Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and when they are impelled by hunger, the ant-eater, which, on being attacked by
every creature is exposed to their attack. the jaguar, throws itself on its back, and
They are often taken in pit-falls by the with its long claws fixes on his throat and
negroes, who highly value their flesli, which, kills him by suffocation.
in appearance, is not a little like that of

F. puma, or the congouar, has by some real; their teeth are arranged in fanciful been called the American lion, but is undispositions by tire women of the country, worthy of a comparison with the sovereign and hung about their necks and arms, both of the forest. It is, however, the largest of as amulets and ornaments; and their skins the American beasts of prey, and is exare exported to various parts of Europe, tremely fierce and ravenous. It ivhabits in where they are particularly admired, and many parts from Canada to Florida, and is are sold for corresponding prices. There is found also in Mexico and Brazil. In the in India a variety of this species trained warmer climates it possesses its greatest with great success to hunt the antelope and perfection in vigour and courage, and will other beasts. It is conveyed in a small frequently cross rapid torrents to seize cat. vehicle to the spot of its intended exertions, tle grazing in inclosures near the habitations and chained and hooded till it is let down of man. It has been known to attack a is near to the herd as is thought conve- wolf. It is a formidable enemy to the nient; it then makes every effort to reach moose deer, and others of that tribe; and them unobserved, advancing with extreme will often mount trees to watch the animals vigilance and canțion, and when it perceives that pass beneath, selecting the victims of itself in a proper situation, it rushes with a its rapacity, and quitting them only after succession of amazing bounds, five or six in having exhausted their last drop of blood. sumber, towards its destined object, and is . This fierce animal, strange as it may appear, almost uniformly successful in securing it. if taken young is trained to become as inOn failure it returns to its owner, and after offensive nearly as the common cat, and a short interval recommences its efforts. will permit, without rage or resentment, all See Mammalia, Plate XIV, fig. 1.

the rough caresses and violent gambols F.uncia, or the ounce, is abont three feet of boys. and a half in length, and has a skin beauti- F. discolor, or the black tiger, is confully varied with single spots, or oval collec. sidered by many only as a variety of the tions of them, on a light-grey ground-colour. former species. It is exceedingly strong in It is a native of China, Persia, and Barbary. its limbs, and attains the size of a heifer of Its sense of smell is not extremely acute, a year old. It is found in Brazil and but its eye possesses exquisite discernment, Gniana; and is rapacious and savage in its on which account it is disciplined to the disposition; and fortunately, therefore, not chase with wonderful success; and so gentle abundant. It eats the buds of the Indian are its manners that it is taken to the hunt fig occasionally, but more frequently the on the crupper of the horse, behind its eggs of turtles deposited on the shore. owner. It is not remarkable for speed in Lizards, fishes, and young alligators, are all running, or at least for a continuance of made prey by it. It swims with great rapid exertion, and is, indeed, incapable of rapidity. In quest of the alligator it emit; but it seizes its prey by a few rapid ploys the stratagem of lying down on its bounds, in which it displays astonishing belly at the edge of the water, and striking nimbleness and dexterity. It frequently it with its paws; the noise and motion inascends trees, from which it may dart on duce the alligator to lift its head above the any animals leisurely and fearlessly passing surface, when the claw of the black tiger beneath.

is instantly, fixed in its eye and drags it to F. onea, the jaguar, is the most formid- the land. able of all the animals found in the new F. pardalis, or ocelot, is about four times continent, and abounds particularly in the the size of a domestic cat, the shape of Deserts of Gniana; in passing which the which it extremely resembles, and is one of Indians, who have an extreme dread of this the most beautiful of all variegated quadanimal, always kindle fires to keep it at a rupeds. It is a native of South America, distance. Its ground colour is a light and particularly destructive, which may be, brownish-yellow, which is varied with in a great degree, accounted for from the streaks and open spots of black. It is circumstance of its seldom devouring the raiher larger than a wolf, bnt is said to find Mesh of animals, rather thirsting, with ina formidable, and often fatal, antagonist in satiable avidity, for their blood. In the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

