The Hy?na-Dog, if this compound term may be allowed, is a native of the South of Africa, and infests the frontier settlements at no great distance from the Cape to a very extensive and troublesome degree. Mr. Burchell, to whom we are indebted for the earliest specimen brought to this country, as well as for first pointing out its distinctive characters, informs us that it hunts in regular packs, preferring the night, but frequently pursuing its prey even by day. It is not only exceedingly fierce, but also remarkably swift and active, insomuch that none but the fleeter animals can escape from its pursuit. Sheep, oxen, and horses appear to be its favourite game: on the former it makes its onset openly and without fear, but of the latter it seems to stand in awe, and attacks them only by stealth, frequently surprising them in their sleep, biting off the tails of the oxen, for which it has a particular fancy, and inflicting such serious injuries upon the horses, especially the young colts, as they rarely survive.
Nasua narica. F. Cuv.
Next to his great size and excessive ferocity, one of the most striking peculiarities of this animal is his extreme tenacity of life. For the instances of this we are indebted almost wholly to the narrative of the Travels of Captains Lewis and Clarke, whose statements are no doubt founded in truth, although it may be suspected that they require to be received with some grains at least of allowance. According to these gentlemen one bear which had received five shots in his lungs, and five other wounds in various parts of his body, swam a considerable distance to a sand bank in the river, and survived more than twenty minutes; another that had been shot through the centre of the lungs, pursued at full speed the man by whom the wound was inflicted for half a mile, then returned more than twice that distance, dug himself a bed two feet deep and five feet long, and was perfectly alive two hours after he received the wound; and a third, although actually shot through the heart, ran at his usual pace nearly a quarter of a mile before he fell. There is no chance, they add, of killing him by a single shot, unless the ball goes directly through the brain; a single hunter runs consequently no little risk in venturing to attack an animal upon whom the most dangerous wounds, if not instantaneously fatal, produce no obvious immediate effects.