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Rare and Unknown

Rare and Unknown




 

Camelopard

'Gossip,' from Cuala Press Broadside, No. 12, p. 3, May 1909, Guthrie, James, illustrated by Yeats, Jack B., published by Cuala Press: Dundrum, Ireland

“What is a camelopard?” you may ask. Why, it is a camel leopard, of course! A colorfully-dressed man here leads this exotic animal with a length of rope as a leash. Clearly fresh from the decks, a ship docked in the background, the odd pair passes by a building whose sign states “GOOD ENTERTAINMENT[:] FOR MAN AND BEAST.”[1] As a creature generally unseen outside of its native country, this alien beast bears the same fate as most foreign creatures: entertainment. For the sake of curiosity, these animals are brought from their homeland for the purpose of visual appeal of something so strange – and the profit made from displaying the beasts for a fee.

 

 

Curious Creatures

Happy Days: A Paper for Young and Old, Vol. XI, No. 278, p. 12, 1900, Doughty, Francis W., published by Frank Tousey: New York, USA

Note in this list of animal oddities that each animal description includes either mention of its ease of capture, a comparison to a known animal, its functional use by humans, and/or its viewable presence in the United States.

According to the article, the rhino possesses an odd, leathery skin impenetrable to rifle balls, as well as a set of small eyes similar to a hog’s. Furthermore, the creature displays nearly contrary behavior in captivity: passivity, followed by occasional fits of rage. The cheetah, a “hunting leopard” employed in India, similar to a greyhound in its lithe physique, does not often appear in menageries.[2] The chlamyphorus, a type of mole from Chili, has never been viewed in exhibits. Meanwhile, the kangaroo, “often heard of...in this country, is seldom seen.”[3] Esquimo dogs, well adapted to the cold and long periods of famine, excellently serve as transport for their Arctic masters. Ichneumon were often kept as ‘cats’ in Egypt for the purpose of eating vermin; this type of mongoose, in fact, tames rather well, becoming “affectionate...quiet...submissive” and does not attempt to escape back to the wild.[4] 

 

References

[1] 'Gossip,' from Cuala Press Broadside, No. 12, p. 3, May 1909, Guthrie, James, illustrated by Yeats, Jack B., published by Cuala Press: Dundrum, Ireland

[2] Happy Days: A Paper for Young and Old, Vol. XI, No. 278, p. 12, 1900, Doughty, Francis W., published by Frank Tousey: New York, USA

[3] Ibid. p. 13

[4] Ibid. p. 13