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Title: Buffon's Natural History. Volume VII (of 10) - Containing a Theory of the Earth, a General History of - Man, of the Brute Creation, and of Vegetables, Minerals, - &c. &c
Author: Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc de
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber Note

Text emphasis is denoted as _Italic Text._

                           _Barr's Buffon._

                       Buffon's Natural History.


                        A THEORY OF THE EARTH,
                               A GENERAL
                           _HISTORY OF MAN_,
                     OF THE BRUTE CREATION, AND OF
                         VEGETABLES, MINERALS,
                               _&c. &c._

                           FROM THE FRENCH.

                     WITH NOTES BY THE TRANSLATOR.

                            IN TEN VOLUMES.

                               VOL. VII.

                      PRINTED FOR THE PROPRIETOR,


                    T. Gillet, Printer, Wild court.

                          THE SEVENTH VOLUME.

                        Of Carnivorous Animals.


  _Of Tigers_                                                   1
  _Animals of the Old Continent_                                4
  _Animals of the New World_                                   24
  _Animals common to both Continents_                          33
  _The Tiger_                                                  57
  _The Panther, Ounce, and Leopard_                            68
  _The Jaguar_                                                 81
  _The Cougar_                                                 87
  _The Lynx_                                                   92
  _The Hyæna_                                                 107
  _The Civet and the Zibet_                                   117
  _The Genet_                                                 129
  _The Black Wolf_                                            132
  _The Canadian Musk-rat, and the Muscovy Musk-rat_           133
  _The Peccari, or Mexican Hog_                               141
  _The Rousette, or Ternat Bat, the Rougette, or Little
      Ternat, and the Vampyre_                                149
  _The Senegal Bat_                                           162
  _The Bull-dog Bat_                                          163
  _The Bearded Bat_                                           164
  _The striped Bat_                                           165
  _The Polatouch_                                             165
  _The Grey Squirrel_                                         173
  _The Palmist, the Squirrel of Barbary and Switzerland_      177
  _The Ant Eaters_                                            181
  _The Long and Short-tailed Manis_                           193
  _The Armadillo_                                             197
  _The Three-banded_                                          202
      _Six-banded_                                            205
      _Eight-banded_                                          207
      _Nine-banded_                                           208
      _Twelve-banded_                                         210
      _Eighteen-banded_                                       212
  _The Paca_                                                  222
  _The Opossum_                                               229
  _The Marmose_                                               251
  _The Cayopollin_                                            253
  _The Elephant_                                              255
  _The Rhinoceros_                                            322

_Directions for placing the Plates in the Seventh Volume._

  Page 57 Fig. 101, 102.
       68 Fig. 107, 108.
       77 Fig. 103, 104.
       85 Fig. 105, 106.
      117 Fig. 109, 110.
      118 Fig. 111, 112, 113.
      133 Fig. 114, 115, 116.
      150 Fig. 117, 118, 119.
      165 Fig. 120, 121, 122, 123.
      181 Fig. 124, 125, 126.
      205 Fig. 127, 128.
      222 Fig. 129, 130, 131, 132.
      236 Fig. 133, 134.





As the word Tiger is a generic name, given several animals of different
species, it is proper to begin with distinguishing them from each
other. Leopards and Panthers have often been confounded together, and
are called Tigers by most travellers. The Ounce, a small species of
Panther, which is easily tamed, and used by the Orientals in the chace,
has been taken for the Panther itself, and described as such by the
name of Tiger. The Lynx, and that called the Lion's provider, have
also sometimes received the name of Panther, and sometimes Ounce. In
Africa, and in the southern parts of Asia, these animals are common;
but the real tiger, and the only one which ought to be so called, is
scarce, was little known by the ancients, and is badly described by the
moderns. Aristotle does not mention him; and Pliny merely speaks of him
as an animal of prodigious velocity; _tremendæ velocitatis animal_;[A]
adding, that he was a much more scarce animal than the Panther, since
Augustus presented the first to the Romans at the dedication of the
theatre of Marcellus, while so early as the time of Scaurus, this Ædile
sent 150 panthers, and afterwards 400 were given by Pompey, and 420
by Augustus, to the public shews at Rome. Pliny, however, gives no
description of the tiger, or any of its characteristics. Oppian and
Solinus appear to be the first who observed that the tiger is marked
with long streaks, and the panther with round spots. This, indeed, is
one of the characteristics which distinguishes the true tiger from a
number of animals that have been so called. Strabo, in speaking of
the real tiger, gives Megasthenes as his authority, for saying that
in India there are tigers twice as large as the lion. The tiger then
stands described by the ancients as an animal that is fierce and
swift, marked with long stripes, and exceeding the lion in size; nor
has Gesner, nor the other modern naturalists, who have treated of the
tiger, added any thing to these observations of the ancients.

[Footnote A: Pliny Nat. Hist. lib. viii. cap. xviii.]

In the French language all those skins of which the hair is short, and
are marked with round and distinct spots, are called tiger-skins, and
travellers sharing in this error, have called all animals so marked
by the general name of tigers; even the academy of sciences have been
borne away by this torrent, and have adopted the appellation to all,
although by dissection they found them materially different.

The most general cause, as we intimated in the article of the lion,
of these ambiguous terms in Natural History, arose from the necessity
of giving names to the unknown productions of the New World, and thus
the animals were called after such of the old continent to whom they
had the smallest resemblance. From the general denomination of tiger
to every animal whose skin was spotted, instead of one species of that
name, we now have nine or ten, and consequently the history of these
animals is exceedingly embarrassed, writers have applied to one species
what ought to have been ascribed to another.

To dispel the confusion which necessarily results from these erroneous
denominations, particularly among those which have been commonly
called tigers, I have resolved to give a comparative enumeration of
quadrupeds, in which I shall distinguish, 1. Those which are peculiar
to the old continent, and were not found in America when first
discovered. 2. Those which are natives of the new continent, and were
unknown in the old. 3. Those which existing alike in both continents,
without having been carried from one to the other by man, may be
considered as common to both. For which purpose it has been necessary
to collect and arrange the scattered accounts given by the historians
of America, and those who first visited this continent as travellers.


As the largest animals are the best known, and about which there is
the least uncertainty, in this enumeration they shall follow nearly
according to their size.

Elephants belong to the Old World; the largest are found in Asia, and
the smallest in Africa. They are natives of the hottest climates, and,
though they will live, they cannot multiply in temperate ones; they
do not propagate even in their own countries after they are deprived
of their liberty. Though confined to the southern parts of the old
continent their species is numerous. It is unknown in America, nor is
there any animal there that can be compared to it in size and figure.
The same remark applies to the Rhinoceros, which is less numerous than
the elephant; he is confined to the desarts of Africa, and the forests
of southern Asia; nor has America any animal that resembles him.

The Hippopotamus inhabits the banks of the large rivers of India and
Africa, and is less numerous than the Rhinoceros. It is not found in
America, nor even in the temperate climates of the Old Continent.

The Camel and Dromedary, so apparently similar, yet in reality so
dissimilar, are very common in Asia and Arabia, and in all the eastern
parts of the ancient continent. The name of camel has been given to
the Lama and Pacos of Peru, which are so different from the camel as
by some to have been called _sheep_, and by others _camels_ of Peru;
though the pacos has nothing in common with the European sheep but the
wool, and the lama resembles the camel only by the length of its neck.
The Spaniards formerly carried camels to Peru; they left them first
at the Canaries, whence they afterwards transported them to America;
but the climate of the new world does not seem favourable to them, for
though they produced, their numbers have always remained very small.

The _Giraffe_ or _Camelopard_, an animal remarkable for its height,
and the length of its neck and fore legs, is a native of Africa,
particularly Ethiopia, and has never spread beyond the tropics in the
temperate climates of the old continent.

In the preceding article we have seen that the lion exists not in
America, and that the puma of Peru is an animal of a different species;
and we shall now find that the tiger and panther belong also to the old
continent, and that the animals of South America, to whom those names
have been applied, are also different. The real tiger is a terrible
animal, and more, perhaps, to be dreaded than the lion himself. His
ferocity is beyond comparison; but an idea of his strength may be drawn
from his size; he is generally from four to five feet high, and from
nine to fourteen in length, without including his tail; his skin is not
covered with round spots, but with black stripes upon a yellow ground,
which extend across the body, and form rings from one end of the tail
to the other. These characteristics alone are sufficient to distinguish
him from all the animals of prey belonging to the new continent, as
the largest of them scarcely ever exceed the size of our mastiffs. The
leopard and panther of Africa and Asia, though much smaller than the
tiger, are larger than the rapacious animals of South America. Pliny,
whose testimony cannot be doubted (since panthers were daily exposed,
in his time, at the theatres in Rome), indicates their essential
characteristics, by saying, their hair is whitish, diversified
throughout with black spots, like eyes, and that the only difference
between the male and female were the superior whiteness of her hair.

The American animals, which have been called tigers, have a greater
resemblance to the panther, and yet their difference from that species
is very evident. The first is the _Jaguara_, or _Janowra_, a native
of Guiana, Brasil, and other parts of South America. Ray, with some
propriety, calls the animal the Pard, or Brasilian lynx. The Portuguese
call him Ounce, because they had first, by corruption, given that name
to the lynx, and afterwards to the small panther of India; and the
French, without his having the smallest affinity, have called him
tiger. He differs from the panther in size, in the position and figure
of the spots, in the colour and length of the hair, which is frizzled
when young, and never so straight as that of the panther, differing
also in disposition, being more savage, and cannot be tamed; still,
however, the jaguar of Brasil resembles the panther more than any other
animal of the new world. The second we call Cougar, by contracting the
Brasilian name _cougouacou-ara_, and which the French, with still less
propriety, have called the Red Tiger. From the real tiger it differs
in all, and from the panther in most respects, its hair being red, and
without spots; and in the form of its head, and length of his muzzle,
it differs also from them both. A third species, which has also been
called tiger, though equally remote, is the _Jaguarette_, which is
nearly of the size of the jaguar, and resembles him in natural habits,
but differs in some exterior characters. He has been called black
tiger, because his hair is black, interspersed with spots of a still
blacker hue. Besides these three species, and perhaps a fourth, which
is smaller, that have been named after the tiger, there is another
American animal, which appears to have a greater right to it, namely,
the _Cat-pard_, or mountain cat, which resembles both the cat and the
panther. Though smaller than either of the above three animals, it is
larger than the wild cat, which it resembles in figure, but its tail is
much shorter, and it differs also by having its hair diversified with
black spots, long upon the back and round upon the belly. These four
American animals have, therefore, very improperly been named tigers.
The cougar and cat-pard I have seen alive, and am convinced they are
of different species, and still more so from the tiger or panther; and
as for the puma and jaguar, it is evident, from the testimony of those
who have seen them, that the former is not a lion, nor the latter a
tiger, and therefore, without scruple, we may pronounce, that neither
the lion, tiger, nor even the panther, exist in America, any more than
the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, camel, or the camelopard. All
these species require a hot climate for propagation, and as none of
them exist in the northern regions, it is impossible they should have
had any communication with America. This general fact is too important
not to be supported by every proof; we shall, therefore, continue our
comparative enumeration of the animals of the old continent with those
of the new.

It is generally known, that upon horses being first transported into
America they struck the natives with surprise and terror; and that
this animal has thriven and multiplied so fast, as to have become
almost as numerous there now as it is in Europe. It is the same also
with the ass, which has thriven equally in these warm climates, and
from which mules have been produced, that are more serviceable than
the lamas for carrying heavy loads over the mountainous parts of Chili
and Peru. The Zebra is also an animal of the old continent, and which,
perhaps, has never been even seen in the new; it seems to require a
particular climate, and is found only in that part of Africa which lies
between the Equator and the Cape of Good Hope.

Oxen were unknown in the islands and on the continent of South America.
Soon after the discovery of these countries, the Spaniards transported
bulls and cows to them from Europe. In 1550 oxen were employed, for
the first time, in tilling the ground in the valley of Cusco. On the
continent these animals multiplied prodigiously, as well as in the
islands of St. Domingo, Cuba, Barlovento, &c. and in many places
they even became wild. The species of horned cattle found at Mexico,
Louisiana, &c. which is called the _wild ox_ or Bison, is not produced
from the European oxen. The bison existed in America before our race
was carried thither; and from the latter he is so different as to
authorize the opinion of his being a different species. He has a rise
between his shoulders, his hair is softer than wool, is longer before
than behind, is curled upon the neck and along the spine of the back;
he is of a brown colour, and faintly marked with some whitish spots; he
has also short legs, which, like the head and neck, are covered with
long hair; and the male has a long tail with a tuft of hair at the end,
like that of the lion. These differences seem to be sufficient grounds
for considering the ox and bison of different species, yet I will not
pretend to determine they are so, because the only characteristic which
identifies animals to be of the same species, is their propagating
and producing similar individuals, and which fact has never been
determined between the bison and the oxen of Europe. M. de la Nux, a
member of the royal council of the isle of Bourbon, has favoured me
with a letter, in which he says, the hunched-back ox of that island
propagates with the common horned cattle; and of great advantage would
it be, if persons who live in remote countries would follow the example
of this gentleman, in making experimental observations upon animals.
Nothing could be more easy than for the inhabitants of Louisiana, to
try if the American bison would copulate with the European cow. It
is probable they would produce together, and in that case it would
be ascertained that the European ox, the hunched-backed species of
the isle of Bourbon, the East India bull and American bison, form
only one species. M. de la Nux proved by experiments, that the hunch
is not an essential characteristic, since it disappeared after a few
generations; and I have myself discovered that the protuberance upon a
camel's back, which, though as in the bison, is very common, is not a
constant characteristic, and is probably owing to the healthful state
of the body, as I once saw a sickly camel which had not the smallest
appearance of a lump. As to the other difference, namely, the hair
being more long and soft, that may be entirely owing to the influence
of the climate, as is the case with goats, hares, and rabbits. With
some appearance of probability, it may be supposed, (especially if the
American bison produces with the European cow) that our oxen may have
found a passage over the northern districts to those of North America,
and having afterwards advanced into the temperate regions of this New
World, they received the impressions of the climate, and in time became
bisons. But till the essential fact of their producing together be
fully confirmed, I think it right to conclude that our oxen belong to
the old continent, and existed not in America before they were carried

To sheep America has no pretensions; they were transported from Europe,
and have thriven both in the warm and temperate climates; but, however
prolific, they are commonly more meagre, and their flesh less juicy and
tender than those in Europe. Brasil seems to be the most favourable to
them, as it is there alone that they are found loaded with fat. Guinea
sheep, as well as European, have been transported to Jamaica, and they
have prospered equally well. These two species belong solely to the old
continent. It is also the same with goats, and those we now meet with
in America in such great numbers, all originated from goats introduced
from Europe. The latter has not, however, multiplied so fast at Brasil
as the sheep. When the Spaniards first carried goats to Peru they were
so rare as to be sold for 110 ducats a piece; but afterwards they
multiplied so prodigiously as to be held of little value but for their
skins; they produce there from three to five kids at a time, while in
Europe they seldom have more than one or two. In all the islands they
are equally numerous as on the continent. The Spaniards transported
them even into the islands of the South Sea; and in the island of Juan
Fernandez their increase became prodigious. But proving a supply of
provisions to the free-booters who afterwards infested those parts, the
Spaniards resolved to extirpate them, and for that purpose put dogs
upon the island, who, multiplying in their turn, not only destroyed all
the goats in the accessible parts, but became so fierce as to attack
even men.

The hogs which were transported from Europe to America succeeded
better, and multiplied faster, than the sheep or goat. The first
swine, according to Garcilasso, sold still dearer than the first
goats. Piso says the flesh of the ox and sheep is not so good at
Brasil as in Europe, but that of the hog, which multiplies very fast,
is better; and Laet, in his History of the New World, affirms that
it is preferable at St. Domingo, to what it is in Europe. In general
it may be remarked, that of all domestic animals which have been
carried from Europe to America, the hog has thriven the best and most
universally. In Canada and in Brasil, which includes the warmest and
coldest climates of the new world, hogs multiply, and their flesh is
equally good; while the goat, on the contrary, multiplies in warm and
temperate climates only, and cannot maintain its species in Canada
without continual supplies. The ass multiplies in Brasil, Peru, &c. but
not in Canada, where neither mules nor asses are to be seen, although
numbers of the latter have been transported thither in couples. Horses
have multiplied nearly as much in the hot as in the cold countries
throughout America; but have diminished in size, a circumstance which
is common to all animals transported from Europe to America; and what
is still more singular, all the native animals of America are much
smaller in general than those of the old continent. Nature in their
formation seems to have adopted a smaller scale, and to have formed man
alone in the same mould. But to proceed in our enumeration:--The hog,
then, is not a native of America, but was carried thither; and he has
not only increased in a domestic state but has even become wild, and
multiplied in the woods without the assistance of man. A species of hog
has also been transported from Guinea to Brasil, which has likewise
multiplied; it is much smaller, and seems to form a distinct species
from the European hog; for although the climate of Brasil is favourable
to every kind of propagation, these animals have never been known to

Dogs, whose races are so varied, and so numerously diffused, were
not found in America, unless in a few rude resemblances, which it is
difficult to compare with the species at large. At St. Domingo, says
Garcilasso, there were little animals called _gosques_, not unlike
little dogs; but there were no dogs like those of Europe. He adds, that
the latter, on being transported to Cuba and St. Domingo, had become
wild, and diminished the number of cattle which had become wild also;
that they committed their devastations in troops of ten or twelve, and
were more destructive than wolves. According to Joseph Acosta, there
were no real dogs in the West Indies, but only an animal resembling
small dogs, called by the Peruvians _alcos_, which attach themselves
to their masters, and seem to have nearly the same dispositions as the
dog. If we may believe Father Charlevoix, who quotes no authority,
"The _goschis_ of St. Domingo were little mute dogs, which served
as an amusement to the ladies, and were also employed in the chace
of other animals. Their flesh was good for eating, and they were of
great benefit to the Spaniards during the first famines, which these
people experienced, so that they would have been exhausted, had there
not been numbers of them afterwards brought from the continent. Of
this animal there were several sorts; of some the hair was straight,
others had their bodies covered with a wool exceedingly soft; but the
greatest number had only a thin covering of tender down. In colours
they exceeded the varieties in the European dogs, forming an assemblage
of all colours, the most lively not excepted."

If this species of the goschis ever existed, especially as described
by Father Charlevoix, why have other authors never mentioned it? why
does it no longer exist? or if in existence, by what means has it lost
all its beautiful peculiarities? It is most likely that the goschis of
Charlevoix, and of which he never found the name but in Father Pers, is
the gosques of Garcilasso; and it is also probable that these gosques
of St. Domingo, and the alcos of Peru, are the same animal; for certain
it is, that of all American animals this has the most affinity to the
European dog. Several authors have considered it as a real dog; and
Laet expressly says, that when the West Indies were discovered they in
St. Domingo employed a small dog in hunting, but which was absolutely
dumb. We observed, in the history of the dog, that he loses the faculty
of barking in hot countries, but instead thereof they had a kind
of howl, and are not like these American animals, perfectly mute.
European dogs have thriven equally well in the hot and cold climates
of America, and of all animals they are held in the highest estimation
by the savages; but they have undergone essential changes, for in hot
countries they have lost their voice, in cold ones they have decreased
in size, and in general their ears have become straight. Thus they
have degenerated, or rather returned to their primitive species, the
shepherd's dog, whose ears are erect, and who barks the least. From
whence we may conclude, that the dog belongs to the old continent where
their nature has been developed in the temperate regions only, and
where they appear to have been varied and brought to perfection by the
care of man, for in all uncivilized countries, and in very hot or cold
climates they are ugly, small, and almost mute.

The Hyæna, which is nearly the size of the wolf, was known to the
ancients, and I have myself seen a living one. It is remarkable for
having an opening between the anus and tail, like the badger, and from
which issues a humour that has a strong smell; also for a long bristly
mane which runs along its neck; and for a voracity which prompts it to
scrape up graves and devour the most putrid bodies.

This horrid animal is only to be found in Arabia, and other southern
provinces of Asia; it does not exist in Europe and has never been found
in the New World.

The jackall, which of all animals not excepting the wolf makes the
nearest approach to the dog though differing in every essential
characteristic, is very common in Armenia and Turkey, and is very
numerous in several other provinces of Asia and Africa; but it is
absolutely unknown in the new world. It is about the size of the fox,
and of a very brilliant yellow; this animal has not extended to Europe,
nor even the northern parts of Asia.

The Genet, being a native of Spain, would doubtless have been noticed
had he been found in America, but that not being the case, we may
consider him as peculiar to the old continent; he inhabits the southern
parts of Europe, and those of Asia under the same latitude.

Though it has been said the Civet was found in New Spain, I am of
opinion it was not the African, or Indian Civet, which yields the musk
that is mixed and prepared with that of the animal called the Hiam of
China; this civet I conceive to belong to the southern part of the old
continent, has never extended to the north, and consequently would not
have found a passage to the New World.

Cats as well as dogs were entire strangers to the New Continent, and
though I formerly mentioned that a huntsman had taken to Columbus a
cat which he had killed in the woods of America, I am now convinced
that the species did not then exist there. I was then less aware of
the abuses which had been made in names, and I acknowledge I am not
yet sufficiently acquainted with animals to distinguish them with
precision in the fictitious and misapplied denominations given them
by travellers. Nor is this to be wondered at, since the nomenclators,
whose researches were directed to this object, have rendered it more
dark and intricate by their arbitrary names and arrangements. To the
natural propensity of comparing things which we see for the first
time, with those already known, and the almost insuperable difficulty
of pronouncing the American names being added, we are to impute this
misapplication of names which have since been productive of so many
errors. It is much more easy, for example, to call a new animal, a
_wild boar_, than to pronounce its name at Mexico, _quab-coya-melt_; to
call another _American fox_, than to retain its Brasilian appellation,
_tamandua-guacu_; to give the name of _Peruvian sheep_, or _camel_, to
those animals which in the language of Peru are called _pelon ichiath
oquitli_. It is the same with almost all the other animals of the New
World, whose names were so strange and barbarous to the Europeans, that
they endeavoured to apply others to them, from the resemblance they had
to those of the old continent, but they were often from affinities too
remote to justify the application. Five or six species of small animals
were named hares, or rabbits, merely because their flesh was palatable
food. They called _cow_ and _elk_ an animal without horns, although
it had no affinity to either, except a small resemblance in the form
of the body. But it is unnecessary at present to dwell upon the false
denominations which have been applied to the animals of America,
because I shall endeavour to point out and correct them when we come to
treat of each of those animals in particular.

We find, then, that all our domestic animals, and the largest animals
of Asia and Africa were unknown in the New World; and the same remark
extends to several of the less considerable species, of which we shall
now proceed to make a cursory mention.

The gazelles, of which there are various kinds, and of which some
belong to Arabia, others to the East Indies, and some to Africa,
all require a hot climate to subsist and multiply, they therefore
never extended to the northern climates, so as to obtain a passage
to America; it appears, indeed, that the African gazelle, and which
Hernandes, in his History of Mexico calls _algazel ex Aphrica_ must
have been transported thither. The animal of New Spain, which the same
author calls _temamaçame_, Seba _cervus_, Klein _tragulus_, and Brisson
the gazelle of New Spain, appears to be a different species to any on
the old continent.

It is natural to conclude, that the Chamois Goat, which delights in
the snow of the Alps, would not be afraid of the icy regions of the
north, and thence might have passed to America, but no such animal
is found there. This animal requires not only a particular climate,
but a particular situation. He is attached to the tops of the Alpine,
Pyrenean, and other lofty mountains, and far from being scattered over
distant countries, he never descends even to the plains at the bottom
of his hills; but in this he is not singular, as the marmot, wild goat,
bear, and lynx, are also mountain animals, and very rarely found in the

The buffalo is a native of hot countries, and has been rendered
domestic in Italy; he resembles less than the ox, the American bison,
and is unknown in the new continent. The wild goat is found on the
tops of the highest mountains of Europe and Asia, but was never seen
on the Cordeliers. The Musk-animal, which is nearly the size of a
fallow-deer, inhabits only a few particular countries of China and
Eastern Tartary. The little Guinea Deer, as it is called, seems also
confined to the provinces of Africa and the East Indies. The Rabbit,
which comes originally from Spain, and has been diffused over all the
temperate climates of Europe, did not exist in America; for the animals
of that continent which are so called, are of a different species, and
all the real ones were transported thither from Europe. The Ferret,
brought from Africa to Europe, was unknown in America; as were also our
rats and mice, which having been carried there in European ships, have
since multiplied prodigiously.

The following then are nearly all the animals of the old continent,
namely, the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, camel, dromedary,
giraffe, lion, tiger, panther, horse, ass, zebra, ox, buffalo, sheep,
goat, hog, dog, hyæna, jackall, genet, civet, cat, gazelle, chamois
goat, wild goat, Guinea deer, rabbit, ferret, rat, mouse, loir, lerot,
marmot, ichneumon, badger, sable, ermine, jerboa, the maki, and several
species of monkeys, none of which were found in America on the first
arrival of the Europeans, and which consequently are peculiar to the
Old World, as we shall endeavour to prove in the particular history of
each animal.


The animals of the New World were not more known to the Europeans, than
were our animals to the Americans. The Peruvians and Mexicans were the
only people on the new continent, which were half civilized. The latter
had no domestic animals; and those of the former consisted of the lama,
the pacos, and the alco, a small animal which was domestic in the
house like our little dogs. The pacos and the lama, like the chamois
goat, live only on the highest mountains, and are found on those of
Peru, Chili, and New Spain. Though they had become domestic among the
Peruvians, and consequently spread over the neighbouring countries,
their multiplication was not abundant, and has even decreased in their
native places, since the introduction of European cattle, which have
succeeded astonishingly in all the southern countries of the American

It appears singular that in a world, occupied almost entirely by
savages, whose manners somewhat resembled those of the brutes, there
should be no connection, no society existing between them and the
animals by which they were surrounded; and this was absolutely the
case, for there were no domestic animals, excepting where the people
were in some degree civilized. Does not this prove that man, in a
savage state, is nothing more than a species of animal, incapable of
ruling others; and possessing only individual faculties, employs them
for procuring his subsistence, and providing for his security, by
attacking the weak, and avoiding the strong, but without entertaining
any idea of real power, or endeavouring to reduce them to subjection?
Every nation, even those which are but just emerging from barbarism,
has its domestic animals. With us the horse, the ass, the ox, the
sheep, the goat, the hog, the dog, and the cat; in Italy the buffalo;
in Lapland the rein-deer; in Peru the lama, the pacos, and the alco; in
the eastern countries, the dromedary, the camel, and various species of
oxen, sheep, and goats; in the southern ones the elephant; all these
animals have been reduced to servitude, or admitted into society;
while the savage, hardly desirous of the society of his female, either
fears or disdains that of other animals. Of these species, rendered
domestic, it is true, not one existed in America; but if the savages,
with whom it was peopled, had anciently united, and had communicated
to each other the mutual aids of society, they would have rendered
subservient the greatest part of the animals of that country, most of
them being mild, docile, and timid, few mischievous, and scarcely any
formidable. Their liberty, therefore, has been preserved solely from
the weakness of man, who has little or no power without the aid of
society, upon which even the multiplication of his species depends.
The immense territories of the new world were but thinly inhabited;
and, I believe it may be asserted, that on its first discovery, it
contained not more than half the number of people that may now be
reckoned in Europe. This scarcity of men allowed every other animal to
multiply in abundance; every thing was favourable to their increase,
and the number of individuals of each species was immense; but the
number of species were comparatively few, and did not amount to more
than a fourth, or a third of those of the old continent. If we reckon
200 species of animals in the known world we shall find that more
than 130 of them belonged to the old continent, and less than 70 to
the new; and if we except the species common to both continents, that
is, such as by their natures are capable of enduring the rigours of
the north, and might have passed from one to the other, there will
not remain above forty species peculiar to, and natives of, America.
Animated nature, therefore, is in this portion of the globe less
active, less varied, and even less vigorous; for by the enumeration of
the American animals we shall perceive, that not only the number of
species is smaller, but that in general they are inferior in size to
those of the old continent; not one animal throughout America can be
compared to the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, dromedary, buffalo,
tiger, lion, &c. The Tapir of Brasil is the largest of all the South
American animals, and this elephant of the new world exceeds not the
size of a very small mule, or a calf at six months old; with both which
animals he has been compared, although he does not resemble either.
The Lama is not so big as the tapir, and appears large only from the
length of his neck and legs; and the Pacos is much smaller still. The
Cabiai, which, next to the tapir, is the largest of the South American
animals, is not bigger than a common-sized hog; he differs as much as
any of the preceding from all the animals of the old continent; for
although he has been called the water-hog, he has essentially different
characteristics from that animal. The Tajacou is smaller than the
cabiai, and has a strong external resemblance to the hog, but differs
greatly in his internal conformation. Neither the tajacou, cabiai,
nor the tapir, are to be found in any part of the old continent; and
the same may be said of the _Tamanduacuacu_, or _Ouariri_, and of the
_Ouatiriou_, which we have called Ant-eaters. These last animals, the
largest of which is below mediocrity, seem confined to the regions of
South America. They are remarkable in having no teeth, their tongue
is long and cylindrical, and their mouth is so small that they can
neither bite nor hardly take hold of any thing; they can only procure
subsistence by putting out their long tongue in the way of the ants,
and drawing it in when loaded with them. The sloth, which is called
_ai_, or _hai_, by the natives of Brasil, on account of the plaintive
cry of _ai_, which it continually sends forth, seems likewise to
be confined to the new continent. It is smaller than either of the
preceding ones, being not more than two feet long, and is scarcely so
quick in his motion as the turtle; it has but three claws on each foot,
its fore legs are longer than its hind ones, it has a very short tail,
and no ears. Besides, the sloth and armadillo are the only quadrupeds,
which have neither incisive nor canine teeth, but whose grinders are
cylindrical, and round at the extremities, nearly like those of some
cetaceous animals.

The Curiacou of Guiana is an animal of the nature and size of our
largest roe-bucks; the male has horns, which he sheds every year, but
the female has none. At Cayenne it is called the Hind of the Woods.
There is another species, called the little cariacou, or hind of the
fens, which is considerably smaller than the former, and the male
has no horns. From the resemblance of the names I suspected that
the cariacou of Cayenne might be the caguacu, or cougouacou-ara, of
Brasil, and comparing the accounts given by Piso and Marcgrave of the
latter with the cariacou I had alive, I was persuaded they were the
same animal, yet so different from our roe-buck as to justify our
considering them distinct species.

The tapir, cabiai, tajacou, ant-eater, sloth, cariacou, lama, pacos,
bison, puma, juguar, coujuar, juguarat, and the mountain-cat, &c. are
therefore the largest animals of the new continent. The middle-sized
and small ones are the cuandus, or gouandous, agouti, coati, paca,
opossum, cavies, and armadillos; all which I believe are peculiar to
the new world, although our latest nomenclators speak of two other
species of armadillos, one in the East Indies, and the other in Africa;
but we have only the testimony of the author of the description of
Seba's cabinet for their existence, and that authority is insufficient
to confirm the fact, for misnomers frequently happen in the collections
of natural objects. An animal, for example, is purchased under the name
of a Ternat, or American bat, and another under that of the East India
Armadillo; they are then announced by those names in a descriptive
catalogue, and are adopted by our nomenclators; but when examined more
closely the American bat proves to be one of our own country, and so
may the Indian or African armadillo be merely an armadillo of America.

Hitherto we have not spoken of Apes, their history requiring a
particular discussion. As the word _Ape_ is a generic term applied to
a number of species, it is not surprising that it should be said they
abound in the southern parts of both continents; but it is for us here
to enquire whether the apes of Asia and Africa be the same animals as
those so called in America, and whether from among more than thirty
species of apes, which I have examined alive, one of them is alike
common to both continents.

The Satyr, Ourang-outang, or Man of the Woods, as it is
indiscriminately termed, seems to differ less from man than from the
ape, and is only to be found in Africa or the south of Asia. The
Gibbon, whose fore legs, or arms, are as long as the whole body,
even the hind legs included, is a native of the East Indies alone.
Neither of these have tails. The ape, properly so termed, whose hair
is greenish, with a small intermixture of yellow, has no tail, belongs
to Africa, and a few other parts of the old continent, but is not to
be found in the new. It is the same also with the Cynocephali-apes, of
which there are two or three species; neither of them having any tails,
at least they are so short as scarcely to be perceivable. All apes
which are without tails, and whose muzzles, from being short, bear a
strong resemblance to the face of man, are real apes; and the species
above-mentioned are all natives of the old continent, and unknown in
the new; from whence we may pronounce that there are no real apes in

The Baboon, an animal larger than the dog, and whose body is pursed up
like that of the hyæna, is exceedingly different from those we have
noticed, and has a short tail: it is equally endowed with inclination
and powers for mischief, and is only to be met with in the desarts of
the southern parts of the old continent.

Besides these without tails, or with very short ones, (which all belong
to the old continent) almost all the large ones with long tails, are
peculiar to Africa. There are few even of the middling size in America,
but those called little long-tailed monkeys are very numerous, of which
there are several species; and when we give the particular history of
these animals, it will appear the American monkeys differ very much
from the apes of Asia and Africa. The Maki, of which there are three or
four species, has a near resemblance to the monkeys with long tails,
but is another animal, and peculiar also to the old continent. All the
animals, therefore, of Asia and Africa, which are known by the name of
apes, are equally as strange in America as the rhinoceros or tiger; and
the more we investigate this subject, the more we shall be convinced
that the animals of the southern parts of one continent did not exist
in the others and the few found in them must have been carried thither
by men. Between the coasts of Brasil and Guinea, there are 500 leagues
of sea; and between those of the East Indies and Peru, the distance
exceeds 2000 leagues: It appears, therefore, that all those animals
which from their nature are incapable of supporting cold climates, or,
if supporting, cannot propagate therein, are confined on two or three
sides by seas they cannot cross, and on the other by lands so cold they
cannot live in them. At this one general fact, then, however singular
it may at first appear, our wonder ought to cease, namely, that not one
of the animals of the torrid zone of one continent, are natives of the
torrid zone of the other.


By the preceding enumeration it appears, that not only the quadrupeds
of the hot climates of Asia and Africa, but many of those in the
temperate climates of Europe, are strangers in America; but we find
many there of such as can support cold and propagate their species in
the regions of the north; and though there is an evident difference
in them they cannot but be considered as the same animals; and this
induces us to believe, they formerly passed from one continent to the
other by lands still unknown, or possibly long since buried by the
waves. Of the contiguity of the two northern provinces, the proof thus
drawn from Natural History is a stronger confirmation than all the
conjectures of speculative Geography.

The Bears of the Illinois, of Louisiana, &c. seem to be the same with
ours; the former being only smaller and blacker. The stag of Canada,
though smaller than ours, differs only in the superior loftiness of
his horns, number of antlers, and length of his tail. The roe-buck,
found in the south of Canada, and in Louisiana, is also smaller and has
a longer tail than that of Europe. The Orignal is the same animal as
the Elk, but not so large. The rein-deer of Lapland, the fallow-deer
of Greenland, and the Caribou of Canada, appear to be one and the
same animal. Brisson has indeed classed the latter with the _cervus
Burgundicus_ of Johnston, but which animal remains unknown, and
possibly received that name from accident or caprice.

The hares, squirrels, hedge-hogs, otters, marmots, rats, shrew-mice,
and the moles, are species which may be considered as common to both
continents; though there is not one perfectly similar in America, to
what it is in Europe; and it is very difficult, if not impossible,
to pronounce whether they are in reality different species, or mere
varieties rendered permanent by the influence of the climate.

The Beavers of Europe seem to be the same as those of Canada. These
animals prefer cold countries, but can subsist and propagate in
temperate ones. In the islands of the Rhone in France, there still
remain a few of the number which formerly subsisted there; and
they seem more desirous of avoiding a too populous than a too warm
country. They never form their societies but in desarts remote from
the dwellings of men; and even in Canada, which can be considered as
little more than a vast desart, they have retired far from any human
habitation. The Wolf and Fox are common to both continents. They are
met with in all parts of North America, and of both species; there are
some entirely black. Though the Weasel and Ermine frequent the cold
countries of Europe, they are very rare in America, which is not the
case with the pine-weasel, marten, and pole-cat. The Pine-weasel of
North America seems to be the same with that of the northern parts of
Europe. The Vison of Canada has a strong resemblance to our Marten; and
the streaked Pole-cat of North America, is perhaps a mere variety of
the European kind. The Lynx of America is, to all appearance, the same
with that in Europe. Though it prefers cold countries, it lives and
multiplies in temperate ones, and is seldom seen but in forests and on
mountains. The Seal, or sea-calf, seems to be confined to the northern
regions, and is alike to be found on the coasts of Europe and North

Such, with a few exceptions, are all the animals common to the old
and new world; and from this number, inconsiderable as it is, we
ought, perhaps, to deduct one third, whose species, though similar in
appearance, may be different in reality. But admitting the identity
of species, those common to both continents are very small in number,
compared with those peculiar to each; and it is also evident, that such
only as can bear cold, and can multiply in these climates, as well as
in warm ones, are to be found in both. From which there cannot remain a
doubt but that the two continents are, or have been contiguous towards
the north, and that the animals common to both, found a passage over
lands which at present are to us unknown. There is reason to believe,
from the discoveries made by the Russians to the north of Kamtschatka,
that the lands of Asia and America are contiguous, while the north of
Europe appears always to have been separated from the latter by seas
too considerable for any quadruped to have crossed; nevertheless, the
animals of North America have a stronger resemblance to those of the
northern parts of Europe than to those of the north of Asia. Neither
the Argali, Sable, Mole of Siberia, nor Chinese Musk, are to be found
at Hudson's Bay, or any other north-west part of the new continent;
while in the north-east parts we not only find the animals common to
the north of Europe and Asia, but even such as appear to be peculiar to
Europe. But it must be acknowledged, that the north-east parts of Asia
are so little known that we cannot attempt to affirm, with certainty,
whether the animals of the north of Europe are to be found there or not.

We have already remarked, as a striking singularity, that the animals
in the southern provinces of the new continent are small, in comparison
with those of the warm regions of the old; the elephant, &c. of the
latter being some of them eight and ten times larger than the tapir,
&c. of the former. And this general fact, as to size, is further
corroborated, by all the animals which have been transported from
Europe having become less, and also those common to both continents
being much smaller in America than those of Europe. In this new world,
then, there must be something in the combination of the elements, and
other physical causes, which opposes the aggrandisement of animated
nature; there must be obstacles to the development, and perhaps to
the formation of the principles of life. Under this sky, and on this
vacant land, even those which, from the benign influence of other
climates, had received their full form and complete extension, lose
both, and become shrivelled and diminished. These extensive regions
were thinly inhabited by a few wandering savages, who, instead of
acting as masters, had no authority in it: for they had no controul
over either animals or elements; they had neither subjected the
waves nor directed the motions of rivers, nor even cultivated the
earth around them; they were themselves nothing more than animals
of the first rank, mere automatons, incapable of correcting Nature,
or seconding her intentions. Nature, indeed, had treated them more
as a stepmother than as an indulgent parent, by denying to them the
sentiment of love, and the eager desire to propagate their species.
The American savage, it is true, is little less in stature than other
men, yet that is not sufficient to form an exception to the general
remark--that all animated nature is comparatively diminutive in the
new continent. In the savage the organs of generation are small and
feeble; he has no hair, no beard, no ardour for the female; though
more nimble than the European, from being habituated to running, he is
not so strong; possessed of less sensibility, yet he is more timid and
dastardly; he has no vivacity, no activity of soul, and that of the
body is less a voluntary exercise than a necessary action occasioned
by want. Satisfy his hunger and thirst and you annihilate the active
principle of all his motions; and he will remain for days together in
a state of stupid inactivity[B]. Needless is it to search further into
the cause for the dispersed life of savages, and their aversion to
society. Nature has withheld from them the most precious spark of her
torch; they have no ardour for the female, and consequently no love for
their fellow-creatures. Strangers to an attachment the most lively and
tender, their other kindred sensations are cold and languid: to their
parents and children they are little more than indifferent; with them
the bands of the most intimate of all society, are feeble, nor is there
the smallest connection between one family and another; of course they
have no social state among them; cold in temperament, their manners are
cruel, their women they treat as drudges born to labour, or rather as
beasts of burthen, whom they load with all the produce of the chace,
and whom they oblige, without pity or gratitude, to perform offices
repugnant to their natures, and frequently beyond their strength.
They have few children, and to those they pay little attention. The
whole arises from one cause; they are indifferent because they are
weak, and this indifference to the female is the original stain which
defaces nature, prevents her from expanding, and, while it destroys
the seeds of life, strikes at the root of society. Man, therefore,
forms no exception; for Nature, by retrenching the faculty of love,
has diminished him more than any other animal. Before we examine the
causes of this general effect, it must be acknowledged, that although
Nature has reduced all the quadrupeds of the new world, yet she has
preserved the size of reptiles, and enlarged that of insects; for
although there are larger lizards and larger serpents at Senegal than
in South America, yet in these animals the difference is not near so
great as in the quadrupeds; the largest serpent at Senegal is not
twice as large as the great adder of Cayenne, whereas the elephant is
ten times as big as the tapir, which is the largest animal of South
America. In no part are the insect tribes so large as in South America.
At Cayenne, the spiders, caterpillars, and butterflies, surpass all
the insects of the old continent, not only as to size, but in richness
of colours, delicacy of shades, variety of forms, number of species,
and the prodigious multiplication of individuals. The toads, frogs,
and other creatures of this kind, are also very large in America. Of
the birds and fish we shall say nothing; for since they possess the
power of migrating from one continent to the other, it would be almost
impossible to distinguish which properly belongs to either, but insects
and reptiles, like quadrupeds, are confined nearly to the spot in
which they came into existence.

