By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Mrs. Loudon's Entertaining Naturalist - Being popular descriptions, tales, and anecdotes of more - than Five Hundred Animals.
Author: Loudon, Jane C. Webb
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mrs. Loudon's Entertaining Naturalist - Being popular descriptions, tales, and anecdotes of more - than Five Hundred Animals." ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images available at The Internet Archive)

                     [Illustration: frontispiece]

                             MRS. LOUDON’S
                       ENTERTAINING NATURALIST,

                             OF MORE THAN

                         FIVE HUNDRED ANIMALS.



                         W. S. DALLAS, F.L.S.



                          AND CHARING CROSS.


MRS. LOUDON’S _Entertaining Naturalist_ has been so deservedly popular
that the publishers, in preparing a new edition, have striven to render
it still more worthy of the reputation it has obtained. For this
purpose, it has been very thoroughly revised and enlarged by Mr. W. S.
Dallas, Member of the Zoological Society, and Curator of the Museum of
Natural History at York, and several illustrations have been added.

In its present form, it is not only a complete Popular Natural History
of an entertaining character, with an illustration of nearly every
animal mentioned, but its instructive introductions on the
Classification of Animals adapt it well for use as an elementary Manual
of the Natural History of the Animal Kingdom for the use of the Young.


ZOOLOGY is that branch of Natural History which treats of animals, and
embraces not only their structure and functions, their habits,
instincts, and utility, but their names and systematic arrangement.

Various systems have been proposed by different naturalists for the
scientific arrangement of the animal kingdom, but that of Cuvier, with
some modifications, is now thought the best, and a sketch of it will be
found under the head of the Modern System in this Introduction. As,
however, the System of Linnæus was formerly in general use, and is still
often referred to, it has been thought advisable to give a sketch of it
first; that the reader may be aware of the difference between the old
system and the new one.


According to the system of Linnæus, the objects comprehended within the
animal kingdom were divided into six classes: Mammalia or Mammiferous
Animals, Birds, Amphibia or Amphibious Animals, Fishes, Insects, and
Worms, which were thus distinguished:


       { With vertebræ   { Hot Blood        { Viviparous         I. MAMMALIA.
       {                 {                  { Oviparous         II. BIRDS.
  Body {                 { Cold red Blood   { With lungs       III. AMPHIBIA.
       {                                    { With gills        IV. FISHES.
       { Without vertebræ  Cold white Blood { Having antennæ     V. INSECTS.
                                            { Having tentacula  VI. WORMS.


The first class, or Mammalia, consists of such animals as produce living
offspring, and nourish their young ones with milk supplied from their
own bodies; and it comprises both the quadrupeds and the cetacea.

This class was divided by Linnæus into seven Orders: viz. _primates_,
_bruta_, _feræ_, _glires_, _pecora_, _belluæ_, and _cetacea_ (this order
was called Cete by Linnæus) or whales. The characteristics of these were
founded, for the most part, on the number and arrangement of the teeth;
and on the form and construction of the feet, or of those parts in the
seals, manati, and cetacea, which supply the place of feet:

     I. PRIMATES.--Having the upper front teeth, generally four in
     number, wedge-shaped, and parallel; and two teats situated on the
     breast, as the apes and monkeys.

     II. BRUTA.--Having no front teeth in either jaw; and the feet armed
     with strong hoof-like nails, as the elephant.

     III. FERÆ.--Having in general six front teeth in each jaw; a single
     canine tooth on each side in both jaws; and the grinders with conic
     projections, as the dogs and cats.

     IV. GLIRES.--Having in each jaw two long projecting front teeth,
     which stand close together; and no canine teeth in either jaw, as
     the rats and mice.

     V. PECORA.--Having no front teeth in the upper jaw; six or eight in
     the lower jaw, situated at a considerable distance from the
     grinders; and the feet with hoofs, as cattle and sheep.

     VI. BELLUÆ.--Having blunt wedge-shaped front teeth in both jaws;
     and the feet with hoofs, as horses.

     VII. CETACEA.--Having spiracles or breathing-holes on the head;
     fins instead of fore feet; and a tail flattened horizontally,
     instead of hind feet. This order consists of the narvals, whales,
     cachalots, and dolphins.


The second class, or Birds, comprises all such animals as have their
bodies clad with feathers. Their jaws are elongated, and covered
externally with a horny substance, called a bill or beak, which is
divided into two parts called mandibles. Their eyes are furnished with a
thin, whitish, and somewhat transparent membrane, that can at pleasure
be drawn over the whole external surface like a curtain. Their organs of
motion are two wings and two legs; and they are destitute of external
ears, lips, and many other parts which are important to quadrupeds. That
part of Zoology which treats of Birds is called Ornithology.

Linnæus divided this class into six Orders:

1. _Land Birds._

     I. RAPACIOUS BIRDS (_Accipitres_).--Having the upper mandible
     hooked, and an angular projection on each side near the point, as
     the eagles, hawks, and owls.

     II. PIES (_Picæ_).--Having their bills sharp at the edge, somewhat
     compressed at the sides, and convex on the top, as the crow.

     III. PASSERINE BIRDS (_Passeres_).--Having the bill conical and
     pointed, and the nostrils oval, open, and naked, as the sparrow and

     IV. GALLINACEOUS BIRDS (_Gallinæ_).--Having the upper mandible
     arched, and covering the lower one at the edge, and the nostrils
     arched over with a cartilaginous membrane, as the common poultry.

2. _Water Birds._

     V. WADERS (_Grallæ_).--Having a roundish bill, a fleshy tongue, and
     the legs naked above the knees, as the herons, plovers, and snipes.

     VI. SWIMMERS (_Anseres_).--Having their bills broad at the top, and
     covered with a soft skin, and the feet webbed, as ducks and geese.


Under the third class, or Amphibia, Linnæus arranged such animals as
have a cold, and, generally, naked body, a lurid colour, and nauseous
smell. They respire chiefly by lungs, but they have the power of
suspending respiration for a long time. They are extremely tenacious of
life, and can repair certain parts of their bodies which have been lost.
They are also able to endure hunger, sometimes even for months, without

The bodies of some of them, as the turtles and tortoises, are protected
by a hard and horny shield or covering; those of others are clad with
scales, as the serpents, and some of the lizards; whilst others, as the
frogs, toads, and most of the water-lizards, are entirely naked, or have
their skin covered with warts. Many of the species shed their skins at
certain times of the year. Several of them are furnished with a poison,
which they eject into wounds that are made by their teeth. They chiefly
live in retired, watery, and marshy places; and, for the most part, feed
on other animals, though some of them eat water-plants, and many feed on
garbage and filth. None of these species chew their food; they swallow
it whole, and digest it very slowly.

The offspring of all these animals are produced from eggs, which, after
they have been deposited by the parent animals in a proper place, are
hatched by the heat of the sun. The eggs of some of the species are
covered with a shell; those of others have a soft and tough skin or
covering, not much unlike wet parchment; and the eggs of several are
perfectly gelatinous. In those few that produce their offspring alive,
as the vipers and some other serpents, the eggs are regularly formed,
but are hatched within the bodies of the females.

This class Linnæus divided into three Orders:

     I. REPTILES.--Having four legs, and walking with a crawling pace,
     as the tortoises, toads, and lizards.

     II. SERPENTS.--Having no legs, but crawling on the body.

     III. NANTES.--Living in the water, furnished with fins, and
     breathing by means of gills. These are true Fishes, principally of
     the group termed _Chondropterygii_, or Cartilaginous Fishes, by


Fishes constituted Linnæus’s fourth class of animals. They are all
inhabitants of the water, in which they move by certain organs called
fins. Those situated on the back are called dorsal fins; those on the
sides, behind the gills, pectoral fins; those below the body, near the
head, are ventral; those behind the vent are anal; and that which forms
the tail is called the caudal fin. Fishes breathe by gills, which, in
most species, are situated at the sides of the head. Fishes rise and
sink in the water, generally by a kind of bladder in the interior of the
body, called an air-bladder. Some of them do not possess this organ, and
consequently are seldom found but at the bottom of the sea, from which
they can only rise by an effort. The bodies of these animals are usually
covered with scales, which keep them from injury by the contact of the

The fishes were divided by Linnæus into four Orders:

     I. APODAL.--Having no ventral fins, as the eel.

     II. JUGULAR.--Having the ventral fins situated in front of the
     pectoral fins, as the cod, haddock, and whiting.

     III. THORACIC.--Having the ventral fins situated directly under the
     pectoral fins, as the perch and mackerel.

     IV. ABDOMINAL.--Having the ventral fins on the lower part of the
     body below the pectoral fins, as the salmon, herring, and carp.


The fifth class of Linnæus comprised the Insects; and the branch of
Zoology which treats of them is called Entomology. Nearly all insects go
through certain great changes at different periods of their existence.
From the egg is hatched the larva, which is a grub or caterpillar, and
destitute of wings; this afterwards changes to a pupa, or chrysalis,
wholly covered with a hard shell, or strong skin, from which the perfect
or winged insect bursts forth. Spiders and their allies, which were
included by Linnæus in the insects, issue from the egg in nearly a
perfect state.

Linnæus divided his class of insects into seven Orders:

     I. COLEOPTEROUS.--Having elytra, or crustaceous cases covering the
     wings; and which, when closed, meet in a straight line along the
     middle of the back, as the cockchafer.

     II. HEMIPTEROUS.--Having four wings, the upper ones partly
     crustaceous, and partly membranous; not divided straight down the
     middle of the back, but crossed, or incumbent on each other, as the

     III. LEPIDOPTEROUS.--Having four wings covered with fine scales
     almost like powder, as the butterflies and moths.

     IV. NEUROPTEROUS.--Having four membranous and semi-transparent
     wings, veined like network; and the tail without a sting, as the
     dragon-fly and ephemera.
     V. HYMENOPTEROUS.--Having four membranous and semi-transparent
     wings, veined like network; and the tail armed with a sting, as the
     wasp and bee.

     VI. DIPTEROUS.--Having only two wings, as the common house-flies.

     VII. APTEROUS.--Having no wings, as the spiders.


The sixth and last Linnæan class consisted of Worms, or Vermes. These
are slow of motion, and have soft and fleshy bodies. Some of them have
hard internal parts, and others have crustaceous coverings. In some of
the species, eyes and ears are very perceptible, whilst others appear to
enjoy only the senses of taste and touch. Many have no distinct head,
and most of them are destitute of feet. They are, in general, so
tenacious of life, that parts which have been destroyed will be
reproduced. These animals are principally distinguished from those of
the other classes by having tentacula, or feelers, and are divided by
Linnæus into five Orders:

     I. INTESTINA.--Are simple and naked, without limbs; some of them
     live within other animals, as the ascarides and tape-worms; others
     in water, as the leeches; and a few in the earth, as the

     II. MOLLUSCA.--Are simple animals, without shells, and furnished
     with limbs, as the cuttle-fish, medusa, star-fish, and sea-urchin.

     III. TESTACEA.--Are animals similar to the last, but covered with
     shells, as oysters, cockles, snails, and limpets.

     IV. LITHOPHYTA.--Are composite Polyps, dwelling in cells in a
     calcareous base which they produce, as corals and madrepores.

     V. ZOOPHYTA.--Are usually composite animals, but do not reside in
     stony cells. The coral, sponge, and polyps are instances of this
     order, which also includes the Infusorial Animalcules.


It will be found by reading the following sketch of the Modern System
that the greatest change has taken place in the latter two classes. The
others remain nearly the same in effect, though their distinctions are
different, and the classes are not arranged in the same order.

According to Cuvier, all animals are arranged in four great divisions,
which are subdivided into classes and orders, as follows:--

           Divisions                Classes            No. of Orders
        I. VERTEBRATA.      } 1. Mammalia         Nine.
  Four Classes. Twenty-seven Orders. } 2. Aves             Six.
                                     } 3. Reptilia         Four.
                                     } 4. Pisces           Eight.
      II. MOLLUSCA.         } 1. Cephalopoda       One.
                                     } 2. Pteropoda         One.
  Six Classes. Fifteen Orders.       } 3. Gasteropoda       Nine.
                                     } 4. Acephala          Two.
                                     } 5. Brachiopoda       One.
                                     } 6. Cirrhopoda        One.

    III. ARTICULATA.        } 1. Annelides         Three.
                                     } 2. Crustacea         Seven.
  Four Classes. Twenty-four Orders.  } 3. Arachnida         Two.
                                     } 4. Insecta           Twelve.

      IV. RADIATA.          } 1. Echinodermata     Two.
                                     } 2. Entozoa           Two.
  Five Classes. Eleven Orders.       } 3. Acalephæ          Two.
                                     } 4. Polypi            Three.
                                     } 5. Infusoria         Two.


Have a backbone divided into vertebræ or joints, whence they take their
name. They have also separate senses for hearing, seeing, tasting,
smelling, and feeling; a distinct head, with a mouth opening by two
horizontal jaws; a muscular heart, and red blood. The four classes of
Vertebrata and their orders are as follow:--

     I. THE MAMMALIA are all furnished with mammæ, or teats, through
     which they give milk to their young, which they bring forth alive.
     They have warm blood, which all circulates from the heart through
     the lungs, and returns to the heart before it passes through the
     body. Their skins are naked, or covered with wool or hair, and
     their mouths are generally furnished with teeth. There are eleven
     orders, which are thus distinguished:--

SECTION I.--_Unguiculated Animals, or Mammalia having Nails or Claws._

     I. _Bimana_, or two-handed. This order contains only the human

     II. _Quadrumana_, or four-handed. This order contains the apes,
     baboons, and monkeys, and the lemurs.

     III. _Cheiroptera_, the bat family.

     IV. _Carnivora_, or beasts of prey. This order is divided into the
     following three tribes:--

     1. _The Insectivora_, consisting of those animals which live upon
     insects, as the hedgehog, the shrew, and the mole.

     2. _The Carnivora proper_, consisting chiefly of the cat family,
     including lions, tigers, and their allies; the bear family,
     including the badger, the coati-mondi, the racoon, &c.; the dog
     family, including the wolf and the fox; the weasel family; the
     civet-cats; and the hyæna.

     3. _The Amphibia_, consisting of the seals, and other allied

     V. _Marsupialia_, including the opossums and the kangaroos.

     VI. _Monothrema_, containing the Echidna and Ornithorhynchus of

     VII. _Rodentia_, or gnawing animals. The principal of these are the
     squirrel family, mice and rats, hares and rabbits, the beaver, the
     porcupine, and the guinea-pig.

     VIII. _Edentata_, or toothless animals, that is, without front
     teeth. The principal of these are the sloths, the armadillos, and
     the ant-eaters.

SECTION II.--_Ungulated or Hoofed Mammalia._

     IX. _Pachydermata_, or thick-skinned animals. The principal of
     these are the elephant, the hippopotamus, the rhinoceros; the horse
     family, including the ass, the mule, the zebra, and the quagga; the
     wild boar family, and the tapir.

     X. _Ruminantia_, or ruminating animals, the principal of which are
     the camel family, the deer family, the giraffe, the antelope
     family, the goat family, the sheep family, and the ox family.

SECTION III.--_Aquatic Mammalia, having no Hind Limbs, and the Fore
Limbs converted into Fins._

     XI. _Cetacea_, or sea mammalia, the principal of which are the
     whale family, the dolphin family, the manati, the porpoise family,
     and the narwhal, or sea-unicorn.


Lay eggs from which their young are hatched by what is called
incubation. Their skins are covered with feathers; and their jaws are
horny, without teeth. Their blood is warm, and circulates like that of
the mammalia. The six orders of Aves are as follow:--

     1. _Raptores_, or birds of prey. These birds are distinguished by a
     very strong and sharp bill more or less curved, but always hooked
     at the extremity of the upper mandible, which is covered at the
     base with a kind of skin called the cere. The nostrils are usually
     open. The legs are very strong, the feet are large, and the toes,
     which are four in number, are armed with very strong, sharp, curved
     claws. The principal raptorial birds are the vultures, including
     the condor; the falcon family, including the eagles, hawks, kites,
     and buzzards; and the owls.

     2. _Insessores_, or perching birds. These birds have all feet
     formed for perching, the hind toe springing from the same place as
     the other toes, which gives them great power of grasping. Their
     legs are of moderate length, and their claws not sharply curved.
     This order includes the thrushes, nightingales, and all the finest
     songsters of our groves, with the robin-redbreast, the sparrow, and
     other birds seen about dwellings, the swallows, the larks, the crow
     family, the kingfishers, the birds of paradise, and the humming
     3. _Scansores_, or climbers. These birds have two toes before and
     two behind. This construction gives them such great power of
     climbing, that they can ascend the perpendicular trunk of a tree.
     The principal birds in this order are the parrots, the cuckoos, and
     the woodpeckers.

     4. _Rasores_, or gallinaceous birds. These birds have the head
     small in proportion to the body. The bill is generally short, with
     the upper mandible somewhat curved. The nostrils have usually a
     protecting fleshy membrane. The tarsus, or lower part of the leg,
     is long and bare, and there are four toes, those in front being
     united by a slight membrane, while that behind is generally higher
     up the leg, and smaller than the others. This order comprises most
     of the birds used as food, and includes the peacock, the turkey,
     the common cock and hen, the partridge, the pheasant, and the
     pigeon family.

     5. _Grallatores_, or Waders. These birds are characterised by their
     long and slender legs, and by the thighs being more or less bare.
     There are three anterior toes, more or less united at the base by a
     membrane, or rudimentary web. The hind toe is wanting in some
     members of the order. This order contains the ostrich family, the
     bustards and plovers; the cranes, herons, and storks; and the
     snipes and woodcocks.

     6. _Palmipedes_, or web-footed birds. These birds have the legs and
     feet short, and placed behind, with their fore toes united by a
     thick and strong membrane. The neck is much longer than the legs,
     and their bodies are covered with a dense layer of down beneath the
     outer plumage, which is close, and imbued with an oily fluid that
     repels the water. The principal birds in this order are the grebes,
     the auks and penguins, the petrels, the pelican and cormorant and
     the swans, ducks, and geese.

     By many ornithologists the pigeons and ostriches are considered to
     form distinct orders, called respectively _Columbæ_ and _Cursores_.


Or Reptiles, have neither hair, wool, nor feathers, and their bodies are
either naked, or covered with scales. Some lay eggs, and some bring
forth their young alive. Some have gills, and others lungs, but the
latter have only a portion of the blood passing through them; and thus
the blood of reptiles is cold, as it is respiration which gives the
blood heat. The senses of reptiles are dull, and their movements are
either slow or laborious. The following are the four orders into which
this class is divided:--

     1. _Chelonian Reptiles._ These animals have four legs. The body is
     enclosed in an upper buckler, called the carapace, and an under
     one, called the plastron. They have lungs which are much expanded;
     but they have no teeth, though they have hard horny jaws. The
     females lay eggs covered with a hard shell. The principal animals
     belonging to this division are the tortoises, which live on land or
     in fresh waters, and the turtles, which inhabit the sea.

     2. _The Saurian Reptiles._ These animals have also expanded lungs,
     and generally four legs, but some have only two. Their bodies are
     covered with scales, and their mouths filled with teeth. This order
     includes all the crocodiles and lizards. The crocodiles have broad
     flat tongues, attached throughout to the jaws, and the lizards have
     long narrow tongues, which many of them can extend to a great
     distance from the mouth.

     3. _The Ophidian Reptiles_ are the snakes and serpents. The body is
     covered with scales, but it is destitute of feet. The lungs are
     generally well developed, only on one side. Serpents are frequently
     furnished with poison-bags at the base of some of their teeth.

     4. _The Batrachian Reptiles_ include the frogs and toads. The body
     is naked. The greater part of these reptiles undergo a transition
     from a fish-like tadpole furnished with gills to a four-legged
     animal with lungs. Others never lose their gills, though they
     acquire lungs, and of this kind are the siren and the proteus.


Or Fishes, are defined by Cuvier to be vertebrated animals with red
blood, breathing through the medium of water by means of their branchiæ
or gills. To this definition may be added, that fishes have no neck, and
that the body generally tapers from the head to the tail; that most of
the species are furnished with air-bladders which enable them to swim;
and that their bodies are generally covered with scales. The heart has
only one auricle, and the blood is cold. The gills require to be kept
moist to enable the fish to breathe, and as soon as they become dry, the
fish dies. Thus fishes with large gill openings die almost as soon as
they are taken out of the water; while those with very small openings,
like the eel, live a long time. Fishes have no feet, but are furnished
with fins. The scientific knowledge of Fishes is called Ichthyology.
Fishes are first divided into two great series, viz. the Bony Fishes,
and the Cartilaginous Fishes, and these are again subdivided into nine
orders, as follows:--


     1. _Acanthopterygii_, or fishes with hard fins.

     2. _Malacopterygii abdominales_, or soft-finned fishes, with the
     ventral fins on the abdomen behind the pectorals.

     3. _Malacopterygii sub-brachiati_, or soft-finned fishes, with the
     ventral fins under the gills.

     4. _Malacopterygii apodes_, or soft-finned fishes, without ventral

     5. _Lophobranchii_, or fishes with tufted gills.

     6. _Plectognathii_, or fishes with the upper jaw fixed.


     7. _Cyclostomi_, or fishes with jaws fixed in an immovable ring,
     and with holes for the gills.

     8. _Selachii_, or fishes with movable jaws and holes for the gills.

     9. _Sturiones_, with the branchiæ in the usual form.

Of the bony fishes the _Acanthopterygii_, or fishes with hard spiny
fins, are divided into fifteen families, the principal of which are the
perch family, the mailed cheek fishes, including the gurnards, the
flying fish of the Mediterranean, and the sticklebacks, or jack
banticles; the mackerel family, including the tunny, bonito, and
sword-fish; the pilot-fish, the dolphin of the Mediterranean, so
celebrated for the beauty of its dying tints, and the John Dory. Among
the _Malacopterygii abdominales_, or soft-finned fishes, that have their
ventral fins suspended from the abdomen, the most interesting are the
carp family, the pike family, the flying-fish of the ocean, the salmon
family, and the herring family, including the sprat, pilchard, and

_The Malacopterygii sub-brachiati_ are soft-finned fishes, with the
ventral fins beneath the pectorals; the principal of which are the cod
family, including the haddock, whiting, and ling; the flat-fish family,
including soles, turbots, plaice, and flounders; and the suckers or

_The Malacopterygii apodes_ are confined to the eel family.

_The Lophobranchii_ include the pipe fish, and other fishes of similar

_The Plectognathi_ comprise the very singular forms of the balloon-fish,
the sun-fish, and other similar fishes.

_The Chondropterygii, or Cartilaginous fishes_, are divided into three
orders, viz. _the Sturiones_, or sturgeon family; _the Selachi_, or
sharks and rays, including the torpedo; and _the Cyclostomi_, or lamprey
family. The last two orders were included by Cuvier in a single one.


Have no bones except their shells. Their sense of feeling appears to be
very acute, but the organs for the other senses are either wanting or
very imperfect. The blood is cold and white, and the heart often
consists of only one ventricle; a few of them have imperfect lungs, but
the greater number breathe through gills. They have all the power of
remaining a long time in a state of rest, and their movements are either
slow or violently laborious. Some of them appear incapable of
locomotion. They produce their young from eggs, but some lay their eggs
on a part of their own body, where the young are hatched. The following
are Cuvier’s six classes:--

     1. _Cephalopoda, or Head-footed Mollusca._ These animals are
     furnished with long fleshy arms or feet, proceeding from the head,
     which is not distinct from the body, and on which they crawl. There
     is only one order, which includes the cuttle-fish, nautilus, and

     2. _Pteropoda, or Wing-footed Mollusca._ These animals have two
     membranous feet or arms, like wings, proceeding from the neck.
     There is only one order, which contains six genera, the best known
     of which is the Hyalæa, the shell of which is commonly called
     Venus’s chariot.

     3. _Gasteropoda, or Body-footed Mollusca._ All these animals crawl
     with the flat part of the body, which acts as a kind of sucker.
     There are nine orders in Cuvier’s system. The common snail will
     give an idea of the habits of the class.
     4. _Acephala, or Headless Mollusca._ These animals have no apparent
     head, and breathe by means of branchiæ, which are generally
     ribbon-shaped. Most of them are enclosed in a bivalve shell, but
     some are naked; the former are the _Testacea_ of Cuvier, and the
     _Conchifera_ of Lamarck; the latter are the _Tunicata_ of Lamarck.
     They form two orders.

     5. _Brachiopoda, or Arm-footed Mollusca._ These animals also have a
     bivalve shell; but they have no true branchiæ, and their
     respiration is effected by the agency of the mantle. They have two
     spiral arms.

     6. _Cirrhopoda, or Curled-footed Mollusca._ These are generally
     attached, and enclosed in a shell of several pieces; they are
     furnished with a mouth, armed with jaws, and with several pairs of
     jointed and fringed organs, called cirri, by the protrusion and
     retraction of which they capture their prey. Examples of this class
     are the Barnacles and Acorn shells. These animals have long ceased
     to be regarded as Mollusca, the investigations of modern
     naturalists having proved them to be true articulated animals most
     nearly related to the Crustacea.


Have no back-bone. The covering of the body is sometimes hard and
sometimes soft, but it is always divided into segments by a number of
transverse incisions. The limbs, when the body is provided with any, are
jointed; and they can be separated from the body without any serious
injury being sustained by the animal, new limbs being shortly after
formed to replace them. The senses of tasting and seeing are more
perfect than those of the Mollusca, though that of feeling seems much
less acute. In other respects the four classes differ considerably from
each other.

[_The Entozoa, or Intestinal Worms_, placed by Cuvier and others among
the Radiata, are now arranged amongst the lowest forms of articulated
animals, as are also those animalcules known as _Rotifera_.]

     I. _The Annelida, or Red-blooded Worms_, have no heart, properly so
     called, but have sometimes one or more fleshy ventricles. They
     breathe through branchiæ. Their bodies are soft, and more or less
     elongated, being divided into numerous rings or segments. The head,
     which is at one extremity of the body, can scarcely be
     distinguished from the tail, except by having a mouth. These
     animals have no feet, properly so called, but they are furnished
     with little fleshy projections, bearing tufts of hairs or bristles,
     which enable them to move. They are generally of carnivorous
     habits. They lay eggs, but the young are frequently hatched before
     exclusion, and hence these creatures are said to be ovoviviparous.
     Their study is called Helminthology. As examples of the three
     orders of this class may be mentioned the serpulæ or worm-like
     animals, often found on shells, the common earthworm, and the leech

     II. _The Crustacea_ comprise the shell-fish commonly called crabs,
     lobsters, shrimps, and prawns. They have a distinct head, furnished
     with antennæ, eyes, and mouth; and their bodies are covered with a
     crust or shell, divided into segments by transverse incisions, the
     segments being united by a strong membrane. Once a year the larger
     species of these animals moult, throwing off their old crust or
     shell, and forming a new one, the animal remaining in a naked and
     greatly weakened state during the intermediate time. Many of the
     Crustacea swim with great ease, but on land their motions are
     generally cramped and awkward; and they are confined to crawling,
     or leaping by means of the tail. When a limb is injured they
     possess the extraordinary power of throwing it off, and forming a
     new one. The Crustacea lay eggs, and the young of some of the
     species undergo a transformation before they attain their full
     size. The Crustacea were divided into two sections and seven orders
     by Latreille, which are as follow:--

SECTION I. _Malacostraca._

Shell solid, legs ten or fourteen, foot-jaws six or ten, mandibles two,
maxillæ four; mouth with a labrum.

     Sub-section I. _Podophthalma_, eyes on foot-stalks.

     ORDER 1. _Decapoda_, legs ten.

     Sub-order 1. _Brachyura_, the crabs.

     Sub-order 2. _Macroura_, the lobsters.

     ORDER 2. _Stomapoda_, legs more than ten.

     Sub-section II. _Edriophthalma_, eyes not on foot-stalks.

     ORDER 3. _Amphipoda_, body compressed; mandibles palpigerous.

     ORDER 4. _Læmodipoda_, abdomen rudimental, with only the rudiments
     of one or two pairs of appendages.

     ORDER 5. _Isopoda_, body depressed; abdominal appendages flat;
     mandibles not palpigerous.

SECTION II. _Entomostraca._

Shell not solid; legs variable in number; mouth variable.

     ORDER 6. _Branchiopoda._ Integuments horny, branchiæ feathery,
     forming part of the feet.

     It is to this division of the Crustacea that the Cirrhopoda are now

     ORDER 7. _Pæcilopoda_, mouth suctorial.

     Sub-order 1. _Xiphosura_, or king-crabs.

     Sub-order 2. _Siphonostoma_, or fish parasites.

     III. _The Arachnida_ are defined by Lamarck to be oviparous
     animals, provided with six or more articulated legs, not subject to
     metamorphosis, and never acquiring any new kinds of organs. It is
     now known, however, that some mites undergo a sort of
     metamorphosis, having only six legs when first hatched, and passing
     through a quiet pupa stage before acquiring their perfect form.
     Their respiration is either by means of air-sacks, which serve for
     lungs, or of a kind of tube with circular openings for the
     admission of air. There is a rudimentary heart and circulation in
     most of the species. There are two orders; those with lungs, and
     those without.

     ORDER I. _Pulmonariæ._ The Arachnides comprised in this division
     have air-sacks, which serve for lungs, a heart with distinct
     vessels, and from six to eight simple eyes. There are two distinct
     families: viz. _Araneides_, comprising all the spiders and
     spinners; and Pedipalpi, comprising the tarantula and scorpions.

     ORDER II. _Tracheariæ._ These Arachnides are distinguished by their
     respiratory organs, which consist of radiated or branched tracheæ,
     receiving air by two circular openings. Their eyes vary from two to
     four. The principal animals belonging to this division are the
     long-legged spiders (_Phalangium_), and the mites (_Acarus_),
     including the gardener’s pest, the little red spider (_Acarus
     telarius_), the cheese mite (_Acarus Siro_), and the harvest bug
     (_Acarus_ or _Leptus autumnalis_).

     IV. _The Insecta_ form the fourth and last class of articulated
     animals, and they derive their name from the Latin word _insectum_,
     which signifies “cut into,” in allusion to the distinct divisions
     of head, thorax, and abdomen in the true insects: and in
     contradistinction to the Annelides, the bodies of which present no
     such divisions. The true insects are defined as animals without
     vertebræ, possessing six feet, with a distinct head furnished with
     antennæ, and breathing through stigmatic openings, which lead to
     interior tracheæ. The Myriapoda have, however, more feet. The
     following are the twelve orders into which this class is divided.

SECTION I. _Insects undergoing Metamorphosis._

     1. _Coleoptera_ (from two Greek words signifying sheathed wings).
     These are the beetles, which are all furnished with membranous
     wings, with which they fly, and which are protected by horny upper
     wings, or wing-cases, called elytra. They are all masticators, and
     are all provided with mandibles or projecting jaws, and maxillæ.

     2. _Orthoptera_, or straight-winged insects. This order comprises
     the crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, and similar insects. They have
     their upper wings of the consistence of parchment, and have
     mandibles and maxillæ.

     3. _Hemiptera_, or half-winged insects, have frequently half the
     upper wing membranous, like the under ones, while the other half is
     leathery. To this division belong the bugs, the water-scorpions,
     the cicadæ or froghoppers, and the aphides. These insects have
     neither mandibles nor maxillæ, but in their place have a sheath and

     4. _Neuroptera_, or nerved-winged insects, such as the
     dragon-flies, have both pairs of wings membranous, naked, and
     finely reticulated. The mouth is adapted for mastication, and
     furnished with mandibles and maxillæ.

     5. _Hymenoptera_, membranous winged insects, such as bees, wasps,
     ichneumon flies, &c. All the four wings are membranous, but they
     have fewer nervures, and are not reticulated like those of the
     preceding order. The mouth is furnished with mandibles and maxillæ,
     and the abdomen is terminated either by an ovipositor or a sting.

     6. _Lepidoptera_, or scaly-winged insects. These are the
     butterflies and moths, which are characterised by the farinaceous
     or scaly aspect of their wings, and the tubular or thread-like
     extension of the parts of the mouth.
     7. _Strepsiptera_ or _Rhipiptera_, with twisted wings. These
     creatures resemble the ichneumon, in laying their eggs in the
     bodies of other insects, though they generally attack wasps and
     bees. The principal genera are Xenos and Stylops. They are
     generally considered to be closely allied to the Beetles.

     8. _Diptera_, or two-winged insects, including the flies. The mouth
     is furnished with a proboscis, and there are two small wings called
     _halteres_ placed behind the true wings, which act as balancers.

     9. _Suctoria_, or sucking insects, such as the flea, which have no
     wings, but are furnished with an apparatus for sucking blood.

SECTION II. _Insects not undergoing Metamorphosis._

     10. _Thysanoura_, or spring-tail insects. These creatures are of
     small size, and without wings; they are found in crevices of
     woodwork, or under stones. The principal genera are Lepisma and

     11. _Parasita_, or parasitical insects, such as the louse. They are
     also without wings.

     12. _Myriapoda._ This order is made a separate class by many
     naturalists, as the creatures contained in it are distinguished
     from the true insects by the great number of their feet; by the
     want of distinct divisions into thorax and abdomen; and by the
     great number of segments into which the body is divided. The
     principal insects in this order are included in the Linnæan genera
     _Julus_ and _Scolopendra_, commonly called centipedes.

The term larva is applied to the young of all insects, included in the
first nine orders, when first hatched. The different kinds have,
however, other names; that is to say, the larva of a butterfly, or moth,
is called a caterpillar; that of a beetle, a grub; and that of a fly, a
maggot. The larva changes its skin several times, and at last goes into
the pupa state, when it is called a chrysalis, an aurelia, or a nymph.
Sometimes the pupa is wrapped up in a loose outer covering called a
cocoon. From the pupa in time bursts forth the imago, or perfect insect.
The Apterous, or wingless true insects, and the Myriapoda, which are
also without wings, do not undergo any metamorphosis.


Are so called because their organs of locomotion, and even their
internal viscera, are generally arranged in a circle round a centre, so
as to give a radiated appearance to the whole body. The animals included
in this class are the very lowest in the scale; they have scarcely any
external senses; their movements are slow, and almost their only sign of
life is a craving for food. Some of them, however, have a distinct mouth
and alimentary canal, with an anal orifice; others have a bag-like
stomach with a kind of mouth, through which they both take their food
and reject their excrements; while others have no mouth, and appear only
to absorb nourishment through pores. In the like manner, though some are
oviparous, others may be propagated by division into plants. Of these
Cuvier makes five classes:

     I. _Echinodermata_, or sea-urchins. These animals have a leathery
     or crustaceous skin or shell, commonly covered with numerous
     tubercles. The mouth is generally in the centre of the animal, and
     is often armed with five or more pieces of bone, which serve as
     teeth; the stomach is a loose bag; the organs for respiration are
     vascular; and the animals are oviparous. They are furnished with
     tentacular tubes, which serve as arms or feet, and which they can
     push out and draw back at pleasure; and they have yellowish or
     orange-coloured blood, which appears to circulate. Cuvier divides
     this class into those with feet, and those without; but Lamarck,
     whose arrangement has been more generally followed, divides them
     into three orders; viz.:

     1. _The Fistuloides_, or _Holothurida_, which have cylindrical
     bodies, leathery skins, and mouths surrounded by tentacula. These
     creatures live in the sea, or in the sands on the sea-shore; the
     trepang, or eatable worm of the Chinese, is one of them.

     2. _The Echinides._ These are the sea-urchins, properly so called,
     and the shells, when the animals are out of them, are called
     sea-eggs. The Echinides live in the sea. They lay eggs, and the
     roe, or imperfect eggs, occupy a large portion of the space within
     the shell when the animal is still alive.

     3. _The Stellerides_, or _Asterias_, are the star-fish. The mouth
     in these creatures is in the middle of the lower surface, and it
     has a membranous lip, capable of great dilation, but furnished with
     angular projections for capturing its prey. The skin is soft, but
     leathery, and it is covered on the back with spongeous tubercles,
     or scales. The rays are hollow beneath, and furnished with
     tentacula, by the aid of which the star-fish manages to crawl
     backwards, forwards, or sideways, as the case may be, any of the
     rays serving as a leader. These animals are found on the sea-shore,
     forming large beds, which are washed over by the sea. _The
     Crinoidea_, or stone-lilies, of which such curious fossil specimens
     have been found, are nearly allied to the star-fish.

     II. _The Intestina_, or _Entozoa_. The intestinal worms were
     divided into two kinds by Cuvier, viz. the _Cavitaires_, including
     the worms of children, and other cylindrical worms; and the
     _Parenchymateux_, or flat worms; such as the fluke in sheep and the
     tape-worm in human beings. The Entozoa are now universally regarded
     as belonging to the Articulated or Annulose division of the animal

     III. _Acalephæ_, or _Sea-Jellies_. These creatures are of a soft
     and jelly-like substance, with a thin skin, and an unarmed mouth.
     The Medusides are very numerous, and produce that beautiful
     phosphorescent light noticed by voyagers in the Australian seas.
     The most interesting of the Acalephes is the Portuguese man-of-war,
     or Physalia.

     IV. _Polyps_, or _Anthozoa_, according to Cuvier, were divided into
     three orders; namely:

     1. _Fleshy Polyps_ (Sea anemones);

     2. _Gelatinous Polyps_ (_Hydra_); and

     3. _Polyps with Polyparies_, the latter including all the various
     compound zoophytes, with the Sponges. Of these the _Flustræ_, or
     _Sea Mats_, and numerous allied species, have since been
     recognised as belonging rather to the Mollusca, and the Sponges to
     a distinct and lower group of animals than the Radiata; the
     remainder have generally been divided into the following three

     1. _Helianthoida._ This order includes the actinia, or sea-anemone;
     and the madrepores, sea-mushrooms, and brainstones, which live in
     communities, and possess the power of secreting calcareous matters,
     which they emit to form these stony substances.

     2. _Asteroida._ Some of the animals belonging to this division are
     called sea-pens, and others form some of the different kinds of
     coral, particularly that used for necklaces, &c.

     3. _Hydroida._ This order includes the fresh-water polypi, which,
     it is well known, by the experiments that have been tried, may be
     cut in pieces and even turned inside out without destroying life.
     It must be observed that the contents of this group in Cuvier’s
     system consisted of all those forms of animals which he could not,
     in accordance with the knowledge possessed in his day, conveniently
     place anywhere else. Within the last few years, however, great
     progress has been made in the arrangement of the animals placed in
     this group by Cuvier. One of the most important changes has been
     the establishment of a fifth group of animals for the Infusoria and
     Sponges, together with certain other creatures of very low
     organisation. To these the name of PROTOZOA has been given. The
     _Entozoa_ have been removed amongst the articulate animals, and
     there is a growing conviction that the _Echinodermata_ will have to
     be transferred to the same section. There remain, consequently, the
     _Acalephæ_ and _Polyps_ of Cuvier, which form a group characterised
     by their soft and generally gelatinous texture; by the existence of
     peculiar cells, called thread cells, in the skin; and by their
     possession of an alimentary cavity with only a single orifice. To
     these the name of CŒLENTERATA has been given. They are divided
     into two classes: I. The ANTHOZOA, or Polyps, including the orders
     _Helianthoida_ and _Asteroida_; and II. The HYDROZOA, composed of
     the Hydroid Polyps and Acalephæ, the connection between which, as
     indicated in the text (p. 609), is very intimate.

     V. _The Infusoria_, or _Animalcula_, are so small as to be
     invisible to the naked eye, and they are all inhabitants of
     liquids. Cuvier arranged them in two orders, one of which he called
     _Les Rotifères_, and the other _Les Infusories homogènes_, but the
     first of these divisions is now included among the Articulata. The
     remainder of the Infusoria of Cuvier, with the exception of some
     which are now known to be of vegetable nature, are arranged, with
     the Sponges and some other animals, in a separate division, called
     Protozoa, the classification of which is still in a somewhat
     uncertain state. The three principal classes are those of the
     _Infusoria_, the _Sponges_, and the _Rhizopoda_; but there are
     other forms which will not admit of being brought under any of
     these denominations. Nearly all the Protozoa are microscopic,
     except when, as in the case of the Sponges, they form an
     aggregation of individuals. They are very numerous, and, although
     exceedingly simple in their structure, their history often
     possesses much interest.




  _Abdomen._            The part of the body containing
                           the organs of digestion.
  _Abdominal._          Pertaining to the abdomen.
  _Amphibious._         Capable of living both on the land and in the water.
  _Animalcules._        Small animals, visible only with
                           the assistance of the microscope.
  _Annulated._          Marked with rings.
  _Antennæ._            The horns or feelers of insects.
  _Apex._               The top or summit of anything.
  _Apical._             Situated at, or belonging to, the apex.
  _Apodal._             Footless.
  _Apterous._           Wingless.
  _Aquatic._            Living or growing in the water.
  _Bicuspid._           Having two points.
  _Bifid._              Divided into two parts.
  _Bifurcated._         Divided into two prongs.
  _Bisulcous._          Cloven-hoofed.
  _Bivalve._            With two shells.
  _Branchiæ._           Gills, or organs for aquatic respiration.
  _Buccal._             Pertaining to the mouth.
  _Byssus._             A tuft of silky filaments produced by some Mollusca.
  _Callosity._          A hard lump, an excrescence.
  _Campanulate._        Bell-shaped.
  _Canine._             Of the dog kind.
  _Carinated._          Keeled.
  _Carnivorous._        Feeding on flesh.
  _Caudal._             Pertaining to the tail.
  _Cere._               A skin over the base of the bill of birds._Cervical._
                          Belonging to the neck.
  _Cetaceous._          Of the whale kind.
  _Cilia._              Microscopic filaments, which,
                          by their constant vibration,
                          either cause currents in the water,
                          or move the animals
                          possessing them.
  _Cinereous._          Of the colour of ashes.
  _Clavate._            Clubbed.
  _Cordiform._          Heart-shaped.
  _Coriaceous._         Leathery.
  _Corneous._           Horny.
  _Crustaceous._        Covered with a shell or crust; as lobsters, crabs, &c.
  _Dentate._            Toothed like a saw.
  _Dorsal._             Belonging to the back.
  _Elytra._             The wing-cases of insects of the beetle tribe.
  _Emarginate._         Notched.
  _Entomology._         A description of insects.
  _Exsanguineous._      Without red blood, as worms.
  _Feline._             Belonging to the cat kind.
  _Ferruginous._        Of an iron or rust colour.
  _Filiform._           Thread-like.
  _Foliaceous._         Leaf-like.
  _Frugivorous._        Feeding on fruits.
  _Furcated._           Forked.
  _Fusiform._           Spindle-shaped.
  _Gallinaceous._       Belonging to the hen kind.
  _Gelatinous._         Like jelly.
  _Gemmiparous._        Capable of propagating by buds.
  _Geniculate._         Bent like a knee.
  _Gestation._          The time of going with young.
  _Granivorous._        Feeding on grain.
  _Gregarious._         Associating together.
  _Hastate._            Formed like an arrow-head.
  _Haustellate._        Insects with a mouth adapted for suction.
  _Herbivorous._        Feeding on grass.
  _Hexapod._            Having six legs.
  _Hyaline._            Glassy.
  _Ichthyology._        A description of fishes.
  _Imbricated._         Tiled, or lying over each other.
  _Incubation._         The act of hatching eggs.
  _Insectivorous._      Feeding on insects.
  _Intestinal._         Pertaining to the digestive organs.
  _Laminated._          Covered with or divided into plates or scales.
  _Larva._              The young of insects.
  _Lateral._            Belonging to the side, placed sideways.
  _Loricated._          Covered with hard scales or plates like
  _Mandibles._          Upper and lower, the two divisions of
                          a bird’s beak, or
                           the projecting jaws of an insect.
  _Migratory._          Coming and going at certain seasons.
  _Multivalve._         With many shells or openings.
  _Nacreous._           Resembling mother-of-pearl.
  _Nictitating._        Winking; applied to a membrane with which birds cover
                           their eyes at pleasure.
  _Olfactory._          Relating to smell.
  _Operculum._          A shield or cover.
  _Ornithology._        A description of birds.
  _Oviparous._          That lays eggs.
  _Palmated._           Webbed.
  _Parasitic._          Attached to and dependent on some other living body.
  _Parturition._        The act of bringing forth young.
  _Passerine._          Belonging to the sparrow tribe.
  _Pectinate._          Resembling a comb.
  _Pectoral._           Belonging to the breast.
  _Pendulous._          Hanging down.
  _Piscivorous._        Feeding on fishes.
  _Plicate._            Folded.
  _Predaceous._         Formed to pursue prey.
  _Prehensile._         Capable of grasping.
  _Quadrifid._          Divided into four parts.
  _Quadruped._          Four-footed.
  _Ramose._             Branching.
  _Reptiles._           Animals of the serpent tribe, with legs.
  _Rudimentary._        Small; imperfectly developed.
  _Ruminating._         Chewing the cud.
  _Scabrous._           Rough.
  _Scapulars._          Shoulders.
  _Semilunar._          In the form of a half-moon.
  _Serrated._           Notched like a saw.
  _Sessile._            Attached without the intervention of a stalk.
  _Setaceous._          Having bristles or strong hairs.
  _Spiral._             Winding like a screw.
  _Squamose._           Scaly.
  _Striated._           Streaked or striped.
  _Subulated._          Formed like an awl.
  _Sulcated._           Furrowed.
  _Suture._             The line of junction of two hind parts.
  _Tentacula._          The feelers of snails and other mollusca.
  _Testaceous._         Covered with a shell, as oysters.
  _Trifurcated._        Three-forked.
  _Truncated._          Appearing as if cut off._Tubicolar._
                          Inhabiting a tube.
  _Univalve._           With one shell or opening.
  _Ventral._            Belonging to the belly.
  _Vertebrated._        Having a jointed spine-bone.
  _Viscera._            The organs contained in the cavities of the body.
  _Viviparous._         Bringing forth the young alive.
  _Webbed._             Connected by a membrane, as the toes of aquatic birds.
  _Xylophagous._        Wood-eating.
  _Zoologists._         Writers on animated nature.
  _Zoology._            The history of animated nature.





⁂ Where no synonyme is given, the Linnæan name is the only one in use;
and when the synonymes are seldom used, they are marked thus *. When no
Linnæan name is given, the animal was not described by Linnæus.


English Name       Linnæan Name           Synonymes                     Page

LION               Felis Leo             *Leo vulgaris.--_Leach_          1

LIONESS              Ibid.                                                7

TIGER              Felis Tigris                                           9

LEOPARD            Felis Leopardus                                       12

PANTHER            Felis Pardus                                          13

OUNCE                                     Felis Uncia.--_Schreb._        14

OCELOT             Felis Pardalis                                        14

 or CHEETAH     }   Felis jubata           Cynailurus jubatus.--_Wag._   15

JAGUAR             Felis Onca                                            16

                                          {Felis Puma.--_Trail_    }
PUMA               Felis concolor         {*Leo Americanus.--_Her._}     18
                                          {*Puma concolor.--_Jard._}

COMMON LYNX        Felis Lynx             *Lyncus vulgaris.--_Gray_      19

CANADIAN LYNX                             {Felis Canadensis.--_Geoff._}  19
                                          {*Lyncus Canadensis.--_Gray_}

CARACAL                                   Felis Caracal.--_Schreb._      20

DOMESTIC CAT                              Felis domestica                20

WILD CAT           Felis Catus                                           22

DOGS               {Canis familiaris and}                                23
                   { var.               }

SHEPHERD’S DOG                                                           23

BLOODHOUND                                                               25

FOXHOUND                                                                 27

POINTER                                                                  28

MASTIFF                                                                  29

BULLDOG                                                                  30

TERRIER                                                                  31

SPANIEL                                                                  32

WATER SPANIEL                                                            33

NEWFOUNDLAND DOG                                                         34

GREYHOUND                                                                36

FOX                 Canis Vulpes              Vulpes vulgaris.--_Briss._ 37

ARCTIC FOX          Canis lagopus             Vulpes lagopus             39

WOLF                Canis Lupus              *Lupus vulgaris             40

JACKAL              Canis aureus                                         42

STRIPED HYÆNA       Canis Hyæna               Hyæna striata.--_Zimm._    43

SPOTTED HYÆNA                                 Hyæna Crocuta              44

BLACK BEAR          Ursus Americanus                                     45

GRISLY BEAR                                   Ursus ferox                46

BROWN BEAR          Ursus Arctos                                         46

MALAYAN SUN BEAR                              Ursus Malayanus            48

POLAR BEAR                                    Ursus maritimus.--_Gmel._  50

RACOON              Ursus Lotor               Procyon Lotor.--_Cuv._     51

BADGER              Ursus Meles               Meles Taxus.--_Blum._      53

COATI-MONDI         Viverra Nasua             Nasua narica.--_F. Cuv._   53

CIVET                                         Viverra Civetta.--_Schreb._54

GENET               Viverra Genetta           Genetta vulgaris.--_Cuv._  55

ORIENTAL CIVET      Viverra Zibetha                                      56

ICHNEUMON, or     } Viverra Ichneumon         Herpestes Ichneumon        56
  EGYPTIAN        }
  MANGOUSTE       }

WEASEL              Mustela vulgaris                                     58

FERRET              Mustela furo             *Viverra furo.--_Shaw_      60

POLECAT             Mustela putorius          Putorius vulgaris.--_Cuv._ 61

ERMINE              Mustela erminea                                      62

SKUNK                                      Mustela or Mephitis Americana 63

SABLE               {Mustela or Martes}                                  64
                    { Zibellina       }

MARTEN              Mustela Martes            Martes foina.--_Gray_      65

OTTER               Mustela Lutra             Lutra vulgaris.--_Erxl._   66

SEA OTTER           Mustela Lutris            Enhydra Lutris.--_Gray_    68

SEAL                Phoca vitulina     {*Phoca variegata.--_Niel._     }
                                       {Calocephalus vitulinus.--_Cuv._} 69

WALRUS              Trichechus Rosmarus                                  72


HEDGEHOG            Erinaceus Europæus                                   74

MOLE                Talpa Europæa             Talpa vulgaris.--_Briss._  76

SHREW               Sorex araneus                                        78

WATER SHREW         Sorex fodiens                                        79


BAT                 Vespertilio noctula                                  80

PIPISTRELLE                                   Vespertilio Pipistrellus   81

LONG-EARED BAT      Vespertilio auritus       Plecotus auritus.--_Gray_  81

VAMPYRE BAT       Vespertilio spectrum   Phyllostoma spectrum.--_Geoff._ 82

KALONG BAT                               Pteropus edulis.--_Péron._      83


KANGAROO                        {Macropus giganteus.--_Shaw_ and _Cuv._}
                                { *Halmaturus.--_Illig._               }  84
                                { and *Kangurus.--_Desm._              }

OPOSSUM           Didelphis Virginiana                                     86

PHALANGER                                Phalangista vulpina.--_Desm._     87


BEAVER            Castor Fiber                                             88

MUSK RAT                                {Fiber zibethicus.--_Des._    }    90
                                        { Ondatra zibethica.--_Lacep._}

HARE              Lepus timidus                                            91

RABBIT (_Wild_)   Lepus cuniculus                                          93

RABBIT (_Domestic_)                                                        94

SQUIRREL          Sciurus vulgaris                                         95

DORMOUSE          Mus avellanarius       Myoxus muscardinus.--_Schreb._    96

MARMOT, or   }    Mus marmotta           Arctomys Marmotta.--_Gmel._       97

GUINEA-PIG        Mus porcellus         {Cavia cobaya.--_Pall._           }
                                        { Cavia aperea.--_Erxl._          }98
                                        { Hydrochœrus aperea.--_F. Cuv._}

MOUSE             Mus musculus                                             99

RAT               Mus decumanus                                           100

WATER RAT         Mus amphibius         {Mus aquaticus.--_Briss._  }
                                      {*Lemmus aquaticus.--_F. Cuv._--Arvicola}
                                        { amphibia.--_Desm._ and _Jenyns._} 102
                                        { Arvicola aquatica.--_Flem._}

LEMMING           Mus Lemmus             Myodes Lemmus.--_Pall._            103

JERBOA                                  {Dipus Jerboa.--_Gmel._}            104
                                        { Mus sagitta.--_Pall._}

CHINCHILLA                               Chinchilla lanigera                105

PORCUPINE         Hystrix cristata                                          106

COUENDOU          Hystrix prehensilis    Synetheres prehensilis.--_Cuv._    106


SLOTH             Bradypus tridactylus                                       107

ARMADILLO         Dasypus sexcinctus                                         109

ANT-EATER         Myrmecophaga jubata                                        110

DUCK-BILLED  }                          {Ornithorhynchus paradoxus.--_Blum._}111
  PLATYPUS   }                          {Platypus anatinus.--_Shaw._        }


ELEPHANT           Elephas Indicus                                           113

HIPPOPOTAMUS,   }   Hippopotamus amphibius                                   116

RHINOCEROS         Rhinoceros unicornis                                      117

HOG (_Domestic_)   Sus scrofa                                                118

WILD BOAR          Sus scrofa               Sus aper.--_Briss._              120

BABIROUSSA         Sus Babyrussa            Babirussa Alfurus.--_Less._      122

PECCARY                                     Dicotyles labiatus.--_Cuv._      122

TAPIR                                       Tapirus Americanus.--_Schreb._   123

HORSE              Equus caballus                                            124

ASS                Equus Asinus             Asinus vulgaris.--_Gray_         127

MULE                                                                         130

KIANG                                       Equus Hemionus.--_Pall._         131

ZEBRA              Equus Zebra                                               132


BULL               {Bos Taurus, var.}                                        134
                   { domesticus     }

COW                                                                          136

WILD BULL          {Bos Taurus, var. }                                       137
                   { Scoticus        }

BUFFALO            Bos Bubalus              Bubalus Caffer                   139

BISON              Bos Bonasus              Bison Bonasus                    141

BRAHMIN BULL,}     Bos Taurus, var.}                                         143
  or ZEBU    }      Indicus        }

SHEEP              Ovis Aries              *Capra ovis.--_Blum._             144

RAM                                                                          146

WALLACHIAN RAM                                                               146

ARGALI, or WILD}   Ovis Ammon                                                147

GOAT               Capra Hircus                                              147

IBEX, or BOQUETIN  Capra Ibex                                                148

ANTELOPE           Capra Cervicapra         Antilope Cervicapra.--_Pall._    149

GAZELLE            Capra Dorcas             Antilope Dorcas--_Pall._         150

CHAMOIS            Capra rupicapra          Antilope rupicapra.--_Pall._     151

NYL GHAU                                    Antilope picta.--_Pall._         152

GNU                                         Antilope Gnu.--_Gmel._           154

STAG               Cervus Elaphus                                            155

WAPITI                                    {Cervus Canadensis.--_Gmel._     } 157
                                          {*Cervus strongyloceros.--_Schres._}

ROEBUCK            Cervus capreolus                                          158

FALLOW DEER        Cervus Dama                                               159

ELK                Cervus Alces                                              160

REINDEER           Cervus Tarandus         {*Cervus Rangifer.--_Ray._}       161
                                                    { Rangifer Tarandus     }

AXIS                                        Cervus axis                      163

MUSK DEER          Moschus Moschiferus                                       163

GIRAFFE            Cervus Camelopardalis    Camelopardalis Giraffa.--_Gmel.]_164

CAMEL              Camelus Bactrianus                                       168

DROMEDARY          Camelus Dromedarius                                      170

LLAMA              Camelus glama        Auchenia glama.--_Illig._           172


OURANG OUTAN       Simia satyrus                                            173

CHIMPANZEE                              Troglodytes niger.--_Geoff._        174

GORILLA                                 Troglodytes Gorilla                 176

BARBARY APE        Simia inuus          Inuus sylvanus.--_Cuv._             177

BABOON                                 {Cynocephalus porcarius.--_Desm._ }  174
                                       { and _Cuv._                      }

PROBOSCIS MONKEY}  Nasalis larvatus.--_Geoff._                              180

DIANA MONKEY       Simia Diana          Cercopithecus Diana.--_Geoff._      180

CAPUCHIN MONKEY}   Simia Capucina       Cebus capucinus.--_Des._            182

SPIDER MONKEY      Simia Paniscus       Ateles Paniscus.--_Geoff._          182

OUISTIT or}        Simia Jacchus        Jacchus vulgaris.--_Geoff._         183

MARIKINA           Simia Rosalia        Jacchus Rosalia                     183

LEMUR              Lemur Macaco                                             184

MONGOOS                                 Lemur albifrons.--_Geoff._          184




GOLDEN EAGLE       Falco chrysaëtos     Aquila chrysaëtos                   185

SEA EAGLE          Falco albicilla      Haliæetus albicilla.--_Sav._        188

BALD EAGLE         Falco leucocephalus  Haliæetus leucocephalus.--_Sav._    189

OSPREY or     }    Falco haliaëtus      Pandion haliaëtus.--_Cuv._          191

BLACK EAGLE        Falco melanaëtos                                         194

VULTURE            Vultur Papa          Sarcorhampus Papa.--_Dum._          195

CONDOR             Vultur Gryphus       Sarcorhampus Gryphus.--_Dum._       196

BUZZARD            Falco Buteo          Buteo vulgaris.--_Bech._            197

HONEY BUZZARD      Falco apivorus       Pernis apivorus.--_Cuv._            199

GOSHAWK            Falco palumbarius    Astur palumbarius.--_Bech._         200

SPARROW-HAWK       Falco Nisus         {Accipiter Nisus.--_Pall._ }         202
                                       { Nisus communis--_Cuv._   }

KITE               Falco Milvus         Milvus regalis.--_Cuv._             203

JER FALCON         Falco Gyrfalco       Falco islandicus                    204

PEREGRINE FALCON   Falco peregrinus                                         205

MERLIN             Falco æsalon         Hypotriorchis æsalon.--_Gray_       208

KESTREL           Falco Tinnunculus       Tinnunculus alaudarius.--_Gray_   210

SECRETARY BIRD                         Serpentarius reptilivorus.--_Daud._  211

HEN HARRIER       Falco cyaneus         Circus cyaneus--_Boié_              213


HORNED OWL        Strix Bubo            Bubo maximus.--_Flem._              214

HARFANG, or }     Strix nyctea          Surnia Nyctea--_Selby_              215

BARN OWL          Strix flammea                                             216


BUTCHER-BIRD, }   Lanius excubitor                                          217
  or SHRIKE   }

WATER OUZEL, }                           {Turdus Cinclus.--_Lath._    }
  or DIPPER  }    Sturnus Cinclus        {Merula aquatica.--_Briss._  }     219
                                         {Cinclus aquaticus.--_Bech._ }

BLACKBIRD         Turdus Merula                                             220

MISSEL THRUSH     Turdus viscivorus                                         221

REDWING           Turdus iliacus                                            222

FIELDFARE         Turdus pilaris                                            223

RING OUZEL        Turdus torquatus                                          224

MOCKING BIRD      Turdus polyglottus                                        225

REDBREAST         Motacilla rubecula.    {Sylvia rubecula.--_Lath._ }       226
                                         {Erythacus rubecula      }

                                         {Sylvia luscinia.--_Lath._ }
NIGHTINGALE       Motacilla luscinia     {Curruca luscinia--_Bech._ }       228
                                         {Philomela luscinia      }

BLACKCAP          Motacilla atricapilla  {Sylvia.--_Lath._ and Curruca }    231
                                         { atricapilla--_Bech._        }

                                         {Sylvia.--_Lath._ Troglodytes   }
WREN              Motacilla Troglodytes  { Europæus.--_Cuv._             }  232
                                         { Troglodytes vulgaris.--_Flem._}

WILLOW WREN       Motacilla trochilus    {Silvia trochilus.--_Lath._ }      233
                                         {Regulus trochilus.--_Cuv._ }

GOLDEN-CRESTED }  Motacilla Regulus       Regulus cristatus.--_Will._       235
  WREN         }

GREY WATER }                              Motacilla boarula                 236

RED WAGTAILS                                                                237

SWALLOW           Hirundo rustica                                           238

MARTIN            Hirundo urbica                                            241

SWIFT             Hirundo apus            Cypselus apus                     243

GOATSUCKER        Caprimulgus Europæus                                      244

SKYLARK           Alauda arvensis                                           245

WOODLARK          Alauda arborea                                            247

TITMOUSE          Parus cœruleus                                            248

LONG-TAILED TIT   Parus caudatus                                            248

YELLOW HAMMER     Emberiza citrinella                                       249

WHEATEAR          Motacilla Œnanthe   {Silvia Œnanthe.--_Lath._   }         250
                                         {Saxicola Œnanthe.--_Bech._ }
WHINCHAT          Motacilla Rubetra       Saxicola rubetra.--_Bech._        250

SPARROW           Fringilla domestica   {*Pyrgita domestica.--_Cuv._ }      252
                                        { Passer domesticus.--_Ray._ }

LINNET            Fringilla cannabina    {Fringilla Linota.--_Gmel._ }      253
                                         {Linaria Linota.--_Cuv._    }

CANARY BIRD       Fringilla Canaria       Carduelis Canaria                 254

CHAFFINCH         Fringilla cœlebs                                          256

BULLFINCH         Loxia pyrrhula          Pyrrhula vulgaris.--_Tem._        258

GOLDFINCH         Fringilla carduelis    {Carduelis communis.--_Cuv._; }    259
                                         { Carduelis elegans.--_Steph._}

CROSSBILL         Loxia curvirostra                                         261

STARLING          Sturnus vulgaris                                          262

SATIN BOWER }                       {Ptilonorhynchus Holosericeus.--_Kuhl_}
  BIRD      }                       { Kitta.--_Lesson._                   } 263
                                    { Graucalus.--_Cuv._                  }

RAVEN             Corvus corax                                              265

CROW              Corvus corone                                             268

ROOK              Corvus frugilegus                                         269

JACKDAW           Corvus monedula                                           271

MAGPIE            Corvus pica             Pica caudata                      272

CHOUGH            Corvus graculus        {Pyrrhocorax graculus.--_Tem._ }   274

JAY               Corvus glandarius      {Garrulus glandarius.--_Briss._ }  275
                                         { and _Cuv._                    }

ROLLER            Coracias garrula                                          276

KINGFISHER        Alcedo ispida                                             277

BIRD OF PARADISE  Paradisea apoda                                           279

NUTHATCH          Sitta Europæa                                             281

CREEPER           Certhia familiaris                                        281

WALL CREEPER      Tichodroma muraria                                        283

LYRE BIRD                                 Menura superba                    284

HUMMING-BIRD      Trochilus colubris                                        287

HOOPOE            Upupa epops                                               288


CUCKOO            Cuculus canorus                                           290

WOODPECKER        Picus viridis                                             294

WRYNECK           Yunx torquilla                                            296

TOUCAN            Ramphastos tucanus                                        297

GREY PARROT       Psittacus erythacus                                       298

GREEN PARROT      Psittacus Amazonicus                                      300

BLUE and YELLOW}  Psittacus aracanga      Macrocereus aracanga.--_Viell._   300
  MACAW        }

RING PAROQUET     Psittacus Alexandri     Palæornis Alexandri.--_Vig._      301

WARBLING GRASS}                           Melopsittacus undulatus           302

COCKATOO          Psittacus galeritus     Plyctolophus galeritus            302


PEACOCK             Pavo cristatus                                          304

TURKEY              Meleagris Gallo-Pavo                                    306

GUINEA FOWL         Numida Meleagris                                        308

MOUND BIRD                                  Megapodius tumulus              310

PHEASANT            Phasianus Colchicus                                     313

RED-LEGGED }        Tetrao Rufus            Perdix rufus                    315

PARTRIDGE           Tetrao Perdix           Perdix cinerea.--_Lath._        316

QUAIL               Tetrao Coturnix     {Coturnix major.--_Briss._        } 318
                                        { Coturnix vulgaris.--_Flem._     }
                                        { Coturnix Europæus.--_Wils._     }
                                        { Perdix Coturnix.--_Lath._       }
                                        { Coturnix dactylisonans.--_Gould_}

AMERICAN QUAIL                              Ortyx Virginianus               319

GROUSE, or MOOR }                         { Lagopus Scoticus.--_Lath._ }    320
  FOWL          }                         {*Bonasa Scotica.--_Briss._  }

PTARMIGAN           Tetrao Lagopus        { Lagopus vulgaris.--_Wils._ }    321
                                          { Tetrao rupestris.--_Gmel._ }

BLACK COCK          Tetrao Tetrix          *Uriogallis minor.--_Ray._       322

CAPERCAILZIE        Tetrao Urogallus                                        323

COCK                Phasianus Gallus      { Gallus domesticus.--_Wils._ }   324
                                          { Gallus Sonnerati            }

BANKIVA, JAGO, }                                                            326
  SPANISH, and }

DODO                Didus ineptus                                           328

RINGDOVE            Columba palumbus                                        330

STOCKDOVE           Columba Œnas                                            331

ROCK DOVE           Columba livia                                           332

TURTLEDOVE          Columba turtur                                          335


OSTRICH             Struthio Camelus                                        337

RHEA                Struthio Rhea           Rhea Americana                  340

CASSOWARY           Struthio Casuarius      Casuarius galeatus.--_Viel._    341

EMEU                                      { Dromaius ater.--_Viel._   }     343
                                          { Dromaius Novæ Hollandiæ   }

APTERYX                                     Apteryx Australis.--_Shaw_      344

BUSTARD             Otis tarda                                              345

CRANE               Ardea Grus              Grus cinerea.--_Bech._          347

BALEARIC CRANE      Ardea pavonina      { Anthropoides pavonina.--_Viel._ } 349
                                        { Balearica pavonina.--_Vig._     }

STORK               Ardea Ciconia           Ciconia alba.--_Cuv._           350

ADJUTANT                                    Leptoptilus argala              352

HERON               Ardea cinerea                                           354

BITTERN             Ardea stellaris         Botaurus stellaris.--_Steph._   356

SPOONBILL           Platalea leucorodia                                     358

IBIS                                          Ibis religiosa.--_Sav._       359

CURLEW              Scolopax arquata          Numenius arquatus.--_Lath._   360

REDSHANK            Scolopax calidris         Totanus calidris.--_Bech._    361

GODWIT              Scolopax ægocephala      Limosa melanura.--_Tem._ }     362
                                                 { Limosa ægocephala  }

RUFF and REEVE      Tringa pugnax             Machetes pugnax               363

SNIPE               Scolopax Gallinago                                      365

WOODCOCK            Scolopax rusticola                                      366

KNOT                Tringa Canutus            Tringa cinerea.--_Gmel._      367

GREY PLOVER       { Tringa squatarola   }    Squatarola helvetica.--_Cuv._ }368
                  {  and T. helvetica   }    Squatarola cinerea            }

GOLDEN PLOVER                                 Charadrius pluvialis          369

DOTTREL             Charadrius Morinellus                                   370

LAPWING or PEEWIT   Tringa vanellus           Vanellus cristatus.--_Mey._   371

WATER HEN           Fulica chloropus          Gallinula chloropus           373

CORNCRAKE, or }     Rallus crex             { Crex pratensis.--_Bech._   }  374
  LAND RAIL   }                             { Ortygometra crex           }

COOT                Fulica atra                                             376


PELICAN             Pelicanus onocrotalus                                     377

CORMORANT           Pelicanus Carbo         { Carbo Cormoranus.--_Mey._    }  379
                                            { Phalacrocorax Carbo.--_Cuv._ }

CRESTED CORMORANT   Pelicanus graculus        Phalacrocorax graculus.--_Cuv._ 380

SOLAN GOOSE, or }   Pelicanus Bassanus      { Pelicanus maculatus.--_Gmel._ } 381
  GANNET        }                           { Anser bassanus.--_Ray._       }
                                            { Sula alba.--_Mey._            }
                                            { Sula bassana.--_Bris._        }

TAME SWAN           Anas olor                 Cygnus olor.--_Ray._             383

WILD SWAN           Anas Cygnus               Cygnus ferus.--_Ray._            384

GOOSE               Anas anser              { Anser palustris.--_Flem._   }    386
                                            { Anser ferus.--_Wils._       }
                                            { Anser sylvestris.--_Briss._ }

DUCK                Anas Boschas              Anas fera.--_Briss._             388

EIDER DUCK          Anas mollissima           Somateria mollissima.--_Leach._  389

WIDGEON             Anas Penelope           { Mareca fistularis.-_Steph._ }    390
                                            { Anatra Mangiana.--_Stor._   }

TEAL                Anas Crecca               Querquedula Crecca.--_Steph._    391

COMMON GULL         Laruscanus                                                 392

STORMY PETREL       Procellaria pelagica     Thalassidroma pelagica.--_Vigors_ 393

FULMAR              Procellaria glacialis                                      395

ALBATROSS           Diomedea exulans                                           396

GREAT NORTHERN }    Colymbus glacialis                                         397
  DIVER        }

PUFFIN              Alca arctica              Fratercula arctica.--_Leach._    398

GREAT AUK           Alca impennis                                              399

PENGUIN                                                                        400




COMMON WHALE         Balæna mysticetus                                         401

RORQUAL              Balæna Boops             Balænoptera Boops.--_Lacep._     407

SPERMACETI WHALE     Physeter macrocephalus                                    407

DOLPHIN              Delphinus Delphis                                         409

WHITE WHALE                                { Beluga leucas.--_Gray._         } 410
                                           { Beluga  arctica.--_Less._       }
                                           { Delphinapterus Beluga.--_Lacep._}

PORPOISE             Delphinus Phocæna        Phocæna vulgaris                 412

SEA UNICORN          Monodon monoceros                                         414

MANATEE                                       Manatus Australis.--_Tiles._     415


STURGEON             Acipenser sturio                                          416

SHARK                Squalus Carcharias       Carcharias vulgaris.--_Cuv._     417

GREENLAND SHARK                               Salachus maximus                 420

DOG-FISH                                                                       420

HAMMER-HEADED SHARK                           Zygoma malleus                   421

THORNBACK            Raia clavata                                              422

SKATE, or MAID       Raia batis                                                424

TORPEDO              Raia Torpedo             Torpedo Narke.--_Risso_          425

MONK FISH, or }      Squalus squatina         Squatina Angelus.--_Dum._        426

SAW FISH             Squalus Pristis          Pristis antiquorum.--_Lath._     427

LAMPREY              Petromyzon marinus                                        427

HAG-FISH             Myxine glutinosa         Gastrobranchus cæcus.--_Bl._     428


PILOT FISH           Gasterosteus ductor      Naucrates ductor.--_Cuv._        429

REMORA or SUCKING }  Echeneis Remora                                           430
  FISH            }

SEA WOLF             Anarrhichas lupus                                         431

HORNED SILURE        Silurus militaris        Ageneiosis milit.--_Lacep._      432

FATHER LASHER        Cottus scorpius                                           433

SWORD FISH           Xiphias gladius                                           433

FLYING SCORPION                             { Scorpæna volitans.--_Emel._ }    435
                                            {  Pteroïs volitans.--_Cuv._  }

LUMP-SUCKER          Cyclopterus lumpus                                        436

OCELLATED-SUCKER                              Lepadogaster cornubicus.--_Cuv._ 437

ANGLER               Lophius piscatorius                                       438

FOUR-HORNED }   Ostracion quadricornis                                         439

GLOBE FISH      Tetraodon hispidus                                             440

SUN FISH        Tetraodon Mola           Orthagariscus Mola.--_Schn._          441

SEA HORSE       Syngnathus Hippocampus   Hippocampus brevirostris.--_Cuv._     442

FLYING FISH     Exocætus volitans                                              443

GURNARD         Trigla cuculus                                                 444

JOHN DORY       Zeus faber                                                     446

BLEPHARIS                                Blepharis ciliaris.--_Bl._            447

OPAH, or KING }                          Lampris guttatus.--_Retz._            447
  FISH        }

COD FISH        Gadus Morrhua            Morrhua vulgaris.--_Cuv._             448

HADDOCK         Gadus Æglefinus          Morrhua Æglefinus.--_Cuv._            449

WHITING         Gadus Merlangus          Merlangus vulgaris.--_Cuv._           451

LING            Gadus molva            { Lota molva.--_Cuv._      }            451
                                       {  Asellus.--_Will._       }
                                       {  Molva vulgaris.--_Flem._}

MACKEREL        Scomber Scomber        { Scomber Scombrus.--_Cuv._  }          453
                                       {  Scomber vulgaris.--_Flem._}

GAR FISH        Esox Belone              Belone vulgaris.--_Cuv._              454

HERRING         Clupea Harengus                                                455

SPRAT           Clupea Sprattus                                                456

PILCHARD        Clupea pilchardus                                              457

WHITEBAIT                                Clupea alba.--_Yarrell_               458

ANCHOVY         Clupea encrasicolus    { Engraulis encrasicolus.--_Flem._}     458
                                       {  Engraulis vulgaris.--_Cuv._    }

TURBOT          Pleuronectes maximus     Rhombus maximus.--_Cuv._              459

PLAICE          Pleuronectes platessa    Platessa vulgaris.--_Flem._           460

FLOUNDER        Pleuronectes flesus    { Platessa flesus.--_Flem._          }  461
                                       {  Pleuronectes fluviatilis.--_Will._}

SOLE            Pleuronectes solea       Solea vulgaris.--_Cuv._               461

SALMON PINK                                                                    462

SALMON          Salmo salar                                                    463

SALMON TROUT    Salmo trutta                                                   465

TROUT           Salmo fario                                                    466

CHAR            Salmo salvelinus         Salmo alpoinus.--_Pen._               469

GRAYLING        Salmo thymallus          Thymallus vulgaris.--_Cuv._           470

SMELT           Salmo eperlanus        { Osmerus eperlanus.--_Flem._     }     471
                                       {  Eperlanus Rondeletii.--_Will._ }

PIKE            Esox lucius                                                    472

PERCH           Perca fluviatilis                                              474

POPE, or RUFFE  Perca cernua             Acerina cernua.--_Cuv._               474

BASSE           Perca labrax             Labrax lupus.--_Cuv._                 475

CARP            Cyprinus carpio                                                477

TENCH           Cyprinus tinca           Tinca vulgaris.--_Cuv._               478

GOLD FISH       Cyprinus auratus                                               479

GUDGEON         Cyprinus gobio           Gobio fluviatilis.--_Will._           480

CHUB            Cyprinus cephalus        Leuciscus cephalus.--_Flem._          481

BARBEL                Cyprinus barbus          Barbus vulgaris.--_Cuv._        482

DACE                  Cyprinus leuciscus       Leuciscus vulgaris.--_Cuv._     482

ROACH                 Cyprinus rutilus         Leuciscus rutilus.--_Cuv._      483

BLEAK                 Cyprinus alburnus        Leuciscus alburnus.--_Cuv._     483

BREAM                 Cyprinus brama           Abramis brama.--_Cuv._          484

MINNOW                Cyprinus phoxinus        Leuciscus phoxinus.--_Cuv._     485

LOACH                 Cobitis barbatula                                        486

BULLHEAD              Cottus Gobio                                             486

STICKLEBACK           Gasterosteus aculiatus                                   487

ELECTRICAL EEL        Gymnotus electricus                                      488

EEL                   Muræna Anguilla          Anguilla vulgaris.--_Thun._     490

CONGER EEL            Muræna conger            Conger vulgaris.--_Cuv._        492




VIPER, or ADDER       Coluber Borus          { Vipera Berus.--_Daud._  }    495
                                             { Pelias Berus.--_Merr._  }

HORNED VIPER          Coluber cerastes       { Vipera cerastes. Cerastes }  497
                                             {  Hasselquistii}

RATTLE SNAKE          Crotalus horridus                                     498

HAJE                  Coluber Haje             Naja Haje.--_Groff._         499

COBRA DI CAPELLO      Coluber Naja             Naja tripudians.--_Merr._    500

SNAKE                 Coluber natrix           Natrix torquata.--_Ray._     501

BOA                   Boa constrictor                                       502

AMPHISBÆNA            Amphisbæna fuliginosa                                 503


FROG                  Rana temporaria                                       505

TOAD                  Rana Bufo                Bufo vulgaris.--_Laur._      507

SURINAM TOAD          Rana Pipa                Pipa Americana.--_Laur._     509

NEWT                  Lacerta aquatica         Triton aquaticus             510

GREAT NEWT                                     Triton balustris             511


LIZARD                Lacerta vivipara       { Lacerta agilis.--_Briss._ }  512
                                             { Zootoca vivipara.--_Wag._ }

IGUANA                Lacerta Iguana           Iguana tuberculata.--_Laur._ 513

FLYING LIZARD         Draco volans                                          514

CHAMELEON             Lacerta Chamæleon        Chamæleo vulgaris.--_Cuv._   515

CROCODILE             Lacerta Crocodilus       Crocodilus vulgaris.--_Cuv._ 517

ALLIGATOR, or CAYMAN  Lacerta Alligator        Alligator Lucius.--_Cuv._    518


TORTOISE            Testudo Græca                                           520

TURTLE              Testudo midas           Chelonia midas.--_Briss._       521

HAWK’S BILL TURTLE  Testudo imbricata       Chelonia imbricata.--_Briss._   523

LEATHERY TURTLE     Testudo coriacea        Sphargis coriacea               524




PEARL OYSTER        Mytilus Margaritiferus   Avicula margaritifera.--_Lam._  525

OYSTER              Ostrea edulis                                            526

COCKLE              Cardium edule            Cardium fimbria                 527

PHOLAS              Pholas dactylus                                          528

MUSSEL              Mytilus edulis                                           530


ADMIRAL             Conus ammiralis                                          530

TIGER COWRY         Cypræa Tigris                                            531

WHELK               Buccinum undatum                                         531

SNIPE SHELL         Murex haustellus                                         532

PERIWINKLE          Littorina littorea                                       532

LIMPET              Patella vulgata                                          532

SNAIL               Helix aspersa                                            533

CUTTLEFISH          Sepia officinalis                                        535

POULPE              Sepia octopodia          Octopus vulgaris.--_Lam._       537

ARGONAUT            Argonauta argo                                           537

NAUTILUS            Nautilus Pompilius                                       538




EARTHWORMS          Lumbricus terrestris                                     539

LEECH               Hirudo medicinalis       Sanguisuga officinalis          540


LOBSTER             Cancer gammarus          Astacus marinus.--_Leach_       542

CRAYFISH           Cancer astacus           { Astacus fluviatilis.--_Des._}  543
                                            { Potamobius.--_Leach_        }

CRAB               Cancer Pagurus                                            543

LAND CRAB                                                                    544

SOLDIER CRAB       Pagurus Bempardus                                         545

SHRIMP             Cancer crangon             Crangon vulgaris.--_Fab._      546

PRAWN                                         Palæmon serratus.--_Leach_     546


GARDEN SPIDER      Aranea diadema             Epeïra diadema.--_Walck._      548

TARANTULA          Aranea Tarantula           Lycosa tarantula.--_Lat._      550

CHEESE MITE        Acarus siro                                               552



COCKCHAFER         Scarabæus Melolontha       Melolontha vulgaris.--_Fab._   554

DOR BEETLE         Scarabæus stercorarius     Geotrupes stercorarius.--_Lat._555

STAG BEETLE        Lucanus Cervus                                            556

ELEPHANT BEETLE    Scarabæus elephas          Dynastes elephas               557

MUSK BEETLE, or }  Cerambyx moschatus         Aromia moschata.--_Serv._      558

GROUND BEETLE      Carabus clathratus                                        558

GLOWWORM           Lampyris noctiluca                                        559

DEATH WATCH        Ptinus pertinax            Anobium pertinax.--_Fab._      560

SPANISH FLY        Cantharis vesicatoria                                     561

CORN WEEVIL        Curculio granarius         Calandra granaria.--_Clairv._  561

LADY BIRD          Coccinella septempunctata                                 562


EARWIG             Forficula auricularia                                     563

LEAF MANTIS        Mantis gongylodes          Empusa gongylodes--_Ill._      564

WALKING LEAF       Mantis siccifolia          Phyllium siccifolium.--_Ill._  565

GRASSHOPPER                                   Locusta flavipes               566

LOCUST             Gryllus migratorius        Locusta migratoria             567

MOLE CRICKET       Gryllus Gryllotalpa        Gryllotalpa vulgaris.--_Lat._  569

CRICKET            Gryllus domesticus         Acheta domestica               570


LANTERN FLY        Fulgora lanternaria                                       571

COCHINEAL INSECT   Coccus cacti                                              571

GREEN FLY          Aphis rosæ                                                572


ANT-LION               Myrmeleon formicarium                                 574

DRAGON FLY             Libellula grandis      Æshna grandis._--Fab._         576


BEE                    Apis mellifica                                        577

WASP                   Vespa vulgaris                                        579

ICHNEUMON                                     Pimpla persuasoria             581

ANT                    Formica rufa                                          582


EMPEROR MOTH,       }  Phalœna   }         Saturnia.--_Schaank._             583
  with its CHRYSALIS}  Pavonia minor}

TORTOISE-SHELL }       Papilio urticæ         Vanessa urticæ.--_Fab._        585

CABBAGE BUTTERFLY      Papilio Brassicæ     { Pieris Brassicæ.--_Lat._ }     586
                                            { Pontia Brassicæ.--_Fab._ }

MAGPIE MOTH            Phalæna grossulariata  Abraxas grossulariata.--_Leach_587

WINTER MOTH            Phalæna brumata        Hibernia brumata.--_Lat._      588

SILKWORM               Bombyx mori                                           589

CLOTHES MOTH           Tinea pellionella                                     590


HOUSE FLY              Musca domestica                                       592

GNAT                   Culex pipiens                                         592


FLEA                   Pulex irritans                                        594



STAR FISH              Asterias rubens        Uraster rubens                 595

SEA-URCHIN                                    Echinus miliaris               596

RED CORAL              Isis nobilis           Gorgonia nobilis               597

STONY CORALS                                                                 600

SPONGE                                                                       603

POLYPS                                                                       604

SEA ANEMONES                                                                 607

JELLY FISH                                                                   609

APPENDIX.--FABULOUS ANIMALS                                                  611




§ I. _Carnivorous, or Flesh-eating Animals._

[Illustration: THE LION. (_Felis Leo._)]

THE LION is called the king of beasts, not only from his grave and
majestic appearance, but from his prodigious strength. Zoologists
describe him as an animal of the cat kind, distinguished from the other
species of the genus by the uniformity of his colour, the mane which
decorates the male, and a tuft of hair at the tip of the tail, which
conceals a small prickle or claw.

Lions were formerly found in all the hot and warmer temperate parts of
the whole world; but they are now confined to Africa, and some parts of
Asia. The African Lion stands four or five feet high, and his body is
from seven to nine feet long. The mane is thick, and somewhat curly; and
the colour varies in different parts of Africa, but it is generally of a
clear dark brown, deepening in some cases almost into black. The Asiatic
Lions are smaller than those of Africa, and their colour paler. The
Bengal Lion is of a light brown, with a long flowing mane; the Persian
Lion is of a sort of cream-colour, with a short thick mane; and the Lion
of Guzerat is of a reddish brown, without any mane. These varieties have
been considered as distinct species by some naturalists.

All the varieties agree in their habits; they lie hid in jungles in the
long grass, and when aroused either walk quietly and majestically away,
or turn and look steadily at their pursuers. Their roar is terrific: and
in a wild state, the animal generally roars with his mouth close to the
ground, which produces a low rumbling noise, like that of an earthquake.
The effect is described by those who have heard it, as making the
stoutest heart quail; and the feebler animals, when they hear it, fly in
dismay, often in their terror falling in the way of their enemy, instead
of avoiding him. Serpents, and some of the larger animals, will,
however, fight with Lions, and occasionally kill them; and Lions, when
pursued by man, are sometimes hunted with dogs, but are oftener shot, or
speared. Those which are exhibited in menageries have generally been
caught in pits. The pit is dug where traces have been discovered of a
Lion’s path; and it is then covered with sticks and turf. He is deceived
by the appearance of solidity presented by the turf, and attempts to
walk over it; but the moment he sets his foot upon the covering of the
trap, it breaks beneath his weight, and he falls into the pit. He is
then kept without food for several days, shaking the ground with hisroaring,
and fatiguing himself by vainly attempting to escape; till, at
last, he becomes exhausted, and so tame as to permit his captors to put
ropes round him, and drag him out. He is then put into a cage, and
removed in a kind of waggon, wherever his captors may wish to take him.

The generosity of the Lion has been much extolled; but the tales related
of it appear to have had no other foundation than the fact, that, like
many other beasts, when gorged with food he will not attack a man. A
great amount of courage has also been so generally ascribed to him that
the expression “as brave as a Lion,” has become proverbial, and he has
been regarded as a sort of symbol of that quality. For this respectable
character, the Lion is no doubt mainly indebted to his possession of a
mane, and to the boldness of appearance produced by his carrying his
head elevated; for in all other respects he is a genuine cat, with
neither more nor less courage than belongs to the cats in general. As
the Lion belongs to the cat tribe, his eyes are incapable of bearing a
strong light; it is therefore generally in the night that he prowls
about for prey, and when the sun shines in his face, he becomes confused
and almost blinded. Lion hunters are aware of this fact. In the day-time
they always consider themselves safe, so long as they have the sun on
their backs. In the night, a fire has nearly the same effect; and
travellers in Africa and the deserts of Arabia can generally protect
themselves from Lions and Tigers by making a large fire near their
sleeping-place. The strength of the African species is so great that he
has been known to carry away a young heifer, and leap a ditch with it in
his mouth. The power that man may acquire over this animal has been
often shown in the exhibitions of Van Amburgh, Carter, and others; but
the attachment which Lions sometimes form for their keepers, was never
more strongly exemplified than in the following anecdote.

M. Felix, the keeper of the animals in Paris, some years ago, brought
two Lions, a male and female, to the national menagerie. About the
beginning of the following June he was taken ill, and could no longer
attend them; and another person was under the necessity of performing
this duty. The male, sad and solitary, remained from that moment
constantly seated at the end of his cage, and refused to take food from
the stranger, whose presence was hateful to him, and whom he often
menaced by bellowing. The company even of the female seemed now to
displease him, and he paid no attention to her. The uneasiness of the
animal led to a belief that he was really ill; but no one dared to
approach him. At length Felix recovered, and, with an intention to
surprise the Lion, crawled softly to the cage, and showed his face
between the bars: the Lion, in a moment, made a bound, leaped against
the bars, patted him with his paws, licked his hands and face, and
trembled with pleasure. The female also ran to him; but the Lion drove
her back, and seemed angry, and fearful lest she should snatch any
favours from Felix; a quarrel was about to take place, but Felix entered
the cage to pacify them. He caressed them by turns; and was afterwards
frequently seen between them. He had so great a command over these
animals, that, whenever he wished them to separate and retire to their
cages, he had only to give the order: when he wished them to lie down,
and show strangers their paws or throats, they would throw themselves on
their backs on the least sign, hold up their paws one after another,
open their jaws, and, as a recompense, obtain the favour of licking his

The Lion, like all animals of the cat kind, does not devour his prey the
moment he has seized it. When those in cages are fed, they generally
hide their food under them for a minute or two, before they eat it. Thus
an instance is known of a man, who was struck down by a Lion, having
time to draw his hunting-knife and stab the ferocious beast, who was
growling over him, to the heart, before it had seriously injured him.
The Lion also resembles a cat in his mode of stealing after, and
watching his prey, a long time before seizing it.

Dr. Sparrman mentions a singular instance of the animal’s habits in this
respect. A Hottentot perceiving that he was followed by a Lion, and
concluding that the creature only waited the approach of night to make
him his prey, began to consider what was the best mode of providing for
his safety, and at length adopted the following:--Observing a piece of
broken ground with a precipitate descent on one side, he sat down by the
edge of it; and found, to his great joy, that the Lion also made a halt,
and kept at a distance behind him. As soon as it grew dark, the man,
sliding gently forward, let himself down a little below the edge of the
steep, and held up his cloak and hat on his stick, at the same time
gently moving them backward and forward. The Lion, after a while, came
creeping towards the object; and mistaking the cloak for the man
himself, made a spring at it, and fell headlong down the precipice.

Many interesting anecdotes of Lions and Lion-hunting may be found in the
accounts of their travels published by Gordon Cumming, Andersson, and
Dr. Livingstone. From the latter we may extract the following account of
an escape literally from the very jaws of death:--“Being about thirty
yards off,” says the doctor, “I took a good aim at his body through the
bush, and fired both barrels into it. The men then called out, ‘He is
shot, he is shot!’ Others cried, ‘He has been shot by another man too;
let us go to him!’ I did not see any one else shoot at him, but I saw
the Lion’s tail erected in anger behind the bush, and turning to the
people, said, ‘Stop a little till I load again.’ When in the act of
ramming down the bullets I heard a shout. Starting and looking half
round, I saw the Lion just in the act of springing upon me. I was upon a
little height; he caught my shoulder as he sprang, and we both came to
the ground below together. Growling horribly close to my ear, he shook
me as a terrier-dog does a rat. The shock produced a stupor similar to
that which seems to be felt by a mouse after the first shake of the cat.
It caused a sort of dreaminess, in which there was no sense of pain nor
feeling of terror, though quite conscious of all that was happening. It
was like what patients partially under the influence of chloroform
describe, who see all the operation, but feel not the knife. This
singular condition was not the result of any mental process. The shake
annihilated fear, and allowed no sense of horror in looking round at the
beast. This peculiar state is probably produced in all animals killed by
the carnivora; and if so, is a merciful provision by our benevolent
Creator for lessening the pain of death. Turning round to relieve myself
of the weight, as he had one paw on the back of my head, I saw his eyes
directed to Mebalwe, who was trying to shoot him at a distance of ten or
fifteen yards. His gun, a flint one, missed fire in both barrels; the
Lion immediately left me, and, attacking Mebalwe, bit his thigh. Another
man, whose life I had saved before, after he had been tossed by a
buffalo, attempted to spear the Lion while he was biting Mebalwe. He
left Mebalwe, and caught this man by the shoulder; but at that moment
the bullets he had received took effect, and he fell down dead. The
whole was the work of a few moments, and must have been his paroxysm of
dying rage.” The interesting nature of this narrative of a most
hair-breadth escape must be our excuse for its length.

Lions have been sometimes known to attain a great age; thus Pompey, a
large male Lion that died, in 1760, in the Tower of London, was upwards
of seventy years old. The usual period, however, seldom exceeds twenty
years. The Lion is generally represented as the companion of Britannia,
as a national symbol of strength, courage, and generosity. In ancient
gems, paintings, and statuary, his skin is the attribute of Hercules. In
Scriptural compositions, he is painted at the side of the evangelist St.
Mark; and holds the fifth place among the signs of the zodiac, answering
to the months of July and August.

In the various sculptured Lions discovered by Mr. Layard at Nineveh in
1848, the claw in the Lion’s tail is distinctly marked, and is
represented as being of large size. It is, however, really a very small,
dark, horny prickle at the tip of the fleshy part of the tail, and
entirely hidden by the hair.

[Illustration: THE LIONESS AND CUBS.]

THE LIONESS is in all her dimensions about one-third less than the male,
and has no mane. She has generally from two to four cubs at a time,
which are born blind, like kittens, which they greatly resemble, though
they are as large as a pug-dog, when born. When quite young they are
striped and spotted, but these marks soon disappear; they also at first
mew like a cat, and do not begin to roar till they are about eighteen
months old. About the same time the mane begins to appear on the males,
and soon after the tuft of hair on the tail, though the animal is
generally five or six years before it attains its full size.

The Lioness, though naturally less strong, less courageous, and less
mischievous than the Lion, becomes terrible as soon as she has young
ones to provide for. The ferocity of her disposition then appears with
tenfold vigour; and woe be to the wretched intruder, whether man or
beast, who should unwarily approach the precincts of her sanctuary. She
makes incursions for food for her young with even more intrepidity than
the Lion himself; throws herself indiscriminately among men and other
animals; destroys without distinction; loads herself with the spoil, and
brings it home reeking to her cubs. She usually brings forth her young
in the most retired and inaccessible places; and when she fears the
discovery of her retreat, often hides her track, by running back over
the ground, or by brushing it out with her tail. She sometimes also,
when her apprehensions are great, transports her young from one place to
another, like a cat; and if obstructed, defends them with determined
courage, and fights to the last.

Mr. Fennel, in his _History of Quadrupeds_, relates an interesting
anecdote of a Lioness kept at the Tower in 1773. This creature had
become “greatly attached to a little dog, which was her constant
companion. When the Lioness was about to whelp, the dog was removed; but
shortly after her accouchement had taken place, the dog contrived to
enter the den, and approached the Lioness with his usual fondness. She,
alarmed for her cubs, immediately seized him, and seemed about to kill
him; but, as if suddenly recollecting their former friendship, she
carried him to the door of her den, and allowed him to escape unhurt.”
Mr. Fennel also tells us, that the first Lioness ever brought to
England, died in the Tower in 1773, after having attained a great age.

Another Lioness, which was kept at the Tower in 1806, became extremely
attached to a little dog, and whenever he attempted to pass through the
bars of the den, would draw him back by the hinder parts, and place her
paw gently upon his body, as if entreating him not to leave her.

[Illustration: THE TIGER. (_Felis Tigris._)]

THOUGH very inferior to the lion in majesty of appearance and
deportment, this ferocious animal nearly equals him in size and
strength. The Tiger is another of the feline species, and may be
compared to an enormous cat, the whiskers and the tail being exactly
similar; and both the Tiger and the lion resemble the cat in the form of
their feet, and the power they possess of drawing in their claws. The
Tiger, however, bears the strongest resemblance, and when pleased, purrs
and curves up his back as he rubs himself against the nearest object.
When enraged, he growls rather than roars; and springs up to a great
height before he pounces on his prey.

The Tiger has a smaller and rounder head than the lion; he has no mane;
his tail is without any tuft at the extremity, and his body much more
slender and flexible. His colour is yellowish on the back and sides,
becoming white beneath, with numerous lines of a very dark rich brown,
or glossy black, sloping from the centre of the back down the sides, and
over the head, and continued down the tail in the form of rings. Tigers
are only found wild in Asia; but they are very abundant and very
destructive in the East Indies, as from their enormous strength they can
carry off a bullock with the greatest ease.

The attack of one of these animals upon Mr. Monro, son of Sir Hector
Monro, was attended with the most tragical consequences. “We went,” says
an eye-witness, “on shore on Sawgar Island, to shoot deer, of which we
saw innumerable tracks, as well as of Tigers. We continued our diversion
till near three o’clock, when sitting down by the side of a jungle to
refresh ourselves, a roar like thunder was heard, and an immense Tiger
seized our unfortunate friend, and rushed again into the jungle,
dragging him through the thickest bushes and trees, everything giving
way to his monstrous strength. All we could do was to fire on the Tiger;
and our shots took effect, as in a few moments our unfortunate friend
came up to us bathed in blood. Every medical assistance was vain, and he
expired in the space of twenty-four hours, having received such deep
wounds from the teeth and claws of the animal as rendered his recovery
hopeless. A large fire, consisting of ten or twelve whole trees, was
blazing near us at the time this accident took place; and ten or more of
the natives were with us. The human mind can scarcely form any idea of
this scene of horror.”

Tiger-hunting, though very dangerous, is a very favourite sport in
India. The hunters are mounted in carriages called howdahs, on the backs
of elephants, well armed. The first indication is generally given by the
elephants, who scent their enemy at some distance, and commencing a
peculiar kind of snorting, become greatly agitated. As soon as the
motion of the Tiger through the jungle is perceived, the nearest
elephant is halted, and the hunter fires instantly. Should the Tiger be
wounded, he will, in all probability, spring up with a hideous roar, and
rush at the nearest elephant, his mouth open, his tail erect, or lashing
his sides, and his whole fur bristled up. Sometimes, however, he
endeavours to sneak away, artfully diminishing his size by drawing in
his breath and creeping along the ground, and often with such success
as to enable him to escape to ravines where it would be madness to
attempt pursuit.

The Tiger is, however, such a formidable neighbour, that, apart from the
excitement of hunting him, the natives of the countries which he
inhabits have recourse to various modes of killing him. In Persia a
large and strong wooden cage is often fastened firmly down to the
ground, in the vicinity of the Tiger’s haunts, and in this a man,
accompanied by a dog or goat, to warn him of the approach of the Tiger,
takes up his quarters at night. He is provided with a few strong spears,
and when the Tiger comes, and in endeavouring to reach the enclosed prey
rears himself against the cage, the man takes the opportunity of
stabbing him in a mortal part. In Oude the peasants sometimes strew
leaves smeared with birdlime in the Tiger’s path, in order that as the
animal walks on them they may adhere to his feet; in his efforts to
disengage himself from these encumbrances he usually smears face and
eyes with the sticky material, or rolls himself among the treacherous
leaves, until finally becoming blinded and very uncomfortable he gives
vent to his dissatisfaction in the most dismal howlings, which speedily
bring his enemies about him, when taking advantage of his helpless
condition they dispatch him without difficulty. The destruction of a
Tiger is handsomely rewarded by the Indian governments, and many of the
people make a regular trade of shooting them.

[Illustration: THE LEOPARD, (_Felis Leopardus_,)]

DIFFERS from the tiger in being smaller, and in having the skin spotted
instead of striped. His length from nose to tail is about four feet, the
colour of the body is a lively yellow, and the spots of his skin are
composed of four or five black dots arranged in a circle, and not
imperfectly representing the print left by the animal’s foot upon the
sand. It is found in the southern parts of Asia, and almost all over
Africa. The panther is a variety of the Leopard.

Like all animals of the cat tribe, Leopards are a compound of ferocity
and cunning; they prey upon the smaller animals, such as antelopes,
sheep, and monkeys; and are enabled to secure their food with great
success, from the extraordinary flexibility of their bodies. Kolben
informs us that, in the year 1708, two of these animals, a male and
female, with three young ones, broke into a sheepfold at the Cape of
Good Hope. They killed nearly a hundred sheep, and regaled themselves
with the blood; after which they tore a carcass into three pieces, one
of which they gave to each of their offspring; they then took each a
whole sheep, and, thus laden, began to retire; but having been observed,
they were waylaid on their return, and the female and young ones killed,
while the male effected his escape. They appear afraid of man, and never
attack him unless driven by hunger, when they spring upon him from
behind. The Leopard is sometimes called the Tree-tiger from the ease
with which he climbs trees.

[Illustration: THE PANTHER. (_Felis pardus._)]

ALTHOUGH the Panther is generally savage, and always very uncertain in
its disposition, instances have been known of its exhibiting a certain
amount of gentleness and even playfulness in confinement. This was the
case with a specimen which Mrs. Bowditch brought over with her from
Africa. This animal was called Sai. One day, at Cape Coast Castle, he
found the servant appointed to attend on him sitting asleep, resting
his back against a door; Sai instantly lifted up his paw, and gave the
sleeper a tap on the side of the cheek, which knocked him over, and when
the man awaked, he found Sai wagging his tail, and seeming to enjoy the
fun. Another day, when a woman was scrubbing the floor, he jumped on her
back; and when the woman screamed with fright, he sprang off, and began
rolling over and over like a kitten. When put on board ship, he was
first confined in a cage; and the greatest pleasure he had was when Mrs.
Bowditch gave him a little twisted cup or cornet of stiff paper with
some lavender-water in it, and with this he was so delighted, that he
would roll himself over and over, and rub his paws against his face. At
first he used to put his claws out when he attempted to snatch anything;
but as Mrs. Bowditch would never give him any lavender-water when this
was the case, he soon learnt to keep his claws in. This Panther died
soon after it reached England.

[Illustration: THE OUNCE. (_Felis Uncia_).]

THE OUNCE is a species of cat very nearly related to the Leopard, with
which it agrees in size and in its general habits. It differs
principally in the thickness of its fur, its greyish colour, the
irregular form of the spots, and the great length of its tail, which,
from being clothed with a long thick fur, corresponding with that of the
body, appears to be also of great thickness. This thick and somewhat
woolly-looking coat is rendered necessary by the coldness of the
districts inhabited by the Ounce, which is found in Thibet and other
mountainous regions of Asia.

[Illustration: THE OCELOT. (_Felis pardalis_).]

THIS species, which is often called the _Tiger Cat_, is described by
Buffon as the most beautiful of the animals of its tribe, and it must be
confessed that the great French naturalist had some reason for so
speaking of it. It measures about three feet in length, exclusive of the
tail; the colour of the upper parts and sides is a tawny grey,
beautifully marked with irregular streaks and spots of black, and the
whole lower parts are nearly white. The Ocelot is a native of the
forests of tropical America, where it climbs the trees with great
agility in pursuit of monkeys and birds.


