It Is Particularly So In
Villages Where The Neighbouring Grounds Are Often Inundated.
crocodiles remain long in the same places.
They become from year to
year more daring, especially, as the Indians assert, if they have once
tasted of human flesh. These animals are so wary, that they are killed
with difficulty. A ball does not pierce their skin; and the shot is
only mortal when it penetrates the throat or a part beneath the
shoulder. The Indians, who know little of the use of fire-arms, attack
the crocodile with lances, after the animal has been caught with large
pointed iron hooks, baited with pieces of meat, and fastened by a
chain to the trunk of a tree. They do not approach the animal till it
has struggled a long time to disengage itself from the iron fixed in
the upper jaw. There is little probability that a country in which a
labyrinth of rivers without number brings every day new bands of
crocodiles from the eastern back of the Andes, by the Meta and the
Apure, toward the coast of Spanish Guiana, should ever be delivered
from these reptiles. All that will be gained by civilization will be
to render them more timid and more easily put to flight.
Affecting instances are related of African slaves, who have exposed
their lives to save those of their masters, who had fallen into the
jaws of a crocodile. A few years ago, between Uritucu and the Mission
de Abaxo, a negro, hearing the cries of his master, flew to the spot,
armed with a long knife (machete), and plunged into the river.
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