Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 29
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 29
 
had known Mr. Hudson, the author of the “Naturalist on the Plata,” and that the latter knew nothing whatever of pumas from personal experience and had accepted as facts utterly wild fables.
  Undoubtedly, said the doctor, the puma in South America, like the puma in North America, is, as a general rule, a cowardly animal which not only never attacks man, but rarely makes any efficient defence when attacked. The Indian and white hunters have no fear of it in most parts of the country, and its harmlessness to man is proverbial. But there is one particular spot in southern Patagonia where cougars, to the doctor’s own personal knowledge, have for years been dangerous foes of man. This curious local change in habits, by the way, is nothing unprecedented as regards wild animals. In portions of its range, as I am informed by Mr. Lord Smith, the Asiatic tiger can hardly be forced to fight man, and never preys on him, while throughout most of its range it is a most dangerous beast, and often turns man-eater. So there are waters in which sharks are habitual man-eaters, and others where they never touch men; and there are rivers and lakes where crocodiles or caymans are very dangerous, and others where they are practically harmless—I have myself seen this in Africa.
  In March, 1877, Doctor Moreno with a party of men working on the boundary commission, and with a number of Patagonian horse-Indians, was encamped for some weeks beside Lake Viedma, which had not before been visited by white men for a century, and which was rarely visited even by Indians. One morning, just before

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