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By Sir ALFRED E. PEASE, Bart. 



i9 J 3 

All rights reserved 







On Safari, B.E.A., 

l6tk October 1909. 

To Sir Alfred E. Pease. 

Dear Sir Alfred, — I am very much pleased 
that you are to write a book about lion-hunting. 
Very, very few people have an experience which 
better justifies such a book. It is the king of all 
sports when carried on as you have carried it on, 
especially when you gallop the lion, and then 
kill him on foot as he charges or prepares to 
charge as a lion thus rounded up will generally 
do. I am peculiarly pleased to have you write 
the book, for it was under your guidance that I 
first tried lion-hunting. 

Sincerely yours, 




Almost the whole of this book was written 
several years ago. A great sorrow destroyed 
at that time all inclination to finish it. I have 
on re-reading my MS. decided to publish it, 
believing that after all it may be of use as 
well as of interest. 

Lions and their ways have so often been 
written about that almost more courage is re- 
quired to take up the pen than a rifle in dealing 
with them. There are very nearly as many 
opinions on lions and their ways as there are 
naturalists and sportsmen. I may, and indeed 
hope to, arouse criticism and controversy, for 
it is only by inciting other observers to relate 
what they know that the truth as regards the 
life history and habits of animals can be arrived 
at. So that, though this book goes forth mainly 
for those who have not yet met the King of 
Beasts face to face in the African forest and 
the wilderness, it has been written in the hope 
that it may be read also by African naturalists, 
sportsmen, and explorers. Incidentally I desire 
that what is here set down may encourage the 
British public to insist that one little corner 



of our vast Empire shall remain a sanctuary 
for that royal creature which with our national 
modesty we have selected as the emblem of our 
own valour and magnanimity. Such a refuge now 
exists in the Game Reserves of the British East 
African Protectorate, but there are some settlers 
who press for the extermination of lions within 
the protected areas by every means, including 
poison and traps. None of these persons have 
farms or residences within the Reserves. The 
Southern Game Reserve (of B.E.A.) is unsuitable 
for settlement on account of the climate and 
the want of water, even were the available and 
suitable areas exhausted, an event which is 
remote. Few of those who complain of lions 
moving out of the Reserves into the settled parts 
have resided and farmed as near to the bound- 
aries of the sanctuary as the writer, and none 
he knows of have had more to do in repelling 
occasional sorties and in defending their live 
stock. There are millions of acres where noisy 
agitators such as these can settle in tame 
security. The few who clamour to be allowed 
to make short work of all the game for the sake 
of a passing profit in hides would be the loudest 
in their lamentations when all the game and all 
their sport had gone for ever. Those who have 
settled in such places knew the conditions and in 
many cases selected a game district deliberately, 
the very presence of game and wild beasts being 
an added, if not the chief, attraction. Sated 


themselves with excitement, they would deprive 
posterity of the pleasure they once had in the 
presence of the game. 

As regards African game in general, as dis- 
tinct from the carnivora and beasts of prey, it 
must be remembered that extermination does not 
necessarily come about by the actual slaughter 
of a particular species. Mere disturbance or 
epidemic diseases may reduce the numbers of 
any sort of game to a point where indiscriminate 
shooting will complete very quickly its dis- 

The author has talked to an old Vortrekker 
in the Orange River Colony who was one of the 
first to enter the country. The old Dutchman 
stretched out his hand over the lifeless plains 
and mountains, and said : " When I first came 
here the whole of this was covered with countless 
herds of game, of giraffe and of quagga; you 
could never believe that it could vanish in the 
lifetime of a man, but nothing remains ! " 

He lamented the disappearance of the vast 
herds that roamed over the veldt, and indignantly 
denied that their extermination was due to the 
shooting and hide-hunting. He declared that 
quagga, hartebeest, wildebeest, and buck were 
present in such countless thousands that had 
all the settlers in the country shot ceaselessly 
throughout their lives they could not have wiped 
them out. This from my experience in other 
parts of Africa I believe to be true to this extent, 


namely, that it was not actual killing that in 
the beginning thinned their numbers seriously, 
but disturbance and hunting which caused the 
great herds to migrate to regions less suitable, 
or altogether unsuitable, for their existence — 
districts where food, water, climate, and other 
circumstances were against them and their young. 
Yet undoubtedly, as the game diminished and 
was driven farther afield, it was finally killed 
out by the meat and hide hunters. When any 
species becomes rare, it is the more sought after 
by trophy hunters, and the settler gave the old 
excuse that if he did not shoot, his neighbours 

Many wild animals require vast space where 
they can follow the rains for the grass that 
springs up where thunderstorms have passed. 
Their condition depends on access to particular 
herbage, feeding-grounds, and rivers at certain 
seasons. When they can no longer visit 
these in peace and security they migrate 
elsewhere, and if compelled to revisit the old 
pastures and former haunts they return in ever- 
diminishing numbers. In South Africa as the 
game fled before the settlers the hunter and 
trekking Boer followed, driving it into countries 
less and less adapted to its nature. It is a 
melancholy story, and it is for Englishmen to 
prevent its repetition. It may be stated as an 
established principle, requiring no new proof, 
that for the preservation of African fauna very 


extensive Reserves are necessary, and absolute 
freedom from molestation must be guaranteed 
to make protection really effective. There are 
some of the commonest kinds of African game 
which disappear quickly without much dis- 
turbance. The wildebeest will stand very little 
settlement in his neighbourhood and very little 
hunting. In a period of five years in British 
East Africa I have seen the wildebeest on the 
Kapiti Plains diminish from thousands to hun- 
dreds and from hundreds to twos and threes — 
yet I do not think twenty-five wildebeest were 
killed by settlers or hunters during these years 
in my immediate neighbourhood. My explana- 
tion of their rapid diminution is this. The grass 
remains green on the foot-hills round the Mua 
and Lukania mountains long after the plains 
are dried up. These pastures carried the game 
through the annual periods of drought and 
preserved it in abnormally rainless years. I 
have seen a large proportion of the vast herds of 
the Athi and Kapiti Plains at such times gathered 
together on this ground in such enormous 
masses that it is impossible to give any idea of 
their numbers. But this is the very ground 
that has been taken up by settlers, and though 
the colonists are not very numerous their 
presence is enough to scare away so wild and 
timid a species as the wildebeest. During the 
same period there was no very marked diminu- 
tion in the herds of zebra, impala, kongoni 


(Coke's hartebeest), Grant's gazelle, Thomson's 
gazelle, and other game, which is much less 
sensitive to man's presence. All these latter 
species might in these dry seasons be seen 
feeding right up to the houses of the settlers 
and practically *with the cattle and tame 
ostriches. I never saw eland killed on or round 
my farm and never shot at one myself, but they 
too have gone from that part. I have always 
protested against the attempted extermination 
of any species of either big or small game. 

Some years ago in a certain district of the 
Sudan an official urged me to kill all the hippo- 
potami I could. I ventured to dispute the 
wisdom of this policy of extermination, for there 
were no longer such numbers of hippo that they 
could do very extensive damage to the native 
crops, and before the advent of " civilized " 
rule the natives had been accustomed to great 
numbers of them and had to exert themselves 
to protect their crops. Never in the history of 
the country have the natives suffered so little 
from the depredations of hippo, nor lived in such 
security for themselves, their lands, and their 
markets. To destroy utterly every creature 
that does a little damage to man or calls out 
his energy in self-defence is a revolting policy, 
calculated to make the world a dull place and 
man a dull beast. The Nilotic native is all the 
better for having to struggle a little with the 
hippos, and could the reader watch him fighting 


the river-horse he would be quite sure the 
native enjoyed the sport. No one can blame 
an official for carrying out the home conception 
of civilization, and that idea seems to be to 
transform the natives of the Sudan into a squalid, 
mud-hoeing population similar to the Delta 
fellaheen. This kind of progress we have realized 
in certain spots of our own land, and having 
achieved it we stand horrified and bewildered 
at the spectacle. Western civilization raises 
monsters that neither human strength nor wit 
can overcome, whose depredations are a thousand- 
fold more terrible than those of the river-horse 
on the banks of the White Nile. 

In Game Reserves of limited extent and in 
protected areas where the stock of game is limited 
there is some excuse, and perhaps at times a 
necessity, in reducing lions and beasts of prey 
as much as possible. 

In the Transvaal such a policy can be defended, 
for beasts of prey would otherwise have rendered 
it almost hopeless to attempt to save some of 
the most interesting species of big game and 
antelopes from extinction. Owing to various 
causes, including rinderpest and the unscrupu- 
lous destruction of big game in the Reserves 
and on private farms * in the Transvaal during 
the South African War, the number of giraffe, 
buffalo, roan, sable, kudu, eland, and other 

1 An African -'farm" may be, and often is, an estate extend- 
ing to 20,000 acres and upwards. 


species were so depleted by 1903 that it would 
be no exaggeration to say of some of them that 
the survivors could be counted on the fingers of 
one hand. Since that date, under the wise, con- 
stant, and watchful care of Major J. Stevenson- 
Hamilton, 1 the Game Warden, these species have 
not only been saved from extinction but have 
increased surprisingly. He has waged continuous 
war on lions and vermin. His record of carnivora 
destroyed is not complete from the earlier 
portion of the period 1903 to 1908, but during this 
period he with his assistants accounted for (in 
the Transvaal Eastern Game Reserve) 70 lions, 
85 leopards, 29 cheetahs, 118 spotted hyaenas 
(crocuta), 4 brown hyaenas (brunea), and 151 
wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). 

In British East Africa there exists a vast 
region unsuited for colonization where the game 
and wild animals have been protected and remain 
in their original condition. All lovers of wild 
life and all haters of extermination should 
support the policy of retaining it as a natural 

1 Vide Major J. Stevenson-Hamilton's Notes, p. 115. 


Dedication . 


I. Lions and Lion Lands 
II. About Courage 

III. Of the Courage of Lions 

IV. Of Dangerous Game 
V. Of Sport — Of Terror 

VI. The Lion 

VII. The Distribution of Lions — Major Stevenson- 
Hamilton's Notes on South African Lions 
and Mr. A. L. Butler's Notes on Sudan 
Lions — The Destructiveness of Lions 

VIII. Lion Cubs and Tame Lions 

IX. The Haunts of Lions 

X. The Lion's Voice — The Lion's Eye 

XI. Some Ways of Lions — Charging Lions 

XII. In the Lion's Jaws 

XIII. The Food and Drink of Lions 

2 xvii 









XIV. Lion-Hunting — Tracking Lions . . . 200 

XV. Hunting Lions with Dogs — Hunting Lions 

on Horseback .... 238 

XVI. Night-Shooting — Lassoing Lions . ,. . 246 

XVII. A Few Hints for Beginners . . . 254< 

Appendix I. The Lion in Ancient History . 259 

Appendix II. Rifles and Projectiles for Dan- 
gerous Game . . 267 

Appendix III. Some Names for the Lion in 

Africa . . .281 

Appendix IV. Addendum to Chapter VII., re 

Lions in British East 
Africa . . . 283 

Index ...... 287 


A Somali Lion on a Zebra 

The Quagga (now extinct) 

A Lion Charge .... 

Colonel Roosevelt killing his First Lion 

An Algerian Lion 

South African Lions 

A Sacred Lion on Donkey-back . 

Exorcizing a Camel 

Defending an Ostrich Boma 

Lion Roaring at Dawn 

A Charging Lion .... 

Lions let out of Cage 

assur-bani-pal on horseback spearing llon 





The " Knock-out Target " presented by a Lion at, say 
Sixty Yards ..... 

Diagram to show how much of a Lion's Broadside 
presents a " Knock-out Target " 

Sketch Map showing the Distribution of Lions 
King Hunting Lions .... 

Wounded Lioness ..... 
Lion Seizing Chariot Wheel 




Diagrams (Appendix II.): Behaviour of Bullets, etc. 

273 et seq. 





In the years now gone I have wandered and 
resided in many parts of Africa — North, East, 
Equatorial, and South. It has been my good 
fortune to know many of the most experienced 
hunters and the best informed travellers and 
explorers. From my youth up I have loved 
travellers' tales ; the words may be a synonym 
for mendacities, yet with age I have become 
more rather than less credulous by reason of 
what my own eyes have seen, my own ears have 
heard, and my own hands have handled. 

Among the men most familiar with Nature's 
haunts are many who never write, some scarcely 
talk, of their experiences or of the wonders they 
have seen. There have been, and are, numbers 
of explorers, hunters, prospectors, adventurers, 
and pioneers whose names you have never heard, 
who have seen and done far more than we who 
write and talk about these things. But the 
result of their experience is lost, and such know- 
ledge as posterity will possess will be due to 


those travellers and observers who have taken 
the trouble to record what they have seen. The 
generation to which I belong has seen Africa 
yield up her secrets; and the survivors of this 
generation, who have witnessed the passing 
away or transformation of many of the great 
game regions, alone can tell of what our genera- 
tion has done and seen, and which those who 
come after can never do or see again. Often 
the best writers, or at least those who are regarded 
by the reading public as the most instructed and 
authoritative on African animal life, are those 
who have had little or very limited experience 
of life in Africa. A large proportion of such 
authors are fond of generalizations, and some 
are very dogmatic in their assertions as regards 
the habits and ways of lions. One of my objects 
in giving the results of my own experience is 
to show that, in spite of what accepted authorities 
may state, lions do not always do this, and 
never do that. It will be my own fault if I 
cannot give a rational account of them and 
their conduct, in spite of the fact that the 
experiences of individual hunters must differ 
very considerably, and the conclusions that any 
one of them may come to, even from a large and 
varied experience, may be at fault. 

Now amongst the good sportsmen I have 
met I have found some who considered the sport 
of hunting lions too dangerous to be justifiable ; 
others who held that there was little or no 


danger in their pursuit, and that the sport 
required neither courage nor skill ; others, and 
by no means the least experienced of travellers 
and hunters, who, though intensely keen to add 
lions to their trophies, have failed always and 
everywhere to meet them ; and others again 
who had neither inclination nor courage to try 
for them. To those who avoid lions from fear of 
them, I would say courage can be learnt — it is 
a subject for education. When a boy I was 
taken to the Crystal Palace and was fascinated 
by seeing a man hurl dozens of knives at another 
man standing against a door, till the latter's 
outline was so lined round with knives sticking 
deep into the wood that he was pinned fast 
against it, yet so dexterously had this been done 
that not a single one of the blades so much 
as cut his clothing or scratched his skin. Neither 
you nor I probably have the courage to stand that 
kind of fire, or to fire those kind of shots. Such 
courage as this comes from education and practice. 
Presently I shall discuss the question as to 
what courage is, and whether lions are courage- 
ous. But before I get to lions and chasing them 
I want to say something about the Land of the 
Lion. I have loved the chase not only for its own 
sake, but even more for where it has taken me. 
I possess such a store of varied and happy 
memories as I would not exchange for all the 
wealth and distinction the world can give. Yet 
in my youth I believed myself so hemmed in 


by circumstances and duties that I thought I 
should never break through such barriers into 
the real world beyond. Conventionalities which 
then looked like a granite wall I have discovered 
to be a delusion. I have learnt that human 
beings do not always understand the language 
in which duty calls, and that by the use of a 
little force a hole can be made through the 
thorny zariba of circumstances by which the 
poor, impounded creature, whether peasant or 
potentate, may escape to taste of life, of space, of 
air, and to see the earth, the sun, the moon, and 
stars as Heaven intended he should know them. 

How often have men younger, stronger, 
wealthier, and with greater leisure than myself 
asked : " How do you manage to get away ; I 
cannot find time to do these things ? " 

I can only reply : " I just book my passage 
and go." The thing is extremely simple — first 
determine to go, then take your ticket. I find 
I always do go when I have done this. As for 
expense, it need never be more costly to travel 
or reside in the wilds of Africa than to stay at 
home, whatever your condition in life may be. 

To get there, a working man need not spend 
more than what he expends over drink and his 
holidays in a single year. I have met many a 
white man who has spent years there without as 
much money as he would spend in a few months 
at home, and others who lived a pleasant, 
healthy existence on what they earned by work, 


by hunting, or by trade. Given a sufficiency 
of food, a comfortable bed, and an exquisite 
climate, life is more than tolerable to a liberty- 
loving man. 

If those who have money to spend freely 
wish to know what it will cost them just to 
wander once in Africa, with every comfort and 
provision for camp life, I assert it can be easily 
done in practically every part of the Continent 
for £100 a month. The outfitters in many 
countries will contract to provide for you, in 
first-class style, for any expedition, for con- 
siderably less than this sum, including every 
conceivable necessity in the way of guides, 
servants, hunters, transport, tents, camp furniture, 
material, and supplies. 

One obstacle that man's imagination sets up 
is the fancy that the bit of the world in which 
he lives cannot get on without him. It will 
some day, and however important he may 
consider himself, or the community about him 
may conceive him to be, his importance will 
dissolve faster than his bones. 

Let the man who thinks wealth and social 
distinction or dissipations the chief prizes in his 
short life, stay at home — he would not be happy 
elsewhere. Yet such is even perverted twentieth- 
century man that he can, as a rule, revert to 
his primeval home among wild mountains, the 
wilderness, the jungle, or the bush, and enjoy as 
much as any one the sweetness of the simple life. 


As for myself, I love these months and years in 
Africa as I do the shade of palms and the sound of 
waters after the dust and toil of a desert march. 

A single visit to the East, to our Colonies, 
or to any part of Africa is an eye-opener — it is 
eating of the fruit of the Tree of Life. There 
is a wonderful world just outside, and so accessible, 
with countless miles of rich territories where the 
thrifty and industrious could, with just a little 
cost to the State, live clean and happy lives, 
while we are passing law after law, and wasting 
our wealth in the futile attempt of making over 
forty millions of fast-breeding folk live com- 
fortably where there is barely room for half the 
number to exist in decent and healthy sur- 
roundings. You go out to Africa to see savages, 
and you find them only on your return. You 
will look on the urban populations of Europe 
with new eyes, and exclaim that the mass of 
barbarians live healthier and better lives, with 
fewer wants and less pain, in sweeter surroundings 
than these. 

Your African savage is often picturesque and 
as often entertaining — he is also generally light- 
hearted and merry. You pay to see him at 
Olympia or the Crystal Palace. My European is 
neither very attractive nor very amusing, but 
I would also pay to see him in a Somali karia 
or a Dinka village. You imagine that in these 
dreadful towns, where you admit your race 
deteriorates physically, you have a monopoly 


of the intellectual side of human nature, and 
talk of the culture of civilization. 

After years of travel and sojourn among many 
native races, Arabs, Berbers, Sudanese, Abyssin- 
ians, Somalis, Gallas, Nilotic and Bantu natives 
of Equatorial and South Africa, I maintain, 
looking at this array of black, brown, coffee, 
or paler-coloured peoples, even from the stand- 
point of intellect, that there is to be found in 
primitive man of primitive habits, if you know 
how to look for it, as much intelligence, wit, 
wisdom, quickness of thought, as among our 
teeming populations; and though their general 
capacity for exertion and responsibilities may 
be vastly inferior, they have an equal endowment 
at least of those qualities which make for rulers, 
generals, poets, and lawgivers. 

For example, few individuals drawn from 
the British proletariat could conduct their defence 
in a court of justice, give their evidence, and 
cross-examine witnesses with the same skill 
and acumen as, say, the average unsophisticated 
kraal Kaffir. Not many of our novelists could 
jump up and relate a romance fitted to reach 
the popular fancy of the moment, improvised 
on the spot, accompanying the recital with an 
effective display of histrionic and elocutionary 
talent. This thousands of African and Asiatic 
natives can do. Could our singers compose 
their own ballads as they do ? or are the majority 
of the songs they sing less silly or inane than the 


native's chants about his women, and his heroes, 
or his camels and his cows ? With no art 
schools and no masters of deportment, natives 
have an artistic sense which often prompts 
them to the most effective forms in dress and 
drapery, the most telling arrangements in colour, 
and, in its unconscious simplicity, to the most 
perfect grace in action and pose of attitude. 

Ah ! but they cannot draw and paint ! It 
is true that with " civilization " you find amongst 
those less oppressed with toil a yearning for 
artistic expression, and that this longing finds 
vent in attempts to describe feelings and emotions 
with pen in verse or in prose, and to transfer 
to canvas with a brush what it has caught in 
moments of reversion to nature, or in glimpses 
outside the actual environment. This kind of 
art is but a suggestion, a shadow, a memory 
of what our race and all races once possessed. 

Account for this, please : with no box of 
tubes and no camel's-hair pencil, the lowest 
type of African aboriginal betrays the latent 
faculty of even your art in his quite extra- 
ordinary representations of men and animals 
in thousands of " rock paintings " on the walls 
of the caves and cliffs in which he goes to ground 
with the dassies or rock rabbits. Millions, 
moreover, of African natives are under the in- 
fluence of the religion of Islam, which discounten- 
ances the graven image or any likeness of anything 
in heaven or earth. 



Why, before he loses the reality in the smoke 
and fog of "civilization," should the native 
want to paint, with words or colours, reminders 
and suggestions of the sunrises and the sunsets, 
of rivers, of lakes, of forests, and flowers, when 
all this is what he was born into and will live in, 
till in the midst of it he dies. Such poetry as 
the child of nature has in him flows from his 
heart to his lips ; he has no trouble, like laureates, 
with pens and scratchings out. He refers to 
knowledge in his head, instead of to bookshelves. 
As a rule his customs and laws are as suitable 
to his social and economical condition as ours 
to our " advanced " state. He can enjoy 
litigation without maintaining a predatory pro- 
fession or suffering from the law's delays. He 
is slow at learning our new doctrine, that the 
more laws and the more taxes there are, the 
pleasanter it is for everybody. He is so stupid 
about this that he will flv at times from British 
Colonies out of sheer terror of life by rule under 
a weight of laws and regulations, to take the 
chance of ill-usage in the Congo Free State. 

It may be asserted that the large majority 
of those who stay at home and work in cities 
cannot shake themselves free from circum- 
stances which compel them to work there for 
the livelihood of their families or themselves, 
nor from responsibilities that are not to be 
abandoned without a sacrifice of duty. These 
are inspired by the creditable motives which 


impel a captain to " stick to his ship." Yet 
who, on reflection, can deny that myriads of lives 
are spent in drudgery or in nervous activity, 
with no real or proportionate advantage to the 
community, and in surroundings poisonous to 
the physical and moral welfare of the race. 
Could but one-half of the wasted energy be 
turned to work in the open air in other lands 
of ours, new and healthier ideas of life and 
happiness would spring up. But how are souls 
to be converted that grow up in an atmosphere 
of unwholesome ideals — souls that have come to 
regard the muddy or dusty pavements of towns, 
soot-begrimed buildings of cities, and artificial 
light, food, and pleasure, not only as the neces- 
sities but as the joys of existence ? How can 
such be made to see that the primitive man's 
winding jungle-paths, through a sunlit bush 
among birds and flowers and butterflies, lead to 
pleasanter working- places and to sweeter homes 
than their streets roaring with traffic and reeking 
with petrol fumes ? 

In a crowded country it is numbers and 
confinement which make poverty and dirt. 
Take the wild boar from his forest and wall him 
up in a pigsty, and you will in time have, in 
the place of a brave, sagacious, active, and 
cleanly animal, a breed of measly-skinned, 
fat, soft, grunting, squealing beasts, fed on pig- 
wash, wallowing in filth, and liable to swine fever 
— Civilization. 


Take the Briton and wall him up in towns, 
and in time . . . well, just look round and see 
if you have not something similar, and yet no 
more conscious than the sty-bred pig that there 
is anything wrong either with himself or his 
environment — nay, boasting that he is civilized, 
proud that he is a pig. Whilst millions of public 
money is forthcoming to maintain a wretched 
population on the verge of destitution in awful 
places, not one is ever voted to help our manhood 
and womanhood to live well-ordered, happy, 
wholesome lives in our Colonies or to get them 
there. It would be regarded as preposterous 
for the State to lend a deserving emigrant a five- 
pound note that he might achieve a manly 
independence. Yet the least-deserving " stay-at- 
home " is to be maintained and pensioned at 
vast cost out of the public purse. 

Average man, if he can know content any- 
where, will find it in a climate sweet and pleasant 
to live in, where Old Mother Earth smiles on his 
labour and hands up to him his daily bread 
without much asking, with sufficient shelter 
wherein to sleep and take refuge from the heat. 
Does he want much more than to be endowed 
with an intelligence equal to his duties, the 
power to be happy when things go well, and to 
be brave in the days of adversity ? Add that 
touch of romance, of poetry, and of music which 
appeals, in its kind, to each race, and the universal 
gifts bestowed on mankind of natural affection 


and hope. Primitive man enjoys this much 
— can we better it ? As to whether his own 
peculiar terrors and miseries are greater than ours, 
who can say ? What have our millions to com- 
pensate them for the absence of all this ? It is 
a hard task which we have set ourselves, to teach 
the natives of Africa to acquire our restless 
discontent. We had once two Swahili servants 
for more than a year ; they both had the run of 
the kitchen, but never wanted more than their 
one meal of rice a day. When rice was not 
obtainable, the difficulty of feeding them was 
considerable ; bread and sardines were the only 
substitute they would accept, and they longed 
to get back to their rice as a Frenchman in the 
desert yearns for the flesh-pots of Paris. Yet as 
they had been brought up at a mission station 
they actually imagined they were civilized. 
Poor boys, how could they be with so few wants ? 
It was all imagination, for when my wife first 
asked, on engaging them, " What food do you 
eat ? " they replied, " We are Christians, we 
can eat anything." 

I once introduced a Somali boy for the first 
time in his life to a locomotive engine and train. 
I knew a native too well to expect any sign of 
astonishment, — he does not give himself away 
like that, — but I asked him what he thought of it ; 
he replied simply, " The white man he can do all 
sorts of things, but he has got to die just the same 
as a Somali." This boy had come to me from 


his karia on the Toyo plains, in his white tobe, 
shield on arm and spear in hand ; he became my 
personal servant and accompanied me to Algeria, 
India, Abyssinia, and England. In the time I 
should have taken to acquire one language very 
imperfectly, this barbarian, without a soul to 
instruct him, unable to read a word, mastered, 
with no apparent effort, Arabic, Hindustani, 
Amharic, and English, and picked up a smat- 
tering of Harrari, Galla, and French. They see 
with sharper eyes, they hear with more sensitive 
ears, they grasp with more retentive memories — 
the result of " savage " education. In the eyes 
of Europeans they are all the more barbarians 
for this superiority. We think them savages; 
what do they think we are — filling up our lives 
with hurry and worry, and cudgelling our brains 
how we may increase the complexity of our 
short existence ? 

Perhaps I have over-coloured my general 
sentiments in the foregoing remarks. After all, 
I am English, and therefore conform, outwardly 
at least, to the worship of our national fetish. 
I participate, with certain mental reservations, 
in the task of teaching the mass of mankind that 
it is not to relapse into primitive simplicity — it 
must progress, that is — it must raise its eyes 
to the great hub of Civilization, and if its motto 
be " Excelsior " the major part of humanity 
may eventually reach the ecstatic plane, where 
each civilized man may rise each morning by 


gaslight, gulp down tea and stale eggs by fog- 
light, put on his waistcoat with patterns on, 
seize on his umbrella, rush to a station, read his 
grey, pink, or green paper in a crowded com- 
partment, inhaling the breath of others diluted 
with subterranean fumes, splash through mud, 
elbow his way over greasy pavements to hail his 
motor-bus, spend his day at his work under dust- 
covered lights, in dingy holes, and at the end 
of his day return much as he came, to supper, 
quack medicines, and bed. Of course soap, 
whisky, braces, nail brushes, and many other 
Wants are thus created. 

I remember a speech of Mr. Chamberlain's, 
when he urged the importance to the Empire of 
evoking Wants among African natives ; he wanted 
Kaffirs to want Wants — it is good for Trade, and 
so good for the Empire. In fact, the African 
native must be made to want Wants ; most of 
all, he must be made to want work. Never 
fear, he will want his wants all in good time. If 
we are zealous enough we can hoist him up to our 
heavenly plane in our patent ascenseur a little 
quicker than he would reach it if he is left to 
plod his weary way up the long staircase by 
which we ourselves have climbed. 

Sometimes as I have sat under the clean and 
gentle moon, gazed into the camp fire or blue 
seas, or looked over sunny plains and purple 
hills, the dreadful vision has arisen of the 
civilized crowd at its work, at its luncheons, on 


its 'buses, in its trams, trains, and tubes, and 
then the image has passed before me of the 
Bedawi in their desert, the Somal in their bush, 
the Kaffirs in their mountain kloofs, and I have 
thought, " Better be any one of these than one 
of that crowd." But sympathy and pity are 
wasted, success and happiness are measured by 
the standard of the corner you are born into 
and of the community you live amongst. Verily 
if man were born in hell he would mistake it for 
heaven. Man's imagination can work miracles. 
The crowd's smoke-filled chest swells, its sooty 
nostril dilates, its dusty-cornered eye gleams 
with the pride of its race. It fights its country's 
battles in the newspapers, it is an athlete watch- 
ing football, it is a "sportsman " when bookies 
are bawling the odds or when at night it gets 
" all the winners." It lives by proxy, its 
romance is in shilling dreadfuls, its travels and 
adventures in electric theatres. Yet who dare 
say that its life is not sweet. Happiness is 
provided for man in the most awful surroundings 
where there is love and duty done. But the 
great undertaking of the day is the building up 
of our Empire. We must have more crowds, 
more smoke, more trams, trains, and tubes, 
more iron bridges and overhead wires, more 
hoarding advertisements in our fields, so that 
we may know where to get lung tonic and the 
sort of soap to make the dirt drop out, more 
sewers and refuse heaps. We must get more 


paper and broken bottles in the country, more 
rivers running ink, and our lanes well fenced 
with barbed wire and railway sleepers to keep 
us from straying off the cinder footpaths on to 
the fields strewn with pieces of linoleum, tins, and 
night-soil. We must have more factories and 
mills, or Germany will have as many as we have. 
And all the time we must educate our Colonies 
to progress, and want the waistcoats with patterns, 
and the soap which makes the dirt drop out, 
and more of everything we have. In Egypt we 
must get the Arabs and natives to give up their 
senseless wandering about with tents and camels 
without any idea of growing cotton ; they must 
settle down along the Nile, where our clever 
engineers will make more mud for them, even if 
they have to bring the water from Central Africa 
and harness waterfalls ; then they will live in 
mud houses along mud roads, by muddy canals, 
and hoe mud patches in muddy clothes, and 
learn to want whisky and liver pills, bowler hats 
and bicycles, and things in time, and breed 
more mud-hoers. So governments will raise more 
revenue, and cotton- spinners, soap-boilers, and 
hoe-makers will get more wealth, and every one 
will be better off, and want more and more 
things, and so forth and so on, till we reach the 
Brummagem millennium. The nation which does 
this the fastest will be the greatest, and we mean 
to be the first in this race. Instead of the 
benighted barbarian watching his wealth wander- 


ing on four legs over desert, prairie, and veldt, 
we shall see the transfigured being seated at a 
roller desk and examining his pass-book under 
a gas jet ; instead of gazing in stupid meditation 
at purple shadows creeping up red mountains, 
and floods of emerald, rose, and violet stealing 
over golden plains, he will with educated eyes 
look on the unchanging beauty of landscapes in 
oil, in rich gilt frames, without having to go out 
of doors. Yet perhaps the new and rather 
feeble cry of " Back to the land " even in the 
form of pigsty in a potato patch (when millions 
of acres in the Empire can be had at a half- 
penny each), is an indication that the toiling 
millions in their smoky dens are unconsciously 
looking back in the direction of a former and 
more primitive state. I suppose some of them, 
if not ready to change places with the Arab in 
his tent or the Kaffir in his kraal, might not 
turn with contempt from the suggestion of a 
settler's life on the veldt. 

When I resided in Algeria I knew of a French 
general, born an Arab of the tents in the northern 
Sahara, who entered the army through the 
native ranks, obtained promotion, and then 
naturalization which qualified him for the 
superior grades, which he attained to, one after 
the other, till he was a general of a division. He 
became intensely civilized according to Western 
ideas ; he had the entre to the best European 
society, frequented the salons and cercles of 


Paris, where he had his hotel, and possessed as 
well a chateau in the country. The day came 
when the rule of age retired him from military 
service. What did he do ? He had lived two 
existences ; the last as good as the West could 
give. Off with his hideous European coat, 
collar, cuffs, top hat, and trousers, one kick and 
his patent leather boots, with the dust of the 
West, were off his feet, and into the burnous once 
more ! When last I heard of him he was among 
his camels and his flocks in the douar of his 
tribe in that desert which had called him back. 
I often think of him as sitting at the door of his 
tent, reflecting on Western ideas of happiness 
and of what we call success, the horizon of which 
retreats as it is approached, just as surely as the 
one of the great desert on which he gazes. 

This may seem a strange digression from the 
track of my lions, but the idea in my head was 
that in lion lands there are other things to see 
and think over besides the game. Tough and 
curious old ideas which will bite the dust there, 
new thoughts to be born in lion haunts, both 
quite worth a chase or at least to be examined 
through a telescope at a safe distance. Let 
those who denounce my heresies be generous, 
for mine is the losing cause. 

Have I not seen already the dawn of your 
civilization on the Dark Continent ? The green 
veldt is being ploughed to give you what you 
want, the useless beasts and birds are fast being 


wiped away, the primeval forests echo to the 
axe, men begin to hoe mud on shadeless flats, 
the once limpid streams are already running ink, 
or milky liquid from mines and slimes, Kaffirs 
wear bowler hats, trousers, and yellow boots. 
The great " Want " has arrived, the parapher- 
nalia of Europe is marching in, and there soon 
will be plenty of billets for doctors and clergy, 
and dentists and lawyers. By the time that 
our lion has passed away to remain but the 
emblem of valour, you will have in some of the 
more favoured regions even black M.P.'s, as 
well as the lunatic asylums, sewage-pumping 
stations, crematoriums, dogs' homes (in every 
sense), processions of the unemployed, copper- 
coloured suffragettes, and the native will have 
his gorgonzola teeth and all the rest of it. 



Emblem of valour ! These words bring me back 
to my dissertation on courage. I tried to show 
that courage is sometimes obtained by education 
and training. To recognize this is to give any 
of us who are cowards, hope. I cannot, however, 
call to mind a single instance of ever witnessing 
a big-game hunter showing the white feather 
when faced with danger. 

I never envied the man, not that I ever met 
him, who " did not know what fear is." I know 
dozens who would face anything in the way of 
a decent terror, very calmly, and "take it on" 
either for fun or as duty, or for practice, or with 
some other excuse, or without any at all. But 
the poor fellow who knows no fear is poor indeed. 
Fear is the very essence of pleasure in sport ; 
the real sport begins when there is the excuse 
to feel afraid. In an old volume of Punch you 
will find a picture by du Mauri er (I think), where 
a German has realized the bearing of this paradox. 
He has just been instructed by a British sports- 
man in the mysteries of sport, and exclaims, 
" Ach ! I zee den dat it is ze tanger dat you do 



like ! You should shoot mit me ; ze oder day I 

shoot mine brudder in ze schtomak." The spice 

in the tamer amusements of stalking antelopes, 

deer, goats, and sheep is the dread of being 

detected and the fear of missing. This is but 

an imitative fear, yet I can remember when it 

seemed a very real one, and yielded all those 

pleasing sensations of trembling and breathless- 

ness (known as " buck fever ") which result 

from the real article, and also will now, on 

occasion, make my heart thump against my 

ribs. The additional joy in approaching lions, 

buffalo, or any other dangerous animals is in 

proportion to your fear of them, or there would 

be little more pleasure in stopping a lion than 

in rolling a jackal over. The fun in riding down 

a jackal is that you have to gallop at top speed 

on a line unknown, over ground which may or 

may not be sprinkled with ant-heaps, holes, and 

cracks, crossed by nullahs and dongas, and that 

you have at the crisis, when shooting, to leave 

your reins and trust to \our flying horse; it is 

this element of danger and your fear of it which 

adds to the enjoyment and excitement of the 

pursuit. And so in fox-hunting, though a man 

may love the science of hunting and hound 

work, if he does not realize the chances he is 

taking when he rides straight in a screaming run, 

he knows not the full joys of defeated fears, of 

pride of horse, and of surviving performances 

he would not attempt save when the blood of 


horse and man is " up." The " man who knows 
not fear " could not enjoy a run with hounds 
nor a fight with a lion like the man who, though 
he knows fear, does not show it. He who has 
never been frightened by a lion must have 
missed half the sport of lion-hunting. Where 
there is no fear there can be no courage. 

The old meaning of " magnanimous " was 
brave as well as generous. In confirmation of 
this statement I refer to Johnson's Dictionary, 
and to a quotation from Milton therein under 
the head of " Lion " : ' " The Fiercest and most 
Magnanimous of four-footed beasts." I pre- 
sume " four-footed " enters into this definition 
so as not to exclude a possible specimen of the 
human biped, otherwise I cannot account for 
this qualification and limitation. Milton was 
expressing a mere platitude when he wrote this, 
and accepting the general opinion of mankind, 
based on its experience of this particular kind 
of beast through the ages. The lion has always 
stood as the emblem of concentrated courage 
and terrific power. 

If you would flatter a king, you say he is 
" lion-hearted " ; if a man, that he is as " brave 
as a lion." If a nation desires to impress the 
world at large without any false modesty it 
assumes this great cat as its badge, and when 
so many nations have taken the lion as their pet 
symbol that the thing begins to get monotonous, 
the rest fall back on the eagle or bear. 


In Africa the proudest title of the Emperor 
of Ethiopia is M The Conquering Lion of Judah," 
and the lion is the badge of Abyssinia. Magna- 
nimity in our modern sense has so long been 
ascribed to the lion that he will remain for ever 
emblematic of this virtue also, just as great men 
who, to those who know them least intimately, 
or when they have passed out of sight, become 
endowed with sublime attributes. Death oft is 
the portal to immortal fame, or the manner of 
dying is. Crimes or eccentricities are all for- 
gotten or forgiven if a man dies nobly, whether 
it be a king on a scaffold or a soldier in the 
Sudan. The lion dies well, and when the earth 
no longer sees or hears him, he will be figured 
with an aureole around his head. 

In the learned Job Ludolphus's History of 
Ethiopia, printed in 1684, there are some most 
charming and most inaccurate descriptions of 
Abyssinian beasts and birds. In his chapter 
" Of Four-footed Beasts," he remarks that " As 
for Wild Beasts, Abyssinia breeds more and more 
bulkie than any other region of which we shall 
give a short account, beginning from those which 
appear most monstrous in their creation." He 
then goes on to tell us about " such massie 
creatures " as elephants, " which banquet as 
upon grass on trees about the bigness of cherry- 
trees " ; about their " horns of which the ivory is 
made, which grow out of the head and not out 
of the jaws, and besides that they only adorn 


the brows of the males, the females, like our does, 
have none at all " ; he describes a female ele- 
phant with her " cubb," and how the elephant, 
" if he be threatened with cudgels, hides his 
probosces under his belly, and goes away braying, 
for he is sensible it may be easily chopped off : 
the extream parts of it being very nervous and 
tender, which causes him to be afraid of hard 
blows," and much more of the like. After giving 
a most excellent description of the zecora 
(Grevy's zebra), he turns to the lion and says of 
him : " The lyon, tho' he excel in fierceness and 
cruelty all the rest of the wild beasts, yet he 
shews a certain kind of magnanimous respect of 
man. For he never injures, unless he be ready 
to famish so that he do not betrav his own fear " ; 
and then our friend Job refers the reader to 
Solinus, who " allows them many marks of 
clemency : they sooner assail men than women ; 
they never kill infants, unless pinched with 
hunger." Solinus indeed seems very generous, 
but would, in our day, have given grave offence 
to the suffragettes, and being no doubt a good 
sportsman who avoided shooting cheepers with 
his bow and arrow, " allowed " the lion the same 
sporting instincts. In my search after examples 
of leonine magnanimity, I remembered the fore- 
going authority. Personally, I have no par- 
ticular experience confirming their title to this 
virtue, beyond a common one of their thought- 
fulness in getting out of my way when their 



presence might be inconvenient. I am less 
generous than Solinus, and can only allow that, 
like human beasts, they are more magnanimous 
after than immediately before dinner. 

In Holy Writ the lion appears with " marks 
of clemency." Daniel in their den must have 
perceived them. There is also some evidence 
of their forbearance in the very picturesque 
story of the Disobedient Prophet. You will 
remember how the old prophet of Bethel lied 
unto the prophet who came with his message 
riding on his ass from Judah, and how he was 
slain by a lion in the path because he had been 
so simple as to believe the word of the man of 
God from Bethel. The story tells how that, 
after he had been pulled off his ass and killed, 
some men coming along the Bethel road saw 
the body and the lion standing by it, and that 
they ran back and told the liar prophet at 
Bethel what they had seen, whereupon he bid 
his sons saddle his ass and then rode off down 
the track and came upon the body of the other 
prophet with the lion still standing by it, and 
also the donkey untouched. Now this lion 
allowed the old prophet to pick up the body, to 
fasten it on to the ass, and to take it back to 
Bethel, where he buried it in his own grave, 
exclaiming repeatedly at the funeral, " Alas ! 
my brother ! : and requesting his sons to put 
his bones beside his bones when he died. The 
whole tale as told in the Bible is very graphic, 


though the moral is a little obscure. However, 
you cannot expect a higher tone of morality 
than the highest conception of it that may exist 
at any particular period of the world's history. 

I have known several cases, some of which 
will be cited later, where by day and night lions 
have pulled men off horses and carried them off, 
but they were young laymen on horses, and 
not old prophets on donkeys. On the whole, 
judging from Scriptural examples, the lion shows 
more traces of magnanimity than man. 

Look at the story of the valiant Benaiah, 
the son of Jehoiada, whose valour is instanced 
in killing a lion in a pit in time of snow. I have 
tried to picture the deed, yet cannot escape 
from the impression that the circumstances 
were on the whole very favourable to the safety 
of Benaiah. It may be that the valour was 
displayed in going out in time of snow. What 
a chance ! Just imagine Benaiah coming out 
of his hut in the early morning with snow on the 
ground, and coming on the spoor ; his halt to 
examine it, his eyes lighting up as with his 
finger on his lip he exclaims to himself, " Lion I 
not hyaena ! " then running back for his spear 
and tracking the beast without any trouble up 
the mountain, and at last, looking gingerly over 
the edge of the rock hole and seeing the half- 
frozen lion up to his neck in snow right in the 
bottom at his mercy. The chance of a lifetime ! 
Few men have had such an opportunity, and few 


lions can have had a worse time of it than 

There are men to-day ready to depose the 
King of Beasts from his throne. I understand 
that Livingstone was one of the first to foment 
this insurrection, and that he declared the lion 
to be mean and cowardly, after one had bitten 
his arm. I cannot understand why he en- 
deavoured to pull down the lion from off his 
pedestal, for from his own account of being 
carried off by a lion we are even led to suppose 
that he derived some enjoyment from it. 

Among the most recent authors, the Right 
Hon. Winston Churchill, M.P., writes brilliantly 
yet somewhat slightingly of them, but he might 
change his opinion on nearer acquaintance. 

Has the lion courage ? What is courage ? 
I had a Somali camel man well scarred with 
tooth and claw of lion. One day when alone 
in the bush tending horses at pasture he saw 
one of them attacked by a big lion. With no 
gallery to applaud and only a horse-hide to 
salvage, with just a spear in his hand, he went 
straight in and fought a duel to the death with 
the lion. Maimed and bleeding he issued victori- 
ous from the combat, leaving the great yellow 
carcass of his foe beside that of the pony. Did 
this boy display courage ? 

Listen to what he replies to my wife when 
she asks him why he fought trie lion, and whether 
he was not afraid of being killed : — 


" Yes, I was very frightened, but I was still 
more frightened of what they would say in my 
karia if I went back, if I had let a lion kill the 
horse and done nothing." 

Once in the Gadabursi country a Somali 
boy, who acted as syce to my second pony, was 
leading his charge at the tail of our caravan, 
We camped that afternoon about five o'clock, 
and when the ponies should have been coming 
in from feeding at sundown I looked outside 
the zariba for my white pony and could not see 
him. I called the headman. " Adan, where is 
my Fraskiad ? " 

" Wery bad nooze," replied Adan, who spoke 
English, but was shaky about his pronouns. 
Lions kill you." 

Nonsense," said I ; " where is the syce ? " 
It is here but too much frightened," was 
the answer. 

My syce appeared, looking very shamefaced. 
His story ran that as he was leading the pony 
some little way behind the last string of camels, 
two lions followed him, and after a short time 
both sprang on to the pony and pulled him 
down; that he had then run away, but after a 
while recollected that there might be a row if 
he turned up without the pony's halter (the 
halter was a grass one, worth about twopence), 
so he had gone back. The lions were still there by 
the dead pony, but he took the halter off and 
left the lions near the body. 





I was chaffed by my companions for believing 
the boy, but told him to bring me the halter. 
He brought it, blood-stained, as it would be 
likely to be if the pony was killed in the usual 

An inspection of the scene the next day gave 
us conclusive evidence of the truth of the boy's 
account of the end of my little Fraskiad. In 
this case too the native was more afraid of 
something else than of lions, which sounds as if 
I was a perfect terror to my men, when all the 
time he was only thinking to himself that his 
honour and his life were rolled in one, and take 
honour from him and his life was done. Perhaps 
some Somali bard had taught him this lesson, 
but more likely not. There have been many 
instances of natives laying down their lives for 
their white masters. 

