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In characterizing the present genus, were we to look solely at the animal such as we have it daily before our eyes, the distinction between it and all the other Ruminants is too striking to be for a moment mistaken. But the insensible gradations which connect this familiar denizen of our downs and pastures with the untamed native of the desert and the precipice, and the close affinity which subsists between the latter and the goats, render it almost impossible to isolate them by any satisfactory characters. On the present occasion we shall content ourselves with observing that the sheep may generally be distinguished by the direction of their[198] horns, by the elevation of their profile, and by their want of beard: characters neither essential nor infallible, but the best that can be offered.

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.

In conclusion we have only to add that the fine little Elephant from which our figure was taken appears from his dimensions and from the very small size of his tusks to be little more than three years old. He is extremely good tempered, and became reconciled to his situation almost from the very moment of his arrival.

The largest of these animals are the Kanguroos, whose generic characters we shall now proceed to describe. Their teeth are only of two kinds, the canines being altogether wanting. The incisors are six in the upper jaw, and two only in the lower; the former short, and arranged in a curved line, and the latter long, pointed, closely applied to each other, and directed forwards. The molars are separated from the incisors by a considerable vacant space, and are five in number on each side of each jaw. The most remarkable peculiarity in the external form of these animals consists in the extreme disproportion of their limbs, the anterior legs being short and weak, while the posterior are extremely long and muscular. The tail too is excessively thick at its base, of considerable length, and gradually tapering; and this singular conformation enables it to act in some measure as a supplemental leg, when the animal assumes an erect or nearly erect posture, in which position he is supported as it were on a tripod by the joint action of[158] these three powerful organs. By means of this combination they will, when flying from danger, take a succession of leaps of from twenty to thirty feet in length and six or eight in height; but even in their more quiet and gradual mode of progression they also make use of their tail in conjunction with their four extremities. The fore feet are furnished with five toes, each terminating in a moderately strong and arcuated claw. The hinder extremities, on the contrary, have only four toes, the two interior of which are united together so as to form the appearance of a single one furnished with two short and feeble claws; the third is long, of great strength, and terminated by a large and powerful claw having the form of a lengthened hoof; and the fourth, the most external of the series, is similar in character to the third, but of much smaller dimensions. The head and anterior part are small and delicate, and appear quite disproportioned to the robust posterior half of the body; and this disproportion is equally striking, whether the animal assumes an erect position or crouches forwards upon all fours. In either case the whole extent of the soles of the posterior feet, which are of great length, is applied to the surface of the ground. Although differing from all the Rodent animals in the number of the cutting teeth of the upper jaw, the Kanguroo has the deep fissure in the upper lip, with which nearly all that order are furnished, and of which the hare offers a familiar and proverbial instance.

Hy?na vulgaris. Desm.

The variety figured over leaf is in one of the many intermediate stages between unreclaimed barbarism and complete domestication. It is an awkward looking creature, high on the legs, narrow in the loins, and covered with a rough and shaggy coat. The back and sides are nearly black; the shoulders reddish brown; and the posterior part of the body, the haunches, the hind legs, and the tail, white; as are also the ears, which are rather large, the nose, and a spot over each eye. The horns, although the specimen is a male, are remarkably small, and enclose the ears within their curve. If the ears are freed from their confinement, the animal becomes very uneasy, and never rests until he has succeeded in replacing them, which he cannot accomplish without considerable difficulty. He was presented to the Menagerie by Lord Liverpool about six years ago, and is extremely mild in his temper.

It is in the night-time more particularly that the Lion prowls abroad in search of his prey, the conformation of his eyes not only, like those of the cat, allowing him to see with a very moderate degree of light, but even rendering the full glare of day distressing and intolerable to him. It is for this reason that travellers, who are compelled to sleep in the open air in countries infested by these animals, are careful to keep up a blazing fire, which the tenderness of their eyes deters them from approaching, unless when they are extremely hard pressed by the calls of hunger. These, it would appear, sometimes become paramount to every other consideration, and urge the Lion, as they do many more ignoble beasts, into the exhibition of a degree of courage, which,[19] in despite of all that has been said on the subject, is by no means his natural characteristic.

Macrocercus Ararauna. Vieill.

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.

These are two males and one female, belonging to the most elegant as well as the most intelligent variety of the species, that to which Linn?us, on account of the high degree to which the latter quality was carried in them, gave par excellence the epithet of sagax. They were presented by Major, now Colonel Denham, on his return from the most successful expedition that has perhaps ever been made into the evil-omened regions of Central Africa, from whence they were brought by that gallant traveller, who also gave Mr. Cops the following account of their qualifications for the chase. He had repeatedly, he said, made use of them in hunting the Gazelle, in their pursuit of which he had observed that[88] they displayed more cunning and sagacity than any dogs with which he was acquainted, frequently quitting the line of scent for the purpose of cutting off a double, and recovering it again with the greatest facility. They would follow a scent after an hour and a half or even two hours had elapsed; and the breed was therefore commonly employed in Africa for the purpose of tracing a flying enemy to his retreat. They are in fact, both for symmetry and action, perfect models; and there are few sportsmen who will not regret that there appears no chance of crossing our own pointers with this interesting breed. A mixed race, combining the qualifications of both, would unquestionably be one of the most valuable acquisitions to our sporting stock; but, unhappily, this union seems to be altogether hopeless; for although they have now been more than three years in England, and are in excellent health and condition, they appear, like many other animals restrained of their liberty and kept constantly together, to have no disposition to perpetuate their race. The males are remarkably good tempered; the female on the contrary is surly and ill natured.

