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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Florence Dixie   29 October [1880]1

Glen Stuart, | Annan. | N. B.

“October 29th. Friday.—”

Dear Sir.—

Whilst reading the other day your very interesting account of “A Naturalist’s Voyage round the world”—I came across a passage descriptive at Maldonado of the subterranean habits of the tucutuco in which you express the belief that this animal never comes to the surface of the ground.—2 I am sure it will be interesting to you to know that tho’ this may be the usual habits of the tucutuco that there are exceptions. In 1879, I spent 6. months on the Pampas and in the Cordillera Mountains of Southern Patagonia and during my wanderings over the plains I have had occaision to notice in places tenanted by the tucutuco, as many as five or six of these little animals at a time outside their burrows. This was on moonlight nights, and I cld. not possibly be mistaken as they wld. frequently come within a yard of the spot on which I lying.— On two other occasions I have seen the tucotuco in broad daylight come out of its burrow and shuffle awkwardly along some 20 or 30. yards ere it took refuge in another of the hundreds of holes with which the ground appeared undermined.3 On one of these occaisions an indian who was sitting near threw an unfinished stone ball of a bolas which he was fashioning at the animal and killed it.— A dog immediately carried the body off so I was unable to examine it and see whether its eyes appeared blind or not.—4 The other one which I caught could see well enough & when I let it go shuffled quickly away.— I feel sure you will forgive me writing what I have done but I felt that what I personally saw wld. be interesting to prove that on some occaisions the tucutuco does come to the surface of the ground.—

Trusting you will forgive the seeming presumption on my part I beg to remain | very faithfully yours. | Florence Dixie.

From | Lady Florence Dixie.


With reference to CD’s account of the subterranean habits of the tucutuco [Journal of researches, p. 58], sends her personal experience of having seen them come out of their burrows. One which she caught was not blind.

Letter details

Letter no.
Florence Caroline (Florence) Douglas/Florence Caroline (Florence) Dixie
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 182
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12781,” accessed on 27 November 2021,