Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/513

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The snake-house in the Zoölogical Gardens in the Regent's Park is a most perfectly designed building for keeping the snakes in health, and for exhibiting them to the public. The late King of Oude had built a snakery in the gardens of his palace at Garden Reach, near Calcutta. It was an oblong pit about thirty feet long by twenty feet broad, the walls being about twelve feet high, and perfectly smooth, so that a snake could not climb up. In the center of the pit there was a large block of rough masonry, perforated so that it was as full of holes as a sponge. In this honey-combed block the snakes dwelt; and when the sun shone brightly they came out to bask or to feed. His majesty used to have live frogs put into the pit, and amused himself by seeing the hungry snakes catch the frogs. When a large snake catches a small frog, it is all over in an instant; but if a smallish snake catches a largish frog, so that he can not swallow it at once, the frog's cries are piteous to hear. Again and again I have heard them while out shooting, and have gone to the bush or tuft of grass from which the piercing cries came—sometimes in time, sometimes too late to save poor froggy, though the snake generally got shot. As a final story let me tell how a frog has been seen to turn the tables on the snake. Two gentlemen in Cachar some years ago saw a small snake seize a small frog and attempt to swallow it. But suddenly a large frog jumped forward, seized the snake's tail, and began to swallow the snake. How the affair might have ended can not be told, because my friends imprudently drew near to watch the combat, when the frogs and the snake took alarm, and the big frog disgorged the snake's tail, and the snake released the little frog, and they all scuttled off. But the tale is perfectly true, and both the gentlemen who saw it are still alive; and I only regret that it was not my good luck to see the affair with my own eyes.—Longman’s Magazine.


ON approaching an Ainu village one is deceived as to the number of houses, and apt to underestimate them. I fancy this is because of their being scattered about most irregularly, and because there are no streets to guide the eye. Along the coast the villages are, as a rule, built just inside of the first row of sand-dunes, which afford considerable protection from the heavy gales. Since the Japanese Government has undertaken the management and development of the Hokkaido, a good road leads through each village; but off on either side of this road the houses are built according to the fancy of the various occupants, and if a stranger