National Geographic : 1931 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE THE CHEEK POUCH ON THE RIGHT finite caution he climbed up to my pocket and took the plunge-something he never would have done sight unseen. This is, of course, part of the reason that, with only a nucleus of two or three to begin with each year, the taming was so much easier than at first. It cannot ex plain all. SLOW MOTION IS NECESSARY IN DEALING WITH CHIPMUNKS If you watch the eyes of any animal, you will find that they are the true barometers of its reactions. A chipmunk might be eat ing placidly on my hand. Suddenly a look of terror would leap into his eyes. Some sound too delicate for my ear had filled him with dread. He might stay perfectly motionless for a full minute, listening, lis- tening. If the cause of the noise material ized, he would skitter off; if not, he would suddenly relax, and contentment reflooded his eyes; but during that period of fear, the slightest stir on my part was fatal. When their eyes twinkled with friendli ness, I could inclose them with my hand, I could stroke their fur-in fact, I could do almost any reason able thing, provided my movements were slow and gentle, not jerky or unexpected (see illustration, page 89). I never tried to pick them up. I doubt if they would have let me, for that would have been imprison ment. I had one little fellow, however, who used to run along the ground to me, jump into my outstretched hand, and let me raise him gently to the IS FULL level of my eyes. I can see him yet, twin kling at me (I use that word frequently, because to me it is the chipmunk way of smiling), while he ate a bit of bread or stuffed it busily into his mouth. When he was ready he would jump across to my shoulder or run up my arm and from there swing skirtway to the ground. Like Rikki-tikki, the mongoose, a small chipmunk's slogan is "Go and find out." At one time I had a porcupine (see page 80). We called him Billy and he lived in a packing box. Billy was massive, slow, and deliberate, but he used to walk very easily along the edge of the packing box. One day Frisky Chipmunk saw him and became wild with curiosity. Said he, "That big thing can't see me if I sneak up behind him. I'll just run over and see what he's made of."