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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/346

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and not our citizens pays our customs taxes on imports, what is the object of placing by specific statutes any article on the free list? Why not let him continue to pay millions of taxes for us, as, for example, on sugar?

 

OUR FLORIDA ALLIGATOR.
By I. W. BLAKE.

AN alligator is not an attractive creature. He has not a single-virtue that can be named. He is cowardly, treacherous, hideous. He is neither graceful nor even respectable in appearance. He is not even amusing or grotesque in his ungainliness, for as a brute—a brute unqualified—he is always so intensely real, that one shrinks from him with loathing; and a laugh at his expense while in his presence would seem curiously out of place.

His personality, too, is strong. Once catch the steadfast gaze of a free, adult alligator's wicked eyes, with their odd vertical pupils fixed full upon your own, and the significance of the expression "evil eye," and the mysteries of snake-charming, hypnotism, and hoodooism will be readily understood, for his brutish, merciless, unflinching stare is simply blood-chilling.

Zoölogically the alligator belongs to the genus Crocodilus, and he has all the hideousness of that family, lacking somewhat its bloodthirstiness, although the American alligator is carnivorous by nature, and occasionally cannibalistic. Strictly speaking, however, the true alligator is much less dangerous than his relatives of the Old World, and he is correspondingly less courageous.

One would suppose the saurians, or crocodilians, from their general appearance to be huge lizards, but the resemblance is superficial. The whole internal structure differs widely, and, subdivided

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