Sunday, 13 September 2009
Pets for Pleasure and Profit - 1915
Pets for Pleasure and Profit
By A. Hyatt Verrill
with many illustrations by the author
Excerpt - Introduction and Table of Contents, digitized by Doug Frizzle September 2009.
(click on images for enlargement)
COPYRIGHT. 1915, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
Printed in the United States of America
WHETHER civilized or savage, city-bred or living in the country, boys of every age and nation are fond of pets. The boy without a tame bird or animal of some sort is to be pitied, for in the companionship of a dumb creature lies a wonderful amount of pleasure, while affection, humanity, and love are fostered and developed to a great extent by caring for pets.
A domesticated bird or animal, properly fed and cared for, is beyond a doubt far better off and far happier than its wild cousins, but if improperly treated and fed its lot is far from enviable. A great many pets no doubt suffer from disease, mistreatment, and improper food, but in nearly every case this is due to lack of knowledge or mistaken kindness rather than to intentional cruelty on the part of the owner.
Of course many boys, and grown-ups as well, are brutal or cruel by nature and seem to take supreme pleasure in teasing or maltreating the unfortunate birds and animals that come under their power. Such people would no doubt be just as cruel to children or to their fellow men and the fact that they are naturally unfitted to control any living thing is no reason for discouraging others from keeping pets.
Unfortunately, there is a great dearth of books or pamphlets treating of the care and rearing of pet birds and animals, and this book has been prepared with the purpose of filling this long-felt want.
Numerous handbooks have been written dealing with some one group or class of animals or birds, such as dogs, cats, pigeons, canaries, etc., but no general work containing full directions and rules for rearing, feeding, and caring for every kind of pet has hitherto been published.
To many boys the unusual appeals most strongly, and for this reason the author has devoted a great deal of space to describing various beasts and birds that are seldom seen in confinement, but which are particularly adapted to life in captivity and make excellent pets.
Some of these animals are regularly domesticated in their native lands but are never seen in our own country, save in menageries and zoological gardens; and yet their docility, intelligence, handsome colors, and interesting habits particularly fit them for household pets.
Others are of value mainly for large estates or for profit, and for this reason have been included, for it is a hard matter to draw the line between true pets and animals or birds reared for profit. Out of every flock or herd some individual will develop unusual traits and intelligence and, whether chicken, goose, calf, or colt, a pet will be made of it.
As a knowledge of natural surroundings, food, and habits are essential to the proper care and feeding of any foreign bird or animal, the author has given as much information on these matters as possible and the reader who is interested in natural history will find not a little valuable instruction in the descriptions of the wild birds and animals.
During many years' experience as a naturalist and natural-history collector the author has had ample opportunity to study the dispositions and habits of animals, birds, and reptiles, and it is his firm conviction that there are very few wild creatures which cannot be tamed and domesticated by kindness, and proper care and feeding.
Some of our native animals and birds make splendid pets and yet are seldom seen in captivity, while foreign species of the same families are commonly domesticated. White mice and white rats, cats, dogs, squirrels, and rabbits are all favorites and yet the dainty deer-mice, wood-rats, flying squirrels, prairie-dogs, woodchucks, coons, coyotes, foxes, and the odd raccoon-fox of the southwestern States are far more interesting and become just as tame and affectionate in captivity. We are all accustomed to parrots, mina birds, and pigeons as pets, but bluejays, crows, nutcrackers, and other native birds are far easier to raise and are more interesting.
Many of our native American wild fowl and ducks are particularly well fitted for domestication, and breed and increase readily in captivity, and with the increasing scarcity of our wild birds and animals it is of great importance to rear them in confinement, for only in this way can many species be prevented from disappearing completely from our land. Descriptions of all these native species suitable for rearing in a state of domestication are included in the work, with directions for their care and feeding.
A great many of our native birds and animals can be purchased tame, from dealers in ornamental and fancy stock, but boys living in the country or outlying districts can usually obtain their stock by trapping or by rearing the young.
The illustrations have been prepared with the object of showing the various birds and animals treated in the text, and, in the case of such domestic animals as rabbits, guinea-pigs, etc., the characteristics of the more noteworthy "fancy" varieties. The plans for cages, hutches, runs, and other enclosures have been drawn especially for this book and embody the very latest and most improved designs for their various purposes. Wherever possible, several different designs have been provided, in order that the reader may select the one best suited to his needs and surroundings.
PART I —MAMMALS
I. GENERAL REMARKS AND SUGGESTIONS . . i
Hints on keeping pets. Choice of pets.
