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NATURAL 


HISTORY 


BY THE 

Rev. J. G. WOOD, M.A. F.L.S. 

AUTHOR OF “THE ILLUSTRATED NATURAL HISTORY,” 
“ANECDOTES OF ANIMALS,” ETC. 


WITH FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY ORIGINAL 
DESIGNS BY WILLIAM HARVEY 


EIGHTEENTH EDITION. 


LONDON 

GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS, Limited 

BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL 
GLASGOW, MANCHESTER, AND NEW YORK 

1891 


Richard Clay and Son.*, L 

LONDON AND BUNGAY 


I.UITKD, 


I 


P H EFAO E. 


Although the number of works on Natural History might 
deter any new writer from venturing on so extensively handled a 
subject, there is at present no work of a really popular character 
in which accuracy of information and systematic arrangement 
are united with brevity and simplicity of treatment. 

All the best-known popular works on Natural History are 
liable to many objections, among which may be named a want of 
correct classification, the absence of explanations of the meanings 
and derivations of scientific words, the strange inaccuracy of 
many of the accompanying illustrations^ and of the accounts of 
many animals. Nor do the conventional anecdotes chronicled 
in their pages evince that personal experience of the animal race 
which alone can repress romance and prevent inaccuracy. These 
deficiencies, it is hoped, are at all events partly supplied in the 
present work. 

The present volume, although exceeding the limits originally 
contemplated, is but a brief digest of a large mass of materials, 
derived either from personal experience, from the most recent 
zoological writers, or from the kindness of many friends, who are 
familiar with almost every portion of the world, and to whom 
my best thanks are due. My original intention was to carry the 



IV PREFACE. 

work as far as the Zoophytes, but it grew so rapidly, especially in 
the first two classes, the Mammals and Birds, that it was found 
necessary to conclude at the Insects, and even then to give but 
an exceedingly short and meagre account of them. This was 
much regretted by me, as my experience had lain so much in the 
practical entomological part of Natural History, that during the 
earlier stages of the work I looked forward with some pleasure 
to giving a very much fuller account of the British Insects than 
will be found in the last few pages of this volume. 

In arrangement, the order of the Catalogue of the British 
Museum has been followed, with the view of rendering it a 
useful companion to that most valuable collection, especially for 
young visitors. In accordance with that catalogue, the volume 
commences with a short sketch of mankind and of the theories 
respecting the different races of humanity; and at the same time 
i few of the distinctions are mentioned which so widely separate 
man from any other inhabitant of the earth. 

As for the Illustrations, they will best speak for themselves. 
It will, however, be well to observe that they have all been de¬ 
signed expressly for the present work, and that the combined 
abilities of Messrs. Harvey and Dalziel, as artist and engravers, 
are a guarantee for their accuracy and perfect execution. For the 
anatomical and microscopical vignettes, I am myseff answerable, 
as well as for several of the later drawings, such as the Thorny 
Woodcock-shell, the Leaf Insect, the Rove Beetle, together with 
parts of a few others, all of which were drawn from actual 
specimens. 

It has been an object with me in the accounts of each animal, 
to give as far as possible anecdotes. In many cases, the 
anecdotes related have never been published before, and in many 


PREFACE. 


v 


more, they have been extracted from works which, either from 
their scarcity, their cost, or their nature, would be very unlikely 
to be placed in the hands of general readers. 

I dismiss these pages with almost a feeling of regret, that a task 
which has to me been a labour of love, has come to an end. Indeed, 
the only drawback experienced during its progress was its neces¬ 
sary brevity, which constrained me to omit many creatures, not 
only beautiful and wonderful in form, but interesting in habits. 
I was also compelled to describe many others so briefly, as to 
render the account little more than a formal announcement of 
their name, country, and food. 

If, however, the perusal of the following pages should induce 
any one to look upon the great plan of Creation more as a whole 
than merely as an aggregation of separate parts, or to notice how 
wonderfully each creature is adapted for its peculiar station, by 
ilim who has appointed to each its proper position, and assigned 
to each its own duties, which could not be performed so well by 
any other creature, or even by the same animal in another place, 
my end will be attained. 

Perhaps, also, this volume may cause some who have hitherto 
been troubled with a causeless abhorrence of certain creatures 
against which they have nourished early prejudices, to examine 
them with a more indulgent—I should perhaps say, a more 
reverent eye. I say reverent, because it has long given me deep 
pain when I have heard others stigmatizing as ugly, horrid, or 
frightful, those beings whom their Maker saw at the I eginning 
of the world, and declared very good. A naturalist will see 
as much beauty in a snake, spider, or toad, as in any of those 
animals which we are accustomed to consider models of beauty; 
and so will those who have before feared or despised them, if 


b 


VI 


PREFACE. 


they can only persuade themselves to examine them with an 
unprejudiced eye. 

In those three creatures mentioned a few lines above, there is 
great beauty even on a superficial examination. The movements 
of the snake are most graceful, and the changing colours of its 
varied scales leave the imitations of art far behind. The spiders 
too are beautiful, even in colour ; some are bright crimson, some 
pale pink, some entirely yellow, some banded with broad streaks 
of alternately velvety black and silvery white ; while the eye of 
the toad is a living gem of beauty. But when we come to look 
closer,—to watch their habits—to note their instincts—or, by 
the use of the microscope, to lay open to our view some of the 
details of their organization,—then indeed are we lost in wonder 
and amaze at the vastness of creation, which, even in one little, 
apparently insignificant animal, presents to our eyes innumerable 
marvels—marvels which increase in number and beauty as our 
power for perceiving them increases. 


Merton College, Oxford, 
December 16, 1852. 


PREFACE 


TO THE SECOND EDITION. 


The unexpectedly rapid sale of this work, five thousand 
copies having been sold in little more than eighteen months, 
has induced Messrs. Routledge to publish a second edition. In 
the present edition very great pains have been taken to render 
the book more worthy of the public notice. At least one- 
third more matter has been introduced, and between thirty and 
forty new illustrations will be found in its pages. The entire 
work has been carefully revised, and the trifling errors which 
existed in the first edition have been corrected. The price has 
also been considerably lowered from the sum at which the 
volume was originally published. 

I may be excused for giving a short account of the reasons 
that led to the production of this book. 

It was with considerable reluctance that I first undertook 
a work that necessarily involved so much labour, and it was not 
without much misgiving on my part, that it first made its 
public appearance. No one could be more sensible of its 
deficiencies than myself; added to which, 1 was fully aware of 
the impossibility of condensing the requisite amount of infor- 



Vlll 


PREFACE. 


mation into so small a compass. It was therefore no lesc 
gratifying than unexpected, to find that my fears were ground - 
less, and that my labours were not in vain. 

From my earliest childhood, the study of Natural History 
was my favourite pursuit, and in the prosecution of this study, 
I was invariably disappointed by the character of the books 
that are generally considered as standard works on the subject. 
In none of them is there any systematic order, and much less 
is there any attempt to explain the arrangement of the various 
links in the chain of animated nature. For this reason the 
scientific names always appeared to be little but a collection 
j>f cacophonous and unmeaning syllables, hardly more intel¬ 
ligible to the unclassical reader than Abracadabra or Aldibo- 
rontiphoskiphorniosticos. 

Moreover, very little practical acquaintance with the subject 

was required, to perceive that, in almost every case, the work 

was nothing but a compilation from various authors, the compiler 

having thrown together truth and error with perfect impartiality. 

For example, in one of the best of these works, the panther, 

the ocelot, and the ounce, are asserted to be varieties of the 

leopard; while the chimpansee and the orang-outan are considered 

as the same animal, although their formation, their colour, their 

habits and their country are all different. The one has a 

%/ 

small, rather smooth skull, while the skull of the other is large, 
and heavily ridged; the fur of one is black, that of the othei 
reddish brown ; the one lives at the foot of trees, the other in 
their branches ; the one inhabits Western Africa, while the 
other is confined to Borneo and Sumatra. 


PREFACE. 


IX 


My object, therefore, in undertaking this work, was to produce 
a book which would be comparatively free from these defects, 
and to afford to the young inquirer that assistance which I myself 
had so often sought in vain. That I should perfectly succeed 
in so arduous a task could not possibly be expected; but that I 
have at all events partially succeeded, is evident from the large 
sale of the work in so short a time. 

There was also another object that I endeavoured to attain. 
In the preface to the first edition, I mentioned that the book 
was intended as a companion to the British Museum. For that 
purpose it has been used, and has been found to answer as well 
as so superficial a work could be expected to do. 

It is my sincere wish that this new edition may be found to 
approach nearer to my original plan, and to carry out my design 
better than the first. 


Mekton Collegs, GxtfOUD, 










pttmatit §nflt*. 


Division I. VERTEBRATA. 

Class I. MAMMALIA. 

Order I. PRIMATES. 

Family I. Hominidae. 

Genus I. Homo. Sapiens, Man. 

Fam. II. Simiadae. 

Tkogiodytes. Niger, Chim- 
pansee. 

Sim i a. Satyrus, Orang-Outan. 
Hylobates. Agilis, Agile Gib¬ 
bon. 

Presbytes. Larvatus, Kahau. 

- Entellus,£»/<e//MS. 

Cynocephalus. Mormon, Man¬ 
drill. 

Fam. III. Cebidae. 

Atelks. Paniscus, Coaita Spi¬ 
der Monkey. 

Mycetes. Ursinus, Ursine 
Howler. 

Callithrix. Torquatus, Col¬ 
lared Tee Tee. 

Jacchus. Vulgaris, Marmoset. 

Fam. IV. Lemuridae. 

Lemur. Macaco, Ruffled Le¬ 
mur. 

Loris. Gracilis, Slender Loris. 

Fam. V. Vespertilionidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Phyllostomina. 

Vampirus. Spectrum, Vampire. 
Sub-fam. c. Vespertilionina. 
Plecotus. Auritus, Long-eared 
Bat. 

Order II. FERjE. 

Fam. I. Felidae. 

Sub. fam. a. Felina. 

Leo. Barbarus, Lion. 

Tigris. Kegalis, Tiger. 
Leopardus. Varius, Leopard. 

-Uncia, Ounce. 

■ -Onca, Jaguar. 

-Concolor, Puma. 

- Pardalis, Ocelot. 


Felis. Domestica, Cat. 
Caracal. Melanotis, Caracal. 
Lyncus. Canadensis, Canada 
Lynx. 

Gueparda. Jubata, Chetah. 
Sub-fam. b. Hy cenma. 

Hy.kna. Striata ,Striped Hycena. 
Sub-fam. c. Viverrina. 

Viverra. Civetta, Civet Cat. 
Ginetta. Vulgaris, Genet. 
Herpestes. Ichneumon, Egyp¬ 
tian Ichneumon. 

Sub-fam. d. Canina. 

Canis. Familiaris, Dog. 

- Lupus, Wolf. 

- Aureus, Jackal. 

Vulpes. Vulgaris, Fox. 
Sub-fam. e. Mustelina. 

Martes. Abietum, Pine Mar¬ 
ten. 

- Zibellina, Sable. 

Putorius. Foetidus, Polecat. 
Mustela. Erminea, Stoat. 

-Vulgaris, Weasel. 

Meli.ivora. Ratel y Honey Via¬ 
tel. 

Gulo. Luscus, Glutton. 
Meles. Vulgaris, Badger. 
Lutra. Vulgaris, Otter. 

Fam. II. Ursidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Ursina. 

Ursus. Arctos, Bear. 

- Horribilis, Grizzly 

Bear. 

Thalarctos. Maritimus, Po¬ 
lar Bear. 

Sub-fam. c. Procyonina. 

Procyon. Lotor, Racoon. 
Sub-tam. d. Cercoleptina. 

Nasua. Fusca, Coati-mondi. 
Cercoleptes. Caudivolvulu*, 
Kinkajou. 

Fam. III. Talpidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Talpina. 

Tai.pa. Europaea, Mole. 
Sub-fam. d. Erinacina. 

Sorex. Araneus, Shrew. 














SYSTEMATIC INDEX. 


x i i 


Ckossopu8. Fodiens, Water 
Shrew. 

Erinaceus. Europaeus, Hedge¬ 
hog. 

Fam. IV. Macropidae. 

Sub-fam. b. Macropina. 

Macropus. Major, Kangaroo. 
Sub-fam. e. Didelphina. 

Didelphys. Virginiana, Opos¬ 
sum. 

Fam. V. Phocidae. 

Sub-fam. b. Phocina. 

Phoca. Vitulina, Seal. 
Morunga. Proboscidea, Ele¬ 
phant Seal. 

Sub-fam. c. Trichecina. 
Trichecus. Rosmarus, Walrus. 

Order III. CETE. 

Fam. I. Balaenidae. 

Bal^na. Mysticetus, Whale. 
Physeter. Macrocephalus, 
Cachalot. 

Fam. II. Delphinidae. 

Delphinus. Delphis, Dolphin. 
Phocina. Communis, Por 
poise. 

Monodon. Monoceros, Nar¬ 
whal. 

Order IV. GLIRES. 

Fam. I. Murid®. 

8ub-fam. a. Murina. 

Mue. Decumanus, Rat. 

- Musculus, Moute. 

Mzcromys. Minutus, Harvest 
Mouse. 

Sub-fam. b. Arvicolina. 

CaicETUS. Frumentarius, Ham¬ 
ster. 

Arvicola. Amphibius, Water 
Rat. 

Sub-fam. d. Castorina. 

Castor. Fiber, Beaver. 

Fam. II. Hystricidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Hystricina. 

Hystrix. Cristata. Porcupine. 
Sub-fam. c. Dasyproctina. 

Dasyprocta. Aguti, Agouti. 
Sub-fam. d. Hydrochcerina. 

Hydrocharus. Capybara, Ca- 
pybara. 

Fam. III. Leporidae. 

Lepus. Timidus, Hare. 

- Variabilis .AlpineHare. 

■ -- Cuniculus, Rabbit. 

Fam. IV. Jerboidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Chinchillina. 
Chinchilla. Laniger, Chin¬ 
chilla 


Sub-fam. c. Dipina. 

Dipus. ASgyptius, Jerboa. 
Sub-fam. d. Myoxina. 

Myoxus. Avellanarius, Dor¬ 
mouse. 

Sub-fam. e. Sciurina. 

Sciurus. Europaeus, Squirrel. 
Pteromys. Alpinus, Flying 
Squirrel. 

Arctomys. Marmotta, Mar met 

Order V. UNGULATA. 

Fam. I Bovid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Bovina. 

Bos. Taurus, Bull. 

-- - Zebu. 

Bubalus. Buffelus, Buffalo. 

-Caffer, Cape Buffalo. 

Bison. Americanus, Bison. 
Poephagus. Grunniens, Yak. 
Ovibos. Moschatus, Musk Ox. 
Catoblepas. Gnu, Gnoo. 
Port ax. Picta, Nylghau. 
Strepsiceros. Kudu, Koodoo. 
Boselaphus. Oreas, Eland. 
Oryx. Leucoryx, Oryx. 
Gazella. Euchore, Springbok. 

-- Ariel, Gazelle. 

Rupicapra. Tragus, Chamois. 
Capra. Ibex, Ibex. 

- Hircus, Goat. 

Ovis. Aries, Ram. 

Sub-fam. b. Camelopardina. 
Camelopardalis. Giraffa, Gi¬ 
raffe. 

Sub-fam. c. Camelina. 

Camelus. Arabicus, Camel. 

- Bactrianus,#ac<ri«fl 

Camel. 

Ll ama. Pacos, Llama. 
Sub-fam. d. Moschina. 

Moschus. Moschiferus, Musk- 
deer. 

Sub-fam. e. Cervina. 

Cervus. Capreolus, Roebuck. 

- Elaphus, Stag. 

- Canadensis, Wapiti. 

Axis. Maculata, Axis. 

Dama. Vulgaris, Fallow-deer. 
Rangifer. Tarandus, Rein¬ 
deer. 

Alces, Palmatus, Elk. 

Fam. II. Equidae. 

Eauus. Caballus, Horse. 
Asinus. Vulgaris, Ass. 

-- Dzigguetai, Dzijgue- 

tai. 

- Zebra, Zebra. 

-- Quagga Quagga. 

Fam III. Elephantid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Elepliantina 

Elefhar. Indicus, Indian 
Elephant. 














SYSTEMATIC INDEX. 


XU1 


Ri.c phis. Africanus, African 
Elephant. 

Sub-Cam b. Tapirina. 

Tapirus. Terrestris, Tapir. 

Sub-fam. c. Suina. 

Sus. Scrofa, Boar. 

- Babyroussa, Babyronssa. 

Dicotyles. Tajagu, Peccary. 

Sub-fam. d. Rhinoeeriva. 

Rhinoceros. Unicornis, Rhi¬ 
noceros. 

-- Bicornis, Rhi- 

naster. 

Sub-fam. e. Hippopotamina. 

Hi ppopotamus. Amphibius, 
Hippopotamus. 

Fam. IV. Bradypidae. 

Bradypus. Tridactylus, Sloth. 

Fam. V. Dasypidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Manina. 

Manis. Tetradactyla, Phatagin. 

- Pentadactyla, Short- 

tailed Mavis. 

Sub-fam. b. Dasypina. 

Dasvpus. Sexcinctus, Arma¬ 
dillo. 

Sub-fam. c. Myrmecophagina. 

Mvrmecopiiaga. Jubata, Ant- 
eater. 

Tamandua. Tetradactyla, Mid¬ 
dle Ant-eater. 

Cyclothurus. Didactyla, 
Little Ant-eater. 

Sub-fam. d. Ornithorhynehina. 

Ornithorhynchus. Paradox¬ 
us, Ornithorhynchus. 

ass II. AVES. 

Order I. ACCIPITRES. 

Sub-order I. Accipitres-diurni. 

Fam. I. Gypaetidae. 

Gypaetus. Barbatus, Ldmrner- 
geyer. 

Fam. II. Sarcorhamphidas. 

Sarcorhamphos. Gryphon, 
Condor. 

-Papa, King 

Vulture. 

Fam. III. Vulturidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Vullurina. 

Gyps. Fulvus, Griffin Vulture. 

Fam. IV. Falconidie. 

Sub-fam. a. Aquilince. 

Aquila. Chrysaetos, Golden 
Eagle. 

Pandion. Haliaetus, Osprey. 

Haliastus. Leucocephalus, 
White-headed Eagle. 

Sub-fam. c. Buteonince. 

Buteo. Vulgaris, Buzzard. 


Sub-fam. d. Milrinw. 

Pern is. Apivorus, Honey 
Buzzard. 

Milvus. Regalis, Kite. 
Elanoides. Furcatus, Sw*l 
low-tailed Falcon. 

Sub-fam e. Falconince. 

Falco. Gyrfalco, Gyrfalcon. 

- Peregrinus, Peregrine 

Falcon. 

Hypotriorchis. Subbuteo, 
Hobby. 

-A5 salon, Mer¬ 
lin. 

Tinnunculus. Alaudarius, 
Kestrel. 

Sub-fam./. Accipilrince. 

Astur. Palumbarius, Goshawk. 
Accipiter. Nisus, Sparrow 
Hawk. 

Sub-fam. g. Circince. 

Serpentaricjs. Reptilivorus, 
Secretary Bird 

Circus. Cyaneus , Hen-Harrier. 

Sub-order II. Accipitres-nocturni. 
Fam. I. Strigidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Surninas. 

Surnia. Ulula, Hawk Owl. 
Nyctea. Nivea, Snowy Owl. 
Athene. Cunicularia, Burrow¬ 
ing Owl. 

Sub-fam. b. Bubonince. 

Ephialtes. Scops, Scops-eared 
Owl. 

Bubo. Maximus, Great-eared 
Owl. 

Sub-fam. d. Strigince. 

Strix. Flammea, Barn Owl. 

Order II. PASSERES. 

Tribe I. FISSIROSTP ES. 

Sub-tribe I. Fissirostres-noo- 

TURN®. 

Fam. I. Caprimulgidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Caprimulgince. 
Caprimulgus. Europaeua, 
Goatsuch er. 

Sub-tribe II. Fissirostres-ds- 

DKN®. 

Fam. II. Hirundinidae. 

Sub-fam a. Cypselince. 
Cypselus. Melba, Alpine- 
Swift. 

-Apus, Swift. 

Sub-fam. b. Hirundinince. 
Hjrundo. Rustica, Chimney) 
Martin. 

Cotile. Riparia, Sand Mar¬ 
tin. 

Chelidon. Urbica, Martin 

Fam. III. Coraciidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Coraciivm. 

Coracias. Garrula, Roller 









SYSTEMATIC INDEX. 


'/ 


?am. IV. Trogonid®. 

Trogon. Resplendens, Re¬ 
splendent Trogon. 

Fam V. Alccdinid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Alcedinince. 

Alcedo. Ilispida, King-fisher. 

Fam. VI. Meropid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Meropinae. 

Merops. Apiaster, Bee-eater. 

Trfbell. TENUIROSTRES. 

Fam. I. Upupid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Upupince. 

UruPA. Epops, Hoopoe. 

Fam. II. Trochilid®. 

Trochilus. Colubris, Ruby- 
throated Humming-bird. 

Ornismya. Gouldii, Gould's 
Humming-b ird. 

-Sappho, Bar-tailed 

Humming-bird. 

---- Cora, Cora Hum¬ 
ming-bird. 

- Chrysolopha, Dou¬ 
ble-crested Humming-bird. 

Fam. III. Certhid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Certhince. 

Certhia. Fainiliaris, Creeper. 

Sub-fam. b. Sittince. 

Sitta. Europ®a, Nuthatch. 

Sub-fam. c. Menurince. 

Troglodytes. Parvulus, 
Wren. 

Tribe III. DENTIROSTRES. 

fam. I. Luscinid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Luscinince. 

Calamodyta. Locustella, 

Grasshopper Warbler. 

Luscinia. Philomela, Night¬ 
ingale. 

Sylvia. Undata, Dartford 
Warbler. 

--- CAneTea,Whitelhrnat. 

-— Atricapilla, Black¬ 
cap Warbler. 

- Ilortensis, Petti- 

chaps. 

-- Rufa, Clnff-chaff. 

- Trochilus, Willow 

W ren. 

Regulus. Cristatus, Golden- 
crested Wren. 

Sub-fam. b. Erythacinee. 

Saxicola. (Enanthe, Wheat- 
ear. 

Ruticilla. Phaenicura, Red¬ 
start. 

Erythacus. Rubecula, Red¬ 
breast. 

Sub-fam. c. Acccntorincp 

Accentor. Modiuarius, 

Hedge Accentor. 


Sub-fam. d. Parince. 

Parus. Major, Great Tit¬ 
mouse. 

- Coeruleus, Blue Tit¬ 
mouse. 

- Caudatus, Long-tailed 

Titmouse. 

Sub-fam. e. Motacillince. 

Motacilla. Yarrellii, Pied 
Wagtail. 

-- Flava, Yellow 

Wagtail. 

Anthus. Pratensis, Meadow 
Pipit. 

Fam. II. Turdid®. 

Sub fam. a. Formicarince. 

Hydrobata. Cinclus, Dippe * 

Sub-fam. b. Turdince. 

Turdus. Viscivorus, Missel- 
toe Thrush. 

- Pilaris, Fieldfare. 

- Musicus. Song- 

Thrush. 

- iliacus, Redwing. 

-- Torquatus, Ring- 

Ouzel. 

- Merula, Blackbird. 

Orpheus. Polyglottus, Mock¬ 
ing Bird. 

Sub-fam. c. Oriolince. 

Orioles. Galbula. 

Fam. III. Muscicapid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Muscicapince. 

Muscicapa. Grisola, Spotted 
Fly-catcher. 

Fam. IV. Ampelid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Ampelince. 

Ampelis. Garrulus, Bohe¬ 
mian Wax-wing. 

Fam. V. Lanid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Laninae. 

Lanius. Excubitor, Great 
Grey Shrike. 

- Coliurio, Red-backsd 

Shrike. 

Tribe IV. CONIROSTRES. 

Fam. I. Corvid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Garrulinrp. 

Garrulus. Glandarius, Jay. 

Sub-fam. b. Corvince. 

Nucifraga. Caryocatactes, 
Nutcracker. 

Pica. Caudata, Magpie. 

Corvus. Corax, Raven. 

-- Frugilegus, Rook. 

- Monedula, J sck- 

daw. 

- Corone, Crow. 

- Cornix, Hooded 

Crow. 

Sub-tam- c. Pyrrhocoracince. 

Coraoia. Garacula, Chough 























SYSTEMATIC INDEX. 


XV 


Earn. II. Paradiseidae. 

Paradxsea. Apoda , Emerald 
Bird of Paradise 

Fain. III. Sturnidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Ptilonorhynchince. 

Ptilonorhynchus. Sericeus, 
Satin Bower-Bird. 

Sub-fam. d. Icterince. 

Icterus. Baltimorus, Balti¬ 
more Oriole. 

Sub-fam. g. Sturnince. 

Sturnus. Vulgaris, Starling. 

Fam. IV. Fringillidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Coccothraustinw. 

Coccothraustes. Vulgaris 
Grosbeak. 

Sub-fam. b. Fringillince. 

Fringilla. Ccelebs, Chaf¬ 
finch. 

- Carduelis, Gold¬ 
finch. 

-Cannabina, Lin¬ 
net. 

•- Spinus, Siskin. 

--- Cbloris, Green¬ 
finch. 

Carduelis. Canaria, Canary. 

Passer. Domesticus, House 
Sparrow. 

Sub-fam. c. Emberizinw. 

Emberiza. Miliaria, Bunting. 

--- Citrinella, Yellow 

Bunting. 

- Hortulana, Ortolan 

Sub-fam. d. Alaudince. 

Aiauda. Arvensis, Skylark. 

- Arborea, Woodlark. 

Sub-fam. e. Pyrrhulince. 

Pyrrhula. Rubicilla, Bull¬ 
finch. 

Sub-fam. /. Loxinae. 

Loxia. Curvirostra, Cross¬ 
bill. 

Fam. VII. Bucerotid®. 

Buceros. Rhinoceros, Rhi¬ 
noceros Hornbill. 

Order III. SCANSORES. 

Fam. I. Rhamphastidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Rhamphastince. 

Rhamphastos. Toco, Toco 
Toucan. 

Fam. II. Psittacida?. 

Macrocercus. Ararauna, 
Blue and Yellow Macaw. 

Paljeornis. Torquatus.TOw?- 
ed Parrakeet. 

Cacatua. Oulphurea, Great 
Sulphur Cockatoo. 

Fam. Ill, Picidae. 

Sub-fam. c. Picince. 

Picus. Majoi, Great Spotted 
Woodpecksf. 


Picus. Viridis, Green Wood 
pecker. 

Sub-fam. g. Yuncince. 

Yunx. Torquilla, Wryneck. 

Fam. IV. Cuculidae. 

Sub-fam. e. Cuculinw. 

Cuculus. Cauorus, Cuckoo 

Order IV. COLUMBjE. 

Fam. I. Columbidas. 

Sub-fam. b. Columbines. 

Columba. Palumbus, Ring 
dove. 

-GKnas, Stockdove. 

Turtux. Auritus, Turtle¬ 
dove. 

Ectopistes. Migratoria, Pas¬ 
senger Pigeon. 

Order V. GALLINJE. 

Fam. III. Phasianidse. 

Sub-fam. a. Pavonince. 

Pavo. Cristatus, Peacock. 

Sub-fam. b. Phasianinae. 

Argus. Giganteus, Argus 
Pheasant. 

Phasianus. Colcliicus, Phea¬ 
sant. 

Sub-fam. c. Gallince. 

Gallus. Domesticus, Domes¬ 
tic Fowl. 

Sub-fam. d. Meleagrince. 

Meleagris. Gallapavo, Tvr 
key. 

Numida. Meleagris, Guinea 
Fowl. 

Fam. IV. Tetraonidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Perdicince. 

Perdix. Cinerea, Partridge. 

Coturnix. Communis, Quail. 

Sub-fam b. Tetraonince. 

Tetrao. Urogallus, Caper 
caillie. 

-- Tetrix, Black 

Grouse. 

Lagopus. Scoticus, Red 
Grouse. 

- Albus, Ptarmigan 

Fam. V. Megapodidae. 

Talegallus. Latham) 

Brush Turkey. 

Megapodius. Tumulus, 
Mound-making Megupude. 

Order VI. STRV THIONES. 

Fam. I. Struthionidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Struthionince. 

Struthio. Camelus, Ostrich 

Casuarius. Casoar, Casso 
wary. 

Dromaius. Novae-Hollandiai, 
Emu. 

Sub-fam. h. Apterygivw. 

Apteryx. Australis, Apteri, t 












SYSTEMATIC INDEX 


XVI 


Sub-fam. c. Didince. 

Didus. Ineptus, Dodo. 
Sub-fam. d. Otinae. 

Otus. Tarda, Bustard. 

todei VII GRALLJE. 

Fam. I. Charadridae. 

Sub-fam. a. CEdicnemince. 
CEdicnemus. Crepitans 
Stone Curlew. 

Sub-fam. c. Charadrince. 

Vanellus. Cristatus, Lap 
wing. 

Fam. II. Ardeid®. 

Sub-fam. b. Gruince. 

Gaws. Cinerea. Crane. 
Sub-fam. c. Ardeirue. 

Ari>ea. Cinerea, Heron. 
Antheopoides. Virgo, De¬ 
moiselle Crane. 
Botaurus. Stellaris, Hit tern. 
Platalea. Leucorodi a, White 
Spoonbill. 

Sub-fam. d. Cicortinee. 

Ciconi a. Albo, Stork. 
Leptoptilos. Argala, Adju 
tant. 

Sub-fam./. Tanlalince. 

Ibis. Religiosa, Sacred Ibis. 

Fam. HI. Scolopacidae. 

Sub-fam. o. Limosince. 

Craoticornis. Arquatua, 
Curlew. 

Sub-fam. b. Tolanince. 
Tringoides. Hypoleuca, 
Sandpiper. 

Himantopus. Candidus, Stilt 
Plover. 

Sub-fam. c. Recurvirostrince. 
Recorvieostra. Avocetta, 
Avocet. 

Sub-fam. d. Scolopacinee. 
Scolopax. Rusticola, Wood¬ 
cock. 

Numenius. Scolopacinus, 
Snipe. 

Sub-fam. e. Tringince. 
Philomachus. Pugnax.Rttjf. 

Fam. IV. Palamedeidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Parrince. 

Parra. Jacana, Jacana. 

Fam. V. Rallidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Rallirue. 
Ortgometra. Crex, Corn¬ 
crake. 

Sub-fam. b. Qallinulium. 
GAtLiNniA. Chloropus, 
Water Hen. 

Fulica. Atra, Coot 


Order VIII. ANSERES. 

Fam. I. Anatid*. 

Sub-fam. a. PhoenicopterinT. 

Pkcenicopteros. Rub-a, 
Flamingo. 

Sub-fam. c. Anserince. 

Bernicla. Leucopsis, Ber 
nicle Goose. 

Sub-fam. d. Cggnince. 

Cygnus. Olor, Mute Swan. 

-Ferus, Whistling Swan 

Chenopis. Atrata, Bluet* 
Swan. 

Sub-fam. e. Anatince. 

Anas. Boschas, Mallard. 

Marf.ca. Penelope, Widgeon 

Qui ruuedula. Crecca, Teal 

Sub-fam. f. Fuligulinee. 

Somateria. Mollissima, 
Eider Duck.' 

Fam. II. Colymbidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Colymbivce. 

Colymbus. Glacialis, Great 
Northern Diver. 

Sub-fam. b. Podicepince. 

Podiceps. Cristatus, Crested 
Grebe. 

- Minor, Dabchick. 

Fam. III. Alcidae. 

Sub-fam. a. Alcince. 

Fratkrcula. Arctica, Puf¬ 
fin. 

Aeca. Impennis, Great 
Auk. 

Sub-fam. c. Spheniscince. 

Spheniscus. Demersus, 
Cape Penguin. 

Sub-fam. d. Urince. 

Uria. Troile, Guillemot. 

Fam. IV. Procellarid®. 

Sub-fam. a. Procellarmee. 

Procellaria. Glaciaiia, 
Fulmar Petrel. 

Thalassiurom a. Pelagici, 
Stormy Petrel. 

Diomedea. Exulans, Alba- 
tros. 

Fam. V. Laridae. 

Sub-fam. b. Lari nee. 

Larus. Marinus, Black- 
backed Gull. 

Sub-fam. c. Sternince. 

Sterna. Hirundo, Tern. 

Tam. VI Pelecanidse. 

Sub-fam. b. Phaetonince. 

Phaeton. iEthereus, Tropu 
Bird 

Sub-fam. c. Pelecanince. 

Sula. Bassfl-nea, Gannet. 




SYSTEMATIC INDEX. 


XVII 


Phalajrocorax. Carbo, 
Cormorant. 

Pelecanus. Onocrotalus, 
White Pelican. 

Fregata. Aquila, Frigate 
Pelican. 

Class III. REPTILIA. 

Order I. SAURA. 

Sub-order I. Leptogeoss®. 

Tribe I. CYCLOSAURA. 

Fam. IV. Lacertinid®. 

Zootoca. Vivipara, Lizard. 

Tribe II. GEISSOSAURA. 

Fam. XV. Scincidae. 

Anguis. Fragilis, Blind- 
worm. 

Sub-order II. Pachygeoss®. 

Tribe III. NYCTISAURA. 

Fam. XXII. Geckotid®. 

Gecko. Verus, Gecko. 

Tribe IV. STROBILOSAURA. 

Fam. XXIII. Iguanid® 

Iguana. Tuberculata, Iguana. 

Fam. XXIV. Agamid®. 

Draco. Volans, Flying Dra¬ 
gon. 

Tribe V. DENDROSAURA. 

Fam. XXV. Chameleonid®. 

Chameleon. Vulgaris, Cha¬ 
meleon. 

Order II. OPHIDIA. 

Sub-order I. Viperina. 

Fam. I. Crotalid®. 

Uropsophus. Durissus, 
Rattlesnake. 

Fam. II. Viperid®. 

Ceotho. Arietans, Puff- 
Adder. 

Cerastes. Hasselquistii, 
Cerastes. 

Pei i as. Eerus, Viper. 

Sub order II. Colubrina. 

Fam. IV. Boid®. 

Boa. Constrictor, Boa. 

Fam. V. Colubrid®. 

Naja. Tripudians, Cobra. 
Natrix. Torquata, Ringed 
Snake. 

Order III. CHF.LONIA. 

Fam. I. Testudinid®. 

Testudo. Gr®ca, Tortoise. 


Fam. V. Cheloniad®. 

Chelcnia. Viridis, Turtle. 

Order IV. EMYDOSAURI. 

Fam. I. Crocodilid®. 

Crocodilu8. Vulgaris, Cro 
codile. 

Fam. II. Alligatorid®. 

Alligator. Mississipensls, 
A Uigator. 

Class IV. AMPHIBIA. 

Order I. BA TRACHIA. 

Sub-order I. Salientia. 

Ran a. Temporaria, Frog. 
Buro. Vulgaris, Toad. 

Sub-order II. Gradientia. 

Fam. I. Salamandrid®. 

Triton. Cristatus, Newt. 

Order V. ME ANT I A. 

Fam. I. Proteid®. 

Proteus. Angumus, Proteus. 

Class V. PISCES. 

Sub-class I. Pisces Ossei. 

Order I. ACANTHOPTERYGII. 
Sub-order I. Dactylophori. 

Fam. I. Triglid®. 

Trigla. Cuculus, Gurnard. 

Sub-order II. Hoeodactyli. 

Fain. IV. Percid®. 

Perca. Fluviatilis, Perch. 

Fam. II. Cottid®. 

Cottus. Gobio, Bull-head. 

Fam. XIII. Scomberid®. 

Scomber. Scombrus, 

Mackarel. 

Thynnus. Thynnus, 

Tunny. 

Xiphias. Gladius, Sword¬ 
fish. 

Gastero8teus. Aculeatus, 
Stickleback. 

Fam. XIV. Zeid®. 

Zeus. Faber, John Dory 

Fam. XVII. Syngnathid®. 
Hippocampus. Breviros- 
tris, Sea-horse. 

Fam XXII. Echeneid®. 

Echeneis. Remora, Suck 
ing-fish. 

Fam. XXIII. Lophiid®. 

Lophius. Piscatorius, 
Angler. 


XV 111 


SYSTEMATIC INDEX. 


Order II. MALACOPTERYGII. 
Sub-order I. Abdominalia. 

Fam. I. Cyprinidse. 

Cyprinus. Carpio, Carp. 

-Barbus, Barbel. 

-Auratus, Gold¬ 
fish. 

A bra mis. Brarna Bream. 
Gobio. Fluviatilis, Gud¬ 
geon. 

Tinca. Vulgaris, Tench. 
Leuciscus. Rutilus, Roach. 

-Leueiscus,.Dace. 

-Cep halus, Chub. 

CoBiTrs. Barbatula, Loach. 

Fam. II. Esocidae. 

Esox. Lucius, Pike. 
Exoccetus. Volitans, Fly¬ 
ing-fish. 

Farn. IV. Salmonidae. 

Salmo. Salar, Salmon. 

-- Fario, Trout. 

Fam. V. Clupeidae. 

Clupea. Pilchardus, Pil¬ 
chard. 

- Harengus, Her¬ 
ring. 

Engraulis. Enchrasicho- 
lus, Anchovy. 

Sub-order II. Sub-brachiata. 

Fam. VI. Gadidae. 

Morrhua. Callarias, Cod. 
Fam. VII. Pleuronectidae. 

Psetta. Maxima, Turbot. 
Solea. Vulgaris, Sole. 
Sub-order III. Apoda. 

Fam. IX. Muraenidae. 

Anguilla. Acutirostris, 
Sharp-nosed Eel. 
Conger. Vulgaris, Conger. 

Fam. X. Gymnotidie. 

Gymnotus. Electricus, 
Electric Eei. 

Order III. PLECTOGNATHI. 

Fam. I. Diodontidae. 

Orthagoriscus. Mola, 
Short Sun-fish. 

Sub-class 11 Pisces Chondropte- 

RYGII. 

Sub-order I. Eleutheropomi. 
Fam. I. Acipenseridas. 

Acipenser. Sturio, Stur¬ 
geon. 

Sub-order II. Trematopnei. 
Sub-section I. SQUALL. 

Fam. I. Scyllidae. 

Scyllium. Canicula, Little 
Spotted Dog-fish. 


Fam. II. Squalid®. 

Suualus. Carcbarias, 

Shark. 

Sphyrnias. Zygfena.Da.v.- 
rner-headed btiark. 

Sub-section II. RAIL. 

Fain. I. Pristid®. 

Pristis. Antiquorum, 
Sawfish. 

Fam. II. Raidae. 

Torpedo. Scutata, 
pedo. 

Raia. Clavata, Thornbaci 
Skate. 

Sub-order III. Cyclostomi. 

Fam. I. Petromyzonidae. 

Petromyzon. Marinus, 
Lamprey. 

Lampetra. Fluviatilis, 
Lampern. 

Myxine. Glutinosa, Myx- 
ine. 

Division II. INVERTEBRATA. 

Class VI. MOLLUSCA. 

Order CEPHALOPODA. 

Fam. Octopidae. 

Octopus. Vulgaris, Cuttle 
fish. 

Argonauta. Argo, Nau¬ 
tilus. 

Order GASTEROPODA. 

Sub-order Pulmobranchiata. 

Fam. Limacidae. 

Limax. Ater , Black Slug 

Fam. Helicid®. 

Helix. Aspersa, Snail. 

Fam. Turbinidae. 

Scalaria. Pretiosa, Roya. 
Staircase Wentletrap. 

Fam. Coniidas. 

Conus. Generalis, Cone. 

Fam. Cypraeidae. 

Aricia. Moneta, Money 
Cowry. 

Fam. Buccinid®. 

Buccinum. Undatum, 
Whelk. 

Fam. Muricid®. 

Murex. Tribulut,, Thorny 
Woodcock. 

Order CYCLOBRANCHIATA. 

Fam. Patellid®. 

Patella. Vulgata, Lim¬ 

pet. 








SYSTEMATIC INDEX. 


XIX 


Older CONCHIFERA. 


Class IX. INSECTA. 


Earn. Pectinidae. 

Pecten. Jacobaeus, Scal¬ 
lop. 

Ostrea. Edulis, Oyster. 

Pam. Meleagrinidae. 

Meleagrina. Margarati- 
fera, Pearl Oyster. 

Fam. Mytilidae. 

Mytilus. Edulis, Edible 
Mussel. 

Order CIRRHOPODA. 

Pentalasmjs. Anatil'era, 
Rernicle. 

Class VII. CRUSTACEA. 

Sub-class I. M alacostraca. 

Order I. DEC A POD A. 


Sub-class I. Insecta Mandibulaia 
Order I. COLEOPTERA. 

Fam. Cicindelidae. 

Cicin dela. Campestria 
Tiyer-beetle. 

Fam. Carabidae. 

Cara - us. Cancellatu* 
Ground-beetle. 

Fam. Silphidae. 

Necrophagus. Vespillo, 
Buryiny-beetle. 

Fam. Lucanidae. 

Lucanus. Cervus, Stay 

beetle. 

Geotrupes. Stercorariu'. 
Dor-beetle. 

Melolontha. Vulgaus. 
Cockchaffer. 


Sub-order I. Decafoda-brach y- 
ura. 

Fam. I. Canceridae. 

Cancer. Pagurus, Crab. 

Sub-order II. Decapoda - ano- 
moura. 


Fam. Lampyridae. 

Lampyris. Noctiluca, 
Glowworm. 

Fam. Ptinidae. 

Anobium. Tesselatum. 

Death-watch. 


Fam. III. Paguridae. 

Pagurus. Bernhardus. 
Hermit Crab. 


Fam. Cerambycidae. 

Cerambyx. Moschatu* 
Musk-beetle. 


Sub-order III. Decapoda - ma- 
croura. 

Fam. V. Astacidae. 

Potamobius. Astacus, 
Cray-fish. 

Astacus. Gammarus, Lob¬ 
ster. 


Fam. Staphylinidae. 

Creophilus. Maxillosus, 
Rove-beetle. 

Order II. DERMAPTERA. 

Foreicula. Forcipata, Ear 
wig. 


Fam. VI. Crangonidae. 

Crangon. Vulgaris, 

Shrimp. 

Fam. VIII. Palasmonidae * 

• PaljEmon. Serratus, 

Prawn. 


Class VIII. ARACHNIDA. 

Order PULMONARIA. 

Fam. Araneidae. 

Myoale. Avicularia, Bird 
Spider. 

Fam. Scorpionidae. 

Scorpio. Europaeus, Scor¬ 
pion. 


Order III. ORTHOPTERA. 

Fam. Locustidae. 

Locusta. Tartarica,Zoca.»J. 

Fam. Xchetidae. 

Acheta. Campestris, Pitta 
Cricket. 

- Dome*ticua. 

House Cricket. 
Gryilotalp a. Vulgaris, 
Mole Cricket. 

Phyleia. Foliata, Lea) 
Insect. 

Fam. Blattidae. 

Blatta. Orientalis, Cock¬ 
roach. 


Order TRACHEARIA. 

Fam. Acaridae. 

Leptus. Autumnalis, Har¬ 
vest Buy. 


Order IV. NEUROPTERA 
Fam. Ephemeridae. 

Ephemera. Vulgata, Al* y* 

tly 



SYSTEMATIC INDEX 


Fam. Libellulidae. 

Libellula. Depressa, 

Dragon-fly. 

Fam. Myrmeleonidae. 

Myrmeleon. Formicarum, 
Ant-lion. 

Fam. Termitidae. 

Termes. Bellicosus, Termite. 

Order V. TRICHOPTERA. 

Fam. Phryganidae. 

Phryganea. Grandis, 
Caddis-fly. 

Order VI. HYMENOPTERA. 
Fain. Ichneumonidse. 

Pimpla. Manifestator, 
Ichneumon-fly. 

Fam. Formicidae. 

Formica. Rufa, Wood 
Ant. 

Fam. Vespid®. 

Vespa. Crabro, Hornet. 

- - Vulgaris, Wasp. 


Fam. Apidae. 

Apis. Mellifica, Honey 
Bee. 


Sub-class II. Insecta Haustellata. 

Order I. LEPIDOPTERA. 

Fam. Papiiionidae. 

Paeilio. liliwliaon, Swat 
low-tailed Butterfly. 


Argynnis. Adippe, Siiicr- 
tpotted Fritillary. 

Vanessa. Atalanta, Red 
Admiral 

Fam. Sphingidae. 

Acherontia. At.ropos 
Death’s-head Moth. 

Fam. Sesiidse. 

Macroglossa. Stellata 
rum, Humming-bird 
Moth. 

Fam. Arctiadae. 

Arctia. Caja, Tiger Moth 

Fam. Geometridae. 

Ourapteryx. Sambucaria, 
Swallow-tailed Moth. 

Fam. Alucitidae. 

Alucita. Hexadactyla, 
Many-plumeu Moth 


Order II. D1PTERA. 

Fam. Culicidee. 

Culex. Pipiens, Gnat. 

Fam. CEstridae. 

CEstrus. Bovis, Gadfly. 

Fam. Bombylidee. 

Bombylius. Medius, Hum 
ble-bee Fly. 


Older IV. APHANIPTERJ. 
Fam. Pulicidas. 

Pu s.f.k. Irritans, Flea. 









































































NATURAL HISTORY 


Division I. VERTEBRAT a.—(L at. possessing vert&brce.) 

w 

Class I. . . MAMMALIA.— (Lat. suckling their young.) 
Order I. . . PRIM A TES. —(Lat. primus, first.) 

Family I.. Hominidas.—(Lat. homo, a man— mankind.) 
Genus I. . Homo. 



BOSJESMAN AND LION 

Species /. Sapiens (Lat. wise), Man. 


Man holds the foremost place in the order of creation. The perfec¬ 
tion of his bodily form is as far superior to that of other beings as his 
intellect surpasses their instinct, beautiful and marvellous though it be. 
Between man and brutes there is an impassable barrier, over which man 
ean never fall, or beasts hope to climb. The low©'* animals are but 

B 

</ 










9 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


“ beasts that perish,” whereas man is a living soul, it is the soul that 
gives consistency and force to the reason, and therefore, man, even when 
fallen from his high estate, and deprived of the right use of his reason, 
still holds his supremacy over the lower animals by the power of the 
still living soul, and is not subject even to the most perfect and powerful 
brutes. 

There is but one genus of mankind, Homo, and but one species 
Sapiens; that is, the rational human being. Intellect, or reason, differs 
from instinct in its power of accommodation to circumstances; whereas 
instinct ever remains unchanged. The beaver, when confined in a cage, 
still builds dams in order to confine the stream that never visits it; the 
captive squirrel, when satiated with food, still conceals the remnants for 
a future repast, although it is regularly supplied with its daily meals; 
the magpie approaches a dead wasp with the same caution as if it were 
living; and the dog Hies from a recently flayed tiger skin with no less 
fear than if the living tiger stood before him.* On the contrary, the 
power of man’s reason enables him to alter his habits and actions ac¬ 
cording to the change of external circumstances. The same man can 
inhabit the burning sands of the tropics, or the everlasting snows of the 
north pole; and can defend himself from the scorching heat of the one, 
or set at defiance the piercing cold of the other. 

The forms and habits of men are modified according to the different 
climates and positions in which they are placed. These modifications are 
in some cases so great, that many philosophers, and not a few naturalists, 
have imagined that there are several distinct classes of mankind, which 
derive their origin from different sources. There is certainly no doubt 
that the educated human being who peruses these pages, seated in a 
comfortable apartment, surrounded with luxuries brought from almost 
every country on the face of the earth, within sound of church bells, 
and clothed in garments fitted to defend him from the heat of summer 
or the cold of winter, is far superior to the half-naked Bosjesmau, whc 
has no conception of a God, who lives in caves, or scrapes a hole in the 
sand, in which he crouches until he has devoured the last putrid morsel 
of the prey which he has been fortunate enough to secure, and which he 
then abandons to the beasts of the desert, scarcely less provident than 
himself. Yet this superiority results entirely from the external circum¬ 
stances in which each is placed. Let each be transplanted into the 
country of the other, and in a few generations we should find the Bos- 
jesman civilized, and capable of reading how his former superior, now 
sunk into the savage state, gains a precarious subsistence by hunting, 
and passes his life in caves. 

All men do not see the case in this light, for some theorists have ventured 
so far as to assert that the Negro is but an improved monkey, and that his 

* In those cases where animals alter their habits to suit the changed circumstances in 
which they find themselves, their reason, not their instinct, acts. See this point more at 
large in the introduction to “Sketches and Anecdotes of Animal Life.” 


NATURAL IIIbTORY. 


3 . 

reason is nothing but a partially civilized instinct. That these theorists, 
were no anatomists is sufficiently evident, and it would not be necessary to 
prove the absurdity of their assertion, were it not that many have actually 
been deceived by their flimsy though specious arguments. Indeed, at the 
present time, when we find one philosopher giving what he considers, 
satisfactory proofs that salt is the cause of all earthly misery, and the 
reason why the sun is at so great a distance from us; another reviving the 
very ancient and venerable belief, that the earth is flat like a plate; and 
a third pretending to read a sealed letter with the point of his toe, or to 
examine the interior of a friend some hundred miles distant; it is dif¬ 
ficult to say to what extent credulity can proceed.* 

We will, however, briefly examine this theory respecting the humanity 
of the Negro partly by anatomy, but mostly (for which delinquency we 
must ask paraon of the theorists in question) by common sense. That 
monkey, or rather ape, whose form most resembles that of man, is the 
Orang-outan. Let us compare the skull of this animal with that of the 
Negro. Will any one venture to deny that the noble sweep of cranium, 
and the smooth globular surface of the human skull, demonstrating the 
volume of the brain within, is a proof of far superior intellect than is 
indicated by the heavy ridges, the irregular prominences, and the small 
capacity of the ape’s skull F The face of the ape is an instrument for 
procuring food, and a weapon for attack and defence, while that of man 
is an ever-changing index of the workings of the mind within. We 
therefore find that the jaws of the ape are enormously developed, armed 
with formidable fangs, and marked with strong bony ridges, to which the 
powerful muscles which move the jaws are attached. On the other hind, 
as man is enabled to procure food, and to manufacture weapons by means 
of his hands, his jaws and teeth are reduced to the smallest size compa¬ 
tible with the preservation of life. 

The habitually erect posture is another characteristic of mankind. 
Other animals are not fitted for it; since, when they attempt to assume 
that position, their head is thrust so far forward that its weight destroys 
their balance, and the bones of the leg and the pelvis are so formed as to 
give them a tottering gait. When the ape attempts to stand erect, it is 
forced to balance itself by its immensely long arms, and cannot walk 
without assisting itself along by the knuckles pressed on the ground. 
The fingers on the feet, or more properly the hinder hands, prevent the 
ape from planting more than the heel upon the ground. It therefore 
hobbles along with its body bent, and at best can only contrive to manage 
an uncertain and vacillating shuffle; nor does it ever walk so well or so 

* I say “pretending,” because, although there are sundry accounts of such sealed 
letters proving legible to the “ clairvoyant ” there still exists a crucial test in the shape 
of a very thick sealed envelope, containing a bank note of considerable value, which will 
become the property of any one who can read its number and signatures without opening 
the envelope. It is almost unnecessary to say that the bank note has reposed in illegible 
security ever since its first enclosure, and is likely so to do until the patience of its owner 
is exhausted. 


4 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


gracefully in the erect posture as many of the performers at Astley’s do 
an their hands, which are apparently less fitted for walking than those of 
the ape. 

The power of the thumb is miucli greater in man than in the apes; it 
is by means of this instrument that man is able to handle large or small 
objects, to wield a sword or a pen, to cast a spear or thread a needle. 
There are also many anatomical differences which need not be de¬ 
scribed. 

The intellectual power in man shows its supremacy over the instinct of 
the ape in many ways. We will take as our example of mankind, the 
most abject of the human race, the Bosjesman, as represented at the 
commencement of this chapter. Surely the slain lion was not destroyed 
by an ape. No ape or monkey w r as ever able to manufacture weapons 
for itself. It may, indeed, take up a stick or a stone and defend itseh 
vigorously,* but it could never form a bow and arrow, much less reflect 
that the juices of certain plants rubbed on the points of its weapons 
would cause inevitable death to any person w r ounded by them. Yet the 
diminutive Bosjesman, who is far lower in intellect, and much less civil¬ 
ized than the calumniated Negro, boldly attacks, with perfect certainty 
of success, an animal before which the most intelligent ape that ever 
lived would fly in helpless terror. 

Neither can an ape procure fire, nor even renew it. It will sit de¬ 
lighted by a flame which a chance traveller has left, and spread its hands 
over the genial blaze; but when the glowing ashes fade, it has not suf¬ 
ficient understanding to supply fresh fuel, but sits ana moans over the 
expiring embers. 

The Bosjesman makes a bow and arrow; he tips the arrow with a 
hard substance to make it penetrate; he imbues the point with substances 
which he has learned are fatal when mingled with the blood, and then 
sallies forth in search of some animal wdiose skin may serve as a dress, 
and whose flesh may furnish him a meal. When by his unerring weapons 
he has succeeded in destroying the terrible and ferocious lion, the swift 
antelope, or the wary ostrich, he constructs for himself a hut by the 
side of his prey, strikes fire, fetches fuel, and dresses his meat. These 
are actions which no beast ever performed, and no ape could ever imitate. 

One point of difference between man and brutes has yet to be men¬ 
tioned— language. This one word includes almost every distinction 
mentioned, as it is bv the use of language that we are enabled to com¬ 
municate our ideas to each other, to give t he thoughts hidden in our 
minds an almost visible shape, to record our experience for the benefit 
of others; in a word, it is by language that w r e are civilized. The ape 
has no language, although there is no apparent anatomical reason why 
apes should not speak, and therefore, the Orang-outan in the gardens 
of the Zoological Society is no more refined, nor does it make a nearer 
approach to civilization, than its ancestors in the time of Adam. 

* Even this statement is generally discredited by naturalists. 


NATURAL HISTORY, 


Yes, it is so. The whole of mankind has one common source, 
springing from one origin, from him wlro was formed out of the dust 
of the earth, and from her whose existence took its rise from his living 
side. All are one family, sprung from one father on earth, by the will 
of their one Father in Heaven. 

The mind of man is much influenced by outward objects and the 
society by which it is surrounded. If a man be confined to one spot, 
or within certain bounds, his mind becomes feeble in proportion to the 
isolation. The rustic, whose ideas never w r ander from the farm on which 
he works, and whose travels are circumscribed by his native village, or, 
at most, by a casual visit to the nearest market town, exhibits a mind 
which has received a certain set of ideas, false as well as true, and 
which refuses alike to admit new notions or to give up any of the old. 

So great is the influence of society on the mind, that an experienced 
clergyman, while examining some candidates for Confirmation, observed 
that the Oxford children were two years in advance of those of the 
same age who had been bred in the country. So with music, a town 
child is accustomed to hear street music, and readily catches the air, 
while the country child, whose notions of music are confined to the 
dismal hosannas and lugubrious psalmody of the village church, is 
usually devoid of musical ear, but is great in imitation of rooks, cows, 
pigs, and donkeys. 

The most perfect case of isolation known, was that of the celebrated 
Kaspar Hauser, who had been confined for the first fourteen or fifteen 
years of his life in a dark cave, and was never permitted even to see his 
Keeper. In consequence, when he at length left his dungeon, his mind 
was that of an infant, his body that of a man. It would have been 
a most interesting and important experiment to watch the gradual 
development of his mind, but, unfortunately for science, an unknown 
dagger reached his heart, and this mysterious victim of a hidden plot 
perished, leaving the riddle of his life unsolved and the development of 
his intellect unfinished. His history furnishes us with another dis¬ 
tinction between man and beasts. When the mind of Hauser was 
released from its bands, it at once began to expand, and every day 
gave it fresh powers, while the brain of the ape is rapidly developed 
when young, and receives no further increase as it grows in stature, 
or if any change at all takes place, rather diminishes in power than 
develops by increasing years. 

We have seen that mankind have little in common with brutes, and 
that the barrier between the two can be passed by neither: but theie is 
another question to be considered. 

Many theorists have boldly denied the revelation of man’s origin as 
given in tire Scriptures, and asserted that at least five distinct races of 
men must have been created simultaneously, each deriving its origin 
from a different progenitor. Let us see how this theory will hold. 

It has already been stated that man is modified according to t.hfi 


€ 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Climate and position in which he is placed. There are several of these 
modifications, or varieties as they are called, but authors do not agree 
as to their number. Some describe the human family as divided into 
five varieties or races: the Caucasian, the Mongolian, the Ethiopian, 
the Malayan, and the American; each of these being subdivided into 
families, as for instance, the Caucasian race subdivided into the Cauca¬ 
sian, the Celtic, the Germanic, the Arabian, the Libyan, the Nilotic, and 
the Indostanic families. The division generally received is that of 
Pickering, who enumerates eleven distinct races of men, all of whom he 
has seen; the Arabian, Abyssinian, Mongolian, Hottentot, Malay, 
Papuan, Negrillo, Telingan, Ethiopian, Australian, and Negro. He 
-differs from Prichard in several points, but especially in referring the 
population of America to the Mongolian race, whereas Prichard con¬ 
siders it as entirely separate. 

The characteristics and distribution of each race are briefly these. 
The Arabian race extends over the whole of Europe, excepting Lapland, 
about half of Asia, including the greater part of India, and most of the 
northern third of Africa. The complexion is light, the lips are thin, the 
nose is prominent, and the beard thick. Number, about 350,000,000. 

The Abissinian race occupies a small tract towards the east of Africa, 
including part of Abyssinia, and part of Nubia. The features are like 
those of Europeans, the complexion is light, the hair is crisp, and the 
beard moderate. Number about 3,000,000. 

The Mongolian race is remarkable for a feminine aspect in both sexes, 
so that a stranger i3 often perplexed to distinguish a man from a woman 
at a short distance; the hair is straight, and the beard is wanting. If 
extends over the eastern half of Asia, except Corea, over Lapland, and 
the whole of America, except the western coast bv California, and the 
upper part of South America. Number 300,000,000. 

The Hottentot race occupies the southern extremity of Africa. The 
complexion is not so dark as that of the Negro, the hair is woolly, and 
frequently grows in irregular patches, leaving a bald spot in the centre 
of each patch. This race includes the Beclmanas and the Bosjesmans. 
The complexion of the Bosjesmans, or Bushmen, is very light, and 
strongly resembles that of an European, with a few sooty patches 
irregularly placed. Number about 500,000. 

The Malay race is almost amphibious, and is never found far inland. It 
is widely spread, and inhabits the centre of Madagascar, the whole of the 
islands in the Pacific Ocean, except the Fiji, New Hebrides, Solomon’s 
Isles, Papua, and parts of the Philippines. The parts of America not 
populated by the Mongolians, are also inhabited by this race. The 
complexion is a dark copper, the hair straight, when cut it stands erect, 
and the beard is thin. Number 120,000,000. 

The Papuan race inhabits about two-thirds of Papua, and the Fiji 
Islands, where Pickering saw the only individuals of this race who came 
under his notice. The complexion is dark, the hair bushy, the beard 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


7 


copious. The most remarkable point in this race is the skin, which is 
astonishingly rough and harsh. Number 3,000,000. 

The Negrillo race is like the Papuan in colour, but the hair is more 
woolly, the stature is small, and the beard absent. The Negrillos 
inhabit part of Papua, Solomon’s Isles, the northern extremities of 
Luzon and Sumatra, and the New Hebrides. Number 3,000,000. 

The Telingan , or Indian race, inhabits the eastern parts of India, 
especially about Calcutta, several isolated spots in other parts of India, 
and the east coast of Madagascar. The complexion is dark, (best 
imitated by a mixture of red and black,) the skin is soft, the features 
are like those of Europeans, hair straight and fine, and the beard 
copious. Number 60,000,000. 

The Ethiopian race is darker than the Telingan, the hair is crisp and 
fine, skin soft, and the features are more like European features than 
those of the Negro. This race inhabits the north-eastern portion of 
Africa, including Southern Egypt, part of Nubia, and part of Abyssinia; 
a few detached spots toward the north-west, and a large tract of country 
by Senegambia. Number 5,000,000. 

The Australian race inhabits Australia alone. The complexion is 
like that of the Negro, but the hair is not woolly like that of the Negro. 
Number 500,000. 

The Negro race inhabits the central parts of Africa, from the north of 
Ashanti to a little southward of Zanzibar. The complexion is black, the 
lips are immensely thick, the nose is flat, and the hair is close and curly, 
strongly resembling wool. Number 55,000,000. The numbers given 
in this distribution are of course in many cases only conjectural. 

In the distribution of races, it is most interesting to observe the 
influence of climate and vegetation on the character of man. Tiie vast 
tract of desert extending from the north-west of Africa, through Arabia, 
part of India and Tartary, as far as Mongolia, is inhabited by nomadic, 
or wandering, tribes, who depend principally on the milk of their do¬ 
mesticated animals for subsistence. 

The interminable and trackless ’woods of North America develop 
tribes whose faculties are moulded to the exigencies of their position. 
To their practised senses the tangled forests are as clear as the highway; 
the moss on the trees, the sun by day, the stars by night, the rushing 
of the wind, or the sounds of animal life, are as broad roads and legible 
signs to them, although we could discover no means to escape from the 
wilderness of trees. Dependent in a great measure on hunting for their 
subsistence, their keen eye marks the slightest trace of the expected 
prey; a drooping leaf, a twisted blade of grass, a bent twig, a ripple in 
the stream, are all noticed and all understood. Ever eagerly bent on 
the destruction of inimical tribes, and deeming the number of “ scalps ’ 
attached to their dress, each designating a slain enemy, as the best mark 
of nobility, they learn to track an enemy by his footsteps with unex¬ 
ampled patience and untiring assiduity. No bloodhound ever followed 


8 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


his prey with more certainty than the American Indian when on his 
“ war-pathtracks his retiring enemies, and when near them his 
approach is silent as the gliding of the serpent, his blow as deadly as 
its fangs. 

The Malay race, whose lot is thrown amid islands and coasts, are as 
crafty and fierce on the waters as the American Indians in their woods. 
Accustomed to the water from their earliest infancy, able to swim before 
they can walk, using as their toys waves that would dash an ordinary 
swimmer to pieces against the rocks, their existence is almost entirely 
passed on the water. As the American Indians are slayers and robbers 
by land, so are the Malays murderers and pirates by sea. They have 
been known to capture a ship in the midst of a storm by swimming to 
it and climbing up the cable, and many instances of their crafty exploits 
in ship-taking are on record. For a full account of their ferocity, 
cunning, and endurance, the reader is referred to Sir James Brooke’s 
reports on the Borneo pirates. 

Tiie Esquimaux, situated among ice and snow, where mercury freezes 
in the open air and water becomes ice within a yard of a blazing fire, 
pass a comparatively inactive life. They actually form the ice and snow 
into warm and comfortable houses ; wrapped up in enormous fur 
garments that almost disguise the human form, they defy the intensity 
of the frost, and place their highest happiness in the chance possession 
of a whale, which will furnish them with food, clothing, and light, 
through their long winter. 

All these races, although they differ in habits and external appearance, 
are not different genera, or even different species, but only varieties of 
one species. There is not so marked a distinction between the European 
and Negro, as between the light and active racer and the heavy brewer’s 
horse ; yet no one attempts to deny that these two animals belong to 
one species. The varieties in man are permanent; that is, the child of 
Negro parents will be a Negro, and the child of Malay parents will be 
a Malay, but that is no proof of a distinct species, as precisely the 
same argument may be used with regard to the horse. The soul is the 
important part of man, not the body ; and though the outward bodies 
of men differ, the soul is the same in all, and therefore in all the mind 
is capable of improvement and cultivation. 

It -were an easy task to prove the unity of mankind by Scriptural 
proofs, but I have thought it better to use rational arguments, as so- 
called reason was the weapon used to disprove the facts which the 
Scriptures asserted. Sufficient, I trust, has been said to show that man 
“ has dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, 
and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth; ” and also 
that the whole of mankind forms one great family, precisely according 
to the Scriptural assertion, that Eve was “ the mother of all living.” 

The distribution of the different nations over the face of the eaith, and 
especially the presence of man in certain situations forms one of the 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


y- 

principal arguments of tliose who deny the unity of mankind. Among 
such lands may be named America, Australia, New Zealand, and several 
other countries, whose inhabitants were supposed to have been destitute 
of artilicial means of crossing the expanse of waters that divides their 
lands from others. 

So to obviate this difficulty the perplexed philosophers invented a 
theory that each race was separately and simultaneously created,— 
a theory which has but one disadvantage, that of being entirely false. 
There are many other theories on the same subject, all differing from 
each other in essentials, but all remarkable for their ingenuity and 
folly. 

As, however, such theories have been promulgated, it cannot but be 
interesting to one who holds in its fullest sense the doctrine of the 
unity of mankind as given in the Scriptures, to search after the means 
by which men were enabled to pass from one common centre to all parts 
of the earth. 

Many portions of the globe, such as islands, could not be reached 
without some artilicial means to enable men to cross the waters. This 
implies some degree of civilization, as boats or rafts are the result of 
much thought and some skill. Pickering has published a map con¬ 
taining the probable route of mankind through the earth. He appears 
to think that the most perplexing question of all, namely the problem 
of the population of America, is not very difficult of solution, as the 
Aleutian Isles form a chain of spots easily traversed by the skin-covered 
canoes which are still in use among those islands.* 

All nations which have preserved traditions of past events agree in 
many points in a very remarkable manner. All have some traditions ot 
a creation, not always of a world, but of that particular part in which 
they reside. The Piji islanders believe that one of their gods fished up 
Fiji from the bottom of the sea, by entangling his fish-hook in a rock, 
and that the island would have been higher had not the line broken. 
The fish-hook is still preserved as a proof, but they do not state where 
the god stood while fishing. A traveller asked one of the priests why 
the hook, an ordinary tortoishell one, did not break ? “ Oh! it was 

a god’s hook, and could not break.” But why then did the line break? 
was the traveller’s very natural response. Whereupon the man, ac¬ 
cording to the prevailing system of argument in those countries, and 
perhaps in a few others, threatened to knock him down if he abused the 
gods any more. Most nations have dim notions of a deluge which 
overwhelmed the whole world, and from which only a few individuals 
escaped, by whom the earth w r as repeopled. Nearly all believe in 
a good and an evil power continually at warfare, and that the good will 
finally subdue the evil. Many savage nations, in consequence, seek *o 
propitiate the evil pow r er with prayers and offerings, feeling sure thn-t 
the good one will not injure them. 

* Pickering’s Races of Man. Hall’s Edition, p. 296. 


10 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


All nations, (except one or two, such as the abject Bosjesman, who 
can form no idea of what he cannot see, and whose answer when told of 
a God is, “ Let me see him,”) believe in a future state. Their belief is 
invariably modified according to their habits. Some of 
the debased dark races believe that after death they 
become white men and have plenty of money; the 
Mahometan considers his paradise as an abode of ever¬ 
lasting sensual indulgence; the savage believes that 
when he leaves this world he will pass to boundless 
hunting-fields, where shall be no want of game, and 
where his arrows shall never miss their mark; while 
the Christian knows his heaven to be a place of un¬ 
speakable and everlasting happiness, where the power 
of sin shall have ceased for ever. 



SKULL OF MAN. 


The section Quadrumana includes the apes, baboons, and monxeys. 
The name of Quadrumana is given to these animals because, in addition 
to two hands like those of man, their feet are also formed like hands, 
and are capable of grasping the branches among which most monkeys 
pass their lives. 

Apes are placed at the head of the Quadrumana because their instinct 
is mostly superior to that of the baboons and monkeys, of whom the 
former are usually sullen and ferocious, when arrived at their full growth, 
and the latter volatile and mischievous. 

The Chimpansee and the Orang-outan have been 
confounded together by the older naturalists, whose 
pardonable error has been unpardonably repeated 
even in books professing to instruct the young in 
the present state of natural science. That they are 
really distinct animals a glance at the skull of each 
will at once prove. The Chimpansee is a native 
of Western Africa, and is tolerably common on the 
banks of the Gambia and in Congo. 

Large bands of these formidable apes congregate together and unite 
in repelling an invader, which they do with such fury and courage that 
even the dreaded elephant and lion are driven from their haunts by their 
united efforts. They live principally on the ground, and, as their name 
imports, spend much of their time in caves or under rocks. Their height 
is from four to five feet, but they are said not to reach this growth uirtdi 
nine or ten years of age. 

Several young chiinpansees have been recently imported into this 
country, and have shown themselves very docile and gentle; but, had 
they lived, they would probably in a few years have become fierce and 
obstinate, as apes almost invariably are when they reach their full grow tin 



SKULL OF CHIMPANSF.E. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


11 


I lately saw one of these animals at the Zoological Gardens in the 
Regent’s Park. It was very gentle, and seemed to be above that restless 
spirit of curiosity that is so characteristic of the monkey tribe. Its 
countenance appeared expressive of the deepest distress, and it moved 
about with a gravity that contrasted curiously with the lively movements 
of the body of monkeys living in the large cage.* 


Family II. Simiadm.— (Lat. Simla, an ape—Ape kind.) 
Troglodytes. —(Gr. rpoZyAri, a hole ; Suo, to creep.) 



Niger (Lat. Hack), the Chimpansee. 


When I saw it an unmistakeable hacking cough proved that the 
scourge of these animals had fallen upon it. When monkeys are brought 
to England they are generally carried off by consumption within a few 
years. This disease is not so prevalent now in the Zoological Gardens as 
it was when the keepers thought that the animals ought to be shut up 
close in a warm atmosphere. This treatment predisposed them to taking 
cold on the slightest occasion, and thus paved the way for their deadly 

* There is a remarkably fine specimen of the Chimpansee in the Jardin des Plantes at 
Paris. It is very lively, and is fond of swinging on the ropes that are so plentifully hung 
from the roof of the great monke’/ cage at that establishment. The Chimpansee appear* 
to be entirely free from disease < f the lungs 





12 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


foe. Since the monkeys have been permitted to range freely in the open 
air, they have proved much more healthy than under the old system of 
confinement. 



SKULL OF 
OHANG-OUTAN. 


The Orang-outan inhabits Borneo and Sumatra. In Borneo there 
are certainly two species of orang, called by the natives the Mias-kassar 
and the Mias-pappan. Some naturalists suppose that the Sumatran 
orang is also a distinct species. 

This is the largest of all the apes, as it is said that 
orangs have been obtained from Borneo considerably 
above five feet in height. The strength of this animal 
is tremendous; a female snapped a strong spear 
asunder after having received many severe wounds. 
Its arms are of extraordinary length, the hands reach¬ 
ing the ground when it stands erect. This length of 
arm is admirably adapted for climbing trees, on which 
it principally resides. Mr. Brooke, the Bajali of 
Sarawak, gives the following account of the orangs of 
Borneo. There appears also to be a third species, 

the Mias-rombi:— 

“ On the habits of the orangs, as far as I have been able to observe 
them, I may remark that they are as dull and as slothful as can well be 
conceived, and on no occasion, when pursuing them, did they move so 
fast as to preclude my keeping pace with them easily through a moderately 
clear forest; and even when obstructions below (such as wading up to the 
neck) allowed them to get away some distance, they were sure to stop 
and allow us to come up. I never observed the slightest attempt at 
defence; and the wood, which sometimes rattled about our ears, was 
broken by their weight, and not thrown, as some persons represent. Il 
pushed to extremity, however, the pappan could not be otherwise than 
formidable; and one unfortunate man, who with a party was trying to 
catch one alive, lost two of his fingers, besides being severely bitten on 
the face, whilst the animal finally beat off his pursuers and escaped. 
When they wish to catch an adult, they cut down a circle of trees round 
the one on which he is seated, and then fell that also, and close before he 
can recover himself, and endeavour to bind him. 

“ The rude hut which they are stated to build in the trees would be 
more properly called a seat, or nest, for it has no roof or cover of any 
sort. The facility with which they form this seat is curious; and I had 
an opportunity of seeing a wounded female weave the branches together, 
and seat herself in a minute. She afterwards received our fire without 
moving, and expired in her lofty abode, whence it cost ua much trouble 
to dislodge her. 

“ The pappan is justly named Satyrus, from the ugly face and disgusting 
callosities. The adult male I killed was seated lazily on a tree; and 
when approached only took the trouble to interpose the trunk betweer 






orang-outan 















NATURAL PJSTORY. 


13 


us, peeping at me and dodging as I dodged. T hit him on the wrist, 
and he was al.erwards dispatched. I send you his proportions, enormous 
relative to his height; and until I came to actual measurement my 
impression was that he was nearly six feet in stature. 


Simia.—(L at. an Ape.) 



Satyms (Gr. 2 arupos, a satyr), the Orang-outan. 

“The great difference between the kassar and the pappan in size 
would prove at once the distinction of the two species; the kassar being 
a small slight animal, by no means formidable in his appearance, with 
hands and feet proportioned to the body, and they do not approach the 
gigantic extremities of the pappan either in size or power; and, in short, 
a moderately strong man would readily overpower one, when he would 
not stand a shadow of a chance with the pappan.” 

I saw a young Orang-outan not long since. It was rather spidery in 
its development, having a very small and very rotund body, to which 
were affixed very long and slender limbs. Its face was like that of a 
very misanthropical old miser, thoroughly wearied of life, and contem¬ 
plating surrounding objects with a calm but derisive pity. The whole 
form of the creature leminded me strongly of the Goblin king that 



14 


natural history. 


appeared to Gabriel Grubb on Christmas Eve, and whose degage ease 
of posture upon a tall tombstone has been so admirably depicted by 
“ Phiz.” 

It possessed in a high degree the expressive mobile character of the 
lips, which appeared to express its feelings much in the same manner as 
do the ears of a horse. When it was alarmed or astonished at any 
object it was accustomed to shoot out both its lips, and to form its 
mouth into a trumpet kind of shape. A snail was very effectual in 
producing this contortion of countenance. 

The creature was very tame, and delighted in walking about the 
garden leaning on the arm of its keeper, and if any lady would venture 
to be its guide, it appeared as happy as any such misanthropical being 
could be. 

When young the Orang-outan is very docile, and has been taught to 
make its own bed, and to handle a cup and saucer, or a spoon, with 
tolerable propriety. Eor the former occupation it proved itself particu¬ 
larly apt, as it not only laid its own bed-clothes smooth and comfortable, 
but exhibited much ingenuity in stealing blankets from other beds, which 

/r , , _ , it added to its own. The young 

Hylobates.— (Gr. vX-q, a wood ; fra.iv w, to .1 n s. 

tnvprv \ Orang in the collection of 

the Zoological Society evinced 

extreme horror at the sight of 

a small tortoise, and, when the 

reptile was introduced into its 

den, stood aghast in a most 

ludicrously terrified attitude, 

with its eyes intently fixed on 

the frightful object. 

The Agile Gibbon is a 
native of Sumatra. It derives 
its name of Agile, from the 
wonderful activity it displays 
in launching itself through the 
air from branch to branch. 
One of these creatures that 
was exhibited in London some 
time since, sprang with the 
greatest ease through dis¬ 
tances of twelve and eighteen 
feet; and when apples or 
nuts were thrown to her 
while in the air, she would 
catch them without discon- 

She kept 
the branches in 



A-gtlis (Lat. active), the Agile Gibbon, or 

Ouvglca . 

up a succession of springs, hardly 


tinuing her course 
touching 


her 



natural msToinr. 


15 


progress, continually uttering a musical but almost deafening cry. 
She was very tame and gentle, and would permit herself to be touched 
or caressed. The height of the Gibbon is about three feet, and the 
reach of the extended arms about six feet. The young Gibbon is usually 
of a paler colour than its parent. There are several species of Gibbon, 
amongst which some naturalists include the Siantang, a monkey chiefly 
celebrated for the pains it takes to wash the faces of its young, a duty 
which it conscientiously performs in spite of the struggles and screams 
of its aggrieved offspring. 



The Kahatj is a native of Borneo. It derives its name from the cry 
it utters, which is a repetition of the word “ Kahau.” It is remarkable 
for the extraordinary size and 


PuESB'fTES.— (Gr. irpeaPvTris, an old 
man.) 


shape oi its nose, and the natives 
relate that while leaping it holds 
that organ with its paws, appa¬ 
rently to guard it against the 
branches. As may be seen from 
the engraving, it is not an animal 
of very captivating appearance; 
but when it has been macerated 
in spirits of wine for a few 
months, its ugliness is quite super¬ 
natural. Naturalists formerly 
supposed that there were two 
species of this animal,—the nose 
of one being aquiline like that of 
the monkey in the accompanying 
cut; and that of the other being 
slightly retrouss^e. It was dis¬ 
covered, however, that the latter 
animal was only the young Kahau, 
whose nose had not reached its 
full beauty. 

The length of the animal from 

the head to the tip of the tail is about four feet four inches; and its 
general colour is a sandy red, relieved by yellow cheeks and a yellow 
stripe over the shoulders. 


Larvatua (Lat. mashed) Kahau, or 
Proboscis Monkey. 


The Entelltjs, or Hoonuman, is a native of India. It is astonish¬ 
ingly active in the capture of serpents. It steals upon the snake when 
asleep, seizes it by the neck, runs to the nearest stone, and deliberately 
grinds down the reptile’s head until the poisonous fangs are destroyed, 
frequently inspecting its work and grinning at the impotent struggles of 
the tortured reptile. When the snake is rendered harmless the monkey 
casts it to its young, who, after tossing about and exulting over then 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


JG 


fallen enemy for some time, finally destroy it. The length of its head 
and body is about two feet two inches. 

PRESBf TES. 



Entellus (Lat. A proper name), the Entellus Monkey. 
Seven genera are omitted on account of want of space. 


OyroCEPHALUS.—(G r. kvccv, a dog ; Ke(pa\r), a head.) 



M ormon (Gr. Mpduoov, a bogie), the Mandrill. 


We now arrive at 
the Baboons. This 
tribe is principally 
distinguished from 
the apes by their 
short and insignifi¬ 
cant looking tails. 
The baboons are 
the only mamma¬ 
lia which exhibit 
brilliant colours ; 
on some parts of 
these, however, na¬ 
ture has bestowed 
vivid tints hardly 
to be surpassed 
even by the gor¬ 
geous plumage of 
the tropical birds. 

The Mandrill, 
which is the most 
conspicuous of the 









NATURAL HISTORY. 


17 


baboon tribe, is a native of Guinea and Western Africa, anu is chiefly 
remarkable for the vivid colours with which it is adorned. Its cheeks are 
of a brilliant blue, its muzzle of a bright scarlet, and a stripe of crimson 
runs along the centre of its nose. These colours are agreeably contrasted 
bv the purple hues of the hinder quarters. It lives principally in forests 
filled with brushwood, from which it makes incursions into the nearest 
villages, plundering them with impunity. On this account it is much 
dreaded by the natives, who feel themselves incapable of resisting its 
attacks. It is excessively ferocious, and easily excited to anger; and when 
enraged, so boundless is its rage, that Cuvier relates that he has seen 
several of these animals actually expire from the violence of their fury. 

The greenishbrown colourof the hair of this and other monkeys is caused 
by alternate bands of yellow and black, which exist on each hair. The 
brilliant colours referred to above belong to the skin, and fade away entirely 
after death, becoming paler when the animal is not in perfect health. 



The American Monkeys, Family III. *Cebtiae.—(Gr. nrjl3os, a monkey. 


Monkey kind.) 

Ateles.—(G r. are Arts, imperfect.* 


or Cebidse, are found exclu¬ 
sively in South America, and 
are never seen north of Pa¬ 
nama. Their tails are inva¬ 
riably long, and iu some 
genera, prehensile. 

The Coaita is one of the Spi¬ 
der Monkeys, so called from 
their long slender limbs, and 
their method of progressing 
among the branches. The tail 
seems to answer the purpose 
of a fifth hand, as it is capable 
of being used for every pur¬ 
pose to which the hand could 
be applied; indeed, the Spider 
Monkeys are said to use this 
member for hooking out ob¬ 
jects where a hand could not 
oe inserted. In this manner 
they often rob nests of birds, 
who thought that they had 
laid their eggs safe from all 
danger. The tail is also of 
considerable use in climbing Paniscu8 (Gl , dim. of ™,, a little 

among the branches ot tiees ; Pan), the Coaita Spider Monkey. 
they coil it round the boughs 

to lower or raise themselves, and often will suspend themselves entirely 


* Pronounce KiOidce. 





18 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


bv it, and then by a powerful impetus swing off to some distant branch. 
The habits of all the Spider Monkeys are very similar. They are ex¬ 
tremely sensitive to cold, and when chilly are in the habit of wrapping 
their tail about them, so that this useful organ answers the purpose of 
a boa as well as a hand. They will also, when shot, fasten their tail so 
firmly on the branches, that they remain suspended after death. The 
great length of their tail enables them to walk in the erect attitude 
better than most monkeys. In walking, they cast their tails upwards 
as high as the shoulders, and then bend it over so as to form a counter¬ 
balance against the weight of the body, which is thrown very much 
forward in that and most other animals. The genus is called Ateles, or 
imperfect, because in most of the species the thumb is wanting. The 
Coaita inhabits Surinam and Guinea. 

Several genera are omitted. 


Mycetes. —(Gr. ixvkt]T7]s, a bowler.) 



Ursinus (Lat. Ursa, a bear—Bearlike), tlce Ursine Howler. 

The Howling Monkeys are larger and not so agile as the Spider 
Monkeys, and are chiefly remarkable for the peculiarity from which they 
derive their name. These animals possess an enlargement in the throat, 
composed of several valvular pouches, which apparatus renders their cry 
exceedingly loud and mournful. An arrangement somewhat similar may 
be seen in the throat of several loud-voiced birds. 

They howl in concert, principally at the rising and setting of the sun; 
one monkey begins the cry, which is gradually taken up by the rest, pre¬ 
cisely as may be observed in a colony of rooks. They are in great re¬ 
quest among the natives as articles of food, their slow habits rendering 
Shem an easy prey. 









NATURAL HISTORY. 


19 


The Ursine Howler, or Araguato, is common in Brazil, where forty or 
fifty have been observed on one tree. They generally travel in files, rh 
old monkey taking the lead, and the others following in clue order. They 
feed principally on leaves and fruit; the tail is prehensile ike that of the 
Spider Monkeys. 

The genus Cebus is omitted. 


The beautiful little animals 
here represented belong to 
the Squirrel Monkeys, so call¬ 
ed on account of their large 
bushy tails. 

The Collared Tee Tee, 
or White-throated Squirrel 
Monkey, is found to the east 
of the Orinoco. It lives on 
small birds, insects and fruits. 
Its habits are, apparently, 
mild and inoffensive, but its 
acts belie its looks, for when 
a small bird is presented to 
it, it springs upon its prey 
like a cat and speedily de¬ 
vours it. 


CallYtfrix. —(Gr. ku\6s, beautiful; 6pt£, 
hair.) 



Torquatus (Lat. torquis, a necklace— 
Collared), the Collared Tee Tee. 


The Marmoset is a most interesting little creature. It is exceedingly 


sensitive to cold, and when 
in England is usually occu¬ 
pied in nestling among the 
materials for its bed, which 
it heaps up in one corner, 
and out of which it seldom 
emerges entirely. It will eat 
almost any article of food, 
but is especially fond of in¬ 
sects, which it dispatches in 
a very adroit manner. It 
will also eat fruits, especially 
those of its native country. 
Its fondness for insects is 
carried so far, that it has 
been known to pinch out the 
figures of beetles in an ento¬ 
mological work, and swallow 
them. 


Jacchus. —(Gr. T o.k\os. Bacchus.) 



Vulgaria (Lat common), the Marmoset. 


c 2 



J\' AT U UAL HISTORY. 


2i) 


A beautiful little marmoset in the Zoological Gardens ate a great 
number u£ Hies which I caught and presented to it. Its little eyes 
sparkled with eagerness each time that it saw my hand moving towards 
a fly settled out of its reach, and it even ventured from its warm woolly 
nest, and climbed up the wires of its cage as it saw the fly approaching. 
It was also rather expert at catching lor itselt the flies that settled on 
the bars of the cage. A blue-bottle fly was evidently considered a great 
orize. 

This pretty little monkey is also called the Ouistiti, from its peculia? 
whistling cry when alarmed or provoked. 

Several genera are omitted between Callithrix. and Jacchus. 

Family IV. Lemurfdse. —(Lat. lemures, ghosts—Ghostlike.) 

LES1UK. 



Macdco (Native name), the Huffled Lemur. 

The Lemurs derive their name from their nocturnal habits, and then 
noiseless movements. The Ituflled Lemur is a native of Madagascar. 
It lives in the depths of the forests, and only moves by night, the entire 
day being spent in sleep. Its food consists of fruits, insects and small 
birds, which latter it takes while they are sleeping. This is the largest 
of the Lemurs, being rather larger than a cat. 

The SleiN'der Loris is a native of India, Ceylon, &c. It, like the 
.Lemur, seldom moves by day, but prowls about at night in search of 
food. No sooner does it espy a sleeping bird, than it slowly advances 
until within reach; then putting forward its paw with a motion slow 
and imperceptible as the movement of the shadow on the dial, it gra- 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


21 



dually places its fingers over the devoted bird; then, with a movement 
swifter than the eye can follow, it, seizes its startled prey. 


Loris. (Native name.) 


Several specimens of this 
animal have oeen kept m 
captivity and have proved 
very interesting in their 
habits. Their sleep appeared 
to be almost torpidity, as 
they would suffer their cage 
to be cleaned at any time 
between six in the morning, 
and the dusk of the evening. 

One of them when quietly 
awakened by thrusts of a 
stick, would utter a low 
plaintive cry, and walk once 
or twice slowly round its 
cage, and then sleep again. 

Two genera are omitted 
between Lemur and Loris, 
and several more between Loris and the Vespertilionidae 


Gracilis (Lat. slender), the Slender Lons. 


Family V. . . Yespertilionldae.—(Lat. vespertilio, a bat. Bat kind.; 
Sub-family a. Pliyllostomina .—(Gr. (bvWov, a leaf; <tt opa, a mouth.) 

Vampirus (“ said by Adelnng to be of Servian origin ”V 



Spectrum (Lat. a spectre), the Vampire Bat. 

We now arrive at the Bats, or Cheiroptera. This name is derived 
from the singular manner in which their fore-paws, or hands, are 























NATURAL HISTORY. 


developed into wings. If the fingers of a man were to be drawn out 
like wire to about four feet in length, a thin membrane to extend from 
linger to finger, and another membrane to fall from the little finger to 
the ancles, he would make a very tolerable imitation of a Bat. 

The usual food of Bats is insects, which they mostly capture on the 
wing, but some, as the Vampires, suck blood from other animals, and a 
'ew, as the Ivalongo, or Elying Box, live upon fruits, and so devour the 
mangoes, that the natives are forced to cover them with bamboo baskets 
to preserve them from the ravages of these animals, who would soon 
strip the fruit-trees without these precautions. Even the cocoa nut is 
not secure from their depredations. 

The membrane of the Bat’s wing is plentifully supplied with nerves, 
and is extremely sensitive, almost appearing to supply a sense independent 
of sight. Spallanzani cruelly deprived several Bats of their eyes, and 
then let them fly loose in his room, across which he had stretched strings 
in various places. The unfortunate Bats, however, did not strike against 
the strings or any other obstacles, but threaded their way among them 
with a degree of accuracy perfectly wonderful. Many Bats possess a 
similar membrane on the nose, wliich is possibly used for the same 
purpose. 

The long and muscular structure of these animals seems principally 
directed towards their organs of flight. In order to give support to the 
powerful muscles that move the wings, the breast-bone is developed in 
front with a strong ridge, like that of a bird.* The shoulder blades and 
collar bones are also exceedingly strong for the same reason, and as the 
power of rotating the bones of the forearm would not only be useless 
but even hurtful, these bones can only move backwards and forwards, 
while the shoulder has considerable mobility. 

The object of the extension of the finger joints is to give the animal 
the power of extending the wing membrane or folding it at pleasure. 
When the bat wishes to walk, it half folds the membrane and assumes 
an attitude admirably represented in the cut of the Long-eared Bat. 

The thumb joint has no part of the wing attached to it, but is left free, 
and is armed with a hook at the extremity, by means of which it is 
enabled to drag itself along in that singular vacillating hobble which 
constitutes a Bat’s walk. 

There are five tribes, or sub-families, of Bats, according to Gray, each 
tribe including many genera. The British Museum alone possesses 
seventy-seven genera. 

The Vampire Bat is a native of South America, where it is very 
common, and held in some dread. It lives on the blood of animals, and 
6-ucks usually while its victim sleeps. The extremities where the blood 
(lows freely, as the toe of a man, the ears of a horse, or the combs and 
wattles of fowls, are its favourite spots. When it has selected a subject, 
on which it intends to feed, it watches until the animal is fairly asleep, 
it then carefully fans its victim with its wings while it bites a little hols 

• the cut of the breast-bone of a bird at the commencement of the division AVES- 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


23 



SKULL OF COMMON 
BAT. 


in the ear or shoulder, and through this small aperture, into which a pin’s 
head would scarcely pass, it contrives to abstract sufficient blood to 
make a very ample meal. The wound is so small, and the Bat manages 
so adroitly, that the victim does not discover that anything has happened 
until the morning, when a pool of blood betrays the visit of the Vampire. 
Darwin relates, that while travelling in Chili, 

“ We were bivouacking late one evening near 
Coquimoo, when my servant, noticing that one of 
the horses was very restive, went to see what was 
the matter, and fancying he could distinguish 
something, suddenly put his hand on the beast’s 
withers, and secured a Vampire. In the morning 
the spot where the bite had been inflicted was easily distinguished, from 
being slightly swollen and bloody.” 

The wound made by the bat’s teeth is 
no larger than that made by a needle, and 
hardly penetrates the skin, so that the 
blood must be extracted by suction. There 
have been very different accounts of the 
Vampires from travellers, some denying 
that they suck blood at all, and others narrating circumstantially the 
injuries inflicted upon their own persons. The cause for these dis¬ 
crepancies is probably owing to the constitution of the narrators, there 
being some persons whom a Vampire will not touch, while others are 
constantly victimised. 

This Bat is placed among the Pliyllostomina, because the membrane on 
its nose resembles a leaf. The length of its body is about six inches. 



HAIR OF LONG-EARED BAT." 


THE LONG-EARED BAT. 

The Long-eared Bat is found in most parts of Europe, and is 
common in England. It may be seen any warm evening flying about in 
search of insects, and uttering its peculiar shrill cry. It is very common 
on Hampstead Heath. The ears are about an inch and a half in length, 
and have a fold in them reaching almost to the lips, from which pecu¬ 
liarity the genus is called Plecotus. 

This Bat is very easily tamed, and will take flies and other insects from 
the hand. One that I had in my own possession used to hang by the 
wing-hooks during the whole of the day, and could hardly be persuaded 
to move, or even to eat; but when the evening came on it became very 
brisk indeed, and after carefully combing itself with its hind feet, it 
would eagerly seize a fly or beetle and devour it, always rejecting the 
tiead, legs, and wings. It was then very impatient to be released from 


* Magnified about 200 diameters 


24 


NATURAL HISTORY 



the cage, and would show its uneasiness bv climoing about the eage ana 

fluttering its wings. It unfortunately died before further investigations 

could be made, but during the short time that it survived, it seemed very 

gentle, and only bit me once, although I used frequently to handle it. 

a-, - -t tt - The singular appearance of 

Sub-family c. Vespertiliomna. , . > ., y , 

(Lat. VIpertilh, a Bat.) ‘ * ha ! r ot . tl,e Bat . as seel ! 

„ _ T v through a microscope is caused 

PLECOTU8. (Gr. riAertw, I fold; ous ,an ear.) by a “ umber of sc ‘ ales adher . 

ing to the exterior of the hair. 
These scales can be rubbed 
off, and in consequence of this 
property, the bat’s hair often 
assumes very singular forms. 
The hair that is figured was 
drawn by means of the Gamers 
Lucida, from a specimen seen 
by transmitted light, but if it 
had been seen by reflected 
light, it would have presented 
quite a different appearance, 
not very unlike the plant 
called Mare’s tail before its 


Aurltus (Lat. auris, an ear—Eared), 
the Long-eared Bat. 


leaves are grown. 


The details of the hair are 
different in the differing spe¬ 
cies of Bats, but there is always a character about them which is not to 
be mistaken. 

When the Long-eared Bat is suspended by its hinder claws it assumes 
a most singular aspect. The beautiful long ears are tucked under its 
wings, which envelop great part of its body. The tragus, that pointed mem¬ 
brane visible inside the ear, is then exposed, and appears to be the actual 
ear itself, giving the creature a totally different cast of character. 


QUADRUPEDS. 

The former sections have been characterised by the number and pro¬ 
perties of the hands. In the section that we are about to consider, the 
hands have been modified into feet. At the head of the quadrupeds, or 
four-footed animals, are placed the carnivora, or flesh-eaters, and at the 
head of the carnivora, the Felidae, or Cat kind are placed, as being the 
most perfect and beautiful in that section. The Felidae all take their 
prey by creeping as near as they can without observation, and then 
springing upon their unfortunate victim, which seldom succeeds in making 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


25 


Jits escape, as the powerful claws and teeth of its enemv usually dash it 
insensible to the ground. The jaws and teeth of the Felidae are very 
different from those of the animals already described; their jaws are 
more powerful, and their teeth longer and sharper. Their claws, too, are 
necessarily very long, curved and sharp, and to prevent them from being 
injured by coming into contact with the ground, they are concealed, when 
not in use, in a sheath, which effectually guards them and keeps them 
sharp. There are five claws on the fore feet, and four on the hinder feet. 
The toneme ot the Felidae is very rough, as may be proved by feeling the 
tongue of a cat. This roughness is occasioned by innumerable little 
hooks which cover the tongue, point backwards, and are used for the 
purpose of licking the flesh off the bones of their prey. The bristles of 
the mouth, or whiskers, are each connected with a large nerve, and are 
exceedingly useful in indicating an obstacle when the animal prowls by 
night. Their eyes are adapted for nocturnal vision by the dilating power 
of the pupil, which expands so as to take in every ray of light. 


THE LION. 

The Lion stands at the head of the wild beasts. His noble and digni¬ 
fied bearing, the terrific power compressed into his comparatively small 
frame, and the deep majesty of his voice, have gained for him the name 
of “ king of beasts.” The Lion inhabits Africa and certain parts of Asia, 
such as portions of Arabia and Persia, and some parts of India. It 
varies in external appearance according to the locality, but there is little 
doubt that there is but one species. We are indebted to Mr. Cumming 
for many interesting notices of this noble animal, observed during his 
residence in Southern Africa, and from his book many extracts will be 
given in the course of this work, as by his cool and daring courage he 
has been enabled to watch the habits and actions of the most ferocious 
beasts in the depths of their own haunts. 

The Lion is barely four feet high, and eight in length, yet he can, with 
little difficulty, dash the giraffe to the earth, or overcome the powerful 
buffalo. He has been known to carry off a heifer in his mouth, and 
although encumbered with such a burden, to leap a broad dyke, apparently 
with the greatest ease. No animal willingly molests the Lion, and there 
are but very few which he cannot overcome. The rhinoceros and 
elephant are almost the only quadrupeds he dare not meddle with, but 
he does not seem to stand in much fear of them. Gnoos, zebras, and 
antelopes, seem to be his favourite prey, although one of the antelopes, 
the oryx, or gemsbok, not unfrequently avenges its own death by the 
destruction of its pursuer, its long straight horns impaling the Lion from 
side to side. The two skeletons have been seen lying together. The 
roar of the Lion is one of its chief peculiarities; the best description of 
it is in Cumming’s Adventures :— 


26 


NATUKAL HISIOKK. 


“One of the most striking things connected with the Lion is his voice, 
which is extremely grand and peculiarly striking. It consists, at times, 
of a low deep moaning, repeated five or six time§, ending in faintly audible 
sighs; at other times he startles the forest with loud, deep-toned, 
solemn roars, repeated five or six times in quick succession, each in¬ 
creasing in loudness to the third or fourth, when his voice dies away in 
five or six low, muffled sounds, very much resembling distant thunder. 
At times, and not unfrequently, a troop may be heard roaring in concert, 
one assuming the lead, and two, three, or four more regularly taking up 
their parts like persons singing a catch.” 

Order II. . . . PERM. —(Lat. ferns, wild. Wild beasts.) 

Family I. . . . Felidae. — (Lat. felis, a cat. Cat kind.) 

Sub-family a. Felina. 

Leo—(L at. a Lion.) 



Bar bar us (Lat. Jierce), the Lion. 


“ As a general rule lions roar during the night, their sighing moans 
commencing as the shades of evening envelope the forest, and continuing 
at intervals throughout the night. In distant and secluded regions, how¬ 
ever, I have constantly heard them roaring loudly as late as nine and ten 
o’clock on a bright sunny morning. In hazy and rainy weather they are 
to be heard at every hour in the day, but their roar is subdued.” 

It is well known that the power of the human voice is very efficacious 





NATURAL HISTORT. 


‘>0 

-t i 

' alarming even the most savage wild beasts. But I never remember 
seeing it mentioned, that it is not so much the sound of the voice, as the 
sound of the words that alarms these animals. Any one may test the 
fact for themselves, for whereas they may shout inarticulately without 
scaring away the wild birds and beasts of our own country, a lew words 
spoken in comparatively a low key, sends them off at once. 

Indeed we involuntarily use words on such an occasion, as for example, 
if we are attacked by a dog or a bull, we do not content ourselves with 
shouting, but speak words to it. The dumb brute seems to be cowed by 
the “winged words” of human reason. 

There is a remarkable instance of this faculty in the work of the 
author whom I have before quoted. A lioness whom he had wounded 
was about to spring upon him, but as he stood quite still, and recom¬ 
mended her in a commanding tone to “ take it easy,” she halted and per¬ 
mitted her assailant to retreat, which he did very slowly, still continuing 
to talk to the lioness until he had made his escape. 

The opinion that lions will not touch a dead animal is erroneous ; as 
they were frequently shot by Mr. Cumming while devouring gnoos, &c. 
that, had fallen by his rifle. Those lions who have once tasted human flesh 
are generally the most to be dreaded, as they will even venture to spring 
in among a company of men, and seize their victim. These lions are called 
Man-eaters. During the latter part of Cumming’s residence in South 
Africa a dreadful instance of their ferocity occurred.—While the hunt¬ 
ing party was encamped for the night in the territory of the Balakahari, 
a lion, taking advantage of the stormy night, suddenly sprang upon two 
men, Hendrick, the driver, and lluyter, the Bosjesman tracker, who were 
wrapped in the same blanket, by the fire. It seized Hendrick by the neck, 
and dragged him into the bushes, in spite of the blows which another 
man gave it with a burning brand, leaving lluyter unhurt except by a few 
scratches with its claws. Next morning it was shot by Mr. Cumming, 
who placed its skin in his magnificent collection, where lluyter points it 
out with great glee. 

The Lioness is much smaller than the Lion, and is destitute of the 
magnificent mane which is so great an ornament to her mate. As a 
general rule she is more fierce and active than the male, especially before 
she has had cubs, or while she is suckling them. She has usually from 
two to four cubs at a time. They are beautiful playful little things, and 
are slightly striped. They have no mane until about two years old. 
While her cubs are small the Lioness knows no fear, and will attack a 
company of men or a herd of oxen if they come too near her den. Her 
mate also ably seconds her endeavours, and has been known to keep the 
hunters at bay until she has withdrawn her cubs to a place of safety, after 
which he bounds off in the direction which she has taken. 

The cubs are remarkably heavy for their age. Many years ago, I had 
a pair of young lion cubs in my hands. They were about the size of very 
large cats, but weighed considerably more than their size led me to believe. 


2 S 


NATURAL H Jo TORY. 


They were playful little animals, but struck rather too hard to be agree¬ 
able. 

The Lion when young is easily tamed, and shows a strong attachment 
to its keeper. Tnose who have seen Van Amburgh will know what in¬ 
fluence man may obtain over this powerful creature. Many anecdotes 
have been told of the celebrated lion “Nero,” who would suffer even 
strangers to caress him, and carry children on his back with the greatest 
good-nature. 

Many naturalists, of whom Buffon is the chief, have fallen into errors 
concerning the contradictory dispositions of the lion and tiger. “ The 
lion unites wit h a high degree of fierceness, courage, and strength, the 
more admirable qualities of nobleness, clemency, and magnanimity. 
Walking with a gentle step, he does not deign to attack man unless pro¬ 
voked to the combat. He neither quickens his step, nor flies, and never 
pursues the inferior animals except when urged by hunger;” while the 
tiger “ presents a compound of meanness and ferocity; he seems always 
thirsty for blood,” &c. &c. Now nothing can be more erroneous than 
ihese sentences. The tiger is as tameable as the lion, the tiger and lion 
seize their prey with equal ferocity, and neither will attack a manor any 
other animal when satisfied with food. 

There is one remarkable difference in the characters of the feline and 
canine tribes. If a man is overcome by a wolf or a dog, the animal ceases 
not to mangle its vanquished foe untd life is quite extinct. A dog kill¬ 
ing a rat is a good instance of this trait of character. But if a lion or 
any other feline animal vanquishes a man, it contents itself wdtli the vic¬ 
tory for some time without making any attempt to injure him, unless he 
tries to escape, in which case he is again dashed to the earth, and 
probably considerably bitten as a warning. A cat treats a mouse just as 
a lion treats a man. 

This propensity in the lion has been the cause of saving several lives, 
the men having been able either to destroy their foe by cautiously getting 
out a weapon, or by lying still until they were succoured. 

At the extremity of the lion’s tail there is a small hook or claw, which 
has been represented as the means by which the animal lashes itself into 
fury, using it as a spur. This is impossible, as the claw or prickle is very 
small, not fixed to the bone as the claws of the feet are, but merely at¬ 
tached to the skin, and falls off if roughly handled. It is net present in 
ail dons, as Mr. Wood only discovered it once out of numerous sDecimens 
which he examined. 

As an example of the accuracy of the Nineveh sculptures we may 
DOtice that the little horny claw is faithfully represented. Indeed, the 
sculptures of hunting scenes are executed with wonderful spirit and truth, 
even delineating the different attitude in which a bull and a lion fall in 
death. There is one group representing a combat between a lion and a 
bull admirably represented, the whole action of the lion being wonderfully 
correct, although slight)v exaggerated. 






TIGER. 
















NATURAL HISTORY. 


29 


Tigris. —(Lat. a Tiger.) 



llegalis (Lat. royal), the Tiger, 


This magnificent animal is found only in Asia, Hindostan being the part 
most infested by it. In size it is almost equal to the lion, its height being 
from three to four feet, and its length rather more than eight feet. It 
has no mane, but to compensate for this deficiency it is decorated with 
black stripes, upon a ground of reddish yellow fur, which becomes almost 
white on the under parts of the body. The chase of the Tiger is among 
the most exciting and favourite sports in India. A number of hunters 
assemble, mounted on elephants trained to the sport, and carry with them 
a supply of loaded rifles in their howdahs, or carriages mounted on the ele¬ 
phants’ backs. Thus armed, they proceed to the spot where a tiger has 
Been seen. The animal is usually found hidden in the long grass or jun¬ 
gle, which is frequently eight or more feet in height, and when roused, 
it endeavours to creep away under the grass. The movement of the 
leaves betrays him, and he is checked by a rifle bail aimed at him through 
the jungle. Finding that he cannot escape without being seen, he turns 
round, and springs at the nearest elephant, endeavouring to clamber up 
it, and attack the narty in the howdah. This is the most dangerous part 




ao 


NATURAL IilSTORI. 


of the proceedings, as many elephants will turn round and run away, 
regardless of the efforts of their drivers to make them face the tiger. 
Should, however, the elephant stand firm, a well-directed ball checks the 
tiger in his spring, and he then endeavours again to escape, but a volley 
of rifle balls from the backs of the other elephants, w r ho by this time have 
come up, lays the savage animal prostrate, and in a very short time his 
skin decorates the successful marksman’s liowdah. These hunts are not 
carried on without considerable danger, as in some cases the tiger has 
succeeded in reaching the liowdah, and more than one hunter has been 
known to overbalance himself in his anxiety to get a shot at his game, 
and has fallen into the very claws of the enraged brute. Once a wounded 
tiger sprang at a badly trained elephant, who immediately turned round 
and made off. The tiger succeeded in reaching the elephant’s tail, which 
’t mangled dreadfully, but could climb no higher, partly on account of its 
wounds, and partly through the exertions of a native, who kept it back 
with a spear. The tiger hung in this way for the greater part of a mile, 
when another hunter succeeded in overtaking the terrified elephant, and 
with a single ball freed the poor animal from its tormentor. 

Of late years tiger hunting has become less dangerous, principally on 
account of the innate fear that all wild beasts seem to have of the power 
of fire-arms. When mankind first waged war against the tigers, they 
did not heed the fire-arms, but experience has taught them a fear ol' those 
terrible weapons, which appears to have been communicated to their pos¬ 
terity, just as the puppy of a retriever dog will plunge into the water 
and fetch a stick without being taught. 

Tigers are usually taken by the natives in pitfalls, at the bottom of 
which is planted a bamboo stake, the top of which is sharpened into a 
point. The animal falls on the point and is impaled. 

The general notion that tigers cannot be tamed is erroneous. They 
can be tamed as easily as the lion; but great caution must be used with 
all wild animals, as in a moment of irritation, their savage nature breaks 
out, and the consequences have more than once proved fatal. The me¬ 
lancholy death of the “Lion Queen,” in Wombwell’s Menagerie, is a 
recent example of this propensity. 

In the British Museum are three cubs bred between a lion and a 
tigress. They are not unlike lion cubs, but the stripes are much darker, 
and the colour of the fur is brighter. 

