Mann, William M., 1886-1960 / Wild animals in and out of the zoo
Chapter XVIII: the pouch bearers, pp. 217-220 ff.
WILD ANIMALS of the cage and even endure furtive taps and scratches by way of caress. Probably its fierce appearance and its voracious hunting and feeding habits have given it the reputation it bears. In recent years the Australian authorities have tightened their restrictions on exporting the rarer of the native animals-wisely, because some of the most interesting of all the species are in danger of extermination. We have exhibited twenty-seven species of Australian marsupials at various times, including a number of kangaroos, several phalangers, and in times past even the rare Tasmanian wolf now approaching extinction and practically unknown in collections outside of Australia. Of the five specimens we have had, one lived for seven years and one month. While kangaroos normally thrive in zoological gardens, there is a curious disease called puff mouth, the nature of which is not very well known, which sometimes creates havoc in the collection, and which has on several occasions completely wiped out the kangaroo herds in our zoological parks. Not all marsupials are restricted to Australia. One of the common duties of a zoological park director in this country is to write letters "thanking you for the kind offer," but refusing to buy American opossums from nu- merous captors. This animal is brought in so frequently and lives so well that zoos are usually well stocked with them. Besides, they do not make an attractive exhibit. On the other hand, some of the smaller South American species are beautiful little animals. Once, in Bolivia, an Indian brought me a mother of one of the tiny species, with her family of five young. The mother herself was no larger than a mouse, and the babies, red in color and hairless, were grouped about her waist. I put them in a small Mason jar and tied a piece of cloth over the top. They lived here for some weeks until an assiduous servant, in cleaning the house, turned the jar over and [ 2i8 ]
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