mountainous tracts of Mexico and Brazil time, and after associating during this interthese animals are abundant, hiding them. val with the wild cat, will return to its forselves amidst the foliage of trees, whence mer mansion. These animals are frequently they spring upon their prey beneath. They destroyed by means both of traps and guns; are reported frequently to stretch them the latter of which mode, however, is atselves out motionless on the branches of tended with some danger, as, if only slightly trees, to induce the monkey to approach wounded, they will, without hesitation, and examine them, which with his usual attack the assailant in their turn and inflict curiosity he is in such circumstances no contemptible revenge. In the county prompted to do; this curiosity, however, is of Cumberland one of these amimals was only the instant prelude to his destruction. killed, not many years since, which meaThese animals are scarcely capable of being sured from its nose to the end of its tail tamed, and in captivity display incessant upwards of five feet. The cat is generally restlessness and ferocity.

imagined to see best in the dark; and so F. tigrina, or the Cayenne cat, resembles peculiar is the structure of its eye that the the wild cat in size, habit, and character; pupil is capable of contraction and dilata. is most elegantly spotted with black on a tion, in proportion to the degree of light tawny ground, and is frequently to be found affecting it. This circumstance gives it a. in various parts of South America. It is most important advantage in exploring extremely wild and antameable. The spot and seizin its prey. The character and ted species of this genus of animals have manners of these animals in their state of been often so imperfectly marked by tra. domestication, are so generally known as vellers, that much remains to be done be- almost to preclude the necessity of at all fore a complete description of them can be noticing them. Their expressions, whether obtained : and the remoteness of their of pain, anger, or love, are piercing, clamorkaunts from human habitations, which ous, and extremely harsh and hideous to can be approached only amidst dangers in the human ear. On the utterance of the superable by all but extraordinary minds sounds of distress by a single individual, and constitutions, will, there is reason to multitudes will often assemble and appear presume, long preclude their correct deti. to express their compassion by the most nition and full detail.

disgusting squalls and yellings. The result, F. catus, or the common cat. The nu- however, frequently is, that the sufferer from merous varieties of the domestic cat are disease or accident, from which the original supposed to bave proceeded from a race call proceeded, is torn to pieces by its comnative in the north of Europe and Asia. panions, who, not uncommonly, afterwards In the wild state its tail is somewhat shorter fall upon each other with the most savage than in the state of domestication ; its head fierceness, inflicting wounds and death withis more flat, and its limbs are more muscu- out the least sensibility or discrimination. lar and bony. The general colour of the These sanguinary contests are uniformly wild cat is that of a pale yellowish-grey, carried on by night, and instances are relatwith dusky stripes and variegations; there ed, on respectable authority, in which they are, however, great varieties both of colour have been conducted with the most de. and size. Wild cats are found not only in structive havoc. Cats are remarkably fond Europe and Asia, but also in America, of' certain perfumes, both vegetable or where they existed before its discovery by mineral; and, on this account are often Columbus. In Great Britain they are found very injurious to a garden or green-house, chiefly in the mountainous and woody dis. destroying the plants to which they are so tricts of the island ; and, as being the most partial. Cold and wet are avoided by these rapacious quadrupeds in the country, have creatures with particular care, and their habeen designated by Mr. Pemant as the bits are peculiarly neat and cleanly, their far British tigers. They range by night in being preserved by them, until in extreme quest of prey, and commit fatal depreda- age, from the slightest soil; and the most tions on kids, poultry, and lambs; they elegant and splendid furniture being in no likewise devour hares, small birds, and va- danger from annoyance by them. rious species of vermin. They breed and female is frequently obliged to conceal her principally reside in trees; and are young from the male, to preclude their equally prolific with the domestic cat. In being injured and even devoured by him ; the neighbourhood of the former the latter yet, in some instances, the female herself will often quit its residence for a short has been ascertained, in opposition to one.

