Page:Babyhood of Wild Beasts.djvu/242

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196
THE BABYHOOD OF WILD BEASTS

trusting. One fellow slipped a clumsy paw through the bars and wanted to play. Dick responded to his greeting and soon they were enjoying pleasant games together. It wasn't a bit lonesome after the lions came. They were the jolliest lot of fellows and there was something doing every minute.

Dick has developed a terrible fondness for meat. His gluttony for this particular article of diet has nearly cost him his life on several occasions. He won't chew his meat, he bolts it whole and the wad sticks in his throat and strangles him. Only the skill of his keeper saves him at these dangerous periods. The keeper jumps into his den and rubs the offending lump down his throat into his stomach. Dick is fifteen months old now, and really knows better. I fear for his life if the keeper should be a few minutes late some time.

This leopard loves to roll balls. He has several in his cage, and can roll them all at one time. He is really quite a juggler. This feat excites the little lions who can roll only one ball at a time. They don't realise that Dick is twice their age, much nimbler, and more certain.