[Footnote B: Mr. Vaillant says, that the Hottentots will sleep for
two or three days together, either from hunger or excess in eating;
for, when hungry, indolence has suggested to them the expedient of
sleeping instead of the labour of seeking for food, and that by tying a
bandage round their bellies they can do so for the above space, without
experiencing any consequent inconvenience.]

Let us now then enquire why, in this new world, the reptiles and
insects are so large, the quadrupeds so small, and the men so cold.
These effects must depend on the quality of the earth and atmosphere,
on the degrees of heat and moisture, on the situation and height of
mountains, on the quality of running and stagnate waters, on the
extent of forests, and, in a word, on the state in which inanimate
nature presents itself in that country. In the new world there is
much less heat and more moisture than in the old. If we compare the
heat and cold, in each degree of latitude, we shall find a very great
difference; that at Quebec, which is under the same degree of latitude
as Paris, the rivers are covered with ice for months in the year, and
the grounds with snow several feet thick; the air, indeed, is so cold,
that the birds fly off at the approach of winter, and return not till
invited by the warmth of spring. This difference of heat under the same
latitude in the Temperate Zone, though considerable, is perhaps less
so than the difference of that under the Torrid Zone. At Senegal, we
are scorched, while at Peru, situate under the same line, we enjoy the
benign influence of a temperate climate. In such a situation is the
continent of America placed, and so formed, that every thing concurs
to diminish the action of heat. There we find the highest mountains
and greatest rivers in the known world; these mountains form a chain
which seems to terminate the length of the continent towards the west,
while the plains and low grounds are all situated on this side of the
mountains, from whose base they extend to the sea, which separates
the American from the European continents. Thus the east wind, which
constantly blows between the tropics, does not reach America until it
has traversed a vast extent of ocean, and has consequently been greatly
cooled; and for this reason it is much less warm at Brasil and Cayenne,
for example, than at Senegal and Guinea, where this east wind arrives,
charged with the heat of all the burning sands and desarts which it
necessarily passes in traversing both Asia and Africa.

In treating of the different colours of men, particularly negroes, it
appeared to be demonstrated that the strong tincture of brown or black
depends entirely on the situation of the country; that the negroes
of Nigritia, and those of the west coast of Africa are the blackest,
because those countries are so situated as to contain more heat than
any other part of the globe, from the east wind not reaching them until
it had passed immense tracks of land; that the American Indians, under
the line, are only tawny, and the Brasilians brown, though under the
same latitude as the negroes, because the heat of the climate is not
so great, and the east wind has been cooled with the water, and loaded
with humid vapours. The clouds which intercept the sun, and the rains
which refresh the earth, are periodical, and continue several months at
Cayenne, and other countries of South America. The first cause renders
all the east coasts of America more temperate than either Asia or
Africa; this wind arriving in a cool state begins to assume a degree
of heat in traversing the plains of America, but which is checked by
the enormous chain of mountains of which the western part of the new
continent is composed, so that it is less hot under the line at Peru
and Cayenne, and the natives are of a less dark complexion. If the
Cordeliers were reduced to a level with the adjacent plains, the heat
would be excessive in the western territories, and there would soon be
men as black at Chili and Peru, as on the western coasts of Africa. It
is evident then that diminution of heat in the new continent is owing
entirely to situation; and we shall now make it appear, that there is
a much greater degree of moisture in America. The mountains being the
most lofty of any upon the globe, and directly facing the east wind,
they stop and condense the vapours of the air, and thus give rise to a
number of springs, which, by their junction, form the greatest rivers
in the world. In proportion, therefore, to its extent there are more
running waters in the new continent than in the old, and which are
augmented by their confined situations; for the natives having never
checked the torrents, directed the rivers, nor drained the marshes,
immense tracts of land are covered by the stagnant waters, by which the
moisture of the air is increased and the heat diminished. Besides, the
earth being every where covered with trees and coarse weeds, it never
dries, but constantly produces humid and unwholesome exhalations. In
these gloomy regions, Nature remains concealed under her old garments,
never having received a new attire from the cultivation of man, but
totally neglected, her productions languish, become corrupted, and are
prematurely destroyed. It is principally then from the scarcity of
men in America, and from most of them living like the brutes, that
the earth has been neglected, remains cold, and is unable to produce
the active principles of Nature. To develope the seeds of the largest
animals and enable them to grow and multiply, requires all the heat
which the sun can communicate to a fertile soil; and for a reason
directly opposite it is, that insects, reptiles, and all the little
animals which wallow in the mud, whose blood is watery, and whose
increase depends on putrefaction, are more numerous and large in the
low, humid, and marshy lands of the new continent.

When we reflect on these very striking differences between the old and
new continents, we can hardly help supposing that the latter is, in
fact, more recent, and has remained buried under the ocean longer than
the rest of the globe; for, the enormous western mountains excepted,
which seem to be monuments of the most remote antiquity, it has all the
appearance of being a land newly sprung up. We find sea-shells in many
places under the very first stratum of the vegetable earth, formed into
masses of lime-stone, though usually less hard and compact than our
free-stone. If this continent is in reality as ancient as the other,
why did so few men exist on it? why were the most of that few wandering
savages? why did the Mexicans and Peruvians, who alone had entered
into society, reckon only 200 or 300 years from the first man who
taught them to assemble? why had they not reduced the lama, pacos, and
other animals, by which they were surrounded, into a domestic state?
As their society was in its infancy, so were their arts; their talents
were imperfect, their ideas unexpanded, their organs rude, and their
language barbarous. The names of their animals[C], of which we have
subjoined a few as a specimen, were so difficult to pronounce, that our
only astonishment is, how the Europeans should have taken the trouble
to write them.

[Footnote C: _Pelon ichiati oquitli_--the lama.

_Tapiierete_, in Brasil; _maniporous_, in Guinea--the tapir.

_Macatlchichiltic temamacama_--the antelope of New Spain.

_Quauhtla coymatl_--the Mexican hog.

_Tlacoozclotl_--the mountain cat.

_Tlaclaughqui ocelotl_, in Mexico--the jaguar.

_Hoitzlaquatzin_--the porcupine of New Spain.

_Xoloitzchuintli_--the Mexican wolf.]

Thus every circumstance seems to indicate, that the Americans were
new men, or rather men who had been so long estranged from the rest
of their species that they had lost all idea of the world from which
they had issued; that the greatest part of the American continent was
new land, unassisted by man, and in which Nature had not had time to
establish all her plans, or to display their full extent; that the men
are cold and the animals diminutive, because the ardour of the former,
and the largeness of the latter, depend on the heat and salubrity of
the air; and that, in the course of a few centuries when the lands are
cultivated, the forests cut down, the rivers confined within proper
channels, and the marshes drained, this very country will become the
most fruitful, healthy, and opulent in the world; as it appears already
in every part which has been cultivated by man. We mean not to infer
that large animals would then be produced, for the tapir and cabiai
will never attain the size of the elephant or hippopotamus, but those
which may be transported there will no longer diminish. By degrees man
will fill up the vacuums in these immense territories, which, when
discovered, were perfect desarts.

The first writers who recorded the conquests of the Spaniards, to
heighten the glory of their arms exaggerated the number of their
enemies; but is it possible for any reasonable man to credit that
there were millions of inhabitants at Cuba and St. Domingo, when those
writers admit there was neither a monarchy, a republic, nor scarcely
any society among them; and that in these two neighbouring islands,
situated at but a little distance from the continent, there were only
five species of animals, the largest of which was not bigger than a
rabbit? Than this fact, as affirmed by Laet, Acosta, and Father du
Tertre, in their different histories, no stronger proof can be adduced
of the empty and desart state of this new-discovered world.

M. Fabry, who travelled for fifteen months over the western parts of
America, beyond the Mississippi, assured me that he sometimes did
not meet a single man for the space of 300 or 400 leagues; and all
our officers who went from Quebec to the Ohio, and from that river
to Louisiana, agree that it is not uncommon to travel upwards of
100 leagues without seeing a single family of savages. From these
testimonies it is plain, that the most agreeable countries of this new
continent were little better than desarts; but what is more immediately
necessary to our purpose, they prove that we should distrust the
evidence of our nomenclators, who set down in their catalogues animals
as belonging to the new world which solely belong to the old, and
others as native of particular districts where in fact they never
existed; and in the same manner they have classed some animals as
natives of the old world, which belong exclusively to America.

I do not pretend to affirm positively that none of the animals which
inhabit the warm climates are not common to both. To be physically
certain of this it is necessary they should have been seen; but it is
evident, with respect to the large animals of America, that none of
them are to be found in the old continent, and very few of the small
ones. Besides, allowing there to be some exceptions, they must relate
to a trifling number of species, and in no degree affect the general
rule which I intend to establish, and which seems to me to be our only
certain guide to the knowledge of animals. This rule, which leads us
to judge of them as much by climate and disposition as from figure and
conformation, will seldom be found wrong, and it will enable us to
avoid and discover a multitude of errors. If, for example, we mean to
describe the hyæna of Arabia, we may safely affirm that it does not
exist in Lapland; but we will not say with Brisson, and some others,
that the hyæna and the glutton are the same animal; nor with Kolbe,
that the crossed-fox, which inhabits the northern parts of the new
continent, is found at the Cape of Good Hope, as the animal he mentions
is not a fox, but a jackall. But it is not my object at present to
point out all the errors of nomenclators; my intention is solely to
prove that their blunders would have been less had they paid some
attention to the differences of climates; if the history of animals
had been so far studied as to discover, which I have done, that those
of the southern parts of each continent are never found in both; and
lastly, if they had abstained from generic names, which have confounded
together a number of species, not only different, but even remote from
each other.

The true business of a nomenclator is not to enlarge his list, but to
form rational comparisons in order to contract it. Nothing can be more
easy than, by perusing all the authors on animals, and by selecting
their names and phrases, to form a table which however will always
be long, in proportion as the enquiry is superficial; while nothing
can be more difficult than to compare them with that judgment and
discernment which is necessary to reduce that table to its proper
dimensions. I said before, and now repeat, that in the whole known
part of the globe there are not above 200 species of quadrupeds,
including among them 40 species of apes. To each of these, therefore,
we had only to appropriate a name; and to retain 200 names, only a
very moderate exertion of memory is required; for what purpose then
are quadrupeds formed into classes and genera, which are nothing more
than props to serve the memory in the recollection of plants, which are
so very numerous, and often so very similar. But instead of a list of
200 quadrupeds we have volumes heaped upon volumes full of intricate
names and phrases. Why introduce an unintelligible jargon, when we may
be understood by pronouncing a simple name? Why change terms merely
to form classes? When a dozen animals are included under the name,
for example, of _the Rabbit_, why is the Rabbit itself omitted, and
must be sought for under the genus of _the Hare_? Is it not absurd
and ridiculous to form classes in which the most remote genera are
assembled together; to put in the first, for example, man and the
bat; the elephant and scaly lizard in the second; the lion and ferret
in the third; the hog and the mole in the fourth; and the rhinoceros
and the rat in the fifth? Ideas so vague and ill-conceived can never
maintain their ground. These works are destroyed by their own authors,
one edition contradicting another, and neither of them approved but
by children, or by such as are always the dupes of mystery, mistaking
the appearance of method for the reality of science. By comparing the
fourth edition of Linnæus's Systema Naturæ with the tenth, we find man
is no longer classed with the bat, but with the scaly lizard; that
the elephant, hog, and rhinoceros, instead of being classed as before
with the scaly lizard, mole, and rat, are all three huddled together
with the shrew-mouse. In the former he had reduced all quadrupeds to
five classes, but in the latter he divides them into seven. From these
alterations we may form some idea of those introduced among the genera,
and how the species have been jumbled and confounded. According to the
same author there are two species[D] of men, the man of day and the man
of night, and that these are so very distinct that they ought not to
be regarded as varieties of the same species. Is not this adding fable
to absurdity? and were it not better to remain silent with respect to
matters of which we are ignorant, than to found essential characters,
and general distinctions upon the grossest error? But to whatever
length criticisms of this kind might be extended, I shall proceed no
farther, especially as it does not form my principal object, having
already said enough to put every reader on his guard, against the
general as well as particular errors which abound so much in the works
of nomenclators.

[Footnote D: _Homo diurnus sapiens; homo nocturnus trogloditus._]

In drawing general conclusions, from what has been advanced, we shall
find that man is the only animated being in whose nature there is
sufficient strength, genius, and flexibility, to subsist and multiply
in all the different climates of the earth. It is evident that no
other animal possesses this grand privilege, for, far from being able
to multiply in every part of the globe, most of them are confined to
certain climates, and even particular districts. In every respect man
is the work of heaven, while many animals are the mere creatures of
the earth. These of one continent exist not on another, and if there
are a few exceptions, they are so changed and diminished as hardly to
be known. Can a stronger proof be given that the impression of their
form is not unalterable? that their nature, less permanent than that
of man, may in time be varied, and even absolutely changed? that from
the same cause those species which are least perfect, least active,
and furnished with the fewest engines of defence, as well as the most
delicate and the most cumbrous, have already, or will disappear, for
their very existence depends on the form which man gives to the surface
of the earth, or permits it to retain.

The prodigious Mammoth, whose enormous bones I have often viewed with
astonishment, and which were at least six times bigger than those of
the largest elephant, exists no longer; although its remains have been
found in Ireland, Siberia, Louisiana, and other places remote from each
other. Of all species of quadrupeds this was certainly the largest and
strongest, and since it has disappeared, how many smaller, weaker, and
less remarkable, must have perished, without having left any evidence
of their past existence? How many others have been improved or degraded
by the great vicissitude of the earth and waters, by the culture or
neglect of nature, by their long continuance in favourable or repugnant
climates, that they are no longer the same! and yet, next to man,
quadrupeds are beings whose nature is most fixed, and whose form most
permanent. Birds and fishes vary more: those of insects are subject
to greater variations still; and if we descend to plants, which ought
not to be excluded from animated nature, we shall be astonished at the
celerity and facility with which they vary and assume new forms.

It may not be impossible, then, without inverting the order of nature,
that all the animals of the new world originated from the same stock
as those of the old; that having been afterwards separated by immense
seas or impassable lands, they, in course of time, underwent all
the effects of a climate which was new to them, and which must also
have had its qualities changed by the very causes which produced its
separation; and that they, in consequence, became not only inferior in
size, but different in nature. But these circumstances, if true, ought
not to prevent us from considering them now as animals of different
species. From whatever causes these changes may have proceeded, whether
produced by time, climate, or soil, or whether originating with the
creation, they are not the less real. Nature is, indeed, in a perpetual
fluctuation. It is sufficient for man to watch her in his own time, to
look a little backward and forward, by way of forming a conjecture of
what she might have been formerly and what she may hereafter be.

As to the utility to be derived from this comparison of animals, it is
evident, that independent of correcting the errors of our nomenclators,
our knowledge of the animal creation will be enlarged, rendered
less imperfect and more certain; that we shall be in less hazard of
attributing to American animals, properties which belong to those of
the East Indies, because they may have the same name; that in treating
of foreign animals, from accounts given by travellers, we shall be more
able to distinguish names and facts, and to refer them to their true
species; and, in fine, that the history in which we are now engaged
will be less erroneous, and perhaps more luminous and complete.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 102. _Black Cougar_]

[Illustration: FIG. 101. _Tiger_]


In the class of carnivorous animals, the lion stands foremost, and
he is immediately followed by the tiger, who, possessing all the bad
qualities of the former, is a stranger to his good ones. To pride,
courage, and strength, the lion adds dignity, clemency, and generosity,
while the tiger is ferocious without provocation and cruel without
necessity. Thus it is throughout all nature where rank proceeds from
the superiority of strength. The first class, sole master of all, are
less tyrannical than their immediate inferiors, who, denied unlimited
authority, abuse those powers which they possess; thus the tiger is
more to be dreaded than the lion. The latter often forgets that he is
the sovereign, or strongest of animals; with an even pace he traverses
the plains and forests; man he attacks not unless provoked, nor animals
but when goaded by hunger. The tiger, on the contrary, though glutted
with carnage, has still an insatiate thirst for blood; his rancour has
no intervals. With indiscriminate fury he tears in pieces every animal
he comes near, and destroys with the same ferocity a fresh animal as
he had done the first. Thus he is the scourge of every country he
inhabits; and of the appearance of man or his weapons, he is fearless.
He will destroy whole flocks of domestic animals if he meets with them,
and all the wild animals that come in his way. He attacks the young
elephant and rhinoceros, and will sometimes brave the lion himself.

The form of the body usually corresponds with the nature and
disposition. The noble air of the lion, the height of his limbs in
exact proportion to the length of his body, his large thick mane, which
covers his shoulders and shades his face, his determined aspect, and
solemn pace, seem to announce the dignity and majestic intrepidity of
his nature. The tiger has a body too long, limbs disproportionally
short, naked head, and haggard eyes; strong characteristics of
desperate malice and insatiable cruelty. He has no instinct but an
uniform rage, a blind fury, so undistinguishing that he not unoften
devours his own progeny, and even tears the dam in pieces if she offers
to defend them. Would he were to gratify his thirst for blood to its
utmost, and by destroying them at their birth extinguish the whole race
of monsters which he produces!

Happy is it for other animals that the species of tiger is not
numerous, and that it is chiefly confined to the warmest provinces
of the East. They are found in Malabar, Siam, Bengal, and in all the
countries inhabited by the elephant and rhinoceros. It is, indeed,
said, that they accompany the latter for the purpose of eating their
dung, which serves to purge them. Be this as it may, they are often
seen together at the sides of lakes and rivers, where they are probably
compelled to go by thirst, having often occasion for water to cool that
fervor they so constantly endure. It is also a convenient situation to
surprise his victims, since the heat of the climate compels all animals
to seek for water several times a day; here he chooses his prey, or
rather multiplies his massacres, for having killed one animal, he
often proceeds to the destruction of others, tearing open their bodies,
and swallowing their blood by long draughts; for which their thirst
seems never to be appeased.

When, however, he has killed a large animal, as a horse, or buffalo,
he does not devour it on the spot, for fear of being disturbed, but
drags it off to the forest, which he does with such ease, that the
swiftness of his course seems scarcely retarded by the enormous load
which he trails after him. From this circumstance we might judge of his
strength, but we shall have a more just idea of it by considering his
bodily dimensions. Some travellers have compared him for size to the
horse, others to the buffalo, and others merely say he is larger than
the lion; but we have accounts more recent, which deserve the utmost
confidence. I have been assured by M. de la Lande-Magon that he saw a
tiger in the East-Indies fifteen feet long; allowing that he includes
the tail, and granting four feet for that, the body would still be
more than ten. It is true that the skin preserved in the Royal Cabinet
of France is not more than seven feet from the tip of the nose to the
insertion of the tail; but this tiger had been taken very young, and
was afterwards always confined in a very narrow apartment, where the
want of exercise, and space to range in, restraint and, perhaps, not
having proper nourishment, not only its life might have been shortened,
but the growth of its body prevented. From the dissection of animals of
every species that have been reared in houses or court-yards, we find
that their bodies and members for want of exercise, never attain their
natural dimensions, and that the organs which are not used as those of
generation, are so little expanded as to be scarcely perceivable.

The difference of climate alone is capable of producing the same
effects as confinement and want of exercise. None of the animals of
hot countries produce in cold ones, even though well fed, and at
full liberty; and as reproduction is a natural consequence of full
nutrition, it is evident that when the former does not operate the
latter must be incomplete; and that, in such animals, cold of itself
is sufficient to restrain the powers of the internal mould, and
to diminish the growth, since it destroys the active faculties of
reproduction. It is not, therefore, surprising that the tiger above
alluded to should not have acquired its natural growth; yet from a bare
view of its stuffed skin, and an examination of its skeleton, we may
form an idea of its formidable strength as an animal. Upon the bones
of the legs there are inequalities which denote muscular ligatures
stronger than those of the lion. These bones are also to the full as
strong, though shorter; and, as already intimated, the height of the
tiger's legs bear no proportion to the length of his body. Thus that
velocity which Pliny ascribes to him and which the word _tiger_ seems
to imply, ought not to be understood of his ordinary movements, or the
celerity of his continued course; for it is evident, that as his legs
are short and he can neither walk nor run so fast as those animals
which have them proportionally longer; but this prodigious swiftness,
may with great propriety, be applied to the extraordinary bounds he
is capable of making without any particular effort, for if we suppose
him to have the same strength and agility in proportion with the cat,
which he greatly resembles in conformation, and which in an instant
will leap several feet, we must allow that the bounds of a tiger, whose
body is ten times as large, must be immense. It is not, therefore,
the quickness of his running, but of his leaping that Pliny meant to
denote, and which from the impossibility of evading, when he has made a
spring, still renders him more formidable.

The tiger is, perhaps, the only animal whose spirit cannot be subdued.
Neither force nor restraint, violence nor flattery, can prevail, in the
least, on his stubborn Nature. He is equally indignant at the gentle
and harsh usage of his keeper; and time instead of mollifying his
disposition, only serves to increase his fierceness and malignity. With
equal wrath he snaps at the hand that feeds as that which chastises
him. He roars at the sight of every object which lives, and seems to
consider all as his proper prey; he seems to devour beforehand with a
look, menacing it with the grinding of his teeth, and, regardless of
his chains, makes efforts to dart upon it, as if to shew his malignity
when incapable of exerting his force.

To complete the idea of the strength of this terrible animal we shall
quote Father Tachard's account of a combat between a tiger and three
elephants, at Siam, of which he was an eye-witness; he says, "a lofty
palisade of bamboo cane was built, about a hundred feet square, into
which inclosure three elephants were introduced, for the purpose of
fighting a tiger. Their heads, and part of their trunks, were covered
with a kind of armour like a mask. As soon as we arrived at the place
a tiger was brought forth, of a size much larger than any we had seen
before; he was not at first let loose, but held by two cords, so that
he could not make a spring; one of the elephants approached and gave
him three or four blows on the back with his trunk, with such force as
to beat him to the ground, where he lay for some time without motion,
as if he had been dead, although this first attack had greatly abated
his fury, he was no sooner untied, and at liberty, than he gave a loud
roar, and made a spring at the elephant's trunk, which was stretched
out to strike him; but the elephant drew up his trunk with great
dexterity, received the tiger upon his tusks, and tossed him up into
the air. This so discouraged him that he no more ventured to approach
the elephant, but made several turns round the palisade, making several
efforts to spring at the spectators. Shortly after a second, and then
a third elephant was set against him, each of which gave him such
blows that he once more lay for dead, and they certainly would have
killed him had not an end been put to the combat." From this account
we may form some idea of the strength and ferocity of the tiger; for
this animal, though young, and not arrived at his full growth, though
reduced to captivity, and held by cords, yet he was so formidable to
three such enormous foes, that it was thought necessary to protect
those parts of their bodies which were not defended by impenetrable

The tiger, of which an anatomical description was made by the
Jesuits at China, and communicated by Father Gouie to the Academy of
Sciences, seemed to be the true species,[E] as does also that which
the Portuguese have distinguished by the name of Royal Tiger. Dellon
expressly says, in his Travels, that tigers abound more in Malabar than
in any other part of the East Indies; that their species are numerous,
but that the largest, which is as big as a horse, and called by the
Portuguese the Royal Tiger, is very rare. To all appearance, then, the
Royal Tiger is not a different species; he is found in the East Indies
only; and, notwithstanding what has been said by Brisson, and others,
is an utter stranger at Brasil. I am even inclined to think that the
real tiger is peculiar to Asia, and the inland parts of the south of
Africa; for though the generality of travellers, who have frequented
the African coasts, speak of tigers as very common, yet it is very
plain, from their own accounts of them, that they are either leopards,
panthers, or ounces. Dr. Shaw says, that the lion and panther hold the
first rank at Tunis and Algiers, and that in those parts of Barbary the
tiger is an animal unknown. This observation seems founded in truth,
for they were Indian, and not African, ambassadors, who presented
Augustus, while at Samos, the first tiger the Romans had ever seen; and
it was also from the Indies that Heliogabalus procured those tigers,
with which, in order to represent the god Bacchus, he proposed that his
car should be drawn.

[Footnote E: This tiger was streaked, and had been slain, with four
others, in the field, by the Emperor, it weighed 265lbs; but one of
them weighed 400; when dissected, one-third of its stomach was full of
worms, and yet it could not be said the animal had begun to putrify.
_Hist. Acad._ 1669.]

Thus the species of the tiger has always been more rare and less
diffused than that of the lion. The female, like the lioness, however,
produces four or five cubs at a time. She is fierce at all times, but,
upon her young being in danger, her fury becomes excessive. She then
braves every danger to secure them, and will pursue the plunderers of
them with such ferocity, that they are often obliged to drop one to
secure the rest; this she takes up and conveys to the nearest cover,
and then renews the pursuit, and will follow them to the very gates of
towns, or to the ships in which they may have taken refuge; and when
she has no longer hopes recovering her young, she expresses her agony
by the most dismal howls of despair.

The tiger testifies his anger in the same manner as the lion; he moves
the skin of his face, shews his teeth, and roars in a frightful manner;
but the tone of his voice is very different; and some travellers
have compared it to the hoarse croak of certain large birds; and the
ancients expressed it by saying, _Tigrides indomitæ raucant, rugiuntque

The skins of these animals are much esteemed, particularly in China;
the Mandarins cover their seats and sedans with them, and also their
cushions and pillows in winter. In Europe, though scarce, they are of
no great value; those of the panther and leopard being held in much
greater estimation. The skin is the only advantage, trifling as it
is, which man can derive from this dreadful animal. It has been said
that his sweat is poisonous, and that the hair of his whiskers is more
dangerous than an envenomed arrow; but the real mischiefs he does when
alive are sufficient, without giving imaginary ones to parts of his
body when dead; for certain it is, the Indians eat the flesh of the
tiger, and that they neither find it disagreeable nor unwholesome, and
if the hair of his whiskers, taken in the form of a pill, do destroy,
it is that being hard and sharp it produces the same effect in the
stomach as a number of small needles would.


In order to avoid an erroneous use of names, to prevent doubt, and
to banish ambiguity, it may be necessary to remark that, in Asia and
Africa, there are, beside the tiger, whose history we have just given,
three other animals of the same genus, but which not only differ
from him, but also from each other. These are the Panther, Ounce and
Leopard, which have been confounded together by naturalists, and also
with a species of the same kind peculiar to America; but to prevent
confusion, we shall, in the present instance, confine ourselves solely
to those of the old continent.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 107. _Panther_]

[Illustration: FIG. 108. _Caracal_]

The first of these species is the Panther, (_fig. 107._) which the
Greeks distinguished by the name of Pardalis, the Latins by that of
Panthera, and Pardus, and the more modern Latins by Leopardus. The body
of this animal, when it has attained its full growth, is five or six
feet long, from the tip of the nose to the insertion of the tail, which
is above two feet long. Its colour is of a yellow hue, more or less
dark on the back and sides, and whitish under the belly; it is marked
with black spots which are circular, or in the form of a ring, and in
which rings there are generally lesser spots in the centre of the same
colour; some of these are oval, others, circular, and are frequently
above three inches in diameter; on the face and legs the black spots
are single, and on the tail and belly they are irregular.

The second is the Little Panther of Oppian, which the ancients have
distinguished by no particular name, but which modern travellers have
called Ounce, corrupted from the name of lynx or lunx. To this animal
we shall preserve the name of Ounce, because, in fact, it seems to have
some affinity to the lynx. It is much less than the panther, its body
being only about three feet and a half long, which is nearly the size
of the lynx; its hair is longer than that of the panther, as is also
its tail, which sometimes measures three feet, although its body is
one-third less than that of the panther, whose tail never exceeds two
feet and an half. The colour of the ounce is whitish grey upon the back
and sides, and still more white under the belly; the back and sides
of the panther are always yellow, but the spots are nearly of the same
size and form in them both.

The third species was unknown to the ancients, being peculiar to
Senegal, Guinea, and other southern countries which they had not
discovered; and which we, following the example of travellers, shall
call Leopard a name which has been improperly applied to the panther.
The Leopard is larger than the ounce, though considerably smaller than
the panther, being only four feet in length, the tail measures from two
to two feet and a half. On the back and sides the hair is of a yellow
colour, under the belly it is whitish; it has black annular spots like
those of the panther and ounce, but smaller and less regularly disposed.

Each of these animals, therefore, forms a different species. Our
furriers call the skins of the first species panther skins; those of
the second, which we call ounce, African tiger skins; and those of the
third, or leopard, very improperly tiger skins.

Oppian knew the panther and ounce, and was the first who observed there
were two species of the former, the one large and the other small.
Though alike in the form of their bodies and the disposition of the
spots, yet they differed in the length of their tails, which in the
small species was longer than in the large ones. The Arabians have
named the large panther Nemer, and the small one Phet or Phed; which
last seems to be a corruption of Faadh, the present name of this animal
in Barbary. "The Faadh," says Dr. Shaw, in his Travels, "resembles the
leopard, (he should have expressed it panther) in having similar spots,
in other respects they however differ, for the skin of the faadh is
more dark and coarse, and its disposition is also less fierce." Besides
we learn from a passage of Albert, commented on by Gesner, that the
phet, or phed of the Arabs, is called in the Italian, and some other
European languages Leuaza, or Lonza. It is beyond a doubt then, that
the little panther of Oppian, the phet or phed of the Arabians, the
faadh of Barbary, and the onza, or ounce of the Europeans, is the same
animal; and probably also is the Pard or Pardus of the ancients, and
the Panthera of Pliny; since he mentions its hair is white, whereas, as
we have observed, that of the great Panther is yellow. It is, besides,
highly probable that the little panther was simply called pard or
pardus, and that, in process of time, the large panther obtained the
name of leopard, or leopardus, from a notion that it was a mongrel
species, which had aggrandized itself by an intermixture with that
of the lion. As this could only be an unfounded prejudice, I have
preferred the primitive name of panther to the modern compound one of
leopard, which last I have applied to another animal that has hitherto
been mentioned by equivocal names only. The ounce therefore differs
from the panther, in being smaller, having a longer tail, also longer
hair, of a whitish grey colour; while the leopard differs from them
both, by having a coat of a brilliant yellow, more or less deep, and by
the smallness of his spots, which are generally disposed in groups, as
if each were formed by three or four united.

Pliny, and several after him, have said, that the coat of the female
panther was whiter than that of the male. This may be true of the
ounce, but no such difference have we ever observed in the panthers
belonging to the menagerie of Versailles, which were designed from
life; and if there be any difference between the colour of the male and
female it can be neither very permanent nor sensible; in some of the
skins we have, indeed, perceived different shades, but which we rather
ascribed to the difference of age or climate than of sex.

The animals described and dissected by the Academy of Sciences, under
the name of Tigers, and that described by Caius, in Gesner, under
the name of Uncia, are of the same species as our leopard; and of
this there cannot remain a doubt, after comparing the figure, and the
description which we have given, with those of Caius and M. Perrault.
The latter, indeed, says, that the animals so dissected and described
by the gentlemen of the Academy, under the name of tigers, were not the
ounce of Caius; but the only reasons he assigns are, that the ounce is
smaller, and has not white on the under part of its body. It may also
be observed, that Caius, who does not give the exact dimensions, says,
generally it was bigger than the shepherd's dog, and as thick as the
bull-dog, though shorter in its legs; how, therefore, Perrault should
assert the ounce of Caius to be smaller than the tigers dissected by
the gentlemen of the Academy I am at a loss to conceive, for those
animals measured only four feet from the nose to the tail, which is
the exact length of the leopard we are now describing. On the whole,
then, it appears, that the tigers of the Academy, the ounce of Caius,
and our leopard, are the same animal; and not less true do I conceive
it that our panther is the same with the panther of the ancients,
notwithstanding the distinctions which have been attempted to be made
by Linnæus, Brisson, and other nomenclators, as they perfectly resemble
each other in every respect but size, and that may safely be ascribed
to confinement and want of exercise. This difference of size at first
perplexed me, but after a scrupulous examination of the large skins
sold by the furriers with that of our own, I had not the smallest doubt
of their being the same animals. The panther I have described, and two
other animals of the same species kept at Versailles, were brought from
Barbary. The two first were presented to the French King by the Regency
of Algiers, and the third was purchased for his Majesty of an Algerine

It is particularly necessary to observe, that neither of the animals
we are now describing can be classed with the pardus of Linnæus, or
the leopardus of Brisson, as they are described with having long spots
on the belly, which is a characteristic that belongs neither to the
panther, ounce, or leopard, and yet the panther of the ancients has it,
as well as the pardus of Gesner, and the panthera of Alpinus; but from
the researches I have made I am convinced that these three animals,
and perhaps a fourth, which we shall treat of hereafter, and which have
not these long spots on the belly, are the only species of this kind to
be found in Asia and Africa, and therefore we must hold this character
of our nomenclators as fictitious, especially when we recollect,
that if any animals have these long spots, either in the old or new
continent, they are always upon the neck or back, and never on the
belly. We shall merely observe further, that in reading the ancients we
must not confound the _panther_ with the _panthera_, the latter is the
animal we have described, but the panther of the scholiasts of Homer
and other authors, is a kind of timid wolf, perhaps the jackall, as I
shall explain when I come to the history of that animal.

After having dissipated the cloud under which our nomenclators seem to
have obscured Nature, and removed every ambiguity, by giving the exact
description of the three animals under consideration, we shall now
proceed to the peculiarities which relate to them respectively.

Of the panther, which I had an opportunity of examining alive, his
appearance was fierce, he had a restless eye, a cruel countenance,
precipitate motions, and a cry similar to that of an enraged dog,
but more strong and harsh; his tongue was red and exceedingly rough,
his teeth were strong and pointed; his claws sharp and hard; his skin
was beautiful, of a yellow hue, interspersed with black spots of an
annular form, and his hair short; the upper part of his tail was marked
with large black spots, and with black and white ringlets towards the
extremity; his size and make was similar to that of a vigorous mastiff,
but his legs were not so large.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 103. _Leopard_]

[Illustration: FIG. 104. _Ounce_]

All our travellers confirm the testimonies of the ancients as to the
large and small panther, that is, our panther and ounce. It appears
that there now exist, as in the days of Oppian, in that part of Africa
which extends along the Mediterranean, and in the parts of Asia which
were known to the ancients, two species of panthers, the largest of
which has been called panther or leopard, and the smaller ounce, by the
generality of travellers. By them it is universally allowed that the
ounce is easily tamed, that he is trained to the chace and employed for
this purpose in Persia, and in several other provinces of Asia; that
some ounces are so small as to be carried by a horseman on the crupper,
and so mild as to allow themselves to be handled and caressed.[F] The
Panther appears to be of a more fierce and stubborn nature; when in
the power of man, and in his gentlest moments, he seems rather to be
subdued than tamed. Never does he entirely lose the ferocity of his
disposition; and in order to train him to the chace, much care and
precaution are necessary. When thus employed, he is shut up in a cage
and carried in one of the little vehicles of the country; as soon
as the game appears, the door is opened, and he springs towards his
prey, generally overtaking it in three or four bounds, drags it to the
ground and strangles it; but if disappointed of his aim he becomes
furious, and will even attack his master, who to prevent this dangerous
consequence usually carries with him some pieces of flesh or live
animals, as lambs or kids, one of which he puts in his way to appease
the fury arising from his disappointment.

[Footnote F: A particular account of this practice is related in
Tavernier's Travels; Chardin's Travels in Persia; Gesner's Hist. Quad.
Pros. Alp. Hist. Egypt. Bernier dans le Mosul, &c.]

The species of the ounce (_fig. 104._) seems to be more numerous, and
more diffused than that of the panther; it is very common in Arabia,
Barbary, and the southern parts of Asia, Egypt, perhaps, excepted.[G]
They are even known in China, where they are distinguished by the
name of _hinen-pao_.[H] The ounce is employed for the chace, in the
hot climates of Asia, because dogs are very rarely to be found unless
transported thither, and then they very soon lose not only their voice
but their instinct.[I] Besides the panther, ounce, and leopard, have
such an antipathy to dogs, that they attack them in preference to all
other animals.[J] In Europe our sporting dogs have no enemy but the
wolf; but in countries full of tigers, lions, panthers, leopards, and
ounces, which are all more strong and cruel than the wolf, to attempt
to keep dogs would be in vain. As the scent of the ounce is inferior to
that of the dog, he hunts solely by the eye; with such vigour does he
bound, that a ditch, or a wall of several feet high, is no impediment
to his career; he often climbs trees to watch for his prey, and when
near, will suddenly dart upon them; and this method is also adopted by
the panther and leopard.

[Footnote G: Maserier affirms that there are neither lions, tigers, nor
leopards in Egypt. _Descrip. Egypt, Tom. II._]

[Footnote H: A kind of leopard or panther found in the province of
Pekin; it is not so ferocious as the ordinary tigers. _Thevenot._]

[Footnote I: Vide Voyage de Jean Ovington, _Tom. I. p. 278_.]

[Footnote J: The leopards, says le Maire, are deadly enemies to dogs,
and devour all of them they meet.]

The Leopard, (_fig. 103._) has the same manners and disposition as
the panther; but in no part does he appear to have been tamed like
the ounce; nor do the Negroes of Senegal and Guinea, where he greatly
abounds, ever make use of him in the chace. He is generally larger than
the ounce, but smaller than the panther; and his tail, though shorter
than that of the ounce, is from two to two feet and a half in length.
This leopard of Senegal and Guinea, to which we have particularly
appropriated the name of _leopard_, is probably the animal which at
Congo is called the _Engoi_; and perhaps also the _Antamba_[K] of
Madagascar. I quote these names, from a persuasion that an acquaintance
with the denominations applied to them in the countries which they
inhabit would increase our knowledge of animals.

[Footnote K: The antamba is a beast as large as a dog; it has a round
head, and, in the opinion of the Negroes, resembles the leopard; it
devours both men and cattle, and is only to be found in the most
unfrequented parts of the island. _Flacourt's Voyage._]

The species of the leopard seems to be subject to more varieties than
that of the panther and the ounce. I have examined many leopards' skins
which differed from each other, not only in the ground colour, but in
the shade of the spots which last are always smaller than those of the
panther or the ounce. In all leopards' skins, the spots are nearly of
the same size and the same figure, and their chief difference consists
in their colour being deeper in some than in others; in being also more
or less yellow, consists also the difference in the hair itself; but as
all these skins are nearly of the same size, both in the body and tail,
it is highly probable they belong to the same species of animals.

The panther, ounce, and leopard, are only found in Africa, and the
hottest climates of Asia; they have never been diffused over the
northern, nor even the temperate regions. Aristotle speaks of the
panther as an animal of Asia and Africa, and expressly says, it does
not exist in Europe. It is impossible, therefore, that these animals,
which are confined to the torrid zone of the old continent, could
ever have passed to the new world by any northern lands; and it will
be found, by the description we shall give of the American animals
of this kind, that they are a different species, and ought not to be
confounded with those of Africa and Asia, as they have been by most of
our nomenclators.

These animals, in general, delight in the thickest forests, and
often frequent the borders of rivers, and the environs of solitary
habitations, where they surprise their prey, and seize equally the tame
and wild animals that come there to drink. Men they seldom attack, even
though provoked. They easily climb trees in pursuit of wild cats and
other animals, which cannot escape them. Though they live solely by
prey, and are usually meagre, travellers pretend that their flesh is
not unpalatable; the Indians and negroes eat it, but they prefer that
of the dog. With respect to their skins, they are all valuable, and
make excellent furs. The most beautiful and most costly is that of the
leopard, which, when the colours are bright, not unfrequently sells for
eight or nine guineas.


