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4. And, lastly, I must describe to you, briefly, the marine tortoises, which are considered the only true turtles. You will at once distinguish them from all others by the paddlelike form of their feet, the toes being concealed by the skin, which completely envelops4 them. These animals, which are found in all the seas of warm climates, are excellent swimmers, but on land they shuffle along in a very awkward manner, and make only a slow progress. The best-known species is the green turtle, which is often seen in the markets of New York, and is well known to the epicure for its delicious steaks, and the savory soup which it affords. The eggs of this, and, indeed, of all sea-turtles, are also eaten, and considered a great delicacy. These turtles are generally taken by watching them when they visit the shore to deposit their eggs; they are then turned over on their backs, and in this helpless condition they remain until their captors, having secured in the same manner as many as they require, carry them off to their ships.

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Scale of Inches MABINE AND RIVER TURTLES.-1. Hawk's-bill Turtle, Chelonia imbricata. 2. Loggerhead Turtle, Chelonia caretta. 3. Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas. _5. Leathery Turtle, Sphargis coriacea. 4. & 6. Upper and under sides of the Chelonura Temninckii, & “Snapping Turtle" of the Mississippi.

5. Another species of sea-turtle, called the hawk’s-bill, which

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merce.

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receives its popular name from the curved and pointed form of the upper jaw, furnishes the valuable tortoise-shell of com

The upper shell of this species consists of thirteen plates, partly overlapping each other like the tiles of a house. By means of heat these plates are capable of being firmly united in any quantity, and of receiving any shape by being pressed between metallic moulds. Those which produce the finest shell are taken in the waters of the Indian Archipelago. But the largest of the sea-turtles is the loggerhead, which sometimes weighs eleven hundred pounds. It is found occasionally on the shores of nearly all the Atlantic States, is a strong swimmer, and is frequently seen in the midst of the ocean, floating on the surface of the waters, motionless, and apparently asleep, in which situation it is easily captured.

6. Thus I have given you a very brief description of the turtle family, which comprises the first division or order of the class of reptiles. From what I have written, and from the drawings which I have given you, do you see any thing decidedly disagreeable or offensive in these animals' ? On the contrary, is it not probable that you might, like an Agassiz, become much interested in studying the peculiarities of their structure, their character, and their habits' ? I might give you statistics of their commercial importance, and many interesting accounts of their habits from the pages of Audubon, Darwin, and others, and I regret that I have not room for them here. One thing which I had overlooked I must however remind you of, and that is, you must not forget that all the turtles, even those that live in the sea, can breathe only when they are out of the water, and that, like whales, porpoises, and dolphins, they must occasionally come to the surface for a supply of air. Large numbers of sea-turtles may sometimes be seen in the clear waters of the Indian Seas feeding upon sea-weeds at the bottom, and in that situation they are represented as appearing like so many cattle browsing upon the herbage. Like herds of bison, they probably have their ranges—their paths over the hills, and through the valleys of the sea, from one pasture-ground to another. Who shall doubt that their life beneath the waters is a happy one? 1 GAL-A-PĀ'-GOs, the “ islands of tortoises,"13 ĚP'-I-ETRE, one who indulges in the luxu

are west of South America. 2 PĂL'-A-TA-BLE, agreeable to the taste.

ries of the table. 4 EN-VĚL'-OPS, covers; incloses. 15 BROWS'-ING, feeding on branches.

LESSON IV.A LETTER ABOUT THE SAURIANS.1

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Scale of Inches. LIZARD DIVISION OF THE SAURIANS.—1. Brazilian, or Variegated Lizard, Teius teguexin. 2. Sand-Lizard, Lacerta agilis. 3. New York Striped Lizard, or Blue-tailed Skink, Sciurus fasciatus. 4. The Common Gecko, Gecko verus. 5. The Iguana, Iguana tuberculata. 6. Mitred Basilisk, Basilicus mitratus. 7. Brown Swift, or Pine Lizard, Tropidolepis undulatus. 8. The Chameleon, Chameleon vulgaris.

Dellwild, June 2d, 18—. 1. MY YOUNG FRIEND,—The interest with which you profess to have read my letters descriptive of the Chelonian order of reptiles induces me to comply with your request that I should give you some account of the remaining three orders. These are, as you are already informed, the order of Saurians or Lizards, in which is included the crocodiles; the order of Ophidians or Serpents; and, lastly, the Amphibians, which are the connecting link between reptiles and fishes. As I purpose to treat these three orders within the limits of at most three letters, my description must be very brief indeed.