The colouring of the tiger is a good instance of the manner in which 
animals are protected by the similarity of their external appearance to the 
particular locality in which they reside. The stripes on the tiger’s skin 
so exactly assimilate with the long jungle grass amongst which it lives, 
that it is impossible for unpractised eyes to discern the animal at all, 
even when a considerable portion of its body is exposed. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


31 


LsorAiiDUS.—(Lat. leo, a lion; pardus. a panther.) 



Varlus (Lat. varied ), the Leopard, or Panther. 


The Leopard is an inhabitant of Africa, India, and the Indian Islands. 
A black variety inhabits Java, and is not uncommon there. Its height 
is about two feet. This and the following Felidae are accustomed to live 
much on trees, and are on that account called Tree-tigers by the natives. 
Nothing can be more beautiful than the elegant and active manner in 
which the leopards sport among the branches of the trees: at one time 
they will bound from branch to branch with such rapidity that the eye 
can scarcely follow them; then as if tired, they will suddenly stretch 
themselves along a branch so as to be hardly distinguishable from the 
bark, but start up again on the slightest provocation, and again resume 
their graceful antics. It is easily tamed, and expresses great fond¬ 
ness for its keeper, and will play with him like a cat. A remarkably 
beautiful specimen in Wombwell’s Menagerie was exceedingly fond of 
playing with the tuft at the extremity of a lion’s tail, and from the 
familiar manner in which he patted and bit it, he evidently considered it 
as manufactured for his own particular entertainment. 

This animal is exceedingly fond of some scents, especially preferring 
lavender water, by means of w r hich predilection, it has been taught to 
perform several tricks. 

The Leopard and Panther are considered as the same animal, on the 
authority of Mr. Gray. 










32 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


LEOPARDUS. 



Uncia (Lat. uncia, an ounce), the Ounce. 

The Ounce is a native of Lidia, and has been often confounded with 
the Leopard. Its fur is much more rough than that of the leopard, and 
the tail is almost bushy, especially towards the extremity. Its body is 
marked with irregular wavy stripes, and the head is adorned with black 
spots. The general colour is a yellowish grey. 

It is easy to distinguish the Ounce from the Leopard, by the indis 
tinctness of the markings, and also by the roughness of the fur, which 
latter distinction, in the opinion of some naturalists, shows that it lives 
in mountainous regions. The habits and history of this animal are but 
little known. 

The Jaguar inhabits America. It is larger and more powerful than 
the leopard, which it resembles in colour, but has a black streak across 
the chest, and a black spot in the centre of the rosettes. It is fond of 
climbing trees, and finds little difficulty in ascending, even when the trunk 
is smooth and destitute of branches. It chases monkeys successfully, 
and is said to watch for turtles on the beach, and to scoop out their flesh 
bv turning them on their backs and inserting its paws between the shells. 
Nor does it confine its attention to the turtles themselves, for it watches 
them lay their eggs, and then scoops them out of the sand with its claws. 
It often makes fearful havoc among the sheepfoids, and is said to depart 
so far from the usual habits of the Lelidse, as to enter the water aftei 


NATURAL HISTORY. 






LEOPARDUS. 


The Puma inhabits tue 
whole of America, where if is 
held in much dread by the 
natives. Its colour is an uni¬ 
form grey, fading into white 
on the under parts of its body, 
and thin similarity of colour 
is the reason that the name 
“concolor” has been given 

to it. It lives much on trees, ~ v ,, T 

ai} 1 usually lies along the Oncu (Or. Oyaa, a proper nam o), the Jaguar 

blanches, where its uniform dusky fur renders it so like the bark that 
it can scarcely be distinguished from the branch. This habit it preserves 
when in captivity, and 
many persons pass its 
den in the Zoological 
Gardens, fancying it 
empty, while the 
puma is lying along 
its shelf unobserved. 

Mr. Eaton Stone, 
the celebrated eques ¬ 
trian who has tra¬ 
velled for many years 
in the wilder parts of 
America, told me that 
the puma is accus¬ 
tomed to follow men 
by scent, and to track 
t hem on their j ourncy, 
waiting for an oppor- 

thmCnobservfd P n Concolor (Lat. of the same colow), the Punea. 

the traveller teeps nis eye on the animal it is perfectly harmless, but it 


tish, and to capture them in 
the shallows by striking them 
out of the water with a blow 
of its paw. There have been 
instances of the domestic cat 
acting in the same manner. 

When it captures one of 
the larger animals it destroys 
it by leaping upon its back, 
and twisting the head of its 
prey round, until the neck is 
dislocated. 


LEOPARDUS. 


n 






34 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



will wait for the moment when his eye L withdrawn to spring upon 
him. 

The AmericaiiS'.always speak of this animal as the panther, or “ painter,” 
as it is more familiarly pronounced; and many authors still term it the 
cougar , a word contracted from the original elongated unpronounceable 
Mexican name, “ Gouazouara.” 

LEOPARD US- 

The Ocelot, one of the 
Tiger-cats, is a native of 
Mexico and Peru. Its height 
is about eighteen inches, and 
its length about three feet. 
It is a most beautiful animal, 
and is easily tamed. When 
in a wild state it lives prin¬ 
cipally on monkeys, which it 
takes by stratagem. 

The domestic Cat was 
formerly supposed to be the 
same animal as the wild Cat, 
but it is now proved to be 
a distinct species, and the 
difference is seen at once by 
the form of the tail. That of the domestic cat is long and taper, while 
that of the wild cat is bushy and short. To make the point clearer, it 
may be observed that domestic cats, which have made their escape into 
the woods and become wild, have retained their slenderness of tail for 
several generations, while the wild cat on being domesticated never 
loses its characteristic roundness and shortness of tail. See the cut on 
page 36. 

The cat is an animal which, whether lying curled up on the hearth-rug 
fast asleep and immersed in dreams of shadowy fat mice, or leisurely 
pacing the room, and complacently muttering its self-satisfied purr as it 
brushes softly against the legs of the table or chair, certainly succeeds 
in giving a great air of comfort to a room. On this account it is a 
general favourite, especially in houses where there are no children. Pussy, 
however, is not only ornamental, but useful also, as she is eager and 
successful in the pursuit of rats and mice. So strong, indeed, is the 
passion for hunting in the breast of the Cat, that she sometimes disdains 
mice “ and such small deer,” and trespasses on warrens or preserves. A 
large tabby cat, residing at no great distance from White Horse Vale, 
vas accustomed to go out poaching in the preserves of a neighbouring 
aobleman, and so expert was she at this illegal sport that sue constantly 
returned bearing in her mouth a leveret ora partridge, which she insisted 
on presenting to her mistress, who in vain endeavoured to check her 
aiarauding propensities. These exploits, however, brought their cwn 


Pardalis (Gr. irdf)5a\LS, a pard), the Ocelot. 


NATURAL niSTORY. 


35 


punishment; for one day, when in the act of seizing a leveret, she found 
nerself caught in a vermin trap, which deprived her of one of her hind 
legs This misfortune did not damp her enthusiasm for hunting, a? 
although the loss of a leg prevented her from chasing hares, and such 
like animals, she would still bring in an occasional rat. 

This instinctive desire of hunting seems to be implanted in cats at a 
very early age. I have seen kittens but just able to see, bristle up at 
the touch of a mouse, and growl in a terrific manner if disturbed. 
Weissenborn, in his Magazine of Natural History, gives the following 
interesting account of the propensity of the cat to hunt, and of the 

FELTS. 



Domestlca (Lat. domestic), the Cat. 

mice to escape, both being at an age rendering it impossible that any 
instruction could have been given them by their parents. 

“ That instinct is an inherent or innate quality of animals is clearly 
proved by experience. The cat possesses the instinct- of catching and 
eating mice, and the mouse that of shunning the cat as its most dan¬ 
gerous enemy. Once, in Rome, I happened to open a drawer which I 
seldom had occasion to use, when I saw a ^ouse jumping out of it, and 
tound among the papers a nest with five young mice, naked and blind, 
and of a pale flesh-colour. I placed them on a table, handled them, &c , 
and they evinced no symptoms of fright, nor any inclination to get away, 
but only appeared eager to approach each other for the sake of warmth. 
There happened to be in the house a very young cat who had never 
tasted anything but milk. I placed it near the little mice by way of 
experiment, but to my astonishment it did not even look at them, nor 
perceive them, even when I turned its eyes in the proper direction, until 
at last, when I had repeatedly approached its nose to the mice, it sud¬ 
denly cau .ht a scent which made it tremble with desire. The propensity 


3G 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



cats tails . 1 


oecame more and more violent, and the cat smelled at the mice, touching 
them with its nose, when all at once the pale-coloured creatures became 
suffused with blood, and began to make great exertions to get out of the 
way of imminent danger, whilst the cat as eagerly followed them.” 

The Cat displays a great affection for her kittens, and her pride when 
they first run about is quite amusing. While I was an undergraduate at 
College, a cat belonging to the baker’s department formed a great friend¬ 
ship for me, and used to come every morning and evening to obtain her 
share of breakfast and tea. She continued her attentions for some time, 
bnt one morning she was absent from her accustomed corner, nor did she 
return until nearly a week had passed, when she came again, but always 

seemed uneasy unless the door were open. 
A few days afterwards she came up as 
usual, and jumped on my knee, at the 
same time putting a little kitten into my 
hand. She refused to take it back again, 
so I restored it to its brothers and sisters 
myself. A few hours afterwards, on going 
into my bedroom, I found another black 
kitten fast asleep on the bed. 

Cats are very fond of aromatic plants and several powerful scents. 
My own cat has just been discovered in the act of eating the green tops 
of a musk plant that was standing in the window. Valerian appears to 
be the great attraction for cats; and any one who is disposed to place a 
plant of valerian in his garden must beware of the cats, for they will 
come in numbers, roll over it, and scratch up the plant until there is not 

Caracal.— (Turk, black ears.) a vestige of it left. More¬ 

over they will fight lor the 
fragments in various parts oi 
the garden, and cause great 
confusion among the seeds. 

There are several varieties 
of the domestic cat, among 
which the Angora cats, with 
their beautiful long fur, and 
the Manx cats of the Char¬ 
treuse breed, which have no 
the 



tails, are 
cuous. 


most conspi* 


Melanotis (Gr. ,u£\as, black 
the Caracal. 


The Caracal is found in 
must parts of Asia and Africa. 
It derives its name from the 
oi)s, an ear), black tips of its ears, which 
render it a very conspicuous 


* i Tail of Domestic Cat; 2. Tail of Wild Cat.. 





NATURAL, HISTORY. 


37 


animal. It is one of the group of the Lynxes, and is generally supposed 
to be the animal referred to by several ancient authors under the name 
of Lynx. It lives on the smaller quadrupeds and birds, which it pursues 
even to the tops of the trees. There are no records of its being tamed, 
as in every instance when confined it snarls at those who approach 
its cage. The length of its body is about two feet, and its height about 
fourteen inches. 



The Canada Lynx is a native of North America, and is remarkable 
for its gait. Its method of progression is by bounds from all four feei 

at once with the back arched. Lyncus.- (Gr. a„' 7 £, a Lynx.) 

It feeds principally on the 
American hare, as it is not, 
courageous enough to attack 
the larger quadrupeds. Its 
length is about three feet. 

The natives sometimes eat its 
flesh, which is white and firm, 
and not unlike that of the 
American hare itself. Its 
skin forms an important arti¬ 
cle in commerce, and between 
seven and nine thousand are 
imported yearly by the Hud¬ 
son’s Bay Company, by whom 
the grey specimen in the 

British Museum was pre- ~ , . (T . , „ , . j7 

, j r Canadensis (Lat. of Canada), tke 

S6T1 e ' Canada Lynx. 


The Chetah, or Hunting Leotard, as it is sometimes called, is one 
of thp most elegant and graceful animals known. It is a native both of 
Air.ca and India, but it is only in the latter country that it is used for 
hunting game, as the Africans appear not to possess sufficient ingenuity 
to train the animal. The method of employing it is usually as follows 
--The Chetah is either led blind-folded in a chain, or placed upon a 
hackery, or native cart, and taken as near as possible to the place where 
antelopes or deer are feeding. When close enough, the hunter takes the 
band tram its eyes, and directs its head towards the game. Directly the 
Chetah sees the deer, it creeps off the cart, and makes towards them as 
rapidly and silently as it can, carefully availing itself of the accidental 
cover of a bush, or stone, precisely as a cat does when stealing after a 
bird. When it has succeeded in unobservedly approaching the unsuspect¬ 
ing herd, it makes two or three tremendous springs, and fastens on the 
back of one unfortunate deer, brings it to the ground, and waits until its 






38 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


keeper comes up, who induces it to leave its prey by a ladle-full of the 
blood, which he takes care to have ready. The Chetali is then hooded 
and led back to his cart. It is so easily tameable and so gentle that it is 
frequently led about the streets by a string for sale. 


OUKPAKDA. 


Jubata (Lat. crested), the Ohetah. 


It is rather larger than the leopard, and differs from it in the length of 
its paws, its inability to climb trees, and the crispness of its fur. It is 
therefore placed in a different genus from the leopard. It derives its 
name of “jubata,” from a thin mane running down the neck. 



The Hyenina, or Hyaenas, are remarkable for their predatory, fero¬ 
cious, and withal, cowardly habits. There are several Hyaenas, the 
striped, the spotted, and the villose, but as the habits of all are very 
similar, only one will be mentioned. The Hyaenas, although very re¬ 
pulsive in appearance, are yet very useful, as they prowl in search of 
dead animals, especially of the larger kinds, and will devour them even 
when putrid, so that they act the same part among beasts, that the 
vultures do among birds, and are equally uninviting in aspect. They 
not unfrequently dig up recently interred corpses, and in Abyssinia, 
according to Bruce, they even flock in numbers into the village streets, 
where they prey on slaughtered men who are thrown out unburied. 0n6 
of these animals attacked Bruce in- his tent, and was only destroyed 
after a severe battle. Their jaws and teeth are exceedingly powerful, as 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


:sd 



they can crush the thigh-bone of an ox with apparently little effort; and su 
great is the strain upon the bones by the exertion of these muscles, that 
the vertebrae of the neck become anchviosed, as it is called, that is, 
become united together, and the animal has a perpetual si iff neck in con¬ 
sequence. Before the anatomy of the hyaena was better known, people 
thought that it had only one bone in its neck. The skull too is very 
strong, and furnished with 


Sub-family b. Ilyenina. 
Hyaena. — (Gv/'Ycuva.) 


heavy ridges for the support 
of the muscles which move 
the jaw. 

The hinder parts of the 
Hyaena are very small, and 
give it a strange shambling 
appearance when walking. 

The Hyaena is easily tamed, 
and even domesticated, so that 
the tales of its untameable 
disposition are entirely erro¬ 
neous. 

The striped ITyaena is found 
m many parts of Asia and 
Africa, where it is both a 
benefit and a pest, for when 
dead animals fail it, the flocks Striata (Lat. striped), the Striped llycvna. 
and herds are ravaged, and 
even man does not always escape. 


The Viverrina, or. Civets, are active little animals, averaging about 
two feet in length. The whole group is celebrated for the perfume which 
is secreted in a grandular pouch near the tail, and is of some importance 
in commerce. If the Civet 
is kept alive, the perfume is 
obtained by enclosing it in a 
long narrow box so that it 
cannot turn round, and then 
scraping the secretion from the 
pouch with a spoon. If the 
creature is killed, the entire 
pouch is usually cut off, and 
sells for a higher sum than 
when the perfume is sold 
separately, as it is not so 
liable to adulteration. 

The Civet is only found in North Africa, especially in Abyssinia, where 
it takes up its abode on uncultivated and barren hills. It feeds upon 


Sub-family c. Viverrina. 
Viveura. —(Lat. a Ferret.) 



Civetta (Arabic Zibetta, scent), the 
Civet Cat. 





40 


NATURAL history. 


birds and the smaller quadrupeds, which it takes by surprise. As it 
pursues its prey by night only, its eyes are formed for seeing in the 
dark, and gleam as do those of a cat. 



Genetta.—(F r. Gcnette.) ^ ie Genet slightly re¬ 

sembles the cat, particularly 
in its spots, and the power of 
climbing trees. It inhabits 
Africa, and is not unfrequent- 
ly found in the south of 
France. At Constantinople 
it is domesticated, and keeps 
the houses free from rats and 
_. — mice, which are said to be un- 

Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Genet. ab ! e to ° nd " e its f ?"*• but 

it is much more probable that 

it frees the houses from mice by devouring them. 


The Ichneumons, or Mangousts, well deserve their name of Creepers, 
for with their long bodies and snouts, their short limbs and slender 
tails 3 they insinuate themselves into every crevice in their way in search 
Herpestes. — (Gr. epirparris, a creeper.) ol their expected lood. 

Few animals are more 
useful than the Ich¬ 
neumons. Snakes, li¬ 
zards, crocodiles’ eggs, 
or even young croco 
diles themselves, form 
their principal food, 
Ichneumon (Gr. ixvtvpLuov, a tracker), the and their activity is so 
Egyptian Ichneumon. great that when these 

sources fail, they are able to secure birds, and even seize upon the swift 
and wary lizards, which, when alarmed, dart ofF like a streak of green 
light glancing through the bushes. 

The Egyptian Ichneumon, or Pharaoh’s Rat, as it is sometimes called, 
is a native of North Africa, and is often domesticated for the purpose of 
destroying the various snakes, and other reptile annoyances, which are 
such a pest in the houses of hot countries. It principally seeks its prey 
by night, creeping along with such noiseless and snake-like progress, 
that not a sound warns the unsuspecting victim of its danger. Its 
slender snout enables it to suck out the contents of eggs with ease, and 
it destroys serpents by creeping behind them, and then suddenly leaping 
on their heads, which it instantly crushes between its sharp teeth. Its 
length without the tail is about eighteen inches. 

About twelve genera are omitted. 




NATL UAL iilSTOlt Y . 


4 I 


THE DOG. 

We now arrive at the Dog Family, which includes the Dogs, Wolves, 
Jackals, and Foxes. The first of the Dogs is the Kolsun, or Dliale, which 
inhabits Bombay and Nepaul. It hunts in packs, as most of the dogs 
do even in a wild state, and has been known to destroy tigers and 
chetahs. Let us pass to a more interesting animal, the Newfoundland 
Dog. This magnificent creature was originally brought from Newfound¬ 
land. It is often confounded with the Labrador Dog, a larger and more 
powerful animal. Both these dogs are trained by their native masters to 
draw sledges and little carriages, and on that account are highly esteemed. 
The Newfoundland dog is well known as a most faithful guardian of its 

Sub-family d. Canlna. —(Lat. Cams, a I)o£.) 

CANIS. 



Familiaris (Lat. familiar), the Newfoundland Do<j. 

master’s property. It is remarkably fond of the water, and will fetch out 
any article which its master indicates, and lay it at his feet. Many 
instances are known of this noble animal saving the lives of people that 
have fallen into the water, and must have perished but for its timely 
aid. There is an anecdote related of one of these dogs leaping over the 
parapet of a bridge, and rescuing a baby who had sprung from its nurse’s 
arms into the river. A gentleman who just came up, and was caressing 
the dog after its exploit, discovered, on seeing the child, that It was his 




42 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


own. He offered a large sum for the noble creature, but his master 
refused to part with him on any terms. 

This is one of the largest of the dogs, as it stands nearly two feci 
two inches in height. 



THE WATER SPANIEL. 

in its moutn any small object from the bottom. 


The Water Spa¬ 
niel, as its name 
denotes, delights in 
plunging into water, 
especially if any game 
is to be found among 
the rushes that fringe 
the rivers. It is a 
most useful assistant 
when shooting wild 
ducks, or water hens, 
as, when wounded, 
they conceal them 
selves so effectually, 
that, without a dog, 
discovery is almost 
impossible. It can 
also dive to some 
depth, and bring up 



The King Charles’s 
Dog is a diminutive breed 
of spaniels, first brought 
into notice by Charles 
the Second, who delighted 
in being accompanied by 
them in his walks, and 
was accustomed to admit 
them into his bedchamber, 
and even permitted them 
to lie on his bed. 


The Bloodhound. —There are several varieties of this animal, in¬ 
habiting Cuba, Africa, and England. They all are endowed with a 
wonderfully acute sense of smell, and can trace a man or animal with 
almost unerring certainty. The Cuban Bloodhound was formerly em¬ 
ployed by the Spaniards to hunt down the natives while endeavouring 
to escape from their invasions. A few years since, one of these dogs 
«aved the life of its master, an American hunter, by boldly attacking 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


43 


a puma wliicn had sprung on him in the darkness, and was lacerating 
him in a dreadful manner. The sagacious animal had been tied up at 
home, but apparently knowing the dangers of the forests through which 
his master was about to pass, he broke his chain, and arrived barely 
in time to save the hunter from a horrible death. 

The English Bloodhound is frequently mentioned by the older histo¬ 
rians. Bruce was repeatedly chased by bloodhounds, and at one time he 
was so closely pressed that he barely escaped by leaping into a brook. 


and wading a con¬ 
siderable distance 
up the stream, 
knowing that run¬ 
ning water would 
not retain the scent. 
The bloodhounds 
led his pursuers as 
far as the place 
where he entered 
the water, but the 
stratagem of Bruce 
baffled them, and 
the pursuit was 
abandoned. The 
voice of these dogs 


THE ii LOODHOUN1). 


is peculiarly deep, 
and may be heard 
at considerable dis¬ 
tance. Not very long since, a sheepstealer was detected by a bloodhound 
when every other means had failed. The dog, on being shown the foot¬ 
steps of the thief, at once set off on the track, and dashed into a cottage, 
where the unsuspecting robber was busily employed in skinning the sheep 
which he had stolen. The height of this splendid animal is about two 
feet four inches, and its colour a reddish tan, becoming almost black 
along the back. 

o 



The Eoxiiound and Beagle are not very dissimilar in form or habits. 
They both follow game by the scent, and are used in hunting. The Fox¬ 
hound, as its name implies, is used for hunting the fox, and enters into 
the sport with extraordinary eagerness. These dogs are trained with 
great care : whole books have been written on their education, and men 
are engaged at high salaries to train them to the sport. England 
possesses the finest breed of foxhounds in the world, and certainly no 
expense is spared to improve them, as one kennel is said to have cost 
nearly twenty thousand pounds. The height of the foxhound is about 
twenty-two inches. 




41 


NATURAL HISTORY. 




The Beagle is used principally for hare hunting It is mucu smailei 

than the foxhound, 
and not nearly sc 
swift, but its scent 
is so perfect that it 
follows every track 
of the flying hare, 
unravels all het 
windings, and sel¬ 
dom fails to secure 
her at last. Sports¬ 
men usually prefer 
the smallest beagles 
obtainable. The 
most valuable pacK 
of these dogs known, 
used to be carried 
to and from tne 
field in a pair of 

THE FOXHOUND. . » r 

panniers slung a- 

cross a horse’s back. Unfortunately, this pack was so well known, that 
numerous were the attempts to gain possession of it. One ill-fated 

evening, as the dogs were 
returning in their panniers 
after the day’s sport, the 
keeper was decoyed away 
by some stratagem, and 
when he returned, his dis¬ 
may was great to find that 
the dogs, panniers, and horse 
■were all missing. No traces 
of them were discovered, 
and it was conjectured that 
they must lave been sold on 
the Continent. It is a com¬ 
mon custom m tne military 
schools and sometimes at 
the universities, to follow 
the beagie >n foot. There 
nas been for several years a society at Oxford, who thus nunt on foot. 
As too much time would be lost in looking for a living hare, a dead 
rabbit is trailed along the ground, and as its fur has been rubbed with 
aniseed, the dogs can follow it easily. 


The Pointer is used by sportsmen to point out the spot where the 
game lies. It ranges the fields until it scents the hare or partridge lying 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


45 


close on the ground. It then remains still as it carved in stone, every 
limb fixed, and the tail pointing straight behind it. In this attitude it 
remains until the gun is discharged, reloaded, and the sportsman has 
reached the place where the bird sprung. It then eagerly searches for 
the game, and brings the bird in its mouth.* There are many anecdotes 
of its intelligence, among which the following is not the least interesting. 

In 1829, Mr. J. 

Webster was out 
on a shooting party 
near Dundee, when 
a female pointer, 
having traversed tiie 
field which the 
sportsmen were then 
in, proceeded to a 
wall, and, just as 
she made the leap, 
got the scent of 
some partridges on 
the opposite side of 
the wall. She hung 
by her fore-feet 
until the sportsmen 
came up ; in which 
situation, while they 
were at some dis¬ 
tance, it appeared to them that she had got her leg fastened among f lie 
stones of the wall, and was unable to extricate herself. But, on coming 
up to her, they found that this singular circumstance proceeded from her 
caution, lest she should flush the birds, and that she had thus purposely 
suspended herself in place of completing her leap. 

When badly trained, this dog is apt to make very absurd mistakes. A 
young pointer belonging to a friend disappointed him by most perversely 
pointing at a pig; and on another occasion was discovered feasting on a 
dead sheep instead of attending to its business. 

The group of the Mastiff dogs is distinguished by the shortness of 
the nose and the breadth of the head. This group includes the mastiff, 
the bull-dog, and the almost obsolete absurd little pug-dog. The breadth 
of their heads is caused by the large muscles which move the jaw. 

The English Mastiff is generally employed as a house-dog, as its 
powerful frame and deep voice are well fitted to scare away marauders, 
or to repel them if they approach too near. It is by far the most saga¬ 
cious of the whole group, and exhibits much more attachment to its 
master than the others. This animal has been called by several names. 

* Manj - dng-traineiB do not permit the do<t even to touch the bird. 



THE POINTER. 




46 


NATURAL HISTORY. 




THE MASrif'F. 


of which “Ban-dog” is the best known. Bewick thinks that the ban-dog 
is a separate species, of a lighter make than the ordinary English mastiff. 


The Bull-dog is proverbial for courage and endurance. Unfortunately 

its social qualities are by no 
means pleasing, as, although 
it has some attachment to its 
master, yet it is not always 
safe even for liim to disturb 
it. This dog was extensively 
used in the cruel sport of bull¬ 
baiting, a recreation now ex¬ 
tinct. When opposed to the 
bull, the dog would fly at its 
nose, and there hang in spite 
of all the infuriated animal’s 
struggles. So firm is its hold, 
that the owner of a bull-dog 
once laid a wager that when 
his dog had seized a bull he 
would cut off all his feet in 
succession without inducing the poor beast to loose his hold. Thu 
experiment was made, and the cruel master, who deserved a similar fate 
himself, won his wager. 


TliK BULL-DOG. 





































NATURAL HISTORY. 


47 


The Pug-dog looks like a bull-dog in miniature. It was formerly in- 
great request as a pet, but is now seldom seen. Its tail is curled over 
its back so tightly, that it is not very difficult to believe the story of a 
pug-dog being lifted off his hind-legs by the curliness of his tail. 


The Terriers never grow to any considerable size. There are severa 




T11E ENGLISH TERRIER. 


breeds of terriers, among 
which the English and Scotch 
are most conspicuous. These 
dogs are principally used for 
destroying rats or other ver¬ 
min, and are so courageous 
that they do not. hesitate to 
unearth the fox or the badger. 

Otters are also hunted by 
them, but prove by no means 
an easy prey, as their snake¬ 
like body, sharp teeth, and 
amphibious habits, render 
them very difficult to seize, 
and their tenacity of life will 
frequently enable them to 
escape when the dog consi¬ 
ders them dead. The Scotch Terrier is a rough, wiry little dog, with 
hair hanging over its eyes, so that those organs are hardly visible, and 
when it is in the water its wetted hair quite obscures its vision. 
There is a smaller breed of 
these dogs called the “ Skye 
Terrier,” whose principal 
beauty seems to consist in 
their ugliness. 

Terriers are extremely at¬ 
tached to their master, and 
are capable of learning many 
amusing tricks. I had a 
terrier, said to be of Irish 
breed, who had imbibed 
many of the eccentricities of 
the Irish character. He was 
particularly fond of terrifying 
lapdogs, a species of animal 
which he held in supreme; 
contempt. On one occasion, ' M,E SC0TCH terrier. 

he met a very fat lapdog, the property of an equally fat old lady, 
wrddling along the street. Rory looked at it for a short time, and 



48 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


then gave it a pat which rolled it over on its back. Its mistress 
immediately snatched it up, and put it on her muff, whereupon Rory 
erected himself on his hind-legs, an-art which he possessed in great 
perfection, and walked along by her side, making occasional snatches 
at the lapdog. The terrified old lady struck at him with her boa, 
which Rory immediately caught in his mouth, and carried off down the 
street in an ecstasy of delight, ever and anon tripping over it and rolling 
head over heels. He had learned to shut the door, ring the bell, bring 
the slippers, or put the cat down stairs, which he accomplished by push¬ 
ing her with his nose down each successive stair. During hA residence 
at College he was accustomed to sit, dressed in a cap and gown, at the 
breakfast table, where his deportment was always most exemplary, and 
afforded a good example to many of the guests. 

Poor Rory is dead now, but there is a record of his life in the 
“ Sketches and Anecdotes.” 



The Shepherd’ s dog is a rough, shaggy animal, with sharp pointed 
ears and nose. It is an invaluable assistant to the shepherd, as it knows 
all its master’s sheep, never suffers them to stray, and when two flocks 
have mixed, it will separate its own charge with the greatest certainty. 
It understands every look and gesture of its beloved master, and drives 
the dock to any place which he points out. This is the dog alluded to 
by Eurns in the following beautiful passage:—“Man,” said he, “is the 

god of the dog; he 
knows no other; he 
can understand no 
other. And see how 
he worships him! 
with what reverence 
he crouches at his 
feet! with what 
love he fawns upon 
him ! with what de¬ 
pendence he looks 
up to him ! and with 
what cheerful ala¬ 
crity he obeys him ! 
His whole soul is 
wrapt up in his god ! 
all the powers and 
, faculties of his na- 

XHJS SHEi'HERD S DUG. , 

ture are devoted to 

his service ! and these powers and faculties are ennobled bv the inter¬ 
course. Divines tell us that it ought just to be so with the" Christian 
but the doir nuts the Christian to shame.” 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


40 



The Greyhound is the swiftest of all the dogs, and is principally used 
in the pursuit of the hare, which amusement is termed coursing. It has 
but little delicacy of scent, and hunts almost entirely by sight. The 
hare endeavours to baffle it by making sharp turns, which the dog cannot 
do on account of its superior size, and has therefore to take a circuit, 
during which the hare makes off in another direction. The hare also hat 
the property of stopping almost instantaneously when at full speed, it 
puts this manoeuvre into force, when it is nearing its favourite hiding 
place. It induces the dog to spring upon it, and then suddenly checks 
itself. The dog is carried twenty or thirty yards forward by its own 
momentum, and the hare springs off to her place of refuge. 

At Ashborne, in Derbyshire, there is a public-house sign representing 
a black and white greyhound chasing a hare. One greyhound was a littje 
in advance of the 
other, and struck 
the game so forcibly 
with its nose that 
the hare was thrown 
over its back into the 
jaws of the other 
greyhound. This 
animal has been 
known to exert 
rather an unexpect¬ 
ed talent, viz. re¬ 
tracing a journey 
during which it had 
been a close pri¬ 
soner. 

“The celebrated 
greyhound, Black- 
eyed Susan, was 
brought to Edin¬ 
burgh from Glasgow in the boot of a coach, on the night of Wednesday, 
the 13th May, 1835. On the following Sunday evening she made her 
escape, and in forty-eight hours reached her kennel, eight miles beyond 
Glasgow, being fifty-two miles in all. The road between Glasgow and 
Edinburgh she had never travelled on foot, and from the time taken she 
cannot have come direct; but by what route or process this animal made 
her point good it is in vain to conjecture.” 


I have lately made acquaintance with a very unique dog called “Quiz.'’ 
I could not class him with any of the before-mentioned dogs, as no one 
has been bold enough to say exactly what kind of dog he is. Some say 
he is a poodle, some say he is a shock, while some give their opinion 
that lie is a very small water spaniel; but no one has as yet decided or 






















60 


S <I URAL IIISTOKY. 


the precise breed to which he belongs. At lirst sight, a stranger would 
say that there was no difficulty about the matter, as the object lying on 
the tloor can be nothing more or less than two mops without handles. 
But the thrums appear too long even for a mop, and if the visitor looks 
close he may see two glistening specks buried beneath the bundle oi 
woollen cords. These are the animal’s eyes, and if the stranger speaks 
kindly to him, a slight agitation of the opposite extremity proclaims that 
a tail is situated in that vicinity. Without these tests it would be 
impossible to judge where his head or his tail were, or whether he 
possessed such organs at all. Indeed one visitor did deliberately mistake 
his tail for his head. 

He is a wonderfully clever dog, and perfectly capable of appreciating 
nis own abilities. When told, he will play the piano and sing, the former 
feat being performed by beating the keys with his forefeet, while the 
latter accomplishment is represented by a melodious howl, during the 
performance of which he throws back his head and looks at the ceiling 
in the most approved style. He taught himself many of his tricks, and 
although my space will not permit me to give many lines to one animal, 
one of his eccentric accomplishments must be narrated. He is extremely 
fond of being noticed, and will play off all kinds of antics to draw atten¬ 
tion. Once his mistress was unwell, and sent for her medical attendant 
who according to the received routine felt her pulse and inspected her 
tongue. This took place for several days in succession, and Quiz felf 
himself aggrieved that no notice should be taken of him. A few days 
afterwards Quiz was observed sitting on his hind legs, holding out his 
paw and putting out his tongue as he had seen his mistress do. I have 
seen him perform this feat several times. He has not patience to keep 
his tongue out, but continues rapidly putting it out and then drawing 
it back again. 

Although so fond of attention he is a very modest, dog in his way, 
and cannot endure that his face should be seen. If any one pushes 
aside the heavy mass of woolly ringlets which entirely obscure his head, 
he gives himself an impatient shake, and effectually conceals every 
particle of his countenance from the public gaze. I think that he must 
be ashamed of his nose because it is white, and not black like that of 
other dogs. 

It is amusing to note the comments which accompany his journeys 
through the streets. Some spectators express their opinion that he is a 
young lion, while others are as strongly persuaded that he is a bear. One 
gentleman, seeing the dog in the arms of its mistress, took it for a mulf 
of a novel and eccentric character. It is impossible to give any idea of 
his appearance when walking, except by returning to my first simile of i 
mop. The only image by wliich the appearance of this remarkable dog 
can be expressed, is by requesting the reader to imagine three or four 
double handfuls of mop thrums twice the ordinary length, trundling along 
the ground by some invisible power, and attaching to themselves all the 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


51 


hits of stick, dried hones, &c. that come in the path of the bundle. 1 
might till pages with descriptions of this funny animal and other dogs 
with whom I am acquainted, but my completed space forces me to post¬ 
pone such accounts to another occasion. 


The Wolf. —Ferocity, craft, and cowardice, are the well-known traits 
of the Wolf. Although one of the dog tribe, it is held in utter abLoi 
re nee by the domesticated dogs. The stronger pursue and destroy it, 
the weaker fly from it in terror. In the earlier part of English history 
it is frequently mentioned as a common and dreaded pest. It was 
Anally extirpated in England about 1350, in Scotland about 1600, ana 
was not entirely destroyed in Ireland until the beginning of 1700. It is 
still found in parts of France, Russia, and the whole of Western Asia. 

These formidable creatures almost invariably hunt in bands, and display 
very great cunning in waylaying and pursuing their prey. Winter is the 
time of year most dreaded by those who live in countries where wolves 
exist, as at that season hunger renders them exceedingly ferocious and 
daring. They will then attack sledges, or carriages, even when guarded 


rpi 

aimed 


Cants.—(L at. a Dog .) 


bv aimed men. 

They are very 
wary, and dislike 
approaching any¬ 
thing at all resem¬ 
bling a trap. A 
traveller, aware of 
this habit, saved 
his life by trailing 
a oord from his 
carriage window. 

The wolves thought 
that the cord look¬ 
ed suspicious, and 
before they had 
quite made up 
their minds about 
it, the traveller 
reached a station 
where he was in 
safety. 

The bite of the wolf is extremely dangerous, as its jaws are immensely 
strong, and it generally brings away the part it seizes. It does not bite 
like auy other animal, but makes a succession of short sharp snaps, each ot 
great power but very rapid. Those who have been chased by the wolves 
compare the snapping of their jaws to the clash of a steel trap when 
slipped. When young, the wolf can easily be tamed, and shows as 
great attachment to its master of any dog will. It is very tenacious of 

e 2 



“'A 

Lupus (Lat. a Wolf), the Wolf. 



52 


NATURAL II 1ST CRY. 


life. Parry relates an anecdote of a wolf that was caught in a trap, and 
after being pierced with three bullets, and several thrusts of a sword, 
sprang at one of the officers, and actually succeeded in escaping, although 
its hind-legs were firmly tied together. 

Almost every traveller who has journeyed out of the regular rail¬ 
road and diligence line has stories of the wolves, and in almost every 
case the feeling appears to be more of irritation than anything else. 
Either they have hunted the wolf until their horses were knocked up, 
while the animal still continues his provoking and lasting gallop, or a 
wounded wolf has succeeded in escaping, or the wolves have eaten all 
the leather straps from their carriages, or some such misfortune, appears 
to excite the most vindictive feelings against the wolves. 

The flesh of the wolf is considered rather good eating by those who 
have tried it, and at all events, as one hunter said, “ it is much nicer 
than lean deers’ meat.” 

The Jackal. —This animal is found in North Africa, Persia, and 
India. It derives its name “ aureus ” from the yellow tint of its skin. 
It, like the wolf, unites in bands to hunt, and the prey which the pack 

has taken so much pains to 
secure is not unfrequently 
confiscated by the lion, who 
keeps the reluctant hunters 
at a distance until he has 
satisfied his own royal ap¬ 
petite. The Jackals, how¬ 
ever, often retaliate bv assist- 
mg at the demolition of the 
larger prey which the lion 
destroys. It is very useful in 
the East, as it acts as scaven¬ 
ger, and consumes the offal 
which, in those not very 
cleanly towns, is cast into the 
streets, and would inevitably 
cause a pestilence, were it 
not for the assistance of the 
jackals and other creatures, 
makes dreadful havoc in the 
vineyards, so that the fable of the Eox and the Grapes might be quite 
as appropriately related of this animal. While hunting, it utters most 
piercing shrieks, which have been compared by those who have heard 
them to the wailings of evil spirits, an association which the oriental 
tombs and ruins which it frequents, recalling to mind the mysterious 
Arabian Nights, are most fitted to produce. 

'there are several kinds of Jackals, one inhabiting Seregal and another 


CASTS. 



Aureus i^Lat. y olden), the Jackal. 

It is excessively fond of grapes, and 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


53 


Hie Cape of Good Hope. They are rather largei than the fox, but do not 
possess nearly so bushy a tail as that “ brush 3 ’ wherein sportsmen take 
so much delight. 




The Eox.—This terror of hen-roosts and delight of sportsmen is 
found in most parts of England, and many other countries. It varies 
very much in colour and size, according to the country where it 
lives. 

The habits of this animal are mostly nocturnal. It lies by day con 
cealed in its burrow, if it be fortunate enough to possess one, or in the 
depths of some thicket, if it is not a householder. Towards evening it 
sallies out in search of food, and woe to the unfortunate hare, rabbit, 
pheasant, or fowl that comes in its way ! Heynard does not attempt to 
chase the hare, for it is too swift for him, nor the rabbit, as it would 
immediately dive into its hole; nor does lie run at the pheasant, which 
would fly away, and 

probably only leave v u lpes.— Wat. a Fox.) 

a tail feather in the , ■ 

fox’s mouth. He 
knows his business 
too well. He creeps 
very quietly and slow¬ 
ly to some place 
where hares or rab¬ 
bits are likely to pass, 
and then springs on 
them as they run by 
him. One of his 
most ingenious de¬ 
vices to catch rab¬ 
bits is really quite 
mathematical. When 
the rabbit has young, 
she keeps them safe¬ 
ly at the end of the 
burrow. Now the 
burrow is too small for the fox to creep into, and it is so deep that even 
the six or seven young rabbits would not recompense him lor the toil. 
So he traces them by scent, fixes on a spot over the termination ol the 
ourrow, and by digging perpendicularly, attains his object with compara¬ 
tively little trouble. 

Sometimes he steals into the hen-roost, destroys and carries off most 
of its inmates, some of which he devours on the spot, others he carries 
home, and the remainder he buries for a future repast. 

When irritated, the fox gives out a strong disagreeable scent, which 
lies so long on 1 lie ground that it may be perceived for nearly an hour 




Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Fox. 



54 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


after the fox has passed. Partly ou this account, and partly on account 
ol its speed, endurance, and cunning, the chase of the fox is one of the 
most admired English sports. 

Many tales are related of its cunning when pursued, such as driving 
another fox out of its home, and forcing ir, to substitute itself as the 
chase; diving into a heap of manure, so that the dogs could not perceive 
its scent; jumping over a wall, running a little w T ay, coming back again, 
and lying under the wall until all the dogs had passed, and then leaping 
a second time over the same place where it had passed before, and making 
off on its old track. A fox has been known to leap through a kitchen 
window, and hide itself behind the plates on the dresser, without the 
observation of the cook, to whose terror and consternation six or seven 
dogs have leaped through the same window, and dragged the fox from its 
lurking-place. 

The Eox appears to be the same crafty animal in all countries, there 
being quite as many American tales of vulpine sagacity as we can find in 
England. There are so many stories of this nature that it is impossible 
to give even a hasty account of them. I therefore select one of the 
shortest. 

On the banks of the Kentucky river rise huge rocky bluffs several feet 
in height. A fox that lived near this river w r as constantly hunted, and as 
regularly lost over the bluff. Now, nothing short of wings would have 
enabled the animal to escape with life dowm a perpendicular cliff. At last, 
a hunter, being determined to discover the means by which the animal 
baffled them, concealed himself near the bluff 

Accordingly in good time the fox came to the top of the cliff as usual 
and looked over. He then let himself down the face of the cliff by a 
movement between a leap and a slide, and landed on a shelf not quite a 
foot in width about ten feet down the cliff. The fox then disappeared 
into a hole above the shelf. On examination, the shelf turned out to be 
ihe mouth of a wide fissure in the rock, into which the fox always escaped. 
But how was he to get out again ? He might slide down ten feet, but 
he could never leap ten feet from a ten-inch shelf up the face of a per¬ 
pendicular rock. This impossibility struck the hunter’s mind, so he in¬ 
stituted a search, and at length discovered an easier entrance into the cave 
from the level ground. 

The fox was too wise to use that entrance when the hounds were 
behind him, so he was accustomed to cut short the scent by dropping 
down the rock, and then when all the dogs were at the edge of the cliff, 
Le walked out at his leisure by the other entrance. 

The Arctic Eox changes its fur, and becomes white during the winter 


The Mustelina, or Weasels, are easily distinguished by their long 
slender bodies, short muzzle, sharp teeth, and predatory habits. Thej 
inhabit almost every part of the world, and procure their food by creep- 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


55 




in? on tlie unsuspecting victim, generally a rabbit, rat, or bird, and then 
suddenly darting at it and piercing its neck with their sharp tgeth. 
Almost all the weasels devour the brain and suck the blood of their 
prey, but seldom touch, the flesh, unless they are pressed by hunger. 

Two kinds of Martens inhabit England, named, from their favourite 

haunts, the Pine and the Sub-family e. Mustelina. —(Lat. Mustela 
Beech Marten. Some natu- a Weasel.) 

lalists asseit that these two Martes. —(Lat. a Marten.) 

martens are not distinct 
animals, but only varieties of 
the same species. The Pine 
Marten is not uncommon in 
Derbyshire, where it is much 
too fond of chickens and 
ducklings to be a desirable 
neighbour. This animal, as 
well as the Sable, is much 
sought after on account of 
its skin, which furnishes a 
beautiful fur, not much in¬ 
ferior to that of the Sable. 


Abietum (Lat. of the Pine-tree), the Pine 
Marten. 


The Sable, long famous 
for its costly fur, which is 
thought worthy to adorn the 
coronation robes of a mon¬ 
arch, inhabits Siberia. The chase, or rather the search, after these ani¬ 
mals is attended with dreadful hardships and great danger. Sometimes 
a sable will not be seen for days ; sometimes the bait of the trap is eaten 
by other animals, such as martes 

gluttons, &c.; sometimes the 
hunter’s provisions fail; he 
spends days and nights in 
the midst of snow, surround¬ 
ed by interminable pine 
forests, and exposed to the 
piercing blasts of the tem¬ 
pest. Many hunters lose 
their lives in these terrible 
solitudes, overwhelmed by 
snow-storms, or famished Zibellma (from a Sclavonic word, from 
with hunger. which is derived our “ Sable”), the Sable. 


A species of Sable (Maries letictipus) inhabits North America. The 
hair of the sable will turn either way, and in this respect differs from 
the fur of other animals. The skins are very valuable, varying from one 
to ten pounds in price, according to the quality. 


56 


NATURAL niSTORV. 



Pctoru’S.~ (Lat. from puteo, to stink.) 


The Polecat, fitchet, foulmart, or “fommard,” as the farmers call it. 
is very common in most parts of England. It is dreadfully destructive 

to the poultry, and destroys 
both old and young. William 
llowitt relates an interesting 
anecdote of his dog unearth¬ 
ing a polecat, and afterwards 
bringing out of its hole an 
entire brood of ducklings that 
had most unaccountably dis¬ 
appeared from the premises of 
a farmer. Winter is the usual 
„ , y , , , /-.-a ji „ . time for its appearance in the 

v ' ” larmyard, as in the summer it 

obtains its food with less risk among the warrens. 


The Ferret is supposed to be a domesticated variety of the polecat, 
and a mixed breed is generally preferred by rat-catchers, who use the 
ferret, first muzzling it carefully, to drive the rats out of their holes, 
wften they are either struck down with sticks or killed by terriers, who 
keep a sharp watch for them. This animal may be rendered very tame, 
but it is at all times to be handled with caution. I knew a lad who was 
very proud of a beautiful white ferret, and used to boast of its tameness. 
One day he was caressing the animal and letting it kiss him as he called 
it, when he started back and threw down the ferret. His face was 
streaming with blood, the ferret having bitten both his lips through, and 
made four cuts like those of a sharp knife. The hair, called Fitch, is 
much used for making paint brushes. 



Mustela.— (Lat. a Weasel .) 


The Stoat, or Ermine, is also another common English animal. It 

is less than the polecat, but 
its habits are scarcely less 
predacious. Hares and rabbits 
fall easy victims to their little 
enemy, who dispatches them 
with a single bite, penetrating 
the brain. During the winter, 
the stoat becomes partially 
white, in northern countries 
wholly so, except the tip of 

ErmiuSa .—The Stoat. ^ 1C ^il, which remains black. 

In this state it is called the 
Ermine, and is killed in great numbers foi the sake of its beautiful and 
valuable fur. 


The Weasel is the least of this tribe. It is excessively useful to 
farmers, as it wages unrelenting war on rats and mice, and in an incredibly 



i>Ai'i;KAL MltiTOliY. 


57 


short space of tn. e extirpates them from a barn or stack, it hunts by 
scent like dogs, and tracks the unfortunate rat with the most deadly 
certainty. On this account some farmers encourage it on their premises, 
but the generality destroy it. 
and nail its body on the barn 
door, forgetting that although 
it does sometimes abstract a 
chicken or an egg, yet it will 
not touch them as long as it 
can find rats or mice. It is a 
most courageous little animal, 
and will even attack men, who 
have found it by no means a 
despicable antagonist, as its 
instinct invariably leads it to dash at the throat, where a bite from its 
long sharp teeth would be very dangerous. 

Like many other little beings, it is very passionate and easily irritated, 
often maeed taking offence where none was intended. On one occasion 
a colony of weasels attacked an old woman who was returning from 
market with her basket of provisions, and had sat down upon a heap of 
stones in which the weasels had taken up their residence. 

The Ratel is a native of 
South Africa, and lives 
principally on the combs 
and honey of the wild bee, 
although it is very probable 
that much of its subsistence 
is derived from flesh and 
roots. It is said to be guided 
to the bee’s nest by a bird 
called the Honey-guide, 
which, as the natives assert, 
being very fond of honey 
and unable to attack the 
hive by itself, seeks for the 
honey-ratel, and admonishes 
it by a peculiar cry that the 
desired honevcomb is not 

t 

very far distant. 

The Wolverine, Glutton, or Carcajou, inhabits North America. 
Accounts vary respecting the habits of this animal. The older natu¬ 
ralists sav that it ascends trees, and drops on the neck of any unfor¬ 
tunate deer winch happens to pass beneath, and that having om>. 
secured its prey it never leaves it until the last morsel is consumed 


Mustela. 



Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Weasel. 



Mellivora. -(Lat. mel, honey; voro, 
I devour.) 


Rate! (Native name), the lionet/ Ratel. 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


:>b 



Be this as it may, the Glutton is known to hunt after its prey, which h 
follows for many miles at a slow but persevering pace, and seldom fails 
of bringing it down at last. It is especially hated by the sable hunter, as 
it will follow him in his rounds, robbing the traps of the baits as it pro- 


Gulo.— (Lat. a Glutton .) 


ceeds, and should a sable be 
caught it generally tears it 
to pieces, or buries it in the 
snow. The hunter has some 
slight revenge in robbing it 
of its skin, as the fur is in 
some request, but the mis¬ 
chief it does him is not by 
any means counterbalanced 
by the value of its hide. 

7 /T . , It is a very determined 

Luscus (Lat. blinking), the Wolverine. , 17 ,, , , 

v animal, and when attacked 

defends itself vigorously, proving more than a match for a dog. The 

length of the glutton, without the tail, is about two feet six inches. 

Several genera are omitted. 



The Badger. —This harmless and much injured animal (which is often 
subjected to such ill treatment that the term “ badgering ” a person is 
Meles.— (Lat. a Badger.) used to express irritating 

him in every possible way) 
is found throughout Europp 
and Asia. It is not now 
very common in England, 
but is frequently found in 
Scotland, where it is termed 
the “Brock,” a name fami¬ 
liar to us all, through the 
means of Dandie Dinmont, 
who also immortalized the 
pepper and mustard terriers. 

The Badger lives at the 
bottom of deep burrows, 
which it excavates, and in 
which it passes all the day, 
sleeping on a very comfort¬ 
able bed of hay and grass. 
When the evening approaches it seeks its food, consisting of roots, fruit, 
insects, and sometimes young rabbits. It is also said to attack the wild 
bee, and boldly to devour the honey and combs, its thick hair and skin 
rendering it utterly regardless of the stings of the enraged bees, who 
“might as well attack a barber’s block.” 

The cruel sport of baiting the badger is still continued, although not 


Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Badger. 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


59 


so openly or frequently as a few years back. The poor creature is placed 
inside a kennel, and dogs set at it, who are not unfrequently worsted by 
the badger, as its bite is terrific, and its skin so tough, and hair so thick, 
that the bites of the dog do not take full effect. The pleasure of this 
“sport,” as in many other diversions of the sporting world, appears to 
consist in trying whether the dogs or the badger will be most mangled in 
a given time. 

But this sport, cruel as it may seem, is not so cruel as the method 
employed for training young dogs to attack the badger, or as it is techni¬ 
cally called, entering them. The under jaw of the unfortunate animal 
is sawn off, and most of the remaining teeth drawn. In this state it is 
put into a barrel lying on its side, and the dogs are encouraged to attack 
the poor maimed animal, in order that they may be so inspirited by their 
impunity as to attack badgers armed with their full means of defence. 

The power of the badger’s bite is caused principally by the manner in 
which the under jaw is set on. Not only are its teeth sharp, and the 
leverage of its jaw powerful, but the jaw is so contrived, that when the 
creature closes its mouth, the jaw locks together as it were, and is held 
fast without much exertion on the part of the badger. 

Its skin is rather valuable, the hair being extensively employed in the 
manufacture of brushes, and its fur being in some request for holsters. 
The omnivorous and thrifty Chinese eat its llesh, as indeed they will that 
of most animals, and consider its hams a very great dainty. The length 
of the badger is about two feet three inches. 

The Otter seems to play the same part in the water as the polecat 
and the other weasels on the land. Like the polecat, it is excessively 
rapacious; like the polecat, it destroys many more creatures than it can 
devour; and as the polecat only eats the brain and sucks the blood, so 
the other daintily eats the flakes at the back of the fish’s neck, and 
leaves the remainder for less fastidious animals. In Scotland, wdiere the 
otter abounds, it is not uncommon to find a large fish, such as a salmon, 
lying on the bank, perfectly fresh and entire, except a few inches along 
the back, which the otter has bitten out. 

So w r ell do the poor people know this custom of the otter, that in 
some places they consider the otter’s shelf as their larder, Lnd go to mok 
or the bank daily for their salmon, which is none the wrnrse for them 
because the otter had previously helped itself to a piece of the 
shoulder. 

It is extremely interesting to w r atch the actions of this almost amphi¬ 
bious creature. It slides noiselessly into the water, tuins and twists 
about below the surface with the same or greater ease than a fish, then, 
with a graceful sweep of the body, it glides to the surface and ascends 
the bank with almost the same motion. While below the surface it 
bears a great resemblance to the seal, the method in which it disposes 
its hind feet greatly assisting the effect. Its rapid and easy movements' 


6b 


NATURAL iilSTCRY. 


in the water are mostly performed by the assistance cl its powerful 
tapering tail. 

Otter hunting is a very favourite sport in Scotland, where almost 
every stream is furnished with its otter. At the sight ot the footsteps 

of the animal the popula¬ 
tion round is in a com 
motion, the dogs are as¬ 
sembled, guns and spears 
provided, and the hunters 
go out in sufficient numbers 
and with sufficient arms to 
kill a tiger; and from all 
accounts it is quite as 
difficult an animal to de¬ 
stroy ; for by diving, and 
biting, and hiding among 
stones, added to its great tenacity of life, it gives the hunters no little 
trouble to secure it. 

The otter is easily tamed, and its predatory habits have been occa¬ 
sionally turned to account, as it is sometimes trained to catch fish and 
bring them to shore, precisely as the falcon is trained to catch terrestrial 
game. 

The Hindoos have brought the art of otter training to great perfection, 
and keep their otters regularly tethered with ropes and straw collars on 
the banks of the river. 

Several genera are omitted. 


Lutra. —(Lat. an Otter.) 



Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Otter. 


Family II. . . Urstcke (Lat. ursus, a bear. Bear kind). 

Sub-family a. Urslna. 

The Bears and their allies are mostly heavy, and walk with the wdiole 
foot placed flat on the ground, unlike the cats, dogs, &c., who walk with 
merely their paws or toes. All the bears are omnivorous, that is, they 
can eat either animal or vegetable food, so that a leg of mutton, a pot ot 
honey, a potato, or an apple, are each equally acceptable. 

The Brown Bear inhabits the north of Europe, Switzerland, and the 
Pyrenees. It has been extirpated from England for many centuries, but 
is recorded to have been found in Scotland so late as 1057. The inha¬ 
bitants of Northern Europe hunt it with much skill, and take it in traps 
and pitfalls, availing themselves of its love for honey. It is said that 
there exists a practice of placing the hive in a tree, and planting long 
spikes round its foot. A heavy log of wood is then suspended by a cord 
just before the entrance of the hive, and the trap is complete. The bear 
scents the honey and comes to look at the tree. The spikes rather 
astonish him, but he sniffs his way through them, and commences the 
ascent. When he has reached the hive, he is checked by the . : og hanging 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


61 


before the entrance; this he finds is movable, and pusnes aside, hut it 
is just so long that a mere push will not entirely remove it, so he gives it 
a tremendous pat, and looks in at the entrance. Just as he has succeeded 
in putting his nose to the hive, the log returns and hits him very hard 

unsiTs. 



Arctos (Gr. A paros , a bear), the Dear . 


on the head. This makes him exceedingly angry, and he poxes it away 
harder than ever, only to return with a more severe blow than before. 
He now has a regular fight with the log, hitting it first to one side and 
then to the other, the perverse block invariably striking his head every 
time, until at last a severer blow than usual knocks him fairly off the tree 
on to the spikes below. 

In the time of Queen Elizabeth the bear used to be baited, that is to 
say, the bear was tied to a pole, and several dogs were set at him, the 
object being, to see whether the bear could bite the dogs, or the dogs 
bite the bear with the greater force; but this cruel sport is now happily 
extinct. 

Two genera are omitted. 

The Grizzly Bear. —‘ J Bernardin de Saint Pieire dit, ‘ A la vue de 
i’komme, les animaux sent frappes d’amour ou de crainte.’ II laissait 
de cot6 une troisieme impression qu’eprouvent beaucoup d’anin.aux, a 









NATURAL HISTORY. 


62 

(’aspect de Tliomme; e’esfc la faim, et 1’envie de le manger.”* This 
observation applies most fully to the Grizzly Bear, a native of North 
America. It is the most ferocious and powerful of its family, and is an 
animal which must either be avoided or fought, for there is no medium. 
If a Grizzly Bear once sees a man, it will probably chase him, and will 
do so with great perseverance. An American traveller told me lately, 
that he had been chased nearly thirty miles by one of these bears, who 
would probably have kept up the chase as many miles more, had not my 
informant crossed a wide river, over which the bear did not choose to 
follow him. 

ursus. 



Horribilia (Lat. horrible), the. Griztly Bear. 


Some writers have said, that the Grizzly Bear will run away if he 
comes across the scent of men. This, my informant, who is a practical 
man, strenuously denies, and states that the man is more likely to run 
away from the bear, than the bear from the man. The American Indians 
fear it so much, that a necklace of its claws, which may only be worn by 
the individual who destroyed the bear, is a decoration entitling the 
wearer to the highest honours. These formidable claws are five inches 
long, and cut like so many chisels, so that the Indian of former days, 

* “Bemardin de St. Pierre said,—‘ At the sight of man, all animals are struck either 
with love or fear.’ He forgot to mention a third impression made on many animals whe* 
they see a man, namely ‘ hunger, and a great desire to eat him.’” 





NATURAL HISTORY 


63 


armed only with bow, spear, and knife, fully deserved honour, for over¬ 
coming so savage and powerful a brute. Since the introduction of fire¬ 
arms, the Grizzly Bear affords a rather easier victory, but even to one 
armed with all advantage of rifle and pistols, the fight is sure to be a 
severe one, for when the bear is once wounded, there is no attempt to 
escape, but life is pitted against life. Before the hunter commences the 
struggle he must have considerable confidence in his presence of mind, 
for every one knows how the least tremor of hand or eye, causes a rifle 
ball to wander far from its intended path, and a ball that does not pene¬ 
trate a vital part only serves to irritate the bear. 

Sometimes, it is said, after a party of hunters have been combating 
one of these bears, it is impossible to find four square niches of sound 
skin in the animal’s body, a ball through the brain, or heart, appearing to 
be the only safety on the part of the hunter. 

When a traveller is passing through a part of the country where he is 
likely to fall in with these animals, he provides himself with a quantity 
of meat strongly impregnated with some perfume. If a bear sees the 
traveller, and charges him, he throws down a small piece of his prepared 
meat. The bear stops and snifFs at it, and is dubious about it for some 
time, but at last finishes by eating it. During the time in which he is 
undecided, the traveller has gained considerable ground, and by a repe¬ 
tition of the same ruse, either tires the bear out, or meets with a 
sufficient body of friends to render him independent of the animal. 

It is rather singular that this bear has the power of moving each claw 
separately, as we move our fingers. It is able to overcome and carry olf 
the enormous bison, and to dig a pit in which to bury it. 

The Polar, or White Bear, called Nennook by the Esquimaux, lives 
in the Arctic regions, where it feeds on seals, fish, and even the walrus, 
but it dares not attack the latter animal openly. It is a formidable 
antagonist either by land or water, as it dives with great ease, and is able 
to chase the seal amid the waves. Nelson nearly lost his life by impru¬ 
dently attacking one of these animals with no weapon but a rusty musket, 
which could not be induced to fire; and indeed had he not been separated 
from the infuriated bear by a cleft in the ice, he could hardly have 
escaped its claws. As the seals frequently crawl out of the water upon 
rocks or fragments of ice, the Polar bear is forced to swim after them; 
but lest they should observe him he makes his approaches by a succession 
of dives, and contrives that the last dive brings him directly under the 
unsuspecting seal, who is immediately grasped and killed. Kichardson 
dates that these bears are often drifted from Greenland to Iceland on 
fields of ice, and that they find the flocks and herds so very delicious after 
a long course of seal diet, that the inhabitants are forced to rise in a 
bedy and put an end to their depredations. 

To give this animal, who is constantly running over fields of ice, a 
firm footing, the soles of its feet are thickly covered with long hair, on 


64 


NATURAL lilSTUKA'. 


Tualarctos.— (Gr from daXacrcra, the Sea, and apKTos, a Bea-r.) 



Maritimua (Lat. belonging to the sea), the Polar Bear. 


the same principle that induces elderly gentlemen to tie list round theii 
shoes in the winter months, when they have reason to dread the slides 
that idle boys always have made on the pavement, and we suppose 
always will make. 

The Racoon is an animal about the size of a large fox, and an inhabi¬ 
tant of Canada and other parts of America. It derives its name, lotor , 
from the habit it is said to possess, of washing its food before eating it. 
Its skin is very valuable, and is much sought after by American hunters, 
who pride themselves on their skill in shooting this active and wary 
animal. There is a story related by the Americans, of a hunter who 
was so excellent a marksman that when he entered a wood, the ’coons 
came down of their own accord, knowing that escape was impossible ; but 
we must class this tale with the account of the man who could grin the 
bark off gum-trees, and the swift Indian, who could run so fast round a 
tree that he sometimes caught sight of his own back. 

The food of the Racoon is principally small animals and insects. 
Oysters are also a very favourite article of its diet. It bites off the 
hinge of th° oyster, and scrapes out the animal in fragments witn its 
Daws. Like a squirrel when eating a n-ut, the racoon usually holds its 
food between it3 fore-paws pressed together, and sits upon its hind 







NATURAL HISTORY - . 





quarters while it eats Poultry are very favourite objects ot its attack, ami 
it is said to be as destructive in a farm-yard as any fox, for it only devou re 
the heads of the murdered 

Sub-family c. Procyonlna. 
Procyon.—(G r. llpoKvwu, a constellatiou ) 


fowl. Like the 
prowls by night. 

When taken young it is 
easily tamed, but very fre¬ 
quently becomes blind soon 
after its capture. This 
effect is supposed to be 
produced by the sensitive 
state of its eyes, which 
are only intended to be 
used by night; but as it is 
frequently awakened by day¬ 
light during its captivity, 
it suffers so much from the 
unwonted glare, that its 
eyes gradually lose their 
sight. 


Lotor (Lat. a washer ), the Racoon. 


It has been mentioned 
that the name in general 
use among the Americans of the present day is “ ’Coon,” a word which 
strangely contrasts with its ancient Mexican name of Cioatlamacazque. 
—Two genera are omitted. 


The peculiarly long snout 
of the Coatis distinguishes 
them at once from the Ra¬ 
coons, which they resemble 
in some other respects. Their 
snout is very moveable, and 
is of great use to them in 
routing out the worms and 
insects which they dig up. 
The nostrils are placed on a 
sort of disk at the end of 
the snout, and givejfthe whole 
head a most extraordinary 
aspect. The Coatis live upon 
birds, eggs, insects, and 
worms, and sometimes they 
will eat roots. They are 
nocturnal in their habits, 
spending most of the day 
ui sleep, rolled up in a 


Sub-family cl. Cercoleptina. 
Nasua. —(Lat. from nasus, a nose.) 



66 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


ball* In descending a tree they walk with their heads downwards, 
like the cat, which, however, they surpass in activity. These animals 
inhabit the warmer parts of America, but do not appear to be much 
sought after by hunters. The Brown Coati-mondi is the species repre¬ 
sented in the engraving; there is another species, the Bed Coati. 



The Kinkajou is also an inhabitant of Southern America. It is not 
unlike the Coati in its habits, but is more active, as it possesses a 
prehensile tail, which it uses in the same way that the Spider Monkeys 

n 4- 1» /-» I •»«/■< ^ I V» /-v 4- /\vi mi t A A T 

Cbucoleptes.— (Gr. K ipKos, a tail; 

Ae^-ros, thin.) 


Caudivolvulus (Lat. twisted tail), 
the Kinkajou. 


use theirs. The tongue of 
the Kinkajou is capable of 
being inserted into crevices, 
and drawing out any insects 
that may be lying concealed 
beyond the reach of its paws. 
The Spanish missionaries 
give it the name of Honey 
Bear, because it is a great 
devastator of the nests of 
the wild bee, using its long 
tongue to lick the honey 
out of the cells. When in 
captivity it is very tame 
and gentle, and will play 
displays great address in 
tongue, and it is amusing 


with an acquaintance as a cat will. It 
capturing flies and other insects with its 
to watch how its eyes gleam directly that a fly settles within its reach. 
During the earlier part of the day it will not move, but towards dusk it 
becomes very brisk and animated, climbing about its cage, and swinging 
from the top bars by its tail and hinu paws. 

A sub-family is omitted. 


Family III. . . Talpidse. (Lat. talpa, a mole. Mole kind.) 

Sub-family a. . Talpina. 

The Mole.— Many ridiculous stories of the Mole and its habits may be 
found in several authors, among whom iEsop stands very conspicuous. 
This much maligned animal is said to be deprived of eyes, to undergo 
unheard-of tortures in forcing its way through the earth, and to spend a 
life of misery in subterranean damp and darkness. But so far from being 
a miserable animal, the Mole seems to enjoy its life quite as much 
as any other creature. It is beautifully fitted for the station which it 
fills, and would be unhappy if removed from its accustomed damp and 
darkness into warmth and light. 

The eyes of the mole are very small, in order to prevent them from 
being injured by the earth through which the animal makes its w r av; 

* There are several fine specimens of this animal in the Jardin des Plantes at Pane. 
They are tolerably lively even during the day-time. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


67 


TALPA. 



Europoea (Lat. belonging to Europe), the Molt, 


indeed, larger eyes would be useless underground. When, however, the 
mole requires to use its eyes it can bring them forward from the mass of 
fur which conceals and protects them when not in use. The acute ears 
and delicate sense of smell supply the place of eyes. Its fur is very fine, 
soft, capable of turning in any direction, and will not retain a particle of 
mould. But the most ex¬ 
traordinary part of the 
mole is the paw or hand 
with which it digs. The 
two fore paws are com¬ 
posed of five fingers, armed 
with sharp, strong nails, in 
order to scrape up the 
earth; and to prevent the 
accumulated mould from 
impeding the mole’s pro¬ 
gress, the hands are turned 
outwardly, so as to throw the earth out of its way. 

The Mole is a most voracious animal, and is incapable of sustaining 
even a slight fast. Its principal food is the earth-worm, in chase of 
which it drives its long galleries underground; but it also will eat insects, 
bits of meat, and is said sometimes to catch birds, which it takes by 
surprise, and then rapidly tears to pieces with its powerful claws. This 
ravenous appetite causes it to suffer from thirst if a supply of water is 
not at hand. Tor this reason the mole always makes a tunnel towards 
a pond or brook, if there is one near. If no water is near, it digs a 
number of little wells, which receive the rain or dew, and enable it to 
quench its thirst. 

It is a good swimmer, and can pass from bank to bank, or from the 
shore to an island, and when the fields are inundated by floods it can save 
itself by swimming. 

The construction of the 
mole’s habitation is very 
singular and interesting. 

Each mole has its own 
habitation and hunting 
ground, and will not permit 
strangers to trespass upon 
its preserves, which it 
guards, not by “ man-traps 
and spring-guns,” but by its own claws and teeth. 

In order to construct a fortress, the mole selects a secure place, as tne 
foot of a tree, or the side of a high bank. It then throws up a heap of 
earth, which it presses firmly together, as within this mound its fortress 
das to be made. It commences by running a circular gallery near the 
summit of the mound, and another larger one near the bottom. These 
















68 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


two galleries it connects by five descending passages. In the very centre 
of the mound, and at the level of the ground, it now digs a circular hole, 
which it connects with tne upper gallery by three ascending passages. 
Lastly, it makes a number of passages from the lower gallery, and 
connects the circular chamber with the largest of them, or high road, by 
a passage that first bends downwards, and then rises into the high road a 
little outside the large gallery. In the circular chamber the mole sleeps, 
and can escape into the high road either by the upper gallery or by the 
road from the bottom of its dormitory. 

I have already stated that each mole has its own hunting ground, and 
permits no intruder. If a strange mole should happen to trespass upon 
the domains of another, there would be a furious fight, and the con¬ 
queror would devour his vanquished foe. 

Although each mole has its own hunting ground, yet there are mostly 
High roads, which connect the different hunting grounds with each other, 
and vhicli are used by many individuals in common, the only precaution 
taken being, that if two moles should happen to meet, the weaker 
immediately retreats into one of the numerous side galleries which open 
from uhe high road, and permits its aristocratical neighbour to pass. 

Ali the passions of the mole seem to be furious. Even its passion for 
work, i.e. search after its food, has somethin" fierce in it. The animal 
works desperately for several hours, and then rests for as many hours. 
The country people about Oxford say that it works at intervals of three 
hours each. 

the mode of burrowing by this animal, is by rooting up the earth with 
its snout, and then scooping it away with its fore feet. I have often seen 
this operation performed. 

The depth at which this animal works depends almost entirely on the 
time of year. In the summer, the worms come to the surface, and the 
mole accordingly follows them, making quite superficial runs, and some¬ 
times only scooping trenches on the surface. But in the winter, when 
the worms sink deep into the ground, the mole is forced to follow them 
there, and as it cannot fast above an hour or two, it is forced to work at 
the comparatively hard and heavy soil, as it did in the light earth nearer 
the surface. 

Moles vary in colour, the usual tint being a very deep brown, almost 
black, but they have been seen of an orange colour, and a white variety 
is not uncommon. I have a cream-coloured skin in my possession. 
There are several moles known,—the Shrew Mole, the Changeable Mole, 
the Cape Mole, and the Star nosed Mole, are the most conspicuous. 

Sub-family d. Erinaclna. — (Lat. from Erinaceus, a Hedgehog.) 

The Shrew Mouse. —This pretty little animal is very like the common 
mouse,. but is easily distinguished from it by the length of the nose, 
which is used for grubbing up the earth in search of earth-worms and 
insects. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


C 9 


The reader must not imagine that the Shrew has any connexion with 
the true mice. It belongs to an entirely different class of animals, its 
teeth being sharp and pointed, not unlike those of the mole and the 
hedgehog, whereas those of the mouse are broad and chisel-shape like 
the teeth of the rabbit. 

A peculiar scent is diffused from these animals, which is possibly the 
reason why the cat will not eat them, although she will readily destroy them. 

Many species of shrews 
are known, inhabiting various 
countries. There are, besides 
the common species, the 
Oared and the Water Shrew, 
all three inhabitingEngland. 

The formation of their hair 
as seen under a powerful 
microscope, is very beautiful, 
but quite distinct from the 
hair of the mouse or rat. In 
the autumn, numbers of these 
little animals may be seen lying dead, but what causes this destruction 
is not known. 

This is one of the numerous animals that have suffered by false reports, 
and have been treated with great cruelty on account of those fables. 
Rustics formerly believed that the poor little harmless creature paralysed 
their cattle by running over them, and that the only way to cure the 
diseased animal was to place a bough of shrew-ash on the injured part. 
The shrew-ash was made by boring a hole into an ash-tree, and then 
plugging up in the hole a living shrew-mouse. By the same process of 
reasoning a shrew cut in half, and placed on a wound supposed to be 
caused by its bite, was considered a certain remedy. 


Sorex.— fLat. a Rat.) 



Araneus (Lat. a Shrew), the Shrew Mouse. 



The Water Shrew fre- Crossopus. (Gr. Kpoaaol, fringe ; navs, afoot.) 
quents brooks and clear 
running ditches, in the 
banks of which it lives. It 
swims and dives with great 
ease, and when under water 
appears as if it had been 
speckled over its entire 
surface with silver, from 
the bubbles of air which 

adhere to its fur. It eats Lodtens (Lat. digging), tJu Water Shrew. 
the grubs of various aqua¬ 
tic insects, digging them out of the muddy banks with its snout. It is 
not very common, but I have seen numbers of them inhabiting a hroo> 


70 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


near Little Hinton in Wiltshire, and often watched their eiegant mo7e 
ments and gambols through the water. 

Its localities may be discovered by searching for its “runs,” which are 
(ike those of the common water rat, but much smaller. 

One or two genera are omitted. 



The Hedgehog is remarkable as being our only English animal that is 

guarded with spikes. These spikes are fixed into the skin in a very 

_ _ /T , rr 7 7 beautiful and simple man- 

Eeinaceus. (Lat. a Hedgehog.) ner _ wben the ]I ed g ehog 

is annoyed it rolls itself up, 
and the tightness of the 
skin causes all its spines to 
stand firm and erect, bid¬ 
ding defiance to an unpro¬ 
tected hand. While rolled 
up, even the dog and the 
fox are baffled by it; but 
their ingenuity enables 
Europieus (Lat. belonging to Europe), them to overcome the dif- 

the Hedgehog. ficulty by rolling it along 

until they push it into a puddle or pool, when the astonished hedgehog 
immediately unrolls itself to see what is the matter, and before it can 
close itself again is seized by its crafty enemy. 

Many more fortunate animals have outlived the aspersions cast upon 
their character by ignorant persons, but the prejudice against the hedge¬ 
hog is still in full vigour in the agricultural districts. Scarcely a farmer 
or labourer will be persuaded that the hedgehog does not suck the cows. 
Now this is an impossibility for the hedgehog, but I have seen pigs—not 
hedgepigs, but real bacon pigs—suck the cows whilst lying down. Among 
other creatures accused of this theft, are the slow-worm or blind-worm, a 
kind of legless lizard with an extremely small mouth, and the bird called 
the goatsucker. Heally when a man relates that a bird sucks a cow, it 
reminds one of the brother philosophers, one of whom milked a bull 
while the other held the pail. 

The food of the hedgehog consists not of cow’s milk, but insects, snails, 
frogs, mice, and snakes. Dr. Buckland placed a snake in the same box 
witli a hedgehog. The hedgehog gave the snake a severe bite, and then 
rolled itself up, this process being repeated until the spine of the snake 
was broken in several places ; it then began at the tail, and ate the snake 
gradually, as one would eat a radish. White has seen it bore down and 
eat the roots of the plantain, leaving the leaves and stem untouched. 

The flesh ot the hedgehog is said to be good eating, and the gipsies 
frequently make it a part of their diet, as do the people in some parts of 
the continent. 

There is a peculiar method of preparing the animal for food, strongh 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


71 


reminding one of the earth ovens used by the Polynesians. The hedge¬ 
hog is simply wrapped up in a mass of clay and put on the fire. In 
process of time the clay is thoroughly baked, and cracks open, when the 
hedgehog is supposed to be cooked. On opening the clay, the skin comes 
off with it, while the insides of the animal have formed themselves into a 
hard ball, and are taken out entire. By this method of cooking, the 
juices are retained, and not suffered to dissipate as they would if it were 
roasted. 

During the winter it lives in a torpid state, in a hole well lined with 
grass and moss, and when discovered looks like a round mass of leaves 
as it has rolled itself among the fallen foliage, which adheres to its spikes. 
The engraving of the spine, or quill, of this animal shows the method by 
which it is retained in the skin. The quill is as it were pinned through 
the skin, and retained by the head. The curvature is such, that when 
the animal contracts itself, the quills are drawn upright, and form a strong 
and elastic covering, useful for more purposes than merely defence from 
foes. The hedgehog has been known to throw itself 
boldly from a considerable height, trusting to the 
elasticity of the spring for breaking its fall. It will 
be seen that when the spines are upright, the force SPINE OF hedgehog. 
of the fall would not tend to drive the end of the quill upon the animal, 
but merely test the elasticity of the curved portion. 



Family V. . . Macropidae.—(Gr. M cu<pus, long; nous, a foot.) 

Sub-family b. Macroplna. 

The Kangaroo. —In the mole we saw that the power of the body was 
placed chiefly in the fore legs; we now come to a family which has the 
principal power placed in the hinder part of the body. In the Kangaroos 
the hind legs are very long and immensely powerful; the fore legs are 
very small, and used more as hands than for walking; the tail also is 
very thick and strong, and assists the animal in its leaps. 

The Great Kangaroo inhabits New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land 
Its singular formation, peculiarly adapted to the country, calls forth a 
corresponding degree of ingenuity on the part of the natives, who live 
much on its flesh. Its method of progression is by immense leaps from 
its long hind legs assisted by its tail. So rapidly are these leaps made, 
that the animal appears to alight on its hind legs after every leap, and 
never to touch the ground with its fore legs at all. But this is only a 
deception caused by the rapidity with which the animal performs its move¬ 
ments. On alighting from a leap, it comes to the ground on its fore legs, 
and immediately draws up its hinder limbs. 

Indeed, the natural walking position of this animal is on all four legs, 
although it constantly sits up on the hinder legs, or even stands on a tripod 
composed of its feet and tail, in order to look out over the tops of the 
luxuriant grass among which it lives. The leaping movements are 




72 


NATURAL HISTORY 


required for haste or escape, the length of each leap being about fifteen 
feet. 

Of course this swiftness would soon leave its pursuers behind, but the 
Australian is able to break one of its limbs or strike it insensible to the 


MACROrUS. 



Major (Lat. larger), the Kangaroo. 


ground with his boomerang, the most wonderful weapon that uncivilized 
man ever produced. This extraordinary missile is a flat curved piece of 
wood, which the Australian natives can wield with wonderful skill, making 
it describe circles in the air, or rush at an object, and then return to its 
owner’s feet; or throw it at the ground and make it leap over a tree and 
strike an object at the other side. 

Many boomerangs have been made in England from models brought 
from Australia, and it is not very difficult to learn the turn of the wrist 
accessary to make them describe a circle and return, but no one except 
an Australian can perform the complicated evolutions which the natives 
force the weapon to describe. 

The English boomerangs are never certain. A purchaser may lay out 
Ills money on a dozen before he finds one that will fly, and when he has 
found a successful one, it is liable to lose its powers by damages recei 7ed 






KANGAROO. 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


73 


in its fall. In general, the English boomerangs are too much curv ad, and 
they are made with too little care, a very small shaving more or less, 
making or destroying the character of the weapon. 

Hunting this animal is a Very favourite sport with both colonists and 
natives. The natives either knock it down with the boomerang, spear it, 
from behind a bush, or unite together and hem in a herd, which soon fall 
victims to the volleys of clubs, spears, and boomerangs which pour in on 
all sides. The colonists either shoot it or hunt it with dogs, a pack of 
which is trained for that purpose just as we train fox-hounds. The “ole 
man,” or “boomer,” as the colonists call the Great Kangaroo, invariably 
leads the dogs a severe chase, always attempting to reach water and 
escape by swimming. It is a formidable foe to the dogs when it stands 
at bay, as it seizes the dog with its fore-legs, and either holds him under 
water until he is drowned, or tears him open with a well-directed kick of 
its powerful hind feet, which are armed with a very sharp claw. 

The female Kangaroo carries its young about in a kind of pouch, from 
which they emerge when they wdsh for a little exercise, and leap back 
again on the slightest alarm. All the kangaroos and the opossums have 
this pouch, from which they are called “marsupiated ” animals, from the 
Latin word marsupium, a purse or pouch. 

The length of the Great Kangaroo is about five feet without the tail, 
the length of which is about three feet. 

There are many species of kangaroo, the most extraordinary being the 
Tree Kangaroo, which can hop about on trees, and has curved claws on 
its fore-paws, like those of the sloth, to enable it to hold on the 
branches. 

Several genera and two sub-families are omitted. 

The Opossum. —This animal innabits North America, and is hunted 
with almost as much perseverance as the racoon, not, however, for the 
sake of its fur but of its flesh. When it perceives the hunter, it lies 
still between the branches, but if disturbed from its hiding place, it at¬ 
tempts to escape by dropping among the herbage and creeping silently 
away. 

Its food consists of insects, birds, eggs, &c., and it is very destructive 
among the hen-roosts. The Opossum uses its tail for climbing and 
swinging from branch to branch as the spider monkeys use theirs: but 
the Opossum uses its tail in a manner that the monkeys have never 
yet been observed to do, that is, making it a support for its young, 
who sit on its back and twist their tails round their mother’s in order 
to prevent them from falling off. Lawson, in a passage quoted in 
the Museum of Animated Nature, gives the following quaint account of 
this animal:—“If a cat has nine lives this creature surely has nineteen; 
for if you break every bone in their skin and mash their skull, leaving 
them for dead, you may come an hour after, and they will be quite gone 
away, or, perhaps, you may meet them creeping away. I have for 


7* 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



DIDELPHYS. 


necessity in the wilderness eaten of them. Their flesh is very white and 
well-tasted; but their ugly tails put me out of conceit with that fare.” 

In Audubon’s delightful work is a passage exhibiting exactly the same 
character on the part of the Opossum :— 

“ Suppose the farmer has surprised an opossum in the act of killing 

Sub-family e. Didelphina .— (Gr. Al s, oue °* ^i s ' jCir ' fowls. His 
double; BeXtpbs, a pouch.) angry feelings urge him to lack 

the poor beast, which, conscious 
of its inability to resist, rolls 
off like a ball. The more the 
farmer rages, the more reluc¬ 
tant is the animal to manifest 
resistance; at last there it lies, 
not dead, but exhausted, its 
jaws open, its eyes dimmed; 
and there it would lie until 
the bottle-fly should oome to 
deposit its eggs, did not its 
tormentor walk off. ‘ Surely,’ 
says he to himself, ‘ the beast 
must be dead.’ But no, reader, 
it is only ‘’possuming,’ and no 
sooner has its enemy with¬ 
drawn, than it gradually gets 
on its legs, and once more 
makes for the woods.” 

Tke length of the Opossum is about twenty-two inches, and its 
height about that of an ordinary cat. When disturbed or alarmed, it 
gives out a very unpleasant odour. 

Several genera are omitted. 


Virginiana (Lat. belonging to Virginia), 
the Opossum. 


The Common Seal inhabits the coast of Europe, and is not unfre- 
quently found in many parts of the Scottish coasts, where seal-hunting 
is a favourite amusement. The young are taken by stretching nets across 
the narrow straits which they frequent, but the older and stronger animals 
are shot or knocked down with clubs when they attempt to scramble into 
the sea, as a blow on the nose instantly disables them. 

The fore-feet of the Seal are used as fins, and the two hinder feet 
almost as the tail of a fish, to assist and direct its course. On land the 
movements of this animal are very clumsy; it shuffles along by means of 
its fore-feet, or rather paddles, and drags itsfflind-feet after it. 
i This seal, when taken young, is easily tamed. Edmonston gives the 
following amusing account of a seal named Einna, which he kept for 
about six months. “We had her carried down daily in a hand-barrow 
to the sea-side, where an old excavation admitting the salt water was 
abundantly roomy and deep for her recreation and our observation. After 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


75 


snorting ana diving for some time, she would come ashore, and seemed 
perfectly to understand the use of the barrow. Often she tried to waddle 
from the house to the water, or from the latter to her apartment; but 
finding this fatiguing, and seeing preparations by her chairmen, she would 
of her own accord mount her palanquin, and thus be carried as com¬ 
posedly as any Hindoo princess.” This interesting animal, after living 
in the house for about six months, at last was decoyed away by some 
wild seals and did not return again. A young seal was tamed by the 
ffuard of a small island in the Frith of Forth above Edinburgh. It 


Family V, 


. Phocidse.—(Gr. a Seal- 

Seal kind.) 

Sub-family o. Phocina. 


PHOCA. 


seemed quite to consider 
itself one of the party, 
would accompany their boat 
across the water, and when 
the vessel was made fast, 
it used to take its station 
inside, and watch until the 
owners returned. It had 
the playful manners of a 
water dog, and would snatch 
a stick from its master’s 
hand and dash into the sea 
with it, where it would toss 
and tumble about, sometimes 

approaching close .to the yjtulma (Lat. belonging to a calf), the Seal. 
shore, and swimming oil 

again when its master attempted to grasp the stick, but it invariably 
brought back whatever it had taken. It would also bring fish out of the 
water and give them to its owners. 

The length of the Common Seal is about four or five feet, and its 
weight often two hundred and twenty-four pounds. When surprised 
basking on the shore, it scrambles off towards the water; but if in¬ 
tercepted, dashes at its antagonist, oversets him if possible, and makes 
its escape as fast as it can. 



The Elephant Seal inhabits the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern 
Oceans. It is very much larger than the Common Seal, being from 
twenty to thirty feet long. It derives its name from the long snout, 
something like the proboscis of the elephant, or rather the tapir, which 
it thrusts forward when angry, and snorts loudly. Only the males have 
this proboscis, and they do not attain it until they are three years old. 
Although its appearance is very formidable, it does not attempt to attack 
men; but if it cannot frighten them by opening its mouth and displaying 
its teeth, it makes off towards the water, but with great deliberation, as 
vvhen in good condition it is so fat that its body trembles like a mass o( 
jelly, and will furnish seventy gallons of oil. This oil is the principal 
object of the South Pacific seal fisheries: but tne skin of this seal is also 



76 


NATURAL HISTORT. 


MORCNGA. 



very valuable tor its strength 
aud is used in making har¬ 
ness. The seal skin is often 
used as fur. 

It is a migratory animal, 
and changes its residence 
several times in the year, the 
first migration taking place 
in June. 

There are many seals 
known, among which are the 
Sea Leopard, a spotted spe¬ 
cies ; the Harp Seal, so called 
because the markings on its 
back something resemble a 
lyre; and the Sea Lion. 


Proboscidea (Gr. that has a proboscis 
or trunk). 


The Walrus inhabits the 
northern seas, but has been 
known to visit our coasts. 
Three instances of this have happened, one in 1817, one in 1825 at the 
Orkney Isles, and a third in 1S39 at the mouth of the Severn. The 


Sub-family c. Tricheclna. 
Trichicus. —(Gr. rpix^os, hairy.) 


jp/b": 1, 

m 

5. '• •«'' 





EosmtLrus (Scandinavian, Rosmar ,* the 
Walrus), the Walrus, or Morse. 


most remarkable point in the 
Walrus is the great length 
of two of its upper teeth, 
which extend downwards for 
nearly two feet, and resemble 
the tusks of the elephant. 
They furnish very fine ivory, 
and are extensively used by 
dentists in making artificial 
teeth, as teeth made from 
them remain white much 
longer than those made from 
the tusks of elephants. 
These tusks are used by 
the Walrus for climbing the 
rocks or heaps of ice, and 
also for digging up the sea¬ 
weeds on which the animal 
mostly subsists. It will also 
eat shrimps and young seals. 


* In (he Scandinavian tongue, the word ‘ Ros ’ signifies horse, and ‘ Mar ’ sea. The 
meaning of the word ‘ Rosmar’ is thus “ Sea horse.” Sometimes the two syllables are 
transposed; making the word “ Mar-ros,” which we contract into “ Morse.” 

In the same manner “Walrus” is an Anglicism of Hval-ros, or Whale-horse. The 
reader will notice the resemblance of these words to the corresponding words in German 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


77 


i'lie Walrus is oftez hunted for the sake of its oil, its flesh, its skin, 
.rid its teeth. It is generally found in troops; and if one is wounded, 
its companions rush to its rescue, and attack the enemy with their sharp 
tusks, which they have been known to drive through the bottom of a 
boat. Their skin is so strong and slippery that it is very difficult to drive 
the harpoon through it, and even a sharp weapon frequently glides ofl 
without injuring the animal. The great enemy of the walrus is the polar 
bear, who does not always venture on an open battle, as, when a combat 
takes place, the walrus defends himself most vigorously with his curved 
tusks, and often inflicts fearful gashes on the bear, forcing it to abandon 
the contest. 

The head of this animal is very small in proportion to the remaindei 
of its body, and often ueceives people as to its size, 
which is difficult to ascertain without examination. 

The stuffed specimen in the British Museum, although 
,n bad preservation, will give a tolerable idea of the 
animal. The expression of its countenance is very 
erocious, principally on account of the enormous size 
of the upper lip and the thick bristles with which it 
is covered. The length of the Walrus is about fifteen 
or sixteen feet, and it yields from twenty to thirty walrus’s skull 
gallons of excellent oil. 

The Cetacea, or Whale tribe, closely resemble the fishes, and have 
often been placed among these animals by naturalists. They, however, 
are distinguished by possessing warm blood, and in consequence, being 
forced to rise at intervals in order to breathe the air, instead of sepa¬ 
rating from the water, by means of their gills, sufficient oxygen for 
supporting life. 

Yet the whale remains under water for a time so much longer than 
could be borne by any other warm-blooded animal, that the most indif¬ 
ferent observer cannot fail to perceive that the whale is furnished with 
some plan for supporting life during its stay beneath the water. 

The manner in which this object is attained is at once beautiful and 
singular. Every one knows that the object of breathing is to oxygenize 
the blood, which in its course through the body becomes deprived of its 
native qualities, and is. actually poisonous. If the blood is not renewed, 
it causes apoplexy and death, as is the case when a person is strangled 
or drowned. The most natural way to supply this want in the whale 
would be to give it much more lungs, in order that it might take into its 
body a reservoir of air, from which the blood might be renewed. But 
if this were the case, the animal would be seriously inconvenienced by 
such an amoun, of air, which would make it too buoyant, and prevent it 
from diving into the depths of the sea. But there must be a reservoir 
somewhere, and, therefore, instead of a reservoir of air to arterialize the 
blood, there is a reservoir of blood alreadv arterialized. 





7E 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Along the interior of the ribs there is a vast collection of blood-vessels, 
ramifying from one another, and capable of containing a large quantity 
of blood, having no immediate connexion with that portion of the blood 
which is already circulating in the body. As fast as the exhausted and 
poisonous blood returns from its work, it passes into another reservoir 
adapted for its necessities, while a portion of the arterialized blood in the 
arterial reservoir passes into the circulation. It will be seen from this 
statement, that the whale, and others of the same order, possess more 
blood in proportion than any animals. By means of this wonderful 
apparatus, a whale can remain below the water for more than half an 
hour at a time. 

Order III. . . CETE. —(Gr. K rjros, a Whale, or sea monster.) 

Family I. . . Balaenidae.—(Gr. BaAaira, a Whale. Whale kind.) 

BAL2ENA 



Mysticetus (Gr. Mvara £, a moustache; kt}tos, a sea monster), the Whale . 

The depths to which the whale can descend are astonishing, wounded 
whales having been known to take down perpendicularly nearly 800 
fathoms of line. The pressure of the water at this depth is very great, 
amounting, according to Scoresby’s calculation, to 211,200 tons. This 
pressure would certainly cause the water to burst through their nostrils, 
and enter the lungs, were it not that the nostrils are formed so as to close 
themselves more firmly as the pressure of water increases. 











NATURAL HISTORY. 


70 


The great Greenland Whale is found in the Northern Oceans, living 
amid ice and perpetual cold. Many ships are annually fitted out for the 
capture of this creature, which, unhappily for itself, furnishes oil anG 
whalebone. The oil is obtained from the thick layer of fatty substance, 
called blubber, which lies immediately under the skin; and the whale¬ 
bone—which, by the way, is not bone at all—is obtained from the inte¬ 
rior of the mouth, where it fringes the jaws, and acts as a sieve for the 
Whale to strain his food through. The throat of the Greenland Whale 
is so small that the sailors, who always use forcible expressions, say that 
a penny loaf would choke a whale. The greater proportion of its food 
consists of a little creature about an inch and a half long, called Clio 
borealis, one of the marine Mollusca, belonging to the class Pteropida. 
or wing-footed creatures, so called because it propels itself through the 
water with two wing-like organs. The Whale, when it wishes to feed, 
rushes through the water with its immense jaws wide open, enclosing a 
host of little sea animals, and a few hogsheads of water. As the Whale 
only wants the animals, and not the water, it shuts its mouth, and drives 
all the water out through the fringes of whalebone, leaving the little 
creatures in its jaws. 

Por the capture of this animal, a number of ships leave England, 
France, and other countries, reaching the Polar Seas about the end of 
April. When arrived at tlieir destination, a careful look-out is kept 
from the mast-head for “ fish,” which are usually first observed by the 
column of steam and water that the whale sends into the air from its 
nostrils. At the welcome sound, “ There she blows,” the whole crew 
starts into activity; the boats, which are always kept hanging over the 
side of the ship, furnished ready for action, are instantly manned and 
lowered into the water, and the boat springs off iu chase of the whale. 
The harpooner, whose station is in the bow, examines his implements 
carefully, tries the edge of the harpoon, and sees that the rope is pro¬ 
perly coiled, as the slightest entanglement would upset the boat, or 
might even drag it below water. 

It will be as well just to notice the different weapons used in the 
whale-fishery. The first and most important is the harpoon, a kind of 
spear with a large barbed head, the shape of which is not very unlike the 
flukes of an anchor. The edges of the barbs are kept very sharp, a3 
otherwise the harpoon would not penetrate beyond the blubber, and the 
whale would consequently escape. The head of the harpoon is not made 
of steel, as inexperienced persons would imagine, but of soft iron, so soft 
that it can be scraped to an edge with a knife. This is fixed to a wooden 
handle, by which the harpooner holds it. In some vessels, the harpoon 
is fired at the whale from a small cannon placed in the bow of the boat. 
There are some very ingenious harpoons in the United Service Museum, 
one of which, intended to be fired from a gun, has its barbs joined to 
the head by a hinge, and held apart with a spring, so that when a whale 
is struck the barbs collapse until the force of the blow is expended when 


80 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


the spring expands them and holds the whale firmly. The common 
harpoon, however, is the weapon usually employed. 

To the harpoon is fastened a long and, very tough line, about 4,000 feet 
in length. This line is kept ready coiled in a tub at the head of the boat, 
and great care is taken to prevent it from being entangled. It runs over 
a kind of pulley, as the friction is so great when the alarmed whale 
starts off, that the rope when out of its place has repeatedly set the gun¬ 
wale of the boat on fire. At Deptford, some years back, might be seen 
a boat, the head of which had been quite cut off by the rope. A bucket 
of water is therefore always kept at hand to throw on the rope. When 
a whale is struck, it sometimes runs out with the whole of the line, in 
which case the line of another boat is fastened to it, and sometimes a 
whale has carried off three miles of line with it. When the whale begins 
to slacken the line, it is immediately recoiled in the tub, so as to be 
always under the command of the pursuers. 

The use of the harpoon is merely to hold the whale ; it does not enter 
deeply, and causes the animal but little inconvenience, as a whale has 
often broken its line and escaped with the harpoon sticking in its back, 
and been afterwards recaptured, apparently none the worse for its 
adventure. In order to kill the whale the fishermen have another weapon, 
called a “lance.” This is a long, slender, steel weapon, with a very 
sharp head, without barbs, as the men have to withdraw the lance as fast 
as they can after it lias pierced a vital part. With these few and simple 
weapons the fishers contrive to secure the monster of the waters—a 
neautiful instance of the superiority of reason over brute strength; for, 
as the expert angler secures a large and strong fish with a single hair, 
utterly inadequate to bear half the weight of the creature it holds, so 
the whale-fisher, with a few small weapons, achieves a task which may 
he compared to a mouse attacking and killing a wolf with a reel of 
thread and a crotchet needle. 

The boats always approach the whale from behind, lest the expected 
prey should see them and escape. When within a few yards the har- 
pooner throws his weapon at the whale, so as to pierce through the mass 
of blubber, and hold fast in the flesh. The wounded animal instantly 
dashes off, taking the line with it. When it has been under water far 
some time, it is forced to come to the surface to breathe. The fishers 
knowing the time that it can remain under water, and calculating from 
long practice the place where it will rise, are at the spot ready to receive 
it as its huge body reaches the surface, and thrust their long lances 
deeply into its body, inflicting mortal wounds. Blood mixed with water 
is now discharged from the whale’s nostrils or “ blow-holes,” a sure sigu 
that it will soon die. Presently streams of blood are thrown up, colour¬ 
ing the sea and frequently drenching the crews of the boats, and after a 
few violent struggles the whale turns over on its side and dies. 

The enormous carcass is now joyously towed to the ship, and prepara 
tions are made for “ flensing,” or cutting off the useful parts. When 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


81 


the carcass has been brought alongside the ship, men wearing shoes 
armed with spikes, to prevent them from slipping off the oily back of 
the monster, commence the process by fastening ropes to its head and 
tail. A strong hook is then fixed into the fat near the neck, called the 
“ kent,” as it is used for “ kenting,” or turning over the whale. To this 
hook is fastened a’rope passing through a pulley at the mainmast head, 
and fixed to a windlass on deck. The blubber is taken off the upper 
side by “ blubber spades.’ 5 The blocks of blubber, called “ slips,” are 
then hauled up on deck by means of ropes called “ speck tackles,” speck 
being the German word for fat or bacon. When the blubber is all 
stripped from the upper side, the men turn the whale partly round by 
nauling at the rope fastened to the “ kent.” They then cut out the 
whalebone with knives made for that purpose. Lastly, the “ kent ” 
itself is stripped off, and the whale left to the sharks and gulls, who 
have been helping themselves very liberally while the flensing was going 
on, the shovel-nosed shark sometimes scooping out semicircular pieces as 
large as a man’s head. The birds and fish hold grand festival on the 
body of the whale until it is so stripped that it sinks, when the sharks have 
it all to themselves. 

When the crew have leisure, the blubber, which has been meanwhile 
stowed away in a place with a not very polished name, is “ made off,” 
that is, carefully stripped of the pieces of skin and muscle adhering to it, 
cut into moderately sized pieces, and packed in casks until wanted. The 
oil is extracted by boiling the blubber in large coppers ; a most unsavoury 
occupation, but a very pleasant one to the crew, if they take that dutv 
upon themselves. The refuse blubber is used as fuel, so that there is 
no waste. 

It is impossible to calculate on the amount or mode of resistance 
which may be met with from a whale when struck, for one whale will 
yield to a single harpoon loosely fixed, while another will break away 
and escape with five or six in his back, and two miles or so of rope 
trailing behind him. Some instances have been related of whales being 
killed without being struck at all. Scoresby tells us that on one me¬ 
morable occasion, after a whale had been killed, it sunk as whales some¬ 
times will do. While they were hauling it up, the line sometimes 
resisted, and sometimes came in easily. At last they drew up a whale 
with a coil of the rope round it, which they naturally thought to be the 
animal struck by them. After disentangling it they found to their 
surprise that the line still descended into the sea, and dragged as if 
there was a weight at its end; and so there was, for they found their 
harpooned whale still fixed to the weapon, and discovered that the other 
unfortunate animal had contrived to entangle itself in the line, and had 
thus drowned itself. Another anecdote of a similar character is related 
by Scoresby. “A whale was struck from one of the boats of the 
ship Nautilus, in Davis’ Straits. It was killed, and as is usual after the 
capture, it was disentangled from the line connected with the first ‘ fast 

G 


82 


XA.TURAL HISTORY. 


boat,’ (the first boat which had struck it,) by dividing it at the splice of 
the foreganger, (the part of the rope fastened to the harpoon,) within 
eight or nine yards of the harpoon. The crew of the boat from which 
the ‘fish 5 was first struck, in the meantime were employed in heaving in 
the lines by means of a winch fixed in the boat for the purpose. On 
a sudden, however, to their great astonishment, the lines were pulled 
away from them with the same force and violence as by a whale when 
first struck. They repeated their signal indication of a whale being 
struck; their shipmates flock towards them, and wdiile every one ex¬ 
pressed a similar degree of astonishment with themselves, they all 
agreed that a c fish ’ was fast to the line. In a few minutes they were 
agreeably confirmed in their opinion by the rising of a large whale close 
by them, exhausted with fatigue, and having every appearance of a ‘fast 
fish.’ It permitted itself to be struck by several harpoons at once, and 
was speedily killed. On examining it after death, they found the line 
belonging to the boat in its mouth, w'here it was still firmly fixed by the 
compression of its lips. The occasion of this happy and puzzling inci¬ 
dent was therefore solved. The end of the line, after being cut, was 
sinking in the water—the ‘fish 5 in question, engaged in feeding, was 
advancing with its mouth open, and accidentally caught the line between 
its extended jaws—a sensation so utterly unusual as that produced by 
the line, had induced it to shut its mouth and grasp the rope which w r as 
the cause of its alarm so firmly between its lips as to produce the effect 
just stated. This circumstance took place many years ago, but a similar 
one occurred in the year 1814. 55 

The dangers undergone in this pursuit are very great. Sometimes 
the boat is dashed to pieces by a blow r from the tail of the enraged 
whale; sometimes the crew are left on the ice for many hours, wet and 
frozen; sometimes the ice-fields strike together, and crush the ship 

between them, although the vessel is 
strengthened in every possible way by 
cross-beams and treble sheathing; 
sometimes a fog comes on, and the 
boat and ship are separated, neither 
having any means of knowing where 
the other lies, for sound is much im¬ 
peded by fog, and even cannon are 
not heard when fired comparatively 
close. 

The Whale shows great attachment 
to its young, which is called the cub, 
and on the approach of danger, seizes 
it with its fin or flipper, and carries 
it down out of danger. The Whale 
has no fins, properly so called, as it is not a fish. Its flippers, which 
supply the place of fins, are in fact fore legs, furnished with a kind of 






NATURAL HISTORY 


83 


hand covered with a thick skin. They seem to be principally employed 
in balancing the animal. The hind legs are concealed under the skin, as 
are those of the boa constrictor. The length of this Whale averages 
sixty feet. Its tail is placed transversely, and not vertically, as in the 
fishes. 

The Cachalot. —The chase of the Cachalot is similar to that of the 
Greenland whale, and need not be described. It is attended with more 
danger, as the terrific row of teeth with which the lower jaw of the 
Cachalot is armed, is not unfrequently employed in biting the boat. In 
the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford is an under jaw-bone of this whale, 
sixteen and a half feet in length, containing forty-eight huge teeth. 
Besides this method of defence, it has a very unpleasant habit of swim¬ 
ming off to a distance, and then rushing at the boat with its head, 
thereby knocking it to pieces. One of these whales actually sank a ship 
by three or four blows from its head. 


Physeter.—(G i\ 3?vcn)Trip, a blow-pipe, or bellows.) 



Macrocephalus (Gr. Ma/cpos, long; <ecpa\ri, a head), the Cachalot^ 

or Spermaceti Whale. 

Spermaceti is obtained from the head of the Cachalot, and it is this 
substance that causes the immence size of the head. When the whale 







S4 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


is killed, a hole is made in the upper part of the head, and the sperma¬ 
ceti is baled out with buckets. When just procured it is almost fluid, 
but is rendered solid and transparent by being first drained of its oil, 
then boiled in water, and lastly set to cool in wide pans, where it soon 
assumes the white flaky appearance so well known in this country. The 
akull of the Cachalot occupies a comparatively small portion of the head, 
the huge mass at the end of the mouth being composed of a gristly kind 
of substance. The bone of the upper jaw occupies about one-fourth of 
the distance between the mouth and the top of the snout. It runs 
backwards nearly straight until just before the eyes, when it joins the 
remainder of the skull with a bold sweep. That part of the skull is 
called “ Neptune’s Chair” by the sailors, and is the part where the sper¬ 
maceti is found. The layer of blubber is thin, but yields a fine and 
valuable oil. 

Ambergris, so long a riddle to all inquirers, is now found to be pro¬ 
duced in the interior of the Cachalot. 
This substance is of the consistency 
of wax, inflammable, and gives out a 
kind of musky odour. It was once in 
great repute as a medicine, but is now 
only used as a perfume. 

The Cachalot, although an inhabi¬ 
tant of the Arctic seas, lias sometimes 
been found and captured off our coasts. The length of this whale is 
about seventy feet. 

Those readers who have formed their ideas of Dolphins from the very 

graceful and elegant creatures represented under that name in the pic- 

~ , tures of the “ old masters,” 

family II. Delphmidre.—(Gr. Ae\<pls, 

a Dolphin. Dolphin kind.) 



JAW OF GREENLAND WHALE. 


DELrniNus—(Lat. a Dolphin.) 



Delphis, the Dolphin. 


or the statues of the 
ancient sculptors, will find 
that the real animal differs 
as much from the ideal, 
as the red and green lions 
wearing golden collars, re¬ 
presented in heraldry, dif¬ 
fer from the lion of Africa. 
Sad to say, almost the whole 
history of the Dolphin is 
imaginary — very poetical, 
but very untrue. The red 
and blue colours of the 
heraldic lien are not less 
fabulous than the changing 


tints of the dying dolphin, so dear to poetry. Alas! our unpoetical 
Dolphin, when we have hamooned and brought him on deck, is only 
















NATURAL HISTORY. 


85 


olack and white, and all tlie change that he makes, is that the black 
becomes brown in time, and the white grey. 

The creature that really displays these colours when dying, is a fish 
called the Coryphene, and not a cetaceous animal of any kind. The 
sailors generally call them Dolphins, which has led to the mistake. 

We will leave poetry and its beautiful errors, and pass on to facts 
The Dolphin is, like the whale, a warm-blooded animal, suckles its young, 
and is forced to come to the s-urface in order to breathe. Its snout is 
very long, and is apparently used for capturing such fish, and other 
animals, as live in the mud. 

The length is from six to ten feet. Several species of Dolphin are 
known, of which the British Museum possesses six. 


The Porpoise. —These animals may be observed in plenty playing 
their absurd antics off every coast of England. There are numbers of 
them off the Nore, a place which they frequent greatly, as it is the 
mouth of a river, and they find more food there than in the open sea. 
They tumble at the surface of the water for the purpose of breathing. 

In the olden times, when glass windows were considered an effeminate 
luxury, and rushes supplied the place of carpets, the flesh of the Por¬ 
poise constituted one of the 

standard delicacies of a pub- Phoca^na.— (Gr. buncuva, a Porpoise.) 
lie feast, but it has long 
since been deposed from its 
rank at the table. Like 
most of the cetacea, its flesh 
has a very strong oily flavour, 
which, however relished by 
an Esquimaux, is not agree¬ 
able to the palate of an 
European epicure of the 
present day. 