The jaguar (_fig. 105._) resembles the ounce in size, and nearly so in
the form of the spots upon his skin, and in disposition. He is less
ferocious than the panther or the leopard. The ground of his colour,
like that of the leopard, is a bright yellow, and not grey like that
of the ounce. His tail is shorter than that of either; his hair is
longer than the panther's, but shorter than that of the ounce; it is
frizzled when he is young, but smooth when at full growth. I never saw
this animal alive, but had one sent me entire and well preserved in
spirits, and it is from this subject the figure and description have
been drawn; it was taken when very young, and brought up in the house
till it was two years old, and then killed for the purpose of being
sent to me; it had not therefore acquired its full growth, but it was
evident, from a slight inspection, that its full size would hardly
have equalled that of an ordinary dog. It is, nevertheless, an animal
the most formidable, the most cruel, it is, in a word, the tiger of
the new world, where Nature seems to have diminished all the genera of
quadrupeds. The Jaguar, like the tiger, lives on prey; but a lighted
brand will put him to flight, and if his appetite is satisfied, he so
entirely loses all courage and vivacity, that he will fly from a single
dog. He discovers no signs of activity or alertness but when pressed
with hunger. The savages, by nature cowardly, dread his approach. They
pretend he has a particular propensity to destroy them, and that if
he meets with Indians and Europeans asleep together, he will pass
the latter and kill the former. The same thing has been said of the
leopard, that he prefers black men to white, that he scents them out,
and can distinguish them as well by night as by day.

Almost all the authors who have written the History of the New World,
mention this animal, some by the name of tiger or leopard, and others
under the names given them at Brasil, Mexico, &c. The first who gave
a particular description of him were Piso and Marcgrave, who called
him jaguara, instead of janouara, his Brasilian name. They also speak
of another animal of the same genus, and perhaps of the same species,
under the name of jaguarette; but, like those two authors, we have
distinguished them from each other, because there is a probability
of their being different species; but whether they are really so, or
only varieties of the same species, we cannot determine, having never
seen but one of the kinds. Piso and Marcgrave say, that the jaguarette
differs from the jaguar, by its hair being shorter, more glossy, and
of a different colour, being black, interspersed with spots of a still
deeper black. But from the similitude in the form of his body, in his
manners, and disposition, he may, nevertheless, be only a variety of
the same species, especially as, according to the testimony of Piso,
the ground colour of the jaguar, as well as that of the spots, vary in
different individuals; he says that some are marked with black, and
others with red or yellowish spots; and with regard to the difference
of colour, that is, of grey, yellow, or black, the same is to be met
with in other species of animals, as there are black wolves, black
foxes, black squirrels, &c. If such variations are not so common among
wild as tame animals, it is because the former are less liable to those
accidents which tend to produce them. Their lives being more uniform,
their food less various, and their freedom less restrained, their
nature must be more permanent, that is, less subject to accidental
alterations and changes in colour.

The jaguar is found in Brasil, Paraguay, Tucuman, Guiana, in the
country of the Amazons, in Mexico, and in all parts of South America.
At Cayenne, however, this animal is more scarce than the cougar, which
they denominate red tiger, nor is the jaguar so common now in Brasil,
which appears his native country, as it was formerly. A price has been
set upon his head, so that many of them have been destroyed, and the
others have withdrawn themselves from the coasts to the inland parts of
the country. The jaguarette appears to have been always more scarce,
or at least to have inhabited those places which were distant from the
haunts of men, and the few travellers who mention him appear to have
drawn their accounts entirely from Marcgrave and Piso.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 105. _Jaguar of New Spain_]

[Illustration: FIG. 106. _Cougar_]


M. le Brun had a female Jaguar of New Spain (_fig. 105._) sent him
in the year 1775; it appeared very young, and was much less than the
one described in the original work, this measuring one foot eleven
inches long, and the former two feet five inches; there was a great
resemblance between them, and the differences only such as are common
to the varieties of the same species. The ground colour of the one we
are now speaking of was a dirty grey intermixed with red: the spots
were yellow, bordered with black; its head yellow, and ears black, with
a white spot on the external part.

Among a number of excellent remarks made by M. Sonnini de Manoncour,
respecting the jaguars of Guiana, he says, "the hair of the young
jaguar is not frizzled, as stated by M. de Buffon, but perfectly
smooth, and with regard to their only equalling the size of an ordinary
dog, I have had the skin of one that measured near five feet from
the nose to the tail, which was two feet long; and from the tracks I
have seen of these animals I have little doubt of the American tigers
being as large as those of Africa, except the royal tiger, the largest
animal to which that name is given; for the panther, which M. de
Buffon considers the largest, does not exceed five or six feet when
full grown, and it is certain that some of these animals exceed those
dimensions. When young their colour is a deep yellow, which becomes
lighter as they advance in years. He is not by any means an indolent
animal; he constantly attacks dogs, commits great devastation among
flocks, and in the desarts is even formidable to men. In a journey
I made through these forests, we were tormented with one for three
successive nights, and yet he avoided all our attempts to destroy him;
but finding we kept up large fires, of which they are much afraid, he
at last left us with a dismal howling. At Cayenne the natives have an
idea that the jaguar would rather destroy them than the whites, but
it is not so with the savages, with whom I have travelled through the
desarts, and never found them to have any particular terror; they slept
as we did, with their hammocks suspended, making a little fire under
them, which often went out before the morning; and, in short, took no
particular precautions, where they knew themselves surrounded with
those animals. (This, observes M. Buffon, is a strong proof that they
are not very dangerous animals to men.) The flesh of the jaguar is not
good. All the animals of the new continent fly from him, not being able
to withstand his power: the only one capable of making any tolerable
resistance is the ant-eater, who, on being attacked, turns on his back,
and often preserves himself by the strength of his long claws."


The Cougar, (_fig. 106._) is longer but less thick than the jaguar; he
is more agile, more slender, and stands higher on his legs; he has a
small head, long tail, and short hair, which is nearly of one entire
colour, namely, a lively red, intermixed with a few blackish tints,
particularly on his back. He is neither marked with stripes like the
tiger, nor with spots like the panther, ounce, or leopard. His chin,
neck, and all the inferior parts of his body are whitish. Though not
so strong as the jaguar he is as fierce, and perhaps more cruel. He
appears more ravenous, for having once seized his prey, he kills it,
and without waiting to tear it to pieces, he continues to eat and
suck alternately, until he has gorged his appetite and glutted his
blood-thirsty fury.

These animals are common in Guiana. They have been known formerly
to swim over from the continent to Cayenne, in order to devour the
flocks; insomuch that they were at first considered as the scourge of
the colony; but by degrees the settlers lessened their numbers, and by
continually hunting them have compelled the remainder to retire far
from the cultivated parts of the country. They are found in Brasil,
Paraguay, and in the country of the Amazons; and there is reason to
believe that the animal, described by some travellers, under the name
of the Ocorome, in Peru, is the same as the cougar, as well as that in
the country of the Iroquois, which has been considered as a tiger,
though it is neither striped like that animal, nor spotted like the

The cougar, by the lightness of his body, and length of his legs,
seems to be more calculated for speed, and climbing of trees, than the
jaguar. They are equally indolent and cowardly, when glutted with prey;
and they seldom attack men unless they find them asleep. When there is
a necessity for passing the night in the woods, the kindling a fire
is the only precaution necessary to prevent their approach.[L] They
delight in the shades of forests, where they hide themselves in some
bushy tree, in order to dart upon such animals as pass by. Though they
live only on prey, and drink blood more often than water, yet it is
said their flesh is very palatable. Piso says, it is as good as veal;
and Charlevoix, and others, have compared it to mutton. I think it is
hardly credible that the flesh can be well tasted; and therefore prefer
the testimony of Desmarchais, who says, the best thing about this
animal is his skin, of which they make horse-cloths, his flesh being
generally lean and of a disagreeable flavour.

[Footnote L: The Indians on the banks of the Oronoka, in Guiana, light
a fire during the night in order to frighten away the tigers who dare
not approach the place at long as the fire remains burning.]


Mr. Colinson mentions another species of cougar, which is found on
the mountains of Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and the adjacent
provinces, and which, from his account, seems to differ very much from
that just described; his legs being shorter, and his body and tail
much longer, but in colour, and in the shape of the head, they have a
perfect resemblance.

M. de la Borde describes three species of rapacious animals at Cayenne;
first, the jaguar, which they call tiger; the second, the cougar, or
red tiger; (the former is about the size of a large bull-dog, and the
latter much smaller) and the third they call black tiger, which we
have termed black cougar. (_fig. 102._) "Its head, continues M. de la
Borde, is somewhat like that of a common cougar; it has long black
hair, a long tail, and large whiskers, but is much less than the other.
The skin of both the jaguar and cougar are easily penetrated even
with the arrows of the Indians. When very hard set for food, they will
attack cows and oxen; in this case they spring upon their backs, and
having brought them to the ground, they tear them to pieces, first
opening their breasts and bellies, to glut themselves with their blood;
they then drag pieces of flesh into the wood, covering the remainder
with branches of trees, and keeping near to feed upon it, until it
begins to putrify, when they touch it no more. They will keep near a
flock of wild hogs, for the purpose of seizing the stragglers, but
cautiously avoid being surrounded by them. They often seek for prey
on the sea-shore, and devour the eggs left there by the turtles: they
also make prey of the caïmans, or alligators, lizards, and fishes; to
take the former, they use the craft of lying down by the edge of the
water, which they strike so as to make sufficient noise to attract his
attention, who will come towards the place, and no sooner puts his head
above water, than his seducer makes a certain spring at him, kills and
drags him to some convenient place where he may devour him at leisure.
It is said by the Indians that the jaguar decoys the agouti in the
same manner, by counterfeiting his cry. They sometimes eat the leaves
and buds of the Indian figs; they are excellent swimmers, and cross
the largest rivers. They seldom have more than one young at a time,
which they hide in the trunks of hollow trees. They eat their flesh at
Cayenne, and, when young, it is as white as that of a rabbit."

The cougar is easily tamed, and rendered nearly as familiar as domestic


The gentlemen of the Academy of Sciences have given a very accurate
description of the Lynx, and have discussed with equal ingenuity and
erudition the circumstances and names relative to this animal, which
occur in the writings of the ancients. They have shewn that the lynx
of Ælian is the same animal which they have dissected and described
under the name of Lupus-cervarius, and justly censure those who have
taken it for the Thos of Aristotle. This discussion is enriched with
observations and reflections equally interesting and pertinent; it is
a pity, therefore, they had not adopted its real name of lynx, instead
of that which is the same that Gaza gave to the _thos_ of Aristotle.
Having, like Oppian, intimated that there are two species or races of
the lynx, the one large, which chaces the stag and fallow-deer, and
the other smaller, which scarcely hunts any thing but the hare, they
appear to have confounded the two species together, namely, the spotted
lynx, which is commonly found in the northern countries; and the lynx
of the Levant or Barbary, whose skin is of an uniform colour. I have
seen both these animals alive, and they closely resemble each other
in many particulars. They have both long stripes of black hair at the
extremities of their ears. This very circumstance, by which Ælian first
distinguished the lynx, belongs, in fact, to these animals only, and
perhaps it was this which induced the Academy to consider them as the
same species. But, independently of the difference of colour and spots
upon the hair, it will appear extremely probable that they belong to
two distinct species.

Klein says, that the most beautiful lynx belongs to Africa and Asia in
general, and to Persia in particular; that he had seen one at Dresden,
which came from Africa, which was finely spotted, and of a considerable
height; that those of Europe, especially from Prussia, and other
northern countries are less pleasing to the eye, that their colour is
little, if at all, inclined to white, but rather of a reddish hue,
with spots confused and huddled together. Without absolutely denying
what M. Klein has here advanced, I must declare I could never learn
from any other authority that the lynx is an inhabitant of the warm
climates of Asia and Africa. Kolbe is the only writer who mentions the
lynx as common at the Cape of Good Hope, and as perfectly resembling
that of Brandenburg in Germany; but I have discovered so many mistakes
in the writings of this author, that I never gave much credit to his
testimony, unless when supported by that of others. Now all travellers
mention having seen the spotted lynx in the North of Germany, in
Lithuania, Muscovy, Siberia, Canada, and other northern regions of both
continents; but not one, whose accounts I have read, asserts he met
with this animal in the warm climates of Africa or Asia. The lynxes
of the Levant, Barbary, Arabia, and other hot climates, are, as I
before observed, of one uniform colour, and without spots; they cannot,
therefore, be the same as that mentioned by Klein, which he says was
finely spotted, nor that of Kolbe, which, according to his statement,
perfectly resembled those of Brandenburgh. It would be difficult to
reconcile these testimonies with the information we have from other
hands. The lynx is certainly more common in cold than in temperate
climates, and is at least very rare in hot ones. He was, indeed, known
to the Greeks and Romans; a circumstance which does not, however, infer
that he came from Africa, or the southern provinces of Asia. Pliny, on
the contrary, says, that the first of them which were seen at Rome,
came from Gaul in the time of Pompey. At present there are none in
France, except possibly a few in the Alpine and Pyrenean mountains.
But the Romans, under the name of Gaul, comprehended several of the
northern countries; and, besides, France is not at this time so cold as
it was in those times.

The most beautiful skins of the lynx come from Siberia, as belonging to
the _Loup-cervier_, and from Canada, under the name of _chat-cervier_,
because, like all other animals, they are smaller in the new than in
the old world; and are therefore compared to the wolf in Europe, and
to the cat in Canada. What seems to have deceived M. Klein, and might
have deceived even more able writers is, first, that the ancients have
said that India furnished lynxes to the god Bacchus; secondly, Pliny
has placed the lynx in Ethiopia, and has said their hides and claws
were prepared at Carpathos, now Scarpantho or Zerpantho, an island
in the Mediterranean, between Rhodes and Candia; thirdly, Gesner has
allotted a particular article to the lynx of Asia or Africa, in which
there is the following extract of a letter from Baron Balicze. "You
have not," says he to Gesner, "mentioned in your history of animals,
the Indian or African lynx. As Pliny has mentioned it, the authority
of that great man has induced me to send you a drawing of this animal,
that you may include it in your list. This drawing was made at
Constantinople. This animal is very different from the lynx of Germany,
being much larger, has shorter and rougher hair, &c." Gesner, without
making any reflections on this letter, contents himself with giving the
substance of it, and intimating within a parenthesis, that the drawing
never came to hand.

To prevent a continuance of these errors, let it be observed, first,
that poets and painters have affixed tigers, panthers, and lynxes,
to the car of Bacchus, as best pleased their fancies; or rather
because all fierce and spotted animals were consecrated to that god;
secondly, that it is the word _lynx_ which constitutes the whole of
the ambiguity, since by comparing what Pliny says in one[M] passage
with two others[N] it is plain that the Ethiopian animal which he calls
lynx, is by no means the same as the chaus, or lupus-cervarius, which
comes from the northern countries; and that it was from this name
being improperly applied that the Baron Balicze was deceived though he
considers the Indian lynx as a different animal from the German luchs,
or our lynx. This Indian or African lynx, which he has described as
larger and more full of spots than our lynx, was in all probability,
a kind of panther. However true or erroneous this last conjecture
may be, it appears that the lynx, of which we are now treating, is a
stranger in the southern countries, and is found only in the northern
parts of the new and old continents. Olaus says this animal is common
in the forests of the North of Europe; Olearius, in speaking of
Muscovy, asserts the same thing; Rosinus Lentilius observes that the
lynx is common in Courland and Lithuania, and that those of Cassubia,
a province of Pomerania, are very small, and not so much spotted as
those of Poland and Lithuania; and lastly, Paul Jovius confirms these
testimonies by adding, that the finest skins of the lynx come from
Siberia, and that there is a great traffic carried on with them at
Ustivaga, a town about 600 miles from Moscow.

[Footnote M: Vide Pliny, lib. VIII. cap. 19.]

[Footnote N: Ibid. VIII. c. 22, 23.]

This animal, which as we have shewn, prefers the cold to the temperate
climates, is one of those which might have passed from one continent to
the other through the northern regions, and this is probably the reason
why we find him a tenant of the northern parts of America. Travellers
have described him in such a manner as to preclude all mistake; and
besides its skin forms an article of commerce between Europe and
America. The lynx of Canada, as we have already remarked, is only
smaller and whiter than those of Europe, and it is from this difference
in size that they have been distinguished with the appellation of
_chat-cervier_, and been considered by our nomenclators as animals of a
different species. Without pronouncing decisively upon this question we
shall only observe, that to all appearance the lynxes of Canada and of
Muscovy are of the same species, first because the difference in size
is not very considerable, since it is almost relatively the same as
that which takes place between all animals common to both continents;
the wolf, fox, &c. being smaller in America than they are in Europe, it
cannot be expected to be otherwise with the lynx. Secondly, because,
even in the north of Europe, these animals are found to vary in size;
and authors mention two kinds, the one large and the other small.
Thirdly, because they equally require the same climate, are of the
same dispositions, the same figure, differing only in size, and a
few trifling particulars of colour, circumstances not sufficient to
authorize our pronouncing them to be two distinct species.

The lynx, of which the ancients have said his sight could penetrate
opaque bodies, and whose urine possessed the properly of hardening
into a precious stone, called Lapis Lyncurius, is an animal that never
existed, any more than the properties attributed to him, except in
fable. To the true lynx this imaginary one has no affinity but in name.
We must not, therefore, following the example of most naturalists,
attribute to the former, which is a real being, the properties of this
imaginary one, the existence of which even Pliny himself does not seem
disposed to believe, since he speaks of it as an extraordinary animal,
and classes it with the sphynx, the pegasus, and other prodigies, or
monsters, the produce of Ethiopia, a country with which the ancients
were very little acquainted.

Our lynx, though he cannot see through stone walls, has bright eyes, a
mild aspect, and an agreeable lively appearance. His urine produces not
precious stones, but he covers it with earth, like the cats, to whom he
has a near resemblance, and whose manners, and love of cleanliness are
the same. In nothing is he like the wolf but in a kind of howl, which
being heard at a considerable distance often deceives the hunters, by
making them suppose they hear a real wolf. This alone, perhaps, is
the cause of his having received the appellation of _loup_, and to
distinguish him from the real wolf, and because he attacks the stags,
the epithet of _cervarius_ might have afterwards been added. The lynx
is not so big as the wolf, has shorter legs, and generally about the
size of a fox. He differs from the panther and ounce in the following
particulars; he has longer hair, his spots are less lively, and are
badly disposed; his ears are much longer, and they have tufts of black
hairs at the points; his tail is shorter, and is also black at the end;
his eyes have a whitish cast, and his countenance is more agreeable,
and less ferocious. The skin of the male is more spotted than that of
the female. He does not run like the wolf, but walks and bounds like
the cat. He lives upon other animals, and those he pursues to the
tops of the highest trees, so that neither the wild-cat, pine-weasel,
ermine, nor squirrel, can escape him. He also seizes birds, lies in
wait for the stag, roe-buck, and hare, whom he seizes by the throat,
sucks their blood, and then opens their heads to devour the brains;
this done he frequently abandons them to go in search of fresh prey,
and is seldom known to return to the former one; which has given rise
to the remark, that of all animals the lynx has the shortest memory.
His colour changes with the climate and the season. In winter his fur
is much better than in summer, and his flesh, like that of all beasts
of prey, is not good to eat.


There is a Canadian Lynx in the Royal Cabinet in France, in fine
preservation; it is only two feet three inches long, and rather more
than thirteen inches high; its body is covered with long grey hair,
striped with yellow, and spotted with black; its head also is grey,
interspersed with white and yellow hairs, and shaded with a kind of
black stripes; it has long white whiskers; its ears are more than two
inches high, white on the inside, with yellow edges, the outside of a
mouse colour, edged with black, and at the tip of each ear is a tuft
of black hair seven lines high; it has a short tail, which is black
from the end to about the middle, and the other part is of a reddish
white; its belly, hind-legs, inside of the fore-legs and feet are of a
dirty white, and it has long white claws. This lynx strongly resembles
the one we have just described, except in the length of the tail and
tuft on the ears, from which we may infer that the Canadian Lynx is a
variety from that of the old continent.

Pontoppidan describes the lynx of Norway to be white with deep spots,
and claws like those of a cat; he says there are four species there,
some being like the wolf, others the fox, others the cat, and others
with a head like that of a colt; the last of which is not only doubtful
in itself, but throws a degree of suspicion on the veracity of the

The species of the lynx is very common throughout Europe, and also in
the northern provinces of Asia. Their skins are very valuable, and much
esteemed for muffs, &c. in Norway, Russia, and even as far as China,
and notwithstanding they are very common, they sell at a high price.


Though the Caracal[O] resembles the lynx in size, formation of the
body, aspect, and the tufts of black hair at the extremities of the
ears, I do not scruple from their disagreement in other respects, to
treat of them as animals of a different species. The Caracal is not
spotted like the lynx; his hair is rougher and shorter; his tail is
longer, and of a uniform colour; his snout is longer, in aspect he
is less mild, and in disposition more fierce. The lynx inhabits cold
and at most temperate climates, while the caracal is to be found only
in the warmest countries. It is as much from these differences of
disposition and climate, that I judge them to be of different species,
as from the inspection and comparison of the two animals, both of which
I have examined and had designed from life.

[Footnote O: In Turkey it is called Kaarah-kula; Arabia Gat el Challah;
in Persia Siyah-Gush, denoting in all three languages, _the cat with
long ears_.]

The Caracal is common in Barbary, in Arabia, and in all those countries
inhabited by the lion, panther, and ounce. Like them he depends on prey
for subsistence, but from the inferiority of his size and strength,
he has much difficulty to procure a sufficiency; frequently being
obliged to be content with the leavings of the more powerful. He keeps
at a distance from the panther, because that animal exercises its
cruelty after being gorged with food; but he follows the lion, who,
when the cravings of his appetite are satisfied, never injures any
creature. From the remains left by this noble animal, the caracal not
unoften enjoys a comfortable repast. Sometimes he follows, or even
goes before, at no great distance, taking a refuge in the trees, when
self-preservation renders it necessary, and where the lion cannot, like
the panther, follow him. For all these reasons it is that the caracal
has been called the Lion's Guide, or Provider; and it is said that the
lion, whose smell is far from being acute, employs him to scent out his
prey, and is permitted to enjoy the remains as a reward for his trouble.

The caracal[P] (_fig. 108._) is about the size of a fox, but more
fierce, and much stronger. He has been known to attack, and in a few
minutes, to tear in pieces a large dog, which defended himself to the
utmost. He is very difficult to tame, yet if taken very young, and
reared with care, he may be trained to the chace, to which he is by
nature inclined, and in which he is very successful, especially if he
be only let loose upon such animals as are inferior in strength, for
he declines a service of danger with every expression of reluctance.
In India they made use of him to catch hares, rabbits, and even large
birds, whom he seizes with singular address and facility.

[Footnote P: The principal part of his body is of a reddish brown
colour, the inferior parts of the neck and belly whitish; round his
muzzle black, his ears of a dark shade, with a tuft of black hair from
his extremities.]


Mr. Bruce has informed me that he saw a caracal in Nubia, which
differed from the one of barbary, just described; his face was more
round, his ears black on the outside, intermixed with white hairs, and
on the breast, belly, and inside of the thighs he had yellow spots. But
this is a mere variety, of which there are several: for instance, in
Lybia there is a caracal with white ears, and a white tail with four
black rings at the end, and which is not bigger than a domestic cat;
and if this were to establish a difference we might say there are two
species of caracals in Barbary, the one large, with black ears and long
tufts, and the other smaller, with white ears and short tufts.


Aristotle has left us two accounts by which alone the hyæna (_fig.
110._) might easily be distinguished from all other animals.
Nevertheless, travellers and naturalists have confounded him with no
less than four other species, namely, the jackall, glutton, civet, and
the baboon; all of which are carnivorous and ferocious like the hyæna,
and all have some few particular resemblances to him, whence these
errors may have originated. The jackall inhabits the same countries,
and like the hyæna resembles the wolf in form; like him also he feeds
upon dead carcasses, and digs up graves to devour their contents. The
glutton has the same voracity, the same appetite for corrupted flesh,
the same propensity for digging the dead out of their graves; and
though he belongs to a different climate, and his figure is widely
different from that of the hyæna, yet from this affinity of disposition
authors have thought themselves warranted in considering them as of
the same species. The civet is a native of the same countries as the
hyæna, and like him has a streak of long hair along the back, and also
a particular opening, or glandular pouch; characteristics which belong
only to a few animals, and which induced Bellon to suppose the civet
was the hyæna of the ancients. As to the baboon, which has hands and
feet like those of a man or a monkey, he resembles the hyæna still less
than the other three, and it must be solely from their name that they
have been confounded together.

The hyæna, according to Dr. Shaw, is called _dubbah_ in Barbary; and
Marmol, and Leo Africanus, say, the baboon is distinguished by the name
of _dabuh_; and as the baboon belongs to the same climates, scratches
up the earth and is nearly of the same form with the hyæna; these
circumstances first deceived travellers, and naturalists adopted their
blunders without investigation; and even those who distinguished the
two animals, retained the name of _dabuh_ to the hyæna, which in fact
belongs to the baboon. It appears, then, that the hyæna is neither the
_dabuh_ of the Arabians, the _jesef_ or _sesef_ of the Africans, nor
the _deeb_ of Barbary. But to put a final stop to this confusion of
names, I shall give, in a few words, the substance of the inquiries I
have made with respect to those animals.

Aristotle calls it by two names, _hyæna_ and _glanus_; names which
we may be assured are applied to the same animals by comparing the
passages wherein they are mentioned.[Q] The ancient Latins retained the
name hyæna, and never adopted that of glanus. In the writings of the
modern Latins, however, we find the _ganus_, or _gannus_, and _belbus_
employed as names for the hyæna. According to Rasis, the Arabians call
it _kabo_, or _zabo_, names that appear to be derived from the word
_zeeb_, which, in their language denominates a wolf. In Barbary the
hyæna bears the name of _dubbah_, as appears from the description given
of this animal by Dr. Shaw.[R] In Turkey it is called _zirtlaat_,
according to Nieremberg; in Persia _kaftaar_, as stated by Kæmpfer; and
_castar_, according to Pietro della Valle. These are the only names
which seem actually to refer to the hyæna; though it is nevertheless
probable that the _lycaon_ and the _crocuta_ of India and Ethiopia,
of which the ancients speak, are no other than the hyæna. Porphyry
expressly says that the _crocuta_ of the Indies is the hyæna of the
Greeks; and, indeed, all they have written, whether true or fabulous,
respecting the lycaon and crocuta, bears some analogy to the nature of
the hyæna. But we shall make no further conjectures on this subject
until we treat of fabulous animals, and the affinities they have with
real ones.

[Footnote Q: Aristotle Hist. Animal. lib. vi. c. 32. lib. viii. c. 5.]

[Footnote R: The Dubbah is nearly the size of the wolf. Its neck is so
exceedingly stiff, that when it offers to look behind, or even on one
side, it is obliged to turn the whole body, like the hog, the badger,
and the crocodile. Its colour is somewhat inclined to a reddish brown,
with a few brown streaks of a darker hue, it has very long hairs on
the neck which it can occasionally erect. Its paws are large and well
armed, with which it digs up plants, and sometimes dead bodies from
their graves. Next to the lion and panther, the dubbah is the most
fierce of all the animals of Barbary. As it is furnished with a mane,
has a difficulty in turning the head, and scrapes up dead bodies
from their graves, it has every appearance of being the hyæna of the
ancients. _See Shaw's Travels._]

The panther of the Greeks, the _lupus canarius_ of Gaza, and the
_lupus armenius_ of the modern Latins and Arabians, seem to be the
same animal, that is, the jackall, which the Turks call _cical_,
according to Pollux, and _thacal_ according to Spon and Wheeler; which
the modern Greeks distinguish by the name of _zachalia_, the Persians
_siechal_, or _schachal_, and the Moors of Barbary _deeb_; that of
jackall, however, having been adopted by a number of travellers, to
that we shall give the preference, and only remark at present, that he
differs from the hyæna not only in size, figure, and colour, but in
natural habits, for the hyæna is a solitary animal, while the jackall
is seldom seen but in troops. After the example of Kæmpfer, some of our
nomenclators have called the jackall _lupus aureus_, because his hair
is of a lively yellow hue.

It is therefore evident, that the jackall is a very different animal
from the hyæna; and no less so than the glutton, which is an animal
confined to the northern regions of Lapland, Russia, and Siberia; it is
a stranger even in the temperate climates, and therefore could never
have inhabited Arabia, or any of the other warm countries in which
the hyæna resides. It differs also in form, for the glutton bears a
strong resemblance to a very large badger; his legs are so short that
his belly almost reaches the ground; he has five toes on each of his
feet, has no mane, and his body is covered with black hair, excepting
sometimes a few reddish yellow hairs upon his sides; in short, he
resembles him in nothing but in being exceedingly voracious. He was
unknown to the ancients, who had made no great progress into the north
of Europe. Olaus is the first author who mentions this animal and
from his prodigious gluttony he called him _gulo_. In Sclavonia he
afterwards obtained the name of _rosomak_, and in Germany _jerff_,
or _wildfras_, and the French travellers have called him _glouton_.
There are varieties in this species, as well as in that of the jackall,
which we shall speak of when we come to the particular history of those
animals, and shall only here observe, that those varieties, instead
of assimilating them with the hyæna, render them additionally a more
distinct species.

The civet has nothing in common with the hyæna but the glandular pouch,
under the tail, and the mane along the neck and back-bone. It differs
from the hyæna in figure and size, not being more than half as large;
his ears are short and covered with hair, whereas those of the hyæna
are long and naked; he has also short legs, and five toes upon each
foot, while the legs of the hyæna are long, and he has only four toes
upon each foot; nor does the civet dig up the earth in search for
dead bodies. From these differences these animals are easily to be
distinguished from each other.

With respect to the baboon, which is the _papio_ of the Latins, and
as we have before observed, has been mistaken for the hyæna, merely
from the ambiguity of names, which seems to have arisen from a passage
of Leo Africanus, and since copied by Marmol. "The _dabuh_ say
these authors, is of the size and form of the wolf; and scratches up
dead bodies from their graves." From which it was supposed to mean
the _dubbah_, or hyæna, although it is expressly stated in the same
passages that the _dubbah_ has hands and feet resembling those of
a man; a remark which, however applicable to the baboon, cannot be
applied to the hyæna.

From taking a view of the _lupus-marinus_ of Bellon, which Gesner has
copied, we might mistake it for the figure of the hyæna, to which it
bears a great resemblance; but his description corresponds not with our
hyæna, for he says, the _lupus-marinus_ is an amphibious animal which
feeds on fish, and has sometimes been seen on the coasts of the British
ocean; besides this author says nothing of the peculiar characteristics
which distinguish the hyæna from all other animals. It is possible
that Bellon, prepossessed with the notion that the civet was the hyæna
of the ancients, has given the figure of the real one under the name
of _lupus-marinus_, for so striking and singular are the characters
of that animal, that it is hardly possible to be deceived in them; he
is, perhaps, the only quadruped that has four toes upon each foot.
Like the badger he has an aperture under the tail, which does not
penetrate into the body; his ears are long, straight, and naked; his
head is shorter and more square than that of the wolf; his legs are
longer, especially the hind ones; his eyes are placed like those of
the dog; the hair of his body and mane is of a dark grey, with a small
intermixture of yellow and black, and disposed all along in waves,
and though in size he equals the wolf, yet he has, nevertheless, a
contracted appearance.

This wild and solitary animal resides in the caverns of mountains,
the clefts of rocks, or in dens, which he forms for himself under
the earth. Though taken ever so young he is not to be tamed; he is
naturally ferocious. He lives like the wolf, by depredation, but he
is more strong and daring. He sometimes attacks men, and darts with a
ferocious resolution on all kinds of cattle; he follows the flocks,
and even breaks down the sheep-folds in the night to get at his prey.
His eyes shine in the dark, and it is asserted that he sees better
by night than day. All naturalists who have treated of this animal,
except Kæmpfer, say, that his cry resembles the noise of a man who is
vomiting, while the latter asserts it to be like the lowing of a calf.
He defends himself against the lion, stands in no awe of the panther,
and attacks the ounce, which is incapable of resisting him. When at a
loss for prey he scrapes up the earth with his feet, and tears out the
carcasses of animals and men, which in the countries he inhabits are
promiscuously buried in the fields. He is found in almost all the hot
climates of Africa and Asia, and it is probable that the animal called
_farasse_, at Madagascar, which resembles the wolf in figure, but is
larger and stronger, is the same animal.

Of this animal more absurd stories have been told than of any other.
The ancients have gravely written that the hyæna is alternately male
and female; that when it brings forth, suckles and rears its progeny,
it remains as a female the whole year, but the year following it
resumes the functions of the male, and obliges its companion to submit
to those of the female. The circumstance which gave rise to this fable
is plainly the orifice under the tail, in both males and females,
independently of the organs of generation peculiar to both sexes,
and which are the same in the hyæna as in all other animals. It has
also been affirmed that this animal could imitate the human voice,
remember the names of shepherds, call upon, fascinate, and render
them motionless; that he can terrify shepherdesses, cause them to
forget and neglect their flocks, to be distracted in love, &c. All this
might surely happen without the intervention of the hyæna! But I shall
conclude here, to avoid the reproach which has been cast upon Pliny,
that of taking pleasure in compiling and relating absurd fables.


At the fair of St. Germain, in the year 1773, I saw a male hyæna; the
one just described was very ferocious, and as I mentioned untameable,
but this was perfectly gentle, for though his keeper made him angry for
the purpose of erecting his mane, yet he seemed to forget it in a few
moments, and suffer himself to be played with without any appearance of
dislike. He exactly accorded with the description I have given, except
his tail being entirely white.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 109. _Lynx._]

[Illustration: FIG. 110. _Hyæna._]

In the island of Meroë there is a large kind of hyænas, so strong that
they can run off with a man to the distance of more than a league
without stopping. These are also of a darker colour, and erect their
long hairs on the hind parts and not the front. Mr. Bruce informs
me that he has observed, that when the hyænas are forced to take to
flight, they are at first exceedingly lame of the left hind leg, and
which continues for more than an hundred paces, so much so indeed as to
give them the appearance of falling, and that it is the same also with
those of Syria and Barbary.


The generality of naturalists are of opinion that the perfume called
civet, or musk, is furnished only by one species of animals. I
have, however, seen two animals that furnish it, which, though they
have many essential affinities, both in their external and internal
conformations, yet differ in so many characteristics, that there is
sufficient reason to consider them as two distinct species. To the
first I have continued the original name of Civet, (_fig. 111._) and
the second, for the sake of distinction, I have called Zibet (_fig.
113._) The civet seems to be the same as that described by the Academy
of Sciences; by Caius, in Gesner, page 837, and by Fabius Columna,
who has given both the male and female figures in the publication of
Faber, which follows that of Hernandes. The _zibet_ appears to be the
same animal as M. de la Peyronnie has described under the name of Musk
Animal, in the Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences for the year 1731.
Both differ from the civet in the very same characters; both want the
mane, or the long hair, on the back-bone, and both have the tail marked
with strong annular streaks. The civet, on the contrary, has a mane,
but no rings on the tail. It must, however be acknowledged that our
zibet, and the musk animal of M. de la Peyronnie, are not so perfectly
similar as to leave no doubt of the identity of their species. The
rings on the tail of the zibet are larger than those of the musk
animal, and the length of his tail is shorter in proportion to that
of his body; but these differences are slight, and appear to be mere
accidental varieties, to which the civet must be more subject than any
other wild animal, as they are reared and fed like domestic ones in
many parts of the Levant and East Indies. Certain it is, that our zibet
bears a stronger resemblance to the musk animal than to the civet, and
consequently they may be considered as the same species. Nor, indeed,
do we mean positively to affirm that civet and zibet are not varieties
of the same species, but from their different characteristics there is
a strong presumption they really are so.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 111. _Civet_]

[Illustration: FIG. 112. _Genet_]

[Illustration: FIG. 113. _Zibet_]

The animal which we here name the Civet, is called the _falanoue_, at
Madagascar, _nzime_, or _nzfusi_ at Congo, _kankan_ in Ethiopia, and
_kastor_ in Guinea. That it is the civet of Guinea I am certain, for
the one I had was sent from Guinea, to one of my correspondents at St.
Domingo, where, after being fed for some time, it was killed for the
more easy conveyance to Europe.

The zibet is probably the civet of Asia, of the East Indies, and of
Arabia, where he is called zebet, or zibet, an Arabic word, which
likewise signifies the perfume of that animal, and which we have
adopted to signify the animal itself. He differs from the civet in
having a longer and less thick body; a snout more thin and slender,
and somewhat concave on the upper part; whereas that of the civet is
more short, thick, and rather convex. The ears of the zibet are also
larger and more elevated; his tail is longer, and more strongly marked;
his hair is shorter and much more soft; he has no mane, or long hair
on the neck or back-bone; no black spots under the eyes, or on the
cheeks; all of which are remarkable characteristics in the civet. Some
travellers have suspected there were two species of civets; but no
person has examined them with sufficient accuracy as to give a distinct
description. I have seen both; and after a careful comparison, am of
opinion, that they not only differ in species, but perhaps belong to
different climates.

These animals have been called musk-cats, though they have nothing in
common with the cat, except bodily agility. They rather resemble the
fox, especially in the head. Their skins are diversified with stripes
and spots, which has occasioned them to be mistaken for small panthers,
when seen at a distance; but in every other respect they differ from
the panther. There is an animal called the Genet, which is spotted in
the like manner, whose head is nearly of the same shape, and which,
like the civet, has a pouch where an odoriferous humor is formed; but
this animal is smaller than our civet; its legs are shorter, and its
body thinner; its perfume is very faint, and of short duration; while
the perfume of the civet is very strong, and that of the zibet is so to
an excess.

This humor is found in the orifice which these animals have near the
organs of generation; it is nearly as thick as pomatum, and though the
odour is very strong, it is yet agreeable, even when it issues from the
body of the animal. This perfume of the civet must not be confounded
with musk, which is a sanguineous humor, obtained from an animal very
different from either the civet or zibet, being a species of roe-buck,
or goat, without horns, and which has no one property in common with
the civet, but that of furnishing a strong perfume.

These two species of civets have not been distinguished with precision.
They have both been sometimes confounded with the weasel of Virginia,
the genet, the musk-deer, and even with the hyæna. Bellon, who has
given a figure and description of the civet, insists that it was the
hyæna of the ancients, and his mistake is the more excusable not being
destitute of some foundation. Certain it is, that most of the fables
which have been related of the hyæna, took their rise from the civet.
The philters said to have been obtained from certain parts of the
hyæna, and their power to excite love, sufficiently indicate that the
stimulating virtues of the preparations of civet, were not unknown to
the ancients, and which are still used for this very purpose in the
East. What they have said of the uncertainty of the sex of the hyæna,
is still more applicable to the civet, for the male has no external
appearance, but three apertures so perfectly similar to those of
the female, that it is hardly possible to determine the sex but by
dissection. The opening which contains the perfume, is situated between
the other two, and in the same direct line which extends from the os
sacrum to the pubis.

Another error, which has made more progress, is that of Gregoire de
Bolivar, with respect to the climates in which the civet is found.
After stating them to be common in Africa and the East Indies, he
positively affirms they are also very numerous in all parts of South
America. This assertion, transmitted by Faber, has been copied by
Aldrovandus, and adopted by all the authors who have since treated
of the civet. But the truth is, that they are animals peculiar to
the hottest climates of the old continent, and which could not have
found a northern passage into the New World; where, in fact, no civets
ever existed until they were transported thither from the Philippine
Islands and the coasts of Africa. As the assertion of Bolivar is
positive, and mine only negative, it is necessary I should give my
particular reasons, to prove the falsity of the fact. Besides my own
remarks, I refer to the very words of Faber himself.[S] On this head
it is to be observed, that the figure given by Faber, was left to him
by Recchi, without any description[T]; and of which the inscription
is, _animal zibethicum Americanum_; but this figure has no resemblance
to the civet or zibet, and rather represents the badger; secondly,
Faber gives a description and the figures of a male and female civet,
which resemble our zibet; but these civets are not the same animal as
that represented in the first figure; nor do they represent animals of
America, but civets belonging to the old continent, of which Fabius
Columna had procured drawings at Naples, and furnished Faber with
their figures and descriptions; thirdly, after having quoted Bolivar
respecting the climates in which the civet is found, Faber concludes
with admiring Bolivar's prodigious memory, and that he was indebted
for this recital to the oral information of that gentleman. These
three remarks are alone sufficient to create a suspicion respecting the
pretended _animal zibethicum Americanum_, but what completely proves
the error, Fernandes, in his description of the animals of America,
flatly contradicts Bolivar, and affirms that the civet was not a native
of America, but that, in his time, they had began to transport some
of them from the Philippine Islands to New Spain. In fine, if we add
this positive testimony of Fernandes, to that of all the travellers,
who mention that civets are very common in the Philippine Islands, in
the East Indies, and in Africa, not one of whom intimates having seen
this animal in America, every doubt will vanish of what we advanced
in our enumeration of the animals of the two continents, and it will
be admitted that the civet is not a native of America, but an animal
peculiar to the warm climates of the old continent, and that he was
never found in the new, until after he had been transported thither.
Had I not guarded against such mistakes, which are too frequent, I
should have described my civet as an American animal, from its having
been sent to me from St. Domingo, and not directly from Guinea, the
place of its nativity, of which I was, however, assured by the letter
from M. Pages which accompanied the animal. These particular facts
I consider as confirmations to the general position, that there is a
real difference between all the animals of the southern parts of each

[Footnote S: Novæ Hisp. Anim. Nardi Antonii Recchi Imagines & Nomina,
Joannis Fabri Lyncei Expositione, p. 539.]

