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Mr. Hugo Holland 
















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Mrs. Loudon's Entertaining Naturalist has been so de- 
servedly popular that the publishers, in preparing a 
new edition, have striven to render it still more worthy 
of the reputation it has obtained. For this purpose, 
it has been # very thoroughly revised and enlarged by 
Mr. W. S. Dallas, Member of the Zoological Society, and 
Curator of the Museum of Natural History at York, 
and several illustrations have been added. 

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


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

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


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


{u^ t>i^j (Viviparous I. Mammalia. 

Hot Bl00d 1 Oviparous II. Birds. 

n m a tu™h i With lungs III. Amphibia. 

Cold red Blood .{ Wlthgill3 b IV. Fishks. 

sai I t.t.., L , n u u- t t>i a (Having antenna;.. V. Insects. 

I Withoutvertebr*. .Cold white Blood { Havin » tentliCnl& yj WoRMg 


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

This class was divided by Linnaeus into seven Orders : viz. primates, 
tta, ferce, gltresy pecora, belluce, and ceiacea (this order was called 
}ete by Linnaeus) or whales. The characteristics of these were 
founded, for the most part, on the number and arrangement of the 

viii Introduction. 

teeth; and on the form and construction of the feet, or of those parts 
in the seals, manati, and cetacea, which supply the place of feet : 

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

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

III. Fer.^. — Having in general six front teeth in each jaw; a single 

canine tooth on each side in both jaws ; and the grinders with 
conic projections, as the dogs and cats. 

IV. Gi-ires.— Having in each jaw two long projecting front teeth, 

which stand close together ; and no canine teeth in either jaw, 
as the rats and mice. 

V. Pecora. — Having no front teeth in the upper jaw ; six or eight in 

the lower jaw, situated at a considerable distance from the 
grinders ; and the feet with hoofs, as cattle and sheep. 

VI. Bellu.*:.— Having blunt wedge-shaped front teeth in both jaws ; 

and the feet with hoofs, as horses. 

VII. Cetacea. — Having spiracles or breathing-holes on the head ; fins 

instead of fore feet; and a tail flattened horizontally, instead of 
hind feet. This order consists of the narvals, whales, cachalots, 
and dolphins. 



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

Linnaeus divided this class into six Orders : 

1. Land Birds. 

I. Rapacious Birds (Accipitres) . — Having the upper mandible hooked, 

and an angular projection on each side near the point, as the 
eagles, hawks, and owls. 

II. Pies (Piece).— Having their bills sharp at the edge, somewhat com- 

pressed at the sides, and convex on the top, as the crow. 

III. Passerine Birds (Passeres). — Having the bill conical and pointed, 
and the nostrils oval, open, and naked, as the sparrow and 

Introduction. ix 

IV. Gallinaceous Birds (Gallince). — Having the upper mandible 
arched, and covering the lower one at the edge, and the nostrils 
arched over with a cartilaginous membrane, as the common 

2. Water Birds. 

V. Waders ( Grallce). — Having a roundish bill, a fleshy tongue, and 

the legs naked above the knees, as the herons, plovers, and snipes. 

VI. Swimmers (Anseres). — Having their bills broad at the top, and 

covered with a soft skin, and the feet webbed, as ducks and 


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

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

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

This class Linnaeus divided into three Orders : 

I. Reptiles. — Having four legs, and walking with a crawling pace, 

as the tortoises, toads, and lizards. 
II. Serpents. — Having no legs, but crawling on the body. 
III. Nantes. — Living in the water, furnished with fins, and breath- 
ing by means of gills. These are true Fishes, principally of 
the group termed Chondroptert/pii, or Cartilaginous Fishes, by 



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

The fishes were divided by Linnaeus into four Orders : 

I. Apodal.— Having no central fins, as the eel. 

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

III. Thoracic. — Having the ventral fins situated directly under the 

pectoral fins, as the perch and mackerel. 

IV. Abdominal.— Having the ventral fins on the lower part of the 

body below the pectoral fins, as the salmon, herring, and carp. 


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

Linnaeus divided his class of insects into seven Orders : 

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

II. Hemipterous.— Having four wings, the upper ones partly crusta- 

ceous, and partly membranous ; not divided straight down the 
middle of the back, but crossed, or incumbent on each other, as 
the cockroach. 

III. Lepidopterous.— Having four wings covered with fine scales 

almost like powder, as the butterflies and moths. 

IV. Neuropterous. — Having four membranous and semi-transparent 

wings, veined like network ; and the tail without a sting, as 
the dragon-fly and ephemera. 



V. Htmenopterous. — Having four membranous and semi-trans- 
parent wings, veined like network ; and the tail armed with a 
sting, as the wasp and bee. 

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

VII. Apterous. — Having no wings, as the spiders. 


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

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

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

III. Testacea. — Are animals similar to the last, but covered with 

shells, as oysters, cockles, snails, and limpets. 

IV. Lithophyta. — Are composite Polyps, dwelling in cells in a cal- 

careous base which they produce, as corals and madrepores. 

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


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

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

Divisions Classes No. of Orders 

I. Vertebrata. ) J' Mammalia Nine. 

Four Classes. Twenty- \ i' £ ve f.;. S, 1X ' 

seven Orders. * f £ e P tlha £?" r ; 

; 4. Pisces Eight. 

xii Introduction. 

Divisions Classes No. of Orders 

II. Mollusc a. \ 1. Cephalopoda One. 

I 2. Pteropoda One. 

Six Classes. Fifteen I 3. Gasteropoda Nine. 

Orders. [ 4. Acephala Two. 

I 5. Brachiopoda One. 

6. Cirrhopoda One. 

III. Articulata. \ 1. Annelides Three. 

I 2. Crustacea Seven. 

Four Classes. Twenty- j 3. Arachnida Two. 

four Orders. J 4. Insecta Twelve. 

nr i?,.^ T . m . i !• Echinodermata .... Two. 

IV. Ramata. 2 Entozoa Two 

Five Classes. Eleven J' ^Jf 1 " 8 ^L 

Orrlprq 4 - ^ ol YV l Three. 

Orders. ) 5> Infusoria Tw0# 


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

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

Section I. — Unguiculated Animals, or Mammalia having Nails or Claws. 

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

II. Quadrumana, or four-handed. This order contains the apes, 

baboons, and monkeys, and the lemurs. 

III. Cheiroptera, the bat family. 

IV. Camivora, or beasts of prey. This order is divided into the 

following three tribes : — 

1. The Insectivora, consisting of those animals which live upon insects, 

as the hedgehog, the shrew, and the mole. 

2. The Camivora proper, consisting chiefly of the cat family, including 

lions, tigers, and their allies ; the bear family, including the 
badger, the coati-mondi, the racoon, &c. ; the dog family, in- 
cluding the wolf and the fox ; the weasel family ; the civet-cats ; 
and the hyaena. 

3. The Amphibia, consisting of the seals, and other allied animals. 

Introduction. xiii 

V. Marsupialia, including the opossums and the kangaroos. 

VI. Monothrema, containing the Echidna and Ornithorhynchus of 

VII. Rodent ia, or gnawing animals. The principal of these are the 

squirrel family, mice and rats, hares and rabbits, the beaver, 
the porcupine, and the guinea-pig. 

VIII. Edentata, or toothless animals, that is, without front teeth. The 

principal of these are the sloths, the armadillos, and the 

Section II. — JJngulaled or Hoofed Mammalia. 

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

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

Section III. — Aquatic Mammalia, having no Hind Limbs, and the Fore 
Limbs converted into Fins. 

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


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

1. Raptores, or birds of prey. These birds are distinguished by a very 

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

2. Insessores f or perching birds. These birds have all feet formed for 

perching, the hind toe springing from the same place as the 
other toes, which gives them great power of grasping. Their 
legs are of moderate length, and their claws not sharply curved. 
This order includes the thrushes, nightingales, and all the finest 
songsters of our groves, with the robin -redbreast, the sparrow, 
and other birds seen about dwellings, the swallows, the larks, 
the crow family, the kingfishers, the birds of paradise, and the 
humming birds. 

xiv Introduction. 

3. Scansores, or climbers. These birds have two toes before and two 

behind. This construction gives them such great power of 
climbing, that they can ascend the perpendicular trunk of a tree. 
The principal birds in this order are the parrots, the cuckoos, 
and the woodpeckers. 

4. Rasores, or gallinaceous birds. These birds have the head small in 

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

5. Gtallatores, or Waders. These birds are characterised by their 

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

6. Palmipedes, or web-footed birds. These birds have the legs and 

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

By many ornithologists the pigeons and ostriches are con- 
sidered to form distinct orders, called respectively Columlce and 


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

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

Introduction. xv 

2. The Saurian Reptiles. These animals have also expanded lungs, 

and generally four legs, but some have only two. Their bodies 
are covered with scales, and their mouths filled with teeth. 
This order includes all the crocodiles and lizards. The croco- 
diles have broad flat tongues, attached throughout to the jaws, 
and the lizards have long narrow tongues, which many of them 
can extend to a great distance from the mouth. 

3. The Ophidian Reptiles are the snakes and serpents. The body is 

covered with scales, but it is destitute of feet. The lungs are 
generally well developed, only on one side. Serpents are fre- 
quently furnished with poison-bags at the base of some of their 

4. The Batrachian Reptiles include the frogs and toads. The body is 

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


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

Osseous or Bony Fishes. 

1. Acanthopterygii, or fishes with hard fins. 

2. Malacopterygii abdominales, or scft-finned fishes, with the ventral fins 

Ion the abdomen behind the pectorals. 
Malacopterygii sub-brachiati, or soft-finned fishes, with the ventral 
fins under the gills. 
Malacopterygii apodes, or soft-finned fishes, without ventral fins. 
Lophobranchii, or fishes with tufted gills. 


Cyclostomi, or fishes with jaws fixed in an immovable ring, and with 

holes for the gills. 
Selachii, or fishes with movable jaws and holes for the gills. 
Sturiones, with the branchiae in the usual form. 

xvi Introduction. 

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

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

1'he 3Ialacopterygii apodes are confined to the eel family. 

The Lophobranchii include the pipe fish, and other fishes of similar 

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

The Chondropterygii, or Cartilaginous fishes, are divided into three 
orders, viz. the Sturiones, or sturgeon family ; the Selachi, or sharks 
and rays, including the torpedo ; and the Cyclostomi, or lamprey family. 
The last two orders were included by Cuvier in a single one. 


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

1. Cephalopoda, or Head-footed Mollusca. These animals are furnished 

with long fleshy arms or feet, proceeding from the head, winch 
is not distinct trom the boiy, and on which they crawl. There 
is only one order, which includes the cuttle-fish, nautilus, and 

2. Pteropoda, or Wing-footed Mollusca. These animals have two 

membranous feet or arms, like wings, proceeding from the 
neck. There is only one order, which contains six genera, the 
best known of which is the Hyalaea, the shell of which is com- 
monly called Venus's chariot. 

3. Gasteropoda, or Body-footed 31ollusca. All these animals crawl with 

the flat part of the body, which acts as a kind of sucker. There 
are nine orders in Cuvier's system. The common snail will give 
an idea of the habits of the class. 

Introduction. xvii 

4. Acephala, or Headless Mollusca. These animals have no apparent 

head, and breathe by means of branchiae, which are generally 
ribbon-shaped. Most of them are enclosed in a bivalve shell, 
but some are naked ; the former are the Testacea of Cuvier, and 
the Conchifera of Lamarck ; the latter are the Tunicata of 
Lamarck. They form two orders. 

5. Brachiopoda, or Arm-footed Mollusca. These animals also have a 

bivalve shell ; but they have no true branchiae, and their respi- 
ration is effected by the agency of the mantle. They have two 
spiral arms. 

6. Clrrhopoda, or Curled-footed Mollusca. These are generally attached, 

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

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

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

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

The Crustacea comprise the shell-fish commonly called crabs, 
lobsters, shrimps, and prawns. They have a distinct head, fur- 
nished with antennae, eyes, and mouth : and their bodies are 


xviii Introduction. 

covered with a crust or shell, divided into segments by trans- 
verse incisions, the segments being united by a strong mem- 
brane. Once a year the larger species of these animals moult, 
throwing off their old crust or shell, and forming a new one, 
the animal remaining in a naked and greatly weakened state 
during the intermediate time. Many of the Crustacea swim 
with great ease, but on land their motions are generally cramped 
and awkward ; and they are confined to crawling, or leaping by 
means of the tail. When a limb is injured they possess the ex- 
traordinary power of throwing it off, and forming a new one. 
The Crustacea lay eggs, and the young of some of the species 
undergo a transformation before they attain their full size. The 
Crustacea were divided into two sections and seven orders by 
Latreille, which are as follow : — 

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

Sub-section I. Podophthalma, eyes on foot-stalks. 
Order 1. Decapoda, legs ten. 

Sub-order 1. Brachyura y the crabs. 
Sub-order 2. Macroura, the lobsters. 
Order 2. Stomapoda, legs more than ten. 

Sub-section 11. Edriophthalma, eyes not on foot-stalks. 
Order 3. Amphipoda, body compressed ; mandibles palpigerous. 
Order 4. Lcemodipoda, abdomen rudimental, with only the rudiments 

of one or two pairs of appendages. 
Order 5. Isopoda, body depressed ; abdominal appendages flat ; man- 
dibles not palpigerous. 

Section II. Entomostraca. 
Shell not solid ; legs variable in number ; mouth variable. 
Order 6. Branehiopoda. Integuments horny, branchiae feathery, form- 
ing part of the feet. 
It is to this division of the Crustacea that the Cirrhopoda are now 
Order 7. Peecilopoda, mouth suctorial. 

Sub-order 1. Xiphosura, or king-crabs. 
Sub-order 2. Siphonostoma, or fish parasites. 

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

Order I. Puhnonarice. The Arachnides comprised in this division 
have air-sacks, which serve for lungs, a heart with distinct 
vessels, and from six to eight simple eyes. There are two 

Introduction. xix 

distinct families : viz. Araneides, comprising all the spider? 
and spinners ; and Pedipalpi, comprising the tarantula and 

Order II. Trachearim. These Arachnides are distinguished hy then 
respiratory organs, which consist of radiated or branched 
tracheae, receiving air by two circular openings. Their eyes 
vary from two to four. The principal animals belonging to 
this division are the long-legged spiders (Phalangium), and the 
mites (Acarus), including the gardener's pest, the little red spider 
(Acarus telarius), the cheese mite (Acarus Siro), and the harvest 
bug (Acarus or Leptus autumnalis). 

IV. The Insecta form the fourth and last class of articulated animals, 
and they derive their name from the Latin word insectum, which 
signifies " cut into," in allusion to the distinct divisions of head, 
thorax, and abdomen in the true insects: and in contradis- 
tinction to the Annelides, the bodies of which present no such 
divisions. The true insects are defined as animals without 
vertebrae, possessing six feet, with a distinct head furnished 
with antennae, and breathing through stigmatic openings, which 
lead to interior tracheae. The Myriapoda have, however, more 
feet. The following are the twelve orders into which this 
class is divided. 

Section I. Insects undergoing Metamorphosis. 

1. Coleoptera (from two Greek words signifying sheathed wings). 

These are the beetles, which are all furnished with membranous 
wings, with which they fly, and which are protected by horny 
upper wings, or wing-cases, called elytra. They are all masti- 
cators, and are all provided with mandibles or projecting jaws, 
and maxillae. 

2. Orthoptera, or straight-winged insects. This order comprises the 

crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, and similar insects. They have 
their upper wings of the consistence of parchment, and have 
mandibles and maxillae. 

3. Hemiptera, or half-winged insects, have frequently half the upper 

wing membranous, like the under ones, while the other half is 
leathery. To this division belong the bugs, the water-scorpions, 
the cicadae or froghoppers, and the aphides. These insects have 
neither mandibles nor maxillae, but in their place have a sheath 
and sucker. 

4. Neuroptera, or nerved-winged insects, such as the dragon-flies, have 

both pairs of wings membranous, naked, and finely reticulated. 
The mouth is adapted for mastication, and furnished with man- 
dibles and maxillae. 

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

Lrpidoptera, or scaly-winged insects. These are the butterflies and 
moths, which are characterised by the farinaceous or scaly aspect 
of their wings, and the tubular or thread-like extension of the 
parts of the mouth. 

xx Introduction. 

7. Strepsiptera or Bhipiptera, with twisted wings. These creatures re- 

semble the ichneumon, in laying their eggs in the bodies oi 
other insects, though they generally attack wasps and bees. 
The principal genera are Xenos and Stylops. They are generally 
considered to be closely allied to the Beetles. 

8. Diptera, or two-winged insects, including the flies. The mouth 

is furnished with a proboscis, and there are two small wings 
called halteres placed behind the true wings, which act as 

9. Sucioria, or sucking insects, such as the flea, which have no wings, 

but are furnished with an apparatus for sucking blood. 

Section II. Insects not undergoing Metamorphosis. 

10. Thysanoura, or spring-tail insects. These creatures are of small 

size, and without wings ; they are found in crevices of wood- 
work, or under stones. The principal genera are Lepisma and 

11. Parasita, or parasitical insects, such as the louse. They are also 

without wings. 

12. Mi/riapoda. This order is made a separate class by many natural- 

ists, as the creatures contained in it are distinguished from the 
true insects by the great number of their feet ; by the want of 
distinct divisions into thorax and abdomen ; and by the great 
number of segments into which the body is divided. The prin- 
cipal insects in this order are included in the Linnaean genera 
Julus and Scolopendra, commonly called centipedes. 

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


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

Introduction. xxi 

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

1. The Fistuloides, or Holothurida, which have cylindrical bodies, 

leathery skins, and mouths surrounded by tentacula. These 
creatures live in the sea, or in the sands on the sea-shore ; the 
trepang, or eatable worm of the Chinese, is one of them. 

2. The Echinides. These are the sea-urchins, properly so called, and 

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

3. The Stellerides, or Asterias, are the star-fish. The mouth in these 

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

II. The Intestina, or Entozoa. The intestinal worms were divided into 

two kinds by Cuvier, viz. the Cavitaires, including the worms 
of children, and other cylindrical worms; and the Parenchyma- 
teux, or flat worms ; such as the fluke in sheep and the tape- 
worm in human beings. The Entozoa are now universally re- 
garded as belonging to the Articulated or Annulose division of 
the animal kingdom. 

III. AcalephcB, or Sea- Jellies. These creatures are of a soft and jelly- 

like substance, with a thin skin, and an unarmed mouth. The 
Medusides are very numerous, and produce that beautiful phos- 
phorescent light noticed by voyagers in the Australian seas. 
The most interesting of the Acalephes is the Portuguese man- 
of-war, or Physalia. 

IV. Polyps, or Anthozoa, according to Cuvier, were divided into 

three orders ; namely : 

1. Fleshy Polyps (Sea anemones) ; 

2. Gelatinous Polyps (Hydra) ; and 

3. Polyps with Polyparies, the latter including all the various com- 

pound zoophytes, with the Sponges. Of these the Flustrce, or 
Sea Mats, and numerous allied species, have since been recog- 

xxii Introduction, 

nised as belonging rather to the Mollusca, and the Sponges to a 
distinct and lower group of animals than tlie Kadiata; the re- 
mainder have generally been divided into the following three 
orders : — 

1. Helianthoida. This order includes the actinia, or sea-anemone ; and 

the madrepores, sea-mushrooms, and brainstones, which live in 
communities, and possess the power of secreting calcareous 
matters, which they emit to form these stony substances. 

2. Asteroida. Some of the animals belonging to this division are 

called sea-pens, and others form some of the different kinds of 
coral, particularly that used for necklaces, &c. 

3. Hydroida. This order includes the fresh-water polypi, which, it is 

well known, by the experiments that have been tried, may be 
cut in pieces and even turned inside out without destroying 
life. It must be observed that the contents of this group in 
Cuvier's system consisted of all those forms of animals which he 
could not, in accordance with the knowledge possessed in his 
day, conveniently place anywhere else. Within the last few 
years, however, great progress has been made in the arrange- 
ment of the animals placed in this group by Cuvier. One of the 
most important changes has been the establishment of a fifth 
group of animals for the Infusoria and Sponges, together with 
certain other creatures of very low organisation. To these the 
name of Protozoa has been given. The Entozoa have been 
removed amongst the articulate animals, and there is a growing 
conviction that the Echinodermata will have to be transferred 
to the same section. There remain, consequently, the Acalephce 
and Polyps of Cuvier, which form a group characterised by 
their soft and generally gelatinous texture ; by the existence of 
peculiar cells, called thread cells, in the skin ; and by their pos- 
session of an alimentary cavity with only a single orifice. To 
these the name of Ctclenterata has been given. They are 
divided into two classes : I. The Anthozoa, or Polyps, in- 
cluding the orders Helianthoida and Asteroida ; and II. The 
Hxduozoa, composed of the Hydroid Polyps and Acalephae, 
the connection between which, as indicated in the text (p. 609), 
is very intimate. 

V. The Infusoria, or Animalcula, are so small as to be invisible to the 
naked eye, and they are all inhabitants of liquids. Cuvier ar- 
ranged them in two orders, one of which he called Les Rotiferes, 
and the other Les Infusories homogenes, but the first of these divi- 
sions is now included among the Articulata. The remainder of 
the Infusoria of Cuvier, with the exception of some which are 
now known to be of vegetable nature, are arranged, with the 
Sponges and some other animals, in a separate division, called 
Protozoa, the classification of which is still in a somewhat un- 
certain state. The three principal classes are those of the Infu- 
soria, the Sponges, and the Rhizopoda ; but there are other forms 
which will not admit of being brought under any of these deno- 
minations. Nearly all the Protozoa are microscopic, except 
when, as in the case of the Sponges, they form an aggregation 
of individuals. They are very numerous, and, although ex- 
ceedingly simple in their structure, their history often possesses 
much interest. 




The part of the body containing the organs of diges- 


Pertaining to the abdomen. 


Capable of living both on the land and in the water. 


Small animals, visible only with the assistance of the 



Marked with rings. 


The horns or feelers of insects. 


The top or summit of anything. 


Situated at, or belonging to, the apex. 






Living or growing in the water. 


Having two points. 


Divided into two parts. 


Divided into two prongs. 




With two shells. 


Gills, or organs for aquatic respiration. 


Pertaining to the mouth. 


A tuft of silky filaments produced by some Mollusca. 


A hard lump, an excrescence. 




Of the dog kind. 




Feeding on flesh. 


Pertaining to the tail. 


A skin over the base of the bill of birds. 


Explanation of Terms. 


Belonging to the neck. 


Of the whale kind. 


Microscopic filaments, which, by their constant vibra- 

tion, either cause currents in the water, or move 

the animals possessing them. 


Of the colour of ashes. 










Covered with a shell or crust ; as lobsters, crabs, &c. 


Toothed like a saw. 


Belonging to the back. 


The wing-cases of insect* of the beetle tribe. 




A description of insects. 


. Without red blood, as worms. 


Belonging to the cat kind. 


Of an iron or rust colour. 






Feeding on fruits. 






Belonging to the hen kind. 


Like jelly. 


Capable of propagating by buds. 


Bent like a knee. 


The time of going with young. 


Feeding on grain. 


Associating together. 


Formed like an arrow-head. 


Insects with a mouth adapted for suction. 


Feeding on grass. 


Having six legs. 




A description of fishes. 


Tiled, or lying over each other. 


The act of hatching eggs. 


Feeding on insects. 


Pertaining to the digestive organs. 


Covered with or divided into plates or scales. 


The young of insects. 


Belonging to the side, placed sideways. 


Covered with hard scales or plates like armour. 

Explanation of Terms. 



Crescent-shaped . 


Upper and lower, the two divisions of a bird's beak, 

or the projecting jaws of an insect. 


Coming and going at certain seasons. 


"With many shells or openings. 


Resembling mother-of-pearl. 


"Winking ; applied to a membrane with which birds 

cover their eyes at pleasure. 


Relating to smell. 


A shield or cover. 


A description of birds. 


That lays eggs. 




Attached to and dependent on some other living body. 


The act of bringing forth young. 


Belonging to the sparrow tribe. 


Resembling a comb. 


Belonging to the breast. 


Hanging down. 


Feeding on fishes. 




Formed to pursue prey. 


Capable of grasping. 


Divided into four parts. 






Animals of the serpent tribe, with legs. 


Small ; imperfectly developed. 


Chewing the cud. 






In the form of a half-moon. 


Notched like a saw. 


Attached without the intervention of a stalk. 


Having bristles or strong hairs. 


"Winding like a screw 




Streaked or striped. 


Formed like an awl. 




The line of junction of two hind parts. 


The feelers of snails and other mollusca. 


Covered with a shell, as oysters. 




Appearing as if cut off; 


Explanation of Terms. 


Inhabiting a tube. 


With one shell or opening. 


Belonging to the belly. 


Having a jointed spine-bone. 


The organs contained in the cavities of the body. 


Bringing forth the young alive. 


Connected by a membrane, as the toes of aquatic 





Writers on animated nature. 


The history of animated nature. 




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


English Name Linnaean Name Synonymes Page 

Lion . . . Felis Leo . . *Leo vulgaris.— Leach . 1 

Lioness . . Ibid. ... ..... 7 

Tiger . . Felis Tigris 9 

Leopard . . Felis Leopardus . ..... 12 

Panther . . Felis Tardus . 13 

Ounce Felis Uncia. — Schreb. . 14 

Ocelot . . Felis Pardalis 14 

H o rCH G E^Ali AR ?'} FeIis J ubata ' ' Cynailurusjubatus.-JT^. 15 

Jaguar . . Felis Onca . 16 

r Felis Puma.— Trail .) 

Poma . . Felis concolor .< *Leo Americanus.— Her. . > 18 

(*Punia concolor. — Jard. .J 

Common Lvnx . Felis Lynx . . *Lyncus vulgaris. — Gray 19 

rANAnT*N Lynx 3 Felis Canadensis.— Geoff. \ iq 
Canadian Lynx . . . . j* Lyncus Canadensis.— Gray \ 19 

Caracal Felis Caracal.— Schreb. . 20 

Domestic Cat Felis domestica . . 20 

Wild Cat. . Felis Catus 22 

jv \ Canis familiaris and ) 23 

Shepherd's Dog 23 

Bloodhound ..... .... 25 

Foxhound 27 

Pointer 28 

Mastiff 29 

Bulldog 30 

Terrier 31 



English Name 

Water Spaniel 

Fox . 
Arctic Fox 

Striped Hyaena 
Spotted Hyaena 
Black Bear 
Grisly Bear 
Brown Bear 
Malayan Sun 

Polar Bear 
Oriental Civet 
Ichneumon, or 

Egyptian Man 


Weasel . 

Polecat . 



Sea Otter. 

Seal . 

Linnaean Name 


Canis Vulpes 
Canis lagopus 
Canis Lupus 
Canis aureus 
Canis Hyaena 

Ursus Americanus 

Vulpes vulgaris. - 
Vulpes lagopus 
"Lupus vulgaris 


Hyaena striata. — Zimm. 
Hyaena Crocuta 

Ursus ferox 

Ursus Arctos 

I • 

Ursus Lotor . 
Ursus Meles . 
Viverra Nasua 

Viverra Genetta 
Viverra Zibetha 

Ursus Malay anus . 

Ursus maritimus. — Gmel 
Procyon Lotor. —Cuv. 
Meles Taxus. — Blum. 
Nasua narica. — F. Cuv. 
Viverra Civetta. — Schreb 
Genetta vulgaris. — Cuv. 

Viverra Ichneumon Herpestes Ichneumon 

Mustela vulgaris 
Mustela furo . 
Mustela putorius 
Mustela erminea 

♦Viverra furo. — Shaw 
Putorius vulgaris. — Cuv. 

Mustela or Mephitis Ame 
ricana . 


5 Mustela or Martes | 
I Zibellina . . I 
Mustela Martes 
Mustela Lutra 
Mustela Lutris 

Phoca vitulina 

{ Trichechus Rosma- 
/ rus . 

Martes feina. — Gray. 
Lutra vulgaris. — Erxl. 
Enhydra Lutris. — Gray 
* Phoca variegata. — Niel 

Calocephalus vitulinus.- 



Hedgehog . 

Water Shrew 

\ Erinaceus Euro- ) 
' i paeus . | * * * " 

Talpa Europaea . Talpa vulgaris. — Briss. 

Sorex araneus 
Sorex fodiens 

Bat . 


Long-eared Bat 


. Vespertilio noctula 

Vespertilio Pipistrellus 
Vespertilio auritus. Plecotus auritus. — Gray 









English Name Linnaean Name Synonymes Page 

VampyreRat j . Ve t S r ^ tiH ° . SPeC ;| Ph ^° ma ^ eCtrmn -[ .82 
Kalong Bat Pteropus edulis. — Pe'ron. 83 


(Macropus giganteus. — "| 
Tr.„„ A „„„ j Shaw and Cuv. *H alma-! QA 

KangAR0 ° \ turns. -Illig. and *Kan-f 84 

\ gurus. — Desm. . .) 

Opossum . . j Di £f ]"*>;} 86 

Phalanger Phalangista vulpina. — Desm. 87 


Beaver . . Castor Fiber . 88 

C Fiber zibethicus. — Des.^i 

Musk Rat X Ondatra zibethica. — > 90 

(_ Lacep. . . .) 

Hare . . Lepus timidus 91 

Rabbit {Wild) . Lepus cuniculus 93 

Rabbit {Domestic) .... ..... 94 

Squirrel . . Sciurus vulgaris . ..... 95 

Dormouse. . Mus avellanarius . \ M g™^ musoardinus. - £ Q6 

M pr N M E°RAT r ^[Musmarmotta . ) Ax ^\ Mamo^-lj 97 

TCaviacobaya.— P«ZZ.Cavia"| 
Guinea-pig . Mus porcellus .< aperea. — Erxl. Hydro- > 98 

(^ choerus aperea.— F.Cuv. J 
Mouse . . Mus musculus . ..... 99 

Rat . . . Mus decumanus 100 

{Mus aquaticus. — Briss. \ 
* Lemmus aquaticus. — F. J 
Cuv. — Arvicola amphi- \ 102 
bia. — Desm. and Jenyas. j 
Arvicola aqnatica.-i*7e/rt. I 
Lemming . . Mus Lemmus . Myodes Lemmus.— Pall. . 103 

Jerboa \ Di P us ^oa.-Gmel.) 

} Mus sagitta.— Pall. . \ 

Chinchilla Chinchilla lanigera . . 103 

Porcupine . Hystrix cristata . ..... 106 

Couendou . . Hystrix prehensilis Synetheres prehensilis. : — Cuv.106 


Sloth . i Bradypus tridac-/ 1Q7 

Armadillo . Dasypus sexcinctus . . , 109 

Ant-eater . J W £™ eCOphaga ju "[ 110 

Duck - billed ) ' f Ornithorhyncus para-} 

Platypus .( ' ' ' 'i doxus.-PW Platypus V 111 
J (_ anatinus. — Shaw. . .) 




English Name 
Elephant . 
or Rivek Horse 


Hog (Domestic) 

Wild Boar 








Cow . 
Wild Bull 

Linnaean Name 

Elephas Indicus 
) Hippopotamus am' 
\ phibius 
\ Rhinoceros unicor 
( nis 

Sus scrofa 

Sus scrofa 

Sus Babyrussa 


Equus caballus 
Equus Asinus 

Equus Zebra 


Bos Taurus, var 

Buffalo . 


Brahmin Bull, £ 

or Zebu . 
Ram . 
Wallachian Ram 
Argali, or Wild / 

Sheep of Asia £ 

Ibex, or Boquetin 
Antelope . 
Gazelle . 
Chamois . 
Nyl Ghau. 
Gnu . 
Stag . 

Bos Taurus, 

Bos Bubalus 
Bos Bonasus 
Bos Taurus, 

Ovis Aries 

Ovis Ammon 

Capra Hircus 
Capra Ibex . 
Capra Cervicapra 
Capra Dorcas 
Capra rupicapra 

Cervus Elaphus 


Roebuck . 
Fallow Deer 
Elk . 

Reindeer . 

Axis . 
Musk Deer 

Giraffe . 

Cervus capreolus 
Cervus Dama 
Cervus /Vices 

Cervus Tarandus 

iMoschus moschi 
* ( ferus . 

\ Cervus Camelcpar 
' \ dalis . 

Sus aper.— Briss. 
Babirussa Alfurus.- 
Dicotyles labiatus. - 
Tapirus Americanus 

Asinus vulgaris. — Gray 

Equus Hemionus.— Pall 

Bubalus Caffer 
Bison Bonasus 

K Capra ovis. — Blum, 


Antilope Cervicapra. — Pall. 
Antilope Dorcas — Pall. 
Antilope rupicapra.— Pall. 
Antilope picta. — Pall. 
Antilope Gnu. — Gmel. 

{Cervius Canadensis.- Gmel 
♦Cervus strongyloceros.— 
Schres . 

{ *Cervus Rangifer. — Ray 
I Rangifer Tarandus 
Cervus axis . 

I Camelopardalis Giraffa.— 
\ Gmel . 















163 ( 





English Name Linnasan Name Synonymes Page 

Camel . . Camelus Bactrianus 168 

Dromedary . Camelus Dromedarius 170 

Llama . . Camelus glama . Auchenia glama. — Illig. . 172 


Ourang Outan . Simia satyrus 173 

Chimpanzee Troglodytes niger. — Geoff. 174 

Gorilla Troglodytes Gorilla . 176 

Barbary Ape . Simia inuus . . Inuus sylvanus. — Cuv . 177 

*■— \ Cy z^$:r im -.\ ™ 

Proboscis Mon-) _ _ Nasalislarvatus.-G«#. . 180 

KEY . . j •*' 

Diana Monke* . Simia Diana . . j Ce g^ ecns Diana> ~ ( 180 

C "k P e U y CHIN M0N " I Simia Capucina . Cebus capucinus.— JDes. . 182 

Spider Monkey . Simia Paniscus . Ateles Paniscus. — Geoff. . 182 

°mozet °^ MAR " [ Simia Jacchus . Jacchus vulgaris.- Geoff. 183 

Marikina . . Simia Rosalia . Jacchus Rosalia . . 183 

Lemur . . Lemur Macaco 184 

Mongoos Lemur albifrons. — Creo^f. 184 



Section I.— Raptores.— DIURNAL BIRDS OF PREY. 

Golden Eagle . 
Sea Eagle 

Bald Eagle 

Osprey, or Fish- 
ing Hawk 
Black Eagle . 
Vulture . 


Buzzard . 
Honey Buzzard. 
Goshawk . 

Sparrow-hawk . 

Falco chrysaetos . 
Falco albicilla 

Falco leucocephalus 

Falco haliaetus 

Falco melanaetos 
Vultur Papa . 

Vultur Gryphus 

Falco Buteo . 
Falco apivorus 
Falco palumbarius 

Falco Nisus . 

Kite . . . Falco Milvus 
Jer Falcon . Falco Gyrfalco 
Peregrine FALCONFalco peregrinus 

Merlin . . Falco session . 

Aquila chrysaetos . 

Haliaeetus albicilla. — Sav. 
\ Haliaeetus leucocephalus. 
I — Sav. 

Pandion haliaetus. — Cuv. 

Sarcorhampus Papa. — Dum. 
{ Sarcorhampus Gryphus. — / 
l Dum. . . . . £ 

Buteo vulgaris. — Beeh. . 

Pernis apivorus. — Cuv. . 

Astur palumbarius.— Bech. 
\ Accipiter Nisus. — Pall. } 
\ Nisus communis— Cuv. ) 

Milvus regalis.— Cmw. 

Falco isiandicus 

— Gray 

oa sal on. 














English Name 
Kestrel . 

Linnaean Name 
Falco Tinnunculus 


Tinnunculus alaudarius. 
— Gray. 
S Serpentarius reptilivorus. 
Secretary Bird . . . . < Baud. 

Hen Harrier . Falco cyaneus . Circus cyaneus — Bole 
Horned Owe . Strix Bubo . . Bubo maximus.— Flem. . 
^HTwyOwI .[ Strix nyctex. . Surnia Nyctea -Selby . 
Barn Owe . 

Strix flamraea 
Lanius excubitor 


Butcher- Bird, 
or Shrike 

Water Ouzel, 
or Dipper 

Missel Thrush . 
Redwing . 
Ring Ouzel 
Mocking Bird . 


Sturnus Cinclus 

Turdus Merula 
Turdus viscivorus . 
Turdus iliacus 
Turdus pilaris 
Turdus torquatus . 
Turdus polyglottus 

Motacilla rubecula. 

f Turdus Cinclus.— Lath. 
< Merula aquatica. — Briss. 
(^ Cinclus aquaticus. — Bech. 





Red Wagtails . 
Swallow . 


Skylark . 
Titmouse . 
Long-tailed Tit 
Yellow Hammer 

C Sylvia rubecula. — Lath. 
} Erythacus rubecula 
f Sylvia luscinia. — Lath. 
Motacilla luscinia . < Curruea luscinia -Bech. 

(.Philomela luscinia 
Motacilla atrica- V Sylvia. — Lath, and Cur 
pilla . . ,} ruca atricapilla — Bech 
f Sylvia. — Lath. Troglo 
{ Motacilla Troglo- 1 dytes Europaeus.— Cuv 
' } dytes. . . | Troglodytes vulgaris.— 
{ Flem. 

\ Sylvia trochilus,— Lath 
} Regulus trochilus. — Cuv 

Regulus cristatus. — Will 
Motacilla boarula 


Motacilla trochilus 

Willow Wren 

G Wren CRESTED . ( Motacilla Regulus 
Grey Water 1 


> ' * * 

H irundo rustica 
Hirundo urbica 
H irundo apus 

{ Caprimulgus Euro 

I pseus . 
Alauda arvensis 
Alauda arborea 
Parus coeruleus 
Parus caudatus 
Emberiza citrinella 

Motacilla OSnanthe 

Cypselus apus 

Silvia OSnanthe. 
Saxicola GSnanthe 








• 219 













English Name 
Sparrow . 


Canary Bihd 




Starling . 

Satin Bower } 
Bird . . \ 




Jackdaw . ■ . 



Jay . 

Biro of Paradise 
Creeper . 
Wall Creeper . 
Lyre Bird 
Humming-Bird . 

Linusean ISfame 
Motacilla Rubetra. 
Fringilla domestica 

Fringilla cannabina 

Fringilla Canaria . 
Fringilla coelebs . 
Loxia pyrrhula 

Fringilla carduel 

Loxia curvirostra 
Sturnus vulgaris 


Saxicola rubetra. — JBech. 
*Pyrgita domestica.- Cuv 
Passer domestteus.-ifay 
Fringilla Linota. — Gmel. 
Linaria Linota. — Cuv. 
Carduelis canaria . 

Pyrrhula vulgaris.- Tern 
Carduelis communis. - 

Cuv. ; Carduelis ele 

gans.— Steph. 

Corvus corax 
Corvus corone 
Corvus frugilegus 
Corvus monedula 
Corvus pica . 

Corvus graculus 

Corvus glandarius 

Coracias garrula . 
Alcedo ispida 
Paradisea apoda . 
Sitta Europsea 
Certhia familiaris . 
Tichodroma muraria 

Trochilus colubris 
Upupa epops 

T Ptilonorhynchus Holose-] 
J riceus. — Kuhl Kitta. I 
J — Lesson. Graucalus. — | 
I Cuv. . 

Pica caudata . 
\ Pyrrhocorax graculus 
I Tern. . 

\ Garrulus glandarius. — 
) Briss. and Cvv. 

Monma superba 



I 252 

I 253 



i 259 











. Cuculus canoius .... 

Picusviridis . ... 

Yunx torquilla . ... 

\ Rampbastos tuca- £ 
1 nus . . .\ 

Psittacus erythacus 
\ Psittacus Amazoni- ) 
( cus . . . C 

Wryneck . 


