These animals are by nature sociable, and congregate together in herds, which frequently amount to more than a hundred. The imposing spectacle furnished by such a collection of these immense masses of animated matter may well be imagined. They generally seek the shade of the forest, in which they find additional means of subsistence in the young shoots of the trees, which supply the place of other and more congenial herbs. They frequently issue from it, however, in quest of the latter, and also to indulge in a propensity possessed by them in common with all those animals which like them are furnished with thick and almost naked, or with bristly, skins, that of bathing in the water or wallowing in the mud. It is for this reason that they are usually met with in the neighbourhood of large streams, which their great size and the quantity of fat with which they are commonly loaded enable them to swim with facility. Their trunk is also extremely serviceable in this operation, as it enables them to bury as it were the whole of their body beneath the water, retaining above the surface no more than the extremity of that organ for the admission and expulsion of the air. After having been for some time in the water, it is said that their skin loses the dusky hue by which it is usually distinguished in consequence of the dirt and other matters with which it is incrusted, and assumes a perfect flesh-colour marked with numerous round and blackish spots. This natural colour is, however, lost almost immediately on their reaching the land, when they uniformly scatter themselves all over by means of their trunk with the mud or dust which first falls in their way. So fond are they of this process that they commonly recur to it whenever an opportunity offers. The bathing appears to be absolutely necessary in order to keep their skins to a certain extent supple and flexible; for which purpose their keepers, in captivity, occasionally have recourse to the smearing them with oil as a substitute.
THE AFRICAN BLOODHOUND.
So much has been written by authors of every description, from the earliest ages down to the present time, upon every point connected with their history and habits, and the space which we could devote to their illustration in the present volume is so small, that we choose rather not to enter at all upon the subject than to treat of it in the very abrupt and imperfect manner to which we should necessarily be restricted. It only remains therefore to add a few observations relative to the extremely beautiful leash of hounds which are figured at the head of the present article, before passing to the consideration of the remaining species of the group which are at present contained in the Menagerie.
The high degree of domestication to which this latter species has been brought, and the invaluable services which it renders to the Laplander, added to the tranquil content which most of the deer manifest in a state of captivity, afford sufficient proofs that there is nothing in the constitution of the group repugnant to their being tamed and familiarized with man; but from none of the other races have any real or essential advantages been as yet derived. The quiet confidence, mixed with a certain air of cautious timidity, which they exhibit in their half-restricted state, in the park or the chase, where they are kept more for ornament than use, is perfectly indicative of their general character. But the very mildness of their disposition has been turned to their disadvantage, and one of the gentlest of animals, because endowed by nature with a high degree of fleetness, with some sagacity, and with a certain share of timidity, has been marked out by man as the chosen victim of his cruelty, disguised under the captivating name of sport.下载
The Cape Lion is seldom taken alive; his utter destruction and extermination forming the primary object of his pursuers. Occasionally, however, when a Lioness has been shot, and the hunters have been fortunate enough to trace out her den, the cubs are brought away, and in some measure domesticated, at least for a season, and until they acquire sufficient force to become dangerous. Up to this period some of the colonists will even suffer them to remain almost at large in their dwellings; but they have frequently occasion to rue the mercy they have shown, and are at length compelled, by the unequivocal manifestations of that ferocity which never fails to make its appearance when the animals have attained a certain age, to destroy the creatures whom they have nourished and caressed.下载
The race of this wily and sanguinary animal, which is unsurpassed in all the terrible characteristics of its tribe, and yields to the tremendous and ferocious beasts, to the illustration of whose habits and manners our previous pages have been devoted, in none of their dreaded attributes, excepting only in size and strength, is spread almost as extensively over the surface of the Old World as that of the Lion himself. From the shores of the Mediterranean to the immediate neighbourhood of the Cape he is familiar to every part of the monster-bearing continent of Africa; while in the east of Asia his fatal spring and murderous talons are equally known and dreaded by the mild and timid Hindoos, the polite but still barbarous Chinese, and the fierce and savage Islanders of the great Sumatran chain. Throughout this immense tract of country he varies but in a trifling degree, and that merely in his comparative magnitude, in the size, shape, and disposition of his markings, and in the greater or less intensity of his colouring: in the more essential particulars of form and structure, as well as in character and disposition, he is every where the same.