Modern naturalists have attempted to distinguish several species among the Kanguroos; but as the characters on which these are founded consist merely in difference of size and slight modifications of colour, a much more complete acquaintance with them than we yet possess is requisite before they can safely be adopted. Our specimens are of a brownish gray above, somewhat lighter beneath, with the extremity of the muzzle, the back of the ear, the feet, and the upper surface of the tail, nearly black, and the front of the throat grayish white. Since they have been confined in the Menagerie, the female has once produced young; a circumstance by no means unfrequent even in this country among those which are less restricted of their liberty and are suffered to roam at large in a meadow or a park. They are fed, like the domesticated Ruminants, upon green herbage and hay; and are extremely tame and good tempered.


Pelecanus Onocrotalus. Linn.

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2021-06-20 02:01:59 [果洛州网友]

Such, indeed, is the outline which we have been taught to frame to ourselves of this noble animal; and beautifully has this imaginary sketch, for such in a great measure it will be found on closer examination, been filled up by the magic pencil of Buffon, who, in this, as in too many other instances, suffered himself to be borne along by the strong tide of popular opinion. Yielding to the current, instead of boldly stemming it, he has added the weighty sanction of his authority to those erroneous notions which were already consecrated by their antiquity, and has produced a history of the Lion, which, however true in its main facts, and however eloquent in its details, is, to say the least, highly exaggerated and delusive in its colouring. The Lion of Buffon is, in fact, the Lion of popular prejudice; it is not the Lion, such as he appears to the calm observer, nor such as he is delineated in the authentic accounts of those naturalists and travellers who have had the best means of observing his habits, and recording the facts of which they have been themselves eye witnesses.

2021-06-20 02:01:59 [聊城市网友]


2021-06-20 02:01:59 [本溪市网友]

To commence then with the Eagles, which form a prominent group of the Rapacious Order, and are universally regarded as the most majestic, as well as the most powerful, of birds. In common with the whole[200] Order, they are remarkable for the strong incurvation of their bill and talons, the latter of which are four in number on each of the feet, and are moved by means of a thick and strong muscular apparatus, which gives to the grasp of the larger species that extreme tenacity by which they are distinguished, enabling them to seize and carry off fish and birds, and even quadrupeds of moderate size. This innate propensity to rapine, derived from their peculiar conformation which renders them essentially flesh-eaters, indicates at once the analogical relationship borne by the Rapacious Birds to the Carnivorous Quadrupeds; and the high degree to which it is carried by the Eagles, their vast powers of flight, their towering majesty, their irresistible might, their uniform preference of living victims and rejection of the offal, render them superior to all other birds, in the same proportion as the Lion is allowed to take the lead among mammiferous quadrupeds.

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2021-06-20 02:01:59 [防城港市网友]

The ears of the Elephant are large, not elevated like those of other quadrupeds so as to form a kind of trumpet for the reception of sound, but flattened down upon the side of the head, and forming a broad and uninterruptedly expanded surface. His eyes, remarkably small in proportion to his bulk, are sheltered above by a cluster of long hairs, which, with a few others scattered over the head and still more rarely on the body, and a kind of brush at the extremity of the tail, constitute the only covering, if covering it may be called, with which he is provided. His skin in fact is throughout nearly destitute of hair; but in return it is, as in the rest of the order, of excessive thickness and extreme tenacity, insomuch as to be capable of repelling a common musket ball, which scarcely makes the slightest impression upon its surface. His feet are enveloped by a large hoof of a callous and almost horny consistence, and are divided, in the skeleton at least, into five toes, the extremities only of which, rendered obvious by the nails by which they are surmounted, are externally visible. On the hind feet the number of apparent toes varies from three to four.

2021-06-20 02:01:59 [绥化市网友]

In size the Spotted Hy?na, the Hy?na Crocuta of naturalists, is somewhat inferior to the striped. Its muzzle, although short, is not so abruptly truncated; and its ears, which are short and broad, assume a nearly quadrilateral figure. Its ground colour is yellowish brown; and the whole body is covered with numerous spots of a deeper brown, tolerably uniform in size, but sometimes not very distinctly marked, and occasionally arranging themselves in longitudinal rows. Its hair is shorter than that of the Striped Hy?na, and although longer on the neck and in the central line of the back than elsewhere, does not form so distinct and well furnished a mane as in the latter animal. The tail is blackish brown, and covered with long bushy hair.

2021-06-20 02:01:59 [深圳市网友]

The fourth Order of Birds, the Waders, are strikingly characterized by the great length of their legs, the lower part of which is entirely bare of feathers; a peculiarity which is of essential service by enabling them to stand for a long time in the water without injury to their plumage, watching for the fish and reptiles, of which the larger species, and the worms and insects, of which the smaller among them, make their usual prey.

2021-06-20 02:01:59 [鸡西市网友]

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.

2021-06-20 02:01:59 [安阳市网友]

Python Tigris. Daud.