Henry H. Tryon's
“ F E A R S O M E   C R I T T E R S
( 70th A N N I V E R S A R Y   H Y P E R T E X T   E D I T I O N )

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Villosus sumptuosus

          In luring a victim within its reach, this animal employs one of the oldest strategic devices known—that of playing on the cupidity of its prey. Being a rather slow-gaited beast, it has to resort to some form of low cunning.
          The Rumtifusel is large, strong, and ferocious. The pelt is fine, long, and thick with a rich color like a mink. The body is oddly flattened—somewhat the way old Hank McGinnis looked after he’d rolled off the porch roof following the annual firemen’s dinner, and sort of spread himself out so fiat we just slid him edgeways between a couple of shed doors for a cofin. This shape makes it possible for the Rumtifusel to drape himself closely over a stump, or about the butt of a tree standing near a tote-road, in such adroit fashion that he looks exactly like a high-grade fur coat or robe that someone has dropped. Naturally, the passer-by, comes over to have a closer look. With a lightning-fast flick of its blanket-like body the Rumtifusel completely envelops its victim. The numerous minute, sucking pores lining the inner ventral surface are promptly brought into action, and in no time at all the bones are sucked clean.
          Some of these high-ginger scientists will tell you that those little balls of fur you often see beside an old stump were spit up by owls. Don’t you go and swallow that yarn, Those balls are all that’s left of the clothes worn by some greenhorn who ventured too near.

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Fearsome Critters, Written by Henry H. Tryon • Illustrated by Margaret R. Tryon
(Cornwall, NY: Idlewild Press, 1939) Original Text and Illustrations Public Domain License.
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