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« Young Naturalists »

Each was armed with a dipping net of their own design, a cone of fine muslin ending in a small glass tube at the point of a long stick. Swept through the water, the muslin trapped the tiny creatures, which then slithered into the tube, to be identified with a magnifying glass and recorded in a notebook. Over their shoulders hung knapsacks filled with the boxes, bottles and bags to take specimens home for further observations. A few large canvas bags were included for bulkier items like pond tortoises or water snakes and smaller containers packed with damp moss for frogs and lizards. These also served to return previous captures to their habitats after sufficient study. On rare occasions they brought a butterfly net. “But both Gerald and I”, Theodore told me, “were more interested in studying live creatures and kept our collection of preserved specimens to a minimum. We also carried with us a bottle of fresh lemonade and a supply of biscuits or sandwiches for the inner man.”

Himself & Other Animals: A Portrait of Gerald Durrell, by David Hughes

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Reader Comments (6)

I love Gerald Durrell and his adventures in Corfu. My Family and Other Animals was one of the very first and very favorite books I grew to love when I was old enough to take myself to a public library. What a great model for exploration based homeschooling his life was! His family were absolutely hilarious too, and absolutely wrong that he was not learning what he should have been while running wild in Corfu :-)

January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

my bff introduced me to gerald durrell. you are so right about his life. and he is so smart and so funny, such an entertaining writer. *and* so much inspiration in his and his wife’s work. :^)

January 5, 2009 | Registered CommenterLori

Lori!!! This is all so deliciously perfect.

I am so excited to follow along!

And Gerald Durrell... One of my all time faves!

January 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStefani

thanks, stef! me, too!

January 6, 2009 | Registered CommenterLori

Wonderful quote. I read My Family... years (and years) ago, and I really enjoyed it. But at the time my interests led me in a different direction, and I didn't read any more. Now's a perfect time to rediscover it, and the many other Durrell books. :-)

January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSam

I love that! I re-read the book just last spring, and long for living where we are warm and free to wander and explore in such exotic locales!

January 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

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