The voracity of the Por¬ 
poise is very great. It feeds 
on various fishes, but its great feasts are held when the periodical shoals 
of herrings, pilchards, and other fish arrive on the coasts. In the 
pursuit of its prey, it frequently ventures some distance up a river, and 
is then often taken in nets by the fishermen. 

The teeth of this animal are very numerous, and interlock when the 
jaws are closed, so that the fish when once seized cannot escape. Its 
length is about five feet, its colour a rich black; becoming white on the 
under side. 



Communis (Lat. common), the Porpoise, 
or Porpesse. 


The Narwhal. —Although the Narwhal has not suffered from false 
reports so much as many other animals, yet it has unwittingly con¬ 
tributed to uropagate a very old error, The spiral tusk of the Narwhal 













86 NATURAL HISTORY. 

was accustomed to be sold as the real horn of the unicorn; and as an 
accredited part of that animal, forming direct proof of its existence, it 
used to fetch a very high price. Of course, when the whale fishery waa 
established, the real owner of the horn was discovered, and the unicorn 
left still enveloped in mystery. 

The name Monodon is not strictly correct, as the Narwhal possesses 
two of these tusks, one on each side of its head. Only the left tusk 
projects, the other remaining within the head. Sometimes a specimen 
has been found with both tusks projecting, and some think that when 
the left tusk lias been broken off by accident, the right one becomes 
large enough to supply its place. 

The use of these tusks is not known; some supposing that they are 
employed to dig up sea-weeds, and other plants, on which the Narwhal 


Monodon —(Gr. M 6vos, solitary; oSou's, or o5 <£v, a tooth.) 



Monoccros (Gr. M ovos — vcejas, a horn), the Narwhal. 

s » 

lecds, and some imagining that the living prey is first transfixed and 
then, eaten. Be this as it may, as a weapon the tusk is not to be 
despised, as the strength and rapidity of the Narwhal are very great. 
Instances are on record, of the thick oak timbers of a ship being pierced 
by the ivory tusk of this creature. The Greenlanders employ this ivory in 
the manufacture of spears, arrows, hooks, &c. They take the Narwhal by 
* kind rl harpoon attached to a line, with a buoy at its extremity. The 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


87 


use of the buoy is to harass and retard the Narwhal when struck, and 
to give notice when it is about to rise. Immediately on reaching the 
surface, a lance is thrust into it, which generally proves its death-blow. 
The adventurous Greenlander finds it a most welcome prey, as he obtains 
from it oil, food, weapons, and ropes. 

Although an inhabitant of the northern seas, it has several times 
visited our coasts. Its body is from thirty to forty feet in length, and 
its tusk from five to nine. 

The Manatees and Dugong are omitted from want of space. 


We now arrive at the Rodentia, or gnawing animals, so called from 
their habit of gnawing through, or paring away, the substances on 
which they feed. For this purpose their teeth are admirably formed, and 
by these teeth it is always easy to ascertain a member of the Rodents. 
They have none of those sharp teeth called canine, such as are seen in 
the lions and in those animals which seize and destroy living animals, 
but in the front of each jaw there are two long flat teeth, slightly 
curved, and having a kind of chisel edge for rasping away wood, or 
other articles. 

The constant labour which these teeth (called incisors, from the 
Latin word, inciclo, I cut,) undergo, would rapidly wear them away. To 
counteract this loss, the teeth are constantly growing and being pushed 
forward, so that as fast as the upper part is worn away, the tooth is 
replenished from below. So constant is this increase, that when an 
unfortunate rabbit, or other rodent, has lost one of its incisors, the 
opposite one, meeting nothing to stop its progress, continually grows, 
until sometimes the tooth curls upwards over the lips, and prevents 
the wretched animal from eating, until it is gradually starved to death. 
An example of this preternatural growth may be seen in the vignette 
under the article Rabbit. The sketch was drawn from a specimen in 
the Anatomical Museum at Oxford. 

The Rodentia include the mice, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, and 
porcupines. 

The Brown Rat, sometimes called the Norway Rat, is the species 
usually found in England. It was some years since imported into this 
country, and from its superior size, strength, and ferocity, has so com¬ 
pletely established itself, and expelled the original Black Rat, that it is 
very difficult indeed to find a Black Rat in any part of England. 
Waterton’s sympathies are much excited in favour of the original rat, and 
his anger is great against the invader. He says of the Brown Rat:— 

“Its rapacity knows no bounds, whilst its increase is prodigious, 
beyond all belief. But the most singular part of its history is, that it 
has nearly worried every individual of the original rat out of Great 
Britain. So scarce have these last-mentioned animals become, that iu 
aii my life I have never seen but one single solitary specimen. It was 



88 


»TURAL HISTORY. 



sent, some few years ago, to Nostell Priory, in a cage, from Bristol, 
and I received an invitation from Mr. Arthur Strickland, who was on 
a visit there, to go and see it. Whilst I was looking at the little native 
prisoner in its cage, I could not help exclaiming, ‘Poor injured Briton! 

„„„„_ _ hard, indeed, has been the 

Order IV. . . OLIRES. —(Lat. Gits, a Dor¬ 
mouse.) 

Family I. . . . Murid®.—(Or. Mus, a Mouse. 

Mouse kind.) 


Sub-family a. Murlna. 


iMUS. 


Decumanus (Lat. tenth or large), the Rat. 


fate of thy family! in another 
generation, at furthest, it 
will probably sink down to 
the dust for ever ! 

The same amusing natu* 
ralist, being considerably 
annoyed by the depredations 
on his provisions, and the 
unceasing clatter that they 
kept up behind the panels 
of his sitting-room, after 
trying various plans to ex¬ 
tirpate them, at last thought 
of a method, rich in the 
same humour with which 
most of his actions are tinged, 
and as efficacious in its 


operation as amusing in its idea:— 

“ Having caught one of them in a box trap, I dipped its hinder parts 
into warm tar, and then turned it loose behind the hollow plinth. The 
others, seeing it in this condition, and smelling the tar all along the run 
through which it had gone, thought it most prudent to take themselves 
off: and thus, for some months after this experiment, I could sit and 
read in peace, free from the hated noise of rats. On moving the plinth 
at a subsequent period, we found that they had actually gnawed away 
the corner of a peculiarly hard-burnt brick which had obstructed their 
thoroughfare.” 

It is at all times difficult to get rid of these dirty, noisy animals, for 
they soon learn to keep out of the way of traps, and if they are poisoned 
they revenge their fate by dying behind a wainscot or under a plank 
of the floor, and make the room uninhabitable. There are, however, two 
ways recommended to attain the desired object. 

Place a saucer containing meal in a room frequented by rats, letting 
them have free access to it for several days. They will then come to 
it in great force. When they have thus been accustomed to feed there 
regularly, mix a quantity of jalap with the meal, and put it in the accus¬ 
tomed place. This will give them such internal tortures that they will 
not come near the place again. 

The second plan is to use the same precautions, but to mix phosphorus 
with the meal and make it into a ball. The phosphorus is said not to 
kill the rats, but to afflict them with such a parching thirst that they 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


89 


rush to the neaiest water and die there. By this method the dangei 
of their dying in the house is avoided. 

I have not proved either of these plans experimentally, but offer them 
for the benefit of those who are afflicted by the rat pest. 

The Common Mouse is so well known, that a description of its form 
and size is useless. It almost rivals the rat in its attacks upon our pro¬ 
visions, and is quite as difficult to extirpate. It brings up its voung in 
a kind of nest, and when a board of long standing is taken up in a room, 
it is not uncommon to find 
under it a mouse’s nest, 
composed of rags, string, 
paper, shavings, and every¬ 
thing that the ingenious little 
architect can scrape together. 

It is a round mass, looking 
something like a rag ball very 
loosely made. When opened, 
seven or eight little mice 
will probably be found in the 
interior—little pink trans- MnscUus (Lat . „ Uttk , , lhe Moute 

parent creatures, three ol 

which could go into a lady’s thimble, sprawling about m a most 
unmeaning manner, apparently greatly distressed at the sudden cold 
caused by the opening of their nest. 

The Mouse is said to be greatly susceptible of music. An anecdote is 
related of a gentleman who was playing a violin seeing a mouse run 
along on the floor and jump about as if distracted. He continued the 
strain, and after some time the mouse, apparently exhausted with its 
exertions, dropped dead on the floor. An instance occurred to myself 
very recently, similar in all respects but that of the death of the little 
animal, which only scampered back to its hole when the music ceased. 
We afterwards found that it was a partially tame one which had 
escaped. 

Every one has heard of the fable of the Lion and the Mouse, but from 
the following account from Basil Hall’s Fragments, we must conclude 
that, whatever the lion might have done under the circumstances, the 
tiger at all events would not have availed himself of the proffered assist¬ 
ance. He relates of a tiger that was kept in a cage at Mysore :— 

“But what annoyed him far more than our poking him up with a 
stick, or tantalizing him with shins of beef or legs of mutton, was intro¬ 
ducing a mouse into his cage. No fine lady ever exhibited more terror 
at the sight of a spider than this magnificent royal tiger betrayed on 
seeing a mouse. Our mischievous plan was to tie the little animal by a 
string to the end of a long pole, and thrust it close to the tiger’s nose. 
The moment lie saw it, he leaped to the opposite side; and when the 




90 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


mouse was made to iun near him, he jammed himsell into a corner, and 
stood trembling and roaring in such an ecstasy of fear that we were 
always obliged to desist from sheer pity to the poor brute. Sometimes 
we insisted on his passing over the spot where the unconscious little 
mouse ran backwards and forwards. For a long time however we could 
not get him to move, till at length, I believe by the help of a squib, we 
obliged him to start; but instead of pacing leisurely across his den or 
making a detour to avoid the object of his alarm, he generally took a 
kind of flying leap, so high as nearly to bring his back in contact with 
the roof of his cage.” 


The two objects here represented are 
two portions of the same hair, the larger 
one being the centre and the smaller 


being taken near the origin. It is worth 
while to notice that although to external 
appearance the fur of the mouse exactly 
resembles that of the bat, yet when 
they are placed under the microscope 
they are shown to be very differently 
formed. 

A white variety of mouse is tolerably common, and is usually bred 
in cages. As it is very tame and beautiful, it is in great repute as 


HAIR OF MOUSE. 



a pet. 


Micr5mys.— (Gr. yutpos, small; /As, a 
mouse.) 



Minutus (Lat. very small), the Harvest 
Mouse. 


The Harvest Mouse, the 
smallest of the British quadru¬ 
peds, discovered and described 
by White in his “ Selborne,” 
is very much smaller than the 
ordinary mouse, a halfpenny 
weighing down two of them 
when placed in a pair of scales. 
Its nest is raised about a foot 
and a half from the ground, and 
supported on two or three 
straws. It is made of grass, 
about the size of a cricket-ball, 
and very compact. 

The Field Mouse is as 
great a pest in the open air 
as the Common Mouse within 
a house. It not only devours 
the corn, but strips the bark 
off young trees, doing great 





NATURAL HISTORY. 9] 

mischief. Ihe kestrel or windhover hawk lives almost exclusively on the 
Field Mouse, and ought always to be encouraged. 

Several genera are omitted. 



The Hamster Hat is a native of parCs of Germany. It is a terrible 
pest there, as it not only devours the corn, &c. in the summer, but lays 
up a large store for the . 

winter. It is a most furious Sub-family o. Arvzcoltria.—(Lat. Arvum, 
little animal, and will attack field; colo, I inhabit.) 

a man or a horse and even Cricetus. — (Gr. kdikt)tos, ringed.) 

a waggon wheel if it ap¬ 
proaches too near the spot 
which the Hamster considers 
its own property. Rats, 
mice, lizards, birds, and even 
its weaker brethren, are eaten 
by this ravenous little animal. 

It lives in holes under¬ 
ground, and to escape attack 

has several passages from its Frunientarlus (Lat. belonging to harvest), th< 
chamber leading m different Hamster. 

directions. The skin is of 

some value, and the hunter who spears it usually opens its granary for tne 
sake of its store, which is far from being inconsiderable, a hundredweight 
of beans having been found in one granary. 



Arvicola.—(L at. Arvum , a field; colo, I 
inhabit.) 


The Water Rat is a native of England, and very common on the 
banks of rivers, brooks, &c. It digs holes in the bank, and is reported 
to eat fish, frogs, &c., but 
this is very doubtful. These 
animals exist in great num¬ 
bers round Oxford, and I 
have repeatedly watched 
them feeding. I never 
saw them eating fish, nor 
found fish - bones inside 
their holes, except when a 
kingfisher had taken pos¬ 
session ; but I have fre¬ 
quently seen them gnawing 
the green bark from reeds, 
which they completely 
strip, leaving the mark of 
each tooth as they proceed. I shot one while feeding, and at first 
thought that the marks of its teeth were caused by the shot, for until 
that time I had supposed that the Water Rat fed on fish. 


Ampkiblus (Gr. 5 Afupt , on both sides; fiivco, I 
live), the Water-rat. 


92 


NATURAL HiSTORI. 


The Beaver. —North America is the principal country where the 
Beaver is found, but it is also common on the Euphrates, and along 
some of the larger European rivers, as the Rhone and the Danube. In 
former years, when the wolf and bear inhabited England, the Beaver 
followed its architectural pursuits along the rivers ; but it has not been 
seen in this country since 1188. 

The houses of the Beaver are built of mud, stones, and sticks. They 
are placed in a stream, and their entrance is always below the surface. As 
a severe frost would freeze up their doors, it is necessary to make the 
stream deep enough to prevent the frost from reaching the entrances 
This object is attained by building a dam across the river, to keep back 
c , „ ., 7 n , - the water until it is suffi- 

Sub-family d. Cmtorma. ciellt ly deep for the beaver’s 

Castor. (Gr. Kdarup, a Beaver.) purposes. The dam is made 

of branches which the Beaver 
cuts down with its strong 
sharp teeth, and mud and 
stones worked in among the 
branches. The Beavers throw 
these branches into the 
water, and sink them to the 
bottom by means of stones, 
and by continually throwing 
in fresh supplies a strong 
embankment is soon made. 

As many Beavers live 
together in one society, the 
formation of a dam does not 
take very long. By their 
united efforts they rapidly 
fell even large trees, by 
gnawing them round the trunk, and always taking care to make them 
fall towards the water, so that they can transport the logs easily. 
The mud and stones used in their embankments are not carried on 
their tails, as some say, nor do the Beavers use their tails as trowels 
for laying on the mud, the fact being that the stones and mud are 
carried between their chin and fore-paws, and the mistake respecting 
the tail is evidently caused by the slap that Beavers give with that 
member when they dive. In order that their pond may not be too deep 
they always leave an opening in the dam to let the water escape when it 
rises above a certain height. 





Fiber (Lat a Beaver), the Beaver. 


They cut most of their wood in the summer, taking care to choose 
trees above their houses, so that the stream floats them down to the 
place where they wish to use them. They also lay up stores of food for 
the wintet, by cutting a number of green branches and sinking them 




NATURAL HISTORY. 93 

near the door of their habitations, where they are held firm by stones 
laid on the summit of the heap. 

During the severe winter, their mud-built houses freeze quite hard, 
and prevent the wolverine, their greatest enemy except man, from 
breaking through and devouring the inmates. Every year the Beavers 
lay a fresh coating of mud upon their houses, so that after the lapse of 
a few years the walls of the house are several feet in thickness. Many 
of the houses are built close together, but no two families can communi¬ 
cate with each other, except by diving below the walls and rising inside 
their neighbours’ houses. 

The fur of the Beaver is exceedingly valuable, especially for the 
manufacture of hats, and is greatly sought after. The hunting season 
is in winter, when the beavers are quietly in their houses. The hunters, 
armed with spears, &c. break the tops of the houses. The alarmed 
beavers instantly rush out and pass under the ice to certain hiding-places 
in the bank. The hunter then discovers the position of the hole in the 
bank by the sound of his spear struck against the ice; he then breaks 
a hole and spears the animal in its place of fancied security. A sub¬ 
stance called Castor was formerly obtained from the Beaver and much 
used in medicine, but is now discarded. 

When in captivity the Beaver soon becomes tame, and will indus¬ 
triously build dams across the corner of a room with brushes, boots, 
fire-irons, books, or anything it can find. When its edifice is finished it 
sits in the centre apparently satisfied that it has made a beautiful 
structure to dam up the river—a proof that the ingenuity of the Beaver 
is not caused by reason but by instinct. 

The fur of the Beaver, like that of many other animals, consists of 
a fine wool intermixed with long and stiff hairs. The hairs are useless, 
but the peculiar construction of the fur causes it to penetrate and fix 
itself into the felt which forms the body of a hat. In making the hat, 
the only method required to fasten the fur into the felt is to knead 
fur and felt together. The hair is toothed on its surfaces, and makes its 
way into the felt, just as an awn of barley will travel all over the body 
if placed up the sleeve. 

The length of the Beaver is about three feet and a half. 

Several genera are omitted. 

The Common Porcupine is found in Africa, Tartary, Persia, India, 
and some parts of Europe. It lives in holes which it digs in the 
ground, and only comes forth at night in order to feed. It eats vegetable 
substances only, such as roots, bark, and other similar substances. The 
array of spines or quills with which this animal is covered forms its princi¬ 
pal means of defence. If it cannot escape, it suddenly stops, erects all 
its quills, and runs backwards against its adversary, striking the quills 
against him by the weight of its body. Occasionally a looser quill than 
usual remains in the wound or falls on the ground, which evidently 


94 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


gave rise to the foolish error that the Porcupine could dart its weapons 
at its adversary from a distance. There are two kinds of these quills,— 
one kind long and curved, the other short, thick, and pointed. These 
last are the weapons of defence, as the former are too slender to do 
much service. When the Porcupine walks, its quills make a kind of 
rustling sound, caused principally by those arranged on the tail, which 

Family II. . . . HystricYdse. — ("Tcttoi£, a Porcupine. Porcupine kind.) 

Sub-family a. Hystriclna. 

rrvsTKix. 



Cristata (Lat. crested), the Porcupine. 


are large, hollow, and supported on long slender stalks. When an 
animal is pierced by one of these quills it is in some danger, for the 
exterior of the quill is formed on the same principle as the beaver fur, 
and if not extracted, will gradually work its way into the body, until it 
buries itself entirely. Dogs are not unfrequently killed in this manner 
by a neglected quill, which has struck them, but which they are too 
eager to notice in the excitement of the combat, until it has inflicted 
a wound upon one of the internal organs. 

The American Indians use the quills extracted from the Canada 
Porcupine, a species living on trees, for ornamenting various parts of 
their dress, especially their mocassins or skin shoes. In England the 
quills are much used by anglers for making fine floats for angling. The 
length of the Porcupine is about two feet, and its spines or quills are 
from six to fourteen inches long. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


95 



The Agouii lives m Brazil, Guiana and Paraguay. It is about the size 

of a rabbit, and like that animal is generally found in company with 

others. In Brazil and Guiana, .- 

, . ... i , ’ bub-family c. * Dasyproctma. 

the Agouti '3 much sought ^ .'L , 

after for the sake of its flesh, DA3YrEooTA.-(Gr. A «<rw, rough; vpmo s, 
but it appears that in Para- hmd-quarters.) 

guay the ffe*h is not eaten. 

When pursued, it runs for a 
short time with much rapidity, 
but soon endeavours to con¬ 
ceal itself in a hole or under 
the roots of a tree, when it 
will suffer itself to be cap¬ 
tured without any resistance, 
merely uttering a plaintive cry. 

It feeds on vegetables, espe¬ 
cially yams and tubers, but 
in the West India Islands it 
pest to the planters. 


Aguti (Native name), the Agouti. 
devours the sugar-canes, and is a 


great 



The Capybara or Chiguira is the largest of all the Rodentia. At 
first sight it looks very like a pig, and its skin is covered thinly with 

hairs like bristles, which Sub-family d. Hydrochmlna. 

add to the resemblance. TT „ 

It inhabits, the borders HYDROCHffiRUS ' _(Gr - T5 “ 0 ’ water 5 Xo ‘ oos > a ^ 
of lakes and rivers in many 
parts of Southern America. 

During the day, it hides 
among the thick herbage of 
the banks, only wandering 
forth to feed at night, but 
when alarmed, it instantly 
makes for the water, and 
escapes by diving. It is 
hunted for the sake of its 
hesli, which is said to be 


Capybara (Native name), the Capybara. 


remarkably good. The Jaguar appears to be of the same opinion, for 
he is the most terrible enemy of this creature, destroying immense 
numbers. The food of the Capybara consists of grass, vegetables and 
fruits. Its length is about three feet six inches. 


The Guinea-pig or Restless Cavy belongs to the sub-family Caviina, 
It was originally brought from South America, and is frequently domes¬ 
ticated in England. Its beauty is its only recommendation, as it shows 
tittle intelligence, and is never used for food. Children, however, and 
particularly schoolboys, are fond of keeping Guinea-pigs, as they are 


96 


NATURAL JTISTORY. 


wonderfully prolific, easy to manage, and do not make mucn noise. 
They are popularly supposed to keep off rats, and are therefore usually 
patronised in connexion with rabbit-hutches. 


Family III. Lepondso.—(Lat. lepus, a Hare. Hare kind.) 

LETUS. 



Timidus (Lat. timid), the Hare. 

The Hare is one of our most common quadrupeds. It is constantly 
hunted both for the sport and for its flesh. When hunted with grey¬ 
hounds, the amusement is called coursing. Beagles are also used for 
the same purpose, but they do not catch the Iiare by speed, but by 
patiently following its track, until the wearied animal is no longer 
capable of escaping. It comes under the denomination of game, and is 
protected by the Game Laws, as are pheasants and partridges. 

When full grown, it is larger than the rabbit and exceedingly like that 
animal, but its colour is slightly different, and the black spot on the 
extremity of its ears is a simple method of distinguishing it. The Hare 
does not burrow like the rabbit, but makes a kind of nest of grass and 
other materials. In this nest, called a “form,” the Hare lies, crouchmc 
to the ground, its ears laid along its back, and trusting to its conceal¬ 
ment, will often remain quiet until the foot of an intruder almost 
touches it. Many people can distinguish it when thus hidden bv the 
sparkle of its eye. 

Innumerable foes besides man surround this animal. Foxes, ferrets, 
stoats, and all their tribe, are unmerciful enemies, and sometimes a large 
hawk will destroy a leveret, as the young Hare is called. Although 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


97 




LEPUS. 


destitute of all means of defence, it is often enabled to escape by the 
quiCKness of its hearing* and sight, which give it timely warning of the 
approach of an enemy, and enable it to escape to a place of satety. 

In cold countries 
toe Hare changes its 
t ur during winter, and 
oecomes white, like 
tne Arctic fox and 
tne ermine. The Al¬ 
pine Hare, inhabiting 
tne northern parts 
of Scotland, is a 
good example of this 
change. 

The well-known 
Rabbit is rather 
smaller than the hare, 
but closely resembles 
it in form. It lives 
in deep holes, which 
it digs in the ground. 

When a number of 
these holes or bur¬ 
rows occur near each 
other, the place is 
called a warren. A loose dry soil, such as the soft red sandstone, is 
the delight of these animals, who may be seen frisking about in great 
numbers outside their holes, but diving in on the slightest alarm. 
Poachers often take them in 
great numbers by spreading 
nets over the mouth of the 
holes, and sending a ferret 
carefully muzzled down one 
of the burrows. The terri¬ 
fied rabbits rush out at 
the sight of their dreaded 
enemy, and are caught in 
the nets. If the ferret were 
not muzzled, it would kill . 

the first rabbit it caught, Cumcttlus (Lat .. a little Ratfat). 

and remain in the hole, sucking the blood of its victim. 

The female Rabbit forms a soft nest at the bottom of her burrow, 
composed of fur torn from her body, of hay and dried leaves. Here the 
young rabbits are kept until they are strong enough to shift for them¬ 
selves, and make their own burrows. 


Variabilis (Lat. varying), the Alpine Hare. 


LEPUS. 









98 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The tame Rabbit is only a variety, rendered 
larger by careful feeding and attendance. There 
are many breeds of domestic rabbits, some, as 
the fancy or lop-eared rabbits, being often oi 
considerable value, thirty guineas having been 
refused for a particularly line one. When tame 
rabbits are suffered to go free, they speedily 
return to their wild habits and instincts. 


The Chinchilla. —This pretty little animal is an inhabitant of the 
valleys in the mountain districts of South America. In such situations the 
cold is often very intense; but the long soft fur of the Chinchilla forms 
an effectual protection against the frosts. The fur is extensively used for 
clothing, and celebrated for its soft and warm texture. Numbers of these 
animals are annually destroyed for the sake of their skins, and Coquimbo 
appears to be the place where they are taken in the greatest numbers. 

The Chinchilla lives in 
society like the rabbit, and 
resides in burrows dug in 
the ground. Its food is en¬ 
tirely vegetable, and prin¬ 
cipally consists of bulbous 
roots. In captivity it is 
cpiiet aud inoffensive, but 
seems to betray no particular 
attachment to its keeper; 
neither does it seem playful. 
Its tail, covered with long 
bushy hairs, is usually held 
turned up over its back, like 
that of the squirrel, and 
probably for the same reason. 

From the various specimens of fur sent to this country it would 
appear that there are two species of Chinchilla, but it is not quite 
certain. The length of the Chinchilla is about nine inches, exclusive of 
its tail, which measures about five. 

The Jerboas are celebrated for their powers of leaping. Their long 
hind legs enable them to take enormous springs, during which their tails 
serve to balance them. Indeed, a Jerboa, when deprived of its tail, is 
afraid to leap.. At hrst sight the Jerboa seems to alight on its hind feet, 
as well as spring from them, but the fact is, that it alights on its fore 
feet and draws up the hind legs ready for the next leap with such 
rapidity that the eye can scarcely follow the movement; as lias been 
before related of the kangaroo. 

* From the Anatomical Museum, Oxford. 


Family IV. . . Jerboidse .—(Jerboa kind.) 
Sub-family a .. Chinchilllna. 

chinchilla (Native name). 



Laniger (Lat. wool-bearing), the Chinchilla. 



OVER-GROWN TEETH OF 
RABBIT.* 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


99 




Sub-family c. Dipina. 

Dipua —(Gr. Ats, double ; -rrovs, a foot.) 


In the history of the polar bear it was mentioned that its feet were 
prevented from slipping on the ice by a coating of thick hair. The foot 
of the Jerboa is defended in the same manner by long bristly hairs, which 
not only give the creature a 
firm hold of the ground for 
its spring, but also defend 
the foot from the burning soil 
on which it lives. 

The timidity of the Jerboa 
is very great, and on the 
slightest alarm it instantly 
rushes to its burrow, but if 
intercepted, skims away over 
the plain with such rapidity 
that it seems to fly, and when 
at full speed a swift grey¬ 
hound can scarcely overtake 
it. 

Grain and bulbous roots 
are its chief food; while 
eating, it holds the food with 
its fore paws, and sits upright 
on its haunches, like the 
squirrels and marmots. The 
Jerboa does not bear confinement well; it always appears uneasy and 
distrustful; it remains hidden during the day, and even when it emerges 
from its concealment towards the evening is always ready to retreat at 
the least alarm. 

There are many kinds 
of jerboa; the Egyptian 
Jerboa is rather small Myoxus.— (Gr. Muo£os, or Muco£os, a Dormouse.) 

being about the size of a 
large rat; its colour is a 
tawny yellow. 

The Dormouse is very 
common in all the warmer 
parts of the Continent, 
and is often found in this 
country, especially in the 
southern and midland 

counties. It lives in 

copses and among brush¬ 
wood, through which it 
makes its way with such 
rapiditv that it is verv difficult to be captured 

ii 2 


JEgyptius (Lat. belonging to Egypt), 
the Jerboa. 


Sub-family d. Myoxina. 


Avellanarius (Lat. from Avellana, a filbert), 

the Dormouse. 


During the winter it lies 












100 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


torpid, but takes care to have a stock of food laid up, on which it feeds 
during the few interruptions to its slumbers. A warm day in winter 
will usually rouse it, but during the cold weather it lies rolled up, 
with its tail curled round its body. While in this torpid state, a sudden 
exposure to heat kills it, but a gentle warmth, such as holding it in the 
hand, rouses it without injury. It lives principally on nuts, acorns, and 
grain. It brings up its young in a nest composed of leaves and hay, and 
seems to be fond of society in its household labours, as ten or tweive 
nests have been seen close to each other. 


The Squirrel is a very common animal in woods, where numbers may 
be seen frisking about on the branches, or running up and down the 
trunks. If alarmed, it springs up the tree with extraordinary activity, 
and hides behind a branch. By this trick it escapes its enemy the hawk, 
and by constantly slipping behind the large branches, frequently tires him 
out. The activity and daring of this little animal are extraordinary. 
When pursued, it makes the most astonishing leaps from branch to branch, 
or from tree to tree, and has apparently some method of altering its direc¬ 
tion while in the air, possibly by means of its tail acting as a rudder. 

Many boys, and men too, know the delights of a squirrel hunt. How 
the little animal is chased from tree to tree until it is driven into a soli¬ 
tary tree, from which it cannot leap into the branches of other trees; how 
some venturous climbers ascend the branches and try to shake the squirrel 
down upon the ground; how the active little creature throws itself from 
branch to branch, baffling the attempts of its pursuers, until one lucky 
stroke sends it flying into the air, and it comes softly to the ground, there 
to be chased amid shouts, tumbles, and laughter, until it is finally over¬ 
whelmed by a well-aimed cap, and made prisoner before it can disengage 
itself from the encumbrance. 

It i r , easily domesticated, and is ver 

Sub-family e. Sciurina. 

Sciurus. —(Gr. 2 Kid, a shadow; oupc t, a tail.) 


amusing 



in its habits when 
suffered to go at large in a 
room or kept in a spacious 
cage; but when confined in 
a little cramped box, espe¬ 
cially in one of the cruei 
wheel cages, its energies 
and playfulness are quite 
lost. Men often go about 
with squirrels for sale, and 
generally cheat those who 
buy them. In the first place, 
they constantly try to sell 
Europseus (Lat. European), the Squirrel. old squirrels for young, but 

this imposition may be detected by looking at the teeth of the animal, 
which are nearly white if young, but if old are of a light yellow. 

Li the second place, let the purchaser beware of very tame and quiet 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


101 


squirrels. These are generally animals just caught and perfectly wild, but 
made sedate by a dose of laudanum, which in many cases causes their 
death in a short time. One of my friends was deceived in this manner 
only a few months since, the squirrel dying in the course of the evening 
of the day on which it was purchased. 

The colour of the English Squirrel is a deep reddish brown, and its 
tail so large and bushy as to shade its whole body when carried curled 
over its back from whence it derives its name of Seiurus, or Shadow-tail. 



The Flying Squirrels are well known by their pow r er of making 
enormous sweeps through the air. They are enabled to make these leaps 
by a fold of skin at each side, which, when spread by the extended paws, 
forms a kind of parachute, that supports them in their passage through 
the air. When they wish to pass from one tree to another, they spring 
downwards from a lofty branch, stretch out all their legs, and sweep to 
their mark with an upward curve. The species of Flying Squirrel here 
represented is a native of the Rocky Mountains in America, where it 
lives among the dense pine forests that abound there. Its colour is 
yellowish brown, and its length about a foot. 

Webber gives a very happy account of the domestic life of these 
creatures:— 

“ Then, when I went out by myself into the deep wood, I sat down on 
the moss at the root of an old tree to w r atcli for the squirrel. When 
everything was still again, I 
would see him after a while 
poking his head out of the 
hole, snuff! snuff! Then 
out his head would pop to 
rest his chin upon his fore 
paws, and he would look all 
around, above and below, 
very cunningly, to see if all 
was right. Then out, like 
a thought, he would glide, 
and I could see his lovely 
brush quickly curled and 
spread so grandly above his 
head, as he sat upon a 
limb, still for the moment. 

Lo! there is another snuf- 


another pops, and another and another. Such whisking of tails, darting 
along limbs, and bounding from swinging twig to rustling tree tops, 
intil they all meet. 


ling nose, and then great 
shining eyes filling the round 
black knot hole, and out 


Pteromys.— (Gr. TlTepuu, a wing; yvs, 
a mouse.) 


Alpmus (Lat. Alpine), the Flying Squirrel. 




102 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


“Now the frolic begins in earnest, and they dart round and round the 
trunks, rattling the bark down as they chase each other. Their tails are 
spread now as wide as they can, as if they were scared; and that lady 
squirrel he makes love to, you may be sure, for now he has chased her 
out to the very end of a great high limb; and hard pushed, here she 
comes right off into the air! down almost into my face—the white of 
her arms underneath, spread wide like her stiffened tail—into the leaves 
head-foremost, and then up and aw'ay, patter! patter! patter! Here 
he comes too, sailing down after her, plump! and rattles off along the 
old logs and swinging vines in hot chase. 

“ So they all would frolic, chasing one another, and one of them would 
see me, and stop and stamp his tiny feet and bark at me, jerking his tail 
in comic wrath.” 


The Alpine Marmot is common in the mountainous districts of 
Europe. It lives in burrows dug in the ground. These burrows are 
something in the shape of a Y, one of the forks leading to its habita¬ 
tion, a kind of chamber lined with dry grass and mosses, and the 
other fork serving as a storehouse for food, as a provision against the 

. „ winter months, when it re- 

A KC TOMYS.-(Gr. ApKros, a bear; ««, tires to jts bo j closes th „ 

a mouse.) , , , ’ . 

entrance, and becomes tor¬ 
pid until the commence¬ 
ment of spring. When it 
first retires for the winter, 
it is very fat, and is then 
killed and eaten in great 
numbers. The skin is also 
of some service. 

Many may be seen in 
England, carried about by 
the Savoyard boys, who 

Marmotta (from its native name), the Marmot. ca tch them when young, 

and tame them. When 

domesticated they are mild and inoffensive, but no instruction entirely 
overcomes their abhorrence of a dog. 

When feeding in their native country, the marmots are very suspicious, 
and always station one marmot as a sentinel, and on his giving the 
alarm, the remainder instantly seek the protection of their holes, closely 
followed by their faithful sentinel. 



The Ox.—The Ruminantia, or animals that chew the cud, include the 
oxen, sheep and goats, deer, giraffe, and camels. They have a peculiar 
construction of stomach, which receives the freshly-gathered food, retains 
it for some hours, and then passes it back into the mouth to be re-mas¬ 
ticated. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


103 


The Ox is spread widely over the earth, scarcely any country being 
without its peculiar breed. In this country, where it is our most useful 
domesticated animal, there are nearly as many breeds as counties, 
generally distinguished by the length or shape of their horns. There 
is the “long-horned breed” from Lancashire, the “short horned” from 
Durham, the “middle-horned ” from Devonshire, and the “polled” or 
hornless, breed. Each of these breeds has its particular value; some 

Order V. . . . UNGULATA. —(Lat . possessing hoofs.) 

Family I.. . . Bovidae.—(Lat. Bos, an ox. Ox kind.) 

Sub-family a. Bovina. 

BOS. 



Taurus (Lat. a Ball), the Ox. 

fatten easily, and are kept especially for the butcher; others give milk, 
and are valuable for the dairy. The best dairy cow is the Alderney, a 
small, short-horned animal, furnishing exceedingly rich milk. 

In some parts of England, oxen are used to draw waggons, or to drag 
the plough. They are not so strong as horses, and their movements are 
much slower. 

Formerly, the cruel sport of bull-baiting was much practised in 
England, and bull-rings, that is, large iron rings firmly fixed in the 
ground, may be seen in the market-place of many towns. The poor 
bull was fastened to the ring by a strong rope, and mangled by thfi 
repeated attacks of large and fierce dogs. Sometimes the rope did not 
prove strong enough to restrain his frantic struggles, and the tortured 
animal chased and scattered the terrified spectators. 

In Spain, bull-baiting is a very popular sport. The Spaniards do not 
confine the animal with a rope, but turn him loose into a large arena. 



















104 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


where several men, armed with spears and darts, first goad him into 
madness, and then slaughter him. The death of the bull is, however, 
considered as a compliment due to the valour and endurance of the 
animal; for if a bull is soon overcome, or refuses to attack his oppo¬ 
nents, he is driven out of the arena amid the hisses of the spectators, 
and suffered to prolong an ignominious existence. 

Every part of the Ox is of value. We eat his flesh, we wear shoes 
soled with his skin, our candles are made from his fat, our tables are 
joined with glue made from his hoofs, his hair is mixed with the mortar 
of our walls, his horns are made into combs, knife handles, drinking 
cups, &c., his bones are used as a cheap substitute for ivory, and the 
fragments ground and scattered over the fields as manure—and soup is 
made from his tail. 

The young ox is called a calf, and is quite as useful in its wav as the 
full-grown ox. The flesh is called veal, and by many preferred to the 
flesh of the ox or cow, which is called beef: jelly is made from its feet. 
The stomach is salted and dried, and is called rennet. Cheese is made 
by soaking a piece of rennet in water, and pouring it into a vessel of 
milk. The milk soon forms a curd, which is placed in a press, and the 
watery substance, called whey, squeezed from it. The curd is coloured 
and salted, and is then cheese. 

When a number of cows are kept in the same yard, the oldest cow 
always takes precedence, and pushes the others with her horns if they 
interfere with her. She chooses her own rack, and if she sees another 
radt better furnished, she dispossesses the original proprietor, and with 
an air of ridiculous complacency appropriates it to herself. None of the 
junior cows attempt to leave the yard or enter it until she has preceded 
them ; and so jealous is she of her authority, that if any enter before her 
she refuses to move until they have been turned out. She then looks 
round in a dignified manner, and marches in, followed by the rest of the 
troop. 

At Chillingham Park there is a breed of wild cattle, apparently the 
descendants of the original race that overran England in former years. 
They still retain their wild habits, and when any of them must be killed, 
thirty or forty men go out armed with rifles. A keeper mounted on 
a swift horse separates the victim from the herd, and drives it by the 
concealed marksmen, who speedily lay it prostrate. The colour of the 
Chillingham breed is always white with dark red ears. 

The Zebit or Brahmin Bull is a native of India. It is a very 
conspicuous animal on account of the hump on its shoulders. There are 
different breeds of it, some larger than the English cattle, and some 
hardly larger than an ordinary hog. The Hindoos treat it with great 
reverence, and will not suffer it to be molested. It is in consequence so 
tame and familiar that it will often walk down the streets, examine the 
simps, and perhaps help itself to some sweetmeats; or it will lie down in 


NATURAL HISTORY. 105 

the narrow street; but no one must disturb it, they must either proceed 
by another road, or wait until the sacred animal is pleased to rise. 

With singular inconsistency, the Hindoo, although he honours the 
bull with such absurd reverence, yet has no pity on the ox. While the 


BOS. 



Indicus (Lat. Indian), the Zebu. 


consecrated bull wanders with impunity through the streets, walks into 
shops, (china shops or otherwise,) and resents with a peevish push of its 
horns the slightest affront, the ox is fastened to the plough, urged on by 
the goad, and put to every kind of labour. The Zebu-cow, although not 
quite so well treated as the bull, yet enjoys more forbearance than the ox. 

The Asiatic Buffalo is a large and powerful animal with enormous 
horns. It closely resembles the domestic ox, but is larger and stronger. 
Its strength is so great that it is a formidable enemv even to the tiger. 
Captain Basil Hall gives an account of a battle between a buffalo and a 
tiger. The tiger, however, seemed to have been alarmed at the very 
unusual scene into which he had been transferred; but the readiness of 
the buffalo to attack, proves that it did not fear the tiger. 

“ We were promised a grand day’s sport one afternoon, when a buffalo 
and a tiger were to be pitted against each other. The buffalo entered 
the ring composedly enough; but after looking about him, turned to one 
side, and rather pettishly, as if he had felt a little bilious, overturned a 
vessel of water placed there expressly for his use. The tiger refused 
for a long time to make his appearance, and it was not till his den was 
filled with smoke and fire that he sprang out. The buffalo charged his 



106 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


enemy in a moment, and by one furious push capsized him right over 
To our great disappointment, the tiger pocketed this insult in the shab¬ 
biest manner imaginable, and passing on, leaped furiously at the ropes, 
with which his feet became entangled, so that the buffalo was enabled to 
punish his antagonist about the rump most ingloriously. When at 
length the tiger got loose, he slunk off to a distant part of the area, lay 
down, and pretended to be dead. The boys, however, soon put him up 
again, and tried to bring him to the scratch with squibs and crackers, 
and a couple of dozen dogs being introduced at the same moment, they 
all set at him, but only one ventured to take any liberty with the enraged 


Bubalus. — (Gr. BowfiaAos, a Buffalo.) 



Buffelus (Latinised coi’ruption of BovfiaAos), the Buffalo. 


animal This bold dog actually caught the tiger by the tail, but a slight 
pat of the mighty monster’s paw crushed the yelping cur as flat as a 
board. The buffalo, who really appeared anxious to have a fair stand-up 
fight, now drove the dogs off, and repeatedly poked the tiger with his 
nose, and even turned him half over several times with his horns. 

“We had then a fight between two buffaloes, which ran their heads 
against each other with a crash that one could fancy shook the palace 
to its very foundation; indeed, the only wonder was how both animals 
did not fall down dead with their skulls fractured. But there appears 
to be a wonderful degree of thickness or hardness in this part of the 
animal.” 

The Buffalo has long been domesticated in India, and from its great 
strength is exceedingly useful. In its wild state it is always found in 
marshy grounds, where the air is sufficiently pestilential to destroy most 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


107 


animals. There it will luxuriate through the hottest part of the day, 
with its entire body immersed in the muddy water, only leaviug its 
muzzle above the surface. 

The hide of this animal is particularly thick and strong, and is in 
great request for making harness. 

The Cape Bueealo is a native of Southern Africa. It is exceedingly 
ferocious and cunning, often lurking among the trees until an unsus¬ 
pecting traveller approaches, and then rushing on him and destroying 
him. The ferocious creature is not content with killing his victim, but 


BUBALUS. 



CafFer, the Cape Buffalo. 

stands over him mangling him with its horns, and stamping on him with 
its feet. Cumming shot several of these animals, and once or twice had 
narrow escapes from them, as they are difficult to kill. His description 
of their aspect is very good, and I cannot do better than give it in his 
own words:— 

“Their horns reminded me of the rugged trunk of an oak-tree. 
Each horn was upwards of a foot in breadth at the base, and together 
they effectually protected the skull with a massive and impenetrable 
shield. The horns, descending and spreading out horizontally, com¬ 
pletely overshadow the animal’s eyes, imparting to him a look the most 
ferocious and sinister that can be imagined.” 

The Bison inhabits the plains or prairies of North America in count¬ 
less multitudes. Its enormous and heavy mane, its fierce eyes and 
lowering appearance, give this animal a most terrific aspect. The 



108 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


American Indians constantly hunt the Bison, which they call by the 
name of Buffalo. Their weapons are principally bows and arrows, ap¬ 
parently weak and small, but which, when wielded by a skilful band 
will strike the huge bison to the heart. In Catlin’s account of his 
\ravels among the North American Indians are many most interesting 
accounts of “ buffalo hunts.” Mounted on a swift horse, and armed 
with a spear and bow and arrows, the Indians kill great numbers of 
these animals. They ride up close to the bison, and with the greatest 
apparent ease bury an arrow up to its feather in the creature’s body. 
Indeed many instances are known where the slight Indian bow, drawn 

bison. —(Gr. /3i<r ecu, a Buffalo.) 



Americanus (Lat. American), the Bison. 


without any perceptible effort, has thrown the arrow completely through 
the body of the huge animal. There are many modes of destroying this 
animal in vogue among the Indians and white settlers. The skin is so 
valuable that every exertion is made to procure it. Of the buffalo’s 
hide they make their wigwams or tents, their shields, their robes, their 
shoes, &c. The Indians can also sell the hides to the traders for a 
considerable sum, so that an Indian can almost measure his importance 
and wealth by the number of hides that he takes. 

The hunters take advantage of the gregarious instincts of this animal, 
and hunt them when they are collected together in their vast herds, 
which blacken the face of the prairie for miles. Sometimes they form 















NATURAL HISTORY. 


109 


in line, and drive the herd to the edge of some tall cliff, over which they 
fall in hundreds, those behind pushing on those in the van; or sometimes 
they form a large circle, driving the animals into a helpless and leaderless 
mass, into which the hunters spring, leaving their horses, and treading 
with the skill of rope-dancers on the backs of the bewildered bisons, 
ttdiom they slaughter as they pass, stepping from one to the other, and 
driving the sharp blade of their spear through the spine of the animal 
whose back they have just quitted. 

When only wounded the Bison is a most dangerous antagonist, and 
rushes on its enemy with the most determined ferocity. Bichardson 
gives the following instance of its fury when wounded:— 

“ Mr. Finnan M‘Donald, one of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s clerks, 
was descending the Saskatchewan in a boat, and one evening, having 
pitched his tent for the night, he went out in the dusk to look for game. 
It had become nearly dark, when he fired at a bison bull, which was 
galloping over a small eminence, and as he was hastening forward to see 
if his shot had taken effect, the wounded beast made a rush at him. 
He had the presence of mind to seize the animal by the long hair on its 
forehead as it struck him on the side with its horn, and being a remark¬ 
ably tall and powerful man, a struggle ensued, which continued until his 
wrist was severely sprained, and his arm was rendered powerless; he then 
fell, and after receiving two or three blows became senseless. Shortly 
afterwards he was found by his companions lying bathed in blood, being 
gored in several places, and the bison was couched beside him, apparently 
waiting to renew the attacK nad he shown any signs of life.” 

Despite the wholesale slaughter of this animal which is carried on 
annually by the Indians, there seems to be no decrease in their numbers. 
They are more wary than before, and have withdrawn themselves into 
more distant lands, but their dark masses still crown the plain as of yore, 
although it is now impossible to judge as men could do in former days of 
the various migrations which the herds would make. The dreaded fire¬ 
arms have had their effect on the bison as on every other animal, and it 
withdraws as far as possible from the haunts of civilized man. 

The improvidence of the Indians is much to be regretted. Myriads of 
these animals are slaughtered every year, merely for the sake of their skin, 
their “ hump,” or their marrow-bones, the remainder of the animal being 
left to the wolves and the birds. 

The principal use of the flesh of the bison is to make “jerked meat ” 
uf it. This is made by cutting the meat into long narrow slips, and 
drying them in the sun. There is a peculiar art in the cutting these 
slips. The operator takes a large lump of the flesh, and holding his knife 
firmly in one hand, presses the meat against its edge with the other, 
continually turning it round and round, until the w r hole piece is converted 
into one long strip. The strips thus prepared are pegged out on stays, 
as washerwomen peg their clothes, or suspended in festoons on the 
branches of trees, like red snakes, until they are dry enough to be packed 


110 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


up. Three days is considered sufficient for the purpose. The cow is 
preferred to the bull for conversion into jerked meat, while the skin of the 
Dull is more valuable than that of the cow, from the mass of woolly bait 
about the shoulders. 

Mantles to keep travellers warm during the winter time, when sleighs 
are in the ascendant, are made from the hide of the bison. 

The strength and weight of the bison is enormous, and as it is a fierce 
as well as a powerful animal, it may seem singular that it should be so 
easily killed. The explanation of this question will be found in the 
structure of the animal. It will be seen from the engraving on p. 108, 
that the bison holds its head low, and cannot see much higher than the 
legs of a horse without exertion. In consequence, when enraged, it 
charges in a direct line, and thus the trained horses of the Indian hunters 
turn aside from its course, and contrive to place themselves close along¬ 
side the furious animal, sheering off with admirable dexterity as soon as 
the deadly arrow has sped from their masters’ hands. Indeed a well-trained 
horse will unhesitatingly dash in among a whole herd of bisons, threading 
its way among them unscathed. 

The flesh of the Bison is tolerable eating, but the “hump” appears 
from all accounts to be unapproachable in delicacy. It is exceedingly 
tender, and possesses the property of not cloying even when eaten in 

Poephagus.— (Gr. ndrj, grass ; (payee , I eat.) 



excess The fat also is said to be devoid of that sickening richness whiefc 
is usually met with in our domesticated animals. 

The cow is smaller than the bull, and considerably swifter. She is also 


* See page 111. 


Grunnlens (Lat. grunting ), the YcJe .* 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


Ill 


generally in better condition and fatter than her mate, and in consequence 
the hunters who go to “get meat,” always select the cows from the herd. 

The Yak inhabits Tartary. Of this animal in a native state little or 
nothing is known. The name of “grunniens,” or grunting, is derived 
fi Dm the peculiar sound that it utters. The tail of the Yak is very long 
and fine, and is used in India as a fan or whisk to keep off the mosquitos. 
The tail is fixed into an ivory or metal liandls, and is then called a 
chowrie. Elephants are sometimes taught to carry a chowrie, and wave 
it about in the air above the heads of those who ride on its back. In 
Turkey, the tail is called a “ horse-tail,” and is used as an emblem ol 
dignity. 

Erom the shoulders of the Yak a mass of long hair falls almost to the 
ground, something like the mane of a Lion. This hair is applied to 
various purposes by the Tartars. They weave it into cloth, of which they 
not only make articles of dress, but also tents, and even the ropes which 
sustain the tents. 



The Musk Ox is a native of North America, and is not very unlike the 
Yak in appearance. It is covered with very long hair, which reaches 
almost to the ground. Its flesh is tolerably good when fat, but at other 

ly of musk. The Ov.Bos._(Lat. Sfi.eep-Oz.) 

horns of this animal 
are united together 
at their base, forming 
a kind of shield or 
helmet covering the 
forehead. When the 
hunters wish to shoot 
the Musk Ox they 
conceal themselves, 
and fire without per¬ 
mitting the oxen to 
see them. The poor 
animals seem to fancy 
that the report of the 
guns is thunder, and 
crowd together in a 
mass, so that they 

afford a good mark. Moschatus (Lat. musky), the Musk Ox. 

If, however, they 

catch sight of one of their assailants, they instantly charge at him, and 
then are very dangerous enemies. Both this animal and the Yak are 
small, scarcely equalling in size the small Highland cattle, but the thick 
hair which covers them makes them look larger than they really are. 



112 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Catoblepas. — (Gr. KaTco^\eiruy, looking down.) 


The Gnoo, or 'Wildebeest, inhabits Southern Africa. At first sight 
it is difficult to say whether the horse, buffalo, or deer predominates in 
its form. It however belongs to neither of these animals, but is one of 
the bovine Antelopes. The horns cover the top of the forehead, and 
then, sweeping downwards over the face, turn boldly upwards with a 
sharp curve. The neck is furnished with a mane like that of the horse, 
and the legs are formed like those of the stag. It is a very swift 
animal, and when provoked, very dangerous. When it attacks an oppo¬ 
nent it drops on its knees, and then springs forward with such force 
that, unless he is extremely wary and active, he cannot avoid its shock. 
When first alarmed, its movements are very grotesque, and are thus 
described by Cumming :— 

“ When the hunter approaches the old bulls, they commence whisking 
their long white tails in a most eccentric manner; then springing sud¬ 
denly into the air, they begin prancing and capering, and pursue each 
other in circles at their utmost speed. Suddenly they all pull up toge¬ 
ther, to overhaul the intruder, when two of the bulls will often commence 
fighting in the most violent manner, dropping on their knees at every 
shock; then quickly wheeling about, they kick up their heels, whirl their 

tails with a fantas¬ 
tic flourish, and 
scour across the 
plain enveloped in 
a cloud of dust.” 

When it is taken 
young, the Gnu 
can be domestica¬ 
ted, and brought 
up with other cat¬ 
tle, but it will not 
bear confinement, 
and is liable to be¬ 
come savage under 
restraint. 

There are several 
species of this ani¬ 
mal, three being 
satisfactorily as 
certained, namely, 
the common Gnoo, 
represented in the accompanying engraving, the Cocoon, (CatoblSpas 
Taurlna,) and the Brindled Gnoo (CatoblSpas Gorgon), as a specimen, 
all three animals being in the British Museum. 

The size of the Gnoo is about that of a well-grown ass, that is, about 
four feet in height. Its flesh is in great repute both among the natives 
and colonists. 



Gnu (Native name), the, Gnoo. 

















NATURAL HISTORY. 


1 ! 3 


The Nylghau, one of the largest and most magnificent of the Ante- 
iopes, inhabits the forests of India. It is extremely vicious, and cannot lie 
approached without danger. Its method of attack is similar to that of 
the Gnoo, namely, by dropping upon its knees and then springing violently 

PORTAX.—(Gr. UopraZ, a Calf.) 



Picta (Lat. painted) the Nylghau. 

forward. The tiger is its great enemy, and often destroys it in spite of 
its courage. During the day the Nylghau conceals itself in the forests, 
and at night leaves its coverts to feed, often doing no inconsiderable 
harm to adjacent cultivated lands. 

The colour of this creature is a slaty blue; it has however several 
white spots, and from its throat and shoulders hangs a dense bunch of 
hair. It is about the same size as the gnoo, standing about four feet 
high at the shoulder. 

The Koodoo* is a native of South Afnca, living along the wooded 
borders of rivers. It is chiefly remarkable for its beautifully shaped horns, 
which are about four feet in length and twisted into a large spiral of 
about two turns and a half. A bold ridge runs along the horns and 
follows their curvature. When hard pressed it always takes to the 
water, and endeavours to escape by its powers of swimming. Although 
a large animal, nearly four feet in height, it can leap with wonderful 
activity. The weight of the horns is very considerable, and partly to 
relieve itself of that weight, and partly to guard them from entangle¬ 
ment in the bushes among which it lives and on which it feeds, it 
Earries its head backwards, so that the horns rest on its shoulders. 

* See page 114. 

I 








114 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



The best and fullest accounts of the Eland * and the Oryx are to be 
found in Harris and Cumming’s Adventures in South Africa. An extract 
from Cumming will be both interesting and accurate. Of the Eland, he 
writes:— 

“This magnificent animal is by far the largest of all the antelope 

, . tribe, exceeding a 

Strepsiceros.— (Gr. 2t peil/is, a twisting; nepus, a horn.) j aro - e ox in size. It 

also attains an ex¬ 
traordinary condi¬ 
tion, being often 
burthened with a. 
very large amount of 
fat. Its flesh is most 
excellent, and is 
justly esteemed a- 
bove all others. It 
has a peculiar sweet¬ 
ness, and is tender 
and fit for use the 
moment the animal 
is killed. Like the 
gemsbok, the Eland 
is independent of 
water. It is general¬ 
ly diffused through¬ 
out all the wooded 
districts of the in¬ 
terior where I have 
hunted. Like other 
varieties of deer and 
antelope, the old 

Kudu, (native name) the Koodoo. males may often be 

found consorting to¬ 
gether apart from the females, and a troop of these, when in full con¬ 
dition, may be likened to a herd of stall-fed oxen. 

“ I have repeatedly seen an eland drop down dead at the end of a 
severe chase, owing to his plethoric habit. The skin of the eland I had 
just shot emitted, like most other antelopes, the most delicious perfume 
of trees and grass.” 

The height of the eland is fully five feet at the shoulders, and its 
weight from seven to nine hundredweight. The horns of the male are 
about a foot and a half in length, while those of the female are smaller, 
and sometimes without the spiral wreathing. 


The Oryx, also a South African animal, is well known among hunte >c 

* See pa^e 115. 


NATURAL HISTORY, 


116 


HoselIphus.— (Gr. Ox-stay .) 



Oreas (Gr. ’Operns, belonging to the mountains), the Eland. 

as the mly antelope that revenges itself on the lion. When it sees the 
lion in the act of springing on it, it lowers its head, receiving the lion on 
the points of its sharp horns. It invariably perishes by the shock, but 
the lion also perishes with it. Their skeletons have more than once 
been seen lying together bleached on the plain. The description given 
of this animal by Cumming is highly graphic. “ The oryx, or gems- 
bok, to which I was now about to direct my attention more particu¬ 
larly, is about the most beautiful and remarkable of all the antelope 
tribe. It is the animal which is supposed to have given rise to the 
fable of the unicorn, from its long straight horns, when seen in profile, so 
exactly covering one another as to give it the appearance of having but 
one. It possesses the erect mane, long sweeping black tail, and general 
appearance of the horse, witli the head and hoofs of an antelope. It is 
robust in its form, squarely and compactly built, and very noble in its 
bearing. Its height is about that of an ass, and in colour it slightly 
resembles that animal. The beautiful black bands which eccentrically 
adorn its head, giving it the appearance of wearing a stall collar, 
together with the manner in which the rump and thighs are painted, 
impart to it a character peculiar to itself. The adult male measures 3 
feet JO inches in height at the shoulder.” 

The sharp horns of the oryx stand it in good stead, when pursued by 








116 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



The Springbok is 
one of the smaller 
South African ante¬ 
lopes. Its colour is a 
light cinnamon red on 
the back, fading into 
white on the under 
part of the body, a 
narrow band of red¬ 
dish brown separating 
the two colours. 

For a description 
of the habits of the 
animal, I must again 
refer the reader to 


Cumming. 


During 


Leucoryx (Gr. the white Oryx), the Oryx. 


his early travels in 
South Africa, the first 
object that met his 
eyes on waking one morning, was a herd of Springboks, which he thus 
describes: 

“ On the 28th I had the satisfaction of beholding, for the first time, 
what I had often heard the Boers allude to, viz. a “ trek-bokken,” or grand 
migration of springboks. This was, I think, the most extraordinary and 
striking scene, as connected with beasts of the chase, that I have ever 
beheld. For about two hours before the day dawned I had been lying 
awake in my waggon, listening to the grunting of the bucks within two 
hundred yards of me, imagining that some large herd of springboks was 
feeding beside my camp; but on my rising when it was clear, and looking 
about me, I beheld the ground to the northward of my camp actually 
covered with a dense living mass of springboks, marching slowly and 
steadily along, extending from an opening in a long range of hills on the 
west, through which they continued pouring, like the flood of some 
great river, to a ridge about a mile to the north-east, over which they 
disappeared. The breadth of the ground they covered might have been 
somewhere about half a mile. I stood upon the fore-chest of my waggon 
for nearly two hours, lost in wonder at the novel and wonderful scene 
which was passing before me, and had some difficulty in convincing 


Ohyx. — (Gr. v O pv£, a word from Herodotus, 
denoting a gazelle.) 


dogs, as it generally 
kills several of them 
before it is van¬ 
quished, and if the 
hunter’s rifle is not 
at hand, drives off the 
dogs and escapes. 









NATURAL HISTORY. 


117 



*88 

legions 
streaming 


myself that it was reality which I beheld, and not the wild and ex¬ 
aggerated picture of a hunter’s dream. During this time their vast 
continued 

through Gazelua. — (Arabic, Ghazil, light or elegant.) 

the neck in the hills 
in one unbroken 
compact phalanx. 

“Yast and sur¬ 
prising as was the 
herd of springboks 
which I had that 
morning witnessed, 
it was infinitely sur¬ 
passed by what 1 
beheld on the march 
from my vley to old 
Sweir’s camp; for 
on our clearing the 
low range of hills 
through which the 

springboks had been _ . ^ ... _ „ , 

pouring, I beheld Euchore ( Gr - Ev > well 5 X°P 0 *> dance), the Springbok. 

the boundless plains, and even the hill sides which stretched away on 
every side of me, thickly covered, not with herds, but with one vast herd 
of springboks ; as far as the eye could strain the landscape was alive with 
them, until they softened down into a dim red mass of living creatures.’’ 

The Springbok is very fearful of man, and if it has to cross a path 
over \vhich a man has passed before, it does not walk over, but takes a 
tremendous leap, ten or twelve feet high, and about fifteen long, at the 
same time curving its back in a most extraordinary manner. It is from 
this habit of leaping that the Dutch Boers who inhabit the Cape have 
given it the name of Springbok. 


The Gazelle, so famous in Oriental poetry, inhabits Arabia and 
Syria.. Its eyes are very large, dark and lustrous, so that the Oriental 
poets love to compare the eyes of a woman to those of a gazelle, just as 
Homer constantly applied the epithet ox-eyed (fiovjns) to the more 
majestic goddesses, such as Juno and Minerva. It is easily tamed when 
young, and is frequently seen domesticated in the courtyards of houses 
in Syria. Its swiftness is so great that even a greyhound cannot over¬ 
take it, and the hunters are forced to make use of hawks, which are 
trained to strike at the head of the gazelle, and thus confuse it, and 
retard its speed, so as to permit the dogs to come up. In several parts 
of Syria, the gazelle is taken by driving a herd into a large enclosure 
surrounded by a deep ditoh. A few gaps are made, through which the 
terrified animals leap, and fall into the ditch, when they are easily taken. 









ns 


NATURAL HISTORY 




The Chamois is 
found only in moun¬ 
tainous regions, espe¬ 
cially the Alpine chains 
of Europe and Western 
Asia. Jt lives on the 
loftiest ridges, display¬ 
ing wonderful activity, 
and leaping with cer¬ 
tainty and security on 
places where the eye 

can hardly discern room 
Ariel (Or. proper name), the Gazelle. f or f ee f^ 'ppg Q[ m . 

mois hunters are exposed to the most frightful dangers, to the chance 
of falling from terrific precipices, to hunger and cold, and every imagin- 

RDPiCA PEA .-(Lat. Rock-goat.) ab!e hards , hi P that 

days spent among 

Alpine precipices 
can suggest. Yet a 
kind of fascination 
urges them on, al¬ 
though fewChamois 
hunters finally es¬ 
cape the dangers 
that surround them. 
The skin of the 
Chamois is used ex¬ 
tensively by shoe¬ 
makers. 

Several genera 
are omitted. 


The Ibex inhab¬ 
its the Alpine re¬ 
gions of Europe and 
Western Asia. It 
is instantly recognised by its magnificent horns, which curve with a 
bold sweep from the head almost to the haunches. The horns are sur¬ 
rounded at regular intervals with rings, and are immensely strong, 


Tragus (Gr. T pay os, a He-goat), the Chamois. 


G AZ ELLA. 


The height of the ga¬ 
zelle is about one foot 
nine inches; its colour 
a dark vellowish brown 
fading into white on 
the under parts. 












NATURAL HISTORY. 


119 


serving, as some say, to break the fall of the Ibex when it makes a leap 


from a height. 

When chased it is a dan¬ 
gerous animal, as after it has 
led its pursuer over danger¬ 
ous heights and fearful 
chasms, it will frequently 
turn on him, and unless he 
can shoot it before it reaches 
him, will hurl him over the 
precipice. It is very wary, 
and, like many other animals, 
posts a sentry to keep watch, 
who, when he sees a sus¬ 
picious object, gives notice 
by a kind of whistle, as a 
warning, on hearing which 
the whole of the herd in¬ 
stantly dash off to the high¬ 
est point they can find. The 
height of the Ibex is two 
feet six inches; the length 
of its horns often three 
feet. 


Capra.—(L at. a Goat.) 



Ibex, the Ibex, or Steinbok. 


CAPRA. 



Hircus (Lat. a Hc-goat), the Goat, 

The common Goat is not in much request in England, but in some 










120 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


other countries, as Syria and Switzerland, large herds of goats are kepi 
for the sake of their milk, and in fact almost entirely take the place of the 
cow. The most celebrated variety of this animal is the Cashmir goat, 
which furnishes the beautifully fine wool from which the costly Cashmir 
shawls are made. The shawls bear a high value even in their own 
country, but in Europe the price is much increased by the various taxes 
which are paid in every stage of the manufacture,—the average number 
of taxes paid on each shawl being about thirty, several of which are 
limited only by the pleasure of the collector. 

The Sheep. —There are many kinds of Sheep, among which the common 
sheep, the long-tailed sheep, and the Wallachian sheep are the most 
conspicuous. Next to the cow, the sheep is our most useful animal. 
England produces better wool than any country; for although the wool 
of the Spanish sheep is finer than ours, it is much less in quantity. 

/r + o* \ The Merino, as 

Ovis.—(Lat. a Sheep.) , . 5 ,, 

this sheep is call¬ 
ed, is annually 
conducted from 
one part of the 
country to another, 
and back again. 
The distance tra¬ 
versed is upwards 
of four hundred 
miles, and the time 
necessary to com¬ 
plete the journey 
about six or seven 
weeks. The pro¬ 
prietors of the 
llocks think that 
these periodical 
journeys improve 
the wool; but it 
Anes (Lat. a Ram.) is in M probability 

a mistaken notion, as the stationary flocks of Leon and Estremadura 
produce quite as fine a fleece. Of course such a body of sheep—nearly 
six millions—do great damage to the lands over which they pass, and 
many fall victims to fatigue or are destroyed by wolves. 

The long-tailed sheep inhabits Syria and Egypt. Its tail is so large 
and so loaded with fat, that to prevent it from being injured by dragging 
on the ground, a board is fastened to the under side of it, and wheels 
are often attached to the board. The peculiar fat of the tail is con¬ 
sidered a great delicacy, and is so soft as to be frequently used as butter. 
The weight of a large tail is about seventy pounds. 








NATURAL HISTORY. 


121 


The Wallacliian or Cretan sheep is found in Crete, Wallachia, Hungary, 
and Western Asia. Its horns are exceedingly large, and are twisted 
in a manner resembling those of the Koodoo. It is very strong, and 
extremely vicious and unruly. In this and several other sheep the 
fleece is composed of wool and hair mixed. The hair of the Wallacliian 
sheep is long and silky like that of a spaniel, and of great length, falling 
almost to the ground. 


The Giraffe. —This beautiful and extraordinary animal is found only 
in South Africa. As the gnoo seems to combine the properties of the 
antelope, horse, and 


Sub-family b. Camelopardina. 
Camelopardalis. —(Gr. KdfXTjAos, a camel; irdpSaAts, 

a pard.) 


buffalo, so the Gi¬ 
raffe appears to bear 
the characteristics 
of the antelope and 
the camel. In the 
opinion of modern 
naturalists, it holds 
a place by itself 
between the deer 
and antelopes;—it 
forms, at all events, 
a group to which no 
other animals be¬ 
long. 

The height of the 
Giraffe varies from 
thirteen to eighteen 
feet. Its beautiful 
long neck enables 
it to browse on the 
leaves of the trees 
on which it feeds. 

It is very dainty 
while feeding, and 
luckstheleaves one 
y one with its long 
and flexible tongue. 

On its head are two 
very remarkable projections, closely resembling horns. These projections 
are not horns, but only thickenings of the bone of the skull, covered 
with skin, and bearing a tuft of black hair at the extremity of each. The 
fore legs at first sight appeal longer than the hind ones, but this apparent 
difference is only caused by the great length of the shoulder-blades, as 
both pair of legs are of the same length at their junction with the body. 
Its eyes are very large and prominent, so that the animal can see on 



Giraffa (Arabic, Zarapha), the Giraffe. 




122 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


every side without turning its head. Just over and between the eyes is 
a third bony prominence, resembling the projecting enlargements of the 
skull, called horns. The use or these projections is not very well known, as 
although in play the Giraffe will swing its head round and strike with it, 
yet when it wishes to repel an assailant it has recourse to violent and 
rapid kicks from its hind legs. So light and swift are these kicks that 
die eye can scarcely follow them, and so powerful are they that the lion 
is not unfrequently driven off by them. Vaillant relates that a Giraffe 
which he was hunting, kept off his pack of dogs by its rapid kicks. 
Indeed, it it were to venture its head too near the lion, a blow from his 
tremendous paw would in all probability lay the animal prostrate. 

The skin of this animal is an inch and a half in thickness, so that it 

is necessary for the hunter to make very sure of 
his aim before he fires at an animal so well 
defended. 

The Giraffe has much difficulty in reaching 
the ground with its mouth, nor does it often 
attempt to do so, unless it is bribed with some¬ 
thing of which it is very fond, such as a lump 
of sugar. It then straddles widely with its fore 
legs, and with some trouble succeeds in reaching 
the object aimed at. This attitude was noticed 
and copied in the Prsenestine pavement. 

The appearance of this animal in its native haunts is very magnificent. 
“ These gigantic and exquisitely beautiful animals, which are admirably 
formed by nature to adorn the forests that clothe the boundless plains of 
the interior, are widely distributed throughout the interior of Southern 
Africa, but are nowhere to be met with in great numbers. In countries 
unmolested by the intrusive foot of man, the Giraffe is found generally in 
herds varying from twelve to sixteen; but I have not unfrequently met 
with herds containing thirty individuals, and on one occasion I counted 
forty together; this, however, was owing to chance, and about sixteen 
may be reckoned as the average number of a herd. These herds are com¬ 
posed of Giraffes of various sizes, from the young Giraffe of nine or ten 
feet in height, to the dark chestnut coloured old bull of the herd, whose 
exalted head towers above his companions, generally attaining to a height 
of upwards of eighteen feet. The females are of lower stature, and more 
delicately formed than the males, their height averaging from sixteen to 
seventeen feet. Some writers have discovered ugliness and a want of 
grace in the Giraffe, but I consider that he is one of the most strikingly 
beautiful animals in the creation; and when a herd of them is seen 
scattered tnrough a grove of the picturesque parasol-topped acacias which 
adorn their native plains, and on 'whose uppermost shoots they are 
enabled to browse by the colossal height with which nature has so 
admirably endowed them, he must, indeed, be slow of conception who 
fails to discover both grace and dignity in all their movements. There 



SKULL OF THE GIRAFFE. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


123 


can be no doubt that every animal is seen to the greatest advar tage in 
the haunts which nature destined him to adorn, and among the various 
living creatures which beautify creation, I have often traced a remark¬ 
able resemblance between the animal and the general appearance of the 
locality in which it is found. 

“ In the case of the Giraffe, which, is invariably met with among vene¬ 
rable forests, where innumerable blasted and weather-beaten trunks and 
stems occur, I have repeatedly been in doubt as to the presence of them, 
until I had recourse to my spy-glass; and on referring the case to my 
savage attendants I have known even their optics to fail, at one time 
mistaking these dilapidated trunks for camelopards, and again confounding 
real camelopards with these aged veterans of the forest.”* 

The first living Giraffes, in the possession of the Zoological Society, 
were brought by M. Thibaut in 1835. He succeeded in taking four, all 
of which he brought with him. One of them is still living. From this 
stock, several Giraffes have been born, some of which are now in England, 
and others have been sent to other countries. 

One of the four originals killed himself soon after his arrival, by 
striking his head against a wall as he was rising from the ground. An 
accident of the same nature happened recently to another animal, one of 
its horns being broken off, and bent backwards; but owing to the presence 
of mind of the keeper, who immediately pulled the horn into its place 
again, no bad results followed, the fractured parts uniting naturally. 

The tongue of the Giraffe is one of the most remarkable parts of its 
structure. It is very flexible and capable of great changes of form, the 
Giraffe being able to contract it so that its tip could enter an ordinary 
quill. The animal is very fond of exercising its tongue, and sometimes 
pulls the hairs from its companions’ manes and tails, and swallows them; 
no very easy feat, as the hair of the tail is often more than four feet 
long. 

The movements of the Giraffe are very peculiar, the limbs of each side 
appearing to act together. It is very swift, and can outrun a horse, 
especially if it can get among broken ground and rocks, over which it 
leaps with a succession of frog-like hops. 

In this country it endures the climate well. The Giraffes in the 
Zoological Gardens which v r ere born and bred in this country seem very 
healthy and are exceedingly tame, examining the hands of their visitors, 
and following them round the enclosure. They eat herbs, such as grass, 
hay, carrots, and onions. When cut grass is given to them, they eat off 
the upper parts and leave the coarse stems, just as we eat asparagus. 

The Camel. —There is much confusion about the names of the 
Camels.—The Bactrian Camel is distinguished by bearing two humps on 
its back, the Aiiaeian Camel by bearing only one. The Arabian camel 


* Cumming’s Adventures, vol. i. pp. 269, 270. 


124 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


is sometimes, but erroneously, called the Dromedary, as the Dromedary, 
or El-Heirie, is a lighter variety of that animal, and only used when 
despatch is required. 

The Camel forms the principal wealth of the Arab ; without it he could 
never attempt to penetrate the vast deserts where it lives, as its remark¬ 
able power of drinking at one draught sufficient water to serve it for 

Sub-family c. Caniellna. 

Camelus. —(Gr. KffinjA os, a Camel.) 



Arabicus (Lat. Arabian ), the Camel. 

several days, enables it to march from station to station without requiring 
to drink by the way. The peculiar structure of its stomach gives it this 
most useful power. In its stomach are a great number of deep cells, into 
which the water passes, and is then prevented from escaping by a muscle 
which closes the mouth of the cells. When the Camel feels thirsty, it 
has the power of casting some of the water contained in these cells into 
its mouth. The habits of this animal are very interesting. A recent 
traveller, the llev. J. H. Pollen, most kindly forwarded to me the follow¬ 
ing interesting and amusing account of the habits of the Camel:— 

“ My principal experience in camels has been during my travels through 
the Arabian desert. I followed, after some interval of time, the route of 
the Hajji—the Mecca pilgrimage. 

“ The temper of the Camel is in general not very amiable. It is un¬ 
willing, jealous, and revengeful to the last degree. Of this latter quality 



















NATURAL HISTORV. 


125 


curious tales are told: one, which was fully believed by the Arab that 
narrated it to me, was as follows. A certain camel driver had bitterly 
insulted ( i.e . thrashed in some ignominious way.) the animal under his 
charge. The camel showed no disposition to resent, but the driver, knowing 
from the expression of its eye what was passing within, kept on the alert 
for several days. One night he had retired for safety inside his tent, 
leaving his striped abbaya or cloak spread over the wooden saddle of the 
camel outside the tent. 

“During the night he heard the camel approach the object, and after 
satisfying himself by smell or otherwise that it was his master’s cloak, and 
believing that the said master was asleep beneath it, he lay down and 
rolled backwards and forwards over the cloak, evidently much gratified by 
the cracking and smashing of the saddle under his weight, and fully 
persuaded that the bones of his master were broken to pieces. After a 
time he rose, contemplated with great contentment the disordered mass, 
still, covered by the cloak, and retired. 

“Next morning, at the usual hour for loading, the master, who had 
from the interior of his tent heard this agreeable process going on, pre¬ 
sented himself to the camel. The disappointed animal was in such a rage, 
said my informant, on seeing his master safe before him, that he broke his 
heart, and died on the spot. 

“ I had once to cross a very high range of rocks, and we had very great 
difficulty in getting our camels to face the steeper part of the ascent, 
though any horse would have made very light of it. All the riders had 
to dismount, and the laden animals made the bare rocky solitudes ring to 
the continual and most savage growls with which they vented their dis¬ 
pleasure. It is well on these occasions to keep out of reach of their long 
necks, which they stretch out and bring their teeth within dangerous 
proximity to the arm or side of any one but their master. 

“While being laden they testify their dislike to any packet which looks 
unsatisfactory in point of size cr weight as it is carried past them, 
although when it is once on their backs they continue to bear it with the 
patient expression of countenance which I fear passes for more than it 
is worth. All camels are loaded kneeling, and can go from twenty-four 
to sixty hours without rest, or more than a few mouthfuls of food, which 
they can crop off a thorny bush as they pass, or a handful of barley given 
them by their master. Parts of the desert are strewn with small, dry, drab- 
coloured plants, thorny and otherwise, which the camels continue to crop 
as they walk, jerking the rider not a little. 

“ They are very sparing of drinking. I have taken camels for eleven 
or twelve days without a drop of water. All of them did not drink even 
when we came to water, nor did any drink a large quantity, or seem 
disturbed by the want of it, although the sun was very powerful, and we 
travelled twelve or thirteen hours daily. 

“ At first they are difficult to ride. The rider mounts while the animal 
is kneeling, and sirs like a lady, with the right leg round the fore pomme. 


126 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


of the saddle. In rising, the Camel suddenly straightens its hind legs 
before moving either of the fore legs, so that if the rider is unprepared, 
he will be jerked over its ears. It moves the legs of each side alternately, 
occasioning a long undulating motion, which sways the rider to and fro 
from the loins. The motion, however, is soon learned, and when fatigued, 
the rider can change sides, or shift his posture in various ways. 

“ Sometimes a traveller places his whole family, wife and children, in 
one pannier fastened to the saddle, puts himself in another pannier 

CAMELUS. 



Bactrianus (Lat. Bactrian), the Bactrian Camel. 


fastened on the opposite side, and then falls in with a caravan and 
accompanies it. 

“ Dromedaries —the finer and better bred Camels—have sparer frames 
and more endurance, and are principally led by the Bedouins of the desert. 
They also object either to going up or down a hill. 

“ They are fond of kneeling at night just behind the ring of Arabs who 
squat round the fire, and they stretch their heads over their masters’ 
shoulders to snuff up the heat and smoke, which seems to content them 
vastly. 

“ Between Cairo and Suez I saw more than one camel dead or dymg. 
They seem very tenacious of life, as they remain unable to rise from a 
broken limb or other cause for very many days. T more than once 

























NATURAL HISTORY. 


12 ? 


wished to go up and shoot the poor creatures to put them out ot their 
misery, but the Arabs have superstitious notions on this point, and 
would not suffer it. I did once find a camel that had been stabbed by 
its master, and once only. The poor beast had been exhausted, and the 
long, broad dagger struck into his heart. It must have been a very 
short time before I reached the spot, as the blood was almost fresh. 

“ The Camels at Grand Cairo are remarkably large and powerful, and 
my informant told me that they are very proud, and will only eat tneir 
food from their master’s hand—preferring to starve rather than receive 
it from any other source.” 

The foot of the Camel is admirably adapted for walking on the loose 
sand, being composed of large elastic pads, which spread as the foot is 
placed on the ground. To guard it from injury when it kneels down to 
be loaded, the parts of its body on which its weight rests are defended 
by thick callosities. The largest of these callosities is on the chest, the 
others are placed on the joints of the legs. 

The Bactrian Camel inhabits Central Asia, Thibet and China. It is 
distinguished from the Arabian camel by possessing two humps. 

Llama. —(Peruvian name.) 



Pacos {Peruvian uame), the Llama. 

The Llamas, of which there are several species, inhabit America, and 
are used for the same purposes as the camel. When wild they are very 
timid, and fly from a pursuer the moment that they see him; but their 
curiosity is so great that the hunter often secures them by lying on the 
ground and throwing his legs and arms about. The Llamas come to see 
what the extraordinary animal can be, and give the hunter an oppor* 





12S 


SUTURAL HISTORY. 


tunity of firing several shots, winch the astonished animals consider as 
part of the performance. 

The Llamas, like the camels, have a series of cells in the stomach for 
containing water, and can go for several days without requiring to drink. 
If too heavily laden, or when they are weary, they lie down, and no 
threats or punishment will induce them to rise, so that their masters are 
forced to unload them. When offended they have a very unpleasant habit 
of spitting at the object of their anger. Formerly it was supposed that 
their saliva was injurious, and produced blisters if it touched the skin. 

The fleece of the Llama is very long and fine, more resembling silk 
than w r ool. It is very valuable, and is extensively imported into this 
country for tne purpose of making cloth and other fabrics. The fleece 
of the Alpaca is considered the best, as it is sometimes twelve inches in 
length, and very fine. 

In Chili and Peru the natives domesticate the Llama, which in a state 
of captivity frequently becomes white. It is by no means a large 
animal, as it measures about four feet six in height. In general shape 
it resembles the camel, but has no hump on its back, and its feet are 
provided with sharp hoofs for climbing the rocky hills among which it 
lives. In Peru, where it is most commonly found, there are public 
shambles established for the sale of its flesh. 



The Musk-deer inhabits many parts of India, and is famous for the 
scent which it produces. This scent, called Musk, is secreted in a kind 

of pouch, and is so very 
Sub-family d. Moschlna. strong when recent, that 

Moschus.— (Gr. Md<rx os i Musk.) the hunter, after killing 

the animal, is forced to 
bind his mouth and nos¬ 
trils with linen before 
he ventures to open the 
pouch, as the scent is so 
intolerably powerful that 


it causes violent bleeding 


Moschiferus (Lat. music-bearing), the 
Mush-deer. 


SKULL OF THE MUSK DEER. 


at the nose. When the merchants traffic for musk, they remain in the 
open air, holding a handkerchief over their faces, and even with these 
precautions it often causes headaches. The musk is never imported 



natural history. 


129 


pure into this country, being always adulterated by the merchants. It is 
very costly, and forms an important article of commerce in the East. 
Tbe Musk-deer is about two feet in height at the shoulders. The male 
possesses two extraordinarily long teeth in the upper jaw, which project 
from the lips at each side of the mouth. 

The Roebuck was formerly common throughout the whole of England, 


but is now only found in Scot¬ 
land, north of the Forth. It is 
the smallest and most beautiful of 
our British deer, it is not at 
all adapted for confinement, as it 
is never induced to be familiar 
with its keeper, and will some¬ 
times attack any object which it 
dislikes with its horns and hoofs 
It does not live in herds like the 
Fallow-deer, but singly, or in 
pairs, driving off its young when 
they are about nine or ten months 
old. It is very cunning, and, 
when hunted, sometimes baffles 
the dogs by making a few enor¬ 
mous leaps, waiting until the 
dogs have passed, and then re¬ 
turning on its previous track. Its 
height is about two feet ; its 
horns are divided into three small 
branches, and are seldom more 
than a foot in length. 


Sub-family e. Cervina. 
Cervus (Lat. a Stag). 



CapreSlus (Lat. a Wild Buck), the 
Roebuck. 


The Red-deer, or Stag, is the largest of our deer. In the language 
of hunters, it bears different names according to the size of its horns, 
which increase year by year. All the male deer have horns, which they 
shed every year, aud renew again. The process of renewal is most inte¬ 
resting- A skin, filled with arteries, covers the projections on which tlu 
horns rest. This skin, called the “velvet,” is engaged in continually 
depositing bone m the footstalks, which rapidly increase in size. As 
the budding horns increase, the velvet increases also, and the course of 
the arteries is marked on the horn by long furrows, which are never ob¬ 
literated. When the horn has reached its full growth, it cannot be at once 
used, as the velvet is very tender,and would bleed profusely if wounded. 
The velvet cannot be suddenly removed, as the blood that formed the ar¬ 
teries would rush to the brain and destroy the animal. A ring of bone 
forms round the root of each horn, leaving passages through which the 
arteries pass. By degrees, these passages become narrow, and finally close 

K 







130 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



Elhpkus (Gr. V EA capos, a Stag), the Stag. 


The Wapiti is one 
of the largest of 
the deer tribe, often 
growing to the height 
of our largest oxen. 
It inhabits Canada 
and other parts of 
North America, and has been confounded with the Moose. Its horns 
are very large, measuring nearly six feet from tip to tip. 

The hunters are acquainted with its peculiarities, and chase it from 
their knowledge of its character. It is very fond of salt, and comes in 
great numbers to the saline marshes, for the purpose of licking the salt 
off the soil upon which it has settled. Such places are called “ licks,” 
and to them the hunters resort, lying in wait for the deer, who are sure 
to visit these places. 

It frequents the woods and copses, in which it lies so well concealed, 
that an inexperienced eye cannot perceive the animal even when it is 
ointed out to him, so well does its colour agree with the tints of the 
rush among which it hides. From the branching horns which it bears, one 
might suppose that it would find great difficulty in forcing its way through 
the woods; but, in fact, its horns are a defence instead of an incumbrance, 
and as it lays them flat on its back before plunging among the trees, they 
defend its back from the branches through which it forces its way. 

The skin of the Wapiti is very useful to the hunters, as they have 
a method of dressing it so that it does not become stiff and harsh after 
being wetted, but retains its original flexibility. This property makes it 
very valuable for hunting dresses, which are generally made of leather. 


I 


CEHVU8. 


entirely, thus gra¬ 
dually shutting off 
the blood. The vel¬ 
vet, being deprived of 
its nourishment, dies 
and is peeled off by 
the deer, by rubbing 
against a tree, leaving 
the white hard horn 
beneath. 

Hunting the Stag 
is a very favourite 
amusement in this 
country, and packs of 
hounds, called stag- 
hounds, are kept ex- 
press'y for that pur¬ 
pose. 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


131 


ft is very fierce, and boldly attacks an antagonist, especially it 
wounded. An example of its ferocity, when wounded, is given by Pal- 
liser in the follow¬ 
ing passage:—“ We 
were now about 150 
yards from the nearest 
of the band. I chose 
a fine old stag, while 
Boucharville, with an 
eye to superior meat, 
singled out a doe. We 

o , 

drew up our rifles 
slowly, and both shots 
went off together. The 
smoke hung heavily 
for a second or two ; 
when it cleared away, 
we espied one of the 
Wapiti lying down: 
the next instant down 
rolled the stag also. 

We agreed to advance 
at the same moment, 
lest one or other of 
the animals should be 
able to get up and 
escape. On coming 

near my stag, he Canadensis (Lat. belonging to Canada), the Wapiti. 
struggled to rise, but 

unable to regain his feet, rolled back again. I looked towards the 
other, when what was my surprise at witnessing a regular combat 
between Boucharville and his wounded elk,* now transformed into a very 
formidable antagonist! Springing on her haunches, she was striking 
furiously at him with her fore-feet; one hoof missed him, but the other 
fell on his rifle, which he held up for his protection, and smashing both 
his ramrod and his loading-stick, beat him down on his knees. Rising 
a second time, she was about to repeat the attack, when my ball caught 
her in the side of the head, behind the eye, and with a splendid bound 
she fell lifeless on the broad of her back. I had made a quick and 
necessarily a rather dangerous shot; but I was in luck that day. 1 Ah !’ 
exclaimed Boucharville, as he half rose from the ground, but looking ai 
nothing till he had satisfied himself that his rifle was uninjured, ‘ Mais 
qui l’aurait cru? Ala foi!’ continued he, ‘j’ai bien echappe; une biche 
a une cote une balle a l’autre !’ 55 


CERVUS. 



* This animal is often called an elk by the hunters 
K 2 





132 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The Axis.—This beautiful Deer is an inhabitant of India, especially of 
parts by the Ganges. It has frequently been domesticated in England, 

.A‘UK—(Tat. the Axis Deer.) 



Maculata i^Lat. spotted), the Axis. 


aud thrives well even in open parks. The horns are slender, and are 
divided into three branches. Its usual colour is a fawn yellow, spotted 
regularly with white, and a black stripe runs down the back. 


The Fallow-deer, are usually seen in parks, where they congregate 
in large herds, and form a most pleasing addition to the landscape when 
they are seen reposing under the trees, or chasing one another in graceful 
play. One peculiarly large buck always takes the lead, and suffers none 
but a few favourite does to approach his regal presence, all the other 

bucks running humbly away directly 
he makes his appearance. They are 
generally tame, and will suffer people 
to come very close to them; but at 
certain times of the year they become 
savage, and will not permit auy one to 
approach their domains. If an intruder 
is bold enough to venture within the proscribed distance, the buck 
will instantly charge upon him, and if he does not make his escape, 
will in all probability inflict considerable damage upon him. They soon 










NATURAL HISTORY. 


133 


become familiar with those who treat them with kindness, and will eat 
from their hands. At Magdalene College, Oxford, where there are some 
ji these deer, it used to be a common practice to let down a crust of 


Dama.—(L int, a Deer.) 



Vulgaris (Lat. common ), the Fallow-deer. 


bread by a string from one of the windows that overlooked the part. 
The deer would speedily approach, and it was singular to see how they 
would take a large crust in their little mouths, and continue to bite it 
until they contrived to eat the whole of it without once letting it drop. 

The Reindeer is found throughout the Arctic regions of Europe, 
Asia, and America. The finest animals are those of Lapland and Spitz- 
bergen. The Laplander finds his chief wealth in the possession of the 
Reindeer, which not only serves him as a beast of burden, but furnishes 
him also with food and clothing. A Laplander in good circumstances 
possesses about three or four hundred deer, which enable him to live in 
comfort. The subsistence of one who only possesses one hundred is 
very precarious, and he who has only fifty, usually joins his animals with 
the herd of some richer man, and takes the menial labours upon himself. 

A gadfly {(Estrus Tarandi ) annoys the Reindeer so much, that the 
Laplander is forced to make periodical migrations to the mountains in 
order to escape the dreaded gadfly, and the equally dreaded mosquitoes, 
which are more ferocious in the cold climates than in the Tropics. 




134 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Reindeer feeds principally on a kind of lichen, which it scrapes from 
beneath the snow. During the winter, its coat thickens, and assumes 
a lighter hue, many deer being almost white. Its hoofs are divided very 


Rangifer.— (Linnean generic name.)* 



Tarandus (Gr. Tapauoos, a Reindeer), the Reindeer. 


high, so that when the animal places its foot on the ground, the hoof 
spreads wide, and as it raises the foot, a snapping noise is heard, caused 
by the parts of the hoof closing together. When harnessed to a sledge, 
it can draw from 250 to 300 pounds’ weight at about ten miles an hour. 

The European Elk inhabits the northern parts of Europe. It was 
considered at one time to be identical with the American Elk, but natu¬ 
ralists now believe it to be a distinct animal. Its usual pace is a high 
awkward trot, but when frightened, it sometimes gallops. It is very 
strong, and can destroy a wolf with a single blow of its large and 
powerful horns. In Sweden it was formerly used to draw sledges, but 
on account of the facility of escape offered to criminals by its great 
speed, the use of it was forbidden under high penalties. The skin of 
the Elk is so tough that a regiment of soldiers was furnished with 
waistcoats made of its hide, which could scarcely be penetrated by a 
ball. 

* Possibly a Latinized form of the Scandinavian word “ Ren-dyr,” the word “ dyx” 
signifying “ beast,” like the Greek Otjp, to which it is evidently allied. 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


135 



The Scandinavians chase the animai through the deep snow, and 
succeed in the chase, because they are mounted upon skidor, or wooden 

skates several feet n . 

in length, which AicEs.-(Gr. aak„, an Elk.) 

glide over the sur¬ 
face of the frozen 
snow, while the 
great weight of the 
Elk forces its legs 
through the thin 
crust, and causes it 
to tire in a short 
time. Like the rein¬ 
deer, the Elk makes 
a great clattering 
with its hoofs when 
in rapid motion. It 
is a good swimmer, 
and is fond of ta¬ 
king to the water in 
summer time. It is 
a rather dangerous 
antagonist when in¬ 
censed, as it fights 
desperately with its 
horns and hoofs, 
with which latter 

weapons it has been Palmatus (Lat. 'palmed), the Elk. 

known to destroy 

a wolf with a single stroke. There used to be a curious belief about the 
foot of the Elk, namely, that it is a preservation against epilepsy and 
other diseases. 


The Horse. —We now arrive at the Pachydermata, or thick-skinned 
animals, which do not chew the cud. The first on the list is the Horse, 
an animal too well known in all its varieties to need much description. 
The ancient war-horse, so magnificently described in the Book of Job, is 
well represented by that most wonderful head in the British Museum, a 
fragment from the Temple of Minerva at Athens. The ancients never 
appeared to ride on the horse to battle, but fought from small open 
chariots, to which two or more horses were harnessed. 

The Arabian Horse is a model of elegance and beauty. The Arab 
treats his horse as one of his family j it lives in the same tent with him, 
eats from his hand, and sleeps among his children, who tumble about od 
it without the least fear. Eew Arabs can be induced to oart with a 






] 36 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


favourite horse. The Rev. V. Monro relates that an Arab, “the net value 
of whose dress and accoutrements might be calculated at something under 
seventeen pence halfpenny,” refused all offers made to purchase a beautiful 
mare on which he rode, and declared that he loved the animal better than 
his own life. 

The plains of La Plata and Paraguay are tenanted by vast herds ol 
wil'd horses. These are captured by the lasso, bitted, mounted, and 
broken, within an hour, by the daring and skilful Gauchos. 

The ponderous and powerful dray-horse is of the Flanders breed. These 
huge animals, as they slowly pace along the streets, conducted by men 

Family II. FquYdae.—(Lat. Equus, a Horse. Horse kind.i 

EQUUS. 



Caballus (Lat. a Sacldle-korsc.) 


wno seem to be a Flanders race also, never fail to attract the attention of 
admiring foreigners. 

Wales and the Shetland Isles produce a breed forming a great contrast 
to the Flanders horse. The Sheltie, as it is called, is very small, its height 
sometimes being only thirty-four inches; but it is very strong and sure¬ 
footed, carrying its rider with perfect safety along the most terrific 
precipices, and almost invariably choosing to walk on the very edge. 

The Race Horse is supposed to have been originally derived from the 
Arabian breed. The Godolphin Arabian, and the Flying Childers, are two 




NATURAL HISTORY. 137 

of the most oelebrated racers. The skeleton of Eclipse, another cele¬ 
brated racer, is now in the Aslimolean Museum, Oxford. 

The Ass.—The humble and hardy Ass is scarcely less serviceable to 
man „i*an the more imposing 
horse. In this country, 
where it meets with harsh 
treatment, is scantily fed, 
and only used for laborious 
tasks, it is dull and obsti¬ 
nate ; but in the East, where 
it is employed by the rich 
nobles, and is properly treat¬ 
ed it is an elegant and 
spirited animal, with good 
action and smooth coat. 

White asses are always used 
in the East for the especial 
service of bearing persons 
of distinction, a custom of 
great antiquity, as appears 
from Judges v. 10,—“ Speak, 
ye that ride on white asses.” 

The Dzigguetai. —In Persia and other countries, there are herds of wild 
asses. They are so fleet that no horses can come up to them, and even with 
rifles the chase is very uncertain. The Persians esteem its flesh very highly, 
considering it one of their greatest delicacies. Sir 11. Iver Porter gives 
tne following amusing account of an unsuccessful chase after a wild ass :— 

“The sun was just rising over the summits of the eastern mountains, 
when my greyhound started off in pursuit of an animal which my Persians 
said, from the glimpse they had of it, was an antelope. I instantly put 
spurs to my horse, and with my attendants gave chase. After an unre- 
taxed gallop of three miles, we came up with the dog, who was then within 
a short stretch of the creature he pursued, and to my surprise, and at 
first vexation, I saw it to be an ass. Upon a moment’s reflection, how¬ 
ever, judging from its fleetness it must be a wild one, a creature little 
known in Europe, but which the Persians prize above all other animals 
as an object of chase, I determined to approach as near to it as the very 
swift Arab I was on would carry me. But the single instant of checking 
my horse to consider had given our game such a head of us, that notwith¬ 
standing all our speed we could not recover our ground on him. I, how¬ 
ever, happened to be considerably before my companions, when, at a certain 
distance, the animal in its turn made a pause, and allowed me to approach 
within pistol-shot of him; he then darted off again with the quickness of 
thought, capering, kicking, and sporting in his flight, as if he was not 
blown in the least, and the chase was bis pastime. When my followers of 


AsYnus.—(L at. an das.) 



Vulgaris (Lat. common), the A as. 



138 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



the country came up, they regretted that I had not shot the creature when 
he was within my aim, telling me that his flesh is one of the greatest 
delicacies in Persia. The prodigious swiftness and peculiar manner in 
which he fled across the plain coincided exactly with the description that 
Xenophon gives of the same animal in Arabia. But above all, it reminded 

me of the striking 
portrait drawn by 
the author of the 
Book of .Job. I was 
informed by the 
Mehmender, who 
had been in the de¬ 
sert when making a 
pilgrimage to the 
shrine of Ali, that 
the wild ass of Irak 
Arabi differs 


m 

nothing from the 


one I had just seen. 
He had observed 
them often for a 
short time in the 
possession of the 
Arabs, who told 
him the creature 
was perfectly un* 
tameable. A few days after this discussion, we saw another of these 
animals, and, pursuing it determinedly, had the good fortune to kill it.” 
This animal, called the Dzigguetai, is also found in India, and is quite as 
difficult to secure as its relations in Persia. 

Prom the skin of the Dzigguetai is made the best shagreen. 

There is a mixed breed between the Horse and the Ass, called the Mule, 
an animal in no very great request in this country, but extensively used 
in the East for riding, and in Spain it is the established beast of burden. 
It is very sure-footed, and is on that account employed in the Andes 
instead of the Llama. 


Dzigguetai (Native name), the JJzigguetai. 


The Zebra is found in South Africa. This beautiful animal lives in 
troops among the mountains, shunning the presence of man. It is a very 
conspicuous animal, and easily distinguished by the regular stripes of 
brownish black with which its whole body is covered even down to the 
hoofs. It is very wild and suspicious, carefully placing sentinels to look 
out for danger. Notwithstanding these precautions, several zebras have 
been taken alive, and some, in spite of their vicious habits, have been 
trained to draw a carriage. In all probability it might be domesticated 
like the ass, as the black cross on the back and shoulders of the latter 






NATURAJ- HISTORY. 


139 


asYnhs. 



Zebra, the Zebra. 

animal prove the affinity between them. The voice of the Zebra is very 
peculiar, and can hardly be described. 

The Quagga is 
also a native of 
South Africa. It 
bears some resem¬ 
blance to the Zebra, 
but is at once distin¬ 
guished from that 
animal by the pau¬ 
city and dulness of 
the stripes, which do 
not reach to the hind 
quarters or legs at 
all, and only faintly 
mark the back, its 
head and neck bear¬ 
ing the deepest 
stripes. It is not 
formed quite so 
gracefully as the 
zebra, — its hind 
quarters being slightly higher than its shoulders. The natives occa¬ 
sionally tame it for the purposes of draugut, but it is not to be de¬ 
pended on, being vicious and very wild. 


asTncs. 



Quagga {Native name), the Quagga. 






140 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Family III. Elephantidse.—(Gr. ’EAe ( pas , an Elephant. Elephant kind.) 
Sub-family a. Elephantina. 

ELEPHAS. 



Indicus (Lat. Indian), the Indian Elephant. 

Of this magnificent animal, whose form is familiar to every eye. tw o 
species are known, the Indian and the African. The anatomy ot this 
huge quadruped is well worthy of consideration. Its head and tusKs are 
so very heavy that no long neck would bear them; the neck is therefore 
very short. But this shortness of neck prevents the Elephant from 
putting its head to the ground, or from stooping to the water’s edge. 
This apparent defect is compensated by the wonderful manner in which 
its upper lip and nose are elongated, and rendered capable of drawing up 
water or plucking grass. In the proboscis or trunk there are about 
forty thousand muscles, enabling the Elephant to shorten, lengthen, coil 
up, or move in any direction this most extraordinary organ. The trunk 
is pierced throughout its length by two canals, through which liquids 
can be drawn by suction. If the Elephant wishes to drink, after drawing 
She liquid into its trunk, it inserts the end of the proboscis into its mouth, 
and discharges the contents down its throat; but if it merely wishes to 
wash itself or play, it blows the contained liquid from the trunk with 
great violence. Through the trunk the curious trumpet-like voice of the 
Elephant is produced. At the extremity is a finger-like appendage, with 
which it can pick up small objects. In order to sustain the muscles of 




















NATURAL HISTORY. 


141 


the jaw and neck, the head must be very large : were it solid, it would be 
very heavy. The skull is therefore formed of a number of cells of bone, 
forming the necessary expanse without the weight, leaving but a very 
small cavity for the brain. 

This fact will account for the numberless bullet wounds which an ele¬ 
phant will endure in the skull. The ball, instead of penetrating to the 
brain, merely lodges among the bony cells, and does no great mischief. 
Not long since, a ball was found firmly imbedded in the tusk of an ele¬ 
phant ; it was thoroughly impacted, and there was no apparent opening 
by which it could have reached the place that it occupied. It was 
afterwards found that the ball must have struck the elephant at the 
base of the tusk, so as to have sunk among the soft and as yet unformed 
ivory. This by degrees was pushed on as the tusk grew in successive 
years, until it was at last surrounded closely by hard ivory. A spear¬ 
head has been also found similarly imbedded. 

The Indian Elephant is almost invariably taken from its native haunts 
and then trained. The Indian hunters proceed into the woods with two 
trained female elephants. These advance quietly, and by their blandish¬ 
ments so occupy the attention of any unfortunate male that they meet, 
that the hunters are enabled to tie his legs together and fasten him to a 
tree. His treacherous companions now leave him to struggle in impotent 
rage, until he is so subdued by hunger and fatigue that the hunters can 
drive him home between their two tame elephants. When once captured 
he is easily trained. Bribes of sugar and arrack, a kind of spirit, are the; 
usual means of inducing an Elephant to attempt some new art, or to 
labour with particular assiduity. In its wild state it endeavours to 
gratify its taste for sweets, at the expense of the sugar planters. 

“The Elephant has a natural partiality for sugar, which he finds 
abundant means to gratify in the plantations of sugar-cane. A curious 
instance is recorded of his liking for sweetmeats, and of a method adopted 
in his savage state to gratify this propensity. It chanced that a Cooley, 
laden with jaggery, which is a coarse preparation of sugar, was surprised 
in a narrow pass in the kingdom of Candy by a wild elephant. The 
poor fellow, intent upon saving his life, threw down the burthen, which 
the elephant devoured, and being well pleased with the repast, determined 
not to allow any person egress or ingress who did not provide him with 
a similar banquet. The pass formed one of the principal thoroughfares 
to the capital, and the elephant, taking up a formidable position at the 
entrance, obliged every passenger to pay tribute. It soon became 
generally known that a donation of jaggery would ensure a safe conduct 
through the guarded portal, and no one presumed to attempt the passage 
without the expected offering.” 

It has before been mentioned that the Indian elephant is trained for 
tiger hunting. When the tiger springs, the elephant always raises his 
proboscis out of reach of the tiger’s claws and teeth. 

In captivity, it is very docile and gentle, but sometimes, when £tD- 


142 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


t-oxed, will take a very ample revenge. Of this propensity, many anec¬ 
dotes are told. 

“Avery characteristic action of D’Jeek, the famous elephant of M. 
Hnguet, was lately near costing the life of a young man, a native of 
Bruges. The elephant, it is well known, is very fond of sweetmeats, 
and this young man amused himself at Madame D’Jeck’s expense, 
baulking her by offering her some, which, whenever she reached out her 
trunk to take, he immediately withdrew. This trick having been noticed 
by M. Huguet, he observed to the young man how foolish such conduct 
was towards an animal at once so susceptible and vindictive. But not 
taking warning from this remark, the Belgian again invited the elephant 
to approach, and not only again deceived her, but gave the sweetmeats 
to Mademoiselle Betsy. Madame D’Jeck now lost her patience, and 
regardless of the presence of her master and a numerous assemblage of 
spectators, lifted her trunk and knocked the young man down, tearing 
open his cheek, and rending his clothes to tatters. Happily, M. Huguet 
interposed his authority, and the elephant left her hold, but the imprudent 
sufferer was long confined to his bed from the effects of his absurdity.” 

The tusks and teeth of the Elephant furnish exceedingly fine ivory, 
which is used for various purposes, such as knife-handles, combs, billiard 
balls, &c. There is a great art in making a billiard ball. Some parts of 
the tusk are always heavier than others, so that if the heavy part should 
fall on one side of the ball, it would not run true. The object of the 
maker is either to get the heavier portion in the centre, or to make the 
ball from a piece of ivory of equal weight. In either case, the ball is 
made a little larger than the proper size; it is then hung up in a dry room 
for several months, and finally turned down to the requisite dimensions. 

It is rather singular that the substance of ivory is almost exactly 
imitated by a vegetable production, the ivory nut, just about half the 
size of a billiard ball, which when young is soft, but hardens as it 
becomes old, until it is as hard as real ivory, and closely resembles it. 

All elephants are fond of the water, and sometimes submerge them¬ 
selves so far, that nothing but the tip of the proboscis remains above the 
surface. In a tame state, the elephant delights in concealing itself below 
the water, and deluging the spectators with a stream sent from its trunk. 

The following account of Elephant catching in Nepal was sent to me 
by a medical gentleman residing at Segouly :— 

“ The whole batch, tame and wild ones, then rushed into a deep river 
close by, where it was a splendid sight to see them swimming, fighting, 
diving, plunging, kicking, and bellowing in a most frantic manner; the 
mahouts (the riders on the tame ones) sticking to them like monkeys, 
and dexterously taking the opportunity of the confusion to secure the 
dreaded noose round their necks. 

“ One of the wild elephants in the struggle got half-drowned, and then 
entirely strangled; she just staggered to the shore, and then dropped 
dead without a struggle. It was really quite piteous to see her poor 


NATURAL HISTORY 


143 


little young one, about ten days old; she kept walking round the body, 
pushing it, and trying to coax her dead mother to rise up; then uttering 
the most heart-rending cries, and lying down by her side as it were to 
comfort her. 

“ When the contest was over, and the other elephants, tame ones, 
were brought up near the corpse, the poor little thing, with the most 
indignant, though, of course, unavailing valour, charged on all sides at 
any elephant who came near, determined evidently to defend its mother, 
even though dead, to the last. The tame ones, of course, were too saga¬ 
cious to hurt it with their tusks, and looked on with the most curious 
air of pity and contempt, as they gradually, despite its violent struggles, 
pushed it away from its mother to a place where it could be properly 
secured and taken care of. Really its moans and endeavours to remain 
with its mother were quite affecting. It is too young to be weaned with 
safety, and will probably die; at least I am very much afraid so. I shall 
always feel an interest in the poor little animal in future, should it live; 
it was so devotedly and heroically brave, never attempting to leave its 
mother in order to procure its own escape, which it might easily have 
done unseen during the confusion.” 

On this occasion Jung Bahadoor, the Nepaulese ambassador, distin¬ 
guished himself greatly by his dexterity and courage, and secured several 
elephants with his own hands. 

The African Elephant. —This species is distinguished from the 
Indian Elephant by the markings of its teeth and some differences in 
form. Much interesting information respecting the habits of this animal 
has been given by Cumming, from whose work the following extracts 
are taken:— 

“The African Elephant is widely diffused through the vast forests, 
and is met with in herds of various numbers. The male is very much 
larger than the female; consequently, much more difficult to kill. He is 
provided with two enormous tusks. These are long, tapering, and beau¬ 
tifully arched; Iheir length averages from six to eight feet, and they 
weigh from sixty to a hundred pounds each. 

