In none of them, it may be observed, are the hands formed for swimming, or the nails constructed for digging the earth; and in none of them is the naked callous portion, which corresponds to the sole or the palm, capable of being applied, like the feet of man or of the bear, to the flat surfaces on which they may occasionally tread. Even in those which have the greatest propensity to assume an upright posture, the body is, under such circumstances, wholly supported by the outer margins of the posterior hands. The earth, in fact, is not their proper place of abode; they are essentially inhabitants of trees, and every part of their organization is admirably fitted for the mode of life to which they were destined by the hand of nature herself. Throughout the vast forests of Asia, Africa, and South America, and more especially in those portions of the three continents which are comprehended within the tropics, they congregate in numerous troops, bounding rapidly from branch to branch, and from tree to tree, in search of the fruits and eggs which constitute their principal means of subsistence. In the course of these peregrinations, which are frequently executed with a velocity scarcely to be followed by the eye, they seem to give a momentary, and but a momentary, attention to every remarkable object that falls in their way, but never appear to remember it again; for they will examine the same object with the same rapidity as often as it recurs, and apparently without in the least recognising it as that which they had seen before. They pass on a sudden from a state of seeming tranquillity to the most violent demonstrations of passion and sensuality; and in the course of a few minutes run through all the various phases of gesture and action of which they are capable, and for which their peculiar conformation affords ample scope. The females treat their young with the greatest tenderness until they become capable of shifting for themselves; when they turn them loose upon the world, and conduct themselves towards them from that time forwards in the same manner as towards the most perfect strangers.
Ichneumon Griseus. Geoff.
In outward form, however, notwithstanding his more slender make, the difference between them is by no means great. His head, although more elevated and prominent in front, exhibits the same broad lateral expansion, caused by the thick mass of muscle which acts so powerfully upon the short and dilated jaws of the cats, and imparts to them that tremendous force and effect for which they are so remarkable. His legs, notwithstanding their increased length and slender proportions, retain all the elastic springiness, by means of which the Leopard or the Tiger are enabled to bound with so much vigour and velocity upon their unsuspecting prey. His air and manners, too, are unquestionably those of the cats; and his mode of colouring, which we shall next proceed to describe, although exhibiting very peculiar and marked distinctions, offers so close an analogy to that of the Jaguar and the Leopard, that, were we to regard this character alone, it would be impossible to arrange him in a different group from that which comprehends those beautifully spotted, but ferocious, beasts. His fur, however, it must be remarked, has little of the sleekness which characterizes those animals, but exhibits, on the contrary, a peculiar crispness which is not to be found in any other of the tribe.
A native also of the northern division of America, and more particularly of that extensive tract of country which constitutes the newly erected State of Missouri, the Grizzly Bear differs in many striking points, both of character and habits, from the subject of the preceding article, as well as from every other animal of the very natural group of which he forms part. By his elongated, narrowed, and flattened muzzle, added to the slight elevation of his forehead, he is closely connected with the Black Bear of America, and as remarkably distinguished from the common Brown Bear of Europe, and from the White Bear of the polar regions, which last, in size and general form, offers perhaps the nearest approximation to the present species. But his enormous magnitude, which may be stated as averaging twice the bulk of the Black Bear; the greatly increased size and power of his canine teeth; and, above all, the excessive length of his talons, on the fore feet especially, afford characteristic differences so obvious and so essential, that it is difficult to conceive how they could have been so long overlooked by naturalists as well as travellers, who have all, until within little more than twenty years of the present time, passed him over without even a casual hint that he presented any claims to be considered as distinct from the common species of his country.