Carolyn Wells (1862-1942) was an American writer who was famous for books based on mystery. Her famous works are at the sign of the Sphinx (1896), The Jingle book (1899), etc. Carolyn Wells wrote a total 170 books. During the first ten years of her career, she concentrated on poetry, humor, and children’s books. According to her autobiography, she read That Affair Next Door, and was immediately captivated by the unraveling of the puzzle. From that point onward she devoted herself to the mystery genre. How To Tell Wild Animals is one her poems published in NCERT books.

Carolyn Wells

Summary of How To Tell Wild Animals

In the poem, the poet has explained the characteristics of various wild animals in a very funny way. She has used language in a way that generates humour. She is introducing the reader to various kinds of wild animals. Also, she explains each of the animals in a humorous way.

How To Tell Wild Animals

The poet is describing the various wild animals. These animals are very dangerous and she has introduced them one by one in a very funny way. First of all she tells us about an Asian lion. She says that if you are visiting the jungles of the east and there you see an animal which has tawny skin and he roars so loudly that you will die out of fear. This means that you have seen an Asian lion. Next in the line is the Bengal tiger that she has explained to be a royal animal that at once attacks and kills a man.

She says by adding humour that if this beautiful black striped animal kills you and eats you, then you have surely met a Bengal tiger. After this, she says that if the reader met an animal that has black spotted skin and it at once jumps on him, then it means that the reader has met a leopard. She says that if one will cry out in pain, it maybe of no use as the leopard will not stop attacking him. Then she moves on to the bear that she says will hug very tightly. This is the way to recognize a bear as it kills a person by hugging him very tightly.

How To Tell Wild Animals 2


If ever you should go by chance
To jungles in the east;
And if there should to you advance
A large and tawny beast,
If he roars at you as you’re dyin’
You’ll know it is the Asian Lion…

Or if some time when roaming round,
A noble wild beast greets you,
With black stripes on a yellow ground,
Just notice if he eats you.
This simple rule may help you learn
The Bengal Tiger to discern.

If strolling forth, a beast you view,
Whose hide with spots is peppered,
As soon as he has lept on you,
You’ll know it is the Leopard.
’Twill do no good to roar with pain,
He’ll only lep and lep again.

If when you’re walking round your yard
You meet a creature there,
Who hugs you very, very hard,
Be sure it is a Bear.
If you have any doubts, I guess
He’ll give you just one more caress.

Though to distinguish beasts of prey
A novice might nonplus,
The Crocodile you always may
Tell from the Hyena thus:
Hyenas come with merry smiles;

The true Chameleon is small,
A lizard sort of thing;
He hasn’t any ears at all,
And not a single wing.
If there is nothing on the tree,
’Tis the chameleon you see.



CA Nitin Kaushik (Imaginary_Lands)

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