Grey Parrot 

Green Parrot 

Blue and Yel- ( p Uf 
low Macaw J Psittacus 

.. „ S Macrocereus aracanga. 

aracanga j VidL * 

Ring Paroquet . Psittacus Alexandri 

\ Palaeornis Alexandri. 

Warbling Grass 
Paroquet \ 
Cockatoo . 

} Viy. . 
. Melopsittacus undulatus 
Psittacus galeritus Plyctolopbus galeritus 










English Name 

Peacock . 


Guinea Fowl 
Mound Bird 
Pheasant . 


Linnaean Name 

Pavo cristatus 
\ Meleagris Gallo- < 
\ Pavo . . . I 

Numida Meleagris 

Phasianus Colchicus 
> Tetrao Rufus 
Tetrao Perdix 


Megapodius tumulus 

Tetrao Cotumix .« 

American Quail 
Grouse, or Moor ( 



Black Cock 



Bankiva, Jago, 1 
Spanish, and V 
Bantam CocksJ 




Rock Dove 


Tetrao Lagopus 

Tetrao Tetrix 
Tetrao Urogallus 

Phasianus Gallus 

Didus ineptus 
Columba palumbus 
Columba OZnas 
Columba livia 
Columba turtur 

Perdix rufus . 

Perdix cinerea. — Lath. 
Cotumix major. - Briss.} 
Cotumix vulgaris. — 
Flem. Cotumix Euro- 
paeus. — Wils. Perdix 
Cotumix. — Lath. Co- 
tumix dactylisonans. — 
* Gould 

Ortyx Virginianus . 
\ Lagopus Scoticus. — Lath. 
I *Bonasa Scotica. — Briss. 
\ Lagopus vulgaris.- Wils. 
I Tetrao rupestris. — Gmel. 
*Uriogallis minor. — Ray. 

Gallus domesticus.- Wils. 
Gallus Sonnerati . 





► 318 








Ostrich . 




Aptertx . 
Bustard . 

Balearic Crane 

Adjutant . 

Struthio Camelus . 
Struthio Rhea 
Struthio Casuarius . 

Otis tarda 
Ardea Grus . 

Ardea pavonina 

Ardea Ciconia 

Ardea cinerea 
Ardea stellaris 
Platalea leucorodia 

Rhea Americana 
Casuarius galeatus. — Viel 

{Dromaius ater. — Viel, 
Dromaius Nova; Hollan 
Apteryx Australis. — Shaw 


Grus cinerea. — Bech. 
f Anthropoides pavonina. — 
< Viel. Balearica pavo- 
(^ nina. — Vig. 

Ciconia alba. — Guv. 

Leptoptilus argala . 

Botaurus stellaris.— Step! 








English Name 
Ibis . 
Redshank . 


Ruff and Reeve 


Grey Plover . 

Golden Plover 

Dottrel . 

Lapwing, or Pee- 

Water Hen 

Corncrake, or i 
Land Rail . ' 

Coot . 

Linnasan Name 

Scolopax arquata . 
Scolopax calidris . 

\ Scolopax aegoce- 

l phala. 
Tringa pugnax 
Scolopax Gallinago 
Scolopax rusticola . 
Tringa Canutus 

\ Tringa squatarola 

I and T. helvetica 

\ Charadrius Mori- 
) nellus 

Tringa vanellus 

Fulica chloropus 

Rallus crex . 

Fulica atra . 

Ibis religiosa. — Sav. 
Numenius arquatus. — Lath. 
Totanus calidris. — Beck. . 
Limosa melanura. — Tern. { 
Limosa aegocephala . \ 

Machetes pugnax . 

Tringa cinerea. — Gmel. . 
I Squatarola helvetica.- Cuv. ) 
\ Squatarola cinerea . \ 

Charadrius pluvialis 

Vanellus cristatus. — Met/. 

Gallinula chloropus 
\ Crex pratensis. — Bech. . f 
} Ortygometra crex . . £ 








Section VII. 



Pelicanus onocro- £ 
talus . 


Crested Cormo- ) 
rant . . C 

Solan Goose, or 
Gannet . 

Tame Swan 
Wild Swan 


Eider Duck 

Widgeon . 

Common Gull 


Anas olor 
Anas Cygnus. 

Anas anser . 

Anas Boschas 
Anas mollissima 

Anas Penelope 

Anas Crecca . 
Laruscanus . 

. 377 

f Carbo Cormoranus.— Mey.~\ 
Pelicanus Carbo . -< Phalacrocorax Carbo. — > 379 

(. Cuv J 

Pelicanus graculus j Phakcrocorax graculus- ^ ^ 

( Pelicanus maculatus. — 

D A ii^> m ,„p„, „ J Gmel. Anser bassanus. 
Pelicanus Bassanus <^ _ Ray Sula alba ._ 3i ^ 

I Sulabassana. — Bris. 

Cygnus olor. — Ray. 

Cygnus ferus. — Ray, 

Anser palustris. -Flem. 
Anser ferus 
ser sylvestris 

Anas fera. — Briss. 
\ Somateria mollissima 
f Leach. 

V Mareca fistularis.— Steph. 
I Anatra Mangiana.— Stor. 

Querquedula Crecca. 

r Anser palustris. -Flem. . ~\ 
■<. Anser ferus.- WUs. An- V 
( ser sylvestris.— 2?ms. .J 








Storm y Petrel Procellariapelagica | Thalassidroma pelagica.- / 393 

Great Northern 

Diver . 
Great Auk 

Procellaria glacialis 
Diomedea exulans . 

Colymbus glacialis 

Alca arctica . 
Alca impennis 

Fratercula arctica.-Z,etfc/i, 







English Name 
Common Wha.e 

Rorqual . 


Whale . 

Dolphin . 




Linnajan Name 
Balsena mysticetus 

BaUena Boops . j """J** 

I Physeter macroce- / 
( phalus . \ 

Delphinus Delphis .... 

( Beluga leucas. — Gray 
) Beluga arctica. — Less 
* j Delphinapterus Beluga 
^ — Lacep. 
Delphinus Phocsena Phocsena vulgaris . 
Monodon monoceros .... 
Manatee Manatus Australis .— Tiles. 

White Whale 

Porpoise . 
Sea Unicorn 


Sturgeon . 
Greenland ( 

Shark . . \ 

Dog-Fish . 
Hammer-headed ( 

Shark . . \ 
Thorn back 
Skate, or Maid 
Torpedo . 
Monk Fish, or / 

Angel Fish . \ 
Saw Fish . 

Acipenser sturio . 
Squalus Carcharias 

Carcharias vulgaris.- Cuv. 
Salachus maximus 

Zygoma malleus 


Pilot Fish ■ . 


ing Fish 
Sea Wolf . 
Horned Silure . 
Father Lasher 
Sword Fish 

Flying Scorpion 





Raia clavata . 
Raia batis 
Raia Torpedo 

Squalus squatina . 

Squalus Pristis" 
Petromyzon mari- 

nus . 
Myxine glutinosa . 

Torpedo Narke.— Eisso . 
Squatina Angelus.— Bum. 
Pristis antiquorum.-Z/f/^/t. 

Gastrobranohus caecus. — Bl. 


Gasterosteus ductor 

> Eeheneis Remora . 

Anarrhiehas lupus 
Silurus militaris 
Cottus scorpius 
Xiphias gladius 

Naucrates ductor.— Cuv. 

Ageneiosis milit. — Lacep 

Cyolopterus lumpus 

\ Scorpaena volitans. — Eun-1. 
) Pterois volitans. — Cuv. 

Lophius piscatorius 

f Lepadogaster cornubieua 
I - Cuv 























English Name 
Four- horned 
Trunk Fish 
Globe Fish 
Sun Fisn . 

Sea Horse 

Flying Fish 
Gurnard . 
John Dory 
Opah, or 

Cod Fish 

Ling . 


Gar Fish . 
Pilchard . 

Anchovy . 


Flounder . 

Sole . 

Salmon Pink 
Salmon Trout 
Grayling . 




Pope, or Ruffe 




Gold Fish 

Gudgeon . 


Linnteau Name 
Ostracion quadri 

Tetraodon hispidus 
Tetraodon Mola 
Syngnathus Hippo 

Exocretus volitans 
Trigla cuculus 
Zeus faber 

Gadus Morrhua 
Gadus iEglefinus 
Gadus Merlangus 

Gadus molva . 


Orthagariscus Mola —Sclm. 

Hippocampus brevirostris. / 

— Cuv. . . .{ 

Blepharis ciliaris. — Bl. 






Scomber Scomber 

Esox Belone . 
Clupea Harengus 
Clupea Sprattus 
Clupea pilchardus 

Clupea encrasicolus- 

Pleuronectes raax- 

imus . 
Pleuronectes pla- 

tessa . 

Pleuronectes flesus- 

Pleuronectes solea . 

Salmo salar . 
Salmo trutta . 
Salmo fario . 
Salmo salvelinus . 
Salmo thymallus 

Salmo eperlanus 

Esox lucius . 
Perca fluviatilis 
Perca cernua 
Perca labrax 
Cyprinus carpio 
Cyprinus tinea 
Cyprinus auratus 
Cyprinus gobio 
Cyprinus cephalus 

Lampris guttatus. — Retz. 441 

Morrhua vulgaris. — Cuv. 
Morrhua iEglennus.-Cww. 
Merlangus vulgaris.- Cuv. 
Lota molva. — Cuv. Asel- 

lus.— Will. Molvi 

garis. — Flem. 
Scomber Scombrus.— Cuv. 

Scomber vulgaris. — Flem. 
Belone vulgaris. — Cuv. . 



Clupea alba. — Yarrell 
Engraulis encrusicolus. — 
Flem. Engraulis vul- 
garis. — Cuv. . . J 

Rhombus maximus.- Cuv. 459 








Platessa vulgaris 

'Platessa flesus. — Flem. 
Pleuronectes fluviatilis 
— Will. 
Solea vulgaris. — Cuv 

m. \ 

Salmo alpoinus. -/ J e/t. 

Thymallus vulgaris.- Cuv. 
fOsmerus eperlanus. — Flem.~\ 
\ — Eperlanus Rondeletii. > 


Acerina cernua. — Cuv. 
Labrax lupus.— Cuv. 

Tinea vulgaris.— Cuv. 

Gobio fluviatilis. Will. 
Leuciscus cephalus. — Flem. 










English Name 

Linnsean Name 




Cyprinus barbus . 

Barbus vulgaris.— Cuv. . 



Cypnnus leuciscus 

Leuciscus vulgaris. — Cuv. 



Cyprinus rutilus . 

Leuciscus rutilus. — Cuv. 



Cyprinus alburn us 

Leuciscus alburnus.-Cttt>. 



Cyprinus brama . 

Abramis brama.— Cuv. 



. Cyprinus phoxinus 

Leuciscus phoxinus. — Cuv. 



. Cobitis barbatula . 



. Cottus Gobio 



\ Gasterosteus acu- 
( liatus 

V Gymnotus electri- 
( cus 
Muraena Anguilla . 

| ■: : : : : 

Anguilla vulgaris.— Thun. 


Electrical Eel 


Eel . 


Conger Eel 

Muraena conger 

Conger vulgaris. — Cuv. . 




V.™, or Aooe* Coluber Berus . j J!B?££5£* \ \ 495 

Hok M oV,pk„. Coluber eerastes .{^EdSST TTl * 97 

Rattle Snake . Crotalus horridus . ..... 498 

Haje . . Coluber Haje . Naja Haje.— Grqff. . 499 

Cobra di Capello Coluber Naja . Naja tripudians. — Merr. . 500 

Snake . . Coluber natrix . Natrix torquata. — Ray. . 501 

Boa . . . Boa constrictor 502 

Amphisb^na JAmphisbaeua fuli- > 503 

I ginosa . . \ 


Frog . . Rana temporaria . ..... 505 

Toad . . Rana Bufo . . Bufo vulgaris.— Laur. . 507 

Surinam Toad . Rana Pipa . . Pipa Americana.— Laur. 509 

Newt . . Lacerta aquatica . Triton aquaticus . . 510 

Great Newt Triton balustris . .511 


Iguana . . Lacerta Iguana . Iguana tuberculata. — Laur. 513 

Flying Lizard . Draco volans . ..... 514 

Chameleon . Lacerta Chameleon Chamaeleo vulgaris. — Cur. 515 

Crocodile . Lacerta Crocodilus Crocodilus vulgaris. — Cuv. 517 

A Cayman R '. OT f Lacerta Alligator . Alligator Lucius.- Cuv . 518 




English Name 
Tortoise . 
Hawk's Bill 

Turtle . 

Turtle . \ 

Linnsean Name 
Testudo Grteca 
Testudo midas 

> Testudo imbricata 
Testudo coriacea 


Chelonia midas. — Briss. 
Chelonia imbricata. — Briss. 

Sphargis coriacea 







Pearl Oyster 



Admiral . 

Tiger Cowry 


Snipe Shell 






Argonaut . 

Nautilus . 

Avicula margaritifera. 
Lam. . 

Cardium fimbria 




K Mytilus Margari 
I tiferus 

Ostrea edulis 

Cardium edule 

Pholas dactylus 

Mytilus edulis 

Section II.— UNIVALVES. 

Conus ammiralis . ..... 530 

Cyprjaea Tigris 531 

Buccinum undatum ..... 531 

Murex haustellus 532 

Littorina littorea . ..... 532 

Patella vulgata . ..... 532 

Helix aspersa 533 

Sepia officinalis . ..... 535 

Sepia octopodia . Octopus vulgaris. — Lam. 537 

Argonauta argo 537 

Nautilus Pompilius ..... 538 






3 Lumbricus terres- / 

} tris .J 

Hirudo medicinalis Sanguisuga officinalis 

Section II.— CRUSTACEA. 

Cancer gammarus . Astacus marinus. — Leach. 





English Name 

Ckayfish . 


Land Crab 
Soldier Crab 

Linnaean Name 

Cancer astacus 
Cancer Pasmrus 


j Astacus fluviatilis. — Dcs. 
) Potamobius. — Leach 

Pagurus Bempardus .... 

Cancer crangon Crangon vulgaris. — Fab. 
. Pakemonserratus. — Leach 

Garden Spider 
Ciikese Mite 

Section III.— ARACHNID A. 

Aranea diadema 
Aranea Tarantula 
Acarus siro . 

Epeira diadema. - 
Lycosa tarantula. 

Walck. 548 

-Lot. . 550 



Dor Beetle 

Stag Beetle 

Beetle . 
Musk Beetle, or 

Goat Chaffer 
Ground Beetle 
Death Watch . 

Section IV.— INSECTS. 

Order I. — Coleoptera, or Beetles. 


> Meiolontha vulgaris. — Fab. 554 

{ Scarabaeus 
} lontha 

\ Scarabaeus stereo- ^ G eotrupeK stercorarius. 
} rarius . . \ Lnt. 

Lucanus Cervus ... 

£• Scarabaeus elephas. Dynastes elephas 

Spanish Fly 
Corn Weevil 
Lady Bird 


Anobiumpertinax-i^/6. . 

[ Ce t r us mb f X m .° SCha " [ Ar ° mia moschata 
Carabus clathratus 
. Lampyris noctiluca 
. Ptinus pertinax 

\ Cantharis vesica- / 
' } toria . \ 

. Curculiogranarius j Ca ^, a gmnaria 

X Coccinella septem- / 
" } punctata . . \ ' 






Leaf Mantis 
Walking Leaf 

Mole Cricket 

Order II. — Orthoptera. 

Forficula auricu- ) 
laria . . . ) 

Mantis gongylodes Empusa gongylodes 

Mantis siccifolia 

Gryllus migratorius 
Gryllus Gryllotalpa 
Gryllus domesticus 

III. 564 

Phy Ilium siecifolium. — Til. 565 

Locusta flavipes . . 566 

Locusta migratoria . . 567 

Gryllotalpa vulgaris. — Lat . 569 

Acheta domestica . . 570 

Lantern Fly 
Cochineal In- 
Green Fly 

Order III. — Hemiptera. 
Fulgora lanternaria 
Coccus cacti . 
Aphis roB« . 


Contents. xli 

Order IV.— Neuroptera. 

English Name Linnaean Name Synonymes Page 

AXT-L.ON. .| M Sum° n f .° Imi :\ "4 

Dragon Fly . Libellula grandis . iEshna grandis.— Fab. . 576 

Order V. — Hymenoptera 

Bee . . . Apis mellifica 577 

Wasp . . Yespa vulgaris 579 

Ichneumon Pimpla persuasoria . . 581 

Ant . . . Formica rufa . ..... 582 

Order VI. — Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. 

Emperor Moth,^ "j 

with its Chry-I Phalcena I c . . „ , , ___ 

salis and Ca- \ Pavonia minor . \ SaturniB.-flbftaoi*. . 583 


T °BuTrERFrY EIiL ( Pa P ilio urtic8e • Vanessa urtic8e.—.Fa6. . 585 

Cabbage BuxWp m fi j < Pieris Brassic*.--!^ .{ 5g6 

terfly . $ * \ Pontia Brassicse. — Fab. . \ 

Magpie Moth \ Phalsena grossulari- \ Abraxas grossulariata.— { 5g7 

' I ata . . . i Leach. . . . \ 

Winter Moth . Phalaena brumata . Hibernia brumata. — Lot. 588 

Silkworm . . Bombyx mori 589 

Ceothes Moth . Tinea pellionella 590 

Order VII.— Diptera. 

House Fly . Musca domestica 592 

Gnat . . Culex pipiens 592 

Order VII. — Suctoria. 

Flea • . Pulex irritans . ..... 594 



Star Fish 
Sed Coral 
Stony Corals 

Asterias rubens . Uraster rubens 

. Echinus miliaris 
Isis nobilis . . Gorgonia nobilis 



Sea Anemones 

Jelly Fish 



. 609 

Appendix. — Fai 

julous Animals . .... 




Book I. 

§ I. Carnivorous, or Flesh-eating Animals. 

THE LION. (Felis Leo.) 

The Lion is called the king of beasts, not only from his 
grave and majestic appearance, but from his prodigious 
strength. Zoologists describe him as an animal of the 
cat kind, distinguished from the other species of the 
J^ B 

2 Quadrupeds. 

genus by the uniformity of his colour, the mane which 
decorates the male, and a tuft of hair at the tip of the 
tail, which conceals a small prickle or claw. 

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

All the varieties agree in their habits ; they lie hid in 
jungles in the long grass, and when aroused either walk 
quietly and majestically away, or turn and look steadily 
at their pursuers. Their roar is terrific : and in a wild 
state, the animal generally roars with his mouth close 
to the ground, which produces a low rumbling noise, 
like that of an earthquake. The effect is described by 
those who have heard it, as making the stoutest heart 
quail ; and the feebler animals, when they hear it, fly in 
dismay, often in their terror falling in the way of their 
enemy, instead of avoiding him. Serpents, and some of 
the larger animals, will, however, fight with Lions, and 
occasionally kill them ; and Lions, when pursued by man, 
are sometimes hunted with dogs, but are oftener shot, or 
speared. Those which are exhibited in menageries have 
generally been caught in pits. The pit is dug where 
traces have been discovered of a Lion's path ; and it 
is then covered with sticks and turf. He is deceived by 
the appearance of solidity presented by the turf, and 
attempts to walk over it ; but the moment he sets his 
foot upon the covering of the trap, it breaks beneath his 
weight, and he falls into the pit. He is then kept with- 
out food for several days, shaking the ground with his 

The Lion. 3 

roaring, and fatiguing himself by vainly attempting to 
escape ; till, at last, he becomes exhausted, and so tame 
as to permit his captors to put ropes round him, and 
drag him out. He is then put into a cage, and removed 
in a kind of waggon, wherever his captors may wish to 
take him. 

The generosity of the Lion has been much extolled • 
but the tales related of it appear to have had no other 
foundation than the fact, that, like many other beasts, 
when gorged with food he will not attack a man. A 
great amount of courage has also been so generally 
ascribed to him that the expression " as brave as a 
Lion," has become proverbial, and he has been regarded 
as a sort of symbol of that quality. For this respectable 
character, the Lion is no doubt mainly indebted to his 
possession of a mane, and to the boldness of appearance 
produced by his carrying his head elevated ; for in all 
other respects he is a genuine cat, with neither more 
nor less courage than belongs to the cats in general. As 
the Lion belongs to the cat tribe, his eyes are incapable 
of bearing a strong light; it is therefore generally in 
the night that he prowls about for prey, and when the 
sun shines in his face, he becomes confused and almost 
blinded. Lion hunters are aware of this fact. In the 
day-time they always consider themselves safe, so long 
as they have the sun on their backs. In the night, 
a fire has nearly the same effect; and travellers in 
Africa and the deserts of Arabia can generally protect 
themselves from Lions and Tigers by making a large 

I fire near their sleeping-place. The strength of the 
African species is so great that he has been known to 
carry away a # T oung heifer, and leap a ditch with it in 
his mouth. The power that man may acquire over this 
animal has been often shown in the exhibitions of Van 
Amburgh, Carter, and others ; but the attachment which 
Lions sometimes form for- their keepers, was never more 
strongly exemplified than in the following anecdote. 
M. Felix, the keeper of the animals in Paris, some 
years ago, brought two Lions, a male and female, to the 
national menagerie. About the beginning of the follow- 
ing June he was taken ill, and could no longer attend 

4 Quadrupeds. 

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

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

j)i\ Sparrman mentions a singular instance of the 
animal's habits in this respect. A Hottentot perceiving 
that he was followed by a Lion, and concluding that 

The Lion. 5 

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

Many interesting anecdotes of Lions and Lion-hunt- 
ing may be found in the accounts of their travels 
published by Gordon Cumming, Andersson, and Dr. 
Livingstone. From the latter we may extract the fol- 
lowing account of an escape literally from the very jaws 
of death : — " Being about thirty yards off,' 1 says the 
doctor, " T took a good aim at his body through the 
bush, and fired both barrels into it. The men then 
called out, ' He is shot, he is shot !' Others cried, ' He 
has been shot by another man too ; let us go to him !' 
1 did not see any one else shoot at him, but I saw the 
Lion's tail erected in anger behind the bush, and turn- 
ing to the people, said, ' Stop a little till 1 load again.' 
When in the act of ramming down the bullets I heard a 
shout. Starting and looking half round, I saw the Lion 
just in the act of springing upon me. I was upon a 
little height ; he caught my shoulder as he sprang, and 
we both came to the ground below together. Growling 
horribly close to my ear, he shook me as a terrier-dog 
does a rat. The shock produced a stupor similar to 
that which seems to be felt by a mouse after the first 
shake of the cat. It caused a sort of dreaminess, in 
which there was no sense of pain nor feeling of terror, 
though quite conscious of all that was happening. It 
was like what patients partially under the influence of 
chloroform describe, who see all the operation, but feel 
not the knife. This singular condition was not the 

6 Quadrupeds. 

result of any mental process. The shake annihilated 
fear, and allowed no sense of horror in looking round at 
the beast. This peculiar state is probably produced in 
all animals killed by the carnivora ; and it* so, is a mer- 
ciful provision by our benevolent Creator for lessening 
the pain of death. Turning round to relieve myself of 
the weight, as he had one paw on the back of my head, 
I saw his eyes directed to Mebalwe, who was trying to 
shoot him at a distance of ten or fifteen yards. His 
gun, a flint one, missed fire in both barrels ; the Lion 
immediately left me, and, attacking Mebalwe, bit his 
thigh. Another man, whose life I had saved before, 
after he had been tossed by a buffalo, attempted to spear 
the Lion while he was biting Mebalwe. He left Me- 
balwe, and caught this man by the shoulder ; but at 
that moment the bullets he had received took effect, and 
he fell down dead. The whole was the work of a few 
moments, and must have been his paroxysm of dying 
rage." The interesting nature of this narrative of a 
most hair-breadth escape must be our excuse for its 

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

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

Hie Lioness. 


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

The Lioness, though naturally less strong, less cou- 
rageous, and less mischievous than the Lion, becomes 
terrible as soon as she has young ones to provide for. 
The ferocity of her disposition then appears with ten- 
fold vigour ; and woe be to • the wretched intruder, 

b Quadrupeds. 

whether man or beast, who should unwarily approach 
the precincts of her sanctuary. She makes incursions 
for food for her young with even more intrepidity thai] 
the Lion himself; throws herself indiscriminately 
among men and other animals; destroys without dis- 
tinction; loads herself with the spoil, and brings it 
home reeking to her cubs. She usually brings forth 
her young in the most retired and inaccessible places ; 
and when she fears the discovery of her retreat, often 
hides her track, by running back over the ground, or 
by brushing it out with her tail. She sometimes also, 
Avhen her apprehensions are great, transports her young 
from one place to another, like a cat; and if obstructed, 
defends them with determined courage, and fights to 
the last. 

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

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

The Tiger. 

THE TIGEK. (Felts Tigris.) 

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

The Tiger has a smaller and rounder head than the 
lion ; he has no mane -, his tail is without any tuft at the 
extremity, and his body much more slender and flexible. 
His colour is yellowish on the back and sides, becoming 
white beneath, with numerous lines of a very dark rich 
brown, or glossy black, sloping from the centre of the 
back down the sides, and over the head, and continued 

JO Quadrupeds. 

down the tail in the form of rings. Tigers are only- 
found wild in Asia ; but they are very abundant and 
very destructive in the East Indies, as from their enor- 
mous strength they can carry off a bullock with the 
greatest ease. 

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

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

The Tiger. 11 

such success as to enable liim to escape to ravines where 
it would be madness to attempt pursuit. 

The Tiger is, however, such a formidable neighbour, 
that, apart from the excitement of hunting him, the 
natives of the countries which he inhabits have recourse 
to various modes of killing him. In Persia a large and 
strong wooden cage is often fastened firmly down to the 
ground, in the vicinity of the Tiger's haunts, and in this 
a man, accompanied by a dog or goat, to warn him of the 
approach of the Tiger, takes up his quarters at night. 
He is provided with a few strong spears, and when the 
Tiger comes, and in endeavouring to reach the enclosed 
prey rears himself against the cage, the man takes the 
opportunity of stabbing him in a mortal part. In Oude 
the peasants sometimes strew leaves smeared with bird- 
lime in the Tiger's path, in order that as the animal 
walks on them they may adhere to his feet; in his 
efforts to disengage himself from these encumbrances he 
usually smears face and eyes with the sticky material, 
or rolls himself among the treacherous leaves, until 
finally becoming blinded and very uncomfortable he 
gives vent to his dissatisfaction in the most dismal 
howlings, which speedily bring his enemies about him, 
when taking advantage of his helpless condition the}' 
dispatch him without difficult} 7 . The destruction of a 
Tiger is handsomely rewarded by the Indian govern- 
ments, and many of the people make a regular trade of 
shooting them. 



THE LEOPARD, (Felis Leopardus,) 

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

Like all animals of the cat tribe, Leopards are a com- 
pound of ferocity and cunning ; they prey upon the 
smaller animals, such as antelopes, sheep, and monkeys ; 
and are enabled to secure their food with great success, 
from the extraordinary flexibility of their bodies. Kol- 
ben informs us that, in the year 1708, two of these 
animals, a male and female, with three young ones, broke 
into a sheepfold at the Cape of Good Hope. They killed 
nearly a hundred sheep, and regaled themselves with the 

The F anther. 


blood; after which they tore a carcass into three pieces, 
one of which they gave to each of their offspring ; they 
then took each a whole sheep, and, thus laden, began to 
retire; but having been observed, they were waylaid 
on their return, and the female and young ones killed, 
while the male effected his escape. They appear afraid 
of man, and never attack him unless driven by hunger, 
when they spring upon him from behind. The Leopard 
is sometimes called the Tree-tiger from the ease with 
which he climbs trees. 

THE PANTHER. (Felis pardus.) 

Although the Panther is generally savage, and always 
very uncertain in its disposition, instances have been 
known of its exhibiting a certain amount of gentleness 
and even playfulness in confinement. This was the case 
with a specimen which Mrs. Bowditch brought over 
with her from Africa. This animal was called Sai. 
One day, at Cape Coast Castle, he found the servant 
appointed to attend on him sitting asleep, resting his 



back against a door; Sai instantly lifted up his paw, 
and gave the sleeper a tap on the side of the cheek, 
which knocked him over, and when the man awaked, he 
found Sai wagging his tail, and seeming to enjoy the fun. 
Another day, when a woman was scrubbing the floor, he 
jumped on her back ; and when the woman screamed 
with fright, he sprang off, and began rolling over and 
over like a kitten. When put on board ship, he was 
first confined in a cage; and the greatest pleasure he 
had was when Mrs. Bowditch gave him a little twisted 
cup or cornet of stiff paper with some lavender-water in 
it, and with this he was so delighted, that he would roll 
himself over and over, and rub his paws against his face. 
At first he used to put his claws out when he attempted 
to snatch anything ; but as Mrs. Bowditch would never 
give him any lavender-water when this was the case, he 
soon learnt to keep his claws in. This Panther died 
soon after it reached England. 

THE OUNCE. (Felis Undo). 

The Ounce is a species of cat very nearly related to the 
Leopard, with which it agrees in size and in its general 
habits. It differs principally in the thickness of its fur, 
its greyish colour, the irregular form of the spots, and 

The Ocelot. 


the great length of its tail, which, from being clothed 
with a long thick fur, corresponding with that of the 
body, appears to be also of great thickness. This thick 
and somewhat woolly-looking coat is rendered necessary 
by the coldness of the districts inhabited by the Ounce, 
which is found in Thibet and other mountainous regions 
of Asia. 

THE OCELOT. (Folia par 

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

16 Quadrupeds. 


(Felis juhaia.) 

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

THE JAGUAR. (Felis Onca.) 

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




THE PUMA. (Felis concohr.) 

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

The Common Lynx. 


America. It was formerly supposed that the Puma 
could not be tamed ; but this is incorrect, as the late 
Edmund Kean, the tragedian, had one which followed 
him about like a dog, and was often permitted to come, 
at perfect liberty, into the dyawing-room when it was 
full of company. 

THE COMMON LYNX. (Felis Lynx.) 

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

20 Quadrupeds. 

THE CARACAL. (Felis Caracal.) 

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

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

THE CAT. (Felis domestica.) 

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

John Philips. 

It was formerly supposed that the common domestic 
Cat was nothing more than the wild Cat of the woods, 

The Cat 21 

rendered tame by education. This opinion is, however, 
now doubted, on the ground that the tail of the wild 
Cat is thick and bushy, like that of a fox, while that oi 
the domestic Cat tapers to the point. The Cat of the 
Egyptians, of which so many mummies have been 
found, differed still more in this respect, as its tail was 
long and slender, ending in a kind of tuft. There are 
four or five distinct varieties of the domestic Cat : the 
tabby, the tortoise-shell, the Chartreuse, and the 
Angora. Of these the tabby bears most resemblance to 
the wild Cat, and the black Cats are from this breed : 
the tortoise-shell is said to have been brought from 
Spain, the females of this race being generally of a pure 
tortoise-shell, and the males buff, with stripes of a 
darker hue. All the white and whitish Cats are de- 
scended from the Chartreuse breed; they have all a 
blue tinge in their fur, and reddish eyelids : the tailless 
Cats of Cornwall and the Isle of Man belong to this 
race. The Angoras are quite distinct, and are well 
known by their long silky hair. Cats are fond of 
warmth, and are generally affected by changes in the 
weather. They are very affectionate, purring at the 
sight of those who are kind to them ; and will curve up 
their backs and rub themselves against a door when it 
is opened for them, as if to thank the kind friend who 
has done them this service, before they take advantage 
of it. The female Cat has generally five or six kittens 
at a time, which she carries about in her mouth, and 
hides, when she thinks them in danger. When a Cat is 
enraged, its hair stands erect, and its tail swells to an 
enormous size. Cats fight savagely, and often tear the 
skin off each other's necks : when two are about to fight, 
they stand for some time looking at each other, growl- 
ing, and then dart at each other with the greatest fury, 
yelling with rage. 

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



often sitting stroking their faces with their paws, as if 
washing themselves. 

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

THE WILD CAT. (Felis Catus.) 

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

The Shepherd's Bog. 23 

THE DOG. (Canis familiaris.) 

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

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


The Shepherd's Dog has been considered the primitive 
stock, from whence all others are derived. This animal 
still continues nearly in its original state among the 
poor in temperate climates : being transported into the 
colder regions, it becomes smaller, and covered with a 
shaggy coat. Whatever differences there may be among 
the Dogs of these cold countries, they are not very con- 
siderable, as they all have straight ears, long and thick 
hair, a savage aspect, and do not bark either so often or 
so loud as Dogs of the more cultivated kind. The Shep- 
herd's Dog, transported into temperate climates, and 
among people entirely civilized, such as into England, 



France, and Germany, will be divested of his savage air, 
his pricked ears, his rough, long, and thick hair ; though 
he will still retain his large skull, abundant brain, and 
consequent great sagacity. 

Many interesting anecdotes are told of the shepherd's 
tyke or colley, as this kind of Dog is frequently called, 

particularly of its sagacity in rescuing sheep from snow- 
drifts. When sheep are missing in a snow-storm, as is 
frequently the case in Scotland and the North of England, 
the shepherd arms himself with a spade, and watching 
the motions of his faithful Dog, digs into the snow 
wherever the Dog begins to scratch it away, and is thus 
sure to find his lost sheep. 

This valuable boon .to the shepherd is the least vora- 
cious of his kind, and endures fatigue and hunger with 


[jChasseur and Cuba Bloodhounds.] 


" Conscious of the recent stains, his heart 

Beats quick; his snuffling nose, his active tail, 
Attest his joy : then with deep opening mouth, 
That makes the welkin tremble, he proclaims 
Th' audacious felon. " 

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

26 Quadrupeds. 

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

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

The old English Hound, the original stock of this 
island, and used by the ancient Britons in the chase, is 
a most valuable Dog ; though the breed has been gradu- 
ally declining, and the size studiously diminished by a 
mixture of other kinds, in order to increase their speed. 
[t seems to have been accurately described by Shak- 
speare in the following lines : — 

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


This most valuable of all the Dogs of the chase, is 
smaller than the staghound, its average height being 
from twenty to twenty-two inches. No country in Eu- 
rope can boast of Foxhounds equal in fleetness, strength, 
and perseverance to those of Britain, where the utmost 
attention is paid to their breeding, education, and food. 
The climate also seems congenial to their nature, for 
when taken to France or Spain, and other southern 
countries of Europe, they quickly degenerate, and lose 
all the admjrable qualities they possess in this country. 
Our predilection for fox-hunting appears to have 
descended from our forefathers, and to have gone on 
increasing in ardour. Certainly, no other country can 
boast of such splendid establishments for this valuable 
breed : the Duke of [Richmond's Kennel at Goodwood, 
cost no less than £19,000. 




Is docile in its disposition, and when trained, is of the 
greatest service to the sportsman who delights in shoot- 
ing. It is astonishing to see to what a degree of obe- 
dience these animals may be brought. Their sight is 
equally acute with their scent, and they are 4 enabled to 
perceive at a distance the smallest sign from their 
master. So admirably have they been trained, that 
their acquired propensities seem as inherent as a 
natural instinct, and appear to be transmitted from 
parent to progeny. When they scent their game, they 
fix themselves like statues, in the very attitude in 
which they happen to be at the moment. If one of 
their fore feet is not on the ground when they first 
scent, it remains suspended, lest, by putting it to the 
ground, the game might be too soon alarmed by the 
noise. In this position they remain, until the sports- 
man comes near enough, and is prepared to take his 
shot ; when he gives the word, and the dog immediately 
springs the game. This attitude has often been selected 
by the artist. 

The Mastiff. 



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

A curious account is given by Stow, of an engagement 
between three Mastiffs and a lion, in the presence of 
James the First. " One of the Dogs being put into the 
den, was soon disabled by the lion, which took him by 
the head and neck, and dragged him about : another Dog 
was then let loose, and served in the same manner : but 
the third, being put in, immediately seized the lion by 
the lip, and held him for a considerable time ; till, being 
severely torn by his claws, the Dog was obliged to quit 
his hold ; and the lion, greatly exhausted in the conflict, 
refused to renew the engagement ; but, taking a sudden 
leap over the Dogs, fled into the interior part of the den. 
Two of the Dogs soon died of their wounds ; the last 
survived, and was taken great care of by the king's son, 
who said, ' He that had fought with the king of the 



beasts, should never after fight with any inferior crea- 
ture.' " 

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


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

Some years since, at a bull -baiting in the north of 
England, when this barbarous custom was very common, 
a young man, confident of the spirit of his Dog, laid 
a wager that he would, at separate times, cut off all the 

The Terrier. 


animal's feet, and that he would continue to attack the 
bull after each amputation. The experiment was tried, 
and the brutal wretch won his wager. 


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




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

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

Pope's Windsor Forest 

The Water-Spaniel. 



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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Some time ago a young woman was nursing an infant 

The Newfoundland Dog. 35 

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

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

The Dog having shaken himself, began industriously 
to lick the hands and face of his master, while the rustic 
hastened across ; and, having obtained assistance, the 
bod} r was conveyed to a neighbouring house, where the 
usual means of resuscitation soon restored him to sense 



and recollection. Two very considerable bruises, with 
the marks of teeth, appeared, one on his shoulder and 
the other on the nape of his neck ; whence it was pre- 
sumed that the faithful animal first seized his master by 
the shoulder, and swam with him in this manner some 
time ; but that his sagacity had prompted him to let go 
this hold, and shift his grasp to the neck, by which he 
had been enabled to support the head out of water. It 
was in the latter position that the peasant observed the 
Dog making his way along the dike, which it appeared he 
had done for the distance of nearly a quarter of a mile. 



Is well known, and was formerly held in such estima- 
tion, that he was the especial companion of a gentleman, 
who, in ancient times, was distinguished by his horse, 
his hawk, and his Greyhound, and it was penal for any 
person of inferior rank to keep one. He is the fleetest 
of all Dogs, and can outrun every animal of the chase. 
He has a long body, and is of an elegant shape ; his 
head is neat and sharp, with a full eye, a good mouth, 

The Fox. 


sharp and very white teeth ; his tail is long, and curls 
round above his hind part. There are several varieties ; 
as the Italian Greyhound, the Oriental Greyhound, and 
the Irish Greyhound, or Wolf-dog. They are used for 
coursing; that is, hunting by sight instead of scent; 
and are principally employed in chasing hares. Daniel, 
in his Mural Sports, tells us, that a brace of Greyhounds 
have been known to course a hare four miles in twelve 
minutes ; turning it several times, till the poor creature 
dropped at last quite dead from fatigue. 

THE FOX. (Canis Values.) 
This well-known animal, which is found in most coun- 
tries of Europe, is of a reddish-brown colour, with the 
tip of his bushy tail white. His abode is generally on 
the skirt of a wood, as near a farm-yard as possible, in a 
hole, of which some other animal has been dispossessed 
or which it has voluntarily deserted. Thence he issues at 
night, and cautiously approaching the poultry, kills all 
that he can find, conveying them one by one to different 



hiding places, which he visits when hungry. He will 
continue his depredations till day-break, or until he is 
alarmed, often depopulating a whole poultry-yard in one 
night. When, however, his choice food, the chicken, is 
not accessible, he devours animal food of every descrip- 
tion ; and if his habitation be near the water he will even 
content himself with shell-fish. In France and Italy he 
does much damage to the vineyards, being very fond 
of grapes, and spoiling many for the sake of one bunch. 

