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The specimen in the Tower, from which our engraving was made and our description taken, is a native of Bengal, a locality from which these animals have been so rarely brought to Europe, that it has been a question among naturalists whether the Caracal of India and that of Africa really belonged to the same species. There is, however, no difference of any importance observable between the present animal and those which have been brought from the latter continent. It is extremely sulky, keeping constantly retired in one of the backward corners of its cage, and swearing, as we express it in the common cat, almost incessantly when conscious of being noticed. The Lynxes indeed appear, at least when in captivity, to exercise this peculiar faculty of voice to a much greater extent than any other species of the group. They are remarkably irascible and mistrustful, and are seldom completely tamed.

Strix Virginiana. Linn.

Felis Leo.Var. Capensis.

But of all the peculiarities by which the Elephant is distinguished, the most singular and at the same time the most useful is the projection which is formed by the blending and extension of the nose and upper lip into an elongated and tapering tube, considerably longer than[167] the head, and truncated at the extremity, where it is surrounded by a slightly elevated margin, which is prolonged anteriorly and superiorly into a finger-like appendage of various and invaluable use. This trunk or proboscis, as it is called, is divided throughout its whole extent into two equal cavities, which are continuous with the nostrils, but appear to have no other connexion with the organ of smell than as being the medium of the passage of odours to the olfactory apparatus, which is confined within the bones of the head, and is indeed seated much higher than usual in consequence of the large space occupied by the roots of the tusks and by the cavities of the maxillary bones. The real uses of the trunk are far higher and more important; and it is to this unique and unexampled structure that the Elephant owes whatever superiority he possesses over other beasts. In general capacity he is inferior to most, and the intellectual qualities of a dog or a horse are unquestionably of a far more elevated order; but with the assistance of this curious organ, with some little sagacity, a tolerable memory, and a certain degree of docility, the Elephant is enabled to execute such a variety of actions, either of his own accord or at the command of his keeper, as have gained him the credit not only of being the cleverest of brutes, but of possessing qualities of a superior cast and even the divine gift of reason itself.


Belonging to a different tribe of the same grand division with the true Monkeys, from which they are more readily distinguished by their general form and habit than by any very remarkable deviation in their structure or organization, these agile and playful little creatures form a group which naturally follows in immediate succession. The technical peculiarities on which their separation from the Monkeys is founded are usually deduced from their teeth and nails; but other and more obvious characteristics are afforded by the form of their heads, of their tails, and of their hinder extremities, and these assist in confirming a distinction which might[152] otherwise be regarded as arbitrary and unnecessary. The teeth of the Lemurs are, like those of man and of the Monkeys of the Old World, thirty-two in number, and consist of four incisors, two canines, and ten molars in the upper jaw, and of six incisors, two canines, and eight molars in the lower. Such at least is the usual statement with respect to their dentition; but M. Geoffroy maintains, on the other hand, that the number of incisors is equal in both jaws, and coincides with that of the Monkeys; the two outermost of the six, which are larger than the rest, being in his opinion the true canines; while the canines, commonly so called, are in fact only the first of the series of molars. This conjecture unquestionably derives considerable strength from the fact that, when the animal closes its mouth, the supposed canines of the lower jaw pass behind those of the upper, a position directly contrary to that which they uniformly assume in every other animal that is furnished with that kind of teeth. On each of their four hands they have four fingers of moderate length, and a thumb which is capable of being opposed to them almost equally well with that of the other Quadrumana; they are consequently enabled to grasp whatever they seize with the greatest precision. The peculiarity of their nails consists in the shape of that of the index of the hinder hands, which forms an elongated, curved, and pointed claw, approaching in some degree to those of the carnivorous quadrupeds. All the rest of their nails are broad and flat like those of the Monkeys. Their posterior extremities are longer than their anterior; and their body and limbs are light, graceful, and well proportioned. The tail, which is of uniform thickness[153] throughout, is longer than the body, and, in common with it, is clothed with long, soft, and woolly hair. The head is long, triangular, and gradually tapering into a slender and pointed muzzle, which, in proportionate length, far exceeds that of any of the Monkeys; the ears are short and rounded; and the whiskers but little developed.

