day I must tell you about those very
curious birds, the brush turkeys of
Australia, and how, instead of making a nest,
they bury their eggs in a huge mound of
earth and leaves, which they scrape together
with their great
feet and long,
strong claws. To-
day, however, let
us pay a visit to
the Western
Aviary, which is in .
a comer of the
Gardens, quite
close to the Main
Entrance. There '
we shall find some {(, '
other birds which '
also come from l
Australia, and are j '
even more curious '
still. -';
These are called '
Bower Birds, ow- "'-
ingto averystrange
habit, which no .
other birds in the
world seem to pos-
sess. Many birds
build nests-sometimes very wonderful and
beautiful nests, like those of the martin, the
wren, and the long-tailed titmouse. But the
bower bird, besides building a nest in a tree,
also builds a kind of gallery upon the
ground; and this gallery, or "bower," is
used as a playground, in which several bower
birds often amuse themselves together !
The bird builds this gallery in the follow-
ing way :-
First of all, it collects a number of sticks
and twigs, which it chooses with great care.

Then it weaves these firmly together into a
platform of basket-work, about as large as a
door-mat. Having done this, it gathers
more twigs, and fastens them into the plat-
form in sach a manner that they orm a kind

of tunnel, the tops of each pair just meeting
one another, like the letter V turned upside
down. This tunnel is sometimes as much as
three feet long, and keeps the bird very
busily employed for several days.
Even when this "bower" is finished, the
work of the little feathered builder is not over,
for now it has to be decorated So the bird
begins to hunt about, and soon gathers to-
gether all sorts of curious objects. It is
very fond, for instance, of the green and blue
and yellow feathers dropped by parrots and


cockatoos when they are moulting; and to-
gether with these, perhaps, it will have a
number of snail shells of different sizes,
several bones, and one or two skulls of small
animals. If the bower is near the dwellings
of men, scraps of ribbon and cloth, pieces
of coloured paper, and bits of broken glass
and china are almost sure to be found. The
birds are very mischievous, too, and will
steal any small glittering object that they can
carry away, just as the magpie and the jack-
daw will. So, when the natives of Australia

.- .

^*y *^^!^1-

t. ...e _

*e hav ti it s a 0 n

once to the nearest "bower," knowing that
they are almost sure to find it there.

of their bowers, and spend several hours in
them almost every day. Such games of play
they have! Sometimes it is a kind of
"follow-my-leader." Three or four birds will
run after one another as fast as they can,
racing through the bower again and again.
Then, perhaps, they will suddenly stop, and
begin to bob and bow to each other in the

most laughable manner, just as if they were
taking part in a dance, and bowing to their
partners ; and in another minute they are play-
ing "follow-my-leader again. And so the fun
goes on until they are all so tired that they
are obliged to stop and rest.
If we stand and watch the bower birds for
a little while, very likely we shall see them
building their bower, or decorating it with all
sorts of odd scraps. And we shall notice that,
whenever they run through it, they utter a loud,
deep cry, something like that of a parrot.
The bower bird
which we shall see in
the Gardens is that
known as the Satin
Bower Bird, owing to
the beautiful satiny
lack plumage of the
cock. The young
bird, oddly enough, is
of a dull olive green
-3 colour, like the hen,
and only becomes
S black by degrees.
Perhaps, too, we
shall see an example
Sof the Spotted Bower
S -Bird, which we may
_' at once know by the
buff spots upon its
back and wings, and
by the band of pink
feathers upon its
A third kind, called the Gardening Bower
Bird, is also known, but has not as yet been
brought to the Gardens. This bird is per-
haps the most curious of all, for it is said to
decorate its bower, not with feathers and
shells and bones, but with the prettiest
flowers and the most brightly coloured fruits
that it can find, This is the reason why it is
called the gardening bower bird. Perhaps
one of these days it will be brought to
England, and we shall be able to see
whether all that is said about it is true.





O UITE close to the South Entrance to
-, the Gardens we shall find a row of
cages, with a short wire "run" in front of
each. These are called the Pheasants'
Aviaries, because in them are kept quite a
number of pheasants of several different
kinds. Many of these are very brightly
coloured; and some, indeed, are so beautiful
that we shall hardly know how to admire
them enough.
In one cage we
shall see five or six
of the lovely
Golden Pheasants,
which come from
China, and are -
among the most
beautiful of all.
Indeed their plum-
age has so many
bright colours, that
it cannot be very
easily described.
On the head is a
crest of feathers
of a rich reddish
yellow. Then the
neck is clothed
with a ruff of
orange feathers, marked with several rings
of black. These feathers are much valued
by anglers, who use them in the make-believe
"flies" with which they so often bait their
hooks. Below the ruff comes a patch of
dark, glossy green, which shines in the sun
like a piece of polished metal, and the rest
of the back is golden yellow, with a crimson
edging to the feathers at the sides of the
tail. Then the tail itself is chestnut brown,
mottled with black, and the whole of the
breast is bright scarlet, so that, altogether,

the golden pheasant is a very beautiful bird
These, however, are the colours of the
cock only. The hen is not nearly so hand-
some, for she has no crest upon her head,
and no ruff upon her neck, while the whole
of her plumage is reddish brown, with darker
spots and markings.
The golden pheasant seems to know how



*1 /L'~=-~

handsome he is, and to like being admired,
for he will walk slowly up and down as long
as we stand and look at him.

THE Silver Pheasant, which lives in the
next cage, is almost as beautiful, although its
colours are not so bright. Its crest, you will
notice, is deep purple-black instead of yellow,
and on its neck it has a bright scarlet wattle,
instead of a ruff of yellow feathers. All the
upper part of its body is silvery white, with
a number of black markings, which look as


if they had been traced with a pencil; and
the breast is of the same deep purple-black
as the crest.
Sad to say, the silver pheasant is very fond
of quarrelling; and it attacks its foes so
fiercely, and uses its spurs with such effect,
that it is said to be able to overcome even
the game-cock in fair fight. Once it was
thought that silver pheasants might be kept
in our parks and woods, like the common

pheasants; but it was soon found that they
fought all the other pheasants and drove
them away, besides quarrelling dreadfully with
one another. Then, too, they are heavy
birds, and not very strong of wing, so that
they cannot fly at all well, and prefer to
perch on the ground. And so, before very
long, most of them fell victims to the foxes
and weasels.

IN a third cage, close by, is another bird

that we ought to notice. This is the Pea-
cock Pheasant, which comes from the moun-
tains of India. We shall see in a moment
why it is called the peacock pheasant, for it
has a very large and broad tail, which is
spread out in very much the same way as the
"train" of the peacock; and upon this tail
are two rows of large eye-like spots. On its
head is a beautiful crest of deep, shining
let us
look at
-- -. its legs.
-.'---:M o0 s t
.-.^-,t g a m e
b irds
have only
.-.e "spur," as it is called, on
ach. But the peacock phea-
J : int has two, or even three.
*. With these it fights, kicking at
/ its enemy as hard and fast as

-rig it very severely.

WE must look, too, at the
Impeyan Pheasant, or Monal,
.i which is almost more beautiful
than even the golden pheasant
itself. Notice its beautiful crest
of shining green feathers, its
purple neck and back, crossed
by a bar of snowy white, and its reddish brown
tail. Then it has black wings, which seem to
glow with purple and green as the sun shines
upon them, while the eyes are surrounded by
a patch of blue, and the legs are green.
Look, too, at its sharp, curved beak. With
this it digs up the bulbs and roots upon
which it feeds. If we are very fortunate, it
may begin to dance while we are watching
it; and then I am quite sure that we shall
not be able to look at it without laughing.


- ;-~ ~




WE must not pass by the Pea-fowl with-
out stopping to look at them for a
few minutes.
What lovely birds they are, with their
crests of green-
ish-blue, their .iP
plumage, and
their long
with the hun-
dreds of eye-
like spots !
Here is a pea-
cock walking
about with his
train raised and
spread; and
very proud in- '
of its beauty.
He seems to
know that we --.
are admiring
him, and stops ; .
every now and
long feathers
and dropping
them a little,
and then raising thm an, ain. Tl: n i lrr,, r
one comes up and ra;-j- .:. trair., i.- tLih.
he were jealous of Iie lu r i Itlr t ... illk
up and down before u:, uLil ...I rn-.. c ,. 't;).
What a beautiful sight a flock of pea-fowl
must be in India, their native land! In
many parts of India no one is allowed to
shoot them, and so several hundreds may
sometimes be seen together, nearly all the
cocks with their beautiful trains spread, as
they walk to and fro before the hens.

Travellers tell us, indeed, that in some
places pea-fowl are found in such numbers,
that it is hardly possible to sleep at night,
owing to the noise of their cries. They
become very tame, and
?eem to know that they
i1ll not be hurt, even
eit.-rng the villages in
-,arcih of food, and
ir..:,:r.ing at night upon
tl1e hats.
InI other parts of the
u::,,trry, however, they
r..- hunted, in rather a
_,Il.us way.
.: ihe hunter, mounted
,p -.n a swift horse, takes
Si,, lp with a long lash,
c, -i arts off to look for
a Fp.acock. When he
S' _a one, he rides to-
S i :.l it as fast as he
Sian. Now the peacock,
a!ir:l.,.gh it can fly very
u I 1, 3 a heavy bird, and
I n.,t vcry quick at taking
A ito wing; so,
before it is fair-
ly in the air,
the hunter is
Alongside, strik-
ing at it with
his long whip.
If he should
succeed in hit-
ting it, the lash
is almost certain to coil round the bird's neck,
like a lasso; and then all that the hunter
has to do is to leap to the ground, and secure
his prisoner before it can break away.
The hunters do not much like to follow
the pea-fowl to their roosting places, for the


birds often take refuge in the thick patches
of jungle in which tigers are so fond of
hiding. The peacock, however, is even
more afraid of a tiger than the hunter, and,
when it sees one, begins to scream with
terror, at the same time flying up into the
nearest tree, so as to be out of reach of its
claws. All the pea-fowl within hearing begin
to scream also; and in this way the hunter
is often warned of the presence of his
enemy, and enabled either to escape, or to
reach a place of safety.
Once I saw a very amusing fight in a

. 4 '

farm-yard, between a peacock and a turkey.
I do not know what the two birds had
quarrelled about; but, just as I came
up, the peacock made a rush at the
turkey. The turkey did not try to get out
of the way, but waited until the peacock
came quite close, and then jumped over
his head, and sat upon his train This, of
course, made the peacock very angry indeed,
for he did not like his beautiful train to be
meddled with ; so, shaking the turkey off, he
ran at him again. The clever turkey, how-
ever, jumped over his head once more, and
again sat on his tail; and so the strange

fight went on until I was obliged to go
Sometimes peacocks are very quarrelsome
birds indeed. One, which lived in Ireland,
had four wives one after the other, and killed
them all by pecking them to death. He also
killed several of his own little ones, and
would have killed more, if they had not
been hidden away where he could not find
them. The same bird was very fond of
frightening the chickens, and used to drive
them up into a corner, and then rattle his
quill-feathers just in front of their faces.




He never really hurt the chickens, but
would drive them away from their food day
after day, and try to make them think that he
was going to kill them.

Two other kinds of pea-fowl are mostly to
be seen in the Gardens. One of these is
the Black-shouldered Pea-fowl, which is
sometimes called the Japan Peacock, al-
though it does not come from Japan at all;.
and the other is the Japan Pea-fowl, which is
a very beautiful bird indeed, and may be
easily known by its colouring, and by its
peculiar crest.



HERE are the Cormorants. What odd-
looking birds they are! They have
such slender, snake-like necks, and such
long, hooked beaks! Their feet, too, are
webbed, just like those of a duck or a
swan. Do they live in the water?
Yes; theyfre-
quent the sea-
coast, and the
mouths of large
rivers, and are
mers and divers
indeed. Some-
times, when we
are at the sea-
side, we may
see a cormo-
rant sitting up-
on a distant
rock. Then we
may be quite
sure that he is
looking for fish.
As soon as one
swims past he
darts down into
the water, dives
after it, and
very soon ap-
pears again,
with his victim
struggling in
his bill.
Now and
then he catches
an eel, which twists about so much that he
cannot swallow it. So he grasps it firmly
by the tail, and batters it against a rock until
it is dead.
Once a cormorant was killed by an eel
which he had caught. When he seized the
fish, he struck the upper part of his beak

quite through its body, and could not draw
it out again. The eel, as soon as it felt the
wound, coiled itself tightly round the bird's
neck and strangled it; and a fisherman, when
he passed by, found them both lying dead,
and took them home to be stuffed and placed
in a museum !
In China
\ the cormorant
S. is often tamed,
/ ) and is employ-
ed by his mas-
ter in catching
fish. Two or
three birds are
generally taken
out fishing to-
gether, and are
so well trained
that they will
sit quietly on
the edge of the
boat until they
are told to enter
.. the water. No
sooner do they
hear the word

long, first one

Sometimes one of these feathered fisher-
men will seize a fish that is too big for him
to carry by himself. In such a case one of
his companions will go and help him, and the
two together soon bring it to the boat.
No doubt you are wondering why the cor-



morant does not swallow the fish which he
catches, instead of bringing them to his
master. Very likely, if he were able, he
would do so, for he has a very large appetite,
and always seems to be hungry. But, before
the Chinaman takes his birds out fishing, he
fastens a strap round their long necks, just
tightly enough to prevent them from swallow-
ing, but not from
breathing. After
they have caught
a certain number
of fish, however,
he removes their
collars, and gives
them a fish or two
each, to reward
them for their
Only a little
more than two
hundred years ago,
cormorants were
employed in this
way in England,
and a writer of -
the time of King
Charles the Se-
cond gives quite
a long account
of the sport. '
If you were
to see a cormo- .. .
rant in the winter, -
and again in the
summer, you
would hardly
know it to be the
same bird. Dur-
ing the cold weather its head, neck, and back
are either black or bronze in colour, and the
feathers of the head are quite short. As the
heat increases, however, the plumage changes
in colour, until the head and neck are
sprinkled with pure white feathers, while the
head bears a long crest.

Now let us look into the Fish House for a

moment or two. Here we shall find a
curious bird, very much like the cormorants
in some respects, but with an even longer
and more snake-like neck, which reminds us
of that of the rlriiir,'.:,. This is a Darter,
or Snake-bird, as it is sometimes called, and
is a native of South America.
When it is watching for prey, the darter
sits upon a branch
which overhangs
some stream, and
remains as mo-
tionless as if it
were carved out
of stone. No
sooner does a
fish pass by, how-
ever, than it drops
into the water,
dives down after
it, and very soon
returns to its
perch to swallow
its victim.
When the darter
s. swims, its body is
entirely under
water, and only
its long, slender
neck can be seen,
looking, as it
bends and twists
about, just like
,. that of a serpent.
This is the reason
why darters are
sometimes called
snake-birds." So
strong is the re-
semblance, indeed, that many a traveller has
been quite deceived, and has thought, until
the bird rose from the water, that it was
really a snake.
Another kind of darter lives in Africa, and
is said to be so quick in its movements, that,
when it sees the flash of a gun, it can dive
before the bullet reaches it !




H ERE we are at the Parrot House. I Yes. Travellers who have seen them say
What a dreadful noise the birds are that it would be hard to imagine a more
making, to be sure! splendid sight. But
More than a hundred the settlers are not at
parrots, macaws, all pleased to see
cockatoos, and parro- them, even though
quets are squalling they are so beautiful;
and screaming and for they are very
shrieking at the very mischievousbirds, and
tops of their voices I do a great deal of
Long before we reach damage in the corn-
the door we can hear fields. As soon as
the din; and when ,, the grain begins to
we open it and go in- ripen, they come in
side we are almost great numbers, and
deafened! ..H the farmer is obliged
What are those ....- to employ men to
large, brightly colour- .-- -- watch his fields night
ed birds, which are and day, and keep
fastened to their ..._ on driving them
perches by a chain away.
round one leg? They are very cun-
Those are Macaws. ning birds, and quite
Do not let us go too seem to know that
near to them, for they have no business
they are not always in the fields. For,
very good-tempered before they fly down
birds, and perhaps among the corn, they
they may try to bite place one of their
us. number as a sentinel,
What very hand- upon the topmost
some fellows they branches of a high
are Here is one tree, in order to give
with a bright scarlet warning if an enemy
body, a scarlet and should approach.
blue tail, and wings As soon as this bird
-of red, blue, yellow, sees any signs of
and green. How danger, he utters a
very beautiful a flock loud and peculiar
of these birds must / cry, and then all the
look when they are flying about in their rest of the flock fly quickly away.
native forests! Macaws are not very good talkers, and


seldom utter any sounds besides their loud,
harsh scream. But sometimes they learn to
talk a little, and to speak a few words or
sentences almost as well as the parrots.
Nearly all these handsome birds live in
South America. The natives often catch
them alive, and keep them in their houses as
pets. Sometimes, too, they make themselves
head-dresses out of
the scarlet and blue "
feathers of the tail.
When they want the
birds for such a pur-
pose as this, they
shoot them with poi-
soned arrows by I'
means of a blow-gun.
The arrow is quite '
small, hardly larger, .... ",
indeed, than a steel .
knitting-needle. But '.
the poison with which
it is tipped is so "I I,, i -
powerful, that the l ,
birds fall dead to the ..
ground almost direct- I.', '
ly after they are '
struck. '

7- *

HERE is a parrot -
that I want you to
look at carefully. -
It is called the Kaka a-:-
Parrot, or Kea, and -
is in a cage all by .
itself. It is not at
all a handsome bird, ''
and I daresay you
think that there is
nothing very strange about it. Yet it is one
of the most remarkable birds in the Parrot
For in New Zealand, the country in which
it lives, it kills so many sheep that the settlers
are obliged to shoot it whenever they can !