2. We will take the Saurian reptiles, or lizards proper, to begin with. Very offensive-looking animals many of them are, no doubt, to one not accustomed to them; but is it not probable that your feelings have been somewhat prejudiced against them ? Perhaps more familiarity with these creatures

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might induce you to look upon them with a greater degree of complacency. Fancy yourself a resident of the torrid zone, where the forests, the fields, and even the houses swarm with them, and what a living torment it would be if

you were to be constantly annoyed by the very sight of them! If :

you purpose a Southern residence, I advise you, for your own comfort, to overcome these prejudices.3

3. We have very few of the lizard family in the United States—only about a dozen species at most, and of these only two are found in New York and the New England States, and these are harmless little creatures, only six or eight inches in length. You may have been told that they are poisonous, a charge which I scornfully repel. It is merely a vulgar error, and is not true of any of the lizard race. The hotter climates of the globe are, as I have said, the great nurseries of the Saurians, and we of the temperate zone can formi no adequatet idea of the variety-no, nor of the beauty of these creatures, as found in their favorite abodes. This is what a writer says of them: “In the latitudes between the tropics they every where obtrude themselves upon notice; they are in the common pathway, and even haunt the abodes of men; they swarm upon the trees, they lie motionless upon the surface of the water, enjoying the hot rays of the sun; they cover banks, and walls, and crumbling ruins, and mingle their sparkling hues with those of the blooming vegetation amid which they nestle.” Nice little creatures, that nestle so cozilyperhaps beneath the very flowers that you are plucking!

4. The drawing at the head of this lesson, which I have prepared with much care, will give you a better idea than any description would convey of the lizards proper, leaving the crocodiles for another drawing. The little New York lizards, and the sand-lizard of England, are so small as scarcely to attract our notice. The Brazilian, or variegated lizard, is quite a different animal, sometimes measuring five or six feet in length. It runs with great swiftness, and strikes such violent blows with its tail that dogs do not readily venture to attack it. It is somewhat noted for robbing hen-roosts and stealing honey. It attacks the bee-hives with blows of its tail, running away each time, after having given a stroke, to escape the stings. In this way it wearies out the bees, who finally quit their home, and leave the honey to their enemy.

5. Another large South American lizard is the iguana, a drawing of which I have given. What would you think of eating such a creature? Do not be astonished when I tell you that, in countries where it abounds, its flesh is regarded as a great delicacy! But it is an animal of taste in more senses than one. It is

very

fond of music. It passes a great part of its existence in trees, and is commonly taken when resting on a branch, by slipping a noose over its head, its captor whistling to it while engaged in the operation.

6. The chameleon, another member of the lizard family, we have all read of in that story of the “two travelers of conceited cast,” who,

“ As o'er Arabia's wilds they passed,
And, on their way, in friendly chat,
Now talked of this, and then of that,
Discoursed a while, 'mongst other matter,

Of the chameleon's form and nature."

You know how violent a dispute they fell into about its color, one declaring it to be blue, and the other green, and that

" So high, at last, the contest rose,

From words they almost came to blows ;" and yet the reptile, on being produced by a third party, was found to be neither green, nor blue, nor black—but white!

7. The truth about this power of the chameleon to change its color is this. It is naturally of a pale gray color, from which it may pass from pale green to yellow, and dingy red; and sometimes the change is continued to dusky violet, or nearly black. In other respects, also, the chameleon is a very peculiar animal. It seems scarcely to possess the power of motion-walks with the greatest circumspection6—and frequently remains hours almost immovable. It can direct its eyes two different ways at once—one looking backward and the other forward. This animal feeds upon insects; and it may be a wonder to you how so sluggish a creature can seize them. The wonder will not be lessened when you are told that it seizes them with its tongue, which it darts forth instantaneously, often more than the length of the body, and that the end of the tongue is covered with a viscid” secretion, by which the insects at which it is thrown are glued to it. As this motion of the tongue is so rapid as to be scarcely visible, it was the popular belief of the ancients that the chameleon fed on air alone. 8. But I must pass on to other

of the lizarà class. The basilisk of South America, although perfectly harmless, is a very hideous-looking reptile, as you may see from the picture of it. This term, basilisk, was applied by the ancients to a monster which existed only in their own imaginations, yet of which the most detailed accounts have been transmitted to

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