Skip to main content

Full text of "British mammals; an attempt to describe and illustrate the mammalian fauna of the British islands from the commencement of the Pleistocene period down to the present day"

See other formats














RED DEER (Cervus elaplius) : August. 








Paternoster Row '•-' "^ 19^3 

%■ ~ 9- h- ^ \X- iCli.?' 


The author of this book desires to express his 
acknowledgments for information, photographs, and 
specimens to the following persons : — 

The Duke of Bedford, K.G., and the Duchess of 
Bedford; the Lady Boston, of Hedsor, Bucks; 
Captain R. C. Wilson, of Preston Deanery Hall and 
Salsey Forest, Northamptonshire ; Mr. F. Doggett, 
Cambridge; Mr. Oldfield Thomas, F.R.S., British 
Museum of Natural History ; Dr. Scharff, Natural 
History Museum, Dublin ; Mr. J. Lewis Bonhote, 
of Fen Ditton, Cambridge ; Mr. Frank Beddard, 
F.R.S., Prosector, Zoological Society ; Mr. A. D. 
Power; Mr, Ruskin Butterfield; Mr. W. P. Dando, 
F.Z.S. ; Mr. A. J. Sewell, M.R.V.S. ; and Sir John 
Kirk, G.C.M.G. 

WoBURN Abbey. 

It is not every one who has the taste, capacity, or 
leisure for the scientific study of Natural History. But 
there are few persons who do not feel that some know- 
ledge of the processes and products of Nature increases 
the enjoyment of country life. To supply this knowledge 
in a form at once easily assimilated and scientifically 
accurate is the object of the Woburn Series of 
Natural History. 

Each subject will be treated by a writer who has 
made it his special study. In this volume, therefore, 
as in all the succeeding volumes, the writer speaks for 
himself, and the Editor has not attempted to impose 
his own opinions on those who have been asked to 
contribute to the series. 


















CARNIVORA {continued). CIVETS, machairodonts, and cats . . .165 




cARNivoRA {^continued), the marine carnivora 187 





KODENTiA {continued). SQUIRRELS, beavers, dormice, and rats . . 224 





uNGULATA {fontinued). artiodactyla : hippopotamuses, pigs, and deer 280 

VNGULATA {continued). artiodactyla : the bovines 340 

order : PRIMATES, lemurs, monkeys, and man . . . . . 365 



INDEX . 393 


1. Red Deer {Cerfus elaphus) : August Frontispiece 

2. The Common Rorqual Whale {Bahenoptera musculus) . . Facing page 48 

3. The Common Mole {Talpa europitd) ,1 60 

4. Foxes (^Canis vulpes) „ 120 

5. The Last British Wolf „ 130 

6. Otters (^Lutra vulgaris) „ 140 

7. Badgers {Meles taxus) „ 146 

8. The Pine Marten {Mustela marks') ,, 150 

9. The Wild Cat {Felis catus) ,, 182 

10. The Common Seal {Pkoca vitulina) m ^96 

11. Hares (^Lepus eiiropceus) in an Oatfield : Evening ... „ 22 

12. Squirrel {Sciurus vulgaris) robbing Ring Dove's Nest . . ,, 228 

(The coat is that of the end of the winter season, say April.) 

13. The Water Vole (^MicroUis amphibius) ,1 252 

14. Roe Deer {Capreolus capma): September .... „ 292 

15. Fallow Deer {Cervus dama) >> 308 

16. English Wild Cattle {Bos iaurus). Cadzow breed . . ,, 3^2 


Since this book was sent to the press, the following additions 
to our knowledge of British Mammals have been received : — 

An example of the Beluga, or White Whale {Delphinapterus 
leucas)^ was seen by Sir R. LI. Patterson off Scarborough 
on August 19th, 1903 ; and another recorded occurrence of 
Bechstein's Bat {Myotis hechsteini) has been brought to my 
notice by Mr. Ruskin Butterfield, of St. Leonards. This 
example of Bechstein's Bat was caught by Mr. J. G. Millais 
in Sussex. 

The Musk Ox referred to on p. 347 has since died. 

H. H. J. 

On p. 166, eighteen lines from the bottom, the number of 
premolars attributed to the Hyasnas in the lower jaw should be 
three pairs, not one ; with of course four pairs in the upper jaw. 




1. Sketch Map showing routes probably followed by the Mammalia in their 

migrations towards Britain . ......... 13 

2. All that remains of the Whale's Hind Limbs {Balana). From a specimen in 

Museum of College of Surgeons .20 

(Grampus or Killer (Orca gladiator) I _ . 
V Facing 
Common Porpoise {Phocana communis) . . • • ■ • I 

4. Teeth of Porpoise (after Flower). Magnified to twice natural size ... 25 

5. The Killer Whale {Orca gladiator) 27 

6. Head of Black Fish {Globicephahts) 29 

7. Head and Flipper of Risso's Grampus {Grampus grisetis) . . . -31 

8. Common Dolphin {Delphinus delphis) to show Markings. Note the white iris 

of the eye • • • • 35 

9. Skull of Sperm Whale {Physeter macrocephalus) 37 

10. Head of Bottle-nosed Whale {Hyperoodon rostratus) 40 

11. Sowerby's Whale {Mesoplodon bidens). Head and skull, showing single pair 

of teeth in lower jaw and remarkable frontal crest of bone ... 43 

12. Clione limacina. The little Pteropod Mollusc (bright purple in colour) on which 

the great Whalebone Whales feed. Life size ...... 45 

13. Hump-backed Whale {^Megaptera loops) 47 

^^/ Hedgehog rolled up \ Facing 54 

y Common Hedgehog (^Erinaceus eiirop(sus) . . • . • | 

15. Skulls of Insectivores, to show Teeth. A. Hedgehog (natural size) ; B. Mole 

(natural size) ; C. Lesser Shrew (2^ times natural size) . . . -5^ 

16. Hand of Mole 60 

17. Right Foot of Mole 60 

18. Plan of the Interior of an Ordinary Molehill 65 

19. Plan of a more elaborate Mole " Fortress (after Mr. Lionel E. Adams) . 67 
f Common Shrew (^Sorex vtdgaris) . . . . . . . "^ 

20,^ The Lesser Shrew {_Sorex minutus) . . . . . . .J- Facing 70 

\_ The Water Shrew (jCrossopus fodiens') jxn^ti water . . . .J 

21. The Water Shrew {Crossopus fodiens) ........ 74 




22. Skeleton of a Bat's Hand 78 

23. Ears of Bats, to show Tragus, Absence of Tragus, and Development of 

Antitragus ......... ... 81 

' Long-eared Bat (^Pkcotus auritus) ...... 

2^ _ Common Bat hanging by its Thumbs I p^^^^^ g^ 

Common Bat {^Pipistrelhis pipistrellus) hanging by its Feet 
^Bat hanging with folded Wings and Tail .... 

25. Bones of a Bat's Leg and Foot 84 

26. Serotine Bat ( Vespertilio serotinus) : to show {a) shape of ear ; (J)) naked 

three-cornered space on under lip ;. (c) remains of sucker disc on the ball 
of thumb ; (d) point of departure of wing membi-ane from base of toes ; 
(^) calcaneum or spur.; (/) post-calcaneal lobule and interfemoral membrane ; 
{g) degree to which tail projects beyond the interfemoral membrane. . 85 

27. Great or Noctule Bat {Pterygistes noctuld) 87 

28. Skull of Noctule Bat (i§ times natural size) 88 

29. Front of Skull of Noctule Bat, to show separation between incisor teeth and 

large canines (3 times natural size) 88 

30. Head of Noctule Bat (nearly twice natural size) 89 

31. Head of Pipistrelle, or Common Bat (^Pipistrellus pipistrellus') . . . -91 

32. Head and Foot of Daubenton's Bat 95 

33. Head of Bechstein's Bat. Nearly twice natural size 97 

34. Head of Common Continental Bat {Myotis myotis). Natural size ... 99 

35. Head of Whiskered Bat. (2| times natural size) lOl 

36. Ear of Notch-eared Bat (^Myotis emarginatus). Twice natural size . . . 102 

37. Head of Barbastelle Bat {Barbastella barbastcllus). Note ear membranes 

joining over forehead, groove along nose, and eyes fairly close together. 
Twice natural size 103 

38. Nose and Muzzle of Barbastelle Bat (3 times life size) 103 

39. A. Ears of the Long-eared Bat (half again as large as natural size) ; B. The 

Long-eared Bat (life size), showing ears pressed against the sides and 
tragus erect 105 

40. Nose and Muzzle of Long-eared Bat. (3 times natural size) . . . .106 

f The Greater Horseshoe Bat (Rhiuolophus fer7-um-equinutn) . • | ^ . 
/ii -! ,, . . „ s - r Facing 108 

^ 'I The Common Bat {Pipistrellus pipistrellus) . . . . 'J 

42. Head of Greater Horseshoe Bat {Rhinolophus ferrum-equinuni), to show 

nose leaf. Note also absence of tragus and large development of lobe 

of outer margin of ear. Nearly twice natural size 109 

43. Nose Leaf of Greater Horseshoe Bat in Profile (slightly less than natural size) . 1 10 

44. Nose Leaf of Lesser Horseshoe Bat {Rhinolophus hipposiderus) . Twice natural 

size. ..........•••• i'2 

45. Jaws of Otocyon megalotis (to show four molar teeth in each jaw, etc.) . .114 

46. Angle of the Lower Jaw in Otocyon, as compared with the angle of the 

Jaw in Canis cancrivorus (Crab-eating Dog) and in Wolf . . . • "S 



47. Examples of Fourth Upper Premolar (the Upper Carnassial Tooth) in various 

Carnivores . . . . . . . . . . . . ■ ^l^ 

{The Common Fox {Canis vulpes) .......] 
The Wolf, European Type {Canis lupus) X ^ 

(British Cave Lion {Felis leo spelczd) .\ 
British Cave Bear {Ursus spelcEus) j ^^'^'^^ ^^"^ 

(The Common Otter \ 
The Common Otter {Lutra vulgaris) . . . . . . . j ' 

fThe Pine Marten {Mustela martes) \ 

S'-j The Badger (^./.W^«.) ^Facing 144 

52. The Polecat {Putorius fatidus) . Facing 154 

53. The Common Stoat {Putorius ermineus). Summer coat . . . Facing 158 

54. The Weasel {Putorius nivalis') ........ Facing 162 

55. Examples of Upper Canine Tooth in Lion and in two Machairodonts 

(natural size) 171 

56. Gape of Jaws in a British Sabre-toothed "Tiger" {Machairodus cultridens) . 173 

(The Ferret, domesticated form of Polecat {Putorius fcetidus) . .\ 
The Wild Cat (i^.& .«/«.) ]^ Feuing 182 

58. Fore Paw and Hind Paw of Common Seal compared with Fore Paw axid 

Hind Paw of Sea Lion 190 

59. Premolars and Molar, Upper Jaw, of Common Seal I9S 

60. The Harp Seal (^Phoca groenlandica) ......... 201 

61. The Gray Seal {Halichxrtis grypus). Adult and young . . . Facing 204 

62. Head of Hooded Seal {Cystophora) 207 

63. Wild Rabbits {Oryctolagus cuniculus) Facing 212 

64. The Mountain Hare {Lepus timidus). Winter coat in Wicklow 

Mountains, Ireland Facing 218 

, J The Common Hare {Lepus europaus) t s" ' 220 

I The European Beaver {Castor fiber) . . . . . . .1 

j The Squirrel {Sciurus vulgaris) | 

'I The Common Dormouse {Muscardimis avellanarius) . ■ ■ j 

67. Molar Teeth of Squirrel, Rat, and Water Vole {Microtus) for Comparison 

(twice natural size) ........... 238 

f Long-tailed Field or Wood Mouse {Mus sylvaticus) . . . .'\ 

gg J Harvest Mouse {Mus mimttus) I ^^^-^^^ 342 

I Red Bank Vole {Evotomys glareolus) j 

I Black Rat {Mus rattus) J 

{Brown Rat (^Mus decumanus) 1 
Short-tailed Field Vole {_Microtus agrestis) j ^"^'^-^ ^^° 

70. Pattern of Enamel and Dentine on Surface of Molar Teeth of African and 

Indian Elephants 263 



71. The Mammoth {Elephas pritnigenius') Facing 266 

72. Prjevalski's Horse (^Equus przevalskii) Facing 274 

73. The Evolution of the Horse's Tail 275 

74. Bones of the Hand or Lower Front Limb in Modern Artiodactyles, to 

illustrate Gradual Disappearance of the Side Fingers ..... 281 

(Wild Sow and Young ^ 
Irish Pig |- Facing 286 
Wild Boar {Sus scrofa) j 

76, Head and Neck of Roebuck, to show White Markings on Neck and Black 

Mark across Muzzle 295 

77. Examples of Roe Deer's Antlers, Ancient and Modern 297 

{Fallow Deer {Cervus davia) 1 

Fallow Deer (Unspotted Form) J ^'^'''^ 308 

79. Examples of Fallow Deer's Antlers 311 

80. The Gigantic Irish Deer (^Cervus megaceros): Antlers and Skeleton. Facing 314 

/Red Deer : Stag {Cermis elaphus) "J 

_ Red Deer: Hind and Fawn |- Facing 320 

\ Red Deer : Hinds J 

82. Gland Tuft on Hind Leg of Red Deer 324 

83. Stag in Early March without Antlers (to show Pedicle of Antlers) . . 325 

84. Red Deer's Antler of Pleistocene Period : dug up at Durham (British 

Museum) 327 

85. Example of well-developed Antlers in Stag of Twelve or Thirteen Years Old 328 

86. The Progressive Growth of a Red Deer's Antlers (first year hornless) . 330-31 

87. Examples of the Development of the "Cup" or Terminal Fork of the Red 
Deer's Antlers 333 

The Saiga {Saiga tatarica) 1 

The Musk Ox (^Ovibos moschatus) j ^"^^"^ ^42 

89. Horns of a Ram {Ovis aries), from Achill Island, off the West Coast of Ireland 349 

{Highland Sheep {Ovis aries) \ 
Soa Sheep, St. Kilda {Ovis aries) I Facing 350 
Female Corsican Mouflon {Ovis musimon), to show Tail . .1 
{Horns of Extinct English Bison {Bos prisctis) .... 
Skull of Extinct Aurochs {Bos pritnigenius') .... 
{European Bison {Bos bonasus) from Lithuania .... 
Head of English Wild Bull, Chartley Breed {Bos taurus) 
{English Wild Cattle : Bull of the Chartley Breed {Bos taurus) 
English Wild Cattle : Cow and Calf (Chartley Breed) . 


- Facing 356 
Facing 358 

- Facing 362 

(Domestic Cattle : Kerry Bull {Bos taurus longifrons) . . .\ 
Domestic Cattle : Long Horn Bull f ^""""^ ^64 

95. Probable Centres of Development and Migration Routes of Primates . . 369 

British Mammals 



Some explanation and apology of and for the presentation of 
this book to the reading public is necessary, seeing that the 
subject of British Mammalia has been dealt with before in 
a general sense by such able writers as the late William 
Macgillivray, the late Professor Thomas Bell, and Mr, Richard 
Lydekker ; while groups or species of British beasts have been 
described in detail by Sir William Flower, the late Dr. Dobson, 
Mr. Oldfield Thomas, Dr. R. F. Scharff, Mr. W. E. de Winton, 
Professor Boyd Dawkins, Mr. J. E. Harting, Mr. Harvie- 
Brown, the Rev. H. A. Macpherson, Messrs. W. Thompson 
(Irish Mammals), Aubyn Trevor-Battye, W. Buckley, John 
Guille Millais,^ Lionel Adams, G. Barrett Hamilton, F. G. Aflalo, 
C. J. Cornish, and Dr. A. B. Smith Woodward.' Mr. T. 
McKenny Hughes in 1896 wrote an admirable treatise on 
the origin of the breeds of domestic cattle. Mr. F. E. Beddard 

^ The finest draughtsman of British beasts and birds who has yet appeared 
on the scene. His monographs of the Deer and the Wild Fowl of the British 
Islands should have been crowned by a British Academy. His study of 
African Mammals in "A Breath from the Veldt " is unrivalled, and will 
probably remain so. 

2 Who, together with the late Sir Richard Owen, Professor Boyd 
Dawkins, and Mr. Richard Lydekker, has done much to describe the ancient 
mammalian fauna of the two British Islands. 


has dealt with MammaHa generally, his work in the Cambridge 
Natural History Series being the latest study of the subject, 
and in this book a good deal of incidental information is given 
regarding the mammals of the British Islands. The admirable 
work published by Dr. J. H. Blasius in 1857 on the mam- 
malian fauna of Germany and Central Europe contains much 
information on the structure and habits of beasts which also 
inhabit Britain ; and the great German palaeontologist, Dr. 
Karl A. von Zittel, in his classical Handbook of Paleontology^ 
has incidentally described and illustrated a good many extinct 
British mammals. Students who may be attracted to the study 
of British mammals are also advised to read the files of such 
periodicals as the Zoologist (London) and the Field newspaper, 
both of which contain first-hand information of great value 
on British Zoology. To all of the above-mentioned writers 
and publications the author of this book is greatly indebted 
for information, and to these separate works he refers such 
of his readers as are desirous of learning something more 
about the beasts of their own country, and who might wish 
for further detailed information connected with the anatomical 
structure or life-habits of the British Mammalia beyond what 
can be given within the space of this volume. 

To the accumulated and carefully sifted facts recorded by 
this formidable array of writers the author has ventured to 
add his own observations and theories. Although a good 
deal of his time has been spent in Africa, he has nevertheless 
from his youth up been a student of the British Mammalia 
in all parts of the United Kingdom. His first interest in 
British beasts was no doubt prompted by their aesthetic aspect, 
their beauty of outline or colour ; and though he has since 
become entangled in the fascinations of comparative anatomy, 
the strongest attraction which beasts and birds still possess 
for him lies in the part they fill (or should fill) in British 

It may be necessary to apologise to the world outside Britain 
for any attempt to attach importance to our existing mammalian 


fauna. This has become so reduced in numbers, so scarce and 
little evident in many of the existing species, that we should 
almost appoint an annual national day of humiliation for our 
poverty in this respect, a poverty due to the past ravages of 
ourselves and our ancestors, and almost unexampled in any other 
part of the habitable world, except New Zealand or the Pacific 

This book, indeed, had it only dealt with the few well- 
known wild beasts still lingering in Great Britain and Ireland, 
would not have been worth compiling. But the author has 
endeavoured to deal as amply as possible with recently extinct 
British mammals ; and to expatiate on the interesting problems 
concerning the origin and migration routes of the recent mam- 
malian fauna which has inhabited these islands since the close 
of the Tertiary Epoch. As one drives through the dreary streets 
of Outer London, or gazes on the devastation of the Isle of 
Sheppey, the over-building at Bournemouth, the smug villas of 
Torquay, the paper mills of the Mendip Hills, the factory 
chimneys of Yorkshire, the desolated bogs of Ireland, and the 
hideous prosperity of Lanarkshire and Lancashire, it is possible to 
derive some consolation by recalling in imagination the African 
elephants and the hairy mammoths, the gigantic wild cattle and 
clumsy horses, the sabre-toothed " tigers," the lions larger than 
those now existing, the enormous cave bears, spotted hyaenas, 
gigantic Irish deer, beavers, wild boars, and wolves which 
severally or together made those regions a scene of fascination and 
wonder even to Palaeolithic and Neolithic man. Like the writers 
and statesmen of modern Greece and Spain, the author's thoughts 
as a student of Mammalia are mentally fixed upon the glorious 
past, and his survey of the present is a whimpering apology. He 
who would fain have described how the sabre-toothed " tiger " 
severed the spinal column of the megaceros deer with its trenchant 
tusks ; how man, naked and unashamed, and armed with weapons 
which were poor as compared with those of the Congo Pygmy, 
matched himself against the mammoth and caught the aurochs in 
a pitfall : he, instead, must twitter on the ferocity of the weasel 


and relate park anecdotes of park-fed beasts. There are lessons, 
however (one must humbly admit), to be learnt even from the 
nineteen varieties of the wood mouse and the violent amours of 
the mole. 

But as it is the aesthetic aspect of the Mammalia which first 
attracted the author of this book, it is that on which he most 
wishes to insist in his arguments. If in any way he has brought 
home to his readers the importance of Mammalia to the landscape 
aspects of Britain, the desirability of preserving and strengthening 
the species that remain (not because they are good for food or 
sport or unobstructive to the aims of the farmer or the citizen, 
but because they are beautiful or stimulating to intellectual 
interest), he will not have written in vain. Man does not live 
by bread alone. He requires to fill his life with an enjoyment of 
beauty, a bracing of the nerves by wholesome danger, a stimula- 
tion of the intellect by the mysteries of Creation. If we succeed 
in extirpating our wild beasts and birds, or in reducing a few of 
them to fattened, pied, frilled monstrosities (an action which will 
probably proceed concurrently with the extermination of our 
native flora by field clubs, costermongers, and agriculturists), life 
in England, Scotland, or Ireland will no longer be worth living, 
since man cannot live by bread alone, nor can roast beef and 
potatoes wholly atone for the extirpation of the aurochs and 
the Osmunda fern. One may admire the pheasant greatly as a 
beautiful bird, and blind oneself to all peevish evidence brought 
forward to show that it is not indigenous ; but one should admit 
that the weasel is quite as beautiful and half again as interesting. 
Still more, the polecat ; while the wild cat should be permitted to 
make moderate ravages on live-stock, and the damage done be 
paid by an interested countryside from out of the rates. 

It was distressing to read how, during a yachting cruise 
in the summer of 1902, the suite that accompanied very dis- 
tinguished persons gleefully took advantage of their proximity 
to little-frequented Scotch islands and islets to shoot and leave, 
kill uselessly without excuse, quite a large number of the few 
seals which still remain in Scottish waters. The otter is being 


rapidly extinguished in Wales, Devonshire, and Sussex, by 
unreflecting, red-faced, well-meaning, church-going, rate-paying 
persons on the plea that it eats salmon or trout.^ Now, what 
nonsense this is ! No trout that was ever served on a dish is 
as good as a fried sole. Salmon is a handsome-looking fish, 
so far as fish go, and its flesh, though very provocative of 
bihousness, is liked by a large number of people. But salmon 
is produced in such enormous abundance in North America 
and Norway, and is so very unlikely (owing to its habit of 
resorting to the sea) to become exterminated in British waters 
by the otter, that it would be a shame if this remarkable 
aquatic weasel, so beautiful an object as an adjunct to a 
stream landscape, were extirpated, destroyed, or even rendered 
wild, to gratify the angler's craze — a craze nearly as modern 
as golf and cricket, but not so picturesque or beneficial to 
athletic development. It is necessary to insist, for the future 
happiness of the world, on the aesthetic value of beasts, 
birds, and reptiles. Amphibians and fish are less worthy of 
regard, partly from the fact that as they live almost entirely 
in the water they play no part in the beauty of landscapes. 
As regards all invertebrates, one may disregard, destroy, or 
disprotect all except those crustaceans that are good for food. 
Butterflies and some beetles are charming in coloration and 
outline, but the grandest of butterflies is feeble in aesthetic value 
compared to a bird, and the grubs of both butterflies and 
beetles do unmeasured harm. Fresh-water fish should not be 
protected against the ravages of the higher vertebrates : they 
must take their chance. As regards sea-fish, many forms are 
either beautiful in coloration, imposing in bulk, or fantastic in 
shape, and therefore provocative of interest. But as it is a most 
exceptional incident in our lives to put on a diver's dress and 

1 Here is an extract from a recent number of the Daily Graphic : "The 
Crowhurst Otter Hounds.— The new pack of hounds which have just been 
started in East Sussex to hunt the country in the neighbourhood of Hastings 
is to be called the Crowhurst Otter Hounds. They propose to begin opera- 
tions on the i8th of this month." 


descend below the level of the water, we derive but little assthetic 
enjoyment from fish, and though they are estimable as a food 
supply, their natural domain is so vast that the only mammal who 
can ever bring any species of them near extinction is man himself 
The present writer has little sympathy with those well- 
meaning but misdirected persons who, loving the Mammalia, and 
feeling starved in their affections as British residents, introduce 
into their parks and domains kangaroos, African antelopes, 
ostriches, or Indian humped cattle. What they ought to do 
(what some great landowners have done) is to reinforce and 
protect dwindling British species, and reintroduce those lost 
forms which were co-existent with man in prehistoric times, and 
which may still be found lingering in holes and corners of 
Europe, Asia, and North America. One does not wish to be 
unreasonable ; and few would propose the letting loose of lions 
in the hope of re-developing a Felis spelaa, or the turning out 
of Indian elephants to stand the climate as best they might and 
gradually recover the shaggy hair and the tusks of the mammoth. 
These creatures, and the spotted hyaena, leopard, glutton, and 
hippopotamus, might prove too antagonistic to human comfort 
and prosperity in these crowded islands : we must be content to 
keep them in menageries. But there is no reason why we should 
not prudently reintroduce the European bison, the musk ox, 
the reindeer, the boar ; perhaps the bear, the beaver, the saiga 
antelope, the lynx, and the wolf We might use all our efforts 
to stimulate the wild white cattle of the northern parks, for- 
bidding the destruction of red and black calves, and so hoping 
that, in time, they might regain the stature and appearance of 
their forefather the aurochs. Horses of the Connemara breed 
might be encouraged to run wild in paradises like Achill Island 
and the New Forest till they reverted to the appearance of 
Prjevalski's horse. Of course, if these islands are to contain 
a population of (say) a hundred millions, it must be at the 
expense of destroying all beauty and all specially British charac- 
teristics of landscape, fauna, and flora. No doubt, without 
detriment to the picturesque, the population of Ireland might 


be allowed to rise to fifteen millions, and that of Scotland to 
the same figure, with additional increases to the population of 
England and Wales, more especially in the existing towns. But 
the time must come when we shall have to make up our minds, 
as a nation, to increased emigration towards less thickly inhabited 
parts of the world, or to the artificial checking of population. 
Why should we not copy Japan, where a very large population 
apparently can co-exist with a rich fauna and flora, and with 
landscapes of superb natural beauty ? As regards both animals 
and plants in that country, the explanation probably lies in the 
fact that the Japanese have no craze for destroying birds and 
beasts in the cause of " sport," and no desire to grub up field 
flowers and transplant them to town gardens. Neither have 
they developed that worst sign of perverted taste which we 
display in mixing our flora and fauna. The Japanese develops 
with care the flora that he finds in his own land. He does not 
go about planting exotic bushes in his woods and wastes, as we 
confuse the aspects of English landscapes by rhododendrons and 
araucarlas. In like manner the monkey, which has long since 
vanished from England, still exists in Japan ; while the Japanese 
bird fauna, commemorated by their unapproached art, has added 
a notable value to the sum of human happiness. 



Mammal is the most convenient term in English to apply to 
the members of the class Mammalia, the highest development 
of living forms on the earth's surface. The word, of course, is 
derived from the Latin mamma, a teat, and embodies the most 
obvious distinction between this group and the other vertebrates, 
because all the Mammalia nourish their young after birth by a 
liquid developed in glands which are provided with a nipple or 
teat/ It must be admitted that at present " mammal " is a 
somewhat pedantic designation, and is certainly never used by 
the rustic. But it is difficult to see what other term is to be 
chosen in preference, if accuracy of speech is desired. "Animal" 
applies not only to mammals, but to every other living creature 
which is not a vegetable. " Quadruped " is equally foolish, 
because reptiles (and in a sense birds) also possess four limbs 
which are usually devoted to purposes of locomotion. The old 
Anglo-Saxon word deor- (our English word "deer") has 
become restricted to a small group of ruminants, and no longer 
means all the beasts. The English term which comes nearest 

^ Except in the group of the Monotremes, where the liquid of the 
mammary glands exudes through pores and not through the channel of a 
nipple. In all the Mammalia except the Monotremes the milk is a sebaceous 
fluid, but in the case of the Monotremes it would seem to be developed from 
the sweat. 

2 Akin to the German Thier, "LaXin fera, Greek ther. 


to mammal in comprehensiveness and accuracy is the word 
" beast," derived through Norman-French from Latin ; but 
this is somewhat marred by its use as a term of opprobrium 
among children or its restriction by the agriculturist to horned 
cattle. Consequently we are obliged to adopt " mammal " 
as the most correct designation in English for the air- 
breathing, warm-blooded vertebrates which suckle their newly- 
born young. 

Before beginning a description of British mammals, living 
or recently extinct, it might assist the unenlightened reader if 
the author attempted a brief definition of the leading character- 
istics of the Mammalia as a class. They are warm-blooded, 
air-breathing vertebrates with a four-chambered heart, with a 
skin covered usually with hair, wholly or partially ; possessing 
differentiated teeth ^ ; lungs freely suspended in the cavity of 
the chest (partitioned off^ by a muscular wall from the stomach) ; 
red blood corpuscles without a nucleus ; and with glands in the 
skin (usually on the under part of the body) especially developed 
in the female for the creation of milk as nourishment for the 
new-born young. They are also marked off^ from other verte- 
brates—such as fishes, reptiles, and birds — by the exclusive 
possession " of an outer ear (that is to say, a conch, or flap of 
skin, muscle, and tendon, which focusses the vibrations of sound 
on the inner hearing organ) ; by a heart which has only one 
aortic arch on the left-hand side (not two arches as in reptiles, 
or one on the right-hand side as in birds) ; by the existence 
of four optic lobes in the brain for the organs of sight; by a 
lower jaw of a more fused character, with peculiarities as to its 

^ That is to say, teeth not all of one pattern, as in the generality of reptiles, 
most fishes, and primitive birds, but divided normally into four kinds : 
incisors for seizing, canine teeth for tearing, premolars for champing, and 
molars for grinding. 

2 The lowest known forms of the Mammalia, the existing Monotremes of 
Australia, possess no conch, or external ear, but in all other Mammalia where 
the conch is not present (as in the whales, certain seals, edentates, and 
insectivores), there is every reason to believe them to be descended from 
forms possessing the external ear. 


composition and articulation with the skull that are essentially 
mammalian ; by a skull that lacks several of the many separate 
pieces of bone that goes to its composition in reptiles and 
birds. But the last of these obvious distinctions (an invariable 
one) is the manner in which the skull articulates with the first 
vertebra of the spinal column. This is by means of two 
separate processes of bone (the condyles), which develop from 
the end of the occiput, or roof of the skull ; whereas in birds 
and most reptiles the articulation of the skull with the vertebral 
column is by means of a single process of bone. There is a 
double process — two condyles — in the Amphibians (frogs, newts, 
etc.), but these condyles do not arise from the bones roofing 
the skull. 

Then, again, the vertebrae of the mammalian neck are 
markedly different in shape and structure from those of the 
back, and the neck vertebrae are almost invariably seven in 
number. There are not a few other and minor peculiarities 
connected with the bones forming the spinal column, with the 
ribs, the ankle joint, the ear bones, and the soft parts (that is to 
say, the muscles and the various organs of the body) ; but as 
this book is not a scientific treatise, it would be wearisome to 
go too deeply into these particulars. The main feature in the 
Mammalia which sharply distinguishes them from other animals 
is the secretion of milk by which the young are nourished after 
birth. In all the Mammalia, except the two existing forms of 
Monotreme in Australia ; ^ the young are born alive. Mammals, 
therefore, in the eyes of the undiscriminating differ markedly 
from birds and reptiles, in that they produce their young alive 
(from eggs so minute that they are scarcely visible to the naked 
eye). Mammals are not alone in this feature of living-born young. 
Some fishes and reptiles, extinct and living, have acquired the 

^ The echidna and the duckbill — very ancient and primitive types of 
mammal which present a good many reptilian features — produce eggs with 
large yolks, and these eggs are either hatched in the mother's pouch, or 
perhaps in the case of the duckbill, allowed to hatch separately from the 
mother, after which the young animal is placed in the pouch. 


habit of hatching the egg within the mother's body and producing 
living young. 

The mammals probably developed from a group of reptiles 
generally known as the Anomodonts, and these again arose (in 
common with the rest of the reptilia) from amphibian forms 
alHed to the extinct Labyrinthodonts. The Anomodont or 
Theriodont reptiles (remains of which are found all over the world, 
but principally in North America, Europe, and Africa) differed 
from other known reptiles in the differentiation of their teeth on 
mammalian lines ; that is to say, the specialisation of prehensile 
teeth answering to our incisors, of tusk-like canines, and of molars 
and premolars that exhibited three or more cusps in the single 
tooth. The first mammals were creatures allied in their structure 
to the Monotremes still existing in Australia. From this stock 
developed what is known as the Eutherian, or true mammalian 
form. Among the most primitive of the true mammals were 
the marsupials, who retain many low characteristics coupled with 
a certain amount of special development and some degeneracy. 
At the present day marsupials are limited in their distribution to 
Australia, New Guinea and the southern islands of the Malay 
Archipelago, and also to North and South America ^ ; but 
anciently there were marsupials in Great Britain, creatures some- 
what resembling the opossums of America and the banded 
ant-eater of Australia. 

When the earth was passing through the first phase of the 
Tertiary Epoch (the Eocene period), when in fact the British 
Islands were beginning to assume something like their present 
relations with Europe (instead of being an outlying part of North 
America separated from Europe by a shallow sea), the true 
mammalia were already spreading out into many orders, a few 
of which are extinct, but most of which have their living repre- 
sentatives at the present day. These existing orders are (i) the 
Marsupials ; (2) the Edentates (armadillos, ant-eaters, sloths, etc.) ; 
(3) the Whales ; (4) the Ungulates (all hoofed mammals) ; 
(5) the Sirenia (manatis, dugongs, etc.) ; (6) the Carnivores 

^ They originated probably in North America. 


(creodonts, seals, dogs, cats, bears, etc.) ; (7) the %pdents 
(squirrels, rats, hares, etc.) ; (8) the Insectivores (moles, 
hedgehogs, shrews, and their allies) ; (9) the Bats ; (10) the 
Primates (lemurs, monkeys, man). The term " order " is 
of somewhat varying signification in these groupings, but in 
a work of this description it is unnecessary to discriminate 
too closely. 

The history of mammalian distribution over the British 
Islands, and the relations of that colonisation with the great areas 
of mammalian development in the world at large may be 
summarised as follows : — It is possible that the Mammalia as 
a class originated in North America^ or in some region round the 
North Pole. During the early part of the Secondary Epoch, the 
backbone of Britain, that is to say, the mountainous regions of 
Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, possibly formed an outlying 
peninsula of the North American continent, and from that 
direction came the first primitive types of monotreme, mar- 
supial, and early Eutherian, remains of which are found in 
British formations of the Secondary Epoch. No doubt at this 
time Britain may have been a link connecting the Old World 
with the New in the Northern Hemisphere, whilst South America 
was connected through Antarctica with Australia, and later, in 
equatorial regions, with Africa. This connection of Britain with 
the Western Hemisphere no doubt ceased to a great extent 
before the Tertiary Epoch.- During the Tertiary Epoch, Scot- 
land and Ireland seem to have been but little favoured in 
mammalian distribution, whilst England and Wales (connected 
then with the European continent) shared to a considerable 
extent in the great mammalian developments of France, Germany, 
and the Mediterranean regions. 

^ On the other hand, it is equally possible that they may have grown out 
of Theriodont reptiles in South Africa. But hitherto the remains of the most 
primitive mammals — the earliest known in geological time — have only been 
obtained in North America and in England. 

2 Except for the northern link by way of Iceland and Greenland, which 
(especially when reinforced by ice-floes in the Glacial periods) may have 
enabled a few northern forms to reach Britain from Arctic America. 


Though the Mammalia may have originated from reptilian 
forms in North America (though this is by no means certain), there 
is no doubt that during the Tertiary Epoch this class had its most 
wonderful development in India. India would seem to rank 
first as a focus of radiation, as the region which has developed 
the most remarkable and numerous mammahans. From India or 
Southern Asia, as a whole, Europe, Africa, North Asia, North and 
even South America, received many of their extinct and existing 
mammalian forms. North America ranks next in importance as 
the area which has evolved and distributed mammalian types. 
Indeed, it would seem as if the Primates, the order of which man 
is a member, originated in North America, and Britain may have 
been one of the stepping-stones by which the North American 
lemurs entered Europe, Africa, and Southern Asia. South 
America was a selfish continent as regards mammalian develop- 
ment. It originated many striking forms of ungulates which 
lived and died within its limits. It received its monkeys from 
Africa, but it is doubtful whether it returned to Africa or trans- 
mitted to Australia more than a few types of rodents and 

The value of Africa as a centre of mammalian develop- 
ment is still unknown, because of our great ignorance as to its 
fossil mammalian types. It is possible, however, that Northern 
Africa originated the order Proboscidea (elephants), and the 
tropical regions of the continent have no doubt developed special 
genera of antelopes. 

Roughly speaking, since the close of the Secondary Epoch 
Britain has been dependent for its supply of Mammalia on 
Germany, France, and Spain. We have really only had the 
leavings of Central and Western Europe ; and, moreover, in 
the distribution of the Mammalia, Scotland, and especially Ireland, 
fared miserably compared to England and Wales. This was 
partly due to the Glacial episodes which afflicted the close of the 
Tertiary Epoch, and which placed under ice nearly all Scotland 
and Ireland, and much of Wales. At the end of the Tertiary 
Epoch the British region richest in mammalian forms seems to 


have been East Anglia, which, no doubt, was connected then 
with Belgium and Holland. 

Out of the one hundred and thirteen species known to have 
inhabited the British Islands from the close of the Pliocene 
period to the present day, no less than thirty-five are restricted 
to England and Wales, Scotland being credited with sixty-seven, 
and Ireland with only fifty. Moreover, in Scotland and Ireland 
(notably in Ireland) no mammalian remains have been found of 
an earlier date than the Pleistocene period ^ ; whereas in England 
mammalian remains date from the Secondary Epoch and are found 
representing all the many stages of the Tertiary. 

Of the aforesaid hundred and thirteen species of mammals 
only seventy-two are now existing (with any degree of pro- 
bability) in the British Islands or adjacent seas ; and of these 
at least fifteen species (seals, whales, and bats) are so scarce or 
of such doubtful occurrence as to be scarcely worth enumerating 
in the list of British mammals." Forty-one species^ out of the 
hundred and thirteen^ have become extinct between the remote 
days of palaeolithic man and the eighteenth century of this era. 
But of these forty-one, twelve are completely extinct^ while twenty- 
nine are still found living (as scarcely differing species) somewhere 
in Europe, Asia, Africa, or North America. These are the 
narwhal^ the lesser killer whale^ the sperm whale^ the southern 
right whale J the hunting-dog {Lycaon\ the wolf^ the brown bear, 
the panda, the glutton^ the striped and spotted hyanas, the lion^ 
leopard^ lynx, and Egyptian wild cat, the bearded seal, the walrus^ 
the pika {Lagomys), the beaver, the suslik, the lemming and banded 
lemming, the hippopotamus, wild boar^ elk, reindeer^ saiga antelope, 
musk-ox, and European bison. Some of these creatures, therefore, 
might legitimately be reintroduced. 

Note. — The following table of geological epochs and periods 
referred to throughout this work in connection with the past 
history of British mammals may be of use to unlearned readers, 

^ This, no doubt, is a pure accident of geological formations. 
2 So that the total number of species existing within British limits at the 
present day, is, for all practical purposes, fifty-seven. 



Period — Triassic (The beast-like Reptiles, A?tomodontla, begin to appear. 
Mammals of a low, indeterminate, Monotreme type 
make their appearance in Europe and North America.) 
„ Jurassic (Birds originate from reptiles at the beginning of this period.) 
,, Cretaceous (The " Chalk " ages. Forms related to the Marsupial 
or Metatherian Order of Mammals make their 
appearance ; and perhaps at the close of this period 
the first types of Eutherian orders — Insectivores, 
Creodonts, Early Primates, and Ungulates — are 
evolved. This is the great age of reptiles.) 


,, Eocene ("Dawn of recent times." Most of the known orders 
[Oligocene] of Mammalia accomplish their definite differentiation 
during this first period of the Tertiary Epoch.) 

,, Miocene (" More recent." Most of sh.^ families of the Mammalia 
are developed during the Miocene. The flora and 
fauna of England at this time suggest affinities with 
tropical Asia and Africa.) 

,, Pliocene ("Still more recent." The modern genera are now 
developed. The fauna of England and Wales at 
this time recalls that of modern India, Malaysia, or 
Africa. Man orig inates during this period in South- 
eastern Asia, and spreads westwards towards Britain.) 

„ Pleistocene (" Most recent." During this period many modern 
species are differentiated. Man becomes established 
in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and elsewhere 
all over the world. In the early part of the 
Pleistocene the mammalian fauna of England and 
Wales is that of Northern Africa, the Mediterranean, 
and North Indian regions, gradually changing to a 
Boreal (Siberian, North American) character, as the 
icy ages, the Glacial sub-periods, supervene in the 
British Isles and in much of Northern and North- 
western Europe.) 


„ Prehistoric (The age of Neolithic man ; of the origin of our 
domestic beasts ; and of most varieties and sub- 
species of existing mammals.) 

„ Recent (From the rise of human history, about eight thousand 
years ago, to the present time.) 



As our review of the British mammalian fauna only commences 
with the human period — that is to say, the Pleistocene division of 
the Tertiary Epoch— when most existing mammalian species were 
developed or developing, no mention will be made here of our 
long extinct monotremes and marsupials. The first order (on 
the upwards list) represented in the British fauna is that of the 

The Cetace^e are an order of purely aquatic mammalia, so 
absolutely adapted to life in the water that it is impossible for them 
to live and move out of their element. Yet their lives must be 
spent for the most part near the surface, since they are as much 
dependent on a supply of air for the oxygenation of their blood as 
are any of the other mammalia. Any member of the Whale order 
can be drowned if prevented from renewing its supply of air. 
Some cetaceans cannot remain under the surface of the water for 
more than an hour without rising to renew their supply of air, 
though it is said that some of the larger cetaceans (such as the 
rorqual whales) can remain below the surface for as much as twelve 
hours without expiring from lack of air. Whales are further dis- 
tinguished from all other mammals (except the Sirenia) by their 
complete loss of all external vestiges of hind limbs. In all whales 
there are minute fragments of bones found isolated in the muscles 
of the lower part of the body which represent the disappearing 
structure of the hind limbs, but these vestiges at most only extend 
as far as a fragment of the thigh bone and sometimes of the tibia 
(one of the leg bones), all traces of the feet being completely 

17 2 


absent. As regards fore limbs, the hand is usually five-fingered in 
one great group of the whales (those which retain teeth), and four- 
fingered in those which have replaced teeth by plates of baleen. 
The central fingers of some whales develop an extraordinary 
number of phalanges, or jointed bones. These in the normal 
mammalian hand are three in number ; in some of the whales 
there are twelve in the central finger. Another peculiarity of 
whales (shared, however, by some of the aquatic carnivora, and by 
certain low types of mammals) is the absence of any external ear, 
though rudiments of the conch are found in the porpoise. Then, 
again, the teeth of whales differ from most of those of other 
existing mammals by their complete uniformity, that is to say, 
they are not divided up into incisors, canines, premolars, and 
molars. In one or more forms of river dolphin in the Amazon 
River (South America) there are said to be traces of additional 
cusps on those teeth which have replaced the molars. This 
point, however, is not such an important distinction, because we 
now know through the discovery of fossil forms that ancestral 
whales [Archaoceti) possessed normal mammalian teeth, at any 
rate so far as the upper jaw is concerned. On each side there 
were three incisors, one canine, and five molars. Remains of 
these creatures, which are grouped under a single genus 
(^Zeuglodon), have been found in North America, and more 
doubtfully in England and other parts of Europe, in Egypt, and 
even in New Zealand. 

The next marked stage in the development of the whales 
is represented by the Squalodonts, in which the teeth are 
very numerous, and are rapidly approximating to a simple, 
pointed type ; but the molars are still doubly rooted, and their 
upper surface is notched. The incisors are three on each side, 
the canines are just distinguishable in form, but the premolars 
have become simple, single-rooted teeth, and they, together with 
the molars, have increased in numbers beyond the normal 
mammalian formula so that in the upper jaw there are as many 
as twelve of these molar and premolar teeth. Then perhaps 
next in order of development come the numerous existing 


forms of the Toothed ^ Whales [Odontocett). The toothed whales 
include (besides the extinct Squalodonts) the fresh-water Dolphins, 
or Platanistidc€ (relatively small forms found in the Amazon and 
the Ganges, but in a fossil state also in Europe and North 
America), the True Dolphins (^Delphinida), the Sperm Whales 
{Physeterida\ and the Ziphioid Whales {Ziphiin^). 

Finally there is the sub-order of the Baleen, or Whalebone 
Whales {Mystacoceti)^ which differ so markedly from the existing 
toothed whales that at one time certain zoologists were inclined to 
believe in the double origin of the whales, that is to say, they 
would have derived the baleen whales from a different source from 
that which gave rise to the toothed whales. But this perhaps is 
due to an exaggeration of the differences between the two great 
existing groups of the Mystacoceti and Odontocett. In the jaws of 
the unborn young of most, if not all, whalebone whales there are 
actually two sets of true teeth, the last of which is, however, 
absorbed into the substance of the jaw before the birth of the 
foetus. These two sets of teeth seem to answer to the milk and 
the mature dentition of other mammalia. In the earliest set of 
teeth which makes its appearance in the jaws of the foetal whale- 
bone whale the teeth are much fewer in number than in the 
succeeding dentition, and they actually offer traces of more than 
one cusp, thus approximating to the molar teeth of the 
Zeuglodonts {Jrchaoceti). In this point, as in some others, the 
whalebone whales offer more archaic features than most of 
the toothed whales, though in other respects they are a more 
extreme departure from the ordinary mammalian type. For 
instance, in the toothed whales the nostrils (except in the foetus) 
have only a single opening — the blow-hole — whereas in the 
whalebone whales the orifice is double, as it is in other mammalia. 
Also among existing whales the Mystacoceti offer slightly more 
traces of hind limbs than the Odontocett, In the riffht whale, for 
instance (from which the best whalebone is obtained), there is not 
only a minute ischium and pelvis but there is a short thigh bone, 

^ As distinguished from the whalebone whales, which have lost all 
functional teeth. 


and below this a tiny spur which is a rudiment of the tibia, or 
principal bone of the leg. In the breast bone, made of a single 
piece (to which only one pair of ribs is attached), in the perfectly 
symmetrical shape of the skull (both sides being absolutely alike), 
and in the development of whalebone in the mouth, the Mystacoceti 
differ from the toothed whales. Perhaps their nearest allies in 
this group are the Ziphioids. 

In all whales the mammas, or mammary glands, are a single 
pair. They are situated in the inguinal region, close to the 
vent, and the nipple is concealed in a deep cleft. 

All that remains of the Whale's Hind Limbs {Bal<ziia). 
From a specimen in Museum of College of Surgeons. 

Whales are wonderful instances of successful adaptation to 
a special mode of existence. Originally land animals, they can 
now exist with comfort under the water at a considerable depth 
and at very low temperatures. The elaborate network of blood- 
vessels utilises slowly and with economy the supply of oxygen 
stored in the lungs ; the thick padding of blubber all round the 
body is an elastic cushion which protects the whale from pressure 
at great depths or from the effects of cold ; so that whales can 
pass with indifference from the Tropic to the Arctic seas. Blubber 
is fat (sometimes liquid) held in a dense mesh of areolar tissue. 

Owing to their exclusively aquatic existence, and almost 
equally exclusive confinement in these latitudes to salt water, it 


is not as easy, as in the case of land mammals, to definitely 
include this or that species of whale in the British fauna. Some 
species not yet recorded as British may occasionally enter our 
waters within the three-mile limit. In the case of others, their 
being stranded on British shores after some storm may be the 
result of a special accident, such as that which occasionally drives 
North American species of birds to Ireland or Scotland. Up to 
the present time, however, the species enumerated and described 
below have been identified in British waters — that is to say, within 
the three-mile limit — or have been stranded on British coasts. 


Monodon monoceros. The Narwhal 

The Narwhal, or Sea Unicorn, has been recorded at least 
three times within British limits since the middle of the seven- 
teenth century : once near the island of May (Firth of Forth, 
Scotland), another time in the Shetland Islands, and on a third 
occasion of?" the coast of Lincolnshire (shores of the Wash).^ 
The narwhal, in its present distribution, is almost entirely 
confined to the Arctic regions. It is a smallish whale, not 
known to exceed 1 5 ft. in length, turning nearly if not quite 
white when old, but usually with the upper surface of the body 
mottled or spotted in dark or light gray on a whitish ground, 
with the under side entirely white. This creature is famous for 
its extraordinary tusk. The head is very round, without any 
projecting beak. The foetus of this animal has numerous teeth 
in the jaws, like those of other dolphins ; but none of these 
teeth, as a rule, reach maturity, with the exception of one or 
two in the front of the upper jaw. In the female narwhal 
these two tusk-like teeth are quite small, and do not project 
beyond the jaw, but in the male on one side (usually the left), 
the tooth develops into an extraordinarily long, spirally twisted 

^ But there are fossil remains of the narwhal, dating from a period just 
prior to the Glacial periods, found on the north coast of Norfolk. 


tusk, perhaps as much as 6 ft. in Jength occasionally. This 
tusk grows out horizontally through bone and flesh, inclining 
towards the middle of the skull. The corresponding tooth on 
the right side of the upper jaw remains usually quite rudimentary. 
Occasionally, however, both teeth are developed, though this is 
a rare occurrence. The narwhal being practically toothless, it 
is apparently unable to feed on the larger kinds of fish, and its 
diet is said to consist mainly of octopuses, small crustaceans 
with soft shells, and small fishes. Scoresby, however, relates 
that he found the remains of a large flat-fish in a narwhal's 
stomach, and thought it probable that the male narwhal used 
his tusk to spear large fish. This, however, seems improbable, 
since the mouth of the narwhal is too small to take in a fish of 
any considerable size, even if it succeeded in detaching it from 
the long tusk, while, as it has no biting teeth, it could not tear 
off^ morsels. It is pretty certain that the main use of the tusk is 
in battles between the males for the possession of the females. 

Delphinapterus leucas. Beluga,^ or White Whale 

The White Whale is in many respects a less specialised form 
than the narwhal, and no doubt represents more or less nearly 
the stock from which the narwhal evolved. But it has no long 
tusk. On the other hand, the permanent dentition consists of 
as many as ten teeth on each side of each jaw — teeth which 
are simple cones in the young animal, but become, by use, 
flattened stumps. The young belugas are generally slate colour, 
fading into grayish-white on the under parts, but the adults 
become pure white all over — a white which is sometimes tinged 
with oyster-gray or with a pinkish tint." The beluga is not 
known to exceed 1 1 ft. in length. 

^ This is a Russian name, derived from the adjective meaning white. 

2 Nordenskiold, who saw much of this whale when coasting along the 
arctic shores of Siberia, describes the adult beluga as singularly beautiful, its 
glistening white hide showing scarcely a scratch or a wrinkle. Two young 
male belugas, which were cast ashore in Pentland Frith in 1793, were 
mottled with brownish-gray, the mottles somewhat resembling the spots of 
the narwhal. 


The beluga has but little more claim than the narwhal to 
be considered a British mammal. Hitherto it has only made its 
appearance on the coast of Scotland, some five instances in all 
havino- been recorded. In 1879 a specimen was stranded by the 
tide off a river mouth in Sutherlandshire. The broad tail of the 
whale had in some way been caught between two short posts 
which were connected with a net. A dead salmon lying in the 
vicinity suggested that the beluga had attempted to ascend the 
river in pursuit of this iish. Indeed, the white whale not 
infrequently ascends rivers, and appears to have little terror of 
shoal water. 

In both the beluga and the narwhal there is practically no 
back fin, merely a low ridge standing up along the lower part 
of the back. Also in common with the narwhal, the vertebrae 
of the neck in the beluga are separate bones, not fused into a 
mass, as in most other cetaceans and all other members of the 
Dolphin family. In these two animals also (especially in the 
beluga) there is a slight indication of a neck in the outward 


The beluga feeds on such fish as salmon, cod, and flounders, 
also on cuttlefish and crustaceans. Like the narwhal, it is 
never solitary, but consorts with others of its kind in small 
herds. The beluga is unusually playful, not only with its fellows, 
but even seeming to romp through the water in accompanying 
ships. This charming confidence, however, is fast dying out, 
on account of the way in which the animal is attacked by man 
for its blubber and hide. The beluga, when swimming close to 
the surface of the water, often emits a bellowing noise when it 
comes to the surface to breathe. Whalers have named it the 
« Sea Canary," from the fact of its uttering these cries ; but 
the metaphor is very strained, as, at most, its cry is a sobbing 
sound, like the faint lowing of an ox. The beluga has been 
several times caught alive, has been kept in captivity, and 
become quite tame. One which was captured in the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence, in the middle of the nineteenth century, was kept 
alive in a tank at Boston for two years. In the seventh volume 


of the Boston Journal of Natural History it is stated by Professor 
Wyman that during its captivity this beluga became quite tame, 
and allowed himself to be harnessed to a floating car in which 
a woman performer was seated. The beluga then swam round 
the tank, dragging the little vessel with him. He recognised 
his keeper, allowed himself to be handled, and at the proper 
time would come and put his head out of the water to be 
harnessed or to take food. This beluga was very playful in 
disposition. He would take into his mouth a sturgeon and a 
small shark which were confined in the same tank, and, after 
playing with them awhile, allow them to go unharmed. He 
would also pick up and toss stones about with his mouth. In 
connection with this, it is rather interesting to note that sand 
and pebbles are often found in the stomach of the beluga, as, 
indeed, in some other whales. Two other specimens of the 
beluga lived for a short time at the Westminster Aquarium in 
1877 and 1878. 

Fhocana communis. The Common Porpoise 

The Porpoises differ from the preceding genera in the larger 
number of teeth which are found in each jaw, and which may 
extend to as many as twenty-six on each side. The teeth are 
peculiar in shape, being compressed, spatulate, and sometimes 
divided into distinct lobes. The tooth is pinched into a narrow 
neck between the crown and the roots. The porpoise differs 
from the true dolphins in that it has a relatively round and 
blunted head, the muzzle of which is not prolonged into a long 
snout as in the dolphins. It is, like these other animals and 
unlike the beluga, in the possession of a marked back fin. This 
fin is remarkable in the porpoise for having often a row of 
horny tubercles along its margin. These were first observed by 
the English naturalist, Dr. Gray, who in a specimen caught off 
Margate noticed that these tubercles were calcified or bony. 
This was a very interesting discovery. In allies of the porpoise 
found in the Indian seas these calcified tubercles or scales tend 
to spread along the whole back of the animal. Moreover, in the 

FftoCo bf A. S. Radlaaii. 

_;^ {Orca giadiator\. 

To face. p. 24 



foetus of the common porpoise the horny or bony tubercles on 
the fin are larger and extend further. These tubercles are evi- 
dently the last remains of an armature of bony plates which 
covered the bodies of the early cetaceans. Distinct traces of 
this armature were discovered by the German naturalist, Johannes 
Miiller, in connection with the remains of the zeuglodon, that 
primitive whale in which the teeth were still differentiated into 
incisors, canines, and molars. It is possible, therefore, that when 
the cetaceans branched oif from some stock of primitive land 
mammals allied to the modern edentates, they, like so many 
existing edentates, had to a great extent replaced hair as a 
covering for the skin by an armature of bony plates, hair only 
remaining here and there on the under parts and about the 
mouth, in which last position 
it remains in so many whales 
in the shape of a few bristles. 
The Common Porpoise 
rarely exceeds 5 ft. in length. 
The colour of the upper parts 
is dark grayish-black, with 
black flippers and tail flukes. 
The whole of the under parts 
from the chin to the vent is white tinted with lemon or pink. 
At the junction of the black of the upper and the white of the 
under parts there is in many specimens a curiously distinct gray 
line, as represented in my drawing. The eye in the porpoise is 
relatively small. The external ear is represented by an opening 
in the skin so minute that it is scarcely larger than a pin-point. 
This aperture of the ear is situated about two inches behind the 
eye, in a line with that organ, and is backed in some specimens 
by a small wart, the vestige of an ear conch. The porpoise has a 
voice, though it rarely utters cries except when in sore distress. 
It is related by Thomas Bell (the author of A History of British 
Cluadrupeds) that in the middle of the nineteenth century some 
porpoises which had entered Poole Harbour made their way up 
the little River Frome as far as Wareham, in Dorsetshire. Here 

Teeth of Porpoise (after Flower). 
Magnified to twice natural size. 


they were detained by hastily constructed weirs, and for three 
days they made such a distressing noise with their bellowing that 
(with the usual quaint notion of kindness which distinguishes 
our treatment of the lower animals) they were " put out of their 
misery," not by being released and allowed to return to their 
happy life in the open sea, but by being promptly killed. 

There is no doubt about the porpoise being a British 
mammal, for not only is it extremely abundant all round the 
coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, but it frequently ascends the 
principal British rivers, not even excepting the Thames. The 
breeding season of the porpoise is generally supposed to be in 
the spring, and the period of gestation is said to be six months,- 
but it would seem as though breeding may take place at other 
seasons, since females with fully developed young have been 
captured in May. The porpoise only produces a single young 
one at a birth. 

The food of the porpoise consists entirely of fish, usually of 
the size of mackerel or salmon. The flesh of the porpoise is said 
to be like pork, and the creature was formerly much eaten in the 
coast regions of Great Britain, though it has now gone entirely 
out of vogue. During the middle ages it was an important 
article of diet, since, being regarded by the Roman Catholic 
Church as a fish, it was permissible to eat the succulent flesh of the 
porpoise on fast days. Nowadays its only importance to com- 
merce consists in its hide, which furnishes doubtfully good leather 
for boots, ^ and for its oil yielded by the blubber. The average 
porpoise may yield as much as three gallons of oil. 

Orca gladiator. The Common " Killer " Whale, or 


This is, in some respects, the most interesting of the British 
whales, owing to its ferocious disposition, striking coloration, 
and world-wide distribution. It is constantly met with near the 
coasts of the British Islands, and occasionally ascends tidal rivers. 

^ Much of the leather known as porpoise hide is, however, made from the 
skin of the white whale. 



Three specimens entered the Thames in the spring of 1890. 
They swam up the river as far as Chelsea Bridge, and apparently- 
returned to the sea without having been killed by a people 
celebrated for its love of animals. It is more commonly met with 
at the present day about the Shetland and Orkney Islands and 
along the east and west coasts of Scotland. The orca is larger 
than most dolphins. One specimen killed on the coast of Norfolk 
measured as much as 21 ft. 3 in.^ The snout is not prolonged 
into any beak. The gape of the mouth is not so wide as might be 
supposed in reference to the ferocious appetite and carnivorous 
(rather than piscivorous) nature of the animal. The teeth are, as 

The Killer Whale {Oi-ca gladiator). 

compared to the porpoise, comparatively few in number, not 
exceeding thirteen, and usually as few as ten on each side of the 
two jaws ; but they are slightly curved, pointed, and much 
larger in size than those of the porpoise or of most dolphins. The 
longest teeth project as much as three inches from the gum. The 
coloration of the orca is a bold and eccentric arrangement of black 
and white, the black, especially over the back, assuming almost a 
purple tinge. The distribution of black and white is so compli- 
cated that it is best illustrated by the accompanying drawing. 
The Killer Whale has rather large flippers, and a particularly long 
back fin. This, which is situated rather nearer to the head than 

^ The greatest known length of the orca is stated by Beddard to be 
30 ft. 


to the tail, is nearly vertical, and is prolonged to quite a sharp, 
stiff point. But this lengthy development of the back fin is 
characteristic of the males ; in the females it is much shorter. 
Ancient writers were much impressed with this long, sharp back 
fin of the killer whale, and started the theory that it was even 
more rigid and sharp than it is in actuality, and that with this 
powerful weapon the orca ripped up the belly of the huge 
whales whom it delights to attack. There is, however, no truth 
in this story. The killer whales devour seals, porpoises, and 
dolphins, and attack and eat piecemeal the biggest whales of all 
kinds. They are said to swallow the smaller dolphins alive, even 
to the extent of four in succession, and Eschricht, a Danish 
naturalist, even asserted that in one specimen of the orca which 
was stranded on the Baltic coast, and which only measured 1 6 ft. 
in length, there were remains in the stomach of fourteen small 
seals. Graphic accounts have been given by Lydekker and 
Scammon of the way in which the killer attacks large whales, 
generally aiming first at the mouth and head. It is stated by 
some that when a whalebone whale opens its mouth the orca 
dashes in, snatches at and drags out the tongue, which it devours 
with gusto, 

Fseudorca eras si dens. The Lesser Killer 

This whale scarcely exceeds 14 ft. in length, and has some- 
what fewer teeth on each side of the jaw than in Orca^ those in 
the lower jaw (ten on each side) being usually more numerous 
than in the upper jaw (eight on each side). The back fin is 
much shorter than in the orca, and the flippers are more pointed 
and less broad ; moreover, in colour it is entirely black. This 
whale appears to be almost universally distributed, having been 
found (fossil) in England (Lincolnshire), and living on the coast of 
Denmark, and also off Tasmania. It is remarkable (as a British 
mammal) from the fact that it was first described from a fossil 
skull found in the Lincolnshire fens. Some years ago a herd 
of these lesser killers entered the Baltic, and were described 
by Danish naturalists. 



Glohicephalus melas. The Black Fish, or Pilot or 
"Ca'ing" Whale 

This rather large dolphin, at least 20 ft. in length when full 
grown, is nearly black all over, with the exception of a heart- 
shaped whitish patch on the throat, which is sometimes extended 
into a narrow whitish strip along the middle of the belly. It is 
sharply distinguished from the killers by its very globular- 
shaped head, which has hardly any projecting muzzle. The 
flippers are long and narrow, especially towards the tip. They 
are somewhat 
"falcated " — that 
is to say, they are 
very broad near 
the base, and 
then curve like a 
scimitar towards 
the tip. The 
number of the 
phalanges, or small 
bones, in the two 
middle fingers of 
the flippers may be 
as many as four- 
teen. The back 
fin is depressed, 
and not erect as in the orca. It is long and thick. The teeth 
are small in size, and mainly confined to the front part of the 
jaws, never exceeding twelve on each side. 

This whale is of a mild disposition, entirely lacking the 
ferocity of the killer. It feeds mainly on cuttlefish, though 
it also devours herrings, mackerel, and other fish of small size. 

The Black Fish is often seen off* the British coasts. In 
difl^erent varieties or species it is very nearly world-wide in 
distribution, though it does not extend very far into the Arctic 
regions. Its most common habitat in British waters is the sea 

Head of Black Fish {Globicephalus). 


round the Orkney and Shetland Islands. The black fish is said 
to be the most gregarious of all known whales, assembling in 
large herds, which are believed to include sometimes from one to 
two thousand individuals, though more commonly not exceeding 
two or three hundred. These herds follow a leader, and follow 
this leader blindly, even though it may be into shoal water, 
where they become stranded. In 1 845 it is stated that two 
thousand and eighty of these black fish were driven ashore by 
the fishing fleets on the Faroe Islands ; and in the same year, on 
September 22nd, fifteen hundred and forty were killed in two 
hours in Quendall Bay, Shetland Islands. " Should one whale 
break through the line," writes Bell, " all is lost : the rest will 
follow it out to sea in spite of every exertion of the fishermen ; 
but if they are forced into shallow water they plunge blindly on 
till they strand themselves, and then the whole population rushes 
wildly at them, armed with harpoons, spears, hatchets, picks, spades, 
and any weapon that comes to hand ; and the cries and dying 
struggles of the poor animals, the shouts of the men, and clash 
of weapons, the bloody and troubled sea, combine to form an 
extremely exciting if somewhat revolting scene." 

The young of the black fish is 3 ft. long at birth, and is 
generally born towards the end of summer. 

Grampus griseus. Risso's Grampus -^ 

This whale, which is very rarely taken in British seas, is 
distinguished from all other dolphins by the total absence of 
teeth in the upper jaw, while in the lower jaw the teeth are 
sometimes as few as three on each side, or as many as seven. In 
the configuration of the head it somewhat resembles the black 
fish, though there is a greater extension of the snout. The 
flippers are long, but much narrower and less falcated than in the 
black fish. The length of the animal rarely exceeds 13 ft. 
The coloration is rather peculiar. The head and fore part of the 
body (except the flippers) is gray, with mottlings and lighter 

^ The English word grampus is simply a corruption of the French " grand 
poisson." It is a name often appUed to the orca, or killer whale. 


patchings. The back, the back fin, and the tail are blackish, 

almost purple in parts ; so also are the flippers. The under 

parts are grayish-white ; the sides are grey, sometimes tinged 

with yellow ; and the flippers and much of the body are strangely 

marked with whitish spots, streaks, 

and scratches, giving the creature 

the appearance of its glossy hide 

having been scored by the body 

being dragged over pebbles. The 

food of this grampus is mainly 

cuttlefish. Its distribution is 

pretty general, though it seems 

to avoid the Arctic regions. As 

regards its freq uentation of British head and flipper of risso's 

^ . ^ Grampus [Grampus gnseus). 

waters, it has been most commonly 

met with in the British Channel, between Devonshire and Kent, 
though it has also been recorded in the Solway Firth and off the 
Shetland Islands. A specimen caught near Chichester in 1875 
was exhibited for a day or two at the Brighton Aquarium. 

Lagenorhynchus albirostris. The White-beaked Dolphin 

The genus Lagenorhynchus — " short-beaked " dolphins — in- 
cludes a group of several small cetaceans which are thought to 
connect the beakless forms previously described, in which the 
muzzle is very short, with the long-snouted true dolphins, 
where the muzzle is often prolonged into a form like the beak 
of a bird in outline. In the short-beaked dolphins there is very 
little break in outline between the forehead and the muzzle. In 
the White-beaked Dolphin the upper jaw is rather shorter than 
the lower. The teeth are small, and may be as many as twenty- 
six in number on each side of both jaws. The adult white- 
beaked dolphin is from 8 ft. to 9 ft. long. One specimen captured 
on the coast of Norfolk measured 8 ft. 2 in. This dolphin is 
very handsomely coloured, the upper part, including the flippers 
and the tail, being deep purple-black. The sides are grayish, 
and the belly, throat, under jaw, and the greater part of the 


upper jaw are cream-white. On the gray sides there are three or 
more large spots of whitish colour, which, however, are often 
broken up by mottlings of a darker tint. There is also a light 
patch on the back of the head behind the blow-hole, and another 
near the root of the tail. The back fin is long and pointed, and 
slopes backwards. In the living animal the black area of the 
back is really a rich purple, almost iridescent. The skin is of a 
soft and silky texture, and so thin that it is easily rubbed off. 

This dolphin is an inhabitant of the seas of the North Atlantic 
and the coast of America and of Europe, About six specimens 
have been obtained at different times on the west and east coasts 
of Scotland. One at least was captured on the north coast of 
Ireland, and the remainder of the examples were obtained on the 
east coast of England from the Tweed down to the vicinity of 
the ThamxCS. The white-beaked dolphin is also found in the 
Baltic Sea. 

Lagenorhynchus acutus. The White-sided Dolphin 

This rare form, distributed sparsely about the coasts of the 
North Atlantic, only seems to have made its appearance in British 
seas in the vicinity of the Orkney Islands, where it has been 
obtained three times, including its first description from a stranded 
skull. It is also stated that it has been met with in the Hebrides. 
It is perhaps a little smaller in size than the preceding species, 
and its distribution of colours is pretty much the same, except 
that the whitish areas on the flanks of the white-beaked dolphin 
become a continuous white band in Lagenorhynchus acutus^ which 
feature gives it the name of the white-sided dolphin. This white 
stripe on the flanks extends nearly the whole length of the body, 
from the flippers to the vicinity of the tail, but away from the 
middle of the body the white stripe becomes yellowish or even 
brown. There is sometimes a dark line lying within this long 
band of darker colour. This dark line starts from the right 
of the tail and ends on the upper portion of the white patch on 
the flanks. The mixture of white, yellow, brown, and purple- 
black gives this dolphin a very handsome appearance. 


Delphinus delphis. The Common Dolphin 

The Common or True Dolphin and all the members of its 
genus are distinguished from the other members of the family 
by their pronounced beak. This is a considerable prolongation 
of the skull, rendered the more striking by the great accumula- 
tion of fatty blubber in front of the forehead. In the shape of 
its skull and jaws the dolphin is more primitive than the other 
genera of its family, and represents more nearly the original 
cetacean skull, which in the earlier types of that group was very 
prolonged. The jaws are sometimes furnished with as many 
as sixty-five teeth on each side — seldom less than forty. The 
dolphin, therefore, has more teeth than any other mammal. 
The neck vertebras are less fused, and are more distinctly 
developed than in the porpoises and killers. The flippers, or 
front limbs, are rather long and pointed, sometimes almost hook- 
like in outline. The back fin is well developed, but broad, and 
not so pointed as in the short-beaked dolphins. The eye in the 
true dolphins is relatively large (with a white pupil), the ear being 
represented, as usual, by the tiniest pin-prick. The coloration 
of this creature is beautiful, and its appearance is somewhat like 
watered silk. The upper parts, as usual, are black, the flanks are 
striped in ochre and yellowish-gray, and the belly is white. The 
lips are bordered with stripes of lead gray. The remarkable 
striping and spotting are best illustrated by a drawing.-^ The 
total length of the common dolphin is probably not more than 
8 ft. The dolphin only produces one young one at a birth. 
To this the female devotes herself with the greatest tenderness 
and care. The mammary glands, which are situated near the 
vent, and of course in the lower part of the body, become very 
much enlarged and projecting when the young is born, while 

^ This appearance of watered silk sometimes almost takes iridescent hues 
in the living animal; but it is scarcely necessary to point out that the dolphin 
of poetry, which passed through a gamut of exquisite rainbow hues as it died, 
was not this or any other cetacean, but a large fish {CoryphcBfia) which is 
found in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and which has often been mixed up 
with the dolphin in heraldry. 



the teats, which at other times are concealed in folds of the 
skin, stand out, much swollen. The milk is said to be abundant, 
and very rich. 

The dolphin is not one of those cetaceans that frequent the 
Arctic regions. It is very rarely met with as far north as 
Southern Greenland, and it is not common off the coast of Norway. 
The chief home of the common species appears to be the Mediter- 
ranean, though it also extends across the North Atlantic. In 
British waters it frequents the Channel more than the North Sea, 
and in the Channel it is very common. Its food is fish, especially 
herrings and mackerel, and also jellyfish, small cuttlefish, and 
crustaceans. It seems to be a creature of happy disposition, 
perpetually romping in the water, and by no means afraid of man. 
It constantly accompanies ships in large herds, and, indeed, is 
more commonly seen even than the porpoise. Like its congeners, 
it has a voice, which it is said to use in a gentle lowing sound. 

Tursiops tursio. The Bottle-nosed Dolphin 

The Bottle-nosed Dolphins differ from the true dolphins by 
their somewhat larger size, and by the much shorter and less 
prominent beak. This creature is very under-hung, the 
upper jaw being quite short as compared with the lower jaw, while 
the opening of the mouth begins much higher up in the head, 
suggesting a faint resemblance to the whalebone whales. The 
teeth are fewer than in the true dolphin — about twenty to twenty- 
five on each side of each jaw. These teeth in the adult animal 
become worn down to flat surfaces, except perhaps in the case of 
one or two in the front of the jaw which retain their conical 
shape. In colour the bottle-nosed dolphin is purplish-gray above 
and gray or grayish-white on the under parts. The flippers are 
shorter than in the common dolphin, the back fin is rather long, 
but blunt-tipped. This creature is said to have a powerful voice, 
like the bellowing of a bull. The range of the bottle-nosed 
dolphin is very much that of the common dolphin, but in British 
waters it is a much rarer animal. Specimens have been obtained 
during the last hundred and twenty years from the Thames and 


the coasts of Devonshire, North Wales, Lincolnshire, Scotland, 
and Ireland. 


This family is supposed to differ at the present day from almost 
all the dolphins in that there is an absence of functional teeth in 
the upper jaw. This is perhaps rather a foolish distinction, since, 
apart from the similar case occurring in Risso's grampus, we now 
know that in one genus at least (Kogia) of sperm whales there are 
two functional teeth on each side of the upper jaw, and in most of 
the Physeteroids there are rudimentary teeth in the upper jaw 
which do not cut the gum. Moreover, remains of fossil sperm 
whales in Europe and South America show that in these earlier 
types there were teeth in both jaws. But the Physeteroids also 
differ from dolphins and from other whales in the remarkable 
construction of the back portion of the skull, which rises into a 
high ridge or crest behind the nasal aperture. This family is, 
or was, represented in British waters by the sperm whale and the 
beaked whales. 


Physeter macrocephalus. The Sperm Whale, or Cachalot 

This has perhaps in its time been the most gigantic cetoid 
development in size, for there are credible stories, supported to 
some extent by the evidence of teeth, that sperm whales, 80 ft. 
long existed in the Pacific off the coast of South America. 
But at the present day the largest known males have not been 
found to attain a greater length than 60 ft. The female sperm 
whale is proportionately much smaller than the male, being 
scarcely over 30 ft. long. The True Sperm Whale has an 
enormous head, in length about a third of the total length of the 
body. There is a marked prominence at the back of the head, 
which corresponds (though there is a great mass of blubber behind) 
to the great upward development of the crest of the skull in the 
Ziphioids. The blow-hole, or outer valve of the united nostrils. 



is carried much further forward than in any other existing whale, 
and is immediately over the tip of the upper jaw. The lower 
jaw is quite slender towards its tapering end, but the upper jaw 
terminates outwardly in an enormous truncated mass, rising 
vertically above its attenuated bony termination. This truncated 
snout is flat and broad, and its termination is almost square 
with the sides of the head, though it is somewhat rounded 
above. There is no indication of this extraordinary development 
of gristle, flesh, and blubber in the skull of the sperm whale. 
From the attenuated upper jaw one would argue a long, thin 
beak instead of this gigantic snout, in shape Hke a huge travelling 

Skull of Sperm Whale {Physeter macrocephalus). 

bag. The eyes are placed not very far from the angle of the jaw, 
and relatively close to the eye is situated the flipper, which must 
be of little functional use to the sperm whale. All the neck 
vertebrae are fused together, and the neck is extremely short. 
In the attachment of the ribs to the vertebras, the double head 
of the rib may rest on a single vertebra. The blow-hole, 
or outer termination of the nostrils, which, as in all the 
Odontocetes, is a single opening, lies on one side of the termina- 
tion of the snout, and not exactly in the middle. This makes 
the upper surface of the skull markedly asymmetrical. The 
aperture of the blow-hole is almost in the form of the letter S. 


In the narrow lower jaw the number of teeth may be as many as 
twenty-five. The two diverging bones which form this mandible 
are united for more than half their course, and are not widely 
separated from their junction at the chin, as is the case with 
most other cetaceans. In the enormous cavity between the bones 
of the skull and the upper surface of the trunk-like head is an 
accumulation of oily matter — spermaceti — secreted by the lining 
membranes of the great cells that surround the long passage 
running diagonally through this huge excrescent growth from 
the openings of the nasal bones in the front of the skull to 
the outlet of the nostrils at the end of the snout. This whitish 
oil, which is secreted on either side of the passage of the nostrils, 
has been in use for hundreds of years for many purposes. Its 
origin and nature were at first misunderstood by the ancients, 
who thought that it was the seminal fluid of the whale and there- 
fore called it " spermaceti." The thick blubber which lies all along 
the back of the sperm whale also produces a most valuable oil, and 
for these two products (together formerly with ambergris) the 
sperm whale has been hunted well-nigh to extinction. Ambergris, 
which is found in its intestines, and which, when expelled there- 
from, floats on the surface of the sea, is a gummy substance in 
which are embedded the beaks of cuttlefish. This substance is 
used in perfumery, and anciently was thought to be a strong 
aphrodisiac. The sperm whale has no back fin, but along the 
line of the back there are a series of lumps and undulations. 
The largest of these, which rises in the middle of the back over 
the junction of the tail and the body, is almost prolonged into 
a fin-like excrescence. The colour of the cachalot, or sperm 
whale, is black, shading into a grayer tint on the belly. Its food 
consists mainly of squids and cutdefish. It also eats such fish as 
come in its way. 

The cachalot was formerly world-wide, with the exception 
that it avoided the icy seas of the Arctic and Antarctic regions. 
Sperm whales were repeatedly cast ashore on the coasts of Britain 
in preceding centuries, the last occurrence, however, being no 
farther back than 1871, when a large specimen was stranded on 


the island of Skye. But in a more remote period in the history 
of this species, sperm whales closely allied to the existing form 
were common in English seas, and their remains are preserved in 
East Anglian rocks of the Phocene period. 

A small Physeteroid or sperm whale (represented by the 
genus Kogia found in the Antarctic seas, and not much larger in 
size than a porpoise) forms some link between the huge sperm 
whale and the outwardly very dissimilar remaining members of 
the Physeterid^, who are grouped together as a sub-family, 
Ziphiina. In the Ziphiines there are no functional teeth ^ what- 
ever in the upper jaw, and in the lower jaw the teeth are reduced 
to one pair, or more rarely to two pairs. These scanty teeth 
sometimes become very large in the males, and are perhaps used 
for fighting in some species. A marked feature in the Ziphioids 
is the extraordinary development of crests of bone behind the 
ear or in front of the nasal openings at the top of the skull. 
These bony crests support great bulging foreheads of fatty tissue 
containing spermaceti. They are even more exaggerated in the 
male than in the female. The upper jaw is prolonged into a 
long and narrow beak, usually not much, if at all, under-hung by 
the lower jaw. In nearly all the Ziphioids there are marked 
longitudinal grooves on each side of the throat. All possess a 
small back fin. The blow-hole is single, shaped like a crescent, 
and usually in the middle of the huge bulging forehead of fatty 

The stomach of the Ziphioid whales is a peculiar feature, and 
contains a great many compartments, sometimes as many as 
fourteen. All the Ziphioid whales, being, for masticating and 
snatching purposes, practically toothless, live entirely on cuttle- 
fish and small, soft-shelled sea animals. Indeed, it is no doubt 
this diet, so much affected by many groups and species of 
whales, which is gradually causing the disuse of the functional 
teeth. All these Ziphioids with whom man has come into 
1 That is to say, the teeth practically never pierce the gums. 


contact are stated to possess loud voices, which they use when in 
distress, and which resemble the bellowing of oxen, or even loud, 
human-like sobs. 

Hyperoodon rostratus. The Common Beaked or Bottle- 
nosed Whale 

This animal attains to a length of from 20 ft. to 26 ft., males 
even perhaps as much as 30 ft. The upper jaw is prolonged 
into a short beak, and above the beak rises a huge, dome-like 
forehead, supported not only by the premaxillary crests of bone 

which rise from 
the base of the 
skull, but also 
(in the males) by 
two still huger 
excrescences o f 
bone growing up 
above the eyes in 
a pyramidal shape. 
This growth of 
bone in the males, 
and the con- 
sequent exagge- 
ration of the 

Head of Bottle-nosed Whale {Hyperoodon rostratus). bulerinp forehead 

almost covers the beak, which is much more apparent in the 
females and in the young. The teeth are reduced to a small 
pair, conical in shape, at the extremity of the lower jaw, but these 
even are covered over by the gum, so that the creature during 
its life is practically toothless. The tail is not notched in the 
middle between the flukes, but has a perfectly straight outline 
along its extremity. In colour the bottle-nosed whale is black 
above and grayish-white beneath, but with advancing age turns 
to yellowish-gray all over, with a white band round the neck and 
white on the front of the head and upper jaw. The beaked 
or bottle-nosed whale is never found in herds, but goes about 


singly or in pairs. This whale is still found pretty frequently 
in British waters. One was caught in the Thames above 
London Bridge in 1783, and nearly a hundred years afterwards 
(1882) a pair entered the Thames and were killed there. It 
is of very common occurrence round the Shetland Islands, and 
is frequently stranded on the coast of Norfolk and along the 
British Channel. 

It is curious that this whale appears to be unknown elsewhere 
in the west of Europe than on the coasts of the British Islands 
and of Northern France. Its chief area of distribution at the 
present time is the Arctic Ocean. It, or a closely allied species, 
is found fossil in East Anglia. 

Ziphius cavirostris. Cuvier's Whale 

This remarkable creature is very rare, only one example 

having been found in British waters (off the mainland of 

Shetland). In Cuvier's Whale the lower jaw, when covered by its 

integuments, is larger and more prominent than the upper jaw, 

which it overhangs. There are two conical teeth in the lower 

jaw, placed in the front, so that when the jaws are closed these 

teeth project in front of the muzzle of the upper jaw. Some 

specimens of this Ziphioid from the Mediterranean are stated to 

have the skin of the jaws set with hard bony tubercles. In the 

skull of this animal there are but slight indications of the bony 

crests so common in most of the other Ziphioids. The colour 

of this whale appears to be uncertainly known. It is possible 

that it is dark gray above and whitish on the belly, with the 

dark gray portion of the body marked with irregular white 

streaks.^ Ziphius in one or more species is (however rare) of 

world-wide distribution, having been met with off the coast of 

South Africa and of South America, New Zealand, and the 


1 These whitish streaks and scratches, found on the thin outer skin of so 
many Ziphioids and Dolphins, are said to be due to blisters caused by the 
sharp suckers of cuttlefish. 


Mesoplodon bidens. Sowerby's Whale 

In this animal (about 15 ft. long) there are two functional 
(and rather large) teeth growing out of the middle portion of the 
lower jaw. In the males these teeth are sometimes considerably- 
developed, and always show like the tusks of a boar when the 
mouth is closed, as they diverge from the edge and project 
outwards. Under the throat are two diverging furrows somewhat 
in the shape of a V, with a point directed forwards. The opening 
of the ear in this animal is so small as to admit only a fine bristle 
being passed through it. Sowerby's Whale is dark blackish-gray, 
or sometimes a bluish-slate, with the under parts of the body 
much lighter, and the surface of the body is also diversified with 
small whitish spots and streaks. The nostrils open not at the 
bottom of a deep hole just above the base of the beak, but 
directly on the top of the skull, in a slight depression. This 
Ziphioid was first made known to science by a specimen cast 
ashore on the coast of Elginshire (Scotland). Since that time a 
number of other specimens have been stranded on the Scotch or 
English coasts, or have been captured at sea close to the coast-line. 
This whale would appear mainly to frequent the Atlantic, and to 
range perhaps as far south as the Equator. In the southern seas 
it is represented by closely allied species. In a very distinct form 
of this genus in South African waters, the teeth in the lower jaw 
appear to grow out into long, grooved tusks, which arch over the 
upper jaw and prevent the animal from opening its mouth more 
than a few inches. 


The Whalebone Whales, whose distinction from the existing 
toothed whales has already been described, are divided at the 
present day into two well-marked families : the Right Whales ^ 
and the Rorquals. 

^ Called by whalers the " Right " whales because the other whalebone 
whales were wrong, that is to say, far less valuable, both for the whalebone 
and oil. 

n in 

CD <, 

a- K 

ft !?' 


Balana australis. The Southern Right Whale 

The hugest of the *' Right " whales, commonly known as 
the Greenland whale {Balana mysticetus), now so near extinction, 
and driven up to the most inaccessible parts of the Arctic Ocean, 
cannot be classed as a British mammal, because no certain evidence 
exists of it having been seen in close vicinity to the British 
Islands, the recorded instances of its presence being more probably 
referable (it is thought) to the species about to be described, the 
Southern Right Whale. But in the Pliocene deposits of Eastern 
England fossil remains are found (the ear bones) which would 
almost seem to indicate that the Greenland whale was found at 
one time in British waters. 

The southern right whale does not grow to quite the same 
enormous size as the Greenland whale (which may be as much as 
60 ft. long), and its head is also proportionately smaller. In the 
Greenland whale the shape and the size of the head are carried to 
the utmost degree of exaggeration. The southern right whale 
also is' (or was, for it may be quite extinct by now) almost black 
in colour, and not marked with white in various parts of the 
body, as often occurs to the Greenland whale. Neither the 
southern nor the Greenland right whales have any dorsal fin, or 
any longitudinal furrows on the skin of the throat and chest. Its 
average length may not exceed 50 ft. The baleen, or whale- 
bone, is shorter, and perhaps lighter in colour than in the case of 
the Greenland whale. This baleen is nothing but an extravagant 
development of the lamellae or furrows of the palate (epithelium). 
These thin plates or blades of horny matter are broadest at their 
base where they are attached to the gum, and narrowest at their 
terminations. In their lowest portions they are frayed into a 
number of threads, and these threads serve as a fine sieve for the 
purpose of straining from the water the minute organisms on 
which the right whales feed. The plates of baleen may be as 
many as 380 in number. In the right whales they are generally 
black in colour, and gray or grayish-yellow in the other members 


of the family. They are ranged transversely across the palate, 

exactly like the furrows in the epithelium.^ In the right whales 

these plates are so long that, however widely the mouth is opened, 

they still close up the intervals between the jaws. 

The right whales open their mouths when they 

find themselves in the middle of shoals of minute 

crustaceans and pteropods," and then close the 

mouth, forcing out the water through the sieve 

of the whalebone. The tiny organisms that are 

prevented from escaping by the fringe of the 

baleen plates then fall on to the broad tongue 

which lies in the great hollow of the under jaw, ciio^ie Umadna. 

d^i • 11 1 1 11 The little Pteropod 

m this manner are swallowed through the moiiusc (bright 

very narrow gullet. In the right whales the p^^'p^^ in colour) 

1 . , 11 1 • 1 1 oil which the 

throat is so narrow at the swallow that it would great whalebone 
probably allow nothing to pass of larger size than whaies feed (hfe 
a mouse. When the mouth is shut the long 
fringes of whalebone fold backwards, the front plates lying below 
the hinder ones, so that in a sense the long ends of the whalebone 
are partially contained within the approach to the gullet. When 
the animal opens its mouth wide the whalebone springs forward 
till it is perpendicular. 

All the whalebone whales are considered to be characterised 
by possessing only four true fingers in the flipper, as against the 
five that are generally found in the toothed whales. There is 
a seeming exception to this in the right whales, where the hand 
appears to be five-fingered ; but it is the opinion of Mr. Beddard 
that the presumed first finger of the right whale is really the 
prepollex, the additional finger which occasionally appears in 
mammals before the first or thumb, and which no doubt in this 
whale has been retained or developed for the support of the 

^ These furrows exist even in the human palate. 

^ The principal source of the right whale's food is a pteropod mollusc 
about an inch long, named Clione limacina, bright purple when alive. 
Specimens of this little creature are exhibited in the admirably organised 
Whale Gallery at the British Museum (Natural History). 


flipper. The finger which has disappeared drops out seemingly 
in the middle of the series, and is possibly the normal third 
finger. Whalebone whales, though such extreme types of 
cetacean development in many directions, yet retain a few 
primitive characteristics. The vestiges of hind limbs are more 
developed in right whales than in any other member of the 
order, for these small bones not only represent the pelvis and 
ischium, but also the thigh bone and a portion of the tibia or 
upper leg bone. All the whalebone whales, also, have double 
openings to the nostrils. They further have traces of a smelling 
organ, which is absent from other whales. It has been already 
stated that all the whalebone whales, when in the foetal stage, 
have teeth in the upper and lower jaws, which in calcifying are 
absorbed by the time the animal is born. The whalebone does 
not commence to form till the young whale is several weeks old. 
The southern right whale is now very nearly extinct. At 
one time it was certainly an inhabitant of the British Channel 
and of the North Sea, perhaps also of the Irish Sea and Atlantic 
coast of Ireland. It abounded in the Bay of Biscay, and was also 
found in the Mediterranean, and perhaps also on the east coast 
of North America, the South Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean. 
The last recorded certain appearance of the southern right whale 
in British waters was at Peterhead (east coast of Scotland) in 
t8o6, though there is some evidence to show that a specimen 
was stranded at Yarmouth in 1846. Another was seen off 
Peterhead in 1872, while the bony remains of a right whale 
were dredged up off Lyme Regis in 1853. 


These whalebone whales are not so much specialised as the 
right whales. The head is proportionately smaller, and the 
whalebone is much shorter. 

Megaptera boops. The Hump-backed Whale 
In this whale the flippers are very long and narrow (with 
only four fingers). The vertebras of the neck are free, and not 



fused. The eye is proportionately rather Jarge, and is situated 
well above the angle of the jaw. There is absolutely no trace 
of a neck, and the body is even more fish-like in shape than 
that of any other whale. There is a back fin. A row of bony 
tubercles, referred to in connection with other whales, often 
grows along the edge of the lips. The skin under the lower 
jaw, and along the throat and a portion of the belly, is streaked 
with folds, which are so marked a characteristic of the Rorquals 
and of the Ziphioid whales.^ There is a slight hump in the 
middle of the back. The head is often studded with large 
scaly tubercles about the size of an orange, which may also be 
the remains of the original bony plates that covered the bodies of 
the primeval whales. In colour the hump-backed whale is black 
above, with entirely white or black-speckled flippers, and with 
under parts marbled in black and white. The hump-backed whale 
is of almost universal distribution. As regards its connection 
with the British Islands, it is commonly seen during the summer 
off the east coast of Scotland and the north-east and north-west 
of England, occasionally appearing in large numbers off the 
north of Ireland. This whale frequently produces two young at 
a birth. The hump-backed whale eats much larger molluscs 
and crustaceans than the right whales, and it will also swallow 
small fish. 

Bal^mptera musculus. The Common Rorqual 

This genus in the species next to be mentioned probably 
includes the largest of living whales. The Common Rorqual 
may be taken as a type of the genus. Curiously enough, in the 
rorquals, as also in the hump-backed whales, the female is 
generally bigger than the male. The length of the common 

^ These plicce, or longitudinal folds, are thought by some whalers and 
zoologists to serve almost the purpose of gill openings in fishes, and to 
oxygenate the blood from the oxygen of the water by dermal respiration. 
The Balaenopterids are certainly able to remain for very lengthened periods — 
twelve hours, it is said — beneath the surface of the water without coming up 
to breathe atmospheric air. 








rorqual is not known to exceed 70 ft. The head is proportion- 
ately smaller to the body than in the right whales or in most of 
the other rorquals. It has also some slight indication of a neck. 
It is the species which I have chosen to illustrate in a coloured 
drawing, which is partly based on the painting of a rorqual cast 
up on the east coast of Ireland in i860. From this painting it 
will be seen that in colour this whale is blackish-gray above and 
white beneath, though the white is often modified by gray and 
yellow tinges. The whalebone is yellowish gray, sometimes 
whitish in parts, or touched with brown or slate-gray. The 
interior of the numerous folds on the under surface of the body 
is black. ^ There is a low back fin placed very far down the 
body not far from the tail. 

The common rorqual is less restricted in its choice of food 
than the other whalebone whales. It can swallow herrings and 
even larger fish as well as molluscs and crustaceans. This whale 
is no rarity in British waters. It is widely distributed over both 
the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. It is more frequently 
met with in the English and Irish Channels than in the North 
Sea, but specimens are cast up frequently year after year on the 
coasts of Ireland, Wales, and England. In Scotland it is met 
with in the vicinity of the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and 
occasionally in the Firth of Forth. It produces such inferior 
baleen and blubber as to be scarcely worth killing for commercial 
purposes. This, perhaps, is the reason why it still exists in 
considerable numbers. 

