Remember the Rainforest 1
Once the monster swallowed the turtle cage, and it was necessary to employ great strength to prevent him from escaping to the bottom and pulling the cage, blowing terribly and beating with his tail on the ground, where the chain was tied in a tree;
There we left him a whole day, until a courageous Mura opened his belly and killed him, taking away his bowels. In general, we wanted to keep these dead animals for the preservation of the skeleton. It is known that, besides disemboweling, the Savages kill the alligator by an even simpler process, presenting him a piece of tender meat, in order to avoid his bite. If he bites, the indian can, without danger, break his head. One should always target the eyes when being attacked by an alligator, which frequently happens; And the slightest injury at this point would turn off his persecution.
After the capture of the crocodile, we still lacked a third inhabitant of the waters, which we also obtained in Manacaru, this and, the Lamantin
or Manatee (Manatus americanus, Cuv.), in the general language Goarava, or Goaragoa. This cetacean seems to have once been much more abundant in Brazil than currently. He lived in the coastal rivers, between Rio de Janeiro and Maranhao, was constantly hunted by the settlers, because of his oil, and today is almost extinct. It shows up sometimes on the Sao Francisco river. It is much more commonly found, however, in the Amazon river and its large tributaries. For his resemblance to the Ox, the Portuguese gave him the name "Boi fish" and the Spanish, “sea-cow”. They are often seen gathered in tranquil waters, especially in the deep and calm basin of a river. They are not fished, like the dolphin, in the river, but only on the occasion of the floods. They are harpooned as in whale fishing, in order to obtain the oil, which the manatee (perhaps the adult male) yields from 480 to 500 gallons. The very white meat, similar to that of the pig, interspersed with layers of fat, particularly in the belly, is an excellent snack. I remember having savored in Brazil this delicious dish. Sausages are made with the meat and the guts of the manatee (in the general language, mixire, of the verb mixire, "roasting "), which are sent to Portugal as a specialty. The Indians employ the manatee fat in the same way as that of the alligator (1).
(1) The manatee, which lives in the waters of Amazonas, Rio Negro and
Solimoes, reaches 15 and up to 20 feet long, and weighs 70 to 80 quintals. The most voluminous part of the body measures, in this case, 12 to 15 feet in circumference. Its brutal contours are ugly, featuring a thick snout, cloven, similar to that of a calf. The manatee has the calm expression of quiet genius, and they they are usually seen, in numerous flocks, wed always in pairs, one beside the other.
As the female produces only one or two cubs, and as the Indians claim that she is pregnant for 11 months, no wonder the number of manatee quickly decreases with the pursuit of the crocodiles and men. It should be added that extinction is in so much greater proportions, the more the human population grows. The herbal manatee, particularly Echinochlo Elephantipes, Nees, and many species of Canaranas (Panicum) live on grasses (paspalus), which grow luxuriant, in the dry months.