(_Felis jubata._)]

THE HUNTING LEOPARD seems to form the connecting link between the cat
and the dog tribes; as it has the long tail and flexible body of the
cat, with the sharp nose and elongated limbs of the dog. Its claws also
are not capable of being so completely drawn back into the toes as they
can in other animals of the cat kind. The Cheetah is easily tamed, and
Cuvier describes one which was accustomed to go at large in a park, and
associated with the children and domestic animals, purring like a cat
when pleased, and mewing when he wished to call attention to his wants.
In the East the Cheetah is used in hunting, and is carried in a
carriage, or chained on a pad behind the saddle of a horseman, with a
hood over his eyes: when a herd of antelopes is found, the hood is taken
off the Cheetah, who is let loose, and as soon as he sees the antelopes,
steals cautiously along, till he comes within reach, when he springs
suddenly upon them; making several bounds with the greatest rapidity,
till he has killed his victim, when he begins instantly to suck its
blood. The keeper then approaches, and throwing the Cheetah some pieces
of raw meat, contrives to hoodwink and chain him again to his pad behind
the saddle, on which he crouches like a dog. If the Cheetah is not
successful in catching an antelope before the herd takes flight, he
never pursues them, but returns to his keeper with a discontented and
sullen air.

[Illustration: THE JAGUAR. (_Felis Onca._)]

THE JAGUAR is a native of the New World, and is sometimes called the
American Tiger. He is generally larger and stronger than the leopard,
which he resembles in colour; but the black ring-like marks have always
a spot in the centre, which is not the case with those of the leopard.
The tail is also shorter, and the head larger and rounder. The Jaguar
has great strength, and will kill a horse or an antelope, and carry it
off. He is, however, a cowardly animal, always springing upon his prey
from behind, and attacking in preference the hindmost of a herd. He
fastens upon its neck, placing one paw upon the head, which he twists
round with the other, and thus instantly deprives it of life. His
principal haunt is the long grass on the banks of a river, where he
often feeds upon turtles; turning them on their backs, and then
insinuating his paw between the shells so as to scoop out the flesh. He
climbs trees and swims with great facility.

[Illustration: THE PUMA. (_Felis concolor._)]

THE PUMA, or American Lion, is smaller than the jaguar, and has a shrill
hissing cry, very different from that of other animals of the cat kind.
The fur is of a silvery fawn-colour, nearly white below, but becoming
black at the head; the animal has no mane, and its tail is without any
tuft at the tip. The cubs are spotted when young. The habits of the Puma
are somewhat peculiar; when attacked, he climbs the nearest tree for
safety, and there is generally shot by his hunters. When hunted with
dogs, however, and cut off from all retreat, he stands at bay and fights
furiously. The flesh is eaten by the Indians, and is said to be much
prized by them. The Puma flies from the sight of man, and seldom attacks
any animal larger than a sheep; but when he can surprise a flock of
sheep, he kills as many as he can, only sucking the blood of each. He
never devours the whole of his prey at once, carefully covering with
leaves what he cannot eat: but if these should be removed, he will not
touch the food again. In former times the Puma inhabited nearly the
whole American continent, from Canada to Patagonia, but it is now
extirpated in many places, especially in North America. It was formerly
supposed that the Puma could not be tamed; but this is incorrect, as the
late Edmund Kean, the tragedian, had one which followed him about like a
dog, and was often permitted to come, at perfect liberty, into the
drawing-room when it was full of company.

[Illustration: THE COMMON LYNX. (_Felis Lynx._)]

THERE are several species of Cats to which the common name of Lynxes is
applied; they have short tails and small tufts or pencils of hairs at
the tips of the ears. The Common Lynx is found in various parts of
Europe and also in the north of Asia. It is about three feet long
without the tail, which is six inches in length. The colour is reddish
grey above, nearly white beneath. A very similar species, the CANADIAN
LYNX (_Felis Canadensis_), is found in North America, and its skin is
exported in great quantities from the Hudson’s Bay territories. The
habits of both these species are very much alike; they swim and climb
well, and prey upon small quadrupeds, such as hares, and upon birds.

THE CARACAL. (_Felis Caracal._)

THE CARACAL is generally supposed to be the Lynx of the ancients, which
was so celebrated for the keenness of its sight. The name of Caracal is
derived from two Turkish words, signifying black-ears, and the animal
is, in fact, remarkable for the blackness of the tips of its ears. He is
somewhat larger and stronger than the fox; his body of a reddish brown,
becoming white below, and the tail rather short, being only about eight
or nine inches in length. The Caracal is both irritable and sulky in
confinement, and is very seldom tamed; indeed, on the slightest
irritation, it expresses its anger by a sort of snarl, like what is
called swearing in a cat, but much louder, and sometimes ending in a

When left to its own resources for support, it preys upon hares,
rabbits, and birds; and will pursue the latter, of which it is
immoderately fond, with remarkable activity, to the tops of the tallest
trees. It is a native of Asia and Africa.

[Illustration: THE CAT. (_Felis domestica._)]

    “Grimalkin, to domestic vermin sworn
     An everlasting foe, with watchful eye
     Lies nightly brooding o’er a chinkey gap,
     Protending her fell claws, to thoughtless mice
     Sure ruin.”
                  JOHN PHILIPS.

IT was formerly supposed that the common domestic Cat was nothing more
than the wild Cat of the woods, rendered tame by education. This
opinion is, however, now doubted, on the ground that the tail of the
wild Cat is thick and bushy, like that of a fox, while that of the
domestic Cat tapers to the point. The Cat of the Egyptians, of which so
many mummies have been found, differed still more in this respect, as
its tail was long and slender, ending in a kind of tuft. There are four
or five distinct varieties of the domestic Cat: the tabby, the
tortoise-shell, the Chartreuse, and the Angora. Of these the tabby bears
most resemblance to the wild Cat, and the black Cats are from this
breed: the tortoise-shell is said to have been brought from Spain, the
females of this race being generally of a pure tortoise-shell, and the
males buff, with stripes of a darker hue. All the white and whitish Cats
are descended from the Chartreuse breed; they have all a blue tinge in
their fur, and reddish eyelids: the tailless Cats of Cornwall and the
Isle of Man belong to this race. The Angoras are quite distinct, and are
well known by their long silky hair. Cats are fond of warmth, and are
generally affected by changes in the weather. They are very
affectionate, purring at the sight of those who are kind to them; and
will curve up their backs and rub themselves against a door when it is
opened for them, as if to thank the kind friend who has done them this
service, before they take advantage of it. The female Cat has generally
five or six kittens at a time, which she carries about in her mouth, and
hides, when she thinks them in danger. When a Cat is enraged, its hair
stands erect, and its tail swells to an enormous size. Cats fight
savagely, and often tear the skin off each other’s necks: when two are
about to fight, they stand for some time looking at each other,
growling, and then dart at each other with the greatest fury, yelling
with rage.

Most Cats are good mousers, and some bring everything they kill to their
master or mistress, displaying their mice and rats with as much pride as
a sportsman would his game. They are very fond of catmint and valerian,
rolling themselves in a kind of ecstacy when they smell the latter
plant. They are very cleanly, often sitting stroking their faces with
their paws, as if washing themselves.

In the eye of the Cat, the pupil is perpendicularly oval, extending from
above downwards, and when contracted appears like a straight line. This
conformation is suited to the habits of these animals, for they are not
content with prowling along the ground, but occasionally spring to great
heights, their heads being directed upwards, and their eyes placed in
front and more nearly parallel. This structure of the eyes occurs in all
the Cat tribe.

[Illustration: THE WILD CAT. (_Felis Catus._)]

THE WILD CAT is a native of the forests of Europe, and was formerly
abundant in Britain, but is now confined to some of the wilder parts of
this country. It is a stouter and more powerful animal than the domestic
Cat, and is of a greyish colour with black stripes, something like an
ordinary tabby. It is a fierce creature, and is very destructive to
birds and small quadrupeds.

THE DOG. (_Canis familiaris._)

TO no animal is mankind so much indebted for its services and affection
as to the Dog. Among all the various orders of brute creatures, none
have hitherto been found so entirely adapted to our use, and even to our
protection, as this. There are many countries, both of the old and new
continent, in which, if man were deprived of this faithful ally, he
would unsuccessfully resist the foes that surround him, seeking
opportunities to encroach upon his property, destroy his labour, and
attack his person. His own vigilance, in many situations, could not
secure him, on the one hand, against their rapacity, nor, on the other,
against their speed. The Dog, more tractable than any other animal,
conforms himself to the movements and habits of his master. His
diligence, his ardour, and his obedience are inexhaustible; and his
disposition is so friendly, that, unlike every other animal, he seems to
remember only the benefits he receives: he soon forgets our blows; and
instead of discovering resentment while we chastise him, exposes himself
to torture, and even licks the hand from which it proceeds.

Dogs, even of the dullest kind, seek the company of other animals; and
by instinct take to the care of flocks and herds.


THE SHEPHERD’S DOG has been considered the primitive stock, from whence
all others are derived. This animal still continues nearly in its
original state among the poor in temperate climates: being transported
into the colder regions, it becomes smaller, and covered with a shaggy
coat. Whatever differences there may be among the Dogs of these cold
countries, they are not very considerable, as they all have straight
ears, long and thick hair, a savage aspect, and do not bark either so
often or so loud as Dogs of the more cultivated kind. The Shepherd’s
Dog, transported into temperate climates, and among people entirely
civilized, such as into England, France, and Germany, will be divested
of his savage air, his pricked ears, his rough, long, and thick hair;
though he will still retain his large skull, abundant brain, and
consequent great sagacity.


Many interesting anecdotes are told of the shepherd’s tyke or colley, as
this kind of Dog is frequently called, particularly of its sagacity in
rescuing sheep from snowdrifts. When sheep are missing in a snow-storm,
as is frequently the case in Scotland and the North of England, the
shepherd arms himself with a spade, and watching the motions of his
faithful Dog, digs into the snow wherever the Dog begins to scratch it
away, and is thus sure to find his lost sheep.

This valuable boon to the shepherd is the least voracious of his kind,
and endures fatigue and hunger with patience.

[Illustration: [Chasseur and Cuba Bloodhounds.]


    “---- Conscious of the recent stains, his heart
     Beats quick; his snuffling nose, his active tail,
     Attest his joy: then with deep opening mouth,
     That makes the welkin tremble, he proclaims
     Th’ audacious felon.----”

THE BLOODHOUND is taller than the old English hound, most beautifully
formed, and superior to every other kind in activity, speed, and
sagacity. It is commonly of a reddish or brown colour, with long ears.
It seldom barks, except in the chase: and never leaves its game until it
has caught and killed it.

Bloodhounds were formerly used in certain districts lying between
England and Scotland, which were much infested by robbers and murderers;
and a tax was laid upon the inhabitants for keeping and maintaining a
certain number of them. But as the arm of justice is now extended over
every part of the country, and there are no secret recesses where
villany may lie concealed, these services are no longer necessary. In
former times these Dogs were used to hunt runaway negroes and others in
the Spanish West Indies, and many surprising anecdotes are told of their
wonderful sagacity and power of scent.

In Dallas’s “History of the Maroons,” an anecdote is given of the extent
of their accomplishments in this way, which seems truly marvellous. A
ship, attached to a fleet under convoy to England, was manned chiefly by
Spanish sailors, who, as they passed Cuba, took the opportunity of
running the vessel on shore, when they murdered the officers, and other
Englishmen on board, and carried off all the available plunder into the
mountains of the interior. The place was wild and unfrequented, and they
fully expected to elude all pursuit. The moment, however, the news
reached Havanna, a detachment of twelve chasseurs, with their Dogs, was
sent off. The result was, that in a few days the whole of the murderers
were brought in and executed, not a man having been injured by the Dogs
in the capture.

The old English Hound, the original stock of this island, and used by
the ancient Britons in the chase, is a most valuable Dog; though the
breed has been gradually declining, and the size studiously diminished
by a mixture of other kinds, in order to increase their speed. It seems
to have been accurately described by Shakspeare in the following

    “My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
     So flew’d, so sanded; and their heads are hung
     With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
     Crook-kneed and dew-lapped, like Thessalian bulls;
     Slow in pursuit; but match’d in mouth like bells
     Each under each.”

[Illustration: THE FOXHOUND.]

THIS most valuable of all the Dogs of the chase, is smaller than the
staghound, its average height being from twenty to twenty-two inches. No
country in Europe can boast of Foxhounds equal in fleetness, strength,
and perseverance to those of Britain, where the utmost attention is paid
to their breeding, education, and food. The climate also seems congenial
to their nature, for when taken to France or Spain, and other southern
countries of Europe, they quickly degenerate, and lose all the admirable
qualities they possess in this country.

Our predilection for fox-hunting appears to have descended from our
forefathers, and to have gone on increasing in ardour. Certainly, no
other country can boast of such splendid establishments for this
valuable breed: the Duke of Richmond’s Kennel at Goodwood, cost no less
than £19,000.


[Illustration: THE POINTER]

IS docile in its disposition, and when trained, is of the greatest
service to the sportsman who delights in shooting. It is astonishing to
see to what a degree of obedience these animals may be brought. Their
sight is equally acute with their scent, and they are enabled to
perceive at a distance the smallest sign from their master. So admirably
have they been trained, that their acquired propensities seem as
inherent as a natural instinct, and appear to be transmitted from parent
to progeny. When they scent their game, they fix themselves like
statues, in the very attitude in which they happen to be at the moment.
If one of their fore feet is not on the ground when they first scent, it
remains suspended, lest, by putting it to the ground, the game might be
too soon alarmed by the noise. In this position they remain, until the
sportsman comes near enough, and is prepared to take his shot; when he
gives the word, and the dog immediately springs the game. This attitude
has often been selected by the artist.

[Illustration: THE MASTIFF.]

IS the largest of the whole species: he is a strong and fierce animal,
with short pendent ears and a large head, large and thick lips hanging
on each side, and a noble countenance; he is a faithful guardian, and a
powerful defender of the house.

A curious account is given by Stow, of an engagement between three
Mastiffs and a lion, in the presence of James the First. “One of the
Dogs being put into the den, was soon disabled by the lion, which took
him by the head and neck, and dragged him about: another Dog was then
let loose, and served in the same manner: but the third, being put in,
immediately seized the lion by the lip, and held him for a considerable
time; till, being severely torn by his claws, the Dog was obliged to
quit his hold; and the lion, greatly exhausted in the conflict, refused
to renew the engagement; but, taking a sudden leap over the Dogs, fled
into the interior part of the den. Two of the Dogs soon died of their
wounds; the last survived, and was taken great care of by the king’s
son, who said, ‘He that had fought with the king of the beasts, should
never after fight with any inferior creature.’”

The following anecdote will show that the Mastiff, conscious of its
superior strength, knows how to chastise the impertinence of an
inferior:--A large Dog of this kind, belonging to a gentleman near
Newcastle, being frequently molested by a mongrel, and teased by its
continual barking, at last took it up in his mouth, by the back, and,
with great composure, dropped it over the quay into the river, without
doing any further injury to an enemy so much its inferior.

[Illustration: THE BULLDOG]

IS much less than the mastiff, but the fiercest of all the Dog kind, and
is probably the most courageous creature in the world. His short neck
adds to his strength. Those of a brindled colour are accounted the best
of the kind: they will run at and seize the fiercest bull without
barking, making directly at his head, sometimes catch hold of his nose,
pin the animal to the ground, and make him roar in a most tremendous
manner, nor can they without difficulty, be made to quit their hold.
Whenever a Bull-dog attacks in any of the extremities of the body, it is
invariably considered a mark of his degeneracy from the original purity
of blood.

Some years since, at a bull-baiting in the north of England, when this
barbarous custom was very common, a young man, confident of the spirit
of his Dog, laid a wager that he would, at separate times, cut off all
the animal’s feet, and that he would continue to attack the bull after
each amputation. The experiment was tried, and the brutal wretch won his

[Illustration: THE TERRIER.]

THE TERRIER is a small variety of the Dog, but is of high value, from
the pertinacity and courage with which he attacks rats and other vermin.
His name of Terrier is evidently given to him on account of his habit of
digging into the earth, which he does with great rapidity when in
pursuit of any animal. The English Terrier is a smooth-haired dog, and
the best are of a black colour, with tan-coloured legs, and spots on the
eyebrows; the Scotch Terrier is covered with rough, wiry hair, which in
the Skye Terriers becomes very long.

[Illustration: THE SPANIEL.]

OF this elegant animal, said to be of Spanish extraction, there are
several varieties in this country; but it is more than probable that the
English Spaniel, the most common and useful breed, is indigenous. It has
received from nature a very keen smell, good understanding, and uncommon
docility, and is employed in setting for partridges, pheasants, quails,
&c. His steadiness in the field, his caution in approaching game, his
patience in keeping the bird at bay till the fowler discharges his
piece, are objects worthy of admiration. Many sportsmen prefer him to
the pointer; and if water is plentiful he is more useful, for his feet
are much better defended against the sharp cutting of the heath than
those of the pointer, as he has a great deal of hair growing between the
toes and round the ball of the feet, of which the pointer is almost
destitute. He also ranges much faster, and can endure more fatigue.

    “When milder autumn summer’s heat succeeds,
     And in the new-shorn field the partridge feeds,
     Before his lord the ready spaniel bounds;
     Panting with hope, he tries the furrow’d grounds;
     But when the tainted gales the game betray,
     Couch’d close he lies and meditates the prey;
     Secure they trust th’ unfaithful field beset,
     Till hovering o’er them sweeps the swelling net.”
               POPE’S WINDSOR FOREST

[Illustration: THE WATER-SPANIEL]

IS excellent for hunting otters, wild ducks and other game whose retreat
is among the rushes and reeds which cover the banks of rivers, the fens,
and the ponds. He is very sagacious, and perhaps the most docile and
tractable of all the canine tribe.

The _Water-Spaniel_ will fetch and carry whatever he is bid, and often
dives to the bottom of deep water in search of a piece of money, which
he brings up in his mouth, and lays at the feet of whoever sent him. The
best breed has black curly hair and long ears.

The beautiful breed of Spaniels known as King Charles’s, are highly
prized for their diminutive size and length of ears. They are found of
all colours, but those which are black, with tanned cheeks and legs, are
considered the purest breed.

They derive their name from King Charles the Second, who, as Evelyn
tells us, “took great delight in having a number of little spaniels
follow him and lie in his bedchamber.”


THIS animal was originally brought into Europe from Newfoundland, whence
it derives its name, and where it is extremely useful to the settlers,
almost supplying the place of a horse. There are several varieties,
differing slightly in size and appearance, but the full size is about
six feet and a half from the nose to the tip of the tail, the length of
which is two feet. He is noble in appearance, and covered with long
shaggy hair of a black and white colour, in which the latter generally

The Newfoundland Dog is affectionate, sagacious, and docile beyond all
others; and being web-footed is excellently adapted for the water; and
there are innumerable instances of his rescuing man from a watery grave.

The anecdotes which illustrate the affection and sagacity of this animal
would fill a volume, but we select one relating to the water, as that
appears his noblest scene of action.

Some time ago a young woman was nursing an infant on one of the quays
on the Liffey, when it made a sudden spring from her arms, and fell into
the water. The screaming nurse and anxious spectators saw the child
sink, as they thought, to rise no more; when at the very instant a
Newfoundland Dog, which was accidentally passing, rushed to the spot,
and at the sight of the child, who at that moment re-appeared, sprang
into the water. The child again sunk, and the faithful animal was seen
anxiously swimming round the spot. Once more the child rose, and the Dog
gently, but firmly, seized him and bore him to land. Meanwhile a
gentleman arrived who appeared to take much interest in the affair, and
on the person who had the child turning to show it him, he recognised
the well-known features of his own son. A mixed sensation of horror,
joy, and surprise struck him mute. When he recovered himself he lavished
a thousand caresses on the faithful animal, and offered his master five
hundred guineas for him; but the latter felt too much affection for the
noble animal to part with him on any consideration whatever. We also
subjoin another equally interesting.

A native of Germany, fond of travelling, was pursuing his course through
Holland, accompanied by a large Newfoundland Dog. Walking one evening on
a high bank, which formed one side of a dike, or canal, so common in
that country, his foot slipped, and he was precipitated into the water,
and being unable to swim he soon became senseless. When he recovered his
recollection he found himself in a cottage on the other side of the
dike, surrounded by peasants, who had been using means to restore
suspended animation. The account given by them was, that one of them,
returning home from his labour, observed at a considerable distance a
large Dog in the water swimming, and dragging the body of a man into a
small creek on the opposite side to which the men were.

The Dog having shaken himself, began industriously to lick the hands and
face of his master, while the rustic hastened across; and, having
obtained assistance, the body was conveyed to a neighbouring house,
where the usual means of resuscitation soon restored him to sense and
recollection. Two very considerable bruises, with the marks of teeth,
appeared, one on his shoulder and the other on the nape of his neck;
whence it was presumed that the faithful animal first seized his master
by the shoulder, and swam with him in this manner some time; but that
his sagacity had prompted him to let go this hold, and shift his grasp
to the neck, by which he had been enabled to support the head out of
water. It was in the latter position that the peasant observed the Dog
making his way along the dike, which it appeared he had done for the
distance of nearly a quarter of a mile.

[Illustration: THE GREYHOUND]

IS well known, and was formerly held in such estimation, that he was the
especial companion of a gentleman, who, in ancient times, was
distinguished by his horse, his hawk, and his Greyhound, and it was
penal for any person of inferior rank to keep one. He is the fleetest of
all Dogs, and can outrun every animal of the chase. He has a long body,
and is of an elegant shape; his head is neat and sharp, with a full eye,
a good mouth, sharp and very white teeth; his tail is long, and curls
round above his hind part. There are several varieties; as the Italian
Greyhound, the Oriental Greyhound, and the Irish Greyhound, or Wolf-dog.
They are used for coursing; that is, hunting by sight instead of scent;
and are principally employed in chasing hares. Daniel, in his _Rural
Sports_, tells us, that a brace of Greyhounds have been known to course
a hare four miles in twelve minutes; turning it several times, till the
poor creature dropped at last quite dead from fatigue.

[Illustration: THE FOX. (_Canis Vulpes._)]

THIS well-known animal, which is found in most countries of Europe, is
of a reddish-brown colour, with the tip of his bushy tail white. His
abode is generally on the skirt of a wood, as near a farm-yard as
possible, in a hole, of which some other animal has been dispossessed or
which it has voluntarily deserted. Thence he issues at night, and
cautiously approaching the poultry, kills all that he can find,
conveying them one by one to different hiding places, which he visits
when hungry. He will continue his depredations till day-break, or until
he is alarmed, often depopulating a whole poultry-yard in one night.
When, however, his choice food, the chicken, is not accessible, he
devours animal food of every description; and if his habitation be near
the water he will even content himself with shell-fish. In France and
Italy he does much damage to the vineyards, being very fond of grapes,
and spoiling many for the sake of one bunch.

His name has passed into a proverb for cunning and deceitfulness; and,
unlike the dog tribe to which he belongs, he is totally unsusceptible of
any sentiment of gratitude.

His bite is tenacious and dangerous, as the severest blows cannot make
him quit his hold; his eye is most significant, and expressive of almost
every passion. He generally lives about twelve or fifteen years.

The female produces but once a year, and seldom has more than four or
five cubs at a litter. The first year the young is called a Cub, the
second year a Fox, and the third year an Old Fox. The tail is very
bushy, and is called the brush.


In this country he is hunted with horses and hounds, and no animal
affords greater diversion and occupation to the sportsman. When pursued
he usually makes for his hole; but should his retreat be cut off, his
stratagems and shifts to escape are singularly acute. He seeks woodyand uneven parts of the country, preferring the path, the most
embarrassed by thorns and briars, and running in a straight line before
the hounds, at no great distance from them; and, when overtaken, he
turns on his assailants, and fighting with obstinate despair, dies in

[Illustration: THE ARCTIC FOX, (_Canis lagopus_,)]

IS a smaller species than the common Fox, and has a much longer fur to
fit him for the severe cold which he necessarily experiences in the
Polar regions which he inhabits. The colour of the fur is frequently a
bluish leaden gray, from which circumstance it is sometimes called the
Blue Fox; some specimens are brownish, others nearly black. The fur
becomes pure white in the winter, and in this state the Arctic Fox is an
exceedingly pretty animal. This species is captured for the sake of its
skin, the bluish specimens being preferred. He is usually taken in
pitfalls or traps, of which he is not nearly so suspicious as his sly
English relative. The flesh of the young is said to be very good.

[Illustration: THE WOLF, (_Canis Lupus_,)]

WHEN hungry, is an undaunted and most ferocious inhabitant of the woods,
but a coward when the stimulus of appetite is no longer in action. He
delights to roam in mountainous countries, and is a great enemy to sheep
and goats; the watchfulness of dogs can hardly prevent his depredations,
and he often dares to visit the haunts of men, howling at the gates of
cities and towns. His head and neck are of a cinereous colour, and the
rest of a pale yellowish brown. He commonly lives to the age of fifteen
or twenty years. He possesses a most exquisite power of smelling his
prey at a great distance. Wolves are found nearly everywhere, except in
the British islands, where this noxious race has been entirely
extirpated. King Edgar first attempted to effect this by remitting the
punishment of certain crimes on producing a number of Wolves’ tongues;
and in Wales, the tax of gold and silver was commuted for an annual
tribute of Wolves’ heads. In the reign of Athelstan, Wolves abounded somuch in Yorkshire, that a retreat was built at Flixton, to defend
passengers from their attacks. They infested Ireland many centuries
after their extinction in England: the last presentment for killing
Wolves was made in the county of Cork about the year 1710. They abound
in the immense forests of Germany, and they are also found in
considerable numbers in the South of France. Everywhere that they are
wild, so great is the general detestation of this destructive creature,
that all other animals endeavour to avoid it. In a state of captivity,
however, the Wolf is remarkably anxious to attract the attention of man,
and rubs itself against the bars of its cage when noticed. Indeed, the
Wolf is by no means so untractable as is frequently supposed; but his
temper is rather uncertain, and his destructive habits render him a
dangerous pet. A curious instance of combined docility and
destructiveness is related by Mr. Lloyd, which, as it also illustrates
the cunning of this animal, we adduce here. Mr. Lloyd says--“I once had
serious thoughts of training a fine female Wolf in my possession as a
pointer; but was deterred, owing to the _penchant_ she exhibited for the
neighbours’ pigs. She was chained in a little enclosure, just in front
of my window, into which those animals, when the gate happened to be
left open, ordinarily found their way. The devices the Wolf employed to
get them in her power, were very amusing. When she saw a pig in the
vicinity of her kennel, she, evidently with the purpose of putting him
off his guard, would throw herself on her side or back, wag her tail
most lovingly, and look innocence personified. And this amiable
demeanour would continue until the grunter was beguiled within the
length of her tether, when, in the twinkling of an eye, the prey was
clutched.” The Wolf is sometimes affected with madness, in symptoms and
consequences exactly similar to that which affects the dog; but this
disease, as it generally happens in the depth of winter, cannot be
attributed to the great heat of the dog-days. In the northern parts of
the world, wolves are said, frequently, in the spring, to get upon the
fields of ice adjoining the sea, for the purpose of preying upon the
young seals, which they there find asleep; but vast pieces of the ice
occasionally detaching themselves from the mass, they are carried with
them to a great distance from the land, where they perish amidst the
most hideous and dreadful howling. The language of the poet is
beautifully descriptive of this creature’s insatiable fury:--

    “By wintry famine roused, from all the tract
     Of horrid mountains, which the shining Alps,
     And wavy Apennine, and Pyrenees,
     Branch out, stupendous, into distant lands,
     Cruel as death! and hungry as the grave!
     Burning for blood! bony, and gaunt, and grim!
     Assembling Wolves, in raging troops, descend;
     And, pouring o’er the country, bear along,
     Keen as the north wind sweeps the glossy snow:
     All is their prize.”

[Illustration: THE JACKAL, (_Canis Aureus_,)]

COMMONLY called _the lion’s provider_, is not much larger than the fox,
which he resembles in the appearance of the fore part of his body. His
skin is of a bright yellowish colour. The Jackals often unite to attack
their prey, and make a most hideous noise, which, rousing the king of
the forest from his slumbers, brings him to the place of food and
plunder: at his arrival, the petty thieves, awed by the greater
strength of their new messmate, retire to a distance; and hence the
fabulous story of their attendance on the lion, to provide for his
food.--These animals are always seen in large flocks of forty or fifty;
and hunt, like hounds in full cry, from evening till morning. In the
absence of other food they drag the dead out of their tombs, and feed
greedily on putrid corpses; but, notwithstanding their natural ferocity,
it is said that, when taken young, they may be easily tamed, and, like
dogs, they love to be fondled, wag their tails, and show a considerable
degree of attachment to their masters. They are common in many parts of
the East: and as they act as scavengers, the people do not annoy them in
their nocturnal visits.

[Illustration: THE STRIPED HYÆNA. (_Hyæna Striata_.)]

THIS animal was long supposed to be the most savage and untractable of
all quadrupeds: but it is now found that he may be tamed. He is covered
with long, coarse, and rough ash-coloured hair, marked with long black
stripes, from the back downwards; the tail is very hairy. His teeth and
jaws are so constructed as to enable him to crush the largest bones
with ease; and his tongue is as rough as a coarse file. Like the jackal,
he attacks the flocks and herds, caring little for the watchfulness or
strength of dogs, and when pressed with hunger, comes and howls at the
gates of towns, and violates the repositories of the dead, tearing up
the bodies from the graves, and devouring them. He is now only found
wild in Asia and Africa, but is supposed to have formerly inhabited
Europe. When receiving his food, the eyes of this fierce animal glisten,
the bristles of his back stand erect, he grins fearfully, and utters a
snarling growl.

[Illustration: THE SPOTTED HYÆNA. (_Hyæna Crocuta._)]

THIS is another species which is common in Southern Africa; it is known
amongst the colonists at the Cape of Good Hope, as the _Tiger-Wolf_. He
has none of the mane-like hair on his back, which distinguishes the
Striped Hyæna, and his skin is marked with spots instead of stripes. He
is a ferocious beast, and is exceedingly destructive to sheep and
cattle; and also frequently attacks and carries off children from the
huts of the natives, sometimes even stealing them from their sleeping

[Illustration: AMERICAN BLACK BEAR. (_Ursus Americanus._)]

THIS animal inhabits the Northern districts of America, where it is
found in considerable numbers. It is somewhat smaller than the Brown or
European Bear; its colour of an uniform and glossy black. Its food
consists chiefly of fruits, the young shoots, and roots of vegetables
and grain. In quest of these it occasionally emigrates from the northern
to the more southern regions. Their retreats, during the period of
gestation, are so impenetrable, that although immense numbers of Bears
are annually killed in America, a female is rarely found among them. In
autumn, when they are become exceedingly fat by feeding on acorns and
other similar food, their flesh is extremely delicate, the hams in
particular are highly esteemed, and the fat is remarkably white and
sweet. At this time and during the winter, they are hunted, and killed
in great numbers by the American Indians.

[Illustration: THE GRISLY BEAR, (_Ursus Ferox_,)]

WHICH is also an inhabitant of North America, is a creature of enormous
size and strength; a specimen has been measured and found to be nine
feet in length; and it is capable of carrying the carcass of a bison,
weighing probably about a thousand pounds. His ferocity corresponds with
his powers of destruction; and he is altogether one of the most
formidable of quadrupeds.

[Illustration: THE BROWN EUROPEAN BEAR, (_Ursus Arctos_,)]

IS a native of the North of Europe, and also of the mountainous parts of
the South of that continent. He is a great sleeper, and passes the whole
winter in his den, without any particular food: but if we consider his
being at rest, losing little by perspiration, and never retiring to his
winter quarters before he is properly fattened, his abstinence will
cease to be wonderful. When tamed, this animal appears mild and obedient
to his master; he may be taught to walk upright, to dance, to lay hold
of a pole with his paws, and perform various tricks to entertain the
multitude, who are highly pleased to see the awkward movements of this
rugged creature, which it seems to suit to the sound of an instrument,
or to the voice of its leader. The discipline Bears undergo in teaching
them to dance is so severe, that they never forget it; and an amusing
story is told of a gentleman who was pursued by a Bear, and who, when in
despair he turned and raised his stick against his assailant, was
astonished to see the Bear rear itself on its hind legs, and begin to
dance. It had escaped from captivity, and had been taught to dance when
a stick was held up by its keeper. But to give the Bear this kind of
education, it must be taken when young, and accustomed early to
restraint and discipline, as an old Bear will not suffer constraint
without discovering the most furious resentment: neither the voice nor
the menaces of his keeper have any effect upon him; he growls equally at
the hand that is held out to feed, and that which is raised to correct
him. The female Bears bring forth two or three young, and are very
careful of their offspring. The fat of the Bear is reckoned very useful
in rheumatic complaints, and for anointing the hair: his fur affords
comfort to the inhabitants of cold climates, and ornaments to those of
warm. It was anciently supposed, that the young Bear, when first brought
forth, was merely an unformed mass, till its mother licked it into
shape; and hence the expression, “he wants licking into shape,” was
frequently employed by the old dramatists, when speaking of an awkward,
clownish man.

The Brown Bear was at one time common in the British islands. “Many
years ago it has been swept away so completely, that we find it imported
for baiting, a sport in which our nobility, as well as the commonalty,of the olden time--nay, even royalty itself--delighted. A bear-bait was
one of the recreations offered to Elizabeth at Kenilworth, and in the
Earl of Northumberland’s Household Book we read of twenty shillings for
his bearward. In Southwark there was a regular bear-garden, that
disputed popularity with the Globe and Swan theatres, on the same side
of the water. Now, however, so much do tastes alter, (in this instance
certainly for the better) such barbarous sports are banished from the

The Bear is a flat-footed animal, and can stand easily upon its broad
hind feet, but is extremely awkward and sluggish in its movements. He
possesses, however, the faculty of climbing to an extraordinary degree;
and, in his native country frequently ascends lofty trees in pursuit of
honey, of which he is excessively fond. Bears swim well, and will cross
not only broad rivers, but sometimes even an arm of the sea.

[Illustration: THE MALAYAN SUN-BEAR. (_Ursus Malayanus._)]

IN this Bear the hair is short and black, except on the breast, where
there is a large triangular or heart-shaped spot of white or tawny. He
is very easily tamed when taken young, and becomes rather an amusing
pet. An individual in Sir Stamford Raffles’ possession, was so tame,
that he would play with children, and could be admitted to the
dinner-table, when he gave proof of the soundness of his judgment as an
epicure, by refusing to eat any fruit but mangosteens, or to drink any
wine but champagne. The only time that he was known to be out of humour
was, when there was no champagne for him. In a wild state, this Bear
feeds on vegetables and honey. It is a native of Malacca and the eastern



(_Ursus maritimus._)]

THE POLAR BEAR is generally from six to eight feet long. The fur is long
and white, with a tinge of yellow, which becomes darker as the animal
advances in age; the ears are small and round, and the head long. It
inhabits the Arctic shores of both hemispheres. It walks heavily, and is
very clumsy in all its motions; its senses of hearing and seeing appear
very dull, but its smell is very acute; and it does not appear destitute
of some degree of understanding, or at least of cunning. Captain King,
who visited the shores of the Arctic Ocean in 1835, relates a curious
instance of the cunning of this animal: “On one occasion a Polar bear
was seen to swim cautiously to a large piece of ice, on which two female
walruses were lying asleep with their cubs. The Bear crept up some
hummocks behind them, and with his fore feet loosened a large block of
ice, which, with the help of his nose and paws, he rolled and carried
till it was immediately over the heads of the sleepers, when he let it
fall on one of the old animals, which was instantly killed. The other
walrus, with its cubs, rolled into the water, but the young one of the
murdered female remained by its dam, and on this helpless creature the
Bear rushed, thus killing two animals at once.”

The ferocity of this kind of Bear is equal to its cunning. A few years
since, the crew of a boat belonging to a ship in the whale-fishery, shot
at a Bear at a short distance and wounded it. The animal immediately set
up the most dreadful yells, and ran along the ice towards the boat.
Before it reached it, a second shot was fired, and hit it. This served
to increase its fury. It presently swam to the boat; and in attempting
to get on board, placed its fore foot upon the gunwale; but one of the
crew having a hatchet, cut it off. The animal still, however, continued
to swim after them till they arrived at the ship, and several shots were
fired at it, which also took effect; but on reaching the ship it
immediately ascended the deck, and the crew having fled into the
shrouds, it was pursuing them thither, when a shot from one of them laid
it dead on the deck.

[Illustration: THE RACOON. (_Procyon lotor._)]

THIS animal is a native of America, of the bear tribe: in Jamaica they
are very numerous, and do incredible mischief to the plantations of
sugar-cane and Indian corn, especially to the latter while it is young.
The Racoon is less than the fox in size, and has a sharp-pointed nose.
His fore legs are shorter than the others. The colour of his body is
grey, with two broad rings of black round the eyes, and a dusky line
running down the middle of the face. In the wild state the Racoon is
savage and sanguinary, committing great destruction among both wild and
domesticated birds, without consuming any part of them except the head,
or the blood which flows from their wounds. It is a good climber, the
form of its claws enabling it to adhere to the branches of trees with
great tenacity. Racoons are easily domesticated, and then become very
amusing animals. They are as mischievous as a monkey, seldom at rest,
and extremely sensible of ill treatment, which they never forgive. They
have great antipathy to sharp and harsh sounds, such as the bark of a
dog, and the cry of a child. They eat of everything that is given them,
and, like the cat, are good providers, hunting after eggs, fruit, corn,
insects, snails, and worms; and generally dip their food in water before
devouring it. A peculiarity which few other animals are found to possess
is, that they drink as well by lapping like the dog, as by sucking like
the horse. These animals are hunted for the sake of their fur, which is
used by the hatters, and is considered next in value to that of the
beaver; it is used also in linings for garments. The skins, when
properly dressed, are made into gloves and upper-leathers for shoes. The
negroes frequently eat the flesh of the Racoon, and are very fond of it,
though it has a very disagreeable and rank smell. The American hunters
pique themselves on their skill in shooting Racoons; which from the
extraordinary vigilance and cunning of the animals, is by no means an
easy task.

When eating they support themselves on their hind feet, and carry their
food to the mouth with their fore paws. Some of them are very fond of
oysters and other shell-fish, and show great dexterity in keeping the
shells open, while they extract the contents. Their most remarkable
peculiarity, however, is that already mentioned, of dipping their food
in water when there is any within their reach; though when there is not,
they seem quite contented to eat it dry.

[Illustration: THE BADGER. (_Meles Taxus._)]

THIS animal inhabits most parts of Europe and Asia. The length of the
body is about two feet six inches from the nose to the insertion of the
tail, which is short, and black like the throat, breast, and belly; the
hair of the other part of the body is long and rough, of a yellowish
white at the roots, black in the middle, and greyish at the point: the
toes are much enveloped in the skin, and the long claws of the fore feet
enable the animal to dig with great effect: under the tail there is a
receptacle, in which is secreted a white fetid substance, that
constantly exudes through the orifice, and thus gives the body a most
unpleasant smell. Being a solitary animal, it digs a hole for itself, at
the bottom of which it remains in perfect security: it feeds upon young
rabbits, birds and their eggs, and honey. The female has generally three
or four young ones at a time.

[Illustration: THE COATI-MONDI. (_Nasua Narica._)]

THIS creature is a native of South America, not unlike the Racoon in the
general form of the body, and, like that animal, frequently sits up on
the hinder legs, and in this position, with both paws carries its food
to its mouth. Even in a state of tameness, it will pursue poultry, and
destroy every living thing that it has strength to conquer. When it
sleeps it rolls itself into a ball, and remains immovable for fifteen
hours together. Its eyes are small, but full of life; and, when
domesticated, it is very playful and amusing. A great peculiarity
belonging to this animal is the length of its snout, which is movable in
every direction. The ears are round, and like those of a rat; the fore
feet have five toes each. The hair on the back is short and rough and of
a blackish hue; the tail marked with rings of black, like the wild cat;
the rest of the body is a mixture of black and red. This animal is very
apt to eat its own tail, which is very long; but this strange appetite
is not peculiar to the Coati alone; the mococo and some of the monkey
tribe do the same, and seem to feel no pain in wounding a part of the
body so remote from the centre of circulation.

[Illustration: THE CIVET, (_Viverra Civetta_,)]

IS found in Northern Africa and Guinea, and is famous for producing the
perfume called _civet_. He is kept for the sake of this perfume, and fed
with a kind of soup made of millet, or rice, with a little fish or flesh
boiled with it in water. The civet is found in a large double glandular
receptacle, situated at a little distance beneath the tail. When a
sufficient time for the secretion has been allowed, one of these animals
is put into a long wooden cage, so narrow that it cannot turn itself
round. The cage being opened by a door behind, a small spoon is
introduced through the orifice of the pouch, which is carefully scraped;
this is done twice or thrice a week, and the animal is said always to
produce the most civet after being irritated. The Civet, although a
native of the warmest climates, is yet found to live in temperate, and
even cold countries, provided it be defended carefully from the injuries
of the air. In a wild state, the Civet lives entirely on birds and small
quadrupeds; and at any time a small quantity of salt is said to poison

[Illustration: THE GENET. (_Viverra Genetta._)]

THIS animal is about the size of a small cat. The skin is spotted and
beautiful, of a reddish grey colour. The spots on the sides are round
and distinct, those on the back almost close; its tail is long, and
marked with seven or eight rings of black. From an orifice beneath its
tail it yields a kind of perfume, which smells faintly of musk. This
little animal is meek and gentle, except when provoked, and is easily
domesticated. In Constantinople it strays from house to house like our
cat, and keeps whatever house it is in perfectly free from mice and
rats, which cannot endure its smell. It is found wild in various parts
of the south of Europe, and also throughout the continent of Africa. Its
fur is beautiful and soft, and valuable as an article of commerce. The
eyes of the Genet contract when exposed to the light, like those of the
cat; and it can draw in its claws in nearly the same manner.

THE ORIENTAL CIVET, (_Viverra Zibetha_,)

IS an inhabitant of the south of Asia and of the islands of the Indian
Archipelago. It is rather smaller than the African Civet, but is very
sanguinary in its habits, causing a great destruction of poultry and
even of lambs and young pigs. The perfume furnished by this species is
highly esteemed by the natives of eastern countries.

(_Herpestes Ichneumon._)]

THIS animal bears a close resemblance to the weasel tribe, both in form
and habits. From the tip of the nose to the root of the tail, it is
about eighteen inches in length. At the base, the tail is very thick,
tapering gradually towards the point, which is slightly tufted. It has a
long, active body, short legs, lively and piercing eyes, and a pointed
nose; the hair is rough and bristly, of a pale reddish grey.

The Ichneumon is celebrated in the mythology of ancient Egypt, where it
has long been domesticated, and where it was ranked amongst the
divinities, on account of its great utility in destroying serpents,
snakes, rats, mice, and other vermin: it is also fond of crocodiles’
eggs, which it digs out of the sand where they have been deposited. It
is a very fierce, though small animal, and will fight with dogs, foxes,
and even jackals, with great fury. It will not breed in confinement, but
may be easily tamed when taken young.

The following particulars are related by M. D’Obsonville, in his Essays
on the Nature of various foreign Animals:--“I had an Ichneumon very
young, which I brought up. I fed it at first with milk, and afterward
with baked meat mixed with rice. It soon became even tamer than a cat;
for it came when called, and followed me, though at liberty, in the
country. One day I brought this animal a small water-serpent alive,
being desirous to know how far his instinct would carry him against a
being with which he was as yet totally unacquainted. His first emotion
seemed to be astonishment mixed with anger, for his hair became erect;
but in an instant he slipped behind the reptile, and with remarkable
swiftness and agility leaped upon its head, seized it, and crushed it
between his teeth. This essay, and new food, seemed to have awakened in
him his innate and destructive voracity, which till then had given way
to the gentleness he had acquired from education. I had about my house
several curious kinds of fowls, among which he had been brought up, and
which, till then, he had suffered to go and come unmolested and
unregarded: but a few days after, when he found himself alone, he
strangled them every one, ate a little, and, as it appeared, drank the
blood of two.”

The MOONGUS (_Herpestes griseus_) and the GARANGAN (_Herpestes
Javanicus_) are eastern species of Ichneumons; the former inhabits
India, and the latter the island of Java. Like the Egyptian Ichneumon,
they are great enemies of snakes and other reptiles, and also destroyrats, but unfortunately they often commit great havoc among poultry.

The mode in which the Ichneumon seizes a serpent is thus described by
Lucan in his _Pharsalia_:--

    “Thus oft the Ichneumon, on the banks of Nile,
     Invades the deadly aspic by a wile;
     While artfully his slender tail is played,
     The serpent darts upon the dancing shade,
     Then turning on the foe with swift surprise,
     Full on the throat the nimble traitor flies,
     And in his grasp the panting serpent dies.”

[Illustration: THE WEASEL. (_Mustela vulgaris_.)]

THE animals belonging to this genus, notwithstanding their small size,
are all carnivorous, and from their slender and lengthened bodies, short
legs, and the very free motion in every direction, permitted by the
loose articulations of the spine, are well formed for pursuing their
prey into the deepest recesses. Constituted by nature to subsist on
animals, many of which have great strength and courage, they possess an
undaunted and ferocious disposition. The Weasel has a long and thin
body; its length, with its tail, is ten inches, and its height not more
than an inch and a half. In the northern parts of Europe they are very
numerous. Mice of every description, the field and the water-vole, rats,
moles, and small birds, are their ordinary food, and occasionally
rabbits and partridges. When driven by hunger, it will boldly attack the
poultry-yard. The Weasel, when it enters a hen roost, never meddles with
the cocks or old hens, but makes choice of the pullets and young
chickens; these it kills with a single stroke on the head, and carries
away one after the other. It sucks the eggs with avidity, making a small
hole at one end, through which it draws out the yolk. In winter it
resides in granaries and hay-lofts, and in summer chooses the low lands
about the mills and streams, where it hides among the bushes, and in the
hollows of old trees.

It was formerly supposed that the Weasel was untamable; but Buffon, in a
supplementary volume, corrects this error, and from a letter of a female
correspondent, shows that it may be rendered as familiar as a cat or a
lapdog. It frequently eat from his correspondent’s hand, and seemed
fonder of milk and fresh meat than of any other food. “If I present my
hands,” says this lady, “at the distance of three feet, it jumps into
them without ever missing. It shows a great deal of address and cunning,
in order to accomplish its ends, and seems to disobey certain
prohibitions merely through caprice. During all its actions it seems
solicitous to divert and be noticed, looking at every jump and at every
turn to see whether it be observed or not. If no notice be taken of its
gambols, it ceases them immediately, and betakes itself to sleep; and
when awaked from the soundest sleep, it instantly resumes its gaiety,
and frolics about in as sprightly a manner as before. It never shows any
ill humour, unless when confined or too much teased, in which case it
expresses its displeasure by a sort of murmur, very different from that
which it utters when pleased.”

Weasels and ferrets are used by rat-catchers to drive the rats out of
their holes; and they kill a great many, the habit of the Weasel being
to kill its prey by biting the head, so that the teeth penetrate the
brain, and then to throw the body aside, or hide it till a future

[Illustration: THE FERRET, (_Mustela furo_,)]

IS a small, yet bold animal, and an enemy to all others but those of his
own kind. He closely resembles the Polecat, and is considered by many
naturalists, to be merely a domesticated variety of that animal. His
eyes are remarkably fiery. He is much used to drive rabbits from their
holes, and for this purpose is always muzzled, as otherwise he would
feast upon the blood of the first rabbit he met with, and then quietly
lay himself down in the burrow to sleep. He is such an inveterate enemy
to the rabbit, that if a dead one be presented to a young Ferret, he
instantly bites it with an appearance of rapacity; or, if it be living,
the Ferret seizes it by the neck, winds himself round it, and continues
to suck its blood till he be satiated; indeed, his appetite for blood is
so strong, that he has been known to attack and kill children in the
cradle. He is very soon irritated; and his bite is very difficult to be

Our figure is full large, as the length of the animal is usually about
thirteen inches, exclusive of the tail, which is about five.

[Illustration: THE POLECAT. (_Mustela putorius._)]

THE strong and disagreeable smell of this animal is proverbial; its skin
is stiff, hard, and rugged, and when well prepared, is very desirable as
clothing. It is about seventeen inches in length, exclusive of the tail,
which is about six inches. The breast, tail, and legs are of a blackish
colour, but the belly and sides yellowish. It sometimes conceals itself
in secret corners about houses, and is then a disastrous pest to the
poultry-yard. These animals usually frequent the woods and destroy a
great quantity of game; and some, forsaking the haunts of man, retire to
the rocks and crevices of the cliffs on the sea shore, preferring a
meagre and scanty diet with security, to the daintiness of chicken-flesh
and eggs, attended with trouble and fear. Rabbits seem to be their
favourite prey, and a single Polecat is often sufficient to destroy a
whole warren; for with that insatiable thirst for blood which is natural
to all the weasel tribe, it kills much more than it can devour; and
twenty rabbits have been found dead, which one Polecat had destroyed by
a wound hardly perceptible. The _Polecat_ is the same with the _Fitchet_
or _Foumart_, the hair of which is made into fine brushes and pencils
for the use of painters. This small animal is fierce and bold. When
attacked by a dog, it will defend itself with great spirit, attack him
in turn, fastening upon the nose of its enemy with so keen a bite, as
frequently to oblige him to desist. When heated or enraged, the smell it
emits is absolutely intolerable.

[Illustration: THE ERMINE. (_Mustela erminea._)]

THIS, which is also called the STOAT, is a smaller species than the
Polecat, and is less common in England than the latter, although in
Scotland it is tolerably abundant. Its colour in summer, is reddish
brown on the back and white underneath; but in winter the whole of the
fur becomes pure white, except on the tail, which is always black, and
it is in this state that the fur of the Ermine is so highly esteemed. In
the North of Europe, Siberia, and the most northern parts of America,
Ermines are found in immense numbers, and great quantities of them are
killed for the sake of their skins, of which several hundred thousand
are annually exported from those inclement northern regions, to serve
for the adornment of ladies dress, and of the state robes of peers and
other high dignitaries, in more civilized countries. The pure white skin
adorned with the jet black tails of the little animals, is indeed one of
the most elegant of all furs; but from the immense quantities in which
the skins are imported, they have become so cheap that ermine can no
longer be regarded as a fashionable fur, and it is chiefly employed for
those purposes to which custom has, in a manner, consecrated its use.

Like the Polecat, and others of its kind, the Ermine is a bloodthirsty
little creature, and so bold that it will attack animals much larger
than itself. It is very destructive to poultry and game, and even
pursues hares with success; those animals, although so fleet of foot
appearing to be so fascinated by the approach of their little enemy,
that they do not betake themselves to flight, but hop slowly along,
until the fangs of the destroyer are fixed in the throat of its victim,
when all efforts to shake him off are unavailing. The Ermine is also one
of the great enemies of the water-rat, which it will follow into the
water. The dwelling-place of the Ermine is a narrow burrow, usually in
the midst of a thicket, or furze-bush; it sometimes takes up its abode
in a rabbit burrow. In this country the female produces four or five
young at a birth; but in North America the litter is said to consist of
ten or twelve little ones.

[Illustration: THE SKUNK, (_Mustela_, or _Mephitis Americana_,)]

WHICH is found in most parts of North America, is curiously marked with
a pair of white stripes running down the sides of the back. It feeds
upon mice and other small quadrupeds, and also in summer upon frogs. The
Skunk is of a stout and rather heavy form, and runs but slowly, so that
when pursued it would have but a small chance of making its escape, but
for a singular provision with which it has been endowed by nature. This
consists of a yellow fluid of the most horrible odour, contained in a
small bag or pouch under the root of the tail; which the creature is
enabled to discharge to a distance of more than four feet, so that even
if the noisome discharge does not actually reach and smother the
animal’s pursuers, it forms between them and their intended victim, a
sort of invisible barrier, which few noses are able to pass. The smell
is so strong that it has been known to produce sickness at a distance of
a hundred yards, and so persistent, that the spot where a Skunk has been
killed, will retain the taint for many days. The flesh of this animal
is, however, considered excellent food by the Indians.

[Illustration: THE SABLE. (_Mustela_, or _Martes Zibellina_.)]

THIS animal is a native of Siberia, Kamtschatka, and Asiatic Russia, and
it frequents the banks of rivers, and the thickest parts of the woods.
It lives in holes under the ground, and especially under the roots of
trees; but sometimes makes its nest, like the squirrel, in the hollows
of trees. The skin of the Sable is more valuable than that of any other
animal of equal size. One of these skins, not more than four inches
broad, has sometimes been valued at as high a rate as fifteen pounds;
but the general price is from one to ten pounds, according to the
quality. The Sable’s fur is different from all others, its peculiarity
being, that the hair turns with equal ease either way; on which account
fur dealers sometimes blow the fur of any article they may be selling,
to show that it is really Sable. The tails are sold by the hundred, at
from four to eight pounds.

The AMERICAN SABLE (_M. leucopus_) is considered to be a distinct

[Illustration: BEECH MARTIN]

The common, or BEECH MARTEN, (_Mustela Martes_ or _Martes foina_,) like
the Sable, boasts the honour of adorning with his fur the rich and the
beautiful; as princes, ladies, and opulent people of all nations, pride
themselves in wearing his spoils. He is about as big as a cat, but his
body is much longer proportionately, and the legs shorter. His skin is
of a light brown, with white under the throat. The fur of the Marten
fetches a good price, and is much used in European countries, though
very far inferior to that of the Sable: the best, which is called Stone
Marten fur by the furriers, is imported from Sweden and Russia.


The Pine, or YELLOW-BREASTED MARTEN (_M. Abietum_), is another species,
the fur of which is nearly equal to that of the Sable, though it is much

THE OTTER. (_Lutra vulgaris._)

    “Forth from his den the Otter drew,--
     Grayling and trout their tyrant knew,
     As between reed and sedge he peers,
     With fierce round snout and sharpened ears,
     Or, prowling by the moonbeam cool,
     Watches the stream or swims the pool.”

AS the Otter lives principally on fish, the formation of his body is
such as will enable him to swim with the greatest facility. His body is
flattened horizontally; his tail is flat and broad; his legs are short,
and his toes webbed. His teeth are very strong and sharp; and his body,
besides its fur, has an outer covering of coarse shining hair. The Otter
is a perfect epicure in his food; he seldom eats an entire fish, but
beginning at the head, eats that, and about half the body, always
rejecting the tail. When the rivers and ponds are frozen so that the
Otter can get no fish, he will visit the neighbouring farm-yards, where
he will attack the poultry, sucking-pigs, and even lambs. An Otter may
be tamed, and taught to catch fish enough to sustain not only himself,
but a whole family. Goldsmith states, that he saw an Otter go to a
gentleman’s pond at the word of command, drive the fish into a corner,
and seize upon the largest of the whole, bring it off, and give it to
his master.

Bewick, in his History of Quadrupeds, states, that a person of the name
of Collins, who lived at Kilmerston, near Wooler, in Northumberland, had
a tame Otter, which followed him wherever he went. He frequently took it
to fish in the river; and, when satiated, it never failed to return to
him. One day, in the absence of Collins, the Otter, being taken out to
fish by his son, instead of returning as usual, refused to come at the
accustomed call, and was lost. The father tried every means in his power
to recover the animal; and, after several days’ search, being near the
place where his son had lost it, and calling it by name, to his
inexpressible joy it came creeping to his feet, and showed many marks of
affection and attachment.


The female Otter produces four or five young ones at a birth, and these
in the spring of the year. Where there have been ponds near a
gentleman’s house, instances have occurred of their littering in cellars
or drains. The male utters no noise when taken, but the females
sometimes emit a shrill squeak.

Otters are generally caught in traps placed near their landing-places,
and carefully concealed in the sand. When hunted by dogs, the old ones
defend themselves with great obstinacy. They bite severely, and do not
readily quit their hold. Otter-hunting is a favourite sport in many
parts of Great Britain; particularly in the midland counties of England,
and in Wales.

[Illustration: THE SEA OTTER. (_Lutra_ or _Enhdyralutris_.)]

THE common Otter sometimes takes to the sea; but, on the eastern coasts
of Northern Asia and the opposite shores of North America, true Sea
Otters are met with, chiefly about the numerous rocky islands which
fringe those coasts. The Sea Otter in its habits resembles the seals
more than the common species; it is about three feet long without the
tail, and is covered with a thick, rich, dark brown, or nearly black
fur, which is so highly prized that single fine skins have been known to
sell for a sum equivalent to twenty pounds, and the animals have, in
consequence, been pursued with such avidity, that their numbers are
greatly reduced.

[Illustration: THE COMMON SEAL. (_Phoca vitulina._)]

THE amphibious flesh-eating animals, though nearly allied to the otter
in their habits, are very different in the construction of their bodies.
Their feet are so short and so enveloped in skin, that they are of
scarcely any use in assisting the animal on dry land; so that the Seal’s
progress on solid ground is only effected by a sort of half tumbling,
jumping, and shuffling motion, excessively ridiculous to a looker-on.
The feet, however, which are furnished with strong claws, are of use in
enabling the animal to climb out of the water over a rocky shore. For
swimming, the Seal is admirably adapted; its long flexible body is
shaped like that of a fish, tapering to the tail; and it is furnished
with strong webs between the toes, so as to make the fore feet act as
oars, and the hind feet, which the animal generally drags behind it like
a tail, to serve as a rudder. The Common Seal lives generally in the
water, and feeds entirely on fish; only coming to shore occasionally to
bask on the sands, and to lie there to suckle its young. The usual
length of a Seal is four or five feet. The head is large and round; the
neck small and short; and on each side of the mouth there are several
strong bristles. From the shoulders the body tapers to the tail, which
is very short. The eyes are large: there are no external ears; and the
tongue is cleft or forked at the end. The body is covered with short
thick-set hair, which in the common species is generally grey, but
sometimes brown or blackish. There are, however, several species; and
one of them, which is called the sea-leopard, has the fur spotted with
white or yellow.

Seals are hunted by the Greenlanders for the sake of their oil, and also
for their skins, which are used for making waistcoats and other articles
of clothing, and are much prized by the fishermen for their great
warmth. The oil, of which a full grown specimen yields four or five
gallons, is very clear and transparent, and destitute of the unpleasant
odour and taste of whale-oil. When attacked, they fight with great fury;
but when taken young, are capable of being tamed; they will follow their
master like a dog, and come to him when called by the name given to
them. Some years ago a young Seal was thus domesticated. It was taken at
a little distance from the sea, and was generally kept in a vessel full
of salt water: but sometimes it was allowed to crawl about the house,
and even to approach the fire. Its natural food was regularly procured
for it; and it was carried to the sea every day, and thrown in from a
boat. It used to swim after the boat, and always allowed itself to be
taken back. It lived thus for several weeks, and probably would have
lived much longer, had it not been sometimes too roughly handled. The
females in this climate bring forth in winter, and rear their young upon
some sand-bank, rock, or desolate island, at some distance from the main
land. When they suckle their young, they sit up on their hinder legs,
while the little Seals, which are at first white, with woolly hair,
cling to the teats, which are four in number. In this manner the young
continue in the place where they are brought forth for twelve or fifteen
days; after which the dam brings them down to the water, and accustoms
them to swim and get their food by their own industry.

In Newfoundland the Seal-fishery forms an important source of wealth,
and numerous ships are sent out every season among the ice in search of
Seals. One ship has been known to catch five thousand Seals, but about
half that number is the usual quantity taken. As soon as the Seal is
killed, it is skinned, and the pelt, as the skin and blubber together is
called, being preserved, the body of the Seal is either eaten by the
sailors, or left on the ice for the polar bears.

The aboriginal inhabitants of the northern regions have several strange
superstitions about Seals. They believe that Seals delight in
thunder-storms; and say, that during these times they will sit on the
rocks, and contemplate, with apparent pleasure and gratification, the
convulsion of the elements. The Icelanders, in particular, are said to
believe that these animals are the offspring of _Pharaoh_ and his host,
who were converted into Seals when they were overwhelmed in the _Red

Several species of Seals are distinguished by curious appendages to the
head, sometimes in the form of a hood, sometimes in that of a projection
from the nose. One of the most singular is the Sea Elephant (_Morunga
proboscidea_), an inhabitant of the shores of the numerous islands
scattered over the great Southern Ocean. In this curious animal, which
often measures twenty-four feet in length, the nose of the male forms a
proboscis about a foot long and capable of considerable distension. The
female has no such appendage. The young of the Sea Elephant, when just
born, is said to be as large as a full grown seal of the common species.
The skin in the old animals is very thick, and forms an excellent
leather for harness.


(_Trichechus Rosmarus._)]

THIS very curious animal is nearly allied to the Seal, but is of much
greater size, being frequently eighteen feet in length, and from ten to
twelve feet in girth. The head is round, the eyes are small and
brilliant, and the upper lip, which is enormously thick, is covered with
pellucid bristles, as large as a straw. The nostrils are very large, and
there are no external ears. The most remarkable part of the Walrus is,
however, his two large tusks in the upper jaw; they are inverted, the
points nearly uniting, and sometimes exceed twenty-four inches in
length! the use which the animal makes of them is not easily explained,
unless they help him to climb up the rocks and mountains of ice among
which he takes up his abode, as the parrot employs his beak to get upon
his perch. The tusks of the Walrus are superior in durability and
whiteness to those of the elephant, and, as they keep their colour much
longer, are preferred by dentists to any other substance for making
artificial teeth.

The Walrus is common in some of the northern seas, and will sometimes
attack a boat full of men. They are gregarious animals, usually found in
herds of from fifty to one hundred or more, sleeping and snoring on the
icy shores; but when alarmed they precipitate themselves into the water
with great bustle and trepidation, and swim with such rapidity, that it
is difficult to overtake them with a boat. One of their number always
keeps watch while the others sleep. They feed on shell-fish and
sea-weeds, and yield an oil equal in goodness to that of the whale. The
white bear is their greatest enemy. In the combats between these
animals, the Walrus is said to be generally victorious, on account of
the desperate wounds it inflicts with its tusks. The females have only
one young one at a time, which, when born, resembles a good-sized pig.


§ II. _Insectivorous, or Insect-eating Animals._

[Illustration: THE HEDGEHOG. (_Erinaceus Europæus._)]

THIS animal is something like a porcupine in miniature, and is covered
all over with strong and sharp spines or prickles, which he erects when
irritated. His common food consists of worms, slugs, and snails; and
thus, far from being a noxious animal in a garden, he is a very useful
one, as he feeds upon all the insects he can find. Hedgehogs inhabit
most parts of Europe. Notwithstanding its formidable appearance, it is
one of the most harmless animals in the world. While other creatures
trust to their force, their cunning, or their swiftness, this quadruped,
destitute of all, has but one expedient for safety, and from this alone
it generally finds protection. The instant it perceives an enemy, it
withdraws all its vulnerable parts, rolls itself into a ball, and
presents nothing to view but a round mass of spines, impervious on every
side. When the Hedgehog is thus rolled up, the cat, the weasel, the
ferret, and the marten, after wounding themselves with the prickles,
quickly decline the combat; and the dog himself generally spends his
time in empty menaces rather than in effectual efforts, while the little
animal waits patiently till its enemy, by retiring, affords an
opportunity for retreat.

The female produces from two to four young ones at a birth. When first
born they are blind, and their spines white and soft, but they become
hard in a few days. The Hedgehog is said to suck the milk from cows;
but this is impossible, as the mouth of the Hedgehog would not admit the
teat of the cow. The Hedgehog, however, sometimes destroys eggs, and has
been known to attack frogs, mice, and even toads, when pressed by
hunger; it will also occasionally eat the tuberous roots of plants,
boring under the root, so as to devour it, and yet leave the stem and
leaves untouched. The Hedgehog makes himself a nest of leaves and soft
wool for the winter, in the hollow trunk of an old tree, or in a hole in
a rock or bank; and here, having coiled himself up, he passes the winter
in one long unbroken sleep. Hedgehogs may easily be tamed, and are
sometimes kept in the kitchens in London houses to destroy the
black-beetles. The flesh of the Hedgehog is sometimes eaten; especially
by gipsies, who appear to consider it a delicacy. It is said to be
well-tasted, and to have abundance of yellow fat.

In times when insect food is scarce he will also regale himself upon
apples and pears which have fallen from the trees, but a glance at the
structure of the creature ought to be sufficient to convince any one
that the charges often brought against him of climbing trees to detach
the fruit which he is said afterwards to carry off by the ingenious
expedient of throwing himself down upon it from the branches so as to
attach it to his spines, are totally without foundation.


[Illustration: THE MOLE. (_Talpa Europæa._)]

THE MOLE is a curious, awkwardly-shaped animal, with a long flexible
snout, very small eyes, and hand-like fore feet, armed with very strong
claws, with which it scrapes its way through the ground, when it is
forming the subterranean passages in which it takes up its abode. The
Mole, though it is supposed not to possess the advantage of sight, has
the senses of hearing and feeling in great perfection; and its fur,
which is short and thick, is set erect from its skin, so as not to
impede its progress whether it goes forward or backwards along its runs.
These runs are very curiously constructed: they cross each other at
different points, but all lead to a nest in the centre, which the Mole
makes his castle, or place of abode. The passages are made by the Mole
in his search after the earth-worms and grubs, on which he lives; and
the molehills are formed by the earth he scrapes out of his runs. These
molehills do a great deal of mischief to grass lands, as they render the
ground very difficult to mow; and on this account mole-catchers are
employed to fix traps in the ground, so that when the mole is running
through one of his passages, he passes through the trap, which instantly
springs up out of the ground with the poor Mole in it. The female Mole
makes her nest at a distance from the male’s castle. She has young only
once a year, but she has four or five at a time.

The following curious fact respecting a Mole is related by Mr. Bruce.
“In visiting the Loch of Clunie, I observed in it a small island, at the
distance of a hundred and eighty yards from the land. Upon this island
Lord Airlie, the proprietor, had a castle and small shrubbery. I
observed frequently the appearance of fresh molehills; but for some time
took it to be the water mouse, and one day I asked the gardener if it
was so. He replied it was the Mole, and that he had caught one or two
lately; but that five or six years ago he had caught two in traps, and
for two years after this he had observed none. But about four years
since, coming ashore one summer’s evening in the dusk, he and Lord
Airlie’s butler saw, at a small distance upon the smooth water, an
animal paddling to and not far distant from the island; they soon closed
with the feeble passenger, and found it to be the Common Mole, led by a
most astonishing instinct from the nearest point of land, (the
castle-hill,) to take possession of this island. It was at this time,
for about the space of two years, quite free from any subterraneous
inhabitant; but the Mole has, for more than a year past, made its
appearance again.”

The Mole is very pugnacious, and sometimes two of the males will fight
furiously till one of them is killed.


[Illustration: THE SHREW. (_Sorex araneus._)]

THIS curious little animal closely resembles a mouse, except in its
snout, which is long and pointed, to enable it to grub in the ground for
its food, which consists of earthworms, and the grubs of beetles. The
Shrew, like the mole, is very fond of fighting; and when two are seen
together, they are generally engaged in a furious battle. Like the
hedgehog, it has been much scandalized by false reports, as will be seen
by the following extract from that most amusing and interesting work,
_White’s Selborne_: “At the south corner of the area, near the church,
there stood, about twenty years ago, a very old, grotesque, hollow
pollard-ash, which for ages had been looked upon with no small
veneration as a shrew-ash. Now a shrew-ash is an ash whose twigs and
branches, when applied to the limbs of cattle, will immediately relieve
the pains which a beast suffers from the running of a Shrew-mouse over
the part affected; for it is supposed that a Shrew-mouse is of so
baneful and deleterious a nature, that whenever it creeps over a beast,
be it a horse, or cow, or sheep, the suffering animal is afflicted with
cruel anguish, and threatened with the loss of the use of the limb.
Against this accident, to which they were continually liable, our
provident forefathers always kept a shrew-ash at hand, which, when once
medicated, would maintain its virtue for ever. A shrew-ash was made
thus:--into the body of the tree a deep hole was bored with an auger,
and a poor devoted Shrew mouse was thrust in alive, and plugged in.” The
cruelty of this, and many other practices of our ancestors, ought to
make us thankful that we live in more enlightened days.

The body of the Shrew exhales a rank musky odour, which renders the
animal so offensive to cats, that though they will readily kill them,
they will not eat their flesh. This noisome odour probably gave rise to
the notion that the Shrew-mouse is a venomous animal, and its bite
dangerous to cattle, particularly horses. It is, however, neither
venomous nor capable of biting, as its mouth is not sufficiently wide to
seize the double thickness of the skin, which is absolutely necessary in
order to bite.

The female Shrew makes her nest in a bank, or if on the ground, she
covers it at the top, always entering on the side; and she has generally
from five to seven young ones at a time.

The Water Shrew (_Sorex fodiens_,) is a beautiful little creature, with
somewhat differently formed feet and tail, to enable it to paddle
through the water, in which it dives and swims with great agility. When
floating “on the calm surface of a quiet brook,” or diving after its
food, its black velvety coat becomes silvered over with the innumerable
bubbles of air that cover it when submerged; though when it rises again,
the fur is observed to be perfectly dry, repelling the water as
completely as the feathers of a water-fowl.

§ III. _Cheiropterous Animals._

[Illustration: THE BAT. (_Vespertilio Noctula._)]

THE BAT has the body of a mouse, and the wings of a bird. It has an
enormous mouth, and large ears, which are of a kind of membrane, thin
and almost transparent. The pinions of its wings are furnished with
hooks, by which it hangs to trees or the crevices in old walls during
the day, a great number of them together, as they only fly at night. The
wings of the Bat are very large; those of the Great Bat measuring
fifteen inches across. It feeds on insects of various kinds,
particularly on cockchafers and other winged beetles, part of which,
however, it always throws away. A female Bat that was caught, and kept
in a cage, ate meat when it was given to her in little bits, and lapped
water like a cat. She was very particular in keeping herself clean,
using her hind feet like a comb, and parting her fur so as to make a
straight line down the back. Her wings she cleaned by thrusting her nose
into the folds, and shaking them. She had a young one born in the cage.
It was blind, and quite destitute of hair, and its mother wrapped it in
the membrane of her wing, pressing it so closely to her breast, that no
one could see her suckle it. The next day the poor mother died, and the
little one was found alive, hanging to her breast. It was fed with milk
from a sponge, but only lived about a week.

[Illustration: THE PIPISTRELLE. (_Vespertilio Pipistrellus._)]

THIS little creature, which is only an inch and a half in length,
appears to be the commonest of all Bats in most parts of Britain. It
usually resides in cracks and cavities in old brick walls and in
sheltered corners about houses, and at the approach of evening quits its
retreat, and flies about capturing the gnats and other small
twilight-loving insects on which it feeds.

[Illustration: THE LONG-EARED BAT.

(_Vespertilio_ or _Plecotus auritus_.)]

THE LONG-EARED BAT, which is not uncommon in many parts of our country,
is remarkable for the large size of its ears, which are nearly as long
as its little mouse-like body, and composed of a membrane so delicate as
to be almost transparent. In front of the concave part of each of these
enormous ears there is a slender, pointed membrane, which gives the
little creature a most singular appearance when reposing; for the great
membranous ears are then folded up, and carefully stowed away under the
wings, whilst these pointed lobes, being of a stronger substance, still
project from the head, and look like a pair of little horns. The
Long-eared Bat seems to be one of the most interesting and amiable
species of its tribe; it may be easily tamed, and, indeed, exhibits
great confidence from the first moment of its capture. When several are
kept together they will play in an awkward manner, which is very
diverting, and will soon learn to take their insect food not only from
the hand, but even from the lips of their owner.

[Illustration: THE VAMPYRE BAT. (_Phyllostoma Spectrum._)]

THE VAMPYRE BAT, which is a large species, is notorious for its very bad
habit of sucking the blood of men and cattle. In making its attacks on
man it exercises the greatest caution, alighting close to the feet of
its intended victim during his slumbers, and fanning him with its broad
wings to keep him cool and comfortable during the subsequent operations.
Having made the proper arrangements, the Vampyre proceeds to bite a
little piece out of the great toe of the slumberer, and although the
wound thus caused is so small that it would not receive the head of a
pin, it is deep enough to cause a free flow of blood, which the Vampyre
sucks until it can suck no longer. Cattle are generally bitten in the
ear. Although there seems to be some exaggeration in many of the
accounts given by travellers of the ferocity and sanguinary disposition
of the Vampyre, there would appear to be little doubt that the loss of
blood caused by its bite may occasionally prove fatal, the sucking being
continued, as Captain Stedman says, until the sufferer sleeps “from time
into eternity.”

[Illustration: THE KALONG BAT. (_Pteropus edulis._)]

THIS Bat, which is also called the Flying Fox, is a native of the Indian
Islands. It is a large species, measuring nearly two feet in length,
whilst its large leathery wings, resembling those seen in the popular
representations of flying demons, extend from tip to tip about five
feet. During the day the Kalongs indulge in sleep, for which purpose
they prefer an attitude which to our notions would seem very
uncomfortable; they suspend themselves by their hind feet to the
branches of trees, and thus hang with their heads downwards. They
associate in large numbers, and when seen sleeping in the position above
described, they look so little like animals that Dr. Horsfield tells us
they “are readily mistaken for a part of the tree, or for a fruit of
uncommon size suspended from its branches.” At the approach of evening,
however, a very different scene presents itself. One by one these
supposed fruits are seen to quit their hold upon the branches, and sail
away to the plantations of various kinds, to which they do incalculable
mischief by devouring every fruit that comes in their way.

§ IV. _The Marsupialia, or Pouch-bearing Animals._

[Illustration: THE KANGAROO. (_Macropus giganteus._)]

THIS remarkable animal was first discovered by the celebrated Captain
Cook, in New Holland: and as it was the only quadruped discovered on the
inland by the first settlers, they attempted to hunt it with greyhounds.
The astonishing leaps it took, however, quite puzzled the colonists, who
found it extremely difficult to catch. At first it was supposed that
there was only one kind of Kangaroo, but now many species have been
discovered, some of them not larger than a rat, and others as big as a
calf. Kangaroos live in herds; one, older and larger than the rest,
appearing to act as a kind of king. The ears of the Kangaroo are large,
and in almost constant motion; it has a hare-lip, and a very small head.
The fore legs, or rather paws, are short and weak, with five toes, each
ending in a strong curved claw. The hind legs, on the contrary, are very
large and strong, but the feet have only four toes, and much weaker
claws. The tail is very long and tapering; but is so thick and strong
near the body, that it forms a kind of third hind leg, and wonderfully
assists the animal in supporting itself in its ordinary upright
position. Its leaps are of extraordinary extent, being often from twenty
to thirty feet in length, and six or eight feet high. When the animal is
attacked, it uses its tail as a powerful instrument of defence, and also
scratches violently with its hind feet. It generally sits upright, but
brings its fore feet to the ground when it is grazing. It lives entirely
on vegetable substances. The most curious part of the Kangaroo is the
pouch which the female has in front for carrying her young. It is just
below her breast, and the young ones sit there to suck; and even when
they are old enough to leave the pouch, take refuge in it whenever they
are alarmed.

The Kangaroo is easily tamed, and there are many in a tame state in
England. In Australia, Kangaroo beef, as it is called, is eaten, and
found very nourishing; but it is hard and coarse. The female has
generally two young ones at a time, which do not attain their full
growth until they are a year old.

When a large Kangaroo is pursued by dogs, it generally takes refuge in a
pond, where, from the great length of its hind legs and tail, it can
stand with its body half out of the water, while the dogs are obliged to
swim. Thus the Kangaroo has a decided advantage; for, as each dog
approaches him, he seizes it with his fore paws, and holds it under
water, shaking it furiously till the dog is almost suffocated, and very
glad to sneak off as soon as the Kangaroo lets him go.

The female, when pursued and hard-pressed by the dogs, will, while
making her bounds, put her fore paws into her pouch, take a young one
from it, and throw it as far out of sight as she possibly can. But for
this manœuvre, her own life and that of her young one would be
sacrificed; whereas, she frequently contrives to escape, and returns
afterwards to seek for her offspring.


(_Didelphis virginiana._)]

THIS creature, which is a native of North America, is about the size of
a cat, and its fur is of a dingy white, except the legs, which are
brown, and the nose and ears, which are yellowish. There is also a
brownish circle round each eye, and the ears are nearly black at the

The Opossum generally lives in trees, suspending itself by the tail, by
means of which it swings from branch to branch. In this manner it
catches the insects and small birds, on which it generally feeds; but
sometimes it descends from the tree, and invades poultry-yards, where it
devours the eggs, and sometimes the young fowls. It resembles the
kangaroo in its pouch for carrying its young, but in no other
particular, as it walks on four feet, and its legs are uniform in
length; and it has a long flexible tail, which is of no use to it either
in leaping, or as a weapon of defence. The tail is, however, of singular
use to the young, as when they get too large to be carried in the pouch,
they fly to their mother when alarmed, and twisting their long slender
tails round hers, leap upon her back. The female Opossum may be
sometimes seen thus carrying four or five at once.

The Opossum may be easily tamed, but is an unpleasant inmate, from its
awkward figure and stupidity, and its very disagreeable smell. The
American Indians spin its hair and dye it red, and then weave it into
girdles and other articles of clothing. The flesh of these animals is
white and well tasted, and is preferred by the Indians to pork: that of
the young ones eats very much like the sucking-pig.

[Illustration: THE PHALANGER. (_Phalangista vulpina._)]

THIS animal, which is very common in Australia, has some resemblance in
its aspect and colour to a fox; but is much smaller. It has a long,
furred tail, very different from that of the opossum. The Phalanger
lives amongst the branches of the trees, on which it climbs about at
night with great agility; its food consists partly of fruits and partly
of small birds, which it easily captures during its nocturnal
excursions. It is called the Opossum by the colonists of Australia.
There are several kinds of Phalangers, some of which are known as
Flying Phalangers, from their having a broad loose fold of skin along
each side, which, when stretched out by means of the legs, serves to
support the little creature for a time in the air, and enables it to
leap to great distances.

§ V.--_Rodentia, or Gnawing Animals._

[Illustration: THE BEAVER. (_Castor Fiber._)]

THE BEAVER is about the size of the badger; his head short, his ears
round and small, his fore teeth long, sharp, and strong, and well
calculated for the part which Nature has allotted him: the tail is of an
oval form, and covered with a scaly skin.

Beavers are natives of North America, and more particularly the north of
Canada. They are also found in Europe, and were formerly abundant in
many places. Their houses are constructed with earth, stones, and
sticks, neatly arranged and worked together by their paws. The walls are
about two feet thick, and are surmounted by a kind of dome, which
generally rises about four feet above them. The entrance is on one side,
always at least three feet below the surface of the water, so as to
prevent it being frozen up. The number of Beavers in each house is from
two to four old ones, and about twice as many young. When Beavers form a
new settlement, they build their houses in the summer; and then lay in
their winter provisions, which consist principally of bark and the
tender branches of trees, cut into certain lengths, and piled in heaps
on the outside of their habitation, and always under the water; though
sometimes the heap is so large as to rise above the surface. One of
these heaps will occasionally contain more than a cart-load of bark,
young wood, and the roots of the water-lily.

Beavers are hunted for the sake of their skins, which are covered with
long hairs, and a short thick fur beneath, which is used in making hats,
after the long hairs have been destroyed.

A great many stories have long been believed respecting the Beaver, on
the authority of a French gentleman who had resided a long time in North
America; but it is now ascertained that the greater part of them are
false. The house of the Beaver is not divided into rooms, but consists
of only one apartment; and the animals do not use their tails either as
a trowel or a sledge, but only as an assistance in swimming. Some years
ago a Beaver was brought to this country from America, that had been
quite tamed by the sailors, and was called Bunney. When he arrived in
England, he was made quite a pet of, and used to lie on the hearth-rug
in his master’s library. One day he found out the housemaid’s closet,
and his building propensities began immediately to display themselves.
He seized a large sweeping brush, and dragged it along with his teeth to
a room where he found the door open: he afterwards laid hold of a
warming-pan in the same manner; and having laid the handles across, he
filled up the walls of the angle made by the brushes with the wall, with
hand-brushes, baskets, boots, books, towels, and anything he could lay
hold of. As his walls grew high, he would often sit propped up by his
tail (with which he supported himself admirably), to look at what he had
done; and if the disposition of any of his building materials did not
satisfy him, he would pull part of his work down, and lay it again more
evenly. It was astonishing how well he managed to arrange the
incongruous materials he had chosen, and how cleverly he contrived to
remove them, sometimes carrying them between his right fore-paw and his
chin, sometimes dragging them with his teeth, and sometimes pushing them
along with his chin. When he had built his walls, he made himself a nest
in the centre, and sat up in it, combing his hair with the nails of his
hind feet.

[Illustration: THE MUSK RAT, (_Fiber Zibethicus_,)]

IS a native of Canada, and resembles the beaver in many of his habits.
He has a fine musky scent, and makes his holes in marshes and by the
waterside, with two or three ways to get in or go out, and several
distinct apartments: he is said to contrive one entrance to his hole
always below the water, that he may not be frozen out by the ice. This
animal is called the Musquash in America, and its fur is used, like that
of the beaver, in the manufacture of hats, four or five hundred thousand
skins being said to be sent to Europe every year for that purpose. Musk
Rats are always seen in pairs; and though watchful, are not timid, as
they will often approach quite close to a boat or other vessel. In
spring they feed on pieces of wood, which they peel carefully; and they
are particularly fond of the roots of the sweet flag (_Acorus Calamus_).
In Canada this animal is called the Ondatra.

[Illustration: THE HARE. (_Lepus timidus._)]

THIS small quadruped is well known at our tables as affording a
favourite food, notwithstanding the dark colour of its flesh. Its
swiftness cannot save it from the search of its enemies, among whom man
is the most inveterate. Unarmed and fearful, the Hare appears almost to
sleep with open eyes, so easily is it alarmed. Its hind legs are longer
than its fore ones, to enable it to run up hills; its eyes are so
prominently placed, that they can encompass at once the whole horizon of
the plain where it has chosen its form, for so its seat or bed is
called; and its ears so long, that the least noise cannot escape it. It
seldom outlives its seventh year, and breeds plentifully. Naturally wild
and timorous, the Hare may, however, be occasionally tamed. The
following is from the entertaining account given by Cowper, of three
Hares that he brought up tame in his house; the names he gave them were
Puss, Tiney, and Bess. Tiney was a reserved and surly Hare; Bess, who
was a Hare of great humour and drollery, died young. “Puss grew
presently familiar, would leap into my lap, raise himself upon his
hinder feet, and bite the hair from my temples. He would suffer me to
take him up and carry him about in my arms, and has more than once
fallen fast asleep upon my knee. He was ill three days, during which
time I nursed him, kept him apart from his fellows that they might not
molest him, (for, like many other wild animals, they persecute one of
their own species that is sick,) and by constant care, and trying him
with a variety of herbs, restored him to perfect health. No creature
could be more grateful than my patient after his recovery, a sentiment
which he most significantly expressed by licking my hand, first the back
of it, then the palm, then every finger separately, then between all the
fingers, as if anxious to leave no part of it unsaluted; a ceremony
which he never performed but once again upon a similar occasion.

“Finding him extremely tractable, I made it my custom to carry him
always after breakfast into the garden, where he hid himself generally
under the leaves of a cucumber vine, sleeping or chewing the cud, till
evening; in the leaves also of that vine he found a favourite repast. I
had not long habituated him to this taste of liberty, before he began to
be impatient for the return of the time when he might enjoy it. He would
invite me to the garden by drumming upon my knee, and by a look of such
expression as it was not possible to misinterpret. If this rhetoric did
not immediately succeed, he would take the skirt of my coat between his
teeth, and pull at it with all his force. Thus Puss might be said to be
perfectly tamed, the shyness of his nature was done away, and, on the
whole, it was visible, by many symptoms, which I have not room to
enumerate, that he was happier in human society than when shut up with
his natural companions.”

Hares are included in the list of animals called game, and are hunted
with greyhounds, which is called coursing; and also by packs of dogs
called harriers and beagles. There are white Hares in the northern
regions, the change in colour being the effect of cold.

[Illustration: THE RABBIT. (_Lepus cuniculus._)]

THIS animal, in a wild state, resembles the hare in all its principal
characters, but is distinguished from it by its smaller size, the
comparative shortness of the head and hinder legs, the grey colour of
the body, the absence of the black tip to the ears, and the brown colour
of the upper part of the tail. Its habits, however, are very different,
as being from its organization unable to outstrip its enemies in the
chase, it seeks its safety and shelter by burrowing in the ground; and
instead of leading a solitary life, its manners are eminently social.
Its flesh is white and good, though not so much prized as that of the

The female begins to breed when she is about twelve months old, and
bears at least seven times a year, generally eight at each time; now
supposing this to happen regularly, a couple of Rabbits at the end of
four years might see a progeny of almost a million and a half!
Fortunately their destruction by various enemies is in proportion to
their fecundity, or we might justly apprehend being overstocked by them.
The young are born blind, and almost destitute of hair; while those of
the hare can see, and are covered with hair.

[Illustration: THE DOMESTIC RABBIT.]

THE DOMESTIC RABBIT is larger than the wild species, owing to its taking
more nourishment and less exercise (our example, however, is drawn
disproportionately large). Like pigeons, they have their regular
fanciers, and are bred of various colours--grey, reddish brown, black
more or less mixed with white, or perfectly white. The ears are
considered to constitute a principal feature of their beauty, and the
animal is most valued when both ears hang down by the side of the head;
the animal is then called a double lop; when only one ear drops, it is
called a single or horn lop, and when both stretch out horizontally, an

[Illustration: THE SQUIRREL. (_Sciurus vulgaris._)]

ELEGANCE of shape, spiritedness, and agility to leap from bough to bough
in the forest, are the principal characteristics of this pretty animal.
The Squirrel is of a deep reddish brown colour, his breast and belly
white. He is lively, sagacious, docile, and nimble: he lives upon nuts,
and has been seen so tame as to dive into the pocket of his mistress,
and search after an almond or a lump of sugar. In the woods he leaps
from tree to tree with surprising agility, living a most frolicsome
life, surrounded with abundance, and having but few enemies. His time,
however, is not entirely devoted to idle enjoyment, for in the luxuriant
season of autumn he gathers provisions for the approaching winter, as if
conscious that the forest would then be stripped of its fruits and
foliage. His tail serves him as a parasol to defend him from the rays of
the sun, as a parachute to secure him from dangerous falls when leaping
from tree to tree, and, some say, as a sail in crossing the water, which
he sometimes does in Lapland on a bit of ice or bark inverted in the
manner of a boat.

The American Flying Squirrel (_Pteromys volucella_) has a large membrane
proceeding from the fore feet to the hind legs, which answers the same
purpose as the Squirrel’s tail, and enables him to give surprising leaps
that almost resemble flying. In the act of leaping, the loose skin is
stretched out by the feet, whereby the surface of the body is augmented,
its fall is retarded, and it appears to sail or fly from one place to
another. Where numbers of them are seen at a time leaping, they appear
like leaves blown off by the wind. There are many other kinds of
Squirrels in various parts of the world; most of the Flying Squirrels
are found in the eastern islands.


(_Myoxus avellanarius._)]

THESE animals build their nests either in the hollow parts of trees, or
near the bottom of thick shrubs, and line them most industriously with
moss, soft lichens, and dead leaves. Conscious of the length of time
they have to pass in their solitary cells, Dormice are very particular
in the choice of the materials they employ to build and furnish them;
and generally lay up a store of food, consisting of nuts, beans, and
acorns; and on the approach of cold weather roll themselves in balls,
their tail curled up over their head between the ears, and in a state of
apparent lethargy pass the greatest part of the winter, till the warmth
of the sun, pervading the whole atmosphere, kindles their congealed
blood, and calls them back again to the enjoyment of life. Except in the
time of breeding and bringing up its young, the Dormouse is generally
found alone in its cell. This animal is remarkable for the very small
degree of heat its body possesses during its torpid state, when it
appears actually frozen with the cold, and it may be tossed or rolled
about without being roused, though it may be quickly revived by the
application of gentle heat, such as that of the hands. If a torpid
Dormouse, however, be placed before a large fire, the sudden change will
kill it.

THE AMERICAN DORMOUSE, or GROUND SQUIRREL, is a very beautiful animal,
striped down the back, and resembling the squirrel in its habits, except
that instead of living in trees it burrows in the ground.


(_Arctomys Marmotta._)]

THIS is a harmless, inoffensive animal, and seems to bear enmity to no
creature but the dog. He is caught in Savoy, and carried about in
several countries for the amusement of the mob. When taken young, he is
easily tamed, and possesses great muscular power and agility. He will
often walk on his hinder legs, and uses his fore paws to feed himself,
like the squirrel. The Marmot makes his hole very deep, and in the form
of the letter Y, one of the branches serving as an avenue to the
innermost apartment, and the other sloping downwards, as a kind of sink
or drain; in this safe retreat he sleeps throughout the winter, and if
discovered may be killed without appearing to undergo any great pain.
These animals produce but once a year, and bring forth three or four at
a time. They grow very fast, and the extent of their lives is not above
nine or ten years. They are about the size of a rabbit, but much more
corpulent. When a number of Marmots are feeding together, one of them
stands sentinel upon an elevated position; and on the first appearance
of a man, a dog, an eagle, or any dangerous animal, utters a loud and
shrill cry, as a signal for immediate retreat. The Marmot inhabits the
highest regions of the Alps; other species are found in Poland, Russia,
Siberia, and Canada.

[Illustration: THE GUINEAPIG. (_Cavia Cobaya._)]

THIS animal is generally white, variegated with red and black. It is a
native of the Brazils, but now domesticated in most parts of Europe, and
is about the size of a large rat, though more stoutly made, and without
any tail; and its legs and neck are so short, that the former are
scarcely seen, and the latter seems stuck upon its shoulders.
Guineapigs, though they have a disagreeable smell, are extremely
cleanly, and the male and female may be often seen alternately employed
in smoothing each other’s skins, disposing their hair, and improving its
gloss. They sleep like the hare with their eyes half open, and continue
watchful if they apprehend any danger. They are very fond of dark
retreats; previously to their quitting which, they look round, and seem
to listen attentively; then, if the road be clear, they sally forth in
quest of food, but run back on the slightest alarm. They utter a sound
like the snore of a young pig. The female begins to produce young when
only two months old, and as she does so every two or three months, and
has sometimes as many as twelve at a time, a thousand might be raised
from a single pair in the course of a year. They are naturally gentle
and tame; as incapable of mischief as they seem to be of good, although
rats are said to avoid their locality. The upper lip is only half
divided; it has two cutting teeth in each jaw, and large and broad ears.
They feed on bread, grain, and vegetables.

[Illustration: THE MOUSE. (_Mus musculus._)]

THIS is a lively, active animal, and the most timid in nature, except
the hare, and a few other defenceless species. Although timid, he eats
in the trap as soon as he is caught; yet he never can be thoroughly
tamed, nor does he betray any affection for his assiduous keeper. He is
beset by a number of enemies, among which are the cat, the hawk, and
owl, the snake, and weasel, and the rat himself, though not unlike the
mouse in his habits and shape. The mouse is one of the most prolific of
animals, sometimes producing seventeen at a birth; but it is supposed
that the life of this small inmate of our habitations does not extend
much further than three years. This creature is known all over the
world, and breeds wherever it finds food and tranquillity. There are
Mice of various colours, but the most common kind is of a dark,
cinereous hue: white mice are not uncommon, particularly in Savoy and
some parts of France.

A remarkable instance of sagacity in a long-tailed Field Mouse (_Mus
sylvaticus_) occurred to the Rev. Mr. White, as his people were pulling
off the lining of a hotbed, in order to add some fresh dung. From the
side of this bed something leaped with great agility, that made a most
grotesque appearance, and was not caught without much difficulty. It
proved to be a large Field Mouse, with three or four young ones clinging
to her teats by their mouths and feet. It was amazing that the variousand rapid motions of the dam did not oblige her litter to quit their
hold, especially when it appeared that they were so young as to be both
naked and blind. Mr. White appears to be the first to describe and
accurately examine that diminutive creature the Harvest Mouse (_Mus
messorius_) the least of all the British quadrupeds. He measured some of
them, and found that from the nose to the tail they were two inches and
a quarter long. Two of them in a scale only weighed down one copper
halfpenny, about the third of an ounce avoirdupoise! Their nest is a
great curiosity, being made in the form of a ball, and either suspended
between the stems of rushes and other tall slender plants, or placed
amongst the leaves of some large thistle.

[Illustration: THE RAT. (_Mus decumanus._)]

THE RAT is about four times as large as the mouse, but of a dusky
colour, with white under the body; his head is longer, his neck shorter,
and his eyes comparatively larger. These animals are so attached to our
dwellings, that it is almost impossible to destroy the breed, when they
have once taken a liking to any particular place. Their produce is
enormous, as they have from ten to twenty young ones at a litter, and
this thrice a year. Thus their increase is such, that it is possible for
a single pair (supposing food to be sufficiently plentiful, and that
they had no enemies to lessen their numbers) to amount at the end of two
years to upwards of a million; but an insatiable appetite impels them to
destroy each other; the weaker always fall a prey to the stronger; and
the large male Rat, which usually lives by itself, is dreaded by those
of its own species as their most formidable enemy. The Rat is a bold and
fierce little animal, and when closely pursued, will turn and fasten on
its assailant. Its bite is keen, and the wound it inflicts is painful
and difficult to heal, owing to the form of its teeth, which are long,
sharp, and of an irregular form.

It digs with great facility and vigour, making its way with rapidity
beneath the floors of our houses, between the stones and bricks of
walls, and often excavating the foundations of a dwelling to a dangerous
extent. There are many instances of their totally undermining the most
solid mason-work, or burrowing through dams which had for ages served to
confine the waters of rivers and canals.

A gentleman, some time ago, travelling through Mecklenburgh, was witness
to a very singular circumstance respecting one of these animals, in the
post-house at New Hargarel. After dinner, the landlord placed on the
floor a large dish of soup, and gave a loud whistle. Immediately there
came into the room a mastiff, an Angora cat, an old raven, and a large
Rat with a bell about its neck. They all four went to the dish, and
without disturbing each other, fed together; after which, the dog, cat,
and Rat lay before the fire, while the raven hopped about the room. The
landlord, after accounting for the familiarity which existed among these
animals, informed his guest that the Rat was the most useful of the
four; for that the noise he made had completely freed the house from the
Rats and mice with which it had been before infested.

[Illustration: THE WATER RAT, (_Arvicola amphibia_,)]

INHABITS the banks of rivers and ponds, where he digs holes, always
above the water-mark, and feeds on roots and aquatic plants.

This animal is nearly as large as the brown Rat, but has a larger head,
a blunter nose, and smaller eyes; its ears are very short, and almost
hidden in the fur, and the tip of its tail is whitish; the cutting-teeth
are of a deep yellow colour in front, very strong, and much resembling
those of the beaver. Its head and back are covered with long black hair,
and its belly with iron gray. Tail more than half the length of the
body, covered with hairs. Fur thick and shining; of a rich reddish
brown, mixed with gray above, yellowish gray beneath. The female
produces a brood of five or six young ones once (and sometimes twice) a

THE LEMMING, _(Myodes Lemmus_,)

WHICH is a near relation of the water-rat, and of about the same size,
is covered with fur of a yellowish colour variegated with black. This
animal resides in the mountains of Norway and Sweden, and is remarkable
for performing extraordinary migrations in vast bodies at the approach
of a severe winter, and making their appearance so suddenly and
unexpectedly that people formerly asserted they had fallen from the
clouds. Notwithstanding their supposed celestial origin, they are,
however, very unwelcome visitors, as they devour everything eatable that
comes in their way, and commit devastations almost as serious as those
of the locusts.


THIS little animal has most wonderful powers of reproduction, and, as it
is extremely voracious, it often causes an amount of destruction quite
out of proportion to its size and insignificant appearance. It burrows
in the ground, like the lemming and water-rat; and as it gnaws through
the roots of trees that lie in its way, it has been known to cause very
serious loss of property. In the year 1813 such immense numbers of these
creatures were collected in some of the forests of the South of England,
that it was feared all the young trees would be destroyed, and it was
found necessary to organise a war of extermination against the invaders.
It is said that in New Forest alone not less than eighty or a hundred
thousand mice were killed in one season, and the slaughter in other
places was quite as great.

The Field-Vole’s favourite food is the bark of trees and roots, but, if
pressed by hunger, it will attack and devour its own kind.

[Illustration: THE JERBOA. (_Dipus ægyptius._)]

THE principal peculiarity of this animal consists in its having very
short fore legs, and very long hinder ones: a bird divested of its
feathers and wings, and jumping upon its legs, would give us the nearest
resemblance to the figure of a Jerboa when pursued. It uses, however,
all its four feet upon ordinary occasions, and it is only when pursued
that it presses its fore feet close to its body, and leaps on its hind
ones. The ancients called it the two-footed rat. This creature is about
the size of a rat; the head resembles that of a rabbit, with long
whiskers; the tail is ten inches long, and terminated by a tuft of black
hair. The fur of the body is tawny, except the breast and throat, and
part of the belly, which are white. The Jerboa is very active and
lively, and jumps and springs, when pursued, six or seven feet from the
ground, with the assistance of its tail; but if this useful member be in
any manner injured, the activity of the Jerboa is proportionately
diminished; and one which had been accidentally deprived of its tail,
was found unable to leap at all. It burrows like the rabbit, and feeds
like the squirrel: it is a native of Egypt and the adjacent countries,
and is also found in eastern Europe.

[Illustration: THE CHINCHILLA. (_Chinchilla lanigera._)]

THE CHINCHILLA is a native of America, and its coat produces the
beautiful fur known by its name. The length of the body of this little
animal is about nine inches, and its tail nearly five; its limbs are
comparatively short, the hind legs being much the longest. The fur is of
a remarkably close and fine texture, somewhat crisped, and entangled
together; of a grayish or ash colour above, and paler beneath. It is
used for muffs, tippets, and linings of cloaks, and is perhaps prettier
than the Sable, although less durable, and less valuable in commerce,
excepting when fashion rules. The form of the head resembles that of the
rabbit; the eyes are full, large, and black; and the ears broad, naked,
round at the tips, and nearly as long as the head. The whiskers are
plentiful and strong, the longest being twice as long as the head, some
of them black, others white. Four short toes, with an appearance of a
thumb, terminate the fore feet; the hinder have the same number of toes,
but have less the appearance of hands: on all the claws are short, and
nearly hidden by tufts of bristly hairs. The tail is about half the
length of the body, of equal thickness throughout, and covered with long
bushy hairs. It resembles in some degree the jerboa, and takes its food,
like that animal, in its fore paws, sitting on its haunches. The temper
of the Chinchilla is mild and tractable. It dwells in burrows under
ground, and produces young twice a year, bringing forth five or six at a
time. It feeds upon the roots of bulbous plants.

[Illustration: THE PORCUPINE. (_Hystrix cristata._)]

WHEN full grown this animal measures about two feet in length, and his
body is covered with hair and sharp quills, from ten to fourteen inches
long, and bent backwards. When he is irritated, they stand erect; but
the story that the Porcupine can shoot them at his enemies, is only one
of the many fables formerly related as facts in Natural History. The
female has only one young one at a time. It is reported to live from
twelve to fifteen years. The Porcupine is dull, fretful, and
inoffensive; it feeds upon fruits, roots, and vegetables; and inhabits
the south of Europe, and almost every part of Africa, particularly

THE COUENDOU, (_Hystrix_, or _Synetheres prehensilis_,)

WHICH is also called the Brazilian Porcupine, is chiefly found in
Guiana, and differs from the common Porcupine, not only in the shortness
of its spines, but also in the great length of its tail. This organ,
which is a mere stump in the common species, and only of use to him by
producing a rattling of its spines when shaken, in which he seems to
take great delight, is nearly as long as the body in the Couendou, and
as its extremity is nearly naked, and can be curled up very tightly, the
animal makes use of it to cling to the branches of trees, amongst which
he is fond of climbing.

§ VI.--_Edentata, or Toothless Animals._

[Illustration: THE SLOTH. (_Bradypus tridactylus._)]

THIS animal, which is sometimes also called the Ai, in reference to a
noise it makes when caught, and frequently when moving through the
forest, is most curiously formed. The arms or fore legs are nearly twice
as long as the hind legs: the claws also are larger than the foot, and
bent inwardly, so as to prevent the animal from placing the ball of its
foot on the ground. From these peculiarities in its construction the
progress of the Sloth on land is extremely slow and laborious, for being
incapable of supporting himself on his feet, he is compelled to take
advantage of every little inequality in the ground to drag himself
along; but he is not intended to be a terrestrial animal. He lives in
trees, always hanging below the branch, with its back to the ground; and
for a life of this kind, its long arms and hooked claws are admirably
adapted. Mr. Waterton, whose long residence in the wilds of South
America, and whose habits of close observation, render him an excellent
authority, observes, that when the Sloth travels from branch to branch
of the tree which it inhabits, particularly in windy weather, it moves
with such rapidity as to make it quite a misnomer to call it a Sloth.
“The Sloth,” says Mr. Waterton, “in its wild state, spends its whole
life in the trees, and never leaves them, but through force or accident;
and what is more extraordinary, not _upon_ the branches, like the
squirrel and monkey, _but under them_. He moves suspended from the
branch, he rests suspended from the branch, and he sleeps suspended from
the branch. Hence his seemingly bungled composition is at once accounted
for; and in lieu of the Sloth leading a painful life, and entailing a
melancholy existence upon its progeny, it is but fair to conclude, that
it enjoys life just as much as any other animal, and that its
extraordinary formation and singular habits are but further proofs to
engage us to admire the wonderful works of Omnipotence.”