Balamptera sibbaldii. Sibbald's Rorqual, or the "Blue'' 


This is the largest of all known whales. Specimens have 
been credibly recorded that measured 90 ft., though an estimate 
of 105 ft. has sometimes been quoted. Several specimens have 
been measured which were 80 ft. in length. A pregnant female 
which was cast up near Edinburgh in the Firth of Forth contained 

^ Sometimes in the living animal rosy-red. 



within it a male foetus which measured nearly 20 ft. in length. 
In this species the head is much larger proportionately than in the 
common rorqual, while the flippers are longer and broader. 
There are also a great many more folds in the throat and belly. 
The dorsal fin near the tail is reduced to little more than a slight 
protuberance. The colour of the baleen is deep black, thereby 
contrasting strongly with the yellowish-gray of the common 
rorqual's whalebone. The colour of the body is dark gray 
above, shading into lighter gray on the belly. The gray of this 
whale is often quite bluish in tone, for which reason it is known 
amongst whalers as the " blue " whale. Its gray coloration is 
also varied by small whitish spots on the breast. The upper side 
of the flippers is black and the under whitish. Off the east 
coast of America the under parts of this whale have frequently 
a lemon-yellow tinge. The " blue " whale feeds principally on 
small pteropods and crustaceans, such as Clione^ Euphausia, 
and Thrysanopoda. It also eats small fish, such as sardines 
and sprats. This whale seems to be distributed throughout the 
greater part of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, unless 
in the last-named sea its representative is a different species or 
variety. It is fairly abundant in the North Sea, being much 
attracted to the coasts of Norway, because of the presence in the 
fiords of the crustaceans on which it lives. Its occurrence in 
British waters is a much rarer event than is the case with the 
common rorqual, but it has been washed ashore at various points 
of the Scottish coast, in the Hebrides, and on the north-east coast 
of England. Sibbald's whale yields much more oil proportion- 
ately than does the common rorqual. 

Balanoptera boreal is. Rudolphi's Rorqual 

This whale scarcely reaches to 50 ft. in length. Its flippers 
are very short proportionately. The whalebone is black, except 
at the extremities, where it turns white. The upper parts of this 
whale's body are bluish-black, marked with oblong spots of light 
gray ; the under parts of the body are whitish-gray. The upper 
surface of the flippers is entirely black. The throat is streaked 


with the same longitudinal folds as in other rorquals. The back 
fin is unimportant, and only just discernible as a slight excres- 
cence. Rudolphi's Rorqual inhabits the Atlantic, the North Sea, 
and the British Channel. It is also thought that it or a closely 
alHed form is found in the Indian Ocean. Its discovery as a 
member of the British fauna seems to date no further back than 
1872, when one was stranded on the shores of the Firth of Forth. 
Subsequently Rudolphi's rorqual was found repeatedly on the 
east and south-east coasts of England. A fine example actually 
entered the Thames, and was captured at Tilbury in 1887. 
Another entered the Med way, and was stranded near Rochester 
in 1888. This one was said to utter sounds like the crying of a 
child when it found itself hopelessly stranded. It is stated that 
Rudolphi's whale feeds exclusively on small crustaceans and never 
touches fish, but this is doubtful in view of the fact that the one 
which entered the Thames in 1887 did so in pursuit of a shoal of 

BaUnoptera acuto-rostrata. The Lesser Rorqual, or 

Pike Whale 
This whale is quite commonly captured or stranded on the 
coasts of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The female is said 
to seek the vicinity of the coast when about to bring forth her 
young. The Lesser Rorqual is the smallest of all this family 
of whales. It scarcely exceeds 30 ft. in length, and is usually 
smaller. The colour of the upper parts is blackish-gray, rather 
sharply distinguished from the white of the throat and belly. 
There is a white band across the flipper. The long creases or 
folds which mark the throat and a portion of the stomach are 
often orange-coloured, and sometimes black in the inner part 
of the fold. The baleen is yellowish-white. The dorsal fin is 
placed higher up in the body than in other rorquals, and is 


This whale is of relatively common occurrence along the 
British coasts. Elsewhere it is found in the North Sea, and as 
far north as the Arctic Ocean, and over the whole of the North 


Atlantic. A closely allied form is found in the North Pacific ; 
which, indeed, may be identical. The lesser rorqual also feeds 
on small crustaceans and tiny fish. 

The remains of fossil whales related to the rorquals, as well 
as others closely allied to the right whales, are found in some 
abundance in the Eocene formations of East Anglia ; perhaps 
also of Hampshire, in which county remains of the archaic 
Zeuglodonts {Archaoceti) have been discovered. From these 
remains in England and Belgium, it would almost seem as 
though the North Sea at one time was a great area of develop- 
ment and radiation for the Mystacoceti^ or whalebone whales, if 
not, indeed, for the whales generally. 



This is an order to which, as Huxley said, it is exceedingly 
difficult to give a definition. They are none of them large animals, 
and appear always to have been small throughout their long 
history. They are of the highest interest to the biologist because 
they are almost as remarkable in possessing archaic features as 
the Monotremes and certain Marsupial types. The Insectivores 
of to-day offer in some of their forms very nearly exact repro- 
ductions of the earlier placental mammals which existed at the 
close of the Secondary Epoch. There are some points, indeed, 
in which the Insectivora are of lower development than the 
modern Marsupials, several of their existing types being 
practically Monotremes, like the ornithorhynchus of Australia-- 
that is to say, having only one shallow cloaca in the female, 
which receives and exudes the excreta of the bowels, kidneys, 
and ovaries. Others, again, in the number of their incisor teeth, 
the inflection of the lower jaw, and the construction of the 
palate, resemble Marsupials. The Insectivores usually possess 
clavicles (collar bones), which are absent in so many specialised 
mammals. Their limbs usually retain the five toes. They are, 
with one or two rare exceptions, plantigrade— that is to say, 
when they walk they place the whole of the hand and foot on 
the ground, as do monkeys and bears, not walking only on the 
fingers or toes or on their nails. The nose is long, and often 
developed into a proboscis or snout. The mammae, or teats, in 
the Insectivores tend to be very numerous— often as many as 




seven pairs, and in one species of tenrec twelve pairs. Their 
teeth are remarkable in several ways ; frequently presenting the 
typical and Eutherian number of forty-four.^ The molars in the 
generalised types are of simple tritubercular construction ; in the 
others they are many-cusped. The canines and incisor teeth are 
normally present in both jaws ; and in regard to the incisors, 
several species of Shrews exhibit an apparent affinity to the 
Marsupials, and perhaps to the earlier Mammals, in that they have 
four pairs in the upper jaw instead of the normal three.^ There 
is a third trochanter to the thigh bone, and an entepicondylar 
perforation of the arm bone (humerus, see p. 149). Both these 
are archaic features. The canines in some species are double- 
rooted — a peculiar and perhaps a primitive feature met with in 
that curious animal the flying cobego of Eastern Asia, which 
has affinities to the Bats, the Lemurs, and the Insectivores. 

In their origin the Insectivores are with difficulty dis- 
tinguished from the early types that gave rise to the Primates 
(Lemurs) or to the Carnivores. The order certainly dates from 
the Secondary Epoch, and one genus — Erinaceus (the Hedge- 
hog) — is one of the oldest genera of existing mammals, for 
it has continued on the earth (in France, if not in England) 
in an unaltered form from the Miocene period of the Tertiary 

^ In Centetes, a Madagascar genus, there would appear to be four pairs 
of true molars. This may also occur in other insectivorous forms. See 
p. 115. 

2 In several Marsupials there are even five incisors on either side of the 
upper jaw, and in a great many there are four. On the other hand, in the 
Theriodont reptiles it is doubtful whether there were more than three on 
each side. A proto-mammal with four incisors on each side of the upper 
jaw has been postulated to explain this feature in the Marsupials, and perhaps 
in the Shrews; but the more reasonable suggestion has been put forward 
latterly that in the Marsupials the fourth and fifth incisor on each side may 
be only an instance of the first, or " milk," dentition remaining persistent. 
Either this may be the explanation of the four incisor teeth on each side of 
the upper jaw in the Shrews, or the extra incisor may be a canine, and the 
supposed canine a premolar. 

I'liuto by C. Rcid. 

lli-.ijt_.i';iioi, Koi.i.i.w IV. 

Photo by C. Reid. 

Common Hedgehog {Erhmceus ciiropcEus). 

To face p. 54. 


Erinaceus europ,£us. The Common Hedgehog 

The Hedgehog found in Britain shares with other members of 
the genus Erinaceus the striking outward characteristic of hair 
developed into sharp spines, which extend in a thick growth all 
over the upper surface of the body from forehead to the rump. 
The cheeks, throat, belly, and limbs are covered with coarse hair. 
The hedgehog is coloured as follows in most adult specimens : — 
The forehead, the short ears, the throat, chest, and all the under 
parts except the limbs are yellowish-white or pale buff. The 
snout and muzzle are blackish-gray. At a distance the spines are 
coloured a warm brown shot with white and black, the spines 
being grayish-white at the tips, but brownish-black or black and 
brown in the middle of their length. The length of head and 
body is about ten inches, and the tail is another inch and a half. 
The tail is naked above and hairy on the under surface. The 
ear conches are broad and round. They are quite short, and are 
partially hidden by the coarse hair of the forehead. The claws 
are long and grooved, but weak. The muzzle ends in a snout- 
like nose. The legs are so short that the creature almost touches 
the ground with its belly as it walks. The pig-like snout, short 
neck, long body, and bristles are so suggestive of a miniature hog 
that the common English name is a very apt one. 

The hedgehog's peculiarity of teeth should be noted, as it is 
of interest in several ways. There are three pairs of incisors, 
one pair of canines, three pairs of premolars, and three of molars 
in the upper jaw ; in the lower jaw the incisors are reduced to 
two pairs and the premolars to two pairs also. The inner pair 
of incisors in the upper jaw are very long and tusk-like, and 
are separated from one another by a short interval. The 
companion pair of inner incisors in the lower jaw are also long, 
and are proclivous, that is to say, placed in a horizontal position. 
The exceptional size of these teeth and their position quite 
suggest a foreshadowing of the way in which the Rodents may 
have developed from a low type of Eutherian mammal allied (as 



was probably the case) to the Insectlvores. In fact, if the hedge- 
hog could have been traced back to a period as remote as the 
end of the Secondary Epoch it might not have seemed unreason- 
able to consider it as the first departure from the generalised 
Eutheria in the direction of the Rodents. The second and 

third incisor teeth in 
the upper jaw of the 
hedgehog are becoming 
a negligible quantity, 
and in some of the 
Asiatic species the 
second incisor almost 
disappears. The upper 
and lower canine teeth 
are not markedly 
prominent. In some 
of the Asiatic species 
the upper canines and 
the third incisors are 
inserted by a double 
instead of a single root. 
But in the British 
hedgehog {Erinaceus 
europaus) these teeth 
have only a single 
root, though in the 
canines there is a 
groove that suggests 
that the root was 
originally double- 
fanged. The third upper premolar in the series (it should 
properly be styled the fourth, an intermediate one having 
dropped out) is also a notable tooth, with a trenchant blade, 
resembling the great carnassial fourth premolar so characteristic 
of the true Carnivora. 

The hedgehog has five pairs of teats, and the number of 

4th incisor. 

4th lower premolar. 

3rd premolar. 

ist incisor. 

Skulls of Insectivores, to show Teeth. 

A. Hedgehog and B. Mole (nat. size) ; C. Lesser Shrew 

(2I times nat. size). 


young born at a time varies from four to six. The young 
are born blind, and nearly naked, the sprouting spines being 
white in colour, and quite flexible. Nor are they at this tender 
age able to roll themselves up, which habit would be of little 
use to them then, since the undeveloped spines would offer 
no protection. Breeding between hedgehogs takes place in 
May or June, and the young are born after only a month's 
gestation. Sometimes a second litter is produced in October. 

The use of the spines as a protection is seen at once when the 
hedgehog, on the approach of anything which is likely to be an 
enemy, rolls itself up into a prickly ball. The head and all four 
limbs are tucked into the soft belly, and the creature becomes 
almost a ball in shape. It is doubtful if it would have lingered 
as a common animal in Europe for several million years had it 
not very early in its history developed this protective coat. 
Practically no enemy but man can kill it with certainty under 
ordinary conditions. It is said, however, that the long and 
strong claws of the badger serve sometimes to tear open the 
rolled-up hedgehog, which is then attacked from its hairy belly 
and eviscerated. The fox is also said to be able, by various 
clever dodges, to injure the hedgehog and cause it to open, 
such as, for instance, pushing it or rolling it towards the edge 
of a bank, and thus letting it fall from a height so that the 
shock bruises the spines, or stuns the hedgehog, and causes it 
to relax. 

During the winter — generally commencing in December — the 
hedgehog goes into retirement under a mass of dead leaves, or 
in some cranny lined with moss. Here, tightly rolled up into a 
ball, it becomes absolutely torpid, and sleeps till the first warm 
day in March. During this period it is not known to eat, and, 
unlike other hibernating animals, lays up no store of food. 

The habits of the hedgehog are mainly nocturnal, though 
occasionally they are seen moving about in the daytime. None 
of the Insectivora (another sign of lowly development) possess a 
loud or varied voice. The hedgehog is a silent animal, but can 
apparently squeal and cry when caught in a trap. Ordinarily, it 



utters a hoarse squeak either when pursuing its mates or its prey. 
The food of the hedgehog is, in the first place, nearly every 
insect it can get hold of, together with slugs, snails, spiders, 
and worms. It also kills and eats frogs, snakes (innocuous and 
viperine), small birds, and no doubt besides mice and moles, 
young rabbits and hares. Of eggs it is very fond. Hedgehogs 
in captivity will also eat cooked vegetables, and they are very 
partial to milk.^ Earthworms are eaten slowly, and are chewed 
to death — that is to say, crushed between the long blades of the 
big premolar teeth. Being so extremely undiscriminating in its 
insect diet, the hedgehog can render the greatest services to a 
house which may be infested with crickets and cockroaches. It 
is one of the few vertebrates which will willingly eat a cockroach, 
a diet which is most unwholesome for cats, and singularly 

Its method of attacking adders is (according to Mr. J. E. 
Harting) cautious and intelligent. Dodging the first angry move- 
ment of the viper, the hedgehog dashes in and endeavours to infiict 
a bite on the back. After the snap, it instantly ducks the head and 
rolls into a ball. Unless the viper is disabled by the first bite it 
strikes at the hedgehog's spines, of course quite ineffectually as 
regards piercing its skin. The viper, indeed, may strike and 
strike again till it injures and incapacitates itself on these sharp- 
pointed spikes. Whenever the hedgehog thinks it can dodge 
the viper's darts, or when that creature has exhausted itself by 
vain attacks, the hedgehog repeats its sharp bites at the backbone 
till the snake's spine is broken. As soon as the viper is thus 
thoroughly disabled, the hedgehog passes the body gradually 

^ There is an old-established tradition, not only in England, but in other 
countries, that hedgehogs will suck milk from the udders of cows which are 
left out in the fields at night. This story is alternately revived and scouted. 
It does not, however, seem by any means improbable. The hedgehog would 
probably seek the recumbent body of the cow to feed upon the insects which 
might be settled on the cow's skin. It is a well-known fact that when cows 
or even bitches and other female mammals are in full lactation, drops of milk 
will ooze out of the nipple. The hedgehog would naturally at first be attracted 
to this oozing milk, and might from that proceed to suck at the nipple. 


through its jaws, cracking the bones with its molars and premolars 
at short intervals till the whole body is limp. He is said then to 
begin at the tip of the tail and eat the snake gradually from that 

Hedgehogs, we have all heard or read, were formerly eaten 
by the agricultural labourer, and more certainly by the gipsies- 
The latter, after kilHng them, roll them in clay and bake them. 
When a sufficient time has elapsed the clay ball is broken open, 
and the spines embedded in the clay are torn out, leaving the 
flesh of the hedgehog cooked and accessible. The animal has, 
however, a filthy flavour, derived, with its smell, no doubt, from 
some of those preputial glands possessed by so many of the 

The distribution of the hedgehog in the British Islands is 
as follows : — It is found pretty nearly all over England, except, 
of course, in the vicinity of towns. In Scotland its range was 
formerly limited to the south and centre, but now it is creeping 
northwards. It is, however, absent from the Hebrides and all 
the larger islands off the west coast of Scotland. It is found 
in the Orkneys and Shetlands, but some authorities think its 
presence there is due to human introduction. In Ireland its 
distribution is somewhat interrupted, but it would appear to be 
indigenous to that island. Outside the United Kingdom the 
common or European hedgehog extends its range through 
Central Europe, across Asia to the Chinese coast of the Pacific 
Ocean, It is also found in Syria, Asia Minor, and Italy. 

The Moles, like the hedgehogs, seem to have originated in 
Europe, or at any rate in the temperate regions of the Old 
World. Some genera of moles, however, are found in North 
America. The moles are distantly allied to the shrews, than 
which, however, they are less specialised in dentition. In all of 
them the eyes are very small, and in some practically function- 
less. The outer ear is short, and completely concealed by 
the fur. This group is represented in the British Islands by 



ist finger. 


Hand of Mole. 

Talpa europisa. The Common Mole 

This animal is about 6| in. long, and of this length the 
thick bristly tail occupies nearly i-J- in. The body is almost 

cylindrical, and there is no clearly 
defined neck. The front limbs are 
remarkably modified. The elbow of 
a mole's arm is contained within the 
body, and the arm only protrudes 
from the wrist joint. This and the 
lower part of the arm are deflected 
in such a way that the palm of the 
hand is turned outwards and side- 
ways. The bones of the hand are 
remarkably expanded, and on the 
inner or " thumb " side there is a 
flattened bone that might well be 
the prepollex,^ which looks, in fact, like a false thumb. The upper 
arm bone, or humerus, is extraordinarily curved and shortened. 

The eyes in the Common Mole are not, 
as is often supposed, absolutely non-existent. 
It is thought, nevertheless, by the most 
recent authority on the subject, Mr. Lionel 
E. Adams ^ (quoting also from Saint Hilaire 
and Mr. Trevor-Battye) that an adult mole 
is practically blind. Saint Hilaire, however, 
thought it was extremely short-sighted. 
There is no doubt that when the extremely 
Right Foot of Mole, minute eye of the mole is exposed it has 

•^ It is a moot point whether the first air-breathing vertebrate, which 
grew by degrees from out of a fish into an amphibian and was the parent 
form of all land vertebrates, was six-fingered or five-fingered. There is a 
constantly recurring tendency, throughout mammals (at any rate), for a sixth 
finger to make its appearance, preceding the thumb. This is termed the 

- A Contribution to our Knowledge of the Mole (Manchester Literary and 
Philosophical Society, 1902). 


some power of vision, and is at any rate sensitive to light. 
What is remarkable is, according to observations made by 
several persons, including the present writer, that, although under 
normal circumstances the eye is rendered quite invisible by 
being completely covered with hair, the mole can at will cause 
this fine fur round the eye to radiate, thus leaving the eye 
exposed. In the accompanying picture I have painted a mole 
with the eye thus exposed to sight. The eye of the young mole 
is more developed, and larger in the foetus and in the newly-born 

The mole has four pairs of mammas, or teats. There is a 
curious point about the external genitalia of the mole which 
requires some notice and explanation. As in the spotted hyasna 
and one or two other mammals, the outward appearance of males 
and females is absolutely similar to a superficial observer — that 
is to say, all moles appear to be males. In these Insectivores, 
as in a good many forms of this group, the testes are abdominal, 
and the long clitoris of the female exactly simulates the male 
preputium. It is only during the short breeding season that 
any difference in the sexes can be determined.^ 

There are no external ears in the mole. The fur is plush-like 
in appearance. The individual hairs are very fine and silky. 
They are short, and are set vertically in the skin, and do not 
lie in a sloping direction. Their arrangement, therefore, is 
exactly like the silk threads in velvet. 

As regards colour, the under part of the mole's fur is 
generally a rich dark brown, but the effect on the surface of 
the body is more or less black, or dark bluish-gray. The 
females, especially on the face and belly, are generally a little 
browner than the male. There is a marked tendency, however, 
amongst the British moles towards variation. In them, as in 
one or two foreign species, an orange patch sometimes appears 
on the chest. More common variations are an olive tint, a pale 

^ Very full particulars are given on this point, with anatomical drawings, 
in Mr. L. E. Adams's article on the Mole (Manchester Literary and 
Philosophical Society, 1902). 


gray, a cream colour, an orange or piebald. White moles are 
sometimes met with ; while a white mole with a reddish-brown 
throat, and a black mole with a white head, have also been 

The teeth of the mole are less specialised than Its front limbs. 
They are the primitive forty-four in number, and consist normally 
of three incisors, one canine, four premolars, and three molars on 
each side of each jaw. In the adult mole, however, one of the 
upper premolars (the first) is frequently missing, so that the 
adult dentition is sometimes reduced to forty teeth. There is 
also a tendency among moles, especially species allied to the 
European moles, to lose the lower canine, which has become an 
unimportant tooth exactly similar to the incisors in appearance. 
The first lower premolar is tusk-like, and replaces the lower 
canine in its functions. The lower and upper incisors are small 
and chisel-shaped, and never assume the long tusk-like form of 
the incisors in the hedgehogs and shrews. The upper canine is 
two-rooted, with a heel, trenchant, tusk-like, and much more 
important than in the hedgehogs and the shrews. 

The nose of the mole is long,^ and terminates in a blunt 
snout,^ in which the nostrils are situated, placed close together. 
The upper lip (the opening of the mouth is some distance behind 
the termination of the snout) is cleft by a median line. 

The breeding-time of moles is confined to a short season in 
the spring, generally In the month of April, though they may 
begin to breed in March, or the breeding may continue till the 
beginning of May. The period of gestation is about five weeks.^ 
The young, which are never less than two and are not known to 
be more than seven in number (generally there are four in a 
litter), are born quite naked, but at the age of five weeks they 

^ The mole is extremely sensitive on the snout, and can be killed by a 
relatively slight tap on that part of the head. 

2 This snout, which plays a most important part in the burrowing of the 
moles, is supported by a strong cartilage, which ossifies into a bone a quarter 
of an inch long. 

^ Some authorities say four and some six weeks, but five weeks seems to 
be the average time. 


are able to move about on their own account, and are then 
three-quarters grown. They are able to breed at the age of ten 
or eleven months. It is now made quite certain from the in- 
vestigations of Mr. Lionel E. Adams that the mole only breeds 
once in the twelve months. The same writer and other recent 
authorities have shown that the former supposition regarding 
the great excess of males over females is also incorrect, and is due 
to the anatomical peculiarities referred to in connection with the 
genital organs. Males and females are about equal in numbers. 
The males are not exactly polygamous, but a male mole during 
the breeding season will pay attentions to as many females as will 
permit of his approaches, and one female mole will often be 
surrounded by a number of males, who may engage in fierce 
fights to secure her. When the female is nearing the end of her 
pregnancy she retires from the males' society, and makes a 
separate fortress and nest in which to bring forth her young. 

The mole is described as being extremely voracious. This 
is perhaps because it is unable when adult to go for any 
period more than a few hours without food ; in fact, it easily 
dies of starvation. Besides worms, which form its principal 
diet, and the pursuit of which through the soil has done so much 
through ages to shape the mole into what it is now, this creature 
eats almost any insect it can capture, and consumes no end of grubs 
and larvae. It also eats slugs and snails, frogs, lizards, small birds, 
or the young of its own kind. Specimens in captivity have been 
known to consume and apparently to digest in the course of 
twenty-four hours a mass of food equalling their own bodies in 
weight. The mole is also a very thirsty animal, and its fortresses 
are never placed very far from water. On the other hand, the 
mole itself falls a victim, not only to the indignant gardener or 
the callous gamekeeper,^ but to weasels, stoats, foxes, badgers, 
owls, buzzards, and herons. Hedgehogs are quite willing to eat 
them, but cannot do so as a rule, because their weak claws and 
incisor teeth are not sufficiently sharp to tear open the tough skin 

1 Who accuses it of robbing the nests of pheasants and partridges and 
eating their eggs. 


of the mole. But it is probably not a favourite article of diet 
with any of these carnivorous creatures, because its dark flesh has 
a sickening musky smell and taste. 

Moles do not hibernate : they remain quite active during the 
winter, even throwing up molehills through the snow where the 
latter does not lie deeply. If the ground is frozen hard the mole 
has to confine his journeys in search of food (worms) to below 
the surface. It is of course mainly nocturnal in its habits so far 
as emergence from its subterranean home is concerned. I have, 
however, seen moles not infrequently in broad daylight in the 
summer-time.^ When they are aware that they are being 
watched (no doubt from their senses of smell and hearing) they 
attempt to escape by scuttling over the ground, moving their 
large hands alternately. Their fastest pace on a smooth surface 
above ground is only equal to a man's slow walk. 

The mole is able to swim. This it does with the whole head 
and a good deal of the body and even the tip of the tail above 
the water. It makes great way with its huge flat hands, which 
beat the water downwards and backwards. 

To remain secure from its enemies and at the same time 
to obtain supplies of its favourite food (worms), the mole 
excavates cavities in the ground which are called its " fortress," 
and in these the nest is constructed, the " fortress " being reached 
by at least two tunnels. The site of the fortress is generally 
chosen at the side of a bank or beneath the roots of a tree-trunk, 
or more often in an open field or turfy downland. A circular 
cavity is first of all scooped out by the front paws, and the loose 
soil is then pushed out and up on to the surface, the pushing 
being done by the nose and the top of the head. All this soil 
which is excavated to form the hollow or hollows (for there are 
sometimes two or more nests, one above the other) forms the 
molehill. This dome (the earth of which is rendered strong and 
solid by being constantly pressed and beaten by the mole when it 

^ A place where moles for some reason are remarkably en hidetice during 
the daytime is that sandy gorse- and heather-covered promontory of Hengistbury 
Head, near Christchurch, Hampshire. 



is being formed) is permeated above the globular inner cavity by 
a series of galleries, some of which are blind alleys, while others 
open out into the air, generally below the outer surface of the 
molehill, but sometimes at points in the sides of the dome itself. 
The main entrance, the high road, so to speak, into the fortress 
has a circumference larger than the body of the mole, though not 
large enough to permit of two moles passing each other. Indeed, 
should an intruder meet the owner of the domain, the two moles 
must either fight for mastery, or one of them must back into 

Down shaft. 

Plan of the Interior of an Ordinary Molehill. 

a side alley and give way. This long tunnel ^is widened and 
heightened more by the constant passage of the mole's body than 
by excavation. The mole, so to speak, forces his way through 
the yielding soil, and by the compression of the earth makes the 
sides of the passage smooth and compact. This high road 
extends right through the mole's domain, and opens to the 
surface at a considerable distance from the fortress. It is paralleled 
on the other side of the nest by another passage, much shorter, 
however, generally called the " bolt run," which is, in fact, 
a short exit from the fortress to the upper surface of the 



ground. From above this nest cavity start several or many- 
tunnels into the mound, called the molehill, which is formed by 
the excavation of the nest. These, it is supposed, are used for 
ejecting earth from the nest cavity. They are, however, often 
spiral in their ascent from the nest, with many branches, most of 
which may end blindly without emergence into the open air. 

In a complicated fortress the design of which is given by Mr. 
Adams there are as many as eleven exits from the branches of 
these spiral tunnels into the open air round the base of the mole- 
hill. Mr. Adams considers that these often very elaborate 
galleries are simply formed in the process of ejecting the mould 
from the nest cavity, and are not to be considered as elaborate 
labyrinths along which the mole may evade rivals or other 
enemies. Much cleverness is displayed by the moles in exca- 
vating their fortresses in marshy land or by the banks of streams. 
A way of escape is always arranged above flood level, which 
the mole by some inherited instinct or experience seems to 
be able to gauge pretty correctly. The curious down shafts, 
ending blindly, which are found in some moles' nests, were 
thought at one time to be receptacles for paralysed worms which 
the mole was storing up for food, or a provision for draining the 
nest in the case of wet weather, or wells which should provide the 
mole with underground drinking water. All these theories are 
derided by Mr. Adams, who believes that these down shafts are 
little else than projected bolt holes which have been abandoned 
when half made. The bolt hole, or alternative main exit from the 
nest, is generally started in a downward direction and then turns 
up somewhat abruptly towards the surface. Sometimes these 
abandoned pits below the nest do contain bunches of sickly look- 
ing worms, but these have probably fallen in accidentally. The 
nest itself, which completely fills the nest cavity, is a ball of 
grass or leaves, or a mixture of both. There is no hole or 
entrance to this spherical structure of dried vegetation. When 
the mole quits it, it manages in some way to arrange the stems of 
grass or leaves so as not to suggest a passage. Mr. Adams 
relates that in his experience the inside of the nest is warm to the 



touch long after the mole has left it, and that when there are 
young In the nest it is infested with fleas and mites. 

The fortress of the mole, in spite of this elaborate construc- 
tion, is not necessarily a permanent residence. It is inhabited 
from September (say) to June.^ During the summer months the 
mole lives in it little if at all. He spends a good deal of his time 
at night above the surface of the ground seeking for prey in that 
direction, and during the day he may be traversing the loose soil 

exit or entrance. 

tunnel for ejecting earth or raising mound. 

^p^ tunnel directly communicating with nest : " bolt hole." 

Plan of a more elaborate Mole "Fortress" (after Mr. Lionel E. Adams). 

(only an inch or so under the surface) in long " mole runs," seek- 
ing for worms. The nest of the female who is about to give 
birth to young is usually constructed on a more simple plan than 
the fortress of the male, and seldom possesses a second exit or 
bolt run. It would seem that male and female prior to the 
breeding season do not share the same fortress. Except for brief 
meetings during the courtship, the sexes in adult individuals 
live apart. The long straight runs are considered to be those 

^ The mole, no doubt, often returns in September to the fortress it 
used before the summer, but in this case sometimes makes a fresh nest 
above the old one. 


constructed by the males, whilst the winding tunnels are 
made by the female. In the bringing up of these tunnels to 
the surface the masses of earth that are propelled by the mole's 
forehead and snout often come out solid like a sausage. In 
lighter soil the mould is propelled upwards in little jerks. Mr. 
Adams expresses the wonderment that must have been felt by 
many observers of the mole at the way in which runs are made 
through such hard ground as sandstone, ground that the spade 
penetrates with the greatest difficulty, but through which the 
mole makes long runs, and turns out heaps of stones, severally 
weighing as much as 4 oz., the maximum weight of the mole 
itself. In this hard formation the runs lie as much as a foot 
beneath the surface, and they are also very wide. In soft soils 
the runs may be so near to the surface that it not infrequently 
becomes a mere trough, and the back of the mole may be seen as 
it passes along. 

The distribution of the mole in our country is signalised, as 
in the case with so many other mammals, by its complete absence 
from Ireland. It is found almost universally throughout England 
and Wales, even to the westernmost extremities of the last- 
named country. In Scotland its distribution was formerly (in the 
eighteenth century) confined mainly to the lowlands, but during the 
last hundred years it has been making its way steadily into the far 
north and west of that country, reaching even (through the acci- 
dental intervention of man) Into the large Islands close to the 
West Highland coast. It is evidently an instance of a British 
mammal slowly advancing northwards and westwards after the 
recovery of these Islands from the last Glacial episode. In England, 
especially in East Anglia, the mole Is an ancient inhabitant, its 
fossil remains dating from at least as far back as the end of the 
Pliocene period of the Tertiary Epoch. It thus dwelt In South 
Britain before the advent of man, and before the commencement 
of the first cold period. The mole as a genus stretches back to a 
great age In the geological past, our English species on the 
Continent being found in deposits of the Lower Miocene, while 
moles a little less differentiated in type go back to the earliest 


period of the Tertiary Epoch. The present distribution of Talpa 
europaay besides England and Scotland, extends at the present day 
over the greater part of Central Europe and Asia. It is found in 
Japan and in the Himalaya and Siberian mountains. 


The Shrews are Insectivores of small size and mouse-like 
appearance. Some members of this family (but not the British 
species) are remarkable for possessing an archaic feature sug- 
gestive of the earliest types of the Mammalia. Instead of there 
being three external and unconnected orifices in the female (the 
anus, urinary meatus, and vagina) for the separate excretion of 
the contents of the intestinal canal, the urethra, and the womb, 
there is but one ; these passages opening into a common cloaca, 
or vestibule, which, though shallow, is still a single orifice 
externally for these three canals. This is the condition met with 
in the Monotremata (such as the duckbill of Australia), which for 
this reason are separated from the rest of the Mammalia into a 
sub-class. In another respect the shrews are thought to be 
archaic, in that they possess four incisors on each side of the 
upper jaw, a condition similar to what obtains in so many 
marsupials. This point, however, is not quite certain, as the 
fourth incisor may prove to be a canine, and the so-called canine 
a premolar. 

The family of Shrews contains the smallest known mammal, 
Sorex suaveolens. The next smallest in size is the British species, 
Sorex minutus. 


In these little animals, two representatives of which are 
found in Britain, the openings of the female generative and 
urinary organs are separated from the anal orifices. The teeth 
are coloured red at their extremities, and offer noteworthy 
features. The first incisor in the upper jaw is developed int-i 
a large two-pronged hook. The second and third incisors, the 
tooth which is taken to be the fourth incisor, and the canine 


are all small teeth of uniform size and appearance in the upper 
jaw. Next to the supposed canine there is a minute premolar, 
almost undistinguishable in the common shrew, but larger and 
more evenly placed in other shrews. The second of the two 
upper premolars — probably the fourth of the normal series — is 
larger than the molars, as in the hedgehog. In the lower jaw 
of the shrews there are only two incisor teeth on each side. 
The first of these is a very long, procumbent tusk, markedly 
serrated on its upper surface with two or three hook-like pro- 
cesses. The second lower incisor is unimportant ; there is no 
canine, and there is only one premolar. The teeth of the shrew 
even more than those of the hedgehog suggest a very close 
analogy of the way in which the specialised dentition of the 
Rodents arose. 

In the shrews the ear conches are better developed than in the 
moles or in the water shrew. The snout of the shrews is pro- 
duced into a long, almost proboscis-like nose, from the sides of 
which radiate a large number of vibrissse— those fine or coarse 
bristles which are developed on the faces of so many mammals, 
and which are the origin of the moustache in the human. The 
skull of the shrew is strikingly different from that of other 
Insectivores by the almost complete absence of the zygomatic 
arch, or "cheek bone." 

Shrews do not burrow beneath the soil, but dart in and out 
of the herbage, sometimes forming clearly marked runs round the 
base of trees or round the stout stems of herbaceous plants. 

There are three pairs of mammas in the shrew. The breeding 
season is apparently limited to the spring, at which time the 
female gives birth to from five to seven young. 

Sorex vulgaris. The Common Shrew 
This animal is about 2|- in. long from the snout to the base 
of the tail, and the tail, which is tapering and covered with short 
hair to the tip, is another i^ in. in length. The Common Shrew 
is a reddish-gray in colour, the under parts being gray or pale 
buff. Sometimes the fur is flecked with white. Exceptional 

Photo by T. A. Mclcillu 

Common Shkew (Sorex vuloaris 

From a drawing by the Author. -p^g LESSER ShREW {SoiVX llli lllltlis). 

From a drawing by the Author. 

The Water Shrew (Crossopus fodiens) under water. 

To face p. 70. 


forms have been met with in England with a white band over the 
loins, or boldly pied in other ways with white patches. Although 
the normal colour of the upper parts is a reddish-gray, this tint 
strengthens into chestnut in some examples, or deepens into 
black. The external rim or conch of the ear is small and 
rounded, but is quite discernible. On the flanks on either side 
there is a gland covered by rows or patches of hairs much coarser 
than the rest of the coat. These glands secrete a fluid of an 
offensive musky scent which makes the shrew distasteful to some 
carnivorous birds and beasts. 

The food of the shrew consists of worms and insects of all 
kinds — slugs, snails, and even young frogs. From the enormous 
amount of grubs and slugs which they devour, the shrew is a 
great benefactor to the agriculturist. As it is in every other 
respect perfectly harmless to man or to his crops, it is deserving 
of close protection at our hands. Nevertheless, in past times 
and even at the present day the shrew was persecuted by country 
people. It was thought to be very mischievous to cattle, and 
able to poison them. It was believed, too, that it produced 
lameness in the foot of man or beast if it ran over that foot, and 
for the supposed harm done by the shrew the practice arose of 
applying to a particular ash-tree for a remedy. A tree was 
chosen in which a cylindrical hole or tunnel existed, or, 
in default of this, a long hole was bored with an auger. 
Into this tunnel in the wood a poor little shrew-mouse was thrust 
alive, and the rest of the hole carefully blocked up. When it 
was supposed that the shrew's body had decayed and fused with 
the substance of the tree, thin twigs of this " shrew ash " were 
potent as remedies for the poison caused by a shrew running 
over or biting any creature, which had only to be touched with 
the twigs to instantly recover. Our Board of Agriculture ought 
to endeavour to spread throughout the kingdom into the rustic 
mind the conviction that both species of shrew are absolutely 
beneficial to man, in that they are engaged incessantly in the 
destruction of noxious insects. Shrew-mice should be protected 
by law, and it should be made a penal ofl^ence to kill one. 


The female shrew makes a nest in the spring in some hole or 
depression in the ground or in a bank. The nest is constructed 
of soft herbage, is covered at the top, and entered from the side. 

Shrews utter faint squeaking cries, sometimes so shrill as not 
to be audible to every person. They are very pugnacious, and 
their spiteful attacks on each other have given rise to the adjective 
" shrewish " in reference to similar actions on a larger scale in the 
human species. The name, which is an Anglo-Saxon word, is 
related to such meanings as shred^ shrive^ and relates to the action 
of cutting, biting, or reproving. 

At certain seasons of the year shrews are often found dead on 
paths and roadways. This is generally during the autumn, and is 
now attributed, with some probability, to the starvation induced 
by want of insect food at this season. These animals generally 
hibernate during the winter, taking refuge in holes or crevices 
made by other animals. 

The distribution of the common shrew again leaves out 
Ireland, in which country it is totally unknown. In England and 
Wales and in Scotland its distribution almost coincides with that 
of the mole, as does also the length of its residence in Britain. 
It is absent from the big islands off the west coast of Scotland, 
and from the Hebrides. Outside Great Britain the shrew is 
found round the northern regions of the world — 'Europe, Asia, 
and North America. 

Sorex minutus. The Lesser or Pygmy Shrew 

This little creature is the smallest British mammal. Its 
body is about if in. long and the tail about another i\ in. 
The tail has rather a marked fringe along the upper surface. 
There is a slight difference in the teeth between the Lesser 
Shrew and the larger form. The first upper incisor is not 
so long and prominent a tooth as in Sorex vulgaris. The 
fore feet are also shorter proportionately. The general colour 
is brown above and grayish-white on the under part. The brown 
of the head and back displays almost an orange iridescence, and 
the arrangements of the silky hairs recalls the beautiful "watered " 


appearance of the gorgets in humming-birds. It is, in fact, an 
exquisite little creature. It breeds between April and August, 
and produces from five to seven young, occasionally, however, 
as many as ten. As in the common shrew, the young are blind, 
naked, and toothless when born, somewhat suggestive of the 
incompletely finished young of some marsupials. 

The distribution of the lesser shrew in the British Islands 
is very different from that of the common shrew. It is found 
abundantly in Ireland and also in the Hebrides and some of the 
large islands off the west coast of Scotland. In the rest of Scotland 
and in England it is much less abundant, yet it is more frequently 
met with in the south of England than in the north. Its fossil 
remains in Eastern Ireland would appear to date back as far as the 
beginning of the Pleistocene period. Outside Great Britain the 
lesser shrew extends its range across Central Europe and Asia 
to the borders of the North Pacific Ocean, but, unlike the 
common shrew, it does not reach North America. 

Crossopus fodiens. The Water Shrew 
This genus, though included within the sub-family of the 
True Shrews, differs from them in several important points. 
As regards the teeth, there is only one premolar (the fourth) 
on each side of the upper jaw, otherwise the dentition is fairly 
similar to that of the common shrew. The ends of the teeth 
are brownish-red, as in the other shrew-mice, but they " wear " 
white with age and use. The outer ears are small, and scarcely 
distinguishable amid the fur. The tail is long, and its under 
side is fringed with long hairs. There are also fringes of 
the same kind on the feet. The snout is decidedly shorter 
and broader than in the common shrew. The eyes are small, 
and the hind feet are large and adapted for swimming. The 
opening of the female generative organs, though not actually 
coalescing with the anus, is situated very close to that openmg, 
and is enclosed with it in a ring of integument. In size the 



water shrew is decidedly larger than the common shrew. Its 
body is about 2)\ i'^- long, and the tail measures a little over 
2 in., thus giving a total length of over 5^ in. The colour 
is blackish-gray above and white beneath, the two tints being 
rather sharply divided. Sometimes the lower surface of the 
body (that is to say, the outer edges of the hind and front 
limbs, the throat and belly) are tinged with russet-red, this 

The Water Shrew {Crossopus fodie?is). 

warmer tint nearly always making its appearance on the throat. 
The upper surface of the tail is black, but the stiff hairs fringing 
its lower surface are white, and the same occurs with the hairs, 
fringing the outer surface of the feet. When swimming under 
water the animal has quite a gray appearance, as many minute 
air bubbles adhere to the points of the hair and impart to the coat 
a silvery sheen. 

The female is a little smaller than the male. The breeding 


season occurs during the spring, and in May the female gives 
birth to from five to ten young ones, which are housed in a 
circular cavity at the end of a long winding burrow. The water 
shrew drives a passage upwards into this nest, commencing 
underneath the surface of the water on the side of the bank, 
while the nest has, of course, another passage leading to the air. 
The entrance to this upper passage is generally approached by a 
number of paths radiating in different directions. The interior 
of the nest is lined with soft grass. Mr. Trevor-Battye describes 
the young water shrews as being most sportive and amusing little 
creatures, which may be seen playing and chasing one another on 
the ground outside the burrow. When the creature is alarmed it 
generally enters its burrow from the hole made under the surface 
of the water. 

Its swimming and diving powers are remarkable, and resemble 
those of the otter. In swimming it moves chiefly by the action 
of the hind feet, which paddle alternately so as to impart a 
wriggling motion to the body. As a rule it swims on or close to 
the surface, constantly putting its nose out of water. Its body 
flattens and spreads out, the long flattened tail acts as a rudder, 
and the fore paws are generally drooping and inactive. The 
water shrew frequently seeks for its food at the bottom of the 
stream, turning over stones in its hunt for small crustaceans or 
water insects. It devours insects both on land and in the water, 
fresh-water shrimps, frog spawn, tiny fish, fresh-water molluscs, 
and even carrion. 

The range of the water shrew in Britain is entirely confined 
to England and Wales (where it is very common) and Scotland 
(where it is rare). It extends to the extreme north of Scotland, 
but has never been obtained in the Hebrides or any of the other 
islands ofi' the west coast of Scotland. It is quite unknown in 
Ireland. Its existence in England dates from the beginning of 
the Pleistocene Epoch. Elsewhere in the world the water 
shrew seems to extend across Central Asia to the Altai Mountains 
of Siberia. It does not reach America. 


Order : CHEI1{pPrE^A. THE BATS 

In the Silurian period of the Primary Epoch, before ever a 
vertebrate probably had evolved from a mollusc or an ascidian, 
the first real conquest by animals of the land and of the air 
commenced when from some form of many-legged worm or 
centipede the insect developed into the first lord of Creation, 
in that he took possession of the dry land and of the air. No 
doubt prior to his evolution crustaceans had turned into scorpions, 
and worms (using the word in its widest sense for primitive 
invertebrates) into centipedes. But though these might have 
crawled out of the water (in which element animal life originated) 
on to the mud, or even the sand and the rock ; nothing that we 
know of, before the insect, commenced to fly. Then began the 
Scourge of Creation, the incarnation of evil, and at the same time 
the provocation to higher development. The abundance of 
insects on land and in the air became so great that when the early 
vertebrates had developed into fish and were without rivals in the 
watery covering of the earth's surface, insects proved the bait that 
drew the fish to land and turned it into an amphibian. The 
amphibian grew into a reptile, still mainly pursuing insects (some 
of which at that day and subsequently were as big as fowls). 
Some of these large crocodile-like amphibians no doubt returned to 
the water to eat the fish, their lowlier brethren ; and the earliest 
reptiles ate amphibians and fish as well as insects. But still the 
growth and predominance of insects incited to fresh develop- 
ments, and an ancient group of reptiles took to the air to pursue 
their prey and became huge flying dragons. Other reptiles 



developed into birds, still with the pursuit of insects as their 
magnet. The earlier mammals no doubt were largely insecti- 
vorous, and descendants of this type exist but little modified at 
the present day in hedgehogs, tree-shrews, moles, shrew-mice, 
and tenrecs. 

The earliest Insectivores were no doubt content to pursue 
insects in and out of the herbage, into the soil, and up on the 
trees. Once they had taken to a tree life their jumping and 
leaping through the air after flying insects became inevitable, 
and they learnt to do as flying squirrels — even the common 
squirrel — have done : to stretch out their fingers, arms, and the 
loose skin of the body to act as a parachute and break a fall. 
Later on, provided with a great membrane of stretched skin (such 
as the cobego of the Philippine Islands possesses), they strove to 
beat the air with their webbed hands, to turn a downward swoop 
into an upward flight, or to postpone descent. The hands, like 
those of certain lemurs, grew more and more long and slender- 
fingered, and the Insectivore had become a bat. 

The exact origin of the Bats is still a matter of dispute. On 
the whole their nearest affinities in structure are with the Insecti- 
vora rather than with the Lemurs, to which in several points 
some of them offer misleading resemblances. Any one who in 
Africa has possessed a galago ^ will have been struck with the 
extraordinary resemblance in its movements which this creature 
offers to the bat. It jumps upwards, downwards, or hori- 
zontally through the air, starting with a tremendous spring from 
the hind legs, but aided, no doubt, by the large outstretched hands 
and loose skin of the fingers. The galago literally seems to fly 
through the air from a table to a window, where with unerring 
aim it will snap up some insect that has attracted its attention. 
In the position of the mammas (which in all bats are reduced to 
two and are placed on or near the breast), in some points con- 
nected with the teeth, and, as regards the fruit-eating bats only, 
in the superficial aspect of the head, the bats certainly offer points 

^ A species of lemur only found on the African Continent, varying in size 
from that of a small cat to the bulk of a rat. 


of resemblance to the lowest of the Primates. On one point 
they differ markedly. The thumb and generally the big or first 
toe on hands and feet in all the Primates down to the lowest of 
the Lemurs is armed with a nail, and not with a claw, while there 
is a strong tendency to develop flat nails instead of claws on all 
or several of the fingers. But the thumb and the big toe in the 
bats are terminated by curved claws not in the least resembling 
a nail. 

As regards the terminations to the phalanges of the hands 
in all bats, there is very rarely a claw at the end of the 

ist finger (thumb). 

nd finger. 

5th finger. 

Skeleton of a Bat's Hand. 

second finger,^ but in the rest of the fingers the attenuated 
terminal joint of bone is entirely unarmed, and there is nothing 
to indicate whether it was originally furnished with a claw or 
a nail. The proportionate length of the fingers in the bats is not 
dissimilar to what obtains amongst the Primates, the third finger 
being the longest. The second, or index finger, tends towards 
neglect and degeneration in the bats, but in the fruit-eating 
sub-order still has three joints or phalanges, and is terminated 
by a small claw. Even among the fruit-eating bats the second 

^ A remarkable feature of all existing Lemurs as opposed to other existing 
Primates (monkeys and man) is that the second (our first) finger is armed 
with a claw, and not a nail. 


finger Is joined at its tip to the third finger. In the insect- 
eating bats it has never more than two joints, and sometimes 
one, or none at all, and is pressed closer and closer to the strong 
third finger until in some species its rudiment is hardly discernible 
in the membrane. In the fruit-eating bats the hallux, or big toe, 
is well developed and armed with a big claw ; so' also is the fifth 
toe. In one genus of bats the hallux is opposable to the other 
toes, like the big toe in the hind feet in lemurs and monkeys. 
The hind limbs are almost directed backwards at right angles 
to the spine and pelvis in order to support the flying membrane. 
In the fore arm the radius becomes a much-bowed and very 
strong bone, while the ulna shrinks to a mere splinter. 

In the teeth there are these points to be noted : — The upper 
incisors are never more than two in number on each side, while 
the lower incisors may number three pairs. The earliest known 
lemurs had three pairs of incisors in each jaw, but in all modern 
lemurs, monkeys, and anthropoids the formula never exceeds two 
pairs in each jaw. Some Insectivores possess the normal three 
pairs in both jaws, but in that group there is a tendency towards 
the loss and specialisation of the lower incisors. This is the 
opposite to what prevails in the bats, in which, where a change 
takes place, it is usually in the direction of diminishing the 
number of upper incisors.^ 

The mammae are never more than two in number, and are 
placed on the breast. In the external and internal organs of 
generation the resemblance of the bats lies almost equally with 
the Insectivora and the lower Primates. The brain is of low 
development, and is that of an Insectivore. 

This order is divided into two clearly marked sub-orders, 
the Megacheir opera (fruit-eating bats) and the Microcheiroptera 
(usually insect-eating bats). The first of these sub-orders hardly 
comes within the purview of this book, as no form of this group 
has ever been known to exist in Britain or in any part of Europe. 

^ This tendency to increased degeneration in the lower incisors exists 
to some extent in the fruit-eating bats, which also never possess more than 
two pairs of incisors in either jaw. 


Its range is confined mainly to Southern Asia and Australia, with 
a few representatives in Madagascar and Africa. The fruit-eating 
bats would seem to be a later development in time than some 
of the insectivorous forms ; yet, though specialised in some 
directions, they must have evolved from a more archaic type of 
bat than any now existing, since they retain the original three 
phalanges of the second finger (which is also provided with a 
claw), the long muzzle, large eyes, simply constructed ears 
without a tragus, and generally simple nose.^ On the other 
hand, their molar teeth (except in one genus) are devoid of cusps, 
are smooth, and are marked with a longitudinal groove. The 
fruit-eating bats include the largest specimens of the order, and 
as a rule are much larger than the insect-eating sub-order. 

The Microcheiroptera^ indeed, tend towards diminutive size. 
Unlike the fruit-eating bats, they are almost world-wide in 
distribution, only excepting the Arctic and Antarctic regions 
from their range. The crowns of the molar teeth are set with 
sharp cusps separated by transverse grooves, and not longitudinal, 
as in the fruit-eating bats. As already pointed out, the index 
finger never has more than two, and usually only one phalanx, 
which may be quite rudimentary. The lower incisors are, with 
very few exceptions, more numerous than those in the upper jaw. 
The ears, which sometimes attain exaggerated development, 
beyond anything met with in any other mammal, are signalised 
by this peculiarity, that the outer and inner sides of the ear conch 
start separately at their base, and not from a common meeting 
point. Moreover, the tragus, or forward flap of skin (which in 
the human species guards the entrance to the inner ear), often 
attains an excessive and extravagant development. There is 
nearly always something strange or eccentric about the nostrils. 
These are marked in many species by an excrescent growth, 
occasionally of extravagant dimensions and intricacy of pattern. 
The fantastic ornamentation of the nose and muzzle sometimes 
includes the lower lip. The eyes are invariably small, and in 
some species are scarcely functional. 

1 Though the nostrils may sometimes be prolonged into tubes. 




A. Human Ear for 

All bats are mainly nocturnal in habits. They never produce 
more than two, and usually only one, young 
at a birth. They only seem to breed once in 
the year, in the spring-time. The period 
of gestation probably varies in the insecti- 
vorous bats from three months to a month 
and a half. The young at parturition are 
of fairly large size, but are blind and naked. 
As they emerge from the body of the mother 
they are received into a bag formed by the 
forward- curled tail and its membrane on 
either side. Thence, after being licked over 
and cleaned by the mother, they are hoisted 
up by the fingers of the wing to the mother's 

breast. Here 

they cling 

tightly with 

their own wing 


thumbs, and 

hind feet, 

thus spreading 

them s elves 

across the chest 

of the mother 

and fastening 

on to one of 

the nipples. 

Some little 

time after birth 

the mother 

con stantly 

guards the 

young from 

observation by folding one wing over the body, suspending 

herself by the thumb of the other. 


B. Ears of Pteropodid and Rhinolophid Bats, without tragus. 
a. ' Pteropits. h. Cynonycieris [Pterotodidce). c Rhinolophus. 

C. Ears of Vespertilionid and Nycterid Bats, xvith tragus. 

d. Megaderma {Nycteridce). e. Pterygistes noctula. f. Myotis bechsteini. 

Ears of Bats, to show Tragus, Absence of Tragus, and 

Development of Antitragus. (The three lower examples 

much enlarged.) 


Bats fly swiftly and with rapid swoops, but they also flap 
the membrane of the wings. The strong interfemoral membrane 
which stretches between the hind legs and the tail, and, in a 
species of British bats, extends to the very tip of that organ, acts 
as a rudder to some extent ; though the direction of the flight (as 
in soaring birds) is also efi^ected by shifting the axis of the body. 
The skin which forms the flying membrane, and which stretches 
from the fingers to the heel and the tip of the tail, is exceedingly 
thin and silky in texture, almost, if not entirely, devoid of fur 
(though hair may grow on the inner surface of the arms, and fine 
hairs on parts of the membrane). It is in appearance very like the 
silk stretched over the rods of an umbrella, and has sometimes a 
"'watered" aspect. This is caused by the network of nerves and 
"Veins, which makes the wing surface extremely sensitive to pulsa- 
tions of the air, and assists the bat, no doubt, in avoiding obstacles. 

Bats, of course, can walk and climb ; in fact, they probably 
originated from a climbing and arboreal type of Insectivore which 
developed huge hands like those of the aye-aye lemur and spread 
them over the tree trunk. They can also swim ; at least several 
of the Vespertilionida have been observed swimming in streams 
into which they had fallen. Their present method of progression 
on the ground or on trees is as follows : — The great hands (/.(?., 
wings) are folded back along the sides, while the hooked thumb 
is extended. The bat, in fact, walks on its bent wrist. The 
wrist is pushed forward, the strong claw of the thumb grips some 
inequality, then the foot of the same side of the body is moved 
forward, then the other side of the body is raised by the extension 
of the other hind foot, and lastly the thumb claw of the other 
wing advances. So the body moves along by a series of sidelong 
plunges. It is, however, very much quicker at climbing up a tree 
than in moving along a smooth surface. 

When sleeping, bats hang perpendicularly from some pro- 
jection by the claws of their hind feet, generally depending from 
one foot, the knee of which remains crooked. The tail membrane 
and the wings are folded over the stomach. 

The insectivorous bats, especially those which dwell In 

Photo by George Jolly. 

Long-eared Bat [FIcco/i/s auntus 

riioto by George Jolly. 

Common Bat ha.nging by it.s Thumbs. 

Photo by George Jolly. 

Common Bat [Pipistrellus pipistrcllus] hanging 
BY ITS Feet. 

Pholo by George Jolly. 


AND Tail. 

To face p. 82. 


Britain, depend but little for guidance on their sense of vision, 
the eyes being very small, and often partially concealed under 
the large ears and the fur. They are, however, extremely 
sensitive in their hearing, and the considerable ear surface pre- 
sented by some of them to the air undoubtedly guides them 
in their avoidance of obstacles by receiving and recording the air 
currents which may indicate by their vibrations the proximity of 
any solid body. The extraordinary development of cartilage 
round the nose in several families of bats is, no doubt, an additional 
organ of sensation. 

In most parts of the temperate regions and in Britain bats 
hibernate ; that is to say, they retire in companies to a sheltered, 
dark place of security, where they suspend themselves by their 
hind claws, often holding on as well to their neighbours, so that 
they are sometimes crowded together in large numbers. The 
period of hibernation varies according to species. Some bats " go 
into retreat " in August, others in October or November, while 
the commonest of British bats, the pipistrelle, may only sleep for 
two or three weeks at a time during the winter, emerging from its 
hiding-place on a mild day, and pursuing such insects as may remain 
to haunt the air. Most bats are out again at the end of April, and 
breeding goes on amongst them at the end of the hibernation. 

Although the food of this group is mainly insectivorous, most 
of them will eat meat greedily when they can get it, and even 
fish ; while some species of microcheiropterous bats in America 
live wholly on fruit or on fish, or, in the true vampire, on the 
blood of live beasts. 


This is the largest family in the whole order. It extends 
to something like 190 species, though the number of genera 
is considerably less. This group in some respects is the least 
specialised of the bats. Its members have, as a rule, three 
pairs of incisors in the lower and two in the upper jaw. In 
the upper jaw there is a remarkable open space between the inner 
pair of incisors. The ears are furnished with a tragus, and 


the whole of the tail, practically, is contained within the flying 

membrane. The index finger in each hand has two phalanges, 

or joints. These bats, in common with most of 

the Microcheiroptera, have developed a bony spur 

(calcaneum), which grows almost at right angles 

from the ankle (inwards towards the tail), and 

serves to support the interfemoral membrane. This 

membrane is also supported by what appears to be 

another spur of bone, but which is really the stumpy 

fibula.^ The apertures of the nostrils, though 

Bones of a Bat's sometimes hidden in deep grooves, are without 
Leg and Foot. , ^ ,, 

any excrescence or " nose leaf, except in two 

non-British genera in which a rudimentary excrescence or nose 

leaf occurs above the nostrils. 

In this genus of bats, and in the two succeeding genera, 
Pterygistes and Pipistrellus^ the ears are comparatively small, and 
situated rather wide apart. The outer margin of the ear is 
extended to and ends at the angle of the mouth, where it 
thickens into a rounded lobe. The inner margin of the ear curls 
round somewhat sharply at its base into another lobe, situated 
quite close to the small eye. The tragus, or flap covering the 
entrance to the ear, is short and thick, and curves towards the 
inner margin of the ear. The muzzle is short, broad, and blunt, 
rather like that of a frog, and there are prominent swellings 

^ The smaller and second bone of the leg. 

2 In the classification of British bats the author follows — not altogether 
confidently — the authorities at the British Museum (Natural History) in their 
most recent nomenclature, and departs somewhat widely from that great 
authority on bats, the late Dr. G. E. Dobson. The new classification of 
British bats is due to the researches of an American zoologist, Mr. G. S. 
Miller, and of Mr. Oldfield Thomas. In this arrangement the old generic 
term Vesperugo is abolished (according to the law of priority) in favour of 
Vesperlilio, and is further divided into Pterygistes and Pipistrellus. The 
Vespertilio of Dobson and others becomes Myotis. Vesperugo discolor becomes 
Vespertilio murinus, while the totally distinct Vespertilio murinus of Dobson 
{Myotis myotis) is not always recognised as a British species. 



of the glands between the eyes and the nostrils, making the face 
even rounder and wider. There is a small additional expansion 
of skin behind the bony spur. As regards the teeth, there are 
two pairs of incisors above and three pairs below ; only one pair 
of premolars in the upper jaw and two pairs in the lower jaw ; 
and, of course, three pairs of molars above and below. 

Serotine Bat {Vespertilio serotinus) : to show (a) shape of ear; (h) naked three-cornered space 
on under hp ; {c) remains of sucker disc on ball of thumb ; (</) point of departure of wing 
membrane from base of toes ; {e) calcaneum or spur ; (/) post-calcaneal lobule and inter- 
femoral membrane ; {g) degree to which tail projects beyond interfe moral membrane. 

Vespertilio serotinus. The Serotine Bat 

In this species the head and muzzle are particularly flat. The 

front of the face is almost denuded of hair, but there is a slight 

moustache on the upper lip. The thumb has a callosity at its 

base, which is probably the remains of a suctorial disc possessed 


by other species of bats attached to the base of the thumb or the 
soles of the feet, and enabling them to adhere more tightly to 
smooth surfaces over which they are creeping. The use of this 
disc has evidently been lost in the Serotine Bat, but its rudiment 
remains. The upper incisor teeth of all old specimens betray 
a tendency to divide in two at the extremity. They are marked 
with a groove even when this has not deepened into division. 
The lower incisors betray a similar tendency to split into three 
points. There are two pairs of incisors in the upper jaw and 
three in the lower, one pair of canines in both jaws, one pair 
of premolars above and two pairs below, and three pairs of molars 
in each jaw. The length of the head and body is about i\ in. 
the tail measuring 2 in. more. As regards colour, this bat is 
generally a dark brown, paling to yellow-brown or yellowish-gray 
on the under parts. The wing membrane, of course, as in all 
British bats, is a dark sepia or blackish-gray. The serotine bat 
produces a single young one at a birth, this event taking place 
about the month of June. In the British Islands its distribution 
seems to be confined to a small portion of the south of England 
between Cornwall and Essex. Outside England its range is so 
world-wide as to exceed that of any other bat, for it is found 
over all Temperate Europe, Asia, and North America, also in 
North Africa, and even, it is said, in parts of South America. 
It has been named the " serotine " bat from its habit of only 
making its appearance late in the evening, and not at sunset. 
It is not as gregarious in its habits as other members of the 
genus, and is accustomed to hibernate singly, taking up its 
abode in hollow trees. 

A species allied to the serotine is the Parti-coloured Bat 
{Vespertilio murinus). This bat has the colour of the upper parts 
dark brown, spangled with yellowish-white, owing to the last 
quarter of the long hairs being that colour. The under parts are 
yellowish-white, with gray as an under colour. In the middle of 
the chest and stomach there is a large patch of reddish-brown 
flecked with white. It is about the size of the serotine bat — 
perhaps a little smaller — with a tail proportionately somewhat 


longer. Only one British example of this bat has been obtained 
with certainty up to the present time, and that was caught at 
Plymouth. It was no doubt accidentally introduced by some 
ship. Its actual area of distribution is confined to Central 
Europe, Northern Africa, and Temperate Asia. 

This genus differs from the foregoing in the premolar teeth, 
two pairs above and two pairs below. In the upper jaw the 
first premolar is very minute, and is pushed inwards behmd 
the canine. 

Great ok Noctule Bat [Pterygistes iiodula). 

Pterygistes noctula. The Great Bat, or Noctule 
This is the largest of British bats, and the head and body, 
from the tip of the nose to the root of the tail, are nearly 3 in. 
long. The tail is another il in. The stretch of the wings 
from tip to tip is sometimes nearly 14 in. long. The head is 
flat and broad and the muzzle is expanded, the nostrils being 
very broad, and separated from one another by a large space of 
tumid skin. The ears are wide apart, somewhat short, but broad 
and deep. The external margin of the ear has a deep fold near 
the base, and it is continued downwards below the corners of 
the mouth. The tragus, or earlet, is short, and is very narrow 
at its base, but extends into a kidney-shaped lobe of thick skin 
covered with minute papillae. The accompanying illustration 
shows the remarkable space in the skull below the nasal opening 



and between the inner pair of upper incisor teeth. The tip of 
the tail projects for less than one inch beyond the membrane, 
and has a tendency to curve downwards and inwards towards the 
belly. The wing membrane in this bat starts from the beginning 
of the ankle, and not from the base of the toes. The eyes in 
this species are placed very close to the inner margin of the ear, 
and are almost hidden by that organ. The fur of this animal 
is soft, long, and rather silky. In colour it is a yellowish or 
golden-brown, slightly paler below. The nearly bare ears, the 
muzzle, and the membrane are a dusky brown-gray. 

The period of gestation in this bat would seem to be as 

Skull of Noctule Bat 
(ij times natural size). 

Front of Skull of Noctule Bat, 
To show separation between incisor teeth and 
large canines (3 times natural size). 

much as two months. It has not been knov/n to produce more 
than one young at a time in England, but on the Continent 
two at a birth is a common occurrence. The young, as in all 
these bats, are born blind and naked. 

The Noctule flies high and rapidly, and when in pursuit of 
insects often utters harsh or shrill squeaks. Though a most 
cleanly animal in keeping its own fur in proper condition, it 
emits a very offensive odour ; and when a number of these bats 
have congregated in a hollow tree, or in the eaves of a house, 
the effluvia emanating from them is markedly disagreeable. This 
bat would appear to feed largely on beetles. It prefers these 
and other insects that fly to those that crawl, but it will eat meat 
greedily, if such diet is obtainable. Specimens kept in captivity 
(and this is a trait recorded of many bats belonging to both 
sub-orders) are observed to eat more than their own weight in 
food. This passes so quickly through their system that they 


soon regain their normal weight. The noctule emits a very 
offensive smell from glands in the mouth. It would seem to 
possess a relative insensibility to the effects of poison. One 
living specimen had a drop of prussic 
acid placed on its tongue, and was 
.some time dying. Meantime its 
parasites (all bats are much afflicted 
with fleas and lice) dropped off dead 
from the poisoned blood. 

The range of the great bat in 
Britain is confined to the midland head of noctule bat ^nearly 

, twice natural size). 

counties, the south and south-west. 

Yorkshire and Lancashire are its northern limits. It has not 
been found in Wales or Scotland, but does appear to occur in 
Ireland, specimens having been obtained in the north-east of 
that island. It is, apparently, commonest in our midland counties. 
Outside England, it is found throughout Temperate and Southern 
Europe and most parts of Asia ; also nearly the whole of Africa. 

Pterygistes leisleri. The Hairy- armed Bat 
This species closely resembles the noctule, but it is a little 
smaller, and there is some difference in the incisor teeth, those 
in the lower jaw being ranged in a semicircle with no overlapping, 
whereas the incisor teeth in the lower jaw of the noctule are 
crowded, and the outermost pair of upper incisor teeth in the 
species now described are not so disproportionately broad and 
short as in the noctule. The length of the head and body of 
the Hairy-armed Bat is about 2J in., while the tail measures 
nearly if in. The bat takes its English name from the fact 
that the inner surface of the fore arm, instead of being covered 
with bare skin, is furred with fine, short hairs as far down as the 
wrist. The side of the fore arm in the noctule is also hairy, but 
not to such a marked extent. The nostrils are crescent-shaped, 
and there is a large naked gland near the angle of the mouth. 
The outer margin of the ears does not reach as far as the corner 
of the mouth, and the ears are hairy on the inner surface. The 


thumb Is rather short, and armed with a somewhat feeble claw^ 
The fur of the body is long ; deep brown at its base and chestnut 
on the surface, but tending towards gray on the belly. The 
colour of this bat varies, however, and English specimens seem 
to be more chestnut in tone than those of the Continent, which 
are often a dark sooty-brown. The head of this bat is rather 
less rounded and blunt than is the head of the noctule. The 
snout projects markedly over the lower lip. 

The distribution of Pterygistes leisleri is still not very clearly 
known as regards the United Kingdom. Hitherto it has been 
recorded from the western midlands of England, the Lake- 
District, and the north-east and east of Ireland. Outside 
England, the bat ranges right across Central Europe to Tem- 
perate Asia, as far south as the Himalayas. It is also found in 
Madeira and North Africa. 

The flight of this bat is said to be at a higher elevation than 
that of the noctule, and it flies in a zigzag fashion, as if uncertain 
as to its direction. This desultory manner of flight appears to- 
have been remarked in all specimens under observation. 

It is not clearly established that the difi^erences between the 
bats of the preceding genus and those of Pipistrellus are generic in 
their importance. The author, however, follows Thomas, Miller, 
and Allen in this arrangement. The upper incisors in Pipistrellus 
are longer and the inner pair more markedly bifid (grooved into 
two points), while the first premolar is less reduced and dis- 
placed than in Pterygistes. 

Pipistrellus pipistrellus. The Common Bat, or Pipistrelle 

The second name of the commonest species of bat in the 
British Islands is apparently a French dialect name given to this 
bat in Eastern France, and adopted specifically by Schreber, a 
German writer on mammals, in 1775. The country name applied 
to this and other bats in England is " flittermouse," an Anglo- 
Saxon combination that explains itself, and which is paralleled by 



the German Fkdermaus. " Bat " Is a word of Scandinavian origin, 
and is a corruption of bakke, which again is an abbreviation of 
blakke, a word which meant " to flap." This term " bat " came 
into use in Enghsh after the Norman Conquest, and gradually 
spread from the east of England into the literary language, 
"flittermouse " only surviving in country speech. 

The Pipistrelle is the smallest of the English bats, and 
measures at most if in. from the tip of the nose to the base of 
the tail, while the tail is scarcely ij in. in length. Its head is 
more rounded than that of the hairy-armed bat, but the nose and 
muzzle are less blunt than those of the noctule. The ears are 
fairly large, and are nearly triangular in shape, resembling m 
outhne very much the 
wings of a butterfly. 
There are well-developed 
glandular swellings on 
the muzzle, and the face, 
including the region of 
the eyes, is nearly devoid 
of hair in full-grown 
specimens. The thumb 
is rather weak and the 
feet are small, with very fine claws. The innermost pair of the 
upper incisor teeth have bifid crowns— that is to say, they seem 
almost as though they were divided into two teeth in the middle ; 
nor are they set quite straight in the jaw, for the innermost 
divisions of these teeth project forward more than the outer 
section. There are four incisors in the upper jaw and six in the 
lower. Those in the lower jaw are divided into three lobes, in 
contrast to the upper incisors, which, as already mentioned, 
have each of them two divisions. There are two pairs of pre- 
molars and three pairs of molars in each jaw. On each side of 
the nose above the upper lip is a protuberance covering the 
sebaceous glands, which add to the swelling of the muzzle. The 
eyes are very small and deeply sunk. Over each eyebrow is a 
small wart, from which spring a few black hairs. On the top of 

Head of Pipistrelle or Common Bat 
[Pipistrellus fipistrellus). 


the forehead is a tuft or crest of rather long hair, which gives 
a lofty appearance to the head. 

The fur of the pipistrelle is long and silky, and is in general 
reddish-brown in the upper parts, fading into gray on the belly, a 
gray tinged with brown, however, owing to the tips of the hairs 
being chestnut. The reddish-brown lightens into a yellowish 
tint on the forehead and round the ears. The naked parts of 
the muzzle and ears and the flying membranes are a dusky tint, 
sometimes a blackish flesh-colour. The young of this, as of so 
many other species of Vespertilionida:^ are born naked, and the first 
hair they acquire is of a much grayer, duskier tone than the 
warm brown or reddish-yellow tints of the full-grown animal. 

The pipistrelle would appear to breed later in the year than 
the noctule, females being generally taken with young in the 
month of July. So far as is known, the common bat only has 
one young one at a time. It is asserted, however, that the Con- 
tinental form of the pipistrelle, as of the noctule, produces two 
young at a birth, and certainly this fact was recorded by Pliny. 

The pipistrelle hibernates for two or three months in the 
middle of the winter, though it may occasionally emerge from its 
retreat on a sunny winter's day. Its hibernating sleep seems rather 
to depend on the absence of insect life in the air than on tempera- 
ture, for although the pipistrelle may appear in flight in the 
middle of March, it only emerges then because insects likewise 
have come out into the air. It does not frequent trees like the 
noctule, but retires during the daytime and during its hibernation 
to crevices in walls, and nooks and crannies in roofs, rocks, 
and caverns. It will sometimes crawl into the spouts of disused 
pumps. During the summer-time it often passes its midday 
sleep in the vicinity of farmyards, no doubt because in the 
evening it can whisk about such cattle as may be sleeping in 
the fields, and snap up the flies settled on them. 

The pipistrelle progresses over a horizontal surface at a much 
quicker rate than most bats, almost seeming to run. It keeps 
the head depressed and near the ground, and uses the tail as an 
additional limb for propelling itself. The tail in this animal 


tends to curve inwards under the body. The bone projects a 
short distance beyond the membrane, and almost acts as a kind 
of spring. The tip of the tail is forced against the ground on 
each side alternately, moving in concert with the hind foot, and 
having a slightly prehensile character. It is of great use to the 
body in ascending or descending an inclined surface. Apparently 
it also assists the pipistrelle to rise into the air from the ground 
by acting as a spring with the hind feet. The flight of this 
bat is quick, but unsteady and zigzag, like that of a moth. It 
does not fly ordinarily very high, as a rule not much more than 
twenty feet from the ground. 

The food of the pipistrelle consists of all the smaller flying 
insects and moths. It consumes large numbers of gnats and 
flies, and is also fond of raw meat. This common bat appears 
occasionally in broad daylight, drawn out perhaps by hunger. 
Ordinarily it does not make its appearance in the open till the 
sun has set, though it is an early bat compared to the serotine 
or noctule, and may not infrequently be seen still flying about at 
sunrise on a summer mornino^. 

The distribution of the common bat over the British Islands 
is practically universal. It is met with all over Ireland, Scotland, 
the Hebrides, the Isle of Man, Wales, and England. It is found 
all over Europe and Temperate Asia, and in India its place is taken 
by a form so closely allied as hardly to be specifically diff^erent. 
This Indian form extends as far south as Australia. It is also 
found in Northern Africa. Its fossil remains apparently date 
back in England to the close of the Pleistocene period. 

Genus: MYOTIS 
This genus is clearly marked by the possession in each jaw 
of three pairs of premolars and the same number of molar teeth, 
a characteristic which is shared by only two other genera (Thyrop- 
tera and Myxopoda) in the sub-order. The incisor teeth in the 
upper jaw (two pairs) diverge from each other. The ears also 
are narrow ; the tragus, or earlet, is long, narrow, and sometimes 
recurved outwards. The outer margin of the ear conch does not 


growfdown so low as the angle of the mouth, but starts on a line 
with the origin of the lobe of the inner margin of the ear ; so 
that the ear, though long and provided with rather a marked 
tragus, has nevertheless a normal aspect. The muzzle is more 
pointed ; the eyes are small and deep-set ; the nostrils are 
simple and not projecting. In some respects these are the least 
specialised among the British bats. 

CMyotis dasycneme. The Rough-legged Bat 
In this bat the bony spur which starts at right angles to the 
heel to support the membrane stretched between the thigh and 
the tail is unusually long, and extends for over three-quarters of 
the distance along the edge of the membrane from the ankle to 
the tail. The thumb is armed by a very large claw. The earlet, 
or tragus, has a blunt, rounded tip, and in some respects resembles 
the same feature in forms of Pierygistes. The ear-conch also is 
shorter, and the face is less hairy than in the typical Myotidine 
bats. In the teeth the first and second upper premolars are 
pushed inwards, so that the large third premolar nearly touches 
the canine. The fur on the upper surface of the body is blackish 
in the lower parts of the hairs, and light brown at their tips. 
The belly has a more " pepper and salt " appearance, as the hairs 
are white at the tip and black below. The size of this bat is 
fairly large. The length of head and body is nearly 2^ in., and 
the tail, which is long, measures 2 in. more. The flight is 
vacillating and butterfly-like. 

Until recently this bat was only represented as a British 
species by one example, captured on the River Stour, near 
Christchurch, where its captor, Lord Lilford, found it swimming. 
But subsequently it has been found in Warwickshire, and in 
several places in the south of England. Elsewhere its range 
extends through Central Europe to Asia. 

My Otis daubentoni. Daubenton's Bat 

This is a smaller animal than the preceding, not 2 in. in length, 
with a tail measuring if inches. Like the rough-legged bat, it 


has rather large feet. The oval-shaped ears are three-fourths of 

the length of the head — i.e.^ a little more than half an inch long. 

The wings when extended measure 9 in. across. The fifth or 

outer toe is somewhat separate from the others. The membrane 

of the wing arises from the side of the foot, much below the ankle. 

The earlet, or tragus, is moderately pointed, and measures about 

half the length of the ear. The face between the eyes and the 

nostrils is nearly naked. The upper incisor teeth are nearly 

equal in size, with wide notches between the bifid cusps. The 

second premolar in the upper jaw is much smaller than the first, 

but is not pushed inwards. The general colour of this soft-furred 

bat is reddish-brown above and grayish-brown below. The under 

surface may be sometimes almost 

white, but on separating the fur 

above and below the under part 

of the hairs is seen to be black 

or dark gray in colour. The 

membrane is the usual dusky 

dull black, but has a tinge of 

Indian red in parts, due, no head and foot of daubenton's bat. 

doubt, in the living bat to the 

coursing of the blood through the veins. The eye, as usual, is 

very small, and is placed quite close to the inner margin of the ear. 

Daubenton's Bat has a particular affection for the vicinity of 
water, and flies slowly and quiveringly close to the surface of this 
element. This, no doubt, is done in pursuit of insects, though as 
the bat is occasionally seen to stoop and dip its nose into the 
water, it may also be searching for minute floating water insects 
or dead fish. In captivity Bell states that they would soon become 
tame, and freely take milk, flies, or pieces of meat from the palm 
of the hand. When they had seized with their mouths an insect 
or piece of food that was rather unmanageable, they would make 
use of the wrist joint to push the substance into the mouth. 

Daubenton's bat inhabits North Africa, Southern and Central 
Europe, and Asia. In England it has hitherto been observed 
most in the Western Midlands and Lake District. It seems to be 


much less common in the east or south-east. It extends into 
Scotland as far north as Aberdeenshire and Banff, and has been 
found in the north, north-west, and south-east of Ireland. 

Daubenton's bat is sometimes confounded with the notch- 
eared bat {Myotis emarginatus), a very doubtful British species, 
which is described on p. I02. It may be distinguished at 
once from the notch-eared bat by the absence of a very marked 
indentation in the outline of the outer margin of the ear. The 
feet in Daubenton's bat are larger proportionately than those of 
Myotis emarginatus^ and there is scarcely any trace in the former 
of the two bats of that fringe of long hairs on the sides of the 
upper lip and muzzle which is so marked a characteristic of the 
whiskered and notch-eared bats. Daubenton's bat, no doubt, in 
its wide range from Ireland to Burma, and from Finland to 
North Africa, develops not a few local varieties which approximate 
towards other distinct species. 

Myotis nattereri. The Reddish-gray Bat 

This bat is just under 2 in. in measurement from the tip 
of the nose to the base of the tail, and the tail is a little over 
i|- in. long. The ears are nearly three-quarters of an inch 
in length, somewhat pointed at the extremity, but in general of 
an oval shape. The inner margin is turned outwards, and does 
not form any lobe by curving in the reverse direction towards the 
middle of the ear. The outer margin nearly meets the inner at 
the base, and its lower portion curls over towards the centre 
of the ear. The tragus is narrow, sharply pointed, and curves 
outwards. The eyes are very small. The nostrils are oval in 
shape and surrounded by a naked patch above and below, which 
is somewhat swollen. There is a thin moustache along the upper 
lip, and a prominent sebaceous gland on each side of the face 
above the lip. The head on the whole is rather small in size 
proportionately. This appearance is, no doubt, the result of the 
hair on the forehead and the nape of the neck being no longer 
than that of the body. The interfemoral membrane which 
connects the hind legs with the tail is supported by the calcaneum. 



or long bony spur arising from the ankle, and on its outer 
margin this spur is somewhat notched, and fringed with stiff 
hairs. The colour of this bat is a light reddish-brown flecked 
with gray, as the tips of the hairs are grayish. The under 
surface of the body is sometimes nearly white in aspect, ordinarily 
a light silvery-gray. By this nearly white under part the reddish- 
gray bat may be easily recognised, as also by the fringe of hairs 
along the interfemoral membrane. The reddish-gray bat is very 
gregarious in habits, and is fond of frequenting caverns, the 
under side of roofs (especially in churches), and occasionally 
hollow trees. It is said to have a kindly disposition towards its 
comrades, and to be easily tamed by man ; yet specimens that 
die in captivity are often half eaten by their comrades. The 
distribution of the reddish-grey bat in England is fairly common 
over the southern and midland counties. It has been found in 
the west of Scotland, and is occasionally met with in Ireland in 
the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, Cork, and Longford. Else- 
where its range appears to be limited to Central and Eastern 
Europe. It has not been recorded from Asia or from any part 
of Europe to the south of the Alps. 

Myotis hechsteini. Bechstein's Bat 

In this species the margin of the interfemoral membrane is 
naked. The length of the head and 
body is slightly over 2 in., and the 
tail is i^ in. The ears are nearly an 
inch in length, and oval in shape. 
The tragus is a third of an inch in 
length, tapering to a point, curving 
somewhat outwards, and shaped a 
little like a scimitar. The narrow 
nose is rather depressed in the middle. 
The gape is very wide, extending to 
the base of the ears. The muzzle is 
rather long. The wing membrane 
extends almost to the base of the toes, 

Head of Bechstein's Bat (nearly 
twice natural size). 

The wings are broad, but 


not so long proportionately as in the species next to be described. 
The colour is reddish-gray above and light gray beneath, the base 
of the hairs on the belly being blackish, and their tips grayish-white. 
The flying membrane is nearly black in colour. This bat is 
forest-haunting. It resorts exclusively to hollow trees for shelter, 
and never enters buildings. It is also rather a solitary bat, and 
if not alone it is never found in larger numbers than twelve or 
thirteen, and they are generally all of one sex. Its occurrence 
in England was originally somewhat doubtful, as it was only 
known from specimens captured in the early part of the nine- 
teenth century in the New Forest ; but in 1902 Mr. J. G. 
Millais caught a Bechstein's bat at Henley-on-Thames. Else- 
where its range is confined to nearly all parts of Europe, from 
the south of Sweden in the north to the Pyrenees and the Alps 
in the south. 

Myotis myotis. The Common Continental Bat 

This is the largest species of bat ever recorded from Britain, 
as it probably exceeds in size (even in average specimens) the 
noctule, or great bat. But as this species, though so common 
on the Continent, is extremely scarce in England (where its 
recorded certain occurrences are only two in number), it can 
hardly be held to oust the noctule from its position as the largest 
British bat. The British bats are, however, imperfectly known, 
as this type of mammal is only interesting to specialists. 
Moreover, bats are far less easy to observe and to obtain (owing 
to their aerial and crepuscular habits) than other land mammals. 
Further research may establish more certainly the claim of this 
species to be considered a British mammal. 

The Myotis bat sometimes measures 3^ in. from the tip 
of the nose to the base of the tail, and the tail itself is over 
\\ in. in length. The ears are nearly an inch long, and the 
tragus nearly half an inch. The wings measure about 1 5 in. 
across from tip to tip. The eyes are exceptionally large in this 
group of bats (in some members of which the eye has almost 
become a negligible quantity), and they are not placed so close 


to the margin of the ear. The forehead is very hairy ; but the 
nose is naked and smooth and prominent, extending a little 
distance beyond the lower lip. The muffle is wet, and the 
nostrils open at the side. The ears are inclined backwards, 
and are long and somewhat oval in shape. The tragus is erect, 
slightly curved, and rather sharp-pointed. The lower part of 
the inner margin of the ear is hairy. There is a slight moustache 
on the upper lip, and the area between the eye and the nostrils 
is swollen. The wing membrane arises from near the base of the 

Head of Common Continental Bat {Myotis myotis). Natural size. 

toes. The interfemoral membrane is covered with hair on the 
basal half of its upper surface. The first upper premolar tooth 
is small as compared to the third, and the middle premolar still 
smaller, and set rather back. The general colour of the body is 
pale reddish-brown above, and grayish-white beneath. The outer 
side of the ears is grayish, the inner yellowish. The colour of 
the membrane differs markedly from that of the bats hitherto 
described, in that it is not blackish, but pale yellowish-brown. 

This bat only produces a single young at a birth, generally 
at the end of May. It frequents buildings and caverns, and it 
does not resort to forests or trees, nor does it associate with 


other species of bats. It is gregarious with its fellows, but very- 
quarrelsome. In combats which take place amongst these bats, 
much damage is done by the sharp teeth, strong jaws, and the 
stout hooks of the thumbs. These combats result in the wing 
membranes being torn to rags, and even the long arm bones 
being broken. Moreover, Mr. Lydekker records that specimens 
of this bat kept in India, in confinement, attacked, killed, and ate 
their weaker comrades. 

The Common Continental Bat is supposed to have been captured 
in a Bloomsbury garden in the early part of the nineteenth 
century, and it is thought that the British type in the posses- 
sion of the Natural History Museum at South Kensington is 
one of the bats caught in the vicinity of the British Museum 
in Bloomsbury. Only one other certain instance occurs of its 
presence in England — about fifteen years ago, in Cambridge- 
shire^ — though it has been reported, on probably mistaken 
evidence, to exist in Dorsetshire and the Isle of Wight. It is 
such a common bat in France, that, as it is quite able to fly 
across the Channel at its narrowest, there is no reason why it 
should not be found in the south of England. It is met with 
in most parts of Europe and in North Africa, and over the 
greater part of Temperate Asia. This bat is the Vespertilio 
murinus of Blasius, Dobson, Lydekker, and other authorities 
prior to 1898. It is now re-named Myotis myotis. 

My Otis mystacinus. The Whiskered Bat 

This is very nearly as small a bat as the pipistrelle. The 
length of the head and body is a little over \\ in., and the 
tail is a little less than i^ in. The ears are slightly shorter 
than the head. Their outer margins develop a notch (through 
the jutting outwards of the outer fold) not unlike that which is 
seen in the species next to be described. The tragus is erect and 
somewhat pointed, and a little more than half the length of the 

^ This specimen has been identified by Mr. J. Lewis Bonhote, to whom 
I owe the information. 



ear. The eyes are small, and nearly concealed by the long coarse 
hair of the face. On the lip there is a decided moustache of long 
hair, which rather incorrectly gives the name of "whiskered" 
bat. It should rather be called " moustached." The tip of the 
tail, which projects beyond the membrane, is slightly curved. 
The membrane of the wings takes its rise from the base of the 
fifth toe, and there is no lobe of the interfemoral membrane 
outside the calcaneum, which last terminates in a small pro- 
jecting tooth. The fur is long and thick, and the hair on the 
upper part is dusky black colour over the greater part of its 
length, but bright chestnut at the tip. The tips of the black 
hair on the stomach are ash-gray. 
The ears and the flying membrane 
are nearly black,^ and the transverse 
lines on the flying membrane are 
very numerous. The Whiskered Bat 
produces its young in the summer 
(end of June or beginning of July). 
It is rather a solitary creature, being 
very often found singly in its place 
of rest, though congregating in small 
numbers during the breeding season 
or when searching for food. This 
bat occasionally appears in the daytime, and does not seem to 
be as averse to daylight as others of its kind. Its hiding-place 
is generally in walls, roofs, and any convenient cranny in a 
building or in timber. Apart from the refuges ofi'ered by man, 
it is probably a cavern-haunter, in contradistinction to bats which 
make their home in hollow trees. It frequently flies low over 
the surface of the water, like Daubenton's bat. Its occurrence in 
England has been noted in the eastern counties and the Midlands, 
from Kent to the Lake District, and from the Isle of Wight to 
Norfolk. It appears to be quite absent from Scotland, but is 
somewhat doubtfully to be met with in the west of Ireland. 

^ In some specimens a well-defined pure black spot appears on each 

Head of Whiskered Bat 
(2^ times natural size). 


Myotis emarginatus. The Notch-eared Bat 

This is of very doubtful existence as a British species. It is 
a valid species, allied to Myotis bechsteini, and was first described 
by Geoffroy in France in the early part of the nineteenth century 
from specimens taken at Abbeville and at Dover. 
But the Dover specimen was subsequently shown 
to be Myotis {Vesper tilio) my st acinus, a bat with 
which M. emarginatus is constantly confounded. 
Other reputed British examples of M. emargi- 
natus have turned out to be M. dasycneme and 
M. daubentoni. But inasmuch as M. emarginatus 
is fairly common in Northern France and 
EAR OF NOTCH-EARED Bclgium (clsewhcre in Middle and Southern 
Bat Europe and Western Asia), it is most likely 

Twice natural size. to provc a visitant to Southcm England. It is 
a small bat, head and body scarcely more than 
i;| in. long, tail nearly if in. in addition. The ears are strongly 
notched on the outer margin. Colour of fur is reddish-brown 
above and pale brown below. Skin of ears and wings reddish- 


The two species of bat of this genus differ markedly from 
those already described, in that the ears, instead of being set 
somewhat widely apart, have their inner margins so approximated 
that they are actually united at their bases. The outer margin 
of the ear is carried forward in front of the eyes, and terminates 
near the upper lip, so that the whole of the face is very nearly 
enclosed in a circular band of ear cartilage. The inner margin of 
the ear is very convex and rolled backward. The membrane of 
both ears unites at their base. The tragus is nearly triangular 
in shape, with a curved, sharp tip. The eyes are small, and are 
situated close to the termination of the outer margin of the ear. 
The muzzle is very short, and is naked. The naked, grooved 
hollow along the nose is certainly peculiar, and suggests a 



commencement of those conditions which invest so many bats with 

growths of cartilage above and around the nostrils. The nostrils 

open upwards in "this groove, and the naked space extends along 

the bridge of the nose. Below the 

nostrils are a couple of deep vertical 

grooves extending to the lip, the 

space between these grooves being 

swollen. The cheeks are distended, 

and are covered with black hair. 

The length of these bats is about 

2 in. from the nose to the base of 

the tail, and the tail is about if in. 

lono-. The teeth differ in number head of barbastelle bat 

from those of the genus MyOtlS m ^^^^ gar membranes joining over fore- 

the loss of a pair of premolars _ in ^^^^::i:;^S^ 
eachjaw, the total number of grmding 

teeth, therefore, being only five pairs in each jaw, instead of six. 
Of the two pairs of upper incisors, the innermost pair is much 
longer than the outermost. The outermost incisors are small 
simple, and sharp-pointed. The innermost incisors are divided 
into two cusps. The feet are slender, with long toes. 

Barbastella barbastellus. The Barbastelle Bat 
The description of the genus may be applied to this species, 
about which it may be said additionally that the fur is soft and 
deep black, with a grayish tinge on the surface caused by the tips 
of the hairs being that colour. The region 
round the genital organs is of a whitish-brown 
colour, and fine hairs of grayish-white grow 
sparsely on each side of the flying membrane, 
the skin of which is dusky black in colour. 
This is also the tint of the naked skin on the 
face, so that in average aspect the Barbastelle 
is the blackest of British bats. A perfectly white specimen ot 
the barbastelle, and another in which the body was black, while 
the head and membrane were pure white, were seen and noted 

Nose and Muzzle of 

Barbastelle Bat 

(3 times life size). 


by the late Mr. Bell, who also records an extraordinary specimen 
that was caught in Warwickshire which had the fur of the under 
parts strangely tinged with purplish-red.^ The barbastelle hiber- 
nates early, and appears to be very sensitive to cold. It does not 
frequent trees, but, on the contrary, seeks out deep caverns or 
profound crevices below the surface of the ground. It is said 
seldom to retire to the same place day after day, but to choose 
constantly a different retreat. It is a solitary bat, and its flight 
seems desultory and lazy. It also flies low. 

Its distribution over England is not uniform. It is met with 
in Kent occasionally, in the midland counties, and in East 
Anglia. Examples have been captured as far west as Warwick- 
shire, and as far north as Cumberland. It has never been 
obtained from Scotland or Ireland. 

This is a genus represented by two species, one inhabiting 
North America and the other Europe, Asia, and North Africa. 
It can be best described in connection with the species that is 
found in Britain. 

Plecotus auritus. The Long-eared Bat 

This bat is readily distinguished by the enormous size of its 
ears, which are proportionately longer than in any other mammal. 
Each ear, in fact, is nearly as long as the animal's body. The 
Long-eared Bat measures a little under 2 in. from the tip of the 
nose to the base of the tail, and the tail is about if in. The 
ears measure in length i^ in., and in breadth three-quarters of 
an inch. The tragus is shaped rather like a leaf, except that the 
inner side is nearly straight. It is little more than half an inch 
long, and bends slightly upwards. The outer margin of the ear 
commences behind the angle of the mouth. The inner margins of 

^ In some other Vespertilionid bats there is a tendency in the breeding 
season for the males to develop a rich yellow tinge in the lower half of the 
hair of the under parts. It may be the same tendency which tinged the fur 
of this example with a purplish tone. 



the ears are nearly joined at the base by a prominent rounded lobe. 
The inner portion of the ear conch is supported by three thin, 
slender, longitudinal cartilages. These cartilages serve to erect 

The Ears of the Long-eared Bat : to show 
the tragus, or earlet. Note also the position 
of the folded ears. 

