The Puma figured above is a female, about three years old, exceedingly sleek in her fur and lively in her colours, and equally mild and good-tempered with any of her race.
The Hy?na-Dog, if this compound term may be allowed, is a native of the South of Africa, and infests the frontier settlements at no great distance from the Cape to a very extensive and troublesome degree. Mr. Burchell, to whom we are indebted for the earliest specimen brought to this country, as well as for first pointing out its distinctive characters, informs us that it hunts in regular packs, preferring the night, but frequently pursuing its prey even by day. It is not only exceedingly fierce, but also remarkably swift and active, insomuch that none but the fleeter animals can escape from its pursuit. Sheep, oxen, and horses appear to be its favourite game: on the former it makes its onset openly and without fear, but of the latter it seems to stand in awe, and attacks them only by stealth, frequently surprising them in their sleep, biting off the tails of the oxen, for which it has a particular fancy, and inflicting such serious injuries upon the horses, especially the young colts, as they rarely survive.
In size it is intermediate between the two other species which he describes. Its most remarkable distinction is derived from the thickness of its neck and the flatness of its head, its forehead forming almost a straight line with its muzzle. The latter is moderately thick and somewhat lengthened; and the ears are very large. The body is compact, and the limbs heavy; a conformation from which we might be led to infer great muscular strength, together with a capacity for climbing trees and performing other feats of a similar description, were it not for the comparative weakness of the claws, which are scarcely more than half as long as those of the other Indian bears. Like the latter, its colour is invariably of a uniform glossy jet-black, except on the lower lip, which is white; as is also a patch occupying the front of the neck, and in shape like a Y, the two upper limbs of which pass in front of the shoulders, while the lower one occupies the middle line of the chest. The upper part of the muzzle is black, with a slight reddish tint on the sides; and the edges of the lips flesh-coloured. The hair, which is smooth on the muzzle, becomes shaggy on the back part of the head, from the base of the ears downwards, and adds considerably to the apparent volume of that part, but not quite to the same extent as in the Ursus labiatus, in old individuals of which it almost touches the ground. It was found by Dr. Wallich in the mountains of Nepaul, and by M. Duvaucel in those of Sylhet; and from this limited range the latter gentleman infers, perhaps a little too hastily, that its habitat is less extensive than that of its fellows. He also regards it as being more ferocious in its habits.
Of all the quadrupeds which inhabit the northern regions of the American continent, the Grizzly Bear is unquestionably the most formidable and the most dreaded. Superior to the rest of his tribe, not excepting even the polar species, in bulk, in power, in agility, and in the ferocity of his disposition, it is not to be wondered at that he should be regarded by the native Indians with an almost superstitious terror, and that some portion of this feeling should have been communicated even to the civilized travellers, who have occasionally met with him in the wild and desolate regions which are subject to his devastations. In the Journals of some of these travellers we find recorded such astonishing instances of his strength, ferocity, and extraordinary tenacity of life as would indeed amaze us, were we not aware how much the human mind is prone, under certain circumstances, to fall into exaggeration, in many cases most certainly unintentional. Making, however, all due allowances for the existence of this very natural feeling, we are bound to acknowledge that there are few animals who can compete with this terrible beast; and that to be made the object of his pursuit is an occurrence well calculated to alarm the stoutest heart, even when provided with the most certain and deadly weapons of human invention, guided by the most experienced eye, and directed by the steadiest hand.下载
It may readily be supposed that the taming of these wild and unwieldy creatures is a task of no little difficulty and delicacy: but the experienced keepers by whom it is undertaken seldom fail to execute it with success. It is effected partly by reducing the strength of the animal by restricting him in the quantity of his food, by the employment of caresses or of castigation according to the dispositions he may manifest, by occasionally indulging him in sweetmeats or in other dainty fare, and by subjecting him to the control of the tame elephants, and especially of the females, which are more commonly employed for this purpose. By the application of these means the space of a fortnight is generally sufficient to reduce him to a certain degree of tameness, and in less than six months he is trained to the various exercises which it is intended that he should perform, and his education is regarded as complete. They do not, however, always become familiar and habituated to their new mode of life even within this period of time; for, according to the statement of Mr. Corse, Elephants have been known to stand twelve months at their pickets without lying down to sleep; and this is regarded as a certain sign of want of confidence in their keepers and of a longing desire to regain their liberty. It is probably to some such circumstance as this that we are indebted for the erroneous idea so generally prevalent that these animals always sleep standing; whereas the truth is, that when perfectly at ease and reconciled to their fate, they lie down on their sides and sleep like other beasts.
Of the characters of most of the institutions which we have noticed the Tower Menagerie has at various times partaken in a greater or less degree. Originally intended merely for the safe-keeping of those ferocious beasts, which were until within the last century considered as appertaining exclusively to the royal prerogative, it has occasionally been converted into a theatre for their contests, and has terminated by adapting itself to the present condition of society as a source of rational amusement and a school of zoological science.
Of this very remarkable animal, the only individual of the species ever seen in Europe, and in fact the only one that has yet fallen under the notice of zoologists, so complete an account has been published by Dr. Horsfield, in the second volume of the Zoological Journal, that it would be presumptuous in us to attempt to add any thing to the masterly details which are there furnished both of its organization and habits. We shall therefore in the present instance, and with the less reluctance as the animal is no longer living for further reference, content ourselves with abstracting from that paper, as nearly as possible in the words of its author, the more interesting and prominent features of the history which is there given of the Bornean Bear; which, in conjunction with another closely related species, the Ursus Malayanus, Dr. Horsfield has separated from the other bears under the sub-generic title of Helarctos.
The extent of muscular power which these serpents possess in common with the Boas is truly wonderful. To the smaller among them the lesser quadrupeds and even birds fall an easy prey; but the larger, when excited by the stimulus of hunger, are capable of crushing within their spiral folds the largest and most powerful of beasts. The sturdy buffalo and the agile stag become alike the victims of their fatal embrace; and the bulk of these animals presents but little obstacle to their being swallowed entire by the tremendous reptile, which crushes them as it were into a mass, lubricates them with the fetid mucus secreted in its stomach, and then slowly distending its jaws and ?sophagus to an extent proportioned to the magnitude of the object to be devoured, and frequently exceeding by many times its own previous size, swallows it by one gradual and long-continued effort.