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PUMA OR COUGAR.-DOMESTIC CAT.
verse bars, varying in number, from twenty to thirty, and becoming black rings on the tail, the number of which is, almost invariably fifteen. There are oblique bands, also, on the legs. The pupils of the eye are circular.
The tiger, like the lion, springs upon its prey, from an ambush ; and, in most cases, he is easily terrified by any sudden opposition from human beings. A party in India was once saved from a tiger, by a lady, who suddenly opened an umbrella, as she saw him about to spring. Our readers may remember the attack of a tigress upon the horses of the mail, on Salisbury plain, in England, a few years ago. The creature had escaped from a travelling menagerie; and, not forgetting her natural habits, sprung upon the leaders as they passed her. The guard would have shot her; but her keepers drove her off, and she escaped to a haystack, under which she crept, and was retaken without difficulty. In narrow passages in Hindoostan, travellers have often been seized by tigers; or a bullock, or horse has fallen a victim to the ferocity of this prowling beast. Horses have such a dread of the tiger, that they can scarcely ever be brought to face him. Hunting him, therefore, on horseback, is a service of great danger. The elephant, on the contrary, though considerably agitated, will stand more steadily, while his rider anticipates the fatal spring, by a shot which levels the tiger to the earth. One peculiarity of the tiger, is his willingness to take to the water, either when pursued, or in search of the prey, which he espies on the opposite bank of a river.
The PUMA or COUGAR is a native of the American continent, and is principally found in Paraguay, Brazil, and Guiana. He is sometimes seen in the United States, where he is called panther or painter. He resembles the lion, both in color and voice; but is not as large, and has no mane. Capt. Head, in his "Journey across the Pampas," relates the following interview between a man and a puma.
"The man was trying to shoot some wild ducks; and, in order to approach them unperceived, he put the corner of his poncho (which is a sort of long, narrow blanket,) over his head, and crawling along the ground upon his hands and knees, the poncho not only covered his body, but trailed along the ground behind him. As he was thus creeping by a large bush of reeds, he heard a loud, sudden noise, between a bark and a roar: he felt something heavy strike his feet, and instantly jumping up, he saw, to his astonishment, a large puma, actually standing on his poncho; and perhaps the animal was equally astonished, to find himself in the immediate presence of so athletic a man. The man told me he was unwilling to fire, as his gun was loaded with very small shot; and therefore remained motionless, the puma standing on his poncho for many seconds; at last the creature turned his head, and walking very slowly away about ten yards, he stopped and turned again: the man still maintained his ground, upon which the animal tacitly acknowledged his supremacy, and walked off."
The DOMESTIC CAT is found in almost every country on the globe. It is probably a domesticated variety of the wild cat, for when suffered to retire to the woods, it soon becomes wild. A tame cat generally attains the age of twelve years. The food most agreeable to cats is the flesh of animals, or fish; they eat vegetable aliment only
from necessity. There are, however, some plants of which they are very fond; of this nature is the valerian root, and the herb called nep, or cat-mint. On the other hand, they shun the common rue, as a poison, and any substance rubbed with the leaves of this plant, is said to be perfectly secure from their depredations.
Cats delight in a warm temperature, and a soft couch; moisture and filth, as well as water and cold are equally repugnant to their nature; hence they are continually cleaning themselves with their paws. and tongue. Another peculiarity is, the purring of these animals, when they are cajoled or flattered, by passing the hand over their backs this singular noise is performed by means of two elastic membranes in the larynx, or upper part of the wind-pipe. Their hair is so electric, that the expanded skin of a cat makes an excellent cushion for the glass cylinder, or globe, of an electrifying machine.
The flesh of cats is eaten by several nations; but the substance of the brain is said to be poisonous. From the intestines of these animals is manufactured the celebrated Roman chords, for covering the violin. They are manufactured out of the guts of rabbits and sheep also: they are cleaned, soaked in water, stretched by a machine, and dried. The name of cat-gut comes from the circumstance of cats being used as food in many parts of Italy, and their guts applied to the making of strings.
