Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
down while the trumpet sounded and all of us stood at attention. Camp was pitched beside the ranch buildings. In the trees near the tents grew wonderful violet orchids.
Many birds were around us; I saw some of them, and Cherrie and Miller many, many more. They ranged from party-colored macaws, green parrots, and big gregarious cuckoos down to a brilliant green-and-chestnut kingfisher, five and a quarter inches long, and a tiny orange-and-green manakin, smaller than any bird I have ever seen except a hummer. We also saw a bird that really was protectively colored; a kind of whippoorwill which even the sharp-eyed naturalists could only make out because it moved its head. We saw orange-bellied squirrels with showy orange tails. Lizards were common. We killed our first poisonous snake (the second we had seen), an evil lance-headed jararaca that was swimming the river. We also saw a black-and-orange harmless snake, nearly eight feet long, which we were told was akin to the mussurama; and various other snakes. One day while paddling in a canoe on the river, hoping that the dogs might drive a tapir to us, they drove into the water a couple of small bush deer instead. There was no point in shooting them; we caught them with ropes thrown over their heads; for the naturalists needed them as specimens, and all of us needed the meat. One of the men was stung by a single big red maribundi wasp. For twenty-four hours he was in great pain and incapacitated for work. In a lagoon two of the dogs had the tips of their tails bitten off by piranhas as they swam, and the ranch hands told us that in this lagoon one of their hounds had been torn to pieces and completely