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Wild Animals and the Land

Nature volume 162, pages 8586 (17 July 1948) | Download Citation



MR. HOWARD LANCUM in this book writes primarily for men of the land who wish to know something of the status of British wild animals in relation to agriculture, horticulture and food production, and has produced an attractive book, illustrated by excellent photographs. Some of the animals he describes are the fox, the badger, the otter, rabbit and hare, the hedgehog and squirrel, rat, vole, mice and shrew. It is good to see that he mentions the good, as well as the harm, animals do. For example (p. 32), we are told of the fondness of the badger for wasps' grubs. When a wasps' nest had to be tackled, "it was a common occurrence for a deputation of youngsters to present itself at the door of the house of Brocky‘s [the tame badger‘s] master, with the request, ‘Can we borrow Brocky, please?' Brocky was ever ready to be borrowed, for none knew better than he what was afoot. He would be duly led away with collar and chain until the company came within sight of the offending wasps' nest. As soon as he saw the flying wasps his hackles would rise, and he was released from the chain while the children remained at a safe distance. In an almost incredibly short time Brocky would have that nest out of the ground, and would be feasting royally on fat, juicy wasp grubs, meanwhile uncaring for, or impervious to, the stings of the outraged wasps."

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