It does not feed upon the flesh of the sheep,
but only cares for the fat just in one part of
its back. In order to obtain this, it perches
upon the poor animal, plucks off the fleece,
tears away the skin, and then digs its long
beak deeply into the flesh and eats its fill.
The wounded sheep tries hard to shake off
its enemy, but cannot do so, and before very
long it dies from
loss of blood, while
: the parrot flies away
to seek for another
These savage birds
are so mischievous,
that out of a flock
-of three hundred fat
A sheep, they have been
known to destroy no
.' i less than two hun-
.' dred in under five
/ months! The set-
Stlers do not find it at
S all easy to shoot
S them, for they hide
away in the thickest.
I parts of the forest by
Sday, and only come
out to attack the
X'" ", flocks at night. Very
often, indeed, the
Shepherd does not
even know that they
are near, until he goes
out to the pastures
one morning, and
Si'' finds some ofhis sheep
.i lying dead or dying
upon the ground.
If you look at the bill of the Kaka, you

will see that it is very long, very sharp, and
very much curved, and you will easily be
able to understand what a terrible weapon it
is for tearing away the flesh of an unfortu-
nate sheep.






THE PARROT HOUSE.--(Conlizined.)


BEFORE we leave the Parrot House, we mischief in the corn-fields, that the farmers
must look at some of the Cockatoos trap and shoot them whenever they can.
andParroquets. It is said that these birds are sometimes
Here is a caught in great numbers in a very odd way.
white cocka- The trapper takes a cockatoo, and fastens it to
too, with a the ground upon its back. He does not hurt
long plume of it, but ties it down in such a way that it cannot
pale yellow fea- release itself. As soon as the bird finds itself
others upon his a prisoner, it begins to scream as loudly as it
head. Because can, and before very long a number of other
of this plume, <.' cockatoos are sure to come to the spot, in order
he is called ,; to see what can be the matter. When they
the Sulphur- see their companion fastened down to the
crested Cock- ground, they fly down, and try to set
atoo. If he him free; and before very long one
is teased or of them is certain to walk over
excited, he will \ him. As soon as he does this,
raise his crest. however, the captive cocka-
and spread it too, who has been clutch-
out like a fan; ing at the air with his
and at the same w- feet, seizes hold of
time he will him and grasps him
spread his -, ,, firmly; andallthat
wings, open his thefowlerhasto
beak widely, do is to walk up
and utter such and release him.
loud and pierc- Having done
ing screams, this, he takes
that it is quite the second
hard to believe cockatoo, and
that they pro- -- fastens /hAz up-
ceed from the on the ground;
throat of a bird. and before very
This cocka- long, two cock-
too comes from atoos are seized
Australia,where and held pris-
it may be seen oner by the un-
flying about in large flocks, which often con- fortunate captives. Then these are released
sist of more than a thousand birds. As they fly and tied down; and so on until the fowler
in and out among the foliage of the trees, they has caught as many as he requires !
lookvery pretty indeed. But they do somuch What a stout, strong beak this cockatoo


has And how useful it is to him in climb-
ing When he lowers himself from his perch
to the ground, or climbs up again, indeed,
he uses his beak quite as much as his feet.
One lady who kept a pet cockatoo always
used to give it her empty cotton reels. The
bird would watch her while at work, and
become quite excited when it saw that the

/;I 4

-. ^ .^ -
.. ''



cotton was nearly finished. When the reel
was given to it, it would grasp it in its beak,
and with one bite split it into two pieces,
each of which it would then break into
fragments. It would split a nut, too, in the
same way. But, strange to say, it never
seemed to know that the kernel was good to
eat, for it always dropped it on the ground
as soon as the shell was broken.
Cockatoos always make their nests in a
hole in a tree. If a hole is not quite large

enough, or of the shape they prefer, they will
tear away the surrounding wood with their
powerful beaks, until they have altered it to
their liking.

SOME of the Parroquets are beautiful birds.
Here is a very pretty one called the Shining
Parroquet, which comes from the Fiji Islands.
Its head and breast are rich
crimson, and its neck blue,
..1-il.- rlih.: 1.er parts of its
ba.1: a'.: 1.riht green, and its
e. ...r:._.e. So brilliant
-.l- r i..ir '. i: its plumage, in-
d..-lc, thiii it looks very much
iik' [ H-i iii.lcaw.
i:.:t i:f i i. parroquets are
cl ,N IuLnii Il:;he in their habits.
S Ti.:i, 1 a[.:'ut in large flocks,
I .::',lolo r, beautiful indeed
in tlrh -uri:i;ne, and filling
l, air with their
.:Lu. d, piercing
cies. If they find
a field of
rice or
maize they
do a great
deal of
1 ..ii-ift, -trippiin.,' off the -;rain, and devour-
;ri- it i r, .r.:at jljr'ritir Sometimes, too,
tlr.- 1 i.l .: a e i-:.. rfield, and scratch
away the earth in order to find the seed.
The farmer dislikes them, therefore, quite
as much as he dislikes the cockatoos, and
many a parroquet falls a victim to his guns
and snares.
One of these birds, called the. Ground
Parroquet, is very much like a pheasant. It
hardly ever flies, but runs swiftly upon the
ground, threading its way among the herbage
with the most wonderful quickness. It does
not make any nest, but lays its eggs on the
bare ground. In South Australia, where it
lives, it is often hunted with dogs; and those
who have tasted its flesh say that it is very
good to eat.




N OW we will go and look at some of the
sea birds.
Here are a number of Guillemots, in a
little enclosure with a pond in the middle.
We can easily
tell them by their
black backs and
white breasts,
and by their
long, sharp beaks,
which are not ,'
hooked at the-
tip like those of i
the gulls. They
are very plenti-
ful in many parts
of our British
coasts, and we
may sometimes-
see them in great
numbers, either
resting upon the
rocky cliffs, or ;
sitting upon the
water, and every *, '
now and then "i
diving beneath .'.i.. --
the surface after-
a fish. They can
swim very well
indeed, and when theiy l. ii i th, : tl:I
wings as well as their feet, so that they may
almost be said to fly under water.
Guillemots choose a very odd place to lay
their eggs. They do not build a nest, like
almost all other birds, but just place their
one big egg upon a ledge of rock, and sit
upon it there. This egg is shaped like a
pear, with one end very large, and the other
very small; and the bird seems never to lay
a second, unless the first is taken away.
It is not at all easy to obtain a guillemot's

egg, for the bird always lays it upon a ledge
at a great height from the ground, and in the
steepest part of the cliff which she can find,
so that no one may be able to climb up and
take it. The
men who collect
the eggs for sale,
however, are let
down by ropes
from above; and
they carry a bas-
ket with them,
Into which they
place the eggs
as fast as they
Scan gather them
.' up.
These eggs
are so different
in colour and
markings that,
if you were to
see a number
together, you
l would very likely
i think that they
S(i must all have
S ., been laid by dif-
ferent kinds of
birds. Some are
lo:in, -yne c._, some white, some brown,
and some almost red; and some are marked
nearly all over with dark spots and streaks,
while others have scarcely any markings at
all. They are said to be very good to eat,
and are more than twice as large as a hen's
egg, so that one is quite enough for a meal.
When the little guillemots are hatched out,
their mothers take the greatest care of them,
and are even said to carry them down to the
water on their backs. As the parents swim
along, they keep crying out "Kur-roo, kur-


roo," to their little ones, who answer them
with a cry which sounds like "Pee-yoo-it,
pee-yoo-it," and flap and paddle along after
them as well as they can.

CLOSE by the guillemots are some Gannets.
These are much larger birds, for they are
very nearly three feet long, while a guillemot
only measures about sixteen inches. Except
for the long black feathers which cover the
tail, they are almost entirely white, and their

-..- -, -

C --
C -t ;^


feet are webbed, just like those of a goose or
a swan.
These birds feed upon fish, which their
sharp eyes enable them to see even when
they are flying at quite a height above the
water. As soon as a gannet catches sight of
a fish, it darts swiftly down, plunges beneath
the surface with a great splash, and after a
few seconds appears again with its victim

struggling in its beak. It is very fond of
herrings, and its appetite is so keen that it is
said to devour as many as fifty of these fish
in one day !
The fishermen in some parts of Scotland
catch the gannet in a very curious way.
Taking a dead herring, they fasten it down
upon a deal board, and then leave it floating
upon the surface of the water. Before very
long a gannet is sure to see it, and to strike
it with such force that its sharp beak passes
through the fish into
the board. When
it finds itself fast,
of course, it tries
to withdraw its
beak, but cannot
'>" e do so; and in a
S...very few minutes
the poor bird is
S- Gannets are often
./ caught, too, in the
''. fishing-nets; for, as
-.they dive to catch
.-=. the herrings, they
become entangled
in the meshes,
L and cannot break
--~ away,
Great numbers of
gannets lay their
eggs upon the fa-
mous Bass Rock,
and have become
so tame that they will even allow them-
selves to be stroked or patted, as they
sit upon their eggs. If a gun is fired, how-
ever, they all rise at once, and the air is filled
with thousands of the great white birds, all
screaming loudly with terror. In another
island, called St. Kilda, more than twenty-five
thousand of these birds are caught every




AMONG the most curious birds in the
Gardens are the Brush Turkeys, which
come from Australia and from some of the
large islands in the Pacific Ocean. We shall
find several of these in a large enclosure not
very far from the
Parrot House.
Almost the very
first thing that we
notice when we .-.
look at them is,
that they have no .;
feathers upon their ,.
necks. For this
reason they are .
sometimes called
"vultures by the ,C.
people who live in
Australia,although '
they are not birds
of prey at all. We
are not quite right, .
indeed, even in
calling them "tur-
keys," for they are
not true turkeys,
and seem to have
had that name
given to them
only because they have wattles growing upon
their necks. If we want to be quite correct,
we must speak of them as Tallegallas; but
Sas that is a long name, and not a very easy
one to pronounce, we will continue to call
them "brush turkeys."
The best time to watch these birds is in
the spring, just when they are thinking of
laying their eggs; for they then behave in a
very odd way indeed. They do not build a
nest, like so many other birds; neither do
they place their eggs in the ground. But
they scrape together a great mound of earth,

and dead leaves, and herbage of all kinds,
and then bury their eggs in that !
Several pairs of brush turkeys will work
together in making one of these mounds,
which may be as much as fifteen feet high,

S. -^, ,1, ... -. 1. -:

Ll*: -- '" ^"
,. ,,. _
~y'B~~ r rt

1 I
-" ''

I ,, .. ,

i .'.,c '.



.I .-S

and nearly sixty feet round! If you look at
the birds carefully, you will see that they
have large feet, and long, stout claws. When
they wish to make a mound, they scrape and
scratch up the earth and the herbage with
these stout claws, and fling it away behind
them. Working round in a circle, they con-
tinue to do this, until they have flung
together quite a large quantity of grass and
leaves and mould. Then they move in a
little closer and do the same, until at last
quite a large mound is raised. As soon as
this is finished, they dig a hole in the top or



sides, in which the hen lays her eggs. The
cock then covers them carefully up.
But you ask how the eggs are hatched.
In this way. When a quantity of leaves
and grass is piled together and left to decay,
it soon begins to give out a great deal of
heat. If you place your hand, for example,
in a heap of cut grass which has been left
standing for a few days, you will find that it
is quite hot to the touch. Now the brush
turkey always takes care to have enough
grass and
leaves in the
mound to
give out just
the right
heat. And
so the eggs
are very
soon hatch-
ed, even
though the
parent birds S
never sit up- -. -
on them at
times, how----
ever, the sun
shines down .
upon the
mound, and
would soon
make the
eggs too hot.
But the cock bird is always on the watch,
and on very hot days he uncovers the eggs
for a few hours, so that the cool air may
get to them. When the sun sets he carefully
covers them up again, and so prevents them
from becoming chilled at night.
These curious birds use the same mounds
year after year, just adding to them every
spring as much material as is wanted. The
eggs are very good indeed to eat, and the

savages of Australia like them so much that
they will journey for fifty miles in order
to obtain them. They are very large-
so large that one egg will make a suffi-
cient meal for a grown man-and nearly
a bushel of eggs may be taken from a
single mound.
When the little birds are hatched out,
they wait for about twelve hours, and then
burrow their way out of the mound. They
are not helpless for two or three weeks, like
so many
young birds,
,u.t are able
t o take
c.ir, ofthem-
'selKes from
t,, very
-~.~--fti, t, a 1-
t'u: gh their
"' -.*-- .... I_) ', p a r e n t s
ol er them
LI1, in the

S -- tlvarefully
tl-- dge d.
I hey can
SI11, so fast
tli at it is not
at all easy
t.o overtake
:yn!ir three
days after
they are hatched, they are able to fly.
The brush turkey is not very fond of
using its wings, and always prefers, if it
should be pursued, to run away through the
thick bushes. When the dingo, or Austra-
lian wild dog, chases it, however, it cannot
escape in this way; and in such a case it
leaps upon a low branch, hops from bough
to bough until it reaches the top of the tree,
and then flies away.






WE shall always find quite a number of
Geese in the Gardens, belonging to
several different kinds. We shall not have
sufficient time to look at them all; but two
or three of them are so interesting that we
must not pass them by without notice.
One of these is the Cape Barron Goose.
This is a rather large bird, which comes from
the wildest parts of New Holland. In olden
days it used to be very plentiful, and was so
tame and
fearless that
it would sit
quite still
while a man
walked upto
ed it on the
head. When
sailors found

they could
h o w e a s i l y -" -~ g ~~ -

kill it, how-
ever, they
destroyed so
many that it
quite scarce.
And now the birds that remain are so wary
and shy that it is very difficult indeed to
get near them.
As the flesh of the Cape Barron goose is
very good to eat, the bird has sometimes
been brought over to this country, in the
hope that it might live in the farmyards.
But it is so quarrelsome, that it cannot live
with other birds without wanting to kill them.
It is full of courage, and will attack birds
much larger than itself. On one occasion
a Cape Barron goose even fought with a
crane, and very soon left it dead upon the
ground !

But even our common geese will fight at
times. A few years ago, in Canada, a gander
was attacked by a cow, who charged at it,
and tried to drive it away. As the cow
the bird sud-
denly leapt
up, seized
the hair be-
tween her
horns with
its beak, and
began toflap
its wings in
her face.
The cowwas
very much
surprised at
this beha-
viour, which
:"' she had not
expected at
all, an d,
shaking off
the gander,
retreated for
a few paces.
Again she charged, aila again the bird jumped
up and seized her hair, beating her face so
violently this time that she ran away, and
left her clever adversary master of the field !
The Cape Barron goose is of a brownish
grey colour, spotted with black, and with pink
legs and bright red eyes. Perhaps we shall
hear it calling to its mate, and may know it
at once by its loud, trumpet-like voice.

THEN there is the Bernicle Goose, which
sometimes flies over to this country for a
month or two in the winter. Many years
ago, when people did not know nearly so


much about natural history as they do now,
it was thought that this bird was produced
from barnacle shells, and that if a piece of
wood were allowed to float for a few months
in the sea, the barnacles which adhered to it
would all turn into geese! Of course we
know better now, and have found out that
this goose is hatched out of an egg, just like
any other bird. But the name of "bernicle"
goose, which it still bears, reminds us of this
strange old legend.
Like all other geese, the bernicle goose
can fly very well, and often travels for long
distances over the sea. A number of these
birds always fly together. If there are not


/^- ."--- -_ B .^'-

very many of them, they fly in a wavy line
but, if the company should be a large one,
they arrange themselves in the form of a V,
and fly with the point directed forwards.
These birds are very shy indeed, and only
a very patient and cautious sportsman can
approach near enough to shoot them. He

has to lie down upon his face, creep over the
mud, crawl along the wet ditches, and take
advantage of every little bush or hillock
which may help to conceal him. And, with
all his care and precautions, it very often
happens that, just as he comes within gun-
shot, the birds
suddenly catch
sight of him, take
fright, and fly
away before he
can raise his gun.