I knew a Somali who without so much as a 
stick in his hand saved Lord Delamere's life 
with his bare hands. Lord Delamere was down 
under a wounded lion which had already broken 
one of Lord Delamere's legs and was crunching 
it in his jaws. The boy seized the lion's head 
on both sides, and tugged at him till he dropped 
his victim and turned and terribly mauled the 
deliverer. This lion was dispatched by the 
Somalis the next day, and Lord Delamere set his 
own broken leg and nursed himself and his boy 
back to health, if not to soundness of limb. 
Lord Delamere goes slightly lame, and the boy 

-i i ^- . 


is maimed for life, but received a well-deserved 
pension from the man he saved. 

Now a Somali knows well enough what he is 
doing, and must have some strong motive in 
courting death to save his sahib's life. I credit 
him with the same quick resolution to play the 
man which so often distinguishes a European. 

A year or so after this event I met in Somali - 
land an Englishman named Marshall, who had 
just had his shikari killed by a lion at Silo. If 
my memory serves me right, Marshall was carrying 
a loaded single-barrelled rifle, and his shikari 
his second rifle. Marshall was in his shirt 
without a jacket and had no cartridges, his shikari 
was carrying the ammunition for both weapons ; 
they saw a lioness slink into a bush, and then 
Marshall did a thing that only rash youth would 
do. Without getting his shikari close up to him 
or taking a supply of ammunition he fired straight 
into the bush where he had seen the lioness 
disappear, just as if she had been a rabbit at 
home. Out she came like a flash of lightning, 
straight for the shikari, which was the first thing 
she saw, rolled him over, and seized him. Marshall 
ran up with his empty rifle and belaboured her 
head with the barrel of his gun until she dropped 
the man ; then, instead of turning on Marshall 
according to the rules of the game, she made off. 
In this case the sahib risked his life to save 
his black boy, unfortunately in vain. Yet 
fortune very often favours the brave. 


Here is another example of the cool behaviour 
of a native and of wonderful presence of mind. 
This incident, which occurred in June 1909, I 
will give in the words of Mr. H. Williams, the 
party chiefly concerned : — 

"Nairobi, July 1. 

"Mr. Selous and I had joined Mr. M'Millan, 
but on June 8 I was out alone, having only my 
two gun-bearers with me, when I saw a lion on 
the right, about 300 yards away. He was 
prowling along, and apparently did not notice 
me, but I could see by the swish of his tail that 
he was an angry beast. I put up my hand as a 
signal to my head gun-bearer to come up with a 
spare rifle, and together we worked closer and 
closer to the lion. The beast seemed to have 
no intention of stopping, so I struck one hand 
on the back of the other. The lion stopped 
and faced me, probably revolving the question 
of attack, whilst I, for my part, cogitated as to 
whether I should shoot or endeavour to get a bit 
closer. The lion seemed to decide upon retreat, 
for he turned suddenly and trotted away. I 
fired both barrels of my *450 at him, one shot 
reaching him in the flank. It was only a slight 
flesh wound, but it paralysed him for the moment, 
and he sat down on his haunches like a dog. 
After a few minutes he got up and went into a 
bit of open bush. 

" Not knowing what state the brute might be 


in, I made for the big open patch on my left front, 
hoping to get a better sight of him. The lion, 
however, had been watching me from his retreat, 
and at 200 yards distance he sprang out of 
the bush and came straight for me at a terrifying 
pace. I waited until he was within 60 yards, 
and then let him have both barrels. One shot 
missed him, but the other lodged in the fleshy 
part of his shoulder. The only effect was to 
infuriate him more than ever, and I now thought 
myself a dead man, for there was no time to 
reload, and the gun-bearer was not actually 
in reach with the other rifle. I turned and 
made for a bush at my right rear, hoping the 
beast would rush past me and give me time to 
reload ; but it was hopeless, and, turning sharply 
round, I stood my ground. 

" It was a terrifying sight — the brute's jaws 
already open to seize me by my left shoulder and 
breast — but with the courage born of despair 
I raised my rifle in both hands and struck him 
across the side of the head. Almost simul- 
taneously he ducked and seized me by the right 
leg, shaking me from side to side as though I 
had been a rat. There is no need to describe 
what I felt at this moment. Suffice it to say 
that my gun-bearer — -the pluckiest creature, black 
or white, that I have ever read of — came up 
whilst the lion was actually mauling me, shoved 
the rifle he carried down to me and asked me 
how to turn the safety catch. I had sufficient 


presence of mind to be able to explain in a 
second, and the gun-bearer fired. The lion left 
me and rushed into a bush 5 yards away, 
giving me time to put two cartridges in my 
rifle whilst still on the ground. 

" Raising myself to fire, I saw that the lion was 
in the act to spring. I fired off both barrels from 
my hip at his head, the " boy " firing at the same 
time, and the brute rolled over dead. I fell back 
again, and for a few moments half-swooned, 
for I had lost a lot of blood ; but as soon as the 
second gun-bearer had come up (no gun with 
him), I sent him off to find camp and bring 
back some men to carry me in. With some 
dressing which I had in my cartridge bag I tried 
to staunch the bleeding, but could do very 
little in this way. The muscles were torn open, 
an artery had burst, and the wounds were 
everywhere so deep. For an hour I lay there, 
and then half the camp turned up, and I was 
carried in on a bed. I shall never forget the 
agony of that journey. On reaching camp, Mr. 
Selous and Mr. M'Millan dressed the wounds 
as well as they could, but that night my tempera- 
ture was over 105°. 

u On the afternoon of the next day — the 9th — 
I left camp with a man — Judd — in charge of me, 
and, after three days' travel by hand porterage, 
I got to Londiani, on the railway, and arrived 
at Nairobi on the 14th. My leg seemed to be 
bursting all the time, and the blood was draining 


away. I would have given anything for some 
morphia. On being brought into hospital, how- 
ever, I experienced all the ease and comfort 
which a first-class doctor and skilful nursing were 
able to afford." 

The greater the fear, the greater is the 
courage of deeds like these. Courage is the 
fear of being afraid. A brave deed may be 
deliberate or impulsive, it may be thoughtless 
or reckless or carefully premeditated, it is as 
often dared from the dread of what a man will 
think of himself as from alarm at what others 
may think of him. Any other kind of courage 
is not to be over admired. It is no particular 
credit to an individual to possess a quality he 
has been endowed with in common not only 
with most of his own species, but with dogs and 
poultry. Mere bravery of the bravest man is 
matched by the bravery of brutes. The soldier 
oft repulsed, who, with bleeding wounds, returns 
to the charge and fights till his eye dims with 
death, is as brave but not braver than the gored 
bulldog tossed high in the air, returning to the 
conflict time after time, till he has seized his 
enemy by the nose, and then never losing his 
hold until he is dashed to death or stunned with 
blows. By the display of this quality alone 
man may attain to the rank of a dog. 1 

1 This illustration is borrowed from Dymond's essays- 



General Sir Frederick Lugard, having ex- 
perience of both tigers and lions, maintains the 
right of the lion to his title of King of Beasts. 
In support of his view of the superior majesty 
of the lion he asserts that, unlike the tiger, he 
" courts no concealment, shirks no encounter, 
and scorns to run." 

I do not dispute his right to his title or his 
superior majesty, but in the sentence quoted I 
perceive an over-statement, for though a lion 
will often stand and regard you steadily when 
you meet him by day, he will oftener make off 
at the first sight of you. I should also say he 
prefers to conceal himself, and when suddenly 
disturbed generally goes off, and frequently at 
a gallop. On the other hand, I have seen lions 
under fire walk off slowly in the most leisurely 
and dignified manner, halting now and again to 
look with knitted brows at the pigmies pumping 
lead at him. Not long ago I was riding through 
a patch of straggling bush, when two lions got 
up 200 yards ahead of me ; they never stopped 
to look for a second, but went off as fast as they 



could. Before I had dismounted and run to a 
place where I could get a view of them they 
were 400 or 500 yards away, both going in 
different directions at a steady gallop like two 
very long-tailed giant mastiffs. As I watched 
I saw three more lions jump up, and off they 
went too, without casting a glance in my direc- 
tion, though my bullets were chasing them. All 
these certainly shirked an encounter. Yet the 
first lions I ever saw in Africa were a group of 
five or six old ones under a tree larger than any 
near it in the thorn forest. I came in sight of 
them at 60 yards, and two of them charged 
me at sight — but then I had been tracking them 
for several hours, which makes all the difference. 
One of these sheered off when I hurriedly fired 
my first barrel at the leading one, this bullet 
went " over" at 40 yards, and I had just time 
to get my second barrel off at 13 yards. My 
shot sent up a blinding shower of earth into 
his lowered face, which turned him just enough 
for him to brush past my shikari ; he then 
whipped round and " came " again. Meanwhile 
my cool Midgan shikari had put my second rifle 
into my hand, and I bowled him over ; though 
mortally wounded with one ball and trailing a 
broken leg, I lost him. For some three hours 
I tracked him fast and easily, when my boy 
said it was useless, as he would probably never 
stop till night. I had given up hope of catching 
him, and what with six hours tracking in the 


broiling sun, and my experience with the brute, 
I found my ardour cooled, but I said to my boy 
we will go on another half-hour. I was sick of 
carrying my 10-bore and handed it to him full- 
cock, and took my Mannlicher, telling him to 
follow the track, and I trudged wearily on 
some 10 yards behind. A few minutes after 
this we went through a patch of high grass under 
a big tree, and my shikari stepped right on to 
the lion. This is what I saw : a great, big, bloody 
lion on his hind-legs, my boy throwing up my 
big gun to defend himself — the gun held at arm's 
length going off and the recoil driving the butt 
into my boy's mouth — my boy falling flat on his 
back — a dense cloud of smoke (for it was black 
powder in those days), and then nothing else 
for a second — then the tail of a flying lion 
disappearing in thick bush 100 yards away, 
and " so back to camp," — a day I remember, 
with some of the lessons it taught me. There 
is no " always do " and " never do " about lions, 
but in my own experience lions will, in nine 
cases out of ten, at the very least, get away from 
you if they think they can escape observation or 
trouble. Most of them have an aversion to 
man's presence in the daytime, an aversion only 
overcome, as a rule, by great hunger or unusual 
nastiness of disposition ; and in disposition they 
vary almost as much as dogs. But I cannot see 
that this detracts from their character for 
courage, as some consider it does. Let us suppose 


that the reader has won the V.C. and is sitting 
on his lawn under a spreading elm in the heat 
of a summer's day, and with eyes half closed 
is reflecting on what he has had for lunch or is 
going to have for dinner, when suddenly he 
catches sight of a lion strolling towards him. 
Would you not, brave reader, shin up the tree 
or dive into the house by the nearest window ? 
Livingstone and Co. might shout " Coward ! " 
at you. They would, if logical, write you down 
" Coward " too, if when familiar with the sickly 
stench of lions a decided whiff of the horrid odour 
reached your nostrils, you closed your book and, 
with a hasty look round, made off, double-quick, 
to the side door. If you now went to your 
gun cupboard, and loaded your rifle and watched 
your opportunity and shot the unwelcome 
disturber of your peace when he was looking 
another way, they would if consistent dub you 
" mean " as well as cowardly, for, to quote 
Mr. Winston Churchill, " such are the habits of 
this cowardly and wicked animal." In fairness 
however, to Mr. Winston Churchill, I must say 
he allows that, when pursued, " the naturally 
mild disposition of the lion becomes embittered," 
and " finally, when every attempt at peaceful 
persuasion has failed, he pulls up abruptly and 
offers battle. Once he has done this he will 
run no more." The description of what follows 
is so well done, I must give a further extract : — 
" He means to fight, and fight to the death. 


He means to charge home, and when a lion, 
maddened with the agony of a bullet wound, 
distressed by long and hard pursuit, or most of 
all a lioness, in defence of her cubs, is definitely 
committed to the charge, death is the only 
possible conclusion. Broken limbs, broken jaws, 
a body raked from end to end, lungs pierced 
through and through, entrails torn and protrud- 
ing — none of these count. It must be death — 
instant and utter for the lion or down goes the 
man, mauled by septic claws and fetid teeth, 
crushed and crunched and poisoned afterwards 
to make doubly sure." 

In June 1909 I had an example of how 
necessary it is to kill instantly a charging lion. 
Near the house I owned on the Mua Hills is a long 
ridge running down towards the plains ; on the 
south side of this ridge is a thick covert stretching 
a mile along the slope beneath fine rocks and 
boulders. On this ridge are usually countless 
numbers of kongoni (Coke's hartebeest), zebra, 
antelopes, and gazelles of various kinds. At 
certain times of the year lions kill round here 
almost every night; sometimes they kill in full 
view of the house in broad daylight. By day 
they lie hidden in the thickest parts of the bush. 
We used to know they were there, we heard them 
grunting or roaring at, and just before, dawn, while 
at breakfast we saw the vultures and white-necked 
crows circling over the kills of the night. I 
often went to the rocks and sat there searching 


the bush with my glass, on the chance of seeing 
the lions moving into a shady lair for the day, 
or sent a boy to watch. I sometimes wandered 
in the bush peering into the thick places with 
rifle cocked, but generally found this a very 
unprofitable amusement. 

On the 20th June 1909, after several days' 
watching by myself, I got my friend, Mr. R. 
Allsopp, and my neighbour, Mr. H. D. Hill, to 
give me a hand and see if we could not get rid 
of some of these lions, for they had become a 
nuisance, being very near the house, frequenting 
the main path to it, making it jumpy for every 
one of us when taking this track home at night- 
fall, and endangering the lives of our boys and 
horses when sent to water, morning and evening. 
The previous day one of them had killed a 
kongoni in sight of the house at dawn, and All- 
sopp and I had come close on to them when 
poking about in the bush. On the day in question 
we determined to try and drive the whole of the 
bush towards the plain. With such force of boys 
and dogs as we could muster, I went with my wife 
and daughter and our ponies along the crest of 
the ridge above the bush, and took up a position 
from whence we could scan the whole of the 
surrounding plains. Hill, Allsopp, men and 
dogs started the drive. We heard their shouts 
and watched for some time the impala, kongoni, 
zebra, and "granties" pouring out of the covert, 
also a hyaena lobbing away, now and again 


A Lion Charge. 

To face p. 40. 



twisting his hideous head round to look back. 
Then I saw two big lions slouching along across 
open spots in the bush and slanting up the hill. 
Before I could get to my horse they were crossing 
the ridge about a quarter of a mile off, and by the 
time I was in the saddle and my horse going, 
they were out of sight. A short gallop brought 
me into view of them, indeed I had taken a short 
cut that put me nearer to them than I wanted 
to be, but they paid little attention. The smaller 
of them broke into a gallop and took a long 
lead, the larger trotted steadily forward on the 
same line, a great hulking brute which shook 
all over as he went along. The line was across 
ridges and wide bush-sprinkled valleys. As we 
rose the first hillside out of the first valley at 
a canter, with the heavy lion 150 yards on 
my left, 1 fired a shot from my Mannlicher in 
the hope of bringing him to a stand. He 
turned and stood for a moment with a diabolical 
scowl on his countenance, back went his ears, 
up went his tail as he walked about three paces 
towards where I had reined up ; before he had 
begun to trot, I was in full flight up the hill, 
knowing he meant business. He coursed like a 
greyhound but gave it up in less than a hundred 
yards — he was too fat for that game — and he 
resumed his line at a steady trot and paid 
me no more attention. I now kept 200 yards 
to his right, parallel with him down the slope 
into the next valley ; on reaching the donga 


in the bottom he went into a tiny reed bed and 
lay down out of sight. I now halted my horse 
at 120 yards or so, and waited for some 
of the others to come up. After what seemed 
a long dose of sentry-go, my gun-bearer on 
foot with my 10-bore, and Hill and Allsopp 
on the ladies' ponies, arrived on the scene. 
Hill carried a '404 Jefferey cordite rifle, Allsopp 
a double-barrelled # 450 cordite. We agreed 
that as it was impossible for a lion to get 
through this array, we would go straight on to 
him at once on foot. I was quite sure he would 
charge us straight, but equally confident he could 
not reach us ; but he very nearly did, and that 
is the whole point of this tale. We walked up to 
within nine paces of him, being on ground that 
sloped downwards to the little patch of reeds 
which concealed him. There we halted, and a 
stone thrown by Allsopp brought him out with 
a terrific grunt — flying straight at us. Bang 
went all the guns together without any apparent 
result, and I only got my second barrel off at 
five short paces — over he went. Now what 
happened was this : Hill, with that wonderful 
speed in firing a single-barrelled magazine rifle 
characteristic of South Africans, got in two, if 
not three shots ; two struck, one of these hit the 
lion full in the nose, breaking teeth, cutting along 
the roof of the mouth and lodging in the base of 
theskull. Thishad no effecton the fury and vigour 
of his charge. 


Allsopp's shot only slightly wounded him, 
and my first barrel struck him where neck and 
shoulder join; the ball passed under the shoulder 
blade, raking along his ribs till it stuck in the 
skin at his hip. All these shots appeared to 
have no effect on the charge, and might as well 
have been misses as far as our safety was con- 
cerned, though, such was Hill's rapidity of fire, I 
would not like to say that he could not have got 
in yet another shot (the last in his magazine) if 
my second bullet had played me the same trick 
as my first. I have heard that the nose shot is 
not a safe one with tigers, but it is a revelation 
to me that with a powerful rifle a few feet off it 
is practically useless on a lion, 1 and I suppose 
one might fire fifty 10-bore balls into a lion's neck 
without one glancing as my first bullet did. But 
I call that a courageous lion to face so many 
standing together and go through so much heavy 
lead from very powerful weapons fired straight 
into him at two or three yards' range, particularly 
when he was fat, gorged, and unwounded. 

I cannot subscribe to the epithet " coward " 
applied to lions, for few will shirk an encounter 
if they think it necessary. I have observed that 
lions avoid being followed by men (Cowards !); 
I have also noticed that men dislike being 

1 The late Mr. George Grey, who was fatally injured in 191 1 
whilst hunting lions with me, hit the charging lion in the mouth 
and broke his jaw, at 5 yards range, with a -280 Ross copper- 
pointed bullet without checking or turning the charge in the 


followed by lions (Cowards too!); besides, a 
brave man is not necessarily spoiling for a fight, 
— some of the bravest I have known were the 
gentlest and most retiring of persons, but these 
like lions when they once start, and think they 
must fight, face fire, wire and water, and throw 
away their lives, before they will throw down 
their arms on the field of battle, no matter what 
are the odds they have to confront. 

And what can I say with regard to their 
conduct in the dark ? It is true that lions sneak 
up to their prey and seize their unarmed and 
unsuspecting victims by the throat or neck, or 
drag weaker creatures to the ground in assaults 
from the rear ; but let us be reasonable and 
consider what would be our behaviour, as 
courageous men, were all our meals quick of eye 
and ear and fleeter of foot than we. Is it more 
cowardly or mean than the way in which we pro- 
ceed to secure our dinners when we know we 
cannot catch the said dinner on a fair field with 
no favour ? And a lion when he is hungry is 
so very dreadfully hungry — the awful ravening 
pangs of his inside pass man's understanding ; 
he does not study how his behaviour may appear 
to his victims any more than we do when we hide 
in a grouse butt. What do you say of lions 
which beard railway trains at night and take men 
out of the windows of the compartments, or of 
the hundreds of them which leap into crowded 
villages in the dark among the blazing watch- 


fires, to seize their suppers under a hail of flaming 
brands, spears, and clubs, amid the yells of men 
and the screeching of women ; or those innumer- 
able ones which " take on " in mortal combat 
such beasts as buffaloes, animals vastly superior 
in size and weight, well-armed and, when 
embarked on a fight for life, as ferocious 
as themselves ? No, the lion is a valiant 



All insurrections against the leonine monarchy 
are doomed to failure. I have argued the lion's 
title on the ground of his superior majesty, 
dignity, and courage, but his throne will be 
secure by prescriptive right as long as his royal 
line continues. Is the lion the most dangerous 
of all big game ? This is a question upon which 
sportsmen will continue to hold different opinions. 
I am convinced, in proportion to the number 
of lions killed, there are far more men killed, 
fatally injured, maimed for life, and badly mauled 
than in the pursuit of any other species of 
animal, and that with the sole exception of the 
tiger there is no other creature where the immense 
improvement in rifles, loads, and bullets gives 
man so little advantage over the older patterns of 
weapons and conditions of shooting, but I shall 
have more to say on this last point later. I 
would not like to assert, with my almost total 
inexperience of tigers, that if one hundred sports- 
men on foot went out, each alone, after one 
hundred separate lions, that there would be 

more casualties than if the same number of men 

4 6 


of the same quality went out separately after 
one hundred tigers. 

As to facts, tigers are not so much hunted on 
foot, and as far as I know never on horseback ; 
they skulk more in jungles and are not constantly 
encountered in bands or parties. I have no 
idea what is the largest number of tigers recorded 
by sportsmen as having been seen together at 
one time, but I do know that it is rare to see 
many together in a party, and as many as 
thirty -three lions have been seen together in one 
company. Over forty in one troop were seen 
on the Kapiti Plains in 1911. The Hon. F. J. 
Jackson (the present Governor of Uganda) saw 
some years ago twenty-three together near the 
site on which I built my house. Sir Harry 
Johnston mentions having seen fifteen in one lot 
in the Kenia district. I have tracked as many 
as this together in Somaliland. 

Mr. Hume Chaloner, who was with me in 
British East Africa, saw fifteen in one troop 
near Embu (May 1909). My tent boy, who 
was no liar, saw twenty-eight together one day 
in Somaliland. The Hon. Galbraith Cole told 
me that two or three years ago, in British East 
Africa, he was riding alone and not paying much 
attention to the game around him, when he 
suddenly became aware that a particular lot of 
kongoni he was passing through were not kongoni 
at all, but lions ; he counted twenty-three or 
twenty-five of them all round him, and remained 


motionless as the wisest thing to be done under 
the circumstances. Twenty of them after a short 
time moved off together, two continued to eye 
him, and one only made demonstrations of anger, 
but these also turned and followed the others. 

Instances like these could be multiplied 
almost indefinitely, whilst to see from four to 
seven in one band is a thing of very common 
occurrence indeed, and I imagine a very un- 
common one in the case of tigers. I think I 
shall be on the safe side in asserting that nine 
out of ten tigers killed by Europeans in India are 
slain from the backs of elephants, from machans, 
and other places of safety, or in the company of 
large bodies of men and parties of sportsmen. 
Tigers, I should say, deal out far more death to 
mankind than lions, but then they frequent 
more populous places and prey on more timid 
races. As a rule, African natives do not tolerate 
a man-eating lion, and the community will turn 
out en masse to rid itself of such a nuisance. 
Some Asiatic peoples, if free from timidity, would 
refrain from exterminating man-eating tigers 
from superstition. That a tiger approached on 
foot is as dangerous an animal as a lion, I well 
believe, and to follow up a wounded tiger on 
foot an even more hazardous undertaking. Pro- 
bably the tiger is endowed with greater muscular 
activity, quicker moving power, and ability to 
cover more ground in his bound. His skin is a 
far more beautiful trophy ; but when I come to 


decide which is the more sporting beast I place 
the lion an easy first, as best satisfying the 
standard of sport which I have set up for myself. 
In my humble judgment, the risk of serious 
casualties in hunting elephants, buffaloes, and 
rhinoceroses on foot is small compared with that 
of hunting lions and tigers on foot. A man may 
kill score after score of these animals without 
coming to grief or even witnessing a fatal 
accideRt. Only two men I have known 
have been killed by elephants in Africa, only one 
by buffalo, and none by rhino. Personally I am 
acquainted with no one who has been seriously 
injured by any of these, whilst it would be 
difficult for me to count up all the men I have 
known killed or permanently injured by lions. 
I am aware that the experience of one individual 
is poor evidence, yet I think most experienced 
hunters, if their opinion differed in some parti- 
culars, would on the whole agree with me. An 
elephant under certain conditions and wounds, 
as also individual wicked ones, can be appallingly 
dangerous, and where their assailant is disarmed 
can be most persevering in their vengeance. 
Occasionally a wounded elephant will hunt a 
man down most scientifically, circling and sinking 
the wind till he scents him and then bearing 
down on him ; such a man without ammunition 
or with a jammed rifle, if he is in a small-bush 
country or among reeds, high grass, or in dense 
jungle, is likely to have a very bad time, for 


wherever he flies or hides he will be discovered 
by the mighty smeller- out. 

I have heard of some marvellous escapes from 
elephants. Mr. Victor Cavendish told me that on 
his journey through Somaliland to Lake Rudolph, 
when he shot a large number of elephants, he on 
one occasion wounded an old bull, which thereupon 
took up his stand on fairly open ground behind 
a bush. Cavendish's shikari told him the elephant 
was going to charge, and he made haste to reload 
his empty barrel. He opened the breech, ejected 
the empty case, and put in another cartridge, 
but he could not get the cartridge home in the 
chamber ; he tried force, but failed — then tried 
with all his might to draw it out, but in vain, 
and now the elephant bore down on him while he 
struggled with the cartridge which jammed his 
rifle open. There was nothing for it but to 
fly; he saw that there was about 100 yards 
of open to cover on foot before he could reach 
the only refuge in the bush which could possibly 
give him time to deal with the refractory 
cartridge. Long before he had reached this 
shelter the huge head of the elephant over- 
shadowed him — he flung himself on one side on 
the ground and lay motionless as the great 
monster with all his "way on" thundered by; 
then round swung the elephant and came for 
him — down on to its knees it went, prodding at 
him with its heavy tusks ; but before it had 
touched him Cavendish had wriggled under the 


elephant's chin, out of reach of the tusks and 
out of sight of his little eyes. From this time 
for some twenty minutes or more the elephant 
endeavoured to pound him with his knees, but 
never fairly " got him." Meanwhile Cavendish's 
shikari had run back to his master's pony and 
syce, and had got another rifle and returned. 
He naturally believed his sahib had been dead 
some time, nevertheless he approached the 
elephant and pumped bullets into him ; then the 
elephant got up and moved off about 70 yards. 
To the astonishment of the Somali boys, the 
corpse on the ground got up and came towards 
them with not so much as a broken bone, and 
a few days' rest in camp saw him practically 
recovered from the bruises and contusions he had 
received. If the fast shuffling trot of an elephant 
may be called " flying " it may be generally 
conceded that they almost always fly from every 
trace of humanity. The merest whiff of a man 
suffices to stampede a whole herd. When an' 
elephant is cornered, or surprised and wounded, 
and, with trunk upraised and ears set out like 
sails, he bears down screaming upon his enemy, 
a shot in the chest or head generally (I very 
nearly said always) turns or stops him, at any 
rate with a modern elephant rifle. The lion 
has keen sight, possibly the most perfect of any 
creature, but the elephant, like the rhinoceros, 
has considerable difficulty in seeing. Once with 
the wind right but with impassable water between 


me and some fine tuskers, I tried for a long time 
to attract their attention, even firing several 
shots in their direction ; they sometimes moved a 
little after they heard the shot, but evidently 
could not make me out, though I was standing 
in full view on the top of a very large ant-hill. 

Again, elephants are usually shot at very close 
quarters, say from 5 to 30 yards distance, 
and provided the wind is right, and the huge 
beast carefully stalked, a very deliberate and 
accurately fatal shot is comparatively easy. 
When it is all over he is a bit of a ruffian who 
does not feel remorse at the sight of one of these 
sagacious, magnificent monsters, which may have 
taken Nature near a hundred years to furnish 
with his size and ivory, laid in ruins at his feet. 

Nearly every sportsman who comes out to 
British East Africa for big game kills several 
rhinoceroses, not a few of these visitors return 
home without ever having the chance of killing 
lions ; yet many are the men killed or mauled by 
lions, and very, very few are those injured by 

The powerful rifles of the day are wonderfully 
effective on rhinoceros but give little advantage, 
if any, over old-fashioned weapons or even small- 
bore rifles in the desperate charge of a lion. 
Personally I have never known a single instance, 
where a rhino charged a man armed and ready 
for him, when the rhinoceros did any damage at 
all. Though rhinoceros often charge, I am quite 


certain that many so-called rhino charges are 
not charges at all, and, as often as not, when a 
rhino jumps out of his bed in a thicket with a 
snort and a rush that is alarming (generally the 
result more of terror than anger) his only instinct 
is to get clear of the bother as fast as he can. 
On such an occasion I have stood stock-still at 
the " ready " without firing, and though he has 
charged out he has gone careering past without 
paying me the slightest attention. A friend of 
mine told me that when on safari down the Tana 
River, his party disturbed on a march of several 
weeks over one hundred rhinoceros ; of these 
only one charged the safari, and this happened 
when they were in horseshoe formation and he 
charged straight through the porters. However, 
it does not much matter whether his intentions 
are innocent or otherwise if you happen to be in 
his way, and often men and camels have been 
sent flying and much damage has been done by 
a rogue or a terrified rhino. 

Mr. Relly of Nairobi gave me an amusing 
account of seeing a rhino charge a train he was 
in, on the Uganda Railway, and how he twice 
went headlong at the carriages, striking the foot- 
board each time and then retiring at a trot 
towards the hills with a very bloody snout, like 
any other anarchist running up against civiliza- 
tion. You do not want to get in the road of a 
beast which tries to butt over railway trains. 
Yet I hold to my opinion that the rhinoceros, 


either white or black, if inquisitive is seldom 
aggressive, and only a small proportion of his kind 
is really vicious. These latter are more frequent 
near places where they are liable to be disturbed. 
The rhinoceros likes to spend his harmless life 
as far from the white man as he can. 

As for buffalo, they are certainly dangerous 
game, my own impression is that after lions and 
tigers they and elephants are the most dangerous 
adversaries a sportsman can engage. The best 
authorities are not agreed as to how dangerous 
buffaloes are. I have met many men whose 
opinions are worth having, who count the 
buffalo as the most dangerous of all big game. 
Opinions on this point are largely formed accord- 
ing to the district and kind of country where 
experience has been acquired. Selous declares : 
" I do not consider the Cape buffalo — and I have 
had an immense experience of these animals, 
and have shot well over two hundred of them, 
mostly on foot in every kind of surroundings — 
to be a naturally vicious or ferocious animal." 
A man who knows so much about the beast as 
this is not one to dispute with; at least I am 
in no way qualified to argue the question. The 
late George Grey, with a great experience of them, 
held the same opinion. The Hon. F. J. Jackson, 
with a long experience in Equatorial Africa, says : 
" I consider it the pluckiest, and, wounded, the 
most cunning and savage of all game that is 
considered dangerous." I will only add that it 


appears to me that had the man who has killed 
over two hundred buffaloes on foot killed two 
hundred lions on foot in the daytime he might 
be considered fortunate to have survived, and 
at least would not be able to declare that the lion 
was naturally not " a vicious or ferocious animal." 
As far as Africa is concerned, there remains 
no other game whose claims to the character 
of dangerous are worth examining in relation 
to the lion, unless it be possibly the panther. I 
do not allude to the leopard, which is only a very 
big cat, which flies at a man readily and viciously 
on very slight provocation, and at times without 
any ; but which after all does not brain him with 
blow of paw or crunch big bones up between 
great jaws. The leopard is an animal you can 
brain with a club or strangle with bare hands, 
and which bites and scratches in a very nasty 
way, as I have seen it do, yet apart from the risk 
of blood-poisoning there is little danger to life 
and limb in hunting them. Scientific naturalists 
refuse to recognize a difference between panthers 
and leopards, yet I venture to declare that 
there is no comparison between the great dark 
panthers of North Africa and the common leopard, 
either in appearance, size, weight, or power to 
inflict injury. I have seen panthers nearly as 
large as lions, with immense arms and muscles, 
and panther skins as large as lion skins. 1 The 

1 1 read in a French newspaper that a panther had been 
killed this year (191 3) in Algeria which measured, before being 
skinned, about 8 feet 10 inches (2 m. 75 cm.). 


panther is still to be found in the Atlas Range, 
a few -in the mountains of Somaliland, and no 
doubt elsewhere in Africa. There was one I 
sought for in vain which had claimed many 
victims among the natives near the Jerato Pass 
in the Golis Mountains ; he had haunted the Gan 
Libah for some years. The Somalis distinguish 
the panther by the name of " Orghobie " from the 
leopard, which they call " Shabel." The Arabs 
of North Africa hold the panther in more dread 
than the lion. In old days when the panther was 
still ubiquitous in the Atlas my Arab hunters 
told me panthers very often became man- 
eaters, that they would frequently, in a way very 
rare in the case of lions, fly out from above on to 
men as they walked on mountain tracks, and that 
they were often as large as lions ; that whilst it 
did not matter so much approaching a lion from 
below, it was a most dangerous thing to go up- 
hill to a panther. 

Leopards do, however, stalk and attack natives, 
and not infrequently carry off women and 
children. I was once stalked by a leopard whilst 
dozing in the shade of a candelabra euphorbia 
tree, in the Gadabursi Mountains, after a fruit- 
less morning after greater kudu. My three 
boys were sleeping under another tree 100 
yards away. I had my *256 rifle laid across 
my knee, my feet on a little ledge of rock, 
below my boots stretched high grass down the 
steep side of a mountain gully, and an upland 


breeze fanned me pleasantly. I was roused 
by a soft purring grunting, and half opened my 
eyes and instinctively turned the safety off my 
rifle ; in Africa one learns without effort the 
habit of sleeping even by night with one eye open, 
as it were. I gazed sleepily without the least 
apprehension of danger at the waving yellow 
grass in front of my feet, and saw what I thought 
was the top of a cat's tail twisting and turning 
above the surface of the grass 10 feet below me. 
Then it suddenly struck me that this cat's tail 
was exceedingly long and marked uncommonly 
like a leopard's, and also getting uncommonly 
near me — in fact I realized I was being stalked 
up wind ; at the very moment that the situation 
flashed on my brain, the top of the leopard's head 
and eyes rose slowly to the top of the grass 
exactly over the toes of my boots. I whisked 
the rifle round with the muzzle within an inch or 
so of its eyes, and fired. Up went the leopard in 
the air, as I thought dead. I jumped up and 
looked at the bent grass at my feet where the 
leopard appeared to fall, but no leopard was there. 
The boys ran up to me, and for an hour we 
searched the gully, but never so much as found a 
drop of blood. What happened I do not know ; 
a miss was difficult to believe, for though I had 
no time to put the rifle to my shoulder the 
muzzle was practically touching its nose. The 
only explanation I could suggest to myself was 
that the bullet glanced off the skull above the 


eyes, which would be almost in the same plane 
as my rifle when his eyes met mine above 

Leopards will stalk people asleep, but the 
cowardly hyaena will do this ; while a leopard 
seizes by the neck or throat, the dirty hyaena 
grabs at the face. We had a Somali cook, Ali 
Saha, now dead, who had half his face taken off 
in this nasty way by a hyaena whilst he slept. 
Hyaenas are very bold at night ; I have several 
times known them come right into tents. I 
recollect a hyaena carrying a saddle out of one of 
our tents while the occupant slept, and eating 
practically all of it but the stirrup-irons. This 
is preferable to awakening without a face, or 
only so much of one as might cause you yourself 
to be mistaken for a hyaena. 

Once in the Danakil country my wife woke 
me up, calling to me in a whisper, " There is 
something in the tent ; is it a lion ? " It was a 
bright moonlight night and our tent door was 
wide open, but the tent, being double-roofed 
and under a big tree, was dark inside. I always 
slept with a 10-bore gun, loaded with buckshot, 
close to my hand. I seized this and raised 
myself slowly in bed, but could see nothing. 

" I saw it come in," whispered my wife, 
" and it stood in the doorway." As she spoke 
I saw a large beast standing in the doorway; 
as I moved my gun it bolted out and I ran to 
get a shot. As it emerged out of the shadow of 


the tree I just saw that it was a hyaena, but he 
never gave me the chance of a shot. However, 
my wife's alertness saved our faces — moral, 
always travel with your wife. 

A friend of mine in East Africa had, not very 
long since, a nerve-shaking experience at night. 
He was travelling with a troop of ostriches and was 
sleeping on the ground close to the tent so as to be 
able to guard them better. In the middle of the 
night he awoke with a horrible sensation, and 
opened his eyes to find a huge brute standing over 
his body breathing an awful breath and glaring in 
his face. What it was neither he nor his friend 
in bed within the tent had any idea. Their 
screams and shouts frightened it away, but it 
was long before my friend could sleep comfort- 
ably again in the open. I expect it was a hyaena, 
though my friend rather inclines to the opinion 
that it was a lion. The only description of the 
beast's face I could get from him was that it 
was too awfully terrible and hideous for words ! 

Some people regard wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), 
often called the Cape hunting-dog, as dangerous, 
but the instances are rare of their having attacked 
men. I have never seen them attempt it, but 
know of two cases, related to me by eye-witnesses, 
both of whom I regard as absolutely reliable, in 
relating what they had seen. 

Some years ago one of the Sabi game rangers 
in the Barberton district told me, that as a certain 
Mr. Colman was making his way over the veldt 


near the picturesque kopjie of Logogot he heard 
the screams of a Kaffir, and, riding on to see what 
was the matter, he beheld five wild dogs attack- 
ing, in a most determined manner, a Kaffir who 
was defending himself with a white cloth which 
he was waving and shaking at them. The other 
case was where my informant saw a Kaffir on a 
path in the bush carrying the head of a freshly 
beheaded cow in his hand, when a wild dog 
suddenly rushed out on to the track and snatched 
the head away from the native. 

As for myself, I would rather meet, as I have 
frequently done, a pack of wild dogs than a 
troop of angry baboons. These last have given 
me as good a scaring as ever I have had, and 
I have seen the boldest man come into camp 
shaken after an encounter with these dog-faced 

Wild dogs * do not eat carrion as a rule, they 
kill for themselves and in a very wholesale way. 
At the same time, I have seen them eating dead 
rhino, on returning to the carcass of one shot 
the previous day. I have seen hundreds of 
wild dogs, and always in packs — rarely less than 
five together, and more often from ten to forty. 
In the Transvaal I have shot wild dogs with the 
prevailing colour dun, blotched, spotted, and 
striped with brown, legs and feet spotted with 
white as well, and white tip to tail ; such a skin 

1 I am referring only to the Lycaon, and not to the quite distinct 
races such as the Abyssinian wolf {Cants simensis), etc. 


I have had measuring, unpegged over all, i.e. 
from tip of nose to tip of tail, more than 5 feet. 
This is the common type, with variations in the 
markings, of Lycaon in South Africa. 

Abyssinian wild dogs appear to me to be as 
large, if not larger, the Somali ones smaller, 
whilst the British East African sort is so much 
smaller and the prevailing dark brown so distinct 
that even a short distance off he looks like a 
little black dog with a white tip to his tail. All 
these brutes are most destructive and will at 
times kill the larger antelopes, but more fre- 
quently hunt the smaller buck, duikers, stein- 
buck, modaqua, gazelles, and the like. They are 
particularly fond of impala. 

In Abyssinia I once followed a pack about 
fifty strong, and every few hundred yards, during 
a pursuit oi some five miles, I came upon the 
remains of some small buck, a hoof or bit of skin 
in the trampled and blood-stained grass, which 
they had killed as they fled before me, and this 
in spite of the fact that several of their number 
had my bullets through them. Wild dogs can 
look very alarming. I have stood with thirty 
or more of them in lines in front of me at about 
40 yards distant, jumping in the grass to get 
a better view of me and barking. Being without 
a boy I felt very uncomfortable till they departed, 
which they did after I had laid out four or five 
of them. However, they cannot be classed 
among dangerous game in any further sense 


than that if you were to come across a starving 
pack (a very unlikely thing), they might behave 
in the same way as their more powerful relations 
the wolves or their cousins the hyaenas. 

The following classification of Wild Dogs 
(Lycaon pictus) has recently been attempted : 
I think it may require further additions and 
some alteration when more specimens are col- 
lected and compared : — 

1. Venaticus. — This name has been given to 
the South African type. It is distinguished by 
the prevalence of orange yellow over the back, 
the partially yellow backs of the ears, the large 
amount of yellow on the underparts of the body, 
and the whitish hairs on the thoral ruff. 

2. Mozambiqus. — The Mozambique type ex- 
hibits an almost equal distribution of yellow and 
black both above and under the body. The 
backs of the ears and the throat ruff are black. 
The whole coat has less white in it than that of 

8. Lupinus. — The East African variety is 
distinguished by being much darker ; the yellow 
is reduced to a minimum. 

4. Somalicus is described as being smaller 
than the others, shorter in ^ts coat, with less 
powerful teeth, and generally dark in colour. 
From my own observation I cannot confirm the 
description of the Somali wild dog as smaller 
than the East African. The British East 
African wild dog in the upland districts is the 


smallest Lycaon I have met with. The Trans- 
vaal and the Galla or Abyssinian varieties are 
the largest I have seen. 

5. Zuluensis. — This type is profusely mottled 
on the back with white as well as yellow and 
black. The fur is long and coarse, the backs of 
the ears are blackish, and the underparts tri- 
coloured. The tail, which in some varieties has 
a small tip of white, has about half its length 
w T hite. (Probably there is little difference be- 
tween the Zulu and Transvaal varieties. — 
A. E. P.) 

6. Sharicus. — The Boyd- Alexander expedition 
came upon a new variety of Lycaon in the Shari 
region, which was given this name. The account 
of this Lycaon by Boyd- Alexander in his From 
the Niger to the Nile is hardly sufficient for 
identification purposes. It is merely this : " Skin 
a mixture of yellow, black, white, and grey, with 
bushy tail." 

Hyaenas are utter cowards, but when they 
get together in packs of over a dozen, as they 
occasionally do, they may sometimes be danger- 
ous. I have seen a few hyaenas make a leopard 
drop a sheep at once; and the most diabolical 
row I ever heard in my life was one night, south 
of Hargaisa in Somaliland, when a crowd of 
hyaenas attacked a lion. The Somalis say it is 
not uncommon when a number of hungry hyaenas 
get together, for them to kill a lion on his victim. 
Hunger will drive man or any other carnivorous 


creature to desperate deeds — yet the hyaena must 
be writ down a coward of the cowards. 

The only occasions outside a zoological 
garden when I have heard hyaenas laugh were 
on the two I have just referred to, and I imagine 
the laugh was entirely on their side both times. 

To return to wild dogs for a moment. An 
acquaintance of mine, a very fine type of the 
South African low-veldt colonist and of Scottish 
birth, named William Saunderson, a man as 
observant as he was intelligent, told me he had 
tried to tame wild dog pups, and succeeded, 
but, as they never lost their very offensive smell, 
and always reverted to temporary ferocity over 
any meat, he gave them up. He also found 
them a nuisance when he had them out shooting 
with him, for they would always hunt on their 
own and apart from the other dogs. The last 
ones he kept he allowed to eat a dead cow, and 
they ate the meat till they literally burst, and 
thus he was rid of the lot, Death coming to them 
in his most attractive and sweetest aspect. 

The bitches drop their litters of five or seven 
cubs in a group of ant-bear holes or some such 
earths, and the families will all dwell together. 
The mothers, however, do not live with them, but 
lie outside and hunt, returning from time to 
time. They feed their pups by vomiting outside 
the earths. Saunderson was absolutely certain 
of this, and in his experience there were gener- 
ally three or four families together. He asserts 


that hyaenas do the same, but that, as far as he 
could tell, the female seldom produces more than 
one cub, which is fed in the same dainty manner. 
If this is so, and I do not doubt it, it adds another 
point to the apparent ones of similarity between 
Lycaon and Hycena. The striped hyaena (H. 
striata) is the only one I have ever seen in North 
Africa, and I do not know how far north the 
largest of the hyaenas, the spotted one (H. 
crocuta), ranges, but as the cave remains of 
Europe, including those of Yorkshire, are said to 
include remains of crocuta, I presume this species 
was distributed all over Africa at one time. It 
would be well to have an authoritative statement 
as to whether the striped hyaena (H. striata) of the 
Atlas region is identical with that of Somaliland 
and of Equatorial Africa. I know all these, but 
have omitted to compare the skins and skulls of 
the specimens I have killed. Judging by what I 
have killed myself, I am inclined to think the 
North African type altogether larger than the 
East African one and somewhat bigger than the 
Somali one. 

The authorities affirm that striata is not 
found in South Africa, only the brown hyaena 
(H. brunea) and the spotted (H. crocuta). I 
believe the striped to be very uncommon south 
of the Equator, though I have shot one near 
Sultan Hamoud in British East Africa, and 
know of two that were poisoned near Lion 
Kopjies in the Transvaal at kilometre 70 on the 


Selati Railway in 1887. The brown hyaena 
ranges as far north as Kilimanjaro, if Sir H. H. 
Johnston saw one, as he believes he did, on that 
mountain. The striped hysena is far more 
aggressive in North Africa than elsewhere, fre- 
quently killing donkeys, mules, and occasionally 
horses, seizing them in the flank or belly and 
disembowelling them. All the Hyaenidae are 
mischievous in this sort of way where carrion 
and kills are scarce. 

Even the little aard-wolf inflicts considerable 
damage on sheep and goats in Somaliland, and I 
believe also in South Africa his habits in this 
respect do not commend him to the farmer. I 
may add that with regard to the spotted hyaena 
there are still persons, generally well informed, 
who maintain the old superstition that the 
spotted hyaena is hermaphrodite, which of course 
is absurd. The sex is somewhat difficult to 
distinguish by external evidence, save when the 
female has young. 

The cheetah or hunting leopard belongs to 
a separate division of the Cat family, and cannot 
be considered in the least a dangerous animal. 
I have seen many killed, and I have ridden down 
a considerable number myself as well as shot them 
on foot. I have frequently gone up to them on 
foot when wounded or at bay, and never seen 
them make any attempt at defence beyond 
growling and snarling. The African variety 
differs hardly at all from the Asiatic, save that 


its pretty spotted coat is a little more woolly 
in its texture. The cheetah on sound and open 
ground gives a good run when pursued on horse- 
back, but is almost invariably ridden down. 
They destroy a great deal of game and will kill 
large antelopes. 