With respect to their peculiarities, we shall remark, that cats possess a very acute sense of both smell and sight. By the structure of their eyes, which sparkle in the dark, they are better enabled to discover objects of prey, such as mice and rats, at night, than in the day time; hence, they ought not to be luxuriously fed, if kept for the destruction of these vermin. It is, however, to be regretted, that this useful domestic creature is one of the most deceitful companions, being constantly bent on theft and rapine.
Many persons have so invincible an antipathy against these creatures, that they have been known to faint in rooms where cats were concealed, and no arguments were sufficient to efface the impression.
DOG. Animals of the dog kind are distinguished by their claws, which have no sheath, like those of the cat kind; but adhere to the point of each toe, without the power of being extended, or drawn back. Their eyes, also, are not formed for seeing clearly in the dark. By comparing the habits and propensities of the two classes, we shall find, that while the savage selfishness of the cat's disposition, prevents it from deriving any pleasure from society, the dog seems to find its gratification increased, by associating with the species to which he belongs; and in countries where they are permitted to range with freedom, they are always observed to hunt in packs.
The dog is allowed to be the most intelligent of all quadrupeds; and one that, doubtless, is most deserving of admiration; for, independent of his beauty, his vivacity and swiftness, he gives the most manifest proofs of his attachment to mankind. In his savage state, he may have been a formidable enemy; but to view him at present, he seems only anxious to please; he willingly crouches before his master, and is ready to lick the dust from his feet; he waits his orders, consults his looks, and is more faithful than half the human race. He is constant
in his affections, friendly without interest, and grateful for the slightest favor he can receive; easily forgets both cruelty and oppression; and disarms resentment by submissively yielding to the will of those, whom he studiously endeavors to serve and please.
It is said that there are nearly thirty distinct, and well ascertained varieties of the dog. Of these we can notice but a few.
The GREY-HOUND is distinguished by his slender and curved body, his narrow muzzle, and his tail being curved upwards, at the extremity. This kind of dog hunts by sight, and not by scent. Such is his fleetness, that in a hilly and uneven country, there are few horses that can keep pace
with him. He is supposed to outlive all others of the dog species.
The SHEPHERD'S DOG is seldom found in the United States; butinvariousparts of Europe, he is common, especially where sheep are kept in large flocks, and attended by shepherds.
The docility and sagacity of the pure breed, indeed, surpass those of every other variety of the canine race; obedient to the voice, looks, and gestures of his master, he quickly perceives his commands, and instantly executes them. A well-trained dog of this kind, is, to a shepherd, an invariable acquisition. The faithful animal anxiously watches the flock, and keeps them together in the pasture; from one part of which it conducts them to another; and, if the sheep are driven to any distance, a well trained dog will infallibly confine them within the road, and, at the same time, prevent any strange sheep from mingling with them. Should, however, any straggle from the road, he will pursue them, and drive them to the flock, without hurting them in the slightest degree. In Prussia the shepherds have a kind of dog, which they are able to teach never to bite a sheep, but they will push them forward with their muzzles in the direction in which their masters wish the sheep to go.
SPANIEL. Of this dog there are many varieties.
They are so call-
WATER SPANIEL This kind is chiefly useful to sportsmen, in the hunting of water-fowl.
The POINTER is used by sportsmen for discovering game, which he is taught to do with wonderful steadiness and attention. Aided by the acuteness of their smell, pointers generally approach the spot where the game lies; and at length stop, their eyes being steadily fixed upon it, one foot generally somewhat raised from the ground, and the tail extended in a straight line. If the bird runs, the dog discovers it, and steals cautiously after it, keeping still the same attitude; and when it stops, he is again steady.
The SETTER, is a dog nearly allied to the pointer. His scent is more exquisite, and his muscular powers, for his size, nearly unequalled.
The TURNSPIT is a small dog, with short, and generally crooked legs, and the tail curled upward. He is used on the continent of Europe, to turn the spit for roasting meat.
The NEWFOUND. LAND DOG is but little smaller than the mastiff. In strength and docility, he exceeds most other kinds of dogs. He is often employed in Newfoundland to draw wood on sledges, from the interior of the country to the sea-coast, and before the introduction of horses into general use