Happily the appetite of these gigantic snakes bears[238] no proportion to their means of gratifying it, as a full meal is uniformly succeeded by a state of torpor, which frequently lasts for a month or six weeks, or, during the cold season, even for a longer period. Those in the Tower, which are kept in a state of artificial warmth, usually feed about every five or six weeks, and a fowl or a rabbit generally suffices for a meal. These are held by the keeper within view of the serpent to ascertain whether he is inclined to take his prey or not. About three years ago Mr. Cops, while thus engaged in offering a fowl to one of the Boas, had nearly met with a serious accident; the snake, which was almost blind from the approaching change of its skin, missing the fowl, and seizing upon the keepers thumb instead, around which and its own head it instantaneously threw two coils, and then, as if surprised at the unexpected resistance, cast an additional fold round his neck, and fixed itself by its tail to one of the posts of its cage in such a manner as nearly to throttle him. His own exertions, however, aided by those of the under keepers, at length disengaged him from his perilous situation; but so determined was the attack of the snake that it could not be compelled to relinquish its hold until two of its teeth had been broken off and left in the thumb.


The second Order of Birds, which comprehends both the Pic? and Passeres of Linn?us, is essentially distinguished from the rest of the class by the structure of the feet, which are formed for perching. Those of the Scansorial tribe in particular, to which all the species to be here noticed belong, have two of the toes directed forwards, and the remaining two directed backwards, in such a manner as to enable them to grasp the branch of a tree or other similar objects with peculiar firmness, and consequently to climb with more than usual agility. This section comprehends some of the most gorgeously coloured and splendid among birds, as well as those[216] which evince the highest degree of intelligence, in the imitation especially of the human voice, for which they have been celebrated from the earliest times.

One of the most striking points on which this distinction is founded consists in the form of the head, which, instead of being flattened, as in the more northern species of the group, is nearly hemispherical above, the forehead rising in a strong arch immediately behind the nose, which is obtuse and very gradually attenuated. The gape of the mouth is considerable; and the tongue, which is long, narrow, and very extensile, is capable of being protruded for nearly a foot, and then curved inwards in a spiral manner, a habit in which the animal appears frequently to indulge. In the teeth the difference between this subdivision of the genus and the rest of the animals which compose it is unessential, the incisors and canines having no distinguishing characters, and the molars being apparently subject to the same variations as in the genuine bears.

The feet of the Camels and of the Llamas are very different in form from those of all the other Ruminants. They are, it is true, deeply divided, like those of the latter, into two apparent toes; but cannot be said, like them, to part the hoof, for they have no real hoof, and the extremities of their protruded toes are armed only with short, thick, and crooked claws. These toes are in the Camels united posteriorly by a horny process, which is wanting in the Llamas. The teeth of both are nearly similar: they consist of six incisors in the lower jaw and two in the upper; of two canines in each; and of six molars in the upper, and five in the lower, on each side. None of the other Ruminants exhibit the least appearance of cutting teeth in the upper jaw. The nostrils of both consist externally of mere fissures in the skin, which may be opened and closed at pleasure, and which are surrounded by a naked muzzle; and their upper lip is divided into two distinct portions, which are very extensible, and capable of much separate motion.


It is in the swampy forests of South America that the Jaguar commits his destructive ravages, which are spread over nearly the whole of that continent from Paraguay almost to the Isthmus of Darien. It has frequently been said that he is also to be found in Mexico; but this appears to be a mistake, originating probably in Buffons having confounded the Jaguar with the Ocelot, describing and figuring the latter under the name of the former, and intermingling with his description many of the peculiar traits of the real Jaguar derived from the relations of travellers. On the other hand he has erroneously figured the latter animal under the name of the Panther; a[45] mistake in which he has been followed by Pennant and others, and with which the writings of zoologists are more or less infected even up to the present day. What the Panther of the ancients actually was, or whether there exists any real difference between it and the Leopard, is a much disputed question, into which we have neither space nor inclination to enter: certain it is that it could not possibly have been the present animal, which has never been found out of the limits of America; and that Buffon himself had no idea, while he was figuring the latter, that the specimen before him was not a native of Africa or the East. The name of Jaguar is corruptedly derived from the Brazilian appellation of the animal, to which the Portuguese have given the name of On?a; another blunder, for the Ounce of the Old World is now universally allowed to be identical with the Leopard, and with the latter we have already shown that it is impossible that the American species can be conjoined.

