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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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The Sucuriú returns, breaking bones to devour its victim; what they tell of covering their prey with drool seems a fantasy. The adult snakes, when hungry, attack rider and horse, or even an ox, then swallow it to the horns, leaving them in like faucets, until they fall rotten. Smaller ones, too, can swallow incredible amounts of meat, as told by backcountry people, who found in the stomach of one of them stretched to fourteen feet long, one jaguar and two caititus. We had frequent occasions to spot such snakes sleeping on the edge of the pond, all rolled up like anchor line; However, we could not kill any of the adults, because upon our approach, with instantaneous speed, it launched into the water.

Hunting the Sucuriús is not dangerous at all; they are stupid, slow and elusive animals, and being injured, especially when their spinal cord is hit, they soon become numb. In general, it is safest to attack them after they have devoured the prey, when they lie helpless for weeks. Moreover, it is not unusual for the backcountry people to swim after one of these monsters, when they flee into the water. They trick it by taking the snake close to its head and killing it with the long machete. Their flesh is not edible; the fat is used as a remedy for some diseases, against tuberculosis, and as emollient ointment. The skin, adorned with delicate rhomboid scales, is tanned and prepared for saddle coverings.

Just as there are genera and species of the highest classes, characteristic of the sertão (outback), or abundant there, we also observed a great variety of insects, comparable to the fauna of the plateau of Minas. Bugs, interesting spiders and phalanxes of the strangest shapes, animated the thickets, the bark of the old logs, and the leaves of grapevines.

Curculio imperialis

Father Nogeira collected many of the beautiful weevils (Curculio imperialis, L.), which he kindly shared with us. In the backlands, there is an extraordinary variety of bee species

that make their tenements, sometimes in the trees, sometimes in the land. The production of honey and wax is so considerable, that many countrymen live exclusively from this business. The gross wax of most species (earth wax) is almost black, with a pleasant balsamic scent, and deserves the attention of the Brazilian doctor, who uses it mainly as ointment and plaster. A pound of wax costs two to six pennies in the backlands. The species of honey is very diverse, on the other hand, and some are true poisons, such as, for example, the violently purgative green honey of mumbubinha. The sertanejos, by the way, observed that honey from one and the same species of bees can be harmful or harmless at different times, depending on the flourishing;

Honeybee

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