Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Transcript

Plate XXVI
Killing Crocodiles

The Indians' method of killing crocodiles is as follows: on the edge of a river they erect a small hut, full of holes and slits, where a watchman is stationed so that he is able to see and hear the crocodiles from afar. These creatures, driven by hunger, climb up out of the rivers and crawl about on the islands in search of prey. When they find none they make such a ghastly noise that it can be heard half a mile away. At this moment the watchman calls the hunters who are in readiness. Grasping a pointed tree trunk ten or twelve feet long, they advance towards the animal, who usually crawls along with open mouth, and when he opens his mouth they quickly plunge the thinnest part of the pole into it in such a way that he cannot get it out because of the roughness and irregularity of the bark. Turning the crocodile over, they then pound and pierce his belly, which is the softest part of his body, with blows from clubs and arrows. The backs of these animals, particularly those of the old ones, are impenetrable, covered as they are with hard scales. Such is the Indians' method of hunting crocodile. These animals trouble them so much that they have to keep a watch against them at night and sometimes even in the day, as if they were guarding against some dreadful enemy.


All transcriptions are taken from Discovering the New World, Based on the Works of Theodore de Bry, edited by Michael Alexander (New York: Harper & Row, 1976).