A. Ears of the Long-eared Bat (half again as large 
as life). 

B. The Long-eared Bat (life size), showing ears 
pressed against the sides and tragus erect. 

and stiffen the conch. The inner margin of the ear is covered 
with short hair, and is bent back from the middle cartilage into 
a broad longitudinal fold. The ears are very flexible, and quite 
under the control of the creature's muscles and tendons ; they 


are able to droop, and even to be turned under the arm during 
sleep. The ear conch is silky in surface and transparent, and can 
be thrown into elegant curves and folds. The eyes in this bat 
are well developed. They are placed not far from the corner of 
the mouth. The openings of the nostrils are at the extremity 
of the muzzle on the upper surface, in front of rather deep 
grooves, which are naked and nearly semicircular, and which are 
bordered by raised, rounded edges. The hair is long over the 
shoulders and thick, soft, and silky about all the body. It is a 
pale reddish-brown above and brownish-gray below, the basal part 
of the hairs being blackish. The flying membrane is blackish, 
with a slight red tinge. Old bats of this species tend to become 
rather gray in colour. As regards the teeth, the upper incisors 
are separated by a wide gap in the middle, 
and grow close to the canines. There are three 
pairs of incisors in the lower jaw as against two 
pairs in the upper jaw. The total number of the 
teeth is thirty-six. This is because there are three 
''Z^:i:^^ilT P^i^« °f premolars in the lower jaw, as against 
(3 times natural size), only two pairs in the allied genus Barhastella. 
But for the loss ot a pair of premolars in the upper jaw, the 
dental formula would be the same as in Myotis. 

This bat apparently brings forth its young in the month of 
June, a single one at a birth. It frequents for its retreat caverns, 
buildings, and hollow trees, especially affecting the inside of roofs 
of houses. In winter they pack themselves between the tiles, or 
in holes or crevices of timber. This bat rises readily from the 
ground, but crawls rather slowly and awkwardly over a flat 
surface, not being able to run quickly, for instance, like the 
pipistrelle. In the case of the long-eared bat the head and 
chest are raised, and the body is jerked forwardly from side to 
side. It moves the fore feet alternately, and endeavours to 
adhere to the slightest roughness or point of vantage into which 
it can stick the claws of its thumbs or toes. When walking it 
generally turns the great ear right back along the sides, while the 
tragus, or earlet, falls forward, so that very often in this attitude 


the tragus appears to be the real ear. The ears are also folded 
under the arm during sleep and hibernation. Sometimes when 
this bat hovers like a humming-bird over foliage, picking off 
moths and caterpillars and other insects, the ears are bent out- 
wards and downwards, so that they hang down on either side of 
the face like huge cheek pouches. When, however, the animal is 
flying from place to place the ears are erected. When preparing 
for repose the tail is curved in under the body. Undoubtedly 
these huge ears are extremely sensitive, not only to sounds, but to 
currents of air, and almost take the place of sight by the fine 
perception they give the creature of its approach towards an 
obstacle. Experiments made many years ago in France by a 
zoologist who bhnded these bats, showed that they were but little 
embarrassed in their movements by the loss of sight. But when 
in addition their ears were closed the creature became perfectly 
helpless, and banged itself against obstacles. 

This bat is more nocturnal than most species of the Vesper- 
tilionine and Myotidine sub-families, apparently remaining abroad 
all through the night, though it may also be seen hawking insects 
in the early twilight. Its voice is sometimes extremely shrill, 
so much so that some ears are incapable of distinguishing its 
squeaks, while others hear them distinctly above other sounds. 
Bell writes : " At all hours through the dead of the night and 
on the darkest nights, in the open fields or elsewhere, we have 
heard the shrill clatter of the long-eared bat over our heads ; its 
voice, once known, being easily recognised from that of any 
other species." When actually interfered with the cry becomes 
clear and piercing. 

The long-eared bat is a cleanly creature, assiduously re- 
moving impurities from its fur at all times, and even assisting its 
comrades to do so. They are affectionate one towards another, 
though spiteful to other bats of different species, and very 
playful. Their tameness in captivity, according to the accounts 
given by Bell, is perfectly charming. They would fly to the 
hand of any one who held up an insect, or even take with great 
gentleness a little piece of raw meat from between the lips. If 


any one made a humming noise like a bluebottle, the bat 
would fly up to his face and search his lips anxiously. As this 
creature, in common with other English bats, does absolutely 
nothing but good in ridding the country of noxious insects, it is 
to be hoped that it will henceforth receive protection at our 
hands ; for, in addition to rendering such beneficial services, it is 
one of the most remarkable objects in Creation, having so far 
uttered " the last word " on the subject of ear development.^ 
This wonderful little bat is distributed throughout Europe, 
Temperate Asia, and Africa north of the tropics. A closely 
allied species is found in North America. Its distribution in 
the British Islands is encouraging (in view of the extreme 
scarcity of other bats). It ranges over England, Ireland, and 
Scotland, though it may be absent from the Hebrides and 
Shetland Islands. 


The bats of this family develop more or less extraordinary 
appendages round the nasal apertures. There is a tendency in 
most bats to large nostrils, and to grooved and naked spaces 
above and below these apertures ; and, indeed, in two genera 
of Vespertilioyiida allied to Plecotus (^Anthrozous and Nyctophilus) 
there is a rudimentary nose leaf. A somewhat similar develop- 
ment takes place in the rather distinct family Phyllostomatida^ 
which includes the vampires. But nothing in this last-named 
family equals the extravagant development of nose leaf to be 
seen in some of the Rhinolophids. The ears are also remarkable 
in that, though large, they are without any tragus, or earlet, the 
place of which is almost filled by a remarkable lobe developed 
from the outer margin of the ear. The pre-maxillary bones are 
reduced to rudiments suspended from the nose cartilage, and 
supporting one pair of small incisors. There are never more 
than two pairs of incisors below and one pair above, and the 

^ Bell very rightly insists on this wonder, which only escapes our notice 
because the creature that exhibits it is so small. He asks us what we should 
think of a dog or an ass the ears of which were nearly as long as its body. 


Photo by G. II. Storer, F.Z.S. 

Greater Horseshoe Bat [Rhiuolop/iKs fcrruin-cqn'uiuh 

:k -^k.^ 

Photo by C. Reid. 

Common Bat [Pipistrellus pipistrellus). 

To face p. 108. 



upper premolars are reduced to two pairs. The skull is large, and 
the nasal bones supporting the nose leaf are expanded vertically 
or laterally. The nose leaf varies slightly in dimensions between 
the male and the female, and is less developed in some forms 
than in others. The tail is not very long, and is entirely enclosed 
within the interfemoral membrane. 

The late Sir William Flower regarded the Rhinolophids as 
the most highly organised and eleborately developed of the 
insectivorous bats. 


The dental formula is as follows: — In the upper jaw, one 

pair of rudimentary incisors, one pair of canines, two pairs of 

premolars, and three pairs of 

molars ; in the lower jaw, two 

pairs of incisors, one pair of 

canines, three pairs of premolars, 

and three pairs of molars. The 

molar teeth are armed with sharp 

cusps ranged in the shape of a 

W (as in a good many other 

forms of insectivorous bats). 

The first hind toe, or hallux, 
has only two phalanges. Each 
of the other toes has three. 
Although there is no true tragus, 
or earlet, its place is taken by an antitragus, which is a develop- 
ment of the outer margin of the ear, and from which it is 
separated by a notch. 

Rhinolophus ferrum-equinum. The Greater Horseshoe Bat 

This creature, though not so remarkable in its development of 
nasal cartilage as the genus Trianops, has nevertheless a sufficiently 
extraordinary appendage to its nostrils. The nose leaf consists 
of three portions. That which Hes immediately above the lip 


Head of Greater Horseshoe Bat 
[Rhinolophus fei'rum-equinu7n) : to show 
nose leaf. Note also absence of tragus 
and large development of lobe of outer 
margin of ear. Nearly twice natural size. 


(the lip is hairy and cloven) is horizontal, and shaped like a 
horseshoe. This is divided in the middle by the same septum as 
cleaves the upper lip. Behind the horseshoe is a deep depression, 
in which the nostrils are situated. Between the nostrils, from the 
septum of the nose, rises the second portion of the leaf. This 
presents a cup-like hollow, where it rises from the septum of the 
nose, and then, after a contraction and expansion, ends in a sharp 
point which is raised above the third section of the leaf This 
last lies under the horseshoe at its base, and is of the same 
breadth, but narrows and finally tapers to a point on the forehead. 
Undoubtedly one use of the nose leaf is to act as a receiver 
of sensations and enable the bat to 
thread its way through the most intricate 
passages without using its small and 
inconspicuous eyes. A horseshoe bat 
turned loose in a room, for instance, 
will, unlike most other bats under 
similar conditions, avoid with perfect 
ease every kind of object, without ever 
coming into direct contact with any- 

NosE Leaf of Greater Horse- 
shoe Bat in Profile (slightly 
larger than natural size). 

thing. But the nose leaf is also due 

to that craving for the development 
of ornament common to most animals. Bats of the family 
Phyllostomatid^ decorate not only their noses, but also their 
under and upper lips. 

The ears of the Greater Horseshoe Bat are rather large, and 
broad at the base. The inner margin is much curved, and ends 
in a sharp point, which is a good deal turned outwards. The 
conch of the ear is marked by about twelve transverse ridges. 
On the outside of the ear conches grows a little fine hair, which 
becomes a thick fringe of fur along the inner margin. The 
forehead and cheeks are thickly clothed with hair, and the eyes 
are small and nearly hidden between the hair of the forehead 
and the cheeks, and the large raised nose leaf The head and 
body of this bat measure a little over 2^ in. in length. The 
tail is about if in. 


The colour of the great horseshoe bat above is reddish- 
gray, the fur being paler at the root than at the tip. The belly 
and under parts of the body are very pale gray. The cartilage of 
the ears and of the nose leaf is pale brownish flesh-colour, and 
the flying membrane is dark grayish-brown. 

The female of this and other Rhinolophids exhibits a pair of 
warts on the skin of the abdomen which correspond internally 
to the front of the pubic bones. These warts have been taken 
by some to represent a disused pair of inguinal mammae which 
are no longer functional. 

The horseshoe bats fly high when hunting for insects, and 
live a good deal on cockchafers. The wings are broad, and in 
flight this bat may be told from other species by the greater width 
of^the flying membrane. The horseshoe bat appears rather late 
in the evening, and affects the neighbourhood of trees, flying 
round and round the foliage to snap up beetles and other insects 
of good size. When it retires, however, to rest during the day 
or "to hibernate, its favourite haunts are ancient buildings and 
caves. It is estimated that it has continued to inhabit the large 
cave known as Kent's Hole, near Torquay, continuously since 
the age of the mammoth. In this cave its remains are found 
going back to the Pleistocene period. Its present distribution in 
these islands is confined to the south and west of England. It 
ranges from Devonshire and Gloucester to the Isle of Wight, 
Kent, and Essex, and is occasionally met with in the Midlands. 
Hitherto it has been entirely unknown in Northern England, 
Scotland, and Ireland. Outside England the greater horseshoe 
bat extends its range over most parts of Europe and Africa, and 
of Asia north of the Himalayas. 

Rhinolophus hipposiderus. The Lesser Horseshoe Bat 
This is a smaller animal than the previous species. It 
measures a trifle over ij in. for the head and body, and just 
over an inch for the tail. The measurement across the wings in 
the larger specimens is 9 in. The teeth are the same in number 
as the greater horseshoe bat, but the first premolar in the upper 


jaw is extremely minute. The ears are still more pointed, and 
the outer margin is deeply notched and almost separated from the 
large antitragus, which is really a fold of the outer margin of 
the conch. The nose leaf is proportionately smaller than in the 
greater horseshoe bat. The first, or " horseshoe," portion is 
less closely applied to the upper lip than in Rhinolophus ferrum- 
equinum, and its lower edge is slightly crimped. The erect 
process between the nostrils is proportionately shorter, and is 
much less cupped at the base. The posterior 
portion which grows over the forehead is shaped 
like the head of a lance, and is of greater relative 
size than in the preceding species. The muzzle 
is a little less swollen than in the greater horse- 
shoe bat, and the colour of the fur a little 
yellower below, and rather more brownish-gray 
Nose Leaf OF Lesser than reddish-gray above. 
Horseshoe Bat 'p}^g Lesser Horseshoe Bat is equally clever in 

(Rhinolophus hipposi- . . . . ,- , . 

derus) (twice natural its ability to maintain Itself on the wing in the 
^'^^^' most cramped and intricate quarters without 

coming into contact with obstacles. It will enter quite small 
crevices on its flight and emerge again, and apparently never 
touch any place with the wings. When pausing before any 
object which it wishes to inspect it keeps up a vibratory 
motion of the wings like a humming-bird. It is quite well able 
to use its eyes (though these are very small, and almost hidden 
in the nasal cartilage), but in all its flights and researches it 
seems to trust to the sensitiveness of the nose organ, of the 
ears, and of the wing membrane to guide its movements. The 
distribution of this bat is nearly as extensive as (but not quite 
identical with) that of the bigger form. It is found pretty widely 
over the southern half of England. It is also met with in 
Western Ireland. No specimens have yet been sent from the 
north of England and Ireland, from Wales, or from Scotland. 
Outside these islands it extends over Central Europe as far north 
as the Baltic and the more northern regions of Russia. It is 
found, no doubt, over the greater part of Temperate Asia, and has 


been obtained from the regions of the Himalayas and North- 
west India. It is also distributed over Northern and North-east 
Africa as far south as the Sahara Desert and Nubia. Species 
allied to the horseshoe bat range over India, Malaysia, and 
Northern Australia, and over Africa as far south as the Cape. 

It will be seen from the perusal of the foregoing chapter that 
our knowledge of British bats is relatively scanty, and requires 
much additional research, not only into the life history of these 
interesting creatures, but still more into the identification and 
correct naming of British species. At least four of the species 
here enumerated and described {Vespertilio murinus or discolor^ 
Myotis dasycneme^ M. bechsteini^ M. myotis) are so rare as British 
examples that they are often refused admittance into lists of 
British mammals, and their few undisputed occurrences are 
attributed to accidents or the result of hi^h winds. Seeing the 
flying powers of bats, and the ability of some species at least 
to swim if thrown into water, the twenty to sixty miles of sea 
between France and Belgium on the one hand and England on 
the other ought not to deter the bats of Continental Europe 
from colonising Britain. Assiduous efforts, therefore, should be 
made to collect and identify bats throughout Great Britain and 




The True Carnivora arose from or near to a group which we 
know as the Creodonta, and which flourished early in mammalian 
history. The Creodonts first make their appearance in strata of 
the Lowest Eocene — that is to say, at the very commencement 

Jaws of Otocyoti megalotis. 
Slightly separated, to show molar teeth (four premolars and four molars in both jaws) and 
absence of differentiation in the carnassial teeth (fourth upper premolar and first lower molar). 

of the Tertiary Epoch. Their earhest types were generalised, 
and betray considerable affinities to the Marsupial order. They 
almost represent, indeed, at that period the main line of 
mammalian descent, the arrangement and aspect of their teeth 



not only closely resembling existing carnivorous Marsupials, but 
even the dentition of the Theriodont reptiles. There were in 
each jaw at least three pairs of incisors, one pair of tusk-like 
canines, four pairs of premolars, and three of molars : the typical 
mammalian formula of forty-four teeth.^ 

Modern Carnivora are divided into two sub-orders: the 
Fissipdia, or separate-toed flesh-eaters (dogs, cats, civets, weasels, 
bears) ; and the Pinnipedia, or web-toed fish-eaters (sea-hons. 


Angle of lower jaw of 

Angle of lower jaw of Cams cancrivorus 
(Crab-eating Dog of Central and South 

Angle of lower jaw of Otocyon 


Cayiis cancrivorus (Crab-eating Dog) and in Wolf. 

1 So far as I am aware no Creodont (unless it is so with Proviverra) 
has ever been discovered which possessed more than three true molars, 
and yet there is one remarkable problem in the descent of the Carnivores 
which has not yet been solved. In South and East Africa is found a 
curious aberrant dog, called the long-eared fox {Otocyon megalotis). This 
creature has four pairs of molars in the lower jaw, and very often four 
in the upper. A fourth molar makes its appearance in the lower jaw 
of dogs of the genus Canis occasionally, and an increase of molars to four 
or more appears as a common feature in existing or extinct Marsupials. 
On the other hand, no existing Marsupial has more than three permanent 
premolars. One of these teeth, however, is preceded by a " milk " premolar, 
which may be the missing fourth of this series of teeth. In extinct 
mammals that are supposed to have been Marsupials, four premolars 
are present. On the other hand, in these extinct Marsupials with four 
premolars, there would appear to be only three molars. It would almost 


walruses, seals). Besides the special adaptation to a life in the 
water which affects the Pinnipedia, there is a further marked 
difi^erence between them and the terrestrial Carnivores at the 
present day. The Fissipedia have developed a pair of carnassial 
or powerful cutting teeth from out of the grinders in both jaws. 
In the upper jaw this carnassial tooth is the fourth premolar. In 
the lower jaw it is the first true molar. Now in the seals there 
is no special diff*erentiation, for crushing or tearing purposes, of 
either the premolars or molars. This feature of the carnassial 
teeth, however, is scarcely developed at all in Otocyon, and but 
little developed in aberrant forms of the Raccoon family and in 
the Bears. 

The Carnivora are for the most part five-toed, and never 
have less than four toes on each foot. Their teeth are always 
rooted. The incisors are almost invariably three pairs in each 
jaw, except in the case of the seals. The molar and premolar 
teeth are generally narrow, and divided longitudinally into sharp 
cusps ; but if broad, flat, and set with tubercles, they are never 

seem, therefore, as though, to account for the four molars of certain 
dogs co-existing with four premolars, we must go back for the origin of 
the modern Carnivora to a proto-mammalian type ancestral to Marsupials, 
Creodonts, and other mammalia. Until some Creodont is discovered with 
four molars, it will be difficult to believe that the existing Carnivora have 
descended from that group. The Creodonts, like the carnivorous Marsupials, 
probably pursued a parallel line of development as predatory flesh-eating 
mammals. It might, perhaps, assist the reader of these pages who is not 
well acquainted with the nature of teeth, to be told that the distinction 
between molars and premolars is this. Premolars have — at any rate for the 
last three of the series — " milk" predecessors in most mammals, whereas true 
molar teeth h^-z no predecessors. This distinction scarcely applies to some 
teeth in Mai ■ )ials, whose " milk " dentition has been almost suppressed. 
Molars and pr< .aolars, therefore, in those creatures are generally distinguished 
by shape ; but, even in this case, what is equivalent to the fourth premolar in 
a Marsupial has a "milk" predecessor. As regards the fourth true molar 
tooth, it is found in some Edentates, living and extinct ; in extinct Sirenians 
(ancestors of the dugong and manati) ; and perhaps occurred in the earliest 
Primates. It makes its appearance even in the human species occasionally, 
and as a sport this happens much more frequently in the black Australian 
and the Negro races than with Europeans. 


divided up into complex lobes marked by deep inflections of 
enamel (like the zigzag ridges so often met with in Rodents 
and Ungulates). The stomach is always a simple pear-shaped 
bag, and the caecum is either absent or short and simple in most 
(but not all) cases. The mammae vary in number from one pair 
to six pairs. The clavicle, or collar bone, is frequently absent, 

The Upper Carnassial Tooth (Fourth Premolar) in various Carnivores. 

I. In Common Seal (Phoca iiitulina), two-rooted. 

II. In an extinct Creodont of the Eocene period 

{Proviverra), three-rooted. 

III. In Bear (UrSHS arc/tis), two-rooted. 

IV. In Glutton (Gie/o of the Weasel group), three- 


V. In the Wolf (Crtwzi lupus), three-rooted. Very 
similar in all other existing members of the 
genus Cam's. 
VI. In Otocyon (the Long-eared Fox). 
vii. In Lion. 
VIII. In a Machairodont {Machairodus neogaus). 

and, if present, is in a rudimentary condition and incomplete. 
There are other marked features in the bones of the limbs which 
are characteristic of this group, but which it is not necessary to 
describe here. In the True Carnivores, or Fissipedia, the first 


finger of the fore limb (our thumb) is always shorter than the 
others ; and this is generally the case with the first or innermost 
toe in the feet. 


In some respects this group is the most generalised of the 
existing Carnivora. In one genus {Otocyori)^ (and occasionally, 
as a sport, in the genus Canis) the number of teeth reaches to or 
exceeds the typical mammalian forty-four because it includes one 
or two extra pairs of molars. The cascum is always present, 
in some species short, in others long, and rather curiously folded. 
There is an alisphenoid canal,^ but the entipicondylar perforation 
of the humerus (see p. 149) is wanting in existing dogs, though 
present in extinct forms. No known dog is ever marked with 
spots and stripes, as in the cats, civets, and some other Carnivora ; 
but there is a slight tendency to black-and-white markings on 
the face, characteristic also of the raccoons and badgers. 


This genus is scarcely separable from that which follows ; 
but in Lycaon there are only four toes on each limb, as against 
five on the fore feet and four visible toes on the hind limbs 
in the typical dogs. The teeth of Lycaon are more massive 
than those of the wolves. The fourth premolar in the lower 
jaw has an extra cusp in front. The skull is somewhat shorter 
and broader. The Hunting Dog is also distinguished by the 
relative length of the intestines, and by the cartilage below the 
tongue. The ears are long and somewhat rounded, and the tail 
is bushy. The coloration is very peculiar. On a groundwork 

^ It is really a question whether Otocyon should still be included in the 
family Canidcz. Its osteological differences from the True Dogs are at least 
of family rank. 

^ The alisphenoid canal, constantly referred to in the classification of the 
Carnivora, is a short channel or tunnel in the alisphenoid bone, on the under 
surface of the skull, near the origin of the palate. Through this perforation 
passes the carotid artery. 


of ochre and grey are scattered large tracts of blackish fur, which 
on the stomach and thighs break up into spots. These black 
blotches also extend over the limbs and the base of the tail. 
The genus Lycaon presents one archaic feature marking it off 
from other existing dogs: it has considerable traces of the 
coUar-bone, which in the modern representatives of the dog 
tribe is reduced to a mere cartilaginous rudiment. In many 
respects, however, the genus approximates closely to the Lupine 
group of true dogs. The present range of the genus is confined 
to Africa, south of the Sahara, chiefly to Eastern and Southern 
Africa ; but a jaw bone, resembling that of the Lycaon in the 
peculiar last lower premolar, was found in a cave deposit in 
Glamorganshire, and therefore seemed to show the existence of 
a hypothetical Lycaon anglicus in Wales and probably in England 
during the Pleistocene period. 

The dental formula of this genus is normally three pairs of 
incisors, one pair of canines, four pairs of premolars, and two 
pairs of molars in the upper jaw, the same number of canines, 
incisors, and premolars in the lower jaw, but generally three, or 
abnormally four, molars in the lower jaw. One group of dogs, 
the sub-genus Cuon, has lost the third molar in the lower jaw. 
On the other hand, an American dog {Canis cancrivorus) some- 
times has three pairs of molars in the upper jaw. The fourth 
premolar, or upper carnassial tooth, consists of a stout cutting 
blade with a scarcely developed anterior lobe (differing thereby 
from the cats), and a compressed ridge forming the posterior lobe. 
The tooth which meets this in the lower jaw is the first molar, 
which is a very large tooth with a strong compressed blade 
divided into two lobes, the hinder of which is the larger and more 
pointed. The remainder of the tooth is broad, low, and tuber- 
culated. The collar bones are very rudimentary, represented by 
little else than cartilage. There are five toes on the fore feet, 
the first, or thumb, being very short and at some distance from 
the ground. Although there are only four toes visible in the 


skin of the hind foot, there is a rudiment of the first toe in the 
bones of the metatarsus. 

The dogs of the genus Canis might be divided into these 
groups : the Fox, or Alopecoid division ; the Wolf, or Lupine 
section, which in the main includes the races that have formed 
the domestic dogs ; and the Cyonines, or East Asiatic wild dogs 
of the sub-genus Cuon ; besides several aberrant forms in sections 
by themselves. The Fox group, perhaps, is a little less specialised 
than the other three divisions. In England it has been repre- 
sented since the Pliocene period ; and perhaps in the Glacial 
ages the Arctic fox [Canis lagopus) dwelt in these islands, and, 
at the same time, penetrated far south into France. But the 
remains of this animal in England are so scanty and doubtful 
that it is hardly worth while including it in a description of the 
British mammalian fauna. 

Canis vulpes. The Common Fox 

The fox differs from the dogs of the Wolf group in the 
absence of air cells in the forehead of the skull, as well as in the 
shape of the hinder portion of the bone of the eye socket, 
the upper surface of which is concave instead of convex. In 
general it is more slender in the build of its body and has shorter 
limbs. The tail in the Common Fox is nearly half the length 
of the head and body. The length of the head and body in 
an average dog fox is about 3 ft., and the tail about i ft. 3 in. 
Specimens of English foxes have measured as much as 
3 ft. 10 in. from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. 
The ears are large, and the pupil of the eye, instead of con- 
tracting under a strong light into a round spot, as in the dog 
or the wolf, forms in the fox a slit or ellipse. The number of 
teats also is different, being six, as against eight or ten in the 
wolves and dogs. The muzzle is brought to a sharp point in the 
nose, and this pointed aspect is added to by a considerable pro- 
jection of the nose and upper lip beyond the lower jaw. The 
vibrissas, or " whiskers," are very abundant. 

Foxes, also, are not only more nocturnal in their active life, 

lUi. Common Fox {Canis vulpes). 

Photo by the Scholastic Photo Company. 

The Wolf, European Type [Canis lupus). 

To face p. 120. 


and more given to burrowing and inhabiting burrows than wolves 
or dogs, but they are in comparison solitary in their habits, and 
do not associate so much in packs. In this respect the Arctic 
fox above alluded to is perhaps a little more dog-like, as it 
generally dwells in small colonies of from twenty to thirty 
burrows each. 

The colour of the common fox varies slightly in different 
districts of Great Britain and abroad, being somewhat grayer in 
Scotland than in England. The following, however, is a fairly 
accurate description of the coloration of the English fox in winter 
and summer alike. The lower portion of the cheeks and the 
under part of the throat, neck, and chest, and the upper and lower 
lips, are white. The belly is dirty white, with a tendency to 
become brown in some examples, or actually grayish-black in 
others. The inside of the thighs and of the arms from the 
elbows to below the wrists is white, and there is a marked white 
line extending down the outer aspect of the hind legs from the 
knee to near the inside of the hock. The long hair inside the 
ears is yellowish-white. The front part of the upper lip and 
the muzzle round the nose is blackish-brown, and a blackish line 
separates the white of the upper lip from the red of the nose, and 
is then continued in a narrow but distinct line to the inner angle 
of the eye. The centre of the nose is also inclined to be blackish- 
brown. The outer side of the large ears is black or blackish- 
brown, the black being very evident along the inner edge. The 
feet are black, with sometimes a patch of white on the inside of 
the fore paws, the inner side of the feet being brownish, while 
the black of the outer aspect is often continued up the edge of the 
arm to the elbow. The long vibrissas are black, and the long 
hairs along the back and sides of the tail are often tipped with 
black. The hairs of the soles of the feet (unlike those of the 
dog and the wolf, the soles are hairy and not naked) is deep red. 
The whole remainder of the coloration not as yet described varies 
from a beautiful orange-red to an almost silvery pinkish-gray. 
The forehead, the region round the eyes, and the upper part of 
the nose, the shoulders, and arms are particularly bright orange- 


red, and this tint also prevails on the outer aspect of the thigh 
and leg. The long fur on the flanks and hind quarters is a 
silvery reddish-brown, because many of the hairs are whitish 
towards their extremities. The greater part of the tail is brown 
or yellowish-brown, mingled, as above stated, with black or white- 
tipped hairs, the black hairs being very numerous along the sides 
of the tail. The general aspect of a fox, then, is red-brown above 
and outwardly, and white below and inwardly, with black ears, a 
blackish muzzle, and a black-fringed, white-tipped tail. The 
short nails on the feet are horn-colour. In coloration the fox is 
almost the handsomest of our British beasts. In Scottish types 
there is more gray, especially about the hair on the upper parts, 
and a greater proportion of white hairs on the hind quarters, 
while the white tip at the end of the tail is larger. About the 
Cheviots and the Scottish borderland the foxes are smaller, the 
fur is a darker red, and the tip of the tail has little or no white. 
In Wales, according to Mr. W. E. de Winton, a blackish-brown 
type of fox is sometimes met with, but in South Wales the 
present writer has noticed the particularly orange colour of the 
fox's fur. The occasional specimens with blackish-gray bellies 
that are met with in England recall the variety of the common 
fox which is more characteristic of Southern Europe and Northern 
India. There is a great tendency in foxes to abrupt alternations 
between a blackish and a white belly, ^ and this tendency to 
alteration in tint may have made itself felt independently in 
England. On the other hand, it is possible that the dark-bellied 
examples met with in this country may be due to the importation 
of foreign foxes, which have so often been brought over to re- 
inforce the native breed ever since the fox became a fashionable 
contributor to sport. Female foxes do not differ in colour from 
the male, though they are smaller in size. Fox cubs, however, 
are decidedly different from their parents in coloration. There is 
scarcely any black or white about them, and the general colour 
is a brownish or pinkish-gray, not unlike the colour of the coat 

^ The white tip to the tail, so characteristic of Ca^iis vidpes in all its 
varieties, may also appear as dark gray or even black in English specimens. 


assumed in summer by the Arctic foxes. This tint soon warms 
into yellowish-brown, and by the time the fox is a year old has it 
developed the colours given in the foregoing description. 

The fox, like some other species of dogs, possesses a scent 
gland, which is situated under the tail, near the anus, and which 
secretes a foetid sebaceous substance. This gland is present in both 
sexes, but is a little more highly developed in the male. The urine 
of the fox has the same strong and unpleasant scent as the sub- 
caudal secretion. Glands, and nasty odours communicated to 
the excreta, are a constantly recurring feature in the Carnivora, 
reaching, perhaps, its highest point of development in the skunk, 
a member of the Weasel tribe. In civets the strong odour is 
agreeable to man, and not absolutely repellent, as is the case with 
foxes, cats, and many members of the Weasel family. This stench 
which attaches itself to the fox provides the means through 
which he is tracked by the dogs and hunted down. 

No fossil remains of the fox have yet been obtained from 
Scotland. It is possible, therefore, that the fox may only have 
penetrated into North Britain since the close of the Glacial 
period, but its fossil remains have been found in some of 
the Irish caves, dating from the close of the Pleistocene. 
In England the creature is one of the oldest of British 
mammals, and dates from the Pliocene Epoch. In all probability 
it was here long before the advent of man, and at a time 
coeval with the sabre-toothed tiger and the huge fauna more 
characteristic of Eastern Asia and Equatorial Africa. At the 
present day the fox is found all over England, Scotland,^ 
Wales, and Ireland. It has probably been affected to some 
extent by the introduction of foreign breeds from Sweden and 

Another Instance of the difference between the Fox group and 
the Wolf group of the genus Canis is that, whereas the domestic 
dog (which belongs to the Wolf group) will freely interbreed 
with the wolf or jackal, it generally regards the fox of either sex 

^ Not, however, including the Hebrides, Mull, and almost all the large 
islands off the west coast of Scotland, except Skye (where it is indigenous). 


with detestation ; and although instances of interbreeding have 
been reported, they are extremely rare. 

Foxes never consort in couples, male and female, except 
during the breeding season ; and even then as many as three dog 
foxes may be hanging round the vixen ^ to solicit her favours, 
rather than one chosen husband. The vixen only breeds once in 
the year, generally in February. She attracts the dog foxes by 
uttering a sharp bark. When the vixen is pregnant she leaves 
the society of the male and makes or takes a burrow for herself. 
Here the young are born, generally in the month of April, after a 
period of gestation of between sixty and sixty-five days. Foxes 
only breed once a year. The females only come into season 
once, and not twice, in the twelve months, as is the case with 
dogs. The number of cubs in a litter varies from three to seven. 
Fox puppies are born blind, and do not open their eyes until 
about the age of ten days. They are playful little creatures, and 
very active, with a yapping cry which is like a short bark. The 
mother suckles them about a month, and then brings them food, 
such as young rabbits, and later on she takes them out with her, 
and trains them to hunt for themselves, summoning them to the 
trail with sharp barks. 

Compared to dogs and wolves the fox is a very silent 
animal. The usual cry is a short bark, not unlike that of the 
domestic dog. This is only uttered during the breeding season 
or when the female is calling to the cubs. It does not howl like 
the jackal or wolf. 

The cunning and sagacity of the fox have become pro- 
verbial in European folklore." This beast stands for astuteness 

^ A south-west dialect word, originally derived from the xA.nglo-Saxon 
fuxe?i = female fox. The word " fox " itself is an old term of the Teutonic 
branch of the Aryan languages which can be traced back to a form hke the 
Gothic fauho, or faukhs. 

2 Reinaert (Reynard) de Vos (fox), an old Low German beast epic, 
summed up the impressions which the fox, the wolf (Isengrim), the badger, 
the bear, the hare, the sheep, the lion, and the monkey had made on the 
mind of European man from the close of the Glacial age to the close of 
the Roman Empire. 


and unscrupulous cleverness, just as the wolf represents stupid 
ferocity. In some districts, however, where it has been long 
unmolested, its attacks on live stock in the vicinity of human 
habitations almost assume the boldness of a wolf. When the 
present writer was in Achill Island, in the autumn of 1902, the 
natives of that west-of-Ireland paradise complained to him of 
the boldness and audacity of the local foxes, which during the 
winter-time would descend the hillsides into the villages along 
the seashore, and take geese and fowls and young pigs from 
under the noses of their enraged proprietors. The same foxes 
are accused by the people in the summer-time of attacking young 
foals on the uplands, and killing many lambs. 

It is almost a commonplace to point out that the fox is 
subterranean in his dwelling ordinarily. He either excavates 
burrows for himself, or appropriates those which have been made 
by the badger or the rabbit. At the bottom of these " earths " 
the fox remains concealed during the daytime, unless love or 
hunger should drive him abroad before dusk. But in the 
summer-time he frequently leaves the burrow in well-wooded 
districts and lies in the thick vegetation and undergrowth, making 
a sort of lair for himself. In favourable seasons, when there are 
young hares or young birds about, the fox frequents cornfields 
and hedgebanks, or it may even take up a dwelling in ricks or 
straw yards close to the farm building from which it intends to 
rob poultry. 

The food of this predatory animal is most varied and compre- 
hensive. It kills and eats hares, rabbits, pheasants, partridges, 
lambs (in the west of Ireland it is said to kill and eat the foals of 
mountain ponies), hedgehogs, rats, mice, voles, any bird which it 
can surprise and capture, frogs, the larger beetles, grubs, and 
worms. It will also, especially in Scotland, frequent the sea- 
shore and eat fish (fresh or putrid), shellfish, and crabs. It is 
ready to devour carrion of any kind when hungry, and, of course, 
deHghts in robbing hen roosts and carrying away ducks and 
geese. It will attack, kill, and devour swans ; in fact, the present 
writer knows of a pretty mere in the New Forest from which all 


the swans have been exterminated by foxes. With its rapacious 
instincts, the fox does a great deal of damage, not only amongst 
domestic birds and beasts which are the property of man, but 
amongst the wild creatures of the wood and the lake. Artificially 
protected as it has been since its pursuit on horseback became a 
favourite and well-established sport some two hundred years ago, 
the fox is no doubt answerable for a decided thinning of our 
indigenous birds and beasts. 

During the rule of the Plantagenets foxes are mentioned, but 
somewhat contemptuously, as beasts of venery. Early engravings 
seem to indicate that the fox was pursued to his earth by a single 
hound followed by sportsmen on foot, who then proceeded to 
dig him out. It is probable that regular foxhounds, of French 
or Spanish^ origin, were not kept in England till the latter half 
of the seventeenth century. About the beginning of the 
eighteenth century it became customary to follow the hounds 
on horseback. Hitherto mounted men had chiefly devoted 
themselves to the pursuit of deer. Fox-hunting at the end of 
the eighteenth century meant striking a fox's "drag," or scent, 
early in the morning, and following this drag till the hounds 
traced it to the kennel or earth to which the fox had retreated. 
In modern fox-hunting a man is sent to stop up all the " earths," 
or foxes' burrows, in the district over which hunting is to take 
place. To do this successfully he must commence operations 
soon after midnight, that is to say, after the foxes have left their 
holes to forage for food, and he must complete his work before 
the approach of morning, before they are back again in their 
burrows. Should he be too late at any particular earth he may 
stop the fox inside and completely spoil sport. 

Supposing these directions to have been efficiently taken, one 
or more of the foxes in the district will have found himself shut 

1 This refers to the class of hound that would not only pursue, but, if 
necessary, grapple with and kill the fox. Much earlier in English history the 
dogs which tracked foxes to their burrows may have been of a smaller breed, 
and perhaps more of the terrier class. These, in fact, were known as- 
"fox dogs." 


out of his retreat, and must perforce lie concealed as best he can 
in the vicinity. Here he is put up by the hounds, and he then 
leads the hunt in the direction of some possible refuge, which he 
either succeeds in entering or which he fails to reach before the 
hounds despatch him. 

Canis lupus. The Wolf 

Between the Wolf and the Fox groups (the " Thooid " and 
" Alopecoid " of the genus Canis) there are some transitional 
forms of dog that it is difficult to allot definitely to either division. 
These are several South American dogs, and the raccoon-like dog 
of Japan and North-east Asia (which is remarkable for its extra- 
ordinary resemblance, especially in coloration, to the Raccoon 
family).^ The Thooid, or Lupine, series includes the jackals, the 
Abyssinian wild dog, the wolves of Europe, Asia, and North 
America, and all the breeds of domestic dog. There is a third 
series of canine species which might be termed the Cyonoid, and 
it may be briefly mentioned here in connection with the origin 
of the domestic dog. The Cyonoids constitute the representa- 
tives of the genus or sub-genus Cuon^ and are represented by a 
series of wild dogs stretching from Siberia on the north to the 
verge of Australia in the south. This sub-species Cuon was 
represented anciently in Europe" by a form which has been 
named Canis {Cuon) euro-paus. The dingo of Australia is closely 
related to this group, from which, indeed, may have sprung a con- 
siderable element in the stock of the domestic dog. The reason 
why these Cyonoids are separated from the Wolf group is that 
they often lose their third molar tooth in the lower jaw, though 
this loss is by no means constant. They also possess as a rule 
six pairs of teats, instead of five pairs which are customary in the 
wolf and in most dogs.^ The profile of the face in some of them 

^ It is really, in all probability, only an aberrant fox. 

2 Possibly also in Southern England. 

3 Mr. A. J. Sewell, the well-known M.R.C.V.S., informs me that he has 
not infrequently met with six pairs of mammae in domestic dogs, though the 
number of teats in most breeds of domestic dogs is ten. In some examples, 


is rather convex (a trait which often comes out in domestic dogs). 
The muzzle is shorter than in the wolf, and there is long hair 
between the pads of the feet. Moreover the general colour of 
these dogs (except for the winter coat of the Siberian species) 
almost always tends to bright red-brown, a colour constantly- 
represented in breeds of domestic dog or in the dingo. On the 
whole, the most dog-like of this Cyonoid group at the present 
day is the Siberian Canis alpinus^ and the most aberrant the 
buansu, or dhol, of India. The dingo would almost seem to 
represent a collateral descendant of this group which had retained 
the third lower molar and had lost the extra pair of teats.^ Prob- 
ably the dingo of Australia (to which the semi-domesticated 
dogs, and even the pariah dogs of India and Western Asia, are 
nearly allied) represents one of the parent forms of Canis 
familiaris^ while the other parent of the domestic dog has been the 
wolf The mingling of these two breeds, together, possibly, 
with a dash of the jackal, has produced all the breeds of domestic 
dog in existence. Some of these breeds, like the Eskimo dog 
and the dogs of the Indians in the South-western States of North 
America, have been derived direct from domesticated wolves, 
while other breeds of native dogs in Central and South America 
are akin to jackal-like types of wild dog belonging to the genus 
Cants. I have seen in Achill Island, off the west coast of Ireland, 
dogs which were simply stunted wolves, exactly resembling the 
wolf in colour, in brush, in the shape of the ears, and in the 
arrangement of the masses of hair along the line of the back. 

The Cyonoid dogs are, as has been mentioned, somewhat 
marked off from the Wolf group by their red colour. The male, 
however, and sometimes the female, generally develops a blacken- 
ing of the coat over the neck and shoulders and along the back 
to the tip of the tail. The wolves and jackals are more nearly 

chiefly terriers, there are nifie — four on one side, five on the other. In some 
fox terriers and (according to the author's investigations) in smaller toy breeds 
the number is reduced to four pairs. 

^ But it is said that there are sometimes six pairs of teats in the female 


allied to one another in scheme of coloration. Theytstart, so to 
speak, from a reddish-yellow basis, and as reddish-yellow appears 
in foxes and in the South American dogs of uncertain alliance, 
it is probable that it is the original colour of the Dog genus. 
The black-backed jackal of Africa exhibits the wolf-coloration 
carried to its most beautiful development of black, silver, and 
orange. In the European wolf (and no doubt it was the same in 
the now extinct British form) the limbs are fawn-colour, with a 
tendency to blackish-brown down the front of the fore paws. 
The face is umber-brown, with a grizzled forehead, and patches 
of the same colour on the eyebrows. The back is black, ochre- 
yellow, and white, owing to the long hairs growing in that region 
being yellow in their lower portion, white in the middle, and 
black at the extremity. The edges of the great masses of hair 
which grow somewhat unevenly along the wolf's back are quite 
black when seen from the side, but their depths are yellowish- 
white. There is a good deal of black about the upper surface 
of the tail. The skull of the w^olf scarcely differs from that of 
the more primitive types of domestic dog, the chief characteristic 
being a slightly less cranial capacity, and a somewhat longer 
muzzle. The only real difference would appear to be in the 
canine teeth, which are proportionately more long and massive 
than in most known breeds of dogs. The forehead above the 
orbits is a little narrower and flatter, and the crest of bone along 
the top of the skull is longer and higher. 

The number of mammae is five pairs, a number characteristic 
of nearly all breeds of domestic dog.^ The collar bone is present, 
but very rudimentary, though usually composed of a longer 
fragment than in most breeds of domestic dogs. The fore feet 
are five-toed, but as a rule there are only four toes apparent on 
the hind feet, though in the bones there are several joints 
representing the vanishing first toe of the hind foot. Occasion- 
ally in the wolf, and much more frequently in the domestic dog, 
the first toe of the hind foot is represented by what is called 
the dew claw, situated high up on the inner side of the hind foot. 

^ See note ^ on p. 127. 



This is a claw attached to two or three minute phalanges, which 
are not completely connected with the metatarsal bone of the first 
toe. On the whole, however, it may be said that wolves and 
dogs are five-toed on all four feet, and in this respect are more 
generalised than the South African hunting dog, which has no 
trace of the first toe on any of the feet. The arrangement of the 
toes on front and hind limbs in the wolf and in most breeds of 
domestic dog presents a feature which deserves some attention 
(inasmuch as painters often misrepresent this) : the two middle 
toes on each foot are pressed closely together, so that their claws 
are almost touching. The tail is not nearly so long as in the 
fox, but in most wolves and jackals is bushy. In the Asiatic 
type of red dog akin to the dingo and perhaps in the Cyonoid 
group the tail has a tendency to become smooth and short-haired, 
and this tendency is met with in the development of breeds of 
domestic dog, a mixture of all the Thooid and some Cyonoid 
races. The pupil of the eye in the wolf and dog, as already 
mentioned, contracts to a round point, and not to an elliptical slit. 

The present distribution of the various races of true wolf 
comprises the whole of Asia except Arabia, Ceylon, Burma, Indo- 
China, and Malaysia, and includes Japan ; the whole of Europe 
except the British Islands and parts of the Continent where it has 
been recently exterminated by man ; North America, from the 
Arctic Sea to Mexico. No breed of wolf is found in North Africa, 
Arabia, or Syria, its place being taken by several species of jackal. 
In South America there are species of dog not far removed from 
the wolf and the jackal, but ofi^ering some affinities to the fox. 
One of these, Cams cancrivorus, possesses the archaic feature of a 
third molar in the upper jaw. 

It is still an open question as to whether the Wolf group 
originated in Asia or North America. On the whole, it may 
be decided that Asia was more probably the focus of radiation 
of the Dog genus — which is, perhaps, the most widely-distributed 
type of mammal, as it is represented in every quarter and region 
of the habitable globe, except the isolated continent of Antarctica. 
The wolf, as a species, dates in European formations from the 



end of the Pliocene, and in England from the same period. In 
the Pleistocene Epoch the wolf spread into Scotland and Ireland, 
and in Ireland existed in very great numbers — no doubt owing 
to the fact that it met with no rivalry from hysenas, lions, or 
other beasts of prey except the bear. In all probability, the wolf 
of Britain resembled very closely that of modern France and 
Germany. The fossil bones of British wolves are not in any 
way to be distinguished from those of existing wolves on the 
Continent of Europe at the present day. 

The Anglo-Saxon monarchs appear to have taken strong 
measures to reduce the number of wolves in England and in 
Wales by levying tributes of wolves' heads or skins. But 
Mr. Harting, in his interesting chapter on the Wolf in 
Extinct British Mammals^ brings much evidence to bear to show 
that, contrary to the accepted opinion of early English historians, 
wolves were not exterminated in England till the close of the 
fifteenth century, during the reign of Henry VII. Perhaps the 
last specimens lingered in Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the forest 
of Savernake, in Wiltshire. The last wolf was probably killed 
in Scotland about 1743, and in Ireland (Kerry) perhaps as 
late as 1766. The predatory nature of this animal probably 
furnishes a sufficiently conclusive argument against its reintro- 
duction ; though, at the same time, it should be pointed out 
that, whereas the wolf lends a certain picturesqueness to the 
forests of France and Germany, it seldom interferes with man 
except during the height of the winter. Its presence in Epping 
Forest, in the New Forest, and in other great domains increas- 
ingly affected by pleasure parties, would greatly add to their 
romantic interest, and at the same time might wholesomely check 
the gambols of the beanfeaster and his mate without subjecting 
them to any worse punishment than a scare. 


The Bears are more primitive than the dogs, in that they 
have five completely developed toes on each foot, and are planti- 
grade ; but they have other features which indicate specialisation, 


such as the absence of a caecum, and of an entepicondylar foramen 
(see p. 149), the presence of a long penlal bone, and other 
peculiarities of the male genital organs, and a rudimentary tail. 
They possess the same number of teeth as the typical dog 
(though in one genus there is the occasional loss of one pair of 
incisor teeth in the upper jaw). Yet there is a tendency in the 
first two premolars in the upper and lower jaw to disappear. 
This gives the skull of a bear, therefore, an aspect very different 
from the skull of a dog, as it induces (when the premolars have 
dropped out) a large diastema, or toothless space, between the 
great canines on the one hand and the molars on the other. 
Nevertheless, in modern bears (as opposed to many extinct 
genera) all four premolars are represented in both jaws, however 
rudimentary may be the first three. The fourth, or carnassial, 
tooth in the upper jaw is proportionately smaller than in the 
dogs, is blunter, and of little importance as a tearing tooth. 
This is, no doubt, partly due to degeneration. The molar teeth 
are large as compared with those of the dog, and have broad, flat, 
tuberculated crowns. The canine develops into a considerable 
tusk. The number of teats is usually three pairs, one pair 
situated on the breast and two pairs along the belly. 

The bears, like so many other groups of mammals, seem to 
have arisen in India, or on the northern limits of that country, 
where the remains of the first true bear are found in Upper 
Miocene strata. In Europe they made their appearance in the 
Upper Pliocene, and the earlier forms of European bear agreed 
with the brown bear of to-day in possessing four premolars in 
both upper and lower jaw. 

Ursus arctos. The Brown Bear 

This species is, in some respects, the least specialised amongst 
existing bears. Its colour ranges from dark fulvous-brown to 
silvery-gray. Young bears have white on the throat — a detail 
of coloration which is seen in other species and genera of bears, 
and in members of the Weasel group. In Eastern Tibet the 
brown bear tends towards black in coloration on the upper parts. 


The length of a good specimen of European bear may be as 
much as 8 ft. from the tip of the snout to the root of the 
tail. The tail in all existing bears is reduced to a mere stump, 
and is, perhaps, longest in the polar bear. In the brown bear 
the tail does not exceed 3 in. in length. 

The Brown Bear hibernates in the colder districts of Europe 
and Northern Asia, retiring into some cavern or safe retreat and 
sleeping until April, in which month the cubs are usually born. 
These very seldom exceed two in number, and are born blind and 
naked, being unable to see till about three weeks after birth. 

It is a relatively silent animal ; snarling, growling, and 
whining with its companions, but not, as a rule, uttering any 
cry that can be heard at a distance. When disturbed by man, 
it gives vent to a loud, gruff bark. The bear can climb trees, 
and is a good swimmer. Its diet is almost omnivorous. 

The present range of the brown bear extends over almost 
the whole of Europe, except those regions which are thickly 
inhabited by man, and over all Asia, except such parts as lie 
within the tropics. In North-east Asia the brown bear almost 
grades into the great grizzly bear of North America, or the 
splendid chocolate-coloured Alaska bear. In England the brown 
bear has existed since the Pleistocene Epoch. Its distribution 
throughout England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland seems to have 
been almost universal. Caledonian bears from Northern Scotland 
were sent to Rome for the sports of the Circus. The creature 
appears to have become practically extinct in Scotland^ (as a 
wild animal), and equally in Ireland, before the eighth century. 
In the northern parts of England it may have lingered till about 
the commencement of the ninth century. Later on it was 
reintroduced as a tame animal from the Continent, and used in 
mediaeval sports down to a relatively recent period. 

It seems to be hardly determined with certainty that the 
grizzly bear {Ursus horribilis) of North America is distinct as 
a species from the brown bear. Extreme forms of both differ 

^ Bell states, in his British Quadrupeds, that wild bears may have existed 
in Scotland as late as the year 1073. 


markedly In size, the grizzly bear being in general a much bigger 
animal than the brown bear. Its coloration also varies consider- 
ably, and there are slight differences in the relative size of the 
tail. Remains of the bear found in Ireland seem to resemble 
more nearly the grizzly bear of North America than the ordinary 
brown bear of Europe, and traces of this grizzly bear type are 
also found in the Pleistocene and recent deposits of England. 

Ursus spelaus. The Cave Bear 

This creature was in some respects the culmination of the 
bears, a splendid and awful development of a predatory Carni- 
vore. It was, perhaps, preceded in development by Ursus priscus. 
As a temporary king of destroying animals it probably succeeded 
the sabre-toothed *' tigers," and exceeded the lion in size and 
strength, besides being more at home in north temperate regions 
where the lion seldom penetrated. It was nearly twice the size of 
the brown bear, and exceeded the grizzly bear by about a third. 
It differs from the other bears in the total loss in the adult animal 
of all the first three premolar teeth in each jaw, also by the high 
forehead, the shorter nose, and possibly the higher and more 
horizontal opening of the nostrils. The upper canines were 
enormous, but the lower canines not proportionately quite so 
large as in the brown bear. The under jaw is provided with 
a strong chin for the attachment of powerful muscles, and is 
further marked with three deep cavities in the bone on either 
side. The presence of its remains in absolutely extraordinary 
quantities in all the caves of England, France, Germany, Belgium, 
Poland, Italy, Algeria, the Balkan Peninsula, and South Russia 
would seem to show that this enormous bear used caverns as Its 
home and lair, dragging its prey to be devoured in these retreats, 
where, its hunger satisfied. It abandoned the remains to spotted 
hyaenas of great size. In England its existence dates from the 
end of the Pliocene Epoch. It became extremely abundant 
during the Pleistocene and the Prehistoric age of man. It was 
certainly contemporaneous with Palaeolithic man in these islands, 
and may even have lingered down to the Neolithic age. So far 


1 hotu by W. P. Daiido, F.Z.S. 

British Cave Lkjn [J-'cIis leo speliva). 

Photo by W. p. Dando, F.Z.S. 

British Cave Bear [Ursus spchms). 

To face p. 134. 


as is yet known the range did not extend to Scotland, or further 
north than Yorkshire. Somewhat doubtful ursine remains in the 
Shandon Cave in Ireland are attributed to the cave bear, but are 
more likely of the grizzly bear type. 


This group of small bear-like animals (differing, however, in 
outward aspect from the bears in that they have tails sometimes 
of great length) is slightly less specialised than the Bear group 
in the shape of the molar teeth, but more specialised in that they 
have lost a molar tooth from the lower jaw, never having more 
than two pairs in each jaw, as against two pairs above and three 
below found in all true bears. There is, however, one exception 
to this in a somewhat transitional animal, the ^luropus, or big 
panda. This creature, an inhabitant of Tibet, is extremely 
bear-like in appearance, and has a very short, stumpy tail. It 
was until recently classed with the bears, but it is now put in the 
family Procyonida. j^luwpus has two pairs of molars above and 
three pairs below. The Procyonida walk on the soles of their feet 
(are plantigrade, that is to say). There are other anatomical 
points in which they are more or less generalised than 
the bears. They possibly originated from creatures allied to the 
ancestral bears and dogs in North America or in North-east Asia. 
They are represented in the British fauna by 

Mlurus anglicus. The British Panda 

This was an animal quite half again as large as the existing 
Mlurus fulgens of the Himalayas, the only living representa- 
tive of the genus to-day. The British Panda may have been 
akin to ^luropus now existing in Tibet, which is a very large 
bear-like panda with a short tail. The remains of the British 
panda date from the end of the Pliocene period, and were found 
in the east of England. No doubt the range of this genus and 
of the allied j^luropus stretched once from England to Kamshatka, 
and thence communicated with the allied forms of Procyonid^ in 
North America. 



This is a more specialised group of Carnivores than the Bears 
or the Raccoons. They never have more than one pair of molars 
in the upper jaw and two in the lower. They preserve, however, 
one feature in connection with the humerus, or arm bone (the 
entepicondylar foramen, see p. 149), which makes them a little 
more generalised than the bears. They branched off, no doubt, 
from the dog-bear stock not far from the origin of the Fro- 
cyonid^, and yet also not far from the point of origin of the 
Civets and the Cats. Perhaps, on the whole, the Weasel group 
is a family of Carnivores of Old World rather than New World 
origin, though at the present day they are well represented in 
both hemispheres. In the most ancient fossil forms there were 
two molars in the upper jaw. At the present day the MusteUd<e 
are divided into three sub-families — Lutrinct^ or Otters ; Melin^y 
the Badgers ; and Mustelinde^ the Weasels. 

The Otters include one genus, Latax^ the sea otter, which 
still exists on the Asiatic and American shores of the Pacific 
Ocean. This animal bears a strange and disappointing resem- 
blance to the seals, and exhibits to us, no doubt with seemingly 
complete accuracy, the outward appearance of the transitional 
form which stood between the normal land Carnivore and the 
thoroughly aquatic seal. But this resemblance is only due to a 
parallel line of evolution ; the otter taking entirely to a marine 
life has actually got its body and hind limbs shaped to resemble 



those of the seals leading a similar existence. The specialised 
molars and general dentition of Latax forbid us to derive either 
the sea lions or the true seals from the Otter sub-family. The 
sea otter is a much-specialised member of this sub-family owing 
to its long, flipper-like hind feet ; otherwise in the rest of the 
otters the feet are short and rounded, and the toes are webbed. 
The claws when present are curved and blunt. The head is 
broad and flattened. The kidneys are specialised in structure. 
In the teeth, however, the otters are a little more generalised than 
the remaining groups of the Weasel family in that there are four 
pairs of premolars in the upper jaw. In the lower jaw there 
are three pairs, and the true molars are two pairs below and one 
pair above. The single molar in the upper jaw of the otters 
is excessively large, and the carnassial fourth premolar is also 
a tooth of considerable size, with a formidable, three-cusped 
cutting blade. The first premolar is very small, and often 
absent in adult otters. 

Lutra vulgaris. The Common Otter 

Besides sharing the general characteristics of the sub-family, 
the Common Otter may be described as follows : — The full size 
of the male will measure from the tip of the nose to the root of 
the tail about 2 ft. 4 in., and the tail would be another i ft. 3 in. 
The body is long and low, the legs are short and powerful. The 
upper part of the tail is broad, and flattened horizontally. Under- 
neath the tail, as in so many of these carnivorous mammals, there 
are small glands which secrete a fcctid liquid. The muzzle 
is very broad, and the upper lip thick and overhanging the 
lower. The vibrissas, or *' whiskers," are thick, almost quill-like. 
The small eyes are somewhat prominent on the flat head, and are 
situated not far behind the nostrils. The ears are short and 
rounded, and pressed close to the nape of the neck. The lower 
jaw at its base is broad and bulging. The fur, which is of some 
value, consists of a very fine and soft under-fur of a pale 
yellowish-gray colour below and brown at the tips. This is set 
with longer and coarser hair, which is a shining umber-brown 


over all the portion that is visible. The general colour of the upper 
surface is a bright raw-umber, the chin, throat, belly, and inside 
of the limbs being grayish-brown or yellowish-gray. Occasionally 
British otters are spotted with white, especially on the throat 
and flanks. These white blotches (generally on the borderland 
between the bright brown hair of the upper parts and the whitish- 
gray of the belly) commonly occur in Scottish otters. On the 
other hand, in Ireland there is a tendency towards melanism, 
some specimens of Irish otters being so dark as to be nearly 
black above and blackish-brown below. 

The number of mammas in the otter is only one pair. The 
period of gestation is about nine weeks. They only breed once 
in the year, and the rutting season is in midwinter.^ The young 
are born either in March or April. They are from two to five 
in number, and are born blind. The nest in which they are 
born (which, together with the ordinary retreat of the otter, is 
called its " holt") is generally a large hole in the bank of a river, 
under the roots of some overhanging tree or a jutting rock. 

The cry of the otter is a shrill, whistling noise when contented 
and at play. They also make a whimpering sound, especially 
when searching for food on land. If alarmed or excited they 
utter a shrill bark, varied with a whistling call. They have a 
keen sense of hearing and of smell, but not a good sense of sight. 
The long vibrissas are extremely sensitive, and no doubt the otter 
is greatly guided by the sensations transmitted through these long 
feelers to the nerves of the muzzle. 

The otter, it is needless to say, swims and dives with great 
facility, and propels itself with all four limbs, using the tail as a 
great rudder. It swims in a nearly horizontal position, with the 
nose just above the surface of the water, unless searching for fish, 
in which case the otter will swim below the surface, putting up 
its nose every few minutes to breathe. Although its ordinary 
habitat in England is large streams or rivers, on the coasts of 

Mt is not certain, however, that breeding may not take place at other 
seasons of the year, though only one litter of cubs is produced within the 
twelve months. 

FhotL. ly W. I'. 1 1 

The Common Otter. 

I'hoio by L. Kcld 

The Common Uiikk [Lu/ra vu/^ai-is) 

To face p. 138. 


Scotland and Ireland the otter takes to the seashore. All round 
those grand chalk cliffs of Antrim, in North-east Ireland, there 
are traces of the otter in the hollows in chalk and basalt. It is 
said to frequent this coast for salmon. It is also found off the 
coast of Donegal, equally taking to a sea life. The otter is said 
to kill and spoil more fish than he eats ; but fish are so common 
and otters are so rare that this surely ought not to matter to 
humanity. When it has brought a fish to shore it generally 
holds the head between its fore paws, and begins to eat at that 
end, devouring it downwards till it has reached the fin of the tail, 
which is discarded. 

Otters do not hibernate, and if their streams are frozen over 
they either migrate to the seashore in search of sea fish, or if 
that is too far away they turn their attention to land animals. 
They will eat any bird or small beast they can get hold of, and 
occasionally attack the poultry and young lambs and pigs of 
farmsteads. They catch and devour numbers of moorhens, coots, 
and wild duck. When they are back in the water they not only 
eat almost every kind of fish, but also frogs, and (on the sea- 
coast) crabs and shrimps. 

Otters are extremely playful creatures, and male, female, and 
young display much mutual affection. It is an animal which can 
be readily tamed by man. Bishop Heber, writing in the early 
part of the nineteenth century, very justly says that the simple 
Hindu shows a better taste in taming the otter and training it to 
catch fish for its master than " half the otter-hunting, badger- 
baiting gentry of England." Professor Bell gives the following 
directions as to how young otters may be tamed and trained : 
*' They should be procured as young as possible, and they are at 
first fed with small fish and water. Then bread and milk is to 
be alternated with the fish, and the proportion of the former 
gradually increased till they are led to live entirely on bread and 
milk. They are then taught to fetch and carry, exactly as dogs 
are trained to do the same trick, and when they are brought to 
do this with ease and docility a leather fish stuffed with wool is 
employed for the purpose. They are afterwards exercised with 


a dead fish, and chastised when they disobey or attempt to tear it ; 
and finally they are sent into the water after living ones." In this 
way, although the process is somewhat tedious, it is believed that 
the otter may be certainly domesticated and rendered subservient 
to our use. 

Whether or not our rustics and gentry have the leisure and 
patience to train otters to catch salmon and trout, the time has 
come when active steps should be taken to promote the preserva- 
tion of the otter, a creature far more beautiful, wonderful, and 
" obvious " than any fish. If we had ever had a Government 
that cared for the preservation of beauty in England, the otter 
would long ago have been placed on the protected list, and 
would not have been subjected to the undiscriminating attacks of 
sportsmen referred to by me in the first chapter in this book. 
It is difficult to conceive an increase in numbers of the otter 
so gigantic that our fisheries in salt and fresh water could be 
seriously affected in their abundance. There is always a sort of 
rude justice, which it is impossible to control and unnecessary to 
condemn, that keeps the rivalry between man and other mammals 
in check. If otters became so numerous that they did serious 
damage to the farmsteads, the otters thus leaving their proper 
element would very soon get knocked on the head by the 
indignant owners of poultry, and so kept in proper check, just as 
in some districts a similar stop is put to the ridiculous increase 
of foxes beyond bounds that are fair and reasonable. 

Otter-hunting generally commences in the late spring, and 
the dogs used in the sport are the well-known otter hound, a 
middle-sized, rough-haired hound, probably of Welsh origin, and 
allied to the harrier. The feet of the otter hound are broad 
and splay, and the coat is furnished with a thick, woolly under- 
fur that is very greasy. The ears are long and drooping, and 
the coat fi-om the nose to the tail is shaggy. The hounds are led 
to the waterside, where an attempt is made to hit upon the 
track by which the otter has passed to his retreat in the bank of 
the stream. On first hearing the hounds, if the otter is at home 
he dives into the water as soon as they approach. After diving 

OTTERS (Lutra vulgaris). 


he remains several minutes under water, and then comes up to 
breathe. This is called "venting." His course under water is 
traced by the mud stirred up, or by the air bubbles which rise to 
the surface from his lungs. As soon as the otter is sighted the 
hounds are set on him, and pursue him through the stream. 
Whenever the otter in his course nears the bank, one or other 
of the sportsmen (all of whom are armed with long spears) 
makes a dark at the beast with his spear. If he misses, it is 
considered a rule of the hunt that the owner of the spear should 
wade into the water to recover his weapon. If the otter is 
transfixed, however, the owner of the spear goes into the water 
and raises the otter over his head at the spear's point. As a 
rule, however, the otter is caught and killed by the hounds. 
When the otter is first seized by a dog he attempts to dive and 
remain under water, so that his assailant may drown, not being 
able to stand immersion so lonw as the otter himself. The otter 
administers also fierce bites to his pursuers, occasionally even 
killing hounds, and by his bravery, pertinacity, cunning, and 
agility making his insensate slaughter still more regrettable. 
Yet an otter hunt is a picturesque scene, with the scarlet-coated, 
white-breeched men armed with spears, the shaggy hounds, and 
the landscape set with great marsh marigolds ; the willows out 
in fresh leaf; the cascades, the rocks, the stretches of placid 
water, and the sunshine of May. But when otter-hunting was 
in full swing many years ago it was not unusual to kill nine 
otters in a day. If by public opinion or legislation the 
slaughter of otters could be limited to ten per annum in any 
one county, it might be possible to keep up a picturesque sport 
without unduly lessening the number of otters in our rivers. 

At the present day the otter is found in the wilder parts of 
England, in nearly all Scotch rivers, and along the sea-coasts 
of the north and west of Scotland, and equally widely in 
Ireland and Wales. In South Wales the otter is quite com- 
monly met with, and the same might have been said about 
Devonshire until quite recently, where, unhappily, two or more 
great landowners of that county have made a dead set at 


the unfortunate beast because they or their friends have an 
exaggerated fondness for fly-fishing. The otter has been an 
inhabitant of Britain since the end of the Pliocene Epoch. It 
has not yet been obtained in a fossil state from either Scotland 
or Ireland, and it may, therefore, only have penetrated to those 
countries since the close of the Glacial age. It could easily 
have reached Ireland from Scotland by swimming the inter- 
vening strait of sea-water. Outside the United Kingdom its 
range is very considerable. It is found over the greater part of 
Europe and Asia, even including India and Ceylon. In North 
America a larger species, nearly allied to it in structure, is also 
found ; while representatives of the genus Lutra (some of which, 
in South America, for example, attain a considerable size) are 
found all over the terrestrial surface of the globe, excepting the 
Australasian, Arctic, and Antarctic regions. The otter seemingly 
evolved from a very generalised type of Mustelid, closely resem- 
bling the Civets, and the Otter sub-family can be traced back on 
the Continent of Europe to the Lower Miocene. It is just 
possible that the otter originated in Europe, though the group 
very early attained considerable development in Central and 
Southern Asia, spreading thence into America. 


In this group the fore feet are long, and the creatures are 
plantigrade in their walk. The toes are straight, and ordinarily 
the hands are larger than the feet, and are armed with long, 
slightly curved, blunt claws. The claws of the hind paws are 
much shorter. They are rather large animals compared with their 
weasel relations, and their habits are generally terrestrial and 
burrowing, though several species, like the skunk, may be able to 
climb trees. All this group (as is the case with so many other 
Carnivores) possess scent glands round the anus. This feature 
is developed in the American skunk to a degree met with in 
no other beast ; for the fcEtid liquid secreted by this gland is 
ejected from two conical papillae, or teats, which can be erected 
and directed so as to spurt out jets of foul-smelling liquid to a 


distance of as much as 12 ft. In the badgers the foetid slime 
exuding from these anal glands is rubbed upon vegetation and 
the soil, and no doubt serves to attract one sex to the other. 
Occasionally the presence of this foul-smeUing exudation lends 
a foetor to the badger which has become proverbial.^ Yet when 
the creature is kept in captivity it is not particularly odorous, and 
is said to be cleanly in its habits. 

Meles taxus. The Common Badger 

The members of the Badger genus {Meles) have a dentition 
which normally includes four pairs of premolars in each jaw, one 
pair of molars in the upper jaw, and two pairs in the lower jaw. 
The Badgers, therefore, are more generalised in their dentition 
than the Skunks (their near allies) or than the Weasels. But 
they are exhibiting the same tendency to lose the premolar teeth 
which is so obvious in the Bears, Raccoons, and Weasels. The 
first pairs of premolars in both jaws are very minute teeth, and 
often fall out when the animal is adult. Another feature in 
badger dentition is the large size of the single molar in the upper 
jaw. This is nearly as broad as long, and almost square in shape, 
and is much larger than the upper carnassial or fourth premolar. 
The carnassial in the lower jaw of the badger (which is the first 
molar) is rather hke the first upper molar in appearance, having 
three low cusps on the outer side and two longitudinal ridges 
across the upper talon or heel of the tooth. 

The body is stout and very broad, and the limbs are short. 
The length of an average badger from the tip of the snout 
to the root of the tail is about 2^ ft. The tail, which is very 
bushy, like a stumpy white brush, is about 7J in. in length.^ 
The badger is quite plantigrade as regards the fore feet, but 
the hind feet are only semi-plantigrade — that is to say, that it 
often walks on its toes, and not on the whole length of the 

^ " He stinks like a badger." 

2 A writer in the Globe of May 29th, 1903, gives the average weight of 
Cornish badgers at 30 lb. About the heaviest specimen known is one that 
weighed 43 lb. (Warwickshire). 


foot as far as the heel. The badger only stands about a foot 
high at the shoulder. The body is much flattened, and the back 
is very round and broad. Mr. Aubyn Trevor-Battye points 
out that the badger is able to walk and trot backwards with the 
greatest ease. It very often moves along with a dancing motion, 
something like that of its ally, the Indian ratel. 

The colour of the badger is whitish-gray on the nose, white 
on the muzzle and upper lip, lower lip, cheeks, forehead, nape 
of the neck, middle of the neck, and shoulders ; also the long 
hairs of the flanks and belly are white. A black mark starts 
from just behind the muzzle, above the edge of the upper lip, 
passes across the cheeks and behind the eyes to the base of the 
ears, and is continued behind the ears on to the shoulder. The 
rim of the ear (which is broad and rather long) is white, the inside 
of the ear being blackish. Underneath the chin, on the throat 
and chest, the colour is black. The lower part of the arms, the 
fore feet, and the hind feet are also black. The naked nose is a 
purplish plum-colour. The short, scrubby, bushy tail is white all 
over the brush, but the hairs round the base of the tail are 
golden-yellow. The hair on the belly is yellowish-white. A 
touch of lemon-yellow also marks the white hair ridges on the 
cheeks. This lemon-yellow is replaced by a reddish tint on the 
edges of the stiff white hair that marks the sides of the neck. 
The naked skin of the tips of the fingers and toes is pinkish, and 
the long claws are pinkish-brown. The whole of the back, from 
the nape of the neck to the base of the tail, and also the sides, are 
covered with long coarse hair, which in general is gray, but is 
a blackish or grayish-brown on the back and pale brown on the 
sides. The lower ends of these long hairs are often blackish, and 
when they lie smoothly on the body they seem to mark it with 
black bands. Old badgers sometimes become quite a light 
silvery-gray on this part of the body. The claws of the front 
paws are long and rather horizontal, not much curved. The 
claws of the smaller hind feet stick out horizontally, and are much 
worn down. 

The skin of the badger is singularly loose for the size of the 

Photo by w. P. Dando, p.z.s. ^pj^j, pj^,^ Marten (Mustcla maiies). 

Photo by W. P. Dando, F.Z.S. 

The Badger [Meles taxus). 

To face p. 144. 


body, so that the creature when seized by any part can turn 
rapidly and bite. The badger is endowed with astonishing 
strength of jaw, which it is impossible to dislocate, the lower 
being articulated with the upper in such a manner that it cannot 
be detached except by breaking the skull. This strength of jaw, 
combined with the flattened, ridged molar teeth, enables it, no 
doubt, to crack up roots, bones, nuts, and other substances. It 
is almost omnivorous in food, eating nearly every kind of fruit, 
the eggs of birds, roots, fungi, nuts, honey and the larvae of wasps 
and bees, frogs, snails, and insects. 

Like most beasts of any considerable size in a wild state, the 
badger is silent under ordinary circumstances, except during the 
breeding season, when it grunts and yelps. In captivity, however, 
when it has ceased to fear making its presence known, it is as noisy 
as a dog, uttering sharp barks and yelps not unlike those of a 


The sexes do not associate much, except at the breedmg 
season, which appears to take place in October or earlier in the 
summer-time. The young are born within the deepest recesses 
of the female's burrow, in a large, snug nest made of dry fern 
and grass. The young may be born any time between March 
and June. It would seem as though the normal period of 
gestation was about six months, but apparently the female badger, 
like the roe deer, has the power of retarding the development of 
the foetus, so that cases are recorded of female badgers having 
gone with young for more than twelve months. 

The young are quite blind when born, and in some cases do 
not open their eyes till more than a fortnight after birth. 

Although each badger dwells alone in its burrow, except, 
perhaps, during the breeding season, or when the female is rearing 
her young, they are not wholly solitary, since a number of them 
seem to make their burrows in close proximity, and frequently a 
pair or more will go out together to forage for food. 

They are nocturnal in habits. Their favourite haunts are the 
deepest recesses of woods or the copse-clad sides of hills, cliffs, or 
quarries. At the bottom of some hillside, or possibly under- 


neath a bank, or in a disused quarry, it tears out with the long 
and powerful claws of the front feet (kicking away the earth also 
with the hind paws) a deep burrow, which at the end probably forks 
into a couple of holes. The burrow, or at any rate the sleeping 
chamber, is kept scrupulously clean, and is lined with dried grass 
and bracken fern or other herbage. Mr. Ellis, who has written 
much on the habits of the badger, states that in the autumn the 
old bedding is replaced by fresh, and for this purpose fern and 
grass are torn up by the badger previously and left to dry in little 
heaps. In such a retreat as this the badger passes a good deal of 
the daylight, starting forth at sunset or in the twilight to seek for 
food. Generally, as the badger leaves the mouth of its burrow 
it kicks up against it a good deal of loose soil and vegetation to 
screen the entrance. Badgers hibernate in the British Islands to 
a certain extent, though not so uninterruptedly as in parts of 
Northern Europe. Badgers and foxes sometimes dwell together 
in close proximity and apparently on friendly terms, or at any 
rate with friendly neutrality. The fox being a lazy animal 
dislikes the bother of making a burrow for himself, and will 
sometimes attempt to take possession of one which has been 
temporarily discarded by a badger. It is said, even, that in one of 
these burrows with twin nests at the end fox cubs have been 
brought up on one side and badger cubs on the other. 

Badgers readily take to the water, and are good swimmers. 
Their presence in Ireland, however, is somewhat of a problem, 
since they would probably not be able to swim across the existing 
strait between the Mull of Kintyre and the coast of Antrim ; 
yet it is doubtful whether, when the badger entered England 
from the Continent of Europe by the then existing land bridge, 
there was still any land connection between Scotland and Ireland. 
Nevertheless, badgers are found pretty widely all over Ireland, and 
their fossil remains even have been discovered in caves in the south 
of Ireland. In England they have existed since the Pleistocene 
Epoch. At the present day they are found almost throughout 
England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, but not on the large islands 
off the west coast of Scotland. It is doubtful, also, whether their 

BADGERS (Meles taxus). 


range includes the most northern counties of Scotland. Outside 
the British Islands the range of the common badger extends over 
the greater part of Europe and Northern Asia. Mr. Lydekker 
is of opinion that the Badger group originated in Asia, as the 
remains of the genus Meles are found in early Pliocene deposits 
in Persia, whereas in Europe the animal only dates from the 
Pleistocene period. In all probability India was also the scene of 
radiation of this group of the Mustelids, and from India through 
Central Asia came the ancestors of the American badgers (Taxided) 
and the skunks. Other allies of the badgers are found in Africa, 
but the greater number of genera and species of this group 
inhabit Asia, temperate and tropical, at the present day. 

Although the badger must have been well known to all the 
peoples speaking Aryan languages, it is not often mentioned by 
Greek or Roman writers, and has a great diversity of names in 
Aryan tongues. The Latin meles^ or melis^ may be connected 
with the root mel = honeys and may have been given to it for its 
love of the honeycomb. Or it may be related to an old Aryan 
root mala^ meaning dirty. The Greek taxos is obviously the 
same as the German dachs. The old English name is brock^ and 
the commonness of the badger in earlier times is shown by the 
frequency with which this word forms surnames of people and 
names of places (Brockenhurst, Brockley, Brockenden, etc.). 
Brock, curiously enough, is one of the few words of Celtic origin 
in English. It is the name of the badger in Irish, Gaelic, and 
Manx, becoming in Welsh and Cornish broch. This word is said 
to be derived from a Celtic adjective meaning speckled or greyish. 
The word " badger " is a puzzle to etymologists. Some think 
it comes from the word " badge " (derived through Norman- 
French from Low Latin), and was a nickname implying an 
animal with a badge or stripe, referring to the black and white 
coloration of the head. Others would derive it from another 
Norman-French-Low-Latin word meaning " a stealer of corn," 
as the badger was supposed to (and quite possibly does) rob the 
harvest-fields when the corn is quite ripe. " Badger " in Middle 
English meant a dealer in corn, and was derived through many 


corruptions and changes from a Low Latin name (bladius) for 
wheat, which also gave rise to the French ble. In France, 
curiously enough, the badger is called blaireau, which might also 
be connected with wheat in its origin. As, however, it was 
customary at one period during the badger's persecutions in 
England to push great sacks up the badger's earth at night-time, 
when the animal was out foraging, and then catch it when it had 
bolted into the sack in the early morning, big badgers that were 
caught may have been called " baggers." In any case, the 
present name in use arose as a local slang word in Southern 
England during the fifteenth century, and was sometimes written 
hageard. Getting into the literary dialect of London, it gradually 
replaced the ancient name of " brock," except in country dialects. 
Considering what relatively small harm the badger did to 
man's possessions, it is curious what a long persecution this 
interesting animal has suffered, not only in England, the land 
par excellence where man has been cruel to other animals, but 
also in Germany. Special breeds of dogs (such as the dachshund) 
were trained for digging out the badger, and in parts of Germany, 
when the situation of a badger's burrow was located, an instru- 
ment like a huge corkscrew was driven down from the soil 
above till it either transfixed the badger or drove him out of 
his hole. Badger-baiting in England has given a metaphorical 
expression to the language. On some properties now badgers 
are strictly protected, and the protection ought to be made 
universal in the law of the land, quite as much as in the case 
of interesting wild birds. ^ 


The toes in this group are short, and are united for part of 
their length by a web of skin. They are armed with short, 

^ An interesting letter on " Badgers," by W. T. Dymond, published in the 
Globe of May 29th, 1903, shows that at one time in Cornwall "ardent all- 
round sportsmen " thought little of killing " two hundred " badgers in the 
course of a few years, for no earthly reason but the unreasoning love of 
destruction which classes us as a race on a level with the worst type of negro. 


compressed, and sometimes sharp claws, which in some genera can 
be partially drawn back, as in the cats. In appearance the molar 
teeth are very different from the badger's. The fourth pre- 
molar is a powerful carnassial, narrow, and with generally two 
great cusps. The single upper molar is far smaller than in the 
badger, and is a tooth of no importance, with two tubercles, 
and is very narrow longitudinally. It is set at right angles to 
the fourth premolar, and suggests a decided resemblance to the 
same tooth in the cats. 

Gulo luscus. The Glutton 

This creature is the largest and stoutest member of the 
Weasel sub-family, and is almost equal in size to a small bear 
when full grown. It has a short, bushy tail, and is sub-planti- 
grade. Its dentition, which is thoroughly musteline, suggests 
strong superficial resemblances to that of the cats. It has a very 
large and narrow upper carnassial tooth (fourth premolar), and 
an equally large lower carnassial (first molar). The outermost 
incisor tooth, nearest to the canines, is large, and like a second 
canine in appearance, as is the case in the cats and hyaenas. The 
humerus, or upper arm bone, of the Glutton has what is called an 
entepicondylar foramen, an archaic feature which has been lost in 
the existing dogs and in the bears, but has been retained by the 
cats and the civets (though lost by the hyasnas).^ 

The present range of the glutton extends over Norway, 
Northern Sweden, Northern Russia, Siberia, Alaska, and Canada, 
and anciently — within the time of man — it inhabited Germany, 
France, and England. It is first recorded from England at the 
end of the Pliocene period, and the remains found in English and 

^ This entepicondylar foranaen is a curious perforation of the lower end of 
the humerus, or arm bone, near the condyles, on which move the lower arm 
bones, radius and ulna. Through this crevice pass nerves and blood vessels. 
This foramen through the lower end of the humerus is absent in members of 
the order which includes man {Primates). It is also absent in the Rodents and 
the Ungulates. It is present in Marsupials, Monotremes, and, still more 
remarkable, the Anomodont reptiles, from which the Mammalia are supposed 
to be derived. Consequently it is a very primitive mammalian feature. 


Welsh caves and relatively superficial deposits show that it 
lingered on almost to the Prehistoric or Neolithic period. 

The Martens are handsome Mustelids, larger in size than the 
next genus, which contains the typical Weasels. The body is 
long, slender, and flexible, though not so disproportionately 
elongated as in the True Weasels. The head is broad across the 
forehead, and the muzzle is pointed, the nose being somewhat 
prolonged beyond the lips. The eyes are large and prominent, 
and the ears are well developed, broad and rounded at the ends, 
and heavily furred inside. The paws are somewhat cat-like in 
shape, and their soles are densely furred between the naked pads. 
The tail is long and bushy. The under-fur is abundant, soft, 
and almost woolly, and of a lighter colour than the outer hairs 
which mark its surface. These are long and silky. The 
celebrated sable is a marten. Its coat is singularly beautiful,, 
because both the outer hairs and the inner fur are a beautiful 
reddish-brown.^ The Martens differ from the Weasels (amongst 
other points) in possessing four pairs of premolars in each jaw, 
though the first premolar is small and with only one root. The 
carnassial teeth are well developed, and possess sharp, bi-lobed 
blades. In the upper jaw there is only one pair of molars, which 
are tubercular and very broad transversely, narrow longitudinally, 
and set nearly at right angles to the fourth premolar. Another 
feature of the teeth in the Martens is the smallness of the lower 
incisors and the way in which they crowd together so that they 
are not placed in an even line. The upper incisors are placed 
regularly in a straight line at right angles to the length of the jaw. 
They are long, and rather narrow. 

The Martens have not got the unpleasant smell possessed by 
the True Weasels and derived from the usual anal glands. 
They are graceful and beautiful creatures, and the beech marten 
(which is not an inhabitant of the British Islands, as supposed by 
earlier writers) was domesticated by the Greeks and Romans 
^ " Sable " paint brushes are generally made of squirrels' hair. 


apparently before the domestic cat became a common animal, in 
order to keep their houses clear of rats and mice. In Nipal (to 
the north of the Indian Peninsula) an allied form is also now 
domesticated. Seeing how extremely beautiful and much sought 
after is the pelt of the sable (a Siberian species of marten), it is 
curious that no attempt hitherto has been made to domesticate 
this creature and breed it on a large scale for its fur. Instead of 
doing so the Russian authorities in Siberia are allowing this 
charming creature to be rapidly exterminated. 

Mustela martes. The Pine Marten 

This creature is distinguished from its near ally, the beech 
marten, by the throat and chest being yellow (inclining to white 
at the side, and orange in the centre) instead of white. The 
general colour of the upper parts is a chocolate-brown. The 
ears are edged with white. The under-fur is reddish-gray with 
a tinge of yellow. But the long hairs of the outer fur are rich 
glistening sepia or umber. The hair on the paws is blackish. 

The length of the Pine Marten is sometimes as much as 
20 in. The tail varies in length from 9 in. to 12 in. if it is 
measured to the end of the long hairs at the tip. 

The pine marten probably breeds twice in the year, in 
February and June. The average number of young in a litter is 
three, but as many as seven have been reported from Ireland. 
It generally frequents woods during the breeding season, in order 
to adapt some bird's nest as a home for its young. In Ireland, 
however, it often breeds in crevices of the rocks. Although 
called the pine marten, just as its European congener is called 
the beech marten, it does not affect the pine in preference to 
any other tree ; but inasmuch as its last resorts in the British 
Islands are in districts where the Scotch pine is a common tree, 
and as its habitat on the Continent is Northern rather than Central 
Europe, it is often found in pine forests. In Ireland, however, 
it adapts itself very readily to the lichen and moss-covered rocks 
of the bare mountains. It is generally met with in pairs, there 



being more permanent attachment between male and female than 
is the case with the badger or the fox. 

The marten does not hibernate, and appears, like most of the 
Weasel sub-family, to be more diurnal in its habits than the 

It is a bloodthirsty animal, though not so universally de- 
structive as the stoat. It catches a good many birds in trees, 
devours young rabbits and hares, rats, mice, pheasants, poultry, 
and even lambs. In the west of Scotland and on the coasts of 
Ireland it resorts to the seashore and eats shell-fish. It will also 
eat ripe rowan berries, blackberries, and other fruit. In captivity 
it will readily accept a ripe pear or a fig. When surprised in the 
open by dogs, the pine marten will fight desperately with claws 
and teeth, and if pursued, bounds over the ground with astonish- 
ing leaps of six or seven feet. It makes, of course, for the 
nearest tree, up the trunk of which it flies with extraordinary 
speed, its short sharp claws enabling it to obtain a good hold on 
the bark. In its attacks on birds, and attempts to reach their 
nests, it is somewhat reckless, and will venture out on to very 
slender branches, from which it occasionally falls. One specimen 
seen by the present writer in the south-west of Ireland apparently 
met its death in this manner by falling from the extremity of 
a branch, and breaking its back as it struck a strong lower bough 
in its descent. 

The range of the pine marten at the present day (its existence 
in England and Ireland dates from the Pleistocene Epoch ^) 
includes many parts of England (the Midlands, East Angha, 
North Devon, Hampshire, North Wales, the Lake District, 
Northern Yorkshire, and Durham), the Highlands of Scotland, 
and, until quite recently, the Hebrides (where it became extinct 
about thirty years ago) ; also the north of Ireland, even to the 
vicinity of Dublin. The finest specimens of British martens at 
the present day probably come from the west of Ireland. The 
author's painting has been done from Irish specimens. The range 

^ Like so many other mammals, the Marten genus seems to have originated 
in India, its remains in the Siwalik Hills dating back to the Pliocene period. 


of the pine marten outside the British Islands includes the whole 
of Northern Europe and Western Siberia. Its place in Southern 
Germany, France, and Italy, Eastern Europe, and South-western 
Asia is taken by the beech marten, which is distinguished by the 
white coloration of the under parts, and by slight differences 
in the molar teeth. It is melancholy to read in the self-satisfied 
records of " naturalists," how a fine pine marten was shot quite 
close to London, in Hertfordshire, not many years ago, and how 
another was destroyed with equal gusto in some other Home 
County, and so many more in North Wales. If the persons who 
shot these martens would only strip off their clothes, let their 
hair grow, and become wild men of the woods, one would not so 
much mind their ravages on the British fauna ; as it is, they are 
not nearly so interesting, physically and mentally, as the creatures 
they destroy, and are generally, in addition, an incongruous blot 
on the landscape. If martens received a reasonable degree of 
protection and became more accustomed to man, they would 
be beautiful objects in the British woods as they scrambled about 
the branches in pursuit of birds or squirrels ; and if other wild 
birds and beasts not so disastrously harmful as the rat or the 
sparrow were allowed to co-exist, the marten would have enough 
to feed on without resorting to occasional ravages on the 
poultry yard. 

The True Weasels (minks, polecats, stoats, and weasels) differ 
from the martens in having only three pairs of premolar teeth in 
each jaw. The bodies, also, are proportionately more elongated. 
The tail is shorter. Members of this genus also differ from the 
martens in the foul smell of the anal glands, and perhaps, also, in 
the greater difference in size between the males and the females. 
It must be admitted that there is much to be said against elevat- 
ing this generic distinction between the members of the sub- 
family Musteline, especially as many extinct forms of True 
Weasel possessed four pairs of premolar teeth in one or other 
or both of the jaws. 


Putorius fcetidus. The Common Polecat 

The origin of the name of this large weasel is very doubtful. 
It appears in early English after the Norman Conquest, and it 
written polcat. The second syllable explains itself, but pole^ or 
pol^ is possibly derived from the French poule^ a hen, because 
of the fondness this creature shows for attacking domestic 
poultry ; or it may be a variant of the Anglo-Saxon word ful 
(foul). In early English it was also called foumart^ or " foul 
marten," from its disgusting smell. In old French this animal 
was called /jj^z^ (corrupted in English into fitchew^ or fitchet), and 
this was derived from an old Low German and Scandinavian verb, 
to make a disagreeable smell (allied to English fi-zz and fizzle). 
Whatever name is given to this creature, whether it be the Latin 
Putorius or the French PutoiSj is connected with the fact of its 
filthy odour, due to the secretion in the anal glands underneath 
the base of the tail. The length of a fair-sized male polecat is 
about 17 in. from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. 
The tail, which is short and bushy, is another 6 in. or 7 in. 
long. The female, on the other hand, may only measure 1 1 in. 
to 12 in. along the head and body, with the tail about 5 in. 
longer. The male polecat in country dialect is usually known 
as the "hob," a name also given to male stoats and weasels. 
The first finger or toe on all four feet is very short. 

The colour of the polecat is rather handsome. The upper 
and lower lips are white. The white extends on a little distance 
over the muzzle, and is succeeded sharply by a blackish-brown, 
which extends from the under side of the jaws over the eyes and 
nose. There is a band over the forehead behind the eyes stretch- 
ing to the extremity of each cheek, which is a dark bluish-gray, 
with perhaps a tendency in some varieties to become whitish. 
The blackish-brown colour begins again behind this gray band on 
the forehead, and includes the ears and neck. The rim of the ear 
is white. All four legs are black. The greater part of the body 
has an under-fur, which is dense, soft, and matted, and of a 
yellowish-brown colour, sometimes quite a pale ochre. This, 

To face p. 154. 


however, is largely concealed by the long upper hairs, which are 
glossy black, so that the general aspect of the polecat from the 
forehead to the tip of the tail is blackish-brown, but this general 
tone is broken when any raising of the outer hairs reveals the pale 
yellow of the under-wool. Like the marten and the other 
weasels, the polecat is a silent animal ; but it can growl fiercely, 
and when alarmed or in pain it makes a squeaking noise, and will 
give a low mewing cry to its mate or its offspring. 

The female polecat apparently only breeds once a year, in 
May or the beginning of June, making her nest in a rabbit 
burrow or in the crevices of rocks, or any other hole or corner 
more or less concealed by stones or brushwood. The number of 
young ranges from four to six. They are born blind. There 
are three pairs of ventral mamms in the female.^ The period of 
gestation is about seven weeks. 

The polecat is extremely bloodthirsty, killing much more than 
it can devour, apparently for the pleasure of killing, or the 
delight of sucking the hot blood of its victim. It is entirely 
carnivorous in a wild state, though in captivity it will eat bread 
and milk. It devours all small mammals, birds, and snakes, 
lizards, frogs, fish, and eggs. Generally when on the forage it 
destroys everything within reach, and will then carry away one of 
its victims to be devoured at leisure. It is more nocturnal in its 
habits than the marten, but that is rather due to an avoidance of 
man than to dislike of daylight. It cares little for climbing trees, 
but will readily take to the water and swim. It does not burrow 
for itself, but will often take possession of the holes dug by foxes 
or rabbits. It will often hide in the crevices of rocks and in 
discarded buildings. 

