As it is probable that an animal of this magnitude has been killed at a great distance from any habitation, there will not be an opportunity of macerating the hide in alum and water. The skin will also be too thick for the arsenical soap to penetrate with effect. Under these circumstances, the next best thing to preserve it is to take the ashes of a wood fire, and rub it well inside. The skin should then be stretched along the boughs of a tree, and allowed to dry. The skull, after it has been dried, must be returned into the skin, and the lips, ears, and feet imbued plentifully with turpentine, which operation must be several times repeated at intervals. Nothing is more effectual in preventing the attacks of insects than this spirit, and no larvae will exist in places which it has touched.
The skin will be sufficiently dried within two or three days, so that the hair may be turned inwards. If some common salt can be procured, a solution of it should be made, and the hair rubbed with it. Both sides of the skin must be rubbed with this two or three times, at intervals of a day.
When sufficiently dry, the skin may be rolled up and packed. The hair ought to be inwards, with a layer of dried grass intervening, to prevent friction during conveyance. The operation of rolling up the skin must be begun at the head.
If the journey is long, the skin should be unrolled, and placed in the sun for a few hours, and the places liable to the attack of moths should be again rubbed with turpentine.
When a skin thus prepared has reached the place where it is to be put up, it must undergo a preparation previous to its being mounted. In the first place, it must be extended along the ground with the hair undermost, so that it may acquire fresh pliability, and those parts which remain stiff must be moistened with tepid water. The skin must then be placed in a large vessel of water saturated with alum, there to remain eight or ten days; after which, it must be extended on half rounded pieces of wood, and thinned with a sharp knife, which is facilitated by the projections of the wood, enabling the operator the more easily to cut it, while it is gradually shifted, till the whole has been pretty equally thinned. When this operation is completed, it is allowed to soak in water with an equal quantity of that saturated with the alum. Twenty-four hours will be sufficient.
In hunting for snakes, great caution must be exercised, as it is well known that the bite of some of these proves fatal within a quarter of an hour, particularly that of the rattlesnake and some others. Indeed, it would be more prudent to allow the natives to hunt for these poisonous reptiles, as they are better acquainted with their haunts, and the means of defense to be employed in this dangerous pursuit. They are also better acquainted with those which are poisonous. We may, however, remark, that the poisonous snakes have, in general, much larger heads than those which are harmless, and their necks are also narrow.
Shells. Shells, on account of the elegance and variety of their forms, and beauty of their colors, are objects much sought after, not only by naturalists but also by most persons who are unacquainted with science. There is no species, particularly in remote climes, which does not deserve to be brought home, the things most common in those countries being frequently the most rare in ours. Shells are found on every part of the surface of the globe. Some are inhabitants of the land, while others only frequent rivers, lakes, ponds, and ditches; and another and more numerous class live in the ocean. Land-shells are spread over the whole surface of the earth, and although more accessible, are perhaps less known than those which inhabit the "mighty deep."
Land-Shells, for the most part, are to be found creeping abroad either in the evening or after a gentle shower of rain. During the heat of the day they retire to shaded retreats, under thick bushes, the crevices of rocks, the hollows of decayed trees, or under their bark; beneath stones, amongst moss, or in holes in the ground. A little experience will teach the naturalist readily to find their retreats.
Fresh Water Shells must be sought for, if in deep lakes, with a dredge, or if in shallow places, with a tin spoon fixed on the end of a stick. This is made of a circular piece of tin four inches and a half in diameter, beat concave, and then perforated with numerous small holes, not exceeding the sixteenth part of an inch in diameter; around this must be soldered a perpendicular rim three-quarters of an inch broad, and also perforated with holes. To this must be attached a hollow tubular handle three inches long, for the insertion of a walking-stick. It must have a few holes towards its outer end for passing a string through to tie it firmly and prevent it being lost. With this spoon the collector must rake along the mud at the bottom of ditches or ponds, and after bringing a quantity to the surface, he must wash the mud entirely away by shaking the spoon on the top of the water, and it will pass through the holes and leave the shells. The sharp edge of the spoon is also useful for detaching aquatic shells from the under surface of the leaves of water-plants.
The large swan-muscle (Anadonta Cygnea), and other ana-dons, generally lie deep in the mud, so that they cannot be procured by dredging. I found it necessary to invent a net to fish for these. This consisted of an iron triangle of twelve inches, with a hollow handle fixed on its base, and in this is inserted a pole of sufficient length to reach the bottom. It is firmly screwed to the handle. A net is attached to the triangle either of twine or hair-cloth. The point of the triangle should be sharp so that it may the more easily penetrate the mud, and it is drawn through it in situations where shells are supposed to exist.
Marine Shells. These are to be found in all seas; some of them inhabit rocks on the shore within high-water mark ; others reside in deep water, and can only be taken by dredging, or by the use of a kind of net called in France the gan-gui, and an instrument called the rake has also been successfully used.
Different species of sea-weed are frequently covered by minute shells - weeds should always be carefully examined. Many of the smaller and microscopic shells are found at high-water mark among the fine dross and drifted fragments of shells; this sand should be brought home and examined at leisure. To facilitate the process a small wire-cloth sieve should be made of about six or seven inches square and all the sand sifted through it and the shells left, Molluscous Animals. Many species of worms and other soft invertebrate animals are to be caught also by the dredge. There is no way of preserving these animals except by putting them in spirits. Animals of this kind are still very imperfectly known, notwithstanding the researches of Lamarck, Poli, and other celebrated naturalists. Every opportunity should, therefore, be embraced of bringing them home; indeed, we are still little acquainted with those which inhabit our own seas.
When animals of this kind are procured in foreign parts a careful noting of the latitude should be taken; and it should be stated whether they live singly or are congregated, if they are phosphorescent, and if they were taken in deep water. And as these animals are very liable to lose their colors by being put in spirits, a careful noting of these should be taken whenever they are caught, as the colors are very evanescent; or, what would be still better, a drawing of the animal should be made.
Intestinal Worms. Whenever we have killed either a quadruped, bird, or fish, we should carefully examine the stomach and intestinal canal of the animal to see if there are any worms; indeed, there are few animals without them; they must also be preserved in spirits. Besides the stomach and intestines, worms are also found in the livers and other parts of the body; also in the back of Skates and various fishes.