Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/151

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139
THE COATI-MONDI AND ITS COUSINS.

In the same manner, though not to the same extent, the nose of the Nasua, like the same organ of the elephant, projects far beyond the mouth. At our first acquaintance with the animal, we were anxious to see if it could drink out of a deep, narrow vessel. So a mug, containing about a gill of milk, was set before her. She instantly turned up the proboscis toward her forehead, and, in the easiest way imaginable, lapped the vessel dry. The organ was not even wet. The sight, though comical, was really pretty. It was the only time that I had ever seen the turning up of the nose at one's friends so deftly and gracefully done. And she could turn the same organ in a contrary way quite as easily. The first time she confronted a mirror, startled at beholding her own counterfeit presentment, instantly her countenance fell—very low indeed; for her nose bent downward, and actually curved under the chin. Of course the word chin is not here anatomically correct. Her proboscis now looked like that of a tapir in repose. This singular grimace, with its squeaky little grunts, presented a very funny manifestation of surprise.

Fig. 3.
PSM V02 D151 Racoon.jpg

Raccoon (Procyon lotor). A near ally of the Coati-Mondi, having the same plantigrade, or bear-like step, and certain other resemblances of form and habit. The tail is too short in the cut, which is due to the foreshortening.

Sometimes for an airing the animal was tied by a long tether to a flower-stand on the lawn. It should have been mentioned that she was literally omnivorous. She would catch a mouse and eat it all up. The heads of poultry given her in the kitchen would be eaten ravenously. The same is true of sweetmeats, which she occasionally got by stealth. She would drink every thing, not even stopping at brandy. She had nearly all the of the domestic swine; and the end of her proboscis was essentially a swine's snout. I now beheld the use of this singularly-tipped organ. And an interesting sight it was to see that little thing plough up the greensward with the tip of her nose—and so easily. Here appeared the veritable swinish acuteness of scent for insects and worms, and the swinish facility for rooting in the ground. With surprising rapidity furrow after furrow was made, of about the width of a man's thumb. Whenever a worm or insect was discovered, as when drinking, the nose was curved up, so that the mouth could extract the object from the furrow.