Earlier writers state that the polecat will catch frogs and toads 
and bite them through the brain in a manner sufficient to paralyse 
but not to kill them, and that these half-living amphibians are 
then transferred to its nest, to serve as provender for the young. 
In one polecat's nest forty frogs and two toads thus dealt with 

^ Sometimes four pairs. In ferrets there are usually four pairs, with 
occasionally an odd one, making nine in all. 


were found close to the five young polecats. As it is also very 
fond of birds' eggs, it is no doubt a source of justifiable anger on 
the part of the gamekeeper or farmer. A pair of polecats in a 
rabbit warren will in time efface the rabbits, while pheasants run 
a very poor chance of co-existence, since their eggs and young 
and they themselves are devoured by this rapacious little Carni- 
vore. Nevertheless, it would be a pity if the polecat became 
wholly extinct, as it is a handsome and interesting creature. 
Of late years its distribution in England has been considerably 
reduced, owing to trapping and poisoning. It still lingers in 
parts of Hampshire, Devonshire, and the Western Midlands, in the 
Lake District, and in Scotland. Earlier writers include the polecat 
in the list of Irish Mammals ; but Dr. Scharff informs the author 
that this is a mistake — that the polecat is absent from Ireland. It 
does not inhabit the Hebrides or the large islands off the west coast 
of Scotland. Outside the British Islands its rans^e extends over the 
greater part of Europe, including the south of Sweden, Russia, 
and Northern Asia. It is also represented by a closely allied form 
in North America. At some unknown period it, or an allied 
species, was domesticated either in North Africa,^ Spain, or Italy. 
This domestic type is known to us as the ferret, and is used 
for rabbit-hunting. For this purpose it was also employed in the 
Roman world. The Latins called it Viverra} From Rome the 
domestic polecat spread through France to England, where it still 
shows traces of its Mediterranean origin by its intolerance of cold. 
The English word " ferret " is probably derived from the French 
furety which again may have a Celtic origin. It is probably 

^ Roman writers persistently refer to the ferret as having come from North 
Africa, yet it is curious that up to the present time no species of polecat has 
been found to exist farther south than Northern Spain and Northern Italy. 
Further researches may, however, bring to light the existence of this animal in 
Algeria or Morocco or Southern Spain. If this point, however, must be given 
up, then it is possible that the polecat may have been domesticated in 
Northern or Central Spain, and sent thence through the Phoenicians to North 
Africa in the form of the ferret, on account of the rabbits which existed in 
Western Mauritania. 

- A name given by zoologists to the Civet genus. 


incorrect to suppose that this name was derived from the Latin 
viverra. The common type of ferret is usually an albino, 
yellowish-white in colour, with pink eyes ; but not infrequently 
the ferret reverts to a type of coloration very similar to the 
polecat, and the two creatures will interbreed. 

The polecat is apparently an older species than the weasel or 
the stoat. It, or a closely allied form, is found in the Pliocene 
deposits in Central France, and in England its remains are 
obtained from the uppermost Pliocene deposits of Suffolk. Its 
remains are also obtained from the Pleistocene deposits of Devon- 
shire and the various British caves. It has apparently not been 
found fossil in either Scotland or Ireland. 

Tutorius ermineus. The Stoat or Ermine 

The stoat and the weasel differ from the Polecat Mink 
section of the genus in little more than size and coloration. 
The blackish-brown of the polecat's body, with its tendency to 
a black belly, is replaced by the clearly defined reddish-brown 
upper parts and the almost pure white ot the lower portions of 
the body in stoats and weasels. The last-named Mustelids, also, 
are markedly smaller in their size. The tail is less bushy, and 
the feet are so much more covered with hair that the claws are 
scarcely visible. 

The Common Stoat is a handsome little creature, nearly 1 1 in. 
long from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail in a full- 
grown male. The female is a good deal smaller, since she only 
measures about 9 in. in the length of the head and body. The 
tail in a male may be about 6^ in. long, as against something 
under 5 in. in the female. The body has the characteristic 
weasel proportions of great length compared with the short limbs. 
It is less plantigrade than the polecat, and runs more on its 
toes than on the full length of the foot. Its general method of 
progress is by a series of bounds or a long gallop. Its colour 
in the summer dress is reddish-brown above and white (some- 
times tinted with lemon) below. The edge of the ears, and 
sometimes the hair along the tips of the toes, is white. The 


last third of the tail is black, and these hairs are almost plume- 
like. The white coloration of the under parts commences with 
the upper lip, and extends almost to the angle of the ear. It 
includes the throat, chest, belly, and under side of the limbs. 
These colours of the summer coat may persist throughout the 
whole year in stoats found in the south of England, though 
even in these examples there may be white patches or spots 
occurring in the winter-time. But in the north of England 
and Scotland (the true stoat is not found in Ireland), and in 
the north of Europe, Asia, and America, the stoat assumes that 
winter coloration which is so familiar to us under the name of 
ermine fur. The whole of the creature's body is then a pure 
white, exquisitely tinged perhaps with lemon-yellow, especially 
near the base of the tail. The terminal third of the tail, however, 
remains a jet-black colour, and this is made the most of in the 
preparation of ermine fur, the vivid contrast of the black tail 
and the white body having very early struck the Teutonic fancy, 
and thus become associated with royal or noble dress. In the 
midland counties of England the winter change of the stoat may 
occasionally be complete, or it may be limited to the spreading 
of white in irregular blotches over the flanks and limbs, 
leaving, in some instances, merely a red-brown streak all down 
the middle of the back. 

The eyes are somewhat larger than in the weasel, and the ear 
conch is perhaps a little more developed. The paws are fringed 
with such long hair that the pale-coloured claws are scarcely 
visible, and it is difficult to count the divisions in the toes. The 
teeth do not differ markedly from those of the polecat in number 
or in shape. The upper canines are particularly long and sharp. 

The stoat breeds about February, and produces young in 
about April or May. It does not seem to have a second brood 
within the twelve months. The young, produced in a litter, are 
not more than five or six in number. The nest is generally 
made in some hole in a bank, or in the bole of a hollow tree. 
It is composed of dried leaves and grass, and is warm and dry. 
When the young are a month old, they may often be seen 

From an original drawing by the Author. 

The Common Stoat (Putorius ermineus) : Summek coat. 

To face p. 158. 


frolicking outside the nest, not being particularly timid or 
alarmed at the presence of man. It is a silent creature ordinarily, 
but when fiercely protecting its young it utters a chuckling, 
clucking sound. 

The stoat, like the weasel, is famed for its bloodthirsty 
disposition and unremitting pursuit of its victims. The smaller 
ones are killed by a bite over the back of the neck ; the larger, 
like hares or rabbits, by the severance of the blood vessels of 
the throat, on to which the stoat will hang (sucking blood all 
the time) pertinaciously, so that it will often allow itself, still 
attached to its victim, to be picked up by a human being. It 
swims well, and thinks nothing of attacking and kilhng the 
water vole. When swimming, the head and upper part of the 
shoulders are kept well above the surface of the water, the line 
of the back being just below, and the tip of the tail just showing. 
It is equally agile in ascending trees and running along the most 
slender branches. Its disposition is extraordinarily playful. It 
will sit up on a tripod made by its hind legs and tail and fence 
at a companion with its fore paws, or leap vertically in the air, 
performing a summersault, hop or strut on its hind limbs, 
throw itself over backwards, stopping every now and then in 
an erect position to utter little pert coughs, as if shocked at the 
impudence of its companions or of the observer. These extra- 
ordinary gambols are said to be part of its system of fascinating 
its larger and stupider victims like the hare and rabbit. Hares 
have been observed to gaze with stupid curiosity at this frolic- 
some creature and its clownish tricks, until at last the stoat in 
its gambols had approached sufficiently near to dash at the throat 
of its victim. On the other hand, circumstantial accounts are 
given of its indulging in these pastimes from a sheer spirit of 
play, and actually playing with the rabbits without winding up 
the performance with any sinister action. This almost reminds 
the author of this book of the equally strange proximity, in parts 
of Eastern and Central Africa, of the lion, leopard, cheetah, 
jackal, and herds of antelopes and zebras. These beasts of prey 
may, in those rare districts where Europeans have not made 


everything wild and apprehensive, be seen actually strolling 
round the great herds of browsing beasts without disturbing 
their equanimity. 

The stoat hunts by scent more than by sight, and when in 
doubt darts backwards and forwards till it is certain that the 
right track has been hit off, after which it trots along at a rapid 
pace with its nose to the ground. This creature is almost 
beneficial to man from the number of voles, mice, and rats which 
it kills. Young stoats are mainly reared on mice and voles. 

The present distribution of the common stoat includes 
England and Scotland, but not Ireland. It ranges through all 
Northern Europe, Northern and Temperate Asia down to the 
Himalayas, and North America almost as far south as the Mexican 
frontier. In Northern Europe, Siberia, and North America it is 
known as the ermine when in its beautiful winter dress of lemon- 
tinted white with a black-tufted tail. The word " ermine " 
in English is derived through the Norman-French from the 
Teutonic harmin (Anglo-Saxon hearma). This again seems to 
come from a Lithuanian word, sharmu. In its summer dress the 
Anglo-Saxons seem to have often confused the stoat with the 
weasel. It was called the stoat, or stot, weasel, meaning the bigger, 
more pushing, energetic of the two beasts. " Stoat " is derived 
from a Scandinavian and Low German root represented by the 
Gothic stautan^ to push. It was a term often applied to male 
animals in general, and is met with in dialectal English {jtoi) in 
the sense of a stallion, or a young bullock. 

The stoat has seemingly inhabited England since the 
Pleistocene period. 

Putorius hihernicus. The Irish Stoat 

This creature is peculiar to Ireland, from which country the 
common stoat and the weasel are absent. For£a long time the 
Irish Stoat was described as a large weasel, but it would seem to 
be an independent species, and perhaps a dwarf form of the 
common stoat. It is a smaller animal than the last named, being 
barely 9 in. long from the tip of the snout to the base of 


the tail in a full-grown male. The female is an inch shorter. 
The tail is about 4 in. in length, and has a black tip. The 
coloration is pretty much the same as in the common stoat, but 
it undergoes no winter change. In all respects as regards habits 
Putorius hibernicus differs very little from Putorius ermineus. 

Putorius vulgaris. The Weasel 

This pretty little beast is the smallest existing Carnivore. 
The adult female Weasel is only 7 in. in length from the tip of the 
snout to the base of the tail, and her stumpy little rough-haired 
tail measures another 2 in. A well-grown male weasel may be 
slightly over 8 in. in the length of the head and body, and his 
tail may run to 2^ in. The measurement of the fine specimen 
from which the author's drawing was made (sent to him from 
Salsey Forest, Northamptonshire) measured along the head and 
body nearly 8^ in. The elongated character of the body reaches 
its most exaggerated development in this little creature, the most 
snake-like in form of any mammal. The body is not only long 
and slender, but also arched over the back. The head is small 
and flattened, the ears very short and rounded. The neck is 
proportionately longer than in the stoat. The limbs are very 
short, digitigrade, and the toes are almost concealed by the long, 
coarse hair which covers the feet. The eyes are small and black. 
From the muzzle and the brows there are the usual long vibrissas 
observable in most of the Carnivores. The colour of the upper 
part of the head, neck, and body, the tail, the outer surface of 
the limbs, and the feet is a light reddish-brown, very similar 
to the colour of the stoat. The short tail is reddish-brown 
throughout its length, and has no black tuft. From the upper 
lips and cheeks to the verge of the ear, and all over the under 
surface of the body and inside of the limbs, the hair is white, 
generally pure white, sometimes grayish or buff-tinted. The 
weasel does not usually, like the stoat, turn completely white in 
the winter in the northern parts of England and Scotland. 
Occasionally specimens from the Highlands of Scotland have 
been secured in which nearly the whole of the body was white. 


while the tail remained pale reddish-brown ; but in Northern 
Europe, Northern Asia, and Canada the weasel often turns com- 
pletely white in the winter, a reddish tint remaining in the tail. 

The weasel would seem to have two broods in the twelve 
months. The breeding probably takes place first in January or 
February, and the young are born, after about six weeks' gestation, 
in April. Four is the average number of young in a litter ; 
occasionally there are five, or even six. Another brood may 
make .ts appearance in July. Cases of three broods in the year 
are reported. No doubt the number of broods depends greatly 
on the supply of food, and a vole plague is said to have coincided 
with great prolificness on the part of weasels. There are three 
pairs of mammae. The mother would seem to suckle her young 
for a month with great assiduity. After this she begins foraging 
for meat on their account while they remain snug and safe in the 
nest, outside which they often come to play with one another. 
When the next brood is near being born the mother turns the first 
lot of young ones out of the nest, and they probably make a home 
for themselves close by. Some keepers, however, state that the tiny 
cubs of the summer brood are born and brought up in the same 
nest with the spring litter. Young weasels are born blind, but 
well covered with hair. To form a nest for their reception the 
female weasel either scrapes out and lines with grass and leaves 
a former home, or makes a fresh receptacle. She may also 
establish her nest in a discarded rabbit burrow. As a rule the 
nests are made in banks, and very often under the overhanging 
roots of trees. The mother weasel is bold and desperate in the 
defence of her young, and will fiercely attack dogs who are 
attempting to tear out the nest. 

Weasels, old and young, are sportive, but the young are 
more playful than kittens, and seem to be full of the joy of 
living. The same characteristic may be observed in young 
genets,^ perhaps the most exquisite little romps that could 
be found, since they have what the weasel does not possess — 
beautiful long tails and handsome spots. Nevertheless, the 
^ Genetta — allied to Civets. 

Till-: Wkaskl (I'liluriiis nivalis). 

To face p. 162. 


weasel, for beauty, grace, and interest, can match most other 
Carnivores, and it argues a great want of geniality on the part 
of the Northern Aryans that we have not domesticated the weasel, 
as the Greeks and Romans did the marten and the spotted genet, 
and as the Egyptians tamed the cat. Perhaps it might be argued 
that the weasel, being so small and lithe, would have become 
almost uncontrollable, haunting our houses like the rat, and not 
confining its destructive powers to rats and mice. But the 
experiment would be well worth trying. 

Except by its short tail, which has no black tuft, and its much 
smaller size, the weasel differs but little from the stoat, and its 
habits are remarkably similar. The weasel kills its smaller 
victims, such as mice, by a single bite on the head which pierces 
to the brain. In this case, as soon as the animal is dead it 
generally proceeds to open the skull and devour the brain, which 
is regarded as a very choice morsel. As regards blood-sucking, 
it is doubtful whether the weasel or the stoat deliberately apply 
themselves to this practice with a view to obtaining nourishment ; 
but when attacking all larger mammals or birds whose skulls are 
not easily attained, or are too hard to be bitten through, it goes 
for the great blood-vessels under the wing in birds and in the 
throat of mammals. Having severed these vessels in a rabbit or 
a hare (for instance), the weasel no doubt greedily sucks at the 
blood of its victim. The weasel, however, does not as a rule 
attack prey that is too large to be carried off. Mice or voles are 
generally carried by the skin of the neck, the head of the weasel 
being held as erect as possible, so as to keep the hind quarters of 
its quarry off the ground. Once stowed away in or near the nest, 
the carcass is eaten at leisure, part of it becoming quite putrid 
before it is eaten. 

The structure of the weasel's body, its long, snake-like neck, 
short tail, and limbs, enable it to pursue mice, voles, and rats 
through the tunnels these make in passing to and fro in dense 
grass, hedgerows, or thickets. Like the stoat, it hunts by scent, 
and though its sight may often reveal the proximity of a victim, 
once on the hunt it rarely raises its head above the ground. If 


the scent is lost, the weasel retraces its steps, and darts about in 
every direction till it has picked up the trail. Like the stoats, 
weasels climb easily and swim well, and will frequently pursue their 
prey across water. They are sometimes to be met with near 
corn-ricks ; and the farmer who would slay them then would 
indeed be a crass fool ; for the weasel will wind its way in and out 
of the burrows made by mice, and almost, if not entirely, rid the 
rick of these pests. Weasels are not of quite so much use against 
rats, because the rat is a strong beast, and has a habit of com- 
bining against beasts of prey when attacked in its own quarters. 
They are more gregarious than stoats and polecats. Parties of 
four, five, or even eight may often be seen hunting together. 
Possibly they represent the father an4 mother weasel and the 
grown or half-grown young, but apparently they work with the same 
idea of co-operation as exists in a pack of wild dogs. The distri- 
bution of the weasel in the British Islands includes most parts of 
England and Scotland. It is not found in Ireland, but outside 
Great Britain it ranges over nearly the whole of Europe, North 
and Central Asia, and North America. Its fossil remains in 
Britain do not go back so far as those of the stoat, the marten, or 
the polecat, and it is probably a creature of later development 
and greater specialisation. Hitherto the only remains certainly 
attributable to the weasel have been found in Devonshire and 
Yorkshire cave deposits. The name " weasel " is of Teutonic 
origin, and is a diminutive. It is possibly derived from the root 
wiz (compare wizen), to shrink or dry up, on account of the 
way in which the weasel squeezes through small openings. The 
female weasel, which is so much smaller than the male, is some- 
times taken to be a different beast, and is called cane^ or kine. 




In order that the reader who is not already a zoologist may- 
apprehend the scheme of the existing Carnivora, an allusion may 
be made here to the family of the Viverrida, or Civets, although 
this group has not been represented in England since the Upper 
Eocene (Oligocene) period, when a species allied to the existing 
civets of India and Africa inhabited the Isle of Wight, and no 
doubt other parts of Southern England. If, as supposed, this 
Viverra hastingsi<e is really a member of the genus Viverra^ it 
would make it almost the oldest mammalian genus in existence. 
The Viverrids represent rather a generalised type of Fissipede 
Carnivore, though a little more specialised in some directions 
than the Dogs. They are one of those basal groups from which 
more highly modified types, such as the Hyaenas, Cats, and 
possibly the Machairodonts, sprang.^ The most frequent 
dental formula amongst Viverrids is three pairs of incisors in 
both jaws, one pair of canines, four pairs of premolars, and two 
pairs of molars. The Civets possess, with few exceptions, the 
alisphenoid canal and the entepicondylar foramen of the humerus 
alluded to on pp. ii8 and 129. 

The Civets are entirely Old World in their range, past and 
present. The site of their origin may have been Europe or 

^ There is some relationship between the Machairodonts and that 
aberrant Viverrid of Madagascar, Cryptoprocta, which has many cat-like 
features in its structure and dentition, but differs markedly from the Cats 
and Civets in the arrangement of the external male genital organs. 



Northern Africa. In Europe (including Britain) their remains 
go back to the Upper Eocene. Down to the present time no 
remains have been found in Asia of any form of civet anterior 
to the Upper Miocene. Europe, therefore, may have had the 
privilege of originating this group, as it may also have given 
birth to the Dogs, Weasels, Hyasnas, Cats, Machairodonts, and 
even the basal forms of the true Carnivora. With Europe in 
these developments might have been associated the Continent 
of Africa, at any rate its northern portion. 

The Hyasnas undoubtedly sprang from the Civets through 
some such type as the extinct Ictitherium. In their divergence 
from this group they threw off a curious degenerate form, the 
Aard Wolf {Froteles') of Africa. This family has lost the 
alisphenoid canal in the base of the skull and the entepicondylar 
foramen of the humerus. The dental formula is reduced in 
existing forms to three pairs of incisors in both jaws, one pair of 
canines, four pairs of premolars in the upper jaw and one pair 
in the lower, and only one pair of molars in both jaws. The 
teeth, especially the canines and hinder molars, are large and 
strong. The upper carnassial has a great blade divided into three 
distinct lobes. The single upper molar tooth is very small, and 
placed at right angles to the hinder edge of the carnassial 
premolar. The whole of the hyasna's skull is strengthened with 
a view to the cracking of bones by the powerful jaw. The limbs 
are practically four-toed, as the first toes on fore and hind feet 
are only represented by rudimentary bones. There are anal 
scent glands under the tail, as in so many of the Carnivora. The 
genus Hyana at the present day is divided into three species, 
the first two of which (the striped and the brown hyaenas) are 
closely allied, while the third species, the spotted, is almost 
generically distinct. The brown hyaena still exists in South and 
East Africa, and is perhaps the most generalised of the existing 
forms ; but as no trace of it has ever been found in England 
it would be out of place to describe it here. 


Hyaena striata. The Striped Hy^na 

In this and In the brown hyaena the upper molar tooth is 
more normal in size than in the spotted hyaena, and it has three 
roots. The lower molar is also proportionately larger, and has 
a well-developed inner cusp and hind talon. The ears are large 
and pointed, and there is a mane of long hair on the back from 
the nape of the neck to the base of the tail. The tail also is very 
bushy, and the shaggy hair of the body is marked with irregular 
stripes something like those of the tiger. The present range of 
the Striped Hyaena is limited to Northern, North-western, and 
North-eastern Africa (perhaps as far south as Unyamwezi, 
Kilimanjaro, and Somaliland), Arabia, Syria, parts of Mesopo- 
tamia, Persia, Palestine, and India as far south as the Deccan 
(it does not spread westwards as far as Bengal or southwards as 
far as Ceylon). Anciently, in Pliocene and Pleistocene times, 
the striped hyaena inhabited Southern France, and possibly Italy ; 
no doubt also the greater part of Southern and Western Europe. 
Its range even extended to Eastern England at the end of the 
Pliocene period. 

Hycena crocuta. The Spotted Hy^na 

This is the most specialised of the hyaenas. The upper molar 
is very small, and sometimes has only one root. It often falls 
out in the adult animal. The carnassial molar in the lower jaw 
is also reduced in size, and has no inner cusp. The ears are 
moderate in size and rounded, and the hair along the back forms 
no mane, and only a very slight one on the neck and throat. 
The tail is short, and has not nearly so large a brush as in the 
striped hyaena. Moreover, the markings are spots distributed 
pretty widely over the body, and not stripes.^ The female of 
the Spotted Hyaena shares that peculiarity already described in the 
female mole, by which the external male genital organs are exactly 

^ In the equatorial regions west of the Victoria Nyanza a local variety of 
spotted hyaena is found (a skin of which the author brought home and sent 
to the British Museum) in which the spots are more distinct and black, and 
are almost prolonged in places into short stripes. 


imitated in appearance by the female parts, though the resem- 
blance is only superficial. It thus seems to the casual observer 
not acquainted with this hyaena's anatomy that every specimen 
killed is a male. 

The present range of the spotted hyaena (which generally 
attains to a larger size than either the brown or the striped 
forms) is limited to Africa south of the Sahara Desert. In 
Eastern and Southern Africa it co-exists respectively with the 
striped and the brown hyaena. In Somaliland it grows to a great 
size, and is almost as bold and dangerous as the lion. Its 
former range in geological history was far more extensive. On 
the east it reached as far as Southern India, and on the north 
to Yorkshire. Its remains dating back to the Pleistocene and 
Pliocene periods have been found in all the countries of Southern, 
Central, and Western Europe as far north as Saxony, Yorkshire, 
and Wales. The spotted hyaena first appears in East Anglia 
at the close of the Pliocene period. In the Pleistocene it 
swarmed over England and parts of Wales almost down to the 
arrival of Neolithic man. Many of these hyaenas must have 
dwelt in the caves, in which their remains are found in incredible 
quantities. They almost seem to have shared these domains on 
terms of alliance with the cave bear and the great cave lion. 
At one time this cave-dwelling hyaena was distinguished specific- 
ally as Hyaena spelaa, just as the cave lion was called Felis 
spelica ; but the cave hyaena was nothing but a very large form 
of spotted hyaena which inhabited England, France, and other 
parts of Europe, just as the Felis speUa is nothing more than 
a very big lion. The range of the spotted hyaena in England 
(like that of so many animals now of African habitat) does not 
seem to have extended beyond Yorkshire. No remains of the 
hyaena have been obtained in Scotland or Ireland. 


Here we have the destructive carnivorous mammal brought to 

its most amazing development, a development distancing even 

that of the lion and tiger, and only exceeded in potency by man 


with his weapons and cunning. The Machairodonts are closely 
related in origin to the True Cats, though, on the one hand, they 
exhibit more generalised features in their structure, and, there- 
fore, cannot be derived from the existing cats ; and, on the other, 
their dentition shows great specialisation. The general structure 
of the skeleton is remarkably like that of the Cats, but at the base 
of the skull there is an alisphenoid canal, together with other 
features (postglenoid and carotid foramens) of a primitive character 
lost in the True Cats. The femur, or thigh bone, also retains 
the third trochanter, a feature which is entirely lost in the 
True Cats. 

In their dentition the Machairodonts begin as very generalised 
cats with a tooth formula of three pairs of incisors in each jaw, 
one pair of canines, four pairs of premolars in the upper jaw and 
three in the lower, and one pair of molars in each jaw. But in 
the genus Eusmilus the teeth were reduced to three pairs of 
incisors in the upper and only two pairs in the lower, while in the 
upper jaw there were only two pairs of premolars and a single 
pair of molars, and in the lower jaw one pair of premolars and 
one pair of molars. The canine teeth through all this family 
or sub-family were gradually developed to enormous size and 
trenchant capabilities, so that in the grandest examples the upper 
canine may well be compared to a sabre, as it is broad, flattened, 
thin, and has a finely serrated edge. The great tusks of the 
sabre-toothed "tigers" differ, indeed, from most developments of 
tusk-like canines (except in the case of some extinct Ungulates) in 
their very small diametrical measurement. They are broadened 
and flattened out like the blade of a scythe. Curiously enough, 
the most specialised Machairodont (so far as dentition is concerned) 
appears very early in geological history. This is the genus 
Eusmilus^ which makes its appearance in the Upper Eocene. It 
may even have reached Britain, though no traces of it have yet 
been discovered. This is admittedly one of the problems of 
palaeontology. It is not until the Upper Eocene that any traces 
whatever of True Carnivores are found. At this stage we find 
ancestral forms of the Cats, Civets, and Dogs, yet at the same 


period here is the most specialised, not only of the Machairo- 
donts, but in some respects of the whole carnivorous group — 
Eusmilus. One would almost hope that the problem might be 
explained by a mistake having arisen in the attribution of the 
few known remains of Eusmilus to such a remote period as the 
earliest division of the Tertiary Epoch. The remains of Eusmilus 
would be more in place if they had been found in the Pliocene or 

Machairodus, the sabre-toothed " tiger ''par excellence, though a 
little less specialised in teeth, was probably larger in size and 
more specialised in the structure of its skeleton than Eusmilus^ 
and is best regarded as heading up all the family or sub-family of 
the Machairodonts. This genus seems to have arisen in Europe 
(France) at the end of the Eocene, but not to have reached its 
full development till long afterwards, in the middle of the 
Miocene, when it had already spread out into several other 
species in France, Germany, Greece, and Persia. In the Pliocene 
period a form of Machairodus had reached England, and its 
remains are found in Norfolk. During the Pliocene the Machairo- 
donts also spread into India, and possibly farther east. During 
the Pleistocene the genus produced several species in North 
America, and the largest and grandest species with the hugest 
development of sabre tooth {Machairodus neog^us) spread through 
South America to Patagonia. The Pliocene species of Machairo- 
dont which inhabited Eastern England was Machairodus cultridens, 
which had a very short muzzle and a tremendous chin spread out 
below in flanges to act as a protection for the long, broad sabre- 
tusk when the mouth was closed. In this species the edge of the 
canine tusk was nearly smooth and almost without serrations. 
In the Pleistocene period, and co-existent with Palaeolithic man in 
Britain, appeared Machairodus latidens^ a more specialised form. 
This is apparently identical with Machairodus crinatidens, de- 
scribed also as from the earliest Pleistocene deposits in East 
Anglia, but chiefly from the Upper Pliocene of Italy and France. 
Machairodus I at i dens has a shorter, broader, and thinner canine 
tusk, both edges of which are sometimes strongly serrated, so that 



it is a veritable 
double-e d g e d 
saw - blade. This \W\\\\\\ 
probably was the only ^^Ml 
species of sabre tooth ^^1) 
that was seen by the 
inhabitants of Britain. It was 
not larger than a leopard, however. 
The configuration of the skull of 
these British Machairodonts (more 
so than in the extreme South American 
developments of the same genus) cer- 
tainly resembled in a superficial way 
the skull of the tiger quite sufficiently 
to justify the name first applied to them of 
"sabre-toothed tigers," but none of the 
European species, except, perhaps, M. 
cultridenSj was equal to the tiger in size. The 
resemblance to the tiger is largely due to parallel- 
ism, and not to any close affinity of descent ; for 

Examples of Upper Canine Tooth in Lion and in two Machairodonts. 

Teeth are drawn natural size. 

I. Upper canine tooth of Lion (j'^^'/w /fi?) ; ii. oi Machairodus latidejis ; in. ai Machairodns cultridens. 


to return to the common origin of the tiger and Machairodont 
one must travel back to the most primitive cats of the Upper 
or Middle Eocene. 

The Machairodonts had retractile claws. The earlier forms 
were nearly plantigrade, the latter digitigrade, but not quite so 
markedly as the modern cats. The claws of the largest species 
must have been even more terrible weapons than those of the 
lion and tiger, which look feeble in comparison ; and the strength 
and weight of the tremendous fore limbs are also greater than 
could be seen at the present day in the biggest lion or tiger. 
Nothing (I believe) is known as to the tail of the later and bigger 
Machairodonts. It is possible that this member may have been 
short or almost absent (as in the bears). In the only complete 
skeleton yet obtained of Machairodus neog^us (from South 
America), the bones of the tail have either been accidentally 
lost or the creature was as tailless as a bear. But in Hoplophoneus^ 
an early Machairodont, there was a tail of exceptional length and 

In other respects the Machairodont skeleton is remarkably like 
that of the cat. As in the cats (and hyasnas and bears), the spinous 
process at the top of the second vertebra of the neck is developed 
into a huge transverse plate for the attachment and support of 
the powerful muscles of the head and of the lower jaw. This 
excessive development of the spinous process of the axis verterbae 
shows what tremendous force was given to the bite of the 
Machairodont. Until recently, however, it was an unsolved 
problem with biologists how the highly developed Machairodonts 
got their living (so to speak). The sabre tusks were so long 
that with the ordinary gape of a feline it was impossible that the 
creature could have opened the mouth sufficiently to obtain 
a grip or to take a large bite of any substance into its mouth. 
It was thought that the Machairodonts might have lived by 
sucking the blood of their victims ; but the problem was how, 
unless they struck with the closed mouth — which, again, was 
obviated by the great development of the flanges of the chin — 
they would be able to pierce the veins. An American palaeonto- 



losist, however. In recent researches into the fossil Machairodonts 
of North America, has offered a solution of the problem which 
seems sufficient. He points out that the condyles of the lower 
jaw worked in such a manner on the squamosal groove at the 
base of the skull that the lower jaw could be pulled back by the 
muscles attached to the chin and neck until it was drawn right up 
against the throat. In this manner the Machairodonts obtained 
an enormous gape, and the powerful lower jaw, with its deep 

Gape of Jaws in a British Sabre-toothed " Tiger " [Machairodus cultridens). 

flanges, and its short, strong, hook-like canines and incisors, 
would act as a powerful fulcrum for the vertical sabres implanted 
in the upper jaw. Armed with such cutting power as this, the 
sabre-toothed " tigers " probably severed the vertebral column of 
many a huge Ungulate, and tore off enormous hunks of flesh 
from the quivering body, which they swallowed with little 
mastication. They may also, of course, have severed the great 
blood-vessels and sucked the pumping fountains of venous blood 
down their gullets. 

Possibly, however, over-specialisation told its tale with the 



Machairodonts. They could not have died out for lack of 
provender, or why are they not still subsisting in Africa at the 
present day ? ^ Nor could man have been the immediate cause 
of their extirpation as early as the Pleistocene. One can only 
imagine that they became too heavily armed, and that the use 
of their weapons was too intricate in a life of greater rapidity and 
fiercer competition ; and that, while they starved, the True Cats 
rose to power through their lither frames and less pretentious teeth. 


These are, perhaps, the most beautiful and specialised group 
of the Carnivora. They arose from the basal stock of the True 
Carnivora, no doubt as a development of the Viverrids, and not 
far from where the Weasels branched off in the Middle Eocene 
period. In the Upper Eocene, or earlier, the primitive cats gave 
off that remarkable branch already described as the Machairo- 
donts. In nearly every respect the True Cats of to-day are more 
specialised in structure than the Machairodonts, except, perhaps, 
in the dentition and the shape of the lower jaw. In one respect 
only are they less specialised than the modern dogs, and that 
is the retention of the entepicondylar foramen of the humerus, 
which is entirely absent in every member of the genus Canis. 
On the other hand, they have lost the alisphenoid canal in the 
base of the skull, and the femur or thigh bone is without the 
third trochanter which is present in most Machairodonts and 
early cats. As regards the teeth, there are always three pairs 
of incisor teeth in both jaws. The canines are long, sharp, and 
conical or rounded. They are proportionately longest, perhaps, 
in the species known as the clouded tiger, and the inner edges 
of these canines, especially in the lion and tiger, are finely 
serrated. There are three pairs of premolars in the upper jaw, but 
the first pair is minute, and sometimes missing (as in the lynxes). 
The tooth answering to the fourth premolar, which is the 

^ It is remarkable that down to the present time no remains whatever of 
any Machairodont have been obtained from any part of Africa, though they 
are found in abundance in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. 


carnassial in the upper jaw, is three-rooted, as in the dogs, and 
divided into three lobes in front, with an inner tubercle. Ihe 
single pair of molars in the upper jaw are minute, functionless 
teeth on the road to complete disappearance. They are placed 
at ricrht angles to the long premolar carnassials, are small, and 
tubercular. In the lower jaw there are only two pairs of pre- 
molars, and the first pair is quite unimportant. The single pair 
of molars in the lower jaw form the carnassial teeth, and are 
reduced to a large, narrow, bi-lobed blade, perhaps the most 
powerful cutting tooth in the head. Another point in which the 
cats are less specialised than the modern dogs is in the presence 
of fairly well-developed collar bones, though these are not 
sufficiently prolonged to make the complete shoulder girdle. 
There are five complete toes on the fore feet, the first, or thumb, 
being very short and placed rather high up, but provided with as 
large a claw as the other fingers ; but the hind feet have only 
four functional toes, the first toe being merely represented by 
a rudimentary metatarsal bone concealed under the skin. The 
claws are large in all species, perhaps smallest in the serval. 
They are strongly curved, compressed, and sharp, and are (except in 
one genus) completely retractile, though perhaps more markedly so 
in the fore feet than in the hind limbs. All these conditions of 
the claws, however, are perhaps exceeded in specialisation by 
those of the later Machairodonts. In one genus of True Cats, the 
cheetah {Cynalurus), the claws have to a great extent lost their 
retractility and sharpness, and protrude from the sheaths a little, 
like those of a dog ; but this is due to degeneration rather than 
because it is a primitive characteristic, the cheetah having taken to 
developing great length of limb and swiftness in running. In all 
cats existing at the present day the ears are of moderate size, the 
eyes are rather large, and the tongue is thickly covered with 
sharp-pointed, recurved, horny papillae, so much so that in the 
lion and tiger the tongue is a rasp which can remove pieces of flesh 
from the bone. 

The cats for the most part exhibit spots and stripes of dark 
on light as a marking of their fur, whole-coloured cats, indeed, 


being rare as compared to spotted or striped forms. This 
coloration (often assimilative to surroundings) is, no doubt, a 
concomitant of their stealthy life, and is more needed by the 
solitary cats who take their prey by surprise than by bears and 
dogs who hunt in the open. The spotting and striping is 
generally lost by such cats, large and small, as have adopted this 
more open existence. The cat-like markings are possessed by 
many existing civets and hyaenas, and in a less marked degree by 
the carnivorous Marsupials. 

The cats may have been developed from the primitive 
Carnivores in Europe, in the strata of which continent their 
remains are found at a more remote period (Upper Eocene) than 
any yet discovered in Asia^ or North America. Africa has 
received a large share of the great and notable cats, but there is 
nothing in its palaeontological history to show that it (Africa) was 
the original home of their development, all indications pointing 
either to Europe or Asia. Possibly, as in other cases. Western 
Asia was the centre of radiation. In Western Asia there seem to 
have originated the main types of modern cat — the lion, which 
spread west and north into Europe as far as England, and south- 
westward into Africa, its eastern range once including the whole 
of the Indian Peninsula ; the tiger, which was evolved in Northern 
India or Central Asia from a jaguar-like type, and spread north 
and west perhaps as far as Russia, and north and east till it 
reached not only the Behring Straits and New Siberia, but 
possibly also North America " ; the jaguar, which once inhabited 

^ These continents have not been as well explored for their fossils as 
Europe. The earliest form of cat found in Asia dates back to the Upper 
Miocene, and in North America to the Lower Miocene ; but it must be 
remembered that the term " European " as applied to fossils sometimes 
includes Western Persia. 

" Remains are found in North America of two great cats about the size of 
a lion, and very lion-like in skull — Felis atrox and Felis augusta. These may 
have been only local variations of the tiger. The tiger is known to have 
inhabited the Arctic islands of New Siberia, and its range at the present day 
is not so very far distant from Behring Straits. On the other hand, no 
trace of the lion has ever been found east of INIadras or north of the Punjab. 


Eastern Asia' and spread thence across Behring Straits into North 
America, from which it gradually made its way to the south rn 
part of the New World- the leopard, the snow leopard, the 
clouded tiger, the lynxes, the smaller cats, and the cheetah. 

Felis leo. The Lion 
Since the disappearance of the Machairodonts and the cave 
bear this has been admittedly the grandest development of the 
carnivorous type. It is doubtful even whether for feroaty, for 
rresistible might, and magnificent dental armature the cave bear 
should not be" counted inferior to the splend.d development ot 
Hon (known as the cave lion) which inhab.ted England, and 
France during the Pleistocene period; while as regards the 
SlcSirodontf, though in one or two spec es Aey attamed 
dimensions exceeding the biggest hon and the.r mouths were 
armed with huge ivory sabres, it must be remembered that he e 
grandest examples of carnivorous development existed m North 
Ld above all in South America. The Machairodonts of Europe 
were certainly armed with big flattened canme tusks, but it is 
questionable whether they attained the same size of head and 
body as the big cave lions. Their commonest forms were not 

much larger than leopards. ,. , , r .i,« 

The Lion differs from all existing cats, even slightly from the 

tiger, in the relatively long muzzle into which the face is 

prolonged, and also in the direction and growth of hair on the 

1 Von Zittel (H-a,,d!,uch der Palaontologk-Palaozoologie, vol. iv.-is 

mv authority for this Statement. r ^ ^^ \a ^^,,, 

' 'a fossil cat, Fclis crislata, found in the north-west of India would seem 

to indtca^ the existence there of a form intermediate between the jaguar and 

he ttoer The jaguar (which is, no doubt, only a larger development of the 

eopafd seems, togethr with the ocelot, to have once inhabited parts of 

Erefn aS, a^d tlenee to have reached North .America. Its -nge^" N"* 

America at the present day is probably confined to Mexico and Texas, but 

formerly it was me. with farther north. It is now 7f ^f ""f ^ "^^ "* 

America. Consequently its range is a singular parallel to that of the tapir 

anTailigator, both of which are found existing or fossil in Eastern Asia on the 

one hand and South and Central America on the other. 


neck of the male. Even if this hair be not developed into a 
mane, it stands out somewhat stiffly, and is directed forwards 
from the shoulder towards the cheeks. This altered direction 
of the hair of the neck, however, is to some extent met with 
in leopards and tigers ; and in the male tiger there is the 
beginning of a mane. The lion, tiger, leopard, and jaguar 
differ from the other cats in the less perfect development of 
the bones of the hyoid arch (that separate apparatus of bones 
which supports the tongue and larj'nx), and in the pupil of 
the eye, which, when contracted, shrinks to a circular hole, and 
not a vertical slit. 

The lion and the tiger are somewhat divergent forms. The 
tiger has a more arched and convex profile of the skull. The 
commencement of the nasal bones also in the tiger takes 
place much higher up on the forehead than is the case on the 
lion's skull. There is also a difference in the fourth premolar, 
or upper carnassial, tooth. It has already been mentioned that in 
cats, besides the three lobes of the blade of this tooth, there is a 
tubercle on the inner side. This tubercle is larger and better 
developed in the upper carnassial of the tiger than it is in the 
lion. The tiger's skull is also wider and more massive than the 
lion's, and there are slight differences in the shape of the lower 
jaw. Perhaps on the whole the lion is slightly more specialised 
than the tiger, but it is almost certainly a direct development 
from the Leopard group. So too is the tiger, with perhaps some 
intervening form like the existing jaguar and the extinct Felh 
crhtata. The stripes of the tiger are the large, square rosettes 
of the jaguar pulled out. In the case of the lion, the markings 
which may be seen in the fur of young cubs and occasionally of 
adult females are almost precisely those of a leopard. If we 
could restore the lion's spots they would be nearly identical in 
proportionate size and arrangement with the rosettes, single 
spots, and short stripes of the leopard. There is one particular, 
however, in which lion cubs differ strangely, both when born in 
a wild state and in captivit)'. Sometimes, although the body is 
spotted like a leopard, the tail is ringed with circular stripes. In 


other individuals the tail is marked longitudinally with circular 
rosettes, exactly like the tail of a leopard. 

Gradually, as the lion discarded the forest and took to a life in 
the open country, the ground colour of the fur, which may have 
been pale yellowish-gray, deepened into tawny, while the black 
spots faded into brown, until at last the lion became to all intents 
and purposes a dun-coloured beast with a black tuft at the end 
of his tail, black rims and backs to his ears, and a black fringe 
(more or less) to his ample mane or along the line of the belly. 
Such spots as remain in the adult lioness on the flanks, belly, and 
limbs are chestnut-brown, but many of these spots on the lower 
parts of the body in young cubs are quite black. It might be 
noted in passing that leopards in the extreme south of Africa 
(Orange River Colony or Transvaal) have been known occasionally 
to throw off a curious variety. The size is large, and the build 
somewhat heavy, like that of a lioness. There are a few black 
stripes and spots on the head, neck, and limbs, but over the 
greater part of the body the rosettes have given way to a 
multitude of tiny black dots, almost merged into the general 
tawny-gray of the fur. The change of black spots into tawny- 
brown may also be noticed in the South African variety of the 


There is absolutely no difference in the structure, size, colour, 
mane, or any other particular between the existing lions of Asia 
and of Africa, but it is possible that the huge lion which once 
inhabited Western Europe during the Pleistocene period may stdl 
have retained the distinct black spots of the original leopard 
markings, which have only faded in the more desert-loving type 
that has since populated Western Asia and the whole of Africa. 

The range of the lion at the present day is limited to a small 
district of Kathiawar, in Western India ; to a strip of Southern 
Persia, the valley of the Tigris and Lower Euphrates ; to a small 
portion of Southern, South-eastern, and South-western Algeria 
(and perhaps the adjoining territory of Morocco south of the 
Atlas) ; and to those regions of Africa south of the Sahara Desert 
from Senegal on the west across Nigeria to the Egyptian Sudan, 


Abyssinia, and Somaliland. South of this line the lion is still 
found all over Southern Africa except the dense forests of the 
West Coast and of the Congo Basin, and all the settled regions 
of British South Africa. But within the Historic period the lion 
was found throughout North Africa from Morocco to Egypt, in 
parts of Arabia, Southern Persia, Palestine, and the whole of 
Western, Southern, and South-eastern India, in Asia Minor, the 
Balkan Peninsula, Greece, and Rumania. In Prehistoric times 
the lion inhabited much of Austria, Southern Germany (it 
attained a very large size in Bavaria), and Eastern France ; while 
doing the Palaeolithic age the lion extended its range over 
France, Spain, and Britain. In our own country the lion 
seems to have swarmed during the Pleistocene period, even 
contemporaneously with the Ice age. Its remains have been 
obtained from nearly every English county as far north as 
Yorkshire and the north of Wales. It does not seem to have 
reached Scotland, and no trace of its remains are found in Ireland. 
Its range, in fact, in Britain was coincident with that of so many 
other mammals now characteristic of Asia and Africa which 
entered Britain from the south-east during the Pleistocene period, 
and are found in greatest abundance in the eastern counties. 
The lion was certainly contemporaneous with Palaeolithic man, 
and may have lingered on down to the coming of the superior 
Neolithic races. 

Felis pardus. The Leopard 

The Leopard, whose present range includes nearly all Tropical 
and Sub-tropical Asia, and the whole of Africa (except the Sahara 
Desert and Egypt), inhabited Asia Minor and possibly the Balkan 
Peninsula during the Historic period. Further back than that 
it was a native of Italy, Spain, France, and Southern England. In 
our own land it was far scarcer (judging by the paucity of its 
remains) than the lion, but undoubted bones and teeth of 
leopards have been found in the caves of Dorsetshire, Somerset, 
and Devon. 


Felis lynx. The European or Northern Lynx 
The lynxes are fairly large, long-limbed cats, with tufts of hair 
at the points of their ears, and in most species with a rnane 
srowin/ from the cheeks. They are further characterised by 
their short tails (sometimes reduced to a mere stump) and by a 
tendency to lose the minute anterior pair of premolars in the 
upper jaw. On the other hand, there is a rudimentary talon to 
the carnassial molar in the lower jaw, which is a more archaic 
feature than is possessed by other existing cats. Their coats 
when marked at all, are variegated with small spots and short 
stripes formed by a union of spots, but never by rosettes. 
One member of this group-the common lynx, now found in 
Northern Europe and Temperate Asia-inhabited England during 
the Pleistocene period. Its remains have been found in Durham 
Yorkshire, and Derbyshire. It may have lingered here much 
later than the lion, almost down to the Historic period, for it was 
only extirpated in France during the nineteenth century, and still 
exists in Germany. 

Felis brevirostris. The Short-faced Lynx 
This was a large cat, now extinct, the size of a lynx, with a short 
face, which has left traces (dating back possibly to the commence- 
ment of the Pliocene) in Derbyshire as well as in France and 

Felis caffra} The Egyptian Cat 
This is a small and common wild cat of Africa, being found 
(with some gaps in its distribution) from Algeria and Egypt to 
the Cape of Good Hope, and from Senegal to Syria and Arabia. 
Anciently it was found in Southern Europe, and its range seems 
even to have extended to England (Somersetshire) within the 
Pleistocene period. It is a slimmer animal than the European 
1 Local varieties of this cat in Egypt, Syria, and Arabia are somewhat 
unnecessarily elevated into separate species, F. maniculata and F. caligata. 
These names are practically only synonyms of F. caffra. 


wild cat, and has a thinner, longer tail. Though its markings 
vary considerably, it seems to be without the true tabby striping 
on the sides of the body. It breeds readily with the domestic 
cat, of which many consider it to be the main progenitor. 

Felis catus. The Wild Cat 
This animal, it must be confessed by all honest observers, 
nearly resembles in appearance that type of the domestic cat which 
is familiar in Northern Europe and Temperate Asia. The head 
is strikingly similar in appearance and shape, but is pro- 
portionately larger. The tail is shorter and thicker, ending in 
something like a large brush, which is very boldly striped with 
black rings. Felis catus is larger than the ordinary breeds 
of domestic cat, the average length of males being i ft. lo in. 
from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail, which measures 
another ii in. or 12 in. Bell, in his British Quadrupeds, mentions 
that a large specimen was killed near Cawdor Castle (in Scotland) 
which measured 3 ft. 9 in. from the tip of the nose to the 
end of the tail. The vibrissas, or " whiskers," are white, and are 
more numerous and a little thicker than in the domestic cat. 
The eyes are large, and of a yellowish-gray. The general effect 
of colour is lighter and yellower than that of the tabby domestic 
cat, though the markings are similar. The ground colour of the 
thick fur is yellowish-gray, and the markings consist of short, 
irregular stripes, which are vertical, and not horizontal, on the 
upper part of the body, but tend to become horizontal on the limbs. 
The markings on the forehead and cheeks are exactly like those 
of a tabby cat. There is a large black tip to the bushy tail. The 
chin and the throat, the edge of the upper arm, and the fur of the 
under parts are often white, as are sometimes the extremities 
of the toes. The fur on the soles of the feet is black in the 
males. The claws are gray. In fact, this is a noteworthy point 
in the whole of the Cat family, that the claws always range 
in colour between yellowish-white and pale gray, and are never 
black, as in some dogs, bears, weasels, and civets. The female 
cat is smaller than the male, and is palish in coloration, the 

THE WILD CAT (Felis catus). 

rhoto by the Scholabtic Plioto Company. 

The Ferret, Domesticated Form of Polecat [Pidoriiis fasfidus). 

I'huto by 1'. I., rriiili.-rluii, V--1 

To face p. 182. 


stripes being more broken up and fused into the grayish-yellow 
colour of the fur. 

The wild cat probably breeds twice in the twelve months. 
There are from four to five kittens in a litter. The first 
litter is born in the early spring and the second in the autumn. 

This creature is, of course, purely carnivorous in the choice of 
its food, and will attack and kill prey as large as a roebuck fawn. 
It also kills and eats lambs, and, of course, large quantities of 
rabbits, hares, grouse, pheasants, wood-pigeons, and other birds, 
besides fish which may be stranded on the banks of a river 
or a lake. It is an exceedingly fierce animal, and practically 
untamable in captivity. It is a more forest-haunting creature 
than the allied forms that prefer the open steppe and desert ; 
in fact, the wild cat is probably found nowhere far from trees, 
and it not only pursues a good deal of its prey (squirrels and 
birds) up and down the branches, but generally makes its 
breeding nest in some hollow or fork of the trunk, or even 
in the large nest of woven sticks made by a hawk, a crow, 
or a heron. 

The wild cat of Britain and Central Europe belongs to 
the Catine group of the genus Felts, the members of which 
are all relatively small, with rounded heads, short muzzles, 
and a tendency towards a tabby or dull coloration occasioned by 
the relatively long fur, and characterised by the absence of bright 
red or yellow tints and definite jet-black markings. Although 
the tail in the African form (Felts caffrd) is fairly long and slender, 
the general tendency in this group is towards the development 
of a short and very bushy tail. This group includes (amongst 
others) the aforementioned Felts caffra^ the Wild Cat, Pallas's Cat 
{Felis manul), the Indian and Central Asian Desert Waved Cats 
{^Felis ornata^ F. shawiana, and F. tcrquata\ and probably the 
Colocollo and Pampas Cats of South America ; possibly also the 
Leopard Cat and Rusty Spotted Cat of India. 

The author has inflicted on his readers this somewhat tedious 
enumeration of the allies of the wild cat in order that he may 
focus their interest on the origin of the domestic cat. Like the 


domestic dog and ox (possibly also the sheep and the pig), the origin 
of the domestic cat has, no doubt, been a multiple one. Those 
who would deny all participation of the wild cat in the crea- 
tion of this domestic species are simply unobservant persons. 
There is no doubt that the average tabby found in France, 
Britain, Germany, and the colder regions of Asia is more 
nearly allied to the wild cat than to Felis caffra^ which is 
unquestionably the principal ancestor of the domestic cats 
of Egypt and the countries bordering the Mediterranean. On 
the other hand, all the Asiatic species above enumerated as allies 
of the wild cat seem to have had their share in the ancestry 
of the domesticated cats of India, Asia Minor, Persia, Tibet, 
China, and Siam. A cat was probably first domesticated in India 
and in Egypt, especially in the last-named country. The cat 
which the Egyptians domesticated was the Felis caffra^ the 
common wild cat ^ of all Africa, Syria, and Arabia. The domesti- 
cated Felis caffra was sufficiently near in origin and size to the 
other European and Asiatic members of the Catine group to 
interbreed with them. Consequently, when the domestic cat 
of India and Egypt grew into favour owing to its capacity for 
destroying rats and mice which had begun to infest human 
habitations, it spread from Africa and Syria into Mediterranean 
Europe, where it displaced the tamed martens which had 
previously been domesticated for the same purpose. As this 
domesticated Eastern cat spread into Asia Minor, the Balkan 
Peninsula, Central and South-western Europe, it interbred freely 
with the wild cats of those regions. The same thing occurred 
when the domesticated cat spread eastwards and northwards from 
India. In this way were produced the many different breeds of 
domestic cat existing at the present day. It would probably 
have been impossible to domesticate the wild cat of Europe 
unmingled with any other type ; but when tame female cats of 

^ Felis caffra (as already stated) is by some authorities divided into 
two species, F. caligata and F. manicidata ; but there seem to be no 
valid grounds for these divisions of a species which, like most cats, shows 
considerable local variations. 


the Eastern kind wandered out into the forest, as is still their wont, 
and entered into intimate relations with the male wild cats of the 
district, their progeny, though perhaps at first a little less docile, 
preferred the comfortable home of the mother to the precarious 
existence of the father. Yet the female half-breeds again and 
again strayed into the woods, became impregnated by the wild 
cats, and returned to domesticity. Thus at the present day the 
ordinary type of domestic cat in the British Islands, and in 
all the British possessions or daughter nations abroad, the 
domestic cat of Northern France, Germany, Central and Northern 
Europe, has more of the blood of Felis catus in its veins than of 
Felis caffra. On the other hand, the author has noticed that 
domestic cats imported into Eastern Africa (for example) con- 
stantly strayed into the woods in the breeding season and 
interbred with Felis caffra. 

The wild cat has existed in Britain since the Pleistocene 
Epoch. As a species, in fact, it was co-existent in England with 
the mammoth, the lion, the hyaena, the reindeer, and the hippo- 
potamus. I am not aware that \ts fossil remains have ever been 
found in Scotland. It has never been an inhabitant of Ireland 
at any time, and the reports of wild cats in that country simply 
refer to the domesticated cat which has returned to a feral 
condition, and which by its descent (already described) from the 
wild cat of England and Scotland resembles the wild species 
so closely, except in the length and shape of the tail, that con- 
fusion on the subject was excusable. It is possible that the wild 
cat is a relatively recent immigrant into Scotland, having gone up 
north together with the big cattle, the red deer, the roe deer, 
and the wolf, owing to the gradual withdrawal of the ice, and the 
attacks on wild beasts made by the more numerous human 
inhabitants of South Britain. Its fossil remains dating back to 
the Pleistocene are abundant in English and Welsh formations. 
It remained an inhabitant of most parts of forested England 
down to a relatively recent period— say four centuries ago. 
Owing to its ravages on flocks and poultry it was detested 
by the country folk, and as soon as firearms came into general 


use the wild cat's days were numbered. It lingered on in the 
wilder parts of Northern England, such as the Lake District, down 
to about the middle of the nineteenth century. It is not quite 
certain yet whether it is absolutely extinct in North Wales. It is 
safest to assume, however, that it is, and that there are no speci- 
mens of Felis catus now existing in a really wild condition out 
of Scotland, and here they are extinct everywhere south and east 
of a line which, commencing at Oban on the western coast, would 
pass through Perthshire to the vicinity of Aberdeen. It is certain 
that they still exist in the Reay Forest in Caithness and in Assynt 
Forest in Sutherland. They have always been unknown in the 
Hebrides, and on any of the large islands off the west coast of 
Scotland, except, perhaps, the island of Mull. Outside Great Britain 
the range of the wild cat extends at the present day through 
Northern Spain, the wilder parts of France, Germany, Switzer- 
land, Hungary, Poland, South Russia, parts of the Balkan 
Peninsula, Asia Minor, and Northern Persia. In Siberia its place 
seems to be taken by Pallas's Cat {Felis manul). 


CARNIVORA (continued) 


This sub-order includes the Sea Lions, Walruses, and Seals, three 
very distinct families of carnivorous animals addicted entirely to 
existence in the water, and almost wholly marine in their habitat, 
only entering fresh water when it is directly connected with the 
sea. They are not modified for life in the water to such an 
amazing extent as the whales ; they are, in fact, amphibious, 
and always resort to land during the breeding season, if not 
oftener, for repose. The descent and relationships of the Fin- 
footed Carnivores is still a matter of perplexity to zoologists. 
They differ from the Fissipede, or Separate-toed Carnivores, in 
the structure and arrangement of their molar teeth. These in 
the seals, sea lions, etc., are placed in a perfectly straight row, 
and offer no resemblance either to the tuberculated molars of 
the True Carnivores or to the exaggerated development of their 
lobed carnassial teeth. They also never possess in the adult the 
complete three pairs of incisors in both jaws, and the incisors 
are most reduced in numbers in the lower jaw. In the least 
specialised forms the formula is three pairs of incisors in the 
upper jaw and two pairs in the lower. But if it be the case that 
the milk dentition in the walrus shows three pairs of incisors in 
both jaws, it would seem that too much stress need not be placed 
on this diminution of the incisors as a point of difference between 
the Pinnipede and the Fissipede Carnivora ; the more so as this 
reduction in the lower incisors occurs in one genus of Otters and 



in one genus of Machairodonts, while a tendency towards loss of 
the lower incisors is beginning in the weasels. 

The true molar teeth in the seals are tending towards 
disappearance. They are paltry in size and development, and 
often reduced to mere rounded stumps. They are never more 
in number than two pairs in the upper jaw and one pair in 
the lower. The premolars are larger in size than the molars 
(usually), and, like the last-named, are simple, narrow, three- 
cusped teeth (where they are not reduced to rounded stumps or 
mere cones). It would seem to be impossible, having regard 
to the structure of the teeth, to derive the seals from the bears 
or the otters, or from any other form of existing land Carnivore. 
On the other hand, the teeth do offer some slight resemblance 
to those of the Creodont Carnivores, such as, for instance, those 
of the family Palaonictida. This family contains one genus 
(Patriofelis) which presents a similarity to the seals in the con- 
struction of its feet, though it is more differentiated in its 
reduced premolar teeth. In the vertebrae the seals are more 
related to the Creodonts. The alisphenoid canal is present in 
several examples of the Pinnipede, and is also present in most 
of the Creodonts. It is absent from the otters, though it is 
present in the bears, the dogs, and some other Fissipedes. A 
remarkable resemblance to the Creodonts exists in the formation 
of the astragalus (one of the ankle bones). The special re- 
semblances which the seals offer to the bears and to the otters 
consists in the lobulated kidneys, and in that portion of the brain 
called the " ursine lozenge," which rises in the middle of each 
hemisphere. But another point in which the seals differ markedly 
from the whole group of bears, weasels, otters, etc., is that in the 
latter there is no caecum, or blind gut appendage, to the alimen- 
tary canal, whereas a caecum exists (even though it be very short) 
in all the seals. All seals are described by biologists as having an 
extremely short tail. It would be more correct to say that the 
external tail is reduced to a stumpy lump or tuft ; but there are 
a fair number of caudal vertebrae remaining, so that the seal is 
really a creature with a moderately short tail, the bony part of 


which is but little protruded from the surface of the body, and 
the reason for this is that the bones of the hind limbs are directed 
backwards on a Hne with the tail and are bound up with it, so to 
speak. Another peculiarity of the seals, in which they differ 
from all the Fissipede Carnivora, is in the arrangement of the 
toes of the hind feet. In most Mammalia the middle toes (third 
and fourth) are longest and the first and fifth are shortest.^ But 
in all the seals the first and the fifth toes have become strong 
and long, whilst the intermediate toes are shortened and are 
provided with much thinner bones. Undoubtedly the sea otter 
{Latax) and the rest of the Lutrine group suggest obvious 
resemblances to the seals in the shape and conformation of the 
head, body, and limbs ; but these resemblances are only due to 
the similarity in the mode of life, and do not require to be 
explained by the descent of the seals from an otter-like form. 
Moreover, the seals date back in geological time as far as or 
further than the otters or bears. 

Consequently we must regard this interesting group of 
aquatic Carnivora as being, in all probability, direct descendants 
from the Creodonts, that early group of Carnivores, who died 
out on land because they could not sufficiently quickly develop 
large brains to compete with the more highly organised True 
Carnivora. In the water — in the sea particularly — the aquatic 
Creodonts met with a less vigorous competition, and had time to 
turn their attention to enlarging their cranial capacity, with the 
results that their descendants, the seals, have become large- 
brained creatures who are (were) able to hold their own on the 
sea-coasts and the ice-floes until man — Caucasian man especially — 
decreed their destruction for the sake of their skins, their oils, 
or their tusks, or merely because they made excellent pot-shots 
for yachtsmen. 

It would seem from such evidence as we have that the seals 

as a group originated in North America, and thence spread down 

the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the New World to Antarctica, 

where at the present day they are the only land mammals. From 

^ In man the first toe has become the longest. 



Antarctica they reached the Indian and the South Pacific Oceans, 
while from the Atlantic coasts they became circumpolar, and also 
spread to the Mediterranean. 

"'•i 'L'-S 

Fore Paw and Hind Paw of Common Seal compared with Fore Paw and 

Hind Paw of Sea Lion. 

I. and II. Fore paw and hind paw of Common Seal {,Phoca). 

III. and IV. Fore paw and hind paw of Sea Lion {Otaria). 

The sub-order Pinnipedia is divided again at the present 
day into three families : (i) Otariid<£, or Eared Seals (Sea Lions, 


etc.); (2) the I'ric he chid^, or Walruses; and (3) the Thocida^ or 
True Seals. The first-named family (which is not represented by 
any British species) still possesses small ear conches or outer ears. 
It has an alisphenoid canal for the passage of the carotid artery 
at the base of the skull. Its members are able to use their hind 
limbs in a normal mammalian fashion, and, in fact, to walk with 
them. The muzzle is rather bear-like, and the nostrils are 
situated in the normal position at the end of the muzzle. The 
testes, instead of being entirely retained within the body, as in 
the Walruses and True Seals, descend into a scrotum. The Otariids 
also have a postorbital process rising out of the zygomatic arch, or 
cheek bone, and assisting to define the orbit of the eye. This is 
less observable in the True Seals, but is present in the Walrus. 

On the other hand, the molar teeth of the Otariids are even 
more degenerate and simplified than in the True Seals, and 
although they are able to turn their hind limbs forward for 
walking, the structure and appearance of the feet are more 
specialised than in the True Seals, because beyond the bony ends 
of the toes and their nails the webbed skin is prolonged consider- 
ably into a deeply lobed margin. The fore paw, or flipper, is also 
highly modified, having no outwardly separable fingers, while the 
terminal phalanges are only armed with small, useless nails. ^ In 
the conformation of the fore limb the Otariids are much more 
specialised than the True Seals. 

Odobanus rosmarus. The Walrus 
It is doubtful whether there are two species of Walrus, or 
whether the difi^erences between North Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic 
forms are any more than a marked variation of sub-specific 
character. The characteristics of the Walrus family can be best 
illustrated in describing the only known genus and species of this 
remarkable Pinnipede. 

The walruses anatomically are more nearly related to the eared 

^ In the hind feet the three middle toes of the Otariids retain longer and 
stronger claws. 


seals or sea lions than to the True Seals (Phocid^e). The walrus 
is able to turn the hind feet forwards, as in normal mammals, for 
purposes of locomotion. It also agrees with the Otariids in 
having the skin of the feet prolonged into lobes beyond the 
termination of the toes, and also in the very feeble nails on the 
fingers of the fore paws. The claws on the hind feet are 
proportionately longer than in the Otariids. In the base of the 
skull there is an alisphenoid canal as in the sea lions, and there 
is a small postorbital process. The testes, however, do not 
descend into a scrotum. The nostrils are dorsal in position, and 
more like those of the True Seals. From both sea lions and True 
Seals the walruses differ markedly in their dentition. In the first 
place, in the very young animal there are three pairs of minute 
incisors in both jaws, an archaic feature lost apparently even in 
the milk dentition of the Otariids and the Phocids. But in other 
respects the teeth of the walrus show an extraordinary specialisa- 
tion. In the adult animal the grinding teeth are practically 
reduced to three pairs of premolars in each jaw, and these are 
simple, rounded teeth without any distinct cusps. The incisors 
are reduced to a single functional pair in the upper jaw, and 
disappear altogether in the lower jaw, while the lower canine is a 
small, round, blunt tooth like the premolars. Sometimes a fourth 
premolar tooth of extremely minute size persists in the lower jaw, 
and an equally minute fourth premolar and first molar in the 
upper jaw. But the upper canine teeth are developed into a pair 
of enormous tusks, longer by far even than the huge canine tusks 
of the sabre-toothed Machairodonts. Just as the elephant is the 
mammal which has developed incisor teeth most extravagantly, 
so the walrus is the mammal which has carried furthest the 
development of the canine teeth. The longest tusks as yet 
obtained from this animal measure 31 in., of which about 
24 in. would have protruded from the gum. The canine 
tusks of the female are proportionately shorter. The longest 
pair of female tusks obtained did not exeeed 20 in. in length. 
In the Pacific Ocean, however, the walrus is said to develop even 
longer tusks than those above recorded. 


Unlike the seals and the sea lions, the walrus has proportion- 
ately a very small eye. The upper lip is very much developed 
and is set with forward-directed brisdes, which are a marked 
feature in the creature's countenance. These exaggerated vibrissas 
are as thick as crowquills. The upper lip is divided into two 
great lobes by the vertical groove below the nostrils. These 
vibrissas, answering to the cat's " whiskers," are thick, coarse, and 
very numerous in all the seals, but in none of them are they 
developed to such an extent as in the walrus. They would 
almost seem to act like the whalebone of the whale — a sieve 
through which the molluscs, sandworms, and star-fishes can be 
strained free of inedible matter. The great tusks seem to be 
used for digging into sand and mud in order to rake up bivalve 
molluscs, crustaceans, and other shore-frequenting creatures on 
which the walrus feeds. The rounded molars are useful for 
crushing shells, which are then ejected from the mouth whilst 
the tongue feels for and retains the soft parts from which 
the shells have been removed. No doubt the walrus also eats 
small fish, but it is questionable whether the remains of seaweed 
found in the stomach have not been introduced accidentally in 
association with the shell-fish. There seems to be little doubt that 
the walrus also makes use of its long tusks for hoisting itself 
up on to ice or on to rocks, and for aiding its progress on land 
when it is in a hurry. They are certainly used as weapons of 
offence in defending itself against the polar bear or man and in 
fighting among the males at pairing-time. 

The walrus is a very big creature, adult males measuring 
from 10 ft. to 15 ft. in length from the snout to the tip of the 
small tail, and it is said that the largest recorded adult male 
weighed nearly 3,000 lb. In the adult the hide is nearly hairless 
in parts except along the neck. The skin in adults is thrown 
into a number of folds and wrinkles, especially about the 
shoulders. Young walruses have the body thickly covered with 
fine short hair. In the upper parts of the body the hair is 
yellowish-brown, which deepens into chestnut on the limbs and 
belly. The breeding season of these animals is from April to 



June, according to latitude. The period of gestation is about 
a year, and the female walrus is said to breed only once in every 
three years. The mammae are two in number ordinarily, and are 
situated on the abdomen. 

An extinct form of walrus {Odobienus huxleyi) inhabited 
Eastern England at the close of the Pliocene period, and the 
True Walrus {Odob^nus rosmarus) was found in the same region 
(Ely fens and off the coast of Suffolk) during the human epoch, 
but it was also known on the coast of Scotland perhaps as late as 
the fifteenth century. Much later than that, within the first half 
of the nineteenth century, walruses have been killed on the coasts 
of the Hebrides and of the Orkney Islands. It was reported that 
one was seen off the coast of Orkney in 1857, and another about 
the same time in the Shetland Archipelago. Two or three 
centuries ago the walrus was still abundant off the coast of 
Norway, and was very common round the coasts of Iceland, 
while in the North Pacific between latitude 55° and the polar 
ice it was extremely abundant down to about thirty years ago. 
The walrus, however, is fast being exterminated by man. 
Mr. Lydekker states that in ten years, between 1870 and 1880, 
at least 100,000 walruses must have been killed by the Russian 
whalers, who exported from the vicinity of Behring Straits 
400,000 lb. of walrus ivory and 2,000,000 galls, of walrus oil 
during that period. At the present day the walrus is found 
round the northern coast of Greenland and the north-western 
shores of Hudson's Bay and Baffin's Bay. At one time they 
ranged southwards as far as Newfoundland, but have been 
extinguished near all the habitable parts of British North America 
since i 840. East of Greenland the walrus is met with occasion- 
ally off the coasts of Iceland, Spitzbergen, Franz Josefs Land, 
Novaia Zemlia, and eastwards along the north coast of Siberia as 
far as the estuary of the Lena. The Pacific variety of the walrus 
is still found along the north-east coast of Siberia, the chain of 
islands across Behring Straits, and the northern and north-western 
coasts of Alaska. Its days are numbered, because neither the 
British Government, nor the Russian, nor the Danish, nor that 


of the United States, as Governments, care one particle about 
zoology, or the saving from extinction of remarkable mammals 
which can be slaughtered for ''sport" or commerce. 

The Phocidse are a little less specialised in their teeth than the 
sea lions and walruses. The upper incisors are not grooved as 
they are in the Otariids, and the premolar teeth are proportion- 
ately larger and have longer cusps. Both the hind and fore feet 
are also less specialised than in the other two groups. In the 
case of the fore feet of the True Seals, though the first finger is 
the longest, the rest are more nearly equal to it in length than is 
the case with the elongated flipper of the sea lions and walruses ; 
in fact, it is more like the normal paw of a land Carnivore ; there 
is more outer distinction between the 
toes, the web does not protrude 
beyond the tips of the claws, and 
the claws are in most seals very well 
developed, almost like the claws of a 
bear. The hind flipper has the same •• --.__.,u^ ^ 
feature as in the other two families, i 

of the fifth and first toes exceeding Premolars. Moiar. 

the other three inner ones in length premolars and molar, upper 

, 111 J Jaw, of Common Seal. 

and thickness, but the lobes do not 

extend appreciably beyond the nails on the five toes. On the 
other hand, in the True Seals the hind feet cannot be brought 
forwards as in ordinary mammalian progression ; they are always 
turned back, and more or less closely adpressed against the short, 
stumpy external tail ; in fact, the hind limbs of the True Seals 
now serve just the same purpose as the flukes of a whale's tail. 

In the following points the True Seals are more specialised 
than the sea lions and walruses : they have no outer conch to the 
ear, and the nostrils open upwards, are placed, that is to say, on 
the dorsal surface of the nose. The neck is very short, and the 
True Seal's body is obviously more suited for existence in the 
water than on shore. Owing to the impossibility of using the 


hind limbs for locomotion on land, the True Seals cannot travel 
very far from the water's edge. Such progress as is made over 
the rocks or on ice or sand is by wriggling the body in a 
serpentine course, occasionally using the fore limbs to grasp 
uneven surfaces, pushing them forward alternately. When land- 
ing on rocks or on ice they raise their bodies nearly erect, and 
hoist themselves up out of the water by means of their fore 
limbs. In spite of these disadvantages seals manage to accomplish 
considerable distances during the night (they rarely travel in the 
daytime) on land. 

In the skull of the True Seals there is no alisphenoid canal, 
and the angle of the lower jaw lacks that inflection characteristic 
of the Otariids, the Creodonts, and the Marsupials. The 
testes never descend from the abdomen into a scrotum, and the 
palms and soles of the feet are hairy, and not naked or warty as 
in the sea lions and walrus. There is no woolly under-fur as in. 
the sea lions (who are the "fur" seals of commerce), but the 
skin of nearly all True Seals is covered with stiff, shiny closely- 
pressed hair, and this coat is nearly always more or less marked 
with spots or blotches of dark on light. In this spotted 
nature of their coat the True Seals differ markedly from the 
sea lions and the walrus, both of which groups are absolutely 
one-coloured. Seals generally possess two pairs of mammas on 
the abdomen. The young are invariably brought forth on the 
land, and have to be taught to swim by their parents. They 
take to the water with some reluctance. 

True Seals are polygamous, but do not have such a strongly 
marked rutting season as is the case amongst the sea lions (a 
period of something like three months, in which the male almost 
entirely abstains from food). They are, however, equally 


In this sub-family the incisor teeth number three pairs in the 
upper jaw and two pairs in the lower. There are five well- 
developed claws on all four feet. In the hind limbs the first toe 


is longest, then the second. The third and fourth are shortest, 
and the fifth is nearly as long as the second. Although the 
general aspect of the hinder feet is to show a preponderance of 
length on the part of the first and fifth toes, still this is nothing 
like as much exaggerated as in the other sub-families of the True 
Seals or as in the sea lions. As already remarked, the fore paws 
(especially in this group) are much more similar in appearance to 
those of the terrestrial Carnivora, though the first finger is the 

Thoca vitulina. The Common Seal 

The three last premolars and the molar teeth in the jaws of 
the Common Seal and other allied members of the genus Phoca 
are double-rooted. The head is round and short, and the eyes 
very large. The aperture of the ear is not far behind the eye, 
and is triangular in shape. The upper lip is thick and somewhat 
overhanging. It is deeply scored with the parallel lines of the 
insertion of the vibrissas, and these are long and abundant, as 
they are in most seals. As already related of this family, the 
aperture of the nostrils is directed backwards rather than for- 
wards. The fore feet are short, and armed with strong, narrow, 
sharp claws. The claws on the hind flippers are narrow, shorter, 
and less curved. The adult of the common seal scarcely exceeds 
5 ft., and females may show as small a measurement as 3 ft. 
The neck of the common seal is rather short. 

The coloration varies much in individuals and according to 
age. The young at birth is covered with a coat of thick, soft 
fur, lemon-white in tint. In the species under review this woolly 
coat is shed by the infant seal a few hours after its birth. In 
some cases this woolly covering when shed seems to form a kind 
of mat for the young seal to lie on. When the white fur has 
been discarded, the bright little creature (and young seals are 
beautiful with their large liquid eyes) is seen to be smoothly clad 
with the shiny silky hair characteristic of the adult ; but it is 
generally much more vividly spotted and streaked with dark on 


light. The ground colour of the hair of the common seal may- 
be described as a lemon-yellow inclining to a sickly white or an 
amber tint. Sometimes this lemon ground is almost greenish by 
the admixture of gray or brown hairs. On this light ground are 
scattered many irregular spots, bluish-black with the sheen of the 
hair. The hind limbs incline more to umber-brown. The strong 
vibrissae are white. In some specimens the spots are very thick 
on the back, and are brownish. Some examples of the common 
seal are almost black all over. Others, again, are a greenish- 
yellow, with only a few black spots. The large eyes are one 
uniform tint of deep bluish-brown. 

The number of mammas in the common seal is four. The 
pairing season round the coasts of the British Islands is in 
September, and the single young one — occasionally two — is born 
in the month of June. The young of the common seal takes 
to the water a few hours after it is born, and as soon as the 
woolly coat is shed. The mother lies on her side to suckle 
the calf. 

The common seal, like all members of this sub-order, is not 
a silent animal, and has considerable inflections of voice. When 
a number of them are massed together on the rocks out of the 
water, and are not alarmed, they keep up a constant grunting 
sound not unlike that made by pigs in a state of contentment. 
Occasionally this grunt rises into a snort of defiance, more of 
sportiveness than pugnacity. The young seal makes a constant 
baaing sound, especially when seeking nourishment from the 
mother. Adults vary their grunts with a plaintive bleat or a 
loud bark. In the month of September this harsh coughing 
or barking noise is distinctly audible on parts of the coasts of 
Ireland and West Scotland which seals frequent, and is no doubt 
uttered by males who are attracting or defending mates. Unless 
very much harassed by human enemies, the seal, in short, is 
rather a noisy creature, and seems to be fond of sound, for 
it is undoubtedly attracted by loud talking on the part of 
fishermen and by music. No doubt it has long since learnt 
not to inquire too closely into the ways of man, finding that 


the raising of its head is a signal for a hail of bullets ; otherwise 
there are many stories showing that in former times seals have 
often approached boats out of curiosity when loud talking was 
going on. Music undoubtedly attracted them, and in captivity 
seals seem to experience the greatest delight at the playing of 
musical instruments. It has been related by an old writer in 
connection with the fauna of the Orkney Islands that the seals 
would swim directly to the shore when the church bells of Hoy 
(in Orkney) were rung. They are extremely inquisitive animals, 
and no doubt the unusualness of the sound attracts them as 
much as any pleasure in the novel vibrations in their ears. And 
as regards this point it is noteworthy that, although the seal is 
quite unprovided with any ear conch (deemed so essential to 
good hearing in other mammals) it is apparently most alive 
to gradations of sound. 

Its brain case is large, the brain highly developed, and the 
intelligence keen. It can become attached to a human being 
as acutely as any dog. Indeed, in earlier times seals experienced 
such a desire to consort with seafaring humanity as to have 
attracted the attention of classical writers, and no doubt to have 
given rise to most of the stories of mermaids. Any foolishness 
of this kind has, of course, been promptly put a stop to during 
the last century by the unflagging use of the rifle or any stout 
piece of wood that came to hand. 

The common seal has a somewhat valuable skin, and provides 
from the fat that surrounds its body a preparation of valuable 
oil. The flesh even is edible. Apart from all these excuses, 
of course it is a " wild animal." When caught on shore it is 
entirely at man's mercy, and when bobbing about in the water 
it is as good a mark for the rifle as an empty beer bottle. 
Apart, therefore, from any inducements to use its skin for the 
coats of motorists, or its oil for making soap, the joy of killing 
it for the sake of killing is irresistible to yachtsmen, sportsmen, 
and fishermen, and it is unlikely, therefore, that it will continue 
to exist much longer as an inhabitant of British waters. But for 
this craze for destruction we might have had seals all round the 


sea-coasts of England, Wales, and Ireland as tame as dogs and 
as harmless. When our grandchildren awake to the knowledge 
of what they have lost, they ought to take the ashes of those 
ministers and permanent officials who never raised a finger to 
stop the destruction of British Mammalia, and scatter them 
abroad with every sign of loathing and contempt. 

The food of the common seal consists in the main of fish, 
crustaceans, molluscs, starfish, sea porcupines, and occasionally 
sea gulls and other wildfowl. 

The distribution of the common seal is practically circumpolar. 
It is found on the eastern and western shores of the North 
Atlantic, and on both coasts of the North Pacific. To the 
southward it reaches as far as the north coasts of the Mediterranean 
(where, however, it is very scarce), and on the American side as 
far as the coasts of New Jersey. In the Pacific it extends south- 
wards to California on the one hand and Kamshatka on the other. 
It is common along the coasts of Spitzbergen and Greenland. 
On the Danish coast of Greenland something like 300,000 are 
killed annually, the Danish Government having no more regard 
than the British for the preservation of interesting creatures. In 
the waters surrounding the British Islands the common seal was 
a hundred years ago very abundant. It was even foolish enough 
once to visit Brighton within the memory of people now living. 
Naturally impertinences of this kind on the coasts of Hampshire, 
Sussex, Kent, and Essex were promptly punished, and it is 
probably never seen now on the English coast except off Cornwall, 
Northern Yorkshire, Northumberland, and Cumberland. It is 
still common all round the coasts of Ireland and of West and 
North Wales, and Northern-eastern and Western Scotland, the 
Orkneys, Shetlands, Hebrides, and the great islands off the coast of 
North Britain. It should (if our rulers had the slightest interest 
in unproductive science) long ago have been placed on the 
protected list. As it is, its destruction and that of other seals 
and sea lions makes an excellent subject for a Mansion House 
jest by modern statesmen. 


Phoca grcenlandica. The Harp Seal 

The Harp Seal is readily distinguished from any others by its 
remarkable coloration. The young is born with the usual woolly 
coat, which it retains for a fortnight or three weeks instead of the 
few hours mentioned in the case of the common seal. Its hairy 
covering following on the discarded wool is dark and speckled 
blackish on yellow-white. The next stage in colour is an increase 
of dark on the back (which assumes a blackish tint) and of 
silvery-white on the belly. From the third to the fifth year in 
the creature's age it assumes the adult coloration, which is very 
handsome. In the adult male the ground colour of the body is 

The Harp Seal {Phoca grcenlandica). 

yellowish-gray to pale yellow-white, almost with a lemon tinge. 
The face and muzzle from the region of the ears and brows to 
the upper lip and nose is blackish-brown. On the back there 
is a huge irregular mark of blackish-brown, which can be 
best realised by a reference to the accompanying illustration. 
This is sufficiently like a harp in shape to warrant the name 
of harp seal. The hind limbs are streaked and spotted with 
blackish-brown. The adult female, on the other hand, is pale 
yellow ranging from straw colour to amber, and deepening into 
tawny-brown on the back, with or without spots and blotches. 
The harp seal, when adult, may be as much as 6 ft. long, but 
males of ordinary size and females range from 4 ft. to 5 ft. in 
length. The back and top of the skull differ very much in 


outline from the configuration of the head in the common seal. 
The nasal opening is higher up and more dorsal. The brain 
cavity is proportionately less in size, and the under jaw is 
stronger and heavier. Apparently the young of this seal are 
born much earlier in the year than is the case with the common 
seal — in the month of March. There are often two cubs at a 
birth, and three even are reported. This creature is almost 
extinct as a British Mammal, and therefore it would be a waste of 
space to say much regarding its habits. It is thought to have 
been caught in the Severn in 1836 and the Thames in 1858, and 
also on the coasts of Lancashire, Scotland, the Hebrides, and 
Galway. Its present range is the circumpolar seas and the 
northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific, It is common ofF 
the coasts of Newfoundland and Greenland, At one time half a 
million of these seals were killed annually off the coast of 
Newfoundland, and the annual yield of the Danish settlements 
in Greenland is something like 30,000. 

Thoca hispida. The Ringed Seal 

The Ringed Seal is perhaps the smallest member of the 
sub-family. The adult male rarely exceeds 4^ ft, in length, 
and the female about 3 ft. The upper parts are brownish- 
gray, almost black along the medium line of the back, and the 
belly is whitish-gray. The face is uniform grey-brown, and the 
vibrissas are brown instead of being white. The sides are marked 
with irregular oval rings of light gray, in the middle of which is a 
dark spot. It is in the shape of the skull, however, that the ringed 
seal is most readily distinguished. This resembles more nearly 
in shape the skull of the harp seal, but at the back, over the 
brain case, there is an enormous projecting ridge of bone. The 
cranial capacity is proportionately much less than in the common 

The ringed seal is almost extinct as a British species, A 
specimen was caught on the Norfolk coast in 1846, and another 
on the coast of Lincolnshire in 1889, ^'""^ ^^ ^^7 ^^'^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ 
Hebrides. Elsewhere its range is circumpolar, including the 


northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Near allies 
of this form inhabit the waters of Lake Baikal, in Central Asia, 
and of the Caspian Sea, relics of a time not far distant geologically 
when the Arctic Ocean communicated with these inland seas. 
The ringed seal was much commoner in British waters in the 
Pleistocene period, especially during Glacial conditions Its 
fossil remains have been found off the coasts of England and 
Scotland, and in great abundance in Belgium. 

Thoca harhata. The Bearded Seal 
This is a large Phocine, almost the largest member of the 
sub-family, unless it is exceeded by the gray seal a creature for 
which it is sometimes mistaken. It differs markedly from the 
other True Seals in its large muzzle, high forehead, and small and 
weak teeth, among which the canines are not much larger than 
the incisors or premolars. Some of these fall out in the adult, 
and the Bearded Seal is evidently on its way (if man does 
not exterminate it) towards becoming a toothless mammal. A 
curious feature in its fore paws is that the third or middle, 
finger is longer than the rest. In this point, therefore the 
bearded seal is less specialised than the other menjbers of the 
sub-order. Full-grown males are from 10 ft. to 1 1 ft. in length, 
and the females over 7 ft. The colour of the bearded seal is 
dark gray on the back and flanks and light yellowish-gray on the 
under parts. The considerable development of vibrissas gives 
the creature the name of the bearded seal. The present 
distribution of this Phocine is circumpolar and North Atlantic. 
On the Atlantic coast it does not extend farther south than 
Labrador. It is abundant on the coasts of Greenland, is met 
with round Iceland, and on the north coast of Norway. It is 
doubtful whether it has been recorded recently within British 
waters, though its existence was rumoured in the middle ot the 
nineteenth century off the Hebrides. The reason it is mentioned 
in this book is that its fossil remains occur in the late Pleistocene 
deposits of Norfolk. 


Halichcerus grypus. The Gray Seal 

This is a larger seal than the other members of the Phocine 
sub-family, and it is the only other species besides the common 
seal which can be with any emphasis regarded as a British 
mammal. It is not very clear that the differences between the 
Gray Seal and the rest of the Phocinas are of generic importance. 
The distinctions are based on the configuration of the premolar 
and molar teeth. These, instead of being provided with two or 
more cusps in addition to the central cone, are much simplified 
and reduced to conical compressed crowns. Occasionally the 
molars in the lower jaw have small hinder accessory cusps. 
Moreover, three at least of the premolars in each jaw are only 
single-rooted, and not double. It is, of course, an instance of 
degeneration and simplification of structure, the molar teeth in 
the gray seal becoming like those in the whales — simple pointed 
crowns like the canines and incisors. 

The length of the adult male of the gray seal may be nearly 
as much as 1 1 ft., though the measurement of the females 
scarcely reaches 7 ft. 6 in. The average male is perhaps be- 
tween 9 ft. and I oft. in length. The colour varies a great deal 
according to age and individuals. The young is at first a lemon- 
white in tint, and this woolly coat is retained for perhaps as long 
as six weeks. The young gray seal then becomes in the main 
yellowish-white on the under surface, and is heavily marked with 
quite a dark blackish-brown above. In fact, its coloration is 
almost black and white, the black being distributed in splotches 
and spots and streaks on a white ground. The top of the head 
and the region round the ear, the ridge of the nose and the 
upper part of the muzzle, are blackish, with a white spot round 
the eye. The flippers are marked with black spots. Some of 
the white parts in the young seal are tinged with yellow. 
Gradually as age increases the white or yellow parts of the fur 
darken into brownish-gray, while the black marks fade into sooty 
brown, until at last the whole aspect of the creature is grayish- 

The Gray Seal {Halichuerus grypns 
Adult and young. 

To face p. 204. 


brown, with a tendency to lighter coloration on the belly, and 
more distinctness of spots and splotches on the flanks and flippers. 
In the adult animals, when the fur has dried in the sun, there is 
a uniform silvery-gray sheen, which justifies the animal's title of 
gray seal. When this is seen, however, against the light or from 
underneath it becomes a deep umber-brown. In some individuals, 
however, the spots and streaks of the original markings are more 
distinct than in others. 

The breeding-time of the gray seal is very different from that 
of the common seal. Breeding would seem to take place in 
February, and the birth of the young in the autumn — September, 
October, and November. The young of the gray seal is generally 
born in caverns or sheltered crannies, and not on open rocks or 
beaches. It is this species that chiefly frequents the celebrated 
seal caves of Achill Island off the west coast of Ireland. The 
large-eyed, lemon-coloured cubs (seldom more than one at a 
birth) take to the water with seeming reluctance, and apparently 
have to be taught to swim by their mothers. They do not 
finally adopt a water life until about six or seven weeks after 
birth, by which time they have shed the first woolly covering. 
This want of precocity in the young (which, however, may be a 
more generalised feature in the gray seal) makes the species 
much more liable to extermination by man. The mother seal is 
constantly with her ofi^spring during this period of cave-dwelling, 
and will fiercely attack any one who may attempt to capture her 
cub, but her efforts, of course, are futile against rifles and clubs. 
The mother seal remains out of the water with her cub during 
the first few weeks after its birth, but when she resumes her life 
in the sea she generally comes on shore to suckle the cub every 
high tide. Whilst the cub is left on shore amongst the boulders, 
in some sheltered retreat or cavern, it is very silent, and its 
lemon-white colour, broken only by the large black eye, is 
curiously protective, as it resembles the whitened boulders that 
lie about in all directions, spotted by occasional dark purple 
anemones or drilled with round holes. 

Gray seals are ordinarily very noisy, and make a regular 


howling at times, like dogs. Owing to its much less pro- 
portionate cranial capacity the gray seal is a dull and sulky 
creature as compared with the common seal. In confinement it 
is morose and ill-tempered. 

When undisturbed by man it is fond of leaving the water in 
the summer-time and basking for hours in the warm sunshine. 
At intervals it stretches its muscles in a peculiar way by turning 
the head backwards, and curving the hind flippers upwards till it 
almost assumes the form of a flattened crescent. It is very 
cautious nowadays about landing, and swims backwards and 
forwards with its head high up out of the water. The creature 
when pursued on shore gets over the ground a great deal faster 
(for a short distance) than a man can walk, and helps itself 
alternately with its fore paws, pressing them hard against the 
surface of the ground to propel the body forwards. 

The gray seal is now limited in its British distribution to 
the south, west, and north coasts of Ireland, the coasts of the 
Hebrides, and the great islands to the west of Scotland, the 
Orkneys, Shetlands, and here and there the east coast of Scotland. 
Very rarely it is heard of off the coasts of Norfolk, Cornwall, 
and Wales. The gray seal has been caught several times in the 
Severn in the early part of the nineteenth century, and in 1857 
one was killed on the coast of the Isle of Wight. In the middle 
of the nineteenth century living specimens were occasionally sent 
from the coast of Wales to the Zoological Gardens in London. 
Outside the British Islands the range of the gray seal appears to 
be limited to the coasts of Norway and Sweden, Spitzbergen, 
Iceland, Greenland, and North America down to Nova Scotia. 

The sub-family of the Monachince^ or Monk Seals, is not 
represented in British waters, its genera being confined to the 
Mediterranean, the Tropical Atlantic, and the Antarctic Ocean. 


This sub-family includes among its representatives the 
enormous elephant seal of the Antarctic and Pacific Oceans. 
The seals of this sub-family have the incisors reduced to two 



pairs in the upper jaw and one pair in the lower, while the molar 
teeth are nearly all one-rooted, and are reduced in size and 
degenerate in structure. The canines are strong and stout and 
rather tusk-like, and the outer pair of upper incisors somewhat 
resemble canines, so that, however much the outer teeth may be 
reduced, the creature retains effective weapons in the canines and 
upper incisors. The first and the fifth toes in the hind feet 
exceed the others very much in length, and have the lobe of skin 
prolonged for a considerable distance beyond the nail ; moreover, 
the claws or nails on the hind toes are either absent or rudi- 
mentary. The nose of the males is surmounted by a remarkable 
appendage which can be inflated at will. This, in the species 
represented in the British fauna, is developed into a great bladder, 
shaped almost like a cockscomb, but in the elephant seal it 
becomes a short proboscis. 

Cystophora cristata. The Hooded or Bladder-nosed Seal 
The skull of this animal, to begin with, differs considerably in 
shape from that of the normal seal. The ramus of the under 
jaw is long, broad, and heavy. 
The ridges round the eye orbits 
are much developed, and the 
cranium, or brain case, is pro- 
portionately small. The boi 
partition between the nostrils 
prolonged in front of the 
orbits in a circular form 
to support the huge air 
bladder which terminates 
inside the nasal opening of the 
skull. The neck is somewhat 
longer than in the common seals. 
The adult male has the nose 
bladder much more developed 
than the female. The bony partition in front of the eyes is 
continued down to the aperture of the nostrils by a cartilaginous 

Head of Hooded Seal [Cystophora). 


crest, which really forms part of the septum, or division between 
the air passages of the nostrils. This cartilage, added to the pos- 
terior bony wall, serves to support twin bladders divided in the 
middle by a groove indicating the line of the nose. These 
bladders can be inflated and erected at will till they somewhat 
resemble a policeman's helmet. When the creature is at rest 
the hood almost hangs down on either side over the eyes and 
cheeks in a series of folds. 

The length of the Hooded Seal varies from 8 ft. to 1 2 ft. The 
body is long and robust. The colour in the newly-born woolly 
young is the usual lemon-white. When this wool is lost, their 
rather long hair is a grayish-yellow above and white below, and 
the grayish-yellow parts are marked with spots and blotches- 
of dark gray or black. As the seal grows older the yellowish- 
gray of the upper parts deepens in colour into grayish-brown» 
which, with the black markings, gives the upper surface of the 
animal a hue of nearly uniform dark gray. 

The voice of the hooded seal is the usual barking and 
whining. The young apparently are born in the month of April. 
The polygamous males fight very much amongst themselves 
in autumn during the breeding season. This seal is much more 
pugnacious than those hitherto described, and will not only stay 
to give battle to a human enemy, but will sometimes rush and 
shuffle towards its opponent, attempting to bite him with its 
canine tusks. They also attack their assailants with the fore 
paws, striving to overbear them and knock them to the ground 
preparatory to inflicting dangerous bites. 