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

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

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

In this country he is hunted with horses and hounds, 
and no animal affords greater diversion and occupation to 
the sportsman. When pursued he usually makes for his 
hole ; but should his retreat be cut off, his stratagems and 
shifts to escape are singularly acute. He seeks woody 


The Arctic Fox. 


and uneven parts of the country, preferring the path, 
the most embarrassed by thorns and briars, and running 
in a straight line before the hounds, at no great distance 
from them ; and, when overtaken, he turns on his 
assailants, and fighting with obstinate despair, dies in 

THE ARCTIC FOX, (Canis lagopus,) 

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



THE WOLF, {Cams Lupus,) 

When hungry, is an undaunted and most ferocious inha- 
bitant of the woods, but a coward when the stimulus of 
appetite is no longer in action. He delights to roam in 
mountainous countries, and is a great enemy to sheep and 
goats ; the watchfulness of dogs can hardly prevent his 
depredations, and he often dares to visit the haunts of 
men, howling at the gates of cities and towns. His head 
and neck are of a cinereous colour, and the rest of a pale 
yellowish brown. He commonly lives to the age of 
fifteen or twenty years. He possesses a most exquisite 
power of smelling his prey at a great distance. Wolves 
are found nearly everywhere, except in the British islands, 
where this noxious race has been entirely extirpated. 
King Edgar first attempted to effect this by remitting the 
punishment of certain crimes on producing a number of 
Wolves' tongues; and in Wales, the tax of gold and 
silver was commuted for an annual tribute of Wolves' 
heads. In the reign of Athelstan, Wolves abounded so 

The Wolf. 41 

much in Yorkshire, that a retreat was built at Flixton, 
to defend passengers from their attacks. They infested 
Ireland many centuries after their extinction in Eng- 
land : the last presentment for killing Wolves was made 
in the county of Cork about the year 1710. They abound 
in the immense forests of Germany, and they are also 
found in considerable numbers in the South of France. 
Everywhere that they are wild, so great is the general 
detestation of this destructive creature, that all other 
animals endeavour to avoid it. In a state of captivity, 
however, the Wolf is remarkably anxious to attract the 
attention of man, and rubs itself against the bars of its 
cage when noticed. Indeed, the Wolf is by no means so 
untractable as is frequently supposed ; but his temper is 
rather uncertain, and his destructive habits lender him 
a dangerous pet. A curious instance of combined doci- 
lity and destructiveness is related by Mr. Lloyd, which, 
as it also illustrates the cunning of this animal, we 
adduce here. Mr. Lloyd says — " I once had serious 
thoughts of training a fine female Wolf in my possession 
as a pointer ; but was deterred, owing to the penchant 
she exhibited for the neighbours' pigs. She was chained 
in a little enclosure, just in front of my window, into 
which those animals, when the gate happened to be left 
open, ordinarily found their way. The devices the 
Wolf employed to get them in her power, were very 
amusing. When she saw a pig in the vicinity of her 
kennel, she, evidently with the purpose of putting him 
off his guard, would throw herself on her side or back, 
wag her tail most lovingly, and look innocence personi- 
fied. And this amiable demeanour would continue 
until the grunter was beguiled within the length of her 
tether, when, in the twinkling of an eye, the prey was 
clutched." The Wolf is sometimes affected with mad- 
ness, in symptoms and consequences exactly similar to 
that which affects the dog ; but this disease, as it gene- 
rally happens in the depth of winter, cannot be attri- 
buted to the great heat of the dog-days. In the northern 
parts of the world, wolves are said, frequently, in the 
spring, to get upon the fields of ice adjoining the sea, for 
the purpose of preying upon the young seals, which 



they there find asleep ; but vast pieces of the ice occa- 
sionally detaching themselves from the mass, they are 
carried with them to a great distance from the land, 
where they perish amidst the most hideous and dreadful 
howling. The language of the poet is beautifully 
descriptive of this creature's insatiable fury : — 

" By wintry famine roused, from all the tra^t 
Of horrid mountains, which the shining Alps, 
And wavy Apennines and Pyrenees, 
Brunch out, stupendous, into distant lands, 
Cruel as death ! and hungry as the grave ! 
Burning for blood ! bony, and gaunt, and grim ! 
Assembling Wolves, in raging troops, descend ; 
And, pouring o'er the country, bear along, 
Keen as the north wind sweeps the glossy snow : 
All is their prize." 

THE JACKAL, (Canis Aureus,) 

Commonly called the lion's provider, is not much larger 
than the fox, which he resembles in the appearance of 
the fore part of his body. His skin is of a bright yel- 
lowish colour. The Jackals often unite to attack their 
prey, and make a most hideous noise, which, rousing the 
king of the forest from his slumbers, brings him to the 
place of food and plunder: at his arrival, the petty 

The Striped Hyaena. 


thieves, awed by the greater strength of their new mess- 
mate, retire to a distance ; and hence the fabulous story 
of their attendance on the lion, to provide for his food. 
— These animals are always seen in large flocks of forty 
or fifty ; and hunt, like hounds in full cry, from evening 
till morning. In the absence of other food they drag 
the dead out of their tombs, and feed greedily on putrid 
corpses; but, notwithstanding their natural ferocity, it 
is said that, when taken young, they may be easily 
tamed, and, like dogs, they love to be fondled, wag 
their tails, and show a considerable degree of attachment 
to their masters. They are common in many parts 
of the East : and as they act as scavengers, the people 
do not annoy them in their nocturnal visits. 


THE STKIPED HYAENA. (Eycena Striata.) 

This animal was long supposed to be the most savage 
and untractable of all quadrupeds : but it is now found 
that he may be tamed. He is covered with long, coarse, 
and rough ash- coloured hair, marked with long black 
stripes, from the back downwards ; the tail is very 
hairy. His teeth and jaws are so constructed as to 



enable him to crush the largest bones with ease; and 
his tongue is as rough as a coarse file. Like the jackal, 
he attacks the flocks and herds, caring little for the 
watchfulness or strength of dogs, and when pressed with 
hunger, comes and howls at the gates of towns, and vio 
]ates the repositories of the dead, tearing up the bodies 
from the graves, and devouring them. He is now only 
found wild in Asia and Africa, but is supposed to have 
formerly inhabited Europe. When receiving his food, 
the eyes of this fierce animal glisten, the bristles of his 
back stand erect, he grins fearfully, and utters a snarling 

THE SPOTTED HYiEXA. (Eijarna Crocuta.) 

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

American Black Bear. 


AMERICAN BLACK BEAR. (Ursus Americanns.) 

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



THE GRISLY BEAR, (Ursus Ferox,) 
Which is also an inhabitant of North America, is a crea- 
ture of enormous size and strength ; a specimen has 
been measured and found to be nine feet in length ; and 
it is capable of carrying the carcass of a bison, weighing 
probably about a thousand pounds. His ferocity corre- 
sponds with his powers of destruction ; and he is alto- 
gether one of the most formidable of quadrupeds. 

Is a native of the North of Europe, and also of the 
mountainous parts of the South of that continent. He 
is a great sleeper, and passes the whole winter in his 

The Brown European Bear. 47 

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

The Brown Bear was at one time common in the 
British islands. " Many years ago it has been swept 
away so completely, that we find it imported for bait- 
ing, a sport in which our nobility, as well as the com- 



monalty, of the olden time — nay, even royalty itself — 
delighted. A bear-bait was one of the recreations 
offered to Elizabeth at Kenil worth, and in the Earl of 
Northumberland's Household Book we read of twenty 
shillings for his bearward. In Southwark there was a 
regular bear-garden, that disputed popularity with the 
Globe and Swan theatres, on the same side of the 
water. Now, however, so much do tastes alter, (in this 
instance certainly for the better) such barbarous sports 
are banished from the metropolis." 

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

__- « ~ .^^^>-s —"" 

THE MALAYAN SUN-BEAR. (Ursus Malayanus.) 
Jn this Bear the hair is short and black, except on the 

The Malayan Sun-Bear. 


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

50 Quadrupeds. 


( Ursus maritimus.) 

The Polar Bear is generally from six to eight feet long. 
The fur is long and white, with a tinge of yellow, which 
becomes darker as the animal advances in age ; the ears 
are small and round, and the head long. It inhabits the 
Arctic shoves of. both hemispheres. It walks heavily, 
and is very clumsy in all its motions ; its senses of hear- 
ing and seeing appear very dull, but its smell is very 
acute ; and it does not appear destitute of some degree of 
understanding, or at least of cunning. Captain King, 
who visited the shores of the Arctic Ocean in 1835, 
relates a curious instance of the cunning of this animal : 
" On one occasion a Polar bear was seen to swim cau- 
tiously to a large piece of ice, on which two female 
walruses were lying asleep with their cubs. The Bear 
crept up some hummocks behind them, and with his fore 
feet loosened a large block of ice, which, with the help 
of his nose and paws, he rolled and carried till it was 
immediately over the heads of the sleepers, when he let 
it fall on one of the old animals, which was instantly 
killed. The other walrus, with its cubs, rolled into the 
water, but the 3 r oung one of the murdered female re- 
mained by its dam, and on this helpless creature tho 
Bear rushed, thus killing two animals at once/' 

The Racoon. 51 

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

THE KACOON. (Procyon lotor.) 

This animal is a native of America, of the bear tribe : 
in Jamaica they are very numerous, and do incredible 
mischief to the plantations of sugar-cane and Indian corn, 
especially to the latter while it is young. The Racoon 
is less than the fox in size, and has a sharp -pointed nose. 
His fore legs are shorter than the others. The colour of 
his body is grey, with two broad rings of black round 
the eyes, and a dusky line running down the middle of 
the face. In the wild state the Racoon is savage and 
sanguinary, committing great destruction among both 
wild and domesticated birds, without consuming any part 
of them except the head, or the blood which flows from 

52 Quadrupeds. 

their wounds. It is a good climber, the form of its 
claws enabling it to adhere to the branches of trees with 
great tenacity. Eacoons are easily domesticated, and 
then become very amusing animals. They are as mis- 
chievous as a monkey, seldom at rest, and extremely 
sensible of ill treatment, which they never forgive. They 
have great antipathy to sharp and harsh sounds, such as 
the bark of a dog, and the cry of a child. They eat of 
everything that is given them, and, like the cat, are 
good providers, hunting after eggs, fruit, corn, insects, 
snails, and worms ; and generally dip their food in water 
before devouring it. A peculiarity which few other 
animals are found to possess is, that they drink as well 
by lapping like the dog, as by sucking like the horse. 
These animals are hunted for the sake of their fur, which 
is used by the hatters, and is considered next in value to 
that of the beaver ; it is used also in linings for garments. 
The skins, when properly dressed, are made into gloves 
and upper-leathers for shoes. The negroes frequently 
eat the flesh of the Racoon, and are very fond of it, 
though it has a very disagreeable and rank smell. The 
American hunters pique themselves on their skill in 
shooting Eacoons ; which from the extraordinary vigi- 
lance and cunning of the animals, is by no means an 
easy task. 

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

The Coati-Mondi. 


THE BADGER. (Meles Taxus.) 

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


THE COATI-MONDI. (Nasua Narica.) 

This creature is a native of South America, not unlike 
the Eacoon in the general form of the body, and, like 
that animal, frequently sits up on the hinder legs, and 



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

THE CIVET, (Viverra Civetta,) 

Is found in Northern Africa and Guinea, and is famous 
for producing the perfume called civet. He is kept for 

The Genet. 55 

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

THE GENET. (Viverra Genetta.) 

This animal is about the size of a small cat. The skin 
is spotted and beautiful, of a reddish grey colour. The 
spots on the sides are round and distinct, those on the 
back almost close; its tail is long, and marked with 
seven or eight rings of black. From an orifice beneath 
its tail it yields a kind of perfume, which smells faintly 
of musk. This little animal is meek and gentle, except 
when provoked, and is easily domesticated. In Con- 
stantinople it strays from house to house like our cat, 
and keeps whatever house it is in perfectly free from 
mice and rats, which cannot endure its smell. It is 
found wild in various parts of the south of Europe, and 
also throughout the continent of Africa. Its fur i3 

56 Quadrupeds. 

beautiful and soft, and valuable as an article of com- 
merce. The eyes of the Genet contract when exposed 
to the light, like those of the cat; and it can draw 
in its claws in nearly the same manner. 

THE ORIENTAL CIVET, (Viverra Zibetha,) 

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

"4Xk\u Jitw 

or PHARAOH'S RAT. (Herpestes Ichneumon.) 

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

The Ichneumon. 57 

eyes, and a pointed nose; the hair is rough and bristly, 
of a pale reddish grey. 

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

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

The Moongus (Herpestes griseus) and the Garangan 
(Herpestes Javanicus) are eastern species of Ichneumons ; 
the former inhabits India, and the latter the island of 
lava. Like the Egyptian Ichneumon, they are great 
memies of snakes and other reptiles, and also destroy 



rats, but unfortunately they often commit great havoc 
among poultry. 

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

" Thus oft the Ichneumon, on the hanks of Nile, 
Invades the deadly a^pic by a wile ; 
While artfully his slender tail is ployed, 
The serpent darts upon the dancing shade, 
Then turning on the foe with swift surprite, 
Full on the throat the nimble traitor flies, 
And in his grasp the panting serpent dies." 

THE WEASEL. (Mustela vulgaris.) 

The animals belonging to this genus, notwithstanding 
their small size, are all carnivorous, and from their slen- 
der and lengthened bodies, short legs, and the very free 
motion in every direction, permitted by the loose articu- 
lations of the spine, are well formed for pursuing their 
prey into the deepest recesses. Constituted by nature 
to subsist on animals, many of which have great strength 
and courage, they possess an undaunted and ferocious 
disposition. The Weasel has a long and thin body; its 
length, with its tail, is ten inches, and its height not 
more than an inch and a half. In the northern parts of 

The Weasel 59 

Europe they are very numerous. Mice of every descrip- 
tion, the field and the water-vole, rats, moles, and small 
birds, are their ordinary food, and occasionally rabbits 
and partridges. When driven by hunger, it will boldly 
attack the poultry-yard. The Weasel, when it enters a 
hen roost, never meddles with the cocks or old hens, but 
makes choice of the pullets and young chickens ; these 
it kills with a single stroke on the head, and carries 
away one after the other. It sucks the e^gs with 
avidity, making a small hole at one end, through which 
it draws out the yolk. In winter it resides in granaries 
and hay-lofts, and in summer chooses the low lands 
about the mills and streams, where it hides among the 
bushes, and in the hollows of old trees. 

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

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




THE FERRET, (Mustefa furo,) 

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

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

The Polecat. 61 

THE POLECAT. (Mustela putorius.) 

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



THE ERMINE. (Mustela erminea.) 

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

The Skunk. 


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

THE SKUNK, (Mustela, or Mephitis Americana,) 

Which is found in most parts of North America, is curi- 
ously marked with a pair of white stripes running 

o*4 Quadrupeds. 

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

THE SABLE. (Mustela, or Martes Zibellina.) 

This animal is a native of Siberia, Kamtschatka, and 
Asiatic Kussia, and it frequents the banks of rivers, 
arid the thickest parts of the woods. It lives in holes 
under the ground, and especially under the roots of 
trees ; but sometimes makes its nest, like the squirrel, 
in the hollows of trees. The skin of the Sable is more 
valuable than that of any other animal of equal size. 
One of these skins, not more than four inches broad, 
has sometimes been valued at as high a rate as fifteen 
pounds ; but the general price is from one to ten pounds, 
according to the quality. The Sable's fur is different 

The Sable. 


from all others, its peculiarity being, that the hair turns 
with equal ease either way; on which account fur 
dealers sometimes blow the fur of any article they may 
be selling, to show that it is really Sable. The tails are 
sold by the hundred, at from four to eight pounds. 

The American Sable (M. leucopus) is considered to 
be a distinct species. 

The common, or Beech Martkn, (Mustda Martes or 
Martes foina,) like the Sable, boasts the honour cf adorn- 
ing with his fur the rich and the beautiful ; as princes, 
ladies, and opulent people of all nations, pride them- 
selves in wearing his spoils. He is about as big as 
a cat, but his body is much longer proportionately, and 
the legs shorter. His skin is of a light brown, with 
white under the throat. The fur of the Marten fetches 
a good price, and is much used in European countries, 
though very far inferior to that of the Sable : the best, 
which is called Stone Marten fur by the furriers, is 
imported from Sweden and Eussia. 



The Pine, or Yellow-breasted Marten (M. Ahietum), 
is another species, the fur of which is nearly equal to 
that of the Sable, though it is much cheaper. 

THE OTTER. (Lutra vulgaris.) 

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


As the Otter lives principally on fish, the formation 
of his body is such as will enable him to swim with the 
greatest facility. His body is flattened horizontally ; 
his tail is flat and broad ; his legs are short, and his toes 
webbed. His teeth are very strong and sharp ; and his 
body, besides its fur, has an outer covering of coarse 
shining hair. The Otter is a perfect epicure in his food ; 
he seldom eats an entire fish, but beginning at the head, 
eats that, and about half the body, always rejecting the 
tail. When the rivers and ponds are frozen so that the 
Otter can get no fi^h, he will visit the neighbouring 

The Otter. 


farin-yards, where he will attack the poultry, sucking- 
pigs, and even lambs. An Otter may be tamed, and 
taught to catch fish enough to sustain not only himself, 
but a whole family. Goldsmith states, that he saw 
an Otter go to a gentleman's pond at the word of com- 
mand, drive the fish into a corner, and seize upon the 
largest of the whole, bring it off, and give it to his 

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

The female Otter produces four or five young ones at 
a birth, and these in the spring of the year. Where 
there have been ponds near a gentleman's house, in- 
stances have occurred of their littering in cellars or 



drains. The male utters no noise when taken, but the 
females sometimes emit a shrill squeak. 

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

THE SEA OTTEE. (Lutra or Enhdyralutris.) 

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

The Common Seal. 

THE COMMON SEAL. (Phoca vi'ulina.) 

The amphibious flesh-eating animals, though nearly 
allied to the otter in their habits, are very different in 
the construction of their bodies. Their feet are so short 
and so enveloped in skin, that they are of scarcely any use 
in assisting the animal on dry land ; so that the deal's 
progress on solid ground is only effected by a sort of half 
tumbling, jumping, and shuffling motion, excessively 
ridiculous to a looker on. The feet, however, which are 
furnished with strong claws, are of use in enabling the 
animal to climb out of the water over a rocky shore. 
For swimming, the Seal is admirably adapted ; its long 
flexible body is shaped like that of a fish, tapering to the 
tail ; and it is furnished with strong webs between the 
toes, so as to make the fore feet act as oars, and the hind 
feet, which the animal generally drags behind it like a 
tail, to serve as a rudder. The Common Seal lives 
generally in the water, and feeds entirely on fish ; only 
coming to shore occasionally to bask on the sands, and to 
lie there to suckle its young. The usual length of a 
Seal is four or five feet. The head is laige and round ; 
the neck small and short ; and on each side of the mouth 

70 Quadrupeds. 

there are several strong bristles. From the shoulders 
the body tapers to the tail, which is very short. The 
eyes are large : there are no external ears ; and the 
tongue is cleft or forked at the end. The body is covered 
with short thick-set hair, which in the common species 
is generally grey, but sometimes brown or blackish. 
There are, however, several species ; and one of them, 
which is called the sea-leopard, has the fur spotted with 
white or yellow. 

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

The Common Seal. 71 

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

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

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



(Tricliechus Hosmarus.) 

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

The Walrus is common in some of the northern seas, 
and will sometimes attack a boat full of men. They are 
gregarious animals, usually found in herds of from fifty 
to one hundred or more, sleeping and snoring on the 
icy shores ; but when alarmed they precipitate them- 
selves into the water with great bustle and trepidation, 

The Walrus. 


and swim with such rapidity, that it is difficult to oveiv 
take them with a boat. One of their number always 
keeps watch while the others sleep. They feed on shell- 
fish and sea-weeds, and yield an oil equal in goodness to 
that of the whale. The white bear is their greatest 
enemy. In the combats between these animals, the 
Walrus is said to be generally victorious, on account of 
the desperate wounds it inflicts with its tusks. The 
females have only one young one at a time, which, when 
born, resembles a good sized-pig. 

74 Quadrupeds. 

§ II. Insectivorous, or Insect-eating Animals. 

4^r ^ ._ . 

THE HEDGEHOG. (Erinaceus Europcetts.) 

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

The female produces from two to four young ones at a 
birth. When first born they are blind, and their spines 
white and soft, but they become hard in a few days. 

The Hedgehog. 

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

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

Hi & 




^sfatft&t ..' 9 v > 

-. I'd 

*am* lit' 

THE MOLE. (Talpa Europcea.) 

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

The Mole. 

i i 

the ground with the poor Mole in it. The female Mole 
makes her nest at a distance from the male's castle. 
She has young only once a year, but she has four or five 
at a time. 

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

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



THE SHREW. (Sorex araneus.) 

Tins curious little animal closely resembles a mouse, ex- 
cept in its snout, which is long and pointed, to enable it 
to grub in the ground for its food, which consists of 
earthworms, and the grubs of beetles. The Shrew, like 
the mole, is very fond of fighting; and when two are 
seen together, they are generally engaged in a furious 
battle. Like the hedgehog, it has been much scanda- 
lized by false reports, as will be seen by the following 
extract from that most amusing and interesting work, 
Whites Selborne : " At the south corner of the area, near 
the church, there stood, about twenty years ago, a very 
old, grotesque, hollow pollard-ash, which for ages had 
been looked upon with no small veneration as a shrew- 
ash. Now a shrew-ash is an ash whose twigs and 
branches, when applied to the limbs of cattle, will im- 
mediately relieve the pains which a beast suffers from 
the running of a Shrew-mouse over the part affected ; for 
it is Supposed that a Shrew-mouse is of so baneful and 
deleterious a nature, that whenever it creeps over a 
beast, be it a horse, or cow, or sheep, the suffering 
animal is afflicted with cruel anguish, and threatened 
with the loss of the use of the limb. Against this acci- 

The Shrew. 71) 

dent, to which they were continually liable, our provi- 
dent forefathers always kept a shrew-ash at hand, which, 
when once medicated, would maintain its virtue for ever. 
A shrew-ash was made thus : — into the body of the 
tree a deep hole was bored with an auger, and a poor 
devoted Shrew mouse was thrust in alive, and plugged 
in." The cruelty of this, and many other practices of 
our ancestors, ought to make us thankful that we live in 
more enlightened days. 

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

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

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


III. Clieiropterous Animals. 

THE BAT. (Vespertilio Noctula.) 

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

The Long-Eared Bat. 


THE PIPISTEELLE. (Vespertilio Pipistrellus.) 

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


(Vespertilio or Plecotus auritus.) 
The Loxg-eared Bat, which is not uncommon in many 



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

THE YAMPYEE BAT. (Phyllostoma Spectrum.) 

Thu Vampyre Bat, which is a large species, is notorious 
for its very bad habit of sucking the blood of men and 
cattle. In making its attacks on man it exercises the 
greatest caution, alighting close to the feet of its in- 
tended victim during his slumbers, and fanning him 
with its broad wings to keep him cool and comfortable 
during the subsequent operations. Having made the 
proper arrangements, the Yampyre proceeds to bite a 
little piece out of the great toe of the slumberer, and 
although the wound thus caused is so small that it 
would not receive the head of a pin, it is deep enough 

The Kalong Bat. 


to cause a free flow of blood, which the Vampyre sucks 
until it can suck no longer. Cattle are generally bitten 
in the ear. Although there seems to be some exaggera- 
tion in many of the accounts given by travellers of the 
ferocity and sanguinary disposition of the- Vampyre. 
there would appear to be little doubt that the loss of 
blood caused by its bite may occasionally prove fatal, the 
sucking being continued, as Captain Stedman says, until 
the sufferer sleeps " from time into eternity " 

THE KALOXG BAT. (Pteropus edulis.) 

This Bat, which is also called the Flying Fox, is a native 
of the Indian Islands. It is a large species, measuring 
nearly two feet in length, whilst its large leathery 
wings, resembling those seen in the popular representa- 
tions of flying demons, extend from tip to tip about five 
feet. During the day the Kalongs indulge in sleep, for 
which purpose they prefer an attitude which to our 
notions would seem very uncomfortable ; they suspend 
themselves by their hind feet to the branches of trees, 
and thus hang with their heads downwards. They asso- 
ciate in large numbers, and when seen sleeping in the 
position above described, they look so little like animals 
that Dr. Horsfield tells us they " are readily mistaken 



for a part of the tree, or for a fruit of uncommon size 
suspended from its branches/' At the approach of even- 
ing, however, a very different scene presents itself. One 
by one these supposed fruits are seen to quit their hold 
upon the branches, and sail away to the plantations 
of various kinds, to which they do incalculable mischief 
by devouring every fruit that comes in their way. 

§ IV. The Marsupialia, or Pouch-bearing Animals. 

THE KANGAROO. (Macropus giganteus.) 

This remarkable animal was first discovered by the cele- 
brated Captain Cook, in Kew /Iolland : and as it was 
the only quadruped discovered on the inland by the first 
settlers, they attempted to hunt it with greyhounds. 
The astonishing leaps it took, however, quite puzzled the 
colonists, who found it extremely difficult to catch. At 
first it was supposed that there was only one kind of 
Kangaroo, but now many species have been discovered, 
some of them not larger than a rat, and others as big as 
a calf. Kangaroos live in herds ; one, older and larger 
than the,*rest, appearing to act as a kind of king. The 
ears of the Kangaroo are large, and in almost constant 
motion ; it has a hare-lip, and a very small head. The 

The Kangaroo. 80 

fore legs, or rather paws, are short and weak, with five 
toes, each ending in a strong curved claw. The hind 
legs, on the contrary, are very large and strong, but the 
feet have only four toes, and much weaker claws. The 
tail is very long and tapering ; but is so thick and strong- 
near the body, that it forms a kind of third hind leg, and 
wonderfully assists the animal in supporting itself in its 
ordinary upright position. Its leaps are of extraordinary 
extent, being often from twenty to thirty feet in length, 
and six or eight feet high. When the animal is attacked, 
it uses its tail as a powerful instrument of defence, and 
also scratches violently with its hind feet. It generally 
sits upright, but brings its fore feet to the ground when 
it is grazing. It lives entirely on vegetable substances. 
The most curious part of the Kangaroo is the pouch 
which the female has in front for carrying her young. 
It is just below her breast, and the young ones sit there 
to suck ; and even when they are old enough to leave 
the pouch, take refuge in it whenever they are alarmed. 

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

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

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



(Didelphis virginiana.) 

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

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

The Phalanger. 


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

THE PHALANGER. (Plialangista vulpina.) 

This animal, which is very common in Australia, has 
some resemblance in its aspect and colour to a fox ; but 
is much smaller. It has a long, furred tail, very dif- 
ferent from that of the opossum. The Phalanger lives 
amongst the branches of the trees, on which it climbs 
about at night with great agility; its food consists 
partly of fruits and partly of small birds, which it easily 
captures during its nocturnal excursions. It is called 
the Opossum by the colonists of Australia. There are 



several kinds of Phalangers, some of which are known 
as Flying Phalangers, from their having a broad loose 
fold of skin along each side, which, when stretched 
out by means of the legs, serves to support the little 
creature for a limo in the air, and enables it to leap 
to great distances. 

§ V. — Rodentia, or Gnawing Animals. 

THE BEAVEK. (Castor Fiber.) 

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

Beavers are natives of North America, and more par- 
ticularly the north of Canada. They are also found 
in Europe, and were formerly abundant in many places. 
Their houses are constructed with earth, stones, and 
sticks, neatly arranged and worked together by their 
paws. The walls are about two feet thick, and are sur- 
mounted by a kind of dome, which generally rises about 
four feet above them. The entrance is on one side, 
always at least three feet below the surface of the water, 
so as to prevent it being frozen up. The number of 

The Beaver. 89 

Beavers in each house is from two to four old ones, 
and about twice as many young. When Beavers form a 
new settlement, they build their houses in the summer ; 
and then lay in their winter provisions, which consist 
principally of bark and the tender branches of trees, cut 
into certain lengths, and piled in heaps on the outside 
of their habitation, and always under the water ; though 
sometimes the heap is so large as to rise above the 
surface. One of these heaps will occasionally contain 
more than a cart-load of bark, young wood, and the 
roots of the water-lily. 

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

A great many stories have long been believed respect- 
ing the Beaver, on the authority of a French gentleman 
who had resided a long time in North America; but 
it is now ascertained that the greater part of them are 
false. The house of the Beaver is not divided into 
rooms, but consists of only one apartment; and the 
animals do not use their tails either as a trowel or a 
sledge, but only as an assistance in swimming. Some 
years ago a Beaver was brought to this country from 
America, that had been quite tamed by the sailors, and 
was called Bunney. When he arrived in England, he 
was made quite a pet of, and used to lie on the hearth- 
rug in his master's library. One day he found out the 
housemaid's closet, and his building propensities began 
immediately to display themselves. He seized a large 
sweeping brush, and dragged it along with his teeth to 
a room where he found the door open : he afterwards 
laid hold of a warming-pan in the same manner ; and 
having laid the handles across, he filled up the walls of 
the angle made by tho brushes with the wall, with 
hand-brushes, baskets, boots, books, towels, and any- 
thing he could lay hold of. As his walls grew high, he 
would often sit propped up by his ta ; l (with which 
he supported himself admirably), to lojk at what he 
had done ; and if the disposition of any of his building 
materials did not satisfy him, he would pull part of his 



work down, and lay it again more evenly. It was astoN 
nishing how well he managed to arrange the incom 
gruous materials he had chosen, and how cleverly he 
contrived ^o remove them, sometimes carrying them 
between his right lore-paw and his chin, sometimes 
dragging them with his teeth, and sometimes pushing 
them along with his chin. When he had built his walls, 
he made himself a nest in the centre, and sat up in it, 
combing his hair with the nails of his hind feet. 

THE MUSK EAT, (Fiber Zlbethicus,) 

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

The Hare. 91 

THE HARE. (Lepus timidus.) 

This small quadruped is well known at our tables as 
affording a favourite food, notwithstanding the dark 
colour of its flesh. Its swiftness cannot save it from the 
search of its enemies, among whom man is the most in- 
veterate. Unarmed and fearful, the Hare appears almost 
to sleep with open e3 7 es, so easily is it alarmed. Its hind 
legs are longer than its fore ones, to enable it to run up 
hills ; its eyes are so prominently placed, that they can 
encompass at once the whole horizon of the plain where 
it has chosen its form, for so its seat or bed is called ; 
and its ears so long, that the least noise cannot escape it. 
It seldom outlives its seventh year, and breeds plen- 
tifully. Naturally wild and timorous, the Hare may, 
however, be occasionally tamed. The following is from 
the entertaining account given by Cowper, of three 
Hares that he brought up tame in his house ; the names 
he gave them were Puss, Tiney, and Bess. Tiney was a 
reserved and surly Hare; Bess, who was a Hare of 
great humour and drollery, died young. " Puss grew 
presently familiar, would leap into my lap, raise him- 
self upon his hinder feet, and bite the hair from my 
temples. He would suffer me to take him up and carry 
him about in my arms, and has more than once fallen 
fast asleep upon my knee. He was ill three days, 

02 Quadrupeds. 

during which time I nursed him, kept him apart from 
his fellows that they might not molest him, (for, like 
many other wild animals, they persecute one of their 
own species that is sick,) and by constant care, and try- 
ing him with a variety of herbs, restored him to perfect 
health. No creature could be more grateful than my 
patient after his recovery, a sentiment which he most 
significantly expressed by licking my hand, first the 
back of it, then the palm, then every finger separately, 
then between all the fingers, as if anxious to leave 
no part of it unsaluted ; a ceremony which he never 
performed but once again upon a similar occasion. 

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

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

The Babbit 


THE RABBIT. (Lepiu cunkulus.) 

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

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





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

The Squirrel. 


THE SQUIKKEL. (Sciurus vulgaris.) 

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

The American Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volucella) 
has a large membrane proceeding from the fore feet to 
the hind legs, which answers the same purpose as the 
Squirrel's tail, and enables him to give surprising leaps 
that almost resemble flying. In the act of leaping, the 
loose skin is stretched out by the feet, whereby the sur- 
face of the body is augmented, its fall is retarded, and it 

96 Quadrupeds. 

appears to sail or fly from one place to another. Where 
numbers of them are seen at a time leaping, they appear 
like leaves blown off by the wind. There are many 
other kinds of Squirrels in various parts of the world ; 
most of the Flying Squirrels are found in the eastern 

(Myoxus aveUanarius.) 

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

The Marmot. 97 

The American Dormouse, or Ground Squirrel, is a 
very beautiful animal, striped down the back, and re- 
sembling the squirrel in its habits, except that instead of 
living in trees it burrows in the ground. 


(Arctomys Marmotta.) 

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

98 Quadrupeds. 

THE GUINEAPIG. (Cavia Cobaya.) 

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

The Mouse. 


THE MOUSE. (Mus musculus.) 

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

A remarkable instance of sagacity in a long- tailed 
Field Mouse (Mus sylvaticus) occurred to the Eev. Mr. 
White, as his people were pulling off the lining of a hot- 
bed, in order to add some fresh dung. From the side of 
this bed something leaped with great agility, that made 
a most grotesque appearance, and was not caught with- 
out much difficulty. It proved to be a large Field Mouse, 
with three or four young ones clinging to her teats by 
their mouths and feet. It was amazing that the various 



and rapid motions of the dam did not oblige her litter to 
quit their hold, especially when it appeared that they 
were so young as to be both naked and blind. Mr. White 
appears to be the first to describe and accurately examine 
that diminutive creature the Harvest Mouse (Mus mes- 
sorius), the least of all the British quadrupeds. He 
measured some of them, and found that from the nose to 
the tail they were two inches and a quarter long. Two 
of them in a scale only weighed down one copper half- 
penny, about the third of an ounce avoirdupoise ! Their 
nest is a great curiosity, being made in the form of a 
ball, and either suspended between the stems of rushes 
and other tall slender plants, or placed amongst the 
leaves of some large thistle. 


THE KAT. (Mus decumanus.) 

The Rat is about four times as large as the mouse, but of 
a dusky colour, with white under the body ; his head is 
longer, his neck shorter, and his eyes comparatively 
larger. These animals are so attached to our dwellings, 

The Bat 101 

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

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

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



i ^v 

THE WATER RAT, (Arvicola amphibia,) 

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

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

The Lemming — The Short-tailed Field-Mouse. 103 

THE LEMMING-, (My odes Lsmmus,) 

Which is a near relation of the water-rat, and of about 
the same size, is covered with fur of a yellowish colour 
variegated with black. This animal resides in the moun- 
tains of Norway and Sweden, and is remarkable for 
performing extraordinary migrations in vast bodies at 
the approach of a severe winter, and making their 
appearance so suddenly and unexpectedly that people 
formerly asserted they had fallen from the clouds. Not- 
withstanding their supposed celestial origin, they are, 
however, very unwelcome visitors, as they devour every- 
thing eatable that comes in their way, and commit de- 
vastations almost as serious as those of the locusts. 


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

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

104 Quadrupedi 

THE JERBOA. (Dipus cegyptius.) 

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

The Chinchilla. 105 

THE CHINCHILLA. (Chinchilla lanigera.) 

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

106 Quadrupeds. 

THE PORCUPINE. (Hystrix cristata.) 

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

THE COUEKDOU, (Hystrix, or Synetheres prehensilis,) 

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

The Sloth. 107 

§ VI. — Edentata, or Toothless Animals. 

THE SLOTH. (Bradypus tridadylus.) 

This animal, which is sometimes also called the Ai, in 
reference to a noise it makes when caught, and fre- 
quently when 'moving through the forest, is most cu- 
riously formed. The arms or fore legs are nearly twice 
as long as the hind legs : the claws also are larger than 
the foot, and bent inwardly, so as to prevent the animal 
from placing the ball of its foot on the ground. From 
these peculiarities in its construction the progress of the 
Sloth on land is extremely slow and laborious, for being 
incapable of supporting himself on his feet, he is com- 
pelled to take advantage of every little inequality in the 
ground to drag himself along ; but he is not intended to 
be a terrestrial animal. He lives in trees, always hang- 
ing below the branch, with its back to the ground; and 
for a life of this kind, its long arms and hooked claws 
are admirably adapted. Mr. Water ton, whose long 
residence in the wilds of South America, and whose 
habits of close observation, render him an excellent 
authority, observes, that when the Sloth travels from 
branch to branch of the tree which it inhabits, particu- 

108 Quadrupeds. 

larly in windy weather, it moves with such rapidity as 
to make it quite a misnomer to call it a Sloth. " The 
Sloth," says Mr. Waterton, " in its wild state, spends its 
whole life in the trees, and never leaves them* but 
through force or accident; and what is more extra- 
ordinary, not upon the branches, like the squirrel and 
monkey, hut under them. He moves suspended from the 
branch, he rests suspended from the branch, and he 
sleeps suspended from the branch. Hence his seem- 
ingly bungled composition is at once accounted for ; and 
in lieu of the Sloth leading a painful life, and entailing 
a melancholy existence upon its progeny, it is but fair 
to conclude, that it enjoys life just as much as any other 
animal, and that its extraordinary formation and singu- 
lar habits are but further proofs to engage us to admire 
the wonderful works of Omnipotence.' 1 

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

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

Tlie Armadillo. 


THE ARMADILLO. (Basypus sexcinctus.) 

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



THE GREAT ANT-EATER. (Myrmecophaga jubata.) 

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

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

The Duck-Billed Platypus. 



MOLE. (Ornithorhynchus paradoxus.) 

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

When the animal feeds, he plunges his beak into the 
mud, just like a duck; and appears to be equally at 
home on land and in water. Two young ones that were 
kept for some time at Sydney, by Mr. Bennet, were 
very fond of rolling themselves up like a hedgehog, 
in the form of balls. They often slept in this position, 
and " awful little growls " issued from them when dis- 

] 12 Quadrupeds. 

turbed. They were fed with worms, and bread and 
milk ; but captivity did not seem to agree with them, 
and they soon died. They dressed their fur by comb- 
ing it with their feet, and pecking at it with their 
beaks, seeming to take great delight in keeping it 
smooth and clean. 

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

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

The Elephant 


§ VII. — Pachydermata, or Tliich-slcinned Animals. 

THE ELEPHANT. (Elephas indicus.) 

Providence, always impartial in the distribution of its 
gifts, has given this bulky quadruped a quick instinct 
nearly approaching to reason, in compensation for the 
uncouthness of his body. The Ceylon Elephant is 
about ten or twelve feet high, and is much the largest 
of all living quadrupeds. His skin is in general a 
mouse colour, but is sometimes white and sometimes 
black. His eyes are rather small for the size of his 
head, and his ears, which are very expanded and of a 
peculiar shape, have the flaps hanging down, instead of 
standing up, as in most quadrupeds. The Elephant is a 
gregarious animal in his wild state, and when domesti- 
cated is susceptible of attachment and gratitude, as well 
as of anger and revenge. Several anecdotes are related 

114 (Quadrupeds. 

of his quick apprehension, and particularly of his vin- 
dictive treatment of those who have either scoffed at or 
abused him. To disappoint him is dangerous, as he 
seldom fails to be revenged. The following instance is 
given as a fact, and deserves to be recorded: — An 
Elephant, disappointed of his reward, out of revenge, 
killed his governor. The poor man's wife, who beheld 
the dreadful scene, took her two children and thrust 
them towards the enraged animal, saying, " Since you 
have slain my husband, take my life also, as well as 
those of my children !" The Elephant instantly stopped, 
relented, and, as if stung with remorse, took the eldest 
boy in his trunk, placed him on his neck, adopted him 
for his governor, and would never afterwards allow any 
other person to mount him. 

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

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

TJie Elephant. 115 

of India, he took a large Elephant which had fought very 
valiantly for the king, and naming him Ajax, dedicated 
him to the sun, and then let him loose with this inscrip- 
tion : — " Alexander, the son of Jupiter, hath dedicated 
Ajax to the sun." This Elephant was found with this 
inscription 350 years after. 

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

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

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

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



(Hippopotamus amphibius.) 

