Page:Appleton's Guide to Mexico.djvu/114

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86
GENERAL INFORMATION.
 

XXVII.

Zoölogy.

Owing to the variety of climate of the three zones of Mexico, the fauna of each one differs greatly.

Among the animals indigenous to the country, large mammals are very rare. The most common species are the black bear, or oso; the deer, or venado; the Mexican wolf, or coyote; the marten, or camomiotte; the otter, or nutria; the squirrel, or urion; the porcupine, or hoitzlacuatzin; the skunk, or gatomontes (of which there are four varieties); and two kinds of the hare, or liebres. One of these was called the jackass-rabbit by the United States troops during the Mexican War.

Several other rodents, the armadillo, the shrew-mole, or topo, and the opossum, or zorra mochilera, also abound.

Besides the domestic fowls, two hundred kinds of birds, including eagles, hawks, ravens, wild turkeys, and buzzards, are found in the Republic.

Reptiles are comparatively scarce on the table-land, but are abundant in the tierra templada and tierra caliente. Turtles (tortugas de mar) are common in the Gulf of Mexico, the chelonia imbricata, which furnishes the well-known tortoise-shell of commerce, occurring near the eastern coast.

Alligators (lagartos) live in the swamps of the southern States.

Lizards (lagartijas) are plentiful in the hot zone. The iguana (Lacerta iguana, Linnæus) sometimes grows to a length of three feet. Another species of lizard, known as the alcatelepon, being about fifteen inches long, and having a rough gray skin, is found in the country. Its bite is painful, though not dangerous.

Snakes (serpientes) occur in the various zones, but prin-