Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
was then really funny to see their surprise and disappointment at the sudden and complete disappearance of their quarry. Often a capybara would stand or sit on its haunches in the water, with only its blunt, short-eared head above the surface, quite heedless of our presence. But if alarmed it would dive, for capybaras swim with equal facility on or below the surface; and if they wish to hide they rise gently among the rushes or water-lily leaves with only their nostrils exposed. In these waters the capybaras and small caymans paid no attention to one another, swimming and resting in close proximity. They both had the same enemy, the jaguar. The capybara is a game animal only in the sense that a hare or rabbit is. The flesh is good to eat, and its amphibious habits and queer nature and surroundings make it interesting. In some of the ponds the water had about gone, and the capybaras had become for the time being beasts of the marsh and the mud; although they could always find little slimy pools, under a mass of water-lilies, in which to lie and hide.
Our whole stay on this ranch was delightful. On the long rides we always saw something of interest, and often it was something entirely new to us. Early one morning we came across two armadillosthe big, nine-banded armadillo. We were riding with the pack through a dry, sandy pasture country, dotted with clumps of palms, round the trunks of which grew a dense jungle of thorns and Spanish bayonets. The armadillos were feeding in an open space between two of these jungle clumps, which were about a hundred yards apart. One was on all fours; the other was in a squatting position,