Terrors of Equatorial Africa.
Mr Stanley's discoveries: irt the great equatorial forest of Africa hare called forth from M. P. dv Ohailus some observations m reference to his exploration of the same forest a quarter of a century ago. The writer m his article m the "Fortnightly Review " says he is the first man who ever penetrated the recesses of the forest, and m the course of his exceedingly interesting description he makes the following statement:— "There are a great many species of ants, some of which are found m rasfc numbers. The moat remarkable and most dreaded of all is the bashikouay, >and is a most voracious creature which carries nothing away, but eats its prey on the spot. It is the dread of all living animals of the forest—the elephant, the leopard, the gorilla, and all the insect world—and man himself is compelled to 'See before the advan«e of these marauders or to protect himself by fire or boiling water. It is the habit of the bashikouay to march through the forest m a long regular line about two Inches broad or more, and often miles m length. AH along the line larger ants who a<# »q
officers stand outside the ranks and keep the singular army m order. If they come to a place where there are no trees to shelter them from the sun, the heat of which they cannot bear, they immediately burrow under ground and form tunnels. It takes often more than twelve hours for one of these armies to pass. When they grow hungry, at a certain command, which seems to take place all along the line at the same* time, the long file spreads itself through the forest m a front line, and attacks and devours all it overtakes with a fury that is quite irresistible. All the other living inhabitants of the forest flee before it. I myself have had to run for my life. Their advent is known beforehand. The still forest becomes alive, the trampling of the elephant, the flight of the antelope or of the gazelle, of the leopard, of snakes, all the living world m the same direction where the other animalsarefleeingaway. I remember well the first time I met these bashikouays m their attacking raid. I new not then what was m store for me. I was hunting by myself all alone when suddenly the forest became alive m the manner I have described above. A sudden dread seized me. I did not know what all this meant. Some convulsion of nature was perhaps going to take place. Istood stillin the hunting path resting on my gun, when all at once as if by magic, I was covered with them and bitten everywhere. I fled m haste for dear life m the same direction the animals had taken, and the middle of a stream became my refuge. Their manner of attack is an impetuous leap, instantly the strong pincers are fastened, and they only let go when the piece gives way. They even ascend to the top of trees for their prey. This ant seems to be animated by a kind of fury which causes it entirely to disregard its own safety, and seeks only the conquest of its prey. Sometimes men condemed to death on accouut of witchcraft are made fast to a tree, and if an army of hungry bashikouays passes, m a short time only their bare skeletons remain to tell the tale.
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Terrors of Equatorial Africa., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2493, 16 August 1890
Terrors of Equatorial Africa. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2493, 16 August 1890
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