LET US look
for a moment,
too, at the Bean

This is an-
other of the birds
which only visit
us during the win-
ter. All through
the spring and
summer it lives
in the far north,
even within the
Arctic circle.
But towards the
middle of Octo-
ber it finds that
the cold is be-
coming too
severe, so it flies
southwards, and
does not return
until the follow-
ing spring.
This goose is
a rather mischievous bird, for it will often
alight in a cultivated field, and devour a
great deal of the produce before it again
takes to wing. For this reason, in France,
it is generally called the Harvest goose, and
the farmers are glad to trap or shoot it when-
ever they can.




ONE of the strangest birds in the Gardens
is the Albatros. It comes from the
Southern Seas, and is very much like an-
enormous sea-gull, with very long, narrow
wings, webbed feet, like those of a duck, and
a strong hooked beak.
This bird possesses most wonderful powers
of flight. It can remain in the air for days

together without needing to rest. It will
follow a ship for thousands of miles across
the ocean, and each morning will be seen
sweeping quietly along behind it, as swiftly
and easily as if it had been resting all night.
Sometimes the sailors catch an albatros, by
angling for it with a rod and line, just as if
they were fishing in the air. The hook is
baited with a lump of pork, or blubber, and
before it has been hung out for many minutes
an albatros is almost sure to swoop down
upon it, swallow the tempting morsel, and so
become a prisoner. Then the sailors drag it
in, and, if they do not want to kill it, tie a
piece of coloured ribbon round its neck, so

that they may know it again, and let it go.
A bird marked in this way has been known
to follow a ship for more than two thousand
When an albatros is hooked, it always tries
very hard to prevent the sailors from hauling
it upon deck. Its usual plan is to rest upon
the sea, and spread out its long wings, so that

they dip in the water, and
offer a great deal of resis-
tance. Sometimes this plan
is successful, and the line
breaks or the hook gives
way. But in such a case the
bird very seldom learns wis-
dom, and in a few moments
Swill swoop down at another
bait, and be hooked again.
Why is the albatros so
fond of following a ship?
Because it knows that a
quantity of scraps will be
thrown out from time to
time; and it is always hun-
gry, and ready to snatch these up and swallow
them. It is rather a fierce bird, and many
a time, when a sailor has fallen overboard,
it has been known to fly down upon him,
strike him with its wings, tear him with its
beak, and in one or two cases even to kill him.
Once, however, a sailor was saved through the
attack of an albatros. The bird dashed at him
as he was swimmingand wounded him severely.
But he seized it bythe neck,held its head under
water until it was drowned, and then rested
upon its floating body until a boat came from
the ship and picked him up.
One very curious fact about the albatros is
that, when it is flying, it hardly ever seems to


move its wings. If you watch a sparrow, or
a lark, or a thrush while in the air, you will
notice that it keeps flapping its wings ; and,
if it did not do this, it would very quickly
fall to the ground. But the albatros has such
very large and powerful wings, that it can fly
for an hour at a time without moving them
at all. Now it rises, now it falls, and now it

skims swiftly through the air; and yet its
great wings remain perfectly still. Perhaps
this is one reason why it so seldom seems to
be tired, even after a long journey of hun-
dreds of miles over the sea.
Another reason is that, although it is such
a big bird, its body is very light. Its bones
are not solid, like ours, but hollow, so that,

although they are very strong, they are not at
all heavy. Very often these bones are used
by sailors for pipe-stems. Then there are a
number of large air-cells in the body, which
are always kept full of heated air from the
lungs. Thus the bird is really much lighter
than one would imagine, and the strain
thrown upon the wings is not so very great
after all.
The albatros
"makes its home
". _'-t"1',, upon high,
rocky islands,
where it is very
seldom disturb-
ed by man.
It does not
.. make a nest,
,' but lays its one
great egg upon
the ground,
adjust scrapes
together a
quantity of
loose earth

.There is one
albatros, how-
ever, which
makes a mound
/ of earth, about
ten or twelve
inches high,
and places its
egg on the
top. When
the little bird
is just hatched
out, it is covered with a kind of woolly
down, and is fed by its parents with a thick
oily liquid, which is poured out from the
beak. If we were to meddle with the bird
when it had young, it would squirt some
of this liquid upon our clothes, and would
snap its beak together loudly, in the hope
that it might frighten us.




WHAT a graceful bird the Swan is while
in the water! It glides along so
easily, and carries itself so well, that it is
quite a pleasure to watch its movements.
But how clumsy and awkward it is when it
comes out of the water! It waddles along
in the most ungainly way. It can hardly keep
its balance at all. It does not seem to know


think that it was swimming at all. Now it
stops, and plunges its long neck under the
water, just like a duck. It is searching for
food, and can reach almost to the very bottom
of the pond. What does it eat? The leaves
of water plants, chiefly. But now and then it
will catch and eat a small fish, such as a
bleak or a roach; and it is very fond indeed
of fishes' eggs. It will even follow carp and
,:,rlr.r 6 -h l t-.:, L-.: r c_.r e. lil,. r.,iiiimi :o,,d
._,:-'ir,' l ,i ( ,.,- _-, .; .-l i ;i it I l :; [ ,-, l ,rit l ies
:tl,,:l !,,L, ,I ,. 1 ii,:a t r ; h, C.',: l .1'l, %i it
S[ I '" i i,, ."I. i t
_-- ---------~--- t ,.3,, ,:: Llg
I I. i.-.- L I ei : i-

S- -. -4 .,
..i ia~-- A

what to do with its long neck. The fact is,
its legs are set very far back upon its body.
This helps it in swimming, but not in walking.
And the bird always seems very glad indeed
when it leaves the land, and finds itself once
more in the water.
We shall always see at least three or four
different kinds of swan in the Gardens. One
of these, of course, is the common White
Swan. This is a very interesting bird,
although we know it so well. See how
quietly it moves along. One would hardly

often been known to destroy all the fish in a
Sad to say, the swan is very fond of quar-
relling. Not very long ago, two swans were
seen fighting on the river Thames, just below
Putney Bridge. After a short time, one of
the birds, which was getting the worst of the
battle, left the water, in the hope of escaping
from his enemy. But the other swan quickly
followed him, attacked him again, drove him
back into the water, and in the course of a
very few minutes succeeded in killing him !

i P


When swans have a nest, they are more
quarrelsome than ever, and will even attack
a boat, if it should pass anywhere near.
They fight chiefly with their wings, which are
so strong that they can break a man's arm
with a single blow. The birds are always on
the watch for a foe, and so well do they keep
guard, that it is very seldom indeed that a
swan's eggs are stolen.
The swan is not a very good nest-builder,
and merely heaps together a great pile of
reeds, rushes, and grass, on the top of which

it lays its greenish white eggs. The nest is
nearly always placed quite close to the edge
of the water; and the bird is so clever that,
if a flood should take place after heavy rain, it
will quickly raise its heap a few inches higher,
so that the water may not flow over the eggs.
The young of the swan are called cygnels.
When they are first hatched they are of a
light bluish grey colour, which does not
change to pure white until they are nearly
full grown. The parents take great care of
them, and will savagely attack anyone who
comes near.
While they are quite small, the mother
swan carries her little ones about on her

back. If she is in the water when they want
to climb upon her she sinks down as low as
she can, so that they may be able to scramble
up. If she is on the land, she helps them up
with one leg.

HERE are some Black Swans, which for a
long time were very scarce birds indeed.
They come from Australia, where they were
first discovered nearly two hundred years ago.
Look at their blood-red bills, and the beauti-
ful tuft of white feathers near the tail. They

are not such elegant birds as the white swans,
however, for they hold their necks much
more stiffly, and do not swim with such ease
and grace.
Let us look, too, at the Black-necked
Swan. For several years these birds, which
live in South America, were never known to
breed anywhere in Europe except in the
Gardens; and they were so scarce, that the
first pair brought over to this country were
sold for no less than eighty pounds.
The cygnets of this swan are quite white
when they are first hatched out, and do not
obtain their black necks for some little time.






V ERY odd birds are the Divers. Strange to say, too, it often uses its wings
This one with the narrow white streaks when walking upon dry land. You will
running across its remember, I dare
back is called the .' say, that the legs
GreatNorthern -of a swan are set
Diver,because it is so far back upon
the largest bird of i its body, that it
the family, and can only waddle
lives in the far '/ along in a very
north. Sometimes, awkward and un-
however,it may be gainly manner.
seen off the Scot- .-' But the legs of the
tish coast; and, if great northern
we were to visit i .' diver are set even
some of the narrow farther back still;
inlets and bays in and the conse-
the north of Scot- .' : quence is, that it
land, we should be can hardly walk at
almost sure to see all, and one ex-
a great northern pects to see it top-
diver or two, swim- i'\. P ple over every
ning busily about minute. So, if it
in search of prey. is in a hurry, it
Thebirdwellde- %.. -... ,- throws itself for-
serves its name of .-.. ward, lying with
"diver"; for it its breast uponthe
seems able to swim -. .-" ground, and then
under water quite shuffles along by
as well as on the using its wings and
surface. Those legs together,
who have pursued almost as if it had
who have pursued four legs instead
it in a boat saythat four legs instead
it will often rise \ of only two.
quite three hun- JAnd it does not
dredyardsfrom the sit on its eggs, like
place where it dived, and that it uses its wings other birds; it lies on them, keeping them
in swimming as well as its legs. Fishermen, underneath its breast as it rests stretched
too, say that when the water is clear they upon the ground !
sometimes see a diver flapping its way along Sportsmen tell us that there is no bird so
many feet beneath the boat; so that we may hard to shoot as the great northern diver. It
say that this singular bird really flies under is very wary, and will not allow a gunner to
water / come within shot; and it swims so fast, and


dives so well, that it is quite impossible to
overtake it in a boat. So the man who
wishes to shoot the bird is obliged to hide
behind some rocks close to the water's edge,
and wait there patiently in the hope that the
bird may swim within gunshot.
Fishermen do not like the great northern
diver at all, for it devours large quantities of
the fish which they want to catch themselves.
Sometimes, however, the bird falls a victim to
its own greediness, for it will swim into the
herring-nets after its victims, and become
entangled in the meshes, and so be drowned.
Once, too, one of therz bl.]s v, ri _t into
the open jaws of a liu' aLi.t' t':i,. !'. .:h

was lying on the
In many parts
of Scotland this
singular bird is
known as the

niud a r t I, Lb 0I r.) h] OfI tic

Crested Grebe.
What curious
feet it has Yes;
we can always
tell a grebe by -
its feet. The
toes are not join- "
ed together, like
those of a duck .
or swan, but each
is webbed sepa- ..
rately, so that the
foot looks like a
leaf with only r .
three lobes. Yet
,they are very use-
ful in swimming; and a great crested grebe
can swim and dive almost as well as the
,great northern diver itself.
There is another kind of grebe which we

may often see in streams and ponds, if we
remain quite quiet, and do not alarm it by
any movement. This is the Little Grebe, or
Dabchick, which is not very much bigger
than a blackbird.
A few months ago I had an odd little
adventure with a dabchick. I was fishing for
water-insects, in a small stream, and, seeing
a cluster of weeds which looked as if
it might harbour some beetles, I thrust
in my net close
beside it. No
sooner had I
/ *done so than
there was a great
splashing, and up
flew a dabchick!
S.-- It had seen me
coming, had
; dived under
water, and was
clinging to the
S; : very weeds into
i- which I plunged
my net, hoping
U_- that Ishould pass
by without notic-
ing it,
If you watch a
dabchickwhen it
is swimming, you
will notice that
it dives without
Making any
splash, just as
.- if its body
had been oiled.
It can swim
under water
very well; and,
if it once
catches sight of you, it will disappear,
and remain under water for several minutes,
rising, perhaps, a couple of hundred yards





A SMALL enclosure not very far from the
Swine's House is given up to the Sea
Gulls; and here we may always see several
different kinds of these beautiful and interest-
ing birds. It will be worth our while to look
at them for a few minutes, and see what there
is to learn about them.
If you have ever been to stay by the sea-

At low water I daresay that you saw them
walking about upon the mud, close to the
water's edge. Then they were looking for
lug worms, and for the different small crea-
tures which are often left stranded by the
tide. As the tide comes in they walk before
it, watching each wave. And as they devour
all sorts of substances which otherwise would

% r7

side, you ust. nave noticed a great many
sea gulls; and no doubt you often wondered
why they were constantly flying backwards
and forwards over the sea. But the reason
was a very simple one; they were looking for
food. They feed on small fishes, shell-fishes,
and dead creatures of various kinds; and
they know quite well that these are often
thrown up on the crest of a wave. All the
while that they are flying to and fro, there-
fore, their sharp little eyes are keeping most
careful watch; and the moment that they
catch sight of anything eatable, they dart
down and secure it.

be left to putrefy, they are really very usetuw
birds indeed.
There is another way, too, in which they
are often useful. When the tide is high, and
there is no food to be picked up upon the
shore, they will fly a few miles inland, and
make their way to some field. There they
busy themselves searching for grubs and
caterpillars, numbers of which they find and
devour before it is time to go back to the
Once I saw a very pretty sight. I was
travelling by train, a few miles from the sea,
when we passed by a field which seemed


quite covered with black birds and white,
almost in equal numbers. The black birds
were rooks and the white birds were sea gulls.
There must have been thousands of each ;
and all were as busy as they could be, driving
their long beaks down into the ground, and
pulling out the mischievous grubs which were
eating the roots of the crops.
Sometimes gardeners catch a sea gull, clip
his wings, so that he cannot fly away, and let
him run about in the garden, in order that he

S -----

may keep down the caterpillars and snails. I
once knew a gull that was kept in this way.
He lived in the garden next to mine, and
almost every day we used to see him at work,
hunting among the cabbages and lettuces for
slugs and caterpillars.
This was a Great Black-backed Gull, one
of the largest and finest of all. Fishermen
mostly call it the Cob." It does not live
in large flocks, like many of the gulls, but
mostly flies about in pairs; and it is so
quarrelsome, that if others, even of its own
kind, come near, it will fight with them and
drive them away.

We must not confuse this bird with the
Black-headed Gull, which is smaller, and
much more plentiful. There are always two
or three to be seen in the Gardens. In
summer we may know it at once by the deep
blackish-brown colour of its head and the
upper part of its neck. But in winter,
strange to say, these parts become white.
When the nesting season comes, the black-
headed gulls fly inland, and make their way
to some marsh or mere. There they tread
down the sedges and
reeds into a kind of
hollow, in which
they lay their eggs.
Large numbers or
these birds nest
every year on Scoul-
ton Mere, in Nor-
folk, where their
eggs are collected,
and sold for food.
A friend of mine,
... "" who is fond of sail-
ing in the Norfolk
.- Broads, told me that
he once passed the
night close to the
nesting-ground of
these gulls, and that
they made so much
noise that he was quite unable to sleep.

A VERY curious gull is the Scissor-bill, which
lives along the coasts of America and part of
This bird has a very long beak, the upper
part of which is much shorter than the lower,
which shuts into it like a knife-blade into its
handle. It feeds chiefly upon shell-fish of
different kinds; and it is said that, when it
catches a mussel or an oyster, it pokes its
sharp beak between the shells, and then
bangs them against a stone or rock until they
are broken to fragments.