[Footnote T: _Ibid._ p. 465.]

Both the civet and zibet are then animals of the old continent, nor
have they any other external differences, besides those already
pointed out; and as to their internal differences, and the structure
of their reservoirs which contain the perfume, they have been so
accurately described by Messrs. Morand and Peyronnie, in the Memoirs
of the Academy for 1728 and 1731, that I could do little more than
give a repetition of their accounts. With regard to what remains to be
further observed of those two animals, as the few facts are hardly more
applicable to the one than the other, and as it would be difficult to
point out the distinction, I shall collect the whole under one head.

The civets, (by the plural number I mean the civet and zibet) though
natives of the hottest climates of Asia and Africa, can yet live in
temperate and even cold countries, provided they are carefully defended
from the injuries of the weather, and supplied with succulent food. In
Holland they are frequently reared for the advantage obtained by their
perfume. The civet brought from Amsterdam is preferred to that which
comes from the Levant or the Indies, as being the most genuine. That
imported from Guinea would be the best, were it not that the Negroes,
as well as the Indians, and the people of the Levant, adulterate it
with the mixture of storax, and other balsamic and odoriferous drugs
and plants.

Those who keep these animals collect the perfume in the following
manner; they put them into a narrow cage, in which they cannot turn
themselves; this cage opens behind, and two or three times in a
week the animal is drawn a little out by the tail, and kept in that
position by putting a bar across the fore-part of the cage; this done,
the person takes out the perfume from the pouch with a small spoon,
scraping all the internal parts, and then, putting the matter into a
vessel, the greatest care is taken to keep it closely covered. The
quantity so procured depends greatly upon the appetite of the animal,
and the quality of his nourishment, as he always produces more in
proportion to the goodness of his food. Hashed flesh, eggs, rice, small
animals, birds, young poultry, and particularly fish, are the best, and
which he most prefers; and these ought to be so varied as to excite his
appetite and preserve his health. He requires but little water, and
though he drinks seldom, yet he discharges urine very frequently; and
even on such occasions, the male is not to be distinguished from the

The perfume of the civets is so strong that it communicates itself to
all parts of the body; the hair and skin is impregnated with it to
such a degree, that it preserves the odour for a long time after it is
stripped off. If a person be shut up in a close room with one of them
alive, he cannot support the perfume, it is so copiously diffused. When
the animal is enraged, its scent is more violent than ordinary, and if
tormented so as to make him sweat, that is also collected and serves
to adulterate, or at least increase the perfume which is otherwise

The civets are naturally wild, and even ferocious; and though tameable
to a certain degree, they are never perfectly familiar. Their teeth are
strong and sharp, but their claws are blunt and feeble. They are light
and active, and live by prey, pursuing small animals, and surprising
birds. They can bound like cats, and run like dogs; and sometimes steal
into yards and out-houses to carry off the poultry. Their eyes shine
in the dark, and they probably see better in the night than in the
day. When they fail in procuring animal food, they subsist on roots
and fruits. As they seldom drink they never inhabit moist places, but
cheerfully reside among arid sands and burning mountains. They breed
very fast in their native climates; but though they can live, and even
produce perfume in temperate climates, yet they cannot multiply. They
have a voice more powerful, and a tongue less rough than the cat, and
their cry is not unlike that of an enraged dog.

The odorous humor which exudes from these animals is called civet in
England and France, and _zibet_, or _algalia_, in Arabia, the Indies,
and the Levant, where it is more used than in Europe. It is now very
little employed as a medicine, but it is still used as an ingredient
in the compositions of perfumers and confectioners. The smell of the
civet, though stronger, is more agreeable than that of the musk. Both,
however, lost their repute when the method of preparing ambergris was
discovered; and even that seems now to be proscribed from the toilets
of the polite and delicate.


The Genet (_fig. 112._) is a smaller animal than the civet. He has a
long body, short legs, a sharp snout, slender head, and smooth soft
hair, of a glossy ash colour, marked with black spots, which are round,
and separated on the sides, but so nearly united on the back as to have
the appearance of stripes along the body. Upon the neck and back it has
a kind of mane, which forms a black streak from the head to the tail,
the latter of which is as long as the body, and is marked with seven
or eight rings, alternately black and white; the black spots on the
neck also appear to form streaks, and it has a white spot under each
eye. Under the tail, and in the very same place with the civets, it has
a pouch, in which is secreted a kind of perfume, but is much weaker,
and its scent soon evaporates. It is somewhat longer than the marten,
which it greatly resembles in form, habit, and disposition; and from
which it seems chiefly to differ in being more easily tamed. Bellon
assures us, that he has seen them in the houses at Constantinople as
tame as cats, that they were permitted to run about without doing
the least mischief, and that they were called _Constantinople cats_;
_Spanish cats_; _genet cats_, _&c._ though, indeed, they have nothing
in common with that animal, except the skill of watching and catching
mice.[U] Naturalists pretend that genets inhabit only moist grounds,
and reside along the banks of rivers, and that they are never found on
mountains or dry grounds. The species is not numerous, or, at least,
not much diffused; for there are none of them in any part of Europe,
except Spain and Turkey. They seem to require a warm climate to subsist
and multiply in, and yet they are not found in India or Africa. The
_fossane_ has been called the genet of Madagascar, but that animal is
of a different species, as will hereafter be shewn.

[Footnote U: It is, perhaps, because they are only found in the Levant
and in Spain, that they are designated by their country; for the name
of _genet_ is not derived from any of the ancient languages, and is
probably only a new appellation taken from some place abounding with
them, a custom which is very common in Spain, where a certain race of
horses are called _genets_.]

The skin of the genet makes a light and handsome fur, it was
formerly fashionable for muffs, and consequently very dear; but the
manufacturers having got the art of counterfeiting them, by painting
the skins of grey rabbits with black spots, their value is abated,
from being no longer esteemed.


I formerly stated that genets were not to be found in any parts of
Europe, except Spain and Turkey, but since then I have learned that
they are common in the southern provinces of France, and that at
Poitou they are known by that name even to the peasantry. In April,
1775, the Abbé Roubard sent me a genet that was killed at Livray, in
Poitou, which, except some trifling variations in the colour of the
hair, was similar to that I have described; and he assured me that the
species was also to be found in the neighbouring provinces; and M.
Delpeche informed me, in a letter, that it was a constant practice with
the peasants of the province of Rouergue to bring dead genets to the
merchants in the winter; he added, that they were not very numerous,
that they were principally found near Villefranche, and that they
burrow in holes like the rabbits, especially in winter.


We mention ibis animal merely as a supplement to the description we
have given of the wolf, for there can be little doubt of his belonging
to the same species. We have already said, that in the northern parts
of Europe there were some wolves black, and others white, and that the
black wolves were generally the largest; but the one we are now about
to describe came from Canada, and was smaller than the common wolf;
but we have had repeated occasions to remark, that the animals of the
northern parts of America are less in size than those belonging to the
north of Europe, and this difference in size was the chief, if not the
only variation in him; besides, he had been taken very young, and ever
after kept in a state of captivity, which also might have prevented the
completion of his growth. Our common wolf is less in Canada than in
Europe; and in that country black wolves and foxes are not uncommon. We
saw this animal alive, and to us it appeared perfectly to resemble the
common wolf both in figure and disposition.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 115. _Muscovy Rat._]

[Illustration: FIG. 114. _Canadian Musk Rat._]

[Illustration: FIG. 116. _Mexican Hog._]


Though these two animals have been denominated musk-rats, and have
a few common characteristics, yet they ought not to be confounded;
they must also be distinguished from the Pilori, or Musk-rat, of
the Antilles; all three forming different species, and belonging to
different climates; the first, also called Ondatra, is found in Canada;
the second, or Desman, in Lapland and Muscovy; and the Pilori, in
Martinico and other of the Antille islands.

The Musk-rat of Canada (_fig. 115._) differs from that of Muscovy
in having all its toes separate, eyes very conspicuous, and a short
nose; whereas the latter (_fig. 114._) has the toes of the hind feet
united by a membrane, exceedingly small eyes, and a long nose like the
shrew-mouse. The tail of both is flat, in which, as well as in many
other characteristics, they differ from the pilori of the Antilles. The
tail of the pilori is short, and, like that of other rats, cylindrical;
the other two have long tails, and the head of the first is like that
of a water-rat, and the head of the second resembles a shrew-mouse.

In the memoirs of the Academy of Sciences, for 1725, we meet with a
very accurate description of the Canadian musk-rat. M. Sarrasin, a
correspondent of the Academy, dissected a number of them at Quebec, and
made some striking and singular remarks; by comparing his description
with our own, we have not the least doubt but the animal which he calls
the musk-rat of Canada, is the same with that now before us.

This animal is of the size of a small rabbit, and of the figure of
a rat. Its head is short, and similar to that of the water-rat; its
hair is soft and glossy, with a thick down underneath, like that of
the beaver; its tail is long and covered with little scales, like that
of the other rats, though of a different form, for instead of being
cylindrical it is flat from the middle to the tip, and rather round at
the insertion. The toes are not united by membranes, but furnished
with a long thick hair, which enables the animal to swim with ease. Its
ears are very short, but not naked, as in the common rat, but covered
with hair, both outwardly and inwardly; its eyes are large; it has two
incisive teeth, about an inch long, in the under jaw, and two shorter
ones in the upper; these four teeth are very strong, and by them the
animal is enabled to gnaw through wood.

The striking singularities remarked by M. Sarrasin, in this animal
are, first, the muscular force and great expansibility in the skin,
which enables the animal to contract and compress its body into a
smaller size. Secondly, the suppleness of the false ribs, which admits
a contraction of body so considerable that the musk-rat can obtain an
easy passage through holes where smaller animals cannot find admission.
Thirdly, the manner in which the female voids her urine, the urethra
not terminating, as in other animals, under the clitoris, but at a
hairy eminence above the os pubis, and in which there is an orifice,
that serves the urine to escape. This strange organization is found in
only a few species of animals, as rats and apes have three apertures;
and these two are perhaps the only animals who have a passage for the
urine distinct from the organs of generation: to the females alone,
however, does this singularity belong, for the conformation of the
males is the same with that of other quadrupeds. M. Sarrasin observes,
fourthly, that the testicles which, as in other rats, are situated
on each side of the anus, become exceedingly large, considering the
size of the animal, during the rutting season; but that over, they not
only change in size, consistency, and colour, but even in situation,
and with the seminal vessels, and all the organs of generation become
almost invisible. And, lastly, that the vessels which contain the
musk, or perfume, of this animal, under the form of a milky humor, and
which adjoin the parts of generation, undergo the same changes; that
during the rutting season they enlarge in a great degree, and then the
perfume is exceedingly strong, and may be sensibly distinguished at
a considerable distance, but at its expiration they become wrinkled,
decay, and at length entirely disappear. The change in the vessels,
which contain the perfume, is effected more quickly, and more
completely, than that of the parts of generation. These vessels are
common to both sexes, and at the above periods contain a considerable
quantity of milky humor; and the secretion is formed, and the humor
voided, nearly in the same place as the urine of other quadrupeds.
These singularities were worthy the attention of so able an anatomist
as M. Sarrasin. We have already mentioned similar alterations in the
parts of generation in the water-rat, the campagnol, and the mole; but
this is not the place for us to enlarge on the general consequences
which might be drawn from these singular facts, nor even on the
immediate references they may have to our theory of generation. These
we shall soon have occasion to present with more advantage, by uniting
them with other facts to which they relate.

As the Canadian musk-rat belongs to the same country as the beaver, is
fond of water, and has nearly the same figure, colour, and hair, they
have been often compared to each other; it is even affirmed, that, at
the first glance, a full grown musk-rat may be mistaken for a beaver
of a month old. But in the form of their tails there is a considerable
difference; that of the beaver being oval and flat horizontally;
whereas that of the musk-rat is of a considerable length, and flat,
or compressed vertically. In disposition and instinct, however,
these animals have a strong resemblance. The musk-rats, as well as
the beavers, live in societies during the winter. They form little
dwellings about two feet and a half in diameter and sometimes larger,
in which is often an association of several families. These habitations
are not for the purpose of resorting to, in order to sleep like the
marmots, for five or six months, but to obtain a shelter from the
inclemency of the weather; they are of a round form, and covered with a
dome about a foot thick; the materials for making which are herbs and
rushes interwoven together, and cemented with clay, which they prepare
with their feet; these huts are impenetrable by the rain, and secured
from the effects of inundations by being elevated on the inside, and
tho' covered with snow several feet thick in the winter these animals
do not seem to be incommoded by this circumstance. They do not provide
a stock of provisions for that season, but dig a sort of passages
round their dwellings, for the purpose of procuring roots and water.
As winter is not their season of love, they reap but little advantage
from associating. All this period they remain totally deprived of
light, and therefore no sooner has the mild breath of spring begun to
dissolve the snow, and uncover the tops of their little mansions, than
the huntsmen open their dome suddenly, dazzle them with the light,
and kill or seize all those who have not obtained shelter in their
subterraneous passages; but as their skins are valuable, and their
flesh not unpalatable, thither they are also pursued for slaughter.
Such as escape quit their habitations about the same time. They wander
about during the summer but always in pairs, for then is the time of
their amours; then it is that all their vessels expand, and feeding
largely upon the fresh roots and vegetables which the season affords,
they acquire a strong smell of musk; a scent which, though agreeable
to Europeans, is so disgustful to the savages, that they distinguish
one of their rivers, from being frequented by a number of them, the
Stinking River, and the animal itself the Stinkard.

They produce once a year, and generally have five or six young. Their
time of gestation cannot be long, as they are not in season till the
summer, and their young are full grown by October, when they seek for
shelter; they construct new huts every year, and are never known to
revisit their former habitations. Their cry is a kind of groan, which
the huntsmen imitate in order to allure them. So strong are their
fore-teeth, and so calculated for gnawing, that if shut up in a box,
they soon make a hole large enough to escape through, a faculty which
they possess in common with the beaver. They do not swim so fast, or
so long as the beaver, and are often seen upon the ground; they run
very indifferently, and in their walk they waddle like a goose. Their
skin retains the smell of musk, which renders it of little value to the
furriers, but their under hair, or down, is used in the manufacture
of hats. These animals are not very wild, and when taken young are
easily tamed; and are then tolerably handsome, for their tail, which
is afterwards long and disagreeable, is very short. They play with all
the innocence and sprightliness of young cats, and they might be reared
with ease but for their disagreeable smell.

The Canadian and Muscovy musk-rats, are the only animals belonging to
the northern regions which yield any perfume, for the odour of the
_castoreum_ (obtained from the badger) is highly disagreeable; and it
is only in warm climates that we meet with the animals which furnish
the real musk, the civet, and other delicate perfumes.

The musk-rat of Muscovy might, perhaps, present singularities analogous
to those of the Canadian, and not less remarkable, but it does not
appear that any naturalist has yet had an opportunity to dissect, or
examine it alive. Of its exterior form alone we can speak, as that
sent from Lapland, for the king's cabinet, was in a dry state, and
therefore I can only add my regret that so little is known about it.


Among the animals of the New World, few species are more numerous, or
more remarkable, than that of the Mexican Hog.[V] (_fig. 116._) At the
first glance he resembles our wild boar, or rather the hog of Siam,
which, as we have already observed, is nothing more than a variety of
the wild boar; and for which reason this has been called the American
wild boar, or American hog. He is, however, of a distinct species,
and refuses to engender either with our wild or domestic kinds; a
circumstance of which I was convinced, by having reared one of these
animals in company with several sows.

[Footnote V: This animal has a variety of names; besides the above,
some call him _Tajassou_, _Tajacou_, _Paquira_, _Saino_, &c.]

He differs also from the hog in a number of characteristics, both
external and internal. He is less corpulent, and his legs are shorter;
in the stomach and intestines, there is a difference of conformation.
He has no tail, and his bristles are much stronger than those of the
wild boar; and, lastly, he has on his back, near the crupper, an
opening from which there is discharged an ichorous humor of a very
disagreeable smell. This is the only animal which has an opening in
this part of the body. In the civets, the badger, and the genet,
the reservoir for their perfume is situated beneath the parts of
generation; and in the musk-animal, and the musk-rat of Canada, we
find it under the belly. The moisture which exudes from this aperture
in the back of the Mexican hog, is secreted by large glands, which
M. Daubenton has described with much attention, as well as the other
singularities of this animal; Dr. Tyson also in the Philosophical
Transactions, No. 153, has given a good description of it. Without
minutely detailing the observations of these two able anatomists, I
shall barely remark, that the latter was mistaken in asserting that
this animal has three stomachs, or, as Mr. Ray says, a gizzard and
two stomachs. M. Daubenton plainly shews, that it is only one stomach
divided by two similar pouches, which give it the appearance of three;
that only one of these pouches has a pyrolus, or orifice below, for
the discharge of its contents; that, consequently, we ought to consider
the two others merely as appendages to, or rather portions of, the same

The Mexican hog might be rendered a domestic animal like the common
kind; he has nearly the same habits and natural inclinations; feeds
upon the same aliments, and his flesh, though more dry and lean, is not
unpalatable, and may be improved by castration. When killed, not only
the parts of generation, if the flesh is intended to be eaten, (as is
also done with the wild boar) must be taken instantly away, but also
the glands at the opening in the back, and which are common to both
male and female, must likewise be removed, for if this operation be
deferred for only half an hour, the flesh becomes utterly unfit to be

These animals are extremely numerous in all the warm climates of South
America. They go in herds of two or three hundred together, and unite,
like hogs, in the defence of each other. They are particularly fierce
when their young are attempted to be taken from them. They surround
their plunderers, attack them without fear, and frequently make their
lives pay the forfeit of their rashness. In their native country they
prefer the mountainous parts to the low and level grounds; neither do
they seek marshes nor mud, like our hogs, but remain in the forests,
where they subsist upon wild fruits, roots, and vegetables; they are an
unceasing enemy to all the serpent kinds, with which the uncultivated
forests of the New Continent abound: as soon as they perceive a serpent
or viper, they seize it with their fore hoofs, skin it in an instant,
and devour the flesh.

These animals are very prolific; the young ones follow the dam, and do
not separate from her till they are full grown. If taken young they
are very easily tamed, and soon lose all their natural ferocity, but
they never shew any signs of docility, but continue stupid, without
attachment, or even seeming to know the hand that feeds them. They do
no mischief, and may be permitted to run tame, without apprehending
any dangerous consequence. They seldom stray far from home, but return
of themselves to the sty: they never quarrel among each other, except
when they are fed in the same trough. At such times they have an angry
grunt, much stronger and harsher than that of a common hog; but they
seldom scream, only when suddenly surprised, or frightened, when they
have a shrill manner of blowing like the wild boar. When enraged they
draw their breath with great force, and point their bristles upward
which more resemble the sharp armour of the hedge-hog than the bristles
of the wild boar.

The species of the Mexican hog is preserved without alteration, and
altogether unmixed with that of the European hog, which has been
transported to, and become wild in, the forests of America. These
animals meet in the woods, and even herd together, and yet never
produce an intermediate breed. It is the same with the Guinea hog,
which has greatly multiplied in America, after being brought thither
from Africa.

However approximate the species of the European hog, the Guinea-hog,
and the peccari, may appear, it is, nevertheless, evident, that they
are each distinct, and separate from the others since they inhabit the
same climate without intermixture. Of the three, the strongest, most
robust, and most formidable, is our wild boar. The peccari, though
equally fierce, is yet less active, and inferior as to the engines of
defence, his tusks being much shorter. This animal dreads the cold, and
cannot subsist, without shelter, even in our temperate regions; nor can
our wild boar exist in countries which are very cold; therefore it is
impossible that either of them could have found a passage from the one
continent to the other, over any northern country; and therefore the
Mexican hog cannot be considered as an European hog degenerated, or
changed, by the climate of America, but as an animal peculiar to the
southern regions of that continent.

Ray and other naturalists, have maintained, that the humor discharged
from the back of the Mexican hog is a kind of musk, an agreeable
perfume, even as it exudes from the body of the animal; that it is
perceived at a considerable distance, and perfumes every place he
inhabits, and through which he passes. I have, I must own, a thousand
times experienced very contrary effects; for so disagreeable is the
smell of this moisture, on being separated from the body of the animal,
that I could not collect it without being exceedingly incommoded. It
becomes less foetid by being dried in the air, but never acquires
the agreeable smell of musk, or of civet; and naturalists would have
expressed themselves with more propriety, if they had compared it to
that of _castoreum_.


M. de la Borde says, there are two kinds of the Peccari, or Mexican
hog, in Cayenne, which never intermix; the largest of which is black,
excepting two white spots upon its jaws, and that the hair of the small
one is rather red; but I apprehend the differences are occasioned by
age, or some accidental circumstance. He adds, that those of the large
size do not associate with men; but that they live in the woods, upon
seeds, roots, and fruits; that they dig in the damp soils for worms,
and that they go in flocks of two or three hundred. It is no difficult
matter to shoot them, as, instead of flying, they collect together,
and will stand several discharges; nay, they will even attack the
dogs, and sometimes men. He mentions an instance where he was out with
a party that were surrounded by a flock of these hogs, who were not
to be intimidated by a continual firing, and could not be dispersed
until several of them were killed. When taken young, they are soon
rendered familiar, but they will not intermix with the domestic hogs.
When living in their natural state of freedom, they often reside in the
marshes, and will swim across rivers. Their flesh, though palatable, is
not so good as the common hog; it has a strong resemblance to that of
the hare, and is without lard or grease.

M. de la Borde speaks of another species of hog found in Guiana, which
he calls _patira_, in these terms: "The patira is about the size of the
small Mexican hog, and the only difference is the former having a white
stripe along the back; they live in large forests, and, in general,
herd in families. They will defend themselves against dogs, when hunted
by them: when likely to be overpowered, they seek shelter in hollow
trees, or in holes of the earth, that have been made by armadilloes,
which they entered backwards. To get them out, the hunters employ every
means to irritate them, (having first inclosed a space round the hole)
for when angry they will quit their retreat, and the men, standing
prepared, destroy them with pitchforks and sabres. If a hunter observes
a single one in a hole, and does not then wish to take it, he closes
up the entrance, and is sure to have him the next day. Their flesh
is superior to that of other hogs. When caught young they are easily
rendered domestic, but even then they preserve their natural inveteracy
against dogs, whom they attack on all occasions. They constantly live
in the marshes, unless when entirely covered with water. The females
produce two at a time, and they breed at all seasons of the year. Their
hair is soft, like that of the Mexican hog. When tamed they follow
their masters, and allow themselves to be handled by those they know,
but strangers they always threaten by shewing their teeth."


The Roussette[W] and the Rougette[X] seem to form two distinct species,
but they so nearly resemble each other that they ought not to be
presented apart, as they differ only in the size of the body and colour
of the hair. The Great Ternat, (_fig. 117._) whose hair is of a reddish
brown, is nine inches in length, from the tip of the nose to the
insertion of the tail, and in breadth three feet, when the membranes,
which serve it for wings, are fully extended. The Rougette, whose hair
is of a reddish ash colour, is hardly more than five inches and a half
in length, and two feet in breadth, when the wings are extended; and
its neck is half encircled with a stripe of lively red, intermixed with
orange, of which we perceive no vestige on the neck of the roussette.
They both belong to nearly the same hot climates of the old continent,
are met with in Madagascar, in the island of Bourbon, in Ternat, the
Philippines, and other islands of the Indian Archipelago, where they
seem to be more common than on the neighbouring continents.

[Footnote W: Also called the Flying Dog, and the Great Bat of

[Footnote X: Or the Red-necked Flying Dog.]

In the hot countries of the New World, there is another flying
quadruped, of which we know not the American name, but shall call it
Vampyre, because it sucks the blood of men, and other animals while
asleep, without causing sufficient pain to awaken them. This American
animal is of a different species from the bats just mentioned, both of
which are to be found solely in Africa, and in the southern parts of

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 117. _Ternat Bat._]

[Illustration: FIG. 118. _Bull Dog Bat_]

[Illustration: FIG: 119. _Senegal Bat_]

The vampyre[Y] is smaller than the rougette, which is itself smaller
than the roussette. The first, when it flies, seems to be of the
size of a pigeon, the second of a raven, and the third of a large
hen. Both the roussette and rougette have well shaped heads, short
ears, and round noses, nearly like that of a dog. Of the vampyre, on
the contrary, the nose is long, the aspect as hideous as that of the
ugliest bats; its head is unshapely, and its ears are large, open, and
very erect; its noise is deformed, its nostrils resembling a funnel,
with a membrane at the top, which rises up in the form of a sharp horn,
or cock's-comb, and greatly heightens the deformity of its face. There
is no doubt, therefore, that this species is different from the Ternat
bats. It is an animal not less mischievous than it is deformed; it is
the pest of man, and the torment of other animals. In confirmation of
this, the authentic testimony of M. de la Condamine may be produced.
"The bats," says he, "which suck the blood of horses, mules, and even
men, when they do guard against it by sleeping under the shelter
of a pavilion, are a scourge common to most of the hot countries of
America. Of these some are of a monstrous size. At Borja, and several
other places, they have entirely destroyed the large cattle which the
missionaries had brought thither, and which had begun to multiply."
These facts are confirmed by many other historians and travellers.
Petrus Martyr, who wrote not long after the conquest of South America,
says, that there are bats in the isthmus of Darien which suck the blood
of men and animals while they are asleep, so as to much weaken, and
frequently kill them. Jumilla, Don George Juan, and Don Ant. de Ulloa,
assert the same. Though from the above testimonies it appears that
these blood-sucking bats are numerous, particularly in South America,
yet we have not been able to obtain a single individual. Seba has
presented us with a figure and description of this animal, of which the
nose is so extraordinary, that I am astonished travellers should not
have remarked a deformity so palpable as to strike the most superficial
beholder; possibly the animal of which Seba gives the figure, is not
the same with that which we distinguish by the name of the vampyre, or
blood-sucker; It is also possible, that this figure of Seba's is false
or exaggerated, or at least that this deformed nose is only a monstrous
accidental variety; though of these deformities there may be found
permanent examples in some other species of bats. By time alone will
these obscurities be removed.

[Footnote Y: An American animal called the Great American Bat, or
Flying Dog of New Spain.]

Both the roussette and rougette are in the cabinet of the King of
France; and it is to the island of Bourbon that we are indebted
for them. They belong exclusively to the Old Continent; and in no
part either of Africa or Asia are they so numerous as the vampyre
is in America. These animals are larger, stronger, and perhaps more
mischievous than the vampyre. But it is by open force, and in the day
as well as night, that they commit hostilities. Fowls and small birds
are the objects of their destructive fury; they even attack men, and
wound their faces; but no traveller has accused them of sucking the
blood of men and animals while asleep.

The ancients had but an imperfect knowledge of these winged quadrupeds,
which may, indeed, be termed monsters; and it is probable, that from
those whimsical models of Nature, they received the idea of harpies.
The wings, the teeth, the claws, the cruelty, the voracity; the
nastiness, and all the destructive qualities, and noxious faculties of
the harpies, bear no small resemblance to those of the Ternat bat.
Herodotus seems to have denoted them, when he mentions that there were
large bats which greatly incommoded the men employed in collecting
cassia round the marshes of Asia, and that, to shield themselves from
the dangerous bites of these animals, they were obliged to cover
the body and face with leather. Strabo speaks of very large bats in
Mesopotamia, whose flesh was palatable. Among the moderns, these
large bats have been mentioned, though in vague terms, by Albertus,
Isidorus, and Scaliger. With more precision have they been treated of
by Linscot, Nicholas Matthias, and Francis Pyrard; Oliger Jacobeus has
given a short description of them with a figure; and lastly, in Seba,
and in Edwards, we find well-executed description and figures, which
correspond with our own.

The Ternat bats are carnivorous animals, voracious, and possessed of
an appetite for every thing that offers. In a dearth of flesh or fish,
they feed on vegetables and fruits of every kind. They are fond of
the juice of the palm-tree, and it is easy to take them by placing
near their retreats vessels filled with palm-tree water, or any other
fermented liquor, with which they are sure to intoxicate themselves.
They fasten themselves to trees, and hang from them by their claws.
They usually fly in flocks, and more by night than by day. Places
which are much frequented they shun, and their favourite residence is
uninhabited islands. To copulation they are strongly inclined. In the
male the sex is very apparent, and not concealed in a scabbard, like
that of quadrupeds, but extends forwards from the body, nearly as it
does in the ape. In the female the sex is equally conspicuous; she
has but two nipples, and those situated upon the breast; she produces
more than once a year, but the number at each time is but small. Their
flesh, when young, is not unpalatable; the Indians[Z] are fond of it,
and compare its flavour to that of the partridge or the rabbit.

[Footnote Z: The Moors and Malayans are most certainly meant, as the
Indians neither eat nor kill any animal. Lett. M. La Nux.]

The American travellers unanimously agree, that the great bats of the
new continent suck the blood both of men and animals while they are
asleep, and without awakening them. Of this singular fact, no mention
is made by any of the Asiatic or African travellers, who speak of the
Ternat bats. Their silence, nevertheless, is no adequate proof of their
being guiltless, especially as they have so many other resemblances
to those great bats, which we denominated vampyres. I have, therefore,
thought it worth while to examine how it is possible that these animals
should suck the blood of a person asleep, without causing a pain
so sensible as to awake him. Were they to cut the flesh with their
teeth, which are as large as those of other quadrupeds of the same
size, the pain of the bite would effectually rouse any of the human
species, however soundly asleep; and the repose of animals is more
easily disturbed than that of man. Thus it would also be, were they to
inflict the wound with their claws. With their tongue only, then, is
it possible for them to make such minute apertures in the skin, as to
imbibe the blood through them, and to open the veins without causing an
acute pain.

The tongue of the vampyre I have not had an opportunity of observing,
but those of several Ternat bats which M. Daubenton attentively
examined, seemed to indicate the possibility of the fact; their tongues
were sharp, and full of prickles directed backward; and it appears
that these prickles, or points, from their exceeding minuteness, may
be insinuated into the pores of the skin, and may penetrate them so
deep as to command a flow of the blood, by the continued function
of the tongue. But it is needless to reason upon a fact of which all
the circumstances are imperfectly known to us, and of which some are
perhaps exaggerated, or erroneously related.


Among other remarks which I received from the ingenious M. de la
Nux upon this work, after its first publication, were the following
respecting these animals. He says, in general terms, that the size and
number of the Great Ternat Bats are both exaggerated; that instead of
attacking men they invariably endeavour to get from them, consequently
never bite but when taken, or defending themselves, which they do then
most dreadfully; and that instead of being ferocious animals, they
are perfectly gentle in their dispositions. Speaking from his own
experience, he says, both the great and small Ternat bats are natives
of Bourbon, the isles of France, and Madagascar, in the former of
which he had resided upwards of fifty years; when he first arrived
there they were very numerous in many places where at present they are
not to be found, and for these reasons, that the forests were then
adjacent to them, which had been cleared away by the settlements, and
that it is only in forests they can subsist; besides, they bring forth
but once a year, and are hunted, both by whites and negroes, for the
sake of their flesh and grease. The females are in season about the
month of May, and produce towards the end of September. They appear
to come to maturity in about eight months, since there are no small
ones to be seen after April or May, and the young are to be known
from the old by their colours being more vivid: they become grey with
age, but it is uncertain at what period; at this time their flesh is
very disagreeable, and their fat alone, of which they have plenty
during the summer, is eaten by the negroes. They never feed upon any
kind of flesh, but entirely on bananas, peaches, and other fruits and
flowers with which these forests abound: they are exceedingly fond
of the juices of certain umbellated flowers; and it is possibly for
the purpose of sucking the different species of them that they have
such a number of sharp papillæ on their tongues. They never touch the
skins of the mango, perhaps because it is resinous. Some of them
which have been caught, and kept alive, have been known to eat bread
and sugar-canes, but I believe, even in that state, no kind of meat,
either raw or prepared. There cannot be any thing to apprehend from
these animals, either personally, or even for poultry, because they are
incapable of seizing upon the smallest bird, for if they come too near
the ground they fall, and are then under the necessity of climbing up
some elevated object before they can resume their flight, and in this
case they climb up the first thing they meet with, even if it be a man.
They trail their bodies along, consequently move very slow, and which
is of itself sufficient to prove their incapacity for seizing birds.
These animals, when going to take wing, cannot, like birds, dart at
once into the air, but are obliged to beat their wings several times
to fill them, and to release their claws from what they have hold of,
and even then the weight of their bodies frequently bears them to the
ground; from this necessity of filling their wings they cannot take
flight from any part of the tree, but are obliged to crawl to a part
of the branch where they can act with perfect freedom. They are much
alarmed at the firing of a gun, or at a peal of thunder; and if a
large flock of them, resting upon a tree, are surprised by either of
these reports, in their haste to fly, numbers of them fall to the
ground, not having sufficient air in their wings; in this case they
hasten to climb up the first object they met with; let us therefore
only suppose that object to be a traveller unacquainted with these
animals; he would naturally be struck with terror at being suddenly
surrounded with a number of creatures of such an ugly form and aspect,
and especially when they began to climb up his body; he would of course
endeavour to extricate himself from them, and they, in turn, finding
themselves roughly treated, might begin to scratch and bite. Would
not a circumstance of this nature be sufficient to give rise to the
idea that these bats were ferocious animals, rushing upon men for the
purpose of wounding and destroying them? when the whole would arise
from the rencounter of different animals mutually afraid of each other.
They are led to reside in forests by instinct, it being there only
they can procure subsistence, and not from any savage disposition;
besides this, neither of these bats ever light upon carrion, nor do
they eat upon the ground, but generally in a hanging posture, and which
appears to be necessary when they feed all of which is surely enough
to prove they are neither carnivorous, voracious, nor cruel animals;
and as their flight is both heavy and noisy, there cannot remain a
doubt of their being a species very distant from the vampyre. The great
Ternat bats have also been charged with feeding on fish, because they
sometimes fly very near the water; but this is equally untrue, for it
is certain that they live entirely on vegetables, and it is solely for
the purpose of washing themselves that they go so near the water, being
an exceedingly clean animal, for of the numbers I have killed I never
found dirt upon any of them.

When near, the great Ternat bat is certainly rather disgustful, and all
his motions are disagreeable, and it is only when perched on a tree
that his natural deformity is concealed; he then hangs with his head
downward, his wings are folded close to his sides, his vibrating wings,
which are his greatest defects, as well as hind paws, by which he is
suspended, are concealed, and there then appears only a round plump
body, covered with a clean, smooth brown hair, terminated with a head
rather agreeable than otherwise. This is the only attitude in which
they take repose, they frequently remain in it the greatest part of
the day, and in it they are seen to the greatest advantage, especially
if they are at the height of 40 or 50 feet, and about 100 feet
distant. The great Ternat bat is always placed for shew with his wings
extended, by which means he is seen to the greatest disadvantage. The
representation given of him in your work is not exact, as they never
rest with their four feet on the ground. Both species are excellent
food, and have never been known to produce any bad effects, although
frequently eaten to excess; nor is that in the least surprising when we
consider they feed entirely on ripe fruits, the juices, flowers, and
according to Herodotus, "the exudations of trees."


The Senegal Bat[AA] (_fig. 119._) or as it is called by some, the
Marmotte Volante, is of a dark brown colour upon its head and back,
with a light mixture, which increasing under the belly, renders that
considerably paler; the tail, as well as the membrane of the wings,
are quite black. That which I saw and had been brought from Senegal,
by M. Adanson, was not more than four inches in length, and his wings
extended to about 21 inches; his head was long, ears short, and his
nose rather pointed; he had 20 teeth in the whole, two incisive, two
canine, and eight grinders in the upper jaw and six incisive and two
canine in the under.

[Footnote AA: Of this and the two following Mr. Pennant's Synopsis
contains very accurate descriptions.]


The Bull-Dog Bat, (_fig. 118._) has a short thick nose, and large broad
ears, which bend forward. The greatest part of its body is a dark
ash-colour; the middle of its belly is brown, and its chest and throat
a clear ash, without any mixture; the tail and membrane of the wings
are nearly black, from the latter of which there comes a part of the
tail, composed of five false vertebræ. It has 26 teeth, two incisive,
and two canine, in each jaw; eight grinders in the upper, and ten in
the lower; it is not more than two inches in length, measuring from the
top of the nose, nor does its wings extend to quite ten.


The head of this bat (_fig. 120._) is very peculiarly constructed; the
nose is sunk in the front, and, contrary to all other animals, it has
not its nostrils divided by a partition, but are placed on the sides of
a kind of gutter entirely open from one end to the other; the exterior
edges of them join above the upper lip, forming a cavity from thence to
the front, where it terminates with a deep hole covered all round with
long hairs. It has long narrow ears; the hair on the top and hind part
of the head, along the neck, back, tail, and shoulders, is of a reddish
brown, and all the remainder is of a yellowish white; the membrane of
the wings and tail have a kind of mixture of black and reddish brown
and its claws are yellow. Its body is about an inch and a half long,
and its wings extend to about seven.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 121. _Polatouch_]

[Illustration: FIG. 120. _Bearded Bat_]

[Illustration: FIG. 122. _Swiss Squirrel_]

[Illustration: FIG. 123. _Palmist_]


This bat is very small, has a short nose and broad ears, bending
forward; it is of a whitish yellow colour, excepting under its throat,
breast, and belly, which is a light blue, with a yellow shade; the
tail, and membrane of the wings are a mixture of yellow and brown.


I have chosen to continue the name this animal bears in Russia, its
native country, rather than to adopt those vague and uncertain ones
since appropriated to it, such as, the Flying-rat, Flying-squirrel, &c.

The Polatouch (_fig. 121._) resembles but in a few particulars either
the squirrel, loir, or rat. To the squirrel it has no affinity but in
the largeness of the eyes, and form of the tail, the latter of which,
however, is neither so long, nor bushy as in the former. He is more
like the loir by the shape of his body, his short and naked ears, and
the hairs of his tail, which are of the same form and length; but he
is not like him, subject to numbness in cold weather. The polatouch
is a different species from the squirrel rat, or dormouse, though
he participates of the nature of all three. M. Klein gave the first
exact description of this animal, in the Philosophical Transactions,
1733; he was, however, known long before that time. He is found in the
northern parts both of the ancient and New Continent,[AB] but he is
more common in America than in Europe, where he is seldom seen, except
in Lithuania and Russia. This little animal dwells upon trees, like the
squirrel; he goes from branch to branch, and when he leaps from one
tree to another, his loose skin stretches forward by his fore-legs, and
backward by his hind ones; his skin thus stretched and drawn outwardly
more than an inch, increases the surface of his body, without adding to
its weight, and consequently retards the acceleration of his fall, so
that he is enabled to reach in one leap a great distance. This motion
is not like the flight of a bird, nor the fluttering of a bat, both
of which are made by striking the air with repeated vibrations. It is
one single leap, caused by the first impulsion, the motion of which is
prolonged, because the body of the animal presents to the air a larger
surface, and thence finds a greater resistance, and falls more slowly.
This singular extension of the skin is peculiar to the polatouch, and
this characteristic is sufficient to distinguish him from all other
squirrels, rats, or dormice. But the most singular things in Nature
are not unparalleled; there is another animal of the same kind, with a
similar skin, which is not only stretched from one leg to another, but
from the head to the tail. This animal, whose figure and description
has been given by Seba, under the denomination of the flying-squirrel
of Virginia, seems so different from the polatouch, as to constitute
another species; though probably it may be only a simple variety, or
an accidental and monstrous production, for no traveller or naturalist
makes mention of it. Seba is the only one who has seen it in the
cabinet of Vincent; and I always distrust descriptions of animals made
in cabinets of curiosities, which are often disfigured to make them
appear more extraordinary.

[Footnote AB: The Hurons of Canada have three different species of
squirrels. The Flying-squirrels are frequent in North America, but they
have been lately found in Poland.]

I have seen and kept a long while the living polatouch. He has been
well described by travellers, particularly Sagard, Theodat, John of
Laet, Fernandes, Le Hontan, Denys, Catesby, Dumont, Le Pague du Pratz,
&c. and Messrs. Klein, Seba, and Edwards, have given exact descriptions
of him, with his figure. What I have seen of this animal agrees with
their relations. He is commonly smaller than a squirrel. That which we
had weighed little more than two ounces, about the weight of a middling
sized bat, and the squirrel weighs eight or nine ounces. However, there
are some of a greater size, since we have a skin of a polatouch much
larger than usual.