“ The females, unlike Asiatic elephants in this respect, are likewise 
provided with tusks. The price which the largest ivory fetches in the 
English market is from 23/. to 32/. per hundred-and-twelve pounds. 
Old bull elephants are found singly or in pairs, or consorting together 
in small herds, varying from six to twenty individuals. The younger 
bulls remain for many years in the company of their mothers, and these 
are met together in large herds of from twenty to a hundred individuals. 
The food of the Elephant consists of the branches, leaves, and roots of 
trees, and also of a variety of bulbs, of the situation of which he 'is 
advised by his exquisite sense of smell. To obtain these he turns up the 
ground with his tusks, and whole acres may be seen thus ploughed up. 
Elephants consume an immense quantity of food, and pass the greater 


144 


NATURAL, HISTORY. 


part of the day and night in feeding. Like the whale in the ocean, the 
Elephant on land is acquainted with, and roams over, wide and extensive 
tracts. He is extremely particular in always frequenting the freshest and 


ELEPHAS. 



Africanus (Lat. African), the African Elephant. 


most verdant districts of the forests; and when one district is parched 
and barren^ he will forsake it for years, and wander to great distances in 
quest of better pasture. 

“The Elephant entertains an extraordinary horror of man, and a child 
can put a hundred of them to flight by passing at a quarter of a mile 
to windward; and when thus disturbed, they go a long way before they 
halt. It is surprising now soon these sagacious animals are aware oi 
the presence of a hunter in their domains. When one troop has been 
attacked, all the other elephants frequenting the district are aware of the 
fact within two or three days, when they all forsake it, and migrate to 
distant parts. 5 * 

“ They choose for their resort the most lonely and secluded depths of 
the forest, generally at a very great distance from the rivers and 
fountains at which they urink. In dry and warm weather they visit 
these waters nightly; but in cool and cloudy weatner they drink only 
once every third or lourth day. About sundown the elephant leaves his 









.NATURAL HISTORY. 


145 


distant midday haunt, and commences his march towards the fountain, 
which is probably from twelve to twenty miles distant. This he gene¬ 
rally reaches between the hours of nine and midnight; when, having 
slaked his thirst and cooled his body by spouting large volumes of water 
over his back with his trunk, he resumes the path to his forest solitudes. 
Having reached a secluded spot, I have remarked that full grown bulls 
lie down on their broadsides, about the hour of midnight, and sleep for 
a few hours. The spot which they usually select is an ant-hill, and they 
lie around it with their backs resting against it; these hills, formed by 
the white ants, are from thirty to forty feet in diameter at their base. 
The mark of the under tusk is always deeply imprinted in the ground, 
proving that they lie upon their sides. 

“The appearance of the wild elephant is inconceivably majestic and 
imposing. His gigantic height and colossal bulk, so greatly surpassing 
all other quadrupeds, combined with his sagacious disposition and pecu¬ 
liar habits, impart to him an interest in the eyes of the hunter which no 
other animal can call forth. The pace of the 
Elephant when undisturbed is a bold, free, 
sweeping step; and from the peculiar spongy 
formation of his foot, his tread is extremely 
b’ght and inaudible, and all his movements are 
attended with a peculiar gentleness and grace. 

“ The under skin is of a tough and pliant 
nature, and is used by the natives for making 
water bags, in which they convey supplies 
of water from the nearest vley or fountain 
'which is often ten miles distant). They re- skull of the elephant. 
move this inner skin with caution, taking care 

not to cut it with the assagai; and it is formed into water Dags by 
gathering the corners and edges, and transfixing the whole on a pointed 
wand.” 

The Tahr forms one of the links connecting the elephant with the 
hog. The snout is lengthened into a kind of proboscis like that of the 
elephant, but it is comparatively short, and has no finger-like appendage 
at the extremity. Many of the remaining links are supplied by the 
various species of the fossil genus Palseotherium. 

The Common Tapir is spread throughout the warmer regions of South 
America. It sleeps during the day, and wanders about at night in search 
of its food, which consists of water melons, gourds, and other vegetables, 
it is very fond of the water, and can remain below the surface for a 
considerable period. It is a very powerful animal, aud as it is furnished 
with a very thick hide, it plunges through the brushwood, breaking its 
way tlmn.gR any obstacles that may oppose its progress. 

Its disposition is gentle, but when annoyed, it sometimes rushes at 
its antagonist, and defends itself vigorously with its powerful teeth 

i, 



14C 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Sub-family b. Tapirlna. 
tapirus. —(From Native name.) 



Malayanus (Lat. Malay.) 



The jaguar frequently springs on it, but 
is often dislodged by the activity of the 
\ Tapir, who rushes through the bushes irn- 
' mediately that its feels the claws of its 


enemy, and endeavours to brush him off 
against the thick branches. The height 
of the American Tapir is from five to six 
feet. The Malay Tapir is somewhat larger, 
and is known by the greyish white colour 
of the loins and hind quarters, which give 
the animal an appearance as if a white horsecloth had been spread 
over it. 


SKULL OF THE TAPIR. 


The Boar. —The animals composing the Hog tribe are found in 
almost every part of the globe. Their feet are cloven and externally 
resemble those of the Ruminants, but an examination of the bones at 
once points out the difference. 

The Wild Hog or Boar inhabits many parts of Europe, especially 
the forests of Germany, where the chase of the wild boar is a common 
amusement. It has become extinct in this country for many years. Its 
tusks are terrible weapons, and capable of being used with fatal effect. 
They curve outwards from the lower jaw, and are sometimes eight or 
ten inches in length. In India, where the Boar attains to a great size, 
the horses on which the hunters are mounted often refuse to bring their 






natural history. 


147 



The Domestic Hog 
scarcely needs any de¬ 
scription. It is by no 
means the unclean and 
filthy animal that mo¬ 
ralists love to repre¬ 
sent it. It certainly 
is fond of wallowing 
in the mire, as are the 
elephant, tapirs, &c., 
but no animal seems to enjoy clean straw more than the Hog. We 
shut it up in a dirty narrow crib, give it any kind of refuse to eat, and 
then abuse it for being a dirty animal and an unclean feeder. While, 
however, it should be rescued from these unjust imputations, it should 
bear the weight of an accusation never before made. I have seen pigs 
suck the cows in a farmyard while they were lying down and chewing 
the cud, nor did the cows attempt to repel them. 


Scrofa (Lat. an old Sow), the Boar. 


riders within spear 
stroke of the infuriated 
animal, who has been 
known to kill a horse 
and severely injure the 
rider with one sweep 
of its enormous tusks. 


Sub-family c. Suina. 
•Sus.—(Lat. a Soxv.) 


The Babyeoussa slJ3 

inhabits the Molucca 
Islands and Java. It 
is remarkable for pos¬ 
sessing four tusks, two 
of which proceed from 
the upper jaw, and do 
not pass out between 
the lips, but 'through 
an aperture in the skin, 
half way between the 
end of the snout and 
eyes. The sockets of 
the two upper tusks 
are curved upwards, 

and give a singular ap- Babyroussa (Native word, Hog-deer), the 
pearance to the skuii Babyroussa. 

of the animal. It looks 

a ferocious animai, nor do its looks contradict its habits, as it is very 
savage, and cannot be hunted without danger. Yet when taken young 



Tj 2 






148 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


it can be tamed without much difficulty, and conducts itself much aftei 
the manner of a well-behaved pig. 

Only the male possesses the remarkable double pair of tusks, the 
female being destitute of the upper pair, and only possessing those 
belonging to the under jaw in a rudimentary degree. It lives in troops, 
as do most of the hog kind, and thus does great damage to the culti¬ 
vated grounds, especially to the maize, a plant to which it is, unfortu¬ 
nately, very partial. It is a good swimmer, and often voluntarily takes 
to the water in order to cross to another island. The size of the animal 
when full grown, is about that of a very large hog. 


The Common, or Collared Peccary, is an inhabitant of South 
America. This animal is both dreaded and hated by the residents, for it 
is so exceedingly ferocious, and so utterly devoid of all sense of fear, 
that it will always charge at any object that comes in its way; an 
elephant would not scare it, if an elephant were to be transported to 
South America. So it puts to flight those whom it attacks, and they fly 
before it in mixed fear and wrath against the pugnacious little animals 
which are pursuing them. It is a small animal, rarely exceeding eighteen 
inches in height, and yet is not less dreaded than the most savage wild boar 
would be. Its jaws are armed with tusks, like those of the boar, but they 
are straight instead of curved, are sharp at the edges, and although only 

- .. .. , , .. v about an inch and a 

dicotyles.— (Gr. Sis, double ; kotv\t), a hollow cup.)* half in length inflict 

horrible wounds, on 

account of the mus¬ 
cular strength of 
the creature’s neck. 
When a body of 
them charge against 
an enemy, fancied 
or real, they will 
never be driven 
away, but will fight 
till the last is slain. 
On this account, no 
one will willingly 
oppose them; and if 
a herd of Peccaries 



Taja5u (Native name), the Peccary. 


comes in the way, men, horses, and dogs, all fly in haste, as even the 
horses would be soon brought down, for their legs would be cut to 
pieces. The best method of attacking them is that described by Webbei 
in the following passage:— 

“ But with ail its other peculiarities to answer for, the drollest i* yet 




In allusion to the hollow gland on the back. 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


141) 

to come. 1 refer to their mode of sleeping. They usually frequent 
those heavy canebrakes, through which are scattered, at wide interval^ 
trees of enormous size and age. These, from their isolated condition, 
are most exposed to the fury of storms, and therefore most liable to be 
thrown down. We find their giant stems stretched here and there 
through the canebrakes of Texas, overgrown with the densest thickets 
of the cane, matted together by strong and thorny vines. In these old 
trees the peccaries find their favourite lodgings. Into one of these logs 
a drove of twenty or thirty of them will enter at night, each one backing 
m, so that the last one entering stands with his nose at the entrance. 
The planters, who dread them and hate them, as well on account of the 
ravages on their grain crops which they commit, the frequent destruction 
or mutilation by them of their stock—their favourite dogs, and sometimes 
even their horses, as on account of the ridiculous predicaments, such as 
taking to a tree, or running for their life, to which they have been sub¬ 
jected themselves, seek their destruction with the greatest eagerness. 

“ When a hollow log has been found which bears the marks of being 
used by them, the hunters wait with great impatience till the first dark, 
cloudy day of rain; a dark drizzle is the best, as it is well known that 
on such days they do not leave their lodgings at all. The planter, con¬ 
cealing himself just before day carefully out of view, but directly in 
front of the opening of the log, awaits in patient silence the coming of 
sufficient light. Soon as the day opens, peering cautiously through the 
cane, he can perceive the protruded snout, and sharp, watchful eyes of the 
sentinel-peccary on duty, while his fellows behind him sleep. Noise¬ 
lessly the unerring rifle is raised, the ring of its explosion is heard, and, 
with a convulsive spring, the sentinel leaps forward out of the hole, and 
rolls in its death-struggle on the ground. Scarcely an instant is passed, 
a low grunt is heard, and another pair of eyes is seen shining steadily 
in the place the others had just held. Not a sound is heard, the 
planter loads again with such dexterity that not even a branch of the 
embowering cane is stirred. Again with steady nerve the piece is fired, 
out springs the second victim as the first had done; then another takes 
its place, and so on to the third, fourth, fifth, and twentieth, even to the 
last of the herd, unless the planter should happen by some carelessness 
to make a stir in the cane around him, when out it springs with a short 
grunt, without waiting to be shot this time, and followed by the whole 
herd, when they make a dash at the unlucky sportsman, who is now glad 
enough to take to his heels, and blesses his stars if he should be able to 
climb a tree or a fence in time to save his legs. If during the firing, 
the sentinel should happen to sink in the hole without making the 
usual spring, the one behind him roots out the body to take its place. 
They do not understand what the danger is, or whence it comes. 
Neither do they fear it, but face its mysterious power to the last. They 
never charge towards unseen enemies, until guided either by the sight 
of some disturbance caused by a motion in the thicket or by those 


150 


NATURAL HISTORY 


sounds with which they are familiar, indicating their position. Incredible 
as this account may appear, it is actually the method in which the 
settlements along Caney Creek: and in the Brazos Bottoms have been 
of late years in a great measure relieved of this dangerous annoyance.’' 

The Peccary alone of all animals appears to have resisted the terrors 
of the gun, and a herd of them will attack men with fire-arms, and only 
seem to be more enraged by the report and flash of the guns. The 
Indians eat the animal, but its flesh is not considered to be particularly 
excellent, especially as the gland which the animal bears in its haunches 
has an evil effect on the meat, and causes it to become unfit for use in 
a very short time. Its colour is a greyish black, caused by the colour of 
the bristles, which are ringed at intervals with grey, straw-colour, and 
black. 

Sub-family d. Rhinocerina. 

Rhinoceros.—(G r. 'PtV, or pis, a nose; Kepas, a horn.) 



Unicornis (Lat. Unus , one ; cornu, a horn), the Rhinoceros. 


The Rhinoceros. —There are, apparently, six species of this formidabla 
animal. Their chief peculiarity, the so-called horn, is a mass of fibres 
matted together, and closely resembling the fibres of whalebone. Their 
feet are divided into three toes, incased in hoofs. Tire best description 
of the various species of the African Rhinoceros is given in Cumming. _ 
«**>£ the Rhinoceros there are four varieties in South Africa, distin- 
guisned t»y the Bechuanas by the names of the ‘ borele,’ or black rhino- 





















INDIAN RHINOCEROS. 




































































































































































































































































































































































































NATURAL HISTORY. 


161 


ceros, the ‘keitloa,’ or two-horned black rhinoceros, the ‘ muchocho,’ or 
common white rhinoceros, and the ‘ kobaoba,’ or long-horned white 
rhinoceros. Both varieties of the black rhinoceros are extremely fierce 
and dangerous, and rush headlong and unprovoked at any object which 
attracts their attention. They never attain much fat, and their flesh is 
tough, and not much esteemed even by the Bechuanas. Their food 


RHINOCEROS. 



Hicornis (Lat. bis, twice; cornu, a horn), the Two-horned Rhinoceros, or 

Rhinaster. 

consists almost entirely of the thorny Dranches of the wait-a-Oit* thorns. 
Their horns are much shorter than those of the other varieties, seldom 
exceeding eighteen inches in length. They are finely polished with con- 
stant rubbing against the trees. The skull is remarkably formed, its 
most striking feature being the tremendous thick ossification in which it 
ends above the nostrils. It is on this mass that the horn is supported, 
The horns are not connected with the skull, being attached merely by 
the skin, and they may thus be separated from the head by means of 
a sharp knife. They are hard, and perfectly solid throughout, and are a 
line material for various articles, such as drinking cups, mallets for rifles, 
bandies for turners’ tools, &c. &c. The-, horn is capable of a very high 

* The reader must know that these are the thorns of a kind of acacia, which being se¬ 
veral inches in length, v,ery strong and very sharp, generally do cause any one who has 
fallen among them, to “ wait a bit ” until he finds himself free from them. 

















152 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


polish. The eyes of the rhinoceros are small and sparkling, and do not 
readily observe the hunter, provided he keep to leeward of them. The 
skin is extremely thick, and only to be penetrated by bullets hardened 
with solder. During the day, the rhinoceros will be found lying asleep, 
or standing indolently, in some retired part of the forest, or under the 
base of the mountains, sheltered from the power of the sun by some 
friendly gtove of umbrella-topped mimosas. In the evening, they com¬ 
mence their nightly ramble, and wander over a great extent of country. 
They usually visit the fountains between the hours of nine and twelve 
o’clock at night, and it is on these occasions that they may be most suc¬ 
cessfully hunted, and with the least danger. The black rhinoceros is 
subject to paroxysms of unprovoked fury, often ploughing up the ground 
for several yards with its horn, and assaulting large bushes in the most 
violent manner. On these bushes they work for hours with their horns, 
at the same time snorting and blowing loudly; nor do they leave them in 
general until they have broken them into pieces. All the four varieties 
delight to roll and wallow in mud, with which their rugged hides are 
encrusted. Both varieties of the black rhinoceros are much smaller and 
more active than the white, and are so swift that a horse with a rider on 
its back can rarely overtake them. The two varieties of the white rhino¬ 
ceros are so similar in habits, that the description of one will serve for 
both, the principal difference consisting in the length and set of the 
anterior horn; that of the common white rhinoceros averaging from two 
to three feet in length, and pointing backwards; while the horn of the 
long-horned white rhinoceros often exceeds four feet in length, and 
inclines forward from the nose. 

“ Both these varieties of rhinoceros attain an enormous size, being the 
animals next in magnitude to the elephant. They feed solely on grass, 
carry much fat, and their flesh is excellent, being preferable to beef. 
They are of a much milder and more inoffensive disposition than the 
black rhinoceros, rarely charging their pursuer. Their speed is very 
inferior to that of the other varieties, and a person well-mounted can 
overtake and shoot them.” 

Several travellers have mentioned that there are certain birds which 
constantly attend the rhinoceros, and give him warning of approaching 
danger. Their accounts were either received with silent contempt, or 
treated with open ridicule, as preposterous extensions of the traveller’s 
privilege of romancing. Here, however, we find the same author who 
has just been quoted, corroborating in every respect these disbelieved 
tales. His description of these birds is so interesting that I give it 
entire. 

“ Before I could reach the proper distance to fire, several c rhinoceros 
birds,’ by which he was attended, warned him of his impending danger, 
by sticking their bills into his ear, and uttering their harsh, grating cry. 
Thus aroused, lie suddenly sprang to his feet, and crashed away through 
the jungle at a rapid trot, and I saw no more of him. 




nailis\l history. 


15:3 


H These rhinoceros birds are constant attendants upon the hippopota¬ 
mus and the four varieties of rhinoceros, their object being to feed upon 
the ticks and other parasitic insects that swarm upon these animals. 
They are of a greyish colour, and are nearly as large as a common 
thrush: their voice is very similar to that of the misseltoe thrush. 
Many a time have these ever-watchful birds disappointed me in my stalk, 
and tempted me to invoke an anathema upon their devoted heads. They 
are the best friends the rhinoceros has, and rarely fail to awaken him, 
even in his soundest nap. ‘ Chukuroo’ perfectly understands their warn¬ 
ing, and, springing to his feet, he generally first looks about him in every 
direction, after which he invariably makes off.” 

The organs of scent of the rhinoceros are very acute, and as the 
creature seems to have a peculiar faculty for detecting the presence of 
human beings, it is necessary for the hunters to use the greatest circum¬ 
spection when they approach it, whether to avoid or to kill, as in the 
one case it may probably be taken with a sudden fit of fury, and charge 
at them, or in the other case, it may take the alarm and escape. 

The Indian Rhinoceros is chiefly remarkable for the very deep foldings 
of the skin, which is so hard at the folds, that an ordinary leaden ball 
will often fail to penetrate sufficiently to cause a deep wound, and the 
hunters are consequently forced to harden their bullets with tin or solder. 

It may be here remarked, that the so-called “ horn ” is not a true horn, 
being nothing but a process from the skin, and composed of a vast 
assemblage of hairs. If a thin transverse section of the horn of a rhino¬ 
ceros is placed under a microscope, it will be seen that it is composed of 
a series of minute tubes, exactly like those of hair. Indeed it is possible 
to make an artificial rhinoceros horn, by gluing together a bundle of 
hairs, and if a transverse section of this composition is placed under the 
microscope, it almost exactly resembles the section of the rhinoceros 
horn. Round the base of the horn, and wherever it has been injured, 
the broken ends of the hairs stand out separately, and can be cut off. 

The contempt with which the hunters, at all events the British 
hunters, appear to treat the rhinoceros is very amusing. If they want 
the skin or the horn, why, then they shoot it; but if they do not stand in 
need of such articles, and a rhinoceros comes 
in their way, they are obliged to pelt it away 
or drive it off as they would a cow. 

Goblets, made of the horn, were formerly in 
high estimation as perservatives against poison. 

The Indian kings were accustomed to have 
their wine served up in these goblets, as they 
imagined that if any poison were introduced 
into the cup, the liquid would boil over, and 
betray its presence. 

The upper lip is used by the rhinoceros as an instrument of prehension, 
with which it can grasp the herbage on which it feeds, or pick up smal 1 



SKULL OF THE RHINOCEROS 


154 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


fruit from the ground. The very tame rhinoceros in the Zoologica. 
Gardens will take a piece of bun or biscuit from a visitor’s hand by 
means of its flexible upper lip. 

The Hippopotamus. —There is, in all probability, but one species of 
the Hippopotamus. It inhabits Africa exclusively, and is found in plenty 

Sub-family e. Hippopotamlna. 

Hippopotamus. --(Gr.‘ , l7r7ros, a Horse; iroTa.iJ.us, a River.) 



Ampliibius (Gr. ’A ucpl, on both sides; Plow, I live), the Hij/popOtamus. 

on the banks of many rivers in that country, where it may be seen gam¬ 
bolling and snorting at all times of the day. 

These animals are quiet and inoffensive while undisturbed, but if at¬ 
tacked, they unite to repel the invader, and have been known to tear 
several planks from the side of a boat, and sink it. They can remain 
about five or six minutes under water, and when they emerge they make 
a loud and very peculiar snorting noise, which can be heard at a great 
distance. 

The hide is very thick and strong, and is chiefly used for whips. The 
well-known “ Cow-hides” are made of this material. Between the skin 
and flesh is a layer of fat, which is salted and eaten by the Dutch 
colonists of Southern Africa. When salted it is called Zee-koe speck, 
or Sea-cow’s bacon. The flesh is also in some request. 

The Hippopotamus feeds entirely on vegetable substances, such as 















NATURAL HISTORY. 


155 


grass and brushwood. The fine animal now in the possession of the 
Zoological Society eats all kinds of vegetables, not disdaining roots. 
This individual is peculiarly interesting from being the first Hippopotamus 
brought to Europe for many hundred years, and is in all probability the 
first that has ever reached this country. 

A young Hippopotamus has been introduced into the Jardin des 
Plantes at Paris, but it is not so fine an animal as ours. Our specimen 
is fast losing its docility and gentle bearing, and is apparently likely to 
Decome a savage animal, which from its great strength will be trouble¬ 
some to manage. There is rather a curious story respecting its capture, 
which is too long to be related here at length, but which will exhibit 
the character of eastern despots. Its actual capture was caused by a 
boathook run into its flank, the mark of which wound was very con¬ 
spicuous for a year or two after its arrival in England, but which is 
gradually becoming fainter. It was very young when taken, and was 
fed on milk, of which article it consumed so much, that all the cows on 
its route had to be forced into its service, and the tax which it seemed 
disposed to levy on the milk of the cows, was hardly less oppressive 
than that laid by the ruler on the person and purses of their owners. 

In Harris’s Sports of South Africa, a very good and accurate account 
is given of the habits of the Hippopotamus. 

“ This animal abounds in the Limpopo, dividing the empire with its 
amphibious neighbour the crocodile- Throughout the night the un¬ 
wieldy monsters might be heard snorting and blowing during their aqua¬ 
tic gambols, and we not unfrequently detected them in the act of sallying 
from their reed-grown coverts, to graze by the serene light of the moon; 
never, however, venturing to any distance from the river, the stronghold 
to which they betake themselves on the smallest alarm. Occasionally, 
during the day, they were to be seen basking on the shore, amid ooze 
and mud ; but shots were most constantly to be had at their uncouth 
heads, when protruded from the water to draw breatli; and, if killed, 
the body rose to the surface. Vulnerable only behind the ear, however, 
or the eye, which is placed in a prominence, so as to resemble the garret 
window of a Hutch house, they require the perfection of rifle practice, 
and after a few shots become exceedingly shy, exhibiting the snout 
only, and as instantly withdrawing it. The flesh is delicious, resembling 
pork in flavour, and abounding in fat, which in the colony is deservedly 
esteemed the greatest of delicacies. The hide is upwards of an inch and 
a half in thickness, and being scarcely flexible, may be dragged from the 
ribs in strips like the planks from a ship’s side.” 

Erom the construction of the head, the animal is enabled to raise its 
eves and nostrils above the water at the same time, so that it can survey 
the prospect and breathe without raising more than an inch or two of its 
person from the water. In order to attain this object, the eyes are very 
small, and placed very high in the head, while the muzzle is very large 
and the nostrils open on its upper surface. 


156 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Cumming relates that the track of the Hippopotamus may be readilj 
distinguished from that of any other animal by a line of unbroken herbage 
which is left between the marks of the feet on each side, as the width o\ 
the space between the right and left legs causes the animal to place its 
feet so considerably apart, as to make a distinct double track. 

The teeth of the Hippopotamus are the mainstay of the dentist, who 
cuts from the tusk of a Hippopotamus those series of elegant teeth whicli 
replace those that age or accident has struck out of the human mouth. 
The ivory is exceedingly hard, and does not readily lose its beautiful 
whiteness, being properties which render it especially valuable for such 
purposes. 

This is supposed by many to be the animal called Behemoth in 
Scripture. 


Family IV. Bradypldse—(Gr. B padvs, slow; novs, a foot.) 

BRADYPUS. 



Iridactylus (Gr. TpidauTvhos, three-fingered), the Sloth. 

The Sloth. —The Edentata include the ant-eaters and the pangolins 
which possess no teeth at all, and the sloths, armadillos, &c., whose teeth 
are small and of peculiar structure. 

The Sloths form the first division of the Edentata—the leaf-eaters. 

The Sloth or Ai, is another example.of the errors into which even great 
naturalists are led from hasty observation. The great Cuvier himseli 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


167 


condemns the Sloth as a degraded and miserable animal, moving with pain, 
and misshapen in form. Yet no animal is more fitted for its position than 
the Sloth. “The Sloth,” says Waterton, “in its wild state spends its 
whole life in the trees, and never leaves them but through force or acci¬ 
dent, and what is more extraordinary, not upon the branches, like the 
squirrel and monkey, but under them. He moves suspended from the 
branch, he rests suspended from the branch, and he sleeps suspended from 
the branch.” In fact, as Sydney Smith observes, he passes a life of sus¬ 
pense, like a young clergyman distantly related to a Bishop. 

To render it fit for this singular mode of life, its long and powerful 
arms are furnished with strong curved claws, which hook round the 
branches, and keep the animal suspended without any effort. When on 
the ground, these claws are very inconvenient, and it can barely shuffle 
along; but when it is among its native branches, it moves with exceeding 
rapidity, particularly in a gale of wind, when it passes from branch to 
branch and from tree to tree with an activity which its movements on the 
ground by no means portend. 

It is gifted with great tenacity of life, surviving under injuries which 
would have proved instantly mortal to any other animal. It even sur¬ 
passes the opossum in endurance. Waterton gives an interesting account 
of a sloth which he kept in his house for some time. The animal usually 
lived on the back of a chair to which it slung itself by its curved claws. 
After keeping it for some time, he was desirous of killing it, as its skin 
was required tor the purpose of stuffing, and the death warrant was issued 
against the sloth. But how to kill it was the difficulty: and its owner, 
being a naturalist and therefore a merciful man, in spite of popular pre¬ 
judices on the subject, was much perplexed in his mind. At last he 
determined on trying the effect of the wourali poison-, used by the Indians 
to give their weapons of war and the chase a more deadly effect. Even 
a sloth could not resist the wourali. A very small wound was made 
through the animal’s skin, and inoculated with the poison. Soon the sloth 
began to droop, its head sunk upon one side, and after a few minutes one 
of its reel lost its hold of the chair on which it was hanging. The other 
foot soon gave way under the influence of the poison, and the dying 
jmimal fell to the ground. It lav there perfectly quiet, and after a few 
minutes had elapsed, gently closed its eyes and was dead. Its whole 
demeanour was that of an animal overcome with sleep, and it never 
appeared to suffer the slightest pain. 

Such indeed seems to be the effect of this singular composition upon 
any living creature. If an animal is wounded, although slightly by a 
weapon charged with this poison, it runs a few paces, staggers, and lies 
down as if to sleep, and in a few minutes is dead. The effect is the same 
upon man. Two Indians were hunting after birds, and one of them had 
just launched a poisoned arrow at a bird nearly above him. The arrow 
missed its mark, glanced against a bough, and in its fall struck into the 
arm of the man who had thrown it. He looked at his arm, took off his 


158 


NATURAL flISTORY 


quiver of arrows, remarked that he should never use them again, laid him¬ 
self down, and was dead almost immediately. 


Family V. . Dasypldse.—(Gr. Aacn js, hairy; noils, a foot. Hairy-footed.) 
Sub-family a. Manina. 

Manis (Native name). 



Tetradactyla (Gr. TerpadciKTvKos, four-fingered), the Pltatagin, or Long- 

tailed Mann. 

The ManidjK or Pangolins are immediately known by the peculiar, 
strong, horny plates with which their bodies are defended, giving them 

manis. the appearance of ani¬ 

mals enveloped in a suit 
of scale armour. When 
attacked, they roll them¬ 
selves up, wrap their tails 
round them, and raise 
the whole array of sharp- 
edged scales with which 
their body is covered, 
and bid defiance to almost 
any enemy except man. 
They live on ants, and 
termites, or white ants, 
as they are called, which 
they take by thrusting 
Pentadactyla (Gr. nevTaSatcTvKos, five-fingered), their long slender tongue 
the Short-tailed Manis. . among the ants, which 

adhere to it by a gummy saliva. When the tongue is covered it is 
rapidly retracted, and the ants swallowed. To obtain the ants, the Pan- 






natural history. 


15 9 


golins are famished with powerful claws to tear down the dwellings oi 
their prey. 

The Long-tailed Manis is widely scattered through Africa, but is not 
very common. The length of its body is about two feet, and that of its 
tail rather more than three. 

The Short-tailed Manis, or Bajjerkeit, is very common in India. Its 
entire length is about four feet. 



The Armadillos live exclusively in the warmer parts of America. 
They eat carrion, insects, and sometimes lallen fruit. The great mainstay 
ol these animals lies in the number of bisons annually slaughtered for the 
sake of their hides. The carcases of these animals are left to rot on the 
plain, and would speedily do so did not the combined effect of birds and 
beasts, soon destroy every 

trace of the animal and Sub-family b. Dasyplna. 

only leave a heap of Dasvpus. —(Gr. Aaavs, hairy; ttovs, & foot.) 
bones. In this work the 
Armadillo takes his full 
share. 

The armour that covers 
them, instead of resem¬ 
bling scale armour like 
that of the Manis, for- 
ciblv reminds the ob- 

V 

server of the modified 
plate armour worn in the 
time of Charles I. They 
burrow with great ra¬ 
pidity, and can only be 

forced from their reluge Sexcinctus (Lat. six han/ded), the Armadillo. 
by smoke or water. When 

they are hunted and are very close pressed, they either endeavour to escape 
their foes by rapidly burrowing into the earth, or try to oppose a partial 
resistance by rolling themselves up and trusting to the protection of their 
armour. The natives and colonists consider them great delicacies when 
roasted in their shells. 

The Armadillos are all small except the Gigantic Armadillo, which is 
well described in the following extract. c< I found that an Armadillo of 
gigantic size had caused the commotion. It was lying a round, misshapen 
mass, its head partly buried under its armour, the feet drawn together, 
and its body pierced by numerous arrows. It offered not the slightest 
resistance to its tormentors, whom I desired to end its sufferings by a 
heavy stroke of a club. Two men were required to carry it, and Mr. 
Schomburgh estimated its weight at from 110 to 120 pounds; its height 
was about three feet, its length five and a half. Its tail was about four¬ 
teen or sixteen inches long, and its root nearly as thick as a man’s thigh 



160 


natural history. 


tapering very abruptly. The middle one of the five toes of the fore fool 
was seven and a half inches in length. In size it greatly surpasses the 
largest Giant Armadillo known (Dasypus giganteus, Desm.), though Mi. 
Schomburgh does not mean to assert it is a different species from the 
giganteus; yet its enormous size will attract the attention of naturalists 
and geologists to the fossil genera.” 


Sub-family c. Myrmecophagina. 
Myrmecophaga.— (Gr. /£, an Ant; cpaye7u, to eat.) 



Jubata (Lat. crested ), the Ant-eater. 

The Ant-eater. —This curious animal inhabits Guiana, Brazil, and 
Paraguay. As its name imports, it lives principally upon ants and 
termites, which it procures in precisely the same manner as was related 
of the Manis. Its short legs and long claws would lead an observer to 
suppose that its pace was slow and constrained, but when chased, it runs 
off with a peculiar trot, and with such rapidity, that it keeps a horse to 
its speed to overtake it. 

The tongue of this animal looks exactly like a great red worm, and 
when the creature is engaged in devouring its food, the rapid coiling and 
twisting of the tongue add in no small degree to the resemblance. 

The claws are very long and curved, and as they are used in tearing 
down the habitation of the termites or white ants, as they are called, are 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


161 


exceeding strong. They are placed on the foot in such a manner that 
when the animal is walking, its weight rests on the outside of the fore 
feet and the outer edge of the claws, which make a great clattering if the 
ant-eater is walking upon a hard surface. 

When it sleeps, it lies on one side, rolls itself up, so that its snout rests 
on its breast, places all its feet together, and covers itself with its bushy 
tail. The fur of the animal at all times resembles hay, and when it is 
thus curled up in sleep, it is so exactly like a bundle of hay, that any one 
might pass it carelessly, imagining it to be nothing but a loose heap of 
that substance. 

Schomburgh relates that a tame Ant-eater, in his possession, by no 
means restricted itself to ants, but devoured meat, when minced, with 
much avidity. The same naturalist also discovered a Julus, or Millipede, 
in the stomach of an ant-eater which he dissected. The ordinary length 
of this animal is about three feet seven inches, and its height about three 
feet. 

The Middle Ant- 
Eater, or Taman- 


and almost devoid of 
hair except at the 
base. The tail in¬ 
deed is used as an 
organ of prehension, 
to assist it in climb¬ 
ing trees, a feat 
which it sometimes 
performs, although 
not so often as the 
Little Ant-Eater. 

This animal pro¬ 
duces a strong scent 
of musk, which is generally excited when it is enraged. The scent is not 
pleasant, like that of the musk deer, but very disagreeable, and can be 
perceived at a considerable distance. 

The Little Ant-eater also inhabits Guiana and Brazil. The principal 
characteristics of this animal are the shortness of its muzzle, and the pre¬ 
hensile power of iK tail, 'which it twists round the branches on which it 
principally resides. It often attacks the nests of wasps, pulling them to 

M 


dua, is not so large 
as the preceding ani¬ 
mal, from which it is 
readily distinguish¬ 
ed by the tail, which 
is long and tapering, 


Tamandua (Native name). 



Tetradactyla (Gr. four-fingered), the Tamandua. 



162 


NATURAL HISTORY 




pieces with its claws, and devouring the grubs. The length of its body 

is ten inches 

Cyclothurus (Gr. kvkAos, a circle, 8vpa,a 


door, or boards put together like a door).* 


The skeleton of this littie 
animal presents a very sin¬ 
gular appearance, as its ribs 
are very flat and very wide 
in proportion to the size of 
the creature, and envelop 
each other in such a manner 
that the interior of the 
thorax is protected by a 
bony mail, no interstices 
being perceptible between 
the ribs. 


Didact^la (Gr. AiScf/croAos, two-fingered), 
the Little Ant-eater. 


The Duck-billed Pla¬ 
typus. f —Australia, where 
everything seems to be re¬ 
versed, where the north 
wind is w'arm and the south 
wind cold, the thick end of 
a pear is next the stem, and 


the stone of a cherry grows outside, is the residence of this most extra¬ 
ordinary animal. When it was first introduced into Europe, it was fully 

c ■, j, 7 ^ believed to be the 

iSub-tamuy d. Ornithorhunchma. c , c 

J . , manufacture ot some 

Ornithorhyncus. (Gr. O ovis, a bird, fivyxos, impostor, who with 
a snout.) much ingenuity had 

fixed the beak of a duck 
into the head of some 
unknown animal. It 
will however be seen 
by the woodcut repre¬ 
senting the skull of 
the animal, that this 
duck-like beak really 
belongs to the animal, 
and is caused by a pro¬ 
longation of some of 
the bones of the head. 
It lives by the banks 
Paradoxus (Lat, puzzling ), the Duck-billed of rivers, in which it 
Platypus. burrows like the water 


•In allusion to the form of the ribs 

t The word “ Platypus" signifies broad-footed, and is derived from the Greek words. 
«\arvr, broad, and irovt, a foot. 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


163 


rat Curiously enough, it finds no difficulty in this labour, although its 
house is always very deep, for the feet are so constructed that the animal 
can fold back the web at pleasure, and thus the foot is enabled to perform 
its task. It feeds upon water-insects and shell-fish, always rejecting the 
crushed shells after swallowing the inhabitant. 

Mr. Bennet attempted to rear some young Ornithorhynci at Sydney, 
but they died in a short time. They were very fond of climbing between 
a press and the wall, placing their backs against the press and their feet 
against the wall. They used to dress their fur with their beak and feet, 
just as a duck prunes its feathers. 

The male has a sharp spur on its hind feet. 

The learned have given the animal several names. Some follow Shaw, 
and call it Platypus Anatinus; some give it the name of Ornithorhyncus 
rufus or fuscus, or crispus or brevirostris, with other titles. The native 
name for the creature is “Mullingong,” a title which, although not 
euphonious, is perhaps little less so than the scientific names, while it 
certainly has the advantage over them in point of brevity. 



skull of the platypus. 



164 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Division II. AVES- (Lat. Birds.) 

Order I. . . A CClPITRES.— (Lat. Hawks.) 

Sub-order I. AootpTtkes diurnl— (Lat. Hawks of the day.) 

Family I. . Gypaetidse.—(Gr. rvip, a Vulture; ’Aeros, an Eagle. Vulture 

eagle kind.) 

OYPAETUS. 



Barbatus (Lat. bearded), the Bearded Vulture or Lammergeyer 

Birds are immediately distinguished from the Mammalia by theii 
general form, their feathery covering, and by producing their young 
enclosed in eggs. 

The different orders of birds are principally known by the character of 
tne claws and beak, examples of which will be seen in the progress of the 
work. Before we pay attention to any individual species, we will first 
examine some of the structures common to all birds. 

One of the first great marks of distinction in birds is the wing. This 
organ is a modification of the arm or forelitnb of mammalia, clothed with 
teathers instead of hair. 

The bones of adult birds are not filled with mariow like the bones of 
mammalia, but are hollow and filled with air, and are therefore rendered 
very light, a bone of a goose being barely half the weight of a rabbit’s 
bone of the same size, after the marrow has been extracted. In this 
formation, strength as well as lightness is consulted, as a tubular rod is 
well known to be very much stronger than the same quantity of matte* 








NATURAL HISTORY. 


165 


tormed into a solid bar. The bones forming the wing are worthy of 
notice for the beautiful manner in which they are jointed together, and 
arranged so as to give great strength together with lightness. Unscien¬ 
tific individuals are apt to make certain mistakes in their ideas of birds, 
and especially as regards the formation of their legs. Most persons 
veem to fancy that the foot of the bird is that part which grasps the 
branch, or by means of which it walks on the ground—that the joint 
:\hove that member is the knee—and that the thigh is the feathered 
portion of the limb that proceeds from the bird’s body. Now, all these 
.deas are wrong; with this method of arrangement, the knee of the bird 
would bend backwards, a thing which no perfectly formed knee ever did 
or ever will do. 

The leg of a bird is formed on much the same principle as the hind leg 
of a quadruped, the part that grasps the branches being composed of the 
toes , the so-called knee-joint being the heel bone of the foot, so that the 
whole foot reaches half-way from the perch to the bird. The knee-joint 
is placed high up against the body, and is buried in the feathers. In the 
following figure, the limbs of a man and of a bird are compared, the 
corresponding divisions of each being marked by similar letters. 



As many important characteristics are drawn from the plumage, it 
will be necessary to give a figure, (p. 166 ,) exhibiting the feathers of 
the different parts, together with their names:— a, primaries, or great 
quill feathers of the wing; b, secondaries; c, tertials; d, lesser coverts ; 
e, greater coverts; r, winglet, or bastard wing; g, scapularies; h, upper 
tail coverts; I, under tail coverts; x, rectrices or tail-feathers. 

In the above engraviug is also a figure, showing the method by which 
birds hold on the perch while sleeping. It will be seen that the great 
tendon a, which is connected with all the toes or claws, passes over the 
joints in such a manner that when the leg is bent, the tendon is short¬ 
ened and the claws drawn together, so that the weight of the bird while 
perched, pressing on the tendon, holds it firmly on the branch. This 
action of the tendon is easily observed by watching a common fow rI walk 




166 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


At each step that it makes, on lifting its foot, the claws are seen to be 
draw?\ together. It is partly by this power that the birds of prey are 
enabled to fix their talons so forcibly into the bodies of their prey 
When, for example an eagle wishes to drive his claws into its prey, he 



PLUMAGE. 


STERNUM. 


perches on it, and then sinks down with the whole weight of his body 
by which movement the tendon is shortened, and the claws forcibly 
pressed together. 

As the wing presents a very broad surface to the air, it is necessary 

that very powerful muscles must 
be used to move it with sufficient 
rapidity. The pectoral muscles 
are therefore enormously deve¬ 
loped, extending almost the 
whole length of the body, as 
every one who has carved a fowl 
must have seen; and in order to 
form an attachment for these im¬ 
mense muscles, the ridge of the breastbone is equally enlarged. It is 
the want of these enlarged muscles that prevents man from flying, even 
when he has attached wings to his arms. 

The principal characteristics of birds are taken from their foot and 
beak. I therefore give the reader a figure representing the general 
character of the head and foot of the rapacious birds. 




CLAW AND BEAK OF RAPACIOUS BIRD. 


The Lammergeyer, (Germ. Lamb's-vulture,) or Bearded Vulture, 
inhabits most mountain ranges, and is very common in the Alps of Swit¬ 
zerland and Germany, where, from its depredations on the kids ana 
lambs, it has earned its name of Lammergeyer. 

Although called the Bearded “ Vulture,” it is not strictly a vulture, 
as its head and neck are feathered, and it rejects putrid flesh^unless 
hard pressed by hunger. 

It destroys hares, and young or sickly sheep and goats, Aor, when 
rendered fierce by hunger, does it fear to attack the adult chamois, or 
even man. It is said to destroy the larger animals by watching until 
they are near the brink of a presipice, and then suddenly driving them 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


167 


over the rocks by an unexpected swoop. In this manner the strong and 
swift chamois falls a victim to the craft of its winged foe, and instances 
are not wanting where the chamois hunter himself has been shuck from 
a narrow ridge into the valley beneath by a blow from this ferocious bird. 

It is exceedingly bold, and shows but little fear of man. While Bruce 
was preparing his dinner on the summit of a mountain, one of these 
birds, after scalding its feet in seveiai unavailing attempts to extract 
some meat out of the boiling water, actually seized a piece from a 
platter, and went off with it. 

The name of “ Bearded” Yulture is given to it on account of the 
long tuft of hairs with which each nostril is clothed. The length of its 
body is about four feet, and the expanse of its wings from nine to ten. 
The second and third primary feathers are the longest. 

It lays two eggs,—white, marked with brown blotches. 


Family II. Sarcorhamphidm.—(Gr. 2ap£, flesh; beak.) 

SA RCORH AMPHOS. 



Gryphou (Gr. a GrilTon}, the Condor. 

The Condor, —The Sarcorhamphidae are distinguished by a fleshy tuft 
growing on their beaxs, somewhat resembling the wattles of a turkey, 









168 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The genus Sarcorhamphos includes the Condor, the King Vulture, and 
the Californian Vulture. These birds are distinguished by the wattles 
on their beaks, their naked necks, and the size of the nostrils. The 
third primary feather is the longest. 

The Condor inhabits the Andes of South America, always choosing 
its residence on the summit of a solitary rock. It appears that this bird 

does not build any nest, but lays 
its two white eggs on tne bare 
rock after the manner ol many sea 
birds. It is a very large bird, but 
by no means the gigantic creature 
some former naturalists relate, with 
wings twenty feet iu length, and 
powerful enough to carry off a 
horse. The real expanse of wing 
is about nine or ten feet, and the 
length of the bird about four feet. 
It is, however, exceedingly strong 
and tenacious of life. Two Con¬ 
dors will attack and kill the llama, 
or even the puma; for by their re¬ 
peated buffeting and pecking they 
weary it so completely that it 
yields to their perseverance. 

The King Vulture is also a 
native of South America, seldom 
if ever being seen north of Florida. Travellers relate that this species 
keeps the other vultures under subjection, and does not suffer them 
to approach a dead animal until he has completely satisfied his own 
appetite, which is certainly none of the smallest. 



Papa, the King Vulture. 


We now arrive at the true Vultures. These birds are the repre¬ 
sentatives of the carrion-devouring animals, such as the hyenas, wild 
dogs, &c. They however do not, as the hyenas and wild dogs, attack 
living animals. The neck of the Vulture is almost naked, very slightly 
sprinkled with down, and from the formation of the lower part of the 
neck, the bird is enabled to draw its head almost under the feathers of 
its shoulders, so that a hasty observer would conclude that the creature 
had no neck at all. 

The marvellous quickness with which the vultures discover a dead 
animal has caused many discussions among naturalists as to the sense 
employed; some, as Audubon, declaring entirely for sight, and others, as 
Water ton, asserting that the scent of putrid animal matter leads the 
vultures to their prey. 




JNATUKAJ. I1I8TOKY. 


169 


He especially ridicules one experiment tried by Audubon, by stuffing 
a deer’s hide, and placing it in the open air. The vultures soon came to 
the stuffed skin, and one of them tore open the skin, just as if the 
animal had been really lying dead, and continued to pull out large quan¬ 
tities of straw until it became tned and went away. Audubon argues 
from this experiment, that the vultures were led to the bait by the sight, 
and not by the scent, or they would not have been so taken in as to 

Family III. . Vulturidse.—(Lat. Vultur. Vulture kind.) 

Sub-family a. Vulturince. 


O Y PR. 



Fulvus (Lat. tawny), the Griffon Vulture. 


work for so long a time at a stuffed skin However, few people see the 
same incident in the same light, and Wat.erton’s inferences are widely 
different from those drawn by Audubon. He declares that the experi¬ 
ment of stuffing a deer’s hide, and placing it exposed in the open air, 
was by no means conclusive, as the hide, however dry, must have given 
out some odour, and the vulture certainly acted very properly in pull¬ 
ing out the straw, and endeavouring to get at the inside. 

The probability is that both senses are used, one aiding the other; for 
in another experiment, where a dead hog was hidden under canes and 
briars, aumbers of vultures were seen sailing in all directions over the 











170 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


spot, evidently directed by the scent, but unable to discover by their 
eyes the exact position of the animal. The olfactory nerves of the Vul¬ 
ture are beautifully developed, so that Waterton had reason for his 
pathetic remark,—“ I never thought I should have lived to see this bird 
deprived of its nose.” 

The Griffon Vulture* is found in almost all parts of the old world. 
It is one of the largest of its group, measuring upwards of four feet in 
length. Like most of the vultures, it does not appear to move its wings 
while flying, but soars on expanded pinions in large circles, apparently 
gaining the necessary impetus by the movements of its head and body, 
just as an accomplished skater uses but little force in his various evolu¬ 
tions—an imperceptible inclination of the head, or sway of the body, 
sufficing to keep up the impetus gained at starting, and to bring him 
round in any direction he chooses. 

Vultures are generally protected by the natives of the countries where 
they reside on account of their great utility in clearing away the putrid 
animal matter, which would otherwise be exceedingly injurious as well as 
disagreeable. The Turkey Buzzard or John Crow (Cathartes Aura), or 
Jamaican Vulture, is protected by a fine of five pounds, inflicted on any 
one who destroys the bird within a certain distance of the principal 
towns. Waterton’s account of this bird is very interesting, and well 
worthy of notice. There are many species of vultures inhabiting dif¬ 
ferent countries, but their habits as well as their forms are so similar 
that a detailed description of each is needless. 


Eagles. —The Vultures seem to hold the same place among birds as 
the Hyenas among the Mammalia; and in like manner the Ealconidae fill 
the same position in the ornithological kingdom, as do the Felidae among 
the quadrupeds. The beak of this family is strong and curved, and the 
feet furnished with sharp talons, just as the Eelidae are armed with long 
sharp teeth and powerful claws. The Ealconidae differ from the Vul- 
turidae in having feathered necks, and in killing their prey themselves, 
and devouring it while fresh. 

At the head of the Ealconidae the Eagles are placed. In them the 
wings are large, powerful, and slightly rounded, the fourth primary 
feather being longest. The feet of the genus Aquila are feathered to 
the toes. 

The Golden Eagle is found in most parts of Europe, and is not un¬ 
common in Great Britain, especially in the mountainous parts of Scotland 
and the Hebrides. The flight of this magnificent bird is peculiarly 
beautiful and imposing, but its gait when on land is rather awkward; for 
its long talons encumber it in the same manner that the Sloth and Great 
Ant-Eater are impeded by their long curved claws when they attempt to 
walk with anv rapidity. 

* See p. 169 








THE GOLDEN EAGLE. 


P. 171 

















NATURAL, HISTORY - . 


171 


Its food is usually sea birds and the smaller quadrupeds, such as hares, 
rabbits, &c., but it does not hesitate to carry off young lambs, or some¬ 
times to destroy a sickly sheep. Some instances have been related of 
children that have been carried away by this eagle, but they are very 
doubtful. Eagles certainly have pounced upon children, and carried them 

Family IV. . . . Falcomdae. 

Sub-family a. . . Aquillnce. 


AquIla _(L::t. an Eagle .) 



Chrysaetos (Gr. XfjvoatTus, Golden Eagle), tlce Golden Eagle. 


a little way, but there are no authenticated accounts of children having 
oeen actually taken to the eagle’s nest, although there are many pretty 
6tories founded on such a supposition. 

It generally hunts in pairs, one eagle watching from some height 
while the other courses along the ground, and drives the game from the 
bushes. The male and female remain together all the year, and very 
probably for life. It lays two eggs of a yellowish white colour with pale 
brownish spots, on a nest composed of a great mass of sticks, rushes, 
and grass, and the young are fledged about the end of July. While the 
young are in the nest it is very dangerous to approach the spet., as the 
Eagles are then extremely fierce and daring. 



172 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The Rev. Mr. Inglis gives the following account of an adventure with 
an eagle :—“ The farmer of Glenmark, whose name was Miln, had been 
out one day with his gun, and coming upon an eagle’s nest, he made 
a noise to start her and have a shot. She was not at home, however, 
and so Miln, taking off his shoes, began to ascend, gun in hand. When 
about half-way up, and in a very critical situation, the eagle made her 
appearance, bringing a plentiful supply to the young which she had in 
her nest. Quick as thought she darted upon the intruder, with a ter¬ 
rific scream. He was clinging to the rock by one hand, with scarcely 
any footing. Making a desperate effort, however, he reached a ledge, 
while the eagle was now so close that he could not shoot at her. A lucky 
thought struck him: he took off his bonnet and threw it at the eagle, 
which immediately flew after it to the foot of the rock. As she was 
returning to the attack, finding an opportunity of taking a steady aim, 
he shot her.” 

The eye of this bird, and of most of the birds of prey, is provided 
with an arrangement for enabling it to see a.11 object near or at a great dis¬ 
tance. The old tale of the eagle delighting to gaze at the sun is equally 
poetical and false, the true fact being that the eye is shaded from the 
sun by the projecting eyebrow. As to the nictitating membrane, which 

some assert to be given to the 


PandIon (Gr. Proper name). 



haliagtus (Gr. "AAy, the sea, ae-rds, an 
Eagle), the Osprey. 


Eagle in order to enable it to 
gaze at the sun, all birds have 
it, and the owl, who is blinded 
by ordinary daylight, possesses 
it in perfection. 

The feet of the genus Pan- 
dion are naked, armed with 
very long curved talons, the 
outermost of which can be drawn 
together, so as to hold their 
slippery prey. The wings are 
ample, and the second and third 
primary feathers the longest. 

The Osprey, or Fishing 
Hawk, is spread over the whole 
of Europe, part of Asia, and 
some portions of North Ame¬ 
rica. As its name imports, its 
food consists entirely of fish, 
which it obtains by dashing into 


the water, and seizing them with its curved talons. The Osprey, 
although it takes the fish, is not the only bird that has a predilection for 
that diet, as the bald-headed eagle frequently waits until the osprey has 
seized the prey, and then deprives him of it. I should like to present 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


173 


my readers with the entire spirited passage from Wilson’s Ornithology, 
describing the chase and capture, but as want of space compels me to 
compress as much as possible, there will only be room for a very small 
extract. He relates that the eagle, after watching the osprey as it 
dashes into the water after its finny prey, starts off in pursuit as it 
emerges, bearing a fish in its talons. “ Each exerts his utmost to mount 
above the other, displaying, in these rencontres, the most elegant and sub* 
lime aerial evolutions. The unencumbered eagle rapidly advances, and is 
just on the point of reaching his opponent, when, with a sudden scream, 
probably of despair and houest execration, the latter drops his fish: the 
eagle, poising himself for a moment, as if to take a more certain aim, 
descends like a whirlwind, snatches it in his grasp ere it reaches the 
water, and bears his ill-gotten booty silently away to the woods.” 

When the Osprey plunges after its finny prey, it never attempts to 
seize them while they are leaping out of the water, but plunges down¬ 
wards with such force, that it disappears below the surface, throwing up 
the foam around it. 

Its nest is made of an enormous heap of sticks, grass, &c., laid among 
the branches of a tree, and large enough to make a fair cart-load. In 
this nest it lays its eggs, which are a yellowish white, sprinkled with 
brown blotches. 

The length of this bird is about two feet, and the expanse of its wings 
about five feet and a half. Its feet are of a pale greyish blue colour, which 
unfortunately fades in a stuffed spe¬ 
cimen. Indeed, it is generally useless 
to attempt to obtain the slightest 
conception of the colours of mem¬ 
brane or skin from stuffed animals. 

The ears, lips, and eyelids of quad¬ 
rupeds, always present a most 
miserable appearance, while the legs 
and heads of birds look equally 
wretched from the same cause. The 
skin not only loses its colour, and 
assumes a dingy brown hue, but it 
also shrivels up, and is puckered up 
into wrinkles, that entirely obliterate 
it former appearance while the 
animal was living; even a very few 
hours will make this change. 

The White-headed Eagle, or 
Bald Eagle, as it is called by Wil- Leucoceph&lus (Gr. AewoK^aAoi, 
son, inhabits most parts of America, white-headed), the White-headed Eagle. 
and especially frequents the cataract of Kiagara. It is very accommo¬ 
dating in its appetite, and preys indiscriminately on lambs, pigs, swans. 


ITALIAETTJS. 






174 


NATURAL history. 


and the fish whi:h, as related above, it takes away irorn the unfortunate 
osprey. Sometimes it can take fish honourably for itself in shallow 
water, by wading as far as it can, and snatching up the fish with its 
beak. Audubon gives a splendid description of the chase of a swan by 
an eagle, but want of space again prevents its insertion. 

Like the Golden Eagle, this bird lives constantly with its mate, and 
hunts in company. It lays from two to four eggs, of a dull white 
colour, in a huge nest placed on a tall tree. 

The claws of this bird are grooved beneath, and the hind claw is the 
longest. The feet are half-feathered, and the fourth primary feather of 
the wing is the longest. When full grown, the general colour of the 
bird is a deep brownish black, but its head, neck, tail, and upper tail 
coverts are white. 


The Buzzard. —The family of the Buzzards are distinguished by 
their short beaks, large rounded wings, and squared tails. They all live 
on small animals, reptiles, and various insects. 

The Common Buzzard occurs through- 
Sub-family c. Buteonince. —(Lat. out most of Europe and part of Asia, 


Buteo, a Buzzard.) 


BUTEO. 



Vulgaris (Lat. common), the 
Buzzard 

lorum or band round the eyes, 
warmer parts of Europe and 


being frequently found in England. 
When searching for food, it rests upon 
some high branch, keeping a keen watch 
on the ground, and waiting patiently 
until some small animal, such as a rat 
or young rabbit, makes its appearance, 
when it instantly sweeps down from its 
elevation, seizes its prey without set¬ 
tling on the ground, and returns, if not 
disturbed, to the same spot, very much 
in the same manner that the fly-catcher 
may be observed to act. 

It generally builds in high trees, but 
has been known to make its nest among 
rocks. Its eggs are usually three in 
number, of a whitish colour, spotted 
with pale brown, and almost devoid of 
the peculiar red tinge that generally 
characterises the eggs of the diurnal 
birds of prey. The length of this bird 
is from twenty to twenty-two inches: 
the fourth primary feather is the longest 

The Honey Buzzard. —The genus 
Pernis is distinguished by the feathered 
The Honey Buzzard is found in the 
in Asia, seldom visiting our shores. 










NATURAL HISTORY. 


175 



Sub-iamily d. Milvlnce (Lat. Milvus, a Kite). Its food does not consist of 
Pernis. —(Gr. irepitris, a Hawk.) honey, as its name might 

seem to indicate, hut of bees, 
wasps, and their larvae. In 
the stomach of one that 
was shot in Scotland, a great 
number of bees and grubs 
were found, but no honey or 
wax. It does not, however, 
refuse small quadrupeds, or 
sometimes small birds, if 
pressed by hunger. It is a 
bird of passage, leaving Eu¬ 
rope at the commencement 
of winter. Its nest is built 
in high trees, and its eggs 
are two or three in number, 

grey, spotted with red at 
Apivorus (Lat . Bee-eating), the Honey Buzzard. one enc j au( j surrounded 

with a red band. Its length is about two feet, and the expanse of its 
wings fifty-two inches. The third primary feather is the longest. 


Milvus. — (Lat a Kite.) 



The Kite, Glede, 
or Gled, is not un¬ 
common in England, 
and is spread over 
Europe, Asia, and Nor¬ 
thern Africa. It is 
especially hated by the 
farmer for its depre¬ 
dations on his poultry, 
and its appearance is 
the signal fora general 
outcry among the ter¬ 
rified poultry, who per¬ 
ceive it long before 
the keenest-eyed man 
can distinguish it from 
a casual spot in the 
distant sky. The 
sportsman also de¬ 
tests it for the havoc 
which it makes among 
the game, — possibly 
the kite hates the 
sportsman for the same reason. 


Regalis (Lat. royal), the Kite. 










176 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



It builds in tall trees, and lays three eggs, white, spotted with reddish 
brown at the larger end. Its length is rather more than two feet; the 
fourth primary feather is the longest, the first and seventh nearly equal. 

The Swallow-tailed Ealcon is an inhabitant of North America, but 
has been more than once,taken in England. It feeds on the wing, like 
the swallows, pursuing the large moths and other insects with an east- 
and rapidity for which its formation eminently fits it. These insects are, 
however, not the only food of this bird. Audubon mentions that “ their 
principal food is large grasshoppers, grass caterpillars, small snakes, 
lizards and frogs. They sweep close over the fields, sometimes seeming 
to secure a snake, and holding it fast by the neck, carry it off, and devour 
it in the air.” This act is shown in the figure below. Its nest is built 
on the summit of an aged pine or oak, and its eggs are from four to six 
in number, of a greenish white colour, irregularly spotted with brown 
at the large end. The length of this bird is two feet. It should properly 
be called the Swallow-tailed Kite, as it belongs to the family of the kites. 

Elanoides. —(Gr. «=A av6s, a Kite . lilce a kite.) 


Furcatua (Eat. forked), the Swallow-tailed Falcon. 

Falcons.— In the genus Ealco, the second primary feather is the 
longest, the first and third being of equal length. The Gyr-talcon may 
be considered the type of the British Ealconidae. It is, however. 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


177 



extremely rare in England, those intended for hawking being principally 
brought from Iceland. On the rocky coasts of Norway and Iceland its 


Sub-family e. Fulcomnce. 
Falco. —(Lat. a Falcon.) 


eggs are laid. These birds are 
very courageous in defending 
their young. A pair of them 
attacked Dr. Richardson while 
he was climbing near their 
nest, flying in circles round him, 
and occasionally dashing at 
his face with loud screams. 

The entire length of the Gyr- 
falcon is twenty-three inches. 

The Peregrine Falcon, 
an inhabitant of most parts of 
Europe, Asia, and South 
America, was, in the palmy 
days of hawking, one of the 
favourite falcons chosen for 
that sport. Its strength and 
swiftness are very great, en¬ 
abling it to strike down its 
prey with great ease ; indeed, 
it has been known to disable 
hve partridges in succession. 

From its successful pursuit 

of ducks the Americans call . /T ^, 

it the Duck Hawk. Gyr-faleo (Lat.) the Oyr-fateon. 

There is a peculiarity in the method of attack which this bird employs 
when pursuing small game. Instead of merely dashing at its prey, 
and grasping it with its claws, the Peregrine Falcon strikes its victim 
with its breast, and actually stuns it with the violence of the blow 
before seizing it with its claws. The boldness of the Peregrine Falcon 
is so great that it was generally employed to take the formidable Heron. 
After the Heron had been roused from his contemplations by some 
marsh or river, the Falcon, who had previously been held hooded on its 
master’s hand, was loosed from its bonds and cast off. A contest then 
generally took place between the Heron and the Falcon, each striving 
to ascend above the other. In this contest the Falcon was always 
victorious, and after it had attained a sufficient altitude, it swept, ov 
“ stooped,” as the phrase was, upon the Heron. When the Falcon had 
closed with its prey, they both came to the ground together, and the 
sportsman’s business was to reach the place of conflict as soon as pos¬ 
sible, and assist the Falcon in vanquishing its prey. Sometimes, how¬ 
ever, the wary Heron contrived to receive its enemy on the point of its 
sharp beak, and transfixed it by its own impetus. 




178 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


FALCO. 



Peregrinus (Lat. wandering), (he 
Peregrine Falcon. 

quails, and other small birds 

'Hypotriorchis. 

(Gr. ' Yiroroiooxys .) 



Subbuteo (Lat. the Hobby.) 


It changes the colour of its 
plumage several times before it 
arrives at full maturity, and in 
the days of falconry was known 
by different names, such as “ hag¬ 
gard ” when wild, “ eyass,” “ red 
falcon” when young, “tiercel” 
or “tassel-gentle” when a full- 
grown male; a term forcibly re¬ 
calling the words of Juliet, “Oh 
for a falconer’s voice, to lure this 
tassel-gentle back again! ” 

It builds on ledges of rocks, 
laying four eggs of a reddish 
brown colour. Its length is from 
fifteen to eighteen inches. 

The Hobby is a summer visitor 
in this country, appearing in April 
and leaving in October. It was 
formerly trained to fly at larks, 
When wild it seems to feed principally 
on small birds and large beetles, the 
common dor-beetle being a very favourite 
article of food. It builds its nest at the 
summit of a high tree, usually appro¬ 
priating the deserted habitation of a 
crow. The eggs are four in number, of 
a dirty white colour speckled with red¬ 
dish brown. The length of the bird is 
from twelve to fourteen inches. 

The Merlin, the least of our Falcons, 
was considered in olden times as the 
lady’s bird, every rank being obliged to 
content itself with the bird allotted to its 
peculiar station, royalty alone having 
the privilege to bear an eagle into the 
field. 

The spirited little Merlin seizes with 
great dexterity small birds such as 
buntings, thrushes, and blackbirds, itself 
really hardly larger than its prey, its 
entire length being barely eleven inches. 
Even the partridge falls before a trained 
bird. Its eggs are four in number, of 
















NATURAL HISTORY. 


179 


a reddish mottled brown, laid in a rude 
nest among the heather. 

The Kestrel, or Windhover as 
it is often called, frequently falls a 
victim to the mistaken zeal of the 
farmer, who takes every opportunity 
of destroying it, as he confounds it 
with the sparrow-hawk. The natural 
food of the Kestrel is field-mice, so 
that the farmer should protect instead 
of remorselessly murdering his bene¬ 
factor. These birds are not uncommon. 
Many live close to Oxford, and especially 
in Bagley Wood, where they may be seen 
almost daily. They also live in great 
numbers among the precipices in Dove- 
dale. Their nest is usually built in the 
deserted mansion of a crow or magpie. 
The eggs are four in number, of a dark 
reddish brown. The length is from 
thirteen to fifteen inches. 


HYPOTRIORCniS. 



yEsiilon (Gr. AiaaAuv), the 
Merlin. 



Tinnunculus.—(L at. a Kestrel.) 


Alaudarius (Lat. of a Lark), the Kestrel. 

The Goshawk is found plentifully in most of the wooded districts of 
Eu r ope, but is comparatively rare in the British Isles. If seldom breeds 
sou.h of Scotland, but its nest is not unfrequently found in that country, 
built upon lofty trees, principally fiis, and containing three eggs of a 
bluish white colour with reddish brown marks. VVnen in pursuit of 

N 2 




180 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Sub-family/. Accipitrince 
Astur. — (Lat. proper name.) 



Palumbarius (Lat. of the Dove), the Goshawk. 


prey, it strikes its victim to the ground by the force with which it dashes 
through the air. Should the terrified quarry hide itself, the Goshawk 
takes up its station on some elevated spot, and there patiently waits 
until the game takes wing. Its principal food consists of hares, squirrels, 
pheasants, and other large birds, which its great strength enables it to 
destroy. Its length is about two feet; the fourth primary feather is the 
longest. 

The Sparrow-hawk is common throughout Europe. It displays 
great pertinacity in pursuit of its prey, which it will chase for a long 
while, skimming along a few feet above the ground. One of these 
hawks was known to dasli through a window in pursuit of a small bird. 
When taken young it is easily tamed, and will then associate with the 
most incongruous companions. A gentleman had a young Sparrow- 
hawk which used to live in his dovecote among his pigeons, would ac¬ 
company them in their flights, and was uneasy if separated from its 
strange friends. 

Although a brave little bird in its wild state, it sometimes becomes 
sadly degenerate when domesticated. I had a tame Sparrow-hawk, 
which was purchased for the ostensible purpose of frightening birds from 
the vegetables in the garden. But unfortunately, his presence was 



NATURAL, HISTORY. 181 

rather an attraction than otherwise, for besides the pleasing excitement 
caused by mobbing him, he was 
invaluable to the tomtits, who 
always ate his meat if he were not 
protected by some human being. 

He would fly in terror before the 
wagtails, and the tomtits regularly 
charged at him when he was fed, 
and then made a dash at his saucer 
of provisions. 

But all tame Sparrow-hawks are 
not so demoralised. I know one of 
these birds, which, although young, 
is the acknowledged master of an 
establishment consisting of three 
dogs and a cat. He flies at the 
dogs if they approach too near his 
throne, and sometimes dashes at 
them without any apparent reason. 

The length of this bird is from 
twelve to fifteen inches. The fourth 
and fifth primary feathers are the longest. It builds upon lofty trees, 
laying five eggs, of a whitish colour blotched with variable reddish 
brown markings, usually collected towards the large end, and often 
forming a deep reddish irregular band. 

The Secretary Bird * derives its name from the tufts of feathers at 
the back of its head, which bear a fanciful resemblance to pens stuck 
behind the ear. This extraordinary bird, whose true position in ornitho¬ 
logy has been such a stumbling-block to naturalists, inhabits South Africa, 
Senegambia, and the Philippine Islands. Probably a different species 
inhabits each of these countries. It feeds on snakes and other reptiles, 
of which it consumer an amazing number, and is on that account pro¬ 
tected. When battling with a snake, it covers itself with one wing as 
with a shield, and with the other strikes at the reptile until it falls 
senseless, when a powerful blow from the beak splits the snake’s head 
asunder, and the vanquished enemy is speedily swallowed. In the crop 
of a Secretary bird that was dissected by Le Vaillant were found eleven 
large lizards, three serpents, each a yard in length, eleven small tortoises, 
and a great quantity of locusts and other insects. Besides these, the 
bird had just overcome another serpent, which would in all probability 
have been transferred to the same receptacle had it not been killed. 
The Secretary is easily tamed, and is then exceedingly useful. It builds 
on high trees, laying three large eggs, almost white. Its length ia 
about three feet. 


AccipIter.—(L atp 



Nisus (Lat. proper name), 
the Sparrow-hawk. 


See page 181 










132 


NATURAL HISTORY 


Sub-family g. Circincc. 
Serpentarius. — (Lat. of a Serpent.) 



ReptilivQrus (Lat. Reptile-eating), the Secretary Bird. 


The Harriers are remarkable for the peculiar feathered disk round 

their eyes, something 
resembling that of the 
owl. The Hen Harrier 
is a native of England, 
and lives principally 
about forests and 
heaths. Its length is 
about seventeen inches, 
the first primary fea¬ 
ther is very short, the 
third or fourth is the 
longest. 


Owls. —A large round 
head, with enormous 
eyes looking forward, is a distinguishing mark of the Owl family. 
Many species possess two feathery tufts plac d on the head, greatly 


Circus. —(Lat. a Falcon.) 



Uyaneus (Lat. azure), the Hen Harrier. 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


183 


Sub-order II. Accipitr.es noc¬ 
turne 

Family I. StrigTdge.— (Lnt.Strix, 
a Screech-owl. Screech-owl 
kind.) 

Sub-family a. Surnince. 

SURNIA. 


resembling horns. The Owls are nocturnal birds, pursuing their prey 
by night, and sleeping during the day. In order to enable them te see 
their prey, their eyes are enormously 
large, and capable of taking in every 
ray of light. Their power of vision is 
also increased by the method in which 
the eye is fixed in a kind of bony socket, 
just like the watchmaker’s glass. The 
nictitating membrane is very conspicuous 
in these birds. The power of hearing 
is also very delicate, and greatly assists 
them. In order to protect them from 
the cold, they are furnished with a dense 
covering of downy feathers, which also 
prevent the movements of the wing 
from being heard by the wary mouse; 
and so noiseless is their flight that they 
seem to be borne along by the wind like 
a tuft of thistle-down. 

The Hawk, or Canada Owl, inhabits 
the arctic portions of Asia and America. 

Its head is not so round, nor its face 
so broad, as those of the other owls, from 
which it is also distinguished by its 
habit of hunting by day. In face it bears 
some resemblance to the harriers. It 
builds in trees, and lays two eggs— 
white, as are those of all owls. The 
eggs of owls are easily distinguished 
from other white eggs by a peculiar 
roughness of surface, which cannot be 
mistaken. The length of the Hawk- 
Owl is from fifteen to eighteen inches. 



Ulula (Lax. howling), the Hawk- 
owl. 


The Snowy Owl* is properly an inhabitant of the north of Europe, 
but has more than once been discovered in Great Britain. It is also 
found in North America. Wilson relates that it is a good fisher, snatch¬ 
ing its prey from the water by a sudden grasp of the foot. It also preys 
on lemmings, hares, ptarmigans, &c., chasing and striking at them with 
its feet. It makes its nest on the ground, and lays three or four white 
eggs, of which more than two are seldom hatched. Its length is from 
twenty-two to twenty-seven inches, the expanse of wing four feet; the 
third primary feather is the longest. 

The Burrowing Owl accompanies the prairie dog, and wherever that 

* See page 184. 










184 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Nyctea. —(Gr. Nuktios, nightly.) 



Nivea, (Lat. snowy), the Snowy-owl. 

animal chooses to live, there is the Burrowing Owl. This singular little 

bird finds that to take possession of 
the ready-made burrows of the prairie 
dog is much more agreeable than to 
dig a hole for itself; so it takes 
unfurnished lodgings in a deserted 
dwelling, undisturbed by anything 
except a casual lizard or rattlesnake. 

So numerous are these little owls, 
that they may be seen in small flocks 
seated on the tops of the mounds in 
which the entrance of the burrows 
is formed. It is said that the owls, 
marmots (or prairie-dogs), lizards, 
and snakes, all live harmoniously in 
one happy family. Such, however, 
is not really the case, as the Bur- 
_ rowing Owls prefer holes unoccupied 

by any other tenant, and have been 
Cunicuiaria (Lat. of the Babbit), the seen with something most suspi- 
Burrowing Owl. ciously like a young snake struggling 


Athene. —(Gr. proper name.) 










natural history. 


185 


in tneir mouths. The bottom of its 
hole is generally comfortably tilled 
with dried hay and roots. 

The legs of this bird are longer 
than those of other owls. It is by 
no means large, measuring but ten 
inches in length. 

The Scops Eared-Owl has been 
once or twice found in Yorkshire, 
but usually resides in the southern 
parts of the Continent. It is re¬ 
markable for the regularity with 
which it utters its monotonous 
cry, as if a person were constantly 
repeating the letter Q, at regular 
intervals of two seconds. It does 
not seem to prey upon mice and 
other animals, like most of its rela¬ 
tions, but feeds on large insects, 
such as beetles and grasshoppers. 
The size of this owl 
is very small, as it 
only measures seven 
inches in length ; the 
third primary feather 
is the longest. It 
lavs from two to four 
white eggs in a sim¬ 
ple nest made in a 
hollow tree or in a 
cleft in the rock. 


The Great Eared- 
Owl or Eagle Owl, 
is the largest of the 
family. This powerful 
bird,not satisfied with 
the “ rats and mice 
and such small deer” 
which content the 
English owls, boldly 
attacks young fawns, 
hares, and rabbits, 
together with small 
birds. It inhabits the 


Sub-family b. Bubonince. 
Ephialtes.— (Gr. proper name.) 



Scops (Gr. SKaiip, an Owl), the Scops 
Eared-owl. 

Bubo. —(Lat. an Owl.) 



Maximus (Lat. greatest), the Great Eared-owl 















NATURAL HISTORY. 


186 

north of Europe, but has been several times observed in Great Britain. 
It lays its eggs in the clefts of rocks or in ruined buildings. The length 
of this bird is upwards of two feet. 

The Barn Owl affords another instance of mistaken persecution. 
This beautiful and most useful bird, whose carcase we so often see tri 
umphantly nailed to the barn, actually feeds upon and destroys in incal 
culable numbers the rats and mice which bear it company in its unde¬ 
served punishment. Waterton remarks, “ When farmers complain that 

the Barn Owl destroys the eggs of 


Sub-family d. Striglnce. 
Strix. —(Lat. a Screech-owl.) 



Flammea (Lat. flaming), the Barn-owl. 


their pigeons, they lay the saddle on 
the wrong horse. They ought to 
put it on the rat. Formerly 1 could 
get very few young pigeons till the 
rats were excluded from the dovecote. 
Since that took place, it has pro¬ 
duced a great abundance every year, 
although the barn owls frequent 
it, and are encouraged all around it. 
The barn owl merely resorts to it 
for repose and concealment. If it 
were really an enemy to the dove¬ 
cote, we should see the pigeons in 
commotion as soon as it begins its 
evening flight, but the pigeons heed 
it not, whereas if the sparrow-hawk 
or hobby should make its appearance 
the whole community would be up 
at once. ... I am amply repaid for 
the pains I have taken to protect 
and encourage the barn owl; it pays 




me an hundred fold by the enormous quantity of mice which it destroys 
throughout the year.” 

It also devours great numbers of beetles and other insects. It is 
ossible that it may, also, destroy young birds, but not probable, as 
eathers and birds’ bones are never found among the rejectamenta. It 
will, however, when domesticated, devour a dead sparrow or linnet when 
presented to it. 

Few people know what a little bird this owl really is. The thick 
loose plumage is so deceptive, that no one unacquainted with the 
structure of the bird would imagine that it is hardly so large as a pigeon. 
The head, too, when deprived of its feathery covering, completely loses 
its previous aspect, being long and narrow, like that of a hawk. In fact, 
few creatures look more contemptible than an owl stripped of its 
feathers. 

The domestic habits of the bird are very curious. When irritated or 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


187 


alarmed, it has a habit of snapping its beak loudly, and making a hissing 
sound, something like that of a cat when very much provoked. Indeed, 
there is something very cat-like in the whole aspect of the owl. Its 
round soft looking face, in which are set two great eyes that shine in the 
dusk of the evening with an almost phosphoric gleam, and are capable of 
taking in every feeble ray of light; its noiseless movements in pursuit of 
its prey, all strongly remind the observer of the feline character. 

The plumage of this bird is very thick, in order to defend it from the 
cold night air, and very soft, in order to admit of its flight with such 
silence that even the quick and wary ear of the timid field-mouse may 
not perceive the approach of its enemy. This noiselessness is caused by 
the formation of the feathers, which, instead of being stiff and smooth, 
like those of the diurnal birds of prey, are loose and furnished at their 
extremities with a delicate fringe, which completely prevents that rushing 
sound which accompanies the flight of the eagle or the hawk. 

White, in his Natural History of Selborne, gives some interesting 
accounts of the habits of this owl. He watched them leave their homes 
about an hour before sunset in search of the mice, which begin to run 
about at that time, and saw them quartering their ground like a pointer 
dog, with the greatest regularity. He had the curiosity to count the 
number of mice caught by a single pair, and found that upon the average, 
one was brought to the nest every five minutes. With his usual accuracy 
of observation, he noted the manner in which the birds were enabled to 
reach their nests, although encumbered with a mouse. Their nest was 
made under the roof of the church, so that the owls had to crawl up by 
their feet in order to rise under the eaves. This they managed by 
perching on the church roof, shifting the mouse from their claws to their 
bill, and thus leaving their feet at liberty. 

Its method of devouring a mouse is quite different from the mode in 
which it eats a bird. If a mouse is given to an owl, the bird seizes it 
across the back, and gives it one or two smart bites, much as a terrier 
handles a rat. The mouse is then jerked upwards, and caught again head 
downwards. A second jerk sends the mouse half down the owl’s throat, 
while its tail remains sticking out of the side of its bill, where it is rolled 
about as if the owl were smoking. After some time has been spent in 
this amusement, another jerk causes the mouse to disappear altogether, 
and the owl looks very happy and contented. But if a small bird is 
presented to it, the owl tears it up and devours it piecemeal. Such, at 
least, was the conduct of a barn-owl belonging to myself. 

This bird is easily tamed, if taken young, and is a valuable assistant in 
a garden, only a place of refuge must be provided for its retreat during 
the day-time, or the little birds will mob it unmercifully. 

The Barn Owl lays three or four eggs upon a mass of those pellets 
which all the owls disgorge. There is a rough chalky look about the 
eggs of the owl, which renders them different from the eggs of all other 
birds, from which they can be distinguished bv the touch alone. There 


188 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


is a peculiarity m the domestic economy of this owl, for it often has at 
the same time in the nest, young owls almost fledged, and eggs on which 
the hen bird is sitting. 

The length of the bird is rather more than twelve inches; the second 
primary feather is the longest. Its colour is a bright yellowish brown, 
marked with dots and lines of various tints, the lines being generally 
dark, and the dots light. The under parts of the bird are very variable, 
and seldom exactly the same in any two individuals, the white feathers 
being sometimes greyish white, sprinkled with brown dots; sometimes 
pure white, without any marks at all; and sometimes white very slightlj 
dotted indeed. 

When it is threatened or attacked, it throws itself on its back and 
Qghts vigorously with its claws and bill. 


Order II. . . . PASSERES. (Lat. Sparrow kind.) 

Tribe I.FISS1ROSTRES.—(Lat. Split-bills.) 

Sub-tribe I.. . Fissirostres nocturne. 

Family I. . . . Caprimulgldae.—(Lat. Goat-sucker kindA 
Sub-family a .. Caprimulgince. 

CAPRIMULGUS. 



Europaeus (Lat. European), the Goatsucker. 

The Accipitres, it will be remembered, possess strong hooked beaks 
and sharp curved claws. The foot and head of the Passeres are entirely 



















NATURAL HISTORY. 


189 


different;—the beak being without the lormidable curved tip, and the 
claws being of a quiet and peaceful character. 

The first tribe of this order, the Pissirostres, are so called from the 
peculiar formation of their mouths, which appear as if they had been slit 
up from their ordinary termination to beyond the eyes, much resembling 
the mouth of a frog. In the insect-eating Pissirostres this formation is 
admirably adapted for capturing their active prey, and in the Kingfishers 
it is equally adapted for securing the slippery inhabitants of the waters. 

The Caprimulgidm are nocturnal in their habits, chasing their insect 
prey by night or at the dusk, when the chaffers and large moths are on 
the wing. In order to prevent the escape of the insect when taken, the 
mouth is fringed with long stiff bristles, called “ vibrissse.” The name 
of Goat-sucker is derived from a silly notion that they suck goats, a piece 
of credulity only equalled by the hedgehog’s supposed crime of sucking 
cows, and the accusation against the cat of sucking the breath of children. 
The genus Caprimulgus is furnished with a kind of comb on the middle 
claw of its foot, but for what purpose is not clearly ascertained. The 
power of wing in these birds is very great, and hardly surpassed by that 
of the swallow, both birds obtaining their food in a similar manner. 

The Nightjar, or Goat-sucker, sometimes called the Pern Owl, is 
spread over Europe, and is tolerably common in England. It may be 
seen at the approach of evening, silently wheeling round the trees, 
capturing the nocturnal moths and beetles; then occasionally settling 
and uttering its jarring cry. When flying, the bird sometimes makes its 
wings meet over its back, and brings them together with a smart snap, 
it arrives in this country at the beginning of May, and leaves in 
December. It makes no nest, but lays two mottled eggs on the bare 
ground. Its length is ten inches. The Whip-poor-Will and the Chuck- 
Will’s-Widow both belong to this family. 

These two birds derive their singular names from their cry, winch is 
said closely to imitate the words that have been assigned to them as 
their names. Of course the English language must feel itself highly 
honoured that an American bird should prefer the language of tha 
“Britisher” to that of the Delaware or the Sioux. Both the birds fly 
by night, or rather in the dusk of the evening, and like the owl are much 
distressed by being forced to face a brilliant light. The Chuck-Will’s- 
Widow is partially migratory, and dwells in the more southern parts of 
America during the winter. Audubon relates that this bird applies its 
enormous mouth to rather an unexpected use, viz. that of removing its 
eggs if it finds that they have been disturbed. Of this curious 
circumstance he was an eye-witness. He saw the bird that first 
discovered that an intruder had touched the eggs wait for its mate, and 
then saw each of them take an egg in its mouth and convey it off. 

Martins. —The Hirundinidse are remarkable for their great power of 

* I have seen it near Amiens, accompanying a train, and apparently hawking after the 
saoths that were attracted by the lights. 


190 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


wing, their wide mouths, aud short legs. In the genus Cypselus, the 
toes are all directed forward, and the tarsus is thickly feathered. The 
whole of their plumage is constructed with a view to rapid and active 
motion. The feathers of their bodies are firm and close, so as not to 
impede their passage through the air; their wing feathers are long, stiff 
and pointed, and their tails are long and forked; all which properties we 
know to belong to great speed. 


Sub-tribe II. . . Fissirostr.es diurnje. 

Family II. ... Hirundinldse.—(Lat. Hirunclo, a Swallow. Swallcw kind! 
Sub-family a. . Cypullnce. 

Cypselus.— (Gr. /nh/zeAos, a Martin.) 


\r» 



Melba. {The Alpine Swift.) 

The Alpine Swipt has several times been found in England, and is 
therefore admitted into the calendar of British birds. It may at once 
be distinguished from the common Swift by the white throat and abdo¬ 
men, its breast being crossed by a brown band. 

Its nest is generally built in the crevices of lofty towers, and is made 
of straw and moss, glued together and hardened by some matter fur¬ 
nished by the bird, which when dry forms a compact mass. 

The length of this bird is rather more than eight inches. 














NATURAL HISTORY. 


191 


The Common Swift, popularly called “ Jack Screamer,” is the largest 
and swiftest of the British Hirundinidse. It seems to spend the whole 
day on the wing, wheeling with wonderful velocity, and occasionally 
soaring until it is hardly perceptible, but screaming so shrilly that the 
sound is plainly heard. The number of insects wnmh it destroys is 
almost incredible; they are retained in a kind of pouch under the 
tongue, and when taken out, can hardly be pressed into a tea-spoon. These 

CYPSELUS. 



A.pus (Gr. airovs, without feet), the Swift. 

are intended for the young, and the supply is constantly renewed. It lays 
from two to four long white eggs, on a nest composed of grass, straws, 
feathers, silk, &c. The colour of this bird is a dusky black. The length 
is eight inches, the expanse of wing eighteen inches, and its weight 
barely one ounce. 

The foot of the Swift is of a singular form, unlike that of any other 
bird. All the toes are directed forward, there being no hinder toe at all. 
Some naturalists say that the object of this formation is that the bird 
may be enabled to climb up the eaves under which its nest is made. If, 
however, that is the case, we may ask, Why is not the same shape of foot 
found in the sparrows and other birds, which build in precisely similar 
localities ? 

The Chimney Martin or Swallow is the most common of its family, 
and too well known to need much description. When skimming over 
























NATURAL HISTORY. 


192 

ponds or rivers in search of insects, the snap with which it closes its bill 
may easily be heard. In the course of ’ts flight over the surface, it also 
dashes up the water with its wings, which action gave rise to the opinion 
that Swallows passed the winter under water, and rose in the spring. It 

is so eager after its prey, 
that it may be easily 
caught with a rod and 
line baited with a fly, 
after the manner of 
anglers. 

When I was at school, 
we used to knock down 
plenty of swallows with 
stones in the follow¬ 
ing manner. We went 
to a bridge, or some 
such place, where many 
swallows were flying 
about. Where they ap¬ 
peared in the greatest 
numbers we threw a 
small white stone, and immediately hurled a larger one after it. The 
swallows all dashed at the little stone, taking it for some entomological 
luxury, and one or two were generally struck down by the big stone 
following in its wake. 

It breeds twice in the year, building a nest of mud against a wall or 
other convenient situation, and laying five very pale pink eggs, spotted 
with reddish brown, the pink of which vanishes when the egg is emptied 
of its contents, as it is caused by the light passing through the yolk, and 
has to be renewed by artificial means if the egg is placed in a collection. 

Such is also the case with most small light-coloured eggs. The bird 
appears regularly to return, year by year, to its old nest. The whole of 
its upper surface is a deep purplish black, its forehead and throat chest¬ 
nut. 

Humboldt, in his “ Travels,” relates that he saw a swallow perch on 
the rigging of the vessel when it was one hundred and twenty miles from 
the land. 

The Sand Martin is the smallest of our British Swallows, but makes 
its appearance before any of its brethren. It principally builds in cliffs 
of sandstone, boring holes three feet or more in depth, and often winding 
in their course, most probably to avoid a casual stone or spot too hard 
for its bill, which, although small and apparently unfitted for the task, 
makes its way through the sandstone with extraordinary rapidity. 
Where a convenient sand-cliff exists, hundreds of these pretty little birds 
aay be seen working away at their habitations, or dashing about in the 


Sub-family b. Hirundinlnce. 
Hirundo.—(L at.) 



Rustica (Lat. rustic), the Chimney Martin. 



























NATURAL HISTORY. 


193 



air, looking at a distance like white butterflies, and occasionally returning 
to the rock, which is often completely honeycombed by their labours. 

Near Ashbourn in Derbyshire there are plenty of these rocks, where 
the Sand Martins build „ w 

m myriads, tolerably Cot,le.-(Qt. k»t/a«, twittering.) 

safe except from the 
school-boy, who will 
clamber up and down 
the crumbling surface, 
and thrust his arm into 
the holes, perfectly re¬ 
gardless of the danger, 
and content with grasp¬ 
ing a tuft of grass or a 
root of blackberry as an 
anchorage. 1 have seen 
the Sand Martins there 

sparrow - hawk° bbl vidio! Ri P arIa ( Lat - °f a bank )> the Sand Martin. 

after being buffeted about for some time, retaliated by seizing a too 
daring Martin and carrying it off, when the whole scene was changed— 
the triumphant jeerings turned into cries of fear, and the place was 
deserted except by the crafty hawk and his screaming prey. The eggs 
are five, pinkish white, with an almost imperceptible dotting of red. 



The Martin or Win- Chelidon. —(Gr. XeA ibalv, a Swallow.) 

dow Swallow reaches 
this country a little 
after the swallow, and. 
almost invariably takes 
possession of its old 
nest, which it repairs 
about May. It lays 
five eggs closely resem¬ 
bling those of the sand 
martin. About Septem¬ 
ber immense numbers 
may be seen perched 
upon houses and trees 

preparatory to their de- Urblca (Lat . of th e city), the Martin. 

parture. Thedomeofthe . , 

Radcliffe Library at Oxford is a favourite assembling place for these birds, 
where they may be seen lingeiing for several days after most of their 
fellows have vanished. At these times every available point is covered 
with them. The dome of St. Paul’s is also a favoured spot. 


M 


























194 


NATURAL HISTORY, 


The Esculent Swallow, whose nests are considered such a delicacy 
among the Chinese, builds its singular habitation in the sidesof almost 
inaccessible cliffs, so that the business of procuring them is a most 
dangerous task. The nature of the jelly-like transparent material of 
which, the nests are made is not yet known. The nests are found in 
Java. 


Family III. . Coraciidte. 
Sub-family a. Coraciince. 

Cohacias. — (Gr. K opaidas, like a Raven.) 



Garrula (Lat. talkative), the Roller. 


The Roller is plentifully found in most parts of Europe, but has 
seldom been seen in England. Its mouth is slightly furnished with 
vibrissae or long bristly hairs, like those of tlie nightjar. It is a very shy 
bird, frequenting the depths of the forests. It builds its nest in hollow 
trees—some say in banks—and lays from four to seven white eggs, very 
like those of the kingfisher. Its legs are short, and the upper mandible 
is bent over the lower at the extremity. The colouring is brilliant, shades 
of blue and green prevailing. Its length is about thirteen inches. 


The Trogon. —The magnificent family of the Trogons stands preemi¬ 
nent in beauty and brilliancy of plumage, the usual tint being a metallic 
golden green, boldly contrasted with scarlet, black, and brown. The toes 
ure placed two behind and two before, like those of the woodpeckers. 

The Resplendent Trogon is the most gorgeous of all this gorgeous 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


195 


ramily. Its long and gracefully curved tail, nearly three feet long; the 
whole of the upper surface, and the throat, are a glowing green; the 
breast and under parts are bright crimson; the middle feathers of the 
tail black, and the outer feathers wnite. This splendid bird is an inhabi¬ 
tant of Mexico, and was used by the Mexican nobles as an ornament to 
their head-dress. 

From the feathers of these and other Trogons the mosaic pictures of 
the Mexicans were made. One of these, most delicately and beautifully 

Family IV. Trogonidae. 

Trogon. — (Gr. rpciyu , I gnaw.) 



Resplendens (Lat. shining ), the Resplendent Trogon. 

executed, containing many figures, is now in the Ashmolean Museum at 
Oxford, and is there said to be made of humming-birds’ feathers. The 
subject is “ Christ fainting under the cross.” The whole picture is 
about the size of the palm of the hand, and the figures are barely half 
an inch in height. 

This is a very difficult bird to stuff, on account of the delicate texture 
of the skin, which is so fragile, that it tears almost as easily as wet 
blotting paper. 

o 2 




196 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The Kingfisher. —The peculiarities of their form immediately distin¬ 
guish the Kingfishers from other birds. The disproportionate length ot 
the bill is tlieir chief characteristic. 

The Common Kingfisher is found in most parts of England. Scarcely 

,, , anything more beautiful can 

Family V. Alcediniche.—(Lat. Alcedo, - - - - ■ **■ 

a Kingfisher.) 

Sub-family a. A Icedimnce. 


ALCEDO. 


be conceived than the metallic 
glitter of its plumage as it 
shoots along the banks of 
the river, or darts into the 
waterafter its strugglingprey. 
Its usual method of fishing 
is by placing itself on a 
stump or stone overhanging 
the water, from which spot it 
watches for the unsuspecting 
fish beneath. After a fish is 
caught, the bird kills it by 
beating it several times 
against its resting-place, and 
then swallowing it, head 
foremost. Sometimes it does 
not exercise sufficient caution 
in its devouring propensities. 
A heedless Kingfisher was 
exhibited at the Ashmolean 
Society, which had been 
found dead with a peculiarly large minnow firmly fixed in its throat. 

It lays its eggs in holes bored in the banks of rivers or ponds, and 
appears to build no nest. A pair of kingfishers, for two successive 
years, inhabited a bank of a very small stream, little more than a drain, 
at Little Hinton,Wiltshire, where no fish lived, nor were there any to be 
found within a considerable distance. 

The eggs are from four to seven in number, of a pearly whiteness, and 
remarkably globular in shape. In many parts of the country it is fully 
believed that if a kingfisher is dried and suspended by the beak, the breast 
will always turn in the direction of the wind. This belief has caused the 
death of no few kingfishers, whose suspended bodies may be seen in many 
a cottage, their brilliant blue and red plumage rotating in a most im¬ 
partial manner. The length of this bird is seven inches. 



Hispida (Lat. rough), the Kingfisher. 


The Bee-eater is common on the Continent, but seldom visits this 
country. In appearance it is not very unlike the kingfisher, both in 
shape and its brilliant colours. It has long been celebrated for the 
havoc it causes among the inhabitants of the hive, although it does not 
restrict itself to those insects, but pursues wasps, butterflies, &c., on the 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


197 

wing, with great activity. Like the kingfisher, it lays its eggs in holes 
bored in banks. The eggs are white and from four to seven in number 
Its length is eleven inches. 

Family VI. . . Meropfdae. 

Sub-family a. . Meroplnce . 

Merops.— (Gr. Mepoip .) 



Apiaster (Lat. Bee-eater). 


The Hoopoe,* one of the most elegant birds that visit this country, is 
unfortunately a very rare guest, and seldom, if ever, breeds here. Its 
beautiful crest can be raised or depressed at pleasure, but is seldom 
displayed unless the bird is excited from some cause. Its food consists of 
insects, which it first batters aud moulds into an oblong mass, and then 
swallows, with a peculiar jerk of the head. In Yarrell’s British Birds, 
there is a very interesting account of a tame Hoopoe in the possession of 
Mr. Bartlett. 

In France Hoopoes are very common, and may be seen examining old 
and rotten stumps for the insects that invariably congregate in such 
places. There they may be seen in flocks, but they never seem to 
come over to England in greater numbers than one pair at a time. 
M. Bechstein gives a curious account of the attitude assumed by tne 
Hoopoe on perceiving a large bird in the air. “ As soon as they per¬ 
ceived a raven or even a pigeon, they were on their bellies in the twink¬ 
ling of an eye, their wings stretched out by the side of the head, so that 
the large quill feathers touched the head, leaning on the back with the 
bill pointing upwards. In this curious posture they might be taken ior 
an old rag 1 ” 


* See page jys. 





198 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



mid taken from the nest and was rearing. 

Tribe II. TENUIROSTRES.—(Lat. Slen¬ 
der-billed.) 

Family I. Upupidjc.— (Gr. uwoif/, contracted 
from, 6 v E7roi|/, the Hoopoe, Hoopoe kind.) 
Sub-family a. Upupince. 

UPfrPA. 


These birds of which he is speaking are two young Hoopoes whom he 

They lived for some time, but 
both died of civilization. The 
female had a habit of drag¬ 
ging her food about the floor, 
so that it became covered 
with rubbish. This formed a 
hard mass nearly the size of 
an ordinary nut in the 
bird’s stomach, something 
like the balls of hair found in 
the stomach of a cow, and 
soon killed the poor Hoopoe. 
The male bird lived through 
the winter, but becoming 
attached to the warmth of 
the stove, its beak became 
so unnaturally dry, that the 
two mandibles separated from 
each other and curved out¬ 
wards, having an interval o{ 
nearly an inch between their 
tips. The bird of course 
soon died of absolute starva¬ 
tion. 

The Hoopoe lays from four 
to seven grey eggs in the 
hollow of a tree. Its length 
is one foot. 


Epops (Gr. “'Err o \ p ), the Hoopoe. 


The Humming-bird. —These little living gems are exclusively found 
in the New World, especially about the tropical parts, becoming gradually 
scarcer as we recede from the tropics in either direction. Only two 
species are known to exist in the northern parts, but in the central 
portions and in the islands about Florida they absolutely swarm. They 
glance about in the sunshine, looking like streaks of brilliant light, and 
so rapid is the vibration of their fine and elastic wings, that when hover¬ 
ing over a flower, a humming or buzzing sound is produced, from 
which peculiarity the name of Humming-bird has been given them in 
almost every language. Waterton’s description of the appearance of the 
Humming-bird in the sun is very characteristic. 

“ Though least in size, the glittering mantle of the Humming-bird 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


iyy 

entitles it to the first place in the list of the birds of the New World. 
It may truly be called the Bird of Paradise; and had it existed in the 
Old World, it would have claimed the title instead of the bird which has 
now the honour to bear it. 

See it darting through the 
air almost as quick as 
thought! now it is within a 
yard of your face—in an 
instant gone—now it flut¬ 
ters from flower to flower to 
sip the silver dew—it is 
now a ruby—now a topaz— 
now an emerald—now all 
burnished gold.” 

It is a singular fact, that 
a common insect called the 
Humming-bird Moth is form¬ 
ed on precisely the same 
principle, and flies in just 
the same manner. This moth 
is furnished, like the Hum¬ 
ming-oird, with rigid sharp 
wings ; instead of the long 
lender bill and longer tongue 
jf the Humming-bird, the moth is furnished with an exceedingly long 
and flexible proboscis, which it uses in the same manner, i.e. in thrusting 
into the interior of flowers while the creature is hovering above them. 
The moth also possesses a kind of moveable tail, wherewith to direct its 
course. The description of a Humming-bird hovering over a flower will 
exactly serve for the moth, save that the moth lacks the brilliant plumage 
of the bird. Gardens are a great attraction to this moth, and if the ob¬ 
server is very quiet, while looking at a flower, he suddenly sees an insect 
apparently suspended over it exploring the flower with its proboscis. It 
moves from blossom to blossom, always balancing itself over them by its 
wings. Let the observer move but his hand, and it is gone—has van¬ 
ished as mysteriously as it came. 

In the same way, the Humming-bird hovers over flowers, not only to 
extract the honey and dew, but to search for the little insects that are 
always to be found in such places. Speaking of the Iluby-throated 
Humming-bird, Waterton observes :— 

“It seems to be an erroneous opinion that the Humming-bird lives 
entirely on honey-dew. Almost every flower of the tropical climates 
contains insects of one kind or other; now, the Humming-bird is most 
busy about the flowers an hour or two after sunrise, and after a shower 
of rain, and it is iust at this time that the insects come out to the edge 
°f the flower in order that the sun’s rays may dry the nocturnal, dew and 


Family II. Trochilidae. 
Trochilus. —(Gr. TpoylAo?.) 



Colubris (Lat. like a snake), the Ruby-thruaied 
Humming-bird. 




200 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


rain which they have received. On opening the stomach of the Hum 
ming-bird, dead insects are almost always found there.” 


Ornismya.— (Gr. y O puis, a bird; a moused 



Gouldii (Lat. of Gould), Goulds Humming-Bird 
Sappho (Gr. proper name), the Bar-tailed Humming-bird. 

Cora (proper name), the Cora Humming-bird. 

Chvysolopha (Gr. Xpvaos, gold; \6(pos, a crest), the Double-crested 

Humming-Bird !. 

The tongue of the Humming-bird is formed much like that of the 
woodpecker, being curled round the head, under the skin, and thus 
capable of being darted to a considerable distance. 

There is a fable of a wren and an eagle. The two birds entered into a 
contest respecting the height to which they could severally attain. A 
day was fixed, and the birds started. Away went the eagle, soaring in 
lessening spires, until his form was lost in the clouds. But where was 
the wren ? The eagle had lost sight of his pigmy opponent long ago, but 
in his pride to show what he could do, he still soared on and on until the 
lighter air would scarcely bear his weight. As he hovered with wearied 
and rapidly beating wings, unable to gain another yard, up sprang the 
wren from among the eagle’s feathers, where it had sat very comfortably 
all the while, and fluttered above his head with a song of triumph. 









NATURAL HISTORY. 


201 


But truth, as has been often said, is stranger than fiction, as appears 
from the fact that the eagle can be vanquished by a more insignificant 
foe than even the wren, by the Humming-bird, which is not content with 
a mere racing victory, but drives the eagle before it. The R^by-throated 
Humming-bird has been seen to dart between the wings of a flying eagle, 
to perch upon its head, deliberately to strip off the feathers, and send them 
floating in a stream after the flight of the persecuted eagle, which seemed 
almost driven to madness by its tiny foe. 

Like many other little creatures, the assurance and impudence of the 
Humming-bird is remarkable. It is easily tamed for that very reason, 
and has been known to domesticate itself in an hour from the time of its 
capture, and even when released, it has returned again to partake of the 
dainties which it had tasted during its captivity. 

There are an immense number of species of these exquisite birds, vary¬ 
ing from the size of a swift to that of a humble bee. Any description of 
them is impossible—they must be seen. Fortunately, the magnificent 
collection brought to England by that most indefatigable and enterprising 
naturalist, Mr. Gould, places it in the power of every one to view these 
living gems in all the attitudes of life, and surrounded with the appro¬ 
priate vegetation. They need nothing but motion. It appears that cold 
is destructive to the Humming-birds. Wilson says :— 

“ This little bird is extremely susceptible of cold, and if long deprived 
of the animating influence of the sunbeams, droops, and soon dies. A 
very beautiful male was brought me this season, which I put into a wire 
cage, and placed in a retired shaded part of the room. After fluttering 
about for some time, the weather being uncommonly cool, it clung by 
the wires, and hung in a seemingly torpid state for a wdiole forenoon. 
No motion whatever of the lungs could be perceived on the closest in 
spection ; though at other times this is remarkably observable; the eyes 
were shut, and when touched by the finger it gave no signs of life or 
motion. I carried it out to the open air, and placed it directly in the 
rays of the sun in a sheltered situation. In a few seconds respiration 
became very apparent; the bird breathed faster and faster, opened its 
eyes, and began to look about with as much seeming vivacity as ever. 
After it had completely recovered I restored it to liberty; and it flew off 
to the withered top of a pear-tree, where it sat for some time, dressing 
its disordered plumage, and then shot off like a meteor.” 

Fear will also produce the same effect, as they have repeatedly died 
when caught in a common gauze net, which does not injure even the 
delicate scales of the butterfly’s wing. They are very quarrelsome litt’e 
creatures, and frequently fight with expanded crests and ruffled feathers 
until they fall exhausted to the ground. 

The nests are very neat and beautiful, and, as may be imagined from 
the diminutive size of the little architect, exceedingly small. They are 
composed of down, cotton, &c., and are sometimes covered on the outside 
with mosses and lichens. Water ton relates a curious formation of the 


202 


NATURAL IllSTOLU 


nest of one particular species, whose habitations are built at the ex¬ 
tremity of thin branches. 

“Instinct teaches one species, which builds its nest on the slender 
branches which hang over the rivers, to make a rim round the mouth o( 
the nest, turned inwards, so as to prevent the eggs from rolling out. . . 
The trees on the river’s bank are particularly exposed to violent gusts of 
adnd, and when I have been sitting in the canoe and looking on, I have 
seen the slender branch of the tree which held the Humming-bird’s nest so 
violently shaken, that the bottom of the inside of the nest has appeared, 
and had there been nothing at the rim to stop the eggs, they must in 
evitably have been jerked out into the water.” 



certiha. 


The Creepers are remarkable for their long slender bills and claws. 

Family III. . Certhidse.—(Gr. K epOios. Creeper adapted lor climbing 
kind.) trees, and capturing in- 

Sub family a. Certhlnce. sects. The common 

Creeper may often be 
seen in this country, 
running spirally up the 
trunks of trees, and pro¬ 
bing the bark with its 
bill, and so firmly do the 
claws hold, that when 
shot it does not always 
fall, but remains clinging 
to the tree. The nest of 
this elegant little bird is 
made in a decayed tree. 
The eggs are from seven 
to nine in number, grey 
with dusky spots. 

Familiaris (Lat. familiar), the Greener. 


The Nuthatch. —The term Nuthatch well explains the habits of this 
interesting little bird. As may be imagined from its name, nuts form 
a considerable portion of its food, but it also feeds largely on insects, 
pecked from the bark of trees. While searching after insects, it displays 
an activity even surpassing the creeper, as it runs up and down the 
trunk, mostly descending with its head downwards, a feat beyond the 
capacity of either creeper or woodpecker. In order to break the shell of 
the nuts, it contrives to fix the fruit in some crevice, and then grasping 
with its powerful feet, it swings its beak against the nut with the whole 
force of its body, and soon splits the shell in pieces. In spots frequented 
by this bird, heaps of nut-shells may be seen, as it usually resorts to 
a place where it has found a convenient resting-place for the nut, just a? 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


2-03 



neaps of snail-shells may be often found by stones which the thrush has 
found fitted for breaking them. 

It has hitherto been found impossible to keep the Nuthatch in cap¬ 
tivity. Its restless spirit and 


Sub-family b. 
Sitta.—(G r. 


Sittlnce. 

'SiTTT].) 


obstinate perseverance m 
pecking at its prison speedily 
kill it; and although several 
have been placed in confine¬ 
ment, none have been re¬ 
corded to survive beyond the 
third day. The Rev. Mr. 

Bree relates that the bill of a 
Nuthatch which he had taken 
in a common brick trap was 
worn away to barely two- 
thirds of its usual length by 
the unremitting attempts of 
the bird to escape from its 
prison. 

The nest of this bird is 
usually made in a hole in a 
decayed tree, and as is usual 
with nests made in holes, it is Europaea (Lat. European), the Nuthatch. 
a very rough fabrication, com¬ 
posed of a few dried leaves. The bird is also remarkable from its habit 
of plastering up the hole with mud when it is too large to suit it. The 
eggs are from five to seven in number, of a whitish colour, spotted with 
reddish brown. 


The Wren shares with the robin some immunity from juvenile sports¬ 
men. Although it may be fearlessly hopping about in the hedge, jerking 
its funny little tail, and playing its antics just at the muzzle of the gun, 
few boys will fire at it—a privilege for which it is difficult to give a 
reason, except, perhaps, the very incomprehensible assertion that “ The 
robin and the wren are God Almighty’s cock and hen;” although why 
these two birds, both proverbially quarrelsome and pugnacious, should 
be selected, to the exclusion of others, is difficult to say. Perhaps the 
robin enjoys his immunity from the “Babes in the Wood,” and the wren 
makes a convenient rhyme. Be this as it may, it is to be wished that 
a similar rhyme existed, including the owl and the kestrel. 

A singular anecdote is related of this bird. 

