National Geographic : 1913 Jul
Photo by George Shiras, 3rd A MUSKRAT PULLING ON A CELERY ROOT During several seasons, by automatic camera and flashlight, a large number of night pictures were taken of muskrats, which are not easy to photograph in daytime, as they are largely nocturnal or abroad only toward dusk (see text, page 782). stretched across the feeding place. Wa ter was dashed wherever any trace of scent was apt to be, and that night came .a flash, visible from my bed-room win dow. A good picture resulted and the camera was reset; but nothing came for nearly io days, when once more a pic ture of the same deer was taken. This time no effort was made for another pic ture, but the place was kept well baited, until from a canoe I could see fresh tracks in the mud, when the camera was once more placed in the box. After taking the third picture it was impossible to get the deer to spring the flashlight; for, although, unquestionably the black silk thread was invisible at night, a slight pressure on the upper limbs was noticed immediately and the deer retreated. The abundance of por cupines and rabbits prevented placing the thread closer to the ground. To meet this difficulty, the leaves of a freshly cut bush were saturated with salt water, and when the deer pushed into it the pressure of the thread was unnoticed until too late. The flash shows the deer nibbling away (see page 769). Seven pictures were taken in 60 days, when came the best surprise of all; for one night the doe brought her half-grown fawn to the river, and with little concern the latter walked into the flashlight string just as the doe came into view (see page 770) ; but even then the instinctive effort of the fawn to avoid the sharp pressure of the thread is shown by the fore right leg being thrown against the body. Ten days later the doe walked into the thread in a mass of loose branches, and it, too, threw back its leg in the same way; while the fawn, with all the appearance of knowing that there was apt to be trouble in this locality, is shown gazing in an expectant way at its mother (see page 771).