The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

indeed does it fail to get the better in any fight. It also has a violent dislike to dogs, and in South America can never see one without flying out to attack it, while the grizzly bear is its deadly foe. But, on the other hand, in the great continent of South America it shows its best qualities. It loves man, and even when attacked by him will not defend itself, while in puma-haunted districts children may even sleep all night alone, without fear of harm. And not only children, for travellers tell us a puma has never been known to attack a sleeping man.
It is a great pity that pumas are so fond of killing tame and useful beasts, as they have many delightful qualities as pets. Pumas are very playful, and very affec­tionate and gentle to people and children; but they are rapidly being hunted down, as farmers find it quite impossible to keep any cattle in their neighbourhood. Between their courage and their wonderful powers of jumping, no animals are safe from them. Some witnesses have declared that pumas have been seen, when pursued by dogs, to spring a clear twenty feet into the air for shelter in a tree, while another leap of forty feet was measured on the ground. In Patagonia, a farmer who had suffered much from a puma's appetite. shut all his sheep into a huge fold, surrounded by a wooden paling fifteen feet high. The only entrance was by a six-foot gate, and, to make all secure, men and dogs were told off to watch. But the puma was too clever for them all! He seized his chance when any clouds came up to make the darkness thicker, and every morning one sheep at least was found with a dislocated neck, and its breast eaten, for this is the way a puma always kills its prey, and, except when very hungry, it never eats the whole carcass. One night, the naturalist' who tells the story was passing by the gate, when the robber sprang right over his head, but it was too dark to give chase, so the puma got away safely. Afterwards, it
Previous Contents Next