W HAT a very curious bird this is It
looks like a duck; but it has two
odd wing-like fans standing up on either side
of its body, above the true wings, and remind-
ing one very much of the wings of a butterfly.
And it is so beau-
tifully coloured !
The crest of long
feathers upon its
head is partlygreen
and partly purple.
From the eye to
the back of the
neck is a streak
of pure .
w h i t e. --
The sides

neck are
with long
feathers s -
of rich
russet --
brown; ----
the front
of the neck and all the upper part of the
breast are deep purple; and on each
shoulder are four curved stripes, two of
which are pure white, and the other two
black. Then the wing-fans are chestnut
brown, edged with dark green, and the lower
parts of the body are white. So that, altogether,
the bird is a very handsome one indeed.
What can it be?
It is a Mandarin Duck, so called because
it comes from China, where it is highly prized
by the mandarins. This is his mate, swim-
ming close by. She is not at all a handsome
bird, for her plumage is only mottled brown,
and she has none of the lovely colours that

adorn the drake. But even he is not always
in such rich attire, for during four months of
the year-from May to August-he throws
off all his brilliant feathers, and even loses
the curious wing-fans that stand up so oddly.
During this season we should never know
him for the same bird.
The Chinese are very proud of these
ducks; so proud, indeed, that it is hardly

":iiV^- /- -^ -'

s~t^ ^-^^ ^^

possible to buy a pair, even for a large sum
of money. Those which we may see in the
Gardens have been bred there; and nearly
every year the birds lay eggs, and bring up
their little brood. The ducklings are very
queer little creatures, not in the least like
their parents, for their soft, fluffy plumage is
grey and brown above, and creamy white
Oddly enough, these ducks build their nests,



not on the ground like nearly all other ducks,
but in the trees. And their feet are so formed
that they can perch on a branch without any

WEshallfind the Sheldrakes on the Southern
Ponds. These are handsome birds, too,
although they are not nearly so brightly
coloured as the mandarin duck. Sometimes
they are called "burrow ducks," because
they like to lay their eggs in the burrow of a
rabbit. If they cannot find one, they search
out a hollow for themselves, in some sandy
spot, and line it with leaves, grass, and down.
The eggs of these ducks are very much
sought after, in order that the little ones may
be hatched out, and kept in private ponds
and il l-.:- ii V ,c h- -
tlrm tIh a, 1 .B


look for the marks of the ducks' feet near
the entrance to a burrow; and, when they
see these footprints, they know that a nest
is close by.
When the ducklings are hatched, the parent
birds take great care of them, and are very
clever in protecting them from their enemies.
If a dog should jump into the water, for
instance, the mother will pretend to be
wounded, and flap along just in front of him.
The dog, of course, thinks that he can easily
catch the bird, and eagerly chases it, while all

the time it is leading him away from the little
ones. Then, when it has led him far enough,
the clever bird takes to wing, and is soon
back with its little family.
The Common Sheldrake is a British bird,
and remains with us all the year. It is chiefly
found on the sea coast, and may often be
seen swimming about in bays and inlets,
especially off the coast of Scotland.

THE Eider
Duck is fa-
J mous for the
it plucks off its
breast in order
to cover up its

this down for
making warm
coverlets. It is
taken from the
nest twice dur-
ing the breed-
ing season.
The first time,
Both eggs and
down are taken.
The mother
bird then lays
another batch
of eggs, and
covers them,
as before, with
down from her
own breast.
These are again taken, and the mother lays
a third batch of eggs. She has no more down
left on her own body, however, so her mate
plucks his breast instead, and covers the eggs.
for her. And this time the poor birds are
allowed to bring up their family without
The drake watches his mate very closely
when she is sitting upon her eggs. If she
leaves the nest, even for a short time, he at
once hurries after her and fetches her back.




A VERY odd-looking bird is the Puffin. I they dig a burrow for themselves, with their
Its beak is so very large, and so very I strong beaks. And so hard do they work,
'brightly coloured, that these burrows
and seems to fit are often as much
it so very, very a', tlr,.e feet long.
badly! Indeed, T.he nest is al-
when one looks ,, quite close
at a puffin for the to ihc sea; for
first time, it is j.uff" are water
hardly possible to i.iti,l: and can
help thinking that i anddivevery
its bill must have ,I ,..._l n ,eed. If we
been intended for I.f Ma.i watch them
some other bird-- i' rn rl water, we
perhaps for a par- tl-.oull often see

this curious beak, ri- tn beneaththe
indeed, the puffin u iae for some
is often called the -ll, rtime. Then
" sea-parrot.' -t" ,, .-.uld know
Puffins are Brit- "i.' I, they were
ish birds; but they for fish.
do not live with ~c !'kely, when
us all through the .t i. r s.e again to
year. Like a great 01 tal..- breath, we
many other birds, houll see that
they are "spring eac! had caught
migrants"; that is, qiire number of
they come to this i--t .ind that all
country in the I I-nds were in-
spring, and go i-.e it- beak, and
away again in the --all l,, tails dan-
autumn. While L' -,iii .utside. Ina
they are here they .. I. I" .-,v moments
lay their eggs. th. l..-tims would
Sometimes they lay all Lb. swallowed,
these in a rabbit- and before very
hole; and if the lo" i:n the birds
rabbits object to ,,olId be diving
their presence, and try to turn them out, the again to look for more.
puffins fight them, and turn the rabbits out Puffins take very great care of their eggs,
instead If they cannot find a rabbit-hole and will not leave them, even if they should


be attacked by such a large and powerful
bird as the raven. More than once, indeed,
a puffin has been known to kill a raven, by
seizing it with beak and feet, tumbling with it
into the sea, and holding it under water until
it was drowned !

IN some parts of the coast the name of
"puffin" is given to the Razor-bill; but this,
is quite a different bird. It only comes to
Great Britain for a short time in the year, for it

cannot bear cold weather, and always makes
its way southwards quite early in the autumn.
But in the summer it may often be seen
swimming about, not very far from the shore.
The razor-bill has one very curious habit.
If two birds should be swimming together,
and one of them be shot, the other will never
try to make its escape, but will come straight
up to see what has happened to its com-
panion. Not thinking of its own danger, it
will paddle round and round, and seem to be
wondering why the dead bird does not get up
and swim about too. And its attention is so
much occupied, that it can easily be knocked
over with an oar.

WE must look at some of the Terns.
These are rather like sea-gulls; but we may

easily know them by their long forked tails.
Because of these tails, terns are often called
"sea-swallows." No doubt you know how to
tell a swallow from a martin. All that you
have to do is just to look at its tail, and see
if it is forked or not. Just in the same way
you may tell a tern from a sea-gull; and
indeed in some of these birds the tail is quite
as long as the body.
Terns spend most of their time dashing
about in the air. When they are tired, and

want to rest, they will sit for a short time on a
buoy, or a piece of floating wood, or even on
the surface of the water itself. Like the puffin,
they feed on small fish; and every now and
then, as one watches them, one may see them
swoop suddenly down, splash for a moment or
two in the water, and then rise again into the
air, with a victim struggling in their beaks.
Like both the puffin and the razor-bill,
terns only come to us during the summer.
They do not like rough weather, and always
take refuge before a storm in some sheltered
bay, or even fly for a few miles up a river.
When they are tired of fishing, they often
have a game together; and a very pretty
sight it is to see them chasing one another
backwards and forwards, just as if they were
having a game of "catch who catch can."

----- --




W E now come to the Reptile House,
which is full of curious and interest-
ing creatures. Turtles, tortoises, lizards,
snakes, toads, and frogs, of all sorts and
sizes, are here in numbers. We cannot talk
about them all, of course; that would take
far too much time. But we will choose some
of the most remarkable and see what there
is to learn about them.

HERE are some Croco-
diles, in a large tank nearly
full of water. How quiet
and still they are All the
time that we are watching
them they never move. It -
is quite hard to believe, at .
first, that they .: i, .!,-ll 1 ..'
alive. If we l.,1 i.-,r k, '
that they were c .:,..:I.. !' i
indeed, we should very like ly i .
have mistaken -=
them for floating
logs of wood.
And travellers -
tell us that that is
justwhat they look '
like when they are
living in their na- --.-
tive rivers. They -
float just at the top -
of the water, and
lie quite still for
hours together, so that no one who did not
know them well would guess what they really
are. But they keep a sharp look-out for prey,
although they lie so motionless. And if a deer
or other animal should comedown to the river-
bank to drink, the great reptiles see it at once,
swim silently to the spot where it is standing,
and sweep it into the water with one stroke
of their powerful tails.

The great tail, indeed, is the chief weapon
of the crocodile. His legs, as we can easily
see, are very small and weak: and when he

/ "

I- '

E leaves the water for a while and
.-_- comes upon land, he can only
waddle clumsily along, with his
bodydragginguponthe ground.
SBut his tail is immensely strong.
He can whisk it to and fro so
quickly that it is very hard indeed to avoid its
blow. And if it should strike even a large
animal, the blow is sure to knock it into the
water, when the crocodile seizes itwith his huge
jaws before it can manage to regain its feet.
The crocodile uses this tail, too, in swim-
ming. I daresay you know that if you sit in
a boat, and work an oar from side to side at
the stern, you will travel slowly along without

,- -. I A ,N .' '-" --



rowing at all. Now a crocodile's body is like
a boat, and his tail is like an oar worked at
the stern. Only, as he is so very strong, he
can use his tail with much greater force than
we can use an oar, so that he dashes through
the water at a very great speed.
Now look at the head of one of the croco-
diles. You will notice that his nostrils are
placed on a kind of peak, at the very end of
his long muzzle. There is a
curious reason for this. When
a d ,'... C *: r ,: t l-',. r -i n l i; J r i .I. ./ --
ing, 1. I a L rui.|,j \ :.u -ii. i

strike it 1 ^ 5', 43[:,./ i

it -. e in c:. r :le r i., "
d rc,,. 'r it. N ,:.,., il' t : r""....lI h-. /i
nostrils were placed like those of
other animals, he could not do this,
for he would be drowned as well as his victim.
But as they are raised so much above the jaws,
he can keep them well out of the water while
his victim is held beneath, and so is able to
breathe quite easily.
But why does not the water flow down his
throat and choke him? If he holds his
victim beneath the surface, his jaws, of
course, must be partly open; and if we were
to hold our mouths open under water, we
should be drowned very quickly. But the

crocodile has a very odd throat, not in the
least like ours. As long as his jaws are shut
it remains open, so that he can swallow quite
easily. But as soon as he opens his mouth
the. throat is firmly closed, so that not even
the tiniest drop of water can pass down, and
find its way into his lungs.
What a curious skin the crocodile has It
looks, indeed, more like a coat of mail than


a skin. And it is so hard that even a bullet
will not pass through it unless it strikes it
quite fair and true. Savages who live near a
river in which crocodiles dwell will sometimes
kill one of the great reptiles, strip off its hide,
and make with it a kind of armour for them-
selves. And when they are wearing this
armour they have no need to fear the spears
and arrows of their enemies. A suit of this
armour may be seen in the British Museum.



THE REPTILE HOUSE.-(Contiznued.)


O NE very strange thing about Crocodiles
is, that they can live for a very long
time without eating. Captive crocodiles,
indeed, have sometimes been known to
touch no
for more
than a
year and
a half
a croco-
dile is
first cap-
tured, he
nearly al- *r
ways be-
comes -- ,"
very sullen, rnd
refuses to ear. For
a month or t' Ire -
is let alone. E:iit. t
he will not e. t then..
he is fastene1.l I''..
on the gro In.:. ::
that he canro.-r u. :- In; -n'ia ta;l. I'. w: 3 are
forced open, .:l i L:tt ti ": iA .'ke
down his th .:.it ..til, -t lo:--r i-".l if :1
not like this [ ei i'i t ii I, t' [''i', .
that food is .:i .1 i. ir, I, n, rl\ ;i l i .
takes it at o:,:.:-
In the river Nile, where crocodiles are very
plentiful, numbers of men and women are
killed by them every year. A man goes to
draw water, perhaps, or to bathe; and before
he knows that a crocodile is near, one of the
great reptiles swims silently up, knocks him
into the water with one blow of its mighty
tail, and then seizes him in its terrible jaws.
Sometimes a man who is seized in this way
contrives to escape by twisting himself round,
and forcing his thumbs into the crocodile's

eyes, thus obliging it to loose its hold. But
more often there is a short struggle, and the
poor prisoner is dragged under water and
.\ f.. I .. I .: i, -.... 1 ,, 11 .1 I 11
S l H I h ,L _l..:I. >..,1 n, ,l t, ., l I l l

t L... r ... I| .-
7 "--- ,o,>:r' Jd nereiu | '-i, l,. J., -,lc'
-]_ -- _-

were no less than three
inches in diameter!
These stones, like those in the gizzard of a
bird, seem to have helped the crocodile to
digest its food.
The young of the crocodile are not born
alive, but are hatched from eggs, which are
laid by the mother in a hole in the sand.
About fifty or sixty are laid together. These
eggs are not very large, being only about as
big as those of a goose; and the shell,


instead of being hard and brittle, is tough
and leather-like.
When the little crocodiles appear they are
only a few inches long. Even at that early
age, however, they are quite as fierce as their
parents, and will snap savagely at any one
who attempts to touch them. Once a little
boy, whose father kept a baby crocodile in a
basin of water, gave it a push with its finger
when no one was looking. In an instant the
little reptile twist-
ed round, seized
the finger, and
held on so tightly
that the child' _-


could not remove it, and ran screaming about
the house until a servant came out and forced
it to loose its hold.
I should not think that that little boy ever
meddled with a crocodile again !

ALLIGATORS are very much like crocodiles.
We may know them, however, by the shape
of their heads, which are short and broad,
while the toes are partly joined together by
webbing, like those of a duck. They are
found only in North and South America.
The Common Alligator, which is a native
of North America, lives in rivers and lakes,
where it feeds chiefly upon fish. It is said,

too, to bite off the tails of cows, when they
come down to the bank to drink. It is a very
savage creature, but at the same time is rather
timid, and will not fight unless it is driven to
bay. It does not often carry off human
beings, but now and then a big alligator will
seize a man, drown him, and quickly tear him
to pieces.
Alligators are mostly caught by four large
hooks, like fish-hooks, bound firmly together,
and baited with a large piece
, of flesh. When one of these
/ reptiles is hooked and drawn
to land his struggles are ter-
S rific, and he snaps with his
-:- jaws and lashes his long tail
from side to side with the
greatest fury. His captors, how-

ever, watch for an oppor-
tunity, and soon contrive
to deliver a heavy blow on
his head with a long pole. This stuns him
for a moment, and before he can recover his
senses they rush in and kill him.
Perhaps you would hardly think that both
crocodiles and alligators are really very useful
creatures. Yet they do good work by devour-
ing the carcases of animals which fall by
accident into the rivers. If these carcases
were not removed, they would soon become
putrid, and poison, not only the water, but
the air as well; so that the reptiles really
render very useful service by devouring them.





THE REPTILE HOUSE.-(Con zinued.)

H ERE is a big Tortoise. Let us stop and This seems very strange, does it not? Yet
look at him for a little while, it is quite true. The upper part, which covers
What a very odd-looking creature he is the tortoise's back, is formed partly out of his
His body is quite covered, both above and backbone and partly out of his ribs, which
below, by his hard, horny shell, so that we are outside his body instead of inside! They
cannot see it at all. There is just a hole for are very much flattened, of course, and are all
his head, and a smaller one for his little joined together into one. But still, if we

pointed tail, and one for each of his legs.
But even his head and legs are not always to
be seen, for he can draw them in when he
likes, and pack them away ; so that he is quite
shut up inside his shell, just as the knights
of old used to be in their suits of armour.
Now I daresay that you will be very much
surprised when I tell you that the "shell," as
we call it, is not really a shell at all. It is not
like that of a lobster, for instance. A lobster's
shell is only his skin, very much hardened;
and every now and then he casts it off, just
as a crab does, and a new one is found grow-
ing underneath. But a tortoise's shell has
nothing to do with the skin, and cannot be
cast off, for it is formed out of the bones !

could strip off the shell and examine it
carefully, we should be able to trace each
separate bone.
Just in the same way, the shell underneath
his body is formed out of his breastbone,
which is very much flattened and widened
too. So that a tortoise's bones, instead of
serving as a framework, to support his body,
form a kind of box, in which'he is shut up !
And how very strong this horny covering
is You might stand on the back of quite a
small tortoise, without hurting him in the
least. And a big one would be none the
worse if the wheels of a heavy carriage were
to run over him! The tortoise finds this
shell very useful when an enemy attacks him,


for he has only to draw in his head and legs,
and then is perfectly safe.
Now let us notice another curious fact
about our tortoise. He has no teeth.
How, then, does he eat his food ? you ask.
book at his lips, as I suppose we must call
them. Do you not see how hard, and horny,
and sharp they are? With them he can nip
off the roots and leaves upon which he feeds.
He does not need to chew these, but
swallows them in large pieces, just as a cat

swallows a piece
of meat. And
so he really does
not want teeth
like those of
other animals.
Some tortoises
have very strong jaws indeed.
Look at this big fellow in a tank
of water all by himself. Although
he is called the Snapping Turtle
he is really a tortoise, and his jaws are so
sharp and so strong that he could easily nip
off all your fingers at a single bite !
This tortoise spends nearly all his life in
the water, where he lives on fish and small
reptiles. And he has even been known to
kill and devour young alligators, in spite of
their struggles and their sharp teeth.
Another very curious tortoise, called the
Indian Tortoise, lives in some of the islands
in the Pacific Ocean. It is famous for its
great size, for it has been known to weigh no
less than six hundred pounds, or as much

as four. men put together. And it has the
curious property of being able to live for a
very long time with nothing to drink. A
number of these tortoises were once kept on
board ship for two months without water;
yet at the end of the voyage they were quite
fresh, and did not even seem thirsty.
But then they carry about with them a
water-supply which lasts them for many weeks.
On either side of the body, underneath the
shell, is a bladder, holding about a pint.