The polatouch has some analogy with the bat by this extension of the
skin, which unites the fore and hind legs, and supports him in the
air; he seems also to participate of his nature, for he is quiet and
sleepy in the day time, having no activity but towards the evening.
He is easily tamed, but soon offended, and must be kept in a cage, or
fastened with a small chain; he feeds upon bread, fruits, seeds, and
is remarkably fond of the buds and shoots of the birch and pine trees.
He does not seek after nuts and almonds like a squirrel. He makes
a bed of leaves, in which he buries himself, and sleeps through the
day, leaving it only in the night, or when pressed by hunger. As he
has little agility, he becomes easily the prey of martens, and other
animals who climb up the trees, so that the species is not numerous,
although they have commonly three or four young at a time.


In the original work I remarked having seen the skin of a polatouch
larger than the common size, but the difference was very trifling,
to one the Prince de Condé has since permitted me to examine, whose
bulk was perfectly gigantic, compared with those of Russia or America,
the latter never exceeding five inches in length, and this measured
twenty-three. It was taken upon the Malabar coast, where they are
very common, as well as in the Philippine Islands, and other parts
of India, where they are called taguans, or great flying squirrels;
but notwithstanding they resemble the polatouch in figure, and the
extension of their skin, yet I think they ought to be considered as
different species; for among other varieties, the tail of the taguan
is round, and that of the common kind flat; the hair of the former's
tail is also of a blackish brown, the face is quite black, the sides of
the head have a mixture of white hairs, and on the nose and round the
eyes, there are also some red ones; it has long brown hairs that cover
the neck, the whole back is a mixture of black and white, the belly of
a dirty white; the upper part of the extended skin is brown, and the
under a greyish yellow, the legs black with a reddish shade, the tail
brown, deepening by degrees until it becomes quite black at the end,
the toes are black, and the claws hooked like those of the cat, from
which, and the resemblance of the tail, it has been called by some the
flying cat. M. de Vosmaër, in his Description of an _Ecureuil Volant_,
gives a very particular account of both species, as does M. l'Abbé
Prevost, and both of which perfectly coincide with the above.

At this time, March 17, 1775, I have one of the small species alive;
I kept it in a cage, with a box at the bottom filled with cotton, in
which it covers itself all day, and only comes out at night to seek
for food. Whenever it is forced to come out, it cries somewhat like a
mouse; its teeth are small, but sharp, and it bites violently; it can
only be made to extend its wings by letting it fall from some height;
and it is so very chilly, that I am astonished how it preserves itself
in the northern climates, since it would very soon perish, even in
France, if it were not supplied with plenty of cotton to cover itself
all over.

Of the Great Flying Squirrel M. de Vosmaër remarks, "that it has a
great affinity to the smaller species described by M. de Buffon;
they both have the same kind of membranes, with which they support
themselves in the air when they leap from tree to tree." These animals
were first mentioned by Valentine, who states them to be found in the
island of Gilolo, where they are called _flying civets_; he describes
them to have long tails, and says, when at rest their wings are not
to be seen; that they are very wild and fearful; that their heads are
reddish, intermixed with grey, that their membranes are covered with
hair, their teeth so strong and sharp that they would soon escape from
a wooden cage; that they are sometimes called _flying monkeys_; and
that they are also to be met with in the island of Ternat, where they
were at first mistaken for squirrels.

M. l'Abbé Prevost says, it is also found in the Philippine Islands,
where it is called _taguan_; that he saw two females, the one at the
Hague, whose body was a light chesnut, rather darker on the back, and
black towards the extremity of the tail; and that he had also seen
two males in the Prince of Orange's cabinet, which were one foot five
inches long in the body, and their tails one foot eight. The hind part
of their heads, back, and the commencement of the tail are covered with
long hairs, black at the bottom, and of a greyish white at the ends;
the other part of the tail is black, and the hair is so disposed as to
make the tail have a round appearance, the cheeks are brown, and their
throats, breasts, and bellies are of a whitish grey. The membranes are
the thinnest in the middle where they are covered with chesnut hairs,
increasing in thickness towards the paws, and the colour growing darker
until it is nearly black at the extremities.


This animal is found in the northern parts of both continents. He is in
shape like a common squirrel, and his external difference consists in
his being larger, and the colour of his hair not being red, but of a
grey more or less deep; his ears are not so hairy towards the extremity
as those of our squirrels. These differences, which are constant, seem
sufficient to constitute a particular species. Many authors think this
species is different in Europe and America, and that the grey squirrels
of the former are of the common kind, and that they change their colour
with the season in the northern climates. Without denying absolutely
this assertion, which does not seem sufficiently proved, we look upon
the grey squirrel of Europe and America as the same animal, and as a
distinct species from common squirrels, who are found in the northern
parts of both continents, being of the same size, and of a red, more or
less bright according to the temperature of the country.

At the same time, other squirrels of a larger size, whose hair is grey,
or somewhat black, in all seasons, breed in the same latitude. Besides,
the fur of the grey squirrel is more fine and soft than that of our
squirrels; we are, therefore, authorised to believe that though very
nearly alike, they ought to be distinguished as different species.

M. Regnard says affirmatively, that the grey squirrels of Lapland are
the same animals as the French squirrels. This assertion is so positive
that it would be satisfactory were it not contradicted by others; M.
Regnard has written excellent dramatic pieces, but he did not give a
sufficient application to Natural History, nor did he continue long
enough in Lapland to see the squirrels change their colour. It is true
that some naturalists, and among them Linnæus, have said, that in the
north of Europe the hair of the squirrel changes colour in the winter.
This may be true, for the hares, wolves, and weasels, also change their
colour in those climates; but from red they grow white, not grey; and
to give no other instance but that of the squirrel, Linnæus in the
_Fauna Suecica_, says, _æstate ruber hieme incanus_, consequently
from red he becomes white; and we do not see why this author should
substitute for the word _incanus_ that of _cinereus_, which is found
in the last edition of the _Systema Naturæ_. M. Klein asserts, on the
contrary, that the squirrels in the vicinity of Dantzic, are red in the
winter as well as in the summer, and that there are others frequently
found in Poland grey and blackish, who do not change their colour any
more than the red; these last also breed in Canada, and in all parts
of North America, consequently we may consider the grey squirrel as an
animal common to both continents, and of a different species from that
of the common squirrel.

Besides, we do not perceive that the squirrels which are very frequent
in our forests unite in troops; we do not see them travel in companies,
approach the waters, nor cross rivers upon the bark of trees. Thus
they differ from the grey squirrels, not only in size and colour but
in natural habits; for although the navigations of the grey squirrels
seem almost incredible, they are attested by so many witnesses that we
cannot deny the fact.[AC]

[Footnote AC: The grey squirrels frequently remove their place of
residence, and it not unoften happens that not one can be seen one
winter where they were in multitudes the year before; they go in
large bodies, and when they want to cross a lake or river, they seize
a piece of the bark of a birch or lime, and drawing it to the edge
of the water, get upon it, and trust themselves to the hazard of the
wind and waves, erecting their tails to serve the purpose of sails;
they sometimes form a fleet of three or four thousand, and if the
wind proves too strong, a general shipwreck ensues, to the no small
emolument of the Laplander who may fortunately find their bodies on the
shore, as, if they have not lain too long, their furs will prepare in
the usual manner; but if the winds are favourable they are certain to
make their desired port. _Oeuvres de M. Regnard, tom. i. p. 163._]

Of all quadrupeds that are not domestic, the squirrel is, perhaps, the
most subject to vary in shape and colour, and whose species has the
greatest numbers of others that approach it. The white squirrel of
Siberia seems to differ only in colour from our common squirrel. The
black and the grey of America are, perhaps, only varieties of the grey
squirrel. The squirrels of Barbary, Switzerland, and the palmist, are
three species very much like each other.

We have very little information with regard to the grey squirrel.
Fernandes says, that the grey or blackish squirrels of America dwell
upon trees, particularly upon pines; that they feed upon fruits and
seeds; that they provide provisions for the winter, and heap it up in
some hollow tree, where they retire during that season, and where the
female brings forth her young. The grey squirrel differs, then, from
the others who make their nests at the tops of trees like birds, yet
we do not pretend to affirm that the blackish squirrel, mentioned by
Fernandes, is the same as the grey squirrel of Virginia, or that both
of them are the same as the grey squirrel of Europe; we only think it
is probable, as these three animals are nearly of the same size and
colour, inhabit the same climates, are precisely of a similar form, and
their skins being equally used in the furs, called the fur of the grey


The palmist is about the size of a rat, or a small squirrel; he lives
upon the palm-trees, from which he takes his name. Some call him the
palm-rat, and others the palm-tree squirrel; but as he is neither a rat
nor a squirrel, we call him palmist. (_fig. 123._) His head is nearly
the same form as that of the campagnol, and covered with rough hair.
His long tail does not lie on the ground, like that of the rat, but
he carries it erect vertically, without, however, throwing it down on
his back like the squirrel; it is covered with hair longer than that
of his body, but shorter than the hair of the tail of a squirrel. His
back is variegated with white and brown stripes, which distinguish
the palmist from all other animals, except the squirrels of Barbary
and Switzerland. These three animals are so much alike, that Mr. Ray
thought they made but one species; but if we consider that the palmist
and the squirrel of Barbary, are only found in the warm climates of the
ancient continent, and that the squirrel of Switzerland, described by
Lister, Catesby, and Edwards, is only to be met with in the cold and
temperate regions of the New World, we must judge them to be different
species. By minute observation it is easy to perceive that the white
and brown stripes of the Swiss are disposed differently from those of
the palmist, whose white stripe extends all along the back, while it
is black or brown in the Swiss; and this brown stripe in the latter
is followed by a white stripe, in the same manner as the white stripe
in the former is by a brown; besides, the palmist has but three white
stripes, while the Swiss has four; he also brings down his tail on
his back, which the palmist does not: the latter dwells upon trees,
and the Swiss is an inhabitant of the earth; from which difference he
is called the land squirrel. In fine, he is smaller than the palmist,
consequently there can be no doubt of their being two different species.

As for the squirrel of Barbary, as he is of the same continent and
climate, of the same size, and nearly the same form as the palmist,
they might be considered as varieties of the same species; yet in
comparing the description and figure of the squirrel of Barbary, given
by Caius, and copied by Aldrovandus and Johnson, with the description
given here of the palmist, and comparing afterwards the description
and figure of the squirrel of Barbary, given by Edwards, it is easy to
discern that they are different animals. We have seen them all in the
king's cabinet. The squirrel of Barbary has the head and forehead more
round, the ears longer, and the tail more bushy than the palmist; he is
more like a squirrel than a rat, by the form of his head and body; and
a palmist resembles more a rat than a squirrel. The squirrel of Barbary
has four white stripes, and the palmist has no more than three; the
white stripe is on the palmist's back bone, but that on the squirrel
of Barbary is brown and red. These animals have very near the same
habits and dispositions as the common squirrel. Like him they feed upon
fruit, and use their fore paws in carrying it to the mouth; they have
the same voice and cry, the same instinct, and agility; they are lively
and tractable, easily tamed, and so fond of their habitations, that
they never go out but on diversion, and return spontaneously to their
residence. They are both of a pretty figure; their coats, which has
white stripes, is more valuable than that of the squirrel; their size
is shorter, their body lighter, and their motions equally quick. The
palmist, and the squirrel of Barbary, dwell on trees like the common
squirrel, but the Swiss lives upon the earth, and, like the field
mouse, forms a retreat that the water cannot penetrate; he is also less
docile and less gentle than the two others; he bites without mercy,
except completely tamed, from which it appears he is more like a rat,
or a field mouse, than a squirrel, by instinct and nature.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 124. _Great Ant Eater._]

[Illustration: FIG. 125. _Short tail'd Manis._]

[Illustration: FIG. 126. _Long tail'd Ditto._]


South America produces three animals with a long snout, a small mouth,
without teeth, and a large round tongue; with which they penetrate
into the ants' nests, and draw them out again when covered with those
insects, which are their principal food. The first of these ant-eaters
is that which the Brasilians call Tamandua-Gaucu, or Great Tamandua,
and to which the French settled in America have given the name of
Tamanoir. This animal (_fig. 124._) is about four feet in length from
the extremity of the muzzle to the origin of its tail; his head is
fourteen or fifteen inches long, his muzzle stretches out to a great
length; his tail is two feet and a half long, is covered with rough
hair, more than a foot in length; his neck is short, his head narrow,
his eyes black and small, his ears round, his tongue thin, more than
two feet long, and which he folds up in his mouth. His legs are but
one foot high; the fore-legs are a little higher, and more slender
than those behind: he has round feet; the fore-feet are armed with four
claws, the two middle ones are the longest; those behind have five
claws. The hair of his tail and body are black and white. Upon the tail
they are disposed in a bunch, which he turns up on his back, and covers
with it his whole body, when he is inclined to sleep, or wants to
shelter himself from the rain or heat of the sun. The long hair of his
tail and of his body is not round in all its extent; it is flat towards
the ends, and feels like dry grass. He waves his tail frequently and
hastily when he is irritated, but it hangs down when he is composed,
and sweeps along the ground. The hair of the fore-part of his body is
longer than that on the hind part. On the neck and back it is somewhat
erect, and towards the tail, and on the flanks, close to the skin; his
fore-parts are variegated with white, and his hind-parts wholly black;
he has also a white stripe on the breast, which extends on the sides
of the body and terminates on the back near the thighs; his hind-legs
are almost black, and the fore-legs almost white, with a large black
spot towards the middle. The Great Ant-eater moves so slow that a man
can easily overtake him in running; his feet seem less calculated to
walk than to climb, and to fasten round bodies; for he holds so fast a
branch, or a stick, that it is not possible to force it from him.

The second of these animals is called by the Americans only Tamandua;
he is much smaller than the former, being not above eighteen inches
from the extremities of the muzzle to the tail; his head is five inches
long, his muzzle crooked, and long; his tail ten inches long, without
hair at the end; his ears are erect, and about an inch long; his tongue
is round, eight inches long, and placed in a sort of hollow canal
within the lower jaw; his legs are not above four inches in height, his
feet are of the same form, and have the same number of claws as the
Great Ant-Eater. He climbs and holds fast a branch, or a stick, like
the former, and his motions are equally slow. He cannot cover himself
with his tail, the hair being short, and the end almost bare. When he
sleeps he hides his head under his neck and fore-legs.

The third of these animals, the natives of Guiana call _ouatiriouaou_.
He is still smaller than the second, being not above six or seven
inches in length from the extremities of the snout to the tail; his
head is two inches long; and his muzzle proportionally short; his tail
is seven inches in length, the hair curls downwards, and it is bare
at the end; his tongue is narrow, long, and flat; his neck is very
short, his head big in proportion to the body; his eyes are placed low,
and at a little distance from the corners of the mouth, his ears are
small, and hidden by the hair; his legs are but three inches long, the
fore-feet have only two claws, the outward of which is much thicker
and longer than the inward; the hind feet have four claws, the hair of
the body is about nine inches long; smooth, and of a shining colour,
diversified with red and yellow, his feet are not made to walk, but to
climb and to take hold of branches of trees, on which he hangs himself
by the extremity of his tail.

We know of these kind of animals only the three species we have
mentioned. M. Brisson, after Seba, speaks of a fourth species, under
the denomination of the _long-eared ant-eater_, but we doubt its
existence; because Seba has been guilty of more than one error in
enumerating animals of this kind; he says expressly, "we preserve in
our cabinet six species called ant-eaters," and yet he gave only a
description of five; and amongst them he reckoned the _ysquiepatl_, or
_mouffette_, an animal, not only of a species, but even of a genus,
widely different from the ant-eaters, as he has teeth, and a flat
short tongue, like other quadrupeds, and comes very near a kind of
weasels or martens. Out of these six species, pretended to be preserved
in the cabinet of Seba, four only remain, as the ysquiepatl, which
he reckoned the fifth, is no ant-eater, and the sixth is not even
mentioned, unless the author meant to comprehend among these animals
the _Pangolin_ or scaly lizard, which he does not intimate in his
description of that animal. The scaly lizard feeds upon ants; he has
a long muzzle, a narrow mouth, without visible teeth, and the tongue
round; characteristics which he has in common with ant-eaters; but
he differs from it as well as from all other quadrupeds, by having
the body covered with thick scales instead of hair. Besides, this
animal belongs to the hottest climates of the old continent, and the
ant-eaters, whose bodies are covered with hair, are found only in the
southern parts of the new world. There are therefore no more than
four species instead of six, mentioned by Seba, and out of these four
there is but one species discernible by its description; which is
our third or smallest ant-eater, to whom Seba allows but one claw to
each foot, though he has two. The three others are so imperfectly
described, that they cannot be traced to their true species. One may
judge by this of the credit which Seba's voluminous book deserves.
This animal which he calls _tamandua murmecophage_ of America, and
the figure of which he has given[AD], cannot be compared with either
of the three we are now treating of, it is sufficient to be convinced
of his error by reading his description. The second which he terms
_tamandua-guacu_ of Brasil, or the _bear ant-eater_, is described in
a vague, equivocal manner; yet I am inclined to think with Klein and
Linnæus, that he meant the true tamandua-guacu, or great ant-eater, but
it is so badly described, and so imperfectly represented, that Linnæus
has comprehended, under one species, the first and second of Seba's
animals. M. Brisson considered the last as a particular species, but I
do not believe his establishment of this species better founded than
his criticism on M. Klein, for having confounded it with that of the
great ant-eater. The only just reproach M. Klein has incurred, is to
have added to the good description he has given of this animal, the
erroneous indications of Seba. In fine, the third of these animals,
whose figure is given in that work, is so badly described, that I
cannot persuade myself, notwithstanding the respect I have for Linnæus
and Brisson's authority, this animal from Seba's description and figure
can be the middle ant-eater; I only wish that his description may
be attended to in order to judge of its fallacy. These discussions,
although tedious and disagreeable, cannot be avoided in the details of
a Natural History. Before we write upon a subject very little known, we
must, as much as possible, remove all obscurities, and point out the
numberless errors before we can come to the truth. The result of this
criticism is a proof that three species of ant-eaters really exist,
namely the _tamanoir_, the _tamandua_, and the _ouatiriouaou_, and that
the fourth called the _long-eared ant-eaters_, mentioned by M. Brisson,
is doubtful, as well as the other species indicated by Seba. I have
seen the first and last with their skins, in the king's cabinet; and
they are certainly very different from each other. We have not seen the
tamandua, but have described it, after Piso and Marcgrave, the only
authors that ought to be consulted upon this animal, as all others
have only copied them. The tamandua, and the small ant-eater have the
extremities of their tails bare, with which they hang on the branches
of trees, and when they perceive hollows, they put their tongues
within, and draw them instantly back in their mouths, to swallow the
insects which they have gathered.

[Footnote AD: Seba, tom. I, p. 60, tab. 37. fig. 2.]

These three animals, so different in size and proportions of the body,
have many things in common, both as to conformation and instinct. All
feed upon ants, and put their tongues into honey, and other liquid
and viscous substances; they gather quickly crumbs of bread and small
pieces of meat; they are easily tamed; they can subsist a long while
without food; they do not swallow all the liquor which they take into
their mouths, a part returning through their nostrils; they commonly
sleep in the day-time, and change their station in the night; they go
so slow that a man may overtake them easily whilst running in open
ground. The savages eat their flesh, but which has an unsavoury taste.

The great ant-eater looks, at a distance, like a fox, and for that
reason some travellers call him the American fox; he is strong enough
to defend himself against a large dog, and even the jaguar. When
attacked he at first fights standing on his hind legs, like the bear,
and makes use of his fore claws, which are powerful weapons; afterwards
he lies down on his back, and uses all four feet, and in that situation
he is almost invincible, and fights with obstinacy till the last
extremity; even after he has put to death his adversary he keeps hold
of him a long while. He maintains the fight longer than most animals,
from being covered with long bushy hair and a very thick skin, besides
his flesh is remarkably hard, and he seldom loses his life in these

The three ant-eaters are natives of the hottest climates of America,
are found in Brasil, Guiana, the country of the Amazons, &c. but they
are not met with in Canada, or in the northern regions of the new
world, they consequently do not belong to the ancient continent; yet
Kolbe and Desmarchais have stated these animals to live in Africa, but
they seem to have confounded the scaly lizard with the ant-eaters.
Perhaps this mistake is in consequence of a passage of Marcgrave, who
says: "_Tamandua-guacu Brasiliensibus, congensibus (ubi et frequens
est) umbula dictus_;" but Marcgrave certainly never saw this animal in
Africa, since he confesses that he had seen only his skin in America.
Desmarchais only says that the great ant-eater is found in Africa as
well as America, but he adds no circumstance to prove this fact. In
regard to Kolbe's attestation, we reckon it nothing, for a man who
has seen at the Cape of Good Hope, elks and lynxes, like those of
Prussia, might also see the ant-eaters in the same climate. But they
are not mentioned by any authors among the animals of Asia or Africa,
while all the travellers, and most of the historians, of America, make
a particular mention of them. De Lery, de Laët, Father d'Abbeville,
Maffèe, Faber, Nieremberg, and M. de la Condamine, agree with Piso and
Barrere, in declaring that the ant-eaters are peculiar to the warm
countries of America; thus we cannot doubt that Desmarchais and Kolbe
were mistaken, and that these three species of animals do not exist in
the ancient continents.


I have received from M. Maudhuit, residing at Guiana, an ant-eater in
excellent condition, which appears to be of the same species as those
just described, differing somewhat in the length of the muzzle and the

M. de la Borde has also transmitted several particulars; he says,
"There are two species of ant-eaters which inhabit the woods of Guiana,
the one larger than the other; they run very slow, and when they swim
across large rivers which is a common practice, it is easy to knock
them on the head with a stick; but in the woods it is necessary to use
muskets, for the dogs refuse to hunt them. The great ant-eater tears up
the nests of wood-lice, which he easily discovers; he is a dangerous
animal to encounter, as he gives most severe wounds with his claws,
with which he successfully defends himself against the most fierce
animal of this continent, such as the jaguars, cougars, &c. and with
which he also kills many dogs, who are therefore afraid of him. He is
said to feed on ants, for which his tongue appeared well calculated,
but I found in the stomach of one a great number of wood-lice, which
had just been swallowed. The females bring forth in the holes of trees,
and have one at a time, and at those periods they will even attack
men. The savages at Cayenne eat the flesh, although it is black and
unsavory; their skins are thick and hard; they do not attain their
full size before they are four years old; and the whole of their
respiration is performed through their nostrils. The smaller one has
whitish hair, about two inches long; it has no teeth, but its claws
are very long; this, as well as the former feeds during the night; the
female also has but one at a time, and they perfectly resemble each
other, but the latter is more scarce to be met with than the former."

This gentleman sent me also the following remarks upon our third
species. "It has bright hair, rather of a golden colour; it feeds upon
ants, which adhere to its tongue; it is not bigger than a squirrel,
runs very slow, and is easily taken; it fixes itself so fast to a stick
or branch that it may be carried in that manner to any distance, and
they are frequently found thus fixed; these, like the former bring
forth but one at a time, in the holes of trees, and feed also in the
night; they are not by any means scarce, though it is difficult to
distinguish them on the trees."


These animals are commonly known under the name of scaly lizards; we
reject this denomination; 1st, because it is a compound; 2dly, because
it is ambiguous, and applied to both species; 3dly, because it is
wrongly imagined; these animals being not only of another species,
but even of a different class, than the lizards, which are oviparous
reptiles, while the pangolin, and the phatagen, as they are called in
their native countries of the east, are viviparous quadrupeds.

All lizards are covered with a sleek speckled skin, in representation
of scales, but these animals have no scales on their throat, breast,
or belly, the phatagen, or long-tailed manis, (_fig. 126._) like
other quadrupeds, has hair on all these under parts of the body; the
pangolin, or short-tailed manis (_fig. 125._) has nothing but a smooth
skin without hair. The scales with which all the other parts of the
bodies of these two animals are covered do not stick to the skin,
they are only strongly fixed at the lower parts, being moveable, like
the quills of a porcupine, at the will of the animal; they raise these
scales when exasperated, and when particularly so, they roll themselves
up like a ball, resembling the hedge-hog: these scales are so big,
so hard, and so sharp, that they repel all animals of prey; it is an
offensive armour which wounds while it resists. The most cruel and
voracious animals, such as the tiger and the panther, make but useless
efforts to devour these animals, they tread upon, and roll them about,
but when they attempt to seize them, they receive severe wounds; they
can neither destroy them by violence, nor bruize, or smother them with
their weight. The fox is averse to attacking the hedge-hog when rolled
up, but he forces him to stretch himself by treading on, and squeezing
him with all his weight, and as soon as his head appears, he seizes the
snout, and thus secures him as a prey. But of all quadrupeds, without
even excepting the porcupine, the armour of the manis is the strongest
and most offensive, and which animals, by contracting their bodies and
presenting their weapons, brave the fury of all their enemies. When
they contract themselves, they do not take, like the hedge-hog, a
globose figure, but form an oblong, their thick and long tail remaining
outwardly and encircling their bodies; this exterior part, by which it
would seem these animals could be seized, carries its own defence; it
is covered with scales equally hard and sharp as those with which the
body is cloathed, and as it is convex upwards and flat below, nearly in
the form of half a pyramid, the sides are covered with square scales
folding in a right angle, as thick and as cutting as the others, so
that the tail seems to be still more strongly armed than the body, the
under parts of which are unprovided with scales.

The short-tailed manis is larger than the long-tailed kind; his fore
feet are covered with scales, but the feet of the latter, and part of
his fore legs are clothed with hair only. The former has also larger
scales, thicker, more convex, uniformly cutting, and not so close as
those of the latter, which are armed with three sharp points; he is
also hairy upon the belly; the other has no hair on that part of his
body, but between the scales which cover his back, some thick and long
hair issues like the bristles of a hog, which are not on the back
of the long-tailed species. These are all the essential differences
which we have observed in the skins of both these animals, and which
distinguish them from all other quadrupeds so much, that they have been
looked upon as a species of monsters. From these general and constant
differences, we dare affirm them to be two animals of distinct species.
We have discovered their analogies and differences, not only by the
inspection of three of them, which we have seen, but also by comparing
all which has been observed by travellers and naturalists.

The short-tailed manis is from six to eight feet in length, his tail
included, when he comes to his full growth; the tail is nearly as
long as the body, though it appears shorter when the animal is young;
the scales are not then so large nor so thick, and of a pale colour;
the colour becomes deeper in the adult, and the scales acquire such
a hardness, as to resist a musket ball. Both these animals have some
affinity with the great and middle ant-eater, for like them they feed
on ants, have very long tongues, narrow mouths, without apparent teeth;
their bodies and tails are also very long, and the claws of their
feet very near of the same length and the same form, but they have
five toes on each foot, while the great and middle ant-eaters have
but four to their fore feet; these are covered with hair, the others
are armed with scales; and besides they are not natives of the same
continent. The ant-eaters are found in America, and both the species
of the manis belong to the East Indies and Africa, where the negroes
call them _quogelo_; they eat their flesh, which they reckon a delicate
wholesome food, and use their scales for different purposes. They have
nothing forbidding but their figure; they are gentle and innocent,
feeding upon insects only; they never run fast, and cannot escape the
pursuit of men, except by hiding themselves in hollow rocks, or in
holes, which they dig themselves, and in which they breed. They are two
extraordinary species, not numerous, and seemingly useless: their odd
form seems to exist as an intermediate class betwixt the quadrupeds and


When we speak of a quadruped, the very name seems to carry the idea
of an animal covered with hair; as when we mention a bird, or fish,
feathers and scales present themselves to our imagination, and seem
to be inseparable attributes of those beings: yet Nature, as if
willing to deviate from this characteristic uniformity, and to elude
our views, offers herself, contrary to our general ideas, and in
contradiction to our denominations and characters, and amazes more by
her exceptions than by her laws. Quadrupeds, which we look upon as
the first class of living nature, and who are, next to man, the most
remarkable beings of this world, are neither superior in every thing,
nor separated by constant attributes from all other animals. The first
of those characters which constitutes their name, and which consists
in having four feet, is common to lizards, frogs, &c. which differ,
however, from quadrupeds in so many other respects, as to make them
be considered as a separate class. The second general property, to
produce young alive, is not peculiar to quadrupeds, since it is also
common with cetaceous animals. And the third attribute, which seems the
less equivocal, as it is the most apparent, that of being covered with
hair, exists not in several species which cannot be excluded from the
class of quadrupeds, since this single characteristic excepted, they
are like them in all other respects: and, as these exceptions of nature
are but gradations calculated to join in a general chain, the links
of the most distant beings, we should seize these singular relations
as they offer themselves to our view. The armadillos, instead of hair,
are covered, like turtles, craw-fish, &c. with a solid crust. The
manis is armed with scales like fish; the porcupine carries a sort of
prickly feathers, the quill of which is like that of the birds. Thus
in the class of quadrupeds, and in the most constant characteristic
of these animals, that of being covered with hairs, Nature varies in
bringing them near the three different classes of birds, fishes, and
the crustaceous kinds. We must be cautious then in judging of the
nature of beings by one single character, as that would always lead us
into error; even two or three characters, though general, are often
insufficient, and it is only, as we have often repeated, by the union
of all the attributes, and by enumerating all the characters, that we
can judge of the essential qualities of the productions of nature. A
good description without definitions, an exposition more exact on the
differences than the analogies, a particular attention to exceptions
and almost imperceptible gradations, are the true rules, and I dare
assert, the only means of estimating nature. If the time lost in
forming definitions had been employed in making good descriptions, we
should not at this day have found Natural History in its infancy; we
should have had less trouble in taking off her bawbles, disentangling
her from her swaddling clothes, and, perhaps, have anticipated her slow
discoveries, for we should have written more for science; and less
against error.

But to return to our subject; it appears then that there exists
several species of animals which are not covered with hair among the
viviparous quadrupeds. Armadillos form alone a whole genus, in which
may be reckoned many distinct species, all of whom are, however,
covered with a crust, resembling bone; it covers the head, neck,
back, flanks, rump, and the tail, to the very extremity. The crust
is covered with a thin skin, sleek and transparent: the only parts
that are not sheltered by this buckler are the throat, breast, and
belly, which have a white grainy skin, like that of a plucked fowl, by
inspecting these parts with attention, we perceive the rudiments of
scales of the same substance as the crust; the skin of these animals,
even in the places where it is most soft, is therefore inclined to
become bony, but the ossification is only realized on the superior and
external parts of the body. This crust is not in one piece, like that
of the turtle, but consists of several bands, joined to each other
by membranes, which allow this armour a degree of motion. The number
of these bands does not depend, as might be imagined, on the age of
the animal. The young armadillos, and the adults, have the same number
of stripes, of which we have been convinced by comparing them; and
though we cannot be certain that all these animals do not intermix
and produce promiscuously, yet it is very probable, that since the
difference in the number of these moveable bands is constant, they are
really distinct species, or at least lasting varieties, produced by the
influence of various climates. In this uncertainty, which time alone
can remove, we have thought proper to mention all the armadillos under
one head, enumerating each of them as if they were, in fact, so many
different species.

Father d'Abbeville seems to be the first who has distinguished them by
different names or epithets, and which have been, for the most part,
adopted by the authors who have written after him. He has clearly
indicated six species of them: first, _tatououasso_, or, as we call
it, twelve-banded armadillo; 2. the _tatouette_, or eight-banded; 3.
the _encuberto_ of Marcgrave, or six-banded; 4. the _tatua-apara_,
or three-banded; 5. the _cinquinçon_, or eighteen-banded; 6.
_cachichame_, or nineteen-banded. Other travellers have confounded the
species; but we have borrowed only the description of the _apar_ and
the _cinquinçon_, having seen the other four.

All, except the _cinquinçon_ have two long bucklers, one at the
shoulders, and another on the rump; they each consist of one solid
piece; but the cuirass, which is also bony, and covers the body, is
transversely divided, and parted into more or less moveable bands,
separated from each other by a flexible skin. But the _cinquinçon_ has
but one buckler, and that on his shoulder, the rump being covered with
moveable bands, like those of the cuirass of the body. But we shall now
proceed to a description of them particularly.


The first author who described this animal was Clusius, and though his
description was from a drawing only, it is evidently the same species
which Marcgrave calls the _tatua-apara_; from its three moveable
stripes, and its short tail; he has an oblong head, almost pyramidal;
the snout sharp, small eyes, short round ears, and the upper part of
the head covered with a helmet of one piece; he has five claws to each
foot; the two middle claws of the fore feet are very long, and the
two lateral shorter; the fifth, which projects, is the least. In the
hind feet they are shorter and more even. The tail is but two inches
in length, and is entirely covered with a crust; the body is a foot
long, and above eight inches in its largest breadth. The cuirass, which
covers it, is divided into four parts, and composed of three moveable
transverse bands, which give the animal liberty to bend and contract
his body in a round form; the skin between the stripes is very supple.
The bucklers which cover the shoulders and rump are composed of five
pieces, equally disposed in five angles; the three moveable bands
betwixt these two bucklers consist of square pieces, ornamented with
little scales of a straw colour. Marcgrave adds, that when he lies down
to sleep, or any person touches him, he brings his fore feet together,
lays his head under his belly, and bends himself so perfectly round
that he looks more like a sea-shell than a terrestrial animal. This
contraction is made with the assistance of two great muscles on the
sides of his body, and the strongest man finds it difficult to force
him with his hands to stretch out. Piso, and Ray, have added nothing
to the description of Marcgrave, but it is singular that Seba, who
has given us a description and figure of this animal evidently copied
after Marcgrave, not only not mentions that author, but tells us, "that
no naturalist has known this animal, that it is extremely scarce, and
found in the most remote countries of the East Indies," when in fact
this animal is well described by Marcgrave, and the species is well
known, not indeed in the East Indies, but in America, where it is very
common. The only real difference between the description of Seba, and
that of Marcgrave is, that the latter gives the animal five claws to
each foot, and Seba allows him but four, and yet they evidently speak
of the same animal.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 127. _Six Banded Armadillo._]

[Illustration: FIG. 128. _Long-tailed Armadillo._]

Fabius Calumna has given the description and figure of an armadillo
contracted into a ball, which seems to have had four moveable bands,
but as this author was absolutely unacquainted with the animal, whose
skin or shell he has described, as he did not even know the name of
the armadillo, though mentioned by Bellon fifty years before, but gave
him a Greek name, (_cheloniscus_); besides, as he confesses, that the
skin had been pasted together, and wanted several pieces, we do not
see ourselves authorised to pronounce, as our modern nomenclators have
done, that a species of armadillo, with four moveable bands, exists in
Nature; and more especially since these imperfect indications given in
1606, by Fabius Calumna, no mention is made of it in the works of any
naturalists; and, if he really did exist, he certainly would have been
introduced into some cabinets, or have been observed by some travellers.


This species (_fig._ 127) is larger than the former; he has the upper
part of the head, neck, body, legs, and tail, covered with a very hard
crust, composed of several large pieces, elegantly disposed. He has
a buckler on each shoulder, and another on the rump, each of which
are in one piece; only there is beyond the buckler on the shoulders,
and near the head a moveable band, which enables the animal to bend
its neck. The buckler on the shoulders is formed by five parallel
rows, composed of pieces which represent five angles, with an oval
in each; the cuirass on the back, that is the part betwixt the two
bucklers, is divided into six bands, which are united together and to
the bucklers, by seven joints of a supple and thick skin. These bands
are composed of large square pieces; from the skin of these joints
some white hairs issue out, like those on the breast and belly; all
these inferior parts are covered only by a grainy skin, and not by a
crustaceous substance like the upper. The buckler on the rump has a
border, the mosaic work of which is similar to that of the moveable
bands, and the rest consists of pieces like those of the bucklers of
the shoulders. The crust of the head is long, broad, and consists of
one piece, extending to the moveable band on the neck. He has a sharp
muzzle, small and hollow eyes, a narrow and sharp tongue; the ears are
without hair, naked, short, and brown, like the skin of the joints;
he has eighteen teeth in each jaw, five claws to each foot, long, in
a round form, and rather narrow; the head and the snout are like
those of a pig, the tail is thick at its origin, diminishing gradually
towards the extremity, where it is very slender and round. The colour
of the body is a reddish yellow; the animal is commonly thick and fat,
and the male has the sexual organ very visible; he digs into the ground
with great facility with his snout and claws; he dwells in the day-time
underground, and only goes out towards the evening to seek for food; he
drinks often, lives upon fruit, roots, insects, and birds, when he can
catch them.


This is not so large as the last, he has a small head, a sharp snout,
the ears erect, and rather long, the tail still longer, and the legs
rather short. He has small black eyes, four toes on the fore-feet, and
five on those behind; the head is covered with a helmet, the shoulders
and rump with shields, and the body with a cuirass composed of eight
moveable bands connected together, and with the bucklers, by nine
joints of a flexible skin; the tail has also a similar number of bands.
The colour of the cuirass on the back is iron grey, and on the flanks
and tail of a light grey with spots of iron grey. The belly is covered
with a whitish skin, grainy and hairy. The individual of this species,
described by Marcgrave, had a head three inches long, the ears near
two, the legs about three, the two middle toes of the fore-feet an
inch; the body from the neck to the origin of the tail seven inches,
and the tail nine inches in length; the bucklers had small white spots;
the moveable bands were marked by triangular figures; this crust was
not hard, being penetrable to the smallest shot which would kill the
animal, whose flesh is very white, and good to eat.


Nieremberg has described this animal very imperfectly: Wormius and Grew
have described him much better. The individual which Wormius mentioned
was adult, and one of the largest of the species; that of Grew was
younger and smaller. We shall only give their descriptions as far as
they agree with our own specimens. Besides, it may be presumed, that
this nine-striped armadillo is not really a distinct species from
the eight, which he resembles in every other respect. We have two
eight-banded armadillos which are dried, and seem to be both males; we
have seven or eight with nine bands, one well preserved, which is a
female, and the others are so dried up that we could not discern the
sex. It is probable, therefore, that the eight-banded is the male and
the nine-banded the female. But this is merely a conjecture for we
shall give in the following article the description of two armadillos,
one of which has more rows than the other upon the buckler on the rump,
and yet they are so alike in every other respect, that one should be
inclined to think this difference arises only from that of the sex, for
it is not improbable, that greater numbers of these moveable bands may
be necessary to facilitate the gestation and delivery of the female.
The head of the armadillo, the skin of which Wormius has described,
was five inches from the end of the snout to the ears, and eighteen
inches from the ears to the tail, which last was a foot in length, and
composed of twelve rings. The head of that described by Grew was three
inches, the body seven and a half, and the tail eleven; the proportions
of the head and body agree, but the difference of the tail is too
great; and it is probable that the tail of that described by Wormius
had been broken, for it should have exceeded a foot in length. As in
this species the tail diminishes to the size of an awl, and is, at the
same time, very brittle; few of the skins therefore have the whole tail
preserved as that described by Grew.


This seems to be the largest of the species. He has a larger and
broader head, and a snout not so sharp as the others; his legs and feet
are thicker, and his tail has not any crust; a particularity which is
alone sufficient to distinguish this species from all others. He has
five toes on each foot, and twelve moveable bands. The buckler on
the shoulders is formed of five or six rows, each composed of large
quadrangular pieces. The moveable bands are also formed of large
pieces, almost square; those which compose the buckler on the rump are
like those on the shoulder. The helmet of the head consists of large
irregular pieces. Between the joints of the moveable bands and in the
other parts of the armour, there appear some hairs like the bristles
of a hog; there are also upon his breast, belly, legs, and tail, round
scales, almost imperceptible, hard and polished like the crust, and
between which are small tufts of hair. The pieces which compose the
helmet, the two bucklers, and the cuirass, being proportionally larger
and less in number in this than in other armadillos, evidently prove he
is the largest of the kind. The head of that from which we took this
description was seven inches long, and the body twenty-one.


Mr. Grew first described this animal from a skin preserved in the
cabinet of the Royal Society in London. All the other armadillos have
two bucklers, one on the shoulders, and the other on the rump, but
this has but one, which is upon his shoulders. He is called the weasel
armadillo, because his head is nearly of the same form as a weasel.
From the description of this animal given by Grew, it appears, that
his body is about ten inches in length, his head three, and his tail
five; the legs two or three inches in height; the forehead large and
flat, small eyes, and the ears an inch long, he has five toes on each
foot, the three in the middle being the largest. The armour of the
head and legs is composed of round scales, about a quarter of an inch
diameter, that on the neck consisted of one piece, as did the buckler
on the shoulders composed of several rows of scales like those of the
armour; these rows on the buckler, in this species, as in all others
are continuous, and join by a symphysis. The rest of the body, from
the buckler on the shoulders to the tail, is covered with moveable
bands, parted from each other by a supple membrane: these bands are
eighteen in number; those nearest the shoulders are the largest, and
are composed of small squares. The posterior are intermixed with round
and square pieces, and the extremity of the armour near the tail is of
a parabolic figure. The first half of the tail is encircled with six
rings, composed of small square pieces, and the lower part is covered
with irregular scales. The breast, belly, and ears, are naked, as in
the other species. It should seem that, of all armadillos, this has
the most facility to contract and roll himself up in a ball, by his
moveable bands which extend to the tail.