[ocr errors]

The

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small]

commerce.

of the most grand and prevailing instincts F. lynx, or the lynx, is remarkable for its of nature, to eat them immediately on pro- ears being long and erect; and tafted at the ducing them ; in general, however, the end with long black hairs. The skin of the young are nursed with particular attention male is more spotted than that of the female. and affection, and the accommodation of In America and the North of Europe the parent to the sportive propensities and

these animals are to be found in great varying gambols of the kitten, constitutes abundance. They subsist by hunting squirto the humane and even the philosophic mind rels, ermines, weasels, and other vermin; an interesting spectacle. With respect to which they will pursue to the very tops of human beings, even those which have long extremely high trees. They conceal themprotected and befriended it, the cat appears selves often among the branches, and water little susceptible of kind attachment on the with minute observation the approach of change of habitations, quitting the family hares, deer, and other animals, which they with which it had always lived, and return- seize with astonishing agility, and after having to apartments to which, indeed, it bad ing drank their blood reject the carcases been long used, but where it could recog- almost entirely; devouring often, of a whole nize no human friend. In this respect its sheep, little more than the brain and liver. manners exhibit a most disadvantageous When attacked by a dog this animal places contrast to those of the dog, which are in itself on its back, and seizing the throat the liighest degree social, affectionate, and of its adversary often actually suffocates it, grateful. The cat, however, often lives in or obliges it at least to retire from the conhabits of friendly intercourse with various fict. The sight of the lynx is proverbially animals in a state of similar domestication acute; its howling greatly resembles that of with itself, and to which m a state of nature

a wolf; in confinement it appears restless, it feels an almost unconquerable hostility. malignant, and untameable, almost conA French lady, of some eminence, by per- stantly uttering a snarling scream. The fur severing attention and discipline, at length of these animals is an important article of succeeded in accomplishing the extraordi.

The farther north they are nary exploit of habituating her dog and cat,

taken the wbiter and more valuable they her bird and mouse, to take their food from

are; and the winter furs are preferable to the same plate. Cats are, though in general, the summer ones. The length of a Russian by no means profound sleepers; often, and lynx, from pose to tail, is four feet six particularly in the depth of winter and on

inches. The lynx of the ancients appears the approach of snow, can be roused from to have been the creature of imagination, their sleep only with extreme difficulty ; See Mammalia, Plate XIV. fig. 4. and will, on these occasions, exhale a fra- From the lion to the common cat, through grance similar to that of cloves. On rub- all the intermediate species of this abunbing the backs of these animals the electric dant genus, a strong resemblance exists in spark is immediately felt, and the Leyden form, internal structure, and habits; the vial

may, in frosty weather, be charged shortness of the intestines, the sharpness from this source by means of a connecting and number of the teeth, the structure of the wire, and a glass-footed stool. Those who feet and claws are the same in all; they all are pleased with contemplating the opera- feed on flesh, which they rather tear than tions of animated surprise or curiosity, in masticate; they eat with slowness, and any of the prodnctions of nature, will be not during the repast growl almost perpetually, a little entertained by the experiment of as if apprehensive of its being intercepted placing before a young cat, for the first from them; they all seize upon their prey time,

a looking-glass : its delight at the by crafty approach and stealthy stratagem, figure this exhibited is soon allayed by that rather than by open and intrepid attack. impossibility of touching it which it finds to These are the animals from which man has all its attempts: it at length looks behind most to apprehend, and which have hither. the glass, and with great suddenness and to, in every age, more or less, carried on vivacity shifts its examination both forwards hostilities against him. The power of some and backwards, till at last it appears to ob

creatures is greater, but their tempers are serve the correspondence between the re- less ferocious, and they exercise their flections on the mirror and the movements strength not in acts of aggression but only of its own foot gliding in various directions in those of retaliation; and others, while over the surface, and seems to have deve- they are inexpressibly more numerous, are, loped the mystery originally so perplexing.

at the same time, destitute of any formid

K

1

VOL. III.

« ZurückWeiter »