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How He Lives

ISSUE:  Autumn 1982
It is easier to hold
his mouth closed
than to keep it from closing
once it has opened
and grasped an object.
What he lacks in imagination he makes up for in greed.

He eats with his head under water
but feeds on dry ground when he wants to: method in his madness.

He is ready to snap at anything
almost anytime,
which some consider endearing.

The teeth are long
and round-pointed,
they cannot chew, grind or cut:
they can, however, crush, tear and hold—
variations of the will.

The basic color is mud,
more highly colored in the mating season,
if you call mud bright.

Lively, well-rounded, alert,
he grunts when you pick him up.
So much for love:

after he reaches six feet in length
you don’t pick him up.

The second eyelid provides protection underwater;
on land the eyelids should be open,
intelligence being a matter of instinct.

Like anyone else
what he requires in captivity is
the same as what he requires in the wilderness:

warm, clear water,
a dry place;
a place to hide
out of the sun.


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