Linnæus who must have seen the descriptions of Grew and Ray, who both
agree with that we have given, has indicated this animal with one
band only, instead of eighteen: founded on an evident mistake, by
having taken the _tatu seu armadillo Africanus_ of Seba for the _tatu
mustelinas_ of Grew, which even according to the descriptions of these
two authors, are very different from each other. It is doubtful whether
the tatou of Seba exists, at least as he has described him, but the
animal given in Grew's description is a real existing species.

All the armadillos come originally from America; they were unknown
before the discovery of the New World. The ancients never mentioned
them, and modern travellers all agree, that these animals are natives
of Mexico, Brasil, Guiana, &c. and no one pretends to have seen this
species in Asia or Africa. Some have, indeed, confounded the scaly
lizards of the East Indies with the armadillos of America. Others
thought they existed on the western coasts of Africa, because they have
sometimes been transported from Brasil into Guinea. Bellon, who wrote
above two centuries ago, and is one of the first who has given a short
description, with the figure of a tatou, from a skin which he had seen
in Turkey, says, that it came from the new continent. Oviedo, De Lery,
Gomara, Thevet, Ant, Herrera, Father d'Abbeville, François, Ximenes,
Staddenius, Monard, Joseph Acosta, De Laët, and all the more recent
authors mention these animals as natives of the southern countries of
America. Piso is the only one who has pretended, without any authority,
that the armadillos were found in the East Indies, as well as in
America; and it is probable, that he has confounded the scaly lizards
with the armadillos, especially as they have been so called by the
Spaniards; this error has been adopted by nomenclators, and those who
have given descriptions of cabinets; who have not only admitted the
existence of armadillos in the East Indies, but even in Africa, though
none were ever in those two parts of the world, except such as have
been transported from America.

The climate of these animals is not therefore, equivocal; but it is
more difficult to determine the relative bulk of each species. For
this purpose we have compared great numbers which are preserved in
the king's cabinet and those of others. We have also compared the
descriptions of all authors with those of our own, without being able
to ascertain the fact. It appears that the twelve and six banded are
the largest, and that the three, eight, nine, and eighteen banded
are the smallest. In the larger species the crustaceous substance is
harder and more solid; the pieces which compose it are larger, and in a
smaller number; the moveable bands encroach, less one upon the other;
the flesh, as well as the skin, is harder, and not so savory. Piso
says, that the flesh of the six banded is not eatable; and Nieremberg
affirms, that it is unwholesome and pernicious. Barrere says, that the
twelve banded has a strong smell of musk; and all authors agree in
praising the flesh of the three banded, and particularly that of the
eight, which is as white, and equally good as the flesh of a pig. They
say also, that the small species dwell in marshy and low grounds, and
that those of the large species are found on dry and high lands only.

These animals can all contract their bodies into a round form, with
more or less facility. When they are contracted the defects of their
armour is most visible in those who have it composed of the smallest
number of pieces; the three banded then shews two large voids betwixt
the bucklers and the armour on the back. None of them can roll
themselves up in a ball so exact as that formed by the hedge-hog; when
so contracted they represent the figure of a globe flattened at the two

This singular crust, which covers them, is a bone composed of small
contiguous pieces, and being neither moveable nor jointed, except at
the partitions of the bands, are united by a symphysis, and may all
be separated from each other if put on the fire. When the animal is
alive these small pieces, both of the bucklers and the moveable bands
yield to his motions, especially when he contracts himself, otherwise
he could not possibly roll himself up. These pieces in different
species are of different figures always as regularly disposed as an
elegantly contrived mosaic work. The pellicle which covers the crust is
a transparent skin, and has the effect of a varnish on the whole body;
this skin, when taken off, changes the relievo of this natural mosaic,
and gives it a different appearance. This crustaceous covering is only
a surface independent of the interior parts of the animal's body, his
bones, and other organs, being composed like those of other quadrupeds.

The armadillos, in general, are innocent, harmless animals, unless they
can penetrate into gardens, where they will eat the melons, potatoes,
pulse, and roots. Though they originally belong to the hot climates of
America, they live in temperate regions. I once saw one in Languedoc,
which was fed in the house, and went about every where without doing
any mischief. They walk quickly, but they can neither leap, run, nor
climb up trees, so that they cannot escape those who pursue them; they
have no resource but to hide themselves in their holes, or if at too
great a distance from their habitations, to endeavour to dig one before
they are overtaken, for which they want but a few instants, the mole
itself not being more expert in digging the ground. Sometimes before
they can get quite concealed they are caught by the tail, and when they
make such a strong resistance that the tail is often broke without
bringing out the body; in order to take them without mutilation the
burrow must be opened, when they are taken without any resistance; when
caught they roll themselves up into a ball, and will not extend again
unless they are placed near the fire. Hard as their coat of mail is,
the animal, on being lightly touched with the finger, receives so quick
an impression that he contracts instantaneously. When in deep burrows
they are forced out by smoking them, or letting water run down the
holes. It is said that they remain under ground above three months in
the year; be that as it may, it is certain that they never come out of
their holes but in the night, when they seek for food. The armadillo is
hunted with small dogs, by whom he is soon overtaken; but before they
have reached him he contracts himself, in which condition he is seized,
and carried off. If near the brink of a precipice, he escapes both
dogs and hunters, for contracting he rolls himself down like a ball,
without hurt or prejudice to his coat of mail.

These animals are fat, and very prolific: the male has exterior signs
of great generative faculties; the female brings forth, as it is said,
every four months, of course their species are very numerous. As they
are good to eat they are hunted in different manners; they are easily
taken with snares laid for them on the banks of rivers, and in marshy
grounds, which they inhabit by preference. They never go to any great
distance from their burrows, which are very deep, and which they
endeavour to reach whenever they are alarmed. It is pretended they are
not afraid of the bite of the rattle snake, though it is as dangerous
as that of the viper; nay, it is asserted, that they live in peace with
these reptiles, which are often found in their holes. The savages make
different uses of their crusts; they paint them with divers colours,
and make baskets, boxes, and other small vessels, of them. Monard,
Ximenes, and many other writers, have attributed great medicinal
properties to different parts of these animals; they assure us that the
crustaceous covering, reduced into powder, and taken inwardly, even in
a small quantity, is a powerful sudorific; and that the bone of the
hip, pulverised, cures the venereal disease; that the first bone of
the tail, applied to the ear, cures deafness, &c. We give no credit to
these extraordinary properties; the crust and bones of the armadillos
being of the same nature as the bones of other animals. Such marvellous
effects are never produced but by imaginary virtues.


I received the drawing of a six-banded armadillo, taken from life, from
M. de Séve, and with it a description; in which, after stating that it
corresponds pretty much with that we have given, observes, that the
rows on the bucklers, and their pieces, vary in form and number: this
animal was fourteen inches long, independent of the tail, which he
supposed to be about six inches, as part of it was broken off; his head
was rather more than three inches long, and his ears a little above
one; on the broadest part of the body the crust measured six inches
seven lines; the fore legs were two inches long, and his hind ones

M. de la Borde says, there are two species of Armadillos at Guiana,
the largest black and the other a greyish brown; the former are so
prolific as sometimes to bring forth eight or ten at a litter: they
reside in very deep holes, and when any attempts are made to take
them by digging, they penetrate further in the earth, and almost
perpendicularly; they only quit their holes in the night, and then for
the purpose of seeking for food, which commonly consists of worms,
ants, and wood-lice; their flesh is of an excellent flavour, and
resembles that of a pig. The small one has not more than four or five
young at a time, and they are more hard to be taken; these sometimes
come out of their holes in the day, but never when it rains. The
hunters know when they are in their holes by the number of flies which
hover round: and when they begin to dig the animal digs also, and by
throwing the earth behind, so effectually closes up the holes that
smoke cannot penetrate to them. I conceive the first of these animals
to be that we have mentioned, as the twelve-banded, and the other the
eight-banded armadillos.

Dr. W. Watson has given a description of an armadillo with nine bands,
and a long tail, (_fig. 128._) in the Philosophical Transactions,
where he says, This animal was brought from America, and kept alive
in the house of Lord Southwell; but the drawing was not taken till
after its death; he weighed seven pounds, and was not bigger than
a common-sized cat; while in possession of Lord Southwell it grew
considerably; it was fed with flesh and milk, but would not eat grain
or fruits. Those by whom it was brought from America asserted, that it
dug a hole for itself in the earth in which it lived.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 129. _Paca._]

[Illustration: FIG. 132. _Marine Opossum._]

[Illustration: FIG. 130-131. _Virginian Opossum Male and Female._]


The paca (_fig. 129._) is an animal of the new world, which digs itself
a borough like a rabbit, to whom he has often been compared, though
there is scarce any likeness between them; he is much larger than the
rabbit, or even the hare; his body is bigger and more compact; he has
a round head and short snout; he is fat and bulky, and is more like
a pig in form, grunting, waddling, and manner of eating, for he does
not use, like the rabbit, his fore feet to carry food to his mouth,
but grubs up the earth like the hog to find subsistence. They inhabit
the banks of rivers, and are found only in the damp and warm places of
South America: their flesh is very good to eat, and excessively fat;
their skin is eaten like that of a pig. For these reasons a perpetual
war is carried on against these animals. Hunters find it very difficult
to take them alive; and when they are surprised in their burrows, which
have two openings, they defend themselves, and bite with great rage and
inveteracy. Their skins, though covered with short and rough hair, make
a fine fur because it is regularly spotted on the sides. These animals
bring forth very often, and in abundance: men, and animals of prey,
destroy great numbers of them, and yet the species remains undiminished
in numbers; he is peculiar to South America, and is found no where in
the old continent.


Our former description of the Paca was taken from a young one which had
not nearly come to its full growth. Since then I have had one sent me,
which was much bigger even when he arrived, and continued to grow while
I kept him, namely from August 1774, to May 28, 1775. From the Sieur
Trécourt I received an account of his natural habits, in which that
gentleman says: "This animal remains perfectly quiet in the day, if he
is provided with a wooden cage, or box, and has plenty of provisions,
to which he readily retires of himself while the day continues, but
as soon as night comes on he becomes in a perpetual agitation to get
out, and will even use violent efforts to effect that purpose if he
is fastened in; this he never attempts during the day, unless pressed
to make some natural evacuation, in which case he always gets to the
furthest corner, having an aversion to any kind of dirt in the place
he lives in; even his straw he pushes out with his nose when it begins
to smell, and will seek about for rags, or paper, to supply its place.
He had no particular attachment to his box, for he would often forsake
it for some obscure corner, and when once his bed was made, he could
only be made to leave his new habitation by force. This animal, which
was a female, gave a strong proof of her propensity to cleanliness,
for a large male rabbit being put with her when she was in season, she
received him with a degree of fondness, and something was expected
from them; she would lick his nose, ears, and body, and even suffer
him to take away the greatest part of her food; but upon voiding his
excrement, in their common apartment, she immediately took an aversion
to him, and retired to the bottom of an old press, making herself a bed
with paper and rags, nor would she return to her house again, until she
perceived it was cleared of the dirt and her filthy companion."

The Paca very easily becomes domesticated, and is very gentle and
tractable, unless when much irritated. He is very fond of being
noticed, and will lick the hands of those who caress him; he very
readily distinguishes the voices of those who take care of him, and
when stroked on the back, he will lie down on his belly, stretch
himself out, and, with a gentle cry, express his gratitude for the
favour, and seem to ask a continuance; but if laid hold of in a rough
manner, he will struggle violently to escape. His muscles are very
strong, yet his feeling is so delicate that the slightest touch on
the skin will excite in him the most sensible emotions; and which
sensibility, though commonly producing good humour, will sometimes,
by irritation, or presenting an offensive object, put him in the most
violent passion. A strange dog invariably produces the latter effect;
and he has been observed, when shut in his cage, to make violent
efforts to get out upon the appearance of one. It was at first thought
he had no desire to come out but upon natural occasions; but one day,
when he was at liberty, he flew out upon a poor dog, and bit him very
severely; but in a few days after he became perfectly familiar with
the same dog. He will also fly at strangers, if they plague him, but
he never offers to bite those by whom he is taken care of. He has a
dislike to children, and will run after them; and when in a passion he
makes a kind of grunting, and at the same time a chattering with his
teeth. He very frequently sits for a considerable time together on his
posteriors, and has a common practice of appearing to comb his head
and whiskers with his paws, which he repeatedly licks with his tongue.
When thus employed, he scratches all parts of his body which he can
reach with his fore paws, and afterwards the remainder with his hind
ones. He is, however, a gross animal; he does not appear delicate;
his coat is not smooth; he is far from active, but moves heavily and
somewhat like a hog; whom he also resembles by the whiteness and
thickness of his skin; he seldom attempts to run, and when he does, it
is very aukwardly.

This animal, though not full grown, measured more than eighteen
inches from the point of his nose to the extremity of his body, and
he could stretch himself out to near two feet, while the one which I
formerly described was not more than seven inches five lines, and this
difference was evidently to be attributed to their ages, as in all
other respects they were perfectly similar.

This animal measured about seven inches high before, and nine and a
half behind, by which his head always appeared lower than his hind
parts: his head is five inches long, and rather convex; he has large
brown eyes, two inches asunder, short round ears, covered with a fine
down, a broad black nose, divided like that of a hare, very large
nostrils, and in which he has great strength; the upper jaw comes out
above an inch beyond the lower; he has a fold along them that may at
first sight be taken for the mouth, but which is scarcely perceptible
unless it is open; he has two large yellow teeth in each jaw, with
which he can cut through wood, and I have known him make a hole in
a plank in a single night through which he could put his head; but,
although several times attempted, he would never permit us to count his
grinders; he has a thick rough tongue, and whiskers on each side his
nose, consisting of black and white hairs; he has five toes on each
foot, and long claws on them, of a flesh colour; and his tail is merely
a kind of button, does not exceed five lines in length, and requires a
close inspection to discover it.

The paca, when domesticated, will eat any thing that is given him, and
if fed with bread he seems to have an equal relish for it, whether
soaked in water, wine, or vinegar; he is extremely fond of sugar and
fruits, and will leap about for joy when they are given him; he seems
to have the same relish for grapes, celery, onions, or garlic; he will
also eat grass, moss, the bark of trees, or even wood; he drinks like
a dog; his urine has a disagreeable smell, and his excrements are like
those of the rabbit.

As there can be little doubt but these animals would produce in the
climates of France; as they are easily tamed, and their flesh is
excellent food, they might be rendered an advantageous acquisition,
especially as one individual would be equal to seven or eight rabbits,
and their flesh not inferior.

M. de la Borde agrees with most of the foregoing particulars, and says
also that the paca generally has his hole on the banks of rivers, and
that he so forms it as to have three ways to enter or retreat; that
when disturbed he takes to the water, and endeavours to effectuate his
escape by diving frequently, and that he makes a stout defence when
attacked by dogs.


The opossum is an animal of America, which is easily distinguished
from all others by two singular characters; first, the female has
under the belly a large cavity where she receives and suckles her
young; secondly, both male and female have no claws on the great
toes of the hind feet, which is separated from the others, as the
thumb on the human hand, whilst all the other toes are armed with
crooked claws, like the feet of other quadrupeds. The first of these
characters has been observed by most travellers and naturalists, but
the second had escaped their observation. Edward Tyson, an English
physician, seems to be the first who made this remark; and he only
has given a good description of the female in a treatise printed in
London in 1698, under the title of The Anatomy of an Opossum. Some
years after, W. Cooper, a celebrated English anatomist, communicated to
Tyson the observations which he had made Upon the male. Other authors,
and especially the nomenclators, who have multiplied beings without
necessity, have here fallen into numerous errors respecting this animal.

Our opossum, described by Tyson, is the same animal as the oriental
philandre of Seba, since of all the animals which Seba has described,
and to which he gave the name of philandre, opossum, or carigueya,
this is the only one who has a bag under the belly, and thumbs without
claws behind. This animal is a native of the warm climates of the new
world; for the two we have in the king's cabinet came from America.
That which Tyson had, was sent him from Virginia. M. de Chanvallon,
correspondent of the Academy of Sciences in Martinico, who has given
us a young opossum, acknowledged the two others to be true opossums
of America. All the travellers agree, that this animal is found in
Brasil, New Spain, Virginia, and the Antilles; and none mention having
seen it in the East Indies; thus Seba was mistaken in calling it the
oriental philandre. He says, his philandre was sent him from Amboyna,
under the name of coes-coes, with other curiosities, but he confesses,
at the same time, that it had been transported from some other remote
countries to Amboyna. This should be sufficient to shew, that the
denomination of oriental philandre was improper; for it is possible
that travellers have transported this animal from America to the East
Indies, but nothing proves that he is a native of Amboyna; and even
the passage of Seba, which we have quoted, seems to indicate the
contrary. The cause of this error and even of the name _coes-coes_,
is found in Piso, who says, that in the East Indies, and only in the
island of Amboyna, is found an animal very much like the opossum of
Brasil to whom the natives give the name of _cous-cous_. Piso quotes
no authority for this assertion. It would be strange, if it was true,
as Piso affirms, that this animal is only found in Amboyna, while
Seba, on the contrary, says, that the opossum sent him from Amboyna,
was not a native of that island, but had been brought there from more
distant countries; though he was ignorant of the native country of his
philandre, he nevertheless gave him the epithet of oriental, though
he is certainly the same animal as that of the West Indies; the proof
of it will clearly appear by comparing the figure he has given with
Nature. But another error of this author is, that while he gives to the
opossum of America the name of great oriental philandre he presents
us another animal, which he thinks a different one, under the name of
the philandre of America; and which according to his own description,
differs only from the former by being smaller, and having the spots
above the eyes of a deeper brown colour; which differences are merely
accidental, and too inconsiderable to constitute two different species,
for he does not mention another difference more essential, if it
existed, that Seba's philandre of America has sharp claws on the hind
toes of the hind feet, while his oriental philandre has no claws upon
his two thumbs. It is certain, that our opossum, which is the true one
of America, has no claws to his toes behind; if an animal with sharp
claws did exist, such as is represented by Seba, it could not be, as he
asserts, the opossum of America. But this is not all, Seba mentions a
third animal, under the name of oriental philandre, of whom, however,
he speaks only after Valentin, an author who, as we have observed
already, deserves little credit: and this third animal is yet the same
as the two first. We are, therefore, persuaded that the three animals
of Seba are individuals of the same species, and which species is the
same as our opossum; and that the difference between them might be
occasioned by their age, as it entirely consists in their size and
slight variations in their colour, particularly in the spots above
their eyes.

Seba says, "that according to Valentin, this last philandre is the
largest species seen in the East Indies, and particularly among the
Malays, where he is called _pelandor aroé_, which signifies a rabbit
of _Aroé_, though Aroé is not the only place where these animals are
found; that they are common in the island of Solor; that they are
kept promiscuously with rabbits, to whom they do no harm; and that
the inhabitants eat their flesh, which they reckon excellent." These
facts are very doubtful, not to say absolutely false, for according to
Seba, this is not the largest species of the oriental philandre, that
it bears no resemblance to the rabbit, therefore is very improperly
termed the rabbit of Aroé; and that no person who has travelled in the
East Indies has mentioned this remarkable animal; neither is he found
in the island of Solor, nor in any other part of the ancient continent.
Seba himself seems to have perceived not only the incapacity, but also
the inaccuracy of the author whom he quotes: F. Valentin has written a
Natural History of the East Indies in five volumes folio, and for the
credit due to his testimony, both Artedi and Seba refer to a passage
wherein he affirms, "that the pouch of the philandre is the womb in
which the young are conceived; that having himself dissected a female,
he found no other; and if that pouch is not the real womb, the teats
are to the young, what the pedicles are to fruits, that they stick to
them till they are sufficiently grown, and then they are separated
like the fruit, when it is come to ripeness." What seems to be the
truth is, that Valentin, who affirms that those animals are common in
the East Indies, especially at Solor, had never seen any there; that
all he says, even his most manifest errors, are copied from Piso and
Marcgrave, who are themselves copyists of Ximenes, and are mistaken in
everything they have advanced of their own authority; for Marcgrave and
Piso say expressly and observatively, as well as Valentin, that the
pouch is the true womb where the young of the opossums are conceived.
Marcgrave says, he dissected one, and found no other womb: Piso, who
says he dissected many, affirms he never could discover any womb in the
internal parts, and also maintains the opinion, equally ill-grounded,
that this animal is found at Amboyna. One may judge of what credit
ought to be given to Marcgrave, Piso, and Valentin's assertions, the
first of whom had not examined with accuracy; the second had added to
the errors of the first, and the last copied from both.

I should willingly ask pardon of my reader for the length of this
critical disquisition, but when obliged to correct errors, we cannot be
too exact or too attentive, even to the smallest circumstances.

M. Brisson, in his work upon the quadrupeds, has adopted whatever
he found in that of Seba, and adopts both his denominations and
descriptions; he goes even farther than his author, in making three
distinct species of the philandres, described by Seba; for, if he had
adhered to Seba, he would have observed that the latter did not give
them as really different from each other. Seba had no doubt that an
animal of the warm climates of America, could be found also in the
torrid regions of Asia; but he distinguished them according as they
came to him from one or the other continent. It seems clear that he
does not use the word species in its most strict sense, nor did Seba
ever pretend to make a methodical division of animals into classes,
genera, and species; he has only given the figures of the different
animals in his cabinet, distinguishing by names, according as he saw
some difference in their size, colour, or the countries from which
he received them. It appears, therefore, that M. Brisson was not
authorised by Seba, in making three different species of philandres,
especially as he has not employed the distinctive characters, and makes
no mention of the want of the claws, in the hind toes of the hind feet;
he only says, in general, that the toes of the philandres have claws,
without making any exception; yet the one which he saw in the King's
cabinet, and which is our opossum, had no claws to the hind toes of the
hind legs, and which seems to be the only one he has seen. The work of
M. Brisson is very useful, but in his catalogue the species are more
numerous than in that of Nature.

_Engraved for Barr's Buffon._

[Illustration: FIG. 133. _Elephant._]

[Illustration: FIG. 134. _Rhinoceros._]

We have now only to examine the nomenclature of Linnæus, which in this
article is much less erroneous than in many others, for he suppresses
one of the three species of Seba; but he should have reduced them to
one. Besides, he employs the distinctive character of the toes behind
without claws, which none but Tyson had observed. The description which
Linnæus gives of the opossum as the _marsupialis_, seems to be a good
one, and agreeable to Nature, but he is in an error when under the name
of opossum he designs an animal different from his _marsupialis_, upon
the authority of Seba, acknowledging, however, that this opossum had no
claws to the toes behind, whilst they are very visible in the figures
of Seba. Another error is, considering the _maritacaca_ of Piso, as
the same animal as the _carigueya_, whilst these two animals, though
mentioned in the same chapter, are mentioned by Piso as two different
animals, and he describes them one after the other. But his greatest
error is in making two different species of the _marsupialis_ and the
opossum; they have both, according to Linnæus, the pouch, the hind toes
of their hind feet have no claws, are both natives of America, and only
differ in this respect, by the first having eight paps, and the second
only two, and the spot above the eyes more pale. These characteristics
cannot be sufficient to distinguish them as distinct species; for
the first can scarcely be called a difference; nor can any thing be
established as fixed or certain, in regard to the order and the number
of the paps, since they vary in the same species of most animals.

From this examination, which we have made with strict impartiality, it
appears, that the _philandre_, _opossum_, _seu carigueya Brasiliensis_,
and the _philander orientalis maximus_ of Seba; those of M. Brisson,
and the _marsupialis_ and _opossum_ of Linnæus are all of them the same
animal, which is our opossum whose natural climate is South America;
and who was never seen in the East Indies, but when transported
thither. Upon this subject, some uncertainty still remains in regard to
the _taiibi_, which Marcgrave does not mention as an animal different
from the _carigueya_, but which Johnston, Seba, Klein, Linnæus, and
Brisson, have presented as distinct from the preceding. In Marcgrave
the two names of _carigueya_ and _taiibi_ are found in the same
article, where it is said, that this animal is called _carigueya_ in
Brasil, and _taiibi_ in Paraguay. There is afterwards a description
of the _carigueya_ taken from Ximenes; and then another is given of
the animal called _taiibi_, by the Brasilians; _cachorro domato_, by
the Portuguese, and _hooschratte_, or the rat of the wood, by the
Dutch. Marcgrave does not say this is an animal different from the
_carigueya_, but on the contrary, considers it as the male of that
species; and it appears clearly, that the male and female opossum were
called _taiibi_ in Paraguay, and that in Brasil they gave the name of
_taiibi_ to the male, and that of _carigueya_ to the female. Besides,
the difference between those two animals, such as it is indicated by
their descriptions, is too inconsiderable to conclude they are not the
same species. The most essential is, the colour of the hair, which in
the _carigueya_ is yellow and brown, and grey in the _taiibi_, the
hairs of which are white at their bottom, and brown or black at the
extremities. It is therefore more than probable, that the _taiibi_ is
the male opossum. Mr. Ray seems to be of that opinion, when speaking
of the _carigueya_, and the _taiibi_. Yet, notwithstanding Marcgrave's
authority, and the rational doubt of Ray, Seba gives the figure of an
animal, under the name of the _taiibi_; and says, at the same time,
that this _taiibi_ is the same animal as the _tlaquatzin_ of Hernandes;
this is adding error upon error; for even according to Seba, his
_taiibi_, which is a female, has no bag under the belly; and Hernandes
gives to his _tlaquatzin_ this bag as a particular characteristic;
consequently the _taiibi_ of Seba cannot be the _tlaquatzin_ of
Hernandes, as it has no pouch, nor the _taiibi_ of Marcgrave, since it
is a female; it is certainly, therefore, another animal badly designed,
and badly described, to whom Seba thought proper to give the name of
_taiibi_, and which he confounds with the _tlaquatzin_ of Hernandes,
which as we have said before, is our opossum. Brisson and Linnæus have,
in regard to the _taiibi_, literally followed Seba; they have copied
even his error in regard to the _tlaquatzin_ of Hernandes, and both,
have made an equivocal species of this animal, the first under the name
of _philandre_ of Brasil, and the second under that of _philander_.
The true _taiibi_ of Marcgrave and Ray, is not therefore the _taiibi_
of Seba, the _philander_ of Linnæus, nor the Brasilian _philander_ of
Brisson; nor are the two latter the _tlaquatzin_ of Hernandes. The
_taiibi_ of Seba (supposing his existence) is a different animal from
all those treated of by the above authors, and ought to have had a
particular denomination, and not been confounded with the _taiibi_ of
Marcgrave, which has nothing in common with him; besides, as the male
opossum has no pouch, it is not surprising that they have been taken
for different animals, as that the female is called carigueya, and the
male taiibi.

Edward Tyson dissected and described the female opossum with care; in
the individual which served him for subject, the head was six inches,
the body thirteen, and the tail twelve in length: the fore legs were
six inches, and the hind legs four inches and a half in height:
the body was fifteen or sixteen inches in circumference; the tail
three inches round in the beginning, and only one inch towards the
extremities; the head three inches betwixt the two ears, decreasing
gradually to the nose; and was more like that of a pig than a fox; the
sockets of the eyes are much inclined in the direction from the ears
to the nose; the ears are rounded, and about an inch and a half long;
the mouth was two inches and a half wide from one of the corners of
the lip to the extremity of the snout; the tongue narrow, three inches
long, and rough; his fore feet had five toes armed with crooked claws,
but in the hind feet he had only four toes with claws, and the fifth
toe, or thumb, was separated from the others, was placed lower, and had
no claws. All his claws were without hair, and covered with a skin of
a reddish colour, and very near an inch in length; his hind and fore
paws were large, and he had fleshy callosities under all the toes. The
tail was covered with hair for two or three inches from the beginning,
and the rest of it with a smooth scaly skin to the end. These scales
were whitish, almost hexagonal, and placed regularly, so that they did
not encroach upon each other, but were divided by a skin browner than
the scales. The ears were without hair, thin and membranous like the
wings of a bat, and very open. The upper jaw longer than the under;
the nostrils large, the eyes small, black, and lively; the neck short,
the breast wide, and the whiskers like those of a cat: the hairs of
the forehead whiter and shorter than those of the body; his colour a
yellowish grey, intermixed with black on the back and sides, more brown
on the belly, and still deeper on the legs. Under the belly of the
female (_fig. 131._) is a skin two or three inches long, which forms a
kind of pouch by a double fold thinly covered with hair on the inside,
and which pouch contains the teats. The young enter into this pouch to
suck, and soon acquire the habit of hiding themselves in it, so that
they retire thither whenever they are frightened. This pouch opens and
shuts according to the will of the animal; which it effects by several
muscles and two bones, which are peculiar to the opossum; these two
bones are about two inches in length, placed by the os pubis, they
decrease gradually from the basis to the extremities, and support the
muscles which open the pouch; the antagonists of these muscles serve
to shut it so exactly, that in the living animal the opening cannot
be seen, without forcibly dilating it with the fingers. The inside
of this pouch is full of kernels, which contain a yellow substance,
the smell of which is so offensive, that it infects the whole body
of the animal; yet when this matter is dried, it not only loses its
disagreeable smell, but acquires a perfume which may be compared to
that of musk. This pouch is not, as Marcgrave and Piso have falsely
asserted, the place in which the young are conceived; the female
opossum has an internal womb, different indeed from that of other
animals, but in which the young are conceived, and remain till they are
brought forth. Tyson says, that in this animal there are two wombs,
two vaginas, and four ovariums. M. Daubenton does not agree with Tyson
in these particulars; but by his description, it is at least certain,
that in the organs of generation of the opossums, there are several
parts double which are single in other animals. The glans penis of the
male, and the glans clitoridis in the female, which are forked, and
seem double. The vagina, which is single at the entrance, is afterwards
divided into two channels; this conformation is very singular, and
differs from that of all other quadrupeds.

The opossum belongs to the south parts of the new world, but he does
not, like the armadillo, seem confined to the hottest climates, for he
is found not only in Brasil, Guiana, and Mexico, but also in Florida,
Virginia, and other temperate regions of this continent. They are very
common in these countries, as they bring forth often, and most authors
say four or five, others six or seven, at a time. Marcgrave affirms,
that he has seen six young ones alive in the pouch of the female; they
were about two inches in length, were very nimble, and went in and
out of the pouch many times in a day. They are very small when just
brought forth: some travellers say they are not bigger than flies
when they go out of the womb into the pouch, and attach themselves to
the teats. This fact is not so much exaggerated as might be imagined,
for we have seen in an animal, whose species is somewhat like that of
the opossum, young ones sticking to the teats not bigger than beans;
and it is not improbable, that, in these animals, the womb is only the
place of conception and first formation of the foetus, whose unfolding
is completed in the pouch. No one has observed the time of their
gestation, which we think is shorter than in any other quadruped; and
as this early exclusion of the foetus is a singularity in nature, we
wish those who have an opportunity of observing the opossums in their
native country would contrive to discover how long the females go
with young, and how long the young remain attached to the teats. This
observation is curious in itself, and may become useful, in pointing
out some means of preserving the lives of children born before their
natural period.

That the young opossums stick to the teats of the mother till they
have acquired strength, and a sufficient growth to move with ease, is
a fact not to be doubted; nor is it peculiar to this species only,
since we have seen it in that of the _marmose_. The female marmose has
not, like the opossum, a bag under the belly; it is not, therefore, in
consequence of the assistance which the young receive from the pouch
that they stick so long to the teats, and increase in that immoveable
situation. I make this observation to prevent the pouch being
considered as a second womb, or at least an asylum necessary to the
young before they are unfolded. Some authors pretend that they stick to
the teats for several weeks, others say that they remain in the pouch
only the first month after they came out of the womb. The pouch may
be opened, the young counted, and even felt, without disturbing them,
for they do not leave the teats, which they hold with their mouths,
before they are strong enough to walk; then they fall into the bag,
and afterwards go out to seek for their subsistence; they often go in
again to sleep, to suck, and to hide themselves when terrified; in
cases of danger the mother flies, and carries the whole of her young
with her. Her belly does not seem to have any increased bigness when
she is breeding, for in the time of the true gestation it is scarcely
perceivable that she is with young.

From inspecting the form of the feet it is easy to perceive that he
walks and runs aukwardly; it is said a man can overtake him without
hastening his steps. He climbs up trees with great facility, hides
himself in the leaves to catch birds, or hangs by the tail, the
extremity of which is so muscular and flexible that he can clasp with
it any thing he seizes upon. He sometimes remains a long while in this
situation, his body suspended, with his head hanging downward, waiting
for his prey. At other times he jumps from one tree to another, as the
monkeys, with like muscular flexible tails, which he resembles also
in the conformation of his feet. Though carnivorous, and even greedy
of blood, which he sucks with avidity, he feeds also upon reptiles,
insects, sugar-canes, potatoes, roots, and even leaves and bark of
trees. He may easily be rendered a domestic animal, for he is neither
wild nor ferocious; but he creates disgust by his smell, which is
more offensive than that of the fox; his figure is also forbidding,
for his ears are like those of an ounce, his tail resembles that of a
serpent, his mouth is cleft to the very eyes, his body appears always
dirty, because his hair is neither smooth nor curled, and seems as if
covered with dirt. His bad smell resides in the skin, for his flesh is
eatable. The savages hunt this animal by preference, and feed on his
flesh heartily.


M. de la Borde has sent me an account of three opossums, which he
kept in a cask at Cayenne; in most particulars it agrees with the
description already given; he says they are very easily tamed, and
feed upon fish, flesh, bread, &c. that those he had possessed no
disagreeable smell, but that there are two species, the one which has
so strong an odour as to be called stinking by the inhabitants, and
that their flesh is not good to eat.

M. de Vosmaër, to his description of the flying squirrel, has added a
note, in which he says, "the _coes-coes_ is the _bosch_ of the East
Indies, the _philandre_ of Seba, and the _didelphiè_ of Linnæus. M.
de Buffon has confined this animal to the new world, and positively
denies its existence in the East Indies; but I can assure that learned
naturalist that Valentin and Seba said no more than the truth, in
affirming they were common to both Asia and America, for I have had a
male and female sent me from the East Indies, and Dr. Schlosser, at
Amsterdam received one of the same species from Amboyna. The principal
difference between those of the East and West Indies is in the colour
of the hair, the male of the former being of a yellowish white, and
the female a little darker, with a brown line on the back, and their
ears are less than those of the latter. The heads also of the West
India species are much shorter than those of the East." I have not
the smallest reason to doubt M. Vosmaër's receiving two animals from
the East Indies, under the name of _coes-coes_, but am of opinion the
differences which he points out are sufficient to induce us not to
consider them the same species as the opossums. I, however, confess the
justice of his observation upon my making the three philandres of Seba
the same animal, when, in fact, the third is a different species, and
found in the Philippine islands, and possibly in many parts of the East
Indies, where it is called _coes-coes_, or _cous-cous_. Christopher
Barchewitz gives a description of this animal found in the island of
Lethy, and from the similarity it plainly appears, that the East India
_cuscus_ is of the same genus as the American opossum; but that is no
proof of their being of the same species; and I am still of opinion,
that the animals of one continent will not be found in the other,
unless they have been transported thither. I do not mean to deny the
possibility of the same climates in the two continents producing some
animals of exactly the same species, provided other circumstances were
the same; I am not, however, treating here of possibilities, but of
general facts, of which we have given many instances in our enumeration
of animals peculiar to the two continents; and, upon the whole, I am
inclined to consider the coes-coes of the East Indies as an animal
whose species approaches very near to that of the opossums of America,
but that they have similar differences, to those which are observable
between the jaguar and leopards, which of all animals peculiar to
the southern climates of the two continents, without being the same
species, come the nearest to each other.


The species of the Marmose, or Murine Opossum, (_fig. 132._) resembles
that of the preceding; they are natives of the same climate and the
same continent; they are very much alike in the form of the body, the
conformation of the feet, in the tail, which is mostly covered with
scales, except the upper part, which is hairy, and by the teeth, which
are more numerous than in other quadrupeds. But the marmose is smaller,
and his snout sharper; the female has no pouch under the belly, she
has only two loose skins near the thighs, between which the young
fix themselves to the teats. The parts of generation of the male and
female marmose resemble, by their form and their position, those of
the opossum. When the young are brought forth, and fix themselves to
the teats, they are not so big as small beans. The brood is also more
numerous; I have seen ten young ones, each sticking to a different
teat, and the mother had four more teats, which made fourteen in
all. It is particularly on the females of this species that the
observations, recommended in the preceding article, should be made; as
I am persuaded they bring forth a few days after conception, and that
the young are only foetuses which are not come to the fourth part of
their growth. The mother always miscarries, and the foetuses save their
lives by sticking to the teats, and never leaving them till they have
acquired the growth and strength which they would naturally have got in
the womb, if they had remained until the proper period.

The marmose has the same manners, and the same inclinations, as the
opossum; both of them dig burrows to dwell under the ground, hang by
the extremities of their tails to the branches of trees, and rush upon
birds and small animals; they eat fruit, corn, and roots, but they are
still more greedy of fish and craw-fish, which, it is affirmed, they
catch with their tails. This fact, however, is doubtful, and does not
agree with the natural stupidity attributed to those animals, who,
according to the relation of most travellers, do not even know how to
move, fly, or defend themselves, with any degree of art.


Fernandes is the first author who has mentioned this animal. The
Cayopollin, says he, is a small animal, little bigger than a rat, very
much resembling the opossum in the snout, ears, and tail, and which
he makes use of as we do our hands; he has thin transparent ears; his
belly, legs, and feet, are white. The young, when frightened, seize
hold of the mother, who carries them up on the trees. This species is
found on the mountains of New Spain. Nieremberg has copied Fernandes
verbatim, without any addition of his own. Seba, who first caused
this animal to be engraved, gives no description of it; he only says,
that he has the head thicker, and the tail a little bigger than the
marmose, and that though he is of the same kind he belongs to another
climate, and even to another continent. He refers his readers to
Nieremberg and Johnston for a further description of this animal; but
it seems evident that neither of them had seen him, as they only follow
Fernandes. Neither of these three authors say that he is a native of
Africa, on the contrary, they assert, that he comes originally from
the mountains of the warm climates of America, and yet Seba, without
any authority, has pretended, that it is an African animal. That which
we have seen certainly came from America; he was larger, the snout
not so sharp, and the tail was longer than those of the marmose, and
he resembled the opossum more even than the marmose does. These three
animals are much alike in the conformation of their interior and
exterior parts, in their additional bones, form of their feet, in being
brought forth before their entire formation, their long and continued
adherence to the teats, and in their habits and dispositions. They are
all three natives of the new world, and of the same climate; they are
never found in the cold regions of America, nor can hardly live in
temperate climates. All of them are very ugly; their mouths extended
like that of a pike, their ears like those of a bat, their tails like
that of a snake, and their monkey's feet present a very odd form, which
is rendered still more disagreeable by their bad smell, and by the
slowness and stupidity which accompany their actions and manners.


The Elephant, the human species excepted, is the most considerable
animal of this world; he surpasses all terrestrial beings in size, and
approaches near to man in understanding, as much, at least, as matter
can approach to mind. The elephant, dog, beaver, and ape, of all the
animated beings, have the most admirable instinct; but this instinct,
which is only the product of all the interior and exterior faculties
of the animal, manifests itself very differently in every one of these
species. The dog is naturally as cruel and bloody as the wolf; but his
ferocious nature is to be conquered by gentleness: he only differs
from the other animals of prey, by possessing a degree of sensibility,
which makes him susceptible of affection, and capable of attachment.
He has from nature this disposition, which man has cultivated and
improved by a constant and ancient society with this animal. The
dog alone was worthy of this attention, as he is more capable than
any other quadruped of foreign impressions, his social nature has
improved all his relative faculties. His sensibility, tractable temper,
courage, talents, and even his manners, are modified by the example
and qualities of his matter. He has not then, from nature, all those
qualifications he appears to possess, but has acquired them from his
intercourse with men; he is only more susceptible of tuition than other
animals; far from having, like most of them, a disgust for man, his
inclination leads him to seek their society: actuated by a desire of
pleasing, his tractability, fidelity, constant submission, and that
attention necessary to act in consequence of man's orders, are the
result of this natural sentiment.

The ape, on the contrary, is untractable and eccentric; his nature
is perverse; he has no relative sensibility, no gratitude for good
treatment, and no remembrance of favours; he is naturally averse from
the society of man, he hates constraint, is mischievous by nature,
and inclined to do every thing hurtful and disagreeable. But these
real faults are compensated by seeming perfections. His exterior
conformation resembles that of man, he has arms, hands, and fingers.
The use of these parts alone, makes him superior in dexterity to
other animals; and the affinities to us which he then possesses by a
similarity of motions, and the conformity of his actions, please and
deceive us, and induce us to attribute to interior qualities, what
depends merely on the formation of his members.

The beaver, who seems inferior to the dog and ape, by his individual
faculties, has nevertheless received from Nature a gift almost
equivalent to that of speech; he makes himself so well understood by
those of his own species, as to bring them together; to act in concert,
and to undertake and execute extensive and continued labours in common;
and this social love, as well as the product of their reciprocal
understanding, have better claims to our admiration, than the dexterity
of the ape, or the faithfulness of the dog.

