aterrier

It’s a terrier’s world, we just live in it

Tasmanian tiger terrier

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the last known Thylacine which died in captivity in 1933 in a zoo in Hobart, Tasmania

It was largely silent, its vocalisations being limited to an occasional terrier-like bark when hunting and a series of husky barks when excited in captivity.

From a book on Australian marsupials

 

Thylacine by Alexis Rockman from the book Carnivorous Nights by Margaret Mittelbach and David Crewdson

A few years ago we began visiting a stuffed and mounted animal skin with something akin to amorous fervor. We didn’t tell our friends about this secret relationship. We feared they would think it was unhealthy to be infatuated with a dead animal.

The object of our obsession resided at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. Best known for its towering dinosaur skeletons and beautiful but creepy dioramas of gorillas and stuffed birds, the museum also housed a library where we did research. On the way there, we would walk through the perpetual twilight of the museum’s halls, passing meteorite fragments, African carvings, and a life-sized herd of motionless pachyderms.

When exactly we first saw this magnificent animal is lost in the recesses of memory, but we remember being instantly captivated by its exotic form. We marveled at its still limbs, at its head posed coyly downward, at its glorious Seussian stripes. It was a taxidermy of a Tasmanian tiger inside a rectangular glass case, and it was positioned in such a lifelike manner, its mouth curved in a friendly canine smile, that we found ourselves feeling affection for it as if it were a long-lost pet. It had 15 dark brown stripes across the back of its ginger-colored coat, which is why it was called a tiger, but the stripes were where that resemblance ended. Its body was shaped more like a wolf’s or wild dog’s.

Carnivorous Nights

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Written by aterrier

August 25, 2008 at 10:46 am

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