Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 100
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 100
 
one of them once found a female swimming and diving freely with four quite well-grown young in her pouch.
  We saw on the banks screamers—big, crested waders of archaic type, with spurred wings, rather short bills, and no especial affinities with other modern birds. In one meadow by a pond we saw three marsh-deer, a buck and two does. They stared at us, with their thickly haired tails raised on end. These tails are black underneath, instead of white as in our whitetail deer. One of the vagaries of the ultraconcealing-colorationists has been to uphold the (incidentally quite preposterous) theory that the tail of our deer is colored white beneath so as to harmonize with the sky and thereby mislead the cougar or wolf at the critical moment when it makes its spring; but this marsh-deer shows a black instead of a white flag, and yet has just as much need of protection from its enemies, the jaguar and the cougar. In South America concealing coloration plays no more part in the lives of the adult deer, the tamandu&á, the tapir, the peccary, the jaguar, and the puma than it plays in Africa in the lives of such animals as the zebra, the sable antelope, the wildebeeste, the lion, and the hunting hyena.
  Next day we spent ascending the São Lourenço. It was narrower than the Paraguay, naturally, and the swirling brown current was, if anything, more rapid. The strange tropical trees, standing densely on the banks, were matted together by long bush ropes—lianas, or vines, some very slender and very long. Sometimes we saw brilliant red or blue flowers, or masses of scarlet berries on a queer palmlike tree, or an array of great

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