The hooded seal has been killed off^ the coast of Suffolk and 
of Eastern Scotland and in the Orkney Islands. It has also beea 
observed ofi^ the west coast of Ireland. In former centuries its 
appearance off^ the British coasts was not uncommon, and gene- 
rally attracted attention owing to the extraordinary bladder or 
hood. It was met with formerly off the west coast of France, 
but its present range seems to be limited to the Arctic regions 
and the coasts of Greenland, Spitzbergen, Norway, and New- 



Reference has already been made to the Rodent, or gnawing 
group of mammals, as having started probably in very ancient 
times from some generalised group of Eutherian mammal akin 
to the Insectivores. The marked feature in the Rodents is the 
complete absence of canine teeth in the upper and lower jaws, 
and the reduction of the incisors, which in the lower jaw are 
never more than two, one on each side, and in the upper jaw are 
equally reduced to two, except in the case of the sub-order of 
hares and rabbits, where the upper incisors may be three on 
each side in the case of young animals, and two on each side 
in the adult. The premolars are always below the full number, 
and very often either completely wanting or reduced to one each 
side. The feet almost invariably possess the original five toes, 
but differ from those of the Primates (man, apes, and lemurs) in 
never having the thumb or first toe opposable. The extremities 
of the toes and fingers are armed with claws, sometimes long and 
sharp, occasionally in the few large forms becoming blunt, angular, 
and almost hoof-like, but never developing a flat nail as in the 
Primates. Nearly all the Rodents have collar bones, though 
sometimes in a very rudimentary form. Most of them have a 
caecum. The mouth is characterised by a very peculiar feature. 
Behind the large incisors, or gnawing teeth, of the upper and 
lower jaw the palate is covered with hair, so that the mouth is 
really divided into two portions— the entrance in front between 
the great incisor teeth, followed by a narrow passage more or 

209 14 


less thickly covered with hair, and then the larger space between 
the rows of molar teeth with a wet palate. The object of this 
division is to enable these animals to gnaw all sorts of substances 
with their teeth without the stuff through which they are gnaw- 
ing their way reaching the interior of the mouth and being 
swallowed, unless, of course, it is suitable for food. 

In the Rodenda Nature is again repeating herself, and pushing 
to an absolute conclusion a plan which has possibly occurred 
to her over and over again in the development of fishes and 
reptiles, and the many diverse orders of Mammalia. In the 
Proto-mammals, in those early groups of the Secondary Epoch 
which, from such slight knowledge as we possess, appear to be 
allied to the Monotremes, we see frequent developments of forms 
in which the incisor teeth are reduced in number and developed 
into circular tusks with a chisel-like edge, while there is an 
absence of canines and a diastema, or toothless space, between 
the exaggerated incisors and the premolars. Then, again, in the 
Marsupial order, one of its two divisions is distinguished from the 
other by a more or less Rodent-like development of the incisor 
teeth ; and in such a form as the wombat the resemblance to a 
Rodent is very striking. Among the Primates (that group to 
which man belongs) we have the aye-aye lemur, a creature with 
Rodent-like incisors, and with all the intermediate teeth absent in 
the adult animal. In branch after branch of Ungulates, Rodent- 
like conditions of teeth are developed independently and repeat- 
edly. This is the case with the elephants, to instance only one 
of many examples. It is thought, indeed, by some geologists 
that in their remote origin the Rodents may have been connected 
with the primitive Ungulates. It is doubtful, however, whether 
this was the case any nearer in time than that in which the 
gnawing animals first differentiated from the primitive and 
generalised Eutherian stock. The point at which they did so 
must have been very near to the branching off of Marsupials, 
Insectivores, and Primates. It will be noticed in all these three 
groups that the first incisors to disappear are the side ones in 
the lower jaw: there is more persistency in the upper incisors; 


whereas in the Ungulates the tendency is rather in the opposite 
direction, for the lower incisors to remain and the upper to 
dwindle or disappear. 

The Rodents are an extremely ancient group, dating back 
in time to the Eocene, or first period of the Tertiary Epoch. 
Their forms at the present day are sharply divided into two sub- 
orders, the Duplicidentata^ or rodents (such as hares) with at 
least two pairs of incisors in the upper jaw, and the Simplicidentata 
(such as squirrels, porcupines, mice), with only one pair of 
incisors in the upper jaw. 

The Duplicidentata are divided at the present day into two 
distinct families, one containing the pikas and the other the 
hares, rabbits, and a remarkable form, Romerolagus^ which is in 
some respects aberrant, and in others a link between the pikas 
and the hares. 

These Rodents, represented by the genus Lagomys^ are smaller 
than the hares and rabbits. They have short ears, no external 
tail, the fore and hind limbs are about equal in length, the 
incisor teeth are two on each side in the upper jaw, and there 
are premolars, either two on each side or only one. The present 
distribution of the Lagomyida is confined to Eastern Europe 
(Russia), Northern and Central Asia (from Persia to Kamshatka) 
and the western territories of North America (Rocky Mountains). 
In the Pleistocene period, however, pikas of the existing Siberian 
species {Lagomys alpinus) were found in the southern half of 
England in common with so many other beasts which inhabit 
Central Asia at the present day — gazelles, saigas, jerboas. The 
pika lingered on in Sardinia almost to the Historical Epoch, but 
apparently became extinct in Britain at a more remote period. 

It would seem as though in our review of the origin of 
British Mammals we were for once to leave India as the starting- 
point of an important group and turn to North America. 


Although the Duplicidentata are strongly represented in India 
and Central Asia, the balance of proof seems to be in favour of 
their having originated (perhaps with the whole of the Rodentid) 
in North America. Not only is a species of pika found still 
living in that continent, but on a mountain in Mexico a primitive 
type of rabbit-like Rodent has been recently discovered, the 
scientific name of which is Romerolagus. Lastly, hares are 
abundantly represented in both North and South America, and in 
both North and South America occurs the form of hare most 
nearly related to the rabbit. 

The Leporida are, all things considered, the most primitive of 
Rodents and of the Duplicidentata. They possess two permanent 
incisors on each side of the upper jaw, and in young animals a 
third incisor occurs in the " milk " dentition. There are three 
pairs of premolars in the upper jaw, and two pairs in the lower. 
The molars are three pairs in both jaws, the third molar being 
very small. All the molars are rootless, and their crowns are 
marked with transverse ridges of enamel. The fore feet are 
five-toed, the hind limbs four-toed. The ear conch is invariably 
long, sometimes very long. 

The hares and rabbits are now generally divided into two 
distinct genera, Oryctolagus and Lepus^ because there are dif- 
ferences in structure and habits between the true hares and the 
common rabbit, which are thought to be of generic importance, 
even though one or two intermediate forms exist which it is very 
difficult to classify as belonging precisely to either group. 

Oryctolagus cuniculus. The Common Rabbit 

This creature is perhaps the only type of the genus Oryctolagus 
which, although connected by intermediate forms, differs in the 
following particulars from most hares of the genus Lepus : 
the longer and narrower bones of the palate, the more slender 
muzzle, the smaller size and capacity of the skull, the shorter 
ears (nearly without the hares' black tips), and the condition of 
the young at birth — these in the rabbit being naked and but 
poorly developed, while the young of hares are born with their 


To face p. 212. 


eyes open, fully covered with hair, and able to run about.^ The 
rabbit, moreover, burrows into the ground and inhabits these 
burrows, whereas the typical hares live above-ground. Closely 
allied to the European rabbit, however, is a remarkable primitive 
type of Leporine, the Assam hare {Lepus or Oryctolagus hispidus\ 
which has short ears, a fur tending in colour to the rabbit gray, and 
other resemblances in the skull. Also related is the South African 
form, Lepus crassicaudatus^ and the Lepus sylvilagus of North and 
South America. Professor Scharff believes that the rabbit type 
originated in or near North America, and that its allies penetrated 
westwards into Central Asia, while the rabbit itself travelled 
eastwards across the Atlantic by a now vanished land bridge into 
Western Europe and Northern Africa. Many problems in the 
fauna of Europe and North America, and above all of the Azores, 
Madeira, and Canary Islands, are difficult to explain, unless we 
can postulate the existence during the close of the Tertiary Epoch 
of a land bridge across the Northern Atlantic. The equatorial 
isthmus which may have connected Venezuela with West Africa 
had probably broken down at the commencement of the Miocene 
period ; but a good deal of the North Atlantic bed may have 
risen to be dry land between North America and Western Europe 
by way of the Azores and Madeira. This would have been at a 
time when Spain was connected with the south-west of Ireland. 
By this route the ancestors of the rabbit must have travelled and 
have reached the vanished land lying to the west of Portugal 
now restricted to the Madeira and Azores Archipelagoes. In the 
Azores rabbits undoubtedly existed when the islands were first 
discovered by Flemish merchants. Rabbits also have been 
known to exist in Madeira, or in the little islands off Madeira, 
from the time of their discovery by the Portuguese. It has 
always been assumed that the Portuguese must have introduced 
rabbits into both archipelagoes, together with weasels and goats. 
Goats they certainly brought to Madeira, but it is a moot 
question whether the existing wild goat of the Azores may not 
be an indigenous wild species connected with the wild goat of 
^ There is also a difference in the structure of the csecum. 


Spain, and a relic of the days when the Azores were an outpost 
of Western Europe. But there is no certain evidence to prove 
that early in the fifteenth century the Portuguese were sufficiently 
interested in the rabbit or the weasel to deliberately introduce 
these animals into the Azores or into Madeira, directly these 
islands were made known. From Portugal the rabbit spread over 
Spain, North Africa, Corsica, and Sardinia, and no doubt from 
Western France or from Spain reached Ireland and England. 

Into these last-named countries it is supposed to have been 
introduced, though there is no historical record of the Romans 
having done so. Since Roman times, at any rate, the rabbit has 
been a British mammal. It is true that no name for this animal 
apparently exists either in the Celtic tongues of Britain and Ireland 
or in Anglo-Saxon which is not derivable from the Latin name 
Cuniculus. (" Rabbit " comes from the Dutch or Flemish rohbe^ 
and is a relatively modern word.) The native name, however, 
for the wild species may have been lost, and its place taken by 
the Latin term applied to the domestic animal. The existence of 
the rabbit in these islands, as a wild creature not originally 
introduced by man, is a question similar to the origin of the 
pheasant and the existing park "wild" cattle. The ancestors 
of all three are considered to have been brought here by the 
Romans, but no historical record exists definitely proving that 
the Romans introduced the rabbit or the pheasant. The case of 
the wild cattle is more dubious. As the pheasant is found fossil in 
France, and the rabbit admittedly inhabits parts of that country as 
a wild animal at the present day, it is conceivable that both forms 
may have reached England without the intervention of man. 

But the rabbit, though it may be indigenous to England, and 
perhaps to Ireland, is quite a new arrival in Scotland beyond the 
Lowland districts. In the Highlands it was relatively unknown 
seventy years ago. It seems to be pretty certain that the fossil 
remains of the true rabbit exist in British formations dating back 
to the Prehistoric and Pleistocene periods. These remains have 
been found in Ireland, and in Devonshire, Yorkshire, and else- 
where in England. 


The general colour of the rabbit is grayish-brown, but the 
neck becomes, in some examples, reddish-brown. The throat 
and belly are white, and the outside of the ear is grayish-brown, 
the inside being a buff-white. There is a narrow black edging 
along the tip of the ear, but no decided black point like that 
seen in so many forms of hare. The top of the short tail is 
blackish, the under side, or " scut," is pure white. The upturned 
white tail of the rabbit when it is in flight undoubtedly serves as 
a signal and warning to its fellows. The wild rabbit measures 
in adult specimens about 16 in. from the tip of the nose to the 
base of the tail, and the tail is another 3 in. in length. The 
ears are far shorter than those of the common hare, quite 
two-thirds shorter proportionately. The head also is rounder 
and shorter, and the hind legs are not so disproportionately long 
as in the hares. 

The rabbit is far more gregarious than the hare ; in fact, it 
is never found singly at any season of the year, but always in 
large companies whose burrows form a " warren " of associated 
dwellings. These burrows are mainly excavated by the fore 
paws of the rabbit, though masses of earth are flung backwards 
by the hind feet. These last, indeed, constitute the rabbit's only 
means of offence. With them it stamps loudly when angry, and 
tame rabbits can deal severe blows or kicks at puppies that may 
try to interfere with them. In wet or marshy localities with 
abundant vegetation rabbits construct (more or less by their 
constant passage to and fro) a labyrinth of runs and galleries in 
the matted heather, gorse, and other vegetation, and it is said by 
the late Professor Thomas Bell that these runs in such localities 
are substituted entirely for burrows. This would seem to be 
correct, and if so it is an interesting instance of an earlier mode 
of life on' the part of this member of the Hare family, with whom 
burrowing in the loose soil may have become a much more 
recently acquired habit, shared by only one other member of 
the group. ^ 

The female rabbit, when about to give birth to young, 
^ LepuSy or Orydolagiis, hispidus. 


excavates a separate burrow for herself with only one entrance 
(like that of the mole). Ordinarily, rabbit burrows are provided 
with an official entrance and a back door, or bolt hole. At the 
bottom of the breeding burrow the female prepares a nest for 
the reception of her naked young by pulling with her teeth 
mouthfuls of fur from her chest and belly. (This habit has 
been observed by any one who has kept tame rabbits.) In 
captivity the domestic rabbit is shy and nervous about her 
young, and, as every boy knows, may eat them at an early stage 
if interfered with. It is probable that this habit exists also in 
the wild type, though what use it can be to the species or 
community it is difficult to understand. It almost appears to 
be related to the instinctive eating of the placenta, or " after- 
birth," an action performed by nearly all mammals possessing 
teeth in whom the placenta is deciduate. The young vary in 
number from eight to four in normal litters, and the number of 
mamm« is ten. As already mentioned, young rabbits are blind 
and practically naked at birth. They are also very small (as 
compared to young hares), and bear a strong superficial re- 
semblance to the offspring of those marsupials who produce their 
young in a most undeveloped condition. 

Rabbits are mature and able to breed at the age of six 
months, if not earlier, and the number of litters in the year 
may be as many as four. The obvious result of this fecundity 
is that the increase of the rabbit when unchecked can 
assume such extravagant proportions as to become what the 
Germans would call a "world-force." Given favourable con- 
ditions, and the non-intervention of man, or the lack of sufficient 
carnivorous birds and beasts, and rabbits may ruin a continent 
by devouring all its vegetation. It is a matter of common 
knowledge how the introduction of the rabbit into Australia has 
resulted in serious damage to pastures and plantations, and how, 
if it had not been checked in a most expensive and elaborate 
manner, it might have led to the extinction of sheep and 
cattle, and of most of the indigenous marsupials. In a 
natural state of affairs the increase of the rabbit in Europe 


and the British Islands would be kept in check by the pro- 
portionate increase of weasels, cats, foxes, buzzards, owls, and 
eagles ; but when man, in his short-sightedness, exterminates 
these interesting beasts and birds, he must rely solely on his own 
efforts to keep down the devastations of rabbits and other rodents. 
In Australia the rabbit shows great signs of adaptability, and 
will often climb trees. Instances are recorded by Thomas Bell 
of rabbits that have existed in hollow trees in England, and have 
been able, owing to the slant of the trunk, to ascend the tree for 
some distance. It is quite possible, therefore, that if this form 
developed extravagantly it might give rise to a new species or 
genus of arboreal habits ; whilst another became more and more 
addicted to life underground, feeding on roots ; and a third 
might even become semi-aquatic, for a rabbit is quite well able 

to swim. 

In England the rabbits are somewhat nocturnal in their habits, 
and feed generally in the early morning and late evening, passing 
a good deal of the warmth of the day in the burrow, though in 
the winter-time they range the field by day and retire to their 
burrows at night. 

Lepus timidus. The Mountain Hare 
This is a true hare, but a little nearer to the rabbits than the 
form to be next described. The Mountain Hare has ears propor- 
tionately shorter than those of the common hare {Lepus europ^us), 
but these ears have the customary black tip which is so marked 
a feature in all the hares. In size the mountain hare is slightly 
smaller than the common hare, its length being a little over 
21 in. from the nose to the base of the tail, and the tail (2 J in.) 
is shorter than that of the common hare. On the other hand, the 
head of Lepus timidus is proportionately larger than the head of 
Lepus europ^us. The two, however, differ markedly in colora- 
tion, in the contour of the head (which is rounder in the 
mountain hare), in the relative length of the hind legs (shorter in 
the mountain hare), and, as already mentioned, in the length of 
the ears and tail. 


In the summer-time, between April and November, the 
woolly, soft fur of the mountain hare is fulvous-gray, the under 
hair being almost bluish-gray, with longer hairs on the surface 
that are yellowish-brown. The backs of the ears are gray and the 
tips are black. The belly is dirty white, and the under parts 
generally range between gray and white in tint. The tail is dark 
^ray above and white beneath. In the northern parts of Scotland 
the mountain hare assumes the snow-white coat which this animal 
bears during the winter season in the Alps and the Arctic regions. 
Only the tips of the ears remain black. But in Ireland (the 
mountain hare is extinct in England) this change to complete 
white is never known to occur. The utmost amount of white 
recorded in the winter change of the mountain hare in Ireland is 
represented by the author's drawing, which is done from a specimen 
in the Natural History Museum, Dublin. In this case the face and 
a broad band along each side of the back remained grayish-brown,, 
whilst the rest of the body became white. This, however, is a ver)r 
rare example, and ordinarily the mountain hare in Ireland only 
turns a somewhat bluer gray in the winter. There are remarkable 
colour variations of this hare in Ireland. One of them, confined 
to the county of Wicklow, assumes a uniform coat of sandy yellow. 
The mountain hare at the present day has its habitat in these 
islands reduced to Scotland and Ireland, but during the Pleistocene 
Epoch it equally inhabited England, where, indeed, it seems to 
have preceded the arrival of the common hare. Elsewhere than 
these islands its distribution includes Scandinavia, Northern Russia, 
Siberia, and Japan. It is also met with in the Pyrenees, the Alps,, 
and the Caucasus, possibly also in the Carpathians. In Northerrk 
America it is represented by the closely allied, if not identical, 
" polar " hare, the distribution of which scarcely extends farther 
south than Canada. 

The mountain hare is the only type of Leporine found in 
Sweden and Norway. In the days when Linnaeus endeavoured 
to bring zoological nomenclature into an orderly condition, fine 
distinctions were seldom drawn between species of animals nearly 
allied : consequently it never occurred to Linnaeus, or those that 

)m .111 original drawing by the Author. 

The Mountain Hare [Lepus timidus) : Winter Coat in Wicklow Mountains, Ireland. 

N.B.— This is the utmost extent of white ever assumed in Ireland. Drawn from a specimen in the 

Royal Dublin Museum. 

To face p. 218. 


worked with him, that the common hare of Germany, England, 
and the south of Europe was a different animal from the mountain 
hare. To the mountain hare, therefore, and hares in general, he 
gave the name of Lepus timidus, but it is clear that in applying 
this name he had his own indigenous mountain hare under 
contemplation. Later but more discriminating zoologists applied 
the adjective europaus to the very distinct hare of Central and 
Southern Europe. Then later Linnaeus's specific name timidus was 
applied to the common hare, while the mountain hare, on account 
of its changes of colour, was called variabilis. Nowadays, with 
some difficulty, zoologists have set the matter right by retaining 
Linn^us's name {timidus) for the mountain hare, and styling the 
species which will be next described europaus. 

The mountain hare agrees with the common hare in havmg 
only two broods of young in the course of the year, in limiting 
the number of young at a birth to five at the outside (often only 
two), and in producing these young in a much more advanced 
state of development than is the case with the rabbit, as they are 
born covered with hair, with eyes open, and almost able to follow 
their mother two days after birth. The number of mammae in 
this and the common hare is five pairs. 

The mountain hare generally produces its young under the 
shelter of an overarching tree trunk or root, or in a cranny or 
sheltered crevice in the rocks. 

Its " form," or resting-place to which it resorts, is usually 
between stones or on easily reached ledges of rock. In summer- 
time it eats grass, leaves, roots, and bark ; during the winter, bark, 
pines, and other seeds, and even lichens and moss. 

Lepus europaus. The Common Hare 
The Common Hare measures in adult male specimens about 
21I in. from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail ; and the 
taif is about another ^\ in. long. The ears are about 4^ in. in 
length, markedly longer than the head. They are rather tapermg 
towards the tip, which is black. The inside of the ear is some- 
what naked. The tail is more developed than in the mountam 


species, and the hind legs are proportionately much longer than 
the fore limbs. As in the rabbit and the mountain hare, the soles 
of the feet are completely covered with hair. Noteworthy in 
hares and rabbits is the deeply marked cleft in the upper lip. In 
colour the common hare tends to be much redder than the 
mountain form or than the rabbit. The throat and chest are a 
warm buff, which changes into white on the belly. The tail is 
black above and white below. The ears are buff-coloured at the 
back, with a black tip. The face is reddish-fawn-colour on the 
cheeks and round the eyes, while the forehead and nose are a dark 
blackish-brown. The hind and fore limbs are reddish-yellow. 
The whole of the rest of the upper parts of the body is yellowish 
in the under-wool, varied by the longer hairs which lie on the 
surface, and these are generally gray in their lower half and black 
for the rest of the length, so that the upper surface of the hare's 
body appears grizzled (" pepper and salt "), with a warm yellow- 
red in the clefts of the soft coat. 

Hares breed when a year old. The female goes with young 
about thirty days, and then produces from two to five leverets 
at a birth. These, as already stated, are born in an advanced 
condition of development, with open eyes and covered with 
hair, and practically able to run from the day of their birth. 
There is no more beautiful object amongst the wild mammals 
of Britain than the leveret of a few days old. Its large eyes 
are a deep blue-gray. The ears are shorter and broader than 
in the adult, and the fur is perhaps a little redder in tone. 
These sweet little creatures in their timidity squat with their 
limbs and ears closely adpressed to the body. They are a 
warm, fluffy handful which it is irresistible to slip into one's 
pocket. Hares are readily tamed, and their ways as domestic 
pets are so charming and full of intelligence that it is surprising 
they are not more often kept ; but it would seem as if there 
were a very great difficulty in inducing hares to breed in captivity, 
which is perhaps the reason why they have never become 
domesticated like the rabbit. Large breeds of rabbits, on the 
Continent especially, often assume, when domesticated, a hare-like 

Photo by W. P. Da 

1 AK'L I L^l II s ( III :'^' I II.']. 

I'hoto Ijy C. Keid. 

The Eukupkan ljEA\tR {Castor fib 

To face p. 220. 


aspect, and this is sometimes attributed to hybrids between the 
hare and the rabbit ; but as a matter of fact these two distinct 
genera have never been known to breed together. 

The hare is a soHtary animal in comparison with the rabbit. 
The sexes really only meet and live in company during the 
breeding season, which may be March and August. (For, in 
spite of statements to the contrary regarding the number of 
broods to which the hare gives birth, it is doubtful whether 
under normal circumstances this creature breeds more than 
twice a year.) During the month of August, however, when 
the grain is cut and lying in sheaves on the harvest-field, the 
hares flock to the feast at eventide. Not infrequently the little 
companies consist of a mother and her grown-up ofl^spring. 
The author has taken advantage of this circumstance in his 
painting to illustrate a number of attitudes which the hare 
assumes, but it must be distinctly understood that the compo- 
sition of the painting is not to imply that under ordinary 
circumstances hares congregate together as do rabbits. 

The hare commonly feeds in the evening, and also perhaps 
in the early morning. In the daytime and during the latter 
part of the night it retires to its " form." This is a smooth 
oblong space generally in a slight depression between banks of 
vegetation, the surface of the form being smoothed by the 
stamping of the animal's feet, and its lying on the thin grass 
and herbage, which becomes dry and flattened into hay with 
the pressure and warmth of the animal's body. It probably 
passes backwards and forwards over the spot where it intends 
to make its form, thus clearing a tunnel through the herbage. 
When an enemy passes near where the hare is lying, it usually 
remains squatting on its form, with ears closely pressed to the 
body, hoping thus to conceal itself from the eye ; but if the 
hare is out pasturing and hears a noise, its first impulse is to 
sit upright with erect ears, after which it either attempts con- 
cealment by lying flat, or takes to flight in a bounding gallop,^ 

^ Hares and rabbits never progress by moving the legs alternately. They 
gallop and jump, but do not walk. 


In which the long hind legs play a great part. Hares are strong 
swimmers, and in escaping from their enemies or in pursuing 
their mates they do not hesitate to take to the water, though 
they are more timid about crossing streams with a strong 
current. In swimming, the rump and tail are kept above the 
water almost as high as the head, while the back is bent 

Except that so many people who read books to-day are 
inhabitants of towns and better acquainted with zoological 
gardens than with the wild beasts of their own land, it would 
hardly seem necessary to describe the remarkable intelligence 
and agility with which the hare eludes its pursuers. Unless 
taken unawares it can only be caught by dogs specially bred 
for swiftness during countless generations. But the hare is 
not only swift — a very ordinary qualification — it is also remark- 
ably intelligent in eluding and disappointing the greyhound ; 
for it will constantly reverse its course, will " double " and 
start off with unchecked speed in a direction almost the reverse 
of the one it has been pursuing. Granted the proximity of 
cover, and the hare must escape again and again by this trick, 
but of course it is practically doomed to death when its pursuit 
by greyhounds has been carefully arranged on chosen ground. 

The cunning and agility of the hare made a deep impression 
on early man, especially in Southern Europe and Africa. The 
hare enters into Grecian and Iranic fables, while in African 
folklore it is universal, and takes the place of the fox, the 
European emblem of astuteness and cunning. Elsewhere the 
hare is really the origin of " Brer Rabbit." The negro slaves 
imported from West Africa into the United States brought 
with them their beast stories and fables, in which the hare played 
such a prominent part. In the early days of American coloni- 
sation the white settlers called every hare a rabbit. The 
negroes, therefore, adopted this name for their equivalent to 
" Reynard the Fox." 

The North Aryan word for hare is derived with some 
probability from a root meaning "jumper." Its name in Greek 


(^Lagos) and in Latin {Lepus) may have been derived from 
Mediterranean languages not Aryan in vocabulary. 

The group of the True Hares is of almost world-wide 
origin, being represented by one or more species in every part 
of the habitable globe except Australasia. Hares are found in 
the equatorial regions of Sumatra and of Central Africa and in 
Northern Greenland ; in the southern extremity of Africa (Cape 
of Good Hope), in South America, North America, the Sahara 
Desert, the Himalayas, Japan, and Ireland. The species under 
review — Lepus europaus — is absent from Ireland, and until 
recently was not found in Northern Scotland. It is present 
(possibly through deliberate human introduction) in the island 
of Mull and some other large islands off the west coast of 
Scotland. It is very common in England and Wales, though 
its remains in this country are perhaps of slightly later date 
than the earliest traces of the mountain hare. It would seem, 
indeed, as though the common hare entered England with 
the rest of the Central European fauna, and until recently 
confined its range to South Britain. It is not found in Northern 
Russia, It is common over the whole of the rest of Europe 
(except Scandinavia), extending its range eastwards as far as 
the Caucasus and Ural Mountains. 




This group includes by far the largest number of Rodent 
species, perhaps in proportion to Duplicidentata something 
like three hundred to twenty. Its most archaic representa- 
tives are the squirrels, which, except for not possessing more 
than a single pair of incisors on both jaws, are in some respects 
more generalised than the hares and rabbits. Although mainly 
of small size, and offering a remarkable external resemblance one 
to the other in the smaller forms (so that an ignorant observer 
might class all the Simplicidentata in a single family), there are 
nevertheless remarkable differences amongst these Rodents in the 
number and construction of their molar teeth, in the possession 
or loss of collar bones, and the grooving or non-grooving of the 
incisors, as also in the existence of the caecum. They are divided 
into three principal groups, which are termed respectively squirrel- 
like {Sciuromorpha), rat-like {Myomorpha), and porcupine-like 
{Uystricomorpha). The last-named is not represented at all in the 
British fauna past or present, though early and existing types 
of porcupines once inhabited France and Germany. The other 
two sections are divided into a great number of distinct families, 
of which four are represented in the types of recent or existing 

British Mammals. 




The squirrels and marmots are a closely allied group exhibit- 
ing very varied modes of life. Some almost fly, and many are 
wholly arboreal, while others never leave the ground or burrow 
and live beneath its surface. 

Sciurus vulgaris. The Common Squirrel 
In this charming little animal, the teeth, as in most squirrels, 
consist of the single pair of incisors in the upper and lower jaws, 
one or two pairs of premolars in the upper jaw and one pair in the 
lower, and three pairs of molar teeth in both jaws. The molar 
teeth of the squirrels are remarkable in that they present perhaps 
more archaic features than can be met with in other groups of 
Rodents, their crowns being still marked by tubercles and retaining 
roots (see p. 238). The incisor teeth, as is the case with so many 
Rodents, are stained a chestnut colour. In the hind limbs of the 
squirrel there are five functional toes, but in the " hands " there 
are only four fingers, for the thumb is marked by little else than 
a claw. In the toes and fingers the terminal joints are crooked, 
and armed with long, curved, sharp claws admirably adapted for 
clinging tightly to the bark of trees. The number of teats in 
the female varies from two to three pairs, and they are situated 
along the abdomen. The tail is long — indeed, nearly as long as 
the body. From the tip of the nose to the base of the tail an 
average male squirrel measures just over 8 in., while the tail 
from its base to the end of the bone measures 7 in. The tail 
is somewhat heavily plumed on either side, though the thickness 
of these long hairs varies according to season, being more abun- 
dant in winter than in summer. When sitting up on its hind 
legs in repose the tail usually coils over the back, but is always 
stretched out behind when it is in movement, sometimes quite 
straight, at other times slightly curved. The nose is rather 
arched, the upper lip is cleft, the eye is large and full, and the 
ears are rounded, wide, and of considerable size. This circular 
outline of the outer ear is disguised during the winter months by 



remarkable plumes of hair rising to an apex, and giving the 
creature at this season an appearance of possessing large and 
pointed ears. At almost all times there are a it^N long hairs at 
the point of the squirrel's ear, but these become strengthened in 
November into a tuft of considerable size from half an inch to 
an inch long. This tuft begins to diminish in April, and in 
May is much reduced in size. 

The changes of colour in the squirrel also vary to a re- 
markable degree according to season. In the winter-time the 
squirrel's colour is dark brownish-red on the head, along the 
back, and down the middle of the tail. The sides of the body 
are quite gray. The limbs are brownish-red with a tendency to 
bright chestnut. The throat, chest, belly, and inside of the 
limbs are white. The thick plumes along the sides of the tail are 
dark reddish-brown. At the end of April this winter coat begins 
to lose the gray sides, and in the early summer the pretty little 
animal is a bright chestnut-red above and white below. But as 
the summer advances the long hair on either side of the tail 
tends to become a buff colour, and it is not uncommon to meet 
with examples in August in which the tail is quite cream-coloured 
at the sides, only retaining the darker brown down the middle. 

Squirrels breed once a year, in April or May. They are 
monogamous — that is to say, they mate in pairs — and once mated 
remain attached to one another for years. The nest in which 
the young are to be born is constructed of interlaced shreds of 
moss, leaves, leaf stalks, grass, and strips of bark, and is placed 
generally in a fork between two branches or in a hollow in the 
trunk. Usually it is so arranged as not to be conspicuous, and 
often resembles merely a thickening of the trunk when placed 
at the angle between two branches. The young are born in 
June, seldom more than four in a litter ; and although able to 
shift for themselves in a month or six weeks, they continue to 
associate with their parents until the spring of the next year. 
When eating, the squirrel seats itself on its hind legs with the 
tail coiled over the back, and holds its food between the fore 
paws. When scrambling up or down a tree, it presses its body 

^^_ — PJ^ 

To face p. 226. 


against the trunk and moves the limbs alternately and inde- 
pendently. When on the ground, however, it progresses by a 
series of short bounds, and does not walk. It takes bold leaps 
from branch to branch, foreshadowing distinctly in this move- 
ment the specialisation of allied genera and families, some of 
which develop a regular parachute expansion of skin between the 
limbs. The broad plumed tail of the squirrel undoubtedly assists 
this flight through the air, in which the limbs are spread out 


The food of this pretty Rodent is somewhat varied. The 
staple of its diet is fruit, nuts, and seeds, but the squirrel could 
easily, under force of circumstances, develop into a flesh-eating 
animal. It is certainly addicted to eating the eggs of birds, such 
as the wood-pigeon, thrush, or robin. It is even accused of 
devouring young nestlings. A favourite food during the autumn 
and winter is the hazel-nut. The squirrel destroys large quan- 
tities of pine-cones, and as its attitude towards mankind is very 
monkey-like and " cheeky," it seems to take a pleasure in attack- 
ing these pine-cones immediately over the head of one who has 
retired to the forest to paint or to meditate over a book. In 
tearing away the segments of the pine-cone to get at the pith 
of the interior and the seeds, the squirrel showers down these 
rather moist and sappy fragments on the human being beneath, 
accompanying this inconvenient action by spitting and swearing 
sounds, or else conducting this mischievous operation in profound 
silence, and thereby startling one all the more by raining down 
unexpectedly a mass of half-chewed debris. It also devours beech- 
mast, acorns, and young leaf shoots, tender bark, buds, and 
flowers. The sharp and pointed lower incisors easily pierce the 
soft rind of the young nut. When the hazel-nut is brown and 
hard (as it becomes in the squirrel's winter store), a circular cut is 
generally made right round the nut, so that the shells fall off' 
in halves. The kernel is then taken out, and every particle of 
brown skin is peeled off it before the nut is devoured. 

The squirrel in a really wild state lays up considerable stores 
of food during the autumn for its use in the winter, and these 


stores are put into many hiding-places, and are not confined to a 
single hoard. But in the more southern parts of England, where 
food is fairly abundant during the winter, or where the squirrel 
continues to live in close proximity to towns — which proximity 
results in various forms of food being procurable during the 
winter — it seems to abandon this practice. So it is as regards 
hibernation. In bleak districts, with a poor food supply during 
the winter, the squirrel curls itself up in some sheltered hole or 
cranny in a tree trunk and passes into a torpid condition, only 
reviving when the sun shines brightly. During these spells of 
warmer weather in the winter it leaves its hiding-place and 
searches for hoarded nuts, returning to sleep again after a good 
meal. But in such districts as Bournemouth, where there is an 
abundant food supply all through the winter and the climate 
is mild, squirrels are as much en evidence during the winter-time 
as in the summer, especially if they can rely on human neighbours 
for scraps of food. 

The squirrel can do considerable harm to plantations of young 
trees by tearing away the bark and interfering with the flow 
of sap, so that in this way the tops of young larches will decay 
and fall off ; but the worst of its evil actions is almost atoned 
for by its beauty and fascinating ways. It has all the impudence 
and much of the intelligence of the monkey, whom it imitates 
also in its wastefulness and its chattering cries. The squirrel's 
voice is very varied. Sometimes it utters a series of metallic 
clacks, then a rapid succession of spitting squeaks. It constantly 
intimates in this manner, with a distinct tone of haughtiness, its 
impatience and annoyance (more or less affected) at the intrusion 
of the human visitor, whose inquiring gaze it will dodge per- 
versely round and round the ample trunk of some tree. Yet 
it is as inquisitive as a monkey, and is by no means anxious 
to scamper off and avoid human society. Any one who has sat 
long sketching in a wood where squirrels are will realise that his 
presence affords to them a perverse attraction, due, no doubt, to 
their inquisitiveness. They pursue one another from branch 
to branch and from tree to tree with much swearing, as though 

SQUIRRELS (Sciurm vulgaris) robbing ring-dove's nest. 
(The ooat is that of the end of the winter season, say April. 


they completely ignored the presence of a stranger. Then they 
will affect to be excessively frightened at their audacity, and hide 
palpitating behind a tree-trunk, scrambling round, however, in a 
minute to gaze at you with their large liquid eyes and to spit and 
swear from their open mouth, with the points of their little brown 
teeth just showing. Squirrels are adorable. They should be 
placed in the first rank of native beasts which we have every 
justification for cherishing and helping to increase and multiply. 
There are countless stories of their charm and intelligence when 
they are obtained quite young and carefully tamed. It is little 
or no use catching them after they are grown up, as they are then 
untameable, and can bite very severely. 

The squirrel has apparently existed in England since the 
Pleistocene period, and is abundant everywhere in this country 
and in the wooded parts of Wales. Although existing in many 
parts of Ireland, it is scarce there ; and its presence in that 
distressful country, which Nature has treated so badly in the 
distribution of mammals, is ascribed to human introduction. In 
the north of England and in Scotland the existence of the squirrel 
seems to have been subject to vicissitudes. It was originally 
unknown in the Lake District, and perhaps did not exist there 
as far back as a hundred years ago, but it has now become fairly 
common in the woodlands of Cumberland and Westmoreland. 
The squirrel has always been known in the Lowlands of Scotland, 
but in the Highlands its existence has fluctuated. No doubt, as 
Mr. Lydekker points out, the complete disappearance of squirrels 
in some Scotch counties has followed frosts of unusual severity ; 
while, of course, everywhere in this region its presence depends 
on whether the country is forested or quite without trees. 

Outside these islands the common squirrel extends right 
across Europe and Asia to Japan. It is found in the north 
of Africa (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunis) wherever there are 
woods ; throughout Temperate Asia, north of the Himalayas; 
but is absent seemingly from Italy and the Crimea. Its range 
on the north just about reaches the Arctic Circle. As it depends 
absolutely on the existence of trees, it is but little met with in 


Spain and Portugal, except in the northern regions. It does 
not seem to have been well known to the Romans in the past, 
for the Latin name, Sciurus^ is simply derived from the Greek, 
SkiouroSy a combination meaning " shadow-tail." There is also, 
so far as I am aware, no recorded Anglo-Saxon or Celtic name. 
The English word at present in use is, of course, derived 
through Norman-French from Latin ; yet, as it is pretty certain 
that the squirrel inhabited England continuously from the 
Pleistocene Epoch, the absence of any reference to it before 
the Norman Conquest is a negative argument in favour of the 
rabbit being also indigenous. 

Spermophilus c'ltillus. The Suslik ^ 

This is a squirrel-like creature with a short tail, which is 
no doubt, a transitional form between the squirrels and the 
marmots. It inhabited England during the Pleistocene period. 
The Suslik is represented in North America by a nearly allied 
form called the gopher, which has a longer tail. The susliks in 
both continents excavate and inhabit burrows. Both European, 
Asiatic, and American forms have a tendency to a flesh diet, and 
American gophers have become of late remarkably flesh-eating 
animals. This is an interesting transformation in such Rodent 
types as the squirrel, the suslik, and the rat, as the teeth of this 
order were originally developed and diiferentiated solely with 
a view to a vegetable diet. 


In the Beavers there are three molars in each jaw, but there 
is only one pair of premolars in each jaw (as against an occasional 
two in the upper jaw of squirrels), and the molar teeth are 
rootless — a sign of specialisation. The tail is highly specialised, 
being long, broad, flat, and covered with entirely hairless, scaly 

1 Remains indicative of the genus Spermophilus have been found in the 
Thames Valley. It is not quite certain that these remains can be attributed 
to the modern form inhabiting Central Europe and Northern Asia. 


skin. The short and flattened ears, which are very much con- 
cealed in the long fur, are naked and scaly, like the tail. The 
hind feet of the beaver are larger than the fore paws, and are 
webbed. A characteristic of great interest (as revealing an 
archaic trait in the beaver's construction) is the opening of the 
anal and uro-genital passages of the female into a common oudet, 
which, though shallow, gives the appearance externally of con- 
ditions like that of the Monotremes. The hind feet have another 
peculiarity, in that they carry a small additional claw^ on the 
second toe. There are five toes on both front and hind feet. 
The fur is composed of long, soft, fine hair, set very thickly; 
and the general colour is a deep chestnut or umber-brown all 
over the upper surface of the body and head, fading into a gray 
on the stomach and under parts. Beavers are large animals, 
measuring as much as 3I ft. from the tip of the nose to the 
end of the tail. The number of mammas is four, and only three 
to four young are produced in a Utter. 

The habits of the beaver are so remarkable that it is one of 
the world's typical mammals, adorning many an ancient story 
of Northern Europe and North America. These creatures have 
developed (perhaps more in North America than in Europe) a 
habit of felling trees on the banks of streams so that they fall 
athwart the water, and by means of their trunks, boughs, and 
added brushwood (together with the debris and mud brought 
down by the stream) form a dam which eventually turns the 
rivulet into a pool. Often in the middle of this pool the 
" lodge," or nest, of the beaver is placed. This is reached by 
one or several tunnels made from the shore under the surface of 
the water into the nest, which is, of course, above the surface. 
The nest is covered by brushwood, and the interior is lined with 
grass. This underground passage and the surface of the nest, 
together with much of the work on the dams, is rendered imper- 
vious to water by mud plastered on with the beaver's fore feet. 
The construction of the dams is sometimes most elaborate, for 
after cutting down the tree or trees which are selected for the 
purpose, the trunks of these are stripped of boughs and cut into 


separate lengths of 5 ft. or 6 ft. Then the bark Is stripped off, 
and these round logs are rolled into position. The trees chosen 
for felling rarely have a greater diameter than 9 in. to 12 in. 
They are, of course, trees that grow close to the bank, and are 
probably leaning over the water. The beaver gnaws at the tree 
stem near the root in a circular manner, tearing out great chips 
with his strong incisor teeth, and so directing his attacks that the 
tree shall fall by its own weight into the stream, and not on to the 

It has been thought by some authorities that the constant 
felling of these trees is (or was originally) a provision made for 
supplies of food, as the beaver eats bark, together with twigs, 
roots, and perhaps leaves. The formation of these dams may, 
therefore, have been originally accidental until the beaver dis- 
covered what a protection to its nest was the artificial surrounding 
of it by water. Their industry, however, in this direction, seems 
to depend a good deal on the supplies of food, and in parts of 
Europe (where the beaver still lingers) abundance of food away 
from the river banks, in the shape of corn or fruit, seems to have 
made it indifferent to the work of felling, building, and plastering. 
The beaver progresses on land by the alternate movement of its 
feet, not employing the jumps and bounds of the squirrel or the 

The distribution of the European beaver {Castor fiber) at the 
present day is limited to a few spots on the Rhine (where they 
are nearly extinct), on the Rhone (but not elsewhere in France), 
here and there in the Elbe Basin, especially in Bohemia, and on 
the Lower Danube. The beaver still lingers on some of the 
rivers of Western and Arctic Russia, in Poland, and on a few ot 
the Siberian rivers. It also inhabits Norway, and it has been 
reported to exist on the Upper Euphrates and in the Caucasus. 
Except, however, on the Lower Danube and in Norway, where 
it is carefully protected, the European beaver is rapidly nearing 
extinction. The North American beaver, though closely allied 
to the form now being described, is made into a separate 
species, so that there is no need to discuss its range. So far 


as the European beaver is concerned, its numerous remains, 
together with traditions and place-names, show that it once 
inhabited the greater part of Northern and Central Asia and 
all Europe, with the exception, perhaps, of Greece, Southern 
Italy, and Southern Spain. 

In the British Islands the beaver existed well into the 
Historical period. It was finally extinguished (in Scotland) 
durincr the sixteenth century, if the Chronicles of Hector Boece 
(written in 1526) may be beheved.^ In the Gaelic of Scotland 
the beaver was called T>obhar-chu:^ or Water Bog, also sometimes 
by another term {Dovrdn-loslithdn), Broad-tailed Otter. In Wales 
the beaver certainly existed down to the end of the twelfth century, 
and possibly did not finally die out for another three hundred 
years. The river in which these animals were most frequent, and 
in which they seem to have remained longest, was the consider- 
able stream called the Teivi, or Tivy, which enters the Irish Sea 
in Cardigan Bay. In Welsh the beaver is generally known by 
the name Afangc (pronounced Avank), but it is true that this 
word is also applied, especially in modern times, to the otter. 
Its etymolocry is said to be derived from afan or afon {a stream), 
and ci {a dog). Ordinarily the otter is called Dyfr-gi (meaning 
Water "Dog). It is also stated that Llostlydan, or Broad-tail, is 
the more exact appellation of the beaver in the Cymric tongue ; 
this, at least, is the statement of Owen, the author of a Welsh 
dictionary ; but this term bears so strong a resemblance to the 
Gaelic Losleathan (pronounced Loslithan) as to suggest the possi- 
bility (seeing the wide difference between the Gaelic and Cymric) 
that the Highland name has been transferred to Wales, or vice 
versd. In England the beaver must have lingered as a living 
animal at least as late as the ninth century, though no doubt in 
the south of England it was earlier extinguished. The town of 
"Beverley," in Yorkshire, is only a slight softening of the 

1 See Extifid British Mammals, by J. E. Harting, p. 4°- 

2 Pronounced Dovar-Khu ; another name is Dovran. Dovar, Dovran, 
and the Welsh Diifr or Dyfr (English : Dover) mean water, or anythmg con- 
nected with water. 


Anglo-Saxon words meaning beaver meadow. Beverley was 
founded and named about 710 a.d. Many other places in 
England between Yorkshire in the north and Wiltshire in the 
south retain names (such as Beveridge) showing that they were 
associated with the beaver by the early English. The Anglo- 
Saxon word befer (pronounced bever) has kindred forms, not 
only in all the other Teuton languages, but in Latin {fiber) and 
Russian (bobr). It would seem, indeed, as though this was the 
original Aryan name for the beaver which the Celts had lost.-^ 

Fossil or semi-fossil bones of the beaver are found in all 
parts of England, from Devonshire to Yorkshire and Norfolk, 
dating from the early part of the Pleistocene period. Its re- 
mains, dating from the Pliocene (which is earlier still), have been 
found in Northern Italy. It is interesting to note that in the 
writings of Welsh and Scottish historians, who described the 
beaver and its mode of life from actual observation (in all proba- 
bility), it pursued exactly the same habits of constructing a lodge 
in the middle of a pool, and of cutting down trees to build dams, 
as is related of its existing representatives to-day in Europe and 

Like so many other British mammals, the beaver seemingly 
never reached Ireland. It is quite possible that its introduction 
into Scotland was a much later occurrence than its first invasion 
of England, and took place probably after the Glacial ages, by 
which time Ireland had become completely insulated. Never- 
theless, inasmuch as the strait separating the Mull of Kintyre 
from the north-eastern extremity of Ireland cannot at that period 
have been very wide, and as the beaver is a strong swimmer, it 
is certainly extraordinary that it should not have reached Ireland 
and thriven in the suitable climate of that island. 

Trogontherium cuvieri. The Giant Beaver 

This creature was about one and a quarter times the size of 
the common beaver. In the structure and configuration of the 
skull, and in the molar teeth, it is slightly less specialised thart 
^ Though they also borrowed the Anglo-Saxon befer. 


the smaller beaver of to-day. Hitherto its remains have only- 
been obtained from Norfolk (where it existed at the close of the 
Pliocene and the beginning of the Pleistocene periods), from 
France, Germany, and Russia. 


Members of this group are all arboreal in habit, with long 
tails more or less heavily furred, though sometimes the hair on 
either side is long, coarse, sparse, and bristle-like. They are 
distinguished from the rest of the rat group by having no 
cascum, and by their intestinal peculiarities. The premolars are 
one on each side, and the molars the usual three pairs. The 
molars retain their roots, but the crowns are not tuberculous ; 
they are marked with long zigzag, parallel folds ending in 
loops, with flat surfaces. 

Muscardinus avellanarlus. The Common Dormouse 

This charming little rodent bears a strong outward resemblance 
to the squirrels, the likeness, however, being mainly superficial 
and limited to the bushy tail, the reduction of the first finger 
to a rudimentary form (while all five toes in the hind feet 
are developed), and the nut-eating habits. The length of 
the Dormouse is 3 in. from the tip of the nose to the root 
of the tail, and the tail is about 2^ in. long, and evenly 
plumed with thick, short hairs. The body is round and 
mouse-like. The ears are also round, with a slight in- 
dication of a point. The ears are smooth and naked inside, 
and covered with short hair on the back. The face is rather 
squirrel-like, though the nose is a little more pointed. The eyes 
are black and prominent. The colour is a light reddish-brown, 
softening into yellow-white on the belly, with an outside patch 
of white on the throat and breast. The young of the dormouse, 
however, when first born are brownish-gray, with a reddish tinge 
on the head and sides. They do not assume the colour of the 


adults until they are nearly a year old. The front paws are 
a little smaller than the feet, and both are rather mouse-like in 
shape and appearance. The soles of all four feet are well padded 
with broad, fleshy prominences like those of so many lemurs, so 
that they are able to cling, to break the shock of a jump, and to 
move very silently. The face of the dormouse is abundantly 
supplied with long vibrissae. 

It is extraordinarily agile in its movements, and suggestive 
of those African and Asiatic lemurs that take rapid and silent 
leaps through the air. The dormouse thinks nothing of a jump 
6 ft. upwards as well as downwards. 

It has five pairs of mammas, and produces generally four 
young in a litter. These are born blind, but in a few days are 
able to move out of the nest. It is generally held that the 
dormouse breeds but once a year, in the spring, though the late 
Professor Bell gives instances of broods occurring in the autumn. 
Perhaps this double brood depends somewhat on favourable years 
or conditions of food supply. The dormouse would seem to be 
monogamous, but is often gregarious at breeding-time, or when 
preparing its nests for the winter hibernation. At these times 
a number of couples may form quite a little colony. The 
dormouse generally constructs its winter or its breeding nest in 
the thick foliage and closely set twigs of a high hedge or a 
nut-bush, not generally much higher than 3 ft. or 4 ft. above 
the ground. The winter, or hibernating, nest is sometimes 
actually put together on the ground between withered stems of 
grass or of short vegetation. The nests may be as much as 
8 in. in diameter, and are generally constructed of blades of 
grass, or long stems of leaves, carefully interwoven, and offering 
no visible aperture. The dormouse very frequently utilises a 
discarded bird's nest if situated conveniently in a low coppice. 

The dormouse grows extremely fat by the end of October, 
and about that time curls itself up into its nest and commences 
its hibernating sleep. Packed into the nest are supplies of hazel- 
nuts ; and if there is an unusually warm day in December or 
February, or in any of the winter months, the dormouse awakes, 


eats a little food, and resumes its sleep, which may last until 
it emerges in April for its active summer life. Breeding 
generally takes place in April, and the young are born in 

The food of the dormouse consists, during the late summer 
and autumn, of hazel-nuts and acorns. Earlier in the summer it 
eats corn and any other kind of grain, and the seeds of a good 
many plants, together with leaf and flower buds, many small 
grubs, caterpillars, weevils, and other insects, and the eggs of 
small birds, besides such wild fruits as it can obtain. Though 
almost the shyest of British Rodents, and never liking to force 
itself on man's attention as does the squirrel, it is nevertheless 
the most easily tamed of all of them, and makes such a 
charming and cleanly pet that one wonders not to see it more 
often kept in captivity. 

The common dormouse is found fairly abundantly in the 
south and centre of England, and in the south of Wales. Its 
distribution in the north of England is apparently confined to 
the wooded parts of Western Lancashire and Cheshire. It has 
never been recorded from Scotland, though it may be found 
here and there in the Lowlands, and it is entirely absent from 
Ireland. Outside the British Islands its range extends over the 
greater part of Central Europe, reaching as far north as the south 
of Sweden and as far south as Northern Italy. Eastwards its range 
stretches into the western districts of Russia, but it does not 
appear to be an inhabitant of any part of Asia. In seeking for 
information about its distribution, care must be taken not to 
confuse it with allied forms belonging to the genus Myoxus^ the 
larger and handsomer dormouse of Southern and Central Europe, 
which, however, never seems to have reached England in its 
distribution. This dormouse of the genus Myoxus can be traced 
back geologically to the Eocene period ! One of these species 
of extinct dormouse developed in the island of Malta into a very 
large size, comparatively, becoming bigger than a guinea-pig. 
This giant dormouse, curiously enough, shared the island of Malta 
in the Pleistocene period with elephants and hippopotamuses 



which had shrunk to pygmy forms, the elephants no larger than 
sheep and the hippopotamus the size of a small pig. 

The dormouse, strange to say, does not seem to have been 
of Asiatic orgin, but to have originated in Africa, where three 
genera are represented at the present day. The range of the 
family at present extends from South Africa to Southern Sweden, 
and from West Africa to Little Russia. 


The Murida differ from the Rodents hitherto described in 
being still further specialised. Their teeth, besides the single 

3rd premolar, 
often missing. 

4th premolar 

1st molar. . . , 

2nd molar ^^ 

3rd molar. . . 

Molar I. 

3} .-- Molar 2. 

Molar 3. 

Molar I. 

Molar 2. 

Molar 3. 

Wafer Vole {Microtus). 

Squirrel. Rat. 

Molar Teeth of Squirrel, Rat, and Water Vole [Microtus) for Comparison. 

Twice natural size. 

pair of incisors in each jaw, are reduced to only three pairs of 
molars above and below. They have lost the premolars. The molar 
teeth of the Rats are sometimes rooted and sometimes rootless. 
In the True Mice and their allies they are marked with rubbed- 
down tubercles (like little craters), which are widening out into 
ridges of enamel. In other forms these enamel ridges become 
the usual zigzag, raised, flattened folds. The tail is nearly 
always hairless, with the skin covered by minute scales. The 
ears are large and rounded. There are five toes on all four 
feet, but the first finger (equivalent to our thumb) on the fore 
feet is rudimentary, and reduced to little more than a nail. It 
is noteworthy that the thumb should be marked in the True Rats 
and Mice by a short nail instead of a long claw. 


Mus decumanus. The Brown Rat 

This creature is almost an unmitigated pest, and is one of the 
few mammals that it would he virtuous to completely extinguish. It 
is almost the largest form amongst the True Mice, measuring 
when fully grown about 9 in. from the tip of the nose to the 
root of the tail, and over 7 in. in addition along the tail to its 
extremity. Its head is very long, as compared with other mice, 
and is furnished with a powerful lower jaw. The snout is ugly, 
and nearly naked. The black eyes are very prominent, seeming 
almost to bulge from the head, and not being sheltered within 
any marked cavity in the brows. The ears are round, large, 
and set well back. The mouth opens far behind the snout, and 
the cleft upper lip is consequently long. The general colour 
is grayish or umber-brown, darkened here and there by the 
presence of long hairs that are blackish in colour. On the under 
surface it is gray. The tail is flesh-colour, with the small scales 
set in overlapping rings. On the coasts of Ireland this rat 
sometimes develops a black variety with a whitish patch on the 
chest. The prominent eyes, the long, blunt snout, the scaly tail, 
the dingy brown colour, and the savage disposition of this rat, 
combine to make it a repulsive creature. It is said to be cleanly 
in its habits, though it frequents the filthiest adjuncts of 

The Brown Rat, like some other members of the genus Mus^ 
has six pairs of mammae,^ and is exceedingly prolific. It breeds 
as often as four times a year, and the litter may contain from 
eight to fourteen young ones. The female rat can breed before 
she is fully grown, at six months old. As regards food, they are 
omnivorous, and will eat flesh as greedily as parchment, leather, 
grass, seaweed, shell-fish, corn, roots, bones, ivory, fruit, sewage, 
and fish. The rat's carnivorous propensities leads it to attack, 
kill, and devour birds and all the smaller mammalia with which 
it may come into contact, and even man himself. Snakes and 

^ According to Owen, Some zoologists reduce the number to five pairs. 
There is quite possibly local variation. 


insects which it might attack and destroy with some benefit to 
humanity it leaves alone, and the snakes, owls, buzzards, and 
other predatory animals which might assist man in ridding the 
world of a plague of rats, are foolishly slain by humanity, instead 
of being most carefully protected. 

The brown rat burrows easily into the ground, and uses its 
strong incisor teeth to gnaw its way through timber or cement. 
It is nocturnal in its habits when its presence abroad in the day- 
time might be risky. In moving about in the darkness it is 
undoubtedly much helped by the length of the sensitive vibrissas 
which grow from the muzzle. In its home life, so to speak, 
it can be affectionate and even tender, yet when pressed by 
hunger or fear it will devour its young or its weaker comrades. 
It has a considerable development of voice, squeaking loudly, 
uttering a thin metallic " skikking " sound when angry, or a 
grunting, murmuring noise when amorous. It can jump to 
considerable heights up or down, run for miles and at great 
speed, and swim for considerable distances. In some districts 
it almost takes to a water life, so that in many English rivers and 
canals it is mistaken for the large water vole. Elsewhere it will 
resort to the trees, or it v/ill live a life wholly subterranean. 

The brown rat would appear to have originated in Central 
Asia, and allied forms are found in India, Some great increase 
in numbers, combined with the decrease of food supply, caused 
it to commence emigrating from Central Asia in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries. It crossed the Volga and entered 
European Russia in 1727. It was brought to England by 
vessels coming from the Baltic about 1730, or even earlier. 
Paris was occupied in 1750, and now the distribution of the 
most odious and universally detested mammal on the face of 
the earth is world-wide. It is found throughout the British 
Islands, including not only England, Wales, Scotland, and 
Ireland, but even the remotest islands off these shores. British 
shipping has assisted unconsciously but effectively in carrying 
the brown rat to all parts of America, Australia, the Pacific 
Islands, and Africa. In remote parts of Central Africa it is 


as great a pest as In India (where it carries the plague from place 
to place) or in England. Its universal extirpation should be 
made the special object of an International Congress. 

Mus rattus. The Black Rat 

The Black Rat is 2 in. shorter in the body than the brown rat, 
but the tail is proportionately longer, being 7^ in. in length; as 
compared with the 7 in. of the body. The tail is very tapering 
and curly towards the tip. In colour normal specimens are 
grayish-black above and pale gray below. Occasionally examples 
are met with that are brownish-gray, and allied forms in Egypt 
and Tropical Asia tend very much to reddish-gray or chestnut. 
The fur of the black rat is beautifully fine and soft, and when 
it was more plentiful the skins were of considerable value in 
commerce. In an allied form coming from the Andaman Islands, 
however, the fur actually develops spines. The black rat is the 
origin of tame albino or pied rats, which must have been in 
existence as a domesticated breed for at least a couple of hundred 
years. Like the brown rat, it has twelve mammae, and breeds 
three or four times in the year, having a large number of young 
in a litter. It is almost as omnivorous as the brown rat, though 
perhaps from its less vigorous constitution and greater timidity 
it is not such a carnivorous animal. The black rat presumably 
originated in Western or Central Asia, and commenced the 
invasion of Europe and Africa at a relatively remote period 
(perhaps 1,500 years ago), travelling, like the brown rat, through 
Russia and Germany.^ Its introduction into England may date 
back to the time of the Norman Conquest or earlier. It was 
called by the Welsh the " French mouse." After a time it 
inhabited the whole of Europe as far north as Lapland, and 
southwards into North Africa. The present writer has met 
with the black rat in Central Africa, in the more isolated 
villages where it has not yet been extirpated^by its brown relation. 

^ The word "rat" is of Teutonic origin. The Romans did not 
distinguish this creature by any specific name. If they knew it they called 
it a mouse. 



It was carried in ships to America in the middle of the sixteenth 
century, and is now found throughout the New World and the 
West Indies concurrently with the brown rat. In the British 
Islands it lingers in small numbers in parts of Ireland, Scotland, 
and Northern England, but has been nearly destroyed by the 
brown rat, which has also exterminated it in many parts of 

Mus musculus. The Common Mouse 

' A pretty, but annoying little pest," is the very apt definition 
of this commonest of Rodents given by several writers on British 
Zoology. The Common Mouse has nothing of the repulsiveness, 
or even horror, that attaches to the brown rat. It may be very 
annoying through the mess and litter which it makes and the 
damage it may do to food, but it is of engaging appearance and 
ways which can even be winsome. Its length from the tip of the 
nose to the root of the tail is about 3^ in., and the tail is nearly 
as much again. It differs from the wood mouse, which is about 
to be described, by its smaller ears and eyes, the limbs and tail 
being also somewhat shorter. Its coloration is less bright, being 
an almost uniform grayish-brown, somewhat lighter on the belly. 
The singular glossiness of the fur, however, gives it the appearance 
of being " well groomed." It is, in fact, a very elegant little 
creature. There is a great tendency to variation in the common 
mouse, both in colour and size. Some varieties of it inhabiting 
islands or mountain districts are smaller than the house mouse or 
than those which frequent stacks and granaries. Amongst other 
variations of colour than albinism — and white mice seldom 
maintain this for long amongst their coloured brethren — there 
are pale gray or pale buff varieties and others in which the back 
is dark brown flecked with white, or dark sepia. There are long 
whiskers, or vibrissas, but these are not developed quite so 
extravagantly as in the wood mouse. 

The common mouse has large naked ears, though this feature 
is not so marked as in the wood mouse. The ears are rounded. 

I'huto by T. A. Metcalfe. 

Long-tailed Field or Wood mouse 
[Miis sylvaiicits). 

Harvest Mouse [Mas minutiis] 

Fhuti. l.y T. A. Metculfe. 

Red Bank Vole [Evofoiiivs glarcolns). 

Photo by \V. J. Clarke. 

Black Rat {Mus rat/us). 

To face p. 242. 


almost horseshoe in shape. The tail is scaly, the rings of scales 
being interspersed with sort hairs. 

It has twelve mammas, and produces from three to five litters 
in the year, the young, like those of all other members of this 
sub-family, being born blind. Young mice are, however, able to 
shift for themselves at the end of a fortnight, and are fit to breed 
on their own account when about four months old. The common 
mouse is the reverse of a silent animal except when suspicious of 
danger. Its squeaks are varied in tone, and individuals actually 
develop singing powers. The present writer was incredulous at 
one time as to this fact, but several years ago had his attention 
drawn to mice that had been captured in Tunis and kept for a 
time in confinement, and to similar instances in England. The 
singing of these mice resembled the chirping, quavering notes of 
a young cock canary who is beginning to experiment with his 
voice. Mr. Lydekker states than an example of these singing 
mice has been heard to " run up an octave and end with a 
decided attempt at a trill. . . . An octave seemed to be 
about its range . . . and one could distinctly see the 
expansion of its throat and chest. Its favourite position when 
singing was an erect one, standing on its hind feet." 

The burrowing habits, the leaps and bounds and high jumps, 
and the omnivorous capacity of the common mouse are too 
well known to be described in detail. 

This little Rodent is of almost universal distribution except 
in the Arctic regions. Oceanic islands may only have been reached 
within the last hundred years, and through the agency of man. 
Probably the Mouse and Rat genus originated in Asia, but the 
common mouse was one of the first of these animals to spread 
over the greater part of the earth's surface which is habitable by 
man. It is thought that its fossil remains have been found in 
Pleistocene deposits and in the caves of England. It is, of course, 
found at the present day all over Great Britain and Ireland and 
everywhere else in the world except in the Arctic or Antarctic 
regions, the Sahara Desert, the forest regions of Africa, and the 
north-western parts of India. 


Mus sylvaticus. The Long-tailed Field Mouse 

This ofttimes very beautiful little creature (though some of 
its varieties are markedly prettier than others in coloration and 
form) is frequently confused with the common house mouse by 
unobservant people. It resembles the last-named mouse closely 
in form and shape, but the tail is proportionately longer, 
measuring exactly the same as the head and body. Each of 
these measurements is about 4 in. in average specimens. It 
is thus in m.ost of its sub-species a larger animal than the 
common mouse. In an admirable paper on IVLus sylvaticus 
and its allies (published in the Proceedings of the Zoological 
Society^ April, 1 900), Mr. G. E. H. Barrett Hamilton recognises 
nineteen sub-species or varieties of Mus sylvaticus^ the forms at 
either end of this series differing widely in appearance, in colour, 
and in size. Of these, five inhabit different parts of Great 
Britain and Ireland at the present day, while osseous remains 
have been collected in Kent, which would seem to indicate the 
former existence of a sixth sub-species. The typical length of 
the field mouse (or wood mouse, as it is sometimes called) is, 
as already stated, in excess of that of the common mouse. 

The preponderating number of sub-species have a handsome 
and well-marked coloration, which is warm reddish-brown or 
yellowish-gray above and pure white below, with a brown or 
yellow spot in the middle of the chest. The demarcation 
between the white of the under parts and the sandy-red of the 
upper is, in most varieties, very abrupt. The white of the 
under part includes the inside aspects of the limbs and the outer 
aspects of the paws, and extends across the cheeks to the tip of 
the nose. The under side of the tail is also pure white. The 
large, broad, rounded ears are hairy on the outer side and some- 
what naked within, though in the inner aspect there are sparse, 
long hairs. The vibrissas, or whiskers, are very long, and the 
eyes are particularly large and prominent. The five varieties 
which are found in the British Islands are named, distinguished, 
and distributed as follows : — 


1. Mus sylvaticus intermedins is of medium size (the head 
and body about 4 in. long), but the red of the average coloration 
is tinged with gray, or even black, owing to many of the hairs 
of the back being tipped with black in the winter-time. 
Occasionally this sub-species becomes almost identical in colour 
with the common mouse. This form is distributed over Great 
Britain, Ireland, some of the large islands off the west coast of 
Scotland (but not the Hebrides), and the Channel Islands. 
Elsewhere it is found in Holland, Belgium, France, and Switzer- 
land, possibly also in Western Germany and Southern Sweden. 

2. Mus sylvaticus celticus. This is quite a small form of 
wood mouse, scarcely, if at all, larger than the common mouse. 
The tail also is not proportionately so very long, while on the 
other hand the ears and hind legs are longer in proportion. The 
colour of this form is much darker and grayer. It becomes 
almost black along the upper surface of the tail and the ridge 
of the back, while the pure white of the belly is toned to a 
bluish-gray. This wood mouse has rather a remarkable dis- 
tribution, being confined in the United Kingdom to Southern 
and Western Ireland, the Hebrides, and the island of Skye. 
Elsewhere it exists in Northern Portugal, an interesting instance 
of what Dr. Scharff styles " Lusitanian " immigration. 

3. Mus sylvaticus hehridensis. This mouse is rather a large 
one, but has proportionately smaller ears, bigger hind feet, and a 
shorter and thicker tail. The colour of the under side is less 
white (more gray) than in the other sub-species mentioned. 
The tail is uniformly brownish-gray, and there is no sharp 
demarcation between the sandy-gray of the upper parts and the 
dusky-gray of the under side. This large wood mouse is 
entirely confined in its distribution to the islands of Lewis and 
Barra, in the Outer Hebrides. 

4. Mus sylvaticus hirtensis. This mouse is still larger than 
Mus sylvaticus hehridensis^ and the under parts are quite buff- 
colour or yellowish-brown, the upper side being sandy-gray. 
In other respects, and in the proportions of the ears and feet, 
it resembles the mouse of the Hebrides. Its distribution is 


entirely confined to the isolated island of St. Kilda, to which 
it is supposed to be indigenous, and a relic of the time when 
St. Kilda was connected with the mainland of Scotland. 

5, Mus sylvaticus wintoni. This is the mouse described by- 
Mr. W. E. de Winton in 1894 as Mus flavkollis, a sub-species 
(which is really the typical form of Mus sylvaticus) found 
in Scandinavia. This is a large wood mouse, about 4^ in. in 
length from the snout to the base of the tail, and very brightly 
coloured. It has a long tail, which contains thirty vertebras, as 
against twenty-seven in most of the other wood mice. Above 
it is a golden-brown, and below pure white. The brown spot 
found on the throats of so many of these wood mice is in this 
sub-species extended into a form like a cross, which forms a 
continuous band across the chest with the golden-brown of the 
back and sides, and a cross is formed by the upward and down- 
ward extension of this brown colour along the breast bone. This 
mouse was discovered by Mr. W. E. de Winton in Hereford- 
shire, but it is also found (not very commonly) in South-east, 
East, and North-east England. It reappears again on the 
Continent in Central and Eastern Germany and Hungary, 
gradually merging as it proceeds eastwards into the handsomest 
form of all the wood mice, Mus sylvaticus princeps^ which is 
found in Rumania, and which is really (for a mouse) a very 
beautiful little animal. 

As regards the general distribution of Mus sylvaticus in all 
its forms, it may be described as fairly universal over North, 
Temperate, and Central Asia, the whole of Europe except the 
extreme north, Palestine, and North Africa. It is not found 
in Japan. 

The wood mouse is perhaps the most prolific of all Rodents 
whose habits have been studied. Females will breed from the 
age of five months. They probably commence to breed about 
the beginning of March. If the food supply is good, a female 
wood mouse will have two litters in thirty days, the period of 
gestation being only three weeks. Experiments which were 
made and recorded by Mr. R. M. Harrington in 1881 showed 


that between the beginning of March and the beginning of July- 
one female wood mouse, at least, amongst those which he kept 
in captivity, had five litters, the interval between each litter being 
on an average twenty-five days. It is true that there were not 
more than five, and as few as three, in these litters, whereas the 
wood mouse when wild is known to have as many as nine or ten. 
It may be, perhaps, that the mouse in a wild state does not breed 
quite so frequently, but has more young at a birth. Mr. 
Harrington's experiment was interrupted from various causes 
in July, and there was nothing to show that the female which 
had already had five litters that year would not go on producing 
more into the autumn. In any case, these experiments showed 
that a female wood mouse under favourable conditions could in 
five months produce thirty-six young, the females among which 
would be producing litters on their own account during the 
summer and autumn. But for the attacks of birds of prey, 
owls, weasels, stoats, snakes, and such other creatures which feed 
on small Rodents, the wood mice would speedily devastate the 
crops. As it is, they are occasionally, like the smaller voles, 
responsible for locust-like ravages. Will it ever be brought 
home to the British agriculturist by the Board of Agriculture 
that all the above-enumerated " vermin " should be protected 
so as to keep down the plague of rats and mice "^ What harm is 
really done by snakes in England ^ None. What injury is 
done to our supplies of food by the owl, the kestrel, the sparrow 
hawk, the buzzard, kite, weasel, stoat, or polecat } None at all, 
worth mentioning. And if they do destroy a few pheasants' 
eggs or kill an occasional rabbit or young hare, their own 
existence in the country more than compensates for this modest 
toll by the interest and beauty which they add to the landscape. 

Foxes also devour wood mice ; and their nests and young (it 
is stated by Mr. Lydekker) are dug up by rooks and crows, who 
use their strong beaks for this purpose. Mr. Trevor-Battye also 
states that black-headed gulls pick up these mice and kill them by 
dropping them on the ground from a height. 

The wood mouse is mainly a vegetable feeder, but will also eat 


insects. In its burrows, or nests, it stores during the summer and 
autumn enormous quantities of food — acorns, beech-mast, ears of 
wheat, barley, and oats, hazel-nuts, beans, haws, and many other 
seeds and berries. These supplies of hidden food are so considerable 
that they are a great attraction to pigs when turned loose. They 
are smelt out and rooted up by the pig, and thus much further 
damage is done indirectly by the wood mouse. Wood mice very 
often adapt mole-runs to their purposes as burrows, but here they 
occasionally meet with a serious foe, for the mole greedily devours 
their tender young, and thinks nothing of attacking, killing, and 
devouring the mother mouse. Birds' nests are occupied, or 
regular nests of woven grass are made by the mice themselves in 
hedgerows, amongst wheat, or in the long grass that is ripening 
for hay. It is much more probable that it is to the wood mouse 
and its nest in the harvest-field that Burns addressed his famous 
lines, rather than to the harvest mouse, which is scarcely found in 
Scotland.^ The wood mouse does not undergo regular hiberna- 
tion, but nourishes itself during the winter from its huge supplies 
of stored food. Though leading a life in the country by prefer- 
ence, it is, in fact, the country mouse of the fable — it does not 
shrink at times from coming into houses, where it often displays 
greater boldness even than the town mouse. 

Mus sylvaticus appears to be an old inhabitant of Britain, as 
its fossil remains can with some probability be discerned amongst 
the relics of the early Pleistocene Mammalia of East Anglia. 

Mus minutus. The Harvest Mouse 

This is the second smallest mammal in England. The 
length of average specimens from the tip of the nose to the root 
of the tail is about 2^ in., and the tail is almost exactly the same 
length as the body. The tail is very lithe and mobile, and 
appears to be distinctly prehensile. It can be coiled twice round 
objects, and the tip grasps somewhat tightly. The ears are not 
proportionately so large as in either the house or the wood mice, 

^ "The best laid schemes o' mice and men gang aft a-gley." 


and are pressed more closely to the neck. In shape and attitudes 
the Harvest Mouse does not differ much from the common mouse. 
Its coloration, however, is different, being a bright orange-brown 
above on all the upper parts, and white or grayish-white below. 
The tail and feet are flesh-colour. The warm brown of the 
upper parts ranges in local variations from pale yellow to chestnut, 
v/ith an inclination to dark brown on the back. It is nearly as 
prolific in breeding as the wood mouse, and the number of young 
at a birth range from five to nine. The food of the harvest 
mouse consists of corn, seeds, grass, insects, and worms. It 
will eat bluebottle flies, and even bees. 

One of the most interesting characteristics of this tiniest of 
mice is its elaborate and beautifully constructed nest in the shape 
of a sphere. This is built at a height of from 6 in. to i ft. 
above the ground, and is often constructed round two or more 
contiguous upright stems of corn or grass. This ball of finely 
plaited leaf blades, or of the panicles of roots or similar stems and 
straws carefully shredded to the necessary degree of fineness by 
the mouse's teeth, is sometimes without a visible aperture, the 
probability being that the weaving of the plaited vegetation of the 
elastic grass blades admits of the mouse passing in and out, while 
the gap closes up behind. As the young grow, which they do 
very rapidly, the soft, smooth interior of the ball becomes filled 
up with them, so that it would be impossible for the mother to 
get into the nest. It is difficult, therefore, to see how she can 
give nourishment to the young, unless, as has been supposed by 
some, she straddles over the outer surface, while the young push 
their noses through the plaited framework, and thus get at the 
teats. Later on, no doubt, the young issue through the interstices 
one by one, and are suckled outside the nest. 

In winter-time the harvest mouse generally retires to burrows 
in the ground. 

Its distribution in our country is entirely confined to England 
and a small portion of Eastern and Lowland Scotland. It seems 
to be absent from Ireland, such exceptions as are mentioned 
referring probably to the young of the wood mouse. It has not 


even been recorded in Wales, or anywhere to the west of the 
counties of Gloucester and Warwick. It is very scarce in the 
north of England, but ranges from Devonshire to Nottingham 
and Lincoln, and reappears again in Eastern and Southern 
Scotland, ranging as far north as Aberdeenshire. Its distribution 
is, however, very patchy, and a great deal more might be known 
about this smallest mouse in regard to its habits and distribution. 
Outside England its range extends over France, Northern Italy, 
Central Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, and Siberia. 

The sub-family, which includes the voles and lemmings, 
differs from the mice and rats in possessing short ears and an 
abbreviated, hairy tail. These animals are stouter and clumsier 
than the rats and mice. They also have the molar teeth (three 
pairs in each jaw) imperfectly rooted, or rootless, and very 
remarkable in shape and structure, having a shape and a surface 
pattern which can only be expressed by the diagram given on 
p. 238. 

The Microtine sub-family includes not only the voles, but 
their near ally, the musquash, or North American water rat, and 
the lemmings. 

Microtus agreslis. The Short-tailed Field Vole 
This animal is about the size of a house mouse, with perhaps 
a slightly larger, though shorter and stumpier, body, measuring a 
little over 4 in. in length from the tip of the nose to the root of 
the tail. The tail is another i^^ in. or less. It can be at once 
told from the True Mice by the far blunter head. The eyes, also, 
are not quite so prominent and projecting. The ears are relatively 
small, are set close to the head, and are a good deal covered by 
the thick hair of the cheeks and neck. The soles of the hind feet 
develop six naked pads. The colour of the upper parts is brown, 
and of the lower grayish-white or ash-colour, the demarcation 
between the two tints being quite distinct. The tail is covered 
with short hair, and not with scales as in the True Mice. 

Brown Rat (Mus decumanus). 

Photo l>y C. K(;id. 

Short-tailed Field Vole [Mictvius agresti 

To face p. 250. 


The fecundity of the Field Vole in favourable seasons is so 
remarkable that it constitutes a plague seriously affecting human 
interests. In normal seasons this Rodent has as many as four 
broods in the year between March and October, and each brood 
contains from four to six young. A closely allied species on the 
Continent may produce six different litters in a single season, 
some of these litters containing as many as eight offspring. A 
mild winter is necessary as a precedent to one of those special 
outbursts of fecundity which suddenly people districts of Scotland, 
England, and Germany with hundreds of thousands of field 
voles. Without the intervention of man it is probable that this 
rapid increase of a Rodent would receive counter-checks in many 
directions, but would nevertheless profoundly affect the develop- 
ment of other animals. In the first place it has been noticed tliat 
one of these gipfantic swarms of field voles will so exhaust all the 
vegetable food within its residential area that a large proportion 
of its members will die of starvation or will engender some 
microbe of disease that diminishes the swarm by half. Then it 
would lead to the proportionate increase and prosperity of owls, 
hawks, buzzards, weasels, stoats, crows, ravens, and foxes, so that 
the uninteresting and unpicturesque little vole might be the 
means of adding hugely to the attractiveness of the local fauna 
by encouraging these scarcer, larger, handsomer, and more 
interesting beasts and birds. But man generally steps in and 
destroys the voles by poison and traps, and with equal zest 
destroys the owls, crows, hawks, and weasels that have been 
endeavouring to abate the plague, and the presence of which 
would have rendered the country so much more attractive to the 
eye. The extravagant increase of field voles in Scotland or 
England (the animal is not found in Ireland) has never reached 
to the dimensions of the same plague in Germany, but it is 
calculated that occasionally on the borderlands of Scotland and 
England (about the Cheviots), or in former centuries in Essex, the 
field vole has suddenly appeared "swarming in millions." On 
these occasions they may kill a thousand birch trees in one district 
through gnawing away their bark, or they may cause many sheep 


to die in Yorkshire and Lowland Scotland (and anciently in the 
east of England) by destroying the turf. They will kill heather 
by barking it or nipping off the young shoots. In one part of 
Teviot Dale in 1891 15,000 acres of pasture were rendered 
useless by voles. In Germany it has been recorded that over a 
million and a half of these field voles were caught in fourteen 
days. In 1872 and 1878 the harvests of Brandenburg and of 
Central Germany were practically ruined by this plague. 

The food of this animal is almost every vegetable substance, 
though they will also eat a few insects. They do especial damage 
to gardens and plantations, their passion for eating and peeling 
bark and nipping off buds being disastrous to saplings and young 
trees. Grass is eaten down to the very roots, and thus turf is 
for all time absolutely destroyed in pasture lands. Scotch farmers 
and graziers are deserving of no pity whatsoever for the losses 
they have suffered, because this plague is entirely due to their 
gleeful extermination of birds and beasts of prey who would be 
content to feed mainly, if not entirely, on voles if they were left 

The distribution of this harmful, and rather ugly, little Rodent 
is in this kingdom confined entirely to England, Wales, and 
Scotland, with the exception of the island of Lewis (Hebrides). 
It is quite unknown in Ireland. Elsewhere it ranges over the 
greater part of Northern and Central Europe, but apparently does 
not extend into Asia or the regions bordering the Mediterranean. 
In England it has seemingly existed since the Pleistocene period. 
In the south of Europe at the present day it is replaced by an 
allied species, Microtus arvaliSj which differs from it in little else 
than the structure of the second upper molar tooth. Curiously 
enough, this southern field vole inhabited at any rate the east of 
England at the beginning of the Pleistocene period before the 
Glacial ages. It is possibly the ancestor of Microtus agrestis. 

CMicrotus amphihius. The Water Vole 
This is a much larger animal than the preceding species, a 
fine male specimen being nearly 8^ in. long from the tip of 

THE WATER VOLE {Microtvs amphibius) 


the nose to the root of the tail, while the somewhat long tail 
measures another 4J in. The fore feet, as usual, have only four 
complete toes, the thumb being merely marked by a claw. The 
hind feet have five complete and somewhat long toes with just 
the commencement of a webbing. The tail is thickly haired, 
especially on the under side. The body is densely covered with 
long, fine, silky hair, exquisitely soft, and very impermeable to 
water. When the creature is under water the tips of the fine 
hairs are hung with innumerable minute air bubbles, which give 
it quite a gray appearance. The ears are very short, set close to 
the head, and almost concealed in long, silky hair. The eyes 
are small and deep-set. The incisor teeth are very distinct from 
that of the other voles, in that they are deep orange or chestnut 
colour in front. In their shape they somewhat recall those of 
the beaver. The molar teeth are long, and have the same 
remarkable alternate triangles marked by zigzag folds of enamel. 
These prismatic spaces (as they are called), beginning with the 
first molar on each side of the upper jaw, are respectively five in 
the first tooth, four in the second, and four or five in the third. 
In the lower jaw the first molar has seven, the second five, and 
and third three spaces.^ The fine glossy hair is a rich yellow or 
reddish-brown, mixed with a good deal of gray, and even a 
bluish tinge owing to the gloss. The yellow or red is intensified 
on the cheeks, on the fore limbs, and on the belly ; but varieties 
of the water vole are often almost black, or a dark gray. The 
black variety is generally met with in Scotland and in the east of 
England. The soles of the feet are flesh-colour, and the claws 
purple or reddish. The number of teats in the female is five 
pairs. This vole is not so prolific in the number of litters as in 
the smaller species. In all probability many individuals only 
have one brood in the course of the year — in the late spring or 
early summer. Others may produce a second brood in October. 
There are from five to six young in a litter, and these are born 

■^ As against (in the upper jaw) five, five, and six prismatic spaces in the 
upper molar teeth, and nine, five, and three in the lower molar teeth in the 
field vole, showing that smaller Microtus in this respect to be more speciaUsed. 


in a nest made at the end of a long burrow. The entrance to 
this burrow, or one of the entrances, may be in the bank of a 
stream, under the surface of the water. The burrow will be 
carried in an upward direction, so that the nest may be above 
flood level. The nest is lined with dry grass or dead leaves. In 
this resort the water vole will store up food for the winter. It 
is said that the female water vole, when afraid that her nest has 
been disturbed, will take up her young in her mouth and carry 
them away to a place of safety. Burrows and nests are also 
made by this animal in fields at no great distance from the water, 
or in sand hills. 

Naturally, from its habits, it is never found far away from 
water, and it has become very aquatic, swimming and diving 
with ease, and able to remain for several minutes beneath the 
surface. Mr. Trevor-Battye states that when swimming (unless 
exceptionally agitated or hurried) it presses the small fore paws 
against the sides of the body as a seal might do, and uses its long 
hind feet exclusively for propelling itself through the water, the 
long tail acting as a rudder. Even unobservant persons should 
experience no difficulty in distinguishing the water vole trom the 
odious brown rat which has taken to a water life (and whose 
misdeeds are sometimes attributed to the innocent water vole) by 
its large, blunt head, short neck, and stout body, which are 
markedly different from the long, sharp snout and slimmer pro- 
portions of the brown or black rats. In many canals and streams 
in the more inhabited districts, however, there are so many real 
" water " rats that the water vole has been driven away. As 
this brown rat that has taken to the waterside is very carnivorous 
and devours young ducklings, moor-hens, and fish, it has been 
thought by less careful writers in times past that the water vole 
was equally omnivorous. As a matter of fact, it appears to be 
a purely vegetable feeder, and eats the pith of flags, rushes, 
and other water plants, the buds and seeds and leaves of water- 
lilies, duckweed (of which it is extremely fond), the bark of 
willows, roots of many kinds, and, of course, such additional 
vegetable food as may be afforded by cultivated plants in the 


vicinity of streams. It does relatively little damage, however, 
except to osier plantations, or by pushing its burrows through 
dams and canal banks. As it is a relatively large and handsome 
creature, and an almost necessary adjunct to the exquisite stream 
landscapes still existing in England, it should be placed under 
protection, and allowed to increase and multiply within due 

As regards its distribution, it is unknown in Ireland, but 
almost universally distributed throughout England, Wales, and 
Scotland as far north as Caithness. It has not, however, been 
found in Argyleshire or in the large islands oJfF the west coast of 
Scotland. It is found fossil in various parts of Southern England, 
dating back to, at any rate, the middle of the Pleistocene period, 
if not earlier. Outside Great Britain the water vole is distributed 
right across Central Europe and Asia to China. 

Evotomys glareolus. The Bank Vole^ 

This animal is perhaps a little smaller than the field vole, 
measurements of average specimens from the tip of the nose to 
the root of the tail not exceeding 3|- in., while the tail measures 
i^ in., and is consequently a little longer proportionately than 
the tail of the field vole. Of late years it has been placed in a 
separate genus, Evotomys^ owing to the marked difference in the 
molar teeth from those of the genus Microtus. It is perhaps a 
more generalised Rodent, as the molar teeth develop roots in the 
adult, while the prismatic spaces in between the zigzags of enamel 
are fewer in number. The head is shorter and rounder, the nose 
a little more arched, and the eye larger. The ears are slightly 
more erect, and perhaps a trifle larger than in the field vole. As 
regards coloration, the feet are whitish, and there is a white line 
on the under side of the jaws. The sides of the muzzle, the 
chest, belly, and the insides of the limbs are pale gray, as is also 
the under side of the tail. The upper parts of the body are 
yellowish-red or chestnut, and the upper part of the tail tends to 
become blackish-brown. The breeding habits resemble those of 
^ Sometimes called the wood vole, or red vole. 


the field vole, and in well-wooded districts, such as the New 
Forest, the animal may be subject to those periodical increases 
described in connection with the field vole, though, as it is more 
dependent upon woods and plantations for its existence, it has 
not the same scope for development. It does not burrow so 
much as the field vole, but prefers to make its home in the 
interstices of banks, especially choosing crevices behind the roots 
of trees. Its food is similar to that of the field vole, though 
comprising perhaps more insects, and possibly birds' eggs. It 
does an even greater amount of damage to the bark and buds of 
trees. It also roots up and devours bulbs, and is a terrible pest 
in a garden. 

The distribution of this animal extends over England and 
the southern half of Scotland. It is not found in Ireland. In 
Enp-land its fossil remains are met with as far back as the 
Pleistocene period. It is a rarer animal than the field vole, 
no doubt because it affects forested country. Outside England 
it ranges across Central Europe through Asia and China, with 
a near ally (perhaps only a local variety) in the Arctic regions^ 
and another in North America. 

My odes lemmus. The Lemming 
The Lemmings are distinct from the voles by being more 
clumsily and stoutly built, with a short head and a large arched 
nose, very small ears, and a short, stumpy tail. The soles of 
the feet, moreover, which are naked and padded in the voles, 
are furred in the lemmings, and possess much longer claws. 
There are also differences in the skull, due to its greater breadth 
and massiveness. The incisor teeth are without grooves. The 
molar teeth also, though vole-like, are even more deeply incised 
by the triangular zigzags. 

The common or Norwegian lemming is about 5 in. in length. 
Each of the four feet has five toes, armed with strong claws in 
the front paws. The soft fur is yellowish-brown marked with 
blackish-brown streaks extending from the nose to the back 
of the head, and from the brows to the ears. The common 


lemming is at the present day an inhabitant of Scandinavia, but 
was once widely distributed over Europe, and only recently 
became extinct in Northern Portugal.-^ Its remains are found 
fairly abundantly in Southern and Eastern England, and in 
North-east Ireland, dating from the Pleistocene period. 

Cuniculus torquatus. The Banded Lemming 

The Banded Lemming differs from the True Lemmings of 
the genus Myodes in coloration, in the almost complete absence 
of an outer ear, the shorter, thicker feet, of which the first toe 
in the fore feet (the thumb) is reduced to a mere claw, and also 
by the exaggerated length of the claws on the third and fourth 
toes in the fore feet. The molar teeth are less specialised, and 
more like those of the voles. But, except for this, the genus 
Cuniculus is a much more specialised form than the true lemming. 
Its colour is a curious mingling of chestnut, orange, black, 
pale gray, bluish-gray, and umber, the fur on the back having 
an undulating gloss which looks like watered silk. The belly 
and throat are bluish-gray, and there is a black line from the 
nose along the back to the short tail, broken completely or 
partially by a gray collar round the neck. The present range of 
the banded lemming is circumpolar. It is found in the extreme 
north of Russia and Novaia Zemlia (but not in Spitzbergen), in 
Northern Siberia and the extreme north of America and Green- 
land ; but during the Pleistocene period it inhabited Southern 
and Eastern England, and existed to an even later date in 
Germany, Belgium, and France. 

1 A closely allied species inhabits Siberia, Alaska, and Northern Canada. 




The absence of primitive types of Ungulates from the deposits 
-of the early Eocene in Europe, perhaps also in Asia, causes 
Professor H. F. Osborn ^ to argue that the Ungulates originated 
in North America together with the ancestors of the Edentates, 
and possibly those of the Rodents and Primates. But a good 
many primitive types of Ungulates reached the British Islands, 
perhaps as early as the time in which these islands were rather a 
■dependency of North America than a peninsula of Europe ; and 
during the succeeding periods, commencing from the connection 
of the British plateau with the European Continent down to the 
invasion of these countries by devastating man, hoofed animals 
of large size and strange developments flourished in England 
and Scotland, and to a lesser degree in Ireland. 

The earliest forms of Ungulates probably reached these islands 
directly from America in the opening part of the Tertiary Epoch. 
Later on the route was reversed : they travelled hither from Asia 
and Africa through France and Belgium. Towards the end of 
the Pleistocene period, the revived connection with Arctic America 
by way of Iceland, Greenland, and the ice floes of the Glacial 
ages, may have brought us one or two circumpolar types ; but 
even these, too, more probably came here from Siberia through 
Central Europe. 

^ President of the New York Academy of Sciences ; pupil, and in many 
respects successor, of the great American palaeontologist, Cope. 



Modern zoologists divide the great Ungulate group — the 
Hoofed Mammals — into the following principal divisions or 
sub-orders, most of which are extinct. There is a hypothetical 
parent-group called by von Zittel " Protungulata,'' which, seem- 
ingly, gave rise to three divergent sub-orders — the Condylarthra^ 
the hypothetical Platyarthra^ and the Prohyracoidea^ or ancestors 
of that diminished group of which the little hyrax of Africa is 
the only living representative. From the Condylarthra sprang 
the Odd-toed and the Even-toed Ungulates {Perissodactyla and 
Artiodactyld), which are the dominant Ungulates of to-day. It 
is possible, also, that from the Condylarthra arose a very 
aberrant group of Ungulates, in which the hoofs (as in the 
camel and in other early types of Artiodactyle) had retained, 
or reverted to, a claw-like growth. These are known as 
the Ancylopoda. From the Platyarthra arose the Amblypoda ^ 
and the Proboscidea (elephants). Lastly, from the Prohyra- 
coidea (a divergent group of early Ungulates no doubt akin in 
origin to the stocks which gave rise to the Primates and the 
Rodents) were developed the extinct sub-orders of the 'Tcxodontia 
and Typotheria (South America), together with the Hyracoidea^ 
which at the present day are represented by the hyraxes of 
Africa and Syria." The only sub-orders of Ungulates which 
are now or have been in the not-far-distant past represented 
in the British Islands are the elephants (^Proboscidea)^ the 
Odd-toed {Perissodactyla) and the Even-toed [Artiodactyla) 

^ A remarkable group of early Ungulates, offering faint resemblances 
in their structure, but not in their dentition, to the elephants. They are 
celebrated, amongst other points, for their extravagant development of the 
canine teeth into long tusks, and for the huge, bony, horn-bearing processes 
of their skulls, which were evolved in the American forms. A relatively 
early type of Amblypod was Coryphodon, with great canine tusks, and, in the 
lower jaw, large proclivous incisors. A Coryphodon once dwelt in Camber- 
well, among other places, its remains having been found there at the bottom 
of a well. 

