Crocodile Hunting in Central America
KARL P. SCHMIDT
CHIEF CURATOR, DEPARTMENT OF ZOOLOGY
Crocodile Hunting in Central America – In 1922, I came to Chicago Natural History Museum (then Field Museum of Natural History) to take charge of a newly organized Division of Reptiles and Amphibians.
There were only about four thousand scientific specimens for the new division to take over, and the exhibition material consisted mostly of mounted skins of lizards and snakes and turtles, with a large stuffed alligator and a gavial to represent the crocodilians.
All these were from the original collection at the World’s Columbian Exposition, a part of the Ward Collection that formed the nucleus of the Museum’s zoological exhibits.
We needed exhibition material and specimens to build up study collections. I was fortunate in having as assistant Mr. Leon L. Walters, already with long service in the Museum, and we wished to apply his already perfected “celluloid technique” in the preparation of our future exhibition specimens.
My previous studies had been in the West Indies, and I turned eagerly to the richer reptilian life of Central America for our first expedition. Thus, it was that Mr. Walters and I spent four months in British Honduras and Honduras in 1923.