The common Sloth has always three toes; but there is another kind,
called the Unau, which has only two toes, and much shorter fore legs.

The female Sloth has only one young one at a time, which hangs to her
breast, and makes a kind of cradle of her body, during her journeys from
branch to branch; in fact, it appears never to quit her, till it is able
to provide for itself. When hanging from the branch, she hides her young
one in her thick, matted hair, which resembles in texture and appearance
dry withered grass, and, indeed, is so like the rough bark and moss on
old trees, as to render the animal scarcely distinguishable. It was
formerly asserted, when the Sloth has got possession of a tree, it will
not descend while a leaf or bud is remaining; and, that in order to
obviate the necessity of a slow and laborious descent, it suffers itself
to fall to the ground; the toughness of its skin and the thickness of
its hair securing it from any unpleasant consequences. This, however,
like many other statements regarding this much maligned animal, is
erroneous; in the dense tropical forests which he inhabits the Sloth has
rarely any occasion to descend to the earth; but he takes advantage of a
windy night, when the branches of the trees become interlaced, to make
his way with great ease from one place to another.

[Illustration: THE ARMADILLO. (_Dasypus sexcinctus._)]

NATURE seems to have been singularly careful in the preservation of this
animal, for she has surrounded it with a strong coat of armour to
protect it from its enemies. When closely pursued, it assumes the shape
of a ball; and, if near a precipice, rolls from one rock to another, and
escapes without receiving any injury. The shell, which covers the whole
of the body, is composed of numerous bony plates, very hard, and of a
square shape, united by a kind of cartilaginous substance, which gives
flexibility to the whole. The Armadillo lives principally on roots,
carrion, and ants; and in a wild state resides in subterranean burrows,
like the rabbit. It is a native of South America. There are several
species differing chiefly in the number of their bands. When naturalists
wish to obtain a specimen of the Armadillo in its native country, they
are obliged to employ an Indian to dig one out of its hole; and as the
holes are almost innumerable, only a few of them containing Armadillos,
the Indians try them first by putting a stick down, when, if a number of
musquitos rise, the Indians know the hole contains an Armadillo, as, if
there were none, there would be no musquitos.

[Illustration: THE GREAT ANT-EATER. (_Myrmecophaga jubata._)]

THE body of the Great Ant-eater is covered with exceedingly coarse and
shaggy hair. Its head is very long and slender, and the mouth but just
large enough to admit its tongue, which is cylindrical, nearly two feet
in length, and lies folded double within it. The tail is of enormous
size, and covered with long black hair, somewhat like the tail of a
horse. The whole length of the animal, from the end of the snout to the
tip of the tail, is sometimes seven or eight feet. Its food consists
principally of ants, which it obtains in the following manner:--When it
comes to an ant-hill, it scratches it up with its long claws, and then
unfolds its slender tongue, which much resembles an enormously long
worm. This being covered with a glutinous matter or saliva, the ants
adhere to it in great numbers: these it swallows alive, repeating the
operation till no more are to be caught.

He also tears up the nests of wood-lice, which it in like manner
discovers; but should it meet with little success in its pursuit of
food, it is able to fast for a considerable time without inconvenience.
The motions of the Ant-eater are in general very slow. It swims,
however, over great rivers with ease; and, on these occasions, its tail
is always thrown over its back. With this extraordinary member, when
asleep, or during heavy showers of rain, the animal is also said to
cover its back; but at other times he carries it extended behind him.
The Ant-eater is a native of South America.

(_Ornithorhynchus paradoxus._)]

THIS extraordinary creature has the bill and webbed feet of a duck,
united to the body of a mole. It is a native of Australia, where it is
found on the banks of rivers, in the sides of which it burrows and forms
its nest. It feeds on aquatic insects and small molluscous animals,
always, however, rejecting the shells of the latter, after crushing them
in its mouth, so as to extract the body. A number of these animals are
always found together; but it is very difficult to watch their habits,
as their sense of hearing is so acute, that they disappear at the
slightest noise, plunging into the water, in which they swim so low,
that they only look like a mass of weeds floating on the surface.

When the animal feeds, he plunges his beak into the mud, just like a
duck; and appears to be equally at home on land and in water. Two young
ones that were kept for some time at Sydney, by Mr. Bennet, were very
fond of rolling themselves up like a hedgehog, in the form of balls.
They often slept in this position, and “awful little growls” issued from
them when disturbed. They were fed with worms, and bread and milk; but
captivity did not seem to agree with them, and they soon died. They
dressed their fur by combing it with their feet, and pecking at it with
their beaks, seeming to take great delight in keeping it smooth and

The shape of this animal is so extraordinary, that when a specimen was
first sent to Europe, it was supposed to have been manufactured, by
fixing the beak of a duck into the head of some small quadruped, with
the intention to deceive. Subsequent experience has proved, beyond the
possibility of a doubt, the existence of the animal, without in the
smallest degree diminishing the wonder excited by its first appearance,
as it seems to partake, in almost equal parts, of the nature of
quadrupeds, birds, and reptiles.

The Australian Hedgehog (_Echidna hystrix_), has a long and very slender
muzzle, at the end of which is a very small mouth, containing a long
tongue, which the creature can extend at pleasure. The body is short and
rounded: it is covered with strong sharp spines mixed with hair; and its
tail is so short that it was at first doubted whether it had one. The
male has a spur upon each hind leg, which was long supposed, but it
seems erroneously, to possess venomous properties. Both the Platypus and
the Australian Hedgehog, although arranged here with the toothless
quadrupeds, are generally considered by zoologists to be most closely
related to the Marsupials, or Pouched Mammalia.

§ VII.--_Pachydermata, or Thick-skinned Animals._

[Illustration: THE ELEPHANT. (_Elephas indicus._)]

PROVIDENCE, always impartial in the distribution of its gifts, has given
this bulky quadruped a quick instinct nearly approaching to reason, in
compensation for the uncouthness of his body. The Ceylon Elephant is
about ten or twelve feet high, and is much the largest of all living
quadrupeds. His skin is in general a mouse colour, but is sometimes
white and sometimes black. His eyes are rather small for the size of his
head, and his ears, which are very expanded and of a peculiar shape,
have the flaps hanging down, instead of standing up, as in most
quadrupeds. The Elephant is a gregarious animal in his wild state, and
when domesticated is susceptible of attachment and gratitude, as well as
of anger and revenge. Several anecdotes are related of his quick
apprehension, and particularly of his vindictive treatment of those who
have either scoffed at or abused him. To disappoint him is dangerous, as
he seldom fails to be revenged. The following instance is given as a
fact, and deserves to be recorded:--An Elephant, disappointed of his
reward, out of revenge, killed his governor. The poor man’s wife, who
beheld the dreadful scene, took her two children and thrust them towards
the enraged animal, saying, “Since you have slain my husband, take my
life also, as well as those of my children!” The Elephant instantly
stopped, relented, and, as if stung with remorse, took the eldest boy in
his trunk, placed him on his neck, adopted him for his governor, and
would never afterwards allow any other person to mount him.

The Elephant’s mouth is armed with broad and strong grinding teeth, and
two large tusks, which measure sometimes nine or ten feet, and from
which the finest ivory is produced. The ivory from the tusks of the
female is thought the best, as the tooth, being smaller, admits less
porosity in the cellular part of the mass.

Becoming tame under the mild treatment of a good master, the Elephant is
not only a most useful servant, for the purposes of state or war, but is
also of great assistance in taming the wild ones that have been recently
caught. Indian superstition has paid great honours to the white race of
this quadruped; and the island of Ceylon is supposed to breed the finest
of the kind. This immense beast, by the wisdom of Providence, has not
been placed among the carnivorous animals: and vegetable food being much
more abundant than animal, he is destined to live on grass and the
tender shoots of trees. This noble creature bears in state on his back
the potentates of the East, and seems to delight in pompous pageantry:
in war he carries a tower filled with archers; and in peace lends his
assistance in domestic operations. The female is said to go a year with
young, and to bring forth one at a time. The Elephant lives a hundred
and twenty or a hundred and thirty years, though they have been known to
live to the great age of four hundred. When Alexander the Great had
conquered Porus, King of India, he took a large Elephant which had
fought very valiantly for the king, and naming him Ajax, dedicated him
to the sun, and then let him loose with this inscription:--“Alexander,
the son of Jupiter, hath dedicated Ajax to the sun.” This Elephant was
found with this inscription 350 years after.

The greatest wonder the Elephant presents to the admiration of the
intelligent observer of nature is his _proboscis_, or trunk, which
attains a length of six or eight feet, and is so flexible that he uses
it almost as dexterously as a man does his hand. It was erroneously
said, that the Elephant could receive nourishment through his trunk;
this sort of pipe is nothing but a prolongation of the snout, for the
purpose of breathing, into which the animal can by the strength of his
lungs draw up a great quantity of water or other liquid, which he spouts
out again, or brings back to his mouth by inverting and shortening his
proboscis for this purpose.

Captain Marryat, in his very entertaining work called _Masterman Ready_,
relates a curious instance of the sagacity of an Elephant in India,
which had fallen into a deep tank. The tank was so deep that it was
impossible to hoist the Elephant up, but when the people threw down
several bundles of faggots, the sagacious animal laid one bundle above
another, always standing on each tier as he arranged it, till at last he
raised the pile high enough to allow him to walk out of the tank. But
instances of the sagacity of this noble creature might be cited _ad
infinitum_. In the East, where they are made available in the service of
man, they will load a boat with singular dexterity, carefully keeping
every article dry, and disposing and balancing the cargo with the utmost

Its strength is proportionate to its bulk: it will carry three or four
thousand pounds weight on its back, and upwards of a thousand pounds on
its tusks.

The African Elephant is a distinct species (_E. africanus_) readily
distinguished from his Asiatic brother, by the enormous size of his
flapping ears. He is abundant in the southern part of Africa and is
killed annually in great numbers for the sake of his tusks.


(_Hippopotamus amphibius._)]

THIS animal lives as well on land as in water, and yields in size to
none but the elephant: he weighs sometimes more than fifteen hundred
pounds. His skin is naked, and of a blackish brown colour, tinged with
red about the muzzle and on the lower surface of the body. The head is
flattish on the top, about four feet long and nine in circumference; the
lips are large, the jaws open about two feet wide, and the
cutting-teeth, of which it has four in each jaw, are nearly a foot long;
he has broad ears, and large eyes, a thick neck, and a short tail,
tapering like that of a hog. He grazes and eats the leaves and young
branches of trees on shore, but retires to the water if pursued, and
will sink down to the bottom, where he can remain five or six minutes at
a time. When he rises to the surface and remains with his head out of
the water, he makes a bellowing noise which may be heard at a great
distance. The female brings forth her young upon land, and it is
supposed that she seldom produces more than one at a time. The calf at
the instant that it comes into the world, flies to the water for
shelter, if pursued; a circumstance which has been noticed as a
remarkable instance of pure instinct. Fine specimens of this remarkable
animal are to be seen in the Zoological Gardens in London; and in Paris
they have been known to breed twice, but on both occasions the mother
destroyed her offspring, either intentionally or by accident. The
Hippopotamus is supposed to be the Behemoth of the Scripture. See Job,
chap. xl.

[Illustration: THE INDIAN RHINOCEROS, (_Rhinoceros unicornis_,)]

SO called because of the horn on his nose, is bred in India, is of a
dark slate-colour, and nearly as large as the elephant, as he measures
about twelve feet in length, but has short legs. His skin, which is not
penetrable by any ordinary weapon, is folded upon his body, in the
manner represented in the figure above; his eyes are small and half
closed, and the horn on his nose is attached to the skin only. In
confinement he often wears it to a mere stump, by rubbing it against his
crib. He is perfectly indocile and untractable; a natural enemy to the
elephant, to whom he often gives battle, and is said never to go out of
his way, but to endeavour to destroy whatever obstacles present
themselves, rather than turn about. He lives on the coarsest vegetables,
and frequents the banks of rivers, and marshy grounds; his hoofs are
divided into four, and he grunts like a hog, which he resembles in many
other particulars. The female produces but one at a time, and during the
first month her young are not bigger than a large dog. The Rhinoceros is
supposed by some to be the Unicorn of holy writ, and possesses all the
properties ascribed to that animal,--rage, untamableness, great
swiftness, and immense strength. It was known to the Romans in very
early times. Augustus introduced one into the shows, on his triumph over
Cleopatra. Some Rhinoceroses have two horns.

[Illustration: THE COMMON OR DOMESTIC HOG, (_Sus scrofa_,)]

DIFFERS chiefly from the wild animal in having smaller tusks, and large
and pendant ears. Of all domestic quadrupeds this is the most filthy
and impure. Its form is clumsy and unsightly, and its appetite
gluttonous and excessive. Nature, however, has fitted its stomach to
receive nutriment from a variety of things that would be otherwise
wasted, as the refuse of the field, the garden, and the kitchen, afford
it a luxurious repast. The Hog is naturally stupid, inactive, and
drowsy; much inclined to increase in fat, which is disposed in a
different manner from that of other animals, forming a thick, distinct,
and regular layer between the flesh and skin. Their flesh, Linnæus
observes, is a wholesome food for those that use much exercise, but
improper for such as lead a sedentary life. It is of great importance to
this country, as a naval and commercial nation, for it salts better than
any other flesh, and is capable of being longer preserved.

The domestic Sow brings forth twice a year, producing from ten to twenty
at a litter. She goes four months with young, and brings forth in the
fifth. At that time she must be carefully watched, to prevent her from
devouring her young. Still greater attention is necessary to keep off
the male, as he would destroy the whole litter. Jews and Mahommetans not
only abstain from the flesh of swine from a religious principle, but
consider themselves defiled by even touching it.


[Illustration: THE WILD BOAR, (_Sus scrofa_,)]

INHABITS, for the most part, marshes and woods, and is of a black or
brown colour: his flesh is very tender and good for food. The Wild Boar
has tusks, which are sometimes nearly a foot in length, and have often
proved dangerous to men, as well as to dogs in the chase. His life is
confined to about thirty years; his food consists of vegetables; but
when pressed by hunger, he devours animal flesh. This creature is strong
and fierce, and undauntedly turns against his pursuers. To hunt him is
one of the principal amusements of the grandees in those countries where
he is to be found. The dogs provided for this sport are of the slow,
heavy kind. Those used for hunting the stag, or the roebuck, would be
very improper, as they would too soon come up with their prey, and,
instead of a chase, would only furnish an engagement. Small mastiffs are
therefore chosen; nor do the hunters much regard the goodness of their
nose, as the Wild Boar leaves so strong a scent that it is impossible
for them to mistake his course. They never hunt any but the largest and
the oldest, which are known by their tusks. When the boar is _reared_,
as is the expression for driving him from his covert, he goes slowly and
sullenly forward, without any indication of fear, not very far before
his pursuers. At the end of every half-mile, or thereabouts, he turns
round, stops till the hounds come up, and offers to attack them. These,
on the other hand, knowing their danger, keep off and bay him at a
distance. After they have for a while gazed upon each other, with mutual
animosity, the Boar again slowly goes on his course, and the dogs renew
the pursuit. In this manner the charge is sustained, and the chase
continues, till the Boar is quite tired, and refuses to go any further.
The dogs then attempt to close in upon him from behind; those which are
young, fierce, and unaccustomed to the chase, are generally the
foremost, and often lose their lives by their ardour. Those which are
older, and better trained, are content to wait until the hunters come
up, who despatch him with their spears.

In former times, the Wild Boar was a native of Britain, as appears from
the laws of the Welsh prince, Howell the Good, who permitted his grand
huntsman to chase that animal from the middle of November to the
beginning of December; and in the reign of William the Conqueror, those
who were convicted of killing the Wild Boars, in any of the royal
forests, were punished with the loss of their eyes. Our domestic pigs
are descended from the wild race; but the tame Boar has two tusks,
smaller than those of the wild ones, and the sow has none.


[Illustration: THE BABIROUSSA, (_Babirussa alfurus_,)]

IS a singular species of hog, which dwells in many of the islands of the
eastern Archipelago. His four tusks are of enormous size, especially
those of the upper jaw, which are turned completely upwards and bent
back, like horns, towards the forehead, which they sometimes even touch.
These singular tusks are only found in the male; they do not seem, from
their construction, to be of much use to him as weapons; and it was
formerly supposed that he employed them as hooks to hang himself up to
the branch of a tree for his night’s rest.

THE PECCARY. (_Dicotyles labiatus._)

THIS is a little species of pig, of a brown colour, with pale lips,
which is found in great troops in the forests of South America. These
bands of Peccaries are said to travel from place to place under the
guidance of a sort of chief, who places himself at the head of his troop
and marches forward in a direct line, swimming boldly over the rivers,
and often devastating the plantations. When one of these troops meets
with any unusual object, they all stop to examine it, making a dreadful
clattering with their teeth, which they are quite ready to use in their
own defence, and will soon tear an assailant to pieces, unless he can
succeed in climbing up into a tree.

[Illustration: THE TAPIR. (_Tapirus americanus._)]

THIS animal bears considerable resemblance to the wild boar, but is
without tusks, and has its snout prolonged into a small fleshy
proboscis, or trunk. This trunk, however, has not the flexibility of
that of the elephant, and is incapable of holding anything. The colour
of the Tapir is of a deep brown, and the male has a small mane on the
upper part of his neck. It stands about three feet and a half high, and
measures nearly six feet in length. It lies in thickets, the thorny
branches of which cannot affect it from the thickness of its skin, while
they lacerate the skins of its pursuers. Its favourite food is the
water-melon. It is generally found alone, and always roams in search of
food at night; and it is easily tamed if taken young. It possesses the
same power of remaining under water as the hippopotamus, and when it
enters a pond, can descend to the bottom, and remain there five or six

The Malayan Tapir (_T. malayanus_), is very similar to the American
species in form; but is larger and has no mane. It is very remarkable
for the distribution of its colours, the anterior part and the legs
being deep black, and the rump, back, and sides, white. This animal is
found chiefly in Sumatra and Borneo.

[Illustration: THE HORSE. (_Equus caballus._)]

THE noblest conquest that man ever made over the brute creation was the
taming of the Horse, and adapting him to his service. He lessens the
labours of man and adds to his pleasures: shares, with equal docility
and cheerfulness, the fatigues of hunting or the dangers of war; and
draws with appropriate strength, rapidity, or grace, the heavy ploughs
and carts of the husbandman, the light vehicles of the fashionable, and
the stately carriages of the aristocratic.

The Horse is now bred in most parts of the world: those of Arabia,
Turkey, and Persia are accounted better proportioned than many others;
but the English Race-Horse may justly claim the precedence over all the
other European breeds, and is not inferior to any in strength and

The beautiful Horses produced in Arabia are in general of a brown
colour; their mane and tail are very short, with the hair black and
tufted. The Arabs, for the most part, use the Mares in their ordinary
excursions; experience having taught them that they are less vicious
than the males, and more capable of sustaining abstinence and fatigue.
As the Arabs have no other residence than a tent, this also serves for
a stable; the husband, the wife, the child, the mare, and the foal, lie
together indiscriminately, and the younger branches of the family may be
often seen embracing the neck, or reposing on the body of the Mare,
without any idea of fear or danger.

Of the remarkable attachment which the Arabs have to these animals, St.
Pierre has given an affecting instance in his Studies of Nature.--“The
whole stock of a poor Arabian of the desert consisted of a beautiful
Mare: this the French consul at Said offered to purchase, with an
intention to send her to Louis XIV. The Arab, pressed by want, hesitated
a long time, but at length consented, on condition of receiving a very
considerable sum of money, which he named. The consul wrote to France
for permission to close the bargain; and having obtained it, sent the
information to the Arab. The man, so indigent as to possess only a
miserable covering for his body, arrived with his magnificent courser:
he dismounted, and first looking at the gold, then steadfastly at his
Mare, heaved a sigh, ‘To whom is it,’ exclaimed he, ‘that I am going to
yield thee up? To Europeans? who will tie thee close, who will beat
thee, who will render thee miserable! Return with me, my beauty, my
jewel! and rejoice the hearts of my children:’ as he pronounced the last
words, he sprung upon her back, and was out of sight almost in a

The intelligence of the Horse is next to that of the elephant, and he
obeys his rider with so much punctuality and understanding, that the
Americans, who had never seen a man on horseback, thought, at first,
that the Spaniards were a kind of centaurs, half men and half horses.
The Horse, in a domestic state seldom lives longer than twenty years;
but it is supposed that in a wild state he attains a much greater age.
The Mare is as elegant in her shape as the Horse; and her young is
called a foal. The age of the Horse is known from his teeth; and his
colour, which varies from black to white, and from the darkest brown to
a light hazel tint, has been reckoned a criterion by which to judge of
his strength.

The Horse feeds upon grass, either fresh or dry, and corn: he is liable
to many diseases, and often dies suddenly. In the state of nature, he is
a gregarious animal, and even when domesticated, his debased situation
of slavery has not entirely destroyed his love of society and
friendship; for Horses have been known to pine at the loss of their
masters, their stable fellows, and even at the death of a dog which had
been bred near the manger. Virgil, in his beautiful description of this
noble animal, seems to have imitated Job:

    “The fiery courser, when he hears from far
     The sprightly trumpets, and the shouts of war,
     Pricks up his ears, and trembling with delight,
     Shifts place, and paws, and hopes the promised fight.
     On his right shoulder his thick mane reclined,
     Ruffles at speed, and dances in the wind.
     His horny hoofs are jetty black and round,
     His chine is double; starting with a bound,
     He turns the turf and shakes the solid ground.
     Fire from his eyes, clouds from his nostrils flow;
     He bears his rider headlong on the foe.”


[Illustration: THE ASS. (_Equus Asinus._)]

THE Ass is a beast of burden, and extremely serviceable to man. Of
greater strength than most animals of his size, he bears fatigue with
patience, and hunger with apparent cheerfulness. A bundle of dried
herbs, or a thistle on the road, is sufficient for his daily meal, and
he is content with the clear and pure water of a neighbouring brook (in
the choice of which he is particularly nice) in the absence of better
fare. It is probable that the Ass was originally a native of Arabia, and
other parts of the East: the deserts of Libya and Numidia, and many
parts of the Archipelago, contain vast herds of wild Asses, which run
with such amazing swiftness, that even the fleetest horses of the
country can hardly overtake them. At present, perhaps, the best breed in
Europe is the Spanish; and very valuable Asses are still to be had in
the southern continent of America, where, during the existence of the
Spanish dominion, the breed was very carefully attended to. In the time
of Elizabeth, we are informed, there were no Asses in this country. Our
treatment of this very useful animal is both wanton and cruel, and most
ungrateful, considering the great services he renders us at so little
expense. The ears of the Ass are of an uncommon length; and he is of a
greyish or dun colour, with a black cross on his back and shoulders.
When very young, the Ass is sprightly, and even tolerably handsome; but
he soon loses these qualifications, either by age or ill-treatment, and
becomes slow, sullen, and headstrong. The female is passionately fond of
her young one; and it is said she will even cross fire and water to
protect or rejoin it. The Ass is also sometimes greatly attached to its
owner, whom he scents at a distance, and plainly distinguishes from
others in a crowd.

The female goes with young eleven months, and seldom produces more than
one foal at a time: the teeth follow the same order of appearance and
renewal as those of the horse. Asses’ milk has long been celebrated for
its sanative qualities; invalids suffering from debility of the
digestive and assimilative functions make use of it with great
advantage; and to those also who are consumptive it is very generally

An old man who, a few years ago, sold vegetables in London, used in his
employment an Ass, which conveyed his baskets from door to door.
Frequently he gave the poor industrious creature a handful of hay, or
some pieces of bread, or greens, by way of refreshment or reward. The
old man had no need of any goad for the animal, and seldom, indeed, had
he to lift up his hand to drive it on. His kind treatment was one day
remarked to him, and he was asked if his beast was apt to be stubborn?
“Ah! master,” replied he, “it is of no use to be cruel, and as for
stubbornness, I cannot complain; for he is ready to do anything and go
anywhere. I bred him myself. He is sometimes skittish and playful, and
once ran away from me; you will hardly believe it, but there were more
than fifty people after him, attempting in vain to stop him; yet he
turned back of himself, and he never stopped till he ran his head
kindly into my bosom.”

The ancients had a great regard for this animal. The Romans had a breed
which they held in such high estimation, that Pliny mentions one of the
males selling for a price greater than three thousand pounds of our
money; and he says that in Celtiberia, a province in Spain, a she Ass
had colts that were bought for nearly the same sum. The Ass lives nearly
to the same age as the horse. From the general resemblance between the
Ass and the horse, it might naturally be supposed that they were closely
allied, and that one had degenerated; they are, however, perfectly
distinct. There is that inseparable barrier placed between them which
nature provides for the protection and preservation of her productions;
their mutual offspring, the mule, being incapable of reproducing its


[Illustration: THE MULE.]

THIS useful and hardy animal is the offspring of the horse and the ass,
and partakes of the good qualities of both. The common Mule is very
healthy, and will live above thirty years. The size and strength of our
breed have been much improved by the importation of Spanish male asses;
and it is much to be wished that the useful qualities of this animal
were more attended to; for, by proper care in its breaking, its natural
obstinacy would in a great measure be corrected; and it might be formed
with success for the saddle, the draught, or the burden. People of the
first quality are drawn by Mules in Spain, where fifty and sixty guineas
is no uncommon price for them; nor is it surprising, when we consider
how far they excel the horse in travelling in a mountainous country, the
Mule being able to tread securely where the former can hardly stand. It
is much less dainty in its food than the horse, and not so liable to
disease; and has been known to go a distance of eighty or a hundred
miles in one day, with a heavy weight on its back, without much

[Illustration: THE KIANG. (_Equus Hemionus._)]

THE Kiang, which is also called the Djiggetai, is a kind of wild ass,
found in small herds on the great plains of Central Asia. It is a good
deal larger than the common ass, and its fur is of a peculiar pale
reddish chestnut tint, except on the legs and muzzle, which are nearly
white. The ears are not so long as in the ass, and there is a black
streak down the middle of the back.

[Illustration: THE ZEBRA. (_Equus Zebra._)]

THIS is one of the most elegantly marked quadrupeds in nature. He is
striped all over with the most pleasing regularity; in size he resembles
the mule, being smaller than the horse, and larger than the ass. The
hair of his skin is uncommonly smooth, and he looks at a distance like
an animal that some fanciful hand has surrounded with ribbons of white
or buff, and jet black. He is a native of Southern Africa--chiefly of
the Cape of Good Hope, where he resides amongst the mountains. In these
solitudes the Zebra has nothing to restrain his liberty. He is too shy
to be caught in traps, and therefore seldom taken alive. Were the Zebra
inured to our climate, there is little doubt but he might be soon
domesticated. The black cross which the ass bears on his back and
shoulders indicates the affinity between these two animals. The Zebra
feeds in the same manner as the horse, ass, and mule; and seems to
delight in having clean straw and dried leaves to sleep upon. His voice
can hardly be described; it is thought by some persons to have a
distinct resemblance to the sound of a post-horn, and is more frequently
exerted when the animal is alone than at other times. In former times,
Zebras were often sent as presents to the oriental princes. A governor
of Batavia is said to have given one to the emperor of Japan, for which
he received as an equivalent a present to the value of sixty thousand
crowns; and Teller informs us, that the Great Mogul gave two thousand
ducats for one of these animals. It is usual with the African
ambassadors to the court of Constantinople to bring Zebras with them as
presents for the Grand Seignior. In a wild state they live in herds, and
can only be tamed when taken young, or bred in captivity.

Another kind of Zebra (_Equus Burchellii_) inhabits the plains of
Southern Africa; it is known as the Zebra of the plains, and is also
called Burchell’s Zebra, after the distinguished African traveller. This
Zebra is less beautifully marked than the mountain species.

Instinct having taught these beautiful animals that in union consists
their strength, they combine in a compact body when menaced by an attack
either from man or beast; and if overtaken by the foe, they unite for
mutual defence, with their heads together in a close circular band,
presenting their heels to the enemy, and dealing out kicks in equal
force and abundance. Beset on all sides, or partially crippled, they
rear on their hinder legs, fly at their adversary with jaws distended,
and use both teeth and heels with the greatest freedom.

The _Quagga_ is also a native of Southern Africa. It is more wild than
the Zebra, and less beautifully marked; the stripes, indeed, do not
extend over the whole body, but only over the head and neck. The colour
is a reddish brown above and white beneath. The Quagga is less than the
Zebra, and not so elegantly formed, the hind quarters being higher than
the shoulders. The ears are also much shorter. The Quagga bears the
reputation of being naturally vicious, and so treacherous that it is
said that, like a cat, it will bite the hand that feeds and caresses

§ VIII.--_Ruminating Animals._

[Illustration: THE BULL. (_Bos Taurus._)]

THERE are, perhaps, no animals more generally useful to mankind than the
race of oxen, in all their states of existence. They are called
ruminating animals; that is, after they have eaten their food they
possess the power of returning it from the first stomach into the mouth,
to be again masticated before it is finally digested. This is called
chewing the cud; and as the animal generally lies down, and looks very
thoughtful while the operation is performing, it is said to be

The Bull is a very fierce creature, and when enraged, runs about,
tossing up his tail, and roaring most fearfully. When attacked by men or
dogs, he tears up the ground with his feet, and then gallops after his
assailants, endeavouring to toss them with his horns; and very often
pursues in this manner any one he sees, particularly if they appear
frightened. When in danger of being attacked by a Bull, the best course
is to stand still, and open an umbrella, or flap a shawl, or something
of that kind, in the Bull’s face; as with all his fierceness he is a
great coward, and only pursues those who fly from him.

The Ox, or Bullock, is used in some parts of the country for drawing
carts and waggons, and ploughing; and its flesh is called beef. The skin
is tanned and made into leather; the hair is mixed with mortar; the
bones are used for knife-handles, chess-men, counters, and other things,
as a substitute for ivory; from its horns are made combs, and various
other articles; the fat is used in making candles; the blood in refining
sugar: and, in short, every part has some important use.

The common charge of stupidity urged against the Ox is wholly unfounded,
as the following anecdote, recorded by Mr. Bell, will show. A cow,
feeding in a pasture, the gate of which was open, was much annoyed by a
mischievous boy, who amused himself by throwing stones at her. The
peaceful animal, after enduring this patiently for some time, went up to
him, and hooking the end of her horn into his clothes, carried him out
of the field and laid him down in the road. She then returned calmly to
her pasture, leaving him quit for a severe fright and a torn garment.


[Illustration: THE COW.]

THE COW is the female of the ox tribe, and her young is called a calf. A
young Cow, when under two years old, is called a heifer. The Cow is as
useful to mankind as the ox, except in ploughing and drawing; but to
make amends, she supplies us with milk, from which butter and cheese are
made. The Cow gives from six to twenty quarts of milk in a day: and the
faculty of giving it in such abundance, and with so much ease, is a
striking peculiarity, for this animal differs in this part of its
organization from most others, having a large udder, and longer and
thicker teats, than the largest animal we know of; it has likewise four
teats, whilst all other animals of the same nature have but two; it also
yields the milk freely to the hand, whilst all other animals, at least
those that do not ruminate in the same manner, refuse it, unless their
young, or some adopted animal, be allowed to partake it. The age of the
Cow is known by her horns; at four a ring is formed at their roots, and
every succeeding year another ring is added. Thus, by allowing three
years before their appearance, and then reckoning the number of rings,
the creature’s age may be exactly known.

Calves, when quite young, are helpless creatures, from the great length
and weakness of their legs. Sometimes they are killed when young, and
their flesh is then called veal. The stomach of the calf, when it is
killed, is taken out, and cleaned and salted; it is then hung up to dry,
and is called rennet. In making cheese, a bit of rennet is soaked in
water, which when poured into milk, turns it to curd. The curd is then
separated from the whey, and put into a press, when it becomes cheese.

[Illustration: THE WILD BULL.]

IN the Duke of Hamilton’s park in Scotland, Lord Tankerville’s at
Chillingham, in Northumberland, and some other places, there is a breed
of wild cattle, possibly the last remains of those which at one period
overran this island. The colour is white, with muzzle and ears black, or
very dark red.

At the first appearance of any person near them, these animals set off
at full gallop; and at the distance of two or three hundred yards wheel
round and come boldly up again, tossing their heads in a menacing
manner. On a sudden they make a full stop at the distance of forty or
fifty yards, and look wildly at the object of their surprise; but on the
least motion they all turn round, and gallop off again with equal speed,
but not to the same distance, forming a smaller circle; and again
returning, with a bolder and more threatening aspect than before, they
approach much nearer, when they make another stand, and again gallop
off. This they do several times, shortening their distance, and
advancing nearer till they come within a few yards, when most persons
consider it prudent to leave them, not choosing to provoke them further,
as it is probable that in a few turns more they would make an attack.

The mode of killing these animals, as was practised a few years ago, was
the only remnant of the ancient mode of hunting that existed in this
country. On notice being given that a Wild Bull would be killed on a
certain day, the inhabitants of the neighbourhood assembled, sometimes
to the number of a hundred horsemen, and four or five hundred foot, all
armed with guns or other weapons. Those on foot stood upon the walls, or
climbed into trees, while the horsemen separated a Bull from the rest of
the herd, and chased him until he stood at bay, when they dismounted and
fired. At some of these huntings, twenty or thirty shots have been
discharged before the animal was subdued. On such occasions the bleeding
victim grew desperately furious from the smarting of his wounds, and the
shouts of savage joy echoing from every side.

When the Cows calve, they hide their young ones for a week or ten days
in some sequestered retreat, and go to suckle them two or three times in
a day. If any person comes near one of the calves it crouches close upon
the ground, and endeavours to hide itself, a proof of the native
wildness of the animals. In one instance where a calf was disturbed, it
pawed the ground like an old Bull, and attempted to butt with its head,
till it fell from weakness. It had done enough, however, to raise an
alarm, and the whole herd came to its rescue, compelling the intruder to
decamp: for the dams will allow no one to touch their young without
attacking him with impetuosity. In the Duke of Hamilton’s park, in the
summer of 1841, a calf, which was disturbed by the passing of a carriage
near it, bellowed so fearfully as to rouse the whole herd, though they
were at a considerable distance.

[Illustration: THE AFRICAN BUFFALO (_Bubalus Caffer._)]

IN its general form the Buffalo has a great resemblance to the ox; but
it differs from that animal in its horns, and in some particulars of its
internal structure. It is larger than the ox; the head is also bigger in
proportion, the forehead higher, and the muzzle longer. The horns are
large, and of a compressed form, with the exterior edge sharp; they are
straight for a considerable length from their base, and then bend
slightly upward. The general colour of the animal is blackish, except
the forehead and the tip of the tail, which are of a dusky white. The
hunch is not, as many have supposed it, a large fleshy lump, but is
occasioned by the bones that form the withers being continued, to a
greater length than in most other animals. Buffaloes are found in most
parts of the torrid zone, and of almost all warm climates; always
dwelling in moist and marshy places, where they delight to roll in the
mire. In a wild state, the Buffalo is exceedingly fierce; but in some of
the tropical countries he is perfectly domestic, and very useful for
many purposes, being an animal of patience and great strength. When
employed in the labours of agriculture, he has a brass ring put through
his nose, by which means he is led at pleasure. Buffaloes are common in
the Pontine Marshes near Rome, where they were brought from India in the
sixth century. In India they constitute the riches and food of the poor,
who employ them in their fields, and make butter and cheese from their
milk. They are much valued for their hides; of which, in several
countries, and especially in England, military belts, boots, and other
implements of war are made. There are various species of Buffaloes, of
which the Cape Buffalo, from South Africa, is the best known, and most

Buffaloes, in their native country, fight so fiercely with each other,
that African travellers have remarked that they are seldom found without
torn ears, and scars of various kinds on the neck and body. And they are
no less treacherous than ferocious, lurking among the trees in
concealment until some unfortunate passenger passes. The animal will
then suddenly rush upon him, and there is little chance of the victim
escaping unless a tree be at hand. The furious beast, not contented with
throwing him down and killing him, stands over him for a long time,
trampling on and tearing the body to pieces; he then strips off the skin
with his rough and prickly tongue. Even after all this he repeatedly
returns to the body to gratify afresh his savage disposition.


[Illustration: THE BISON. (_Bos or Bison Bonasus._)]

THERE are two kinds of Bison; one a native of Europe, and the other of
America. The European Bison, or Bonasus, is as large as a bull or ox;
maned about the back and neck like a lion; and his hair hanging down
under his chin, or nether jaw, like a large beard. The fore parts of his
body are thick and strong, but the hinder parts are comparatively
slender. He has a little ridge along his face from his forehead down to
his nose, which is very hairy; his horns are large, very sharp, and
turning towards his back, like those of a wild goat. The American Bison
(_B. Americanus_), attains a size far superior to that of the largest
breeds of our common oxen, and is met with throughout nearly the whole
of the uninhabited parts of North America, from Hudson’s Bay to
Louisiana and the frontiers of Mexico. Captains Lewis and Clarke, and
Dr. James, bear frequent testimony to the almost incredible numbers in
which these animals assemble on the banks of the Missouri. “Such was
their multitude,” say the first-named travellers, “that, although the
river, including an island over which they passed, was a mile in
breadth, the herd stretched, as thick as they could swim, completely
from one side to the other.” And again they say: “If it be not
impossible to calculate the moving multitude which darkened the whole
plains, we are convinced that twenty thousand would be no exaggerated
number.” Dr. James tells us that, “in the middle of the day countless
thousands of them were seen coming in from every quarter to the stagnant
pools;” their paths, as he informs us elsewhere, being “as frequent, and
almost as conspicuous, as the roads in the most populous parts of the
United States.”

These wild cattle defend themselves from the wolves in the most
admirable manner. When they hear their savage enemies approaching they
form themselves adroitly into a circle. The weakest are left in the
middle, whilst the strongest are on the outside, and present to their
foes an impenetrable phalanx of horns. The vignette is an illustration
of this subject.

Exciting stories of the buffalo hunt, both American and African, will be
seen in Catlin’s North American Indians, and Harris’s Wild Animals and
Sports of Southern Africa.


[Illustration: THE ZEBU, OR BRAHMIN BULL. (_Bos Indicus._)]

PENNANT describes the Zebu, or Indian Ox, as sometimes surpassing in
size the largest of the European breeds, and the hunch on his shoulders
as weighing frequently fifty pounds. There are many varieties, with and
without horns, differing in size from that above-named, down to the
dimensions of an ordinary hog. They are spread over the whole of
Southern Asia, and also in Africa. In all these countries the Zebu
supplies the place of the Ox, both as a beast of burden and as an
article of food. By the Hindoos they are treated with great veneration,
and it is held sinful to deprive them of life, or eat their flesh. A
select number are exempted from all labour, and allowed to wander about,
and subsist on the voluntary and pious contributions of the devotees of
their faith.

Emboldened by the toleration they experience, they make free with every
vegetable to which they take a fancy, no one daring to resist or drive
them away; often they lie down in the street; no one must disturb them:
every one must give place to the sacred Ox of Brahma; thus they are
frequently nuisances, which superstition alone would endure.

[Illustration: THE SHEEP. (_Ovis Aries._)]

THE Sheep has been so long subjected to the empire of man that it is not
known with certainty from what race our domestic species has been
derived. It is supposed, however, to be from the Mouflon, or Musmon, of
Sardinia and Crete. This animal is one of the most useful ever bestowed
on us by a bountiful Providence; and in patriarchal times the number of
Sheep constituted the riches of kings and princes. It is universally
known, its flesh being one of the chief kinds of human food, and its
wool being of great use for clothing. Although of a moderate size, and
well covered, it does not live more than nine or ten years. The Ewe has
one or two young at a time, and the young one, which is called a lamb,
has always been an emblem of innocence.

In its domestic state it is too well known to require a detail of its
peculiar habits, or of the methods which have been adopted to improve
the breed. No country produces finer Sheep than England, either with
larger fleeces or better adapted for the business of clothing. Those of
Spain have confessedly finer wool, some of which we generally require to
work up with our own, but the weight of a Spanish fleece is much
inferior to one of Lincoln or Tees Water. Merino, or Spanish Sheep, have
of late years been introduced with some success into our English
pastures, and the wool of the hybrids, raised between the Merino Sheep
and the South Down Sheep, is thought nearly equal to that of Spain.

In stormy weather, these animals generally hide themselves in caves from
the fury of the elements; but if such retreats are not to be found, they
collect themselves together, and, during a fall of snow, place their
heads near each other, with their muzzles inclined to the ground. In
this situation they sometimes remain till hunger compels them to gnaw
each other’s wool, which forms into hard balls in the stomach and
destroys them. But in general they are sought out and extricated soon
after the storm has subsided.

“The Sheep,” Mr. Bell observes, “is one of the most interesting of all
animals as regards its historical relations with man. It was the subject
of the first sacrifices, and was used in its typical character as an
offering of atonement; and the relation which existed between the
patriarchal shepherds and their flock was of so intimate and even
affectionate a nature as to have afforded the subject of many beautiful
passages in the Holy Scriptures.”


[Illustration: THE RAM]

IS the male Sheep, and is so strong and fierce that he will boldly
attack a dog, and often comes off victorious: he has even been known,
regardless of danger, to engage a bull; and his forehead being much
harder than that of any other animal, he seldom fails to conquer. He
overcomes the bull, who, by lowering his head, receives the stroke of
the Ram between his eyes, which usually brings him to the ground.

[Illustration: THE WALLACHIAN RAM.]

THE singular conformation of the horns, which adorn the head of this
breed of Sheep, has induced us to insert a figure of the animal in this
work, though it is only a variety of the common species. The horns of
the Ewe are twisted also, but not so much as those of the Ram, which
form, near the head, a spiral line. The wool is much longer than that of
the common Sheep, and resembles the hair of the goat. A fine Ram of this
species was presented some years since to the Zoological Gardens in the
Regent’s park, by Dr. Bowring. It is there called the Parnassian Sheep,
having been brought from Mount Parnassus.


in figure somewhat resembles a ram, but his wool is rather like the hair
of a goat. His horns are large and bent backwards, and his tail is
short. He is of the size of a small deer, active, swift, wild, and found
in flocks in the rocky, dry deserts of Asia. His flesh and fat are
delicious. He is called also the Siberian Sheep or Goat, and is
considered by some to be the parent stock of the domestic Sheep.

[Illustration: THE GOAT. (_Capra hircus._)]

THE Goat, next to the cow and the sheep, has been always reckoned,
especially in ancient and patriarchal times, the most useful domestic
animal. Its milk is sweet, nourishing, and medicinal, and better adapted
for persons of weak digestion than that of the cow, as it is not so apt
to curdle on the stomach. The female has generally two young ones at a
time, which are called kids. This animal is admirably adapted for living
in wild places; it delights in climbing precipices, and is often seen
reposing in peaceful security on rocks overhanging the sea. Nature
indeed has in some measure fitted it for traversing these eminences; the
hoof being hollow underneath, with sharp edges, so that it can walk as
securely on the ridge of a house as on the level ground. The flesh of
the goat is seldom eaten; but that of the kid is esteemed a very
delicate food, and is frequently eaten on the Continent. In the East,
the long soft hair of the goat is used in making the beautiful Cashmere
shawls; and from the skin is manufactured morocco leather. The skin of
the kid is well known for its use in making gloves.

[Illustration: THE IBEX, OR BOQUETIN, (_Capra Ibex_,)]

IS a Wild Goat, which inhabits the Pyrenean mountains, the Alps, and the
highest mountains of Greece. He is of an admirable swiftness; his head
is armed with two long, knotted horns, inclining backwards; his hair is
rough, and of a deep brown colour. The male only has a beard, and the
female is less than the male. This animal skips from rock to rock, and
often, when pursued, leaps down enormous precipices, and is said to bend
his head between his fore legs while springing, so as to break his fall,
by alighting partly on his horns. The Ibex has been known to turn on the
incautious huntsman, and tumble him down the precipice, unless he has
time to lie down, and let the animal pass over him.

[Illustration: THE ANTELOPE. (_Antilope cervicapra._)]

THESE beautiful inhabitants of the temperate regions of Africa, and
southern Asia, possess swiftness and elegance of shape in an eminent
degree. They are timid, inoffensive, and gregarious. The males have
horns like those of the goat, and never shed them; they are smooth,
long, twisted spirally, and annulated. The general colour of the hair is
brown, and, in some species, a beautiful yellow. The eyes are
exceedingly bright, and have often been compared to those of a beautiful
nymph by Persian and other poets. Enjoying perfect liberty, they range
in herds through the deserts of Arabia, and bound from rock to rock with
wonderful agility. Their long and slender legs are peculiarly suited to
their habits and manners of life, and are, in some of the species, so
slender and brittle as to snap with a very trifling blow. The Arabs,
taking advantage of this circumstance, catch them by throwing sticks at
them, by which their legs are broken.

[Illustration: THE GAZELLE. (_Antilope Dorcas._)]

    “The wild Gazelle, on Judah’s hills,
       Exulting yet may bound,
     And drink from all the living rills
       That gush on holy ground.
     Its airy step and glorious eye
     May glance in tameless transport by.”--BYRON.

THE Gazelle is the most elegant of antelopes. The Arabian poets have
applied their choicest epithets to the beauty of this animal, and their
descriptions have been adopted into our own poetry. Byron, in speaking
of the dark eyes of an eastern beauty, says:

    “Go look on those of the Gazelle.”
When the Persian describes his mistress, she is “an antelope in
beauty,”--“his Gazelle employs all his soul;” and thus, in their
figurative language, perfect beauty and Gazelle beauty are synonymous.
These animals are spread, in innumerable herds, from Arabia to the river
Senegal in Africa. Lions and panthers feed upon them; and man chases
them with the dog, the cheetah, and the falcon. The height of the
Gazelle is about twenty inches, the skin beautifully sleek, its body
extremely graceful, its head unusually light, its ears flexible, its
eyes most brilliant and glancing, and its legs as slender as a reed.

[Illustration: THE CHAMOIS. (_Antilope Rupicapra._)]

THE Chamois is about three feet in length and two in height; its horns
six or seven inches long, its ears small, and its head resembling that
of the goat. The body is covered with long brown hair, the hue of which
varies with the season.

The flesh is considered a savoury food, and the skin is wrought into a
soft pliable leather, well known in domestic economy.

The Chamois is found only in the mountainous regions of Europe, where
they herd together on lofty and almost inaccessible cliffs and
precipices. They are so acute and shy, that it is only by the greatest
patience and skill that the hunter can approach near enough to shoot
them; and they are so swift, and leap with such extraordinary sureness
of foot, that to overtake them is impossible.

    “---- ---- ---- But beasts have reason too.
     And that we know, we men that hunt the Chamois,
     They never turn to feed--sagacious creatures--
     Till they have placed a sentinel a-head,
     Who pricks his ears whenever we approach,
     And gives alarm with clear and piercing pipe.”

[Illustration: THE NYL GHAU, OR BLUE OX. (_Antilope picta._)]

THIS is a large kind of antelope, found in India. In the wild state
these animals are very ferocious, but they may be domesticated, and in
that condition give frequent tokens of familiarity, and even of
gratitude, to those under whose care they are placed. The female, or
doe, is much smaller than the male, and of a yellowish colour, by which
she is easily distinguished from the buck, who is of a grey tint.

Its manner of fighting is very peculiar, and is thus described:--Two of
the males, at Lord Clive’s, being put into an enclosure, were observed,
while they were at some distance from each other, to prepare for the
attack, by falling down upon their knees; they then shuffled towards
each other, still keeping upon their knees; and, at the distance of a
few yards, they made a spring, and darted against each other with great

The following anecdote will serve to show that these animals are
sometimes fierce and vicious, and not to be depended upon:--A labouring
man, without knowing that the animal was near him, went up to the
outside of the enclosure; the Nyl Ghau, with the quickness of lightning,
darted against the woodwork with such violence that he dashed it to
pieces, and broke one of his horns close to the root. The death of the
animal soon after was supposed to be owing to the injury he sustained by
the blow.

The Nyl Ghau usually keeps closely concealed in the jungle, but in the
night or early morning it sometimes passes into the open ground, to feed
in the corn-fields belonging to the neighbouring villages. This is the
moment chosen by the natives to attack it. A platform is erected near
the spot the Nyl Ghau is known to frequent, from which the hunters can
take aim with precision and safety.

[Illustration: THE GNU. (_Antilope Gnu._)]

THIS very singular animal is sometimes called a horned horse; as it has
the shape and mane of a horse, with the addition of a formidable pair of
horns, a kind of beard below the chin, and a fringe of hair below the
body, along the breastbone. The Gnus live together in herds, and when
alarmed, fling up their heels, and plunge and rear, tossing their heads
and tails, before they gallop off; which they do, the whole herd
following their leader singly, like a troop of soldiers. The Gnu
inhabits the sandy deserts of South Africa; and its flesh, which is said
to resemble beef, is sometimes eaten by the colonists near the Cape of
Good Hope. When caught young the Gnu may be tamed, but its disposition
is always uncertain, and when offended it throws itself on its knees,
like the nyl ghau, and then springing up, butts furiously with its

[Illustration: THE STAG. (_Cervus Elaphus._)]

THIS animal is the male of the red Deer, and is generally famed for long
life, though upon no certain authority. Naturalists agree, however, upon
this point, that his life may exceed forty years: but that his
existence, as it has been asserted, reaches to three centuries, is too
absurd to be believed. His horns are at first very small, but gradually
increase in size, as they are yearly shed and renewed, till the stag has
completed his fifth year, when they become very large and branching,
and remain so during the remainder of his life. The Stag is one of the
tallest of the deer kind, and is called a Hart after he has completed
his fifth year; the female, called the Hind, is without horns. Every
year, in the month of April, when the Stag has lost his horns, he
appears conscious of his temporary weakness, and hides himself till his
new ones have grown and are hardened. This is generally in about ten
weeks, even when the Stag is full grown; his horns at this age weigh
between twenty and thirty pounds. Little need be said of the pleasure
taken in hunting the Stag, the Hart, and the Roebuck, it being a matter
well known in this country, and in all parts of Europe. The following
fact, recorded in history, will serve to show that the Stag is possessed
of an extraordinary share of courage, when his personal safety is
concerned:--In the reign of George the Second, William, Duke of
Cumberland, caused a tiger and a Stag to be enclosed in the same area;
and the Stag made so bold a defence, that the tiger was at length
obliged to give up. The flesh of the Stag is accounted excellent food,
and his horns are useful to cutlers; even their shavings are used to
make ammonia, so much esteemed in medicine under the name of
_hartshorn_. The swiftness of the Stag has become proverbial, and the
diversion of hunting this creature has, for ages, been looked upon as a
royal amusement. In the time of William Rufus and Henry the First, it
was less criminal to destroy a human being than a full-grown Stag. This
animal, when fatigued in the chase, often throws himself into a pond of
water, or crosses a river; and, when caught, sheds tears like a child.

    “To the which place a poor sequestered Stag,
     That from the hunter’s aim had ta’en a hurt,
     Did come to languish; and indeed, my lord,
     The wretched animal heaved forth such groans
     That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
     Almost to bursting; and the big round tears
     Coursed one another down his innocent nose
     In piteous chase.”

[Illustration: THE WAPITI, (_Cervus Canadensis_,)]

IS a native of Canada and other northern parts of America, and is one of
the most gigantic of the Deer tribe, growing to the height of our
tallest oxen, and uniting great activity to strength of body and limbs.
His horns, which he sheds annually, are very large, branching in
serpentine curves, and measuring from tip to tip upwards of six feet.
These animals make a shrill noise, resembling the braying of an ass, and
are supposed to be the most stupid of the Deer kind. The flesh is
coarse, and little esteemed, but the hide, when made into leather, is
said not to become hard in drying after being wetted, a quality which
entitles it to a preference over almost every other kind. There are
several of these splendid animals in the collection of the Zoological
Society, in the Regent’s Park, where they continue to form objects of
singular interest and attraction. The male is, however, very fierce,
always endeavouring to attack those who approach him; and on one
occasion seriously injured one of the visitors to the gardens.

[Illustration: THE ROEBUCK, (_Cervus capreolus_,)]

IS one of the least of the Deer kind known in these climates, being not
above three feet in length, and two in height, and seldom lives more
than fifteen years. His horns are about nine inches long, round, and
divided into three small branches, and his colour is of a brown shade on
the back, his face partly black and partly ash-colour, the chest and
belly yellow, and the rump white; his tail is short. The Roebuck is more
graceful, more active, more cunning, and comparatively swifter than the
stag; his flesh is much esteemed. He is very delicate in the choice of
his food, and requires a larger tract of country, suited to the wildness
of his nature, which can never be thoroughly subdued. No arts can teach
him to be familiar with his keeper, nor in any degree attached to him.
These animals are easily terrified; and in their attempts to escape will
run with such force against the walls of their enclosure, as sometimes
to disable themselves: they are also subject to capricious fits of
fierceness; and, on these occasions, will strike furiously with their
horns and feet at the object of their dislike. The only parts of Great
Britain where they are now found are the Highlands of Scotland.

[Illustration: THE FALLOW DEER. (_Cervus dama._)]

THESE are the Deer now usually kept in our parks. The beautifully
spotted kind are said to have been brought from Bengal, and the very
deep brown from Norway by King James I. Their horns are broad and flat;
the male is called a buck, the female a doe, and the young one a fawn.
The buck casts his horns every spring, and they increase in size
annually till he has attained his fifth year. The venison of this Deer
is very far superior to that of the red deer, which is coarse and tough.
The buck-skin and doe-skin are well known, as furnishing a peculiarly
soft and warm leather, which is used for gloves, gaiters, &c. The horns
are used for the handles of knives, &c., like those of the stag; and the
refuse is, in the like manner, used in the manufacture of ammonia. The
buck stands about three feet high, and measures about five feet in
length; the doe is somewhat smaller. The tail is much longer than either
that of the stag or the roebuck, being nearly seven inches and a half

[Illustration: THE ELK, (_Cervus Alces_,)]

IS the largest of all the Deer kind. The antlers, at first simple, and
then divided into narrow slips, assume in the fifth year the form of a
triangular blade, dentated on the external edge and very thick at the
base; they increase with age, till they weigh fifty or sixty pounds, and
have fourteen branches to each horn. The Elk lives in forests, feeding
upon branches and sprouts of trees, and inhabits Europe, Asia, and
America; in the last-named country he is known by the name of the Moose
Deer. There is very little difference between the European Elk and the
American Moose Deer, though they are larger in the New World than with
us, owing perhaps to the extensive forests in which they range. In all
places, however, they are timorous and gentle; content with their
pasture, and never willing to disturb any other animal. The pace of the
Elk is a high, shambling trot, but it runs with great swiftness.
Formerly these animals were made use of in Sweden to draw sledges, but
their swiftness gave criminals such means of escape, that this
employment of them was prohibited under great penalties. The female is
less than the male, and has no horns.

[Illustration: THE REIN-DEER, (_Cervus Tarandus_, or _Rangifer

IS found in most of the northern regions of Europe, Asia, and America,
and its general height is about four feet and a half. The colour is
brown above and white beneath; but as the animal advances in age, it
often becomes of a greyish white. The hoofs are long, large, and black.
Both sexes are furnished with horns, but those of the male are much the
largest. To the Laplanders this animal supplies the place of the horse,
the cow, the goat, and the sheep; it is their only wealth. The milk
affords them cheese; the flesh, food; the skin, clothing; of the tendons
they make bowstrings, and when split, thread; of the horns, glue; and of
the bones, spoons. During the winter, the Reindeer supplies the want of
a horse, and draws sledges with amazing swiftness over the frozen lakes
and rivers, or over the snow, which at that time covers the whole
country. Innumerable are the uses, the comforts, and advantages which
the poor inhabitants of this dreary climate derive from this animal. We
cannot sum them up better than in the beautiful language of the poet:

    “Their Rein-deer form their riches. These their tents,
     Their robes, their beds, and all their homely wealth     Supply, their wholesome fare, and cheerful cups:
     Obsequious at their call, the docile tribe
     Yield to the sled their necks, and whirl them swift
     O’er hill and dale, heaped into one expanse
     Of marbled snow, as far as eye can sweep,
     With a blue crest of ice unbounded glazed.”

The mode of hunting the wild Rein-deer by the Laplanders, the Esquimaux,
and the Indians of North America, has been accurately described by late
travellers. Captain Franklin gives the following interesting account of
the mode practised by the Dog-rib Indians, to kill these animals. “The
hunters go in pairs, the foremost man carrying in one hand the horns and
part of the skin of the head of a Deer, and in the other a small bundle
of twigs, against which he, from time to time, rubs the horns, imitating
the gestures peculiar to the animal. His comrade follows, treading
exactly in his footsteps, and holding the guns of both in a horizontal
position, so that the muzzles project under the arms of him who carries
the head. Both hunters have a fillet of white skin round their
foreheads, and the foremost has a strip of the same round his wrists.
They approach the herd by degrees, raising their legs very slowly, but
setting them down somewhat suddenly, after the manner of a Deer, and
always taking care to lift their right or left feet simultaneously. If
any of the herd leave off feeding to gaze upon this extraordinary
phenomenon, it instantly stops, and the head begins to play its part, by
licking its shoulders, and performing other necessary movements. In this
way the hunters attain the very centre of the herd without exciting
suspicion, and have leisure to single out the fattest. The hindmost man
then pushes forward his comrade’s gun, the head is dropped, and they
both fire nearly at the same instant. The Deer scamper off, the hunters
trot after them; in a short time the poor animals halt, to ascertain the
cause of their terror; their foes stop at the same moment, and having
loaded as they ran, greet the gazers with a second fatal discharge. The
consternation of the Deer increases; they run to and fro in the utmost
confusion; and sometimes a great part of the herd is destroyed within
the space of a few hundred yards.”

[Illustration: THE AXIS. (_Cervus Axis._)]

A VERY beautiful species of the Deer is found in the East Indies, of a
light red colour, though some of the kind are of a deeper red. It is
about the size of a fallow deer, and often variegated with beautiful
spots of bright white. The horns are slender and triple-forked. The Axis
is a timid and harmless creature, more ornamental to the landscape,
where it skips and plays in a wild state, than useful to man. It is
extremely docile, and possesses the sense of smelling to an exquisite
degree. Though it is a native of the banks of the Ganges, it appears to
bear the climates of Europe without injury.

THE MUSK DEER. (_Moschus moschiferus._)

THIS is a small species of Deer, quite destitute of horns, which lives
on the vast plains of Central Asia. It is distinguished by possessing a
pair of canine teeth or tusks in the upper jaw; and these teeth, which
are not found in the ruminant animals generally, are so long in the Musk
Deer that they project from the sides of the mouth and descend below
the chin. The Musk Deer is exceedingly active, and leaps to an
astonishing height. The male is remarkable for possessing a pouch about
the size of an egg, near the navel; this contains a brown, oily matter,
of a most powerful odour, which is the well-known perfume called _musk_,
so highly esteemed amongst Eastern nations.


(_Camelopardalis Giraffa._)]

THIS most remarkable ruminant, which in its general structure nearly
approaches the Deer, has points of affinity also with the antelopes and
camels, besides very striking peculiarities of its own.
The head is the most beautiful part of the animal: it is small, and the
eyes are large, brilliant, and very full. Between the eyes, and above
the nose, is a swelling very prominent and well-defined. This prominence
is not a fleshy excrescence, but an enlargement of the bony substance;
and it seems to be similar to the two little lumps, or horns, with which
the top of the head is armed, and which, being several inches in length,
spring on each side of the head, just above the ears, and are terminated
by a thick tuft of stiff upright hairs. The neck is remarkably
elongated, and it is furnished with a very short, stiff mane, which
stands out erect from the skin. The height of a full-grown Giraffe in a
wild state is said to be seventeen or eighteen feet, measuring from the
hoofs to the tip of the ears; but none of those in England exceed
fourteen feet. At first sight, the fore legs appear much longer than the
hind ones; but the fact is, that the legs are of the same length, and it
is only the height of the withers that occasions the apparent
disproportion. Le Vaillant was the first well-informed naturalist who
studied the habits of the Giraffe in its wild state. “If,” he says,
“among the known quadrupeds, precedency be allowed to height, the
Giraffe without doubt must hold the first rank. A male which I have in
my collection measured, after I killed it, sixteen feet four inches from
the hoof to the extremity of its horns. I use this expression in order
to be understood; for the Giraffe has no real horns; but between its
ears, at the upper extremity of the head, arise in a perpendicular and
parallel direction two excrescences from the cranium, which without any
joint stretch to the height of eight or nine inches, terminating in a
convex knob, and are surrounded by a row of strong straight hair, which
overtops them by several lines. The female is generally lower than the
male.... In consequence of the number of these animals which I killed,
or had an opportunity of seeing, I may establish as a certain rule that
the males are generally fifteen or sixteen feet in height, and the
females from thirteen to fourteen feet.” The colour of the Giraffe is a
light fawn, marked with spots only a few shades darker. The legs are
very slender; and, notwithstanding the length of the neck, it manifests
great difficulty in taking anything from the ground. To do this, it puts
out first one foot, and then the other; repeating the same process
several times; and it is only after several of these experiments that it
at length bends down its neck, and applies its lips and tongue to the
object in question. In fact, the neck of the Giraffe, although so
enormously long, is not very flexible, as it contains only the same
number of vertebræ or joints (seven) that is found in other quadrupeds
with a much shorter neck; it is admirably adapted for enabling the
animal to browse upon the branches of trees, but is not intended to fit
it for grazing. It willingly accepts fruit and branches of a tree when
offered to it; and seizes the foliage in a most singular manner,
thrusting forth a long, reddish, and very narrow tongue, which it rolls
round whatever it wishes to secure. Indeed, the tongue is a most
remarkable organ in this animal, and we have been witness of some
amusing exploits with it. In the Zoological Gardens at Regent’s Park,
many a fair lady has been robbed of the artificial flowers which have
adorned her bonnet, by the nimble, filching tongue of the rare object of
her admiration.

The Giraffe is a native of Africa; and it was for a long time known only
by the descriptions of travellers. It was first sent to Europe in 1829;
but since that time many have been introduced, and several young ones
have been born in the Zoological Gardens in the Regent’s Park.

Le Vaillant, in his entertaining Travels in Africa, gives an animated
account of a Giraffe hunt:--“After several hours’ fatigue, we
discovered, at the turn of a hill, seven Giraffes, which my pack
instantly pursued. Six of them went off together; but the seventh, cut
off by my dogs, took another way. I followed it at full speed, but, in
spite of the efforts of my horse, she got so much ahead of me that, in
turning a little hill, I lost sight of her altogether. My dogs, however,
were not so easily put out. They were soon so close upon her, that she
was obliged to stop to defend herself. From the place where I was, I
heard them give tongue with all their might; and, as their voices
appeared all to come from the same spot, I conjectured that they had got
the animal in a corner, and I again pushed forward. I had scarcely got
round the hill, when I perceived her surrounded by the dogs, and
endeavouring to drive them away by heavy kicks. In a moment I was on my
feet, and a shot from my carbine brought her to the earth. Enchanted
with my victory, I returned to call my people about me, that they might
assist in skinning and cutting up the animal. On my return I found her
standing under a large ebony-tree, assailed by my dogs. She had
staggered to this place, and fell dead at the moment I was about to take
a second shot.”

The horns of the Giraffe, small as they are, and muffled with skin and
hair, are by no means the insignificant weapons they seem. We have seen
them wielded by the males against each other with fearful and reckless
force; and we know that they are the natural arms of the Giraffe, most
dreaded by the keeper of the present living Giraffes in the Zoological
Gardens, because they are most commonly and suddenly put in use. The
Giraffe does not butt by depressing and suddenly elevating the head,
like the deer, ox, or sheep; but strikes the callous obtuse extremities
of the horns against the object of his attack, with a sidelong sweep of
the neck.

The Giraffe has a peculiarly awkward manner of trotting, as it moves
both the legs on one side at the same time. In galloping, the Giraffe
separates its hind legs widely, and at each stride brings them far
forward on each side of the fore feet; in this way the animal makes
rapid progress, although its appearance is rather extraordinary, and the
stones cast backwards by the force of the hind feet not unfrequently
assist in protecting it when closely pursued. The female Giraffe in the
Regent’s Park was a very bad mother to her first young one, as she would
not let it suck, and beat it away whenever it approached. The poor thing
was fed with cow’s milk, but it soon died. Later young ones have been
more kindly treated, and have in consequence thriven well.

[Illustration: THE BACTRIAN CAMEL. (_Camelus Bactrianus._)]

    “In silent horror, o’er the boundless waste,
     The driver Hassan with his Camels passed:
     One cruse of water on his back he bore,
     And his light scrip contained a scanty store:
     A fan of painted feathers in his hand,
     To guard his shaded face from scorching sand;
     The sultry sun had gained the middle sky,
     And not a tree, and not a herb was nigh:
     The beasts with pain their dusty way pursue,
     Shrill roar’d the winds, and dreary was the view!”

THE BACTRIAN CAMEL is a native of the deserts of Asia, and is generally
of a brown or ash colour. His height is about six feet. He is one of the
most useful quadrupeds in oriental countries; his docility and strength,
his endurance of hunger and thirst, and his swiftness, make him a most
valuable acquisition to the inhabitants of those desert places. The
principal characteristics of the Camel are these:--He has two large and
hard bunches on his back, and is destitute of horns; the upper lip is
divided like that of the hare; and the hoofs small and placed at the end
of two long toes, which are united below by a pad-like sole. But the
peculiar and distinguishing characteristic of the Camel is its faculty
of abstaining from water for a greater length of time than any other
animal; for which nature has made a wonderful provision, by adapting the
surface of one of the four stomachs, which it has in common with all
ruminating animals, to serve as a reservoir for water, where it remains
without corrupting or mixing with the other aliments. By this singular
structure it can take a prodigious quantity of water at one draught, and
is enabled to pass as much as fifteen days without drinking again. But
besides this reservoir of water the animal is said in cases of emergency
to draw sustenance from the humps on his back, which are of a fatty
substance: thus, after long privation, they become absorbed. A large
Camel is capable of carrying ten or even twelve hundredweight, and, like
the elephant, is tame and tractable; but, like him, he has his
periodical fits of rage, and at these times has been known to take up a
man in his teeth, throw him on the ground, and trample him under his
feet. Like the horse, he gives security to his rider; and, like the cow,
he furnishes his owner with meat for his table, and the female with milk
for his drink. The flesh of the young Camel is esteemed a delicacy, and
the milk of the female, diluted in water, is the common drink of the
Arabians. The hair or fleece, which falls off entirely in the spring, is
superior to that of any other domestic animal, and is made into very
fine stuffs, for clothes, coverings, tents, and other furniture. The
female goes one year with young, and produces but one at a time. The
Camel kneels to receive his burthen, and it is said that he refuses to
rise if his master imposes upon him a weight above his strength. He has
callosities on his knees and on his breast, which prevent him from being
hurt by kneeling to take up his load; and sleeps with his knees bent
under him, and his breast on the ground. He arrives at maturity in about
five years, and the duration of his life is from forty to fifty years.


(_Camelus Dromedarius._)]

ANOTHER species of Camel, of less stature than the former, but much
swifter, and having but one hard bunch on his back, is domesticated
throughout Africa, as well as in Asia. It is said that a Dromedary can
travel one hundred miles a day, and carry fifteen hundredweight.
Attempts have been made to introduce the Camel and Dromedary into our
West India islands, but they have not succeeded; they have, however,
been comparatively naturalized near Pisa in Italy. The Camels used as
beasts of burden in Egypt are all Dromedaries; and the first experiment
which an European makes in bestriding one is generally a service of some
little danger, from the peculiarity of the animal’s movement in rising.
Denon, the French traveller, has described this with his usual vivacity:
“During the French invasion of Egypt, a part of Dessaix’s division,” to
which the scientific traveller was attached, “was sent with Camels to a
distant post across the desert. The Camel, slow as he generally is in
his actions, lifts up his hind legs very briskly at the instant the
rider is in the saddle; the man is thus thrown forward; a similar
movement of the fore legs throws him backward; each motion is repeated;
and it is not till the fourth movement, when the Dromedary is fairly on
his feet, that the rider can recover his balance. None of us could
resist the first impulse, and thus nobody could laugh at his
companions.” Macfarlane, in his work on Constantinople, tells us that
upon his first Camel adventure he was so unprepared for the probable
effect of the creature’s rising behind, that he was thrown over his
head, to the infinite amusement of the Turks, who laughed heartily at
his inexperience.

Though the name of Dromedary is very generally applied to all the
one-humped camels, both in common parlance and books on Natural History,
it is said that the true Dromedary (_El Herie_) is merely a peculiarly
swift camel. The name of Dromedary, indeed, appears to be applied in the
East to all the higher bred camels, the genealogy of which is kept by
the Arabs as carefully as that of their horses.

Possessing strength and activity surpassing that of most beasts of
burthen, docile, patient of hunger and thirst, and contented with small
quantities of the coarsest provender, the camel is one of the most
valuable gifts of Providence. There is nothing, however, in the exterior
appearance of the animal to indicate the existence of any of its
excellent qualities. In form and proportions it is very opposite to our
usual ideas of perfection and beauty. A stout body, having the back
disfigured by a great hump; limbs long, slender, and seemingly too weak
to support the trunk; a long, thin, crooked neck, surmounted by a
heavily-proportioned head, are all ill-suited to produce favourable
impressions. Nevertheless, there is no creature more excellently adapted
to its situation, nor is there one in which more of creative wisdom is
displayed in the peculiarities of its organization. To the Arabs, and
other wanderers of the desert, the Camel is at once wealth, subsistence,
and protection.


(_Auchenia glama_,)]

IS a mild, timorous creature, not above four feet and a half in height,
and usually of a brown colour. It bears in form a general resemblance to
the Camel; but, instead of a protuberance on the back, it has one on the
breast. Llamas are used as beasts of burden by the South Americans, and
are so capriciously vindictive, that, if their drivers strike them, they
immediately squat down, and nothing but caresses can induce them to rise
again. They have been known to kill themselves by striking their heads
against the ground in their rage, when by blows they have been urged
forward against their will. They express their anger by spitting at
their adversary. The _Alpacas_ are much smaller than the Llamas, and of
different colours in a domestic state. They are used for the same
purposes, and differ little in habits and nature. The wool of both these
animals is made use of for several purposes, and is a principal
ingredient in the composition of hats in several parts of the new and
old continent; and the flesh of the young Llamas is, in their native
country, considered a great delicacy, and is as good as that of the fat
sheep of Castile. In Peru, where the animals are found, there are public
shambles for the sale of their flesh.

§ IX.--_Quadrumana, or Four-handed Animals._

[Illustration: THE OURANG OUTAN. (_Simia satyrus._)]

ANIMALS of the Monkey tribe are furnished with hands instead of paws;
their ears, eyes, eyelids, lips, and breasts resemble those of the human
species. For greater facility of description, the animals of this
extensive tribe are usually arranged in the three divisions of Apes,
Baboons, and Monkeys. Apes are destitute of tails, and the chief of this
kind is the Ourang Outan, or Wild Man of the Woods: he is found in the
forests of Borneo and Sumatra. He is a solitary animal, and avoids
mankind. The largest are said to be six feet high, very active, strong,
and intrepid, capable of overcoming the strongest man: they are likewise
exceedingly swift, and cannot easily be taken alive. When young,
however, the Ourang Outan is capable of being tamed: one of them, shown
in London some years ago, was taught to sit at table, make use of a
spoon or fork in eating, and drink wine out of a glass. It was mild and
affectionate, much attached to its keeper, and obedient to his

[Illustration: THE CHIMPANZEE.

(_Simia Troglodytes_, or _Troglodytes niger_.)]

THIS Ape, which is an inhabitant of the great forests of Western Africa,
is generally considered to be that which approaches nearest to the human
species in its conformation. When full-grown, he measures about five
feet in height, standing erect, but this is a posture which he does not
naturally prefer, and when on the ground he usually walks upon all
fours, applying the outside of his hinder feet and the knuckles of his
fore limbs to the earth. His skin is clothed with long coarse black or
dark-brown hair, which becomes scanty on the lower surface of the body
and on the limbs; the face is naked and of a flesh colour, and at each
side there hangs down a great bush of long hair like a whisker. The
Chimpanzee lives in the trees, upon the branches of which he is very
active, and he has intelligence enough to build himself a sort of hut of
branches, usually about thirty or forty feet from the ground. His food
consists chiefly of fruits, and he is said to fly from the presence of

Young Chimpanzees have frequently been brought to this and other
European countries, and several of them have been exhibited in our
Zoological Gardens. They are generally gentle and rather melancholy in
their deportment, and often show much affection for those who have the
charge of them. Of a specimen exhibited in France in his time, Buffon
gives the following interesting account: “I have seen this animal,” he
says, “present its hand to lead out its visitors, or walk about with
them gravely as if it belonged to the company. I have seen it seat
itself at table, unfold its napkin and wipe its lips, use its spoon and
fork to carry its food to its mouth, pour its drink into a glass, and
touch glasses when invited; fetch a cup and saucer to the table, put in
sugar, pour out its tea, and leave it to cool before drinking it; and
all this without any other instigation than the signs and words of its
master, and often of its own accord.” Buffon adds that it had a taste
which, no doubt, some of our young readers partake: “It was excessively
fond of sugar-plums.”

[Illustration: THE GORILLA. (_Troglodytes Gorilla._)]

THIS wonderful Ape, which has lately been discovered in the same region
inhabited by the Chimpanzee, is thought, in some respects, to possess
even a greater resemblance to our own species. He is said to attain a
height of seven feet, but the largest specimens hitherto obtained have
been rather less than six feet high. By some travellers the Gorilla is
said to walk upright, with his hands resting on the nape of his neck,
but the state of his knuckles shows that he usually goes, like the
Chimpanzee, on all fours. His skin is covered with short grizzled hair,
and the naked skin of his face and hands is black. The Gorilla is much
dreaded by the negroes who have to pass through the forests frequented
by him when engaged in hunting the Elephant; this is not on account of
his teeth, although they are sufficiently formidable, but of the
enormous strength of his hands, with which he can strangle a man in a
moment, and it is even said that the old males never miss an opportunity
of performing this operation. It is even said, that as a party of
hunters is passing through the forest, one of their number will
sometimes disappear suddenly, being caught up by a Gorilla lurking upon
the low branches of a tree; the monster speedily strangles his victim
and then lets the body fall.

[Illustration: THE MAGOT, OR BARBARY APE, (_Inuus sylvanus_,)]

IS a species of Monkey quite destitute of a tail, which inhabits the
northern parts of Africa, and is also found on the Rock of Gibraltar.
Caubasson relates a laughable anecdote of one of these animals, which he
brought up tame, and which became so attached to him as to be desirous
of accompanying him wherever he went: when, therefore, he had to perform
divine service, he was under the necessity of shutting him up. One day,
however, the animal escaped, and followed the father to church, where,
silently mounting on the top of the sounding-board, above the pulpit, he
lay perfectly quiet till the sermon began. He then crept to the edge,
and, overlooking the preacher, imitated his gestures in so grotesque a
manner, that the whole congregation were convulsed with laughter.
Caubasson, surprised and displeased at this ill-timed levity, reproved
his auditors for their inattention; and on the obvious failure of his
reproof, he, in the warmth of zeal, redoubled his gesticulations and his
vociferations. These the Ape so exactly imitated that all respect for
their pastor was swallowed up in the scene before them, and they burst
into a loud and continued roar of laughter. A friend of the preacher at
length stepped up to him; and on perceiving the cause of this hilarity,
it was with the utmost difficulty he could command a serious countenance
while he ordered the Ape to be taken away.

[Illustration: THE BABOON. (_Cynocephalus._)]

A GENUS of Quadrumana, which comprises a large, fierce, and formidable
race of animals, who, though they in a slight degree partake of the
human conformation, like the Ourang Outan, &c., are in their
dispositions and habits the very reverse of gentleness and docility. The
Baboons are the ugliest of all the Quadrumana. Their eyes are small, and
sunk underneath their eyebrows. Their forehead is low, and the
development of the snout and face is enormously disproportioned to the
size of the skull. Their great strength and fierce disposition make them
very much dreaded in the countries they inhabit. Baboons differ from the
apes on the one hand, and the monkeys on the other, by having short

The _Common Baboon_ is of a sandy colour, with a reddish shade on the
shoulders, head, and back. It is playful and good-tempered when young,
but becomes morose and savage with age. Buffon thus describes a
full-grown specimen he saw:--“It was not altogether hideous, and yet it
excited horror. It seemed to be always in a state of savage ferocity,
grinding its teeth, perpetually restless, and agitated by unprovoked
fury. It was a stout-built animal, whose nervous limbs and compressed
form indicated great force and agility; and, though the length and
thickness of its shaggy coat made it appear much larger than it really
was, it was so strong and active that it might easily have repelled the
attacks of several unarmed men.”

The _Cape Baboon_, or _Chacura_ (_Cynocephalus porcarius_), is as big as
a large mastiff, covered with hair of an olive-black colour on the back,
and with paler hair beneath. He has a canine face; the snout resembles
that of a hog, and the nails are flat, but sharp and very strong. It is
said that he follows goats and sheep in order to drink their milk; he
partakes of human dexterity in getting the kernels out of nuts, and
loves to be covered with garments; he stands upright, and imitates with
ease many human actions. The cunning of these animals is well
exemplified in their mode of plunder. They form long lines, extending
from their retreat to the object in view, and then pitch the produce of
their theft from hand to hand till it is secure.

The _Mandrill_ is the largest kind of Baboon, being nearly five feet
high when it stands upright. It is distinguished from other Baboons by
having a large protuberance on either cheek, which is marked with
numerous red, blue, and purple stripes.

“Those which have been observed in a domestic state are generally
remarked to have had a strong taste for fermented and spirituous
liquors. A remarkably fine individual which was long kept at Exeter
Change, and afterwards at the Surrey Zoological Gardens, drank his pot
of porter daily, and evidently enjoyed it; it was a most amusing sight
to see him seated in his little armchair with his quart pot beside him,
and smoking his short pipe with all the gravity and perseverance of a
Dutchman. In a state of nature his great strength and malicious
character render the Mandrill a truly formidable animal. As they
generally march in large bands they prove more than a match for the
other inhabitants of the forest. The inhabitants themselves are afraid
to pass through the woods unless in large companies and well armed.”


  (_Nasalis larvatus._)

  (_Cercopithecus Diana._)

THE PROBOSCIS MONKEY is so called from its long projecting and
disproportionate nose; it is an inhabitant of the island of Borneo,
where it lives in troops on trees in the vicinity of its rivers. It is
of a savage disposition. The Diana Monkey is called after the goddess of
that name, from the crescent of white hair which ornaments its brow. It
is very playful, and one of the most graceful of the tribe; it is found
in the hottest parts of Africa. Monkeys are less in stature, and more
numerous, than the apes and baboons. They live almost entirely in trees.
Their natural food is vegetable--fruit of all sorts, corn, and even
grass; but when domesticated, they learn to eat almost anything that is
served on our tables.

There are few persons that are not acquainted with the various mimicries
of these animals, and their capricious feats of activity. Anecdotes of
this kind are very numerous; we shall content ourselves by giving the
following:--Captain Stedman, while hunting among the woods of Surinam
for provisions, says, that he shot at two of these animals, but that the
destruction to one of them was attended with such circumstances as to
ever afterwards deter him from going monkey hunting. “Seeing me nearly
on the bank of the river, in the canoe,” says he, “the creature made a
halt from skipping after his companions, and, being perched on a branch
that overhung the water, examined me with the strongest marks of
curiosity; while he chattered prodigiously, and kept shaking the boughs
on which he rested, with incredible strength and agility. At this time I
laid my piece to my shoulder and brought him down from the tree: but may
I never again be witness to such a scene! The miserable animal was not
dead, but mortally wounded. I seized him by the tail, and taking him in
both my hands, to end his torment swung him round, and hit his head
against the side of the canoe; but the poor creature still continued to
live, and looked at me in the most affecting manner that can be
conceived. I therefore knew no other means of ending his murder than to
hold him under water till he was drowned: but even in doing this, my
heart sickened; for his little dying eyes still continued to follow me
with seeming reproach, till their light gradually forsook them, and the
wretched animal expired.”

The manner in which some of the Monkey tribe capture shell-fish is
remarkably indicative of their cunning and ingenuity. The oysters of the
tropical climates, being larger than ours, the Monkeys, when they reach
the sea-side, pick up stones, and thrust them between the opening
shells, which being thus prevented from closing, the cunning animals eat
the fish at their ease. In order to attract crabs, they put their tails
before the holes in which they have taken refuge; and when the creatures
have fastened on the lure, the Monkeys suddenly withdraw their tails,
and thus drag their prey on shore.

The Monkey generally brings forth one at a time, and sometimes two. They
are rarely found to breed when brought over into Europe; but those that
do exhibit a very striking picture of parental affection. The male and
female are never tired of fondling their young one. They instruct it
with no little assiduity; and often severely correct it, if stubborn, or
disinclined to profit by their example. They hand it from one to the
other, and when the male has done showing his regard the female takes
her turn in the work of affection.


(_Cebus Capucinus_ and _Ateles paniscus_,)]

ARE both natives of South America; they live in large troops, feeding on
roots, fruits, and insects, and are much more gentle than those of the
old world. Of the _Capuchin_ there are many species, differing from each
other in colour only; they are very lively, active, and amusing, and
about a foot long. The Spider Monkey, like the Capuchin, has a long
prehensile tail, which it uses like a fifth hand. Nature seems by this
addition to have more than recompensed them for the want of a thumb, for
by it, when they are unable to leap from one tree to another, on account
of the distance, they form a kind of chain, with their young upon their
backs, hanging down by each other’s tails. One of them holds the branch
above, and the rest swing to and fro like a pendulum, until the
undermost is enabled to catch hold; the first then lets go his hold, and
thus comes undermost in his turn; in this way they can travel a great
distance without ever touching the ground. Curious illustrations of this
are daily seen at the Zoological Gardens, where there are several of
these Monkeys.


(_Jacchus vulgaris_ and _Rosalia_.)]

THE OUISTITI, or MARMOZET, inhabits the Brazils, and is of small size,
not measuring more than seven inches, though his tail is near eleven; he
weighs about six ounces, and, like others of his kind, lives not only on
vegetables, but also upon insects, the eggs of birds, and even small
birds. His face is almost naked, of a swarthy flesh colour, with a white
spot above the nose; the tail is full of hair, and annulated with
ash-coloured and black rings alternately; his nails are sharp, and his
fingers like those of a squirrel.

The MARIKINA is a beautiful little animal, not above nine inches long,
and is sometimes called the Lion Monkey; his hair is long, soft, and
glossy; his head is round, his face brown, and his ears hid under the
long hairs which surround his face, and which are of a bright red, while
those on his body and tail are of a beautiful pale yellow, or gold
colour. He is very playful, and of a seemingly robust temperament, for
we have seen one which lived five or six years in Paris, without any
other particular care than keeping it during the winter in a chamber in
which there was a fire every day.


(_Lemur macaco_ and _Lemur albifrons_,)]

MAY be considered as the connecting link between the Monkeys and the
genuine quadruped. Their habits are nocturnal, whence they have been
called Lemurs, or ghosts. They pass a considerable portion of the day in
sleep, rolled up like a ball, with the large tail passed between the
hind legs, and twisted round the neck. They live in troops, more or less
numerous, like the apes and monkeys, on trees, and climb with great
quickness, and leap with so much force as frequently to rise ten feet at
a single bound. They feed on fruits, roots, &c., and carry their food to
their mouth with their hands, like the apes; their voice, when not
alarmed, is a quick grunt. Their nocturnal and unobtrusive habits may
probably account in some degree for the rarity of their appearance. They
are all inhabitants of Madagascar, but allied species are also found in
Bengal, and other parts of Hindostan, in Ceylon, and Java. The above
specimens are from the Zoological Gardens, and are the White-fronted and
the Black and White Lemurs.



§ I. RAPTORES. _Diurnal Birds of Prey._

[Illustration: THE GOLDEN EAGLE. (_Aquila chrysaëtos._)]

    “But who the various nations can declare,
     That plough with busy wing the peopled air?
     These cleave the crumbling bark for insect food,
     Those dip the crooked beak in kindred blood:
     Some haunt the rushy moor, the lonely woods;
     Some bathe their silver plumage in the floods;
     Some fly to man, his household gods implore,
     And gather round his hospitable door,
     Wait the known call, and find protection there
     From all the lesser tyrants of the air.
     The tawny Eagle seats his callow brood
     High on the cliff, and feasts his young with blood.”

THE GOLDEN EAGLE is one of the largest and most powerful of all those
birds that have received the name of Eagle. It weighs above twelve
pounds. Its length, from the point of the beak to the end of the tail,
is about three feet; the breadth, when the wings are extended, is seven
or eight feet. The beak is horny, crooked, and very strong. The feathers
of the neck are of a rusty colour, and the rest dark brown. The feet are
feathered down to the claws, which have a wonderful grasp; the toes are
yellow, and the four talons are crooked and strong. As in all birds of
prey, the female is the larger, and more powerful.

Eagles are remarkable for their longevity, and their faculty of
sustaining a long abstinence from food. Of all birds the Eagle flies
highest; and from thence the ancients have given it the epithet of the
_Bird of Heaven_:

    “Bird of the broad and sweeping wing,
       Thy home is high in heaven,
     Where wide the storms their banners fling,
       And the tempest’s clouds are driven.
     Thy throne is on the mountain top,
       Thy fields the boundless air;
     And hoary peaks, that proudly prop
       The skies, thy dwellings are.”

This formidable bird may be considered among its own species what the
lion is among quadrupeds; and in many respects they have a strong
similitude to each other. Solitary, like the lion, he keeps the wilds to
himself alone; it is as extraordinary to see two pairs of Eagles in the
same mountain, as two lions in the same plain.

The Eagle is found in Great Britain and Ireland, in Germany, and nearly
all parts of Europe. It is carnivorous, and, when unable to obtain the
flesh of larger animals, feeds on serpents and lizards. The story of the
Eagle, brought to the ground after a severe conflict with a cat, which
it had seized and taken up into the air with its talons, is very
remarkable; Mr. Barlow, who was an eye-witness of the fact, made a
drawing of it, which he afterwards engraved. Two instances are said to
have occurred in Scotland of the Eagle having flown away with infants to
its nest; but in both cases it is added that the children were
recovered, without being materially injured. This bird has been often
tamed, but in this situation it still preserves an innate love of
liberty. The nest of the Eagle is composed of strong sticks, and
generally built on the point of an inaccessible rock, whence it darts
upon its prey with the rapidity of lightning. The period of incubation
is said to be thirty days; and when the young are hatched, both the male
and female exert all their industry to provide for their wants. In the
county of Kerry a peasant is said once to have formed the resolution of
plundering an Eagle’s nest built upon a small island in the beautiful
lake of Killarney. He accordingly swam to the island while the parents
were away; and, after robbing the nest of the young, was preparing to
swim back with the Eaglets tied in a string; but while he was yet up to
the chin in the water, the old Eagles returned, and, missing their
family, fell upon the invader with such fury, that, in spite of all his
resistance, they despatched him with their beaks and talons.

Another native of Kerry was more fortunate in his dealings with the
Eagles. During a season of scarcity he obtained sustenance for himself
and his family by plundering an Eagle’s nest of the food brought in by
the parents for their young ones: and he was so artful as to prolong the
supply by cutting the wings of the Eaglets so as to prevent their
flying, and thus compelled the old birds to continue their attention to
their progeny.


[Illustration: THE SEA EAGLE. (_Haliaëtus albicilla._)]

THIS bird, known also as the White-tailed Eagle, from the inside
feathers of its tail being white, differs from the golden eagle in the
greater length of its beak, in its sluggish and cowardly habits, and in
its coarser taste. It is a native of Great Britain, where it inhabits
the high rocks and cliffs that overhang the sea, and whence it pounces
on the birds, fish, or seals that it can procure for its prey. It is
smaller than the golden eagle, rarely reaching three feet in length; and
in young birds the tail feathers are brown.


(_Haliaëtus leucocephalus._)]

THIS bird is about three feet long, and seven feet broad, measuring to
the tips of the extended wings. The bill resembles that of the golden
eagle, and from the chin hang some small hairy feathers like a beard. As
it is found alike in the frigid and the torrid zone, it is provided for
enduring rapid changes of temperature, and its whole body is clothed
under the feathers with a kind of down, white and soft like that of the
swan. This bird builds its nest on lofty cliffs by the sea-shore, and on
the banks of rivers or lakes, and feeds almost entirely upon fish.

It is generally regarded by the Anglo-Americans with peculiar respect,
as the chosen emblem of their native land. The great cataract of Niagara
is mentioned as one of its favourite places of resort, not merely as a
fishing station, where it is enabled to satiate its hunger upon its most
congenial food, but also in consequence of the vast quantity of
four-footed beasts, which, unwarily venturing into the stream above, are
borne away by the torrent, and precipitated down those tremendous

    “High o’er the watery uproar silent seen,
     Sailing sedate in majesty serene,
     Now ’midst the pillar’d spray sublimely lost,
     And now emerging, down the rapids toss’d,
     Glides the Bald Eagle, gazing calm and slow
     O’er all the horrors of the scene below;
     Intent alone to sate himself with blood,
     From the torn victim of the raging flood.”

The number of birds of prey of various kinds which assemble at the foot
of the rocks to glut themselves upon the banquet thus provided for them,
is said to be incredibly great, but they are all compelled to give place
to the Eagle when he deigns to feed on dead animals; and the crow and
the vulture submit without a struggle to the exercise of that tyranny,
which they know it would be in vain to resist. “We have ourselves,” says
Wilson, “seen the Bald Eagle, while seated on the dead carcase of a
horse, keep a whole flock of vultures at a respectful distance, until he
had fully sated his own appetite:” and he adds another instance, in
which many thousands of tree squirrels having been drowned, in one of
their migrations, in attempting to pass the Ohio, and having furnished
for some length of time a rich banquet to the vultures, the sudden
appearance among them of the Bald Eagle at once put a stop to their
festivities, and drove them to a distance from their prey, of which the
Eagle kept sole possession for several successive days.

These Eagles sometimes hunt in pairs in a manner which shows their great
sagacity. Aware that water-fowl have the power of eluding their grasp by
diving, they hover at a distance from each other over their prey. One of
them then darts towards it with great swiftness, but the water-fowl
easily avoids the first attack by diving. The pursuer then rises into
the air, and his mate resumes the attack just as the fowl is emerging to
breathe, and compels it to plunge again. The Eagles continue alternately
to proceed in this manner till their victim is so exhausted that it
falls an easy prey.

This Eagle also frequently attacks the Osprey or Fish Hawk, when he is
returning from a successful excursion loaded with a large fish, and
compels him to drop his prey; the Eagle then descends with wonderful
rapidity, and generally succeeds in seizing the fish before it reaches
the water.


(_Pandion haliaëtus._)]

    “True to the season, o’er our sea-beat shore
     The sailing Osprey high is seen to soar
     With broad unmoving wing; and circling slow,
     Marks each loose straggler in the deep below;
     Sweeps down like lightning, plunges with a roar,
     And bears its struggling victim to the shore.”

THIS bird is always found on the sea-shore, or near rivers or lakes, as
it feeds entirely on fish. It is common in Great Britain, and also in
America, where large colonies of it are found, the birds living together
like rooks. “When looking out for its prey,” says Dr. Richardson, “it
sails with great ease and elegance, in undulating and curved lines, at a
considerable height above the water, till it perceives its prey, when it
pounces down upon it. It seizes the fish with its claws, sometimes
scarcely appearing to dip its feet in the water, and at others plunging
entirely under the surface with force sufficient to throw up a
considerable spray. It emerges again, however, so speedily, as to render
it evident that it does not attack fish swimming at any great depth.”
The toes are armed beneath with numerous sharp points, evidently
intended to assist the bird in getting a firm hold of its slippery prey.

The Osprey builds a large nest either on trees or rocks, and lays two or
three eggs, which have a reddish tinge, and are spotted with brown at
the larger end. The old birds feed the young ones even after they have
left the nest, and only rear one brood in the year.

[Illustration: THE BLACK EAGLE.]

SOME ornithologists suppose this to be merely the golden eagle in its
young state, but others make it a distinct species. It is about twice as
large as the raven. The parts about the beak and the eye are bare of
feathers, and somewhat reddish; the head, neck, and breast black; in the
middle of the back, between the shoulders, there is a large white spot,
dashed with red; a black streak sweeps along the feathers, and is
followed by a white one; the remaining part of the wing to the tip is of
a dark ash-colour. This bird has beautiful hazel eyes, full of
animation: his legs are feathered down a little below the tarsal joint,
the naked part being red; his talons are very long. He is found in
France, Germany, Poland, and delights in Alpine mountains, where he
makes the vales and woods resound with his incessant screamings when in
search of prey.

The Abbé Spallanzani had an eagle of this species, so powerful as to be
able to kill dogs that were much larger than itself. When a dog was
placed before it, the bird would ruffle up the feathers on its head and
neck, cast a dreadful look at its victim, take a short flight, and
immediately alight on its back. It held the head firmly with one foot,
and thus secured the dog from biting, and with the other grasped one of
his flanks, at the same time driving its talons into the body; and in
this attitude it continued, till the dog expired with fruitless outcries
and efforts.

The eyes of eagles are celebrated for their brilliancy and strength,
which has given rise to the popular opinion that they can gaze on the
sun without shrinking: though this, from the overhanging eyebrow of the
Eagle, would be an extremely difficult feat for the bird to perform. The
eyes of all birds are curiously constructed, so as to enable them to see
both distant objects and near ones with equal facility; and for this
purpose they are furnished with a membrane placed near the edge of the
crystalline lens of the eye, by which it can be moved at pleasure. The
orbit of the eye is formed of about twelve or sixteen bony plates, which
slide over each other when necessary. Birds are also furnished with an
additional eyelid, of extremely thin texture, with which they
occasionally appear to shade their eyes.

THE VULTURE. (_Vultur Monachus._)

THE first rank in the description of birds has been given to the eagle,
not on account of its size, but because it is nobler in its habits and
more delicate in its appetites. But it belongs to the falcon tribe, and
should be placed after the Vultures. The eagle, unless pressed by
famine, will not stoop to carrion; and generally devours only what he
has earned by his own pursuit. The Vulture, on the contrary, is
disgustingly voracious; and seldom attacks living animals when it can be
supplied with dead. The eagle meets and singly opposes his enemy: the
Vulture, if he expects resistance, calls in the aid of its kind, and
overpowers its prey by combination. Putrefaction, instead of deterring,
only serves to allure it. The Vulture seems among birds what the jackal
and hyæna are among quadrupeds, who prey upon carcases, and root up the

Vultures may be easily distinguished from eagles by the nakedness of
their heads and necks, which are without feathers, and only covered with
a very slight down, or a few scattered hairs; their eyes are more
prominent; those of the eagle being buried more in the socket, and
shaded by an overhanging eyebrow. Their claws are shorter and less
hooked. The inside of the wing is covered with a thick down, which is
different in them from all other birds of prey. Their attitude is not so
upright as that of the eagle, and their flight is more difficult and

In this description we may include the Golden, the Ash-coloured, and the
Brown Vulture, which are inhabitants of Europe; the Spotted and the
Black Vulture of Egypt; the Bearded Vulture, the Brazilian Vulture and
the King of the Vultures, of South America. They all agree in their
nature, being equally indolent, rapacious, and unclean. The Condor also
belongs to the Vulture tribe.

[Illustration: THE KING VULTURE. (_Vultur_, or _Sarcorhamphus papa_.)]

THE KING VULTURE, or King of the Vultures, is so called, because when he
makes his appearance amongst a whole company of other birds of his kind
engaged in a feast upon a dead carcase, they all retire before him and
wait respectfully at a little distance until this monarch has eaten his
fill. He is an inhabitant of South America.

The head and neck of this bird are without feathers; the body above,
reddish buff, beneath, yellowish white: quills greenish black; tail
black; craw pendulous, and orange-coloured. It is about the size of a
turkey; and is chiefly remarkable for the odd formation of the skin of
the head and neck; this skin, which is of an orange colour, arises from
the base of the bill, whence it stretches on each side of the head; the
eyes are surrounded by a red skin, and the iris has the colour and
lustre of pearl. Upon the naked part of the neck is a collar formed by
soft longish feathers. Into this collar the bird sometimes withdraws his
whole neck, and sometimes a part of its head, so that it looks as if it
had hidden its neck in its body.

[Illustration: THE CONDOR. (_Vultur gryphus._)]

THIS bird measures three or four feet long, and its wings, when
expanded, from ten to twelve feet. Its bill and talons are exceedingly
large and strong; and its courage is equal to its strength. The throat
is naked, and of a red colour. The upper parts in some individuals (for
they differ greatly in colour) are variegated with black, gray, and
white, and the body is scarlet. Round the neck it has a white ruff of
loose hairy feathers. The feathers on the back are generally quite
black, and perfectly bright. These enormous birds, which are inhabitants
of South America, breed among the highest and most inaccessible rocks.
The female makes no nest, but lays two white eggs, somewhat bigger than
those of a turkey, on the bare rock. Some writers have affirmed that a
Condor can carry off a sheep in its claws, and others that it has
carried off children in the same manner; but these tales are manifestly
absurd, as the Condor’s feet and talons are not fitted for carrying any
great weight. Both the talons and the bill are indeed of extraordinary
strength, but they are intended for tearing objects to pieces; and
consequently we find that the Condor feeds chiefly on dead or dying
cattle, or horses, which he tears to pieces and devours where they lie.
When the Condor is gorged the hunters attack him, but his strength and
fierceness are so great, that one of Sir Francis Head’s companions, who
attempted to seize a gorged Condor, said he never had “such a battle in
his life;” though he had been a Cornish miner and was reckoned an
excellent wrestler in his own country.

[Illustration: THE BUZZARD. (_Falco Buteo_, or _Buteo vulgaris_.)]

    “The noble Buzzard ever pleased me best;
     Of small renown, ’t is true; for, not to lie,
     We call him but a Hawk by courtesy.”
                HIND AND PANTHER.

_This_ is a rapacious bird, of the hawk kind, and the most common of all
in England. It is of a sluggish, indolent nature, often remaining
perched on the same bough for the greater part of the day: as if,
indifferent either to the allurements of food or of pleasure, it were
doomed, like some of the human species, to pass its allotted span of
life in passive contemplation. It feeds on mice, rabbits, frogs, and
often on all sorts of carrion. Too idle to build itself a nest, it
frequently seizes upon the old habitation of a crow, which it lines
afresh with wool and other soft materials. In general this bird, whose
colour varies considerably, is brown varied with yellow specks; at a
certain age its head becomes entirely gray. The female generally lays
two or three eggs, which are mostly white, though sometimes spotted with
yellow. Its length is usually twenty-two inches, and its breadth upwards
of fifty.

The following anecdote, related by Buffon, will show that the Buzzard
may be so far tamed as to be rendered a faithful domestic. A Buzzard,
which had been caught in a snare, was brought to a gentleman, who
undertook to tame it. It was at first wild and ferocious, but by
depriving it of food he succeeded in constraining it to come and eat out
of his hand. By pursuing this plan he brought it to be very familiar;
and, after having shut it up about six weeks, he began to allow it a
little liberty, taking the precaution, however, to tie both pinions of
its wings. In this condition it walked out into his garden, and returned
when called to be fed; after some time, thinking he might trust to its
fidelity, he removed the ligatures, and fastened a small bell above its
talon, and also attached to its breast a bit of copper with his name
engraved on it. He then gave it entire liberty, which it soon abused;
for it took wing and flew into the forest of Belesme. The bird was given
up for lost; but four hours afterwards, it rushed into the gentleman’s
hall, pursued by five other Buzzards, which had driven it into its
former asylum. After this adventure it preserved its fidelity, coming
every night to sleep under the window. It soon became familiar, attended
constantly at dinner, sat on a corner of the table, and often caressed
its master with its head and bill, emitting a weak, sharp cry, which,
however, it sometimes softened. It had a singular propensity of seizing
from the head and flying away with the red caps of the peasants; and so
alert was it in whipping them off, that they found their heads bare
without knowing what was become of their caps; it even treated the wigsof the old men in the same way, hiding its booty in the tallest trees.

Wilson says that one he shot in the wing lived with him several weeks:
but refused to eat. It amused itself by hopping from one end of the room
to the other, and sitting for hours at the window, looking down on the
passengers below. At first, he put himself in an attitude of defence
when approached; but after some time became quite familiar, permitting
himself to be handled. Though he lived so long without food, his stomach
was found on dissection to be enveloped in solid fat of nearly an inch
in thickness.

[Illustration: THE HONEY-BUZZARD. (_Falco_, or _Pernis apivorus_.)]

