9780217051309: Somaliland (1900)

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1900. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER X. The spoor of big game. The white man can never hope to compete successfully with the black man in following the spoor of big game. One would imagine that an animal possessing the weight of a rhinoceros would leave such an imprint upon the ground that it would be impossible to lose it. But wait till the rhinoceros walks over stony ground, and you will be nonplussed in less than five minutes; your shikari, however, will follow almost at a run, pointing with his finger at the track among the stones, which, stare as you will, you cannot make out. The track of an elephant is much more easy to follow over rocky ground, owing to the havoc wrought on the trees and thorn-bushes by his trunk on either side of his path, which is strewn with half-chewed branches and leaves. The rhinoceros, on the other hand, when on the march, does not appear to feed as he goes, but waits until he reaches his favourite feeding-ground. An ostrich is a tiresome bird to track. He walks and runs in large circles. When a lion has discovered he is being tracked, he will often make a circle, and, reaching his own track again, will follow it up till he sees you, when he will make off at a run. You will easily see when he begins to run by his spoor. The claw-marks will show in the sand, and the sand will be thrown back a little by the pad of the foot. A leopard will follow you round like a lion, and often see you home, as he knows that where men live, there will in all probability be sheep and goats also. Half the reported leopards round villages turn out to be hyaenas. MAMMALS 285 It is of no use to send a man to look at the spoor, you must go yourself and examine it. The leopard is a cat, and when walking and undisturbed, its nails, which are retractile, do not show in the sand. ...

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