I once shot a serval attacking a hartebeest 
(Bubalis swaynei) bull, which I also shot with my 
second barrel, so I can well believe a pair of 
cheetahs have been seen to kill a greater kudu. 
Cheetahs often hunt in couples, though I have 
seen quite as many alone as in pairs. They 
seize an animal by the throat and hang on like 
bulldogs till it drops. They have several cubs, 
usually three or four in a litter, with very long, 
woolly, darkish coats. A big cheetah stands 
within an inch or so of 3 feet high, measures 
over all 7 feet in length, of which length the 
tail takes up more than a third. They are long 
on the leg and light and lithe of body. It is not 
true that they have dog's claws — their claws are 
as sharp as a cat's, as I have known to my 
cost when handling young ones, which are very 
easily tamed, besides their claws are at least 
partially retractile. Cheetahs have a very singular 
whistling bird-like note. Sir Harry Johnston 
says that the cheetah of South Africa is red 
spotted, but this is not so; they do not differ 
in colour in any way from all the other cheetahs 
in different parts of Africa which I have seen, and, 
like them, are spotted with dark brown spots on 


a pale buff or cream-coloured ground — what the 
casual observer would probably call black spots 
on yellow ground. Slight variations in colour 
are found among all species of animals and in all 
localities. Albinism or melanism may occur in 
any species. Probably there is no member of 
the Wild Cat family so liable to colour variations 
as the leopard. I have never seen or heard of an 
albino leopard, but black leopards are by no 
means uncommon in either Africa or Asia. I 
do not know either of a white or truly black lion 
ever having been seen or killed. 



On a previous page the opinion has been ex- 
pressed that of all big game the lion is the most 
sporting beast, at least so I judge it by the 
standard I set up for myself. I am not sure 
that pig- sticking in India would not take the 
first prize, and pig- sticking in Africa run lion- 
hunting close, if it came to the votes of sportsmen 
(who have had a fair innings at all) as to what 
was the best sport. If I were asked my own 
opinion, I should say that a really first-class run 
with foxhounds beats everything. Still we can 
hardly call a fox " big game," and I don't quite 
know where to put the pigs. 

The wild boar of Europe is big game, the 
smaller pig of India is as plucky and bold as any 
in the world, and a trifle more active by all 
accounts. The wart hog and bush pigs of 
Africa can be formidable at times, and any one 
who had not seen how the former can stand up 
and go over a country, as well as charge and 
fight, would hardly credit what a sporting 
animal even a wart hog can be ; yet I do not 
think I shall be far from the mark if I say that 


about nine out of ten sportsmen, if the choice 
were given them, would choose the day after 
lion rather than the day after pig. At any 
rate, the lion comes up to the top of the stand- 
ard by which I measure a sporting beast. The 
reader shall have this standard to criticize, 
condemn, or approve of. My definition of 
" Sport " is fair competition with man or beast 
for the mastery as a recreation. Where wild 
animals are concerned, the competition, to be 
fair, must have for its field of action their natural 

In reflecting upon the constituents of field 
sports, I have come to the conclusion that 
there are four principal ones, and that when all 
these are present the sport is entitled to be 
termed true sport : — 

1. Absolutely wild game the object of 

2. Nature's field for the action. 

3. Physical exertion. 

4. Exercise of skill. 

By this standard there is no true sport in 
attacking or pursuing any animal anywhere, 
save when itis absolutely free in its natural 
haunts. The true sportsman delights in match- 
ing his own endowments of instinct, endurance, 
sight, hearing, and observation, also his acquired 
knowledge and skill, against the endowments 
and acquisitions of his competitors. Nature 
bestows on some animals rapidity of motion, 


endurance, and concealment, agility in climbing, 
sensibility of sight, smell, and hearing ; on others 
a size, strength, and armament for attack or 
defence which would make either chase or combat 
futile for man, did he not call to his assistance 
weapons, the product of his own invention, and 
enlist in his cause the services of horses and dogs 
or of birds of prey, bred and trained by his own 
efforts and skill, to suit his purpose. Almost 
all sport has become so artificial in the British 
Isles, and is pursued under such bastard con- 
ditions and regulations, that it is only a few of the 
field sports which reach this standard ; even in 
the British Possessions in Africa a man cannot 
now go where he will, shoot what he likes, and 
regard himself as having secured by his own 
enterprise a monopoly over the big game of what- 
ever vast territory his own sweet will has led him 
to explore. These delights belong to a past and 
cannot now be experienced. However, at home 
the four constituents named may still be found 
present in wild-fowling, in grouse, partridge, 
woodcock, and snipe shooting, and in hunting 
and deer-stalking. In inferior or bastard sports, 
such as tame pheasant and tame duck shooting, 
or the shooting or coursing of rabbits and hares 
in earth-stopped warrens or enclosed grounds, 
at most the second and fourth may be present. 

In the case of coursing and shooting in 
enclosures only the fourth, and no great amount 
of that as a rule can be detected. These latter 


forms of diversion, with pigeon-shooting and the 
like, fall into a low class near badger- and bull- 
baiting — less brutalizing but more cruel. The 
only point in which such pursuits can claim any 
superiority over a cock or dog fight is that they 
possibly admit of a superior exercise of skill. 

The man who devotes himself to a sport in 
which the exercise of his own skill is the only 
factor present, seems hardly to have acquired 
thereby any title of " sportsman." At best it is 
a recreation. Such amusements as tame pheasant 
and duck shooting are indulged in by thousands 
who on other accounts are rightly dubbed 

To fish fairly in river, loch, and sea ; to hunt 
fairly with hounds or rifle or gun on foot or on 
horseback ; to stalk and climb after wild sheep, 
goats, chamois^ mouflon, and deer; to pursue 
big game, — all these satisfy the conditions laid 

True sport increases in quality as the game 
and its haunts are more truly wild, and yet more 
and more as the element of danger and the 
mimicry of war enter into it. I do not enter 
into the bearing of the question as regards 
competitive contests between men — such as prize- 
fighting, wrestling, athletics, football, polo, flat 
and hurdle-racing, and steeple-chasing — further 
than to say that the men who take part, the men 
who give and take the knocks, the men who play 
and the men who ride, most certainly deserve 


their title of sportsmen, for these contests bring 
into play in a very high degree most of the 
constituents of sport. On the other hand, those 
who bawl and take the odds and all such have 
not an iota of a claim to any fragment of such 
distinction. You cannot be a sportsman by 

The players of games from cricket downwards 
are in a category apart. The " image of war," 
which authorities from the time of Xenophon 
to that of John Jorrocks consider sport must be 
in some degree, is not so easy to discern in them. 
Such games are manly pastimes and recreations 
rather than sport. The man who plays games 
for pay is in the lowest class of all. This kind of 
thing has become the prostitution of recreation. 

The fascination of sport is dependent to an 
enormous extent on the field of action. The 
moor and the loch, the rivers and streams, the 
valleys and plains, the mountains and crags, the 
wilderness and the desert, the jungle and bush 
truly belong to the true sportsman and to him 
alone. Sport is the only medium which will 
convey real intimacy with them. Others may 
enjoy acquaintance with them, but in the sports- 
man's ear alone does Nature whisper her con- 
fidences, and to his eye alone does she discover 
all her charms and all her moods and tempers. 

Others may learn much, see much, enjoy 
much, but the most and best is known to the 
man who quits his bed before sunrise, who 


spends his nights as well as days by the month 
and the year on mountain-ranges, in forests, and 
in the wilderness, who bears heat and cold and 
hunger, thirst and toil, for love of her; and is 
pushed by his passion down into the abysmal 
depths of Himalayan gorges, African kloofs, or 
American canons, or led up to snowy peaks, to 
realms of eternal ice, or over the sun-withered 
wastes of the earth, to visit the utmost refuges of 
beast and bird. 

The artist is his only rival in his courtship, 
the only competitor for the bliss of a sportsman's 
paradise. The best artists have something of 
the sportsman's instinctive longing to see, to 
touch, to handle, and the best sportsmen have 
something of the artistic temperament. Yet 
when I think of it, where is the artist in litera- 
ture or painting who, like innumerable sportsmen, 
despising wealth and fame, have wandered off 
alone to spend all their years in Nature's wilds, 
finding there alone what can satisfy their love 
of her delights ? 

Lion-hunting meets all the requirements of 
sport. The lion is a wild beast in Nature's 
wildest haunts — he calls for exertion in his 
pursuit and skill for his defeat. Many wild 
creatures lead us into grander scenery. 

To my mind nothing compares with the hunt- 
ing of wild goats and wild sheep (in which I 
include many species of these families — chamois, 
mouflon, ibex, and the rest), a sport which calls 


forth the highest efforts of skill as well as of 
endurance, the whole craft of hunting in the 
most magnificent and terrible places on God's 
earth. I would rather have hanging on my 
wall the head of an old markhor than that of 
the best lion I have ever seen, all the more 
because I know the time has now r gone by when 
I could stand the work necessary to win this 

A high pheasant may require as much skill 
to kill neatly as a charging lion, but it does not 
matter so much if you miss him or only take 
his tail off. When you are, as a friend of mine 
calls it, " closing with " a lion you feel you are 
engaged with the arch-enemy of man and beast, 
and that only one of you may come alive out of 
the fight. This is the spice which makes the 
pursuit of lions so attractive. The lion's mien, 
his eye, his voice proclaim him a royal antagonist ; 
his teeth, his claws, his mighty arms, his strength, 
his size all vouch for his being a very formidable 


I have known fear often, but true terror only 
once, and though it has not very much to do 
with lions, a description of how I was literally 
terrified out of my senses may serve as a warning 
to others of what not to do when out lion or 
any other kind of hunting. The experience 
has been a lasting lesson to me. To any but 


those who have been in the same position the 
story may appear both ridiculous and trivial. 
To my companions at the time it never appeared 
as more than as an everyday incident to travel ; 
not so to me. Any one who has been truly lost 
alone knows what true terror is ; there is no other 
kind of fear like it — the horrible anxiety I have 
felt once or twice in the Sahara when the guide 
has confessed himself off the line, the close ad- 
herence to which means life or death, is nothing 
to being lost alone. In the course of an hour or 
two I confess to having been reduced to a con- 
dition when I could neither trust my eyes nor 
use my reason. 

Lions were the indirect cause of what hap- 
pened to me on this occasion. I have been lost 
in the bush by day and by night for longer or 
shorter periods, but save on this one always in 
the company of one or more natives ; this time 
I was by myself, in an uninhabited country and 
a day's march from any water, and even its 
direction quite unknown to me. We were 
marching through a waterless, hilly country, 
making a course about due north, but our 
caravan of camels had to wind in and out of the 
ravines and valleys which spread like a great 
network over a vast region. We generally 
meandered along dry- stream beds. 

One evening as we were pitching camp, I 
looked up to the bush-crowned crags above us, 
as the sun was setting, and saw a hyaena gazing 


down from the edge of a cliff. He looked grim 
and black against the red west, which shone 
through the leafless thorn trees on the edge. 
I picked up my rifle and clambered up the side 
of the ravine, but had hardly started on my 
ascent when the hyaena made off. I hurried up, 
and when I reached the top saw the hyaena 
again, lobbing away through the trees. I 
followed him a few hundred yards in the hope 
of getting a shot, but he disappeared down 
another ravine to the west. I went to some 
rock terraces overlooking this gully, but saw 
the hyaena no more. Just as I was about to 
turn back I noticed three objects, which looked 
very large among the stunted trees, about half 
a mile away on the other side of the little valley. 
They were moving along in single file between 
me and the sinking sun. At first I thought 
they were wild donkeys, of which there were a 
goodly number in some parts of the country, 
but yet hardly likely to be quite so far from 
water as this. Then I saw that they were three 
lions walking steadily along. It was too late 
to think of going after them, and I had not 
ammunition enough to attempt it with my 
•256 rifle, so I returned to camp and told my 
shikari what I had seen, and suggested trying 
to find them in the morning. 

At dawn we broke up camp, and w T hile my two 
shikaris were giving a hand in taking down my 
tent, I placed on the ground my water-bottle and 


ammunition for the day for them to pick up, and 
thought I would just go and see if I could track 
the lions at the place where I had seen them 
the evening before. If I found they could be 
spoored, my intention was to return for my 
boys and then follow them up ; it was not more 
than three-quarters of a mile to where I had seen 
them. I had five cartridges in my -256 rifle 
and ten in my pocket. When I got to the top 
of the cliff the sun had just risen behind me. 
Camp and the sun were in a direct line. I soon 
reached the place and found the spoor. This 
I followed in and out of the bush, down one little 
valley and up and down another, across and up 
another and so on, to some rocky terraces, where 
after casting forward and round, I gave it up 
and was going to turn back. Just at this moment 
I spied a herd of gerenuk (Lithocranius walleri), 
and I thought I would stalk them and see if 
there was a good male among them ; I got up 
to them and saw they were all females. I then 
realized that I must hurry back, as the caravan 
would already have started. I instinctively 
looked up at the sky to make a guess as to how 
long I had been away, the sun in Africa being 
always a handy and correct time-keeper. I 
looked for the sun above the bush on my right 
hand — to my horror it was glaring at me on my 
left. I stood rooted to the spot. I had intended 
to bear away straight to my right, having a 
general faith in my bump of locality. In my 


mind camp was most certainly on my right, and 
beyond it ought to be the sun in the east, but 
there was the sun in the west. Though my 
reason declared what I held was west was really 
east, and what I felt was south was really north, 
I could not straighten the thing out in my head, 
do what I could. If I followed my reason it 
seemed I should not know which way to go. 
So I began to hunt for my own track among 
the stones and along the ledges of rock where 
I thought I had been — not a mark could I find. 

Then I said to myself, although the sun gave 
me the lie, " Surely if I go to that cliff-top I 
shall look down right on to the camping-place." 
I went there and looked down into a great, wide, 
wild valley I had never seen before — it looked 
as if no man had ever seen it — I hated the sight 
of it. I turned back, walked over the crest of 
the hill and found another ravine. I gazed down ; 
all was still and hot. I could not recognize a 
single feature of it, certainly it was not the 
valley we had camped in. 

I now began to be really frightened, and with 
little faith began to turn more towards the sun, 
but did not know whether to turn my steps 
north or south — whatever I did the sun always 
seemed in the wrong place. I crossed a valley, 
walked over a hill, and came to another ravine 
very like the last; no, that was not it. 

Then I thought to myself I must move no 
more; I must stay here till they come to look 


for me. I felt in my pockets, counted my 
cartridges, and calculated how many shots I dare 
fire as signal shots. I must fire some at once, as 
the caravan would be well on its way. I had 
also a policeman's whistle, my knife, and a pouch 
of tobacco. I realized if I was not found I must 
kill meat and drink blood, and that I must keep 
ammunition for the night, as there was not a 
single tree big enough to climb into. I fired 
five shots, counting sixty between each so that 
they might sound regular, with an interval long 
enough but not too long to catch the ear of any- 
one listening for another shot. Our rule was 
that all signal shots were to be replied to by 
shots from our men — the camel men carried 
rifles and carbines. I listened for answering 
shots; it was all silent in that parched land 
bristling with the leafless thorns. Well, if my 
shots were ever to be heard it was now, so I 
fired two more — deathly silence after the echoes 
had died away. How I cursed my folly in not 
telling any one I was going out of camp ; as far 
as I could recollect not a soul had seen me go. 
My wife was in her tent, hers being the last to 
come down ; the boys were singing and bending 
over their loads, camels, and tent pegs. 

, It was my practice to go ahead of the caravan ; 
they would, if they thought at all, think I was in 
front ; my boys, my syce and pony would, when 
the caravan began to move, go hurrying after me 
on the line of the day's march, as they had often 


done before ; and if during the day I was 
missed, no one would guess I had been so stupid 
as not to start from the camping-place at all. 

If they went in search of me it was at least 
even chances against their going all the way 
back to the camping-place, and if they did I was 
not there. 

I sat down and blew my whistle continuously 
for about half an hour, and then got into a state 
of imbecile terror. The more I thought of it, 
the poorer seemed my chances of being found 
that day. It was hot, there was thirst and, 
worse, there was the night ahead of me. I 
yelled till I could yell no longer, and my throat 
became dry and hoarse. Then I tried to remem- 
ber a method I had read of in some excellent 
book, like Galtort's Art of Travel, for finding your 
way when you were lost. I could remember 
you had to blaze a tree, and then walk north, 
south, east, and west so many paces in each 
direction from your base and blaze trees or 
make marks at all these points, and then start 
from them again, and thus keep on enlarging 
the circle till it intersected your own track or 
that of your party or some recognizable objects, 
but the thing swum in my head and the idea of 
carrying it out in that network of ravines seemed 
absolutely as idiotic as I had become myself, 
however simple it might be when mounted on a 
good horse in a level country. Had there been 
the possibility of finding water, a recognizable 


mountain within a hundred miles, or had I even 
had plenty of ammunition, I do not think I 
should have got into such a state of terror. 
After three hours of whistling whilst perspiring 
with funk, I heard far away in the distance what 
I thought was possibly a human voice. I again 
whistled and yelled, but heard nothing more for 
some time, and then I heard the distant cry 
again, and determined to fire a shot pointing 
my rifle in that direction. [ After this there 
seemed to be a long and awful silence, and then 
to my delight I heard that it was a cry quite 
distinctly, but some miles off, and I fired another 
shot and the cry came again. I continued 
shouting and whistling, but neither my shouts 
nor my whistles were ever heard by my shikaris 
till they got on to a ridge about a mile off ; and 
so I was delivered from my place of torment. 
It was humiliating to discover myself, after a 
quick march of about two miles, on the track 
of the caravan, and I reached my pony after 
having been lost rather less than five hours. 

Really I think my deliverance was fortunate, 
and it was due to my wife. Our caravan of 
camels spread over about half a mile. After it 
had started and the last camel had filed out of 
the deserted zariba, she had mounted her pony 
and brought up the rear, expecting that I was 
far ahead with my boys. After an hour or so 
she cantered up the line and ahead of the leading 
camels to overtake me and ride with me. After 


leaving the camels she came upon my pony and 
two shikaris hurrying along. She asked where I 
was ; they replied that they supposed somewhere 
on in front. This did not satisfy her, and she 
went back and examined the camel men as to 
when I had last been seen after breaking up 
camp, but no one had seen me ; she then re- 
ported this to my shikaris, who were alarmed 
and immediately set back at a run and started 
on their search from the old camping-place, each 
taking different directions and shouting as they 
went along the ridges. Only one of my shots 
had been heard, and none of my cries or whistling. 
A curious thing is that I got so mixed up, that 
all that day and the next it seemed to me that 
we were travelling in quite the wrong direction, 
and to this moment I still cannot get rid of the 
impression that for two days we were looping 
back from the general direction of our march. 
In those five hours I endured all the sensations 
of overwhelming desolation and fear which have 
been so often described, and I have known 
nothing like it in its paralysing effect on mind 
and senses. It has taught me never to trust 
alone to the fallible instincts of direction which 
white men possess, and to observe carefully every 
piece of ground passed over in new country ; I 
make it a rule whenever possible to have a 
native with me, to keep touch with my pony 
when I can, and to carry plenty of ammunition. 
A friend of mine who was a traveller and ex- 


plorer of great experience (the late Mr. George 
Grey), had a compass let in to the stock of his 
rifle, an admirable precaution and one I recom- 
mend others to adopt, though I have never 
taken the trouble to do it myself. I have 
carried compasses and found them, owing to my 
own laziness, of little use, for they are of very 
slight service unless under constant observation — 
a thing that is not easy to secure when tracking 
and hunting, and once lost one's faculty for 
believing facts and evidence seems injured. 
When once anxiety disturbs one's mental balance 
there is a risk of underestimating or over- 
estimating distances ; nothing has led men astray 
so much as this. You may remember that some 
little way back you passed a peculiar tree or 
rock, and think that you can recover your bear- 
ings if you can find it ; you retrace your steps, 
till you think you have gone too far and must 
already have passed it: some such mistake is 
generally accountable for the beginning of your 

Even in England you may walk over the very 
track you are looking for without recognizing it ; 
how much more easy it is thus to miss your way 
in lands where tracks are slight, or where game 
or natives spread the ground with a network of 
paths, those who have wandered in such places 
know. Some natives have, like cats and dogs 
and other animals, a perfect sense of direction. 
I once had a Midgan hunter who never was a 


moment at fault, even in a dead-level bush country 
which he had never seen before and which you 
could not possibly see out of. I remember, 
when on the march one day, going off with him 
on fresh lion spoor after he had had a few words 
of conversation with the headman to this effect : 
" How far will you march to-day ? " The head- 
man replied, pointing with his hand, " Till the 
sun is there, and then we camp." That was all. 
We tracked the lions for five hours with our eyes 
on the ground, winding about, in and out, back- 
wards and forwards, sometimes straight in one 
direction, sometimes round in another ; at about 
2.30 p.m. we decided to make for camp, as we 
had, we thought, a great many miles to go 
(really about fifteen). I had not the least idea 
in which direction our course would lie, beyond 
that it would be northerly, but the Midgan just 
set off at a very fast walk, and after three and a 
half hours' riding after him on his bee-line, he 
pointed at the bright green of my Willesden 
canvas tent shining through the bush, 300 yards 
straight ahead of us. He had done this in 
country he had never been in before, without 
ever halting or swerving. 

I have of late years, when in new countries 
and elsewhere, carried one of Holland & 
Holland's signal pistols, firing coloured lights 
(red, blue, white, or green) in my saddle-bag, 
leaving another in camp. Time after time have 
I, by this means, discovered the whereabouts of 


my camp when belated, and not a few white men 
with me have spent a night in bed instead of in 
the bush by seeing the rocket light from one of 
these pistols rush up from camp and burst into 
red or white stars in the dark sky. If it can 
be avoided, it is folly even to cross familiar 
but uninhabited stretches of country alone and 
without an attendant. I do not think it prudent 
to ride even across the Athi and Kapiti Plains 
unaccompanied, though many of us have often 
done it ; a broken leg, a fall from your horse 
putting his foot in a hole, or any slight disabling 
accident is almost a sentence of death. You 
might lie there for days, unless, what is much 
the most likely thing, a lion or the hyaenas ate 
you soon after the first sundown. The best 
thing to do would be, in such circumstances, 
to fire the grass — a grass fire would give you 
light, might keep off wild beasts, and possibly 
attract a search party. 

Such a fire, unless the wind was high, would 
burn slowly and steadily and would not in a 
night burn out more than a mile or two of the 
grass near you ; but did such an accident happen 
in the rains, your chance of seeing sunrise on 
these particular plains would not be a very 
grand one. The following hints may possibly be 
useful for the novice when out alone : — 

1. Carry matches, water, chocolate, or other 
portable food and plenty of ammunition. 

2. A compass if properly used is invaluable, 


and a signal pistol in a saddle-bag is a most useful 

3. When lost (if after circling to find your 
track you fail to recognize it or any particular 
feature in the landscape, or in the bush, such as 
a rock, a hill, a tree), calculate how far you have 
come since you lost your way at the very most ; 
mark the place where you are, and make from this 
point radii of this distance and walk the circle; 
if your estimate is correct or slightly over, you 
cannot very well miss reaching some recognizable 
object. When in unfamiliar country observe the 
ground, trees, or bush you pass by, and with 
equal care notice from observing the sun and 
wind the various directions you take. The wind 
is a much more dependable guide in Africa than 
in Europe, for there it will blow out of the same 
quarter for months together. 

With blood warm and in action, in the 
company of others, even in pain and sickness, and 
in bed, it may be easy to look Death in the face, 
but alone in the silent wilderness, with no material 
foe in sight and in perfect health, imagination 
conjures up the process of dying as an awful 
thing and Death appears in a most fiendish 
shape. Yet Death which delivers us from pain 
is no enemy. Death is blamed for all the 
preceding miseries with which he has nothing 
to do. 



The majority of white people in South Africa, 
following the example of their ignorant pre- 
decessors, call most of the larger wild animals 
by wrong names. Not content with giving the 
names of European deer and goats to antelopes 
(in which respect we have ourselves largely 
followed their bad example), and calling river- 
horses sea-cows, zebras quaggas, hares rabbits, 
and the like, they call a leopard a tiger, a 
hyaena a wolf, and a cheetah a leopard. They 
do, however, manage to call a lion a lion. 

They must have arrived at this name for a 
lion by a process of exhaustion ; for when they 
had named a cheetah a leopard and a leopard 
a tiger, what wrong name of exaggeration could 
they bestow on a lion ? . . . They could hardly 
call him an elephant, or perhaps they perceived 
they would be hung up when they came to 
christen the elephant. There is a sort of free 
masonry among scientific people, and one of the 
rules of the brotherhood appears to be to give 
such Latin or other names to every beast which 
crawls, climbs, flies, walks, or swims that the 



wretched millions not admitted to their secrets 
should not be able to guess what they are talking 
about. A greater discouragement to general 
information and interest in natural science does 
not exist than this, and in my humble opinion 
no greater service to the study of birds, beasts, 
fishes, insects, and flowers could be rendered by 
the learned than in adopting the practice of 
giving an English equivalent of the names they 
invent for all created things, so that their 
books might be " understanded of the common 

Even the name Lion does not please our 
scientific friends ; Leo is not enough for them, 
Felis leo it has to be ; so that if we attempt to be 
accurate by their standard we should always say 
Cat-Lion to distinguish him from all the Dog- 
Lions, of which there are none. There are cat- 
lions, there are only cat-tigers, cat-leopards, 
cat-servals, and so on down to the cat - cats. 
With the scientific, cats come before dogs ; they 
are placed at the head of all the carnivora, 
because they are the highest organized, and 
have more brain power than the rest ; it is there- 
fore useless your discussing with them whether 
the cat or any cat is really cleverer than the dog 
or any dog. 

The cat has been put first, the only point 
which ever gave them any difficulty to decide 
was whether cat or monkey was the cleverer 
or more highly organized. Here I think the 


man in the street will approve of their decision 
that the monkey " has it." Had it not been 
settled thus, man would now be in a parlous state 
in view of the present theories of evolution. 
When the learned call a class of animals " Carni- 
vora " they do not mean that the word should 
mean quite what it does mean, they do not 
always mean that when they say an animal is a 
" Flesh-eater " that it really eats flesh, because 
they say it in Latin, and you need not be pedantic 
about truth or accuracy when you use a dead 
language ; this is how the vegetarian bear and 
the seals and otters are called carnivora. They 
also turn some of the flesh-eaters out of the flesh- 
eater family — these inclusions and exclusions 
which appear arbitrary to the ignorant amongst 
us are not so really, but because the poor 
creature has got something the matter with its eye- 
holes, teeth, toes, or auditory bullae. However, 
it is enough that for us, Cats are the first family in 
the order of Carnivora, and lions are placed at 
the top of the lot. 

Our Cat-Lion, in adult age, varies considerably 
in size. So many are killed by regular hunters 
and settlers which are never measured, not to 
mention the innumerable ones slain by natives, 
that it is impossible to say to how large a stature 
the lion attains. 

Fortunately for us we can obtain an approxi- 
mate idea of their limits of stature, owing to the 
trouble which some hunters, like Mr. F. C. Selous, 


Mr. F. V. Kirby, and others, have taken to 
measure and even to weigh their lions and to 
record carefully these observations. From an 
examination of recorded measurements there 
appears to be little difference in the size of fine 
typical specimens of African and Asiatic lions. 
In Africa I incline to think that the lions of 
Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco attain (or attained) 
in those colder countries a greater size than 
those of the Sudan and Central Africa, and that 
they again tend to be larger in the temperate 
climes of South Africa. The lions of North 
Africa fifty years ago were certainly enormous, 
if not always in height, generally in weight, for 
they lived almost entirely in many districts 
on the Arab flocks, and a mutton-fed lion got 
very fat indeed. 

The cold and even wintry climates of the 
plateaux of the north and south of the African 
continent account in some measure for the greater 
proportion of heavy -maned lions that were 
found in these regions. South of the Vaal and 
north of the Sahara, the lion may be considered 
as approaching extinction. It is true, a few still 
survive in isolated localities, such as the forest 
regions of the province of Constantine and 
perhaps eastward into Tunisia, and in some parts 
of Morocco as well as in German West Africa 
and the Kalahari. Lions approaching 600 lb. 
in weight were formerly shot south of the Vaal, 
and exceeding this weight in Algeria if other- 


wise credible persons are to be believed. Un- 
doubtedly in some districts of Africa there is 
a greater proportion of big-maned lions than 
in others ; but wherever lions are present in 
numbers, fine black and fine tawny-maned lions 
have been obtained. For instance, in British 
East Africa there are much better manes to be 
frequently seen in such districts as the Uasin 
Gishu plateau and the Sotik, than, say, on the 
Athi Plains or in the low countries east of Simba. 
Yet in every district where lions abound, fine- 
maned lions are to be found. In thick bush 
and long grass countries, lions are supposed 
to have less mane than in more open regions, 
the idea being that their manes get dragged out 
and thinned by thorns and brambles, or that 
the lions scratch out their manes to clear them- 
selves from grass or other seeds. 

What gives colour to this theory is the fact 
that in their lairs considerable quantities of 
hair, thus combed out, is often to be seen. 
There may be something in this, but I can 
certainly vouch for the fact of big-maned lions 
being found in very thick bush and grass countries, 
and I incline to think that age and climate 
have much to do with the production of a fine 
mane, also that, as among men, some lions 
of the same family are more hairy than others. 
In horses, dogs, cats, sheep, and many other 
animals may be found, in the same distinct 
breed, a great variation in the thickness, texture, 


and length of coat — some families of the same 
breed being more hirsute than others. 

In an article on the Mufumbiro Mountains, by 
Captain E. M. Jack, R.E., which appeared in the 
Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, June 
1913, the writer alludes to his experiences with the 
Anglo-German-Belgian Boundary Commission, 
and remarks, a propos of lions : " Lions were 
plentiful in the Ruchuru Valley and in Ruanda. 
Seven were shot by members of the British 
section and four by those of the German. A 
lioness shot by a German officer had a mane, 
a rather unusual occurrence, I believe." 

Formerly I used to regard the retention of 
the spots on a lion, which are so prominent on 
cubs, as an indication of youthfulness, but I 
have altered my opinion, as I have never shot a 
lion, however old, that had not these spots plainly 
visible, especially along the lower edge of the 
flanks, where the main colouring of the skin 
merges into the cream colour of the belly, as well 
as on the legs. Occasionally slight bars or faint 
stripes, discernible in cubs, are visible on adults 
and are to be looked for on the legs. Spots are 
said to be more distinct on lionesses than on 
lions. From the instances of longevity in 
zoological gardens and menageries, the lion may 
be said to have a life which extends to over 
thirty years and even to forty. 

I have heard well-informed persons, and even 

hunters, allege that there are different and 


distinct varieties of lions. They divide them 
into black, grey, and yellow or tawny. Natives 
in some lands have the same notion — for instance, 
the Arabs of Algeria, who class lions as either 
el adra, el asfar, or el zarzouri. 1 The Boers 
distinguish two varieties, the black-maned kind 
(Zwart-voorlijf) and the yellow-maned kind 

There is no foundation at all for this super- 
stition, for in the same family you may have a 
yellow, a grey, and a black-maned lion. I have 
helped to kill two lions side by side the same 
morning and on the same spot, evidently brothers, 
the one grey with a black mane, the other yellow 
with a tawny mane ; when first I saw them 
they were walking together in the company of 
a light-coloured lioness which escaped. But it 
seems difficult to explode this kind of idea, and 
the latest one has been to divide lions into bush 
and plain lions, which is not worth discussing. 

Even the learned among naturalists appear 
to lose their mental equilibrium when they get 
on to their hobbies of protective colouring and 
the like. A very eminent authority lately de- 
clared that because lions are tawny they 
probably originally lived in sandy and desert 
places ; he might just as well say that rhinos 
once lived in Coal Measures because they are 
black, or that some of the baboons once sat on 
the Mediterranean because they are blue behind. 

1 Black, tawny, or grey. 


Lions have, however, wandered into the desert 
where there is game, and some may dwell there 
and become lighter in colour. 

Why should lions want to live in sandy and 
desert places ? They want to live where there 
is bush, and grass, and shade, and plenty to eat. 
The only lions which live on bare sand flats and 
which walk about in the Sahara are those which 
prowl about on the canvases of artists at the 
annual exhibitions of pictures. In an article 
by a good sportsman, in the Nineteenth Century 
in 1895, appears this curious passage, which 
sounds like the sixteenth century : " The natives 
told us that the colour of the skin of both rhino- 
ceros and lion varies with the colour of the soil. 
Our own short experience quite bore this out, 
the lions killed on dark soil having a much 
bluer tinge than those which we had secured on 
red ground." I wish he had given us some 
particulars of the red rhinos. What is true 
is that any animal, including elephants, which 
either roll or dust themselves in red soil, or beasts 
which wallow in red mud, mirabile dictu, take a 
reddish tinge. I have seen elephants as red as 
a brick church — protective colouring again, of 

In 1909 I several times discussed with 
Colonel Roosevelt the fascinating subject of 
protective coloration, and expressed to him my 
view that our home scientists were making 
themselves ridiculous by the lengths they went 


in describing Nature's concealing coloration. 
Since then Colonel Roosevelt has written by far 
the best treatise I have ever come across on this 
question (vide Bulletin of the American Museum 
of Natural History, vol. xxx. art. viii. pp. 119-23, 
August 1911). 

The theorists had till then pushed their 
doctrine so far as to declare that the coloration 
of animals made wholly for obliteration, con- 
cealment, and protection, and had nothing to do 
with nuptial dress, advertisement, mimicry, or 
anything else. Colonel Roosevelt's triumphant 
exposure of this nonsense delighted my heart, as 
well as his extraordinarily clever manner in 
" nailing to the counter " their false descriptions 
in writing and illustration. Over and over again 
he takes their preposterous theory and blows 
it to smithereens with common sense. He quotes 
from one of these : " The crow's rainbow sheens, 
so little thought of as concealers, turn him into 
such true distance colours as he sits on the 
nest as to rank him at this moment almost with 
the grouse f or indistinguishability, " and points 
out that there is no more chance for his argument 
than that a coal scuttle planted in the middle 
of a green lawn is inconspicuous, and shows that 
there is nowhere and no time when the crow is 
anything but conspicuous. The idea that all 
animals that prey or are ever preyed upon are 
under certain normal circumstances obliterative 
is entirely erroneous. 

•*--^ \ "*!-. 




i— » 












" There is no conceivable color or com- 
bination of colors which may not under some 
exceptional circumstances be concealing," says 
Colonel Roosevelt. A British Grenadier in a 
red coat and a bearskin hat might find himself 
in some fight in a village surrounded for a moment 
by red and black objects — red petticoats and 
black skirts on a wash-line, for instance — which 
would make his coloration scheme protective. 
Colonel Roosevelt's conclusions are numerous and 
w r ell worth study. The fact is, that no universal 
law can be laid down. 

There is a tendency for certain general types 
of coloration to be found among all the birds 
and mammals affected by the same physical 
conditions. Birds and creatures of the treetops 
have lighter, brighter, and more varied coloration 
than those dwelling in more sombre and uniform 
surroundings near the ground and beneath 
forest trees. There is a tendency for arctic and 
alpine animals to be light coloured 1 and often 
white, for desert birds and animals to have 
very pale tints, and so on, but the exceptions are 
numerous ; e.g. how about the musk-ox, the raven, 
and the wolverine in the arctic regions, or the cock 
ostrich and black-and-white chat in the desert ? 

There are certain birds and mammals whose 
coloration is unquestionably concealing, e.g. night 
hawks and grouse. 

1 Where reference is made to Colonel Roosevelt's remarks the 
American spelling of colour is retained. 


Many birds and mammals are advertisingly 
colored, and often their coloration tends to 
reveal them to their foes. In many cases the 
male is advertised and the female concealed by 
its color, or vice versa. 

" The species of birds and mammals with a 
complete obliterative or concealing or protective 
coloration are few in number compared to those 
which possess (either all the time, or part of the 
time, or in one sex for all the time or part of the 
time) a conspicuous or revealing or advertising 
coloration, and to those in which the coloration 
is neither especially advertising nor especially 

I possess no recent printed records of the 
size of lions, but think an examination of such 
would show that there is no very great variation 
in their stature in different regions. It must 
be remembered, however, that a very small 
percentage of colonists or residents ever trouble 
themselves much about measuring their game. 

1 do not suppose 2 per cent, of lions killed even 
by sportsmen are measured for height, and not 

2 per thousand are weighed. I confess to 
have been too lazy to take this trouble myself, 
and have never been keen about record-hunting. 
Any ordinary sportsman should be satisfied with 
a fine typical specimen of the variety of game 
he is in search of, and there is no credit in obtain- 
ing " a record " through wholesale and persistent 
slaughter. I knew of one man, I am glad to say 


not an Englishman, who killed in one place 
some ninety-four Soemerring gazelle and left a 
plain covered with his rotting carcasses, not to 
mention cripples, without getting a record head. 
At that time, a few days north of that place, 
I could wander literally among the same kind 
of antelope, passing them at times, when they 
were grazing, within 10 or 12 yards, and they 
have but lifted their heads and gazed at me 
with their great black eyes without moving 
a leg, and resumed feeding as soon as I had 
gone by. Some hideous work has been done in 
the name of sport. It is a most legitimate 
ambition to secure the very finest specimen you 
can for your collection, and the man who refrains 
from shooting till he finds a specimen which 
satisfies his desires is not only a legitimate 
record-hunter but probably the very best of 
sportsmen. The publication of records has done 
good and harm, for whilst there is no doubt that 
it has taught many shooting men what animals 
alone are worthy of their attention, it has also 
been an incentive to others to continual shooting 
in order to get up on the list. There is little 
doubt that finer specimens of most beasts have 
been and are still secured by men who are as 
indifferent to, as they are ignorant about, any 
published measurements. 

It is impossible to fix how big the largest lion 
is. This, however, can be said, that if you run the 
tape over a lion lying dead on the ground as he 


fell, without " pulling him out," he is a very 
long one if he measures over 10 feet from the tip 
of his nose to the tip of his brush. 1 In this over- 
all measurement the tail counts for much, and a 
short-bodied lion may have a long tail and a long- 
bodied one a short tail. I have shot three or four 
lions about 9 feet 4 inches measured thus, but 
none longer. Lord Wolverton's measurement 
of a Somali lion, 10 feet 7 inches, is very startling, 
but with the aid of a little imagination it is 
possible to conceive of a lion even longer. A 
pegged skin measurement is not much to go on 
unless average width is fairly taken into account, 
and there has been no undue stretching. You 
can without much manipulation make the skin 
2 feet longer than when it was on the body. 
A lion 3 feet 7 inches high is a very tall one, 
though, I believe, 4 feet has been recorded, and 
one whose arm girths 19 inches is a very strong 
one, and one that weighs over 400 lb. is a very 
heavy one. In fact, if you kill a lion weighing 
twice the weight of a good Scotch stag he should 
be a fairly fine one, yet some are said to have 
weighed as much as three such stags, viz. over 
40 stone. 

A lioness over 9 feet in length is a very long 
one, over 3 feet 3 inches high a tall one, and 

1 I have a note of the measurement of an Algerian lion, but 
unfortunately cannot quote my authority. It was as follows : 
from the tip of the nose to the root of the tail, 2*50 metres ; length 
of tail, 75 cm. (total length, 10 feet 7} inches) ; height behind 
from foot to the top of quarters, 95 cm., or about 3 feet 1$ inches. 


over 300 lb. in weight a very heavy one. Tigers 
do not run to any greater sizes, though many 
have been shot over 10 feet in length, and a very 
few over 3 feet 6 inches in height, and very few 
indeed over 500 lb. in weight. The lion's 
skull is on the average longer than the tiger's, 
but the skulls in average breadth are about equal. 
When this has been said, there is not much to 
choose in point of average size between adult 
lions and tigers. 

The skull of the lion can be distinguished 
from that of the tiger by the fact that the posterior 
processes of the nasal bones do not or only just 
extend as far as the frontal processes of the 
maxillae, and that the distance between the 
anterior parietal suture and the post orbital 
process is comparatively short, so that the lion's 
skull may be described as short-waisted as 
compared with the long-waisted skull of the 
tiger (Sclater). 

Some of the best authorities state that 
females preponderate largely over males. I 
have little doubt that this alleged disparity in 
numbers between lions and lionesses is the 
result of better observation and inquiry than 
my own. 1 I can only say that of the scores of 
lions I have seen I should estimate only one in 
seven or eight to have been a lioness — this may 
be pure chance. I am under the impression that 
two lions at least are shot for every lioness, 

1 Vide Major Stevenson-Hamilton's Notes, p. 115. 


but then most sportsmen when encountering 
several lions would probably shoot at the largest. 
Firms like the Boma Trading Co., and Messrs. 
Newland & Tarlton, at Nairobi, through whose 
hands pass hundreds of lion skins annually, 
could give good evidence upon this point. 

The generally accepted theory is that a lion, 
like a bishop, must be the husband of one wife. I 
am not sure about this, for a lion is sometimes 
seen in the company of several ladies, and a lady 
in the company of several gentlemen, which latter 
fact might be considered to argue for a theory of 
polyandry. Where lions are not very numerous, 
probably they are more frequently found in 
pairs, or a lion, lioness, and one or two cubs. 
I have seen real, or grass, widow lionesses with 
one or more cubs. It is not uncommon to see a 
lion, a lioness with two young lions, and one or 
two cubs in a family party; and several times I 
have come across two old lions and a lioness 
living and hunting together. I really do not 
know exactly what to make out of their marital 
relations, but there is no doubt that a lion often 
evinces quite the proper amount of faithfulness 
and affection for the particular lady of his choice 
for the time being, and will hunt for her and 
the young family. The lioness is credited with 
even greater devotion to her spouse, so much 
so that many hunters, when they come across 
a lion and lioness together, shoot the lioness 
first, on the assumption that if you kill the lion 



the lioness will charge straight and at once, 
whereas if you shoot the lioness the lion will 
probably stand by and, before making off, stop 
to smell the lioness, and when he has satisfied 
himself that there is not much use in staying 
any longer he may " clear." 

The only personal experience that I can call 
to mind affecting this question is the following : 
I once tracked up to a lion and a lioness in 
Somali bush country; when; after an hour's fast 
walk on their spoor, I first caught sight of them 
they were going along freely, apparently quite 
unconscious that their steps were being dogged. 
The lioness was leading, and the lion about 
5 yards behind. I ran forward in a line 
parallel with them until I was a little ahead, and 
I pulled up opposite a narrow glade in the bush 
which they must cross in full view of me ; there 
they came, crossing my front at about 60 yards, 
slouching along with lowered heads ; the lioness 
passed and then the lion was passing. I fired 
at his shoulder and hit him high in the ribs ; he 
immediately sat up like a gigantic dog begging, 
but made the ground shake with his rage. I at 
once opened my gun (a heavy 10-bore shot-and-ball 
gun) to reload the empty chamber — a precaution 
worth taking with a double-barrelled weapon when- 
ever possible, so as to secure having two barrels 
ready in case of trouble. Whilst I was reloading, 
with an eye on the wounded lion, my shikari 
at my elbow said, " Look at the other one ! " and 


there to my surprise, close at my right hand, 
was the lioness, with her eyes fixed on me with a 
most dreadfully intent expression and her tail 
absolutely vertical and as stiff as a poker. I 
hesitated for a moment as to which to shoot at, 
but the lion was up and turning towards me, 
and I gave him the right barrel, only hitting 
him in the forearm. Luckily, as I thought on 
subsequent reflection, the great bang of the 10- 
bore and belch of blue smoke were too much for 
his fair lady's nerves, for at this shot she bolted, 
and I wanted my second barrel for the lion, who 
came straight for me at a shambling gallop — 
though crippled, so that he lurched as he came, 
he was determined to get home. At very close 
range I dropped him dead with a bullet fair 
between his eyes. It seems to me possible that 
with a modern rifle with less noise and no smoke 
this lioness would not have been scared, as she 
undoubtedly was by the loud report of a big gun 
in the silent jungle with a heavy charge of black 
powder. A Somali lion is often so accustomed 
to the yells of men and to being pelted with 
stones and firebrands in his nightly raids into 
native karias that he will take but little notice 
of the mere noise and flash of firearms. At 
night at any rate, lions will return to a bait or to 
your camp time after time after they have been 
fired at. The foregoing is only a slight indication 
of what the conduct of an unwounded lioness is 
likely to be when her mate is attacked. 


As to the behaviour of lionesses with cubs, 
nothing is certain. I have seen a lioness allow 
her cubs to go away while she skulked behind ; 
I have fled on my horse from an angry lioness 
which I had done nothing to provoke, and 
whose black-maned mate stared stolidly at me 
with an expression of indifference on his counten- 
ance, a sort of savage query in his eyes as to 
what all the grunting and fury on the part of his 
lady was about. The following instance, I think, 
is characteristic of the way in which a lioness 
will stick to her baby : — One morning my wife, 
my daughter, and my neighbour, Mr. H. D. Hill, 
were out riding in British East Africa, when 
I viewed the finest lioness I ever saw (I was 
riding about a mile to the right of the rest of the 
party) ; she was walking sedately along, followed 
by a single and tiny little cub. I waved a signal 
to Hill and the ladies, and she detected the 
movement from 500 yards away — till then 
I do not think she had seen me. She imme- 
diately popped into a large bush, very thick and 
about 15 yards square, which spread across a 
small dry-stream bed, the banks of which were 
a few feet high. Here she took such complete 
cover both from sight and from the danger of 
being shot by a chance ball, that nothing we 
could do would dislodge her. In turn we tried 
galloping past, shouting insults at her, firing 
volleys into every part of the bush ; only once 
did she ever show herself, when she dashed out 


for one second at Hill with a savage grunt. He was 
close to her, and his horse swung and his ball fell 
short. This was the only attempt she made to 
bluff us, she had not the least intention of 
coming into the open or of deserting her infant, 
and the rest of the day she never so much as 
growled or snarled once. The siege went on, 
and all attempts to drive or tempt her out having 
failed, we fired the dry grass around the bush as 
a last resource. The fire licked up all round the 
bush, and flames and smoke swept over it, but 
never shook her resolution even when they 
scorched the green leaves above her hiding- 
place. After hours of exertion, with ammuni- 
tion nearly exhausted, we gave it up, completely 

I do not think any one could possibly have 
got this lioness without crawling up the bottom 
of the furrow — a performance quite beyond our 
courage. I felt so much admiration for her 
devotion to the little cub and for the wisdom 
of her tactics, that my desire to slay the murder- 
ing old thing was cooled as I pictured in my mind 
the tiny creature sheltering in there by its 
mighty mother. 