THIS Buzzard eats lizards, frogs, and snails. It also feeds upon the
larvæ of bees and wasps, which form the chief food of the young birds.
Buffon says that in winter, when fat, it is good eating, a very rare
circumstance with birds of this genus. It seldom flies, excepting from
one bush to another; but, when on the ground, it runs with great
rapidity, like a domestic fowl.

Willoughby observes that it builds its nest with twigs, on which it
lays wool to receive its eggs. He saw one that took possession of an old
kite’s nest to breed in, and that fed its young with the larvæ of wasps,
for in the nest were found the combs of wasps’ nests, and, in the
stomachs of the young, fragments of wasp-maggots. In the nest were two
young ones, covered with white down, spotted with black. In the crop of
one of them were two lizards entire, with their heads lying towards the
mouth, as if they sought to creep out.

It would be highly interesting could we discover the manner in which
this bird conducts its attack on a wasps’ nest. The close feathering
round the base of the bill, is, no doubt, a protection against the
stings of the insects which they attack.

[Illustration: THE GOSHAWK, (_Falco_, or _Astur palumbarius_,)]

BREEDS in lofty trees in Scotland, and destroys a great quantity of
small game, which he seizes with his sharp and crooked talons, and
carries to his nest. He is of the hawk tribe, and somewhat larger than
the common buzzard; his bill is blue, and he has a white stripe over
each eye, and also a large white spot on each side of the neck. The
general colour of the plumage is deep brown; the breast and belly white,
transversely streaked with black; and the legs yellow. Buffon, who
brought up two young Goshawks, a male and a female, makes the following
observations: “The Goshawk, before it has shed its feathers, that is, in
the first year, is marked on the breast and belly with longitudinal
brown spots; but after it has had two moultings they disappear, and
their place is occupied by transverse bars, which continue during the
rest of its life.” He further observes that, “though the male was much
smaller than the female, it was fiercer and more vicious.” The Goshawk
is found in France and Germany; it is not common in England, but is more
so in Scotland. In former times the custom of carrying a Hawk or Falcon
on the hand was confined to men of high distinction; so that it was a
saying among the Welsh, “You may know a gentleman by his Hawk, horse,
and greyhound.” Even the ladies in those times were partakers of this
gallant sport, and have been represented in pictures with Hawks on their
hands. At present hawking is almost entirely laid aside in this country,
as the expense which attended it, being very considerable, confined it
to princes and men of the highest rank. In the time of James the First,
Sir Thomas Monson is said to have given a thousand pounds for a cast of
Hawks. In the reign of Edward the Third it was made felony to steal a
Hawk; to take its eggs, even in a person’s own grounds, was punishable
with imprisonment for a year and a day, together with a fine at the
king’s pleasure. Such was the delight our ancestors took in this royal
sport, and such were the means by which they endeavoured to secure it.
The Falcons, or Hawks, chiefly used in these kingdoms were the Goshawk,
the Peregrine Falcon, Iceland Falcon, and the Ger Falcon. The game
usually pursued were cranes, wild geese, pheasants, and partridges. The
Duke of St. Albans is still hereditary grand falconer of England, but
the office is not now exercised, except for the Duke’s own amusement.

[Illustration: THE SPARROWHAWK. (_Falco_, or _Accipiter nisus_.)]

THE SPARROWHAWK is a bold-spirited bird; the length of the male is
twelve inches, that of the female fifteen; the beak is short, crooked,
and of a bluish tint, but very black towards the tip; the tongue black,
and a little cleft; the eyes of a middling size. The crown of the head
is of a dark brown; above the eyes, in the hinder part of the head,
there are sometimes white feathers; the roots of the feathers of the
head and neck are white, the rest of the upper side, back, shoulders,
wings, and neck of a dark brown. The wings, when closed, scarcely reach
to the middle of the tail; the thighs are strong and fleshy, the legs
long, slender, and yellow; the toes also long, and the talons black. The
female lays about five eggs, spotted near the blunt end with brown
specks. When wild they feed only upon birds, and possess a boldness and
courage above their size; but in a domestic state they do not refuse raw
flesh and mice. They can be made obedient and docile, and readily
trained to hunt quails and partridges.

[Illustration: THE KITE. (_Falco Milvus_, or _Milvus regalis_.)]

THIS bird, though it belongs to the falcon tribe, is called ignoble,
because it is never used in hawking. It is easily distinguished from
other birds of prey by its forked tail, and the slow and circular eddies
it describes in the air whenever it spies from the regions of the clouds
a young duck or a chicken which has strayed too far from the brood. When
this is the case, the Kite, pouncing on it with the rapidity of a dart,
seizes it in its talons, and carries it off to its nest. It is, however,
a great coward, and if the hen flies at it, which she always does if she
sees it, it will drop the chicken and fly off. It is larger than the
common buzzard; and though it weighs somewhat less than three pounds,
the extent of its wings is more than five feet. The head and neck are of
a pale ash colour, varied with longitudinal lines across the shafts of
the feathers; the back is reddish; the lesser rows of the wing feathers
are party-coloured, of black, red, and white; the feathers covering the
inside of the wings are red, with black spots in the middle. The eyes
are large, the legs and feet yellow, the talons black. It is a handsome
bird, and seems almost always on the wing. It rests itself on the air,
and does not appear to make the smallest effort in flying, but rather to
glide along with the gentlest breeze.

[Illustration: THE FALCON.]

THE FALCON is a predaceous bird, of which there are several species. Of
these the _Gerfalcon_ (_Falco Gyrfalco_) is the largest, and is found in
the northern parts of Europe; and, next to the eagle, is the most
formidable, active, and intrepid of all voracious birds, and the most
esteemed for falconry. The bill is crooked and bluish; the irides of the
eye dusky; and the whole plumage of a whitish hue, marked with dark
lines on the breast, and dusky spots on the back.

[Illustration: THE PEREGRINE FALCON. (_Falco peregrinus._)]

THE PEREGRINE FALCON, which is the most common kind, is from fifteen to
eighteen inches in length. The bill is blue at the base, and black at
the point; the head, back, scapulars, and coverts of the wing are barred
with deep black and blue; the throat, neck, and upper part of the breast
are white, tinged with yellow; the bottom of the breast, belly, and
thighs are of a grayish white; and the tail is black and blue. Wilson
enumerates no less than ten varieties, dependent chiefly upon age, sex,
and country. It is found, more or less abundantly, throughout the whole
of Europe, principally in the mountain districts in North and South
America, dwelling in the clefts of rocks, especially such as are exposed
to the mid-day sun. It breeds upon the cliffs in several parts of
England, but appears to be more common in Scotland and Wales. Its food
consists principally of small birds; but it scruples not to attack the
larger species, and sometimes gives battle even to the kite. Falcons
rarely take their prey upon the ground, like the more ignoble birds of
the class to which they belong; but pounce upon it from aloft, in a
directly perpendicular descent as it flies through the air, bear it
downwards by the united impulse of the strength and rapidity of their
attack, and sticking their talons into its flesh, carry it off in
triumph to the place of their retreat. Like most predatory animals, they
are stimulated to action by the pressure of hunger alone, and remain
inactive and almost motionless while the process of digestion is going
on, until the renewed cravings of their appetite stimulate them to
further exertion. In different stages of its growth, the Peregrine
Falcon has been known by various English names. Its proper appellation
among falconers is the Slight Falcon, the term Falcon Gentle being
equally applicable to all the species when rendered manageable. In the
immature state, this Falcon is also called a Red Hawk, from the
prevailing colour of its plumage. The male is called a Tiercel, to
distinguish it from the female, which, in the Falcon tribe, is commonly
one-third larger than the male.

In China there is said to be a variety, which is mottled with brown and
yellow, and used by the emperor of China in his sporting excursions,
when he is usually attended by his great falconer, and a thousand of
inferior rank. Every bird has a silver plate fastened to its foot, with
the name of the falconer who has the charge of it, that, in case it
should be lost, it may be restored to the proper person; but if it
should not be found, the name is delivered to another officer, called
the guardian of lost birds, who, to make his situation known, erects his
standard in a conspicuous place among the army of hunters.

In Syria there is a species of Falcon, which the inhabitants call
Shaheen (_Falco peregrinator_), and which is of so fierce and courageous
a disposition, that it will attack any bird, however large or powerful,
which presents itself. “Were there not,” says Dr. Russel, in his Account
of Aleppo, “several gentlemen now in England to bear witness to the
fact, I should hardly venture to assert that, with this bird, which is
about the size of a pigeon, the inhabitants sometimes take large eagles.
This Hawk was in former times taught to seize the eagle under the
pinion, and thus depriving him of the use of one wing, both birds fell
to the ground together; but the present mode is to teach the Hawk to fix
on the back, between the wings, which has the same effect, only, that as
the bird tumbles down more slowly, the falconer has more time to come to
his Hawk’s assistance; but in either case, if he be not very
expeditious, the falcon is inevitably destroyed. I never saw the Shaheen
fly at eagles, that sport having been disused before my time; but I have
often seen him take herons and storks. The Hawk, when thrown off, flies
for some time in a horizontal line, not six feet from the ground; then
mounting perpendicularly, with astonishing swiftness, he seizes his prey
under the wing, and both together come tumbling to the ground.”


[Illustration: THE MERLIN, (_Falco æsalon_,)]

IS the smallest British species of the Falcon tribe, and, as its name
implies, is not very different in size from the blackbird; the word
Merlin signifying in French a small _merle_, or blackbird. Though small
the Merlin is not inferior in courage to any of the other Hawks; it is
noted for its boldness and spirit, often attacking and killing at one
stroke a full-grown partridge or a quail; but it differs from the
Falcons and all the other rapacious kinds, in the male and female being
of equal size. The back of this bird is party-coloured, of dark blue and
brown; the quill feathers of the wings black, with rusty spots; the
tail is about five inches long, of a dark brown or blackish colour, with
transverse white bars: the breast is of a yellowish white, with streaks
of rusty brown pointing downwards; the legs are long, slender, and
yellow; the talons black. The head is encircled with a row of yellowish
feathers, not unlike a coronet. In the male the feathers on the rump,
next the tail, are bluer; a mark by which the falconers easily discern
the sex of the bird. The Merlin does not breed here, but visits us in
October: it flies low, and with great celerity and ease. In the days of
falconry, the Merlin was considered the lady’s hawk.

     In ancient days--in ancient days,
       When ladies took a strange delight
     In hawks and hounds and sporting ways,
       A Merlin was a pleasant sight.

    “’T was gentle when, in trappings gay,
       Upon its lady’s wrist it stood;
     Till its hood was raised and it saw its prey,
       When its eye betrayed the bird of blood.”


[Illustration: THE KESTREL, (_Falco tinnunculus_,)]

IS the commonest of all the British Hawks, and may be seen in almost all
parts of the country hovering over the fields in search of mice and
other small animals. His flight is very peculiar. He advances only for a
short distance at a time, and then suspends himself in the air by very
short but quick movements of his wings. If no prey make its appearance
beneath him, he then goes on a little further, and again remains
stationary, but the moment a mouse or other small quadruped stirs
amongst the grass, his wings close, and he descends with the greatest
velocity. The Kestrel will also feed upon small birds and insects.

The Kestrel is a handsome little Hawk, from twelve to fifteen inches in
length, with a blue beak and yellow cere and feet. Its plumage is
reddish brown or fawn colour, elegantly marked with black spots and
bars. Its nest is built among rocks, or in the holes and corners of old
buildings and church towers, and the female lays four or five eggs,
which are reddish white, with brown spots.

[Illustration: THE SECRETARY BIRD. (_Serpentarius reptilivorus._)]

THIS singular bird, which is a native of Southern Africa, differs from
all the other predaceous birds in the great length of its legs, which
are so long that some naturalists have placed it among the Wading Birds.
It stands between three and four feet high when erect, and is of a
bluish ash colour on the back and nearly white beneath; its tail is
long, and has the two middle feathers much longer than the others and
nearly reaching to the ground; and the back of the head is adorned with
a tuft of black feathers, which the bird can raise at pleasure. It is
from this tuft that the bird has obtained his name; the Dutch colonists
of the Cape of Good Hope fancied they saw some resemblance in it to the
pen of a clerk stuck behind his ear, and accordingly called him the
Secretary Bird. Clerks and secretaries are no doubt useful personages in
their way, and the Secretary Bird, although he cannot take his pen from
behind his ear, finds abundance of work to do, although of a kind very
different from the peaceful labours of his namesakes. He is the great
destroyer of the snakes and other reptiles which swarm in many parts of
Southern Africa, and which, but for him, would increase in numbers so as
to become a positive nuisance. And here we may call our young readers to
admire the wonderful manner in which the structure of a hawk has been
modified by the hand of the Creator to suit it for a particular mode of
life. As the bird advances to attack a snake his long legs, protected by
hard horny scales, elevate his body to a considerable height above the
ground, thus giving him an advantageous position, and at the same time
enabling it to move with great speed. One of the large and powerful
wings, armed at the end with a strong spur, is raised a little from the
body and held forward like a shield, but constantly shaken, as if to
distract the attention of the foe, and thus, like a skilful boxer
sparring up to his antagonist, the Secretary makes his way towards his
intended prey. As he approaches he watches for the moment when the snake
is about to spring upon him; a single blow from the spurred wing is
usually sufficient to lay the reptile writhing in the ground in a
helpless state; it is then soon despatched and as speedily swallowed.
Some idea of the quantity of reptiles destroyed by this bird may be
gained from Le Vaillant’s statement, that the crop of one of them
examined by him contained eleven lizards, three snakes as long as aman’s arm, and eleven small tortoises, together with a good many
insects. The inhabitants of the Cape Colony are quite aware of the
services rendered to them by the Secretary Bird, and sometimes keep him
among their poultry to protect them from injurious animals; he is said
to behave with great propriety under these circumstances, rarely doing
any mischief to his companions, unless his supply of food has been

[Illustration: THE HEN HARRIER, (_Circus cyaneus_,)]

IS seen about forests, heaths, and other retired places, especially in
the neighbourhood of marshy grounds, where it destroys vast numbers of
snipes, woodcocks, and wild ducks. It is about seventeen inches long,
and three feet wide; its bill is black, and cere yellow. The upper part
of its body is of a bluish gray; and the back of the head, breast,
belly, and thighs are white. The legs are long, slender, and yellow; and
the claws black.

§ II.--_Nocturnal Birds of Prey._

[Illustration: THE HORNED OWL, (_Bubo maximus_,)]

IS one of the largest of the Owls, and has two long tufts growing from
the top of its head, above its ears, and composed of six feathers, which
it can raise or lay down at pleasure. Its eyes are large, and encircled
with an orange-coloured iris; the ears are large and deep, and the beak
black; the breast, belly, and thighs, are of a dull yellow, marked with
brown streaks; the back, coverts of the wings, and quill feathers, are
brown and yellow; and the tail is marked with dusky and red bars. It
inhabits the north and west of England, and Wales. The conformation of
the organ of sight in the Owl is so peculiar, and so much in its nature
resembling that of the feline kind, that it can see much better at dusk
than by daylight. The Barn Owl sees in a greater degree of darkness than
the others; and, on the contrary, the Horned Owl is enabled to pursue
his prey by day, though with difficulty. Owls are sometimes tamed by
persons in the country, who carefully rear them in a domestic state,
from their propensity to chase and devour mice and other vermin, of
which they clear the houses with as much address as cats. The Owl is a
solitary bird, and is said to retire into holes in towers and old walls
in the winter, and pass that season in sleep.

    “The solitary bird of night,
     Through the pale shade now wings his flight,
       And quits the time-shook tower;
     Where, shelter’d from the blaze of day,
     In philosophic gloom he lay,
       Beneath his ivy bower.” CARTER.


THE HARFANG, or GREAT SNOWY OWL, (_Surnia nyctea_,) is another species
which takes its prey occasionally by daylight. It is seldom seen in
England, but frequently visits North Britain, particularly the Orkney
and Shetland Islands. It is one of the few Owls that feed on fish, into
which it strikes its talons while in the water, and carries them off to
its nest. These Owls are very common in the northern parts of North
America, and are eaten not only by the Indians, but by the Europeans
engaged in the fur trade.


(_Srix flammea._)]

    “---- from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
       The moping Owl does to the moon complain
     Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
       Molest her ancient solitary reign.” GRAY.

THIS bird is about the size of a large pigeon. Its beak, hooked at the
end, is more than an inch and a half long. There is a circle or wreath
of white, soft, and downy feathers, encompassed with yellow ones,
beginning from the nostrils on each side, passing round the eye and
under the chin, somewhat resembling the hood that women used to wear; so
that the eyes appear to be sunk in the middle of the feathers, and only
the tip of the beak projects from them. The breast and feathers of the
inside of the wings are white, and marked with a few dark spots; the
upper parts of the body are of a fine pale yellow colour, variegated
with black and white spots. The legs are covered with a thick down to
the feet, but the toes have only thin-set hairs around them.

In ancient mythology, another common species, the _Brown Owl_ (_Syrnium
aluco_), was consecrated to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom; in allusion
to the lucubrations of wise men, who study in retirement and during the

    “Now the Hermit Owlet peeps
       From the barn, or twisted brake;
     And the blue mist slowly creeps,
       Curling on the silver lake.”

§ III.--_Insessores, or Perching Birds._


(_Lanius excubitor._)]

THE GREAT BUTCHER-BIRD, or SHRIKE, is about as large as a thrush; its
bill is black, an inch long, and hooked at the end. It is only an
occasional visitor to this country, where it is generally found between
autumn and spring. “The Shrike,” says Mr. Yarrell, “feeds on mice,
shrews, small birds, frogs, lizards, and large insects. After having
killed its prey, it fixes the body in a forked branch, or upon a sharp
thorn, the more readily to tear off small pieces from it. It is from
their habit of killing and hanging up their meat, that the Shrikes are
called Butcher-birds.” The head, back, and rump are ash-coloured; the
chin and lower part of the body white; the breast and throat varied with
dark lines crossing each other; the tips of the feathers of the wings
are, for the most part, white; it has a black spot by the eye; the
outermost tail feathers of the male are all over white; the two
middlemost have only their tips white, the rest of the feathers being
black, as well as the legs and feet. It builds its nest among thorny
shrubs and dwarf trees, and furnishes it with moss, wool, and downy
herbs, where the female lays five or six eggs. A peculiarity belonging
to the birds of this kind is, that they do not, like most other birds,
expel the young ones from the nest as soon as they can provide for
themselves, but the whole brood live together in one family. The
Butcher-bird will chase all the small birds upon the wing, and will
sometimes venture to attack partridges, and even young hares. Thrushes
and blackbirds are frequently their prey: the Shrike fixes on them with
its talons, splits the skull with its bill, and feeds on them at
leisure. On this account Linnæus classed the Shrikes with the birds of
prey; but modern naturalists have placed them with the insect-eaters, as
insects are their principal food. It is easy to distinguish these birds
at a distance, not only from their going in companies, but also from
their manner of flying, which is always up and down, seldom in a direct
line, or obliquely.

_The Little Butcher-bird_ (_Lanius collurio_), called in Yorkshire,
_Flusher_, is about the size of a lark, with a large head. About the
nostrils and corners of the mouth it has black hairs or bristles; and
round the eyes a large black longitudinal spot; the back and upper side
of the wings are of a rusty colour; the head and rump cinereous; the
throat and breast white, spotted with red. It builds its nest of the
stalks of plants, and the female lays six eggs, nearly all white, except
at the blunt end, which is encircled with brown or dark red marks. The
female is somewhat larger than the male; the head is of a rust colour,
mixed with gray; the breast, belly, and sides of a dirty white; the tail
deep brown; the exterior web of the outer feathers white. Its manners
are similar to those of the large Butcher-bird. It frequently preys on
young birds, which it takes in the nest; it likewise feeds on
grasshoppers, beetles, and other insects. During the period of
incubation, the female soon discovers herself at the approach of any
person by her loud and violent outcries.


(_Cinclus aquaticus_,)]

IS found in most parts of this island, and is about the size of the
common blackbird. It feeds upon aquatic insects and small fish. The head
and upper side of the neck are of a kind of umber colour, and sometimes
black with a shade of red; the back and coverings of the wings are a
mixture of black and ash-colour, the throat and breast perfectly white.

The Dipper is said to walk along the bottom of a lake or river as easily
as on land; but this is far from being the case, as, though it readily
plunges into the water, it appears to tumble about in a very
extraordinary manner, with its head downwards. Even on land the bird
walks awkwardly, as its feet are best adapted for the slippery stones on
which it passes the greater part of its life, watching for the insects
which it picks up on the edge of the water. Its movements under water
are really performed by means of the wings, the bird positively flying
through the water. When disturbed, it usually flirts up its tail, and
makes a chirping noise. Its song in spring is said to be very pretty. In
some places this bird is supposed to be migratory.

[Illustration: THE BLACKBIRD. (_Turdus Merula._)]

    “The smiling morn, the breathing spring,
     Invite the tuneful birds to sing;
     And, while they warble from each spray,
     Love melts the universal lay.”

THIS well-known songster does not soar up to the clouds, like the lark,
to make his voice resound through the air; but keeps to the shady
groves, which he fills with his melodious notes. Early at dawn, and late
at dusk, he continues his pleasing melody; and when incarcerated in the
narrow space of a cage, still cheerful and merry, he strives to repay
the kindness of his keeper by singing to him his natural strains; and
beguiles his irksome hours of captivity by studying and imitating his
master’s whistle. Blackbirds build their nests with great art, making
the outside of moss and slender twigs, cemented together and lined with
clay, and covering the clay with soft materials, as hair, wool, and fine
grass. The female lays four or five eggs, of a bluish green colour,
spotted all over with brown. The bill is yellow, but in the female the
upper part and point are blackish; the inside of the mouth, and the
circumference of the eyelids are yellow. The name of this bird is
sufficiently expressive of the general colour of his body. He feeds on
berries, fruit, insects, &c.

[Illustration: THE MISSEL THRUSH. (_Turdus viscivorus._)]

THE MISSEL THRUSH, so called from its feeding on the berries of the
misletoe, differs but little from the Song Thrush, except in size. He is
larger than the fieldfare, while the Throstle is smaller. The female
lays five or six bluish eggs, with a tint of green, and marked with
dusky spots.

_The Song Thrush_ or _Throstle_, (_Turdus musicus_,) is one of the best
songsters of the evening hymn in the grove. His voice is loud and sweet;
the melody of his song is varied, and, although not so deep in the
general diapason of the woodland concert as that of the blackbird, yet
it fills up agreeably, and bursts through the inferior warblings of
smaller performers. His breast is of a yellowish white, spotted with
black or brown dashes, like ermine spots.

The term Merle for the Blackbird, and Mavis for the Thrush, are used
chiefly by the poets.

    “Merry is it in the good green wood,
       When the Mavis and Merle are singing,
     When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are in cry,
       And the hunter’s horn is ringing.”

    “Take thy delight in yonder goodly tree,
      Where the sweet Merle and warbling Mavis be.”

[Illustration: THE REDWING, (_Turdus iliacus_,)]

IS rather less than the song thrush; but the upper part of the body is
of the same colour; the breast not so much spotted; the coverings of the
feathers of the under side of the wings, which in the thrush are yellow,
are of orange colour in this bird; by which marks it is generally
distinguished. The body is white, the throat and breast yellowish,
marked with dusky spots. It is migratory in this island, builds its nest
in hedges, and lays six bluish eggs. Like the fieldfare, it leaves us in
spring, for which reason its song is quite unknown to us; but it is
said to be very pleasing. It is delicate eating; and the Romans held it
in such estimation, that they kept thousands of them together in
aviaries, and fed them on a sort of paste made of bruised figs and
flour, to improve the delicacy and flavour of their flesh. Under this
management these birds fattened, to the great profit of their
proprietors, who sold them to Roman epicures for three denarii, or about
two shillings sterling each, which at that early period was a large

[Illustration: THE FIELDFARE, (_Turdus pilaris_,)]

IS a well-known bird in this country. Fieldfares fly in flocks, together
with the redwing and starling, and change their haunts according to the
season of the year. They abide with us in winter, and disappear in
spring, so punctually, that after that time not one is to be seen. The
flesh is esteemed a great delicacy, and is highly prized in Germany,
where it is known as the _Krammsvögel_, and is sold in the markets of
Westphalia by the dozen. Their favourite food is the juniper-berry,
whence its German name. The head is ash-coloured, and spotted with
black: the back and coverts of the wings of deep chesnut colour; the
rump cinereous; and the tail black, except the lower part of the two
middle feathers, which are ash-coloured, and the upper sides of the
exterior feathers, which are white. They collect in large flocks; and it
is supposed they keep watch, like the crow, to mark and announce the
approach of danger. On any person approaching a tree that is covered
with them, they continue fearless, till one at the extremity of the
bush, rising on its wings, gives a loud and peculiar note of alarm. They
then all fly away, except one, which continues till the person
approaches still nearer, to certify, as it were, the reality of the
danger, and afterwards he also flies off, repeating the note of alarm.

Mr. Knapp, in his “Journal of a Naturalist,” says, that in the county of
Gloucestershire the extensive low-lands of the river Severn, in open
weather, are visited by prodigious flocks of these birds.

[Illustration: THE RING OUZEL. (_Turdus torquatus._)]

THE RING OUZEL differs from the fieldfare and redwing, to which it is
nearly allied, in being a summer visitor to the British islands, instead
of a winter one. It is found only in the wildest and most mountainous
districts; particularly among the Welsh mountains and on Dartmoor, in
Devonshire, where it has been known to breed.

THE MOCKING BIRD, (_Turdus polyglottus_,)

WHICH is also a species, is found in both North and South America, and
in the West Indian islands. He has a beautiful song, which he varies by
imitating the notes of almost all other birds, so that a person passing
by his haunt is regaled with a complete ornithological concert, all by a
single performer. Unfortunately, the Mocking Bird’s taste is not equal
to his musical powers. His talent for imitation is so great that he
mimics every sound he hears, and as he introduces all his imitations
freely into his songs, he often interrupts the most delightful melody
with the scream of a hawk, the bark of a dog, the squalling of a cat, or
similar discordant noises.


(_Erythacus rubecula._)]

    “The Redbreast oft, at evening hours,
       Shall kindly lend his little aid,
     With hoary moss, and gathering flowers,
       To deck the ground where thou art laid.”

THE REDBREAST, or _Robin_, as he is popularly called, seems always to
have enjoyed the protection of man, more than any other bird. The
prettiness of his shape, the beauty of his plumage, the quickness of his
motions, his familiarity with us in winter, and, above all, the melody
and sweetness of his voice, claim our admiration, and have insured him
that security which he enjoys among us; though the aid of fable has also
been called in, to guard him from the assaults of thoughtless boys.

    “Little bird with bosom red,
     Welcome to my humble shed!
     Courtly domes of high degree
     Have no room for thee and me;
     Pride and pleasure’s fickle throng
     Nothing mind an idle song.
     Daily near my table steal,
     While I pick my scanty meal;
     Doubt not, little though there be,
     But I’ll cast a crumb for thee;     Well rewarded if I spy
     Pleasure in thy glancing eye;
     And see thee, when thou’st eat thy fill,
     Plume thy breast, and wipe thy bill.”

In the winter season, impelled by the potent stimulus of hunger, the
Redbreast frequents our barns, gardens, and houses, and often alights,
on a sudden, on the rustic floor; where, with his broad eye incessantly
open, and looking askew upon the company, he picks up eagerly the crumbs
of bread that fall from the table, and then flies off to the
neighbouring bush, where, by his warbling strains, he expresses his
gratitude for the liberty he has been allowed. He is found in most parts
of Europe, but nowhere so commonly as in Great Britain. His bill is
dusky; his forehead, chin, throat, and breast are of a deep
orange-colour, inclining to vermilion; the back of his head, neck, back,
and tail are of a pale olive-brown colour; the wings are somewhat
darker, the edges inclining to yellow; the legs and feet are the colour
of the bill. The female generally builds her nest in the crevice of some
mossy bank, near places which human beings frequent, or in some part of
a human dwelling. Robins have been known to build in a sawpit where men
worked every day, and in various other equally extraordinary places.
When the Crystal Palace at Sydenham was being fitted up, several Robins
built their nests in holes of the large roots used to raise the flower
beds within the building. So little fear did they exhibit that their
bright eyes might be seen glancing from holes close to which men were
passing every moment. The elegant poet of The Seasons gives us a very
exact and animated description of this bird in the following lines:

    “---- ---- Half afraid, he first
     Against the window beats: then, brisk alights
     On the warm hearth; then, hopping on the floor,
     Eyes all the smiling family askance,
     And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is,
     Till, more familiar grown, the table-crumbs
     Attract his slender feet.”

An old Latin proverb tells us that two Robin Redbreasts will not feed
on the same tree; it is certain that the Redbreast is a most pugnacious
bird, and that he does not live in much harmony and friendship with
those of his own kind and sex. The male may be known from the female by
the colour of his legs, which are blacker.

The Redbreast attends the gardener when digging his borders; and will,
with great familiarity and tameness, pick out the worms almost close to
his spade.

[Illustration: THE NIGHTINGALE. (_Philomela luscinia._)]

    “Sweet bird, that shunn’st the noise of folly,
     Most musical, most melancholy!
     Thee, chantress, oft, the woods among,
     I woo to hear thy even song.”

THE NIGHTINGALE has little to boast of in respect to plumage, which is
of a pale tawny colour on the head and back, dashed with a slight shade
of olive; the breast and upper part of the belly incline to a grayish
tint, and the lower part of the belly is almost white; the exterior web
of the quill feathers is of a reddish brown; the tail of a dull red; the
legs and feet ash-coloured; the irides hazel; and the eyes large,
bright, and staring. But it is hardly possible to give an idea of the
extraordinary power which this small bird possesses in its throat, as to
the extension of sound, sweetness of tone, and versatility of notes.Its song is composed of several musical passages, each of which does not
continue more than the third part of a minute; but they are so varied,
the passing from one tone to another is so fanciful and so rapid, and
the melody so sweet and so mellow, that the most consummate musician is
pleasingly led to a deep sense of admiration on hearing it. Sometimes,
joyful and merry, it runs down the diapason with the velocity of
lightning, touching the treble and the base nearly at the same instant;
at other times, mournful and plaintive, the unfortunate _Philomela_
draws heavily her lengthened notes, and breathes a delightful melancholy
around. These have the appearance of sorrowful sighs; the other
modulations resemble the laughter of the happy. Solitary on the twig of
a small tree, and cautiously at a certain distance from the nest, where
the pledges of his love are treasured under the fostering breast of his
mate, the male fills constantly the silent woods with his harmonious
strains, and during the whole night entertains and repays his female for
the irksome duties of incubation. The Nightingale not only sings at
intervals during the day, but waits till the blackbird and the thrush
have uttered their evening call, even till the stock and ringdoves have,
by their soft murmurings, lulled each other to rest, and then pours
forth his full tide of melody:

    “---- ---- Listening Philomela deigns
     To let them joy, and purposes, in thought
     Elate, to make her night excel their day.”

It is a great subject of astonishment that so small a bird should be
endowed with such potent lungs. If the evening is calm, it is supposed
that its song may be heard above half-a-mile. This bird, the ornament
and charm of our spring and early summer evenings, as it arrives in
April, and continues singing till June, disappears on a sudden about
September or October, when it leaves us to pass the winter in the North
of Africa and Syria. Its visits to this country are limited to certain
counties, mostly in the south and east; as, though it is plentiful in
the neighbourhood of London, and along the south coast in Sussex,
Hampshire, and Dorsetshire, it is not found in either Cornwall or Wales.
As soon as the young are hatched, the song of the male bird ceases, and
he only utters a harsh croak, by way of giving alarm when any one
approaches the nest. Nightingales are sometimes reared up, and doomed to
the prison of a cage; in this state they sing ten months in the year,
though in their wild life they sing only as many weeks. Bingley says
that a caged Nightingale sings much more sweetly than those which we
hear abroad in the spring.

The Nightingale is the most celebrated of all the feathered race for its
song. The poets have in all ages made it the theme of their verses; some
of these we cannot resist giving:

    “The Nightingale, as soon as April bringeth
       Unto her rested sense a perfect waking,
     Which late bare earth, proud of new clothing, springeth,
       Sings out her woes----.”
                   SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.

    “---- ---- ---- Beast and bird,
     They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
     Were slunk; all but the wakeful Nightingale;
     She all night long her amorous descant sung.”

    “And in the violet-embroidered vale,
     Where the lovelorn Nightingale
     Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well.”

    “O Nightingale, that on yon bloomy spray
       Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still,
       Thou with fresh hope the lover’s heart dost fill,
     While the jolly hours lead on propitious May,
     Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day,
       First heard before the shallow cuckoo’s bill,
       Portend success in love. Oh, if Jove’s will
     Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay,
     Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate
       Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh;
     As thou from year to year hast sung too late
       For my relief, yet hadst no reason why:
     Whether the muse, or love, call thee his mate,
       Both them I serve, and of their train am I.”
    “---- ---- Now is the pleasant time,
     The cool, the silent, save where silence yields,
     To the night-warbling bird, that, now awake,
     Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song.”

    “How all things listen while thy muse complains,
     Such silence waits on Philomela’s strains,
     In some still evening, when the whispering breeze
     Pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees.”

    “There’s a bower of roses by Bendemeer’s stream,
       And the Nightingale sings round it all the year long;
     In the days of my childhood, ’t was like a sweet dream
       To sit in the roses, and hear the bird’s song.

    “That bower and its music I never forget,
       But oft when alone, in the bloom of the year,
     I think, Is the Nightingale singing there yet?
       Are the roses still bright by the calm Bendemeer?”

[Illustration: THE BLACK-CAP, (_Curruca atricapilla_,)]

IS a very small warbler, not weighing above half-an-ounce. The top of
the head is black, whence he takes his name; the neck ash-coloured, the
back an ashy-brown, the wings of a dusky colour, the tail nearly the
same; the nether part of the neck, throat, and upper part of the breast
of a pale ash colour; the lower part of the belly white.

The Black-cap visits us about the middle of April, and retires in
September; it frequents gardens, and builds its nest near the ground.
The female lays five eggs of a pale reddish-brown, sprinkled with spots
of a darker colour. This bird sings sweetly, and so like the
nightingale, that in Norfolk it is called the mock nightingale. White
observes, that it has usually a full, sweet, deep, loud, and wild pipe,
yet the strain is of short continuance, and its motions desultory; but
when it sits calmly, and earnestly engages in song, it pours forth very
sweet but inward melody; and expresses a great variety of modulations,
superior perhaps to any of our warblers, the nightingale excepted. While
it sings, its throat is greatly distended.

[Illustration: THE WREN. (_Troglodytes vulgaris._)]

    “Fast by my couch, congenial guest,
     The Wren has wove her mossy nest;
     From busy scenes and brighter skies
     To lurk with innocence she flies;
     Her hopes in safe repose to dwell,
     Nor aught suspects the sylvan cell.”
                         T. WARTON.

THE WREN is a very small bird; but, as if nature had intended to
compensate the want of size and bulk in the individuals, by multiplying
them to a greater extent, this little bird is one of the most prolific
of the feathered tribe, its nest containing often upwards of eighteen
eggs, of a whitish colour, and not much bigger than a pea. The male and
female enter by a hole contrived in the middle of the nest, and which,
by its situation and size, is accessible only to themselves. The Wren
weighs no more than three drachms. Its notes are very sweet, and rival
those of the robin redbreast, in the middle of winter, when the coldness
of the weather has condemned the other songsters to silence. Like the
redbreast, it frequently approaches the habitation of man, enlivening
the rustic garden with its song during the greater part of the year. It
begins to make a nest early in the spring, but frequently deserts it
before it is lined, and searches for a more secure place. The Wren does
not, as is usual with most other birds, begin to build the bottom of the
nest first. When against a tree, its primary operation is to trace upon
the bark the outline, and thus to fasten it with equal strength to all
parts. It then, in succession, closes the sides and top, leaving only a
small hole for entrance.

[Illustration: THE WILLOW WREN. (_Sylvia trochilus._)]

THE WILLOW WREN is somewhat larger than the common Wren. The upper parts
of the body are of a pale olive-green; the under parts are pale yellow,
and a streak of yellow passes over the eyes. The wings and tail are
brown, edged with yellowish green; and the legs are inclined to yellow.
This bird is migratory, visiting us usually about the middle of April,
and taking its departure towards the end of September. The female
constructs her nest in holes at the roots of trees, in hollows of dry
banks, and other similar places. It is round, and not unlike the nest of
the Wren. The eggs are dusky white, marked with reddish spots, and are
five in number. A Willow Wren had built in a bank of one of the fields
of Mr. White, near Selborne. This bird, a friend and himself observed as
she sat in her nest, but were particularly careful not to disturb her,
though she eyed them with some degree of jealousy. Some days afterwards,
as they passed the same way, they were desirous of remarking how the
brood went on; but no nest could be found, till Mr. White happened to
take up a large bundle of long green moss, which had been thrown, as it
were, carelessly over the nest, in order to mislead the eye of any
impertinent intruder.

Mr. White distinguished no fewer than three varieties of the Willow
Wren. “I have now,” he writes, “past dispute, made out three distinct
species of the Willow Wrens, which constantly and invariably use
distinct notes.” “I have specimens of the three sorts now lying before
me, and can discern that there are three gradations of sizes, and that
the least has black legs, and the other two, flesh-coloured ones. The
yellowest bird is considerably the largest, and has its quill feathers
and secondary feathers tipped with white, which the others have not. The
last haunts only the tops of trees and high beechen woods, and makes a
sibilous grasshopper-like noise, now and then, at short intervals,
shivering a little with its wings when it sings.” Mr. Markwich, however,
declared that he was totally unable to discover more than one species.

[Illustration: THE GOLDEN-CRESTED WREN, (_Regulus cristatus_,)]

IS the smallest of British birds, measuring only three inches and a half
in length. It is of an olive colour, with a beautiful crest of golden
yellow feathers on its head. This charming little bird is generally
found in fir woods; it feeds on insects, and has a soft and pleasing

[Illustration: THE GREY WATER WAGTAIL. (_Motacilla boarula._)]

THERE is not a brook purling along two flowery banks, not a rivulet
winding through the green meadow, which is not frequented by this
beautifully coloured and elegantly shaped little creature. We even see
them in the streets of country towns, following with quick pace the
half-drowned fly or moth, which the road-side streamlet carries away.
Next to the robin redbreast and the sparrow, they are the boldest in
approaching our habitations. The Wagtails are much in motion; seldom
perch, and perpetually flirt their long and slender tails, (whence they
derive their name,) principally after picking up some food from the
ground, as if that tail were a kind of lever, or counterpoise, used to
balance the body on the legs. They are observed to frequent, more
commonly, those streams where women come to wash their linen; probably
not ignorant that the soap, the froth of which floats upon the water,
attracts those insects which are most acceptable to them.

[Illustration: PIED WAGTAILS.]

THERE are two common species of Wagtails, the Grey kind and the Pied
Wagtail. The Grey Wagtail is retiring in its habits, and much slower in
its motions; its breast is yellow, and its wings grayish, but the Pied
Wagtail, which is a very lively little bird, and seems always in a
bustle, is black, softening into ash-colour and white; it is also bold,
and will take the food thrown to it with as much confidence as a robin

The Yellow Shepherdess (_Budytes flava_) is another species of Wagtail.
The male is olive-green on the back, and yellow on the lower part of the
body, but the breast of the female is nearly white. These birds do not
frequent the banks of rivers, but are generally found walking among the
grass of meadows, and following sheep. They are summer visitors to

White says, that “while the cows are feeding in the moist, low pastures,
broods of Wagtails, white and grey, run round them, close up to their
noses, and under their very bellies, availing themselves of the flies
that settle on their legs, and probably finding worms and larvæ that are
roused by the trampling of their feet. Nature is such an economist that
the most incongruous animals can avail themselves of each other.”

    “Interest makes strange friendships!”

[Illustration: THE SWALLOW. (_Hirundo rustica._)]

    “From the low-roof’d cottage ridge
       See the chattering Swallow spring;
     Darting through the one-arch’d bridge,
       Quick she dips her dappled wing.”

SWALLOWS are easily distinguished from all other birds, not only by
their general structure, but by their twittering note and mode of
flying, or rather darting from place to place.

They appear in Britain in April, and build in some outhouse, or, in part
of a human dwelling, where they lay their eggs and hatch their young.
About August they disappear, and do not return till the following
spring. Swallows kept in a cage moult about Christmas, and seldom live
till spring.

There are several species of the Swallow: the general characters of
which are a small beak, but large, wide mouth, for the purpose of
swallowing flying insects, their natural food; and long forked tail and
extensive wings, to enable them to pursue their prey. The common Swallow
builds under the eaves of houses, or in chimneys, near their top; it is
frequently called the Chimney Swallow from its preference for the
last-mentioned rather singular situation; the Martin also builds under
eaves, and most commonly against the upper corner or side of our very
windows, and seems not afraid at the sight of man, yet it cannot be
tamed, or even kept long in a cage. The nature of the Swallow’s nest is
worthy of close observation: how the mud is extracted from the
sea-shores, rivers, or other watery places; how masoned and formed into
a solid building, strong enough to support a whole family, and to face
the “pelting storm,” are wonders which ought to raise our mind to Him
who bestowed that instinct upon them.

It is related that a pair of Swallows built their nest for two
successive years on the handle of a pair of garden shears, that were
stuck up against the boards of an outhouse; and, therefore, must have
had their nest spoiled whenever the implement was wanted. And what is
still more strange, a bird of the same species built its nest on the
wings and body of an owl that happened to hang dead and dry from the
rafter of a barn, and so loose as to be moved by every gust of wind.
This owl, with the nest on its wings, and with eggs in the nest, was
taken to the museum of Sir Ashton Leaver as a curiosity. That gentleman,
struck with the singularity of the sight, furnished the person who
brought it with a large shell, desiring him to fix it just where the owl
had hung. The man did so; and in the following year a pair of Swallows,
probably the same, built their nest in the shell and laid eggs.

Modern poets have not been unmindful of the Swallows; and our immortal
Shakspeare mentions the Martin, in Macbeth, in the following manner:

                “This guest of summer,
    The temple-haunting Martlet, does approve,
    By his loved mansionry, that the Heaven’s
    Breath smells wooingly here. No jutty, frieze,
    Buttress, nor coigne of ’vantage, but this bird
    Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle:
    Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed,
    The air is delicate.”

“The Swallow,” writes Sir Humphry Davy, “is one of my favourite birds,
and a rival of the nightingale, for he cheers my sense of seeing as much
as the other does my sense of hearing. He is the glad prophet of the
year, the harbinger of the best season--he lives a life of enjoyment
amongst the liveliest forms of nature--winter is unknown to him; and he
leaves the green meadows of England in autumn for the myrrh and orange
groves of Italy, and for the palms of Africa; he has always objects of
pursuit, and his success is secure. Even the beings selected for his
prey are poetical, beautiful, and transient. The ephemeræ are saved by
his means from a slow and lingering death in the evening, and killed in
a moment when they have known nothing but pleasure. He is the constant
destroyer of insects, the friend of man, and may be regarded as a sacred
bird. His instinct, which gives him his appointed season, and teaches
him when and where to move, may be regarded as flowing from a divine
source; and he belongs to the oracles of nature, which speak the awful
and intelligible language of a present Deity.”

The Chimney Swallow is, on the head, neck, back, and rump, of a shining
black colour, with purple gloss and sometimes with a blue shade; the
throat and neck are of the same colour; the breast and belly are white,
with a dash of red. The tail is forked, and consists of twelve
feathers. The wings are of the same colour with the back. Swallows feed
upon flies and other insects; and generally hunt their prey on the wing:

    “Away! away! thou summer bird;
     For Autumn’s moaning voice is heard,
     In cadence wild, and deepening swell,
     Of winter’s stern approach to tell.”


(_Hirundo urbica._)]

THE MARTIN is something less than the swallow, with a comparatively
large head, and a wide mouth; the colour of the upper parts a bluish
black, the rump and all the under parts of the body white, the bill
black; the legs covered with short white down.

These birds begin to appear about the middle of April, and for some time
pay no attention to the business of nidification, but sport and play
about as if to recruit themselves from the fatigue of the journey.

Should the weather prove favourable, it begins to build early in May,
placing its nest generally beneath the eaves of a house, often against
a perpendicular wall: without any projecting ledge to support any part
of the nest, its utmost efforts are necessary to get the first
foundation firmly fixed, so as to carry the superstructure safely. On
this occasion, it not only clings with its claws, but partly supports
itself by strongly inclining its tail against the wall, making that a
fulcrum; and thus fixed, it plasters the materials into the face of the
brick or stone. But that this work may not, while soft, sink by its own
weight, the provident architect has the prudence and forbearance not to
proceed too fast; but by building only in the morning, and dedicating
the rest of the day to food and amusement, he gives it sufficient time
to dry and harden. By this method, in about ten days, the nest is
formed, strong, compact, and warm, and perfectly fitted for all the
purposes for which it is intended. But nothing is more common than for
the house-sparrow, as soon as the shell is finished, to seize on it,
eject the owner, and line it according to its own peculiar manner.
Sometimes, however, the Martins prove too clever for the sparrow; when
the intruder obstinately retained possession of the nest, the Martins
have been known to collect from all parts of the neighbourhood, each
bringing a pellet of mud, with which the orifice of the nest was soon
securely closed, and the unfortunate sparrow was then left to die of
starvation. The Martin will return for several seasons to the same nest,
where it happens to be well sheltered and secured from the injuries of
the weather. They breed the latest of all our swallows, often having
unfledged young ones even so late as Michaelmas.

The first hatch consists of five eggs, which are white, inclining to
dusky at the thicker end; the second, of three or four; and of a third,
of only two or three. While the young birds are confined to the nest the
parents feed them, adhering by the claws to the outside; but as soon as
they are able to fly they receive their nourishment on the wing, by a
quick and almost imperceptible motion.

    “Welcome, welcome, feathered stranger,
       Now the sun bids Nature smile;
     Safe arrived and free from danger,
       Welcome to our blooming isle.”

[Illustration: THE SWIFT, (_Cypselus apus_,)]

WHICH is sometimes called the Black Martin, arrives in England later,
and takes its departure earlier than any of our swallows. The Swift is
the largest of the swallow tribe, and the most rapid in its flight. Its
nest, which is generally built in the crevices of old towers and
steeples, is constructed of dried grass, feathers, thread, and similar
materials, glued together by a sort of spittle, with which the bird is
provided. The bird collects them whilst on the wing, picking them up
with great dexterity. They seldom alight upon the ground, and if by
accident they fall upon a level surface, they recover themselves with
difficulty, owing to the shortness of their legs, and the length of
their wings. During the heat of the day they remain within their holes,
and at morning and evening sally out in quest of food. They may then be
seen in flocks, whirling round some lofty edifice, or describing in
mid-air an endless series of circles upon circles. Swifts fly higher,
and wheel with bolder wing than the swallows, with whom they never

[Illustration: THE GOATSUCKER. (_Caprimulgus Europæus._)]

THIS curious bird, called also the Nightjar, and the Fern Owl, comes to
this country from Africa about the middle of May and usually leaves by
the end of August. These birds are generally found in low bushes, or
amongst tufts of large ferns, and generally fly at night: hence their
name of Fern Owl. The beak is furnished with bristles, and the middle
toe of each foot has a claw toothed like a comb. The female lays her
eggs upon the ground, without any nest, and lays only two. The name of
Goatsucker originated in an absurd idea that this bird sucked the goat’s
milk, from its habit of lying on the ground near cows or she goats, and
catching the flies that torment them by fixing on their udders. Mr.
Waterton, who is certainly the closest observer of nature who ever wrote
on Natural History, states, in one of his very interesting works, that
he has frequently seen the Goatsuckers catching insects in this manner,
and thus proving themselves the best of friends to the animals they are
accused of annoying.

[Illustration: THE SKYLARK. (_Alauda arvensis._)]

    “Go, tuneful bird, that gladd’st the skies,
       To Daphne’s window speed thy way;
     And there on quivering pinions rise,
       And there thy vocal art display.”

THE SKYLARK is distinguished from most other birds by the long spur on
the back toe, the earthy colour of his feathers, and by singing as he
mounts in the air. These birds generally make their nest in meadows
among the high grass, and the tint of their plumage resembles so much
that of the ground, that the body of the bird is hardly distinguishable
as it runs along.

    “The daisied lea he loves, where tufts of grass
     Luxuriant crown the ridge: there, with his mate,
     He founds their lonely house, of withered herbs,
     And coarsest spear-grass; next the inner work,
     With finer, and still finer fibres lays,
     Rounding it curious with his speckled breast.”

Larks breed twice a year, in May and July, rearing their young in a
short space of time. They are caught in great quantities in winter, and
are considered choice and delicate food. It is a melancholy observation,
that man should feed upon, and indulge his sense of taste with those
very birds which have so often delighted his sense of hearing with their
songs, when they usher to the gladdened creation the return of their
best friend, the sun. The instinctive warmth of attachment which the
female Skylark bears towards her own species, even when not her
nestling, is remarkable. “In the month of May,” says Buffon, “a young
hen bird was brought to me, which was not able to feed without
assistance. I caused her to be reared; and she was hardly fledged, when
I received from another place a nest of three or four unfledged larks.
She took a strong liking to these newcomers, which were but little
younger than herself; she tended them night and day, cherished them
beneath her wings, and fed them with her bill. Nothing could interrupt
her tender offices. If the young ones were torn from her she flew to
them as soon as they were liberated, and would not think of effecting
her own escape, which she might have done a hundred times. Her affection
grew upon her; she neglected food and drink; she at length required the
same support as her adopted offspring, and expired at last, consumed
with maternal solicitude. None of the young ones long survived her. They
died one after another; so essential were her cares, which were equally
tender and judicious.”

The Lark mounts almost perpendicularly, and by successive springs, into
the air, where it hovers at a vast height. Its descent is in an oblique
direction, unless threatened by some ravenous bird of prey, or attracted
by its mate, when it drops to the ground like a stone. On its first
leaving the earth, its notes are feeble and interrupted; but, as it
rises, they gradually swell to their full tone. As the Lark’s flight is
always at sun-rise, there is something in the scenery that renders its
song peculiarly delightful: the opening morning, the landscape just
gilded by the rays of the returning sun, and the beauty of the
surrounding objects, all contribute to heighten our relish for its
pleasing melody.

    “---- Up springs the Lark,
     Shrill-voiced and loud, the messenger of morn,
     Ere yet the shadows fly, he, mounted, sings
     Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunts
     Calls up the tuneful nations.”
    “Alas! it’s no thy neebor sweet,
     The bonnie Lark, companion meet!
     Bending thee ’mang the dewy weet!
              Wi’ speckled breast,
     When upward springing, blythe to greet
              The purpling east.”

    “Early, cheerful, mounting Lark,
     Light’s gentle usher, morning’s clerk,
     In merry notes delighting.”
                         SIR JOHN DAVIS.

[Illustration: THE WOODLARK. (_Alauda arborea._)]

THIS species is smaller than the skylark, and its voice deeper; it has
also a circle of white feathers encompassing the head, from eye to eye,
like a crown or wreath, and the utmost feather of the wing is much
shorter than the second, whereas in the common lark they are nearly
equal. This bird sometimes emulates the nightingale; for which, when
pouring forth his sweet melody in the grove, during a silent night, he
is often mistaken. These birds sit and perch upon trees, unlike the
common lark, which always keeps to the ground. They build their nest at
the foot of a bush, near the bottom of a hedge, or in high dry grass.
The number of their eggs is about four, of a pale bloom colour,
beautifully mottled, and clouded with red and yellow. Like the skylark,
they assemble in large flocks during frosty weather. Their usual food
consists of small beetles, caterpillars, and other insects, as well as
the seeds of numerous kinds of wild plants.

    “Bright o’er the green hills rose the morning ray,
       The Woodlark’s song resounded on the plain,
     Fair nature felt the warm embrace of day,
       And smiled through all her animated reign.”

[Illustration: THE TITMOUSE, OR TOM-TIT. (_Parus cæruleus._)

THE LONG-TAILED TIT. (_Parus caudatus._)]

THE common Titmouse or Tom-tit is a very small bird, only four inches
and a half in length. He has a blue head, with white cheeks and a white
stripe over each eye; his back is greenish, his wings and tail blue, and
the lower surface of his body yellow. This bird, and all the species
related to it, live on insects, as well as on seeds. When kept in a
cage, it is really amusing to see with what quickness the Titmouse darts
at any fly or moth which comes imprudently within its reach. If this
kind of food be deficient, as generally happens in winter, it feeds upon
several kinds of seed, and particularly that of the sunflower, which it
dexterously holds upright between its claws and strikes powerfully with
its sharp little bill, till the black covering splits, and yields its
white contents to the persevering bird. Its general food consists of
insects, which it seeks in the crevices of the bark of trees, and when
thus engaged, clinging in every possible position to the branches, it
looks like a very diminutive blue parrot. In winter the Titmouse visits
our gardens and orchards, where he is often seen picking the buds of
fruit trees to pieces; but in doing this he inflicts little or no injury
upon the gardener, his object being the capture of insects which would
probably cause far more mischief in the ensuing summer. The nest of the
Titmouse is built in the hole of a tree or wall; the female lays usually
eight or ten eggs, and when sitting defends her nest with great courage,
pecking at the fingers of boys so vigorously that in some parts of the
country she is known by the name of Billy Biter. The _Long-tailed Tit_
is also a common bird about hedges, orchards, and plantations. He is an
active lively little fellow, and resembles the common Tit in his habits.


THIS bird is somewhat larger than the sparrow. Its head is of a greenish
yellow, spotted with brown; the throat and belly are yellow; the breast
and sides, under the wings, mingled with red. These birds build their
nests on the ground, near some bush, where the female lays five or six
eggs. The Yellowhammer may be sometimes seen perched on the finger of
some poor man or woman in the streets of London, in a state of complete
tameness; but this is the transitory effect of intoxication, and soon
after the bird is bought and brought home, it dies, overcome by the
power of the laudanum that has been given it.

This bird feeds on seeds and various sorts of insects, and is common in
every lane, on every hedge, throughout the country, flitting before the
traveller, and about the bushes. Happily for him, we have not yet
acquired the taste of the natives of Italy, where the Yellowhammer falls
a daily victim to the delicacy of the table, and where its flesh is
esteemed very delicious eating. There he is often fattened, for the
purpose of gratifying the palate of epicures.

The Ortolan, (_Emberiza hortulana_,) which is another species of the
same genus, is common in the central and southern provinces of Europe,
where it is thought exquisitely flavoured as an article of food. When
first taken it is frequently very lean, but if supplied with abundance
of food, it is said to be so greedy, that it will eat till it dies of


(_Saxicola ænanthe_ and _S. rubetra_.)]

THE WHEATEAR is one of our earliest visitants, and may be found in every
part of Britain. In the North, it generally frequents heaps of stones,
ruins, or the dry stone walls of burial-grounds, and though it is a
very handsome bird, and in the early season sings sweetly, its haunts
have obtained it a bad name. The common alarm-note resembles the sound
made in breaking stones with a hammer, and as it utters that note from
the top of the heap which haply covers the bones of one who perished by
the storm, or his own hand, popular fancy has not unnaturally associated
the Wheatear with the superstition that belongs to the place of graves.
Beneath that heap of stones, or in some neighbouring fallow, its nest
may be discovered, formed of moss and dried grass, lined with hair,
feathers, or wool, and containing five or six eggs of a delicate bluish
white. These birds congregate on the southern downs about the middle of
July; they are then caught in vast numbers, in horse-hair nooses, which
are set between two pieces of turf turned against each other.

_The Whin Chat_ is a beautiful bird, compact in form, with a rich and
elegant plumage. Its song, which is peculiarly soft and sweet, may be
heard in spring on the bushy margins and gorse of extensive heaths. Its
nest, constructed in thick tufts of grass and under bushes, is most
carefully concealed. It is usually approached by a labyrinth to which
the rising of the bird affords no clue, and it may long be sought in
vain, though perhaps not more than a yard distant all the time. The eggs
are bluish green, without any spots, and are never more than six in

The following lines, addressed to the English Ortolan, or Wheatear, by
Mrs. Charlotte Smith, allude to the foolish timidity of that bird:

    “To take you, shepherd boys prepare
     The hollow turf, the wiry snare,
     Of those weak terrors well aware,
       That bid you vainly dread
     The shadows floating over downs,
     Or murmuring gale, that round the stones
     Of some old beacon, as it moans,
       Scarce moves a thistle’s head.
     And if a cloud obscure the sun,
     With faint and fluttering heart you run
     Into the pitfall you should shun,
       And only leave when dead.”

[Illustration: THE SPARROW. (_Passer domesticus._)]

THIS bird is, next to the robin redbreast, the boldest of the small
feathered tribe which frequent our barns and houses: he is a courageous
little creature, and fights undauntedly against birds ten times bigger
than himself. Sparrows are accused of destroying a great quantity of
corn, and in several counties the landlord or farmer puts a price on a
Sparrow’s head; but the farmer is the person most injured by the plan,
as the good Sparrows, in ridding land of caterpillars, more than
compensate for the loss of grain they destroy. Mr. Bradley, in his
Treatise on Husbandry and Gardening, shows, by a calculation, that a
pair of Sparrows, during the time they have their young ones to feed,
destroy on an average, every week, three thousand three hundred and
sixty caterpillars.

This bird is easily tamed, and will hop about the house, and on the
table with great familiarity. It will feed on anything, and is
particularly fond of meat cut into small pieces. The song of the
Sparrow, if we can so call its chirping, is far from agreeable: this
arises, however, not from want of powers, but from its attending solely
to the note of the parent bird. A Sparrow, when fledged, was taken from
the nest and educated under a linnet: it also heard by accident a
goldfinch; and its song was in consequence a mixture of the two. The
male is particularly distinguished by a jet-black spot under the bill
upon a whitish ground. Sparrows are found nearly in every country of the

[Illustration: THE LINNET, (_Fringilla linota_ or _Linota cannabina_.)]

IS about the size of the goldfinch; and compensates, by an extremely
melodious voice, the want of variety in its plumage, which, except in
the red-breasted species, is nearly all of one colour. Its musical
talents are, like those of many other birds, repaid with captivity; for
it is kept in cages on account of its singing.

The Redpole (_Fringilla linaria_) is a small species of Linnet, little
more than four inches in length, distinguished by a deep blood-red spot
on the crown of his head. He visits Britain in the autumn and stays with
us during the winter, his favourite summer residence being far away in
the north. Redpoles are taken in great numbers by the bird-catchers in
the autumn. Their only song is a twittering note, but they are often
attached by a brace and chain to an open cage and trained to draw their
water in a bucket.

The Green Linnet is rather larger than the house sparrow. Its head and
back are of a yellowish-green, the edges of the feathers grayish; the
rump and breast more yellow. The plumage of the female is much less
vivid, inclining to brown. Its song is trifling, but in confinement it
becomes tame and docile, and will catch the notes of other birds.

[Illustration: THE CANARY-BIRD. (_Fringilla_, or _Carduelis canaria_.)]

AS his name imports, this bird is a native of the Canary Islands; where,
in his wild state, he has a dusky gray plumage, and a much stronger
voice than when in a cage. In our northern countries his feathers
undergo a great alteration; and the bird often becomes entirely white or
yellow. Of this bird, Buffon says, “that if the nightingale is the
chantress of the woods, the Canary is the musician of the chamber; the
first owes all to nature, the second something to art. With less
strength of organ, less compass of voice, and less variety of note, the
Canary has a better ear, greater facility of imitation, and a more
retentive memory; and as the difference of genius, especially among the
lower animals, depends in a great measure on the perfection of their
senses, the Canary, whose organ of hearing is more susceptible of
receiving and retaining foreign impressions, becomes more social, tame,
and familiar; is capable of gratitude and even attachment; its caresses
are endearing, its little humours innocent, and its anger neither hurts
nor offends. Its education is easy; we rear it with pleasure, because we
are able to instruct it. It leaves the melody of its own natural note,
to listen to the melody of our voices and instruments. It accompanies
us, and repays the pleasure it receives with interest, while the
nightingale, more proud of his talent, seems desirous of preserving it
in all its purity, at least it appears to attach very little value to
ours, and it is with great difficulty that it can be taught any of our
airs. It despises them, and never fails to return to its own wild wood
notes. Its pipe is a masterpiece of nature, which human art can neither
alter nor improve; while that of the Canary is a model of more pliant
materials, which we can mould at pleasure; and therefore it contributes
in a much greater degree to the pleasures of society. It sings at all
seasons, cheers us in the dullest weather, and adds to our happiness, by
amusing the young and delighting the recluse, charming the tediousness
of the cloister, and gladdening the soul of the innocent and captive.”
It breeds generally twice a year when domesticated; and it sometimes
happens that the female lays her eggs for the second time before the
first brood is fledged. The male then good-naturedly takes her place on
the eggs while she feeds the young ones, and feeds them in his turn,
when she sits in the nest. They are very easily tamed, when brought up
with attention and kindness, and take their food out of the hand, often
perching on the shoulder of their mistress, and feeding out of her
mouth. The Canary-bird is sometimes, and with success, matched with the
linnet or the goldfinch; and the produce is a beautiful bird, partaking
of the talents and plumage of both.

Canary-birds live twelve or thirteen years in our climate, and sing well
to the end of their life.

The following curious anecdote of one of these birds is related by Dr.
Darwin: “On observing a Canary-bird at the house of a gentleman near
Tutbury, in Derbyshire, I was told it always fainted away when its cage
was cleaned; and I desired to see the experiment. The cage being taken
from the ceiling, and the bottom drawn out, the bird began to tremble,
and turned quite white about the root of the bill: he then opened his
mouth, as if for breath, and respired quick; stood up straighter on his
perch, hung his wings, spread his tail, closed his eyes, and appeared
quite stiff for half-an-hour; till at length, with much trembling and
deep respirations, he came gradually to himself.”

Some years ago, a Frenchman exhibited in London twenty-four
Canary-birds, many of which he said were from eighteen to twenty-five
years of age. Some of these balanced themselves, head downward, on their
shoulders, having their legs and tail in the air. One of them taking a
slender stick in its claws, passed its head between its legs, and
suffered itself to be turned round, as if in the act of being roasted.
Another balanced itself, and was swung backward and forward on a kind of
a slack rope. A third was dressed in military uniform, having a cap on
its head, wearing a sword and pouch, and carrying a firelock in one
claw: after some time sitting upright, this bird, at the word of
command, freed itself from its dress, and flew away to the cage. A
fourth suffered itself to be shot at, and falling down as if dead, was
put into a little wheelbarrow, and wheeled away by one of its comrades!

[Illustration: THE CHAFFINCH. (_Fringilla cœlebs._)]

THE CHAFFINCH is of the same dimensions as the sparrow, but more
lightly and elegantly formed. Its nest, which is of the most beautiful
and elaborate construction, is composed of mosses and lichens,
interwoven and lined with wool, hair, and feathers. “Four or five eggs,”
says Mr. Waterton, “are the usual number which the Chaffinch’s nest
contains, and sometimes only three. The thorn, and most of the evergreen
shrubs, the sprouts on the boles of forest trees, the woodbine, the
whin, the wild rose, and occasionally the bramble, are this bird’s
favourite places for nidification. Like all its congeners, it never
covers its eggs on retiring from the nest, for its young are hatched
blind. There is something peculiarly pleasing to me in the song of this
bird. Perhaps association of ideas may add a trifle to the value of its
melody; for when I hear the first note of the Chaffinch, I know that
winter is on the eve of its departure, and that sunshine and fine
weather are not far off. The Chaffinch never sings when on the wing; but
it warbles incessantly on the trees, and on the hedgerows, from the
early part of February to the second week in July; and then (if the bird
be in a state of freedom) its song entirely ceases.”


[Illustration: THE BULLFINCH. (_Loxia pyrrhula._)]

THIS is a very docile bird, and will nearly imitate the sound of a pipe,
or the whistle of man, with its voice, the mellowness of which is really
charming. It is, by bird-fanciers, considered to excel all other small
birds, except the linnet, in the softness of its tones, and in the
variety of its notes. In captivity, its melody seems to be as great a
solace to itself, as it is a pleasure to its master. By day, and even
when the evening has called for the artificial light of candles, the
Bullfinch pursues his melodious exertions, and if there be any other
birds in the apartment, awakes them gently to the pleasing task of
singing in concert with him. His notes are upon one of the lowest keys
of the gamut of birds.

The plumage of the Bullfinch is beautiful, though simple and uniform,
consisting only of three or four colours. In the male, a lovely scarlet
or crimson colour adorns the breast, throat, and jaws, as far as the
eyes; the crown of the head is black; the rump and tail are white; the
neck and back grey, or lead-coloured. The name of this bird originates
from its head and neck being, like those of the bull, very large in
proportion to the body. The female does not share with the male the
brightness of colours in the plumage. Bullfinches build their nests in
gardens and orchards, and particularly in places that abound in
fruit-trees, as they are passionately fond of fruit, which they often
destroy before it is ripe.

[Illustration: THE GOLDFINCH.

(_Fringilla carduelis_, or _Carduelis elegans_.)]

THIS bird is also called the Thistlefinch, from his fondness for the
seeds of that plant. He is very beautiful, his plumage being elegantly
diversified, his form small, but pleasing, and his voice not loud, but
sweet. He is easily tamed, and often exhibited as a captive, with a
chain round his body, drawing up with trouble, but yet with amazing
dexterity, two small buckets, alternately, one containing his meat, the
other his drink. If he is old when caught, the Goldfinch, after a few
weeks, if well attended to, and gently treated, becomes as familiar as
if he had been brought up by the hand of his keeper. Some have been
taught to fire a small piece of artillery, and go through the drilling
exercise, to the great astonishment of the spectators; but the cruel and
severe treatment that animals undergo, when taught performances
altogether contrary to their nature, should prevent us from encouraging
such exhibitions.

This bird, as if conscious of the beauty of his plumage, likes to view
himself in a glass, which is sometimes fixed for this purpose in the
back of the cage. The art with which it composes and builds its nest is
really worthy of admiration; it is generally interwoven with moss, small
twigs, horsehair, and other pliant materials; the inside stuffed most
carefully with fine down, and tufts of cotton grass. There the female
deposits five or six eggs, which are whitish, marked at their upper end
with purple dots.

    “The Goldfinch weaves, with willow down inlaid,
     And cannach tufts, his wonderful abode;
     And oft suspended at the limber end
     Of plane-tree spray, among the broad-leaved shoots,
     The tiny hammock swings to every gale.
     Sometimes in closest thickets ’tis concealed;
     Sometimes in hedge luxuriant, where the brier,
     The bramble, and the plum-tree branch
     Warp through the thorn, surmounted by the flowers
     Of climbing vetch, and honeysuckle wild.”

The following lines were written by Cowper on a Goldfinch starved to
death in his cage. The Goldfinch speaks:--

    “Time was when I was free as air,
     The thistle’s downy seed my fare,
       My drink the morning dew;
     I perched at will on every spray,
     My form genteel, my plumage gay,
       My strains for ever new.

    “But gaudy plumage, sprightly strain,
     And form genteel were all in vain,
       And of a transient date;
     For caught and caged, and starved to death,
     In dying sighs my little breath
       Soon passed the wiry grate.

    “Thanks, gentle author of my woes,
     Thanks for this most effectual close
       And cure of every ill.
     Never your cruelty repress!
     For I, if you had shown me less,
       Had been your prisoner still.”

[Illustration: THE CROSSBILL. (_Loxia curvirostra._)]

THE CROSSBILL is a native of the vast pine forests of northern Europe,
and is by no means abundant in England. The bill of this singular bird
is of considerable length, and the mandibles towards the point are very
sharp and strong, curved in opposite directions, so that when closed the
points cross each other, from which the bird derives his name. This
curious organization enables them to obtain their food, which chiefly
consists of the seeds of the cones of the fir, with the greatest
facility. These seeds, for a considerable time after they have ripened,
are so firmly enclosed within their ligneous scales, that the bill of no
ordinary bird could reach them. Fixing itself across the cone, the
Crossbill brings the mandibles of its beak immediately over each other,
and insinuates them between the scales, then forcing them laterally, the
scales open. The mandibles are again brought in contact, between the
scales, and the bird then picks out the seed with their tips. It is very
interesting to find that a structure so anomalous as that of the bill of
the Crossbill is really beneficial to the creature, and not, as was
formerly rather flippantly asserted, a defect or error of nature.

[Illustration: THE STARE, OR STARLING, (_Sturnus vulgaris_,)]

IS about the size and shape of a blackbird; the tips of the feathers on
the neck and back are yellow; the feathers under the tail of an
ash-colour; the other parts of the plumage are black, with a purple or
deep blue gloss, changing as it is variously exposed to the light. In
the hen, the tips of the feathers on the breast and belly, to the very
throat, are white; which constitutes a material point in the choice of
the bird, as the female is no singer. She lays four or five eggs,
lightly tinctured with a greenish cast of blue. Starlings build in
hollow trees and clefts of rocks and walls, are very easily tamed, and
can add to their natural notes any words or modulations which they are

In the winter season Starlings collect in vast flocks, and may be known
at a great distance by their whirling mode of flight. The evening is the
time when they assemble in the greatest numbers, and betake themselves
to fens and marshes. Sterne has immortalized the Starling in his
“Sentimental Journey:” “The bird flew to the place where I was
attempting his deliverance, and thrusting his head through the trellis,
pressed his head against it, as if impatient.--‘I fear, poor creature,’
said I, ‘I can’t set thee at liberty.’--‘No,’ said the Starling, ‘I
can’t get out.’ ‘Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, slavery,’ said I,
‘still thou art a bitter draught!’”

[Illustration: THE SATIN BOWER-BIRD.

(_Ptilonorhynchus holosericeus._)]

THIS singular bird was first brought before the notice of the public by
Mr. Gould, in his splendid work, the “Birds of Australia,” from which
the following extracts are given by permission of its author. The most
remarkable circumstance relating to this bird, is its construction of a
bower-like tenement, the object of which, it should seem, is a sort of
playing-ground, or hall of assembly.

“The Satin Bower-bird,” says Mr. Gould, “is not a stationary species,
but appears to range from one part of a district to another, either for
the purpose of varying the nature, or of obtaining a more abundant
supply of food. Judging from the many specimens I dissected, it would
seem that it is altogether granivorous and frugivorous; or, if not
exclusively so, that insects form but a small portion of its diet. The
brushes it inhabits are studded with enormous fig-trees, some of them
towering to the height of two hundred feet; among the lofty branches of
which the Satin Bower-bird finds, in the small wild fig with which the
branches are loaded, an abundant supply of a favourite food: this
species also commits considerable depredation on ripening corn. It
appears to have particular times in the day for feeding, and when thus
engaged among the low shrub-like trees, I have approached within a few
feet without creating alarm; but at other times I have found this bird
extremely shy, especially the old males, which not unfrequently perch on
the topmost branch of the loftiest tree, whence they can survey all
around, and watch the movements of the females and their young in the
brush below. Besides the loud liquid call peculiar to the male, both
sexes frequently utter a harsh, unpleasant, guttural note, indicative of
surprise or displeasure. The old black males are exceedingly few in
number, as compared with the females and young male birds in the green
dress, from which, and other circumstances, I am led to believe that at
least two, if not three years, elapse before they attain the rich
satin-like plumage, which, when once perfectly assumed, is, I believe,
never again thrown off. The extraordinary bower-like structures alluded
to above, are usually placed under the shelter of the branches of some
overhanging tree in the most retired part of the forest, and differ
considerably in size. The base consists of an extensive and rather
convex platform of stick, firmly interwoven, on the centre of which the
bower itself is built: this, like the platform on which it is placed,
and with which it is interwoven, is formed of sticks and twigs, but of a
more slender and flexible description, the tips of the twigs being so
arranged as to curve inwards and nearly meet at the top: in the interior
of the bower the materials are so placed, that the forks of the twigs
are always presented outwards, by which arrangement not the slightest
obstruction is offered to the passage of the birds. The interest of this
curious bower is much enhanced by the manner in which it is decorated at
and near the entrance with the most gaily-coloured articles that can be
collected, such as the blue tail-feathers of the Rose-bill and
Pennantian parrots, bleached bones, the shells of snails, &c.; some of
the feathers are stuck in among the twigs, while others with the bones
and shells are strewed about near the entrances. The propensity of
these birds to pick up and fly off with any attractive object, is so
well known to the natives, that they always search the runs for any
small missing article, as the bowl of a pipe, &c., that may have been
accidentally dropped in the brush. I myself found at the entrance of one
of them a small neatly-worked stone tomahawk, of an inch and a half in
length, together with some slips of blue cotton rags, which the birds
had doubtless picked up at a deserted encampment of the natives. For
what purpose these curious bowers are made is not yet, perhaps, fully
understood; they are certainly not used as a nest, but as a place of
resort for many individuals of both sexes, which, when there assembled,
run through and around the bower in a sportive and playful manner, and
that so frequently, that it is seldom entirely deserted.”

[Illustration: THE RAVEN. (_Corvus Corax._)]

    “The Raven sits
       On the raven-stone,
     And his black wing flits
       O’er the milk-white bone;     To and fro, as the night-winds blow,
       The carcass of the assassin swings:
     And there alone, on the raven-stone,
       The Raven flaps his dusky wings.
     The fetters creak--and his ebon beak
       Creaks to the close of the hollow sound:
     And this is the tune by the light of the moon,
       To which the witches dance their round.”
                BYRON’S MANFRED.

THE RAVEN is about twenty-six inches in length, and his weight about
three pounds. The bill is strong, black, and hooked at the tip. The
plumage of the whole body of a shining black, glossed with deep blue;
the back of the lower part inclining to a dusky colour. He is of a
strong and hardy disposition, and inhabits all climates of the globe. He
builds his nest in trees; and the female lays five or six eggs of a
palish green colour, spotted with brown. It is said that the life of
this bird extends to a century; and even beyond that period, if we can
believe the accounts of several naturalists on the subject. The Raven
unites the voracious appetite of the crow to the dishonesty of the daw
and the docility of almost every other bird. He feeds chiefly on small
animals; and is said to destroy rabbits, young ducks, and chickens, and
sometimes even lambs, when they happen to be dropped in a weak state. In
the northern regions, he preys on carrion, in concert with the white
bear, the arctic fox, and the eagle. The faculty of scent in these birds
must be very acute; for in the coldest of the winter days, at Hudson’s
Bay, when every kind of effluvium is almost instantaneously destroyed by
the frost, buffaloes and other beasts have been killed, where not one of
these birds was seen; but in a few hours scores of them have been found
collected about the spot, to pick up the blood and offal. The Raven
possesses many diverting and mischievous qualities; he is active,
curious, sagacious, and impudent; by nature a glutton, by habit a thief,
in disposition a miser, and in practice a rogue. He is fond of picking
up any small piece of money, bits of glass or any thing that shines,
which he carefully conceals under the eaves of roofs, or in any other
inaccessible place. He is easily tamed; and, like the parrot and
starling, can imitate the human voice, in articulating words. At the
seat of the Marquis of Aylesbury, in Wiltshire, a tame Raven, that had
been taught to speak, used to ramble about in the park, where he was
commonly attended and beset with crows, rooks, and others of his
inquisitive tribe. When a considerable number of these were collected
round him, he would lift up his head, and with a hoarse and hollow voice
shout out Holloa! This would instantly put to flight and disperse his
sable brethren; while the Raven seemed to enjoy the fright he had
occasioned. When domesticated, the Raven is of great service, both as a
scavenger and in keeping watch, in the last of which he is more alert
and vigilant than almost any other animal. The Raven was the ensign of
the invading Danes, and the prejudice thereby engendered against the
bird is not yet quite extinct. Of its perseverance in the act of
incubation, Mr. White relates the following singular anecdote:

“In the centre of a grove near Selborne, there stood an oak, which,
though on the whole shapely and tall, bulged out into a large
excrescence near the middle of the stem. On this tree a pair of Ravens
had fixed their residence for such a series of years, that the oak was
distinguished by the title of ‘The Raven-tree.’ Many were the attempts
of the neighbouring youths to get at this nest: the difficulty whetted
their inclinations, and each was ambitious of surmounting the arduous
task; but when they arrived at the swelling, it jutted out so in their
way, and was so far beyond their grasp, that the boldest lads were
deterred and acknowledged the undertaking to be too hazardous. Thus the
Ravens continued to build, nest upon nest, in perfect security, till the
fatal day on which the wood was to be levelled. This was in the month of
February, when those birds usually sit. The saw was applied to the
trunk, the wedges were inserted into the opening, the wood echoed to the
heavy blows of the mallet, the tree nodded to its fall; but still the
dam persisted in sitting. At last, when it gave way, the bird was flung
from her nest; and though her parental affection deserved a better fate,
was whipped down by the twigs, which brought her dead to the ground!”
The croaking of the Raven was formerly considered a note of ill omen:

    “The Raven croaked as she sat at her meal,
       And the old woman knew what he said;
     And she grew pale at the Raven’s tale,
       And sickened and went to her bed.”

[Illustration: THE CARRION CROW. (_Corvus corone._)]

THIS bird is less in size than the raven. The bill is strong, thick, and
straight. The general colour is black, except the extremities of the
feathers, which are of a greyish tint. His delight is to feed upon
carcasses and dead animals, or malefactors exposed on the gibbet. He
roosts upon trees, and takes both animal and vegetable food. Crows, like
rooks, are gregarious, and often fly in large companies in the fields or
in the woods. On the upland moors, Crows occupy the place which rooks
fill in the low country; and as the Crow has a very coarse and uncouth
voice, the Lowlanders of Scotland are in the habit of saying that the
Highland rooks “speak Gaelic.” They are great destroyers of partridges’
eggs, as they often pierce them with their bills, and carry them in that
manner through the air to a great distance to feed their young. The
female lays five or six eggs.

Mr. Montagu states that he once saw a Crow in pursuit of a pigeon, at
which it made several pounces, like a hawk; but the pigeon escaped by
flying in at the door of a house. He saw another strike a pigeon dead
from the top of a barn. The Crow is so bold a bird that neither the
kite, the buzzard, nor the raven, can approach its nest without being
driven away. When it has young ones, it will even attack the peregrine
falcon, and at a single pounce sometimes bring that bird to the ground.

[Illustration: THE ROOK. (_Corvus frugilegus._)]

THE cawing of these birds, on the tops of high trees near gentlemen’s
houses, and in the middle of cities, is not very pleasing; yet old
habits, to which we are reconciled, have as much influence upon us as if
they were productive of amusement. Hence it has been seldom attempted to
destroy a rookery; although the noise and other inconveniences that
accompany these birds render their vicinity often troublesome. They feed
entirely on corn and insects, and are little bigger than the common
crows. In Suffolk, and in some parts of Norfolk, the farmers find it
their interest to encourage the breed of Rooks, as the only means of
freeing their grounds from the grub, which produces the cockchafer, and
which in this state destroys the roots of corn and grass to such a
degree, that instances have been known where the turf of pasture land
might be turned up with the foot. The farmers in a northern county, a
good many years ago, waged a war of extermination against the Rooks, but
the very next year the crops were so completely cut up by grubs, that
the same proprietors were at considerable expense in getting Rooks back
again. Young Rooks are good eating, but should be skinned before they
are dressed. The colour is black, but brighter than that of the crow,
which the Rook resembles in shape. The female lays the same number of
eggs; and the male shares with her the trouble of fetching sticks, and
interweaving them to make the nest, an operation which is attended with
a great deal of fighting and disputing with the other Rooks.

New comers are often severely beaten by the old inhabitants, and are
even frequently driven quite away; of this an instance occurred near
Newcastle, in the year 1783. A pair of Rooks, after an unsuccessful
attempt to establish themselves in a rookery at no great distance from
the Exchange, were compelled to abandon the attempt, and take refuge on
the spire of that building; and, though constantly interrupted by other
Rooks, they built their nest on the _top of the vane_, and reared their
young ones, undisturbed by the noise of the populace below. The nest and
its inhabitants were of course turned about by every change of the wind!
They returned and built their nest every year on the same place, till
1793, soon after which year the spire was taken down. A small
copperplate was engraved, of the size of a watchpaper, with a
representation of the spire and the nest; and so much pleased were the
inhabitants and other persons with it, that as many copies were sold as
produced to the engraver a profit of ten pounds. The woodcut by Bewick,
in the title-page to his Select Fable gives, a view of the old Exchange,
with the Rook’s nest on the vane.

It is amusing to see Rooks coming at sunset as thick as a cloud hovering
over a grove, and, after several eddies described in the air, and
incessant cawings, each repairing to its own nest, and settling in a few
minutes to rest, till the dawn calls them up again to their pasture in
the neighbouring fields.

Dr. Darwin has remarked, that an instinctive feeling of danger from
mankind is much more apparent in Rooks than in most other birds. Any one
who has in the least observed them will see that they evidently
distinguish that the danger is greater when a man is armed with a gun,
than when he has no weapon with him. In the spring of the year, if a
person happened to walk under a rookery with a gun in his hand, the
inhabitants of the trees rise on their wings, and scream to the
unfledged young to shrink into their nests from the sight of the enemy.
The country people observing this circumstance so uniformly to occur,
assert that Rooks can smell gunpowder.

[Illustration: THE JACKDAW. (_Corvus monedula._)]

THIS bird is much less than the crow. He has a large head and long bill,
in proportion to the size of his body. The colour of the plumage is
black, but on some parts inclining to a bluish hue; the fore part of the
head is of a deeper black. The Jackdaw feeds upon nuts, fruits, seeds,
and insects; and builds in ancient castles, towers, cliffs, and all
desolate and ruinous places. The female lays five or six eggs, smaller,
paler, and marked with fewer spots than those of the crow.

Jackdaws are easily tamed, and may with little difficulty be taught to
pronounce several words. They conceal such parts of their food as they
cannot eat, and often, along with it, small pieces of money or toys,
frequently occasioning, for the moment, suspicions of theft in persons
who are innocent. In Switzerland there is found a variety of the
Jackdaw, which has a white ring round its neck. In Norway, and other
cold countries, they have been seen entirely white. In a state of
nature, jackdaws and rooks frequently feed together, and the Jackdaws
come to meet the rooks in the morning, and also accompany them for some
distance on their retreat at night.

[Illustration: THE MAGPIE. (_Pica caudata._)]

    “From bough to bough the restless Magpie roves,
     And chatters as he flies.” GISBORNE.

THIS bird resembles the daw, except in the whiteness of the breast and
wings, and the length of the tail. The black of the feathers is
accompanied with a changing gloss of green and purple. It is a very
loquacious creature, and can be taught to imitate the human voice as
well as any of the feathered creation.

Plutarch relates a singular story of a Magpie belonging to a barber at
Rome, which could imitate, to a wonderful extent, almost every noise
that it heard. Some trumpets happened one day to be sounded before the
shop; and for a day or two afterwards the Magpie was quite mute, and
seemed pensive and melancholy. This surprised all who knew it; and they
supposed the sound of the trumpets had so stunned the bird as to deprive
it at the same time of voice and hearing. This, however, was not the
case; for, says the writer, the bird had been all the time occupied in
profound meditation, and was studying how to imitate the sound of the
trumpets; accordingly, in the first attempt, it perfectly imitated all
their repetitions, stops, and changes. This new lesson, however, made it
entirely forget everything that it had learned before.

The Magpie feeds on everything; worms, insects, meat, cheese, bread,
milk, and all kinds of seeds, and also on small birds, when they come in
its way: the young of the blackbird and of the thrush, and even a
strayed chicken, often fall a prey to its rapacity. It is fond of hiding
pieces of money or wearing apparel, which it carries away by stealth,
and with much dexterity, to its hole. Its cunning is also remarked in
the manner of making its nest, which it covers all over with hawthorn
branches, the thorns sticking outward; within, it is lined with fibrous
roots, wool, and long grass, and then plastered all round with mud and
clay. The canopy above is composed of the sharpest thorns, woven
together in such a manner as to deny all entrance except at the door,
which is just large enough to permit egress and regress to the owners.
In this fortress the birds bring up their brood with security, safe from
all attacks, but those of the climbing schoolboy, who often finds his
torn and bloody hands too dear a price for the eggs or the young ones.

There are many superstitions respecting Magpies; and it is singular that
in all the southern and middle districts of England, two Magpies
together are thought to betoken luck; while in Lancashire, and other
northern counties, they are thought to betoken misfortune. The
chattering of Magpies was formerly supposed to foretell the arrival of

[Illustration: THE CORNISH CHOUGH, (_Pyrrhcorax graculus_,)]

IS like the jackdaw in shape and colour, but somewhat larger. The bill
and legs are of a red colour, and hence the bird is frequently called
the red-legged Crow. It is an inhabitant of Cornwall, Wales, and all the
western coasts of England, and is generally to be found among rocks near
the sea, where it builds, as well as in old ruinous castles and churches
on the sea-side. The voice of the Chough resembles that of the jackdaw,
except that it exceeds it in hoarseness and strength.

Mr. Montagu describing a Chough in the possession of a friend, says,
“his curiosity is beyond bounds, never failing to examine everything new
to him: if the gardener be pruning, he examines the nail-box, carries
off the nails, and scatters the shreds about. Should a ladder be left
against the wall, he instantly mounts, and goes all round the top of the
wall: and if hungry descends at a convenient place, and immediately
travels to the kitchen window, where he makes an incessant knocking with
his bill, until he is fed or let in. If allowed to enter, his first
endeavour is to get up-stairs; and if not interrupted, goes as high as
he can, and gets into any room on the attic story; but his intention is
to get upon the top of the house. He is excessively fond of being
caressed, and would stand quietly by the hour to be smoothed; but
resents an affront with violence and effect, by both bill and claws, and
will hold so fast by the latter, that he is with difficulty

[Illustration: THE JAY, (_Garrulus glandarius_,)]

IS less than the magpie, and resembles him more in the habits of his
life than in the shape and colour of his body. Like him he is talkative,
and ready to imitate all sounds, but boasts of ornamental colours, which
the magpie is deprived of. The ablest painter can produce no colour to
equal the brightness of the chequered tablets of white, black, and blue,
which adorn the sides of his wings. His head is covered with feathers,
which are moveable at will, and the motion of which is expressive of the
internal affections of the bird, whether he is stimulated by fear,
anger, or desire.

A Jay, kept by a person in the north of England, had learned at the
approach of cattle to set a cur dog upon them, by whistling and calling
him by his name. One winter, during a severe frost, the dog was by this
means excited to attack a cow that was big with calf, when the poor
thing fell on the ice, and was much hurt. The Jay was complained of as a
nuisance, and its owner was obliged to destroy it.

The hen lays five or six eggs, of a dull white colour, mottled with

[Illustration: THE ROLLER, (_Coracias garrula_,)]

IS about the size of the jay. Its bill is black, sharp, and somewhat
hooked. The head is of a dirty green, mingled with blue; of which colour
is also the throat, with white lines in the middle of each feather; the
breast is of a pale blue, like that of the pigeon; the middle of the
back, between the shoulders, is red; the rump and lesser coverts of the
wings are dark blue; the feet are short, and, like those of a dove, of a
dirty yellow colour.

The Roller is wilder than the jay, and frequents the thickest woods; it
builds its nest chiefly on birch-trees. It is a bird of passage, and
migrates in the months of May and September. In Africa, it is said to
fly in large flocks in the autumn, and is frequently seen on cultivated
grounds, with rooks and other birds, searching for worms, insects,
seeds, berries, roots, and in cases of necessity, small frogs.


[Illustration: THE KINGFISHER, (_Alcedo ispida_,)]

IS the Halcyon of the ancients, and his name recalls to our mind the
most lively ideas. It was believed, that, as long as the female sat upon
her eggs, the god of storms and tempests refrained from disturbing the
calmness of the waves, and _Halcyon days_ were, for navigators of old,
the most secure times to perform their voyages:

    “As firm as the rock, and as calm as the flood,
     Where the peace-loving Halcyon deposits her brood.”

But although this bears analogy to a natural coincidence between the
time of breeding assigned to the Kingfishers and a part of the year when
the ocean is less tempestuous, yet Mythology would exercise her fancy,
and turn into wonders that which was nothing else than the common course
of nature.

This bird is nearly as small as a common sparrow, but the head and beak
appear proportionally too big for the body. The bright blue of the back
and wings claims our admiration, as it changes into deep purple or
lively green, according to the angles of light under which the bird
presents itself to the eye. It generally haunts the banks of rivers, for
the purpose of seizing small fish, on which it subsists, and which it
takes in amazing quantities, by balancing itself at a distance above the
water for a certain time, and then darting on the fish with unerring
aim. It dives perpendicularly into the water, where it continues several
seconds, and then brings up the fish, which it carries to land, beatsto death, and afterwards swallows. When it cannot find a projecting
bough, it sits on some stone near the brink, or even on the gravel; but
the moment it perceives the fish, it takes a spring upwards of twelve or
fifteen feet, and drops from that height upon its prey.

The Kingfisher lays its eggs, to the number of seven or more, in a hole
in the bank of the river or stream that it frequents. Dr. Heysham had a
female brought alive to him at Carlisle by a boy, who said he had taken
it the preceding night when sitting on its eggs. His information on the
subject was, that “having often observed these birds frequent a bank
upon the river Peteril, he had watched them carefully, and at last he
saw them go into a small hole in the bank. The hole was too narrow to
admit his hand; but, as it was made in soft mould, he easily enlarged
it. It was upwards of half a yard long; at the end of it the eggs, which
were six in number, were placed upon the bare mould, without the
smallest appearance of a nest.” The eggs were considerably larger than
those of the yellow-hammer, and of a transparent white colour. It
appears, from a still later account, that the direction of the holes is
always upward; that they are enlarged at the end, and have there a kind
of bedding formed of the bones of small fish, and some other substances,
evidently the castings of the parent animals. This bedding is generally
half an inch thick, and mixed with earth; and on it the female deposits
and hatches her eggs. When the young ones are nearly full-feathered they
are extremely voracious; and as the old birds do not supply them with
all the food they can devour, they are continually chirping, and may be
discovered by their noise.

[Illustration: THE BIRD OF PARADISE. (_Paradisea apoda._)]

THERE are several distinct species of these birds, of which the best
known are the large and small Emerald Birds of Paradise, which are very
similar in appearance, and are both imported into Europe as ornaments
for ladies’ dress. Their appearance when flying in their native forests
is said to be most beautiful. M. Lesson, a French naturalist, gives the
following account:--“Soon after our arrival on this land of promise
(New Guinea) for the naturalist, I was on a shooting excursion. Scarcely
had I walked some hundred paces in those ancient forests, the daughters
of time, whose sombre depth was, perhaps, the most magnificent and
stately sight that I had ever seen, when a Bird of Paradise struck my
view: it flew gracefully and in undulations; the feathers of its sides
formed an elegant and aërial plume, which, without exaggeration, bore no
remote resemblance to a brilliant meteor. Surprised, astounded, enjoying
an inexpressible gratification, I devoured this splendid bird with my
eyes; but my emotion was so great that I forgot to shoot at it, and did
not recollect that I had a gun in my hand till it was far away.”

The head is small, but adorned with colours which vie with the brightest
hues of the feathered tribe; the neck is a beautiful fawn, and the body
very small, but covered with long feathers of a browner hue, tinged with
gold: the two middle feathers of the tail are little more than
filaments, except at the point and near the base. Although the body is
no larger than that of a thrush, the total length is two feet. This bird
has long been esteemed by ladies as a head-dress; and as those sent to
Europe for this purpose always had the legs cut off for the convenience
of packing, it was reported, and at one time believed, that the Bird of
Paradise had no legs, but that it lived always on the wing. Indeed, a
very fierce controversy arose on this subject among the earlier

The native place of these birds is New Guinea and the neighbouring
islands, where they are generally found in flocks of thirty and forty,
roosting on fig or teak trees. They always fly against the wind, that it
may not ruffle their light and spreading plumage, as, if the wind came
from behind, it would blow their long tails over their back. They take
shelter from storms in the most dense thickets, and feed principally on
figs, the berries of the teak, and insects. The note of the Bird of
Paradise is very unpleasant, and resembles the cawing of a raven; it is
chiefly heard in windy weather, when they dread being thrown on the


(_Sitta Europæa_,)

AND THE CREEPER, (_Certhia familiaris_,)]

IS less than the chaffinch. The head, neck, and beak are of an
ash-colour; the sides under the wings red; the throat and breast of a
pale yellow; the chin white, and the feathers under the tail red, with
white tips. The Nuthatch feeds upon insects and also upon nuts, which he
hoards in the hollow part of a tree; and it is pleasing to see him fetch
a nut out of the hole, place it first in a chink, and standing above it
with his head downwards, striking it with all his might, break the
shell, and catch up the kernel. The hen is so attached to her brood,
that, when disturbed from her nest, she flutters about the head of the
depredator, and hisses like a snake. The Nuthatches are shy and solitary
birds, and like the woodpeckers frequent woods, and run up and down the
trees with surprising facility. They often move their tails in the
manner of the wagtail. They do not migrate, but during the winter
approach nearer to inhabited places, and are sometimes seen in orchards
and gardens. The female lays her eggs in holes of trees.

[Illustration: THE CREEPER. (_Certhia familiaris._)]

THE CREEPERS are dispersed through most countries of the globe, and feed
chiefly on insects, in search of which they run in a spiral direction
round the stems and branches of trees, with great agility.

The Common Creeper is about five inches in length; its colour is tawny,
the quills being tipped with white or light brown. Its nest is formed of
dry grass and bark, and is placed in the hollow of some decayed tree.


(_Tichodroma muraria_,)]

IS larger than a house-sparrow. It has a long, slender, black bill; the
head, neck, and back are of an ash-colour, the front of the neck and
throat being a deep black; the breast is white; the wings a compound of
lead-colour and red. It is a brisk and cheerful bird, and has a pleasant
note. Clefts and crevices of rocks and the walls of old edifices are its
favourite haunts, and sometimes, but very rarely, the trunks of trees.
It feeds on insects, and is especially fond of spiders and their eggs.
The nest is made in clefts of the most inaccessible rocks, and in the
crevices of ruins, at a great height.


(_Menura superba._)]

THIS bird is found in New South Wales, near Port Philip, but it is the
male only that possesses the splendid tail whence it derives its name.
It feeds on snails, and builds a nest like a magpie.

“Of all the birds I have ever met with,” says Mr. Gould, “the Menura is
by far the most shy and difficult to procure. While among the brushes, I
have been surrounded by these birds, pouring forth their loud andliquid calls, for days together, without being able to get a sight of
them; and it was only by the most determined perseverance and extreme
caution that I was enabled to effect this desirable object; which was
rendered the more difficult by their often frequenting the almost
inaccessible and precipitous sides of gullies and ravines, covered with
tangled masses of creepers, and umbrageous trees: the cracking of a
stick, the rolling down of a small stone, or any other noise, however
slight, is sufficient to alarm it; and none but those who have traversed
these rugged, hot, and suffocating brushes, can fully understand the
excessive labour attendant on the pursuit of the Menura. Independently
of climbing over rocks and fallen trunks of trees, the sportsman has to
creep and crawl beneath and among the branches with the utmost caution,
taking care only to advance when the bird’s attention is occupied in
singing, or in scratching up the leaves in search of food: to watch its
actions, it is necessary to remain perfectly motionless, not venturing
to move even in the slightest degree, or it vanishes from sight, as if
by magic. Although I have said thus much on the cautiousness of the
Menura, it is not always so alert: in some of the more accessible
brushes through which roads have been cut, it may frequently be seen,
and even on horseback closely approached, the bird apparently evincing
less fear of those animals than of man. At Illawarra it is sometimes
successfully pursued by dogs trained to rush suddenly upon it, when it
immediately leaps upon the branch of a tree, and its attention being
attracted by the dog which stands barking below, it is easily approached
and shot. Another successful mode of procuring specimens is, by wearing
a tail of a full-plumaged male in the hat, keeping it constantly in
motion, and concealing the person among the bushes, when the attention
of the bird being arrested by the apparent intrusion of another of its
own sex, it will be attracted within the range of the gun: if the bird
be hidden from view by the surrounding objects, any unusual sound, as a
shrill whistle, will generally induce him to show himself for an
instant, by causing him to leap with a gay and sprightly air upon some
neighbouring branch to ascertain the cause of the disturbance:immediate advantage must be taken of this circumstance, or the next
moment it may be half-way down the gully. So totally different is the
shooting of this bird to anything practised in Europe, that the most
expert shot would have but little chance, until well experienced in the
peculiar nature of the country, and the habits of the bird. The Menura
seldom, if ever, attempts to escape by flying; it easily eludes pursuit
by its extraordinary power of running. None are so efficient in
obtaining specimens as the naked black, whose noiseless and gliding
steps enable him to steal upon it unheard and unperceived, and with the
gun in his hand, he rarely allows it to escape, and in many instances he
will even kill it with his own weapons.

“The Lyre-bird is of a wandering disposition, and although it probably
keeps to the same brush, it is constantly engaged in traversing it from
one end to the other, from mountain-top to the bottom of the gullies,
whose steep and rugged sides present no obstacle to its long legs and
powerful muscular thighs: it is also capable of performing extraordinary
leaps; and I have heard it stated, that it will spring ten feet
perpendicularly from the ground. It appears to be of solitary habits, as
I have never seen more than a pair together, and these only in a single
instance; they were both males, and were chasing each other round and
round with extreme rapidity, apparently in play, pausing every now and
then to utter their loud shrill calls; while thus employed they carried
the tail horizontally, as they always do when running quickly through
the bush, that being the only position in which this great organ could
be conveniently borne at such times. Among its many curious habits, the
only one at all approaching to those of the _Gallinacæa_, is that of
forming small round hillocks, which are constantly visited during the
day, and upon which the male is constantly trampling, at the same time
erecting and spreading out his tail in the most graceful manner, and
uttering his various cries, sometimes pouring forth his natural notes,
at others mocking those of other birds, and even the howling of the
native dog, or dingo. The early morning and the evening are the periods
when it is most animated and active.”

There is another kind of Lyre-Bird, also found in New South Wales, to
which Mr. Gould has given the name of _Menura Alberti_, in honour of the
late Prince Consort.

[Illustration: THE HUMMING-BIRD. (_Trochilus colubris._)]

THERE are numerous species of Humming-Birds, but that represented above,
is one of the most common. They are abundant in South America,
particularly in Brazil; and are so small and so brilliant in their
colours, that when seen fluttering about in the brilliant rays of a
tropical sun, they look like flying gems. They are extremely active,
darting about, and thrusting their long beaks and flexible tongues into
every flower they see, in search of food. Sometimes they will remain
suspended in the air for a long time together, vibrating their wings
with such velocity, that they cannot be seen distinctly, but appear like
a mist round the body of the bird, while they make that curious humming
noise from which the bird takes its name. Sometimes they quarrel, when
their little throats become distended, their crest, tails, and wings
expand, and they fight with inconceivable fury, till one of them falls
exhausted on the ground. The most common species is _Trochilus
colubris_, the Ruby-throated Humming-Bird, and one of them has been kept
alive in a cage for more than three months, by feeding it with sugar and
water. This species is found in North America, where it migrates to the
north in summer, and is there seen even in Canada and the country of
Hudson’s Bay.

[Illustration: THE HOOPOE. (_Upupa epops._)]

THIS is a small bird, measuring no more than twelve inches from the
point of the bill to the end of the tail. The bill is sharp, black, and
somewhat bending. The head is adorned with a very beautiful, large
moveable crest, a kind of bright halo, the radiation of which places the
head nearly in the centre of a golden circle. This pleasing ornament,
which the bird sets up or lets fall at pleasure, is composed of a double
row of feathers, reaching from the bill to the nape of the neck, which
is of a pale red. The breast is white, with black streaks tending
downwards; the wings and back are varied with white and black
cross-lines. The food of the Hoopoe consists chiefly of insects, with
the remains of which its nest is sometimes so filled as to become
extremely offensive. This beautifully-crested bird is not at all common
in this country, and is solitary, two of them being seldom seen
together, while in Egypt, where Hoopoes are very common, they are often
seen in small flocks. The female generally constructs her nest in a
hollow tree, the materials employed, in addition to the remains of their
food, being very scanty, consisting in fact of a few dried grass stalks
and feathers. She lays from four to seven eggs at a time, of a pale
lavender grey, about an inch and a half long. The young are generally
hatched in June; it is said, however, that two or three broods are
produced in the course of the year. The name alludes to the note of the
bird, which resembles the word “hoop” repeated several times in a low

Though this bird is found occasionally both in England and Scotland, it
rarely breeds with us. It is common in Italy, where its strange
startling cry is often heard, without the bird being seen, as it keeps
itself concealed among trees. It is also not uncommon on the banks of
the Garonne in France, where it may be seen skimming along the ground
amongst the willows in search of the insects upon which it feeds.

There are several species of this magnificent family. The most brilliant
is undoubtedly the Upupa Superba, or Grand Promerops of New Guinea.
“There does not perhaps exist,” says Sonnerat, “a more extraordinary
bird. Its body is delicate and slender, and, although it is of an
elongated form, appears excessively small in comparison with the tail.
Nature seems to have pleased herself in painting this being, already so
singular, with her most brilliant colours. The head, the neck, and the
belly are a glittering green; the feathers which cover these parts have
the lustre and softness of velvet to the eye and to the touch; the back
is changeable violet; the wings are of the same colour, and appear,
according to the lights in which they are held, blue, violet, or deep
black, always however imitating velvet.” This bird is rare, and a
specimen is seldom seen even in the most complete collections.