This animal lives as well on land as in water, and yields 
in size to none but the elephant : he weighs sometimes 
more than fifteen hundred pounds. His skin is naked, 
and of a blackish brown colour, tinged with red about 
the muzzle and on the lower surface of the body. The 
head is flattish on the top, about four feet long and nine 
in circumference ; the lips are large, the jaws open 
about two feet wide, and the cutting- teeth, of which it 
has four in each jaw, are nearly a foot long ; he has 
broad ears, and large eyes, a thick neck, and a short tail, 
tapering like that of a hog. He grazes and eats the 
leaves and young branches of trees on shore, but retires 
to the water if pursued, and will sink down to the bot- 
tom, where he can remain five or six minutes at a time. 
When he rises to the surface and remains with his head 
out of the water, he makes a bellowing noise which may 
be heard at a great distance. The female brings forth 
her young upon land, and it is supposed that she seldom 
produces more than one at a time. The calf at the 

The Indian Rhinoceros. 


instant that it comes into the world, flies to the water 
for shelter, if pursued ; a circumstance which has been 
noticed as a remarkable instance of pure instinct. Fine 
specimens of this remarkable animal are to be seen in 
the Zoological Gardens in London ; and in Paris they 
have been known to breed twice, but on both occasions 
the mother destroyed her offspring, either intentionally 
or by accident. The Hippopotamus is supposed to be 
the Behemoth of the Scripture. See Job, chap. xl. 

THE INDIAN EHINOCEROS, (Bliinoceros unicornis,') 

So called because of the horn on his nose, is bred in 
India, is of a dark slate-colour, and nearly as large 
as the elephant, as he measures about twelve feet in 
length, but has short legs. His skin, which is not pene- 
trable by any ordinary weapon, is folded upon his body, 
in the manner represented in the figure above ; his eyes 
are small and half closed, and the horn on his nose is 
attached to the skin only. In confinement he often 
wears it to a mere stump, by rubbing it against his crib. 
He is perfectly indocile and untractable ; a natural 



enemy to the elephant, to whom he often gives battle, 
and is said never to go out of his way, but to endeavour 
to destroy whatever obstacles present themselves, rather 
than turn about. He lives on the coarsest vegetables, 
and frequents the banks of rivers, and marshy grounds ; 
his hoofs are divided into four, and he grunts like a hog, 
which he resembles in many other particulars. The 
female produces but one at a time, and during the first 
month her young are not bigger than a large dog. The 
Rhinoceros is supposed by some to be the Unicorn of 
holy writ, and possesses all the properties ascribed to that 
animal, — rage, untamableness, great swiftness, and im- 
mense strength. It was known to the Eomans in very 
early times. Augustus introduced one into the shows, on 
his triumph over Cleopatra. Some Ehinoceroses have 
two horns. 

Differs chiefly from the wild animal in having smaller 
tusks, and large and pendant ears. Of all domestic 

The Domestic Hog. 


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

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

120 Quadrupeds. 

THE WILD BOAR, (Sus scrofa,) 

Inhabits, for the most part, marshes and woods, and is 
of a black or brown colour : his flesh is very tender and 
good for food. The Wild Boar has tusks, which are 
sometimes nearly a foot in length, and have often proved 
dangerous to men, as well as to dogs in the chase. His 
life is confined to about thirty years ; his food consists of 
vegetables ; but when pressed by hunger, he devours 
animal flesh. This creature is strong and fierce, and un- 
dauntedly turns against his pursuers. To hunt him is 
one of the principal amusements of the grandees in those 
countries where he is to be found. The dogs provided 
for this sport are of the slow, heavy kind. Those used for 
hunting the stag, or the roebuck, would be very impro- 
per, as they would too soon come up with their prey, 
and, instead of a chase, would only furnish an engage- 
ment. Small mastitis are therefore chosen ; nor do the 
hunters much regard the goodness of their nose, as the 
Wild Boar leaves so strong a scent that it is impossible 
for them to mistake his course. They never hunt any 
but the largest and the oldest, which are known by 
their tusks. When the boar is reared, as is the expres- 
sion for driving him from his covert, he goes slowly and 
sullenly forward, without any indication of fear, not 
very far before his pursuers. At the end of every half- 
mile, or thereabouts, he turns round, stops till the 
hounds come up, and offers to attack them. These, on 
the other hand, knowing their danger, keep off and bay 
him at a distance. After they have for a while gazed 
upon each other, with mutual animosity, the Boar again 

The Wild Boar. 


slowly goes on his course, and the dogs renew the pur- 
suit. In this manner the charge is sustained, and the 
chase continues, till the Boar is quite tired, and refuses to 
go any further. The dogs then attempt to close in upon 
him from behind ; those which are young, lierce, and un- 
accustomed to the chase, are generally the foremost, and 
often lose their lives by their ardour. Those which are 
older, and better trained, are content to wait until the 
hunters come up, who despatch him with their spears. 

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


122 Quadrupeds 

THE BABIEOUSSA, (Babirussa alfurus,) 

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

THE PECCARY. (Dicotyles labiatus.) 

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

The Tapir. 123 

THE TAPIE. (Tapirus americanus.) 

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

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

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

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

The beautiful Horses produced in Arabia are in 
general of a brown colour ; their mane and tail are very 
short, with the hair black and tufted. The Arabs, for 
the most part, use the Mares in their ordinary excur- 
sions ; experience having taught them that they are less 
vicious than the males, and more capable of sustaining 
abstinence and fatigue. As the Arabs have no other 

The Horse. 125 

residence than a tent, this also serves for a stable ; the 
husband, the wife, the child, the mare, and the foal, lie 
together indiscriminately, and the younger branches of 
the family may be often seen embracing the neck, or 
reposing on the body of the Mare, without any idea of 
fear or danger. 

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

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



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

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

The Ass. 


THE ASS. (Equus Asinus.) 

The Ass is a beast of burden, and extremely serviceable 
to man. Of greater strength than most animals of his 
size, he bears fatigue with patience, and hunger with 
apparent cheerfulness. A bundle of dried herbs, or a 
thistle on the road, is sufficient for his daily meal, and 
he is content with the clear and pure water of a neigh- 
bouring brook (in the choice of which he is particularly 
nice) in the absence of better fare. It is probable that 
the Ass was originally a native of Arabia, and other 
parts of the East : the deserts of Libya and Numidia, 
and many parts of the Archipelago, contain vast herds 
of wild Asses, which run with such amazing swiftness, 
that even the fleetest horses of the country can hardly 
overtake them. At present, perhaps, the best breed in 
Europe is the Spanish ; and very valuable Asses are still 
to be had in the southern continent of America, where, 
during the existence of the Spanish dominion, the breed 

128 Quadrupeds. 

was very carefully attended to. In the time of Elizabeth, 
we are informed, there were no Asses in this country. 
Our treatment of this very useful animal is both wanton 
and cruel, and most ungrateful, considering the great 
services he renders us at so little expense. The ears 
of the Ass are of an uncommon length ; and he is 
of a greyish or dun colour, with a black cross on his 
back and shoulders. When very young, the Ass is 
sprightly, and even tolerably handsome; but he soon 
loses these qualifications, either by age or ill-treatment, 
and becomes slow, sullen, and headstrong. The female 
is passionately fond of her young one ; and it is said she 
will even cross fire and water to protect or rejoin it. 
The Ass is also sometimes greatly attached to its owner, 
whom he scents at a distance, and plainly distinguishes 
from others in a crowd. 

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

An old man who, a few years ago, sold vegetables in 
London, used in his employment an Ass, which conveyed 
his baskets from door to door. Frequently he gave the 
poor industrious creature a handful of hay, or some 
pieces of bread, or greens, by way of refreshment or 
reward. The old man had no need of any goad for the 
animal, and seldom, indeed, had he to lift up his hand 
to drive it on. His kind treatment was one day re- 
marked to him, and he was asked if his beast was apt to 
be stubborn ? " Ah ! master," replied he, " it is of no use 
to be cruel, and as for stubbornness, I cannot complain ; 
for he is ready to do anything and go anywhere. I bred 
him myself. He is sometimes skittish and playful, and 
once ran away from me ; you will hardly believe it, but 
there were more than fifty people after him, attempting 
in vain to stop him ; yet he turned back of himself, 

The Ass. 


and he never stopped till he ran his head kindly into 
my bosom." 

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

1 30 Quadrupeds. 


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

The Kiang. 


THE KIANG. (Equus Hemionus.) 

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



THE ZEBRA. (Equus Zebra.) 

This is one of the most elegantly marked quadrupeds in 
nature. He is striped all over with the most pleasing 
regularity ; in size he resembles the mule, being smaller 
than the horse, and larger than the ass. The hair of his 
skin is uncommonly smooth, and he looks at a distance 
like an animal that some fanciful hand has surrounded 
with ribbons of white or buff, and jet black. He is a 
native of Southern Africa — chiefly of the Cape of Good 
Hope, where he resides amongst the mountains. In 
these solitudes the Zebra has nothing to restrain his 
liberty. He is too shy to be caught in traps, and there- 
fore seldom taken alive. Were the Zebra inured to our 
climate,, there is little doubt but he might be soon 
domesticated. The black cross which the ass bears 
on his back and shoulders indicates the affinity between 
these two animals. The Zebra feeds in the same man- 
ner as the horse, ass, and mule : and seems to delight 

The Zebra. 133 

in having clean straw and dried leaves to sleep upon. 
His voice can hardly be described ; it is thought by 
some persons to have a distinct resemblance to the sound 
of a post-horn, and is more frequently exerted when the 
animal is alone than at other times. In former times. 
Zebras were often sent as presents to the oriental princes. 
A governor of Batavia is said to have given one to the 
emperor of Japan, for which he received as an equivalent 
a present to the value of sixty thousand crowns ; and 
Teller informs us, that the Great Mogul gave two thou- 
sand ducats for one of these animals. It is usual with 
the African ambassadors to the court of Constantinople 
to bring Zebras with them as presents for the Grand 
Seignior. In a wild state they live in herds, and can 
only be tamed when taken young, or bred in captivity. 

Another kind of Zebra (Equus Burchellii) inhabits the 
plains of Southern Africa ; it is known as the Zebra of 
the plains, and is also called Burch ell's Zebra, after 
the distinguished African traveller. This Zebra is less 
beautifully marked than the mountain species. 

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

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

131 Quadrupeds. 

§ Villi — 'Ruminating Animals. 

THE BULL. (Bos Taurus.) 

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

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

The Ox, or Bullock, is used in some parts of the 

The Bull 


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

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

136 Quadrupeds. 


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

Calves, when quite young, are helpless creatures, from 
the great length and weakness of their legs. Sometimes 
they are killed when young, and their flesh is then called 

The Wild Bull 


veal. The stomach of the calf, when it is killed, is taken 
out, and cleaned and salted ; it is then hung up to dry, 
and is called rennet. In making cheese, a bit of rennet 
is soaked in water, which when poured into milk, turns 
it to curd. The curd is then separated from the whey, 
and put into a press, when it becomes cheese. 


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

At the first appearance of any person near them, these 
animals set off at full gallop ; and at the distance of two 
or three hundred yards wheel round and come boldly 
up again, tossing their heads in a menacing manner. On 
a sudden they make a full stop at the distance of forty or 
fifty yards, and look wildly at the object of their sur- 
prise ; but on the least motion they all turn round, and 
k gallop off again with equal speed, but not to tho same 
distance, forming a smaller circle ; and again returning, 

138 Quadrupeds. 

they approach much nearer, when they make another 
stand, and again gallop off. This they do several times, 
shortening their distance, and advancing nearer till they 
come within a few yards, when most persons consider it 
prudent to leave them, not choosing to provoke them 
further, as it is probable that in a few turns more they 
would make an attack. 

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

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

The African Buffalo. 


THE AFRICAN BUFFALO (Buhalus Coffer.) 

In its general form the Buffalo has a great resemblance 
to the ox ; but it differs from that animal in its horns, 
and in some particulars of its internal structure. It is 
larger than the ox ; the head is also bigger in proportion, 
the forehead higher, and the muzzle longer. The horns 
are large, and of a compressed form, with the exterior 
edge sharp; they are straight for a considerable length 
from their base, and then bend slightly upward. The 
general colour of the animal is blackish, except the fore- 
head and the tip of the tail, which are of a dusky white. 
The hunch is not, as many have supposed it, a large 
fleshy lump, but is occasioned by the bones that form the 
withers being continued, to a greater length tKan in most 
other animals. Buffaloes are found in most parts of the 
torrid zone, and of almost all warm climates; always 
dwelling in moist and marshy places, where they delight 
to roll in the mire. In a wild state, the Buffalo is ex- 
ceedingly fierce ; but in -some of the tropical countries he 



is perfectly domestic, and very useful for many purposes, 
being an animal of patience and great strength. \\ hen 
employed in the labours of agriculture, he has a brass ring 
put through his nose, by which means he is led at pleasure. 
Buffaloes are common in the Pontine Marshes near Rome, 
where they were brought from India in the sixth century. 
In India they constitute the riches and food of the poor, 
who employ them in their fields, and make butter and 
cheese from their milk. They are much valued for their 
hides ; of which, in several countries, and especially in 
England, military belts, boots, and other implements of 
war are made. There are various species of Buffaloes, 
of which the Cape Buffalo, from South Africa, is the best 
known, and most valuable. 

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

The Bison. 


THE BISON. (Bos or Bison Bouasus.) 

There are two kinds of Bison ; one a native of Europe, 
and the other of America. The European Bison, or 
Bonasus, is as large as a bull or ox ; maned about the 
back and neck like a lion ; and his hair hanging down 
under his chin, or nether jaw, like a large beard. The 
fore parts of his body are thick and strong, but the 
hinder parts are comparatively slender. He has a little 
ridge along his face from his forehead down to his nose, 
which is very hairy; his horns are large, very sharp, and 
turning towards his back, like those of a wild goat. 
The American Bison (B. Americanus), attains a size far 
superior to that of the largest breeds of our common 
oxen, and is met with throughout nearly the whole of 
the uninhabited parts of North America, from Hudson's 
Bay to Louisiana and the frontiers of Mexico. Captains 
Lewis and Clarke, and Dr. James, bear frequent testi- 
mony to the almost incredible numbers in which these 
animals assemble on the banks of the Missouri. " Such 
was their multitude," say the first-named travellers, 
11 that, although the river, including an island over 



which they passed, was a mile in breadth, the herd 
stretched, as thick as they could swim, completely from 
one side to the other." And again they say : " If it be 
not impossible to calculate the moving multitude which 
darkened the whole plains, we are convinced that 
twenty thousand would be no exaggerated number." 
Dr. James tells us that, " in the middle of the day 
countless thousands of them were seen coming in from 
every quarter to the stagnant pools ;" their paths, as he 
informs us elsewhere, being " as frequent, and almost as 
conspicuous, as the roads in the most populous parts of 
the United States." 

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

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

The Zebu. 143 


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

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

144 Quadrupeds. 

THE SHEEP. (Ovis Aries.) 

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

In its domestic state it is too well known to require a 
detail of its peculiar habits, or of the methods which 
have been adopted to improve the breed. Ko country 
produces finer Sheep than England, either with larger 
fleeces or better adapted for the business of clothing. 
Those of Spain have confessedly finer wool, some of 
which we generally require to work up with our own , 
but the weight of a Spanish fleece is much inferior to 
one of Lincoln or Tees Water. Merino, or Spanish 
Sheep, have of late years been introduced with some 

The Sheep. 145 

success into our English pastures, and the wool of the 
hybrids, raised between the Merino Sheep and the South 
Down Sheep, is thought nearly equal to that of Spain. 

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

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




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


The singular conformation of the horns, which adorn 
the head of this breed of Sheep, has induced us to insert 
a figure of the animal in this work, though it is only a 

The Goat. 147 

variety of the common species. The horns of the Ewe 
are twisted also, but not so much as those of the Ram, 
which form, near the head, a spiral line. The wool is 
much longer than that of the common Sheep, and 
resembles the hair of the goat. A fine Ram of this 
species was presented some years since to the Zoological 
Gardens in the Regent's park, by Dr. Bowring. It is 
there called the Parnassian Sheep, having been brought 
from Mount Parnassus. 


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

THE GOAT. (Caprahircus.) 

The Goat, next to the cow and the sheep, has been al- 
ways reckoned, especially in ancient and patriarchal 
times, the most useful domestic animal. Its milk is 
sweet, nourishing, and medicinal, and better adapted for 
persons of weak digestion than that of the cow, as it is 
not so apt to curdle on the stomach. The female has 
generally two young ones at a time, which are called 
kids. This animal is admirably adapted for living in 



wild places; it delights in climbing precipices, and is 
often seen reposing in peaceful security on rocks over- 
hanging the sea. Nature indeed has in some measure 
fitted it for traversing these eminences ; the hoof being 
hollow underneath, with sharp edges, so that it can walk 
as securely on the ridge of a house as on the level 
ground. The flesh of the goat is seldom eaten ; but that 
of the kid is esteemed a very delicate food, and is fre- 
quently eaten on the Continent. In the East, the long 
soft hair of the goat is used in making the beautiful 
Cashmere shawls; and from the skin is manufactured 
morocco leather. The skin of the kid is well known 
for its use in making gloves. 


Is a Wild Goat, which inhabits the Pyrenean moun- 
tains, the Alps, and the highest mountains of Greece. 
He is of an admirable swiftness ; his head is armed with 
two long, knotted horns, inclining backwards ; his hair 
is rough, and of a deep brown colour. The male only 

The Antelope. 


has a beard, and the female is less than the male. This 
animal skips from rock to rock, and often, when pursued, 
leaps down enormous precipices, and is said to bend his 
head between his fore legs while springing, so as to 
break his fall, by alighting partly on his horns. The 
Ibex has been known to turn on the incautious hunts- 
man, and tumble him down the precipice, unless he has 
time to lie down, and let the animal pass over him. 

THE ANTELOPE. (Antilope cervicapra.) 

These beautiful inhabitants of the temperate regions of 
Africa, and southern Asia, possess swiftness and ele- 
gance of shape in an eminent degree. They are timid, 
inoffensive, and gregarious. The males have horns like 
those of the goat, and never shed them ; they are smooth, 
long, twisted spirally, and annulated. The general 
colour of the hair is brown, and, in some species, a beau- 
tiful yellow. The eyes are exceedingly bright, and have 
often been compared to those of a beautiful nymph by 
Persian and other poets. Enjoying perfect li* rty, they 



range in herds through the deserts of Arabia, and bound 
from rock to rock with wonderful agility. Their Ijong 
and slender legs are peculiarly suited to their habits and 
manners of life, and are, in some of the species, so slen- 
der and brittle as to snap with a very trifling blow. 
The Arabs, taking advantage of this circumstance, catch 
them by throwing sticks at them, by which their legs 
are broken. 

THE GAZELLE. (Antilope Dorcas.) 

" The wild Gazelle, on Judah's hills, 

Exulting yet may bound, 
And drink from all the living rills 

That gush on holy ground. 
Its airy step and glorious eye 
May glance in tameless transport by." — Byron. 

The Gazelle is the most elegant of antelopes. The Ara- 
bian poets have applied their choicest epithets to the 
beauty of this animal, and their descriptions have been 
adopted into our own poetry. Byron, in speaking of 
the dark eyes of an eastern beauty, says : 
" Go look on those of the Gazelle." 

The Chamois. 


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

THE CHAMOIS. (Antilope Bupicapra.) 

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



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

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

" But beasts have reason too, 

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

Schiller's William Tell. 

~c>V-:'. --.i,j» 

THE NYL GHAU, OR BLUE OX. (Antilope pkta.) 
This is a large kind of antelope, found in India. In the 

The Nyl Ghau. 153 

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

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

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

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



THE GNU. (Antilope Gnu.) 

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

The Stag. 


THE STAG. (Cervus ElapTius.) 

This animal is the male of the red Deer, and is gene- 
rally famed for long life, though upon no certain 
authority. Naturalists agree, however, upon this point, 
that his life may exceed forty years : but that his exist- 
ence, as it has been asserted, reaches to three centuries, 
is too absurd to be believed. His horns are at first very 
small, but gradually increase in size, as they are yearly 
shed and renewed, till the stag has completed his fifth 
year, when they become very large and branching, and 

156 Quadrupeds. 

remain so during the remainder of his life. The Stag is 
one of the tallest of the deer kind, and is called a Hart 
after he has completed his fifth year ; the female, called 
the Hind, is without horns. Every year, in the month of 
April, when the Stag has lost his horns, he appears con- 
scious of his temporary weakness, and hides himself till 
his new ones have grown and are hardened. This is 
generally in about ten weeks, even when the Stag is full 
grown ; his horns at this age weigh between twenty and 
thirty pounds. Little need be said of the pleasure taken 
in hunting the Stag, the Hart, and the Roebuck, it being 
a matter well known in this country, and in all parts of 
Europe. The following fact, recorded in history, will 
serve to show that the Stag is possessed of an extraordi- 
nary share of courage, when his personal safety is con- 
cerned : — In the reign of George the Second, William, 
Duke of Cumberland, caused a tiger and a Stag to be 
enclosed in the same area ; and the Stag made so bold a 
defence, that the tiger was at length obliged to give up. 
The flesh of the Stag is accounted excellent food, and his 
horns are useful to cutlers ; even their shavings are used 
to make ammonia, so much esteemed in medicine under 
the name of hartshorn. The swiftness of the Stag has 
become proverbial, and the diversion of hunting this 
creature has, for ages, been looked upon as a royal 
amusement. In the time of William Rufus and Henry 
the First, it was less criminal to destroy a human being 
than a full-grown Stag. This animal, when fatigued in 
the chase, often throws himself into a pond of water, or 
crosses a river; and, when caught, sheds tears like a 

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


The Wapiti. 157 

THE WAPITI, (Cervus Canadensis,) 

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

158 Quadrupeds. 

THE EOEBUCK, (Cervus capreolus,) 

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

The Fallow Deer. 



THE FALLOW DEER. (Germs dama.) 

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

160 Quadrupeds 

THE ELK, (Cervus Alces,) 

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

The liein-deer. 161 


THE REIN -DEER, (Cervus Tarandus, or Rangifer 

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

" Their Rein-deer form their riches. These their tents, 
Their robes, their beds, and all their homely wealth 


162 Quadrupeds. 

Supply, their wholesome fare, and cheerful cups : 

Obsequious at tlieir call, the docile tribe 

Yield to the sled their necks, and whirl them swift 

O'er hill and dale, heaped into one expanse 

Of marbled snow, as far as eye can sweep, 

With a blue crest of ice unbounded glazed." 

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

The Axis. 


THE AXIS. (Cervus Axis.) 

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

THE MUSK DEEE. (Moschus moscMferus.) 

This is a small species of Deer, quite destitute of horns, 
which lives on the vast plains of Central Asia. It is 
distinguished by possessing a pair of canine teeth or 
tusks in the upper jaw ; and these teeth, which are not 
found in the ruminant animals generally, are so long in 
the Musk Deer that they project from the sides of the 



mouth and descend below the chin. The Musk Deer is 
exceedingly active, and leaps to an astonishing height. 
The male is remarkable for possessing a pouch about the 
size of an egg, near the navel ; this contains a brown, 
oily matter, of a most powerful odour, which is the well- 
known perfume called musk, so highly esteemed amongst 
Eastern nations. 

' "Jr. u 


(Camelopardalis Giraffa.) 

This most remarkable ruminant, which in its general 
structure nearly approaches the Deer, has points of affi- 
nity also with the antelopes and camels, besides very 
striking peculiarities of its own. 

The Giraffe. 165 

The head is the most beautiful part of the animal : it 
is small, ami the eyes are large, brilliant, and very full. 
Between the eyes, and above the nose, is a swelling very 
prominent and well-defined. This prominence is not a 
fleshy excrescence, but an enlargement of the bony sub- 
stance ; and it seems to be similar to the two little lumps, 
or horns, with which the top of the head is armed, and 
which, being several inches in length, spring on each 
side of the head, just above the ears, and are terminated 
by a thick tuft of stiff upright hairs. The neck is re- 
markably elongated, and it is furnished with a very 
short, stiff mane, which stands out erect from the skin. 
The height of a full-grown Giraife in a wild state is said 
to be seventeen or eighteen feet, measuring from the 
hoofs to the tip of the ears ; but none of those in England 
exceed fourteen feet. At first sight, the fore legs appear 
much longer than the hind ones ; but the fact is, that 
the legs are of the same length, and it is only the height 
of the withers that occasions the apparent disproportion. 
Le Vaillant was the first well-informed naturalist who 
studied the habits of the Giraffe in its wild state. *' If," 
he says, " among the known quadrupeds, precedency be 
allowed to height, the Giraffe without doubt must hold 
the first rank. A male which I have in my collection 
measured, after I killed it, sixteen feet four inches from 
the hoof to the extremity of its horns. I use this ex- 
pression in order to be understood ; for the Giratfe has 
no real horns ; but between its ears, at the upper ex- 
tremity of the head, arise in a perpendicular and 
parallel direction two excrescences from the cranium, 
which without any joint stretch to the height of eight or 
nine inches, terminating in a convex knob, and are sur- 
rounded by a row of strong straight hair, which over- 
tops them by several lines. The female is generally 

lower than the male In consequence of the 

number of these animals which I killed, or had an op- 
portunity of seeing, I may establish as a certain rule 
that the males are generally fifteen or sixteen feet in 
height, and the females from thirteen to fourteen feet." 
The colour of the Giraife is a light fawn, marked with 
spots only a few shades darker. The legs are very 

166 Quadrupeds. 

.slender ; and, notwithstanding the length of the neck, 
it manifests great difficulty in taking anything from the 
ground. To do this, it puts out first one foot, and then 
the other ; repeating the same process several times ; and 
it is only after several of these experiments that it at 
length bends down its neck, and applies its lips and 
tongue to the object in question. In fact, the neck of 
the Giraffe, although so enormously long, is not very 
flexible, as it contains only the same number of vertebrae 
or joints (seven) that is found in other quadrupeds with 
a much shorter neck ; it is admirably adapted for 
enabling the animal to browse upon the branches of 
trees, but is not intended to fit it for grazing. It 
willingly accepts fruit and branches of a tree when 
offered to it ; and seizes the foliage in a most singular 
manner, thrusting forth a long, reddish, and very nar- 
row tongue, which it rolls round whatever it wishes to 
secure. Indeed, the tongue is a most remarkable organ 
in this animal, and we have been witness of some amus- 
ing exploits with it. In the Zoological Gardens at 
Regent's Park, many a fair lady has been robbed of the 
artificial flowers which have adorned her bonnet, by 
the nimble, filching tongue of the rare object of her 

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

Le Vaillant, in his entertaining Travels in Africa, gives 
an animated account of a Giraffe hunt : — " After several 
hours' fatigue, we discovered, at the turn of a hill, seven 
Giraffes, which my pack instantly pursued. Six of them 
went off together; but the seventh, cut off by my dogs, 
took another way. I followed it at full speed, but, in 
spite of the efforts of my horse, she got so much ahead 
of me that, in turning a little hill, I lost sight of her 
altogether. My dogs, however, were not so easily put 
out. They were soon so close upon her, that she was 
obliged to stop to defend herself. From the place where 

The Giraffe. 167 

I was, I heard them give tongue with all their might ; 
and, as their voices appeared all to come from the same 
spot, I conjectured that they had got the animal in a 
corner, and I again pushed forward. I had scarcely got 
round the hill, when I perceived her surrounded by the 
dogs, and endeavouring to drive them away by heavy 
kicks. In a moment I was on my feet, and a shot from 
my carbine brought her to the earth. Enchanted with 
my victory, I returned to call my people about me, that 
they might assist in skinning and cutting up the animal. 
On my return I found her standing under a large ebony- 
tree, assailed by my dogs. She had staggered to this 
place, and fell dead at the moment I was about to take a 
second shot." 

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

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



THE BACTIilAN CAMEL. (Camelus Bactrianus.) 

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


The Bactriax Camel is a native of the deserts of Asia, 
and is generally of a brown or ash colour. His height 
is about six feet. He is one of the most useful quadru- 
peds in oriental countries ; his docility and strength, his 
endurance of hunger and thirst, and his swiftness, make 
him a most valuable acquisition to the inhabitants of those 
pesert places. The principal characteristics of the Camel 

The Bactrian Camel. 169 

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




(Camelns Dromedarius.) 

Another species of Camel, of less stature than the former, 
but much swifter, and having but one hard bunch on nis 
back, is domesticated throughout Africa, as well as in 
Asia. It is said that a Dromedary can travel one hundred 
miles a day, and carry fifteen hundredweight. Attempts 
have been made to introduce the Camel and Dromedary 
into our West India islands, but they have not succeeded ; 
they have, however, been comparatively naturalized near 
Pisa in Italy. The Camels used as beasts of burden in 
Egypt are all Dromedaries ; and the first experiment 
which an European makes in bestriding one is generally 
a service of some little danger, from the peculiarity of 
the animal's movement in rising. Denon, the French 
traveller, has described this with his usual vivacity : 
" During the French invasion of Egypt, a part of 
Dessaix's division," to which the scientific traveller was 

The Dromedary. 171 

attached, " was sent with Camels to a distant post across 
the desert. The Camel, slow as he generally is in his 
actions, lifts up his hind legs very briskly at the instant 
the rider is in the saddle ; the man is thus thrown for- 
ward ; a similar movement of the fore legs throws him 
backward ; each motion is repeated ; and it is not till the 
fourth movement, when the Dromedary is fairly on his 
feet, that the rider can recover his balance. None of lis 
could resist the first impulse, and thus nobody could laugh 
at his companions." Macfarlane, in his work on Con- 
stantinople, tells us that upon his first Camel adventure 
he was so unprepared for the probable effect of the crea- 
ture's rising behind, that he was thrown over his head, 
to the infinite amusement of the Turks, who laughed 
heartily at his inexperience. 

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

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



(Auchenia glama,) 

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

The Ourang Outan. 173 

§ IX. — Quadrumana, or Four-handed Animals. 

THE OURANG OUTAN. (Simia satyrus.) 

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




(Simia Troglodytes, or Troglodytes niger.) 

This Ape, which is an inhabitant of the great forests of 
Western Africa, is generally considered to be that which 
approaches nearest to the human species in its conforma- 
tion. When full-grown, he measures about five feet in 
height, standing erect, but this is a posture which he 
does not naturally prefer, and when on the ground he 
usually walks upon all fours, applying the outside of his 
hinder feet and the knuckles of his fore limbs to the 

The Chimpanzee. 175 

earth. His skin is clothed with long coarse black or 
dark-brown hair, which becomes scanty on the lower 
surface of the body and on the limbs ; the face is naked 
and of a flesh colour, and at each side there hangs down 
a great bush of long hair like a whisker. The Chim- 
panzee lives in the trees, upon the branches of which he 
is very active, and he has intelligence enough to build 
himself a sort of hut of branches, usually about thirty or 
forty feet from the ground. His food consists chiefly of 
fruits, and he is said to fly from the presence of man. 

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



THE GORILLA. (Troglodytes Gorilla.) 

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

The Barbary Ape. 


THE MAGOT, OR BARBARY A'PE, (Inuus sijlvanus,) 

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




^. v »s>N 

THE BABOON. (Cynocephalus.) 

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

The Common Baboon is of a sandy colour, with a red- 
dish shade on the shoulders, head, and back. It is 
playful and good-tempered when young, but becomes 
morose and savage with age. Button thus describes a 
full-grown specimen he saw: — "It was not altogether 
hideous, and yet it excited horror. It seemed to be 
always in a state of savage ferocity, grinding its teeth, 
perpetually restless, and agitated by unprovoked fury. 
It was a stout-built animal, whose nervous limbs and 
compressed form indicated great force and agility; and, 

The Baboon. 179 

though the length and thickness of its shaggy coat made 
it appear much larger than it really was, it was so 
strong and active that it might easily have repelled the 
attacks of several unarmed men." 

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

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

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

1 80 Quadrupeds. 


(Nasalis larvatus.) (Cercopithecus Diana.) 

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

There are few persons that are not acquainted with 
the various mimicries of these animals, and their ca- 
pricious feats of activity. Anecdotes of this kind are 
very numerous ; we shall content ourselves by giving 
the following : — Captain Stedman, while hunting among 
the woods of Surinam for provisions, says, that he shot 
at two of these animals, but that the destruction to one 
of them was attended with such circumstances as to 
ever afterwards deter him from going monkey hunting. 
" Seeing me nearly on the bank of the river, in the 

Monkeys. 181 

canoe," says he, " the creature made a halt from skipping 
after his companions, and, being perched on a branch 
that overhung the water, examined me with the strongest 
marks of curiosity; while he chattered prodigiously, 
and kept shaking the boughs on which he rested, with 
incredible strength and agility. At this time I laid my 
piece to my shoulder and brought him down from the 
tree : but may I never again be witness to such a scene ! 
The miserable animal was not dead, but mortally 
wounded. I seized him by the tail, and taking him in 
both my hands, to end his torment swung him round, 
and hit his head against the side of the canoe ; but the 
poor creature still continued to live, and looked at me 
in the most affecting manner that can be conceived. I 
therefore knew no other means of ending his murder 
than to hold him under water till he was drowned : but 
even in doing this, my heart sickened ; for his little 
dying eyes still continued to follow me with seeming 
reproach, till their light gradually forsook them, and the 
wretched animal expired." 

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

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

182 Quadrupeds. 


(Cebus Capvcinus and Ateles paniscus,) 

Are both natives of South America ; they live in large 
troops, feeding on roots, fruits, and insects, and are much 
more gentle than those of the old world. Of the Capuchin 
there are many species, differing from each other in 
colour only ; they are very lively ? active, and amusing, 
and about a foot long. The Spider Monkey, like the 
Capuchin, has a long prehensile tail, which it uses like 
a fifth hand. Nature seems by this addition to have 
more than recompensed them for the want of a thumb, 
for by it, when they are unable to leap from one tree to 
another, on account of the distance, they form a kind of 
chain, with their young upon their backs, hanging down 
by each other's tails. One of them holds the branch 
above, and the rest swing to and fro like a pendulum, 
until the undermost is enabled to catch hold ; the first 
then lets go his hold, and thus comes undermost in his 
turn ; in this way they can travel a great distance with- 
out ever touching the ground. Curious illustrations of 
this are daily seen at the Zoological Gardens, where 
there are several of these Monkeys. 

Monkeys. 183 


(Jacchus vulgaris and Rosalia.) 

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

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




(Lemur macaco and Lemur albifrons,) 

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

Book II. 


§ I. Raptores. Diurnal Birds of Prey. 

THE GOLDEN EAGLE. (Aquila chrysaetos.) 

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


The Golden Eagle is one of the largest and most power- 
ful of all those birds that have received the name of 
Eagle. It weighs above twelve pounds. Its length, 
from the point of the beak to the end of the tail, is 

186 Birds. 

about three feet ; the breadth, when the wings are ex- 
tended, is seven or eight feet. The beak is horny, 
crooked, and very strong. The feathers of the neck are 
of a rusty colour, and the rest dark brown. The feet 
are feathered down to the claws, which have a wonder- 
ful grasp ; the toes are yellow, and the four talons are 
crooked and strong. As in all birds of prey, the female 
is the larger, and more powerful. • 

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

"Bird of the broad and sweeping wing, 

Thy home is high in heaven, 
Where wide the storms their banners fling, 

And the tempest's clouds are driven. 
Thy throne is on the mountain top, 

Thy fields the boundless air ; 
And hoary peaks, that proudly prop 

The skies, thy dwellings are." 

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

The Eagle is found in Great Britain and Ireland, in 
Germany, and nearly all parts of Europe. It is carni- 
vorous, and, when unable to obtain the flesh of larger 
animals, feeds on serpents and lizards. The story of 
the Eagle, brought to the ground after a severe conflict 
with a cat, which it had seized and taken up into the air 
with its talons, is very remarkable ; Mr. Barlow, who 
was an eye-witness of the fact, made a drawing of it, 
which he afterwards engraved. Two instances are said 
to have occurred in Scotland of the Eagle having flown 
away with infants to its nest ; but in both cases it is 
added that the children were recovered, without being 
materially injured. This bird has been often tamed, but 
in this situation it still preserves an innate love of 
liberty. The nest of the Eagle is composed of strong 

The Golden Eagle. 187 

sticks, and generally built on the point of an inacces- 
sible rock, whence it darts upon its prey with the rapi- 
dity of lightning. The period of incubation is said to 
be thirty days ; and when the young are hatched, both 
the male and female exert all their industry to provide 
for their wants. In the county of Kerry a peasant is 
said once to have formed the resolution of plundering an 
Eagle's nest built upon a small island in the beautiful 
lake of Killarney. He accordingly swam to the island 
while the parents, were away ; and, after robbing the 
nest of the young, was preparing to swim back with the 
Eaglets tied in a string ; but while he was yet up to the 
chin in the water, the old Eagles returned, and, missing 
their family, fell upon the invader with such fury, that, 
in spite of all his resistance, thev despatched him with 
their beaks and talons. 

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



THE SEA EAGLE. (Haliaetus albicilla.) 

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

The White-headed Eagle. 



(Haliaetus leucocejpltalus.) 

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

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

190 Birds 

the torrent, and precipitated down those tremendous 

falls : 

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

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

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

This Eagle also frequently attacks the Osprey or 
Fish Hawk, when he is returning from a successful 

The Ospreij. 


excursion loaded with a large fish, and compels him to 
drop his prey ; the Eagle then descends with wonderful 
rapidity, and generally succeeds in seizing the fish 
before it reaches the water. 


(Pandion lialiaetus.) 

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

This bird is always found on the sea- shore, or near 
rivers or lakes, as it feeds entirely on fish. It is com- 
mon in Great Britain, and also in America, where large 
colonies of it are found, the birds living together like 
rooks. " When looking out for its prey," says Dr. 
Richardson, " it sails with great ease and elegance, in 
undulating and curved lines, at a considerable height 
above the water, till it perceives its prey, when it 
pounces down upon it. It seizes the fish with its claws, 
sometimes scarcely appearing to dip its feet in the 



water, and at others plunging entirely under the surface 
with force sufficient to throw up a considerable spray. 
It emerges again, however, so speedily, as to render it 
evident that it does not attack fish swimming at any 
great depth." The toes are armed beneath with nume- 
rous sharp points, evidently intended to assist the bird 
in getting a firm hold of its slippery prey. 

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


Some ornithologists suppose this to be merely the golden 

The Black Eagle. 193 

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

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

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


194 Birds. 

THE VULTURE. (Vultur Monachus.) 

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

Vultures may be easily distinguished from eagles by 
the nakedness of their heads and necks, which are with- 
out feathers, and only covered with a very slight down, 
or a few scattered hairs; their eyes are more promi- 
nent : those of the eagle being buried more in the socket, 
and shaded by an overhanging eyebrow. Their claws 
are shorter and less hooked. The inside of the wing is 
covered with a thick down, which is different in them 
from all other birds of prey. Their attitude is not so 
upright as that of the eagle, and their flight is more diffi- 
cult and heavy. 

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

The Vulture. 


THE KING VULTUKE. (Vultur, or Sarcorhamphus 

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

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



THE CONDOR. (Vultur gryphus.) 

This bird measures three or four feet long, and its wings, 
when expanded, from ten to twelve feet. Its bill and 
talons are exceedingly large and strong ; and its courage 
is equal to its strength. The throat is naked, and of a 
red colour. The upper parts in some individuals (for 
they differ greatly in colour) are variegated with black, 
gray, and white, and the body is scarlet. Round the 
neck it has a white ruff of loose hairy feathers. The 
feathers on the back are generally quite black, and 
perfectly bright. These enormous birds, which are in- 
habitants of South America, breed among the highest 
and most inaccessible rocks. The female makes no 
nest, but laj^s two white eggs, somewhat bigger than 
those of a turkey, on the bare rock. Some writers have 
affirmed that a Condor can carry off a sheep in its claws, 
and others that it has carried off children in the same 
manner ; but these tales are manifestly absurd, as the 

The Buzzard. 