The period of gestation is about fifteen 
weeks; the cubs (two to four) are said to be 
always born with their eyes open. In Central 
and East Africa I think two litters a year 
not at all uncommon. In South Africa this 
is less frequent, and the cubs are born as a 


rule in the summer between November and 
March. 1 

Finally, as to the vitality of lions, let me warn 
the reader against an allegation that appears in 
some of the best works on the mammals of 
Africa, viz. that the lion is " not tenacious of 
life, and is easily killed as compared with the 
larger antelopes." The lion is a cat and has 
all the vitality of the cats. I have seen them 
get away with the most awful wounds and 
drilled with bullets. I have put into a lion, 
at from 60 to 20 yards range, six 10- 
bore bullets solid soft-lead and hollow-point, 
two 500 solid soft-lead bullets, and two *256 
bluff-point Mannlicher bullets before he would 
lie down, and finished him finally, after one of my 
gun-bearers had loosed off one or more Snider 
bullets into his body, with a shot in the neck. 
The only possible foundation for the idea that the 
lion is more easily killed than an antelope is that 
he is as a rule tackled at much closer quarters 
than an antelope, gets the full force of the bullet, 
and possibly that greater pains are taken to aim 
at the vital spots in a dangerous animal. 

The reader is referred to page 214, where he 
will find a good illustration of the vitality of a 
fighting lion tackled by good and experienced 

1 Vide Major J. Stevenson-Hamilton's Notes, pp. 116 to 120. 
What he states may be taken as the latest and most authoritative 
information on this point. See also Mr. A. L. Butler's Notes, 
P. 137- 


Mr. Rainsbeck in his Land of the Lion 
gives examples of what lionesses can do — and he 
considers a lioness at least 100 per cent, more 
dangerous than a lion. 

One is a case that occurred near Donya 
Sabuk, in the bend of the Athi River, when two 
men galloped a lioness and lost her in shortish 
grass and approached too near to look for her. 
In an instant she was on them, carrying Mr. 
G. from his pony and biting him through and 
through the thigh. Then like a flash turned 
on Mr. L., whom she dashed down with a claw 
wound across the face which destroyed one eye 
and cut through the nose. As she stood on the 
unfortunate L., mauling his shoulder, Mr. G. 
crawled up, wounded as he was, and blew her 
brains out. Mr. L. died a few days afterwards. 

Mr. Rainsbeck makes a rather dangerous 
statement when he declares : " Nineteen times 
out of twenty, however, a lion comes slowly 
when he charges." I have seen a good many 
charges, but all have been terrific. He adds : 
" He sometimes stands for a moment before 
finally closing." This may be the experience 
of others, it is not mine, but I have no doubt 
the statement can be supported and I certainly 
believe it possible. I do not accept all Mr. 
Rainsbeck says as gospel, as, for instance, when 
he declares the Indian lion to be maneless, for 
I have seen lions, killed in India, with quite fair 



The above sketch map attempts to indicate 
the distribution of lions throughout the world 
in recent times, and the only areas in which 
lions are likely to be found now. 

It is difficult to find reliable information as to 
the present distribution of the lion in Arabia, Persia, 
and towards the Afghan and Indian frontiers, and 
also as to some parts of Asia Minor. They cer- 
tainly still exist in Mesopotamia between the lower 
Tigris and Euphrates, and are said to be numerous 
in certain districts of Southern Persia. 

I find in my notes on the fauna of Asia 


Minor, made during a journey in that country 
in 1891, the following : — 

The lion is no longer found in Asia Minor, 
but it exists in Mesopotamia and Arabistan, 
between Poelis, west of Aleppo, and Deyr, and 
in the Euphrates Valley, where it frequents the 
impenetrable thickets growing in places along 
the banks and on the islands in the river ; it is 
also found in the lower part of the Karun River, 
but is nowhere plentiful. It is asserted that 
there are two varieties, one with a mane and the 
other maneless ; the latter variety is called the 
maneless Babylonian lion. 

In India they are surviving in a few localities, 
such as Kathiawar in small numbers ; there may 
be odd ones in Rajputana. A generation ago 
they were comparatively common about Jodhpur, 
Oodeypur, Gwalior, Goona, Kota, Mount Abu, and 

In 1830 lions were common near Ahmedabad. 
The last lion to be killed in the Allahabad 
country is said to have been killed in 1864. 

Formerly lions ranged as far west as Greece 
and Roumania, and at some remote period were 
distributed over Italy, France, Spain, Germany, 
and the British Isles. Such remains of Felis leo 
as have been found in Pleistocene formations of 
the temperate regions of the Old World indicate 
animals of a larger size than any surviving in 
the warmer regions where the lion is now found. 

In North Africa lions up to the time when 


firearms were freely distributed, and even up to 
the occupation of Algeria by the French, were 
very numerous in suitable countries. By the 
middle of the last century their numbers had 
been greatly diminished. This decrease was 
largely due to the high price placed on their 
heads by the Turkish Government in the Barbary 
States, a policy continued on a smaller scale by 
the French in the countries conquered by France. 1 
Their favourite haunts, within the memory 
of man, were the forest-clad hills and mountains 
between the Ouarsenis on the west, the Pic de 
Taza on the east, the Djebel Ennedate on the 
south, and the plain of the Chelif to the north. 
There were also many lions among the forests 
and wooded hills of the province of Constantine 
and eastwards into Tunisia and south into the 
Aures ; the cedar forests of Chelia and neighbour- 
ing mountains harboured lions down to about 
1884. In addition to the native lions of Algeria, 
" Berranis," i.e. " foreign wandering lions " as 
the Arabs called them, wandered over the country 
from Dir Guezoul, Djebel Dira, and Zakkar. 
When first I knew Algeria there were occasional 
lions in the Dju Djura, the Aures, along the 
Tunisian border countries, and throughout the 
region from La Calle to Soukarras. A European 
whose name and nationality has slipped my 

1 Two tribes which devoted themselves to lion-hunting, viz. 
the Ouled Meloul and the Ouled Cessi, were freed under the Turks 
from all taxation, and were paid liberally for skins. 


memory, though I think he was a Russian hunter, 
killed a large number of lions between 1880 and 
1895 in the neighbourhood of Soukarras. During 
the nineties I myself hunted almost the whole 
range of the Atlas from the Oued Chair in the 
west to beyond Tamerza in Tunisia, and visited 
likely mountains to the north of the Aures, like 
Chelia, and never came across a single lion track. 
The last lions I heard of in Algeria were some 
distance to the north of Bordj bou Arreredj, in 
1899. Since 1900 I have hardly hunted at all 
in Algeria. The Algerian lions preyed on flocks 
and herds, and it was no uncommon thing for 
them to become man-eaters of the boldest and 
most accomplished kind ; Gerard, who himself 
slew some thirty lions between 1848 and 1856, 
relates how one lion exterminated the population 
of a douar (the tribal assembly of tents), killing 
forty Arabs, and he calculated that one single 
tribe, of about one hundred tents, suffered in 
losses of horses, cattle, and sheep, from the 
depredations of lions, an amount equal to a tax 
of £8400 a year. Between 1873 and 1883, that 
is, in the decade immediately preceding my first 
visit to Algiers, the Government return of lions 
killed (the Government grant being then 50 
francs a skin) was as follows : — 

Algeria . . . .29 

Constantine . . .173 

Oran . . . . 

Total . 202 



The following figures show how the numbers 
diminished : — 

Number Killed. 

1878 . . . .29 



The following dates mark approximately the 
retreat of the lion from existence in South 
Africa : — 

1707. Lions not uncommon near Cape Town. 

1801. Lions still met with in the Karoo and 

1842. Last lion south of the Orange River 
(recorded by Hall and quoted by 
Sclater) killed near Commetjes Post. 

1865. Last lion killed in Natal by General 
Bisset (Sclater). 

1898 and 1898. Lions killed at Springs (near 
Johannesburg) and Heidleburg. 

1903. Occasional lions still seen and killed 
in the Transvaal outside the Game 
Reserves, and common within the 
Reserve and in Portuguese East 
Africa. During my residence in the 
Barberton District, 1903 to 1905, 
I several times saw lion spoor in the 
neighbourhood of Kaapmuiden and 


Komati Poort, and noted the follow- 
ing occurrences outside the Reserve 
in the Barberton District : — 

1904. Seven lions seen at Malelane. 

1 lion killed by Pains near Kaap- 

Several seen at Hector Spruit. 

Others seen on the railway at various 
times by engine-drivers between 
Crocodile Poort and Komati Poort. 

One seen near Low's Creek. (This 
name is Leuw's Creek, i.e. Lion's 
Creek — a lion-haunted vallev when 
the Dutch first arrived.) 

1905. Three seen at Mananga. 

Others reported between Hector Spruit 
and Mananga. 
1913. The lion is still found in Zululand, 
the Eastern Transvaal, German South- 
West Africa, the Kalahari, Rhodesia, 
and Portuguese East Africa. 

Major J. Stevenson-Hamilton, writing to me 
from the Sabi Game Reserve, Komatipoort, on the 
1st July 1913, gives the following interesting 
information : — 

" As regards your questions, I cannot give you 
any reliable statistics as to the number of lions 
accounted for in the Transvaal outside the Game 
Reserves, as there are none available. I should 
say, however, that the number killed does not 



exceed half a dozen annually, and I doubt if it 
even reaches this figure. Within the Reserves 
the total accounted for to end of the present 
month since 1903 is 190, the totals being as 
follows : 1903, 6 ; 1904, 2 ; 1905, 10 ; 1906, 13 ; 
1907, 13 ; 1908, 21 ; 1909, 25 ; 1910, 21 ; 
1911, 32 ; 1912, 36 ; 1913, 11 (to end of May). 
Sexes about equal in numbers. 

" Up to 1905 we administered only about one- 
fourth of the area now under control, which partly 
accounts for the divergence of the present figures. 
Naturally, as time went on, haunts became better 
known, and the staff more efficient. Numbers 
are probably a little less than they were a few years 
ago, but there is no danger of extermination. 

" Outside the Reserves I should say the animals 
were probably slightly increasing where the big 
game is not poached, as they are seldom shot; 
elsewhere where game is decreasing the lions 
take toll of donkeys and cattle, and are now and 
then shot or poisoned ; but, take it all round, the 
majority of the public have, as they say them- 
selves, ' not lost any lions.' 

" I have never weighed a big lion, I am sorry 
to say. The average full-grown lion here in the 
Eastern Transvaal measures about 9 feet 6 
inches over all before skinning, and the lioness 
about 12 inches less. They are of all sorts, 
black-maned and yellow-maned, and entirely or 
almost entirely maneless in the same localities, 
though I think they tend to be fuller maned on 


the whole in the south. The same as to body 
colour, from extremely light to very swarthy. 
Full-grown lionesses of over three or four years 
old sometimes show quite distinct spots, and 
others have no vestige of them. I have noticed 
the same divergence in young animals under a 
year old from the same troop. I have the skins 
of three cubs of six months old from the same 
litter, two males and a female, and none are 
quite similar either in hue or spotting. 

" I have never seen or been apprised of any 
cases of albinism here, though some lionesses are 
certainly extremely light in hue, nor have I 
heard of any cases of melanism, though I have 
shot one or two extremely swarthy males. 

" Now as to the extremely important and 
much-vexed question of breeding of lions, I hope 
you won't take anything amiss I may say, should 
it disagree with your own great experience, but 
this is a matter I have been studying very care- 
fully on the spot for some eight years, and I find 
my views are largely in disagreement with many 
of those popularly held. 

"In 1905 Dr. Gunning of the Pretoria 
Museum was intending to give a lecture on the 
subject of periods of gestation in wild animals, 
and, talking the matter over with him, I deter- 
mined to ascertain as far as possible whether lions 
(and larger carnivora generally) bred annually in 
a wild state as they do in captivity. It had 
always seemed to me that, seeing that these 

■ i«» i » 


animals produce three or four in a litter, of which 
two generally reach maturity, in the course of 
ages, before firearms and even man at all came 
on the scene, they would have increased out of 
all proportion to the herbivora which have only 
one offspring annually if they bred as often as the 
latter. This was of course only a rough specula- 
tion, because on reflection it is obvious that when 
they had reached a certain point there would be 
nothing more to eat for the large majority of 
lions, and so they would mostly die of starvation 
or fail to mature, and Nature would have had 
to make a practically fresh start from the few 
remains of the herbivores and carnivores. But 
I think from deduction of what little we know 
we may assume that such cataclysms have not 
been the general case at least. 

"Again, lions (and leopards and chitas) are 
not independent within a few months of birth, as 
are the herbivorous ungulates generally. They 
are, on the contrary, very weak and helpless for 
a long time, and even after they have acquired 
strength they accompany their mothers in hunting 
and act under their mother's tuition. I do not think 
Nature allows the mother to renew maternity 
until her last offspring are quite independent of 
her, and in the case of lions this certainly does 
not occur until their large canines are well 
developed and they have learned to kill large 
game unassisted. I don't think eighteen months 
is too long a time to allow. We can't judge in 


the least by the methods of captivity, where 
conditions are absolutely opposed to the wild 
state, and where the future of the young ones is 
amply provided for even if they are not taken 
from their mother as soon as weaned, in which 
case, of course, she would be quite ready for a new 

" Since 1905 I have had so far as possible all 
the full-grown lionesses killed opened, and care- 
fully examined, and the result has been that only 
comparatively a small minority have been found 
either to be in milk or to have embryos inside. 
Some of the negative cases when killed had been 
accompanied by male lions and by one or more 
big cubs of at least a year old, so that if their 
habit had been to breed annually they would 
have shown it by the embryo, or, by containing 
milk, have proved that they probably had 
small cubs secreted somewhere. 

" I am therefore very strongly of the opinion, 
which I base both on what seems to me to be 
most in accordance with natural design for due 
balance, and on the practical study I have given 
to the matter, that lions, here at all events, not 
only do not breed twice annually, but seldom 
oftener than once biennially (excepting only in 
the case of a lioness which has lost all her cubs 
of the last litter). 

" I am aware that this is opposed to the general 
belief, which I take it is largely based on observa- 
tions in captivity, but on the other hand I doubt 


if many hunters have had the opportunities of 
going into the matter under natural conditions 
as I have, or have kept records in the same way. 

" You will find some statistics on the subject 
in my book, Animal Life in Africa, as well as some 
other points about lions as they have seemed to 
me here. 

" Now as regards size of litters, the average 
here certainly seems to be three or four, judging 
from embryos taken from lionesses, but two have 
not been infrequent. Latterly, however, that is 
in the last three or four years, four seems to be 
a common number; whether this is chance or 
whether the extremely easy manner in which 
lions can now get food — since the game has 
increased so largely and their own numbers have 
been artificially kept down — has increased breed- 
ing power, I cannot say, but this much is certain, 
that whereas seven or eight years ago lionesses 
with cubs seldom were found with more than two 
and more often one only, now it is not uncommon 
to see four well-grown cubs with a single lioness. 
This seems a very interesting illustration of the 
way in which Nature, as it were, gets her own back 
on man. We destroy the enemies of the herbi- 
vora as much as we can and leave the latter 
alone. Nature, by providing a correspondingly 
increased food supply for the lions, sees to it that 
a larger proportion of the offspring shall survive 
than is the case under absolutely natural con- 
ditions ! 



" A side result has been that native stock (and 
our own) in the game country is perfectly safe, 
and such a thing as a raid, except very occasion- 
ally by a more or less decrepit animal, is almost 
unheard of. On the other hand, outside the 
Game Reserve in the Zoutspansberg district for 
instance, and just outside our western boundary, 
stock-killing is quite common, because there 
is hardly anything bigger than reedbuck, and 
lions which have strayed a bit out of their usual 
beat find themselves driven by hunger. 

" The most usual time for cubs of lions to be 
born here is during July and August (especially 
August), but they are certainly born all through 
the months from March to November in lesser 
numbers, and I have records of young cubs seen, 
or lionesses containing embryos which would 
have been born soon, for every month in the 

" I have so far no reports of more than four 
cubs to a litter." 

In North-East Africa there are lions to the 
north of the Bogos country, and here and there 
right through Erithrea to the Tackazi and west- 
wards, and south into the Sudan. In the Blue 
Nile districts, as well as on both sides of the 
White Nile, lions are plentiful enough, and are 
to be met with in almost all districts of the 
Sudan. In Abyssinia they must be getting very 
scarce, but on all sides of the Ethiopian plateau 



they generally abound ; through the Galla 
countries and to the south they are said to be 
practically ubiquitous, till you reach those parts 
of South Africa where the white settlers have 
wiped them out. Of West Africa I know nothing 
personally, and cannot state where they are most 
numerous or where they are becoming scarce. 


In 1905 Colonel Swayne, the British Com- 
missioner for the British Somali Coast Pro- 
tectorate, estimated the number of lions then 
in British Somaliland at about three thousand. 
Since 1905 the British Government have aban- 
doned most of our possessions and fellow-subjects 
to our victorious enemv, the Mullah, and the 
country to anarchy. The Somalis have acquired 
firearms, and probably the lions within this area 
and outside have been greatly reduced, not only 
directly but by the wholesale slaughter of the 
game on which the lions subsisted. 

The Sudan 

Mr. A. L. Butler, the Superintendent of the 
Sudan Government Game Department, has most 
kindly furnished me with the following informa- 
tion. These notes are of so much interest that 
with his permission I publish them in full. 


By A. L. Butler, Esq. 

1. Present Distribution 

For the past twelve years — since 1901 — I 
have kept a map to show the distribution of the 
lion in the Sudan, and marked on it every place 
where they have been shot or met with as far 
as my information goes. The following notes, 
taken from this map, may therefore be con- 
sidered a fairly reliable sketch of the range of the 
species in this part of Africa : — 

Prince Henry of Liechtenstein has told me 
that in 1880 he came on the tracks of a lion in a 
wadi about half-way between Berber and Suakin 
(about 19° N. Latitude and 36° E. Longitude). 
The killing of one west of and near the Nile, 
north of Berber (18° North), is, I believe, within 
the memory of old native inhabitants. But at 
the present day the northern limit of the lion's 
range seems to be about midway between 16° 
and 17° North Latitude. South of this, lions 
occur on the Atbara from near Goz Regeb to 
Gallabat, at . Filik (about 50 miles north of 
Kassala), on the Khor Baraka, the Gash, the 
Setit, and the Bahr el Salaam. In this district 
they are most numerous on the Atbara near 
Mogatta, and on the Setit, and appear to have 
increased in numbers within the last twelve years. 

On the Blue Nile and its tributaries, the Rahad 
and the Dinder, they are fairly plentiful south of 


Sennar, within a short distance of which place 
they still put in an occasional appearance. 
They are perhaps most abundant on the Rahad, 
from which river they sometimes wander north- 
wards to El Fou and Gedaref, where one was 
shot in September 1906. 

On the Blue Nile they are most plentiful on 
the west bank. 

On the White Nile they range north to 
Jebelein, where there are generally a few about 
near the hill, and I have once known of tracks 
being found north of Kosti. Mr. Seton-Karr 
met with four males together on the west bank 
near Renk this year, and shot all of them. 
South of this they are fairly common between 
Renk, Jebel Ahmed Aga, and Kaka. Between 
Kaka and Taufikia they are scarce, owing to 
the openness of the country and the abundance 
of Shilluk villages. Near Tonga round Lake No, 
and along the Bahr el Ghazal they are numerous. 
They are particularly abundant on the Zeraf 
River (where four were killed simultaneously by 
a volley from a steamer last year !), and also 
occur on the Sobat, Pibor, and Akobo. 

On the Bahr el Jebel they are absent in the 
" Sudd " region between Lake No and Shambe, 
but doubtless inhabit the dry country at the 
back of these vast swamps. South of Shambe 
they occur on both banks of the Nile to Rejaf, 
and range across the country eastwards to the 
Pibor'and Akobo. 


West of the Upper Nile the lion ranges 
practically all over the Bahr el Ghazal Province, 
and is found in the vicinity of nearly all the 
numerous small rivers (which are too numerous 
to mention in detail), and north all along the 
Bahr el Arab. I find my map is fairly well 
sprinkled with record marks between 25° and 
31° East, and 5° and 10° North. 

Farther north again their extension into 
Kordofan lies mainly between 28° and 30° East, 
to a little above the 11th parallel. 

Very considerably north of this, however, 
lions occur again sparingly out west in the Wadi 
Milh (about 15° North and 28° 30' East), and 
I have heard of tracks being met with near 
El Ein, just south of the 16th parallel. This 
brings their northward range west of the Nile 
nearly into line with their northern limit in the 
Eastern Sudan, as previously described. A cub 
of these desert-dwelling lions was brought to me 
three years ago from the Wadi Milh, and its 
remarkably pale coloration is referred to else- 
where in these notes. 

To sum up, while west of the Nile the range 
of the lion lies mainly south of 10° North Latitude, 
on the east it is well distributed for some 5° farther 

2. Variations in Type, etc, 

Sudan lions generally have very poor manes. 
In the east of the country (Atbara, Setit, Rahad, 


Dinder, etc. — thorny bush-country) the mane 
is usually not more than a scanty ruff, and nearly 
always of a yellow colour. Lions that I have 
seen shot in the Bahr el Ghazal Province near 
Wau were much the same in general appearance. 
I have seen some moderately well-maned skins 
from the Blue Nile. 1 There is often more 
development of the mane, with a mixture of 
black in it, on the open grass country near Lake 
No, on the Bahr el Ghazal, Bahr el Arab, and 
Zeraf, but here again a meagre yellow ruff only 
is not infrequent. I have only once, several 
years ago, seen a lion with a really fine mane in 
the Sudan, and this, curiously enough, was on 
the Rahad River. This was a regular picture- 
book lion, by far the finest I have ever seen, 
with a really magnificent mane of a blackish 
or very dark colour, and a dark greyish body. 
Though I was able to watch him through glasses 
on two evenings in succession I could not get a 
satisfactory shot at him. I do not think this 
splendid beast was ever shot. Certainly, no 
skin with such a mane has since come through 

Cubs appear, as a rule, to be darkest farther 
south. I have seen them from the neighbour- 

1 In African Nature Notes, p. 76, Mr. Selous figures three lions 
showing different developments of mane. 

His No. 3 would best represent the majority of Sudan lions 
I have seen. The best manes I have seen might be as well 
developed as in his No. 1, or perhaps a little less so. The big 
black-maned lion I saw on the Rahad looked quite as good as 
No. 2. 



hood of Lado with a dorsal line and the spots 
almost black. 

Very different was a cub brought in to me 
three years ago from Wadi Milh (15° North, 
28° 30' East), in Western Kordofan. This was 
a remarkably pale whitish, sandy, or isabelline 
colour, with the back of the ears and tail tuft 
grey instead of black, and with only faint traces 
of spots. Its appearance suggested that the 
desert-dwelling lions of this region are coloured 
much like the smaller mammals (hares, mice, etc.) 
of sandy deserts. I should very much like to 
see an adult lion from this locality. 

On the whole, I do not think I could recognize 
with any degree of certainty the locality of a 
lion from its appearance, unless perhaps it was 
a cub from the south or a lion from the north- 
western desert. 

I have never known of a case of albinism or 

3. The Food of Lions 

The staple food of the lion varies a good deal 
in different districts, according to the nature of 
the country and the game found in it. You 
say that your experience was that round Lake 
No they fed principally on white-eared cob. 
This is quite correct, and applies equally to the 
Zeraf River and the Bahr el Ghazal. I would 
add that the victims seem to be almost always 


adult males. They scatter about more than the 
females, and are therefore doubtless more easy 
to stalk singly. 

Where cattle, goats, and sheep are plentiful, 
as on the Atbara, Rahad, Blue Nile, and lower 
White Nile, they are preyed on a good deal. 
These domestic animals are generally shut up 
in zaribas by night, but lions which have taken 
to cattle-lifting become pretty bold in attacking 
them by day. At one time and another, a good 
many losses have been sustained among Govern- 
ment transport bulls in the Bahr el Ghazal. In 
the Eastern Sudan camels frequently fall victims. 
In 1900 two lions killed a camel on a path near 
the village of Sofi on the Atbara, and remained 
on it, holding up all-comers, until the late Colonel 
Collin son, then Governor of the Kassala Pro- 
vince, happened to ride up on a favourite shooting 
pony and promptly shot them both from the 
saddle. I have twice known of a camel being 
killed near El Fou, between the Blue Nile and 
Gedaref, one of them by a single lion. On one 
occasion an Arab came to me on the Atbara and 
said his camel had just been killed by a lion. 
His story was that he had dismounted for a rest 
and had gone to sleep under the shade of a 
heglik tree, while his camel remained close by 
him, browsing on the branches. He was suddenly 
awakened by an outbreak of roaring and grunting 
(presumably the camel's), and found his camel 
and a large lion struggling on the ground within 


a few yards of him. Having no weapon but a 
sword, he wisely took to his heels and left the 
camel to its fate. I had not time to visit the spot. 

On the Atbara and Setit ariel and wart-hog 
are a common prey. On the Binder ariel and 
reedbuck appear to be most often killed, but 
young buffaloes, roan antelope, waterbuck, wart- 
hog, and even giraffes all pay a regular toll. 

I do not think old buffaloes are often attacked, 
but on one occasion, on the Binder, a sportsman 
following up a badly wounded bull came upon a 
terrific struggle going on between it and three 
male lions. This soon ended in the buffalo 
succumbing. Three quick and accurate shots 
laid the attackers dead round their victim — 
making a remarkable bag ! 

Full-grown giraffes, in spite of their great 
size and strength, are killed occasionally, pro- 
bably more than one lion attacking at the same 
time. I have known of several cases. Quite 
recently an officer at Roseires wrote to me, to 
report having finished off an old cow giraffe 
which had been recently mauled about the head 
and neck by a lion and blinded in one eye. 
When found, the animal had wandered out on to 
some rocks extending into the Blue Nile, among 
which it had fallen and was unable to rise. 

Major Stevenson-Hamilton records that in 
eight years he has only known of one authenti- 
cated case of a giraffe being killed by lions in 
the Transvaal Game Reserves. This was an old 


bull, in the killing of which four or five lions took 
part. The greater frequency of such occurrences 
in the Sudan is doubtless due to the much 
greater abundance of giraffes, which are extremely 
plentiful in many districts. 

Kudu are a frequent and favourite prey, and 
I think a considerable proportion of them are 
killed by lions, their bush-frequenting habits 
doubtless constantly leading them into ambush. 
Porcupines are occasionally tackled, presumably 
by inexperienced or very hungry lions, unable 
to find other prey. It is not uncommon to find 
their quills embedded deeply in a lion's paws 
or body, and I have heard of a lion dying from 
the effect of quills stuck in the throat. A 
complete list of the animals I have known killed 
by lions would be : Camel, horse, donkey, cattle, 
sheep, goats, giraffe, buffalo (young), eland, 
kudu, waterbuck, roan, white-eared cob, ariel, 
reedbuck, bushbuck, wart-hog, tiang, hartebeest, 
and porcupine. Probably a good many smaller 
animals are eaten and no trace left of them. 

I have heard of young elephants being killed, 
but cannot vouch for this personally. 

4. Man- Eating Lions 

I have known of a few instances of natives 
being killed and eaten by lions, but African 
natives, with more courage than those of India, 
are generally prompt in combining to exact i 


vengeance for this offence, and a lion is seldom 
allowed to live to develop regular man-eating 
habits. (It was probably owing to the immunity 
from retaliation which they enjoyed after first 
commencing to attack Indian coolies that the 
famous man-eaters of Tsavo became such a 
terrible scourge in the district. I fancy most 
African tribes would have managed to get rid 
of these murderers at the start of their career.) 

In August last year, three lions which used 
to hunt in company killed six men near Lau, 
in the Bahr el Ghazal. One of them was then 
surrounded and killed with spears, and the sur- 
vivors apparently left the neighbourhood. 

In 1906 (I think it was) a party of Mohammedan 
blacks from west of the Sudan, pilgrims, travel- 
ling by slow stages to Massawa on their way to 
Mecca, arrived one evening at Mogatta on the 
Atbara. The road near the river is bordered 
on both sides by dense thickets of " Kitr " 
thorn, and as the party was passing through 
this a lion sprang into their midst, seized an 
unfortunate boy of fifteen or sixteen, and in 
spite of the shouts of the others, dragged him 
away into the bush. Terrified at this incident, 
the rest of the little party descended to the 
river, and camped for the night in an old and 
dilapidated zariba near the water's edge. Dur- 
ing the night, which was a dark one, their frail 
shelter was besieged by three lions. Eventually 
one broke into the zariba and dragged off a 


second victim — this time a man. For a minute 
or two his cries for help were heard receding 
into the darkness, and then all was silence. 
Next morning two constables from the small 
police post at Mogatta followed the trail of the 
dragged body into the " Kitr " bush, and found, 
about a quarter of a mile away, one of the un- 
fortunate man's feet. The tracks showed that 
a lion and two lionesses had taken part in 
devouring the victim. The following day I 
arrived at the place with my cousin, Mr. H. 
Boughton Leigh, and we devoted a few days to 
trying to bring the murderers to account. 

A bullock tied up in the neighbourhood was 
killed, and Mr. Boughton Leigh shot a big lion 
over it the next night, but whether this was one 
of the offenders it was impossible to say, as there 
appeared to be several lions about. I never, 
however, heard of a man being attacked there 

Twice I have known of natives being seized 
at night and dragged a short distance, but 
dropped again on their companions rushing 
out with shouts and firesticks. Both these 
men, though badly bitten, subsequently re- 
covered. I saw one of these men — a Hanran 
on the Setit — a few days later, and he must 
have had a wonderful escape, as he had been 
seized by the neck, in which the great canine 
teeth had made terrible wounds, without, 
however, touching the spine or carotid 


artery. I doubt if a European would have 

5. Number of Lions killed in the Sudan by Holders 
of Game Licence since 1900 

1901 . 

. 23 

1902 . 

. 25 

1903 . 

. 12 

1904 . 

. 23 

1905 . 

• 33 

1906 . 


1907 . . ., , 

• 32 

1908 . 


1909 . 

, 18 

1910 . 

. 17 

1911 . 

. 27 

1912 . 

. 25 

25 (not yet complete) 


Allowing a small percentage for returns not 
received, the number of lions bagged by European 
sportsmen in the Sudan during the last twelve 
years would be over three hundred. It is my 
belief that a larger proportion of lions are lost 
wounded than of any other animal, owing to the 
temptation to take any long chance they offer, 
to their powers of concealing themselves when 
wounded, and to hesitation in following them up 
in thick covert. If it were to include wounded 


lions which have died without being recovered, 
I should be inclined to raise this total to five 
hundred. 1 This does not include lions killed by 
natives. This is an uncertain quantity, and may 
not be very large, but 1 think a good many cubs 
are annually killed with spears in one part of 
the country and another. Also numerous cubs 
are picked up and brought in alive to different 

6. Lion-Hunting Accidents 

During the last twelve years there has only 
been one fatal lion-hunting accident to a 
European. This was the case of Mr. Salmon, 
an engineer of the Steamers Department, who 
wounded a lion from a steamer, and then landed 
and followed it up in grass. He was charged 
suddenly, and his rifle missed fire. Salmon was 
a powerful and resolute man, and in the struggle 
on the ground which ensued he succeeded in 
opening a small pocket-knife. With great cool- 
ness he tried to stab the lion through the eye 
to the brain with the tiny blade, and actually 
succeeded in driving it home between the ball of 
the eye and the socket, but only with the result 
that the lion immediately seized and broke his 
right arm. It was shot on him by one of his 
men a few seconds later, but Salmon succumbed 
soon after to his injuries. 

1 A man once told me he had wounded nine lions, but never 
got one I 


The only other accident to a European which 
1 can remember occurred to Mr. Wyndham Jones, 
an official of the Works Department, who fired 
at and mortally wounded a lion from the back 
of a mule. The animal charged home ; the 
terrified mule got foul of a thorn bush, and the 
sportsman was seized by the knee and dragged 
to the ground, the dying animal fortunately then 
leaving him. He was, however, severely injured. 

7. Measurements and Weight 

On these points I have little information to 
give. I have never had an opportunity of 
weighing a lion. Several average full-grown 
males which I have measured were all about the 
same size, 8 feet 9 inches to 8 feet 10 inches. 
Lionesses, 7 feet 8 inches to 8 feet. (This is 
absolutely straight measurement between a 
spear driven into the ground at the animal's 
nose and another at the tip of the bone of 
the tail.) x I have seen one or two lions which, 
I am sure, would have been a good deal larger. 

Of height at shoulder I can find no exact 
notes. I should say it was much less than has 
often been recorded from measurements taken 
without the animal's weight on the shoulder- 
blades and feet. 

1 The measurements given on page ioo are taken by running 
the tape along a lion from the tip of his nose to the tip of his 
brush — which method gives greater length than the one employed 
by Mr. A. L. Butler. 


8. Breeding — Number of Young — Mortality 

among Cubs 

In all the cases known to me in which newly- 
born or very young lion cubs have been found 
they have been two or three in number — perhaps 
more frequently three. 

I do not think there is any particular breeding 
season. Cubs seem to be born at any time of 
the year. I have often had cubs of very different 
ages and sizes offered to me during the same month. 

I am convinced that there is a very high 
mortality among lion cubs in a wild state, and I 
doubt if half of them live through their first 
year. Certainly it is far commoner to see a 
lioness accompanied by one or two large cubs 
than bv three. 

Considering the short period of gestation 
(Major Stevenson-Hamilton gives it as about 
one hundred and eight days), the number of cubs 
produced at a birth, and the few enemies they 
have to contend with except man, lions might 
reasonably be expected to be much more numer- 
ous than they are, and this heavy death-rate 
among the cubs is probably Nature's way of 
keeping their increase within limits. 

Over and over again I have lost apparently 
strong and healthy wild-born cubs in captivity 
without being able to ascertain the cause of death. 
They begin by showing a staggering gait and a 


loss of power in the limbs, which grows worse 


until it renders them quite helpless, and ends 
in their dying practically paralysed. I have 
never known one recover after developing these 
symptoms. Only a few days ago I had to 
destroy a lioness cub about seven and a half 
months old which had become quite helpless. Up 
to a short time before, she had been a healthy and 
lively cub. She had never been shut up and had 
had plenty of exercise, A most thorough post- 
mortem examination (kindly conducted for me 
by Dr. Chalmers of the Gordon College Wellcome 
Research Laboratories, assisted by two other 
medical men and an Army Veterinary officer) 
showed no obvious cause of the animal's con- 
dition. She was free from visible internal para- 
sites, and showed no signs of " rickets." I am 
waiting with interest the result of microscopic 
examination of various blood slides and other 
material taken from her. 1 At the same time, 
I have a very fine young lion of about a year old 
(at the stage in which the first canine teeth are 
still retained by the side of the growing per- 
manent ones) which is beginning to lose the 
power of its legs in just the same manner. I 
believe that these cubs would have gone the 
same way in a wild state. Major Stevenson- 
Hamilton, who, with a great experience, also 
recognizes this heavy mortality among cubs, 
mentions the finding of two young lions between 

1 This examination gave no positive results, and had not 
solved the mystery. 


six and twelve months old, " dead, with no 
obvious cause to account for their demise." 

I have never come across any evidence of 
lionesses breeding twice in the same year, and 
I believe that more than this interval usually 
takes place between the birth of one litter and 
the arrival of the next. A lioness will often be 
accompanied by one or two cubs apparently 
at least a year old, but I have only once heard 
of one being seen followed by cubs of different 
ages. In this case she had with her three very 
small cubs and one which was probably well 
over a year old — presumably the sole survivor 
of her last litter. 

9. Some General Notes on Habits, etc. 

I have never heard of lions in the Sudan 
associating in the large troops which have so 
often been met with in other parts of Africa. 
Once I was told of seven being seen together, but 
this included some half -grown young ones. Five 
and four together have been met with quite 
frequently, all adult. I once saw three old males 
and a lioness walk down to a pool on the Rahad 
to drink, in single file, with the lioness bringing 
up the rear. Three or four old males often join 
forces and hunt together — the partnership pro- 
bably terminating in the members going off 
singly " to seek their loves again ! " 

So much has been written about the habits 


of the lion by many more competent writers, 
that my own limited experience is mainly con- 
firmative of observations already recorded, and 
adds little that is new. A most excellent 
account of the animal's life history is given in 
Major Stevenson-Hamilton's Animal Life in 

In the Sudan any sort of country seems to 
suit them, excepting, I think, heavy forest in 
the south. On the Atbara and Setit the dense 
and extensive thickets of ' Kitr " thorn (Acacia 
mellifera) afford them a safe covert. The " Kitr " 
growth is open enough beneath to allow them to 
pass under the lateral spread of the branches, 
which unite to form an impenetrable barbed 
entanglement 3 feet above the ground. 
Zizyphus mucronata, a bushy thorn tree which 
grows near the rivers, and carries green leaf 
throughout the year, forms a dense and dark 
canopy under which lions are* fond of tunnelling 
and lying up. Reed beds and islands of high 
grass in dry river beds are favourite haunts. 
On open plains they will lie up for the day under 
any meagre shade-tree. They are partial to 
the neighbourhood of small rocky hills, or 
" jebels," though I have never seen them 
actually on them. 

As a rule, lions are seldom found far from 
water, but in Western Kordofan they sometimes 
occur at a great distance from it. Natives assure 
me that these desert-dwelling lions obtain suffi- 


cient moisture by eating water-melons. This is 
probably true. Jackals certainly do so, and in 
case of necessity desert Arabs can subsist on 
water-melons for a considerable time. 

It is well known that lions are good swimmers, 
and will take to deep water readily. I remember 
two being shot swimming across the Zeraf River. 

Where they have not been made shy by 
persecution, lions do a good deal of their hunting 
by day. I have known them kill at almost 
any hour between sunrise and sunset. On one 
occasion, when Mr. G. Blaine and I were travelling 
in the Bahr et Ghazal Province, three male lions 
attacked and killed one of our donkeys close 
to camp in the early afternoon. Blaine hurried 
to the spot and knocked over all three of them, 
but, while he was finishing off the third, one of 
the first two recovered and managed to escape. 

Lions often show great boldness in attacking 
cattle and goats in the daytime, and in returning 
to their kills again shortly after being disturbed. 

I have heard them roaring up to 8.30 in the 
morning and as early as four o'clock in the 
evening, but never in the middle of the day. 
They are much more silent at some times than 
at others. On a recent trip up the Dinder my 
wife and I only heard one lion roaring, though 
we saw two, and fresh tracks were abundant. 

In quiet localities they will often come down 
to river pools to drink before sunset, and on the 
Rahad or Dinder there is always a chance of 


getting a daylight shot by watching a pool, 
where their tracks are numerous, from four 
o'clock till dark. 

I have previously mentioned a very fine 
black-maned lion which I once saw on the 
Rahad. There were two small pools in the 
dry river bed, close under the same bank, and 
about 200 yards apart. From the tracks it 
was evident that a very big lion was in the habit 
of drinking at either of these, approaching them 
across the sandy river bed from the opposite 
bank, on which he apparently lay up. I waited 
by one of these pools in the evening, and just 
before sunset the lion came down to the other. 
It was a long shot to take, and I preferred the 
chance of his coming to the pool I was at on 
another occasion, so I contented myself with 
watching him through glasses. The grand old 
fellow lapped away for a long time, and then, 
having drunk his fill, lay down at the water's 
edge, scooped up a great mound of wet sand 
with his paws, and then lay with his great fore- 
arms round this and his chin resting on it, 
enjoying the contact with the cool, moist surface. 
The next evening I waited by that pool. He 
came again, but to the other, and again he made 
his mound of wet sand and lay embracing it, 
after drinking. Again I refrained from shooting 
in the hope of getting a close ana certain shot 
on the following night. But on the third evening 
he happened to be on my bank instead of his 













own. Apparently he winded me, as he roared 
behind me several times and then drew off. 
At any rate, he did not appear again that 
evening or the next, and I had to leave the place 
without seeing him again. I fancy his method 
of making a mound of wet sand to cool himself 
against was an individual habit. I have never 
known another lion do the same. 

Lions are very observant, and I think they 
often locate a carcass by watching the descent 
of the vultures. I once witnessed an undoubted 
case of this. I had killed a roan antelope on 
very open country, and when about a mile from 
the spot I turned round to watch the vultures 
dropping down to feast on the remains. Two 
lions were slouching across the open plain, 
making a bee-line for the carcass. A premature 
attempt of mine to stalk them caused them to 
retreat. They were approaching down wind, 
and as the carcass had not been there an hour 
before, they could not have known of its position 
except by the vultures. I have seen jackals 
follow the birds in the same way. 

A full-fed lion is sometimes a heavy sleeper, 

and I have heard of them being almost trodden 

on unexpectedly. In 1902 a steamer stopped in 

the Bahr el Ghazal to cut firewood, and for two 

or three hours the whole vicinity was thoroughly 

disturbed by the sound of axes and the noise 

made by the men. Presently an old black came 

up to Mr. G. B. Middleton, the engineer of the 


boat, and said there was a lion lying asleep at 
the foot of an ant-hill close by. Incredulous 
at first, Middleton eventually took a -303 and 
went to have a look. There was nothing visible 
as he approached the ant-hill, and, with a little 
run to gain impetus, he scrambled on to the top 
of it, by no means noiselessly. To his astonish- 
ment, a full-grown lion lay fast asleep just 
below him. He lost no time in putting a bullet 
through its head, killing it instantaneously. 

I am bv no means certain that lionesses 


always show the desperate valour in defending 
their cubs which is generally attributed to them. 
I have never come on newly-born cubs myself, 
but I have repeatedly known them picked up 
and carried off by practically unarmed natives, 
without the mother showing up at all. Nor 
have I heard of any exciting adventure attending 
the carrying off of cubs. 

Little more than a month ago, a Russian 
officer who was shooting on the Dinder fired at, 
and slightly wounded, a lioness which emerged 
from some high grass, and on receiving the shot 
promptly bolted into it again. There was a 
certain amount of blood, and he cautiously 
entered the high grass in search of the wounded 
beast. There was a growl close in front of him, 
and a sudden rush through the grass, as the 
lioness — made off ! Then, almost at his feet, 
he noticed two tiny cubs lying side by side. 
These he picked up, and succeeded in keeping 


alive, subsequently sending them in to me as a 
present. They were the smallest cubs I have 
ever received. Here was a case of a lioness, 
hurt and furious, concealed in thick grass with 
her enemy within springing distance, not only 
retreating, but abandoning her cubs without an 
effort to defend them. 

Major Stevenson-Hamilton records a case in 
which a lioness, aware that her three cubs were 
being carried off, contented herself with pro- 
testing from covert. This frightened the captors 
into dropping the little things on the road. 
During the night the lioness removed one of 
them, but was apparently too nervous to return 
for the other two, which were found next day 
where they had been left, dying from the exposure 
to the cold of a frosty night. 

Possibly in many cases the mother is away 
foraging when her offspring are found. 

But that both lions and lionesses vary im- 
mensely in courage and temperament there can 
be no doubt. Personally, I think a lioness is 
generally the nastier tempered and more 
dangerous of the two, and the more prompt to 
charge. I have heard of a lioness, unwounded, 
and not in milk, which had been marked into a 
small patch of grass, charging boldly out directly 
this was approached, and being killed as she came. 1 

1 Probably she was aware that she had been seen, and conscious 
that her patch of covert was insufficiently large to afford a good 
chance of escape. 


When a lioness makes up her mind to charge, 
she comes in with extraordinary rapidity. I 
have only been charged once, and when I was 
expecting it, but I quite underestimated the 
pace at which the animal would come. This 
was near Filik, north of Kassala. Mr. Boughton 
Leigh, who was with me, had killed a lion at a 
water hole the night before, and wounded a 
lioness. There was a fair amount of blood on 
her tracks, which we followed next morning into 
some long grass. Presently I saw her about 
40 yards ahead, crouching very flat, with her 
eyes fixed on me. I was carrying a double 
10-bore, but, thinking my Mauser would be 
more accurate and just as effective for a forehead 
shot, I called a man up with it. Taking the 
smaller rifle from him, I placed the 10-bore, 
cocked, on the ground by my side, and sent him 
back. The lioness remained perfectly motion- 
less, except for the twitching of her black tail 
tassel — a dangerous sign. I imagined that if I 
failed to kill her and she came for me I should 
have ample time to pick up the 10-bore and get 
in a couple of shots with it. A few stems of grass 
waving in the breeze in front of her face were 
rather baulking, but I took a steady shot at her 
forehead, and thought I was dead on. The 
response was instantaneous. She launched her- 
self forward absolutely on the shot, and was 
half-way to me before I realized that she had 
started, and within a couple of strides as I got 


my hand on the grip of the second rifle. I am 
not sure that I should have had time to use it, 
but at that moment my cousin fired from some 
little distance on my right and cut her spine 
well forward with a '450 bullet, bringing her 
down, completely paralysed, just in front of me. 
At the pace at which she was moving, it was an 
extremely good shot. The shot of the night 
before had only inflicted a nasty flesh wound 
under the chest, while my inaccurate shot with 
the Mauser had only furrowed her cheek. I 
should ask for a hundred yards in which to get 
in two aimed shots on another occasion ! 