§ IV.--_Scansores, or Climbers._

[Illustration: THE CUCKOO. (_Cuculus canorus._)]

    “Hail, beauteous stranger of the wood,
       Attendant on the spring!
     Now Heaven repairs thy rural seat,
       And woods thy welcome sing.

    “Soon as the daisy decks the green,
       Thy certain voice we hear;
     Hast thou a star to guide thy path,
       Or mark the rolling year?
    “Delightful visitant! with thee
       I hail the time of flowers,
     When heav’n is fill’d with music sweet,
       Of birds among the bowers.”

THE well-known notes of this bird, in spite of their monotony, are heard
with pleasure in spring, as a sure prognostic of fine weather. The
Cuckoo is generally first heard about the middle of April, and ceases
towards the end of June. This bird is so shy that he is seldom seen when
uttering his singular note. The female does not build a nest, but lays
her eggs in that of some other bird.

The Cuckoo is somewhat less than the magpie, his length being about
twelve inches from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail. He is
remarkable for his round prominent nostrils; the lower part of the body
is of a yellowish colour, with black transverse lines on the throat and
across the breast; the head and upper part of the body and wings are
beautifully marked with black and tawny stripes, and on the top of the
head there are a few white spots. The tail is long, and on the exterior
part, or edges of the feathers, there are several white marks; the
ground colour of the body is a sort of grey. The legs are short, and
covered with feathers, and the feet are composed of four toes, two
before and two behind.

We are indebted to the observations of Dr. Jenner for the following
account of the habits and economy of this singular bird in the disposal
of its eggs. He states that, during the time the hedge-sparrow is laying
her eggs, which generally occupies four or five days, the Cuckoo
contrives to deposit her egg among the rest, leaving the future care of
it entirely to the hedge-sparrow. This intrusion often occasions some
disorder; for the old hedge-sparrow, at intervals while she is sitting,
not only throws out some of her own eggs but sometimes injures them in
such a way that they become addled, so that it frequently happens that
not more than two or three of the parent bird’s eggs are hatched: but,
what is very remarkable, it has never been observed that she has either
thrown out or injured the egg of the Cuckoo. When the hedge-sparrow has
set her usual time, and has disengaged the young Cuckoo and some of her
own offspring from the shell, her own young ones and any of her eggs
that remain unhatched are soon turned out: the young Cuckoo then remains
in full possession of the nest, and is the sole object of the future
care of the foster parent. The young birds are not previously killed,
nor are the eggs demolished; but they are left to perish together,
either entangled in the bush that contains the nest, or lying on the
ground beneath it. On the 18th June, 1787, Dr. Jenner examined a nest of
a hedge-sparrow, which then contained a Cuckoo’s and three
hedge-sparrow’s eggs. On inspecting it the day following, the bird had
hatched: but the nest then contained only a young Cuckoo and one
hedge-sparrow. The nest was placed so near the extremity of a hedge,
that he could distinctly see what was going forward in it; and, to his
great astonishment, he saw the young Cuckoo, though so lately hatched,
in the act of turning out the young hedge-sparrow. The mode of
accomplishing this was curious; the little animal, with the assistance
of its rump and wings, contrived to get the bird upon its back, and
making a lodgment for its burden by elevating its elbows, climbed
backward with it up the side of the nest, till it reached the top;
where, resting for a moment, it threw off its load with a jerk, and
quite disengaged it from the nest. After remaining a short time in this
situation, and feeling about with the extremities of its wings, as if to
be convinced that the business was properly executed, it dropped into
the nest again. Dr. Jenner made several experiments in different nests,
by repeatedly putting in an egg to the young Cuckoo, which he always
found to be disposed of in the same manner. It is very remarkable that
nature seems to have provided for the singular disposition of the Cuckoo
in its formation at this period; for, different from other newly-hatched
birds, its back, from the scapulae downward, is very broad, with a
considerable depression in the middle, which seems intended for the
express purpose of giving a more secure lodgment to the egg of the
hedge-sparrow or its young one, while the young Cuckoo is employed in
removing either of them from the nest. When it is about twelve days
old, this cavity is quite filled up, the back assumes the shape of that
of nestling birds in general, and at that time the disposition of
turning out its companion entirely ceases. The smallness of the Cuckoo’s
egg, which in general is less than that of the hedge-sparrow, is another
circumstance to be attended to in this surprising transaction, and seems
to account for the parent Cuckoo’s depositing it in the nest of such
small birds only as these. If she were to do this in the nest of a bird
that produced a larger egg, and consequently a larger nestling, the
design would probably be frustrated, the young Cuckoo would be unequal
to the task of becoming sole possessor of the nest, and might fall a
sacrifice to the superior strength of its partners. Dr. Jenner observes,
that the egg of two Cuckoos are sometimes deposited in the same nest;
and gives the following instance which fell under his observation. Two
Cuckoos and a hedge-sparrow were hatched in the same nest; one
hedge-sparrow’s egg remained unhatched. In a few hours a contest began
between the Cuckoos for possession of the nest; and this continued
undetermined till the afternoon of the following day, when the one which
was somewhat superior in size, turned out the other, together with the
young hedge-sparrow and the unhatched egg. The contest, he adds, was
very remarkable; the combatants alternately appeared to have the
advantage, as each carried the other several times nearly to the top of
the nest, and again sank down oppressed by the weight of its burden;
till at length, after various efforts, the strongest of the two
prevailed, and was afterwards brought up by the hedge-sparrow.

The American Cuckoo, or Cow bird, is quite different in its habits to
the European Cuckoo, as it builds a nest for its eggs, and hatches its
young itself like other birds.


(_Picus viridis_,)]

RECEIVES his name from his habit of pecking the insects from the chinks
of trees and holes in the bark. The bill is straight, strong, and
angular at the end; and in most of the species is formed like a wedge,
for the purpose of piercing the trees. The nostrils are covered with
bristles. The tongue is slender, and cylindrical in shape, and to the
touch is hard and bony. The Woodpecker, in common with the Humming Bird,
though for a different object, possesses the remarkable property of
being able to dart out its tongue and secure insects at a considerable
distance from its beak. For the purpose of effectually capturing the
stronger insects, the tongue is barbed at the end, and provided with
glutinous secretion. The toes of this bird are placed two forward and
two backward; and the tail consists of ten hard, stiff, and
sharp-pointed feathers. A Woodpecker is often seen hanging by his claws,
and resting upon his breast against the stem of a tree; when, after
darting his beak against the bark, with great strength and noise, he
runs round the tree with much alacrity, which manœuvre has made the
country people suppose that he goes round to see whether he has not
pierced the tree through, though the fact is, the bird is in search of
the insects, which he hopes to have driven out by his blow.

The following lines, from Moore’s beautiful song, allude to the noise
which the Woodpecker makes in searching for its food:

    “I knew by the smoke that so gracefully curl’d
       Above the green elms, that a cottage was near,
     And I said, if there’s peace to be found in the world,
       A heart that was humble might hope for it here.
         Every leaf was at rest, and I heard not a sound,
       But the Woodpecker tapping the hollow beech-tree.”

The fact is, that this beating against the bark is for no other purpose
than to rouse the insects which the chink contains, and to force them to
come out, which they do from their alarm at the noise, when the
Woodpecker turning round takes them unawares, and feeds upon them: if
the insects do not answer the delusive call, he darts his long tongue
into the hole, and brings out, by this means, his reluctant prey. The
plumage of this bird is a compound of red and green, two colours, the
approximation of which is always productive of harmony in the works of
nature. They nestle in the hollows of trees, where the female lays five
or six whitish eggs, without making any nest, trusting to the natural
heat of her body to hatch them.

The Green Woodpecker is seen more frequently on the ground than the
other kinds, particularly where there are ant-hills. It inserts its long
tongue into the holes through which the ants issue, and draws them out
in abundance. Sometimes with its feet and bill it makes a breach in the
nest, and devours the ants and their eggs at its ease. The young ones
climb up and down the trees before they are able to fly; they roost very
early, and repose in their holes till day. There are many different
kinds of Woodpecker, five of which are common to this country.

[Illustration: THE WRYNECK. (_Yunx torquilla._)]

THIS bird, Mr. Gould tells us, has received its English name from its
habit of moving its head and neck in various directions, and with an
undulating motion, like that of a snake; indeed, in some parts of
England it is called the snake-bird. When found in its usual retreat in
the hole of a tree, it makes a loud hissing noise, raises the feathers
of the crown, and writhing its head and neck towards each shoulder
alternately, with grotesque contortions, becomes an object of terror to
a timid intruder; and the bird, taking advantage of a moment of
indecision, darts with the rapidity of lightning from a situation where
escape appeared impossible.

The Wryneck deposits its eggs on fragments of decayed wood within a
hollow tree, and makes scarcely any nest. The birds when caught young
are easily tamed.

[Illustration: THE TOUCAN, (_Rhamphastos tucanus_,)]

IS a native of South America, very conspicuous for the magnitude and
shape of its bill; which, in some of the species, is nearly as long and
as large as the body itself. The length of its body is about eighteen
inches (the size of the magpie); the head is large and strong, and the
neck short, in order the more easily to support the bulk of such a beak.
The head, neck, and wings are black; the breast of a most lovely orange
saffron colour; the lower part of the body and the thighs are vermilion;
the tail black. Mr. Gould’s specimen represents a narrow straw-coloured
belt across the centre of the breast, dividing the orange tint from the
vermilion. One of these birds that was kept in a cage was very fond of
fruit, which it held for some time in its beak, touching it with great
delight with the tip of its feathery tongue, and then tossing it into
its throat by a sudden upright jerk; it also fed on small birds,
insects, caterpillars, &c.

[Illustration: THE GREY PARROT. (_Psittacus erythacus._)]

THE tongue of the Parrot is not unlike a black soft bean, and fills so
completely the capacity of its beak, that the bird can easily modulate
sounds and articulate words; the beak is composed of two pieces, both
moveable, which is a peculiarity belonging almost exclusively to this
tribe of birds. The bill of the Parrot is strongly hooked, and assists
it in climbing, catching hold of the boughs of the trees with it, and
then drawing its legs upwards; then again advancing the beak, and
afterwards the feet, for its legs are not adapted for hopping from bough
to bough, as other birds do. Several stories are told of the sagacity of
these birds, and of the aptitude of their interrogatories and answers,
but they have been no doubt the effect of chance.

Dr. Goldsmith says that a Parrot, belonging to King Henry the Seventh,
having been kept in a room next the Thames, in his palace of
Westminster, had learned to repeat many sentences from the boatmen and
passengers. One day, sporting on its perch, it unluckily fell into the
water. The bird had no sooner discovered its situation, than it called
out aloud, “A boat! twenty pounds for a boat!” A waterman, happening to
be near the place where the Parrot was floating, immediately took it up,
and restored it to the king; demanding, as the bird was a favourite,
that he should be paid the reward the bird had called out. This was
refused; but it was agreed that, as the Parrot had offered a reward, the
man should again refer to its determination for the sum he was to
receive. “Give the knave a groat,” screamed the bird the instant the
reference was made.

The memory of Parrots is very astonishing, and they can not only imitate
discourse, but can sing verses of songs, and mimic gestures and actions.
Scaliger saw one that performed the dance of the Savoyards at the same
time that it repeated their song. The song was well imitated, but when
the bird tried to caper, it was with the worst grace imaginable, as he
turned in his toes, and kept tumbling back in a most clumsy manner.

Willoughby tells us of a Parrot, which, when a person said to it,
“Laugh, Poll, laugh,” laughed accordingly, and the instant after
screamed out, “What a fool to make me laugh!” Another, which had grown
old with its master, shared with him the infirmities of age. Being
accustomed to hear scarcely anything but the words “I am sick;” when a
person asked it, “How do you do, Poll?” “I am sick,” it replied in a
doleful tone, stretching itself out, “I am sick.”

Parrots are very numerous in the East and West Indies, where they
assemble in companies, like rooks, and build in the hollows of trees.
The female lays two or three eggs, marked with little specks, like those
of the partridge. They never breed in our climate, though they live here
to a great age. They feed entirely upon vegetables, but, when tame, will
take from the mouth of their master or mistress any kind of chewed meat,
and chiefly eggs, of which they seem particularly fond. They bite or
pinch very hard, and some of them possess so much strength in their
beak, that they could easily break a man’s finger. The Parrot is
sensible of attachment, as well as of revenge; and if in their mimic
attitudes they show great pleasure at the sight of their feeders, they
also fly up with anger to the face of those who once have affronted or
injured them.

[Illustration: THE GREEN PARROT, (_Psittacus amazonicus_,)]

WHICH is perhaps more commonly seen in England than the African Grey
Parrot, is a native of South America, and receives its name from the
great river Amazon, on the banks of which it is common. In its native
country it does much damage to the plantations, and indeed many of the
Parrots are as injurious in this respect as they are beautiful in their
plumage. The Green Parrot resembles the Grey species in its habits, and
may likewise be taught to speak with much distinctness.

[Illustration: THE BLUE AND YELLOW MACAW, (_Psittacus_, or _Macrocercus

IS one of the largest of the parrot tribe, and painted with the finest
colours Nature can bestow. The beak is uncommonly strong; and the tail
proportionally longer than that of any of the parrot tribe. Its voice is
fierce and tremulous, sometimes sounding like the laugh of an old man;
and it seems to utter the word “Arara,” which occasions its bearing that
name in its native country.

When tame, it eats almost every article of human food, and is
particularly fond of bread, beef, fried fish, pastry, and sugar. It
cracks nuts with its bill, and dexterously picks out the kernels with
its claws. It does not chew the soft fruits, but sucks them by pressing
its tongue against the upper part of its beak: and the harder sort of
food, such as bread and pastry, it bruises, or chews, by pressing the
tip of the lower upon the most hollow part of the upper mandible.

_The Scarlet Macaw_ (_M. Macao_) is another large species, of a bright
red colour, with some blue and yellow feathers on the wings, and blue
ones about the base of the tail. It was formerly common in the West
Indian Islands, but has now become rare there. Its voice is very loud
and harsh.

[Illustration: THE RING PAROQUET. (_Palæornis Alexandri._)]

THIS beautiful species, no less remarkable for the elegance of its form
than for its docility and imitative powers, is supposed to have been the
first of the parrot species known to the ancients, from the time of
Alexander the Great down to the age of Nero. It is about fifteen inches
long; its bill is thick and red; the head and the body a bright green;
the neck, breast, and the whole of the under side of a paler tint. It
has a red circle, or ring, which encompasses the neck, and is about the
breadth of a little finger at the back; but grows narrower by degrees
towards the sides, and ends under the lower bill. The lower part of the
body is of so faint a green, that it seems almost yellow. The tail also
is of a yellowish green, and the legs and feet ash-coloured.


(_Melopsittacus undulatus._)

GREAT numbers of Paroquets of different species are found in Australia,
and most of these live and seek their food upon the ground rather than
in trees. One of them is called the _Ground Paroquet_, as it is never
seen to perch upon trees, but is always running about among the grass
and herbage. The Warbling Grass Paroquet is a well known and beautiful
little Australian bird, of which considerable numbers have been imported
into this country of late years; it is deservedly a favourite, both on
account of its elegance, and from its possessing a gentle warbling note
very different from the harsh screaming of many species of its tribe. It
can, however, scream vigorously for its size. In the interior of
Australia these charming little birds occur in countless multitudes.
They feed chiefly on the seeds of grasses, which they pick up whilst
running upon the ground, but they perch in crowds upon the gum-trees for
shelter from the noon-day heat, and also before starting on an
expedition in search of water.

[Illustration: THE COCKATOO. (_Plyctolophus galeritus._)]

THIS bird is distinguished from the parrots, by a beautiful crest,
composed of a tuft of elegant feathers, which he can raise or depress at
pleasure. We meet with some of a beautiful white plumage, and the inside
feathers of the crest of a pleasing yellow, with a spot of the same
colour under each eye, and one upon the breast. The Cockatoos are
natives of the Indian Islands and Australia, where they are found in
great abundance. Their food consists of seeds and soft and stony fruits,
which last their powerful bill enables them to break with ease. They are
easily tamed when taken at an early age, after which they become
familiar and even attached, but their imitative powers seldom go beyond
a very few words added to their own cry of Cockatoo.

In a wild state they are shy, and cannot easily be approached. The flesh
of the young birds is accounted very good eating. The female is said to
make her nest in the rotten limbs of trees, using nothing more than the
accumulation of vegetable mould formed by the decayed parts of the
bough. The eggs are white, without spots; there are no more than two
young at a time. The natives first find the nest by the pieces of bark
and twigs which the old birds strip off the trees adjoining that in
which the nest is situated. It is a remarkable fact that the bark is
never stripped off the tree which contains the nest.

Mr. Bennet, in speaking of the large black Cockatoo of New Holland,
says, that if this bird observes on the trunk of a tree indications of a
larva being within, it diligently labours to get at it with its powerful
beak, and should the object of its pursuit be deep within the wood, as
often happens, the trunk becomes so extensively hacked, that a slight
gust of wind will lay the tree prostrate.

§ V.--_Gallinaceous Birds._

[Illustration: THE PEACOCK. (_Pavo cristatus._)]

ASTONISHED at the unparalleled beauty of this bird, the ancients could
not help indulging their lively and creative fancy, in accounting for
the magnificence of his plumage. They made him the favourite of imperial
Juno, sister and wife to Jupiter; and not less than the hundred eyes of
Argus were pulled out to ornament his tail; indeed, there is scarcely
anything in nature that can vie with the transcendent lustre of the
Peacock’s feathers. The changing glory of his neck eclipses the deep
azure of ultramarine; and at the least evolution, it assumes the green
tint of the emerald, and the purple hue of the amethyst. His head, which
is small and finely shaped, has several curious stripes of white and
black round the eyes, and is surmounted by an elegant plume, or tuft offeathers, each of which is composed of a slender stem and a small tuft
at the top. Displayed with conscious pride, and exposed under a variety
of angles to the reflections of light, the broad and variegated disks of
his train, of which the neck, head, and breast of the bird become the
centre, claim our admiration. By an extraordinary mixture of the
brightest colours, it displays at once the richness of gold, and the
paler tints of silver, fringed with bronze-coloured edges, and
surrounding eye-like spots of dark brown and sapphire. The hen does not
share in the beauty of the cock, and her feathers are generally of a
light brown. She lays only a few eggs at a time, generally at an
interval of three or four days; they are white and spotted, like the
eggs of the turkey. She sits from twenty-seven to thirty days.

The loud screamings of the Peacock are worse than the harsh croakings of
the raven, and a sure prognostic of bad weather; and his feet, more
clumsy than those of the turkey, make a sad contrast with the elegance
of his plumage:

    “Though richest hues the Peacock’s plumes adorn,
     Yet horror screams from his discordant throat.”

The spreading of the train, the swelling of the throat, neck, and
breast, and the puffing noise which they emit at certain times, are
proofs that the Turkey and the Peacock stand nearly allied in the family
chain of animated beings.

The flesh of the Peacock was anciently esteemed a princely dish; and the
whole bird used to be served on the table with the feathers of the neck
and tail preserved; but few people could now relish such food, as it is
much coarser than the flesh of the turkey. The Italians have given this
laconic description of the Peacock: “He has the plumage of an angel, the
voice of a devil, and the stomach of a thief.”

[Illustration: THE TURKEY, (_Meleagris Gallo-Pavo_,)]

WAS originally an inhabitant of America, whence he was brought to Europe
by some Jesuit missionaries, which accounts for his being called a
Jesuit in some parts of the continent. The general colour of the
feathers is buff and black; and turkeys have about the head, especially
the cock, naked and tuberous lumps of flesh of a bright red colour. A
long fleshy appendage hangs from the base of the upper mandible, and
seems to be lengthened and shortened at pleasure. The hen lays from
fifteen to twenty eggs, which are whitish and freckled. The chicks are
very tender, and require great care and attentive nursing, until they
are able to seek their food. In the county of Norfolk the breeding ofTurkeys, which is there a considerable branch of trade, is brought to
great perfection; and some weighing upwards of twenty pounds each have
been raised there. They appear to have a natural antipathy to everything
of a red colour.

Though extremely prone to quarrel among themselves, they are, in
general, weak and cowardly against other animals, and fly from almost
every creature that ventures to oppose them. On the contrary, they
pursue everything that appears to dread them, particularly small dogs
and children; and after having made these objects of their aversion
scamper, they evince their pride and satisfaction by displaying their
plumage, strutting about among their female train, and uttering their
peculiar note of self-approbation. Some instances, however, have
occurred, in which the Turkey-cock has exhibited a considerable share of
courage and prowess; as will appear from the following anecdote:--A
gentleman of New York received from a distant part a Turkey-cock and
hen, and with them a pair of bantams; which were put all together into
the yard with his other poultry. Some time afterwards, as he was feeding
them from the barn-door, a large hawk suddenly turned the corner of the
barn, and made a pounce at the bantam hen: she immediately gave the
alarm, by a noise which is natural to her on such occasions; when the
Turkey-cock, who was at the distance of about two yards, and without
doubt understood the hawk’s intention, flew at the tyrant, with such
violence, and gave him so severe a stroke with his spurs, as to knock
him from the hen to a considerable distance; by which means the bantam
was rescued from destruction.

The wild Turkey-cock is, in the American forests, an object of
considerable interest. It perches on the tops of the deciduous cypress
and magnolia:

                            “On the top
    Of yon magnolia, the loud Turkey’s voice
    Is heralding the dawn: from tree to tree
    Extends the wakening watch-note far and wide,
    Till the whole woodlands echo with the cry.”


(_Numida Meleagris._)]

THIS bird, which is also called the _Pearled Hen_, was originally
brought from Africa, where the breed is common, and seems to have been
well known to the Romans, who used to esteem the flesh of this fowl as a
delicacy, and admit it at their banquets. It went then by the name of
Numidian Hen, or _Meleagris_, because it was fabled that the sisters of
Meleager, who unceasingly deplored his death, were metamorphosed into
Guinea Hens by Diana. In fact, although they are now domesticated with
us, they still retain a great deal of their original freedom, and have a
stupid look. Their noise is very disagreeable: it is a creaking note,
which, incessantly repeated, grates upon the ear, and becomes very
teasing and unpleasant. They belong to the class of birds called
_pulveratores_; as they scrape the ground and roll themselves in the
dust like common hens, in order to get rid of small insects which lodge
in their feathers.

The Pintado is somewhat larger than the common hen; the head is bare of
feathers, and covered with a naked skin of a bluish colour; on the top
is a callous protuberance of a conical form. At the base of the bill on
each side hangs a loose wattle, red in the female and bluish in the
male. The general colour of the plumage is a dark bluish grey, sprinkled
with round white spots of different sizes, resembling pearls, from which
circumstance the epithet of _pearled_ has been applied to this bird;
which at first sight appears as if it had been pelted by a strong shower
of hail.

If trained when young, these birds may easily be rendered tame. M. Bruë
informs us, that when he was on the coast of Senegal he received as a
present from an African princess two Guinea fowls. Both these birds were
so familiar that they would approach the table and eat out of his plate;
and, when they had liberty to fly about upon the beach, they always
returned to the ship when the dinner or supper bell rang.

In a wild state, it is asserted that the Pintado associates in large
flocks. Dampier speaks of having seen between two and three hundred of
them together in the Cape de Verd Islands. They were originally
introduced into our country from the coast of Africa somewhat earlier
than the year 1260.

In Jamaica, where they have run wild, and become very destructive to the
plantations, they are sometimes caught, Mr. Gosse tells us, by the
following stratagem:--A small quantity of corn is steeped for a night in
proof rum and is then placed in a shallow vessel, with a little fresh
rum, and the water expressed from a bitter cassava grated. This is
deposited within an enclosed ground to which the depredators resort. A
small quantity of the grated cassava is then strewed over it, and it is
left. The fowls eat the medicated food greedily, and are soon found
reeling about intoxicated, unable to escape, and content with thrusting
their heads into a corner. It is almost unnecessary to observe that in
this state they become an easy prey. Pigeons are sometimes caught in
this manner in Germany by the poachers.

This bird has, of late years, greatly increased in this country, and is
often seen hanging at the poultry shops and in the markets; the great
abundance of them has considerably reduced their value, and they now
sell, proportionally, like other fowls. The eggs are smaller and rounder
than those of the common hen, and of a speckled reddish-brown colour.
They are esteemed a very delicate food.


(_Megapodius tumulus._)]

IT is remarkable that this bird does not hatch its eggs by incubation.
It collects together a great heap of decaying vegetables as the place of
deposit of its eggs, thus making a hotbed, arising from the
decomposition of the collected matter, by the heat of which the young
are hatched. This mound varies in quantity from two to four cart-loads,
and is not the work of a single pair of birds, but is the result of the
united labour of many.

Mr. Gould, in his _Birds of Australia_, gives the following account of
the discovery of one of these nests by Mr. Gilbert:--

“I landed beside a thicket, and had not proceeded far from the shore,
ere I came to a mound of sand and shells, with a slight mixture of black
soil, the base resting on a sandy beach, only a few feet above
high-water mark; it was enveloped in the large yellow-blossomed
Hibiscus, and was of a conical form, twenty feet in circumference at the
base, and about five feet in height. On pointing it out to the native,
and asking him what it was, he replied, ‘Oooregoorga Rambal,’
Jungle-fowls’ house or nest. I then scrambled up the sides of it, and,
to my extreme delight, found a young bird in a hole about two feet deep;
it was lying on a few dry withered leaves, and appeared only a few days
old. So far I was satisfied that these mounds had some connection with
the bird’s mode of incubation; but I was still sceptical as to the
probability of these young birds ascending from so great a depth as the
natives represented, and my suspicions were confirmed by my being unable
to induce the native, in this instance, to search for the eggs, his
excuse being that he knew it would be no use, as he saw no traces of the
old birds having recently been there. I took the utmost care of the
young bird, intending to rear it if possible; I therefore obtained a
moderate-sized box, and placed in it a large portion of sand. As it fed
rather freely on bruised Indian corn, I was in full hopes of succeeding;
but it proved of so wild and intractable a disposition, that it would
not reconcile itself to such close confinement, and effected its escape
on the third day. During the period it remained in captivity, it was
incessantly occupied in scratching up the sand into heaps, and the
rapidity with which it threw the sand from one end of the box to the
other was quite surprising for so young and small a bird, its size not
being larger than that of a small quail.

“At night it was so restless, that I was constantly kept awake by the
noise it made in its endeavours to escape. In scratching up the sand it
only used one foot, and having grasped a handful, as it were, the sand
was thrown behind it, with but little apparent exertion, and without
shifting its standing position on the other leg: this habit seemed to be
the result of an innate restless disposition, and a desire to use its
powerful feet, and to have but little connection with its feeding; for
although Indian corn was mixed with the sand, I never detected the bird
in picking any of it up while thus employed.

“I continued to receive the eggs without having any opportunity of
seeing them taken from the mound until the 6th of February; when, on
again visiting Knocker’s Bay, I had the gratification of seeing two
taken from a depth of six feet, in one of the largest mounds I had then
seen. In this instance the holes ran down in an oblique direction from
the centre towards the outer slope of the hillock, so that, although the
eggs were six feet deep from the summit, they were only two or three
feet from the side. The birds are said to lay but a single egg in each
hole, and after the egg is deposited the earth is immediately thrown
down lightly, until the hole is filled up; the upper part of the mound
is then smoothed and rounded over. It is easily known when a Jungle-fowl
has been recently excavating, from the distinct impression of its feet
on the top and sides of the mound, and from the earth being so lightly
thrown over, that with a slender stick the direction of the hole may
readily be detected; the ease or difficulty of thrusting the stick down
indicating the length of time that has elapsed since the birds’
operations. Thus far it is easy enough; but to reach the eggs requires
no little exertion and perseverance. The natives dig them up with their
hands alone, and only make sufficient room to admit their bodies, and to
throw out the earth between their legs: by grubbing with their fingers
alone, they are enabled to fellow the direction of the hole with greater
certainty, which will sometimes, at a depth of several feet, turn off
abruptly at right angles, its direct course being obstructed by a clump
of wood, or some other impediment.”

In all probability, as Nature has adopted this mode of reproduction, she
has also furnished the tender birds with the power of sustaining
themselves from the earliest period; and the great size of the egg would
equally lead to this conclusion, since in so large a space it is
reasonable to suppose that the bird would be much more developed than is
usually found in eggs of smaller dimensions. The eggs are perfectly
white, of a long, oval form, three inches and three quarters long by two
inches and a half in diameter.

There are several other Australian birds which adopt the same singular
mode of hatching their eggs; one of these is called the Native Pheasant
(_Leipoa ocellata_), and another the Brush Turkey (_Talegalla Lathami_).
The latter has its head and neck covered with a naked skin, like the
turkey, but the lower part of this is much thickened, warty, and bright

[Illustration: THE PHEASANT. (_Phasianus colchicus_.)]

THE name of this bird implies that he was originally a native of the
banks of the river Phasis, in Armenia; how and when he emigrated, and
began to frequent our groves, is unknown. He is of the size of the
common cock; the bill is of a pale horn colour; the nostrils arched; the
eyes yellow, and surrounded by a naked warty skin, of a beautiful
scarlet, finely spotted with black; immediately under each eye there is
a small patch of short feathers, of a dark glossy purple; the upper
parts of the head and neck are of a deep purple, varying to glossy
green and blue; the lower parts of the neck and breast are of a reddish
chesnut, with black indented edges; the sides and lower part of the
breast are of the same colour, with tips of black to each feather,
which, in different lights, vary to glossy purple; indeed, the whole
colour of this half-domesticated fowl is very beautiful, uniting the
brightness of deep yellow gold to the finest tints of the ruby and
turquoise, with reflections of green; the whole being set off by several
spots of shining black; but in this, as in every other kind of
gorgeously-feathered birds, Nature has for some wise purposes, yet
unknown to us, denied the female that admirable beauty of plumage which
belongs to the male. The Pheasant lives in the woods, which he leaves at
dusk to perambulate corn-fields and other sequestered places, where he
feeds with his females, upon acorns, berries, grain, and seeds of
plants, but chiefly on ants’ eggs, of which he is particularly fond. His
flesh is justly accounted better meat than any of the domestic or wild
fowls, as it unites the delicacy of the common chicken to a peculiar
taste of its own. The female lays eighteen or twenty eggs once a year,
in the wild state; but it is in vain that we have attempted to
domesticate this bird entirely, as she never will remain patiently
confined, and if she ever breeds in confinement is very careless of her

There are great varieties of Pheasants, of extraordinary beauty and
brilliancy of colours: many of these, such as the Gold and Silver
Pheasants (_Phasianus pictus_ and _P. Nycthemerus_), brought from the
rich provinces of China, are kept in aviaries in this kingdom.

This beautiful bird is elegantly described in the following passage:--

    “See! from the brake the whirring Pheasant springs,
     And mounts exulting on triumphant wings;
     Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
     Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground:
     Ah! what avails his glossy, varying dyes,
     His purple crest, his scarlet-circled eyes,
     The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
     His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold!”
                      POPE’S WINDSOR FOREST.

[Illustration: THE RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE. (_Perdix rufus._)]

THESE Partridges are natives of Guernsey and Jersey; but are also very
frequently found on the adjoining coasts of France. Of late years they
have spread very rapidly in England; and as they are stronger and
fiercer than the common partridge, the latter becomes scarce wherever
the Red-legged Partridges are abundant. In the Western districts of
France they are very abundant, and their flesh is plump and juicy. In
England it is as white as in France, but more dry. The side-feathers are
very handsomely speckled, and there is a rich black mark beginning
behind the eye and forming a kind of gorget on the breast. The eyelids
are of a bright red, as are the bill and feet, and the claws are brown.
They build their nests on the ground; but are sometimes found perched on
trees, or on a fence or paling.

[Illustration: THE COMMON PARTRIDGE, (_Perdix cinerea_,)]

IS in weight about fourteen ounces. The plumage, although it cannot
boast of gaudiness, is very pleasing to the eye, being a mixture of
brown and fawn-colour, interspersed with grey and ash-colour tints. The
head is small and pretty; the beak strong, but short, and resembling
that of all other granivorous birds. The female lays fifteen or eighteen
eggs, and leads her brood in the corn-fields with the utmost care. Young
Partridges are among the birds which run fleetly the moment they come
out of the shell, and may sometimes be found running with a piece of the
shell still remaining on their heads. The affection of Partridges for
their offspring is peculiarly interesting. Both the parents lead them
out to feed: they point out to them the proper places for their food,
and assist them in finding it by scratching the ground with their feet.
They frequently sit close together, covering the young ones with their
wings; and from this position they are not easily roused. If, however,
they are disturbed, most people acquainted with rural affairs know the
confusion that ensues. The male gives the first signal of alarm, by a
peculiar cry of distress; throwing himself at the same moment more
immediately into the way of danger, in order to mislead the enemy. He
flutters along the ground, hanging his wings, and exhibiting every
symptom of debility. By this stratagem he seldom fails of so far
attracting the attention of the intruder as to allow the female to
conduct the helpless unfledged brood into some place of security.

The nest is usually on the ground; but on the farm of Lion Hall, in
Essex, belonging to Colonel Hawker, a Partridge, in the year 1788,
formed her nest, and hatched sixteen eggs, on the top of a pollard
oak-tree! What renders this circumstance the more remarkable is, that
the tree had fastened to it the bars of a stile, where there was a
footpath; and the passengers, in going over, discovered and disturbed
her before she sat close. When the brood was hatched, the birds
scrambled down the short and rough boughs, which grew out all around the
trunk of the tree, and reached the ground in safety. It has long been a
received opinion among sportsmen, as well as among naturalists, that the
female Partridge has none of the bay feathers of the breast like the
male. This, however, is a mistake; for Mr. Montague happening to kill
nine birds in one day, with very little variation as to the bay mark on
the breast, he was led to open them all, and discovered five of them
were females. On carefully examining the plumage, he found that the
males could only be known by the superior brightness of colour about the
head; which alone, after the first or second year, seems to be the true
mark of distinction. They fly in coveys till about the third week in
February, when they separate and pair; but if the weather be very
severe, it is not unusual to see them collect together again. We are
told that a gamekeeper, in Dorsetshire, hearing a Partridge utter a cry
of distress, was attracted by the sound into a field of oats, when the
bird ran round him very much agitated; upon his looking among the corn,
he saw in the midst of her infant brood a large snake, which he killed;
and perceiving its body much distended, he opened it, when to his
astonishment two young Partridges ran from their prison, and joined
their mother; two others were found dead in its stomach. Partridges have
ever held a distinguished place at the tables of the luxurious: we have
an old distich:

    “If the Partridge had the woodcock’s thigh,
     ’Twould be the best bird that e’er did fly.”

[Illustration: THE QUAIL, (_Coturnix dactylisonans_,)]

IS a small bird, being in length no more than seven inches. The colour
of the breast is a dirty pale yellow, and the throat has a little
mixture of red: the head is black, and the body and wings have black
stripes upon a hazel-coloured ground. Its habits and manner of living
resemble those of the partridge, and it is either caught in nets by
decoy birds, or shot by the help of the setting-dog, its call being
easily imitated by tapping two pieces of copper one against another. The
flesh of the Quail is very luscious, and next in flavour to that of the
partridge. Quails are birds of passage, the only peculiarity in which
they differ from all other of the poultry kind; and such prodigious
numbers have sometimes appeared on the western coast of the kingdom of
Naples, that one hundred thousand have been caught in one day, within
the space of three or four miles. In some parts of the south of Russia
they abound so greatly, that at the time of their migration they are
caught by thousands, and sent in casks to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The
female seldom lays more than six or seven eggs.

The ancient Athenians kept this bird merely for the sport of fighting
with each other, as game-cocks do, and never ate the flesh. The Quail
was that wild fowl which God thought proper to send to the chosen people
of Israel as a sustenance for them in the desert.

The Chinese Quail is a beautiful little bird, and is often kept in cages
in China, for the singular purpose, as it is said, of warming people’s
hands in winter; as taking the soft, warm body of the bird in the hand
diffuses through it an agreeable warmth. It is also very pugnacious, and
is employed in fighting.

[Illustration: THE AMERICAN QUAIL, (_Ortyx Virginianus_,)]

IS larger than the Common Quail, and is something between a Quail and a

The CALIFORNIAN QUAIL (_O. Californicus_) is distinguished by its
possession of a curious crest or tuft of feathers on the crown of the

[Illustration: THE RED GROUSE. (_Lagopus scoticus._)]

    “High on exulting wing the Heath-Cook rose,
     And blew his shrill blast o’er perennial snows.”

THIS bird is called by some ornithologists the _Moor Cock_, and by
others _Red Game_. The beak is black and short; over the eyes there is a
bare skin of a bright red. The general colour of the plumage is red and
black, variegated, and intermixed with each other, except the wings,
which are brownish, spotted with red, and the tail, which is black; the
feet are covered with thick feathers down to the very claws. It is
common in the north of England, in Scotland, and in Wales; and not only
affords great diversion to the noblemen and gentlemen of those countries
who are fond of shooting, but also repays them well for their trouble,
as the flesh is very delicate, and holds on our table an equal place
with that of the partridge and the pheasant. The season of Grouse
shooting commences on the 12th of August. In winter they are found in
flocks of sometimes fifty to one hundred in number, which are termed by
sportsmen _packs_, and become remarkably shy and wild, seldom allowing
the sportsman to approach them within one hundred yards. They keep near
the summits of the heathy hills, and seldom descend to the lower
grounds. Here they feed on the mountain berries and on the tender tops
of the heath. The hen lays seven or eight eggs of a reddish black


(_Lagopus vulgaris_,)]

IS somewhat larger than a pigeon; its bill is black, and its plumage in
summer is of a pale brown colour, elegantly mottled with small bars and
dusky spots. The head and neck are marked with broad bars of black,
rust-colour, and white; the wings and belly are white. The White Grouse
is fond of lofty situations, where it braves the severest cold. It is
found in most of the northern parts of Europe and America, even as far
as Greenland. In this country it is only to be met with on the summits
of some of our highest hills, chiefly in Scotland, and in the Hebrides
and Orkneys, but sometimes in Cumberland and Wales. Its plumage becomes
pure white in winter, with the exception of the tail feathers, which
remain black.

[Illustration: THE BLACK COCK, (_Tetrao tetrix_,)]

IS about four pounds in weight; but the female, which is usually called
the Grey Hen, is often not more than two. The plumage of the whole body
of the male is black, and glossed over the neck and rump with shining
blue; the coverts of the wings are of a dusky brown, with the quill
feathers black and white. The tail is much forked in the male. These
birds never pair; but in the spring the males assemble at their
accustomed haunts on the tops of heathy mountains, where they crow and
clap their wings:

    “And from the pine’s high top brought down
     The giant Grouse, while boastful he display’d
     His breast of varying green, and crow’d and clapp’d
     His glossy wings.”

The females, at this signal, resort to them. The males are very
quarrelsome, and fight together like game-cocks. On these occasions they
are so inattentive to their own safety, that two or three have sometimes
been killed at one shot; and instances have occurred of their having
been knocked down with a stick.

Like the Capercalzie, or Cock of the Woods, a larger species of this
genus, these birds are common in Russia, Siberia, and other northern
countries, chiefly in wooded and mountainous situations; and in the
northern parts of our own island on uncultivated moors.

[Illustration: THE CAPERCALZIE, (_Tetrao urogallus_,)]

WAS also formerly an inhabitant of the forests of Scotland, but has been
extinct in Britain for many years. The male is as large as a good-sized
turkey, the female considerably smaller. Several attempts have been made
to rear the Capercalzie, and domesticate it in this country, but without
effect. They are now most numerous in Sweden, where they are much
esteemed as food. Of late years they have been brought to the English
market, and are considered very good eating.

[Illustration: THE COMMON COCK. (_Gallus domesticus._)]

    “While the Cock, with lively din,
     Scatters the rear of darkness thin;
     And to the stack, or the barn door,
     Stoutly struts his dames before.” MILTON.

THIS bird is so well known that it would be needless to say much of him.
His plumage is various and beautiful, his courage very great and
proverbial, and his intuitive knowledge of the period of sunrise has
baffled the most scrutinising researches of naturalists. When of a good
breed, and well taught to fight, he will die rather than yield to his
adversary. The hen lays a great number of eggs, and will hatch as many
as thirteen at one sitting; but this is considered the extreme number,
being as many as she can well cover. When in the secluded state of
incubation she eats very little; and yet is so courageous and strong
that she will rise and fight any men or animals that dare to approach
her nest. It is impossible to conceive how, with such a scanty
sustenance as she takes, she can, for twenty-one days, emit constantly
from her body as much heat as would raise Fahrenheit’s thermometer to
ninety-six degrees. The flesh of this bird is delicate and wholesome,
and universally relished as nourishing and agreeable food.

There are several varieties of families of this fowl. The Hamburg Cock
has a beautiful tuft of feathers about his ears and on the top of his
head; and the Bantam has his legs and toes entirely feathered, which is
more an impediment than an ornament to the bird.

The cruel sport of cockfighting may be traced back to the earliest
antiquity. The Athenians seem to have received it from India, where it
is even now followed with a kind of frenzy; and we are told that the
Chinese will sometimes risk not only the whole of their property, but
their wives and children, on the issue of a battle. The religion of the
Greeks could not see that game with pleasure, and therefore cockfighting
was allowed only once a year; but the Romans adopted the practice with
rapture, and introduced it into this island. Henry VIII. delighted in
this sport, and caused a commodious house to be built for the purpose,
which, although now applied to a very different use, still retains the
name of the Cockpit. The part of our ships so called, seems also to
indicate that in former times the diversion of cockfighting was
permitted, in order to beguile the tedious hours of a long voyage. The
Cock has been a subject of considerable interest with the poets; and has
been very commonly called by them “Chanticleer:”

    “Within this homestead lived, without a peer
     For crowing loud, the noble Chanticleer.” DRYDEN.

    “The feathered songster, Chanticleer,
       Had wound his bugle-horn,
     And told the early villager
       The coming of the morn.” CHATTERTON.


FROM the Bankiva fowl nearly all the various kinds of fowls found in
British poultry-yards are said to have sprung. It is a native of the
island of Java, and is characterised by a red indented comb, red
wattles, and ash-grey legs and feet. The cock has a thin indented or
scalloped comb, and wattles under the mouth. The feathers of the neck
are long, falling down, and rounded at the tips, and are of the finest
gold colour. The head and neck are fawn-coloured, the wing-coverts dusky
brownish and black; the tail and belly black. The hen is of a dusky
ash-grey and yellowish colour, and has a much smaller comb and beard
than the cock.


(_Gallus giganteus._)

THE wild species, termed by Marsden the Jago fowl, is a native of Java
and Sumatra, and is supposed by Temminck to be the original of this fine
breed, though little is known of the wild sort, further than that it is
double the size of the Bankiva, or common fowl. Marsden says he has seen
in the East a cock of this species tall enough to pick crumbs from a
dining-table. They are said to weigh from eight to ten pounds. The combs
of both the cock and hen are large, frequently double, of the form of a
crown, with a tufted crest of feathers, which is largest in the hen; the
voice is stronger and harsher than that of other fowls; but the most
singular peculiarity is, that they do not come into full feather till
about half grown. The Cochin-China fowls are said to be a variety of the
Jago fowls. There are numerous hybrids and varieties of the Jago fowl
found under different names in poultry-yards, but all of them lay fine
large eggs, and are highly esteemed for the excellent flavour of their
flesh. One of the most interesting of these varieties is called


the body and tail feathers of which are of a rich black, with
occasionally a little white on the breast. The cock of this variety is a
most majestic bird; its deportment is grave and stately, and its eyes
are encircled with a ring of brown feathers, from which rises a black
tuft that covers the ears. There are other similar feathers behind the
comb and beneath the wattles. The legs and feet are of lead colour,
except the sole of the foot, which is yellowish.


is a small variety, with short legs, most frequently feathered to the
toes, so as sometimes to obstruct walking. Many Bantam fanciers prefer
those which have clear bright legs, without any vestige of feathers.
The full-bred Bantam cock should have a rose comb, a well-feathered
tail, full hackles, a proud lively carriage, and ought not to weigh more
than a pound. The nankeen coloured and the black are the greatest
favourites. If of the latter colour, the bird should have no feathers of
any other sort in his plumage. The nankeen bird should have his feathers
edged with black, his wings barred with purple, his tail feathers black,
his hackles slightly studded with purple, and his breast black, with
white edges to the feathers. The hens should be small, clean-legged, and
match in plumage with the cock.

[Illustration: THE DODO. (_Didus ineptus._)]

SWIFTNESS has generally been considered the attribute of birds, but the
Dodo appears never to have had any title to this distinction. Instead of
exciting the idea of swiftness by its appearance, in the drawings that
have been preserved of it, it strikes the imagination as a thing the
most unwieldy and inactive of all nature. Its body is massive, almost
round, and covered with grey feathers. It is just barely supported upon
two short thick legs, like pillars; while its head and neck rise from it
in a manner truly grotesque. The neck, thick and pursy, is joined to the
head, which consists of two immense jaws, opening far beyond the eye.
The Dodo formerly inhabited the Isle of France; but it has been long
extinct--so long, indeed, that the very fact of its ever having existed
at all has been a subject of dispute amongst naturalists and scientific
men. A great deal of evidence, in the form of old pictures as well as in
writings, has been brought forward to prove that the Dodo is not a
fabulous bird, and its reality is now generally admitted. In fact, we
have very reliable testimony that a single specimen was actually
exhibited publicly in London in the year 1638.

The Dodo was supposed by the earliest naturalists who described it, to
be a kind of turkey, as in the flavour of its flesh it resembled that
bird. Later naturalists supposed it to be a kind of swan, and this
opinion was followed by the celebrated Buffon. Others thought it was a
kind of vulture; and others, judging from the shortness of its wings,
placed it in the ostrich tribe. Modern naturalists, however, having
carefully examined the bones of the bird, which have been preserved, are
of opinion that it was a gigantic pigeon. An entire specimen existed
about a hundred years ago in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, but only
part of the bird and one of the feet remain; there is also a foot
preserved in the British Museum. There is a reference to this extinct
species in Humboldt’s Cosmos. (See Bohn’s edition, vol. i. page 29, and
a note on the Dodo, by Dr. Mantell, at the end of the volume.)

The _Solitaire_ is another remarkable bird which was formerly found in
the Mauritius and the adjoining islands, but which has now become


(_Columba palumbus_,)]

IS the largest Pigeon found in our island, by which it may be
distinguished from all others; its weight is about twenty ounces, its
length eighteen inches, and its circumference about thirty. It is
usually known as the Wood Pigeon. This bird is of a bluish grey colour,
with the feathers of the sides of the neck tipped with white, forming
several imperfect rings; the breed is common in Britain. Its habits are
like those of other birds of the tribe, but it is so strongly attached
to its native freedom, that all attempts to domesticate it, with a few
rare exceptions, have hitherto proved ineffectual.

These birds build their nests chiefly on the pine, or holly, with dried
sticks thrown rudely together; and the eggs, which may frequently be
seen through the bottom of the nest, are larger than those of the
domestic Pigeon.

Mr. Montague bred up a curious assemblage of birds, which lived together
in perfect amity; it consisted of a common pigeon, a ringdove, a white
owl, and a sparrowhawk; the ringdove was master of the whole.

[Illustration: THE STOCKDOVE. (_Columba ænas._)]

    “The Stockdove, recluse, with her mate,
       Conceals her fond bliss in the grove,
     And murmuring seems to repeat,
       That May is the mother of love.” CUNNINGHAM.

THIS bird is called the Stockdove, because it builds in the stocks of
trees which have been headed down, and are become thick and bristly; and
not, as some have supposed, because it is the stock, or original, from
which all the tame pigeons have sprung. Sometimes these birds lay their
eggs in deserted rabbit-warrens, on the sod, without making any nest.

The colour of the Stockdove is generally of a deep slate or lead tint,
with rings of black about the feathers. While the beech woods were
suffered to cover large tracts of ground, these birds used to haunt them
in myriads, frequently extending above a mile in length, as they went
out in the morning to feed. They are still found in considerable
quantities in many parts of England, but never in Scotland, forming
their nests in the hollows of trees; not like the ringdove, on boughs.
Their murmuring strains, or cooings, in the morning and at dusk, are
highly pleasing, and throw an agreeable melancholy on the solitude of
the grove. The poet of the Seasons expresses this in the following
lines, with a beautiful instance of imitative harmony:

    “---- the Stockdove breathes
     A melancholy murmur through the whole.”

Wordsworth also gives a pleasing description of the mournful cooing of
these birds:

    “I heard a Stockdove sing or say
     His homely tale this very day;
     His voice was buried among trees,
     Yet to be come at by the breeze;
     He did not cease; but cooed and cooed;
     And somewhat pensively he wooed;
     He sang of love with quiet blending,
     Slow to begin, and never ending;
     Of serious faith and inward glee,
     That was the song--the song for me.”

[Illustration: THE ROCKDOVE. (_Columba livia._)]

THE shape of this bird, which is the original stock of our
domestic Pigeons, is well known, and the plumage of the wild
birds is exactly similar to that of the commonest kind seen in our
dove-cots--bluish-grey, with black bands across the wings. In its wild
state it inhabits the cavities of high rocks and cliffs on the sea
coast, where it is found abundantly in our own country. The female
Pigeon lays two eggs at a time, which produce generally a male and a
female. It is pleasing to see how eager the male is to sit upon the
eggs, in order that his mate may rest and feed herself. The young ones,
when hatched, are fed from the crop of the mother, who has the power of
forcing up the half-digested peas which she has swallowed to give them
to her young. The young ones, open-mouthed, receive this tribute of
affection, and are thus fed three times a day.

There are upwards of twenty varieties of the domestic Pigeon, and of
these the carriers are the most celebrated. They obtain their name from
being sometimes employed to convey letters or small packets from one
place to another. The rapidity of their flight is very wonderful.
Lithgow assures us that one of them will carry a letter from Babylon to
Aleppo (which, to a man, is usually thirty days’ journey) in forty-eight
hours. To measure their speed with some degree of exactness, a
gentleman, many years ago, on a trifling wager, sent a Carrier Pigeon
from London, by the coach, to a friend at Bury St. Edmunds, and along
with it a note, desiring that the Pigeon, two days after its arrival
there, might be thrown up precisely when the town clock struck nine in
the morning. This was accordingly done, and the Pigeon arrived in London
at half-past eleven o’clock on the same morning, having flown
seventy-two miles in two hours and a half. An instance of still greater
speed is mentioned by Mr. Yarrell, in which a Carrier flew from Rouen to
Ghent, a hundred and fifty miles in a straight line, in one hour and a
half. From the instant of its liberation, its flight is directed through
the clouds, at a great height, to its home. By an instinct altogether
inconceivable, it darts onward, in a straight line, to the very spot
whence it was taken, but how it can direct its flight so exactly will
probably for ever remain unknown to us.

    “Led by what chart, transports the timid Dove,
     The wreaths of conquest, or the vows of love?
     Say through the clouds what compass points her flight?
     Monarchs have gazed, and nations blessed the sight.
     Pile rocks on rocks, bid woods and mountains rise,
     Eclipse her native shades, her native skies:--
     ’Tis vain! through ether’s pathless wilds she goes,
     And lights at last where all her cares repose.
     Sweet bird, thy truth shall Harlem’s walls attest,
     And unborn ages consecrate thy nest.” ROGERS.

The Carrier Pigeon is easily distinguished from the other varieties by a
broad circle of naked white skin round the eyes, by the large fleshy
wattle at the base of its bill, and by its dark blue or blackish colour.

It would be as fruitless as unnecessary to attempt to describe all the
varieties of the Tame Pigeon; for human art has so much altered the
colour and figure of this bird, that pigeon-fanciers, by pairing a male
and female of different sorts, can, as they express it, “breed them to a
feather.” Hence we have the various names of Carriers, Tumblers,
Jacobins, Croppers, Pouters, Bunts, Turbits, Shakers, Fantails, Owls,
Nuns, &c., all of which may, at first, have accidentally varied from the
Rockdove, and these have been further improved by crossing, food, and
climate. An actual post system, in which pigeons were the messengers,
was established by the Sultan Noureddin Mahmoud, which lasted about a
century, and ceased in 1258, when Bagdad fell into the hands of the

[Illustration: THE TURTLE DOVE. (_Columba turtur._)]

    “Go, beautiful and gentle Dove,
       And greet the morning ray;
     For lo! the sun shines bright above,
       And the rain is pass’d away.” BOWLES.

THIS Dove brings to the heart and mind the most pleasing recollections;
its name is nearly synonymous with faithfulness and unvariable
affection. The male or female is so much attached to its respective mate
that it is said, perhaps with more poetry than truth, that if one die
the other will never survive; however, the author of these observations
was an eye-witness to the death of a female Turtle Dove, who was
unfortunately killed by a spaniel, in the absence of the male; the
disconsolate survivor, after having in vain searched everywhere for his
mate, came and mournfully perched upon the wonted trough, waiting
patiently for her to repair thither in order to get food; but, after two
days of unavailing expectation, he, by spontaneous abstinence, pined and
died on the place. Such examples are not common; and we believe that,
when not domesticated, the appearance of another female, in the time of
coupling, sets at defiance all natural propensity to constancy, and puts
an end to the much-famed disconsolate widowhood. Their general colour is
a bluish grey; the breast and neck of a whitish purple, with a ringlet
of beautiful white feathers with black edges about the sides of the
neck. Nothing can express the sensation which is excited in a feeling
mind when the tender and sweetly plaintive notes of the Turtle Dove
breathe from the grove on a beautiful spring evening:

    “Deep in the wood, thy voice I list, and love
     Thy soft complaining song, thy tender cooing;
     Oh, what a winning way thou hast of wooing,
     Gentlest of all thy race--sweet Turtle Dove!
     Thine is a note which doth not pass away
     Like the light music of a summer’s day;
     Hushing the voice of mirth, and staying folly,
     And waking in the breast a gentle melancholy.”


§ VI. _Grallatores, or Waders._

[Illustration: THE OSTRICH. (_Struthio camelus._)]

THIS bird is a native of Africa, and is so tall that when it holds up
its head it is seven or eight feet in height. The head is very small in
comparison with the body, being hardly bigger than one of the toes, and
is covered, as well as the neck, with a kind of down, or thin-set hair,
instead of feathers. The sides and thighs are entirely bare and
flesh-coloured. The lower part of the neck, where the feathers begin, is
white. The wings are very short in proportion to the size of the bird,
and in fact are too small to enable it to fly; but when it runs, which
it does with a strange jumping kind of motion, it raises its short
wings and holds them quivering over its back, where they seem to serve
as a kind of sail to gather the wind, and carry the bird onwards. The
speed which it will thus attain is enormous. The swiftest greyhound
cannot overtake it; and indeed an Arab on his horse cannot hope to
capture an ostrich without having recourse to stratagem. He dexterously
throws a stick between its legs as it runs, and so tripping it up, is
enabled to secure it.

In its flight it spurns the pebbles behind it like shot against the
pursuer. And this is not their only mode of annoyance. They have been
known to attack men with their claws, with which they are able to strike
with terrific force. The feathers of the back in the cock are coal
black, in the hen only dusky, and so soft that they resemble a kind of
wool. The tail is thick, bushy, and round; in the cock whitish, in the
hen dusky, with white tops. These are the feathers so generally in
requisition to decorate the head-dress of ladies and the helmets of

The Ostrich swallows anything that presents itself, leather, glass,
iron, bread, hair, &c., but the old notion that the Ostrich could digest
metals is certainly incorrect. An Ostrich in the Zoological Gardens in
the Regent’s Park was killed by swallowing a lady’s parasol.

    “O’er the wild waste the stupid Ostrich strays
     In devious search, to pick a scanty meal,
     Whose fierce digestion gnaws the temper’d steel.”
                 MICKLE’S LUSIAD.

They are polygamous birds, one male being generally seen with two or
three, and sometimes with five, females. The female Ostrich, after
depositing her eggs in the sand, trusts them to be hatched by the heat
of the climate; in the Book of Job there is a beautiful passage relating
to this habit of the Ostrich, “which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and
warmeth them in the dust; and forgetteth that the foot may crush them,
or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young
ones, as though they were not hers. Her labour is in vain; without
fear, because God hath deprived her of wisdom; neither has he imparted
to her understanding. What time she lifteth up her head on high, she
scorneth the horse and his rider.” It appears, however, that the female
Ostrich sits upon her eggs like other birds, although generally at night
only, and brings up her young. The eggs are as large as a young child’s
head, with a hard stony shell, and one has been known to weigh upwards
of three pounds. The time of incubation is six weeks. That Ostriches
have great affection for their offspring may be inferred from the
assertion of Professor Thunberg, who says that he once rode past the
place where a hen Ostrich was sitting in her nest, when the bird sprang
up and pursued him, evidently with a view to prevent his noticing her
eggs or young. Every time he turned his horse towards her she retreated
ten or twelve paces, but as soon as he rode on again she pursued him
till he had got to a considerable distance from the place where he had
started her. In the tropical regions, some persons breed Ostriches in
flocks, for they may be tamed with very little trouble. When M. Adanson
was at Podar, a French factory on the southern bank of the river Niger,
two young but full-grown Ostriches, belonging to the factory, afforded
him a very amusing sight. They were so tame that two little blacks
mounted both together on the back of the largest. No sooner did he feel
their weight than he began to run as fast as possible, and carried them
several times round the village, and it was impossible to stop him
otherwise than by obstructing the passage. This sight pleased M. Adanson
so much that he wished it to be repeated, and, to try their strength,
directed a full-grown negro to mount the smaller, and two others the
larger of the birds. This burden did not seem at all disproportioned to
their strength. At first they went at a tolerably sharp trot, but when
they became a little heated they expanded their wings, as though to
catch the wind, and moved with such fleetness that they scarcely seemed
to touch the ground. The foot of the Ostrich has only two toes, one of
which is extremely large and strong.

[Illustration: THE RHEA, (_Rhea Americana_,)]

OR AMERICAN OSTRICH, is about half as big as the African species. It has
its head covered with feathers, and each of its feet consists of three
toes. It is found on the great plains of South America, and, like the
African Ostrich, is polygamous, but the curious part of the matter is
that the females often lay their eggs almost anywhere on the ground, and
the male takes the trouble of collecting them into a sort of nest, and
sitting on them until the young birds are hatched. When thus occupied,
the males often become very fierce, and will attack any one that
approaches them too closely.

[Illustration: THE CASSOWARY, (_Casuarius galeatus_,)]

INSTEAD of the beautiful plumes of the ostrich, has his wings furnished
only with five stiff quills without barbs, which project curiously from
the feathers of the body. His plumage is black; his head is small and
depressed, with a horny crown or helmet, and covered with a naked red
skin; the head and neck are deprived of feathers; about the neck are
two protuberances of a bluish colour, in shape like the wattles of a
cock. The feathers consist of long, slender, separate barbs, which hang
down on each side of the body, so that at a distance he looks as if he
were entirely covered with the hairs of a bear rather than with the
plumage of a bird. His height is about five feet. The Cassowary is as
voracious as the ostrich, and eats indiscriminately whatever comes in
his way, and does not seem to have any sort of predilection in the
choice of his food. The Dutch travellers assert that he can devour not
only glass, iron, and stones, but even burning coals, without testifying
the smallest fear, or sustaining the least injury; and it is said that
the passage of his food is performed so speedily that even eggs will
pass unbroken. He is a native of some of the Indian islands. The eggs of
the female are nearly fifteen inches in circumference, of a greenish
colour. It has been said of the Cassowary that he has the head of a
warrior, the eye of a lion, the armament of a porcupine, and the
swiftness of a courser.

A Cassowary once kept in the menagerie of the museum at Paris, devoured
every day between three and four pounds weight of bread, six or seven
apples, and a bunch of carrots. In summer it drank about four pints of
water in the day, and in winter somewhat more. It swallowed all its food
without bruising it. This bird was sometimes ill-tempered and
mischievous, and much irritated when any person approached it of a dirty
or ragged appearance, or dressed in red clothes, and frequently
attempted to strike at them by kicking forward with its feet. It has
been known to leap out of its enclosure and to tear the legs of a man
with its claws.

The Cassowary is very vigorous and powerful; its beak being, in
proportion, much stronger than that of the ostrich, it has the means of
defending itself with great advantage, and of easily pulling down and
breaking in pieces almost any hard substance. It strikes in a very
dangerous manner with its feet either behind or before, not unlike the
kicking of a horse, at any object which offends it, and runs with
surprising swiftness.

[Illustration: THE EMEU. (_Dromaius Novæ Hollandiæ._)]

THE head of this bird is without any horny crest, and feathered, but the
cheeks and throat are nearly naked. The general colour is a dull brown,
mottled with a dingy grey, and the young are striped with black. In
appearance it closely resembles the ostrich, next to which it is the
tallest bird known, but is of a more thick-set and clumsy make, though
at the same time very swift and strong, and able to make a formidable
defence against its hunters and their dogs, by kicking in a very
vigorous and dangerous manner. It is, however, very docile, and if taken
young may be easily tamed. The flesh is considered excellent eating, and
is said to possess a flavour something between a sucking-pig and a
turkey. The only sound that this bird emits is a low drumming noise,
produced by means of a valve attached to the lungs. The female Emeu lays
her eggs in different places, but they are afterwards collected by the
male, by rolling them to one place, when he sits on them.

[Illustration: THE APTERYX. (_Apteryx Australis._)]

THIS curious bird, which has the shortest wings of any member of its
class, is found only in New Zealand, where it is called _Kivi-Kivi_ by
the natives, in imitation of its cry. It is smaller than any of the
species of wingless birds just described, and its legs are short and
stout; it has three strong front toes on each foot, and a short hinder
toe armed with a very strong claw. The body of the Apteryx is something
like that of the cassowary in its form; the neck is rather long, and,
like the head, clothed with feathers; but the most singular part of the
bird is its bill, which is long, rather slender, and slightly curved,
and has the nostrils situated quite at its tip. This curious structure
of the bill is intended to enable the bird more readily to obtain the
worms and insects upon which it feeds, and which it drags out of their
holes in the ground. It runs quickly, but only at night, and when in
motion it might easily be mistaken for a small dusky-brown quadruped.
The plumage resembles that of the emeu in its texture, and the skins are
highly esteemed by the New Zealanders, who use them for making cloaks.

Among the many curious characteristics of this bird is its habit of
leaning, when at rest, upon the tip of its long bill. When hunted it
scrapes a hole in the sand with its powerful feet, in which it hides; or
it runs into some natural cavity, if there is any near, where access is
difficult for its pursuers, and often makes a valiant defence.

[Illustration: THE BUSTARD, (_Otis tarda_,)]

IS a large and fine bird which was formerly common in some parts of
England, but has now become so rare here that the capture of a specimen
is looked upon as something remarkable. It is still abundant in some
parts of the continent of Europe. The male Bustard measures nearly four
feet in length, and has the head and neck greyish, the back buff or pale
chestnut, with a great many black bars, and all the lower part of the
body white. From each side of the chin there springs a tuft of slender
feathers about seven inches in length, standing out like a pair of stiff
moustaches. The female is a good deal smaller than the male, or about
three feet in length; she is also distinguished from her partner by the
want of the tufts on the chin, although in some cases these exist in the
female, but shorter than in the male.

The Bustard feeds on green vegetables and insects, and are also said to
kill and eat small quadrupeds and reptiles. They are polygamous, and
when the female has laid her two or three eggs in a slight depression of
the ground, and commenced the business of incubation, the male most
ungallantly deserts her, and retires to take his ease in some
neighbouring marsh. It was formerly supposed that the male Bustard paid
so much attention to his mates as to provide them with water, which he
was said to bring to them in a large pouch, capable of holding nearly a
gallon, situated under his throat. It is true that the female is without
this appendage; but modern naturalists all agree in stating that the
male bird is never seen in company with the female after she has begun
to sit. The use of this pouch is therefore still a subject of

The female lays her eggs among clover, or more frequently in
corn-fields, the nest being merely a hollow scraped in the ground. The
eggs are two, or sometimes three, in number, and their colour is a
yellowish-brown, inclining to green.

A peculiarity of the Bustard, noticed by most naturalists, is the
extreme rapidity with which they can run. They skim along the ground,
raising the wings over the back in the same manner as the ostrich. It is
said that in former times, when the breed was commoner, it was a
practice to hunt the young birds, before they had acquired the power of
flying, with greyhounds.

As an article of food the flesh of the Bustard has always been held in
great estimation.

There are several other species peculiar both to Asia and Africa.

[Illustration: THE CRANE. (_Grus cinerea._)]

CRANES frequent marshy places, and live upon small fish and
water-insects. Their long beaks enable them to search the water and mud
for their prey, and their long necks prevent the necessity of their
stooping to pick up from between their feet the objects of their search.
The top of the head, the throat, and sides of the neck are of a blackish
hue; the back, the wings, and the body are ash-coloured. The tertial
feathers of the wings are very long, with loose webs, forming elegant
plumes, which fall over the sides of the tail. They used to be common in
the fen countries, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, but are not now so
frequently seen in England as formerly. In their flight, Cranes mount
high in the air, but their voices can be heard even when the birds cease
to be perceptible to the eye, and it is said that their sight is so keen
that they discover at a great distance any field of corn or other food
which they are fond of, and presently alight and enjoy it. These
depredations they generally commit during the night, trampling down the
ground as if it had been marched over by an army. They generally form
themselves in the air in the shape of a wedge.

                      “---- ---- Part more wise,
    In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way,
    Intelligent of seasons, and set forth
    Their aëry caravan high over seas
    Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing
    Easing their flight. So steers the prudent Crane
    Her annual voyage, borne on winds. The air
    Floats as they pass, fann’d by unnumber’d wings.”

This bird lives to a considerable age, and as it is easily tamed, it has
been ascertained that the Crane often reaches his fortieth year. Its
nest is usually built amongst the reeds and sedges of a marsh, but
sometimes upon a ruined building. The female lays two eggs, of a pale
brown colour, with darker spots.

According to Kolben, they are often observed in large flocks on the
marshes about the Cape of Good Hope. He says he never saw a flock of
them on the ground that had not some placed apparently as sentinels, to
keep a look out while the others are feeding, who on the approach of
danger immediately give notice to the rest. These sentinels stand on one
leg, and at intervals stretch out their necks, as if to observe that all
is safe. On notice being given of danger, the whole flock are in an
instant on the wing. Kolben also adds that in the night time each of the
watching Cranes, which rest on their left legs, hold in their right claw
a stone of considerable weight, in order that, if overcome by sleep, the
falling of the stone may awaken them.


IS originally, as the name expresses, a native of Majorca and Minorca,
in the Mediterranean sea, which were formerly called the Balearic Isles,
but is chiefly found now in the Cape Verd Islands. The shape of its body
is not unlike that of the common Crane, but it has a principal and
distinctive mark on the head; which is, a tuft of hairs, or rather
strong greyish bristles, standing out like rays in all directions, from
which peculiarity this species takes its other name of the Crowned
Heron. They roost and feed in the manner of peacocks.

The Demoiselle, or Numidian Crane (_Anthropoides virgo_), is remarkable
for the grace and symmetry of its form, and the elegance of its
deportment. It is rather larger than the species above described, and is
a native of many parts of Africa. It frequents damp and marshy places,
in search of small fishes, frogs, &c., which are its favourite food. It
is easily domesticated.

[Illustration: THE STORK. (_Ciconia alba._)]

THE neck, head, breast, and body of this bird are white, the rump and
exterior feathers of the wings black; the eyelids naked; the tail white,
and the legs long, slender, and of a red colour. Storks are birds of
passage. When leaving Europe they assemble together on some particular
night, and all take their flight at once. As they feed on frogs,
lizards, serpents, and other noxious creatures, it is not to be expected
that man should be inimical to them, and therefore they have been
generally a favourite with the nations they visit. The Dutch have laws
against destroying them: they are therefore very common in Holland, and
build their nests and rear their young on the tops of houses and
chimneys in the middle of its most frequented and populous cities, and
may be seen by dozens familiarly walking about the markets, where they
feed on the offal. In some places, the stork is supposed to be a herald
of good fortune to the house on which it builds its nest, and the
inhabitants place boxes on their roofs to induce the birds to take up
their abode there.

The Stork much resembles the crane in its conformation, but appears
somewhat more corpulent. The former lays four eggs, whereas the latter
lays but two.

It is said that Storks visit Egypt in such abundance, that the fields
and meadows are white with them. The Egyptians, however, are not
displeased with the sight; as frogs are there generated in such numbers,
that did not the Storks devour them, they would overrun everything.
Between Belba and Gaza, the fields of Palestine are often rendered
desert on account of the abundance of mice and rats; and were they not
destroyed the inhabitants could have no harvest. The disposition of the
Stork is mild and placid; it is easily tamed, and may be trained to
reside in gardens, which it will clear of insects and reptiles. It has a
grave air, and a mournful aspect; yet, when roused by example, exhibits
a certain degree of gaiety; for it joins in the frolics of children,
hopping about and playing with them.

During their migrations, Storks are observed in vast quantities. Dr.
Shaw saw three flights of them leaving Egypt, and passing over Mount
Carmel, each of which appeared to be nearly half a mile in width; and he
says they were three hours in passing over.

The Stork, like the ibis, was an object of worship among the ancients,
and to kill them was a crime punishable with death. The Stork is
remarkable for its great affection towards its young. This was
remarkably evinced during the great conflagration of Delft, in Holland,
during which a female Stork was noticed using every endeavour to carry
off her young family, and continuing this labour of love until the smoke
and flames prevented her own escape, and she perished with her brood.

[Illustration: THE ADJUTANT, (_Leptoptilus argala_,)]

ALSO called the Gigantic Crane, is a bird of the stork kind, and a
native of India, and other warm countries. The head and neck are bare of
feathers, as in the ostrich; the former looking as if made of wood; the
latter of a flesh-colour. The coverts of the wings and the back are
black, with a bluish cast; the under part of the body whitish; the legs
are long, without feathers, and of a greyish hue, as are the thighs,
which seem to be as slender as the leg. The bill is of enormous size,
and the bird is fond of clatting the two mandibles together. Under the
chin, there is a kind of bag or pouch which hangs down in front of the
neck, like the dewlap of a cow; in this the Adjutant stores away any
provisions that may fall in his way, after his immediate wants are
satisfied. He is a most voracious bird, and devours every kind of food,
and as he has no objection to carrion, his presence is encouraged in
towns, where he assists the vultures, crows, dogs, and jackals, in
performing the duties of scavengers. Indeed his rapacity is so great
that he swallows such innutritious substances as bone with such
eagerness and relish as to have received the name of “_Bone-eater_,” or
“Bone-taker.” When he comes about the houses he requires to be carefully
watched, as his power of swallowing is so great that a fowl, a rabbit,
or even a leg of mutton, is disposed of at a single mouthful. Sir E.
Horne states that in the stomach of an Adjutant were found a tortoise
nearly a foot long, and a large black cat; from, which we may see that
the Adjutant is by no means squeamish in his diet.

The Adjutant is indeed a very gigantic bird. Its wings often measure
fourteen or fifteen feet from tip to tip, and it is five feet high when
it stands erect.

Dr. Latham, in his “General History of Birds,” gives some very
interesting information about the habits of this bird. “One of them, a
young bird about five feet high, was brought up tame, and presented to
the chief of the Bananas, where M. Speakman lived; and being accustomed
to be fed in the great hall, soon became familiar, daily attending that
place at dinner-time, placing itself behind its master’s chair
frequently before the guests entered. The servants were obliged to watch
narrowly, and to defend the provisions with switches; but,
notwithstanding, it would frequently seize something or other, and even
purloined a whole boiled fowl, which it swallowed in an instant. Its
courage is not equal to its voracity, for a child of eight or ten years
old soon puts it to flight with a switch. Everything is swallowed whole,
and so accommodating is its throat that not only an animal as big as a
cat is gulped down, but a shin of beef broken asunder serves it but for
two morsels.”

Another species of Adjutant (_Leptoptilus marabou_) is found in tropical
Africa. It is even uglier than the Indian bird, which has not much
beauty to boast of, but is valuable not only as a scavenger, but from
its furnishing those beautiful plumes called marabout feathers, which
are so much used for ladies’ head-dresses.

[Illustration: THE COMMON HERON. (_Ardea cinerea._)]

THE habits of the Heron are peculiar. Perched on a stone, or the stump
of a tree, by the solitary current of a brook, his neck and long beak
half-buried between his shoulders, he will wait the whole day long,
patient and unmoved, for the passing of a small fish, or the hopping of
a frog; but his appetite is insatiable.

This bird is about four feet long from the tip of the bill to the end of
the claws; to the end of the tail about thirty-eight inches; its
breadth, when the wings are extended, is about five feet. The male is
distinguished by a crest or tuft of black feathers hanging from the
hinder part of his head, which in chivalrous times was of great value,
and held as a peculiar mark of distinction when worn above the plume of
ostrich feathers.

Virgil places the Heron among the birds that are affected by and
foretell the approaching storm:

    “When watchful Herons leave their watery stand,
     And mounting upward with erected flight,
     Gain on the skies, and soar above the sight.”

The Heron, though living chiefly in the vicinity of marshes and lakes,
forms its nest on the tops of the loftiest trees. It resembles the rook
in its habits: a great number of Herons living together in what is
called a Heronry, as rooks do in a rookery. The female lays four large
eggs, of a pale green colour; the natural term of this bird’s life is
said to exceed sixty years.

In England, Herons were formerly ranked among the royal game, and
protected as such by the laws; and when falconry was in fashion, the
pursuit of the Heron was a favourite amusement.

              “---- ---- Now, like the wearied stag,
    That stands at bay, the Hern provokes their rage;
    Close by his languid wing in downy plumes
    Covers his fatal beak, and cautious hides
    The well-dissembled fraud. The falcon darts
    Like lightning from above, and in her breast
    Receives the latent death: down plumb she falls,
    Bounding from earth, and with her trickling gore
    Defiles her gaudy plumage. See, alas!
    The falconer in despair, his favourite bird
    Dead at his feet: as of his dearest friend,
    He weeps her fate; he meditates revenge,
    He storms, he foams, he gives a loose to rage;
    Nor wants he long the means; the Hern fatigued,
    Borne down by numbers, yields, and prone on earth
    He drops; his cruel foes wheeling around
    Insult at will.” SOMERVILLE.

It is extremely dangerous to go near a wounded Heron, and the utmost
caution is necessary in doing so. Though apparently almost dead, he will
yet dart at his enemy’s face, and sometimes inflict a most severe

[Illustration: THE BITTERN, (_Botaurus stellaris_,)]

IS not quite so large as the common heron; its head is small, narrow,
and compressed at the sides. The crown is black, the throat and sides of
the neck red, with narrow black lines, and the back of a pale red, mixed
with yellow. The claws are long and slender, the inside of the middle
one being serrated, the better to enable it to hold its prey. The bill
is about four inches in length. The most remarkable character in this
bird is the hollow and yet loud rumbling of his voice; his bellowing is
heard at the distance of a mile, at the time of sunset, and it is hardly
possible to conceive at first how such a body of sound, resembling the
lowing of an ox, can be produced by a bird comparatively so small. The
booming noise was formerly believed to be made while the bird plunged
its bill into the mud; hence Thomson:

              “---- So that scarce
    The Bittern knows his time, with bill ingulf’d
    To shake the sounding marsh.”

And Southey also describes the peculiar noise of this bird in his poem
of Thalaba:

    “And when at evening, o’er the swampy plain,
       The Bittern’s boom came far,
       Distinct in darkness seen--
     Above the low horizon’s lingering light,
     Rose the near ruins of old Babylon.”

Sometimes in the evening the Bittern soars on a sudden in a straight,
or, at other times, in a spiral line, so high in the air, that it ceases
to be perceptible to the eye. When attacked by the buzzard, or other
birds of prey, it defends itself with great courage, and generally beats
off such assailants; neither does it betray any symptoms of fear when
wounded by the sportsman, but eyes him with a keen, undaunted look; and,
when driven to extremity, will attack him with the utmost vigour,
wounding his legs, or aiming at his eyes with its sharp and piercing
bill. It was formerly held in much estimation at the tables of the
great, and is again recovering its credit as a fashionable dish. The
flesh is considered delicious. In autumn it changes its abode, always
commencing its journey at sunset. Its precautions for concealment and
security seem directed with great care and circumspection. It usually
sits in the reeds with its head erect; and thus, from its great length
of neck, sees over their tops, without itself being perceived by the
sportsman. The principal food of these birds, during summer, consists of
fish and frogs; but in autumn they resort to the woods in pursuit of
mice, which they seize with great dexterity, and always swallow whole.
About this season they usually become very fat.

[Illustration: THE SPOONBILL, (_Platalea leucorodia_,)]

IS a large bird; the colour of the whole body is white, and the
resemblance of the bill to a spoon has caused the denomination of the
bird. In some specimens the plumage inclines from white to pink colour.
On the hind part of the head is a beautiful white crest, reclining
backward. The legs and feet are black. The wisdom of Providence is most
conspicuous in the conformation of the bill, which is entirely adapted
to the habits and manner of feeding of these birds: the frogs and
fishes, which constitute the principal food of the Spoonbill, may often
escape the thin and narrow beak of the heron and other birds, but the
mandibles of this bird are so large at the end, that the prey cannot
slip aside. Like rooks and herons, Spoonbills build their nests on the
tops of high trees, and lay three or four eggs, which are white,
sprinkled with pale red, and the size of those of a hen. These birds are
very noisy during the breeding season. The Spoonbill migrates northward
in the summer, and returns to southern climes on the approach of winter;
and is found in all the intermediate low countries between the Faroe
Isles and the Cape of Good Hope.

The _American_ or _Roseate Spoonbill_ (_Platalea Ajaja_) is very
beautiful. Its colour is white, tinged with rose, which deepens in the
wings and tail into the richest carmine. The feet are half-webbed, and
the bird is generally found on the sea-coast, where it wades into the
sea in quest of the small shell-fish of different kinds, on which it

[Illustration: THE IBIS. (_Ibis religiosa._)]

THE IBIS was regarded as a sacred bird by the ancient Egyptians, who
used to have these birds walking about in their temples, and embalmed
their bodies after death with as much care as those of their priests and
kings. The cause of this veneration is not clearly ascertained, some
authors supposing it to be due to the services rendered by the bird in
destroying serpents and other noxious creatures; others to a fanciful
resemblance between the bird and one of the moon’s phases; and others,
again, to the arrival of the birds in Egypt at or about the period of
the annual inundation of the Nile. The sacred Ibis has a long, stout,
curved black bill; the head and neck are black and naked, and the
plumage is white, with the tips of the wings black. Another species, the
_Glossy Ibis_ (_Ibis falcinellus_), shared the veneration of the
Egyptians with the Sacred Ibis; it has a more slender bill than the
Sacred Ibis, and its plumage, which is beautifully glossy, is dark green
above and reddish-brown beneath. This bird is common in the south of
Europe, and specimens have been shot in England. The _Scarlet Ibis_
(_Ibis rubra_) is a beautiful species, which adorns the banks of the
great rivers of South America, in company with the Roseate Spoonbill.

[Illustration: THE CURLEW. (_Numenius arquatus._)]

    “Soothed by the murmurs of the sea-beat shore,
       His dun-grey plumage floating to the gale,
       The Curlew blends his melancholy wail
     With those hoarse sounds the rushing waters pour.”
                         MISS WILLIAMS.

    “Wild as the scream of the Curlew,
     From rock to rock the signal flew.”
                         SIR WALTER SCOTT.

THE CURLEW is a large bird, weighing about twenty-four ounces; and is
found in winter on the sea-shore on all sides of England. The middle
parts of the feathers of the head, neck, and back are black, the borders
or outsides ash-coloured, with a mixture of red; and the lower part of
the body white. The beak has a regular curve downward, and is soft at
the point. This bird’s flesh may challenge for flavour and delicacy that
of any other water-fowl, and the people of Suffolk say proverbially:

    “A Curlew, be she white, be she black,
     She carries twelve pence on her back:”

but it must be confessed that the quality and goodness of the flesh of
Curlews depend on their manner of feeding, and the season in which they
are caught. When they dwell on the sea-shore, they acquire a kind of
rankness, which is so strong, that, unless they are basted on the spit
with vinegar, they are not agreeable eating.

[Illustration: THE REDSHANK. (_Totanus calidris._)]

THIS bird has received its name from the colour of its legs, which are
of a crimson red. In size it is between the lapwing and the snipe, and
is sometimes called the _Pool Snipe_. The head and back are of a dusky
ash-colour, spotted with black, the throat party-coloured black and
white, the black being drawn down along the feathers. The breast is
whiter, with fewer spots. The Redshank delights in the fen countries,
and in wet and marshy grounds, where it breeds and rears its young. The
female lays four whitish eggs, with olive-coloured dashes, and marked
with irregular spots of black. Pennant and Latham say, that it flies
round its nest when disturbed, making a noise like a lapwing. It is not
so common on the sea-shore as several others of its kindred. We must
here observe, that this bird has often been mistaken for others. The
fact is, that several birds changing their plumage, and increasing or
diminishing their size according to their age, the season of the year,
and the climate they live in, set all nomenclators at defiance, and
confound all classifications.

[Illustration: THE GODWIT, (_Limosa ægocephala_,)]

IS met with in various parts of Great Britain, and is rather larger than
the woodcock, which it much resembles in appearance. In spring and
summer it resides in the fens and marshes, where it rears its young, and
feeds on small worms and insects; but in winter it seeks the salt
marshes and the sea-shore, where it feeds upon the shell-fish and marine
animals left by the retiring tide. A peculiarity belonging to this bird
is the shape of its bill, which is a little turned upwards. The head,
neck, and back are of a reddish brown; the under part of the body white;
the legs dusky, and sometimes black.

The Godwit is much esteemed by epicures as a great delicacy, and sells
very high. It is caught in nets, to which it is allured by a _stale_ or
stuffed bird, in the same manner and in the same season as the ruffs and

[Illustration: THE RUFF AND REEVE. (_Machetes pugnax._)]

IT is curious to see, in our observation of natural objects, how the
creative power of Providence seems to have tried all forms and shapes in
the composition of species. In the cock bird of this species a circle or
collar of long feathers, somewhat resembling a ruff, encompasses the
neck under the head, whence the bird has received the name of Ruff. It
is about a foot in length, with a bill about an inch long. There is a
wonderful and almost infinite variety in the colours of the feathers of
the males; so that in spring there can scarcely be found two exactly
alike; but after moulting they become all alike again.

The males are sometimes called Fighters, on account of their quarrelsome
disposition. It is a bird of passage, and arrives in the fens of
Lincolnshire, and other similar places, in the spring. Mr. Pennant tells
us, that in the course of a single morning more than six dozen have been
caught in one net, and that a fowler has been known to catch between
forty and fifty dozen in a season.


THE female is called a Reeve, and its flesh is thought a great delicacy
for the table. They are smaller than the cocks, and their feathers
undergo no change. The Ruff and Reeve are taken in nets. They used to be
seen in vast numbers in many parts of England, especially in the Isle of
Ely and the Lincolnshire fens. The improvements in drainage and
cultivation that have been made during the present century have deprived
these birds of their accustomed haunts, and they are no longer common. A
writer of the last century said he had seen the ground so covered with
the nests and eggs of Plovers and Reeves that “one could scarce take a
step without stepping on them.” They are now most common on the shores
of southern Scotland and of Northumberland.

Reeves are fattened for the table by feeding them on boiled rice or
wheat, bread and milk, hemp seed, &c. They are obliged to be kept in a
dark room during the process, as the least gleam of light is the signal
for a furious battle.

[Illustration: THE SNIPE. (_Scolopax gallinago._)]

    “The Snipe flies screaming from the marshy verge,
     And towers in airy circles o’er the wood;
     Still heard at intervals; and oft returns,
     And stoops as bent to alight; then wheels aloft
     With sudden fear, and screams and stoops again,
     Her favourite glade reluctant to forsake.” GISBORNE.

THE SNIPE weighs about four ounces. A pale red line divides the head
longways; the chin under the bill is white; the neck is a mixture of
brown and red; the lower part of the body is almost all white. The back
and wings are of a dusky colour. The flesh is tender, sweet, and in
flavour ranks next to that of the woodcock. Snipes feed especially upon
small red worms, and insects, which they find in muddy and swampy
places, on the banks of rivulets and brooks, and on the clayey margin of
ponds. It is said that Snipes remain with us all the summer, and build
in moors and marshes, laying four or five eggs; but most of them are
migratory, and, when forced by severe frosts to sheltered springs, are
often seen in large flights. Mr. Daniel states that, about thirty years
ago, Snipes were so abundant in the fens of Cambridgeshire, that as many
were taken in Milton fen, by means of a lark-net, in one night, and by a
single man, as could be contained in a small hamper.

[Illustration: THE WOODCOCK, (_Scolopax rusticola_,)]

IS somewhat less than the partridge. The upper side of the body is
party-coloured of red, black, and grey, and very beautiful. From the
bill almost to the middle of the head it is of a reddish ash-colour. The
lower part of the body is grey, with transverse brown lines; under the
tail the colour is somewhat yellowish; the chin is white, with a
tincture of yellow. Woodcocks are migratory birds, coming over into
Britain in autumn, and departing again in the beginning of spring; they
pair before they go, and are seen flying in braces.

The colours of this timid bird render it difficult to discern him among
the withered stalks and leaves of fern, sticks, moss, and grass, which
form the background of the scenery, by which he is sheltered in his
moist and solitary retreats. By habit only is the sportsman enabled to
discover him, and his leading marks are the full eye and glossy silver
white-tipped tail of the bird. The flesh is held in high estimation, and
hence he is eagerly sought after. It is hardly necessary to observe that
in dressing a Woodcock for the spit the entrails are not drawn, but are
allowed to drop upon slices of toasted bread, and are relished as a
delicious kind of sauce. By some late observations, it appears that
several individuals of the species remain with us the whole year. They
frequent especially wet and swampy woods, the thick hedges near
rivulets, and places affording them their allotted food, which consists
of very small insects found in the moist ground.

    “The Woodcock’s early visit and abode
     Of long continuance, in our temperate clime,
     Foretell a liberal harvest.” PHILIPS.

[Illustration: THE KNOT, (_Tringa Canutus_,)]

IS a small bird, whose head and back are of a dusky ash-colour, or dark
grey; while the lower part of the body is pure white, or white varied by
black lines. The sides under the wings are spotted with brown. The bird
weighs about four ounces and a half, and generally makes its appearance
in Lincolnshire in the beginning of winter, and abides there for two or
three months, after which they fly off in flocks. They are caught in
great numbers by nets, into which they are decoyed by carved wooden
figures, painted to represent themselves, and placed within them, much
in the same way as the ruff. When the knot is fat, its flesh is
considered excellent food. It is also fattened for sale, and then
considered equal to the ruff in flavour. The season for taking it is
from August to November, after which the frost compels it to disappear.
This bird is said to have been a favourite dish with Canute the Great;
and Camden observes that its name is derived from his--Knute, or Knout,
as he was called--which, in process of time, has been changed to Knot.

[Illustration: THE GREY PLOVER, (_Squatarola cinerea_,)]

IS about twelve inches long and twenty-four across the wings: the head,
back, and coverts of the wings are black, with tips of a greenish white;
the chin white; the throat spotted with brown or dusky spots; the breast
and thighs white. The flavour of the flesh, when the bird is caught in
the proper season, is delicate and savory; at other times it is hard,
and has a strong and rank taste. This bird is generally found in small
packs, and is not nearly so common as the beautiful Golden Plover. The
male becomes entirely black on the lower surface in the spring, or black
interspersed with patches and spots of white.

The Grey Plover is found in the northern parts of Europe, and, it is
said, breeds in Egypt, Java, and Japan. Like the Ruff, it is an
exceedingly quarrelsome bird, and fights fiercely in the spring. The
young, when hatched, are covered with a thick, soft down, and
immediately begin to follow their parents about and search for food.

[Illustration: THE GOLDEN PLOVER, (_Charadrius pluvialis_,)]

IS about the size of the former. The colour of the whole upper side is
black, thick set with yellowish green spots; the breast brown, with
spots as on the back; the body is white. The male of this species is
also black beneath in the spring. The flesh is sweet and tender, and
therefore esteemed a choice dish in this and other countries.

The Golden Plover feeds principally during the night, and during the day
time may be seen sitting or standing on the ground, asleep. The parent
birds are very careful in guarding their young. When any intruder
approaches their nest, they use all sorts of stratagems to divert his

The “Plover eggs,” frequently seen at the tables of the opulent and
luxurious, are not those of the Plover, but of the Lapwing.

[Illustration: THE DOTTREL, (_Charadrius morinellus_,)]

IS proverbially accounted a foolish bird, yet why so it is hardly
possible to say. Its length is about ten inches; the bill is not quite
an inch long, and is black. The forehead is mottled with brown and grey;
the top of the head is black; and over each eye there is an arched line
of white. The back and wings are a light brown; the breast is a pale
dull orange; the middle of the body is black, and the rest and the
thighs are of a reddish white. The tail is brown, black towards the end,
and tipped with white. This bird is migratory, and makes its appearance
in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and Derbyshire in April, but soon
leaves those counties and passes on towards the north, breeding in the
mountains of the north of England and Scotland. In April, and sometimes
in September, Dottrels are seen in Wiltshire and Berkshire. They are
generally caught, like other birds, by night; when, dazzled by the light
of a torch, they are at a loss to know where to fly for safety, the
whole place being in darkness, and generally select the very spot which
they should avoid. Many ridiculous stories have been propagated about
the gestures of this bird, and its endeavouring to imitate the actions
of the fowler, and thereby falling into the snare laid for him; but they
ought to be entirely disbelieved.

[Illustration: THE LAPWING, OR PEEWIT.

(_Vanellus cristatus._)]

THIS well-known bird is found in nearly all countries, and is of the
size of a common pigeon. The female lays four or five eggs, of a yellow
colour, varied all over with large black spots and strokes. Lapwings
build their nests on the ground in the middle of some field or heath,
open and exposed to view, laying only some few straws under the eggs: so
soon as the young are hatched, they instantly forsake the nest, running
away with the shell on their back, and following the mother, only
covered with a kind of down, like young ducks. The parents have been
impressed by nature with the most attentive love and care for their
offspring; for if the fowler, or any other enemy, should come near the
nest, the female, panting with fear, lessens her call to make her
enemies believe that she is much further off, and thereby deceives those
that search for her brood; she also sometimes pretends to be wounded,
and utters a faint cry as she limps away, to lead the fowler from her
nest. This bird is really beautiful, although it does not exhibit that
gaudiness of colours of which other species of the feathered tribe can
boast: it weighs about half-a-pound. The head, and the crest which
elegantly adorns it, is black; this crest, composed of unwebbed
feathers, is about four inches in length. The back is of a dark green,
glossed with blue shades; the throat is black; the hinder part of the
neck and the breast are white. The Lapwing, when in search of food,
stamps with his feet upon the ground, and when the earth-worms, alarmed
at the noise, appear, he seizes and devours them. His voice, on the
swampy places along the sea-shores, heard at night, resembles the sound
of _peewit_, or _teewit_, and hence his name in several parts of Great
Britain; he is also called the _Great Plover_ by several ornithologists.
This bird is one of those who attract the fowler’s attention in winter:

    “With slaughtering gun th’ unwearied fowler roves,
     When frosts have whiten’d all the naked groves;
     Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o’ershade,
     And lonely woodcocks haunt the watery glade.
     He lifts his tube, and levels with his eye;
     Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky:
     Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
     The clamorous Lapwings feel the leaden death:
     Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
     They fall, and leave their little lives in air.” POPE.

The following anecdote, from Bewick’s “History of Birds,” exhibits the
domestic nature of the Lapwing, as well as the art with which it
conciliates the regard of animals materially differing from itself, and
generally considered as hostile to every species of the feathered tribe.
Two Lapwings were given to a clergyman, who put them into his garden;
one of them soon died, but the other continued to pick up such food as
the place afforded, till winter deprived it of its usual supply.
Necessity soon compelled it to draw nearer to the house, by which it
gradually became familiarised to occasional interruptions from the
family. At length one of the servants, when she had occasion to go into
the back kitchen with a light, observed that the Lapwing always uttered
his cry of “pee-wit,” to obtain admittance. The bird soon grew more
familiar; as the winter advanced, he approached as far as the kitchen,
but with much caution, as that part of the house was generally occupied
by a dog and cat, whose friendship, however, the Lapwing at length
conciliated so entirely, that it was his regular custom to resort to the
fireside as soon as it grew dark, and spend the evening and night with
his two associates, sitting close by them, and partaking of the comforts
of a warm hearth. As soon as spring appeared, he discontinued his visits
to the house, and betook himself to the garden; but, on the approach of
winter, he had recourse to his old shelter and friends, who received him
very cordially. Security was productive of insolence; what was at first
obtained with caution, was afterwards taken without reserve; he
frequently amused himself with washing in the bowl which was set for the
dog to drink out of; and while he was thus employed, he showed marks of
the greatest indignation if either of his companions presumed to
interrupt him. He died in the asylum he had thus chosen, being choked
with something that he had picked up from the floor.

[Illustration: THE WATER-HEN, (_Gallinula chloropus_,)]

IS also called the _Moor-Hen_, or _Moor-Coot_, and the _Gallinule_. The
breast is of a lead-colour, the lower part of the body inclining to
ash-colour, and the back dark olive brown. As she swims or walks, she
often flirts up her tail. Water-hens feed upon aquatic plants and roots,
and upon the small insects which adhere to them; they grow fat about the
latter end of September, and their flesh is then considered nearly equal
to that of the teal; yet it can seldom be entirely deprived of its
fishy taste. They build their nests amongst reeds, long grass, roots,
and stumps by the water-side, breeding twice or thrice in the course of
a summer; the eggs are white, with a tint of green, dashed with brown

There are very few countries in the world where these birds are not to
be found. They generally prefer the cold mountainous regions in summer,
and lower and warmer situations during winter.

    “The fish are leaping, and the Water-hen
     Dives up and down. A storm is coming on.”
              SCHILLER.--WILLIAM TELL.


(_Ortygometra crex_,)]

IS a migratory bird, appearing in England in April, and departing in
October. At the time of its arrival it is very lean, but becomes
excessively fat before it quits the island. Their favourite haunts are
cold and humid upland districts, corn-fields in the vicinity of water,
and marshy grass-lands. Their cry is a peculiar roll of short notes,
all in the same key and of the same length. The sound, crec, crec, crec,
has been compared to the noise made by drawing the finger along the
teeth of a comb. The legs of the Corn-Crake are unusually long for the
size of the bird, and hang down while it is on the wing. Its flesh is
greatly esteemed for its delicate flavour. This bird is never seen on
the wing in this country, and is extremely difficult to capture; they
cannot be made to rise like partridges and many other birds, nor is it
of much use to invade their cover. They glide through the corn, without
the least perceptible rustle, and with wonderful rapidity, considering
the size of the bird, and if the sportsman follows in the direction of
the sound, it ceases for a while, and then, perhaps, is heard far in the
rear; if he follows it again, it is not long before the sound is heard
setting in its former or some other direction.

It is said by some writers that the Corn-Crake is a sort of natural
ventriloquist, and can make his note appear to proceed from quite
another direction than the spot in which he lies hid. It is probable,
however, that the delusion arises from the astonishing swiftness with
which the bird passes through the covers, where it is usually found. And
as they can never be made to rise, the observer has very seldom the
means of deciding whether the bird was in the place its cry seemed to
proceed from or not.

The nest is made in a hole in the ground, and is lined with dead leaves,
moss, and other soft substances. There are generally ten, twelve, or
fourteen eggs. The peculiar cry by which the bird is recognised is only
uttered during the period of incubation.

Corn-Crakes are occasionally found to have a great fondness for water.
An anecdote is related by Craven, in his “Young Sportsman’s Manual,” of
a young bird of this species, in the possession of a Mr. Jervis, which
had a remarkable partiality for water, in which it would dive and
splash, as if unused to any other element. If the habits of this bird
could be watched more closely, perhaps we should find that this fondness
for water is not uncommon in its wild state.

[Illustration: THE COOT. (_Fulica atra._)]

THIS bird has so many traits in its character, and so many features in
its general appearance like the rails and water-hens, that to place it
after them seems a natural and easy gradation; and accordingly this has
been done by Cuvier, though it was considered by Linnæus to belong to a
group distinct from those birds, and from the waders in general, on
account of its being fin-footed, and its constant attachment to the
waters, which, indeed, it seldom quits. The manner in which Coots build
their nest is very ingenious. They form it of interwoven aquatic weeds,
and place it among the rushes, in such a way that it may occasionally
rise with, but not be washed away by, the stream: and if ever this
accident happens, steady on her nest, the hen does not desert her brood,
but follows with them the destiny of their floating cradle. This bird,
in the figure and shape of its body, resembles the water-hen, and weighs
about twenty-four ounces. The feathers about the head and neck are low,
soft, and thick. The colour about the whole of the body is black, but of
a deeper hue about the head. The sere rises upon the forehead in a
peculiar manner, and appears as if Providence had designed it for a
means of defence. It changes its whitish colour to a pale red or pink in
the breeding season. Coots are very shy, and seldom venture abroad
before dusk. When attacked, they defend themselves with their feet, and
they do this so energetically, that sportsmen say, “Beware of a winged
Coot, or he will scratch you like a cat.”

§ VII. _Palmipedes, or Web-footed Birds._

[Illustration: THE PELICAN, (_Pelicanus onocrotalus_,)]

IS in size about equal to the swan; the colour of the body is white,
inclining to pink; the beak is straight and long, with a sharp hook at
the end; the skin of the lower mandible is so capable of distension,
that it may be dilated to contain fish in large quantities. This pouch
Providence has allotted to the bird, that he may bring to his eyrie
sufficient food for several days, and save himself the trouble of
travelling through the air, and watching and diving so often. The legs
are black, and the four toes palmated. It is a very indolent, inactive,
and inelegant bird, often sitting whole days and nights on rocks or
branches of trees, motionless and in a melancholy posture, till the
resistless stimulus of hunger spurs it on, and forces it to the sea in
search of nourishment; when thus excited to exertion, the Pelican flies
from the spot, and, raising itself thirty or forty feet above the
surface of the water, turns its head with one eye downward, and
continues to fly in that position till it sees a fish near the surface.
It then darts down with astonishing swiftness, seizes its prey with
unerring certainty, and stores it in its pouch. Having done this, it
rises into the air, and repeats the same action till it has procured a
sufficient stock. The Pelican is by no means destitute of natural
affection, either towards its young ones or towards others of its own
species. Clavigero, in his “History of Mexico,” says, that sometimes the
Americans, in order to procure, without trouble, a supply of fish,
cruelly break the wing of a live Pelican, and, after tying the bird to a
tree, conceal themselves near the place. The screams of the miserable
bird attract other Pelicans to the place, which, he assures us, eject a
portion of the provisions from their pouches for their imprisoned
companion. As soon as the men observe this, they rush to the spot, and
after leaving a small quantity for the bird, carry off the remainder.

In America, Pelicans are often rendered domestic, and are so trained,
that at command they go in the morning and return before night with
their pouches distended with prey, part of which they are made to
disgorge, while the rest is left them for their trouble. The bird is
said to live sometimes a hundred years.

Our forefathers attributed extraordinary affection to this bird, more
than is attested by any save heraldic evidence. Thus, in several crests,
it is represented in the act of feeding its young with its own blood,
which it procures by striking its breast with the sharp point of its
beak. And the ancients fully believed that in times of scarcity the
female Pelican resorted to this means of supporting her brood. The nest
of the Pelican is made with sedges and grass, close to the water’s edge;
the female lays two or three white eggs, and the male is said to supply
his partner with food while she is engaged in the work of incubation.

[Illustration: THE CORMORANT, (_Phalacrocorax carbo_,)]

IS a large water-bird, nearly allied to the pelican, possessed with a
very voracious appetite, and consequently of a very rapacious
disposition. It lives upon all sorts of fish; the fresh water and the
briny waves of the sea both paying a large contribution to its craving
stomach. The bill is about five inches in length, and of a dusky colour;
the predominant tints of the body are black beneath, and dark brown
above; on each thigh there is a white patch. The smell of these birds
when alive is excessively rank and disagreeable; and their flesh is so
disgusting that even the Greenlanders, among whom they are very common,
will scarcely eat it. They were formerly tamed in England for the
purpose of catching fish, as falcons and hawks were for chasing the
fleet inhabitants of the air. This custom is still in practice in China.
The birds are taken to the water in a boat, with leather thongs tied
round their necks to prevent their swallowing the fish; at the word of
command they descend into the water, swim about, and dive in pursuit ofprey, and bring whatever they capture to their owner’s boat. Sometimes
two Cormorants will unite their efforts to capture a large fish; and if
any of the birds neglect their business the man will slap on the water
with a bamboo, as a schoolmaster does with his cane on the desk, to
recall the idlers to a sense of their duty. This bird, although of the
aquatic kind, is often seen, like the pelican, perched upon trees.
Milton tells us that Satan

    “---- ---- ---- On the tree of life,
     The middle tree, and highest there that grew,
     Sat like a Cormorant.”