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2021-06-16 18:28:09 [丽水市网友]


2021-06-16 18:28:09 [萍乡市网友]

In this arrangement, which brought animals truly digitigrade, with retractile claws, tongues covered with sharp papill?, canine teeth of great power, and molars formed for tearing flesh, consequently in a high degree sanguinary and carnivorous in their habits, into close and intimate contact with others, which are positively plantigrade, with exserted claws, smooth tongues, and teeth of little power and evidently incapable of lacerating animal food, and which are therefore in all cases more or less, and in several instances wholly, vegetable eaters, it was impossible for naturalists long to coincide. The genus thus formed presented so heterogeneous a combination, that the difficulty was rather where to stop in the dispersion of the dissimilar materials of which it was composed, than where to commence the necessary operation; and in consequence nearly a dozen genera, not hanging together in one continued series, but scattered through various parts of the system, and most of them[101] essentially distinct, have been the result of the dismemberment of this single group.

2021-06-16 18:28:09 [徐州市网友]


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2021-06-16 18:28:09 [凉山州网友]

Felis Leo.Var. Capensis.

2021-06-16 18:28:09 [池州市网友]

They are found in nearly every part of the globe, but are of rare occurrence in the north of Europe. The beautiful pair figured at the head of this article are said to be from Hungary. The female is now sitting upon[230] three eggs, and has built herself a very perfect nest for the purpose. Should these be brought to maturity, as there is every reason to expect, they will probably be the first that were ever hatched in England. She never quits her charge; but is fed by the male, who crams his pouch with double his usual allowance, and then proceeds to shovel her fair share into his partners throat. It is in this manner also that the young are fed, the old bird pressing his full pouch against his chest, and contriving thus to disgorge a portion of its contents; an action which has no doubt given rise to the fabulous notion of the Pelicans feeding its young with its own blood. In fact, the appearance of the bird when in this attitude, with the bloody spot on the end of its bill closely pressed against the delicate plumage of its breast, may readily account for the prevalence of such an idea in the minds of superficial observers. The first traces of this fable are to be found in the writings of some of the early fathers of the church, and it was eagerly adopted by the heralds of later days, whose unbounded credulity was ever on the watch for the marvellous, in natural history more especially.

2021-06-16 18:28:09 [天水市网友]


2021-06-16 18:28:09 [海西州网友]

His hair, generally speaking, is longer, finer, and more abundant than that of the Black Bear, and varies in colour to an almost indefinite extent, passing through all the intermediate shades between a light gray and a black brown. The brown tinge is, however, the most common; and it is always more or less grizzled either by the intermixture of grayish hairs, or by the brown hairs being tipped with gray. The hair of the legs and feet is darker and coarser, and diminishes in length as it descends; on the muzzle it becomes remarkably pale, and is so much shortened as to give to the animal an appearance of baldness. His eyes are very small and hardly at all prominent; and the line of the profile is consequently nearly straight. His tail is scarcely visible, being almost entirely concealed by the long hairs which surround it. Of the great size of his feet and talons, some judgment may be formed from the measurements given by Captains Lewis and Clarke, the first travellers by whom the Grizzly Bear was accurately described.[123] These gentlemen inform us that the breadth of the fore foot in one of the individuals observed by them exceeded nine inches, while the length of his hind foot, exclusive of the talons, was eleven inches and three quarters, and its breadth seven inches. The claws of the fore feet of another specimen measured more than six inches. The latter are considerably longer and less curved than those of the hind feet, and do not narrow in a lateral direction as they approach their extremity, but diminish only from beneath: the point is consequently formed by the shelving of the inferior surface alone, their breadth remaining the same throughout the whole of their enormous length, and their power being proportionally increased; an admirable provision for enabling the animal to exercise to the fullest extent his propensity for digging up the ground, either in search of food or for other purposes. It appears, however, on the other hand, to unfit him for climbing trees, which he never attempts; and this remarkable circumstance in his habits affords a striking distinction between him and all the other Bears, which are essentially climbers.

2021-06-16 18:28:09 [鄂州市网友]

Felis Leopardus. Linn.