When burnt out of a patch of grass, lions 
will often wait until the last moment, when the 
flames are almost up to the end to which they 
have retreated, before breaking covert. 

The following is one of the most remarkable 
lion-shooting incidents I have known of, though 
the chief interest of the story was provided 
by a leopard. A lioness had killed a bullock on 
the Blue Nile in the daytime, and an Austrian 
sportsman who was on the spot concealed him- 
self close to the dead beast. Presently the 
lioness approached, creeping cautiously towards 
her kill. Just as she reached it the watcher 
became aware of a leopard also approaching 
stealthily from the other side, the two animals 
being only a few feet apart, and unaware of each 
other's presence. At this point the sportsman 
shot the lioness through the heart ; she gave a 


convulsive spring forward and rolled over dead, 
colliding violently with the leopard as she did 
so. With a perfect explosion of snarls, the 
leopard vanished into the grass, and was seen 
no more, but by the body of the dead lioness it 
left a tiny cub, expelled prematurely in its sudden 
terror. The result of this shot was, therefore, 
one lioness, one leopard (spirit specimen) ! I 
saw both trophies. 

It sometimes happens that an enthusiastic 
desire to encounter Felis leo evaporates when 
the longed-for meeting at last occurs. I remember 
a sportsman who went up the Nile with the slaying 
of a lion as his dearest ambition. Before start- 
ing, he questioned me as to all the most likely 
places to find one, and the advantages and dis- 
advantages of every possible shot was discussed 
at length. I was away when he returned, and 
a glance at a (f game return " of waterbuck and 
white-eared cob showed that my friend's ambition 
had not been realized. But he left me a note 
to let me know how he had got on. " We saw 
two lions," it ran, " but unfortunately they were 
engaged in eating a white-eared cob, and were 
in no mood to be deranged" 


The destructive powers of lions can scarcely 
be exaggerated when they depend, as they did in 
North Africa, almost entirely on domestic flocks 


and herds. In one district of British East 
Africa where game swarms, and where the same 
lion will kill every night practically the whole 
year round, I have made a rough calculation 
as to what lions kill there in a year. My immedi- 
ate neighbours and I killed more than forty lions 
in eighteen months, and if these only kill one 
beast a day on three hundred days in the year, 
this alone means 12,000 head of zebras and 
antelopes killed in twelve months. Then for 
every lion killed we have seen two or three others, 
and had news of many more ; but assuming that 
we have killed half the lions, and that this region 
had been the feeding-ground for only eighty 
lions, that would mean 24,000 head of game to 
feed them. Again, a lion is often not satisfied 
with one kill, and often cripples and mortally 
wounds several zebra in his rush into a herd. In 
Somaliland a single lion is often not satisfied with 
killing a single camel for his dinner, and will kill 
two or three ; I have seen this myself. A good 
idea of what man-eating lions can do will be 
found truthfully described in Colonel Patterson's 
The Man- Eaters of Tsavo. 

Further instances of the destructiveness of 
lions will be found on pp. 112, 160, 194 et seq. 




There is an idea that lionesses in their wild 
state never produce more than two or three cubs 
at a birth. I do not think three cubs at all an 
uncommon number to see with a lioness. There 
are a number of instances of lionesses in captivity 
having given birth to as many as six cubs in a 
litter ; it is difficult to believe that no such litters 
are ever produced by lionesses in their wild state. 
Authorities seem agreed that the mortality 
amongst small cubs is great, which accounts for 
two or one being the more usual number met 
with. 1 

Cubs are born with their eyes open, and are 
very easily tamed. I have been in houses where 
they were quite at home, playing with people 
or dogs, and became quite charming pets ; 
though they should never be trusted when they 
grow up. I have also undergone some nervous 
strain in the company of adult tame lions. 
Once when in Abyssinia I strolled in at the 

1 The Arabs in North Africa ascribed the mortality in cubs 

to the difficulty of eating during the period of dentition. 

Herodotus states lionesses only bring forth one cub, and that 

the cub tears its mother's inside with its claws ! 

i 4 8 


gate of M. Ilg's garden at Adis Abeba, to pay my 
respects to this great State functionary and his 
lady. I was aware he had some tame lions, but 
I was not prepared to see them strolling about 
on the path I took up to his house, and was 
devoutly thankful when I had passed the great 
slobbering brutes. 

Talking of tame lions, I may mention a curious 

sight that was a common one in Algeria in the 

nineties, and for aught I know may yet still be. 

I wish for a second time to record it, for I have 

heard of my story being given in another volume, 

as an instance of the credulity or mendacity 

of travellers. On the 19th day of October 1892, 

my wife and I were driving along the road 

between Blidah and the Gorge de la Chifa, in 

Algeria ; we were not then as familiar with that 

beautiful country as we became afterwards, 

and hopes, since smashed to atoms, of killing 

lions there were then young and strong, and now 

and again I heard of lions as having been seen in 

the Dju Djura range. Now as we rolled along 

the dusty road I saw a very fine maned lion, 

freshly killed, being carried on a donkey which 

staggered along under its heavy burden; the 

lion's fore-paws scraped the ground on one side 

and his massive head hung down in the dust ; 

on the off side the tip of his tail trailed from time 

to time on the road. An Arab led the donkey, 

and two other natives with big sticks in their 

hands walked alongside. I stopped our carriage, 


jumped out, and ran after this party, calling to 
them to halt ; they did so, and before I got up to 
the donkey I asked them where they had killed 
the lion. " Mackash mot " (Not dead), said one of 
the Arabs, and then another gave a tug at a stout 
short bit of rope which was round the lion's 
neck. To my infinite surprise, the lion scrambled 
off the donkey and was led towards me. 

He was an old, yet fine and healthy specimen, 
quite blind, having had his sight but not his eyes 
destroyed, to render him more tractable. I was 
much interested, and asked what this strange 
company were doing. I was told that this was 
a sort of sacred lion they took from place to place, 
and that everywhere it was in great request for 
the exorcizing of evil spirits, curing the sick, and 
for driving away the plague. I give a very good 
photograph of this same lion, which I met again 
a year or more afterwards at Biskra, and which I 
introduced to a photographer, who forthwith 
had him taken out of the town and then took this 
portrait of him on the bank of the Oued Biskra. 1 
The Arabs believe in people being possessed by 
evil spirits, and they make out a very good case 
for their creed. 

Probably the treatment by lion is very effica- 
cious in many cases of hysteria, though some- 
times a medicine of the mending or ending kind. 
These lions are taken into the houses and sick- 
rooms, and their attendance is well paid for. 

1 Vide illustration, "An Algerian Lion," p. 112. 













After my wife and I had spent some time 
examining the lion and his keepers, one of the 
attendants gave it a whack with his stick, and it 
turned of its own accord to where the donkey 
was standing, and scrambled over it, hung itself 
down at both ends as before, and the donkey 
bending under its weight trudged bravely forward 
again. The lion appeared once more as limp and 
lifeless as a sack. I one day met this lion in 
the corridor of the Hotel Victoria at Biskra ; my 
little daughter was with me and attempted to 
pat it, but, as she related afterwards, she did not 
like it, for when she "stroked it, it snorled and 
browled so." 

I told a Parisian acquaintance of mine of this 
lion's presence in the town ; he forthwith dressed 
himself in the best French chasseur style, and 
sallying forth, armed with his shot gun and 
attended by the photographer, had the lion 
laid out prostrate in the desert, and then was 
photographed standing over him in the most 
splendid pose of a successful hunter. This 
photograph gave him immense pleasure, and 
copies were posted as fast as possible to Paris. 

It is extraordinary what a chasseur enrage 
will do. I know an English M.F.H. who was 
overheard muttering to himself whilst his hounds 
were eating their fox after a good run, " Now 

why the can't I do that ? " I think some 

Frenchmen in their ardour would have eaten a 
bit, for most certainly I have observed the 


custom amongst them of eating the meat of 
any unusual trophy that is shot. I have known 
them have lion and panther cooked to eat, 
which seems to me far worse than eating fox ; 
yet I came across a passage somewhere in Mr. 
Selous' writings where he said he had eaten 
lion, and that it was quite eatable and something 
like veal. Tastes differ, and some people may 
find cat excellent, but the sickly horrible smell 
of cat flesh is concentrated in the odour of lion 
meat. I have seen Midgans in Somaliland eat 
lion flesh. 

I am tempted, a propos of lions as exorcists, 
to tell another story, in spite of the risk of having 
it set down as a "traveller's tale"; but I am not 
without a living and credible witness to vouch 
for its truth. Once when Sir Edmund Loder 
and I were travelling in the Tunisian Djereed, 
or rather on our way thither, in the desert south 
of Nefta, one of our camels, which for several 
days had been too sick to carry its load, showed 
signs of early dissolution. At the end of a long 
day's march it just dragged itself into camp and 
sank on the ground ; for several days it had 
refused to feed or to be fed. Sir Edmund and 
I inspected it, and agreed that the most merciful 
thing would be to shoot it ; it would evidently 
not rise again. " I would not give sixpence for 
him," was Loder' s remark as I turned on my 
heel to call an Arab to shoot it. Our headman 
to whom the order was given said, " All right, 


but you know the Soufis (he was a Soufi) do not 
consider this camel ill but possessed by a devil, 
and some of them can drive evil spirits out of 
men and beasts." I replied in a somewhat 
jeering tone that they had better try their powers 
on this subject. He asked me whether we did 
not believe in evil spirits, and whether they 
were not in our religion. I answered rather 
lamely that they were in our Koran, but I did 
not think many Christians had much belief in 
them. The exorcist-in-chief among our Soufi 
followers appeared on the scene and got to 
work ; this is exactly how he proceeded : "In 
the name of God," he cut a bit off the tip of the 
animal's tail so that it bled; he then took a 
kous-kous dish, a large wooden platter, turned it 
upside down under the camel's nose; on this he 
placed a handful or two of black gunpowder. He 
then took in one hand a red brand from the 
camp fire and in the other a handful of barley, 
this last he placed beside the powder. After a 
few moments the camel lowered his head and 
smelt at the barley, and the Arab at once touched 
the powder with the burning stick. " Poof " 
went the powder, enveloping the camel's head 
in flame and fumes. When the smoke cleared 
away you could hardly imagine what a poor, woe- 
begone, abject creature our camel was. All 
the hair and whiskers were burnt off his head, 
face, and lips; he was blackened and without 
eye-lashes, and a sorry object indeed. 


We went off a little amused at this exhibition 
of superstition, and rather disgusted, but at all 
events quite confident that we should not see 
the camel alive again. What was our astonish- 
ment in the morning, as we started at daybreak, 
to see the possessed one standing with his load, 
clothed, so to speak, and in his right mind. I do 
not attempt to explain it, but just state the 
fact that this camel from that hour, for weeks 
after, showed no signs of indisposition, mental 
or physical, but did his daily task and took his 
nourishment like the best of his companions, 
and that had it not been for this fumigation he 
would never have left that camp. Fumigation 
has, I believe, been for some thousands of years 
accepted by exorcists as one of the most efficacious 
treatments for the possessed. 



I— < 








Lions frequent forest-clad mountains and valleys, 
and bush countries ; they will lie up under 
solitary trees or in single bushes on plains and 
open country, or have their lairs in high grass 
and reed beds ; they are fond of dongas and 
dry stream beds, and are as often found in 
such places where cover is slight, as in the jungles 
on the banks of running rivers and streams ; 
they make their dens also among rocks and great 
boulders on kopjies and hills as well as in caves 
and caverns. In the daytime I have seen them 
sunning themselves outside cover, on the edge 
of bush and on slabs of rock ; it is curious that, 
in the few lion countries traversed by railways, 
they seem particularly fond of lying about on 
the permanent way. In the Barberton district 
of the Transvaal, when I knew it, lions w r ere not 
common and were hardly ever seen, except by 
the railway men and engine-drivers, who often 
saw them basking on the railway between Kaap- 
muiden and Komati Poort, whilst on the Uganda 
Railway they are constantly seen. Lions seem 
particularly fond of walking on man-made paths 



of any description, they have a wandering dis- 
position for the most part, and at times cover 
great distances without halting ; doubtless they 
find our roads a great convenience, though their 
presence does not add much to the comfort of 
the wayfarer on the King's highway. I have 
traced lions for miles along a railway. In dry 
seasons and districts they come to the railway 
to slake their thirst at the pools below the 
locomotive watering tanks. As many as three 
lions in a night have been shot by one man out 
of a machan fixed in the scaffolding of the tanks 
adjoining the railway station platforms at Simba 
on the Uganda Railway; and it is by no means 
rare for a stationmaster and even passengers to 
see a lion walk through the station on a journey 
up or down the line in the early hours of the 
morning before the sun is hot. 

Mr. Rainsford gives in an appendix to his 
book some amusing telegrams received by the 
Traffic Manager from the Stationmasters on the 
Uganda Railway. Here are two : — 

Simba. 17.8.05. 16 hrs. 

The Traffic Manager. 

Pointsman is surrounded by two lions while 
returning from distant signal and hence points- 
man went on top of telegraph post near water 
tanks. Train to stop there and take him on train 
and then proceed. Traffic Manager to please 
arrange steps. 


Tsavo. 20.4.08. 23 hrs. 35 mins. 

The Traffic Manager. 

2 down driver to enter my yard very cautiously 
points locked up. No one can get out. Myself 
Shedman Porters all in office. Lion sitting 
before office door. 

As an illustration of the lion's fondness for 
the Uganda Railway, the late Mr. Currie when he 
was Manager of the railway told me he had on 
his journeys up and down the line (generally 
seated on the cow-catcher in front of the engine) 
in less than two years counted over seventy lions 
on the permanent way. 

In the days when lions were numerous in 
North Africa they hung around the douars, for 
there alone was food in sufficient quantity for 
them. In Somaliland at this day, after the rains 
begin, about April, and the grass of the prairies 
on the Haud is green, the Somalis move their 
karias with their camels and sheep to these rich 
pasture lands ; the lions follow them down, for 
some have discovered that it is easier to prey 
on domestic animals, and others are attracted 
by the abundance of game which, like the Somalis, 
seeks the fresh grass. 

An old lion, whose agility is failing, or who 
from long-enjoyed impunity has developed into 
a purely " karia lion," becomes entirely de- 
pendent on the village communities, or even 
on a single village. On one occasion, in a part 



of the waterless Haud where game abounded, I 
killed one of these lions in a starving condition ; 
the native population had trekked north a 
month previously, as the grass was withering. 
He was gaunt, tucked up, a bag of bones with 
his skin hanging in folds, his eyes were sunken, 
but I provided him with one good dinner before 
he died. On the march, the day of his last 
repast, I had gone aside late in the afternoon 
and shot two fine oryx bulls, side by side, for 
meat, and then had galloped after our caravan, 
and sent back two camels to where I had left 
my shikaris skinning them, to cut them up and 
bring them into camp. My shikaris, having 
finished their job, met the camels and directed 
the camel men, who were four or five in number, 
and armed with carbines, to the place and then 
hurried after me. When we had pitched camp 
the camels returned, but without the meat ; 
they reported that though they arrived at the 
place a few minutes after the shikaris had left 
the two dead oryx, they found a very big and 
vicious lion in possession of the two carcasses, 
and that he had so terrified them with his voice, 
gestures, and charges that they dared not dispute 
the meat with him. The next morning at dawn 
I made my way to the place, and saw the top of 
the lion's head and his tail swishing under a little 
thorn bush, into which he had drawn one of the 
carcasses. The conduct of this surfeited lion 
confirms the theory of the magnanimity of lions 

1 » I ■ >1#<—»»^<MI 


after, rather than before, meals. He certainly 
behaved in a nasty, selfish way, just before dinner 
the night before, but with very great consideration 
for me the next morning, with one oryx bull 
inside him. 

From about 60 yards I fired at the place 
where I thought his head was and hit him in 
one of the fore-paws, on which he was resting 
his chin ; he got up and stepped out, making a 
noise, but did not attempt to charge, and stood 
almost broadside, with his head turned rather 
towards me. I hit him with my second barrel 
in the ribs ; he went slouching off, and I ran after 
him, firing a good many shots at him. I was a 
little blown in my efforts to get near him, and 
though I got up close behind him he only once 
faced round and looked somewhat reproachfully 
at me, and then trotted on again. I put at least 
five 10-bore bullets into him before he lay down 
and gave it up. This lion, which had scattered 
four or five armed Somalis and made them fly 
before him, and which I anticipated would be a 
terror, exhibited, I think, the least ferocity of 
any I have ever encountered at close quarters. 

As far as I know, it is comparatively rare for 
lions in British East Africa to prey regularly 
on either native villages or flocks and herds. I 
attribute this largely to the vast quantity of 
game which is there, and to the ease with 
which it can be obtained. A lion would be a 
very poor one which could not catch a fat zebra, 


and were he too old or too feeble to do this, there 
are so many lions about that he need do no more 
than attach himself to a party of his kind, or 
visit the abundant kills. 

At the same time, I know from my own 
experience that it is very unsafe to trust to a 
mere thorn zariba (or boma, as the zaribas are 
called in British East Africa) for the protection 
of cattle or ostriches. Had it not been for the 
devotion of my neighbours (Messrs. C. and H. D. 
Hill), who have taken turns on many nights 
on the roof of my ostrich and cattle sheds, and 
defended my stock from lions attempting to 
break in, my losses would have been very serious 
up to the time when I was able to erect ten-foot 
high iron sheeted fences. Even after I had an 
iron and high wired fenced in boma we lost over 
thirty ostriches in one night, killed by three lions 
which clawed down the fence. Ostriches penned 
in bomas appear to be attractive bait. One 
moonlight night in 1909 my next-door neighbour, 
Mr. Harold Hill, sat up in a tree in the middle 
of his thorn ostrich boma expecting the return 
of some lions which had called on him the previous 
night ; sure enough he was rewarded by the 
delightful sight of seeing his precious birds being 
chivied round and round the little enclosure by 
five lions ; as soon as he began to shoot they 
seem to have gone demented, and they whirled 
round and round inside the boma, whilst he felt 
as if he was sitting on the pole of a merry-go- 

i ^ 











r s> 

• H. 


t. • 














round. He had splendid sport and practice at 
flying lions that night, bagging four of them and, 
I think, wounding the fifth ; several were not 
gathered till next day, and one lioness at least 
gave some trouble before she was dispatched. 
I am not positive that the bag was not five, but 
I know it was at least four, for he sent four of 
the skins up to my house, thinking they would 
help me, as they did, to furnish my new house 
before Colonel Roosevelt's arrival. In every 
country where lions are numerous one occasion- 
ally becomes a man-eater, but considering the 
number there are in British East Africa, and the 
density of the native populations in certain parts, 
there are remarkably few which get into this 
nasty habit. No doubt the extraordinary ease 
with which they can feed themselves, owing to 
the immense quantity of game, has something 
to do with this ; but I have known places where 
it would be impossible for game to be more 
plentiful, yet where lions will occasionally pursue 
a man on horseback, or follow a man on foot, 
even in broad daylight. 

It is rather an ordeal, at least to me, to walk 
or ride through certain stretches of lion-haunted 
grass on the Athi and Kapiti Plains, especially 
when alone. When in company I have experi- 
enced a sense of relief on emerging, for it is easy 
to ride right on to a lion in these places, and should 
he be nasty he might easily collar you before 
you could shoot, and if you are unarmed, as you 


never should be, and if he gets up only a short 
distance off, escape on such ground would be 
impossible, for you could not gallop. 

Not so very long ago, one of my nearest neigh- 
bours, Mr. Philip Percival, was riding alone 
through one of these places, not very far from 
the Kapiti Plains Railway Station, where it 
was possible, at considerable risk of a cropper, 
to gallop ; he was mounted on a noted old 
lion-hunting horse belonging to his brother the 
game ranger, who had accounted for many a 
lion in his company. This horse is well known 
to us by the name of " Weary " — having ridden 
him myself I can vouch for the name being 
appropriate, for, save in pursuit, or when pursued 
by lions, he affected the most tired and blase 
air imaginable ; he was never known, save in 
the chase, to break voluntarily out of a walk. 
Percival had in his hand a *256 Mannlicher rifle 
and was wending his way homewards over the 
vast plain, when to his surprise " Weary " began 
to trot. Trying to account for this quite un- 
precedented exhibition of vitality, he turned his 
head to see if there was any after cause — to his 
horror, he saw a great lion coursing right for 
him, and drawing on at the awful pace a lion 
can ; at this particular moment the lion was some 
40 yards behind, in another second he would 
be at him — in went the spurs and away " Weary " 
went, with death at his heels, as he never went 
before ; but the start was not enough, a few 


moments more and the lion's great head came 
forging up to " Weary 's " quarters. There had 
been, of course, no chance or time to shoot, and 
at this instant, in this terrible race for life, it 
was still impossible, as any one who has tried 
to fire behind him on a horse extended in a gallop 
over rough ground knows well enough ; Percival, 
believing that his last moment had come, sent 
forth, he declares, the most piercing yell that 
ever issued from human throat. The lion was so 
astonished at this very unusual note that he 
forthwith pulled straight up, and stared with 
astonishment ; meanwhile, if such fractions of 
time can be called " whiles " even when they 
appear eternities, " Weary " was going his best 
pace, hell for leather, and ere the lion had 
recovered his surprise had put in a fair distance 
between himself and his pursuer, perhaps a 
hundred yards ; then the man-hunt began afresh 
and the race for life went on ; " Weary " exerted 
himself to his utmost, the lion began to lose 
ground, and when the horse had drawn out two 
or three hundred yards the lion abandoned the 
chase. Percival reined up and sprang off, with 
shaking hand and heaving chest, fired a shot or 
two at his retreating enemy, but did not hit him 
nor hurry him much in his somewhat leisurely 

How often have I seen Percival among lions 
with his cool head and steady nerve ! Yet it is 
said, and I have not heard him denv it, that on 


getting home he sat down in his house and 
remained there a solid week, using really shock- 
ing expressions ; he admitted to me that it was 
some months before he recovered the slightest 
desire to see any more lions. No one who has 
seen him, as I have, since this adventure, crawling 
into their lairs or rounding them up, would ever 
guess he had at any time suffered any shock to 
his nerves. 

Mr. Selous says he has seldom known lions 
attack in this way in the daytime, but gives one 
or two instances. 

There are not a few of the most experienced 
big game hunters who make the assertion that 
it is almost unknown for lions to attack in the 
daytime. This assertion may be found in 
several recent books where the lion's habits are 
discussed or described. During my residence 
in British East Africa, it was by no means un- 
common for lions to attack the Indian bullock 
carts on the road between Machakos and Kapiti 
Plains Stations by daylight. Probably most of 
these attacks were between five and eight o'clock 
in the morning, but I am not sure that some were 
not as late as ten a.m. Nearly all I heard of 
were in the neighbourhood of Wami. In June, 
1911, a young Dutchman employed by Mr. 
Russell Bowker on the Guaso Nyero, by name 
Postma, had arrived one morning at dawn at a 
little stream known locally as Deep Dale, with 
his waggon and oxen. He had no sooner let the 


oxen loose than they were attacked by nine 
lions. Postma jumped on to the waggon and 
picked up his '350 rifle and opened fire on the 
lions who had at once pulled down and killed one 
of the front oxen. In less than ten minutes he 
had fired ten shots and killed seven of the lions 
(three lions and four lionesses), and had wounded 
the two others, which, however, escaped. The 
seven lions lay dead before Postma, the farthest 
away being only fifteen yards distant from him. 



There is no sound which issues from the throat 
of any creature to compare with that of the lion's 
voice. It has sometimes been likened to the 
noise ostriches make, and this is true to some 
extent of the distant roar of the King of Beasts ; 
but heard near at hand, in the dark or in day- 
light, his roar is a truly terrible and earth-shaking 
sound. The awful notice to every living beast 
that their king is walking the silent night to deal 
out death, whilst it strikes with terror on the ear 
of every creature of the forest and wilderness, 
cannot fail to impress the listening man with 
awe and often with dread. Why do lions roar ? 
Why do they announce their oncoming in the 
night or their departure, as with bloody lips 
they leave their horrid work, in the cold dawn ? 
Do they roar after their prey ? Do they roar 
from pangs of ravening hunger, are they challeng- 
ing or calling or courting or just defying all 
creation, or is it the outcome of mere love of 
boastfulness, making all this noise ? I do not 
know. I hear them on dark nights when they 
are turning the plains into shambles as they 



prowl among the whitened skulls left from a 
hundred cruel feasts; but I hear them too in 
the morning, when the first sunlight is slipping 
quietly forward over the hills, and the vultures 
are gathering for their turn ; more often I hear 
them about an hour or so before dawn, when 
they have had their fill of flesh. It is noticed 
that lions become much more silent in districts 
where they are constantly hunted ; from what 
I have heard from those who first lived near 
the Athi and Kapiti Plains, it would seem that 
though lions were not so very much more numer- 
ous then than at present, they were far more 
noisy. Certainly you may now spend several 
weeks together there with lions around you and 
only hear them two or three times. 

Not long ago, Mr. Selous told me that he 
considered it a fact that they refrained from 
roaring where they were much disturbed. Any 
one may hear the noise a lion can make, at feeding 
time, in the lion house at the Zoo, yet somehow, 
though the air vibrates and the sound comes 
thundering out of the depths of their insides, 
it gives little sensation compared with that of 
standing in the bush on a still night, and not only 
hearing, but feeling it close at hand. I have led 
my horse in the dusk when light failed too much 
to ride among the trees, and heard but the deep 
grunt of a lion, perhaps a quarter of a mile away, 
and felt it so full of meaning that my blood has 
run cold and I have cocked my rifle and tugged 


at my horse to hurry him home. The roar 
proper consists of an ascending scale of half a 
dozen awfully deep and loud moaning, rever- 
berating roars, ending either with a sigh that 
makes the air quiver, or low rumbling growls 
which shake the earth. Until you are familiar 
with them the mere deep staccato chest grunts 
of a lion, when you suddenly disturb one or 
come up with one, are very disconcerting. When- 
ever you put up a lion at close quarters, even 
when he means to bolt at once, he generally 
gives these sharp grunts as he jumps up. A 
lioness with cubs will stand and grunt at you 
from a distance, and leopards will make a cough- 
ing grunt rather similar to that of a lion which 
has spotted you ; at least I have several times 
mistaken the one grunt for the other, which I 
suppose a better observer would not be likely 
to do. Near the place where I resided on the 
Mua Hills, British East Africa, lions may be 
heard roaring as late as eight or nine o'clock in 
the morning, but this is rather uncommon. 


It has been said that the lion's eye is not 
luminous ; I assert it is luminous, even after 
death, giving forth shining light of pale green 
and gold, whilst in life it seems to flash forth 
fire. I have seen photographs of lions taken 
by flashlight at night where the eyes of a startled 






I— I 

-\ < 

I o 


-farg ~ 


lion shine like glowing orbs. But I cannot say- 
that I have ever seen, when gazing at a lion face 
to face, even a yard or two off, from the secure 
shelter of a zariba, on a dark night, any sign 
whatever of light in their eyes ; my own opinion 
is that their eyes, like certain other eyes, have 
the power, even in dim lights, of collecting and 
reflecting concentrated light to a very remark- 
able degree. That their sight in the dark is 
extraordinary has been generally accepted, and 
many are the legends founded on their powerful 
vision. Talking over the camp fire with my 
Arabs one night we were discussing the com- 
parative sight of various animals, and one of 
the men said, " You know the result of the trials 
of sight made by the Prophet ? " I shook my 
head ; he then related this legend : — 

" When Mohammed the Prophet had tested 
the sight of all living creatures, he found that 
Allah had given the best vision to the horse 
and to the lion, and that they could see by night 
as we see by day and even more distinctly ; 
he devised a final test on the blackest night 
there ever was, which should decide for ever 
between these two, the most wonderful of all 
his creatures. 

" Having put before them two bowls, one 
containing milk with a single white hair in the 
milk, and the other containing pitch with a 
single black hair in the pitch, he accorded the 
first place to the lion ; for whilst the horse picked 


the white hair from out the milk, the lion at 
once took out the black hair from the bowl of 

Lions see exactly what they are doing at 
night, and the blacker the night the easier they 
seem to find it to pursue and kill their prey. 
Horses see extraordinarily well at night, and 
long ago I learnt from the Arabs that when 
guarding camp from hyaenas or two-legged 
prowlers of the night, there is no sentinel superior 
to the horse, nor a better indicator than his head. 
All is still and dark save the light from the camp 
fire, which makes the surrounding blackness 
more impenetrable, and which shines, it may be, 
but faintly on the forms of the picketed horses. 
As you sit gazing and listening, you see the horses 
lift up their heads and remain motionless awhile, 
you neither hear nor see anything ; their heads 
turn, they see something — one of them snorts 
softly, and you can note that they are following 
with their eyes an invisible something which 
approaches ; as it draws on, the heads move 
more perceptibly, and you will know whence 
it comes and how near it draws on — at the 
moment you judge best (for the final rush of a 
lion or hyaena is swift as lightning and very 
sure) up goes your gun and breaks the silence of 
the night. One night like this in the Sahara, 
in a region notorious for camel robbers and 
horse thieves, I was hidden in the darkness 
watching my horses thus and aiming at a spot 


my horse was staring at steadily, when the Arab 
nearest me said : u Do not fire, it may be one 
of our own men." We looked round to see if 
we were all there, and this movement in camp 
no doubt alarmed the thief, for the men heard 
some one running away before I fired. By 
daylight we traced where one of the marauders 
had crawled up near on his hands and knees and 
waited, at the very place my horse was staring 
at ; the tracks of the robber's flight were also 
plainly visible. In such places as these, it is 
advisable to have vour horse's legs fixed in 
locked iron shackles, as mine were on this 
occasion ; but though this defeats a thief it does 
not improve a horse's power of self-defence 
against wild beasts. I have known a Somali 
pony tied by the head to a tree keep a lion off 
with his heels, and to be standing uninjured in 
the morning in the midst of a well-padded circle 
of lion tracks. 



Writers of authority declare that lions never 
climb trees, that they never jump any height, 
and that they never bound or spring when 
attacking. Again I say, it is not safe to say that 
lions never do this or that. Lions will at times 
climb trees, and indeed in one or two regions 
they are quite addicted to climbing certain forest 
trees ; in a particular one which, owing to 
the presence of the tsetse fly, has no resident 
native population, the neighbouring Gallas and 
Somali gum hunters are the only people to 
be found there ; these go in on foot for the 
sole purpose of gathering gum. As a rule gum 
hunters, when away from home, find security 
at night in the trees ; but in Burka it is notorious 
that they are not safe in ordinary trees, and that 
many a gum hunter has been taken out of trees 
by Burka lions. 

Two well - informed and truthful Somalis, 
whom I knew well, thought it a habit peculiar 
to the lions of Burka, and in a wide and long 
experience of lions could not cite an instance of 

climbing lions elsewhere in Somaliland. There 



is, however, little reason, given trees proportionate 
in size and form, why the biggest of all the cats 
should not climb trees like others of this family. 
Tigers have been known to climb trees, and 
during inundations to swim out and climb on 
board a steamer — there is nothing in their 
structure generally nor in that of their claws 
to prevent their climbing ; yet unless a tree has 
large branches and a trunk out of the vertical, 
it is rather difficult to picture them getting far 
off the ground, though if branches were strong 
and numerous it is conceivable that they could 
get up a very straight tree. As to their ability 
to jump and spring there is no doubt whatever. 
They often come into native karias in Somali- 
land over dense thorn zaribas 10, 12, or even 
more feet in height, and not only jump in, but, 
incredible as it may seem, will take a fair-sized 
camel out. I have never seen it done, but have 
seen where they have done it and am certain 
they do it. On questioning some Somalis who 
showed me a Gadabursi zariba fully 12 feet 
high, out of which a lion had taken a camel, 
they said the lion seized and dragged the camel 
by the neck and swung it on to the fence, 
then jumping over he pulled it down on the 
other side and trailed it away. But this is not 
more remarkable than a story told me by Mr. 
James Saunderson, in whose veracity I im- 
plicitly believe ; it is one I have often been laughed 
at for repeating. I told it to Colonel Roosevelt 


in 1909, and he could not resist poking fun at 
me gently for days after. This is what Saunder- 
son told me : — 

One day when he, with a friend, was hunting in 
Portuguese territory, he shot a young giraffe, and 
left the carcass out as bait for lion or leopard ; 
on returning the next day they saw a leopard, 
and after following it, shot it. On going back to 
the tree again, under which they had left the 
giraffe the previous day, they could see nothing 
of it until they looked up, when they saw the 
giraffe hanging over a large branch 20 feet 
from the ground ; the leopard or leopards having 
tugged it up there. 

Saunderson had, like many of us, seen large 
buck taken up into trees by leopards, but could 
not imagine how a leopard could get a carcass 
this size and weight up th$re, yet he was absol- 
utely certain of the fact. 


There is no rule to lay down as to when a 
lion will or* will not charge. A very hungry or 
vicious lion, a lion that has been previously 
hunted, or shot at or wounded, may charge un- 
provoked. I have seen a lion charge at first 
sight, but, generally speaking, a lion does not 
charge unless he has been persistently followed 
on foot, ridden after, shot at or wounded. 
Again, generally speaking, he will not attempt 


to charge from a distance from his enemy of 
more than 150 yards. Most of the lion 
charges I have seen have been from 100 
yards or under this distance. As a rule, a lion 
must have been aggravated, or feel himself 
cornered or desperate before he charges. A 
lioness, however, will often charge at sight 
to protect her cubs, if an enemy comes 

Apparently lions will charge from as great 
a distance as 200 vards and over, but I 
think charges from this distance are usually 
confined to very open country. Except when 
mounted and when increasing my distance from 
a lion, my own experience has been that a lion 
increases his pace as he charges home, and is 
not likely to pull up for anything but death ; 
but I could give examples from the experience 
of others which show that, at any rate in a 
charge from a distance of 150 to 200 yards, 
a lion does not always charge straight home. 
Mr. W. S. Rainsford in The Land of the Lion 
gives a very detailed account of his first lion, 
and he measured the distance from which the 
lion charged ; carefully measured it was 170 
yards : ! he came 120 of them faster than 1 
could have believed it possible for any badly 
wounded beast to come." " At about 50 yards''' 
he " slowed down to a trot, and as I saw his 
breast I shot full into it." Mr. Rainsford killed 
his lion. But do not let any one ever count on 


a charging lion slowing down to a trot in the last 
50 yards. 

As far as regards the question of springing, 
I should say that when they attack from some 
distance off, they often cover some of the ground 
in bounds, especially in grass, and when they 
charge they do not in their last stride actually 
leave the ground (though possibly this is done 
on occasion) with all four feet, but rear up and 
strike left and right with their fore-paws and 
seize neck or shoulders with their teeth. Most 
of the people, more particularly natives, whom 
I have seen after being mauled, or who have 
been spectators of lions attacking men who were 
standing erect, describe a lion's action in this 
way, in fact very much as you may see a kitten 
use her fore-paws when catching at a ball. 
Probably most sportsmen who are caught in a 
charge are bowled over by the rush, and know 
very little more than that they are on the ground 
with a lion growling and crunching up their arm 
or their leg. 1 

A friend of mine, Mr. Mervyn Ridley, who 
was very badly mauled two or three years ago 
by a lioness, described what he saw to me in 
this way : he had with some natives and a 
companion been looking for a lioness which the 
natives had seen go into a certain bush ; after a 

1 Vaughan Kirby mentions measuring an exceptional lion's 
bound of 21^ feet. But I consider double this distance is at 
times covered in the bound of a lion. Over 40 feet has been 









careful investigation of the particular bush which 
the natives declared she had entered, they came 
to the conclusion, after much peering and peeping, 
that the natives had made a mistake, and that 
she was in the next bush, and off they set to 
examine one close at hand. Ridley had just 
turned on his heel and was about to move off, 
when the lioness flew out at him from the bush 
he had just turned his back on ; he had just 
time to fire as she sprang in the air — though he 
hit her she landed on the top of him, and the next 
moment he was on the ground with the lioness 
lying beside him chawing and munching his arm 
from the wrist up to the shoulder, growling 
while she crunched the bone. 

Others being there, his life was saved, though 
his sufferings from the after effects were terrible, 
and lasted many weeks, and his arm crippled 
for life ; he had not even the satisfaction of 
getting the brute's skin, for she escaped. 

In 1895, when I first went to Somaliland, 
I purchased the ponies and some of the camp 
kit of an officer, a gunner, named Sandbach, who 
had just succumbed to blood-poisoning after 
being mauled by his first lion. What took place 
when this accident occurred also illustrates the 
behaviour of lions when attacking. 

Sandbach and his shikari were standing at 
the end of a grass patch where a lioness was 
known to be in hiding, whilst his boys had gone 
to the far end to drive her out. As they failed 


to dislodge her with cries and stones, the grass 
was set on fire and out she came. Sandbach's 
shikari had the main supply of ammunition and 
a second rifle, he himself had half a dozen cart- 
ridges or so, but expended them in shooting at 
her some distance off, only hitting her once in 
the belly, whereupon she charged straight at 
Sandbach and his gun-bearer; the former had 
only his empty rifle, and no time to reach his 
second; the lioness rose at the shikari and hit 
him one awful clout on the head, smashing his 
skull to pieces like an egg-shell, killing him 
instantaneously : then she turned at once on 
Sandbach who was a tall, powerful man ; he 
received her attack, thrusting his rifle barrels 
down her throat so far that she caught his 
forward hand in her jaws — he then used his other 
hand to release the one she had pinned, trying 
to open her teeth, and she got hold of that arm 
too ; whilst thus struggling with her one of his 
boys arrived, running at top speed, on the scene, 
and plunged his spear into the lioness and killed 

In this case, had Sandbach been furnished 
with the simple means of disinfecting his wounds, 
or had he allowed himself to be treated by the 
Somalis, whose remedies, though rough and 
ready, are by no means to be despised, there 
probably would have been no fatal results. 
Every African hunter should have in his pocket 
or saddle-bags a surgical knife, corrosive sub- 


limate (or permanganate of potash, iodoform, 
iodine, carbolic acid, or some other antiseptic), 
a syringe, bandages, and, if possible, a silver 
probe — at least a strong antiseptic should in- 
variably be carried, and knives and bandages 
steeped in it before using them. Sandbach, 
not having any of these, should have submitted 
to the treatment the Somalis desired to give him ; 
they would at once have cut open every tooth 
bite and fang stab to the bottom, and washed 
them all out thoroughly with water before 
binding and bandaging. 

One day in 1909, while looking for some lions 
near my place in British East Africa, in the 
company of my daughter, and Messrs. Hume 
Chaloner and Clifford and Harold Hill, the two 
latter, who were driving a donga down towards 
the other three of us, came upon a leopard which 
one of them wounded with a ball, the leopard also 
received a shot in the lungs, with a poisoned arrow, 
from one of the Wakamba boys. The leopard 
flew on to Harold Hill, and, fastening on his 
wrist with his teeth and to his legs with his hind 
claws, would no doubt have done him more 
damage had not Clifford Hill (whose gun was 
empty) promptly beaten the leopard off with 
his gun barrels. As soon as the leopard was 
disposed of, we made a solution of corrosive 
sublimate, which I had in my saddle-bags, with 
cold tea, as we had no water with us, and pushing 
cotton wool saturated with this solution into the 


punctures and wounds, we made the best job 
we could of it. We treated the incident as a 
joke, and in some respects it was an amusing 
accident to the parties least concerned, but we 
were somewhat uneasy about it, for though we 
did not allude to it we were all aware that the 
leopard, while on Hill, had had his teeth in Hill's 
wrist, was coughing blood over him from his lungs 
in which the poisoned arrow was sticking, and 
that this poison was of the deadliest and swiftest 
nature. However, the wounds healed with extra- 
ordinary rapidity without any bad effects. 

This is mentioned as an instance of the ease 
with which very rudimentary precautions can be 
effectively and promptly taken. Septic poison- 
ing is the cause of most of the fatal or serious 
results from the wounds made by the teeth and 
claws of carnivora. Men are, of course, killed 
outright or fatally injured by lions, never in my 
experience by leopards, when out shooting ; but 
by far the greater proportion of fatalities result 
from blood-poisoning caused by putrefying and 
corrupt remnants of flesh and blood adhering 
to the lining of claw sheaths, or to the teeth and 
gums of lions and leopards. 

In the case of all bites, including those of 
mosquitoes, flies, and ticks, especially in all 
tropical countries, it is a wise precaution to 
disinfect them at the earliest opportunity ; this 
holds good of thorn scratches, for some thorns 
in Africa are very poisonous. I find on getting 


into camp, or on arriving home, a good wash 
over with a weak solution of corrosive sublimate 
allays irritation and heals all abrasions quickly. 

The following is the account of the death of 
an English officer whom I knew in South Africa, 
and who was killed in British East Africa in his 
first encounter with a lion just below the hill 
on which my house stood. It is written by a 
friend of his who was present, who has asked me 
not to mention names, and illustrates the danger 
from blood - poisoning, even when claws only 
reach the flesh through clothing. 

" On September the 27th, 1904, while 
travelling between Lukania and Machakos Road, 
Boma, we came on four lions close to the road. 
They at once ran to cover, only one of them show- 
ing ; this one I shot dead at about 200 yards ; two 
of the others cleared ; these X. went after. I 
waited for a few minutes before going up to the 
one I had shot. On my way, going through some 
very long grass and scrub, I put up the fourth 
lion, and as he went away from me I shot him 
in the hind-quarters. He rolled over, but was on 
his feet again in an instant, turned round and 
was into the scrub in a flash, all the time making 
an unearthly row. I couldn't see him, and 
thought I had better get out of the scrub, which 
I did. In the meanwhile X. had no luck with the 
two he went after. When he returned to where I 
was, I told him what had happened ; he then 
said, ' Let us get him out of it.' I said, f No, 


it is too dangerous.' We waited there for a 
short time, thinking that the lion might shift; 
but no, he was lying very low. We then sent 
a Wakamba round, burning the grass on the top 
side, with the result that we could not see much 
for smoke. Before the fire came up to the lion, 
X. decided to shift his position to a place where he 
thought he could get a better shot. The lion 
was either badly shot or very sulky, for he lay 
in the grass until the fire burned the tuft of hair 
at the end of his tail. Meanwhile, from where X. 
was he managed to get a shot at him, hitting him 
low down in the belly ; he got another two 
shots in while the brute was charging, but when 
the lion was close on him and he put up his rifle 
to fire, he evidently had got excited and forgot 
to reload his rifle. When the lion knocked him 
down, I got a bit closer and fired high at the 
lion, with the result that he left X. and came for 
me. He was very weak and did not come very 
quick, and as he was coming along low on the 
ground I had a good shot at him in the ci.^st; 
he dropped quite dead. I then went up to X. 
and found that he had not been bitten at all, but 
had nineteen claw wounds on the fleshy part 
of his back. I tried to dress his wounds. I then 
fixed up a camp bed, lashed the tent poles to 
it and made a stretcher with it, and started a 
runner to Athi River station to telegraph for a 
doctor and a special train. We then started 
off with X. for the station, which was quite a job 



with Kikuyu porters. We arrived at the station 
just before the special train with the doctor. 
The doctor dressed X.'s wounds and we all re- 
turned to Nairobi, and X. was taken to the hospital 
and died there on the third day after the accident 
(on October 1st)." 

When lions are hunting for meat they do not 
always kill their prey in the approved manner 
described in books, viz., by seizing the neck 
with their teeth, holding on with one fore- and 
the two hind-paws, and then placing the other 
fore-paw across the nose of the animal and pulling 
the head round and back, and so dislocating the 
neck. Having stalked or made their rush into 
a herd or at a single animal, they follow no fixed 
rule. I have seen various animals clawed on the 
quarters ; it is common on the plains to see 
zebra with old or fresh marks clearly visible, 
every claw having left its deep line. In two 
instances I know of where men on horseback 
have been attacked, it has been from behind ; 
on the other hand, most of the camels, horses, and 
antelopes which I have seen killed by lions have 
either had the throat or the back of the neck 
torn or deeply bitten. 

I was in charge, as Resident Magistrate, of 
the Barberton District in the Eastern Transvaal 
between 1903 and 1905, and can vouch for the 
truth of the following story. I know the man 
well, and sat with him at times when for weeks 
he was recovering in bed from his strange 



adventure ; every circumstance was substanti- 
ated in the inquiries made, by an inspection of 
the spot, and in the post-mortem examination 
of the lion. It is given in Wolhuter's own 



By H. Wolhuter, Ranger, Transvaal Government Game 

Reserves. 1 

... On 26th August (1904) I had to do rather 
a long march on account of scarcity of water, 
consequently sundown found me riding along 
the native bank some three miles short of my 
destination, Metzi Metz, accompanied by a large, 
rough-haired dog (of no very special breed, but 
of tried courage), and carrying my '400 express. 
My four natives and three donkeys were a few 
miles behind me. 

It was already pretty dark, twilight being a 
matter of minutes in these latitudes, and the 
path which I followed led along the banks of a 
small dried river bed. I had reached a place 
where a patch of long grass grew beside the 
path, when my dog " Bull " ran forward barking, 
and I caught sight of some indistinct forms 
which, from their general appearance, I took to 
be reedbucks ; the very last thing I was thinking 

1 Extracted from the Journal, vol. i., of the Society for the 
Protection of the Fauna of the Empire. 

1 8 S 


of was lions, having been fruitlessly tramping 
the country in hopes of securing one for some 
time. I therefore whistled to the dog, and the 
next moment was conscious of a lion close to me 
on the off side, and preparing to spring. I had 
no time to lift my rifle, but simply snatched my 
horse round to the near side, and drove the 
spurs in ; he gave a bound which, no doubt, 
caused the lion partially to miss his spring, as 
his claws slipped on the horse's quarters, and 
though several ugly wounds were inflicted he 
lost hold. The concussion and the subsequent 
violent spring of the horse caused me to lose my 
seat, and simultaneously I saw a second lion 
rushing up from the opposite direction. I abso- 
lutely fell into his jaws, and believe that he had me 
before I ever touched the ground. I imagine that 
these lions were after the horse in the first instance, 
there being no known man-eaters in the district, 
but finding me so easy a prey, this gentleman 
decided to accept what Providence offered to him. 