In the year 1793, one of them was observed sitting on the vane of St.
Martin’s steeple, Ludgate Hill, London, and was shot there in the
presence of a great number of people.

[Illustration: THE SHAG, OR CRESTED CORMORANT, (_Phalacrocorax

IS of a dark green, with a singular tuft on the front of the head in the
spring. It breeds in rocky caves on the sea-coast.

[Illustration: THE GANNET, OR SOLAN GOOSE. (_Sula bassana._)]

THESE birds are insatiably voracious, but are somewhat particular in
their choice of prey; disdaining, unless in great want, any food worse
than herrings or mackerel. No fewer than one hundred thousand Gannets
are supposed to frequent the rocks of St. Kilda; and of these, including
the young ones, at least twenty thousand are annually killed for food by
the inhabitants. The Gannet is somewhat more than three feet in length,
and weighs about seven pounds. The bill is six inches long, straight
almost to the point, where it is a little bent; its edges are jagged, to
enable it the better to secure its prey; and about an inch from the base
of the upper mandible there is a sharp process pointing forward. The
general colour of the plumage is a dingy white, with a greyish tinge.
Surrounding each eye there is a naked skin of a fine blue colour; from
the corner of the mouth a narrow slip of naked black skin extends to the
hind part of the head; and beneath the chin there is a pouch capable of
containing five or six herrings. The neck is long; the body flat, and
very full of feathers. On the crown of the head, and the back part of
the neck, is a small buff-coloured space. The quill-feathers, and some
other parts of the wings, are black; as are also the legs, except a fine
pea-green stripe in front. The tail is wedge-shaped, and consists of
twelve sharp-pointed feathers.

These birds chiefly resort to those uninhabited islands where man seldom
comes to disturb them. The islands to the north, Ailsa Craig, on the
west coast of Scotland, the Skelig Islands, off the coasts of Kerry in
Ireland, and those that lie in the North Sea off Norway, abound with
them. But it is on the Bass Bock, in the Frith of Forth, that they are
seen in the greatest abundance. “There is a small island,” says the
celebrated Harvey, “called the Bass, not more than a mile in
circumference; the surface is almost wholly covered during the months of
May and June with the nests of the Solan Geese, their eggs, and their
young. It is scarcely possible to walk without treading on them: the
flocks of birds upon the wing are so numerous as to darken the air like
a cloud; and their noise is such, that one cannot without difficulty be
heard by the person next to him. When one looks down upon the sea from
the precipice, its whole surface seems covered with infinite numbers of
birds of different kinds, swimming and pursuing their prey. If, in
sailing round the island, one surveys its hanging cliffs, in every crag
or fissure of the broken rocks may be seen innumerable birds, of various
sorts and sizes, more than the stars of heaven when viewed in a serene
night. If they are viewed at a distance, either receding or in their
approach to the island, they seem like one vast swarm of bees.”

[Illustration: THE SWAN. (_Cygnus olor._)]

    “Fair is the Swan, whose majesty prevailing
     O’er breezeless water, on Locarno’s lake,
     Bears him on, while, proudly sailing,
     He leaves behind a moon-illumined wake:
     Behold! the mantling spirit of reserve
     Fashions his neck into a goodly curve--
     An arch thrown back between luxuriant wings
     Of whitest garniture, like fir-tree boughs.
     To which, on some unruffled morning, clings
     A flaky weight of winter’s purest snows!
     Behold! as with a gushing impulse heaves
     That snowy prow, and softly cleaves
     The mirror of the crystal flood;
     Vanish inverted hill, and shadowy wood,
     And pendent rocks, where’er in gliding state
     Winds the mute creature, without visible mate
     Or rival, save the queen of night,
     Showering down a silver light
     From heaven upon her chosen favourite!”

THE two best known species of this elegantly-formed and majestic bird
are commonly known as the Wild and the Tame, or the Whooping and Mute,
Swans. They may easily be recognised by the peculiarities of the bill:
the Tame Swan has the bill orange-coloured, with its base black, and
surmounted by a black knob; the Wild Swan has no knob, and it is the tip
instead of the base of the bill that is black.


IS also a fine bird, with beautifully white plumage; unlike the Tame
Swan, which is nearly mute, it has a loud and rather melodious voice,
which it utters frequently, as it flies along at a great height in the
air, during its migrations. It is found in England in the winter, but
resides all the year in the north of Scotland. Its favourite place for
breeding is in the extreme north. The Tame Swan is the largest of our
web-footed water-fowl, sometimes weighing about thirty pounds: the whole
body of the full-grown Swan is covered with a beautiful pure white
plumage, but the young ones are grey; under the feathers is a thick,
soft down, which is of very great use, and often employed as an
ornament. The elegance of form which this bird displays, when, with his
arched neck and half-displayed wings, he sails along the crystal surface
of a tranquil stream, which reflects, as he passes, the snowy beauty of
his dress, is worthy of admiration. Thomson describes the Swan in the
following beautiful manner:

      “---- ---- ---- The stately sailing Swan
    Gives out his snowy plumage to the gale,
    And arching proud his neck, with oary feet,
    Bears forward fierce, and guards his osier isle,
    Protective of his young.”

Swans have for ages been protected on the river Thames as royal
property; and it continues at this day to be accounted felony to steal
their eggs: by this means their increase is secured, and they prove a
delightful ornament to that noble river. Latham says the estimation in
which they were held, in the reign of Edward IV., was such, that only
those who possessed a freehold of the clear yearly value of five marks
were permitted even to keep any. In those times, hardly a piece of water
was left unoccupied by these birds, as they gratified the palate as well
as the eye of their lordly owners of that period: but the fashion of
those days has passed away, and Swans are by no means as common now as
they were formerly, being by most people accounted a coarse kind of
food, and consequently held in little estimation: but the Cygnets (so
the young Swans are called) are still fattened for the table, and are
sold very high, commonly for a guinea each, and sometimes more; hence it
may be presumed they are better food than is generally imagined.

At Abbotsbury there was generally a noble Swannery, the property of the
Earl of Ilchester, where six or seven hundred birds were kept, but the
collection has of late been much diminished. The Swannery belonged
anciently to the abbot, and, previously to the dissolution of
monasteries, the Swans frequently amounted to double the above number.

From the whiteness of this bird, the expression of a “Black Swan” was
used in ancient times as equivalent to a nonentity; but a species nearly
entirely black has been lately discovered in Australia. This bird is as
large as the white Swan, and its bill is of a rich scarlet. The whole
plumage (except the primaries and secondaries, which are white) is of
the most intense black.

Swans are very long lived, sometimes attaining the great age of a
century and a half.

[Illustration: THE WILD GOOSE. (_Anser ferus._)]

    “The farmer’s Goose, who in the stubble
     Has fed without restraint or trouble,
     Grown fat with corn, and sitting still,
     Can scarce get o’er the barn-door sill;
     And hardly waddles forth to cool
     Her body in the neighbouring pool;
     Nor loudly cackles at the door,
     For cackling shows the Goose is poor.”

THE GOOSE is very different in outward appearance from the last-named
bird. Stupidity in her look, uncouthness in her walk, and heaviness in
her flight are her principal characteristics. But why should we dwell
upon these defects? they are not such in the great scale of the
creation. Her flesh feeds many, and is not disdained even by the great;
her feathers keep us warm; and even the very pen I hold in my hand was
plucked from her wing.

These birds are kept in vast quantities in the fens of Lincolnshire;
several persons there having as many as a thousand breeders. They breed
in general only once a year, but if well kept they sometimes hatch twice
in a season. During their sitting, the birds have spaces allotted to
each, in rows of wicker pens placed one above another; and the
Goose-herd, who has the care of them, drives the whole flock to water
twice a day, and bringing them back to their habitations, places every
bird (without missing one) in its own nest. It is scarcely credible what
numbers of Geese are driven from the distant counties to London for
sale, frequently two or three thousand in a drove; and, in the year
1783, one drove passed through Chelmsford, in its way from Suffolk to
London, that contained more than nine thousand. However simple in
appearance or awkward in gesture the Goose may be, it is not without
many marks of sentiment and understanding. The courage with which it
protects its offspring and defends itself against ravenous birds, and
certain instances of attachment, and even of gratitude, which have been
observed in it, render our general contempt of the Goose ill-founded.

The Goose was held in great veneration among the Romans, as having by
her watchfulness saved the Capitol from the attack of the Gauls. Virgil
says, in the seventh book of the Æneid,

    “The silver goose before the shining gate
     There flew, and by her cackle saved the state.”

The colour of this useful bird is generally white; though we often find
them of a mixture of white, grey, black, and sometimes yellow. The feet
which are palmated, are orange-coloured, and the beak is serrated. The
male of the Goose is called the Gander; and the young ones Goslings.
Geese are very long-lived, one is known to have lived above seventy

The Wild Goose is the original of the tame one, and differs much in
colour from her, the general tint of its feathers being a greyish black.
Wild Geese fly by night in large flocks to more southern countries; and
their clang is heard from the regions of the clouds, although the birds
are out of sight.

[Illustration: THE DUCK. (_Anas boschas._)]

THE COMMON DUCK is of two kinds, the wild and the tame, the latter being
but the same species altered by domestication; the difference between
them is very trifling, save that the colour of the Mallard, or male wild
Duck, is constantly the same in all the individuals, whereas the Drakes,
or tame ones, are varied in their plumage. The females do not share with
the males in beauty of plumage: the admirable scarf of glossy green and
blue, which surrounds the neck of Drakes and Mallards, being an
exclusive prerogative of the male sex. There is also a curious and
invariable peculiarity belonging to the males, which consists of a few
curled feathers rising upon the rump.


Wild Ducks are caught by decoys in the fen countries, and in such
prodigious numbers, that in only ten decoys in the neighbourhood of
Wainfleet, as many as thirty-one thousand two hundred have been caught
in one season. They do not always build their nests close to the water,
but often at a considerable distance from it; in which case the female
will take the young ones in her beak, or between her legs, to the water.
They have sometimes been known to lay their eggs in a high tree, in a
deserted magpie’s or crow’s nest; and an instance has been recorded of
one being found at Etchingham, in Sussex, sitting upon nine eggs in an
oak, at the height of twenty-five feet from the ground: the eggs were
supported by some small twigs laid cross-ways.

The tame Ducks, reared about mills and rivers, or wherever there is a
sufficient quantity of water for them to indulge their sports and to
search for food, become a branch of trade, which proves very profitable
to their owners.

[Illustration: THE EIDER DUCK, (_Sornateria mollissima_,)]

WHICH is found about the coasts of the north of England and Scotland,
becomes more numerous as we go further north, and is most abundant on
Iceland and the Arctic shores, both of Europe and America. This bird is
particularly valuable for the great quantity of down which it furnishes,
as this is so light and elastic that beds and quilts made from it are
preferable to any others. The birds line their nests with this beautiful
material plucked from their own bodies, and it is chiefly by plundering
the nests that the down is obtained. Each nest will furnish about half a
pound of down in the season, and it is worth about four dollars a pound.

[Illustration: THE WIDGEON, (_Mareca Penelope_,)]

WEIGHS about twenty-two ounces, and feeds upon grass and roots growing
at the bottom of lakes, rivers, and ponds. The plumage of this bird is
much variegated, and its flesh esteemed a great delicacy, though not so
highly praised as that of the teal. The bill of the Widgeon is black;
the head and upper part of the neck of a bright bay; the back and sides
under the wing waved with black and white; the breast purple; the lower
part of the body white, and the legs are dusky. The young of both sexes
are grey, and continue in this plain garb till the month of February;
after which a change takes place, and the plumage of the male begins to
assume its rich colourings, in which, it is said, he continues till the
end of July; and then again the feathers become dark and grey, so that
he is hardly to be distinguished from the female.

Widgeons commonly fly in small flocks during the night, and may be known
from other birds by their whistling note, while they are on the wing.
They quit the desert morasses of the north on the approach of winter,
and as they advance towards the ends of their destined southern journey,
they spread themselves along the shores, and over the marshes and lakes,
in various parts of the continent, as well as those of the British
isles; and it is said that some of the flocks advance as far south as

The Widgeon is easily domesticated in places where there is plenty of
water, and is much admired for its beauty, sprightly look, and busy,
frolicsome manners; yet it is generally asserted that they will not
breed in confinement, or at least that the female will not make a nest
and perform the act of incubation; but that she will lay eggs, which are
generally dropped into the water.

[Illustration: THE TEAL, (_Querquedula crecca_,)]

IS the least of the duck tribe, weighing only twelve ounces. The lower
part of the body is of a dingy white, inclining to a grey tint. The back
and sides under the wings are curiously varied with lines of white and
black; the wings are all over brown, and the tail of the same colour.
This bird is common in England during the winter months, and it is still
uncertain whether it does not breed here as it does in France. Dr.
Heysham says it is known to breed in the neighbourhood of Carlisle. The
female makes her nest of reeds interwoven with grass; and, as it is
reported, places it among the rushes, in order that it may rise and fall
with the water. Their eggs are of the size of those of a pigeon, six or
seven in number, and of a dull white colour, marked with small brownish
spots; but it appears that they sometimes lay ten or twelve eggs, for
Buffon remarks that that number of young are seen in clusters on the
pools, feeding on cresses, chervil, and some other weeds, as well as
upon seeds and small insects that swarm in the water. The flesh of the
Teal is a great delicacy in the winter season, and has less of the fishy
flavour than any of the wild duck kind. It is known to breed and remain
throughout the year in various temperate climates of the world, and is
in the summer met with as far northward as Iceland.

THE COMMON GULL. (_Laruscanus._)

THE GULLS, of which there are a great many different kinds, are very
common birds around our coasts and at the mouths of rivers; they have
long wings, and fly with great rapidity and buoyancy. Their plumage is
thick, and they float very lightly on the surface of the water, but do
not dive. The Gulls are very voracious, and not only devour great
quantities of fishes, shell-fish, and other marine animals, but even
condescend to feed upon the dead bodies of animals which they find
floating on the water or cast up on the shore. Some of the smaller kinds
come inland, and catch insects on the wing, in the same way as the

The Common Gull is rather a large species, being more than eighteen
inches in length when full grown. Its plumage is pearly grey above and
white beneath; the largest wing feathers are black, with white tips and
white spots near the tip; and the bill and feet are greenish grey. This
bird breeds in the salt marshes or on the ledges of cliffs. The female
lays two or three eggs, which are olive brown, with dark brown and black

It is a very pretty sight to watch from the top of a lofty cliff the
multitudes of these birds that often haunt our coasts; gliding with
beautiful ease and swiftness through the air, skimming the surface of
the water in pursuit of their prey, or reposing upon its bosom. Even
their rather harsh and discordant cry is in harmony with the wild and
imposing heights on which they love to dwell. This, however, does not
protect them from the frequenters of our seaside towns, with whom
seagull shooting is a favourite amusement; an amusement the more to be
reprehended as the flesh of the bird is quite useless.

Gulls are frequently caught alive, and, after having their wings clipped
to prevent their escape, are kept to satisfy their voracious appetite on
snails, slugs, and other garden pests.

(_Thalassidroma pelagica._)]

                “O’er the deep! o’er the deep!
    Where the whale, and the shark, and the sword-fish sleep,
    Outflying the blast and the driving rain,
    The petrel telleth her tale in vain;
    For the mariner curseth the warning bird,
    Who bringeth him news of the storm unheard!
    Oh! thus does the prophet, of good or ill,
    Meet hate from creatures he serveth still;
    Yet he ne’er falters:--So, Petrel! spring
    Once more o’er the waves on thy stormy wing.” PROCTER.

THE STORMY PETREL is not larger than a swallow; and its colour is
entirely black, except the coverts of the tail, the tail itself, and the
vent-feathers, which are white: its legs are slender. Ranging over the
expanse of the ocean, and frequently at a vast distance from the land,
this bird is able to brave the utmost fury of the storms. Even in the
most tempestuous weather it is frequently observed by the mariners
skimming with almost incredible velocity along the billows, and
sometimes over their summits. They often follow vessels in great flocks,
to pick up anything that is thrown overboard; but their appearance is
looked upon by the sailors as the sure presage of stormy weather in the
course of a few hours. It seems to seek protection from the fury of the
wind in the wake of the vessels; and it is probable that for the same
reason it often flies between two surges. The nest of this bird is found
in the Orkney Islands, under loose stones, in the months of June and
July. It lives chiefly on small fish; and although mute by day, it is
very clamorous by night. The young of this bird are fed with an oily
matter or chyle, which is ejected from the stomachs of the parents.

Mudie, in his very entertaining work on British Birds, says that they
are called Petrels, or “little Petrels,” because they move along the
surface as if they were literally walking on the water. He also informs
us that they are at times very full of oil, and that the Faroese, taking
advantage of this circumstance, convert them into lamps, by fixing them
in an upright position and drawing a wick through their bodies, which
they light at the mouth.

[Illustration: THE FULMAR, (_Procellaria glacialis_,)]

IS a larger kind of Petrel, which is found not uncommonly on the British
coasts, and is exceeding abundant in the Arctic seas. Here it is a
regular attendant upon the whale-fishers when they are engaged in
cutting up a whale. Any fragments of blubber that happen to fall into
the water are immediately snapped by these greedy birds, which clamour
and squabble over the feast with so little regard to the vicinity of the
sailors, that they may be knocked on the head with a boat-hook. They are
in high estimation in the countries they inhabit, on account of the
large amount of oil they contain. It is only rarely they are seen in
England, nor do they regularly frequent any part of Great Britain,
except a few of the northernmost islands of Scotland. Like the other
Petrels, they feed their young with a sort of oil, which they have the
power of exuding at will.

[Illustration: THE ALBATROSS, (_Diomedea exulans_,)]

ALSO resembles the diminutive Petrels in some respects; but instead of
being a pigmy it is a giant among birds. Its wings often measure as much
as fifteen feet in extent and are of corresponding power, as they have
to support the Albatross by the day together above the stormy waves of
the great Southern Ocean. Indeed, so enormous is their strength and
endurance, that they have been known to follow ships for whole days
together, without once resting upon the water. From time to time the
gigantic bird plunges down into the sea to capture the fishes with which
he satisfies his hunger; and it is said that where Albatrosses are
numerous they will even attack sailors who may happen to fall overboard.
From their abundance at the Cape of Good Hope they are often called by
mariners Cape sheep.

Albatrosses generally weigh from twenty to thirty pounds. The plumage is
white, except some narrow bars upon the back, and some of the long wing
feathers, which are black, and of the head, which is a reddish grey. The
beak is long and powerful, and curved at the end, and would be a most
terrible weapon if the owner were of a pugnacious disposition. It is,
however, quite inoffensive, and is even sometimes attacked by much
smaller birds, when it invariably takes to flight, and the immense power
of its wings generally enables it to distance its pursuers. The
Albatross, like most sea birds, has a most insatiable appetite, and
devours immense quantities, not only of fish, but of other
sea-animals,--such as molluscs. They are so greedy that they are caught
by a line baited with a piece of flesh, which the ever-hungry bird
swallows at a gulp, paying with his life for the dear repast. They are
taken by the natives of the countries they frequent, not for their
flesh, which is tough and insipid, but for the sake of their entrails,
which are very large and elastic, and are used for a number of useful


(_Colymbus glacialis._)]

THE GREAT NORTHERN DIVER is found most abundantly in the Arctic seas,
but a considerable number of them dwell on the shores of Scotland. It
has a rather long, strong, and sharply pointed bill; its back and wings
are black, ornamented with numerous white spots; its lower surface is
greyish-white; and its head and neck are black, with a couple of white
collars across the front of the neck. The Great Northern Diver is a
large bird, measuring nearly three feet in length; its wings are small
in proportion to its size, but yet the bird is able to fly very rapidly.
It is, however, in the water that it is most active; it swims and dives
with the most remarkable ease, and even under water goes as fast as a
four-oared boat. Its food consists of fishes, and it breeds amongst the
herbage of the sea-shore, the female laying two or three eggs in a neat
nest made of grass.

[Illustration: THE PUFFIN, (_Fratercula arctica_,)]

IS another short-winged water bird, but, unlike the Northern Diver, it
visits us in the summer, and breeds on our shores. It is about a foot
long, and has the back and wings black, the cheeks and all the lower
parts of the body, except a band round the neck, white, and the feet
orange. Its bill is very curious, and has obtained for it the names of
Sea Parrot and Coulterneb in some places. This organ is large and
strong, but flattened at the sides; it is of a bluish colour, with three
grooves and four ridges of an orange colour. The Puffin flies swiftly,
and swims and dives almost as well as the Great Diver; it breeds
sometimes in crannies amongst the rocks, and sometimes in a hole which
it digs in the turf or in a rabbit-warren.

[Illustration: THE GREAT AUK, (_Alca impennis_,)]

WHICH is sometimes called the Northern Penguin, is a large bird,
furnished with very small wings, which, although formed of regular
feathers, like those of other birds, are far too weak to raise their
owner into the air. They are, however, of use in another way. When the
Auk dives, which it frequently does, they serve as fins, and, with its
powerful webbed feet, enable it to swim underneath the water with even
greater rapidity than on the surface. This bird was formerly seen
occasionally on the northern coasts of Britain, and became more
plentiful towards the Arctic seas; but no specimens have now been met
with for many years, and there is reason to believe that the bird is
quite extinct on our coasts. In the water the Great Auk, like the Diver,
is wonderfully active, swimming on the surface or beneath the waves with
equal ease. Mr. Bullock, when in the Orkneys, pursued a male bird for
several hours in a six-oared boat without being able to kill him.

The Great Auk is generally about three feet long, and changes its
plumage in summer. The breeding-season is in June and July, when the
female lays one large egg, of a yellowish colour, marked with black

[Illustration: THE PENGUIN, (_Speniscus demersus_,)]

OF which numerous species abound on the shores and islands of the great
Southern Ocean, is remarkable for its almost incredible agility in the
water; it swims and dives like a fish, and in fact is described as
coming to the surface for air, and descending again so suddenly as to
give rise to the impression that it is a fish jumping in sport. It is
found in vast numbers in hiding places, where the females are seen
sitting upright and holding their single egg between their legs.



§ I. _Cetacea, or Sea Mammalia._


(_Balæna mysticetus._)]

    “Nature’s strange work, vast Whales of different form,
     Toss up the troubled flood, and are themselves a storm;
     Uncouth the sight, when they in dreadful play,
     Discharge their nostrils, and refund a sea;
     Or angry lash the foam with hideous sound,
     And scatter all the watery dust around;
     Fearless, the fierce destructive monsters roll,
     Ingulf the fish, and drive the flying shoal;
     In deepest seas these living isles appear,
     And deepest seas can scarce their pressure bear;
     Their bulk would more than fill the shelvy strait,
     And fathom’d depths would yield beneath their weight.”

THE WHALE is not properly a fish; since, though it lives in the sea,
and has fins and a tail instead of legs and feet, it resembles in most
other respects a seal, and differs from fishes, properly so called, in
many important points. Indeed, it is always included in the class
Mammalia, by zoologists, as it brings forth its young alive, and
nourishes them with its milk; and hence a conceited person, who said he
knew every fish from the shrimp to the Whale, was justly laughed at, as
neither the Whale nor the shrimp are included in the fishes by

The general form of the Whale’s body is that of a fish; but the tail is
placed horizontally instead of vertically, and the skeleton of the fins
exactly resembles that of a hand affixed to a contracted arm, though it
is covered with so thick a skin that no trace of the formation of the
bones can be discovered externally. There are only two fins, which are
very small, and close to the head. The Whale, however, differs from
fishes most materially in its having warm blood; and in its lungs, which
are exactly the same as those of quadrupeds. Hence, though the Whale can
remain a long time under water without breathing, it is compelled to
come to the surface whenever it does breathe, and for this purpose it is
furnished with two large nostrils, or blow-holes as they are called. The
blow-holes are most beautifully and curiously contrived to close when
the animal sinks under water; so that not a drop of water can enter the
lungs, however great the pressure may be. The Whale is also provided
with a very thick skin, containing an immense quantity of liquid oil,
called the blubber, which is so easily detached from the flesh, that
when a Whale is killed, the blubber, which is sometimes two feet thick,
is taken off by passing a common spade between it and the body. This
thick oily skin is a non-conductor of heat, and is thus admirably
adapted for preventing the warm blood of the Whale from being chilled by
the cold of the water. The true fishes, which are unprovided with such a
covering, have cold blood, and are therefore not susceptible of chills.

The common Whale has no teeth in either jaw, but its mouth is furnished
with a kind of fringe of numerous long horny laminæ, which are what we
call whalebone, and which form a kind of strainer, admitting only the
small fish on which the Whale feeds. This Whalebone is one of the
valuable products of the whale, though the oil is most important.

    “As when enclosing harpooners assail,
     In hyperborean seas, the slumbering Whale;
     Soon as the javelins pierce the scaly side,
     He groans, he darts impetuous down the tide;
     And, rack’d all o’er with lacerating pain,
     He flies remote beneath the flood in vain.”

Whales are taken in great numbers about Spitzbergen, Greenland, and
other northern countries by the English, the Dutch, &c. Considerable
fleets of ships are sent out every spring for this purpose. When they
begin their fishery, each ship is fastened or moored with nose-hooks to
the ice. Two boats, each manned with six men, are ordered by the
commodore to look out for the coming of the fish for two hours, when
they are relieved by two more, and so by turns; the two boats lie at
some small distance from the ship, each separated from the other,
fastened to the ice with their boat-hooks, ready to let go in an instant
at the first sight of the Whale. Here the dexterity of the Whale hunters
is to be admired; for as soon as the animal shows itself, every man is
at his oar, and they all rush on the Whale with prodigious swiftness; at
the same time taking care to come behind its head, that it may not see
the boat, which sometimes so alarms it, that it plunges down again
before they have time to strike it. But the greatest care is to be taken
of the tail, with which it many times does very great damage, both to
the boats and seamen. The harpooner, who is placed at the head or bow of
the boat, seeing the back of the Whale, and making the onset, thrusts
the harpoon with all his might into its body by the help of a staff
fixed to the iron for this purpose, and leaves it in, a line being
fastened to it of about two inches in circumference, and one hundred and
thirty-six fathoms long. Every boat is furnished with seven of these
lines, from the motion of which, when let run, they observe the course
of the Whale.

As soon as the Whale is struck, the third man in the boat holds up his
oar, with something on the top, as a signal to the ship; at the sight of
which the man who is appointed to watch gives the alarm to those that
are asleep, who instantly let fall their other four boats, which hang on
the tackles, two at each side, ready to let go at a minute’s warning,
all furnished with six men each, harpoons, lances, lines, &c. Two or
three of these boats row to the place where the Whale may be expected to
come up again; the others to assist the boat that first struck it with
line; as the Whale will sometimes run out three more boats’ lines, all
fastened to each other, for when the lines of the first boat are almost
run out, they throw the end to the second to be fastened to theirs, and
the second boat does the same to the third, and so on. In this manner
line is supplied to such an extent that a large Whale has been known to
carry off three miles of it.

A Whale, when he is first struck, will run out above a hundred fathoms
of line, before the harpooner is able to take a turn round the boat’s
stern; and with such swiftness that a man stands ready to throw water on
the line to quench it, in case it should take fire, which it frequently
does. There was, many years ago, a boat to be seen in the South Sea Dock
at Deptford, the head of which was sawed off by the swiftness of the
line running out. The harpoon would be of but little avail in the
destruction of this animal; but part of the rowers, either at the first
onset, or when, in order to fetch his breath, he rises to the surface
and discovers himself to view, throwing aside their oars, and taking up
their very sharp lances, thrust them into his body, till they see him
spurt the blood through the blow-holes, the sight of which is a sign of
the creature’s being mortally wounded. The fishermen, upon the killing
of a Whale, are each entitled to some small reward. After the Whale is
killed, they cut all the lines that were fastened to it, and then cut
off the tail; upon this it instantly turns on its back; and in this
manner they tow it to the ship, where they fasten ropes to keep it from
sinking; and, when it is cold, begin to cut off the blubber.
The blubber of a Whale is frequently found to be eighteen or twenty
inches thick; which yields fifty or sixty puncheons of oil, each
puncheon containing seventy-four gallons; and the upper jaw yields about
six hundred pieces of whalebone, most of which are about twelve feet
long, and six or eight inches broad; the whole produce of a Whale being
worth one thousand pounds, more or less, according to the size of the
animal. Whilst the men are at work on the back of the Whale they have
spurs on their boots, with two prongs, which come down on each side of
their feet, lest they should slip, the back of the Whale being very

When the Whale feeds, it swims with considerable velocity below the
surface of the sea, with its jaws widely extended. A stream of water
consequently enters its mouth, carrying along with it immense quantities
of cuttle-fish, sea-blubber, shrimps, and other small marine animals.
The water escapes at the sides; but the food is entangled, and, as it
were, sifted by the fringe of whalebone within the mouth; this kind of
strainer is rendered necessary by the very small gullet, which in a
Whale of sixty feet long, does not exceed four inches in width. The
sailors say that a penny-loaf would choke a Whale.

The Whale bellows fearfully when wounded or in distress. Its young is
called a cub.

There is also an extensive Whale fishery in the Southern Ocean, carried
on chiefly by the Americans. The Whale found in those seas is distinct
from the Greenland Whale, and is described by naturalists under the name
of _Balæna Australis_.



(_Balænoptera boops_,)

IS a very large Whale, specimens sometimes measuring as much as one
hundred feet in length. It is distinguished by its smaller head, and by
the existence of a sort of fin on the lower part of its back. The
Rorqual is found in the northern seas, and specimens are sometimes seen
off our coasts. It is not of much value, as it furnishes far less
blubber than the common Whale, and the baleen or whalebone is so short
as to be useless.


(_Physeter macrocephalus._)]

THIS animal has teeth in the lower jaw only; and no whalebone. The
substance called spermaceti is extracted from its immense head, which is
nearly half the size of the entire animal; and the throat is so large
that it could swallow a shark.

The quantity of oil produced from the Spermaceti Whale is not so
considerable as that obtained from the common or Greenland Whale, but in
quality it is far preferable, as it yields a bright flame, without
exhaling any nauseous smell. The substance known by the name of
ambergris is also obtained from the body of this animal. It is generally
found in the stomach, but sometimes in the intestines; and, in a
commercial point of view, is a highly valuable production. The
spermaceti is in a fluid state while the animal is living, and as soon
as it is dead a hole is made in the head, and the liquid taken out with
buckets. It becomes solid as it cools, and it is afterwards made into
candles, &c.

When we reflect that the same Power whose will has formed the immense
bulk of this marine monster has also given animation, senses, and
passions to the smallest of the microscopic animalcules, how lowered
must be the pride of man, who, standing in the middle, and nearly at
equal distance from both, is yet unable to comprehend the mechanism
which puts them in motion, and much less that intelligence and power
which has given them life, and has assigned to them their respective
stations in the universe! Let us then exclaim, with astonishment and
gratitude, with the Psalmist: “O Lord, how inscrutable are thy ways, how
magnificent thy works!”

[Illustration: THE DOLPHIN. (_Delphinus delphis._)]

THIS animal, like the whale, is not considered a fish, though it lives
in the water, as it has warm blood and suckles its young, which are born
alive. It has also lungs instead of gills, and is therefore obliged to
raise its head above the surface of the water to breathe.

The Dolphin is from six to ten feet in length. The body is roundish,
gradually diminishing towards the tail; the nose is long and pointed,
the skin smooth, the back black or dusky blue, becoming white below. It
has numerous small teeth in each jaw; a dorsal and two pectoral fins,
and a tail in the shape of a crescent. The beak-like snout has probably
made the French call the Dolphin the sea-goose.

Several curious stories have been related of this animal, most of which
are fabulous. The anecdote of Arion, the musician, who, being thrown
overboard by pirates, was indebted for his life to one of these animals,
is well known, and acquired great credit among ancient poets, as it was
said to be by his music that Arion charmed the Dolphin. There are
several other fables mentioned by ancient authors to prove the
philanthropy of the Dolphin. Since the province of _Dauphiné_ in France
has been united to the crown, the heir-apparent has been called
“Dauphin,” and quarters a Dolphin on his shield. Falconer, in his
beautiful poem, “The Shipwreck,” describes the death of the Dolphin in
the following elegant manner:

    “---- Beneath the lofty vessel’s stern
     A shoal of sporting dolphins they discern,
     Beaming from burnished scales refulgent rays,
     Till all the glowing ocean seems to blaze.
     In curling wreaths they wanton on the tide;
     Now bound aloft, now downward swiftly glide.
     Awhile beneath the waves their tracks remain,
     And burn in silver streams along the liquid plain;
     Soon to the sport of death the crew repair,
     Dart the long lance, or spread the bated snare.
     One in redoubling mazes wheels along,
     And glides, unhappy, near the triple prong.
     Rodmond, unerring, o’er his head suspends
     The barbed steel, and every turn attends:
     Unerring aim’d, the missile weapon flew,
     And plunging, struck the fated victim through.
     The upturning points his pond’rous bulk sustain;
     On deck he struggles with convulsive pain;
     But while his heart the fatal javelin thrills,
     And fleeting life escapes in sanguine rills,
     What radiant changes strike the astonish’d sight,
     What glowing hues of mingled shade and light!
     No equal beauties gild the lucid west
     With parting beams all o’er profusely dressed;     No lovelier colours paint the vernal dawn,
     When orient dews impearl the enamell’d lawn;
     Than from his sides in bright suffusion flow,
     That now with gold empyreal seem to glow;
     Now in pellucid sapphires meet the view,
     And emulate the soft celestial hue;
     Now beam a flaming crimson to the eye,
     And now assume the purple’s deeper dye:
     But here description clouds each shining ray;
     What terms of art can Nature’s power display?”

Unfortunately for poetry, the beautiful colours of the dying Dolphin
exist entirely in the fancy of the poet; as the Dolphin in a dying state
displays no tints but black and white, and it is believed that the
notion so prevalent among the ancients of the change of colour in this
animal was derived from a true fish, the Dorado, which does exhibit this

[Illustration: THE WHITE WHALE. (_Beluga leucas._)]

THE WHITE WHALE, or Beluga, is included among the dolphins. The body is
white, tinged with yellow, or rose-colour, and its proportions are more
agreeable than those of most of the cetacea. It measures from twelve to
eighteen feet in length. White Whales are gregarious, assembling in
flocks or herds, and playing about with rapid and graceful movements.
The female has two young ones at a time, over which she watches with the
greatest apparent affection. They follow all her movements, and do not
quit her till they are nearly full grown. This Whale is generally
confined to the northern latitudes, though one was taken in the Firth of
Forth in 1815. The oil is of excellent quality, and the flesh eats like
beef. According to some writers the flesh, when pickled with vinegar and
salt, is as well tasted as pork; and thus the body, which is generally
thrown away when the sailors have cut off the blubber, might be used by
them as food. The internal membranes are used by the Greenlanders for
windows, and the sinews for thread, and the fins and tail, when properly
prepared, are said by some of the old writers to be good eating.


[Illustration: THE PORPOISE. (_Phocæna vulgaris._)]

THE PORPOISE is one of the cetacea, and nearly allied to the dolphin,
but it has not the beaked snout of that animal. The length of the
Porpoise, from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, is from four
to eight feet, and its girth about two feet and a half. The figure of
the whole body is conical; the colour of the back is deep blue,
inclining to shining black; the sides are grey, becoming white below.
The tail is crescent-shaped. There are only three fins, one on the back,
and one on each shoulder. The eyes are very small. When the flesh is cut
up, it looks very much like pork; but although it was once considered a
sumptuous article of food, and is said to have been occasionally
introduced at the tables of the old English nobility, it certainly has a
disagreeable flavour. Porpoises live on small fish, and appear generally
in large shoals, particularly in the mackerel and herring seasons, at
which time they do very great damage to fishermen, by breaking and
destroying the nets to get at their prey. Their motion in the water is a
kind of circular leap; they dive deep, but soon again rise up in order
to breathe. They are so eager in the pursuit of their prey, that they
sometimes ascend large rivers, and have even been seen above
Westminster Bridge. They have no gills, and blow out the water with a
loud noise, which in calm weather may be heard at a great distance. They
are seen nearly in all seas, and are very common upon the British
coasts, where they sport with great activity, chiefly at the approach of
a squall.

The Grampus (_Phocæna Orca_) is a species of Porpoise, and a decided and
inveterate enemy to whales; which they attack in great flocks, fastening
round them like so many bull-dogs, making them roar with pain, and
frequently killing and devouring them. They are usually from twenty to
twenty-five feet in length, and in general form and colour resemble the
common Porpoise; but the lower jaw is considerably wider than the upper,
and the body is somewhat broader and more deep in proportion. The
back-fin sometimes measures six feet in length. In one of the poems of
Waller, a story (founded on fact) is recorded of the parental affection
of these animals. A Grampus and her cub had got into an arm of the sea,
where, by the desertion of the tide, they were enclosed on every side.
The men on shore saw their situation, and ran down upon them with such
weapons as they could at the moment collect. The poor animals were soon
wounded in several places, so that all the immediately surrounding water
was stained with their blood. They made many efforts to escape; and the
old one, by superior strength, forced itself over the shallow into the
ocean. But though in safety herself she would not leave her young one in
the hands of assassins. She therefore again rushed in; and seemed
resolved, since she could not prevent, at least to share the fate of her
offspring. The story concludes with poetical justice; for the tide
coming in, conveyed them both off in safety; and it is probable, from
the great thickness of their skins, that their wounds had not been very


(_Monodon monoceros_,)]

A MARINE animal, differing from all the cetacea, to which it belongs, in
not having any teeth, properly so called, and in being armed with a horn
of seven or eight feet in length, which projects from the head. This
horn is white, spirally twisted throughout its whole length, and
tapering to a point: it is harder, whiter, and more valuable than the
ivory of the elephant, and was formerly in high repute for its supposed
medical properties: small ones may be sometimes seen set with an elegant
head as a walking-stick, and large specimens have been employed as
bed-posts. The animal itself is from twenty to forty feet in length, and
is occasionally found with two horns; indeed, there is always the germ
of a second horn both in the male and female, though it is rarely
developed in the former, and never in the latter, from which we may
conjecture that the females trust entirely to the males for their
defence, as we know is the case with several of the mammalia. When there
is only one horn, it is always on the left side of the head; and when
there are two, the horn on the left side is always larger than the
other. This animal chiefly inhabits the arctic seas, and its food is
said to consist of the smaller kinds of flat fish and other marine
animals; its horn is useful in breaking away the ice when it wants to
come up to breathe. The blubber supplies a small quantity of very fine
oil, and the Greenlanders are very partial to the flesh.

[Illustration: THE MANATEE, (_Manatus Australis_,)]

ALSO called the Sea Cow, is a great deal smaller than the other cetacea
just described, and differs from them in its diet, which consists
entirely of marine plants. It haunts the coasts and estuaries of South
America, and measures nine or ten feet in length; its head is
comparatively small, its jaws are furnished only with grinding-teeth, of
which it has thirty-two, its skin is provided with a good many scattered
bristles, and its flippers, or fins, with four small nails. This animal
not unfrequently raises its head and shoulders out of the water, when it
is said to have some resemblance to a human being, and it is probable
that the distant view of a nearly related species, the _Lamantin_, which
inhabits the shores of Africa, may have given the ancients their first
notion of the Mermaid. The Manatee is captured with harpoons, and its
flesh is said to be very good eating. When salted and dried it will keep
for a year. It also furnishes an excellent oil, and its skin is used for
making harness and whips. The Dugong (_Halicore Dugong_) is a very
similar animal, inhabiting the eastern seas. It grows to a length of
eighteen or twenty feet.

§ II. _Cartilaginous Fishes._

[Illustration: THE STURGEON, (_Acipenser sturio_,)]

SOMETIMES grows to the length of eight or ten feet, and has been found
to weigh five hundred pounds. It has a long, slender, pointed nose,
small eyes, and a small mouth destitute of teeth, placed beneath and
unsupported by the maxillæ; so that when the animal is dead, the mouth
remains always open. The body is covered with five rows of large bony
tubercles, and the under side is flat; it has one dorsal fin, two
pectoral, two ventral, and one anal. The upper part of the body is of a
muddy olive colour, and the under part silvery. The tail is bifurcated,
the upper part being much longer than the under. Sturgeons subsist
principally on insects and marine plants, which they find at the bottom
of the water, where they mostly resort.

The Sturgeon annually ascends our rivers in the summer, particularly
those of the Eden and Esk; and when caught, as it sometimes is, in the
salmon-nets, it scarcely makes any resistance, but is drawn out of the
water apparently lifeless. One of the largest Sturgeons ever caught in
our rivers was taken in the Esk a good many years ago: it weighed four
hundred and sixty pounds. This fish is found in most of the rivers in
Europe; it is also common in those of North America, and especially in
the lakes and rivers of Northern Asia.

The flesh of the Sturgeon is delicious; and it was so much valued in the
time of the Emperor Severus, that it was brought to table by servants
with coronets on their heads, and preceded by music. In London, every
Sturgeon that is caught in the Thames is presented by the Lord Mayor to
the Sovereign. The roe, when preserved with salt and oil, is called
_caviar_, and is a favourite dish with many persons; the best is made in
Russia. The flesh is also pickled or salted, and sent all over Europe.
So prolific is this fish, that Catesby says the females frequently
contain a bushel of spawn each; and Leeuwenhoek found in the roe of one
of them no fewer than one hundred and fifty thousand million eggs!

[Illustration: THE SHARK.

(_Squalus carcharias_, or _Carcharias vulgaris_.)]

    “Increasing still the terrors of the storms,
     His jaws horrific arm’d with threefold fate,
     Here dwells the direful Shark.”

THE SHARK differs from the whale in not being one of the mammalia. It is
cold-blooded, and does not suckle its young. It has no lungs, and its
mode of breathing is like that of other fishes, except that its gills
are fixed, and the water escapes by five apertures on each side. The
body of the Shark is elongated, and tapers gradually from the head to
the tail, or is very slightly dilated in the middle. Its muzzle or nose
is rounded, and projects very much over the mouth, the nostrils being
situated on the under side. The male shark is smaller than the female,
and differs from it in appearance, in possessing two elongated
appendages, one of which is attached to the hinder edge of each of the
ventral fins. The purpose which these appendages are intended to serve
is not known. Some of the Sharks produce their young alive, and others
lay eggs contained in horny cases of an oblong shape, with long tendrils
at each of the four corners. After the young Sharks are hatched, these
curious cases are often washed on shore, and are called mermaids’

The bones of the Shark are like gristle, and very different from those
of most other fishes. Hence all the fishes with bones similar to those
of the Shark are placed in a separate order, and called cartilaginous

The White Shark is sometimes found weighing nearly two thousand pounds.
The throat is often large enough to swallow a man; and a human body has
sometimes been found entire in the stomach of this tremendous animal. He
is furnished with six rows of sharp triangular teeth, which amount in
all to a hundred and forty-four, serrated on their edges, and capable of
being erected or depressed at pleasure, owing to a curious muscular
mechanism in the palate and jaws of the Shark. The whole body and fins
are of a light ash-colour; the skin rough, and employed to smooth
cabinet work, or to cover small boxes or cases. His eyes are large and
staring, and he possesses great muscular strength in his tail and fins.
Whenever he spies, from the deepest recesses of the sea, a man swimming
or diving, he darts from the place, up to his prey, and if unable to
take in the whole, or snatch away a limb, he follows for a long time the
boat or vessel in which the more nimble swimmer has found a safe and
opportune retreat: but seldom does he let any one escape his jaws, and
get off entire. Sir Brook Watson was swimming at a little distance from
a ship, when he saw a Shark making towards him. Struck with terror at
its approach, he cried out for assistance. A rope was instantly thrown;
but even while the men were in the act of drawing him up the ship’s
side, the monster darted after him, and, at a single snap, tore off his

We are told that, in the reign of Queen Anne, some of the men of an
English merchant-ship, which had arrived at Barbadoes, were one day
bathing in the sea, when a large Shark appeared, and was rushing upon
them. A person from the ship called out to warn them of their danger; on
which they all immediately swam to the vessel, and arrived in perfect
safety, except one poor man, who was cut in two by the Shark, almost
within reach of the oars. A comrade and intimate friend of the
unfortunate victim, when he observed the severed trunk of his companion,
was seized with a degree of horror that words cannot describe. The
insatiate Shark was seen traversing the bloody surface in search of the
remainder of his prey, when the brave youth plunged into the water,
determining either to make the Shark disgorge, or to be buried himself
in the same grave. He held in his hand a long and sharp-pointed knife,
and the rapacious animal pushed furiously towards him; he had turned on
his side, and had opened his enormous jaws, in order to seize him, when
the youth, diving dexterously under, seized him with his left hand,
somewhere about the upper fins, and stabbed him several times in the
belly. The Shark, enraged with pain, and streaming with blood, plunged
in all directions in order to disengage himself from his enemy. The
crews of the surrounding vessels saw that the combat was decided; but
they were ignorant which was slain, until the Shark, weakened by loss of
blood, made towards the shore, and along with him his conqueror; who,
flushed with victory, pushed his foe with redoubled ardour, and, by the
aid of an ebbing tide, dragged him on shore. Here he ripped up the
bowels of the animal, obtained the severed remainder of his friend’s
body, and buried it with the trunk in the same grave. This story,
however incredible it may appear, is related in the History of
Barbadoes, on the most satisfactory authority.

Had nature allowed this fish to seize his prey with as much facility as
many others, the Shark tribe would have soon depopulated the ocean, and
reigned alone in the vast regions of the sea, till hunger would have
forced them to attack and ultimately destroy each other; but the upper
jaw of this devouring animal, is so constructed as to offer, by its
prominency, an impediment to the Shark’s easily seizing his prey; and
consequently when on the point of catching hold of anything, he is
obliged to turn on one side, which troublesome evolution often gives the
object of his pursuit time to escape. The flesh of this fish is of a
disagreeable taste, and cannot be eaten with any kind of relish, except
the part near the tail.

Twenty different species of this family are known, and the number of
different families of the Shark tribe is very great.

THE GREENLAND SHARK, (_Selachus maximus_,)

IS another very voracious species; and one extremely difficult to kill.
It is the great enemy of the whale, and devours the bodies of those left
by the fishers. Its teeth are very small, pointed, and numerous. The
snout is short. It is sometimes known as the Basking Shark.

[Illustration: THE DOG-FISHES]

ARE so excessively voracious, that they are altogether fearless of
mankind. They follow vessels with great eagerness, seizing with avidity
everything eatable that is thrown overboard; and have sometimes been
known to throw themselves on fishermen, and on persons bathing in the
sea. As, however, they are much smaller and weaker than most of the
other Sharks, they do not always attack their enemies by open force, but
generally have recourse to stratagem. They, consequently, conceal
themselves in the mud, and lie in ambush, like the ray or skate-fish,
(also one of the cartilaginous fishes,) until they have an opportunity
of successfully attacking their prey. On the coasts of Scarborough,
where haddocks, cod, and Dog-fish are in great abundance, the fishermen
universally believe that the Dog-fish make a line or semicircle to
encompass a shoal of haddocks and cod, confining them within certain
limits near the shore, and eating them as occasion requires: they are
therefore considered very destructive to this fishery. The flesh of the
Dog-fish is hard and disagreeable; its skin, when dried, is made into
the well-known _shagreen_, and from the liver a considerable quantity of
oil may be extracted. Shagreen is also made from the skin of other
cartilaginous fishes.

THE HAMMER-HEADED SHARK, (_Zygæna malleus_,)

IS a very curious kind, having a transverse head like that of a hammer,
with an eye at each extremity; and the Fox-Shark, or Thresher
(_Carcharias vulpes_), is remarkable for the enormous length of the
upper lobe of its tail, with which it is able to strike with tremendous
force. This fish is one of the great enemies of the whale.

[Illustration: THE SKATE, (_Raia batis_,)]

IS a species of the Ray, which was long disregarded in this country as a
coarse, bad-tasted food, but which now appears upon our best tables. It
is still, however, disregarded in Scotland and the north of England,
where its flesh is principally used as a bait for other fish. On some
parts of the continent, where these fish are caught in great abundance,
they are dried for sale. The best season for Skate is the spring of the
year. The body is broad and flat, of a brown colour on the back, and
white on the lower side: the head is not distinct from the body, so that
this fish and all belonging to this genus are apparently acephalous, or
without a head. The peculiar form of this fish is owing to the large
size of the pectoral fins, which extend from the head to the base of the
tail, and are very wide in the middle, and so, combined with the
sharpness of the snout, give the fish the shape known as rhomboidal. Dr.
Monro has remarked, that in the gills of a large Skate there are upwards
of one hundred and forty-four thousand subdivisions, or folds; and that
the whole extent of this membrane, whose surface is nearly equal to that
of the whole human body, may be seen by a microscope to be covered with
a network of vessels, that are not only extremely minute, but
exquisitely beautiful. The tail of the Skate is long, and generally
prickly. The mouth is, as it were, paved with teeth, which are flat, and
nearly square in shape. In the full-grown male the centre teeth are
pointed, at least in some species. The eggs deposited by the female
Skate are very similar to those laid by the shark, being in the shape of
a square bag, with two horns at each end as here represented.


In this horny case the embryo is contained, and grows till it has
acquired strength enough to burst through its prison. The colour of the
bag is maroon, and the substance like thin brown parchment or leather.
The female begins to drop these singly in the month of May, and
continues to do so for several months, to the number of two or three
hundred. In some parts of Cumberland they are called, by the common
people, Skatebarrows, on account of their resemblance to the barrows
which are carried by two men, and used for the conveyance of goods, &c.

The Skate sometimes attains a very large size. Willoughby speaks of one
so huge that it would have served one hundred and twenty men for dinner.
Some naturalists are of opinion that these fishes are the largest
inhabitants of the deep, and that only the smallest of them come near
the surface of the water, the biggest remaining flat at the bottom of
the sea, where an unfathomable deep secures them against the wiles of

Nine species of the Skate or Ray are found on the British coasts.

[Illustration: THE THORNBACK, (_Raia clavata_,)]

RESEMBLES the Skate in its general appearance; the principal difference
consists in the latter having sharp teeth, and a single row of spines
upon the tail, while the former has blunt teeth, and several rows of
spines both upon the back and tail. A Thornback was caught near the
island of St. Kitt’s, in the year 1634, which measured twelve feet in
length, and nearly ten in width. It is sometimes eaten in England, but
as its flesh is inferior to that of the Skate, it is generally sold at a
low price. The young ones, however, which have the denomination of
_Maids_, are delicate eating.


(_Torpedo vulgaris._)]

THIS curious fish is capable of giving a violent shock, like that
produced by the electrical machine, to the person who handles it. The
body is nearly circular, and thicker than any other of the Ray kind, and
is sometimes so large as to weigh between seventy and eighty pounds. The
skin is smooth, of a dusky brown colour, and white underneath. The
ventral fins form on each side, at the end of the body, nearly a quarter
of a circle. The tail is short, and the two dorsal fins are near its
origin. The mouth is small, and as in the other species, there are on
each side below it five breathing apertures.

The shock imparted by the touch of the Cramp-fish, as the Torpedo is
vulgarly called, is often attended with a sudden sickness at the
stomach, a general tremor, a kind of convulsion, and sometimes a total
suspension of the faculties of the mind. Such power of self-defence has
Providence allowed this lumpish and inactive fish. Whenever an enemy
approaches, the Torpedo emits from its body that benumbing shock, which
incapacitates the other instantly, and it thereby gets time to escape.
Nor is it merely a means of defence, but an advantage in other respects,
for the Torpedo thus benumbs its prey, and easily seizes upon it. The
animals thus killed are also supposed to become more easy of digestion.


(_Squatina Angelus_,)]

IS very voracious, and feeds upon all kinds of flat fish, as soles,
flounders, &c. It is often caught on the coasts of Great Britain, and of
such a size as to weigh sometimes a hundred pounds. This fish seems to
be of a middle nature between the rays and sharks, and is called by
Pliny the Squatina; a name which seems to bring this species near that
of the skate. Its head is large; the mouth has five rows of teeth, which
are capable of being raised or depressed at pleasure. The back is of a
pale ash-colour; the belly white and smooth. The shores of Cornwall are
often frequented by this fish, but its flesh does not deserve to be
praised, being hard, and of a very indifferent flavour.

It is supposed to have acquired the name of Angel-fish, from its
extended pectoral fins bearing some similarity to wings, certainly, as
Mr. Yarrell has remarked, not for its beauty; and of monk-fish, from its
rounded head, appearing as if enveloped in a monk’s hood. The skin is
rather rough, and is used for polishing, and other works in the arts.
Mr. Donovan says that the Turks of the present day make shagreen of it.

[Illustration: THE SAW-FISH. (_Tristis antiquorum._)]

THIS fish is found in the European and Atlantic seas. Its body is
flattened anteriorly with four or five branchial openings below on each
side; two spiracles behind the eyes; no anal fin; the head prolonged
into a depressed bony beak, with strong pointed spines on each side; the
lips are rough and sharp like a file, supplying the place of teeth. With
its formidable weapon, which resembles a toothed saw, this fish attacks
the largest whales, and inflicts very severe wounds. The colour of its
body is of a greyish brown above, and paler below; its length about
fifteen feet, the saw being about a third of the whole.

[Illustration: THE LAMPREY. (_Petromyzon marinus._)]

THE LAMPREY belongs to the last family of cartilaginous fishes, and is
one of the lowest in the scale of vertebrated animals. It grows to the
length of about three feet, although the British species, with which we
are best acquainted, seldom exceeds twelve inches. To avoid the constant
muscular exertions necessary to prevent their being carried away by the
current, they attach themselves by the mouth to stones or rocks, and
hence are called _Petromyzon_, Stone-suckers. The Lamprey, although no
longer maintaining its ancient repute, is still considered a delicacy;
those taken in the Severn being preferred to all others. Henry the
First, as is well known, died of a surfeit of them; and in the reign of
Henry the Fourth their importation was encouraged by immunities. The
Roman epicures prized this fish so highly, that they bestowed the utmost
care, and expended enormous sums in rearing them. Pliny tells us that
Lucullus formed a fish-pond of such extent, that the fish it contained
were, at his death, sold for four million sesterces. These polished
barbarians sometimes threw a slave into the ponds where they kept their
_Murœnæ_, or Lampreys, and considered that by this means they
fattened the fish and gave them a superior flavour.

[Illustration: THE HAG-FISH, (_Myxine glutinosa_,)]

A CARTILAGINOUS FISH, which in its general appearance bears a near
resemblance to the Lamprey. Its colour is dusky bluish above, and
reddish towards the head and tail; its length from four to six inches.
The Hag-fish is remarkable for its total want of eyes; its mouth is of
an oblong form, with two beards or cirri on each side, and on the upper
part four. On the top of the head is a small spout-hole, furnished with
a valve, by which it can be closed at pleasure. A double row of pores
extends beneath the body, from one extremity to the other, which on
pressure exude a quantity of viscid fluid, which, when attacked by large
fish, the Hag throws out, so as to cloud the surrounding element in such
a manner as to render itself invisible to its assailants. “The habits of
this fish are highly singular: it will enter the bodies of such fishes
as it happens to find on the fishermen’s hooks, and which consequently
have lost the power of escaping its attack; and gnawing its way through
the skin, will devour all the internal parts, leaving only the bones and
the skin. If put into a large vessel of sea-water, it is said in a very
short space to render the whole water so glutinous that it may easily be
drawn out in the form of threads.”

§ III. _Bony Fishes._

[Illustration: THE PILOT-FISH. (_Naucrates ductor._)]

THE body of this fish is long, the head compressed, rounding off in
front, without scales as far as the operculum. The mouth is small, the
jaws of equal length, and furnished with small teeth; the palate has a
curved row of similar teeth in front, and the tongue has teeth all
along. The colour varies in several species. The Pilot-fish will
frequently attend a ship during its course at sea for weeks, or even
months together; and there are many curious stories told respecting its
habits, in occasionally directing a shark where to find a good meal, and
also in warning him how to avoid a dangerous bait. Whether this be true
or not will be difficult to determine; but it is certain that this
little fish is generally found in company with the shark, and picks up
the smaller pieces of food which his predatory master drops, either by
accident or design.


(_Echeneis Remora_,)]

RESEMBLES the herring; its head is thick, naked, depressed, and marked
on the upper side with a curious sucker composed of numerous transverse,
movable, serrated plates. The fins are seven in number; the under jaw is
longer than the upper, and both furnished with teeth. This fish is
provided by nature with a strong adhesive power, and, by means of the
grooved space on its head, can attach itself to any animal or body
whatever. We might suppose that a small fish with seven acting fins,
armed like a galley with oars, would have a great power of motion in the
water, but, for some reason unknown to us, Providence has contrived for
him an easier way of travelling, by enabling him to fix himself to the
hull of a ship, and even to the body of a larger animal than himself, as
the whale, the shark, and others. Our forefathers believed that, small
as he is, this fish had the power of arresting the progress of a ship in
its fastest sailing by adhering to the bottom.

    “The Sucking-fish beneath, with secret chains,
     Clung to the keel, the swiftest ship detains.
     The seamen run confused, no labour spared,
     Let fly the sheets, and hoist the topmast yard.
     The master bids them give her all the sails,
     To court the winds and catch the coming gales.
     But, though the canvas bellies with the blast,
     And boisterous winds bend down the cracking mast,
     The bark stands firmly rooted in the sea,
     And will, unmoved, nor winds nor waves obey:
     Still, as when calms have flatted all the plain,
     And infant waves scarce wrinkle on the main.
     No ship in harbour moor’d so careless rides,
     When ruffling waters tell the flowing tides;
     Appall’d, the sailors stare, through strange surprise,
     Believe they dream, and rub their waking eyes.”

[Illustration: THE SEA-WOLF, OR SEA-BAT,

(_Anarrhichas lupus_,)]

IS often caught in the European seas; and is about five or six feet in
length, and has a larger and flatter head than the shark. The back,
sides, and fins are of a bluish colour; the body is nearly white; the
whole skin is smooth and slippery, without any appearance of scales. It
is of a very voracious nature, and has a double row of sharp and round
teeth, both in the upper and lower jaw. Its appetite, however, does not
lead it to destroy fishes similar in shape to itself, as it is supposed
to feed chiefly on crustaceous and molluscous animals, whose shells it
breaks easily with its teeth. It is sometimes found in the northern seas
exceeding twelve feet in length, and owes its name to its natural
fierceness and voracity. The fishermen dread its bite, and endeavour as
speedily as possible to strike out its fore-teeth, which are so strong,
that they are capable of leaving an impression on an anchor. The fins
nearest the head spread themselves, when the animal is swimming, in the
shape of two large fans, and their motion contributes considerably to
accelerate its natural swiftness. The flesh is good, and as it bears
salting well it is an important article of food to the Icelanders, in
whose seas this fish occurs in great abundance and of large size.

[Illustration: THE HORNED SILURE,

(_Silurus_, or _Ageneiosus militaris_,)]

GROWS to a large size, weighing sometimes three hundred pounds, and
measuring eight to ten feet in length, and two in breadth. It has a
broad, flat, thin head; and the horns, which are on each side of the
upper lip, are armed with short crooked spines, like teeth. A remarkable
peculiarity in this fish is the dorsal fin, which is close to the head,
and is long, stiff, dentated like the horns, and is, no doubt, an
instrument of defence. In colour it resembles the eel, and has no
scales; only one small fin on the back, and a forked tail; its flesh is
esteemed next to that of the eel, and has a similar flavour. This fish
is a great depredator, and makes considerable havoc among the smaller
inhabitants of the rivers and lakes which it inhabits. It is a native of
the fresh waters of Asia. The Danube, and several other rivers of
Germany, and the lakes of Switzerland and Bavaria contain numerous
specimens of Silurus.

[Illustration: THE FATHER LASHER. (_Cottus scorpius._)]

THE whimsical denomination of Father Lasher, given to this fish, cannot
be easily accounted for; perhaps it may be ascribable to the quick and
repeated lashings of its tail, when the fish is caught and thrown upon
the sand. The length is about eight or nine inches, and it is usually
found under stones, on the rocky coasts of our island. In Greenland
these fish are so numerous, that the inhabitants depend largely upon
them for their food. When made into soup, they are nutritive and
wholesome. The head is large, and armed with spines, by which this fish
combats every enemy that attacks it, swelling out its cheeks and
gill-covers to an unusual size. Its colour is a dull brown, mottled with
white, and sometimes mixed with red; the fins and tail are transparent,
and the lower part of the body a shining white.

[Illustration: THE SWORD-FISH, (_Xiphias gladius_,)]

WHICH belongs to the mackerel family, has received its name from its
long snout resembling the blade of a sword. It sometimes weighs above
one hundred pounds, and is fifteen or even twenty feet in length. The
body is of a conical form, black on the back, white under the body; the
mouth large, with no teeth; the tail is remarkably forked. The
Sword-fish is often taken off the coast of Italy, in the Bay of Naples,
and about Sicily. They are struck at by the fishermen, and their flesh
is considered as good as that of the sturgeon by the Sicilians, who seem
to be particularly fond of it. Other European seas are not destitute of
this curious animal.

The Sword-fish and the whale are said never to meet without coming to
battle; and the former has the reputation of being always the aggressor.
Sometimes two Sword-fishes join against one whale; in which case the
combat is by no means equal. The whale uses his tail in his defence; he
dives deeply into the water, head foremost, and makes such a blow with
his tail, that, should it take effect, it kills the Sword-fish at a
single stroke; but the latter is in general sufficiently adroit to avoid
it, and immediately rushes at the whale, and buries its weapon in his
side. When the whale discovers the Sword-fish darting upon him, he dives
to the bottom, but is closely pursued by his antagonist, who compels him
again to rise to the surface. The battle then begins afresh, and lasts
until the Sword-fish loses sight of the whale, who is at length
compelled to swim off, which his superior agility enables him to do. In
piercing the whale’s body with the tremendous weapon at his snout, the
Sword-fish seldom inflicts a dangerous wound, not being able to
penetrate beyond the blubber. This animal can drive its sword with such
force into the keel of a ship, as to bury it wholly in the timber. A
part of the bottom of a vessel, with the sword imbedded in it, is to be
seen in the British Museum.

[Illustration: THE FLYING SCORPION.]

HOW admirable is Nature! how extensive her power and how various the
forms with which she has surrounded the united elements of animated
matter! From the uncouth shape of the wallowing whale, of the unwieldy
hippopotamus, or ponderous elephant, to the light and elegant form of
the painted moth or fluttering humming-bird, she seems to have exhausted
all ideas, all conceptions, and not to have left a single figure
untried. The fish represented above is one of those, in the outlines and
decorations of which appear the discordant qualities of frightfulness
and beauty. Armed _cap-à-pie_, surrounded with spines and thorns
bristling on his back, and fins like an armed phalanx of lance-bearers,
and decorated on the body with yellow ribands, interwoven with white
fillets, and on the purple fins of his breast with the milky dots of the
pintado, the Sea Scorpion presents a very extraordinary contrast. His
eyes, like those of which poets sang when celebrating the Nereids and
Naiads, consist of black pupils, surrounded with a silver iris, radiated
with alternate divisions of blue and black. The rays of the dorsal fin
are spiny, spotted brown and yellow, conjoined below by a dark brown
membrane, and separate above; the ventral fins are violet with white
drops, and the tail and anal fins are a sort of tesselated work of blue,
black, and white, united with the greatest symmetry, and not unlike
those ancient fragments of Roman pavements often found in this island.

This variegated fish is found in the rivers of Amboyna and Japan; its
flesh is white, firm, and well tasting, like our perch, but it does not
grow so large; it is of a very voracious disposition, feeding on the
young of other fish, some of which, two inches in length, have been
found in its craw. The skin has both the appearance and smoothness of
parchment. To the tremendous armour of its back, fins, and tail, this
fish owes the name of Scorpion.


(_Cyclopterus lumpus._)]

THIS odd-shaped fish derives its name chiefly from the clumsiness of its
form; it is also called the Cock Paddle. Its colour, when in the highest
perfection, combines various shades of blue, purple, and rich orange;
the abdomen is red; it has no scales, but on all sides sharp black
tubercles, in shape like warts; on each side are three rows of sharp
prickles, and on the back two distinct fins. The great resort of this
species is in the Northern seas, about the coast of Greenland; it is
also caught in many parts of the British seas during the spring season,
when it approaches the shore for the purpose of depositing its spawn;
and in the month of March it may be seen at the stalls of the London
markets. This unseemly fish is usually about a foot in length, and ten
or more inches in breadth, and sometimes weighs seven pounds. The flesh
is but indifferent.

The Lump-sucker is very remarkable for the manner in which its ventral
fins are arranged. They are united by a membrane so as to form a kind of
oval and concave disc, by means of which it is enabled to adhere with
great force to any substance to which it fastens itself. Pennant says,
that, on throwing an individual of this species into a pail of water, it
adhered so firmly to the bottom that, on taking the fish by the tail,
the whole pail was lifted up, though it held some gallons.

In the Northern seas great numbers of the different species of
Lump-suckers are devoured by the seals, who swallow all but the skins,
quantities of which thus emptied are seen floating about in the spring
months; it is said that the spots where the seals carry on their
depredations can be readily distinguished by the smoothness of the


(_Lepadogaster cornubicus_,)]

ANOTHER Malacopterygious fish, a relative of the Lump-sucker, and
chiefly remarkable for the singular appendage observable on its head. It
possesses similar tenacity of suction. The utility of this faculty to
animals inhabiting the rocky shores and turbulent seas of Greenland is
sufficiently obvious.

[Illustration: THE ANGLER. (_Lophius piscatorius._)]

THIS extraordinary fish is occasionally met with on our coasts, and is
commonly known by the names of the Fishing Frog, Toad Fish, and Sea
Devil. In shape it is the most uncouth and unsightly of the piscatory
tribe, resembling the frog in its tadpole state. It grows to a large
size. A specimen taken in the sea, near Scarborough, was between four
and five feet in length, the head considerably larger than the body,
round at the circumference, flat above; the mouth is of a prodigious
size, being a yard in width, and armed with sharp teeth. It lives, as it
were, in ambush at the bottom of the sea, and by means of its fins stirs
up the mud and sand, so as to conceal itself from other fishes on whom
it preys. The manner in which it procures its prey is very
extraordinary, the peculiarity of its construction forbidding the
possibility of rapid movement. Two long tough filaments are placed above
the nose, each of them furnished with a thin appendage, closely
resembling a fishing-line when baited and flung out. The back is
provided with three others, united by a web, and forming the first
dorsal fin. Pliny notices these remarkable appendages, and explains
their use. “The Fishing Frog,” says he, “puts forth the slender horns
situated beneath his eyes, enticing by that means the little fish to
play around till they come within his reach, when he springs upon them.”
But it is not only the lesser inhabitants of the water that the Angler
ensnares! Codfish of good size are often found in his stomach, and he
occasionally seizes upon fishes as they are being drawn up by the line.
Mr. Yarrell mentions an instance of an Angler attacking a conger-eel
under these circumstances: the eel wriggled through the branchial
aperture of his captor, and both were drawn up together.

Cicero also notices this extraordinary creature, in his Treatise on the
Nature of the Gods. He observed its wonderful construction when musing
on the shores of Sicily.


(_Ostracion quadricornis._)]

THESE singular fishes are distinguished from most others by the bony
covering which envelopes them. The head and body are covered with plates
of bone, forming an inflexible cuirass, and leaving exposed only the
tail, fins, mouth, and a portion of the gill opening. They have no
ventral fins, and the dorsal and anal are placed far back. Their liver
is large, and abounds with oil. The Trunk-fish is a native of the Indian
and American seas. Some of the species are considered excellent eating.

[Illustration: THE GLOBE FISH, (_Tetraodon hispidus_,)]

IS an oblong fish, inhabiting the seas of Carolina, and endowed with an
extraordinary power of swelling its under surface into a large globe.
This sudden enlargement not only alarms the enemies of the Tetrodon, but
prevents them from making good their hold, by presenting to their grasp
little more than an inflated bag. It is also covered with spines, which
merely adhere to the skin, and are capable of being erected on any
sudden emergency; thus giving to an innocent and defenceless creature a
most formidable appearance.

When inflated, they roll over on their backs, floating in this position,
without any power of directing their course. Some species are reckoned
poisonous. One is electrical, (_Tetraodon lineatus_,) and is found in
the Nile; when left on shore by the inundations, it always inflates its
body, becomes dried in this condition, and is then picked up by the
children, and used as a ball.

[Illustration: THE SUN FISH, (_Orthagoriscus mola_,)]

APPEARS like the fore part of the body of a large fish, which has been
amputated in the middle. The mouth is small, with two broad teeth only
in each jaw. Its nearly circular form, and the silvery whiteness of the
sides, together with their brilliant phosphorescence during the night,
have obtained for it very generally the appellations of sun or moon
fish. While swimming, it turns round like a wheel, and sometimes floats
with its head above water, when it appears like a dying fish. It grows
to a large size; sometimes being four or five feet in length, and
weighing from three to five hundred pounds. The back of this curious
marine animal is of a rich blue colour. It frequents the coasts of both
the ancient and new continent, and has been found on the shores of


(_Hippocampus brevirostris._)]

THIS is a small fish, of a curious shape. The length is from six to ten,
and sometimes twelve, inches; the head bears some resemblance to that of
a horse, whence originates its name. A series of longitudinal and
transverse ridges run from the head to the tail, which is spirally
curved and prehensile.

The following account of two specimens taken alive at Guernsey, in June,
1835, by F. C. Lukis, Esq., is extracted from Yarrell’s “British
Fishes.” These creatures were kept about twelve days in a glass vessel,
and their actions were equally novel and amusing. “An appearance of
search for a resting-place induced me,” says Mr. Lukis, “to consult
their wishes, by placing seaweed and straws in the vessel: the desired
effect was obtained, and has afforded me much to reflect upon in their
habits. They now exhibit many of their peculiarities, and few subjects
of the deep have displayed, _in prison_, more sport or more

“When swimming about, they maintain a vertical position; but the tail is
ready to grasp whatever meets it in the water, quickly entwines in any
direction round the weeds, and, when fixed, the animal intently watches
the surrounding objects, and darts at its prey with the greatest

“When the animals approach each other, they often twist their tails
together, and struggle to separate or attach themselves to the weeds:
this is done by the under part of their cheeks or chin, which is also
used for raising the body when a new spot is wanted for the tail to
entwine afresh. The eyes move independently of each other, as in the
chameleon, and this, with the brilliant changeable iridescence about the
head, and its blue bands, forcibly reminds the observer of that animal.”


(_Exocætus volitans._)]

THIS fish has a slender body, a projecting under-lip, and very large and
prominent eyes. The ventral fins are small, but the pectoral fins are so
long and wide as to answer the purpose of wings, and aided by them the
fish is enabled to rise out of the water, and support itself in the air.
It must not be supposed, however, that the Flying-fish can soar like a
bird; on the contrary, it can only spring from the water to a
considerable height (sometimes as much as twenty feet), and fly about a
hundred and fifty, or two hundred yards; most commonly, however, it does
not rise above two or three feet from the water, and remains fluttering
over the surface for about a hundred yards, when it again drops into its
native element. There is another Flying-fish (_Exocætus exiliens_) in
the Mediterranean.

[Illustration: THE GURNARD. (_Trigla cuculus._)]

THIS genus is divided into several species. The Red Gurnard has fins and
body of a bright red colour; and the head is large, and covered with
strong bony plates. The eyes are large, round, and vertical; the mouth
is large; and the palate and jaws are armed with sharp teeth. The
gill-membrane has seven rays. The back has a longitudinal spinous groove
on each side. There are slender articulate appendages at the base of
each pectoral fin. This fish is not unfrequently met with on the
southern shores of England; and is often seen exposed in the
fish-markets of the maritime towns of Dorset and Devonshire, as well as
in Cornwall. It is a pleasant-tasting fish, when properly stuffed and
baked, the flavour being similar to that of the haddock.

Whilst in the water, the colours of the Red Gurnard are almost
inconceivably brilliant and beautiful, particularly in the broad glare
of sunshine, as they then vary, in the most pleasing manner, with every
motion of the fish.

The Grey Gurnard (_Trigla gurnardus_) usually measures from one to two
feet in length. The extremity of the head, in front, is armed on each
side with three short spines. The forehead and the covers of the gills
are silvery; the latter being finely radiated. The body is covered with
small scales; the upper parts are of a deep grey, spotted with white and
yellow, and sometimes with black; and the lower parts silvery. About the
months of May and June, the Grey Gurnards approach the shores in
considerable shoals, for the purpose of depositing their spawn in the
shallows; at other times they reside in the depths of the ocean, where
they have a plentiful supply of food in crabs, lobsters, and other
shell-fish, on which it is supposed they for the most part feed. They
are occasionally found on the shores of Great Britain and Ireland, in
the spawning season.

The _Lucerna_ is caught in the Mediterranean Sea, and is of a very
curious shape; its fins about the gills being so large, and spreading so
much like a fan on each side, that they appear somewhat like wings. The
tail is bifid, and the scales very small. The flesh is esteemed among
the Italians, and the Lucerna is often seen in the fish-markets of
Naples, Venice, and other towns on the sea-shore. This fish much
resembles the Father Lasher and the Gurnard; and it is called Lucerna
because it shines in the dark.

The Flying Gurnard (_Dactyloptera Mediterranea_), which is the commonest
flying-fish of the Mediterranean Sea, is about a foot long; it is brown
above, reddish below, and has blackish fins spotted with blue. The
pectoral fins with which it supports itself in the air are of immense
extent. On each operculum there is a long and pointed spine, with which
the fish can inflict severe wounds.

[Illustration: THE JOHN DORY. (_Zeus faber._)]

IT would be an inexcusable neglect to pass this fish unnoticed, not on
account of its disputing with the haddock the honour of having been
pressed by the fingers of the apostle, nor of its having been trodden
upon by the gigantic foot of St. Christopher, when he carried on his
shoulders a divine burden across an arm of the sea, but for the
excellence of its flesh. It has been for some years in such favour with
our epicures, that one of them, a comedian of high repute (Quin), took a
journey to Plymouth merely to eat this fish in perfection. Its body
presents the shape of a rhomboid, but the sides are much compressed; the
mouth is large, and the snout long, composed of several cartilaginous
plates, which wrap and fold one over another, in order to enable the
fish to catch its prey. The colour is a dark green, marked with black
spots, with a golden gloss, whence the name originated. They inhabit the
coasts of England, and particularly Torbay, whence they are sent to the
fish-markets of London.

When the Dory is taken alive out of the water, it is able to compress
its internal organs so rapidly that the air, in rushing through the
openings of the gills, produces a kind of noise somewhat like that
which, on similar occasions, is emitted by the gurnards.

[Illustration: THE BLEPHARIS. (_Blepharis ciliaris._)]

THIS species of the Dory is of a bright silver colour, with a cast of
bluish-green on the back. Several of the last rays, both of the dorsal
and anal fin, extend beyond the membrane, reaching even farther than the
tail itself. It has been supposed that the smaller kind of fishes may be
attracted with these long flexible filaments, and mistake them for
worms, while the Zeus, concealed among the sea-weeds, lies in wait for
its prey. It is a native of the Indian seas.

THE OPAH, OR KING FISH. (_Lampris guttatus._)

THIS is a most splendid fish, of a fine green colour on the back, and
yellowish green on the belly. The back and sides exhibit brilliant
purplish and golden tints, the whole surface is covered with numerous
white spots, and the fins are of a beautiful vermilion colour; so
magnificent is its costume, that it has been justly remarked that it
looks “like one of Neptune’s lords dressed for a court day.” The King
Fish is found apparently in the seas of all parts of the world; it is
nowhere common, but seems to be more abundant in warm climates.

[Illustration: THE COD-FISH, (_Gadus morrhua_,)]

IS a noble inhabitant of the seas; not only on account of its size, but
also for the goodness of its flesh, either fresh or salted. The body
measures sometimes above three, and even four feet in length, with a
proportionable thickness. The back is of a brown olive colour, with
white spots on the sides, and the lower part of the body is entirely
white. The eyes are large and staring. The head is broad and fleshy, and
esteemed a delicious dish.

The fecundity of all fishes must be an object of the greatest
astonishment to every observer of nature. In the year 1790, a Cod-fish
was sold in Workington market, Cumberland, for one shilling: it weighed
fifteen pounds, and measured two feet nine inches in length, and seven
inches in breadth: the roe weighed two pounds ten ounces, one grain of
which contained three hundred and twenty eggs. The whole, therefore,
might contain, by fair estimation, three million nine hundred and four
thousand four hundred and forty eggs. From such a trifle as this we may
observe the prodigious value of the fishing trade to a commercial
nation, and hence draw a useful hint for increasing it; for, supposing
that each of the above eggs should arrive at the same perfection and
size, its produce would weigh twenty-six thousand one hundred and
twenty-three tons; and consequently would load two hundred and sixty-one
sail of ships, each of one hundred tons burden. If each fish were
brought to market, and sold as the original one, for one shilling, the
produce then would be one hundred and ninety-five thousand pounds; that
is to say, the first shilling would produce twenty times one hundred and
ninety-five thousand, or three million nine hundred thousand shillings.

In the European seas, the Cod begins to spawn in January, and deposits
its eggs in rough ground among rocks. Some continue in roe until the
beginning of April. Cod-fish are reckoned best for the table from
October to Christmas. The air-bladders, under the name of sounds, are
pickled, and sold separately.

The chief fisheries for Cod are in the Bay of Canada, on the great bank
of Newfoundland, and off the isle of St. Peter, and the isle of Sable.
The vessels frequenting these fisheries are from a hundred to two
hundred tons burden, and will each catch thirty thousand Cod, or more.
The best season is from the beginning of February to the end of April.
Each fisherman takes only one Cod at a time, and yet the more
experienced will catch from three to four hundred in a day. It is a
fatiguing work, owing particularly to the intense cold they are obliged
to suffer during the operation.

Cod frequently grow to a very great size. The largest that is known to
have been caught in this kingdom was taken at Scarborough, in the year
1775; it measured five feet eight inches in length, and five feet in
circumference, and weighed seventy-eight pounds. The usual weight of
this fish is from fourteen to forty pounds.

[Illustration: THE HADDOCK, (_Gadus æglefinus_,)]

IS much less in size than the cod-fish, and differs somewhat from it in
shape; it is of a bluish colour on the back, with small scales; a black
line is carried on from the upper corner of the gills on both sides down
to the tail; in the middle of the sides, under the line a littlebeneath the gills, is a black spot on each shoulder, which resembles the
mark of a man’s finger and thumb; from which circumstance it is called
_St. Peter’s_ fish, alluding to the fact recorded in the seventeenth
chapter of St. Matthew: “Go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take
up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth,
thou shalt find a piece of money; that take, and give unto them for me
and thee.” And while St. Peter held the fish with his fore-finger and
thumb, it is fabled, that the skin received, and preserved to this day,
the hereditary impression.

Haddocks migrate in immense shoals, which usually arrive on the
Yorkshire coast about the middle of winter. These shoals are sometimes
known to extend from the shore nearly three miles in breadth, and in
length from Flamborough Head to Tynemouth Castle, a distance of fifty
miles; and, perhaps, even farther. An idea of the number of Haddocks may
be formed from the following circumstance: three fishermen, within a
mile of the harbour of Scarborough, frequently loaded their boat with
these fish twice a day, taking each time a ton weight of them!

The flesh of the Haddock is harder and thicker than that of the whiting,
and not so good; but it is often brought upon the table, either broiled,
boiled, or baked, and is by many much esteemed. The Haddocks caught on
the Irish coast, near Dublin, are unusually large, and of a fine
flavour, and unite to the firmness of the turbot much of its sweetness.
They are in season from October to January.

[Illustration: THE WHITING,

(_Gadus Merlangus_, or _Merlangus vulgaris_,)]

IS seldom more than twelve inches in length, and of a slender and
tapering form. The scales are small and fine. The back is silvery, and
when just taken out of the sea reflects the rays of light with great
lustre and gloss. The flesh is light, wholesome, and nourishing; and is
often recommended to sick or convalescent patients, when other food is
not approved of. The Whiting is found on the coasts of England, and is
in its proper season from August to February.

[Illustration: THE LING, (_Lota molva_,)]

IS usually from three to four feet in length, though some have been
caught much larger. The body is long, the head flat, the teeth in the
upper jaw small and numerous, with a small beard on the chin; its dorsal
and anal fins are very long.

These fish abound on the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, and great
quantities are salted for home consumption and exportation. On the
eastern coasts of England they are in their greatest perfection from the
beginning of February to the end of May. They spawn in June: at this
season, the males separate from the females, who deposit their eggs in
the soft oozy ground at the mouth of large rivers.

In a commercial point of view, the Ling may be considered a very
important fish. Nine hundred thousand pounds weight are annually
exported from Norway. In England, these fish are caught and cured in
somewhat the same manner as the cod. Those which are caught off the
shores of America are by no means so much esteemed as those which
frequent the coasts of Great Britain and Norway; and the Ling in the
neighbourhood of Iceland are so bad, that the inhabitants are unable to
find a sale for them in any country except their own. The roe and
air-bladders, or sounds of the Ling, are pickled, and sold separately.

[Illustration: THE HAKE, (_Gadus merluccius_,)]

IS a coarse fish, nearly allied to the Ling, and is caught in great
abundance on the Devonshire and Cornwall coast. It is also found on the
coasts of Ireland and Scotland, where it is called stock-fish, and is
often confounded with cod.

[Illustration: THE MACKEREL, (_Scomber Scomber_,)]

IS taken and well known in all parts of the world. It is usually about a
foot or more in length; the body is thick, firm, and fleshy, slender
towards the tail; the snout sharp, the tail forked, the back of a lovely
green, beautifully variegated, or, as it were, painted with black
strokes; the under part of the body is of a silvery colour, reflecting,
as well as the sides, the most elegant tints of the opal and the
mother-of-pearl. Nothing can be more interesting and pleasing to the eye
than to see Mackerel, just caught, brought on shore by the fishermen,
and spread, with all their radiancy, upon the pebbles of the beach, at
the first rays of the rising sun; but when taken out of their element,
they quickly die.

Mackerel visit our shores in vast shoals; but, from being very tender
and unfit for long carriage, they are found less useful than other
gregarious fish. The usual bait is a bit of red cloth, or a piece of the
tail of the Mackerel. The great fishery for them is in some parts of the
south and west coasts of England: this is of such an extent as to
employ, in the whole, a capital of nearly two hundred thousand pounds.
The fishermen go out to the distance of several leagues from the shore,
and stretch their nets, which are sometimes miles in extent, across the
tide during the night. A single boat has been known to bring in, after
one night’s fishing, a cargo that has been sold for nearly seventy
pounds. The roes of the Mackerel are used in the Mediterranean for
_caviar_. In Cornwall, and also in several parts of the continent,
Mackerel are preserved by pickling and salting; and in this state
possess a flavour somewhat like that of the salmon. Their voracity has
scarcely any bounds; and when they get among a shoal of herrings, they
will make such havoc as frequently to drive it away. Mackerel are in
season from March to June.

[Illustration: THE GAR-FISH, (_Belone vulgaris_,)]

OF which the figure above is an exact representation, is of a very
extraordinary form. The body, in shape and colour, is not unlike that of
a mackerel, but is much more elongated, and the jaws are protracted into
a kind of lance, nearly half as long as the rest of the body. It is
vulgarly supposed that this fish leads the phalanxes of mackerel through
the regions of the deep; and, like a faithful and experienced pilot,
traces their journey, points out their dangers, and conducts them to
their destination. A curious singularity of this creature is, that its
bones are of a bright green colour; the flesh is not so firm nor of so
good a flavour as that of the mackerel, but it sells pretty well
whenever it comes to market.

[Illustration: THE HERRING. (_Clupea Harengus._)]

THIS fish is somewhat like the mackerel in shape, as well as in delicacy
of taste, although it differs much in flavour. It is about nine or ten
inches long, and about two and a half broad, and has blood-shot eyes;
the scales large and roundish; the tail forked; the body of a fat, soft,
delicate flesh, but more rank than that of the mackerel, and therefore
less wholesome. Yet some people are so very fond of it, that they call
the Herring _the King of Fishes_. They swim in shoals, and spawn once a
year, about the autumnal equinox, at which time they are the best. They
come into shallow water to spawn, like the mackerel; and hence they
periodically visit our coasts, retiring again to the deep waters when
the spawning season is over.

The fecundity of the Herring is astonishing. It has been calculated that
if the offspring of a single pair of Herrings could be suffered to
multiply unmolested and undiminished for twenty years, they would
exhibit a bulk ten times the size of the earth. But, happily, Providence
has contrived the balance of nature by giving them innumerable enemies.
All the monsters of the deep find them an easy prey; and, in addition to
these, immense flocks of sea-fowl watch their outset, and spread
devastation on all sides.

In the year 1773, the Herrings for two months were in such immense
shoals on the Scotch coasts, that it appears from tolerably accurate
computations, no fewer than one thousand six hundred and fifty
boat-loads were taken in Loch Torridon in one night. These would, in the
whole, amount to nearly twenty thousand barrels.

This fish is prepared in different ways, in order to be kept for use
through the year. The white, or pickled Herrings, are washed in fresh
water, and left the space of twelve or fifteen hours in a tub full of
strong brine, made of fresh water and sea-salt. When taken out, they are
drained, and put in rows or layers in barrels, with salt.

Red Herrings are prepared in the same manner, with this difference, that
they are left in the brine double the time above mentioned; and when
taken out, placed in a large chimney constructed for the purpose, and
containing about twelve thousand, where they are smoked by means of a
fire underneath, made of brushwood, for the space of twenty-four hours.

[Illustration: THE SPRAT, (_Clupea Sprattus_,)]

A WELL-KNOWN fish, between four and five inches in length, the back fin
very remote from the nose; the lower jaw longer than the upper, and the
eyes blood-shot, like those of the herring, to which it is nearly
allied. Sprats arrive yearly in the beginning of November in the river
Thames; and generally a large dish of them is presented on the table at
Guildhall, on Lord Mayor’s Day, November 9th. They continue through the
winter, and depart in March. They are sold by measure, and yield a great
deal of sustenance to poor people in the winter season. It is reported
that they have been taken yearly about Easter-time in a lake in
Cheshire, called Kostern Mere, and in the river Mersey, in which the sea
ebbs and flows seven or eight miles below the lake.

The Sardine (_Clupea Sardina_) is caught on the southern shores of
France, where it is held in great repute; and from its abounding in the
neighbourhood of the island of Sardinia, it is called the Sardine. It is
sent here pickled in the same way as herrings, and packed in barrels.

THE PILCHARD. (_Clupea Pilchardus._)

THE chief difference between this fish and the herring is, that the body
of the Pilchard is more round and thick; the nose shorter in proportion,
turning up; and the under jaw shorter. The back is more elevated, and
the belly not so sharp. The scales adhere very closely, whilst those of
the herring easily drop off. It is also, in general, of considerably
smaller size.

About the middle of July, Pilchards appear in vast shoals off the coast
of Cornwall. These shoals remain till the latter end of October, when it
is probable they retire to some undisturbed deep, at a little distance,
for the winter.

The Pilchard fishery is an important branch of commerce. From a
statement of the number of hogsheads exported each year, for ten years,
from 1747 to 1756 inclusive, from the four ports of Fowy, Falmouth,
Penzance, and St. Ives, it appears that Fowy exported yearly one
thousand seven hundred and thirty-two hogsheads; Falmouth, fourteen
thousand six hundred and thirty-one; Penzance and Mount’s Bay, twelve
thousand one hundred and forty-nine; St. Ives, one thousand two hundred
and eighty-two: in all, twenty-nine thousand seven hundred and
ninety-four hogsheads. Every hogshead, for ten years last past, together
with the bounty allowed for exportation, and the oil made out of it, has
amounted, one year with another, at an average, to the price of one
pound thirteen shillings and three pence; so that the cash paid for
Pilchards exported has, at a medium, annually amounted to the sum of
forty-nine thousand five hundred and thirty-two pounds. The above was
the state of the fishing several years ago; at present it is still more
extensive, the average annual produce of the Cornish fisheries amounting
to about twenty-one thousand hogsheads, which contain no less than sixty
millions of Pilchards.

THE WHITEBAIT. (_Clupea alba._)

THIS beautiful little fish is a pure white, without spots on either
side. Immense quantities are caught from the beginning of April to the
end of September, in the Thames; but they are so delicate as scarcely to
bear carriage, and are therefore thought best when eaten as near as
possible to the place where they were taken; and hence the custom of
having Whitebait dinners at the taverns at Greenwich and Blackwall. It
was long supposed that the Whitebait was the fry of the shad, but it is
now proved to be a distinct species.

[Illustration: THE ANCHOVY. (_Engraulis encrasicolus._)]

LIKE the herring and sprat, these fish leave the depths of the open sea,
in order to frequent the smooth and shallow places of the coast, for the
purpose of spawning. The fishermen generally light a fire on the shore,
for the purpose of attracting the Anchovies, when they fish for them in
the night. After they are cleaned, and their heads cut off, they are
cured in a particular way, and packed in small barrels for sale and
exportation. Anchovies are occasionally found both in the North Sea and
in the Baltic; but they are in much greater number in the Mediterranean
than in any other part of the world. They have sometimes, though rarely,
been caught in the river Dee, on the coasts of Flintshire and Cheshire.
The upper jaw of this fish is longer than the under; the back is brown;
the sides silvery; fins short; the dorsal fin, opposite the ventrals,
transparent; the tail fin-forked. Its length is about three inches.

[Illustration: THE TURBOT. (_Rhombus maximus._)]

THE TURBOT is a well-known fish, and much esteemed for the delicate
taste, firmness, and sweetness of its flesh. Juvenal, in his fourth
Satire, gives us a very ludicrous description of the Roman emperor
Domitian assembling the Senate to decide how and with what sauce this
fish should be eaten. The Turbot is sometimes two feet and a half long,
and about two broad. The scales on the skin are so very small that they
are hardly perceptible. The colour of the upper side of the body is a
dark brown, spotted with dirty yellow; the under side a pure white,
tinged on the edges with a somewhat flesh-colour, or pale pink. There is
a great difficulty in baiting the Turbot, as it is very fastidious in
its food. Nothing can allure it but herrings or small slices of
haddocks, and lampreys; and as it lies in deep water, flirting and
paddling on the ooze at the bottom of the sea, no net can reach it, so
that it is generally caught by hook and line. It is found chiefly on the
northern coasts of England, Scotland, and Holland.

[Illustration: THE PLAICE, (_Platessa vulgaris_,)]

A WELL-KNOWN English fish, nearly allied to the turbot. It has smooth
sides, an anal spine, and the eyes and six tubercles are placed on the
same side of the head. The body is very flat, and the upper part of the
fish of a clear brown colour, marked with orange-coloured spots, and the
belly white. Plaice spawn in the beginning of February, and when
full-grown assume something like the shape of a turbot; but the flesh is
very different, being soft and nearly tasteless.

When near the ground they swim slowly and horizontally, but if suddenly
disturbed they change the horizontal to the vertical position, darting
along with meteor-like rapidity, and then again quickly resuming their
inactive habits at the bottom of the water. Plaice feed on small fish
and young crustacea, and have sometimes been taken on our coasts
weighing fifteen pounds, but a fish half that weight is considered very
large. The finest kind, called Diamond Plaice, are caught on the Sussex
coast. These fish are in considerable demand as food, though by no means
equal to the turbot and sole. Those of a moderate size are reckoned the
best eating.

[Illustration: THE FLOUNDER. (_Platessa flesus._)]

THE principal distinction between the plaice and the Flounder consists
in the former having a row of six tubercles behind the left eye, of
which this fish is entirely destitute; it is also a little longer in the
body, and, when full-grown, somewhat thicker. The back is of a dark
olive colour, spotted. In taste, they are reckoned more delicate than
the plaice. They live long after being taken out of their element, and
are often cried in the streets of London, but they seldom appear on the
tables of the rich and dainty. They are common in the British rivers,
and in all large rivers which obey the impression of the tide, and they
feed upon worms bred in the mud at the bottom of the water.

[Illustration: THE SOLE, (_Solea vulgaris_,)]

IS well known as a very excellent fish, whose flesh is firm, delicate,
and of a pleasing flavour. Soles grow to the length of eighteen inches,
and even more, in some of our seas. They are often found of this size
and superiority in Torbay, whence they are sent to market at Exeter and
several other towns in Devonshire and the adjacent counties. They are
found also in the Mediterranean and several other seas, and, when in
season, are in great requisition for the most luxurious tables. The
upper part of the body is brown; the under part white; one of the
pectoral fins is tipped with black, the sides are yellow, and the tail
rounded at the extremity. It is said that the small Soles, caught in the
northern seas, are of a much superior taste to the large ones, which the
southern and western coasts afford.

This fish has also the quality of keeping sweet and good for several
days, even in hot weather, and is thought to acquire a more delicate
flavour by being thus kept. On this account it is that Soles in the
London markets are frequently more esteemed than those which are cooked
immediately after they are taken out of the sea.

In the economy of flat fish we have an account of one circumstance which
is very remarkable: among various other marine productions, they have
been known to feed on shell-fish, although they are furnished with no
apparatus whatever in their mouth which would seem to be adapted for
reducing these to a state calculated for digestion.


THIS brilliant little fish is the smallest of the _salmonidæ_, and is
only found in rivers frequented by salmon; for whenever a river becomes
deserted by them, the samlet also disappears. This fish is considered to
be the fry of the true salmon, and Mr. Young, in a recent essay, has,
we think, fairly established the fact; but Mr. Yarrell and other
naturalists assert it to be a distinct species.

[Illustration: THE SALMON, (_Salmo salar_,)]

IS the boast of large rivers, and one of the noblest inhabitants of the
sea, if we esteem it by its bulk, colour, and the sweetness of its
flesh. Salmon are found of a great weight, and sometimes measure five
feet in length. The colour is beautiful, a dark blue dotted with black
spots on the back, merging to silvery white on the sides, and white with
a little shade of pink below. The fins are comparatively small. These
fish, though they live principally in the sea, come up the rivers at the
spawning season, to a considerable distance inland, where the female
deposits her eggs. Soon after, both she and the male take an excursion
to the vast regions of the sea, and do not visit any of the land streams
again till the next year, when they return for the same purpose. They
are so powerfully impelled by this natural impulse, that, if they are
stopped when swimming up a river by a fall of water, they spring up
with such a force through the descending torrent, that they stem it till
they reach the higher bed of the stream; and on this account small
cascades on the Tweed and other rivers are often called Salmon-leaps.
The Salmon is in a great measure confined to the northern seas, being
unknown in the Mediterranean, and in the waters of other warm climates.
The flesh is red when raw, rather paler when salted or boiled; it is an
agreeable food, fat, tender, and sweet, and excels in richness all other
fresh-water fish; however, it does not agree with every stomach, and is
often injurious when eaten by sick persons.

In the river Tweed, about the month of July, the capture of Salmon is
astonishing: often a boat-load, and sometimes nearly two, may be taken
at a tide; and in one instance more than seven hundred fish were caught
at a single haul of the net. From fifty to a hundred at a haul are very
common. Some of these are sent to London by the railway; but part are
slightly salted and pickled, in which state they are called kipper. The
season for fishing commences in the Tweed in February, and ends about
old Michaelmas-day. On this river there are about forty considerable
fisheries, which extend upwards, about fourteen miles from the mouth;
besides many others of less consequence. These, several years ago, were
let at an annual rent of more than ten thousand pounds; and to defray
this expense, it has been calculated that upwards of two hundred
thousand Salmon must be caught there, one year with another. The
principal Salmon fisheries in Europe are in the rivers, or on the
sea-coasts adjoining the large rivers of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
The chief English rivers in which they are now caught are the Tyne, the
Trent, the Severn, and the Tweed. They were formerly found in the
Thames, but none have been taken there for many years. The Salmon fry go
down the river to the sea in April. A young Salmon under two pounds in
weight is called a Salmon Peel, and a larger one a Grilse. Salmon cannot
be eaten too fresh, and is very unwholesome when stale.

[Illustration: THE SALMON TROUT, (_Salmo Trutta_,)]

ALSO called the Bull Trout, or Sea Trout, is thicker in the body than
the common trout, and weighs about three pounds; it has a large smooth
head, which, as well as the back, is of a bluish tint, with a green
gloss; the sides are marked with numerous black spots, and the tail is
broadest at the end. It is said that in the beginning of summer the
flesh of this fish reddens, and remains this colour till the month of
August; which is very probably owing to their being on the point of
spawning. Like the salmon, this fish inhabits the sea; but in the months
of November and December it enters the rivers, in order to deposit its
roe; and consequently, in the spawning season, it is occasionally found
in lakes and streams, at a great distance from the sea. It is very
delicate, and much esteemed on our tables. Some people prefer this fish
to salmon; but they are both apt to cause illness when eaten in too
great a quantity.

[Illustration: THE TROUT. (_Salmo-fario._]

THIS fish, in figure, resembles the salmon; it has a short roundish
head, and a blunt snout. Trouts are fresh-water fish, and they breed and
live constantly in rivers and small pellucid streams which sparkle over
clean pebbles and beds of sand.

They feed on river flies and other water insects, and are so fond of
them, and so blindly voracious, that anglers deceive them with
artificial flies made of feathers, wool, and other materials, which
resemble very closely the natural ones. In Lough Neagh, in Ireland,
Trouts have been caught weighing thirty pounds; and we are told, that in
the Lake of Geneva, and in the northern lakes of England, they are found
of a still larger size. It holds the first place among the river fish,
and its flesh is very delicious, but difficult of digestion when old, or
kept too long. They spawn in the month of December, and deposit their
eggs in the gravel at the bottom of rivers, dykes, and ponds. Unlike
most other fish, the Trouts are least esteemed when near spawning. They
are properly in season in the months of July and August, being then fat
and well-tasted.

The beautiful silvery Trout is the most voracious of fresh-water fish,
and will devour every living thing which the water produces--even its
own spawn in all its stages, and will lie upon the bed or hill, watching
to seize its young fry, as they become vivified and rise from under
their gravelly birthplace. Neither does he confine himself to any given
sort of fish, but luxuriates his rapacious stomach upon all the
varieties, from instinct occasionally changing his food to larvæ,
caddis, ephemera, worms, and even the young of the water-snail, all of
which act as alternatives. Owing to his large fins and broad tail, his
movements are extremely rapid, and, from his muscular power and
pliability, he seldom misses his prey. His habits are solitary, being
only accompanied by one, and that at some distance from him, in the
summer season; and as the autumn approaches, when larvæ, &c., are
diminishing, he keeps entirely alone until the pairing season returns.
The period of spawning differs in various rivers from natural causes,
such as snow, cold rains, or inclement weather; for, as Trout, like
salmon, spawn on gravel beds in shallow water, the cold readily affects
them. When they cannot reach the spot prepared for the deposit of their
eggs, they frequently abstain from spawning for weeks. The younger Trout
generally hill, as it is termed, earlier than those of larger growth.
They begin to throw up their bed early in December, when the female and
male may be seen working together, the former mostly in advance. By
constant labour they dig a hollow in the gravel, throwing it up on each
side, and at last forming a heap, which is called a hill, or bed. At
this period they are very shy and stupid, and even the shadow of a cloud
will frighten them from their hill, when they retreat into deeper water;
but upon finding all quiet they return. This preparation generally
occupies two or three weeks; and frequently the hill is shared both in
labour and occupation by several pairs of Trout. It often measures many
feet in diameter, and is two or three feet higher than the bed of the
stream. From the middle of December to the end of January the Trout is
in full spawning operation; when the fish deposit their eggs in the
hollow, and afterwards work the gravel over them to the depth of about
three inches. If the temperature of the water is not altered during the
period of incubation, the young make their appearance on the fiftieth
day; never earlier, frequently later. Nature has endowed the young fry
with so much instinct of self-preservation, that for many days they keep
under the gravel, and it is curious to see the shoal hiding together
under large stones to protect themselves from danger: this they continue
to do until the eggshell, in which they remain partially enveloped,
falls off from their delicate frames. This shell, which adheres to them
for fourteen days, contains a proportion of fluid necessary for their
support during this period of helplessness. After this they resort to
the shallows and scours to avoid the larger fish, where they remain
solitary for a year, during which time, in good keep, they attain the
weight of three to four ounces; the second year, eight to ten ounces;
after which they begin to breed. A fish, like every animal, becomes fat
when it has abundance of food with little or no exertion; so that the
growth is entirely regulated by the relative proportion of food and
labour. I have observed this difference in the same brood of Trout,
artificially bred upon my system: the one brood being placed in water
well supplied with food, the other in a spring-stream where little food
existed; the former, at ten months old, were four inches long, and three
and a half ounces in weight, while the latter were only an inch and a
half long, and less than an ounce in weight. Although Trout are not
migratory, yet, when they become large, they run up stream to purer
water. The small Trout are carried down the stream against their habit,
by the flushes of water or floods during the autumn months, being unable
to stem the thickened torrent, which fills their gills with alluvial
deposit, and hinders their respiration, whence they become weak and
sickly. In this state of water all fish sicken more or less, and it
destroys vast numbers in the very young state. I have known thousands
destroyed by the overflowing of a river, as well old as young. The cause
of all our rivers falling off in the quantity of fish, is from the
increasing impurity of the water, as fish especially require pure water.

