Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 127
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 127
 
afterward returning to the same spot. They included big and little white egrets and also the mauve and pearl-colored heron, with a partially black head and many-colored bill, which flies with quick, repeated wing-flappings, instead of the usual slow heron wing-beats.
  In the warehouse were scores of skins of jaguar, puma, ocelot, and jaguarundi, and one skin of the big, small-toothed red wolf. These were all brought in by the cowhands and by friendly Indians, a price being put on each, as they destroyed the stock. The jaguars occasionally killed horses and full-grown cows, but not bulls. The pumas killed the calves. The others killed an occasional very young calf, but ordinarily only sheep, little pigs, and chickens. There was one black jaguar-skin; melanism is much more common among jaguars than pumas, although once Miller saw a black puma that had been killed by Indians. The patterns of the jaguar-skins, and even more of the ocelot-skins, showed wide variation, no two being alike. The pumas were for the most part bright red, but some were reddish gray, there being much the same dichromatism that I found among their Colorado kinsfolk. The jaguarundis were dark brownish gray. All these animals, the spotted jaguars and ocelots, the monochrome black jaguars, red pumas, and dark-gray jaguarundis, were killed in the same locality, with the same environment. A glance at the skins and a moment’s serious though would have been enough to show any sincere thinker that in these cats the coloration pattern, whether concealing or revealing, is of no consequence one way or the other as a survival factor. The spotted patterns conferred no benefit as compared with

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