National Geographic : 1931 Jul
INTO THE LAND OF THE CHIPMUNK CATCHING FISH BY THE HANDFUL Here, on the end of the dock, the author would lie by the hour watching the fish that came to her hand by the dozens. Two fishes have just flopped back into the water beyond her hand and one other is just sliding across her finger tips. pickerel swallows his prey head first, and his sharp sets of teeth sometimes send the scales into the water like a shower of snow flakes. I never managed to tame a pickerel. With bass I was more successful, having one or two that I was able to touch. The perch were next hardest to tame, the sun fish the easiest. Nothing seemed to dis turb them. They were too spiny for the pickerel's digestion, I think, and so year after year they lived under the dock and grew fatter and lazier. After the first year, all I ever had to do was to splash the water with my hand, hold some bread un derneath the surface, and out they would float and begin to nibble bread or hands without discrimination. Once I experienced an invasion of tiny minnows. I spent half a morning unsuc cessfully coaxing them to eat from my hand, but in the afternoon one bold little fellow darted over and grabbed a mouth ful. Apparently it was the signal, for al most simultaneously my hand was encased with a wriggling mass of fish, their tiny mouths nibbling every part of it. I could scoop them up in double handfuls. As temporary as the frogs, these little fish stayed only two days, but during that time they covered my hands every time I put them in the water. CIIIPMUNKS AND GOPHERS PROVE MORE INTERESTING THAN FISH These pets were interesting, of course, but they did not quite satisfy; so I turned naturally to the chipmunks and gophers, so numerous all over northern Wisconsin. With them I began a series of friendships that, renewed summer after summer, gave endless joy and half answered that primi tive urge for reinstatement into the animal world. On the roof of an old log cave I estab lished my bread station. An ideal spot it was, on the edge of our clearing, a chip munk paradise of sunny open spaces and crumbling logs, bordered by a thick under growth, mainly raspberry, blackberry, and the wild pin cherry-all favorite foods of the chipmunk.