“In the end of June, 1835, a person was shooting in the neighbour 
hood of Bandrakehead, in the parish of Colton, Westmoreland: he 
killed a brace of blue titmice (Parus caeruleus), which some time before 
nad been observed to be constructing a nest, in the end of a house be¬ 
longing to a Mr. Innes of the same place. In the course of the day, it 



204 


NATURAL HISTORY. 




was ascertained that the titmice had completed the time of incubation, 
and that their death had consequently left their offspring in a state of 

utter destitution. This, 
Sub-family c. Menurlnce. —(Gr. M rjvv'j*, I dis- however, was not long 
play ; ovpa, a tail.) permitted to continue, for 

Troglodytes.— (Gr. Tpu > y \ o 8 vrris , a creeper the chirping of the young 
into caves.) birds attracted the atten¬ 

tion, and excit ed the com¬ 
passion of a wren; which, 
since that period, adopted 
the nestlings, and was 
daily engaged in rearing 
and feeding them, with 
the affectionate kindness 
and unremitting assiduity 
of a parent bird.” 

The nest of the Wren 
is built in any conve¬ 
nient cranny ; an ivy- 
covered tree, the thatch 
of a barn, or a warm 


Parvulus (Lat. very small), the Wren. 
Ihis fearless little bird. The nest 


scarecrow, are all used by 
is usually of an oven-like shape, 
always covered on the out- 
Tribelll. . DENTIROSTRES.— (Lat. tooth- side with some material re- 
billecl.) sembling the colour of the 

Family I. . Luscimdse.—(Lat. Luscinia, a objects round it, such as 
Nightingale. Nightingale kind.) green moss if built among 


Sub-family a. Lusclnince. 


Calamodyta.- 


—(Gr. Ka\ap.oSvTTis, a diver 
into reeds.) 


ivy, or brown lichen if built 
on a rock or in the fork of a 
withered branch. The eggs 

• . . oo 

are six or eight m number— 
white, speckled with reddish 
brown. 


Locustella, the Grasshopper Warbler. 


The Grasshopper War¬ 
bler. —While walking along 
the hedges during the spring, 
an incessant cry, closely 
resembling that of the grass¬ 
hopper, and easily to be taken 
for it, is heard proceeding 
from the hedge. This cry 
proceeds from a little bird, 
called on that account the 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


205 


Grasshopper Warbler. The little creature keeps so close that it is very 
difficult to catch even a casual glance at it, as it flits along the bottom of 
the hedge. 

The nest is carefully concealed, and very difficult to find. It is com¬ 
posed of dried grass, and is usually hidden by the tufts of herbage 
among which it is built. The eggs are from five to seven in number; 
white, speckled with red. The length of the bird is five inches and 
a half; the third primary feather is the longest. 

The Nightingale.— 



“ Tiuu tiuu tiuu tiuu—Spe tiu zqua— 

Tio tio tio tio tio tio tio tix—Qutio qutio qutio qutio— 

Zquo zquo zquo zquo—Tzii tzii tzu tzii tzu tzii tzii tzii tzii tzi— 

Quorror tiu zqua pipiquisi—Zozozozozozozozozozozozo zirrhading ! &c. &c.” 

So does a well-known naturalist endeavour to express the wild and 
spiritual melody of this most exquisite of British song-birds, the Night¬ 
ingale. And in truth it is perhaps as good a description as can be 
given without the aid of 
music. Even its own 
marvellous notes sound 
comparatively weak un¬ 
less backed by the ac¬ 
companiments of night 
and tranquillity; for the 
inimitable song of this 
Mendelssohn among birds 
loses great part of its 
beauty when uttered by 
day, deadened and con¬ 
fused with other sounds. 

There are some people 
who cannot appreciate 

the song of this bild. Philomela (Gr. <IuAo/z? 7 Aa, proper name), the 
There is a story that a Nightingale. 

man who was engaged 

as gardener in a gentleman’s family, was permitted to live within the 
grounds. In a short time he asked to be allowed to change his house, 
and on being asked his reason for giving up so good a situation, answered 
that he could get no sleep at night, because those nasty Nightingales 
kept up such a continual guggling. 

In some counties of England it is never found, but in many its nightly 
strains are frequently heard. The fields and College gardens of Oxford 
are full of Nightingales, whose songs add greatly to the effect of the 
scene. Well may Isaak Walton say in his delightfully quaint language: 

“ But the Nightingale, another of my airy creatures, breathes such 
sweet, loud music out of her instrumental throat, that it might make 
mankind to think that miracles are not ceased. He that at midnight, 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


206 


when the very labourer sleeps securely, should hear, as I ha\e very 
often, the clear airs, the sweet descents, the natural rising and falling, 
the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted above 
earth, and say, ‘ Lord, what music hast thou provided for the saints in 
Heaven, when thou affordest had men such music on earth ! 5 ” 

It must be borne in mind, that not only in this bird, but in other 
singing birds, the male is the vocalist, so that Milton’s address to the 
“ sweet songstress ” is unfortunately not quite so correct as poetical; a 
misfortune of frequent occurrence. 




Sylvia.— ( Proper name.) The Warblers are spread 

over almost the entire globe, 
and many gladden this coun¬ 
try with their pleasant songs. 
The Dartford Warbler de¬ 
rives its name from the 
place where it was first noticed 
as a British bird. It is ex¬ 
tremely small, hardly larger 
than a wren, but the length 
of its tail increases its apparent 
size. Furze-bushes form its 
usual residence. There it may 
be seen hovering over the tops 
of the bushes, uttering its 
curious quavering song, at 

, T . \ r, j tt 7 the same time erecting the 

undata (Lat. wavy), the Dartford Warbler . r \ j JP c 

J J leathers ol its head, and pul- 

sylvTa. fing U P its throat. It lays its 

eggs in a nest carefully con¬ 
cealed in the centre of a 
furze-bush. The eggs are of 
a greenish white, speckled 
with brown spots. Its length 
is five inches. 


CinerSa (Lat. ashy), the Whitctkroat. 


The pretty little White- 
throat is one of the migra¬ 
tory birds, remaining with us 
during the summer. Few 
copses are without the sin¬ 
gular and pleasing song of 
the Whitethroat. It derives 
its name from the white colour 
of its throat and abdomen, 
which renders it a conspi- 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


207 


cuous bird, ana even if that proof were wanting, its curious habit of 
flying upwards from its perch, and again descending on the same spot, 
immediately points it out. 

It builds a small nest, mostly among brambles or on a stump densely 
covered with weeds. The eggs are five in number—a greyish white 
thickly spotted with brown. The length of the bird is not quite six 
inches. 



SYLVIA. 


The Blackcap, almost a rival to the nightingale, is at once recognised 
by the black colour of the crown of the head. Only the males, however, 
are thus decorated, the crown 
of the head of the female 
being dark brown. Its sweet 
notes are poured forth from 
the concealment of some 
thicket or tuft of trees, 
where it trusts to the density 
of the foliage to elude disco¬ 
very. Like the mocking-bird 
of America, it can imitate the 
songs of oilier birds with such 
perfect inflection that it is 
almost impossible to detect 
the imposture. 

Among bushes and bram¬ 
bles it builds its nest, which 
is made of dried grass, moss, 
and hairs. The eggs are five 
in number — reddish brown, 
marked with dark spots. The length of the 
the third primary feather is the longest. 


Atricapilla (Lat. ■blackhaired), the Blackcap 
Warbler. 

bird is nearly six inches; 


The Garden Warbler. —This bird is one of our sweetest songsters, 
and is supposed by some to be little inferior to the Nightingale itself. 
So we may well pardon its occasional depredations on our garden fruit 
for the sake of its melody. 

It is a migratory bird, arriving in England in April, and leaving 
towards the end of August or the beginning of September. Almost 
every part of England is visited by this bird, and especially those 
counties where are thick woods and plenty of water. 

The colour of this rettichaps is an olive green, shot, as the ladies say, 
with a greyish shading; while some parts of the body, such as the sides 
of the neck, the throat, and under parts, are either ash grey or greyish 
white. The length of the bird is about six inches. 

Its nest is built in hedges, and situated near the ground. In it are 


208 


natural history. 


laid four or five eggs, of a whitish grey colour, spotted with brown, the 
spots being collected towards the larger end. 


sylvTa. 



Hortensis (Lat. belonging to the garden), the Garden Warbler, or Greater 

Pettichaps. 

This is the Beccafico of the Italians, so celebrated as a dainty for t ne 
table. 



The C hiff-chaff, so called from its peculiar cry, is almost the first ol 
the Warblers that visits us in the spring, and one of the last to leave us 

in the autumn, sometimes 
sylvia. remaining here until the 

middle of October. This 
little bird is found in most 
of the southern counties of 
England, and in Wales, but 
has not been noticed north 
of Northumberland. On its 
first arrival it feeds on the 
leaf-rolling caterpillars that 
infest the leaves and early 
buds of trees, thereby doing 
great service to the gardener, 

Rufa (Lat. ruddy), the Chiff-chaff. tuflhefe 

insidious little devourers. 

The nest of the Chiff-chaff, like that of the wren, is oval or rounded, 
and entered by a hole at the side. It is placed near the ground in a 
bush, or sometimes resting on the hedge-bank. Its eggs are six in 
number, speckled with purplish red on a white ground. The length of 




NATURAL flISTORY. 


209 



the bird is not quite five inches; the third and fourth primary feat hers 
are the longest. 

The Willow Warbler, sylyTa. 

or Willow Wren, is one 
of our early visitors, reaching 
this country at the same time 
as the blackcap. It much 
resembles the chiff-chaff* and 
the wood warbler, but may 
be distinguished from the 
former by the comparatively 
light tint of its legs, and from 
the latter by the yellow tinge 
of the under parts. 

It is an useful bird to the 
gardener, as it is entirely 
insectivorous, never touching 
the fruit or seeds, and should, 
therefore, be protected by 
him. 

Its nest is oval or roundish 
in its form, and is entered by Trochilus (Gr. rpox^os), the Willow 

a little hole in the side. Warbler. 



The Golden-crested Regulus, as it ought properly to be called, is 
one of the smallest of British birds. Fir plantations are its favourite 
resort, and there it may be 


seen hopping about the bran¬ 
ches, or running round them, 
head downwards, in search 
of the insects hidden beneath 
the bark. Its name is derived 
from the orange-coloured tuft 
of feathers on the crown of 
its head, for which reason it 
is often called the Kinglet. 
Its note is weak, but very 
pleasing, and much resembles 
that of the common wren. 
The female is very bold while 
sitting, and will permit close 
observation without quitting 
the nest. The nest itself is 
an object of great beauty. It 
is usually placed on the under 
side of a fir branch sheltered 


Regultjs.— (Lat.) 


Cristatus (Lat. crested), the Golden-crested 
Wren. 


r 




210 


NATURAL HISTOKf. 


by the overflanging foliage, and sometimes further protected hv a large 
bunch of cones forming a kind of roof over it. The eggs are from six 
to ten in number, very small, and of a reddish white colour. The length 
of the bird is three inches and a half. The fourth or fifth primary 
feather is the longest. 



The Wheatear is one of our early visitors, appearing at the beginning 

of March. It is a very con- 

Sub-fiamily b. Evythannat (Gr. ’E pidanos, a . - - 

Redbreast). 


Saxicola.— (Lat. Stone inhabiting.) 


spicuous bird, and can be 
readily distinguished by the 
black mark that surrounds 
the eye, and stretches from 
the base of the bill, to beyond 
the ear coverts. It is a very 
pretty songster, its notes 
being soft and sweet, although 
wanting in power. 

It is killed in great num¬ 
bers for the table, as its flesh 
is so delicate as to entitle it 
to the name of the English 
Ortolan. In the proper sea¬ 
son, the bird is covered with 
fat to such an extent, that 
the plumage is often spoiled 
by the fat running from the 
holes caused by the shot. 

The nest of the Wheatear 
is made of the usual materials, 
and is placed in some shel¬ 
tered spot where it is well concealed from prying eves. The eggs are 
five or six in number, of a delicate faint bluish tinge, and very smooth 
on the exterior. 


Giuanthe (Gr. oii'avOii), the Wheatear. 


The Redstart derives its name from the bright reddish chestnut colour 
ol the upper tail coverts and tail feathers, which appear very conspicuous 
as the bird flits from one tree to another, or dashes off when startled. 
It inhabits the skirts of forests, copses, gardens, and especially frequents 
old ivied walls, where numbers of the nests may be found. In 1847, I 
found a Redstart’s nest built in a hole of a wall, forming one side of a 
narrow passage in Merton College, Oxford. The eggs were nearly hatched, 
and the birds did not seem to be disturbed by the constant passing of 
servants with their paraphernalia of brooms, pails, and other implements. 
The nest was so placed that every passer by could not fail to perceive it, 
but the birds sat on their eggs quite unconcernedly. 

The song of this bird is not very powerful, but the notes are peculiarly 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


211 




sweet. While singing, it often changes its situation, occasionally singing 
as it flies. 

The nest is placed usually in a hole in a wall, or in a hollow tree. The 
eggs are five in number, of 
a greenish blue colour, closely 
resembling those of the Hedge 
Accentor. The length of the 
bird is rather more than five 
inches. The fourth primary 
feather is the longest. 

The Redbreast, or Robin 
Redbreast, as it is affection¬ 
ately termed, has, by its fear¬ 
less conduct, earned itself 
golden opinions from all kinds 
of men. Every nation seems 
to protect it. Even the Ameri¬ 
can Redbreast lives unharmed, 
possibly on account of its con¬ 
nexion with its English rela¬ 
tion, whose oft-told charity to¬ 
wards the Babes in the Wood 
has turned aside from its posterity even the unsparing hand of the sporting 
schoolboy. 

In the winter, when the berries are gone, insects dead, and the worms 

hidden under the hard frozen Erythacus.* — (Gr. 'Epidanos, a Redbreast.) 
soil, then the Robin flies lor 
refuge to the habitations of 
man for shelter and food. It 
is very amusing to see the 
half trusting, half fearful 
look with which it hops to 
the window-sill for the first 
time. After a while, it be¬ 
comes bold, and taps at the 
window, if the expected 
crumbs are not thrown out. 

Before very long, it ventures 
to enter the room, hops about 
on the table, and quite seems 
to consider as a right what 


Ruticilla.— (Lat. spat lcling.) 


Phoenicura (Gr. <hah«, I display ; ovoa , 
a tail), the Redstart. 


was first merely a favour. 
When once established, it is 


Rubeciila (Lat. a Redbreast), the Redbreast. 


* This word ought properly to he spelled Erithacus, but I have taken the etymology 
af the r ritish Museum Catalogue. 









natural history. 


212 


very jealous, and will not suffer a friend to be partaker of the same 
comforts, but attacks him with the greatest fury; so the unfortunate second 
comer has to wait shivering outside the window, with his feathers puffed 
up, and his little bright eye glancing from the depths of the plumage. 

About the year 1843, a Robin used to frequent our house. He was so 
tame as to answer to his name “ Bob,” and continued his attachment even 
through the summer. When the rabbits were fed, Bob always came to 
assist, and usually contrived to perch on the edge of the pan from which 
the rabbit was eating. Both parties seemed perfectly satisfied, and Bunny 
and Bob always continued very good friends. 

The nest of this bird is built in a crevice of an old ivied wall, in a 
bank, sheltered by the roots of trees, or in a mass of ivy clinging to an 
old tree. The eggs are five in number, of a pale grey colour, profusely 
marked with reddish spots. 

The Hedge Accentor, or 
Hedge Sparrow, is one of 
our commonest English birds, 
closely resembling the com¬ 
mon sparrow in appearance. 
The nest is built in holes, and 
contains five blue eerqs like 
those of the Redstart, but 
stouter in shape, and of a 
deeper blue. 

It is often very bold when 
engaged in sitting, and will 
permit a near approach with¬ 
out leaving the nest. I have 
repeatedly visited the nest of 
of one of these birds while 
the female was sitting, and 
have parted the boughs of the 
shrub where the nest was 
placed, in order to get a 
good view, while the hen bird 
still sat quietly in the nest anxiously watching every movement, but not 
attempting to stir. 

The Tits. — The birds of the family of the Tits are remark¬ 
able for their active habits among the branches of trees. There 
are few who have not seen these beautiful and interesting little birds 
twisting round the branches, perfectly unconcerned at the presence of 
the spectator, sometimes hanging, head downwards, sometimes chasing 
*n unlucky beetle along the bark, and invariably catching it, in spite of 
its swift limbs and active wdngs ; sometimes twisting off a bud, and 


Sub-family c. A ccentorlnce. 
Accentor.—(L at. a Singer.) 



Modularius (Lat. warbling), the Hedge 
Accentor. 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


213 



pulling it to pieces with 
marvellous rapidity, in 
order to secure the lurk¬ 
ing caterpillar within; 
sometimes pecking away 
at a piece of loose bark, 
and extracting an un¬ 
willing spider by one of 
its legs left incautiously 
projecting from its lurk¬ 
ing-place. Pity it is that 
their funny little sharp 
beaks should ever be put 
to worse uses ; but they 
lie under a grave impu¬ 
tation of using these very 
beaks in the slaughter 
of the defenceless young 
of other birds. 


Sub-family d. Parinaz. 
Parus. —(Lat. a Titmouse.) 


Major (Lat. greater), the Great Titmouse. 


The Great Titmouse is common in this country, frequenting gardens 
orchards, copses, &c. During the spring it is very active in the capture 
of insects, but in autumn and winter it is forced to content itself with 
grains and seeds of various descriptions. Gilbert White, in his “ Sel- 
borne,” mentions that he has seen the Great Tit “ while it hung with its 
back downwards, to my no small delight and admiration, draw straws 
lengthwise from the eaves of thatched houses, in order to pull out the 
Hies that were concealed among them, and that in such numbers that 
they quite defaced the t hatch, and gave it a ragged appearance.” 

The nest of this bird is built in a hole of a wall, or a decayed tree, and 
in it are placed six or eight eggs, of a white colour, spotted with reddish 
brown. The length of the bird is about six inches. 

The little Blue Titmouse is so well known as hardly to require any 
description. It is most amusingly courageous, and from the strenuous 
resistance it offers to its capturer, has acquired from rustic boys the 
name of “Billy-biter.” The angry hiss of the female lias frequently 
caused an intruding hand to be rapidly withdrawn, for the sound is so 
exceedingly like the hiss of an irritated snake, and the little beak is so 
sharp, that few have the courage to proceed with their investigations. 
A pair of these birds built their nesi in the coping of the Great Western 
Railway, at the Shrivenham station, not two feet from the fiery and 
noisy engines, which were constantly passing. The men respected the 
courage of the little birds, and this whole brood was hatched, and 
suffered to fly at liberty. 

The utter contempt which this bird entertains for fire-arms often leads 
to its destruction, for when he disappointed schoolboy has been wastiug 


21 i 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



PARUS. 


CoBruleus (Lat. Mae), the Blue Titmouse. 


his powder and shot in at* 
tempting to hit larks and 
such large game, he con¬ 
soles himself by shooting 
the unfortunate Titmouse, 
who will allow him to 
come so close that few 
vestiges of it remain ex¬ 
cept a tuft of blue feathers. 

The eggs of the Blue 
Titmouse are from six 
to eight in number, white, 
marked with reddish 
brown spots. Its length 
is about four inches and 
a half. 



PATUJS. 


The Long-tailed Titmouse is another well-known species of this 
amusing family. Unlike the other Tits, it does not frequent human 

habitations during the 
winter, but may be 
seen in great numbers 
twisting and creeping 
about the branches of 
hedge-rows and field 
trees. In the summer 
they are quite as bold 
as their relations, and 
especially favour ap¬ 
ple-trees, for the sake 
of the diseased buds, 
which they pick off 
and devour, thereby 
drawing upon them¬ 
selves the vengeance 
of the gardener, who 
prepares his gun, fires 
at the supposed de¬ 
predators, and possi¬ 
bly succeeds in killing 
them; but he has also succeeded in doing more damage to the healthy 
buds by ms spare shot, than a score of Tits would injure during the 
entire season. 

Tne beautiful and elaborate nest which this bird constructs is one of 
its chief peculiarities. It is oval in shape, and entirely closed, except 
one small hole at the side, iust large enough to admit the bird. Ths 


Caudatus (Lat. tailed), the Long-tailed Titmouse. 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


215 


exterior of the nest is usually covered with lichens, and it is lined with 
a thick layer of solt feathers. In this warm and elegant habitation are 
laid from ten to fourteen eggs, which are small and very delicately 
spotted. The entire length of the bird is about five inches and a half. 

The Pied Wagtail. —The Wagtails, so named, from the almost incessant 
vibration of their tails, are exclusively confined to the Old World. The Pied 
Wagtail is the most common of its race. We often see it pass rapidly, 
with its peculiar dipping flight; it settles on the ground and wags its tail • 
it runs a few paces, and 
wags its tail again; pecks 
at an insect, and its tail 
again vibrates. It does 
not hop, like the war¬ 
blers, finches, &c., but 
runs with great rapidity, 
and altogether looks very 
like a diminutive mag¬ 
pie. Sand banks by the 
sides of rivers are the 
usual resort of these 
birds, where they may 
almost always be seen, 
running about by the 
water’s edge, sometimes 
snatching at an incau¬ 
tious may-fly, sometimes 
wading into the water after a caddis-worm or a stray grub, or pecking 
at an unfortunate little minnow, which has come too near the surface—• 
and then it flies off to another spot to repeat the same manoeuvres. This 
bird also greatly frequents pastures, and may be seen running about 
among the cows in the most nonchalant manner imaginable, catching the 
flies that torment those animals in the summer, or flying off to its unfi¬ 
nished neH with a beak full of hairs. Their nests are built near the 
water, in crevices among stones, or in the hole of a wall. Frequently 
when stones are piled by a wet quarry, several nests may be found in 
one heap of stones. The eggs are four or five in number, of a dusky 
white colour, spotted with ashy brown. The length of the bird is seven 
inches and a half. 

The Yellow Wagtail* is verv similar in habits to the more common 

•/ 

Pied Wagtail, but the yellow tints of some of its feathers, somewhat 
resembling those of the Yellow Hammer, at once distinguish it. 


Sub-family e. Motacillince. 
Motacilla.— (Lat. a Wagtail.) 



Yarrellli (Lat. of Yarrell), the Pied Wagtail. 


* S pp page 216. 





216 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


MOTAOILLA. 



Flava (Lat. yellow ), Yellow Wagtail. 


The Meadow Pipit, more commonly called the Titlark, resembles the 
true Larks in the long hind claw and peculiar plumage, but is pointed 

out as distinct, bv the dif- 
ferent colour of the bill. 
Like the skylark, it sings 
while in the air, but some¬ 
times also pours forth its 
musical strains while set¬ 
tled upon the ground. It 
feeds principally on slugs, 
worms, and insects, which 
it chases with much acti¬ 
vity, after the manner of 
the wagtails, even vibratiug 
its tail like them. Hilly 
grounds, commons, and 
meadows are its chief re¬ 
sort in summer, but during 
September and October 
llocks of these birds may 
be seen congregated in turnip fields, and in the winter they seek the 
protection of the warm hedge-rows. 

The nest of the Titlark is made on the ground, and concealed by 
a tuft of grass. There are usually bve or six eggs, light brown in 
colour, spotted with a darker tint. The length of the bird is six inches. 


The Water Ouzel, or Dipper, is one of the most interesting of our 
native birds. It is found principally in hilly places where there are clear 
and rapid streams, such as in Derbyshire and Lorkshire. There it may 


Anthus.— (Lat. a Titlarh.) 



PratensiB (Lat. of a Meadow), the Meadow 
Pipit. 






NATURAL HI8T0RY. 


217 


be seen to go through Family II-Turdid®. - (Lat. Tardus a 

its far-lamed movements Thrush. Thrush kind ) 

under the water, which Sub-family a.. Formicarince. (From Lat. For. 
have given rise to so 

much controversy. It 


mica, an ant.) 

II ydrobata. —(Gr. Y5a>p, water j Bcurw , I go.) 


dives for considerable 
distances with apparent 
ease, and has a habit cl 
dipping and rising re¬ 
peatedly, from which 
practice its name has 
been derived. 

The nest is usually 
built by the water side, 
and is most carefully 
concealed. In general 
appearance it is not un¬ 
like that of the wren, 
being made of inter¬ 
twined mosses, with an 
entrance at the side. It 
lays five largish eggs, of a pure white. The length of this bird is 
about seven inches. 


Cinclus (Gr. Kiy/cAos), the Dipper. 



The Missel, orMis- 
seltoe Thrush, or 
Stormcock, accord¬ 
ing to Waterton, 
“ surpasses all other 
thrushes in size, and 
is decidedly the larg¬ 
est songster of the 
European birds. He 
remains with us the 
whole of the year, 
and he is one of three 
birds which charm 
us with their melody 
during the dreary 
flonths of winter, 
when the throstle 
and lark are silent, 
and all the migratory 
birds have left us, to 
sojourn in warmer 
climates, Reappears 


Sub family h. Turdince. 
TURDUS. 



Viaeivbrus ^Lat. Viscus, a Miaseltoe ; voro, 1 devour), 
tht Misseltoe Thrush. 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


218 

to be gregarious in the months of August and September.” “ This bird, 
though usually known by the name of the Misseltoe Thrush in many 
parts of England, is invariably called the Stormcock by all the lower 
orders in our neighbourhood: not that it delights in storms more than in 
fine weather; but that nature has taught it to pour forth its melody at 
a time of the year when the bleak winds of winter roar through the 
leafless trees.” 

It is very fond of the berries of the misseltoe, but when they fail it 
turns its attention to those of the mountain ash, which are almost certain 
to attract this beautiful and powerful songster. In the summer it 
devours all kinds of garden-fruits, especially cherries and raspberries. 

During the breeding season it is very pugnacious, attacking and 
driving away not only small birds, but the crow, the magpie, or even the 
prowling cat. The nest is very large, almost as large as a “wide-awake” 
hat, is always built in a tree, and contains about five reddish spotted 
eggs. The length of the bird is eleven inches. 

The Fieldfare is properly a native of the cold regions of Europe, 
and only visits this country during the cold winter months. Erom its 
excellence as an adjunct to the table, it is perseveringly sought after, but 


turd us. 



Pilaris (Lat. like a ball), the Fieldfare. 


is so shy, that unless the bird is very busy satisfying its hunger, there i& 
some difficulty in approaching within gun-range. 

It builds in fir or pine-trees, and lays several bluish-green eggs, spotted 
with brown. Its length is about ten inches. 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


219 



The Song-Thrush, Throstle, or Mavis, is deservedly considered one 
M our best singing birds. Its powerful and rich notes may be heard 
even during the month of January, when most of the other singing birds 
are either silent, or have departed. Its nest is built almost before any 
other bird has commenced, and may often be seen conspicuously placed 
in a bush, some time before the leaves have begun to sprout. In ordei 
to defend the callow young from the cold winds of the season when they 
are hatched, the nest is more substantial than birds are accustomed to 
build, being thickly plastered within with a coating of mud, effectually 
keeping out the chilly blasts. Were it only for its singing powers, the 
Thrush would de- tordus 

serve protection ; 
but the services it 
renders to the gar¬ 
dener in devouring 
insects, snails, and 
other destructive 
creatures, entitle it 
to a double share 
of regard. 

It is very amusing 
to watch a Thrush 
listening for the 
sound of the earth¬ 
worm working his 
way through the 
ground, or the gnaw- 

cockcliaffer ^grub! Musicus (Lat. musical), the Song-Thrush. 

The grub he unearths and devours without further ceremony, but he 
knows that if he is not cautious, the earth-worm will withdraw itself 
out of his reach. He therefore gives several hops near the worm, 
which, fancying that it hears its enemy the mole pursuing it, comes to 
the surface, and is instantly seized in triumph by the crafty thrush. 

It clears the shells from snails by beating them against a stone, and 
when it has found a convenient place for that purpose, it invariably 
returns to the same spot with its prey, so that heaps of broken snail- 
shells may often be found where the thrushes have been at work. 

The eggs of the Thrush are five in number, of a bluish-green colour, 
spotted with a deep reddish brown. Sometimes the spots are altogether 
absent. 


The Blackbird is another delightful songster whose jetty hue and 
“ orange-tawny bill ” are too well known to need description. It is a very 
shy bird, and if disturbed in a hedge, has a habit of darting through it, 
and then escaping on the other side, uttering a sharp cry of alarm. The 


220 


NATURAL HISTOR/. 


TDRDUS. 



MerQla (fiat. a Blackbird), the Blackbird. 


habits of this bird are not 
unlike those of the thrush, 
especially in its zeal for un¬ 
earthing the cockchaffer-grubs, 
and possibly for eating cherhes 
when they are ripe. 

Its nest is built usually at 
the foot of a hedge, frequently 
in the very centre of a holly 
bush, safe from most, enemies, 
except weasels and schoolboys. 

A beautiful King Charles’ 
dog of my acquaintance was 
accustomed to search for 
thrush’s and blackbird’s nests, 
and bite out the bottom of 
them, so that the eggs rolled 
quietly into his mouth, he 
having discovered that when 
he tried to take them from the 
mouth of the nest, he invari¬ 
ably broke them. The eggs 
are five in number, of a bluish- 
green colour, profusely spotted 
with brown. 


The Mocking Bird, or Polyglot Thrush, is a native of most parts 
of America. This wonderful bird stands preeminent in powers of song. 
Not only are its natural notes bold and spirited, but it has the faculty of 
imitating with deceptive fidelity every sound it hears. To its flexible 
organs, the harsh setting of a saw, the song of a nightingale, the creaking 
of a wheel, the whistled tune of a passer-by, the full and mellow notes 
of the thrush, the barking of a dog, the crowing of a cock, and the 
savage scream of the bald eagle, are each equally easy of execution, and 
follow one another with such marvellous rapidity that few can believe 
that the insignificant brown bird before them is the sole author of these 
varied sounds. The Virginian nightingale and the canary hear their 
exquisite modulations performed with such superior execution, that the 
vanquished songsters are silent from mere mortification, while the trium¬ 
phant Mocking-bird only redoubles his efforts. Wilson, whose animated 
description of this bird has never been surpassed, says;—“ His ex¬ 
panded wings and tail glistening with white, and the buoyant gaiety of 
his action arresting the eye, as his song does most irresistibly the ear, 
he sweeps round with enthusiastic ecstasy, and mounts and descends a3 
his song swells or dies away. He often deceives the sportsman, and 
sends him in search of birds that are not perhaps within miles of him, 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


221 


but whose notes he exactly imitates: even birds themselves are fre¬ 
quently imposed upon by this admirable mimic, and are decoyed by the 
fancied eails of their mates, or dive with precipitation into the depth of 
thickets at the scream of what they suppose to be the sparrow-hawk.” 

While sitting on its eggs it is an exceedingly courageous bird, at¬ 
tacking without discrimination man, dogs, or any animal who may 
approach too near the nest. But the black snake is the special object of 
its vengeance. The snake, who has perhaps just arrived at the vicinity 
of the nest, and is contemplating a pleasant breakfast on the young or 
eggs, is violently attacked by the enraged Mocking-bird, who, by re¬ 
peated blows on the head, generally destroys its enemy, and then 
mounting upon a bush, pours forth a triumphant song of victory. 

Orpheus.—(G r. proper name of a famous musician.) 



Polyglottus (Gr. rioAus-, many; yXcorra, a tongue), the Mocking Bird. 

Weober’s account of this magnificent songster is so pleasing that 
I insert part of it here:—“ I saw it now leaping up from its favourite 
perch on a tree-top, much in the manner I had observed before; but 
now it was in a different mood, and seemed to mount, thus spirit-like, 
upon the wilder ecstasies, and floating, fall on the subsiding cadence of 
that passionate song it poured into the listening ear of love, for I could 
see his mate, with fainter bars across her wings, where she sat upon 
a thornbush near and listened. 

“When this magnificent creature commenced to sing, the very air 
was burdened with a thousand different notes, but his voice rose clear 
and melodiously loud above them all. As I listened, one song after 
another ceased suddenly, until in a few minutes, and before I could 


NATURAL niSTORY. 


oo>? 

W W -J 

realize thai I was so, 1 found myself hearkening to that solitary voice. 
This is a positive fact! I looked around me in astonishment. What! 
are they cowed f but his song only now grew more exulting, and, as if 
feeling his triumph, he bounded yet higher with each new gush, and, in 
swift and quivering raptures, dived, skimmed, and floated round, round, 
then rose to fall again more boldly on the billowy storm of sound. 

“No wonder the other birds were silent to listen, for, one after one, he 
hurled the notes of each upon its ear, so alchemyzed with splendour that 
they knew not their own song. 

“ This curious phenomenon I have witnessed many times since. Even 
in the morning choir, when every little throat seems strained in emula¬ 
tion, if the mocking-bird breathes forth in one of its mad, bewildered, 
md bewildering extravaganzas, the other birds pause almost invariably, 
and remain silent until his song is done. This, I assure you, is no 
.igment of the imagination or illusion of an excited fancy ; it is just as 
substantial a fact as any other one in Natural History. Whether the 
other birds stop from envy, as has been said, or from awe, cannot be so 
well ascertained; but I believe it is from the sentiment of awe; for as I 
certainly have felt it myself in listening to the mocking-bird, I do not 
know why these inferior creatures should not also. It must be known 
that these creatures differ from each other as do men and women in their 
vocal powers, and there is usually one bird in a neighbourhood that 
supremely surpasses all the rest. It is another remarkable fact, that all 
other mocking-birds retire from the immediate neighbourhood of this 
acknowledged monarch, to such a distance that you can hear but the 
faintest note from them in the pauses of his song, and it sounds as if 
they but prolonged the echo.” 

The nest is made generally in a bush or apple-tree, frequently close to 
nouses, as the bird is protected by the inhabitants. The Mocking-bird 
is often kept tame, in which case, so far from its imitative powers 
showing any decrease, the variety of domestic sounds heard about the 
house is often very perplexing. 

The Golden Oriole.* —The genus Oriolus has the beak notched and 
rather bent at the tip. The Golden Oriole is only an occasional visitor 
to this country, and has never as yet been seen in Scotland. It is a very 
shy bird, frequenting the skirts of woods, especially copses that border 
on larger woods. In the fruit season it leaves the woods for the 
orchards, and makes no small havoc among the fruit, particularly the 
figs, grapes, and cherries. 

The nest is made of wool and fine hay; it is generally placed on the 
f ork of a bough. The eggs are five in number, of a purplish white spotted 
vith reddish marks. The length of the bird is rather more than ten 
inches. 


* page 223. 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


223 


Sub-family c. Oriollnn?. 
Ori5lus. —(Linnean generic name.! 



Galbula (Lat.), the Golden Oriole. 


The Spotted Flycatcher 
may be considered as the 
type of the entire family. It 
may be constantly seen in 
gardens and orchards, going 
through the evolutions that 
have given it the names of 
Flycatcher, Post-bird, Beam- 
bird. &c. It takes its station 
on some elevated spot, such 
as the overhanging bough of 
a tree, a post, or a rail, and 
from thence watches for a 
passing insect, on seeing 
which it darts from its post, 
secures the insect in the air, 
and returns to the same spot 
by a short circular flight. It 
is not a timid bird, and will 
permit an observer to stand 
quite close to it, provided that 
tie does not disturb it. 

I have seen one of these 
birds engaged in the pursuit 


Family III. . Muscicapldse.—(Gr. Musca, » 
Fly ; capio, I take. Fly ■ 
catcher kind.) 

Sub-family a. Muscicapince. 


MUSCICAPA. 


Griosla, the Spotted Flycatcher. 
of flies in a garden at Headington. U 















224 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


perched on a balustrade close to a window from which several persons 
were watching it, and continued its evolutions perfectly undisturbed by 
their proximity. On another occasion I was keeping watch in a gig in 
Nuneham Park, and to pass away the time, amused myself with cutting 
off the heads of the white clover with the lash. While so engaged, 
a Spotted Elycatcher came and took up its station on a bough close 
by the gig, from which it made excursions among the flies and other 
insects that were driven from the grass and flowers by the whip. 

It is only a summer visitor to England, arriving in May and departing 
about the beginning of October. The note of this bird is a weak chirp, 
and even that is not often heard. 

The nest is built usually in holes of trees or walls, or sometimes 
between a branch of a wall-fruit tree and the wall itself. The eggs are 
five in number, spotted with reddish brown on a grey ground. The 
length of the bird is about five inches. 


Family IV. . . Ampeltdge. 
Sub-family a. . Ampellnce. 

AmpELIS. —(Gr. ' Ag.tr eXIs or 
’ AgireXlocv .) 



Garrulus (Lat. chattering), the 
Bohemian Waxwing. 


The Bohemian Waxwing, or Waxen 
Chatterer, is only occasionally seen in 
England during severe frosts, at which 
time flocks of them sometimes arrive. 
One of these birds was shot near Oxford 
in the winter of 1846. It is very com¬ 
mon in Norway and Russia, and is plen¬ 
tiful in North America. The name of 
Waxwing is given to it from the singmai 
appendages to the secondary quill feathers, 
bearing much resemblance to a drop of red 
sealing-wax pressed on the wing. 

Berries of all kinds, especially those of 
the dog-rose and the hawthorn, form the 
principal food of this bird; but it is related 
that when in captivity it rejects scarcely 
any vegetable substance, but loses at the 
same time all its vivacity and social habits. 
The note of the Waxwing is not unlike 
that of the thrush, but it is very weak 
and more uncertain than the notes of that 
beautiful songster. While singing it agi¬ 
tates the crest on its head, but shows 
scarcely any of that swelling in the throat 
so perceptible in the canary and other 
singing birds. 

The length of the bird is rather more 
than eight inches. 












NATURAL HISTORY. 


225 


Family V. . . Lanldae.—(Lat. Lanius, a Butcher. Butcher-bird kind.) 

Sub-family a. Lanina. 

The Shrikes or Butcher Birds well deserve their name, as they 
live upon insects and small birds, which they kill and afterwards transfix 
with a thorn, preparatory to devouring them. They take their prey much 
after the same manner as the flycatchers, by darting on it from some 
place of concealment. 


Lanius. —(Lat. a Butcher.) 



Excubltor (Lat. a Sentinel,) the Great Grey Shrike. 

The Greai Grey Shrike is supposed to be only an occasional visitor 
to this country. It feeds upon mice, birds, frogs, and other small animals. 
After pouncing upon its prey, the Shrike, by a few blows on the head 
from its powerful bill, destroys it. The unfortunate animal is then 
carried to the nearest hedge, impaled on a thorn, and the Shrike 
devours it at his leisure. Large insects are treated in the same manner. 
The object of this impalement is apparently that the creatures thus 
suspended should become tender or “ high,” so that the modern epicure, 
who hangs up his venison until no one with an unsophisticated taste would 
venture to touch it, has but borrowed his custom from the Shrike. The 
oird after hanging a lizard or a mouse in this fashion, generally goes oil 
and fetches another, always preferring to eat those which have remained 
longest on the thorn, and which are as it were cooked in the sun. 

There is a strong bodily resemblance between this Shrike and the 
Mocking-bird, the distinction lying generally in the outline, while the 
plumage is so similar that ma^y persons have actually confused the two 

9 


226 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


birds, giving to one the habits of the other. Moreover, the resemblance 
is not merely in outward form. The Grey Shrike can also imitate the 
notes of other birds, and often does so. 

Lest I should be suspected of committing the same mistake, and sup¬ 
posed to have given the song of the mocking-bird to the Shrike without 
foundation, I have given my authority. Audubon, in his work on the 
American birds, has this passage :— 

“This valiant little warrior possesses the faculty of imitating the 
notes of other birds, especially such as are indicative of pain. Thus it 
will often mimic the cries of sparrows and other small birds, so as to 
make you believe you hear them screaming in the claws of a hawk; and 
I strongly suspect this is done for the purpose of inducing others to 
come out from their coverts to the rescue of their suffering brethren. 
On several occasions I have seen it in the act of screaming in this 
manner, when it would suddenly dart from its perch into a thicket, from 
which there would immediately issue the real cries of a bird on which it 
had seized. On the banks of the Mississippi, 1 saw one which for several 
days in succession had regularly taken its stand on the top of a tall tree, 
where it from time to time imitated the cries of the swamp and song 
sparrows, and shortly afterwards would pitch down like a hawk, with its 
wings close to its body, seldom failing to obtain the object of its pursuit, 
which it would sometimes follow even through the briars and brambles 
among which it had sought refuge. When unable to secure its prey, it 
would reascend to its perch, and emit loud and discordant notes of anger. 
Whenever I could see it strike its victim, it appeared to alight on its 
back, and instantly strike its head, which on such occasions I have 
several times found torn open. If not disturbed, the Shrike would then 
tear up the body, and swallow in large pieces, not well cleaned of the 
feathers, every part excepting the wings. It now and then pursues birds 
that are on the wing to a considerable distance. Thus I saw one follow 
a turtle-dove, which, on being nearly caught, pitched on the ground, 
when its skull was bruised in a moment; but the next instant both birds 
were in my possession. ” 

One of the New Holland Butcher Birds, Vang a destructor , has been 
known to learn to whistle a tune like a bullfinch. The melody in ques 
tion was the Scotch tune of “ Over the water to Charlie.” 

The name Excubitor or Sentinel is given it from its habit of watching 
for birds of prey, and chattering loudly directly it perceives them; thereby 
proving that, like most other tyrants, it has a great objection to suffering 
any injury itself. The bird-catchers on the Continent take advantage 
of this peculiarity, to assist them in the capture of the peregrine falcon. 
The fowler places a small net on the ground, with a pigeon fastened to it 
by way of bait. A string is attached to the net and brought within a 
turf hut where the fowler sits. Close to the hut a Shrike is tied to the 
ground, and two pieces of turf are set up as a shelter for the bird from 
he weather, and as a refuge from the hawk. The fowler remains within 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


227 


his hut jusied with some sedentary occupation, knowing well that his 
vigilant watchman will not fail to give him notice of the approach of a 
hawk. Directly a hawk appears in the distance, the Shrike becomes 
agitated ; as it draws nearer, he begins to scream with fright; and just as 
the hawk pounces on the pigeon, he runs under his turf, which is the signal 
to the fowler within the hut to pull the string, thereby enclosing the hawk 
within the folds of the net. 

The nest is built on trees, and contains about six eggs, greyish- 
white, spotted with dark ash on the larger end ; the length of the bird 
is from nine to ten inches. 

The Red-backed Shrike is much more common than the last-men¬ 
tioned bird, and may be seen in and about hedges, in the spring, when it 
is occupied in building its 
nest. It is rather a noisy 
bird, and the nest is so large 
as to be easily discovered. 

It feeds principally on in¬ 
sects, such as bees, beetles, 

&c., which may frequently 
be found impaled on thorns. 

I have found many in¬ 
sects impaled by this bird, 
but the insect most com¬ 
monly found by myself, in 
this position, was the Sta- 
phylinus erythropterus, 
but I have also found 
round beetles and humble 
ees thus impaled. 

These impaled insects form a very good indication as to the locality of 
the nests, and are probably placed there for food ; certainly not, as some 
authors have stated, for the purpose of decoying other birds to the spot 
in order to murder and devour them. The nest and eggs much resemble 
those of the Great Shrike, but are smaller. The length of the bird is 
seven inches and a half. 


LANIUS. 



Colluno (Gx\ KoWvpitov), the Red-backed 
Shrike. 


The Jay. —The Corvidas are peculiarly remarkable for a kind of pre¬ 
ternatural air of sagacity with which they set about any self-imposed task, 
especially if that task be a mischievous one. The ravens and magpies are 
most conspicuous in these qualities. 

The Jay, so well known for the beautiful blue markings on its wings, is 
rather a shy bird, preferring to reside in the thickest woods, and seldom 
coming into the open country. It is easily tamed when young, and is 
very amusing when domesticated. 



228 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


This bird possesses, like several others of the same family, considerable 
talents for mimicry. It has been known to imitate the sound of a saw, 
the bleat of a lamb, or even the neighing of a horse, with the most perfect 
accuracy. Nor do its powers cease here, for although its natural voice is 
harsh and grating, yet it can imitate the sweet notes of singing birds, 
such as the Greenfinch, with wonderful fidelity. It has also frequently 
been taught to articulate words. 

The name of Glandarius has been given to the Jay, because it feeds oi 
vegetable productions, such as acorns, &c., more than the true Crows 
It is also partial to fruits, especially ripe cherries, and is consequently 
persecuted by the gardener. It is also said to devour eggs and young 
birds. 

Its nest is built about twenty feet from tire ground, the upper part of 

Tribe IV. . . CONIROSTRES.—(Lat. Cone-shape beaked,) 

Family I. . . Corvldte.—(Lat. Corvus , Crow. Crow kind.') 

Sub-family a. Garrulince. 

Garrulus. —(Lat. talkative.) 



Glandarius (Lat. of the Acorn), the Jay. 

a thick bush being preferred. The eggs are five or six in number, of a 
yellowish white, thickly speckled with brown. The length of the bird is 
nearly fourteen inches. 

It is somewhat remarkable that m some parts of England a Jay and a 
Jay pie should be considered as distinct birds. Sucn is the case in Wilt¬ 
shire. A year or two ago I was rather in want of a few good Jay’s eggs 
for my collection, and on happening to mention the fact in the hearing oi 
one of the country boys, he said that Jaypies were common in Wiltshire. 


NATURAL HISTORY 


229 


and that he would get me some. Of course, 1 imagined that a Jay and 
a Jaypie must be the same bird, and merely thought that the suffix of 
“ pie” was meant to mark that the Jay belonged to the Pies, just as the 
bird in the engraving is called either the nutcracker, or the nutcracker 
crow. So the boy went off happy in a commission to get some Jaypies’ 
eggs at a certain sum for each. In a day or two, I was told that the 
boy had brought the Jaypies’ eggs. 

I thought it somewhat remarkable that the boy should have thought it 
necessary to bring a friend with him, and that both should be bare¬ 
headed, but when they produced their hats, stating them to be full of 
Jaypies’ eggs, I believe that I stared at them in helpless astonishment, 
supposing that they must have ransacked every Jay’s nest in the county 
at least. On uncovering the hats, they were found to be filled with the 
eggs of the misselthrush, which bird it appears is called the Jaypie in 
those parts. So I had to pay for nearlyitwo hundred misseltoe thrushes’ 
eggs, of which I had plenty, and could have obtained as many as J 
wished by taking some twenty steps into our orchard. After I had paid 

for them, the boys wanted to a i * -i % n - 

I., A, i 1, bub-iamily o. Corvmce. 

Know whether they should „ J . 

get some more. I was so NuciFRAGA.-(Lat. iV^, a nut; frango, 

cross about the whole matter, 11 ea ^ 

that, I regret to say, I put 
them up as “ cockshies,” and 
together with my pupils spent 
more than an hour in demo¬ 
lishing these ill-omened eggs, 
by throwing stones at them 
from a short distance. I have 
found no real Jay’s eggs from 
that time to this. 


m 



The Nutcracker Crow, 
whose true position in the 
scale of creation has so long 
bewildered naturalists, is 
about the size of a jackdaw, 
but its form is more slender, 
and the tail is longer. It is 
seldom found in this country, 
but is very common in more 
northern districts. In its 
habit? it displays a singular 

re °f, woodpecker Caryocatactes (Gr. KapvoKaTaicTTfs, properly 
and the nuthatch, and exhibits ^ J 

so few ofthe well-known habits the Nuthatch >> the Nutcracker Crow. 

of the Crows, that observers might well be perplexed where to place it. 


230 


NATURAL BISTORT. 


It is now supposed to be one of the connecting links between the crows 
and the woodpeckers. 

It runs about the branches of trees, using its tail for a support, and 
pecks away the bark in order to reach the insects beneath, just as the 
woodpeckers do. It also pecks open the fir-cones, in search of the 
hidden seed, and breaks nuts by repeated strokes of its bill, like the nut¬ 
hatch. It is usually seen in flocks, but is not so wary as the crows. 

Its eggs are laid at the bottom of a hole in some tree. They are of a 
greyish yellow colour, diversified with a few dark grey spots. 


Pica.—(L at. a Magpie.) 



Caudata {long-tailed), the Magpie. 


The Magpie, who seems to rival the Parrot in the proud title of the 
Monkey of the Birds (the Haven being the ornithological Baboon), is a 
well-known inhabitant of this country. Its thieving and hiding propen¬ 
sities have been frequently told; but I must still venture to give a few 
anecdotes of a tame magpie that resided in Wiltshire. This bird found a 
malicious enjoyment in pecking the unprotected ankles of little boys not 
yet arrived at manly habiliments, and vras such a terror to the female 
servants that they were forced to pass his lurking-place armed with a 
broom. One of the servants having neglected this precaution, was actually 
found sitting down on the stones to protect her ankles, the magpie trium¬ 
phantly pacing round her, until aid was brought, and the bird driven 
away. But to little boys and girls the magpie showed no mercy, 
springing out of its hiding-place and chasing them completely along the 
garden walk. 

It had also a great penchant for tearing and biting to pieces any papers 
that came in its way, probably because it had perceived that people 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


23] 


valued them. One Sunday morning, after the family had returned from 
church, the rector found his study strewed with pamphlets, torn newspapers, 
&c., so that until the delinquent was discovered, he really thought that 
thieves had been in the house. A Magpie never seems to be happy unless 
it possesses a hiding-place, nor did this one form an exception to the 
general rule, as it had pecked a hole in the thatch of a barn, wherein to 
dispose its ill-gotten goods, and displayed great uneasiness if anybody 
approached it. 

Another Magpie gained entrance into the chapel of Wadham College, 
Oxford, and remained quiet enough until the service had begun, when it 
gravely walked up the centre, bowing and saying, “Pretty Mag! Pretty 
Mag!” much to the discomposure of the junior members. A curious 
story is told respecting the power of the Magpie to count numbers. 

“ George Le Hoy states that a magpie having stolen some game, it was 
resolved to shoot it. A man hid himself in a hut near its nest for this 
purpose. The bird flew away when he entered, nor would return. The 
next day two men entered and one came out. Mag was not to be cheated; 
she waited till the second left also. Three went in and two came out, 
with the same result. Pour then entered, and three came away. The 
bird went back, and was shot.—So magpies, says George Le Roy, can 
count three but not four.” 

The nest of the Magpie is built on a high tree, and curiously defended 
with thorns, having only a small hole just large enough to admit the 
owners, so that the liberal use of a pocket knife is frequently requisite in 
order to obtain the eggs. The nest is covered with a dome of thorns, 
respecting which a curiously quaint fable is told. 

“The birds,” says the historian, “not knowing how to build nests, 
went in a body to request the magpie to teach them. He willingly 
undertook the office. ‘Pirst,’ he said, ‘you must look out for a good, 
strong, forked branch, and begin by laying two sticks crosswise.* ‘ That’s 
just what I did,* said the rook. ‘Next, you must raise the sides a little, 
and then put in some hay, which you must work well into the sticks.’—• 
‘ The very thing I have been doing,’ said the crow. ‘ Now, for fear the 
eggs should be broken or thrown out, you must raise the sides about as 
high as your head when you sit in the bottom of the nest, and put in 
some soft wool.’ ‘Why,’ said the thr sh, ‘I did as far as that before I 
came here.’ ‘Oh! then,* replied the magpie, ‘as I see that you all 
know how to make nests, there is no occasion forme to teach you.’ And 
that is the reason why the other birds are only able to build half nests.” 

The interior of the nest is defended by a coating of mud, worked 
smooth. The eggs are five in number, of a greenish white, covered with 
brown markings. The length of the bird is about eighteen inches. 

The Raven is very common on the Continent, and most parts of Asia 
and America, but is now seldom seen in this country except in a domes¬ 
ticated state. It is more frequently found in the Hebrides than in any 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


232 

other part of Great Britain. In those islands it lives principally on 
carrion of various kinds, such as dead sheep or lambs, whose death the 
Raven is accused with some justice of hastening, and on fishes or ceta¬ 
ceous animals which have been cast on shore by the waves, in tliesi 
cases the Raven conducts itself much in the manner of the vulture, it 
commences by taking out the eye and tongue, and then proceeds to teai 
open the abdomen, operations for which its sharp and powerful bill seems 
quite as well fitted as the hooked beak of the rapacious birds, it is a 
very crafty bird, and can with difficulty be approached; but by laying a 

Corvus. —(Lat. a Crow.) 



Corax (Gr. K upa£, a Raven), the Raven. 


dead carcase near its haunts, and being carefully concealed, it may be 
seen cautiously approaching: first, perching on an eminence, it looks care¬ 
fully round; then, advancing with a sidelong step, it examines its expected 
prey. When fully satisfied, it pecks out the eyes, and proceeds to satiate 
itself with food. The Raven seems to rear in storms, and to be deterred 
by no inclemency of weather from seeking its prey. 

Although formerly so plentiful in England that innumerable omens 
were drawn from its appearance, its croaking, or its flight, it has almost 
become extinct, much to the discomfiture of omen seekers. No incan¬ 
tation and no dance of witches seemed to be considered complete, without 















NATURAL HISTORY. 


233 


a black cat, a toad or two, a bat, and a raven. Certainly the extra¬ 
ordinary gravity which marks the demeanour of the Raven has something 
almost preternatural in it. The manner in which he sets about a piece of 
mischief, as if he considered it a moral duty, is most absurd, and the 
pertinacity with which he prosecutes a great work, such as the feat of 
Charles Dickens’ Raven, who “new pointed the greater part of the garden 
wall, by digging out the mortar, and tore up and swallowed in splinters 
the greater part of a wooden staircase of six steps and a landing,” is 
perfectly astounding. 

A Raven in our possession used to watch the gardener taking particular 
pains to prop up and secure a valuable plant. His labour was always in 
vain, for the Raven, with a sidelong step and an unconcerned air, as if he 
were thinking of anythiug but the plant, would sidle by it, when one 
wrench of his iron bill laid the unfortunate plant on the earth, and the 
Raven moved off with a most provoking air of innocence. The lady to 
whom the garden belonged was quite afraid of the bird, and declared 
that she almost believed that it was possessed by some evil spirit. It 
used to walk behind her, so that she could never see it; for when she 
turned round, the Raven hopped round too, and kept himself completely 
out of her sight. At last it became so very mischievous that it was sent 
away, much to my regret. 

Not long ago, I was visiting a small collection of living birds, among 
which was a Raven whose wings were clipped, and who was permitted to 
have the free range of the yard. He gained considerable benefit from his 
freedom, for he could steal the provisions of the other birds, unless they 
were very quick. When I went to his residence, I took the back of a 
letter, and was reading the address, when I saw the Raven watching my 
proceedings with great curiosity. The paper was of no consequence, so 
I let it fall, and walked on as if it had been an accident. The Raven 
waited until I had left the paper some few paces behind, when he took a 
sidelong kind of a walk towards it, tore it into scraps, and ran away with 
the largest piece under a water-butt, where he kept watch over it. 

It has a great capacity for imitating sounds, and can be taught to pro¬ 
nounce whole sentences, or sing songs with wonderful accuracy. 

In the northern parts of Scotland it makes its nest on high rocks, but 
not unfrequently builds on the summit of a tall tree. The nest is a large 
irregular structure of heath, grass, wool and feathers, and sea-weed, if it 
builds near the sea-shore. It lays from four to seven eggs, of a pale 
green colour, spotted with greenish brown. The length of the bird is 
two feet two inches, and the expanse of wing four feet eight inches. 

The Rook inhabits almost every part of Europe, and is very common 
in England, where it lives in a kind of semi-domestication, usually in¬ 
habiting a grove of trees near a house, or in a park, where it is protected 
by the owner, although he makes it pay for this accommodation by shooting 
the young ones every year. Apparently in consequence of this annual 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


23 i 

persecution, the Rook lias an intense horror of guns, perceiving them at 
a great distance. While feeding in flocks in the fields, or following the 
ploughman in his course, and devouring the worms and grubs turned up 
by the share, the Rook has always a sentinel planted in a neighbouring 
tree, who instantly gives the alarm at the sight of a gun, or of a sus¬ 
picious-looking object. 

The good which the Rook does by devouring the grubs of the cock- 
chaffer, and the tipulas, or daddy-long-legs, both of which are exceedingly 
injurious to the crops, more than compensates for the damage it some¬ 
times causes, by pulling up young corn, or newly set potato cuttings ; in 
the latter case more, I believe, to get at the wireworms, which crowd to 

convus. 



Frugilegus (Lat. Corn-gatherer), the Rook. 

the slices of potato, than to eat the vegetable itself. In the fruit season, 
the Rook, like most other birds, likes to have his share of the cherries, 
pears, and walnuts, but may be easily kept away by the occasional sight 
of a gun. 

Towards evening, the Rooks may be seen flying in long lines to their 
resting-place—“The blackening train of crows to their repose.” They 
then perform sundry evolutions in the air, and finally settle to rest. 

Round the base of the Rook’s beak is a whitish-looking skin, denuded 
ot feathers, the reason or cause of which is not very obvious. A white 
variety of the Rook is sometimes seen. The gamekeeper at Ashdown 
□ad a very fine white Rook, which he kept tame in his garden. 

The eggs of this bird are five in number, similar to those of the raven 
m colour, but much smaller. The length of the bird is nineteen inches. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


235 


The Jackdaw is another well-known bird. It does not build in the 
branches of trees like the rook, to which it is very similar in many 
respects, but prefers holes in decayed trees or old buildings, particularly 
frequenting church towers and steeples. The Jackdaw feeds upon almost 
any substance that it 
can find. It kills mice 
with a single blow 
of its beak, and then 
devours them piece¬ 
meal. Grasshoppers, 
beetles, &c. are also 
killed by a squeeze 
across the thorax, 
and the head, wings, 
and legs, are twisted 
off before the bird 
begins to eat them. 

It treats bees, wasps, 
and other stinged 
insects, with much 
more caution. The 
feathers upon the 
crown of its head 
are of a greyish white 
colour, a peculiarity 
instantly distinguishing it from the rook. It is frequently kept tame, 
and is very amusing in captivity. 

A tame Jackdaw, in the possession of one of my scholars, used to travel 
backwards and forwards from the school to his own home. When in the 
train, his terror at the sidit of the trees whizzing past him was most 
ludicrous. He uttered a snarp cry of fear, twisted round in his basket, 
and thrust his beak through the interstices on the opposite side. After 
he had recovered from his fright, he was usually very talkative. He had 
a great notion of his own consequence, and if any one spoke in a louder 
tone than usual, thought it his duty to answer. His love of washing 
was unbounded, and he would have washed twenty times a day, if he 
could have persuaded us to give him the water, for which he used to ask 
in a very expressive manner. 

The eggs are of a lighter colour than those of the rook, smaller and 
more sparingly spotted. The length of the bird is fourteen inches. 

The Crow, or Carrion Crow, as it is erroneously called, seldom feeds 
on carrion; for poor indeed would be his meals were he dependent on dead 
sheep or horses for a livelihood. Possibly the name was given as a dis¬ 
tinction between it and the rook. Waterton states that the flesh of the 
Carrion Crow is just as good as that of the rook, and relates how be 


CORVUS. 



■llli 


ufJiirhil a 


Monedula (Lat. a Jackdaw), the Jackdaw . 



236 NATURAL HISTORY. 

once served up a pie of these birds to some friends, who thought them 
pigeons. It will also eat cherries and walnuts like the rook, and when 
the supply of insects has failed, it will then turn its attention to the duck- 
pond and farm-yard, and carry off a young duckling or chicken. 

“ Sometimes he approaches the farm-house by stealth, in the search of 
young chickens, which he is in the habit of snatching off, when he can 


con v us. 



Corone (Gr. YLopwvri), the Crow. 

elude the vigilance of the mother hen, who often proves too formidable 
for him. A few days ago, a crow was observed eagerly attempting to 
seize some young chickens in an orchard, near the room where I write ; 
but these clustering round the hen, she resolutely defended them, and 
drove the crow into an apple-tree, whither she pursued him witli such 
spirit and intrepidity, that he was glad to make a speedy retreat and 
abandon his design.” * 

It also carries off eggs, by pouncing upon them, and driving its bill 
through the shell. It will be seen, from the following anecdote, that mice 
and rats are not unaccustomed food. 

In a field near a gentleman’s house, about a mile from Caernarvon, there 
are some out-buildings much infested with rats. Four or five traps are 
set on the premises every night, and it is the business of a servant-man 
to go to the spot between five and six. in the morning. He is always 
punctually met by a company of crows that station themselves at a little 
distance, and most narrowly watch all his proceedings. No sooner does 
lie remove his captives from the traps and throw them into the field, than 
the carnival begins. The crows seize upon their booty, scientifically per¬ 
forate the integuments, and scoop out and devour every particle of flesh, 
even in the head. In a very short time the skins are turned inside out, 
and a few clean picked bones are the only memorials of the banquet. 

The nests of this bird are placed on the summit of some tali tree, and 


* Waterton. 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


237 


contain about five eggs, closely resembling those of the rook. T1 e length 
of the bird is eighteen inches. 


The Hooded Crow, otherwise called the Rovston Crow or the Grey 
Crow, is rar her a scarce bird in the British Islands, although scattered 
over nearly every portion of Great Britain, even including Scotland. 

It is one of the winter visitors to this country, generally leaving us 
about April, all hough it sometimes remains during the summer, and brings 
up i brood of young. Like most of its congeners it builds its nes« on 
the tops of very tall trees, such as the pine, but is also known o ui od 


CORYTTS. 



Coxmix (Lat. a Crow), the Hooded Cruw. 

precipitous rocks. It is said to use these rocks in the stead of an oyster- 
knife, for as it is very fond of oysters, and does not possess a knife to open 
them with, it must discover some other method of getting at the enclosed 
animal. To attain this purpose, it is said to seize the oyster in its beak, 
soar up to a great height in the air, and to let the oyster drop from that 
elevation upon the hard rock, when the shell is dashed to pieces, and the 
Crow is enabled to pick out the animal with ease. 

There is but little of the usual Corvine black hue about this bird, only 
the head, throat, wings and tail being so decorated, the remainder of the 
bird being of an ashy grey. The length of the bird is about twenty-two 
inches. 

The Chough is rather .arger than the jackdaw, and is principally dis¬ 
tinguished by the red hue of its bill and legs. It inhabits the counties 
of the western coast of England, and is, perhaps, more common in Corn- 






238 NATURAL HISTORY 

Sub family c. Pyrrhocoracincc. (Gr. trvppds* flame-coloured; /copa|, a Crow.) 
Coracia.— (Gr. Kopaidas, like a Raven.) 



Gracula (Lat. a Chough), the Chough. 

wail than in any other county. When tame, it shows a very inquisitive 
disposition, examining every novelty with the greatest attention. 

It builds its nest in the cavities of high cliffs, and lays four or five eggs 
of a yellowish white colour, spotted with light brown. The length of the 
bird is seventeen inches. 


The Emerald Bird of Paradise. —This most gorgeous and elegant 
bird was once the subject of much discussion between naturalists. The 
natives of New Guinea were accustomed to dry them, having first cut off 
their legs, and then to offer them for sale. In this footless state they 
reached Europe, where it was immediately stated that the bird lived 
always in the air, buoyed up by the lightness of its feathery covering; 
that the shoulders were used as its nest; that the only rest it took was 
by suspending itself from a branch by the filamentary feathers of the tail; 
that its food was the morning dew; together with many other conjectures 
not less ingenious than amusing. 

This bird is about the size of a jay. Its body, breast, and lower parts 
are of a deep rich brown; the front set close with black feathers shot 
with green ; the throat is of a rich golden green; the head yellow; the 
sides of the tail are clothed with a splendid plume of long downy feathers, 
of a soft yellow colour. By these are placed two long filamentous shafts, 
which extend nearly two feet in length. 

Of these beautiful feathers the bird is so proud, that it will not suffer 

* In aUu.sion to the colour of its bill and lefts* 
















NATURAL HISTORY. 


239 


the least speck of dirt to remain upon them, and it is constantly examining 
its plumage to see that there are no spots on it. When in its wild state, 
it always flies and sits with its face to the wind, lest its elegant filmy 
plumes should be disarranged. 

So far from living exclusively on dew, it eats no small amount of insects, 
such as grasshoppers, which it will not touch if dead, and commences its 

Family II. Paradiseidoe. 

Faradisea. —(Gr. IlapaSeia-os, a pleasure-ground.) 



ApSda (Gr. Aitovs, without feet), the Emerald Bird of Paradise. 

‘ Which, like a bird of Paradise, 

Or herald’s martlet, has no legs.” 


repast by stripping off the legs and wings. When in confinement, it also 
eats boiled rice, plantains, and other vegetables; but in the wild state it 
seems to feed mostly on the seeds of the teak-tree, and a kind of fig. 

There are several species of Paradise Birds known, but the one given 
in the engraving is the most common, and is the one of which the above 
mentioned fables were told. 


The Satin Bower-bird. —It is a singular thing to find a bird building 
a kind of playground, without reference to its nest, but merely for 





























240 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



pvyxos, 


amusement. The Bower-bird has this curious habit. It builds a kind 
of bower of thin twigs, interwoven so as to meet above, forming a kind 

.. T of tunnel. The entrance of 

Family III. . SturaMse.-(Lat. Sturnus a this bower is decorated with 
Starting. Starling kind.) bri „ iant article that the 

Sub-family a. PtilonorhynchlncE. bird can find, such as shells, 

Ptilonorhynciius.—(G r. Ut(\ou, a feather; bones, and feathers of severed 

a beak.) parrots, some feathers being 

stuck in among the twigs, and 
others strewn at the en¬ 
trance. Mr. Gould, who first 
brought this curious bird be¬ 
fore the public, says, “The 
propensity of these birds to 
pick up and fly off with any 
attractive object, is so well 
known to the natives (of 
Australia), that they always 
search the runs for any small 
missing article, as the bowl 
o*f a pipe, &c. that may have 
been accidentally dropped in 
the brush. I, myself, found 
at the entrance of one of 
these a small neatly worked 
stone tomahawk, of an inch 
and a half in length, together 
with some slips of blue cotton 
rags, which the birds had 
doubtless picked up at a de¬ 
serted encampment of the 
natives. Tor what purpose 
these curious Dowers are made, is not yet, perhaps, fully understood : 
they are certainly not used as a nest, but as a place of resort for many 
individuals of both sexes, which, when there assembled, run through and 
around the bower in a sportive and playful manner, and that so frequently, 
that it is seldom entirely deserted.” 

The Starlings comprise many genera, among which the Pensile 
Orioles of America are the most interesting. These birds build, or 
rather weave, a fabr : c not unlike loose cloth, composed of hemp or flax. 

This nest is of the singular form represented in the engraving,* and the 
entrance is at the side. In all probability this singular formation is for 
the purpose of keeping out the Black Snake, who is constantly on the 
look-out for young birds. The parent Orioles often attack the snake, and 
compel him to retreat. 


iSericeus ^Lat. silky), the Satin Bower-Bird. 


* See page 24! 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


24 ! 


The plumage of the male when full grown is very brilliant. The head, 
throat ; and back are black, the under parts are orange, the breast ver¬ 
milion. A band of orange passes over the shoulders, and he tail its 
orange and black. The length of the bird is almost eight inches. This 

Sub-family d. Icterincs. 

Icterus. — (Gr. “TicTeooj.) 



Baltimorus (Lat. belonging to Baltimore), the Baltimore Oriole. 

is not. the only bird that constructs pensile nests ; the Weaver Birds also 
form these nests, but of a different form. They look like great pistols 
hung up by the butt, the entrance being at the muzzle, and the nest in 
the butt. 

The Common Starling is a bird well known both for its beauty and 
the singular method of flight. When a flock of Starlings begin to settle 
for the night, they wheel round the place selected with great accuracv 
Suddenly, as if by word of command, the wdiole flock turn their sides to 
the spectator, and with a great whirring of wings, the whole front and 
shape of the flock is altered. No body of soldiers could be better 
wheeled or countermarched than are these flocks of Starlings, except, 

R 



242 


NATURMj history. 




perhaps, an unfortunate few, who are usually thrown out at each change, 
and whom we must charitably suppose to be recruits. 

The Starling lives 


Sub-family g. Sturnlnce. 
Sturnus. (Lat.) 


Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Starling 


Family IV. . Fringilltdae.—(Lat. Frin- 


principally among old 
buildings, and is very 
fond of gaining admit¬ 
tance into dovecotes, 
where it is a harmless 
visitor, and may be suf¬ 
fered to remain without 
detriment to the pigeons 
or their eggs. Its nest 
is made usually in a hole 
in a wall, sometimes m 
a decayed tree, and con¬ 
tains five eggs of a very 
delicate uniformly pale 
blue. 

There is never any 
difficulty in discovering 
the nest of the Starling, 
for if it builds in a hole of a 


7 11 ik (eaves several 

* straws sticking out, as it to m- 

Sub-family a. Coccothraustinv. dicate the i ocality . ai?d when it 

Coccothraustes.— (Gr. Kokkos,. a berry; S oes 1° take food to its young, 
e P ava>, I break.) both parent and children set up 

such an outcry, that it may be 
heard a long way off. Conse¬ 
quently, there are few eggs so 
prevalent in the string of the 
country boy as those of the 
Starling 




The Grosbeak or Hawfinch. 
—We now arrive at the Finches; 
a very large and interesting 
family. None of the species are 
large, and most of them are ex¬ 
cellent songsters. Their beaks 
are conical, and fitted for the 
destruction of corn, peas, &c. 

The Grosbeak, or Hawfinch, 
well deserves its generic name 
Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Hawfinch, of Berry-breaker,” for its beak 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


243 


is capable of breaking the hard kernels of the cherry, and, according 
to Willoughby, even those of the olive. It is not a very rare bird, although 
it is but seldom seen. This fact is accounted for by its great shyness 
and dread of mankind; so that, although it remains in this country 
throughout the year, H seldoms ventures out of the thick woods in 
which it delights to dwell. 

The nest of this bird is very shallow, and slightly put together, being 
hardly superior to that of the wood-pigeon. The eggs are from four to 
six in number, of a greenish white, covered with dark marks and spots. 
The length of the Grosbeak is seven inches. 

The Chaffinch or Piefinch, as it is often called, is so well known 
as to need no description. It is chiefly remarkable for the beautiful nest 
which it constructs. The forks 
of a thorn or wild crab-tree 
ire favourite places for the 
nest, which is composed of mos¬ 
ses, hair, wool, and feathers, 
covered on the exterior with 
lichens and mosses, so exactly 
resembling the bough on which 
the nest is placed, that the eye 
is often deceived by its ap¬ 
pearance. In the nest four or 
five very pretty eggs are laid : 
these are of a reddish-brown 
colour, sparely marked with 
deep brown spots, especially 
towards the larger end. 

The name Ccelebs or Bache¬ 
lor, is given to this bird, be¬ 
cause the females quit this 
country about November, leav¬ 
ing large flocks of males be¬ 
hind them. 

The Goldfinch or Thistiafinch, so called on account of its fondness 
for the down of the thistle, is one of our most beautiful birds. Where 
thistles abound, small flocks of goldfinches may be seen flying from hedge 
to hedge, and occasionally pecking the white tops of the thistles. The 
tufted seed of the dandelion, groundsel, and other plants is also eaten by 
the Goldfinch. 

In captivity it is very tame, and can be trained to perform a multitude 
of tricks; the most common of which are, drawing its own food and water 
with a chain and bucket, or firing a gun when commanded. The nest is 
very beautiful, being mostly made of wool and down from various plants. 

R 2 


Sub-family b. Fringillince. 
FRINGILLA. 



Ccelebs (Lat. Bachelor), the Chaffinch. 


244 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


FlUNGILLA. 



Carduelis (Lat. a Linnet), the Goldfinch. 


and is usually placed on the extremity of a spray. The eggs are small, 
of a whitish tint, spotted with orange brown. 


FR INGILT A. 



Cannabina (Gr. Kavi/aPivos, fond of hemp), the 
Linnet. 


The Common Linnet 
frequents commons and 
neglected pastures. Its 
song is very sweet, and 
many bird-fanciers sup¬ 
pose that the mixed 
ireed of a canary and a 
linnet has a sweeter song 
than either bird. 

Its nest is usually 
built in the centre of a 
large and dense bush. 
The eggs are five in 
number, greyish - white 
speckled with red. 


The Siskin is hardly to be considered more than an occasional visitor 
in England, but in Scotland it sometimes breeds, as may be seen from 
the following extract:— 

“ The Siskin is a common bird in all the high parts of Aberdeenshire, 
which abound in fir-woods. They build generally near the extremities of 
the branches of tall fir-trees, or near the summit of the tree. Sometimes 
the nest is found in plantations of young fir-wood. In one instance, 1 
met with a nest not three feet from the ground. I visited it every day 
until four oi five eggs were deposited. During incubation the female 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


245 


flowed no fear at my ap¬ 
proach. On bringing my 
Oand close to the nest, she 
showed some inclination to 
pugnacity, and tried to frighten 
me away with her open bill, 
following my hand round and 
round when. I attempted to 
touch her. At last she would 
only look anxiously round to 
my finger, without making any 
attack on me. The nest was 
formed of small twigs of birch 
or heath outside, and neatly 
lined with hair.” 

Its eggs are a bluish-white 
spotted with purplish red. 


FRINGXLLA 



Spinus (Lat. a Sloe-tree), the Siskin. 


FIIINGILLA. 



Chloris (Gr. XA cipus, green), the Greenfinch. 

The Greenfinch or Green Linnet is larger than the Common 
Linnet. It frequents gardens, shrubberies, and cultivated lands, and 
feeds on insects or seeds. The notes of this bird are not peculiarly 
melodious, nor has it many qualifications to entitle it to notice. 

The Canary. —This pretty little songster is so well known as to need 
but little description, particularly as there are no opportunities ot 
itudying its natural course of life. From the manner in which th*> 




246 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Carduelis. — (Lat. a Linnet.) 



Canaria (Lat. tlie Canary). 


Canary is usually reared, it is evident tliat the bird has but very little 
opportunity of exhibiting its natural instincts. 


Tiie Sparrow. —The courageous, impudent, quarrelsome Sparrow ij 
known to all, and, therefore, will not be described. There are few wlm 


Passer.— (Lat. a Sparrow.) 



Domesticus (Lat. domestic), the 
House Sparrow. 


have not seen this little bird, when 
pressed by cold in the whiter, come 
to the window, expecting his dona¬ 
tion of crumbs. It is very fond of 
grain of various kinds, and does 
some damage to the fanner, but the 
destruction of caterpillars by the bud 
more than compensates for the loss 
of the grain. The little impertinent 
bird has no scruple in perching on 
the pig’s trough, and partaking of Lis 
dinner, or in mixing with fowl and 
taking its share of their provisions; 
and on a newly thatched house it 
absolutely revels. Dozens of spar¬ 
rows may then be seen pecking and 
pulling at the straws in high enjoy¬ 
ment. I was once watching a flock 
of sparrows on a newly-thatched 
barn, hopping, pecking and scram¬ 
bling in perfect happiness, when 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


247 


sudden/f s. sharp twitter was heard, and the whole body hastily adjourned 
to a tree close by, making a prodigious chattering Presently I saw 
appear, over the ridge of the house, the head of a cat,, who had walked 
up the thatcher’s ladder, hoping to secure a few sparrows in the midst 
of their meal. The nest of the House Sparrow is usually built in holes 
of roofs. The eggs are speckled black and white, and very variable. 


The Bum ting. —A hard round 
knob in the roof of the upper 
mandible, points out the genus 
Emberlza. This knob is pro¬ 
bably used for the purpose of 
breaking the shells of the small 
but hard seeds on which the 
bird feeds. 

Large flocks of these birds 
collect together in the autumn 
and winter in their attacks upon 
the farm-yard or the field. 
Partly in revenge for their de¬ 
predations, and partly on ac¬ 
count of the price that they will 
fetch in the market, great num¬ 
bers are annually caught in nets 
or shot. 

The nest is always placed 
either on or near the ground, 
and contains four or five darkish 
eggs, covered very irregularly 
with deep brown marks. 


Sub-family c. Emberizince. 
Emberiza.— (Lat. a Bunting.) 


Miliaria (Lat. belonging to Millet, or that 
feeds on Millet), the Bunting. 



TkeYELLOW-IlAMMER 
or Yellow Bunting is 
a very delicately marked 
little bird, very common 
in our hedges, where it 
flits before the tra veller, 
always keeping about 
twenty yards in front. It 
makes its nest on the 
ground, and lays five 
eggs curiously scribbled 
over with dark chocolate 
lines, just as if a child 
had been trying to write 
Arabic on the eggs. 


EMBERIZA. 



Citrinella (Lat. yellowish), the Yellow 
Bunting. 


248 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Some say that the name ought to be Yellow-Ammer, the word Ammei 
being German for Bunting, and the German word for this bird being 
Goldammer. 




The Ortolan, a little bird in very great repute for the table, is also 

an Emberiza. This bird is 
regularly fed like poultry, 
in the South of Europe, and 
soon becomes exceedingly 
fat, when a guinea is fre¬ 
quently the price of it. 

It is received as a British 
bird, because it has been 
taken off the coast of York¬ 
shire, and also in Mary-le- 
bone Fields. 


The Larks are known by 

. /T , , , ... . . their very long hind toe. 

Hortulana (Lat. belonging to a hale garden), The skylark, which pours 

forth its animated songw bile 
suspended high in the air, is an inhabitant of most parts of Europe, 
Asia, and North Africa, but is not found in America. A very inte- 

Sub-family d. . . Alaudlnce. resting story is told of 

, T . T 7X a Skylark that was taken 

Alauda.— (Lat. a Lark.) . y . . , 

out to America by a pooi 

emigrant, and which used 
to collect crowds of de¬ 
lighted listeners round 
its cage. An English 
settler, who happened to 
be passing by while the 
bird was singing, was so 
affected by the reminis¬ 
cences which its song 
called up, that he offered 
his horse and cart for the 
bird, on the spot. The 

owner, however, would 
Arvensis (Lat. belonging to Ike fields), the Skylark, j-^g nQ p r J ce for it 

although most extravagant offers were made, and kept it till his death. 
The bird afterwards passed into other hands, but refused to sing until its 
cage was hung up in the open air. After its death, its skin was sent 
back to its native land, and is now stuffed, seated in its old cage, with 
a suitable inscription attached. 

The nest is made on the ground, frequently in the print of a horse’s 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


240 


oot, and contains live eggs of a greenish-white, thickly spotted with 
brown. There are generally two broods in the year; one in May, and the 
other in July or August. Immense numbers of these birds are caught 
annually and sent to the London markets. The mode of catching the 
Larks is generally by means of a number of horsehair nooses attached to 
a long line. Pood is scattered among the nooses, and the larks in 
reaching the food get their limbs entangled in the horsehair, and either 
strangle themselves, or are held until the fowler comes to take them out. 
Dunstable is the most celebrated place for them. It does not at all 
agree with the sense of justice, that these beautiful birds, who charm us 
with their voices, should be killed to increase the pleasures of the table. 

The Woodlark is another of our British Larks, but differs in some 
respects from the skylark. It is smaller, and can perch on trees, a power 
denied to the skylark. It also 
sings on the wing, but some¬ 
times prefers to pour forth its 
notes while perched on the 
branch of a tree. 

Its nest, like that of the 
, is also placed on the 
ground; the eggs are darker 
than those of the skylark. 

The Bullpincu is a singular 
instance of the power of art on 
the song of birds. The natural 
note of the Bullfinch is low, 
and can only be heard at a short 
distance; but when well trained 
the bird whistles, or “ pipes, 55 
as it is called, any melody which 
has been taught it, in a fine 
flute-like tone. A good piping 
Bullfinch sells at a very higli 
price. The method of teaching, 
is to confine the birds in a dark 
room, and, before their food is given, to play the air that they have to 
learn, on an instrument called a bird-organ. The birds soon begin to 
imitate the notes, and by degrees the whole tune is learned. Some 
trainers substitute a small clarionet for the bird-organ. 

When in captivity the Bullfinch is very sociable, and soon learns to 
Know his owners, and to come to them if called. 

A rather singular fate befel one of these birds. A lady, on opening 
her window, saw a bullfinch quietly seated outside on the sill. To her 
gi«eat surprise, it did not move when the window was opened; but per- 



ALAT’DA. 



Arborea (Lat. belonging to trees), the 
Woodlark. 


250 


NATURAL HISTORY. 




Sub-family e. Pyrrhulince. 


Pyrrhula.— (Gr. Uv^ovXas,) from 
Ylvfipos, flame-coloured. 


mitted itself to be taken up in 
the hand and carried into the room. 
When placed on a table, it gave no 
indication of any wish to escape, 
but sat still, as if it were suffering 
from illness. An examination being 
instituted as to the cause of this 
singular circumstance, a seed was 
found firmly fixed in the bird’s 
throat. The impediment was soon 
removed with a needle, and the 
bird became quite lively. This 
relief, however, proved but a tem¬ 
porary respite; for while a cage was 
being prepared for its reception, it 
escaped from the hand of its bene¬ 
factress ; flew hastily to the closed 
window; and, being unaccustomed 
to glass, dashed itself with such 
violence against one of the panes, 
that it fell dead on the ground. 

This anecdote was related to me 
by an eyewitness of the scene. 

The nest of this bird is made in thick bushes, or fir-trees. The eggs 
Sub-family f. Loxime. are of a pale greenish white, spotted 

r nvr , /r . . ,/ \ with orange brown. The name of 

Loxia. —(Lr. A otos, crosswise.) -r, , v . . .. 

liuilhnch is given to it, on account 
of the large proportionate size of 
its head and neck. When in cap¬ 
tivity, its plumage sometimes turns 
black, the result of feeding it too 
profusely with hempseed. 


Rubicilla (Lat. reddish ), the Bullfinch’ 


Curviroatra (Lat. Curved-bill), the 
Cross-bill. 


The genus Loxia is instantly known 
by the crossed points of the beak, 
and the horny scoop at the tip of 
the tongue. The Crossbill uses 
these tools to open the fir-cones, on 
the seeds of which it feeds. The 
bird inserts both its mandibles under 
the scales of the cone, then by sepa¬ 
rating them the scale is raised up, 
while the seed is scooped out by the 
horny tip of the tongue. This sin¬ 
gular structure of the beak enables 
the bird to divide an apple in halves. 










NATURAL HISTORY. 


251 


so as to get at the pips. Although the crossed mandibles appear rather 
a barrier to picking up small objects, yet the Crossbill can pick up and 
husk the smallest seeds, or shell almonds; which latter feat is accom¬ 
plished by picking a hole in them, and then wrenching them open, just 
as an idle schoolboy opens a nut with his penknife, when he ought to be 
using that instrument in the more legitimate operation of mending lr.s 
pen. Mr. Yarrell gives an interesting account of a pair of Crossbills, who 
amused themselves by twisting out the wires of their cage. They actually 
succeeded in pulling out a flat-headed nail used to confine the network, 
but the bird lost the point of his bill in his efforts. They were at last 
banished, on account of their unceasing destruction of cages. 

The nest is built on the branches of a fir-tree, and the eggs are bluish 
white spotted with red. 

Family VII. Bucerotidm. 

Buceros.—(G r. B ovuepoos, ox-horned.) 



Rhinoceros, the Rhinoceros UonibiU. 


The Rhinoceros Hornbill. —This singular and almost start ling 
family comprises but few species, which are all natives of India ana 
Africa. The enormous bill, with its incomprehensible appendage, although 
of course heavy, is really much lighter than it looks; being composed of 

















NATURAL HISTORY. 


252 

a kind of light honeycombed structure. The upper protuberance is 
hollow, and the only conjecture formed of its use, is that it serves as a 
sounding-board to increase the reverberations of the air, while the bird 
is uttering its peculiar roaring cry. 

In spite of the apparently unwieldy bill, the bird is very active, and 
hops about the branches of the trees with much ease. The appendage 
to the upper mandible is small when the bird is young, and only attains 
its enormous size when the Hornbill has reached its full growth. The 
bill of the hoopoes presents a somewhat analogous peculiarity, as when 
the bird is young the bill is short and pointed, and increases with the 
size of the bird. From this circumstance, together with some other 
resemblances, some naturalists imagine that there is an affinity between 
the hornbills and hoopoes. 

The Hornbills seem to be omnivorous, fruits, eggs, birds, reptiles, &c., 
forming their food. The African Hornbills are extremely fond of 
nutmegs, and are, on that account, said to be peculiarly delicate eating, 
reminding one of the Barmecide’s memorable lamb fed on pistachio nuts. 

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is a native of India, and the Indian islands. 
The length of its bill is usually about ten inches. 


The Scansores, or Climbing Birds, now engage our attention. 
According to Mr. Gray, under this order are placed the Toucans, the 
Parrots, the Woodpeckers, and the Cuckoos. The feet of these bird3 
have two toes in front and two behind. 

The Toucans are all natives of tropical America. Their enormous bill 
is rendered light in the same way as that of the hornbills, by being chiefly 
composed of a honeycomb structure. It seems to be very sensitive, and 
well supplied with nerves, as the bird not only appears to enjoy holding 
meat or fruits with the tip of its bill, but has been seen to scratch that 
organ with its foot, plainly proving that there must be sensation. It 
seems to be omnivorous, but is particularly fond of mice, and small birds, 
which it kills by a powerful squeeze, then strips and finally pulls to pieces 
and devours, having previously reduced them to a shapeless mass by 
repeated lateral wrenches with its enormous and saw-like bill. Water ton 
in his Wanderings describes the usual haunts of the Toucan. 

“ Heedless and bankrupt in all curiosity must he be, who can journey 
on without stopping to take a view of the towering mora. Its topmost 
branch, when naked with age or dead by accident, is the favourite resort 
of the Toucan. Many a time has this singular bird felt the shot faintly 
strike him from the gun of the fowler beneath, and owed his life to 
the distance betwixt them.” In the same interesting and amusing 
work, he remarks a strange habit of the Toucan, called the Houtou by 
the natives. 

“ This bird (the Houtou) seems to suppose that its beauty can be 
increased by trimming the tail, which undergoes the same operation as 



NATLlUvL HISTORY. 


our hair in a barber’s shop; only with, this difference, that it uses its own 
beak, which is serrated, in lieu of a pair of scissors. As soon as his tail 
is full grown, he begins about an inch from the extremity of the two 
longest feathers in it, and cuts away the web on both sides of the shaft, 
making a gap about an inch long : both male and female adorn their tails 
in this manner, which gives them a remarkable appearance amongst all 
other birds.” 

Order III. . . SCANSOEES. —(Lat. scando, I climb. Climbing birds.) 

Family I. . . Ramphastidse. 

Sub-family a. Ehamphastidince. 

Rhampuastos. —(Or. 'Y'afx(pT](T'T7]s, properly, a Pike.) 



Toco (native name), the Toco Toucan. 


When sleeping, the Toucan takes great care of his bill, packing it 
away, and covering it carefully with the feathers of its back, and alto¬ 
gether presents the appearance of a large round ball of feathers. The 
body is about eighteen inches in length. These birds, together with the 
hoopoes and hornbills, have a habit of throwing their food down their 
tbmats with a peculiar jerk of the bill. 











NATURAL HISTORY. 


254 


Family II. Psittacid®.— (Gr. Vir ratios , a Parrot.) 
Macrocercus.—(G r. M anpos, long; nlpuos, tail.) 



Ararauna (from the Brazilian word Arara), the Blue and Yellow Macaw 

The Macaws. —Many naturalists imagine, and with some reason, that 
the Psittacidse ought to be formed into an order by themselves. In this 
family the construction of the bill is very remarkable. As the curved tip 
of the bill would prevent the bird from opening it wide enough to admit its 
food, the upper mandible is united to the skull by a kind of hinge joint, of 
equal strength and flexibility. When climbing among the branches of 
trees, or about their cages, the Parrots invariably make great use of their 
hooked bills in assisting themselves both in ascending and descending, 
The crossbills have been observed to climb much in the same way. 

The Parrots are said to be very long lived, some have certainly been 
known to live upwards of eighty years in captivity, and may be imagined 
to exceed that period in a wild state. 

The Macaws are natives of South America. The blue and yellow 
Macaw inhabits Brazil, Guiana and Surinam, living principally on the 
banks of rivers. Of one of the Macaws, the Carolina Parrot, or Parra- 
keet as Wilson calls it, the following anecdote is told by that enterprising 
naturalist:— 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


255 


“Having shot down a number, some of which were only wounded, 
the whole flock swept repeatedly round their prostrate companions, and 
again settled on a low tree, within twenty yards of the spot where I 
stood. At each successive discharge, though showers of them fell, vet 
the affection of the survivors seemed rather to increase; for, after a few 
circuits round the place, they again alighted near me, looking down on 
their slaughtered companions with such manifest symptoms of sympathy 
and concern, as entirely disarmed me.” 

Wilson also makes mention of a singular idea, that the brains and 
intestines of the Carolina Parrot (which lives on cockle-burs) are 
poisonous to cats. Why the brains should be so is rather incomprehen¬ 
sible, although we can easily understand that the Parrot might take some 
substance into its stomach injurious to cats. Wilson tried the experi¬ 
ment after being repeatedly disappointed of a patient, but came to no 
conclusion on the subject. 

“Having shut up a cat and her two kittens, the latter only a few days 
old, in a room with the head, neck, and the whole intestines of the 
parrakeet, I found on the next morning the whole eaten except a small 
part of the bill. The cat exhibited no symptom of sickness, and at this 
moment, three days after the experiment had been made, she and her 
kittens are in their usual health. Still 


however the effect might have been Palasornis.— (Gr. naAaicfs, old 
different, had the daily food of the bird opns, a bird.) 

been cockle-burs instead of Indian corn.” 

The Ringed Parrakeet is frequently 
seen domesticated in this country, where fa 
its pleasing manners and gentle dispo¬ 
sition render it a great favourite. It 
seems to be exceedingly fond of ripe 
walnuts, divided in halves ; and, while 
it is picking out the kernel, continually 
utters a short clucking sound indicative 
of pleasure. 

It soon learns to repeat words and 
short sentences, and to speak with toler¬ 
able distinctness. Sometimes, when ex¬ 
cited, it utters most ear-piercing screams, 
and always appears to practise any new 
accomplishment when it thinks that no 
one is within hearing. A Ringed Parra- 
keet belonging to one of my scholars 
was accustomed to live in the school¬ 
room. At first it used to become Torquatus (Lat. collared), the 
angry that it was not noticed during Ringed Parrakeet 

school hours, and to utter a succession of screams; but after being shut 



256 


NATURAL m^TORY. 


up in a darx closet several times, it learned to behave very demurely,— 
giving an example worthy of imitation to several of its human play¬ 
fellows. I am sorry to say, that the bird escaped from its cage, and was 
snot by an ignorant farmer in the neighbourhood. 

The colour of the bird is green, and a rose-coloured band round its 
neck gives it the name of the Hose-ringed Parrakeet. The bill is red. 



Caoatua.—(F rom the native name.) The Cockatoos are remarkable 

for the powdery surface of their 
wings, and the crest on the head, 
which can be raised or depressed 
at pleasure. The Sulphur-crested 
Cockatoo is an inhabitant of New 
Guinea. Its colour is white, and 
the crest is of a sulphur yellow. 
Its white plumage glancing among 
t he dense dark foliage of its native 
forests, imparts a wonderful beauty 
to the scene; and as Sir Thomas 
Mitchell remarks, “ amidst the 
umbrageous foliage, forming dense 
masses of shade, the white cock¬ 
atoos sported like spirits of light.” 
This Cockatoo is easily tamed, 
and is of a very affectionate dis¬ 
position. When in captivity it 
has been known to live to the 
age of 120 years. Its nest is 
built in hollow trees, and the 
crevices of rocks. The eggs are white. The length of the bird is about 
eighteen inches. 


SulphurSa (Lat. Sulphury), the Great 
Sulphur Cockatoo. 


The Woodpeckers, whose name indicates their habits, are widely 
spread, being found in all quarters of the globe except Australia. They 
subsist on insects and grubs, which they dig out of trees, or discover under 
the bark. For this purpose, their whole structure is admirably adapted. 
The bill is long, sharp, and powerful, and the formation of the feet and 
legs is such that the bird is able to grasp the tree firmly with the feet, 
while swinging with the force of his whole body against it. Another 
most singular point in the Woodpeckers, is the method by which they are 
enabled to thrust the tongue deep into the crevices, and bring out any 
insects that may happen to be there. The tongue is connected with two 
elastic ligaments which are inserted near the juncture of the upper man¬ 
dible with the skull. From thence they sweep round the back of the head, 
and passing under the lower mandible, enable the tongue to be thrust out 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


*)K- 

O i 


k considerable distance. The tip of the tongue is sharp, and barbed with 
several filaments; and more firmly to secure the prey, a kind of gummy 
secretion causes those insects to adhere, that would be too small to be 
impaled. 

It appears to be an erroneous opinion, that these birds injure trees. 
Their only object in pecking away the wood and bark, is to get at the 
insects, which they know are hidden within. Now insects seldom or never 

Family III. . Picidae.—(Lat. Pious, a Woodpecker. Woodpecker kind. 

Sub family c. Picince. 

PIOUS. 



Major (Lat. greater), the Great Spotted Woodpecker. 


bore into healthy wood, but a decayed branch or stump is always full ot 
them, as is well known to the entomologist; so the winged entomologist, 
when he perceives a decayed branch, or finds an unsound spot in the trunk, 
immediately sets to work industriously, and is rewarded by finding plenty 
of insects, which he draws out and demolishes, with more benefit to 
himself, and possibly more good to others, than many human entomologists 
can boast. 

Although the Woodpecker does not scoop away sound trees, yet it is 
because it has no motive for doing so—not that the power is wanting. 
Wilson had au Ivory-billed Woodpecker in his possession, which pecked 

s 




2 £>& 


NATURAL HISTORi. 


away latli and plaster in its efforts to escape, and utterly ruined a 
mahogany table to which it was fastened. 


The Great Spotted Woodpecker is an inhabitant of England, but is 

seldom seen. Large woods are its favourite 
haunts. Like all its tribe, it feeds on the 
scsftw insects which it procures from decayed trees, 

and also on berries and fruits. Its eggs are 
laid in a deep hole excavated in a tree. Ecr 
this purpose, the Woodpecker usually chooses 
a place where a branch has broken off, or more 
commonly the part of the trunk where a certain fungus has grown, 
causing the tree to decay in that spot, although apparently healthy. 



SCULL OP THE WOODPECKER. 


The Green Woodpecker is by far the most common in this country, 
and may be often seen in woods, tapping the trees with wonderful rapidity, 
the blows lollowing each other something like the sound of a watchman’s 


PIOUS. 





Vmdis (Lat. green), the Green Woodpecker . 

rattle It generally runs up the trunk of the tree in a spiral direction, 
occasionally striking off large pieces of dry bark. When it descends, it 
still keeps its head uppermost. 

I have more than once seen the Green Woodpecker busily employed 
among the trees of the Christ Church Walks, Oxford, and very frequently 




NATURAL HISTORY. 259 

in Bagley Wood. I have never seen it on the ground, and but once on 
the smaller branches of the trees. 

A few years ago, I saw one of these birds running up the trunk of a 
fall elm-tree, and seeing half a brick lying on the ground, I took it up 
and threw it towards the bird, merely wishing to startle it. As the tree 
was at some distance, I did not imagine that the brick would have gone 
so far, much less were there any grounds for supposing that a bird in 
rapid motion could have been hit by so unwieldy a weapon. To my 
astonishment, it struck the Woodpecker, but did not bring it down; the 
poor bird flew olf with loud screams, and a drop or two of blood fell on 
the dry leaves. The brick had come with one of its edges against the legs 
of the bird, and broken them both off. I lamented for a while about the 
fate of the unfortunate Woodpecker, which at no distant period must 
have died of starvation, if not from the effects of the wound. I made at 
inward resolution at the time never to throw a stone at a bird again, 
however distant it might be. 



The Wryneck is tolerably common in the southern counties ot 
England, but is scarcely ever 


Sub-family g. Yunclnce. 
Yunx.—(G r. ‘'ivy £.) 


seen in the north and west. 

It principally feeds on ants, 
which it picks up with great 
rapidity by means of its long 
tongue, covered with a 
glutinous secretion like that 
of the woodpecker. The 
rapidity with which the ants 
are taken is so great, that 
“an ant’s egg, which is of a 
light colour, and more con¬ 
spicuous than the tongue, 
has somewhat the appear¬ 
ance of moving to the 
mouth by attraction, as a 
needle does to the magnet.” 

The name Wryneck is given 
it from its habit of rapidly 
twisting its head and neck, 
and hissing like a serpent, if disturbed upon its eggs. The young also 
hiss if they are molested. 

Its eggs are laid on the bare wood in the holes of trees. Like most 
eggs that are laid in holes, they are of a pure white. The length of the 
bird is seven inches. 


Torquiila (Lat. twisting), the Wryneck. 



260 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Family IV. . Cuculldse.—(Lat. Cuculus, a Cuckoo. Cuckoo kind. 
Sob-family e. Cuculince. 

CUCULUS. 



Canorus (Lat. musical ), the Cuckoo. 

The Cuckoo, spring’s harbinger, has, at all ages, obtained for itself a 
name at once pleasing and disreputable; pleasing, because its well-known 
notes are a sign that the cold winter is gone; and disreputable, because 
it usurps the nests of other birds, of which the hedge sparrow is the 
usual victim. In its nest the cuckoo deposits one of its own eggs, which 
are remarkably small in proportion to the size of the bird. The unsus¬ 
pecting hedge sparrow hatches the intruder together with her own young. 
The Cuckoo rapidly increases in size, and monopolizes no small portion of 
the entire nest, besides taking the lion’s share uf the provisions. The 
mother, however, "ever seems to perceive the difference, but feeds and 
tends the interloper with quite as much care as her own young. 

Dr. Jenner states that the young Cuckoo ejects the former and rightful 
occupants of the nest, by managing to get the egg or young bird upon its 
back, clambering up to the edge of the nest, and then throwing it over 
by a sharp jerk. 

At some times of the year, Cuckoos are comparatively tame. I have 
repeatedly decoyed them by imitating their cry, until they came near 
enough for me to see the movement of the beak. Once a Cuckoo came 
voluntarily, and settled on a hurdle close by, uttered his peculiar cry 
several times, and then leisurely flew off. 

The Cuckoo feeds principally on the hairy caterpillars, especially those 
of the tiger moth (Arctia caja ), the hairs of which form a Kina oi iimng 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


261 


to its stomach. These hairs are placed so regularly, that it was imagined 
for some time tnat they were a growth from the stomach itself. To settle 
the point, the microscope was brought to bear on the subject; and by its 
aid, the hairs were found to be exclusively those of the caterpillar above 
mentioned. 

The Cuckoo will also feed oil other insects, as is proved by Gilber. 
White, who saw several Cuckoos engaged in feeding by a large pond 
They were chiefly employed in catching the dragon flies, some of which 
they took while resting on the water plants, and others they caught on the 
wing. 

A tame Cuckoo, that lived for more than a year in captivity, seemed to 
consider a young mouse an especial treat. The mouse was first beaten 
against the ground or a hard stone, until it was reduced to a soft mass, 
after which process it was swallowed. The length of the bird is about 
fourteen inches. 


The Dove —This 
family is supposed to 
be more widely distri¬ 
buted than any other. 
The three pigeons en¬ 
graved are the only 
species that live wild 
in this country. 

The Ringdove, or 
Cushat, is the 
largest of our native 
pigeons. A black 
ringlet round the 
neck, edged with 
white, gives it the 
name of Ringdove. 
It is very common 
in England; and its 
nests are usually 
found to consist of a 
few sticks, thrown 
loosely together on 
a spray of fir or 
holly. The struc¬ 
ture of this platform, 
for nest it can hardly 
be called, is so loose, 
that the white eggs 
can generally be seen 



Order IV. COLUMBJE. 

Family I. Columbidoe.—(Lat. Columba , 
a Dove. Dove kind ) 
Sub-family b. Columbines. 
COLUMBA. 


Palumbus (Lat. a Pigeon), the Ringdove. 
from below through the interstices of the nest- 




202 


NATURAL H INTO Hi'. 




(lOLUMBA. 


(Enas ^Gr. O luas), the Stockdove. 

The Stockdove builds its nest in the stocks of trees, (from whence ik 

name,) and. has been known to lay its eggs in deserted warrens, without 

making any nest at all. In former times, when forests of beech-trees 

m /x • m ±11 \ used to cover the coun- 

Iurtur.—(L at. a Turtle-dove.) . „ n i 

' ’ try, enormous docks of 

these birds frequented 
them, in order to feed 
on the beech-mast. Now 
they are not so common, 
although they still assem¬ 
ble in considerable num¬ 
bers. 


The Turtle-dove, a 
bird much revered by 
poets for its constancy, 
is only a spring visitor 
to our shores, arriving 
Anritus (Lat. eared), the Turtle-dove. towards May, and leav¬ 

ing us about September. 

The nest is a mere platform of twigs, on which the eggs are laid. The 








NATURAL HISTORY. 


2G3 


constancy and affection of this bird for its mate has been deservedly 
celebrated in all ages; though it is not easy to understand why other birds, 
such as the raven, whose constancy is quite as remarkable, should be 
deprived of the meed of praise due to them. 

The Passenger Pjgeon. —This extraordinary bird, whose powers ol 
flight are almost incredible, is a native of America, and overspreads the 
country in countless myriads during the breeding season. It is well that 
their power of wing is so great, for were the enormous flocks to he 
confined to one place, they would devour the whole of the grain. Pigeons 
have been killed in New 
York with Carolina rice 
still in their crops. As 
their digestion is re¬ 
markably rapid, these 
oirds must have flown 
between three and four 
hundred miles in six 
hours, giving an average 
speed of a mile per 
minute. 

At the breeding season, 
the overwhelming mul¬ 
titudes of Pigeons that 
settle on one spot are 
almost incredible. Wil¬ 
son, who was present 
at one of these breeding 
places, gives the follow¬ 
ing account:— 

“ Not far from Shel- 
byville, in the state of 
Kentucky, about five 
years ago, there was one 
of these breeding places, 
which,stretched through 
the woods in nearly a north and south direction, vjs several miles in 
breadth, and was said to be upwards of forty miles in extent! In this 
tract almost every tree was furnished with nests wherever the branches 
could accommodate them. The pigeons made their first appearance there 
about the 10th of April, and left it altogether, with their young, before 
the 25th of May. 

“As soon as the young were fully grown, and before they left the 
nests, numerous parties of the inhabitants, from all parts of the adjacent 
country, came with waggons, axes, beds, cooking utensils, many of them 
accompanied by the greater part of their families and encamped for 


Ectopistes.— (Gr. ’Ektott'^co, to migrated 



Migratorla (Lat. migrators), the Passenger 
Pigeo:\, 



264 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


several days at this immense nursery. Several of them informed me 
that the noise in the woods was so great as to terrify their horses, and 
that it was difficult for one person to hear another speak, without bawling 
in his ear. The ground was strewed with broken limbs of trees, eggs, and 
young squab pigeons, which had been precipitated from above, and on 
which herds of hogs were fattening. Hawks, buzzards, aud eagles, were 
sailing about in great numbers, and seizing the squabs from their nests 
at pleasure; while from twenty feet upwards to the tops of the trees, 
the view through the woods presented a perpetual tumult of crowding and 
fluttering multitudes of pigeons, their wings roaring like thunder, min¬ 
gled with the frequent crash of falling timber; for now the axe men 
were at work cutting down those trees that seemed to be most crowded 
witli nests, and contrived to fell them in such a manner, that in their 
descent they might bring down several others, by which means the falling 
of one large tree sometimes produced two hundred squabs, little inferior 
in size to the old ones, and almost one mass of fat. 

“ All accounts agree in stating that each nest contains only one young 
squab. These are so extremely fat, that the Indians and many of the 
whites are accustomed to melt down the fat for domestic purposes, as a 
substitute for butter and lard.” 

A few observations on the mode of flight of these birds must not be 
omitted. “A column, eight or ten miles in length, would appear from 
Kentucky, high in air, steering across to Indiana. The leaders of this 
great body would sometimes gradually vary their course, until it formed 
a large bend of more than a mile in diameter, those behind tracing the 
exact route of their predecessors. This would continue sometimes long 
after both extremities were beyond the reach of sight, so that the whole 
with its glittering undulations, marked a space on the face of the heavens 
resembling the windings of a vast and majestic river. . . . Sometimes a 
hawk would make a sweep on a particular part of the column, from a 
great height, when, almost as quick as lightning, that part shot down¬ 
wards out of the common track, but soon rising again, continued 
advancing at the same height as before; this inflection was continued by 
those behind, who, on arriving at this point, dived down almost perpen¬ 
dicularly to a great depth, and rising, followed the exact path of those 
that went before.” 

The following group comprises the most conspicuous varieties of the 
Domestic Pigeon. All these birds, except the Carrier, the Pouter, and 
and Tumbler, are very similar in their habits, and need no description. 

The Tumbler is a very little pigeon, and derives its name from its 
singular habit of falling backwards when on the wing. Pigeon fareiera 
Hssert that a flight of twelve Tumblers may be covered with a Hand¬ 
kerchief. 

The Pouter is a large pigeon. It stands particularly erect, and seems 
exceedingly vain of the swollen crop which gives it the name of Pouter. 
The bird is enabled to inflate its crop with air, until the head is almost 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


265 


hidden behind it. This inflation sometimes causes the bird to lose its 
balance, and fall down chimneys, on which it is fond of standing, thereby 
illustrating the proverb that “Pride will have a fall.” 

The Carrier Pigeon is the bird that was so largely employed to takt 
messages, before the invention of the Electric Telegraph rendered even 
the speed of the wind too slow for the present day. The most valuable 
Carriers were trained to carry to and from their residence. A letter was 
written on a small piece of paper, and fastened under the wing of the 



DOMESTIC PIGEONS. 


pigeon, or to its feet. The feet were then bathed in vinegar to keep them 
cool, lest the bird should stop on the way to bathe. When the pigeon 
was set free, it rose high in the air, made one or two circular flights, and 
then darted off like an arrow in the proper direction. One of these birds 
has been, known to fly nearly one hundred and fifty miles in one hour. 