2 Extinct members of the Hyrax group are found in Europe and Asia 



It is now thought that the Elephants orighiated in North 
Africa, their original centre of evolution perhaps including 
the eastern basin of the Mediterranean. Dr. C. W. Andrews, 
travelling through the Fayum district of Lower Egypt (where 
the Nile once formed a considerable lake in the Libyan Desert), 
came across early Tertiary deposits, one of which, of the Upper 
Eocene, contained remarkable Proboscidean remains attributed 
to a creature which has been named Mceritherium lyonsi. This 
creature, which offers slight resemblances in its teeth (allowing 
for the dwindling canines) to Coryphodon, had three incisor teeth 
and a small canine on each side of the upper jaw, and two 
proclivous ^ incisors ; possibly, also, a minute canine on each side 
of the lower jaw. In the upper and lower jaws there were three 
premolars and three molar teeth, and in the succession of the 
last-named (by teeth growing up from the inside of the jaw bone 
and successively displacing the worn-out molars) there is a hint 
at one of the most peculiar features characterising the elephants 
of to-day. Apparently in North Africa, or the eastern basin of 
the Mediterranean, the mastodon, dinotherium, and no doubt 
other unknown forms of Proboscideans, developed from this 
primitive type of Mixritherium. From this focus between Egypt 
and Syria the mastodon (of which a very early type was found 
in the same Fayum deposits) travelled into Asia (where from the 
Stegodonts the True Elephants were developed), and from Asia 
into America (North and South) on the one hand, and Europe 
on the other. The mastodon, the earlier types of which had 
tusks in the lower as well as in the upper jaw, thus became the 
most widely spread form of elephant, having apparently reached 
to every country in the world, with the exception of Antarctica 
and Australia. The remains of two species {Mastodon arvernensis 
and Mastodon borsoni) have been found in East Anglia (Suffolk 
Crag), but as these were probably not contemporaneous with 

^ Perhaps it is necessary to explain that this word means inclined forward 
in a horizontal direction. 


man in these islands the mastodon need not be described here 
in detail. 

The family of the Elephants, besides the genera Mastodon and 
Stegodon, includes that of the elephants proper, Elephas, a genus 
which almost certainly originated from a Stegodont form of 
mastodon in Eastern Asia, and spread thence (firstly in the form 
represented to-day by the African elephant) into Western Asia, 
Africa, and Europe. Thus, though Africa was the source of 
the Elephant sub-order, it was probably not the centre of develop- 
ment from which the True Elephant genus originated. 

The elephants are not only remarkable by their great bulk 
(though some of their extinct forms in the Mediterranean basin 
and in Europe degenerated into pygmy types not larger than 
sheep or Shetland ponies), but also for the prolongation of the 
nose into a long, prehensile trunk. It is thought by some 
zoologists that the original Proboscidean had rather a long, 
tapering skull, the head ending, no doubt, in a prehensile snout 
such as has been developed in the pigs, in the insectivores, in 
the tapir, and in some other mammals. Owing to the disuse 
of the front teeth, with the exception of the long central pair of 
incisors, the bones of the skull gradually sank backwards, leaving 
the premaxillary region (namely, the front portion of the head) 
unsupported. Their theory, therefore, is that the trunk of the 
modern elephant represents not only a much-elongated nose, 
but the fleshy portion of the original upper jaw and ribbed palate. 
The elephants have retained the five toes on hind and fore 
feet. The structure of their limbs is unique, the skeleton of 
the limb being almost perpendicular, almost vertical from the top 
of the scapula or of the pelvis to the wrist or ankle-joint— that 
is to say, there is very little bend when the animal stands erect, 
either at the knees or at the elbow. The elephants are without 
collar bones. The nasal opening in the skull, also, is situated 
very high up, somewhat as in the whales (this, however, is a 
feature which is met with not only in the whales, but in at least 


one other family of Ungulates, the Litopterna). It is, however, 
in their teeth that elephants offer the most striking and peculiar 
characteristics. There are no canines and no permanent pre- 
molars.^ The deciduous premolars (which in children of the 
human species are lost at seven or eight years of age) last on 
into the maturity of the animal, and they are replaced by the 
true molars from the end — that is to say, a true molar forms in 
the bone of the elephant's jaws near the angle, and as the molar 
pushes itself up into the gum it squeezes out the first of the 
deciduous premolars in the anterior portion of the jaw. This 
process is repeated by the formation and upward growth of two 
other permanent molars, so that at last in extreme old age all the 
three deciduous premolars have been pushed out of the skull, and 
the elephant is grinding his food on the three permanent molars. 
These are so large that the jaws cannot accommodate more than 
two, and perhaps a portion of a third, at one time. These 
molars are characterised by numerous ridges which are gradually 
worn down in the process of mastication, while the intervals 
are filled up v/ith a hard cement which forms between the arches 
of enamel-covered dentine. In the African elephants these 
arches in the molar are arranged in a continuous diamond 
pattern; in the Indian elephant they form separate lozenges 
{vide illustrations opposite). 

But the teeth of the elephant which are most interesting to 
the scientific observer are the tusks. These are incisor, or front, 
teeth, and, judging from what we see in the Mceritherium^ they 
represent the two middle incisors, not the first or the third in 
the series. These incisors in existing elephants are only de- 
veloped, one on each side, in the upper jaw. In some of the 
earlier mastodons, however, there were incisors (tusks), fairly 
long or quite rudimentary, in the lower jaw as well; while in 
the extinct Dinotherium the incisors of the upper jaw had 
apparently dwindled away completely, while the pair in the 
lower jaw had developed into strong tusks. In the mastodons 

^ Permanent premolars occasionally make their appearance in a very 
reduced form, and without functional capacity in extinct species of elephant. 



these huge incisors have a band ot enamel over the lower 
portions ; but this enamel has almost entirely disappeared in 
the tusks of modern elephants, being reduced to a small patch 
at the top, which is soon worn away in the young animal. These 
incisor teeth begin with a pair of " milk " tusks, which fall out 
when the young elephant is a few years old, and are replaced by 
permanent teeth in the ordinary way. 

Modern elephants are to a great extent devoid of hair in 

Pattern of Enamel and Dentine on Surface of Molar of African Elephant. 

Pattern of Enamel and Dentine on Surface of Molar of Indian Elephant, 

the adult, except for the fringe of thick bristles at the end of the 
tail ; but the present writer and others have been able to testify- 
that the newly-born African and Indian elephants are fairly well 
covered with hair — are quite hairy animals, in fact. In the 
African elephant this early hair is black. In extinct elephants, 
such as the mammoth, which grew accustomed to live in cold 
climates, the hair developed to an extravagant extent. Excessive 
development of any organ or feature often runs parallel with 
complete disappearance. Thus, in the human being as in 


the mammoth, there has been excessive development of hair 
in various parts : in the human on the top of the head, in 
the mammoth on the sides of the body. Whenever a beast 
develops enormous tusks, it is a sure prelude to the complete 
disappearance in any form of those teeth in the degenerate 

The African elephant is, in some respects, a little less 
specialised than the Indian, and the two species (at one time dis- 
tinguished as different genera) form the types of the two main 
groups of modern elephants. To the African type belongs 
Elephas meridionalis (perhaps the largest of the True Elephants), 
a beast which stood 1 3 ft. high at the shoulder ; also Elephas 
antiquus. Both of these were found in England, perhaps con- 
temporaneously with man. Elephants of the African type were 
also found in India anciently, an interesting fact as illustrating 
the theory that the true elephants were developed from the 
mastodons from the Stegodont form in Eastern Asia, whence 
the ancestors of the modern African elephant travelled through 
the Mediterranean regions to Africa, while other forms of this 
"African" type penetrated nearly as far as Great Britain. It is 
thought, however, that these "African" elephants, together with 
other creatures now associated with the tropical regions, did not 
penetrate much farther north than Yorkshire, and did not reach 
either Scotland or Ireland. 

Elephas primigenius. The Mammoth 

The Mammoth is a development of the Indian group of 
elephants, which differs from the African in the more complicated 
structure of the molars, in the smaller ear, in the shape of the 
head, and in some other points. The mammoth originated 
probably in Asia, and its first great area of distribution was 
Central or North-central Asia, from which direction it spread 
westward as far as Ireland, and eastward into Northern America.^ 

^ The reader might be again reminded here that as far as the revelations 
of palseontology go, the American Continent has had but a sparse share of 
the great Proboscideans. The mastodon developed something like fourteen 


The southern range of the mammoth in Europe appears to 
have been a line more or less coincident with the 40th parallel 
of North latitude. (Its remains have not hitherto been found 
in either Scandinavia or Finland.) It did not, therefore, so far 
as we know, reach the Mediterranean Basin. It became em- 
phatically the one, perhaps the solitary, attempt of the elephants 
to adapt themselves to a cold climate, though quite possibly 
when the mammoth flourished there were relaxations of the 
Glacial temperature which permitted the growth of more 
abundant vegetation for the mammoth's sustenance than would 
now be found in such parts of Siberia as those in which the 
mammoth's remains are so abundant. 

What the mammoth looked like we have been able to 
ascertain from two very interesting sources of information : 
flrstly, when the Russians began to open up Siberia in the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were discovered 
carcasses of mammoths frozen or otherwise preserved in the ice 
and peat of Siberia. Several of these were so well preserved 
that the flesh was eatable, the hair remained on the body, and 
the contents of the stomach could be analysed ; these contents 
showing that the mammoth had accustomed itself to a northern 
vegetation, and lived mainly on the shoots of conifers. 

The second source of information is still more remarkable. 
The Abbe Boucher de Perthes started half accidentally the 
exploration of the remains of Prehistoric man. This exploration 
brought to light in the deposits of French caverns Prehistoric 
implements or ornaments of bone and ivory on which some 
vanished race — possibly allied to the Eskimo — had graven 
wonderfully truthful pictures of known beasts, such as the 

species within the limits of North America, though probably on closer 
examination it will be found that some of these are only local varieties. Two 
of these North American mastodons penetrated into South America, and from 
them were derived two further species peculiar to the southern half of South 
America. In the Pliocene period the mammoth penetrated from Asia into 
North America, extending as far south as Mexico, and developing certain 
local varieties. 


reindeer and the horse, and probably equally truthful representa- 
tions of the mammoth. The illustration, which is given from 
the author's drawing, is based partly on one of the more 
recently discovered and vivid of these representations.-^ In 
1895 and in subsequent years MM. Capitane and Breuil 
discovered on the walls of the Cave of Combarelles, in the 
wild country of Dordogne, 109 engraved figures which date 
from a period perhaps 20,000 years ago. 

In Ireland the mammoth appears to have lingered almost to 
the verge of the Historical period, and it still lives in the legends, 
myths, and fairy stories of the people.^ Mammoths may still 
have been living in England 15,000 years ago, but it is probable 
that they were extinguished in Great Britain at an earlier date than 
in Ireland, and that they were saved from extinction in the last- 
named island by its complete insulation. 

The molar teeth of the mammoth represent the extreme form 
of elephantine specialisation in this direction. They are much 
broader in proportion to the length than are those of any other 
elephant ; and although they offer a close resemblance to the molar 
teeth of the Indian elephant, they possess more enamel ridges. 
These are much narrower and much closer together. The skull 
differed from that of the Indian elephant by having a narrower 
summit and more prolonged and stronger sheaths necessary to 
support the roots of the enormous tusks. These tusks in the 
male often attained a length of 10 ft., measured along the outer 
groove. They were directed downwards and outwards, then 
upwards and inwards at the tips, with a tendency to a spiral form. 
There is, however, great variation in the shape of the mammoth 
tusks, some of which describe nearly a complete circle, so that 
there is but little space between the tip of the tusk and the 
front of the skull, while others are nearly straight. The very 
much curved tusks which predominated must have become a 

^ Partly also on skeletons of the mammoth and on the structure of the 
Indian elephant and the growth of hair in its young. 

2 See for this an extremely interesting work, The Elder Faiths of 
Ireland^ by A. Wood-Martin. 

The Mammoth [Elephas priiiiigenius 

To face p. 266. 


useless burden to the animal, as they were unserviceable for 
defence or offence, and of no use as diggers for grubbing up 
trees and roots (the original object of the tusks, and one much 
evident with the African elephant). It is thought that in the 
female tusks were present, which were small and straight. The 
hide of the mammoth was covered almost all over with a 
dense clothing of woolly under-hair of a reddish-brown colour. 
In addition there were strange manes of long coarse hair (brown 
or black), which hung from the sides of the animal and reached 
almost to the ground. Other fringes and crests of long hair 
grew along the edge of the ears and at the top of the skull. 
There was long hair or bristles at the end of the tail as in 
existing elephants. In height and general bulk the mammoth 
does not seem to have much exceeded the larger known 
specimens of its near relation, the existing Indian elephant.^ 


The Odd-toed Ungulates are so named because in their 
original departure from the five-toed type of early Ungulate 
{Condylarthrd) they laid the chief stress of their weight on the 
third finger or toe of the foot (equivalent to our "second" finger), 
whereas in the other great upward branch of the Condylarthra— 
the Artiodactyles — the stress was laid on the two middle toes, or 
fingers (digits three and four, our "second" and "third" fingers). 
There are other characteristics connected with the formation of 
the molar teeth which are distinctive of the two great orders 
of Odd-toed and Even-toed Ungulates, but these, perhaps, are of 
too recondite a nature to be discussed in this volume. The 
Odd-toed Ungulates retain that alisphenoid perforation for 
the passage of the carotid artery, near the base of the skull, 
which is met with in the Carnivora and several other orders. 
The Even-toed Ungulates have lost this alisphenoid perfora- 
tion. There is also a difference in the number of the vertebrae of 
the back, while, as is known to even unscientific readers, the 

^ Which occasionally reaches to 12 ft. at the shoulder. 


construction of the stomach in the Odd-toed Ungulates is much 
more simple than that of the Even-toed Ungulates, many of 
which are ruminating mammals. On the other hand, there is 
a strong outward similarity between some of the members of 
both groups, though this, no doubt, is due to parallelism. In 
both Odd-toed and Even-toed Ungulates the teats are usually 
reduced to four, or even two, and are confined to the regions 
between the thighs. The pigs (a very primitive form of Artio- 
dactyle) are exceptions to this rule, as in them the mammas are 
as many as eight or ten in number, and are placed along the 
belly from the thighs to the vicinity of the thorax. 

The Odd-toed Ungulates at the present day are reduced to 
three groups only, each of which represents a distinct family — the 
Tapirs (in South America and Eastern Asia), the Rhinoceroses 
(in Africa and Asia), and the Horses, which in a really wild state 
are now only found in the Old World, though originally they 
were equally abundant in North and South America. 

An early form of tapir {Taprus priscus)^ scarcely distinguish- 
able from the existing tapir of South-east Asia, lived in England 
as late as the end of the Pliocene Epoch. Its remains have been 
discovered in East Anglia, which exhibits so strong a connection 
with France and Germany in its ancient fauna, as almost to 
lead us to suppose that during a great part of the Pliocene it 
was connected with the European Continent, and separated from 
a good deal of the rest of England by a strait of the North Sea, 
which flowed south from what is now the Wash. But as it is 
very doubtful whether man had already entered Britain whilst 
this tapir survived, I shall not attempt to describe it as a 
recent British mammal. I therefore proceed to the considera- 
tion of the Rhinoceros family, which was strongly represented 
in England during the Pleistocene, and almost remained here 
down to the invasion of these lands by that superior type of 
humanity which is associated with " Neolithic," or improved 
stone implements. 


The rhinoceroses originated at the beginning of the Miocene 
period in North America, but all their more wonderful develop- 
ments of bulk and horns, and their correlative loss of teeth, have 
taken place in Europe and Asia. The rhinoceroses grew 
gradually from out of a primitive type of Perissodactyle, not 
far removed from the ancestral tapir, which, of course, was also 
the stock from which tapirs and horses and other groups of 
Perissodactyles arose. The original rhinoceros had four toes on 
each foot, and a full set of teeth, including the normal number 
of incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. 

It is probable that the early rhinoceroses in America were 
hornless, though in that country had arisen even earlier a 
marvellous group, distantly allied to the rhinoceroses in origin, 
called the Titanotheres, nearly of the size of elephants, and pro- 
vided with one or more pairs of " horns," represented in their 
skulls by larger or smaller projections of bone. The rhinoceroses 
have never grown " horns " in the direct sense of the word ; that 
is to say, so far as the skull is concerned, there is at most 
a great or small boss of bony matter, which acts as a support to 
a shorter or longer projection of matted hair. The " horns " of 
the rhinoceros are simply coalesced hair. They are not bone, 
like the horns of giraffes or deer, nor are they hollow caps of true 
horn (a substance like the nail or hoof, and distantly allied to 
hair), which cap the bony projections in the skull of oxen and 
antelopes. Increase of specialisation in the rhinoceroses caused 
them, no doubt, to rely more and more on the mobile upper lip 
for the collection of their food, and less on the incisor teeth for 
this purpose ; while the development of " horns," or sharp pro- 
jections of matted hair, replaced as weapons of offence and 
defence the canine teeth, or tusks, which are so prominent in 
the early rhinoceros. Consequently in the more advanced types of 
rhinoceros, living and extinct, there are absolutely no teeth at all 
in the fore part of the upper jaws, and indeed the fore part of the 
jaws has ceased to exist. The teeth in these extreme types are 
merely reduced to molars and premolars. This group is well 
represented at the present day by the African rhinoceroses, of 


which there are two species, the '* white," or square-Hpped, and 
the black, or pointed-Hpped. Neither of these rhinoceroses has 
any incisor or canine teeth, at any rate functional, though in the 
jaws of the immature young traces of incisors sometimes appear. 
This type of rhinoceros has recently been erected into a special 
genus, DiceroSy because of its marked differences from the Asiatic 

The existing Asiatic rhinoceroses also fall into two groups, 
possibly of generic value. The first is the original rhinoceros, 
which was first described by scientific men — Rhinoceros indicus, the 
one-horned, absolutely hairless rhinoceros of India, in which the 
hide thickens into great ridges and folds, curiously simulating 
armour. This curious feature of the excessive thickening and 
folding of the skin is common to the one-horned and two-horned 
Asiatic rhinoceroses, as is also the retention of functional incisor 
teeth. But the rhinoceroses of Eastern India and Malaysia differ 
from Rhinoceros indicus, and from its Javanese ally, in having two 
horns, and in some anatomical features they possess a certain 
affinity to the African types, though on the whole they are most 
nearly related to Rhinoceros indicus on account of retaining the 
incisor teeth. The two-horned Asiatic rhinoceroses are some- 
times classed as a separate genus. 

At the close of the Pliocene Epoch there were probably 
two, if not more, rhinoceroses in England, the remains of which 
are found in the red crag formations of East Anglia. One of 
these, Aceratherium incisivum^ was hornless, while the other, 
which carried two horns {Rhinoceros dihoplus)^ is somewhat allied 
to the living two-horned Sumatran rhinoceros ; but it is doubtful 
whether either of these existed in Britain coincidently with 
man. At the end of the Pliocene and during the earlier part of 
the Pleistocene Epochs there appeared in England (coming 
from France) the Leptorhine and the big-nosed rhinoceroses 
{Ctxlodonta^ or Diceros, etruscus or leptorhinus, and Diceros 
megarhinus). Both of these, especially the last-named, were 
closely related to the pointed-lipped African rhinoceros of 
to-day (Diceros bicornis) ; indeed, it is possible that the 


Megarhine rhinoceros above mentioned was identical with this 
common African species. Lastly, there co-existed with man in 
Britain, down to quite a late period, the woolly rhinoceros 
{Diceros antiquitatis)} This creature appears to have been 
very closely allied, structurally, to the large "white," or 
Burchell's, rhinoceros, which still lingers in East and South- 
Central Africa {Diceros simus, the Square-lipped). The woolly 
rhinoceros evidently persisted in Europe and Siberia, if not in 
England, down to the verge of the Historical period.^ Its body 
was covered with woolly hair. It is supposed to have carried a 
tremendous front horn, longer even than the longest known 
horn of the white rhinoceros, that is to say, perhaps as much as 
5 ft. or more in length. The length and weight of this horn 
have been inferred from the special bony wall which has been 
developed in the skull between the nasal bones. The Tichorhine 
rhinoceros had, of course, two horns, as in other members of 
the genus Diceros. In bulk it was, perhaps, larger than the 
largest known specimens of the white rhinoceros when fully 
mature, though this idea is only derived inferentially from the 
proportionate size of some of the bones. In the entire specimens 
of the Tichorhine rhinoceros which have actually been preserved 
for our inspection in the frozen soil, the size was not larger than 
that of the existing African rhinoceroses. The woolly rhinoceros 
had a smooth hide, like that of the African forms, without the 
folds in the skin characterising those of Asia. The fur grew 

^ Sometimes called the Tichorhine rhinoceros, and, of course, given the 
generic title of Rhinoceros by all older writers. 

2 Some of the legends of monsters and dragons that were killed by 
popular heroes in Germany, Hungary, and Poland seem even to have been 
based on the destruction of lingering specimens of the woolly rhinoceros. It 
is stated, though I cannot find the requisite authority, that a traveller in 
Germany, asking to see the remains of a monster kept in a castle as a relic 
of some past deed of prowess, was shown the skull of a rhinoceros ; and at 
Klagenfurt, the head of a supposed dragon preserved in the Town Hall, and 
used as the model for a monster killed by a knight, and represented in the 
statuary of a fountain, is stated by Herr Unger, of Vienna, to be the skull of 
a woolly rhinoceros. 


thickly on the skin, and appears to have formed great bunches 
of hair round the feet (somewhat as we see in the artificially- 
developed cart-horse). As in the case of the mammoth, the 
undergrowth of woolly hair was supplemented by fringes of 
longer and coarser hairs on certain parts of the body, such as 
along the flanks and throat and the edges of the ears. The hair 
of one of the specimens found in Siberia is said to have been 

In view of the fact that human remains and implements have 
unquestionably been found associated with the remains of the 
woolly rhinoceros in Belgium, England, France, etc., and that 
this family certainly co-existed in Europe with man, it is 
very strange that amongst all the drawings or sculpturings of 
Prehistoric man discovered (mainly in France), apparently there 
is no representation amongst them of so striking and terrible a 
beast as must have been this immense, two-horned, hairy 


In this family the five toes of the primitive Ungulate have 
gradually dwindled to only one functional toe, with, in the 
earlier forms, two small useless toes in addition, one on either 
side of the big third toe or finger. These (the second and fourth 
digits of the mammalian hand or foot) are only represented by 
the splint bones in the horses of to-day. Even the modern 
horse, however, occasionally " reverts " to a former condition, 
and foals are sometimes born and grow up with the traces of as 
many as four toes in all, some even with one or other of the 
splint bones enlarged into a complete toe, with a hoof at the end. 
Another condition of specialisation in the True Horses lies in the 
molar teeth. 

The horses have six incisors above and below, and canines 
in both jaws, though in the modern species canines are sometimes 
wanting in the female. The incisors of horses have a peculiarity 
not found in the teeth of any other mammal, in that a curious 
deep pit, or groove, is formed in the crown of the toothy 


penetrating it nearly to the root. There are four pairs of 
premolars in the upper, and three in the lower jaw, while on 
each side of both jaws there are three molars. The molar teeth 
of the modern horses are extremely long-crowned, or hypsodont. 
The triple fangs of the root have, in course of time, become 
quite inconspicuous, and the tuberculated, crater-like crown of 
the old type (such, for instance, as is seen in the molar teeth of 
a man) is lengthened and lengthened until it is nearly three times 
as long as the roots, while its surface is folded into intricate 
zigzag ridges of dentine bordered with enamel. The develop- 
ment of the horse's teeth is illustrated in so many modern works 
of zoology, coincidently with the gradual diminution of the toes 
and of the secondary bones in the arm and leg, that it is not 
necessary to go further into the question here. 

A three-toed horse {Hipparion) once inhabited England, but 
became extinct before the arrival of man. When man came to 
these islands — these peninsulas of Europe, as they then were — 
he possibly found still lingering a somewhat primitive type of 
horse, Equus stenonis, the molar teeth of which offer some 
approximation to those of the Hipparion, or three-toed horse. 
But True Horses, more or less similar to those still found existing 
in Tibet and perhaps in Central Asia, made their appearance in 
Britain in the middle of the Pleistocene Epoch, and had soon 
overrun England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. 

Equus cahallus. The True Horse 
The genus Equus, which includes Equus stenonis above 
mentioned, seems to have originated in India or some contiguous 
parts of Asia from a form like Trotohippus} This early type 
spread westward as far as Britain, and into North America. 
Other one-toed horses had probably been developed in North 
America, previously, from Trotohippus, and had spread right down 
into the extreme end of South America, where they only became 

1 The Protohippus with two small lateral toes was, as far as is known, 
North American, but an allied form more equine than Hipparion may 
well have inhabited Eastern Asia. 



extinct quite recently {Onohippidium^ for example). Equus caballuSj 
practically identical with Equus przevalskii^ also seems to have 
been evolved in Asia ; while forms closely allied to this species 
migrated to America, and filled the whole of America during the 
Pleistocene Epoch with horses belonging to the genus Equus. 
Equus cahallus itself, however, does not seem to have entered 
North America, but to have confined its range to the whole of 
Europe and Temperate Asia. The only living wild horse — Equus 
przevalskii — is scarcely separable specifically from Equus caballuSy 
and photographs of it may well stand for representations of the 
kind of horse familiar to our far-distant ancestors as the wild 
horse of Britain.^ But there also developed from the original 
horse stock in Asia, other types belonging to the ass and zebra 
group which are scarcely distinguishable from Caballine horses in 
their bones or teeth, though they may be very different in 
outward-aspect, in the markings, the growth of the mane, of the 
tail, and of certain callosities on the inner side of the hind 

There is almost every graduation in form between the horse- 
like wild ass, Equus hemionus (the Kiang) and the magnificent, 
liberally striped Grevy's zebra of Eastern Africa. The asses and 
zebras mainly differ from the True Horse (i) in their having 
a stiff, hog-like mane ; (2) in the absence of a fully plumed tail 
(that is to say, they have a tail in which the long hairs grow 
merely in a tuft at the end, and do not start growing from the 
base of the tail) ; and (3) in the fact that all the zebras and one 
or two of the asses are striped to a greater or less degree. It 
has been said that a form of ass, probably identical with that 
source of the domestic donkey, the wild ass of North-east Africa 
{Equus taniopus), has been found fossil in England in the 
Pleistocene formations, but this statement is of doubtful value, 
and von Zittel equally doubts the existence of this animal (in a 
wild state) in Central Europe. There is so little to distinguish 
the African wild ass from the horse in its teeth, or even in the 

^ The adult males of this Prjevalski's horse in Woburn Park are singularly 
like underbred cart-horses. 

Photo by W. P. Dando, h'.Z. 

Notice faint stripes on fore leg. 

Photo by W 

'l:JL\ .Vl.jlvl .- lluKbL. [/..j.'i.'tj J 

This is almost identical with the original wild horse of Britain and Central Europe, from which the northern 

breeds of domestic horse are descended. 

To face p. 274. 


ff bones of its limbs, that mere fossil remains would prove 
nothing conclusively. From other evidence we are entitled to 
presume that no species of wild ass penetrated as far north and 
west as the British Islands. 

The wild horse which the earliest men may have encountered 
in Britain — Equus stenonis — was probably striped and dappled 
with a lighter colour on a reddish ground. (A piece of skin 
preserved in a cave in Patagonia, 
which there is reason to believe 
belonged to the extinct and allied 
Onohippidium, was foxy-red, with 
spots and dapplings of a reddish- 
yellow.) The True Horse, Equus 
caballuSy which succeeded it, in its 

The Evolution of the Horse's Tail. 

I. African wild ass (common donkey). 
II. Asiatic wild ass (onager). 

III. Zebra. 

IV. Kiang {Equus hemionus). 
V. Prjevalski's wild horse (and the type of tail usually depicted in drawings of 

horses by Prehistoric man in France. The type of tail characteristic of half- 
wild breeds of Northern Europe). 
VI. The tail of the Arab or South Mediterranean horse (well-depicted on Greek 
vases from Cyprus as early as looo B.C.). 


early forms probably bore dark stripes on the limbs and perhaps 
on the shoulder, and dapplings on the body. The true Con- 
nemara ponies (which there is reason to think are descended 
directly from the wild horse of Ireland), the modern Norway 
ponies (also descendants of the Norwegian wild horse), and 
Prjevalski's wild horse of Tibet in its summer coat (besides 
also country-bred horses in India) frequently display two, three, 
or more dark stripes on the fore limb between the wrist and 
the elbow, and sometimes one dark stripe on the shoulder. They 
nearly always have a longitudinal dark stripe all along the ridge 
of the back, such as is seen in the asses. Many horses, feral and 
domestic, show distinct light dapplings on the flanks and the hind 

The theory of the present writer is that the original markings 
of the Horse group were not (as imaginative artists are wont to 
depict in restoring extinct types) zebra-like black stripes on a 
pale ground, but, like the primeval markings in so many 
mammals, white or pale spots and stripes on a dark ground. 
Gradually the light-coloured spaces grew and grew, till they 
coalesced in the lower parts of the body, making the belly and 
the limbs uniformly light-coloured. The dark spaces that were 
left grew darker in the case of the asses and zebras, until they 
became brown or black stripes and spots. In reality the stripes 
(on the legs of the wild ass, for example) are merely the remains 
of the original dark colour of the fur, where nearly all the rest of 
the body has been swamped in light colour, or where the alternate 
light and dark markings have fused into a brown or ash-coloured 

It is not advantageous, as a rule, to wild animals to be 
excessively white, so that when these white markings had spread 
till they enveloped nearly the whole of the coat they tended to 
become dun or cream-colour. In the horse the white markings 

^ These spots may be often quite clearly distinguished and drawn if 
the horse is closely clipped. Seen in a favourable light, these dapplings 
are like loops and spots between darkish spaces answering to the stripes 
of the zebra. 


grew darker, and the chestnut or dun-coloured intervals fused 
with them. Only on the limbs did the dun-coloured intervals 
turn to blackish-brown, while the fused white markings darkened 
to chestnut. In the tapir, which is a distant relation of the horse, 
and the young of which are profusely spotted and striped with 
white, we see something like the original coloration of the horse, 
which is only represented to-day by the stripes of the zebra and 
the dapplings of horses. The same white spots and stripes were 
the characteristic of the primitive Artiodactyles, and are exhibited 
to-day in the coloration of nearly all young pigs, in the perma- 
nent markings of the tragulines,^ in the deer, the giraffe, the 
okapi, and the tragelaphine antelopes. So that the parent forms 
of the horse were originally marked with white spots and stripes ; 
not black, as in the modern zebra. 

Equus caballus, or the True Horse, seems early in its de- 
velopment to have exhibited two varieties, or sub-species. One 
(represented by the modern Arabian horse) was characterised 
by a small finely shaped head, a long mane, a smooth coat, and 
a tail which was set on the body in such a way that the base 
of the tail advanced a few inches in a horizontal direction before 
making the downward sweep. This tail also was abundantly 
plumed with hair, commencing at the very root. In this type of 
horse the profile of the nose is either straight or slightly concave. 

The other and more northern type of horse is well represented 
by the wild or semi-wild tarpan of Central Asia and the Russian 
Steppes, a form which, though said to be feral — i.e., to have run 
wild — is as likely as not to be the original wild horse of Europe. 
This type, with the clumsy head and Roman nose, and (in the 
original) a hog-like mane and a tail poorly furnished with plume 
near the base, finds its highest expression in our modern cart- 
horse. This was the horse that was hunted, eaten, tamed, and 
ridden by primitive man in Europe and in Britain almost since 
man appeared in this part of the world. 

It would seem as though the earliest domesticated of all 
animals had been the dog, in the sense that various types of 
^ Primitive pig-like ruminants found in Africa and Asia. 


wolf, jackal, and cyon ^ took to prowling about the vicinity of 
human camps, and gradually attaching themselves to the society 
and the service of this successful anthropoid ape. But certainly 
the next beast to be brought under man's influence — perhaps the 
first which he deliberately domesticated, in Europe at any rate — 
was the horse. In the earliest Greek art of Cyprus, Greece, and 
the Greek islands two types of horse are plainly depicted (as may 
be seen, for instance, in the collections illustrating Greek art in the 
British Museum). One — familiar to all of us from many a mag- 
nificent bas-relief and statue — is the true Equus cahallus type : the 
sturdy, hog-maned, arch-nosed horse which has been the principal 
breed of North Europe. The other (which is shown specially in 
paintings on vases obtained in Cyprus) is the Arab horse, with 
its fine head, smooth limbs, long mane, and well-furnished tail. 
The various blendings or special developments of these two 
varieties have given us all the breeds of domestic horse which 
exist at the present day throughout the whole world, for it is 
needless to remark that when the Caucasian entered America all 
the indigenous American horses had completely died out, and 
the wild horses of to-day in America are simply the descendants 
of Equus cahallus^ introduced in a domestic form by the Spaniards, 
Portuguese, French, and English. 

It is fairly certain that the Shetland pony is descended direct 
from a dwarfed form of the wild Equus cahallus^ and that the 
same may be said of many breeds of ponies in the west of 
Ireland, and less certainly of the ponies of the New Forest. The 
Romans, of course, introduced their domestic equine breeds into 
Britain. These, too, were mainly derived from the Northern 
stock. By various indirect means, however, from the time of 
the Roman Conquest down to the seventeenth century, tinges 
of the Oriental stock began to afi^ect the domestic breeds of 
the British horse, coming to England, no doubt, in the form 
of barbs ^ ; and these mixed types sprang from the union in the 

^ See p. 128. 

2 Barb, of course, stands for Barbary. The Barbary horse of North 
Africa is probably the result of an early cross between the Northern and 


Mediterranean Basin of the Northern and the Oriental breeds. 
But early in the eighteenth century, through increased commercial 
and diplomatic intercourse with Turkey and the Levant, the 
Arabian stallion was deliberately introduced into these islands 
to modify the local breeds, which in some types are almost more 
Oriental than Northern. 

the Oriental types in North Africa. The original stock of the barb may 
actually be descended from the wild Equus caballus, which certainly existed 
in North Africa, and which need not have been extinguished by the advent of 




The leading characteristics of this important modern group of 
Ungulates have been delineated in the description of the Peris- 
sodactyles. Their main feature is, of course, that they rest the 
stress of their weight on two toes (the third and fourth of the 
mammalian series, our " second " and *' third " fingers) instead 
of on a single toe. Therefore in the course of their development 
they tend to become exclusively two-toed, just as the Peris- 
sodactyles have advanced towards a one-toed condition. The 
Artiodactyles arose very early in the development of the Un- 
gulates, from a stock (the Condylarthra) which gave rise to the 
Perissodactyles, The earliest known types of Artiodactyles had 
five digits on hind and fore limbs. The digit that is equivalent 
to our big toe very early disappeared in the hind feet of the 
Artiodactyles. Then the thumb was lost in their hands. In 
those days, of course, the extremity of the fore limb was much 
more like a hand than is the case with the attenuated, highly 
specialised limb of the modern Artiodactyle. In looking at an 
antelope or a deer, for instance, it is hard for unlearned persons 
to realise that from the wrist (which is falsely called the knee) 
down to the tip of the hoof we have merely a modification of the 
human hand. In hands and feet man is far more archaic than 
the stag, or the horse. He has not, in fact, advanced in this 
respect much beyond the reptile. Artiodactyles that have merely 




M. r,. M. 4, 

Bones of the Hand or Lower Front Limb 
IN Modern Artiodactyles, to illustrate 
THE Gradual Disappearance of the Side 

M. = Metacarpal bones, 
ph. = phalanges. 
(The metacarpal bones are numbered in Arabic 
figures, the phalanges in Roman numerals). 

A. Sheep (Ovis an'es), 

B. Musk ox {flvibus moschatus). 

C. Ox {Bos taurus). 

D. Red deer {Cervus elaphus) (Plesiometacarpalian). 

E. Reindeer (^<i«^(/f;-/arrt»</xj)(Telemetacarpalian). 

F. ¥\^{Sus scrofa). 


reached the four-fingered stage are well illustrated at the present 
day by the hippopotamus, the swine, and those curious little 
creatures, the tragulines,^ which represent the parent stock of 
the modern Ruminants. Outside these groups such creatures as 
deer, oxen, sheep, antelopes, giraffes {Fecora\ and camels have 
entirely, or to a great extent, lost the bones of the outer toes, 
though in some cases they still retain fragments of these ; and, 
except in the giraffes and a few antelopes and in the camels, the 
missing toes are still represented by what are called the false hoofs, 
so that at first sight an ox, a sheep, or a deer appears to be four-toed. 
Not only in the course of evolution did the higher Artiodactyles 
reduce their functional toes to a pair, but the first bones of those 
toes (which are called the metacarpals and metatarsals") gradually 
fused into a single bone (called the cannon bone), down the 
middle of which a slight groove indicates in some forms the 
original duplicate character of the bone. 

The Artiodactyles also show considerable modifications in 
their teeth, as they differentiate from the main stock In the 
hippopotamus and the pig the teeth are of a more generalised 
character. There are in most swine, and in the earlier types of 
hippopotamus, the full number of six incisors above and six below. 
Canines are likewise present in both jaws, and there are generally 
four pairs of premolars and three of molars in each jaw. More- 
over, in the swine and in the hippopotamus the molar teeth are 
short in the crowns, and their surface is divided into a number 
of nipple-like mounds, originally four in number in each tooth. 
These two groups also, together with many extinct allied families, 
exhibit no tendency whatever to the growth of bony, horn- 
bearing projections from the skull. 

In the more modern types of Artiodactyles, represented by 
the camels,^ tragulines, and horn- or antler-bearing Pecora^ the 
incisors in the upper jaw are either reduced to one on either 

^ Pygmy musks, chevrotains. 

2 These metacarpals (for instance) are the five bones bound up in the 
palms of our hands. 

^ Which, however, are quite an independent development. 


side, as in the camels, or disappear absolutely, as is the case 
with the tragulines and Pecora. Canine teeth tend to disappear 
in the upper jaw, though they are retained by the camels and 
tragulines, and by some deer. In the lower jaw a marked 
feature of this section of the Artiodactyles is that the canine 
tooth grows close up to the lower incisors, and tends to resemble 
them exactly in appearance. In the lower jaw of an ox, for 
instance, the unlearned observer would decide that there were no 
canine teeth at all, but four incisors on each side instead of the 
normal three. As a matter of fact, the outer tooth in this range 
is a canine. The molars also develop an ever-increasing length 
of crown ; many of them are hypsodont, as in the horse. More- 
over, all the molar teeth of camels and Pecora are what is called 
"selenodontj" that is to say, their enamel ridges assume a crescent 
shape, so that the grinding surface is a series of half-moon-shaped 
ridgeSj instead of a number of blunt hillocks as in the swine. 

The Even-toed Ungulates described below are those now 
existing in the British Islands, or which are known to have 
inhabited some portion of this area since man came on the 
scene at the beginning of the Pleistocene period. 


The Hippopotamuses are for the most part^ huge animals, 
leading an amphibious life. The tusks, or canine teeth, are 
enormously developed, especially in the lower jaw. The incisor 
teeth are also prolonged into tusks. The extremity of both jaws, 
especially that of the lower, is remarkably broad, and in the lower 
jaw the canines and incisors as seen from the front are in the same 
line, that is to say, the canines are pushed so far forward in their 
growth that they are in no way behind the incisors, as is the case 
in a normal mammalian arrangement of the teeth. The feet are 
four-toed, the two central toes being larger and more important 
than the second and fifth. The skin is bare of hair, with the 

^ Some of the forms isolated in Cyprus and Malta during the Pleistocene 
degenerated into pygmy types hardly larger than small pigs. 


exception of bristles (often bifid) round the muzzle, and a few 
at the end of the tail. The mammas are reduced to one pair. 

Hippopotamuses appear to have originated, like so many 
other remarkable beasts, in India, and they arose, seemingly, from 
an early Artiodactyle family (allied to the pigs) called the Anthra- 
cothcrid^^ the teeth of which, in some forms, bear a strong 
resemblance to those of the hippopotamus. The earliest known 
forms of Asiatic hippopotamus had six incisor teeth in both jaws. 
This type with the six incisor teeth penetrated westwards as far 
as North Africa, and possibly the south of Europe. From this 
type there arose in the later Pliocene a hippopotamus with only 
four incisor teeth in each jaw. This form was identical with 
the modern African hippopotamus, and reached England in the 
Pleistocene Epoch, before the Glacial episodes or during the 
warmer intervals between the Ice ages. It penetrated at least as 
far north as Yorkshire (possibly during the summer-time), and 
was coeval with the earliest types of man in Britain. In fact, 
there were hippopotamuses in the Thames once, larger than those 
in the Nile at the present day, but not specifically different. No 
doubt it frequented all the English and some of the Welsh rivers 
south of Lancashire and Durham. It may have swum the 
narrow straits of the Irish sea, and have reached Antrim. On 
the coast of this county remains of the hippopotamus are said to 
have been found, but they are of a dubious nature, and until 
better evidence is forthcoming the hippopotamus cannot be 
classed as an Irish mammal. 

The True Pigs, like the hippopotamus, appear to have been 
confined at all times to the Old World, and never to have existed 
in America, where they are only distantly represented by the 
allied group of the Peccaries, and by certain ancestral forms from 
which both pigs and peccaries sprang. Pigs made their appearance 
very early in Europe in the Upper Miocene formations, and it 
is possible that they originated in Central Europe, though they 
soon travelled to Asia, and in India received some wonderful 


developments, one species of True Swine developing to the size 
of a rhinoceros. 

The True Pigs have usually six incisors in both jaws, though 
in two African genera the upper incisors tend to disappear, a 
tendency parallel to what has occurred among the Ruminants. 
As already mentioned, the pigs have " bunodont " molars with 
short crowns, that is to say, the surface of the molar tooth is 
divided into a number of blunt hillocks. The most striking 
feature of the True Pigs lies in the canine teeth. In the upper 
jaw, instead of growing vertically downwards, as in almost all 
other mammals, they curve outwards and upwards, and this 
tendency is carried to such an extreme in the Oriental genus 
Babirusa that the upper canine teeth turn right round from their 
sockets, and grow straight upwards through bone and flesh. 
An archaic feature in the pigs is the number of mammae (from 
five to three pairs), and their distribution along the ventral 
region. To this may be added, perhaps, their tendency towards 
an omnivorous diet, a characteristic shared by the allied peccaries 
of America. Although this feature is carried to a much greater 
extreme in the domestic than in the wild pig, still nearly all 
forms of pig will eat, in addition to various vegetable sub- 
stances — roots, fruits, nuts, and herbage — animal matter, as 
represented by snakes, lizards, young birds and beasts, and 
carrion. Pigs, also, are unlike other existing Ungulates (except 
one or two species of deer), in that they produce ordinarily more 
than two young at a birth. Their digestive organs are relatively 
simple and primitive. 

An early type of pig (Sus palaochcerus)^ and a gigantic swine 
as large as a tapir {Sus erymanthius\ reached England during the 
Pliocene Epoch, and Sus erymanthius may have lingered on into 
the Pleistocene and the time of man's coming to this country. 
But with this doubtful exception man has only known one wild 
pig in these islands, the wild boar, unless, as some zoologists 
have thought, another wild species of pig of a more slender type, 
more like the wild pigs of Eastern Asia, existed in Ireland, and gave 
rise to the domestic greyhound pig, which is now nearly extinct. 


Sus scrofa. The Wild Boar 

The appearance of this animal, with its thick, bristling coat, 
hairy ears, long snout, and recurved upper tusks, is well known 
to most of my readers ; for, although the Wild Boar has been 
extinct in these islands, at any rate, since the seventeenth century, 
it has been so often exhibited in menageries and reintroduced 
into parks that its aspect is nearly as familiar to the people of 
the United Kingdom as to those nations on the Continent of 
Europe where it still exists in a wild state. The present range 
of the wild boar consists of most of the countries of Europe 
(except Great Britain and Scandinavia), Asia Minor, and North 
Africa. In North-east Africa, in India, Southern Asia, and the 
islands of the Malay Archipelago, to the verge of Australia, it 
is replaced by closely allied forms. It is supposed that the 
domestic pig is principally derived from Sus scrofa^ with, no 
doubt (as is the case with so many domestic animals), inter- 
mixture with Oriental forms. Domestic pigs, with rare 
exceptions, differ from the wild form in one important particular : 
the young are born without those striking white markings — 
longitudinal stripes and occasional spots — which are found in 
the young of all pigs except the babirusa and the wart hog. 
But occasionally, even in domestic pigs, especially where the 
breed is an old one, young are born that exhibit faint traces of 
these markings. The greyhound pig of the west of Ireland, 
now only lingering — if not already extinguished by the Board 
of Agriculture — on the islands of Aran, is a peculiar-looking 
creature, much more like a wild than a domestic animal — lean 
and lank, and with a very long head and snout. The author is 
not able to give his readers a photograph of the greyhound pig 
of Aran, but through the kindness of Mr. Robert Welch, of 
Belfast, he reproduces a photograph of a pig which is a hybrid 
between the greyhound type and pigs of improved breeds. This 
is a young animal, and in the photograph there is the appearance 
of palish markings like those to be seen in the young of the 
wild boar. The relatively naked nature of the domestic pig 

Photo by W. I'. Dando, F.Z.S. 

Wild Sow and Young. 

Photo by 'Mr. Robert Welch. 

Irish Pig. 

Photo by W. P. Uuildo. I'.Z.S. 

Wild Boar {Sus scrofa) 

To face p. 286. 


certainly suggests intermixture with the stocks derived from the 
wild pigs of Eastern Asia, which are almost devoid of hair. 

The wild boar probably did not become finally extinct in 
England till the beginning of the seventeenth century. In 1593 
(as Mr. Harting points out in his book, British Animals Extinct 
within Historic Times) Erdwick, in his Survey of Staffordshire^ 
mentions wild swine as existing in the celebrated Forest of 
Chartley, which still harbours the feral cattle. In 11 74, if not 
later, there were wild boars in Epping Forest. Wild boar 
hunts took place in Scotland in the middle of the sixteenth 
century, and the boar probably lingered on in the Highlands 
down to the beginning of the seventeenth century, about which 
period it became extinct in Ireland. It is stated that the 
Irish wild boar was a somewhat diminutive animal as compared 
with its brother of Britain and Continental Europe, no doubt 
through insulation from Europe and interbreeding of the wild 
stock. Many of them in Ireland, by enclosure of land, seem to 
have gradually drifted into the condition of semi-domesticated, 
and finally domesticated, animals. The half-wild pigs in the 
New Forest at one time had very much the look of diminutive 
wild boars, but this seems to have been due to the deliberate 
reintroduction into that forest of wild boars imported by 
Charles I. But in England, as in Ireland, the last of the wild 
boars seem to have been enclosed and domesticated rather than 
exterminated, and in the allusions to boars by the writers of 
Shakespeare's time it is difficult to ascertain whether they mean 
the entirely and naturally wild animal or a half-wild pig. Mr. 
Harting considers that the last truly wild boar became extinct in 
England as late as 1683, in Staffordshire, and wild boars were 
killed in Westmoreland a little earlier. King James I. hunted 
wild boars in Windsor Park in 161 7, in which same year he 
in his progress through Lancashire feasted on a wild boar pie 
at a banquet given by Sir Richard Houghton. 

Camels, which originated in North America, and spread 
thence right across Asia into North Africa, and perhaps to 
Greece and Italy, never reached England with other specimens 


of the Mediterranean fauna. The chevrotains, or tragulines 
i^TraguUdce)^ a most interesting group of primitive Ruminants,^ 
extended their range in the Miocene and Pliocene Epochs as far 
north and west as France, but no traces have been discovered 
of their existence in England. That great group of monster 
Ruminants, the giraffes, also left England outside their ex- 
tremest range, so that the first family of true ruminating, 
selenodont (and horned) Artiodactyles represented in the British 
fauna past and present is the deer. 


The Horned Artiodactyles (among which a few species have 
lost or have never developed horns) are usually divided into four 
families, based on the structure of the excrescences growing on 
the skull, which are loosely known as " horns," independently 
of their substance. The most primitive of the four families, 
perhaps, is that of the giraffes, in which bony projections grow 
out from various points of the skull, but remain practically 
separate bones. In the Giraffe genus these are merely covered 
with skin and hair. In the newly discovered okapi it would seem 
as though the extreme tip of the short bony projection was bare 
of skin and hair, and might even be an independent ossicle.^ In 
certain more extravagant extinct forms of the Giraffe family, such 
as the Sivatherium^ these bony projections grew to a great size, 
forked and branched ; and the larger of the projections were 
probably covered with some sheath of hardened hair or of horn. 
In the case of the next family, the Prongbucks, a curious and 
complicated stage is reached. The male prongbuck grows a 
permanent pair of bony " horns " from the top of the skull, 
and then these bony projections are covered and increased by a 

^ The Tragulids — even those existing at the present day — represent very 
nearly the original stock from which the horned Artiodactyles {Pecord) 
sprang, the base from which the giraffes, the prongbucks, the deer, and the 
Oxen-Antelope-Sheep group evidently arose. 

2 In which case we have a very interesting suggestion as to the way in 
which the deer's horns began. 


somewhat soft sheath of branching horn. This horny sheath in 
the prongbuck is shed annually and grows up again. In the 
third family about to be described (the Deer) there is, first of 
all, a permanent bony pedicle, or core, developed from the skull. 
(In the muntjacs, a somewhat primitive and ancient type of deer, 
these pedicles are several inches long, and often more important 
in length than the little antler which grows from them.) From 
the end of this bony projection, or pedicle, the deer start another 
and independent growth of bone, which in the earliest or least de- 
veloped types of deer is a mere prong or a simple fork. But in all 
the more extravagantly developed types this additional detachable 
growth of bone at the end of the permanent pedicle is often of 
enormous size and weight. Whilst this bony antler is develop- 
ing during several months, and until its extreme growth has been 
reached, it is covered outwardly with blood-vessels, skin, and 
hair, so that in that condition it resembles the " horns " of the 
giraffe ; but when the growth of the antler is complete, the 
blood-vessels dry up, nourishment ceases to reach the skin and 
hair, and thus the " velvet " is soon rubbed off by the stag, 
leaving the naked and dry bone. This lessening of the nutrition 
continues long after the velvet has disappeared ; and finally, about 
ten months from the time at which the additional growth of bone 
has started,^ the complete antler, as far as its connection with its 
parent pedicle, is easily detached and falls off. 

In the last family of this group, the Bovid^^ or Hollow- 
horned Ruminants (Cattle, Tragelaphs, Capricorns, Sheep, and 
Antelopes), the original bony projection from the skull is con- 
tinuous with the skull bones and of a permanent nature, growing 
sometimes to extraordinary lengths. It is never known to branch, 
as in the aberrant giraffes. As this bone grows up from the skull 
it is covered by a sheath of horn (no doubt a modification of an 
original hairy covering), and this horn cap ends in a sharp point, 
and often considerably exceeds in length the bony core. It has 

^ This period refers to deer — the vast majority — which only renew their 
antlers once a year. It is, of course, proportionately shorter where (as in 
Pere David's deer) the antlers are tzvice shed in the twelve months. 



been said that certain antelopes can shed this horny covering and 
renew it, in which case they would offer a distinct approximation 
to the prongbuck's plan ; but this statement lacks confirmation, 
and in all cases which have come under the writer's observation, 
where antelopes or oxen have by some accident had a horny 
sheath torn off the bone core it has not been renewed. 

All the Pecora have the stomach divided into four chambers, 
and all of them are True Ruminants. 


With regard to the peculiarities concerning the growth of the 
deer's antlers, it only remains to add in a general description of 
this family that antlers are entirely confined to the male (abnor- 
malities apart), except in the aberrant and remarkable reindeer, 
in which genus the females also grow antlers.^ All the deer as 
yet examined have four mammae. One genus, Hydropotes (a 
hornless deer), produces from three to six young at a time. 
Forms of primitive deer allied to Hydropotes were inhabitants of 
part of Britain and the rest of Europe in the Miocene period. 
The young of nearly all species of deer except the elk, the rein- 
deer, and the sambur are spotted with white, the spots sometimes 
running into horizontal stripes, and these white markings remain 
permanently, or occur seasonably, in not a few kinds of deer. 

It is probable that the deer, like so many other groups, 
originated in Asia, where at the present day the most primitive 
and archaic representatives of this group are still found living. 
But they made their appearance in Europe at an early period, the 
very beginning of the Miocene, the first forms, of course, being 
hornless, and allied to such types as Hydropotes of China, and the 
Muntjac deer of India. The earliest type of antlered deer to 

^ At the same time antlered females, fertile and able to breed, do occur 
in not infrequent instances, scarcely to be called abnormalities, in other 
genera, such as the roe and even the red deer. " Abnormality " would rather 
cover those instances of aged or unsexed females which produce stunted 
antlers, just as aged female pheasants assume male plumage or aged women 
grow beards. 


reach Britain seems to have been the roe (Capreolus), a persistent 
and an archaic form of Cervine. Then came an elk — larger than 
any now known — Alces latifrons. This early British elk may have 
been a peculiar development of these islands, as no remains of 
this very large species have been discovered on the Continent. 
It was possibly one of the forerunners of the Glacial ages, and an 
instance of the invasion of Britain from the north, by types of 
animals coming from Iceland, Greenland, and North America. 
About the same time appeared a deer with a palmated antler, 
which has been named after Professor Boyd Dawkins (Dawkins's 
deer), and which may have been a transitional form leading up 
from the Fallow group (Dama) to the Cervus megaceros, or 
Gigantic deer. Cervus sedgwicki is a deer which may be 
related to the Rucervine group.-^ The antlers of Sedgwick's 
deer (which was possibly contemporary with early man in the 
first half of the Pleistocene period) are most extraordinary, 
being a perfect forest of branching points, as many as thirteen 
on each antler. It is possible that it may be an extreme 
development in one direction of Dawkins's deer, though there 
is also a resemblance to the Elaphine, or red deer, type. A 
deer of very mysterious affinities, and very imperfectly known, 
which was found in England, at any rate, during a portion of the 
Pleistocene period, is Buckland's deer {Cervus hucklandi), which 
was about the size of a reindeer. The imperfect fragments of its 
horns suggest affinities to the roebuck (this is the most probable 
theory), or to that considerable group of American deer which 
have no brow tine to the antlers ; for the fork in the horns of 
Buckland's deer starts several inches above the coronet. Cervus 
suttonensis appears to be related to the spotted axis deer of India. 
Cervus browni and C. savini were obviously early forms of 
fallow deer. Cervus carnutorum^ together with C. dawkinsi 
{verticornis)j are supposed to be related to the Gigantic deer, 
and a large stag, with tremendously heavy, round, thick antlers 
(C sirongyloceros)) is probably a gigantic race of Elaphine deer, 
allied to the red deer, and still more to the modern maral of 
^ Such as Schomburgkh's deer and the other swamp deer of Eastern Asia 


Persia. The True Red Deer has always been an indigenous 
inhabitant of these islands since the Pleistocene period, though 
it probably came here from two different directions,^ and exhibited 
several varieties, large and small. Lastly, there was the reindeer, 
at one time as abundant in England, Ireland, and Scotland as 
the red deer. 

Capreolus capraa. The Roe Deer 
The deer are often divided by zoologists into two groups, 
both, unfortunately, with very long names. The first group, 
which is called the Tlesiometacarpalia^ comprises the muntjacs 
and their allies, and all the True Deer (Elaphine, Damine, Rusine, 
Rucervine, and Axine) of the Old World. This group, which 
in some respects is the most specialised, only retains the upper 
fragments (near the wrist and the heel joints) of metacarpal and 
metatarsal bones of the second and fifth toes. Only the upper 
fragments of these remain, though the actual toes themselves are 
still represented by outside hoofs (the " false " hoofs), and these 
hoofs are supported sometimes by minute fragments of bone, 
the remains of the lost phalanges. On the other hand, the 
second group (which includes the reindeer, the elk, the roebuck, 
the hornless Hydropotes of China, and all the American deer) 
belongs to the division Telemetacarpalia^ in which that portion 
of the metacarpal or metatarsal bones of the second and fifth 
toes ordinarily retained is the lowest portion, equivalent to the 
joints of our fingers. This bony support in the lower portions 
of the limb to the two side toes gives a rather splay appearance 
to the feet of the reindeer, elk, and some of the other deer. At 
the same time, seeing how, in the feet of the reindeer, there are 
occasionally fragmentary traces of the metacarpal bones above 
as well as below, and that traces of a similar feature exist in 
one or more of the muntjacs, and having regard to the ease 

^ Portugal and Belgium. Possibly there came first from Portugal or 
Northern Spain the earlier, smaller red deer without the " bez " tine, which 
is still found in North Africa and parts of Spain. From Belgium arrived 
the large, fully antlered red deer. 




with which either condition can arise quite independently when 
all of them are descended from Miocene forms in which the 
bones of the side toes were complete, the distinction is not 
a very strong one for natural classification. (See illustration 
on p. 28.) 

However that may be, the roe deer is one of the few Old 
World examples of the Telemetacarpalia (or deer that only retain 
the bones of their side toes at the end of the limb). The 
tail in the roe is so short that there is practically no outward 
manifestation of it between the thick hair of the buttocks. 
Although nearly related to archaic extinct deer, and to the very 
primitive Hydropotes, or water deer, of China, all of which 
possess canine teeth in the upper jaw, the roe has lost this 
feature. Occasionally minute traces of upper canine teeth are found 
in the males. The ears are fairly long, narrow, and rather pointed, 
not round, as in Hydropotes. The legs are long, flat, and slender, 
and the hoofs are small. The whole foot, in fact, is closely 
compressed and " fine," not at all like the rather spreading, 
pig-like foot of the Chinese water deer. When the roe walks 
there is a curious interlocking of the hind limbs, which is often 
more marked than in other deer. Any one who observes the 
movements of a sheep or cow will notice that as the animal 
moves its hind limbs in walking the hock remains pretty much 
in the same line as the buttocks, whereas in the deer the hock 
twists inwards so markedly at every step as almost to touch the 
inner flank of the other leg. This movement is specially marked 
in the roe deer. 

The existing roes are not large animals. The biggest males 
of the European form which is found in England seldom exceed 
26 in. in height at the withers. The head of the roe deer is 
proportionately small. The profile is straight, or slightly con- 
cave. The eyes are large, but they are not placed so wide apart 
as in the red deer (for example). The muzzle is neat and 
tapering, but there is a considerable expanse of wet muflie about 
the nose. The under-fur is woolly, and the hair on the upper 
surface of the coat is coarse, sometimes flattened, stifi\, and not 


very long. These coarse hairs are but loosely implanted, and 
easily come out. For a considerable proportion of their length 
they are purplish-gray, but within a short distance of the tip 
they turn either to reddish-brown or brownish-gray, according to 
the season. This variation of colour in the longer hair causes 
the animal's coat to look somewhat patchy and spotted at times 
by the purplish-gray becoming visible under the lighter surface 
of the tips. The colour of the roe, male and female, varies 
markedly between the winter and the summer season. About 
May the roe begins to assume its summer coat, which is a 
foxy-red all over, though slightly paler, perhaps, on the belly, 
the rump, and underneath the chin. Summer and winter alike, 
however, the roe retains a very distinct mark on the face. The 
naked skin of the muffle is black, and there are patches of jet- 
black hair on either side of the nose, on the outer edge of the 
muzzle, above and below the angle of the mouth. The front of 
the muzzle and the chin are pure white. This black and white 
nose and mouth gives rather an effective touch to the appearance 
of the extremely pretty head possessed by this deer. The hair 
inside the ears is yellowish-white, and the outer edge of the ear 
and the tip are black. In the winter, that is to say, between 
October and April, the fur is much thicker and coarser, and the 
general effect of colour is brownish-gray, the lower part of the 
hairs being much more of a blue-gray than the tip, which inclines 
to brown. The general effect over the greater part of the body 
is that of a dark brownish-gray, with a slightly reddish tinge 
on the shoulders, behind the ears, and on the limbs, while the 
brownish-gray strengthens almost into black as it nears the edge 
of the rump. On the rump itself and the loose prominent hair 
that juts out on either side of the stump of a tail there is a 
patch of pure white in the winter season, so that at this time the 
black line drawn across the muzzle on either side, the white lips, 
and the white stern make the roe somewhat conspicuous. In 
the winter season there is a tendency to white under the jaw, 
and on the throat of the roe this may sometimes take the form 
of a crescent-shaped band across the under side of the throat. 

Head and Neck of Roebuck, to show White Markings on Neck and Black Mark 
•--. across Muzzle 


These bands are very characteristic of the early white markings 
of Ungulates. The adult roe is unspotted, but young roes 
when first born are fully spotted with white, and have these 
white half-circles on the throat. The spots fade during the first 
year of the roe's life, and the patches of white on the throat 
only recur (more or less marked, sometimes very faintly) in the 
winter coat of the adult animal. 

As in all deer, there is a prominent tuft of hair covering the 
gland on the hind legs just below the hock. The female roe 
is hornless except in abnormal cases, wherein, as happens so often 
among vertebrates, when the female loses her breeding powers 
she assumes something of the characteristics of the male. Under 
these conditions the female may produce an aborted antler. 
Mr. J. G. Millais, however (who in his British 'Deer and their 
Horns has produced a classic work on the subject), quotes a 
German writer in the Fields who asserts that female roe deer 
may produce antlers without being either unsexed or barren. 
He alludes to many cases in which does with horns were prolific 
and dropped and suckled fawns. This is interesting as showing 
how such a condition as the reindeer could be brought about, 
wherein the female now invariably grows antlers. These would 
begin as sports, as quite exceptional instances, such as they are 
in the roe, and gradually, if circumstances (such as the protection 
of the young) rendered it necessary, would become universal. 
The most primitive types of cattle (now extinct) only produced 
horns in the male, and this is the condition of most antelopes ; 
but in modern cattle, in two genera among the Tragelaphs (the 
eland and the bongo), in the sheep and goats, gazelles, oryxes, 
and hartebeests, the female is always horned. 

The antlers in the male roebuck vary considerably in length, 
girth, and number of points, not only as between the two species 
(those of Europe and Siberia), but also between Scottish and 
English examples, existing and fossil. The average roebuck's 
horn is as depicted in the drawing on p. 295. Other types 
are illustrated on p. 297. In some roe deer the tubercles 
of bone which appear on the lower half of the antler become 

I. and n. From Scottish peat and gravel (Pleistocene). 
HI., IV., v., and vi. Modern Scottish heads. 

VII. Type of " mossy " thick antler. 

VIII. Example of antler in female (aberrant). 


so exaggerated as to produce a " mossy " appearance, which 
may stamp the whole outline of the horn. The typical 
roe antler rises some 4 in. or 5 in. from the coronet ^ (in 
some cases nearly vertically from the head), and then forks. 
The front prong of this fork might very well answer to the 
brow antler of the typical stag, and no doubt is the same in 
origin. The antler then slants backwards after the first fork, 
and forks again, the lower prong of the second fork pointing 
downwards. This, therefore, gives an average roebuck horn 
three points. But in past and present specimens of this deer 
there can actually be six points (a not uncommon extravagance), 
or even, in abnormal heads, eight. Occasionally the first fork 
of the antlers is so low down that there is nothing to dis- 
tinguish the front prong in position from the true Cervine 
brow antler. 

The extremest length of a roe antler measured along the outer 
curve to the tip of the furthest prong is 13 in. (for a British speci- 
men), the finest known heads on the Continent or in Tartary perhaps 
reaching 2 in. farther. But normally good heads of the roe in 
England rarely exceed 1 1 in. The girth of the horn round the 
coronet may be 7 in. in excessively thick horns, or more when 
they become monstrosities. The ordinary girth round the base 
of a good horn is about 5^ in. Besides other eccentricities roes 
occasionally produce three horns, an extra horn sometimes 
appearing in the middle between the two normal antlers, or at 
the side, and slightly nearer the brow. Sometimes the two 
normal horns (which in any case are not very wide apart) grow 
together and fuse into a solid mass. One feels, in short, that as 
regards antlers, at any rate, the roe is still in such a plastic state 
that it might go on originating new species. Undoubtedly it 
stands very near a primitive type of deer, which might be at the 
base of several widely divergent existing forms. From its horns 
and the bones of its side toes and the anatomy of the male 
generative organs, it is in any case thought to be closely allied to 

1 The " coronet " being that spreading-out of the base of the antler where 
it starts from the bony pedicle. 


that somewhat abnormal (Dorcelaphine) group of American deer 
represented by Dorcelaphus and other genera. 

The roe deer at the present day exhibits two sub-species or 
species. There is the common roe, indigenous to Great Britain, 
Europe, and Western Asia, and there is the Siberian roe 
{Capreolus pygargus), which is a decidedly larger animal, with a 
somewhat less abbreviated tail. The antlers of this roe can 
occasionally become quite palmated. There is also said (though 
this is doubtful) to be a third variety or species — the Manchurian 
roe, which agrees in most particulars with the European, but 
differs somewhat in coloration. The present area of distribution 
of the European roe is the greater part of Europe (including 
the south of Sweden), and parts of Russia, the Caucasus, and 
Asia Minor. The roe is not indigenous to Ireland, and no 
fossil remains of the animal have been found as yet in Irish 
deposits. It exists in Ireland at the present day in the county 
of Sligo, in the north-west, but it has only been introduced there 
for a hundred years. In one or two other parks of Ireland it 
was also kept, but it does not seem to flourish in that country. 
There are said to be still a few indigenous roe living in parts of 
Cumberland descended from the old English stock, but elsewhere 
in England the roe became extinct early in English history. 
In Wales the wild roe lingered down to the end of the sixteenth 
century. When the owners of parks began to take an interest 
in the native fauna, attempts were made at the beginning of 
the nineteenth century and onwards to reintroduce the roe. A 
flourishing colony of them was got together in Dorsetshire, mainly 
on the estate of Milton Abbas. It is here that the present writer 
has seen most of the roe, and his coloured drawing is made from 
sketches of roe in the park of Milton Abbas some years ago,^ 
The roe, however, has remained continuously a native of Scotland 
from the Pleistocene period. Here they are still found in the 
Highland districts, away from the farming and industrial localities. 

^ There are roe deer now in the New Forest, at Virginia Water, in 
Epping Forest, and in several parks in Sussex, Surrey, Wales, and no 
doubt elsewhere. 


The male roe deer drop their horns towards the end of 
December, and by the end of February the new antlers are nearly 
perfect. Roe are monogamous, unlike so many other deer. The 
bucks begin to seek the does soon after the fawns are born in 
June. In July the male presses his attentions closely on the 
female, and at this time they are especially eager at their racing 
rings. With the roe, as with several other deer and antelopes, 
there is a practice of resorting to certain fixed places — open glades 
generally — where they race round and round in a circle until 
regular tracks are made, sometimes in loops, sometimes in other 
circular shapes. Their resort to these rings during the breeding 
season is constant. The female will allow herself to be pursued 
by the male sometimes till both are exhausted for want of breath. 
It is not until the beginning of August, as a rule (in Scotland), 
that the rut, or actual breeding season, commences, though this 
may be as early as July in Dorsetshire. Does that have not been 
fecundated sometimes invite once more the attentions of the male 
in October. But the remarkable and apparently now well-estab- 
lished feature in the breeding habits of the roe is this, that 
assuming the female to have become pregnant in August, the 
embryo remains dormant and of minute size until the end of 
December, when its development proceeds at a normal rate, and 
the fawn is born in England during the month of May, in Scotland 
early in June. This is as yet an unexplained phenomenon, but 
it seems to be one that is well established by the researches of 
Professor Bishop and Dr. E. Ziegler, the German embryologist. 
The explanation possibly may be that the roe originated (as did 
most of the deer) in Eastern Asia, where its nearest relation, 
Hydropotes^ still lives ; and that in a semi-tropical climate there 
was no risk in producing young early in February ; but that 
when the force of circumstances and competition with other 
forms pushed the roe into the northern regions of the Old 
World, and into a Glacial age in full swing, this deer may 
have gradually acquired a power of retarding the development 
of the foetus until it could be produced at the beginning of 
the summer. 


The roe has a voice and uses it, especially during the 
breeding season. The male utters a loud bark, a sound some- 
times more like a bleat or a harsh yelp, often resembling the cries 
of a dog. The female is more silent, but during the breeding 
season (writes Mr. Millais) " she gives an amorous call when 
she wishes the male to come to her. If he is within hearing he 
puts out his neck straight and comes at full speed. ... In 
Germany many roebucks are shot by alluring them in this 
manner, and calls exactly imitating the voice of the female are 
made for the sportsman's use." 

Though a relatively small animal, the roebuck can be very 
fierce, and the male in the rutting season is excessively dangerous, 
as he can kill a man with his sharp horns. Several instances 
are known of men and boys meeting their death in this manner. 
The female will defend her fawn against dogs, and sometimes 
even men, by striking out with her sharp-hoofed fore feet, and 
even butting with her forehead. The male also strikes out 
with his feet in his own defence. But in this respect roe deer 
do not find their hoofs such effective weapons as is the case 
with the red deer, the elk, or the reindeer. 

The food of this little deer is grass, leaves, fungi (which 
they scent and dig up), and (among other fruits) rowan berries, 
of which they are passionately fond. To reach these they will 
often stand on their hind legs, supporting themselves for a time 
by leaning the fore feet on some low branch or against the trunk 
of the tree. 

Alces machlis. The Elk, or Moose 

It has already been stated that the gigantic extinct Broad- 
horned Elk (yf. latifrons) was a British beast, and mainly con- 
fined in its range to Britain. The elk which at present exists 
in Scandinavia, Siberia, and parts of North America was probably 
also an inhabitant of Great Britain not longer ago than some 
ten thousand years. Antlers and bones, apparently belonging to 
Alces machlis^ have been found in the Pleistocene and superficial 


deposits of North Wales, Northern and North-eastern, Eastern 
and Central England, as far south as Essex, In Scotland the 
remains are abundant, especially in the east, south, and south- 
west. In Ireland its existence is argued from some fragments of 
antler and bones found in County Tyrone. 

The elk is a very isolated, and in some respects specialised, 
form of deer. Such resemblances as it does offer to other 
creatures of the same group lie in the direction of the American 
deer of the sub-family Dorcelaphirice. The bones of the 
side toes are (as already mentioned) like those of the rein- 
deer, the roe, and the American group ; only their lower 
portions are retained. The antlers are very big. Their beams 
grow horizontally and almost at right angles to the line of the 
neck ridge and forehead. The pedicle is very low. The round 
unbranched stem or beam of the horn is rather long in some 
extinct species, and then palmates broadly. The palmated part 
of the horn is divided conspicuously into two main portions. 
One, the nearest to the skull, contains about five prongs in the 
mature male. The palmation then continues in a direction 
almost at right angles with the round, lower stem of the antler, 
and along the edge of this palmation project as many as twelve 
or more prongs or points in well-developed antlers. It is 
thought by that great authority, Mr. Lydekker, that there are 
some slight resemblances in the arrangement of the elk's antlers 
to the horns of the American group of deer. It is possible that 
the elk may have originated in North America from a stock 
which produced the American sub-family, itself a development, 
very likely, of an Old World roebuck origin. 

As the elk has been so long banished from these islands as 
a wild species it is not necessary to describe it any further. 
Perhaps the British climate has changed disadvantageously from 
the elk's point of view in ten thousand years, for attempts like 
those made by the Duke of Bedford to acclimatise and reintro- 
duce the elk have been unsuccessful, apparently for climatic 


Rangifer tarandus. The Reindeer 

The Reindeer belongs, as has been already mentioned, to 
that group of deer (JFelemetacarpalia) which only retain the 
lower ends of the metacarpal bones of the second and fifth 
toes ; though occasionally in the reindeer there are minute 
fragments near the wrist joint of the upper portions of the 
second and fifth metacarpals which are so well represented 
in their lower portions. Antlers are present in both sexes 
— an exceptional instance in the Deer tribe — but it is said 
that this is not the case amongst all the breeds of reindeer, 
and that the females of those found in North-east Russia 
are hornless. The head is rather coarsely built, with a big 
muzzle, which certainly offers a suggestion of the elk about 
it. The ears are not long, are rather rounded, very hairy, 
and white in colour fringed with black. The general colour 
of the head, especially along the ridge of the nose, is also 
blackish. In colour the rest of the body varies a good deal 
according to the season, but in June it is a pale yellowish-gray 
on the neck (including the thick fringe of hair that lines the 
edge of the throat), a bluer gray on the body, with a tinge 
of warm brown in the gray on the hind quarters. There is 
a blackish stripe along the edge of the flanks and the belly is 
whitish. The front limbs are blackish-brown, and this tint 
marks very strongly and decidedly the inner sides of the hind 
legs, with a whitish patch on the inside of the hock, and whitish 
lines on the edges of the hoofs. The tail, which is distinct 
though short, is also fringed with white, and there is a little 
white on the buttocks. These tints vary according to the 
different races into which the reindeer is divided. The female 
is rather darker and the young are darker stilV with a blackish 
line along the back. The limbs are distinctly short in com- 
parison with the length of the body, shorter proportionately 
than in any other big deer. The feet are clumsy-looking 

^ Except when first born and quite young : then they are pale yellow- 


and large, with well-developed false hoofs and very large splay 
main hoofs. 

The antlers are of remarkable appearance, but vary a good 
deal according to race. They rise from low pedicles just behind 
the eyes, and close to the junction with the pedicle throw out 
two long palmated tines, which overhang the long nose, lying 
almost parallel with it in forward direction. A short distance 
above the point at which these frontal tines branch forth 
over the nose rises another tine, also palmated. Then comes 
(in some forms) a great sweep of smooth, round antler, which 
only throws off on the under side one small tine before it gives 
the final palmation. In one of the Arctic American types the 
horns may be much simplified. The second tine above that 
which grows over the nose is a simple prong, and not palmated, 
and grows so close to the frontal tine as to be partly fused with 
it. The beam of the rest of the horn is extremely long before 
it is broken by the final tines, which are but little palmated. 

It is very difficult to classify the reindeer type of antler, or 
to say from what more primitive stock it was derived. It is 
quite conceivable that it could have been derived from the same 
type of antler (such as in the extinct Cervalces) that gave rise to 
the horns of the elk. The position' of the frontal tines suggests 
relationship (probably quite fallaciously) with the Elaphine (red 
deer) group. On the whole, perhaps, the reindeer's nearest 
relation is the elk. It is rather an old type of deer, and made 
its first appearance early in the Pleistocene period, but apparently 
a little later than the elk, traces of which are to be met with in 
the Pliocene. The present distribution of the reindeer is con- 
fined to Sweden and Norway, Russia, Siberia, Spitzbergen, the 
Arctic regions of North America, Greenland, Northern and Eastern 
Canada, the extreme north-eastern part of the United States, and 
Newfoundland. The range of the reindeer in Europe was very 
different a few centuries ago. It was still found along the 
southern shores of the Baltic in the sixteenth century, and about 
the same time in Poland. At the beginning of the Christian era 
it was (on the authority of Cassar) met with as far south as the 


Black Forest in Southern Germany ; while further back still in 
Prehistoric days it extended right across France, almost to the 
Mediterranean and to the base of the Pyrenees. In these Pre^ 
historic days, also, it inhabited the whole of England, Scotland, 
and Ireland. In the last-named country it is the opinion of 
Dr. ScharfF that the type of reindeer met with was that still 
found in the Arctic regions of North America, while the reindeer 
of England and Scotland he believes to have been identical with 
the Scandinavian, or " Woodland," form. He supposes, there- 
fore, that the Arctic American type of reindeer, travelling v'td 
Greenland and Iceland, over a then continuous land (or ice) 
surface, reached the north of Scotland and so passed into Ireland ;, 
while England and Southern Scotland were peopled with reindeer- 
from France and Belgium, of the type still found in Scandinavia. 

It has been thought by some authorities that, although the 
reindeer died out long before the Historic period in England, it 
still persisted in the extreme north of Scotland down to the close 
of the twelfth century ; and they support this opinion by quoting 
the history of Torfaeus, a Dane, who in the seventeenth century 
put together a History of Orkney from translations into the 
Latin of the Norse sagas of Orkney. An Icelander named 
Jonasus again translated these sagas into Latin in 1780, and 
commented on Torfaeus's History. According to him, the 
correct phrase (he gives the original Norse) might be translated 
into English : " The Jarls of Orkney were in the habit of 
crossing over to Caithness almost every summer, and there hunt- 
ing in the wilds the Red Deer and the Reindeer." I see no 
reason to doubt the probability of this statement. As Professor 
Boyd Dawkins points out, the red deer had probably advanced 
little by little on the reindeer, taking possession of their pastures 
(aided by the milder climate), until at last all that remained of 
the British reindeer were crowded into the northern extremity 
of Scotland, and so gradually became extinct before the attacks of 
man and the rivalry of the more successful red deer. 

It is, generally considered now to be probable that the reindeer 
as a genus originated in North America, like the elk ; and that 



it made its way via Behring Straits (then dry land) into Siberia, 
and so reached Western Europe. Dr. Scharff considers that a 
second invasion of Europe by the reindeer took place when that 
small form known as the Barren Ground race {Rangifer tarandus 
arcticus\ with long slender antlers possessing but few points, 
journeyed to Northern Scotland and Ireland by way of the 
land bridge, or by the ice then joining Scotland with Iceland and 

The reindeer (no doubt as an article of food) made a 
profound impression on primitive man in Northern Europe, 
and is often portrayed by scratches on bone or ivory, or on 
the sides of caverns. A capital picture of a reindeer from the 
cave of Combarelles, in Dordogne, indicates a type of antler 
much like that of the Barren Ground variety. The Woodland 
form of reindeer does not seem to have arrived in Britain till 
the close of the Glacial phase. It soon swarmed over the country, 
leaving almost more remains than have been left by any other 
extinct beast. It specially abounded in the valley of the Thames, 
in Wiltshire, Kent, and Somerset. There is reason to suppose 
that it may even have lingered in parts of Britain when the 
Romans arrived here. Its fossil remains are found all over 
Scotland. As already mentioned, remains of the reindeer are 
also abundant in Ireland ; but, in common with some found in 
Western Scotland and Northern France, they appear to indicate a 
type similar to that now dwelling in Arctic America. In England 
it was apparently fiercely attacked by the cave lion and the 
spotted hyasna ; no doubt also by the great cave bear and by the 


This large genus, together with allied genera of the same 
group, belongs, as already mentioned, to the Plesiometacarpalian 
division, in which the lost toes (second and fifth) are repre- 
sented by the upper ends of their metacarpal^ bones close 

^ The metatarsal fragments on the hind limbs are rarely found. 


to the wrist joint. These side toes, however, in the typical 
deer are also supported (and perhaps sufficient stress is not 
laid on this fact by zoologists) by a few bony phalanges at 
the extremities. The antlers of the typical deer invariably possess 
(even if it has only degenerated to a rudiment) a brow tine, 
which, rising quite close to the coronet, or commencement of the 
antler, extends more or less horizontally over the forehead, often in 
a line nearly parallel to the profile of the nose. As a general rule, 
in the typical deer this front tine is never forked, the exception 
to the rule being in the extreme types of Cervus giganteus^ that 
giant deer of Europe and Ireland. The skin round the nostrils 
and middle of the upper lip is naked and wet. A gland on the 
hind leg, which is a feature in so many deer besides this genus, 
is present (concealed by a tuft of hair) on the outer edge of the 
metatarsus — that is to say, on the lower part of the leg just 
below the hock ; and there is no gland in the inner side of the 
hock, such as exists in the American deer. The males of this 
genus may or may not possess small canines in the upper jaw. 
Occasionally these teeth make their appearance in the female as 
well. They have, however, lost all importance in this genus, 
and are practically no longer functional. The females have four 
mammae. The genus Cervus is divided by Lydekker and other 
authorities into the following groups or sub-genera: (i) The Red 
Deer, or Elaphine; (2) the Sikine, or Sika Deer (found in Eastern 
Asia, and the stock from which the Red Deer group arose) ; (3) the 
Damine, or Fallow Deer group ; (4) the Rusine, or Axis-sambur 
group ; and (5) the Rucervine, or Swamp Deer group. As already 
stated, it is believed that a species of Axis Deer [Cervus suttonensis) 
inhabited England during the early Pleistocene, and some of the 
scarcely defined earlier species of deer in this country may possibly 
have belonged to the Sikine ^ group ; otherwise the only two 
groups of deer which are represented with any certainty in the 
British fauna are the Damine (Fallow Deer) and the Elaphine 
(Red Deer). 

^ They certainly existed in France, where one species has been classified 
as Cervus perrieri. 


Cervus dama. The Common Fallow Deer 

The existing fallow deer are divided into two main types : 
the first (rather larger than the second) becoming in the summer- 
time of a light reddish-gray (or light reddish-brown), spotted 
more or less brightly with white, the legs and belly being cream- 
colour or a pale buff. The neck is of the fallow or reddish-gray 
of the rest of the body, with or without spots on its lower 
portion. There is generally a black line right down the centre 
of the back from the shoulder to the tail, and this black is 
prolonged to the very end of the upper surface of the tail, the 
under surface of which is white. The rump under the tail is 
white, edged by a blackish line on each side. This first type of 
fallow deer changes the spotted coat in October, and throughout 
the winter its pelage is on all the upper surface of the body a 
dark uniform brown, while the belly and legs are a pale grayish- 
brown. The black and white markings of rump and tail are 
retained. The head of this fallow deer has white lips and chin 
and whitish edges to the jaws. The inside of the ears is whitish. 
There is generally a black mark (as in the roebuck), beginning 
near the end of the angle of the nostrils, descending to the angle 
of the mouth, and crossing over to the edges of the lower lip. 
In many specimens of the spotted fallow deer no spots are discern- 
ible above the shoulder on the neck, but this is certainly not the 
case with all, as may be seen not only by the author's drawing, 
which is done from life, but in a photograph, which is given to 
illustrate the different varieties of fallow deer. If this photograph 
is looked into carefully, it will be seen that in bucks and does, 
where there are spots at all, the spots extend on to the lower 
neck. Moreover, some of the photographs of fallow deer 
given in Mr. J. G. Millais's "British Deer and their Horns 
also show indications of spots on the neck. The author has 
even seen slight indications of spots on the cheeks of some 
male fallow deer. It is, perhaps, necessary to insist on this 
point, because it is often asserted that spots in this species never 
extend beyond the shoulders. It is, of course, rare for deer 

Photo by C. Reid. 


ri.Ml" l.y tlie Sch.iUistic lii.ii,, Ci 

Fallow Deer (Unspotted FoRi\i) 

To face p. 308. 


to be spotted on the neck, but this feature occurs in the axis 
of India. 

The other type of fallow deer in England is much less 
handsome. It is slightly smaller than the first described, and 
is entirely without spots. The belly, the inner side of the 
neck, the muzzle, and the limbs are pale, sometimes a buff-white. 
The under surface of the tail and the stern are white, with the 
black border as described in the other form. The colour on the 
neck and body either becomes a dark brownish-black or even 
quite black (generally darkest in summer) ; or the brown becomes 
quite a chestnut or vinous-red, the neck, however, remaining 
blackish. There are, of course, white and other varieties of the 
fallow deer produced in a domestic state, from which the true 
lover of nature turns away wincing, just as he would do from any 
other non-natural type perpetuated by man's protection. 

Fallow deer have a tail covered with rather long hair. It is 
about 6 in. in length, and sometimes longer. In this length of 
tail they differ markedly from the very short-tailed red deer. 
They have another peculiarity. The penial sheath is marked 
with a plume or fringe of dark hair. This feature occurs inde- 
pendently in the oxen, but I cannot recall it in any other 
Ruminant, though there is a bushy growth round this organ in 
the roebuck. 

The height of a good buck of the larger variety of fallow 
deer may be as much as from 39 in. to 40 in. at the shoulder, 
but fallow deer in these islands rarely stand higher than 36 in. at 
the withers, and a little less in the females. The smaller plain- 
coloured type is about 34 in. in the same measurement. The 
antlers of this sub-genus are specially remarkable for their palma- 
tion ; that is to say, the spaces between the tines are filled 
up by a broadening of the bone. There is a tendency to palma- 
tion inherent in the Deer family which crops out quite indepen- 
dently in different genera. It occurs, as we have seen, in the 
elk, and in a lesser degree in the reindeer. The horns of the red 
deer have a distinct tendency towards palmation. In the big 
fallow deer found on the western coast of Asia Minor the palmation 


is almost unobservable, and I give a drawing of one of the horns 
of this deer (together with illustrations of the Other types) to 
illustrate this important point; for there is no doubt that no 
undue stress should be laid on palmation in the classification of 
this group. The Fallow Deer sub-genus, however, does differ 
somewhat markedly from the Elaphine and Sikine deer, in that 
its antlers are usually lacking in the bez, or second tine.^ But 
this does occasionally make its appearance in a short knob, or 
prong, close to the brow tine. In the Persian fallow deer the 
brow tine is often reduced to a mere knob. 

For the origin of the fallow deer we must hark back to 
Asia, as we have to do with more than two-thirds of the 
British Mammalia. It is evidently allied in origin to the Sika 
group. At the present day one species of fallow deer is found 
in Western Persia, while a large fallow deer, which is sometimes 
nearly the size of the red deer, but is apparently identical with 
Cervus dama, still lingers on the west coast of Asia Minor. 
Fallow deer of much the same type are found at the present 
day in a wild state in Northern Palestine, in the island of Rhodes, 
in Greece, Sardinia, Spain, and Portugal. The fallow deer in 
Italy are said to be introduced. The fallow deer in the south 
of Sweden are of that insipid dark brown variety which is also 
met with in England. These, too, are said not to be indigenous. 
Lastly, the fallow deer, spotted and unspotted (the spotted 
form bearing a remarkable resemblance, except in size, to the 
fallow deer of Asia Minor) is found in England and Scotland. 
As to whether existing fallow deer in Great Britain are 
descended direct and uninterruptedly from the wild fallow deer 
which we know inhabited these islands in Prehistoric times, is 
still a matter of dispute. The fallow deer of Scotland and of 
the New Forest bear many signs of being wild animals, and not 
the descendants of tame ones. On the other hand, it is asserted 

^ The tines, or branches, of the Cervine antlers are known by the following 
names : The first is the brow tine, the second the " bez " (pronounced " bay "), 
the third the "trez " (" tray "), and the remaining tines in the terminal group 
the "cup." 

Fine specimen of modern British fallow deer's antler (Scotland). 

Antler of Asia Minor fallow deer. 

Antler of 
extinct British fallow deer 
{Cervus browni). 

Examples of Fallow Deer's Antlers. 


that the spotted form of the fallow deer was reintroduced 
into these islands (after it had become extinct) by the Romans, 
and that the dun-coloured variety was brought here at some 
time or another from Sweden. With regard to the last- 
mentioned introduction, it is certain that King James I. did 
import dun-coloured fallow deer from Sweden, no doubt to 
reinforce the existing stocks ; but there is historical evidence 
to show that the dun-coloured variety existed in England long 
before the time of James I. It may or may not be descended 
from a wild stock. 

The author fails to see, however, that any sufficient proof 
has been brought forward to show that the spotted fallow 
deer are entirely descended from pet animals introduced 
by the Romans. Why should the Romans have given 
themselves the trouble of conveying fallow deer right across 
France to establish them in England for the future puzzle- 
ment of zoologists ? The Romans, in the last days of the 
Empire, were fond of keeping birds and beasts in a tame 
or semi-tame condition, but this practice refers rather to their 
life in Italy. To them has also been ascribed the introduction 
of the rabbit and of the pheasant into these islands, as well as 
that of the white water-lily, the elm, and several others of our 
now native trees and plants. The white water-lily certainly is 
an introduction : whether by the Romans or succeeding civilisers 
is uncertain ; the elm also. But Dr. Scharff and other recent 
writers have combated with some force the idea that Great 
Britain owes rabbits, fallow deer, and pheasants to these 
fastidious conquerors. There is every reason to believe that 
the pheasant (which as a wild bird may have died out in France, 
but has certainly persisted as such in Transylvania, and the 
fossil remains of which are found in France dating from the 
Pleistocene period) did find a refuge in the forests of 
England, where it lingered on as a scarce wild bird, until it 
was taken up and encouraged to increase and multiply for 
purposes of sport a hundred years ago. The case of the 
rabbit was dealt with on p. 214. 


The fallow deer cannot be considered native to Ireland, the 
few that are found in that country having been quite recently 
introduced from England. 

The male of the fallow deer casts his antlers in May (in the 
case of the bucks of the first and second year, not till June). 
By the middle of August the new horns are almost free from 
their " velvet." It should be noted that, as regards the length 
of time in which a fallow buck grows his new antlers, he 
accomplishes this growth at a quicker rate than the red deer, in 
whom there is generally an interval of five months between the 
shedding of the horn and the presentation of the perfect antler 
stripped of its skin. 

The shape of the fallow deer's antlers seems to interfere 
somewhat with their value as deadly weapons. When the bucks 
are sparring, the flat, bony basins of the horns make a loud- 
sounding clashing, and no doubt they can hustle and push one 
another about very roughly, but there is scarcely any prong or 
portion of the horn so constructed as to be a good stabbing 
weapon. For this reason, also, fallow deer are best suited 
to be park animals, because they are mild in disposition and 
practically harmless. They have neither the savage boldness (at 
times) nor the stabbing antlers or powerful feet of the roe deer 

or the stag. 

Fallow deer do not make so much use of their voice as the roe 
or the stag. The females are generally very silent, and the male 
only utters a grunting bark occasionally during the rutting season 
in September. Only a single fawn is produced as a rule, twins 
being very rare. The fawn is born in June. Fallow deer are 
always gregarious— that is to say, they do not go about in couples 
or alone, but for the greater portion of the year the sexes 
separate, the bucks being together and the does by themselves, 
with their young. But the small parties of males, or of females, 
generally coalesce into large herds in August and September, and 
again during the beginning of the winter. This last congregation 
(in the winter-time) is no doubt a relic of the days when at 
that season they were forced to band together in large numbers 


(males and females) to protect themselves from the ravages of 
wolves and other carnivorous beasts. 

In winter they feed on such grass as they can find, and 
on leaves and twigs ; but it is doubtful whether, during the 
present conditions of disforested England, the fallow deer, if 
allowed to run completely wild, could survive the winter 
without starvation. Therefore, in all parks and forests where 
they are now kept, they are supplied during the winter- 
time with a certain amount of hay and corn. Fallow deer 
are very fond of horse-chestnuts, which they eat greedily during 
the autumn ; standing up on their hind legs to reach the boughs, 
striking at the boughs with their front feet and horns in order 
to knock off the chestnuts. This fondness on their part for the 
fruit of a tree which is a recent introduction from Asia Minor, 
certainly might suggest to some the idea of the fallow deer itself 
being an introduction from those parts. But it is quite possible 
that the liking for this food could be independently acquired ia 

Cervus browni. Brown's Fallow Deer 
This, together with Cervus savini (which may be a varying- 
form of the same animal), was a fallow deer of the early type, 
with simpler antlers, which inhabited, at any rate, the east of 
England during the Pleistocene Epoch. 