This is filled when they drink, and is made in
such a way that the tortoise can pass the
water into his system, a little at a time,
whenever he needs it, just as the camel does
from the curious cells in his stomach.
Sometimes, when a traveller is passing
through the desert and cannot find any water,
he kills one of these tortoises and drinks the
contents of its bladders. The water does
not taste very nice, of course ; but it is better
to drink it than to die of thirst. And in
this way many travellers have saved their




THE REPTILE HOUSE.- (Continued.)

NEXT we come to the Turtles.
In some ways these are very much
like tortoises. Their bodies are covered by a
hard, horny shell, for instance, which is
formed out of the spine, the ribs, and the
breastbone. But you will notice that their
limbs are very much longer, and are so broad
and flat that they look almost like fins.
And that is really what they are. For

turtles live in the water, and swim by means
of their legs, which they use as paddles. We
may look upon the body of a turtle, indeed,
as a natural boat, and its limbs as the oars
with which it rows itself along.
Almost the only time that a turtle leaves
the water is when it comes on shore to lay
its eggs. It is very cautious and wary when
it does this, for it seems to know that it has
many enemies, who would be very glad
indeed to find and eat its eggs.
So the mother turtle chooses the night-
time for her undertaking. First, she swims
quite close to the shore, and then, raising her

head out of the water, she looks about very
carefully indeed to make sure that all is safe.
If she is quite satisfied, she swims a little
closer still, and looks again. And then at
last, if she can see no signs of danger, she
leaves the water and scrambles over the
beach, until she finds a nice sandy spot, just
out of reach of the tide.
With her long hind flippers, she then begins

to dig. As soon as she has loosened a
quantity of sand she jerks it out behind her;
and she works so hard, that in about ten
minutes' time she has scooped out a large
hole, eighteen inches or two feet deep. In
this she arranges her eggs, packing them very
carefully side by side. When all are laid, she
fills up the hole, smooths the surface of the
sand so carefully that no one would be likely
to notice that it had been disturbed, and then
goes back to the sea.
Does she not stay to hatch her eggs? you
ask. Oh, no; the heat of the sun does that.
And in a few weeks' time, if none of her.


enemies find the eggs, a number of little tiny
turtles make their appearance, and very soon
find their way into the water.
Many a turtle is caught as she returns from
laying her eggs. The hunters are always on
the watch, and, when they see a turtle
making for the sea, they rush up to it, and
turn it over with long poles. A turtle cannot
recover its feet, as a tortoise can, when it is
turned over, so that the poor creature is quite
helpless. And next morning the hunters
come up and carry it away.
No doubt you have heard of turtle soup,

which many people consider a very great
dainty. This is made from the flesh of the
Green Turtle, which is so called because of
the colour of its fat. It grows to a very great
size, for it is sometimes nearly five feet long,
and more than three feet broad. And it is
said that, when one of these turtles is seen
upon the shore, no less than three men are
required to turn it over on its back.
Sometimes this turtle is found swimming
far out at sea, and then it is captured by a
stout spear, called a "harpoon." This is so
.made that, when it is plunged into the shell

of the turtle, the handle comes off, but still
remains fastened to the head by a stout cord.
The frightened animal swims away as fast as
it can, but the long wooden handle drags
behind it, and soon makes it so tired that its
pursuers catch it up and lift it into the boat.
The valuable substance which we call
"tortoiseshell" is not really the shell of a
tortoise, but chiefly comes from another kind
of turtle. This is called the Hawksbill
Turtle, from the shape of its mouth, and the
tortoiseshell is found on its back in the form
of thirteen large plates, which overlap each

other like the tiles on the roof of a house.
When these plates are stripped off, they are
boiled and steamed until they become quite
soft, after which they are pressed between
wooden blocks in order to flatten them.
These tortoiseshell plates can be taken off
without killing the animal, for they are not
part of the shell itself, which lies beneath
them. As soon as they have been removed,
the turtle is put back into the water, and in
the course of a few months a new set of
plates grow in the place of the old. But
these are never so thick andvaluable as the first.





FROM the turtles we turn to the Lizards,
of which there are always a great many
to be seen in the Reptile House.
First we will look at the Monitors, of
which there are several different kinds.
What big creatures they are Here is one
that must be very nearly six feet long when
he straightens out his long, slender tail.

of all the true lizards. They are
very active, too, and very strong;
and, although they never seem to
attack any one if they are let alone,
they become very savage if they are
interfered with. Once two men
tried to capture a large monitor which they
met with in South Africa. After a little
trouble, they managed to tie a rope round
its body, just in front of its hind legs; and
then, taking hold of the rope, they attempted
to drag it along. The animal dug its long
claws into a cleft in the rocky ground, how-
ever, and for some time resisted all their
efforts to move it. At last its claws broke,
and its hold gave way. In an instant it

sprang round, dashed at the men, and
attacked them so fiercely that they were
obliged to take to flight.
Perhaps you are wondering why these
creatures should be called "monitors." The
reason is this. A monitor, as we all know,
is one who gives warning, or notice. Now
these reptiles were supposed to give warning

of the approach ot a crocodile,
by uttering a loud hissing noise
and so they were called moni-
tors. It has never been proved
that they do this, however; and,
on the contrary, we know that
monitors are often found in
places where crocodiles abound, and yet
never give warning of their approach at all.
Nevertheless, some of the monitors are
among the very worst enemies that the
crocodile has; for, although they feed on
snakes, frogs, toads, small lizards, and even
insects, there is nothing that they like so
much to eat as a crocodile's eggs. In order
to obtain these, they search carefully all
along the sandy banks of the rivers in which


the great reptiles live; and, when they find a
batch of eggs, they dig them up and eat
them. So successful are they in their search,
that thousands upon thousands of-crocodiles'
eggs are destroyed by them every year.
They are very fond, too, of the young
crocodiles, soon after they are hatched out
from the egg, and before they are big enough
to defend themselves. Being capital swim-
mers, they will even follow the little croco-
diles into the water, and capture them there.
It is said, indeed, that a young crocodile is
never safe from its voracious enemy unless it
can take refuge beneath the body of one

- -

of its own grown-up relations, where the
monitor will not venture to attack it.
In Egypt,where monitors are not all uncom-
mon, the natives think that they are hatched
out from the eggs of crocodiles which have
been laid in hot, dry places, and that in course
of time they turn into crocodiles themselves !
But of course this is not true.
Before we leave the monitors, we ought
to notice what strange square ears they
have. We must look, too, at their long,
forked tongues, which keep darting in and
out of their mouths just like those of the

CLOSE by the monitors are some Teguexins.
In some ways, these reptiles are very much
like the monitors. They are very nearly as
big, for example,- and have the same long,
slender tails. One of the teguexins, indeed,
grow to a length of more than five feet.
Sometimes these animals are called Safe-
guards, because
they are thought
to give warning of
the approach of an
alligator, just as
the monitors have
been supposed to
do of that of the
The teguexins
S live in the warmer
parts of South
America, and in
the West Indies.
o They are fond of
a water, and are
never found very
far from a stream.
If they are alarmed
in any way, they
retreat as fast as
they can to the
banks of the river,
and then plunge
boldly into the
water and sink
beneath the surface. They have big lungs,
and can hold their breath for a long time;
so that, before they are obliged to rise to
the surface for air, the danger has generally
passed away. They are good swimmers,
too, as well as good divers, and can travel
through the water with some little speed
by waving their powerful tails from side to
side, just as the crocodiles and alligators
Teguexins are rather timid creatures; but
they will bite fiercely if driven to bay, and
are said to retain their hold just like a bull-




NEXT we come to the Iguanas, of which
there are a great many different kinds.
These curious lizards all live in South
America and the West Indies. Like the
Teguexins, they are never found very far
from water, and generally live on the banks

M .1 ,_ .. I .i,':" "" -^ ,


of a stream. But, unlike those reptiles, they
spend the greater part of their lives among
the branches of trees.
Just look at the iguana's foot, and see how
well suited it is for climbing. See how long
the toes are. With them it can take firm
hold of a bough. Notice the length and
sharpness of the claws. It is easy to under-
stand how they find their way into every
little crack and cranny in the bark. Then
the legs are much stronger than those of

most lizards ; so that, altogether, the animal
is very well fitted for a life in its leafy home.
But it is almost as much at ease in the
water. If it should be frightened, indeed, it
nearly always drops into the river. It can
swim very well, by waving its long tail to and

6, 54 1

fro, just as the crocodiles and alligators do.
And it can also dive very well, for it can
remain under water for more than an hour
before it is obliged to come up to the surface
to breathe.
Underneath the iguana's chinwe noticewhat
seems to be a hanging fold of skin. In reality,
however, it is a kind of pouch, and the animal

can fill it out with air whenever it pleases. It
generallydoes this when it is alarmed, hoping to

fro, just as the crocodiles and alligators do.
And it can also dive very well, for it can
remain under water for more than an hour
before it is obliged to come up to the surface
to breathe.
Underneath the iguana's chinwe noticewhat
seems to be a hanging fold of skin. In reality,
however, it is a kind of pouch, and the animal
can fill it out with air whenever it pleases. It
generally does this when it is alarmed, hoping to
frightenits enemyby its formidable appearance.


But it has other weapons also with which
to defend itself. Its teeth are very sharp,
and it knows how to use them; and when
once it has seized its foe, it is not at all easy
to make it let go. Then it can strike a very
sharp blow with its long, slender tail, which
it lashes about like a whip. So that, although
the iguana is only just a big lizard, it is not
very easily caught.
Hunters often capture it by means of a
long cord, at the end of which they make a
noose. This they throw over the reptile's

hlI> .-, i..a t I t- upf :. ,, i i .1 1 ,. 1, i -, 1 1 i1- j -,. I .
it to the ground before it has recovered from
its surprise. Many iguanas, however, leap
into the river before the noose can be
thrown ; so the hunter, when he wishes to
capture a number of these lizards, takes with
him one or two well-trained dogs to follow
them into the water. These dogs are care-
fully taught to hold the lizards in such a way
as not to injure them with their teeth.
Some of the hunters have a very cruel way
of preventing an iguana from biting, for they
sew up its lips as soon as they capture it, so
that the poor creature cannot open its mouth.

Perhaps you wonder why they should want
to catch it at all. The fact is, that it is very
good to eat. To us it seems rather strange
that a lizard should be used for food ; but all
those who have tried it agree in saying that an
iguana's flesh is really most excellent, and that
it tastes very much like the breast of a delicate
chicken. In South America, indeed, iguana
cutlets are looked upon as a very great dainty,
and are often to be seen upon the tables of
those who can afford to buy them.
The eggs of the iguana, too, are very good
,_, ,-. i Ft. T I,-. :n- _.: r -,. !., ,t w ith shell,.
l, ... : L.ti, L.it '., ii kind of tough,
I.;il~., .n. 1 !e, .:: ..t become hard
bi, L.iii.-, .ii a- Jir tlh''. have been in
t e -il u'_-|''I' fi r A ib 'ile m minutes, a
I,.,1o i.. ,. :_ ,i oi.n en., i d thewhiteis
out. The
skin is
then strip-
ped off,
and the
yolk is.
eaten with
o eggs are
hid.1 .- the mother
f li:alinlongunder-
dt..,ed chambers,
S wli:Il she digs out
.. n lhe sandbanks
St the margin of
the river. She does.
not take any care
of them after they are once laid, but leaves
them to be hatched by the heat of the sun.
One of the iguanas, called the Basilisk, is
a very odd creature to look at. On the top
of its head is a tall crest, shaped very much
like a fool's-cap, and all along its back runs
a kind of fin, set with a number of long and
sharp spines. In fact it is not at all unlike
the pictures that one often sees of dragons ;
and if it were only a little bigger it would really
be a very dreadful-looking creature indeed.



THE REPTILE HOUSE.--(Continued.)


CLOSE by the monitors and iguanas are
some Skinks.
These seem very tiny creatures if we com-
pare them with the great lizards about which
we have just been reading, for none of them
are more than a foot or so in length, while a
great many never grow to a size of more than
five or six inches. But, although they are so

they are all digging lizards. And the little
creatures at which we are looking now,
although they cannot run very fast, are yet
quite strong and active enough to escape
from their foes by digging.
If you were to see a skink in -its native
country, and were to run up to it and try to
catch it, I think that you would be very much



small, they are very interesting creatures, as
I think that you will agree when I have told
you something about them.
Look at the skinks in this cage. There
are two of them; and we at once notice that
they have rather big heads, cylinder-shaped
bodies, and slender, tapering tails. But I
want you specially to look at their feet. See
how long the toes are, and how strong and
sharp are the curved claws which they bear.
Now when we find that an animal has
claws like these, we may be pretty well sure
that it is an animal that digs in the ground.
Its claws, in fact, are the pickaxes and spades
and shovels that Nature gives it to work with.
Now this is exactly the case with the skinks;

astonished. For the little animal would sink
into the ground so rapidly, that long before
you reached the spot it would have disap-
peared! Our own mole can burrow very
quickly; but the skink can burrow even more
quickly still. With its long, curved claws it
scratches away the soil so rapidly, that it seems
to sink into the ground as if by magic. And
almost the only way to capture it is to find it
as it is lying fast asleep in the hot sun, steal
up to it, and seize it before it awakes.
Perhaps you would hardly like to pick up
an animal which has such sharp claws, and
can use them so well. But a skink would
not try to hurt you if you took it up in your
hand. It has sharp teeth, but never seems to


* 67


bite; and it never even scratches with its
claws, except now and then by accident, as
it is struggling to get away.
Skinks almost always live in sandy places,
in the hottest parts of Africa and Asia; and
they are mostly found in spots where the wind
has blown the sand into a heap, at the foot
of some tree or hedge. There they will lie
for hours, enjoying the heat of the sun,
although the sand is so hot that you would

fectly true. For hundreds of years doctors
thought that there was nothing like it; and
they used to give it to patients suffering from
all kinds of disorders, as well as to those who
had been bitten by a poisonous snake. In
some Eastern countries, even now, it is given
in this way; and if you were to go to Southern
Egypt, and fall sick of a fever, or catch a bad
cold, it is very likely indeed that a dose of
skink's flesh would be offered you !

---- "

hardly be able to lay your bare hand upon it.
These lizards feed upon insects, and are
specially fond of beetles, of which they will
eat a very great many, one after another.
But they can go for a very long time without
any food at all, and do not seem to suffer even
if they have to fast for two or three months.
In olden days skinks were put to very
strange uses. I daresay that you were rather
surprised to hear that the flesh of the iguana
is very good to eat; I wonder what you
will think when I tell you that men used
to believe that the flesh of the skink was
very good for medicine Yet it is per-

When the flesh is given in this way, it is
first dried, then pounded into powder, and
then made up into draughts or pills. What
a nasty idea it seems Yet in days of old
people used to take medicines far more nasty
than that !
When their flesh was thought to be so valu-
able, skinks were very much persecuted, and
men used to earn their living by catching
them, drying them, and selling them to
doctors and druggists. But now that people
are learning better, they are suffered to live in
peace, and so are much more plentiful than
they were.