Condor's feet and talons are not fitted for carrying any 
great weight. Both the talons and the bill are indeed 
of extraordinary strength, but they are intended for 
tearing objects to pieces ; and consequently we find that 
the Condor feeds chiefly on dead or dying cattle, or 
horses, which he tears to pieces and devours where they 
lie. When the Condor is gorged the hunters attack 
him, but his strength and fierceness are so great, that 
one of Sir Francis Head's companions, who attempted 
to seize a gorged Condor, said he never had " such a 
battle in his life;" though he had been a Cornish miner 
and was reckoned an excellent wrestler in his own 

THE BUZZARD. (Falco Buteo, or Buteo vulgaris.) 

" The no.ble Buzzard ever pleased me best ; 
Of small renown, 't is true ; for, not to lie, 
We call him but a Hawk by courtesy." 

Hind and Panther. 

This is a rapacious bird, of the hawk kind, and the 
most common of all in England. It is of a sluggish, 
indolent nature, often remaining perched on the same 
bough for the greater part of the day : as if, indifferent 
either to the allurements of food or of pleasure, it were 
doomed, like some of the human species, to pass its 
allotted span of life in passive contemplation. It feeds 

198 Birds. 

on mice, rabbits, frogs, and often on all sorts of carrion. 
Too idle to build itself a nest, it frequently seizes upon 
the old habitation of a crow, which it lines afresh with 
wool and other soft materials. In general this bird, 
whose colour varies considerably, is brown varied with 
yellow specks ; at a certain age its head becomes entirely 
gray. The female generally lays two or three eggs, 
which are mostly white, though sometimes spotted with 
yellow. Its length is usually twenty-two inches, and 
its breadth upwards of fifty. 

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

The Honey-Buzzard. 


of the old men in the same way, hiding its booty in the 
tallest trees. 

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

THE HONEY-BUZZARD. (Falco, or Pernis apivorus.) 

This Buzzard eats lizards, frogs, and snails. It also 
feeds upon the larvae of bees and wasps, which form the 
chief food of the young birds. Buffon says that in 
winter, when fat, it is good eating, a very rare circum- 
stance with birds of this genus. It seldom flies, ex- 
cepting from one bush to another ; but, when on the 
ground, it runs with great rapidity, like a domestic fowl. 
Willoughby observes that it builds its nest with twigs, 



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

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

THE GOSHAWK, (Falco, or Astur palumbarius,) 

Breeds in lofty trees in Scotland, and destroys a great 
quantity of small game, which he seizes with his sharp 
and crooked talons, and carries to his nest. He is of the 
hawk tribe, and somewhat larger than the common 
buzzard ; his bill is blue, and he has a white stripe 
over each eye, and also a large white spot on each side 
of the neck. The general colour of the plumage is deep 
brown ; the breast and belly white, transversely streaked 
with black ; and the legs yellow. Buffon, who brought 
up two young Goshawks, a male and a female, makes 

Tlie Goshawk 201 

the following observations : " The Goshawk, before it 
has shed its feathers, that is, in the first year, is marked 
on the breast and belly with longitudinal brown spots ; 
but after it has had two moultings they disappear, and 
their place is occupied by transverse bars, which con- 
tinue during the rest of its life." He further observes 
that, "though the male was much smaller than the 
female, it was fiercer and more vicious." The Goshawk 
is found in France and Germany ; it is not common in 
England, but is more so in Scotland. In former times 
the custom of carrying a Hawk or Falcon on the hand 
was confined to men of high distinction ; so that it was 
a saying among the Welsh, " You may know a gentle- 
man by his Hawk, horse, and greyhound." Even the 
ladies in those times were partakers of this gallant sport, 
and have been represented in pictures with Hawks on 
their hands. At present hawking is almost entirely laid 
aside in this country, as the expense which attended it, 
being very considerable, confined it to princes and men 
of the highest rank. In the time of James the First, 
Sir Thomas Monson is said to have given a thousand 
pounds for a cast of Hawks. In the reign of Edward 
the Third it was made felony to steal a Hawk ; to 
take its eggs, even in a person's own grounds, was 
punishable with imprisonment for a year and a day, 
together with a fine at the king's pleasure. Such was 
the delight our ancestors took in this royal sport, and 
such were the means by which they endeavoured to 
secure it. The Falcons, or Hawks, chiefly used in these 
kingdoms were the Goshawk, the Peregrine Falcon, 
Iceland Falcon, and the Ger Falcon. The game usually 
pursued were cranes, wild geese, pheasants, and par- 
tridges. The Duke of St. Albans is still hereditary 
grand falconer of England, but the office is not now 
exercised, except for the Duke's own amusement. 



THE SPARROWHAWK. (Falco, or Accipiter nisus.) 

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

The Kite. 


THE KITE. (Falco Mdvus, or Milvus regalis.) 

This bird, though it belongs to the falcon tribe, is called 
ignoble, because it is never used in hawking. It is 
easily distinguished from other birds of prey by its 
forked tail, and the slow and circular eddies it describes 
in the air whenever it spies from the regions of the 
clouds a young duck or a chicken which has strayed too 
far from the brood. When this is the case, the Kite, 
pouncing on it with the rapidity of a dart, seizes it in 
its talons, and carries it off to its nest. It is, however, 
a great coward, and if the hen flies at it, which she 
always does \i she sees it, it will drop the chicken and 
fly oif. It is larger than the common buzzard ; and 
though it weighs somewhat less than three pounds, the 
extent of its wings is more than five feet. The head 
and neck are of a pale ash colour, varied with longi- 
tudinal lines across the shafts of the feathers ; the back 
is reddish ; the lesser rows of the wing feathers are 
party-coloured, of black, red, and white ; the feathers 



covering the inside of the wings are red, with black 
spots in the middle. The eyes are large, the legs and 
feet yellow, the talons black. It is a handsome bird, 
and seems almost always on the wing. It rests itself 
on the air, and does not appear to make the smallest 
effort in flying, but rather to glide along with the 
gentlest breeze. 


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

The- Falcon. 


THE PEEEGBINE FALCON. (Falco peregrinus.) 

The Peregrine Falcon, which is the most common kind, 
is from fifteen to eighteen inches in length. The bill is 
blue at the base, and black at the point ; the head, back, 
scapulars, and coverts of the wing are barred with deep 
black and blue ; the throat, neck, and upper part of the 
breast are white, tinged with yellow ; the bottom of the 
breast, belly, and thighs are of a grayish white ; and the 
tail is black and blue. Wilson enumerates no less than 
ten varieties, dependent chiefly upon age, sex, and 

206 Birds. 

country. It is found, more or less abundantly, through- 
out the whole of Europe, principally in the mountain 
districts in North and South America, dwelling in the 
clefts of rocks, especially such as are exposed to the mid- 
day sun. It breeds upon the cliffs in several parts of 
England, but appears to be more common in Scotland 
and Wales. Its food consists principally of small birds ; 
but it scruples not to attack the larger species, and some- 
times gives battle even to the kite. Falcons rarely take 
their prey upon the ground, like the more ignoble birds 
of the class to which they belong ; but pounce upon it 
from aloft, in a directly perpendicular descent as it flies 
through the air, bear it downwards by the united im- 
pulse of the strength and rapidity of their attack, and 
sticking their talons into its flesh, carry it off in triumph 
to the place of their retreat. Like most predatory 
animals, they are stimulated to action by the pressure of 
hunger alone, and remain inactive and almost motionless 
while the process of digestion is going on, until the re- 
newed cravings of their appetite stimulate them to fur- 
ther exertion. In different stages of its growth, the Pere- 
grine Falcon has been known by various English names. 
Its proper appellation among falconers is the Slight 
Falcon, the term Falcon Gentle being equally applicable 
to all the species when rendered manageable. In the im- 
mature state, this Falcon is also called a Eed Hawk, from 
the prevailing colour of its plumage. The male is called 
a Tiercel, to distinguish it from the female, which, in the 
Falcon tribe, is commonly one-third larger than the male. 

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

In Syria there is a species of Falcon, which the in- 

The Falcon. 207 

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



THE MERLIN, (Falco cesalon,) 

Is the smallest British species of the Falcon tribe, and, 
as its name implies, is not very different in size from the 
blackbird ; the word Merlin signifying in French a 
small merle, or blackbird. Though small the Merlin is 
not inferior in courage to any of the other Hawks ; it is 
noted for its boldness and spirit, often attacking and 
killing at one stroke a full-grown partridge or a quail ; 
but it differs from the Falcons and all the other rapacious 
kinds, in the male and female being of equal size. The 
back of this bird is party-coloured, of dark blue and 
brown; the quill feathers of the wings black, with 

The Merlin. 209 

rusty spots ; the tail is about five inches long, of a dark 
brown or blackish colour, with transverse white bars: 
the breast is of a yellowish white, with streaks of rusty 
brown pointing downwards; the legs are long, slender, 
and yellow ; the talons black. The head is encircled 
with a row of yellowish feathers, not unlike a coronet. 
In the male the feathers on the rump, next the tail, are 
bluer ; a mark by which the falconers easily discern the 
sex of the bird. The Merlin does not breed here, but 
visits us in October : it flies low, and with great celerity 
and ease. In the days of falconry, the Merlin was con- 
sidered the lady's hawk. 

In ancient days — in ancient days, 
When ladies took a strange delight 

In hawks and hounds and sporting ways, 
A Merlin was a pleasant sight. 

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




.if ' 

S - 

THE KESTREL, (Falco tinnunculus,) 

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

The Kestrel is a handsome little Hawk, from twelve 
to fifteen inches in length, with a blue beak and yellow 
cere and feet. Its plumage is reddish brown or fawn 
colour, elegantfy marked with black spots and bars. Its 
nest is built among rocks, or in the holes and corners of 

The Secretarij Bird. 


old buildings and church towers, and the female lays 
four or five eggs, which are reddish white, with brown 

THE SECRETARY BIRD. (Serpentarius reptiliwrus.) 

This singular bird, which is a native of Southern Africa, 
differs from all the other predaceous birds in the great 
length of its legs, which are so long that some naturalists 
have placed it among the Wading Birds. It stands be- 

212 Birds. 

tvveen three and four feet high when erect, and is of a 
bluish ash colour on the back and nearly white beneath ; 
its tail is long, and has the two middle feathers much 
longer than the others and nearly reaching to the ground ; 
and the back of the head is adorned with a tuft of black 
feathers, which the bird can raise at pleasure. It is 
from this tuft that the bird has obtained his name ; the 
Dutch colonists of the Cape of Good Hope fancied they 
saw some resemblance in it to the pen of a clerk stuck 
behind his ear, and accordingly called him the Secretary 
Bird. Clerks and secretaries are no doubt useful per- 
sonages in their way, and the Secretary Bird, although 
he cannot take his pen from behind his ear, finds abund- 
ance of work to do, although of a kind very different 
from the peaceful labours of his namesakes. He is the 
great destroyer of the snakes and other reptiles which 
swarm in many parts of Southern Africa, and which, but 
for him, would increase in numbers so as to become a 
positive nuisance. And here we may call our young 
readers to admire the wonderful manner in which the 
structure of a hawk has been modified by the hand of 
the Creator to suit it for a particular mode of life. As 
the bird advances to attack a snake his long legs, pro- 
tected by hard horny scales, elevate his body to a con- 
siderable height above the ground, thus giving him an 
advantageous position, and at the same time enabling it 
to move with great speed. One of the large and power- 
ful wings, armed at the end with a strong spur, is 
raised a little from the body and held forward like a 
shield, but constantly shaken, as if to distract the atten- 
tion of the foe, and thus, like a skilful boxer sparring up 
to his antagonist, the Secretary makes his way towards 
his intended prey. As he approaches he watches for 
the moment when the snake is about to spring upon 
him; a single blow from the spurred wing is usually 
sufficient to lay the reptile writhing in the ground m a 
helpless state; it is then soon despatched and as speedily 
swallowed. Some idea of the quantity of reptiles de- 
stroyed by this bird may be gained from Le Vaillant's 
statement, that the crop of one of them examined by 
him contained eleven lizards, three snakes as long as a 

The Hen Harrier. 


man's arm, and eleven small tortoises, together with a 
good many insects. The inhabitants of the Cape Colony 
are quite aware of the services rendered to them by the 
Secretary Bird, and sometimes keep him among their 
poultry to protect them from injurious animals; he is 
said to behave with great propriety under these circum- 
stances, rarely doing any mischief to his companions, 
unless his supply of food has been neglected. 

THE HEN HARRIER, (Circus cyaneus,) 

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



IT. — Nocturnal Birds of Prey. 

THE HOKNED OWL, (Bubo maximus,) 

Is one of the largest of the Owls, and has two long tufts 
growing from the top of its head, above its ears, and 
composed of six feathers, which it can raise or lay down 
at pleasure. Its eyes are large, and encircled with an 
orange-coloured iris ; the ears are large and deep, and 
the beak black ; the breast, belly, and thighs, are of a 
dull yellow, marked with brown streaks ; the back, 
coverts of the wings, and quill feathers, are brown and 
yellow ; and the tail is marked with dusky and red bars. 
It inhabits the north and west of England, and Wales. 
The conformation of the organ of sight in the Owl is so 

The Harfang, or Great Snowy Owl. 215 

peculiar, and so much in. its nature resembling that of 
the feline kind, that it can see much better at dusk than 
by daylight. The Barn Owl sees in a greater degree 
of darkness than the others ; and, on the contrary, the 
1 1< uned Owl is enabled to pursue his prey by day, though 
with difficulty. Owls are sometimes tamed by persons 
in the country, who carefully rear them in a domestic 
state, from their propensity to chase and devour mice 
and other vermin, of which they clear the houses with 
as much address as cats. The Owl is a solitary bird, and 
is said to retire into holes in towers and old walls in the 
winter, and pass that season in sleep. 
" The solitary bird of night, 

Through the pale shade now wings his flight, 
And quits the time-shook tower ; 

Where, shelter'd from the blaze of clay, 

In philosophic gloom he lay, 

Beneath his ivy bower.'' CAKTEn. 


The Harfang, or Great Snowy Owl, (Surnia nydea,) is 
another species which takes its prey occasionally by day- 



light. It is seldom seen in England, but frequently visits 
North Britain, particularly the Orkney and Shetland 
Islands. It is one of the few Owls that feed on fish, 
into which it strikes its talons while in the water, and 
carries them off to its nest. These Owls are very com- 
mon in the northern parts of North America, and are 
eaten not only by the Indians, but by the Europeans 
engaged in the fur trade. 

(Srix flammed.) 

from yonder ivy -mantled tower, 

The moping Owl does to the moon complain 
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, 
Molest her ancient solitary reign." 

This bird is about the size of a large pigeon. 

Its beak, 

The Butcher-Bird, or Shrike. 217 

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

In ancient mythology, another common species, the 
Brown Owl (Syrnium aluco), was consecrated to Minerva, 
the goddess of wisdom ; in allusion to the lucubrations 
of wise men, who study in retirement and during the 

" Now the Hermit Owlet peeps 

From the barn, or twisted brake; 
And the blue mist slowly creeps, 
Curling on the silver lake." 


§ III. — Insessores, or Perching Birds. 


(Lanius excubitor.) 

The Great Butcher-bird, or Shrike, is about as large as 
a, thrush ; its bill is black, an inch long, and hooked at the 

218 Birds. 

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

The Little Butcher-bird (Lanius collurio), called in York- 
shire, Flusher, is about the size of a lark, with a large 
head. About the nostrils and corners of the mouth it 
has black hairs or bristles ; and round the eyes a large 
black longitudinal spot ; the back and upper side of the 
wings are of a rusty colour ; the head and rump cine- 

The Water Ouzel, or Dipper. 219 

reous; the throat and breast white, spotted with red. 
Tt builds its nest of the stalks of plants, and the female 
lays six eggs, nearly all white, except at the blunt end, 
which is encircled with brown or dark red marks. The 
female is somewhat larger than the male ; the head is of 
a rust colour, mixed with gray ; the breast, belly, and 
sides of a dirty white ; the tail deep brown ; the ex- 
terior web of the outer feathers white. Its manners are 
similar to those of the large Butcher-bird. It frequently 
preys on young birds, . which it takes in the nest ; it 
likewise feeds on grasshoppers, beetles, and other insects. 
During the period of incubation, the female soon dis- 
covers herself at the approach of any person by her loud 
and violent outcries. 


(Cinclus aquaticus,) 

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

The Dipper is said to walk along the bottom of a lake 
or river as -easily as on land ; but this is far from being 
the case, as, though it readily plunges into the water, it 
appears to tumble about in a very extraordinary manner, 



with its head downwards. Even on land the bird walks 
awkwardly, as its feet are best adapted for the slippery 
stones on which it passes the greater part of its life, 
watching for the insects which it picks up on the edge 
of the water. Its movements under water are really 
performed by means of the wings, the bird positively 
flying through the water. When disturbed, it usually 
flirts up its tail, and makes a chirping noise. Its song 
in spring is said to be very pretty. In some places this 
bird is supposed to be migratory. 

THE BLACKBIRD. {Turdus Merula.) 

" The smiling morn, the breathing spring, 
Invite the tuneful birds to sing; 
c And, while they w a rble from each spray, 
Love melts the universal lay." 


This well-known songster does not soar up to the clouds, 
like the lark, to make his voice resound through the air ; 
but keeps to the shady groves, which he fills with his 
melodious notes. Early at dawn, and late at dusk, he 
continues his pleasing melody ; and when incarcerated 
in the narrow space of a cage, still cheerful and merry, 
he strives to repay the kindness of his keeper by singing 
to him his natural strains ; and beguiles his irksome 
hours of captivity by studying and imitating his mas- 
ter's whistle. Blackbirds build their nests with great 
art, making the outside of moss and slender twigs, 

The Missel Thrush 221 

cemented together and lined with clay, and covering 
the clay with soft materials, as hair, wool, and fine 
grass. The female lays four or five eggs, of a bluish 
green colour, spotted all over with brown. The bill is 
3 T ellow, but in the female the upper part and point are 
blackish; the inside of the mouth, and the circum- 
ference of the eyelids are yellow. The name of this 
bird is sufficiently expressive of the general colour of 
his bod} 7 . He feeds on berries, fruit, insects, &c. 


THE MISSEL THRUSH. (Turdus viscivorus.) 

The Misskl Thrush, so called from its feeding on the 
berries of the misletoe, differs but little from the Song- 
Thrush, except in size. He is larger than the fieldfare, 
while the Throstle is smaller. The female lays five or 
six bluish eggs, with a tint of green, and marked with 
dusky spots. 

Tfw Song Thrush or TJirostle, (Tardus musicus,) is one of 
the best songsters of the evening hymn in the grove. 
His voice is loud and sweet ; the melody of his song is 



varied, and, although not so deep in the general diapa- 
son of the woodland concert as that of the blackbird, 
yet it fills up agreeably, and bursts through the inferior 
warblings of smaller performers. His breast is of a 
yellowish white, spotted with black or brown dashes, 
like ermine spots. 

The term Merle for the Blackbird, and Mavis for the 
Thrush, are used chiefly by the poets. 

" Merry is it in the good green wood, 

When the Mavis and Merle are singing, 
When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are hi cry, 
And the hunter's horn is ringing." 


" Take thy delight in yonder goodly tree, 

Where the sweet Merle and warbling Mavis be. 


THE EEDWING, (Turdus iliaeus,) 

Is rather less than the song thrush ; but the upper part 
of the body is of the same colour ; the breast not so 
much spotted ; the coverings of the feathers of the under 
side of the wings, which in the thrush are yellow, are 
of orange colour in this bird ; by' which marks it is 
generally distinguished. The body is white, the throat 
and breast yellowish, marked with dusky spots. It is 
migratory in this island, builds its nest in hedges, and 
lays six bluish eggs. Like the fieldfare, it leaves us in 
spring, for which reason its song is quite unknown to 

The Fieldfare. 


us ; but it is said to be very pleasing. It is delicate 
eating ; and the liomans held it in such estimation, that 
they kept thousands of them together in aviaries, and 
fed them on a sort of paste made of bruised figs and 
flour, to improve the delicacy and flavour of their flesh. 
Under this management these birds fattened, to the 
great profit of their proprietors, who sold them to 
.Roman epicures for three denarii, or about two shillings 
sterling each, which at that early period was a large 

THE FIELDFAKE, (Tardus pilaris,) 

Is a well-known bird in this country. Fieldfares fly in 
flocks, together with the redwing and starling, and 
change their haunts according to the season of the year. 
They abide with us in winter, and disappear in spring, 
so punctually, that after that time not one is to be seen. 
The flesh is esteemed a great delicacy, and is highly 
prized in Germany, where it is known as the Kramms- 
vogel, and is sold in the markets of Westphalia by the 
dozen. Their favourite food is the juniper-berry, 
whence its German name. The head is ash-coloured, 
and spotted with black : the back and coverts of the 
wings of deep chesnut colour ; the rump cinereous ; and 
the tail black, except the lower part of the two middle 
feathers, which are ash-coloured, and the upper sides of 
the exterior feathers, which are white. They collect in 
large flocks ; and it is supposed they keep watch, like 



the crow, to mark and announce the approach of danger. 
On any person approaching a tree that is covered with 
them, they continue fearless, till one at the extremity of 
the bush, rising on its wings, gives a loud and peculiar 
note of alarm. They then all fly away, except one, 
which continues till the person approaches still nearer, 
to certify, as it were, the reality of the danger, and 
afterwards he also flies off, repeating the note of alarm. 

Mr. Knapp, in his " Journal of a Naturalist," says, 
that in the county of Gloucestershire the extensive 
low-lands of the river Severn, in open weather, are 
visited by prodigious flocks of these birds. 

THE KING OUZEL. (Turdus torquatus.) 

The Eing Ouzel differs from the fieldfare and redwing, 
to which it is nearly allied, in being a summer visitor 
to the British islands, instead of a winter one. It is 
found only in the wildest and most mountainous dis- 
tricts ; particularly among the Welsh mountains and on 
Dartmoor, in Devonshire, where it has been known to 

The Mocking Bird. 



THE MOCKING BIKD, (Turdus polyglottus,) 

Which is also a species, is found in both North and 
South America, and in the West Indian islands. He 
has a beautiful song, which he varies by imitating the 
notes of almost all other birds, so that a person passing 
by his haunt is regaled with a complete ornithological 
concert, all by a single performer. Unfortunately, the 
Mocking Bird's taste is not equal to his musical powers. 
His talent for imitation is so great that he mimics every 
sound he hears, and as he introduces all his imitations 
freely into his songs, he often interrupts the most de- 
lightful melody with the scream of a hawk, the bark 
of a dog, the squalling of a cat, or similar discordant 




(Erythacus rubecida.) 

The Redbreast oft, at evening hours, 
Shall kindly lend his little aid, 

With hoary moss, and gathering flowers, 
To deck the ground where thou art laid." 


The Redbreast, or Robin, as he is popularly called, 
seems always to have enjoyed the protection of man, 
more than any other bird. The prettiness of his shape, 
the beauty of his plumage, the quickness of his motions, 
his familiarity with us in winter, and, above all, the 
melody and sweetness of his voice, claim our admira- 
tion, and have insured him that security which he 
enjoys among us ; though the aid of fable has also been 
called in, to guard him from the assaults of thoughtless 

" Little bird with bosom red, 
Welcome to my humble shed ! 
Courtly domes of high degree 
Have no room for thee and me ; 
Pride and pleasure's fickle throng 
Nothing mind an idle song. 
Daily near my table steal, 
While I pick my scanty meal ; 
Doubt not, little though there be, 
But I'll cast a crumb for thee ; 

The Robin, or Redbreast 227 

Well rewarded if I spy 
Pleasure in thy glancing eye ; 
And, see thee, when thou'st eat thy fill, 
Plume thy breast, and wipe thy bill." 


In the winter season, impelled by the potent stimulus 
of hunger, the Eedbreast frequents our barns/ gardens, 
and houses, and often alights, on a sudden, on the rustic 
floor ; where, with his broad eye incessantly open, and 
looking askew upon the company, he picks up eagerly 
the crumbs of bread that fall from the table, and then 
flies off to the neighbouring bush, where, by his war- 
bling strains, he expresses his gratitude for the liberty 
he has been allowed. He is found in most parts of 
Europe, but nowhere so commonly as in Great Britain. 
His bill is dusky ; his forehead, chin, throat, and breast 
are of a deep orange-colour, inclining to vermilion ; the 
back of his head, neck, back, and tail are of a pale olive- 
brown colour ; the wings are somewhat darker, the edges 
inclining to yellow ; the legs and feet are the colour of 
the bill. The female generally builds her nest in the 
crevice of some mossy bank, near places which human 
beings frequent, or in some part of a human dwelling. 
Robins have been known to build in a sawpit where 
men worked every day, and in various other equally 
extraordinary places. When the Crystal Palace at 
Sydenham was being fitted up, several Robins built their 
nests in holes of the large roots used to raise the flower 
beds within the building. So little fear did they exhibit 
that their bright eyes might be seen glancing from holes 
close to which men were passing every moment. The 
elegant poet of The Seasons gives us a very exact and 
animated description of this bird in the following lines : 

Half afraid, lie first 

Against the window beats : then, brisk alights 
On the warm hearth ; then, hopping on the floor, 
Eyes all the smiling family askance, 
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is, 
Till, more familiar grown, the table-crumbs 
Attract *his slender feet." 

An old Latin proverb tells us that two Robin Red- 

228 Birds. 

breasts will not feed on the same tree ; it is certain that 
the Redbreast is a most pugnacious bird, and that he 
does not live in much harmony and friendship with 
those of his own kind and sex. The male may be known 
from the female by the colour of his legs, which are 

The Redbreast attends the gardener when digging his 
borders ; and will, with great familiarity and tameness, 
pick out the worms almost close to his spade. 

THE NIGHTINGALE. (Philomela luscinia.) 

" Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly, 
Most musical, most melancholy ! 
Thee, chantress, oft, the woods among, 
I woo to hear thy even song." 


The Nightingale has little to boast of in respect to 
plumage, which is of a pale tawny colour on the head 
and back, dashed with a slight shade of olive ; the breast 
and upper part of the belly incline to a grayish tint, and 
the lower part of the belly is almost white ; the exterior 
web of the quill feathers is of a reddish brown ; the tail 
of a dull red ; the legs and feet ash-coloured ; the irides 
hazel ; and the eyes large, bright, and staring. But it is 
hardly possible to give an idea of the extraordinary power 
which this small bird possesses in its throat, as to the ex- 
tension of sound, sweetness of tone, and versatility of notes. 

The Nightingale. 229 

Its song is composed of several musical passages, each of 
which does not continue more than the third part of a 
minute ; but they are so varied, the passing from one tone 
to another is so fanciful and so rapid, and the melody 
no sweet and so mellow, that the most consummate 
musician is pleasingly led to a deep sense of admiration 
on hearing it. Sometimes, joyful and merry, it runs 
dow r n the diapason with the velocity of lightning, touch- 
ing the treble and the base nearly at the same instant ; 
at other times, mournful and plaintive, the unfortunate 
Philomela draws heavily her lengthened notes, and 
breathes a delightful melancholy around. These have 
the appearance of sorrowful sighs ; the other modula- 
tions resemble the laughter of the happy. Solitary on 
the twig of a small tree, and cautiously at a certain 
distance from the nest, where the pledges of his love are 
treasured under the fostering breast of his mate, the 
male fills constantly the silent woods with his harmo- 
nious strains, and during the whole night entertains 
and repays his female for the irksome duties of incu- 
bation. The iSightingale not only sings at intervals 
during the day, but waits till the blackbird and the 
thrush have uttered their evening call, even till the 
stock and ringdoves have, by their soft murmurings, 
lulled each other to rest, and then pours forth his full 
tide of melody : 

" Listening Philomela deigns 

To let them joy, and purposes, in thought 
Elate, to make her night excel their day." 


It is a great subject of astonishment that so small a 
bird should be endowed with such potent lungs. If the 
evening is calm, it is supposed that its song may be 
heard above half-a-mile. This bird, the ornament and 
charm of our spring and early summer evenings, as it 
arrives in April, and continues singing till June, dis- 
appears on a sudden about September or October, when 
it leaves us to pass the winter in the North of Africa and 
Syria. Its visits to this country are limited to certain 
counties, mostly in the south and east ; as, though it is 

230 Birds. 

plentiful in the neighbourhood of London, and along 
the south coast in Sussex, Hampshire, and Dorsetshire, 
it is not found in either Cornwall or Wales. As soon as 
the young are hatched, the song of the male bird ceases, 
and he only utters a harsh croak, by way of giving 
alarm when any one approaches the nest. Nightingales 
are sometimes reared up, and doomed to the prison of a 
cage ; in this state they sing ten months in the year, 
though in their wild life they sing only as many weeks. 
Bingley says that a caged Nightingale sings much more 
sweetly than those which we hear abroad in the spring. 
The Nightingale is the most celebrated of all the 
feathered race for its song. The poets have in all ages 
made it the theme of their verses ; some of these we 
cannot resist giving : 

" The Nightingale, as soon as April bringeth 
Unto her rested sense a perfect waking, 
"Which late bare earth, proud of new clothing, springeth, 

Sings out her woes ." 

Sir Philip Sidney. 

Beast and bird, 

They to their grassy couch, these to their nests, 
Were slunk ; all but the wakeful Nightingale ; 
She all night long her amorous descant sung." 


" And in the violet-embroidered vale, 
Where the lovelorn Nightingale 
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well." 


" O Nightingale, that on yon bloomy spray 

Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still, 
Thou with fresh hope the lovers heart dost fill, 

While the jolly hours lead on propitious May, 

Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day, 
First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill, 
Portend success in love. Oh, if Jove's will 

Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay, 

Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate 
Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh ; 

As thou from year to year hast sung too late 
For my relief, yet hadst no reason why : 

Whether the muse, or love, call thee his mate, 
Both them I serve, and of their train am I.'' 


The BlacJc-Cap. 

Now is the pleasant time, 


The cool, the silent, save where silence yields, 
To the night-warbling bird, that, now awake, 
Tunes sweetest his love-laboured song." 


" How all things listen while thy muse complains, 
Such silence waits on Philomela's strains, 
In some still evening, when the whispering breeze 
Pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees." 


" There's a bower of roses by Bendemeer's stream, 

And the Nightingale sings round it all the year long ; 
In the days of my childhood, 't was like a sweet dream 
To sit in the roses, and hear the bird's song. 

" That bower and its music I never forget, 

But oft when alone, in the bloom of the year, 
I think, Is the Nightingale singing there yet ? 
Are the roses still bright by the calm Bendemeer?" 


THE BLACK-CAP, (Curruca atricapiUa,) 

Is a very small warbler, not weighing above half-an- 
ounce. The top of the head is black, whence he takes 
his name; the neck ash-coloured, the back an ashy-brown, 
the wings of a dusky colour, the tail nearly the same : 
the nether part of the neck, throat, and upper part of 
the breast of a pale ash colour ; the lower part of the 
belly white. 

The Black-cap visits us about the middle of April, 
and retires in September; it frequents gardens, and 
builds its nest near the ground. The female lays five 



eggs of a pale reddish-brown, sprinkled with spots of 
a darker colour. This bird sings sweetly, and so like 
the nightingale, that in Norfolk it is called the mock 
nightingale. White observes, that it has usually a full, 
sweet, deep, loud, and wild pipe, yet the strain is of 
short continuance, and its motions desultory ; but when 
it sits calmly, and earnestly engages in song, it pours 
forth very sweet but inward melody ; and expresses a 
great variety of modulations, superior perhaps to any 
of our warblers, the nightingale excepted. While it 
sings, its throat is greatly distended. 

THE WEEN. {Troglodytes vulgaris.) 

" Fast by my couch, congenial guest, 
The Wren lias wove her mossy nest ; 
From busy scenes and brighter skies 
To lurk with iimocenee she flies ; 
Her hopes in safe repose to dwell, 
Nor aught suspects the sylvan cell." 

T. Warton. 

The Wren is a very small bird : but, as if nature had 
intended to compensate the want of size and bulk in 
the individuals, by multiprying them to a greater extent, 
this little bird is one of the most prolific of the feathered 
tribe, its nest containing often upwards of eighteen eggs, 
of a whitish colour, and not much bigger than a pea. 
The male and female enter by a hole contrived in the 
middle of the nest, and which, by its situation and size, 
is accessible only to themselves. The Wren weighs no 
more than three drachms. Its notes are very sweet, and 
rival those of the robin redbreast, in the middle of 
winter, when the coldness of the weather has condemned 

The Willow Wren. 


the other songsters to silence. Like the redbreast, it 
frequently approaches the habitation of man, enlivening 
the rustic garden with its song during the greater part 
of the year. It begins to make a nest early in the 
spring, but frequently deserts it before it is lined, and 
searches for a more secure place. The Wren does not, 
as is usual with most other birds, begin to build the 
bottom of the nest first. When against a tree, its pri- 
mary operation is to trace upon the bark the outline, and 
thus to fasten it with equal strength to all parts. It then, 
in succession, closes the sides and top, leaving only a 
small hole for entrance. 

THE WILLOW WEEN. (Sylvia trochilus.) 

The Willow Wren is somewhat larger than the common 
Wren. The upper parts of the body are of a pale olive- 

234 Birds. 

green ; the under parts are pale yellow, and a streak of 
yellow passes over the eyes. The wings and tail are 
brown, edged with yellowish green ; and the legs are 
inclined to yellow. This bird is migratory, visiting us 
usually about the middle of April, and taking its depar- 
ture towards the end of September. The female con- 
structs her nest in holes at the roots of trees, in hollows 
of dry banks, and other similar places. It is round, and 
not unlike the nest of the Wren. The eggs are dusky 
white, marked with reddish spots, and are five in num- 
ber. A Willow Wren had built in a bank of one of the 
fields of Mr. White, near Selborne. This bird, a friend 
and himself observed as she sat in her nest, but were par- 
ticularly careful not to disturb her, though she eyed them 
with some degree of jealousy. Some days afterwards, as 
they passed the same way, they were desirous of remark- 
ing how the brood went on; but no nest could be found, 
till Mr. White happened to take up a large bundle of 
long green moss, which had been thrown, as it were, care- 
lessly over the nest, in order to mislead the eye of any 
impertinent intruder. 

Mr. White distinguished no fewer than three varieties 
of the Willow Wren. "I have now," he writes, "past 
dispute, made out three distinct species of the Willow 
Wrens, which constantly and invariably use distinct 
notes." " I have specimens of the three sorts now 
lying before me, and can discern that there are three 
gradations of sizes, and that the least has black legs, and 
the other two, flesh-coloured ones. The yellowest bird 
is considerably the largest, and has its quill feathers and 
secondary feathers tipped with white, which the others 
have not. The last haunts only the tops of trees and 
high beechen woods, and makes a sibilous grasshopper- 
like noise, now and then, at short intervals, shivering a 
little with its wings when it sings." Mr. Markwich, 
however, declared that he was totally unable to discover 
more than one species. 

The Golden-Crested Wren 


THE GOLDEN-CEESTED WEEN, (Begulus cristatus,) 

Is the smallest of British birds, measuring only three 
inches and a half in length. It is of an olive colour, 
with a beautiful crest of golden yellow feathers on its 
head. This charming little bird is generally found in 
fir woods ; it feeds on insects, and has a soft and pleasing 



THE GREY WATER WAGTAIL. (Motacilla boaruhi. , 

There is not a brook purling along two flowery banks, 
not a rivulet winding through the green meadow, which 
is not frequented by this beautifully coloured and ele-* 
gantly shaped little creature. We even see them in the 
streets of country towns, following with quick pace the 
half-drowned fly or moth, which the road-side streamlet 
carries away. Next to the robin redbreast and the 
sparrow, they are the boldest in approaching our habita- 
tions. The Wagtails are much in motion ; seldom perch, 
and perpetually flirt their long and slender tails, (whence 
they derive their name,) principally after picking up 
some food from the ground, as if that tail were a kind of 
lever, or counterpoise, used to balance the body on the 
legs. They are observed to frequent, more comnionty, 
those streams where women come to wash their linen ; 
probably not ignorant that the soap, the froth of which 
floats upon the water, attracts those insects which are 
most acceptable to them. 

Pied Wagtails. 



There are two common species of Wagtails, the Grey 
kind and the Pied Wagtail. The Grey Wagtail is retir- 
ing in its habits, and much, slower in its motions; its 
breast is yellow, and its wings grayish, but the Pied 
Wagtail, which is a very lively little bird, and seems 
always in a bustle, is black, softening into ash-colour 
and white ; it is also bold, and will take the food thrown 
to it with as much confidence as a robin redbreast. 

The Yellow Shepherdess (Budytes flava) is another 
species of Wagtail. The male is olive-green on the 
back, and yellow on the lower part of the body, but the 



breast of the female is nearly white. These birds do not 
frequent the banks of rivers, but are generally found 
walking among the grass of meadows, and following 
sheep. They are summer visitors to England. 

White says, that "while the cows are feeding in the 
moist, low pastures, broods of Wagtails, white and grey, 
run round them, close up to their noses, and under their 
very bellies, availing themselves of the flies that settle on 
their legs, and probably finding worms and larvae that are 
roused by the trampling of their feet. Nature is such 
an economist that the most incongruous animals can avail 
themselves of each other." 

" Interest makes strange friendships ! " 

THE SWALLOW. (Eirundo rustica.) 

'* From the low-roof d cottage ridge 
See the chattering Swallow spring ; 
Darting through the one-arch'd bridge, 
Quick she dips her dappled wing." 


Swallows are easily distinguished from all other birds, 
not only by their general structure, but by their twitter- 

The Swallow. 23\) 

ing note and mode of flying, or rather darting from place 
to place. 

They appear in Britain in April, and build in some 
outhouse, or, in part of a human dwelling, where they 
lay their eggs and hatch their young. About August 
they disappear, and do not return till the following 
spring. Swallows kept in a cage moult about Christmas, 
and seldom live till spring. 

There are several species of the Swallow : the general 
characters of which are a small beak, but large, wide 
mouth, for the purpose of swallowing flying insects, their 
natural food ; and long forked tail and extensive wings, 
to enable them to pursue their prey. The common Swal- 
low builds under the eaves of houses, or in chimneys, near 
their top ; it is frequently called the Chimney Swallow 
from its preference for the last-mentioned rather sin- 
gular situation-; the Martin also builds under eaves, and 
most commonly against the upper corner or side of our 
very windows, and seems not afraid at the sight of man, 
yet it cannot be tamed, or even kept long in a cage. 
The nature of the Swallow's nest is worthy of close 
observation : how the mud is extracted from the sea- 
shores, rivers, or other watery places ; how masoned and 
formed into a solid building, strong enough to support a 
whole family, and to face the " pelting storm," are won- 
ders which ought to raise our mind to Him who bestowed 
that instinct upon them. 

It is related that a pair of Swallows built their nest 
for two successive years on the handle of a pair of garden 
shears, that were stuck up against the boards of an out- 
house ; and, therefore, must have had their nest spoiled 
whenever the implement was wanted. And what is still 
more strange, a bird of the same species built its nest on 
the wings and body of an owl that happened to hang dead 
and dry from the rafter of a barn, and so loose as to be 
moved by every gust of wind. This owl, with the nest 
on its wings, and with eggs in the nest, was taken to the 
museum of Sir Ashton Leaver as a curiosity. That gen- 
tleman, struck with the singularity of the sight, furnished 
the person who brought it with a large shell, desiring 
him to fix it just where the owl had hung. The man 

240 Birds. 

did so ; and in the following year a pair of Swallows, 
probably the same, built their nest in the shell and laid 

Modern poets have not been unmindful of the Swal- 
lows ; and our immortal Shakspeare mentions the Martin, 
in Macbeth, in the following manner : 

" This guest of summer, 
The temple-haunting Martlet, does approve, 
By his loved mansionry, that the Heaven's 
Breath smells wooingly here. No jutty, frieze, 
Buttress, nor coigne of 'vantage, hut this bird 
Hath made his pendent bed and procreant cradle : 
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed, 
The air is delicate." 