     _The above interesting notice of the Trout has been communicated to
     the publisher by_ MR. BOCCIUS, _who devotes himself professionally
     to the increase of fish in rivers and ponds, and has performed


(_Salmo salvelinus_,)]

IS not unlike the trout; the scales are very small; the colour of the
body marked with numerous spots and points of black, red, and silver,
mixed with yellow, and without a circle; the back tinged with
olive-green; the belly white, the snout bluish. All the fins, except
those of the back, are reddish, and the adipose one is red on its edge.
This fish is about twelve inches in length, and is esteemed very
delicate as an article of food, especially by the Italians. It is
abundant in the Lago di Garda, near Venice; and is also found, not only
in our northern lakes in Westmoreland and Scotland, but also in the
large sheets of water at the foot of the mountains in Lapland. The
potted Char enjoys a high and deserved reputation in several parts of
the Continent, as well as in England. The Char is a fresh-water fish,
and is generally found in the deepest parts of lakes; it is never taken
by the angler, only by the net.

[Illustration: THE GRAYLING. (_Salmo thymallus._)]

THIS fish never exceeds fifteen inches in length, and seldom arrives at
three pounds weight. The back and sides are of a silvery grey, and when
the fish is first taken out of the water, slightly varied with blue and
gold. The coverts of the gills are of a glossy green, and the scales are

The Grayling is a fresh-water fish, and delights chiefly in clear and
not too rapid streams, where it affords great amusement to the angler,
as it is very voracious, and rises eagerly to the fly. They are bolder
than trout, and even if missed by the hook several times successively,
they will still pursue the bait. They feed principally on worms,
insects, and water-snails; and the shells of the latter are often found
in great quantities on their stomachs. They spawn in the months of April
and May. The largest fish of this species ever heard of was one caught
in the Severn, and weighed five pounds.

Ancient writers strongly recommended this fish as food for sick persons,
as they considered it peculiarly wholesome and easy of digestion.

[Illustration: THE SMELT, OR SPARLING. (_Osmerus eperlanus._)]

THIS fish is in length about eight or nine inches, and nearly one in
breadth; the body is of a light olive green, inclining to silver white.
The smell, when the fish is fresh and raw, is not unlike that of ripe
cucumbers, but it goes off in the frying-pan, and the Smelt then yields
a tender and most delicious food. Smelts are sea-fish, and inhabit the
sea-coast and harbours; but they are often taken in the Thames, the
Medway, and other large rivers, which they ascend in the spawning
season. The skin of this fish is so transparent, that with the help of a
microscope, its blood may be seen to circulate.

Smelts are found on the coasts of all the northern countries of Europe,
and also in the Mediterranean. They vary considerably in size. Mr.
Pennant states that the largest he had ever heard of measured thirteen
inches in length, and weighed half a pound.

[Illustration: THE PIKE. (_Esox lucius._)]

THE body of this fish is a pale olive-grey, deepest on the back, and
marked on the sides by several yellowish spots or patches; the abdomen
white, slightly spotted with black; its length is from one to eight
feet, and its weight from one or two to forty or fifty pounds. The flesh
is white and firm, and considered very wholesome; the larger and older
it is, the more it is esteemed. There is scarcely any fish of its size
in the world that in voracity can equal the Pike.[A] It lives in rivers,
lakes, and ponds; and in a confined piece of water will soon destroy all
other fish, as it generally does not feed upon anything else, and often
swallows one nearly as big as itself; for through its greediness in
eating, it takes the head foremost, and so draws it in by little and
little at a time, till it has swallowed the whole. A gudgeon of good
size has been found in the stomach of a large Pike, the head of which
had already received clear marks of the power of digestion, whilst the
rest of the fish was still fresh and unimpaired.

[A] Mr. Boccius has, however, shown that the Trout is even more

“I have been assured (says Walton) by my friend Mr. Seagrave, who keeps
tame otters, that he has known a Pike, in extreme hunger, fight with one
of his otters for a carp that the otter had caught, and was then
bringing out of the water.”

Boulker, in his Art of Angling, says, that his father caught a Pike,
which he presented to Lord Cholmondeley, that was an ell long, and
weighed thirty-six pounds. His lordship directed it to be put into a
canal in his garden, which at that time contained a great quantity of
fish. Twelve months afterwards the water was drawn off, and it was
discovered that the Pike had devoured all the fish, except a large carp
that weighed between nine and ten pounds, and even this had been bitten
in several places. The Pike was again put in, and an entire fresh stock
of fish for him to feed on: all these he devoured in less than a year.
Several times he was observed by workmen who were standing near, to draw
ducks and other water-fowl under water. Crows were shot and thrown in,
which he took in the presence of the men. From this time the
slaughtermen had orders to feed him with the garbage of the
slaughter-house; but being afterwards neglected, he died, as is
supposed, from want of food.

In December, 1765, a Pike was caught in the river Ouse, that weighed
upwards of twenty-eight pounds, and was sold for a guinea. When it was
opened, a watch with a black riband and two seals were found in its
body. These, it was afterwards found, had belonged to a gentleman’s
servant, who had been drowned in the river about a month before.

The Pike is a very long-lived fish. In the year 1497, one was caught at
Heilbrun, in Swabia, to which was affixed a brazen ring, with the
following words engraved on it in Greek characters: “I am the fish,
which was first of all put into this lake, by the hands of the governor
of the universe, Frederick the Second, the fifth of October, 1230.”

[Illustration: THE PERCH, (_Perca fluviatilis_,)]

SELDOM grows to any great size; yet we have an account of one which is
said to have weighed nine pounds. The body is deep, the scales rough,
the back arched, and the side-lines placed near the back. For beauty of
colours, the Perch vies with the gaudiest inhabitants of the waters; the
back glows with the deep reflections of the brightest emeralds, divided
by five broad black stripes; the abdomen imitates the tints of the opal
and mother-of-pearl; and the ruby hue of the fins completes an
assemblage of colours most harmonious and elegant. It is a gregarious
fish, and is caught in several rivers of these islands; the flesh is
firm, delicate, and much esteemed.

It is generally believed that a pike will not attack a full-grown Perch:
he is deterred from so doing by the spiny or dorsal fin on the back,
which this fish always erects at the approach of an enemy. Perch are so
voracious, that, if an expert angler happens to find a shoal of them, he
may catch every one. If, however, a single fish escape that has felt the
hook, all is over; as this fish becomes so restless, as soon to occasion
the whole shoal to leave the place. Perch are so bold, that they are
generally the first fish caught by a young angler; they will also soon
learn to take bread thrown into the water to feed them. A large-sized
Perch weighs about three pounds; but generally the Perches caught in
ponds do not exceed eight or ten ounces in weight.

[Illustration: THE BASSE, OR SEA PERCH, (_Labrax lupus_,)]

IS found in abundance on our southern coasts, and is still more common
in the Mediterranean. It has one long dorsal fin, like the ruffe. The
flesh of this fish is highly esteemed.

The Climbing Perch, (_Anabas scandens_,) a native of the fresh waters of
India, possesses a very singular apparatus for enabling it to quit the
water, and pass a considerable time on dry ground. This consists of a
curiously folded portion of thin bone on each side of the head near the
gills, in the cavities of which a good deal of water is contained; this
keeps the gills in a moist state while the fish is out of the water, and
thus enables it to breathe in the air. This fish is said to employ its
singular power of quitting the water for the purpose of climbing trees,
although what it expects to gain by so doing is quite unknown. Its power
of climbing has been denied by some naturalists, but Daldorf says that
he once caught one which had clambered to a height of six feet on the
stem of a palm, and was in the act of going still higher.

[Illustration: THE POPE, OR RUFFE. (_Acerina cernua._)]

THE POPE is very like a small perch, but with a curiously formed single
dorsal fin: the colour of the back is a dusky olive green; the sides
light brownish green and copper colour; and small brown spots are spread
over the dorsal fin, the back, and tail. The pectoral, ventral, and anal
fins are pale brown. This fish rarely exceeds six inches in length; but
it is nearly as good as a perch of the same size, which it resembles,
both in its haunts and habits; it spawns in April, and feeds on small
fry, worms, or aquatic insects.

Cuvier assigns the credit of the first discovery of this fish to an
Englishman of the name of Caius, who found it in the river Yare, near
Norwich, and called it Aspredo, a translation of our name Ruffe,
(rough,) which is well applied to it, on account of the harsh feel of
its denticulated scales.


[Illustration: THE CARP, (_Cyprinus carpio_,)]

IS famous for the sweetness of its flesh, when of moderate size, that
is, when measuring about twelve to fifteen inches in length, and
weighing about three pounds. The scales are large, with a golden gloss
upon a dark green ground. These fish sometimes grow to the length of
three or four feet, and contain a great quantity of fat. The soft roe of
the Carp is esteemed a great delicacy among epicures. In the canals of
Chantilly, formerly the seat of the Prince of Condé, Carps have been
kept for above one hundred years, most of them appearing hoary through
old age, and so tame that they answered to their names when the keeper
called them to be fed. This fish has large molar teeth only, situate at
the back part of the head or throat, and a broad tongue; the tail is
widely spread as well as the fins, which are inclined to a reddish tint.
Carp that live in rivers and running streams are preferred for the
table, as those which inhabit pools and ponds have generally a muddy and
disagreeable taste. Though so cunning in general as to be called the
River Fox, yet at spawning time they suffer themselves to be tickled and
caught without attempting to escape. It is said that Carp were first
brought to England about three hundred years ago. They are very
tenacious of life, and at the inns in Holland are often kept alive a
month or six weeks, by being fed with bread and milk, and laid on wet
moss in a net, which is hung from the ceiling in an airy place. The moss
is kept moist, and water is thrown over the fish twice a day.

Carp is always considered a delicacy for the table, especially when
stewed in port wine; and it appears to have been long held in high
estimation on that account, as we find, from the privy purse expenses of
Henry VIII., that the bluff king was exceedingly fond of Carp.

[Illustration: THE TENCH, (_Cyprinus tinca_,)]

LIKE the carp, is remarkably tenacious of life. Its body is thick and
short, and seldom exceeds twelve inches in length, or four pounds in
weight. The eyes are red; the back, dorsal, and ventral fins dusky; the
head, sides, and abdomen of a greenish hue, mixed with gold; and the
tail very broad. The Tench delights in still water, in the muddy parts
of ponds, where it is the most secure from the voracious ramblings and
fierce attacks of the tyrant pike, and from the hook of the angler; here
it lives nearly motionless, lurking beneath flags, reeds, and weeds.
This inactive life has enabled some individuals of this species to
attain an extraordinary bulk. We have read, as a well-authenticated
fact, that in the northern part of England, in a piece of water, which
having been long neglected, was filled with timber, stones, and rubbish,
two hundred Tench, and as many perch of good size were found; and that
one fish in particular, which seemed to have been shut up in a nook, had
not only surpassed all the others in size, but had also taken the form
of the hole in which it had been accidentally confined. The body was in
the shape of a half-moon, conforming in the convexity of its outlines to
the concavity of the dungeon where this innocent sufferer had been
immured for a number of years; it weighed eleven pounds.


(_Cyprinus auratus_,)]

WAS originally brought from China, and first introduced into England in
1661, but is now become quite common, and will breed as freely in ponds
as the carp. The average size is about five inches, and it scarcely ever
exceeds seven and a half. Gold-fish are highly prized in China, and are
extensively introduced in the ornamental waters of our own country.
Nothing is more pleasing than to see them glide along and play in the
transparent crystal, whilst their broad and glittering scales reflect
the rays of the sun. They are often kept within the small compass of a
glass bowl, where they become tame and docile, and after a short time
seem to recognise their feeders.

The smallest fish are preferred, not only from their being the most
beautiful, but because a greater number of them can be kept in a small
circumference. These are of a fine orange red colour, appearing as if
sprinkled over with gold-dust. Some, however, are white, like silver;
and others white, spotted with red.

When Gold-fish are kept in ponds, they are often taught to rise to the
surface of the water at the sound of a bell, to be fed.

[Illustration: THE GUDGEON, (_Cyprinus gobio_,)]

A WELL-KNOWN fresh-water fish, generally found in gentle streams, on
gravelly scours. The average length of this fish is from six to eight
inches, and its weight is from two to three ounces. The back is brown,
the abdomen white, and the sides tinged with red; the tail is forked. It
is beautified with black spots both on the body and tail. Gudgeons spawn
early in summer, and feed upon worms and aquatic insects. Their flesh is
white, of excellent flavour, and easy of digestion. In the months of
September and October these fish are taken in the rivers of some parts
of the Continent in great abundance; and the markets are well supplied
with them. They are not uncommon in the river Thames, where persons are
frequently to be seen fishing for them from punts. As these fish bite
with great eagerness, large numbers are often taken in this manner. They
are also caught in nets, as well as with hooks and lines.

[Illustration: THE CHUB, (_Cyprinus cephalus_,)]

IS of a coarse nature, and full of bones; it seldom exceeds the weight
of five pounds. The body is of an oblong shape, nearly round; the head,
which is large, and the back, are of a deep dusky green; the sides
silvery, and the abdomen white; the pectoral fins are of a pale yellow,
the ventral and anal ones red; and the tail brown, tinged with blue at
its extremity, and slightly forked. This fish frequents the deep holes
of rivers, but in the summer, when the sun shines, it rises to the
surface, and lies quiet under the shade of the trees, that spread their
foliage on the verdant banks; but yet, though it seems to indulge itself
in slumber, it is easily awakened, and at the least alarm dives rapidly
to the bottom. Although a leather-mouthed fish, it takes every species
of food, including small fish, the same as a trout, though it is not so
voracious. In March and April this fish may be caught with large red
worms; in June and July, with flies, snails, and cherries; in August,
and September, with cheese pounded in a mortar, mixed with saffron and
butter. When the Chub seizes a bait, it bites so eagerly that its jaws
are often heard to chop like those of a dog. It, however, seldom breaks
its hold, and, when once struck, is soon tired.

[Illustration: THE BARBEL. (_Cyprinus Barbus._)]

THE BARBEL is readily distinguished from the other carps by the four
barbs or wattels attached to its mouth. Its upper jaw is very
considerably extended beyond the lower jaw. The Lea, the Thames, and
various other rivers in the neighbourhood of London, abound in this
fish, which affords excellent sport to the angler. “During summer,” says
Mr. Gorrell, “this fish, in shoals, frequents the weedy parts of the
river; but as soon as the weeds begin to decay in autumn it seeks the
deeper water, and shelters itself near piles, locks, and bridges, which
it frequents till the following spring.” It is sometimes found to weigh
from fifteen to eighteen pounds, and to measure three feet in length,
but its usual length is from twelve to eighteen inches. The flesh is
coarse and unsavory, and held in no estimation.

[Illustration: THE DACE, (_Cyprinus leuciscus_,)]

RESEMBLES the chub in its form, but is smaller, and of a lighter colour;
it is gregarious and remarkably prolific. It is seldom more than ten
inches in length; the back is of a dusky colour, tinged with yellow and
green, and the sides have a silvery cast.

Dace spawn in March, and are in season about three weeks afterwards.
They improve, and are good about Michaelmas; but in February they are
best. The flesh is, however, at all times woolly and insipid. They are
very lively creatures, and, if kept in ponds, may live a considerable

[Illustration: THE ROACH, (_Cyprinus rutilus_,)]

BELONGS also to the carp family, and is remarkable for its numerous
progeny. It is a deep yet thin-made fish, in shape somewhat resembling
the bream, but approaching the carp in the breadth and shape of its
scales, which are large and deciduous. The soundness of the flesh is
become proverbial, and pleases the taste by a peculiar delicacy of
flavour. The ventral fins are, like those of the perch, of a bright
crimson, and the irides of the eye sparkle like rubies and garnets. The
length of the Roach is commonly between nine and ten inches, but
sometimes much greater.

[Illustration: THE BLEAK, (_Cyprinus alburnus_,)]

IS nearly allied to the roach. It is a small glittering fish, familiar
to most persons from its playing about on warm summer evenings on the
surface of rivers in chase of flies, bread-crumbs, &c. The scales are
employed in making artificial pearls.

[Illustration: THE BREAM, (_Cyprinus Brama_,)]

IS a flatfish fish, not unlike the carp in several points, but much
broader in proportion to its length and thickness. Its head is
truncated, the upper jaw a little projecting; the forehead a bluish
black; cheeks yellowish; body olive, paler below; fins obscure, with an
oblong conical process at the base of the ventral fins; twenty-nine rays
in the anal fin; its greatest length is about two feet. The scales are
large, and of a bright colour; the tail has the form of a crescent. It
frequents the deepest parts of rivers, lakes, and ponds. These fish
spawn in May, secluding themselves at that time so carefully in the ooze
at the bottom of the water that they are seldom found with either soft
or hard roe in them, so that in some countries the name is often used to
denote sterility. The flesh is not comparable to that of the carp.

The White Bream never exceeds a pound in weight, and is consequently
much smaller than the Common or Carp Bream, which frequently weighs
seven or eight pounds.

In some of the lakes of Ireland great quantities of Bream are taken,
many of them of very large size, sometimes weighing as much as twelve or
even fourteen pounds each. A place conveniently situated for the
fishing is baited with grain, or other coarse food, for ten days or a
fortnight regularly, after which great sport is usually obtained. The
party frequently catch several hundredweight, which are distributed
among the poor of the vicinity, who split and dry them with great care,
to eat with their potatoes.

[Illustration: THE MINNOW. (_Cyprinus phoxinus._)]

THE body of the Minnow is of a blackish green, with blue and yellow
variegations; the abdomen silvery; scales small; ten rays in the
ventral, anal, and dorsal fins; tail forked, and marked near the base
with a dusky spot. Its length is about three inches.

This beautiful and well-known fish is gregarious, and is frequent in
clear gravelly streams and rivulets in many parts of Europe. In Britain
it appears in March, and is seldom seen after October. It spawns in
June, and is, indeed, found in roe during the greater part of the
summer. It is easily tamed: and, in captivity, may be taught to pick
flies or filaments of beef from the hand.

The flesh of the Minnow is extremely delicate, but the fish is so small
that it would take a great number to make a dish, and consequently it is
seldom used for human food. Its chief value is as a bait for catching
other fish. In some parts of England it is so abundant as sometimes to
be used as manure.

[Illustration: THE LOACH, (_Cobitis barbatula_,)]

WHICH also belongs to the family of the carps, is a small fish, with six
barbs at the mouth. It inhabits small, gravelly streams, and lies at the
bottom among the stones; it is easily caught with a small worm.

It is considered an extremely well-flavoured fish, though, on account of
its small size, and the difficulty of catching a sufficient quantity,
seldom seen at table. The Loach is very sensitive to atmospheric
changes, which it shows by its restless movements. They have sometimes
been kept alive in glass vessels, in which state they indicate the
approach of storms with almost the accuracy of a barometer.


(_Cottus gobio_,)]

IS found in clear brooks and rivers in most parts of Europe. It is from
four to five inches long; the head is large in proportion to the body,
broad and depressed; the gill fins round, and beautifully notched. The
mouth is large and full of small teeth; the general colour of the body
is a dark brownish black. This fish is remarkably stupid, and may be
caught with ease by the most inexperienced angler, even with a bent pin
and coarse thread. Its hiding-places are among loose stones, under which
the peculiar flattened form of its head enables it to thrust itself. Its
popular name seems to have suggested itself from the resemblance the
head of the fish is supposed to bear to the form of a miller’s thumb,
the peculiar conformation of which is produced by his mode of testing
samples of meal.

THE STICKLEBACK, (_Gastuostius aculiatus_,)

IS one of our smallest fishes, and appears to live indifferently in
fresh and salt water. It is exceedingly common in every pond, and may be
caught easily, either with a hand-net, or by fishing for it with a small
worm tied to the end of a piece of cotton; he bites at this so boldly
that he may be drawn out of the water without the aid of a hook. His
name of Stickleback is given to him from his having thin spines on the
back instead of a fin; the sides of his body are covered with thin bony
plates, and his ventral fins consist of single, strong, and sharp
spines, which constitute formidable offensive weapons.

The Stickleback, although so common, is one of the most interesting of
fishes, on account of the singularity of its habits in the breeding
season. Instead of depositing its eggs in the sand or mud, and leaving
them to take care of themselves, the Stickleback builds a curious nest
of fragments of vegetable matter, and defends this most valiantly
against all intruders until the hatching of the young; the parental
solicitude does not cease until the young Sticklebacks have grown too
big to be any longer controlled. One curious feature in the business is,
that it is the male that takes all this trouble; he builds the nest,
exposes himself to every danger in its defence, and watches anxiously
over the vagaries of his young progeny, the female having nothing to do
but to deposit her eggs in the already prepared nest.

The Stickleback is an extremely pugnacious fish. The males fight
together furiously, and the colours of their bodies become much more
brilliant while they are so occupied than at any other time.

[Illustration: THE ELECTRICAL EEL. (_Gymnotus Electricus._)]

THIS very remarkable fish is about five or six feet in length, and
twelve inches in circumference, in the thickest part of the body. The
head is broad, flat, and large; the mouth wide and destitute of teeth;
the rostrum obtuse and rounded; the eyes small and of a bluish colour;
the back of a darkish brown, the sides grey, and the abdomen of a dingy
white. Across the body there are several annular divisions, or rather
ridges of the skin, which give the fish the power of contracting or
dilating itself at pleasure. There is no dorsal fin, and the ventral
fins are also wanting, as in all the Eels. It is able to swim backwards
as well as forwards.

Mr. Bryant mentions an instance of the shock from one of these fish
being felt through a considerable thickness of wood. One morning, while
he was standing by, as a servant was emptying a tub, in which an
Electrical Eel was contained, he had lifted it entirely from the ground,
and was pouring off the water to renew it, when he received a shock so
violent as occasioned him to let the tub fall. He then called another
person to his assistance, and they lifted up the tub together, each
laying hold only on the outside. When they were pouring off the
remainder of the water, they received a shock so smart that they were
compelled to desist.

Persons have been knocked down with a stroke. One of these fish having
been taken from a net and laid upon the grass, an English sailor,
notwithstanding all the persuasions that were used to prevent him, would
insist on taking it up; but the moment he grasped it he dropped down in
a fit; his eyes were fixed, his face became livid, and it was not
without difficulty that his senses were restored. He said that the
instant he touched it “the cold ran swiftly up his arm into his body,
and pierced him to the heart.”

Humboldt tells us that when the Indians wish to catch these Eels they
drive some wild horses through the pools which the fish inhabit; and
that when the Eels have exhausted their electrical power upon the
horses, the Indians take them without difficulty. He relates an instance
in which he says that the horses, stunned with the shocks they received,
sank under water, but most of them rose again, and gained the shore,
where they lay stretched out on the ground, apparently quite exhausted
and without the power of moving, so much were they stupefied and
benumbed. In about a quarter of an hour, however, the Eels appeared to
have exhausted themselves, and, instead of attacking fresh horses that
were driven into the pond, fled before them. The Indians then entered
the water and caught as many fish as they liked.[B]

[B] See a very animated account of the capture of this fish, in
Humboldt’s “Views of Nature,” page 16 (_Bohn’s Edition_).

This most singular fish is peculiar to South America, where it is found
only in stagnant pools, at a great distance from the sea.

[Illustration: THE EEL. (_Anguilla vulgaris._)]

THE EEL resembles a serpent in its form, though no two animals can be
more different in every other respect. Eels are fresh-water fish; but as
they are very susceptible of cold, those which inhabit rivers go down
every autumn towards the sea, which is always warmer than a river, and
return in spring. They are said also to spawn in the sea, and great
numbers of young Eels are seen in spring ascending tidal rivers. Mr.
Edward Jesse, in his edition of “Walton’s Angler,” says: “A column of
them has been traced in the Thames from Somerset House to Oxford, about
the middle of May, and I have watched their progress with much interest.
No impediment stops them. They keep as much as possible close
alongshore, and as they pass watercourses, open ditches, and brooks,
&c., some of them leave the column and enter these places, along which
they eventually make their way to ponds, smaller rivers, &c. So strong
is the migratory instinct in these little eels, that when I have taken
some in a bucket and returned them to the river at some distance from
the column, they have immediately rejoined it without any deviation to
the right or left. On the banks of the Thames the passage is called
_Eel-fare_. Two observers, watching their progress at Kingston,
calculated that from sixteen to eighteen hundred passed a given line per
minute. Rennie saw (on the 13th of May) a column of young eels of
uniform size, about as thick as a crow-quill, and three inches long,
returning to the river Clyde, in almost military order, keeping within
parallel lines of about six inches. He traced it for several hours
without perceiving any diminution.” Those that live in ponds seek the
deep water for their winter quarters, and sometimes bury themselves in
the mud at the bottom. They are very tenacious of life, and will live
for a long time out of water; they are even sometimes found on the
grass, passing from one pond to another, in search, it is said, of food.

They are voracious feeders, eating frogs, snails, and other molluscous
animals, worms, the fry of fishes, and the larvæ of various insects, as
well as grass and aquatic weeds. Mr. Jesse states that he has known them
to eat young ducks, and even water-rats.

The Eel is caught in many different ways. As it seldom stirs during the
day, the best method is found to be by setting night-lines. The baits
most commonly used are lob-worms, loach, minnows, small perch, with the
fins cut off, or small pieces of any fish; but such is the voracity of
this animal that it will take almost any bait.

Spearing for Eels is a method very commonly resorted to during the
winter, when Eels imbed themselves in a state of torpidity in the muddy
banks of streams and ponds. Eel-spears have usually six or seven prongs,
with long handles. The process consists merely in plunging them into the
mud in likely places, and pulling them out again.

There seems to be no reason for supposing, as is commonly done, that
Eels are viviparous; parasitic worms have sometimes been mistaken for
the young animals.

The common Eel often weighs upwards of twenty pounds. The flesh is
tender, soft, and nourishing, but does not agree with all stomachs.

THE CONGER, OR SEA EEL, (_Conger vulgaris_,)

IS very large and thick. Its body is dusky above, and silvery below; the
dorsal and anal fins are edged with black; and the lateral line is
dotted with white. Its flesh is firm, and was much esteemed by the
ancients. It is still eaten by the poorer classes, especially in seaside
towns, but would be considered coarse and tasteless by most people in
the present day.

The voracity of the Conger Eel is very great, and it is one of the most
powerful enemies with which the fishermen of the British islands have to
contend. Being usually caught by a hook and line, it requires some care
to land and kill the large ones without danger. We are informed that, on
such occasions, they have been known to entwine themselves round the
legs of a fisherman, and fight with the utmost fury. They are almost
incredibly strong and tenacious of life. When pulled up by the line and
landed in a boat, they make a loud, hoarse, grating sound, almost
resembling the angry snarling of a dog, which often terrifies the
amateur fisherman. Unless seized with great care, they bite most
severely. It is even said that men have occasionally been permanently
maimed by them. A Conger, six feet in length, was caught in the Wash, at
Yarmouth, in April, 1808: but not without a severe contest with the man
who had seized it. The animal is stated to have risen half erect, and to
have actually knocked the fisherman down before he could secure it. This
Conger weighed only about sixty pounds: but some of the largest exceed
even a hundredweight.

Book IV.


§ 1. _Serpents, or Ophidian Reptiles._

[Illustration: SERPENTS.]

SERPENTS are characterised by an elongated body, clothed in scales and
destitute of limbs, but furnished with a tail. They move by lateral
undulations of the body; and in this manner they glide with equal ease
along the bare ground, through entangled thickets or water, and up the
trunks of trees. They possess the power of fasting a great length of
time, and when they feed always swallow their prey whole, which they are
enabled to accomplish by their faculty of dilating their bodies to an
enormous size. This power is carried to such an extent that a Boa
Constrictor can swallow a bullock whole, suffering no other
inconvenience than that of lying in a state of torpor while digestion is
proceeding. Serpents generally roll themselves up when in a state of
repose, with the head in the centre; and when disturbed raise the head
before they uncoil the body. The Serpent is often made a subject of
poetry; and as it was the form adopted by the arch fiend to seduce Eve,
it is generally considered the emblem of insinuation and flattery:

    “---- ---- ---- ---- on his rear,
     Circular base of rising folds that tower’d
     Fold above fold, surprising maze, his head
     Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes.     With burnish’d neck of verdant gold, erect
     Amidst his circling spires that on the grass
     Floated redundant; pleasing was his shape
     And lovely.... Oft he bow’d
     His turret crest and sleek enamell’d neck,
     Fawning, and lick’d the ground whereon she trod.”
                   PARADISE LOST.

The ancients paid great honours to Serpents, and sometimes called them
good genii: they frequented sepulchres and burying-places, and were
addressed like the tutelary divinities of these places. We read, in the
fifth book of the Æneid, that when the Trojan hero sacrificed to his
father’s ghost, a Serpent of this kind made his appearance:

    “---- ---- and from the tomb begun to glide
     His hugy bulk on seven high volumes roll’d;
     Blue was his breadth of back, and streak’d with scaly gold.
     Thus riding on his curls he seemed to pass
     A rolling fire along, and singe the grass;
     More various colours through his body run,
     Than Iris when her bow imbibes the sun.
     Between the rising altars and around,
     The sacred monster shot along the ground;
     With harmless play among the bowls he pass’d,
     And with his lolling tongue assay’d the taste:
     Thus fed with holy food, the wondrous guest
     Within the hollow tomb retired to rest.”

This animal was exalted to the honour of being an emblem of prudence,
and even of eternity; and is often represented as the latter in Egyptian
hieroglyphics, biting his tail, so as to form a circle. Serpents are
very numerous in Africa; and Lucan, in his “Pharsalia,” gives us a very
extraordinary account of the different species, which he seems to have
drawn partly from ancient Greek authors, partly from actual traditions.
He says:

    “Why plagues like these infect the Libyan air;
     Why deaths unknown in various shapes appear;
     Why, fruitful to destroy, the cursed land
     Is temper’d thus by Nature’s secret hand;
     Dark and obscure the hidden cause remains,
     And still deludes the vain inquirer’s pains.”
                ROWE’S “LUCAN."
Serpents differ very much in size. We are told of Serpents in the Isle
of Java measuring fifty feet in length; and in the British Museum there
is a skin of one thirty-two feet long.

[Illustration: THE VIPER, OR ADDER, (_Vipera berus_,)]

IS a venomous species of serpent that seldom exceeds the length of two
or three feet, and is of a dull yellowish brown colour with black spots,
the abdomen being entirely black; the head is nearly in the shape of a
lozenge, and much thicker than the body. The Viper is viviparous; yet it
is ascertained that the eggs are formed, though they are hatched in the
body of the mother.

The Reverend Mr. White, of Selborne, in company with a friend, surprised
a large female Viper, as she lay on the grass, basking in the sun, which
seemed very heavy and bloated. As Vipers are so venomous that they
should be destroyed, they killed her; and afterwards, being curious to
know what made her so large, they opened her, and found in her abdomen
fifteen young ones, about the size of full-grown earth-worms. This
little fry issued into the world with the true Viper spirit about them,
showing great alertness as soon as they were disengaged from the body of
their parent. They twisted and wriggled about, set themselves up, and
gaped very wide when touched with a stick; exhibiting manifest tokens of
menace and defiance, though as yet no fangs could be discovered, even by
the help of glasses.

Vipers attain their full growth in seven years; they feed on frogs,
toads, lizards, and other animals of that kind, and it is even asserted
that they catch mice and small birds, of which they seem very fond. They
cast their skin every year. The two front teeth in the upper jaw of the
Viper are furnished with a small bladder containing poison. There is no
doubt but this poison, which appears to have been infused into the jaws
of the Viper and other serpents by Providence, as a means of revenge
upon their enemies, is so harmless to the animal itself, that when
swallowed by it it only serves to accelerate its digestion. These
venomous teeth or fangs stand, each by itself, upon a small movable
bone; this arrangement enables the creature to fold down its fearful
weapons in the mouth, and to erect them instantly when it has occasion
to make use of them. The Viper is very patient of hunger, and may be
kept more than six months without food. When in confinement, it refuses
all sustenance, and the sharpness of its poison decreases in proportion:
when at liberty, it remains torpid throughout the winter; yet, when
confined, it has never been observed to take its annual repose.

The Viper is a native of many parts of this island, chiefly the dry and
chalky counties. Its flesh was formerly used for broth, and much
esteemed in medicine, particularly to restore debilitated constitutions.
It was also used as a cosmetic, being supposed to render the complexion
fair. It was probably from the use made by the ancients of this animal
in medicine that Esculapius is represented with a serpent. The best
remedy against the bite of the Viper is to suck the wound, which may be
done without danger, and after this to rub it with sweet oil, and
poultice it with bread and milk.

[Illustration: THE HORNED VIPER. (_Cerastes Hasselquistii._)]

THIS species of Viper is nearly allied to the asp, and has a pointed and
solid horny substance on each eyelid, formed of two projecting scales:
its body is of a pale yellowish or greyish colour, with distant
sub-ovate transverse brown spots; and in length it is from one to two

This species is often mentioned by the ancients. Pliny tells us that
“the serpent Cerastes hath many times four small horns, standing out
double; with moving whereof she amuseth the birds, and traineth them
unto her for to catch them, hiding all the rest of her body.”

It is found in the sandy deserts of Egypt and the neighbouring
countries, and is believed to be the Asp with which Cleopatra eluded the
disgrace of becoming a prisoner to her Roman conqueror.

[Illustration: THE RATTLE-SNAKE, (_Crotalus horridus_,)]

IS a native of the New World, and grows to five or six, and sometimes to
eight feet in length, and is nearly as thick as a man’s leg. It is not
unlike the viper, having a large head and small neck, and inflicting a
very dangerous wound. Over each eye is a large pendulous scale, the use
of which has not yet been ascertained; the body is scaly and hard,
variegated with several different colours. The principal characteristic
of this justly dreaded serpent is the rattle, a kind of instrument
resembling the curb-chain of a bridle, at the extremity of the tail; it
is formed of thin, hard, hollow bones, linked together, and rattling on
the least motion. When disturbed, the creature shakes this rattle with
considerable noise and rapidity, striking terror into all the smaller
animals, which are afraid of the destructive venom that this serpent
communicates to the wounded limb with his bite. The wound the
Rattle-snake inflicts, through the uncommon sharpness and rapid fluency
of the poison, generally terminates the torment and life of the unhappy
victim in the course of six or seven hours.

A snake of this kind exhibited in London at a menagerie of foreign
animals, in the year 1810, wounded a carpenter’s hand, who was repairing
its cage, and seeking for his rule. The man suffered the most
excruciating pain, and his life could not be saved, although medical
assistance was immediately applied, and every effort made to prevent
the dire effect of the poison. The proprietor was condemned to pay a
deodand for the injury done by the serpent.

[Illustration: THE HAJE, OR EGYPTIAN ASP. (_Naja Haje._)]

THE HAJE, or Egyptian Asp, is from three to six feet in length; it has
two teeth longer than the rest, through which the venom flows. The body
is covered with small round scales, and is of a greenish colour,
bordered with brown; its neck is capable of inflation. The jugglers of
Egypt, by pressing this Asp on the nape of the neck with the finger,
throw the animal into a kind of catalepsy, which renders it stiff and
immovable; when they say that they have changed it into a rod. The habit
which this species has of raising itself up when approached, induced the
ancient Egyptians to believe that it guarded the fields where it was
found; and it is sculptured on the gates of their temples as an emblem
of the protecting divinity of the world.


CALLED by the Indians the _Nagao_, is from three to eight feet long,
with two long fangs in the upper jaw. It has a broad neck, and a mark of
dark brown on the forehead; which, when viewed frontwise, looks like a
pair of spectacles; but behind, like the head of a cat. The eyes are
fierce and full of fire; the head is small, and the nose flat, though
covered with very large scales, of a yellowish ash-colour: the skin is
white, and the large tumour on the neck is flat and covered with oblong
smooth scales. This serpent is extremely dreaded by the British
residents in India, as its bite has hitherto been found to be incurable,
and the sufferer generally dies in half an hour.

Of this kind are the dancing-snakes, which are carried in baskets
throughout Hindoostan, and procure a maintenance for a set of people,
who play a few simple notes on the flute, with which the snakes seem
much delighted, and keep time by a graceful motion of the head; erecting
about half their length from the ground, and following the music with
gentle curves, like the undulating lines of a swan’s neck. It is a
well-attested fact, that, when a house is infested with these snakes,
and some other of the coluber genus, which destroy poultry and small
domestic animals, as also by the larger serpents of the boa tribe, the
musicians are sent for; who, by playing on a flageolet, find out their
hiding places, and charm them to destruction: for no sooner do the
snakes hear the music, than they come softly from their retreat, and are
easily taken. I imagine these musical snakes were known in Palestine,
from the Psalmist comparing the ungodly to the deaf adder, which
stoppeth her ears, and refuseth to hear the voice of the charmer, charm
he never so wisely.

[Illustration: THE SNAKE, (_Coluber natrix_,)]

IS the largest of all English serpents, sometimes exceeding four feet in
length. The colour of the body is variegated with yellow, green, white,
and regular spots of brown and black. They seem to enjoy themselves when
basking in the sun, at the foot of an old wall. This animal is perfectly
innoxious, although many reports have been circulated and believed to
the contrary; it feeds on frogs, worms, mice, and various kinds of
insects, and passes the greater part of the winter in a state of
torpidity. In the spring they re-appear, and at this season uniformly
cast their skins. This is a process that they also seem to undergo in
autumn. Mr. White says: “About the middle of September we found in a
field, near a hedge, the slough of a large snake, which seemed to have
been newly cast. It appeared as if turned wrong side outward, and as if
it had been drawn off backward, like a stocking or a woman’s glove. Not
only the whole skin, but even the scales from the eyes were peeled off,
and appeared in the slough like a pair of spectacles. The reptile, at
the time of changing his coat, had entangled himself intricately in the
grass and weeds, in order that the friction of the stalks and blades
might promote this curious shifting of his exuvia.”

[Illustration: THE BOA CONSTRICTOR.]

THIS immense animal is often twenty feet in length, and sometimes even
thirty-five; the ground colour of its skin is yellowish grey, on which
is distributed, along the back, a series of large chain-like, reddish
brown, and sometimes perfectly red, variegations, with other smaller and
more irregular marks and spots. It is a native of South America, where
it chiefly resides in the most retired situations in woods and marshes.

The bite of this snake is not venomous, nor is the animal believed to
bite at all, except to seize its prey. It kills its prey by twining
round it and crushing its bones.

The _Python_ and the _Anaconda_, which are at least as large as the Boa
Constrictor, are found chiefly in the Indian Islands: they are very
similar both in form and colouring to the Boa, and have exactly the same

These monsters will attack and devour the largest animals, of which the
following is an instance: A Boa had for some time been waiting near the
brink of a pool in expectation of its prey, when a buffalo appeared.
Having darted upon the affrighted beast, it instantly began to encircle
him with its voluminous twistings, and at every twist the bones of the
buffalo were heard to crack as loud as the report of a gun. It was in
vain that the animal struggled and bellowed; its enormous enemy entwined
it so closely that at length all its bones were crushed to pieces, like
those of a malefactor on the wheel, and the whole body was reduced to
one uniform mass: the serpent then untwined its folds in order to
swallow its prey at leisure. To prepare for this, and also to make it
slip down the throat more smoothly, it licked the whole body over,
covering it with a mucilaginous substance. It then began to swallow it,
at the end that afforded the least resistance, and in the act of
swallowing, the throat suffered so great a dilation as to take in a
substance that was thrice its own ordinary thickness.

[Illustration: THE AMPHISBÆNA. (_Amphisbæna fuliginosa._)]

THIS name is now applied only to a genus of South American reptiles,
which are of a harmless nature, being destitute of those fangs which
prepare the venom in poisonous serpents. It is indeed doubtful whether
the Amphisbænas are really snakes, and by many naturalists they are
arranged amongst the lizards, although they have no limbs. The head is
so small, and the tail so thick and short, that at first sight it is
difficult to distinguish one from the other; and this circumstance,
united to the animal’s habit of proceeding either backwards or forwards
as occasion may require, gave rise to the supposition throughout the
native regions of the Amphisbæna, that it had two heads, one at each
extremity, and that it was impossible to destroy one by simple cutting,
as the two heads would mutually seek one another and reunite! The colour
of the commonest species is a deep brown varied with patches of white.
The body is ornamented by more than two hundred rings, and the tail by
about twenty-five. The eyes are almost concealed by a thick membrane,
and this, together with their small size, has given rise to the idea
that the Amphisbæna is blind. It grows to the length of eighteen inches
or two feet. Its food consists of worms and insects, and especially
ants, in the mounds of which it generally conceals itself. The ancients
gave the name of Amphisbæna to what they considered a two-headed
serpent; but it is not known with certainty which of the serpent tribe
they meant, as their Amphisbæna is described by Lucan as venomous,
though in his lines elegance of language, beauty of versification, and
liveliness of fancy, have perhaps a greater claim than truth to the
admiration of the reader:--

    “With hissings fierce, dire Amphisbænas rear
     Their double heads, and rouse the soldier’s fear.
     Eager he flies: more eager they pursue;
     On every side the onset quick renew!
     With equal swiftness face or shun the prey,
     And follow fast when thought to run away.
     Thus on the looms the busy shuttles glide,
     Alternate fly, and shoot at either side.”

§ II. _Batrachian Reptiles._

[Illustration: THE FROG. (_Rana temporaria._)]

WHEN this reptile issues from the egg it is merely a black, oval mass,
with a slender tail. This tadpole, as it is then called, is the embryo
of the Frog, and when it has attained a certain size its body gradually
acquires the form of that of the Frog, its legs sprout from its sides,
and finally its tail is cast off. This metamorphosis is one of the most
curious in nature, and deserves our observation. Like other reptiles, it
is not necessary for it to breathe in order to put its blood into
circulation, as it has a communication between the two ventricles of the
heart. It lives during spring in ponds, brooks, muddy ditches, marshy
grounds, and other watery places, in summer in corn-fields and pasture
land. Its voice proceeds from two bladders, one on each side of the
mouth, which it can fill with wind. When it croaks, it puts its head
out of the water. The hinder legs of the Frog are much longer than the
fore ones, to help it in its repeated and extensive leaps. The whole of
the body bears a little resemblance to some of the warm-blooded animals,
principally about the thighs and the toes. The Frog is extremely
tenacious of life, and often survives the abscission of its head for
several hours. It is supposed that Frogs spend the whole winter at the
bottom of some stagnant water in a state of torpidity.

There are several species of the Frog; they are all oviparous, and the
eggs are gelatinous. The _Edible Frog_ is the species used in France and
Germany for food; it is considerably larger than the common kind, and
though rare in England, is very plentiful in France, Germany, and Italy.
Its colour is olive green, marked with black patches on the back, and on
its limbs with transverse bars of the same. From the tip of the nose
three distinct stripes of pale yellow extend to the extremity of the
body, the middle one slightly depressed, and the lateral ones
considerably elevated. The upper parts are of a pale whitish colour,
tinged with green, and marked with irregular brown spots. These
creatures are brought from the country, thirty or forty thousand at a
time, to Vienna, and sold to the great dealers, who have froggeries for
them, which are pits four or five feet deep, dug in the ground, the
mouth covered with a board, and in severe weather with straw. In the
year 1793, there were but three great dealers in Vienna, by whom those
persons who brought them to the markets ready for the cook were
supplied. Only the legs and thighs are eaten, and these are always
skinned. They are rather dear, being considered a great delicacy. The
Edible Frogs are caught in various ways, sometimes in the night, by
means of nets, into which they are attracted by the light of torches
that are carried out for the purpose, and sometimes by hooks, baited
with worms, insects, flesh, or even a bit of red cloth. They are
exceedingly voracious, and seize everything that moves before them.

[Illustration: THE TOAD, (_Bufo vulgaris_,)]

WHOSE very name seems to carry with it something of an opprobrious
meaning, is not unworthy the attention of the observer of nature; for,
though prejudice and false associations have affixed a stigma on certain
species of animals, none of the works of our Creator are despicable, but
all, the more minutely they are examined, the greater claim they are
found to have to our admiration. Somewhat like the frog in the body, it
also resembles that animal in its habits; but the frog leaps, while the
Toad crawls. It is an error to suppose the Toad to be a noxious and
venomous animal; it is as harmless as the frog, and, like some of the
human kind, only labours under the stigma of undeserved calumny. Several
stories have been related of its spitting poison, or knowing how to
expel the venom it may have received from the spider or any other
animals; but these fables have been long exploded. A curious and yet
inexplicable phenomenon is that Toads have been said to be found alive
in the centre of large blocks of stone, where they must have subsisted
without food and respiration for a number of years. The following are
recorded examples: In the year 1719, M. Hubert, professor of philosophy
at Caen, was witness to a living Toad being taken from the solid trunk
of an elm-tree. It was lodged exactly in the centre, and filled the
whole of the space that contained it. The tree was in every other
respect firm and sound. Dr. Bradley saw a Toad taken from the trunk of a
large oak. In the year 1733, a live Toad was discovered by M. Grayburg
in a hard and solid block of stone which had been dug up in a quarry in
Gothland. On being touched with a stick upon the head, he informs us, it
contracted its eyes as if asleep, and when the stick was moved gradually
opened them. Its mouth had no aperture, but was closed round with a
yellowish skin. On being pressed with the stick on the back, a small
quantity of clear water issued from it behind, and it immediately died.
A living Toad was found in a block of marble at Chillingham Castle,
belonging to Lord Tankerville, near Alnwick, in Northumberland.

Some of these cases are related in a manner which renders it difficult
to doubt that the observers described _what they thought they saw_; but
the occurrence of the phenomena, as described, seems to be so utterly
impossible that we are forced to suppose that those writers have been
misled in some way. That there is some foundation for many of the
stories in question we can have no doubt, but we must look forward to
further observations for their explanation; as Mr. Bell says: “To
believe that a Toad, inclosed within a mass of clay, or other similar
substance, shall exist wholly without air or food, for hundreds of
years, and at length be liberated alive, and capable of crawling, on the
breaking up of the matrix, now become a solid rock, is certainly a
demand upon our credulity which few would be ready to answer.”

With regard to the length of life of these animals, it is impossible to
state anything decisive, but several facts prove that some of them have
been gifted with astonishing longevity.

A correspondent of Mr. Pennant’s supplied him with some curious
particulars respecting a domestic Toad, which continued in the same
place for _thirty-six_ years. It frequented the steps before the
hall-door of a gentleman’s house in Devonshire. By being constantly fed,
it was rendered so tame as always to come out of its hole in the evening
when a candle was brought, and to look up as if expecting to be carried
into the house, where it was frequently fed with insects. An animal of
this description being so much noticed and befriended excited the
curiosity of all who came to the house, and even females so far
conquered the horrors instilled into them by their nurses as generally
to request to see it fed. It appeared most partial to flesh-maggots,
which were kept for it in bran. It would follow them on the table, and,
when within a proper distance, would fix its eyes and remain motionless
for a little while, apparently to prepare for the stroke which was to
follow, and which was instantaneous. It threw out its tongue to a great
distance, and the insect, stuck by the glutinous matter to its tip, was
swallowed by a motion quicker than the eye could follow. After having
been kept more than thirty-six years it was at length destroyed by a
tame raven, which one day seeing it at the mouth of its hole pulled it
out, and so wounded it that it died.

[Illustration: THE SURINAM TOAD, (_Pipa Americana_,)]

WHICH is one of the ugliest of all Toads, is remarkable for the mode in
which the young are developed. The female, like that of the common Toad,
deposits her eggs at the edge of the water, but instead of leaving them
there, the male takes the mass of eggs and places them on the back of
his partner, pressing them down into a number of curious pits, which are
produced in that part at the breeding season. When each of the pits has
received its egg, the orifice becomes closed by a sort of lid, and the
young animal goes through all its changes from the tadpole to the
perfect Toad in this rather confined space. This curious Toad is found
in Guiana; it frequents the dark corners of the houses, and,
notwithstanding its intense ugliness, is eaten by the natives.

[Illustration: THE COMMON NEWT. (_Triton aquaticus._)]

BESIDES the frogs and toads, which have no tails when arrived at their
perfect form, there are several Batrachian Reptiles in which this
appendage is permanent. The best known of these are the Newts, of which
two kinds are very common in ponds during the spring. The common Newt is
three or four inches in length, and is of a pale brown colour above, and
orange with black spots below. It has four little webbed feet and a
flattened tail. In swimming, the legs are turned backwards to lessen
resistance, and the animal is propelled principally by the tail. Their
progression at the bottom of the water and on land is performed
creepingly with their small and weak feet. These animals live during the
autumn and winter under stones and clods of earth, and come down to the
water in February or March for the purpose of depositing their eggs
there. The eggs are carefully inclosed by the parents in the leaves of
aquatic plants. The young, when first hatched, are in the form of
tadpoles; the legs afterwards sprout from the sides of the body, but the
tail is not cast off, as in the frogs. The old Newts remain in the water
until July or August.

THE GREAT NEWT. (_Triton palustris._)

THIS, the largest British species of the Newt, is by no means uncommon
in our ponds and ditches. It is about six inches in length; its back is
dark, and its under side is orange-coloured, sprinkled with small black
spots; altogether it is darker and richer in colour than the common
species. During the breeding season the males of both species, but
especially those of the larger one, are adorned with membranous crests,
and their colours become much more vivid. Their tenacity of life is very
great; when mutilated, they will reproduce the lost parts, and they may
be frozen into a solid lump of ice without losing their vitality. With
regard to its habits, this animal is a most voracious creature, and
devours unsparingly aquatic insects, and, in fact, any small animal
which happens to come in its way. For tadpoles it seems to have a
special predilection, and its greediness is such that it has not escaped
the charge of cannibalism. These Newts have more than once been taken in
the act of devouring individuals of the smaller species, but of such a
size that there seems to have been considerable difficulty in swallowing

§ III. _Saurian Reptiles._

[Illustration: THE LIZARD. (_Lacerta vivipara._)]

THIS is a British species, and is one of the very few reptiles found in
Ireland. Its movements are most graceful. It comes out of its
hiding-place during the day to bask in the sun, and when it sees an
insect it darts like lightning upon it, seizing it with its sharp little
teeth, and soon swallowing it. The young are produced in eggs, which are
generally hatched the moment they are laid, the skin of the egg being so
thin that the young Lizard can be seen through it.

The _Green Lizard_ (_Lacerta viridis_) is a beautiful creature. Its
colours are more brilliant and beautiful than those of any other
European species, and exhibit a rich and varied mixture of darker and
lighter green, interspersed with specks and marks of yellow, brown,
black, and sometimes even red. The head is covered with large angular
scales, and the rest of the upper parts with very small ones. The tail
is generally much longer than the body. Beneath the throat there is a
kind of collar, formed by scales of much darker colour than the rest of
the animal.

The Lizard seems occasionally to lay aside its natural gentleness of
disposition, but no further than for the purpose of obtaining food. Mr.
Edwards once surprised a Lizard in the act of fighting with a small
bird, as she sat on her nest in a vine against a wall, with
newly-hatched young. He supposed that the Lizard would have made a prey
of the latter, could it have driven the old bird from her nest. He
watched the contest for some time; but, on his near approach, the Lizard
dropped to the ground, and the bird flew off.

THE IGUANA, (_Iguana tuberculata_,)

WHICH is found commonly in the tropical parts of America, is a large
kind of lizard, often measuring four or five feet in length. It has a
crest of long teeth, looking like a comb, along its back; its tail is
long, tapering, and slender; and beneath its throat it has a sort of
pouch which it can dilate considerably. The colour of this lizard is
greenish, with brown bands on the tail. The Iguana is found in trees,
and feeds chiefly on fruits and other vegetable substances. It is
usually caught when reposing upon a branch, and by a very simple
process: the hunter approaches it whistling, and the animal is stupid
enough to sit still, no doubt enjoying the music, until a noose,
attached to the end of a stick, is passed over its head. It is captured
for the sake of its flesh, which is regarded as very delicate.

An Iguana, which was kept for some time in a hothouse at Bristol, was
fed on the leaves of kidney bean plants, which it devoured eagerly,
after refusing every other kind of food that had been offered it. It
seems certain that Iguanas in their natural state are not entirely
herbivorous, but feed on insects, the eggs of birds, and other animal
matter, as well as on plants. They will occasionally take to the water,
and seem to swim with ease. Notwithstanding its repulsive and even
frightful appearance, the Iguana is perfectly harmless and inoffensive.


(_Draco volans._)]

THE Flying Dragons, those terrible creatures described by the older
naturalists, are undoubtedly fabulous and, indeed, impossible creatures,
and either entirely products of the imagination of the vulgar, or
founded upon specimens manufactured for the express purpose of taking in
the naturalist, who, in old times, was a little too ready to believe in
wonders of this kind. The wings of a bat attached to a body and legs
made up from half a dozen animals would furnish a capital Dragon in
former times. Modern naturalists apply the name of Dragon to some little
lizards inhabiting the East Indies, and which have none of those
terrible qualities ascribed to the fabled monsters of antiquity. They
are related to the Iguanas, but have on each side of the body a
membranous expansion, stiffened by the prolongation into it of the first
six false ribs; this acts as a sort of parachute, and enables the little
creatures, not to fly, but to leap or glide through the air to
considerable distances between one tree and another. They live entirely
in trees, and feed on insects.

[Illustration: THE CHAMELEON. (_Chamæleo vulgaris._)]

    “A lizard’s body, lean and long,
     A fish’s head, a serpent’s tongue;
     Its foot with triple claw disjoin’d;
     And what a length of tail behind!
     How slow its pace! and then its hue!”

THE CHAMELEON is a small animal, about ten inches long, and its tail
nearly the same length. Its body is covered with small compressed scaly
granules; its back is edged, and its tail round, long, and tapering. Its
feet have each five toes, which are situated three one way and two
another, in order to enable it to lay firm hold of the branches: but
wherever it happens that these are too large for the animal to grasp
with its feet, it coils round them its long, prehensile tail, and fixes
its claws strongly into the bark. When walking on the ground, it steps
forward in an extremely cautious manner, seeming never to lift one foot
until it is well assured of the firmness of the rest. From these
precautions, its motions have a ridiculous appearance of gravity, when
contrasted with the smallness of its size, and the activity that might
be expected from an animal so nearly allied to some of the most lively
in the creation. Though the Chameleon is repulsive in its appearance, it
is perfectly harmless. It feeds only on insects, for which the structure
of its tongue is well adapted, being long and protrusive, and furnished
with a dilated, glutinous, and somewhat tubular tip. With this it seizes
on insects with the greatest ease, darting it out and immediately
retracting it, with the prey thus secured, which it swallows whole. The
strange notion that Chameleons were able to feed on air, seems to have
arisen merely from the circumstance of these animals, like all others of
the lizard family, being able to subsist for a great length of time
without food. The eyes of the Chameleon have the singular property of
looking at the same instant in different directions; one of them may be
seen to move when the other is at rest, or one will be directed forward,
whilst the other is attending to some object behind, or in a similar
manner upward and downward. It has the power of inflating its body to
double its ordinary size, and at these times it is transparent. It can
undoubtedly change its colour, but it is not true that it takes that of
any object it may be near. On the contrary, its change of colour depends
on its being exposed to a very strong light; and it only changes from
its natural dull grey to a beautiful green, spotted unequally with red.
Africa is the native country of the Chameleons, of which there are
fourteen species; but two of them are found also in different parts of
Asia and New Holland, and one (_C. vulgaris_) in the south of Europe;
but this animal has never been found in any part of America.


(_Crocodilus vulgaris._)]

THIS animal is frequently thirty feet long. The female lays its eggs in
the sand, where they are hatched by the heat of the sun; and the mother
is said to take no care of the young ones. The head of this species, as
of all the true Crocodiles, is twice as long as it is broad; the snout
is pointed and unequal, and the eyes, which are small, are placed very
far asunder. The colour is a greenish bronze, speckled with brown, and
of a yellowish green underneath: six rows of nearly equal-sized plates
run along the back. This Crocodile is less ferocious than some of the
other kinds, and, when taken young, may be tamed. It is common in
Senegal and other parts of Africa, as well as in the Nile.

The method which the African adopts to kill this formidable creature
displays considerable ingenuity and courage. Having wrapped a thick
cloth round his arm, and provided himself with a long knife, he proceeds
to the known haunt, usually a reedy swamp or river. The moment the
Crocodile perceives him it rushes at him with open mouth, but is coolly
received by its antagonist, who thrusts his covered arm between its
jaws. The teeth cannot pierce through the thick folds of the cloth, so
that his arm only gets a smart squeeze, and before the creature can
disengage itself, he adroitly cuts its throat.

The _Gavials_ have very long, slender snouts, and their hind feet are
webbed to the ends of the toes. These animals grow to the length of
twenty-five feet, and when large are as dangerous and destructive as the
Nilotic Crocodile. They are found abundantly in the Ganges, and in the
fresh waters of most parts of India and its islands.

A short time before M. Navarette was at the Manillas, he was told that,
as a young woman was washing her feet at one of the rivers, an Alligator
seized and carried her off. Her husband, to whom she had been but just
married, hearing her screams, threw himself headlong into the water,
and, with a dagger in his hand, pursued the robber. He overtook and
fought the animal with such success as to recover his wife; but,
unfortunately for her brave rescuer, she died before she could be
brought to the shore.


(_Alligator lucius._)]

THE habits of the Alligator are much the same as those of the
crocodile. The principal mark of distinction is, that the former has its
head and part of the neck more smooth than the latter, and the snout is
considerably more wide and flat, as well as more rounded at the
extremity. The largest of these animals do not usually exceed eighteen
feet. Alligators are natives of the warmer parts of America, and are the
dread of all living animals. Their voracity is so great that they do not
spare even mankind.

The voice of the Alligator is loud and harsh. They have an unpleasant
and powerful musky scent. M. Pagés says, that near one of the rivers in
America, where they were numerous, their effluvia was so strong as to
impregnate his provisions, and even to give them the nauseous taste of
rotten musk. This effluvium proceeds chiefly from four glands, two of
which are situated in the groin, near each thigh, and the other two at
the breast, under each fore leg. Dampier informs us that, when his men
killed an Alligator, they generally took out these glands, and, after
having dried them, wore them in their hats by way of perfume.

The following anecdote of the voracity of this animal is related by
Waterton, in his “Wanderings in South America”:--“One Sunday evening,
some years ago, as I was walking with Don Felipe de Ynciarte, governor
of Angustura, on the bank of the Oroonoque, ‘Stop here a minute or two,
Don Carlos,’ said he to me, ‘while I recount a sad accident. One fine
evening last year, as the people of Angustura were sauntering up and
down here, in the Alameda, I was within twenty yards of this place, when
I saw a large Cayman rush out of the river, seize a man, and carry him
down, before anybody had it in his power to assist him. The screams of
the poor fellow were terrible, as the Cayman was running off with him.
He plunged into the river with his prey: we instantly lost sight of him,
and never saw or heard him more.’”

§ IV. _Chelonian Reptiles._


(_Testudo Græca._)]

THIS animal has a small head, four feet, and a tail, which it can gather
within the shell in such a way that the top and under part meet
together, and so closely, that the greatest strength cannot separate
them. The eye is destitute of an upper lid, the under one serving to
defend that organ. The upper shell, composed of thirty-seven
compartments, is convex, and so strong, that a loaded cart can pass over
it without injuring the creature inside. In winter, Tortoises are said
to bury themselves in the ground, or retire to some cavern or hole,
which they line with moss, grass, and leaves, and where they pass in
safe and solitary retirement the whole of this season. The Tortoise is
very tenacious of life, and is no less remarkable for its longevity, as
it is ascertained that one lived upwards of one hundred and twenty years
in the garden of Lambeth Palace.

This animal is found in most of the countries near the Mediterranean
Sea, in Corsica, Sardinia, and some of the islands of the Archipelago,
as well as in many parts of the north of Africa.

[Illustration: THE GREEN TURTLE. (_Chelonia midas._)]

MOST of the Turtles are considered very delicate food, especially the
green species. Some of them are so large as to weigh from four to eight
hundred pounds. Dampier mentions an immensely large one that was caught
at Port Royal, in the Bay of Campeachy. It was nearly six feet long, and
four feet broad. A son of Captain Roch, a boy about ten years old, went
in the shell, from the shore to his father’s ship, which was about a
quarter of a mile distant.

Turtle generally ascend from the sea, and crawl on the beach, for the
purpose of laying their eggs (which are as large sometimes as those of a
common hen), sometimes to the number of fifty or sixty at a time. The
young ones, as soon as they are hatched, crawl down to the water.
Turtles are caught, when sleeping on land, by turning them on their
backs; for as they cannot turn themselves over again, all means of
escape is denied them. The lean of the Green Turtle tastes and looks
like veal, without any fishy flavour. The fat is as green as grass, and
very sweet. The introduction of Turtle as an article of food into
England, appears to have taken place within the last eighty or ninety
years. They are common in Jamaica, and in most of the islands of the
East and West Indies. Green Turtles are sometimes caught on the shores
of Europe, driven thither by stress of weather. In the year 1752, one,
six feet long and four feet broad, weighing between eight and nine
hundred pounds, was caught in the harbour of Dieppe, after a storm. In
1754, a still larger one, upwards of eight feet long, was caught near
Antioche, and was carried to the Abbey of Longveau, near Vannes, in
Brittany; and in the year 1810, a small one was caught amongst the
submarine rocks near Christchurch, in Hampshire.

The reader will remember how delighted Robinson Crusoe was to find a
large Turtle which, he says, contained three score eggs. Behold him
dragging it home.


[Illustration: THE HAWK’S-BILL TURTLE, (_Chelonia imbricata_,)]

HAS received its name from the peculiar formation of the upper jaw,
which terminates in a curved point, like the beak of a bird of prey. It
is smaller than the Green Turtle, the largest specimens being about
three feet in length. Its flesh is a very indifferent, if not
unwholesome, article of food; but the horny plates with which its back
is covered, and which lie over one another like the slates on the roof
of a house, are beautifully mottled, and constitute the well-known
tortoiseshell of commerce, which is so much used for making combs and
various ornamental articles. It is only the best kind of tortoiseshell,
however, that is taken from the Hawk’s-bill Turtle. The shell that is
usually seen is taken from commoner kinds. A very large quantity of
tortoise-shell is imported into Europe every year, and the traffic in it
forms a very important part of the trade of those countries in which
turtles abound.

[Illustration: THE LEATHERY TURTLE, (_Sphargis coriacea_,)]

HAS its back covered with a sort of leathery skin, instead of the horny
plates of the other turtles. It is a very large species, measuring eight
feet or more in length, and weighing as much as a thousand pounds. It is
chiefly found in the Mediterranean; it is, however, occasionally found
on the other coasts of Europe, and a few specimens, some of them
weighing seven or eight hundred pounds, have been caught in England. The
flesh is not considered good, and in some cases great suffering has been
occasioned by eating it. In 1748, a Leathery Turtle, which had been
caught near Scarborough, was purchased by a gentleman, who invited
several friends to taste it. Though warned that the flesh was
unwholesome, one of the guests ate some, but was seized soon after with
dreadful sickness. This should be a warning to the curious to be careful
how they “eat strange flesh.”



§ I. _Bivalves, or those having two shells._

[Illustration: THE PEARL OYSTER. (_Avicula Margaritifera._)]

WHO that sees the beauty and delicacy of pearls would imagine that they
were the production of disease? Such, however, is the case, as they are
either formed in the body of the oyster which inhabits the shell; or
they rise from cracks in the shell itself, the delicate, silvery,
half-transparent lining of which forms the substance generally called
Mother-of-Pearl, or Nacre. Their formation is generally caused by the
introduction of some foreign body between the mantle or skin of the
animal and its shell; the irritation thus produced causes successive
coats of pearly matter to be deposited on the intruding object, and thus
the pearl is formed. The best pearls are those which are fairly imbedded
in the substance of the mantle. These shells are found in the Persian
Gulf and at Ceylon, where they form an important article of commerce.

The Chinese form pearls by casting into the shell of a certain kind of
muscle artificial beads, which at the end of a year become covered with
a pearly crust, in such a manner that they cannot be distinguished from
the natural pearl.[C]

[C] For a very interesting article on this subject, see Beckmann’s
“History of Inventions,” vol. i. p. 259. (_Bohn’s Standard Library._)

[Illustration: THE COMMON OYSTER, (_Ostrea edulis_,]

HAS long been in favour with man for its delicacy as an article of food;
the Lucrine lake used to be as much in renown among the Romans for the
choicest kind of Oysters, as Cancalle Bay with the French, and the
Colchester beds with us. The two shells of the Oyster are generally
unequal in size; the hinge is without teeth, but furnished with a
somewhat oval cavity, and generally with lateral transverse grooves.
Oysters sometimes grow to a very large size; in the East Indies they are
said sometimes to measure nearly two feet in diameter.

The principal breeding season of oysters is in the months of April and
May, when they cast their young, which are enveloped in slime, and in
this state called _spats_ by the fishermen, upon rocks, stones, shells,
or any other hard substance that happens to be near the place where they
lie; and to these the spats immediately adhere. Till they obtain their
film or crust, they are somewhat like the end of a candle, but of a
greenish hue. The substances to which they adhere, of whatever nature,
are called _cultch_. From the spawning time till about the end of July,
Oysters are said to be sick; but by the end of August they become
perfectly recovered; from May till August they are out of season and
unwholesome. The Oyster-fishery of our principal coasts is regulated by
a court of admiralty. In the month of May the fishermen are allowed to
take the Oysters, in order to separate the spawn from the cultch, the
latter of which is thrown in again, for the purpose of preserving the
bed for the future. After this month it is felony to carry away the
cultch, and otherwise punishable to take any Oyster, between whose
shells, when closed, a shilling will rattle. The reason of the heavy
penalty on destroying the cultch is, that when this is taken away,
muscles and cockles will breed on the bed; and, by gradually occupying
all the places on which the spawn should be cast, will destroy the

The Oyster has been represented, by many authors, as an animal destitute
not only of motion, but of every species of sensation. It is able,
however, to perform movements which are perfectly consonant to its
wants, to the dangers it apprehends, and to the enemies by which it is
attacked. The gills, through which the Oyster breathes, are what is
commonly called the beard, and are very indigestible. The scallop is
nearly allied to the Oyster.

[Illustration: THE COMMON COCKLE. (_Cardium edule._)]

FEW of our shell-fish are more common, in inlets and bays near the
mouths of rivers, than these. In such situations they are usually found
immersed at the depth of two or three inches in the sand, the place of
each being marked by a small, circular, depressed spot. When they open
their shells, the entrance into them is protected by a soft membrane,
which entirely closes up the front, except in two places, at each of
which there is a small, yellow, and fringed tube; by means of which they
receive and eject the water which conveys to their body the nutriment
necessary for their support.

Cockles are in great request as food among the labouring classes, and
are caught chiefly in the winter months. Their size varies from five or
six inches to half an inch in diameter. The shell is generally white; it
has twenty-six longitudinal ridges, is transversely wrinkled, and has
somewhat imbricated striæ. The foot of these animals is largely
developed, and is to them a most important organ, as they use it not
merely for progression, but in the excavation of hollows in the sand or
mud in which they dwell.

The _Chama_, which is akin to the cockle, was used by the ancients to
engrave various figures upon, from which circumstance those small
bas-reliefs, so valued now, have obtained among the Italians and
collectors the name of _Cameos_. The shells of some of these are
decorated with red or yellow stripes, diverging from the hinge, and
spreading to the edges. The _Giant Chama_ has been found to weigh more
than five hundred pounds, and the oyster-like animal within was large
enough to furnish a meal for twenty men. The animals which inhabit these
shells are sometimes called Clams. The shells are often used in Catholic
countries for containing holy water.

[Illustration: THE PHOLAS. (_Pholas dactylus._)]

THIS is a shell of a rather elongated form, gaping at both ends, and
terminated in front by a point; it is white and chalky in its
appearance, and the anterior end is roughened by numerous sharp spines
and tubercles. The animal which inhabits this shell bores deeply into
the rocks of the sea-shore, forming cylindrical holes, in which it
lives; and the water which it requires for its food and respiration is
conveyed to and from the interior of the shell by a pair of tubes which
reach to the outer orifice of its dwelling-place. It is supposed that
the Pholas is enabled to bore into the hard rock by means of its large
and strong foot, but this is still a matter of dispute.

There are many other boring shells, most of which are related to the
Pholas. Some of them burrow in rocks, others in wood, and some
indifferently in either material. Of the wood-borers, the most
remarkable is the _Ship Worm_ (_Teredo navalis_), which penetrates
deeply into floating or submerged timber, and lines the cavity of its
burrow with a coating of shell. In this way the Teredo has often done
much injury to piles and other woodwork exposed to the sea, and in 1731
and 1732 it excited so much alarm in Holland by attacking the piles of
the great dikes, that even statesmen condescended to study its natural
history. We must remember, however, that in the grand economy of nature
even this destructive creature has its use; by penetrating in every
direction through any floating mass of timber it promotes the breaking
up of the latter, and prevents the surface of the sea from being
encumbered with quantities of wreck.

[Illustration: 1. THE MUSSEL. (_Mytilus edulis._)]

LIKE the oyster, the Mussel inhabits a bivalve shell, to which it
adheres by a strong cartilaginous tie. The shells of several of the
species are beautiful. The Mussel possesses the property of locomotion,
which it performs with the member called its tongue, by which it gets
hold of the rock, and is enabled to draw itself along; it has also the
property of emitting a kind of thread, called the byssus, which, fixing
the sides of the shell upon the ground, answers the purpose of a cable,
to keep the body of the fish steady.

§ II. _Univalves._


ONE of the cone-shells, the inhabitant of which is a kind of snail, with
a very distinct head. If nature has taken a delight in painting the
wings of birds, the skins of quadrupeds, and the scales of fishes, she
seems not to have been less pleased in pencilling the shells of these
inhabitants of the deep. The variety, brightness, and versatility of the
colouring have long been deservedly the object of man’s admiration; and
we cannot help being astonished at the richness which a cabinet of
well-selected shells presents to the eye.

THE TIGER COWRY. (_Cypræa Tigris._)

THE Cowries or Porcelain shells are amongst the most beautiful of the
univalves. The shells are generally of an elegant oval form, with no
visible spire; the mouth is a long slit on the middle of the lower
surface, with two nearly equal lips toothed along their margins; the
surface is most beautifully polished, and generally adorned with rich
colours, arranged in varied and elegant patterns. The Tiger Cowry, which
is one of the commonest, is rather broad, and very convex; it is of a
white colour, covered with numerous dark brown spots. It is usually four
or five inches in length, and inhabits the seas of India. The _Money
Cowry_ (_Cypræa moneta_) is a little Indian species, which is used in
place of money in some countries, especially the interior of Africa. It
is imported into England for exportation to Africa in large quantities;
as much as 300 tons having been landed at Liverpool in one year.

THE WHELK, (_Buccinum undatum_,)

IS a common British shell-fish of considerable size, which is obtained
in large quantities by dredging, and used as food. In London it is sold
commonly at stalls in the streets, we believe in a pickled state. The
mouth of this animal is furnished with a powerful rasping proboscis, by
means of which it is able to bore through the shells of other mollusca.

[Illustration: THE SNIPE SHELL, (_Murex haustellus_, or _cornutus_,)]

SO called on account of the length of a prominency coming out of the
shell. It is surrounded with blunt prickles, and the colour of the whole
is elegantly variegated.

THE PERIWINKLE, (_Littornia littorea_,)

IS too well known to require any description. It is found in
incalculable numbers all round the European coasts, and captured in
immense quantities as an article of food.

[Illustration: THE LIMPET. (_Patella._)]

THE shape of this shell is pyramidal; it adheres to the rock with such
strength, that it can only be removed by means of a knife or a strong
blow. The apex of the shell is sometimes sharp, sometimes obtuse, and
often surrounded with points and sharp prickles. When thoroughly
cleansed the shell is generally of a beautiful purple tint of great
brilliancy, though the animal that lives under this magnificent roof is
a kind of snail, disagreeable to the eye and insipid to the palate. They
are found on the rocks, which are incessantly beaten by the surges and
breakers, on the sea-shores of almost every country in the world. It is
not by any glutinous liquid, as it has been asserted, that this fish
adheres so strongly to the rock; but by the simple process of producing
a vacuum between its foot and the rock to which it affixes itself.

The variety which is thrown into the sum of animated beings is so
wonderfully great, that naturalists have reckoned more than a hundred
and twenty-nine species of Limpets, and nearly allied genera; the
difference arising principally out of the diversity of the shells in
form and colour.

[Illustration: THE GARDEN SNAIL, (_Helix aspersa_,)]

IS furnished with four tentacula, two of which are smaller than the
others; at the end of these tentacula, which the animal pushes out or
draws back, like telescopes, are blackish knobs, which are the eyes.
The snail lays eggs, which are about the size of small peas,
semi-transparent, and of a soft substance. By closely examining with a
magnifying lens the eggs which a Water Snail, kept in a bottle of water,
had deposited against the glass, the young Snail was seen in the egg,
with its embryo shell on its back; two have also been observed in one
egg, each of them with the rudiments of the shell.

The Garden Snail is extremely tenacious of life, and remains in a state
of torpor during the winter. It is said, indeed, that it can remain in
this state for many years, and the following instance is probably
without parallel in any other animal:--Mr. S. Simon, a merchant of
Dublin, whose father, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a lover of
natural history, left him a small collection of fossils and other
curiosities, had, among them, the shells of some Snails. About _fifteen
years_ after his father’s death, he gave to his son, a child of ten
years old, some of these Snail-shells to play with. The boy placed them
in a flower-pot, which he filled with water, and the next day put them
into a basin. Having occasion to use this, Mr. Simon observed that the
animals had come out of their shells. He examined the child respecting
them, and was assured that they were the same which had been in the
cabinet. The boy said he had a few more, and brought them. Mr. S. put
one of these into water, and, in an hour and a half afterwards, observed
that it had put out its horns and body, which it moved but slowly,
probably from weakness. Major Vallancy, Dr. Span, and other gentlemen,
were afterwards present, and saw one of these Snails crawl out; the rest
being dead, probably from their remaining some days in the water.
Similar observations have since been so frequently repeated, that there
is now no doubt that Snails of various kinds may retain their vitality
for years when preserved in a dry state.

THE SMALL GREY SLUG, (_Limax cinereus_,)

RESEMBLES a Snail in all points except that it has no shell,
consequently the brown skin of the back is rougher and stronger than
that of the Snail. Its progress on the ground may easily be traced by
the slime which it leaves in its track. Few animals are more destructive
to vegetation than these.

THE BLACK SLUG, (_Arion ater_,)

IS a well-known inhabitant of our fields and meadows, during the summer
season. The country people consider its appearance as an indication of
approaching rain; but this is rather to be accounted for by the moisture
of the ground and plants. Indeed, it very seldom appears abroad during
dry weather. The Black Slug feeds on the leaves of different kinds of

[Illustration: THE SEPIA, OR CUTTLE-FISH. (_Sepia officinalis._)]

THE structure of these animals is very remarkable. Their body is nearly
cylindrical, and, in some of the species, entirely covered with a
fleshy sheath; in others the sheath reaches only to the middle of the
body. They have eight arms, or rather legs, and in general two feelers,
much longer than the arms. Both the feelers and arms are furnished with
strong circular cups or suckers. The mouth is hard, strong, and horny,
resembling in texture the beak of the parrot. The body is of a
jelly-like substance, and usually covered with a coarse skin, having the
appearance of leather. This skin contains cells of different colours,
which are capable of changing their relative position, so that the
Cuttle-fish is able to change the colour of its skin. By means of the
numerous circular cups or suckers with which the arms are furnished,
they seize their prey, and firmly attach themselves to the rocks. Their
adhesive power is so great, that it is generally more easy to tear off
the arms than to separate them from the substance to which they are
affixed: if the arms happen to be broken off, they are soon reproduced.
The size to which this creature grows has been variously stated; and,
although evidently exaggerated by some authors, it undoubtedly attains
to a very considerable magnitude. When attacked in its own element, it
has been known to overcome a large dog. Its jaws are extremely strong
and powerful, and with its beak it can crush in pieces the shells of the
fish on which it feeds. In the body is a bladder filled with a dark inky
fluid, which it emits when alarmed, and which not only tinges the water
so as to conceal its retreat, but is so bitter as immediately to drive
off its enemies. This inky fluid, when dried, forms a very valuable
colour, used by artists, and known as Sepia.

The bone, or calcareous plate of the _Sepia Officinalis_, a species
common on our coasts, is a well-known substance, and is much employed in
the manufacture of toothpowder; and by silversmiths for moulds, to cast
their small work, such as rings, &c. It is also converted into that
useful article of stationery, called pounce.

THE POULPE, (_Octopus vulgaris_,)

HAS only eight arms, the two long tentacles of the Sepia being absent.
It is found on our coasts, and is especially abundant in the
Mediterranean, where it is regularly brought to market as an article of


IS a kind of Poulpe, in which only six of the arms present the ordinary
form, the other pair being expanded into broad, flat organs. It was
supposed by the ancients, and, indeed, until very recently, that these
expanded arms were used by the animal as sails; it was described as
floating at the surface of the sea, with the back of the shell
downwards, the six arms sticking into the water like so many oars, and
the two broad members elevated to catch the breeze; but it is now known
that the so-called sails are used to embrace the shell when the animal
is swimming backwards, in the same way as its allies, and it also
appears that it is by these arms that the shell is enlarged. The
Argonaut is found in the Mediterranean.


(_Nautilus Pompilius_,)]

IS a very different creature, and instead of the eight arms of the
Argonaut has its head surrounded by numerous ringed and sheathed
tentacles. It is remarkable for the structure of its shell, the cavity
of which is divided into numerous chambers by transverse partitions;
these chambers, of which the outermost alone is occupied by the animal,
are filled with air, but a narrow tube passes through the whole of them,
and communicates with the cavity of the body. By this arrangement the
Nautilus is enabled to alter his specific gravity so as either to rise
to the surface or sink to the bottom of the water. The few existing
species of Nautilus are all found in the Indian and South Pacific



§ I. _Annelida, or Ringed Animals._

[Illustration: WORMS. (_Vermes._)]

THESE creatures constitute a class by themselves, under the name of
_Annelida_, in the works of modern naturalists. They are distinguished
from the caterpillar and maggot, by undergoing no change, and crawling
by means of the annular structure of their bodies.

The _Earth Worm_ has neither bones, eyes, or ears; it has a round,
annulated body, with generally an elevated fleshy belt near the head.
Though considered a great nuisance by gardeners, Earth Worms perforate,
and loosen the soil, and render it pervious to rains and the fibres of
plants, by drawing into it straws and the stalks of leaves: and chiefly
by throwing infinite numbers of lumps called worm-casts, which form a
fine manure for grass and corn. They are, however, very injurious to
plants in pots.

[Illustration: THE LEECH, (_Sanguisuga officinalis_,)]

IS about three inches in length, and in its exterior form somewhat
resembles the worm, when extended, but often contracts itself greatly in
length, at the same time expanding in thickness. It has a small head, a
black skin, with six yellow lines above, and spotted with yellow below.
The mouth of the Leech is of curious construction; it has three jaws,
each of which is armed with two ranges of very fine teeth, with which it
pierces the skin; and then draws up, as through a siphon, the blood,
upon which it feeds. The progressive movement of the Leech is effected
by sticking, by suction, its mouth to a certain spot, then bringing its
tail, which also has the property of sticking, in the same manner as the
head, and then advancing its head further on, quickly followed by the
tail, and so on. The common Leech is very often met with in brooks and
rivulets. Its uses in medicine are well known, as by its means the blood
can be extracted from diseased parts, to which the lancet cannot be

The blood which the Leech sucks out of the wound it makes supplies it
with nutriment for so great a period of time, that a Leech, after having
been satisfied with blood, has been known to live three years withoutany food. It is usual, however, to make them disgorge the greater part
of the blood they have swallowed by sprinkling them with salt; as
otherwise they would not bite again till the blood they had taken was
fully digested.

Leeches lay eggs, which are covered with a kind of membrane, which
serves to protect them when they are deposited in the clay and holes in
the sides of ponds. They appear to live on the eggs of fish or frogs,
but eagerly attach themselves to the legs of human beings, horses, or
cows, whenever they have an opportunity. As there is a prejudice among
the country people that Leeches never breed well till they have tasted
blood, it is said that they drive their horses and cows into the water
inhabited by the Leeches, and consequently that the Leech districts are
remarkable for their wretched-looking horses and cattle. Leeches must be
five years old before they are fit for medical purposes; and they are
caught in shallow water in spring by people going in with naked feet and
ankles, to which the Leeches adhere, when they are picked off and put in
baskets provided for the purpose. In summer a raft is made of twigs, and
the waters being disturbed with a stick, the Leeches rise to the
surface, and get entangled in the raft. When caught, they are washed in
water with a very little salt in it, and packed in wet linen cloths,
which are put into a barrel with a canvas cover, and sent away for sale.
London used to be chiefly supplied from the fenny districts of
Lincolnshire, but the consumption of these useful worms has been so
great that most of our Leeches are now imported through Hambro’ from the
east of Europe. Some years since Dr. Pereira stated that the number of
Leeches imported by the four principal dealers in London amounted to
7,200,000 annually. They are also, when kept in a glass bottle with
water, a good barometer, as they always come up to the neck of the
bottle when rainy weather is approaching, remain at the bottom in dry
weather, and move anxiously up and down when the weather is stormy.
Horse-Leeches are larger than the common species, more voracious, and
narrower at each extremity.

§ II. _Crustacea._

[Illustration: THE LOBSTER, (_Astacus marinus_,)]

HAS a cylindrical body, long antennæ, and a broad tail. Its large claws
enable it to seize on its prey, to fix itself on the small prominences
of rocks in the sea, to resist the motion of the waves, and to defend
itself against its enemies. When the Lobster wants to spring off the
rocks, it makes a fulcrum of its tail, which has the action of a
powerful spring. Its gait is awkward, as in all the crustacea. Besides
its claws, it has four small legs on each side, to assist it in its
movements. Under the tail the hen Lobster preserves her eggs till they
are hatched. They are extremely prolific. Dr. Baxter says he counted
twelve thousand four hundred and forty-four eggs under the tail of a
female Lobster, besides those that remained in the body undeveloped.
Like the rest of their tribe, they cast their shells annually, previous
to which they appear languid and restless: they acquire an entirely new
covering in a few days.

[Illustration: THE CRAYFISH, (_Astacus fluviatilis_,)]

MAY be called the lobster of fresh water, and its presence is generally
esteemed an evidence of the goodness of the water. Crayfish are
considered a very strengthening food. They are caught in shallow brooks,
hid under large stones, out of which they crawl backwards to seek for
their prey, which consists of small insects; the hooks employed to catch
them are baited with liver or flesh, which they nibble most greedily.

[Illustration: THE CRAB. (_Cancer pagurus._)]

CRABS are of various sizes, some weighing several pounds, and others
only a few grains, all of different species. They do not move forward,
but sideways. They have a small tail closed on the body; which forms a
considerable and essential difference between them and the lobsters,
prawns, shrimps, and crayfish.

The most remarkable circumstance in the history of these animals is the
changing of their shells and the renewal of their broken claws. The
former, as it is stated, take place once a year, and usually between
Christmas and Easter. During the operation they retire among the
cavities of rocks, and under great stones. Crabs are naturally
quarrelsome amongst themselves, and frequently have serious contests, by
means of those formidable weapons, their great claws. With these they
lay hold of their adversary’s legs; and wherever they seize, it is not
easy to make them forego their hold. The animal seized has, therefore,
no other alternative but to leave part of the leg behind in token of

An experiment was tried to prove the extremely tenacious disposition of
the Crab. By irritating it, a fisherman made a Crab seize one of its own
small claws with a large one. The animal did not distinguish that it was
itself the aggressor, but exerted its strength, and soon cracked the
shell of the small claw. Feeling itself wounded, it cast off the piece
in the usual place, but continued to hold it with the great claw for a
long time afterwards.


The _Violet Land-Crabs_ of the Caribbee Islands are most singular in
their habits; they descend in annual and regular caravans from the
mountains, their natural abode, to the sea-shores, in order to deposit
their spawn, after which they again return to the mountains. These Crabs
form, in their procession, a body of fifty paces broad, and three miles
in length. This battalion moves slowly, but with regularity and
uniformity, either when they descend or ascend the hills. They abound in
Jamaica, where they are accounted a great delicacy by the natives, and
are common in the adjacent islands.


(_Pagurus bempardus_,)]

IS a curious animal, and ought to be noticed here for its singular
habits. It is somewhat like a lobster divested of its shell; it is about
four inches in length, and has no shell on the hinder part, but is
covered down to the tail with a rough skin; it is also armed with strong
hard nippers. This Crab has not been provided by nature with a shell,
and is obliged to seek for one which has been deserted by its legitimate
tenant; but as this covering cannot grow of course proportionally with
him, he is forced out of it by his increasing size, and finds himself
under the necessity of looking out for a new one: it is curious to see
him when in want of a new house, crawling from one empty shell to
another, examining and trying his new habitation. Sometimes, when two
competitors happen to eye the same premises, a great contest arises, and
of course the strongest gets the manor.

[Illustration: 1. THE SHRIMP. (_Crangon vulgaris._)]

THE SHRIMP is a well-known small crustaceous animal, nearly allied to
the lobster, which it resembles in shape. Its length is rather more than
two inches; in colour it is greenish-grey, dotted with brown. It has
long slender feelers, between which are two projecting laminæ; ten feet
and five fins, but no claws. This animal breeds on all the sandy shores
of Great Britain: it is frequently found in harbours, and even in the
ditches and ponds of salt marshes; it is also very common on the French
coast. During life the body is semi-transparent, and so much resembles
sea-water that the animal is distinguished with difficulty. Its ordinary
motion consists of leaps. Its flavour is very delicate.

2. THE PRAWN. (_Palæmon serratus._)

THE PRAWN is not unlike the shrimp, but exceeds it considerably in size,
its length being between three and four inches. It has a projecting
ridge down the back, furnished with sharp teeth. Its natural colour is
greyish, with small red and brown spots, but when boiled it assumes a
most beautiful pink tint. The flesh is very delicate, although perhaps
inferior in flavour to that of the shrimp.

Prawns are very common on the coasts of France and England; they are
chiefly found among sea-weed, and in the vicinity of rocks, at a little
distance from the shore. They seldom enter the mouths of rivers. They
feed on all the smaller kinds of marine animals, which they seize and
devour with great voracity. In their turn, they are the prey of numerous
species of fish, although the sharp and serrated horn in front of their
head constitutes a powerful weapon of defence against the attacks of all
the smaller kinds. At the side of the head there is frequently to be
observed a large and apparently unnatural lump. This, if examined, will
be found to contain, under the thoracic plate, a species of parasitic
animal, which occupies the whole cavity, and there feeds and perfects
its growth. The same tumour or lump may also be observed on the shrimp.

Being in great request for the table, both shrimps and Prawns are
eagerly sought for by fishermen, who catch them either in osier baskets,
similar to those employed in catching lobsters, or in a kind of net
called a _Putting-net_. These, which are well known to all frequenters
of the sea-coast, are five or six feet in width, and flat at the bottom;
and are pushed along in the shallow water, upon the sandy shores, by a
man who walks behind. There is a great number of other species belonging
to the same family as the shrimp and prawn, but they are for the most
part inhabitants of foreign seas, and what other British species exist
are rare in comparison to the two we have described.

Fossil crustaceans, which are apparently members of the same family,
have also been found in France and Germany.

§ III. _Arachnida._

THIS ORDER, according to Lamarck, and other modern zoologists, contains
the Spiders, Scorpions, and Mites, which do not undergo any
metamorphoses. These creatures differ from the true insects in the
number of their feet, which are generally eight, while those of the true
insects never exceed six.

[Illustration: THE GARDEN SPIDER. (_Epeïra diadema._)]

ALL the Spiders are distinguished by having no antennæ, eight legs, and
generally eight eyes; mandibles terminated by a movable claw, which
sometimes emits poison; and an abdomen without rings, furnished at its
point with four or six spinnerets, from which the Spider emits the
threads used in spinning its web. This web is wonderful in its
formation. It consists of a number of stout threads radiating from the
centre to various objects in the neighbourhood, and crossed by a great
quantity of finer threads arranged in a close spiral, so as to produce
the impression of a number of concentric circles. These fine threads are
braided and glutinous, so that any unfortunate fly that comes in contact
with them adheres readily:

    “The Spider’s touch, how exquisitely fine!
     Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.”

The Spider sits in the middle, and at the least motion caused by a fly
or other insect pressing against it, rushes on his prey, and sucks its
juices; if, however, it should appear at all formidable, the Spider
carefully encloses it in a shroud of web, which, of course, quite
disables it; and then feasts on it at his convenience. The most
difficult part of the business is to eject the remains, which is often
attended with great detriment to the net. The female generally lays from
nine hundred to a thousand eggs, which are contained in a kind of bag,
and thus an immense number of Spiders are hatched every year, which
would soon become troublesome from their numbers, if they were not kept
in check by the numerous birds which prey upon them. The silk which the
Spider produces is not strong enough to be employed for any useful
purposes, though, out of curiosity, gloves and stockings have been woven
out of it. A great difficulty, however, arises in the pugnacious habits
of Spiders, as, when a number of them are kept together, they fight so
dreadfully, that in a short time only a very few are left alive; and a
great number would be required, as twelve Spiders do not produce so much
silk as a single silkworm. Spiders resemble the crustacea in having the
power of reproducing the legs which they lose.

THE HOUSE SPIDER, (_Tegenaria domestica_,)

IS a very different species from the Garden Spider. It dwells in the
dark corners of houses and outbuildings, forming a dingy web of
irregular threads, all of which communicate with a concealed chamber or
den in which the Spider lurks.

THE DIVING SPIDER, (_Argyroneta aquatica_,)

IS another kind, which forms a sort of tent by stretching its threads
between the stems of aquatic plants far below the surface. In this den
it dwells, and here it devours the prey which it captures during its
excursions; and in order to provide a stock of air for its respiration,
it carries down successive small portions entangled amongst the hairs of
its abdomen. This process is exactly similar to that by which
diving-bells used to be supplied with air, and indeed the dome-like
habitation of this Spider is constructed precisely on the same principle
as the diving-bell.

There are also several kinds of _Water Mites_, the most abundant of
which is of a rich red colour, and grows to nearly the bulk of a pea. It
may commonly be seen swimming among the plants in pools and ditches.

[Illustration: THE TARANTULA. (_Lycosa Tarantula._)]

THIS Spider is a native of the South of Europe. It lives in fields, and
its dwelling is about four inches deep in the ground, half an inch wide,
and closed at the mouth with a net. They lay about seven hundred and
thirty eggs, which are hatched in the spring. These Spiders do not live
quite a year; the parents never survive the winter.

Inflammation, difficulty of breathing, and sickness, are said to be the
inevitable consequences of the bite of this animal. Dr. Mead, and other
medical men, have countenanced the popular story of these effects being
counteracted by the power of music. It is, however, now well known, that
this singular mode of cure was nothing more than a trick frequently
practised on credulous travellers, who were desirous of witnessing it.
Mr. Swinburne, when he was in Italy, minutely investigated every
particular relative to the Tarantula. The season was not far enough
advanced, and it was pretended that no persons had as yet been bitten
that year: he, however, prevailed upon a woman, who had formerly been
bitten, to dance the part before him. Several musicians were summoned,
and she performed the dance, as everyone present assured him, to
perfection. At first she lolled stupidly on a chair, while the
instruments played a dull strain. They touched at length the chord
supposed to vibrate to her heart; and up she sprung with a hideous yell,
staggered about the room like a drunken person, holding a handkerchief
in both hands, raising them alternately, and moving in very true time.
As the music grew brisker, her motions quickened, and she skipped about
with great vigour, and in a variety of steps, every now and then
shrieking very loud. The scene was unpleasant, and, at his request, an
end was put to it before the woman was tired.

He informs us, that, whenever they are to dance, a place is prepared for
them, hung round with bunches of grapes and ribbons. The patients are
dressed in white, with red, green, or yellow ribbons; on their shoulders
they have a white scarf; they let their hair fall loose about their
ears, and throw the head quite back. He says that they are exact copies
of the ancient priestesses of Bacchus. The introduction of Christianity
abolished all public exhibitions of heathenish rites; but the women,
unwilling to give up their darling amusement, in performing the frantic
character of Bacchantes, devised other pretences; and he supposes that
accident led them to the discovery of the Tarantula, of which they took
advantage for that purpose.

THE CHEESE MITE. (_Acarus siro._)

THESE destructive little creatures differ from spiders in having the
thorax and abdomen united and covered with the same skin, though it is
contracted in one part. They have also, when young, only six legs,
though the two others appear afterwards; and their feet are armed with
strong hooks, which enable them to retain hold of the cheese or other
food, in which they take up their abode. Their bodies are covered with
hair, and their mouths are furnished with strong mandibles, with which
they soon hew down huge rocks and mountains of cheese. The eggs of these
Mites are so small, that it has been computed that a pigeon’s egg would
contain thirty millions of them. It must be observed that this Mite is
only found in dry cheese, in which it looks like reddish dust. The
cheese-hopper, found in moist rotten cheese, is the maggot of a kind of
fly. (_Piophila Casei._)

§ IV. _Insects._

INSECTS have all six legs and two antennæ or feelers; and though the
transformations they undergo differ slightly in the different kinds, the
following is the order in which they occur:--The perfect insect lays
eggs, which when hatched produce larvæ; and which are called grubs when
they belong to beetles, maggots to flies, and caterpillars to
butterflies and moths. These larvæ eat voraciously; and as they rapidly
increase in size, they generally moult, that is, change their skins, two
or three times. When the larvæ are full grown, they go into the pupa
state, in which they remain torpid and without food for a considerable
length of time, sometimes first spinning a loose covering for the pupa
called a cocoon. The pupa is generally called a chrysalis; but it is
also sometimes called a nymph, and sometimes an aurelia. The last
transformation is when the insect breaks from its covering in a perfect
form, when it is called the imago. There are, however, some insects
which are active throughout their lives, and in these the larvæ and pupæ
are very similar to the perfect insect. The perfect insect is divided
into three segments, or parts, called the head, the thorax, and the

ORDER I. _Coleoptera, or Beetles._

THE larva of the beetle is a grub, which often continues in that state
three or four years, eating voraciously during the whole period. When
full grown it in most cases either descends into the ground, where it
undergoes its transformations, first into a nymph, or pupa, and then
into a beetle; or it makes itself a rough cocoon of bits of stick and
dead leaves, in which it changes into a pupa, and afterwards into a
beetle. The wood-eating beetles undergo their transformations in the
tree on which they feed. The pupa of the beetle is termed incomplete,
because all the parts of the insect are visible in it, instead of being
enclosed in one thick covering, as in the moths and butterflies. The
head of the beetle is furnished with two compound eyes; two antennæ
(differing in shape in the various species, but having usually eleven
joints); and a mouth, consisting of a labrum, or upper lip, a labium, or
under lip, two mandibles, or upper jaws, and two maxillæ, or under jaws.
There is also the mentum, or chin, and a part called the clypeus, to
which the upper lip is attached.

The thorax is the part which supports the legs and wings. The legs are
divided into five portions, of which the part terminated by the claw is
called the tarsus. There are two membranous wings, covered by two
hardened wings or wing-cases, called the elytra, which generally open by
a straight line down the back; and hence the name of Coleoptera, which
signifies wing in a case: the abdomen is simply the body.

The number of beetles is very great, and indeed Mr. Westwood informs us
that more than thirty thousand species have been described, of which
about three thousand five hundred are natives of Britain.

[Illustration: THE COCKCHAFER. (_Melolontha vulgaris._)]

THE COCKCHAFER is one of the lamellicorn beetles. The female lays her
eggs in the ground, and the grubs, when hatched, are soft, thick, and
whitish. It is from its white appearance that the grub of the Cockchafer
is called _le ver blanc_ by the French. These grubs, sometimes in
immense numbers, work between the turf and the soil in the richest
meadows, devouring the roots of the grass to such a degree that the turf
rises, and will roll up with almost as much ease as if it had been cut
with a turfing knife; the soil underneath appearing, for more than an
inch in depth, like the bed of a garden. In this the grubs lie, on their
backs, in a curved position, the head and tail uppermost, and the rest
of the body buried in the mould. It is also said that a whole field of
fine flourishing grass has become, in a few weeks, withered, dry, and as
brittle as hay, in consequence of these grubs devouring the roots.

In the year 1688 great numbers of Cockchafers appeared on the hedges and
trees of the south-west coast of the county of Galway, in clusters of
thousands, clinging to each others’ backs, in the manner of bees when
they swarm. During the day they continued quiet, but towards sunset the
whole were in motion; and the humming noise of their wings sounded like
distant drums. Their numbers were so great that, for the space of two or
three square miles, they entirely darkened the air. Persons travelling
on the roads, or who were abroad in the fields, found it difficult to
make their way home, as the insects were continually beating against
their faces, and occasioned great pain. In a very short time the leaves
of all the trees, for several miles round, were destroyed, leaving the
whole country, though it was near midsummer, as naked and desolate as it
would have been in the middle of winter. The noise which these enormous
swarms made, in seizing and devouring the leaves, was so loud, as to be
compared to the distant sawing of timber. Swine and poultry destroyed
them in vast numbers; waiting under the trees for the clusters of
insects to drop, and then devouring such swarms as to become fat upon
them alone. Even the native Irish, from the insects having eaten up the
whole produce of the ground, adopted a mode of cooking them, and thus
used them as food. Towards the end of the summer they disappeared so
suddenly that in a few days there was not one left.

Rooks are very fond of eating these grubs, and often, when they are seen
in a newly-sown field, apparently devouring the grain, they are, in
fact, rendering the greatest service to the farmer, by destroying his
great enemy, the white worm.


(_Geotrupes stercorarius._)

THIS well-known insect, which is sometimes also called “the shard-borne
beetle,” has been often noticed by the poets. Amongst others,
Shakespeare makes Macbeth say:

    “Ere to black Hecate’s summons
     The shard-borne beetle, with its drowsy hum,
     Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done
     A deed of dreadful note.”

This beetle, which is a British insect, lays its eggs in a mass of
cow-dung, which it afterwards buries in the earth. It makes a dull
drowsy noise when it flies, and often strikes itself against any person
or object it may meet, as though it were blind. It has also the habit of
stretching out its limbs and pretending to be dead when caught.

[Illustration: THE STAG BEETLE. (_Lucanus cervus._)]

    “See the proud giant of the beetle race;
     What shining arms his polished limbs encase!
     Like some stern warrior, formidably bright,
     His steely sides reflect a gleamy light;
     On his large forehead spreading horns he wears,
     And high in air the branching antlers bears;
     O’er many an inch extends his wide domain,
     And his rich treasury swells with hoarded grain.”

THIS insect is the largest, and most singular in shape, of any in this
country. It is known by two horn-like mandibles, projecting from its
head, and resembling those of a stag, with which it is able to pinch
very severely. These mandibles are strongly dentated from the root to
the point. The wing-cases have neither streaks nor spots. The whole
insect is of a deep brown. It is sometimes found in hollow oaks and
beeches, near London.

The larvæ, or grubs, lodge under the bark, or in the hollow of old
trees; which they bite and reduce to fine powder. The larvæ are supposed
to exist three or four years before they form their cocoons. These
insects are mostly found in Kent and Sussex. In Germany there is a
popular but idle notion, that they sometimes, by means of their jaws,
carry burning coals into houses; and that, in consequence of this
mischievous propensity, dreadful fires have been occasioned. The Stag
Beetle is one of the lamellicorn Coleoptera.


(_Scarabæus_, or _Dynastes Elephas_,)]

IS found in South America, particularly in Guiana and Surinam, as well
as near the river Orinoko. It is one of the largest beetles of its kind;
it is black, and the whole body is covered with a very hard shell, quite
as thick and as strong as that of a small crab. Its length, from the
hinder part to the eyes, is almost four inches; and from the same part
to the end of the large horn on the head (from the resemblance of which
to the proboscis of an elephant, and its great size, the beetle has
obtained its name) four inches and three quarters. The transverse
diameter of the body is two inches and a quarter; and the breadth of
each case, for the wings, upwards of an inch. The horns are about an
inch long, and terminate in points. The head-horn is an inch and a
quarter long, and turns upwards, making a crooked line terminating in
two horns, each of which is nearly a quarter of an inch long. Above the
head is a prominence, or small horn, which, if the rest of the trunk
were away, would cause this part to resemble the horn of a rhinoceros.
There is, indeed, a beetle named after that animal, whose lower horn
resembles this: its scientific name is _Oryctes Rhinoceros_.


