Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Little Known Mammals

I bought a used book at a library book sale last Summer called "Little Known Mammals". It's published by the National Audobon Society. It's one of those little 56 page saddle stitched chapbooks. It has pictures of the animals, and some pictures have little stamps over them with full color pictures of the critter concerned. I don't really "read" this short book, but thumb through it for pictures of the exotic and interesting. Here is a snow-lemming, there a kinkajou, and so forth.

I always pause at the page for the pacarana. This South American rodent sits on page 44, colorful stamp number 23. He is on his hind legs, clutching an acorn in just the way some contented older men clutch a beer. It's an endangered species, largely because it's disposition is so friendly that it is not sufficiently concerned or resistant to human hunters.

It's a goodish size fellow, weighing 20 to 30 pounds. A fellow named Allen once said "The pacarana reminds one of an immense rat well advanced in development toward a bear".

I suppose I like Ivan Sanderson's 1956 booklet on "Little Known Mammals" in part because I like to "root for" creatures like the pacarana. I like the part of the Statement of Audobon Philophy Statement printed on the back which says "We condemn no wild creature and work to assure that no living species shall be lost". But I also like the booklet because I like to see the unusual, and imagine that the world has new things to discover everywhere, if I only look for them.

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