" The Swallow," writes Sir Humphry Davy, " is one 
of my favourite birds, and a rival of the nightingale, for 
he cheers my sense of seeing as much as the other does 
my sense of hearing. He is the glad prophet of the year, 
the harbinger of the best season — he lives a life of enjoy- 
ment amongst the liveliest forms of nature— winter is 
unknown to him ; and he leaves the green meadows of 
England in autumn for the myrrh and orange groves of 
Italy, and for the palms of Africa ; he has always objects 
of pursuit, and his success is secure. Even the beings 
selected for his prey are poetical, beautiful, and transient. 
The ephemerae are saved by his means from a slow and 
lingering death in the evening, and killed in a moment 
when they have known nothing but pleasure. Pie is the 
constant destroyer of insects, the friend of man, and may 
be regarded as a sacred bird. His instinct, which gives 
him his appointed season, and teaches him when and 
where to move, may be regarded as flowing from a divine 
source ; and he belongs to the oracles of nature, which 
speak the awful and intelligible language of a present 

The Chimney Swallow is, on the head, neck, back, and 
rump, of a shining black colour, with purple gloss and 
sometimes with a blue shade ; the throat and neck are of 
the same colour; the breast and belly are white, with a dash 
of red. The tail is forked, and consists of twelve feathers. 

The House Martin, or Window Swallow. 241 

The wings are of the same colour with the back. Swal- 
lows feed upon flies and other insects ; and generally 
hunt their prey on the wing : 

" Away ! away ! thou summer bird ; 
For Autumn's moaning voice is heard, 
In cadence wild, and deepening swell, 
Of winter's stern approach to tell." 


(Hirundo urbica.) 

The Martin is something less than the swallow, with a 
comparatively large head, and a wide mouth ; the colour 
of the upper parts a bluish black, the rump and all the 
under parts of the bod} r white, the bill black ; the legs 
covered with short white down. 

These birds begin to appear about the middle of April, 
and for some time pay no attention to the business of 
nidification, but sport and play about as if to recruit 
themselves from the fatigue of the journey. 

Should the weather prove favourable, it begins to build 
early in May, placing its nest generally beneath the eaves 


242 Birds. 

of a house, often against a perpendicular wall : without 
any projecting ledge to support any part of the nest, its 
utmost efforts are necessary to get the first foundation 
firmly fixed, so as to carry the superstructure safely. On 
this occasion, it not only clings with its claws, but partly 
supports itself by strongly inclining its tail against the 
wall, making that a fulcrum ; and thus fixed, it plasters 
the materials into the face of the brick or stone. But 
that this work may not, while soft, sink by its own weight, 
the provident architect has the prudence and forbear- 
ance not to proceed too fast ; but by building only in the 
morning, and dedicating the rest of the day to food and 
amusement, he gives it sufficient time to dry and harden. 
By this method, in about ten days, the nest is formed, 
strong, compact, and warm, and perfectly fitted for all 
the purposes for which it is intended. But nothing is 
more common than for the house-sparrow, as soon as 
the shell is finished, to seize on it, eject the owner, and 
line it according to its own peculiar manner. Sometimes, 
however, the Martins prove too clever for the sparrow ; 
when the intruder obstinately retained possession of the 
nest, the Martins have been known to collect from all 
parts of the neighbourhood, each bringing a pellet of 
mud, with which the orifice of the nest was soon securely 
closed, and the unfortunate sparrow was then left to die 
of starvation. The Martin will return for several seasons 
to the same nest, where it happens to be well sheltered 
and secured from the injuries of the weather. They 
breed the latest of all our swallows, often having un- 
fledged young ones even so late as Michaelmas. 

The first hatch consists of five eggs, which are white, 
inclining to dusky at the thicker end ; the second, of three 
or four ; and of a third, of only two or three. While the 
young birds are confined to the nest the parents feed 
them, adhering by the claws to the outside; but as soon 
as they are able to fly they receive their nourishment 
on the wing, by a quick and almost imperceptible motion. 

* Welcome, welcome, feathered stranger, 
Now the sun bids Nature smile ; 
Safe arrived and free from danger, 
Welcome to our blooming isle." Franklin. 

The Swift. 243 

THE SWIFT, (Cypselus apus,) 

Which is sometimes called the Black Martin, arrives in 
England later, and takes its departure earlier than any 
of our swallows. The Swift is the largest of the swallow 
tribe, and the most rapid in its flight. Its nest, which is 
generally built in the crevices of old towers and steeples, 
is constructed of dried grass, feathers, thread, and similar 
materials, glued together by a sort of spittle, with which 
the bird is provided. The bird collects them whilst on 
the wing, picking them up with great dexterity. They 
seldom alight upon the ground, and if by accident they 
fall upon a level surface, they recover themselves with 
difficult}', owing to the shortness of their legs, and the 
length of their wings. During the heat of the day they 
remain within their holes, and at morning and evening 
salty out in quest of food. They may then be seen in 
flocks, whirling round some lofty edifice, or describing 
in mid-air an endless series of circles upon circles. Swifts 
fly higher, and wheel with bolder wing than the swal- 
lows, with whom they never intermingle. 


THE GOATSUCKER. (Caprimulgus Europceus.) 

This curious bird, called also the Nightjar, and the Fern 
Owl, comes to this country from Africa about the middle 
of May and usually leaves by the end of August. These 
birds are generally found in low bushes, or amongst tufts 
of large ferns, and generally fly at night : hence their 
name of Fern Owl. The beak is furnished with bristles, 
and the middle toe of each foot has a claw toothed like 
a comb. The female lays her eggs upon the ground, 
without any nest, and lays only two. The name of Goat- 
sucker originated in an absurd idea that this bird sucked 
the goat's milk, from its habit of lying on the ground 
near cows or she goats, and catching the flies that tor- 
ment them by fixing on their udders. Mr. Waterton, 
who is certainly the closest observer of nature who ever 
wrote on Natural History, states, in one of his very in- 
teresting works, that he has frequently seen the Goat- 
suckers catching insects in this manner, and thus prov- 
ing themselves the best of friends to the animals they 
are accused of annoying. 

The Skylark. 



THE SKYLAKK (Alauda arvensis.) 

" Go, tuneful bird, that gladd'st the skies, 
To Daphne's window speed thy way ; 
And there on quivering pinions rise, 
And there thy vocal art display." 


The Skylark is distinguished from most other birds by 
the long spur on the back toe, the earthy colour of his 
feathers, and by singing as he mounts in the air. These 
birds generally make their nest in meadows among the 
high grass, and the tjnt of their plumage resembles so 
much that of the ground, that the body of the bird is 
hardly distinguishable as it runs along. 

" The daisied lea he loves, where tufts of grass 
Luxuriant crown the ridge : there, with his mate, 
He founds their lonely house, of withered herbs, 
And coarsest spear-grass; next the inner work, 
With finer, and still finer fibres lays, 
Bounding it curious with his speckled breast." 


Larks breed twice a year, in May and July, rearing 
their young in a short space of time. They are caught 
in great quantities in winter, and are considered choice 
and delicate food. It is a melancholy observation, that 
man should feed upon, and indulge his sense of taste 
with those very birds which have so often delighted his 
sense of hearing with their songs, when they usher to 

246 Birds. 

the gladdened creation the return of their best friend, 
the sun. The instinctive warmth of attachment which 
the female Skylark bears towards her own species, even 
when not her nestling, is remarkable. " In the month 
of May," says BufFon, " a young hen bird was brought 
to me, which was not able to feed without assistance. I 
caused her to be reared ; and she was hardly fledged, 
when I received from another place a nest of three or 
four unfledged larks. She took a strong liking to these 
newcomers, which were but little younger than herself; 
she tended them night and day, cherished them beneath 
her wings, and fed them with her bill. Nothing could 
interrupt her tender offices. If the young ones were torn 
from her she flew to them as soon as they were liberated, 
and would not think of effecting her own escape, which 
she might have done a hundred times. Her affection 
grew upon her ; she neglected food and drink ; she at 
length required the same support as her adopted offspring, 
and expired at last, consumed with maternal solicitude. 
None of the young ones long survived her. They died 
one after another; so essential were her cares, which 
were equally tender and judicious." 

The Lark mounts almost perpendicularly, and by suc- 
cessive springs, into the air, where it hovers at a vast 
height. Its descent is in an oblique direction, unless 
threatened by some ravenous bird of prey, or attracted 
by its mate, when it drops to the ground like a stone.. 
On its first leaving the earth, Ms notes are feeble and in- 
terrupted ; but, as it rises, they gradually swell to their 
full tone. As the Lark's flight is always at sun-rise, there 
is something in the scenery that renders its song pecu- 
liarly delightful : the opening morning, the landscape just 
gilded by the rays of the returning sun, and the beauty 
of the surrounding objects, all contribute to heighten 
our relish for its pleasing melody. 

" Up springs the Lark, 

Shrill-voiced and loud, the messenger of morn, 
Ere yet the shadows fly, he, mounted, sings 
Amid the dawning clouds, and from their haunts 
Calls up the tuneful nations." 


The Woodlark. 


" Alas ! it's no thy neebor sweet, 
The bonnie Lark, companion meet ! 
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet ! 

Wi' speckled breast, 
When upward springing, blythe to greet 
The purpling east." 


11 Early, cheerful, mounting Lark, 
Light's gentle usher, morning's clerk, 
In merry notes delighting." 

Sir John Davis. 

THE WOODLARK. (Alauda arborea.) 

This species is smaller than the skylark, and its voice 
deeper ; it has also a circle of white feathers encompass- 
ing the head, from eye to eye, like a crown or wreath, 
and the utmost feather of the wing is much shorter than 
the second, whereas in the common lark they are nearly 
equal. This bird sometimes emulates the nightingale ; 
for which, when pouring forth his sweet melody in the 
grove, during a silent night, he is often mistaken. These 
birds sit and perch upon trees, unlike the common lark, 
which always keeps to the ground. They build their 
nest at the foot of a bush, near the bottom of a hedge, or 
in high dry grass. The number of their eggs is about 
four, of a pale bloom colour, beautifully mottled, and 
clouded with red and yellow. Like the skylark, they 
assemble in large flocks during frosty weather. Their 
usual food consists of small beetles, caterpillars, and other 



insects, as well as the seeds of numerous kinds of wild 

" Bright o'er the green hills rose the morning ray, 
The Wood lark's song resounded on the plain, 
Fair nature felt the warm embrace of day, 
And smiled through all her animated reign." 


THE TITMOUSE, OR TOM-TIT. (Parti* evruleus.) 

THE LOAG-T AILED TIT. (Parus caudatus.) 

The common Titmouse or Tom-tit is a very small bird, 
only four inches and a half in length. He has a blue head, 
with white cheeks and a white stripe over each eye ; his 
back is greenish, his wings and tail blue, and the lower 
surface of his body yellow. This bird, and all the species 
related to it, live on insects, as well as on seeds. When 
kept in a cage, it is really amusing to see with what quick- 
ness the Titmouse darts at any fly or moth which comes 
imprudently within its reach. If this kind of food be 
deficient, as generally happens in winter, it feeds upon 
several kinds of seed, and particularly that of the sun- 
flower, which it dexterously holds upright between its 
claws and strikes powerfully with its sharp little bill, till 
the black covering splits, and yields its white contents to 
the persevering bird. Its general food consists of insects, 

The Yellowhammer, or Yellow Bunting. 249 

which it seeks in the crevices of the bark of trees, and 
when thus engaged, clinging in every possible position 
to the branches, it looks like a very diminutive blue 
parrot. In winter the Titmouse visits our gardens and 
orchards, where he is often seen picking the buds of fruit 
trees to pieces ; but in doing this he inflicts little or no 
injury upon the gardener, his object being the capture 
of insects which would probably cause far more mischief 
in the ensuing summer. The nest of the Titmouse is 
built in the hole of a tree or wall ; the female lays usually 
eight or ten eggs, and when sitting defends her nest with 
great courage, pecking at the fingers of boys so vigorously 
that in some parts of the country she is known by the 
name of Billy Biter. The Lorrg-tailed Tit is also a 
common bird about hedges, orchards, and plantations. 
He is an active lively little fellow, and resembles the 
common Tit in his habits. 


BUNTING. (Emberiza citrinella.) 

This bird is somewhat larger than the sparrow. Its 
head is of a greenish yellow, spotted with brown ; the 
throat and belly are yellow ; the breast and sides, under 
the wings, mingled with red. These birds build their 
nests on the ground, near some bush, where the female lays 
five or six eggs. The Yellowhammer may be sometimes 
seen perched on the finger of some poor man or woman 
in the streets of London, in a state of complete tameness ; 
but this is the transitory effect of intoxication, and soon 
after the bird is bought and brought home, it dies, over- 
come by the power of the laudanum that has been given it. 
This bird feeds on seeds and various sorts of insects, 



and is common in everj' lane, on every hedge, throughout 
the country, flitting before the traveller, and about the 
bushes. Happily for him, we have not yet acquired the 
taste of the natives of Italy, where the Yellowhammer 
falls a daily victim to the delicacy of the table, and 
where its flesh is esteemed very delicious eating. There 
he is often fattened, for the purpose of gratifying the 
palate of epicures. 

The Ortolan, (Emberiza liortulana^) which is another 
species of the same genus, is common in the central and 
southern provinces of Europe, where it is thought exqui- 
sitely flavoured as an article of food. When first taken 
it is frequently very lean, but if supplied with abundance 
of food, it is said to be so greedy, that it will eat till it 
dies of repletion. 


(Saxicola amanthe and S. ruhetra.) 

The Wheatkar is one of our earliest visitants, and may 
be found in every part of Britain. In the North, it gene- 
rally frequents heaps of stones, ruins, or the dry stone 

The WJieatear, and Whin Chat 251 

walls of burial-grounds, and though it is a very hand- 
some bird, and in the early season sings sweetly, its 
haunts have obtained it a bad name. The common alarm- 
note resembles the sound made in breaking stones with a 
hammer, and as it utters that note from the top of the 
heap which haply covers the bones of one who perished 
by the storm, or his own hand, popular fancy has not 
unnaturally associated the Wheatear with the supersti- 
tion that belongs to the place of graves. Beneath that 
heap of stones, or in some neighbouring fallow, its nest 
may be discovered, formed of moss and dried grass, lined 
with hair, feathers, or wool, and containing five or six 
eggs of a delicate bluish white. These birds congregate 
on the southern downs about the middle of July ; they 
are then caught in vast numbers, in horse-hair nooses, 
which are set between two pieces of turf turned against 
each other. 

The Whin Chat is a beautiful bird, compact in form, 
with a rich and elegant plumage. Its song, which is 
peculiarly soft and sweet, may be heard in spring on the 
bushy margins and gorse of extensive heaths. Its nest, 
constructed in thick tufts of grass and under bushes, is 
most carefully concealed. It is usually approached by 
a labyrinth to which the rising of the bird affords no clue, 
and it may long be sought in vain, though perhaps not 
more than a yard distant all the time. The eggs are 
bluish green, without any spots, and are never more than 
six in number. 

The following lines, addressed to the English Ortolan, 
or Wheatear, by Mrs. Charlotte Smith, allude to the 
foolish timidity of that bird : 

" To take you, shepherd boys prepare 
The hollow turf, the wiry snare, 
Of those weak terrors well aware, 

That bid you vainly dread 
The shadows floating over downs, 
Or murmuring gale, that round the stones 
Of some old beacon, as it moans, 

Scarce moves a thistle's head. 
And if a cloud obscure the sun, 
With faint and fluttering heart you run 
Into the pitfall you should shun, 

And only leave when dead." 



THE SPAEROW. (Passer domestkus.) 

This bird is, next to the robin redbreast, the boldest of 
the small feathered tribe which frequent our barns and 
houses : he is a courageous little creature, and fights 
undauntedly against birds ten times bigger than himself. 
Sparrows are accused of destroying a great quantity of 
corn, and in several counties the landlord or farmer puts 
a price on a Sparrow's head ; but the farmer is the per- 
son most injured by the plan, as the good Sparrows, in 
ridding land of caterpillars, more than compensate for 
the loss of grain they destroy. Mr. Bradley, in his 
Treatise on Husbandry and Gardening, shows, by a cal- 
culation, that a pair of Sparrows, during the time they 
have their young ones to feed, destroy on an average, 
every week, three thousand three hundred and sixty 

This bird is easily tamed, and will hop about the 
house, and on the table with great familiarity. It will 
feed on anything, and is particularly fond of meat cut 
into small pieces. The song of the Sparrow, if we can 

The Linnet. 


so call its chirping, is far from agreeable : this arises, 
however, not from want of powers, but from its attend- 
ing solely to the note of the parent bird. A Sparrow, 
when fledged, was taken from the nest and educated 
under a linnet : it also heard by accident a goldfinch ; 
and its song was in consequence a mixture of the two. 
The male is particularly distinguished by a jet-black 
spot under the bill upon a whitish ground. Sparrows 
are found nearly in every country of the world. 

THE L1N.NET, {Fringiila linota or Linota cannabina,) 

Is about the size of the goldfinch ; and compensates, by 
an extremely melodious voice, the want of variety in its 
plumage, which, except in the red-breasted species, is 
nearly all of one colour. Its musical talents are, like 
those of many other birds, repaid with captivity ; for it 
is kept in cages on account of its singing. 

The Eedpole (Fringiila linaria) is a small species of 
Linnet, little more than four inches in length, distin- 
guished by a deep blood-red spot on the crown of his 
head. He visits Britain in the autumn and stays with 
us during the winter, his favourite summer residence 
being far away in the north. Eedpoles are taken in great 
numbers by the bird-catchers in the autumn. Their only 
song is a twittering note, but they are often attached by 
a brace and chain to an open cage and trained to draw 
their water in a bucket. 

The Green Linnet is rather larger than the house spar- 
row. Its head and back are of a yellowish-green, the 

254 Birds. 

edges of the feathers grayish ; the rump and breast more 
yellow. The plumage of the female is much less vivid, 
inclining to brown. Its song is trifling, but in confine- 
ment it becomes tame and docile, and will catch the notes 
of other birds. 

THE CANARY-BIED. (Fringilla, or Carduelis canaria.) 

As his name imports, this bird is a native of the Canary 
Islands ; where, in his wild state, he has a dusky gray 
plumage, and a much stronger voice than when in a cage. 
In our northern countries his feathers undergo a great 
alteration ; and the bird often becomes entirely white or 
yellow. Of this bird, Buffon says, " that if the nightin- 
gale is the chantress of the woods, the Canary is the 
musician of the chamber; the first owes all to nature, 
the second something to art. With less strength of organ, 
less compass of voice, and less variety of note, the Canary 
has a better ear, greater facility of imitation, and a more 
retentive memory ; and as the difference of genius, espe- 
cially among the lower animals, depends in a great mea- 
sure on the perfection of their senses, the Canary, whose 
organ of hearing is more susceptible of receiving and 
retaining foreign impressions, becomes more social, tame, 
and familiar; is capable of gratitude and even attach- 
ment; its caresses are endearing, its little humours 
innocent, and its anger neither hurts nor offends. Its 
education is easy; we rear it with pleasure, because we 
are able to instruct it. It leaves the melody of its own 
natural note, to listen to the melody of our voices and 

The Canary-Bird. 255 

instruments. It accompanies us, and repays the pleasure 
it receives with interest, while the nightingale, more 
proud of his talent, seems desirous of preserving it in 
all its purity, at least it appears to attach very little 
value to ours, and it is with great difficulty that it 
can be taught any of our airs. It despises them, 
and never fails to return to its own wild wood notes. 
Its pipe is a masterpiece of nature, which human art 
can neither alter nor improve ; while that of the Canary 
is a model of more pliant materials, which we can 
mould at pleasure ; and therefore it contributes in a 
much greater degree to the pleasures of society. It 
sings at all seasons, cheers us in the dullest weather, 
and adds to our happiness, by amusing the young 
and delighting the recluse, charming the tediousness 
of the cloister, and gladdening the soul of the innocent 
and captive." It breeds generally twice a year when 
domesticated ; and it sometimes happens that the female 
lays her eggs for the second time before the first brood is 
fledged. The male then good-naturedly takes her place 
on the eggs while she feeds the young ones, and feeds 
them in his turn, when she sits in the nest. They are 
very easily tamed, when brought up with attention and 
kindness, and take their food out of the hand, often 
perching on the shoulder of their mistress, and feeding 
out of her mouth. The Canary-bird is sometimes, and 
with success, matched with the linnet or the goldfinch ; 
and the produce is a beautiful bird, partaking of the 
talents and plumage of both. 

Canary-birds live twelve or thirteen years in our 
climate, and sing well to the end of their life. 

The following curious anecdote of one of these birds 
is related by Dr. Darwin: "On observing a Canary- 
bird at the house of a gentleman near Tutbury, in Derby- 
shire, I was told it always fainted away when its cage was 
cleaned ; and I desired to see the experiment. The cage 
being taken from the ceiling, and the bottom drawn out, 
the bird began to tremble, and turned quite white about 
the root of the bill : he then opened his mouth, as if for 
breath, and respired quick; stood up straighter on his 
perch, hung his wings, spread his tail, closed his eyes, 

256 Birds. 

and appeared quite stiff for half-an-hour ; till at length, 
with much trembling and deep respirations, he came 
gradually to himself." 

Some years ago, a Frenchman exhibited in London 
twenty-four Canary-birds, many of which he said were 
from eighteen to twenty-five years of age. Some of 
these balanced themselves, head downward, on their 
shoulders, having their legs and tail in the air. One of 
them taking a slender stick in its claws, passed its head 
between its legs, and suffered itself to be turned round, 
as if in the act of being roasted. Another balanced itself, 
and was swung backward and forward on a kind of a slack 
rope. A third was dressed in military uniform, having 
a cap on its head, wearing a sword and pouch, and carrying 
a firelock in one claw : after some time sitting upright, 
this bird, at the word of "command, freed itself from its 
dress, and flew away to the cage. A fourth suffered 
itself to be shot at, and falling down as if dead, was put 
into a little wheelbarrow, and wheeled away by one of 
its comrades ! 

THE CHAFFINCH. (Fringilla ccelebs.) 
The Chaffinch is of the same dimensions as the sparrow, 

The Chaffinch. 257 

but more lightly and elegantly formed. Its nest, which 
is of the most beautiful and elaborate construction, is com- 
posed of mosses and lichens, interwoven and lined with 
wool, hair, and feathers. " Four or five eggs," says Mr, 
Waterton, " are the usual number which the Chaffinch's 
nest contains, and sometimes only three. The thorn, and 
most of the evergreen shrubs, the sprouts on the boles 
of forest trees, the woodbine, the whin, the wild rose, and 
occasionally the bramble, are this bird's favourite places 
for nidification. Like all its congeners, it never covers 
its eggs on retiring from the nest, for its young are 
hatched blind. There is something peculiarly pleasing 
to me in the song of this bird. Perhaps association of 
ideas may add a trifle to the value of its melody; for 
when I hear the first note of the Chaffinch, I know that 
winter is on the eve of its departure, and that sunshine 
and fine weather are not far off. The Chaffinch never 
sings when on the wing ; but it warbles incessantly on 
the trees, and on the hedgerows, from the early part of 
February to the second week in July ; and then (if the 
bird be in a state of freedom) its song entirely ceases." 



THE BULLFINCH. (Loxia pyrrMa.) 

This is a very docile bird, and will nearly imitate the 
sound of a pipe, or the whistle of man, with its voice, the 
mellowness of which is really charming. It is, by bird- 
fanciers, considered to excel all other small birds, except 
the linnet, in the softness of its tones, and in the variety 
of its notes. In captivity, its melody seems to be as great 
a solace to itself, as it is a pleasure to its master. By day, 
and even when the evening has called for the artificial 
light of candles, the Bullfinch pursues his melodious 
exertions, and if there be any other birds in the apart- 
ment, awakes them gently to the pleasing task of singing 
in concert with him. His notes are upon one of the 
lowest keys of the gamut of birds. 

The plumage of the Bullfinch is beautiful, though 
simple and uniform, consisting only of three or four 
colours. ^Fn the male, a lovely scarlet or crimson 
colour adorns the breast, throat, and jaws, as far as the 
eyes ; the -crown of the head is black ; the rump and tail 
are white ; the neck and back grey, or lead-coloured. 
The name of this bird originates from its head and neck 
being, like those of the bull, very large in proportion to 
the body. The female does not share with the male the 
brightness of colours in the plumage. Bullfinches build 
their nests in gardens and orchards, and particularly in 
places that abound in fruit-trees, as they are passionately 
fond of fruit, which they often destroy before it is ripe. 

The Goldfinch. 



(Fringilla carduelis, or Carduelis elegans.) 

This bird is also called the Thistlefinch, from his fondness 
for the seeds of that plant. He is very beautiful, his 
plumage being elegantly diversified, his form small, but 
pleasing, and his voice not loud, but sweet. He is easily 
tamed, and often exhibited as a captive, with a chain 
round his body, drawing up with trouble, but yet with 
.amazing dexterity, two small buckets, alternately, one 
containing his meat, the other his drink. If he is old when 
caught, the Goldfinch, after a few weeks, if well attended 
to, and gently treated, becomes as familiar as if he had been 
brought up by the hand of his keeper. Some have been 
taught to fire a small piece of artillery, and go through 
the drilling exercise, to the great astonishment of the 
spectators; but the cruel and severe treatment that 
animals undergo, when taught performances altogether 
contrary to their nature, should prevent us from en- 
couraging such exhibitions. 

This bird, as if conscious of the beauty of his plumage, 
likes to view himself in a glass, which is sometimes fixed 
for this purpose in the back of the cage. The art with 
which it composes and builds its nest is really worthy 
of admiration ; it is generally interwoven with moss, 
small twigs, horsehair, and other pliant materials ; the 
inside stuffed most carefully with fine down, and tufts of 
cotton grass. There the female deposits five or six eggs, 

260 Birds. 

which are whitish, marked at their upper end with 
purple dots. 

" The Goldfinch weaves, with willow down inlaid, 
And cannaeh tufts, his wonderful abode ; 
And oft suspended at the limber end 
Of plane-tree spray, among the broad-leaved shoots, 
The tiny hammock swings to every gale. 
Sometimes iu closest thickets 'tis concealed ; 
Sometimes in hedge luxuriant, where the brier, 
The bramble, and the plum-tree branch 
Warp through the thorn, surmounted by the flowers 
Of climbing vetch, and honeysuckle wild." 


The following lines were written by Cowper on a Gold- 
finch starved to death in his cage. The Goldfinch 
speaks : — 

" Time was when I was free as air, 
The thistle's downy seed my fare, 

My drink the morning dew ; 
I perched at will on every spray, 
My form genteel, my plumage gay, 

My strains for ever new. 

41 But gaudy plumage, sprightly strain, 
And form genteel were all in vain, 

And of a transient date ; 
For caught and caged, and starved to death, 
In dying sighs my little breath 

Soon passed the wiry grate. 

" Thanks, gentle author of my woes, 
Thanks for this most effectual close 

And cure of every ill. 
Never your cruelty repress ! 
For I, if you had shown me less, 

Had been your prisoner still." 

The Crossbill. 


THE CROSSBILL. (Lcxia curvirostra.) 

The Crossbill is a native of the vast pine foiests of 
northern Europe, and is by no means abundant in Eng- 
land. The bill of this singular bird is of considerable 
length, and the mandibles towards the point are very 
sharp and strong, curved in opposite directions, so that 
when closed the points cross each other, from which the 
bird derives his name. This curious organization enables 
them to obtain their food, which chiefly consists of the 
seeds of the cones of the fir, with the greatest facility 
These seeds, for a considerable time after they have 
ripened, are so firmly enclosed within their ligneous 
scales, that the bill of no ordinary bird could reach them. 
Fixing itself across the cone, the Crossbill brings the 
mandibles of its beak immediately over each other, and 
insinuates them between the scales, then forcing them 
laterally, the scales open. The mandibles are again 
brought in contact, between the scales, and the bird then 
picks out the seed with their tips. It is very interesting 
to find that a structure so anomalous as that of the bill 
of the Crossbill is really beneficial to the oreature, and 
not, as was formerly rather flippantly asserted, a defect 
or error of nature. 



THE STAKE, OR STARLING, (Sturnus vulgaris,) 

Is about the size and shape of a blackbird ; the tips of 
the feathers on the neck and back are yellow; the 
feathers under the tail of an ash-colour ; the other parts 
of the plumage are black, with a purple or deep blue 
gloss, changing as it is variously exposed to the light. 
Jn the hen, the tips of the feathers on the breast and 
belly, to the very throat, are white ; which constitutes * 
a material point in the choice of the bird, as the female 
is no singer. She lays four or five eggs, lightly tinctured 
with a greenish cast of blue. Starlings build in hollow 
trees and clefts of rocks and walls, are very easily tamed, 
and can add to their natural notes any words or modula- 
tions which they are taught. 

In the winter season Starlings collect in vast flocks, 
and may be known at a great distance by their whirling 
mode of flight. The evening is the time when they 
assemble in the greatest numbers, and betake themselves 
to fens and marshes. Sterne has immortalized the Star- 
ling in his " Sentimental Journey : " " The bird flew to the 
place where I was attempting his deliverance, and thrust- 
ing his head through the trellis, pressed his head against 
it, as if impatient. — * I fear, poor creature,' said I, ' I 
can't set thee at liberty.' — 'No,' said the Starling, 'I 
can't get out.' c Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, 
slavery,' said I, ' still thou art a bitter draught !' " 

The Satin Bower-Bird. 



( Ptilonorhynchus holoscriceus.) 

This singular bird was first brought before the notice 
of the public by Mr. Gould, in his splendid work, the 
" Birds of Australia," from which the following extracts 
are given by permission of its author. The most remark- 
able circumstance relating to this bird, is its construction 
of a bower-like tenement, the object of which, it should 
seem, is a sort of playing-ground, or hall of assembly. 

"The Satin Bower-bird, " says Mr. Gould, "is not a 
stationary species, but appears to range from one part of 
a district to another, either for the purpose of varying 
the nature, or of obtaining a more' abundant supply of 
food. Judging from the many specimens I dissected, it 
would seem that it is altogether granivorous and fru- 
givorous ; or, if not exclusively so, that insects form but 
a small portion of its diet. The brushes it inhabits are 
studded with enormous fig-trees, some of them towering 
to the height of two hundred feet; among the lofty 
branches of which the Satin Bower-bird finds, in the 

264 Birds. 

small wild fig with which the branches are loaded, an 
abundant supply of a favourite food : this species also 
commits considerable depredation on ripening corn. It 
appears to have particular times in the day for feeding, 
and when thus engaged amoug the low shrub-like trees, 
I have approached within a few feet without creating 
alarm ; but at other times I have found this bird ex- 
tremely shy, especially the old males, which not unfre- 
quently perch on the topmost branch of the loftiest tree, 
whence they can survey all around, and watch the move- 
ments of the females and their young in the brush below. 
Besides the loud liquid call peculiar to the male, both sexes 
frequently utter a harsh, unpleasant, guttural note, indica- 
tive of surprise or displeasure. The old black males are 
exceedingly few in number, as compared with the females 
and young male birds in the green dress, from which, and 
other circumstances, I am led to believe that at least two, 
if not three years, elapse before they attain the rich satin- 
like plumage, which, when once perfectly assumed, is, 
I believe, never again thrown off. The extraordinary 
bower-like structures alluded to above, are usually placed 
under the shelter of the branches of some overhanging 
tree in the most retired part of the forest, and differ 
considerably in size. The base consists of an extensive 
and rather convex platform of stick, firmly interwoven, 
on the centre of which the bower itself is built : this, 
like the platform on which it is placed, and with which 
it is interwoven, is formed of sticks and twigs, but of a 
more slender and flexible description, the tips of the 
twigs being so arranged as to curve inwards and nearly 
meet at the top : in the interior of the bower the materials 
are so placed, that the forks of the twigs are always pre- 
sented outwards, by which arrangement not the slightest 
obstruction is offered j,o the passage of the birds. The in- 
terest of this curious bower is much enhanced by the 
manner in which it is decorated at and near the entrance 
with the most gaily-coloured articles that can be collected, 
such as the blue tail-feathers of the Kose-bill and Pen- 
nantian parrots, bleached bones, the shells of snails, &c. ; 
some of the feathers are stuck in among the twigs, while 
others with the bones and shells are strewed about near 

The Haven. 


the entrances. The propensity of these birds to pick up 
and fly oft' with any attractive object, is so well known 
to the natives, that they always search the runs for any 
small missing article, as the bowl of a pipe, &c, that may 
have been accidentally dropped in the brush. I myself 
found at the entrance of one of them a small neatly-worked 
stone tomahawk,' of an inch and a half in length, toge- 
ther with some slips of blue cotton rags, which the birds 
had doubtless picked up at a deserted encampment of 
the natives. For what purpose these curious bowers are 
made is not yet, perhaps, fully understood ; they are cer- 
tainly not used as a nest, but as a place of resort for many 
individuals of both sexes, which, when there assembled, 
run through and around th , bower in a sportive and 
playful manner, and that so frequently, that it is seldom 
entirely deserted." 

THE KAVEN. (Corvus Corax.) 

" The Raven sits 

On the raven-stone, 
And his black wing flits 
O'er the milk-white bone : 

266 Birds. 

To and fro, as the night-winds blow, 

The carcass of the assassin swings : 
And there alone, on the raven-stone, 

The Kaven flaps his dusky wings. 
The fetters creak — and his ebon beak 

Creaks to the close of the hollow sound : 
And this is the tune by the light of the moon, 

To which the witches dance their round.'' 

Byron's Manfked. 

The Eaven is about twenty-six inches in length, and his 
weight about three pounds. The bill is strong, black, 
and hooked at the tip. The plumage of the whole body 
of a shining black, glossed with deep blue ; the back of 
the lower part inclining to a dusky colour. He is of a 
strong and hardy disposition, and inhabits all climates of 
the globe. He builds his nest in trees ; and the female 
lays five or six eggs of a palish green colour, spotted with 
brown. It is said that the life of this bird extends to a 
century ; and even beyond that period, if we can believe 
the accounts of several naturalists on the subject. The 
Raven unites the voracious appetite of the crow to the 
dishonesty of the daw and the docility of almost every 
other bird. He feeds chiefly on small animals ; and is 
said to destroy rabbits, young ducks, and chickens, and 
sometimes even lambs, when they happen to be dropped 
in a weak state. In the northern regions, he preys on 
carrion, in concert with the white bear, the arctic fox, and 
the eagle. The faculty of scent in these birds must be 
very acute ; for in the coldest of the winter days, at Hud- 
son's Bay, when every kind of effluvium is almost instan- 
taneously destroyed by the frost, buffaloes and other 
beasts have been killed, where not one of these birds 
was seen ; but in a few hours scores of them have been 
found collected about the spot, to pick up the blood and 
offal. The Kaven possesses many diverting and mis- 
chievous qualities; he is active, curious, sagacious, and 
impudent ; by nature a glutton, by habit a thief, in dispo- 
sition a miser, and in practice a rogue. He is fond of 
picking up any small piece of money, bits of glass or 
any thing that shines, which he carefully conceals under 
the eaves of roofs, or in any other inaccessible place. He 
is easily tamed ; and, like the parrot and starling, can 

Tlie Raven. 267 

imitate the human voice, in articulating words. At the 
seat of the Marquis of Aylesbury, in Wiltshire, a tame 
Raven, that had been taught to speak, used to ramble 
about in the park, where he was commonly attended 
and beset with crows, rooks, and others of his inquisitive 
tribe. When a considerable number of these were col- 
lected round him, he would lift up his head, and with 
a hoarse and hollow voice shout out Holloa ! This would 
instantly put to flight and disperse his sable brethren ; 
while the Eaven seemed to enjoy the fright he had 
occasioned. When domesticated, the Eaven is of great 
service, both as a scavenger and in keeping watch, in 
the last of which he is more alert and vigilant than 
almost any other animal. The Eaven was the ensign of the 
invading Danes, and the prejudice thereby engendered 
against the bird is not yet quite extinct. Of its per- 
severance in the act of incubation, Mr. White relates 
the following singular anecdote : 

" In the centre of a grove near Selborne, there stood 
an oak, which, though on the whole shapely and tall, 
bulged out into a large excrescence near the middle of 
the stem. On this tree a pair of Eavens had fixed their 
residence for such a series of years, that the oak was dis- 
tinguished by the title of • The Eaven-tree.' Many 
were the attempts of the neighbouring youths to get at 
this nest : the difficulty whetted their inclinations, and 
each was ambitious of surmounting the arduous task ; but 
when they arrived at the swelling, it jutted out so in 
their way, and was so far beyond their grasp, that the 
boldest lads were deterred and acknowledged the under- 
taking to be too hazardous. Thus the Eavens continued 
to build, nest upon nest, in perfect security, till the fatal 
day on which the wood was to be levelled. This was in the 
month of February, when those birds usually sit. The 
saw was applied to the trunk, the wedges were inserted 
into the opening, the wood echoed to the heavy blows of 
the mallet, the tree nodded to its fall ; but still the dam 
persisted in sitting. At last, when it gave way, the bird 
was flung from her nest ; and though her parental affec- 
tion deserved a better fate, was whipped down by the 
twigs, which brought her dead to the ground !" 

268 Birds. 

The croaking of the Raven was formerly considered a 
note of ill omen : 

"The Eaven croaked as she sat at her meal, 
And the old woman knew what he said ; 
And she grew pule at the Raven's tale, 
And sickened and went to her bed." 

THE CARRION CROW. (Corvus corone.) 

This bird is less in size than the raven. The bill is 
strong, thick, and straight. The general colour is black, 
except the extremities of the feathers, which are of a 
greyish tint. His delight is to feed upon carcasses and 
dead animals, or malefactors exposed on the gibbet. 
He roosts upon trees, and takes both animal and vege- 
table food. Crows, like rooks, are gregarious, and often 
fly in large companies in the fields or in the woods. 
On the upland moors, Crows occupy the place which 
rooks fill in the low country ; and as the Crow has a 
very coarse and uncouth voice, the Lowlanders of Scot- 
land are in the habit of saying that the Highland rooks 
" speak Gaelic." They are great destroyers of partridges' 
eggs, as they often pierce them with their bills, and 
carry them in that manner through the air to a great 
distance to feed their young. The female lays five or 
six eggs. 

Mr. Montagu states that he once saw a Crow in pur- 
suit of a pigeon, at which it made several pounces, like 

The Book 269 

a hawk; but the pigeon escaped by flying in at the 
door of a house. He saw another strike a pigeon dead 
from the top of a barn. The Crow is so bold a bird that 
neither the kite, the buzzard, nor the raven, can approach 
its nest without being driven away. When it has young 
ones, it will even attack the peregrine falcon, and at a 
single pounce sometimes bring that bird to the ground. 

THE ROOK. (Corvus frugilegus.) 

The cawing of these birds, on the tops of high trees near 
gentlemen's houses, and in the middle of cities, is not 
very pleasing ; yet old habits, to which we are reconciled, 
have as much influence upon us as if they were pro- 
ductive of amusement. Hence it has been seldom at- 
tempted to destroy a rookery ; although the noise and 
other inconveniences that accompany these birds render 
their vicinity often troublesome. They feed entirely 
on corn and insects, and are little bigger than the com- 
mon crows. In Suffolk, and in some parts of ISorfolk, the 
farmers find it their interest to encourage the breed of 
Books, as the only means of freeing their grounds from 
the grub, which produces the cockchafer, and which in 
this state destroys the roots of corn and grass to such a 
degree, that instances have been known where the turf 
of pasture land might be turned up with the foot. The 
farmers in a northern county, a good many years ago, 
waged a war of extermination against the Eooks, but 
the very next year the crops were so completely cut up 
by grubs, that the same proprietors were at considerable 

270 Birds. 

expense in getting Books back again. Young Rooks are 
good eating, but should be skinned before they are 
dressed. The colour is black, but brighter than that of 
the crow, which the Rook resembles in shape. The 
female lays the same number of eggs; and the male 
shares with her the trouble of fetching sticks, and inter- 
weaving them to make the nest, an operation which is 
attended with a great deal of fighting and disputing with 
the other Rooks. 

