Missionary Travels And Researches In South Africa By David Livingstone



 -   We had seen many young ones as we came up,
so this seems to be their time of coming forth - Page 410
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We Had Seen Many Young Ones As We Came Up, So This Seems To Be Their Time Of Coming Forth

From the nests, for we saw them sunning themselves on sand-banks in company with the old ones. We made

Our fire in one of the deserted nests, which were strewed all over with the broken shells. At the Zouga we saw sixty eggs taken out of one such nest alone. They are about the size of those of a goose, only the eggs of the alligator are of the same diameter at both ends, and the white shell is partially elastic, from having a strong internal membrane and but little lime in its composition. The distance from the water was about ten feet, and there were evidences of the same place having been used for a similar purpose in former years. A broad path led up from the water to the nest, and the dam, it was said by my companions, after depositing the eggs, covers them up, and returns afterward to assist the young out of the place of confinement and out of the egg. She leads them to the edge of the water, and then leaves them to catch small fish for themselves. Assistance to come forth seems necessary, for here, besides the tough membrane of the shell, they had four inches of earth upon them; but they do not require immediate aid for food, because they all retain a portion of yolk, equal to that of a hen's egg, in a membrane in the abdomen, as a stock of nutriment, while only beginning independent existence by catching fish.

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