Their food consists of about five pounds of beef per day for each: this the keeper generally tosses up in front of their den, at the distance of nearly two feet from the bars, and to the height of six or eight feet from the floor. The animals, who are on the alert for their dinner, immediately leap towards the bars, and, darting out their paws with incredible swiftness, almost uniformly succeed in seizing it before it falls to the ground. If, as it sometimes happens, the meat is thrown up at too great a distance, so as not to be fairly within reach, they remain perfectly stationary and make no attempt to spring upon it, but watch it with anxious avidity, apparently calculating and comparing the distance of the object and the extent of their own grasp. When they have, in this way, secured their meal, instead of ravenously falling to, like the other carnivorous animals in the collection, they stand growling over it for some minutes, leering upon each other with the most frightful contortions. This growling attitude of mistrust in feeding was constantly maintained by the female, even before she had a companion in her captivity, and when consequently there existed no immediate object for the excitement of her selfish or envious feelings.
The fourth Order of Birds, the Waders, are strikingly characterized by the great length of their legs, the lower part of which is entirely bare of feathers; a peculiarity which is of essential service by enabling them to stand for a long time in the water without injury to their plumage, watching for the fish and reptiles, of which the larger species, and the worms and insects, of which the smaller among them, make their usual prey.
In making these observations it is far from our intention to become the apologists of this ferocious beast: our object is simply to place him in the rank which he deserves to hold, on a level with those animals with whom Nature has decreed that he should be associated no less in character than in form. In his wild and unrestricted state, he is unquestionably one of the most terrible of the living scourges, to whose fatal ravages the lower animals, and even man himself, are exposed. But in captivity, and especially if domesticated while young, his temper is equally pliant, his disposition equally docile, and his manners and character equally susceptible of amelioration, with those of any other animal of his class. All the stories that have been so frequently reiterated, until they have at length passed current without examination as accredited truths, of his intractable disposition and insensibility to the kind treatment of his keepers, towards whom it is alleged that he never exhibits the slightest feelings of gratitude, have been proved by repeated experience to be utterly false and groundless. He is tamed with as much facility, and as completely, as the Lion; and soon becomes familiarised with those who feed him, whom he learns to distinguish from others, and by whom he is fond of being noticed and caressed. Like the cat, which he resembles so closely in all his actions, he arches his broad and powerful back beneath the hand that caresses him; he licks his fur and smooths himself with his paws; and purrs in the same mild and expressive manner when he is particularly pleased. He remains perfectly quiet and undisturbed, unless when hungry or irritated, and passes the greater part of his time in listless repose. His roar is nearly similar to that of the Lion, and, like his, is by no means to be regarded as a symptom of anger, which he announces by a short and shrill cry, approaching to a scream.
The animals of the part of New Holland from which these birds are derived appear in general to suffer little from their transportation to the climate of England. The Emeus, like the Kanguroos, have become to a certain extent naturalized in the Royal Park at Windsor, where they breed without difficulty and with no extraordinary precautions. Here they have assigned to them a sufficient space of ground to take ample exercise; and this circumstance contributes not a little to the thriving condition in which they are met with. They are perfectly harmless unless when irritated or pursued, in which case they sometimes strike very severe blows with their beaks, which are extremely hard. The pair in the Tower were obtained from this establishment, where they were bred.下载
For the zoological characters of the latter genus the reader is referred to the following article: at present we shall confine ourselves to the description of the remarkable animal before us, pointing out, as we proceed, the marks by which it differs from both the groups to which it has hitherto been referred, and those by which it is assimilated to either the one or the other. In the shape and elevation of its body it is at first sight distinguished from them both, its legs being considerably longer in relation to its size, and the trunk of its body, as will be seen by the portrait prefixed, being very different in form and proportions. It is entirely destitute of the mane of the Hy?na, and its tail is very similar to that of certain dogs; but, on the other hand, its head approximates very closely, or rather bears a most striking resemblance, to the broad and flattened forehead, and the short and truncated muzzle, which characterize the former genus. It is this latter circumstance no doubt that has induced many naturalists, both popular and scientific, to identify the Wild Dog, as he is called by the settlers at the Cape, with a group of animals from which in every other particular of outward structure, excepting one, it is remarkably and obviously distinct. The only other point of agreement between them consists in the number of its toes, which, like those of the Hy?na, are only four to each foot. This peculiarity, combined with the form of the head, unquestionably affords some ground for placing these animals in close apposition; but is by no means so important, in the absence of other and more essential characteristics, as to warrant their union into a single group. Taken together, however, and in connexion with other features of distinction, these characters may fairly be regarded as sufficiently striking to sanction the separation of the animal now under consideration from the dogs. With the latter it corresponds most completely in the number and form of its teeth, and in the general structure of its skeleton, which differs remarkably from that of the Hy?na.下载