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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Lacrimacorpus dissolvens Sudw.

          Probably the homeliest animal in the world, and knows it. The distribution was once fairly wide, the usual habitat being high plains where desert vegetation was abundant. History shows beyond dispute that, as these areas gradually changed to swampy, lake-dotted country the Squonk was forced to take to the water. Of distinctly low mentality it traveled constantly around the unacustomed marches in search of fodder. With time, it developed webbing between its toes, but only on the submerged left feet. Hence, on entering the water it could swim only in circles, and never got back to shore. Fossil bones dredged from these lake-bottoms reveal that thousands perished of starvation in this manner.
          To-day the Squonk is met with solely in the hemlock forests of Pennsylvania. It is a most retiring bashful, crepuscular animal, garbed in a loose, warty, singulary ill-fitting skin. The Squonk is always unhappy—even morbid. He is given to constant weeping over his really upsetting appearance, and can sometimes be tracked by his tear-stained trail. Moonlight nights are best for Squonk hunts, for then the animal prefers to lie quiet in its hemlock-home, fearing, should it venture forth, that it may catch a glimpse of itself in some moonlit pool. Sometimes you can hear one weeping softly to himself. The sound is a low note of pleading somewhat resembling the call of the Cross-feathered Snee.
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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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