|The Burgess Animal Book for Children|
|by Thornton Burgess|
|To answer Peter Rabbit’s questions about his relatives, Old Mother Nature holds a school for the animals every day at sun-up for a month. Encouraging the animals to notice the differences between them and to offer their observa-tions of animal behavior, Old Mother Nature helps them all gain a greater understanding of the mammals of North America. Starting with the animals close to home, the school moves in ever-widening circles to encompass the animals of the far west and the extreme north, as well. A fine introduction to mammals for students in the primary grades. Ages 6-9 |
YOWLER AND HIS COUSIN TUFTY
 JUMPER the Hare arrived at school a little late and quite out of
breath from hurrying. His big soft eyes were shining with
excitement. "You look as though you had had an adventure, Jumper,"
said Old Mother Nature.
"I have," replied Jumper. "It is a wonder I am here at all; I came
to near furnishing Yowler the Bob Cat a breakfast that it makes me
shiver just to think of it. I guess if I hadn't been thinking about
him, he would have caught me."
"Tell us all about it," demanded Old Mother Nature.
"Seeing Black Pussy over here yesterday, and knowing that to-day's
lesson was to be about Yowler, I couldn't get cats out of my mind
all day yesterday," began Jumper. "Black Pussy doesn't worry me,
but I must confess that if there is any one I fear, it is Yowler
the Bob Cat. Just thinking about him made me nervous. The
I tried not to think about him, the more I did think about him,
and the more I thought about him, the more nervous I got. Then
just before dark, on the bank of the Laughing Brook, I found some
tracks in the mud. Those tracks were almost round, and that fact
was enough to tell me who had made them. They were Yowler's
footprints, and they hadn't been made very long.
"Of course, seeing those footprints made me more nervous than ever,
and every time I saw a leaf move I jumped inside. My heart felt
as if it were up in my throat most of the time. I had a feeling
that Yowler wasn't far away. I hate that Cat! I hate the way he
hunts! He goes sneaking about, without making a sound, or else he
lies in wait, ready to spring without warning on the first one who
happens along. A fellow never knows where to watch out for Yowler.
"I spent nearly all night sitting under a little hemlock tree with
branches very close to the ground. I sat there because I didn't
dare do anything else. As long as I stayed there I felt reasonably
safe, because Yowler would have to find me, and to do that he would
have to cross an open place where I could see him. I knew that if
I went roaming about I might walk right into his clutches.
"It was lucky I had sense enough to stay there.
 You know the moon
was very bright last night. It made that open place in front of
where I was hiding almost as light as day. Once I closed my eyes
for just a minute. When I opened them, there was Yowler sneaking
across that open place. Where he had come from, I don't know. He
hadn't made a sound. Not a leaf rustled under his big feet. Right
in the middle of that open place, where the moonlight was brightest,
he stopped to listen, and I simply held my breath."
"Tell us how he looked," prompted Old Mother Nature.
"He looked just like what he is—a big Cat with a short tail,"
replied Jumper. "Just to look at him any one would know he was
own cousin to Black Pussy. He had a round head, rather long legs,
and was about twice as big as Black Pussy. His feet looked big,
even for him. On the tips of his ears were a few long black hairs.
His coat was yellowish to reddish-brown, with dark spots on it.
His chin and throat were white, and underneath he was white spotted
with black. There were spots all down his legs. He didn't have
enough of a tail to call it a tail. It was whitish on the under
side and had black stripes on the upper side, and all the time he
kept twitching it just the way Black Pussy twitches her tail when
she is out hunting. All of a sudden he
 opened his mouth and gave
such a yell that it is a wonder I didn't jump out of my skin. It
frightened me so that I couldn't have moved if I had wanted to,
which was a lucky thing for me. The instant he yelled he cocked
his head on one side and listened. That yell must have wakened
somebody and caused them to move, for Yowler turned suddenly and
crept swiftly and without a sound out of sight. A minute later
I heard a jump, and then I heard a fluttering. I think he caught
one of the Grouse family."
"Yelling that way is one of Yowler's tricks," explained Old Mother
Nature. "He does it for the same reason Hooty the Owl hoots. He
hopes that it will startle some sleeper so that they will move.
If they do, his keen ears are sure to hear it. Was that all of
your adventure, Jumper?"