The Peacock. —This magnificent bird is not a native of this country* 
but has been domesticated in England for many years. Some suppose 
that it was first brought from India by Alexander, and by him introduced 
into Europe. The gorgeous plumes that adorn the Peacock do not 
compose the tail, as many suppose, but are only the tail-coverts. The tail 
feathers themselves are short and rigid, and serve to keep the train 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


‘266 

spread, as may be seen when the bird walks about in all the majesty 01 
his expanded olumage. 

Although pea-fowl seek their food on the ground, they invariably roost 
on some elevated situation, such as a high branch, or the roof of a barn 

Order V. . . . GALLINAE. —(Lat. Gallus, a Domestic Fowl.) 

Family III. . Phasianldae.—(Gr. <&ajiav6s, a Pheasant. - * Pheasant-kindd 
Sub-family a. Pavonmcp. 

Pavo (Lat. a Peacock). 



CJnetatue (Lat. crested ), the Peacock . 


or haystack. When the bird is perched on the roof, its train lies along 
the thatch, and is quite invisible in the dusk. 

We have almost dismissed pea-fowl from our entertainments in these 

• T.e. a bird from the river Phasis in Colchis. 






























NATURAL HISTORY. 


267 



days, but in the times of chivalry, a roasted peacock, still clothed in its 
plumage, and with its train displayed, formed one of the chief ornaments 
of the regal board. The nest of this bird is made of sticks and leaves 
rudely thrown together, and contains from twelve to fifteen eggs. The 
young do not attain their full plumage until the third year, and only the 
males possess the vivid tints and lengthened train, the female being 
comparatively ordinary 


a 

bird. A white variety of 
the Peacock is not un¬ 
common. In this case, the 
eyes of the train feathers 
are slightly marked with a 
kind of neutral tint. 

The voice of the Peacock 
is as unpleasant and un¬ 
musical as its external 
appearance is attractive. 
There are some Peacocks 
living at a farm just at the 
outskirts of Oxford, which 
frequently startle those who 
pass by their haunts at 
night. They are fond of 
roosting on the roof of a 
small barn, where they are 
quite imperceptible in the 
dusk of the evening. When 
any one passes down the 
lonely lane which borders 
the farmyard, one or other 
of the birds is tolerably 
certain to give its jarring 
scream, much to the alarm 
of the passer-by. 


Sub-family b. Phasianlnce. 
Argus.—(G r. proper name.) 


Giganteius (Lat. gigantic), the Argus Pheasart,* 


The Argus Pheasant is 
found in Sumatra and the 
south-eastern parts of Asia. 

The magnificently marked 
secondary quill feathers 
render it a most conspicu¬ 
ous bird. The primary feathers are comparatively short. No 
specimen has yet been brought to Europe, as it is said to pine 
captivity. In its native haunts it is very shy, avoiding the proximity 
of human abodes, and living in the solitary depths of woods. 

The name Argus is given to the bird because the numerous eye-like 


living 

















268 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


spots that cover the whole of its plumage are considered hs bearing an 
allusion to Argus, the hundred-eyed shepherd, who was set by Tuno to 
watch lo. 

The Common Pheasant was originally brought from Georgia, and nas 
completely naturalised itself in this country. It is a hardy bird, and 
bears the cold months very well. Altnough it ban be tamed, and will 
come to be fed with ihe poultry, yet an innate timidity prevents it from 
oeing thoroughly domesticated. Young pheasants that have been hatched 


FITAS1ANUS. 



Colclncus (Lat. Colchian), the Pheasant. 


under a hen, scamper off in terror if an unexpected intruder makes Ins 
appearance among them, although the remainder of the poultry remain 
perfectly unconcerned. 

This bird loves to perch at night on trees, especially on the spreading 
blanches of the larch. Poachers are so well aware of this habit that 
they always visit the larches first, while on their marauding excursions. 

A few spruce-firs surrounded by dense and tall holly hedges form an 
''■xcellent place of refuge for the birds, who can bid the poacher defiance 
from their stronghold; while a few dozen wooden pheasants nailed on the 
□ranches of the unguarded trees, are admirably adapted for trying the 
patience and wasting the ammunition of the nocturnal plunderer. 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


260 


A white variety of the Pheasant sometimes occurs, but seems never to 
be propagated. The nest of the bird is made on the ground, and contains 
from ten to eighteen eggs of an uniform dun colour. 

The Domestic Fowls are too well known to need much description. 

There are many varieties, the most conspicuous of which are the 
Cochin-China, Crested, and Bantam. The Game Fowl was formerly in 
great request for the cruel sport of cock-fighting, an amusement which, 
although happily now almost extinct, was in great vogue but a few years 
since. The Java Fowl, of which the enormous Cochin-China bird vs a 

Sub-family c. GaUlncu. 

Galttts.— ILat. a Cock.) 



Domestfcus (Lat domestic ), the Domestic Fowl. 


variety, is supposed to be the origin of the Barn-door fowl. The cock 
has been long celebrated for his warlike propensities, and his habit of 
greeting the approach of morn by his “ shrill clarion.” 

A young hen of the Cochin-China breed, when introduced among thv. 
other poultry of a farmyard, was shamefully persecuted by its companions. 
It was very absurd to see the poor creature pecking up a stray crumb or 
two outside the general circle, and flying in terror before a little game 
hen, if it ventured to approach too close. The principal advantage of 







270 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


this bird seens to be that the chickens, from their superior size, are read) 
for the market at an earlier age than those of the ordinary fowl. 

The Bantam is a very little bird indeed, but exceedingly courageous, 
and does not hesitate to attack a turkey or such large bird with most 
amu>ing pompousness of manner. Some Bantams have their legs thickly 
feathered down to the very toes. The hackles, or long neck feathers of 
this and the preceding bird, are much used by anglers for making 
artificial flies. 

The celebrated Jungle Fowl of India belongs to this race, and is by 
many supposed to be the origin of our domestic game fowl. The 
Chinese, who are greatly addicted to the sport of cock-fighting, prefer 
this bird for their cruel amusement. 

The Dorking Fowl is a large and delicate species. The chief peculiarity 
in this bird is the double hind toe, so that it has five toes instead of four. 

The Turkey is an inhabitant of America, and appears to have been 
imported into Europe about the year 1600. Its habits in a state of 

Sub-family d. Meleagrlnce. 

Meleagris. — (Gr. MeAecry/ns, a Guinea-fowl.) 



Gallopavo (Lat. the Turkey). 


lomestication need no description, but when wild in its native woods are 
rather interesting. It is partly migratory in its hah’ts, moving from 
the parts about Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, towards the Ohio and 




NATUKAL HISTORY. 


271 


Mississippi. The march is usually performed on foot in large flocks, the 
birds seldom using their wings except when attacked, or in order to 
cross a river. The powerful birds can easily cross a river of a mile iu 
breadth, but the weaker frequently fall into the water, and then paddle 
to shore with some rapidity. This migration is performed about the end 
ot October. Bonaparte, in his splendid work on the American Ornitho¬ 
logy, gives the following account of the ingenious way in which the 
turkeys escape the insidious attacks of their enemies. 

“ These birds are guardians of each other, and the first who sees a 
hawk or eagle gives a note of alarm, on which all within hearing lie close 
to the ground. As they usually roost in flocks, perched on the naked 
branches of trees, they are easily discovered by the large owls, and 
when attacked by these prowling birds, often escape by a somewhat re¬ 
markable manoeuvre. The owl sails round the spot to select his prey, 
but notwithstanding the almost inaudible action of his pinions, the quick 
ear of one of the slumberers perceives the danger, which is immediately 
announced to the whole party by a chuck: thus alarmed, they rise on 
their legs, and watch the motions of the owl, who, darting like an 
arrow, would inevitably secure the individual at which he aimed, did 
not the latter suddenly drop his head, squat, and spread his tail over 
his back; the owl then glances over without inflicting any injury, at the 
very instant that the turkey suffers himself to fall headlong towards the 
earth, where he is secure from his dreaded enemy.” 



The Guinea-fowl or Pintado was originally brought from Africa, 
and was anciently confounded with the turkey. Prom its peculiar cry it 
has gained the name of w * /T , v 

“Come-back.” In its wild Num.oa. -<LaU 

state it is gregarious, as¬ 
sembling in large flocks in 
some marshy situation. At 
night the birds roost on the 
trees in company, like the 
turkey. It is of a restless, 
wanderingdisposition, which 
does not leave it in captivity, 
the oird frequently wander¬ 
ing for several miles from 
its home. 

It is rather a tyrant to 
the other inhabitants of the 
farmyard, and does not hesi- ^ 

tate to bite them severely. , . ,, n , 

L say bite, because it does & 

uot peck like other birds, but grasps its opponent with its mouth, and holds 


* So called on account of its Numidian origin. 



272 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


on like a bull-dog. One of my friends has one of these birds, which hat 
struck up a great friendship with a barn-door cock. In spite of her friend¬ 
ship, however, she keeps him in good order, and if he presumes to help 
himself before she is satisfied, she plunges at him tumultuously, and 
grasps him tight with her beak, while she runs screaming round the 
yard. When the fowls are fed, she secures all the food to herself by a 
very ingenious manoeuvre. She runs in a circle round the place where the 
food is lying, so as to include it all, and if she sees any lying beyond, she 
makes a larger circle. Any one of the other fowls intruding into this space 
is immediately bitten. So they hang about outside, while she pecks 
away at the food at her leisure, and when she is satisfied she graciously 
permits the others to get what they can. 

Like the turkey, the Pintado lays its eggs in the closest concealment 
it can find. The eggs are rather smaller than those of the hen; the shell 
is very thick, and the colour is a yellowish red profusely spotted with 
dark brown. 

This is the bird that was called Meleagris by the ancients. The sisters 
of Meleager were said to have been metamorphosed into birds, whose 
feathers were sprinkled with the tears shed for his death. 


Family IV. Tetraonldae.—(Lat. 
Tetr&o, a Bustard.) 

Sub-family a. Perdicince. 

Peudix. —(Gr. a Partridge.) 



The Partridge, an inhabitant 
of this country, is well known as 
one of the birds included in the 
designation of “game/’ It lays 
from fifteen to twenty eggs in a 
rude nest placed on the ground, 
and displays great attachment to 
them, and no small ingenuity in 
decoying an intruder away. Mr. 
Jesse mentions that a gentleman 
who was overlooking his plough¬ 
man, saw a partridge run from 
her nest, almost crushed by the 
horses’ hoofs. Being certain that 
the next furrow must bury the 
eggs and nest, he watched for the 
return of the plough, when to his 
great astonishment the nest, pre¬ 
viously containing twenty-one eggs, 
was vacant. After a search, he 
found the bird sitting upon the 
eggs under a hedge, nearly forty 
yards from the nest, to which 
place she and her mate had 

In some parts 


Cinerea (Lat. ashy), the Partridge. 
removed the whole number in less than twenty minutes. 


NATURAL HISTORr. 


273 


of England the Partridge is very plentiful—one sportsman having shot 
in two days one hundred and sixty-eight brace on one manor. 

The length of the bird is twelve inches and a half; the wing is short 
and rounded, causing the peculiar whirring sound when in motion ; the 
third and fourth primary feathers are the longest. 

The Quail is a tolerably common little bird, visiting England in 
the summer. Countless flocks of them are spread over the whole of 
Southern Europe, and multitudes are taken and sent to the London 
markets; thirty-six thousand having been purchased during one season 
by the London poulterers. 

Temminck states that hundreds of thousands arrive in Naples and 
Provence, and are so fatigued that for several days they suffer them¬ 
selves to be taken by 
hand. We are here re¬ 
minded of the flight of 
Quails with which the 
Israelites were fed, the 
sacred narrative even 
preserving the nocturnal 
flight of these birds. 

“And it came to pass, 
that at even the Quails 
came up and covered the 
camp.” Probably the 
instinct to fly by night is 
implanted in them for 
the purpose of avoiding 
the birds of prey that 
would attack them by 
day. The female lays from seven to twelve eggs in a rude nest on the 
ground. 

The length of the bird is seven inches ; the second primary feather is 
Ihe longest. 

The Capercaillie, or Cock op the Wood, is common in most parrs 
of Northern Europe, and was once to be found in Scotland and Ireland. 
The male is a large bird, almost equalling a Turkey in size, but the female 
is considerably smaller. In the early spring, before the snow has left the 
ground, this singular bird commences his celebrated “ play. 5 ’ This play 
is confined to the males, and intended to give notice of their presence to 
the females who are in the neighbourhood. “ During the play/' sayg 
Lloyd, “ the neck of the Capercaillie is stretched out, his tail is raieod 
and spread like a fan, his wings droop, his feathers are ruffled up, and in 
short he much resembles in appearance an angry turkey-cock. He begun 
his play with a call something resembling peller, peller, peller; thea» 

T 


Coturnix.— (Lat.) 



Communis (Lat. common), the Quail. 


274 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


sounds he repeats at some little intervals, but as he proceeds, _ they 
increase in rapidity, until at last, and after perhaps the lapse of a minute 
or so, he makes a sort of gulp in his throat, and finishes with sucking 
in, as it were, his breath. 

“During the continuance of this latter process, which only lasts a few 
seconds, the head of the Capercaillie is thrown up, his eyes are partially 


Sub-family b. Tetraonince. 
Tetrao. — (Lat. a Bustard.) 



Urogallus * (Latinised from the Danish Ur, primitive), the, Capercaillie. 

closed, and his whole appearance would denote that he is worked up into 
an agony of passion. At, this time, his faculties are much absorbed, and 
it is not difficult to approach him.” 

The nest is made on the ground, and contains from six to twelve eggs. 

The Black Grouse or Black CocKf is still found on the moors of 
Scotland and some parts of England, and, together with the red grouse, 
tempts innumerable sportsmen annually to spend their leisure months on 
the moors. 

* Agassiz, in his “ Nomenclator Zoologicus,” derives the name from Urus, a buffalo ; 
but the derivation given above is evidently the correct one. The German name for the 
fcud is exactly similar, Auerhahn, iit.eta.lly, meadow-fowl, Aue and Ur being connate 
v.vds. 

t See page 275. 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


?J5 




TETRAO. 


Tetrix (Gr. T erpi£ or rerpa £, a grouse), the Black Grouse. 


The Red Grouse has never been found wild on the Continent, but 
seems to confine itself exclusively to the heaths of Scotland, Wales, 
and Ireland. In these places it is very numerous, associating in flocks 
or “ packsand together with the black grouse is eagerly pursued by 
sportsmen, who are fre¬ 
quently baffled by the Lagopus. (Gr. A ayu>s, a Hare; ttovs, a foot 

shy and wary habits of tj ^ e Ptarmigan.) 

the birds. 

It derives its name 
of Lagopus or Hare¬ 
footed, from the cover¬ 
ing of its legs, which 
are feathered down to 
the toes, much as the 
foot of the hare is 
covered with fur. The 
nest of the Red Grouse 
is formed of heath and 
grass, carelessly heaped 
together on the ground 

under the shelter of Seotfcus (Lat. Scotch), the Red Grcuse- 

some low shrub. The 

young are fully fledged by August. 


The Ptarmigan. —The legs and feet of the Ptarmigans are thickly 
covered with hair-like feathers, reaching as far as the claws. Their 

T 2 



276 


natural history. 



LAGOPUS. 


Albus (Lat. white), the Ptarmigan. 


plumage bears a singular analogy to the fur of the ermine and some othei 
quadrupeds, as it changes in winter from a rich tortoiseshell colour to a 
pure white. The common Ptarmigan inhabits the northern parts of 
Europe and America, and is also found in the north of Scotland, prin¬ 
cipally among the moun¬ 
tains. The colour of the 
bird is so similar to that 
of the mossy and lichen- 
covered rocks among 
which it dwells, that a 
whole covey easily eludes 
an unpractised eye. 

Enormous numbers of 
Ptarmigans are annually 
imported from the north 
of Europe, especially from 
Norway and Sweden, to 
the London market. One 
poulterer has purchased 
fifteen thousand of these 
birds ; and twenty-four 
thousand have been exported in one ship from one place. 

Like that of the grouse, the Ptarmigan’s nest is a loosely-constructed 
heap of twigs and grass, and contains from ten to fourteen eggs, of a 
reddish white spotted with brown. 


The Brush Turkey. —The Megapodidse, deriving their name from 
the enormous size of their feet, are inhabitants of Australia and the 
Papuan Islands. In the habits of these birds there is a peculiarity 
hardly less singular than surprising. Instead of hatching their eggs by 
the warmth of the body, as most birds do, not excepting the ostrich, the 
Mcgapodes bury their eggs in a decaying heap of grass and leaves, 
trusting to the heat furnished by the fermentation to hatch the eggs. 

The Brush Turkey is principally found in the thick brushwood of New 
South Wales. Mr. Gould, who first brought it before the public, gives 
this curious account of their nests :—“ The mode in which the materials 
composing these mounds are accumulated is equally singular, the bird 
never using its bill, but always grasping a quantity in its foot, throwing 
it backwards to one common centre, and thus clearing the surface of the 
ground for a considerable distance so completely that scarcely a leaf or 
a blade of grass is left. The heap being accumulated, and time allowed 
for a sufficient heat to be engendered, the eggs are deposited, not side by 
side as is ordinarily the case, but planted at the distance of nine or twelve 
inches from each other, and buried at nearly an arm’s depth, perfectly 
upright, with the large end upwards. They are covered up as they are 



NATTTR4T, HISTORY. 


277 


laid, and allowed to remain until hatched. I am credibly informed, both 
by natives and settlers living near their haunts, that it is not an unusual 
event to obtain nearly a bushel of eggs at one time from a single heap ; 
and as they are delicious eating they are eagerly sought after.” 

Family V. Megapodidac.— (Gr. Me^as, great ; ttovs, a foot. The great 

footed kind.) 

Talegalltjs. —(Latinised from native name.) 



Latliami (Lat. of Latham), the Brush Turkey, or TallegaUa. 


When the Brush Turkey is disturbed, it either runs through the 
tangled, underwood with singular rapidity, or springs upon a low branch 
of some tree, and reaches the summit by a succession of leaps from 
branch to branch. This latter peculiarity renders it an easy prey to the 
sportsman. 

The Mound-making Megapode inhabits the dense thickets bordering 
on the sea-shore, and is never found far inland. Like the Brush Turkey, 
it deposits many eggs in one mound, but instead of placing them at 
intervals in the mound, the bird makes deep holes, from five to six feet, 
at the bottom of which the eggs are deposited. The natives obtain the 
eggs by scratching up the earth with their fingers, until they have traced 
the hole to the bottom; a very laborious task, as the holes seldom run 
straight, and often turn off at right angles to avoid a stone or root. The 
mounds are enormously large. Mr. Gilbert was told by the residents 


278 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


MEGAPODIUS. 



Tumulus (Lat. a Mound), the Mound-malcing Megapode. 

that they were the tombs of the aborigines, nor was it until after some 
time that their real nature was made known. The height of one mound 
was fifteen feet, and its circumference at the base sixty feet. 

-» ■ 

The Ostrich.— The Struthionidse include the Ostrich, Emu, Cas¬ 
sowary, and Apteryx. The birds of this family are all remarkable for 
the shortness of their wings, which are weak and unable to raise them 
from the ground, but appear to assist them in running. On this account 
Cuvier called the family Brevipennes, i.e. short-winged birds. 

The Ostrich is the largest bird as yet known to exist, its height being 
from six tc eight feet. It is an inhabitant of Africa, and from thence 
the elegant plumes are brought. These plumes are mostly obtained from 
the wings of the bird, and not from the tail, as is generally imagined. 

An immense number of eggs are laid by the Ostriches in one spot, 
several birds belonging to each nest. The eggs are very large and strong, 
and are in general use by the Bosjesmans for holding water. By means 
of these eggs, which they bury at intervals in the sand, after filling 
tnsm with water, they are enabled to make inroads across the desert and 
retreat with security, as none can follow them for want of water. Each 
egg holds rather more than five pints. An excellent omelet is made by 
the natives, by burying the fresh egg in hot ashes, and stirring round 
the contents with a stick through a hole in the upper end, uutil 
thoroughly cooked. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


279 



Order VI. 
Family I. 


STR UTHIONES. 

Struthionldse.—(Gr. 2rpoi/0rfs, an 
Ostrich. Ostrich kind.) 


Sub-Family a. Struthionince 


STRUTHIO. 


The principal strength of the Ostricli tribe lies in the legs. These 
limbs are so powerful that a swift horse has great difficulty in overtaking 
the bird. As the Ostrich mostly runs in large curves, the hunters cut 
across and intercept the 
bird, which would in ail 
probability escape if fol¬ 
lowed in its exact course. 

The Ostrich is easily 
tamed, as those who have 
been pursued by the mag¬ 
nificent birds in the Zoo¬ 
logical Gardens can tes¬ 
tify. These frequently 
astonish the visitor by 
suddenly snatching out of 
his hand a bun or cake 
which he had intended 
for his own especial bene¬ 
fit, their long necks ena¬ 
bling them to reach to 
a surprising distance. 

Many of my readers have 
doubtless seen the tame 
Ostriches at the Hippo¬ 
drome, who ran races 
bearing riders on their 
backs, and really seemed 
to enjoy the sport as 
much as any of the spec¬ 
tators. The interesting 
narrative of Captain 
Cumming contains some 
useful remarks on the 
habits of the Ostrich, and 
the method in which it is 
destroyed by the Bosjes- 
mans. 

“While encamped at 
this vley we fell in with 
several nests of ostriches; 
and here I first ascer¬ 


tained a singular pro- Camelus (Gr. Kd/x-pKos, a Camel), the Ostrich. 
Density peculiar to these 

birds. If a person discovers the nest, and does not at once remove the 
eggs, on returning he will most probably find them all smashed. This the 
old birds almost invariablv do even when the intruder has not handled the 
















280 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


eggs, or so much as ridden within live yards of them. The nest is merely 
a hollow scooped in the sandy soil, generally amongst heath or other low 
bushes; its diameter is about seven feet; it is believed that two hens often 
lay in one nest. The hatching of the eggs is not left, as is generally 
believed, to the heat of the sun, but, on the contrary, the cock relieves 
the hen in the incubation. These eggs form a considerable item in the 
Bushman’s cuisine, and the shells are converted into water flasks, cups, 
and dishes. I have often seen Bush-girls and Bakalahari women, 
who belong to the wandering Bechuana tribes of the Kalahari desert, 
some down to the fountains from their remote habitations, sometimes 
situated at an amazing distance, each carrying on her back a kaross, or a 
net-work containing from twelve to fifteen ostrich egg-shells, which had 
been emptied by a small aperture at one end; these they fill with water, 
and cork up the hole with grass. 

“ A favourite method adopted by the wild Bushman for approaching 
the Ostrich and other varieties of game, is to clothe himself in the skin 
of one of these birds, in which, taking care of the wind, he stalks about 
the plain, cunningly imitating the gait and motions of the Ostrich, until 
within range, when, with a well-directed poisoned arrow from his tiny 
bow, he can generally seal the fate of any of the ordinary varieties of 
game. Their insignificant looking arrows are about two feet six inches 
in length; they consist of a slender reed, with a sharp bone head,thoroughly 
poisoned with a composition, of which the principal ingredients are ob¬ 
tained sometimes from a succulent herb, having thick leaves, yielding a 
poisonous milky juice, and sometimes from the jaws of snakes. The bow 
barely exceeds three feet in length; its string is of twisted sinews. 
When a Bushman finds an ostrich’s nest he ensconces himself in it, and 
there awaits the return of the old birds, by which means he generally 
secures the pair. It is by means of these little arrows that the majority 
of the fine plumes are obtained which grace the heads of the fair through¬ 
out the civilized world.” 

The food of the Ostrich is vegetable, and it swallows many stones, &c. 
to assist it in grinding its food. When in confinement it picks up any¬ 
thing, glass, nails, &c„ from the effects of which it sometimes dies. I 
have assisted at the dissection of an ostrich, and have seen an astonishing 
amount of pebbles and other hard materials taken from its stomach, among 
which were a tolerably large piece of deal, and a considerable portion of 
a brickbat. 

Capt. Cumming remarks a fact not generally known, viz. the care that 
the Ostrich takes of its young. It has generally been supposed, that 
after the eggs are laid the female leaves them to be hatched in the sun, 
and takes no more care for them. The following anecdote would do 
honour to the far-famed Lapwing. “ I fell in with a troop of about 
twelve young ostriches, which were not much larger than Guinea-fowls. 

I was amused to see the mother endeavour to lead us away, exactly like a 
wild duck, spreading out and drooning her wings, and throwing herself 


NATURAL HISTORY. 281 

down on the ground before us as if wounded, while the cock bird cun 
ninglv led the brood away in an opposite direction.” 

The Rhea, or American Ostrich, is abundant on the banks of the river 
La Plata, and is chased by the Gauchos, who pursue it on horseback, 
and kill it by throwing the celebrated “ bolas.” These curious weapons 
are made of a long leathern thong, having a heavy stone or leaden ball 
attached to each end. The Gaucho can throw it so as either to stun his 
prey with a blow from the ball, or strangle it by causing the thong to 
twist round its neck. 

It is known that the Rhea can swim well, and it has been seen to cross 
rivers several hundred feet in width, a power which the ostrich and the 
cassowary are not ascertained to possess. There are two species of 
this bird, one, the Darwin’s Rhea, has been but lately introduced to 
science. 



Casuarius. —(Latinised form of Cassowary.) 


The Cassowary 
is a native of the 
eastern parts of 
Asia. Like the os¬ 
trich, it cannot fly, 
but runs with great 
swiftness, and if at¬ 
tacked by dogs kicks 
with extreme force 
and rapidity. The 
feathers of this bird 
are remarkable for 
being composed of 
two long, thread¬ 
like feathers, sprout¬ 
ing from the same 
root. The wing fea¬ 
thers are round, 
black, and strong, 
and resemble the 
quills of the porcu¬ 
pine. At the end 
of the last joint of 
the wing is a sort 
of claw or spur. 

The crest upon its 
head is composed of 
a cellular bony substance. 

The food of the bird consists of vegetable substances, and it will fre¬ 
quently swallow a tolerably large apple entire, trusting to the pebbles 
&c. iu its stomach to bruise it. 


Casoar, the Cassowary. 







282 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The Emu is a native of New Holland, and nearly equals the ostrich in 
bulk, its height being between five and six feet. Its feathers lie loosely 
on the body, and its wings are small and hardly to be distinguished. 
The skin of the Emu furnishes a bright and clear oil, on which account 
it is eagerly sought after. Mr. Bennet gives the following account ol 
the habits of this bird :— 

“ In its manners the Emu bears a close resemblance to the ostrich. . . 


Dromaius.— (Gr. Apo/xcuo running swiftly.! 



Novse-Hollandise (Lat. of New Holland), the Emu. 

Its food appears to be wholly vegetable, consisting chiefly of fruits, roots 
and herbage, and it is consequently, notwithstanding its great strength, 
perfectly inoffensive. The length of its legs and the muscularity of its 
thighs enable it to run with great swiftness; and as it is exceedingly shy, 
it is not easily overtaken or brought within gun-shot. Captain Currie 
states that it affords excellent coursing, equalling if not surpassing the 
same sport with the hare in England; but Mr. Cunningham says that dogs 
will seldom attack it, both on account of some peculiar odour in its flesh 
which they dislike, and because the injuries inflicted upon them by 
striking out with its feet are frequently very severe. The settlers even 
assert that the Emu will break the small bone of a man’s leg by this sort 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


283 


ot kick; to avoid which, the well-trained dogs run up abreast, and make 
», sudden spring at their neck, whereby they are quickly dispatched. 

“Its flesh has been compared to coarse beef, which it resembles both in 
appearance and taste. There is but little fit for culinary use upon any 
part of the Emu except the hind quarters.” 

The. voice of the Emu is a kind of low booming sound. The eggs 
are six or seven in number, of a dark green colour, and are much esteemed 
by the natives as food. When the natives take an Emu, they break its 
wings, a curious custom of no perceptible utility. Young men and boys 
are not permitted to eat the flesh of this bird. 


The Apteryx. —This extraordinary bird, whose name is derived from 
the apparent absence of wings, those members being merely rudimentary, 
inhabits the islands of New Zealand, It conceals itself among the 
densest fern, and when hunted by dogs, it hastens to seek a refuge 
in the cham- 

Sub-family b. Apterygince. 
Apteryx.—(G r. a, priv.; Trrepv^, a wing 


among rocks and 
bers which it excavates in the 
earth. In these chambers its 
nest is made and the eggs laid. 
The natives hunt it with great 
eagerness, as the skin is used 
for the dresses of chiefs, who 
are so tenacious of them that 
they can hardly be persuaded 
to part with a single skin. The 
feathers are employed to make 
artificial flies. When attacked 
it defends itself by rapid and 
vigorous strokes with its power¬ 
ful feet. 

Dr. Shaw first brought this 
bird before the notice of the 
public, but for many years 
naturalists considered it an 
extinct species. Latterly the 
question has been set at rest, 
not only by the researches of 
Gould and other naturalists, 
but by the arrival in this coun¬ 
try of several skins and one 
living specimen, now in the 
Zoological Gardens. This bird 
has a singular habit of resting 
with the tip of its bill placed 
Apteryx are placed almost at 


wingless.) 



Australis (Lat. Australian), the Apteryx. 


on the ground. The nostrils of the 
the very extremity of the bill. The 
aborigines of New Zealand give it the name of Kiwi Kiwi. The food of 











284 


NATURAL HISTORY, 


the bird consists of snails, insects ana worms, which latter creatures il 
obtains by striking the ground with its feet, and seizing them on their 
appearance at the surface. 

A small but well preserved skin is mounted in the Ashmolean Museum, 
Oxford, in which the rudimentary wings are very well shown. An entiie 
skeleton is in the museum of the College of Surgeons, and other speci¬ 
mens are to be seen in various collections. 


Sub-family c. Didlnce . 
Didus.— (Latinised form of Dodo.) 



Ineptus (Lat. stupid), the Dodo. 


The Dodo. —This singular bird, which is supposed to be extinct, was 
discovered at the Mauritius by the earlier voyagers. For many years 
their accounts of the Dodars were supposed to be mere flights of fancy. 
Lately, however, the discovery of several relics of this bird in various 
countries has set the question of its existence at rest, but not the 
question of the proper position of the bird. Some think it belongs to 
the pigeons, and some to the ostriches. In the Ashmolean Museum at 
Oxford are a head and foot of the Dodo, sole remnanrs of a perfect 
specimen known to have existed in 1700 ; and in the same place, in the 
year 1847, during the meeting of the British Association, were gathered 
together the whole of the existing remains from every country. 

In the travels of Sir T. Hubert, in the year 1627, are several accounts. 
From the work of this traveller, whose amusement it was to re-write bis 




NATURAL HISTORY. 283 

travels, each time completely changing the language but retaining the 
matter, an extract is taken. 

“ The Dodo, a bird the Dutch call Walghvogel, or Dod Eersen ; her 
oody is round and fat, which occasions the slow pace, or that her corpu¬ 
lence, and so great as few of them weigh less than fifty pound: meat it 
is with some, but better to the eye than stomach, such as only a strong 
appetite can vanquish. . . It is of a melancholy visage, as sensible 
of nature’s injury in framing so massie a body to be directed by com- 
plimental wings, such, indeed, as are unable to hoise her from the 
ground, serving only to rank her among birds. Her traine, three small 
plumes, short and improportionable, her legs suiting 
to her body, her pounces sharpe, her appetite strong 
and greedy. Stones and iron are digested; which 
description will better be conceived in her repre¬ 
sentation.” The “ representation ” here alluded 
to is that of a globular-shaped bird, perfectly naked, 
with the exception of three separate feathers on beak of the dodo. 
the tail, and a few feathers on the wing. The 
expression of lugubrious wisdom on the countenance is irresistibly 
ludicrous. 

It is still within the range of possibility that this bird may again be 
discovered, as at present but little of Madagascar has been searched, 
and in that island, if anywhere, it will be found. 

Another bird, the gigantic Dinornis, has been extirpated from the face 
of the earth by man. This enormous bird, whose leg is rather larger 
than that of a fossil elk, and whose head could not have been less than 
ten feet and a half from the ground, was at one time an inhabitant ot 
New Zealand, but has been extirpated for many years, a fate likely to 
befal the defenceless Apteryx. In the Anatomical Museum at Oxford is 
a cast of the leg of the Dinornis, standing side by side with that of an 
ostrich. The leg of the ostrich is quite insignificant by the side of the 
enormous cast. 

The Great Bustard, our English representative of the Otidse, is now 
scarcely ever seen in this country, although formerly it was tolerably 
common. It runs with great swiftness, and will never rise on the wing 
until forced, so that instances have been known of Bustards being cap¬ 
tured by greyhounds. It is exceedingly wary, and can hardly be ap¬ 
proached within gun-shot, except by adopting some disguise, as a 
labourer with the gun in his wheelbarrow, or by driving a cart or 
a carriage by the spot where it is feeding. 

The male Bustard possesses a membranous pouch on the fore part of 
the neck, capable of holding six or seven pints of water. There is an 
opening to this pouch under the longue, and its use is possibly, like that 
of the pelican, to carry water for the use of the young; but this is not 
ascertained. The length of the bird is rather more than three feet. Its 



286 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Sub-family d. Otlna>.. —(Gr, ’P.-rk, a Bustard.) 
OTU8. 



Tarda (Lat. slow), the Great Bustard. 


cest is a loose heap of straw on the ground, and contains two pale brown 
eggs, spotted with brown, rather larger than those of the turkey. 


The Plovers are known by their long legs, short toes, and long 
powerful wings. Many are inhabitants of England, of which the Lapwing 
and Golden Plover are the most common. 

The Stone Curlew, or Thick-knee, or Norfolk Plover, is common in 
England, and is to be found on open plains. White gives an accurate 
description of the bird in his Natural History of Selborne. “ The 
history of the Stone Curlew is as follows. It lavs its eggs, usually two, 
never more than three, on the bare ground, without any nest in the field, so 
that the countryman in stirring his fallows often destroys them. The 
voung run immediately from the egg, like partridges. &c., and are 
withdrawn to some flinty field by the dam, where they skulk among the 
stones, which are their best security; for their feathers are so exactly ot 
the colour of our grey spotted flints, that the most exact observer, unless 
he catches the eye of the young bird, may be eluded. The eggs are short 
and round, of a dirty white, spotted with dark bloody blotches. Though 
l migni not be able just when I pleased to procure von a hird, yet i 
















NATURAL HISTORY. 


287 


could show you them almost any day; and any evening you may hear 
them round the village, for they make a clamour which may be heard 
a mile. (Edicnemus is a most apt and expressive name for them, since 
their legs seem swollen, like those of a gouty man. After harvest I have 
shot them before the pointers in turnip iields.” 

Order VII. . GRALLJE. —(Lat. Stilted Birds.) 

Family I. . Charadrldae.—(Gr. Xaoabolos, a Lapwing.) 

Sub-family a. (Edicnemince. —(Gr. olSeu, I swell; Kvri/j-ri, the leg.) 

CEDICNEMUS. 



Crepitans (Lat. crackling), the Stone Curlew. 

The Stone Curlew is one of the migratory birds, coming in March or 
April, and leaving our shores about the autumn, very few remaining 
until October. It is a very shy bird, and not very easily approached. 

The Lapwing, or Peewit, is very common in most parts of England 
and is well known for its plaintive cry, and the stratagems it employs to 
decoy intruders away from its nest, or rather eggs, for nest it has none. 
Frequently, however, the attempts of the bird only draw the attention of 
the passer-by to the evident vicinity of the eggs. These eggs are dark 
brown, blotched with black, and are hardly to be distinguished from 
the soil where they are laid. If an intruder approach them, the 
bird glides before him, and flutters along, drooping her wings, as 
if wounded, invariably endeavouring to lead him away from hei 





288 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



Sub-Family d . Charadrince. 
Vanellus. —(Linnean generic name.) 


Cristatus (Lat. crested), the Lapwing or 
Peewit. 


nest. When it has suc¬ 
ceeded in decoying away 
the intruder, it, suddenly 
mounts in the air, uttering 
its cry of pee-weet, leaving 
its pursuer to gaze with 
astonishment at the es¬ 
caping bird. The eggs are 
sold in great numbers, 
under the title of ‘‘Plovers 1 
eggs,” and are considered 
great delicacies. When 
living, the black and white 
colours of its plumage 
make it very conspicuous. 
On the head of the bird is 
a kind of crest. 


Family II. ... Ardetdae.—(Lat. Ardea, a Heron. Heron kind.) 
Sub-Family b. . Grulnce. 


Grus.—(L at. a Crane.) 



CinerSa (Lat. ashy), the Crane. 


The Common 
Crane is now but 
rarely seen on our 
shores, although for¬ 
merly as common as 
was the bustard. It 
flies at so great a 
height, that although 
its hoarse cry is au¬ 
dible, the bird it¬ 
self is far out of 
the reach of sight. 
It generally feeds 
on snails, frogs, and 
worms, but is not 
by any means averse 
to newly sorwn grain. 
The nest is made 
among reeds and 
rushes, and contains 
two bluish green 
eggs, marked with 
brown. The length 
of the bird is nearly 
four feet. 





















NATURAL HISTORY 


28 l J 


l he Heron, or Hf.rne, is a bird renowned in Die noWe science of 
'a’eonry, and respecting which much curious knowledge is to be gained 
fmin the work of Dame Juliana Berners, a book of most amusingly 
quaint language. 

The Common Heron generally breeds in company, like the rook; 
iudeed, these two birds frequently inhabit contiguous trees, but never 
interfere with each other. In the dawn of the early morning, or while 
Die moon casts an uncertain 

light, the Heron may be seen Sub-family c. Ardeince. 

standing in the shallow water, 

. O . . , , 7 A R. n K A. 

.'till and motionless, and by the 
faint light may be mistaken for 
a stump of a tree. But his 
eye is keenly directed on the 
water, and no sooner does a fish 
approach, than a dart of his un¬ 
erring bill secures it, and the 
Heron soars exultingly to his 
nest, bearing his prey with him. 

The fixed patience that the 
Heron displays has caused it to 
be chosen as the emblem of Soli¬ 
tude. 

The |)lumes of the Heron were 
formerly considered as ornaments 
oulv to be worn by the noble. 

It is not an uncommon sight 
to see this splendid bird slowly 
winnowing his way through the 
air, when suddenly a magpie, or 
a crow, gives the alarm, and the 
poor bird is instantly beset by 
its annoying enemies, especially CinerSa (Lat. ashy), the Heron. 
the crows, who resent the He¬ 
ron’s approach to their own residence, and frequently drive him away. 

There was, and may be still, a belief that the legs of the Heron ex¬ 
haled some scent that was attractive to the fish, and caused them to 
approach as the bird stood with its feet in the water. For that reason, 
anglers were accustomed to make some kind of a preparation from the 
skin taken from the legs of a Heron, a sort of Heron-skin tea, and with 
this to prepare their bait, which they thought was rendered quite irre¬ 
sistible by such a proceeding. 

If the Heron is fired at, the gunner should aim at the head, for the 
oird is capable of carrying away without damage, or resisting by the 
thickness of its plumage, a goodly charge of shot. I have myself lodged 
a charge of shot against a Heron’s ribs without materially injuring tiu- 

u 






















290 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


bird, although I waited until it had spread its wings, and aimed at ita 
side. The Heron certainly appeared startled, but although the shot 
came against its feathers with an audible sound, the charge did 
not appear to have penetrated, for the bird flew away very uncon- 
cernedly. 

Perhaps it was as well that it did fly away, for I w'as not particularly 
cautious, and as the bird would hardly have been killed on the spot, 
I might probably have lost an eye or so in attempting to secure it; for 
the Heron is a very cunning bird in these matters. When it is wounded, 
it will be perfectly quiet as if dead, and when the fowler stoops to pick 
it, up, it will dart its beak at his head with such unerring aim, and such 
unexpected rapidity, that he may think himself fortunate if his eyes 
escape. Not long since, a gentleman who had shot a Heron, nearly lost 
one of his eyes when he approached the wounded bird, who darted its 
bill at his face with sufficient force to dash in pieces the glass of a pair 
of spectacles which he was wearing at the time. 

The Heron sometimes killed the falcon in its stoop by throwing its 
bead back, whether purposely or not is not known, and receiving its 
enemy on the point of its sharp beak, by which the falcon was transfixed 
as if on a bayonet. 

It has been lately ascertained that the Heron can swim in deep water, 
and does so when it sees any prey that cannot be reached by wading, 
such as a nice nestfull of young moor-hens, or a water-rat engaged at 
his dinner. 

The nest of the Heron is a flat mass of sticks, laid on the highest 
branches of a tree, and contains five bluish green eggs. The length of 
the bird is about three feet. An old name of this bird was the Herne, 
or Hernshaw, from which was derived the saying, “He does not know 
a Hawk from a Hernshaw.” The last word has been corrupted into 
“handsaw,” and of course renders the proverb most unmeaning. 

The Demoiselle Crane.* —This bird is chiefly remarkable for the 
considerable idea that it appears to have respecting the beauty of its 
own person. Its deportment is very singular, and at times even ludi¬ 
crous. Whenever it takes it into its head to be ridiculous, it does so 
most effectually, and affectedly also. It moves about with a consequential 
air, hanging its head first on one side and then on the other. It then 
will run some twenty or thirty yards, treading only on the tips of its 
toes, as if it wore white satin shoes, and were trying to pick its way 
over a very dirty road. Then it will have a little dance all to itself, and 
suddenly stand still again quite grave and composed, as if it had been 
doing nothing at all. From these habits, cynical naturalists have 
named it the Demoiselle. 

It is rather a tall bird, being between three and four feet in height. 

• See p. 291. 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


291 


AnTHROroiDES.—(Gr. ArOowTroeiSrjs, like ■; irmn.) 



Virgo (Lat. a virgin), the Demoiselle Crane. 


The Bittern.* —The beautiful Bittern has been almost banished from 
this country, although it was formerly a common bird. It frequents 
morasses, and dense beds of reeds, where it lies concealed until the 
evening, when it leaves its rushy bed and soars to a vast height, con¬ 
tinually uttering its sepulchral booming cry. This singular sound is not 
unlike the bellowing of a bull, and is most startling in its effect. 

In olden times the Bittern was one of the birds chiefly sought after in 
faiconry, as the stout defence it makes against its enemies, by darting its 
sharp and powerful beak at them, and beating violently with its feet, 
renders it by no means an easy prey. For this reason the falconer’s first 
care on reaching the Bittern when brought to the ground by his falcon, 
was to secure its head, and by fixing its bill deep in the earth, to save his 
vyes from the rapid and well-aimed blows of the wounded bird. The 
falcon also was in danger of being transfixed by the sharp beak of his 
victim. 

The plumage of this beautiful bird is a rich reddish-yellow ground, 
boldly variegated with various black marks, which are most conspicuous 
in the loose, long feathers that decorate its neck. In size, it is a little 
»ess than the heron. It feeds principally on small reptiles, field mice, 

* See page 292. 





292- 


natural HISTORY. 


Botaurus.—(L at. boo, I bellow; taurus, a bull.) 



Stellaris (Lat. starry), the Bittern. 


and fish. Its nest is built on some slight elevation in a morass, aim 
contains five bluish green eggs. 

The White Spoonbill.*— The Common Spoonbill is found in Europe, 
Asia, and Africa, and frequents Holland, together with the stork. The 
strange shape of the tip of its beak has gained it the name of Spoonbill, 
it has rarely been taken in this country. It feeds on worms, snails, and 
water plants, searching for the latter by agitating the water with its 
broad beak. 

The nest of the White Spoonbill is sometimes placed in trees, and 
sometimes amid rushes. It contains three whitish eggs, slightly spotted 
with red. The length of the bird is not quite three feet. 

The Stork f is extensively found throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. 
In Holland storks are very abundant, and are encouraged by the Dutch 
to build in their towns. Among the ruins of Persepolis they are very 
summon, scarcely one pillar being without a stork’s nest at the summit. 


•See pace 29 3. 


♦ See page 291. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


?<ys 


PLATA LEA.-(Lat.) 



Leuccrodla (Gr. Aevtcupooov, a white rose), the White Spoonbill. 

[n Holland a kind of false chimney is built by the inhabitants for these 
birds to make their nests in. When the Stork cannot find a building on 
which to make its nest, it chooses the flat spreading brandies of a cedar 
or pine, and there collects a large mass of sticks and twigs, on which it 
lays from three to five whitish eggs. When disturbed, the birds make 
a great clattering with their bills. 

A recent visitor to Constantinople remarks that the very Storks seemed 
to have become Ottoman, for they sat on the tops of the houses, looking 
staid and solemn, as becomes the Oriental character, and managed their 
beaks just as if they were pipes. It is true that they wore no 
turbans, but each of them appeared to have left a turban of preposterous 
dimensions, viz. his nest, on the roof of a house close by. 

The draining of our morasses seems to have driven the Stork com¬ 
pletely out of this country, where it was formerly tolerably common. 
The food of this bird consists of rats, mice, frogs, &c., and it is for the 
benefits it confers upon man by devouring these vermin that it is so 
carefully protected and encouraged, especially in the East, where the 
inhabitants do not trouble themselves by removing carrion or offal, but 
leave that office to the vultures, hyaenas, and other scavengers of nature 
The height of the Stork is nearly four feet. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


'21U 


Sub-family d. CiconinoB. 
Oiconja.— (Lat. a Stork.) 



Alba (Lat. white), the StorJc. 


The Adjutant.* —This very remarkable bird is a native of various 
parts of India, and must not be confounded with the Marabou, which 
belongs to the same genus, but lives in the African tropics. 

The Adjutant is one of the largest birds in the world, standing five 
feet in height, and measuring seven feet and a half from the tip of the 
bill to the claws, while its expanse of wing is rather above fourteen feet. 
On the front of the breast there hangs a pouch of skin, into which the 
bird sometimes appears to withdraw its neck altogether, looking on such 
occasions as if it had no neck at all. Its bill, as will be seen from the 
cut, is enormously large, and capable of receiving morsels of considerable 
magnitude, inasmuch as in the crop of one of these birds were found 
a land tortoise, ten inches in length, and a large male black cat, which 
the Adjutant had snapped up entire. It has also been known to swallow 
entire a small leg of mutton, a hare, and a small fox, so that there is no 
reason to complain that it does not make use of the “terrors of its beak.” 
But its beak only affords terror to those who are afraid of it, for the 
Adjutant is an arrant coward, and will not venture even to oppose a hen 
when she is defending her chickens which the Adjutant has been trying 
to catch unobserved. When opposed, if makes a great demonstration 


* See page 295 










NATURAL HISTORY. 


2i)o 


Leitoptilos.- (Gr. Aeirros , slender ; nr'iAov, a feaUro'.) 



Argala (native name), the Adjutant. 


with opened beak, and roars with a proportionately loua voice, but if the 
opponent is undismayed and continues to attack, the Adjutant shuts his 
big beak and runs away. It is related that the great bill of this bird was 
once exercised in a very singular manner. A cooly, or native servant, 
was coming round a corner, when an Adjutant dashed round the same 
corner in the opposite direction, and literally spitted the poor cooly on its 
beak. 

The plumage of this bird is of an ashy grey fading into white on the 
under parts. The generic name is given to the Adjutant on account of 
the delicate plumes of the slender tail coverts. 

A bird that will swallow a cat or a fox whole is likely to be rather 
voracious, and to require a considerable amount of food to appease its 
b unger. This object is attained by assisting the vultures, dogs and hyaenas 
at their scavengering repasts, while it tills up its leisure hours by swallow¬ 
ing all the reptiles and vermin of all kinds that it can find. Tor this 
reason it is in high favour among the natives, who protect it with jealous 
guardianship. It has often been tamed, and becomes rather troublesome 
in its familiarity. 


296 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The Sacred Ibis inhabits Egypt, but does net seem to breed there 
This is the bird so frequently depicted in the hieroglyphics as playing a 
conspicuous part in religious ceremonies. Their mummies are constantly 

Sub-family f. Tantallnce .—(From Gr. TavraKos, a proper name.) 

Ibis. —(Gr. 'T/S is.) 



Religiosa (Lat. sacred,) the Sacred Ibis. 

found in the tombs, and in one of these mummies Cuvier discovered 
remnants of skin, and scales of snakes. It is a migratory bird, appearing 
simultaneously with the rise of the Nile, and departing as the inundation 
subsides. The Sacred Ibis is about the size of an ordinary fowl. 


The Curlew,* or Wiiaup, is often found in the northern parts ol 
England and Scotland, and is spread over the whole of the Old World, 
from South Africa to the polar regions. In winter it collects in large 
flocks at the muddy shores of the sea, where its long curved bill can 
easily penetrate in search of food. It is an exceedingly shy bird, and 
cannot easily be approached within gun-shot. 

Its nest is composed of grass and rushes, collected under the shelter 
of a tuft of heath or grass, and contains four greenish olive eggs blot : bed 
with brown. The length of the bird slightly exceeds two feet. 

* Sse page 297 









NATURAL HISTORY. 297 

Family ill. Scolopacldse.—(Gr. 2/coAo7ra£, a Woodcock. Woodcock-kind.) 
Sub-family a. Limosmce .—(From Gr. Aafxwv, a Meadow.) 

Cracticornis. — (Gr. KpaKTiuos, clamorous ; Spvis, a 3trd.'> 



Arquatus (Lat. arched ), the Curlew. 


The Common Sand¬ 
piper, or Summer 
Snipe, comes to Eng¬ 
land in April, and 
leaves in September. 

It, is very common in 
Wales, and is spread 
throughout most parts 
of England. It derives 
its name from the low 
piping sound which it 
utters while running 
along the sandy banks 
of the rivers where it 
finds its food. While 
it runs, it keeps its 
head and tail con- 
on the move, 
something like those 
toy birds whose heads 
and tails are moved by 
two strings and a weight. 



Sub-family b. Totanlnce. 
Tringoides — (Like a Sandpiper. 



Hypoleuca (Gr. CiroAeuHos, whitish), ‘hx Cwp.iiiAyi< 
Sandpiper. 






298 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


It can dive and swim well, although the shape of the feet and legs do 
not seem very applicable to such a purpose. Even the young birds only 
an hour or two out of the egg will run away if alarmed, and take to the 
water as boldly as if they had been accustomed to it for years. 

The nest of the Sandpiper is built in a hole in a bank near fresh 
water, and is generally shaded by a tuft of grass or sedge. The eggs 
are four in number, of a reddish white colour, spotted with brown. 



The Avocet. —The bill in the genus Recurvirostra is exactly the re¬ 
verse of that in the genus Cracticornis, the curve being upwards instead 

0 , , . of downwards. The 

Sub-fumilyc. Recurvirostrin®. common Avocet is 

Reccrvirostra. —(Lat. with bill curved upwards.) spread throughout 

the warmer regions 
of Europe, and is 
also found in some 
parts of Africa. It 
is very common in 
Holland, and is fre¬ 
quently seen on the 
eastern coasts of En¬ 
gland, but seldom 
visits Scotland. It 
frequents marshes 
and the mouths of 
rivers, where it finds 
in the mud myriads 
of the small worms 
and insects on which 
it feeds, and which 
it obtains by scoop¬ 
ing them up from 
the mud with its curiously curved bill. It is a good swimmer, but 
seldom has recourse to that art except when it wades unexpectedly out 
of its depth. 

The eggs of the Avocet are laid on the ground, in a depression 
sheltered by a tuft of herbage. Their colour is a bluish green, spotted 
with black. The birds when disturbed at their nests feign lameness, like 
the lapwing, in order to draw the intruder to a distance. 


Avccetta, the Avocet. 


the bird is eighteen inches. 


The length of 


The Woodcock is a native of the northern parts of Europe and Asia, 
and is common in this country, but rarely has been known to breed here. 
It generally reaches England at the beginning of October, and leaves us 
in March or April, at which time its flesh loses the delicacy that charac¬ 
terises it, and becomes coarse and valueless. The Woodcock frequents 











NATURAL HISTORY. 


29t> 


dense thickets during: the day, but 
at night it leaves these retreats, 
and visits the swamps and flooded 
meadows, where it finds a suffi¬ 
ciency of worms and insects. 

The nest of this bird is a loose 
mass of grass and leaves, gathered 
together in some sheltered depres¬ 
sion. The eggs are four in number, 
of a yellowish brown, blotched with 
dark brown and grey. 

The Snipe is too well known 
to need description. In its habits 
it much resembles the woodcock, 
excepting that it breeds plentifully 
in several counties of England, 

Scotland, and Ireland. Its flight is 
very singular, rendering it a diffi¬ 
cult mark. The Jack Snipe con¬ 
fines itself to one spot, and cannot 
be induced to leave it even when 
fired upon. Its flight is fully as 
perplexing as that of the common Snipe. Stanley, in his History of 
Birds, mentions “ a gentleman, a very bad shot, who having at length 

Numemus.—(G r. Nov^vios.) 




Seolopacinua (Lat. like a Woodcock ), the Snipe. 

succeeded in killing a Jack Snipe, deeply lamented the loss of a bird 
which, as he was always sure of finding it in the same place, had afforded 
Him constant amusement during a whole winter.” 


Sub-family d. Scolopacince. 
COOLOPAX. 



Rusticola (Lat. fond of the country), 
the Woodcock. 
















300 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The Ruff is celebrated for its pugnacious habits and the smgulai 
change of its plumage at certain seasons of the year. Towards the breed¬ 
ing season a beautiful frill of long feathers is formed round the neck. It 
is a singular fact, that in hardly any two of these birds is the frill of the 
same colour; and more remarkable, that the frill of the same bird is 
of different colours at different seasons. At the same time that the frill 
forms, the male birds choose each for themselves a small spot, on which 

Sub-family e. Tringlnce. 

Pmr.OMXcHUS.—(Gr. 4>L\d/naxos, a lover of oattles.'i 



Pugnax (Lat. quarrelsome), the Jlujf. 


ao other bird is permitted to intrude without a severe battle taking 
place. The females, called Reeves, now arrive, and their approach is 
the signal for a general melee; and the ground is soon denuded of grass 
by the constant battles. 

The nest of the Reeve is merely a slight depression in a tuft of grass. 
The eggs are four in number, of a greenish white blotched with reddish 
brown. 

Great numbers of these birds are annually sent to the London markets. 
Various precautions are taken to prevent their destructive quarrels 
from taking place, as captivity in no way diminishes their pugnacity. 


The Jacanas * are found in Asia, Africa, and America. Their light 
bodies and widely extended claws enable them to walk on the leaves of 
aquatic plants with equal ease and safety. As their weight is just suffi- 


* See page 301. 






NATURAL history. 


301 


eient to sink the leaf a little 
below the surface, they have 
quite the appearance of walk¬ 
ing on the water itself. The 
Common Jacana inhabits the 
hotter parts of South Ame¬ 
rica, and is abundant in Brazil 
and Guiana. It possesses 
large and sharp spurs on the 
wing. It is not a very large 
bird, barely exceeding a pigeon 
in bulk. 


The Corncrake * or 
Landrail is very common in 
England. It reaches us at 
the beginning of April, and 
leaves us at the end of Octo¬ 
ber, after hatching its eggs. 

During the early part of the 
summer months its harsh cry 
may be heard in almost every 
field, but the bird itself is very 
seldom seen, as it threads its 
way amoug the long grass 
with marvellous rapidity. Its 
cry can be so exactly imitated by drawing a quill sharply across the teeth 
of a comb, that the bird may be decoyed by the sound until quite close 
to the operator. The Corncrake is so averse to rising on the wing, that 
a dog is frequently employed to hunt it. The young when taken feign 
death with admirable accuracy, nor do they move until they imagine that 
the intruder is safely out of the way. 

The nest of the Corncrake is by no means uncommon. It is formed 
of hay, collected and worked into some depression in the ground, and 
contains from eight to twelve eggs, of a greyish yellow, covered with 
dark brown spots. The length of the bird is about nine inches. 

The Water-hen,! or Moor-iien, is very common along the reedy 
banks of rivers and ponds. It is very widely distributed, being found in 
almost aL parts of the Old World. It swims very gracefully, constantly 
nodding its head, and dives with great skill and rapidity, particularly 
when alarmed, in which case it generally dives under some floating 
herbage, and remains there with merely its beak above the water until 

* See p&ffe 3**2:. 


Family IV. . Palamedeidse.—(Gr. riuAcfuTj, 
the palm of the hand.) 

Sub-Family a. Parrince. 

Parra. —(Lat.) 



Jac&na, the Jacana. 


♦ See JiP-xe 302. 



































302 


NATURAL HISTORY. 




Family V. . Rallldm.—(Latinised by Linnaeus the danger is passed. On 


from the word Rail.) 
Sub-family a. Rallince. 

Ortygohetra.— (Gr. 'Opriryo/n^Tpa, migrating 
with the Quails ; the Landrail.) 


account of this habit, it 
is almost useless to shoot 
this bird unless the sports¬ 
man is accompanied by a 
dog, for if it is not shot 
dead it instantly dives, and 
nothing but a dog can dis¬ 
cover its retreat. It runs 
on land with considerable 
activity, constantly flirting 
up its tail, so as to show 
the white feathers beneath, 
and when alarmed, in¬ 
stantly makes for the water. 

The nest of the Water- 
hen is built among sedges 
and reeds at the water 
side, and contains from five 
to eight or nine eggs, of a 
cream yellow spotted with 
dark brown. When the 
Water-hen leaves her nest, 
she covers the eggs with 
dried grass and reeds, so as 
completely to conceal them, 
apparently lest the rats should 
discover them. The young 
when hatched look like round 
tufts of black down. They 
swim and dive well, following 
their parent with great ad¬ 
dress. The pike is their chief 
enemy, and destroys numbers 
by darting at them from under 
the cover of water-lilies or 
other plants. 


The Coot much resembles 
the water-hen in its habits. It 
is usually found in large sheets 
of water, particularly if shel¬ 
tered by trees. The nest is n 
ChlorSpua (Gr. XA«p 0 'y, green; vovs, a foot), huge mass of flags, reeds, and 
the Water-hen. grass, usually at the water's 

edge, but sometimes actually 


Crex (Gr. Kpe£, a Crake; derived from its 
cry), the Corncrake or Landrail. 


Sub-family h. Gallinulince. 
Gallinula.— (Lat.) 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


303 


in tte water. In 1S49 I took five Coots’ eggs from a nest situated 
at the Reservoir near Swindon. The nest was nearly fifty yards from 

Fulica.—(L at.) 



Atra (Lat. black), the Coot. 

the bank, and was made on a very small sunken hillock, in three feet 
water. In the nest are from seven to ten greenish white eggs, spotted 
with brown. 


The Flamingo * is an inhabitant of the warmer parts of Europe, and 
is common in Asia and the coasts of Africa. The singularly shaped beak 
of this splendid bird is peculiarly adapted to its long and flexible neck. 
When the bird wishes to feed, it merely stoops its head to the water; the 
upper mandible is then lowest, and is well fitted to receive the nutritive 
substances which are entangled in a filter placed on the edges of the 
beak, much resembling the analogous apparatus of the whale. 

The Flamingo frequents marshes, lakes, and mouths of rivers, bidding 
defiance to the pestilent exhalations that drive man far from their haunts. 
The colour of their plumage is a deep brilliant scarlet, except the quill 
feathers, which are black. When a number of these birds stand ranged in 
a line, according to their custom, they present the appearance of a small 
and well-drilled body of soldiers, but are far more dangerous to approach 
than the most formidable armv, for the miasma of the marshes has a moie 
deadly aim than the rifle, and its breath is more certainly fatal than the 
bullet. 

The nest of the Elamingo is a curious conical structure of mud, with 
a cavity at the summit, in which are placed two or three whitish eggs. 
When the female bird sits on the nest, her feet rest on the ground, oi 
hang into the water. The height of the bird is between five and six feet. 


• See page 304. 







304 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Order VIII. . ANS£RES.— ( Lat. Geese.) 

Family I. . . Anatldse.—(Lat. Anas, a Duck. 
Duck-kind.) 

Sub-family a. Phcenicopterince. 

PutENICOrTEROS.— (Gr. fyoiviKoinepos, red- 
wixigecL) 



Rubra (Lat. reel), the Flamingo. 


The Behnicle Goose * 
inhabits the northern parts 
of Europe and America, 
but during the winter it 
resorts to our shores in 
great numbers. It is an 
extremely shy bird, and 
cannot be approached with¬ 
out the greatest caution 
and skill. Of the origin of 
this bird most absurd tales 
have been told. All agreed 
that it was produced from 
a tree, but the latest and 
most approved account was 
that of Gerard, who in 1636 
wrote as follows :—“ But 
what our eyes have seen, 
and hands have touched, 
we shall declare. There 
is a small island in Lan¬ 
cashire called the Pile oi 
Foulders, wherein are found 
the broken pieces of old 
and bruised ships, some 
whereof have been cast 
thither by shipwracke, and 
also the trunks and bodies 
with the branches of old 
and rotten trees, cast up 
there likewise; wherein is 
found a certain spume or 
froth, that in time breedeth 
into certaine shels, in shape 
like those of the muskle, 
but sharper pointed, and of 
a whitish colour; one end 
whereof is fastened into the 
inside of the shell, even as 
the fish of oisters and 


.Huskies, the other end is made fast into the belly of a rude masse or 
lumpe, which in time commeth to the shape and form of a bird: when it 
is perfectly formed the shell gapeth open, and the first thing that ap- 
peareth is the foresaid lace or string; next come the legs of the bird 
hanging out, and as it groweth greater it openeth the shell by degrees. 


See page 305. 


















NATURAL HISTORY. 




305 


till at length it is all come forth and hangeth only by the bill: in shori 
space alter it commeth to lull Sub-family c. Anser'ince .— (Lat. Anser , 
maturitie, and falleth into a goose.) 

the sea, where it gathereth bernicla. 

feathers, and groweth to a 
fowle.” 


Of the Tame Goose, An¬ 
ser ferus, nothing need be 
said, except that enormous 
Hocks are bred in Lincoln¬ 
shire, containing from two to 
ten thousand birds each. 
The birds are periodically 
subjected to the operation 
of plucking out the quill- 
feathers, in order to supply 
the vast demand for pens, &c. 


The Mute or Tame Swan. Leucopsis (Gr. Aeu/cds, white; f/, a face), 
a well-known ornament to on- the Bernicle Goose. 

lakes and rivers, is not an m- 

Sub-family d. Cygnince. 

Cygnus.— fLat. a Swan ) 


Olor (Lat. a Swan), the Mate Swan. 

X 








306 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


habitant of England, but was introduced from Eastern Europe and Asia, 
several hundred years back. All are familiar with the graceful deport¬ 
ment of this bird while sailing on the surface of the water. Unfortu¬ 
nately, its progress on land by no means corresponds with its aquatic 
grace, being confined to an awkward waddle. 

The female Swan makes its nest of a great mass of dry reeds, placed 
among osiers or rushes near the water, and lays six or eight large white 
eggs. During the time of incubation, and while the young are still small, 
the parent birds defend them with great assiduity and courage. 

Several large Swanneries are still in existence. The Crown, and the 
Dyers’ and Vintners’ Companies own the greater part of the Swans on 
the Thames, and their Swans are annually marked on the bills by men 
termed Swan-uppers or hoppers. The mark of the Vintners’ Company is 
a notch or nick at each side of the bill, from which arose the term, “ Swans 
with two nicks,” corrupted into “ necks.” 

The spelling books always say that a Swan can break a man’s leg with 
a blow of its wing. Whether they can break the leg of a man or not, 1 
cannot say with certainty, but I have had ocular witness that they cannot 
break that of a boy. 1 have repeatedly seen a boy chase a swan into a 
corner, catch it by the neck, and drag it out, in spite of all the fiappiug 
uf its wings. 

CYGNUS. 



Ferns (Lat. wild), trie Whistling Swan. 

The Whistling Swan, or Hooper, {Gygnus ferus .) [resides during 









NATURAL HISTORY. 


o 07 


summer withm the Arctic circle, but in winter visits the northern parts 
of Europe, including England. It migrates in flocks of various numbers, 
arranged in the form of a wedge. The down of this bird is very valuable, 
and is sought after by the Icelanders, who choose the time when the birds 
have shed their quill-feathers and are unable to fly, to chase them with 
dogs. The Whistling Swan wants the grace that characterizes the Tame 
Swan; its neck being generally carried upright, without the elegant arch 
domesticated relative. It is not quite so large as the Tame Swan; the 
expanse of its wings is about eight feet. 

“ Like a Black Swan,” was formerly a well-known proverb, analogous 
to the Horse Marines of the present day; unfortunately for the proverb, 
a Swan has been discovered in Australia, the whole of whose plumage is 


Chenopis— (Gi\ Xijv, a Goose; w\p, a face.) 



Atrata (Lat. blackened), the Black Swan. 


a jetty black, with the exception of the quill feathers, which are white. 
It has been domesticated in this country, and may be seen in St. James' 
Park, eagerly seeking after the crumbs offered by juvenile hands. It is 
rather smaller than the Whistling Swan. 

The Widgeon is one of our autumn visiuns, arriving in this country 
about the beginning of October. Large flocks of these birds generally 
arrive at the same time, and are eagerly sought after, as their flesh is very 

x 2 



















308 


NATURAL HISTORY. 




The Mallard or Wild 
Duck is the origin of our do¬ 
mestic bird, and is widely 

Penelope (Gr. Proper name), the Widgeon, spieadover the northern paits 

ot Lurope, Asia, and America, 
[n the winter it migrates in countless flocks, many reaching this country 
In Lincolnshire incredible numbers of these birds are taken in a very 
ingenious trap, called, a decoy. It is a perfect edifice of poles and nets, 
and is built in the lorm of a tube, very wide at the mouth, and very 

narrow at the extremity. 
anas. — (Lat a Duel.) The ducks are induced to 

enter the “pipe” by the 
antics of a dog, and by 
some hemp-seed pre¬ 
viously strewn on the 
water. They are then 
driven onwards to the 
smaller end, where they 
are caught and killed. 

Wilson, in his American 
Ornithology, gives the 
follovrin" account of the 

o 

method of catching wild 
ducks practised in Ame¬ 
rica. 

“In some ponds fre¬ 
quented by these birds, 
five or six wooden figures, cut and painted so as to represent ducks, and 
sunk by pieces of lead nailed on their bottoms so as to float at the 
usuai depth on the surface, are anchored in a favourable position for 


Boschas (Gr. B octkcls, a Mallard; from /36a ktj, 
pasture *), the Mallard. 


• The keeper of a decoy in Lincolnshire mentioned that “the Mallard, Pintail, and 
Teal, frequent rich flooded lands, swittering with their nebs (beaks) in the soil, and 
sucking out all its strength; but the V/igeon is an amazing fowl to graze, and a strange 
oater of grass. ’ —Richardson. 


Sub-family e. Anatince. 

MARECA. 


delicate, the widgeon living 
almost exclusively on a vege¬ 
table diet. 

The nest of this bird is 
usually composed of decayed 
grass, leaves, or rushes, lineo 
with the soft feathers plucked 
from the body of the parent 
bird ; and is placed near water, 
usually among the substances 
of which it is composed. 









NATURAL HISTORY. 


300 


being raked from a concealment of brush, &c. on shore. The appearance 
of these usually attracts passing flocks, which alight, and are shot down. 
Sometimes eight or ten of these painted wooden ducks are fixed on 
a frame in various swimming postures, and secured to the bow of the 
gunner’s skiff, projecting before it in such a way that the weight of the 
frame sinks the figures to their proper depth; the skiff is then dressed 
with sedge or coarse grass, in an artful manner, as low as the water’s 
edge; and under cover of this, which appears like a party of ducks 
swimming by a small island, the. gunner floats down sometimes to the 
very skirt of a whole congregated multitude, and pours in a destructive 
and repeated fire of shot among them. In winter, when detached 
pieces of ice are occasionally floating in the river, some of the gunners 
on the Delaware paint their whole skiff or canoe white, and laying 
themselves flat at the bottom, with their hand over the side silently 
managing a small paddle, direct it imperceptibly into or near a flock 
before the ducks have distinguished it from a floating mass of ice, and 
generally do great execution among them. A whole flock has sometimes 
been thus surprised asleep with their heads under their wings.” 

The Tame Duck is so well known as to need no description. The 
manner in which it fights the cock is highly amusing and but little known. 
It frequently happens while the fowls are being fed, that the duck runs 
among them, and by the help of his larger beak, gobbles up an undue 
share of the provisions. This the cock resents by giving him a peck. 
The Duck takes no notice, but gets behind the cock, deals him a hard 
peck, and looks innocent. The cock jumps round, but sees nothing. 
Presently another hard peck comes, and he gets very angry. A third 
peck; but this time the cock sees his enemy, and rushes at him furiously. 
Down flops the duck on the ground, and lets the cock pass over him. 
After running over him once or twice, and then jumping on him, the 
cock is persuaded that his enemy is quite dead, and walks off on the tips 
of his toes. Presently the duck first opens one eye and then the other, 
gets up, and quietly pecks the cock again. The same manoeuvres are 
repeated, until at last the duck wins, like Pabius, by delay, and drives his 
antagonist fairly off the field. 

The Teal* is the smallest of our ducks. It frequently breeds in 
England, mostly choosing the northern lakes for that purpose. Its flight 
is exceedingly rapid, soon carrying it out of the reach of gun-shot. It 
chooses night for its feeding-time, and during the day conceals itself 
under the herbs that fringe the banks of the water where it has chosen 
its habitation. Its nest is also carefully placed among dense herbage, 
and contains from eight to twelve whitish eggs. 

The delicacy of its flesh is well known, and it therefore figuies on 
most well-furnished tables. 


* See page 310. 


310 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Querquedula.— (Lat.) 



Crecca, the Teal. 


The Eider Duck. —The Eider Duck furnishes the celebrated down in 

such request for pillows and 
Sub-family /. Fuligullnce .—(From Fully ula, beds. It is a singular fact, 


Lat. dim. of F'ulix, a Fen-Duck.) 

SomaterTa. —(Gi. 'Zu>jxa, the body; retpco, 
to wear away.) 


Mollisslrna (Lat. very soft), the Eider Duck. 


that the down must be 
olucked from the bird when 
iving, as it seems to lose its 
peculiar elasticity and soft¬ 
ness when taken from the 
bird after its death. The 
down is plucked by the bird 
itself from its breast, for the 
purpose of lining its nest, 
which is then repeatedly 
robbed until the Eider is 
reduced to laying its eggs on 
the down from the male bird. 
These eggs are generally 
permitted to be hatched, or 
the birds would forsake the 
spot, and never return again. 
So completely does the poor 
bird denude itself, that one 
female will furnish half-a- 
pound’s weight of down. 
















NATURAL HISTORY. 


311 


The CoiAMEiiLfc are remarkable for their powers of diving. The legs 
are placed very far behind, and the toes are so arranged as to fold up 
when returning from the stroke. 

The foot of the Grebes is not webbed like that of most water birds, 
but each toe is separate and flattened, so as to serve as a separate paddle. 
The Grebes dive so instantaneously that it is difficult to shoot them, as they 
dive at the flash, and do not reappear for nearly two hundred yards, and 
then they merely raise their head above water for a second, and again 
disappear. 

Family II. . . Colymbldao.—(Gr. Kd'\v/ul3os, a Diver.) 

Sub-family a.. Culymbince. 

COLTMBUS. 



Glacialis (Lat. icy), the Great Northern Diver. 


All the Grebes feed upon fishes and the various water insects, but then 
stomachs are almost invariably found to contain a mass of their own 
feathers. This circumstance presents a singular analogy to those masses 
of compacted hair which are often found in the stomachs of cows. In all 
probability the reason for their presence is the same, that the feathers 
and hairs are accidentally conveyed to the stomach after the creature has 
been making its toilet. 











312 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Of the three British species of Divers, the Great Northern Diver 4 " 
is the largest. It is generally found on the shores of the Orkneys and 
Shetland. 

This bird justly deserves its name of Diver, as it can pursue fish under 
water with the greatest ease and certainty, and can remain under water 
without inconvenience for a considerable time. 

The nest of this bird is a tolerably large flattened mass of dead herbage, 
and is placed near the water’s edge, in some place where the bird 
imagines that the reeds and flags, among which it is laid, will guard it 
from discovery. But unfortunately, the bird dislikes flying, and prefers 
to walk to and from its nest, thereby leaving a very evident track, by 
which it is often discovered. 

The eggs are usually two in number, although three have been found 
in one nest. Their colour is dark olive brown, sparingly marked with 
dark spots. 

The Crested Grebe is found in some of the fens of the Midland 

counties of England, and also 
inhabits parts of Scotland. 
This bird, together with the 
other Grebes, builds its nest 
of a mass of roots and reeds, 
among sedges. The female, 
like the water hen, covers up 
her eggs when she leaves her 
nest, which, unlike the nests 
of most of the aquatic birds, 
floats upon the surface of the 
water. 

The Daechick, or Little 
Grebe, is very common in 
most parts of England, and is 
spread over Europe and Asia. 
It is easily alarmed, and in¬ 
stantly dives, after which it is 
of little use to look for the 
bird. Even in a small pond 
where tame Dabchicks are 
kept, if they are startled at 
anything, they all disappear 
as if by magic, and reappear 
in the same mysterious man¬ 
ner. Even when confined in the limited space of a small pond, the 
sharpest eye cannot detect them as they hide under floating herbage, 
or are sheltered by an overhanging bank." 

* See page 31) 


Sub-family b. Podiceplnce. 
Podiceps. — (A hybrid word.) 



Cristatus (Lat. crested), the Crested Grebe . 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


313 


It is easily domesticated, 
and is often seen placed as 
an ornament in lakes, or 
even in ponds, wliere it 
swims about very merrily, 
and seems to enjoy playing 
a game at hide-and-seek with 
any observer who is attempt¬ 
ing to watch its movements. 




The Puffin is common 
at the Needles and the 
western islands of England, 
it forms deep burrows in 
the soil, in which one egg 
is deposited, or usurps the 
burrow of a rabbit. The 
hole is generally from three 
to four feet in depth, when 
the Puffin is forced to 
labour for itself; it usually takes a winding course; and the inhabitant 
is secured from surprise by form¬ 
ing two entrances, in order that if Family III. . Alcidm.—(Lat. Alca, an 


Minor (Lat. lesser), the Little Grebe or Lab 
chicle. 


one entrance is attacked, it may 


Auk.) 


escape by the other. The egg is Sub-family a. Alcincc. 
always deposited at the furthest Fratercula.— (Lat.l 

extremity of the hole, and is not 
easy to be obtained, on account 
of the vigorous resistance made 
by the parent bird. It is an ex¬ 
cellent diver, plunging fearlessly 
from a lofty cliff into the sea, and 
speedily returning with its beak 
full of fish, usually sprats, which 
are secured by their heads, and lie 
in a row along the bill of the 
Puffin, forming a kind of pisca¬ 
torial fringe. Its enormous and 
sharp-edged bill renders it a for¬ 
midable antagonist to intruders. 

The length of the bird is thirteen 
inches. 

It is said that the Raven and 

the Puffin have occasional con- Arctica (Lat. Arctic), the Puffin. 
flicts, the object of dispute being 

generally the egg or young of the Auk, for which the Raven has a greaf 

















314 


NATURAL HISTORY, 


predilection. The issue of the combat depends principally on its position, 
each bird trying to keep to its own peculiar element. If the Puffin 
can drag the..Raven over the rocks into the sea, it is speedily victorious, 
as it drowns its sable adversary without much trouble, but if, on the 
contrary, the Raven can keep to shore, its superior size and strength gain 
the dominion. 

Alca. — (Lat. an Auk.) 



Impennis (Lat. wingless), the Great Auk. 

The AlciDjE or Auks are never seen inland, but exclusively inhabit the 
sea-shores. In this family the wings are small, and in some genen 
useless for flight. The feet being required more for diving than walking 
are placed so far back that the birds, when sitting, assume an erect 
attitude, and their walk is nothing but an undignified (I was going to say 
awkward ) shuffle. 

The Great Auk is an inhabitant of the Arctic Circle, but is sometimes 
seen in the northern islands of Scotland. The wings of this bird are 
incapable of raising it into the air, but serve admirably as paddles when 
diving. It breeds principally on the shores of Iceland and Spitzbergen, 
laying one large egg on a cleft of a high rock. The eggs are extremely 
scarce, and fetch a very high price among collectors, a circumstance 
which has caused some most ingenious impositions. In one case some of 





NATURAL WTKTORY. 


315 


these eggs were offered for sale at a shop where natural curiosities 
are bought and sold. They were offered, I believe, at £5 each, which 
being a very low price, excited the suspicions of the buyer, who asked 
the seller to leave them while he examined them. He examined them 
accordingly, and although he doubted, yet they looked very genuine 
indeed. They had the peculiar smell of the Auk’s eggs, the hole 
through which the contents were extracted was perfectly natural, the 
lining membrane of the egg being still in its place. Just as the price was 
about to be paid, a visitor happened to enter the shop, who recognised 
the seller as a man who had sold many of these eggs of late at the same 
price, but who manufactured all the eggs himself. They were, in fact, 
nothing but models, exquisitely copied, and accurate in every particular, 
but yet only a composition of plaster of Paris with other ingredients. 

The length of the bird is nearly three feet. 

The Cape Penguin is very common at the Cape of Good Hope and 
the Palkland Islands. Prom the extraordinary sound it produces while 
on shore, it is called the 
Jackass Penguin. Darwin 
gives the following interest¬ 
ing account of this bird :— 

“ In diving, its little plume¬ 
less wings are used as fins, 
but on the land, as front legs. 

When crawling (it may be 
said on four legs) through 
the tussocks, or on the side 
of a grassy cliff, it moved so 
very quickly that it might 
have been mistaken 
for a quadruped. When at 
sea and fishing, it comes to 
the surface, for the purpose 
of breathing, with such a 
spring, and dives again so 
instantaneously, that I defy 
any one at first sight to be 
sure that it is not a fish leap¬ 
ing for sport.” 

These birds feed their 
young in a very singular 
manner. The parent bird 
gets on a hillock, and ap¬ 
parently delivers a very impassioned speech for a few minutes, at the end 
of which, it lowers its head and opens its beak. The young one, who 
has bee" a patient auditor, thrusts its head into the open beak of thp 



Sub-family c. Spheniscince. 
Spheniscus. — (Gr. <r<p-r]vl(TKos, a little 
wedge.) 



Demersus (Lat. submerged), the Cape 
Penguin. 





316 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


mother, and seems to suck its subsistence from the throat of the pareni 
bird. Another speech is immediately made, and the same process re¬ 
peated, until the young is satisfied. 

This Penguin is very courageous, but utterly destitute of the better 
part of courage—discretion; for it will boldly charge at a man just as 
Don Quixote charged the windmills, and with the same success, as a few 
blows from a stick is sufficient to lay a dozen birds prostrate. 

The- Common Guillemot 
makes its appearance on our 
coasts in the beginning of 
spring, and inhabits the cliffs 
overhanging the sea. Each 
female deposits one egg on a 
naked ledge of rock, and sits 
upon it with great persever¬ 
ance, even suffering itself to 
be taken by hand. The egg 
is usually a pale green, 
streaked and blotched with 
brown, but is very variable 
both in colour and markings. 
The length of the bird is 
fifteen inches. 


The Fulmar Petrel is 
an inhabitant of the Arctic 
circle, but breeds 
in St. Kilda and t’ 

The inhabitants 
islands consider the Fulmar 
as one of their principal 
means of subsistence, and to 
obtain the birds they expose themselves to the greatest dangers. The 
feathers of the Fulmar Petrel are used for their beds, its flesh they eat, 
its oil is delicate and gives an excellent light when used in a lamp, besides 
which it is considered a good remedy for wounds. To obtain the birds, 
the inhabitants wait until they are nearly fledged, when they lower 
themselves down the face of the most fearful precipices, saved from 
destruction merely by a rope. This rope is one of the principal items of 
the property of the people who live in the Orkneys. It is sometimes 
made of hide, but the best ropes are woven of hair, and are found to be 
less liable to fray against the rocks than if they were made of any other 
material. There are many stories of the dangers encountered by the 
daring cragsman, but there is no space for their insertion. 

The Fulmar Petrel lays one white egg, large and brittle, which is 


abundantly 
le Orkneys, 
of those 


Sub-family d. Urines. 
Uria. —(Gr. Ovpia, a Diver.) 



Trolle, the Guillemot. 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


317 


imbued with the peculiar oily odour that characterises the bird. The 
food of the Fulmar consists of the tlesli and blubber of dead whales and 

Family IV. , Procellartdae. 

Sub-family a. 1'rocellarince. 

Procellaria. —(Lat. stormy.) 



Glacialis (Lat. icy), the Fulmar Petrel. 

o\her cetacea, and also of molluscs and Crustacea. The length of tn< 
bird is sixteen inches. 


The Stormy Petrel is, 
under the name of Mother 
Carey’s chicken, the terror 
of the sailor, who always 
considers the bird as the 
precursor of a storm. It is 
the smallest of the web- 
footed birds. Few storms 
are violent enough to keep 
this curious little bird from 
wandering over the waves 
in search of the food that 
the disturbed water casts to 
the surface. Like the Ful¬ 
mar, the Stormy Petrel is 
so exceedingly oily in tex¬ 
ture, that the inhabitants 
of the Feroe Islands draw 
a wick through its body 
and use it as a lamp. 
Wilson gives the following 
under sail :— 


ThaLASSIDROMA. —(Gr. @d\a<roa, the sea ; 
5 pi e jfj.os, a race.) 



Pelagica (Lat. belonging to the sea), the 
Stormy Petrel. 

account of its habits while following a shif. 



318 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


“ It is indeed an interesting sight to observe these little birds in a gale, 
coursing over the waves, down the declivities, up the ascents of the 
foaming surf that threatens to bend over their heads; sweeping along 
the hollow troughs of the sea, as in a sheltered valley, and again mounting 
with the rising billow, and just above its surface, occasionally dropping 
its feet, which, striking the water, throws it up again with additional 
force; sometimes leaping with both legs parallel, on the surface of the 
roughest waves for several yards at a time. Meanwhile it continues 
coursing from side to side of the ship’s wake, making excursions far and 
wide, to the right and to the left, now a great way ahead, and now shooting 
astern for several hundred yards, returning again to the ship, as if she were 
ail the time stationary, though perhaps running at the rate of ten knots 
an hour ! But the most singular peculiarity of this bird is its faculty of 
standing and even running on the surface of the water, which it performs 
with apparent facility. When any greasy matter is thrown overboard, these 
birds instantly collect round it, and face to windward, with their long 
wings expanded and their webbed feet patting the water, the lightness of 
their bodies and the action of the wind on their wings enable them to do 
this with ease. In calm weather they perform the same manoeuvre by 
keeping their wings just so much in action as to prevent their feet from 
Milking below the surface. According to Buffon, it is from this singular 
habit that the whole genus have obtained the name Petrel, from the 
apostle Peter, who, as Scripture informs us, also walked on the water.” 

The Wandering Albatros, the largest of the genus, is a well-known 
bird in the southern seas, following ships for many miles in hopes of ob¬ 
taining the refuse thrown overboard. So voracious is the Albatros, that 
it will swallow entire a fish of four or five pounds 5 weight. The flight of 
this bird is peculiarly majestic. Its extreme length of wing prevents it 
from rising at once from the ground, but when once launched into the 
air, it seems to float and direct its course without effort. Gould in 
describing the flight of this bird says :— 

“ The powers of flight of the Wandering Albatros are much greater 
than those of any other bird that has come under my observation. 
Although during calm or moderate weather it sometimes rests on the 
surface of the water, it is almost constantly on the wing, and is equally 
at ease while passing over the glassy surface during the stillest calm, or 
sweeping with arrow-like swiftness before the most furious gale; and the 
way in which it just tops the raging billows, and sweeps between the 
gulfy waves, has a hundred times called forth my wonder and admiration. 
Although a vessel running before the wind frequently sails more than 
200 miles in the twenty-four hours, and that for days together, still the 
Albatros has not the slightest difficulty in keeping up with the ship, but 
also performs circles of many miles in extent, returning again to hunt up 
the wake of the vessel for any substances thrown overboard.” 

The voracity of the Albatros renders it an easy prey. A hook is baited 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


319 


with a piece of blubber, fastened firmly to a string, and suffered to tow 
astern. The bird immediately sweeps down to seize its prey, and is 
arrested by the hook, by means of which it is drawn into the ship. It 
seems rather remarkable that a bird that, lives in or over the sea during 
its whole life, should prove a landsman when taken on board. Yet, 
when the Albatros is caught and placed on deck, it begins to stagger 
about, and soon becomes as thoroughly sea sick as the most inexperienced 
cockney. The best description of the nidification of the Wandering 
Albatros is that given by Mr. Earl, quoted by Gould. 

Mr. Earl, after climbing a fearfully dangerous precipice in the Island of 
Tristan d’Acunha, arrived at a large plain of dark grey lava, on the 
summit of which the nests of the Albatros w r ere made. “ A death-like 

Diomedea. —{Proper name.) 



Exulans (Lat. banished ), the Wandering Albatros. 

stillness prevailed in these high regions, and to my ear our voices had a 
strange unnatural echo, and I fancied our forms appeared gigantic, whilst 
the air was piercing cold. The prospect was altogether sublime, and 
tilled the mind with awe. The huge Albatros here appeared to dread no 
interloper or enemy; for their young were on the ground completely 
uncovered, and the old ones w r ere stalking around them. They lay but 
one egg, on the ground, where they make a kind of nest by scraping the 
earth around it; the young is entirely white, and covered with a woolly 
down, which is very beautiful. As we approached, they snapped their 
beaks with a very quick motion, making a great noise ; this and the 
throwing up the contents of the stomach are the only means of offence 






320 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


and defence they seem to possess. I again visited the mountain about 
five months afterwards, when I found the young albatroses still sitting 
on their nests, and they had never moved away from them.” The expanse 
of wing in the Wandering Albatros is from eleven to fourteen feet 


Family V. . . Laridre. 
Sub-family b. Larince. 


Larus. —(Lat. a Gull.) 



Marinus (Lat. belonging to the sea), the Black-backed Gull. 


The Black-backed Gull is a common bird on our coasts. During 
the winter it seeks the warmer coasts of southern Europe. It, breeds in 
great numbers on the shores of the Bristol Channel, the Orkneys, and 
other coasts of Great Britain. Its nest is composed of grass, rushes, and 
other materials, and contains three or four eggs, of an olive green marked 
with very dark brown. Neither the gulls nor the terns dive, but snatch 
up their prey when at or near the surface. 

The Terns or Sea-Swallows are possessed of great power and 
endurance of flight, their long forked tails and pointed wings indicating 
strength and swiftness. 

The Common Tern is found in plenty along the southern shores of 
Europe, in many parts of Asia and Africa. It is frequently seen on the 
southern shores of England, and has been found in North America. It 
preys on fish, which it snatches from the surface with unerring aim, as it 
skims over the waves with astonishing velocity. 

















NATURAL HISTORt. 


321 


The nest of this bird 
is made on the sand 
above high-water mark, 
and contains two or 
three eggs, on which 
the female usually sits 
by night. The length 
of the Common Tern 
is about fourteen 
inches. 

The Noddy, so fre¬ 
quently celebrated by 
travellers who have 
passed the equator, is 
a species of Tern. 


Sub-family c. Sternincr. 
Sterna. —(Lat. Sterno, l strew.) 



Li irundo (Lat. a Swallow), the Common Tern. 


The Tropic Bird, as its name imports, is seldom seen many degree* 
beyond the tropics, although a storm occasionally drives it from its ac¬ 
customed habitiat. 

Family VI. . . Pelecantd®.—(Gr. n eKctcdv, a Pelican. Pelican-kind.) 
Sub-family b. . Phaetonlnce. 


Phaeton. —(Gr. Qaeffco; proper name.) 



there us (Lat. belonging to the shy), the Tropic Bird. 


Its rapid flight seems to be accomplished almost without the aid of 
wiuus. It preys extensively on the flying-lish who frequently escapes his 

Y 





































NATURAL FIT STORY. 


•ton 

«. «/ A 

airy foe but to fall into the jaws of some rapacious rover of the deep. It 
has been known to continue on the wing for whole days and nights, but 
sometimes rests on the back of a turtle sleeping at the surface of the 
water. The length of the Tropic Bird is about eighteen inches. 


Sub-family c. I’elecanmce. 
SULA. 



BassanSa (Lat. belonging to the Bass Rock), the Gannet or Solan Goose. 

The Gannet, or Solan Goose, is common on seme of our shores, 
especially at the Bass Rock at the entrance of the Frith of Forth. This 
rock is literally covered with Gannets, and is rented at a high price from 
the proprietor, who makes over to the tenant the vast flocks of birds 
that take up their residence on the rock. Great numbers of Gannets 
breed at St. Kilda, and many are sent to Edinburgh and other markets. 

The Gannet feeds almost entirely on herrings, which it seizes by 
plunging with extraordinary force from a considerable height. This 
method of procuring food has led to an ingenious device for capturing 
the bird. A herring is fastened to a board, and suffered to float on the 
surface of the water. The Gannet, seeing the fish apparently sporting 
on the surface, plunges at it with such force that it is instantly killed by 
the blow. A Gannet was once taken when the board was sunk to the 
depth of six feet, yet even at that depth the bird’s neck was dislocated, 
and its bill firmly stuck into the wood. The length of the Gannet is 
about two feet eight inches. 

The Booby is a species of Gannet. Sailors have given it this rathei 
inelegant name on account Ol 'he stupidity it displays in suffering itself 
to be knocked down with a stick, or even taken up by hand. 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


323 



The Cormorant is found in abundance on out- coasts, and is widely 
spread over many parts of the world. It is exceedingly voracious, and 
levours an almost incredible amount of fish. It is an excellent diver, 
ind chases the fish actually under the water, seldom if ever returning 
without having secured its prey. Like the otter, when engaged in chase, 
it occasionally rises to take breath, and then resumes the pursuit with 
renewed vigour. Waterton 

Phalacroc5rax.— (Gr. 4>«A cucpSs, bald 
Kopa(, a Raven.) 


gives the following amusing de¬ 
scription of the proceedings of 
a Cormorant:—“First raising 
his body nearly perpendicular, 
down he plunges into the deep, 
and after staying there a con¬ 
siderable time he is sure to 
bring up a fish, which he in¬ 
variably swallows head fore¬ 
most. Sometimes, half an hour 
elapses before he can manage 
to accommodate a large eel 
quietly in his stomach. You 
see him straining violently 
with repeated efforts to gulp 
it; and when you fancy that 
the slippery mouthful is suc¬ 
cessfully disposed of, all of a 
sudden the eel retrogrades up¬ 
wards from its dismal sepulchre, 
struggling violently to escape. 

The Cormorant swallows it 
again, and up agaui it comes, 

Jtnd shows its tail a foot or 
more out of its destroyer’s 
mouth. At length, worn out with perpetual writhings and siblings, the 
eel is gulped down into the Cormorant/s stomach for the last time, there 
to meet its dreaded and inevitable fate. This gormandising exhibition 
was witnessed here by several individuals, both ladies and gentlemen, on 
Nov. 26, 1832, through an excellent eight-and-twenty guinea telescope, 
the Cormorant' being at that time not more than a hundred yards distant 
from the observers. I was of the party.” 

The Cormorant has the power of perching on trees, an accomplishment 
which we should hardly suspect a web-footed bird of possessing. Milton, 
in a well-known passage in his “ Paradise Lost,” alludes to this habit. 
Speaking of Satan under the disguise of the Cormorant, he tells that lie, 


Carbo (Lat. a Coal), the Cormorant. 


on the tree of life, 


The middle tree, and highest there that grew, 
Sat.” 

Y 2 





















324 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The Cormorant is easily tamed, arid its fishing propensities can be 
turned to good account. The Chinese, at the present day, employ a 
kind of Cormorant for that purpose, having previously placed a ring round 
the bird’s neck, to prevent it from swallowing the fish. The eggs of this 
bird are usually laid on the rock, but sometimes in the branches of trees. 
A thick coat of chalk envelopes the eggs, and can be easily scraped ofi 
with a knife. The length, of the bird is about three feet. 

The White Pelican inhabits Africa, India, and great part of the 
southeastern portions of Europe. It is a very conspicuous bird, its 

singular membranous pouch 
offering a distinction per¬ 
fectly unmistakeable. The 
pouch, when distended, holds 
two gallons of water, but 
the bird has the power of 
contracting it so that it is 
scarcely to be discerned. 
The pouch also serves as a 
net in which to scoop up 
the fish on which the Pelican 
feeds.* Another most im¬ 
portant use of the pouch is 
to convey food to the young. 
The parent Pelican presses 
the pouch against its breast, 
in order to enable the young 
to obtain the fish; which 
action, in all probability, 
gave rise to the fable of the 
Pelican feeding its young 
with its own blood. The red 
tip of the bill probably aided 
the deception. 

Although a web-footed 
bird, the Pelican, like the 
cormorant, can perch on 
trees, although it prefers 
sitting on rocks. The colour of this bird is a pure white, with a very 
slight tinge of rose-colour, and the pouch is yellow. The length of the 
bird is nearly six feet. 

The Frigate Pelican, or Man-of-War Bird, is usually found be¬ 
tween the tropics. Although when stripped of its feathers it is hardly 

* The beautiful Pelicans in the Zoological Gardens exhibit this pouch and its uses 
kdtniraMy, 


Pelecanus.—(L atinised from Gr. ITeAc/fdr.) 



Onocrotalus (Gr. ' OvoicporaXos) derived 
from uuos , aa ass, and xporaXov, a rattle), 
the White Pelican. 




NATURAL niSTOR'i. 


325 

laiger tlian a pigeon, vet no man can touch at the same time the tips ol 
its extended wings. The long wing bones are exceedingly light, and the 
whole apparatus of air-cells is extremely developed, so that its real 
weight is very trifling. It flies at a great height above the water, and 
from that elevation pounces down on fish, especially preferring the poor 
persecuted flying-fish for its prey. According to some authors, the name 
of Man-of-War Bird was given to it because its appearance was said to 
foretel the coming of a ship; probably because the Frigate Pelican and 


Fregat^.— (From the Spanish Fragdta, a ship.)* 



Aqutla (Lat. an Eagle), the Frigate Pelican. 


real frigates are equally averse to storms, and both like to come into 
harbour if the weather threatens. Under the throat of the Frigate 
Pelican is a large pouch, of a deep red colour, which can be distended 
with air at the pleasure of the bird. The pouch is larger and of a more 
brilliant red in the male than in his consort, and the general plumage 
of the female is not so bright as that of the male. 

Although its swiftness of wing and general activity enable it to snatch 
a fish from the surface of the water, or to pounce upon the flying-fish 
before it can again seek the protection of its native element, yet it too 
often uses its powers in robbing other birds of their lawful prey. It is 
enabled, in some mysterious way, to find its way home by night, even 
though it may be four or five hundred miles from land. The length of 
the male bird is three feet, and the expanse of wing eight feet. 

* Possibly both from Gr. »/a!/r Kara^paK-rrif, a decked vessel. Tho word “freight " l» 
ilso derived from the same root. 










32C 


,VATUIIAL HTSTOKY. 


Class III. . . REPTIUA-—(Lat. Creeping things ,) 

Order I. . . SA URA. —(Gr. Saupa, a Lizard.) 

Hub-order I. Leptoglossa:. —(Gr. Ae7r t6s, slender; y\<£aaa, the tonguaj 
Tribe I. . . CYCLOSAURA.—(Gr. KvkAos, a circle; aavpa.) 

Family IV. Lacertinidae.— (Lat. Lacerta, a Lizard. Lizard-kind.) 


Zootoca.— ^Gr. ZcoJs, living; tlktw, to bring forth.) 



Vivip&ra (Lat. viviparous ), the Common Lizard. 


We now arrive at the singular Class of Reptiles. The animals oi 
this class vary exceedingly in their forms, sizes, and habits, but the 
peculiar formation of the circulatory system, together with many other 
anatomical distinctions, plainly mark'them out as a distinct class. 

The Lizauds are usually active, bright-eyed little creatures, delighting 
to bask in the sun, near some safe retreat, to which they dart with asto¬ 
nishing celerity upon the slightest alarm. Two species of Lizards inhabit 
this country, ihe Common Lizard, and the Sand Lizard. The latter 
animal is considerably larger than the Common Lizard, as it sometimes 
measures a foot in length. It frequents sandy heaths, and in the sand 
its eggs are deposited, fourteen or fifteen in number. The eggs are 
hatched by the heat of the sun, and the young immediately lead an inde¬ 
pendent life. During the winter this as well as the Common Lizard 
hybernates in a burrow usually made under the roots of a tree, nor does 
it again make its appearance until the spring. 

The Common Lizard is only six inches in length. It is more active 
than the Sand Lizard, disappearing like magic on being alarmed. When 
seized, its tail frequently snaps off like glass. Both British Lizards feed 
on insects. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


327 



The Blind-worm is 
not a snake, as gene¬ 
rally supposed, but a 
legless lizard of the 
Skink family. It is 
perfectly harmless ; its 
small mouth and very 
minute teeth precluding 
all attempts to injure, 
even if it had the will. 
When alarmed, it snaps 
asunder at the slightest 
blow, like the tail of 
the Common Lizard, 
and from that pecu¬ 
liarity has derived its 
name of “ fragilis.” It 
feeds almost entirely 
on small slugs, its jaws 
not being capable of 
admitting: any larger 


Tribe II. GEISSOSAUKA.—(Gr. Telaaov, a 
cornice ; aavpa.) 

Family XV. Scincidse.—(Gr. 2 Kiyuos , a kind 
of Lizard.) 

Anguis. —(Lat. a Snake.) 


Fragilis (Lat. fragile), the Blind-worm or 
Slow-worm. 


prey. If is very com¬ 
mon in most parts of England, and may be seen basking in the sun in 
hedgerows or under old walls. Its eyes are very small, but brilliant. 


The Geckos* are nocturnal lizards, remaining hidden in crevices during 
the day, but wandering fortn at night in search of their insect prey. 
They run about on the smooth walls and ceilings with the greatest ease, 
as their feet are furnished with an apparatus exactly resembling a boy’s 
sucker, by means of which they are able to adhere to the wall, or even 
to the roof. They labour in their country under precisely the same im¬ 
putations that the toad does in England, namely, of being venomous 
creatures, producing horrible diseases when touched, together with many 
similar tales. Geckos are spread over every quarter of the globe, but are 
most numerous in Southern Asia. The species represented is common 
in India. 


The Iguana family is a very large one, containing 150 species. The 
Common Iguana is a native of Brazil, Cayenne, Jamaica, &c. In spite 
of its repulsive appearance, it is with many people a favourite article of 
food, and is said somewhat to resemble chicken. It is very fierce when 
attacked, and snaps at its enemies in a most determined manner, often 
scaring away an intruder by the ferocity of its aspect.-] It is generally 

* See page 328. t See page 329 




328 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Sub-order IT. Paciiyglossj!. —(Gr. Flaxes, thick; 'yXwaaa, the tongue.| 
Tribe III. . . NYCTISAURA.—(Gr. Nwf, night; aav,m, a Lizard.) 
Family XXII. Geckotldse.— {Geckos.) 

Gecko. 



Yerus (Lat. true), the Gecko. 


taken by throwing a noose over its head, and dragging it from the 
branches by main force. It is then immediately killed, as its sharp 
uotched teeth can inflict a very disagreeable wound. Sometimes it is 
bunted with dogs trained to the sport. It attains a considerable size, 
frequently reaching the length of six feet. It feeds usually on vegetable 
substances, such as leaves, fruit, and fungi; but Iguanas have been seen 
in the Island of Isabella, that feed on eggs, insects, and even the in¬ 
testines of fowls. An enormous fossil Iguana has been discovered by 
Dr. Mantell, whose length must have been nearly seventy feet. 


The terrible name of Flying Dragon belongs to a harmless little 
lizard, bearing small resemblance to the terrific animal so graphically de¬ 
picted by Retsch. This curious little lizard lives on trees, and feeds on 
insects instead of devouring pilgrims bound to the Gnadenbilde. The 
peculiar structure of its body bears a singular resemblance to that of the 
flying squirrel. The first six false ribs are greatly elongated, and 
support a wing-like expansion of skin, which when stretched serves to 
bear them up as they skim through the air from one tree to another. 
While running about on the branches, the so-called wings are folded to 



natural history. 329 

Tribe IV. ... STROBILOSAURA.—(Gr. 2rpd/3tAos, anything twisted. 

a Fir-cone; aavpa, a Lizard.) 

Family XXIII. Iguanidae.— (Iguanas.) 

Iguana. —(Native name.) 



Tuberculata (Lat. covered with pimples), the Iguana. 

the side, but when it wishes to throw itself from the tree, the ribs are 

Family XXIY. Agamldm.— (Gr. ayagos, unmarried.) 

Draco. —(Lat. a Dragon.) 



Volans ^Lat. flying), the Flying Dragon. 

raised, and the wings expanded. It is common in Java, India, ana 

Borneo. 




330 


NATURAL HISTORT. 


Tribe Y. . DENDROSAURA.—(Gr. AevSpov, a 
tree; aavpa, a Lizard.) 

Family XXV. ChameleorddcB.—(Gr. Xa^atXtwv, 
a Chameleon. Chameleon kind.) 

Chameleon. 


The Common Chameleon is plentifully found in northern Africa, the 

south of Spain, and 
Sicily. It lives on trees, 
but exhibits none of 
the activity usually 
found iu arboreal rep¬ 
tiles. On the contrary, 
its movements are 
absurdly grave and 
solemn. The whole 
activity of the animal 
seems to be centered 
in its tongue, by means 
of which organ it 
secures flies and other 
insects with such mar¬ 
vellous rapidity, that 
the ancients may be 
well pardoned for their 
assertion that the air 
formed the only food 
of the Chameleon. 
Highly exaggerated 
descriptions have been given of the changes of colour in this animal. 
The changes are by no means so complete, nor are the colours so bright, 
us generally supposed. 

-And then its hue, 



Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Chameleon. 


W ho erer saw so fine a blue ? ” 


The poetic moralist further recounts its changes to green, black, and 
white. The umpire referred to in the poem is recorded to have asserted, 

“ If you don’t find him black, I’ll eat him 

but every one who has watched a Chameleon for any time, will be 
equally ready to eat him the moment that he turns white. 

The power of the Chameleon to move its eyes in different directions 
at the same time, gives it a most singular aspect. Its enormously long 
tongue can be withdrawn into the mouth when not in use; but when the 
creature sees a fly within read), the tongue is instantly darted forth, and 
by means of a gummy secretion at the tip secures the fly. The whole 
movement is so quick as almost to elude the eye. 


The peculiar gliding movements of the Snakes render them excellent 
types of the Reptiles; a word derived from the Latin repo , I creep. The 
extraordinary flexibility of their bodies is caused by the structure of th«eu 





NATURAL HISTORY. 331 

vertebrae, each one of which fits into the one behind it by a ball-and- 
socket joint, thus allowing freedom of motion in every direction. 

The .Rattle-snake is a native of America. Its name is derived from 
the loose bony structure at the extremity of its tail, called the rattle, 
and which by the sound of its movements gives timely intimation of the 

Order II. . . OPUIDIA. —(Gr. y C <pis, a Serpent.) 

Sub-order I. Yiperina.—(L at. Viper a, a Yiper.) 

Family I. . Crotaltdse.—(Gr. KporaXor, a Rattle.) 

Uropsophus.—(G r. Ovpa, the tail; xpdcpos, a noise .) 



Durissus (Lat. durus, harsh), the Rattle-snake. 


vicinity of this terrible reptile. Fortunately, its disposition is exceed 
ingly sluggish, and it invariably sounds its rattle when irritated or dis¬ 
turbed. Its bite is inevitably mortal, and death always ensues within a 
few hours after the wound has been inflicted. 

The deadly weapons with which the venomous serpents are armed, are 
two long curved fangs belonging to the upper jaw, and moving on a 
ninge, by which they lie flat in the mouth when not wanted. An aperture 
exists in the point of the fang, by which a poisonous fluid, secreted in a 
gland at the base of the tooth, is poured into the wound, and, mixing 
wit h the blood, rapidly carries its deadly influence throughout the entire 
system. A short time since, an American physician was exhibiting a 
caged rattle-snake to his friends; he approached his hand too near the 
irritated reptile, who instantaneously inflicted a wound; and, although 
every precaution was taken, the bite proved fatal in a few hours. 

Waterton gives some useful hints respecting the snakes, especially 
those of the venomous kind .— 



332 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


“ When a man is ranging a forest, and sees a serpent gliding towards 
him, (which is a very rare occurrence,) he has only to tack off in a side 
direction, and he may be perfectly assured that it will not follow him. 
Should the man, however, stand still, and should the snake be one of 
those overgrown monsters capable of making a meal of a man,—in 
these cases the snake would pursue its course', and when it got suffi¬ 
ciently near to the place where the man was standing, would raise the 
forepart of its body in a retiring attitude, and then dart at him and seize 
him. A man may pass within a yard of Rattle-snakes with safety, pro 
vided he goes quietly; but should he irritate a Rattle-snake, or tread 
incautiously upon it, he w'ould infallibly receive a w r ound from its fang,— 
though, by the bye, with the point of that fang curved downwards, not 
upwards.” 

This latter passage refers to a plate in Audubon’s Ornithology, where 
a Rattle-snake is represented attacking a mocking-bird’s nest, and threat¬ 
ening the birds with two fangs curved upwards at the points—a mistake 
which Waterton never loses sight of. 

The same author was nearly falling a victim to a Rattle-snake. He 
saw what he thought was a green locust struggling in the grass. On 
stooping down to examine it, he was considerably alarmed at discovering 
it to be the tail of a rattle-snake. 

The inhabitants of those countries where the Rattle-snake lives are 
not very much afraid of it, as they know that it will be sure to run away 
directly it hears the approach of human footsteps. It appears that when 
a man is cutting wood or otherwise engaged in a forest, and hears a 
Rattle-snake near him, he has no fear, as long as he can keep its rattle 
going, but directly the sound ceases, the man is rather in dread, not 
knowing where the animal may turn up next: so he keeps the snake in 
a constant state of alarm, by throwing bits of wood or sticks at the 
place where the reptile is lying, and on again hearing the sound of the 
rattle, he continues his work in confidence, until the snake is silent, when 
some more missiles are sent in the same direction. 