New comers are often severely beaten by the old inha- 
bitants, and are even frequently driven quite away ; of 
this an instance occurred near Newcastle, in the year 
1783. A pair of Rooks, after an unsuccessful attempt to 
establish themselves in a rookery at no great distance 
from the Exchange, were compelled to abandon the at- 
tempt, and take refuge on the spire of that building ; and, 
though constantly interrupted by other Rooks, the)' 
built their nest on the top of the vane, and reared their 
young ones, undisturbed by the noise of the populace be- 
low. The nest and its inhabitants were of course turned 
about by every change of the wind! They returned 
and built their nest every year on the same place, till 
1793, soon after which year the spire was taken down. 
A small copperplate was engraved, of the size of a watch- 
paper, with a representation of the spire and the nest ; 
and so much pleased were the inhabitants and other per- 
sons with it, that as many copies were sold as produced 
to the engraver a profit of ten pounds. The woodcut 
by Bewick, in the title-page to his Select Fable givess, a 
view of the old Exchange, with the Rook's nest on the 

It is amusing to see Rooks coming at sunset as thick 
as a cloud hovering over a grove, and, after several 
eddies described in the air, and incessant cawings, each 
repairing to its own nest, and settling in a few minutes 
to rest, till the dawn calls them up again to their pas- 
ture in the neighbouring fields. 

Dr. Darwin has remarked, that an. instinctive feeling 
of danger from mankind is much more apparent in Rooks 
than in most other birds. Any one who has in the least 
observed them will see that they evidently distinguish 

The Jackdaw. 


that the danger is greater when a man is armed with a 
gun, than when he has no weapon with him. In the 
spring of the year, if a person happened to walk under a 
rookery with a gun in his hand, the inhabitants of the 
trees rise on their wings, and scream to the unfledged 
young to shrink into their nests from the sight of the 
enemy. The country people observing this circumstance 
so uniformly to occur, assert that Hooks can smell gun- 

THE JACKDAW. (Corvus monedula.) 

Tins bird is muck less than the crow. He has a large 
head and long bill, in proportion to the size of his body. 
The colour of the plumage is black, but on some parts 
inclining to a bluish hue ; the fore part of the head is of 
a deeper black. The Jackdaw feeds upon nuts, fruits, 
seeds, and insects ; and builds in ancient castles, towers, 
cliffs, and all desolate and ruinous places. The female 
lays five or six eggs, smaller, paler, and marked with 
fewer spots than those of the crow. 

Jackdaws are easily tamed, and may with little diffi- 



culty be taught to pronounce several words. They conceal 
such parts of their food as they cannot eat, and often, 
along with it, small pieces of money or toys, frequently 
occasioning, for the moment, suspicions of theft in per- 
sons who are innocent. In Switzerland there is found 
a variety of the Jackdaw, which has a white ring round 
its neck. In Norway, and other cold countries, they 
have been seen entirely white. In a state of nature, 
jackdaws and rooks frequently feed together, and the 
Jackdaws come to meet the rooks in the morning, and 
also accompany them for some distance on their retreat 
at night. 

THE MAGPIE. (Pica caudata.) 

" From bough to bough the restless Magpie roves, 
And chatters as he flies." Gisborne. 

This bird resembles the daw, except in the whiteness of 
the breast and wings, and the length* of the tail. The 
black of the feathers is accompanied with a changing 
gloss of green and purple. It is a very loquacious crea- 
ture, and can be taught to imitate the human voice as 
well as any of the feathered creation. 

Plutarch relates a singular story of a Magpie belong- 
ing to a barber at Rome, which could imitate, to a 
wonderful extent, almost every noise that it heard. 
Some trumpets happened one day to be sounded before 
the shop ; and for a day or two afterwards the Magpie 

The Magpie. 273 

was quite mute, and seemed pensive and melancholy. 
This surprised all who knew it ; and they supposed the 
sound of the trumpets had so stunned the bird as to 
deprive it at the same time of voice and hearing. This, 
however, was not the case ; for, says the writer, the bird 
had been all the time occupied in profound meditation, 
and was studying how to imitate the sound of the 
trumpets ; accordingly, in the first attempt, it perfectly 
imitated all their repetitions, stops, and changes. This 
new lesson, however, made it entirely forget everything 
c;hat it had learned before. 

The Magpie feeds on everything ; worms, insects, 
meat, cheese, bread, milk, and all kinds of seeds, and 
also on small birds, when they come in its way : the 
young of the blackbird and of the thrush, and even a 
strayed chicken, often fall a prey to its rapacity. It is 
fond of hiding pieces of money or wearing apparel, which 
it carries away by stealth, and with much dexterity, to 
its hole. Its cunning is also remarked in the manner 
of making its nest, which it covers all over with haw- 
thorn branches, the thorns sticking outward ; within, it 
is lined with fibrous roots, wool, and long grass, and then 
plastered all round with mud and clay. The canopy 
above is composed of the sharpest thorns, woven together 
in such a manner as to deny all entrance except at the 
door, which is just large enough to permit egress and 
regress to the owners. In this fortress the birds bring 
up their brood with security, safe from all attacks, but 
those of the climbing schoolboy, who often finds his torn 
and bloody hands too dear a price for the eggs or the 
young ones. 

There are many superstitions respecting Magpies ; and 
it is singular that in all the southern and middle districts 
of England, two Magpies together are thought to betoken 
luck ; while in Lancashire, and other northern counties, 
they are thought to betoken misfortune. The chattering 
of Magpies was formerly supposed to foretell the arrival 
of strangers. 



THE CORNISH CHOUGH, (Pyrrhcorax gracuats,) 
Is like the jackdaw in shape and colour, but somewhat 
larger. The bill and legs are of a red colour, and hence 
the bird is frequently called the red-legged Crow. It is 
an inhabitant of Cornwall, Wales, and all the western 
coasts of England, and is generally to be found among 
rocks near the sea, where it builds, as well as in old 
ruinous castles and churches on the sea-side. The voice 
of the Chough resembles that of the jackdaw, except 
that it exceeds it in hoarseness and strength. 

Mr. Montagu describing a Chough in the possession 
of a friend, says, " his curiosity is beyond bounds, never 
failing to examine everything new to him : if the gar- 
dener be pruning, he examines the nail-box, carries oil 
the nails, and scatters the shreds about. Should a ladder 
be left against the wall, he instantly mounts, and goes all 
round the top of the wall: and if hungry descends at a 
convenient place, and immediately travels to the kitchen 
window, where he makes an incessant knocking with his 
bill, until he is fed or let in. If allowed to enter, his first 
endeavour is to get up-stairs ; and if not interrupted, goes 
as high as he can, and gets into any room on the attic 
story; but his intention is to get upon the top of the 
house. He is excessively fond of being caressed, and 
would stand quietly by the hour to be smoothed ; but 
resents an affront with violence and etfect, by both bill 
and claws, and will hold so fast by the latter, that he is 
with difficulty disengaged." 

The Jay. 


THE JAY, (Garrulus glandarius,) 

Is less than the magpie, and resembles him more in the 
habits of his life than in the shape and colour of his body. 
Like him he is talkative, and read} 7 to imitate all sounds, 
but boasts of ornamental colours, which the magpie is 
deprived of. The ablest painter can produce no colour 
to equal the brightness of the chequered tablets of white, 
black, and blue, which adorn the sides of his wings. 
His head is covered with feathers, which are moveable 
at will, and the motion of which is expressive of the 
internal affections of the bird, whether he is stimulated 
by fear, anger, or desire. 

A Jay, kept by a person in the north of England, had 
learned at the approach of cattle to set a cur dog upon 
them, by whistling and calling him by his name. One 
winter, during a severe frost, the dog was by this means 
excited to attack a cow that was big with calf, when the 
poor thing fell on the ice, and was much hurt. The Jay 
was complained of as a nuisance, and its owner was 
obliged to destroy it. 

The hen lays five or six eggs, of a dull white colour, 
mottled with brown. 



THE ROLLER, (Coiacias garrula,) 

Is about the size of the jay. Its bill is black, sharp, 
and somewhat hooked. The head is of a dirty green, 
mingled with blue ; of which colour is also the throat, 
with white lines in the middle of each feather; the 
breast is of a pale blue, like that of the pigeon; the 
middle of the back, between the shoulders, is red ; the 
rump and lesser coverts of the wings are dark blue ; the 
feet are short, and, like those of a dove, of a dirty yel- 
low colour. 

The Roller is wilder than the jay, and frequents the 
thickest woods ; it builds its nest chiefly on birch-trees. 
It is a bird of passage, and migrates in the months of 
May and September. In Africa, it is said to fly in 
large flocks in the autumn, and is frequently seen on 
cultivated grounds, with rooks and other birds, search- 
ing for worms, insects, seeds, berries, roots, and in cases 
of necessity, small frogs. 

The Kingfisher. 217 

THE KINGFISHER, (Alcedo ispida,) 

Is the Halcyon of the ancients, and his name recalls to 
our mind the most lively ideas. It was believed, that, 
as long as the female sat upon her eggs, the god of 
storms and tempests refrained from disturbing the calm- 
ness of the waves, and Halcyon days were, for navigators 
of old, the most secure times to perform their voyages : 

"As firm as the rock, and as calm as the flood, 
Where the peace-loving Halcyon deposits her brood." 

But although this bears analogy to a natural coinci- 
dence between the time of breeding assigned to the 
Kingfishers and a part of the year when the ocean is 
less tempestuous, yet Mythology would exercise her 
fancy, and turn into wonders that which was nothing 
else than the common course of nature. 

This bird is nearly as small as a common sparrow, 
but the head and beak appear proportionally too big 
for the body. The bright blue of the back and wings 
claims our admiration, as it changes into deep purple 
or lively green, according to the angles of light under 
which the bird presents itself to the eye. It generally 
haunts the banks of rivers, for the purpose of seizing 
small fish, on which it subsists, and which it takes in 
amazing quantities, by balancing itself at a distance 
above the water for a certain time, and then darting on 
the fish with -unerring aim. It dives perpendicularly 
into the water, where it continues several seconds, and 
then brings up the fish, which it carries to land, beats 

278 Birds. 

to death, and afterwards swallows. When it cannot 
find a projecting bough, it sits on some stone near the 
brink, or even on the gravel"; but the moment it per- 
ceives the fish, it takes a spring upwards of twelve 
or fifteen feet, and drops from that height upon its 

The Kingfisher lays its eggs, to the number of seven or 
more, in a hole in the bank of the river or stream that it 
frequents. Dr. Heysham had a female brought alive to 
him at Carlisle by a boy, who said he had taken it the 
preceding night when sitting on its eggs. His informa- 
tion on the subject was, that "having often observed 
these birds frequent a bank upon the river Peteril, he had 
watched them carefully, and at last he saw them go into 
a small hole in the bank. The hole was too narrow to 
admit his hand ; but, as it was made in soft mould, he 
easily enlarged it. It was upwards of half a yard long ; 
at the end of it the eggs, which were six in number, 
were placed upon the bare mould, without the smallest 
appearance of a nest." The eggs were considerably larger 
than those of the yellow-hammer, and of a transparent 
white colour. It appears, from a still later account, that 
the direction of the holes is always upward ; that they 
are enlarged at the end, and have there a kind of bedding 
formed of the bones of small fish, and some other sub- 
stances, evidently the castings of the parent animals. 
This bedding is generally half an inch thick, and mixed 
with earth ; and on it the female deposits and hatches 
her eggs. When the young ones are nearly full-feathered 
they are extremely voracious ; and as the old birds do 
not supply them with all the food they can devour, they 
are continually chirping, and may be discovered by 
their noise. 

The Bird of Paradise. 


THE BIRD OF PARADISE. (Paradisea apoda.) 

There are several distinct species of these birds, of which 
the best known are the large and small Emerald Birds 
of Paradise, which are very similar in appearance, and 
are both imported into Europe as ornaments for ladies' 
dress. Their appearance when flying in their native 
forests is said to be most beautiful. M. Lesson, a French 
naturalist, gives the following account: — "Soon after 

280 Birds. 

our arrival on this land of promise (New Guinea) for 
the naturalist, I was on a shooting excursion. Scarcely 
had I walked some hundred paces in those ancient 
forests, the daughters of time, whose sombre depth was, 
perhaps, the most magnificent and stately sight that I 
had ever seen, when a Bird of Paradise struck my view : 
it flew gracefully and in undulations ; the feathers of 
its sides formed an elegant and aerial plume, which, 
without exaggeration, bore no remote resemblance to 
a brilliant meteor. Surprised, astounded, enjoying an 
inexpressible gratification, I devoured this splendid bird 
with my eyes ; but my emotion was so great that I 
forgot to shoot at it, and did not recollect that I had a 
gun in my hand till it was far away." 

The head is small, but adorned with colours which vie 
with the brightest hues of the feathered tribe ; the neck 
is a beautiful fawn, and the body very small, but covered 
with long feathers of a browner hue, tinged with gold : the 
two middle feathers of the tail are little more than fila- 
ments, except at the point and near the base. Although 
the body is no larger than that of a thrush, the total 
length is two feet. This bird has long been esteemed 
by ladies as a head-dress ; and as those sent to Europe 
for this purpose always had the legs cut off for the con- 
venience of packing, it was reported, and at one time 
believed, that the Bird of Paradise had no legs, but that 
it lived always on the wing. Indeed, a very fierce 
controversy arose on this subject among the earlier 

The native place of these birds is New Guinea and 
the neighbouring islands, where they are generally found 
in flocks of thirty and forty, roosting on fig or teak trees. 
They always fly against the wind, that it ma} not ruffle 
their light and spreading plumage, as, if the wind came 
from behind, it would blow their long tails over their 
back. They take shelter from storms in the most dense 
thickets, and feed principally on figs, the berries of the 
teak, and insects. The note of the Bird of Paradise is 
very unpleasant, and resembles the cawing of a raven ; it 
is chiefly heard in windy weather, when they dread being 
thrown on the ground. 

Nuthatch and Creeper. 281 


(Sitta Europcea,) 

AND THE CREEPER, (Certhia familiaris,) 

Is less than the chaffinch. The head, neck, and heak are 
of an ash-colour; the sides under the wings red; the 
throat and breast of a pale yellow ; the chin white, and 
the feathers under the tail red, with white tips. The 
Nuthatch feeds upon insects and also upon nuts, which 
he hoards in the hollow part of a tree ; and it is pleasing 
to see him fetch a nut out of the hole, place it first in a 
chink, and standing above it with his head downwards, 
striking it with all his might, break the shell, and catch 
up the kernel. The hen is so attached to her brood, 
that, when disturbed from her nest, she flutters about the 
head of the depredator, and hisses like a snake. The Nut- 
hatches are shy and solitary birds, and like the wood- 
peckers frequent woods, and run up and down the trees 
with surprising facility. They often move their tails in 
the manner of the wagtail. They do not migrate, but 
during the winter approach nearer to inhabited places, 
and are sometimes seen in orchards and gardens. The 
female lays her eggs in holes of trees. 



THE CKEEPER. (Certhia familiaris.) 

The Creepers are dispersed through most countries of 
the globe, and feed chiefly on insects, in search of which 
they run in a spiral direction round the stems and 
branches of trees, with great agility. 

The Common Creeper is about five inches in length ; 
its colour is tawny, the quills being tipped with white or 
light brown. Its nest is formed of dry grass and bark, 
and is placed in the hollow of some decayed tree. 

The Wall Creepet 



(Tichodroma muraria,) 

Is larger than a house-sparrow. It has a long, slender, 
black bill ; the head, neck, and back are of an ash-colour, 
the front of the neck and throat being a deep black ; the 
breast is white ; the wings a compound of lead-colour and 
red. It is a brisk and cheerful bird, and has a pleasant 
note. Clefts and crevices of rocks and the walls of old 
edifices are its favourite haunts, and sometimes, but very 
rarely, the trunks of trees. It feeds on insects, and is 
especially fond of spiders and their eggs. The nest is 
made in clefts of the most inaccessible rocks, and in the 
crevices of ruins, at a great height. 




(Menura superba.) 

This bird is found in New South Wales, near Port 
Philip, but it is the male only that possesses the splen- 
did tail whence it derives its name. It feeds on snails, 
and builds a nest like a magpie. 

" Of all the birds I have ever met with," says Mr. 
Gould, " the Menura is by far the most shy and difficult 
to procure. While among the brushes, I have been sur- 
rounded by these birds, pouring forth their loud and 

The Lyre-Bird of Australia. 285 

liquid calls, for days together, without being able to get 
a sight of them ; and it was only by the most determined 
perseverance and extreme caution that I was enabled to 
effect this desirable object ; which was rendered the more 
difficult by their often frequenting the almost inaccessible 
and precipitous sides of gullies and ravines, covered with 
tangled masses of creepers, and umbrageous trees : the 
cracking of a stick, the rolling down of a small stone, or 
any other noise, however slight, is sufficient to alarm it ; 
and none but those who have traversed these rugged, hot, 
and suffocating brushes, can fully understand the exces- 
sive labour attendant on the pursuit of the Menura. In- 
dependently of climbing over rocks and fallen trunks of 
trees, the sportsman has to creep and crawl beneath and 
among the branches with the utmost caution, taking care 
only to advance when the bird's attention is occupied in 
singing, or in scratching up the leaves in search of food : 
to watch its actions, it is necessary to remain perfectly 
motionless, not venturing to move even in the slightest 
degree, or it vanishes from sight, as if by magic. Al- 
though I have said thus much on the cautiousness of the 
Menura, it is not always so alert: in some of the more 
accessible brushes through which roads have been cut, it 
may frequently be seen, and even on horseback closely 
approached, the bird apparently evincing less fear of those 
animals than of man. At Illawarra it is sometimes suc- 
cessfully pursued by dogs trained to rush suddenty upon 
it, when it immediately leaps upon the branch of a tree, 
and its attention being attracted by the dog which stands 
barking below, it is easily approached and shot. Another 
successful mode of procuring specimens is, by wearing a 
tail of a full-plumaged male in the hat, keeping it con- 
stantly in motion, and concealing the person among the 
bushes, when the attention of the bird being arrested 
by the apparent intrusion of another of its own sex, it 
will be attracted within the range of the gun : if the 
bird be hidden from view by the surrounding objects, 
any unusual sound, as a shrill whistle, will generally 
induce him to show himself for an instant, by causing 
him to leap with a gay and sprightly air upon some 
neighbouring branch to ascertain the cause of the dis- 

286 Birds. 

turbance : immediate advantage must be taken of this 
circumstance, or the next moment it may be half-way- 
down the gully. So totally different is the shooting of 
this bird to anything practised in Europe, that the most 
expert shot would have but little chance, until well 
experienced in the peculiar nature of the country, and 
the habits of the bird. The Menura seldom, if ever, 
attempts to escape by flying ; it easily eludes pursuit by 
its extraordinary power of running. None are so efficient 
in obtaining specimens as the naked black, whose noise- 
less and gliding steps enable him to steal upon it unheard 
and unperceived, and with the gun in his hand, he rarely 
allows it to escape, and in many instances he will even 
kill it with his own weapons. 

" The Lyre-bird is of a wandering disposition, and 
although it probably keeps to the same brush, it is con- 
stantly engaged in traversing it from one end to the 
other, from mountain-top to the bottom of the gullies, 
whose steep and rugged sides present no obstacle to its 
long legs and powerful muscular thighs : it is also capable 
of performing extraordinary leaps ; and I have heard it 
stated, that it will spring ten feet perpendicularly from 
the ground. It appears to be of solitary habits, as I 
have never seen more than a pair together, and these 
only in a single instance ; they were both males, and 
were chasing each other round and round with extreme 
rapidity, apparently in play, pausing every now and 
then to utter their loud shrill calls ; while thus em- 
ployed they carried the tail horizontally, as they always 
do when running quickly through the bush, that being 
the only position in which this great organ could be 
conveniently borne at such times. Among its many 
curious habits, the only one at all approaching to those 
of the Gallinaccea, is that of forming small round hillocks, 
which are constantly visited during the day, and upon 
which the male is constantly trampling, at the same 
time erecting and spreading out his tail in the most 
graceful manner, and uttering his various cries, some- 
times pouring forth his natural notes, at others mock- 
ing those of other birds, and even the howling of the 
native dog, or dingo. The early morning and the 

The Humming-Bird. 287 

evening are the periods when it is most animated and 

There is another kind of Lyre-Bird, also found in New 
South Wales, to which Mr. Gould has given the name 
of Menura Alberti, in honour of the late Prince Consort. 

THE HUMMING-BIRD. (Trochilus colubris.) 

There are numerous species of Humming-Birds, but 
that represented above, is one of the most common. 
They are abundant in South America, particularly in 
Brazil ; and are so small and so brilliant in their colours, 
that when seen fluttering about in the brilliant rays of a 
tropical sun, they look like flying gems. They are ex- 
tremely active, darting about, and thrusting their long 
beaks and flexible tongues into every flower they see, in 
search of food. Sometimes they will remain suspended 
in the air for a long time together, vibrating their 
wings with such velocity, that they cannot be seen dis- 
tinctly, but appear like a mist round the body of the bird, 
while they make that curious humming noise from which 
the bird takes its name. Sometimes they quarrel, when 
their little throats become distended, their crest, tails, 
and wings expand, and they fight with inconceivable 
fury, till one of them falls exhausted on the ground. The 
most common species is Trochilus colubris, the Ruby- 
throated Humining-Bird, and one of them has been kept 
alive in a cage for more than three months, by feeding 
it with sugar and water. This species is found in North 



America, where it migrates to the north in summer, and 
is there seen even in Canada and the country of Hudson's 

THE HOOPOE. (Upupa epops.) 

This is a small bird, measuring no more than twelve 
inches from the point of the bill to the end of the tail. 
The bill is sharp, black, and somewhat bending. The 
head is adorned with a very beautiful, large moveable 
crest, a kind of bright halo, the radiation of which places 
the head nearly in the centre of a golden circle. This 
pleasing ornament, which the bird sets up or lets fall at 
pleasure, is composed of a double row of feathers, reach- 
ing from the bill to the nape of the neck, which is of a 
pale red. The breast is white, with black streaks tend- 
ing downwards; the wings and back are varied with 
white and black cross-lines. The food of the Hoopoe 
consists chiefly of insects, with the remains of which its 
nest is sometimes so filled as to become extremely offen- 
sive. This beautifully- crested bird is not at all common 
in this country, and is solitary, two of them being seldom 

Tiu?Roo$oe. 289 

seen together, while in Egypt, where Hoopoes are very 
common, they are often seen in small flocks. The female 
generally constructs her nest in a hollow tree, the ma- 
terials employed, in addition to the remains of their 
food, being very scanty, consisting in fact of a few dried 
grass stalks and feathers. She lays from four to seven 
eggs at a time, of a pale lavender grey, about an inch 
and a half long. The young are generally hatched in 
June ; it is said, however, that two or three broods are 
produced in the course of the year. The name alludes to 
the note of the bird, which resembles the word " hoop " 
repeated several times in a low voice. 

Though this bird is found occasionally both in England 
and Scotland, it rarely breeds with us. It is common in 
Italy, where its strange startling cry is often heard, 
without the bird being seen, as it keeps itself concealed 
among trees. It is also not uncommon on the banks of 
the Garonne in France, where it may be seen skimming 
along the ground amongst the willows in search of the 
insects upon which it feeds. 

There are several species of this magnificent family. 
The most brilliant is undoubtedly the Upupa Superba, 
or Grand Promerops of New Guinea. " There does not 
perhaps exist," says Sonnerat, " a more extraordinary 
bird. Its body is delicate and slender, and, although it 
is of an elongated form, appears excessively small in 
comparison with the tail. Nature seems to have pleased 
herself in painting this being, already so singular, with 
her most brilliant colours. The head, the neck, and the 
belly are a glittering green ; the feathers which cover 
these parts have the lustre and softness of velvet to the 
eye and to the touch ; the back is changeable violet ; the 
wings are of the same colour, and appear, according to 
the lights in which they are held, blue, violet, or deep 
black, always however imitating velvet." This bird is 
rare, and a specimen is seldom seen even in the most 
complete collections. 



§ IV. — Scansores, or Climbers. 

THE CUCKOO. (Cuculus canorus.) 

" Hail, beauteous stranger of the wood, 
Attendant on the spring ! 
Now Heaven repairs thy rural seat, 
And woods thy welcome sing. 

" Soon as the daisy decks the green, 
Thy certain voice we hear ; 
.Hast thou a star to guide thy path, 
Or mark the rolling year ? 

The Cuckoo. 291 

u Delightful visitant ! with thee 
I hail the time of flowers, 
When heav'n is fill'd with music sweet, 
Of birds among the bowers." 


The well-known notes of this bird, in spite of their 
monotony, are heard with pleasure in spring, as a sure 
prognostic of fine weather. The Cuckoo is generally first 
heard about the middle of April, and ceases towards the 
end of June. This bird is so shy that he is seldom seen 
when uttering his singular note. The female does not 
build a nest, but lays her eggs in that of some other 

The Cuckoo is somewhat less than the magpie, his 
length being about twelve inches from the tip of the bill 
to the end of the tail. He is remarkable for his round 
prominent nostrils ; the lower part of the body is of a 
yellowish colour, with black transverse lines on the 
throat and across the breast ; the head and upper part of 
the body and wings are beautifully marked with black and 
tawny stripes, and on the top of the head there are a few 
white spots. The tail is long, and on the exterior part, 
or edges of the feathers, there are several white marks ; 
the ground colour of the body is a sort of grey. The legs 
are short, and covered with feathers, and the feet are com- 
posed of four toes, two before and two behind. 

We are indebted to the observations of Dr. Jenner for 
the following account of the habits and economy of this 
singular bird in the disposal of its eggs. He states that, 
during the time the hedge-sparrow is laying her eggs, 
which generally occupies four or five days, the Cuckoo 
contrives to deposit her egg among the rest, leaving the 
future care of it entirely to the hedge-sparrow. This 
intrusion often occasions some disorder; for the old 
hedge-sparrow, at intervals while she is sitting, not only 
throws out some of her own eggs but sometimes injures 
them in such a way that they become addled, so that it 
frequently happens that not more than two or three of 
the parent bird's eggs are hatched : but, what is very 
remarkable, it has never been observed that she has 
either thrown out or injured the egg of the Cuckoo. 

292 Birds. 

When the hedge-sparrow has set her usual time, and has 
disengaged the young Cuckoo and some of her own 
offspring from the shell, her own young ones and any of 
her eggs that remain unhatched are soon turned out: 
the young Cuckoo then remains in full possession of the 
nest, and is the sole object of the future care of the foster 
parent. The young birds are not previously killed, nor 
are the eggs demolished ;• but they are left to perish 
together, either entangled in the bush that contains the 
nest, or lying on the ground beneath it. On the 18th 
June, 1787, Dr. Jenner examined a nest of a hedge- 
sparrow, which then contained a Cuckoo's and three 
hedge-sparrow's eggs. On inspecting it the day follow- 
ing, the bird had hatched : but the nest then contained 
only a young Cuckoo and one hedge-sparrow. The nest 
was placed so near the extremity of a hedge, that he 
could distinctly see what was going forward in it ; and, 
to his great astonishment, he saw the young Cuckoo, 
though so lately hatched, in the act of turning out the 
young hedge-spaiTOw. The mode of accomplishing this 
was curious ; the little animal, with the assistance of its 
rump and wings, contrived to get the bird upon its back, 
and making a lodgment for its burden by elevating its 
elbows, climbed backward with it up the side of the 
nest, till it reached the top ; where, resting for a moment, 
it threw off its load with a jerk, and quite disengaged it 
from the nest. After remaining a short time in this situa- 
tion, and feeling about with the extremities of its wings, 
as if to be convinced that the business was properly 
executed, it dropped into the nest again. Dr. Jenner 
made several experiments in different nests, by repeatedly 
putting in an egg to the young Cuckoo, which he always 
found to be disposed of in the same manner. It is very 
remarkable that nature seems to have provided for the 
singular disposition of the Cuckoo in its formation at 
this period ; for, different from other newly- hatched birds, 
its back, from the scapulae downward, is very broad, with 
a considerable depression in the middle, which seems 
intended for the express purpose of giving a more secure 
lodgment to the egg of the hedge-sparrow or its young 
one, while the young Cuckoo is employed in removing 

The Cuckoo. 293 

either of them from the nest. When it is about twelve 
days old, this cavity is quite filled up, the back assumes 
the shape of that of nestling birds in general, and at that 
time the disposition of turning out its companion entirely 
ceases. The smallness of the Cuckoo's egg, which in 
general is less than that of the hedge-sparrow, is another 
circumstance to be attended to in this surprising transac- 
tion, and seems to account for the parent Cuckoo's 
depositing it in the nest of such small birds only as these. 
If she were to do this in the nest of a bird that produced 
a larger egg, and consequently a larger nestling, the 
design would probably be frustrated, the young Cuckoo 
would be unequal to the task of becoming sole possessor 
of the nest, and might fall a sacrifice to the superior 
strength of its partners. Dr. Jenner observes, that the 
egg of two Cuckoos are sometimes deposited in the same 
nest ; and gives the following instance which fell under 
his observation. Two Cuckoos and a hedge-sparrow 
were hatched in the same nest ; one hedge-sparrow's egg 
remained unhatched. In a few hours a contest began 
between the Cuckoos for possession of the nest; and 
this continued undetermined till the afternoon of the 
following day, when the one which was somewhat 
superior in size, turned out the other, together with the 
young hedge-sparrow and the unhatched egg. The con- 
test, he adds, was very remarkable; the combatants 
alternately appeared to have the advantage, as each 
carried the other several times nearly to the top of the 
nest, and again sank down oppressed by the weight of 
its burden ; till at length, after various efforts, the 
strongest of the two prevailed, and was afterwards 
brought up by the hedge-sparrow. 

The American Cuckoo, or Cow bird, is quite differ- 
ent in its habits to the European Cuckoo, as it builds a 
nest for its eggs, and hatches its young itself like other 




(Picus viridis,) 

Receives his name from his habit of pecking the insects 
from the chinks of trees and holes in the bark. The bill 
is straight, strong, and angular at the end ; and in most 
of the species is formed like a wedge, for the purpose 
of piercing the trees. The nostrils are covered with 
bristles. The tongue is slender, and cylindrical in 
shape, and to the touch is hard and bony. The Wood- 
pecker, in common with the Humming Bird, though for 
a different object, possesses the remarkable property of 
being able to dart out its tongue and secure insects al a 
considerable distance from its beak. For the purpose of 
effectually capturing the stronger insects, the tongue is 
barbed at the end, and provided with glutinous secre- 
tion. The toes of this bird are placed two forward and 
two backward ; and the tail consists of ten hard, stiff, 
and sharp-pointed feathers. A Woodpecker is often 
seen hanging by his claws, and resting upon his breast 
against the stem of a tree ; when, after darting his beak 
against the bark, with great strength and noise, he runs 
round the tree with much alacrity, which manoeuvre 
has made the country people suppose that he goes round 

The Common Green Woodpecker. 295 

to see whether he has not pierced the tree through , 
though the fact is, the bird is in search of the insects, 
which he hopes to have driven out by his blow. 

The following lines, from Moore's beautiful song, 
allude to the noise which the Woodpecker makes in 
searching for its food : 

" I knew by the smoke that so gracefully curl'd 
Above the green elms, that a cottage was near, 
And I said, if there's peace to be found in the world, 
A heart that was humble might hope for it here. 

Every leaf was at rest, and I heard not a sound, 
But the Woodpecker tapping the hollow beech-tree." 

The fact is, that this beating against the bark is for no 
other purpose than to rouse the insects which the chink 
♦contains, and to force them to come out, which they do 
from their alarm at the noise, when the Woodpecker 
turning round takes them unawares, and feeds upon 
them : if the insects do not answer the delusive call, he 
darts his long tongue into the hole, and brings out, by 
this means, his reluctant prey. The plumage of this 
bird is a compound of red and green, two colours, the 
approximation of which is always productive of harmony 
in the works of nature. They nestle in the hollows of 
trees, where the female lays five or six whitish eggs, 
without making any nest, trusting to the natural heat of 
her body to hatch them. 

The Green Woodpecker is seen more frequently on 
the ground than the other kinds, particularly where there 
are ant-hills. It inserts its long tongue into the holes 
through which the ants issue, and draws them out in 
abundance. Sometimes with its feet and bill it makes a 
breach in the nest, and devours the ants and their eggs 
at its ease. The young ones climb up and down the 
trees before they are able to fly ; they roost very early, 
and repose in their holes till day. There are many 
different kinds of Woodpecker, five of which are common 
to this country. 



THE WKYNECK. (Tunx torquilh.) 

This bird, Mr. Gould tells us, has received its English 
name from its habit of moving its head and neck in 
various directions, and with an undulating motion, like 
that of a snake ; indeed, in some parts of England it is 
called the snake-bird. When found in its usual retreat 
in the hole of a tree, it makes a loud hissing noise, raises 
the feathers of the crown, and writhing its head and 
neck towards each shoulder alternately, with grotesque 
contortions, becomes an object of terror to a timid in- 
truder ; and the bird, taking advantage of a moment of 
indecision, darts with the rapidity of lightning from a 
situation where escape appeared impossible. 

The Wryneck deposits its eggs on fragments of decayed 
wood within a hollow tree, and makes scarcely any nest. 
The birds when caught young are easily tamed. 

The Toucan. 


THE TOUCAN, (Rhamphastos tucanus,) 

Is a native of South America, very conspicuous for the 
magnitude and shape of its bill ; which, in some of the 
species, is nearly as long and as large as the body itself. 
The length of its body is about eighteen inches (the size 
of the magpie) ; the head is large and strong, and the 
neck short, in order the more easily to support the bulk 
of such a beak. The head, neck, and wings are black ; 
the breast of a most lovely orange saffron colour ; the 
lower part of the body and the thighs are vermilion ; 
the tail black. Mr. Gould's specimen represents a nar- 
row straw-coloured belt across the centre of the breast, 
dividing the orange tint from the vermilion. One of 
these birds that was kept in a cage was very fond of 
fruit, which it held for some time in its beak, touching 
it with great delight with the tip of its feathery tongue, 
and then tossing it into its throat by a sudden upright 
jerk ; it also fed on small birds, insects, caterpillars, &c. 

298 Birds. 

THE GREY PARROT. (Psittacus erythacus.) 

The tongue of the Parrot is not unlike a black soft bean, 
and fills so completely the capacity of its beak, that the 
bird can easily modulate sounds and articulate words; 
the beak is composed of two pieces, both moveable, which 
is a peculiarity belonging almost exclusively to this tribe 
of birds. The bill of the Parrot is strongly hooked, 
and assists it in climbing, catching hold of the boughs of 
the trees with it, and then drawing its legs upwards ; 
then again advancing the beak, and afterwards tbe feet, 
for its legs are not adapted for hopping from bough to 
bough, as other birds do. Several stories are told of the 
sagacity of these birds, and of the aptitude of their in- 
terrogatories and answers, but they have been no doubt 
the effect of chance. 

Dr. Goldsmith says that a Parrot, belonging to King 
Henry the Seventh, having been kept in a room next 
the Thames, in his palace of Westminster, had learned to 
repeat many sentences from the boatmen and passengers. 
One day, sporting on its perch, it unluckily fell into the 
water. The bird had no sooner discovered its situation, 
than it called out aloud, " A boat ! twenty pounds for a 
boat !" A waterman, happening to be near the place 
where the Parrot was floating, immediately took it up, 
and restored it to the king; demanding, as the bird was 

The Grey Parrot. 299 

a favourite, that he should be paid the reward the bird 
had called out. This was refused ; but it was agreed 
that, as the Parrot had offered a reward, the man should 
again refer to its determination for the sum he was to 
receive. " Give the knave a groat," screamed the bird 
the instant the reference was made. 

The memory of Parrots is very astonishing, and they 
can not only imitate discourse, but can sing verses of 
songs, and mimic gestures and actions. Scaliger saw 
one that performed the dance of the Savoyards at the 
same time that it repeated their song. The song was 
well imitated, but when the bird tried to caper, it was 
with the worst grace imaginable, as he turned in his toes, 
and kept tumbling back in a most clumsy manner. 

Willoughby tells us of a Parrot, which, when a person 
said to it, " Laugh, Poll, laugh," laughed accordingly, and 
the instant after screamed out, " What a fool to make 
me laugh ! " Another, which had grown old with its 
master, shared with him the infirmities of age. Being 
accustomed to hear scarcely anything but the words " I 
am sick ; " when a person asked it, " How do you do, 
Poll ?" " I am sick," it replied in a doleful tone, stretch- 
ing itself out, " I am sick." 

Parrots are very numerous in the East and West 
Indies, where they assemble in companies, like rooks, 
and build in the hollows of trees. The female lays two 
or three eggs, marked with little specks, like those of 
the partridge. They never breed in our climate, though 
they live here to a great age. They feed entirely upon 
vegetables, but, when tame, will take from the mouth of 
their master or mistress any kind of chewed meat, and 
chiefly eggs, of which they seem particularly fond. They 
bite or pinch very hard, and some of them possess so 
much strength in their beak, that they could easily 
break a man's finger. The Parrot is sensible of attach- 
ment, as well as of revenge ; and if in their mimic atti- 
tudes they show great pleasure at the sight of their 
feeders, they also fly up with anger to the face of those 
who once have affronted or injured them. 

300 Birds. 

THE GREEN PARROT, (Psittacus amazonicns,) 

Which is perhaps more commonly seen in England than 
the African Grey Parrot, is a native of South America, 
and receives its name from the great river Amazon, 
on the banks of which it is common. In its native 
country it does much damage to the plantations, and 
indeed many of the Parrots are as injurious in this 
respect as they are beautiful in their plumage. The 
Green Parrot resembles the Grey species in its habits, 
and may likewise be taught to speak with much distinct 


(Psittacus, or Macrocercus aracanga,) 

Is one of the largest of the parrot tribe, and painted 
with the finest colours Nature can bestow. The beak is 
uncommonly strong ; and the tail proportionally longer 
than that of any of the parrot tribe. Its voice is fierce 
and tremulous, sometimes sounding like the laugh of an 
old man ; and it seems to utter the word " Arara," which 
occasions its bearing that name in its native country. 

When tame, it eats almost every article of human food, 
and is particularly fond of bread, beef, fried fish, pastry, 
and sugar. It cracks nuts with its bill, and dexterously 
picks out the kernels with its claws. It does not chew 

The Ring Paroquet. 


the soft fruits, but sucks them by pressing its tongue 
against the upper part of its beak : and the harder sort 
of food, such as bread and pastry, it bruises, or chews, by 
pressing the tip of the lower upon the most hollow part 
of the upper mandible. 

Tlie Scarlet Macaw (M. Macao) is another large species, 
of a bright red colour, with some blue and yellow 
feathers on the wings, and blue ones about the base ot 
the tail. It was formerly common in the West Indian 
Islands, but has now become rare there. Its voice is 
very loud and harsh. 

THE RING PAROQUET. (Palaornis Alexandri.) 