(_Cerambyx moschatus_, or _Aromia moschata_.)]

THIS is one of the longicorn beetles. It is a very beautiful insect, of
a glossy bluish-green colour, with a cast of shining gold; the under
part of the body is bluish. It is about an inch and a half in length,
and is elongated in form, its breadth being small in proportion to its
length; the wings under the case are black; the legs are of the same
bluish-green colour, only somewhat paler; and the breast is pointed at
each extremity. Between these points are three little tubercles near the
wings, and three smaller towards the head. The cases of the wings are
oblong, and somewhat in the shape of a lance, with three ribs a little
raised, and running lengthwise. The feelers are as long as the body,
composed of many joints, which grow smaller near the ends. This Beetle
is very common in the south of England, and is chiefly to be found on
old pollard willows. It emits a strong and agreeable odour, which is not
unlike attar of roses. It certainly has not the slightest resemblance to
musk, though those who named it appear to have thought that it had.

[Illustration: THE GROUND BEETLE. (_Carabus clathratus._)]

THE GROUND BEETLE is not only one of the largest, but the most beautiful
and brilliant that this country produces. The head, breast, and
wing-cases are of a coppery green; the latter having three longitudinal
rows of oblong raised spots. All the under part of the insect is black.
Having only very short wings beneath the cases, Nature has
providentially supplied it with such legs as enable it to run with
amazing swiftness. This insect is frequently found in damp places, under
stones and heaps of decayed plants in gardens. There are several
species, one of which (_Carabus violaceus_) is of a beautiful purple.

The larvæ live under ground, or in decayed wood, where they remain until
metamorphosed to their perfect state, when they proceed to devour the
larvæ of other insects, and all weaker animals that they can conquer.

The Ground Beetles are found as early as the beginning of March, in
paths and near old walls, where the sun warms the earth with its
vivifying beams. Many of the large species have been found between the
decayed bark and wood of willow trees.

[Illustration: THE GLOWWORM. (_Lampyris noctiluca._)]

IT is only the female Glowworm which produces the beautiful light for
which the insect is so well known, and she frequently communicates this
light to her eggs. She is without wings or wing-cases, and possesses no
beauty when seen by daylight. The male has wings, and leathery elytra.
The larva is a very ugly and very voracious grub, which feeds greedily
on snails and slugs.

[Illustration: THE DEATH-WATCH. (_Anobium tesselatum._)]

THIS creature is called the Death-Watch, from a superstitious notion
that, when its beating is heard, it is a sign that some one in the house
is going to die. The insect lives in wood, and the noise is produced by
its striking its head against whatever is near it. These insects, in the
larva state, do a great deal of mischief to old furniture, in which they
perforate numerous round holes. To enable them to do this they are
furnished with two maxillæ formed like two cutting pincers, with the
help of which they bore the holes so neatly that the French call them
_vrillettes_, from _vrille_, a gimlet. They also perforate books in the
same way, and thus do much damage in old libraries:

    “Insatiate brute, whose teeth abuse
     The sweetest servants of the muse!
     His roses nipt in every page,
     My poor Anacreon mourns thy rage;
     By thee my Ovid wounded lies;
     By thee my Lesbia’s sparrow dies;
     Thy rabid teeth have half destroyed
     The work of love in Biddy Floyd;
     They rent Belinda’s locks away,
     And spoiled the Blouzelind of Gay;
     For all, for every single deed,
     Relentless justice bids thee bleed.
     Then fall a victim to the Nine,
     Myself the priest, my desk the shrine.”

Sometimes two of these insects may be heard ticking, answering each
other; and sometimes the Death-Watch may be made to tick by tapping with
the finger-nail upon a table. These creatures imitate death with great
exactness when they are caught, or when they think themselves in


(_Cantharis vesicatoria._)

THESE insects are found but rarely in this country; they are more common
in France, but Spain, Italy, and Russia seem to be their favourite
localities. They make their appearance in July, and are generally found
upon ash trees, the leaves of which form their food. They are of great
commercial importance, for they are found very useful in medicine on
account of their remarkable blistering powers. They have a very
disagreeable smell, and emit a fluid of so corrosive a nature that many
persons have suffered greatly from gathering them; and it is said to be
extremely dangerous to sleep under a tree infested by them, as their
smell produces a lethargic sleep, which frequently terminates in death.
They are generally caught by laying linen cloths under the trees they
infest, and beating the boughs; they are then put into hair sieves, and
held over vessels of boiling vinegar, till the vapour kills them. After
this they are dried in ovens, or on hurdles, exposed to the sun, and
then packed up for sale. When dried, fifty of them hardly weigh a
drachm, but they do not lose their medicinal properties by age unless
allowed to get damp. Though bearing the name Spanish Flies, the greatest
quantity is obtained from St. Petersburg, the Russian insects being
considered the best.

They are of a highly poisonous nature, and there are many instances,
some even recent, of their producing violent hemorrhage and death.

[Illustration: THE CORN-WEEVIL. (_Calandra granaria._)]

THIS is a little beetle about an eighth of an inch in length, of a
reddish-brown colour, with a slender proboscis projecting from the
front of the head, at the extremity of which the mouth is situated. As
this proboscis is not thicker than a fine needle, our readers may form
some notion of the minute size of the jaws with which the mouth is
furnished; nevertheless, they are sufficiently powerful to enable the
little creature to eat corn and biscuit. In the larva state they are
exceedingly destructive to corn in granaries, sometimes abounding to
such an extent in a heap of grain as to leave nothing of it but the

There are an immense number of Weevils, all of which have the front of
the head elongated into a proboscis or beak. A very common one is the
_Nut-Weevil_ (_Balaninus micum_), which has a very long and slender
beak; with this the female eats into the soft shells of young nuts, and
deposits her eggs in the hole; the grubs devour the kernel of the nut,
and leave nothing but dust in the interior of the shell.

[Illustration: THE LADY BIRD, OR LADY COW.

(_Coccinella septem-punctata._)]

THE larva of this well-known and beautiful little beetle is disagreeable
and almost disgusting in its appearance; but to compensate for this it
is extremely useful in destroying the aphis, or green fly. In the
perfect insect the elytra are scarlet, beautifully spotted with black;
some species having seven, and others five spots, and one of the most
beautiful, eighteen. The head is very small, the antennæ and legs very
short, and the body nearly round. This beetle is generally regarded with
much favour in almost all countries, and in Catholic times was in a
manner dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Hence its name of Lady Bird.

ORDER II. _Orthoptera._

IN this order the elytra, or wing-cases, are much softer and more
flexible than in the beetles; they are frequently membranous or webbed,
and when closed they do not form a straight line down the back. The
mouth is also different; the maxillæ being terminated by a horny,
toothed piece called the galea. There is also a kind of tongue, and the
metamorphosis is incomplete.

[Illustration: THE EARWIG. (_Forficula auricularia._)]

_Unlike_ most other insects, the female Earwig watches over her eggs
until they are hatched, and afterwards attends upon her young progeny
for some time. At the beginning of the month of June, M. de Geer found,
under a stone, a female Earwig, accompanied by many little ones,
evidently her young. They continued close to her, and often placed
themselves under her body, as chickens do under a hen.

This little animal is very nimble, and perfectly harmless, except to
flowers, notwithstanding the fabulous charge which was so long believed
against it, of its entering the human ear, and depositing its eggs
there, which were said to cause intolerable pain when hatched, and the
young began to gnaw the inside of the ear. The Earwig possesses wings,
which, when extended, cover nearly the whole insect. The elytra, or
wing-cases, are short, and do not extend along the whole body, but only
over the breast. The wings are concealed beneath these, and are somewhat
of an oval shape. There is great elegance in the manner in which the
insect folds its wings beneath its elytra.


(_Blatta Orientalis_,)

SO common in London kitchens, is nearly allied to the Earwig.

[Illustration: THE LEAF MANTIS. (_Empusa gongylodes._)]

THIS insect is remarkably shaped. The head is joined to the body by a
neck, longer than the rest of the body. It has two polished eyes, and
two short feelers. This neck consists of the first segment of the waist
or thorax. The wing-cases, which cover two-thirds of the body, are
veined and reticulated, or netted. The wings are veined and transparent.
The hinder legs are very long, the next shorter; and the foremost pair
of thighs are terminated with spines: the others have membranous lobes,
which serve them as wings in their flight. The top of the head is
membranous, shaped like an awl, and divided at its extremity. This
animal is one of the innumerable instances which Nature affords of the
infinite wisdom of the Creator; for, whenever an animal is found to
deviate in shape from the general system, it is still formed to answer
the design of its existence. Thus this insect, having such long legs,
could never have sustained itself in the air had not Providence bestowed
on the legs themselves a species of wings to balance their weight. These
are instances with which Nature teems; and which would make the atheist
tremble did he but contemplate the admirable design and system with
which they are characterised as

            “Parts of one stupendous whole;
    Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.”

These insects are partly of a pale yellowish green, and partly brown; so
that they look like dead leaves, whence their English name. They are
found in the East Indies and China.


THE ordinary Mantides, or _Praying Insects_, as they are sometimes
called, from their apparently devotional attitudes, resemble the species
just described in their general structure, but are seldom furnished with
so long a neck and so leaf-like a body. They carry the head erect, and
the long fore-feet, which shut together like a clasp-knife, are used in
catching their prey; it is while thus engaged that their postures have
been considered to resemble an attitude of devotion.

[Illustration: THE WALKING LEAF, (_Phyllium siccifolium_,)]

HAS a shorter neck than the Mantis, and its fore-legs are not
constructed as claspers, but the body is very flat and leaf-like, and
the wing-cases are veined so as to look exactly like a leaf; indeed, if
seen adhering motionless to the branch of a tree, it would certainly be
mistaken for a leaf. They are found in the East Indies. It is curious
that while these creatures present such a deceptive resemblance to
leaves, there are some near relatives of theirs which are equally
similar to sticks and twigs, so that the semblance of a leafy branch
might easily be made by fixing the former upon the latter. Some of these
_Walking Sticks_ are eight or nine inches in length, and the whole body
and legs are of precisely the colour and texture of bark.

[Illustration: THE GRASSHOPPER, (_Locusta flavipes_,)]

IS of a green colour, with the wing-cases brown, and the head somewhat
resembling that of a horse; the corselet is armed with a strong buckler.
Of its six legs the hinder two are much longer than the others, to
assist the insect in leaping. The male makes a chirping noise, which is
caused by the thighs being rubbed against the sides of the wing-cases:
if handled roughly, the Grasshopper bites very sharply.

Toward the end of autumn the female deposits her eggs in a hole, which
she makes in the earth for the purpose. These eggs sometimes amount to a
hundred and fifty; they are about the size of caraway-seeds, white,
oval, and of a horny substance. The female, having thus performed her
duty, soon languishes and dies. In the beginning of May following a
small white larva issues out of each egg. The creature passes about
twenty days under this humble form; after which, having assumed the
pupa shape, while all the rudiments of the future Grasshopper are
concealed under a thin outward skin, it retires under a thistle or a
thorn-bush, most likely in order to be more secure; and there, after a
variety of laborious exertions, writhings, and palpitations, the
temporary covering divides, and the insect jumps out of its _exuviæ_.

[Illustration: THE LOCUST. (_Locusta migratoria._)]

THE Bible, which was written in a country where the Locust made a
distinguished figure among natural productions, has given us several
very striking images of these animals’ numbers and rapacity. It compares
an army to a swarm of locusts: it describes them as rising out of the
earth, where they are produced; as pursuing a settled march to destroy
the fruits of the earth; and as the frequent instruments of Divine

The native countries of the Locust are Central Asia and the North of
Africa, but they migrate every year to Europe, where they destroy every
green thing they meet with. Other species of Locusts are met with in
various parts of the world, which, like the true migratory Locust, pass
from place to place in vast flocks, causing immense damage wherever they
take up their temporary abode.

When the Locusts take the field they have a leader at their head, whose
flight they observe, and to whose motions they pay a strict attention.
They appear at a distance like a black cloud, which, as it approaches,
gathers upon the horizon, and almost hides the light of the day. It
often happens that the husbandman sees this imminent calamity pass away
without doing him any mischief; and the whole swarm proceed onward, to
settle upon the labours of some less fortunate country. But wretched is
the district upon which they fix; they ravage the meadow and the corn
land; strip the trees of their leaves, and the gardens of their beauty;
the visitation of a few minutes destroys the expectations of a year; and
a famine but too frequently ensues. In their native climates they are
not so injurious as in the south of Europe, for in Syria and Palestine,
though the plain and the forest be stripped of their verdure, the power
of vegetation is so great, that an interval of three or four days
repairs the calamity; but our verdure is the produce of a season; and we
must wait till the ensuing spring repairs the damage. Besides, in their
long flights to this part of the world, the Locusts are famished by the
tediousness of their journey, and are therefore more voracious wherever
they happen to settle. But it is not by what they devour that they do so
much damage as by what they destroy. Their very bite contaminates the
plant, and injures its future vegetation. To use the expression of the
husbandman, they burn whatever they touch, and leave the marks of their
devastation for two or three years ensuing. And if so noxious while
living, they are still more so when dead; for wherever they fall they
infect the air in such a manner that the smell is insupportable.

In the year 1690 clouds of Locusts were seen to enter Russia in three
different places; and thence to spread themselves over Poland and
Lithuania in such astonishing multitudes, that the air was darkened, and
the earth covered with their numbers. In some places they were seen
lying dead, heaped upon each other to the depth of four feet; in others
they covered the surface like a black cloth: the trees bent beneath
their weight, and the damage which the country sustained exceeded
computation. In Barbary their numbers are formidable, and their visits
frequent. In the year 1724 Dr. Shaw was a witness of their devastations
in that country. Their first appearance was about the latter end of
March, when the wind had been southerly for some time. In the beginning
of April their numbers were so much increased, that in the heat of the
day they formed themselves into large swarms, which appeared like
clouds, and darkened the sun. In the middle of May they began to
disappear, retiring into the plains to deposit their eggs. In the next
month, being June, the young brood began to make their appearance,
forming many compact bodies of several hundred yards square; which,
marching forward, climbed the trees, walls, and houses, eating
everything that was green in their way:

    “---- To their general’s voice they soon obeyed
     Innumerable. As when the potent rod
     Of Amram’s son, in Egypt’s evil day,
     Waved round the coast, upcalled a pitchy cloud
     Of Locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
     That o’er the plains of impious Pharaoh hung
     Like night, and darkened all the land of Nile;
     So numberless were those bad angels seen,
     Hovering on wings, under the cope of Hell,
     ’Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires.”

[Illustration: THE MOLE CRICKET. (_Gryllotalpa vulgaris._)]

THE two fore-feet of this insect, placed very near the head, are short
and broad, and, like those of the mole, are contrived to help the insect
in burrowing under ground. The Mole Cricket is very destructive in
gardens, as it attacks the roots of young plants, and causes them soon
to rot and die. The female forms a nest of clammy earth, in which she
lays from two to four hundred eggs. The nest is carefully closed up on
every side, to secure the brood from the incursions of grubs and other
subterraneous depredators. The song of the Mole Cricket is a low, dull,
jarring note, which is continued for a long time with great

[Illustration: THE CRICKET. (_Acheta domesticata._)]

THE domestic Crickets generally inhabit houses, selecting for their
place of retirement the chimneys or backs of ovens; and feeding upon
anything that comes in their way, flour, bread, meat, and especially
sugar, of which they seem to be particularly fond. The chirping noise,
which they make nearly without intermission, proceeds only from the
males, who produce it by rubbing the bases of their wing-cases one over
the other.

Crickets are generally of a brown rusty colour, and the organ of vision
appears in them to be very weak and imperfect, as they find their way
much better in the dark than when dazzled by the sudden light of a
candle. The Field Cricket (_A. campestris_) has the same form, but is of
a different species to the House Cricket, and is black, with a fine
gloss. Its noise is heard at a great distance, and is so similar to that
of the grasshopper, that it is difficult to distinguish one from the

ORDER III. _Hemiptera._

THESE insects have neither mandibles nor maxillæ, but in lieu of them
they have a tubular articulated rostrum, adapted for suction. Insects
thus formed are called haustellated. The four wings are all membranous,
but the outer ones are leathery at the base. Some of the species are
without wings. The antennæ are often small, and sometimes scarcely
perceptible. The metamorphoses of these insects are incomplete.

[Illustration: THE LANTERN FLY. (_Fulgora laternaria._)]

THIS Lantern Fly is a nocturnal insect, with a hood or bladder on the
head, which is semi-transparent, and very curiously ornamented with red
and green stripes. By some writers it has been affirmed that this part
of the insect shines brilliantly at night, so that it is even possible
to read by it. No modern entomologist has, however, witnessed this
phenomenon, and it is generally believed that the supposed luminosity of
the Lantern Fly exists only in the stories of the natives of South
America. The wings and whole body are elegantly adorned with a mixture
of red, green, yellow, and other splendid colours.

[Illustration: THE COCHINEAL INSECT. (_Coccus cacti._)]

THE Cochineal Insect is of the same genus as the scale insect on the
vine, which looks like a little bit of wool attached to the branch, but
which, when pressed, stains the fingers with a red liquid. The Cochineal
Insect in the like manner affixes itself to the leafy stems of the
nopal-tree, a kind of opuntia, or prickly-pear, common in Mexico and
South America, whence the Cochineal used in Europe is principally

When the Mexicans have gathered the Cochineal Insects, they put them
into holes in the ground, where they kill them with boiling water, and
afterwards dry them in the sun; or they kill them by putting them into
an oven, or laying them upon hot plates. From the various methods of
killing them arise the different colours in which they appear when
brought to us. While they are living, they seem to be sprinkled over
with a white powder, which they lose when the boiling water is poured
upon them, but preserve when killed in an oven. Those dried upon hot
plates are the best.

The quantity of Cochineal annually exported from Mexico and South
America is said to be worth more than five hundred thousand pounds
sterling--a vast sum to arise from so minute an insect; and the present
annual consumption of Cochineal in England has been estimated at about
one hundred and fifty thousand pounds weight. The Mexicans think so
highly of their trade in this insect, that the republic has adopted the
nopal-tree as part of its arms.

It is for dyeing scarlet that Cochineal is chiefly in demand; but,
although a peculiarly brilliant dye is now obtained from it, this
substance gave only a dull crimson colour until a chemist of the name of
Kuster, who lived at Bow, near London, about the middle of the
seventeenth century, discovered the art of preparing it with a solution
of tin. Cochineal, if kept in a dry place, may be preserved without
injury for a great length of time. An instance has been mentioned of
some of this dye, one hundred and thirty years old, having been found to
produce the same effect as though it had been perfectly fresh.

[Illustration: THE PLANT LOUSE, OR GREEN FLY. (_Aphis._)]

THE APHIDES are sometimes viviparous, and at other times oviparous,
according to the season of the year. Those of the rose-tree have been
particularly noticed, and of ten generations produced in one spring,
summer, and autumn, the first nine were viviparous, and the last
oviparous. The first nine generations consisted of females only; but in
the tenth there were males. In this singular aberration from the common
laws of nature this insect is a remarkable anomaly. They multiply at
such an extraordinary rate--the whole ten generations within three
months--that from a single Aphis ten thousand million millions may be
produced in that short period, and it has been calculated that the
progeny of a single Aphis during a single summer, supposing its
multiplication to be subject to no check, might exceed in weight the
entire human population of China.

The moss-rose, the hop, the vine, the apple-tree, the bean, the willow,
and privet, are all particularly liable to be infested with this insect;
the various species of which take their names according to the plants on
which they are usually found. The red tumours, commonly called galls,
which are seen on the surfaces of leaves, especially on those of the
willow, varying from the size of a ladybird to that of a pigeon’s egg,
are produced by Aphides, and contain thousands of small lice. From a
pair of small tubes placed near the end of the body of these insects
exudes a saccharine fluid, of which ants are very fond; and it is this
fluid dropped upon the adjacent leaves, or the extravasated sap flowing
from the wounds caused by the punctures of the insects, which is known
under the name of honeydew.

After a mild spring, most of the species of Aphis become so numerous as
to destroy all the young shoots of the plants on which they are found.
No successful mode of destroying them has yet been discovered, but the
best remedy against them is to wash the infested shoots with tobacco
water or soap lees; and to repeat the operation when any Aphides are

ORDER IV. _Neuroptera._

THESE insects have four transparent wings, strongly and beautifully
varied, so as to resemble net-work. The mouth has mandibles and maxillæ.
The abdomen of the female has neither ovipositor nor sting.

[Illustration: THE ANT-LION. (_Myrmeleon formicarium._)]

THIS insect is hatched from an egg laid in soft moving ground, or sand;
the larva soon increases in size, and assumes the shape of a small
spider--with this difference, that the legs are constructed in such a
way that it can only proceed backwards or sideways. The abdomen is very
large and fleshy; and the head, which is small, is armed with two long
jaws like horns, somewhat resembling those of the stag-beetle. What must
create our utmost admiration is, that this insect, which can only move
in a retrograde direction, is doomed by nature to feed upon flies and
ants, the quickness and agility of which would at all times deprive him
of his prey were he not endowed with an uncommon instinct, which prompts
him to the following stratagem:--He makes a kind of funnel-shaped hole
in the loose earth or sand, and, placing himself at the bottom of it,
waits there with the utmost patience, till an incautious ant or giddy
fly falls into the deathful pit. Then all his skill is put in
requisition; he throws out, by the shaking of his large jaws, a great
quantity of sand upon the insect, to prevent its climbing up the steep
sides of the hole; and when the prey appears strong and nimble, he gives
such a general commotion, that the whole construction crumbles down, and
the unfortunate insect, overwhelmed with the ruins, falls into the jaws
of the Ant-lion, which open like a pair of forceps. When the Ant-lion
has sucked out the blood and inside of his prey, he takes it upon his
head, and, by a sudden jerk, throws the carcase to a distance from his
abode. When the larva has attained its full size, it spins for itself a
cocoon of white shining silk, with an external covering of sand. In
about three weeks there bursts from this pupa case a slender-waisted
winged insect, which, after fluttering about for a few weeks, and
depositing eggs in the sand, resigns its life. The winged insect
resembles a beautiful dragon-fly; it has a head of a chestnut colour;
the body is of a pearly grey, the legs short, and the wings, which
resemble the finest lace, are beautifully marked with dark lines and
spots. This fly is often seen fluttering about the sides of roads and
dry banks exposed to the east, in the months of June and July; it
continues for a little time, and then entirely disappears. The Ant-lion
is not found in this country; but in the south of France and Italy there
is not a bank on the sides of a public road, or a sandy ridge at the
foot of an old wall, which does not harbour a great number of these

[Illustration: THE GREAT DRAGON FLY. (_Libellula grandis._)]

THIS genus of insects is well known to every one. The larva lives in the
water, and wears a kind of mask, which it moves at will, and which
serves to hold its prey while it devours it. The pupa closely resembles
the larva in its form, except that at the sides of the body the wings
are seen enclosed in thin cases. The period of transformation being
come, the pupa goes to the water-side, and fixes on a plant, or sticks
fast to a piece of dry wood, in which position it remains for some
little time, when the skin of the nymph splitting at the upper part of
the thorax, the winged insect issues forth gradually, throws off its
slough, expands its wings, flutters, and then flies off with
gracefulness and ease. The elegance of its slender shape, the richness
of its colours, the delicacy and resplendent texture of its wings,
render it a beautiful object. It is in length about four inches.

The female deposits her eggs in the water, from which spring the larvæ,
which afterwards undergo the same transformations.

The Day Fly (_Ephemera_), so called on account of the shortness of its
life, is a small insect originating from a larva residing in rivers.
After remaining several months in the creeping state, a nymph is formed,
from which the perfect insect changes, three or four hours after
mid-day, into the fly form, and dies soon after. This fly has the
singular characteristic of casting off its entire skin very soon after
it has attained its perfect state; and the empty coat may often be seen
lying about after its occupant has deserted it.

ORDER V. _Hymenoptera._

IN this order the wings are neither so large nor so strongly veined as
in the previous one. The mouth is furnished with mandibles, maxillæ, and
an upper and lower lip; and the abdomen of the female is terminated
either with an ovipositor or a sting. The metamorphosis of these insects
is complete.

This order contains the Bees, of which there are hundreds of different
species. The most interesting of these is the common Hive Bee, from
whose industry we obtain wax, and by whose provident habits we are
supplied with honey. The inhabitants of a hive are of three kinds: one
Queen, a few hundred drones or males, and several thousand workers. The
Queen, or Parent Bee, is the soul of the community; to her all the rest
are so attached, that they will follow her wherever she goes. She has
the power of quelling any disturbance which may arise among her subjects
by making a peculiar humming noise. She is so prolific as to lay fifteen
or eighteen thousand eggs, which produce about eight hundred males or
drones, four or five Queen Bees, and the rest Working Bees or Neuters.
The combs of a hive consist of a number of cells, formed of wax, a
substance which is secreted by the Working Bees after gorging themselves
with honey. These cells are for the habitation and breeding of the young
Bees, and are also used as stores for honey, and bee-bread, or the
pollen of flowers. The royal cells, in which are laid the eggs of future
Queens, are the largest, and shaped like the cup of an acorn. All the
other cells are of a beautiful hexagonal form, and of two kinds, one
larger than the other: the larger for the young drones, the smaller forthe workers. In two or three days the eggs are hatched, when the Neuters
nurse the young grubs, whom they feed most tenderly with bee-bread and
honey. After twenty-one days, the young Bees are able to form cells with
such indefatigable activity that they will then do more in one week than
during all the rest of the year. No more than one Queen is ever
permitted to inhabit a hive. When a young Queen is about to be hatched,
the old one leads away a swarm from the old colony to form a new one. If
the Queen die or is lost to the hive by accident, and there be no young
Queens in the royal cells, the Bees can repair their loss. They choose a
grub of the Neuter species, enlarge its cell by adding to it three or
four adjacent ones, feed the young grub on royal food, and it is then
developed into a Queen. Sometimes there are Bees who, less laborious
than the others, support themselves by pillaging the hives of the rest;
upon which a battle ensues between the industrious and the despoiling
insects. Their foes are the wasp, the hornet, and various kinds of

The Bee collects the honey by means of its proboscis, or trunk, which is
a most astonishing piece of mechanism, consisting of more than twenty
parts. Entering the hive, the insect disgorges the honey into cells, for
winter subsistence; or else presents it to the labouring Bees.

The combs of cells formed by these industrious insects are constructed
with an instinctive ingenuity which must always be regarded as one of
the most marvellous things in nature. Each comb consists of two sets of
hexagonal cells placed back to back, and not only do the insects adopt
this form which enables them to construct the greatest number of cells
of the requisite size within the smallest possible space, and with the
least possible amount of material, but each cell on one side of the comb
is placed opposite to the junction of three cells on the opposite side,
so that its centre may be deepened without interfering with the latter,
the three diamond-shaped pieces forming the bottom of each cell
belonging to three distinct cells of the opposite side of the comb. By
all these contrivances the Bees manage to get the greatest possible
amount of accommodation in the smallest possible space; and it has been
found, by mathematical calculation, that if it were desired to construct
a series of cavities of a given size within the smallest possible space
and with the smallest possible amount of materials, we should have to
adopt precisely the same plan, even to the forms of the sides of the
cells and the angles at which they are attached to each other, that has
been instinctively adopted by the little Bee. At the entrance of every
cell the Bee architect places a flange of wax, which fortifies the
aperture, and prevents the injuries it might receive from the frequent
ingress and egress of the Bees.

Bees produce honey, which they lay up for winter consumption; wax, of
which they form their cells; and a substance called bee-bread, which
they extract chiefly from the pollen of flowers, and which they use for
feeding their young.


Above are given representations of, first, the _Queen Bee_, placed on
the left-hand side; second, the _Drone_; and, third, the _Working Bee_.

[Illustration: THE WASP, (_Vespa vulgaris_,)]

IS a very fierce, dangerous, and rapacious insect; it is much larger
than the bee, and furnished with a powerful sting. The abdomen is
striped with yellow and black. All kinds of Wasps make curious nests;
some attach them to the beams of a barn or other building, or place them
in the hollow of a large tree, but the common Wasp digs a hole in the
ground. Wasps do not construct their combs with quite the same care and
accuracy as the bee; nevertheless, their nests are often very
ingeniously made, and the material employed by most of them is curious,
being a sort of paper or card made from fibres of wood masticated
between the jaws of the insects. As they do not lay up a store of honey
for their support during winter, they mostly die at that season; and the
few that live remain in a torpid state till spring. Their sting is very
large; and the poisonous liquor of it, when introduced into the human
body, excites inflammation and creates very considerable pain.

[Illustration: THE ICHNEUMON FLY. (_Pimpla persuasoria._)]

THE mouth of this insect has jaws, but no sucking tongue. The antennæ
contain more than thirty joints; and the abdomen is joined to the body
by a slender pedicle. The ovipositor is enclosed in a cylindrical
sheath, composed of two valves.

One distinguishing and striking characteristic of all the species of
this kind of fly is the almost continual agitation of their antennæ. The
name of Ichneumon has been applied to them from the service they do us
by destroying caterpillars, plant-lice, and other insects; as the
Ichneumon or Mangouste destroys the crocodile in the East. The tip of
the abdomen of the females is armed with an ovipositor, visible in some
species, though not in others; and this instrument, though so fine, is
able to penetrate through mortar and plaster. The female fly uses it to
deposit her eggs in the body of other insects when in the egg,
caterpillar, or pupa state; so that the young as soon as they are
hatched may feed upon the caterpillar, penetrating to its very entrails.
These larvæ, however, contrive to suck out the nutritious juices of
their prey without attacking its vitals; for the caterpillar continues
to live for a long time, so as to afford them food till they have
attained their full size. It is not uncommon to see caterpillars fixed
upon trees, as if they were sitting upon their eggs; when it is
afterwards discovered that the larvæ, which were within their bodies,
have spun their threads, with which, as with cords, the caterpillars are
fastened down, and so perish miserably.

“A friend of mine,” says Dr. Derham, “put about forty large
caterpillars, collected from cabbages, on some bran and a few leaves in
a box, and covered it with gauze to prevent their escape. After a few
days we saw, from the backs of more than three-fourths of them, about
eight or ten little caterpillars of one of the Ichneumon flies come out
and spin each a small cocoon of silk; and in a few days the large
caterpillars died.”

The Ichneumons performed great service in the years 1731 and 1732, by
multiplying in the same proportion as the caterpillars, and their larvæ
destroyed more of these destructive creatures than could any efforts of
human industry.

They are found of all sizes, suitable to the various insects they are
parasitic upon, and in their ceaseless rummaging about in every hole and
corner, millions of destructive larvæ are discovered and destroyed by
them, which would otherwise have reached maturity, and left a progeny to
renew their ravages in the ensuing summer. Even those larvæ which feed
in concealment are readily discovered by the Ichneumons destined to live
upon them, and the farmer is often made aware of the presence of his
enemies by observing the activity of his friends.


(_Formica rufa._)]

THE colour of the Ant is in general a dark red or brown, with a fine
gloss on the abdomen. They are like the bees, divided into three
kinds--males, females, and neuters. The females and neuters are
furnished with stings for their defence; the males are wholly destitute
of them. The males and females are in proper season furnished with
wings, but the neuters have none, and they are doomed always to labour
and drudgery on the hill. This hill is constructed with considerable art
and labour; it is composed of leaves, bits of wood, sand, earth, and gum
from the trees, which are all united into a mass, perforated with
galleries to give access to the numerous cells which it contains. From
this hill there are several paths, worn by the constant passing and
repassing of these creatures; and it is worthy the admiration of the
naturalist to consider how busy the whole legion appears in bringing
bits of straw, dead bodies of other insects, or in carrying away their
eggs, if any danger threatens their republic. Their sense of smell is
very keen, and they discover at a great distance any food they may be in
search of.

ORDER VI. _Lepidoptera._ _The Moths and Butterflies._

THE insects included in this order are all remarkable for their beauty.
Their wings are membranous and veined, like those of the dragon flies
and their allies, but instead of being naked they are covered by
close-set scales of the most delicate texture and most brilliant
colours. The mouth is furnished with a spiral trunk or tongue, by which
nectar is sucked from the flowers; but in other respects it only differs
from the mouths of the masticating mandibulated orders in the smallness
of its parts. The antennæ vary in the different kinds: but those of all
the diurnal lepidoptera, or butterflies, are terminated by a small
inflation or knob; while those of the nocturnal species, or moths, taper
to a point, and are often feathery, or comb-shaped. The transformations
of the species belonging to this order are all complete.

Over the larvæ of this order the ichneumons reign with undisputed sway;
attacking all indiscriminately, from the minute insect that forms its
labyrinth within the thickness of a leaf, to the giant caterpillar of
the hawk moth. The most useful of all, however, the silkworm, appears,
at least with us, to be exempted from this scourge. De Geer, out of
fifteen larvæ that were mining between the two cuticles of a rose-leaf,
found that fourteen were destroyed by one of these insects.


THE larva of all the lepidoptera is a Caterpillar composed of twelve
ring-like segments, exclusive of the head, which is harder than the
other parts, and always of a deeper colour than the body. Each
Caterpillar has nine breathing-holes on each side; and each of the three
segments nearest the head is furnished with a pair of short legs, ending
in a kind of claw, which are the true legs of the insect. The
Caterpillar has, however, eight or ten other legs on the hinder segments
of its body. The head has twelve eyes, and two very short conical
antennæ; and the mouth is furnished with two strong mandibles, two
maxillæ, a labrum, and four palpi.

The habits of Caterpillars differ: some, which are called Geometers, or
Loopers, advance by a succession of steps, first extending the body to
its full length and adhering by the fore legs, then drawing up the
hinder part of the body close to the forepart so as to form a loop, and
then again repeating this process; these Caterpillars, when at rest,
often adhere by their hinder feet, and extend the body stiffly, like a
little dry twig; others, which are furnished with more prolegs, adhere
by these to the branch or leaf, and raise the forepart of the body a
little, an attitude which induced Linnæus to give the name of _Sphinx_
to the moths in whose Caterpillars this habit prevails; some small
species live between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves, in which
they excavate mines; others dwell in small cases, which they manufacture
of various materials; whilst others, dwelling in large societies, spin
for themselves a sort of silken tent, in which they take their repose,
and from which they issue daily in search of food in a regularly
marshalled procession. Many make themselves cocoons; but others have no
other covering in the pupa state than a smooth shining skin, or a dark
mummy-like cerement. The chrysalis of a butterfly is generally angular,
and that of a moth cylindrical.


(_Vanessa urticæ._)]

THE Caterpillar, which feeds on the nettle, is about an inch in length,
covered with bristles, and of a reddish brown colour. After having
changed its skin three times when in the shape of a Caterpillar, it
crawls up to a branching part of the stalk; and, hanging itself by the
hinder part or tail, swells and bursts in such a curious way, that the
Caterpillar’s skin drops to the ground, and the chrysalis, or aurelia,
remains suspended; till after a fortnight of torpor it bursts its skin
again, and escapes into the air, under the beautiful form of a
variegated Butterfly. The golden line which shines through the pupa case
of this Butterfly is supposed to have suggested the words chrysalis and
aurelia, both of which signify golden. The wings of the perfect insect
are about two inches in extent, of a deep orange colour above, and their
base and hinder margin black, with a series of blue crescents. These
Butterflies, which are very common in England, appear in spring, and at
the end of June and beginning of September.


(_Pontia_, or _Pieris Brassicæ_.)]

WHEN the colewort and cauliflower are nearly mature, the perfect insect
of this Caterpillar is found depositing her eggs upon the leaves. The
heat of the sun soon vivifies them and brings forth the Caterpillars,
which immediately proceed to consume the vegetables on which they
received being. They bear the heat of the sun without inconvenience, but
cannot endure long rains, and in wet weather they soon disappear. There
are several species of this Butterfly, but the common white, with a
black spot on each of the under wings, is the earliest seen in our
gardens. It lays its eggs in May; and its Caterpillars, which are soon
hatched, feed together till the end of June, when they go into the pupa
state, from which the perfect Butterfly appears in July. The eggs laid
by the second brood of Butterflies produce Caterpillars which feed
during the remainder of the summer, and remain in the pupa state all the
winter, to be hatched the following spring.

From the astonishing fecundity of these insects, it may be wondered that
they do not, in the course of time, completely overspread the face of
the earth, and totally consume every green plant. This would certainly
be the case if Providence had not provided a check to their progress.
One of the kinds of the ichneumon fly deposits her eggs within the
caterpillar of this Butterfly, and they are there hatched. In their
larva state they continue preying on the vitals of the animal; they then
pass to the pupa condition, and eventually emerge as perfect insects. So
greatly are we indebted to this apparently contemptible little parasite,
for keeping down the increase of an insect which would otherwise become
a serious and alarming evil.


(_Geometra_, or _Abraxas grossulariata_.)]

THE Caterpillar of this Moth is one of the kind called loopers, and is
very destructive. The chrysalis is naked and shining; and its colour is
a bright yellow with black bands. The Moth is white, spotted with black,
and hence its name of Magpie.

The black and white caterpillar of this Moth is very destructive to
currant and gooseberry bushes, and in some seasons particularly so. Mr.
Kirby especially cites the devastations at Hull in the spring of 1814.
He also confirms Boerhaave’s assertion, that the severity of winter has
no effect in destroying the larvæ of those insects, as these abounded
even more after a winter when Fahrenheit’s thermometer stood at zero,
than after a winter which was remarkably mild.

[Illustration: THE WINTER MOTH.

(_Geometra_, or _Cheimatobia brumata_.)]

THE Caterpillar delights in newly-opened leaves; it is not so ravenous
as many others, making long intervals between its meals, but it seldom
quits a leaf until it has entirely consumed it. The colour is very
elegant. The upper part of the body is of a fine yellowish green; but it
is by no means so beautiful after as before feeding, its skin being so
thin as to transmit the hue of whatever food it eats. They are also
called looper Caterpillars, because when they crawl they draw their hind
and fore feet together, so as to form their bodies into a loop. They go
into the pupa state towards the end of June, burying themselves for that
purpose in the earth; and in November or December the perfect insect is
brought forth.

It is evident that they possess great muscular power, and hence their
positions during repose are very striking. Fixing themselves by their
hinder feet alone, they extend their bodies in a straight line, holding
it in that position for a long time. This, together with their obscure
colours, and the warts on their bodies, render it often difficult to
distinguish them from the twigs of the trees on which they feed. When
alarmed, these Caterpillars have the instinct to drop from the leaves,
and suspend themselves by a thread, which enables them to remount when
the danger is over.

[Illustration: THE SILKWORM. (_Bombyx mori._)]

WITHOUT entering into a very minute description of this Caterpillar, we
shall confine ourselves to what we think will be at once more
interesting and more useful. As the Silkworm is an insect of universal
service, and not of singular beauty, we are induced to prefer giving an
account of its utility, rather than any elaborate description of its
figure or colour.

This larva feeds on the leaves of the mulberry tree, and when first
produced is extremely small, and entirely black. In a few days it
appears in a new habit, which is white, tinged with the colour of its
food; and before it goes into its chrysalis state it changes its skin
several times. When full grown it spins its cone of silk, which is its
cocoon, in the same manner as other insects. The Moth possesses no
beauty. The Silkworm is a native of China, whence the greater part of
our silk is still imported; but the insect was introduced into the south
of Europe during the reign of the Emperor Justinian, and is now reared
in large quantities both in France and Italy.

The art of manufacturing silk was known to the ancients. We are informed
that, in the third century, the wife of the Roman emperor Aurelian
entreated him to give her a robe of purple silk, which he refused on
account of its enormous price.

It is not certain at what precise period the manufacture of silk was
first introduced into England; but in the year 1242, we are told that
part of the streets of London were covered or shaded with silk, for the
reception of Richard, the brother of Henry III., on his return from the
Holy Land. In 1454 the silk manufactures of England are said to have
been confined merely to ribbons, laces, and other trifling articles.
Queen Elizabeth, in the third year of her reign, was furnished by her
silk-woman with a pair of black knit silk stockings, which she is stated
to have admired as “marvellous delicate wear;” and after the using of
which she no longer had cloth ones as before. James I., whilst king of
Scotland, requested of the Earl of Mar the loan of a pair of silk
stockings to appear in before the English ambassador, enforcing his
request with the cogent appeal, “For ye would not, sure, that your king
should appear as a scrub before strangers.”

[Illustration: THE CLOTHES MOTH. (_Tinea pellionella._)]

THE larva of this little Moth is well known from the damage it commits
in woollen cloth and furs. These substances constitute the principal
support of the Caterpillar, and therefore the parent is, by its natural
instinct, directed to deposit its eggs in them. As soon as it quits the
egg, the Caterpillar begins to form for itself a nest: for this purpose,
after having spun a fine coating of silk immediately around its body,
it eats the filaments of the cloth or fur, close to the thread of the
cloth, or to the skin. This operation is performed by its jaws, which
act in the manner of scissors. The pieces are cut into convenient
lengths, and applied, with great dexterity, one by one, to the outside
of its case; and to this it fastens them by means of its silk. Its
covering being thus formed, the little Caterpillar never quits it but on
the most urgent necessity. When it wants to feed, it puts out its head
at either end of its case, as best suits its conveniency. When it wishes
to change its place, it puts out its head and its six fore legs, by
means of which it moves forward, taking care first to fix its hind legs
into the inside of the case, so as to drag it along. After having
changed within its case into a chrysalis, it issues, in about three
weeks, a small, winged, mealy-looking Moth, of silvery drab colour, too
well known to almost every mistress of a family. The best mode of
destroying this insect, when in the cloth, is to place a saucer of oil
of turpentine with the articles affected in a close place, when the
vapour raised by the warm air will immediately destroy it. Should the
Caterpillar be old and strong, it may be necessary to brush the clothes
with a brush, the points of which have been dipped in turpentine.
Camphor wrapped up with furs will protect them from the Moth.

ORDER VII. _Diptera, or Flies._

THIS order is characterised by having only two wings, which are
transparent, and which have two little movable bodies, called halteres
or balancers, placed close behind them. The head is almost covered with
a pair of enormous eyes; and the mouth is furnished with a proboscis or
sucker. The legs are long in proportion to the body, and are in many
species terminated by two or three small cushion-like expansions, which,
it is supposed, enable them to walk on glass. Each foot has also two
hooks or claws.

[Illustration: THE HOUSE FLY. (_Musca domestica._)]

THIS insect lays its eggs in sinks, dunghills, or any other place where
there is decaying vegetable matter tolerably moist. The larvæ, or
maggots, are thick and fleshy, without legs, but having the mouth
furnished with hooks, by means of which they drag themselves along when
they wish to move. They go into the pupa state without throwing off the
skin of the maggot; and when the perfect insect appears, it forces off a
kind of cap from one end of the pupa case, in order to make its escape.
The _Blue Bottle flies_ (_Musca erythrocephala_ and _Vomitoria_) are
only too well known from their habit of depositing their eggs upon our
meat in summer. In the _Flesh fly_ (_Musca_ or _Sarcophaga carnaria_)
and some allied species, the eggs are hatched within the body of the
parent, which thus deposits living larvæ upon the decomposing animal
matter that constitutes their food. These flies are so prolific and
their larvæ so voracious that Linnæus says the progeny of them would
devour a horse as quickly as a lion could do it.

THE GNAT. (_Culex pipiens._)

THIS is an insect which deserves the observation of the naturalist, not
only for the very curious conformation of its proboscis (which so
quickly and powerfully penetrates into our skin, and through which it
sucks our blood into its body), but also for the several metamorphoses
it undergoes before it arrives at its winged state. The Gnat deposits
its eggs upon the surface of stagnant water, and sets them upright one
against another, in the form of a small boat: after floating upon the
water for several days, as soon as the time of hatching arrives thelarvæ, which the eggs contain, escape into the water in which they swim
about with vigorous jerking movements. They are compelled to visit the
surface to take in a supply of air, and for this purpose the tail is
furnished with a short tube, surrounded at its extremity with a star of
bristles, which, when spread out, prevent the water from flowing into
the air tube. The change to the pupa state is a curious one. In this
condition the insect exhibits a rather slender body with a bulky
anterior extremity, in which the head, wings, and limbs are enclosed;
the tail is furnished with a pair of leaves or membranous plates, the
matting tube has vanished from this part and in place of it we find two
tubes situated on the sides of the thorax: having passed about ten days
in this state, its increase being at an end, it keeps longer near the
surface, and at last the outer skin bursts, and the winged insect,
standing upon the _exuviæ_ it is going to leave behind, smooths its
new-born wings, springs into the air, and begins its depredations. The
fecundity of the Gnat is so remarkable, that in the course of one summer
they might increase to the amazing number of five or six hundred
thousands, if Providence had not ordered that they should become the
prey of birds, who by this means prevent their multiplying more than
they generally do. These insects are very annoying from their
blood-sucking propensities; and as the sucker is horny at the tip, it
inflicts a severe wound, into which the insect emits a small quantity of
poison, which occasions the pain and inflammation always felt from a
Gnat bite.

ORDER VIII. _Suctoria._

THESE insects are without wings. The mouth is furnished with a trunk or
beak, formed to wound as well as to suck.

[Illustration: THE FLEA, (_Pulex irritans_,)]

IS one of those little creatures with which want of cleanliness in
mankind is punished. It is one of the most annoying insects that infest
the human race, as, by its leapings, it often escapes being caught. It
is oviparous, and the egg, which is hardly discernible with the naked
eye, contains at maturity a small white worm, beset with hairs. This
worm soon spins for itself a little silk cocoon, from which the perfect
insect issues. The Flea is an active, troublesome, blood-thirsty insect;
it has a small head, large eyes, and a roundish, but compressed body,
which is covered with a kind of armour resembling the tortoise shell in
colour and transparency. The plates of which this skin is composed are
also armed with spines or bristles. It has six legs, two of which are
much longer than the others, in order to enable the insect to make such
wondrous leaps, as to raise the body above two hundred times its
diameter. The great strength and agility of the Flea are well known,
from the exhibition of the industrious Fleas.



THE STAR-FISH. (_Asterias_, or _Uraster rubens_.)

THIS animal is often found adhering to rocks on the sea-shores. The
common species is furnished with five rays, and is of a yellow or red
colour. It has a slow progressive motion, and is often found on the
beach among seaweeds after a storm.

Mr. Bingley describes an animal of this kind, which he kept by him for
some time alive; it had more than four thousand tentacula on the under
sides of the rays. These it frequently retracted, and again pushed out,
as a snail does its horns; and by means of them it was enabled firmly to
adhere to the dish containing the salt-water in which it was kept.
Whenever he touched the tentacula with his finger, all those of that ray
or limb were gradually withdrawn, but those of the other rays were not
in the least affected by it.

There are many other kinds of Star-fishes, especially in warm climates.
Amongst our native species we may notice the _Great Sun Star_ (_Solaster
papposa_) with a large disc and thirteen short rays; the _Luidia
fragilissima_ with five long rays, which it usually casts off
immediately on finding itself in danger, so as to render it a most
difficult matter to obtain perfect specimens of this species. The
_Feathered Star_ (_Comatula rosacea_) is also deserving of
mention.--This is a small species, with the arms distinct from the body
as in the last species and jointed, but furnished with numerous slender
jointed tentacles which give them the appearance of plumes. There are
ten of these arms and the number of little calcareous joints contained
in them is most astonishing. The small cuplike body of the Feather Star
bears other slender jointed appendages, by means of which the creature
clings to the rocks with its mouth and arms directed upwards; and in the
young state it is even supported on a jointed stalk, from which it
eventually casts itself free.

THE SEA-URCHIN. (_Echinus miliaris._)

THIS animal, which lodges in the cavities of rocks just beneath
low-water mark, on most of the British coasts, is nearly of a globular
shape, not much unlike that of an orange, having its shell marked into
ten partitions, with rows of projections like beads, which divide it. On
the outside of the shell there are a great number of sharp, moveable
spines, of a dull violet and greenish colour, curiously articulated,
like balls and sockets, with tubercles on the surface, and connected by
strong ligaments to the skin or epidermis with which the shell is
covered. The mouth is situated in the under part, and is armed with five
strong and sharpened teeth. The animal can move from place to place by
means of its contractile tubular feet and its spines; but its movements
are slow and laborious. So tenacious of life are the Sea-urchins, that
the ancients, according to Appian, believed that the body retained life
even when cut to pieces.

    “If in the sea the mangled parts you cast,
     The conscious pieces to their fellows haste;
     Again they aptly join, their whole compose,
     Move as before, nor life nor vigour lose.”

In Marseilles, and some other towns on the continent, the Sea-urchin is
exposed for sale in the markets, as oysters are with us, and is eaten
boiled as an egg. The Romans adopted it as food, and dressed it with
vinegar, mead, parsley, and mint.


ZOOPHYTES were long supposed to hold a middle station between animals
and vegetables. Most of them, deprived altogether of the power of
locomotion, are fixed by stems that take root in the crevices of rocks,
among sand, or in such other situations as Nature has destined for their
abode; these, by degrees, send off branches, till at length some of them
attain the size and extent of large shrubs. The Zoophytes were placed
by Linnæus in two divisions. The stony branches of the first division,
which have the general appellation of coral, are full of hollow cells,
which are habitations of the animals. The next division consists of such
Zoophytes as have softer, fleshy, or horny, stems, and in which the
individual polypes are, as it were, amalgamated with their common
plant-like habitation.


Magnified branch, exhibiting the Animals.      Gorgonia Nobilis.


THE CORAL, or Gorgonia, is a hard, stony, branched, and cylindrical
substance, which is formed at the bottom of the sea by animals called
polyps, or, to use the Latin and now established term, _polypi_. The
whole form a living mass, or polypidom, all the polypi in which are
united under one skin, and have one common stomach. Each of these polypi
resides in a distinct cell; they are generally dormant during winter,
and like the blossoms of plants, push forth buds, and expand in the
summer season. The stems and branches of the Gorgoniæ, which are of a
somewhat horny and flexible nature, may be considered as the true
skeletons of the nests of the sea polypi, being covered with a fleshy or
pulpy substance, the surface of which is porous. These pores are the
mouths or openings of the cells, in which the polypi are lodged; and it
is the number, disposition, and varied structure of these, in addition
to the general aspect of the plant-like nest of habitations, that
constitute the distinguishing difference of the species.

The bone of the Red Coral constitutes that beautiful and much esteemed
production, the true or red coral of the jewellers. It is found in the
Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Red Sea, and appears to be nowhere more
abundant than in the seas about Marseilles, Corsica, Sicily, the coasts
of Africa, and in the vicinity of Barbary; where the Coral fisheries are
carried on with great spirit, and prove very lucrative. It is equal in
hardness and durability to the most compact marble; and these qualities,
in addition to its beautiful texture and colour, have rendered it
valuable in all ages. Thus in the book of Job, “No mention shall be made
of corals, or of pearls; for the price of wisdom is above rubies.”

Travellers in tropical lands often speak of the exquisite beauty of the
coral beds that lie at the bottom of the ocean. The water is so clear in
those regions, that these wonderful formations are clearly visible at a
great depth, growing like stony forests, mingled with waving seaweeds of
many brilliant dyes.

The mode of obtaining Coral is by a very simple machine, consisting of
two strong bars of wood or iron, tied across each other, with a weight
suspending from their centre of union. Each of the bars is loosely
surrounded, throughout its whole length, with twisted hemp; and, at the
extremity, there is a small open net. The machine is suspended by a
rope, and dragged along those rocks where the Coral is most abundant:
and such as is broken off either becomes entangled in the hemp, or falls
into the nets.

Coral is bought by weight, and its value increases according to its
size. Beads of large size are worth about forty shillings an ounce,
whilst small ones do not sell for more than four shillings. Large pieces
of Coral are sometimes cut into balls, and exported to China, to be worn
as insignia in the caps of officers of state. These, if perfectly sound
and of good colour, and upwards of an inch in diameter, have been known
to produce in that market, as much as three to four hundred pounds
sterling each. There are extant many beautiful pieces of sculpture in
coral, as this substance has in all ages been considered an admirable
material on which to exhibit the artist’s taste and skill. Probably the
finest specimen of sculptured Coral yet known is a chess-board and men
in the palace of the Tuileries.

The Chinese have, within the last few years, succeeded in cutting coral
beads of much smaller dimension than has hitherto been effected by any
European artist. These, which are not larger than small pins’ heads, are
called Seed Coral, and are now imported from China into this country, in
very considerable quantity for necklaces. There are modes by which Coral
may be so exactly imitated, that without a close inspection, it is
sometimes impossible to detect the counterfeit.


THE RED CORAL, just described, belongs to the section of zoophytes
called Asteroida by Cuvier, in which the surface of the polypidom is
fleshy, and each polypus has only eight arms. The polypi which form the
massive stony corals of the tropical reefs, are furnished with numerous
tentacles, and resemble in their general conformation the Sea Anemones
which are so well known now-a-days as inhabitants of aquaria. The coral
consists of a deposit of carbonate of lime, and each polypus dwells in a
cell which exhibits a number of thin stony rays nearly meeting in the
middle. The masses of coral differ exceedingly in size, some consisting
of the habitations of only two or three polypi, whilst others are the
gradual production of a vast and constantly succeeding population; some
form branched trees and shrubs of the most various and elegant forms,
others grow in solid masses, but all, when living, present a most
beautiful appearance from the charming and often brilliant diversity of
colours with which they are adorned.

In the Pacific Ocean several of the coral reefs are extremely beautiful,
and the voyager is astonished with the curious and fantastic forms of
the various marine productions of which they are composed.
Wheat-sheaves, mushrooms, cabbage leaves, with innumerable plants and
flowers, are vividly represented by different kinds of Coral, and glow
beneath the water in brilliant tints of brown and purple, white or
green; each with a peculiar form and shade of colouring, equal in
richness and variety to the most beautiful productions of the vegetable
world. Corals and fungi start from between the fissures of the rocks;
while large portions of the former, in a dead state, connected into a
solid mass, of a dull white colour, compose the stone-work of the reef.
Solid masses, termed negro heads, of different dusky hues, and generally
dry and blackened by exposure to the weather, are also occasionally
conspicuous. Even these are not without ornament, for nature delights in
the variety of her decorations. They are studded with small shells, and
beautifully marked with outlines expressive of their origin. The edges
of the reefs, particularly those exposed to the waves, partake of a
considerable degree of lightness, and form small coves and caverns, the
resort of live corals, sponges, sea-eggs, and trefangs, or sea traces,
(valued in China, for their invigorating quality,) and enormous cockles,
which are scarcely to be distinguished from the rock, excepting when
they suddenly close their shells, and discharge living fountains, which
rise to the height of four or five feet.

With regard to the formation of coral reefs, it has been conjectured,
from the appearance of the low islands in some parts of the South Sea
and Indian Ocean (where they occur in rows or groups, while they are
totally absent in other parts of the same seas), that Coral animals rear
their habitations on marine shoals, or, to speak more properly, at or
near the top of sub-marine mountains. As it is known, however, that the
polypes can only build their coral within a small distance of the
surface of the sea, and the water is often of immense depth close to the
coral reefs, it has been supposed that in the Pacific Ocean, where the
greater part of the Coral reefs and islands are met with, the bottom of
the sea has been gradually undergoing changes, deepening in some places
and becoming shallower in others, and by this supposition most of the
peculiarities of the Coral reefs and islands may easily be accounted
for. Where reefs are formed the bottom is generally sinking; islands
indicate that the bottom is stationary or rising. In the latter case,
when the Corals approach close to the surface, floating substances of
every kind are caught by their stony tree-like fabrics, till at length a
solid mass of rock is formed, which gradually advances to the surface of
the water. The deposits of the ocean no longer tenaciously adhere, but
remain in a loose state, and form what is termed by mariners a key upon
the summit of the reef; while the sea, by throwing up sand and mud on
the top of these animal rocks, progressively raises them above its
level. The new island, for such it may now be called, is soon visited by
sea-birds; plants successively appear, and carpet the sterile soil with
a luxuriant covering. As these decay, vegetable mould is gradually
deposited; cocoa-nuts, or some floating seeds, flung on shore by the
impetuosity of the waves, take root, and soon begin to grow; land-birds,
attracted by the verdant appearance of the bank, fly thither in quest of
provisions, and deposit the seeds of shrubs and trees; every high tide
and every gale adds some new treasure: the appearance of an island is
gradually assumed, and at length man comes to take possession.


     1. Coral of the Astrea _annanas_.

     2. Animal of the Caryophyllia _solitaria_.

     3. Animal of the Tubipora _musica_.

     4. Animal and dwelling of the Cellepora _hyalina_.

     5. Animal and central axis of the Gorgonia _patula_.

[Illustration: SPONGE.]

SPONGE is a substance of a soft, light, porous, and elastic nature,
which is found adhering to rocks at the bottom of the sea, in several
parts of the Mediterranean, and particularly near the islands of the
Grecian Archipelago; and which, in its natural state, is filled with
animal jelly. The general uses of Sponge, arising from its ready
absorption of fluids, and distension by moisture, are well known and of
great importance. It is collected from rocks, in water five or six
fathoms deep, chiefly by divers. When first taken from the sea, it has a
strong and fishy smell, from the animal matter it contains, of which it
is divested by being washed in clear water. No other preparation than
this is requisite previously to its being packed up for exportation and
sale. The growth of Sponge is so rapid, that it is frequently found in
perfection on rocks, from which, only two years before, it had been
entirely cleared.

As they are never designed to move from their places of abode, the
surface of the Sponges is covered with innumerable small apertures or
pores, communicating with a network of fine canals, which permeate every
part of the substance and convey to the minute and simple creatures
which form the living part of this curious compound animal, the food and
water necessary for their support and respiration. These fine canals
unite into larger passages, leading to orifices of considerable size
usually placed on prominences of the surface; from these the water
streams forth with such force, according to some observers, as to be
perceptible by the eye.

The inherent chemical properties of this curious Zoophyte are very
remarkable. When a Sponge has been immersed for fourteen or sixteen days
in nitric acid (diluted with three parts of distilled water) it becomes
nearly transparent, and when touched with ammonia, assumes a deep orange
colour, inclining to a brownish red. But if much softened by the acid,
the whole fabric immediately disappears, on being immersed in ammonia,
and forms a deep orange-coloured solution. A Sponge, when boiled, gives
out a considerable portion of animal jelly. The infusion of a small
quantity of oak bark causes this to fall to the bottom of the vessel, as
a sediment, and so entirely changes the nature of the Sponge, that, when
dry, it crumbles between the fingers; and, when moist, it may be torn
like wetted paper. In this state we should naturally conclude that it is
entirely useless: but no; the operations of chemistry resemble a magic
wand. Boil the same in water, with caustic potash, its latent qualities
will be called forth; and, behold, a deposition of animal soap!


THESE are two species, which will fully illustrate the nature of the
whole tribe. They are found in clear waters, and may generally be seen
in small ditches and trenches of fields, especially in the months of
April and May. They affix themselves to the under-parts of leaves, and
to the stalks of such vegetables as happen to grow in the same water;
and feed on the various species of small worms and other aquatic animals
within their reach. When any of these pass near a Polyp, the latter
suddenly catches it with its arms, and dragging it to its mouth,
swallows it by degrees, much in the same manner as a snake gorges its
prey. Two Polypi may occasionally be seen in the act of seizing the same
worm at different ends, and dragging it in opposite directions with
great force. It sometimes happens, that while one is swallowing the end
it has seized, the other is employed in the same manner; and thus they
continue swallowing, each his part, until their mouths meet. They then
rest for some time in this situation, till the worm breaks between them,
and each goes off with his share. But sometimes when the mouths of both
are thus joined together a combat ensues, and the largest Polyp usually
swallows his antagonist; the animal thus swallowed, however, seems to be
a gainer by its misfortune, as after it has lain in the conqueror’s body
for about an hour it issues unhurt, and often in possession of the prey
that had been the original cause of contention. The remains of the
animal, on which the Polyp feeds, are evacuated at the mouth, the only
opening in the body. The species are multiplied by a kind of vegetation,
one or two, or even more young ones, emerging gradually from the sides
of the parent animal; and these young ones are frequently again prolific
before they drop off; so that it is no uncommon thing to see two or
three generations at once on the same Polyp. But the most astonishing
fact respecting this animal is, that if a Polyp be cut in pieces, it is
not destroyed, but is multiplied by dissection. It may be cut in every
direction that fancy can suggest, and even into very minute divisions,
and not only the parent stock will remain uninjured, but every section
will become an animal. Even when turned inside out, it suffers no
material injury; for, in that state it will soon begin to take food, and
to perform all its other natural functions.

M. Trembley, of Geneva, ascertained that different portions of one Polyp
could be engrafted on another. Two transverse sections brought into
contact will quickly unite and form one animal, though each section
should belong to a different species. The head of one species may be
engrafted on the body of another. When one Polyp is introduced by the
tail into another’s body, the two heads unite and form one individual.
Pursuing these strange operations, M. Trembley gave scope to his fancy
by repeatedly splitting the head and part of the body; he thus formed
hydras more complicated than ever struck the imagination of the most
romantic fabulist.

Though so difficult to destroy by division, all the Polyps, even those
which form the corals, may be easily killed by depriving them of
moisture, when they soon shrivel up, and the tissue of their skins is
completely destroyed.


OF these Fresh-water Polypi, only a few kinds are known, but the sea
nourishes a multitude of species which closely resemble the Hydras in
their structure, from hence called Hydroid Polyps by Cuvier and many
other naturalists. Most of these are compound creatures, of the kind
shown in the above engraving, of which many species may be found on all
our shores. A horny tube runs branching over the surface of a seaweed,
or some other object, and from this, at intervals, rise slender stalks,
often branched in the most elegant manner. Upon the delicate branches we
find little horny cups, each of which is the habitation of a tiny Polyp,
furnished with a mouth and stomach, and with a circlet of slender arms
to enable it to capture its prey. Other species are enclosed only in a
soft membrane, but all rise from creeping roots.

[Illustration: THE SEA ANEMONES.]

BESIDES the Polypi just mentioned as nearly related to the fresh-water
_Hydra_ and those forming the different kinds of Corals, the sea
produces a vast number of other Zoophytes, the commonest kinds of which
are well known as Sea Anemones. These animals are found adhering to
rocks on all shores; they consist of a rather thick column, the base of
which forms an adhesive disc, while its summit, which is also a disc,
shows a puckered mouth in the centre surrounded by several rows oftentacles. The tentacles are sometimes short and stout, sometimes long
and slender; they are generally adorned with vivid or delicate colours,
often disposed in rings and contrasting beautifully with the colours of
the stem and disc. In their expanded state they present a close
resemblance to a flower, and indeed vie with many flowers in beauty;
hence the name of _Animal Flowers_ was given to them formerly, and has
now given place to that of Sea Anemones, although they are rather to be
compared with those composite flowers in which numerous petal-like
flowerets radiate from a central disc. When contracted, the Sea Anemones
resemble soft knobs or buttons, with a depression at the top.

In describing the Stony Corals, the fact has been mentioned that the
Polyps, which may be regarded as the architects of those extraordinary
structures, are very similar to the Sea Anemones. In the latter, the
cavity surrounding the central stomach is partially divided into
chambers, by partitions, which run inwards from the circumference
towards the centre; in the Coral Polyps each of these partitions
produces a stony plate in its substance, and these plates form the rays
which occupy the interior of the Polyp-cell.

The Sea Anemones move slowly along by the action of their adhering disc,
somewhat in the same way that a snail or slug crawls upon the ground.
Their food is obtained by means of the tentacles which give them their
beautiful flower-like character, and to render them efficient organs for
this purpose they are endowed with a singular provision. The skin of the
tentacles, and, indeed, of most parts of the Sea Anemone is filled with
little cells or vesicles, each containing a spiral thread, which when
touched instantly darts forth, and penetrates the body coming in contact
with it. In this way, if a worm, a small fish, or any other soft animal
touches the tentacles of an Anemone, it is instantly transfixed with
innumerable delicate darts, which not only assist the tentacles in
holding the destined prey, but also seem to exercise a sort of numbing
influence upon the victim, deadening his struggles and rendering him an
easy conquest. He is then speedily passed by the tentacles to the
orifice of the mouth, and swallowed without mercy.

One of the commonest kinds of these Polyps is the _Mesembryanthemum_
(_Actinia Mesembryanthemum_), a large, usually liver-coloured species,
with a row of blue warts round the margin just outside the tentacles. It
is found abundantly on the rocks of our Southern coast especially. The
_Thick-horned Anemone_ (_Actinia_ or _Brusodes crassicornis_) is another
large and fine species, usually of a red colour, with very thick
tentacles, which are generally white with pinkish bands.--The _Sea
Cereus_ (_Anthea Cereus_) has long slender tentacles, which are not
retracted in the same way as those of the Sea Anemones generally. The
tentacles are usually tipped with a pink or purple tint; they are
constantly waving about in the water in search of prey; and instantly
seize upon any creature that passes over them.--The _Parasitic Anemone_
(_Actinia parasitica_) and the _Cloak Anemone_ (_Adamsia palliata_)
always attach themselves to univalve shells which are occupied by Hermit


THE animals commonly known as Jelly Fishes are free-swimming Radiata;
they were described by Cuvier and most succeeding naturalists under the
name of _Acalephæ_, from a Greek word signifying “_nettles_,” because
many of them produce a stinging sensation when they come in contact with
the skin. Their name in several languages signifies “Sea Nettles.” The
Acalephæ of Cuvier are now regarded as belonging to the same class as
the Hydroid Polyps.

The common Medusa (_Medusa amita_), which may serve as an example of
this group, is found in great abundance round our coasts; it is of a
circular form, convex above, concave beneath, like an umbrella, the
stick of which is represented by a thick stalk, containing the mouth and
stomach, and terminated by four long arms for seizing the animal’s food.
The skin of these, and of the body and its appendages generally is full
of the thread-cells described as occurring in the Sea Anemones, and it
is to these that the stinging power of the Medusæ is due. The motion of
the Medusæ through the water is effected by the alternate expansion and
contraction of its umbrella, which is slightly inclined in the direction
towards which the creature is moving, and it is a most beautiful sight
to look down upon a fleet of these animals, all advancing in the same
direction at a depth of two or three feet in the water, as may often be
seen in fine weather at the mouths of our rivers.

At first sight it may be thought that the Medusæ have but little in
common with the Hydroid or any other Polyps, but it has been fully
proved by late researches that the young animal produced from the egg of
the Medusa is a regular Polyp, which adheres by its base, and obtains
its food by the agency of a crown of tentacles surrounding its mouth;
nay, it even propagates in this form by pushing out buds exactly in the
manner described in the case of the fresh-water Hydra. In course of
time, however, the body of this Polyp becomes elongated, and its surface
is marked into rings, the grooves separating which gradually become
deeper until the whole body breaks up into a number of saucer-like
segments, each of which becomes a Medusa. How fully does this
extraordinary mode of reproduction show that the wonders of the Creator
are no less striking in the lowest than in the highest of his creatures,
and that for all, from the highest to the lowest, the same prescient
care has been exercised, the same goodness evinced. Verily, we may
follow the pious example of the great Linnæus, and exclaim with the
Psalmist, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made
them all.”




OUR OBJECT in the previous pages has been to combine interest with
amusement, and to present truth unmixed with fable. Yet considering that
some fictitious animals are conventionally recognised in poetry and
painting, we have thought it desirable to subjoin an account of them.
The Sphinx, the Dragon, the Unicorn, Pegasus, and the Centaur, are so
familiar to us, both in sculpture and fable, that some notice of these
mythological creations seems indispensable.

[Illustration: THE SPHINX.]

PROVIDENCE has ordered, that as the plains of Egypt are not visited by
showers, they should be fertilized by the overflowing of the Nile, which
takes place annually, a little after the summer solstice. This
phenomenon, the source of unfailing fertility in the vales of the Delta
up to Memphis, and around the bases of the majestic and venerable
pyramids, was of the greatest importance to the people of Misraim, from
the far-famed Pharos to the frontiers of Ethiopia. It was therefore
their interest to calculate correctly the season, the month, and nearly
the hour, when the flood should begin; the more so, as the sudden
invasion of the waters was dangerous to the inhabitants of the low
lands, the meadows, and the fens, and often destroyed the cottages, and
drowned the flocks and the improvident villagers. The star Sirius was
remarked to emerge from the blazing halo of the sun about the time of
the rising of the Nile; it was a warning, and was accordingly called the
Dog-star, as if barking from the heavens to apprise the inhabitants of
the valleys of the impending rise of the waters. The Egyptian
astronomers, to mark the period, combined the signs of the zodiac
answering to the two months during which the overflowing took place.
These signs happening to be Leo and Virgo, the mystical fancy of the
ancient Egyptians united them in one, and thus formed the figure of the
Sphinx, which has the head and breast of a woman, and the body of a
lion. This was a great enigma to the Greeks and Phœnicians who
travelled to Egypt; they saw the monster, but could not comprehend its
meaning. On returning to their respective countries, they invented the
fable of the Sphinx offering riddles at the gates of Thebes, and
destroying those who could not unravel them; having probably been told
by the supercilious sages of that nation, that they who could not guess
the meaning of the Sphinx were to forfeit their life in atonement for
their ignorance. Long afterwards, the real sense of the symbol was
forgotten, and Egypt in her superstition began to worship the emblem, of
which innumerable figures still exist in that once flourishing country.

The Sphinx has been introduced in heraldry to adorn the gorgets of those
general officers who distinguished themselves against the French on the
banks of the Nile; it has also been adopted as an ornament in various
decorations; and two specimens, exquisitely wrought, are seen on the
front wall of Syon House, at Brentford, the seat of his Grace the Duke
of Northumberland.

This chimerical figure is generally represented as sitting and at rest;
a graceful attitude adopted by Egyptian sculptors, and imitated by the
Greeks and Romans.

[Illustration: THE DRAGON.]

THIS fabulous animal, which figures largely in ancient romances, was
supposed to be the tutelary genius of fresh-water springs in the bosom
of dark forests and enchanted rocks. Dragons were harnessed to the car
of Ceres; they were the guardians of the golden apples of the
Hesperides, and of the golden fleece of Colchis; and in several parts of
the world set as protectors to the carbuncles and other precious stones
hidden at the bottom of wells and fountains. They are represented as
scaly serpents, with webbed feet, and with wings similar to those of a
bat; having been, it seems, originally a hieroglyphic emblem of the
dangerous influence of an undue combination of air and water. Thus the
serpent Python was the allegory of a pestilence, originating from a
union of mephitic air and moisture. They have been long supporters to
the arms of the city of London, as if the guardians of the wealth which
commerce brings hither from all the parts of the world. Four of them are
placed in fanciful attitudes, and beautifully carved, on the pedestal of
the monument of London.

[Illustration: THE WIVERN, WOLVERINE.]

THIS fabulous animal somewhat resembles the dragon, only that, instead
of four, it has two legs, which are webbed, and armed with claws. There
is no doubt that this imaginary being was originally conceived in the
brains of the poets and romancers, in times of chivalry, when the
Crusaders overran the plains of Palestine and Assyria. The heat of the
climate in some vales at the foot of the mountains, which intersect the
deserts of those countries, was favourable to the breeding of all sorts
of serpents, some of an immense size. The European soldiers of Godfrey
and Richard, unaccustomed to such sights, were easily frightened,
whenever they met those monsters on the sedgy banks of small lakes,
under the shade of cedars and palm-trees, where they appeared as if
posted to guard the sacred waters, so precious in so hot a country; and
magnified in their idle tales, when inactive in camps, the bulk of the
serpent they had seen. The castle of Lusignan, in the province of
Poitou, was supposed to contain one of those winged serpents. It is a
very ancient armorial bearing, and now stands as supporter to the arms
of several illustrious houses.


THE fruitful imagination of man knows hardly any bounds. The animal
which bears the name of Basilisk was originally supposed to be a
serpent, with a sort of comb or crown on its head: but that was not
sufficiently marvellous. It was supposed also to be hatched from a
cock’s egg, upon which a snake had performed the office of incubation;
and the animal had the head of a cock, and the wings and tail of a
dragon. Hatched near a spring of water, the common resort of serpents,
it was asserted that, frightened at his own extraordinary shape, he soon
precipitated himself to the bottom, whence, by the mortal look from his
fiery eyes, he had the power of killing whoever dared to gaze at him.
There are no less than four kinds of basilisks mentioned by various
authors. One burnt up everything near him, and reduced the place he
lived in to a complete desert; another kind had the power of producing a
stony rigidity in whoever looked at them, which was followed by death;
or the gazers’ flesh fell from their bones. The basilisk was said to be
killed by carrying a mirror to its lair; and the creature encountering
the reflection of its own baleful glance, was killed with its own

[Illustration: THE GRYPHON, OR GRIFFIN,]

WAS originally an emblem of life. It was used to adorn funeral monuments
and sepulchres. The upper part of this allegorical animal resembles the
eagle, the king of the birds, and the rest the lion, the king of beasts;
which is said to imply that man, who lives upon the earth, cannot
subsist without air. In later times it was supposed that the Gryphon was
posted as a jailor at the entrance of enchanted castles and caverns
where subterraneous treasures were concealed. Milton compares Satan in
his flight to the Gryphon, in the following beautiful passage:

    “As when a Gryphon through the wilderness,
     With winged course o’er hill or moory dale,
     Pursues the Arimaspian, who, by stealth,
     Had from his wakeful custody purloined
     The guarded gold; so eagerly the fiend,
     O’er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
     With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,
     And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.”

The _Arimaspians_ were Asiatic wizards, who, by magic, used to obtain a
knowledge of the places where treasures lay hidden. Their incessant
wranglings with the Gryphons about gold-mines are mentioned by Herodotus
and Pliny. Lucan says that they inhabited Scythia, and adorned their
hair with gold; that they had but one eye in the middle of the forehead,
and lived on the banks of the gold-sanded river Arimaspes.
Virgil, in his eighth Pastoral, mentions this animal as if really
existing, but does not give us any description of it; and Claudian, in
his Epistle to Serena, alludes to the supposed fact of their keeping
watch over masses of gold in the bosom of northern mountains.


HERODOTUS, Pliny, and nearly sixty other classical authors, have related
marvellous stories of this bird, all of which are of course fabulous.
The Phœnix, they say, inhabits the plains of Arabia, and is about the
size of an eagle, with gorgeous plumage of purple and gold. He is the
only one of his kind in the world. At the approach of death, he builds
himself a nest of aromatic herbs, and on it yields up his life. From his
marrow proceeds a worm, which shortly becomes a young Phœnix, whose
first duty is to discharge the obsequies of his sire. For this purpose
he collects a quantity of myrrh, which he moulds into the shape of an
egg, as large as he can conveniently carry, and then scooping it out, he
deposits the body of his sire in the inside. Having stopped it up again
with myrrh, he carries it to the Temple of the Sun in Egypt, where he
devoutly places it on the altar. This is the only time that he is seen
during his life, which lasts five hundred years. According to others,
after preparing a funeral pile of rich herbs and spices, he burns
himself, but from his ashes revives in all the freshness of youth.

From late mythological researches it is conjectured that the Phœnix
is a symbol of five hundred years, of which the conclusion was
celebrated by a solemn sacrifice, in which the figure of a bird was
burnt. His being restored to youth signifies that the new springs from
the old.


THE existence of this animal, half a woman and half a fish, has long
been talked of, believed, disbelieved, and doubted. Homer is the first
who speaks of such beings, which he styles _Sirens_; but we do not find
that he gives any description of their shape; however, it was soon
asserted that the Sirens were, as Horace, in his “Art of Poetry,”
describes them:

    “Above, a lovely maid; a fish below.”

The Sirens were three sisters, whose voice was so delightfully
harmonious and enticing, that no resistance could be made against its
powerful charms; but “’twas death to hear,” for they led the navigators
and their ships to certain destruction among the rocks that bordered the
dangerous coasts which they inhabited, near the shores of Italy.

The belief in the existence of Mermaids has been current at different
periods; indeed, some years ago, several persons made depositions before
a magistrate, that they had seen Mermaids come out of the sea and play
on the rocks, but that they sprang into their element before they were
able to secure them.

A creature, said to be a dried Mermaid, was exhibited in London about
the year 1828; but it was afterwards discovered to be the body of a
monkey artfully attached to the dried tail of a salmon.


THIS creature is another fabulous inhabitant of the sea. It is said to
be three or four miles in breadth, and to live generally at the bottom
of the sea, on the Norway coast. When it moves the commotion of the sea
is so violent that it upsets boats and even small ships; and when it
comes to the surface, it is generally mistaken for an island.

[Illustration: THE DOLPHIN.]

THIS is the Dolphin of heraldry, and as fabulous an animal as any here
mentioned, as may be seen by comparing it with the figure of the real
Dolphin, given with the description in a former part of this work. This
fish was said to curl up his back to carry his favourites over the seas
without wetting them; and to assume the most brilliant colours in dying,
changing from a bright blue to as bright a yellow, and then to red and
green, &c. &c.

[Illustration: THE UNICORN.]

THIS is another offspring of the lively and fruitful fancy of man. It is
represented as a compound of the horse and stag, the head and body
belong to the former, and the hoofs to the latter, while the horn, the
tufts, and the tail are anomalies. This animal holds a high rank in
heraldry, and is one of the supporters of the royal arms of England.

The Unicorn is often mentioned in the Scriptures, and by many
commentators is supposed to be the rhinoceros. From the book of Job we
learn that it was not only an animal of considerable strength, but also
of a very fierce and intractable disposition--“Will the Unicorn be
willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind the Unicorn
with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys for thee?
Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave
thy labour to him? Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy
seed, and gather it into thy barn?” Ch. xxxix. ver. 9--11. In the book
of Psalms, xcii. ver. 10. “My horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of a


ANOTHER liberty has been taken with the horse. Mythology has added wings
to its elegant figure, and called it _Pegasus_. This animal, it is said,
sprang from the blood of Medusa, when Perseus had cut off her head; and
immediately afterwards flew upwards towards heaven, but stopped short,
and alighted on Mount Helicon, where he struck the ground with his foot,
and instantly the fountain Hippocrene burst from the ground. During his
residence on Mount Helicon, Pegasus became a great favourite with the
Muses, who resided occasionally on that lofty mountain; and still, when
any one attempts extravagant flights of poetry, he is said to have
mounted on his Pegasus, as it was difficult to approach the Muses when
raised so high. On the contrary, the Castalian fountain on Mount
Parnassus was more accessible, and inspired poetry of a gentler nature.
But to return to Pegasus; he was at length tamed by Neptune, or Minerva,
and lent by the latter to Bellerophon, to enable him to conquer the
horrid monster called the Chimera, which was always shifting its place,
and vomiting forth flames and smoke. After the victory was achieved,
Bellerophon attempted to fly up to heaven; but Pegasus threw his rider,
and flying up to heaven without him, was changed into the constellation
of stars which still bears his name. Pegasus is sometimes confounded
with the Hippogriph, or _Ippogrifo_ of Ariosto, which is often seen in
coats of arms.


LIKE the Sphinx, this creature is a compound of the brute and human
form, exhibiting the body of a man united to that of a horse, the former
rising from the chest of the latter. Absurd as such a combination must
appear to the anatomist, and ill adapted as it seems for agility, it is
not wholly devoid of grace, and is very frequently met with in antique
sculpture. According to Grecian mythology, these beings inhabited
Thessaly; and poetry has celebrated their combats with Hercules,
Theseus, and Pirithous, the latter of whom was the leader of the
Lapithæ, a people who vanquished the Centaurs. Their fabulous existence
had its origin in that love of the marvellous, which is always found to
exist in the earlier stages of society. Hence the natives of Thessaly
being distinguished for their skill in horsemanship, at a time when
their neighbours were unacquainted with the art of riding, they would be
described as combining the powers both of the human and the equine race;
in the same manner as some of the American tribes, when they first
beheld the Spaniards mounted on horses, mistook them for a different
race of beings from themselves, supposing them to be half men and half
quadrupeds. It is by such errors that fiction, whether poetry or
painting be its vehicle, creates those fanciful beings and shapes which
delight the imagination.


ALTHOUGH the Satyr of the ancient poets can hardly be termed an animal,
as the human form predominates, he may be introduced here as our final
example of fabulous creatures. Satyrs and Fauns are represented as men
with goats’ legs and horns, and were supposed to be the attendants of
Bacchus, with whose worship they are generally connected. The idea of
such beings was probably derived from some of the larger species of
apes. They are described as inhabiting woods and forests, of which they
were regarded as the protecting deities. Probably they were partly
personifications, intended to express the debasing influence of animal
propensities and sensual indulgence: and as nothing tends more than
intoxication to reduce man to a level with the brutes, since it deprives
reason of all control over the passions, the form of the Satyr may have
been ingeniously intended as a visible representation of the degraded
state of those who surrender up the noblest prerogative of man. Whether
such was really or not the idea of those who first feigned the existence
of such creatures, we may very rationally adopt this explanation, and
thereby deduce an important moral lesson from what is in itself an
extravagant fiction.




Abraxas grossulariata                                                587

Acelephæ                                                             609

Acarus siro                                                          552

Accipiter nisus                                                      202

Acerina cernua                                                       476

Acheta campestris                                                    570

---- domesticata                                                     570

Acipenser sturio                                                     416

Actinia crassicornis                                                 609

---- mesembryanthemum                                                609

---- parasitica                                                      609

Adamsia palliata                                                     609

Adder                                                                495

Adjutant                                                             352

Admiral                                                              530

Ageneiosus militaris                                                 432

Ai                                                                   107

Alauda arborea                                                       247

---- arvensis                                                        245

Albatross                                                            396

Alca impennis                                                        399

Alcedo ispida                                                        277

Alligator (lucius)                                                   518

Amphisbæna (fuliginosa)                                              503

Anabas scandens                                                      475

Anaconda                                                             503

Anarrhichas lupus                                                    431

Anas boschas                                                         388

Anchovy                                                              458

Angel fish                                                           426

Angler                                                               438

Anguilla vulgaris                                                    490

Anobium tesselatum                                                   560

Anser ferus                                                          380

Anthea cereus                                                        696

Ants                                                                 582

Ant-eater, great                                                     110

Antelope (cervicapra)                                                149

---- Dorcas                                                          150

---- Gnu                                                             154

---- picta                                                           152

---- Rupicapra                                                       151

---- Virgo                                                           349

Anthropoides virgo                                                   349

Ant-lion                                                             574

Aphis                                                                572

Apteryx (Australis)                                                  344

Aquila chrysaëtos                                                    185

Arctic Fox                                                            39

Arctomys Marmotta                                                     97

Ardea cinerea                                                        354

Argali                                                               147

Argonaut                                                             537

Argyroneta aquatica                                                  550

Arion ater                                                           535

Armadillo                                                            109

Aromia moschata                                                      558

Arvicola amphibia                                                    102

Asp, Egyptian                                                        499

Ass                                                                  127

Astacus fluviatilis                                                  543

---- marinus                                                         542

Asterias rubens                                                      595

Astur palumbarius                                                    200

Ateles paniscus                                                      182

Auchenia glama                                                       172

Auk, Great                                                           399

Avicula Margaritifera                                                525

Axis                                                                 163


Babiroussa                                                           122

Babirussa alfurus                                                    122

Baboon                                                               178

----, Cape                                                           179

Badger                                                                53

Balaninus micum                                                      562

Balæna Australis                                                     405

---- mysticetus                                                      401

Balænoptera boops                                                    407

Balearica pavonina                                                   349

Barbary Ape                                                          177

Barbel                                                               482

Basilisk                                                             615

Basse                                                                475

Bat                                                                   80

----, Kalong                                                          83
Bat, Long-eared                                                       81

----, Vampyre                                                         82

Bear, American (Black)                                                45

----, European (Brown)                                                46

----, Grisly                                                          46

----,   Malayan                                                       48

----, Polar                                                           50

Beaver                                                                88

Bees                                                                 577

Beetle,  Black                                                       563

----,   Blind                                                        555

----,   Elephant                                                     557

----,   Ground                                                       558

----,   Musk                                                         558

----,   Stag                                                         556

Belone vulgaris                                                      454

Beluga (leucas)                                                      410

Billy Biter                                                          249

Bird of Paradise                                                     279

Bison (Bonasus)                                                      141

----, American                                                       141

Bittern                                                              356

Blackbird                                                            220

Black Cap                                                            231

Black Cock                                                           322

Blatta orientalis                                                    563

Bleak                                                                483

Blepharis (ciliaris)                                                 447

Blue Ox                                                              152

Boa Constrictor                                                      502

Boar, Wild                                                           120

Bombyx mori                                                          589

Boquetin                                                             148

Bos Bonasus                                                          141

---- Indicus                                                         143

---- Taurus                                                          134

Botaurus stellaris                                                   356

Bower-Bird                                                           263

Bradypus tridactylus                                                 107

Brandling                                                            462

Bream                                                                484

Brusodes crassicornis                                                609

Bubalus Caffer                                                       139

Bubo Maximus                                                         214

Buccinum undatum                                                     531

Budytes flava                                                        237

Bufo vulgaris                                                        507

Buffalo, African                                                     139

Bull                                                                 134

----, Brahmin                                                        143

----, Wild                                                           137

Bullfinch                                                            258

Bullhead                                                             486

Bunting, Yellow                                                      249

Bustard                                                              345

Bulteo vulgaris                                                      197

Butcher-bird, Great                                                  217

----, Little                                                         218

Butterfly, Cabbage                                                   586

----, Tortoiseshell                                                  585

Buzzard                                                              197

----, Honey                                                          199


Cachalot                                                             407

Calandra granaria                                                    561

Camel, Arabian                                                       170

----, Bactrian                                                       168

---- of America                                                      172

Camelopardalis Giraffa                                               164

Camelus Bactrianus                                                   168

---- Dromedarius                                                     170

Canary Bird                                                          254

Cancer pagurus                                                       543

Canis aureus                                                          42

---- familiaris                                                       23

---- lagopus                                                          39

---- lupus                                                            40

---- vulpes                                                           37

Cantharis (vesicatoria)                                              561

Capercalzie                                                          323

Capra hircus                                                         147

---- ibex                                                            148

Caprimulgus Europæus                                                 244

Carabus clathratus                                                   558

---- violaceus                                                       559

Caracal                                                               20

Carcharias vulgaris                                                  417

---- vulpes                                                          421

Cardium edule                                                        527

Carduelis canaria                                                    254

---- elegans                                                         259

Carp                                                                 477

----, Golden                                                         479

Carrion Crow                                                         268

Cassowary                                                            341

Castor Fiber                                                          88

Casuarius galeatus                                                   341

Cat                                                                   20

Cavallo-Marino                                                       442

Cavia Cobaya                                                          98

Cayman                                                               518

Cebus Capucinus                                                      182

Centaur                                                              621

Cerambyx moschatus                                                   558

Cerastes Hasselquistii                                               497

Cercopithecus Diana                                                  180

Certhia familiaris      281, 282

Cervus Alces                                                         160

---- axis                                                            163
Cervus Canadensis                                                    157

---- capreolus                                                       158

---- dama                                                            159

---- Elaphus                                                         155

---- Tarandus                                                        161

Chacura                                                              179

Chaffinch                                                            256

Chama                                                                528

Chamæleo vulgaris                                                    515

Chameleon                                                            515

Chamois                                                              151

Charadrius morinellus                                                370

---- pluvialis                                                       369

Char                                                                 469

Cheese Hopper                                                        552

---- Mite                                                            552

Cheetah                                                               15

Cheimatobia brumata                                                  588

Chelonia imbricata                                                   523

---- midas                                                           521

Chimpanzee                                                           174

Chinchilla lanigera                                                  105

Chough                                                               274

Chub                                                                 481

Ciconia alba                                                         350

Cinclus aquaticus                                                    219

Circus cyaneus                                                       213

Civet                                                                 54

----, Oriental                                                        56

Clam                                                                 528

Clupea alba                                                          458

---- Harengus                                                        455

---- Pilchardus                                                      457

---- Sardina                                                         457

---- Sprattus                                                        456

Coati-Mondi                                                           53

Cobitis barbatula                                                    486

Cobra di Capello                                                     500

Coccinella septem-punctata                                           562

Coccus cacti                                                         571

Cochineal Insect                                                     571

Cockatoo                                                             303

Cockatrice                                                           615

Cockchafer                                                           554

Cockle                                                               527

Cockroach                                                            563

Cod-fish                                                             448

Coluber natrix                                                       501

Columba ænas                                                         331

---- livia                                                           332

---- palumbus                                                        330

---- Turtur                                                          335

Colymbus glacialis                                                   397

Comatula rosacea                                                     595

Condor                                                               196

Conger vulgaris                                                      492

Coot                                                                 376

Coracias garrula                                                     276

Coral, Red                                                           597

----, Stony                                                          600

Cormorant                                                            379

----, Crested                                                        380

Corn Crake                                                           374

---- Weevil                                                          561

Corvus corone                                                        268

---- Corax                                                           265

---- frugilegus                                                      269

---- monedula                                                        271

Cottus scorpius                                                      433

---- gobio                                                           486

Coturnix dactylisonans                                               318

Couendou                                                             106

Cow                                                                  136

Cow Bird                                                             293

Cowry, Money                                                         531

----, Tiger                                                          531

Crab                                                                 543

----, Violet land                                                    544

----, Soldier, or hermit                                             545

Crane                                                                347

----, Balearic                                                       349

----, Gigantic                                                       352

----, Numidian                                                       349

Crangon vulgaris                                                     546

Crayfish                                                             543

Creeper      281, 282

----, Wall                                                           283

Cricket                                                              570

----, Field                                                          570

----, Mole                                                           569

Crocodile of the Nile                                                517

Crocodilus vulgaris                                                  517

Crossbill                                                            261

Crotalus horridus                                                    498

Cuckoo                                                               290

----, American                                                       293

Cuculus canorus                                                      290

Culex pipiens                                                        592

Curlew                                                               360

Curruca atricapilla                                                  231

Cushat                                                               330

Cuttle-fish                                                          535

Cyclopterus lumpus                                                   436

Cynocephalus                                                         178

---- porcarius                                                       179

Cygnus ferus                                                         384

---- olor                                                            383

Cypræa moneta                                                        531

---- tigris                                                          531

Cyprinus alburnus                                                    483
Cyprinus auratus                                                     479

---- barbus                                                          482

---- brama                                                           484

---- carpio                                                          477

---- cephalus                                                        481

---- gobio                                                           480

---- leuciscus                                                       482

---- phoxinus                                                        485

---- rutilus                                                         483

---- tinca                                                           478

Cypselus apus                                                        243


Dace                                                                 482

Dactyloptera Mediterranea                                            445

Dasypus sexcinctus                                                   109

Day-fly                                                              576

Death-Watch                                                          560

Deer, Fallow                                                         159

----, Musk                                                           163

Delphinus Delphis                                                    408

Demoiselle                                                           349

Dicotyles labiatus                                                   122

Didelphis Virginiana                                                  86

Didus ineptus                                                        328

Diomedea exulans                                                     396

Dipper                                                               219

Dipus Ægyptius                                                       104

Djeggetai                                                            131

Dodo                                                                 328

Dog-fishes                                                           420

Dog                                                                   23

---- Bloodhound                                                       25

---- Bulldog                                                          30

---- Foxhound                                                         27

---- Greyhound                                                        36

---- Mastiff                                                          29

---- Newfoundland                                                     34

---- Pointer                                                          28

---- Shepherd’s                                                       23

---- Spaniel                                                          32

---- Terrier                                                          31

---- Water Spaniel                                                    33

Dolphin                                                              408

---- of mythology                                                    619

Dor                                                                  555

Dorado                                                               410

Dormouse                                                              96

----, American                                                        97

Dottrel                                                              370

Dove, Ring                                                           330

----, Rock                                                           332

----, Stock                                                          331

----, Turtle                                                         335

Draco volans                                                         514

Dragon                                                               613

Dragon-fly, Great                                                    576

Dromaius Novæ Hollandiæ                                              343

Dromedary                                                            170

Duck                                                                 388

----, Eider                                                          389

Duck-billed Platypus                                                 111

Dugong                                                               415

Dynastes elephas                                                     557


Eagle, Black                                                         192

----, Golden                                                         185

----, Sea, or White-tailed                                           188

----, White-headed or Bald                                           189

Earwig                                                               563

Echeneis remora                                                      430

Echidna hystrix                                                      112

Echinus miliaris                                                     596

Eel                                                                  490

----, Conger, or sea                                                 492

----, Electrical                                                     488

Electric Ray                                                         425

Elephant                                                             113

Elephas Africanus                                                    115

---- Indicus                                                         113

Elk                                                                  160

Emberiza citrinella                                                  249

---- hortulana                                                       250

Emeu                                                                 343

Empusa gongylodes                                                    564

Engraulis encrasicolus                                               458

Enhydra Lutris                                                        68

Epeïra diadema                                                       548

Ephemera                                                             576

Equus Asinus                                                         127

---- Burchellii                                                      133

---- caballus                                                        124

---- Hemionus                                                        131

---- Zebra                                                           132

Erinaceus Europæus                                                    74

Ermine                                                                62

Erythacus rubecula                                                   226

Esox lucius                                                          472

Exocætus exiliens                                                    444

---- volitans                                                        443


Falcon                                                               204

----, Peregrine                                                      205

Falco æsalon                                                         208

---- apivorus                                                        199

---- Buteo                                                           197

---- gyrfalco                                                        204

---- Milvus                                                          203
Falco nisus                                                          202

---- palumbarius                                                     200

---- peregrinus                                                      205

---- peregrinator                                                    207

---- tinnunculus                                                     210

Father-Lasher                                                        433

Felis Canadensis                                                      19

---- Caracal                                                          20

---- Catus                                                            22

---- concolor                                                         18

---- domestica                                                        20

---- jubata                                                           15

---- Leo                                                               1

---- Leopardus                                                        12

---- Lynx                                                             19

---- Onca                                                             17

---- Pardalis                                                         15

---- Pardus                                                           13

---- Tigris                                                            9

---- uncia                                                            14

Fern Owl                                                             244

Ferret                                                                60

Fiber Zibethecus                                                      90

Fieldfare                                                            223

Fitchet, or Foumart                                                   61

Flea                                                                 594

Flounder                                                             461

Flusher                                                              218

Flying Dragon                                                        514

---- Fish                                                            443

---- Scorpion                                                        435

Forficula auricularia                                                563

Formica rufa                                                         582

Fowls, Bankiva                                                       326

---- Bantam                                                          327

---- Jago, or Paduan                                                 327

---- Spanish                                                         327

Fox                                                                   37

----, Arctic                                                          39

Fratercula arctica                                                   398

Fringilla cœlebs                                                     256

---- canaria                                                         254

---- carduelis                                                       259

---- linaria                                                         253

---- linota                                                          253

Frog                                                                 505

----, edible                                                         506

Fulgora laternaria                                                   571

Fulica atra                                                          376

Fulmar                                                               395


Gadus æglefinus                                                      449

---- Merlangus                                                       451

---- merluccius                                                      452

Gadus morrhua                                                        448

Gallinula chloropus                                                  373

Gallus domesticus                                                    324

---- giganteus                                                       327

Gannet                                                               381

Garangan                                                              57

Gar-fish                                                             454

Garrulus glandarius                                                  275

Gastuostius aculiatus                                                487

Gavial                                                               518

Gazelle                                                              150

Genet                                                                 55

Geometra brumata                                                     588

---- grossulariata                                                   587

Geotrupes stercorarius                                               555

Gerfalcon                                                            204

Giraffe                                                              164

Globe Fish                                                           440

---- Electrical                                                      440

Glowworm                                                             559

Gnat                                                                 592

Gnu                                                                  154

Goat                                                                 147

Goat Chaffer                                                         558

Goatsucker                                                           244

Godwit                                                               362

Gorgonia nobilis                                                     597

Goldfinch                                                            259

Gold-fish                                                            479

Goose, wild                                                          386

Gorilla                                                              176

Goshawk                                                              200

Grampus                                                              413

Grand Promerooks                                                     289

Grasshopper                                                          566

Grayling                                                             470

Great Northern Diver                                                 397

Green Fly                                                            572

Griffin, or Gryphon                                                  616

Grisly Bear                                                           46

Grouse, red                                                          320

----, white                                                          321

Grus cinerca                                                         347

Gryllotalpa vulgaris                                                 569

Gudgeon                                                              480

Guinea Fowl                                                          308

Guinea-pig                                                            98

Gull                                                                 392

Gurnard                                                              444

----, Flying                                                         445

----, Grey                                                           445

Gymnotus electricus                                                  488


Haddock                                                              449
Hag-fish                                                             428

Haje                                                                 499

Hake                                                                 452

Halcyon                                                              277

Haliaëtus albicilla                                                  188

---- leucocephalus                                                   189

Halicore Dugong                                                      415

Hare                                                                  91

Harfang                                                              215

Hawk, Fishing                                                        191

Hedgehog                                                              74

----, Australian                                                     112

Helix aspersa                                                        533

Hen Harrier                                                          213

Heron                                                                354

Herpestes, griseus                                                    57

---- Ichneumon                                                        56

---- Javonicus                                                        57

Herring                                                              455

Hippocampus brevirostris                                             442

Hippopotamus amphibius                                               116

Hirundo rustica                                                      238

---- urbica                                                          241

Hog, domestic                                                        118

Honey-Buzzard                                                        199

Hooded serpent                                                       500

Hoopoe                                                               288

Horned Silure                                                        432

---- Viper                                                           497

Horse                                                                124

House-fly                                                            592

Humming-bird                                                         287

Hyæna, striped (Striata)                                              43

----, spotted (Crocuta)                                               44

Hydras                                                               606

Hydroida                                                             604

Hystrix cristata                                                     106

---- prehensilis                                                     106


Ibex                                                                 148

Ibis falcinellus                                                     360

---- religiosa                                                       359

---- rubra                                                           360

Ichneumon Fly                                                        580

Ichneumon, or Egyptian Mangouste                                      56

Iguana tuberculata                                                   513

Inuus sylvanus                                                       177


Jacchus Rosalia                                                      183

---- vulgaris                                                        183

Jackal                                                                42

Jackdaw                                                              271

Jaguar                                                                17

Jay                                                                  275

Jelly Fishes                                                         609

Jerboa                                                               104

John Dory                                                            446

Jungle Fowl                                                          310


Kangaroo                                                              84

Kestrel                                                              210

Kiang                                                                131

King-fish                                                            447

Kingfisher                                                           277

Kite                                                                 203

Kivi-Kivi                                                            344

Knot                                                                 367

Kraken                                                               618


Labrax lupus                                                         475

Lacerta viridis                                                      512

---- vivipara                                                        512

Lady Bird, or Lady Cow                                               562

Lagopus Scoticus                                                     320

---- vulgaris                                                        321

Lamantin                                                             415

Lamprey                                                              427

Lampris guttatus                                                     447

Lampyris noctiluca                                                   559

Land Rail                                                            374

Lanius collurio                                                      218

---- excubitor                                                       217

Lantern-Fly                                                          571

Lapwing                                                              371

Laruscanus                                                           392

Leaf Mantis                                                          564

----, Walking                                                        565

Leech                                                                540

Leipoa ocellata                                                      312

Lemming                                                              103

Lemur albifrons                                                      184

---- macaco                                                          184

Leopard                                                               12

----, hunting                                                         15

Lepadogaster cornubicus                                              437

Leptoptilus argala                                                   352

---- marabou                                                         353

Lepus cuniculus                                                       93

---- timidus                                                          91

Libellula grandis                                                    576

Limax cinereus                                                       534

Limosa ægocephala                                                    362

Limpet                                                               532
Ling                                                                 451

Linnet                                                               253

Linota cannabina                                                     253

Lion                                                                   1

Lioness and Cubs                                                       7

Littornia littorea                                                   532

Lizard                                                               512

----, Flying and Green                                               514

Llama                                                                172

Loach                                                                486

Lobster                                                              542

Locust                                                               567

Locusta migratoria                                                   567

---- flavipes                                                        566

Lophius piscatorius                                                  438

Lota molva                                                           451

Loxia curvirostra                                                    261

---- pyrrhula                                                        258

Lucanus cervus                                                       556

Lucerna                                                              445

Luidia fragilissima                                                  595

Lump-sucker                                                          436

Lutra                                                                 68

---- vulgaris                                                         66

Lycosa tarantula                                                     550

Lynx, common                                                          19

Lyre-Bird of Australia                                               284

---- N. S. Wales                                                     287


Macaw                                                                300

----, Scarlet                                                        301

Machetes pugnax                                                      363

Mackerel                                                             453

Macrocercus aracanga                                                 300

---- Macao                                                           301

Macropus giganteus                                                    84

Magot                                                                177

Magpie      272, 587

Maid      422, 424

Manatee                                                              415

Manatus Australis                                                    415

Mandrill                                                             179

Mangouste, Egyptian                                                   56

Mantis, Leaf                                                         564

Mareca Penelope                                                      390

Marikina Monkey                                                      1