An American told me that, even when these snakes are ready for 
a spring, they can be avoided by smartly clapping the hands together, or 
striking the ground with a stick. The snake has the whole powers of 
its mind bent upon its fatal stroke, and, on hearing such an unexpected 
sound, it is startled, like a man suddenly waked from sleep, and falls 
down in its coil again, giving time for its intended victim to escape 
before it has mide up its mind to another assault. 

Some years ago a number of these snakes were wanted for certain 
menageries, and were caught in the following manner. There are some 
places where the Rattle-snakes abound, and may be seen lying in their 
holes. A party of sailors were despatched to one of these haunts, furnished 
with baskets, ropes, poles, and various other implements. The sailors 
thought it great fun, and laid their plans as follows. They gave three 
men to each snake, two of them having a rope, and the third a pole and 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


333 


basket. They commenced by making one of those slip-knots so common 
among sailors, in the centre of the cord. This was laid over the hole, 
and drawn together until it was just large enough to surround it. The 
third man, then, either threw stones at the entrance of the den, or poked 
about it with the pole, until the snake put out its head to see what was 
the matter. Directly the reptile’s head and neck were fairly outside, the 
two men drew the rope tight, and carried it between them to the open 
basket, into which they dropped it, while the third man shut down the 
lid with his pole, and then fastened it. The cord being slackened, the 
snake soon wriggled itself out of the noose, and the men set off after 
another victim. 

The length of this snake has seldom been known to exceed seven feet. 



The Puff Adder is an inhabitant of Southern Africa. It is a short, 
thick, flattish snake, of a most sinister and malignant aspect. The fol¬ 
lowing alarming adventure occurred to Mr. Cole, a resident in the Cape. 

“ I was going quietly to bed one evening, wearied by a long day’s 
hunting, when, close to my feet and by my bed-side, some glittering 
substance caught 

Family II. Viperidse.—(Lat. Vipira, a Viper.) 


Clotho.*—(G r. proper name.) 


my eye. I stooped 
to pick it up ; but, 
ere my hand had 
quite reached it, 
the truth flashed 
across me—it was 
a snake! Had I 
followed my first 
natural impulse, I 
should have sprung 
away, but not being 
able clearly to see 
in what position the 
reptile was lying, or 
which way his head 
was pointed, I con¬ 
trolled myself, and 
remained rooted 
breathless to the 
spot. Straining my 
eyes, but moving 
not an inch, I at 
length clearly distinguished a huge Puff Adder,—the most deadly snake in 
the colony, whose bite would have sent me to the other world in an hour 


Arietans (Lat. butting like a Ram), the Puff Adder. 


* This is the name of one of the three Fates ; viz. Clotho, Lachosis, and Atropos. AD 
three names are used as genera of venomous serpents. 









334 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


or two. 1 watched nim in silent horror ; his head was from me; so much 
the worse—for this snake, unlike any other, always rises and strikes back. 
He did not move, he was asleep. Not daring to shuffle my feet, lest hu 
should awake and spring upon me, I took a jump backwards, that would 
have done honour to a gymnastic master, and thus darted outside the 
door of the room ; with a thick stick I then returned and settled his 
worship.” 

The same author remarks in his “ Eive Years’ Residence in South 
Africa,” that its (the Puff Adder’s) bite will kill occasionally within an 
hour. 

It is the more dangerous, because it has a way of flattening itself upon 
the ground; so that, when it is lying thus concealed upon the sand, at 
incautious pedestrian is very likely to tread upon it. 

“ One of my friends lost a favourite and valuable horse by its bite in 
less than two hours after the attack. It is a sluggish reptile, and 
therefore more dangerous, for instead of rushing away like its fellows, at 
the sound of approaching footsteps, it half raises its head and hisses. 
Often have I come to a sudden pull up on foot or on horseback, on 

The Cerastes is 
a well-known snake 
in Egypt, and de¬ 
rives its name from 
the horny scale over 
each eyebrow. Bruce 
mentions that the 
Cerastes can spring 
several feet in 
any direction; but 
his description of 
the stratagems em¬ 
ployed by it, “to 
surprise any one 
who is too far from 
it,” is probably more 
fanciful than cor¬ 
rect, as snakes do 
not attack unless 
suddenly surprised 
or irritated. The 
size of the Cerastes is by no means great, as its average length is onlv 
eighteen inches. The snake-charmers of Egypt employ these reptiles 
precisely as their brethren of India employ the Cobra de Capello. 

The Common Viper, or Adder, is the only venomous reptile inhabiting 
England, nor is its bite nearly so dangerous in its consequences as has 


hearing their dreaded warning.” 

Cerastes.—(G r. Kepdarrjs, horned.) 



Hasselquisti (Eat. of Ilasselquist), the Cerastes. 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


335 



been reported. Seldom has the bite of the Yiper proved mortal; and in 
all probability, had proper precautions been taken, no case would have 
been fatal. Viper-catchers employ olive oil as a remedy against the bite, 
and, from all ac¬ 
counts, it appears PelTas. (Gr. proper name.) 

to be a certain pre¬ 
servative against all 
evil effects. The oil 
should be heated to 
oroduce its full effi- 
sacy. 

It is asserted that, 
when danger threat¬ 
ens, the female viper 
opens her mouth 
and permits her 
brood to hide them¬ 
selves, but it is by 
no means an ascer¬ 
tained fact. 

Progs, lizards, 
mice, and other 
small animals, form 
the food of this 
reptile, but sometimes it falls a victim to its own voracity. In the 
Magazine of Natural History, a Yiper is mentioned which had swallowed 
a lizard nearly as large as itself, and one of whose legs was protruding 
from its side. 

In former times, preparations from Yipers, and especially viper-broth, 
were in great request as medicines. 


Berus, the Viper. 


The Boa-constrictor. —The enormous Boa-constrictor inhabits tro¬ 
pical America. It is not venomous, but is not the less dangerous, as the 
tremendous power of its muscles enables it to crush its prey in the coils 
of its huge body. In order to procure its food, the Boa-constrictor lies 
in wait by the side of some river or pool, where animals of all kinds are 
likely to come to quench their thirst. It patiently waits until some 
animal draws within reach, when, with one spring, the Boa fixes its teeth 
in the creature’s head, coils its body round its victim, and crushes it ta 
death. After the unfortunate animal has beeu reduced almost to a shape¬ 
less mass by the pressure of the snake, its destroyer makes preparations 
for swallowing it entire, a task which it accomplishes, although the 
slaughtered animal is usually very much larger than the dimensions of 
the serpent. At last, the snake succeeds in swallowing its prey, and then 




336 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


li33 torpid for nearly a month, until its enormous meal is digested, when 
it again sallies forth in search of another. 



Sub-order II. . Colubrina. —(Lat. Coluber, a Snake.) 
Family IV. . . Boidae. 

Boa.—(N ative name.' 


Constrictor (Lat. a binder ), the Boa. 


Even the buffalo has been known to fall a victim to this fearful serpent, 
whose length frequently exceeds twenty-five feet. 


The Cobra de Capello is a native of India. It must not be con¬ 
founded with several other hooded snakes, such as the Haje of Egypt, the 
snake so frequently depicted on the hieroglyphical monuments. 

The serpent-charmers invariably use this formidable reptile for their 
performances. The exhibitors possess several Cobras shut up in baskets, 
and when commencing their performances, the lid of the basket is opened, 
and the snake creeps out. Its course is arrested by the sound of the 
rude fife that the charmer always carries, and it immediately expands its 
beautiful though threatening hood, erects its neck, and commences a series 
of undulating movements, which are continued until the sound of the 
fife ceases, when the snake instantly drops, and is replaced in its basket 










natural, history. 


337 


by its master. The charmers appear to be able to discover snakes, and to 
induce them to leave their retreats. Indeed it is rather a singular fact, 
that those travellers who most strongly insist that the snakes thus 
caught are tame and divested of their fangs, appear to forget that even 
in that case the creatures must have been previously caught in order to 
deprive them of their weapons. The length of this snake is about five or 
six fee'U 


Family Y. Colubrfdm.—(Lat. Coluber, a Snake.) 
Naja.— (Native name.) 



Tripudians (Lat. dancing), the Cobra de Capello. 

A. Cobra in the Zoological Gardens was a long time in learning caution, 
tt was accustomed to lie coiled up at the bottom of the cage until 
a spectator came close, when it invariably darted at him, of course 
striking its nose against the glass with no small violence. On my first 
visit to the Reptile House after its arrival, it made its customary attack, 
and after the space of a week, it again struck at me. On my next visit, 
several months afterwards, it laid very quietly at the bottom of its cage, 
and contented itself with a hiss. 

The Egyptian Asp, or Haje, is supposed to be the asp by whose bite 

s 




338 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Cleopatra died, and is in all probability the deaf adder alluded to in tne 
Scriptures, “which stoppetk her ears, and refusetli to hear the voice of 
the charmer, charm he never so wisely.” 

The Common Hinged or Grass Snake is a harmless inhabitant of 
this country, and may be frequently seen or heard gliding along the 
hedge-banks in search of food. It is easily tamed, and soon learns to 

know its master. It lives 
principally on frogs, mice, 
young birds, newts, &c. It 
is an excellent swimmer, and 
from the peculiar structure 
of its lungs can remain under 
water for some time. It 
seems very fond of the water, 
and is most commonly found 
on marshy land, or in hedges 
planted over a wet ditch. 
The viper, on the contrary 
prefers dry sandy situations. 

Several snakes kept tame 
at a village in Wiltshire 
were fed with frogs and 
small newts, which latter 
animals the snake was in 
duced to swallow, by the 
simple process of opening 
the snake’s mouth and push¬ 
ing the newt down its throat. 
This plan, although appa¬ 
rently rather rude, seemed to 
cause the snakes no inconve¬ 
nience. 

Like all other serpents, the Hinged Snake sheds its skin several times 
during the year. The entire skin comes off, even the covering of the 
eyes. A rent opens in the neck, and the snake, by entangling itself in 
tiie thick grass or bushes, actually creeps out of its skin, turning it inside 
out in the effort. 


The Tortoise. —The whole of this order is characterised by the com¬ 
plete suit of bony armour with which the animals are protected. The 
so-called “shell” is in fact a development of various bones, and not 
a mere horny appendage, like the coverings of the armadillo and manis. 
The upper shield is called the “ carapace,” and is united to the under 
shield, or “plastron,” by certain bones, leaving orifices for the protrusion 
of the head and limbs. M^st species are able to withdraw their head 


Natrix. —(Lat a Water Snake.) 



Torquata (Lat. collared), the Ringed Snake. 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


339 


and limbs completely within the shell, and in some few the orifices are 
closed by a kind of hinge joint. The tortoiseshell of commerce is a series 
ot horny plates that cover the exterior of the shield, and is in great 
request on account of the beautiful wavy markings that are so familiar 
to our eyes. 

Order III. . CHELONIA. —(Gr. XeAuvri, a Tortoise.) 

Family I. . Testudinidae.—(Lat. Testudo, a Tortoise.) 



Gneca (Lat. Greek), the Tortoise. 

The Tortoises and Turtles possess no teeth, but the sides of their jaws 
are very hard and sharp, enabling them to crop vegetable substances, or 
to inflict a severe bite. 

The family is divided into Land Tortoises, Marsh Tortoises, River 
Tortoises, and Marine Tortoises, or Turtles. 

The Common Land Tortoise is found in abundance in the south of 
Europe. It is often kept in captivity in this country, and is very long 
lived, individuals being known to have exceeded two hundred years. Its 
movements are very slow, but it can excavate a burrow with unexpected 
rapidity. Secure in an impenetrable covering, it bids defiance to any 
ordinary enemy, except, as Sydney Smith wittily observes, “man, and the 
boa-constrictor. Man, however, takes him home and roasts him, and the 
boa-constrictor swallows him whole, shell and all, and consumes him slowly 
in the interior, as the Court of Chancery does a great estate.” 

I had a common Land Tortoise for a few months, part of whose life is 
described in the following passage, which has already appeared as a note 
to White’s “Natural History of Selborne.” 

Some time since, a man arrived in Oxford, bringing with lnm tortoises 

z 2 





340 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


for sale. They passed tneir existence in a basket, where they were packed 
close, like so many bricks, standing on their tails, and their heads looking 
out of the basket. When I purchased one of them, the man emptied out 
his whole basketful upon the table, and then turned out the contents of 
four large pockets, until a large table was entirely covered with them. 

The tortoise which I purchased was a very small one, and was tolerably 
lively, walking about the room, and always settling on the hearthrug. 
It had a great genius for climbing, and would sometimes spend nearly an 
hour in endeavouring to scale the fender, probably attracted by the heat. 
Unfit as the form of the creature may seem for such a purpose, it did 
contrive to scramble upon a footstool which was placed by the fender. 
Its method of attaining this elevation was as follows:—First it reared up 
against the footstool in the angle formed by it and the fender, and after 
several ineffectual attempts, succeeded in hitching the claws of one of 
its hind feet into the open work of the fender. On this it raised itself, 
and held on to the top of the stool by its fore-feet while it gained another 
step on the fender, and so managed to raise itself to such a height, that 
it only had to fall flat on the top of the footstool. When once there, it 
could hardly be induced to leave the elevation which it had gained with 
such difficulty. 

Its food consisted of bread and milk, which it ate several times a-day, 
drinking the milk by scooping up some of it in its lower jaw, and then, 
by throwing its head back, the milk ran dovm its throat. Tortoises are 
generally long-lived, but this animal died within a few months after it 
came into my possession, in all probability because, for some days, its 
food was placed in a brass vessel. 

Several days before its death it was very restless, and went about the 
room mewing like a young kitten, and made such a noise, that it had to 
be ejected during working hours. I could not for some time believe that 
the mewing could proceed from the tortoise, as the resemblance to that 
of a kitten was most exact. 


The Common Green Turtle. —The feet of the Marine Tortoises, 
or Turtles, are modified into fins or flippers just as are the feet of the 
seals, and consequently, although the Turtles are active in the water, on 
land their walk is nothing but an awkward shuffle. The flippers, however, 
are admirable instruments for scooping out the sand, in which the eggs 
are laid, and afterwards covered over. Nearly two hundred eggs are laid 
in one nest. The eggs are held in great estimation, but the albumen, or 
“white,” does not become hard by boiling. 

The Common Green Turtle, whose flesh is considered such a luxury, 
is common in Jamaica, and most of the islands of the East and West 
Indies. The turtles are captured by turning them on their backs; for 
the carapace is so flat, and their legs are so short, that they are forced 
to lie help 1 ess until their captors have leisure to drag them away. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


341 


Family V. Cheloni&dae. 
Chelonia.— (Gr. XeXa/vn, a tortoise.) 



Viridis (Lat. green), the Turtle. 

The Green Turtle has been known to reach the weight of five or six 
hundred pounds. The tortoiseshell of commerce is almost entirely 
obtained from the Hawksbill Turtle. 


The Crocodile. —These animals are separated from the Lizards on 
account of the peculiar horny covering with which they are protected. 

The Crocodile is an inhabitant of the Old World, the Alligator of 
the New, and the two animals are best distinguished by the construction 
of the jaws. In the Crocodiles the lower canine teetli fit into a notch 
in the edge of the upper jaw, and there is in consequence a contraction 
of the muzzle just behind the nostrils. The lower canine teeth of 
the Alligators fit into a pit in the edge of the upper jaw, and in con¬ 
sequence no contraction is needed. At the back of the throat is a valve 
completely shutting out water, but leaving the passage to the nostrils 
free, so that the Crocodile can keep his mouth open when beneath the 
surface, without swallowing the water, or can hold his prey to drown 
under the water while he breathes at ease with his nostrils at the surface. 
There is no true tongue. 

The Common Crocodile inhabits many African rivers, aud is, probably, 
the reptile infesting the Ganges. The Nile, however, is ihe best known 
haunt of this terrible creature. 

The Crocodile feeds on fish, floating carrion, and dogs or other animals, 
which it is enabled to surprise as they come to drink at the water’s edge. 









































342 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


but man frequently falls a victim to its voracity. In revenge for this 
treatment, all nations persecuted with this pest *m\e devised various 
methods of killing it. The Negroes of some parts of Africa are sufficiently 
bold and skilful to attack the Crocodile in his own element. They 
fearlessly plunge into the water, and diving beneath the Crocodile plunge 
the dagger with which they are armed into the creature’s belly, which is 
not protected by the coat of mail that guards the other parts of its 
body. The usual plan is to lie in wait near the spot where the Crocodile 

Order IV. . EMYDOSAURI. —(Gr. 'E/uvs, the Water-Tortoise; aavpa.) 

Family I. . Crocodilldax—(Gr. Kpoi<6dciAos. Crocodile kind.) * 

crocodIlus. 



Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Crocodile. 


is accustomed to repose. This is usually a sandy bank, and the hunter 
digs a hole in the sand, and, armed with a sharp harpoon, patiently awaits 
the coming of his expected prey. The Crocodile comes to its accustomed 
spot, and is soon asleep, when it is suddenly roused by the harpoon, 
which penetrates completely through its scaly covering. The hunter 
immediately retreats to a canoe, and hauls at the line attached to the 
harpoon until he drags the Crocodile to the surface, when he darts a 
second harpoon. The struggling animal is soon wearied out, dragged to 
ihore, and dispatched by dividing the spinal cord. In order to prevent 

* The word Crocodile literally signifies, “o^p afraid of saffron/’ 








NATURAL HISTORY. 


343 


the infuriated reptile from biting the cord asunder, it is composed ol 
about thirty small lines, not twisted, but only bound together at intervals 
of two feet. 

When on land it is not difficult to escape the Crocodile, as certain 
projections on the vertebrae of the neck prevent it from turning its 
head to any great extent. 

The eggs of this creature are very small, hardly exceeding those of a 
goose; numbers are annually destroyed by birds of prey and quadrupeds, 
especially the Ichneumon. 


The Alligator, or Cayman, is an inhabitant of the New World, and 
is unpleasantly common in the rivers of North America. It pursues fish 
with exceeding dexterity, by driving a shoal of them into a creek, and 
then plunging amid the terrified mass, and devouring its victims at its 
pleasure. It also catches pigs, dogs, and other animals that venture too 
close to the river. In that case, as the animal is too large to be swallowed 
entire, the Alligator conceals it in some hole in the bank until it begins 
to putrefy, when it is dragged out, and devoured under the concealment 
of the rank herbage fringing the river. 

The usual method of taking this creature is by baiting a most formid¬ 
able four-pointed hook, composed of wooden spikes artistically arranged, 
and suffering it to float in the river. When an alligator has swallowed 
it, he is hauled on shore by the rope, and slaughtered. Waterton gives 
a very amusing account of catching a cayman. The reptile had swallowed 
the hook, and was being towed ashore. Waterton was waiting for him, 
armed with the mast of the boat, to force it down the throat of the cayman 
should he prove restive. “By this time the cayman was within two 
yards of me; I saw he was in a state of fear and perturbation. I in¬ 
stantly dropped the mast, sprang up, and jumped on his back, turning 
half round as I vaulted, so that I gained my seat w r ith my face in a right 
position. I immediately seized his fore legs, and by main force twisted 
them on his back; thus they served me for a bridle. 

“He now seemed to have recovered from his surprise, and probably 
fancying himself in hostile company, he began to plunge furiously, and 
lashed the sand with his long and powerful tail. 1 was out of reach of 
the strokes of it, by being near his head. He continued to plunge and 
strike, and made my seat very uncomfortable.” 

In Audubon’s American Ornithology is an account of a wounded ibis 
chased by the alligators. A white ibis had been shot, and had fallen 
into the water with a broken wing. “The exertions which it made to 
reach the shore seemed to awake the half torpid alligators that lay in the 
deep mud at the bottom of the pool. One showed his head above 
the water, then a second and third. All gave chase to the wounded bird, 
which, on seeing its dreaded and deadly foes, made double speed towards 
the very spot where we stood. T was surprised to see how much faster thu 



344 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


bird swam than the reptiles, who, with jaws widely opened, urged then 
heavy bodies through the water. The ibis was now within a few yards 
of us. It was the alligator’s last chance. Springing forwards, as it were, 
he raised his body almost out of the water; his jaws nearly touched the 
terrified bird, when, by pulling three triggers at once, we lodged the 
contents of our guns in the throat of the monster. Threshing furiously 

Family II. Alligatorfdae.—(Alligator kind.) 

Alligator.— (Spanish, El Lagato , the Lizard d 



Mississipensis (Lat. of the Mississipi), the Alligator. 

with his tail, and rolling his body in agony, the alligator at last sank tc 
the mud; and the ibis, as if in gratitude, walked to our very feet, and 
then lying down, surrendered himself to us.” 

Like the Crocodile, the Alligator lays its eggs in the sandy bank of the 
river. Fortunately, but few of the young ever reach maturity, as their 
ranks are thinned by various birds and beasts of prey before the eggs are 
hatched, and by the attacks of large fishes, and even their own species, 
when they have reached the water. 









NATURAL HIBTORY. 


345 


Class IV. . . AMPHIBIA.—(Gr. ’A/jupifiios, leading a double life, i.e. on Land 
and on water.) 

Order I.. . . BATRACHIA. —(Gr. B arpaxos, a Frog.) 

Sub-order I. Salientia.— -(Lat. Leaping animals.) 

Rana.— (Lat. a Frog.) 



Temporaria (Lat. temporary), the Common Frog. 

The Frog. —The appearance and habits of the Frog and the Toad 
are so familiar as to require but little description. A short account, how¬ 
ever, is necessary, of the peculiarities common to both Frogs and Toads. 

In the early stage of their existence, these animals are termed tadpoles. 
They at first appear to be nothing but head and tail, but after several 
days have passed, four legs are observed to become developed. These 
rapidly increase, and the little creature closely resembles a small eft. 
In due time, however, the tail is lost, and the creature becomes a perfect 
frog. Another important change also takes place. In its tadpole state 
the creature was essentially a water animal, but after its change has taken 
place it is not able to exist under water for any great length of time, and 
is forced to come to the surface to breathe. 

The tongue of the Frog is curiously fixed almost at the entrance of the 
mouth, and when at rest points backwards down the throat. When, 
however, the Frog comes within reach of a slug or insect, the tongue is 
darted out with exceeding rapidity, the slug secured, carried to the back 
of the throat, and swallowed. 

Both frogs and toads hybernate, the former congregating in multitudes 
in the mud at the bottoms of ponds and marshes, while the latter choose 
a hole in the ground, frequently at tne roots of a tree, and pass the winter 


346 


N \TURATi niSTORY. 


in solitary dignity. In .February 1852, two frogs were dug out of the 
gravelled play-ground of Magdalen School, Oxford. They were about a 
foot from the surface of the ground, and their habitation was quite 
smooth. Both were sitting with their mouths pointed upwards, but 
I could not ascertain if there had been any communication with the 
open air. 

The skin of these animals lias the property of imbibing water, so that 
if an apparently emaciated frog is placed in a damp place, it will sood 
look quite plump. 

The Common Frog is a well-known frequenter of marshy places and 
the banks of rivers. It is an admirable swimmer, and from the peculiar 
construction of its lungs can remain for some time under water, but is 
forced periodically to come to the surface for the purpose of breathing. 

The Bull-Frog is an inhabitant of North America. It is verv voracious, 
feeding upon fishes, molluscs, and even young fowl. Its powers of leaping 
are so great, that an Indian was not able to overtake an irritated bull-frog 
after it had sprung three hops in advance. It is very large, measuring 
about seven inches in length. 

The Tree Frogs are very peculiar animals. The construction of their 
feet, something resembling that of the geckos, enables them to traverse 
the branches, and even to hang on the under surface of a pendent leaf, 
which it so resembles in colour that the unwary insect passes by and is 
instantly seized by the watchful frog. The Green Tree Frog is the most 
common, and is plentifully found in southern Europe and northern Africa 
There are several specimens in the Zoological Gardens, which present a 
most absurd appearance as they stick against the pane of glass forming 
the front of their cage. 

The Common Toad has 
had its full share of mar¬ 
vellous tales. Its poisonous 
properties are celebrated in 
many an ancient chronicle, 
as are also the virtues of 
the jewel contained in its 
head. 

Its skin certainly does 
secrete an acrid humour, 
which at all events defends 
it from dogs, who can sel¬ 
dom be induced to bite a 
toad a second time; but of 
course such absurd notions 
as the romantic story of 
the death of a young lady 
and her lover, who eact 


Bufo.—(L at. a Toad .'t 



Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Common Toad. 









NATURAL HISTORY. 347 

ale a leaf of a shrub at the root of which a toad had made its habitation, 
need no refutation. 

The Toad is easily tamed. A correspondent from the country has 
kindly sent an account of a tame toad, that had lived in the family foi 
several years, and which was accustomed to sup on a lump of sugar. 

The well-known instances of imprisoned toads who must have spent 
many years in their narrow habitations, are apparently explained by the 
supposition that some aperture or fissure existed, through which air and 
minute insects could pass, sufficient for their nourishment while in a semi- 
torpid condition. Certainly those experimented on by Dr. Buckland in 
1825, and from whom all air was cut off, died before a year’s imprisonment. 
The Toad casts its skin at certain times, but we never find the slough as 
we do that of the snake, as the toad invariably swallows its former 
covering. 


Sub-order II. GradientIa.—(L at. walking animals.) 

Family I. . . Salamandridye.—(Gr. SaAa^avSpa, a Salamander.) 

Triton. — (Gr. Tpirwv, a Sea-god.) 



Cristatus (Lat. crested), the Common Newt . 

The Newts are separated from the lizards on account of their changes 
while young. Like the frogs, they are first tadpoles, and do not assume 
their perfect shape until six weeks after their exclusion from the eggs. 

The Common Newt is a beautiful inhabitant of the ponds, ditches, and 
still waters. It feeds principally on tadpoles and worms, which it eats 
with a peculiar rapid snap. I have frequently seen it attack the smaller 
newt with great perseverance, but I was never fortunate enough to see it 
Kill its prey. 






34.8 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


I kept some newts for some time in a large glass vessel, and noticed 
that when a new inhabitant was added, it always cast its skin within two 
or three days. The skin came off in pieces, the covering of the feet 
slipping off like a glove ; but I could never see how the creature contrived 
to pull these glove-like relics off. 

It is constantly in the habit of rising to the surface of the water in 
order to breathe. 

Many country people have great horror of these beautiful and harmless 

little animals. In * 
little village in Wilt¬ 
shire there is a current 
anecdote of a girl who 
was bitten in the arm 
by an effet , who spit 
fire into the wound. 
The girl consequently 
lost her arm. Some 
of these newts or efts 
were placed inatrough 
where the cows were 
accustomed to drink. 
After a few days a calf 
the female newt. died, and nothing 

would convince the 

rustics that the effets were not the cause of the untimely decease of the 
calf, although it had never come near the trough, but was safely fastened 
in the cow-house. The Newt has received the name of Cristatus, or 
crested, on account of the beautiful crimson-tipped wavy crest of loose 
skin, that extends along the whole course of the back and tail, and which, 
together with the rich orange-coloured belly, makes it a most beautiful crea¬ 
ture. The female has a singular habit of laying her eggs upon long leaves 
of water-plants, and actually tying them in the leaf by a regular knot. 

The first of the two cuts represents the male Newt. It is known b;y 
the beautiful ridge of undulating skin that runs down its back. While 
on laud, this ridge falls flat on the back, and is hardly distinguishable, 
but in the water it remains erect, and waves about with every movement 
of the animal. The female is destitute of this crest, and is not so beautiful 
in it3 appearance as the male. 



The Proteus is an extraordinary animal, which has been found in dark 
subterranean lakes, many hundred feet below the surface of the earth, 
where no ray of light can possibly enter. The eyes of this singular 
creature are mere points covered with skin, and useless for vision ; indeed 
when in captivity it always chooses the darkest parts of the vessel in 
which it is confined. 













NATURAL HISTORY. 


349 


1 have seen seven specimens of this strange creature, which have lived 
for several years in a glass vessel covered with green baize in order to 
keep them in the dark. They have not been known to take any nourish¬ 
ment whatever during the time of their captivity, except the very trifling 
amount of nutrition that might have been obtained by changing the 
water. 

Order V. . MEANT!A. —(Lat. gliding animals.) 

Family I. . Proteidm. 

Troteus. —(Proper name.) 


Anguinus (Lat. like a snake), the Proteus. 

The Proteus breathes in two ways—by lungs and by gills, the latter 
organs appearing in the form of two tufts, one on each side of the neck, 
just above the fore limbs. The circulation of the blood in these branchial 
tufts can easily be seen with a microscope of moderate power. These 
tufts are of a rather deeper pink tinge than the remainder of the body, 
which is of a very pale flesh-colour. Exposure to light darkens the tints 
both of gills and body. It bears some resemblance to the young of the 
newts, which are furnished with branchial tufts, which they lose upon 
attaining maturity, and was thei cfore for some time thought to be the 
young of some unknown reptile. It has, however, been proved to be 
a perfect animal, ana has been found of all sizes. 

The blood disks of this animal are exceedingly dirge; so large, indeed, 
as almost to be distinguished by the naked eye. When in captivity, its 
movements are slow and eel-like, nor does it seem to make much use of 
its almost rudimentary limbs. 

It has usually been found on the soft mud of a small lake in the grotto 
of Maddalena. It is not always present, and has been conjectured to be 
the inhabitant of some unknown subterranean body of water, and to have 
been forced through the crevices of the rocks. Besides the grotto of 
Maddalena at Adelsburg, they have also been found at Sittich, thirty 
miles distant, thrown up from a subterranean cavity. 






350 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


As the Fishes live exclusively in the water, it is necessary that then 
organs of respiration should be differently formed from those of the 
animals breathing atmospheric air. Instead of the purification of the 
blood being accomplished by the contact of atmospheric air in the appa¬ 
ratus called lungs, that office is performed by the water, which passes 
into the mouth of the fish, and from thence out at the gill-covers, on ita 
way being strained through the singular structure called the “ gills.’ 1 ' 
These gills are able to extract from the water sufficient oxygen to purify 
the blood of the fish. If the oxygen has already been extracted, the fish 
instantly dies. The same effect is produced if the fish be so held as to 
prevent the water from flowing in the proper direction, so that it is 
perfectly possible to drown a fish; although L’Estrange may doubt the 
fact — 

“ And like those sages that would drown a fish, 

I am condemn’d to suffer—what I wish." 

Most anglers are perfectly aware of the power obtained by keeping the 
head of a hooked fish down the stream. 

The elongated form of fishes, and their smooth covering, affording 
but little resistance to the water, beautifully show their perfect adapta¬ 
tion for the element in which they reside. 

Their rapid movements through the water are principally performed by 
means of a lateral vibration of the tail, just as a boat is sculled along by 
a single oar at the stern, or by a constant vibration of the rudder. The 
dead and mangled carcase of a flensed whale has been frequently known 
to swim for a considerable distance by the mere force of the muscular 
movements of the tail after death. The fins serve principally as 
balancers. 

Most fish possess a singular organ called the “swimming-bladder.” 
This is a membranous pouch, varying exceedingly in size and shape, 
situated close under the spine, and filled by some means with gas, mostly 
found to be nitrogen, but in deep-sea fishes, an excess of oxygen is 
discovered to exist. The fish seems to be able to rise or sink by means 
of compressing or expanding this pouch, without being forced to make 
use of its tail or fins. 

The smooth scaly covering with which most fish are furnished, is ad¬ 
mirably fitted both for defence against the water, and for enabling the 
fish to glide easily through places where a rough covering would have 
held it prisoner. Many valuable characteristics are derived from the shape 
of the scales in different fish. There are four principal varieties, called, 1. 
Placoid, or flat scales; 2. Ganoid, or polished scales; 3. Ctenoid, or toothed 
scales ; and 4. Cycloid, or circular scales. These names are derived 
from, 1.7 rXaKovs, a flat cake ; 2. yau6a>, I polish; 3. ureis, Krevos , a comb; 
4. kGcXo?, a circle. The scales of the 1. Dogfish; 2. Sturgeon; 3.Perch • 
and 4. Carp, are excellent instances of the four kinds of scales. 

The Acanthopterygii are so called from their spinous fin rays. The 
Perch is an excellent example of this order. 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


35 ) 


The Ked Gurnard, or Cuckoo Gurnard, as it is sometimes called, 
from the sound it utters when taken out of the water, is very common 
on the English coast. It is rather a small fish, rarely exceeding fourteen 
filches in length. The colours of its body when living are very beautiful, 
the upper part being bright red, and the under parts silvery white. 

Class Y. . PISCES. —(Lat Fishes.) 

Sub-class I. PISCES OSSEI—(Lat. bony fishes.) 

Order I. . ACANTHOPTERYGII— (Gr/A/cov0os,athorn; ivTepvyiov, a fin.) 
Sub-order I. Dactyloph5ri. —(Gr. AuktuXos, a finger; <pepu>, I bear.) 

Family I. . Triglidse.—(Gr. TplyXa, a Mullet.) 


trigla. 



Cuculus (Lat. a Cuckoo), the Gurnard. 


There are nine species of Gurnard known <o frequent the coasts of 
England, some, as the Sapphirine and the Mailed Gurnards, being most 
extraordinary in form. 

The Flying Gurnard is common in the Indian seas. Its pectoral fins 
are so much enlarged, that when it springs out of the water, when 
pursued by the dolphin or bonito, the wide quivering fins are able to 
sustain it in the air for a limited period. 

This fish has often been confounded by voyagers with the true Flying- 
fish (. Rvoccetus ), which belongs to an entirely different order. 


The TSULL-iiiiAD or Miller’s-thumb. —This odd little fish is very 
common, and may be found in most streams of England. It is called the 

















352 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



Bull-head on account of the great size of its head. For the same reason, 

it is often called the Miller’s- 
Faraily II Cottid®,—(Gr. Kottos, pro- thumb, because the flatness 
perlv, ahead; the Bull-head.) and width of its bead is sup¬ 

posed to resemble the state of 
cottus. the thumb of a miller caused 

by constantly trying the me:d 
between his finger and thumb. 

It has a singular habit of 
diving under stones, and is 
quite contented if its head is 
under shelter, utterly regard¬ 
less of the fact that its tail is 
waving about in the most open 
and undisguised manner ima¬ 
ginable. This peculiarity often 
renders it the victim of keen¬ 
eyed boys, who catch a sight 
of the tail of the Bull-head 
wriggling about just outside 
a stone, and then, with a 
steady and quiet grasp, seize 
the little fish betore it can 
Goblo (Lat.) the Bull-head or Miller s-lhumb. take the alarm. 



The Common Perch is well known to anglers both as a “bold biting 

fish,” and as a fish that 

Sub-order II. Holodactyli.— (Gr. c 'o\os, entire; does not yield up its 
SaurvAos, a finger.) life without endanger- 

Family IV. . Percfd®.—(Gr. neo/cr/, a Perch .) ing the person of its 

captor; for the formi¬ 
dable row of spinous 
rays belonging to the 
first dorsal fin have 
wounded the hands 
of many an incautious 
angler. 

it is extremely vora¬ 
cious, so much so that 
after all the legitimate 
bait has been exhausted, 
it is a common practice 
for the fisherman to 
place on his hook the 
eyes of the perch al- 
Pluviatllis (Lat. of ike river), the Perch. ready taken, which are 










NATURAL HISTORY. 


353 


as eagerly bitten at, as the worms were formerly. An anecdote is related 
of a gentleman who struck at a Perch, but unfortunately missed it, the 
hook tearing out the eye of the poor creature. He adjusted the eye on the 
hook, and replaced the line in the water, where it had hardly been a few 
minutes before the float was violently jerked under the surface. The angler 
of course struck, and found he had captured a fine Perch. This when 
landed was discovered to be the very fish which had just been mutilated, 
and which had actually lost its life by devouring its own eye. It is 
quaintly observed by Izaak Walton, that “if there be twenty or fortv 
in a hole, they may be at one standing all caught one after another, they 
being like the wicked of the world, not afraid though their fellows and 
companions perish in their sight.” 

T le Perch seldom exceeds two pounds and a half in weight, and 
a Perch weighing a pound and a. half is considered a very fine fish. 


The Mackarel. —The elegant shape and resplendent colours of the 
Mackarel point it out as one of the most beautiful fishes known. Nor 
is it only valuable for its 

beauty, as it is highly prized P an fily XIIL Scomberidae. gGr. '2ko[aBdos, 
as an article of food in most 
parts of the world. 

Vast shoals of Mackarel 
visit our coasts, and myriads 
are taken by fishermen both 
by nets and with lines. The 
line of nets frequently ex¬ 
ceeds a mile in extent, and 
of course the number of fish 
contained in this enormous 
net must be beyond all calcu¬ 
lation. On several occasions, 
the meshes of the net were 
completely choked up by fish 
hanging by their gills, and 
the net acted like a dredge, sweeping up myriads more fish in a solid 
mass. In 1808, the whole net and its cargo sunk and were lost to the too 
successful fishermen. 

The profits of the fishery vary exceedingly ; sometimes the boats will 
hardly take a single mackarel, and at other times, or even in different 
spots, the draught of fish will nearly fill the boat. In 1834, one boat sold 
in one night nearly one hundred pounds’ worth of mackarel. 

The fish require to be used soon after they are taken out of the water, 
as the flesh is very tender, and easily injured by exposure to the air, or 
by carriage to any great distance. 

When the fishermen employ the line for the capture of the mackarel, 

A A 


a generic name ior tne r unny .) 
SCOMBER. 




S/ 





Scombrus (Latinized form of Zko/aBpos) 
the Mackarel. 








35 4 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


the hook is baited with a strip cut from a dead mackarel, and is suffered 
to trail overboard. The fish bite eagerly at t his cannibal kind of bait, and 
are frequently taken by baiting the hook with a strip of scarlet leather 
or cloth. 

The Tunny is a tolerably large fish, averaging four feet in length, and is 
very common in the Mediterranean. Large fisheries are established 
during May and June, at which season immense shoals of these fish rove 
along the coast. The most approved method of fishing is by the 
“ madrague ” or “ tonnaro .” A large number of long and deep nets are 

Thynnus.—(G r. Qvwos , a Tunny.) 



Thynnus, the Tunny. 

placed along the shore, one edge being fixed to the bottom of the sea by 
anchors and weights, and the other edge kept at the surface of the water 
by corks. A wall is thus formed, stretching along the coast for nearly a 
mile in length. The tunnies swimming along the coast pass into this net, 
and continue their course until they are stopped by other nets placed 
across the principal net, and dividing it into chambers. From chamber to 
chamber the unfortunate fishes are driven through openings permitting 
their entrance, but preventing egress, until they arrive at the last 
chamber, called significantly the “ chamber of death.” A strong net, 
placed horizontally, enables the fishermen to draw the tunnies to the 
surface, when a shower of blows from poles and similar weapons soon 
destroys the entire shoal. 

This fish is not unfrequently found on the English coast. 

The Sword-fish. —The well-known Sword-fish inhabits every part of 
the Mediterranean Sea, and has several times been seen near the shores 
of England and Scotland. 

The “sword” for which this fish is so famous, is an elongation of the 
upper jaw, of great strength, and capable of doing considerable injury 
to any object against which it directs its attacks. In the British 
Museum is a portion of the bottom of a ship, pierced completely through 
by the “ sword ” of one of these fish. Its unfortunate owner must have 









NATURAL HISTORY. 


■> 

O ' Jt, 

instantly perished by the shock, for the sword was imbedded almost to its 
base, and broken short off. In one instance, a Sword-fish attacked 
a whaling-ship, and drove its weapon “ t hrough the copper sheathing, an 
inch-board sheathing, a three-inch plank of hard wood, the solid white 
oak-timber of the ship twelve inches thick, through another two-and- 
a-half inch hard oak ceiling plank, and lastly, perforated the head of an 
oil-cask, where it still remained immovably fixed, so that not a single 
drop of oil escaped.” 

In the Mediterranean, the fishermen eagerly chase the Sword-fish. 
The harpoon and line are used, much in the same manner as in the whale 


Xiphias.—(G r. Xicplas, shaped like a sword; the Sword-fish.) 



Gladius (Lat. a Sword), the Sword-fish. 

fishery. The Sicilian fishermen have a strange superstition that if the 
Sword-fish were to hear a word of Italian, it would instantly dive and 
escape them. They therefore restrict their vocal sounds to an unintelli¬ 
gible chant. It it said that the whale is an object of particular enmity 
to the Sword-fish, and that ships are struck by it, being mistaken for 
whales. 

The length of this fish is usually from twelve to fifteen feet. It is 
said to feed principally on tunnies, pursuing the shoals, and transfixing 
the fish with its sword. 

The Stickleback. —There are six species of Sticklebacks known to 
inhabit England, the habits of all being very similar. They are most 
pugnacious little creatures, and wifi fight on the smallest provocation, 
dashing at each other and endeavouring to tear open their adversary’s 
side with the sharp spikes that adorn their sides. The brilliant colours 
with which they are decorated, only belong to the males, and not to them 
if they have been vanquished. In such a case, the conqueror looks more 
brilliant than before, and sails about with as much dignity as can be as* 
sumed by an animal an inch and a half in length. The unfortunate 
individual who has been defeated sneaks off into some corner, and soon 
loses his beautiful colouring, his crimson, green, and gold panoply 
changing into a very dull matter-of-fact grey. 

a a 2 








356 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Gasterosteus.—(G r. raar-pp, the belly; 
ocrrtov, a bone.) 



The courage of the Stickle* 
backs is not only exerted 
against their own species. 
These little fish are quite 
aquatic lemmings, and will 
boldly attack a stick if it is 
placed near their haunts. 1 
have often known them dash 
with such violence at a stick 
which I have presented to 
them, that the blow of their 
head against the wood pro¬ 
duced a sensible jar. 



Aculeatua (Lat. thorny,) the Stickleback. 


Family XIV. Zeldae.—(Gr. Zei js, Jupiter.) 
ZEUS. 


The John Dory, rendered 
illustrious by Quin the come¬ 
dian, who was not less known 
for his comic powers than for 
his love of good living, is 
found plentifully off the coasts 
of Cornwall and Devonshire. 
The derivation of its 
name is not quite cer¬ 
tain, but in all pro¬ 
bability it is derived 
from the Trench, 
doree, or golden, in 
allusion to its pecu 
liar golden yellow 
colour. 

Traditions vary as 
to the spots so con¬ 
spicuous on its side, 
Some strenuously as¬ 
sert that this was the 
fish caught by St. 
Peter when he took 
the tribute-money out 
of its mouth, and 
upon whose sides the 
marks of his finger 
and thumb were left. 
The Haddock, how¬ 
ever, vies with the 
Dory for this honour. Other traditions are quite as vigorous in their 


Faber (Lat. a Workman ; sometimes used for the 
fish), the John Dory. 












































NATURAL HI9TOR\. 357 

assertion, that St. Christopher produced these marks while crossing 
an arm of the sea, bearing the Saviour in his arms. 


Family XVII. Syngnathtdax—(Gr. 2tV, together; yroidos, the jaw.j 

Hippocampus. —(Gr. 'hmoKa/ATros, derived from 'Lmros, a Horse ; nd/uvn, 
a joint or a caterpillar, a Sea-horse.) 



Brevirostris (Lat. short-beaked), the Sea-horse. 

'The singular fish called the Sea-horse has often been found off the 
southern coasts of England. The habits of this fish are very singular and 
interesting. A pair were kept alive for some time in a glass vessel, and 
exhibited considerable activity and intelligence. They swam about with 
an undulating kind of movement, and frequently twined their tails round 
the weeds placed in their prison. Their eyes moved independently of each 
other, like those of the chameleon, and the changeable tints of the head 
closely resemble that animal. 

More than once, these curious fish have been seen curled up in oyster 
shells. 

The singular creatures called Pipe-fish also belong to the Syngnathidae 


The Remora, or Sucking-fish, is remarkable for the peculiar appa¬ 
ratus situated on the upper part of its head. Bv this it can adhere to 
any object so firmly that it is a difficult matter to make it loose its hold. 
It is often found adhering to large fish or to the bottoms of ships, pro¬ 
bably in both instances for the sake of the fragments of food rejected by 
1 be one, or thrown overboard from the other. 

The older writers on Natural History fully believed that one Remora 
had the power of arresting the swiftest ship in its course, and fixing it 
firmly in the same spot in spite of spread canvass and swift gales. As 
the Remora is about the same size as a herring, our ancestors naturally 
considered this a very curious circumstance, and wrote no few pQfens on 















358 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


the subject. The following true account of this fish is extracted from 
Macgillivray’s Voyage of the Battle-snake :— 

“ Small fish appeared to abound at this anchorage (the Calvados group 
of islands). I had never before seen the Sucking-fish {Echeneis reviora) 
so plentiful as at that place; they caused much annoyance to our fisher¬ 
men by carrying off baits and hooks, and appeared always on the alert, 
darting out in a body of twenty or more from under the ship’s bottom 
when any offal was thrown overboard. Being quite a nuisance, and use¬ 
less as food, Jack often treated them as he would a shark, by sprit-sa’J 
yarding,* or some less refined mode of torture. One day, some of us while 
walking the poop had our attention directed to a sucking-fish about two 
and a half feet in length, which had been made fast by the tail to a billet 
of wood by a fathom or so of spun yarn, and so turned adrift. An 
immense striped shark, apparently about fourteen feet in length, which 

Family XXII. Echeneidm.— (Gr. ’Exevrjis ; from e%co, I hold; vavs , a ship.) 

ECHENEIS. 



ltemora (Lat. 'properly, a delay), the Suclcing-jish. 
nad been cruising about the ship all the morning, sailed slowly up, and 
turning slightly on one side, attempted to seize the apparently helpless 
fish, but the sucker with great dexterity made himself fast in a moment 
to the shark’s back. Off darted the monster at full speed, the sucker 
holding fast as a limpet to a rock, and the billet towing astern. He then 
rolled over and over, tumbling about; when, wearied with his efforts, he 
lay quiet for a little. Seeing the float, the shark got it into his mouth, and 
disengaging the sucker by a tug on the line, made a bolt at the fish ; but 
his puny antagonist was again too quick, and fixing himself close behind 
the dorsal fin, defied the efforts of the shark to disengage him, although 
he rolled over and over, lashing the water with his tail until it foamed 
all around. What the final result was, we could not clearly make out.” 


The Angler, or Fishing Frog, as it is more generally called, is not 
uncommon in all the European seas. The peculiar formation of its pec¬ 
toral fins enables .it to crawl for some distance on land. 

* “ Sprit-sail yarding ” is an ingenious torture invented by sailors for the especial 
benefit of the shark. It is accomplished by thrusting a small spar transversely through 
the poor creature’s mouth, so that, being unable to procure its.food on account of tire im¬ 
pediment, ; t dies by degrees from the combined effects of hunger and pain. 








NATURAL LUcSTORY. 


369 


On its head are two elongated bony appendages, curiously articulated 
to the skull by a joint formed something like the links of a chain, and 
capable of movement in any direction. The Angler couches close to the 
bottom of the sea, and by the movement of its pectoral fins stirs up the 
sand and mud, and agitates the bony appendages amid the turbid cloud 

Family XXIII. Lophiid®.— (Gr. A 6(pos, a crest. 1 

LOPHIUS. 



Piscatorius (Lat. fishing), the Angler. 


produced. The small fishes, observing the muddy water, and taking the 
filaments for worms, approach to seize them, and are instantly engulphed 
in the capacious jaws of the crafty Angler. 

The voracity of the Angler is so great, that when caught in a net 
together with other fish, it generally devours some of its fellow-prisoners 
—a useless act, for the fishermen mostly open its stomach, and recapture 
the flounders and other fish found in its interior. 

The Malacopterygian fishes have their fin membranes supported by 
flexible rays. The Abdominal Malacoptervgii have their ventral fins 
situated on the belly, without any connexion with the bones of the 
shoulder. 

The Common Carp is a well-known inhabitant of our ponds, lakes, and 
sluggish rivers. It is a very shy and wary fish, rejecting one day a bait 
which had been freely taken the day previous. In 1847, while fishing 
in a small pond near Oxford, I took in one hour six or seven carp, weigh¬ 
ing from half a pound to nearly three pounds each. A few days after¬ 
wards, although the weather was equally propitious, the carp were not, 
and the whole day was spent without even a bite. 

It lives to a great age, and when very old its scales turn grey just as 









360 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Order II. . . MALACOPTERYGII. —(Gr. MaXaKos, soft; nrtpvyiov, a tin.) 
Sub-order I. Abdominalia. —(Lat. belonging to the abdomen.) 

Family I. . . Cyprinidae.— (Gr. KunpTvos, a Carp.) 


CYPRINUS. 



Carplo (Lat.) the Carp. 

human hairs do. In several places in France numbers of Carp were kept 
until they attained an enormous size. These great sluggish fish were 
accustomed to come to the water’s edge in order to be fed at the call of 
their keeper. Feeding the Carp was almost a hereditary amusement of 
the later kings of France. 

Yery few fish are so tenacious of life as the Carp. It is the custom 
in Holland to keep these fish in nets filled with wet moss. They are fed 
with bread and milk, and are preserved in health by frequent immersion 
in water, in order to keep the moss thoroughly wet. 

Two or three pounds is the average weight of a good Carp, but in¬ 
dividuals have been known weighing upwards of eighteen pounds. It is 
enormously prolific, as the roe of one female weighing nine pounds was 
found to contain six hundred thousand eggs. Of course comparatively 
few of these eggs arrive at maturity, by far the greater number being 
eaten by other fish. 

The Gold-pisii or Golden Carp, is another species of the genus 
Cyprinus. It was originally brought from China, about two hundred 
years since, when it was considered a great curiosity; now, however, it 
is quite common, and is found to live in ponds even when the surface of 
the water is thickly covered with ice. The ponds in Christ Church 
College, and the Botanic Gardens, Oxford, are thickly populated with 
these beautiful fish, which increase with the most marvellous rapidity. 
The pond in the centre of the Clarendon Printing Office was stocked with 
these fish, and as the spare water from the steam-engine used in the 
works passed into the pond, they throve amazingly. One unfortunate 













NATURAL HISTORY. 


361 


CYPR1NUS. 



Barbus (Lat. Barba, a beard), the Barbel. 
Auratus (Lat. gilded), the Gold-fish. 


morning, the surface of the pond was covered with Golden Carp, all 
floating dead. Some verdigris had formed in some part of the engine, 
had been washed into the pond, and had poisoned all its finny inhabi¬ 
tants. 

The Barbel is found in most of the European rivers. Its flesh is coarse 
and unsavoury, but it is eagerly sought after by anglers, as the spirit 
and vigour displayed by it when hooked afford fine sport. It is peculiarly 
clever a breaking the line, a feat sometimes accomplished by a violent 
blow of the tail, and sometimes by contriving to twist the line round a 
root or post, and giving a sudden jerk. 

It feeds principally on larvae and molluscs, inhabiting the banks, and 
obtains them by rooting in the sand with its snout. The barbels, or 
beards, hanging from the upper jaw, doubtless assist in these investiga¬ 
tions. It frequently grows to a very great size, weighing from fifteen to 
eighteen pounds, and measuring upwards of three feet in length. Many 
are captured by nets during the summer, at which season they frequent 
the weedy parts of the river in shoals ; but in winter they retire to the 
shelter afforded by banks and old woodwork. Several good swimmers 
have been known to dive after the Barbel, as they lay pressed against 
the banks, and to bring up one each time, not unfrequently appearing 
with two, one iu each hand. 

The Gudgeon. —The ease with which the Gudgeon is taken has passed 
into a proverb. This pretty little fish is usually found in shallow parts 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


3ce 

of rivers, where the bottom is gravelly. If the gravel is stirred, up, the 
Gudgcuns immediately flock to the place, and a worm suspended amid 
the turbid water is eagerly snapped at by them. The fishermen usually 
take them in nets, and keep them alive in well-boats. They are largely 
purchased as baits for trolling. 

The flesh of the Gudgeon is particularly delicate, and although its 
length rarely exceeds seven inches, yet from the ease with which numbers 
can be obtained, it forms a dish by no means to be despised. 

Gobio. —(Lat. a Gudgeon.) 

Abramis. — (Gr. ’A/3 paws, a Bream.) 



Fluviatilis (Lat. of the river), the Gudgeon. 

Brama (Lat.) the Bream. 

The Bream is very common on the Continent, but in England is only 
found in certain rivers and lakes, such as the Medway and Trent, and 
the Jakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland. It is also found in the lakes 
of Ireland. 

The breadth of the Bream is greater in proportion to its length than 
that of most fishes. It affords excellent sport to the angler, biting 
readily and resisting vigorously when hooked. The most approved 
method of catching this fish is by preparing the spot with ground bait 
for a day or two previous ; the Bream then assemble in numbers and bite 
freely at a bait. In Ireland the Bream taken were accustomed to be 
given to the poor, who split and salted them for winter provision. 

Its length rarely exceeds ten or twelve inches, nor is it of any value 
for the table. 


The Tench.—T he habits of the Tench are not unlike those of the 
carp, excepting that it seems even more sluggish than that fish. It 
especially delights in muddy banks of ponds, where the weeds glow 



NATURAL niSTORY. 


363 


Tinca.—(L at. a Tench.) 



thickly, Roget gives 
an account of a Tench 
that had been taken 
out of a pond almost 
filled up with stones 
and rubbish, and which 
had actually grown into 
the shape of the hole 
where it had been 
confined, evidently for 
many years. The 
weight of that fish 
was eleven pounds 
nine ounces. Four 
hundred tench and as 
many perch were also T7r . _ . , T x 

taken out of the same u S ans (^at. common), the Tench. 

pond. This fish is even more tenacious of life than the carp. 



The Roach is very common in most rivers of this country, and is 
generally spread over the temperate parts of Europe. It is by no means 
a large fish, rarely exceeding two pounds in weight, and but seldom 
attaining that size. These fish usually live in small shoals, and pass from 
one part of the river to T 

another. Leuciscus.— (Gr. A evuia-Kos; from \gvk6s, white.) 

The Roach is not 
unlike the Dace, but 
may be easily distin¬ 
guished by its bright 
red ventral tins, those 
of the dace being 
silvery white. It is 
rather a favourite with 
anglers, as it bites or 
rather nibbles at the 
bait in such a dainty 
and delicate manner, 
that the disappointed 

fisherman not unfre- ^ , T , 7 . . n x7 „ . 

,uently finds the bait Rutllus ( T Lat - Amm ° red >’ tU Eoach - 

gone without the move- Leuciscus, the Dace. 

ment of his float betraying the theft. A quick eye and a dexterous 
hand are required for this sport. The float is so balanced as barely 
to appear above the surface of the water, for, unlike the perch, that 
dashes at the bait and boldly jerks the float at once under water, the 
Roach does little more than swim under the bait as far as it can, and 









364 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


then just gives a gentle nibble, repeating the process until the bait has 
entirely left the hook. 

The Dace. —The habits of the Dace are so similar to those of the 
Roach as to need but little description. It is usually found wherever 
the roach resides, and, like that fish, swims in shoals. It makes a l 



THE DACE.* 


excellent bait for trolling, as the silvery whiteness of its scales renders it 
a conspicuous object, and serves to attract the pike. It seldom exceeds 
nine or ten inches in length. 

The Bleak and tne Minnow both belong to the genus Leuciscus. 
The former fish is remarkable for the use made of its scales, which when 
washed in water deposit a powder much used in the manufacture ol 
artificial pearls. 

The Chub is also common in most of our rivers. It affords good sport 
to the angler, both with a fly and with a bait. 

The usual bait employed is a cockchaffer, which, when fastened to the 
hook and artistically made to dance on the surface of the water, is a 
temptation that few Chub can resist. This method of fishing is termed 
“ dibbing,” and the peculiar movement is communicated to the bait by 
tapping the butt end of the rod, while the cockchaffer or moth just rests 
on the surface of the water. 

Its flesh is very coarse, and requires some skill on the part of the cook 
to make it fit for the table. Its weight rarely exceeds five pounds, but it is 
very powerful, and requires a strong line and skilful management on the 
part of the angler. A well-known piscator at Oxford, while fishing with 
the fly from a small skiff, succeeded in hooking a Chub, apparently 
weighing about four pounds, which actually towed him up and down 

* Two drawings of this fish having been made, both have beer inserted. 














NATURAL HISTORY. 


365 


LEUCI8CU8. 



Ceph&lus (Gr. Kecpa.Au,, a large-headed fish), the Chub. 

stream for some time, until th» line, not calculated for Chub, snapped, 
and the-fish of course escaped. 


In some counties the 
Loach goes by the name 
of “ Beardie,” in allusion 
to the little fleshy particles 
that hang from its lips. It 
has also the name of Ground¬ 
ling, on account of its habit of 
living close to the bottom of 
the water. 

It is a common fish, and 
may be taken in most streams, 
especially if the bait is drawn 
over the bed of the stream. 
The principal peculiarity about 
the fish, is the comparatively 
great breadth of the tail where 
it joins the spine. This for¬ 
mation, together with the ge¬ 
nerally pellucid appearance of 
its body, at once distinguish it 
from any other fish. 


Cobitis —(Gr. dim. of uufitos, 

a Gudgeon.) 



Barbatula (Lat. bearded), the Loach. 


The Pike.— This fierce and voracious fish is now common in most rivers 
and lakes in England, although it was formerly so rare as to be rated at 
ten times the vaiue of turbot. 



























36C 


NATURAL HIRTOKY. 


It affords much sport to anglers, who generally employ a method of 
fishing called “trolling.” A gudgeon, roach, or large minnow is so fixed 
t o a number of formidable hooks, that when drawn through the water, 
it spins rapidly round, and attracts the notice of the watchfui Pike, who 
dashes at the glittering bait with a violence that jars the rod down to the 

Family II. Esocidae.— (Lat. Esox , a Pike.) 

ESOX. 



Lucius (Lat. a Pike), the Pike. 


very butt. Off swims the pike to his place of concealment, leisurely 
turns the head of the bait downwards, and swallows it. Now, to swallow 
the fish is easy enough, but the array of barbed hooks proves an effectual 
obstacle to the endeavours of the Pike to get rid of the unwelcome 
morsel as soon as the angler jerks the line, and gives the Pike to under¬ 
stand that hooks have points. The deluded Pike now endeavours to breax 
the line, but a good fisherman foils all his efforts, and at last lands him, 
wearied and bleeding, but ferocious to the last. 

The method of fishing for Pike called “trimming” is hardly wortn 
mention. A line baited with living fish is fastened to a float, and suffered 
to lie on the surface of the water. The Pike, seeing the bait swimming 
about, dashes at it and hooks itself in the effort. 

This fish varies in size from two or three pounds’ weight, to twenty or 
thirty; but a Pike weighing fifteen pounds is considered a very fine fish. 

Above that weight they are almost useless for the table. A Pike 
weighing less than two pounds is called a jack. In the Ashmolean 
Museum at Oxford is a Pike weighing thirty pounds, that was taken m 
the lake at Blenheim Park. Another Pike, weighing twenty-five pounds, 
was caught near Oxford a few months ago, and J have seen the skin of 
jne that weighed thirty-five pounds when first caught. 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


307 


The appetite of this fish is almost insatiable. Mr. Jesse threw to one 
Pike of five pounds’ weight, four roach, each about four inches in length, 
which it devoured instantly, and swallowed a fifth within a quarter of an 
hour. Moor-liens, ducks, and even swans have been known to fail a prey 
to this voracious fish, its long teeth effectually keeping them prisoners 
under water until drowned. 

The Elying-fish. —This fish, so celebrated in most books of voyages, 
is found in the warmer latitudes, but has several times been seen off our 
coasts. The so-called “ flight” is very similar to that of the flying 
squirrels and dragons, the fish merely springing out of the water with a 
violent impetus, and sustaining itself in the air by means of its enormous 
pectoral fins. It is not able to alter its course while in the air, nor to 

Exoccetus.—(G r. E^wkoitos, sleeping out [of the sea).)* 



Volitans (Lat. flying), the Flying-fish. 


nse a second time without repeating its course through the w r ater. The 
reader will notice the remarkable fact, that individuals of tnree wingless 
classes, the Mammalia, the lleptiles, and the Eishes, have each the power 
of sustaining themselves in the air. 

The “flight” of this fish seldom exceeds two hundred yards. The 
unfortunate creatures are pursued in the water by “Dorados,” errone¬ 
ously called dolphins, and other fishes of prey. To escape their finny 
tyrants, they spring into the air, and for a while escape. IBut the gulls 
and albatroses are on the watch, and pounce on the Elying-fish from 
above, so that the persecuted creatures are tolerably sure to fall a prey tc 
one or the other of their foes. 

• The ancients believed that this and some other fishes slept on the beach. 







































368 


NATURAL HISTORY, 


The usual height of flight is about two or tlnee feet above the surface 
jf the water, but it has frequently been known to exceed fourteen feet., 
and in one instance a Flying-fish came skimming into the ports of a large 
man-of-war, nearly twenty feet above the water. 

The size of the fish is about the same as that of a herring. Sailors 
are always glad to capture it, as its flesh proves an agreeable change from 
the eternal salt junk, by which the power of the sailor’s teeth is woefully 
tried. 

The food of this fish is molluscs and small fishes. 


Family IV. Salmonidas. 
Salmo. — (Lat. a Salmon.) 



Salar (Lat. a Salmon), the Salmon. 


The Salmon is a migratory fish, annually leaving the sea, its proper 
residence, and proceeding for many miles up rivers for the purpose of 
depositing its spawn. This duty having been accomplished, it returns to 
the sea in the spring. The perseverance of this fish in working its way 
up the stream is perfectly wonderful. No stream is rapid enough to 
daunt it, nor is it even checked by falls. These it surmounts by springing 
out of the water, fairly passing over the fall. Heights of fourteen or 
fifteen feet are constantly leaped by this powerful fish, and when it has 
arrived at the higher and shallower parts of the river, it scoops furrows 
in the gravelly bottom, and there deposits its spawn. The young, called 
“ fry,” are hatched about March, and immediately commence their retreat 
to the sea. By the end of May the young salmon, now called “ smolts,’ 
have almost entirely deserted the rivers, and in June not one is to be 
found in fresh water. Small Salmon weighing less than two pounds are 
termed “salmon peel,” all above that weight are called “grilse.” 



















NATURAL HISTORY. 


369 


The havoc wrought among Salmon by foes of every description is so 
enormous, that notwithstanding the great fecundity of the fish, it is a 
matter of surprise that so many escape destruction; for although the 
fish are preserved from their human foes by many stringent regulations, 
yet other foes, such as otters, who devour the large fish, and other fish 
who devour the spawn, have but little respect for laws and regulations. 

While in the rivers, multitudes of Salmon are annually caught, usually 
oy stake nets, which are capable of confining an immense number of fish 
at one time. Salmon spearing is a favourite amusement. This animated 
and excitiug sport is usually carried oil by torch-light. The torches, 
when held close to the surface of the water, illumine the depths of the 
river, and render every fish within its influence perfectly visible. The 
watchful spearman, guided by slight indications bearing no meaning to an 
unpractised eye, darts his unerring spear, and brings up in triumph the 
glittering captive, writhing in vain among the barbed points. In the 
northern rivers this destructive pursuit is carried on to a great extent, 
more than a hundred salmon being frequently taken in an evening. 
Amglers also find considerable sport in using the fly for this beautiful and 
active fish, whose strength makes it no mean antagonist. 


Salmo. 



Fario (Lat. a Trout), the Trout. 

The Common Trout is found in many rivers in this country, always 
a referring rapid, shallow, and sparkling streams, especially if there should 
ae little falls at intervals. The Derwent and the Dove are particularly 
famous for their trout. The latter river is quite the hectu ideal of a trout 
stream. It never seems to know its own mind for half a mile together. 

Sometimes it is rapid, frisking over stones and round trees, and 
throwing up the sparkling foam in all directions. Presently it has 

B B 














370 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


changed into a silent, slow, melancholy river, with dark pools of unknown 
depth, shaded by overhanging trees, and suggestive of murders success¬ 
fully concealed. Everywhere are the trout. Lying quietly under the 
shelter of some large stone, while the water is leaping round them, are 
tire moderate sized trout, darting off like meteors to snatch at a passing 
fly, and as quickly returning to their concealment. In the deeper pools 
are the larger fish, who are too sagacious to be deceived by the artfully 
made, fly of the professed angler, yet often fall victims to the less scien¬ 
tific but more successful plough-boy. 

Several of my schoolboy years were spent near the banks of the Dove, 
which river, of course, formed one of our favourite haunts. We were 
accustomed to take the large trout by the rather unsportsmanlike, but 
very amusing method of “tickling.” It was excessively amusing to 
watch the angry countenances of London anglers, who came to the Dove 
bedizened with all the appurtenances of rods, lines, baskets, &c., and who, 
after whipping the water most perseveringly for the whole morning 
without a single bite, while resting their tired arms, saw the country boys 
seated on the bank, armed with a long stick and a line barely two feet 
long, adding every minute to the heap of glittering fishes at their side. 

The usual method of fishing for trout is with a fly, but trolling with a 
minnow is often successfully used, nor does the trout reject a well-selected 
and properly arranged worm. 

The brilliant speckled tints of this beautiful fish vary much according 
to the locality and the time of year. In May the fish assume their 
brightest colours and their most delicate flavour. The size of the fish 
also varies exceedingly, being from half a pound in weight and about 
eight inches in length, to ten or fifteen pounds’ weight. 

The Smelt belongs to this family, and in its progress to the sea is de¬ 
stroyed in great quantities in mill-ponds, &c. 


The value of the Herring family to man is almost incalculable. The 
Pilchard and the Herring are very similar in appearance, but may be 
easily known by the position of the dorsal fin, which in the Pilchard is so 
exactly in the centre of the body, that if the fish is held by it, the body 
exactly balances; while in the herring, the dorsal fin is placed rather 
backwards, so that when suspended, the fish hangs with its head down¬ 
wards. 

Unlike the herring, which visits every part of our coasts, the Pilchard 
is only found on the shores of Devonshire and Cornwall. Here, howevci 
: ho enormous shoals that annually make their appearance fully com¬ 
pensate for the limited space occupied by them. Occasionally a few 
shoals are seen on the southern coast of Ireland. The coasts of Erance 
and Spain are tolerably frequent resorts of this fish. 

The fish are usually taken in an enormous building of nets, called “ sean 
acts.” The nets used in the sea fishery are two, a large ret called the 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


371 


•‘stop sean,” about a quarter of a mile in length, and a hundred feet in 
depth; and a smaller net, called the “ tuck sean,” about a furlong in 
length, and a hundred and twenty feet in depth, the average value of 
the two nets being 500/. 

When the fishermen see a shoal of pilchards approaching, they imme¬ 
diately set out in two fishing boats, one of which carries the tuck sean 


Family Y. Clupeidse.—(Lat. ClupVa, a Herring.) 

Clupea. 



Pilchardus (Lat. the Pilchard.) 


and the other the stop sean. Guided by signs from the master-seamen, 
they silently surround the shoal with the nets, the larger of which is used 
to enclose a large number of fish, and the smaller to pass within the other 
net, to bring the mass of fish into a small compass, and finally to prevent 
them from escaping until the fishermen have leisure to remove them to 
the boats. 

When landed, the pilchards are taken to the store houses, salted, and 
after remaining in heaps for five or six days, are pressed into casks by 
powerful levers. During the pressure, which lasts about a fortnight, 
fresh layers of fish being added as the former are pressed close,' an 
abundance of excellent oil escapes from holes made in the cask for the 
purpose. The entire refuse of the fish, consisting of the superabundant 
salt, the scales and other rejected portions, is sold to the farmers as a 
valuable manure. The refuse of each pilchard is calculated to manure one 
square foot of land. 

The Herring makes its annual appearance in the northern parts of 
Scotland about June. This most valuable fish arrives in enormous shoals, 
five or six miles in length and three or four in breadth. Their advent is 
heralded by various sea birds, such as the gaunets and gulls, which con¬ 
stantly hover over the shoals and commit unceasing devastations among 
them. Yet in spite of the myriads destroyed by birds and fishes, in 
spite of the shoals captured by man, in spite of the vast quantity of spawn 
devoured by other fishes, their numbers seem quite undiminished, and 
each year they ait led by the instinct inculcated in them by Providence, 

B B 2 





372 


natural history. 


to visit the shore in incalculable numbers, not only to yield to man an 
unfailing supply, but to make the necessary provision for the increase ol 
their number. 

The fishery is conducted by boats and nets, the whole fitting up of 
each boat costing little less than 1,000/. To add to the expense, the 
whole apparatus must be renewed every four or five years, as, inde¬ 
pendently of the injuries inflicted by the sea and the weight of fish, the 
dog-fish, which unremittingly follows the shoals of herrings, is often 
entangled in the nets together with its intended victims, and by its sharp 
teeth and vigorous struggles makes sad ravages among the nets. 


Clupea. 



Harengus (Lat. the Herring). 


When taken out of the water, the herring dies almost immediately, as 
ao all fish that live near the surface of the water. Those, on the contrary, 
as the carp, tench, eels, and the flat fish, who reside at the bottom, are 
able to sustain life for a much longer period when taken out of their 
native element. It is therefore necessary that the herrings should be 
cured as soon as possible. The “White Herrings” are cured in the 
boats, but the “ Red Herrings” are taken on shore, and suspended in the 
smoke of a wood fire for twenty-four hours, in addition to the salting 
that both they and the White Herring undergo. 

The well-known Sprat (Clupea Sprattus) also belongs to the genus 
Clupea, and, like the herring, visits our shores in large shoals. The 
Sprat fishery commences in the beginning of November. Not only are 
enormous quantities of this small but useful fish used as food, and sent 
into all parts of this country, but they are very largely used as manure; 
fish, according to the researches of Sir H. Davy, being a most powerful 
manure, retaining its fertilising influence for a long time. Many thousand 
tons’ weight of sprats are annually used for this purpose. 

The White-bait belongs to the same family. 







NATURAL HISTORY. 


373 


The little Ancuovy is a fish 
of no small importance, being 
very largely used in various 
sauces, besides the numbers 
that are preserved in pickle. 
It is common in the Mediter¬ 
ranean, and is also found on 
our coasts. The upper jaw of 
this fish is longer than the 
lower one; the entire length 
of the fish is usually from four 
to five inches, but it has been 
seen measuring upwards of 
seven inches. 


Engraulis. —(Gr. w Eyypav\ts). 



EncrasichSlus (Gr. ’ EyKpaaLxoKos , mixed 
with bitter; the Anchovy, from, its taste), 
the Anchovy. 


Sub-order II. Sub-brachiata. —(Lat. sub, under; brachium , an arm.) 
Family VI. . Gadidm.—(Gr. TaSos.) 

Morrhua. 



Callarias (Gr. KaWapias), the Cod. 

The Cod.—I n this Sub-order the bones of the ventral fins are placed 
mder , and support the bones of the shoulder. 

The well-known Cod-fish is principally found on the coasts of New- 

































NATURAL HISTORY. 


'}*? A 

o i 4 i 

foundland, but is taken in great numbers on our own shores. The hook 
is generally employed for the capture of this fine fish. An immense 
number of hooks, each baited with a whelk or limpet and attached to 
short lines, are fastened at intervals along a rope, which is stretched, or 
shot, as it is termed, across the tide, in order to prevent the hooks from 
getting entangled. Such is the voracity of the fish, that nearly five 
hundred fish have been taken by one man in the course of ten hours. 
The intense cold renders the Cod fishery a service ol great hardship. 

When taken, the fish are placed in a well boat, through which the salt 
water has a free passage, so that the cod-fish are brought to Billingsgate 
still living. Several successful experiments have been made to preserve 
this fish in salt water ponds, in which it appears to thrive well. The 
fecundity of this fish is almost incredible, the roe of one fish having 
been ascertained to contain nine million eggs. The Whiting belongs to 
this family. 

In the Flat-fish we see a most extraordinary instance of adaptation of 
structure to peculiar circumstances. We have all seen Flat-fish, and all 
know that the upper side is dark, and the under side nearly white. The 
word ‘side’is used advisedly, as these curious fish actually lie on 
their sides at the bottom of the water while undisturbed, or merely 
feeding. When, however, they are alarmed, they rapidly assume the 
vertical position, and dart off with great speed. The dark upper surface 
serves to protect them from becoming too visible to enemies above. The 
two eyes are also placed on the upper side of the head for obvious reasons. 
In fact, the whole fish appears as if it had been laid on its side, and 
rolled flat, the head also being twisted round, and the lower eye removed 
to the upper surface. 


The Turbot is found on the coasts of most parts of England, but 
the fisheries are nearly exclusively confined to the southern coasts of 
Ireland. 

The fishery is conducted both by nets and lines. The net, called the 
liaul-net, drags from the bottom not only turbots but other flat-fish, such 
as soles and plaice. The line, used when the bottom of the sea is too 
deep or rocky for the net, is armed with many hooks, baited with smelts 
and other small fish. The lampern, or river lamprey, was formerly in 
very great use as a bait, as its brilliant silvery appearance, and its great 
tenacity of life, rendered it peculiarly fit for the capture of the voracious 
but dainty turbot, who,-rejecting all stale or discoloured baits, eagerly 
devours them if bright coloured and moving. The fishermen state that 
the turbot will not touch a bait that has been bitten by any other fish. 
On the English' coasts one turbot-line frequently extends for three miles 
in length, and is furnished with 2,500 hooks, which are attached to the 
main line by small horse-hair lines, each twenty-seven inches in length. 
This enormous line is “shot” across the current at the turn of the tide 




NATURAL HISTORY. 375 

Family VII. Pleuronectldse.—(Gr. n\evp6v, a rib or side; power ot 

swimming.) 

Psetta. —(Gr. yf/TTa, a Turbot.) 



Maxima (Lat. greatest), the Turbot. 


Each boat possesses a double set of lines, so that one line is “shot” and 
another “ hauled” every turn of the tide. 

The little star-like bones imbedded in the upper part of the skin ol 
this fish are very curious. The dark side of the turbot is the left, on 
which the eyes are also placed. Reversed turbots, and even turbots 
dark on both sides, are not at all uncommon. 


Solea. —(Lat. the Sole of a shoe.) 



Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Sole. 

The Common Sole is too well known to need much description. This 







































376 


M 4TURAL HISTORY 


fish is Hie reverse of the turbot, having the eyes and colour on the rigid 
side; although, as in the turbot, varieties are not rare. It is in season 
during most parts of the year, except a few weeks in March or April. 
Although it is a marine fish, it seems to thrive well in river-water, or even 
in a pond. Mr. Arnold kept several in a pond in Guernsey, where the soles 
beeame twice as thick in proportion to their length as those living in the 
sea. 


Sub-order III. Apoda. — (Gr. ’A, pi’ivation; nous, a foot.i 
Family IX. . . Murajnidae.—(Gr. Mvpcuva. a Sea-eel.) 

Anguilla. —(Lat. a little Eel.) 



Acutirostris (Lat. sharp-beaked ), the Sharp-nosed Eel. 

Tne Eels form the sub-order of the Apoda, or footless fish, so called 
horn the absence of ventral fins. 

These fish assume a form very similar to the serpents. Although on 
a hasty examination they seem to be devoid of scales, yet when the skin 
is dried, very minute scales may be seen through the semi-transparent 
outer skin, and may be easily detached by carefully separating the two 
skins. 

Eels inhabit muddy ponds and rivers, and are common in many canals. 
They are susceptible of cold, and constantly descend the rivers to deposit 
their spawn in the sea, after which, the young when hatched work their 
way up the rivers, thereby precisely reversing the habits of the salmon. 
They are capable of living out of water for a long time, and often make 
voluntary land excursions, either for the purpose of avoiding an insur¬ 
mountable fall, or in search of frogs or worms, on which they feed. In 
the winter, while they are lying torpid in the mud, multitudes are taken 
by eel-spears—many-pronged instruments, whose prongs are feathered 
with recurved barbs, which, when pushed into the mud, entangle the 
eels, and effectually prevent their escape. 

There are supposed to be four species of English eel; namely, tne 
Sharp-nosed, the Broad-nosed, the Snig, and the Grig. 












NATURAL HISTORY. 377 

The Congek Eel is found in all the rocky parts of the British coasts* 
and is exceedingly common on the coasts of Cornwall. 

Cgnszr. —(Lat. from Gr. Yoyypos, a Conger Eel.) 



Vulgaris (Lat. common, the Conger). 

It Is usually caught with a hook, the best bait of which is a sand- 
launce, a little fish belonging to the same family as the eels, and which 
buries itself five or six inches deep in the sand when the tide ebbs, and 
releases itself on the next flood tide. The fishermen rake it out of the 
sand with iron hooks. A pilchard is a common bait for the Conger. 

The size of this fish is sometimes very great. Yarrell mentions, in his 
“ British Eishes,” that “ specimens weighing eighty-six pounds, one 
hundred and four pounds, and even one hundred and thirty pounds, have 
been recorded, some of them measuring more than ten feet long and 
eighteen inches in circumference. They possess great strength, and 
often form very formidable antagonists if assailed among rocks, or when 
drawn into a boat with a line.” 


Family X. Gymnottdce.—(Gr. Yvfxvos, naked; vwtos, the back.) 

Gymnotus. 



Electrlcus (Lat. electric ), the Electric Eel. 

The Electric Eel. —Tfns curious fish, which exhibits the singular 
phenomenon of voluntary electric power residing in a living animal, is 









578 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


an inhabitant of the fresh-water rivers and ponds of Surinam, and othei 
parts of South America, where it was first discovered in the year 1677. 

This power of emitting an electric shock, is apparently given it in 
order to enable the creature to kill its prey. Those who have seen the 
Electric Eel in the Polytechnic while being fed, will have little doubt of 
this. The fish given to it are, directly it becomes aware of their pre¬ 
sence, instantly struck dead, and then devoured. This specimen is un¬ 
fortunately blind, but it has learned to turn in the direction of a paddling 
in the water, made by the individual who feeds it. The fish is scarcely 
in the water before a shock from the Gymnotus kills it. The usual 
length of the Gymnotus is about three feet. 

Captain Stedman, in his account of Surinam, gives an account of the 
electric eel, which he, of course, had many opportunities of seeing. He 
attempted, for a trifling wager, to lift up a gymnotus in his hands, but 
according to his own words :— 

“ I tried about twenty different times to grasp it with my hand, but 
all without effect, receiving just as many electrical shocks, which I felt 
even to the top of my shoulder. It has been said that this animal must 
be touched with both hands before it gives the shock, but this I must 
take the liberty of contradicting, having experienced the contrary effect.” 
The eel mentioned was a small one, only two feet long; but one that had 
arrived at its full growth would have given a very much stronger shock. 
An English sailor was fairly knocked down by a shock from one of these 
eels, nor did he recover his senses for some time. It is said that the 
shock can pass up a stick, and strike the person holding it. Mr. Bryant 
and a companion were both struck while pouring off the water from a 
tub in which an electric eel had been placed. 

Humboldt, in his “ Views of Nature,” gives a very animated description 
of the method employed by the Indians to take these formidable crea¬ 
tures—a method equally ingenious and cruel. Knowing from experience 
that the powers of the gymnotus are not adequate to a constant volley 
of shocks, they contrive that the shocks shall be expended on the horses 
instead of themselves. 

Having found a pool containing electric eels, they force a troop of 
wild horses to enter the pool. The disturbed eels immediately attack 
the intruders, and destroy many of them by repeated shocks; but by 
constantly forcing fresh supplies of horses to invade the pool, the powers 
of the gymnoti become exhausted, and they are then dragged out with 
impunity. 


The Short Sun-fish. —This order derives its name from the curious 
structure of the jaws, which are fixed together in a very peculiar manner. 

The Short Sun-fish has been frequently taken on almost all parts of 
our coasts. It is of a most singular shape, looking as if three-fourths of 



NATURAL HISTORY. 37 9 

a very large fish had been cut off, leaving only the head and shoulders, 
something like a marine Baron Munchausen’s horse. 

Order III. PLECTOGNATHI. —(Gr. nAeKror, plaited; 7 uddos, the jaw.) 
Family I. Diodontidse.—(Gr. A is, double*; o8ov$ f a tooth.) 

Orth ago risCus. — (Gr. "OpeayooiaKos, a Sucking pig.) 



Mola (Lat. a Mill-stone ), the Short Sun-fish. 

It attains to a very large size, and has been known to weigh three 
hundred pounds, its length being only four feet five inches. 

It lives mostly at the bottom of the sea, but frequently rises to the 
surface, and lies, perhaps, asleep, floating with the tide. Sailors in this 
case are fond of trying their skill with a harpoon. When struck, it uses 
very powerful but exceedingly awkward efforts to escape. The sailors, 
of course, eat it, as they do almost anything. 


The Sturgeon. —The remaining fishes belong to the Cartilaginous 
sub-class; that is, their skeletons are composed of cartilage, and not ol 
true bone. 

The first sub-order possess free gill-covers, like those of all the pre- 















380 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


ceding fish; but the remainder breathe by means either of slits, as in the 
sharks, or holes, as in the lampreys. 

The Sturgeon is remarkable for the rows of bony plates extending 
along the body. It is exceedingly common in the northern parts ol 

Sub-class II. PISCES CHONDROPTERYGII.—(Gr. XovSpos, cartilage; 

vTepvyiou, a fin.) 

Sub-order I. Eleutheropomi. — (Gr. 'EAevOepos, free ; iru\ua, a lid or cover.) 
Family I. . Acipenseridae.—(Lat. Acipenser, a Sturgeon.) 

Acipenser. 



Sturio, the Sturgeon. 

Europe, where regular fisheries are organized for its capture. Almost 
every part of it is used. Isinglass is obtained by drying and shredding 
the air-bladder; caviare is made of the roe of the female, and the flesh is 
extensively preserved both by pickling and salting, besides the large 
quantities that are consumed fresh. The flavour of its flesh is said not 
to he unlike veal. 

It has occasionally been taken on our coasts, usually by entangling 
it.self in the nets, and although it then does some injury to the nets by 
its violent struggles to release itself, it is otherwise perfectly harmless. 
Yarrell mentions that a sturgeon measuring eight feet six inches in 
length, and weighing two hundred and three pounds, was taken in a 
stake net near Findhon in 1833. A specimen was once caught in the 
Esk, weighing four hundred and sixty pounds. The female always 
deposits her eggs in fresh water, and the young, when hatched, descend 
to the sea, and are supposed not to return again until, in their turn, 
they seek the fresh water in order to deposit their spawn. 


The Sharks and Rays have no gill-covers, but the water passes through 
five elongated apertures on each side of the head. 

The Sharks are proverbially ferocious and dangerous creatures, and are 
the pest of those seas which they infest. Their mouths are furnished 









NATURAL HISTORY. 


381 


with several rows of sharp jagged teeth, which can be raised or depressed 
at pleasure, and which can cut through a limb or even the body of a man 
with the greatest ease. The mouth of these fishes is placed beneath the 
head, so that a shark cannot seize a prey at the surface of the water 
without turning on its side, which evolution often gives time for its 
expected prey to escape. 

Sub-order II. Trematopnei.—(G r. Tpripa, a hole pierced through anything j 
iri'tco, I breathe.) 

Family i. . . Scyllidaa.—(Gr. 2/cuAta, a Dog-fish.) 

SCYLLIUM. 



Canicula (Lat. a little Dog), the Little Spotted Dog-ji&h. 


The Little Spotted Dog-fish is the most common of the Sharks that 
visit our shores. It is principally known on account of the havoc it 
makes among the fish during the seasons of the various fisheries, for 
which reason it is most especially detested by the unfortunate fishermen, 
who not unfrequently, together with their expected spoil, draw up a few 
dog-fish in their nets. The dog-fish, on finding themselves entangled, 
immediately commence tearing the nets to pieces with their sharp and 
powerful teeth. 

The empty eggs of this fish are often found washed up on the sea-shore, 
and called by the name of “mermaids’ purses.” They are oblong, and 
furnished at each corner with a long semitransparent convoluted tendril, 
the use of which is apparently to entangle and fix the egg among the sea¬ 
weed, and thus prevent it from being washed on shore until the young is 
hatched. 

A considerable quantity of oil can be obtained from the brain of the 
dog-fish, and the skin, in common with that of other cartilaginous fishes, 
is made into shagreen. 


The White Shark is a well-known scourge of the Mediterranean Sea 
and the Atlantic Ocean. This is the creature so detested by sailors, who, 
when they have caught a “shirk,” sutdecfc it to every possible indignity. 
This voracious creature has been know’ to ^wallow an entire man, and 













382 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


as it is in the habit of lurking about skips for the sake of the scraps 
thrown overboard, and almost invariably swallows whatever is cast over 
the side, the contents of its stomach are often of a most heterogeneous 

Family II. Squalid®. 

Squalus. — (Lat. a Shatlc.) 



Carcharias (Gr. a Shark; from K apxapos, jagged ; in allusion to its teeth), 

the White Shark. 

description. The sailors always amuse themselves by seeing what the 
shark had “stowed away,” and the substances thus brought to light have 
been most curious. The entire contents of a lady’s work-basket, down 
to the scissors, were found in the interior of one shark, and another had 
actually swallowed an entire bull’s hide—a circumstance which led the 
operating sailor to remark that the shark had swallowed a bull, but could 
not “disgest” the hide. 

The amphibious South Sea Islanders stand in great dread of the Shark, 
and with good reason, for not a year elapses without several victims being 
offered to the rapacity of this terrific animal. Nearly thirty of the natives 
of the Society Islands were destroyed at one time by the sharks. A storm 
nad so injured the canoe in which they were passing from one island to 
another, that they were forced to take refuge on a raft hastily formed of 
the fragments of their canoe. Their weight sunk the raft a foot or two 
below the surface of the water, and, dreadful to say, the sharks surrounded 
them and dragged them off the raft one by one, until the lightened raft 
rose above the water and preserved the few survivors. 

The Hammer-headed Shark* inhabits the same latitudes. This 
curiously constructed fish closely resembles the white shark in all respects 
but the head, which is widened out at each side, exactly like a double- 
headed hammer or mallet. The eyes, being placed at each extremity of 
the head, must of course possess a very extended power of vision. 

The Thresher, a fish which has a curious habit of springing out of 


* See page 383. 











NATURAy, HISTORY 


383 

SphyrnTas. —(Gr. from 5,'pvpa, a Hammer.) 



Zygsena (Gr. Z vyaiva), the IIammer-headed Shark. 

the water, and inflicting a violent blow with its tail on any object that 
annoys it, belongs to the Shark tribe. 


Family IY. Pristidse.—(Gr. nolens. the Sawfish.) 

Pristis. 



Antiquorum (Lat. of the Ancients), the Sawfish. 

The Sawfish is found in the greatest perfection in the tropical seas, 
although it also inhabits the Mediterranean. The weapon from which the 
fish derives its name, is a flat, long prolongation of the head, on each 
edge of which are set hard tooth-like projections, curiously inserted into 
the bone. 

This fish has been known to employ its saw in the attack of the whale, 
burying the apparently inappropriate weapon to the very root in the body 
of the whale; nor are instances wanting where the saw’has been found 
firmly imbedded in the hull of a ship. 

The strength of the Sawfish is very great. Captain Wilson gives an 
account of the capture of a Sawfish, measuring twenty-two feet in length, 
and weighing nearly five tons. After the fish had been entangled in a net 





































384 


NATURAL HISTORY 


for several hours, making violent efforts to escape, Captain Wilson got a 
rope firmly fixed round its saw, and set thirty men to haul at the rope, 
l'he whole thirty could not move it one inch, nor was it until one hundred 
men had been pulling at the rope for nearly the whole of the day, that 
they succeeded in dragging it on shore. Even then it made such violent 
strokes with its saw, that they were forced to fasten strong guy ropes to 
prevent it from cutting them to pieces. It was finally disabled by a 
Spaniard, who cut through the joint of the tail. 


Family V. Raid®.— (Lat. Raia, a Skate or Ray.) 
Torpedo. —(Lat. Cramp or numbness .) 



Scutata (Lat. shielded ), the Torpedo. 


The Torpedo may fairly be considered a British fish. It affords a 
second instance of the electric power residing in a fish. The organs that 
produce the electric shock are shown externally by two elevations extend¬ 
ing from the eyes about half down the body.* 

Although it has once or twice been caught on our coasts, it is usually 
found in the Mediterranean, where its powers are well known, and held 
in some awe. The shock that the Torpedo gives, of course, varies 
according to the size of the fish and its state of health, but a tolerably 
large fish in good health can, for the time, disable a strong man. Erom 
the effects of its shock, it is in some parts called the Cramp-fish. 

* Those who would wish to examine the structure of this most singular organ are 
referred to the Museum of the College of Surgeons, where is a series of beautiful wai 
models, admirably illustrating the eniue structures. 






















NATURAL niaTOHV. 


385 


Colonel Montagu notices a Torpedo caught on a turbot line, at Tuckv. 
it weiglied about one hundred pounds, and completely puzzled the fisher¬ 
man, who found it hanging dead on the hooks, and had never seen such 
a creature before. Colonel Montagu quaintly remarks, that had it not 
been dead, the fisherman would certainly have had a shock that would 
have made him remember the species again. 

The Rays are at first sight not unlike the turbot and sole, but a closer 
examination will show that the Rays really swim with them backs up¬ 
wards, whereas the turbot swims on its side. The movement of the Rav 
, * 

is very curious, and is admirably expressed by the word “ sluddering”— 
used by an old fisherman. 

The Skate is caught in abundance on our shores, and in England 1 £ 
in much request as an article of food, although in Scotland it is used prin¬ 
cipally for bait. 

RATA. 



Clavata (Lat. from Clavus, a nail), the Thornback Skate. 


The Thornback Skate derives its name from the spmy armature of 
the tail, with which the fish defends itself most vigorously by bending 
itself almost into a semicircle and lashing about with its tail. The 
female of the Thornback Skate is termed a Maid. It often attains to a 
large size, the largest known being twelve feet in length, and nearly ten 
in width. 

The jaws of the Rays arc exceedingly powerful, and enable them to 
crush with perfect ease the various shell-fish on which they f«ed. 












380 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


The Sting Hay is another species, which is armed with a serrated 
bone in its tail, witli which it can inflict painful and even dangerous 
wounds. 

Sub-order III. Cyclostomi. —(Gr. Kvk\os, a Circle; <tt 6/j.a, the mouth.) 
Family I. . . . Petromyzonidce. — (Gr. rGrpos, a Stone ; /ui/£o>, I suck.) 

PETROMYZON. 



Marinus (Lat. Marine), the Lamprey. 

The Lamprey. —These curious fishes, in many respects the lowest in 
organization of the vertebrate animals, are chiefly remarkable for the 
singular construction of the mouth, which, formed like that of tne leech, 
enables the Lampreys to hold firmly to any object by suction. The 
breathing apparatus appears externally to consist of fourteen small 
apertures, seven on each side of the neck. Their progress through the 
water is accomplished by a rapid undulating movement. 

The Marine Lamprey is found in the Mediterranean, and in most of 
the northern European rivers. It has also been discovered in America. 
A few are caught in the Thames almost every year, but the Severn is its 
usual haunt. Like many other fishes, it travels for many miles up rivers 
for the purpose of depositing its spawn, at which time it is considered 
to be in the highest perfection. 

The spawn is deposited in furrows, some excavated by the parent 
Lampreys, who, by the help of their sucker-like mouths, rapidly remove 
even large stones. 

The Lampern, or River Lamprey, is plentifully found in many rivers 
of England. It is extremely common at Ashbourne in Derbyshire, 
inhabiting the Dove and its tributary brooks. Strange to say, the 
inhabitants of Ashbourne held it in some abhorrence, and there was only 
one individual possessing sufficient strength of mind to eat them. He 
found them a most agreeable addition to his ordinary diet. The Lam- 
perns, or Larapreens as they were called, used to lie in masses of 






















NATURAL HISTORY. 387 

eighteen or twenty together in a hole, and if disturbed, set off down the 
stream with some speed. 


Lampetra.— (Gr. Aaypdvw, I hold ; irirpos, a Stone.) 



Fluviatilis (Lat. of the river), the Lampern. 


It was formerly held in great repute as bait for turbot, cod, and other 
fish, but in consequence of the diminished supply other substances have 
been employed. Its length is usually from twelve to fifteen inches. In 
some counties it is called Seven-eyes, in allusion to tie breathing 
apertures in the neck. 


The Myxine, which, although a decided fish, was classed by Linnaeus 
among the worms, occurs frequently on the eastern coasts of this country. 
The fishermen find it within the bodies of fish attached to the lines. 
The Scarborough fishermen call such fish “robbed,” as the Myxine, in 
the course of a single tide, will devour the whole fish, except the skin 
and bones. It is usually found in the body of the cod 


Family II. Myxintdse. 

Myxine. —(Gr. Mv£7 vos, from uv£ci, slime.) 



Glutinosa (Lat. glutinous ), the Myxine or Glutinous Hag-fish. 

It is quite blind, but is supposed to derive considerable aid from the 
eight barbules ranged round its mouth. Six individuals have been found 
in the body of a single haddock. 

Aiong the under surface of the body are two rows of pores, from 
which the Myxine is enabled to throw out a most copious gelatinous 
secretion, apparently for the purpose of escape from its enemies. The 
length of the Myxine is from twelve to fifteen inches. 

c c 2 














































388 


Division II. INVERTEBRA7 A.—(Lat. without vertebra.) 

Class VI. . MOLLUSCA.—(Lat. from mollis, soft; properly, a soft nut.) 
Order . . . CEPHALOPODA. —(Gr. Ke<j>a\?f, the head; Troth, a footO 
Family . . Octoptdae. — (Gr. ’ O / cm , eight ; ttovs afoot.) 

OCTOPUS. * 



Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Cuttle-fish. 


The Mollusca have neither spine nor bones, the nervous system con¬ 
sisting of a number of nervous knobs called “ ganglia,” which give oil 
filamentous nerves in different directions. 

Few Molluscs possess eyes, but in one or two, as the snails and slugs, 
those organs are to be found, and in the higher Molluscs, such as the 
Cuttle-fish, we see not only large and brilliant eyes, but also organs of 
hearing. 

The Cephalopoda, so called from the organs of movement surrounding 
the head, are divided into naked and testaceous ,f or covered with a shell. 

The Common Cuttle-fish is an example of a naked cephalopodous 
mollusc. This repulsive looking creature is common on our shores, and 
is, in spite of its unpleasant appearance, often used for food. Its eight 
long and flexible arms are covered with suckers of various sizes, enabling 
their owner not only to fix itself firmly to the rocks on which it dwells, 
but to seize and retain with the greatest tenacity any unfortunate fish or 
shell that may happen to come wdthin its reach. Its powerful parrot-like 
beak enables it not only to devour fishes, but even to crush the shells 
and Crustacea that are entangled in its deadly embraces. In this country, 

Or, Octapus. 


+ Derived from Lat. testa, a shell. 


NATURAL HIETORtf. 


389 


the Cuttle does not grow to any great size, but in the Indian Seas it is 
absolutely dangerous, and the crews of boats are forced to be armed with 
a hatchet, to cut off the arms of the cuttle-fish. 

There are few who have not heard of the colour called “ sepia.” This 
is, or ought to be, prepared from a black pigment, secreted by the Cuttle¬ 
fish, and used in order to escape its foes, by blackening the water with 
the ink, and hurrying off under shelter of the dense cloud of its own 
creating. Dr. Buckland actually drew a portrait of a fossil Cuttle-fish 
with some of its own ink that still remained in its body. 

The substance sold in the shops as cuttle-fish bone is a chalky substance 
secreted from the mouth of the fish, and composed of an infinite number 
of plates, joined by myriads of little pillars. 

At a meeting of the Ashmolean Society at Oxford, Dr. Buckland, 
while exhibiting some relics of a huge fossil Saurian, said, “ I know 
where that fellow lived, I know where he died, and moreover, I know 
what he had for dinner on the day that be died. He had a cuttle-fish for 
dinner, and here is its bony ring, which I found in the Saurian’s stomach.’ 5 

The entire body is soft, and encased in a coarse, leather-like skin, 
unprotected by any shell. 

The Argonaut, or Nau¬ 
tilus, is an example of the 
testaceous Molluscs. This 
curious creature, about which 
so many marvellous and po¬ 
etical tales have been told, is 
very abundant in the Medi¬ 
terranean. 

It has been clearly proved 
that the Nautilus does not 
urge itself along the surface 
of the water by the expanded 
arms used as sails. These 
arms are in fact used to cover 
the shell, and it is from these 
that the beautful shell is se¬ 
creted. The Argonaut pro- 
through the sea by 
jectiug water from 
with which it, as 
well as the cuttle-fish, is fur¬ 
nished for that purpose. The 
colours of the living animaL 
of the Nautilus are exceed¬ 
ingly beautiful. Argo (Bat.), the Argonaut or Paper 

The arms of this creature Nautilus. 


pels itself 
violently < 
the tube 


Argonauta. — (Lat. a sailor in the ship 
Argo.) 








390 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


are furnisned with suckers. Its shell, when the poulp the living 
Argonaut is called) is still existing, is flexible and semi-transparent; but 
when the animal is taken away the shell soon becomes rather opaque and 
is very fragile. 

The fossil Ammonites belong to the testaceous Cephalopoda. 


Shells are secreted from a part of the inhabitant called the “ mantle," 
and of course, as the shell is always added round the rim, as may be seer 
by taking a small snail in the spring, it naturally follows, that as the 
animal becomes larger, so the mantle becomes larger, and secretes a 
larger ring of shell. 

Many shells, as that of the oyster, are deposited in layers, a fine 
membrane interposing between each layer: they are therefore called 
membranous shells. Most membranous shells are lined with a brilliant 
enamelled substance, called “ nacre:” “ mother of pearl ” is the nacre 
of the pearl oyster. That of the fresh-water mussel is a beautiful azure. 

The other structure of shells is called “ porcellaneous,” because they 
look like porcelain or china. The common cowrie is a well-known 
instance of a porcellaneous shell. Some shells are so transparent as to 
resemble glass, and are therefore called “ vitreous.” * 

Shells are divided into Univalve, or one-valved shells, such as the snail; 
and Bivalve, or two-valved shells, such as the oyster. Those of the 
Univalve Molluscs are capable of protecting themselves when withdrawn 
inside the shell by a horny plate called the “ operculum,” f which 
completely closes up the aperture, and which may be seen in the peri¬ 
winkle. The closing membrane found in the common snail, if taken in 
the winter, is called the epiphragma,| and is supposed to be hardened 
mucus. 


The Gasteropoda move by means of a fleshy disc or foot on the under 
surface of the body, and by the alternate expansive and contractive 
movements of this foot, the creature is enabled to crawl. The Gastero¬ 
poda inhabit both land and water, unlike the bivalves, which are 
exclusively inhabitants of the latter element. 

If the shell of a Gasteropodous mollusc be broken, it has the power of 
repairing the injury by secreting fresh layers of shell from the mantle 
within. 

The Slugs are well-known invaders of our gardens, and, together 
with the snail, the caterpillar, and the mysterious blight,” are objects of 
the gardener’s most intense hatred. The Black Slug is usually found by 
hedge-banks, and in grassy meadows. It seldom ventures out by day, 
especially if the day be bright; but at night, when the dew is on the 
ground, it may be seen trailing its dark length through the herbage, or 

* Derived from Lat. vitrum, glass. J- I.at. a cover or lid. 

X Gr. ’E7r<0pa7^io, a cover. 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


391 


Order . . GASTEROPODA. — (Gr. racm/jp, the belly; -jtovs, a foot.) 
Sub-order, Pulmobranchiata. — (Pulmo, the lungs; branchial, gills.) 
Family . Limacidse.—(Gr. Aet^a|, a Slug.) 

UMAX. 



Axer (Lat. black), the Black Slug. 

eageny devouring the leaves. While employed at night in decoying 
moths, by means of a fragrant compound of sugar, beer, and rum, spread 
on the trunks of trees, I used constantly to find my bait attacked by 
huge slugs of all kinds, descending and ascending towards the sweet but 
dangerous banquet. The small Grey Slug (Limax cinerea) is more 
common in gardens than the black slug. 

The Common Snail.— Several species of Snails inhabit this country, 
among which the Edible 
Snail (Helix poniatia ), the 
Belted Snail (Helix nemo - 
rails), and the common Gar¬ 
den Snail {Helix aspersa), 
are the most conspicuous. 

The Edible Snail was im¬ 
ported into England by the 
liomans, who prized them 
highly, and fattened them in 
a building erected for that 
express purpose, as indeed is 
now done in some parts of 
the Continent. This snail 
grows to a large size, nearly 
attaining the magnitude of 
an ordinary closed fist. 

The eyes of the snail are placed at the extremity of the tentacula, oi 
“ horns ” as they are usually called. 


Family, Helictdse.—(Gr. twistsd.) 

HELIX. 



Aspersa (Lat sprinkled), the Common Snail 




S92 


NATURAL HlhTOHY. 


The common garden snail is so well known that no description of it is 
needed. It lays eggs very large in comparison with the size of the 
parent; they are about the size of small peas, round, soft, and semi¬ 
transparent. They are deposited about two inches below the surface of 
the earth. 

This creature is very tenacious of life. A living snail was exhibited at 
the Ashmolean Society at Oxford, which had made a long sea voyage, 
packed up in cotton wool. An immersion in water soon brought the 
inhabitant to view, and when it was exhibited it was crawling about a 
box in perfect health. 


Family, Turbintdm.—(Lat. Turbo, a Whorl.) 

ScalarYa. — (Lat. Scala, a Ladder, or stairs.) 

Family, Coniidse.—(Qr. Kwvos, a Cone.t 
coxus. 



Prutiosa v i.at. valuable), the Royal Staircase Wentletrap. 

Generalis (Lat. general), the Cone. 

The Royal Staircase Wentletrat affords us an excellent and most 
beautiful example of the Turbinidse. It is a native of the Chinese and 
Indian seas, and was formerly so scarce that a specimen two inches in 
length would sell for a hundred pounds. Even now, a very fine specimen 
cannot be obtained under six or seven pounds. Eor this reason, the 
‘•oeeific name “pretiosa” was affixed to it by Lamarck. 

As an example of the large family of Cones, we will take the common 
Cone, vv.'iose beautiful marbled colour and elegant shape render it a most 
acLwe shell. 


The Money Cowry and the Whelk. —The Cowries are not less cele¬ 
brated for the elegance of their form, and the beauty of their markings, 
than for the curious circumstance that one species is used as current 
coin in Guinea and Bengal, thus being employed for the same purpose 






K^TUHAL, history. 


393 


by two entirely distinct races of men, situated in different quarters of 
the globe. Their value is of course small in proportion to gold or silver. 
At the present time a rupee in Bengal is worth 3,200 Cowries, the value 
of the rupee being 2s. 3 d. of our money. 

The Buccinlloe are so named from their fancied resemblance to a 
trumpet. The common Whelk is everywhere abundant on our coasts, 

Family, Cypraeidae.—(Gr. from Kvirpos, Cyprus.) 

Family, Buccinldae. (Lat. Buccina, a Trumpet.' 
Aricia. — (Lat.) BTJCCINUM. 



Alcteta (Lat. the stamp on money), the Money Cowry. 

. Undatum (Lat. wavy), the Whelk. 

and is taken in such profusion that it is largely exported for food, and 
may be seen on the street stalls of the metropolis exposed for sale, like 
the oyster and periwinkle. 

The proboscis of this creature is of a most singular structure, and by 
means of the numerous teeth with which it is armed, it is able rapidly to 
bore its way through shells, and then to feed upon the unfortunate 
inmate. The hermit crab often takes possession of the empty shells of 
the Whelk. 

The famous Tyrian purple was obtained from one of the Buccinidse, 
Purpura imbricata. 


The beautiful Tiiorny Woodcock,* sometimes csdied by the name of 
Venus’ comb, is an excellent example of the Muricidas. This elegant 
shell is an inhabitant of the Indian Ocean. 


The Limpets are spread over every latitude, except the Arctic regions. 
The common Limpet f is to be found on every rock and large stone at the 
sea-side. The mode of its attachment to the rocks is very curious, and 
well repays a careful examination. Every one who has seen a living 

* See page 394 f Ibid. 




394 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



Family, Mu riel dee.—(Lat. Murex , the purple shell-fishd 

MUREX. 


TribQlus (Lat. a Thistle), the Thorny Woodcock. 

zirripet knows how firmly it fixes itself to the rock. This is denj by the 
inhabitant creating a vacuum on the under surface of its body, which 
Causes the pressure of the atmosphere to keep it so tightly fixed to the 

Order, CYOLOBRANCHIATA. —(Gr. KvkXos, a circle; &pdyx La ’ gills.) 
Family, Patellidse.— (Lat. Patella, a Porringer.) 

PATELLA. 



Vulgata (Lat. made common), the Limpet. 

rocks, that a blade of a strong knife is required to detach it. Fre¬ 
quently the margin of the shell adapts itself to the shape of the substance 
to which it adheres, proving that it must remain fixed in the same spot 
for a long time, and rendering it difficult to imagine from whence it can 
obtain sufficient nourishment to support life. 

Sometimes a large shell may be picked up covered with limpets, that 
adhere firmly to it in spite of the rolling of the waves, and the tossing? 
about to which it must necessarily be subjected. 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


395 


Order, CONCUIFFRA .— (Gr. Koyxy, a Mussel-shell; <p(pu, 1 beard 

Family, Pectintdae.—(Lat. Pecten, a Scallop.) 

PECTEN. 

We now arrive at the Bivalve Mol¬ 
luscs. It has been already stated that 
the Bivalves are all aquatic. These crea¬ 
tures are enabled to keep their shells firmly 
closed by means of a powerful muscle. 

Those who have attempted for the first 
time to open an oyster, must be convinced 
of the strength of this muscle. The two 
shells are united by a powerful and ex¬ 
tremely elastic hinge, which after the death 
of the animal opens the shells widely. 

