Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon by Samuel White Baker


Man is being constantly preyed upon by insects; and were it not
for ordinary cleanliness, he would become a mass - Page 190
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Man Is Being Constantly Preyed Upon By Insects; And Were It Not For Ordinary Cleanliness, He Would Become A Mass Of Vermin; Even This Does Not Protect Him From The Rapacity Of Ticks, Mosquitoes, Fleas And Many Others.

Intestinal worms feed on him within, and, unseen, use their slow efforts for his destruction.

The knowledge of so many classes which actually prey upon the human system naturally leads to the belief that many others endowed with the same propensities exist, of which we have at present no conception. Thus, different infectious disorders might proceed from peculiar species of animalcules, which, at given periods, are wafted into certain countries, carrying pestilence and death in their invisible course.

A curious phenomenon has recently occurred at Mauritus, where that terrible scourge, the cholera, has been raging with desolating effect.

There is a bird in that island called the "martin," but it is more property the "mina." This bird is about the size of the starling, whose habits its possesses in a great degree. It exists in immense numbers, and is a grand destroyer of all insects. On this account it is seldom or never shot at, especially as it is a great comforter to all cattle, whose hides it entirely cleans from ticks and other vermin, remaining for many hours perched upon the back of one animal, while its bill is actively employed in searching out and destroying every insect.

During the prevalence of the cholera at Mauritius these birds disappeared. Such a circumstance had never before occurred, and the real cause of their departure is still a mystery.

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