The next thing I recollect was being dragged 
along the path on my back, my right arm and 
shoulder in the lion's mouth, my body and legs 
underneath his belly, while his fore-paws kept 
trampling on me as he trotted along, lacerating 
the fronts of my thighs considerably and tearing 
my trousers to shreds. 

I had, of course, dropped my rifle, which I 
was accustomed to carry in a bucket in mounted 
infantry fashion. All the time the lion was 


dragging me along he kept up a sort of growling 
purr, something like a hungry cat does when she 
catches a bird or a mouse, and is anticipating 
a welcome meal. 

My spurs kept dragging and catching in the 
ground till at last the leather broke. I cannot 
say that my feelings at this time were at all in 
accord with those of Dr. Livingstone, who in 
his book, if I am not mistaken, expresses his 
feelings as those of dreamy repose, with no 
sense of pain ; I, on the other hand, suffered 
extremely in that respect, while I hope I may 
never have again to undergo such agony of mind 
as I then experienced ; it seemed hard to die like 
that, and yet I could see no part of a chance, 
not the slightest loophole of escape. 

Suddenly, like a flash, I thought of my sheath 
knife ; I always carried it in my belt behind my 
right hip, and on most other occasions when I 
had had a fall it had fallen out ; was it still 
there ? The lion holding me by the right 
shoulder, I was obliged to reach round and 
underneath me in order to get at it. It took a 
long time, as it must be remembered that I was 
being dragged and trotted on by my captor all 
the time, but at last I managed it. How I held 
on to that knife ! It was only an ordinary 3-inch 
blade of soft steel, such as one buys cheap at any 
up-country store, but it meant all the world to 
me then. I now no longer thought of death or 
anything else ; all my mind and energy were 


concentrated on not letting go my one last road 
of escape. After dragging me nearly 200 yards, 
the lion stopped under a big forked tree with 
large roots ; as he did so, I felt for where I 
judged his heart to be, and struck him behind 
the shoulder — one, two — with the energy of 
despair, using, of course, my left hand. He 
dropped me at the first stab, but still stood 
above me growling, and I then struck him a 
third time in the throat with all the force of 
which I was capable, severing some large vein 
or artery, as the blood deluged me. On receiving 
this last stab my adversary sprang away and 
stood facing me two or three yards off, still growl- 
ing ; I scrambled to my feet, and so we stood 
opposite to one another. I fully expected him 
to attack me again, and, recalling what I had 
often read about the effects of the human voice, 
I shouted at the pitch of my lungs all the most 
opprobrious epithets of which I was master. I 
fear much of what I said would be quite un- 
printable and quite unfit " to point a moral or 
adorn a tale," but I don't think under the 
circumstances that even the most pronounced 
advocate of the suaviter in modo could have 
expected me to be polite. 

Perhaps the force and volume of my language 
helped what my good little knife had begun, but 
anyhow, after what seemed an age, and may 
have been only a few seconds, the lion turned 
and was lost to sight in the darkness. I could 


hear his growls turning to moans, which got 
fainter and finally ceased, and to my inexpres- 
sible relief I felt that I had probably killed him. 
Before this, however, I had lost no time in 
getting up the friendly tree as expeditiously as 
my lacerated right shoulder would permit me, 
and was hardly safely ensconced out of danger 
when the other lion, who had made a long and 
unsuccessful chase after my horse, with " Bull " 
sticking close and barking all the time, returned 
to the spot where it had parted from its com- 
panion, immediately picked up my blood spoor, 
and came with a rush nearly to the foot of my 
tree. I now shouted to the dog to encourage 
him, and he went for the lion in great style, 
barking all round him, until the latter retreated 
and disappeared for a few minutes, at the end 
of which he returned and made an ugly charge 
at the dog, who cleverly avoided him, and 
nothing daunted, returned to the attack, en- 
couraged by my shouts. Finding he could 
neither get rid of his diminutive antagonist nor 
yet get at me, Leo evidently thought he was 
giving himself a good deal of trouble for nothing, 
and so went off sulkily in the direction taken by 
his now dead companion. 

I was by this time feeling very faint and stiff, 
and fearing I would swoon and fall from the tree, 
I fastened myself to the branches as well as I 
could with neckcloth and handkerchief. Pres- 
ently I heard voices which heralded the arrival 


of my boys. I promptly called to them, and 
with their assistance got down from the tree ; 
it took an immense time. I was suffering from 
a raging thirst and in great pain, and we had 4 
miles nearly to go to camp. Roughly bandaging 
my shoulder, we started off, carrying firebrands 
in case the lion should return. Never shall I 
forget that walk ; often I fancied I heard stealthy 
footfalls in the darkness, and it seemed in my 
weakness and pain as if we should never arrive. 
I put the distance down at 14 miles, thinking 
I was estimating it very moderately, and even 
now it seems difficult to realize that it was 
barely four. 

However, all things have an end, and we got 
to the huts at last about midnight, I suppose. 
The boys ran off to get water, but, owing to the 
usual pools being dry, it took a long time finding 
any, and I lay enduring untold agonies of thirst. 
When at last the grateful liquid did come, I 
simply could not stop drinking, and don't know 
why I did not do myself some serious injury. 
High fever set in before morning. The boys 
went out at sunrise and found my horse grazing 
quietly in the bush, and not much the worse, 
my rifle (a new one) uninjured, and the lion, 
which proved to be an old male, with a grey- 
flecked mane, his long canines worn quite flat 
at the points. His stomach was quite empty, 
and he must have been ravenously hungry. The 
other, I should say, must have been a much 


younger animal, from what I saw of him ; I 
suppose they had had a run of bad luck hunting. 
After the boys had made a litter and I had 
rested a day, I was carried down to Komati Poort, 
and promptly forwarded to Barberton Hospital, 
which I reached six days after the accident, and 
here excellent attention and comfort awaited 



It is impossible to say what is the favourite 
food of lions. In East Africa zebra, which is 
always fat, appears to be their standing dish, 
but they kill large numbers of hartebeest, 
wildebeest, impala, and in fact all the ante- 
lopes from gazelle to the largest, even includ- 
ing sometimes the giraffe. In countries where 
buffalo abound they feed largely upon them. It 
is often stated in books that they eat putrid 
carcasses and carrion ; they will certainly eat and 
are fond of elephant and rhinoceros meat, whether 
fresh or " high " — these of course are beasts they 
cannot kill themselves. I have known them 
come to eat the corpses of giraffe and zebra, but 
I feel very confident that, excepting say elephant, 
rhinoceros, and giraffe, they prefer the fresh meat 
of zebra, antelopes, buffalo, camel, horse, and ox 
which they have killed themselves. For a man 
to kill hartebeest or other antelopes and to use 
the dead bodies as lion baits, or to leave out the 
carcasses of oxen and horses which have not been 
killed by lions, in the hope of the meal thus 

provided attracting the King of Beasts, will 



result in disappointment nine times out of ten ; 
but to revisit the remains of rhinoceros, elephant, 
and giraffe will often meet with a reward. If a 
lion comes upon a beast freshly killed by sports- 
men, he is very likely to make a meal off it, or 
to visit it ; and where lions are known to be 
about in the neighbourhood, it is worth while 
to sit in hiding over your kill for a few hours 
within easy shot and with the wind in your face 
— a hungry lion will sometimes come in broad 
daylight to the carcass. A hungry lion is a bad, 
bold beast ; Lord Delamere told me that once 
when he was riding down a wounded oryx bull 
in Sornaliland and was pressing him hard, a 
lion sprang out of the grass and pulled down the 
oryx under his very nose. 

It must again be repeated that lions' habits 
vary in different localities, and when authorities 
state that a lion " always " returns to his kill, 
that he then drags it away before making a 
second meal, and so on, these may be generaliza- 
tions pretty accurate for one region and not in 
another. For instance, in that part of British 
East Africa with which I am most familiar, 
I should say lions very seldom return to their 
kill, owing to the abundance of game they kill 
nightly. After disembowelling their victim, 
feasting on intestinal dainties, and eating their 
fill off the fattest and softest portions, they retire 
towards daylight to lie up in some shelter hard 
by, whilst hyaenas, jackals, and vultures finish 


what they leave, and the lions repeat the per- 
formance the following night. No lion on the 
Kapiti Plains would find anything left of his kill 
to eat if he did return. 

In Somaliland lions very often return to their 
kills, but I have often known them not to do so, 
and although I have frequently sat over their 
kills at night, I only once obtained a shot and 
killed a lion by this means. On that occasion the 
lion had killed two big camels, and I disturbed 
him just at the beginning of his feast in the 
early morning. I remained by the kill all that 
day and through the next night ; he returned 
about the middle of the night, and I shot him. 
Several lions I have killed have had porcu- 
pine quills sticking in their paws and lips ; both 
lions and leopards seem to be fond of porcupine 
flesh, in spite of this kind of pepper. Lions 
invading enclosures often kill a great deal more 
than what they require for food ; instances 
are known of their killing a score or two 
of goats or sheep, and I have known about 
fifty ostriches killed by lions in a single 

Mr. Selous relates an instance which came 
under his observation, where a lion killed one 
hundred pigs in a compound in a single night ! 
But then, if I remember right, the lion had got 
into an enclosure he could not see the way out 
of, and presumably got into a state of nervous 
irritation which drove him to vent his annoyance 


on the black squealing things that tore madly 
about as he rushed round and round the boma 
to find an exit. It is possible that he did it just 
for sport, biting pig after pig in the neck, as I 
have known a fox bite off the heads of more than 
a hundred pheasants in a pheasant field in one 
night. Dog should not eat dog, yet lion is said 
to eat lion. I have returned to many dead lions 
and seen no sign of their ever doing so, but I 
do not question the experience of others on this 
point. The leopard loves a dish of dead dog 
of his own killing ; thus cat eats dog, whether 
cat eats cat or not. 

Again, it is not accurate to say that lions 
" always " drink water after their meals ; it is 
probably true they would always like to. Some 
authorities state that lions always suck the 
blood of the animals they kill before proceeding 
to eat ; I do not know anything about this, and 
never heard any one say they had seen them 
doing it, but apart from the question of " suck- 
ing," they no doubt lap up a large quantity of 
blood. Now it is inconceivable that lions, for 
instance on the waterless Haud of Somaliland, 
drink water even once a week in some localities, 
for lions are there not only during the rains 
but long after every water pool is dried up. 
Naturalists will say that antelopes as well as 
lions must have water to drink. I have shot a 
lion far out of reach of water during an eight 
days' march across the Haud, when there was 



not a drop of water on the Haud. The naturalist 
will say the lions know of water you do not 
know of ; every one who knows the Haud in 
the dry season will corroborate me when I assert 
that there cannot be possibly any water in certain 
regions where the lions are. But then these 
sceptics would not credit the fact that the 
Somalis, with their camels, ponies, and flocks, 
will live in the Haud for months at a time, a 
hundred miles or so from water pools or wells, 
and without seeing water ; yet it is nevertheless 
a fact that, while there is any verdure on the 
prairies, with their vast herds of gale (female 
camels) yielding an enormous milk supply, they 
require for themselves no other food or drink 
than this nourishing, strengthening, thirst- 
quenching beverage, and that their ponies are 
never in better condition than during these 
months when the grass is green and they drink 
no water but slake their thirst out of the over- 
flowing milk hans. Needless to say, Somali 
ponies are more immune from thirst than even 
most African breeds of horses ; they are accus- 
tomed to search for the moisture necessary 
for them, not only among the greener grass, 
but among the more evergreen of the Somali 
bushes and trees. Nature has provided in 
the driest places of the earth protected and 
hidden reservoirs of liquid in its plant 

Sir Edmund Loder, my wife, and I put in 


nine days on one occasion in crossing the water- 
less Haud, where it was more than 200 
miles between the southern and northern wells 
(from Hagal in the south to Sheikh Aubahadleh 
in the north). We had five Somali ponies, and 
we rode them all day ; we passed but one patch 
of green grass during the nine days, where some 
thunder-shower, born out of due time, had fallen 
a week or two previously ; our ponies had 
water but twice during this anxious crossing. 
Measured by hours the time taken was just about 
195 hours, i.e. a few more hours than eight 
days of twenty-four hours each. The ponies 
were watered thus (the camels had no water at 
all) :— 

Water " ad lib." at the starting 

from the Wells of Hagal. 1 

After 78 hours. Ij bucket of water each. 

,, 38 ,, 1 bucket each. 

„ 79 ,, Arrived at the wells at Sheikh 


195 hours. 

Under ordinary conditions this journey should 
have been made in seven days. As for antelopes 
and gazelles, I have argued the water question 
with the book naturalists, who know all about 
these things, and in spite of them all I assert 

1 I have known a French officer's horse, a Saharian barb, do a 
ten days' desert march on one litre of water a day and survive. 


that for the antelopes and all living things, save 
man, in certain vast regions of the Sahara, 
where I have been, there is no water whatever 
save in deep wells, and not even to oblige the 
learned will these stupid animals carry long 
ropes and pails about with them. But desert 
herbage and plant life is curiously and wonder- 
fully made ; it is armed ingeniously in many ways, 
in its surfaces, in the forms of its leaves, in the 
hardness and texture of its barks, in globular 
shapes and bulbous growths, beautifully devised 
for their purpose ; within these defences the life- 
giving liquid lies safely hid, defying scorching 
sun and drying wind and dust. Sheep in 
England, owing to the greenness of our grass 
and the moisture of our herbage, seldom drink, 
practically never ; in Africa their food is often 
so dry and withered that the watering of the 
flocks is the chief toil of the shepherds. The 
natives of the Sudan bring their sheep miles 
to the great rivers to water them, whilst the 
Somalis and other natives of Africa bring their 
cattle and sheep to the wells and draw water 
for them. 

That a lion can go many days without water 
in a country where he is able to feed freely on 
fresh flesh is a fact, and though for any lion it 
may be a painful adaptation to circumstances, 
he survives on such moisture as blood and the 
intestines of animals provide him with. My 
own opinion is that he can go several weeks 


without water, 1 for it is difficult to imagine a 
lion making many journeys to and from water 
even 50 miles away. 

1 Vide -pp. 138, 139, A. L. Butler's remarks on lions in waterless 
districts of the Sudan. The Somalis, who are well acquainted with 
the habits of lions in their country, never told me of lions on the 
Haud eating the water-melons or other water-holding plants, nor 
do I remember seeing any of these plants on the Haud. 



Gordon Gumming says that lion-hunting is 
dangerous under any circumstances, but the 
danger can be reduced to a minimum by proper 
precautions. Selous declares the lion to be far 
more dangerous than any other animal in Africa. 
I have heard other experienced hunters say that 
you have only to go on long enough at the game 
to be caught. With but a slight experience of 
elephants and rhinoceroses and almost none with 
buffalo, I cannot pretend to set myself up as an 
authority beside the men I have named, and 
many others whom I know, who have had a full 
experience of all dangerous African game, but 
I suppose I have been in at the death of nearly 
as many lions as either of those two noted 
hunters ; and as far as I can judge I corroborate 
their opinion. However, I hope to show that it 
is possible, by the exercise of vigilance and the 
display of a respectable amount of skill, to reduce 
the risks of accidents very decidedly. The chief 
danger in lion- hunting is over - confidence and 
obliviousness to the risk attending the lightning 
rapidity of the lion's action at unexpected moments. 



Lion-hunting may be conducted in a great 
variety of ways. I propose to consider them in the 
order of merit, as regards sport from my point 
of view : — 

1. Tracking on foot ; 

2. Hunting on horseback ; 

3. Hunting with dogs (on foot or on horse- 
back) ; 

4. Night shooting from zaribas and machans 
by water places or over kills. 

The books containing hints on hunters' 
equipment and armament are legion, and re- 
marks here on this subject shall be as short as I 
can make them ; each man has some different 
idea as to what he requires for his comfort and 
efficiency. What clothes you wear, what arms 
and accessories you take with you when lion- 
hunting, depend on where you are, and whether 
you are going to hunt on foot or on horseback, 
by day or by night, and whether alone or attended 
by few or many men. On the question of 
weapons alone you may find a great variety of 
opinions among experienced sportsmen, and as 
a rule each man can give good reasons for his 
predilections. I propose to outline mine. 

To begin with, I would, if possible, always 
have a good pony ; by " good " I mean a pony 
that answered as nearly as I could get one to this 
description, namely, as handy as a first-rate polo 
pony, absolutely steady under all conditions of 
fire, standing stock-still at the shortest notice, 


never wincing at shots fired near him, from his 
back when at rest, or between his ears and past 
his eyes when he has been given the bridle and 
you shoot at full gallop, a pony that is fast 
and free, that will turn and bend, is sure of foot 
and will jump off from rest like a racehorse, 
whenever the signal to go is given. Of course 
in many places among mountains and rocks, 
in thick bush and forest countries, these quali- 
ties cannot be of much service, and your pony 
becomes a mere fatigue- saving accessory, enabling 
you to carry more, to go farther and get back 
to camp after the hardest day. In case of acci- 
dent to yourself or boys, the presence of a pony 
or its absence may make the difference between 
life and death. If you are hunting in the open, 
you had better hunt on foot than on an impetuous 
hard-mouthed, stumbling or shying brute, or 
even on a slow and spiritless animal. In either 
of these cases you run the extra risk of being 
caught ; your horse may become unmanageable 
at a critical moment, or go heels over head, or 
refuse to allow you to shoot, swerving when you 
are on his back, trying to break away from you 
when you are dismounted, perhaps not allowing 
you to mount, or being so stupid that he will 
neither attempt to carry you nor himself out of 
danger. I have seen a good man on a good pony 
very nearly caught just because the pony had nuL 
size, strength, or pace to carry such a load out 
of danger. I recommend a colonial pattern, 


panelled saddle with wallets or small saddle-bags. 
In your saddle-bags you can carry spare ammuni- 
tion, knives, lunch, antiseptics, anything you 
want with you, but do not stuff big saddle-bags 
full and overweight your pony, and see they 
are adjusted so as not to swing when you gallop. 
Look to it that your stirrup leathers are sound 
and your stirrup irons large and heavy, heavy 
irons which leave your boots free in them, drop 
off your foot in a fall and minimize the risk of 
being dragged. I always carry a leather-punch 
and a few bifurcated rivets for mending bridles, 
girths, etc. Where there is riding and galloping 
to be done, the dress I find most convenient is 
this : very hard rubber-soled boots, the shortest 
necked spurs I can get (long spurs are liable to 
trip you up when walking), canvas leggings, 
khaki drill riding or knickerbocker breeches, 
Norfolk jacket with leather belt (the latter run 
through one of the shoulder straps of your field- 
glass case, to prevent it swinging when riding or 
tumbling forward when crawling), the pockets of 
the coat strong-lined for cartridges and to button 
down (three pockets inside, three pockets out- 
side), and a khaki Elwood skikar helmet with a 
chin strap that fits. I carry besides skinning 
knives in my saddle-bags, one strong camp 
knife with tin opener, corkscrew, buttonhook, and 
screw-driver; I have long since discarded re- 
volvers as intolerable, nearly useless and danger- 
ous lumber, my little Mannlicher is always on 


my back or in my hand. One acquaintance of 
mine carries a double-barrelled 12-bore pistol 
as his last resort with lions, a capital weapon, 
no doubt, but a tiresome addition to one's load 
in a hot country ; but he was once bitten badly 
by a lion, and " once bit by lion more than twice 
shy " holds good for most people. 

Many of the best men hunt in their shirts 
without coat or waistcoat, in breeches cut short 
like bathing drawers, and with bare legs. To 
me this fashionable costume is the height of 
discomfort and very unpractical, necessitating 
hanging your middle round with bandoliers, 
pouches and knife cases, and stuffing your 
breeches pockets with all sorts of things ; also 
a constant hitching up of your breeches and 
stuffing down of your shirt. When the shirt 
sleeves are cut off at the shoulder and your legs, 
in a hot climate, are wound round and round in 
thick woollen putties, the misery is complete, 
but it must be borne if you would have your 
arms, as well as your knees, tanned brown, not 
forgetting neck and chest. Remember, the 
browner your arms and chest, and the more 
ticks and bites you can show on your knees, 
the finer fellow you are ; but personally I should 
be happier in nothing but a coat and pair of 
trousers. As to rifles, I prefer to have one 
light handy rifle and a double-barrelled ball 
and shot gun carried in reserve, when after lions. 
The rifle which has been my constant companion 


since 1892 is a rather short barrelled, five shot 
magazine '256 Mannlicher ; any apparent de- 
ficiency in size of bore and weight of bullet is 
compensated for, in my opinion, by the ease and 
rapidity with which it can be manipulated, the 
little room occupied by ammunition, the flatness 
of the trajectory and the superiority of its 
striking energy over some of the larger bores. 
With the *256 I have killed many lions as well 
as pachyderms, and antelopes from greater 
kudu downwards, it is no weight to carry on 
foot or on horseback, and the mechanism is of 
the simplest and strongest kind ; wet, sand, mud, 
tumbles, and croppers have never injured it, and 
a soft-nosed bullet or a ratchet H.P. 1 Fraser's 
ball " sets up " so well that at times it makes 
a hole almost as big as one of nearly double its 
calibre. My gun-bearer carries as a rule a very 
out-of-date weapon, namely, a double-barrelled 
10-bore ball and shot hammer-gun, shooting 
black powder and solid soft, solid hard, and 
H.P. 1 bullet; it is accurate up to 100 yards, it 
has always served its purpose well with me on 
lion, elephant, and rhino, and though un- 
wieldy has done execution with small shot as 
well as with buckshot. I once shot thirteen 
guinea-fowl with the two barrels ! Of course, to 
use such a weapon is almost laughable nowadays, 
but I feel so very safe behind it, and have seen it 
give lions such smashing blows when it blazes, 

1 H.P. = Hollow Point. 


bangs and booms forth, that I have no inclination 
to discard it, for what I admit are the more 
beautiful, more powerful, and more accurate 
cordite rifles of the day. But remember there 
are at least two things to be said^ whilst the 
accuracy, flat trajectory and great range of a 
powerful modern rifle give it an immense general 
superiority over old-fashioned guns and express 
rifles, much of this superiority is lost when in 
action at a rapidly moving object at, say, 25 
yards or less range. With a charging lion, 
there is no time for carefully aligning delicate 
sights ; to hit and to hit true once and twice is 
more easy with a heavy old big-bore rifle or gun 
than with a powerful, short-barrelled sharp re- 
coiling *450 or *500 cordite rifle. At such close 
range the former does all that is necessary, and, in 
my opinion, does it better, because there is the 
risk of the modern more powerful rifle driving 
its cased bullet through and beyond the animal, 
in fact drilling it, whereas with a soft, solid lead 
ball, the ball " sets up " at once, flattening and 
mushrooming without splintering and breaking 
up (in the way a soft-nosed, cordite rifle bullet 
or hollow point one so often does), and the soft 
lead ball goes ploughing and smashing on till the 
whole force of the blow is expended in the 
animal, i.e. the lion gets it all. The penetration 
and energy of a cased bullet in front of modern 
explosives is not necessarily an advantage at 
close quarters with lions; there is not always 



sufficient resistance to a high velocity metal 
enveloped projectile to " set it up," and there is a 
risk of its piercing through and wasting a large 
proportion of its force beyond the important 
part of the target or right beyond the target 
altogether. I certainly am of opinion that the 
safest weapon to use at close quarters is a handy 
double-barrelled weapon with soft lead ball in 
both barrels or ball in the right and shot in the 
left. As to what sized shot, I incline to think 
that any size above No. 4 up to S.S.S.G. will 
do ; if you can wait till a lion is, say, within 
3 yards before you pull the trigger of your 
last barrel, I believe No. 1 would be as effective 
as any size, and that even No. 4 or No. 5 would 
be good enough. 

I have noticed one or two of the most experi- 
enced of my acquaintance discard everything 
but an ordinary 12-bore shot gun, loaded with 
treble A (AAA) or a similar size of shot, for 
close quarters ; and facing a ferocious lion I 
have felt quite comfortable with my '256 Mann- 
licher in my hand and a 12-bore gun, loaded with 
big shot, cocked on the ground between my feet. 

The great thing is to be able to hit a lion 
accurately where it is certain to stop him, and 
it is better to use a small-bore rifle that you 
know and can shoot well and quickly with, 
than a bigger one which you do not feel perfectly 
at home with. Let every man use the weapons 
he knows best and believes in ; the choice is 


great, and the rifles of the day are wonderful. 
I cannot see why an effective shot and ball 
weapon for modern powders cannot be produced, 
say 20-bore or 16-bore, weighing not more than 
8j lb., which would be handy to ride and shoot 
with, combining the accuracy of a rifle up to 
300 yards, with the stopping power of a gun 
at close range ; something of the sort has 
been produced by Westley Richards. I have 
seen his 28-bore and heard nothing but praise of 
it, but it is a small bore for shooting small game 
like partridges and francolin, and I hanker after 
a big soft lead ball. 

Rifle makers do not quite understand the 
kind of weapon you want for shooting from a 
galloping horse one minute and the next minute 
on foot at over 200 yards range at a gallop- 
ing animal, and a few minutes later at an 
animal charging from thirty yards distance. 
One eminent gunmaker suggested to me that I 
should find a telescopic sight very useful for 
this work ! Fancy bounding over cracks and 
mounds at full speed trying to sight a flying 
animal through a telescope, or even a great 
lumbering, galloping beast only forty yards off, 
when it is all you can do, standing in your 
stirrups with a clean level short barrel to get 
the line and catch your game on the hop ; for 
as your horse rises and falls in his stride your 
muzzle saws up and down. Even with your 
target dead straight in front of you, or exactly 


parallel on your left, it is not always easy 
to snap off at the right moment. What you 
really do, I think, is instinctively to pull just 
before the moment that you see your rifle muzzle 
is going to fall down to the object or going to 
rise on to it ; personally I try to get within 
15 yards of anything but lion, before I fire 
at full gallop, and at this range, or under, it is 
easy work even to kill small beasts such as 
jackal, but when much over this range it is 
1 chancy," though even then the shot comes off 
more often than you would expect. 

Solid rubber-soled boots are the best for 
hunting in, they are the most comfortable to 
walk in, the most noiseless, give a splendid foot- 
hold when climbing rocks and boulders in dry 
countries ; Indian sambur leather cotton-soled 
boots are excellent for hot, dry, and fairly level 
countries like Somaliland, but give poor foothold 
on grassy slopes in East Africa and get nasty in 
countries where there is rain or the hunter has 
to wade through dew-covered grass. If you 
must have brown knees to display, no doubt you 
can get used to shooting in bathing drawers and 
may come to enjoy crawling over thorn-beds 
in bare legs and the titillation of insects. If 
you desire full protection to your legs and do 
not mind how hot they are, leather leggings are 
excellent. I prefer canvas, as giving much more 
freedom and coolness — for putties I have no use 
whatever, life is too short for their adjustment. 


In hot countries I regard them as unbearable ; 
unless time and pains are taken in putting them 
on, they will be a source of continual worry all 
day. I have seen a man hurrying after a wounded 
buck holding the end of undone yards of his 
putty in his hand and getting the thing caught 
in thorns and branches — an object for sympathy. 

A sufficient party to take out for a day's 
hunting with you in Africa would be one composed 
of a syce for your pony, a reliable gun-bearer or 
shikari, and a third boy or second gun-bearer. A 
syce should never get out of touch with you and, 
besides looking after your pony when you are 
mounted, should carry your water-bottle or 
anything else you may want, such as a camera 
or telescope. A No. 8 prism binocular you should 
carry yourself. If you want to send in a quantity 
of meat to camp, of course you require more 
boys, or camels, or mules, according to the 
country you are in. 

I have seen the best of sportsmen mar their 
chances by having a number of boys with them, 
carrying stools, cameras, luncheons, a variety of 
arms and other things. As some men think they 
cannot shoot standing in long grass a camp-stool 
is a great comfort to them, but after all, in Africa 
you must shoot standing up very frequently 
indeed, and even if you can get seated on a stool 
and have it brought up to you without disturbing 
the animals you are stalking, you are without 
the same command and extent of vision that you 


have when erect, and are, of course, far less free 
to follow moving objects and to adapt your 
shooting to their movements. Erect, you see 
your sights more clearly, as well as what you are 
shooting at, and if you are not quite so steady as 
sitting, there are, except for long shots, com- 
pensating advantages. 

No ordinary European can expect to attain the 
rapidity of fire of, say, Afrikanders. This free 
shooting, whether mounted or on foot and in any 
position, is their chief superiority over experi- 
enced European shots. No amount of practice 
on ranges, nor military training, will ever make 
Europeans a match in these respects for the 
settlers in the British African colonies. The 
South African colonist often is reared, so to 
speak, from childhood with a rifle in his hand ; 
the very thing, namely, the extermination of the 
big and more easily killed game, which people 
at home have thought must have impaired the 
skill of Afrikanders, has, in my judgment, done 
nothing of the sort — for the buck, which remain 
still in great numbers, are smaller targets and 
require more skill to obtain than the big game 
which once swarmed over the land. The shoot- 
ing man in South Africa gets " on " with a rifle 
as quickly as we do with a shot gun ; he does not 
bother with back-sights and ranges as we do, 
he instinctively knows what he is doing. As a 
sportsman he is often not beyond reproach, as 
his ability tempts him to pump lead at flying 



bunches of game, and he is too often heedless of 
anything but of hitting something, careless of 
age and sex ; the traditions of the hide and 
biltong hunter still cling to him. For instance, 
he will do with comparative ease, and with vastly- 
better chance of success, what we attempt with 
hesitation and only achieve by more or less 
of a fluke. He will see a galloping buck 400 
yards away, and before you can say " knife " 
his first shot strikes a yard behind the buck ; you 
have hardly marked the puff of dust, when a 
second bullet strikes two yards in front or a yard 
over, and as quickly come two more shots in 
succession, one bullet correcting the preceding 
shot on the instant, with a nice estimate of the 
pace the buck is travelling. In the time five 
shots have been fired, one of which hits, you 
could not have done more than made a tolerable 
guess at the range, aligned your sights, judged 
the pace and got one or at most two shots off. 
Presuming you are as good a judge of range and 
of taking in front, he yet has some five chances 
to your one of scoring a hit. 

In this way, by pumping lead at game moving 
at 500 or even 600 yards, an Afrikander will 
often get a buck ; it is deplorable to have to 
assert that he will, when firing in this way at 
bunches of antelope, as often wound several 
without killing any. Yet I have seen some very 
bad shots among these people too ! 

The lion-hunter should pay attention to one 


or two little details, the neglect of which has 
often led to fatal results. He should carry on 
his person sufficient ammunition for each of the 
weapons he has out, and so disposed that he can 
quickly get at each description without having 
to divert his eyes. I find the handiest plan is 
to have in my right-hand jacket pocket spare 
clips of *256 cartridges and two or three 10-bore 
cartridges. In my left, half a dozen 10-bore 
and one clip of -256 — no mistake can then be 
made in pulling out at once with either hand 
what is wanted at a moment's notice. It is 
just as well to have a spare cartridge or two of 
each sort in an inside pocket, for I have several 
times emptied my outside pockets, in taking a 
head-over-heels toss, when galloping. Your gun- 
bearer also should have a good supply of ammuni- 
tion and a further reserve may be carried in your 
saddle-bags. I have expended as many as, 
perhaps more than, twenty-five cartridges over 
a single wounded lioness before securing her, and 
then there was another lion to tackle afterwards. 
I have been out with others when we had to send 
back miles tor ammunition after killing one lion, 
before we had enough to follow up two or three 
others. The killing of a lion is often a very 
simple business, and authorities will declare that 
a lion is more easily killed than antelope ; this 
is not true, but it is true he is as easily killed as 
an antelope when it is within 30 yards range; 
but a lion will carry as much lead as a kongoni, 


a peculiarly tough beast with extraordinary- 
reserves of vitality, at long range shooting. 
Lions frequently appear to be very easily killed 
because you often have a very near and easy shot 
at them. Yet if any beast gets over the shock 
of the first shot, its vitality often appears to be 
raised to the highest pitch, and unless a subse- 
quent shot is in heart, spine, or brain it is 
perfectly awful what a number of shots it may 
take to dispatch it. 

As one out of many instances I could give 
of the amount of lead a lion will carry, and to 
discredit the common and very dangerous theory 
that lions are more easily killed than antelopes, 
I select the following. I do so as Captain 
Arthur A. Slatter, who writes it, is an excep- 
tionally good shot, and Mr. Humphery besides 
being a good shot is, like Captain Slatter, an 
experienced hunter : — 

" On looking through my diary for 1908 I 
find the page for 26th of May marked with 
broad red ink lines, and in the column reserved 
for recording game killed, an item ( 1 lion ' 
similarly underlined in red. The entry for the 
day reads as follows : ■ Very exciting day, 
started at 6.30 a.m. with Humphery and fifty 
native beaters to drive dongas for lions. Saw 
4, and while after these spotted a fine male 
lion, which we followed ; I wounded him first 
shot, and we then hunted him for four hours and 
finally bagged him. During this time he badly 


mauled a beater, charged me, and in spite of 
receiving a *400 (cordite) in the mouth at four 
yards, knocked me down without hurting me 
much, chased Humphery and a native policeman. 
Measurement 9 ft. 3 in., fine yellow mane. 
Returned to camp 12 noon." 

The above entry brings vividly before my 
mind the incidents that took place on this red- 
letter day, and I will endeavour to put them on 

The District Commissioner of Machakos (Mr. 
Humphery) was staying a few days at my place 
at Kilima Kiu near Machakos road, and, taking 
advantage of the fact that two guns are safer 
than one at a lion shoot, we decided to have a 
try for lions. Having assembled our Wakamba 
native beaters on the previous evening, we were 
enabled to make a start at dawn, a great ad- 
vantage, for to my mind the first two hoars of 
daylight are worth all the remainder of the day 
in a warm climate. There is always during these 
early hours a chance of " spotting " lions on 
their night's kill, in the open, or seeing them 
moving towards the locality in which they intend 
lying up for the day. Scent is also better for 
the dogs, and, last but not least, the air is always 
cool and refreshing. 

Our beaters made quite a good line, which 
was stiffened at intervals by a few native police- 
men, whose blue uniforms and scarlet fezes 
contrasted with the dirty blankets of the raw 


natives. Our first drive was a likely, well- wooded 
and deep ravine, which lies on the northern 
extremity of this property ; this proved a blank. 
While moving away across a couple of miles of 
open ground to another likely beat, we saw 
four lions, all maneless ones, moving away from 
us in front in the open. Watching them go 
into a wooded donga, we started off in that 
direction. On our way we noticed the harte- 
beests scattering in all directions on our left, 
and on looking through our field-glasses made 
out the cause of the commotion. A fine maned 
lion was moving slowly up the slope of the hill 
on our left ; on the top of this rise it was merely 
covered with scrub, and we considered it probable 
that this old lion was going to lie up there for 
the day. We watched him carefully till we saw 
him enter the bushes, and after waiting some 
time and seeing no signs of him coming out, we 
decided to abandon the other four lions for the 
present and pay our attentions to this one. 
First of all, we sent the beaters a long wide circle, 
to get to the opposite side of the hill and beat 
up to the top and on towards us. While they 
were moving round, Humphery and I with our 
gun-bearers were, by taking advantage of a fall 
in the ground, enabled to get up to the edge of 
the bushes where we thought it most probable 
the lion would break cover. Here we took up 
our positions, each behind a thorn bush, and 
waited the coming of the beaters. Soon they 


were to be heard making a great din as they 
advanced towards us. A few moments later, 
some low deep grumbling sort of growls told us 
that the lion had been disturbed — almost im- 
mediately I caught sight of his majesty coming 
straight in our direction; getting a fairly good 
chance from my position, I fired with my '400- 
bore. The bullet thudded well, and a succession 
of quick angry grunts informed me that I had hit 
him. At the same time he turned sharp to the 
left, affording Humphery a snapshot between 
the bushes ; whether this took effect I could not 
say. For several minutes now we lost sight of 
the lion and were expecting him to make himself 
known in our near vicinity at any moment, but 
he seemed anxious to avoid us, and we soon saw 
him making up a slope on our left to a bush-clad 
piece of rising ground, similar to the one he had 
just vacated. The driving operation was re- 
peated as before. This time the lion broke out 
at the left flank, only giving Humphery a very 
indifferent shot ; then he stole through some 
thorn bushes, showing glimpses of himself now 
and then ; at these we indulged in some snap 
shooting with no apparent result. After a few 
moments he came out and passed over some 
open ground, but too far off, and finally entered 
a small shallow dry water-course studded here 
and there with bushes ; here he disappeared and 
evidently had lain down. 

Now we knew the fun was to begin. Hurrying 


on, we called a halt about 150 yards from 
where he was. Now came the question how 
to get the lion to show himself. We knew 
he was within 150 yards of us and could not 
get away without exposing himself, but he 
might have been ten miles off for all we could 
see of him. We could not send the beaters 
where we would not go ourselves, and it would 
have been courting disaster to have gone in to 
a hunted and wounded, and no doubt angry, 
lion. Several charges of buckshot fired into the 
bushes brought no response. Then remembering 
that nothing has such an effect on all wild 
animals as the human voice, I instructed the 
beaters — who at this stage were getting a bit 
nervous and had clustered round us — to shout 
long and loud and all together. This they did, 
and it acted like magic, for before they had got 
half-way through their shout they were instantly 
silenced by the deeper voice of the old lion, who 
suddenly made his appearance, charging straight 
at us all with huge bounds and uttering terrific 
roars with each ; the natives fled in every direc- 
tion, but one ! throwing away sticks and blankets 
as they did so. 

The lion quickly covered the 150 yards 
and seemed alongside us in no time; he 
entirely ignored Humphery and myself, no 
doubt keeping his eyes on the flying beaters. 
Humphery stood near me as I sat down, which is 
the position I prefer to shoot in. Humphery 


fired his -450 and I think hit all right — but no 
effect whatever. In endeavouring to get a 
head shot in, which I thought easy at such 
range, not fifteen paces, I took a little too far in 
front : the bullet smashed a large upper front 
tooth out and then passed out of the cheek on 
the opposite side. Though a soft nose it did not 
check the lion in the least — a couple more 
bounds brought him right among the terrified 
beaters. Singling out one wretch, he reared 
high on his hind -legs, coming down with his 
paws on the native's shoulders and bringing 
his man to earth and lying on the top of him 
like a cat on a mouse. Things were beginning 
to look serious when Humphery, no doubt 
thinking to put a stop to them and prevent 
further damage being done, picked up his 12-bore 
shot-gun (which he had wisely kept on the ground 
beside him instead of entrusting it to a gun- 
bearer), which was loaded with a round bullet in 
the right barrel and S.S.S.G. in the left, and 
ran up to within six paces of the lion; when 
practically standing over the lion, which was 
still on the native, he discharged both barrels 
in quick succession. We discovered afterwards 
that in the excitement of the moment he missed 
with the ball, but that the charge of big shot 
went right into the lion's near shoulder and 
withers. This was by no means the knock-out 
blow, however, and appeared only to add to the 
fury of the already enraged beast, which on 


receiving the charge raised itself, and turned its 
head up sideways facing Humphery with mouth 
wide open, assuming an expression of savage 
hatred and defiance impossible to describe, at 
the same time uttering an earth-shaking roar. 
Humphery now having an empty gun and a lion 
snarling at him within six paces, did the only 
thing possible under the circumstances and 
bolted. The lion seemed loth to leave his victim, 
and still lay on the native instead of following 
Humphery as one would have expected. 

All this had taken place in a much shorter 
time than it can be described ; indeed, I had only 
just time to get another cartridge into my rifle, 
when to my great concern the lion left the native 
and charged straight at me as I sat in my 
original position facing him. He had about 
twenty paces to come, and I felt confident of 
being able to stop him with my big rifle. As he 
bore down on me head down and tail up, bleeding 
profusely from my previous shot, with a huge 
red smudge under his left eye where the bullet 
had come out, he was by no means a pleasing 
spectacle. To add to the effect, he gave forth 
quick,inf uriated grunts as he came. I had just time 
to realize that he had got me all right, and to hold 
the rifle in a position in which it might be possible 
for the muzzle to enter his mouth. Then there 
was a huge mass of yellow hair, blood and white 
teeth on the top of me ; the next instant I saw 
stars, being knocked flying on to my back by 


the force of the impact. My relief was not small 
when I found the lion had passed on without 
stopping to maul me in his mad fury, and was 
now making for Humphery and a native con- 
stable, who were about 40 yards behind me. 
Quickly picking myself up I grasped my rifle, 
which had been thrown some 5 yards from 
me, only to find it hopelessly choked with sand 
and dirt at muzzle and breech, and temporarily 
useless. Shouting for my gun-bearer with my 
•303, I discovered not a native was in sight with 
the exception of a single native policeman armed 
with a Martini, who had remained by Humphery. 
To these two the lion was rapidly making, and 
eventually singled out the native policeman, 
who fled for his life, " casting away his arms in 
the presence of the enemy " as he did so. Now 
took place one of the most exciting chases ever 
witnessed. The native got but a poor start, 
but I have never seen a native run in any part 
of Africa as this one did, doubling and turning 
for about 150 yards, he described about a 
half circle, the lion at his heels, and to me it 
appeared as if he must reach the native with 
his forepaws at each bound; but the poor 
beast must have been feeling the effect of 
his recent bombardment and could not have 
been in his best running form, for after an excit- 
ing run he abandoned the chase and eventually 
stood eyeing Humphery and myself at about 

130 yards distance, looking very nasty and full 


of fight. Humphery and I were now in a 
very unpleasant position; he had nothing but 
a shot gun, his gun-bearer having fled with 
my own, and I was totally unarmed. Every 
moment we expected the lion to make another 
charge; to have retired would have only been 
to encourage him to do so. We stood facing 
him for what seemed an interminable time, 
probably three or four minutes, whilst shouting 
to our gun-bearers to return with our rifles. 
They both crept up looking very sheepish and 
as white as natives can. Taking our rifles, 
we both fired at the lion, which had not moved 
a muscle with the exception of angry swishes of 
his tail ; angry grunts followed, and we discovered 
afterwards that my *303 had got him right on 
the tip of his nose. The old fellow had swallowed 
too much lead to come again. Shaking his head, 
he lopped off a couple of yards and disappeared 
into a thick thorn bush out of sight and, we 
imagined, lay down. 

Both glad of a little breathing-space, we 
turned our attention to the injured native, whom 
we found badly clawed in the shoulders and 
back, so sent off to my horse, a distance of about 
one and a half miles, for water and dressings. 
I also carefully examined myself for scratches, 
but not a sign of one was to be found, though 
my clothes were well splashed with blood from 
the lion ; also my left wrist was bruised, having 
probably come in contact with the lion's jaw 


and shoulder as he knocked me over. The force 
of the impact had bruised and scraped off the 
skin of my forearm under my coat, which was of 
fairly thick tweed. 

We now sat down and had a smoke, deciding 
that we were no further forward than before 
the first charge was made. True, the lion had 
more lead in him, but he seemed to be either 
possessed or armour-coated. Against this, we 
had lost the confidence of our beaters, and 
indeed the beaters themselves. 

After a short spell we renewed the attack 
with caution, firing into the bush into which 
the lion had disappeared. The first few shots 
brought forth low grunts, which became fainter. 
At last a charge of buckshot at 50 yards 
bringing no response, we advanced with great 
caution at the ready. The lion lay well in the 
centre of the thicket, quite dead. 

It was a long time before we could persuade 
the natives to return and assist in dragging him 
out of the bush, in spite of our assurances that 
he was dead. When they did summon up 
enough courage we found a splendid specimen 
of a full-grown lion in perfect condition. Doubt- 
less he was the hero of many contests, for his 
skin bore traces of old scars here and there. 
Now it was twelve noon, and the question arose 
whether to return to the house for lunch, or 
proceed after the other four lions seen previously. 

The natives decided the question by point- 


blank refusal to hunt any more, and, if the truth 
be told, I am not so sure that we were both so 
keen for more lions that day. Anyway, we knew 
that lunch was more important than lions. 
We carefully watched the skinning of the beast 
and recovered no less than thirteen bullets, '450, 
•400, and '303 ; many of them were in the chest 
cavity. Indeed the shooting had been by no 
means bad ; all the shots, with the exception of 
one, which had broken the off hind-leg low down, 
were well forward in the shoulder and head. 
Seven S.S.S.G. were recovered, lodged in the 
muscle of the near shoulder. Left side of jaw 
broken and both eye teeth smashed; the lungs 
shot through and through. Though we were 
undoubtedly lucky not to have received more 
damage from the beast, we were also unlucky 
in not getting a bullet into a vital spot. Curi- 
ously enough, not one had touched the brain, 
heart, or spine, though going very near. He 
was indeed a plucky lion, and fought a good 
fight against " fearful odds." We can only 
hope that he has numerous children and grand- 
children who, in their turn, will afford such 
sport as he did. Personally, I have no wish to 
be quite so near to them. The native policeman 
assured me with pride that he discharged his 
Martini at the lion when he knocked me over. 
This being so, I was in as much danger from him 
as the lion, for they are notedly bad shots. 
The injured native has quite recovered, and is 


often to be seen about here, but still bears ugly 


One sometimes reads a statement in a paper 
such as this : A man says he has " killed nine 
lions, one after another, stone dead with a single 
shot each, with a '256 rifle." You may believe it 
or not, but if it is credible and strictly accurate, 
you would not know which to envy most, his 
skill or his luck, but you might well expect 
sooner or later to hear a very different account, 
for such an experience is likely to prove a very 
dangerous one. Lions are often very difficult 
shots indeed ; offering a snapshot in thick bush 
when bolting through cover, or even when going 
from you in the open they expose a very narrow 
moving target at 250 yards or more. A lion 
may stand in the grass 150 yards off, with 
only the top of his head from his eyes up- 
wards visible, and that very badly defined in 
pale grass the same tint as his skin. In these 
and many other cases, even if you are not 
blown with running, and quite cool, the chances 
are even that if you hit him you wound and do 
not kill him, however neat a shot you may be, 
and then the real trouble begins. Just think 
what is likely to follow : the lion, wounded, say, 
in the back ribs or belly, swiftly turns and comes 
grunting and thundering down on you like a 
thunderbolt, so fast that were you able to draw 
a bead on him you would run a great risk of 
shooting over him, and if you fail to stop him, he 


is on you before you know where you are. I knew 
a man, a brave one, thus charged by a wounded 
lion he was facing, who never fired at all, but 
was bowled over with a loaded rifle in his hand, 
and mortally injured. If you have but one 
barrel left, your best chance is to hold it till he 
is within half a dozen yards or so. But suppose 
the wounded lion, as is more likely, does not 
charge at once, but slinks off growling into 
the grass or bush and then in silence watches 
you — in such places a lion may elude the most 
practised eye, and whilst you are wading into 
high grass or peering into thick places, he may 
seize his opportunity and you in the same 
instant. An experienced lion-hunter thinks a 
bit before he follows a wounded lion into high 
grass, unless he has absolutely located him to 
a yard, and can keep his mark ; otherwise he votes 
it a " mug's game," and a man is not necessarily 
a coward because he decides that it is better to 
go home empty and watch for the vultures the 
next day, than to be a cripple for the remainder 
of his days. 