Cervus giganteus. The Megaceros, or Gigantic Deer 
(Also incorrectly known as the " Irish Elk.") 
This magnificent creature, the males of which stood at least 
six feet high at the shoulder, is little else than a gigantic develop- 
ment of the fallow deer type, greatly as it differs in appearance 
from the fallow deer of our parks. We have had to trace so 
many examples of the mammalian fauna of these islands, and of 
Europe, back to Asia for their origin, that it is a gratification 
to be able to suggest that this culminating triumph of the deer 
tribe was probably born within the limits of Europe. Neverthe- 
less, it is not absolutely certain that Siberia may not have been 

From a drawing by the Author. 

Photo by W. V. Da}ido, F.Z.S 

Photo by \V. P. Dando, F.Z.S. 

The Gigantic Irish Deer [Cct~vus mcgaceros) : Antlers and Skeleton. 

To face p. 314. 


its original home. The probabihty is, however, that in the early- 
part of the Pleistocene period a species of fallow deer very like the 
one above mentioned (Brown's) developed under very favourable 
circumstances in Central Europe into a deer of considerable size ; 
no doubt in the absence of rivalry with the red deer type, which 
had not at that time developed from the Sikas, or taken complete 
possession of the temperate regions of Central Europe. This 
enormous fallow deer migrated westwards, and in France and 
England assumed the form we designate as the Forest Bed race — 
Cervus giganteus carnutorum. This is apparently the same form 
as Cervus verticornis and C. dawkinsi, the horns of these deer 
only offering such variation from the French form C. g. carnu- 
torum as is explicable by local variation, or the different age of 
the antlers. In Germany the gigantic fallow deer assumed a 
type which we know as Cervus giganteus ruffi. In Ruffes deer 
the antlers are smaller and less palmated than in the British race. 
In Italy, however, and not in Britain, may be found the earliest 
link between the fallow deer and the gigantic form ; for in that 
country and in Hungary the Cervus giganteus was not much 
larger than the red deer, the antlers were comparatively simple, 
with narrow palmation ; but the back twist of the horns, which 
almost brings the outer surface of the '* palms " into sight from 
the front and not from the side, and some other features, rather 
point to a case of degeneration. The Cervus giganteus was also 
represented in France by .the variety called belgrandi^ but this 
form is hardly separable from the form described as carnutorum 
{dawkinsiy verticornis). 

But the grandest development took place in Britain and 
Ireland. Cervus giganteus typicus, the typical Megaceros, or 
Gigantic Irish deer, was probably developed first in England. 
It also spread to the north-west of Scotland. From here it 
passed over to Ireland, where, partly owing, no doubt, to 
the absence or scarcity of man, and to the non-existence of great 
Carnivores, such as the lion and sabre-tooth, it had the whole 
island or the Hibernian Peninsula to itself, and reached its acme 
of magnificent development. It will be noticed that there is 


absolutely no trace of the bez, or second tine, on the horns,^ and 
that the brow tine tends to be very short and to assume palma- 
tion, while alone amongst the deer it forks into one or more 
prongs (though, of course, there are some examples in which 
it is simple). In fact, the brow tine of this deer resembles that of 
the reindeer. Occasionally the brow tine is not only divided, but is 
much bent down over the face. Sometimes, instead of branching 
out into a " palm," it merely forks into two short prongs. In 
Mr. Rowland Ward's book on big game measurements, 
1 1 ft. 6 in. and 1 1 ft. 3 in, are given as the greatest recorded 
measurements of the horns of the gigantic Irish deer from tip to 
tip. The length along the inside curve of one of the antlers, 
which measured 11 ft. 3 in. from tip to tip, was 7 ft. 5^ in., and 
the measurement across the greatest width of palmation was 
19^ in. This antler contained seventeen points. The greatest 
recorded width of palmation is 25 in. The greatest recorded 
number of points in a megaceros antler is twenty-eight, and 
apparently the greatest length measured along the inside curve 
that has been recorded is as above stated, 7 ft. 5^ in. Mr. 
Millais mentions a head which measured 11 ft. 3 in. in span 
from tip to tip, but his own measurements of some of the finest 
heads in the world, which are exceptionally careful, give no 
greater spread than 9 ft. 5 in. 

The females of the gigantic fallow deer were hornless. The 
vertebrae of the neck, in the male especially, were greatly 
enlarged and strengthened to bear this splendid burden. There 
were no canine teeth developed in the upper jaw. The tail 
was slightly longer than it is in existing fallow deer. We can 
only now make inferential guesses at its hair and colour. It is 
improbable that it became hairless in our cold climate ; it may 
even have become shaggy. Unlike the pigs and bovines, the 
deer show no tendency towards loss of hair. The magnificent 
megaceros may have added to its splendour of antlers by a heavy 
throat mane. It may also have retained the white spots and the 
red-gray colouring of the fallow deer ; but, judging by analogy, 

^ A fallow deer feature. 


it probably became one-coloured in its maturity like all the big 
deer, though the females and young may have shown the 
white spots. 

The megaceros in England was certainly co-existent with 
the earliest types of man that arrived in Britain, but it dis- 
appeared soon after their arrival, no doubt in consequence of 
the attacks that were made on it as an article of food, but also 
because at that time there existed in Britain enormous lions, 
and one, if not two, forms of sabre-toothed feline. The megaceros 
does not seem to have thriven much in Scotland, or to have 
existed there in any great numbers. Indeed, up to the present 
its remains have only been found in Ayr and that portion of 
Scotland which approaches nearest to Ireland, and where the 
last land bridge existed which connected Ireland with Great 
Britain. Across this bridge the gigantic fallow deer travelled, 
and found in Ireland its last home. In this almost-island, 
separated then from England and Wales by the Irish Gulf, but 
connected still with the south-west of Scotland by a bridge which 
included the Isle of Man,^ the grandest culmination of the deer 
tribe found itself at first with no worse enemies than the wolf 
or the bear. When Ireland became finally insulated at the close 
of the Pleistocene period, only three causes could have brought 
about the extermination of the megaceros: (i) It may have 
become so over-specialised that sterility ensued. It generally 
seems to occur in such instances as where much-specialised types 
are cut off by the sea and obliged to lived on an island that 
unless they degenerate into a dwarfed form they die out from 
increasing sterility on the part of males and females. The 
extravagance in antler growth on the part of the males 
of these deer may actually have reacted unfavourably on the 
generative powers. (2) The massing of these huge deer may 
have caused the development of some bacillus, which, like the 
poison conveyed by the mosquito or the tse-tse fly, caused a 
disease leading to their rapid extermination. (3) Probably the 
last and most effective agency was the British sportsman (if I 
^ In which locality the megaceros existed in some numbers. 


may apply the term British to anything that grew up in Ireland). 
The earliest types of Palasolithic man which reached Ireland 
from South-west Scotland, or from Wales, probably found the 
megaceros an easy prey with its unwieldy antlers. The great 
height of its head above the ground would have made it less 
observant of things that crept along the ground. No doubt it 
was done to death (as are big animals in Africa) more by falling 
into concealed pits, or by huge drives, which sent herds of 
megaceros tumbling over precipices or floundering into bogs, 
than by direct attacks on the part of man with his feeble flint- 
headed arrows, assegais, or axes. A good deal of doubt has 
been thrown of late on the question as to whether the megaceros 
survived in Ireland down to the Neolithic period ; but that it 
did so seems probable, in spite of the absence of that absolutely 
conclusive evidence which in France (and also, perhaps, in 
Belgium) shows that the gigantic fallow deer was constantly 
the prey and the food of primitive man. 

Cervus elaphus. The Red Deer 

The red deer is a member of the Elaphine group, which 
Includes the grandest species of deer now living, the culmination 
of the type being, perhaps, the Asiatic or American wapiti. The 
Elaphine group arose in Asia, perhaps in Central Asia, from 
some Sikine form similar to those which now exist in China 
{Cervus sika), Manchuria, and Formosa. The most primitive 
example of the Elaphine group at the present day is probably 
Thorold's deer (Cervus albirostris)^ which occurs In Tibet, with 
perhaps an outlying variety in Turkestan. This form lacks the 
bez, or second tine, of the antlers. The next most primitive form 
(in which the heart-shaped patch on the rump so characteristic of 
this deer Is much less conspicuous in the summer-time) Is the 
Duke of Bedford's deer [Cervus xanthopygus)} In the Duke of 

^ This word of course means yellow-rumped, because the caudal disc or 
the large light or white patch on the rump so characteristic of the Elaphine 
deer is a bright yellow in this particular species during the summer season. 


Bedford's deer the bez tine is poorly developed, and the antlers 
are of simple construction and with a " cup " at the extremity. 

Professor Scharff, of Dublin, is of opinion that the earliest of 
the several types into which the True Red Deer are divided is the 
present North African race {Cervus elaphus barbarus). This stag 
is distinguished from the other types of red deer by the rudi- 
mentary character or the absence of the bez, or second tine, of the 
antler. Its colour, like that of the Corsican deer, is scarcely to 
be described as red. It is more a dark brown, with a tendency 
to gray on the back, and with a retention of the white spots of 
the young on the flanks and hind quarters in some individuals. 
This earliest form of the red deer seems to have travelled due 
westwards from Asia Minor across the Mediterranean Basin, its 
journey, no doubt, taking place at a time when the distribution of 
land and water in the Mediterranean was very different from 
what it is now. Much of Italy was under water, and the Greek 
islands were the mountain peaks of a broad land which, with 
Greece, stretched across to Sicily, Sardinia, and North Africa. 
The small red deer (as this race may be called) still exist in 
Corsica and Sardinia, and in the Regency of Tunis and part of 
Algeria. They are probably extinct in Morocco, but seem to 
have inhabited that country at one time. The Spanish race of 
red deer, though it is really " red " in coloration, in some respects 
seems to be akin to the North African race. In the Car- 
pathians, the Crimea, and the Caucasus, in parts of Asia Minor 
and Northern Persia, there is a red deer of the " maral " type, 
which, though belonging to the species elaphus^ shows some 
affinity to the wapiti. This form connects the red deer with the 
great wapiti stock of Northern Asia and North America. It is 
excusable to mention the maral here, because this creature appears 
to have once inhabited Britain, where it preceded the typical red 
deer. The remains of its horns in English caverns by their 
massive character were thought by the late Sir Richard Owen to 
have belonged to a distinct genus of deer, to which he gave 
the name of Strongyloceros. But German naturalists and Mr. 
Lydekker have together shown, perhaps conclusively, that these 


fragments of antlers belonged to a deer identical with Cervus 
elaphus maral. 

The typical red deer seem to have reached the British Islands 
relatively late in the Pleistocene period, some time after the 
arrival of man. Professor ScharfF thinks the first form to arrive 
was the small red deer from the Spanish Peninsula (see p. 319). 
This was followed by the big, normal red deer from Germany and 
Belgium. The red deer gradually displaced the " maral " type, 
and pushed the reindeer farther and farther north till it took 
possession of their feeding-grounds altogether. In Great Britain 
and Ireland the red deer, in Prehistoric times, developed antlers 
far more magnificent than any which are grown at the present 
day, except it be in certain cases of almost artificial park 

The present habitat of the typical wild red deer is restricted 
to the following countries and districts : — In the United Kingdom 
it is found (wild) in the county of Kerry, in Ireland ; on Exmoor 
(Devonshire and Somerset) ; in the Highland counties of 
Scotland and most of the great islands along the west coast of 
Scotland, including Harris, in the Hebrides. It is found on the 
island of Hetteren only in the kingdom of Norway, but it is also 
met with in the southern provinces of Sweden. In Spain it is 
fairly abundant, and perhaps in the border regions and the Serra 
d'Estrella of Portugal. But the Spanish race is thought to be 
more allied to the North African stock. Possibly it is the result 
of a fusion of both types, for the heads of deer which are shot in 
Northern Spain can scarcely be distinguished from the antlers of 
British or French stags of not over-good development. The red 
deer is found in France wherever it has been preserved, but it is 
hardly, perhaps, as near a wild state in any part of that country as 
it is in Scotland. It is extinct in Italy and in Switzerland. 
Germany and Austria are its best centres of development at the 
present day, and from those countries come the finest heads and 
the biggest stags. In fact, the British deer are being very much 
Germanised. Constant importations of stags from Germany and 
Austria during the nineteenth century have sensibly modified the 

Photo by C. 1 

Red Deer : StA(J (Ccri'us claphns). 

Photo by J. S. Bond. 

Red Deer : Hind and Fawn. 

.w»wBKiaiafB?TMifi ' 
I'liotu by C. Reid. 

To face p. 320. 


size and antlers of the deer in English parks, and even the wild 
deer of the Highlands. The red deer is found in the Balkan 
Peninsula and in Northern Greece. In Asia Minor it merges 
into the maral. The same thing occurs in Hungary and Tran- 
sylvania, where it is somewhat difficult to discriminate between 
the typical red deer type and the maral, which obviously holds 
possession of the Carpathians. 

The True Red Deer is a large beast, the male standing 4 ft. 
at the withers, or even a few inches more, though in the case of 
the British stock a height exceeding 48 in. generally suggests park 
feeding or German intermixture. The hind is markedly smaller 
than the stag, and her height at the withers reaches in average 
specimens to about 43 in. The weight of a fine stag may be as 
much as 400 lb., but many greater weights than this are spoken 
of, perhaps without conclusive proof. In winter the colour of 
stag and hind is in general brown, with a good deal of gray 
about the neck and the face in the stag and the old hind. The 
inside of the ear is creamy-white (almost reddish in the stags 
sometimes), the outer edge of the ear being blackish. There is 
a tendency to a black stripe all down the crest of the neck and 
the back nearly to the root of the tail. This black streak is 
sometimes more obvious in hinds than in stags, and in the 
summer than in the winter. The hair on the belly is grayish- 
white in the winter and a pale ochre or reddish-yellow in the 
summer. The outside of the ear is a dark umber-gray. Seen 
at a distance, the black tips and edges of the ears and the whitish 
hair of the interior are a prominent feature in the hinds, and 
perhaps the most discernible part of the animal. Another impor- 
tant feature in the colouring of red deer is the rump, which 
exhibits (more markedly in the summer than in the winter) a 
heart-shaped area of pale ochre-yellow, broad near the base of the 
tail, and narrowing as it descends the hind quarters, which, as it 
nears the tail and the inner side of the buttocks, becomes almost 
white. There is a pinkish naked space under the tail, the tail 
itself being short, tufted, and thickly covered with reddish-yellow 
hair. As the hair of the hind quarters nears the edge of the 


buttocks where the wide patch begins, it darkens almost to black, 
making an effective contrast with the great white or yellow patch 
on the rump. For the summer half of the year the red deer, in male 
and female, is really red over the greater part of the body ; that 
is to say, the coat (except on the limbs, which remain umber- 
brown ; on the belly, which is cream-colour; and on the neck and 
cheeks, where there is a good deal of grey) assumes almost a red- 
gold in healthy animals. On the back this gold deepens into pur- 
plish-black, and this purple element in the coat is apparent often 
in patches amongst the red-brown, and is due to the fact that the 
lower half of the coarse hairs of the red deer's coat is purplish- 
gray in colour. The neck, which is heavily maned on the under 
side and round the jaws in the male, and sometimes in the hind, 
is gray or umber on its under side and slightly more reddish or 
blackish over the nape. The head of the stag is rather brightly 
coloured in the summer-time. The forehead is almost red-gold, 
except where the purple end of the hair shows or where the red- 
gold is flecked with glossy black. The nose is blackish, and the 
hair, being very glossy, takes a blue or purple tinge according to 
the light. The cheeks are markedly gray. There is a light 
patch round the lower eyelids, and the lips and chin are whitish. 
At the angle of the lower jaw there is that characteristic black 
patch that one sees in so many deer. The nostrils and muffle 
are naked, wet, and black. The outside and front of the fore 
limbs is sometimes so dark a brown as to be almost black, 
especially near the feet. In the summer-time, perhaps, the hinds 
are even redder in colour than the stag. There are, of course, 
albino red deer, as there are colourless examples of so many other 
beasts and birds. But in Ireland a somewhat persistent variety 
seems to have been naturally developed in the white-faced deer 
characteristic of Kerry. In these there is a white blaze between 
the horns, down the forehead, and ridge of the nose. The young 
of the red deer are profusely and distinctly spotted with white, 
the distribution of the spots being very like that which prevails 
in the axis deer. The neck in the young is slightly maned 
down the throat, and is without spots. 


The colour of the red deer's horns varies a good deal in 
individuals and according to season. Generally in July and 
August, when the " velvet " has just been stripped off, the horns 
are a whitish-yellow, with a dark brown colour in the crevices ; 
but as they grow older they tend to become dark umber- 
brown, with light tips to the prongs, these tips of bone becoming 
almost white in some instances. The " velvet," or thin skin 
covered with woolly hair, which clothes the young antlers, is a 
grayish-brown in colour. The horns are generally shed in 
February and March, and begin to grow again in April. They 
are complete in growth in July, and in August the " velvet " 
begins to peel off. The horns are scarcely free from these very 
unsightly strips of dead skin till the end of August or the 
beginning of September. In the author's painting of " Red 
Deer on the Heather " (month of August) he has shown the 
antlers still hung with these strips of whitish skin. 

The neck of the red deer is long, often markedly so in the 
hind. Red deer are particularly broad across the forehead from 
eye to eye, and, seen from the front, the heavy wrinkled brows 
of the broad forehead so much overhang the eye that but little 
of that organ is visible. This, the observer will note, is very 
different from the appearance of the roebuck and of other primitive 
forms of deer, in which the eyes are more pig-like in position 
and somewhat nearer together. The shape of the red deer's 
head is not quite of the ideal beauty always represented by Land- 
seer, who gives it a straight, or concave, nose profile — not too 
long — with dilated nostrils and enormous eyes. The hind some- 
times has quite an ugly head, with a long nose, and rather a 
dog-like muzzle. The " pretty " type of Landseer hind might 
be explained by the theory that he had only drawn young hinds ; 
but in the young hind the nostrils would not be so large and 
prominent as in Landseer's deer. In the young hind the muzzle 
is more pointed, and the nose is shorter than in the older 
animal. The stag may even exhibit quite a Roman, or arched, 
nose, but as a general rule he has a more beautifully shaped 
head than his mate. The ears are rather long, and are pointed 



rather than roundj round ears being characteristic of the lower 
and •more pig-like types of deer. 

Stags, and sometimes hinds, have small tusks or canine 
teeth in the upper jaw, as well as, of course, the invariable 
incisor-like canine in the lower jaw. Stags, but especially 
hinds, are not disinclined to use their teeth for purposes of 
offence, and hinds can give a very severe bite with their 
lower front teeth. The hoofs of the front toes are long and 
well developed, as are also the " false " hoofs of the side 

toes. As already mentioned, 
red deer fight with their feet 
(especially the front feet) 
almost as much as with their 
horns. They possess the usual 
metatarsal gland and tuft on 
the outer side of the hind 
legs, and the face gland, or 
tear pit, which characterises so 
many of the deer and some 
of the antelopes. 

The antlers of the red 
deer rise somewhat slantingly 
and divergently from their 
bases on top of the skull, 
above and a little behind the 
orbits of the eyes. The pedicle of bone from which they grow 
is quite short, not more than from i in. to 2 in. in length, 
though of considerable diameter. As in most of the highly 
specialised deer, this pedicle tends to become shorter and shorter, 
though, as we have already seen in our review of horns and 
antlers, the pedicle was at one time the " horn," and remains 
such in the Bovine ruminants, among which it has grown to 
tremendous lengths, adding to itself an outer covering of horn. 
The great burr, or folding of bone, which marks the place out- 
wardly where the antler joins the pedicle, is called the *' coronet." 
Just above the coronet on the under side of the antler starts the 

_ Gland tuft below 
deer's hock. 

Gland Tuft on Hind Leg of Red Deer 



brow tine, which, after extendhig horizontally for a little distance 
over the forehead, turns up more or less abruptly. Above and 
close to the brow tine is the bez, or second tine, and after a 
longer interval of unbroken beam the great third, or trez^ tine, 
bifurcates. No one of these three tines— frontal, bez, or trez— 
ever bifurcates at the tip^ in the normal antler. The beam 

Stag in Early March without Antlers : to show Pedicle of Antlers. 

above the bifurcation with the trez tine in highly-developed 
antlers broadens and increases greatly in girth. It then divides 
into a varying number of prongs, in the centre of which is what 
is called the "cup," sometimes actually a hollow which could 

1 The bez and trez (pronounced " bay " and " tray," and meaning twice and 
thrice) are terms derived from Norman-French, and their use m England 
dates from the Norman Conquest. 

2 Occasional, but rare, instances in recent park stags show a sUght 
bifurcation at the tip of the frontal and trez tines. 


contain liquid. The longest of these prongs starting from the 
cup is often turned more or less sharply downwards, and this and 
other prongs starting from the cup may bifurcate. It is in this 
development of the cup that the red deer differ from the other 
members of the same group, and, indeed, from all other deer. 
In the simplest form of development this cup is merely the 
original bifurcation of tines, one or other of the terminal prongs 
of which may again bifurcate. But in modern German and 
English park stags, and, above all, in the horns of stags of 
Great Britain and Ireland in Prehistoric or early historic times, 
the development of the cup reaches such an extravagance that 
it may give rise to as many as eleven points, possibly more. 
Early British stags often exhibited a great tendency to flattening 
out or palmation (accompanied by shortness of beam) in their 
antlers. The deer in Sussex parks seem to have a marked 
tendency towards palmation. 

Stags' horns vary a good deal in their angle of divergence 
from the median line of the skull and neck. Of course, the 
most primitive type of antlers, in common with the horns 
of other primitive ruminants, would grow more or less parallel 
with the line of the neck. But as soon as specialisation 
begins in the deer, as well as in oxen, so much divergence 
may take place that, as in the case of the elk or bull or musk 
ox, the horns may grow out at right angles to the median 
line of the skull and neck. In the case of the red deer 
the divergence is hardly such as to constitute a right angle, 
but there is a good deal of variation in this respect, as neces- 
sarily in the measure of the span between the extremities of 
the horns. The span of the widest antlers found in Britain is 
approximately 5 ft. It is the measurement (allowing for restora- 
tion) of a most remarkable head found in Derbyshire (Prehistoric), 
and now in the Natural History Museum, London.^ The 

1 This, which is one of the most remarkable stags' heads found in Britain, 
was lying about unrecognised in the huge unsorted collection of horns in the 
basement below the Natural History Museum, and its unearthing and exhibition 
are due to the efforts of Sir Edmund Loder and Mr. J. G. Millais. 



average span or measurement between the extremities of the 
antlers in an ordinarily good head is about 40 in., and the 
length, measured along the inner side of the beam, from 
the coronet to the extremity of the last prong of good English 

Red Deer's Antler of Pleistocene Period : Dug up at Durham (British Museum). 

or Scotch heads may be as much as 36 in., though at the present 
day it is rare to obtain" antlers as 'long as this. In Prehistoric 
times stags' antlers in Ireland and -England often reached 42 in. 
in length, and this measurement is occasionally obtained, or 
even slightly exceeded, by half-wild stags in Ireland at the 



present day. The extreme British measurement (which is 
perhaps 42^ in.) of the length of red deer's antlers is exceeded 
sometimes in Germany and Austria. The greatest length of any 
known German head is ^f-|\ in. Mr. Millais is of opinion, in 
his classic work on British Deer and their Horns, that there has 
been a gradual degeneration in antlers amongst British deer. At 

Example of Well-developed Antlers in Stag of 12 or 13 Years Old. 

the present day those which are reputed to be first-class heads 
seldom measure more than 34 in. -in length. Another point in 
which British stags evince degeneration is the increasing tendency, 
especially amongst those that are allowed to breed in and in, to- 
slenderness of antler, in contradistinction to thickness and 
palmation. Many of the modern antlers are slim and quite 
rounded in beam, and the tines are short, and often tend to 


disappear, the first which goes being the bez tine, while the 
cup is often represented by a simple bifurcation of the terminal 
point beyond the trez. There is little doubt that but for the 
intervention of man and the introduction of stags from Germany, 
the British deer, if it had not become extinct, would have 
degenerated to quite a small stag, with relatively simple antlers. 

Occasionally it happens that a stag is polled — that is to say, 
grows no antlers at all, merely retaining the bony pedicles. Yet, 
so far from this being due to want of virility or vigour, these 
stags are generally heavier in build and much stronger than their 
horned brethren, with whom they contend so successfully for the 
possession of the hinds, that the polled stag is often the best 

After the growth of a stag's antlers is complete, and the 
velvet is all removed (which means that the blood-vessels per- 
meating the outer skin have dried up), the bone which remains is 
looked upon by many as dead matter, especially towards the end 
of the time in which it is borne by the stag's head ; but Mr. 
Millais points out that the antlers of the stag, and of other deer 
as well, are permeated in the cells of the bone with an oily 
substance, seemingly composed of mucus and fat. But a 
certain amount of blood would still seem to ascend through 
the pores of the bone from the pedicle even after the velvet 
is stripped off the outside, and no doubt the antler still 
continues to " live," in an ever-lessening degree, until the time 
has come for it to fall off, this falling off being brought about 
by the absolute death of the bone above the pedicle. Naturally, 
whilst the stag's antlers are still covered with the velvet, this 
skin is not only permeated with blood-vessels, but with nerves, 
and the horns are extremely sensitive to injury. The older stags 
retain the velvet much longer than the young ones, whose horns 
take a much shorter time to grow, and Mr, Millais has pointed 
out how young stags whose horns are hard, and no longer 
sensitive, will for a few weeks enjoy the extreme pleasure of 
bullying their elders and superiors, whose softer antlers are 
much too sensitive to deal a return blow. 


When stags fight with their antlers, or attack other animals, 
including man, they deal the fatal blow with the brow tine, 
stabbing downwards or upwards, whichever may be the easier 
method of dealing a blow home to the adversary's heart or 
belly. They can, no doubt, deal terrible blows, especially to 
any smaller animal, such as a man or a dog, by bringing the 
whole mass of the antlers to bear on the object ; and in fighting 
with one another they sometimes strive to push the adversary 
over on his side with a direct thrust of the whole antler, or else 
by means of fencing to use the adversary's horns as a lever to 
turn over head and body. In other species of deer, in which the 
brow tine is not much developed, and its place for stabbing 

2nd year's antlers. 

The Progressive Growth of a Red Deer's Antlers. 
ist year hornless. 

purposes is not taken by any other forward prong or snag, the 
horns do not seem to be of so much use to the male for 
fighting with his rivals as might be imagined. In many species 
their development is due to an undefined impulse which stirs 
throughout living forms, and which cannot be adequately ex- 
plained by Darwin's theory of female approval and selection, 
since that, for instance, would hardly explain the extraordinary 
beauty developed by certain sea-shells. Just as a race or an 
individual, when it has attained competence, and more than 
competence, begins to crave for beauty in some form, so it 
would seem that directly a species of plants or animals has 
become well established and successful it expends some of its 
accumulated energy in developing mere (useless .?) beauty. 

The cup. 


Frontal or brow tine. 

3rd year's antlers. 

The Progressive Growth of a Red Deer's Antlers. 


As regards defence against attack, some of the heavy-bodied 
polled or " humble " stags (as already related) seem to be more 
successful in the struggle for the possession of the hinds than 
even those which have developed magnificent antlers. The polled 
stags can butt with their pedicles and bony foreheads most 
effectively. They do not waste time by fencing with their 
horns, as do those gifted with antlers, and, having no horns 
themselves, they offer no leverage by which, through a cunning 
wrench, they could, in wrestling, be thrown to the ground. 
Therefore, inasmuch as the rival stag provided with antlers 
could probably only stab to kill if he were able to throw his 
hornless enemy, he is unable to do much harm, and whilst he 
is considering his plan of campaign he is pushed and butted off 
the ground by the heavy, hornless male. It is undoubtedly the 
strongest and most vigorous stags, but not necessarily the 
largest antlered, that secure the most considerable harem. 

The antlers of the red deer (as of other Cervines) illustrate 
to some extent in their gradual increase of growth the progress 
of evolution in the deer tribe generally. A male fawn born, say, 
in May, begins to grow an antler the following spring. This is 
a simple prong from 6 in. to i ft. long, sometimes ending 
in a slight knob. When the stag is only two years old its 
second growth of antler, which is merely slightly curved, and 
is more erect than in the fully developed animal, has a small 
brow tine and a trez (not always present in both antlers — 
represented, perhaps, in the left-hand antler by a mere knob), 
and beyond the trez the beam extends for some distance farther, 
and ends in a simple bifurcation. In the third year's antler 
the bez tine makes its appearance, perhaps only on one side, the 
whole antler increasing, of course, in length. In the fifth year 
of the creature's life each antler has a frontal, a bez, and a trez 
tine. In the sixth year the terminal bifurcation begins to form 
a cup, with three points on one side. In the seventh year there 
will be probably three points to each cup. After this, if the 
stag is a good one and of a good breed, the points in and about 
the terminal portion, or cup, go on increasing in numbers and 

Examples of the Development of the " Cup " 
OR Terminal Fork of the Red Deer's 

I. Simple fork. 
II. " Royal " — three prongs. 

ni. Development of "cup " in modern British stags. 
IV. Example of exceptional palmation. 
V. " Cups " of the antlers of a Prehistoric specimen. 


complexity. A stag which has at least three points to the cup 
is called a royal. After the stag has reached the age of about 
fourteen years the horns do not go on improving in size and 
complexity, but actually degenerate, losing length, girth, and 
even points. 

It is an extraordinary but apparently a well-attested fact that 
the deer gnaw their cast-off antlers, getting the tines between the 
molar teeth of their jaws, and moving these with that rotatory 
motion which may be observed in these and other ruminants 
when they are chewing. They also gnaw at the beam of 
their antlers with their chisel-like incisors of the lower jaw. It 
is undoubtedly the case that in this way some portion of the 
thrown-off bone is absorbed into the system, but this is a point 
of such importance as to demand very careful investigation, since 
it would seem well-nigh incredible that the whole of so hard and 
bony a mass could be completely devoured by anything but a 
hyaena. It would be interesting to know in this connection how 
captive deer manage in zoological gardens. Their horns are in 
some cases (such as the wapiti deer) almost as large as in deer 
living in a wild state, yet apparently no keeper has ever recorded 
the fact of any of these deer masticating and consuming the 
whole of the cast-off antler. 

The red deer has a voice and uses it to some effect. Males 
and females utter a low, bleating sound to their friends, human 
and cervine — a sound which is almost a squeak. When alarmed, 
both males and females bark. When the breeding season 
approaches, however, the stag begins to express his yearning 
for the female by the bellow of the rut, a summons which 
attracts the female and also the rival. The " weird, wild, 
yawning roar " of the love-sick or jealous stag is described by 
Mr. Millais as being in his opinion one of the grandest sounds 
in nature, but he very rightly points out that it does not com- 
pare for effect with the roar of a lion. He made interesting 
experiments in this direction, and found that, whereas he could 
hear the roar of a lion under favourable conditions of wind 
at a distance of six miles, two miles was about the outside 


that a stag's voice would carry. Mr. Lydekker compares the 
cry of the male red deer to the grunting, soughing roar of a 
leopard, a. not inapt comparison, as the present writer, who has 
heard both, can testify.^ 

The breeding season of the red deer begins in September, 
though the males display much interest in the gathering together 
of a harem as early as August. In Scotland the breeding season 
is at its height at the beginning of October. Some vigorous 
stags will attempt to serve a harem of sixty hinds. During 
this month of love-making they shepherd their hinds incessantly, 
striving to keep them together and to beat off the intrusions 
of rivals. At this period the stag has but little leisure to 
devote to eating, being constantly on the alert. Despite his 
utmost efforts sometimes his preserves are poached on by 
daring youngsters, two- or three-year-olds. 

Gestation lasts a little over eight months, and the fawns are 
born, therefore, in May and June. The mother attends and 
defends her fawn with the greatest care and bravery. She teaches 
it to conceal itself instantly on the approach of danger, the signal 
being generally a tap with the fore foot. Red deer very rarely 
bring forth more than one young at a birth, and although twins 
are not unknown, triplets are absolutely unheard of. During 
the winter, the hind, though pregnant with another young one, 
assiduously cares for her half-grown fawn, and at that season 
hinds and fawns congregate together while the males resume 

1 I was much struck by the loud bellow uttered by the Barbary stag 
when travelling through the forests of the Tunisian-Algerian borderland, 
in the late autumn of 1897, where these animals, now protected by the 
French, are abundant. By a curious coincidence, in the same forest we 
heard a leopard calling. The two spahis, who were sent with me as escort 
by the French Government and the French verderer of an adjoining lodge, 
both thought it was a stag calling, but on their making for the sound they 
put up a leopard. In the same kind of country, but a little farther north, 
in 1880 I took part in some battues got up by the French and Tunisians, 
in which we killed Barbary stags, leopards, and lions. The lion is now 
extinct in that country, but in 1880 he still lived pardy on the unprotected 
Barbary deer, which have increased somewhat in number since the lion was 
exterminated. — H. H. J. 


their bachelor condition. Male stags seldom fight seriously 
out of the brief period of the rutting season, and during winter 
and spring great friendships sometimes arise between an old 
male and a young one, the young one often acting as sentry 
or as pioneer. In great migrations to new feeding-grounds, 
hinds, fawns, and stags mix together, and a hind generally leads 
the way. In June, after the fawns are born, stags often seek 
out a particular hind, perhaps a wife of the year before, and 
consort with her. The extreme limit of age for a male red 
deer seems to be thirty years, and for a hind twenty-one or 
twenty-two. Both sexes, however, shows signs of age after 
fourteen years. Their dentition is not complete till they are 
five years old, and it is not until that age that stags completely 
develop their upper canine tusks. 

Red deer are good swimmers and readily take to the water, 
but it is doubtful whether they would possess the necessary 
strength to swim a strait of more than ten miles broad. They 
make nothing, of course, of crossing rivers and small lakes or 
narrow arms of the sea. When swimming they keep the whole 
of the body under water. The neck is outstretched, and the 
horns (in the case of the male) are thrown well back. Mr. 
Millais considers that when the deer reach shallow water, cease, 
in fact, to be out of their depth, they raise the head and neck 
considerably above the water. 

Their senses of sight, hearing, and smell are all keen, 
but they are not all as intelligent in discriminating dangerous 
from harmless objects as the roebuck. 

The food of the red deer consists of grass, leaves and leaf 
shoots, mushrooms and such fungi as would be wholesome to 
the human being, beech-nuts, and acorns. Deer will also eat 
heather, and they are particularly fond of that fine emerald- 
green grass that grows in the bare patches and on the edges 
of rills and watercourses in and out amongst the heather. 
They are said also to eat dry seaweed on the coasts of some 
of the Scotch islands. In captivity they can become strangely 
omnivorous, and even slightly carnivorous, not even objecting to 


the meat in sandwiches, certainly not rejecting ham, this perhaps 
on account of its saltness. Of salt they are very fond, and will 
travel far in some districts in search of salt " licks." For this 
reason they visit the sea-coast (where they are undisturbed), and 
lick the brine off the rocks that have been swept by the tide. 
There are certain sages and grasses of the moorland kinds 
which they affect, no doubt for the same reason, because salt 
would be obtained from the potash of these grasses, as it is 
from similar forms in Africa, which are also much appreciated 
by antelopes. 

On the whole, forests are necessary to the well-being of the 
red deer, and their advance in England and the rest of Europe 
must have depended on the retreat of the Glacial conditions and 
the revival of trees. Perhaps this arises from the fact that, when 
in an absolutely wild state, they would find little or no sustenance 
in the winter season except in the woodland, where they would 
have a certain amount of evergreen foliage, bark, twigs, dry 
leaves, seeds, and fruit to fall back on. In summer-time they 
generally feed at night, in the morning, and in the late afternoon, 
resting a good deal in shelter during the heat of the day. In 
winter they feed at intervals all day and all night ; spend their 
time, in fact, hunting for food, unless artificially fed in parks. 

They are not known to suffer from many diseases, but every 
now and then an epidemic of some kind, akin, no doubt, to 
diseases affecting cattle and sheep, may sweep through the herds, 
decimating, or even exterminating them, unless human inter- 
vention checks the spread of the malady. It is known that they 
are liable to hydrophobia. When this disease has been intro- 
duced amongst them by a stag or a hind having been bitten by 
a rabid dog, it is spread among the deer themselves by those far 
gone in hydrophobia taking to nibbling at the skin of the healthy 
deer, which they do until there is a slight abrasion, as though 
impelled by some perverted instinct to spread the disease. No 
recent cases have been reported of hydrophobia amongst deer, 
and this, no doubt, is due to the complete extermination of the 
disease amongst all animals since greater care was taken by the 


authorities to stamp it out among dogs. A bot-fly, called 
Cephenomyia rufibarbis^ attaches itself very specially to the red 
deer. In outward appearance it mimics a bee, but of course has 
only one pair of wings. This fly is found in Great Britain, 
Germany, and wherever the red deer has its habitat. The flies 
generally begin their attacks in May. These odious insects (an 
adjective which can almost without discrimination be applied to 
all insects) enter the open nostrils of the deer and squirt out 
from their vent a drop of fluid containing a number of very 
small, just-hatched maggots. These fasten themselves by hooks 
to the tender skin inside the nostrils, and then by degrees 
gradually wriggle themselves up the passage of the nose till they 
reach the back of the throat. Their presence and the strong 
irritation they provoke induce a great flow of mucus. On this 
mucus they feed, and increase in size till they are over an inch in 
length. Apparently the deer is generally able to eject these 
grubs by coughing and sneezing, and only suff'ers temporary 
inconvenience by giving them this unwilling hospitality. When 
they are coughed out they fall to the ground and become 
chrysahdes for two or three days, after which the perfect insect 
emerges. Much more serious results, however, come from the 
attacks of a fly which is akin to the ox-warble. 

Red deer may be considered to have reached their maximum 
development in size and numbers in Great Britain and Ireland 
about the time when Julius Caesar invaded Britain. The 
complete close of the Glacial ages a few thousand years before 
had caused Great Britain to become a land of dense forests (only 
broken by a few mountain tops, moors, chalk downs, and human 
clearings) from the south of England northwards to Sutherland- 
shire. Ireland, also, was much forested, especially in the south- 
west and east. The megaceros had died out long before ; only 
a few fallow deer lingered possibly in England. The roe deer 
in Great Britain was no serious rival, the reindeer was extinct in 
Ireland, and was being rapidly driven by the red deer into the 
treeless desolation of the extreme north of Scotland and the 
Orkney Islands. The assiduity of the Romans in England, no 


doubt, had something to do with the diminution of the red deer, 
and the gradual civilisation and increase of population in the 
two islands increased the want of arable and pasture lands and 
diminished the forest. When the Normans came, although the 
deer were saved from destruction at the hands of the common 
people, and were in a measure preserved, still the hunting of the 
nobles and of the outlaws put a limit to their increase. As 
century after century went by and forest after forest was laid low, 
the deer began to be grievously affected from restricted feeding- 
grounds and interbreeding. That they suffer from this (unless 
new blood is constantly introduced) in each great park is obvious, 
and in several Government forests they have become extinct from 
this cause within the memory of men now living. 

All things considered, we may congratulate ourselves on the 
splendid home — I hope a permanent home — that the red deer 
has found in Scotland. The glorious mountain scenery, the 
scattered pine and fir forests, the innumerable tumbling streams, 
broad rivers, and lovely lakes — studded with islands to which the 
deer swim off for concealment and repose ; the wonderful scenic 
effects of the mists alternating with sunshine, the snow that 
covers the ground during the winter and dapples the mountains 
in spring and autumn, the glorious flush of the purple heather in 
the late summer, the lichen-painted rocks interspersed with the 
greenest moss and gay in August with yellow ragwort : this is 
a setting worthy of what we may regard — even reviewing the 
splendid past of Megaceros and Alces — as a very noble represen- 
tative of the Deer tribe. 


UNGULATA (continued), 


It will hardly be necessary to describe the main features of this 
family, since they have been already given in a general review 
of the Pecora. They are divided at the present day into six 
sub-families : the Tragelaphs, or Spiral-horned Bovids ; the 
Antelopes, or Ring-horned Bovids ; the Capricorns, or Mountain 
Antelopes ; the Ovi-bovines (represented at the present day only 
by the Musk Ox) ; the True Oxen ; and the Sheep and Goats. 
All the members of this family are very closely inter-related, 
and their classification is a matter of some difficulty. Nearly 
each group has in equal measure preserved primitive features in 
some directions, and has attained great specialisation in others. 
On the whole, it may be said that the antelopes proper (those 
with annulated horns), the sheep and goats, and capricorns (which 
also share this feature of the annulated growth of the horn) are 
specially related each to the other. The Tragelaphs in some 
ways are the most primitive of the sub-families, and their nearest 
relations are with the oxen. The oxen stand somewhat apart, 
and the musk ox has some affinities with the Bovine group ; 
but, on the other hand, is perhaps most nearly related to the 

So far as we know, the Tragelaphine sub-family (elands, 
kudus, bushbucks) never extended its range to England, though 



representatives of this group may have reached Southern France. 
The Tragelaphs possibly originated in Asia, where they have left 
one living example in the nilghai. They attained considerable 
development in Greece, Asia Minor, and Algeria, but their range 
at the present day is entirely confined to India and Tropical Africa. 
The True Antelopes are represented in the British fauna of the 
Pleistocene by two examples, a gazelle {Gazella anglicd)^ the 
remains of which have been found in the eastern counties ; and 
the saiga (Saiga tartarica\ a somewhat aberrant antelope belong- 
ing to the Gazelle group. 

But little is known regarding Gazella anglica, which was 
probably allied in race to one or other of those types of rather 
sturdily-built gazelles with lyrate horns, which are found at the 
present day in the temperate regions of Central Asia. The 
gazelle (together with the saiga and other forms that co-existed 
with them in Eastern Britain in the early Pleistocene) is rather 
associated with a dry country of steppes. At the time when 
it lived in England there are indications that East Anglia was 
more connected with Belgium, Holland, and Germany (of which 
it formed a projection) than with the rest of Britain, owing to 
the inlet of the North Sea, which began at the Wash. There 
is much in the present condition of the plains of Northern 
Germany which would thoroughly suit gazelles (no change of 
climate being necessary), and it only needs to give East Anglia 
the continental climate of Prussia to make it suitable for habita- 
tion by these steppe-frequenting antelopes. There would be 
gazelles allied to the Persian and Tibetan now in Northern 
Germany but for the presence of man. 

As regards the saiga, this strange-looking beast inhabited 
Eastern and Southern England much more decidedly than did 
the gazelle. Its remains have been found (amongst other places) 
at Twickenham, in the Thames Valley. Its existence in England 
was seemingly of later occurrence by perhaps thousands of years 
than that of the gazelle in East Anglia, which apparently died out 
at the beginning of the Glacial age. 


Saiga tatarica. The Saiga, or Swollen-nosed Gazelle 

This antelope, though grouped with the gazelles, which it 
resembles in its horns, is yet a very peculiar creature of puzzling 
affinities. The females are hornless ; but in males and females 
there are short nasal bones and a high, bloated nose, terminating 
in a snout that is almost pig-like. The ears are so strangely 
truncated as to look as though they had been cropped. 
The general appearance of the body is not unlike that of a 
sheep. The hoofs are somewhat heavy and broad. False hoofs 
are present, and the feet are rather sheep-like. The tail is short. 
The coloration is yellawish-gray, with a whitish throat and chest, 
and a touch of white on the edge of the rump. The fact that 
this antelope has only two premolar teeth in the lower jaw 
instead of the three which are almost universal among ruminants, 
shows specialisation. This loss of premolars, however, also 
occurs in another aberrant gazelline, the springbok of South 
Africa. But a fossil saiga has been discovered in Moravia and 
Germany which had the full number of three premolars. The 
British specimens are too imperfect to decide as yet to which 
type — the ancient or the modern — the British Saiga belonged. 
On the other hand, the existing saiga retains the more primitive 
feature of four teats, while all the other known gazelles are only 
provided with two 

The nearest living relation of the saiga is the interesting 
chiru antelope of Tibet. In this the horns are very long, and 
the form of the animal is more graceful than in the saiga, while 
it retains the full number of premolar teeth in both jaws, yet, on 
the other hand, has only two teats. The sides of the muzzle 
and nose in the male are much swollen, suggesting an approxima- 
tion to the saiga in their external nasal protuberance. The 
outward resemblance of the saiga to a sheep is, no doubt, simply 
a case of parallelism, and it must be regarded as an aberrant 
gazelle which has retained a more primitive number of mammae. 
It is at present so characteristic of the treeless steppes of Eastern 
Europe and Central Asia that its presence in England is somewhat 

Hioto by the Duchess of Bedford 

The Saiga {Saioa tatarica). 
From a living specimen at Woburn Park. 

Photo by the Dud.css of Bedford. ^,jj^ ^j^.gj. q,^ i^Qvibos mOSchatus). 

From the specimen (a male) until lately living: at Woburn Park. 
To face p. 342. 


inconsistent with the supposed forested nature of that country. 
It may, however, have only existed here for a short time in 
one of the inter-Glacial periods before the smitten forests had 
recovered their luxuriance. 

Ovibos moschatus. The Musk Ox 
The Musk Ox is another of the puzzles which await solution 
in the classification of the Ruminants. In size it is that of a 
small ox, and is very ox-like in build and in the shape of the 
head, especially in the broad forehead, short nose, and large 
muzzle. The muzzle, however, is hairy, and not a wet, naked 
muffle, as in the oxen. The short ears are rather more sheep-like 
in appearance, not being the characteristic broad ears of the ox. 
The tail is so short as to be almost non-existent. This is not an 
ox-like characteristic. The hoofs and the false hoofs are some- 
what bovine in appearance. The outer hoof in each foot is 
broader and more rounded than the inner one, which is pointed. 
This peculiarity is derived from the characteristic habits of the 
animal. It is as though it always turned its toes in. Unlike 
the oxen, it has an ante-orbital pit, or tear gland, similar to that 
which is present in so many antelopes, deer, and sheep — a feature 
which has disappeared in the oxen. The molar teeth, though 
long-crowned, lack the additional column which is characteristic 
of those teeth in the oxen. The cannon bones— that is to say, 
the fused metacarpal and metatarsal bones, which are equivalent 
to the bones of our knuckles and instep — are short and stout as 
in the oxen, and not long and slender as in most of the sheep 
and antelopes. On the other hand, these cannon bones in the 
musk ox are absolutely single, with no trace whatever of that 
division down the middle which makes the same bones in the 
oxen look like (what they really are) two separate bones joined 
in the middle. Another point in which the musk oxen differ 
entirely from the Bovines is that they retain on the outer side 
of each front leg a large splint bone (a metacarpal), which, 
beginning at the wrist joint, reaches nearly as far down as the 
knuckle, or metacarpal joint. On the inner side of each front leg 


there is no trace of the metacarpal bone of the second toe. The 
oxen have this outer metacarpal splint of the musk ox merely- 
represented by a small knob of bone. In this point, therefore, 
Ovibos is more primitive than the oxen.^ 

In the anatomy of its soft parts the musk ox is somewhat 
isolated, but perhaps conforms most nearly to the capricorns. 
In the direction of this group, indeed, its nearest affinities seem 
to lie. It branched off, no doubt, from a primitive type of 
hollow-horned ruminant, which was the stock which gave rise 
to the oxen on the one hand and the capricorns on the other, 
while the capricorns are the parent forms of the sheep and goats. 
These mountain antelopes, as they are usually termed, are repre- 
sented at the present day by Budorcas, a heavily built animal 
living in Tibet, with a strong superficial resemblance to the 
musk ox ; by the serows of the Chinese, Indian, Sumatran, and 
Japanese mountains^ ; by the chamois of the Alps and the 
Caucasus ; and, lastly, by another strange-looking creature, the 
rocky mountain goat {Haploceros) of North-west America. 

The horns of the musk ox are, perhaps, its most peculiar 
feature. Those of the male are enormously expanded and 
flattened at the base, and the bases almost touch in the middle 
of the forehead. They are curved abruptly downwards and then 
upwards, and resemble very strongly those of the white-tailed 

^ See illustration on p. 281. The vestiges of the second and fifth 
metacarpal and metatarsal bones in the skeletons of the Bovida. have been 
very insufficiently illustrated and considered by zoologists. Metatarsal 
vestiges are very rare — perhaps only to be met with in some Tragelaphs 
and Cephalophines. All the Bovids are " plesiometacarpalian," like the 
True Deer. It is only the upper portions of the side metacarpals which 
survive, though there are also nodules of bone (in the sheep, for example) 
which support the side hoofs. In the Tragelaphince (elands, kudus, 
bongos, bushbucks) the side metacarpals are well developed, and metatarsals 
also. They are present in the Cephalophines, but absent from most other 
antelopes. Their traces in sheep and goats are fleeting. In the oxen, the 
musk ox, and the capricorns they are only developed on one side — the outer. 

2 Urotragus caudatus, the long-tailed goral of North China, is a remarkable 
form, retaming the primitive long tail which has disappeared in so many 


gnu, the resemblance, of course, being purely accidental. The 
flattened base of the horns and a good deal of their length is in 
adult males marked by coarse, broken grooves of fissures running 
parallel with the length of the horn. In some specimens of 
younger animals or females these longitudinal fissures are less 
marked, and are crossed at right angles by " ripplings," which 
may be the traces of original annulations similar to those which 
characterise the horns of antelopes, sheep, and capricorns. Much 
of the extravagant boss represented in the frontal portion of the 
male's horn is but a development of the outer horny sheath, and 
is only represented by a very roughened surface of bone, from 
which the horn core grows out sideways. In the female the 
horny coverings of these bosses do not meet in the centre, but 
there is a considerable space between the horn bosses covered 
with hair. In the young animal (and this is a characteristic of 
the horns of fossil American species) the shape and direction 
of the horns are not so aberrant. The bony core grows 
out laterally and horizontally from the frontal bone, as it 
does in the common ox, and the horny sheath continues this 
horizontal direction, and then turns sharply upward exactly like 
the horns of a domestic cow. There is at this stage (and the 
same remark applies to at least one species of fossil musk ox) no 
downward sweep of the horn. We are still, however, very far 
from the type of horn found in the capricorns (excepting 
'Budorcas), for in these the bony cores and their horny coverings 
rise more or less vertically from the frontal bone, and are directed 
backwards. This is the same with sheep and goats, except that 
in the former, after an upward and backward direction, the horns 
curve round in most cases to the front. In the North African 
wild sheep, however, there is some approximation made to the 
outward and downward curve of the musk ox's horns. 

The female musk ox has a somewhat primitive udder. There 
are four functional teats, and an extra, or fifth mamma, which is 
not functional. This feature of five teats is repeated (not 
functionally, of course) in the male. In the True Oxen, besides 
the four functional teats of the udder, there are (as any one can 


ascertain who examines the domestic cow) very often two more 
mammae placed on the front of the udder, from which, of course, 
no milk can be drawn. 

From the little that we know of its past history in fossil 
forms, and arguing from the present locality of its only near 
relations — the Central Asian capricorns and the primitive oxen — 
we may suppose that the musk ox originated in the chief womb 
of the world, somewhere in Asia, possibly in the regions north 
of India. From Central Asia it spread across Behring Straits 
into Arctic America, where it still exists. During the Pleistocene, 
however, it travelled across Siberia and Central Europe into 
France and the Pyrenees. It also entered England from the 
direction of Belgium (no doubt at a time when the land con- 
nection subsisted), and spread right across Southern England and 
into East Anglia. Its remains have been obtained from Kent, 
from various places in the valley of the Thames, from near Bath, 
and from Gloucestershire, as well as from Norfolk. Elsewhere 
in the Old World its remains have been found in Northern 
Siberia, of such a recent character as to suggest that its extinction 
in that part of the world has been within the Historical Epoch. 
Its remains in Germany, as in England, date from the Pleisto- 
cene period and before the advent of the Glacial ages. This is 
an important point to remember, because the presence of the 
musk ox in this island, in company with the remains of such 
creatures as the lion, hyaena, reindeer, and hippopotamus, was 
thought to present an inexplicable jumble of northern and 
southern forms, of some creatures which must have a warm 
climate and of others absolutely dependent for their very existence 
on Arctic conditions. On second thoughts, however, it will be 
seen that, judging from their affinities, both musk ox and reindeer 
must have originated in a region possessing a temperate climate ; 
at any rate, a country with hot summers, a region equally well 
admitting the existence in the summer-time or all the year round 
of lions and hippopotamuses. The struggle for existence drove 
the musk ox farther and farther north, until it has only survived 
finally in the extreme Arctic regions of North America. During 


all these ages, no doubt, it has slightly differentiated, and has 
gone on fitting itself more and more for life in a climate of 
rigorous cold. At the present day its range is limited to a small 
portion of North America eastwards of the Mackenzie River, 
and north of the 6oth degree of latitude. From here it extends 
over a good deal of Greenland, especially along the east coast, 
from regions close to the Pole to almost the southern extremity 
of that huge continental island. The musk ox formerly, and not 
very long ago, existed in Alaska. The discovery of its remains 
in that extreme north-western part of America was an interesting 
point, as it showed that in all probability Ovibos reached North 
America from Asia rather than from Northern Europe ; and this 
probability is increased by the fact that no remains of it have ever 
been discovered in Spitzbergen or Franz-Josef Land. But the 
ancient distribution of the musk ox in North America extended 
much farther south than Alaska and Canada — almost, if not quite, 
to the Gulf of Mexico — an additional proof that the genus could 
adapt itself to a warm climate ; possibly, in fact, preferred a warm 
climate to a cold. In Temperate North America the musk 
ox was represented by perhaps two other species, one with a 
bulging forehead (called Ovibos bombifrons)^ and the other with 
a cavity or depression below the frontal bone {Ovibos cavifrons). 
But Mr. Lydekker, perhaps wisely, attempts to show that 
the cavifront specimen is due to injuries inflicted on the skull, 
and that Ovibos bombifrons is the only valid species of musk 
ox coming from Temperate America which differs from O. 

The illustration of the musk ox which, together with the 
saiga, faces p. 342 is of peculiar interest. It is a photograph 
by the Duchess of Bedford of the only living musk ox which 
has been in Britain since the early part of the Pleistocene period. 
At one time it was supposed that it would be impossible for a 
musk ox to live in this temperate climate, but the specimen 
referred to has now been for some years in the Duke of Bedford's 
collection at Woburn Abbey. 



The Sheep and Goats are evidently closely allied ; indeed, it is 
said that they will interbreed and can produce hybrids. Their 
horns, especially in the female and young, show those annulations 
which are so characteristic of the True Antelopes, and which are 
found in a less marked type in the capricorns. From this 
last-named stock it is almost certain that the sheep and goats 
arose, the capricorns having somewhat more archaic features in 
the anatomy of their soft parts and their bones. Although the 
sheep have departed somewhat widely from the antelopes or 
capricorns in the development and directions of their horns, 
they present primitive features in some directions, and it is more 
probable that they originated simultaneously with and inde- 
pendently of the goats from Capricorn ancestors — from some 
type very like the tahr of India and Arabia [Hemitragus). The 
tahrs date back in a fossil state to the Pliocene Epoch. Two 
of the existing forms retain the more primitive four teats in the 
female. The tahrs, however, in common with all the goats and all 
but two species of sheep, have very short tails. The length of the 
tail is a problem, both in the origin of the sheep in general and 
of the domestic sheep in particular. The domestic sheep (unless 
interfered with by man) has in all its varieties, woolly and hairy, 
a long tail, which is supported by a considerable number of 
caudal vertebras. The same feature exists in another sheep, the 
audad {Ovis lervid) of North Africa, a form once found in 
France and Spain. It is impossible, however, to derive the 
domestic sheep from the audad for many good reasons. Curiously 
enough, the audad is rather capricorn-like in a number of points, 
and (in the author's opinion) offers marked affinities to the tahr. 
The fact of its retaining a long tail, therefore, seems to point to 
the disappearance of this feature in the tahrs as having been 
a matter of recent specialisation, and as though the original sheep 
' had possessed this appendage, which has persisted in the least 
specialised torm of sheep (the audad) and in one of the several 
wild species from which the domestic sheep was derived. One 


Capricorn, Urotragus caudatus, the goral of North China, has a 
very long tail. 

The oroats have lost almost all traces of the side toes, and 
are exclusively two-toed, though they still retain the false hoofs 
and nodules of bone of the missing digits. In the sheep, 
however, thin slips of metacarpal bones — the upper ends — are 
encountered in most of the species, though they are easily 
detached and lost sight of in the tendons and skin of the 
fore leg. The sheep also retain traces of the tear pit, or gland 

Horns of a Ram (Ovis aries) from Achill Island, off West Coast of Ireland. 

on the face, which the goats seem to have lost, but which Ovibos 
and some of the capricorns ^ have retained. The sheep, also, 
have not developed the peculiar chin beard of the goats. They 
favour, on the contrary, the throat mane so characteristic of 
certain capricorns and of the tahr. This throat mane is seen 
prominently developed in the North African wild sheep, but it is 
by no means limited to that species, for it is frequently abundant 
in the Armenian sheep (which is very near to the domestic), the 
urial (^Ovis vignei), and the European mouflon ; while in domestic 
sheep this throat fringe is represented abundantly in African 
forms, and elsewhere is even transformed into a dewlap of the skin. 
^ Nemorh(zdus ; the gland has been lost in Hemitragns. 



A wild sheep once existed in England {Ovis savini\ which is 
thought by Lydekker to have resembled the Armenian mouflon. 
No traces of this sheep, however, are found in this country of a 
later date than the early part of the Pleistocene Epoch, almost 
before Glacial conditions supervened. The only remains we have 
yet found come from East Anglia. It is very doubtful if it 
was contemporaneous with man in England, and almost certain 
that the domestic sheep of England in their most primitive types 
could not be descended from this form by its gradual taming. 
No traces of domestic animals existing in these islands (except 
the dog, perhaps) are obtainable till the Neolithic period^ which 
would be after the close of the Glacial conditions. But Ovis 
savini may have existed, almost certainly did, on the Continent 
of Europe, and may have been one of the sources from which 
Ovis arieSy the domestic sheep, was formed. At present it is 
an open question whether any wild sheep continued to exist in 
the British Islands through and after the Glacial ages. The 
Highland sheep and some of the Welsh breeds, and the sheep 
to be seen on the islands off the west coast of Ireland, are 
extremely like wild animals. Those from Western Ireland and 
from St. Kilda off the west coast of Scotland have a tendency 
to lose their wool and revert to a hairy type. On the other 
hand. Highland sheep in the formation of their horns are very 
like the merino breed from Central Spain. The Soa and St. Kilda 
sheep are known to have been introduced by the vikings from 
Norway and the Faroes. 

The difficulty in the pedigree of the domestic sheep is its 
long tail, as already mentioned. It almost seems necessary to 
assume the existence of an extinct species (this might have been 
Ovis savini)^ which, like the North African Ovis lervia^ retained 
the primitive long tail lost in all other living wild sheep. If 
physiologists could assure us that it was possible for an animal 
to replace the lost vertebrae of its tail by the fresh development 
of nodules of bone, and if we could assume that the domestic 
sheep had done this, it would be easy enough to decide that our 
sheep had arisen from a mingling of wild stock such as the 

^^^''■PW^RtJ,^'' "-^ 


Photo by C. Reid. 

I' l.y W. y. ImikIm, I .Z.S. 

SoA Sheep, St. Kilda (Oz'/i rt/vV.f) 

J'huiu l.y \V. 1'. Daiido, F.Z.S. 

Female Corsican Mouklox {Ozu's tiuisinwii) 


To face p. 350. 


European and Armenian mouflons, with perhaps a little inter- 
mixture of some type like Ovis vignei of Central Asia. The hairy 
domestic sheep of Syria and Africa resemble most, perhaps, the 
Armenian mouflon (except that they have long, and sometimes 
very fat, tails). The domestic sheep of Europe, England, 
and Northern Asia (barring the difference of tail) offer consider- 
able resemblance in their horns to Ovis vignei^ the urial, and it 
is noteworthy that this wild sheep has horns in the female. 
The European mouflon has hornless females. In the domestic 
sheep there is a curious dift^erence in this particular. In the 
African and Syrian breeds, which are, I believe, derived from 
some form very like the Armenian mouflon, the females never 
have any horns. In the English, European, and North Asiatic 
sheep the females are horned, and in this important particular, as 
well as in the shape of the horns in the male, they offer affinities 
to Ovis vignei. Moreover, the tail in this wild sheep is a little 
less short than in the mouflon. 

No fossil remains dating beyond the age of domestic animals 
exist from any part of the British Islands to show that there was 
an indigenous wild goat. The author believes he is right in 
saying that such bones of goats as there are, are always found in 
connection with human settlements, and are of the Neolithic 
period. Goats have run wild, however, and still exist in feral 
conditions in parts of Wales, the western islands of Scotland, 
and on islands off the west coast of Ireland. These Irish wild 
goats are, perhaps, only represented at the present day by small 
herds on the cHff-mountains of Achill Island. They are white 
in colour. Large as are the horns of Welsh and Irish goats, 
they do not, perhaps, reach the great development met with in 
the original wild goat, Capra hircus ^egagrus, of Persia, Asia 
Minor, and Western India. 

The Bovine sub-family of the Bovida is thought by 
palaeontologists to have been of comparatively late origin, and 
to be the most specialised group of the Hollow-horned Ruminants. 


I do not find myself quite in agreement with the authorities on 
these points. In the first place, from the little we know of the 
geological age of oxen, sheep, and goats, the oxen appear to be 
older than the last two named ; and though specialised in some 
directions, they retain in others distinctly primitive features. 
The cannon bones of front and hind legs (especially in the 
front) are decidedly short, and they are divided down the 
middle by so distinct and deep a groove as to be almost two 
distinct bones, instead of being completely fused into one, as is 
the case with the sheep and goats, the musk ox, and most 
antelopes. Even in the deer the original division in the cannon 
bone is only faintly indicated. The mammae, also, instead of 
being only four, as in the deer, or two, as in so many sheep and 
antelopes, are practically six in number. Only four are functional 
teats, but on the udders of most cows there are two additional 
mammas not normally functional. In this there would seem to 
be some slight approximation towards the condition of the swine 
(as examples of primitive Artiodactyles), in which there are six 
to ten mammas. The tail in oxen is invariably long — also a 
primitive feature. In the most archaic of living oxen, the 
Anoa and Tamarau buffaloes, there are indications of the white 
spots, gorgets, and other markings of the primitive Artiodactyles ; 
and though these are not developed anything like as much 
as in the Deer and Tragelaphs, yet in the Capricorns, 
Goats, Sheep, and Antelopes they have absolutely disappeared. 
The horns of oxen do not display any sign of regular annu- 
lation, which is characteristic of all the other groups of the 
Bovida except the Tragelaphs. Indeed, in the structure of 
their horns they offer, perhaps, slightly more approximation 
to the Tragelaphs than to any other of their relations. In 
the last named, especially in an archaic form like the nilghai, 
there is a tendency towards the development of triangular 
twisted horns, in which the angle facing the front is often deve- 
loped into a strong ridge. This three-cornered, and perhaps 
slightly twisted, type of horn is characteristic of the earliest 
known or most primitive of living oxen {Leptobos^ AmphiboSy 


Anoa). In these archaic types of oxen the horns diverge but 
slightly from the median line of the skull, present no boss in 
front between the horn cores, and lie backwards almost parallel 
with the ridge of the neck, and very nearly in the same line 
as the profile of the nose. In all the developments of oxen 
from this primitive type, however, the direction of the horns is 
greatly changed, and the tendency is for the horn cores to grow 
outwards almost at right angles to the median line of the skull, 
while the tips of the horns are either directed backwards or 
upwards and forwards. In the original types of Bos taurus^ the 
domestic ox, the direction of the horns is almost the exact 
reverse of what it was in the primitive oxen. 

So far as specialised features are concerned, the oxen have 
developed somewhat peculiar molar teeth in the upper jaw, 
with very long and square-shaped crowns, on the inner side 
of which there is a slender, cylindrical additional column.^ 
There is never any trace of the upper canine teeth. Horns are 
present in both male and female of the existing forms. There 
are no face glands or tear pits. The young are scarcely ever 
marked with white spots, except such slight remains of these 
markings as may occur in the young and adult buffaloes of 
the Malay Archipelago. The stomach is, perhaps, more 
highly developed for rumination than in any of the other 
Pecorines. On the other hand, there is a gall-bladder 
persisting which has been lost by so many antelopes and by 
all True Deer. 

For the origin of the oxen we must again go back to Asia, 
where, with the exception of the camels and rhinoceroses, most 
of the higher mammals have been evolved. India or thereabouts 
was the district in which the Bovine type first differentiated from 
a form of Hollow-horned Ruminant, allied on the one hand to 

^ The upper molar teeth of the nilghai (the nearest Hving ally to the 
oxen) are also long-crowned, and there is a large accessory column in 
those of the upper jaw. In the rest of the Tragelaphs the molars are 
short-crowned, but those in the upper jaw possess a small inner accessory 



the early Tragelaphs and Cephalophines,^ and on the other to 
the Capricorns. Not only did the sub-family Bovine originate 
in India, but in the northern parts of that country the genus Bos^ 
and the Taurine sub-genus or original parent of the common ox, 
also had its birth. 

The most archaic of living oxen are the buffaloes. From 
something like the buffalo stock arose a form classified as the 
sub-genus Bibos^ which is represented by the huge gaur and 
;gayal of India. From this Bibovine group separated on the one 
hand the yak and the bisons, and on the other hand the Taurine 
group represented in recent times by the aurochs and its 
descendants, the European domesticated cattle and "Bos indicus, 
or the humped zebu type, from which the domestic cattle of 
Africa and India are descended. The first True Bison was also 
evolved in Northern India, a kindred form giving rise to the yak. 
The bison spread northwards in the Pliocene or penultimate 
period of the Tertiary Epoch. From Central Asia bisons 
advanced early across the Behring Isthmus (that then connected 
Asia with North America) into the New World. There the 
bisons developed several types, and stretched their range down to 
the Isthmus of Panama. One of these Bisontine species {Bos 
latifrons) of the Southern United States developed during the 
Pleistocene period into a very large animal, with enormous horns. 
It is thought that when the bony core was covered with its horny 
envelope the horns must have measured along the curve at least 
5 ft. from the base of the horn core to the tip of the horn ! 
This is very different from the 12 in. to the 20 in. of the 
modern American bison's horns. 

From the first great area of Bisontine development in Central 
Asia a form of bison known as Bos priscus (this being also the 
name given to the earliest species that entered America) wandered 
westwards as well as eastwards, and spread right across Central 

^ Though the Cephalophines, which at the present day are mostly small 
antelopes in Africa and (one species) in India, have specialised in one or 
two points, they stand very near to the primal stock from which all the 
ringed-horned antelopes arose. 


Europe as far west as England, as far south as Spain and Italy, 
and as far north as the coasts of the Baltic. It inhabited the 
whole of Russia, except, perhaps, those portions that were under 
ice. Its degenerate descendants known as Bos bonasus^ or the 
European bison, still linger to the extent of a few hundred in 
Polish (Lithuanian) forests and in the Caucasus. The modern 
bisons in America and Europe differ from other cattle in the 
exaggeration of the spines growing up from the vertebrae at 
the end of the neck and beginning of the back. These 
serve to support a hump that is more or less evident, and 
which is sometimes added to enormously by an immense 
growth of fat and muscle. In the bison the horn cores are 
set very widely apart. There is also a tendency to develop 
excessive growth of hair on the forehead, under the chin, and 
along the neck. 

Bos priscus. The Extinct European Bison 

Bos priscus differed from modern European bisons in the 
much longer and straighter horns, the ends of which were turned 
up and slightly back as they are in the existing bison of Poland 
and the Caucasus. It was also much larger in size than the 


modern form. It did co-exist in Britain with early man, but 
disappeared not long after man's arrival, giving way, no doubt, 
in part before the rivalry of the larger and more powerful 
aurochs. It does not appear to have reached Scotland, and its 
remains have never been found in Ireland. Its northern limit, 
as was the case with the lion and so many other beasts, was the 
county of Yorkshire. Westwards it seems to have extended to 
the borders of Wales. On the Continent of Europe it lingered 
on far into the Historical Epoch. It abounded in France in 
extraordinary numbers, and has constantly been depicted by 
Prehistoric man. 

In Germany, the Balkan Peninsula, and Russia (where, no 
doubt, it was actually differentiating into the existing type, "Bos 
honasus) it was still abundant down to the Middle Ages. It was 


well known to the early Aryans, and its names in Gothic 
(Wisent) and Greek (Bison) are obviously akin/ 

Bos taurus primigenius. The Urus or Aurochs 

This magnificent beast was known to the Romans through 
their conquests of Gaul, Germany, and Austria. They found 
that it was called by the Gothic races Ur or Aur. This they 
Latinised into Urus, while the name descended into modern 
German in the forms of Aurochs {i.e.^ Ur Ox). The Canton of 
Uri, in Switzerland, was named after this creature, which once 
inhabited its forested mountains. The Aurochs, or Bos taurus 
primigenius^ is the culmination of the Taurine type of the Bovine 
genus, and, like nearly everything else, has to be referred back 
for its origin to Asia, and in Asia to India. Here it seems to 
have arisen from the Bibovine stock, very near to where the 
Bisontine forms branch off ; in fact, there is a good deal of 
kinship in origin between the Taurine and Bisontine races, in 
both of which the horns are rather more cylindrical and less 
flattened or less angular than in the buffaloes. In both these 
groups, moreover, there is a great tendency to excessive growth 
of the shaggy hair on the head and neck of the male. Where 
the horns of the Taurine stock differ from the other groups is 
also in their tendency to a forward direction. This is by no 

^ It is a great pity that some reformer cannot arise in the United States to 
rectify the incorrect nomenclature of our American brothers, a nomenclature 
due in some instances to actual perversity and " contradictiousness." As the 
word buffalo has been applied for many centuries to the most primitive group 
of cattle existing in Asia and Africa only, and as the name bison has such an 
interesting Aryan pedigree, and was always applied in ancient times to this 
distinct group of high-shouldered, heavily-maned oxen (the only group that 
ever reached America), it is a pity that Americans still persist in writing and 
speaking oi buffaloes where they ought to use the word bison. In the same 
way they persist in giving the Scandinavian name of elk to American red 
deer, which we know as the wapiti, from a Canadian Indian word. The 
American antelope (prongbuck) is not an antelope, the puma is not a lion 
or di panther, and the jaguar is not a tiger. Whilst they continue to use the 
English language they might at least strive to apply the correct English name 
to their indigenous animals. 

Photo by \V. P. n.indo, F.Z.S. 

Horns of Extinxt English Bison {Bos prisciis). 

Photo by W. P. Dando. I-'.Z.S. 

Skull of Extinct Aurochs [Bos printigenius 

To face p. 356. 


means universal amongst the Taurine group. It is never met 
with in the kindred species ^os indicus^ which has had something 
to do with the foundations of our breeds of domestic cattle. 
There is some slight indication of this forward direction of 
the horn tips in the yak, in the bisons, and in the East Asian 
Bibovines. In all these cases, however, the forward direction of 
the horns is much more associated with their upward than with 
their horizontal growth. In a magnificent extinct species of 
Taurine ox {^os acutifrons) which developed enormous horns in 
India (each core of which may have been 5 ft. long) the horns 
first grew out at right angles from the median line of the skull, 
but then, instead of curling round and forwards, they drooped 
down at the sides, each forming nearly a half-circle in its growth. 
A primitive type of Taurine ox (Soj namadicus) existed in Southern 
England during the Pleistocene period, and its remains are 
associated with human flint weapons. From India 'Bos taurus 
spread in its wild form into Northern Africa and Central and 
Western Europe. No form of this type ever reached America 
(as a wild species). 

The original wild form of Bos indicus is completely extinct. 
This was, perhaps, the first of the two Taurine species to be 
domesticated, and in this condition it early reached the Mediter- 
ranean Basin and North-east Africa. The wild forms of Bos 
taurus in North Africa {Bos taurus mauritanicus) also seem to 
have been domesticated locally, when the earliest types of 
Caucasian races established themselves in that part of the 
Mediterranean Basin, and in ancient — indeed, in modern — Egypt 
we have descendants of the two principal stocks of domesticated 
cattle, the Taurine and the Indicine, co-existing and mingling. 
The Mauritanian cattle descended from the North African Bos 
taurus are generally to be distinguished by the smoothness of 
their coat and their uniform mouse-colour deepening into 

In fact, the coloration in this breed is very much what 

^ Bos indictis is nearest, perhaps, to Bos taurus, but it also displays slight 
traces of affinity with the Bibovine (Gaur-Gayal) group. 


we see in the Jersey cow — a race which is actually descended 
through many divagations from this African stock. Early types 
of domesticated Sw indicus that reached Egypt do not seem to 
have had much of a hump, though there was a tendency to 
height at the withers. In their earliest form they are more 
archaic, perhaps, in appearance than the modern domestic cattle 
of India, and are represented at the present day by the Gala ox, 
a breed possessing enormous horns, in shape and turn very like 
those of the yak in some examples, or of the Bibovine group in 
others. The Gala ox was the earliest breed of domestic cattle 
in Africa, and is met with to-day in its purest type in 
Abyssinia, Galaland, and the western part of the Uganda Pro- 
tectorate. It was succeeded by a more modern Indian type 
equivalent to the Indian zebu, which apparently proved more 
suited to the climate of Tropical Africa. From Egypt, and 
perhaps from India, strains of this Indian type of ox permeated 
our European domestic cattle. In Europe (allowing for this 
slight Oriental mixture) the stocks of domestic cattle are de- 
scended from the two forms of 'Bos taurus — namely, from the 
shaggy, black or red aurochs, and from the smooth, mouse- 
coloured, Mauritanian ox. Perhaps, as already remarked, in the 
east of Europe, and permeating westwards, there may have been 
a strain of Indian blood. 

The aurochs, or northern form of Bos taurus^ was probably a 
larger animal than the Mauritanian ox.^ In its finest development 
in Britain and Germany it was a splendid monster, about twice 
the size of a big bull of the domestic breed. The head was long, 
especially in the facial portion, the nose being much longer than 
in Bos indicus^ or perhaps than in the Mauritanian variety of Bos 

^ In this form the head was shorter ; the horn cores did not curve so 
much forward, but more downwards (a trait which often persists and comes 
out in the cross-strains of European breeds), and the Hmbs were longer and 
more slender. The Mauritanian ox may, on the whole, be taken to be the 
chief source from which the breeds of Spanish, early Egyptian, Syrian, and 
perhaps Hungarian cattle were derived. This breed may also have been 
introduced at an early date into Southern Italy, though it is probable that 
most of the Roman cattle were derived from the northern aurochs. 

W t?. 

To face p. 358. 


tauriis. In one specimen found in Britain the length of the face 
from the frontal ridge between the horns to the tip of the palate 
was 3 ft. The height of this animal at the shoulder must have 
been from 7 ft. to 8 ft. As 1 1 ft. from the shoulder to the 
ground is considered the height of a large elephant, it will be seen 
that C^sar, in comparing the wild bulls of the Black Forest (which 
probably stood 8 ft. from the ground) to elephants, was not 
greatly exaggerating.^ 

The horns of the urus bull of the race found in Britain 
measured in some examples as much as 38 in. along the outer 
curve of the horn core, which, allowing for the horny sheath, 
would give a length of nearly 4 ft. to each horn measured along 
the curve. In some specimens there was a space of 42 in. in the 
span of the horns measured across the forehead from tip to tip. 
In colour the British urus may have been red or it may have 
been black. It has already been stated that the original colour 
of the Mauritanian form was probably dun-gray. 

The last urus which survived as a wild animal in Europe was 
slain in 1627 in the forest of Jaktorowka, forty miles south-west 
of Warsaw, in Poland. A little prior to 1550, Baron Herberstain 
made, or caused to be made, a picture of a Polish aurochs 
(possibly of this forest of Jaktorowka), and this picture is pre- 
served in his book (written in Latin and translated into Italian) 
on Muscovy and Russia.^ According to Herberstain, the colour 
of this Polish aurochs was black. On the other hand, there is a 
great deal of evidence deduced from our domestic breeds to show 
that one variety of the ancestral ox was red (the common 
ground colour for oxen and their allies the tragelaphs ; perhaps 
also for the deer, the giraffe, the chevrotain, the pig, and 
many more primitive Ungulates). In numerous mammals, 

1 Ccesar, De Bella Gallico, 6th book, p. 26, where in his description the 
phrase used may be translated : "These {Uri) were httle below elephants in 

^ The Italian version of the work is entitled Commentarii della Muscovia 
et parimente della Russia, tradotti novatnente di latino ifi lingua Italiana, by 
Baron S. Herberstain. Venice, 1550. 


however, there is an easy oscillation between foxy-red and black. 
Even in our own order we may not only see the oscillation 
between red and black in the hair of the chimpanzee on the one 
hand, and the orang utan on the other, but gorillas have a 
tendency to remain undecided between the two tints in the colour 
of their coat, while in primitive man there was unquestionably a 
black-haired type and a red-haired type ; reddish hair even crops 
out in the Congo pygmies. It is not only possible, therefore, 
that there were many local breeds of urus which may have been 
black- or red-haired (in contradistinction to the dun-colour of 
the southern form), but there was a tendency in these same 
animals to produce white examples which were not albinos, and 
which retained a few marks of dark colour about them on the 
muzzle, ears, nose, and feet. These dark marks on the white 
forehead were sometimes black and sometimes red. On the 
other hand, in the Mauritanian ox these same places on muzzle, 
ears, nose, and edge of hoofs are often white. 

In the British Islands the urus made its appearance in the 
Pleistocene period, and seems by its rivalry in size and strength 
to have made life impossible for the bison. The range of the 
urus in Britain extended far up into the north of Scotland. 
The urus seems never to have reached Ireland in its original 
form, only in that of its modified and perhaps partially domesti- 
cated descendants, the Keltic short horn (Soj taurus longifrons). 
In Britain the urus certainly lived as a huge wild animal well 
into Neolithic times, and may even not have become wholly 
extinct in Scotland until about the beginning of the Christian era. 
Wild bulls and wild cattle, generally identical with or extremely 
like the few herds that now survive under the rather mislead- 
ing name of " Chillingham " or park cattle, were probably 
of mixed origin. Some of them, such as the Cadzow breed of 
Western Scotland, may be directly descended from one variety 
of the wild urus, restricted space having brought about in-and-in 
breeding and a great decrease of size. Elsewhere the breeds 
of wild cattle (which are constantly mentioned by Norman 
writers as existing in Epping Forest and other districts con- 


tiguous to London) seem more to have been the descendants 
of cattle run wild, and these feral oxen may have been of mixed 
blood — urus and its modified descendant the Keltic short horn, 
together with breeds of Italian cattle contributed by the Romans 
(these cattle also being descendants of the urus). These, in 
fact, were the parent stocks of the English wild cattle of recent 
historical times, and of to-day. 

The Keltic short horn, to which many names have been 
given, is, according to some zoologists, a domesticated breed of 
oxen resulting from degenerate tamed races of aurochs mixed 
with imported " Indian " domestic cattle from Egypt and Asia. 
The more probable explanation of the variety, at any rate in the 
British Islands, seems to be that it is nothing but a degenerate 
urus, perhaps orginating in a small breed of that monstrous 
ox in some restricted mountain country which became more 
easily tamed by savage man, and which may have accompanied 
the Neolithic peoples in their march towards Britain from France 
and Germany. It is true that remains of Bos taurus longifrons 
are found abundantly in Ireland, under conditions and with 
associations which seem to indicate a perfectly wild condition. 
Remains of the same dwarfed ox have also been found in 
England associated with the bones of the mammoth, but these 
English remains are not sufficient to determine precisely whether 
they refer to a small form of bison or to a dwarfed type of urus. 
From what we know of mammoth remains in Ireland it is quite 
conceivable that that elephant may have lingered on till the 
arrival of Neolithic man with his half-domesticated breeds of 
dwarfed urus. 

The British *' wild" cattle of to-day are found in the purest 
form, that is to say, with the greatest likeness to wild animals, 
in the forest of Cadzow, the ancient seat of the Dukes of 
Hamilton in Lanarkshire (South-west Scotland). They lingered 
also down , to the 'seventies of the nineteenth century in the 
parks of Kincardine, Stirling, and Cumbernauld, and at Drum- 
lanrig, in Dumfriesshire. In most of these Scotch parks, however, 
they have died out or become mingled with other stock, with 


the exception of Cadzow, where they still remain a type well 
worth studying.^ In England they are kept at Chillingham, in 
Northumberland shire ; Lyme Park, in Cheshire; Chartley (Earl 
Ferrers' place in Staffordshire) ; and at Vaynol (Mr. Assheton- 
Smith's place in North Wales). I rather think, however, that 
at Vaynol they have been introduced. The colours of the 
Cadzow wild cattle are white with black ears, black muzzles, 
and black often on the lower part of the front legs. There are 
often flecks of black about the head and fore quarters. The 
Chartley cattle have black ears. Those at Lyme and Chillingham 
Park are white with red ears. At Chillingham, in Northumber^ 
landshire, where the cattle have somewhat unjustly given their 
name to this feral breed of the British Islands, the colour of the 
ears and muzzle may be either black or red. But in all these 
parks there is a great tendency for coloured calves to be dropped 
that are either red or black or dun. As these are invariably 
killed, the breed, of course, is kept white artificially ; otherwise 
it is quite conceivable that it might revert to colour. Hector 
Boethius, or Boece, who wrote about 1526, describes the wild 
cattle of the Caledonian forests as being white, and shaggy like 
lions. Domestic cattle that have run wild in various parts of the 
world have often turned to a uniform white breed with black ears 
and points. 

The white wild cattle of England may be said to differ from 
the urus, chiefly (i) in their much smaller size — they are as big 
as fairly large domestic breeds; (2) in their proportionately 
shorter limbs ; (3) possibly in their colour ; and (4) in the 
proportionate size of the horns in the male. In the pure breed, 
however, as shown by examples from Cadzow and Chartley, the 
horns of the female agree almost exactly with the little we know 
of the horns of the female urus — that is to say, they bend forward, 
and then turn upwards and backwards with a slight twist. The 
horns of the bull (when of pure breed) are remarkably like 
those of the urus in shape and direction, only, of course, they 

^ The picture of wild cattle which I have drawn for this book is intended 
to illustrate the Cadzow breed 

I'll..]- l.\ 11 

lOxGLisii Wild Cattle : IU'll, Chaktlkv Breed (JJos lanna 

I'lioto by the Scholastic Photo Company. 

English Wild Cattle: Cuw and Calf (Chartley Breed). 

To face p. 2,62,. 


are not so long. In fact, the English wild cattle of to-day bear 
much the same relation to the urus as the pariah dog of (say) 
the west of Ireland bears to the wolf. It is derived direct from 
the wolf with scarcely any intermixture of other blood, and yet 
is degenerate, differing from it only in smaller size, in bigger 
brain capacity, and in the lesser bushiness of the tail. 

The habits of these white cattle are those of wild animals. 
The bulls are even dangerous sometimes to passers-by. As a 
rule, however, they run away at the sight of man, and it is almost 
as difficult to approach them as if they were African antelopes. 
In the summer they generally feed at night-time, basking in the 
day in the long fern or grass. They also sleep a good deal 
during the daytime. The cows hide their young in thickets, 
or brushwood, until they are old- enough to feed with the rest of 
the herd. The whole herd is ready to make common cause in 
defence of a single calf. When they move about from pasture 
to pasture, and the calves are old enough to travel, they generally 
move inside the herd, with their mothers on the outside of the 
troop and the bull patriarch leading. In the winter-time bulls, 
cows, and calves mix indiscriminately in the herd. When the 
breeding season (the spring) draws near, there are fierce battles 
amongst the bulls for the possession of the cows, battles which 
often cost the life of the vanquished, which, if only wounded, is 
said to be done to death by the others. In the natural life of 
these cattle, where polygamy is the rule and castration does not 
solve the difficulty of the unsuccessful males, it is obvious that it 
is for the benefit of the herd that these unnecessary drones should 
be killed. They are often, no doubt, driven to lead solitary lives 
where they may easily fall a prey to the attacks of carnivorous 
beasts. In fact, it is mainly on these solitary males, in countries 
where big Carnivores still exist, that lions, tigers, leopards, lynxes, 
wolves, and bears subsist. If the whole herd is in harmony, 
or if a female or calf is attacked, success on the part of the 
Carnivores is very doubtful. 

Except in coloration, and perhaps in increased shagginess, 
there is little difference between the English park cattle and the 


Highland breeds of domestic cattle in Scotland. Authorities like 
Mr. Lydekker are decidedly of opinion that these red and black 
Highland cattle (their colours are noteworthy) may be descended 
almost directly from the wild urus, of which they are little 
else than a form degenerate in size. In Ireland and Wales, 
and in Prehistoric Britain, the domestic cattle are less directly 
connected with the urus, which in Wales and South Britain 
(as on the Continent) appears to have dwindled into a dwarf 
race, the Keltic short horn {Bos taurus longifrons). The little 
black Kerry cattle, and the similar breeds in Wales, repre- 
sent this degenerate urus at the present day, and this Keltic 
short horn was the main stock of the domestic cattle in Northern 
and Central Europe. In Eastern Europe it is supposed occa- 
sionally to have mingled with the domestic cattle received from 
Syria or Egypt, and descended from the Indian stock, and this 
strain of Indian blood has markedly shortened the head. In 
Germany and Hungary many of the types of domestic cattle 
were and are of very large size, and much like the urus, except 
that the horns have a tendency to undulate. The Roman cattle 
also seem to have been derived from the northern urus; but in 
Southern Italy, Southern and Western France, Spain, and North 
Africa, the cattle have descended mainly from the Mauritanian 
ox, though in Spain there seems to have been an intermixture 
between this type and the northern urus. All these breeds have 
at different times reached England by way of Germany, Holland, 
France, and Spain, and have all played their part in evolving the 
many modern types of domestic cattle in these islands, grafting 
their own features on to a domesticated stock already in existence, 
which was the child or the grandchild of the native urus. 

I'hi.lo b) C. Ki-id. 

. . uKV 11L1,1. w. 

Allied to the Keltic Shorthorn. 

Du.Mt.iiit; Cattle: Long Hukn Bull. 

To face p. 364. 



This group, which has given birth to the lord of Creation, might 
from its earliest inception be described as the Handed Mammals, 
the beasts whose fore paws were more or less developed into 
that great agent of the brain, the hand. In this group there 
was also from the earliest times a tendency to use the hind limbs 
as the principal supports of the body, and even the main agents 
of locomotion, so that a more or less erect position might be 
assumed, and the extremities of the fore limbs be left free to 
grasp, to examine, to fight,^ to manipulate, and to throw. This 
tendency, which is pointing to inconceivable results in producing 
man, originated very far back in the history of the Mammalia. 
An inclination in the same direction may even be observed in 
Amphibians, and this nascent differentiation between hand and 
foot was, no doubt, continued through those early forms of 
reptile which connect the Amphibian with the Mammal. Such 
primitive types of Marsupial as the opossums of America 
and the phalangers of Australasia (which last, except in their 
very specialised dentition, are strongly suggestive of the lemur) 
may be mentioned as early foreshadowings of the Handed 

The Primates^ as an order, date back to very early times, 
perhaps to the end of the Secondary Epoch. They seem to 

^ The galago, an African lemur, boxes with its hands like a man. Most 
apes and monkeys fight with their hands as much as with their teeth. 



have originated in North America from that basal stock of the 
MammaHa not far removed from the Monotremes which gave 
rise to the Marsupials, the primitive Carnivora, the Insectivores, 
the Ungulates, and the Rodents. The earliest Primates, more 
or less related to the modern Lemurs, seem in their origin not 
to have been far from the Ungulates, Rodents, and Insectivores, 
and indeed to have proceeded in their development on curiously 
parallel lines with these groups, especially with the Ungulate and 
Insectivorous Mammals. 

The appearance of lemurs in Europe (including Britain) 
dates from the Earliest Eocene, and probably rapidly succeeded 
their evolution in North America. It would seem, indeed, as 
though at the commencement of the Tertiary Epoch there was 
a continuous land connection between North America {yid 
Newfoundland, Iceland, and the Hebrides) with Britain.^ The 
Lemuroids attained a remarkable development in France, and 
from this part of West-central Europe the early Primates seem 
to have spread across the Mediterranean Basin into Africa, and 
possibly along the coasts of Arabia to India, Ceylon, and Malaysia. 
Their development in North America (which was a remarkable 
one) led seemingly to nothing. At that period North America 
seems to have been cut off from South America, and so far as 
is yet known no form of lemur ever reached South America. 
Their development, in fact, so far as the future of monkeys and 
man was concerned, seems to have been limited to Eurafrica. 
Only a few straggling forms reached Tropical Asia, where they 
have become highly specialised {Loris and Nycticebus). In 
Africa, probably, the lemur developed first of all into that type 
of monkey which is now associated exclusively with South 
America, and which is known as the Platyrrhine,^ A trace of 

^ The nucleus of the British Islands— Ireland, Cornwall, Wales, and Northern 
Scotland — appears, indeed, to have been, down to the Secondary Epoch, an 
outpost of America. England was little more than the alluvium formed by 
the washing down of the rocks of Cambria and Caledonia ; England, in fact, 
is made up of the detritus of Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland. 

^ These South American monkeys differ from those of the Old World in 


this transition from lemur to monkey has been found by 
Dr. Forsyth Major in the early Tertiary strata of Madagascar, 
and named by him Nesopithecus. Although this creature is 
specialised as regards the dentition of the lower jaw, it stands 
very near the transitional type between the lemur and the 
monkey. It may be supposed that this early type of South 
American monkey first developed in and spread over Tropical 
Africa, and passed thence (driven out, possibly, before the more 
highly-developed, narrow-nosed family, the Catarrhines) across 
the land bridge which once connected West Africa with Venezuela, 
and so reached South America. 

In previous chapters of this book the former extension of the 
Antarctic Continent has been dwelt on, and it has been shown that 
there are good reasons to suppose that it connected South America 
with New Zealand and Australia, but not with South Africa. 
At the same time there are equally good reasons to postulate 
the existence in early Tertiary times of a land bridge connecting 
Venezuela and Brazil with Western Africa ; and it has therefore 
been argued that the resemblances between the Madagascar (as 
representing the primitive African) fauna and the South American 
and Australian vertebrates and land invertebrates may be explained 
by their migration to and from South America and Africa by 
means of this Equatorial land bridge, and not by the connection 
between the Cape Peninsula and Antarctica, a connection which 
is rendered problematical by the great depths of the intervening 
sea. In this manner the South American Continent became 
peopled with those early representatives of the sub-order Simice — 
the American monkeys. It would therefore seem as though the 
Primates, having originated in North America (at that time 
completely cut off from the southern part of the hemisphere), 
travelled first to Europe, then to Africa, and thence penetrated 
South America in the form of the Platyrrhine monkeys. By this 
time the land connection through Antarctica between South 

their broad noses, the number of their molar and premolar teeth (they 
always have three pairs of premolars instead of the two found in other 
monkeys and in man), and in some other particulars. 