Thus the dog's genius is only borrowed; the ape has but the appearance
of sagacity, and the beaver is only sensible in regard to himself, and
those of his species. The elephant is superior to them all three, for
in him are united all their most eminent qualities. The hand is the
principal organ of the ape's dexterity; the elephant is equally so
with his trunk, which serves him instead of arms and hands, by it he
can lift up, and seize small as well as large objects, carry them to
his mouth, place them on his back, hold them fast, or throw them to a
distance; he has at the same time the docility of the dog; he is, like
him, susceptible of gratitude, capable of a strong attachment, attends
upon man without reluctance, and submits to him, not so much by force
as good treatment; serves him with zeal, intelligence, and fidelity;
in fine, the elephant, the same as the beaver, likes the society of
his own species, and by whom he is understood. They are often seen to
assemble together, disperse, and act in concert, and if they do not
carry on any work in common, it is, perhaps, only for want of room and
tranquillity; for men have been very anciently multiplied in all the
regions inhabited by the elephant; he consequently lives in fear and
anxiety, and is no where a peaceful possessor of a space large and free
enough to establish a secure habitation. We have seen that all these
advantages are requisite to manifest the talents of the beaver, and
that wherever men are settled, he loses his industry, and ceases to
build. Every being has its relative value in Nature. To judge of the
elephant, we must allow him to possess the sagacity of the beaver,
the dexterity of the ape, the sentiment of the dog with the peculiar
advantages of strength, bigness, and longevity. We must not forget his
arms, or tusks, with which he can pierce through and conquer the lion.
We should also recollect that he shakes the ground at every step; that
with his trunk he roots out trees; that with the strength of his body,
he makes a breach in the wall; that though tremendous by his strength,
he is more invincible by the resistance of his bulky massiveness, and
the thickness of his skin; that he can carry on his back an armed tower
filled with many men; and that he alone moves machines, and carries
burthens, which six horses cannot move. To this prodigious strength, he
joins courage, prudence, coolness, and an exact obedience; he preserves
moderation even in his most violent passions; he is more constant than
impetuous in love: in anger he does not forget his friends; he never
attacks any but those who have given him some offence; and he remembers
favours as long as injuries. Having no taste for flesh, and feeding
chiefly upon vegetables, he is not naturally an enemy to any living
creature; he is beloved by them all, since all of them respect, and
no one has cause to fear him. For these reasons, men at all times
have had a sort of veneration for this first of animals. The ancients
considered the elephant as a prodigy, a miracle of Nature, and he is
in reality her greatest effort; they have attributed to him without
hesitation, intellectual qualities and moral virtues.

Pliny, Ælian, Solinus, Plutarch, and other more modern authors,
have even given to this animal rational faculties, a natural innate
religion, the observation of a daily worship, such as that of the sun
and moon, the use of ablution before adoration, a spirit of divination,
piety towards heaven and their fellow creatures whom they assist at
their deaths; and after their decease, express their regret by tears,
and cover them with earth. The Indians, prepossessed with the opinion
of the metempsychosis, are to this day persuaded, that a body so
majestic as that of the elephant cannot be animated but by the soul of
a great man, or a king. They respect at Siam,[AE] Laos, and Pegu, white
elephants as the living manes of the emperors of India. They have
each of them a palace, a number of servants, golden vessels, exquisite
dainties, magnificent trappings, and are absolved from all labour and
obedience; the living emperor is the only one before whom they kneel
down, and the monarch returns the salute. These flattering attentions,
this respect, these offerings flatter them but do not inspire them with
vanity; they have not consequently a human soul, and this circumstance
should be sufficient to prove it to the Indians.

[Footnote AE: The white elephant, so much respected in India, and who
has been the cause of so many wars, is very small and wrinkled with
age. He is attended by several mandarins who are appointed to take care
of him, and his victuals is presented to him in large golden vessels;
his apartment is very magnificent, and gilt all round. At about a
league from the country-house belonging to the king, is another white
elephant, kept as a successor to the former, whom they say is 300 years
old. He is also attended by mandarins, and his mother and aunt are kept
with him out of respect. _Premier Voyage du P. Tachard._]

Without adopting the credulities of antiquity, and the puerile fictions
of superstition, the elephant is an animal still worth the attention
of a philosopher, who ought to consider him as a being of the first
distinction. He deserves to be known, and to be observed; we shall
therefore write his history with impartiality; we shall consider him
at first in his state of nature when he is free and independent, and
afterwards in his servile condition, when the will of his master
becomes the cause of his actions.

In a wild state, the elephant is neither sanguinary nor ferocious; he
is of a mild temper, and never makes a bad use of his arms, or his
strength; for he never employs or exerts them but in his own defence,
or in protecting others of his species. His manners are social, for he
is seldom wandering alone: they commonly walk in troops, the oldest
leading, and the next in age bringing up the rear; the young and the
weak keeping in the middle. The females carry their young, and hold
them close with their trunks. They only observe this order in perilous
marches when they go to feed on cultivated lands; they travel with
less precaution in forests and solitary places, but without separating
to such a distance as not to be able to give to each other mutual
assistance, and warnings of danger. Some, however, straggle, and
remain behind, and it is none but these the hunters dare attack, for
a small army would be requisite to assail the whole herd, and they
could not conquer without a great loss of men. It is even dangerous to
do them the least injury, for they go straight to the offender, and
notwithstanding the great heaviness of their bodies they walk so fast
that they easily overtake the most agile man; they pierce him through
with their tusks, or seize him with their trunks; throw him like a
stone, and then kill him by treading him under their feet. But it is
only when they have been provoked that they become so furious and so
implacable; they do no harm to those who do not disturb them; yet,
as they are very suspicious, and sensible of injuries, it is proper
to avoid them; and the travellers who frequent the countries where
they are numerous, light great fires in the night, and beat drums,
to prevent their approach. It is said that when they have been once
attacked by men, or have fallen into a snare, they never forget it,
but seek for revenge on all occasions. As they have a most exquisite
sense of smelling, perhaps more perfect than that of any other animal,
they smell a man at a great distance, and can easily follow him by the
scent. The ancients have asserted that the elephant tears up the grass
where the hunters have passed, and with their trunks convey it to each
other, in order to give information of the passage and march of the
enemy. These animals are fond of the banks of rivers, deep valleys,
shady places, and marshy grounds. They cannot go long without water,
which they make thick and muddy before they drink it. They often fill
their trunks with water, either to convey it to their mouths, or only
to cool their noses, and to amuse themselves in sprinkling it around
them. They cannot support cold, and suffer equally from excessive heat;
to avoid the burning rays of the sun, they penetrate into the thickest
recesses of the forests. They bathe often in the water; the enormous
size of their bodies is rather an advantage to them in swimming, and
they do not sink so deep in the water as other animals; besides, the
length of their trunks, which they erect in the air, and through which
they breathe, takes from them all fear of being drowned.

Their common food is roots, herbs, leaves, and young branches; they
also eat fruit and corn, but they have a dislike to flesh and fish.
When one of them finds a good pasture, he calls the others, and invites
them to come and feed with him. As they consume a great quantity of
fodder, they often change their place, and when they find cultivated
lands they make a prodigious waste; their bodies being of an enormous
weight, they destroy ten times more with their feet, than they consume
for their food, which may be reckoned at 150lbs. of grass daily; and
as they always keep in great numbers together, they will lay waste a
large territory in an hour's time; for this reason the Indians and
Negroes exert every means to prevent their visits, and to drive them
away; they make great noises, and large fires round their cultivated
lands; yet, notwithstanding these precautions, the elephants often
take possession of them, drive away the cattle and men, and sometimes
pull down their cottages. It is difficult to frighten them, as they
are little susceptible of fear; the only things that can stop their
progress are fire-works, and crackers thrown amongst them; the sudden
and repeated noise of which sometimes occasions them to turn back. It
is very difficult to part them, for they commonly act together whether
they attack, proceed, or turn back.

When the females come in season this social intercourse yields to a
more lively sentiment; the herd separate in pairs, having each chosen
their mates; they then seek for solitary places, and in their march
love seems to precede and modesty to follow them; for they observe the
greatest mystery in their amours, and they have never been seen to
couple. They avoid the inspection of their own species, and, perhaps,
know better than ourselves the pure delight of secret pleasure, being
wholly taken with one beloved object. They retire into shady woods
and most solitary places, to give themselves up, without disturbance
or restraint, to the impulses of Nature, which are strong and lasting,
as they have long intervals between their seasons of love. The female
goes two years with young; when she is in that condition the male
abstains from her, and thus are they subjected to the influence of love
but once in three years. They bring forth only one young, which has
teeth at its birth, and is then bigger than a wild boar; his tusks are
not visible, but they appear soon after, and when six months old they
are some inches long. At that age the elephant is bigger than the ox,
and the tusks continue to increase till he is much advanced in years,
provided the animal is in health, and at liberty, for it is scarcely
to be imagined how much slavery and unnatural food change his natural
habit and constitution.

The elephant is easily tamed, brought into submission, and instructed,
and as he is the strongest and most sensible of animals, he is more
serviceable than any of them; but he seems always to feel his servile
condition, for though subject to the powerful impressions of love they
never couple, nor produce in a state of domesticity. His passion,
irritated by constraint, degenerates into fury; as he cannot indulge
it without witnesses he becomes violent and intractable, and the
strongest chains and fetters are often found necessary to stop his
impetuosity, and subdue his anger. Thus the elephant differs from all
domestic animals which man treats or manages as beings without will;
he is not like these born slaves, which we mutilate or multiply for
our use. Here the individual alone is a slave, the species remains
independent, and constantly refuses to increase for the benefit of
their tyrants. This alone shews in the elephant elevated sentiments
superior to the nature of common brutes. To be agitated by the most
ardent desires, and to deny themselves the satisfaction of enjoying
them; to be subjected to all the fury of love, and yet not to violate
the laws of modesty, are, perhaps, the highest efforts of human virtue,
but which in these majestic animals are all suggested by instinct, and
from which they never deviate. Enraged that they cannot be gratified
without witnesses their fury becomes stronger than their passion of
love, destroys the effects of it, and provokes, at the same time, that
anger which, in those instants, renders the elephant more dangerous
than any other wild animal.

We should be inclined to doubt this fact, were it possible, but
naturalists, historians, and travellers, all agree, that the elephants
never produce in a domestic state. The kings of India keep a great
number of them, and after having endeavoured in vain to make them
multiply, like other domestic animals, they found it necessary to part
the males from the females, to prevent that fury which is occasioned
by the irritation of desires they will not satisfy in a state of
subjection. There are, therefore, no domestic elephants but what have
been wild, and the manner of taking, taming, and bringing them into
submission deserves particular attention. In the middle of forests,
and in the vicinity of the places frequented by the elephants, a spot
is chosen, and encircled with palisadoes; the strongest trees of the
forest serve for stakes, to which are fastened cross pieces of timber,
which support the other stakes. A man may easily pass through this
palisado; a large opening is also left, through which the elephant may
go in, and over it is a trap, or large stake, which is let down to
shut the opening after the animal has entered. To bring him to this
inclosure the hunters take a tame female with them into the forest,
who is in season, and when when they think she is near enough to be
heard they oblige her to make the cry of love, the wild male answers
immediately, and begins his march to meet her. She is then led towards
the inclosure, repeating her call now and then; she arrives first,
and the male following her track enters through the same gate. As
soon as he perceives himself enclosed his ardour vanishes, and when
he discovers the hunters he becomes furious; they throw ropes at him
with a running knot, by which they fetter his legs and trunk; they then
bring two or three tame elephants, led by dextrous men, and endeavour
to tie him to one of them; in short, by dint of dexterity, strength,
terror, and caresses, they succeed in taming him in a few days.

I shall not enter into more particulars on this subject, but refer
to those travellers who have been ocular witnesses of the manner of
hunting the elephants;[AF] it varies according to different countries,
and according to the power and the abilities of those who make war
against them, for instead of erecting, like the kings of Siam, walls,
terraces, or making palisades around large inclosures, the poor negroes
use the most simple snares; they dig pits in the passages, where the
elephants are known to pass, so deep as to prevent their getting out
again when fallen in.

[Footnote AF: For the purpose of hunting the elephant, they have at a
little distance from Luovo, a kind of amphitheatre, surrounded with
high walls, where those are placed who wish to see the sport. In the
middle of these walls a palisade is formed, with strong stakes fixed
in the ground; a pretty large opening is left on the side next the
forest, and a smaller one towards the city, into which the elephant
cannot enter without difficulty. Upon the day fixed upon for the chace,
the hunters go into the forests upon some female elephants covering
themselves with leaves to prevent being seen; having reason to suppose
there are wild ones near, they make the females utter certain cries,
and which the wild males instantly answer; the hunter then drives the
female back to the above amphitheatre, whither the male constantly
follows her, and being entered the large opening is immediately shut.
At the one we were present, the females went out on the other side,
but from the smallness of the size the wild one refused to enter;
the females repeated their cries, and some of the Siamese began to
irritate him, by clapping their hands, and crying _pat, pat_, while
others struck him with long poles that had sharp points, all of whom he
pursued, but they escaped by slipping between the palisades, sufficient
spaces being left for that purpose; at length he fixed upon one whom he
pursued with great fury, and the man running into this narrow passage
the elephant followed him, but the moment he entered, the bars, before
and behind, were let fall, and he no sooner found himself in the snare
than he made the most violent efforts, and raised the most hideous
cries. The hunters then endeavoured to sooth him by flinging quantities
of water upon his body and trunk, rubbing him with leaves, putting oil
on his ears, and bringing tame elephants, who seemed to caress him with
their trunks, one of which, properly trained, was mounted by a man who
made him go backwards and forwards to shew as it were the stranger that
he had nothing to fear. Ropes were thrown round his hind legs and body,
and then the bar was taken away from the further end, where being come
he was tied to two tame elephants one of each side of him these led
him the way while another pushed him behind with his head until they
came to a kind of shade where he was fastened to a large post, like the
capstan of a ship, and there left till the next day. While here, one
of the Bramins, or priests, dressed in white, and mounted on another
elephant, goes to him and sprinkles him with consecrated water, which
they imagine has the power of divesting him of his ferocity. Next day
he is marched off with the other elephants, and by the end of the
fifteenth, they are in general perfectly tame. _Premier Voyage du P.

In Ethiopia they take great numbers of these animals by forming an
inclosure in the thickest parts of the forests, leaving a sufficient
opening, with a door lying flat on the ground; the hunters sit to watch
for the elephant on a tree and as soon as he enters they draw up the
door with a rope, then descend and attack him with arrows, but if by
any chance he gets out of his confinement, he kills every man that he
can come near. _L'Afrique de Marmol._

At Ceylon they take the elephant by digging deep ditches lightly
covering them over, in places frequented by these animals, who coming
on this covering in the night, unavoidably fall in and are unable to
get out again; here the slaves supply them with food, to whom they,
in a short time, are so accustomed, and familiar, as to be led up to
Goa perfectly tame. They have also a mode of hunting them with two
tame females, whom they take into the forests, and coming near a wild
elephant, they let them loose; these go up to the strange one on each
side, press so closely against him as to force him their way, and
render it impossible for him to escape. _Memoir es touchant les Indes
Orientales. Voyages de P. Philippe, Thevenot, &c._]

The elephant, when once tamed, becomes the most tractable and
submissive of all animals; he conceives an affection for his leader,
caresses him, and seems to foresee whatever can please him; in a
little time he understands signs, and even the expression of sounds;
he distinguishes the tones of command, anger, or approbation, and acts
accordingly. He never mistakes the voice of his master; he receives his
orders with attention, executes them with prudence and eagerness, but
without precipitation, for his motions are always measured, and his
character seems to participate of the gravity of his body. He is easily
taught to bend his knees to assist those who ride on his back; he
caresses his friends, salutes the persons he is directed to take notice
of, lifts up burdens, and helps to load himself with his trunk; he has
no aversion to being clothed, and seems to delight in a golden harness
or magnificent trappings; he is easily put into traces, and often
employed in drawing; he draws evenly, without slopping or any marks
of dislike, provided he is not insulted by unseasonable correction,
and that his driver seems to approve the spontaneous exertion of his
strength. His conductor is mounted on his neck, and makes use of an
iron rod, hooked at the end, with which he strikes him on the head, or
sides, to make him turn, or increase his pace; but a word is commonly
sufficient, especially, if the animal has bad time to make himself
well acquainted with his conductor, and has a confidence in him. His
attachment is sometimes so strong, and so lasting, and his affection so
great, that he will refuse to serve a second person, and has been known
to die of grief when in a fit of rage he has happened to destroy his

The species of the elephant is numerous, though they bring forth but
one in two or three years. In proportion to the shortness of the life
of an animal is its multiplicity of production; and in the elephant
the duration of its existence compensates for the smallness of its
number; and if it be true that they live 200 years, and propagate
until they are 120, each couple may bring forth forty in that time.
Besides, having nothing to fear from other animals, and being taken by
men with great difficulty and danger, the species has not decreased,
and is generally dispersed in all the southern parts of Africa and
Asia. They are numerous at Ceylon, in the Mogul dominions, in Bengal,
Siam, Pegu, and the other territories of India. They are perhaps, in
a greater number in the South of Africa, except some parts which
they have abandoned, since they have been so fully inhabited by men.
They are faithful to their country, and constant to their climate,
for though they can live in temperate regions it does not seem that
they ever attempted to settle, or even to travel into them. They were
formerly unknown in Europe. It does not seem that Homer, who speaks
of the ivory, knew the animal from whom it is obtained. Alexander was
the first who rode upon an elephant in Europe. He sent into Greece
those which he took at Porus, and were, perhaps, the same which Pyrrhus
employed several years after against the Romans, in the Tarentine
war, and with which Curius adorned his triumph into Rome. Hannibal
afterwards brought them from Africa, made them pass the Alps, and led
them almost to the gates of Rome.

From time immemorial the Indians have made use of elephants in war.
Among those nations, unacquainted with military discipline, they
formed their best troop, and as long as battles were decided by iron
weapons they commonly vanquished. Yet we learn by history that the
Greeks and Romans soon used themselves to those monsters of war; they
opened their ranks to let them go through; they did not attempt to
wound them, but threw all their darts against their leaders, who were
obliged to turn all their attention to the elephant, when separated
from their troops. Now that fire is become the element of war, and the
principal instrument of death, elephants, who are afraid of noise and
flame, would be rather an incumbrance in battle, and more dangerous
than useful. The kings of India still arm their elephants in war, but
it is more for shew than for real service; yet they derive from these
animals the same utility that arises from an army which is to enslave
their equals; they make use of them to subdue the wild elephants. The
most powerful monarchs of the Indies have now above 200 elephants for
war. They keep many others for different services, and to carry the
large cages in which their women travel; it is a perfectly safe way of
travelling, for the elephant never stumbles; but time is required to be
used to the motions of his pace. The best place is upon the neck, as
you there ride more easy than on the shoulders or the back; but in war,
or hunting, several men ride the same elephant: the conductor rides on
his neck, and the hunters, or warriors, are placed on other parts of
his body.

In those happy regions, where our cannon and our murdering arts are
yet scarcely known, they fight still upon elephants. At Cochin, and
in the other parts of Malabar, they make no use of horses, and all
those who do not fight on foot are mounted upon elephants. In Tonquin,
Siam, and Pegu, the king, and all the grandees, ride on nothing but
elephants; on festival days they are preceded and followed by a great
number of these animals, superbly caparisoned, and covered with the
richest stuffs. They surround their tusks with gold and silver rings;
they paint their ears and cheeks; they crown them with garlands, and
their harness is ornamented with little bells; they seem to delight in
magnificent attire, and the more their trappings are rich and splendid
the more they are cheerful and caressing. It is only in the East
Indies that the elephants are so far improved, for in Africa they can
scarcely tame them. The Asiatics, anciently civilized, have reduced
the education of the elephant into a system, and they have instructed
and modified him according to their manners. But of all the Africans
the Carthaginians were the only people who trained up the elephants to
war, because at the time of the splendor of their commonwealth they
were, perhaps, more civilized than any other of the eastern nations.
At present no wild elephants are found in all that part of Africa on
this side Mount Atlas; there are even few beyond those mountains, as
far as the river Senegal. But they are numerous in Senegal, in Guinea,
in Congo, and on the Teeth Coast, in the countries of Anto, Acra,
Benin, and all the other southern parts of Africa, as far as the Cape
of Good Hope, except some provinces very populous, such as Fida, Ardra,
&c. They are also found in Abyssinia, in Ethiopia, in Nigritia, on the
eastern coast, and in the inland parts of Africa. They are also in the
great islands of India and Africa, such as Madagascar, Java, and the

After comparing the relations of travellers and historians it seems
that elephants are actually more numerous in Africa than in Asia; they
are there also less mistrustful, and not so shy, as if they knew the
unskilfulness and the little power of the men who inhabit this part
of the world; they come daily without fear to their habitations, and
treat the negroes with that natural and scornful indifference they
have for other animals; they do not consider those men as powerful and
formidable beings, but as a species whose skill consists in laying
snares, without having the courage to encounter them, and absolutely
ignorant of the art of reducing them into subjection. It is by this
art known, from the earliest times, to the eastern nations, that their
species is diminished. The wild elephants, which they tame, become by
their captivity, like so many voluntary eunuchs, which daily drain
the source of generation; but, on the contrary, in Africa, where they
are all free, the whole species propagate, and all the individuals
constantly concur to its increase. I do not know any other cause
for this difference in their numbers, for, in considering the other
effects, it seems the south of India, and the east of Africa, are the
natural countries, and the most suitable to the elephant. He is there
much larger and stronger than in Guinea, or in the other western parts
of Africa. He fears excessive heat, and never inhabits the burning
sands; he is most frequently found on the flat countries near the
rivers, and never on the hilly parts of Africa; but in India the most
powerful and the most courageous of the species, and who have the
strongest and longest tusks, are the elephants of the mountains; they
inhabit the high grounds, where the air being more temperate, the water
more pure, and the food more wholesome, they gradually arrive to the
full perfection of their nature.

In general the elephants of Asia are larger and superior in strength,
to those of Africa; particularly those of Ceylon, which exceed in
courage and sagacity even those of Asia. Probably they owe these
qualifications to their more improved education; it is, however,
certain, that all travellers have celebrated the elephants of this
island, where the ground is interspersed with mountains, which rise
gradually towards the centre, and where the heat is not so excessive as
in Senegal, Guinea, and other western parts of Africa. The ancients,
who knew no more of this part of the world, but the countries seated
between Mount Atlas and the Mediterranean, had observed, that the
elephants of Lybia were much smaller than those of India. There are not
any elephants at this time, in that part of Africa, which proves, as
mentioned in the article of the Lion, that men are more numerous there
now than they were in the ages of Carthage. The elephants have retired
in proportion as men have molested them; but in travelling through the
climates of Africa, they have not changed their nature; for those of
Senegal, Guinea, &c. are at this time smaller than those of India.

The strength of these animals is proportionate to their bigness. The
elephants of India carry with ease burdens of three or four thousand
pounds weight; the smallest, that is, those of Africa, lift up freely
with their trunks, burdens of two hundredweight, and place them on
their shoulders; they take into their trunks a great quantity of water,
which they throw out around them, at seven or eight feet distance; they
can carry a weight of a thousand pounds upon their tusks; with their
trunks they break off branches, and with their tusks they root out
trees. Their strength may be judged of by their agility, comparatively
to the bulk of their bodies; they walk as fast as a horse goes on
an easy trot; and they run as fast as a horse can gallop; which
seldom happens in their wild state, except when they are provoked
or frightened. The tame elephants are commonly walked; they travel
easily, and without fatigue, fifteen or twenty leagues a day; and, when
hurried, they can travel thirty-five or forty. Their steps are heard
at a great distance, and they may be followed by their tracks, for
the marks they leave on the ground are fifteen or eighteen inches in

A domestic elephant does, perhaps, to his master more real service than
five or six horses; but he requires much care and abundance of good
food; it is computed that he consumes to the amount of an hundred
pence per day. He is commonly fed with raw or boiled rice mixed with
water; and it is reckoned he wants one hundred pounds of rice daily to
be kept in his full vigour; they give him also grass to cool him, for
he is often over-heated, and must be led to the water that he may bathe
two or three times a day; he easily learns to wash himself; he takes
the water up in his trunk, carries it to his mouth, drinks part, and
then by elevating his trunk, lets the remainder flow over every part
of his body. To give an idea of the services he is able to perform, it
is sufficient to observe, that all the bags, bales, and parcels, which
are transported from one place to another in the Indies, are carried by
elephants; that they carry burdens on their bodies, their necks, their
tusks, and even with their mouths, by giving them the end of a rope
which they hold with their teeth.

When the elephant is taken care of he lives a long time even in
captivity; and it is to be presumed, that in a state of liberty his
life is still longer. Some authors say he lives four or five hundred
years; others, two or three hundred; and others, one hundred and
twenty, thirty, and even one hundred and fifty years. I take this last
opinion to be the nearest to the truth; and if it is certain, that
captive elephants live one hundred and twenty or thirty years; those
who are free, and enjoy all the conveniences and rights of Nature,
must live at least two hundred; besides, if their gestation lasts
two years, and thirty years are required to bring them to their full
growth, we may be assured that their life extends to the term we have
mentioned. It is not so much the captivity, as the change of climate
which shortens their existence: whatever care is taken of the elephant,
he does not live long in temperate, and still shorter in cold climates.
The elephant which the King of Portugal sent to Louis XIV. in 1668, and
who was then but four years old, died in his seventeenth, in January
1681, and lived only thirteen years in the menagerie of Versailles,
where he was treated with care and tenderness, and fed with profusion;
he had every day four score pounds of bread, twelve pints of wine, two
buckets of porridge, with four or five pounds of bread in it, the last
was changed every other day for two buckets of rice boiled in water,
without reckoning what was given him by visitors. He had, besides,
every day a sheaf of corn to amuse himself; for, after eating the ears,
he made large whisps of the straw, and used them to drive away the
flies. He delighted in breaking the straw in small bits, which he did
with great dexterity with his trunk; and as he was led to walk daily,
he pulled and eat the grass. The elephant who was lately at Naples,
though the heat is greater than at Paris, lived there but a few years.
Those which have been transported to Petersburg perished successively,
notwithstanding they were well sheltered, covered, and warmed with
stoves; consequently, we may conclude, that this animal cannot live in
a state of nature, nor multiply in Europe. But I am surprised that the
Portuguese, who first knew the use and value of these animals in the
East Indies, did not transport them into the warm climate of Brasil,
where they might have propagated, if left at liberty.

The common colour of the elephant is of ash grey, or blackish. White
ones, as we have observed, are extremely scarce: and some have been
seen in the Indies of a reddish colour; these and the white are
much esteemed; but these varieties are so scarce, that they cannot
be considered as a race distinct from the species, but rather as
accidental qualities peculiar to individuals; for otherwise, the
countries of the white, red, and black elephants would be known, as
well as the climates of white, red, and black men, and those of a
copper colour. "Elephants of three different sorts are found in the
Indies; (says Father Vincent Marie) the white, which are the largest,
most gentle, and of the best temper, are worshipped as gods by several
nations; the red, such as those of Ceylon, though the smallest, are the
most valiant, the strongest, and best for war, and the other elephants,
either from natural inclination, or perceiving in them something
superior, shew them a great respect; the third species, is that of the
black, which are the most common, and the least esteemed." This author
is the only one who has intimated that Ceylon was the peculiar climate
of red elephants; other travellers make no mention of such a fact. He
also affirms, that the elephants of Ceylon are smaller than the others.
Thevenot says the same thing in his voyage, but others assert the
contrary. Father Vincent Marie also, is the only author who has said
the white elephants are the largest. Father Tachard assures us on the
contrary, that the white elephant of the king of Siam was rather small,
though very old. After comparing the relations of travellers, in regard
to the size of elephants in different countries, it seems, that the
smallest are those of North and West Africa, and that the ancients, who
only knew the northern part of Africa, had some reason to say that,
in general, the elephants of the Indies were much larger than those of
Africa. But in the eastern parts of this quarter of the world, unknown
to them, the elephants are at least as large as those of India; for
those of Siam and Pegu excel in bulk the elephants of Ceylon; which,
however, are the most courageous and intelligent, according to the
unanimous opinion of travellers.

Having thus collected the different facts relative to the species,
let us now examine minutely the faculties of the individual; his
senses, motion, size, strength, address, sagacity, and intelligence.
The elephant has very small eyes, compared to the enormous size of
his body, but they are bright and lively; and what distinguishes them
from the eyes of all other animals, is their pathetic expression of
sentiment, and an almost rational direction of all their motions.
He turns them slowly and gently towards his master, and when he
speaks, the animal has the appearance of listening to him with an
eye of friendship and attention, and by an expressive glance seems
to penetrate into his wishes, and anticipate his desires. He seems
to reflect, to think, and to deliberate, and never acts till he has
examined and observed several times, without passion or precipitation,
the signs of which he is to obey. Dogs, the eyes of which have much
expression, are animals too lively to allow us to distinguish their
successive sensations; but as the elephant is naturally grave and
sedate, we may read in his eyes, whose motions are slow, the order and
succession of his interior affections.

He has a quick hearing, and this organ, like that of smelling, is
outwardly more marked in the elephant than in any other animal. His
ears are very large, even in proportion to his body; they are flat,
and close to the head, like those of a man; they commonly hang down,
but he raises and moves them with such facility that he makes use of
them to defend his eyes against the inconveniency of dust and flies.
He delights in the sound of musical instruments, and moves in exact
time to the sound of the trumpet and tabor. He has an exquisite sense
of smelling, and he is passionately fond of perfumes of all sorts,
and especially of fragrant flowers; he gathers them one by one, makes
nosegays of them, which he smells with eagerness, and then carries to
his mouth, as if he intended to taste them. Orange flowers are one of
his most exquisite dainties; he strips with his trunk an orange tree
of all its verdure, eating the fruit, the flowers, the leaves, and even
the young branches. He chuses in meadows odoriferous plants, and in the
woods he gives the preference to cocoa, palm, and sago trees, and as
these trees are pithy and tender he not only cats the leaves and fruits
but even the branches, the trunk, and the roots, for when he cannot
break the branches with his trunk, he roots up the trees with his tusks.

In regard to the sense of feeling, it centres in his trunk; but it is
as delicate and as distinct in that as in the human hand. This trunk,
composed of membranes, nerves, and muscles, is, at the same time, a
member capable of motion, and an organ of sentiment. The animal can
not only move and bend it, but he can shorten, lengthen, and turn it
all ways. The extremity of the trunk is terminated by a protuberance,
which projects on the upper part like a finger, by which the elephant
does the same as we do with our fingers; he picks up from the ground
the smallest pieces of money; he gathers herbs and flowers, chusing
them one after another; he unties knots, opens and shuts doors, by
turning the keys or slipping the bolts: he learns to draw regular
characters with an instrument as small as a pen. We cannot even deny
that this hand of the elephant has several advantages over ours: it is
equally flexible and as dexterous in feeling or laying hold of objects.
These operations are made by means of that sort of finger, seated at
the superior part of the border, which surrounds the extremity of the
trunk, in the middle of which there is a concavity, in the form of a
cup, and at the bottom of it are the two apertures, which convey the
sense of smelling and respiration. The elephant, consequently, unites
in his trunk both the senses of feeling and smelling; and he may join
the power of his lungs to the action of his hand, either drawing
liquids by suction, or lifting up very heavy burdens, by applying the
extremity of his trunk, and making within an empty place by respiration.

Thus the delicacy of feeling, exquisiteness of smelling, facility
of motion, and the power of suction, are united in the trunk of the
elephant. Of all the instruments which Nature has so liberally bestowed
on her favourite productions, the trunk of the elephant is, perhaps,
the most complete and the most admirable; it is not only an organic
instrument, but a triple sense, whose united functions are, at the
same time, the cause, and produce the effect of that intelligence,
and of those peculiar faculties which distinguish the elephant, and
raise him above all other quadrupeds. He is less subject than other
animals to errors of sight, because he rectifies them quickly by the
sense of feeling; and making use of his trunk as a long arm to feel
distant bodies, he acquires, like men, distinct ideas of distance. But
other animals (except the monkey, and some others, who have the fore
feet similar to arms and hands) cannot acquire the same ideas without
running over that space with their bodies. Feeling is, of all the
senses, that which has the most relation to knowledge. The delicacy of
feeling gives the idea of the substance of the bodies; the flexibility
of the trunk gives the idea of their exterior form; the power of
suction, that of their weight; smelling, that of their qualities;
and its length, that of their distance. They, therefore, with the
same member, and by one simultaneous act, feel, perceive, and judge
of divers things at once. His multiplied sensations are equivalent
to reflection; and though this animal is, like others, incapable of
thinking, as his sensations are combined in the same organ, are coeval
and undivided, it is not surprising that he has ideas of his own, and
that he acquires in a little time those we inculcate to him. His
remembrance should be more perfect than that of any other animal, for
memory only depends chiefly on the circumstances of action; and no
sensation, however lively, can leave a lasting impression, when single
and abstractedly taken; but several combined sensations leave deep
impressions, so that if the elephant cannot recall an idea by feeling
alone, the sensations of smelling and suction, which act at the same
time, help him in recalling them to remembrance. With us the best
method to improve the memory is to make use successively of all our
senses to consider an object; and it is for want of that combined use
of the senses that man forgets more things than he can recollect.

Although the elephant has a more retentive memory, and more
intelligence than any other animal, his brain is proportionally smaller
than most of them, which I only mention as a proof that the brain is
not the seat of sentiment, the _sensorium commune_, which resides, on
the contrary, in the nerves of the senses, and in the membranes of the
head, which are so numerously distributed on the trunk of the elephant,
as to be equal to all those on the rest of the body. It is, therefore,
by virtue of this singular combination of faculties in the trunk, that
this animal is superior to all others in intelligence, notwithstanding
his enormous size, and the disproportion of his form; for the elephant
is, at the same time, a miracle of intelligence, and a monster of
matter. His body is very thick, without any suppleness; his neck short
and stiff, his head small and deformed, his ears and nose exceedingly
large; his eyes, mouth, genital members, and tail, very small in
proportion; his legs are like massive pillars, straight and stiff; his
feet so short and small, that they are hardly perceptible, and his skin
hard, thick, and callous; all these deformities are more remarkable,
from being exhibited on a large scale, and most of them being peculiar
to himself alone, no other animal having either the head, feet, nose,
ears, or tusks, placed like those of the elephant.

From this singular conformation he suffers several inconveniences; he
can scarcely move his head, or turn back without making a circuit. The
hunters who attack him behind, or on the flanks, avoid the effects of
his vengeance by circular motions, and they have sufficient time to
strike him again whilst he is turning against them. His legs, which
are not so stiff as his neck and body, yet bend very slowly, and
with difficulty; their articulation with the thighs is very strong.
His knee is situated like that of a man, and his feet as low; but his
foot has no strength nor elastic power, and the knee is hard, without
suppleness; yet whilst the elephant is in his youth and vigour, he
bends it to lay down, to let himself be loaded, or to help his leaders
to mount him; but when he is old or infirm, this motion becomes so
difficult that he sleeps standing; and, if he is compelled to lay
down, the use of engines are necessary to raise him. His tusks, which
become of an enormous weight when he grows old, not being seated in
a vertical position, as the horns of other animals, form two long
levers, and being in an almost horizontal direction, fatigue his head
prodigiously, and draw it downwards, so that the animal is sometimes
obliged to make holes in the wall of his lodge to support them, and
ease himself of their weight. He has the disadvantage of having the
organ of smelling far distant from that of tasting; and likewise the
inconvenience of not being able to seize any thing on the ground with
his mouth, because his neck is too short to let his head reach the
earth; he is forced, therefore, to take his food, and even his drink
with his nose; and to carry it not only to the entrance of his mouth,
but to his very throat; and when his trunk is full of water, he thrusts
the extremity of it to the very root of the tongue, probably to push
back the epiglottis, and to prevent the liquor which passes through
with impetuosity, from entering into the larynx; for he thrusts out the
water by the strength of the same air which he had employed to suck it
up, and it goes out of the trunk with noise, and enters into the throat
with precipitation. Neither the tongue, the mouth, nor the lips, are of
any service to him, as to other animals, in sucking or lapping their
drink. From this description seems to result the singular consequence,
that the young elephant must suck with his nose, and afterwards carry
the milk to his throat. Yet the ancients have written that he sucks
with the mouth, and not with the trunk; but they were not, probably,
witnesses of the fact, and have founded their opinion on the analogy
with all other animals. If the young elephant had once been used to
suck with his mouth, how could he lose that habit the remainder of
his life? Why does he never use the mouth to take water within his
reach? Why does he constantly employ two actions, where one would be
sufficient? Why does he never take any thing with his mouth, but what
is thrown in when it is open? It appears probable, therefore, that the
young elephant sucks with his trunk only. This presumption is not only
proved by the subsequent facts, but is also founded on a better analogy
than that which decided the opinion of the ancients. We have said, that
animals in general, at the instant they are brought forth, can have
no indication of the food they want, from any other sense but that of
smelling: the ear is certainly of no use in that respect; neither is
the eye, since the eyes of most animals are not open when they begin
to suck: feeling can give but a vague idea of all the parts of the
mother's body, or rather indicates nothing relative to the appetite.
Smelling alone directs him: it is not only a sort of taste, but a
species of fore-taste, which precedes, accompanies, and determines the
other. The elephant, like other animals, perceives by this fore-taste
the presence of his food; and as the seat of smelling is united with
the power of suction at the extremity of his trunk, he applies it to
the teats, sucks the milk, and conveys it afterwards to his mouth to
satisfy his appetite. Besides, the two paps being seated on the breast,
like those of women, and the teats being very small in proportion to
the size of the mouth of the young elephant, who cannot bend his neck,
he could not reach the teat of his mother with his mouth, unless she
laid upon her back, or on her side, and even in that situation he would
find it very difficult to suck her, on account of the largeness of the
mouth, and the smallness of the nipples. The margin of the trunk, which
the elephant contracts as much as he pleases, is easily proportioned
to the nipple, and the young elephant may suck his mother with it,
either when she stands, or lies on her side. Thus, every thing agrees
to confute the opinion of the ancients on this subject, for none of
them, nor even any of the moderns, pretend to have seen the elephant
sucking, and I think, I may affirm, that whenever that observation is
made, it will appear, that he does not suck with his mouth, but with
his trunk. I likewise believe, that the ancients have been mistaken in
telling us, that elephants couple like other quadrupeds, the position
of the parts seeming to make it almost impossible. The female has not,
like other quadrupeds, the orifice of the vagina near the anus, being
near three feet distance from it, and seated almost in the middle of
the belly. Besides, naturalists and travellers agree that the male
elephant has not the genital member longer than a horse, and therefore
it is impossible for them to copulate like other quadrupeds, and that
the female must necessarily lie on her back, and which De Feynes and
Tavernier positively affirm must be the fact, though I should not pay
much attention to their testimony were it not in conformity with the
physical conformation; they require, therefore, for this operation,
more time and conveniences, than other animals; and it is, perhaps, for
this reason they never couple, but when at full liberty. The female
must not only consent, but even place herself in an indecent situation,
to provoke the male, which probably, she never assumes but when she
thinks herself without witnesses. Is not modesty then a physical
virtue of which animals are susceptible? It is at least like softness,
moderation, temperance, a general attribute of the female sex.

Thus the elephant neither sucks, eats, or drinks, like other
quadrupeds. The sound of his voice is also very singular. If we believe
the ancients, he has, as it were, two voices: the one issuing from the
trunk, which is rough, and from the length of the passage is somewhat
like that of a trumpet; and the other coming from his mouth, which is
interrupted by short pauses and hard sighs. This fact, advanced by
Aristotle and afterwards repeated by naturalists and some travellers,
is at least doubtful. M. de Bussy affirms positively, that the elephant
does not utter any sounds through the trunk; yet as in shutting the
mouth close, man can make a sound through the nose, it is possible
that the elephant, with so long a nose may issue sounds in the same
manner. From wherever it proceeds, the cry of the elephant is heard at
more than a league's distance; and yet, it is not so terrifying as the
roaring of the lion or the tiger.