When you are out for recreation, if this is 
cowardice, better to be a coward for five minutes 
than disabled for the rest of your life. When 
you can locate a lion in grass accurately and can 
mark the place, it requires a little practice to 
glue your eye to the spot where he went down 
out of sight, and to proceed to it without allow- 
ing anything to unglue it or to distract your 


attention for an instant. It requires sharp eyes 
to detect a lion slinking off as you draw on, and 
if you make a mistake he may be behind you and 
on your back before you can face round. As a 
matter of fact most beginners, and those who 
have had easy times with lions generally, take 
all these chances and usually escape scot-free. 
The very thing the experienced man hesitates 
about doing, the inexperienced will do, and often 
with impunity ; on the other hand, the very 
thing the inexperienced will not do, or hesitates 
to do because it appears too dangerous, the 
experienced will do because it is the least danger- 
ous thing to do. For instance, if you see your 
way to get up very close to a lion without dis- 
turbing him, your chance of knocking him out 
in the first round is much better at 25 yards 
than at 100 yards or longer range. 

I put tracking lions down on foot without 
the aid of dogs first, because it is a form of sport 
which requires more skill, greater effort, and is 
a bit more risky than hunting them with dogs 
and beaters or riding them down. There are 
many parts of Africa where tracking lions is 
difficult or impossible, owing to the nature of the 
ground. In many parts of Equatorial Africa 
where it might be possible for a clever tracker 
to follow the spoor, the natives are so useless at 
spooring, or so wanting in the right instinct for 
persevering on a line, that it is scarcely worth 
while to enlist their services. Some parts of the 


Somali, Danakil, Galla countries, and of the Sudan 
are the best regions I have seen for tracking. 
The soft, light soil and open ground in very many 
districts will allow the sportsman with very little 
practice to track well and fast. Many of the 
Somalis are excellent trackers in their own 
country, and the aboriginal Midgans of that 
land are bad to beat. In South Africa an 
occasional native is a good spoorer, and some 
white men are experts too. I know nothing 
about Red Indians, but believe that certain 
Arabs in North Africa would prove a match 
for any men in the world. In Algeria I have 
had one or two Arab hunters with me who were 
wonderful at tracking game on hard and rocky 
ground, not an overturned pebble and scarcely 
a bitten or broken blade of grass would escape 
their notice. When hunting the Barbary wild 
sheep, I have been astounded how one of these 
men would unravel the route of larrowi or admi 
on stony mountains. I recollect one day in the 
Aures having at dawn found fresh traces of an 
old ram, when we followed him for several miles 
over ground, where my fairly practised eye only 
now and again saw evidence that we were going 
right. After a long interval, during which I saw 
not the faintest indication that we were on 
his track, my Arab took off his sandals and 
whispered, " He is very near, just in front of 
us." " Have you seen him ? " I asked. ' No, 
but he is close to us." A minute or two later 


we crossed a ridge, and there he was below us. 
Subsequently I asked him how he knew he was 
near. He took me back a few hundred yards and 
took hold of a tiny twig of green bush and 
said, " Look at that " ; the end was nibbled off, 
the sap still wet, and an inch or so of the green 
stem still shining with damp. He had marked 
this with his eye without ever halting or turning. 
It is not mere eye with these men, but a 
development of the same instinct that you may 
observe in a good huntsman who has a generally 
correct idea of the line of a fox. Equally 
wonderful are the nomads of the Sahara. In 
the Erg and sandy regions of the great desert, 
tracking may appear to be a simpler art. For 
those who have eyes to see, the doings ot every 
beast and reptile are plainly written on the face 
of the earth. In the Souf Desert, when I was 
with Sir Edmund Loder in search of the rime, the 
gazelle which now bears his name (Gazella loderi), 
we had a negro hunter who tended the flocks 
of his owner, called " Ibrahim," as merry, agile, 
and wiry a bit of stuff in the slave line as ever 
lived on camel's milk and dates. We tempted 
him to guide us to the country of the rime ; 
he did this, and proved himself a marvel in many 
ways. He was among other things the best 
time-reader of spoor I ever saw ; he would 
select one in twenty tracks by a touch of the 
spoor with his big toe, and inform you at 
once whether it was half an hour or four hours 


old. I got him to try and explain how touching 
with his toe a gazelle track told him so much. 
He said it was difficult to enlighten me, but 
selecting several tracks he showed me this much : 
During the night, whether there was much or 
little dew, the dew remained on the ground for 
a longer or shorter time. If there was dew on 
the footprint as well as on the ground around 
the track, the gazelle had passed before dawn 
and while dew was still falling. If dew had fallen 
on the footprint, then as soon as the sun was up 
it slightly caked, with a thin skin of adhering 
sand, the surface of the heel or frog of the foot- 
print : he could feel this slight crust with a light 
touch of the toe or finger. When the toe had 
touched it the crust was broken, and the broken 
edges of the crust were visible to the eye. If, 
however, there was no crust on the footprint 
and the sand ran at once to the touch of his 
toe, the gazelle had passed after the sun was up. 
As to how far the gazelle might be ahead, he 
judged from the sharpness of the track, for soon 
after a footprint is made in dry sand, the grains 
begin to run down the steeper indentations of the 
track and gradually fill up such deep little grooves 
as are left by the points and edges of the hoof. 

One night when my wife and I were travel- 
ling in the Sahara, and were camped at 
Ain Melala, between the country of the Beni 
M'zab and Ouargla, I started a topic as we sat 
over the camp fire which led to an amusing 


competition among our men (Arabs, Somalis, 
and Chambas), each man claiming for his own 
countrymen a superlative skill in tracking. We 
had begun by inquiring of Ben Messaoud, our 
Chamba Mehari cavalier, how the Chamba could 
find their way in the sand dunes of the Areg. 
His reply was : When there were no tracks of the 
route there was generally here and there particles 
of camel-dung floating on the top of the sand, 
if caravans had passed that way within recent 
years, but that some of them could find their 
way by feeling the sand, or by noticing its 
colour, as in different localities it differed in 
texture and tint. He summed it up by saying : 
"Every man knows his own country, and this is 
our country." I remarked that the Soufis were 
very good trackers. Mohamed Ali (my Somali 
servant) said the Somalis could tell if a lion had 
passed in the morning, afternoon, or previous 
night ; and I said our negro " Ibrahim " could tell 
the date and hour of a gazelle track by touching 
it with his toe. The Chamba said that they could 
tell at once if any member of their tribe lost a 
camel, who the camel belonged to, and which 
camel it was, by its track, even if its track was 
mixed up with hundreds of others and went for 
days. Ben Backai (my Arab shikari) said Arabs 
could tell if a gazelle was with young or not by 
its track. The Chamba then said he knew two 
men of his tribe who came upon a hare track. 
One said, ' ' Look ! this is the track of a hare that 


is with young." The track went into some bush 
and thick grass ; they went round it, and took 
up the track again beyond it, whereupon the 
other remarked, " This is not the track of the 
same hare we tracked on the other side, for this 
one is not with young." " Yes," said the first, 
"it is the same, and if we go back we shall find 
the young one in the bush ; " and going, it was 
even as he said, and there was a newly born 
leveret in the grass. What amused me was my 
boy Mohamed Ali's translation, for I asked him 
to render into English certain points in this 
story which were beyond my grasp. He called 
the little leveret a " kid " throughout, and 
translated being with young : " a hare wid a kid 
in his billy." 


Somaliland has a character and wildness all 
its own : you travel with camels, the best of 
all transport animals, and once away in the 
interior the sportsman is monarch of all he 
surveys, and could wander there for years without 
being interrupted by any reminder that there 
was a world outside. At least it was so in my 
day. Let the reader suppose himself there, 
that it is dawn in camp, breakfast eaten (never 
hunt in the tropics on an empty inside), and your 
two shikaris, your syce and pony standing at 
his tent door to receive his rifles, water-bottle, 
and ammunition. You mount your little Somali 


pony and ride out of camp rifle in hand, with 

your shikari in front carrying your heavier 

weapon ; the camels are also going out with 

their escort, to feed in the bush all day. It is 

pleasant at sunrise in the limitless Somali bush, 

with the light catching a myriad bulbous thorns, 

shining like silver on the galol trees, with here 

and there in the glades the dark, glistening green 

of the weeping kedi bushes. In this light the 

red of the dar flowers is like fire, and the points 

of the bayonet-leaved aloes like burnished steel. 

This is the hour when the birds are all astir, 

and the warblers busy in the flat tops of the 

great red-stemmed mimosa trees ; doves and 

sand-grouse sweep past overhead to or from their 

morning drink and bathe at the pool hard by 

the camp. The soil here is sandy and red, the 

trees mostly stunted and grey branched, giving 

the impression of being in a sort of interminable 

orchard, but as you wind in and out amongst 

them, you pass, now and again, a great high 

thicket of ergin and places dense with garlands 

and streamers of armo and other creeping and 

trailing things. Suddenly the head shikari looks 

at the ground, turns left handed, and then halts 

and says in a low tone, " Libah " (lion). In a 

moment you are off your pony examining the 

track. Yes, it is quite fresh ; there are two lions, 

one a large one by the spoor. A word to the J 

syce to keep well behind, a look at the rifles to 

see that they are rightly loaded, a dive into your 


pockets to make sure you have all you require, 
and off you go. 

It is easy work, the spoor holds straight on ; 
at last it turns at right angles along a game path 
always through the jungle. Lions dearly love a 
path, and they have followed this a mile before 
turning off it to the right, where the trees stand 
closer together and grass and shrubs cover most 
of the red soil in every opening. Possibly some- 
where in here they have lain up for the day, as 
the sun is now up and hot, and the drops begin 
to gather on your brow and run down your 
temples. With more caution and expectation 
you follow on : two pair of eyes are better than 
one, and for lion tracking, three, provided they 
are good, are better still ; your shikari's are 
mostly on the ground, your own looking ahead ; 
your second shikari behind you uses his to 
confirm or to check any possible mistake, and 
will now and then, by a cast, put the party right 
when for a moment it is at fault. It goes in 
here and out there, round this bush and through 
that. The heavier weapon for close quarters is 
now in your hand — at any moment the grunt of a 
lion may announce that you are in for it. Again 
the country opens out a little, so that you get a 
view ahead, for several hundred yards at a time, 
and the spoor goes straight on. A touch on your 
arm behind and you turn to your second shikari ; 
his finger points ahead, he has seen something 
you have missed. On you go walking fast and 


softly through a group of thorn trees, and there 
before you is a treeless space covered with dense 
flat and wide-topped khansa bush ; the track 
goes right through this. Bother ! have we to 
get through this too ? Bending down, you see 
it is more open among the stems, and that it is 
possible to work along in the thorny tunnels, 
much as a pitman gets to the face of the coal in a 
low seam. It is sandy and bare under the bushes, 
and the track more distinct than ever. At last 
you are out and glad to be erect once more. 
How hot it is ! it is only ten o'clock — must not 
touch my water-bottle. Wpnder if my rifle- 
muzzle has any sand in it. Wish my boy would 
not carry that rifle with the muzzle sawing up 
and down between my chest and my throat. 
He pulls up dead, and so do you. " Do you see 
anything ? " you whisper. " Haa," he says, 
which means " yes," but signs to you not to 
move ; then he slowly takes you by the sleeve 
and draws you half a pace sideways. Yes, there 
they both are, slouching on 200 yards in 
front, in single file, apparently at a slow pace, 
but really covering about four miles an hour. 
In a moment they are out of sight and you hurry 
on. Again a halt ; there is a shaggy-necked lion 
looking at you. You can see a sort of frowning 
scrutiny in his visage, but he has not made you 
out to be anything worth troubling his dignity 
about, for before you can step forward to get a 
sight of his body he has turned and has walked 


out of sight. Another long tramp on the trail, 
and again you see them, both together this time, 
standing stock-still, no movement save in the 
last joints of their tails, glaring at you from under 
a tree only 60 yards away. You take aim, 
but tree and lion seem all one. The lion steps out 
towards you, his tail lashing; he gives a grunt 
that shakes the ground. The big gun answers 
with a loud report. A streak of blood on the 
shoulder as he gives to the shot, and bang again 
as they both bound away. Run now, whilst 
reloading, your boy at your elbow. There they 
are : the wounded one has stopped, his tail is 
going again, and he is growling. "Pingo" goes 
your rifle, and he is down. Another cartridge 
is stuffed in, and you run forward round a bush, 
and from 20 yards you give him another, and 
he is yours. Yes, but there is the lioness too, 
with her eyes flashing fire, fixed on you ; up 
goes her tail. Shoot quick — "crack" and over 
she rolls. Excitement makes you fire again in 
haste, and you shoot over her, and she is into 
that bush with a bound. "She is in there," 
your shikari is saying; "there! there! Shoot 
5 im ! shoot 'im ! " He sees her, why cannot 
you ? He tugs you a pace forward and, crouch- 
ing, points again. Yes, there she is — is it her 
head? Yes. "Bang" — silence. Cautiously you 
draw near and see that she is dead. Your boy 
reaches her tail very gingerly, gets hold of it and 
gives it a tug — she is dead as mutton. Out with 


her — skinning — water-bottle — lunch — and back 
in triumph to camp. 

This day differs from every other day — all 
days after lions do, not only in their successes 
and failures, but in all the experiences of the 
pursuit and the behaviour of the game. Lions, 
when conscious that they are being followed, 
can be very nasty, but more often flee before you. 
At times you track the livelong day without their 
halting. One man I knew of, tracked a lion for 
two days; the second day he lost him on the 
rocks of the Gan Libah (i.e. the Lion's Paw, one 
of the Golis mountains), after a twenty-five-mile 
walk on his trail. This, like every lion or salmon 
or stag which one loses, is the finest that was 
ever seen. On some days you may have to call 
in the aid of your pony, on another he may spoil 
your sport. It is a good thing to get bored and 
tired with the whole business if you are of an 
excitable nature, you are less likely to get 
flustered when a lion adopts the plan of trying 
to alarm you with a horrid noise and threatening 
gestures ; this behaviour is often mere bluff, 
but you can never be sure what it means. Many 
persons have the luck to surprise lions lying in 
gullies or in dry river beds, where they can be 
stalked and shot without much more danger 
than a stag ; others get shots at them across 
rivers or ravines, but such has not been my 
good fortune, and I advise no one to count on 
getting such chances. 




In following lions on foot, it saves much trouble, 
time, and risk to have dogs, if the right sort are 
obtainable, but it is a different kind of diversion 
and not quite so "high class" as dealing with 
them unaided. A good lion dog may be of any 
description almost, but the majority of every 
description are of little use for the purpose. I 
have seen all sorts of terriers and mongrels 
which were just what were wanted, dogs which 
would mark a lion's lair in a bush and tell you 
at once if he was at home, and would soon bring 
him to bay if he bolted, dancing and yapping 
round when he attempted to move, till the lion, 
after several attempts perhaps to blot out his 
diminutive assailant, would give up grunting, 
rushing, and dashing at him, and stand or lie 
facing the baying dog with an expression of 
disgust on his scowling countenance. The 
beauty of cornering a lion with dogs is that you 
are often quite safe to shoot at him from a 
distance without his attempting to charge, or to 

move his ground much ; of course, if you approach 



too near, he may possibly forget all about the 
dogs and go for you like a flash. At such moments 
nothing but dogs which will go in and almost or 
really tackle him are of much use, and they 
stand every chance of being killed at once. 
These occasions are, however, not the ones when 
you repeat, " Better a live dog than a dead lion." 


For real fun it is difficult, as far as African 
sport is concerned, to beat hunting lions on 
horseback. It can be done alone, but is much 
more amusing in the company of one or two 
friends, and it is a diversion in which ladies can 
share the excitement whilst avoiding serious 
risks. Though a pony may often come in very 
usefully in other places, it is really in open 
country and on plains that the best opportunities 
occur for hunting lions with horses. To be out 
before sunrise and to view lions leaving their kill 
on the plains, to draw isolated bushes or dongas 
in open country in the daytime, or to drive out 
covers on the edges of prairies, or high grass 
patches and reed beds known to harbour lions, 
affords a great deal of sport. Blank days you 
probably have, but cheetahs, hyaenas, wild dogs, 
wart-hogs, and even jackal and serval, are almost 
always there to give you a good gallop and to 
keep your eye in — in fact, you have all the glorious 
uncertainty of fox-hunting. 


Let me try and outline a day with the reader 
on the Athi Plains. In the grey dawn we have 
heard the distant roar of lions, and are out of 
bed, hurrying up the sleepy boys to get our 
breakfast ready, and the ponies fed and saddled. 
My own toilet on hunting days is a speedy affair, 
for my rule in Africa is to have my hot bath and 
a shave each night on coming in — a beard I have 
long discarded as too much trouble to attend 
to, a hot and dusty thing by day and an uncom- 
fortable buffer between cheek and pillow at 
night ; but every one to his own taste. Ere the 
snow is pink on the two peaks of Kilimanjaro 
we are heading for the plains. Zebra, kongoni, 
and gazelle stream right and left, or canter away 
in front of us. Now we have spread out half a 
mile apart, each followed by our gun-bearer, 
syce, and boys — we each have a light rifle in our 
hands. The shadows still are long, and within 
them, between the streams of golden light, lions 
and other game may escape observation. The 
sun gets up, and a score or two of vultures are 
circling fast and high far ahead. We head for 
this kill. Halt ! is that a lion galloping off on 
the right ? The binoculars say <( no," only a 
solitary wildebeest bull with head down, mane 
flying and tail swirling. We draw nearer the 
vultures ; there are large dark objects on the 
ground and a couple of jackal trot away across 
our front, stopping now and again to look at 
us. Yes, lions ! " Simba ! " " Mpili ! " cry the 


boys. " Lions, two of them ! " and they are off at 
a gallop, and so are we. They do not look as if 
they were going very fast, but it takes longer 
than you might expect to cover half of the mile 
between them and us, though the ground is 
sound, the grass short, and the ponies as keen as 
mustard, for they too guess they are in for a 
run. As we fly over the rolling plain, the brutes 
separate. I call to you to take the right hand 
one, I will take the other ; we know the game, 
and a few moments bring each of us level 
with our lion and some 200 yards to the 
right of it. 1 We are now far from each other, 
but pursue the same tactics. I forge slightly 
ahead and draw a little closer on my lion, but 
I am a very cautious man, and take care to 
have most of 200 yards between myself and 
my foe. I am now trotting, and the lioness, for 
I now can see that it is one, is cantering on 
with her long tail floating behind her. I know 
the ground, and see she is determined to gain a 
certain hollow where the grass grows coarse and 
high ; she must be stopped before reaching her 
refuge. I yell at her at the top of my voice : 
' Hi I hi ! stop, you brute ! " and she does so 
to the word of command, and I pull my horse 
up. She looks intently at me for a moment, and I 
turn my pony, intending to have a shot, but off 

1 To ride dead behind a lion prolongs the pursuit, and to have 
a lion on your right, unless you shoot off the left shoulder, instead 
of on your left, places you at a disadvantage on a horse when you 
want to shoot. 


she goes again. Shouting at her, as we resume 
the hunt, has no more effect ; on she goes, 
straight for her point. There is a nasty patch 
of cracked, broken, and tufty ground no great 
distance ahead, a poor place to trot over after 
her, and still worse to have to gallop across if she 
turns the tables, so dropping the reins into the 
hook of my elbow as I canter on, I fire two shots 
across her front. That " brings her to " with a 
short turn, and again as I rein up she looks 
hard at me. My pony is heaving and I know 
1 am not likely to hit her standing or charging, 
and it is a charge, for her tail has gone up and 
she is trotting towards us. In a moment she is 
coming like a greyhound at us. One touch with 
the heel and my pony too is stretching himself 
out, and I have the best part of 200 yards start 
of her ; bar accidents, I am, with this pony, 
safe enough ; I am thinking much more of 
steering my horse where the ground is bare and 
sound than of the great beast behind us, but 
looking round I see she has " chucked it," and 
is trotting for her point once more. Round we 
come again and get just ahead of her on 
her right front. Again she stands, but only 
lashes her tail and fixes her flashing eyes on 
her novel and curious enemy. We stand stock- 
still at 250 yards and simply watch her. I 
mean to make her quite safe. She lies down, 
hex head toward me, her tail going now and 
again. It seems a long time before my gun- 


bearer and syce appear, but they have come fast 
on my tracks and kept me always in view. As 
they come up I draw back another 40 yards or 
so, for I am very cautious. Dismounting, I 
send my pony yet farther back, but not far to 
the rear, for if she bolts again I shall want him. 
I take my big gun, look to see that the cartridges 
are right — two solid soft-lead balls ; I feel in my 
pockets to see that my reserve is handy, then, 
placing the big gun by me on the ground, I take 
the -256 rifle, sit down and fire a shot at her 
scarcely visible head. " Over " her ! I give my 
lyman half a turn down and shoot again. " A hit ! " 
she is up ! " Crack " again, and she is on her 
back, growling and snarling and worrying her own 
leg. I take the 10-bore and go forward quickly, 
and at 40 yards give her one more, and it is all over. 
My pony is at my side; I am on to him 
at once and off to find you. Over that far 
ridge I go and scan the great plain ; in the 
quivering atmosphere I cannot make you out. 
With my glass I see in the heated air a shivering, 
streaky object — is it kongoni ? No, it is too 
tall ; it must be you. 1 gallop another mile 
and look again with the glass ; it is you, and there 
is your gun-bearer nearing you ; you are sitting 
on your pony looking at something, and I hurry 
on to join you ; you are in a bare place between 
two small patches of high grass. As I ride up 
you point to one of these; " I have got him in 
here," you say, without taking your eyes off 


the grass. It is not a pretty place to walk into, 
what shall we do ? You suggest that we wait 
for our big guns, and then walk in together, but 
1 say "No," being a very cautious man; 'when 
you get your rifle, keep my boy and my big gun 
with you, I will go off there at right angles and 
fire into the grass from my pony ; if he comes 
for me, you will get a broadside shot at him, and 
I can get away." I know the probabilities are 
that he will fear to charge either of us, for a 
lion attacked from different quarters does not 
like the idea of exposing himself to one party 
whilst attacking another. I go to my position 
and fire a shot into the grass — no movement or 
sound ; another shot — -nothing stirs ; another 
shot — and a hideous grunt as he jumps up. 
There he is for a moment with his head to me and 
his tail lashing ; a magnificent brute he looks 
at his last stand, with his shaggy yellow mane and 
his black-tipped ears set hard back amongst it. 
" Crack-thug " goes your rifle and he is down in a 
heap ; he was half turned from you, and your 
bullet struck him in the ribs and raked forward 
and across him, through heart and lungs and 
crashed into his shoulder, splintering it to pieces. 
In a minute we are looking at the green light in 
his dead eye, and the last feeble slow and uncon- 
scious inspiration ere he sets those cruel teeth for 
ever. Two lions to skin, a warm job in the hot 
sun, but there is all the afternoon before us, and 
our lunch, water-bottles, and tobacco to help us 


through the work. The heads and feet can be 
done at leisure in the shade at home before 
sundown ; in two hours' time we are well on our 
way back to camp. 

There is another way in which horses may be 
utilized for lion-hunting, and that is the Somali 
method, where you leave it to these sporting 
natives to find, ride up, and hold the lions at bay 
till they send for you. I know of one or two 
Somali hunters who do this well in bush country, 
and it is an exciting enough moment when you 
arrive to deal finally with a maddened and 
baited lion. 

In Abyssinia I met a Count Wickenberg, who 
had adopted yet another mode of riding down 
lions, but a method which I think he would no 
longer recommend ; it is one that I certainly 
have never had the courage to attempt. He 
literally rode his lions down as if they had been 
pigs, and when close on the top of them shot 
them with his *256 Mannlicher. For a few weeks 
he amused himself thus on the Somali Plains. 
After some glorious fun and killing about a 
dozen in this simple manner, one took a seat 
beside him on his pony and spoilt the show. 
What he went through on this occasion put him 
a little out of conceit with his own system — at 
least this was the impression he gave me when 
he related to me the experience, and I do not 
think that he or any one else has since put it 
into practice. 



So much has been written about night-shooting, 
whether sitting in zaribas on the ground, or on 
machans in trees, over kills, live bait, or water- 
pools, that I shall say little about it. 1 It is worth 
while trying night-shooting a few times, whether 
you are successful or not ; the experience is 
interesting, and you gain a personal acquaintance 
with the night habits of the beasts of the forest 
and wilderness, as well as with the sounds and 
noises of African nights in the jungle and bush, 
from dark to dawn. From the point of view 
of sport only, there is, for me, too much patience 
and tediousness about it. Yet on occasion you 
may have all the excitement that is good for 
you, especially after daybreak, when you have 
to follow up a wounded lion before breakfast, 
after a disturbed night's rest. The whole 
pleasure of a night vigil in the bush is spoilt for 

1 In North Africa many of the lions were shot at night from a 
melbeda (ambush) or from a zoubia (ditch). A favourite plan 
was to dig a hole in the ground near a kill, or with live bait 
tethered close to it, and to cover this with a heavy cart-wheel. 
From this protected ambush the night-hunter could shoot with 

safety and was well hidden. 



me when you sit over a live bait, whether it 
be camel, cow, donkey, or goat. The vicarious 
sacrifice may be justifiable on occasion, but I 
abandoned live bait after a very few trials of 
it. To wait hour after hour watching an animal 
tethered close to you, with your thoughts anti- 
cipating its horrid end, is not pleasure — nor is 
it anything but very disgusting when a hyaena 
has rushed in and disembowelled the victim 
under your nose. I have brained several hysenas 
at their rush in, when waiting for lions, but 
never killed one before he had ripped open the 
animal, when I have been trying to protect live 
bait. If \ou do not kill, and only wound a lion 
at night, following the spoor in the morning 
reminds me of playing, when we were children, 
a game we called " Lions and Tigers," when half 
the party were lions and the other half tigers. 
The opposing forces take turns, say, the lions hide, 
the tigers go in search ; a lion may at any moment 
dash out on you with a howl, and if you are 
caught before reaching home you are dead and 
done for. A game to be played after dark in a 
big house. Oh, delightful sensations of terror 
and of being paralysed therewith ! — of hair- 
breadth escapes ! — of realizing that you were a 
dead tiger ! — of relief on escaping to the refuge 
out of reach of those awful claws and jaws ! 
All these were ours. The child is father of the 
man : and many a sportsman, knowing that a 
wounded lion lay hid somewhere in the thorns 


and grass when they sparkled in the dawn 
of a Somali day, has felt once more some 
of these delicious sensations of childhood's 
days, which few things in life can give him 
now, as he steals on tip-toe round the trees 
and peers into the dark recesses of each 

That night- shooting may have its risks and 
adventures, the following story tells. My wife 
and I were in Somaliland at the time, but I 
give the story in the words of one who was a 
principal in the adventure, and as it appeared, 
I think, in the Field. 

The following letter was written from " Camp 
near Shigar, Baltista, Balistan, 20th April 1896": — 

" The following occurrence, which happened 
a few weeks ago in Somaliland, may perhaps be 
of interest : — 

" I had for some days been trying to shoot 
zebra, but owing to the density of the jungle, 
I found it would be impossible to get a shot in 
the daytime. I therefore decided to sit up one 
night in a zariba, close to a pool where they often 
came to drink. That zebra were very plentiful 
here, at Habedleh, was not doubtful. Every day 
I saw any amount of tracks, and at night they 
kept up a constant neighing all round our camp. 
Accordingly one evening found Hassan and Faro, 
my two shikaris, and myself in a small zariba 
in a river bed a few yards away from the pool. 


Mrs. Renton accompanied us. The zariba, just 
large enough to allow us four to lie down side 
by side, was about 8 feet high, and built 
extremely thick with strong thorny branches. 
As early as 5.30 we were shut up inside, as the 
zebra, if they came at all, would probably come 
while it was still dusk. The zariba was con- 
structed with three loopholes. Mrs. Renton 
lay down under the third from the right, I 
was under the second, while Hassan and Faro 
watched alternately from the third. No zebra 
put in an appearance, and, leaving one shikari 
to keep watch in case any animal should come 
to drink, the remainder of us were soon sleeping 
as one only sleeps in the open. 

" Shortly after ten I was awakened by cries 
of terror from Hassan. He was distractedly 
calling ' Faro ! Faro ! ' and I saw that there 
were only three of us in the zariba. A lion had 
carried off Faro. The night was very dark, 
and rain was falling. It was impossible for us 
to get out of the zariba, and we could see nothing 
outside. We were powerless to render any 
help to the poor man. All we could do was to 
keep firing into the air in the hope that the 
noise would frighten the lion away from his 
unfortunate victim, and to alarm the camp some 
two miles distant. 

" Having heard the continued firing, some 
men came down from the camp in about three- 
quarters of an hour. They released us, and 


searching cautiously about we found the body. 
The head had a fearful bite as well as the 
shoulder, from which the lion had sucked the 
blood. We then had a difficult and gruesome 
march back to camp. It is no easy matter to 
carry a corpse along an exceedingly rocky river- 
bed, and it took us an hour to arrive home. This 
long walk was excessively trying for Mrs. Rent on, 
after the awful ordeal she had passed through. 
On inspecting the zariba the following morning 
we found blood inside. The branches were 
hardly disturbed, and the loophole at which 
Faro had been watching — for he was actually 
on watch when seized — was intact. From his 
pugs we saw the lion had passed the first two 
loopholes under which Mrs. Rent on and myself 
had been sleeping, before attacking the zariba. 
After dragging the unlucky man a short distance 
and drinking the blood, he had departed, and 
lain down 50 yards away. How this lion got 
Faro out of the zariba, I am utterly unable to 

" The stony nature of the ground rendered 
tracking the brute up impossible, and I was 
unfortunately obliged to leave Habedleh without 
closing accounts with him. A similar accident 
has never been known in Somaliland. 

(Signed) " Leslie Renton." 

I once sat through a long, hot, black night in 
a lion zariba in Somaliland, when the last thing 


I had seen against the sky in the fading light 
was a pair of long whip snakes above my head, 
wriggling among the thorns of my shelter. From 
time to time a great lion padded round and 
round me within a few feet of where I sat, so 
near at times that I could hear him sigh. He 
came first while there was still a moon, but not 
till it was inky dark, about one o'clock in the 
morning, did he venture to the dead camel he 
had slain ; then I mortally wounded him at 
the muzzle of my gun as I heard him tearing the 

But the most uncomfortable night watch I 
ever kept was a mile from camp, when I had 
seated myself at dusk, with my shikari, under a 
dry river bank, with a feeble screen of two or 
three small thorn branches in front of me, near 
a water hole, round which leopard tracks were 
fresh. We had a white goat with us, tethered, 
which was to attract the leopards by its bleating, 
but it did not bleat, and as one of our boys said, 
" I can't row, I can't shoot," which being 
interpreted meant, " If a goat will not make a 
row, what chance is there of getting a shot." 
The hot night was still as death — seven o'clock, 
eight o'clock passed slowly by, and then I heard 
something walking on the bank behind us with 
long, slow, lurching steps. I held my breath 
as it approached, and my shikari, crouching at 
my side, whispered " Libah ! " (lion). It passed, 
but from that moment I was on edge. A lion about, 


and he had passed within three yards of my 
head ; he might drop down from above or rush 
us from in front. We heard hysenas' ghoulish 
howls between intervals of silence, and then 
animals drinking at the pool hidden in the 
blackness 60 yards in front of us ; we heard 
also the lion or lions drinking there, and then 
something heavy walk past us up the bed of the 
river. Half an hour of this was as much as my 
nerves could stand, or rather, the idea of eight 
or nine more hours of it was. I said to my boy, 
'* We will go back to camp." f Not safe, sahib," 
said he. I replied, f< Safe or not safe, I am 
going ; light the lantern, take it and lead the way." 
I had no stomach for sitting there like my poor 
goat, which stood quietly staring into the black- 
ness, awaiting its end. It was pitch dark, the 
candle only seemed to make the night blacker. 
I stood with the gun while the goat was un- 
tethered, and off started my shikari, lantern in 
one hand and leading the goat with the other. 
I followed with gun full-cock, feeling very un- 
protected behind as we passed the pool and 
stumbled along the river bed. Then it struck 
us that it would be safer in the bush beyond 
the banks, so we scrambled up the bank and 
into the jungle, a most horrid walk, and the 
mile seemed like four. When I reached camp it 
was not ten o'clock, and I was mighty pleased 
to be within the zariba. 

In many parts of Africa, shouting and a 


lighted lantern, or even striking matches, is a 
fairly adequate defence from lions when out in 
the dark, but not so in Somaliland, where these 
beasts are accustomed nightly to native noise, 
fires, and flaring brands. Many of them care 
little enough for voice or flame, and I want no 
more sitting out at night without the protection 
of a strong zariba. 

I have done no night- shooting by flashlight, 
blue lights, nor with acetylene lamps, and to 
those who have used these methods I must leave 
it to describe the results. It is, I understand, 
often a very successful and interesting way of 
seeing and slaying lions and other nocturnal 
prowlers. What the night watcher may see is 
beautifully illustrated in such recent works as 
those by Schilling and Dugmore. 


This extraordinary feat has been performed 
in British East Africa by Buffalo Jones and a 
party of American cowboys, who brought over 
their horses from the States for the purpose. 
They astonished the world with what they 
accomplished, for not only did they rope a lioness, 
but a very large rhinoceros, as well as other 
game, such as giraffe, eland, zebra, cheetah, etc. 




The following hints for would-be lion hunters 
on horseback may assist them to reduce the 
danger of the sport to a reasonable minimum. 
All danger cannot be avoided ; were it possible, 
you might as well content yourself with traps 
and poison, but what is wanted is a respectable 
amount and not a surfeit. When all has been 
said and every precaution taken, there will still 
remain the risk of your horse falling with you 
over treacherous ground, the possible miscarriage 
of your tactics when a lion is after you, the 
chances of a mistake in judgment, a hesitation 
in resolution, the misfire or jam of a cartridge — 
in fact, a dozen things may happen, not to 
mention that you may, on occasion, be called 
on to attempt to save a friend, or your boys, 
from peril. 

1. Thoroughly overhaul rifles and ammunition 
before starting. Take clean, fresh cartridges, 
and see that your supply is sufficient for your- 
self, your saddle-bags, and gun-bearers. 

2. Remember, whenever it is practicable, to 

keep on the off, i.e. the right, side of any lion 



you ride after, unless you shoot from the left 
shoulder. Tactics do not always allow of this, 
but it is a point to bear in mind. 

3. Never lose sight of your lion for a second, 
if you can help it, for while you turn your head 
he may squat and leave you an empty plain to 
stare at. If he " claps," keep your eye glued 
to the very spot where he has gone down. 

4. When mounted, never approach within 
100 yards of a lion — 150 yards is a safer 

5. When you are alone, never dismount 
within 200 yards of a lion, unless you are 
absolutely sure that your pony will allow you 
to mount the moment you wish to, and that 
he will stand perfectly still, without his reins 
being on the ground, while you are on your feet. 

6. If you are off your horse and find a lion 
is within 100 yards of you, do not attempt 
to mount ; if he looks like charging, take 
your shot carefully and quickly ; if he has 
started, wait till he is at 25 yards before 
firing your first barrel. Remember a large pro- 
portion of accidents are due to the failure to 
realize, before it has been seen, the velocity of a 
lion's charge. The best way to obtain an idea 
of it is to place yourself for a moment in front 
of a motor - car coming straight at you, 100 
yards off, going at a speed of, say, 40 miles an 
hour, and see how much time it would leave you 
for mounting or for doing anything more than 


putting up your rifle and placing a bullet in it. 
Never shoot at an advancing lion with your 
reins hooked over your arm, in your hand, or 
even under your foot. The steadiest pony in 
the world may flinch and wince at the sight of 
a lion crashing down on him. 

7. Never follow a lion, when you are alone, 
into high grass, whether you are mounted or not. 
Two rifles following a lion into grass or covert 
should keep near each other, but not elbow to 
elbow. If he attacks one and there is some five 
yards or more separating the rifles, the other 
rifle gets a larger and more vital target to shoot 
at, and the chance is increased of success in 
stopping him if the first rifle fails or has not time 
to fire. 

8. If through an accident you are caught, do 
not give up hope. A knife has saved a man's 
life, and I have never been without boys with 
me whom I could not trust to make an effort to 
save me in a tight place. Remember a lion will 
sometimes go off and leave his victim of his own 
accord. Swayne recommends a double-barrelled 
12-bore pistol in the belt. 

9. Always have antiseptics and bandages 
with you. Remember that much more than 
half the accidents with lions, which terminate 
fatally, are only fatal through blood-poisoning. 
The neglect of very simple precautions promptly 
applied has often led to fatal results. The man 
who is tempted to mistrust his own nerve should 


recollect that men's nerves do not fail them 
when a lion charges ; there is no time at that 
moment to be afraid ; it is all over in a second 
or so, and the bravest thing he could do would 
be to turn tail and deliberately throw away 
his last chance. The meanest of God's creatures 
will, when cornered, often put up a splendid 
fight against heavy odds, and man has not yet 
become the meanest of these. I have seen 
men reckless, foolhardy, or excited and wild, 
but never a single one whose nerve forsook him 
when once in for a battle with a lion : it goes 
without saying that there are occasions when 
discretion is the better part of valour. 




Among many of the nations of Europe, Asia, and 
Africa, the lion in ancient times was raised to the posi- 
tion of a divinity. He was often worshipped as a god 
or venerated as a sacred creature, and he was to the 
fore in the earliest collections of tamed and untamed 
wild beasts. He became the companion of not a few 
emperors and kings. He was trained to fight in battles 
and to pursue and kill game for his masters. The lion's 
role in past ages may be studied in Gustave Loisel's ex- 
haustive works, Histoire des Menageries de VAntiquite a nos 
jours (3 vols. ). The first volume is a most interesting and 
fascinating one, and from it nearly all the following facts 
are taken. Loisel cites fully the sources from which he 
has gained his information, and the Bibliographical Index 
(at the end of his first volume) is by itself of great value. 

In Egypt lions were worshipped at Leontopolis and 
Heliopolis. At Heliopolis the sacred lion lived in the 
Temple of the Sun (Amnion Ra) ; his food was most 
carefully selected, and sacred melodies were played to 
him during his meals. 

The Egyptians not only tamed, but trained, wild 
beasts to an extent and with a thoroughness that must 
appear to us very remarkable. Wild cats, cheetahs, 
leopards, striped hyaenas, wild dogs {Lycaon), and lions 
were all trained for the chase. 

After the XHth Dynasty (or between 3000 and 2000 
B.C.) we no longer find Hycena and Lycaon used for 

hunting, but between 1700 and 100 B.C., after the 



XVIIIth and XlXth Dynasties, the lions and cheetahs 
continue to be used in the packs of hunting-beasts. In 
Egypt, as in Assyria, the lions were usually shaved, and 
were also used in war. Rameses n. (XlXth Dynasty) 
was accompanied to battle by his lion Anta-m-nekht, 
who went in front of his chariot alongside the horses 
and struck down with a blow of his paw any one who 
came near. 

Up to the time of the Roman occupation of Egypt 
any man who could afford to possess lions was allowed 
to have them. After the Theban period, under the 
Ptolemies and at Alexandria, lions were still used in 
religious festivals and in the processions to celebrate 
victories. One such procession under Ptolemy vi. 
Philometor consisted of a series of enormous sections 
each devoted to the honour of one of the divinities. 

In the section devoted to Dionysus (Bacchus), follow- 
ing the numerous groups of satyrs and sileni there came 
a car drawn by eighty men, on which was borne the statue 
of Bacchus, and which was surrounded by priests and 
priestesses, after which came many more cars and 
followers, and then came the wild beasts. The men- 
agerie animals were led by an elephant guided by a little 
satyr sitting astride on the elephant's neck ; then came 
500 young girls, then 24 cars drawn by elephants, 60 
cars drawn by oxen, 12 cars drawn by lions, with many 
more following drawn by wild asses, ostriches, stags, 
and other beasts. Near the end of the procession 
we find 1 great white bear, 14 leopards, 16 panthers, 
4 lynx, 3 little bears, 1 giraffe, and 1 rhinoceros. 

After the Roman Conquest the sacred menageries 
were allowed to continue till about 384 a.d., when the 
Emperor Theodosius abolished the worship of animal- 
gods and began the destruction of the temples. 

However, farther up the Nile, the cults of Isis and 
Osiris continued at such places as Philse until Justinian 
put an end to them in the sixth century. 











Our information with regard to the collections of 
animals amongst the ancient Chinese is not so full, but 
they existed. Marco Polo saw with amazement in 1271 
lions and tigers strolling quite free in the apartments of the 
Palace of Cabalut (the modern Pekin). Lions, leopards, 
and other beasts were trained also for the chase. 

In India various animals and reptiles besides the 
cow and the bull were held sacred. In the first century 
of our era, lions, panthers, and cheetahs were trained 
to hunt, and were so domesticated as to be given entire 
liberty about the palaces and gardens. 

Our knowledge with regard to Assyria and Chaldea 

Wounded Lioness. 

reaches much further back into the past. Six centuries 
before the time of Moses we find the lion numbered 
among the animal-gods of Babylon. 

In the Assyrian Galleries of the British Museum 
some most graphic sculptures and bas-reliefs may be 
seen in which the lion appears. Those from the Palace 
of Sardinapalis are particularly interesting. These 
Assyrian lions were shaved when domesticated. Of 
the mane only a frill or collar was left round the face ; 
on the body some tufts and bands of hair were left 
on the back, along the flanks, and behind the thighs. 
The tuft was left at the end of the tail. This seems 
to be the probable origin of the fashion in shaving 

Lions let out of Cage. 
From Slab in British Museum. 

[Photo, Mansell, 


{Photo, -MansclL 

To face p. 262. 


The lion was also among the animals venerated and 
held sacred by the Persians. In the temples of the 
Goddess Anahita the lions were so tame that they 
caressed visitors to her shrine in the most friendly 
manner, and behaved with " modesty and decency " at 
their meals. In the spectacular combats provided by 
the Persian kings we find lions matched against bulls. 
Alexander the Great made lions fight against dogs and 
sometimes against men for his entertainment, but he 
also kept lions in his palace. 

Lion seizing Chariot Wheels. 

In Persia it was the custom to preserve large numbers 
of wild animals in great game parks, where they were 
hunted; lions were included in the game with which 
these parks were stocked. 

From the East, from the Euphrates, and from the 
Nile the cult of wild beasts spread to Carthage and the 
West. The Phoenicians included the lion among the 
animals they regarded as sacred. 

The Greeks never had the extensive menageries that 
were found in the precincts of Egyptian temples. The 
Greeks preferred less ferocious animals or birds. But 


the priests of Artemis fed certain wild beasts, and prob- 
ably held them more or less sacred. In Asia Minor lions 
and leopards were kept in the temples of Cybele (Rhea 
and Idsea are among the other names by which this god- 
dess is known ; she was called by the Romans Ops, and 
known as " Magna Mater," and regarded by them as 
the representative of plenty). 

Virgil thus refers to Cybele and her lions : " Hinc 
mater cultrix Cybeli Corybantiaque aera Idaeumque 
nemus, hinc fida silentia sacris, et juncti currum dominae 
subiere leones." — ^Eneid, Book iii. 

In Greece the priests of Cybele were mendicant 
friars who were accompaned by tamed wild beasts in 
their wanderings. Lions were used by them as exorcists. 
Later the Agyrtes (begging monks) passed on into Italy 
with their wild beasts. They found their lions in 
abundance in the Greek mountains. Up to and after 
the time of Aristotle, even in the third century B.C., 
lions were found on the mountains of Pongaeus and 
Pindus, in the north-west of Macedonia, on Olympus, 
and in iEtolia. 

After the battle of Pharsalia, the people of Megaris 
let loose a number of lions on the Romans who were 
besieging them. 

The first appearances in Italy of lions, bears, and 
leopards in religious association with the cult of Isis, 
Cybele, and Bacchus, seems to have been on the advent 
of the wandering monks from Greece. 

In the third century before Christ, the Romans first 
began to have large collections of wild beasts, and to 
make use of elephants in war. 