II. RABBITS AND HARES ........ u
Care and housing. Feeding. Breeding. Diseases. Hares for market. Fancy rabbits. Wild hares and rabbits.
III. GUINEA-PIGS OR CAVIES AND THEIR RELA-
TIVES ... 29
Care and housing. Feeding. Breeding. Diseases. Bolivian agouti cavies. Bolivian tortoise-shell cavies. Bolivian Dutch-marked cavies. Peruvian cavies. Abyssinian cavies. Animals related to the guinea-pig. Agoutis. The pampas cavy. The paca. Capybaras. Chinchillas. Viscachas. Porcupines.
IV. SQUIRRELS AND THEIR KIN 43
Housing. Feeding. Care and breeding. Varieties of squirrels. Animals related to squirrels.
V. LARGE RODENTS—WOODCHUCKS AND OTHER
Woodchucks. Care and housing. Feeding. Habits. "Peter," the story of a pet woodchuck. Other marmots.
VI. RATS AND MICE 72
Tame rats and mice. Care, housing, and feeding. Wild mice and rats. Other rat-like creatures.
VII. CARNIVOROUS ANIMALS 82
Raccoons and their cousins. Care and housing. Feeding. The raccoon-fox. The coati. Kinkajous. The opossum. The bear. The story of a pet bear. Foxes and wolves.
VIII. DOGS 101
History and varieties. Care and housing. Feeding. Training. Cleanliness. Diseases.
IX. CATS AND CATLIKE ANIMALS 118
Domestic cats. Care and housing. Feeding. Breeds of cats. Diseases of cats. Wildcats. Other catlike animals. The hunting leopard.
X. MONKEYS AND MONKEY-LIKE CREATURES . 133
Uakaris. Capuchins. Marmosets. Old World monkeys. Care and housing. Feeding. Diseases. Lemurs.
XI. RUMINANTS AND HOOFED ANIMALS . . . 153
Deer. Antelope. The goat. Dwarf antelope. Peccary. Cony.
XII. CANARIES 160
General care and cages. Feeding. Breeding. Breeding-cages and nests. Rearing the young. Diseases. Various breeds of canaries. The Saint Andreasburg canary. The Campanini Holden. The English canaries. The red canary. The gold-spangled lizard canary.
XIII. SONG AND ORNAMENTAL CAGE-BIRDS ... 183
Cages and aviaries. Flying-cages. Training birds. The European goldfinch. The bullfinch. The siskin. The chaffinch. The linnet. Brazilian cardinal. The Java sparrow. Finches. Soft-billed birds. The nightingale. The blackcap. Skylark. Song-thrush. Blackbird. English robin. Japanese robin. Clarinos. Shama thrush. Mocking-bird. Troopial. Starling. Waxwing.
XIV. PARROTS AND TALKING BIRDS 216
Care and feeding. Training. Diseases. The African gray parrot. The green parrot. Dwarf parrots. Paroquets. Lories. Cockatoos. Macaws. Toucans. Crows. Jays. Magpies. Motmots. The mynah.
XV. WILD BIRDS 237
Care and feeding. Obtaining wild birds. Rearing young birds. Hawks and owls. Crows, ravens, and similar birds. Blackbirds. Sparrows.
XVI. GAME-BIRDS AND WILD FOWL 249
Raising game-birds as pets. Pheasants. General care. Pens and runs. Handling new birds. Breeding. Hatching. Rearing the chicks. Feeding. Diseases. Diseases mainly affecting adult pheasants. Varieties of pheasants. Other game-birds.
XVII. WATER-FOWL AND WADING-BIRDS .... 290
Habits and care. Wild ducks. Tree-ducks. Ornamental and wild geese. Swans. Gulls and terns. Herons. Cranes. Storks. Flamingoes. Pelicans. Spoonbills. Cormorants. Ibis. Shore'birds. Galli-nules. Screamers.
XVIII. DOVES AND PIGEONS 308
Common pigeons. Cage and breeding loft. Feeding. Nests. Wild doves and pigeons.
PART III—AQUARIUMS AND REPTILES
XIX. FRESH-WATER AQUARIUMS 321
Preparation. Animals and plants. Collecting the specimens. Care and feeding.
XX. SALT-WATER AQUARIUMS 334
Preparation. Collecting the specimens. Care and feeding. Specimens of peculiar interest.
XXI. REPTILES 347
Reptiles as pets. Lizards. Horned toads. Gila monsters. Alligators. Iguanas. Turtles. Snakes.
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- As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.