Near the southeast corner of the lake were a few modern huts built of stone and adobe, with thatched roofs, inhabited by drovers and shepherds. We saw more cattle at the east end of the lake than elsewhere, but they seemed to prefer the sweet water grasses of the lake to the tough bunch-grass on the slopes of Sarasara. Viscachas were common amongst the gray lichen-covered rocks.

Both pacas and agoutis are found in most parts of tropical America. There are several species of each, and with the chinchillas and viscachas already described, they occupy the place in those regions that the hares and rabbits do in northern climates. Indeed, European settlers usually know them by the names of hare or rabbit, and hunt them in the same way.

Supper over, all the travellers would have retired to rest; but the vaquero, having announced that he was going out to set snares for the chinchillas and viscachas, Leon could not rest, but asked permission to accompany him. This was granted both by Don Pablo and the vaquero himself.

With the hares and rabbits may be classed still another family of South American animals, and one of the most interesting of the whole group. These are the Chinchillas and Viscachas.

This so frightens them that they dare not pass, and gather together in a string, when the Indians kill them with stones tied to the ends of leather thongs. Should any quanacos happen to be among the flock, these leap over the cords, and are followed by all the vicunnas. These quanacos are larger and more corpulent, and are also called viscachas.

Notwithstanding, my host had been abroad, and was just returned with full hands, having a large bundle of dead animals in each. They were chinchillas and viscachas, which he had taken out of his snares set overnight. He said that most of them had been freshly caught, as their favourite time of coming out of their dens to feed is just before daybreak.

Both pacas and agoutis are found in most parts of tropical America. There are several species of each, and with the chinchillas and viscachas already described, they occupy the place in those regions that the hares and rabbits do in northern climates. Indeed, European settlers usually know them by the names of hare or rabbit, and hunt them in the same way.

At night they used to set snares made of horse hair, at the mouths of holes inhabited by little animals like rabbits. These were called viscachas and chinchillas. The skin of the latter supplies the beautiful fur so much prized in Europe. Their colour and form resembles the rabbit, but they have shorter ears and long, rough tails.

There are several species known indifferently as Viscachas and Chinchillas; but the true Chinchilla, celebrated for its soft and beautiful woolly coat, is an inhabitant of the elevated plateaux of the Andes, where the climate is as cold as in Siberia itself.

Writers sometimes call viscachas "rabbit-squirrels." They have large, rounded ears, long hind legs, a long, bushy tail, and do look like a cross between a rabbit and a gray squirrel. Surmounting one of the higher ridges one day, I came suddenly upon an unusually large herd of wild vicuñas. It included more than one hundred individuals.