THE Geckos are
very curious and
interesting lizards in-
deed. They are not
very large, for the
biggest of them all,
which is found in
Java, is only seven
inches long, and he is
quite a giant by the
side of most of his /
relations. But their
feet are formed in a
very odd way, and
some of their habits
are very odd also. So l
we cannot do better
than stop for a little
while to talk about
First let us look at /
their feet. We notice
at once that all the
toes are widened out
into broad fleshy pads,
so that the little ani-
mals look rather as if
they were wearing bad- /
ly fitting gloves. Very
likely we may think ,R
that a lizard with such
singular feet would
hardly be able to walk
at all. Yet these gec-
kos are active enough;
and, strange to say,
they can walk up a wall, or even along an
overhanging beam with their backs down-
wards, quite as easily and quickly as across
the floor.
For those round, fleshy pads upon the toes

are really suckers, very
much like those upon
the arms of a cuttle-
fish. Until youareolder
_.- you will not be able
quite to understand,
perhaps, how they are
used; and I can only
,,. say that they are made
in such a way that,
when the gecko presses
them against the wall
or the ceiling, they
Scaling to it quite tightly,
S and give him a firm
foothold even if he is
hanging head down-
wards. Besides this,
She has a little sharp,
curved claw upon each
toe, which can find its
Sw way into every little
chink and cranny; so
that he is really just
as safe upon the wall
or the ceiling as he is
upon the ground.
If you were to go
and live in a hot coun-
try, most likely, you
would often see geckos
walking about on the
walls. Sometimes, too,
you would hear the
shrill little cryof" geck,
geck-o," from which
they take their name. For they very often
live in houses altogether. During the day-
time they mostly hide in some crack or dark
corner where they are not likely to be dis-
turbed ; for their eyes are made in such a


way that they can see very well by night, but
are rather dazzled and bewildered by the
daylight. But as soon as it begins to grow
dusk they come out of their hiding-places,
and in a few min-
utes are busily
searching the \
walls and ceilings
for the insects
upon which they
So successful
are they in catch-
ing these, that the
inhabitants of the
houses in which
they live are very
glad to see them,
and willnotallow I-
or killed. Some-
times they even-
make pets of -
them, for geckos
are gentle little ,
creatures, and
soon become
tame. Once an
officer in India / i
taught a gecko '
to come on to / ,"
his dinner-table a --
as soon as the
dessert was pla-
ced upon it, and
every evening '.'
for months the ":
little lizard came
regularly almost
to the moment.
Then the family went away for a few months,
and during their absence the ceilings were
whitewashed and the walls were covered with
stucco, while the house was cleaned from top
to bottom. Of course they never expected
to see their pet gecko any more. Neverthe-
less, on the very first evening after their


return, no sooner was the dessert brought in
than the lizard appeared, having hidden him-
self away in some corner where no one had
noticed him.
There is one kind of gecko which can leap
for some little distance through the air. This
is the Fringed Tree Gecko, which is found in
Java. Sometimes it is called the Flying
Gecko; but it does not really fly. If you
could examine it, you would find that the
sides of its body, limbs, and tail were fringed
with a kind of
/ broad web, some-
/thing like that
which we may
see between the
toes of a frog's
I hind feet. When
the lizard wishes
to leap this web
is spread out, so
that the air buoys
the animal up
---7-7 -- just as it buoys
7 .';-'. --. up an oyster-shell
--- if we throw it
', :-- edgeways, and
', enables it to
I spring to some
t s little distance.
In some parts
Sof the world
geckos are
thought to be
very venomous,
and people will
not bIn.I lIe them
lest they should
bite, or pour out
some deadlypoi-
son from the fleshy pads upon their toes.
One kind of gecko has even been supposed
to spit out its poison to a distance of several
feet. In reality, however, all these curious
little reptiles are quite harmless, and we
might handle them without the least fear of
receiving any injury.





NOW let us look at the two little lizards in
this cage. They are called Chame-
leons ; and they are perhaps the very strangest
creatures in the Reptile House.
First I want you to look at their eyes.
How large they are! Yes, they are almost
as large as peas; and that, in a little creature

the cage. One of his eyes is looking for-
wards, in front of his body; and the other is
looking backwards, towards his tail! Now
he moves one eye slowly round, while the
other keeps quite still! How very odd it
Yes; and it is odder still to find that one

-1 '~~ltF

not more than six inches long, is very large
indeed. But notice what very odd eyelids
they have. These eyelids are not like ours,
which move up and down. Indeed, they do
not move at all. They cover up almost the
whole of the eyes; and just in the middle of
each is a tiny round hole, through which the
animal sees.
But even this is not the strangest thing
about these eyes. What would you think if
I were to tell you that they can be moved in
different ways at once? Very likely you
would hardly believe it; yet it is quite true.
Just look at that chameleon in the corner of

eye can be fast asleep, while the other is wide
awake Sometimes, too, it appears as if one
side of the chameleon's body wanted to go
one way, while the other side wanted to
go another Indeed, it really seems at times
as if a chameleon were made up of the halves
of two different animals, which had been fas-
tened together down the middle.
Next, I must tell about the chameleon's
tongue. I wish that he would put it out of
his mouth for you to look at. But he only
does this when he is catching a fly; and then
it goes out and in again so quickly that there
is no time to see it. You would be surprised


to find how long it is; more than half as long
as his whole body when he stretches it out.
So, without moving, a chameleon can catch a
fly quite four inches away.
The tip of this curious tongue is covered
with a kind of gum, so that the fly sticks to
it the moment it is touched, and is carried
back with it into the mouth.
But a chameleon does not catch many flies,
for he takes so long in making up his mind
to try, that very often indeed the fly escapes.


But he can go for a very long time without
food; and even if he should get nothing to eat
forfour orfive monthshe seems nonethe worse.
Indeed, a chameleon is very, very slow in
all his movements. He never runs, like other
lizards; he never walks; he never even
crawls. He will lift one foot into the air,
and then will seem to go fast asleep for
five or ten minutes, before putting it down.
Then he will take a long rest. Next, perhaps,
he will very slowly uncoil his tail, which has
been twisted round a branch ; and after an-
other rest he will twist it round the branch
again, a little higher up. Then he will not
move at all for at least a quarter of an hour.
At the end of that time, perhaps, he will lift

anotherfoot. Sothatifhetravelsayardin a day,
he thinks that he has had rather a long walk!
But the strangest thing of all about a
chameleon is that he is able to change his
colour! Indeed, he often does so several
times in a single day. Look at the two
chameleons in this cage. One is green, with
a pinkish brown stripe along each side, pink

cheeks, and a broad green bar across the
middle of his eye : the other is also green,
but with a red bar and a number of red spots
upon his sides. But if you were to come
and look at them an hour or two later on,
most likely you would think that they had
been taken away, and two other chameleons
put in their places. For one might be slaty
grey all over, and the other yellowish blue !
Perhaps one, or both, might be mottled with
patches of yellow. Very possibly the two
sides of their bodies might be coloured quite
differently; and even while you were looking
at them their colours might change again.
One very odd habit that chameleons have
is that of taking a deep breath, and puffing
themselves out with air. Very often, when
they do this, they make their bodies look
twice as big as they really are.





N OW let us go and look at some of the
Here are several very big ones, in a glass
cage all by themselves. What great creatures
they look! This one near the front of the
cage, whichis lying .,-_
half buried in the
earth at the bot-
tom, must be quite ''
eight inches long, J
while he is so fat
that we cannot
help wondering
how he manages
to drag himself
along. And the
others are. very
nearly as big.
These are called
Giant Toads, be-
cause of their great
size, andthey come C'j ,n_- ---
from Brazil. I -- -
wish that you could
see them eating;
it is so amusing to
watch them. Perhaps one of them catches
sight of a fly, sitting an inch or two away.
For a few moments he seems to take no
notice of it at all, and you would think
that he did not know it was there. But
he is watching it all the time with his little
bright eyes; and quite suddenly the fly disap-
pears. What has become of it? The toad
does not seem to have moved. Yet he has
caught the fly and swallowed it.
But how?
I will tell you. Toads have tongues quite
different from yours and mine. Our tongues
have their roots in our throats and their tips
lying just inside our lips. But a toad's tongue
is turned the other way round. That has its

root just inside the lips, while its tip is down
the throat. And so the toad can thrust it out
of his mouth for a very long way. You can
put only a small part of your tongue out of
your mouth : but the toad can put out nearly

the whole of his. And then, besides, it is a
very gummy tongue.
So, when a toad sees a fly, he just flicks
out his tongue, very quickly, and touches it
with the tip. The fly sticks to this, of course,
and is carried into the toad's mouth and
down his throat as the tongue flies back to
its place.
These big toads, however, are not generally
fed with flies, for they would want so many
that it would be very difficult to supply them.
They have worms given to them instead.
Sometimes a worm is rather too big for a
toad, and tries to wriggle out of his mouth.
Then the toad crams it back again with his
Sfore paws, which he uses just as if they were


hands. And very soon the poor worm is
There is one very curious thing that a toad
eats sometimes. You would never guess
what it is, so I must tell you. Its own skin.
You must know that every now and then a
toad throws off its skin and appears in a new
one, which has been forming underneath it.
And as often as it does this it takes its old

cast-off coat, rolls it up into a ball, and
swallows it at one gulp!
I wonder if you know how to tell a toad
from a frog. A great manypeople do not;
and yet it is very easy to do so.
Just look at these toads before us now.
Do you not see what rough, dry skins they
have, all covered with lumps and pimples?
A toad's skin is always like this; but that of
a frog is quite smooth and slippery, so that it
is very difficult indeed to hold the animal in
one's hand.
Then frogs hop along the ground, by

means of their long hind legs. Toads, how-
ever, only crawl; so that even without pick-
ing it up you can tell whether one of these
animals is a toad or a frog.

IN another cage close by are some English
toads. They are a great deal smaller than
the giant toads, and yet they are very much
like them. They have the same rough, warty
.------ skin, the same
beautiful eyes, and
the same curious
Tongue; and they
S- i live upon just the
/.' same food, and eat
-' it in just the same
One of these days,
perhaps, you may
w r find a toad, and
S want to keep it for
a little while as a
pet. If so, you
need not be afraid
to pick it up, for it
( cannot hurt you in
anyway at all. You
S may feed it with
small beetles, or
with the odd little
pill millepedes
which are so common under dead leaves, and
roll themselves up into tiny balls the moment
one touches them. Or if you put it in a green-
house or a cucumber frame it will feed itself,
and be very useful in keeping down the

ANOTHER kind of toad is found in some
parts of England. It is much more active
than the common toad, and runs about
almost like a lizard. This toad is called the
Natterjack, and you may know it by the
yellow stripe which runs along its back.




THERE are a great many Frogs in the
Reptile House, and they are such very
interesting creatures that we must not pass
them by without stopping for a little while to
look at them.
Here are some Bull Frogs, which were
brought from North America.
What --cry bi, fellows they are Surely
they air: a rciat ijel l: aer
than ,... EKn_.li. -,.. ?
Y es if ', i..1 .:!' t- ith. ,i 1 h

their hind legs straight out behind them, you
would find that they were about fifteen inches
long, from the tips of their noses to the tips of
their toes. Sometimes they grow even bigger
than this,andbull frogs havebeencaught which
measured no less than twenty-one inches long!
Of course they can leap very well. Indeed,
they ought to be able to do so with such
great, strong hind legs. A bull frog, when it
is frightened, will sometimes clear ten feet of
ground at a single bound, while it can easily
spring over a fence five feet high! And it

leaps along so rapidly, that even a swift run-
ner can scarcely overtake it.
During the greater part of the year bull
frogs are only found singly. But when the
time comes for the eggs to be laid, they
gather together in large companies, and make

Oi, i. i !i -.T a t hitl ei r croakrii th-it they
can be heard from a very great distance. So
loud is this croaking, that those who have
heard it say that it ought rather to be called
" bellowing" ; and they also tell us that if any
one has to pass the night near one of the
swamps where these frogs live it is quite
impossible for him to go to sleep.
As many as five or six hundred frogs are
sometimes found in one of these companies.
Bull frogs are said to be very good to eat,
and in some parts of North America there
are "frog farms," where they are carefully
bred and fattened for the market. Only the
hind legs are eaten, and the flesh upon them

;~ r


is said to be quite as good as that of the
most delicate chicken. In Chicago, indeed,
these frogs are called "water chickens," in
consequence. And no less than two thousand
pounds' weight of their legs are often sold in
New York in the course of a single day.
Sometimes the bull frog is caught in a very
curious way, with a rod and line, just like a
fish. The bait, which is almost always a live
insect, is drawn along the ground just in front

of the frog, who is almost sure to spring at
it, only to find itself hooked.
But bull frogs do not live entirely upon in-
sects. They are very fond of snails and slugs,
of which they eat a great many; and they
have also been known to swallow small cray-
fish, young snakes, and even chickens. And
where these frogs are plentiful it is hardly
possible to bring up a brood of ducklings;
for one after another the little birds are drag-
ged under water and devoured.

Now let us look at the Tree Frogs. There
are several in this glass cage.
But whereabouts are they? We cannot
see them.
Can you not? Look again. Do you not

see one resting among those leaves ? Its body
is of such a bright green colour that you did
not notice it. There is another, just at the
back of the cage. And look, there is a third,
clinging to that upright branch.
But how did it manage to perch itself up
there ? And how does it contrive to hold on ?
Look at its feet, and you will see. Each
toe, you notice, has a round fleshy pad at the
tip. Now these pads are just like those on
the feet of the geckos,'
about which we were
reading a month or two
ago; and by their help
the frog can even climb

up an upright pane
of glass, or hang with
Sits head downwards
from the under side of
a leaf.
The tree frog finds its bright green colour
very useful to it as it sits upon a leaf, for
insects do not notice it, and crawl within reach
of its tongue. Every now and then it throws
off its skin, and appears in a new one; and
as often as it does this it rolls up its old gar-
ment into a ball and swallows it, just as the
toad does.
There is one very curious frog about
which I must tell you, although it is not to be
seen just at present in the Reptile House.
This is the Pouched Frog, which is found in
South America. Instead of leaving her eggs
to hatch in the water, as other frogs do, the
mother frog places them in a large pouch on
her back, and carries them about with her
until the little tadpoles are hatched !



THE REPTILE HOUSE.- (Continued.)

CLOSE by the Frogs are some Salaman-
These are rather pretty little creatures,
about five inches long, with a row of big yellow
spots upon their sides. They look very much
like small lizards, do they not? Yet they are
not really lizards at all.
Let me tell you why.
True lizards are lizards all through their
lives. Except, of course, that they are very

longer. Then you would see that two tiny
little legs were appearing, just behind the
head. A few days later you would see that a
second pair of legs were coming, just at the
root of the tail. Then two little nostrils
would begin to show themselves, and at the
same time the gills would become smaller
and smaller, until at last they would disappear
entirely, while lungs would have been grow-
ing in their place. And by that time the


tiny, they are just as perfect when they first
come out of the eggs as they are when they
are quite grown up. But salamanders, when
they come out from the eggs, are not perfect
salamanders at all; they are only tadpoles.
They live in the water, just like the tadpoles
of the toad and the frog. They have no
nostrils and no lungs, but breathe by means
of gills, like the fishes. They have no legs,
and no real body, but are just big round
heads, with little wavy tails. And by the help
of these tails they manage to swim about.
But if you could watch them, day after
day, you would find that they changed their
form very quickly. First you would notice
that each of the little tadpoles was beginning
to get a body, and that the tail was becoming

little creatures would be tadpoles no longer,
but true salamanders; and they would crawl
out of the water, and live all the rest of their
lives upon dry land.
Thus salamanders are something like
newts, and something like toads and frogs.
They keep their tails all their lives, as newts
do; but they live upon dry land, like toads
and frogs.
In olden days people were very much
afraid of salamanders; and in some parts of
the world they are afraid of them even now.
They think that the little creatures are very
poisonous, and that if they bite a man he is
quite sure to die. So when they see one
they will jump upon it, and crush the poor
thing to death.


Now really the salamander is quite harm-
less. Its teeth are so tiny that they could not
possibly pierce your skin, and you might pick
it up, and even put your finger in its mouth,
without any danger at all.
But it is poisonous to other lizards, and
even to snakes. If you look at a salaman-
der's body, you will notice that it is covered
with little wart-like lumps. Now inside these
lumps .1 :ll__
quant it y ..
milky lu id ,a
if a liard,:,ra
snake -ei.:a- -
salam a i.I.-r. a -

little of this fluid is squeezed out into
its mouth. And before very long the
reptile is dead.
It used to be thought, too, many years
ago, that if a salamander ran over the
roots of an apple tree, all the fruit
would fall off. Of course this is quite
absurd. But the strangest belief about the
animal was, that it could put out a blazing
fire People really believed that when a sala-
mander saw a fire it ran straight into it, and
that the fire at once went out! Of course we
know better now, and are only amused to hear
what very strange things men used to believe.
Salamanders are very seldom seen abroad

during the daytime, for they do not like the
light, and hide themselves away in some dark
corner where they are not likely to be found.
At nightfall they come out from their hiding-
places, and begin to search for the tiny
insects upon which they feed. During the
winter, of course, there are no insects to be
found; so the salamanders bury themselves
in the ground, fall fast asleep, and do not
ak\ k ul. i, .:in LIMtIh thle 'spring.
i.\i Ith l:n. tin:, tihe., r- eaher
~ecat. r:not driik, r,,or L.rc, thc.and
_cl th cr l'.*:,.,. harIl, flows

tlhr-..ii h l,. l, .I .. T his
is called mlernazllg.

