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

Page 173

take to bloodsucking. They did not, according to his observations, themselves make the original wound; but after it had been made by one of the true vampires they would lap the flowing blood and enlarge the wound. South America makes up for its lack, relatively to Africa and India, of large man-eating carnivores by the extraordinary ferocity or bloodthirstiness of certain small creatures of which the kinsfolk elsewhere are harmless. It is only here that fish no bigger than trout kill swimmers, and bats the size of the ordinary “flittermice” of the northern hemisphere drain the life-blood of big beasts and of man himself.
  There was not much large mammalian life in the neighborhood. Kermit hunted industriously and brought in an occasional armadillo, coati, or agouti for the naturalists. Miller trapped rats and a queer opossum new to the collection. Cherrie got many birds. Cherrie and Miller skinned their specimens in a little open hut or shed. Moses, the small pet owl, sat on a cross-bar overhead, an interested spectator, and chuckled whenever he was petted. Two wrens, who bred just outside the hut, were much excited by the presence of Moses, and paid him visits of noisy unfriendliness. The little white-throated sparrows came familiarly about the palm cabins and whitewashed houses and trilled on the rooftrees. It was a simple song, with just a hint of our northern white-throat’s sweet and plaintive melody, and of the opening bars of our song-sparrow’s pleasant, homely lay. It brought back dear memories of glorious April mornings on Long Island, when through the singing of robin and song-sparrow comes the piercing cadence of the meadowlark;