About the year 185 B.C., Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, 
having returned from his campaign in Greece, intro- 
duced the hunting and killing of lions in the amphi- 
theatre. Until 146 B.C., the public spectacle of butcheries 
of prisoners and deserters in the arena, by trampling 
them to death with elephants or giving them to wild 


beasts, was only occasional, but the custom soon spread 
after this time through all Italy. 1 

Sylla, after receiving lions as a present from Bochus, 
King of Mauritania, provided 100 male lions to be 
hunted to death in the arena. 

Pompey put into the arena at one time 600 lions 
and lionesses and 18 or 20 elephants, and also the first 
rhinoceros ever seen in Rome. Julius Caesar gave 400 
lions and the first giraffe ever seen by the Romans 
for one of these spectacles. These butcheries became 
more frequent under the emperors. The following are 
the numbers of the lions found in some of the later 
Roman imperial menageries : — 

Octavius Augustus (29 to 14 B.C.), 260 lions. 
Nero (54-68 a.d.), 300 lions. 
Antoninus (138-161 a.d.), 100 lions. 
Commodus (180-193 a.d.), 100 lions. 

Caracalla (211-217 a.d.) had a favourite lion named 
Acinaces, which he kept at his side when at table and 
in his bedroom. 

Heliogabalus (218-222). — Loisel recounts the pranks 
played by this emperor on his boon companions with 
lions and other beasts whom he had mutilated and 
deprived of their teeth and claws. 

Probus (276-282) possessed 100 maned lions and 100 

1 Pliny (see Holland's Pliny ,1601 edition) asserts that Q. Scaevola, 
son of Publius, was the first that in his Curule iEdileship exhibited 
a fight and combat of many lions together ; that L. Sylla when 
" Pretor represented a shew of an hundred Lions with manes and 
collars of haire " ; that Pompeius the Great showed 600 of them 
fighting in the Grand Cirque, whereof 315 were male lions with 
manes ; and that Caesar Dictatour brought 400 of them into the 
" Shew place." Many quaint bits of translation will be found in 
Holland's Pliny, e.g. : " If he (i.e. the lion) chaunce to be wounded 
hee hath a marveilous eye to marke the partie that did it, and 
be the hunters never so many in number, upon him he runneth 


During the Roman period trained lions were by no 
means unknown. 

For the whole history of menageries, and for descrip- 
tions of existing collections of wild animals, zoological 
gardens, and game parks, the reader is referred to 
Loisel's volumes referred to above. 




For those interested in the behaviour of bullets and who 
require guidance with regard to the choice of weapons, I 
give a letter written by myself to the Field, May 13, 1911, 
and the comments and criticism thereon by the Hon. 
T. F. Fremantle, who is the best authority I know on 
the practical and theoretical bearings of the subject. 


Sir,— The letter of " Garhwali " in the Field, 22nd 
April, is excellent, and deserves the attention of all 
big game hunters. I desire to obtain the assistance 
of those better qualified than I am to demonstrate 
scientifically the soundness or otherwise of the con- 
clusions I have arrived at from experience and observa- 
tion in regard to one particular phase of the important 
question * Garhwali " has raised. I am persuaded that 
unless the shortcomings of the '280 Ross and other 
small-bore rifles are exposed and brought home to 
rifle-makers as well as to hunters, that many valuable 
lives will be sacrificed by those who, like my friend 
the late Mr. George Grey, had faith in their all-round 
superiority over other weapons, even for such dangerous 
game as lions. For eighteen years I have stuck to the 
•256 Mannlicher for general purposes, and consider it 
' good enough," and especially convenient for shooting 

from horseback. I have never advocated rifles of this 



class for close quarters with lions, and 5 though I have 
killed many lions with the "256, I have killed most of 
them at long range, and generally with a 10-bore held 
in reserve. I consider that *400 is the smallest bore 
modern rifle suitable for dangerous game at close 
quarters. I do not agree with " Garhwali " that a single- 
shot rifle is preferable to a magazine rifle : I think for 
dangerous game at close quarters a double-barrelled 
one is infinitely preferable. I have in the last three 
months thrice seen the single-barrelled rifle jam when 
face to face with dangerous game, all high-class rifles 
(Rigby *450, Lancaster -450, and Jeffery *404). I do 
not know of a single-shot rifle where there is not the 
liability of an empty case refusing to be extracted ; 
I have never experienced the refusal of a cartridge to 
be extracted from a magazine rifle, though these rifles 
may go wrong in other ways at a critical moment. 

The point I want to make in this letter is that cordite 
or nitro powders and modern projectiles, in a rifle 
however powerful, give no advantage with a charging 
lion at close quarters over old-fashioned 8-, 10- or 12-bore 
rifles and guns with a big charge of powder and solid 
lead ball. By close quarters I mean within 25 yards 
from a charging lion which is covering 100 yards in 
three seconds. Before entering on the question of 
weapons, I should like to give my view of what the 
conditions are which the weapon is required for in th' 
case of lions only. In my opinion the lion has mar 
attributes that differentiate it from all other classes *J 
dangerous African game. Only the leopard attacks 
with the same lightning, or even greater rapidity, but 
the inferior weight, size, strength, and armament of the 
leopard puts him into a totally different category. He 
can be dealt with with a shot gun. Many men seized 
or attacked by leopards have killed them with their 
bare hands. I have known two instances of this 

The "knock-out" target presented by a lion at, say, 60 yards 
when charging on the level is very small. A head shot above 
the level of the eyes is liable to glance. A lion coursing 
towards the shooter is very likely to be shot over, as his 
pace is generally very great. 

Diagram to show how much of a lion's broadside presents a 
"knock-out" target. A shot to stop a charging lion must 
be in the brain, neck, or spine. A shot in the heart 
within 60 yards is not to be relied on. 

To face p. 268. 


The lion when he charges is coming faster than a 
greyhound. I do not know what the momentum or 
striking energy of a lion (apart from muscular striking 
power) would be, but this can be calculated on the 
basis of, say, 300 lb. to 400 lb. travelling sixty miles an 
hour. But no rifle projectile will give an equivalent 
striking energy to the lion's. For practical purposes, 
the striking energy figures given for rifles by gunmakers 
are entirely misleading. A lion is not a steel target. 
I am not good at figures, but I calculate that a 1-oz. ball 
travelling 2000 ft. per second has a striking momentum 
at least twenty-eight times too little to counteract and 
bring to rest the charging momentum of a 400 lb. lion, 
if the lion had an impenetrable hide and could get it 
all — all at once and in one place. But no rifle or gun 
could or need do anything of this sort. To be efficient, 
it must be the most capable weapon for instantaneously 
killing or paralysing a living creature carrying 200 lb. 
to 400 lb. at the rate of 100 ft. per second towards you, 
with added forces of limbs, teeth, and claws. In gun- 
maker's lingo, what is required is " shock " ; that term 
is applicable to the desideratum for all other dangerous 
African game, but the only certainly effective shock to 
a charging lion is a bullet in the brain or vertebral 

No man can make sure of giving this shot. The 
bead drawn on the head of a charging lion with cool 
deliberation is only done in imagination and in dreams 
or in fiction. A shot in the brain or spinal column must 
always be a fluke, and almost any rifle can do that 
work. As no man without a moment's warning can 
make sure of hitting a charging lion in the brain, and 
is unlikely to have any of the vertebral column in sight, 
and in all probability never sees anything of a lion's 
head above the eyes, and could no more draw a bead 
on it than if it was a snipe, and if he could would most 
certainly miss the spot aimed at, all we can hope to 


obtain is the knowledge of what weapon and what 
projectile gives a man the best chance of knocking out 
a charging lion. 

Lion charges occur sometimes with warning, often 
without any. The man who has time to anticipate a 
charge can do certain things. He may have time to 
step behind a tree or bush, or to sit down or kneel to 
shoot. As far as position is concerned, the sitting 
position, though less suited for quick work, and for 
giving command of the situation, may give certain 
men greater confidence and minimize the shock of 
impact if the lion " gets home." Personally, I prefer 
the standing position ; you command a larger field and 
can judge pace and distance quicker. What is required 
in such rapid work is a weapon powerful enough to give 
shock (with a projectile that behaves the best in practice) 
and yet which can be quickly manipulated and easily 

The following points require attention : (1) After 
a lion has started on his charge, no man is likely to get 
in more than two shots (I have no experience of large- 
bore automatic weapons, but they are liable to jam) ; 
therefore a double-barrelled weapon is the most effective. 
The magazine rifle is inferior ; it is slower in manipula- 
tion, and the aim is destroyed between each shot. 
(2) A man is more likely to hit his mark with a weapon 
he is familiar with. Few men, comparatively, are 
really familiar with heavy rifles, and fewer still shoot 
as well with a heavy rifle as with a small one. All 
rifles smaller than '400 are dangerous to use on charging 
lion. The *400 is not too heavy a rifle to become handy 
with or for daily use. (3) Any double-barrelled weapon 
may be selected of a calibre of '400, or larger calibre 
that can be easily handled ; 12-bore and 10-bore shot 
and ball guns answer this requirement. (4) The 
superiority of 12- and 10-bore weapons over heavy 
rifles is, in the case of lions, more marked in their 


projectiles than in the ease of their handling, when 
knock-out shots must be given within 25 yards 
range. It is within this range that such guns show their 
superiority over powerful cordite rifles. 

I do not know what the muzzle velocity of a 10-bore 
gun, with the equivalent charge to 5 drs. of black 
powder and bullets of 800 grs. each may be, nor 
what the striking energy of such a ball at 25 yards 
and under is. On paper, of course, it will be very 
inferior to a cordite '450 to "500 bore rifles with 460 grs. 
or 500 grs. bullets, but the behaviour of the 10- and 
12 -bore projectiles is on the average greatly superior. 

For the heavy cordite rifle two types of bullets may 
be used, the solid or expanding (soft-nosed, slit, etc.) ; 
but at close range you gain little value in knocking-out 
power, whereas with an ordinary 12-bore shot-gun, 
even with No. 5 shot, at 3 yards you would blow a 
lion's head to pieces or drive an enormous hole through 
his body. 

The question of the projectile is of the utmost 
importance. All probably agree that what is required 
is the biggest possible blow, and the one most instantane- 
ously destructive to muscular action. If the hard-cased 
bullet of the modern rifle is left solid, with its envelope 
intact, the result of a close range hit is to drill a small 
hole through the animal, and a large proportion of the 
intended blow may be wasted beyond the lion ; and these 
hard-cased bullets, which have to be long in order to get 
the necessary weight into a small-bore projectile, are very 
liable to glance and deflect on contact with smooth sur- 
faces of bone and skull (see diagram). To remedy this 
waste of striking power and to increase the area of injury, 
the expanding or soft-nosed bullet is used, which means 
that the envelope enclosing the lead is no longer intact. 
What can anyone suppose is the condition of this lead 
on leaving the muzzle of a rifle, after the bullet has 
passed with enormous friction at inconceivable pace 


through a rifled barrel, and issues from the muzzle at 
between 2000 to 3000 feet per second velocity ? It must 
be reduced to fluid, and fluid in an opened envelope. 
This is how I explain the fact that when a lion is hit in 
the face with one of these bullets at close range, if the 
bullet is not deflected it often goes to pieces and nothing 
is to be found of lead save faint splashes, and only a bit 
of light twisted metal envelope is discovered not far in, 
and out of the line of the original line of entry. I have 
twice seen charging lions hit in the face at 5 yards 
with such projectiles (in the nose and mouth), and in 
both cases the lion might just as well have been missed. 
Will anyone say that a solid lead bullet or even small 
shot from a 12 -bore gun would not do better work ? 
It is, I believe, an old illustration, but apposite, that 
though the rapier may be a deadlier weapon than the 
fist, with greater penetration and giving greater theo- 
retical " shock," yet if you run a man through the body 
with your rapier he may yet have time to run you 
through too, whereas if you hit him in the face with 
your fist you can knock him out of time and dispose of 
him as you will. 

Given the scientific data, I have little doubt what I 
have found to be the result of experience, practice, and 
observation could be demonstrated also scientifically. 
The muzzle -velocity of the respective rifles is required, 
and subsequent velocity and momentum of each pro- 
jectile at the ranges, say, of 5 yards, 25 yards, 
and 50 yards, in order to complete the data for 
argument. The size, weight, shape, and behaviour of 
the projectile are each points of prime importance, 
as well as the velocity, momentum, and penetration. 
A long, pointed, tapering bullet, with hard envelope, 
is easily deflected, no matter what its velocity. A 
blade of grass may alter its direction ; a touch on the 
branch of a tree may turn it over and tip it up or send 
it sideways on its journey. 



It appears to me that a scientific treatment of the 
subject might follow the lines indicated below. The 
stopping power of a bullet on a charging lion depends 


Illustrating the Path of a Long Tapering Bullet with reference to 

Smooth Bone. 

on three principal constituents : (a) Area of vital target 
commanded by a bullet of each class. (By " vital 
target " is meant the target within which a bullet with 
adequate penetration instantaneously kills the lion or 
anchors him where he is.) Supposing we calculate the 

4 inches 

Bullet inflicting Fatal Injury. 

size of this target by assuming an inner target, and its 

(4\ 2 22 
- ) x -^ in. = 

12 J sq. in. area approximately. A bullet need only 
touch the circumference of this inner target to be 
fatal. Therefore a bullet making a J-in. diameter hole 


commands almost a 5-in. diameter vital target). 

(b) Area of injury inflicted by a bullet of each class. 

(c) Momentum (shock power) and freedom from liability 
to deflection of a bullet of each class (depending 
on weight, pace, material, and shape of bullet). The 
relative values of these three constituents is a physical 
and anatomical question. It may be noted that any 
bullet coming wholly (1) within the 4-in. target is fatal. 
Here all bullets with ordinary penetration are equal. 

(2) Assuming equal penetration and regularity of 
expansion for bullets on the edge of the 4-in. target, 
the increase in the area of the vital target com- 
manded by the bullet is in direct proportion to the area 
of injury, since both vary in proportion to the square 
of half the diameter of the bullet after expansion. 

(3) The stopping power of any bullet is insignificant 
unless it goes near the vital target. (4) Bullets clear 
of the vital target depend for their stopping power 
mainly on the area of injury, and their stopping power 
is insignificant unless the area of injury is large. (5) A 
heavy bullet with low striking velocity inflicts greater 
proportional injury than a light bullet at high striking 
velocity, because it has greater bruising power, whereas 
the light bullet, striking at high velocity, does little 
injury outside the space which it actually penetrates. 
Thus many a man badly wounded with a '303 bullet 
in action does not know at the moment that he has been 
shot, but if hit with a spent 7-lb. projectile is instantane- 
ously " floored," and might receive more conscious 
shock from a spent '303 than from a bullet that passed 
through him. Or, to take another illustration, compare 
a stone thrown through a pane of glass and a bullet fired 
through it. The bullet may drill a small, clean hole ; 
the stone shatters the glass in every direction. A 
similar though less pronounced difference may be 
expected from difference in velocity of bullets striking 
the skull or bones of an animal. (6) The liability of a 


bullet to deflection depends on its weight, pace, shape, 
material, and the character of its expansion. The 
material affects either the weight or the character of 
its expansion or both. Moderate pace gives a heavy 
bullet freedom from deflection, since nothing in a 
lion's anatomy can resist the weight of it. Great pace 
gives a light bullet freedom from deflection only if the 
shape of the bullet and character of expansion assist. 
But great pace and accuracy of flight can only be got 
out of deeply rifled barrels, and the bullets available 
for these must be incased in harder metal than lead to 
secure the retention of shape and to enable the bullet to 
4 take " the rifling and to obtain the spin which gives its 
accuracy of flight. But these bullets do not expand 
so evenly as plain lead bullets, and where expansion 
is irregular the bullet may (? will) tend to expand least 
in the direction in which most resistance is encountered. 
If this last surmise is correct, the vital organs being most 
protected, the expansion of cased bullets tends to be 
away from them. The mushrooming of pure lead balls 
is generally fairly even, that of soft-nosed or open cased 
bullets generally lobsided. A long, pointed bullet is 
more liable to deflection than a blunt, flat-nosed, and 
shorter bullet, though velocity diminishes the liability 
to deflection. 

What I want to know is the weight of each class of 
bullet, its striking velocity, its average expansion in 
each class of rifle or gun at the ranges likely to be 
used with a charging lion — say, at 50 yards, 25 
yards, 10 yards, and 5 yards — and apply the results 
to the (a) vital target, the (b) area of injury considered 
first in section of the cylinder of injury and then in 
length of cylinder of injury (penetration), and (c) prob- 
abilities of deflection or breaking up on contact. I 
believe in this way only can any demonstration be given 
of ''shock," and that it could be proved that the actual 
momentum shock given by any rifle or gun is hardly 


worth taking into consideration when the question is 
one of stopping a charging lion and could not reduce 
his pace by one-fiftieth part, and would exhibit what 
weapon and what projectile commands best the vital 
target, gives the greatest area of injury, and will give the 
least risks of deflection or of bad behaviour. 

Alfred E. Pease. 



The Old House, Swanbourne, 
Winslow, 23/5/11. 

Dear Pease, — Your letter in the Field is full of 
interest. I am afraid we can never find a general 
solution for the problem of the most effective weapon 
for all big game shooting. Rifles and bullets neces- 
sarily are a compromise. To get the best results in any 
case one should know not only what beast is to be fired 
at, but where the shot will hit it, and the range at which 
it is to be struck. 

The question of stopping-power as between the old 
big-bore weapons such as Sir S. Baker used, and modern 
high velocity rifles, is a very difficult one. The older 
rifles were, I suppose, developed in the course of evolution 
from round-ball weapons the penetration of which was 
inadequate. By giving the ball a bigger mass, the pene- 
tration and shock were increased for big game. Sir S. 
Baker rightly insisted on soft -lead projectiles for such 
weapons ; when the penetration became ample, the 
damaging effects from a bullet which would deform or 
break up could be called into play. 

We have travelled further since those days, and the 
problem with modern rifles is to prevent the excessive 
penetration wasting the power of the projectile. There 


is, generalty speaking, plenty of power. The big-bore 
bullet depended largely on its area for its destructiveness. 
The modern small-bore bullet, while penetrating at a 
high velocity, exerts an even greater effect ; for it com- 
municates to the fragments of tissue and of bone which 
it displaces velocity enough to cause them to act as 
projectiles in their turn, and also produces damage by 
hydraulic effects on the liquids in the circulation, etc. 

The first problem, I suppose, with large game, is 
to ensure that the bullet penetrates into the interior 
cavity of the body or head. A bullet reduced almost to 
a shell, in order to encourage expansion, will suit smaller 
game where the body or head cavities are not heavily 
overlaid with muscle or bone, but will break up, as it 
were, on the surface of a large animal without pene- 
trating to vital parts. There was in the old days 
of the old express rifles much failure on big game — 
even sambur, etc. — from the failure of gunmakers to 
realize that the bullet which would break up inside a 
Scotch stag might not get inside a much heavier animal, 
but though it would break up, might produce only 
superficial injury. Selous killed the biggest game with 
solid bullets in the *450 express. 

The small-bore rifles suitable for antelope will, I 
suppose, kill a lion effectively if you can get a deliberate 
shot at his ribs and so put the bullet into the body 
cavity to do its full damage there, or if its spine can be 
struck from behind. But any charging animal has its 
body cavity and spine and brain protected by the 
muscles of the fore-limbs, and the bones and jaws and 
head, etc. You want, therefore, a bullet giving a much 
larger degree of penetration before breaking up than in 
the case of a side shot, and an antelope bullet is no good 
at all. The bullet will glance and break up on the face 
bones, as you say. In such cases it seems to me that the 
mass of the round bullets ensures penetration, and their 
larger area partly compensates for the absence of the 



special destructive effect which velocity adds to a pro- 
jectile. In all killing, adequate penetration to meet the 
particular case is the first foundation of effect. With a 
more massive bullet than the *303 or *256, the base will 
penetrate even if the nose is broken up. 

Pray put out of your mind the idea that the lead of 
the bullet is melted by the friction in the barrel. The 
primary object of the hard envelope is to prevent 
its being so melted ; and if it melts, the bullet will not 
fly true. I have known (experimental) bullets scatter 
a fine spray of melted lead in the air, but this difficulty 
is quite well understood and guarded against, and does 
not arise even with modern rifles giving up to 3000 ft. 
sees, velocity. 

It is quite clear, as you indicate, that in exchanging 
to some extent mass for speed, as we have done in 
modern rifles, we have made the destructive effect 
rather less certain and more liable to be diverted by the 
accident of precisely how and where it strikes. We have 
per contra got more manageable weapons. The question 
of " shock " is in the case of the charging lion all -im- 
portant. But we cannot expect to meet his momentum 
by an equal momentum on the part of the bullet. A 
lion weighing 400 lb. and going 60 miles an hour (but 
does it go twice as fast as a Derby winner ?) will have a 
momentum of one hundred and twenty times as much as 
that of a 3-ounce 4-bore bullet at 1400 f.s. The shock 
which turns aside a charging elephant, like that which 
one may read of in the old days, when the round ball 
flattened itself on the forehead of the buffalo, and brought 
him for a moment half stunned to his knees, is a shot 
which produces some local injury or temporary nerve 
damage apart from the mere question of its weight. But 
the local injury must go deep enough to tell. 

I suppose the main moral is that one should never 
tackle big game without one's weapon having a big 
margin of destructive power. 



The diminution in velocity of a h.v. bullet in 5 
or 10 or 20 yards is not enough to affect materially 
its penetrative or destructive powers. An ordinary 
•303 bullet, if starting with a velocity of 2900 f.s., will 
lose less than 100 f.s. in going 25 yards. 

I can write only as an " arm-chair " man about 
dangerous game. . . . — Yours sincerely, 

T. F. Fremantle. 


10 Bore » 


•256 Mannlicher 

Fig. 3. 


•280 Ross 


Fig. 5. 

Fig. 6 



Figs, i, 3, 5, and 7 are outlines of cartridges. 

Fig. 2, solid soft lead 10-bore ball taken out of a lion. 

Fig. 4, steel and nickel enveloped '256 soft-nosed bullet taken out of 

a lion. 
Fig. 6, the largest fragment of a -280 Ross bullet taken out of the 

lion that killed George Grey— all that was found. 
Fig. 8, Rigby -450 soft-nosed bullet taken out of a dead animal 

(? rhinoceros). 


The preceding diagram is intended to illustrate the 
superiority of heavy and large projectiles on lions at close 
quarters over high velocity small bullets in hard en- 
velopes. The contrast is as between a sledge-hammer 
blow and running an animal through with a knitting- 
needle. It is not intended to assert that these figures 
represent the normal behaviour of each projectile. 

Fig. 6. — This fragment was a thin morsel of the en- 
velope of the bullet stripped of all lead. I should think, 
in fact, that Fig. 2 exaggerates the average good behaviour 
of solid lead ball at close quarters, but taking my own 
experience with two unwounded lions at 5 yards range 
(or under) and three shots fired with soft solid lead ball. 

Lion No. 1. — The ball entered the chest, went the 
length of the body, and three-quarters (about) of its 
mass was embedded in the hip joint. This lion went 
about 200 yards before he dropped dead. 

Lion No. 2. — First barrel, 9 yards; second barrel, 
under 5 yards. The first ball entered the neck, raked 
behind the shoulder, ripped along his ribs, and lodged 
in the stifle, and did not stop him a bit. The second 
entered the neck an inch or two higher and broke his 

Again with a wounded lion that charged. At 5 
yards range a hardened solid lead ball entered between 
his eyes, smashed his skull, and blew his brains out at 
his neck. The bullet was scarcely at all altered from 
its original form, and rolled on to the ground from the 
exit hole in the heck (see Fig. 9). 

Fig. 9. 




Acholi . 
Aluru . 
Arabic . 






Sba, Asad, Sab, Sabu, Sibaa. 

These are the commoner names in Arabic 
for lion in North Africa. 1 The Arabic name is 
found corrupted in various native languages, 
e.g. Swahili, Kavirondo, Jalno, etc. 






Basuto . 




Boer (Dutch) 


Dinka . 




Dutch . 


Hausa . 


Herero . 




Jalno . 








Kavirondo . 



Munyambo or Mwenyambo. 

1 In Algeria I have found the words Said, HoUche, and Metelouf used for 

lion. It is said that there are nearly 700 names or terms used for the lion in 

Arabic dialects and literature. 



Language. Names. 


. Shimba. 


• Kemi. 


. Mpologama or Mporogama 


. Linu. 


. Nu. 


. Linani. 


. Endui. 


. Mpologama or Mporogama. 


. Linn. 


. Linani. 

Madi . 

. Ebi. 

Masai . 

. Ol-ngatuny. 


. Ibulibesi. 

Matabele names 

. Isilwane or Impamvu or Ingwonyama. 



. Ibulubesi. 



. Sungai. 

Mundu . 


. Kemi. 



. Gatun. 

Ngisu . 


. Ol-natuin. 


. Mbanbono or Mbanguru. 

Ogiek . 


. Ngatundo. 



. Endare. 



. Entare. 



. Entare. 

Jar, male lion; -arki, the lion. 
a \gol, lioness ; -golshi, the lioness 


• V. 

Suk . 


. Notuny. 



. Simba. 

Swazi . 


. Ingonyama or Imbube or Imbubesi. 


. Enatuny. 
. Asian. 


. Ekicuncu. 

Zambesi Natives . Nkango. 

Zulu . . . Ingonyama or Imbube or Imbubesi. 



Whilst this book was in the press, Mr. L. J. Tarlton of 
Nairobi most kindly supplied me with the following 
information, in reply to some questions I addressed 
to him : — 

" Lions killed in East Africa and Uganda. — The only 
information I have in this direction is embodied in a 
letter sent to our London office some months ago, 
where I made a return of the number reported as 
killed for the year ended (I think) December 1911. 
The exact figures I do not remember, but I believe the 
total was either 695 or 795 lions. Doubtless reference 
to our London people will place you in possession of 
the exact data. 

" Largest Bag by One Individual. — Undoubtedly 
Mr. P. J. Rainey, who was credited, when I last heard, 
with having accounted for 120. As you are doubtless 
aware, he used hounds for the purpose, and the total 
includes, I believe, all lions run by his pack, whether 
shot by Rainey or his friends. Lord Delamere still, I 
fancy, leads with a total of 53 to his own gun. I do 
not quote professional hunters, as it is impossible to 
draw the line between those shot personally and those 
killed by the hunter in company with a client. 

" Mob of 4-6 Lions.— Mr. H. R. M'Clure of the 
Government Service is, I believe, responsible for this 
story. The total I heard was 43, and knowing M'Clure, 

I feel confident the story is reliable, but I am not sure 



that it was M'Clure who saw them. The most I have 
ever seen consisted of mobs of 12, 11, and 10 re- 
spectively, but I have many times seen 9 and 10. The 
late Mr. H. A. F. Currie is said to have shot a lion 
out of a mob of 18. 

"Melanism and Albinism. — No, not to my knowledge. 
The light or dark-maned lion is, I think, the equivalent 
of a blonde or brunette human. 

" Largest Number of Cubs. — I have had very little 
experience here, and can only vouch for 3. Kermit 
Roosevelt and I shot 5 lions out of 11 ; of which 4 were 
adult (1 male and 3 females) and 7 cubs of more or 
less the same size, but I am not prepared to say whether 
these 7 cubs were all one litter. They had all been 
weaned — I mean that, so far as I remember, none of the 
females killed were in milk. 

"Habits. — An excellent study can be obtained by 
entering the bulrush reed bed at Mile 300 on the 
Uganda Railway. I found there a quite considerable 
area of bulrush in the centre of the swamp, all flattened 
down into couches. This was evidently done to cover 
up the mud and water (there about 6 inches deep), 
and the place gives evidence of long residence of large 
numbers of lions. On all sides are bones and skulls 
(several human skulls amongst them), and I found a 
good number of balls of hair, each about the size of a 
small cricket ball. Many of these were composed of 
(apparently) lion hair, and I can only assume that the 
animals collected the hair on their spiky tongues when 
licking themselves. The major portion, however, 
appeared to be the usual hair-ball which the natives 
say the lion vomits after digestion, and were composed 
of the hair of antelope, etc. 

" Although I have found lions or signs of them round 
and about the reed beds, my own opinion is that, where 
they are undisturbed, they prefer to lie up in open 
country, preferably on some rocky kopje commanding 



a wide view, and that they only take to the reeds for pro- 
tection or to breed. I have certainly found more lions on 
the open plains, after the style of the Athi and Kapiti 
Plains, than anywhere else, and I daresay your own wider 
experience will travel thus far with my opinion. 

" Regarding their food, I rather think that l all is 
fish,' etc., for although the majority of kills appears to 
be either zebra or kongoni, these are, after all, the most 
common prey available. Where other animals are 
plentiful, the kills appear to vary more, and on one safari 
I came across a large number of wart-hog kills in some 
hills where lion abounded, but game other than wart- 
hog and waterbuck were scarce. I imagine that for some 
reason reedbuck are not popular as food for lions, as I 
have frequently found these animals lying up in the same 
swamp with Felis leo- — particularly on the Uasin Gishu. 

" Anent the much-disputed point as to which is 
the fiercer, lion or lioness, my own experience tends 
to the opinion that the lion is more apt to charge. 
While I have several times wounded lionesses accom- 
panied by their cubs, without provoking a charge, I 
have always found that a solitary old male was a short- 
tempered beast, and on one occasion on the Uasin 
Gishu a very old male charged violently before a shot 
had been fired. He ran from us some 200 yards off, 
and by the time we had got on our ponies was out of 
sight, going strong through scattered timber. We 
missed his direction and cantered past him, when he 
suddenly charged us from behind, to his own undoing. 
I have kept no records, but, as far as I can remember, 
out of some twenty charges all but four or five have 
been lions, not lionesses. I am strongly of the opinion 
that the same difference in temper exists among lions 
as in human beings, and that there are both bold and 
cowardly animals. Also that, in most cases, where a 
lion thinks he can get away he will do so, and that 
he generally charges because he is unable to see his 


way to safety otherwise. But I will make one observa- 
tion with which I feel confident you will find yourself 
in agreement, i.e., that the only invariable rule in 
regard to the habits and behaviour of the lion is — 
that there is no invariable rule." 


Far more lions are killed in British East Africa 
than appear on the Government Returns, as sportsmen 
and settlers are not required to make any return of 
them. According to the official " Return ©f Game killed 
in the East African Protectorate, 1911-12," there were 
only included on the list 76 lions and 43 lionesses, but 
the Game Warden adds the following remarks :— 

"Lions, leopards, and cheetahs, not being included 
in the game list, are not always shown by sportsmen 
and residents on their game registers of game killed, 
and it is therefore impossible to make an absolutely 
correct return. 

" The number of lions and lionesses actually shown 
on the game registers for the two years 1910-11 and 
1911-12 totals 266. Besides this, from inquiries made, 
records have been obtained of 648 lions and lionesses 
killed during the above two years, and which have not 
been shown on the game registers. This makes a grand 
total of 914, and there is little doubt that this figure, 
though a large one, is below the actual number shot, 
trapped, and poisoned." 

Personally I consider the figure 914 very much 
within the actual number. When persons descend to 
poison they keep the shameful deed, as a rule, to 
themselves. I have known a man poison a freshly 
killed zebra, and in the morning find eleven adult lions, 
besides innumerable vultures, hyaenas, and jackals, lying 
dead beside the carcass. Cases have occurred where 
numbers of natives have been poisoned, through taking 
meat from poisoned bait. 

'!■* ii m 


Aard-wolf, the, 66. 

Abyssinia, lions in, 120. 

Abyssinian wild dogs, 61. 

Africa, cost and advantages of 
travel in, 5, 6 ; intelligence of 
natives, 7 ; dawn of civilization 

in, 18. 

Africa (North), lions in, 91, no et 
seq. ; (South), lions in, 113 et seq. 

African and Asiatic lions com- 
pared, 91. 

African names for the lion, 281. 

Afrikander's skill with rifle, 211. 

Ahmedabad, lions in, no. 

Algeria, lions in, 11 1, 112 ; track- 
ing wild sheep in, 228. 

Ammunition requirements, 213, 
267 (Appendix II.) et seq. 

Ancient history, the lion in, 259. 

Animal Life in Africa, 138. 

Antelope, a favourite food of lions, 

Art of Travel (Galton's), 81. 

Baboons, a troop of angry, 60. 

Babylonian lion, no. 

Bahr el Ghazal, lions in the, 124. 

Barbary wild sheep, 228. 

Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, and 
the lion, 26. 

" Big game " generally, 69. 

Bites (of all kinds) should be dis- 
infected, 180. 

Blood-poisoning, 179 et seq. } 256. 

Blue Nile, lions near the, 120, 122. 

Boots and gaiters, 209. 

British East Africa, lions in, 155 
et seq., 283 et seq. 

Buffalo, degree of their danger- 
ousness uncertain, 54 ; opinions 
of Selous, George Grey, and 
Hon. F. J. Jackson, ibid. ; at- 
tacked by lions, 128 ; food of 
lions, 192. 

Burka (Somaliland), climbing 

lions in, 172. 
Butler, Mr. A. J., on lions in the 

Sudan, 122 et seq. 

Camels, as food for lions, 127, 192; 
extraordinary cure of a, 154; the 
best of all transport animals,232. 

Carnivora, meaning of, 90. 

Cats, 89. 

Cavendish, Mr. Victor, his escape 
from an elephant, 50. 

Chalmers, Dr. (of Gordon Col- 
lege), 136. 

Chaloner, Mr. Hume, 47, 179. 

Cheetah, the, 66, 67. 

Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston, on 
lions, 27, 38. 

Civilization, its demerits, 9 et seq. 

Cole, Hon. Galbraith, 47. 

Collinson, Colonel (Governor of 
Kassala), 127. 

Colman, Mr., 59. 

Colour of lions, 92, 115, 116, 125, 
126, 284. 

Compass, employment of, 84. 

Cost of African travel, 5. 

Courage, comes from education 
and practice, 3, 20 et seq. ; is 
the fear of being afraid, 34 ; of 
the lion, 35 et seq. 

Cubs of lions, 125, 135, 148^/ seq., 
284. See also Gestation. 

Currie, Mr. (Manager of Uganda 
Railway), 157. 

Cybele, the lions of, 264. 

Dangerous game, 46 et seq. 
Death, prospect of, in the silent 

wilderness, 87. 
Delamere, Lord, saved from lion 

by Somali boy, 29 ; experience 

with a hungry lion, 193; bag, 





Disinfecting of bites and wounds, 
necessity for, 180 et seq. 

Disobedient prophet and the lion, 

Distribution of lions, the geo- 
graphical, 109 et seq. 

Dogs, hunting lions with, 238. 

Dress (and equipment), 203 etseq. 

Drink of lions, the, 195, 196, 198. 

Elephant, Ludolphus on the, 23 ; 

risks of hunting the, 49 ; Mr. 

Victor Cavendish's escape, 50 ; 

charge of a wounded, 51. 
Equipment for lion-hunting, 201 

ei seq. 
Euphrates Valley, lions in, no. 
Europe, lions formerly in, 1 10. 
Eyesight of the lion, 168 ; of the 

horse, 170. 

Fear, the essence of pleasure in 



Field sports, what constitutes true, 

70, 71 ; bastard sports, ibid. 
Food of lions, 126 et seq., 192 et 

seq., 285. 
Fox-hunting, 69. 
Fremantle, Hon. T. F., on rifles 

and ammunition, 276 (Appendix 

II.) et seq. 

Games, do they constitute field 

sports ? J2>- 
Gestation, period of, 106, 116 et 

seq., 135. 
Giraffes, attacked by lions, 128. 
Gordon Gumming, on the dangers 

of lion-hunting, 200. 
Grey, George, on buffalo-shooting, 

54 ; his use of the compass, 84. 
Guns for lion-hunting, 205 et seq. 

" Haud," the waterless (Somali- 
land), 197. 

Herodotus on lions' cubs, 148 

Hill, Mr. Clifford, 160, 179. 

Hill, Mr. Harold, 105, 106, 160 ; 
wounded by leopard, 179. 

Hints for beginners, 254. 

Holland & Holland's signal- 
pistols, 85. 

Horse, eyesight of the, 169, 170. 

Horses, hunting lions with, 239 
et seq. 

Humphery, Mr. (District Com- 
missioner, Machakos), 215 

Hyaena, the, 58, 63 ; enters the 
writer's tent at night, ibid. ; 
attack on a lion by a crowd 
of, 63 ; its similarity to the wild 
dog, 65 ; the striped hyaena, 
ibid. ; the brown hyaena, 66. 

India, lions in, no. 
Indian coolies, less bravethm 
Africans, 129, 130. 

jack, Captain E. M. (R.E.), on 

the lions in Ruanda, 93. 
Jackson, Hon. F. J. (Governor of 

Uganda), 47 ; on the dangers 

of buffalo-shooting, 54. 
Johnston, Sir Harry, 47 ; on the 

brown hyaena, 66 ; on the 

cheetah, 67. 

Kaffirs, intelligence of, 7. 
Kathiawar, lions in, no. 
Kirby, Mr. Vaughan, 91, 176. 
"Kitr" thorn bushes, 138. 
Kordofan, lions in, 124. 
Kudu, eaten by lions, 129. 

Land of the Lion ( Rainsford's), 175. 

Lassoing lions, 253. 

Liechtenstein, Prince Henry of, 

Leigh, Mr. Boughton, 131, 144. 

Leopard, the, 55, 58 ; the writer 
stalked by a, 56, 57 ; the black 
leopard, 68 ; extraordinary in- 
cident with a, 145 ; its power 
of climbing trees, 174. 

Lion, Milton's definition of the, 
22 ; Ludolphus on the, 24 ; the 
Biblical description of the, 25 ; 
the story of Benaiah and the, 
26 ; Livingstone and Winston 
Churchill on the, 27, 38 ; Mr. 
Williams's fight with a, 31 ; the 
courage of the, 35 et seq. ; Sir F. 
Lugardon the, 35; uncertain dis- 
position of, 37, 285 ; the writer's 
first encounter with an African, 
36; necessary to kill a charg- 
ing^ 39 5 an incident at close 




quarters, 43 ; compared with 
the tiger, 46 ; troops of, 47, 137, 
283 ; attacked by hyaenas, 63 ; 
is classified as a cat, 89 ; size 
and weight of, 91, 98, 99 ; 
African and Asiatic compared, 
ibid. ; the manes of, 92, 93, 115, 
125 ; the colour and spots on, 
ibid., 115, 125, 126; delusions 
about colour varieties, 94 ; 
"protective coloration," 95 ; 
Colonel Roosevelt's conclu- 
sions, 97 ; marital relations of, 
102 ; vitality of, 107 ; geo- 
graphical distribution of, 109 et 
seq. ; food of, 126 et seq., 192 et 
seq., 285 ; man-eaters, 129 et 
seq. ; number killed in the Sudan 
since 1900, 132 ; cubs, 105, 125, 
135, 142, I4&etseq.,5&4; favour- 
ite haunts of, 138,1 55; tame lions, 
149 et seq. ; cooked lion, 152 ; 
plentiful on Uganda Railway, 
156, 157 ; at Tsavo, ibid. ; Post- 
ma's bag of seven, 164 ; the 
roar of the, 166, 167 ; his eye- 
sight, 168 ; his climbing power, 
172 ; charges of, 174 et seq. ; 
springing power of, 176 (and 
notes) ; amount of lead he can 
carry before dying, 214 ; the 
tracking of, 227 et seq. ; hunting 
of, with dogs, 238 ; with horses, 
239 et seq. ; Mr. and Mrs. 
Renton's adventure with a, 248 ; 
lassoing lions, 253 ; some Afri- 
can names for the, 281 ; the lion 
in ancient history, 259 et seq. 

Lionesses, proportion of, 101 ; 
behaviour of, 103 ; protect their 
cubs, 105, 106, 142 ; period of 
gestation, etc., 106 ; ferocity of 
(compared with lions), 108, 143, 
285 ; rapidity of charge by, 144, 
176, 177. 

Livingstone's opinion of lions, 
27, 187. 

Locality, the bump of, 83, 84, 85. 

Loder, Sir Edmund, 152, 196, 229. 

Loisel's Histoire des Menageries, 

Lost in Somaliland, 77 et seq. 

Lugard, Sir Frederick, on the 
lion's pre-eminence, 35. 

Lycaon. See " Wild dog." 

M'Clure, H. R., forty-three lions 

seen, 283. 
Man- Eaters of the Tsavo, 130, 147. 
Man-eating lions, 129 et seq. 
Maneless (Babylonian) lion, no. 
Manes of lions, the, 92,93, 115,125. 
Marshall, Mr., and his shikari, 30. 
Melons (water) eaten by lions, 

139, 199 (note). 
Mesopotamia, lions in, 109. 
Mohamed, the Prophet, tests the 

lion's eyesight, 169. 

Night-shooting, 246 et seq. ; Mr. 
and Mrs. Renton's experience, 

Nile, lions near the Blue and 
White, 120, 122, 123. 

Nomenclature of the larger wild 
animals, 88 et seq. 

North Africa, great size of lions 
in, 91 ; method of night-shoot- 
ing in, 246 (note). 

" Orghobie," the Somali name for 
panther, 56. 

Panther, of North Africa, the, 

55> 56. 
Patterson, Colonel, 147. 
Percival, Mr. Philip, his ride for 

life, 162. 
Persia (Southern), lions in, 109. 
Pig-sticking, 69. 
Poison, 286. 
Pony, type of, for lion-hunting, 

Porcupine attacked by lions, 129 ; 

eaten by lions and leopards, 194. 
Postma (Dutchman) bags seven 

lions, 164. 
Precautions advisable when going 

alone in an unfamiliar country, 

8 7- 
Projectiles. See Ammunition. 

Railway lines, lions on, 156. 
Rainey, P. J., his bag, 283. 
Rainsbeck, Mr., his experiences, 

Rainsford, Mr., 156; his first 

lion, 175. 



Rajputana, lions in, no. 

" Record-hunting," 99. 

Relly, Mr. (of Nairobi), 53. 

Rhinoceros, relatively small risks 
in shooting, 49, 52 ; charges a 
railway train, 53 ; seldom ag- 
gressive, 54. 

Ridley, Mr. Mervyn, badly 
wounded, 176. 

Rifles for lion-hunting, 205 et seq. ; 
267 (Appendix II.) et seq. 

Roar of the lion, the, 166, 167. 

Roosevelt, Colonel, on "protect- 
ive coloration," 96, 97 ; on the 
climbing power of lions, 173. 

" Rounding up " lions (on horse- 
back), 239 et seq. 

Sahara nomads, good trackers, 

Salmon, Mr., fatal accident to, 134. 
Sandbach, Mr., fatally wounded, 

Saunderson, Mr., on climbing 

leopards, 173 ; tames wild-dog 

pups, 64. 
Selous, Mr., on buffalo-shooting, 

54 ; on the manes of lions, 125 ; 

on cooked lion, 152; on lions 

attacking in the daytime, 164 ; 

on slaughter of a hundred pigs 

by a lion, 194 ; on the dangers 

of lion-hunting, 200. 
" Shabel," the Somali name for 

leopard, 56. 
Shooting positions, sighting, etc., 

Signalling, by rifle shot, 80. 
Signal pistols, value of, 85. 
Size of lions, 91, 98, 99, 100, 115, 

Slatter, Captain Arthur, 214. 

Somali (boy), intelligence of, 12 ; 
(camel driver), courage of, 27 ; 
(syce), courage of, 28 ; (boy), 
saves Lord Delamere's life, 29. 

Somaliland, lions in, 121, 157 ; 
climbing lions in Burka, 172 et 
seq. ; typical day's sport in, 232 
et seq. ; Mr. and Mrs. Renton's 
experience near Balistan, 248. 

South Africa, lions in, 113 et seq. 

" Sport," definition of, 70, 72 ; field 
sports, constituents of, ibid. 

Springing power of lion, 176 (and 

Stevenson-Hamilton, Major, 101, 

107 ; his notes on lions in the 

Transvaal, \\^etseq.\ on period 

of gestation, 135, 137. 
Sudan, lions in the, 121 et seq.; 

man-eaters in the, 130. 
Sun, its value as a guide in Africa, 

85, 87. 
Swayne, Colonel, 121, 256. 

Tame lions, 149 et seq. 

Tarlton, L. J., notes on B.E.A. 

lions, 283 et seq. 
Terror, the writer's experience 

of, 75 ; "lost in Somaliland," 

76 et seq. 
Thirst, power of resistance to, 

Tiger and lion-shooting compared, 

46 et seq. ; man-eating, 48. 
Trackers, Somali and Sahara 

compared, 230, 231, 232. 
Tracking down lions, 227, 232 

et seq. 
Transvaal, lions in the, 113 et 

Tsavo, man-eaters of the, 130 ; 

railway station besieged by 

lion, 157. 
Tunisia, lions in, hi. 

Uganda Railway, number of 
lions seen on the, 157 ; Uganda 
and B.E.A. lions killed, 283. 

Wart-hog, the, 69. 

Water requirements of lions. See 
$ Drink. 

Weapons for lion-hunting, 205 et 

Weight of lions, 91, 100, 134. 

Westley Richards 28-bore gun, 

White Nile, lions near the, 120, 

Wickenberg, Count, his method 
of riding down lions, 245. 

Wild-dogs (otherwise Cape hunt- 
ing dogs), 59, 60 ; are they 
dangerous? 61 ; classification 
of, 62 ; taming of pups, 64 ; 
similarity to the hyaena, 65. 



Wild goats and sheep, 74, 228. 
Williams, Mr. H., his adventure 

near Nairobi in June 1909, 31. 
Wind, direction of the, its value 

as a guide in Africa, 87. 
Wolhuter, Mr. H., his adventure, 

185 et seq. 

Wolverton, Lord, his Somali lion's 
dimensions, 100. 

Zaribas, degree of safety afforded 

by, 160, 173. 
Zebra, clawed in the back, 183 ; 

favourite food of lions, 192, 285. 

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