Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
natural foes, but it is a little puzzling to see the jaguar readily climbing trees to escape dogs; for ages have passed since there were in its habitat any natural foes from which it needed to seek safety in trees. But it is possible that the habit has been kept alive by its seeking refuge in them on occasion from the big peccaries, which are among the beasts on which it ordinarily preys.
We hung the buck in a tree. The colonel returned, and not long afterward one of the paddlers who had been watching the river called out to us that there was a tapir in the water, a good distance up-stream, and that two of the other boats were after it. We jumped into the canoe and the two paddlers dug their blades in the water as they drove her against the strong current, edging over for the opposite bank. The tapir was coming down-stream at a great rate, only its queer head above water, while the dugouts were closing rapidly on it, the paddlers uttering loud cries. As the tapir turned slightly to one side or the other the long, slightly upturned snout and the strongly pronounced arch of the crest along the head and upper neck gave it a marked and unusual aspect. I could not shoot, for it was directly in line with one of the pursuing dugouts. Suddenly it dived, the snout being slightly curved downward as it did so. There was no trace of it; we gazed eagerly in all directions; the dugout in front came alongside our canoe and the paddlers rested, their paddles ready. Then we made out the tapir clambering up the bank. It had dived at right angles to the course it was following and swum under water to the very edge of the shore, rising under the overhanging tree-branches