"No," replied Jumper. "I remained right where I was for the rest
of the night. Just as daylight was beginning to steal through the
Green Forest, I decided that it was safe to leave my hiding place
and come over here. Half-way here I stopped for a few minutes in
a thick clump of ferns. I was just about to start on again when I
caught sight of something moving just back of an old stump. It
was that foolish looking tail of Yowler's. Had he kept it still I
wouldn't have seen him at all; but he was twitching it back
forth. He was crouched down close to the ground with all four
feet drawn close together under him. There he crouched, and there
I sat for the longest time. I didn't move, and he didn't move,
save that foolish looking tail of his. I had begun to think that
I would have to stay in that clump of ferns all day when suddenly
Yowler sprang like a flash. There was a little squeak, and then I
saw Yowler trot away with a Mouse in his mouth. I guess he must
have seen that Mouse go in a hole and knew that if he waited long
enough it would come out again. As soon as Yowler disappeared I
hurried over here. That's all."
The Bay Lynx or common
"That was a splendid account of Yowler and his way of hunting," said
Old Mother Nature. "He does most of his hunting in just that way,
sneaking about on the chance of surprising a Rabbit, Bird or Mouse,
or else patiently watching and waiting beside a hole in which he
knows some one has taken refuge. He hunts in the Green Forest
exactly as Black Pussy, Farmer Brown's Cat, hunts Mice in the barn
or Birds in the Old Orchard. In the spring Yowler destroys many
eggs and young birds, not only those found in nests on the ground,
but also those in nests in trees, for he is a splendid climber.
"Yowler is found in nearly all of the swampy,
 brushy and wooded
parts of the whole country, excepting in the great forests of the
Far North, where his cousin Tufty the Lynx lives. Yowler is
himself a Lynx, the Bay Lynx. In some places he is called simply
Wild Cat. In others he is called the Catamount. He is not so
fond of the thick forests as he is of swamps, brush-grown hillsides,
old pastures and places where there are great masses of briars.
Rocky ledges where there are caves in which to hide and plenty of
brush also suit him. He is a coward, but when cornered will fight,
though he will run from a little Dog half his size and take to a
tree. In the South he is quite common and there often steals
Chickens and Turkeys, even young Pigs. He prefers to hunt at
night, but sometimes is seen in broad daylight. Mrs. Yowler's
kittens are born in a cave or in a hollow tree. Despite the fact
that he is an expert climber, Yowler spends most of his time on
the ground and is one of the worst enemies of Rabbits, Mice,
Squirrels and ground Birds.
"In the great forests of the Far North lives Yowler's cousin, Tufty
the Canada Lynx, also called Loup Cervier and Lucivee. He is nearly
a third larger than Yowler. From the tip of each ear long tufts of
black hair stand up. On each side of his face is a ruff of long
hair. His tail is
 even shorter than Yowler's, and the tip of it is
always wholly black. His general color is gray, mottled with brown.
His face ruff is white with black border. Yowler's feet are large,
but Tufty's are immense for his size. This is because Tufty lives
where the snow lies deep for many months, and these big, broad feet
enable him to travel about on the snow without breaking through. He
can travel with ease where Reddy Fox, not half his size and weight,
would break through at every step. Tufty's ways are much like those
of his cousin, Yowler, save that he is a dweller in the deep woods.
Anything he can catch is food for Tufty, but his principal food is the
Northern Hare. The color of his coat blends with the shadows so that
he seems like a living shadow himself. In summer food is plentiful,
and Tufty lives well, but in winter Tufty has hard work to get enough.
Rarely does he know what a full stomach means then. Like Howler he
can go a surprising length of time without food and still retain his
strength. At that time of year he is a great traveler. He has to
be, in order to live.
This is the Canada Lynx, also
"There is no fiercer looking animal in all the Green Forest than
Tufty the Lynx, but despite this he is, like most Cats, cowardly.
Only when cornered will he fight. He is possessed of a
curiosity, and often he will stealthily follow a hunter or trapper
for miles. The fur of his coat is very long and handsome, and he
is hunted and trapped for this. As he lives for the most part far
from the homes of men, he does less damage to man than does his
cousin, Yowler the Bob Cat. Tufty must depend wholly for his living
on the little people of the Green Forest. Sometimes he will attack
a Fox. The pretty little spotted babies of Lightfoot the Deer are
victims whenever he can find them.
"The darker and deeper the Green Forest, the better Tufty likes
it. He makes his den under great tangles of fallen trees or
similar places. Mr. and Mrs. Tufty often hunt together, and in
early winter the whole family often join in the hunt.
"Yowler and Tufty are the only members of the Cat family now found
in the eastern part of the country. Formerly, their big cousin,
Puma the Panther, lived in the East, but he has been so hunted by
man that now he is found only in the mountains of the Far West and
in a few of the wildest places in the South. I will tell you about
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