The Bivalves do not enjoy such powers 
of locomotion as the Univalves, yet some, 
as the fresh-water mussel, can urge them¬ 
selves along by means of a fleshy organ 
called the foot; and so powerful in some is 
this organ, that by means of it the animal 
sand, but actually leap out of a boat. The rapid opening and shutting of 
the valves is used by some, as the scallop, as a means of progression. It 
is believed that the Bivalves have no visual organs. 

The common Scallop is found along our southern coasts, and in the 
seas of Europe. This shell was formerly used as the badge of a Pilgrim 
to the Holy Land. 

“-His pilgrim’s staff he bore, 

And fix’d the Scallop in his hat before.” 

It is a singular fact, that in the stomach of the common Scallop is 
found an earthy deposit, which, when boiled in nitric acid in order to 
dissolve the animal and other portions, exhibits under a powerful micro¬ 
scope animalcules precisely similar to those which, in a fossil state, form 
the earth on which the town of Richmond in America is built. 

The Common Oyster has been for many ages considered as a delicacy 
for the table. In the times of the ancient Homans, we find that our 
“ Native Oysters” were exported to Home, and there placed in the Lucrine 
Lake, where they were fattened. 

On our coasts the oysters breed in large beds, to which vast quantities 
of young oysters are conveyed by the fishermen, and suffered to increase 
without molestation. Newly-formed beds are untouched for two or three 
years. During the months of May, June, and* July,f the oysters breed, 

* Because the pilgrims to the shrine of St. James (Sancti Jacobi), called by the 
Spaniards Santiago, also bore the Scallop. 

t Most people are acquainted with the proverb, that oysters are in season during ths 
months in which is the letter S. 



Jacobeeus (Lat. from a proper 
name),* the Scallop. 

can not only burrow in the 



306 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


and are considered unfit for food. At this time tne young, called "spat,” 
are deposited in enormous numbers. They instantly adhere to the sub¬ 
stance among which they fall; and this, whatever it be, is called cultch,’ 
and is protected by severe penalties. About May the fishermen separate 
the spawn from the cultch, which is then thrown back into its former 


Ostrea. —(Gr. ‘'Ocnpeov, an Oyster.) 



Edulis (Lat. edible), tlte Oyster. 


place. After May it is felony to disturb the cultch, as were it -removed, 
mussels and cockles would rapidly take the place of the oysters. 

The oysters are taken in the proper season by the “ dredge,” a kind of 
small net fastened round an iron frame-work, which scoops up the oysters 
and many other marine animals. 

Tne - part of the oyster called the “ beard,” is in reality the respiratory 
apparatus. 

The Pearl Oyster is the animal from which those highly valued orna¬ 
ments, pearls, are extracted. The pearl is nothing more than “ nacre,” 
deposited in the shape of globular drops instead of being spread over the 
inner surface of the shell, in which case it is known as Mother-of-Pearl. 

These valuable shells are found both in the Old and New World. 
Ceylon is very famous for its pearl fisheries. The fishermen are trained 
t :> remain a long time under water, and are assisted in their descent to 
the bottom of the sea by a heavy weight tied to their feet. They 
rapidly gather all the Pearl Oysters in their way into a basket, and when 
in want of air, give a signal to their friends above, who draw them to the 
surface by a rope. The Oysters are then left to putrefy for som6 
weeks, when they are carefully washed, and the pearls extracted. 














NATURAL HISTORY. 


Wl 


Family, Meleagrinidae. — (Gr. MeAecryofs.) 

SvELEAGR?N s 



Margaritifera (Lat. Margarita, a pearl; fero, I bear), the Pearl Oyster. 

The Chinese have a method of forcing oysters, or rather mussels, to 
form pearls, by artfully placing beads in their shells, round which a layer 
of nacre is deposited, and the beads then perfectly resemble real pearls 


Family, Mytiltdae,—(Gr. MimAos, a Mussel.) 
MYTi'LTTS. 



Edulis (Lat. edible), the Edible Mussel. 

The Sea Mussels are usually fixed where the tide leaves them alter¬ 
nately wet and dry, and it is worthy of notice that those “ shell-fish” 












398 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


which are exposed to variations of this kind are enabled to close then 
shells so firmly as to prevent any evaporation. One species is extensively 
used as an article of food. 

The river mussels occasionally produce pearls of some value. The 
nacre of these mussels is of a beautiful azure blue. 


Order, CIRIUIOPODA. —(Lat. Cirrus, a lock of hair; 7 )cs, a foot.) 
Pentalasmis.— (Gr. Herrs, five; eA aaua, a plate.) 



Anatifera (Lat. Goose-bearing I, the Bernicle. 

The Bernicle.— At first sight, the Bernicle bears a close resemblance 
to a mussel-shell fixed to a long stem. On a closer examination, however, 
the difference is at once apparent. The shell is in fact composed of five 
pieces, and through the aperture of the shell are thrust two rows of arms, 
or “ cirrlii,” as they are more properly called. These cirrhi serve to en¬ 
tangle the small Crustacea or molluscs which pass near their sphere of 
action, and which are then carried to the mouth and speedily devoured. 

The Bernicle is always found adhering to some larger object, usually 
floating wood, and is very common on the hulls of ships. Although the 
perfect animal is permanently fixed, it has been discovered that the 
young are free and capable of locomotion ; nor is it until a week or two 
has passed, that they finally settle themselves. 

The name Anatifera, or Goose-bearing, has been given to this animal 
on account of the ancient story of the production of the Bernicle-goose. 
This fable has already been related under the article. Bernicle-goose. 











NATURAL HISTORY. 


399 


Class VIJ. . CRUSTACEA. —(Lat. Crusta, a crust or shell.) 

Sub-class I. MALACOSTRACA.—(Gr. MaAa/cos, soft; o arpaKov, a shell.)* 
Order I. . . DECAPOD A. —(Gr. A exa. ten ; nous, a foot.) 

Sub-orderI. Decapoda-brachyura. — (Gr. Bpax^s, short; oupa, a tail.) 
Family I. . Canceridfe.—(Lat. Cancer, a Crab.) 


CANCER. 



Pagurus (Gr. nhyvvpu, I fix; oupa, a tail), the Crab. 


The Crustacea are almost all aquatic animals. They have no internal 
skeleton, but their body is covered with a strong crust, which serves for 
protection .as well as for strength. Their whole framework consists of 
a series of rings fitted to, and working in each other; some forming 
limbs, and others developing into the framework supporting the different 
organs. From this reason, they and the remaining animals, as far as the 
star-fishes, who have no limbs at all, are called “ articulated” animals. 

Their method of growth is very curious. Other animals, as they 
increase in size, experience no particular inconvenience. Not so the 
Crustacea. Their bodies are closely enveloped in a strong, unyielding 
mail, which cannot grow with them. Their armour is therefore cast off 
every year, and a fresh coat formed to suit their increased dimensions. 
Not only is the armour cast off, but even the covering of the eyes, the 
tendons of the claws, and the lining membrane of the stomach, with it? 
teeth. 

They all also possess the curious power of reproducing a lost or injured 
limb. In the former case, a fresh limb supplies the place of that lost: 
and in the latter case, the animal itself shakes off the injured joint, and 

* So nailed because their shell Is soft compared with that of thf univalve or bivalve 
radlusi'S 




400 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


a new one soon takes its place. Lobsters, when alarmed, frequently 
throw off their claws. 

The Decapods, as their name imports, are the fortunate possessors of 
ten legs, five at each side. They also possess three pairs of jaws, besides 
the teeth in the stomach. They breathe by means of branchiae or gills, 
fixed at each side of the throat or chest, often erroneously called the 
head.* 

The Common Crab belongs to the short-tailed Decapods. It is 
abundantly taken on our coasts by fishermen, who employ for its capture 
a wicker basket called a “creel” or cra.b-pot. The crab-pots are made 
each with an aperture which permits the animal to enter, but forbids its 
egress—just like a common wire mouse-trap. A piece of a fish is 
fastened at the bottom of the creel, and the whole apparatus let down to 
the bottom of the sea, guarded by a line connected with a float, by means 
of which the fishermen draw it up and then remove its contents. Each 
float has a peculiar mark, by which the fisherman knows his own. When 
taken, the crabs are kept alive in well-boats, until wanted. 


The Hermit Crab is not so well 
protected as most of his relations, 
for his tail has no shelly armour. 
He is therefore forced to protect 
his undefended tail by putting it 
into an empty shell, usually that of 
a whelk, and then walks about, 
dragging his curious house after 
him. Sometimes, two hermit crabs 
wish to obtain possession of the 
same shell, and then there is a battle 
royal. When the crab grows larger, 
he only has to change his old shell 
for a new one, and it is very amusing 
to see these creatures slipping their 
tails first into one shell, and then 
into another, until they have pleased 
themselves with a good fit. 

They are very common on our 
coasts, and maybe found of all sizes, 
from the crab that fills a tolerably 
large whelk shell, to the little one 
whose habitation hardly exceeds 
the size of a pea. 

The Land Crabs make annual e 


Sub-orderll. Decapoda-anomoura.— 
(Gr. A uo/uos, unaccustomed; 
ovpa, a tail.) 

Family III. Paguridse.—(Gr. U-pyvvp.i, 
to fix; ovpd, a tail.) 

PAGURUS. 



Bernhardus (Lat. proper name), 
the Hermit Crab. 

irsions to the sea in large armies 


* These animals have no distinct head; that and the thorax being merged into wh*l 
naturalists call “ cephalo-thorax.” or head-thorax. 



NATURAL history. 


401 


They go straight forward, and nothing except a house or such insur¬ 
mountable barrier can stop them. Those of Jamaica are particularly 
celebrated. 


Sub-order III. DECAeoDA-MAonouRA.—(Gr. Maxpos, long; ovpa, .a tail.) 
Family V. . . Astacidse.—(Gr. ’Ac ttukos, a Lobster.) 

Potamobius. —(Gr. UoTands, a river ; fiidw, to liva.) 


Astiicus the Cray-fish. 

The long-tailed crustaceans include the Lobster, Shrimp, &c. 

The River Cray-eish is common in most of our rivers and brooxs. 
[t resides in holes in the bank, sometimes excavated by itself, but more 
often the deserted habitations of water-rats. In rocky situations it 
lives under and among the stones. The excellence and delicacy of its 
flesh causes it to be much sought after. The usual method of catching 
these animals is by lowering a net to the bottom of the water, baited 
with a piece of meat. The cray-fish soon discover this and come in 
numbers to the bait, when the net is suddenly hauled up, and most of 
the cray-fish secured. Some, however, escape by darting off backwards, 
a movement produced by the violent bonding of their tails. It is a 
favourite amusement with boys to search for them in their holes, and 
drag them from their concealment. 

The common Lobster is found in great abundance on our coasts, 
usually in the clear rocky waters. The fishermen take great numbers of 
lobsters in baskets made ou the same principle as those used for the 
capture of the crab. The powerful tail of the lobsters enables them to 
spring through a great distance if alarmed, and they have been seen to 
pass nearly thirty feet. They direct their course with wonderful accuracy, 
and can throw themselves through apertures hardly larger than the size 
of their bodies : of course they spring tail foremost. 

The grasp of the lobster’s claw is so tight that to break off the claws 
is often the only method of disengaging its hold. 






402 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



Gammarus (Lat.) the Lobster. 


The Prawn and 
the Shrimp are 
so familiar to every 
one as to need 
but little descrip¬ 
tion. Both are taken in nets swept along the sandy bottom of the sea. 
The chief distinction in the appearance of these two creatures is the 

serrated or toothed 

Family VI. Crangontdse.—(Gr. Kpayywv, a Shrimp.) ridge which runs 
Family VIII. Pakemonidae.—(Gr. TlaXalpcov, a proper along the back oi 

name.) the head, or rather 

crangon. pal aim on. carapace, of the 

Prawn. When in 
their natural state, 
they are of a brown 
colour, and only as¬ 
sume the pinkish 
hue when boiled. 
Spirits of wine has 
the same effect. 

The Presh-water 
Shrimp (Gammarus 
Pulex), and the 
Water-Flea ( Baph - 
nia Pulex), both 
so common in our 
rivers and ponds, 
are placed among 
the Crustaceas. 


ASTAOUS. 


Although enor¬ 
mous quantities 
are destroyed every 
year, they are so 
prolific that the 
supply never fails. 

The so-called 
lady’s-fingers ot 
the Lobster are its 
breathing appara- 
tus. 



Bulgaria (Lat. common ), the Shrimp. 

Sen atus (Lat. toothed, jagged), the Prawn. 















NATURAL history. 


m 


Class MIL ARACHNIDA.—(Gr. ’A .p&xrnh a Spider.) 
Order . . . PULMONARIA * —(Lat. Pulmo, the Lungs.) 
Family . ■ Araneidse.—(Lat. Aranea, a Spider.) 


Myoale.—(G r. MuyaAt], the Shrew-mouse.) 



Avicularla (Lat. Aviciilus, a little Bird), the Bird bpider. 

The Class Arachnida, or the Spiders, are by many supposed to be 
insects. Such, however, is not the case. The Arachnida possess eight 
legs, while the true Insects only have six; they undergo no transforma¬ 
tions, they possess no wings or antennae (the place of the latter organs 
being supplied either by two jointed claws, as in the Scorpions, or bv 
two fangs, as in the Spiders); and their eyes are simple instead of 
compound. 

Could people divest themselves of the horror felt at the sight of these 
creatures, especially of the larger sort, they woidd be well repaid by the 
interesting instinct displayed by all the Spiders, who do not differ from 
each other more in form than in habits. Those of our own country 
afford an ample field, which has been as yet but imperfectly trodden. 
There are the Gossamer Spiders, who float high into the air, borne upou 
an almost invisible thread; the Water Spiders, who form an air-tight 

* So called, because the animals belonging to this class breathe by means of air-sacs, 
called by Latreille, Pneumobranchiae, or lung-gills. The Trachearia, on the contrary, 
breathe by means of tracheae, or air-tubes branching through the whole system, like tha 
insects. 


D D 2 




4.0* 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


dwelling under the wave; the Hunting Spiders, that creep stealthnj 
upon their prey, and then spring on it like lightning; the beautiful 
Garden Spiders, who weave from their self-afforded stores their geome¬ 
trical nets; the Pirate Spiders, who skim over the surface ©f the waters, 
and snatch up the drowning and helpless fly; together with many others, 
whose form and habits must be familiar to any observer of Nature. 

On account of the limited space that can be appropriated to each 
Class, a short account of some of the principal species of this Class is 
all that can be given. 

The enormous Spider represented above is a native of Surinam, and 
was brought into notice by that indefatigable naturalist, Madame Merian. 
Her account of it is very short. She relates that it carries about with 
it a habitation, resembling the cocoon of some of the moths, and that it 
is armed with sharp fangs and inflicts dangerous wounds, at the same 
time injecting into the wound a poisonous liquid. She also tells us that 
it feeds principally upon ants, but that in their absence it drags little 
birds out of their nests, and then, as she pathetically observes, “ sucks 
all the blood out of their poor little bodies.” * Here, however, it is 
generally supposed that Madame Merian has been imposed upon, as is 
evidently the case in another portion of her work, where she has drawn a 
curious insect, compounded of the head of a lantern-fly, and the body of 
a cicada. She seems to have had her doubts on the subject, for she 
takes care to say, “ The Indians told me.” f 



THE GARDEN SPIDER. 


* “ Formicarum defectu, ipsas e nidis tollunt aviculas, omnemque corpuscuiis cruorenr 
exsugunt.”—Merian. Met. Insect. Sur . p. 18. 

1 “ Persuasum mihi ab Indls est.”—Id. p. 49 












NATURAL history. 


405 


The common Garden, or Geometrical Spider, as it is called from the 
mathematical regularity of its net, is an excellent example of the Spiders. 
The net is formed from a gummy substance secreted in an apparatus 
called the spinneret, through the holes of which the gummy secretion is 
drawn, and becomes hard when exposed to the air. .Each thread is com¬ 
posed of many thousand lines. When the web is completed, the Spider 
generally hides itself under a leaf or other convenient lurking-place, and 
from thence pounces upon any unwary fly that has entangled itself in 
the slender meshes. Should the fly be a large one, the Spider rapidly 
encircles it with fresh threads until it has bound its wings and legs to 
the body, and then breaking off the few threads that held it to the net, 
bears it off triumphantly to its hiding-place. Frequently the Geometrical 
Spider sits in the centre of the web, apparently enjoying the air, and if 
disturbed shakes the net so violently that its shape is completely obscured 
by the rapidity of the vibrations. 

The House Spider makes a thicker and irregular web, and hides itself 
at the bottom of a silken tunnel communicating with the web. An 
acquaintance of mine had so far tamed a huge house spider, that it would 
come and take a fly out of his hand. He states, that as it sat at the 
bottom of its den, its eyes gleamed like diamonds. 

Several endeavours have been made to procure silk from spiders, but 
although a sufficient quantity has been obtained to weave gloves from, 
yet spiders are so pugnacious that they cannot be kept together. The 
eggs of the Spiders are enclosed in a silken bag, and when hatched, 
the young keep closely together, and when dispersed by an alarm, 
soon re-assemble. 

The Tarantula, whose bite was fabled to produce convulsions which 
could only be appeased by music, is a spider of considerable size, inhabit¬ 
ing the south of Europe. It lives in holes about four inches deep in the 
ground. 


The Scorpion *—These formidable creatures inhabit most of the hotter 
parts of the globe. They are quite as pugnacious as the spiders, and if 
several are placed in one box, they will fight until few survive, who 
immediately devour their fallen foes. 

The maxillae of the Scorpion are developed into large claws, like those 
of the lobster. With these, the Scorpion seizes its prey, and while holding 
it pierces it with its sting, which is situated at the extremity of its tail. 
The tail is composed of six joints, rendering it very flexible. 

The sting of this creature is exceedingly painful, and with some persons 
dangerous; indeed, the sting of the large black Scorpion of Ceylon is 
said to cause death. 


* fcr.e page 406. 



106 


NATO HAT. TIISTORTr. 


Family, Scorpiontdse.— (Lat. Scorpio, a Scorpion.) 

SCORPIO. 



Europaeus (Lat. European), the Scorpion. 


Order, TRACHEAIUA. —(From Trachea, a word used to represent the 
tubes through which insects aud other animals breathe;—the 
windpipe.) 

Family, Acarldae.—Gr. v AKapt, a Mite.) 

Leptus. —(Gr. Ae7TT os, small.) 



Autumnalis (Lat. belonging to Autumn), the Harvest-bug. 

The Harvest-bug. —These creatures are mostly minute, requiring the 
aid of a microscope fully to develop their form; but some are consi¬ 
derably larger, and their organs can be distinguished with the naked eye. 
In this order are included the common cheese-mite, the harvest-bug, the 
water mites, &c. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


407 


Class IX. . INSECTA.—(Lat. Insecare, to cut into.) 

Sub-class I. INSECTA MANDIBULATA.—(Lat. mandare, to chew.) 
Order L , . COLEOPTERA. —(Gr. KoAeds, a sheath; irrlpov, a wing.) 
Family I . Cicindelldse. (Lat. Cicindela, properly, a Glowworm.) 

CICINDELA. 



Campestris (Lat. of the fields), the Tiger-beetle. 


The Tiger-beetle.— The body of an insect is divided or cut into three 
parts, called the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. The body is de¬ 
fended by a horny integument, divided into rings and connected by 
a softer membrane. The legs are six in number. Many insects possess 
wings, and in all the rudiments of those organs are perceptible. The eyes 
are compound, that is, a number of eyes are massed together at each side 
of the head; and so numerous are they, that in the compound eyes of the 
ant are 50 lenses, in the house-fly, 3,000, in the butterfly, 17,000, and in 
the hawk-moth, 20,000. 

The insects pass through three transformations before they attain their 
perfect form. The first state is called the larva* because the future insect 
is masked under that form; the second is called the pupa,f on account of 
the shape often assumed; and the third is called the imago,% as being the 
image of the perfect creature. Insects breathe by means of air-tubes, 
called tracheae, which penetrate to every part of the body, even to the 
extremities of the limbs, antennae and wings. The air gains access to the 
tubes by means of small apertures called spiracles. The tubes are pre¬ 
vented from collapsing by a delicate thread wound spirally between the 
two membranes of which the tubes are composed. This wonderful and 
beautiful arrangement not only prevents the tubes from collapsing', but 
keeps them flexible. There are, according to Stephens, whose arrange¬ 
ment is the one usually followed, fourteen orders of insects. Examples 
will be given of each, and their names explained. The most perfect insects 
are placed first. 


* From Lat. Larva, a mask. 

1 From Lat. Imago, an image <?xeffi*?v 


t From Lat. Pupa, a doll. 





108 


NATURAL HISTORI. 


There are two great divisions of insects, namely, those which bite and 
eat solid food with jaws, as the beetles, locusts, bees, &c., and those 
which suck liquid food through a proboscis, as the butterflies, flies, &c. 
The first order of insects derives its name from the sheath or covering 
with which the wings are defended.* This is a very extensive order, as, 
exclusive of exotic and other foreign beetles, it has been discovereu 
that no less than three thousand five hundred inhabit this country. The 
first in order of the British insects, are the Tiger-beetles, so called from 
their activity and voracity. The most common of these is the ordinary 
Green Tiger-beetle, that may be seen any hot summer’s day, glancing in 
the sun on sandy banks. The exceeding beauty of this insect is beyond 
all description. The upper surface of the body is a deep, dead green, 
changing under the microscope to a glossy gold, shot with red and green; 
the surface of the abdomen covered by the wings, and the entire under¬ 
surface of the body, are brilliant emerald green, and when the insect is on 
the wing it sparkles in the sun like a flying gem. Nor is this the last of 
its attractions, for when handled it gives forth a scent closely resembling 
that of the verbena. It is indeed as beautiful among insects as the tiger 
is among beasts, and is, perhaps, the more ferocious of the two. It runs 
and flies with great activity, and takes to the wing as easily as a bee or 
fly, and is in consequence rather difficult to capture without a net. Its 
jaws are long, sharp, curved like a sickle, and armed with several teeth. 
Its eyes are large and prominent, enabling it see on all sides. Its length 
is rather more than half an inch. 


Family, Carabidae.—(Gr. Kapaftos, a Beetle. 

CARABUS. 



Cancellatus (Lat. chequered), the Ground-beetle. 

The Ground-beetle is one of our largest and most beautiful beetles 
Cts general colour is a coppery green, and its wing-cases are ornamented 
with several rows of oblong raised spots. Its length is about an inch. 

* Thi9, as well as the general covering of insects, is composed principally of a sub¬ 
stance called by chemists, chitine. 














NATURAL HISTORY. 


409 



Family, Silphidse.—(Gr. SiA^rj, a Burying* 
beetle.) 

Necrophagus.— (Gr. N expos, a dead body 
< pa-yeiv , to eat.) 


The Burying-beetle. —This curious beetle derives its name from it 
habit of burying any small 
dead animal left on the sur¬ 
face of the ground. With 
such rapidity does it work, 
that two beetles have been 
known to cover up a sparrow 
within a few hours ; and so 
unwearied are they, that if 
several Burying-beetles are 
placed in a vessel filled with 
earth, and kept constantly 
supplied with dead frogs, 
mice, &c., they will continue 
to bury them as long as the 
supply is kept up. The 
object of this remarkable 
instinct, so beneficial in its 
effects, is to furnish food 
for the young who are 
hatched from eggs laid in the body of the animal during its burial. In 
this way innumerable carcases, which would pollute the atmosphere, are 
removed, and made beneficial to the soil. 


Vespillo (Lat. a bearer of the dead), 
the Burying-beetle. 


The Lamellicorn Beetles are exceedingly useful to mankind. Many 
of them act as scavengers and farmers, for they not only remove putre¬ 
fying substances from the surface of the ground, but bury them beneath. 

The Stag-beetle is the largest of British insects. Although so 
formidably armed, it is quite harmless, and only uses its enormous jaws 
to break the tender bark of trees, in order that the sap on which it feeds 
may exude. The mouth of this beetle is very small, and is furnished 
with a brush, with which it licks up the food. Several of these beetles 
lived for some time on moist sugar. During the winter, it hides in the 
earth, making for itself a kind of cave, very smooth inside.* This 
beetle is common in the New Forest. 

The Dor-beetle is a very common English insect. At the approach 
of evening, it may be seen whirling round in the air with a dull humming 
sound. The country children call it the Watchman, comparing it to a 
watchman going his rounds in the evening. It usually lays its eggs on 
a rounded mass of cow-dung, and then buries the whole mass in the 
ground. When caught, it pretends to be dead. 

The Dor-beetle is very tenacious of life. I have now in my cabinet 
a specimen of this insect, which I took on the wing. It had lost several 

* In the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, is an excellent specimen of the winter habitation 
of thi9 beetle, with the beetle itself enclosed. 





410 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


legs, one wing-cover or elytron, the whole of the contents of the abdomen, 
and part of the thorax. I suppose that a bird must have been eating it, 
and have been disturbed, for when thrushes, blackbirds, jackdaws, &c., 

Family, Lucanidse.—(Lat. Lucanus, the Stag-beetle.) 

LUCANUS. 

Family, Geotrupldae.—(Gr. Tij, the Earth; rpvirdu, to bore.) 

GEOTBUPES. 

Family, Melolonthulae.—(Gr. MnXoXuvOij, a Cockchaffer.) 

MELOLONTHA. 



Cervus (Lat. a Stag), the Stag-beetle. 

Stercorarlus (Lat. Dung), the Dor-beetle. 

Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Cockchaffer. 

eat large beetles, they begin by picking off the wings, limbs, &c. 1 also 

took, in May 1852, a cockchaffer walking along very unconcernedly, who 
had lost both his wings and elytra, and all the contents of the abdomen. 

The Cockchaffer needs not much description. Its larva works great 
mischief during the spring, as it feeds on the roots of plants, and cuts 
them off witli its sharp sickle-like jaws. Where many of these 
“grubs” have been, the grass curls up, and dries like hay. One farmer 
actually collected eighty bushels of the grubs of the Cockchaffer on his 
farm. Fortunately the thrushes, blackbirds, rooks, and many other birds, 
are inveterate destroyers of the grubs, and devour myriads of them. It 
is for this purpose that these birds pull up the grass, and not to spoil or 
devour the herbage, as is generally supposed. 

The huge Hercules and Atlas Beetles, and larger still, the Goliath 
Beetle, belong to the Lamellicorns. 






NATURAL HISTORY 


411 



The Glowworm may be seen in the warm summer evenings, shedding 
its pale green light on grassy banks. The female insect gives out a much 
stronger light than the male, 
and there is some light visible 


The light 


Family, Lampyrldge.—(Gr. A.d(xircv, to 
shine; ovpd, a tail. 
LAMP'fRIS. 


the abdomen 
given out by 


even in the larva, 
of this insect proceeds from 
The light 
the firefly, 
another kind of beetle inha¬ 
biting South America, pro¬ 
ceeds from three yellow tu¬ 
bercles placed on the throat. 

The grub or larva of the 
Glowworm is of a singular 
form, and is furnished with 
a brush at the extremity of 
the tail, with which it _ 

cleanses its body from dust Noctiluca(Lat .night-shmmg), the Glowworm. 

or the slime of the snails on which it frequently feeds. 

Of the two insects represented in the engraving, that on the left is 
the male, the female being that on the right. 



The Death-Watch. —The formerly terrible Death-Watch is now 
generally known to be merely a small beetle. Indeed it is nothing more 


Family, Ptinldge.— (Gr. tttt)p6s, winged.) 
Anobium. —(Gr. dvd, through ; Blocv, I live.) 


than the creature that per¬ 
forates the round holes in 
old “worm-eaten” furniture 
and wood-work. The “ tick¬ 
ing ” is produced by striking 
the head against the wood. 

If there is a Death-Watch in 
the room, it is easy to incite 
it to begin to tick, by striking 
with the head of a pin on the 
panelling. There are several 
insects that produce this 
sound,the Anobium striatum, 
tesselatum, and pertinax. 

The last-named is so called Tesselatum (Lat. tessdated), the Death- Watch. 

from the pertinacity with which it simulates death if alarmed, preferring 
to suffer the severest treatment rather than give signs of life. 


The Music-Beetle. —The beautiful Beetles of which the common Musk- 
Beetle is an excellent example vary considerably in size; some being several 
inches in length, while some are hardly one-quarter of an inch long. The 






412 


NATURAL TTTSTORY 


extreme length of their antennae is the most conspicuous property, and 
from that peculiarity they are at once recognised. 

A small moth, Adela de Geerella, possesses the same peculiarity. The 
length of the moth is about a Quarter of an inch, and the length of the 
antennae more than an inch and a half. The antennae wave about with 
every breath of air, as if the insect had become entangled in a spider’s 
web, and escaped with some of the loose threads floating about it. 

Family, Cerambycidge.—(Gr. KepdjujSi^, the Musk-beetle.) 

CERA MB YX. 



Moscliatus (Lat. mushy), Mush-beetle. 


The Musk-beetle is a large insect, common in most parts of England. 
It is extremely common at Oxford, and is found in old willow-trees, with 
which Oxford is surrounded. Its peculiar scent, something resembling 
that of roses, often betrays its presence, when its green colour would 
have kept it concealed. When touched, it emits a curious sound, not 
unlike that of the bat, but more resembling the faint scratching of a 
perpendicularly-held slate pencil. Its larva bores deep holes in the trees, 
which are often quite honeycombed by them. 


The Rove-beetles form an exceedingly extensive section. Some are 
so small as to require the assistance of the microscope to discover their 
shape, and others, as those represented on the next page, are more than 
an inch in length. The small species are usually on the wing, and it is 
very amusing to see them alight, and with their flexible tails tuck their 
long and beautifully shaped wings under the elytra, run about for a 
moment, and then again take to flight. These are the creatures that 




NATURAL HISTORY. 413 

cause so much annoyance by flying into one’s mouth or eye in the warm 
months. 


Family, Staphylimdse.— (Gr. 2t«<|>uA?j/os, the Rove-beetle.) 
CuEOPHlLUS.— (Gr. Kpeas, flesh; (piAeTv , to love.) 



Maxillosua (Lat. large-jawed), the Rove-beetle. 


The Great Rove-beetle is commonly found upon decaying ar.imal 
substances. It is most formidably armed with two large, curved, sharp 
mandibles, the bite of which is tolerably severe; and more than once, 
when the creature has been recently feeding upon putrid substances, 
dangerous results have followed. 

I much regret that want of space has withheld me from giving accounts 
of many most interesting beetles particularly some of the Carabidse, 
the Silphidse, Ptinidaj, and the Water-beetles. These last inhabit the 
water, and swim with remarkable activity. They occasionally come to 
the surface for a fresh supply of air, which they carry down between the 
elytra and the upper surface of the abdomen. They fly very well, but 
the construction of their limbs prevents them from walking. They 
cannot be kept in a limited space, as they are very fierce and voracious, 
and in one case when a male and female were placed in a jar filled with 
water, only one day elapsed before the male was found dead and half 
devoured by his disconsolate widow. 


The Earwig is placed in an order by itself, called Dermaptera, from 
the soft elytra. The wings are large and exceedingly beautiful, and the 
method of folding by which they are packed under the very small elytra 
is very curious. The use of the forceps seems principally for the 
purpose of folding the wings and placing them in their proper oositiou 




414 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Order II. DEItMAPTERA.— (Gr. Aep/j.a, skin; nrepov, a wing,^ 
Family. . Forficulidse.—(Lat. Dim. of Forfex, a pair of Shears.) 

forficula. 



Forcipata.—(Lat. possessing forceps), the Earwig. 

under tneir cases. Ten species of earwigs inhabit England. The eggs 
of the earwigs are hatched, and the young protected by the parent. 

The insect represented is chosen as being rather a rare species. 


Order III. ORTHOPTERA. —(Gr. "OpOos, straight; irripov, a wing.) 
Family . Locustidse.—(Lat. Locusta, a Locust.) 


LOCDSTA. 



Tartarica (Lat. of Tartary), the Locust. 

The Locust.— These pests of the wanner countries of the earth 
belong to the order called Orthoptera, because the wings are not folded 
transversely. 

They fly in countless myriads, and where they descend, they devour 
every particle of green herbage—the trees are stripped of their leaves, 
the grass and corn is eaten to the very ground; for their jaws are so 
strong as to inflict a severe wound when the insect is incautiously 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


415 


naidled. Nor does the mischief end with their life, for their dead bodies 
often accumulate in such numbers that the air is even dangerously 
infected. They infest Africa and Central Asia, but they annually make 
incursions to Europe, where the damage they occasion is much less 
reparable than in their native lands; for there the power of vegetation is 
so great that a few days repair the injuries caused by them, but in 
Europe a whole year is required for that purpose. The following 
account of these creatures is extracted from Mr. Cummings South 
Africa:— 

“ On the following day I had the pleasure of beholding the first flight 
of locusts that I had seen since my arrival in the colony. We were 
standing in the middle of a plain of unlimited length, and about five 
miles across, when I observed them advancing. On they came like a 
snow-storm, flying slow and steady, about a hundred yards from the 
ground. I stood looking at them until the air was darkened with their 
masses, while the plain on which we stood became densely covered with 
them. Ear as my eye could reach, east, west, north, and south, they 
stretched in one unbroken cloud ; and more than an hour elapsed before 
their devastating legions had swept by. 

“ Locusts afford fattening and wholesome food to man, birds, and all 
sorts of beasts; cows and horses, lions, jackals, hyaenas, antelopes, 
elephants, &c. devour them. We met a party of Batlapis carrying 
heavy burdens of them on their backs. Our hungry dogs made a fine 
feast on them. The cold frosty night had rendered them unable to take 
wing until the sun should restore their powers. As it was difficult to 
obtain sufficient food for my dogs, I and Isaac took a large blanket 
which we spread under a bush, whose branches were bent to the ground 
with the mass of locusts which covered it, and having shaken the branches, 
in an instant I had more locusts than I could carry on my back; these 
we roasted for ourselves and our dogs.” 

Our common grasshoppers belong to this order, but require no de¬ 
scription. 


Although the Eield-Cricket is not a very rare insect, it is but seldom 
caught, as it is very shy, and its holes, to which it instantly resorts 
when alarmed, are very deep and crooked. The female of this insect is 
armed with a very large ovipositor, nearly as long as its abdomen. 

Although the Eield-Cricket is endowed with large and strong jaws, it 
does not make use of them when handled, but only employs them in 
fighting with its own species. The hinder legs are long and powerful, 
appearing to be excellent limbs for leaping. The Eield-Cricket, however, 
never seems to use them for leaping, but contents itself with crawling 
ignominiously. These qualities render the Eield-Crickets an easy prey 
when they are once driven from their holes; but when they are only at 
the mouth of their caverns, as is their usual custom, they dive back so 




416 


NATURAL HISTORY. 



fast that they cannot be captured. Force is useless to get these creatures 
out of their holes, as the stroke of a spade would probably cruslFthem 

to pieces, and their holes 
Family, Aehetfdas. (Gr. Ax^ras, a Chirper, are £ 00 deep for them to 

i. e. the Grasshopper.) he reached by any instru- 

acheta. ment. 

The best method for in¬ 
ducing the Field-Cricket 
to leave its dwelling-place, 
is by thrusting a pliant 
stalk of grass into the hole, 
which accommodates itself 
to the windings of the 
passage, and brings out the 
inhabitant in great wrath 
to see what intruder has 
been trespassing. 

It is a noisy insect, and 
utters its shrill cry while 
seated at the mouth of its 
hole, but instantly ceases 
if alarmed, and disappears 
into its hiding place. From 
the middle of May to the 
middle of Jnly, its cry may 


Campestris (Lat. belonging to tlie field), the 
Field Cricket. 

be heard by night as well as by day. 


The House-Cricket. —This well-known 
acheia. 



Coiuestlcus (Lat. domestic), the House Cricket. 


iusect delights to live in 
places that are always warm, 
and consequently is found 
swarming about ovens, 
kitchen fire-places, and lo¬ 
calities of a similar na¬ 
ture. It makes its resi¬ 
dence by cutting away the 
mortar with its powerful 
jaws, and so effectually will 
it do so, that it sometimes 
eats completely through 
the wall, opening commu¬ 
nications between two or 
more houses. The manner 
in which it bears heat is 
wonderful, as it will live 
within a few inches of a 
nerce lire. 





NATURAL HISTORY. 


417 


But Jie aridity and heat of the atmosphere in which it lives, render it 
very liable to thirst, and it consequently seeks every opportunity of 
quenching its thirst, by gnawing holes in wet linen, devouring any 
moist crumbs that may lie on the floor, or boldly climbing the milk-pan, 
in which latter case it gets a little too much liquid, and is generally 
f ‘ found drowned ” next morning. 

The wings of this insect, as well as those of the Field-Cricket, are 
very beautiful, and marked with an elegant pattern. The Cricket never 
appears to use them except at night, when it may be taken on the wing. 



The Mole-Cricket. —The curious insect called the Mole-Cricket is 
not uncommon in England. It inhabits sandy banks, digging deep holes, 

and forming chambers in Gryclotalpa. —(Lat. Gryllus, a Cricket 
winch the eggs are laid. The tal a Mule , 

tore legs closely resemble 
those of the mole, and are 
used for the same purpose. 

From its not unmusical cry 
it is called in some parts ot 
England the Churr-worm, 
and near Oxford the rustics 
call it “ Croaker.” 


The Leaf Insect is an 
inhabitant of South America. 

Not only does it resemble a 
leaf in shape, but even in Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Mole-CricJcet. 

colour, and its legs may be easily mistaken for dry twigs. Even the 
ramified veinings of the leaf are preserved on its wings. It is singular 


PhyllIa.*—(Q r. <t>vA\oy, a Leaf.) 



Foliata (Lat. like a leaf), the Leaf Insect. 

that while some insects closely resemble vegetables, some vegetables, as 
the Orchidaceae, should as closely resemble insects. Nearly connected 

* I have preferred to place these two insects in close proximity, as they bo.h affortf 
a curious instance of resemblance to another part of creation. 

E Ji 










418 


NATURAL niSTORY. 


with this insect, is the Praying Mantis, so called from the curiou* 
manner in which it holds its fore legs. It is very voracious and ex¬ 
ceedingly quarrelsome, fighting with the fore legs, which it uses like a 
sword. In China the inhabitants keep them in cages, and set them to 
fight as in other countries certain barbarians keep cocks for the same 

purpose - 

Family, Blattidae.—(Lat. Blatta, a Cockroach.) 

BLATTA. 



;Orientalis (Lat. Eastern), the Cockroach. 

The Cockroach. —Once upon a time, the French Academy were com¬ 
piling a dictionary. Being determined to be quite accurate, they sub¬ 
mitted each scientific word to some one skilled in that particular branch. 
One of these words was “Lobster, 3 ’ which the academicians defined as a 
little red fish that runs sideways. The word being zoological, came under 
Cuvier’s notice, who, on reading the definition, observed that it would 
have been a very good one, but for three trifling circumstances, the first 
being that, the lobster is not red until boiled, secondly, that it is not a 
fish, and thirdly, that it does not run sideways. 

In like manner the Cockroach has suffered under the hands of English 
housewives, who express their abhorrence of it under the name of “ Ifiack 
beetle,” a name egregiously false, as, in the first place, it is not black, 
and in the second place, it is not a beetle. 

As is seen from the position of the insect, it belongs to the order 
Orthoptera, and its colour is a mahogany red. But, red or black, beetle 
or not, if, is a very great plague, and fully deserves all the maledictions 
heaped upon it, which are not likely to be decreased by the fact that d 
is not even a good old English nuisance, but one of modern importation. 

Its unpleasant character has caused innumerable plans to be laid for 
its destruction. Among these, strewing the ground with the peel of 
cucumber, or with red wafers, is said to be effectual in destroying the 
Cockroaches, but perhaps no plan is so successful as the glass pan with 
sloping sides, which lets the insects fall in, but prevents their escape 
altogether. 

The eggs of the Cockroach are deposited, indeed, in little cases or 
purses, something like those of the shark, but without the strings 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


419 


Down one side a thick toothed ridge runs, and by this ridge the young 
esoape when hatched. 

The male Cockroach is furnished with very handsome wings, while the 
female is entirely destitute of these organs, and only possesses four little 
scales to mark their position. In the engraving, the right hand figure 
represents the male, the left being the female. These figures were drawn 
by the aid of the camera lucida, from specimens captured expressly for 
the purpose. 



The Common May-fly is so well-known an insect that it needs no long 
description. It is the fly so familiar to anglers under the name of 
the “ Drake.” It is to be found order NEUROPTERA. 


in swarms in the end of May 
and the beginning of June, 
rising and falling in the air in 
its peculiarly undulating man¬ 
ner. 

The May-fly spends the first 
portion of its existence in the 
water, under the shape of a 
longish grub, with leaf-like ap¬ 
pendages to its tail. About 
May, the grubs may be seen to 
leave the water, and to crawl 
up the banks or climb the stems 
of aquatic plants. The skin 
then splits, and the May-fly 
creeps out. But it cannot im¬ 
mediately fly, as its wings are 
soft, and like two split peas. 
A short interval of exercise in 
the open air soon loosens them, 
and they are gradually shaken 


(Gr. Nevpuv, a nerve; 7 rrepov, a wing.) 

Family, Ephemerfdse.—(Gr. icp^pupos, 
living for one day only.) 


EPHEMERA. 


Vulgata (Lat. common), the May fly. 


out until they have attained their full size, when the insect flies off. There 
is, however, another change yet. In a short time, the May-fly again 
settles, and sheds the entire skin a second time, even including the co¬ 
vering of the wings. These cast skins are often found sticking on the 
bark of willow-trees by the side of wmters, and are mistaken for dead 
May-flies. 


The Dragon-fly. —Well do the Dragon-flies deserve their name. 
Fierce, voracious, active, and powerful, they are a scourge to the insects. 
Few but the Coleoptera can escape them. They are on the wing nearly 
4he whole day, seizing and devouring flies, spiders, and various insects; 
nor can even the broad-winged butterfly escape them: so voracious are 
lliey, that when held in the hand they will devour flies, &c., if held 

e e 2 














420 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


within their reach, and they have even been known, when their bodies 
have been severed in two, to eat flies, although they had no stomach to 
put them in. I once caught a dragon-fly in my net, and while holding 

Family, Libellulidse.—(Lat. Libellala, a Dragon-fly.) 

LIBELLULA. 



Depressa (Lat. flattened), the Dragon-fly. 


it by the wings I presented to it no less than thirty-seven large flies in 
Lupid succession, all of which it devoured, together with four long-legged 
spiders. It would probably have eaten as many more had I not been 
tired of catching flies for it. 

A very great variety of these beautiful insects inhabit England. Some, 
tV o Agrionidae, whose head resembles that of the hammer-headed shark, 
ars of every vivid colour imaginable, floating in the air like beams of 
azure, emerald, and rosy light, while others have their wings marked 
with large indigo-coloured spots. The larva of the Dragon-fly inhabits 
the water, and is quite as voracious as in its perfect state. Affixed to 
its head is a curious set of organs, called the mask, which it can extend, 
and use for the purpose of seizing its prey, and holding it to its mouth. 


The Ant-lion. —This insect in its perfect form, although it is very 
elegant, exhibits no peculiarity worthy of notice, but in its larva state 
its habits are so extraordinary as to have excited general attention. As 
it is slow and awkward in its movements, it has recourse to stratagem 
for capturing the agile insects on which it feeds. Choosing a light sandy 
soil, it digs for itself a conical pit, at the bottom of which it conceals 
itself, leaving only its jaws exposed. When an unwary insect approaches 













NATURAL HISTORY. 


421 


too near the edge of the pit, the sand gives way, and down rolls the 
insect into the very teeth of the concealed Ant-lion, who instantly 

Family, MyrmelSomdae.—(Gr. MvppnZ, an Ant; \4oov, a Lion.) 

MYRMELEON.* 



Formicarum (Lat. of ants), the Ant-lion. 


pierces its prey with its calliper-shaped fangs, and sucks out its juices 
through the jaws, which are hollow. Should, however, the Ant-lion miss 
its prey, and the insect endeavour to escape, its captor instantly makes 
such a turmoil by tossing up the sand with its closed jaws, and oovering 
each side of the pit with the moving grains, that the insect is tolerably 
certain to be brought down to the bottom, and is seized by the Ant lion, 
who immediately drags it below the sand. When the insect is very 
strong and struggles hard to escape, the Ant-lion shakes it about as a 
dog does a rat, and beats it against the ground until it is disabled. 


Family, Termitidoo.—(Lat. Termes, properly a twig, also the insect.) 

TERMES. 



Bellicosus (Lat. warlike.) 

The Termites, or White Ants as they are very erroneously called 
Delong to the Neuroptera, and are therefore not ants at all. These inseeti 

* The winged Ant-lion is reduced one-half in size, and the f gure on the right ™>pr@ 
ents the larva. 











422 


NATURAL history. 



live in large societies, and build edifices, sometimes of enormous size, 
and almost as hard as stone. Twelve feet in height is quite common, so 
that were we to compare our works with theirs, St. Peter’s in Rome, 

and St. Paul’s in London, fall 
infinitely short of the edifices 
constructed by these little 
creatures. The common Ter¬ 
mite inhabits Africa. Not only 
does it build these houses, but 
runs galleries underground, as, 
curiously enough, although 
blind, it always works either at 
night or in darkness. In each 
house or community, there are 
five different kinds of Ter¬ 
mites:—1. the single male, or 
king, whose life is very short; 
2. the single female or queen: 
these are the perfect insects, 
and have had wings, but have 
lost them soon after their ad¬ 
mission into their cell; they 
also have eyes; 3. the soldiers 
or fighting men: these possess 
large jaws, do no work, but 
repel adversaries and watch 
as sentinels; 4. the pupae, 
who resemble the workers, except that they possess the rudiments of 
wings; and 5. the larvae, or workers. These do all the work , i. e. they 
collect food, attend to the queen, and watch over the eggs and young, 
and build and repair their castle. These are more numerous than all the 
other kinds. 

On the approach of the rainy season, the pupae obtain wings and issut 
forth in swarms. Pew, however, survive. Myriads are devoured bj 
birds, reptiles, and even by man; and many are carried out to sea, and 
perish there. Those that do escape are speedily found by the labourers, 
who enclose a, pair in a clay cell from which they never emerge. The 
male soon dies, but the female, after rapidly increasing to nearly three 
inches in length and one in breadth, continues to lay eggs unceasingly 
for a very long time. This cell becomes the nucleus of the hive, and 
round it all the other cells and galleries are built. 

These insects are terribly destructive, as they eat through wooden 
beams, furniture, &c., leaving only a thin shell, which is broken down 


THE WHITE ANT.* 


* The upper figure is the Winged or King Termite, and below is represented one o? 
the houses. In the cut on p. 421, the large figure is that of the female or Queen Termite; 
the left-hand one is the labourer, and the right-hand figure represents the soldier. 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


423 


with the least extra weight, and many are the occasions when an unsus¬ 
pecting individual, on seating himself on an apparently sound sofa or 
chair, finds himself, like Belzoni in the Pyramid, reposing among a heap 
of dust and splinters. 

Mr. Cumming describes the habitations of the White Ant in these 
terms:— 

“ Throughout the greater part of the plains frequented by blesboks, 
numbers of the sunbaked hills or mounds of clay formed by the white 
ants occur. The average height of the ant-hills in these districts is from 
two to three feet. They are generally distant from one another from 
one to thiee hundred yards, being more or less thickly placed in different 
parts. These ant-hills are of the greatest service to the hunter, enabling 
him with facility to conceal himself on the otherwise open plain.” 


Order V. TR1CUOPTERA. —(Gr. 0pf£, liair; Tcripov, a wing.) 

Family, Phryganidaj.—(Gr. 'bpvyo.vov, a dry stick; alluding to their 
habitations.) 

PHRYGANEA. 



Grandis (Lat. large), the Caddis-yly* 


The Caddis-fly. —This fly is well known to every angler both in its 
larva and in its perfect state. The larva is a soft white worm, of which 
fishes are exceedingly fond, and it therefore requires some means ol 
defence. It accordingly actually makes for itself a movable house ol 
sand, small stones, straws, bits of shells, or even small living shells, in 
which it lives in perfect security, and crawls about in search of food, 

* In this cut the «ases of the Caddis-worm are of the natural size, but the insect in the 
«entre is reduced one half. 










NATURAL HISTORY. 


124 

dragging its house after it. When it is about to become a pupa, it spin* 
a strong silk grating over the entrance of its case, so that the water 
necessary for its respiration can pass through, but at the same time all 
enemies are kept out. When the time for its change has arrived, the 
pupa bites through the grating, rises to the surface, and crawls out of 
the reacli of the water, which would soon be fatal to it. The skin then 
splits down the back, and the perfect insect emerges. 

The order is called Trichoptera, because the wings, instead of being 
covered with scales as are those of butterflies, are clothed with hairs.— 
There are many species of Caddis-flies. 


Order VI. HYMENOPTERA. —(Gr. 'Tfirjv, a Membrane; -rcrepov, a wing.) 
Family . . Ichneumonidm.—(Gr. 'lx^ev/xccu, a Hunter. x 

PlMPLA. —(Gr. to fill.) 



Manifest&tor (Lat. a pointer out), the Ichneumon^jiy. 

The Ichneumon-ply. —We have now reached a most important and 
interesting order. In it are contained the bees, wasps, ants, &c. This 
is the only order where the insects possess stings. The wings are four 
in number, with certain veinings upon them, the shape and number of 
which in many cases distinguishes the species. 

The Ichneumons form a very large section. They are most useful to 
mankind, as one ichneumon will destroy more caterpillars than a man 
could kill in his lifetime. They do not, as most other insects, deposit 
their eggs upon vegetable or dead animal substances, but they actually 
bore holes in other insects, while they are still in the larva state, and leave 
the eggs to hatch in their living receptacle. The most common ichneu¬ 
mon (microgaster glomeratus ) is a very small insect, not so large as an 
ordinary gnat. This little creature may be seen searching for caterpillars. 
It generally selects the common cabbage caterpillar, and sitting upon it, 
pierces with its sting, or ovipositor as it is called, the skin of the cater¬ 
pillar and deposits an egg. After repeating this operation many times 



NATURAL BT9T0RY. 


425 


.t flies off, and the caterpillar proceeds as before in the great business of 
its life, that is, eating, and continues in apparently perfect health until 
the time for its change into the chrysalis state occurs. The good condition 
of it, however, is merely deception, for the offspring of the little ichneu¬ 
mon have all this while been silently increasing in size, and feeding on 
the fat, &c. of the caterpillar, but cautiously avoiding any vital part, so 
that the plump appearance of the caterpillar is merely produced by the 
young ichneumons lying snugly under the skin. Just as the caterpillar 
commences its change, out come all the ichneumons, looking like little 
white maggots, and immediately each spins for itself a yellow oval case, 
frequently enveloping the form of 1 he now emaciated caterpillar. In a 
few days a little lid on the top of each case is pushed open, and the 
perfect flies issue forth, and immediately commence their own work of 
destruction. 

I have examined hundreds of caterpillars in the course of dissection, and 
have seldom found them free from ichneumons. I took out of one small 
goat caterpillar 137 of these insidious destroyers. I found them useful 
auxiliaries in dissection, as they had usually consumed all the fat, leaving 
the important organs ready cleared. 

The remaining Hymenoptera are furnished with true stings, that is, 
with stings to which is attached a poison apparatus, like that belonging 
to the teeth of venomous snakes. 

The Wood Ant is the largest of our British species. It is found 
principally in woods, and builds a large nest, which looks like a hillock of 
sand and earth, intermixed with bits of stick, leaves, &c. The interior of 
this hill is chambered out into 
a variety of apartments, and 
is traversed by passages. The 
so-called ants’ eggs are not 
eggs at all, but Vtxepupa cases 
of the insect, and if opened, 
the perfect insect is seen 
curled up inside. In the 
autumn, the ants burst forth 
by thousands, and may be 
seen hovering in clouds above 
the nest. Their beautiful 
wings do not last long, for 
when a female ant escapes, 
and founds an infant colony, 
her wings are soon lost, just 
as a highly accomplished young lady gives up her velvet painting and 
cross-stitchery when she marries and has a large family. Few do 
escape, as the birds find these living clouds a most agreeable and plentifuJ 
repast. 


Family, Formiddm.—(Lat. Formica, 
an Ant.) 

FORMICA. 



Rufa (Lat. red), the Wood Ant. 





[26 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Ants do not, as has been so frequently said, lay up stores of corn fo: 
the winter, for they are in a state of torpidity during the cold months, 
and require no food. Moreover, an anc would find as much difficulty in 
eating or digesting a grain of corn as we should in devouring a truss of 
straw. 

In each nest are three kinds of ants,—males, females, and neuters, or 
workers. 


Family, Vespldae—(Lat. Vespa, a Wasp.) 
VESPA. 



Crabro (Lat. a Hornet), the Hornet. 

Vulgaris (Lat. common), the Wasp. 

The Wasps. —Let us honour the Wasps as the first paper-makers, foi 
of that material is the nest composed. The paper is rough and coarse, 
certainly, but it is still paper. The Wasp, in order to make this paper, 
rasps off fibres of decayed wood, which it afterwards mashes with its 
teeth into a pulp, and then spreads the pulp in layers, when it hardens 
and forms coarse paper. 

The dreaded Hornet is usually found in woods, where it builds its 
nest in the hollows of trees. A deserted hut is a favourite spot, and when 
occupied by a full nest of hornets, is not particularly safe to enter, as the 
sting of this insect is peculiarly severe. In 1847, while on an entomo¬ 
logical excursion in Bagley Wood, I saw five hornets sitting in a row, 
gnawing a dead branch. I was rather fearful of disturbing them, but at 
the same time, they were much wanted for a museum. They were all 
secured by tapping each in succession with a twig, and receiving it in my 
net as it flew off. Each bit a hole in the net, which had to be repaired 
before it could be used again with safety. 









NATURAL HISTORY. 427 

It feeds lpon other insects, and even attacks and devours the formidable 
wasp. 

The Common Wasp builds its nest in the ground, usually in banks. 
The comb is laid horizontally, and not vertically like those of the bee. 
As the cells are made of paper, they will not hold honey, nor does the 
wasp endeavour to collect honey, although it is very fond of it, and 
never loses an opportunity of robbing a bee-hive, although its natural 
food is flies or other animal substances. Nor does it despise sugar, as 
every grocer’s window testifies. Very few wasps survive the winter, 
and those who do, immediately set about forming a new nest. Only 
a few cells are made at first, but the number rapidly increases, until the 
nest is furnished with about sixteen thousand cells. 

Some wasps build nests upon the branches of trees, and others sus¬ 
pend them from the branches. 


The Bee. —This useful little creature is so well known that a length¬ 
ened description of it would be useless. A merely general sketch will 
be quite sufficient. 

The cells of the bee are, as is well known, made of wax. This wax is 
secreted in the form of scales under six little flaps situated on the under 


Family, Apidoe.—(Lat. A pis, a Bee.) 
APIS. 



Melliftca (Lat. Mel, honey ; facere, to make), the Honey Bee* 

side of the insect. It is then pulled out by the bee, and moulded with 
other scales until a tenacious piece of wax is formed. The yellow sub- 

* In the cut, the upper figure ie the Queen Bee; that on the left the Worker; and that 
on the right the Drone. 



NATURAL HISTORY. 


128 

stance on the legs of the bees is the pollen of flowers. This is kneaded 
up by the bees, and is called bee-bread. 

The cells are six-sided, a form which gives the greatest space and 
strength with the least amount of material, but the method employed 
by the bees to give the cells that shape is not known. The cells in 
which the drone or male bees are hatched, are much larger than those of 
the ordinary or worker bee. The edges of the cells are strengthened 
with a substance called propolis, which is a gummy material procured 
from the buds of various trees. This propolis is also used to stop up 
Crevices and to mix with wax when the comb has to be strengthened. 

The royal cells are much larger than anv others, and are of an oval 
shape. When a worker larva is placed in a royal cell, and fed in a royal 
manner, it imbibes the principles of royalty, and becomes a queen 
accordingly. This practice is adopted if the queen bee should die, and 
there be no other queen to take her place. 

The Queen Bee is lady paramount in her own hive, and suffers no 
other queen to divide rule with her. Should a strange queen gain 
admittance, there is a battle at once, which ceases not until one has 
been destroyed. 

At the swarming time, the old queen is sadly put out by the encroach, 
ments of various young queens, wdio each wish for the throne, and at 
last is so agitated that she rushes out of the hive, attended by a large 
body of subjects, and thus the first swarm is formed. In seven or eight 
days, the queen next in age also departs, taking with her another supply 
of subjects. When all the swarms have left the original hive, the re¬ 
maining queens fight until one gains the throne. 

The old method of destroying bees for the sake of the honey was not 
only cruel but wasteful, as by burning some dry “puff-ball” the bees 
are stupefied, and shortly return to consciousness. The employment of 
a “ cap ” on the hive is an excellent plan, as the bees deposit honey 
alone in these caps, without any admixture of grubs or bee-bread. Extra 
hives at the side, with a communication from the original hive, are also 
useful. 

The queen bee lays about eighteen thousand eggs. Of these about 
eight hundred are males or drones, and four or five queens, the re¬ 
mainder being workers. 


The Swallow-tailed Butterfly. —We now arrive at the Haustellate 
Insects, so called, because they suck liquid food through an apparatus 
resembling the proboscis of an elephant. The first order of haustellate 
insects is the Lepidoptera, containing the butterflies and moths. The 
butterflies always fly by day, from which circumstance they are some¬ 
times called Diurnal Lepidoptera. Most of the moths fly by night, and 
are called Nocturnal Lepidoptera. This is not a rule, however, as many 
moths fly by day, and some butterflies come out in the evening. 



XATJilAL UlSTOKY. 


4 2 ( J 


Butterflies are usually lighter in the body than moths, from which 
insects they are easily distinguished by the shape of the antennae, which 
in the butterflies are slender, and terminate in a small knob, but in the 
moths terminate in a point, and are often beautifully fringed. 

The name Lepidoptera is given to these insects because their wings 
are covered with myriads of minute scales, by which the beautiful 
colouring of the wings is produced. These scales vary in size and 
shape, according to the species, or the part of the wing from which they 
are taken. Under the microscope they aie most exquisite objects, and 
well repay a long and careful examination. 

Sub-class II. INSECTA HAUSTELLATA.—(Lat. haurire, to suck up.) 

Order I. . . LEPIDOPTERA. —(Gr. Ae-rrls, a scale; irrtpov, a wing ' 

Family . . . Papilionidee. — (Lat. Papilio, a Butterfly.) 

papilYo. 



MachSon (Gr. a proper name), the Swallow-tailed Butterfly* 

The Lepidoptera pass through three distinct changes before assuming 
their perfect form. They first exist in the larva state, in which state 
they are called caterpillars. They then pass to the pupa state, when 
they are known by the name of “ aurelias” f or “ chrysalides,” J both 
words being derived from words signifying gold, from the golden lustre 
oi the pupa of certain butterflies. When they have remained in the 
pupa state during a time, varying from a few days to two years, they 
burst their shells and issue forth in their full and perfect beauty. This 

* This figure is about one-third smaller than the inseet. f Lat. Aurw.n, gold 

4 Gr. Xottrcs, gold. 







natural history. 


*30 

transformation has /or many ages been used as an illustration ol' the 
resurrection after death. 

The beautiful insect represented on p. 429 is not very uncommon in 
some parts of England, especially in the fenny parts of Cambridgeshire.* 
It flies with exceeding rapidity, nearly in a straight line, and is vciy 
difficult to capture. 

The colour of the wings is blacK, variegated most beautifully with 
yellow markings, and near the extremity of each hinder wing is a ciroular 
red spot, surmounted by a crescent of blue, and the whole surrounded 
by a black ring. 

Vanessa. —(Lat. a proper name.) Argynnis.— (Gr. a proper name.) 



Adippe (proper name), the Silver-spotted Fritillary. 
Atalanta (proper name), the Red Admiral. 

The Fritillaries are well deserving of notice for the delicacy ol 
their colouring, and the beauty of their markings. The Silver-spotted 
Fritillary is remarkable for the peculiar appearance presented by the 
under surface of the wings, which look as if they had been studded with 
pieces of burnished silver leaf. It is found mostly on thistles in woods, 
and is very common in Bagley Wood near Oxford, about the end of June, 
or during July. 

The Ued Admiral is one of the most gorgeous of our butterflies. 
The colour of the wings is a deep black, relieved by a broad band of 
scarlet across each, and a series of semicircular blue marks edge each 
v\ ing. It is usually found in woods and lanes, where there are nettles, 
as the larva feeds upon that plant. It appears about the middle o' 
August. 

* I once saw it in the water-meadows near Oxford 




NATURAL HISTORY. 


431 


The Death’s-head Moth. —This lamily is called Sphingidas on 
account of the sphinx-like attitude that the caterpillars of some species 
assume. The larva of the Puss-moth (Cerura vinula ) is particularly 
celebrated for this position. It holds the plants on which it feeds with 
its hinder feet, and raises the fore part of its body, just as the sphinx is 
represented. When in this position, it seems so remarkably self-satisfied, 
that the gardener of llosel, a famous naturalist, was quite disconcerted, 
affirming that he never saw insects hold their heads so high. 


Family, Sphingtdee.—(Qr. the Sphinx.) 

AcherontIa.— (Gr. ’A x^pomos, belonging to Acheron.) 



Atrupos (Gr. proper name; one of the Fates), the Death's-head Moth. 

The Death’s-head Moth is the largest of the British Lepidoptera, as 
it not unfrequently measures nearly six inches across the wings. Its 
rather ominous name is derived from the singular marking in the thorax, 
which does not require much imagination to represent a skull and cross- 
bones. 

Some naturalists have asserted that this moth makes its way into bee¬ 
hives, and robs the inhabitants of their honey, disarming their resent¬ 
ment by a curious squeaking noise which it has the power of producing. 

The uneducated rustics have a great horror of this insect, and consider 
its appearance as a most disastrous omen. In a small village removed 
from the influence of railways, on one Sunday morning, as the inhabitants 
were going through the churchyard, a Death’s-head Moth appeared on 
the path. Every one recoiled in dismay, and no one dared approach the 
dreaded object. Sundry heads were shaken at the evil omen, and various 
urophetic remarks made. At last, the blacksmith summoned up courage. 





432 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


and witli a great jump, came down on the unfortunate moth, and happily 
destroyed it. The people were in blissful ignorance that, as there were 
several fields near planted with potatoes, on which vegetable the cater- 
illar generally feeds, there were probably a few hundred of Death’s-head 
loths in the vicinity. 

I have this specimen now in my possession; it is of course mashed 
quite fiat. It is a very singular fact, that those who, living so much in 
the open fields, would be supposed to have correct knowledge of natural 
phenomena, are really profoundly ignorant of facts that pass daily before 
their eyes. I have already mentioned the popular superstitions re¬ 
garding efts. 

In common with many other nocturnal insects, the eyes of the Death’s- 
head Moth shine at night like two stars, which adds considerably to the 
terror inspired by its appearance. 


The Humming-bird Moth.— This curious insect is called the Hum¬ 
ming-bird Moth, because its ap¬ 
pearance when on the wing exactly 
resembles that of a Humming-bird. 
It feeds on the wing as the bird 
does, hovering before each flower 
and sucking out the honey by 
means of its very long proboscis. 
It is very shy, and darts off if the 
slightest movement is made; but 
if the spectator remains perfectly 
quiet, the moth sees no danger, 
and will continue its meal within 
a yard of him. The moth appears 
to gain confidence if it is not dis¬ 
turbed, and in a few days will 
become almost tame, permitting 
the spectator to whom it is accus¬ 
tomed, to approach quite closely without appearing alarmed. 


Family, Sesiidse. 

Macroglossa.—(G r. Maxpos, long; 
yXutatra, the tongue.) 



S\,jllatarum, the Humming-bird Moth. 



The Tiger-Moth. —This common but beautiful moth is found in the 
beginning of autumn. It runs on the ground with such swiftness as to be 
often mistaken for a mouse. I have more than once seen a kitten chasing 
a tiger-moth among the flowers in a garden, evidently deceived by its 
resemblance to a mouse. The larva is popularly called “the woolly bear.” 
It is rather large, and is surrounded with tufts of long elastic hairs of a 
reddish brown colour, which serve as a defence against many enemies. 
When disturbed, it rolls itself round, just as a hedgehog does, and if on 
a branch, suffers itself to fall to the ground, when the long hairy covering 
defends it from being injured by the fall. When the caterpillar is about 






NATURAL HISTORY. 


433 



Family, Arctifdre.—(Gr. “Apktos, a Bear; in allusion to the popular name 

of the larva.) 


arctIa. 


Caja (Lat. proper name), the Tiger-moth. 

to change into a pupa, it spins a kind of hammock, and lies there until it 
comes forth as a moth. 

The colour and markings of this moth vary considerably. The usual 
tints are, the thorax brown, the body red striped with black. The two 
anterior wings are cream colour, marked with bold patches of a deep 
brown: the posterior wings are bright red, spotted with bluish black. 


\ 


The larvae of the Geometrid^: move in a very singular manner. When 
preparing to make a step, they hold firmly by their hinder legs to the 
substance on which they are moving, and then stretch out their body to 
the fullest extent, as if measuring their distance. After these pre¬ 
liminaries, they take a firm hold with the fore feet, and draw the hinder 
feet up to them, forming their body into an arch or loop. When at rest, 
the caterpillars often deceive an observer by their close resemblance to 
twigs, as they stretch themselves out motionless from the branch. 

The family is very large, and contains many interesting species, but want 
of space compels me to omit all but the insect represented on page 434, 
the Swallow-tailed Moth. The caterpillar of this moth feeds princi¬ 
pally on the elder, willow, and lime, and the moth appears in June and 
July. It is one of the largest of the British Geometridse, as the spread 
of the wing considerably exoeeds two inches. Its colour is a pale yellow 




434 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Family, Geometrldse.— (Gr. Teopirp-^s, a Laud-measurer.) 
OuRArTERYS.— (Gr. O vpd, a tail; ttt epov, a wing.) 

Family, Alucitidse. 

AlucIta.— (Linnean nams.) 



Sambucarla (Lat. Sambucus, the Elder-tree), the Swallo tv-tailed Moth. 

Hexadactyla (Gr."E£, six; SdarvAos, a finger), the Many-plumed Moth. 

and the lines across the wings are deep yellow. It derives its name from 
the shape of the hinder wings. 

The Many-fltjmed Moth is found towards the close of autumn, 
usually running about windows. It is very small, measuring barely half 
an inch across the wings. The structure of the wings is very curious, 
each of the two anterior wings being divided into eight beautiful feather¬ 
like rays, and each of the posterior into four rays. Nearly allied to this 
are the common Feather Moths, the most common of which is the White- 
plumed Moth, whose wings measure nearly an inch across, and are divided 
rnto five feathered rays. 


Diftera. —The insects of this order possess but two wings, the 
place of the others being supplied by two little organs something like 
drum-sticks, called “ balancers.” Without these the insect seems to 
be unable to direct its flight. 

All are familiar with the Common Gnat. This pretty tormentor passes 
its larval existence in the water, in which state thousands may be seen 
in any uncovered water-butt, wriggling about with the most untiring 
energy, or reposing head downwards, only leaving the end of the tail at 








NATURAL HISTORY. 


435 


Order II. DIPTERA. —(Gr. A Is, twice ; -rr^pov, & wing.) 

Family, Culicldae.— (Lat. Culex, a Gnat.) 

CULEX. 

Family, (Estrldao.—(Gr. OlaTpos. the Gad-fly.) 
(ESTRUS. 



Piplens (Lat. humming), the Gnat. 

Bovis (Lat. of the Ox), the Gad-fly. 

the surface. The reason for this is very curious. This larva breathes 
through its tail, and is moreover enabled by means of a fringe of hairs to 
carry air down with it. 

It is a singular circumstance, that although the larva lives in the water, 
yet were either the eggs or the perfect insect to be submerged, they 
would be destroyed. The instinct of the Gnat in order to fulfil all three 
conditions is very beautiful. When the Gnat wishes to deposit its eggs, 
it rests on a leaf or twig on the surface of the water; it then takes each 
egg separately, and fastens them side by side in such a manner that they 
actually form a little boat, which will neither fill with water nor upset, 
however the water may be agitated. In a few days the eggs are hatched, 
when a little lid opens in the under end of each egg, and down tumbles 
the larva into the water. 

After remaining in the water for some days it assumes the pupa form. 
In this state it floats at the surface with the back of the thorax upper¬ 
most. Soon this splits, and the insect emerges, standing on its own cast 
skin, which forms a raft for it until its wings are fully dry, when it takes 
to flight, leaving behind it the empty shell floating on the water. This 
change may be witnessed any warm day in summer. 

The Gadfly has from the most ancient times been known as the terror 
of the herd. At the sound of its approach the cattle are driven almost 
mad with terror. The young gadflies are nourished under the skin, where 
they remain until they are fit to pass into the pupa state, when they bury 
themselves in the ground, and after a fev/ days spent under the earth, 
issue forth in their perfect state. 



436 


NATURAL HISTORY. 


Family, Bombylidse (Gr. BouBv\ios, a Humble Bee A 

bombylIus. 


Medius (Lat. in the midst), the Humble Bee-fly. 

The Humble Bee-ely. —This very curious insect is found in the early 
days of spring, and may be seen hovering over the primroses and other 
spring flowers. It feeds in the same manner as the Humming-bird Moth, 
and much resembles that insect in many of its habits. 



Order IV. APHANIPTERA. —(Gr. Acparfjs, invisible; tttHov, a wing. 
Family . . Pulicidte.—(Lat. Pxdex, a Flea.) 

PTJLKX. 



Irritans (Lat. irritating), the Flea. 

The Flea.— -The strength and agility of this curious but annoying 
little insect is perfectly wonderful. Many of my readers have doubtless 
seen the exhibition of the Industrious Fleas, who drew little carriages, 
and carried comparatively heavy weights with the greatest- ease. The 
apparatus with which it extracts the blood of its victims is very curious, 
and forms a beautiful object under a microscope of low power. Its leap is 
tremendous in proportion to its size. This property it enjoys in common 
with many other insects, among which the Common Grasshopper, the 





natural history. 457 

Frog-hopper, and the Halticas, or Turnip-flies are conspicuous. In all 
these insects the hinder pair of legs are very long and powerful. 


I am here most reluctantly compelled to close this little work. Most 
willingly would I have entered into a sketch of the remaining Classes. 
These, however, are so numerous, and their habits are so different from 
those of the creatures whom we have already examined, that even a very 
slight description would consume too much space and time. 

Here, then, I take my leave of the reader, with a sincere hope that the 
perusal of this volume will not only have proved interesting, but will 
also have given him some insight into the beautiful order of the animated 
world. 




INDEX 


A3D0MINA1I4, 360. 
Abramis, 362. 
Acanthopterygii, 351. 
Aearidae, 406. 

Accentor, 212. 

-Hedge, 212. 

Accentorinae, 212. 
Accipiter, 181. 

Accipitres, 164. 

-Diurni, 164. 

- Nocturni, 183. 

Accipitrinae, 180. 
Acherontia, 431. 

Acheta, 416. 

Achetidae, 416. 

Acipenser, 380. 
Acipenseridae, 380. 

Adder, Puff, 333. 

Adippe, 430. 

Adjutant, 295. 

Admiral, Red, 433. 
Agarnidae, 329. 

Agouti, 95. 

Alauda, 248, 249. 
Alaudinae, 248. 

Albatros, Wandering, 319. 
Alca, 314. 

Alcedinidae, 196. 
Alcedininae, 196. 

Alcedo, 196. 

Alces, 135. 

Alcidae, 313. 

Alcinae, 313. 

Alligator, 344. 
Alligatoridae, 344. 

Alucita, 434. 

Alucitidae, 434. 

Ampelidae, 224. 
Ampelinae, 224. 

Ampelis, 224. 

Amphibia, 345. 

Aaas, 308. 

Ana dae, 304. 

Anatin ®, 308. 

Anchovy, 373. 

Angler, 359. 

Anguilla, 376. 

Ancriut, 327. 


Anobium, 411. 

Anseres, 304. 

Anserin®, 305. 

Ant, Wood, 425. 
Ant-Eater, Great, 160. 

-- Middle, 161. 

-Little, 162. 

Ant-Lion, 421. 

-White, 421, 422 

Anthropoides, 291. 
Anthus, 216. 
Aphaniptera. 436. 
Apidae, 427. 

Apis, 427. 

Apoda, 376. 

Apteryginae, 283. 
Apteryx, 283. 

Aquila, 171. 

Aquilinae, 171. 
Arachnida, 403. 
Araneidae, 403. 

Arctia, 433. 

Arctiidae, 433. 

Arctomys, 102. 

Ardea, 289. 

Ardeidae, 288. 

Ardeinae, 289. 

Argala, 295. 

Argonaut, 389. 
Argonauta, 389. 

Argus, 267. 

--Pheasant, 267. 

Argynnis, 430. 

Aricia, 393. 

Armadillo, 159. 

Arvicola, 91. 

Arvicolina, 91. 

Asinus, 137. 

Ass, 137, 138, 139. 
Astacidae, 401. 

Astacus, 402. 

Astur, 180. 

A teles, 17. 

Athene, 184. 

Auk, Great, 314. 

Aves, 164. 

Avocet, 298. 

Axis. 132. 


Babyroussa, 14/. 
Badger, 58. 

Balaena, 78. 

Balaenidae, 77. 

Barbel, 361. 

Barbus, 361. 

Bat, Long-eared, 24. 

-Vampire, 21. 

Batrachia, 345. 
Beagle, 44. 

Bear, 61. 

-— Grizzly, 62. 

- Polar, 64. 

Beaver, 82. 

Bee, Honey, 427. 

- eater, 197. 

Beetle, Burying, 409, 

-Cockchaffer, 41C 

-Dor, 410. 

-Ground, 408. 

-Musk, 412. 

-Rove, 413. 

-Stag, 410. 

-- Tiger, 407. 

Bernicla, 305. 
Bernicle, 398. 

Bernicle Goose, 30t. 
Bison, 108. 

Bittern, 292. 
Blackbird, 220. 

Blatta, 418. 

Blattidae, 418. 
Blindworm, 327. 
Bloodhound, 42. 

Boa, 336. 

Boar, 147. 

Boidae, 336. 
Bombylidae, 436. 
Bombylius, 436. 
Booby, 322. 

Bos, 14)3, 105. 
Boselaphus, 115. 
Botaurus, 292. 
Bovidae, 103. 

Bovina, 103. 
Bovrer-bird, Satin, 240 
Bradypidaj, 156. 
Bradypu*. 156. 












INDEX 


439 


Bieam, 362. 

Bubalus, 106,107 
Bubo, 185. 

Buboninae, 185. 

Buccinidae, 393. 

Buccinum, 393. 

Buceros, 251. 

Bucerotidae, 251. 

Bufo, 346. 

Buffalo, 106. 

•-Cape, 107. 

Bulldog, 46. 

Bullfinch, 250. 

Bull-frog, 346. 

Bull-head, 352. 

Bunting, 247. 

-Yellow, 247. 

Burying-beetle, 409. 
Bustard, Great, 286. 

Buteo, 174. 

Buteoninae, 174. 

Butterfly, Atalanta, 430. 

-Fritillary, 430. 

■-Swallow-tailed, 429. 

Buzzard, 174. 

-Honey, 175 

Cacatua, 256. 

Cachalot, 83. 

Caddis-fly, 423. 
Calamodyta, 204. 

Callithrix, 19. 

Camel, 124. 

-Bactrian, 126. 

Camelina, 124. 
Camelopardalis, 121. 
Camelopardina, 121. 
Camelus, 124, 126. 

Canary, 246. 

Cancer, 399. 

Canceridae, 399. 

Canis, 41, 51, 52. 

Canina, 41. 

Capercaillie, 274. 

Capra, 119. 

Caprimulgidae,. 188 
Caprimulginae, 188 
Caprimulgus, 188. 
Capybara, 95. 

Carabidae, 408. 

Carabus, 408. 

Caracal, 36. 

Carduelis, 246. 

Carp, 360. 

Carrier, 265. 

Cassowary, 281 
Castor, 92. 

Castorina, 92. 

Casuarius, 281. 

Cat, 35. 

-Civet, 39. 

-Tiger, 34. 

Catoblepas, 112. 

Cebidae, 17. 

Cephalopoda. 388. 


Cerambycidae, 411. 
Cerambyx, 411. 

Cerastes, 334. 

Certhia, 202. 

Certhidae, 202. 

Certhinae, 202. 

Cerco\epts3, 66. 

Cercoleptina, 65. 

Cervina, 129. 

Cervus, 129, 130, 131 
Cete, 78. 

Chaffinch, 243. 

Chameleon, 330. 
Chameleonidae, 330. 
Chamois, 118. 

Charadridae, 287. 
Charadrinse, 288. 

Chatterer, Waxen, 224. 
Chelidon, 193. 

Chelonia, 339, 341. 
Cheloniadae, 341. 

Chenopis, 307. 

Chetah, 38. 

Chicken, Mother Cary’s 317. 
Chiff-chaff, 208. 

Chimpansee, 11. 

Chinchilla, 98. 

Chinchillina, 98. 

Chough, 238. 

Chub, 365. 

Cicindela, 407. 

Cicindelidae, 407. 

Ciconia, 294. 

Ciconinae, 294 
Circinae, 182. 

Circus, 182. 

Cirrhopoda, 398. 

Civet Cat, 39. 

Clotho, 333. 

Clupea, 371, 372. 

Clupeidae, 371. 

Coaita, Spider Monkey, i7. 
Coati Mondi, 65. 

Cobitis, 365. 

Cobra de Capello, 337. 
Coccothraustes, 242. 
Cockatoo, Great Sulphur, 
256. 

Cockchaffer, 410. 

Cockroach, 418. 

Cod, 373. 

Coleoptera, 407. 

Colubridae, 337. 

Colubrina, 336. 

Columba, 261, 262. 

Columbae, 261. 

Columbidae, 261. 
Columbinae, 261. 

Colymbidae, 311. 

Colymbinae, 311. 

Colymbus, 311. 

Conchifera, 394. 

Condor, 167. 

Cone, 392. 

Conger, 3 71 , 


Coniidae, 392. 

Conirostres, 228. 

Conus, 392. 

Coot, 303. 

Coracia, 238. 

Coracias, 194. 

Coraciidae, 194. 

Coraciinae, 194. 

Cormorant, 323. 

Corncrake, 302. 

Corvidae, 228. 

Corvinae, 229. 

Corvus, 232, 234, £35, 236 
237. 

Cotile, 193. 

Cottidae, 352. 

Cottus, 352. 

Coturnix, 273. 

Cowry, 393. 

Crab, 399. 

- Hermit, 400. 

Cracticornis, 297. 

Crane, 288. 

-Demoiselle, 291 

Crangon, 402. 

Crangonidae, 402. 

Cray-fish, 401. 

Creeper, 202. 

Creophilus, 413. 

Cricetus, 91. 

Cricket, Field, 416. 

■- House, 416. 

- Mole, 417. 

Crocodile, 342. 

Crocodilidae, 342. 
Crocodilus, 342. 

Cross-bill, 250. 

Crossopus, 69. 

Crotalidae, 331. 

Crow, 236. 

-Hooded, 237. 

-Nutcracker, 22; 

Crustacea, 399. 

Cuckoo, 260. 

Cuculidae, 260. 

Cuculinae, 260. 

Cuculus, 260. 

Culex, 435. 

Culicidae, 435. 

Curlew, 297. 

- Stone, 287, 

Cuttle-fish, 388. 
Cyclobranchiata, 394 
Cyclosaura, 326. 
Cyclostomi, 386. 
Cyclothurus, 162. 

Cygninae, 305. 

Cygnus, 305, 306. 
Cynocephalus, 16. 
Cypraeidae, 393. 

Cyprinidae, 360. 

Cyprinus, 360, 361. 
Cypselinae, 190. 

Cypselus, 190, 191. 

















440 

Dabcliick, 313. 

Dace, 363, 364. 
Dactylophori, 351. 

Daraa, 133. 

Dasypidae, 158. 

Dasypina, 159. 

Dasyprocta, 95. 
Dasyproctina, 95. 

Dasypus, 159. 

Death’s Head Moth, 431. 
Death-Watch, 411. 
Decapoda, 399. 

•-- Anomoura, 400. 

-- Brachyura, 399. 

-Macroura, 401. 

Deer, Fallow, 133. 

■- Musk, 128. 

- Red, 130. 

- Rein, 134. 

Delphinidae, 84. 

Delphinus, 84. 

Dendrosaura, 330 
Dentixostres, 204. 
Dermaptera, 414. 

Picotyles, 148. 

Didelphina, 74. 

Didelphys, 74. 

Didinae, 284. 

Didus, 284. 

Diodontidae, 379. 

Diomedea, 319. 

Dipina, 99. 

Dipper, 217. 

Diptera, 435. 

Dipus, 99. 

Diver, Great Northern, 311. 
Dodo, 284. 

Dog, Bull, 46. 

- King Charles’s, 42. 

- Newfoundland, 41. 

- Pug, 47. 

- Shepherd’s, 48. 

Dog-fish, Spotted, 381. 
Dolphin, 84. 

Dormouse, 99. 

Dory, John, 356. 

Dove, Ring, 261. 

-Stock, 262. 

-Turtle, 262. 

Draco, 329. 

Dragon, Flying, 329. 
Dragon-fly, 420. 

Dromaius, 282. 

Duck, Wild, 308. 

-Eider, 310 

Dzigguetai, 138. 

Eagle, Golden, 171. 

-Whiteheaded, 173. 

Earwig, 414. 

Echeneidae, 358. 

Echeneis, 358. 

Ectopistes, 263. 

Eel, Sharp-nosed, 376. 

-Electric, 377, 


INDEX. 

Eider Duck. 310. 
Eland, 115. 

Elanoides, 176. 
Elephant, Indian, 140. 

- African, 144. 

Elephantidae, 140. 
Elephantinae, 140. 
Elephas, 140, 144. 
Eleutheropomi, 380. 
Elk, 135. 

Emberiza, 247. 
Emberizinae, 247, 248. 
Emu, 282. 
Emydosauri, 342. 
Engraulis, 373. 
Entellus, 16. 
Ephemera, 419. 
Ephemeridae, 419. 
Ephialtes, 185. 
Equidae, 136. 

Equus, 136. 

Erinaceus, 70. 
Erinacina, 69. 

Ermine, 56. 
Erythacinae, 210. 
Erythacus, 211. 
Esocidae, 366. 

Esox, 366. 

Exocoetus, 367. 


Falco, 177, 178. 

Falcon, Gyr, 177. 

- Peregrine, 178. 

- Stone, 287. 

-- Swallow-tailed, 176. 

Falconidae, 171. 

Falconinae, 177. 

Felidae, 26. 

Felina, 26. 

Felis, 35. 

Ferae, 26. 

Fieldfare, 218. 

Fishing-frog, 359. 
Fissirostres Diurnae, 190. 

-Nocturnae, 188. 

Flamingo, 304. 

Flea, 436. 

Fly-catcher, Spotted, 223. 
Flying-fish, 367. 

Forficula, 414. 

Forficulidae, 414. 

Formica, 425. 

Formicarinae, 217. 
Formicidae, 425. 

Fowl, domestic, 269. 

Fox, 53. 

Foxhound, 44. 

Fratercula, 313. 

Fregata, 324. 

Frigate Pelican, 325. 
Fringilla, 243, 244, 245. 
Fringillidae, 242. 

Fritillary, Silver-spotted, 
430. 


Frog, 345. 

- Bull, 346. 

- Fishing, 359. 

- Tree, 346. 

Fulica, 303. 

Fuligulinae, 310. 

Gadfly, 435. 

Gadidae, 373. 

Gallinae, 266, 269. 
Gallinula, 302. 
Gallinulinae, 302. 
Gallus, 209. 

Gannet, 322. 

Garrulinae, 228. 
Garrulus, 228. 
Gasteropoda, 391. 
Gasterosteus, 356. 
Gazella, 118. 

Gazelle, 118. 

Gecko, 328. 

Geckotidae, 328. 
Geissosaura, 326. 

Genet, 40. 

Genetta, 40. 
Geometridae, 434. 
Geotrupes, 410. 
Geotrupidae, 410. 
Gibbon, Agile, 14. 
Giraffe, 121. 

Glires, 88. 

Glow-worm, 411. 
Glutton, 58. 

Gnat, 435. 

Gnoo, 112. 

Gnu, 112. 

Goat, 119. 

Goat-sucker, 188. 

Gobio, 362. 

Goldfinch,244. 
Gold-fish, 361. 

Goose, Bernicle, 305. 

- Solan, 322. 

Goshawk, 180. 
Gradientia, 347. 

Grallae, 287. 

Grebe, Crested, 312. 

-— Little, 313. 

Greenfinch, 245. 
Greyhound, 49. 
Grosbeak, 242. 

Grouse, Red, 275. 

- Black, 275. 

Gruinae, 288. 

Grus, 288. 

Gryllotalpa, 417. 
Gudgeon, 362. 
Gueparda, 38. 
Guillemot, 316. 
Guinea-fowl, 271. 
Guinea-pig, 95. 

Gull, Black-backed 320 
Gulo, 58. 

Gurnard, 351, 
Gymnotidae, 377 
























INDEX 


441 


Gymnotus, 377. 

Gypaetidae, 164. 

Gypaetus, 164. 

Gyps, 169. 

Gyrfalcon, 177. 

Hag-fish, Glutinous, 387 
Haliaetus, 173. 

Hamster, 91. 

Hare, 96. 

-Alpine, 97. 

Harvest-bug, 406. 
Hawfinch, 242. 

Hawk-owl, 183. 

-Sparrow, 181. 

Hedgehog, 70. 

Helicidas, 391. 

Helix, 391. 

Hen Harrier, 182. 

-Water, 302. 

Heron, 289. 

Herpestes, 40. 

Herring, 372. 
Hippocampus, 357. 
Hippopotamina, 154. 
Hippopotamus, 154. 
Hirundinidae, 190. 
Hirundininae, 192. 

Hcrundo, 192. 

Hobby, 178. 

Holodactyli, 352. 
Hominidse, 1. 

Homo, 1. 

Hoopoe, 198. 

Hornbill, Rhinoceros, 251. 
Hornet, 426. 

Horse, 136. 

-- Sea, 357. 

Hound, Blood, 42. 

- Fox, 44. 

- Grey, 49. 

Howler, Ursine, 18. 
Humble Bee-fly, 436. 
Humming-bird, Bar-tailed, 
200 . 

-Cora, 200. 

- Double-crested, 200. 

-Gould’s, 200. 

-Moth, 432. 

-Ruby-throated 199. 

Hydrobata, 217. 
Hydrochcerina, 95. 
Hydrochoerus, 95. 

Hyasna, 39. 

Hyenina, 39. 

Hylobates, 14. 
Hymenoptera, 424. 
Hypotriorchis, 178, 179. 
Hystricidae, 94. 

Hystricina, 94. 

Hystrix, 94. 

Ibex,119. 
ibis, Sacred, 296. 
Ichneumon, 40. 


Ichneumon-fly, 424. 
Ichneumonidae, 424. 
Icterinae, 241. 

Icterus, 241. 

Iguana, 329. 

Iguanidae, 329. 

Insecta, 407. 

Insecta Haustellata, 429. 

- Mandibulata, 407. 

Invertebrata, 388. 

Jacana, 301. 

Jacchus, 19. 

Jackal, 52. 

Jackdaw, 235. 

Jaguar, 33. 

Jay, 228. 

Jerboa, 99. 

Jerboidae, 98. 

John Dory, 356. 

Kahau, 15. 

Kangaroo, 72. 

Kestrel, 179. 

Kingfisher, 196. 
Kinkajou, 66. 

Kite, 175. 

Koodoo, 114. 

Lacertinidae, 326. 
Lagopus, 275, 276. 
Lammergeyer, 164. 
Lampern, 387. 

Lampetra, 387. 

Lamprey, 386. 

Lampyris, 411 
Lampyridae, 411. 
Landrail, 302 
Lanidae, 225. 

Laninae, 225. 

Lanius, 225, 227. 
Lapwing, 288. 

Laridae, 320. 

Larinae, 320. 

Lark, Sky, 248. 

- Tit, 216. 

- Wood, 249. 

I.arus, 320. 

Leaf Insect, 417. 

Lemur, 20. 

Lemuridae, 20. 

Leo, 26. 

Leopard, 31. 

-Hunting, 38. 

Leopardus, 31, 32, 33, 34. 
Lepidoptera, 429. 
Leporidae, 96. 
Leptoglossae, 326. 
Leptoptilos, 295. 

Leptus, 406. 

Lepus, 96, 97. 

Leuciscus, 363, 365. 
Libellula, 420. 
Libellulidae, 420. 
Limacidae, 321. 


Limax, 391. 

Limosinae, 297. 

Limpet, 394. 

Linnet, 244. 

-Green, 245. 

Lion, 26. 

Lizard, 326. 

Llama, 127. 

Loach, 365. 

Lobster, 401. 

Locust, 414. 

Locusta, 414. 

Locustidae, 414. 

Lophiidae, 359. 

Lophius, 359. 

Loris, 21. 

Loxia, 250. 

Loxina, 250. 

Lucanidae, 410. 

Lucanus, 410. 

Luscinidae, 204. 

Luscininae, 204. 

Luscinia, 205. 

I.utra, 60. 

Lynx, 37. 

Macaco, 20. 

Macaw, Blue and Yellow 
254. 

Mackarel, 352. 
Macrocercus, 254. 
Macroglossa, 432. 
Macropidae, 72. 

Macropina, 72 
Macropus, 72. 

Magpie, 230. 
Malacopterygii, 360. 
Malacostraca, 399. 

Mallard, 308. 

Mammalia, 1. 

Man, 1. 

Mandrill, 16. 

Manina, 15S. 

Manis, 158. 

Mareca, 308. 

Martin, 193. 

-Chimney, 192 

-Sand, 193. 

Marmoset, 19. 

Marmot, 102. 

Marmotta, 102. 

Marten, Pine, 55. 

Martes, 55. 

Mastiff, 46. 

May-fly, 419. 

Meantia, 349. 

Megapode, Mound-makirg 
278. 

Megapodida?, 277 
Megapodius, 278. 
Meleagrina, 397. 
Meleagrinae, 270. 
Meleagrinidae, 3S 7 
Meleagris, 270. 

Meles, 58 




















442 


INDEX 


Mellivora, 57. 

Melolontha, 410. 
Melolonthidae, 410. 
Menurinae, 204. 

Merlin, 179. 

Meropidae, 197. 

Meropinae, 197. 

Merops, 197. 

Micromys, 90. 

Miller’s Thumb, 352. 
Milvinae, 175. 

Milvus, 175. 

Mocking Bird, 221. 

Mole, 67. 

Mollusca, 388. 

Monkey, Entellus, 16. 

-Proboscis, 15. 

-Spider, 17. 

Monodon, 86. 

Morrhua, 373. 

Morse, 76. 

Morunga, 76. 

Moschina, 128. 

Moschus, 128. 

Motacilla, 215, 216. 
Motacillinae, ,215. 

Moth, Death’s-head, 431. 

-Humming-bird, 432. 

-Many-plumed, 434. 

-Swallow-tailed, 434. 

-Tiger, 433. 

Mouse, 89. 

-harvest, 90. 

Mullingong, 162. 
Muraenidae, 376. 

Murex, 394. 

Muricidae, 394. 

Muridae, 88. 

Murinae, 88. 

Mus, 88, 89. 

Muscicapa, 223. 
Muscicapidae, 223. 
Muscicapinae, 223. 

Mussel, Edible, 397. 
Mustela, 56, 57. 

Mustelina, 55. 

Mycetes, 18. 

Mygale, 403. 

Myoxina, 99. 

Myoxus, 99. 
Myrmecophaga, 160. 
Myrmecophagina, 160. 
Myrmeleon, 421. 
Myrmeleonidae, 421. 
Mytilidae, 397. 

Mytilus, 397. 

Myxine, 387. 

Myxinidae, 387. 

Naja, 337. 

Narwhal, 86. 

Nasua, 65. 

Natrix, 338. 

Nautilus, Paper, 389. 
Necrophagus, 409. 


Neuroptera, 419. 

Newt, 347. 
Nightingale, 205. 
Nucifraga, 229. 
Numenius, 299. 
Numida, 271. 
Nutcracker, 229. 
Nuthatch, 203. 

Nyctea, 184. 
Nyctisaura, 328. 
Nylghau, 113. 

Ocelot, 34. 

Octopidae, 388. 
Octopus, 388. 
CEdicnemidae, 287. 
CEdicneminae, 287. 
CEdicnemus, 287. 
CEnanthe, 210. 
CEstridae, 435. 

CEstrus, 435. 

Ophidia, 331. 

Opossum, 74. 

Orang Outan, 13. 
Oriole, Baltimore, 241. 

-Golden, 223. 

Oriolinae, 223. 

Oriolus, 223. 

Ornismya, 200. 
Ornithorhynchina, 162. 
Ornithorhynchus, 162. 
Orpheus, 221. 
Orthagoriscus, 379. 
Orthoptera, 414. 
Ortolan, 248. 
Ortygometra, 302. 
Oryx, 116. 

Osprey, 172. 

Ossei, 351. 

Ostrea, 396. 

Ostrich, 279. 

Otinae, 286. 

Otter, 60. 

Otus, 286. 

Ounce, 32. 

Ourapteryx, 434. 

Ouzel, Water, 217. 
Ovibos, 111. 

Ovis, 120. 

Owl, Barn, 186. 

-Burrowing, 184. 

-Great-eared, 185. 

-Hawk, 183. 

-Scops-eared, 185. 

-Snowy, 184. 

Ox, 103. 

— Musk, 111. 

Oyster, 396. 

-Pearl, 397 

Pachyglossae, 328. 
Paguridae, 400. 
Pagurus, 400. 
Palaemonidae, 402. 
Palaemon, 402. 


Palaeornis, 255. 
Palamedeidae, 301. 

Pandion, 172. 

Pangolin, 158. 

Panther, 31. 

Papilio, 429. 

Papilionidae, 429. 

Paradise, Emerald Bird ol, 
239. 

Paradisea, 239. 

Paradiseidae, 239. 

Parinae, 213. 

Parra, 301. 

Parrakeet, Ringed, 255. 
Parrinae, 301. 

Partridge, 272. 

Parus, 213, 214. 

Passer, 246. 

Passeres, 188. 

Patella, 394. 

Patellidae, 394. 

Pavo, 266. 

Pavoninae, 266. 

Peacock, 266. 

Peccary, 148. 

Pecten, 395. 

Pectinid®, 395. 

Peewit, 288. 

Pelias, 335. 

Pelecanidae, 321. 

Pelecaninae, 322. 

Pelecanus, 324. 

Pelican, Frigate, 325. 

-White, 324. 

Penguin, Cape, 315. 
Pentalasmis, 398. 

Perea, 352. 

Perch, 352. 

Percidae, 352. 

Perdicinae, 272, 

Perdix, 272. 

Pernis, 175. 

Petrel, Fulmar, 317. 

-Stormy, 317. 

Petromyzon, 386. 
Petromyzonidae, 386 
Pettichaps, 208. 

Phaeton, 321. 

Phaetoninae, 321. 
Phalacrocorax, 323. 
Phatagin, 158. 

Phasianidae, 266. 
Phasianinae, 267. 

Phasianus, 268 
Pheasant, 268. 

-Argus, 267, 

Philomachus, 300. 

Phoca, 75. 

Phocaena, 85. 

Phocidae, 75. 

Phocina, 75. 
Phcenicopterinae, 304. 
Phcenicopterus, 304. 
Phryganea, 423. 

Phrvganidae, 423. 



















INDEX. 


443 


Phyllostomina, 2) 

Phyllia, 417. 

Physeter, 83. 

Pica, 230. 

Picid®, 257. 

Picin®, 257. 

Picus, 257, 258. 

Pigeon, Domestic, 265. 

-Passenger, 263. 

Pike, 366. 

Pilchard, 371. 

Pimpla, 424. 

Pipit, Meadow, 216. 

Pisces, 351. 

-Chonderopterygii,380. 

-Malacopterygii, 360. 

-Ossei, 351. 

Platalea, 293. 

Plecotus, 24. 

Plectognathi, 379. 
Pleuronectid®, 375. 
Podicepinae, 312. 

Podiceps, 312, 313. 
Poephagus, 110. 

Pointer, 45. 

Polecat, 56. 

Porcupine, 94. 

Porpoise, 85. 

Portax, 113. 

Potamobius, 401. 

Pouter, 264. 

Poultry, 269. 

Prawn, 402. 

Presbytes, 15, 16. 

Primates, 1. 

Pristidae, 383. 

Pristis, 383. 

Proboscis Monkey, 15. 
Procellaria, 317. 
Procellaridfe, 317. 
Procellarin®, 317. 

Procyon, 65. 

Proeyonina, 65. 

Proteid®, 349. 

Proteus, 349. 

Psetta, 375. 

Psittacidae, 254. 

Ptarmigan, 276. 

Pteromys, 101. 
Ptilonorhynchinae, 240. 
Ptilonorhynchus, 240. 
Ptinid®, 411. 

Puff Adder, 333. 

Puffin, 313. 

Pulex, 436. 

Pulicidae, 436. 
Pulmobranchiata, 391. 
Pulmonaria, 403. 

Puma, 33. 

Putorius, 56. 
Pyrrhocoracinae, 238 
Pyrrhula, 250. 

Pyrrhulin®, 250. 

Quadruiuana, 10. 


Quagga, 1S9- 
Quail, 273. 

Querquedula, 310. 

Rabbit, 97. 

Racoon, 65. 

Raia, 385. 

Raid®, 384. 

Rallid®, 302. 

Rallin®, 302. 

Ram, 120. 

Ramphastid®, 253. 
Ramphastidin®, 253. 
Ramphastos, 253. 

Rana, 345. 

Rangifer, 134. 

Rat, 88. 

-Water, 91. 

Ratel, Honey, 57. 
Rattle-snake, 331. 

Raven, 232. 

Recurvirostra, 298. 
Recurvirostrin®, 298 
Red Admiral, 507. 
Redbreast, 211. 

Redstart, 211. 

Regulus, 209. 

Reindeer, 134. 

Remora, 358. 

Reptilia, 326. 

Rhinaster, 151. 
Rhinocerina, 150. 
Rhinoceros, 150, 151. 

-two-horned, 151, 

Rhinoceros Hombill, 252. 
Ring-dove, 261. 

Roach, 363. 

Roebuck, 129. 

Roller, 194. 

Rook, 234. 

Rove-beetle, 413. 

Ruff, 300. 

Rupicapra, 118. 

Ruticilia, 211. 

Sable, 55. 

Salamandrid®, 347. 
Salientia, 345. 

Salmo, 368, 369. 

Salmon, 368. 

Salmonid®, 368. 

Sandpiper, 297. 
Sarcorhamphid®, 167. 
Sarcorhamphos, 167, 168. 
Saura, 326. 

Saw-fish, 383. 

Saxicola, 210. 

Scalaria, 392. 

Scallop, 395. 

Scansores, 253. 

Scincid®, 327. 

Sciurin®, 100. 

Sciurus, 100. 

Scolopacid®, 297. 
Scolopacin®, 299 


Scolopax, 299. 

Scomber, 253. 

Scomberid®, 353. 
Scops-eared Owl, 185. 
Scorpio, 405. 

Scorpion, 405. 

Scorpionid®, 405. 

Scyllid®, 381. 

Scyllium, 381. 

Sea-horse, 357 
Sea], 75. 

-Elephant, 76. 

Secretary Bird, 182. 
Serpentarius, 182. 

Sesiid®, 432. 

Shark, White, 382. 

-Hammer-headed, 383 

Sheep, 120. 

Shrew, Mouse, 69. 

-Water, 69. 

Shrike, Great Grey, 225. 

- Red-backed, 227. 

Shrimp, 402 
Silphid®, 409. 

Simia, 13. 

Simiad®, 11. 

Siskin, 245. 

Sitta, 203. 

Sittin®, 203. 

Skate, Thornback, 385. 
Skylark, 248. 

Sloth, 156. 

Slowworm, 327. 

Slug, 391. 

Snail, 391. 

Snake, Rattle, 331. 

-Ringed, 338. 

Snipe, 299. 

Solan Goose, 322. 

Sole, 375. 

Solea, 375. 

Somateria, 310. 

Sorex, 69. 

Spaniel, Water, 42. 
Sparrow, 246. 

-hawk, 181. 

-hedge, 212. 

Spheniscin®, 315. 
Spheniscus, 315. 
Sphingid®, 431. 

Sphyrnias, 383. 

Spider, Bird, 403. 

Spoonbill, White, 293 
Springbok, 117. 

Squalid®, 382. 

Sq^ualus, 382. 

Squirrel, 100. 

-Flying, 101. 

Stag, 130. 

Stag Beetle, 410 
Staphylinid®, 413. 

Starling, 242. 

Steinbok. 119. 

Sterna, 321. 

Sternin®, 32). 
















444 


rNDEX. 


Stickleoack, 356. 

Stoat, 56. 

Stockdove, 162. 

Stone Curlew, 287. 

Stork, 294. 

Strepsiceros, 114. 
Strigidae, 183. 

Striginae, 186. 

Strix, 186. 

Strobilosaura, 329. 
Struthio, 279. 
Struthiones, 279. 
Struthionidae, 279. 
Struthioninse, 279. 
Sturgeon, 380. 

Sturnidas, 240. 

Sturninae, 242. 

Sturnus, 242. 
Sub-brachiata, 373. 
Sucking-fish, 359. 

Suina, 147. 

Sula, 322. 

Sun-fish, 379. 

Surnia, 183. 

Surninas, 183. 

Sus, 147. 

Swallow, Esculent, 194 
Swan, 305. 

-- Black, 307. 

■-Whistling, 306. 

Swift, 191. 

-Alpine, 190. 

Sw r ord-fish, 355. 

Sylvia, 206, 207, 208, 209. 
Syn,;j,\thid£e, 357. 

Taja^u, 148. 

Talegallus, 277. 

Talpa, 67. 

Talpidae, 67. 

Talpina, 67. 

Tamandua, 161. 
Tantalinae, 296. 

Tapir, 146. 

Tajirina, 146. 

Tapirus, 146. 

Tarantula, 405. 

Teal. 310. 

Tee-Tee, Collared. 19. 
Tench,363. 

Tenuirostres, 198. 
Jermes, 421. 

Termitidae, 421. 

Tern, Common, 321. 
Terrier, English, 47. 

- Scotch, 47. 

Testudinidae, 339. 
Testudo, 339. 

Tetrao, 274, 275. 
Tetraonidae, 272. 
Tetraoninae, 274. 
Ihalarctos, 64 


Thalassidroma, 317. 
Thrush, Misseltoe, 217 

-Song, 219. 

Thynnus, 354 
Tiger, 29. 

- Cat, 34. 

Tiger Moth, 434. 

- Beetle, 407 

Tigris, 29. 

Tinea, 363. 

Tinnunculus, 179. 

Titlark, 216. 

Titmouse, Blue, 214. 

-Great, 213. 

-Long-tailed, 214. 

Toad, 346. 

Torpedo. 384. 

Tortoise, 339. 

Totaninae, 297. 

Toucan, Toco, 253. 
Trachearia, 406. 
Trematopnei, 381. 
Trichicina, 76. 

Trichicus, 76. 

Trichoptera, 423. 

Trigla, 351. 

Triglidae, 351. 

Tringinae, 300. 

Tringoides, 297. 

Triton, 347. 

Trochilidte, 199. 

Trochilus, 199. 

Troglodytes, 11, 204. 
Trogon, 195. 

Trogonidae, 195. 

Tropic Bird, 321. 

Trout, 369. 

Tumbler, 264. 

Tunny, 354. 

Turbinidae, 392 
Turbot, 375. 

Turdidae, 217. 

Turdinae, 217. 

Turdus, 217, 218, 219, 220 
Turkey, 270. 

-— Brush, 277, 

Turtle. 341. 

Turtle-dove, 262. 

Turtur, 252. 

Ungulata, 103. 

Upupa, 198. 

Upupidae, 198. 

Upupinae, 198. 

Uria, 316. 

Urinae, 316. 

Uropsophus, 331. 

Ursidae, 61. 

Ursina, 61. 

Vampire Bat, 21. 

Vampirus, 21. 


Vanellus, 288. 

Vanessa, 430. 

Vertebrata, 1. 

Vespa, 426. 
Vespertilionidae, 2. 
Vespertilionina, 24 
Vespidae, 426 
Viper, 335. 

Viperina, 331 
Viperidae, 333. 

Viverra, 39. 

Viverrinae, 39 
Vulpes, 53. 

Vulture, Griffon, 169 

-King, 1 fS. 

Vulturidae, 169. 

Vulturinae, 169. 

Wagtail, Pied, 215. 

-Yellow, 216. 

Walrus, or Morse, 76 
Wapiti, 131. 

Warbler, Blackcap, 207. 

-Dartford, 206. 

-Garden, 208. 

-Grasshopper, 201 

Wasp, 426. 

Water-hen, 302. 

Waxwing, Bohemian, 224. 
Weasel, 57. 

Wentletrap, Royal Staircase 
392. 

Whale, 78. 

-Spermaceti, 83. 

Wheatear, 210. 

Whelk, 393. 

Whitethroat, 206. 

Widgeon, 308. 

Wolf, 51. 

Wolverene, 58. 

Wood Ant, 425. 

Woodcock, 299. 

Woodcock, Thorny, 394. 
Woodlark, 249. 
Woodpecker, Green, 258. 

-Spotted, 257. 

Wren, 204. 

-Golden-crested, 208 

-Willow, 209. 

Wryneck, 259. 

Xiphias, 355. 

Yak, 110. 

Yellowhammer, £47. 
Yuncinae, 259. 

Yunx, 259. 

Zebra, 139. 

Zebu, 105. 

Zeidae, 356. 

Zeus, 356. 

Zootoca, 326. 


RICHARD CLAY AND SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BUNGAY.