Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 75
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 75
 
English is indispensable to any learned man who expects to make his learning count for what it ought to count in the effect on his fellow men. The outdoor naturalist, the faunal naturalist, who devotes himself primarily to a study of the habits and of the life-histories of birds, beasts, fish, and reptiles, and who can portray truthfully and vividly what he has seen, could do work of more usefulness than any mere collector, in this upper Paraguay country. The work of the collector is indispensable; but it is only a small part of the work that ought to be done; and after collecting has reached a certain point the work of the field observer with the gift for recording what he has seen becomes of far more importance.
  The long days spent riding through the swamp, the “pantanal,” were pleasant and interesting. Several times we saw the tamandu&á bandeira, the giant ant-bear. Kermit shot one, because the naturalists eagerly wished for a second specimen; afterward we were relieved of all necessity to molest the strange, out-of-date creatures. It was a surprise to us to find them habitually frequenting the open marsh. They were always on muddy ground, and in the papyrus-swamp we found them in several inches of water. The stomach is thick-walled, like a gizzard; the stomachs of those we shot contained adult and larval ants, chiefly termites, together with plenty of black mould and fragments of leaves, both green and dry. Doubtless the earth and the vegetable matter had merely been taken incidentally, adhering to the viscid tongue when it was thrust into the ant masses. Out in the open marsh the tamandu&á could neither avoid observation, nor fight effectively, nor make good its escape

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