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

Page 227

and water, by the swollen river, while the rain beat on us, and enjoyed a few minutes’ talk with the cool, competent officer who was doing a difficult job with such workman-like efficiency. He had no poncho, and was wet through, but was much too busy in getting his laden oxen forward to think of personal discomfort. He had had a good deal of trouble with his mules, but his oxen were still in fair shape.
  After leaving the Juruena the ground became somewhat more hilly, and the scrubby forest was less open, but otherwise there was no change in the monotonous, and yet to me rather attractive, landscape. The ant-hills, and the ant-houses in the trees—arboreal ant-hills, so to speak—were as conspicuous as ever. The architects of some were red ants, of others black ants; and others, which were on the whole the largest, had been built by the white ants, the termites. The latter were not infrequently taller than a horseman’s head.
  That evening round the camp-fire Colonel Rondon happened to mention how the brother of one of the soldiers with us—a Parecís Indian—had been killed by a jararaca snake. Cherrie told of a narrow escape he had from one while collecting in Guiana. At night he used to set traps in camp for small mammals. One night he heard one of these traps go off under his hammock. He reached down for it, and as he fumbled for the chain he felt a snake strike at him, just missing him in the darkness, but actually brushing his hand. He lit a light and saw that a big jararaca had been caught in the trap; and he preserved it as a specimen. Snakes frequently came into his camp after nightfall. He killed one rattlesnake which