The Old Nauga Rancher

Experiments with the semi-domesticated breeds.

Nauga eyes

Grandfather was a businesman, cattleman, and a practical scientist. In the then still relatively newly-opened lands of former Indian Territory, he dabbled in cattle breeding, and importing various grasses to see what stood up well in the tallgrass environment.

Back in 1946 or 1947, my grandfather tried introducing some of the tamer strain of Naugas on his ranch in Oklahoma. The first thing he learned was, the Naugas had to be fenced well off from the Angus; the newcomers absolutely terrified the cattle. Naugas were as easily contained as cattle, but grandfather lost a few Nauga cows before realizing that, because of their height and clumsiness, the Nauga pasture had to be re-posted and re-strung one strand of bob war higher.

They weren't fit for human consumption, as everyone knows, but they initially seemed profitable because, being lean, they didn't eat much, so you could get many more head per acre than cattle. As an added benefit, especially in Oklahoma grasslands, they killed snakes. Some Nauga pheromone actually attracted snakes, then the Naugas would sit on the slitherers to squish them, before devouring them whole, even poisonous ones. Decades after the Naugas were gone, the snake population in that area was still low.

Nauga Ranch
Naugas on the Prairie

The domesticated breed looked all puffed out and smooth like the wild varieties, but domestic Nauga were bred for their bounty of hide; if you looked closely, you'd see their skins were wrinkled and folded like a Shar-Pei. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the intense Oklahoma summer heat made the hide stiff and unworkable, where exposed, and the summer humidity caused mouldering under the folds.

The straw that broke the Nauga's back was this: The Nauga's digestive systems had serious trouble handling the native grasses, or maybe it was the snakes, but the consequences were reportedly horrific, and eventually most of my grandfather's ranch-hands threatened to quit.

So, after struggling with them for nearly a year, Grandpa sold off his Nauga herd at a loss; he didn't profit like others, later, when Monsanto bought up all the domestic Nauga herds and corralled the market.

I read on the interwebz that at the giant Monsanto Nauga ranch in Brazil, native-environmental groups are protesting because escaped Naugas are disrupting the Amazonian ecosystems.

I don't care; it just warms my heart to think of those little wild Naugas, running free, establishing new colonies along that mighty river, squishing and devouring snakes.

Prehistoric Nauga
Inspired by Maetenloch's post on Ace of Spades blog, and especially Backwards Boy's comment #32, tales of hunting the wild Naugas in Alabama.

History of the Nauga
Silly, made-up stuff about Naugas.