Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/148

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136
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
THE COATI-MONDI AND ITS COUSINS.
By Rev. S. LOCKWOOD, Ph. D.

SAILORS from South America occasionally, among other pets, bring a small animal, which, because of its long nose, they invariably call an Ant-eater. Thus was a little stranger introduced to our care a few years ago. A glance was enough to see that it was no ant-eater at all, but a pretty female Coati-Mondi. Gallant Jack Tar, her master on ship, unconscious of the incongruity, had made a namesake of her and called her Jack. Science had already named her Nasua, and in a matter-of-fact way, for the word interpreted just means—Nosie. The animal was about the size of a cat, with a thick, coarse fur, of a brownish hue on the back and sides, and underneath shades from yellow to orange. The long tail was ornamented by a series of black and yellowish-brown rings. Her nasal prominence reminded me of a queer Spaniard, once employed in the government service to detect spurious coin. His "counterfeit detector" was a sensitive proboscis. By sticking this organ into the glittering heaps he literally "nosed" out the bad from the good. To that man his nose was the instrument of his profession; and to Nasua her nose was equally important. It even prompted a nick-name and a juvenile pun—"Nosie's nose knows too much!" Inappeasably inquisitive, she was incessantly intruding that organ into every thing. Having made no allowance for an extra-tropical temperature, this little South American made a failure in an attempt to lift with her nose the lid of a pot in the cook's domain. The next attempt, a successful one, was on the knife-box, whose closely-fitting lid was pried open, and every article inspected, in happy ignorance of the proverb about edged tools. It was enough that any thing was hollow to excite her curiosity, which was of a thoroughly simian type. The dinner-bell was turned over; but, unable to detach the clapper and chain, it was soon abandoned in disgust. A round sleigh-bell received more persevering attention. Unable to get her nose or paws into the little hole at the side, the clatter within set her wild with excitement, and evoked a desperate attack on the little annoyance with her teeth. She then gave it up as a bootless job. A bottle of hartshorn was next made the subject of investigation. We had purposely loosened the cork, and promised ourselves a "nice sell" and we got it—not Nosie. She was not in the least disconcerted by the drug. In fact, she had a strong nose for such things. A man gave her his tobacco-box. Resting it on the floor between her two paws, which possessed uncommon flexibility, she turned it over and over, round and round, exercising alternately her nose, claws, and teeth upon it with great energy, but to no avail. It seemed that the smell of its contents infatuated her, as she showed no disposition to