The elephant is yet more singular in the conformation of his feet,
and the texture of his skin. He is not clothed with hair like other
quadrupeds, but his skin is perfectly bare; some bristles issue out in
different parts, they are thinly scattered on the body, but more thick
on the eye-lids, on the back part of the head, within the ears, the
thighs, and the legs. The epidermis has two sorts of wrinkles, which
are hard and callous, some sinking, others prominent, which gives a
divided appearance, like the bark of an old oak. In man, and in other
animals, the epidermis sticks every where close to the skin, but in
the elephant, it is only fastened by some points, like two quilted
stuffs one above the other. This epidermis is naturally dry, and soon
acquires three or four lines of thickness, by the divers crusts, which
are regenerated one above the other, drying up. It is this thickness of
the epidermis which produces the _elephantiasis_, or dry leprosy, to
which man, whose skin is bare like that of the elephant, is sometimes
subject. This distemper is very common to elephants, and to prevent it
the Indians rub them often with oil, to preserve the skin clean and
supple. It is very tender wherever it is not callous; in the fissures,
and other places, where it is neither dry nor hard, the elephant is
so sensible of the sting of the flies, that he not only employs his
natural motions, but even the resources of his intelligence to get
rid of them. He makes use of his tail, ears, and trunk, to strike
them; he contracts his skin and squeezes them to death betwixt his
wrinkles; he takes branches of trees, boughs, and handfuls of straw,
to drive them away, and when all this does not answer the purpose, he
gathers dust with his trunk, and covers with it all the tender parts
of his body. He often covers himself with dust several times in a day,
particularly after bathing. The use of water is almost as necessary
to these animals as air. When at liberty they seldom leave the banks
of rivers, but often go into them, and remain for hours together up
to the belly. In India, where they are treated most suitable to their
nature and constitution, they wash them with care, and give them all
the necessary time and opportunity to wash themselves. They clean their
skins by rubbing it with pumice-stones, and afterwards they pour on
them perfumed oil, and paint them with various colours.

The conformation of the elephant's feet and legs is also different
from that of other animals; the fore legs seem to be higher than those
behind, yet the hind legs are the longest; they are not bent in two
places, like the hind legs of a horse, or an ox, the thigh-bones of
which seem to be of the same piece with the buttock, the knee very near
the belly, and the bones of the foot so high and so long that they seem
to make a great part of the leg; in the elephant, on the contrary, the
foot is very short, and rests on the ground; he has the knee like man,
in the middle of the leg; his short foot is divided into five toes,
which are all covered with a skin, so as not to appear outwardly; we
are only able to perceive a kind of nails, the number of which varies,
though that of the toes is constant, for he has always five toes to
each foot, and commonly five nails, but sometimes he has no more than
four, or even three, and in this case they do not correspond exactly
with the extremities of the toes. However, this variety, which has
only been observed in young elephants transported to Europe, seems
to be merely accidental, and depends, probably on the treatment the
elephant has received in his youth. The sole of the feet is covered
with a skin, as hard as the hoof, which projects all round; the nails
are formed of the same substance.

The ears of the elephant are very long; he makes use of them as a fan,
and moves them as he pleases: his tail is not longer than his ears,
being commonly near three feet in length; it is rather thin, sharp,
and garnished at the extremity with a tuft of large black, shining,
and solid bristles; these bristles are as big and as strong as wire,
and a man cannot break them by pulling with his hands, though they
are elastic and pliant. This tuft of hair is an ornament which the
negro women are particularly partial to, from superstitious notions.
An elephant's tail is sometimes sold for two or three slaves, and
the negroes often hazard their lives to cut and snatch it from the
living animal. Besides this tuft at the extremity, the tail is covered
throughout with hard bristles, bigger than those of a wild boar; some
are also found on the convex part of the trunk, and on the eye-brows,
where they sometimes are a foot in length. The hairs on the eye-lids
are peculiar to men, monkeys, and elephants.

The climate, food, and condition, have great influence on the growth
and size of the elephant. In general those who are taken young, and
early lose their liberty, never come to their full growth. The biggest
elephants of India, and the eastern coasts of Africa, are fourteen
feet high; the smallest, which are found in Senegal, and in the other
western parts of Africa, are not above ten or eleven feet; and those
which are brought young into Europe acquire not that height. That which
was in the menagerie of Versailles, which came from Congo, was but
seven feet and a half high, in his seventeenth year. During thirteen
years that he lived in France he did not grow above a foot, so that
at the age of four, when he was sent he was only six feet and a half
high, and as the growth gradually diminishes as animals advance in
years, if he had lived thirty years, which is the ordinary term of
their full growth, he would not have been more than eight feet high.
Thus a domestic state reduces the growth of the animal at least one
third, not only in height but in all other dimensions. The length of
the body, measured from the eye to the tail, is very near equal to
his height; an elephant of the Indies, therefore, of fourteen feet
high, is seven times bigger and heavier than was the elephant of
Versailles. In comparing the growth of this animal with that of man
we shall find, that an infant, being commonly thirty-one inches, that
is half his height when he is two years old, and coming to his full
growth at twenty, the elephant, who increases in height and bulk to his
thirtieth year, should come to half his height in three years. In the
same manner, if we judge of the enormity of the bulk of the elephant,
it will be found, that the volume of a man's body being supposed to be
two cubic feet and a half, the body of an elephant of fourteen feet in
length, allowing him only three feet in thickness, and of a middling
breadth, would be fifty times as big, and, consequently, an elephant
ought to weigh as much as fifty men.

"I have seen (says father Vincent Marie) some elephants who were
fourteen or fifteen feet high, long and thick in proportion. The male
is always larger than the female. The price of these animals increases
in proportion to their size, which is measured from the eye to the
extremity of the back, and after exceeding certain dimensions, the
price increases like that of precious stones."

"The elephants of Guinea (says Bosman) are ten, twelve, or thirteen
feet in height, and yet they are incomparably smaller than those of the
East Indies, since those who have written the history of that country,
give to those more cubits in height, than the others have feet."

"I have seen elephants thirteen feet high, (says Edward Terry) and I
have met with many, who affirmed they have seen elephants fifteen feet

[Footnote AG: These authors probably referred to different measures,
the first meaning Roman, the second Rhenish, and the last English feet.]

From these, and many other attestations, we may conclude, that the most
common size of the elephant is from ten to eleven feet; that those of
thirteen or fourteen feet are very scarce, and that the smallest are
at least nine feet high when they come to their full growth in a state
of liberty. These enormous lumps of matter, as we have observed, move
with much celerity; they are supported by four members, which are more
like pillars, or massive columns, than legs, and are from fifteen to
eighteen inches in diameter, and five or six feet in height; their
legs are therefore twice as long as those of a man; thus, though the
elephant took but one step to a man's two, he would overtake him in
running. The common pace of the elephant is not swifter than that of
the horse; but when he is pressed, he goes a sort of amble, equivalent
for quickness to a gallop. He executes with speed, and even with ease,
all direct motion; but he has no facility for oblique or retrograde
motions. It is commonly in narrow and deep roads, where he can hardly
turn, that the negroes attack him, and cut off his tail, which they
value as much as the whole animal. He cannot go down a steep declivity
without much difficulty, he is then obliged to bend the hind legs,
in order to keep the fore part of his body on a level with the hind,
and that his own weight may not throw him down. He swims well, though
the form of his legs and feet seem to indicate the contrary; but as
the capacity of his breast and belly is very large, as the volume of
the lungs and intestines is enormous, and as those parts are full of
air, or matter lighter than water, he sinks less deep than any other
animal; he finds less resistance to overcome, and, consequently, can
swim faster in making less efforts with his limbs. Thus, he is very
useful for crossing rivers; besides two field-pieces, each of them
four-pounders, with which he is loaded on these occasions, he carries
heavy baggage, and several persons holding him by the ears and tail.
When thus loaded, he swims deep in the water, and nothing is seen but
his trunk, which he keeps erect to enable him to breathe.

Though the elephant commonly feeds on herbs and young branches, and
requires prodigious quantities of these aliments, to extract from them
the nutrition necessary to such a body, yet he has not many stomachs,
like most animals who feed on the same substances. He has but one
stomach, does not ruminate, and is formed more like the horse than
the ox, or other ruminating animals. The want of a paunch is supplied
by the bigness and length of his intestines, and especially of the
colon, which is two or three feet in diameter, and fifteen or twenty
in length. The stomach is much smaller than the colon, being but four
feet, at the most, in length, and a foot and a half in diameter. To
fill such a capaciousness, the animal must eat almost continually,
especially when he has no food more substantial than herbage; therefore
the wild elephants are almost always employed in grubbing up trees,
gathering herbs, or breaking young boughs; and those that are tame,
though fed with great quantities of rice, pluck up herbs whenever
they find an opportunity. However great the appetite of the elephant,
he eats with moderation, and his taste for cleanliness gets the better
of his wants. His dexterity in parting, with his trunk, the good
leaves from the bad, and the care he takes to shake off the sand or
insects, are convincing marks of his delicacy. He is very fond of
wine, spirituous liquors, brandy, and arrack. He is prevailed upon to
exert his greatest efforts, and to undertake the most arduous task, by
shewing him a vessel full of these liquors, and promising it to him as
the reward of his labours. He seems also to like the smoke of tobacco,
but it stupifies and intoxicates him: he has a natural aversion to bad
smells, and such an antipathy for hogs, that the cry of that animal
disorders and puts him to flight.

To give a complete idea of the nature and intelligence of this singular
animal, I shall insert here some particulars communicated to me by the
Marquis de Montmirail, President of the Royal Academy of Sciences,
who has taken the trouble to translate from some Italian and German
books, which were not known to me, whatever relates to the history of
the animal creation. His taste for arts and sciences, his zeal for
the advancement of them, his exquisite judgment, and a very extensive
knowledge of all the parts of Natural History, entitle him to the
greatest respect, and it is with pleasure and gratitude I refer to the
information he has given me, and which I shall have frequent occasion
to refer to in the subsequent part of this work:--"They make use of
the elephant to carry artillery over mountains; and it is then that he
gives the greatest proofs of his intelligence: when the oxen, yoked
together, endeavour to draw a piece of artillery up a mountain, the
elephant pushes the breech of the cannon with his forehead, and at
every effort he supports the carriage with his knee, which he places
against the wheel. He seems as if he understood what is said to him.
When his leader employs him in some hard labour, he explains what is
his work, and the reasons which ought to engage him to obey. If the
elephant shews any repugnance to comply, the _cornack_, so his leader
is called, promises to give him arrack, or some other thing that he
likes; then the animal agrees to every thing proposed; but it is
dangerous to break a promise with him, as many cornacks have fallen
victims by such conduct. An instance of this happened at Dekan, which
deserves to be recorded; and which, however incredible it may appear,
is perfectly true. An elephant, in revenge, killed his cornack; the
man's wife being witness of this dreadful catastrophe, took her two
children and threw them to the feet of the still enraged animal,
saying, _Since thou hast killed my husband, take also my life and that
of my children_. The elephant stopped short, grew calm, and, as if
moved with regret and compassion, took with his trunk the biggest of
the two children, placed him on his neck, adopted him for his cornack,
and would never suffer any other to mount him afterwards.

"If the elephant be vindictive he is no less grateful. A soldier at
Pondicherry, who commonly gave one of these animals a certain measure
of arrack every time he received his pay, having one day drank more
than common, and seeing himself pursued by the guard, who wanted to
conduct him to prison, took refuge under the elephant, and there fell
asleep. In vain did the guard attempt to draw him out from this asylum,
the elephant firmly defending him with his trunk. The next day, when
the soldier became sober, he was struck with terror to find himself
under an animal of such enormous bulk. The elephant, who no doubt
perceived his consternation, caressed him with his trunk, and made him
understand that he might depart freely.

"The elephant sometimes falls into a sort of phrenzy, which deprives
him of his tractability, and makes him so formidable that it is
frequently thought necessary to kill him, though they generally tie
him with heavy chains, in hopes that he will come to himself; but when
in his natural state the most acute pains cannot provoke him to do any
harm to those who have not offended him. An elephant, made furious by
the wounds he had received in the battle of Hambour, ran about the
field crying out in the most hideous manner. A soldier, notwithstanding
the warning of his companions, was unable to fly, perhaps from being
wounded; the elephant coming up to him appeared afraid of trampling
him under his feet, took him up with his trunk, placed him gently on
one side, and continued his march." These particulars were given to
the Marquis Montmirail by M. de Bussy, who lived ten years in India,
and served the state with reputation. He had several elephants in his
service; he mounted them often, saw them every day, and had frequent
opportunities of observing many others.

The gentlemen of the Academy of Sciences have also communicated to us
the following facts, which they learned from those who governed the
elephant at Versailles, and which deserve to be mentioned here. "The
elephant seemed to discern when any body made a fool of him, and he
remembered the affront to be revenged the first opportunity. A man
deceived him by feigning to throw something into his mouth, upon which
the animal gave him such a blow with his trunk as broke two of his
ribs; having knocked him down, he trampled him under his feet, and
broke one of his legs, and then kneeling down, he tried to thrust his
tusks into the man's belly, which, however, went into the ground on
both sides of his thigh, without hurting him. He bruised another man,
by squeezing him against the wall, for a little mockery. A painter was
desirous to draw him in an unusual attitude, with his trunk erect and
his mouth open; the servant of the painter, to make him remain in that
attitude, threw fruits into his mouth, but often deceived him, which
provoked his indignation, and, as if he knew the painter was the cause
of his being thus insulted, without taking any notice of the servant,
he threw such a quantity of water with his trunk upon the paper, the
master was drawing on, as totally to spoil the design. The elephant
made less use of his strength than of his address, which was such that
he untied with great facility a double leather string which fastened
his leg, and as this buckle had a small string twisted around it with
several knots, he untied them all without breaking either the strings
or the strap. One night, having thus disentangled himself from his
leather strings, he dexterously broke open the door of his lodge, so
that his keeper was not awakened by the noise; he went from thence
into several courts of the menagerie, breaking open the doors that
were shut, and pulling down the stone work when the passage was too
narrow for him to pass; by this means he got into the lodges of other
animals, terrifying them to that degree, that they hid themselves
in the remotest parts of the inclosures." In fine, to omit nothing
that may contribute to make all the natural and acquired faculties of
this animal so superior to all others, perfectly known, we shall add
some facts, extracted from the most credible authors. "The elephant,
even when wild (says Father Vincent Marie), has his virtues. He is
generous and temperate; and when tamed he is esteemed for gentleness
and fidelity to his master, and friendship for his governors. If
destined to the immediate services of princes he knows his fortune,
and preserves a gravity agreeable to the dignity of his employ. If, on
the contrary, he is employed in mean labours, he evidently grieves and
laments his being thus debased. In war he is impetuous and proud at
the first onset; he is equally so when surrounded by hunters, but he
loses courage when he is conquered. He fights with his tusks, and fears
nothing so much as losing his trunk, which, by its consistence, is
easily cut off. He is naturally mild, never attacks any person, unless
he has been offended; he seems to delight in company, is particularly
fond of children, caresses them, and seems to be sensible that they are
harmless and innocent."

"The elephant, (says F. Pyrard) is an animal of so much judgment and
knowledge, that one should think him endowed with rational faculties;
besides being of infinite service to man. If wanted to be ridden,
he is so supple, and obedient, that he conforms to the conveniency
and quality of the person he serves: he bends his knees, and helps
his leader to mount him with his trunk. He is so tractable, that he
does whatever he is required, provided he is treated with gentleness.
He performs all that he is commanded, and caresses those whom he is
directed to use with civility."

"By giving the elephants, (says the Dutch travellers) whatever can
please them, they are as easily tamed and rendered as submissive as
men. It may be said they want no other faculty, but that of speech.
They are proud and ambitious, but they remember good offices, and are
so grateful for them, that they never fail to incline their head as a
mark of respect, when they pass before a house where they have been
well used. They may be conducted at the command of a child, but they
love to be praised and cherished. No person can affront, or injure them
without their notice; and those who have treated them with disrespect,
may think themselves happy if they escape without being sprinkled with
the water from their trunks, or thrown into the dirt."

"The elephants, (says Father Philip) come very near the human species
in judgment and reasoning. Monkeys are stupid brute animals compared
to them. The elephants are so modest, that they cannot bear being
seen when they couple; and if by chance, any person were to see this
operation they would infallibly be revenged of them. They salute by
bending the knees, and inclining their head; and when their master
shews his intention to mount them, they so dexterously present to him
their foot, that he may use it as a step. When a wild elephant is
taken, and his feet are tied, one of the hunters comes near, salutes,
makes an apology for having tied him, and protests that his intention
is not to do him any harm; tells him that in his savage state he often
wanted food, but now he will be treated with tenderness, and which
he promises to do constantly. The hunter has no sooner finished this
soothing discourse, than the elephant follows him as gently as a lamb.
We must not, however, conclude from this, that the elephant understands
languages, but only having a particular discerning faculty, he knows
the motions of esteem from contempt, friendship from hatred, and all
other sentiments of man towards him, for which cause he is more easily
tamed by reasoning than by blows. He throws stones to a great distance,
and very straight with his trunk; which he also makes use of to pour
water over his body when bathing."

"Of five elephants, (says Tavernier) which the hunters had taken, three
escaped, although their bodies and legs were fastened with chains and
ropes. These men told us the following surprising circumstance, if it
can be believed, that when an elephant has been caught, and escaped the
snare, he becomes very mistrustful and breaks off a large branch with
his trunk, with which he sounds the ground before he puts his foot upon
it, to discover if there are any holes, by which he may be caught a
second time; for this reason the hunters, who related this singularity,
despaired of catching again the three elephants who had escaped. The
other two which they had caught, was each of them placed betwixt two
tame elephants, and around them were six men, holding torches, who
spoke to the animals, and presented them something to eat, saying, in
their language, 'take this and eat it.' What they gave them consisted
of small bundles of hay, bits of black sugar, and rice boiled in water,
with pepper. When the wild elephant refused to do what he was ordered,
the men commanded the tame elephants to beat him, which they did
immediately; one striking his forehead, and when he seemed to aim at a
revenge, the other struck him on the side, so that the poor creature
soon perceived he had nothing to do, but to obey."

"I have several times observed, (says Edward Terry) that the elephant
does many things which seemed to be more the result of a rational than
an instinctive faculty. He does whatever his master commands him. If
he wishes him to frighten any body, he advances towards him with the
same fury as if he would tear him to pieces, and when near he stops
short, without doing him any harm. If the master is inclined to affront
another, he speaks to the elephant, who takes up dirty water with his
trunk, and throws it over the person pointed out to him. His trunk is
made of a cartilage, hangs betwixt his tusks, and by some called his
hand, because on many occasions it is as serviceable to him as the hand
is to men. The Mogul keeps elephants for the execution of criminals
condemned to death. If their leader bids them dispatch the wretched
creatures quickly, they tear them to pieces in a moment with their
feet; but if commanded to make the criminals languish, they break their
bones one after another, and make them suffer torments as cruel as
those of the wheel."

We might quote several other facts equally curious and interesting,
but we should exceed the limits of this work; we should not have
even entered into so many particulars, if the elephant (_fig. 133._)
were not, of all animals, the first in every respect, and that which
consequently deserves most attention.

We have said nothing respecting the production of his ivory because M.
Daubenton has made several useful observations upon the nature and
quality of it, but he has at the same time assigned to the elephant
the tusks, and prodigious bones attributed to the mammoth. I confess
I was long doubtful on this subject; I had several times considered
those enormous bones, and compared them with the skeleton of an almost
adult elephant preserved in the king's cabinet, and before writing the
history of those animals, I could not persuade myself that elephants
six or seven times bigger than the one whose skeleton I had seen,
could exist; more especially, as the large bones had not the same
proportions with the corresponding ones of the elephant, I thought with
the generality of naturalists that these enormous bones had belonged
to an animal much larger, whose species was lost or annihilated. But
it is certain, as we have mentioned before, that some elephants exist
who are fourteen feet high, that is, six or seven times bigger (for
the bulk is in proportion to the cube in height) than the elephant,
of whose skeleton we have spoken, and which was not more than seven
feet and a half in height. It is also certain, for the observations of
M. Daubenton, that age changes the proportion of the bones and when
the animal is adult, they grow considerably thicker, though they are
come to their full height: in fine, it is certain, from the relations
of travellers, that of some elephants, the tusks weigh more than
120lbs.[AH] From these observations, we cannot doubt that those tusks
and bones we have already noticed for their prodigious size, actually
belonged to the elephant. Sir Hans Sloane was of that opinion, but
he did not prove it. M. Gmelin said it still more affirmatively, and
gave on this subject several curious facts[AI]; but M. Daubenton is
the first who has proved them unquestionably by exact measures and
comparisons, and reasons founded on the great knowledge that he has
acquired in the Science of Anatomy.

[Footnote AH: Mr. Eden says, that several elephant's tusks which he
measured, were no less than nine feet long, and as big as a man's thigh
in circumference, some of them weighing more than nine pounds; and that
he saw a head in the possession of a Mr. Jude, which had been brought
from Guinea by some English ships, of which the mere bones, without the
tusks, weighed upwards of 200lbs. and it was supposed that when the
head was entire it could not weigh less than 500lbs. Lopes affirms he
met with several tusks that weighed 200lbs. _Hist. Gen. des Voyages._
This magnitude of the tusks is also confirmed by Drake, Holbe, and the
Dutch travellers.]

[Footnote AI: The Czar, Peter, being curious in Natural History, issued
orders in the year 1722, that wherever any bones of the mammoth should
be found, search should be made after the remainder, and the whole of
them sent to Petersburg, and which orders were made public in all the
towns of Siberia. In consequence of this several persons applied to the
Woywode of Jakutzk to be sent off to two different places, where they
affirmed they had seen these bones; their demands were complied with,
and many of them returned with heads and various bones, which were
transmitted to Petersburg, and placed in the imperial cabinet; but it
will be found upon examination that all the bones placed there, under
the denomination of the Mammoth bones, are perfectly similar with the
elephant's. And as to their being found under the earth and in Siberia,
it may fairly be presumed that in the great revolutions which have
happened to the earth, a great number of elephants might be driven from
their native climates; many have been destroyed by the inundations, and
those who wandered so far into the North must necessarily have perished
from the rigours of the climate. _Voyage a Kamtschatka par M. Gmelin._]


The female elephant, as in all other animals, is more gentle than the
male, at least we found it so, for the male which we saw in 1771,
was more fierce and untractable than a female we witnessed in 1773;
he would frequently lay hold of, and tear the clothes of those who
approached too near him, and even his keepers were always obliged to
be on their guard, while she was perfectly quiet, and always ready
to obey, nor ever shewed a disposition to be perverse but when they
wanted to put her into a covered waggon for the purpose of conveying
her from one town to another; upon which occasion she would refuse to
go forward, and they had no means of making her advance but by pricking
her behind; this would make her very angry, and being unable to turn,
the only way she had of revenge was to take up water in her trunk and
throw it over them, and which she would do in pretty large quantities.

I formerly remarked, there was a probability, from the situation of the
sexual organs, that these animals did not copulate in the same manner
as other quadrupeds, but this conjecture I understand is not warranted
in fact, for M. Marcel Bles thus expresses himself upon the subject:
"The comte de Buffon, in his excellent work, is deceived in respect to
the copulation of the elephants. In many parts of Asia and Africa they
certainly, during their season of love, retire into the most secret
recesses of the forests; but in the island of Ceylon which is almost
in every part inhabited, and where I have lived twelve years, they
have not that opportunity of concealing themselves. I have frequently
examined them, and from the female organ being nearly in the middle of
the belly there is some reason to conclude as M. de Buffon has done;
however, when inclined to admit the male, I have seen the female bend
her two fore legs upon the root of a tree, lowering, at the same time,
her head and neck, and keeping her hind legs erect, which gave the male
an opportunity of acting in the same manner as other quadrupeds. They
never copulate but in a state of freedom. The males are very furious in
the rutting season, and it is very dangerous to go near them; during
which the females will sometimes make their escape, and seek the wild
males in the woods. A few days after her cornack goes into the woods
in search of her, and she will come to him upon hearing him call her
by name, and quietly suffer herself to be led home again. It was from
these excursions discovered that the females bring forth at the end of
nine months."

I certainly am ready to give full credit to the first remark of M.
Marcel Bless, because he assures us that he has seen the elephant
perform the operation; but I cannot think we ought so perfectly to
acquiesce as to the time of their going with young, since it is the
opinion of all travellers that they do not bring forth in a less period
than two years.


After the elephant the Rhinoceros (_fig. 124._) is the most powerful
of quadrupeds; he is at least twelve feet in length, from the
extremity of the snout to the tail; six or seven feet in height,
and the circumference of his body is nearly equal to his length. In
bulk, therefore, he nearly resembles the elephant, and if he appears
smaller, it is because his legs are shorter in proportion than those
of the elephant. But he differs widely from that sagacious animal by
his natural faculties and intelligence, having received from Nature
merely what she grants in common to all animals. He is deprived of
all feeling in his skin; he has no organ to answer the purpose of
hands, to give him a distinct sense of touching; instead of a trunk
he has only a moveable lip, in which centres all his dexterity. He
is superior to other animals only in strength, magnitude, and the
offensive weapon, which he carries upon his nose, and which is peculiar
to him. This weapon is a very hard horn, solid throughout, and placed
more advantageously than the horn of ruminating animals; those only
protect the superior parts of the head and neck, whilst the horn of the
rhinoceros defends all the exterior parts of the muzzle, the mouth, and
the face, from insult. For this reason the tiger attacks more readily
the elephant, whose trunk he can seize, than the rhinoceros, which he
cannot attack in front without running the danger of having his inside
torn out; for the body and limbs are covered with so impenetrable a
skin that he fears neither the claws of the tiger nor lion, nor the
fire and weapons of the huntsman. His skin is blackish, of the same
colour, but thicker and harder than that of the elephant; nor does
he feel the sting of flies. He cannot contract nor extend his skin;
it is folded by large wrinkles on the neck, shoulders, and rump to
facilitate the motion of his head and legs, which last are massive,
and terminated by large feet, armed with three great toes. His head is
larger in proportion than that of the elephant, but his eyes are still
smaller, which he seldom opens entirely. The upper jaw projects above
the lower, and the upper lip is moveable, and may be lengthened six
or seven inches; it is terminated by a sharp edge, which gives the
animal the power to gather grass and divide it into handfuls, as the
elephant does with his trunk. This muscular and flexible lip is a sort
of imperfect trunk which is equally capable of seizing with force, and
feeling with delicacy. Instead of those long ivory tusks, which form
the weapons of the elephant, the rhinoceros has a powerful horn, and
two strong incisive teeth in each jaw: these teeth, which the elephant
has not, are placed at a great distance, one in each corner or angle
of the jaws; the under jaw is square before, and there are no other
incisive teeth in all the interior part, which is covered by the lips;
but, independently of these four incisive teeth, placed in the four
corners of the mouth, he has twenty-four smaller teeth, six on each
side of each jaw. His ears are always erect; they are in form like
those of the hog, only they are smaller in proportion to his body, and
they are the only hairy parts about him. The end of the tail, like that
of the elephant, is furnished with a tuft of large bristles, very hard
and very solid.

Mr. Parsons, a celebrated physician in London, to whom the republic of
letters is indebted for several discoveries in Natural History, and to
whom I am under obligations for the marks of esteem and friendship
he has honoured me with, published in 1744, a Natural History of the
Rhinoceros, of which I shall give an extract with more willingness,
because whatever Mr. Parsons has written deserves credit and attention.

"Though the rhinoceros was often seen at the spectacles at Rome,
from the time of Pompey to that of Heliogabalus, though many have
been transported into Europe in these last ages, and though Bontius,
Chardin, and Kolbe, have drawn this figure, both in the Indies and
Africa, yet he was so badly represented, and his description was so
incorrect, that he was known very imperfectly, until those which
arrived in London in 1739 and 1741, were inspected, when the errors or
caprices of those who had published figures of him became very visible.
That of Albert Durer, which was the first, is the least conformable to
Nature; it has, nevertheless, been copied by most naturalists; and some
of them have loaded it with false drapery, and foreign ornaments. That
of Bontius is more simple and more true; but the inferior part of the
legs is badly delineated. On the contrary, that of Chardin represents
naturally the foldings of the skin and feet, but in other respects does
not resemble the animal. That of Camerarius is not better; nor is
that drawn from the rhinoceros which was in London in 1685, and which
was published by Carwitham in 1739. Those which were engraved on the
ancient pavement of Præneste, or on the medals of Domitian, are very
imperfect; but they have not the imaginary ornaments given to that of
Albert Durer." Dr. Parsons has taken the trouble to draw this animal
himself in three different views, before, behind, and in profile; and
particular parts from other rhinoceroses which are preserved in the
cabinets of Natural History.

The rhinoceros which arrived in London in 1739, was sent from Bengal:
though not more than two years old, the expences of his food, and of
his voyage, amounted to near one thousand pounds sterling. He was
fed with rice, sugar, and hay; they gave him daily seven pounds of
rice, mixed with three pounds of sugar, which they divided into three
portions: he had also hay and green herbage, to the last of which he
gave the preference. His drink was water, of which he drank great
quantities at a time. He was of a quiet disposition, and suffered all
parts of his body to be felt. He grew unruly upon being struck, or
when he was hungry; and in both cases he could only be appeased by
giving him something to eat. When he was angry he leaped forwards with
impetuosity, and raised himself to a great height, and rushed furiously
against the walls with his head, and which he did with a prodigious
quickness, notwithstanding his heavy appearance and massive corpulence.
"I have often been witness (says Dr. Parsons) of those motions produced
by impatience or anger, especially in the morning before his rice and
sugar were brought him. The quickness and celerity of the motions of
this animal made me of opinion that he is absolutely unconquerable,
and that he would easily overtake any man who should have given him

This rhinoceros, when two years old, was not higher than a young cow
who had never had any young; but his body was very long and very thick.
His head was large in proportion to his body; taking it from the ears
to the horn of the nose, it formed a concavity, the extremities of
which, that is, the upper end of the snout, and the part near the ears
are very high. The horn, not then an inch long, was black, smooth
at the end, but wrinkled and directed backwards at the base. His
nostrils were not above an inch from the mouth; the under lip was
like that of a ox, but the upper resembled that of an horse, with this
difference and advantage, that the rhinoceros can lengthen, direct,
turn it round a stick, and seize with it those objects which he wants
to carry to his mouth. The tongue of this young rhinoceros was soft
like that of a calf; his eyes had no vivacity, they were formed like
those of a hog, and were placed very low, that is, near the opening
of the nostrils. His ears were large, thin towards the end, and bound
up with a sort of wrinkle at the origin. His neck was very short, the
skin forming on this part two large foldings which surround him. His
shoulders were very thick, and at their juncture there was another
fold of skin which comes under the fore legs. The body of this young
rhinoceros was very thick, and resembled that of a cow ready to bring
forth. There was another fold betwixt the body and the rump, which
descends under the hind legs; and lastly, there was another fold which
transversally surrounds the lower part of the crupper, at some distance
from the tail. The belly was very big, and hung down to the ground,
especially the middle part; the legs were round, thick, strong, and
bent backward at the joint, which was covered by a remarkable fold
of the skin when the animal laid down, but it disappeared when he
was standing. The tail was thin and short, compared to the volume of
the body; that of this rhinoceros was not above seventeen inches in
length; it is a little thicker at the extremity, which is covered with
hard, short and thick hair. The sexual organ of the rhinoceros is of
an extraordinary form; it is contained in a sort of case, like that of
a horse, and the first thing which appears when irritated is a second
prepuce of flesh colour, from which issues a hollow pipe, in form of
a funnel, like a fleur de luce. It not being in a straight direction,
but rather inclining backward, he emits his urine behind, and from
which it appears their copulation must be different from other animals.
The female has the exterior parts of generation situated like those
of the cow, and she resembles perfectly the male in the size and form
of the body. The skin is thick and impenetrable; in taking the folds
with the hand, it feels like a wooden plank half an inch thick. "When
it is tanned (says Dr. Grew) it is excessively hard, and thicker than
the skin of any other terrestrial animal." It is every where more or
less covered with incrustations, in the shape of galls, which are
small on the summit of the neck and back, but becomes bigger down the
sides; the largest are on the shoulders and crupper, the thighs, and
around the legs, down to the feet; but betwixt the folds the skin is
penetrable, and even tender, and as soft as silk, while the outward
part of the folds is as rough as the rest. This tender skin between the
folds is of flesh colour, and the skin of the belly is nearly of the
same colour and consistence; but those galls, or tuberosities, should
not, as some authors have done, be compared to scales, as they are
mere callosities of the skin, irregular in their figure and symmetry
in their respective positions. The suppleness of the skin in the folds
gives the rhinoceros the power of moving his head, neck, and limbs,
with facility. The whole body, except at the joints, is inflexible,
like a cuirass. Dr. Parsons says, that this animal hearkened with a
sort of continual attention to any kind of noise; so that if he was
even sleeping, eating, or satisfying other urgent wants, he instantly
raised up his head, and listened till the noise had ceased.

In fine, after giving this exact description of the rhinoceros, Dr.
Parsons examines whether the rhinoceros with a double horn exists, and
having compared the relations of ancients and moderns, and the remains
of this variety, found in the collections of natural objects, he
concludes, with some probability, that the rhinoceroses of Asia have
commonly but one horn, and those of Africa, generally two.

It is certain that some rhinoceroses have but one horn, and others
have two; but it is not equally certain that this variety is constant,
and depends on the climate of Africa or India, or that two distinct
species may be established from these differences. It seems that
the rhinoceroses with one horn have it bigger and longer than those
who have two. There are single horns of three feet and a half, and,
perhaps, of more than four feet in length, by six, or seven inches in
diameter at the base. Some double horns are but two feet in length.

Commonly these horns are brown, or olive colour, though some are grey,
and even white. They have only a small concavity, in form of a cup,
under their base, by which they are fastened to the skin of the nose;
the remaining part of the horn is solid, and very hard. It is with this
weapon that the rhinoceros is said to attack, and sometimes mortally
wound, the biggest elephants, whose long legs give the rhinoceros
an opportunity of striking them with his snout and horn under their
bellies, where the skin is tender, and penetrable; but if he misses
the first blow the elephant throws him on the ground and kills him.

The horn of the rhinoceros is more valued by the Indians than the ivory
of the elephant, not so much on account of its real use, though they
make several things of it with the chisel, but for divers specific
virtues, and medicinal properties, which they ascribe to it. The white,
from being the most rare, are also those which they value most. Among
the presents which the king of Siam sent to Louis XIV. in 1686, were
six horns of the rhinoceros. We have seen in the king's cabinet twelve
of different sizes, and one of them, though mutilated, is three feet
eight inches and a half in length.

The rhinoceros, without being ferocious, carnivorous, or even very
wild, is, nevertheless, untractable. He is of the nature of a hog,
blunt and brutal, without intellects, sentiment, or docility. He is
subject to fits of fury, that nothing can calm; for the rhinoceros,
which Emanuel, king of Portugal, sent to the Pope in 1513, was the
cause of the ship being destroyed in which he was transporting; and
that which we saw at Paris was drowned in the same manner, in going
over to Italy. These animals, also like the hog, are much inclined to
wallow in the mire. They like damp and marshy places, and seldom leave
the banks of rivers. They are found in Asia and Africa, in Bengal,
Siam, Laos, Mogul, Sumatra, Java, in Abyssinia, in Ethiopia, in the
country of the Anzicos, and as far as the Cape of Good Hope. But in
general the species is not so numerous, or so universally spread, as
that of the elephant. The female brings forth but one young, and that
at a great distance of time. In the first month the rhinoceros is not
much bigger than a large dog; he has no horn when first brought forth,
although the rudiment of it is seen in the foetus. When he is two years
old his horn is not above an inch long; and in his sixth year it is
about ten inches; and as some of these horns are very near four feet
long, it appears that they grow till the half, or, perhaps, during the
whole life of the animal, which must be long, since the rhinoceros,
described by Dr. Parsons, was not come to half his growth at two years
old, which makes it probable that this animal, like man, lives to
seventy or eighty years.

Without the capacity of being useful like the elephant, the rhinoceros
is equally hurtful from the prodigious devastation which he makes in
the fields. He has no one advantageous quality while alive. His flesh
is excellent, according to the taste of the Indians and Negroes: Kolbe
says, he has often eaten it with pleasure. His skin makes the best
and hardest leather in the world; and not only his horn, but all the
other parts of his body, and even his blood, urine, and excrements,
are esteemed as antidotes against poison, or remedies against several
diseases. These antidotes, or remedies, extracted from different
parts of the rhinoceros, are of the same use in the dispensatory of
the Indians, as the theriaca is in that of Europe. Probably, all
those virtues are imaginary:--But how many things are held in great
estimation, which have no value but in opinion!

The rhinoceros feeds upon coarse herbs, such as thistles and prickly
shrubs, and he prefers this wild food to the sweet pasture of the
verdant meadows. He is fond of sugar canes, and eats also all sorts
of corn. Having no taste for flesh, he neither molests small animals,
nor fears the large ones, but lives in peace with them all, not
excepting the tiger, who often accompanies, without daring to attack
him; therefore, I doubt, whether the battles betwixt the elephant
and rhinoceros, have any foundation; they must at least be seldom,
since there is no motive for war on either side; and, besides, no
sort of antipathy has been observed between these animals. Some even
in captivity have lived quietly together, without giving offence or
provocation. Pliny is, I believe, the first who has mentioned these
battles betwixt the rhinoceros and elephant. It seems they were
compelled to fight in the spectacles at Rome, and, probably from thence
the idea has been taken, that when in their natural state they fought
as desperately; but every action without a motive is unnatural; it is
an effect without a cause, which cannot happen but by chance.

The rhinoceroses do not herd together, nor march in troops like the
elephants; they are more wild and solitary, and perhaps more difficult
to hunt and subdue. They never attack men unless provoked; but then
they become furious, and are very formidable. Neither scymetars, darts,
nor lances, can make an incision upon his skin, which even resists
musket balls; the only places penetrable in his body are the belly,
the eyes, and round the ears; so that the hunters, instead of facing
and attacking this animal, follow him at a distance by his track,
and wait till he lies down to rest or sleep. We have in the king's
cabinet a foetus of a rhinoceros, which was extracted from the body
of the mother, and sent from the island of Java: it was said, in a
memorial which accompanied this present, that twenty-eight huntsmen
having assembled to attack this rhinoceros, they followed her at a
distance for some days, one or two walking now and then before to
reconnoitre her situation; by these means they surprised her when she
was asleep, and silently came so near that they discharged at once
their twenty-eight guns into the lower parts of her belly.

From the description given by Dr. Parsons, it appears that this animal
has a good ear, and even very attentive: it is also affirmed, that his
sense of smelling is excellent; but it is said that he has not a good
eye, and sees only those things which are before him: his eyes are so
small, and placed so low, and obliquely, they have so little vivacity
and motion, that this fact seems to be confirmed. His voice, when he
is calm, resembling the grunting of a hog; but when he is angry, it is
sharp, and heard at a great distance. Though he lives upon vegetables,
he does not ruminate: thus, it is probable, that, like the elephant,
he has but one stomach, and very large bowels, which supply the office
of many stomachs. His consumption of food, though very great, is not
comparable to that of the elephant, and it appears, by the thickness of
his skin, that he loses much less than the latter by perspiration.


In the month of September, 1770, another rhinoceros was brought to
the royal menagerie, which was said to be only three months old; but
I am persuaded it was as many years, for it was eight feet two inches
in length, including the head, five feet six inches high, and eight
feet two inches in circumference: by the 28th of August, 1781, it
had increased seven inches in length, three inches in the height,
and seven inches in circumference; and on the 12th of August, 1772,
it measured nine feet four inches in length, including the head, six
feet four inches high at the crupper, and only five feet eleven at
the withers. In some places its skin was spotted with black and grey,
and in others it was in deep furrows, having the appearance of a kind
of scales. This animal had but one horn, which was brown, and of a
very hard substance; and in all other respects he nearly resembled the
description we have already given.

Mr. Bruce has remarked, that my conjecture, that in the interior parts
of Africa there were rhinoceroses with two horns, was exactly the case,
for he saw none in Abyssinia but what had one situated near the nose,
which was of the common form, and the other rather higher on the head,
sharp at the point, and always shorter than the first. M. Daubenton
received a letter from M. Allamand at Leyden, in 1776, in which that
gentleman says, "In a passage which M. de Buffon has quoted from Mr.
Parsons, it is supposed, that the rhinoceroses of Asia have but one
horn, and those of the Cape of Good Hope have two, but I am inclined
to believe the opposite is the fact, for the heads of those I have
received from Bengal, and other parts of India, had always two horns,
and those which came from the Cape had but one." This remark of M.
Allamand we may consider as a confirmation of our former observation,
that the rhinoceroses with two horns form a variety in the species, and
may be equally found in Asia and Africa.


T. Gillet, Printer, Wild-court.

Transcriber Note

All obvious typographical errors were corrected. Where several variant
spellings were used, the most prevalent version was use to standardize
them. All illustration headers were standardized to display "_Engraved
for Barr's Buffon._" above each group and the captions were also
standardized. The illustration captions were arranged in ascending
numbers. Where paragraphs were split by illustrations, they were
rejoined. To match the other volumes in this series, the list for the
placement of images was positioned after the Table of Contents. Although
the original printed version capitalized the first word (or words) of the
opening paragraph, here the first letter only was capitalized (unless it
was a person's name).

  Page  Change
  ====  ====================
    29  cougouacu-apara changed to cougouacou-ara
   171  missing endquote, placed at end of line
   225  missing endquote, placed at end of paragraph

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