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

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

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The rivers that flow into the Nile are the homes of other dangerous creatures besides hippopotami, and though crocodiles do not attack boats, like their larger neighbours, they are even more to be dreaded by men. They are huge beasts, often twenty feet in length, with great scaly bodies and flat heads, which are furnished with long, terrible teeth.
In proportion to their size they are immensely strong, and even quite a little one has often been known to overpower a man when in the water. He then carries his victim to some favourite haunt and eats him bit by bit.
Now, none of the crocodiles which infest the Nile and its tributaries are bigger or fiercer than those in the district of Gondokoro, where Sir Samuel Baker lav for some time encamped. The natives, who swim like fishes, were constantly in the habit of taking their cattle to pasture across the stream in the morning and bringing them back at night, and it was seldom, indeed, that the passage was made—at the risk of their own lives— without the loss of one of the beasts. Nothing, however, could break them of the habit, not even the fact that two sailors had been carried off in two days, while a soldier, who was working with some other men in shallow water, was seized below his knee. He struggled fiercely, assisted by his friends, and tried to blind the creature ; but his leg was so crushed by his enemy's teeth that it was absolutely necessary that it should be cut off.
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