The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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It is curious, when we come to think of it, how very few of the creatures that live upon the earth ever take the trouble to build any kind of house to live in. For the most part, they are contented to find out some cave or hole or convenient place where they can be hidden, and from which they can steal forth to get their food, but as for collecting materials from the outside to make their dwelling place stronger or more beautiful, as do the beavers, for instance, why, we might all look for many years before we should find a horse or a tiger employing himself like that!
Yet we all know that all the birds that live (the cuckoo excepted) manage to build some kind of a nest, and so do some fishes and many insects. It would take too long to write about them all, but we will just see how some of the cleverest among them go to work.
One of the first things that struck Europeans travel­ling sixty or seventy years ago in the wild country beyond the great Mississippi, was the fact that whole districts, sometimes several acres in extent and sometimes several miles, were covered with little mounds of the shape of a pyramid, about two feet wide at the bottom, and at the most eighteen inches high. These are the houses of the marmots or prairie dogs, and when deserted as they often are by their original inhabitants, they become the homes of burrowing owls.
Now a neat, comfortable, well-built house is really quite
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