In the daytime, when pressed by hunger, the Lion takes his secret stand among the reeds and long grass in the neighbourhood of springs and rivers, and watches with unwearied patience for such animals as may, for the purpose of quenching their thirst, pass sufficiently near him to ensure the success of his attack. This is generally made in one enormous bound of fifteen, twenty, or even, it is said, thirty feet, and with a force capable of bearing to the ground and completely disabling the most formidable opponent. At times, however, he will pursue his prey somewhat more openly, and by quickly repeated springs; but this is an exertion which he is unable to continue for any considerable length of time, and which, consequently, any animal of moderate fleetness, that has fairly got the start of him, is certain to outstrip. Of this the Lion appears to be fully aware; for, if not successful in the commencement of the chase, he generally relinquishes it at once, and retires gradually, and step by step, to his place of ambush, to watch for a better opportunity and a more certain prey.
Belonging to a different tribe of the same grand division with the true Monkeys, from which they are more readily distinguished by their general form and habit than by any very remarkable deviation in their structure or organization, these agile and playful little creatures form a group which naturally follows in immediate succession. The technical peculiarities on which their separation from the Monkeys is founded are usually deduced from their teeth and nails; but other and more obvious characteristics are afforded by the form of their heads, of their tails, and of their hinder extremities, and these assist in confirming a distinction which might otherwise be regarded as arbitrary and unnecessary. The teeth of the Lemurs are, like those of man and of the Monkeys of the Old World, thirty-two in number, and consist of four incisors, two canines, and ten molars in the upper jaw, and of six incisors, two canines, and eight molars in the lower. Such at least is the usual statement with respect to their dentition; but M. Geoffroy maintains, on the other hand, that the number of incisors is equal in both jaws, and coincides with that of the Monkeys; the two outermost of the six, which are larger than the rest, being in his opinion the true canines; while the canines, commonly so called, are in fact only the first of the series of molars. This conjecture unquestionably derives considerable strength from the fact that, when the animal closes its mouth, the supposed canines of the lower jaw pass behind those of the upper, a position directly contrary to that which they uniformly assume in every other animal that is furnished with that kind of teeth. On each of their four hands they have four fingers of moderate length, and a thumb which is capable of being opposed to them almost equally well with that of the other Quadrumana; they are consequently enabled to grasp whatever they seize with the greatest precision. The peculiarity of their nails consists in the shape of that of the index of the hinder hands, which forms an elongated, curved, and pointed claw, approaching in some degree to those of the carnivorous quadrupeds. All the rest of their nails are broad and flat like those of the Monkeys. Their posterior extremities are longer than their anterior; and their body and limbs are light, graceful, and well proportioned. The tail, which is of uniform thickness throughout, is longer than the body, and, in common with it, is clothed with long, soft, and woolly hair. The head is long, triangular, and gradually tapering into a slender and pointed muzzle, which, in proportionate length, far exceeds that of any of the Monkeys; the ears are short and rounded; and the whiskers but little developed.
Lemur Albifrons. Geoff.
THE AFRICAN SHEEP.