The chaparral and foothill forests of California contain many queer freaks of one kind and another. One of the strangest and least known is the Tripodero, and animal with two contractile or telescopic legs and a tail like a kangaroo's. This peculiarity in structure enables the animal to elevate itself at will, so that it may tower above the chaparral, or, if it chooses, to pull in its legs and present a compact form for crowding through the brush.
The tripodero's body is not large but is solidly built, and its head is nearly all snout, the value of which is seen in the method by which food is obtain. As the animal travels through the brush-covered country it elongates its legs from time to time, thus shoving itself up above the brush for purposes of observation. If it sights game within a range of ten rods it takes aim with its snout and tilts itself until the right elevation is obtained, then with astonishing force blows a sundried quid of clay, knocking its victim senseless. (A supply of these quids is always carried in the left jaw.) The tripodero then contracts its legs and bores its way through the brush to its victim, where it stays until the last bone is cracked and eaten.