ANOTHER kind of salaman-
____der is to be seen in the Rep-
tileHouse. Thisiscalledthe-
Giant Salamander, and well
deserves its name, for it is of-
ten more than three feet long.
It does not live on dry land, like the common
salamander, but remains in the water all its life,
feeding upon eels and other kinds of fishes.
We cannot see very much of it, for it does
not like the light, and always hides in the
darkest corner of its tank. And it is so like.
the rockwork in colour that it is very hard to
distinguish it.



THE REPTILE HOUSE.--(Conlinued.)

IT will take us some little time to work our
way through the Snakes. There are a
very great many of them, and they are very
wonderful creatures, so that if I were to tell
you half of what is known about them I
should have to write quite a big book. So we
will only look at a few, and we will begin with
one which is very common in many parts of
our own country.
This is the Grass Snake, or Ringed Snake,
as it is sometimes called. It is quite harm-
less. It has no poison-fangs at all, and its
teeth are so small
that they could not
pierce our skin. But -
it has the curious-
power, when it wish-
es, of pouring out a
most horrible odour
upon anythingwhich
it touches. So, if we
were to pick up .
one of these snakes,
our hands would
smell very nasty in- .
deed for many an
hour afterwards, -
even if we washed -
them carefully over ,-
and over again. .
Very often coun- -
trypeople think that
this snake is an ad- "
der, and are very
much afraid of it in
consequence. But you can always tell it from
an adder by the bright yellow patch on either
side of its neck. The true adder does not
possess this patch; so, when you see a snake
with a yellow neck, you may be quite sure
that it is not an adder, and that it cannot
hurt you.

Just look at that snake as it glides along
the side of its cage. You notice that it does
not gather its body into a row of loops, as
we sometimes see it doing in pictures, but
that it lies flat upon the ground, and winds its
way along in a very easy and graceful man-

/ / -

I' i. -

rn.-r. No, in order to
u l.-Ii -r.1,,.I. Iow the
r l.ill,.- .!,..' : this, w e
21I.:.il.l I'~i ,. first to
tlui it -. .r upon its
back, and then to kill

it and open its body.
When we turned it over, we should find
that the scales upon the lower part of its
body were quite different from those on the
upper. Instead of being small and narrow,
we should see that they were large and broad,
and that they were more like horny plates.




than scales. Now the snake can raise and
lower these plates as it wishes; and each has
a sharp edge. So, when the scales are raised,
the edges take hold of the ground; and by
first raising those in front and then those
behind, and constantly drawing up its body,
the snake is able to travel along almost as
fast as a man can walk.
But how are the scales raised ?
We cannot answer that question without
knowing something about the inside of a
snake's body. If we were to take a
dead snake and open it, we should
find that it had a very great number
of ribs. We ourselves have only twelve
,.. .. ,^ ^

/; t=" x

pairs of ribs; but some snakes have nearly
three hundred. And each pair of these ribs,
instead of being jointed to the breast-bone, is
fastened to one of the long horny plates.
So, you see, by moving its ribs forwards the
snake can raise its scales; and by moving
them backwards it can lower them. And it

is by doing this, with one pair of ribs after
another, that the snakes glides along.
The grass snake feeds chiefly upon frogs.
Perhaps we might think that a frog, when it
saw its enemy, could easily hop away. But
strange to say, as soon as it catches sight of
a snake, it seems to lose its powers of leap-
ing. All that it does is to crawl slowly along,
just as if it had been badly injured; and
the snake glides quietly up, seizes it, and
begins to swallow it.
This always takes some
little time. The snake
seizes one foot of the frog
S at first, and soon succeeds
in getting the whole leg
I into its mouth. Then it
/ waits until the frog tries to
S force itself away with the
0 other foot, when it seizes
S/ i that too, and swallows it
in like manner. Then the
body and fore legs follow;
and in a few min-
utes the poor frog
i has quite disap-
This snake is a
very good swim-
mer, and sometimes
/ it will dive beneath
<^ the surface, and lie
for a long time at
the bottom of the
Early in the sum-
mer the grass snake
{ -dK"- lays its eggs, which
are something like
those of a bird, except that they are covered
with a tough skin instead of a brittle shell.
A number of these eggs are always fastened
together in a long string, and the snake
generally buries them in a heap of dead
leaves, so that they may be hatched out by
the heat.





N EXT we will look at the Viper, or Adder,
as it is more often called.
This, like the Grass Snake, is found in
Great Britain; only,
while it is quite com-
mon in some places,
it is never seen in /
others. It is mostly
found on sandy
heaths, and on hot
days is very fond of
basking in the sun.
If it hears an ap-
proaching footstep
it will almost always V,
glide quickly away. .
But sometimes it
falls fast asleep; and
once I very nearly
trod upon a viper as
it lay coiled up on a
sandy hillock, and
only saw it just in
It was very for-
tunate that I did
not touch it; for, if I had done so, it
would almost certainly have twisted round
and bitten my leg. And though the bite
of a viper very seldom kills a man, it
almost always makes him very ill for
some little time.
You must not think that a viper bites
with all its teeth. Its true teeth, indeed,
are very small, and quite harmless, like those
of the grass snake. But it has two poison-
fangs, which are placed in the front part of the
upper jaw. When these fangs are not being
used, they lie back upon the roof of the
mouth. But as soon as the snake lifts up its
head to strike they start forward, and are
then ready for use.

Sometimes people think that a snake's little
forked tongue is its sting, and are very much
afraid of it. But this is a great mistake. The

- .9_/

/ /,

tongue is not poisonous at all, and even if a
venomous snake were to lick your hand it
would not hurt you in the least.
But the fangs are very formidable weapons
indeed, because as soon as they pierce the
skin they force a tiny drop of poison into the
wound. And this poison, although it will not
often kill a man, is strong enough to make


his leg or his arm swell up to nearly double
its size, and to cause a great deal of pain for
several days.
Now let me tell you how this poison is
forced into the wound.
In the first place, then, it is formed in a
kind of little bag, or gland, which lies inside
the snake's head, not very far from the root
of the fangs. The fangs themselves are
hollow, and a little tube runs from
their root into the bag of poison. So,
when the snake bites, a small drop
of the poison is forced out of the
bag, along the tube, through the fang, i
and so into the flesh of the victim.

-, I.

I t- L ter L,) t C Ut 0.: -,.[1 CI'e '-'lIn S" 'i .''I C',
th,: h C: u t] '.l ,.1.-- ,.-1 'o i[":" ':.'u \,:,.,ild I..:
able to see the passage through it quite
easily; and you would also notice, just below
the point, a hole about the size and shape of
the eye of a fine needle. This is the hole
through which the poison enters the wound.
You will remember that, when we were
talking about the grass snake, I told you that
you might always know it by the bright yellow

patch on either side of its head. The viper
does not possess this patch; and, moreover,
it has a chain of zigzag black markings run-
ning from its head along its back. So, if
ever you should find a viper, you may know
at once that it is dangerous, and had better
be let alone.
Like the grass snake, the viper is fond of
eating frogs; but as these are not often to be
found in the sandy heaths where it loves to
dwell, it feeds chiefly upon small animals,
such as shrews and field mice. But, if neces-
sary, it can go for a
Long time without
food. We should be
very hungry if we
had to pass a single
o day without eating;
/ -but aviperwillgofor
.'' .' a month, or even
more, without a
meal, and seem none
--- the worse. When it
is caught and keptin
Sa cage, indeed, it
Very seldom seems
to care to eat; and
sometimes a captive
--- .. viper will actually
starve itselfto death.
When autumn
comes, the viper be-
comes very sluggish,
and only leaves its
retreat upon very
i ~.irin .\ n. all through the winter it lies
Ii ..-n i: ..: iii u .Jcr the ground in a deep sleep,
like the dormouse and the hedgehog, without
either eating, or drinking, or breathing.

THE common Blindworm, or Slowworm, is
often mistaken for a snake. But, in reality,.
it is not a snake at all, but a lizard; and of
course it is perfectly harmless.



THE REPTILE HOUSE.--(Continued.)
W HAT is this stoutly-built snake, with a long you would be quite well again. The
heart-shaped head and a short, stumpy bite of a puff adder, however, would kill you
tail, which is lying half-buried in the sand at almost directly. No matter how slightly you
the bottom of its cage? were bitten you would be dead in about half-
That is a Puff Adder. It is so called an-hour, and nothing could be done to save
because it has an odd way, when it is angry, your life. For its poison is so strong, that

I '^ i s!/ < B^ i

__ 1e

of pzffing out its body, until it is nearly twice
its proper size. And it is one of the most
dangerous snakes in the world.
In its upper jaw it has two poison-fangs,
very much like those of the viper about
which we were reading last month. But its
bite is very much worse than that of a viper.
If a viper were to bite you, no doubt you
would suffer a great deal of pain, and the
part which was bitten would swell very much,
and most likely you would feel very weak and
ill for several days; but then the effects of
the poison would pass off, and before very

evna horse quickly
d-i- after a prick
,/ '-- r.-.n those terrible

Eut it is not only
tle.- strength of its
..,-, .,;: Thiit i ,il;. tl-,l: snake so much
I-.-t.:.i.~,111 tlin, i:.ri,-rs. M any snakes
-.". .i .: ... ii.-. i.:.u. ii thepuffadder;
da.d yct ilIcy do not kill nearly so many
people. And the reason is this. Nearly all
snakes are very timid; and, when they hear an
approaching footstep, they glide away as fast
as they can, so that a man is not very often
bitten by them. But the puff adder is very
sluggish, and likes to lie partly buried in the
sand and nearly asleep, just as this one is lying
at the bottom of his cage now. And the con-
sequence is that many people tread upon him
without noticing him, and are only made aware
of his presence when they feel the sharp prick
of his deadly fangs.
The natives of that part of Africa where


the puff adder lives make use of his poison
for the purpose of tipping their arrows. And
they catch him in a very bold and daring
way. Let us suppose that one of these
savages sees a puff-adder dozing in the hot
sunshine. Creeping quietly up behind the
reptile, he suddenly springs forward, and
plants one of his bare feet across its neck.
The snake at once begins to writhe and twist
about; but it cannot escape, because it is
held so firmly down, and it cannot bite,
because its neck is not free. Then the

savage leans forward, cuts off its head with
his knife or the edge of his spear, and then
takes out the two little bags in which the
poison is lying. There is not very much of
this poison, for the bags are quite small; but
he gets enough from each snake to tip several
arrows. And these are so deadly that when
a man, or even a lion, is wounded by one of
them, he is quite sure to die.
In order to prevent these arrows from
wounding himself, the savage hunter always
carries them in a carefully made case, which
keeps the points closely covered up.
The Hottentots kill the puff-adder in quite
a different way. Knowing that the juice of

tobacco is quickly fatal to it, they irritate the
reptile with a long stick which has been
smeared with the poisonous liquid. The
snake darts forward, snaps at the stick, and
in a very few moments is lying dead upon
the ground.
It is not very easy to describe the colour
of a puff-adder, because all puff-adders are
not alike. But the body is mostly of a dull
brown, marked with spots and streaks of
darker brown and white, and there is a
reddish band between the eyes.

THE Horned Viper is another very danger-
ous snake, and has just the same habit of
lying half asleep in the hot sun as the puff-
adder. It is called the "horned" viper from
the two odd little horns just behind its eyes..
These horns are really scales, in an altered
form; and the Arabs have an odd belief, to
the effect that if one of the horns is pounded
into dust, and rubbed on a man's eyelids, he
will be able to see all the wealth of the
world !
The horned viper generally leaps sideways
at its victim; and it is said to be able to
spring to a distance of at least three feet.





N OW we come to a very curious and inter-
esting snake indeed.
This is the Cobra, of which several ex-
amples are almost always to be seen in the
Reptile house. It is rather a large snake-
six feet long sometimes, and as big round as
a man's arm. And you can always tell it by
the odd black mark-something like a pair of
spectacles-on the Lbck .:t' t rasn:. i\ l- .:
a cobra is angry, or aI:.:itr t:, ,trik .- 1 ..t..

a ... .. ~ "*
'~ /- --: -_.. .

2 v

it spreads this part of its body out in a very
strange way, so as to look like a kind of hood.
The common cobra is chiefly found in
India, where it is very plentiful indeed. As
it is one of the dangerous snakes, a price is
set on its head, and a small sum is paid for
every dead cobra that is brought in; and
sometimes as many as two hundred thousand
cobras are killed in a single year. Yet their
numbers do not seem to grow less, and every
year thousands upon thousands of men,
women, and children die from their terrible

Once a cobra bit a man and killed him in
these very Gardens. His victim was one of
the keepers, who came to the snake cages
one day when he was nearly tipsy, seized a
cobra by the tail, and began to swing it
round and round his head. As he tried to
put it back into its cage, however, the snake

-"" ', ]. -i .-


darted at his face, and bit him just between
the eyes; and in a little more than an hour
he was dead.
Although it is so poisonous, many of the
natives of India earn their living by catching
and taming the cobra. These men are
mostly called "snake-charmers"; and they
go to work in a very curious way. Sitting
down in front of a hole in which a cobra is
known to have taken up its abode, they begin
to play a slow tune upon a kind of wooden
pipe. Before very long, the snake is sure to
come out; and then, instead of darting at


the charmer, it rears its body, spreads its
hood, and begins to dance up and down, as it
were, in time to the music. After this strange
performance has gone on for a little time, the
charmer, still playing, stretches out one hand
very slowly and carefully indeed, and seizes
the serpent by the neck. It writhes about,
of course, and twists its body round his arm,
and does its very best to bite; but he holds
it firmly at arm's length, and at last manages
to put it into an earthenware vessel which
he has brought with him. Then, perhaps, he
will take it home and train it, so that if any-

1' .'


.../,~ ~, -

one wants to see some snake-charming, he
may always have a cobra ready. And as
often as he plays on his pipe, it is said, the
snake will come out and dance up and down,
just as it did when it was first captured.
Sometimes the charmer pulls out the fangs
of the cobra as soon as he catches it, so as
to render it harmless. But very often he
does not take the trouble to do this; and
many a charmer has been bitten and killed
by a cobra which seemed to be perfectly tame.
Many of the natives of India think that it
is very "lucky to have a cobra in the house,
just as some silly people in England think that

it is "lucky" to find a horse-shoe lying in the
road. So if one of these snakes finds his
way indoors they do not disturb him, but
allow him to take up his abode in some quiet
corner. And every evening they will put out
for him a saucer of milk, of which he is
exceedingly fond.
Once the life of an English officer was
saved by a knowledge of this fact. While
he was sitting at table he felt something cold
pressing against his leg; and on looking
down he saw that it was a cobra. He knew
that if he moved the snake would bite him;
so he sat perfectly still, and
and:eJ ot, o I,,, brother
t.ricorsr t:, I.it :p saucer of
nll. :n thl: :o. As soon
.1 th, -. .:.ir tlie cobra

moved away to drink it, and then, of course,
was easily killed.

IN a cage close by is a different kind of
cobra, which comes from Africa. This is
called the Haje,or Spitting Snake, because it
is said to spit poison at its enemies, besides
wounding them with its fangs. It is a very
fierce snake; and those who have often met
with it say that it very seldom glides away
when it hears a footstep, as other snakes do,
but at once rears up, spreads its hood, and
makes ready to bite.





