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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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These birds live in the vicinity of the river, nest in the midst of the reeds and on the marshy bank of the pond, or in the branches of the floodplain, complete the breeding of the litter in the dry season, and when the flood begins, they leave for more remote regions, high on the shore, looking a bit like the migratory birds that are heading for the shores of the sea. (Note III).
After sketching this strange bird domain, Father Nogueira led us to Capao by another way back.

Capoeira, low schrubs and grasses

We were enchanted by the thickness of a capoeira, and we had only gone half an hour there, when we had the spectacle of another pond upon which hung curtains of foliage, all tinted red by the rays of the setting, quiet, melancholy sun. Our ears were still ringing with the noise of the birds of the first pond, when we seemed to be transported, by magic, to the country of death. Not a single bird appeared, the region seemed enchanted, the very image of calm, which hovered mysteriously over the deep black waters and did not move a leaf, a branch. Very startled, we turned to our guide, and he explained to us that the reason for the silence was simply that this lagoon is frequented by alligators and ravenous piranhas. As we mentally compared this ominous place to Dante's "Inferno" lake, some of the scaly monsters raised their heads out of the water, huffing, and the poet's words occurred to us:

"Che sotto l'aqua ha gente que sospira. E fanno pullular quest'acqua al summo”.
"Who has sighed under the water, make this water their domain".

Crocodilus sclerops

We counted more than forty of these alligators, some lying on the banks, probably disturbed by the trot of horses, others appearing on the surface, where

their homes are under tree trunks, or, with their heads raised, they swam among each other. The largest of these animals was eight to nine feet long, green-skinned, with a blunt snout. No creature has given nature such a hideous aspect as these reptiles that many painters rightly figure as a symbol of the lowest evil and degradation. Alligators (Crocodilus sclerops, Cuv.) almost always live in flocks in these lagoons and multiply extraordinarily. During the rainy season, each female lays on the sandy shore sixty to eighty eggs the size of rough-shell chicken eggs, and several of the females push the eggs together, alternating them with layers of lagoon mud, in pyramids of six to eight feet high, and then let them stay there to be affected by the sun and the fermentation.

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