America and Australasia had ceased. Therefore, although the 
South American monkeys reached as far south in that continent 
as the Rio de la Plata, they never spread into Australasia.^ 

It is possible, also, that in Africa from the basal stock of the 
Platyrrhines arose the Catarrhines, or Old World apes, dis- 
tinguished from the New World monkeys by the presence of 
only two pairs of premolars in the dentition, by the narrow 
nose, by the structure of the bony supports to the ears, and 
several other features in the skull. Africa, therefore, may have 
originated the True Apes, the direct ancestors of man. The 
competition between the lemurs, on the one hand, and their 
more perfected descendants, the Platyrrhines and Catarrhines, 
drove the former southwards and eastwards into that projection 
of the African Continent which is now the island of Madagascar, 
leaving at the present day only a few isolated species of lemur 
on the main continent of Tropical Africa. Madagascar was cut 
off from Africa by the sea during the Tertiary Epoch, and at a 
time before it could receive any form of real monkey. Thence- 
forth Madagascar remained the great home of the lemurs, 
many genera of which attained extraordinary specialisation. 
Thus the lemurs originated in North America, but have found 
their final resting-place in a large island several hundred miles 
off the east coast of Africa ! 

The Catarrhine monkeys, having originated in Africa, where 
by far the preponderating number of types are found at the 
present day, spread northwards to the Mediterranean, Europe, 
and across Arabia and Syria into Asia. Prior to this migration 
they were probably sufficiently differentiated to represent the 
parent types of the genera Semnopithecus, Macacus^ Cynocephalus^ 
and the sub-family of the anthropoid apes. In Central and 
Southern Europe the anthropoid apes appear first to have 
emerged distinctly from the mere monkey, and, together with 

^ The present and Pleistocene distribution of the South American 
monkeys strongly suggests their African origin. They are most numerous 
in species in the north-eastern part of the South American Continent (Brazil), 
though they penetrated as far south as Patagonia. 



the baboons, the Semnopitheci (or long-tailed entellus monkeys) 
and the macaques, to have reached India and Tropical Asia. In 
India, man himself seems to have grown out of an early genus 
of the anthropoid apes, and from Tropical Asia he went forth 
to conquer the world and to spread into every habitable portion 
of the globe. 

In the middle of the Tertiary Epoch monkeys very similar to 
the macaques and Semnopitheci^ as well as later forms actually 
identical with the genera Semnopiihecus and Macacus^ lived in large 
numbers in Southern, Central, and Western Europe, especially in 
France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Greece. One of these 
forms {Oreopithecus), a native of Italy, seems to have been in the 
direct line of man's ascent. It is noteworthy that it possessed no 
largely developed canine, and that its teeth, like those of man, 
were without a diastema, or open space separating one tooth from 
another. A species of Macacus, tentatively called pliocenus^ in- 
habited England in the early part of the Pleistocene period, and 
may just possibly have been contemporaneous in the Thames 
Valley with the first arrivals of Palaeolithic man. This genus 
Macacus, which is now mainly Asiatic in its range (and which is 
the only monkey inhabiting north temperate regions with a 
climate as cold as England), is the only representative of its 
family still existing in Europe, for one species of macaque 
inhabits the rock of Gibraltar as well as the adjoining regions of 
North Africa. Its presence there has been ascribed to the agency 
of man, but there is every reason to suppose the contrary, 
especially as its fossil remains are found in Gibraltar caves 
and elsewhere in Southern Spain. This is possibly identical 
with the species of macaque that once inhabited Essex, and no 
doubt other parts of Southern England. 


Man agrees with the Old World apes and monkeys in the 
number and character of his teeth, though he differs from the 
majority of these allies in never showing any diastema, or open 


space between the placing of the teeth, and in the small develop- 
ment of the canines, which project but little, if at all, beyond the 
line of the incisors and premolars. He is also able to assume 
without difficulty the erect position, and to walk erect without 
stooping or shambling. His body, moreover, as compared with 
apes and monkeys, is nearly hairless. Like them, he has no out- 
ward tail, the tail bones being tucked under the pelvis, or basin. 
Unlike them, the first toe in the feet can no longer be used as 
an opposable thumb ; it has become the longest and biggest toe 
of the foot. On it the chief weight is thrown in walking, and 
the rest of the toes are tending towards disappearance, so that 
man is on his way to becoming a one-toed animal, not by the 
extreme development of the middle toe, as in the horse, but 
by the extravagant growth of that first toe, which is so often 
reduced to uselessness or lost altogether in the other Mammalia. 
There are many slight differences in the structure of man's 
skeleton and soft parts which separate him from the anthropoid 
apes and the monkeys, and there is, of course, that wonderful 
cranial development, which, however, has constantly occurred in 
past ages in a slighter degree in the development of other 
Primates — lemurs and American monkeys ; though, owing to the 
want of help from local circumstances, it resulted in nothing. 
Putting sentiment aside, it is sometimes questionable whether 
physiologists should rank the physical difference between man 
and apes as more than attributable to a sub-family. In the early 
part of the nineteenth century, before the teaching of Darwin 
had revolutionised zoological classification, man was placed in 
an order by himself On the other hand, in the middle of 
the eighteenth century the great Swedish naturalist, Linnasus, 
scarcely regarded the difference between man and the higher 
apes as more than generic. In the absence of further infor- 
mation, however, regarding the connecting links which once 
existed between man and the earlier types of anthropoid apes, it 
is perhaps reasonable to give him a separate family {Hominida) 
to himself. 



Genus : HOMO. MAN 

The nearest approach on the part of the anthropoid apes 
to the genus Homo seems to be represented by Pithecanthropus., 
that man-like creature whose remains were discovered by Dr. 
Dubois in Tertiary strata of Java. It is practically certain that 
man did not descend from any of the existing types of anthro- 
poid apes — the gorilla, chimpanzee, orang utan, and gibbon. We 
must go back apparently to the parent form of the anthropoid 
apes before we can find a common starting-point. In some 
respects man resembles the least differentiated among existing 
anthropoids (the gibbons of Asia), but differs from them again 
by his small canine teeth, a most persistent human character. 
The genus Homo., from such indications as we possess, would 
seem to have originated in, or not far from, the peninsula of 
India, and from that neighbourhood to have branched out into 
three very distinct types, which, but for their constant inter- 
mingling, have every claim to be regarded as distinct species. 
Accepting them, however, as sub-species, the Homo sapiens of 
Linnasus may for convenience be divided into these three 
principal types : Homo sapiens athiopicus., H. sapiens caucasicus^ and 
H. sapiens mongolicus. Perhaps the lowest existing forms of the 
human race belong to the two first sub-species, and physically 
these two present more archaic features than the Mongolian. The 
original stock of Homo sapiens before these divergences took place 
was (we may postulate from the evidence at our command) not 
unlike the Australian aboriginal or Veddah of Ceylon : a yellow- 
skinned, prognathous man, with overhanging brows sheltering 
largish eyes placed rather close together, with a retreating chin and 
large teeth, especially as regards incisors and molars. He was high- 
shouldered, short-necked, with long arms, and slightly bowed 
legs. He was moderately hairy all over the back and outer 
aspect of the limbs and breast in the male, but much less hairy in 
the female. The head hair was equally long in both sexes, black 
or occasionally red, with a tendency to curl. There was face 
hair (a moustache, beard, and whiskers in both sexes, though 


much less in the female than In the males). Something like this 
hypothetical sketch can be seen in the wild Veddahs of Ceylon, 
who, if we had a Government that cared two straws for unpro- 
ductive science, would be most carefully preserved and nurtured 
as an object lesson. 

Homo sapiens caucasicus. The White Man 

This is the commonest mammal in the British Islands at the 
present day, with the doubtful exception of the long-tailed field- 
mouse. It is, perhaps, simplest to style this sub-species in the 
vernacular the " White man," in contrast to the Yellow man 
(Homo sapiens mongolicus), and the Black man {Homo sapiens at hiopi- 
cus). But the more primitive types of this sub-species at the 
present day (and, no doubt, in past times) tend very often to 
possess a dusky or brownish-yellow skin, though much of their 
deepening colour is, no doubt, due to ancient intermixture with 
the Ethiopian race. In some respects the lowest types, fossil 
and existing, of Caucasic man come nearest to the primal stock 
of humanity, and are less differentiated from the ape than is the 
Negro or Mongolian. On the other hand, its highest examples 
have almost left the class of Mammalia to found a new class of 
Demigods. The sub-specific name caucasicus^ or Caucasian, has 
been much contested, but inasmuch as this type of humanity 
early attained a very typical form in the races about the Caucasus, 
and as europaus would not comprise a race which dwells also 
(apart from recent migrations) in Asia and Africa, caucasicus 
is, perhaps, the least inapt designation, as it represents the locality 
In which the white man probably first became emphatically a 
white man. 

Britain has been inhabited by man since the early part of 
the Pleistocene period, when he seems to have entered England 
from Belgium or France, and to have spread northwards and 
north-westwards Into Scotland and Ireland. The Glacial con- 
ditions which afflicted Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Northern 
England during the Pleistocene no doubt much interfered with 
early man's prosperity and peregrinations In these parts, and 


after his first incursion he may have retreated before the ice until 
conditions became more tolerable. Nevertheless, he would seem 
certainly to have been contemporaneous in England with the 
great fauna of Early and Mid-Pleistocene times, and in Ireland 
to have co-existed with the huge megaceros deer, while his 
remains in Western Scotland go back to an equally remote 

The first types of Palaeolithic man that invaded these islands 
were related to that low, almost simian race of Belgium and 
Germany which we distinguish as the Neanderthaloid type, a 
type, in all probability, not much different from the generalised 
Australian aboriginal, who is either a very low Caucasian or a 
direct descendant of the basal type of humanity. A picture of 
the living Veddah of Ceylon would give a very fair idea of the 
aspect of Palaeolithic British man. It is possible, however, that 
there is a Mongoloid element in the British races. Early in the 
history of mankind an enterprising section of the early Mon- 
golian, or yellow-skinned, straight-haired race boldly attacked 
the frozen North as it lay under the glaciers of the Pleistocene. 
Becoming more and more carnivorous, and learning to clothe 
themselves in the skins of the beasts they killed, and, no doubt, 
making use of the recently acquired knowledge of fire produc- 
tion, these early Mongoloids (equivalent to the modern Eskimo) 
apparently ranged round the northern regions of the Old and 
New Worlds, and came to Britain and France when the cold 
was still great, but when there were abundant supplies of rein- 
deer, horses, mammoth, and wild cattle to nourish carnivorous 
man. It is possible that a little Palaeolithic blood still lingers in 
Britain, especially in out-of-the-way parts of Ireland, Wales, and 
Scotland. It is equally likely that in the same localities there is 
more than a dash of the Eskimo, giving the broad cheek bones, 
flattened nose, clumsy build, and peepy eyes of the Hyperborean 
as seen in the modern Samoieds and Eskimo. 

But under more favourable conditions in Western Asia and 
Southern Europe the Caucasic race had developed that handsome 
type which it is convenient to call Iberian— the white-skinned. 


dark-haired, dark-eyed, hairy man, with a skin which, though 
tanned by exposure, is still clear enough to show a blush. The 
dark-haired whites developed the first civilisation, and spread it 
westwards over the Mediterranean Basin in North Africa and 
South Europe, having, amongst other things, a passion for 
raising objects of worship or tombs in the shape of huge erect 
stones. The dark-haired, white-skinned Iberian spread through 
France and Southern Germany into Denmark, England, Wales, 
Ireland, and Scotland, where their descendants may be seen not 
much difFerentiated at the present day. They were possibly the 
Picts of history, while the fairies of legend were undoubtedly the 
hunted remains of Palaeolithic man — the dwarfish descendants of 
the Australoid and Eskimo aborigines. The Iberian, in short, 
was Neolithic man, with his vastly improved implements of 
stone. He too began first to utilise metals. 

Then, much later, somewhere in the north of Europe arose 
a remarkable type of white man, whose origin is still uncertain. 
He was even paler and clearer-skinned than the Iberian, and 
consequently more blushing, but he differed notably from this 
and from all other types of humanity by retaining the gray eyes 
of infancy, and developing them until the iris was nearly blue in 
colour. He was also notable for his red, still more his blonde 
or brown hair. Whether he arose directly as a variety of the 
primal Caucasian stock, or whether he was originally due to an 
intermixture with the Mongolian, is uncertain. A tendency to 
red or to dark brown hair exists in the germ of the human species. 
Anthropoid apes, our cousins of to-day, not only are reddish- 
yellow and brown in some genera and black-haired in others, but 
even black-haired apes, like the gorilla, have a tendency, especially 
in the female, to develop reddish hairs. The Congo pygmies, 
who are amongst the lowest type of Negro, also incline towards 
redness of hair on the head, and the fine down on their bodies 
is reddish-yellow. Even the Iberians in Afghanistan and North 
Africa developed a variety with reddish-brown hair and gray 
eyes. A downright red-haired type of Caucasian man seems to 
have been an extremely old variety, and is that which is so often 


met with in Scotland, Ireland, France, and Portugal, which is, in 
fact, the only racial type one can associate with the speaking of 
Keltic languages. The blue-eyed, absolutely golden-haired 
Aryan, the race found in Scandinavia, in Ancient Greece, in 
Russia, in Germany, and Anglo-Saxon England, is a marked 
type of apparently recent birth — recent, that is to say, in the 
history of human development. This type for the sake of 
convenience one may style the Aryan, since it is associated 
with the introduction of the Aryan family of languages. 

The next invader of Britain after the Iberian was the red- 
haired Kelt, who had an Aryan language imposed on him, no 
doubt by conquest, at the hands of the true golden-haired 
Aryans. Arriving in Britain from Belgium, having already 
seemingly differentiated his Keltic vocabulary into two groups,^ 
represented by the modern Welsh and Gaelic, he possessed, no 
doubt, some advantage of physique and weapons, but was 
nevertheless unable or unwilling completely to exterminate his 
Iberian predecessors, on whom, however, he imposed his Aryan 
vocabulary. The children resulting from the mixed marriages 
between the red-haired Kelt and the black-haired Iberian retained 
from their mothers the Iberian grammar and structure of their 
speech. The result is that Welsh and Gaelic represent a curious 
compromise : the grammar and structure of the tongues are 
akin to that of the Berber languages, are, in short, North 
African, while the vocabulary is mainly Aryan or North 
European. No doubt much the same linguistic compromise 
was accomplished in France, and perhaps to some lesser extent 
in Italy and Northern Spain. The only remains of the aboriginal 
Iberian tongue is modern Basque, spoken in the Pyrenees. 

The Brythonic, or British branch of the Keltic group, may 
also have been the original speech of the flaxen-haired, blue- 
eyed Belgians who invaded Eastern Britain after the red-haired 

The Roman invasion introduced a small but powerful ele- 
ment of very diverse origin. There were dark-haired Iberians 
' Brythonic and Goidhelic, 


from Italy, Spain, and Southern Gaul, which reinforced the 
dark-haired stock in Britain. There were red-headed Kelts and 
flaxen-haired Belgi also in the Roman armies. Then before 
the Romans left came the forerunners of the great Teutonic 
invasion. Yellow-haired, blue-eyed men from Scandinavia, from 
Western Germany, and Friesland began to settle on the coasts 
of Scotland and East Anglia, and after the Romans left the 
Teutonic invasion of Britain and Ireland proceeded apace. The 
Teutons and Scandinavians were flaxen or red-haired, blue- or 
gray-eyed northern Aryans, speaking pure Aryan languages. 
Some of them may have been slightly changed in physique by 
mixture with the Lapp and the Finn, that mixture which gives 
such a Mongolian aspect to some of the inhabitants of Eastern 
Germany and Northern Russia. In the main, however, this was 
the clearly-defined, good-looking type which we see to-day in 
the agricultural districts along the coasts of Eastern England 
and the coast regions all round Ireland. This handsome Scan- 
dinavian type remains particularly pure in Ireland at the present 
day, and is by no means confined to the coast, though not much 
met with in the centre and south. It is well represented in the 
Royal Irish Constabulary. It is the best type of Englishman, 
but is rare in Scotland except in the Shetland Islands and the 
English borderland. It is easily distinguishable from the many 
other types of Scotch physiognomy by the lesser prominence of 
the cheek-bones, the straight and moderately short nose, and the 
blue eyes. It is curious that this Scandinavian type, so much 
associated with the best and conventional kind of Englishman, 
should be most strikingly represented in Ireland. 

A slight reinforcement of the Iberian element was probably 
the outcome of the Norman Conquest. Many of the Normans 
who invaded England were largely of French extraction and 
of the dark-haired type. But under the Angevin kings who 
succeeded to the Norman dynasty considerable numbers of 
Gascons, Poitevins, and other types of dark Frenchmen entered 
the country, and being given positions of influence and impor- 
tance, became the sires of many children, legitimate and illegiti- 


mate. Under the Normans, too, and thenceforth down to our 
own days, Jews and Gipsies entered England, the Jews settling- 
for the most part at the coast towns, while the Gipsies pro- 
portionately to their small numbers exerted a remarkable influence 
over the character of the population in many parts of Essex, 
Devon, Shropshire, Lancashire, and Southern Scotland. The 
Gipsies were originally a nomad race of North-western India, be- 
longing to the Caucasian family, of mixed Dravidian, Iberian, and 
Aryan stock. They infused into parts of England the influence 
of the dark eyes, dark hair, and lither forms of the eastern 
Caucasian. The Jewish type has exerted the most influence over 
parts of Kent, South Hampshire, South Yorkshire, London and 
its suburbs, and Lancashire. The connection of Bristol and 
Glasgow with the West Indian trade has actually introduced a 
slight (and now scarcely traceable) negro element into the 
population on the banks of the Clyde and the Somersetshire 
Avon. Numbers of merchants and adventurers from Scotland 
and Bristol married in the West Indies half-castes, or quadroons 
or octoroons, and their children — dark-haired, brown-eyed, and 
vivacious, and not diff^ering very markedly from the Iberian 
element — have perpetuated this strain in the districts above 
mentioned. As Ireland has been kept apart from all consider- 
able racial immigration since the invasion of the island by the 
Norman and English nobility (who, however, brought over 
numbers of Welsh and a few English and Scotch settlers at 
diff'erent times), it is in Ireland that may be seen most marked 
and least blurred the main elements of the British population 
prior to the Norman Conquest — the oldest stock of all 
(Neanderthaloid and Eskimo), the handsome Iberian, the red- 
haired Kelt — ugly, but strong, resolute, and grim — the fair-haired 
Norseman, and the very similar but shorter-statured Anglo- 

With the exception of the red deer, the common mouse, 
the brown and the black rats, man is probably the most recently 
arrived mammal in the British Islands, and his advent and 
development may fitly close this review. 



For the convenience of readers, a summary is here given of 
the classification and the scientific and vernacular names of the 
known British Mammalia. The species which are inhabitants 
of any parts of the British Islands (or of the sea round about the 
British Islands) at the present day are printed in black type. 
Those that are common, or which may be seen in some parts of 
the British Islands without difficulty, are underlined, in addition 
to the heavy type. Species that are very doubtful natives of the 
British Isles are placed between brackets, and are not counted. 

It will be noted that out of the 113 recorded species of 
the British Mammalia since the commencement of the Pleistocene 
Period, 38 are universally distributed, 2S species are restricted 
in distribution to England (and possibly Wales), 25 are common 
to England and Scotland, 1 1 to England and Ireland, 2 species 
are entirely restricted to Scotland in their known range, i 
species is common to Ireland and Scotland, and i species is 
only found in Ireland. This gives England (and perhaps 
Wales) a total, past and present, of 109, Scotland 66, and 
Ireland only 51. 







Monodon nionoceros. The Narwhal. 

(Practically extinct. Found fossil in East Anglia, and recorded 
within the Historical Period from the coasts of Scotland and 
Delphinapterus leucas. The Beluga, or White Whale. 

(Northern coasts of Scotland and East coast of England.) 
Phocaena communis. The Common Porpoise. 

(Coasts of Great Britain and Ireland.) 
Orca gladiator. The Common Killer Whale, or Grampus. 

(Seas round British Islands.) 
Pseiidorca crassidens. The Lesser Killer. 

(Extinct. Found fossil in Lincolnshire.) 
Globicephalus melas. The Black Pish, or Pilot or 
" Ca'ing " Whale. 

(Coasts of Great Britain and Ireland.) 
Grampus griseus. Risso's Grampus. 

(Very rare. Coasts of Great Britain.) 
Lagenorhynchus albirostris. The White-beaked Dolphin. 

(Rare. Coasts of Great Britain and Ireland.) 
Lagenorhynctius acutus. The White-sided Dolphin. 

(Very rare. Northern coasts of Scotland.) 
Delphi nus Delphis. The Common Porpoise. 

(Coasts of Southern and Eastern England and Southern Ireland.) 
Tursiops tursio. The Bottle-nosed Dolphin. 

(Rare. Coasts of Great Britain and Ireland.) 


Physeter macrocephalus. 

(Extinct. Seas round Great Britain and Ireland.) 
Hyperoodon rostratus. The Common or Bottle-nosed 

(Coasts of Great Britain.) 


Ziphius cavirostris. Cuvier's Whale. 

(Very rare, only one example having been found in British 
waters, off the mainland of Shetland.) 
Mesoplodon bidens. Sowerby's Whale. 

(Rare. East coasts of Scotland and England.) 



Bal(zna australis. The Southern Right Whale. 

(Extinct in British waters. Formerly an inhabitant of the seas 
round the British Islands.) 

Megaptera boops. The Hump-backed Whale. 

(Waters round the British Islands. Fairly common.) 
Balasnoptera musculus. The Common Rorqual. 

(Waters round the British Islands.) 
Balxnoptera sibbaldii. Sibbald's Rorqual, or the Blue 
(Rare. Occasionally met with in the waters round the coasts 
of Scotland and the north-east coast of England.) 
Balaenoptera borealis. Rudolphi's Rorqual. 

(Rare. Eastern coasts of Scotland and England.) 
Balasnoptera acuto-rostrata. The Lesser Rorqual, or Pike 
(Waters round the British Islands.) 

Erinaceus europaeus. The Common Hedgehog. 

(Great Britain, except the Hebrides and Scottish islands. 

Family, TALPID.E. The MOLES. 
Talpa europasa. The Common Mole. 

(England and Wales, most parts of Scotland, including the 
island of Mull, but not the extreme north of Scotland or 
the Hebrides. Not found in Ireland.) 

Sorex vulgaris. The Common Shrew. 

(England and Wales, and most parts of Scotland, except the 
extreme north and the islands. Not found in Ireland.) 


Sorex minutus. The Lesser or Pygmy Shrew. 

(Rather rare in Northern England. Found all over Scotland, 
including the Hebrides, and abundantly in Ireland.) 
Crossopus fodiens. The Water Shrew. 

(Common throughout England and Wales. Rare in Scotland, 
but extends its range to the extreme north. Not found in 
the Hebrides or the Scotch islands, and absent from Ireland.) 


Vespertilio serotinus. The Serotine Bat. 
(Distribution confined to a small portion of the south-east of 
England, where it is not uncommon.) 
Vespertilio murinus (discolor). The Parti-coloured Bat. 
(A doubtful British species. Only one example obtained, at 
Pterygistes noctula. The Great Bat, or Noctule. 

(Found in England and north-east of Ireland, but not as yet 
met with in Wales or Scotland.) 
Pterygistes leisleri. The Hairy-armed Bat. 

(Found in England and north-east of Ireland. Not met with 
in Wales or Scotland.) 
Pipistreilus pipistrellus. The Common Bat, or Pipistrelle. 
(Universally distributed over the British Islands, including the 
Hebrides and the Isle of Man.) 
My Otis dasycneme. The Rough-legged Bat. 

(Very rare. An occasional visitor to the south of England.) 
Myotis daubentoni. Daubenton's Bat. 

(England, possibly Wales, the south and east of Scotland, the 
north and east of Ireland.) 
Myotis nattereri. The Reddish-gray Bat. 

(England and Wales, the west of Scotland, and most parts of 
Myotis beclisteini. Bechstein's Bat. 

(Very rare as a British species. Only known specimens captured 
a hundred years ago in the New Forest, and in 1902 at 
Henley-on-Thames and in Sussex.) 

' The nomenclature of the bats — British and European — of the family Vespertiltonidie 
has been much altered recently — since 1898. The former genus, Vesperugo, has been 
divided into the genera Vespertilio, Pterygistes, and Pipistrellus, Vespertilio replacing 
Vespervgo by a somewhat fanatical adhesion to the principal of priority (Linnaeus first 
applied that name to the parti-coloured bat). The old Vespertilio of the latter half of 
the nineteenth century is replaced by the still older term Myotis. 


Myotis myotis. The Common Continental Bat. 

(Of some uncertainty as a British species. Only specimens 
caught hitherto found in London, near the British Museum, 
and in Cambridgeshire. Reported to exist in Dorsetshire and 
the Isle of Wight.) 
Myotis mystacinus. The Whiskered Bat. 

(Somewhat rare. Recorded from the southern half of England, 
and reported to be met with in the west of Ireland. Absent 
from Scotland.) 
Myotis emarginatus. The Notch-eared Bat. 

(Of very doubtful occurrence as a British species. May be found 
in South England, as it is common in North France.) 
Barbastel/a barbastellus. The Barbastelle Bat. 

(Met with over the greater part of England. Absent from 
Scotland and Ireland.) 
Plecotus auritus. The Long-eared Bat. 

(Almost universally distributed over the country districts of 
England, Ireland, and Scotland. Probably absent from the 
Hebrides and the Scotch islands.) 


Rhinolophus ferrum-equinum. The Greater Horseshoe 

(Distribution limited to the southern half of England.) 
Rhinolophus hipposiderus. The Lesser Horseshoe Bat. 

(Distribution apparently limited to the southern half of England 
and the western districts of Ireland.) 



Family, CANID.^. The DOGS. 

Lycaofi anglicus (?). The English Hunting Dog. 

(Extinct. Of not very certain occurrence, but thought to have 
existed in England and Wales during the Pleistocene Period.) 
Canis vulpes. The Common Fox. 

(Almost universally distributed over the British Islands, except 
the Hebrides, Shetlands, and Orkneys.) 
Catiis lupus. The Wolf. 

(Extinct. Formerly distributed all over Great Britain and 


Family, URSID.E. The BEARS. 
Ursus arctos. The Brown Bear. 
(Extinct. Formerly distributed over Great Britain and Ireland, 
except the Hebrides and Scottish islands.) 
\Ursus horribilis. The Grizzly Bear.] 

(It is thought that remains of this type of bear have been 
found in Pleistocene deposits in Ireland and England.) 
Ursus spelceus. The Cave Bear. 
(Extinct. Formerly abundant in the southern half of England 
and in Wales.) 

^lurics anglicus. The British Panda. 

(Extinct. Inhabited the east and possibly the south of England 
at the commencement of the Pleistocene Period.) 

Lutra vulgaris. The Common Otter. 

(Found in the wilder parts of England, all Scotch rivers and 
sea coasts, Welsh and Irish rivers and coasts.) 
Meles taxus. The Common Badger. 

(Scarce in the more inhabited districts of England, but fairly 
common in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man. 
Absent from the Hebrides and the Scotch islands.) 
Gulo luscus. The Glutton. 

(Extinct. Distribution probably limited in former times to 
England, Wales, and south of Scotland.) 
Mustela martes. The Pine Marten. 

(Scarce in England and Wales, except in the wilder forested 
parts. Found in Scottish Highlands, and until recently in 
the Hebrides. Fairly abundant throughout Ireland.) 
Putorlus fcetidus. The Common Polecat. 

(Very scarce in England, except in the wilder parts. Found in 
Scotland, but absent from the Hebrides and the large Scottish 
islands, and from Ireland.) 
Putorlus ermineus . The Stoat, or Ermine. 

(Common throughout England, Wales, and Scotland, but not 
found in Ireland or the Hebrides.) 
Putorlus hibernicus. The Irish Stoat. 
(Range entirely restricted to Ireland.) 


Putorius nivalis. The Weasel. 

(Common throughout England, Wales, and most parts of 
Scotland, except the extreme north and the islands. Not 
found in Ireland.) 

Family, HY^ENIDyE. The HYENAS. 
Hycena striata. The Striped Hyaena. 

(Extinct. Inhabited Eastern England at commencement of 
Pleistocene Period.) 
HycBna crocuta. The Spotted Hyaena. 

(Extinct. Very common throughout the Pleistocene Period in 
England and Wales. Absent from Scotland and Ireland.) 


Machairodus latidens. The Broad-tusked Machairodont. 

(Extinct. Inhabited east and south of England in the early 
Machairodus cultridens. The Sabre-toothed "Tiger." 

(Extinct, ? East of England in early Pleistocene.) 

Family, FELID^. The TRUE CATS. 

Felis leo {Felis spelcea). The Lion (sometimes called the Cave 
(Extinct. Very abundant throughout England and Wales during 
the Pleistocene and Prehistoric Periods. Absent from Scot- 
land and Ireland.) 
Felis pardus. The Leopard. 

(Extinct. Remains found in no great abundance in south and 
south-west of England during the Pleistocene Period.) 
Felis lynx. The European or Common Lynx. 

(Extinct. Inhabited England, and probably Southern Scotland, 
during the Pleistocene Period, and lingered down to the verge 
of the Historical Epoch.) 
Felis brevirostris. The Short-faced Lynx. 

(Extinct. Inhabited parts of England at the commencement 
of the Pleistocene Period.) 
Felis caffra. The Egyptian Cat. 

(Extinct. Inhabited Southern England in the Pleistocene 
Felis catus. The Wild Cat. 

(Nearly extinct. Only lingering in the north of Scotland. 
Formerly abundant throughout all Great Britain, but absent 
from Ireland.) 



OdobcBnus rosmarus. The Walrus. 
(Practically extinct as a British species. In the Pleistocene 
Period frequented the east coasts of England, and was met 
with occasionally off the northern coasts of Scotland down 
to 1857. Not reported to have occurred off Ireland.) 
Phoca vitulina. The Common Seal. 

(South-west and north coasts of England, coasts of Wales, 
Scotland, and Ireland.) 
Phoca grcenlandica. The Harp Seal. 

(Almost extinct in British waters. Formerly met with of!" the 
coasts of England, Scotland, and Ireland.) 
Phoca hisplda. The Ringed Seal. 
(Very scarce. Occasionally met with on coasts of Hebrides, 
Korth-east Scotland, and Eastern England.) 
Phoca harbata. The Bearded Seal. 

(Probably extinct. Reported from Hebrides coast fifty years 
ago. Found fossil in Eastern England.) 
Halichoerus grypus. The Gray Seal. 

(Fairly abundant off the south-west and north coasts of Ireland, 
and the coasts of Scotland and of all the large islands, 
including the Hebrides. Rarely met with off the coasts of 
Wales, Cornwall, and Norfolk.) 
Cystophora cristata. The Hooded or Bladder-nosed Seal. 
(Occasionally met with off the eastern coasts of England and 
Scotland, and the Orkney Islands, and off the west coast of 

Family, LAGOMYID^. The PIKAS. 
Lagomys alpinus. The Siberian Pika. 

(Extinct. Found in Southern England during Pleistocene Period.) 

Oryctolagus cuniculus. The Common Rabbit. 

(Probably indigenous, and not directly introduced by man. 

Abundant throughout England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.) 
Lepus timidus. The Mountain Hare. 

(Distribution at the present day limited to Scotland, the Hebrides, 

and Ireland, but common in England during the Pleistocene 



Lepus europasus. The Common Hare. 

(Very common throughout England. Found also in Wales and 
Scotland ; but of recent introduction into Scotland, and 
scarce in the extreme north. Absent from Ireland, from the 
Hebrides, and from the Scottish islands.) 

Sub-order, SIMPLICIDENTATA. RODENTS with only one 
pair of incisor teeth in both jaws. 

Sciurus vulgaris. The Common Squirrel. 

(Very abundant throughout England and Wales. Less commonly 
met with in Ireland and Scotland.) 
Spermophilus citillus. The Suslik. 

(Extinct. Inhabited England during the Pleistocene Period.) 

Castor fiber. The Beaver. 

(Extinct. Inhabited England, Wales, and Scotland from the 
Pleistocene Period down to relatively recent times — eighth 
century in England, sixteenth century in Scotland. Absent 
from Ireland.) 
Trogontherium cuvieri. The Giant Beaver. 
(Extinct. Inhabited Eastern England at the beginning of the 
Pleistocene Period.) 

Family, GLIRID^. The DORMICE. 

Muscardinus avellanarius. The Common Dormouse. 

(Common in the south and centre of England and the south of 
Wales. Much scarcer in the north of England. Has never 
been recorded from Scotland, and is entirely absent from 

Family, MURID^. The RATS and MICE. 
Mus decumanus. The Brown Rat. 

(Only introduced into the British Islands through the agency 
of man at the commencement of the eighteenth century. 
Now universally distributed throughout Great Britain and 
Mus rattus. The Black Rat. 

(Probably introduced by the agency of man into these islands 
in the eleventh century. At one time very abundant, but 
now becoming scarce. It is found in parts of Northern 
England, and in Scotland and Ireland.) 


Mas musculus. The Common Mouse. 

(Universally distributed throughout the British Islands.) 
Mus sylvaticus. The Long-tailed Field Mouse. 

(Five sub-species or varieties are found in the British Islands, 
one of which {M. s. hirtensis) is limited to the island of St. 
Kilda, and another {M. s. hebridensis) to the islands of Lewis 
and Barra in the Outer Hebrides. A third variety {M. s. 
celticus) is restricted so far as the British Islands are con- 
cerned to the south and west of Ireland, the Hebrides, and 
the island of Skye. A fourth variety {M. s. wintoni) is 
restricted to the southern half and the north-east of England. 
The fifth form {M. s. intermedius) is found pretty widely dis- 
tributed over Great Britain and Ireland, the Isle of Man, 
and the Channel Islands.) 
Mus minutus. The Harvest Mouse. 

(Absent from Ireland, and its distribution mainly confined to 
England and Wales, together with a small portion of Eastern 
and Southern Scotland.) 
Microtus agrestis. The Field Vole. 

(Absent from Ireland. Common throughout Great Britain and 
some of the nearer Hebrides.) 
Microtus amphibius. The Water Vole. 

(Absent from Ireland, common throughout Great Britain.) 
Evotomys glareotus. The Bank Vole. 

(Absent from Ireland, and restricted in its distribution to 
England, Wales, and the southern half of Scotland.) 
Myodes lejfwius. The Lemming. 

(Extinct. Inhabited England, Ireland, and possibly Wales in 
the Pleistocene Period.) 
Cuniculus torquatus. The Banded Lemming. 

(Extinct. Inhabited Southern and Eastern England in the 
Pleistocene Period.) 




(Elephas meridionalis, the Southern Elephant, and Elephas antiquus, 
both of them belonging to the African group of the True 
Elephants allied to Elephas africans at the present day, 
inhabited Southern England at the beginning of the Pleistocene 


Elephas primigenius. The Mammoth. 

(Extinct. The Mammoth was found over all England and 
Wales, in the southern and lowland regions of Scotland, 
and all over Ireland. It entered Great Britain during the 
Pleistocene Period, and lingered in Ireland almost to the 
verge of historical times.) 


Ccelodonta [or Diceros'\ hptorhinus. The Slender-nosed Rhinoceros. 
(Extinct. Inhabited Southern and Central England and Wales 
in the Pleistocene Period.) 
Diceros megarhinus. The Big-nosed Rhinoceros. 

(Extinct. Inhabited Southern England and South Wales in the 
Pleistocene Period.) 
Diceros antiquitatis. The Woolly Rhinoceros. 

(Extinct. Inhabited England and Wales in great abundance 
during the Pleistocene Period, lingering perhaps down into 
Prehistoric times and the advent of Neolithic man.) 

Family, EQUID^. The HORSES. 

Equus stenonis. Steno's Horse. 

(Extinct. This was a primitive type of horse which was still 
existing in Eastern and perhaps Southern England at the 
commencement of the Pleistocene Period.) 
Equus caballus . The True Horse. 

(Exists in a domestic condition; but probably descended from 
the wild form in the west of Ireland, and possibly parts of 
England and Scotland. As a wild species the True Horse 
existed in enormous numbers throughout Great Britain and 
Ireland from the close of the Pliocene, through the Pleistocene 
and Prehistoric, to the Historical Period.) 


Hippopotamus amphibius. 

(Extinct. Inhabited England as far north as Yorkshire, possibly 
also parts of Wales. Remains of the hippopotamus are 
thought to have been found in Antrim caves in the north- 
east of Ireland. The hippopotamus lingered as an inhabitant 
of England to near the close of the Pleistocene Period.) 



Family, SUID^. The PIGS. 

[A very large pig, Sus erymanthius, which inhabited England 
during the Pliocene, may have lingered on into the Pleisto- 
cene. Its remains — which may be identical with a species 
variously termed Sus antiquus — have been obtained from the 
late Pliocene formations of East Anglia, together with those 
of Sus palcBochcerusJ] 

Sus scrofa. The Wild Boar. 

(Extinct. Inhabited Great Britain and Ireland through the 
Pleistocene and Prehistoric Periods, and only became finally 
extinct in Britain during the seventeenth century.) 

Family, CERVID^E. The DEER. 
Capreolus caprsea. The Roe Deer. 

(Formerly abundant in England, Wales, and Scotland, but now 
restricted as a wild species to Scotland, though reintroduced 
in a feral condition into England and Wales, and also 
imported into Ireland, of which country the Roe is not a 
Alces tnachlis. The Elk, or Moose. 

(Extinct. An inhabitant of Great Britain and Ireland in the 
Pleistocene Period, and possibly remaining on in certain 
districts into Prehistoric times.) 
Rangifer tarandus. The Reindeer. 

(Extinct. An inhabitant of Great Britain and Ireland during 
the Pleistocene Period. It lingered on through the Pre- 
historic Period into the Historic, and probably did not 
become finally extinct in the north of Scotland till the 
eleventh century.) 
Cervus dama. The Fallow Deer. 

(A species doubtfully indigenous to Great Britain. Fossil 
remains very like Cervus dama and others belonging to 
Cervus browni and carfiutorum, together with C. savini, closely 
allied forms, show that Damine deer certainly inhabited 
Britain at the beginning of the Pleistocene Period. It is 
thought by some authorities that the existing Cervus dama, 
which is found in a feral condition in England and Scotland, 
was introduced into Great Britain either by the Romans, or 
by the Norman, Angevin, and Stuart kings.) 
Cervus giganteus. The Megaceros, or Gigantic Deer. 

(Extinct. Inhabited Great Britain and Ireland — the last country 
in great numbers — during the Pleistocene and Prehistoric 
Periods, perhaps lingering in Ireland to the verge of the 
Historical age.) 


Cervus elaphus. The Red Deer. 

(Still found in a wild state on Exmoor (Somerset and Devon), 
and perhaps in some parts of the north-west of England. 
Found wild in the county of Kerry (Ireland), and in the 
Highlands and some of the large islands of Scotland. In a 
feral condition this deer is common in England, Wales, and 

Gazella anglka. The English Gazelle. 

(Extinct. Found fossil in East Anglia.) 
Saiga tatarica. The Saiga, or Swollen-nosed Gazelle. 

(Extinct. Inhabited Southern England in the Pleistocene Period.) 
Ovibos moschatus. The Musk Ox. 
(Extinct. Inhabited Southern and Eastern England in the 
Pleistocene Period.) 
Capra hircus. The Common Goat. 

(Doubtful as an indigenous British species, though common as 
a domestic and even a feral animal. Feral goats found in 
Western Ireland and in Wales.) 
[^Ovis savini. 

A wild sheep, possibly connected with the Armenian Mouflon. 
Inhabited Eastern England as late as the early Pleistocene 
\Ovis aries. The Common Sheep. 

Exists throughout the British Islands as a domestic animal, and 
in a domestic condition it was certainly introduced. Whether 
or not any true wild Ovis aries inhabited Ireland or Great 
Britain is still a moot question. Remains very like what 
might have been the wild stock of the domestic sheep are 
found in Pleistocene deposits in Ireland.] 
Bos priscus. The extinct European Bison. 

(Extinct. An inhabitant of England as far north as Yorkshire 
in the early part of the Pleistocene Period.) 

Bos taurus. The Bull (domestic and feral). 

Bos taurus {primigenius). The Urus, or Aurochs. 

(Extinct as a wild species. Inhabited Great Britain, but not 
Ireland, during the Pleistocene and Prehistoric Periods, 
lingering perhaps down to the commencement of the His- 
torical age, when it merged into the existing breeds of feral 
cattle. With it may be classed Bos taurus longifrons, which 


may have been an early domesticated race of the aurochs. 
B. t. longifrons is the origin of several breeds of domestic 
cattle, and its remains are found in Great Britain and Ireland.) 



Macacus pliocenus. The English Macaque. 

(Extinct. This species of Macaque, hardly distinguishable from 
the Gibraltar ape, inhabited Eastern England at the beginning 
of the Pleistocene Period.) 


Homo sapiens caucasicus. The white or Caucasian race 
of Mankind. 

(Universally distributed over the British Islands.) 


Aceratherium, 270 

Achill Island, 6, 125, 128, 205, 351 

Adams, Mr. Lionel, i, 60, 61, 63, 66, 67 

Adder and hedgehog, 58 

^luropus, 135 

jElurus, 15, 135, 384 

^Esthetic aspect of the Mammalia. 2, 4, 

Afghanistan, 375 
Aflalo, Mr. F. G., i 
Africa, 2, 14, 113, 119, 167, 366, 367 
Africa, North, 167, 279, 319, 357, 375 
Africa, South, 12, 166, 181, 223 
Africa, West, 213 
Agriculture, Board of, 71, 247, 286 
Alaska, 133, 257, 347 
Alces, 291, 301, 390 
Algeria, 179, i8i 
Alisphenoid canal, 118, 169, 174, 188, 

196, 267 
Amazon River, 18, 19 
Ambergris, 38 
America, North, 11, 12, 14, 18, 59, 133, 

189, 212, 231, 258, 265, 302, 304, 347, 

America, South, 14, 18, 36, 129, 212, 213, 

265, 366 
American Indians, 128 
American monkeys. See Monkeys, 

American nomenclature of well-known 

beasts, erroneous, 356 
Amphibians, 5, 10, 76 
Andrews, Dr. C. W., 260 
Anglo-Saxon, 72, 90, 131, 376 
Anoa buffalo, 352, 353 
Anomodonts, the Anomodont reptiles, 1 1, 

16, 149 
Antarctica, 12, 189, 367 


Ant-eater, banded, 1 1 

Antelopes, the, 289, 340 

Antlers, 288, 289, 302, 332 ; of Roe Deer, 
296 ; of Reindeer, 303 et seq. ; of 
Fallow Deer, 310, 313 ; of Mega- 
ceros, 316 ; of Red Deer, 324 et 

Antrim, 139, 146, 284 

Apes, anthropoid, 368, 371, 372 

Arabia, 130, 167, 366, 368 

Aran Islands (Ireland), 286 

Arch(EOceti, 18 

Arctic Ocean, Arctic regions, 346 

Argyleshire, 255 

Armenia, 349, 350 

Artiodactyla, 259 et seq., 277, 280 et seq. 

Aryans, Aryan languages, 124, 356, 376 

Asia, 14, 130, 346 

Asia Minor, 286, 299, 310, 314, 319, 351 

Asia, North-East, 133 

Ass, Asses, 274 et seq. 

Assheton-Smith, Mr., 362 

Atlantic Ocean, 189, 190 

Audad (North African sheep), 348 

Aurochs, 3, 356 

Australia, 1 1, 93 

Australian aboriginal, 372 

Author, the, 2, 3, 335 

Ayr, 317 

Azores, the, 213 

Badger, 142 et seq. ; stench of, 143 ; 

dentition of, 143, 145 ; weight of, 

143 ; food of, 145 ; habits, 145 ; 

origin and distribution of, 146, 147 ; 

etymology of, 147 
Balana, 44, 381 
Balcenoptera, 48, 381 
Balkan Peninsula, 180, 321, 355 



Baltic Sea, 28, 304 

Barbaslella, 102, 383 

Barrington, Mr. R. M., 246 

Basque people, Bay of Biscay, 46, 376 

Bat, Bats, 76 et seq. ; origin of "jf, 78 ; 
fruit-eating, ']'], 79, 80 ; insect-eat- 
ing, 79; nostrils in, 80, 83, 84, 106, 
109, 112; breeding of, 81, 92; 
methods of progression, 82, 92, 106; 
hands or wings of, 78 et seq., 80, 
82, 84 ; very defective knowledge of 
British bats, 113; revised nomen- 
clature, 84, 382; legs of, 79, 84, 109; 
teeth of, 79, 80, 83, 88, 90, 103, 106 ; 
hibernation of, 83, 92 ; mammae, 77, 
79, III; food of, 83, 88, 93, 100, 
III ; ears of, 80, 81, 83, 84, 91, 93 
et seq., 103, 104, 108 ; etymology of 
"bat,'' 91 

Bat, Bechstein's, 97, 113 

Bat, Daubenton's, 94, 95. 

Bat, the Barbastelle, 103 

Bat, the Common Continental {Myotis), 

98,99. "3 
Bat, the Greater Horseshoe, 109 
Bat, the Hairy-armed, 89 
Bat, the Lesser Horseshoe, iii, 112 
Bat, the Long-eared, 104 et seq. 
Bat, the Noctule or Great, 87 
Bat, the Notch-eared, 102 
Bat, the Parti-coloured, 86, 113 
Bat, the Pipistrelle or Common, 90 
Bat, the Reddish-gray, 96 
Bat, the Rough-legged, 94, 113 
Bat, the Serotine, 85 
Bat, the Whiskered, 100, loi 
Bath, 346 
Bear, Bears, 15, 131 et seq. ; anatomy of, 

132 ; teeth of, 132 
Bear, the Alaska, 133 
Bear, the Brown, 6, 15, 132 et seq. 
Bear, the Cave, 3, 134 
Bear, the Grizzly, 133 
Bear, the Polar, 133 
Beaver, 6, 15, 230 ; description of, 231 j 

habits, 231 ; distribution, 232 ; name 

in Britain, 233 
Beaver, the Giant, 234 
Beddard, Mr. F. G., I 

Bedford, Duchess of, 347 

Bedford, Duke of, 302, 347 

Beetles, 88 

Behring Straits, 176, 306, 346 

Belgium, 15, 52, 113, 134, 203, 245, 272, 
292, 346, 373, 374 

Bell, Professor Thomas (author of 
British Quadrupeds), i, 25, 107, io8^ 
133. 139. 182, 215 

Beluga, 22, 23, 24 

Berber, 376 

Bibos, 354 

Birds, 5, 16 

Bison, 354, 355; in Britain, 15, 355, 

Bison, the American, 354 

Bison, the European, 6, 15, 355 

Blasius, Dr. J. H., 2, 100 

Blubber, 20, 23, 37, 38 

Boar, Wild, 6, 1 5, 286 et seq. ; present 
range of, 286 ; date of extinction in 
England, 287 ; in Scotland, 287 ; in 
Ireland, 286, 287 

Boethius, or Boece, Hector, 233, 362 

Bonhote, Mr. J. L., 100 

Sos, 354, 391 

Bos bonasus, 355 

Bos indicus, 357 

Bos priniigenius, 356, 391 

Bos priscus, 355, 391 

Bostaurus, 353, 356, 391 ; sub-species of,. 
357, 358 etseq 

Boston (U.S.A.), 23 

Bournemouth, 3 

Bovidce, 289 

Brighton, 200 

Bristol, 378 

Britain, British Isles, British Plateau,. 
12, 258, 366 ; anciently connected 
with North America, 11, 12, 366 

British horse, 6 

British Mammals, I et seq., 15, 379; 
extirpatioc of, 4; reinforcement of, 
6; numbers of, in the British Islands, 
15, 379; iti Scotland, 15, 379 ; in 
Ireland, 15, 379; list of, 380 et seq. 

British Museum of Natural History, 45^ 
84, 100, 326 

British races of man, 374 et seq. 



Buckley, Mr. W., i 
Budorcas, 344 
Butterflies, 5 

Cachalot. See Sperm Whale 
Cadzovv Forest, 361 
Caecum, 118, 188, 209 
CcElodonta, 270 

Caesar, Julius, 304, 338, 356, 359 
Caithness, 186, 255, 305 
Camberwell, 259 
Cambridgeshire, 100 
Camels, 287, 288 
Canada, 161, 257, 304, 347 
Canary Islands, 213 
CanidcB, 118 

Canine teeth in Insectivores, 54, 56 ; in 
Carnivores, 171, 174, 192; Machairo- 
donts, 170, 171; in Deer, 293,307, 
324 ; in Artiodactyles, 282 

Cams, 115, 119, 383 

Cams cancrivorus, 115, 119, 130 

Cannon bones in Artiodactyles, 281, 343 

Capra, 351, 39 ^ 

Capreolus, 291, 390 

Capricorns, 340, 348 etseq. 

Carnassial teeth, 56 ; in the Carnivora, 
56, 116, 117, 119, 137 

Carnivora, Carnivores, 11^ etseq. 

Caspian Sea, 203 

Castor, 232, 387 

Cat, the Cats, 174 et seq. ; classification 
of, 176, 178; markings of, 175; dis- 
tribution of, 176; connection with 
Machairodonts, 174 ; anatomical 
features of, 175 

Cat, the Domestic, 184; origin of, 183. 

Cat, the Egyptian, 15, 181, 184^/^^^. 

Cat, the Wild, 4, 182 et seq. 

Catarrhine apes, 368 

Catine group of genus Felis, 183 

Cattle {BovincE), 289, 340 etseq. 

Cattle, Domestic, origin of, 358 et seq. 

Cattle, English park (Chillinghara, Chart- 
ley, Cadzow), 6, 360 et seq. 

Cattle, Indian, 357 et seq. 

Cattle, Wild, 360 et seq. 

Caucasian man, 189, 372, 373 et seq., 392 

Caucasus, 299, 319, 355 

Caves (containing animal remains or 

inhabited by early man), 266 
Centetes (the Tenrec), 54 
Cephalophines, 344, 354 
Cervalces, 304 
Cervidce, 290 

Cervus browni, 29 1 , 314, 315 
Cervus bucklandi, 291 
Cervus carnutorum, 291, 315 
Cervus dawkinsi, 291, 315 
Cervus gigantetts. See Megaceros 
Cervus megaceros, 291 
Cetvus savini, 291, 314 
Cervus sedgivicki, 291 
Cervus suttonensis, 291, 307 
CetacecB {see Whales), 1 7 et seq. 
Ceylon, 366 
Chamois, 344 
Channel, British, 34, 49 
Charles I., King, 287 
Chartley Forest, 287, 362 
Cheetah, the, 175 
Cheiroptera {see Bats), 382 
Cheshire, 237 
Cheviots, the, 122, 251 
Chevrotains. See Tragulines 
Chillingham Forest, Cattle, 360, 362 
Chimpanzee, 360, 372 
China, 293, 344 
Christchurch, 64, 94 
Chiru antelope, 342 
Civet, the Civets, 165 
Clavicle, 261 ; in Insectivores, 53 ; in 
dogs, wolves, etc., 118, 119, 129; in 
rodents, 209; in Carnivora, 117 
Clione limacina, 45 
Cloaca in Insectivores, 69, 73 
Cobego {Galeopitheats), 54, 77 
Cockroaches, 58 
Collar-bone. See Clavicle 
College of Surgeons, Museum of, 20 
Combarelles, the cave of, 266, 306 
Condylarthra, 259, 267, 280 
Condyles of the skull in Mammalia, 10, 

Connemara, 6, 276 
Cork, 97 

Cornish, Mr. C. J., I 
Cornwall, 148, 200 



Corsica, 319 

Coryphodon, 259 

Cows and hedgehog, 58, 

Creodont Camivora, 16, 114, 115, 188, 

189, 196 
Cretaceous period, 16 
Crossopus, 73, 382 

Cruelty to animals, a British trait, 148 
Crustaceans, 5, 23 
Cryptoprocta, 165 
Cumberland, 104, 200, 299 
Cuniculus, 257, 388 
Cuon, 127 
Cuttlefish, 38 
Cynocephalus, 368 
Cyonoid group of dogs, 127, 128 
Cyprus, 275, 278, 283 
Cystophora, 207, 386 

Darwin, 371 

Dawkins, Professor Boyd, i, 291, 305 

Deer, Pere David's, 289 

Deer, the, 8, 290, 306, 307 ; markings of, 

Deer, the Barbary, 319, 335 
Deer, the Damine, 307 
Deer, the Duke of Bedford's, 318 
Deer, the Fallow, 307, 308 etseq. 
Deer, the Megaceros, 314 et seq. 
Deer, the Red, 290, 292, 305, 307, 318 

et seq. 
Deer, the Roe, 290, 291 
Deer, the Rucervine, 307 
Deer, the Rusine, 307 
Deer, the Sika, 307, 310, 315, 318 
Deer, the Sambur, 290, 307 
Deer, the Wapiti, 318, 356 
Deer, Thorold's, 318 
Deer, Schomburgk's, 291 
Delphinapterus {see also Beluga), 22, 

Demigods, 373 

Denmark, Danish, 28, 200, 375 
Derbyshire, 181, 326 
Devonshire, 5,36, iii, 141, 152, 157, 180, 

Diceros, 270, 271, 389 
Dingo, the, 127, 128, 130 
Dinotherium, 262 

Dobson, Dr. G. E., i, 84, 100 

Dog, the Dogs, 118, i\g et seq. ; divided 

into Wolf or Thooid, Fox or Alope- 

coid, and Cuon or Cyonoid divisions, 

119, 120, 123, 127 
Dog, Abyssinian, 127 
Dog, the Crab-eating (Cants cancn'vorus), 

115, 119, 130 
Dog, the Domestic, 127, 129 ; breeds of, 

128 ; origin of, 127, 128 
Dolphin, the Bottle-nosed, 34 
Dolphin, the Common, 33, 34 
Dolphin, the White-beaked, 31 
Dolphin, the White-sided, 32 
Dolphins (DelphinidcB), 21 et seq. 
Dorcelaphus, 299, 302 
Dordogne (French Department of the), 

266, 306 
Dormice, the, 235 
Dormouse, the Common, 235 
Dorsetshire, 100, 180, 299 
Dover, 102 
Dublin, 97, 152 
Dubois, Dr., 372 

Duckbill {Orniihorhynchiis), 10, 53 
Dumfriesshire, 361 
Diiplicidefitata, 211 
Durham, 152, 181, 327 
Dwarfish races of man in Britain and 

elsewhere, 375 
Dymond, W. T., 148 

Ear, in Mammalia, 9 ; in whales, 18, 25, 
33 ; in seals, 191, 195 ; in bats, 80, 93 
et seq., 105, 106, 108 ; in the horse 
group, 276 ; in the shrews, 70 ; in 
the mole, 61 ; in the elephant, 264 

Eared seals. See Sea Lions 

Earth worms, 58, 63, 76 

East Anglia, 15, 39, 41, 52, 68, 104, 152, 
260, 341, 346 

Echidna, 10 

Edentates, 1 1 

Edinburgh, 49 

Eggs, 10; of Mammalia, 10; of the 
Monotremes, 10, 11 

Egypt, i8i, 241, 260, 357 

Egyptian wild cat, 181 

Egyptians, the, 184 



Elephant, the African, 262 et seq., 264 
Elephant, the Indian, 262 ei seq., 263, 

Elephants, 260 ; origin of the, 14, 260, 

Elephas, 261, 262 et seq., 388 
Elginshire, 42 
Elk, 15, 291, 301, 302, 304 
Ellis, Mr. (on the badger), 146 
Ely, 194 
England, 12, 14, 15, i'},/^ et seq., 266, 366, 

Entepicondylar perforation of the arm 
bone, 118, 136, 149, 174; in Insecti- 
vores, 54; in dogs, 118; in bears, 
132; in the glutton, 149; in cats, 

Eocene period, 11, 16, 165, 169, 176, 369 
Epping Forest, 131, 287, 299, 360 
Equus, 273 et seq., 389 
Equus stenonis, 273, 275 
Erinaceus, 54, 55 
Ermine, 158, 160 
Eschricht, Dr., 28 
Eskimo, 128, 265, 374, 375 
Essex, III, 302, 370, 378 
Euphaiisia, 50 
Europe, 14, 166 
Eusfftilus, 169 

Eutherian Mammals, 11, 16, 54 
Evotomys, 255, 388 
Exmoor, 320 

Fallow deer, 308 et seq., 390; colour of, 
308; tail, 309; antlers, 310, 311, 

Felis, FelidcB, 174, 385 
Felis brevirostris, 181, 385 
Felis spelcea (the cave lion), 6, 176, 

'i-n, 385 

Ferret, 155 

Field mouse. See Mouse, long-tailed 

Field, the, 2 
Finns, 377 

Firth of Forth, 21, 49 
Fish, 5 et seq., 76 
Fissipedia, 115, W] et seq. 
Flower, Sir William, i 

Forsyth-Major, Dr., 367 

Fox, Arctic, 120 

Fox, the Common, 120 et seq. ; the pupil 
of its eye, 120; its colour, 121, 122; 
habits, 121, 124 et seq. ; scent glands, 
123; distribution, 123; breeding 
habits, 124; fox-huntiug, 125, 126 

Fox and hedgehog, 57 

France, 14, 113, 306, 311, 315, 346, 373 

Friesland, 377 

French, French people, 265, 377 

Gaelic, 376 

Galago, -]-], 365 

Gall-bladder, 353 

Gaul, 356 

Gazella anglica, 341, 391 

Gazelle, the British, 341 

Geological epochs and periods, table of, 

etc., 15, 16 
Germany, 2, 14, 148, 251, 305, 315, 328, 

341. 364, 377 
Gibbon, the, 372 
Gibraltar, 370 
Giraffe, 288, 289 
Glacial period or age or episode, 14, 16, 

68, 123, 124, 284, 300, 306, 337, 340. 

Glamorganshire, 119 
Glands, mammary, 8, 9 ; scent {see also 

Sebaceous and Sweat), 59, ']\, 89, 

123, 142, 143, 307, 324, 349 
Glasgow, 378 
Globe newspaper, 143, 148 
Globicephalus, 29, 380 
Gloucester, in, 346 
Glutton, 6, 15, 149 
Goats, the, 213, 340, 348 et seq., 351, 391 

of Achill Island, 351 
Goral, 344, 349 
Gorilla, 372, 375 
Government, British, 194 
Government, Danish, 194, 200 
Government, Russian, 151, 194 
Government, United States, 195 
Grampus, 30, 380 
Grampus. See Orca 
Grampus, Risso's, 30, 31, 36, 380 
Gray, Dr., 24 



Greece, 278, 310, 319 

Greek art, the horse in, 278 

Greenland, 12, 34, 44, 200, 202, 258, 304 

Greenland whale, 44 

Gulo, 149, 384 

Gypsies, 378 

Hair, in Mammals, 9 ; in whales, 25 ; in 

man, 372 ; in elephants, 263 
Hamilton, Mr. G. Barrett, i, 244 
Hampshire, 52, 152, 200 
Halichosrus, 204, 386 
Hallux, or big toe, 109 
Hare, the common, 2x9; colour and 

description, 220 ; breeding and 

habits, 220 ; place in folk-lore, 222 ; 

mammae, 219 
Hare, the mountain, 217 
Hares, 213; different kinds of, 213; 

origin of, 212 
Harting, Mr. J. E., i, 58, 131, 233, 287 
Harvie-Brown, Mr., i 
Heart, in Mammalia, 9 
Hebrides, 50, 59, 73, 93, 123, 152, 245, 

Hedgehog, 54, 55 et seq.\ teeth of, 55 

breeding of, 57 ; enemies of, 57 

hibernation of, 57 ; food of, 58 

distribution ot, 59 
Hedgehog and cows, 58; and viper, 58 ; 

and mole, 63 
Hemttragus, 348, 349 
Herberstain, Baron, 359 
Herefordshire, 246 
Hertfordshire, 153 
Highlands of Scotland, 152, 214, 229, 

287, 299, 320 
Himalayas, 1 13 
Hipparion, 273 
Hippopotamus, 6, 15, 282, 283 et seq., 

Historical period {see also Recent), 266, 

271, 305. 355 
Holland, 15, 364 
Homo, 372, 392 

Horns, 288 ; in ruminants, 288, 289 
Horse, Prjevalski's, 6, 274, 276 
Horse, the Arab, 275, 277 ; origin of, 


Horse, the Barb, 278, 279 
Horse, the Connemara, 276 
Horse, the Domestic, origin of, 278 
Horse, the Wild, of Europe, 277 
Horses, 6, 272 ; teeth of, 273 ; markings 

of, 274 ; types of, 276, 277 ; tail of, 

274, 275 
Hudson's Bay, 194 
Hughes, Mr. T. McKenny, i 
Hungary, 186, 271, 315, 321, 364 
Hunting dog. See Lycaon 
Huxley, Professor, 53 
Hyaena, Hyaenas, the, 6, 15, 166, 385 
Hyaena, the Brown, 166 
Hyaena, the Cave, 168 
Hyaena, the Spotted, 6 15, 61, 167, 385 
Hyaena, the Striped, 15, 167, 385 
Hydrophobia, 337 
Hydropotes, 290, 292, 293 
Hyperoodon, 40, 380 
Hyracoidea, 259 
Hyrax, 259 

Iberian race of man, 374, 375 

Iceland, 12, 258, 305 

Incisor teeth, 54; in bats, 79; in rodents, 
209 ; in Artiodactyles, 282 ; in mar- 
supials and shrews, 56, 69 ; in 
hedgehogs, 56 ; in elephants, 262, 
266 ; of horses, 272, 273 

India, 14, 128, 132, 147, 167, 179, 184, 
240, 284, 353, 366, 372 

Indian domestic cattle, 354, 357, 358 

Indian humped cattle, 354, 357, 358 

Insectivores, the, 16, 53 et seq., Jj 

Insects, 76, 88 

Ireland, 3, 6, 12, 14, 15,36, 46, 49, 68, 72, 
73. 89, 90, 93, 97, loi, 108, 112, 123, 
125, 131, 141, 151 et seq., 156, 160, 
229, 266, 299, 302, 306, 315, 317, 
322, 361, 374, 378, 379 

Irish deer, gigantic. See Megaceros 

Irish " elk." See Megaceros 

Irish pig, 285 

Irish stoat or weasel, 160 

Isle of Wight, 100, loi, iii, 165, 206 

Italy, 156, 364, 370 

Jackal, 127, 128, 129 



Jaguar, the, 176, 177 

James I., King, 287, 311 

Japan, 7, 69 

Java, 372 

Jersey, 358 

Jewish type, Jews, 378 

Julius Caesar, 304, 338, 356, 359 

Jurassic period, 16 

Kamshatka, 200 

Keltic (Celtic) races, languages, 147, 233, 

376, 377 
Keltic short horn ox, 360, 364, 391 
Kent, loi, 104, III, 306, 346 
Kent's Hole, near Torquay, in 
Kerry, 131, 320, 322, 364 
Kiang, the {Eguus hemionus), 274, 275 
Kilda, St., island of, 246, 350, 388 
Kincardine, 361 
Kogia, 36, 39 

Labrador, 203 

Lagenorhynchus, 31, 380 

Lagontys, 15, 211, 386 

Lake District, 90, 95, loi, 152, 229 

Lanarkshire, 3, 361 

Lancashire, 5, 89, 202, 287, 378 

Landseer, Sir Edwin, 323 

Lapland, 241 

Lapp, the, 377 

Latin language, 147, 230 

Lemming, the, 15, 256 

Lemming, the banded, 15, 257 

Lemurs, Lemuroids, 14, jj, 78, 79, 365 
et scq. 

Leopard, 6, 15, 178, 180, 385 

Lepus, 212, 217, 386 

Lincolnshire, 21, 28, 36, 202 

Linnaeus, 218, 371 

Lion, 3, 6, 15, 176, 177, 335. 385; dis- 
tinction from tiger, 178 ; anatomy of, 
1791; habits, 17s ; markings, 179; dis- 
tribution, 179 

Lithuania, 355 

Loder, Sir Edmund, 326 

London, London Bridge, 3, 41, 378 

Longford, 97 

Lutra, 137 et seq., 384 

Lycaon, 15, 118, 119, 383 

Lydekker, Mr. Richard, i, 28, 100, 147, 
194, 229, 242, 302, 307, 335, 347, 350, 

Lyme Park, 362 
Lyme Regis, 46 
Lynx, 6, 15, 181 

Macacus, Macaque, 368, 370, 392 

Macgillivray, Mr. William, i 

Machairodont (sabre-toothed " tiger "), 
3. 170 

Machairodonts, the, 165, 169, 177; anato- 
mical features of, 169 ; gape of jaw, 
172; tusks of, 171 

Machairodtis, 170, 385 

Mackenzie River, 347 

Macpherson, Rev. H. A., i 

Madagascar, 165, 367, 368 

Madeira, 213 

Malay Archipelago, Malaysia, 11, 270, 

Malta, 237, 283 

Mammae (teats, nipples, mammary 
glands), 8 ; in bats, 79 ; in mono- 
tremes, 8 ; in whales, 20, 34 ; in 
seals, 196; in Insectivores, 53; in 
walrus, 192; in weasels, 162; in 
moles, 6x ; in the polecat, 155; in 
pigs, 285; in bears, 132; in otters, 
138; in True Carnivora, 117; in 
dogs, wolves, etc., 120, 127, 129; in 
shrews, 70 ; in the hedgehog, 56 ; 
in the beaver, 231 ; in Ungulates, 
268 ; in rats and mice, 239, 241, 243 ; 
in saiga, 342 ; in hippopotamus, 
284 ; in sheep, 348 ; in the musk ox, 
345 ; in the deer, 290 ; in oxen, 352 ; 
in rabbit, 216 ; in the hare, 219 ; 
in dormouse, 236 ; in water vole, 


Mammal, Mammalia, 8 et seq. ; origin 
and etymology of term, 8 ; origin of 
Mammalia, 11, 12; eggs of, 10; 
definition of Mammalia as a class, 9' 
10; teeth of, 9; families of, 16; 
orders of, 11, 12, 16; genera of, 16; 
species of, 16 

Mammoth, 3, 6, 263 et seq., 389 ; in Ire- 
land, 266, 361 



Man, i6, 370, 371 et seq. ; divided into 

three sub-species or species, 372 ; 

dwarfish races of, 3, 375 ; origin of 

man, 372 
Man, Caucasian, 372, 373 et seq. 
Man, Neohthic, 3, 16, 168, 318, 350, 

Man, Palaeolithic, 3, 15, 134, 170, 318, 

Man, Isle of, 93, 317, 382, 388 
Manchester Literary and Philosophical 

Society, 60, 61 
Manchuria, 299, 318 
Margate, 24 

Marsupials, 11, 53, 54, 115, 116, 210 
Marten, the Beech, 150, 153 
Marten, the Pine, \^\ et seq. 
Martens, the, 150, 184 
Mastodon, 261, 262 
Mauritania (the projecting peninsula of 

North Africa), 357 
Mediterranean, Mediterranean regions, 

16, 34, 41, 288, 319, 366, 375 
Megaceros (the gigantic Irish deer), 3, 

307, 314 et seq., 338, 374, 390 ; 
development and varieties of, 291, 
315, 316; antlers of, 316 

Megacheiroptcra (fruit- eating bats), 79 

Afegaptera, 46, 381 

Meles, 143, 384 

Mendip Hills, 3 

Mesoplodon, 42, 381 

Metacarpal bones, 18, 46, 281, 282, 292, 

306, 343, 349 
Metatarsal bones, 282, 292, 306, 344 
Mexico, 212, 265, 347 
Mice, devastations of, 247, 251 
Microcheiroptera (insect-eating bats), 79 

et seq. 
Microtus, 2^0 et seq., 388 
Milk, 8, 10, 34, 58 
" Milk " teeth, 1 1 5, 262, 263 
Millais, Mr. John Guille, i, 98, 296, 301, 

308, 326, 328, 334 
Miller, Mr. G. S., 84, 90 
Milton Abbas, 299 

Miocene period, 16, 68, 132, 142, 284, 

Mceritherium, 260 

Molar teeth : original number of, in 
primitive Mammals, 115, 116; 
number of, in most Mammals, 116; 
four pairs of, in both jaws in primi- 
tive Mammalia and in a few modern 
examples, 115, 116; in bears, 132; 
in bats, 80 ; in Insectivores, 54 ; in 
Artiodactyles, 282 ; in oxen and 
tragelaphs, 353 ; in voles, 238, 253 ; 
in mice, 238 ; in elephants, 262 ; in 
horses, 273. 

Mole, the, 4, 59 et seq. ; limbs of, 60 ; 
nose of, 62 ; eye of, 60, 61 ; external 
genitalia, 61 ; colour, 61, 62; teeth 
of, 56, 62 ; breeding, 62, 63, 67 ; 
food, 63 ; molehills or "fortresses," 
64 et seq. ; distribution, 68 

Molehill. See Mole 

Molluscs, 45 

Mongolian man, 372, 373 et seq. 

Monkey, 7, 124, 368 et seq. 

Monkeys, American, 14, 366 

Monodon (see Narwhal), 21, 380 

Monotremes, 8, 9 et seq., 12, 16, 53, 69 

Moose. See Elk 

Morocco, 179, 319 

Mouflon, the, 351 

Mouse, the common, 242 

Mouse, the field. See Vole 

Mouse, the harvest, 248 

Mouse, the long-tailed field, 4, 244, 373 

Mull, Isle of, 381 

Muntjac deer, 289 

Muridae, 238 

Mus, 239, 387 

Mus sylvaticus, 244, 248, 388 

Muscardinus, 235, 387 

Museum, British, 100; of Natural His- 
tory, 45, 84, 100, 326 

Musk ox, 6, 15, 281, 343 ; horns of, 344, 

Musk, pygmy. See Tragulines 
Mustela, 150, 384 
Myodes, 256, 388 
Myotis, 84, 93, 98, 382 
Myoxus, 237 
Mystacoceti {whaXehono. whales), 19, 42 

Narwhal, 15, 21, 22, 23 



Natterer's bat. See Bat, the Reddish- 

Neanderthaloid type of man, 374 

Negro, 373, 378 

Negro intermixture in British people, 

Nemorhedus, 349 

Neolithic (^^^ Man), 3, 168, 318, 350, 361, 

Nesopithecus, 367 
New Forest, 125, 278, 287 
Newfoundland, 202 
New Guinea, 1 1 
New Zealand, 3, 41 
Nilghai, 353 
Nordenskiold, Dr., 22 
Norfolk, 21, 41, loi, 170, 202, 235, 346 
Normans, 91, 147, 241, 325, 339, 377 
North America, 11, 12, 14, 18, 59, 189, 

347. 354 
North Sea, 52 
Northamptonshire, 16 1 
Northumberland, 200, 362 
Norway, 34, 276, 304, 320 
Nose, Nasal Organ, 19, 53, 60, 80, 106, 

109, 112 
Novaia Zemlia, 194, 257 

OdobcBUiis, 191, 386 

Odo7ttoceti {toothed whales), 19 

Oil, of walruses, 194; of whales and 

porpoises, 26, 38, 42 
Okapi, 277, 288 
Oligocene period, 13, 16 
Onohippidium, 274, 275 
Opossums, 365 
Orang utan, 372 
Orca gladiator, 26 
Oreopithecus, 370 
Orkney Islands, 49, 59, 194, 199, 208, 

Ornithorhynchus. See Duckbill 
Oryctolagus, 212, 386 
Osborn, Professor H. F., 258 
Otariidce (eared seals) {see Sea lions), 

Oiocyon, 114, 115 
Otter, 5, 136 ei seq. ; teeth of, 137, 188 ; 

colour of, 137; mammae of, 138; 

nest of, 138 ; habits of, 138 et seq. ; 

use which might be made of, 139; 

hunting of, 140; distribution of, 141, 

Otter, the Sea, 136, 189 
Otter hounds, 5, 140 
Ovibos {see also Musk ox), 340, 343, 349, 


Ovis aries, 350, 391 

Ovis savini, 350, 391 

Ovis vigneiy 349 et seq. 

Owen, Sir Richard, i, 319 

Oxen, the {see Cattle), 340, 351 et seq.\ 
cannon bones of, 281, 352; origin 
of, 353. 354 ; tail of, 352 ; mammae 
of, 352; horns of, 352, 353; molar 
teeth of, 353 

Oxen, Keltic short horn, 360, 361, 364 

Oxen, Taurine group of, 354, 356 et seq. 

Pacific Ocean, 52, 136 

Palaeolithic man, 3, 15, 134, 170, 318, 

370, 374 
Palceontology, Handbook of, 2 
Panda, 15, 135 
Patagonia, 275, 368 

Pecora, 282 et seq., 288 et seq., ^4.0 et seq. 
Perissodactyla, 259, 267 
Persia, 179, 184,319, 351 
Peterhead, 46 
Pheasant, 4, 156, 214, 312 
Philippine Islands, "]"] 
Phoca, 197, 386 
Phoccena, 24, 380 
Physeter 36, 380 
Physeteridce (sperm whales), 36 
Picts, the, 375 
Pig, the domestic, 283; origin of, 2S4, 286; 

in Ireland, 285, 286 
Pigs, the, 282, 284 et seq. ; canine teeth 

in, 285 ; mammae in, 268, 285, 352 
Pika, the {see Lagomys), 15, 211, 386 
Piimipedia, 115, 187 
Pipistrelle, 90 
Pipistrellus, 84, 90, 382 
Pithecanthropus, yji 
Platanistid dolphins, 18, 19 
Platyrrhine monkeys, 366 
Plecotus, 104, 383 




Pleistocene period, 15, 16, 17, 123, 131, 

134, 167, 284, 320, 341, 346, 373, 379 
Plesionictacarpalia, 281, 292, 306, 344 
Pliocene period, 15, 16,44,68, 123, 131, 

132, 167, 170, 288 
Poland, 186, 271, 304, 355, 359 
Polecat, 1 54 et seq. ; name of, 1 54 ; 

colour of, 1 54 
Ponies, Connemara, 276 
Ponies, Norway, 276 
Porpoise, the common, 25 
Porpoises, 21 
Portugal, Portuguese, 213, 214, 245, 

292, 310, 320 
Prehistoric period, 16, 134, 265 
Premolar teeth, 9, 119; number of, 

in primitive mammals, 115, 116; 

special development of, in true 

Carnivora (carnassial), 116, 117; 

premolar teeth in dogs, \\^ et seq. ; 

in Machairodonts, 169 ; in cats, 174 ; 

in civets, 165 ; in seals, 195 ; in 

rodents, 209 ; in elephants, 262 ; in 

saiga gazelle, 342 ; in monkeys, 367 
PrepoUex, 60 
Primary Epoch, 76 
Primates, 365 et seq.; origin of the, 16, 

210, 365 ; comparison with bats, 78 
Prjevalski's horse, 274, 276 
Proboscidea, 14, 259 et seq. 
Procyonida, 135 
Prongbuck, the, 288, 290 
Protcles, 166 
ProtohippHs, 273 
Proviverra, 115, 117 
Pseudorca, 28, 380 

Pteropod molluscs (food of whales), 45 
Pterygistes ( Vesperugo), 84, 87, 89, 382 
Putorius, 153, 154, 384 
Pygmy men, 3, 375 
Pyrenees, 346, 376 

Quaternary Epoch, 16 

Rabbit, the common, 212 et seq. ; origin 
of, 213 ; migrations, 213 ; indigenous 
to the British Islands, 214; colour 
of, 215; habits, 216; in Australia, 

Raccoon-like dog, 127 

Raccoons, the 127, 135 

Rangifer, 303, 390 

Rat, the black, 241 

Rat, the brown, 239 

Rats, 238 

Reay Forest, 1 86 

Recent or Historical period, 16, 266 

Red deer, 281, 292, 305; diseases of, 

337, 338 ; colour, 321 ; antlers, 323, 

324 et seq. ; breeding, 335 
Reindeer, 6, 15, 281, 292, 303 et seq. ; two 

types of, 305, 306 ; in Scotland, 305 ; 

antlers of, 304 
Reptiles, 11, 16, 54 
Reynard the Fox, 124 
Rhinoceros, the African, 270 
Rhinoceros, the white or Burchell's, 

Rhinoceros, the woolly, 271, 389 
Rhinoceroses, 268 et seq. ; origin of the, 

269 ; early British, 270 ; in Germany, 

RhinolophidcE (the leaf-nosed bats), 108 

Rhinolophus, 109, 383 

Rhododendrons, 7 

Risso's Grampus. See Grampus 

Rochester, 51 

Rocky Mountain goat {Haploceros), 340, 

Rodents, 55, 209 et seq.; divided into 

two sub-orders, 211, 224 
Roe deer, 292 et seq. ; distribution of, 

299 ; colour, 294, 296 ; antlers of, 

296 ; long pregnancy of, 300 
Roe deer, Siberian, 299 
Romans, 156, 278, 306, 312, 356, 376 
Rome, 133, 156 
Romerolagiis, 212 
Rorqual, Rudolphi's, 50, 51 
Rorqual, Sibbald's, 49 
Rorqual, the Common, 48 
Rorqual, the Lesser, 51 
Rowland Ward, Mr., 316 
Royal Irish Constabulary, 377 
Rumania, 246 
Ruminants, 289, 290 
Russia, Russians, 151, 240, 241, 265, 299, 

304, 355 



Sable, the, 151 

Sabre-toothed " tigers." See Machairo- 

Saiga antelope, 6, 15, 341, 342, 391 
Saint-Hilaire, M., 60 
Salmon, 5, 23, 139 
Sardinia, 211, 214, 310, 319 
Savernake Forest, 131 
Scammon, Capt., 28 
Scandinavia, 250, 257, 265, 301, 305, 376, 

Scandinavian type of man, 377 
Scharff, Dr. R. F., i, 156, 213, 244, 245, 

305, 311. 319. 320 
Sciurus, lii^, 387 
Scoresby, Capt., 22 

Scotland, 12, 14, 15, 21, 23, 36, 42, 49, 
59- 68, 73, 93, 96, 97, 108, 122, 123, 
131, 133. 185, 186, 249, 299, 302, 

306, 317. 339. 361, 374. 377, 379 
Scottish races, 376 et seq. ; physiognomy, 

Sea lions, 190, 191 ; distinction between 

seals and sea lions, 191, 195 
Seal, the Bearded, 15, 203, 386 
Seal, the Bladder-nosed or Hooded, 207, 

Seal, the Common, 197, 386 ; colour of, 

107 ; mammae, 198 ; voice, 198; love 

of music, 199 ; destruction of, 199, 

200 ; distribution, 200 
Seal, the Greenland {see the Harp seal), 

Seal, the Gray, 204, 386 ; colour, 204 ; 

breeding-time, 205 ; distribution, 206 
Seal, the Harp, 201, 386 
Seal, the Ringed, 202, 386 
Seals in general, 4, 15, 187 
Seals, the true, 195 ; classification of, 

and anatomy, 195; origin of, 189; 

kidneys of, 188 ; fore and hind feet 

of, 190, 197 
Sebaceous (fatty) glands and fluids, 8 
Secondary Epoch, 12, 14, 15, 16, 210 
Semnopithecus , 368, 370 
Serows, the, 344 
Severn, the, 202 
Sevvell, Mr. A. J., 127 
Shandon Cave, 135 

Sheep, the, 340, 348 et seq., 391 ; origin 

of domestic, 348, 350, 351, 391 
Sheep, the Armenian, 349, 350, 351 
Sheep, the Soa, 350 
Sheep, the St. Kilda, 350 
Sheep, the Urial (Ovis vignei), 349 

et seq. 
Sheep, the Audad (N. African), 341, 350 
Shetland Islands, 21, 41, 49, 59, 194,278, 


Shrew ash, the, 71 

Shrew, the Common, 70, 71, 72 

Shrew, the Lesser, 72, 73 

Shrew, the Water, 73 ; description of, 73, 
74; breeding, 75; distribution, 75 

Shrews, 59, 69 et seq. ; teeth of, 56, 69, 
73 ; mammae, 70 ; breeding, 70 ; 
archaic features of, 69 ; food, 7 1 

Shropshire, 378 

Siberia, 16, 22, 127, 128, 186, 211, 257, 
265, 272, 299, 301, 304, 314, 346 

Sibbald's Rorqual, 49 

Sika. See Deer 

Sirenia, 17 

Siwalik Hills (N.-W. India), 152 

Skunk, 123 

Skye, Island of, 39, 123, 388 

Sligo, 299 

Soa sheep, 350 

Somaliland, 167, 168 

Somersetshire, 180, 306 

Sorer, 69, 381 

South America, 14, 18, 36, 41, 129, 213, 

Sowerby's whale, 42 

Spain, 14, 156, 213, 214, 292, 310, 319, 
320, 364 

Sperm whale (see Whale), 36 

Spermaceti, 38 

Spertnophilus , i-yo, 387 

Spitzbergen, 194, 200, 304 

"Sport," 4, 153, 195 

Squalodont whales, 18 

Squirrel, the Common, 225 ; colour of, 
226 ; seasonal changes, 226 ; breed- 
ing habits, 226 ; food, 227 ; distribu- 
tion of, 229 

Squirrels, 'j'], 225 

Staffordshire, 287 



Stag {see also Red deer), 321, 324, 325 

et seq. 
Stirling, 361 
Stoat, 157 et seq.; colour of, 157, 158; 

playful disposition, 159; distribution 

of, 160 ; name of, 160 
Stoat, the Irish, 160 
Stomach, 268, 290; in the Pecora or 

ruminants, 290, 353 
Suffolk, 157, 194 
Surrey, 299 
Sus, 285 et seq., 390 
Sus erymanthius, 285, 390 
Suslik, the, 15, 230 
Sussex, 5, 299, 326 
Sutherland, 23, 186, 338 
Sweat glands, 8 

Sweden, 98, 123, 156, 304, 310, 312 
Switzerland, 186, 356 
Syria, 59, 167, 368 

Tahr goat, 348 

Talpa, 60, 381 

Tapir, 268, 277 

Tarpan (semi-wild horse of Central Asia), 

Tartary, 298 

Tasmania, Tasmanians, 28 

Teeth, 9, 1 1 ; typical Mammalian formula 
of forty-four, 54 ; earlier Proto-mam- 
malian formula of forty-eight, 115; 
teeth of elephants, 260 et seq. ; of 
Octoyon, 115, 116; of dogs, 118; 
of Machairodonts, 171 ; of the lion, 
174; of whales, 18, 19, 24, 33, 36, 
42, 46 ; of Insectivores, 54 et seq., 
56, 72 ; of bats, 79 et seq., 88 ; of 
horses, 272 ; of Artiodactyles, 282 

Telemetacarpalia, 281, 292, 303 

Tertiary Epoch, 11 et seq., 16, 368 

Testes, 61, 196; in walruses, 191 

Thames, the River, 41, 51, 202, 284, 347, 

Theriodont reptiles, 11, 54, 115 

Thomas, Mr. Oldfield, i, 84, 90 

Thompson, Mr. W., i 

Tibet, 135, 276, 342 

Tiger, 176, 178 

Torfaeus, 305 

Tragelaphs, Tragelaphine Antelopes, 277, 

296, 340, 341, 344, 352 
Tragulines, 277, 282, 288 
Tragus or earlet (in bats), 80, 84, 87, 94, 

95. 99 

Transylvania, 312, 321 

Trevor-Battye, Mr. Aubyn, i, 60, 75, 247, 

Triassic period, 16 

Trochanter, the third (projection of thigh- 
bone), 169 ; in Insectivores, 54 ; in 
Machairodonts, 169 

Trogontherium, 234, 387 

Tunis, 229, 319, 335 

Tursiops, 34, 380 

Twickenham, 341 

Tyrone, County, 302 

Ungulates, 14, 16, 258 ; origin of, 16, 
259 ; odd-toed, 259 ; even-toed, 259 
United States, coasts of, 50 
Lh-otragus (long-tailed goral), 344 
Ursus, 132, 384 
Urus, 356 

Vaynol Park, 362 

Veddahs, the, 372, 373, 374 

Venezuela, 213, 367 

Vertebrae, 10, 267 ; neck, 10, 23, 46 

Vespertilio {see also Myotis), 84, 382 

Vesperugo {see also Vespertilio, Ptery- 

gistes, and Pipistrellus), 84, 382 
Vibrissae, or " whiskers,'' 70, 137, 182, 

193, 236, 244 
Victoria Nyanza, 167 
Viverra, 156, 165 
Vole, the Bank, 255, 388 
Vole, the Field, 250, 388; devastations 

of, 251 
Vole, the Water, 252, 388 
Voles, the, 250 

Wales, 5, 14, 15, 36, 93, 122, 152, 168, 
186, 233, 299, 302, 351, 375, 379 

Walrus, the, 15, 191, 386; anatomy of, 

Wapiti, 319 

Wareham, 25 

Warsaw, 359 



Warwickshire, 94, 104 

Water vole, "Water rat." See Vole, the 

Weasel, the, 161, 385 ; size of, 161 ; 
colour of, 161 ; breeding of, 162 ; 
mammae of, 162 ; distribution of, 

Weasels, the, 136 et seq., 148, 153 ; 
divisions of, 136 

Welch, Mr. Robt., 286 

Welsh language, 376 

West Indies, 378 

Westmoreland, 287 

Whale, Cuvier's, 41, 381 

Whale, Sovverby's, 42, 381 

Whale, the Baleen or whalebone, 42, 

Whale, the Blue, 49, 381 

Whale, the " Ca'ing," 29, 380 

Whale, the Common Beaked or Bottle- 
nosed, 40, 380 

Whale, the Humped-backed, 46, 381 

Whale, the Killer, 26 ei seq., 380 

Whale, the Lesser Killer, 15, 28, 380 

Whale, the Right (Greenland), 42, 44 

Whale, the Southern right, 15, 44 et seq., 

Whale, the Sperm, 1 5, 36 et seq., 380 

Whale, the White, 22 et seq., 380 

Whalebone, 44, 45, 49 

Whales, 15, 17 et seq., 52 ; limbs of, 17, 
18, i^ et seq., 46 ; teeth of, 18, 19, 
24, 27, 33. 36, 42. 46 ; origin of, 18, 
52; bony tubercles of, 24,41,48; 

voice of, 23, 26, 34, 40, 51 ; blubber 
of, 20, 37 ; food of, 22, 23, 26, 28, 38, 
39, 45, 48, 49 et seq. ; mammary 
glands of, 20, 34 ; ear of, 18, 25, 
33 ; "gill" openings, skin folds of, 
48, 49 ; nasal organ, nostrils, 19, 

37. 42, 46 
Whales, the Squalodont, 18 
Whales, the Toothed. See Odontoceti 
Whales, the Zeuglodont, 18, 19, 52 
Whales, the Ziphioid, 39 
Wicklow, 97, 218 
Wild boar. See Boar, Wild 
Wiltshire, 234, 306 
Winton, Mr. W. E. de, i, 122, 246 
Wolf, the, 15, 127, et seq., 383; extinction 

of, in Britain, 131 ; reintroduction of, 

Woodward, Dr. A. B. Smith, i 
Wyman, Professor, 24 

Yak, 357 
Yarmouth, 46 
Yorkshire, 3, i 

), 135, 168, 180, 181, 233, 

Zebra, Gravy's, 273 

Zebra, the, 276 

Zebu (Indian domestic cattle), 354, 357 

Zeuglodont whales, 18, 19 

Ziphioid whales, Ziphiince, Ziphiiis, 19, 

39 et seq. 
Zittel, Dr. Karl A. von, 2, 177, 259, 274 
Zoologist, the, 2 

Printed and bound by Haztll, Watson &■ Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury. 





President of the Zoological Society. 

Each in crown 4 to, clotb gilt and gilt top. 12s. 6d. net. 

THE purpose of this Library is to provide a series of Illustrated Books, of 
practical utility, on subjects touching Country Life. Although popular in 
character, these volumes will be at once accurate and reliable, and will contain 
sufficient scientific data to fit them for their place as works of reference in the 
library of every country house. Each volume will be written by a well-known 
authority on the subject with which it deals, and the whole library will be under 
the supervision of His Grace the Duke of Bedford. 

AVERY important feature of this Library will be the large number of beautiful 
Illustrations which each volume will contain. For the most part these will be 
reproduced in colour, and carefully printed on the best art paper ; but care will be 
taken that each book shall be as light as possible to handle. 

IN these volumes, each of which will be complete in itself, all the pedantry of 
science will be excluded, so that imperfect knowledge may not be concealed 
under scientific terms. They will not be merely popular gossip about scientific 
subjects, but rather science expounded in popular language. In short, while each 
volume will be scientifically accurate, it will not be technically scientific, though 
where occasion arises appendices will be added, containing the most up-to-date 
scientific classification, etc., and all the scientific terms. 

"The Editor of the Woburn Library has recognised the full value 
of the highest form of colour printing by means of photography. 
The Duke of Bedford has not given the name of his chief seat to this 
library without the determination to make it worthy of the honour." 
— Daily Neivs. 


Vice-President of the Selborne Society., 
Author of " Familiar Wild Flowers," etc., etc. 


With 36 Coloured Plates by the Author, and an 
Introduction by His Grace the Duke of Bedford. 

" A charming book, copiously illustrated wi-th very attractive drawings. ... A very 
pleasing and interesting \Q\\\m&r —Spectator. 

" If each volume is as ably and carefully written and illustrated as the one before us, 
the series will prove a distinct acquisition both to the student and to the ordinary lover of 
nature. The subject is treated quite exhaustively, and yet in such a pleasant and colloquial 
manner that the reader is apt to forget that he is perusing a really scientific work on natural 
history." — The World. 

" A very attractive hook."— The Times. 

The Woburn Library. 



With 35 Coloured Plates by the Author, and an 
Introduction by His Grace the Duke of Bedford, 

" It admirably fulfils the intention of this excellent series." — Daily Express. 

" Of great value." — Notts Guardian. 

" A treatise of a very high order, interesting alike to scientific and non-scientific minds, 
and forming a most valuable addition to the library of any lover of nature. Professor 
Ilulme's work has been excellently done, alike in the letterpress and the illustrations. Thess 
latter ore an attraction in themselves. . . . No pains have been spared to ensure accuracy in 
the presentiment of the various insects, and the result is a display of colour printing of 
which we have rarely seen the equal." — Birmingham Post. 

"A work which will meet with the approval of every nature-lover." — Manchester Courier. 




The Rt. Hon. Sir HERBERT MAXWELL, Bart., P.C, F.R.S., 

Author of "Sahnon and Sea Trout," etc. 

With 12 Coloured Plates and other Illustrations. 

This is a popularly written book wherein Science, though it necessarily has a place, 
does not intrude itself obtnisively. The Author begins with a brief introduction, which is 
followed by chapters on the general character and structure of Fishes, the breathing 
apparatus, their teeth, and ori:ans of sense, etc. Then, after giving a classified list of British 
Fishes, he proceeds to deal exhaustively with the various orders, families, genera, and species 
of fish found in our British rivers and lakes. The coloured plates (printed separately on 
art paper) have all been most carefully executed from photographs specially painted under 
the author's supervision. They represent in all more than twenty different fishes, and it is 
believed that these plates are the finest which have ever been published in a similar 
work. \^Imriiediately. 




Author of " Sea Fish." Editor of " The Field." 


Editor of "The Fishing Gazette." 

With many Coloured Plates, etc. 

There is probably no greater practical authority on our British Salt Water Fishes in 
general than Mr. Aflalo ; his subject is a wider one than Sir Herbert Maxwell's, and even 
more debatable ; but there can be no question on one point, and that is the author's ability 
to write simply and accurately on a subject which he has made peculiarly his own. It 
would be difficult to think of any other name which would carry the same weight beneath 
a similar title.