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120   IN THE ACADIAN LAND.

tion or inclination to do the best thing for itself without thinking at all. In that case we may inquire if this instinct was revealed to the first pair of squirrels of this species, and has passed by inheritance ever since to all of them, or is it imparted after birth to each individual ? If we can get at the bottom facts this instance of instinct may be explained in a natural way, but many other instances thus far have had no solution. It will be found that our squirrels have inherited a habit of their ancestors. But what about their ancestors? How did they acquire the habit? The first fact of prime importance in the study of all living things is the hard struggle for existence that all forms of life must surely meet. To get clear of being eaten and find something to eat have always been the chief aims of animal life. Hunger is a sharp demand that cannot be long delayed, or death will claim a victim ; but there are always more mouths than morsels; by far the larger portion of all lower animals produced are either eaten by other animals, or they starve to death. Throw to a flock of hens a handful or two of bits of bread and notice, if they are hungry, how eagerly they contend, and how each one tries to secure the largest piece in her bill and run away to a place where she can eat it


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