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The beautiful birds represented above, which formed part of the Linnean genus Ardea, since subdivided into numerous distinct groups, offer the following generic characters. Their bill is conical, pointed, scarcely longer than the head, and grooved along its upper surface; their head is ornamented with a crest of long and slender filamentous feathers, capable of being raised and depressed at pleasure; their wings are large and powerful; their legs are covered with large scales; the outer and middle toes are united at the base; and their claws are short and without denticulations.
Cervus Equinus. Cuv.
Of this the individual Lioness now in the Tower affords a striking example. We have already observed in our account of the Lion that, for a considerable time after her arrival in England, she was so tame as to be allowed frequently to roam at large about the open yard; and even long after it had been judged expedient that this degree of liberty should no longer be granted, her disposition was far from exciting any particular fear in the minds of her keepers. As an instance of this, we may mention that when, on one occasion about a year and a half ago, she had been suffered through inadvertence to leave her den, and when she was by no means in good temper, George Willoughway, the under keeper, had the boldness, alone and armed only with a stick, to venture upon the task of driving her back into her place of confinement; which he finally accomplished, not however without strong symptoms of resistance on her part, as she actually made three springs upon him, all of which he was fortunate enough to avoid.
The generic characters of this well known group, comprehending not only the various races of the Dog, the Wolf, and the Jackal, but also the numerous species of Foxes, which differ from the rest only in the form of the pupils of their eyes (which are round in the former, and transversely linear in the latter) may be shortly enumerated as follows. They are all furnished in the upper jaw with six sharp incisors and two canine teeth in front, and with six molars on each side; the same number of each description is also to be found in the lower, with the addition of a seventh grinder. Their tongue is perfectly smooth, the papill? which cover it being soft and velvety to the touch, instead of rough and pointed as in the Hy?nas and Cats. They have five toes to each of the fore feet, of which only the four outermost touch the ground, the fifth being always more or less elevated. On the hind feet the number of the toes is no more than four, for although the rudiment of a fifth is distinctly visible in the skeleton, it is rarely observable in the living animal. On these toes they constantly support themselves in walking, the soles of their feet, or rather that part of the legs which corresponds to the soles of plantigrade animals, never being applied to the surface of the ground on which they tread. Their claws are blunt, strong, but little curved, and not at all retractile; and their use is evidently limited to turning up the earth. Their muzzle is more or less elongated to afford space for the ample series of lateral teeth; and the strength of their jaws, as well as the extent of opening between them, is by this means much diminished. In most of these particulars they exhibit a striking contrast with the more perfect of the carnivorous races, and afford grounds for expecting an equally manifest falling off from their ferocious and sanguinary propensities. The dogs are in fact by no means equally carnivorous with the cats; and their teeth, especially the grinders, are fitted as well for the demolition of vegetable as of animal substances.下载
The feet of the Camels and of the Llamas are very different in form from those of all the other Ruminants. They are, it is true, deeply divided, like those of the latter, into two apparent toes; but cannot be said, like them, to part the hoof, for they have no real hoof, and the extremities of their protruded toes are armed only with short, thick, and crooked claws. These toes are in the Camels united posteriorly by a horny process, which is wanting in the Llamas. The teeth of both are nearly similar: they consist of six incisors in the lower jaw and two in the upper; of two canines in each; and of six molars in the upper, and five in the lower, on each side. None of the other Ruminants exhibit the least appearance of cutting teeth in the upper jaw. The nostrils of both consist externally of mere fissures in the skin, which may be opened and closed at pleasure, and which are surrounded by a naked muzzle; and their upper lip is divided into two distinct portions, which are very extensible, and capable of much separate motion.下载
Nothing in fact can exceed the terror which this formidable animal inspires in those countries which are liable to his devastations. More restricted, however, in this respect than the Lion, he is entirely unknown in Africa, and is rarely, if ever, to be met with in Asia on this side the Indus. In the south of China, and in the larger Asiatic Islands, such as Sumatra and Java, he is unhappily but too common; but it is said, we know not with what degree of truth, that in the last mentioned locality he is less ferocious than in the Peninsula of Hindostan. This is truly the cradle of his existence and the seat of his empire, in which he disputes dominion even with the Lion himself, who is comparatively rare in the Indian jungles, and with whom the Tiger has been sometimes known to join in deadly and successful struggle for the mastery. Endowed with a degree of force, which the Lion and the Elephant alone can equal, he carries off a buffalo in his tremendous jaws, almost without relaxing from his usual speed. With a single stroke of his claws he rips open the body of the largest animals; and is said to suck their blood with insatiable avidity. Of the correctness of this latter statement, at least in its full extent, there is however strong reason to doubt. The Tiger does not, according to the most credible accounts, exhibit this propensity to drinking the blood of his victims in any greater degree than the rest of his carnivorous and blood-thirsty companions. In this, as in other instances, fear has drawn largely on credulity, and the simple and sufficiently disgusting fact has been amplified and exaggerated with all the refinements upon horror which the terrified imagination could suggest.
It cannot be doubted that the lighter and slenderer shape of the Lioness, and her consequently greater activity, tend in an especial manner to the formation of that more lively and sensitive character by which all her actions are so strongly marked: but there is another cause, no less powerful than these, which operates with peculiar force, in the vivid excitability of her maternal feelings, which she cherishes with an ardour almost unparalleled in the history of any other animal. From the moment that she becomes a mother, the native ferocity of her disposition is renovated as it were with tenfold vigour; she watches over her young with that undefined dread of danger to their weak and defenceless state, and that suspicious eagerness of alarm, which keep her in a constant state of feverish excitation: and woe be to the wretched intruder, whether man or beast, who should unwarily at such a time approach the precincts of her sanctuary. Even in a state of captivity, and however completely she may have been previously subjected to the control of her keeper, she loses all respect for his commands, and abandons herself occasionally to the most violent paroxysms of rage.