N OW we come to a very deadly snake England, and have never heard the sound
indeed, of which there are several before, are just as much frightened as those
examples in the Reptile House. This is the which live in the same country.
well-known Rattlesnake, of North America. The number of the horny joints in a rattle-
Its poison is so powerful that, when a human snake's tail is not always the same. Some
being is bitten, death sometimes follows in a snakes have only five or six joints, and others
very few minutes.
What is that cu-
rious object at the
end of the rattle-
snake's tail?
That is the fa-
mous "rattle,"
from which the
snake takes its
name. It is made
up of a number of
horny rings, placed
rather loosely one
inside another .
And when the rep-
tile shakes its tail,
they make a loud
rattling noise,
which can be
heard for some
little distance.
The rattlesnake
always does this
when it is angry or alarmed. It rests with its fourteen or fifteen. Once a rattlesnake was
tail held upright in the midst of its coils, killed which had a tail of more than twenty
Then, if it is interfered with, or if it hears a joints. The North American Indians believe
footstep, it begins to shake its tail rapidly that every joint signifies a human life, and
backwards and forwards, so that anyone pass- that as often as a rattlesnake bites a man and
ing by is warned of his danger. If it were kills him it adds another joint to its tail. But
not for this curious habit, there can be no of course this is not true. Other people
doubt that great numbers of people would think that one joint is added every year, when
be bitten by rattlesnakes every year. the rattlesnake changes its skin; so that by
Animals always become very much alarmed counting the joints in its tailwe can tell how old
when they hear the rattle of this deadly ser- it is. But this does not seem to be true either.
pent. And it is said that even horses and Did you know that snakes change their
dogs which have just been brought over from skin ? They do, regularly. At a certain


time of the year the old skin loses its colour,
splits open, and shows a bright new skin
underneath. Then the snake wriggles and
twists about, rubs itself against the surround-
ing objects, and at last manages to creep out
of its old garment. Sometimes, when you
are walking through a wood, you may find the
skin of a common grass snake, which has
been cast off in this way.
Rattlesnakes are very common in some
parts of North America. Perhaps we might
think that hunters, who have to sleep on the
ground all night, would
very often be bitten by
them. But every hunter
knows that snakes will
never crawl over a cord
made of hair. So, before
he lies down, he lays a. -

Towards the end of autumn rattlesnakes
always disappear. They do not like cold
weather, so they take refuge in some snug
hiding-place before the winter begins. They
are very fond of concealing themselves under
the long moss which grows in damp places,
and every year numbers of them are found
and killed in their retreats.
Besides the common rattlesnake, several
other kinds of these deadly serpents are
known. We may see examples of two of
these in the Reptile House. One is the

/Jo,4 /ed/5JL~h~

rope made of horsehair upon the ground, so
as to form a circle round him. And then he
can go to sleep quite safely, for no snake will
ever come inside the magic ring.
Pigs are said not to be at all afraid of
rattlesnakes. Perhaps it is because their
bodies are so clothed with fat that, when they
are bitten, the poison never passes into their
blood at all. When they find a deadrattlesnake
they always eat it; and when they are allowed
to run in the woods they will even kill these
deadly serpents for themselves. It is even said
that in some parts of North America rattle-
snakes have been quite destroyed by the pigs!

Water Rattlesnake, which is found in the
marshy parts of Central America; and
the other is the Horrid Rattlesnake of
These two snakes grow to a much greater
size than the common rattlesnake, for both
have been known to exceed eight feet in
length. They feed upon frogs, mice, rats,
and small birds. It is said that when one of
these creatures catches sight of its enemy it
seems to lose the power of moving, and
remains quite still until the snake glides up
and captures it. But most likely this is not



THE REPTILE HOUSE.--(Continued.)


C LOSE to the cages in which the rattle-
snakes are kept is another, which con-
tains a Water Viper. This is a very curious
and interesting snake, and we must not pass
it by without stopping for just a few minutes
to look at it.
It is not at all a large snake-not more

strikes, always shakes that curious tail about
which we were reading last month, and so
warns the passer-by of its presence. But the
water viper has no rattle, and gives no warn-
ing at all; and its spring is so sudden, and so
quick,,that people have very good reason
indeed to be afraid of the snake.

than two feet long,
at the most. Yet in
the countries inwhich 64tA ,tA
it lives it is more
dreaded than even the rattlesnake itself.
This is not because it is more poisonous
than the rattlesnake; for the bite of either
snake is almost sure to kill the person who is
wounded by the terrible fangs. It is because
the water viper is much more ready to attack
anyone who is passing by. The rattlesnake,
although it has such deadly weapons, is a
very timid snake. If it is startled, or alarmed,
it will always try to creep quietly away. But
the water viper remains where it is, and
makes ready to spring.
Then, again, the rattlesnake, before it

At the bottom of the water
viper's cage is a large pan of
water. What is that for?
For the snake to lie in. It is very fond of
water, and is never found very far from a
pool or a stream. That is why it is called
the water viper. At the same time, it is very
fond of basking in the sun. So, in order to
do this, and yet be able to enter the water at a
moment's notice, it likes to climb a tree on
the bank of a river, and coil itself up on one
of the branches which overhang the stream.
Then, if the sun should be clouded over,
or if it should feel hungry, all that it has
to do is to drop into the water and swim away.


For it is a very good swimmer. It can
drive itself through the water quite fast by
waving its tail from side to side; and it can
dive, too, when it wishes, and remain below
the surface for quite a long time. If it could
not do this it would very soon starve to death,
for it feeds chiefly
upon fishes. Arnd o: t
course it must 1-c able
to pursue ani r-ir.
take them.
It seems -
rather odd -
to find a -.
snake so
fond of the
water, does .
it not? But
even our
common n
English grass E-a.e lke
a bath at time_, andi ail
sometimes enter r a : t r,. a ri .
and lie at the '_-:.tto:,m fr A
some little time. OIi1iv a
short time agoi. \l-nn I '
was staying ir, ii-.- Nc '
Forest, I startkel -.:e ,.,
these snakes, v. i, .:h i .i -
gliding quiet l aionii,
through the g --.. A .i
instantly it turnte.. aiie, '~
made for a br,:,:k cl.:.
by, and disapp-eared- bene ii tI l
surface of the water.
There are ince -ak,-, t-,o.
which scarcely e' er '-reeri to l i e --
the water at all. iOnr : tiie-, I-
called by the curious namdin ot til
Shooter Sun. It lives in the sea,
off the coast of India, and never seems to come
on shore at all except to lay its eggs. These
it buries in the sand, just above high water
mark, so that when the little snakes hatch out
they may be able to enter the sea without
any difficulty.
If this snake is captured, and placed upon

dry land, it seems very unhappy and ill at
ease, and can only crawl very awkwardly
and clumsily along. And if it is kept out
of the sea for more than a day or two, it
The nostrils of the shooter sun are formed
in such a
Sayv that
t1 h- y can
-b tightly
cl-o:ed when

d- I op of

i eitr them.

NOT very

Sweater viper's
s ca.e is one
Sl ir w''.h con-
s an -l-rd, trins an
ae:.:aiple of

rlhe swim-
S[iinoni1 snakes.
TI is is the
I Iciisvery
SI!ejtiful in
,ornoe of the
nijore south-
ern States of
North Ame-
ri,:a, and is
rceat ly
dreaded on
i account of
its poison, which is quite as deadly as that
of the rattlesnake. It does not live entirely
in the water, like the shooter sun, but
enters it now and then, as the water viper
does. It swims quite well enough to capture
fishes, but also feeds upon small birds, toads,
frogs, and lizards.




THIS month let me tell you something
about two other snakes, which are both
very plentiful in many parts of North Ame-
rica. We may almost always see two or three
examples of each in the Reptile House.
The first of these is the Hog-nosed Snake.
That seems a very odd name to give to a
snake, does it not? But it is a very suitable
one indeed. The snake is not at all a hand-

some creature; and, if you look at it side-
ways, you will see that its head looks very
much as if the front part had been cut off.
For the muzzle is very short and very blunt,
and is turned up a little at the tip. So that
really it does look very much like the snout
of a hog.
This snake is not a very large one. In-
deed, it very seldom grows to a length of
more than three feet, so that it is really
hardly as big as our common English grass
snake. And, as it has no poison langs, it is
quite harmless.

Yet, in those places where it lives, many
people are very much afraid of it; quite as
much afraid, indeed, as they are of the rattle-
snake. This is partly, perhaps, because its
broad, blunt muzzle gives it a very savage
appearance. But, strange to say, although it
cannot hurt anyone in any way at all, the
snake often behaves just as if it were poison-
ous, and so frightens people who do not

know that it is harmless. For, if it is
touched or interfered with, it utters a loud
and angry hiss, rears up its head and neck,
and darts at its enemy just as if it were
about to strike a deadly blow. But it is only
pretending; for, as I said just now, it has no
fangs at all. Indeed, it does not even open
its mouth; and, even if it were to do so, its
teeth are so tiny that they could not possibly
inflict a serious wound.
If a hog-nosed snake is caught, and finds
that its pretence of being poisonous is of no
avail, it will often pretend to be dead, in the


hope that its captor will throw it down and
go away. So it will hang quite loosely and
heavily in his hand, and allow itself to be
pulled and twisted about without showing
the slightest sign of life. But directly it is
placed upon the ground it glides quickly
away, and is soon snugly hidden in some
place of safety.
This snake feeds upon frogs, toads, lizards,
and certain large insects, which are only
found in damp and marshy places. So it is
nearly always found near the borders of

rivers and pools, and never seems to wander
very far away from the water.

THE second of our two serpents is the
Black Viper.
This is not at all a good name; for, in the
first place, the snake is not entirely black.
Its back and head are very dark indeed, it is
true; but all the lower part of its body is
slaty grey, while its throat is almost white.
And, in the second place, it is not really a
viper. All the true vipers are poisonous
snakes, and have fangs; while the black
viper is not poisonous, and has none. So
that a much more suitable name might have
been found for it.
Although it is perfectly harmless, the black

viper often pretends to be poisonous, just as
the hog-nosed snake does; and it strikes so
sharply, and looks so fierce, that many
people are very much afraid of it. Certainly
its thick body, broad, flat head, and little
glittering eyes do give it a very savage
This snake does not live near the water,
but prefers dry places. It is very fond of
living in pine woods, where it can find plenty
of shelter among the dead, needle-like
leaves, and plenty of mice, lizards, and other

small creatures on which to feed. It is quite
a tiny snake, and is hardly ever more than
about eighteen inches long.

SEVERAL other kinds of snakes are com-
mon in North America. One of these is the
Corn Snake, which is quite harmless, and
destroys so many rats and mice that it is
most useful to the farmer. Then there is the
Chicken snake, which is so called because it
is very apt to get into poultry houses at
night, and devour the young chickens. It
eats rats and mice too, however, so that it is
not altogether mischievous. Indeed, both
these snakes are often tamed and allowed to
live in the house, in order that they may do
the work of a cat !




N OW we come to some o- the most inter-
esting snakes in the Reptile House.
These are the famous Pythons, which are
found in the hotter parts of Africa, Asia, and
Australia. We may call them the giants of
the serpent race; for they are sometimes
more than twenty feet in length, and as big
round as a man's thigh.

These huge snakes capture their victims in
a very curious manner. Seizing them with
their teeth, they coil their bodies round them,
and slowly squeeze them to death. They
are very strong-so strong, indeed, that if a
man were seized by a large python, every
bone in his body would be broken in a few
seconds. And the serpent does not cease to
crush the victim until it is a mere shapeless
mass of flesh.
When one of these snakes seizes its prey
it wraps one of its coils upon another, just as
we put one hand upon the other when we
want to squeeze anything very hard indeed.
Once a keeper in the Reptile House had

HO U SE.--(Continued.)
a very narrow escape from being crushed to
death by one of the pythons. He had
entered the cage to give the serpent a fowl.
The serpent, however, which was just about
to change its skin, could not see very well,
and seized the man's thumb instead of the
bird. In an instant its coils were round his
neck and body. He flung himself upon the
ground, and tried hard to release himself
from the terrible pressure; but if two other

keepers had not fortunately come in just at
that moment, and forced the snake away, he
would certainly have been killed.
When a python seizes an animal, it always
likes to coil its tail round a tree trunk, or a
big stone, so as to obtain what we mostly
call a "purchase."
Sometimes these snakes will seize and kill
animals so big that one would think that they
could not possibly be swallowed. Very often,
indeed, even after it has been crushed into a
shapeless mass, the victim is much bigger
round than the neck of the python. But the
jaws and throat of the serpent are made in a
very curious way. In the first place, the jaw-


bones are not fastened closely together, as
ours are, but can be forced widely apart; and,
in the second, the flesh and skin of the throat
and neck are very elastic. So the big mouth-
ful is swallowed without very much trouble.
After a python has had such a meal, the
outline of its victim can be distinctly seen,
bulging out in the middle of its body !
These snakes do not require to take food
very often. Indeed, they can go for weeks
or even for months without eating, and seem

-none the worse for their long fast. When
they have had a meal, they mostly become
sluggish and torpid; and if the animal swal-
lowed was a large one, they will lie fast
asleep for several days.
It is sometimes said that when a python
has killed a victim, it licks it all over before
proceeding to swallow it. But this is not
true. It is also said that the serpent's
breath is so poisonous, that it kills any
-animal which breathes it. But this is not
true either. Many snakes, no doubt, have a
very unpleasant odour; but this comes, not
from the breath, but from certain glands near
the tail.
Another curious point about the pythons is

that they have legs! It is not easy to see
these limbs, it is true. But if we were to
examine one of these snakes carefully, we
should find a pair of little horny spurs on
the lower surface of its body. And these are
really the hinder legs.
Of course the python does not use these
legs for walking; they are too tiny for that.
It glides along, just like other snakes, by
means of the scaly plates beneath its body.
When a python lays its eggs, it piles them

up into a heap, and then coils its body
closely round them. Then, strange to say,
although it is a cold-blooded animal, it
begins to give out heat. And so it lies,
protecting and warming the eggs, until the
little snakes are hatched out.
One of the pythons in the Reptile House
is lying in a tank of water, with only just its
nostrils above the surface. This is an Indian
Python. It is very fond of the water, and
can swim very well, driving itself along by
means of its long tail. The Malays call this
snake the Ular-sawa. It is rather mischie-
vous, for it is fond of getting into fowl-houses
at night, and destroying the birds as they are
roosting upon their perches.

I .


--- _- -~_
------ -.------




NOW we must go and look at the Boa
Constrictors, of which we can see at
least three different kinds in the Reptile
They are very much like pythons, are they
Yes; they belong to the same family, and
they seize and kill their victims just as the
pythons do.
That is why
they are
called boa
for they con-
strict, or

until it is lit-
a shapeless .
mass of flesh
and broken
They are
hardly ever
found upon f
the ground,
however, as
pythons are,
but live in the trees. When they are looking
out for prey, they coil their tails tightly round
a low branch, and then wait until some small
animal passes beneath them. As soon as it
comes within, reach they dart at it, seize it
with their teeth, and quickly crush it to death
in their folds.
Sometimes they catch a monkey in this
way; and, in consequence, monkeys are very
much afraid of these snakes. When they
catch sight of -one they gather together just
out of its reach and begin to chatter noisily,
so that all the other; monkeys in the neigh-

bourhood know of the presence of their
The true boa constrictor does not grow to,
a very great size. When it is fully grown, it
is between twelve and thirteen feet long.
One of those in the Reptile House is very
nearly as long as this.
Until a few months ago, there were two

boa constrictors in the same cage, one of
which was eleven feet long, and the other
only nine. For a long time they lived very
comfortably together, and never interfered with
one another in any way at all. But, one day,
a sad accident happened. Some pigeons had
been put into the cage, just before the House
was closed for the night; and both snakes
unfortunately seized the same bird. Each
swallowed half the bird, so that their jaws
met; and then, sad to say, the bigger snake
actually swallowed the smaller one, although
only two feet shorter than himself !


So, next morning, when the keepers entered
the house, there was only one boa constrictor
in the cage instead of two. But it was very
easy to see what had happened, for the
snake was nearly double its proper size, and
was stretched stiffly out, instead of being
coiled up as usual! For three whole days,
indeed, it was unable to coil itself under its
blanket. But at the end of that time it
resumed its former size and its usual habits,
and very soon afterwards was hungry enough
to devour a fowl !

Now perhaps we may think that this boa
constrictor must be a dreadful cannibal, to
swallow another snake of its own kind in this
way. But, in reality, it could not help doing
so. The fate of the smaller snake was
sealed as soon as the two seized the same
pigeon. For the teeth of these serpents are
made in such a way that, when once the
victim is seized, they cannot loose their hold.
There are six rows of teeth in all; two
upon the lower jaw, two upon the upper, and
two upon the roof of the mouth. And all
these teeth are strongly hooked, with the
points directed backwards; while every
movement of the jaws serves only to force
the victim towards the throat. So, you see,

when once an animal is fairly seized, it can-
not break away, and the snake cannot release
it; it must be swallowed. And thus, when
the two serpents seized the same bird,
neither could let it go, and the larger of the
two could not help swallowing the smaller!
Another kind of Boa Constrictor is called
the Anaconda. In Mexico, where it lives, it
is often known as the Matatoro, or "bull-
killer," because it is supposed to be big and
strong enough to kill a bull. It grows to
a much greater size than the boa constrictor,


--, r^------- .__

for anacondas more than twenty feet long have
sometimes been killed. But it very seldom
seems to attack any large animal, and feeds
partly on fishes, and partly on the small crea-
tures which come down to the water to drink.
For the anaconda is never found very far
from water. It likes to take up its abode in
a swamp, where it can coil itself up in the
branch of a tree, and watch for victims
passing below. Sometimes it will lie under
water, with only its nostrils projecting above
the surface.
In olden days the anaconda was wor-
shipped by the natives of Mexico, who are
very much afraid of it even now, although it
never seems to attack a man.


~~I';- '~'~.~