This beautiful species, no less remarkable for the ele- 
gance of its form than for its docility and imitative 
powers, is supposed to have been the first of the parrot 
species known to the ancients, from the time of Alex- 
ander the Great down to the age of Nero. It is about 
fifteen inches long ; its bill is thick and red ; the head 
and the body a bright green ; the neck, breast, and the 
whole of the under side of a paler tint. It has a red 
circle, or ring, which encompasses the neck, and is about 
the breadth of a little finger at the back ; but grows nar- 
rower by degrees towards the sides, and ends under the 
lower bill. The lower part of the body is of so faint 
a green, that it seems almost yellow. The tail also is of 
a yellowish green, and the legs and feet ash-coloured. 




(Melopsittacus undulatus?) 

Great numbers of Paroquets of different species are 
found in Australia, and most of these live and seek their 
food upon the ground rather than in trees. One of 
thern is called the Ground Paroquet, as it is never seen 
to perch upon trees, but is always running about 
among the grass and herbage. The Warbling Grass 
Paroquet is a well known and beautiful little Australian 
bird, of which considerable numbers have been im- 
ported into this country of late years ; it is deservedly a 
favourite, both on account of its elegance, and from 
its possessing a gentle warbling note very different 
from the harsh screaming of many species of its tribe. 
It can, however, scream vigorously for its size. In 
the interior of Australia these charming little birds occur 
in countless multitudes. They feed chiefly on the seeds 
of grasses, which they pick up whilst running upon the 
ground, but they perch in crowds upon the gum-trees 
for shelter from the noon-day heat, and also before 
starting on an expedition in search of water. 

THE COCKATOO. (Plydobphus galeritus. , 
This bird is distinguished from the parrots, by a beau 

The Cockatoo. 303 

tiful crest, composed of a tuft of elegant feathers, which 
he can raise or depress at pleasure. We meet with some 
of a beautiful white plumage, and the inside feathers 
of the crest of a pleasing yellow, with a spot of the 
same colour under each eye, and one upon the breast. 
The Cockatoos are natives of the Indian Islands and 
Australia, where they are found in great abundance. 
Their food consists of seeds and soft and stony fruits, 
which last their powerful bill enables them to break 
with ease. They are easily tamed when taken at an 
early age, after which they become familiar and even 
attached, but their imitative powers seldom go beyond 
a very few words added to their own cry of Cockatoo. 

In a wild state they are shy, and cannot easily be 
approached. The flesh of the young birds is accounted 
very good eating. The female is said to make her nest 
in the rotten limbs of trees, using nothing more than the 
accumulation of vegetable mould formed by the decayed 
parts of the bough. The eggs are white, without spots ; 
there are no more than two young at a time. The 
natives first find the nest by the pieces of bark and 
twigs which the old birds strip off the trees adjoining 
that in which the nest is situated. It is a remarkable 
fact that the bark is never stripped off the tree which 
contains the nest. 

Mr. Bennet, in speaking of the large black Cockatoo 
of New Holland, says, that if this bird observes on 
the trunk of a tree indications of a larva being within, 
it diligently labours to get at it with its powerful 
beak, and should the object of its pursuit be deep within 
the wood, as often happens, the trunk becomes so ex- 
tensively hacked, that a slight gust of wind will lay 
the tree prostrate. 



V. — Gallinaceous Birds. 

-■^ = . 

THE PEACOCK. (Paw cristatus.) 

Astonished at the unparalleled beauty of this bird, the 
ancients could not help indulging their lively and creative 
fancy, in accounting for the magnificence of his plumage. 
They made him the favourite of imperial Juno, sister 
and wife to Jupiter ; and not less than the hundred eyes 
of Argus were pulled out to ornament his tail ; indeed, 
there is scarcely anything in nature that can vie with 
the transcendent lustre of the Peacock's feathers. The 
changing glory of his neck eclipses the deep azure of 
ultramarine ; and at the least evolution, it assumes the 
green tint of the emerald, and the purple hue of the 
amethyst. His head, which is small and finely shaped, 
has several curious stripes of white and black round the 
eyes, and is surmounted by an elegant plume, or tuft of 

The Peacock. 305 

feathers, each of which is composed of a slender stem 
and a small tuft at the top. Displayed with conscious 
pride, and exposed under a variety of angles to the 
reflections of light, the broad and variegated disks of 
his train, of which the neck, head, and breast of the 
bird become the centre, claim our admiration. By an 
extraordinary mixture of the brightest colours, it displays 
at once the richness of gold, and the paler tints of silver, 
fringed with bronze-coloured edges, and surrounding 
eye-like spots of dark brown and sapphire. The hen 
does not share in the beauty of the cock, and her feathers 
are generally of a light brown. She lays only a few 
eggs at a time, generally at an interval of three or four 
days ; they are white and spotted, like the eggs of the 
turkey. She sits from twenty-seven to thirty days. 

The loud screamings of the Peacock are worse than the 
harsh croakings of the raven, and a sure prognostic of 
bad weather; and his feet, more clumsy than those of 
the turkey, make 'a sad contrast with the elegance of his 
plumage : 

" Though richest hues the Peacock's plumes adorn, 
Yet horror screams from his discordant throat." 

The spreading of the train, the swelling of the throat, 
neck, and breast, and the puffing noise which they emit 
at certain times, are proofs that the Turkey and the Pea- 
cock stand nearly allied in the family chain of animated 

The flesh of the Peacock was anciently esteemed a 
princely dish ; and the whole bird used to be served on 
the table with the feathers of the neck and tail preserved ; 
but few people could now relish such food, as it is much 
coarser than the flesh of the turkey. The Italians have 
given this laconic description of the Peacock : " He has 
the plumage of an angel, the voice of a devil, and the 
stomach of a thief." 



THE TURKEY, (Meleagris Gallo-Pavo,) 

"Was originally an inhabitant of America, whence he 
was brought to Europe by some Jesuit missionaries, 
which accounts for his being called a Jesuit in some parts 
ot the continent. The general colour of the feathers 
is buff and black; and turkeys have about the head, 
especially the cock, naked and tuberous lumps of flesh ot 
a bright red colour. A long fleshy appendage hangs 
from the base of the upper mandible, and seems to be 
lengthened and shortened at pleasure. The hen lays 
from fifteen to twenty eggs, which are whitish and 
freckled. The chicks are very tender, and require great 
care and attentive nursing, until they are able to seek 
their food. In the county of Norfolk the breeding of 

The Turkey. 307 

Turkeys, which is there a considerable branch of trade, 
is brought to great perfection ; and some weighing up- 
wards of twenty pounds each have been raised there. 
They appear to have a natural antipathy to everything of 
a red colour. 

Though extremely prone to quarrel among themselves, 
they are, in general, weak and cowardly against other 
animals, and fly from almost every creature that ventures 
to oppose them. On the contrary, they pursue every- 
thing that appears to dread them, particularly small dogs 
and children; and after having made these objects of 
their aversion scamper, they evince their pride and sa- 
tisfaction by displaying their plumage, strutting about 
among' their female train, and uttering their peculiar note 
of self-approbation. Some instances, however, have oc- 
curred, in which the Turkey-cock has exhibited a consi- 
derable share of courage and prowess ; as will appear 
from the following anecdote : — A gentleman of New 
York received from a distant part a Turkey-cock and 
hen, and with them a pair of bantams ; which were 
put all together into the yard with his other poultry. 
Some time afterwards, as he was feeding them from the 
barn-door, a large hawk suddenly turned the corner of 
the barn, and made a pounce at the bantam hen : she 
immediately gave the alarm, by a noise which is natural 
to her on such occasions ; when the Turkey-cock, who 
was at the distance of about two yards, and without 
doubt understood the hawk's intention, flew at the tyrant, 
with such violence, and gave him so severe a stroke with 
his spurs, as to knock him from the hen to a considerable 
distance ; by which means the bantam was rescued from 

The wild Turkey-cock is, in the American forests, 
an object of considerable interest. It perches on the 
tops of the deciduous cypress and magnolia : 

" On the top 
Of yon magnolia, the loud Turkey's voice 
Is heralding the dawn : from tree to tree 
Extends the wakening watch-note far and wide, 
Till the whole woodlands echo with the cry." 





(Numida Meleagris.^) 

Tins bird, which is also called the Pearled Hen, was 
originally brought from Africa, where the breed is com- 
mon, and seems to have been well known to the Romans, 
who used to esteem the flesh of this fowl as a delicacy, 
and admit it at their banquets. It went then by the 
name of Numidian Hen, or Meleagris, because it was 
fabled that the sisters of Meleager, who -unceasingly 
deplored his death, were metamorphosed into Guinea 
Hens by Diana. In fact, although they are now domes- 
ticated with us, they still retain a great deal of their 
original freedom, and have a stupid look. Their noise 
is very disagreeable: it -is a creaking note, which, in- 
cessantly repeated, grates upon the ear, and becomes 
very teasing and unpleasant. They belong to the class 
of birds called puheratores ; as they scrape the ground 
and roll themselves in the dust like common hens, in 
order to get rid of small insects which lodge in their 

The Pintado is somewhat larger than the common hen ; 
the head is bare of feathers, and covered with a naked 
skin of a bluish colour ; on the top is a callous protuber- 
ance of a conical form. At the base of the bill on each 
side hangs a loose wattle, red in the female and bluish in 
the male. The general colour of the plumage is a dark 
bluish grey, sprinkled with round white spots of different 
sizes, resembling pearls, from which circumstance the 

The Guinea Fowl, or Pintado. 309 

epithet of pearled has been applied to this bird ; which 
at first sight appears as if it had been pelted by a strong 
shower of hail. 

If trained when young, these birds may easily be ren- 
dered tame. M. Brue informs us, that when he was on 
the coast of Senegal he received as a present from an 
African princess two Guinea fowls. Both these birds 
were so familiar that they would approach the table and 
eat out of his plate ; and, when they had liberty to fly 
about upon the beach, the} 7 always returned to the ship 
when the dinner or supper bell rang. 

In a wild state, it is asserted that the Pintado associ- 
ates in large flocks. Dampier speaks of having seen be- 
tween two and three hundred of them together in the 
Cape de Verd Islands. They were originally introduced 
into our country from the coast of Africa somewhat 
earlier than the year 1260. 

In Jamaica, where they have run wild, and become 
very destructive to the plantations, they are sometimes 
caught, Mr. Gosse tells us, by the following stratagem : — 
A small quantity of corn is steeped for a night in proof 
rum and is then placed in a shallow vessel, with a little 
fresh rum, and the water expressed from a bitter cassava 
grated. This is deposited within an enclosed ground to 
which the depredators resort. A small quantity of the 
grated cassava is then strewed over it, and it is left. 
The fowls eat the medicated food greedily, and are soon 
found reeling about intoxicated, unable to escape, and 
content with thrusting their heads into a corner. It is 
almost unnecessary to observe that in this state they 
become an easy prey. Pigeons are sometimes caught 
in this manner in Germany by the poachers. 

This bird has, of late years, greatly increased in this 
country, and is often seen hanging at the poultry shops 
and in the markets ; the great abundance of them has 
considerably reduced their value, and they now sell, 
proportionally, like other fowls. The eggs are smaller 
and rounder than those of the common hen, and of a 
speckled reddish-brown colour. They are esteemed a 
very delicate food. 



S r 




(Megapodius tumulus.) 

It is remarkable that this bird does not hatch its eggs 
by incubation. It collects together a great heap. of decay- 
ing vegetables as the place of deposit of ixs eggs, thus 
making a hotbed, arising from the decomposition of the 
collected matter, by the heat ot which the young are 
hatched. This mound varies in quantity from two to 
four cart-loads, and is not the work 01 a single pair of 
birds, but is the result of the united labour of many 

Mr. Gould, in his Birds of Australia, gives the follow- 
ing account of the discovery of one of these nests by 
Mr. Gilbert :— 

" I landed beside a thicket, and had not proceeded tar 
from the shore, ere I came to a mound of sand and shells, 
with a slight mixture of black soil, the base resting on a 
sandy beach, only a few feet above high- water mark ; it 
was enveloped in the large yellow-blossomed Hibiscus, 
and was of a conical form, twenty feet in circumference at 
the base, and about five feet in height. On pointing it 

The Mound-Bird of Australia. 311 

out to the native, and asking him what it was, he replied, 
* Oooregoorga Kambal,' Jungle-fowls' house or nest. I 
then scrambled up the sides of it, and, to my extreme de- 
light, found a young bird in a hole about two feet deep ; 
it was lying on a few dry withered leaves, and appeared 
only a few days old. So far I was satisfied that these 
mounds had some connection with the bird's mode of in- 
cubation ; but I was still sceptical as to the probability 
of these young birds ascending from so great a depth as 
the natives represented, and my suspicions were con- 
firmed by my being unable to induce the native, in this 
instance, to search for the eggs, his excuse being that he 
knew it would be no use, as he saw no traces of the old 
birds having recently been there. I took the utmost 
care of the young bird, intending to rear it if possible ; 
I therefore obtained a moderate-sized box, and placed in 
it a large portion of sand. As it fed rather freely on 
bruised Indian corn, I was in full hopes of succeeding ; 
but it proved of so wild and intractable a disposition, that 
it would not reconcile itself to such close confinement, and 
effected its escape on the third day. During the period 
it remained in captivity, it was incessantly occupied in 
scratching up the sand into heaps, and the rapidity with 
which it threw the sand from one end of the box to the 
other was quite surprising for so young and small a bird, 
its size not being larger than that of a small quail. 

" At night it was so restless, that I was constantly 
kept awake by the noise it made in its endeavours to 
escape. In scratching up the sand it only used one foot, 
and having grasped a handful, as it were, the sand was 
thrown behind it, with but little apparent exertion, and 
without shifting its standing position on the other leg : 
this habit seemed to be the result of an innate restless 
disposition, and a desire to use its powerful feet, and to 
have but little connection with its feeding ; for although 
Indian corn was mixed with the sand, I never detected 
the bird in picking any of it up while thus employed. 

" I continued to receive the eggs without having any 
opportunity of seeing them taken from the mound until 
the 6th of February ; when, on again visiting Knocker's 
Bay, I had the gratification of seeing two taken from a 

S12 Birds. 

depth of six feet, in one of the largest mounds I had then 
seen. In this instance the holes ran down in an oblique 
direction from the centre towards the outer slope of the 
hillock, so that, although the eggs were six feet deep from 
the summit, they were only two or three feet from the 
side. The birds are said to lay but a single egg in each 
hole, and after the egg is deposited the earth is imme- 
diately thrown down lightly, until the hole is filled up ; 
the upper part of the mound is then smoothed and rounded 
over. It is easily known when a Jungle-fowl has been 
recently excavating, from the distinct impression of its 
feet on the top and sides of the mound, and from the earth 
being so lightly thrown over, that with a slender stick the 
direction of the hole may readily be detected ; the ease 
or difficulty of thrusting the stick down indicating the 
length of time that has elapsed since the birds' opera- 
tions. Thus far it is easy enough; but to reach the 
eggs requires no little exertion and perseverance. The 
natives dig them up with their hands alone, and only 
make sufficient room to admit their bodies, and to throw 
out the earth between their legs: by grubbing with 
their fingers alone, they are enabled to fellow the direc- 
tion of the hole with greater certainty, which will some- 
times, at a depth of several feet, .turn off abruptly at 
right angles, its direct course being obstructed by a 
clump of wood, or some other impediment." 

In all probability, as Nature has adopted this mode of 
reproduction, she has also furnished the tender birds 
with the power of sustaining themselves from the earliest 
period ; and the great size of the egg would equally lead 
to this conclusion, since in so large a space it is reason- 
able to suppose that the bird would be much more de- 
veloped than is usually found in eggs of smaller dimen- 
sions. The eggs are perfectly white, of a long, oval 
form, three inches and three quarters long by two inches 
and a half in diameter. 

There are several other Australian birds which adopt 
the same singular mode of hatching their eggs; one of 
these is called the Native Pheasant (Leipoa ocellata), and 
another the Brush Turkey (Talegalla Lathami). The 
latter has its head and neck covered with a naked skin, 

The Pheasant. 


like the turkey, but the lower part of this is much 
thickened, warty, and bright yellow. 

THE PHEASANT. (Phasianus colchicus.) 

The name of this bird implies that he was originally a 
native of the banks of the river Phasis, in Armenia ; how 
and when he emigrated, and began to frequent our 
groves, is unknown. He is of the size of the common 
cock ; the bill is of a pale horn colour ; the nostrils 
arched ; the eyes yellow, and surrounded by a naked 
warty skin, of a beautiful scarlet, finely spotted with 
black; immediately under each eye there is a small 
patch of short feathers, of a dark glossy purple; the 
upper parts of the head and neck are of a deep purple, 

314 Birds. 

varying to glossy green and blue ; the lower parts of 
the neck and breast are of a reddish chesnut, with black 
indented edges ; the sides and lower part of the breast 
are of the same colour, with tips of black to each feather, 
which, in different lights, vary to glossy purple ; indeed, 
the whole colour of this half-domesticated fowl is very 
beautiful, uniting the brightness of deep yellow gold to 
the finest tints of the ruby and turquoise, with reflec- 
tions of green ; the whole being set off by several spots 
of shining black ; but in this, as in every other kind of 
gorgeously-feathered birds, Nature has for some wise 
purposes, yet unknown to us, denied the female that 
admirable beauty of plumage which belongs to the male. 
The Pheasant lives in the woods, which he leaves at 
dusk to perambulate corn-fields and other sequestered 
places, where he feeds with his females, upon acorns, 
berries, grain, and seeds of plants, but chiefly on ants' 
eggs, of which he is particularly fond. His flesh is 
justly accounted better meat than any of the domestic 
or wild fowls, as it unites the delicacy of the common 
chicken to a peculiar taste of its own. The female lays 
eighteen or twenty eggs once a year, in the wild state ; 
but it is in vain that we have attempted to domesticate 
this bird entirely, as she never will remain patiently 
confined, and if she ever breeds in confinement is very 
careless of her brood. 

There are great varieties of Pheasants, of extraordinary 
beauty and brilliancy of colours : many of these, such 
as the Gold and Silver Pheasants (Phasianus pictus and 
P. Nydhemerus), brought from the rich provinces of 
China, are kept in aviaries in this kingdom. 

This beautiful bird is elegantly described in the fol- 
lowing passage : — 

" See ! from the brake the whirring Pheasant springs, 
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings; 
Short is his joy ; he feels the fiery wound, 
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground : 
Ah ! what avails his glossy, varying dyes, 
His purple crest, his scarlet-circled eyes, 
The vivid green his shining plumes unfold, 
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold !" 
Pope's Windsor Forest, 

The Red-legged Partridge. 






These Partridges are natives of Guernsey and Jersey ; 
but are also very frequently found on the adjoining 
coasts of France. Of late years they have spread very 
rapidly in England ; and as they are stronger and fiercer 
than the common partridge, the latter becomes scarce 
wherever the Ked-legged Partridges are abundant. In 
the Western districts of France they are very abundant, 
and their flesh is plump and juicy. In England it is as 
white as in France, but more dry. The side-feathers are 
very handsomely speckled, and there is a rich black mark 
beginning behind the eye and forming a kind of gorget 
on the breast. The eyelids are of a bright red, as are 
the bill and feet, and the claws are brown. They build 
their nests on the ground; but are sometimes found 
perched on trees, or on a fence or paling. 

316 Birds. 

THE COMMON PAKTRIDGE, (Perdix cinerea,) 

Is in weight about fourteen ounces. The plumage, 
although it cannot boast of gaudiness, is very pleasing to 
the eye, beiug a mixture of brown and fawn -colour, inter- 
spersed with grey and ash-colour tints. The head is small 
and pretty ; the beak strong, but short, and resembling 
that of all other granivorous birds. The female lays fifteen 
or eighteen eggs, and leads her brood in the corn-fields 
with the utmost care. Young Partridges are among the 
birds which run fleetly the moment they come out of 
the shell, and may sometimes be found running with a 
piece of the shell still remaining on their heads. The 
affection of Partridges for their offspring is peculiarly 
interesting. Both the parents lead them out to feed : 
they point out to them the proper places for their food, 
and assist them in finding it by scratching the ground 
with their feet. They frequently sit close together, 
covering the young ones with their wings; and from 
this position they are not easily roused. If, however, 
they are disturbed, most people acquainted with rural 
affairs know the confusion that ensues. The male gives 
the first signal of alarm, by a peculiar cry of distress ; 
throwing himself at the same moment more immediately 

The Common Partridge. 317 

into the way of danger, in order to mislead the enemy. 
He flutters along the ground, hanging his wings, and 
exhibiting every symptom of debility. By this strata- 
gem he seldom fails of so far attracting the attention of 
the intruder as to allow the female to conduct the help- 
less unfledged brood into some place of security. 

The nest is usually on the ground ; but on the farm 
of Lion Hall, in Essex, belonging to Colonel Hawker, 
a Partridge, in the year 1788, formed her nest, and 
hatched sixteen eggs, on the top of a pollard oak-tree ! 
What renders this circumstance the more remarkable 
is, that the tree had fastened to it the bars of a stile, 
where there was a footpath ; and the passengers, in 
going over, discovered and disturbed her before she sat 
close. When the brood was hatched, the birds scrambled 
down the short and rough boughs, which grew out all 
around the trunk of the tree, and reached the ground in 
safety. It has long been a received opinion among 
sportsmen, as well as among naturalists, that the female 
Partridge has none of the bay feathers of the breast 
like the male. This, however, is a mistake ; for Mr. 
Montague happening to kill nine birds in one day, with 
very little variation as to the bay mark on the breast, 
he was led to open them all, and discovered five of 
them were females. On carefully examining the plu- 
mage, he found that the males could only be known by 
the superior brightness of colour about the head ; which 
alone, after the first or second year, seems to be the 
true mark of distinction. They fly in coveys till about 
the third week in February, when they separate and 
pair ; but if the weather be very severe, it is not unusual 
to see them collect together again. We are told that a 
gamekeeper, in Dorsetshire, hearing a Partridge utter a 
cry of distress, was attracted by the sound into a field 
of oats, when the bird ran round him very much agi- 
tated ; upon his looking among the corn, he saw in the 
midst of her infant brood a laige snake, which he killed ; 
and perceiving its body much distended, he opened it, 
when to his astonishment two young Partridges ran 
from their prison, and joined their mother ; two others 
were found dead in its stomach. Partridges have ever 



held a distinguished place at the tables of the luxurious 
we have an old distich : 

" If the Partridge had the woodcock's thigh, 
'T would be tue best bird that e'er did fly." 

THE QUAIL, (Coturnix dactylisonans,) 

Is a small bird, being in length no more than seven 
inches. The colour of the breast is a dirty pale yellow, 
and the throat has a little mixture of red : the head is 
black, and the body and wings have black stripes upon 
a hazel-coloured ground. Its habits and manner of 
living resemble those of the partridge, and it is either 
caught in nets by decoy birds, or shot by the help of 
the setting-dog, its call being easily imitated oy tapping 
two pieces of copper one against another. The flesh of 
the Quail is very luscious, and next in flavour to that of 
the partridge. Quails are birds of passage, the only 
peculiarity in which they differ from all other of the 
poultry kind ; and such prodigious numbers have some- 
times appeared on the western coast of the kingdom of 
Kaples, that one hundred thousand have been caught in 



one day, within the space of three or four miles. In 
some parts of the south of Kussia they abound so 
greatly, that at the time of their migration they are 
caught by thousands, and sent in casks to Moscow and 
St. Petersburg. The female seldom lays more than six 
or seven eggs. 

The ancient Athenians kept this bird merely for the 
sport of fighting with each other, as game-cocks do, and 
never ate the flesh. The Quail was that wild fowl which 
God thought proper to send to the chosen people of Israel 
as a sustenance for them in the desert. 

The Chinese Quail is a beautiful little bird, and is often 
kept in cages in China, for the singular purpose, as it is 
said, of warming people's hands in winter ; as taking the 
soft, warm body of the bird in the hand diffuses through 
it an agreeable warmth. It is also very pugnacious, and 
is employed in fighting. 

THE AMEKICAN QUAIL, (Ortyx Virginianus,) 

Is larger than the Common Quail, and is something be- 
tweeu a Quail and a Partridge. 

The Californian Quail (0. Califwnicus) is distin- 
guished by its possession of a curious crest or tuft of 
feathers on the crown of the head. 



THE EED GROUSE. (Lagopus scoticus.) 

" High on exulting wing the Heath-Cock rose, 
And blew his shrill blast o'er perennial snows." 


This bird is called by some ornithologists tho Moor 
Cock, and by others Bed Game. The beak is black and 
short ; over the eyes there is a bare skin of a bright red. 
The general colour of the plumage is red and black, 
variegated, and intermixed with each other, except the 
wings, which are brownish, spotted with red, and the 
tail, which is black; the feet are covered with thick 
feathers down to the very claws. It is common in the 
north of England, in Scotland, and in Wales ; and not 
only affords great diversion to the noblemen and gentle- 
men of those countries who are fond of shooting, but also 
repays them well for their trouble, as the flesh is very 
delicate, and holds on our table an equal place with that 
of the partridge and the pheasant. The season of Grouse 
shooting commences on the 12th of August. In winter 
they are found in flocks of sometimes fifty to one hundred 
in number, which are termed by sportsmen packs, and 
become remarkably shy and wild, seldom allowing the 
sportsman to approach them within one hundred yards. 

The Ptarmigan, or White Grouse. 321 

They keep near the summits of the heathy hills, and 
seldom descend to the lower grounds. Here they feed 
on the mountain berries and on the tender tops of the 
heath. The hen lays seven or eight eggs of a reddish 
black colour. 


(Lagopus vulgaris,) 

Is somewhat larger than a pigeon ; its bill is black, and its 
plumage in summer is of a pale brown colour, elegantl} 
mottled with small bars and dusky spots. The head and 
neck are marked with broad bars of black, rust-colour, 
and white ; the wings and belly are white. The White 
Grouse is fond of lofty situations, where it braves the 
severest cold. It is found in most of the northern parts 
of Europe and America, even as far as Greenland. In 
this country it is only to be met with on the summits 
of some of our highest hills, chiefly in Scotland, and in 
the Hebrides and Orkneys, but sometimes in Cumberland 
and Wales. Its plumage becomes pure white in winter, 
with the exception of the tail feathers, which remain 

322 Birds. 

THE BLACK COCK, (Tetrao tetrix,) 

Is about four pounds in weight ; but the female, which 
is usually called the Grey Hen, is often not more than 
two. The plumage of the whole body of the male is 
black, and glossed over the neck and rump with shining 
blue ; the coverts of the wings are of a dusky brown, 
with the quill feathers black and white. The tail is 
much forked in the male. These birds never pair ; but 
in the spring the males assemble at their accustomed 
haunts on the tops of heathy mountains, where they 
crow and clap their wings : 

" And from the pine's high top brought down 
The giant Grouse, while boastful he display'd 
His breast of varying green, and crow'd and clapp'd 
His glossy wings." 


The females, at this signal, resort to them. The males 
are very quarrelsome, and fight together like game-cocks. 
On these occasions they are so inattentive to their own 
safety, that two or three have sometimes been killed at 
one shot ; and instances have occurred of their having 
been knocked down with a stick. 

The Cajpercalzie. 


Like the Capercalzie, or Cock of the Woods, a larger 
species of this genus, these birds are common in Russia, 
Siberia, and other northern countries, chiefly in wooded 
and mountainous situations ; and in the northern parts 
of our own island on uncultivated moors. 

THE CAPERCALZIE, (Tetrao urogallus,) 

Was also formerly an inhabitant of the forests of Scot- 
land, but has been extinct in Britain for many years. 
The male is as large as a good-sized turkey, the female 
considerably smaller. Several attempts have been made 
to rear the Capercalzie, and domesticate it in this coun- 
Iry, but without effect. They are now most numerous in 
Sweden, where they are much esteemed as food. Of 
late years they have been brought to the English market, 
and are considered very good eating. 



THE COMMON COCK. (Gallus domesticus.) 

" While the Cock, with lively din. 
Scatters the rear of darkness thin ; 
And to the stack, or the barn door, 
Stoutly struts his dames before." 


This bird is so well known that it would be needless io 
say much of him. His plumage is various and beautiful, 
his courage very great and proverbial, and his intuitive 
knowledge of the period of sunrise has baffled the most 
scrutinising researches of naturalists. \A hen of a good 
breed, and well taught to fight, he will die rather than 
yield to his adversary. The hen lays a great number of 
eggs, and will hatch as many as thirteen at one sitting ; 
but this is considered the extreme number, being as 
many as she can well cover. When in the secluded 
state of incubation she eats very little; and yet is so 

The Common Cock. 325 

courageous and strong that she will rise and fight any 
men or animals that dare to approach her nest. It is 
impossible to conceive how, with such a scanty suste- 
nance as she takes, she can, for twenty-one days, emit 
constantly from her body as much heat as would raise 
Fahrenheit's thermometer to ninety-six degrees. The 
flesh of this bird is delicate and wholesome, and univer- 
sally relished as nourishing and agreeable food. 

There are several varieties of families of this fowl. 
The Hamburg Cock has a beautiful tuft of feathers about 
his ears and on the top of his head ; and the Bantam has 
his legs and toes entirely feathered, which is more an 
impediment than an ornament to the bird. 

The cruel sport of cockfighting may be traced back to 
the earliest antiquity. The Athenians seem to have re- 
ceived it from India, where it is even now followed with 
a kind of frenzy ; and we are told that the Chinese will 
sometimes risk not only the whole of their property, but 
their wives and children, on the issue of a battle. The 
religion of the Greeks could not see that game with plea- 
sure, and therefore cockfighting was allowed only once a 
year; but the Romans adopted the practice with rap- 
ture, and introduced it into this island. Henry VIII. 
delighted in this sport, and caused a commodious house 
to be built for the purpose, which, although now applied 
to a very different use, still retains the name of the 
Cockpit. The part of our ships so called, seems also to 
indicate that in former times the diversion of cockfight- 
ing was permitted, in order to beguile the tedious hours 
of a long voyage. The Cock has been a subject of con- 
siderable interest with the poets; and has been very 
commonly called by them " Chanticleer :" 

" Within this homestead lived, without a peer 
For crowing loud, the noble Chanticleer." Dryden. 

" The feathered songster, Chanticleer, 
Had wound his bugle-horn, 
And told the early villager 
The coming of the morn." Chatterton. 




From the Bankiva fowl nearly all the various kinds of 
fowls found in British poultry-yards are said to have 
sprung. It is a native of the island of Java, and is cha- 
racterised by a red indented comb, red wattles, and ash- 
grey legs and feet. The cock has a thin indented or 
scalloped comb, and wattles under the mouth. The 
feathers of the neck are long, falling down, and rounded 
at the tips, and are of the finest gold colour. The head 
and neck are fawn-coloured, the wing-coverts dusky 
brownish and black ; the tail and belly black. The hen 
is of a dusky ash-grey and yellowish colour, and has a 
much smaller comb and beard than the cock. 

The Paduan, Spanish, and Bantam Fowls. 327 


(G alius giganteus.) 

The wild species, termed by Marsden the Jago fowl, is a 
native of Java and Sumatra, and is supposed by Tem- 
minck to be the original of this fine breed, though little 
is known of the wild sort, further than that it is double 
the size of the Bankiva, or common fowl. Marsden says 
he has seen in the East a cock of this species tall enough 
to pick crumbs from a dining-table. They are said to 
weigh from eight to ten pounds. The combs of both the 
cock and hen are large, frequently double, of the form of 
a crown, with a tufted crest of feathers, which is largest 
in the hen ; the voice is stronger and harsher than that 
of other fowls; but the most singular peculiarity is, 
that they do not come into full feather till about half 
grown. The Cochin-China fowls are said to be a variety 
of the Jago fowls. There are numerous hybrids and 
varieties of the Jago fowl found under different names 
in poultry-yards, but all of them lay fine large eggs, and 
are highly esteemed for the excellent flavour of their 
flesh. One of the most interesting of these varieties is 


the body and tail feathers of which are of a rich black, 
with occasionally a little white on the breast. The cock 
of this variety is a most majestic bird ; its deportment is 
grave and stately, and its eyes are encircled with a ring 
of brown feathers, from which rises a black tuft that 
covers the ears. There are other similar feathers behind 
the comb and beneath the wattles. The legs and feet 
are of lead colour, except the sole of the foot, which is 


is a small variety, with short legs, most frequently 
feathered to the toes, so as sometimes to obstruct walk- 
ing. Many Bantam fanciers prefer those which have 

328 Birds. 

clear bright legs, without any vestige of feathers. The 
full-bred Bantam cock should have a rose comb, a well- 
feathered tail, full hackles, a. proud lively carriage, and 
ought not to weigh more than a pound. The nankeen 
coloured and the black are the greatest favourites. If of 
the latter colour, the bird should have no feathers of any 
other sort in his plumage. The nankeen bird should 
have his feathers edged with black, his wings barred 
with purple, his tail feathers black, his hackles slightly 
studded with purple, and his breast black, with white 
edges to the feathers. The hens should be small, clean- 
legged, and match in plumage with the cock. 

THE DODO. (Didus ineptus.) 

Swiftness has generally been considered the attribute of 
birds, but the Dodo appears never to have had any title 
to this distinction. Instead of exciting the idea of swift- 
ness by its appearance, in the drawings that have been 
preserved of it, it strikes the imagination as a thing the 
most unwieldy and inactive of all nature. Its body is 
massive, almost round, and covered with grey feathers. 

The Dodo. 329 

It is just barely supported upon two short thick legs, 
like pillars ; while its head and neck rise from it in a 
manner truly grotesque. The neck, thick and pursy, is 
joined to the head, which consists of two immense jaws, 
opening far beyond the eye. The Dodo formerly inha- 
bited the Isle of France ; but it has been long extinct — 
so long, indeed, that the very fact of its ever having 
existed at all has been a subject of dispute amongst 
naturalists and scientific men. A great deal of evidence, 
in the form of old pictures as well as in writings, has 
been brought forward to prove that the Dodo is not a 
fabulous bird, and its reality is now generally admitted. 
In fact, we have very reliable testimony that a single 
specimen was actually exhibited publicly in London in 
the year 1638. 

The Dodo was supposed by the earliest naturalists 
who described it, to be a kind of turkey, as in the fla- 
vour of its flesh it resembled that bird. Later natural- 
ists supposed it to be a kind of swan, and this opinion 
was followed by the celebrated Buffon. Others thought 
it was a kind of vulture ; and others, judging from the 
shortness of its wings, placrd it in the ostrich tribe. 
Modern naturalists, however, having carefully examined 
the bones of the bird, which have been preserved, are of 
opinion that it was a gigantic pigeon. An entire speci- 
men existed about a hundred years ago in the Ashmolean 
Museum at Oxford, but only part of the bird and one of 
the feet remain; there is also a foot preserved in the 
British Museum. There is a reference to this extinct 
species in Humboldt's Cosmos. (See Bohn's edition, vol. i. 
page 29, and a note on the Dodo, by Dr. Mantell, at the 
end of the volume.) 

The Solitaire is another remarkable bird which was 
formerly found in the Mauritius and the adjoining 
islands, but which has now become extinct. 




(Columha jpalumbus,) 

Is the largest Pigeon found in our island, by which it 
may be distinguished from all others ; its weight is 
about twenty ounces, its length eighteen inches, and its 
circumference about thirty. It is usually known as the 
Wood Pigeon. This bird is of a bluish grey colour, with 
the feathers of the sides of the neck tipped with white, 
forming several imperfect rings ; the breed is common 
in Britain. Its habits are like those of other birds of 
the tribe, but it is so strongly attached to its native 
freedom, that all attempts to domesticate it, with a few 
rare exceptions, have hitherto proved ineffectual. 

These birds build their nests chiefly on the pine, or 
holly, with dried sticks thrown rudely together ; and 
the eggs, which may frequently be seen through the 

The Stockdove. 


bottom of the nest, are larger than those of the domestic 

Mr. Montague bred up a curious assemblage of birds, 
which lived together in perfect amity ; it consisted of a 
common pigeon, a ringdove, a white owl, and a sparrow- 
hawk ; the ringdove was master of the whole. 

THE STOCKDOVE. (Columba cenas.) 

" The Stockdove, recluse, with her mate, 
Conceals her fond bliss in the grove, 
And murmuring seems to repeat, 

That May id the mother of love." Cunningham. 

This bird is called the Stockdove, because it builds in 
the stocks of trees which have been headed down, and 
are become thick and bristly ; and not, as some have 
supposed, because it is the stock, or original, from which 
all the tame pigeons have sprung. Sometimes these 
birds lay their eggs in deserted rabbit-warrens, on the 
sod, without making any nest. 

The colour of the Stockdove is generally of a deep 
slate or lead tint, with rings of black about the feathers. 
While the beech woods were suffered to cover large 
tracts of ground, these birds used to haunt them in 
myriads, frequently extending above a mile in length, 



as they went out in the morning to feed. They are 
still found in considerable quantities in many parts of 
England, but never in Scotland, forming their nests in 
the hollows of trees ; not like the ringdove, on boughs. 
Their murmuring strains, or cooings, in the morning 
and at dusk, are highly pleasing, and throw an agree- 
able melancholy on the solitude of the grove. The poet 
of the Seasons expresses this in the following lines, with 
a beautiful instance of imitative harmony : 

the Stockdove breathes 

A melancholy murmur through the whole. 


Wordsworth also gives a pleasing description of the 
mournful cooing of these birds : 

" I heard a Stockdove sing or say 
His homely tale this very day ; 
His voice was buried among trees, 
Yet to be come at by the breeze ; 
He did not cease ; but cooed and cooed ; 
And somewhat pensively he wooed ; 
He sang of love with quiet blending, 
Slow to begin, and never ending ; 
Of serious faith and inward glee, 
That was the song — the song for me."' 

THE EOCKDOVE. (Columba lima.) 

The shape of this bird, which is the original stock of 
our domestic Pigeons, is well known, and the plumage 

The Bochdove. 333 

of the wild birds is exactly similar to that of the com- 
monest kind seen in our dove-cots — bluish-grey, with 
black bands across the wings. In its wild state it in- 
habits the cavities of high rocks and cliffs on the sea 
coast, where it is found abundantly in our own country. 
The female Pigeon lays two eggs at a time, which pro- 
duce generally a male and a female. It is pleasing to 
see how eager the male is to sit upon the eggs, in order 
that his mate may rest and feed herself. The young 
ones, when hatched, are fed from the crop of the mother, 
who has the power of forcing up the half-digested peas 
which she has swallowed to give them to her young. 
The young ones, open-mouthed, receive this tribute of 
affection, and are thus fed three times a day. 

There are upwards of twenty varieties of the domestic 
Pigeon, and of these the carriers are the most celebrated. 
They obtain their name from being sometimes employed 
to convey letters or small packets from one place to 
another. The rapidity of their flight is very wonderful. 
Lithgow assures us that one of them will carry a letter 
from Babylon to Aleppo (which, to a man, is usually 
thirty days' journey) in forty-eight hours. To measure 
their speed with some degree of exactness, a gentleman, 
many years ago, on a trifling wager, sent a Carrier 
Pigeon from London, by the coach, to a friend at Bury 
St. Edmunds, and along with it a note, desiring that the 
Pigeon, two days after its arrival there, might be thrown 
up precisely when the town clock struck nine in the 
morning. This was accordingly done, and the Pigeon 
arrived in London at half-past eleven o'clock on the 
same morning, having flown seventy-two miles in two 
hours and a half. An instance of still greater speed is 
mentioned by Mr. Yarrell, in which a Carrier flew from 
Kouen to Ghent, a hundred and fifty miles in a straight 
line, in one hour and a half. From the instant of its 
liberation, its flight is directed through the clouds, at 
a great height, to its home. By an instinct altogether 
inconceivable, it darts onward, in a straight line, to the 
very spot whence it was taken, but how it can direct its 
flight so exactly will probably for ever remain unknown 
to us. 

334 Birds. 

" Led by what chart, transports the timid Dove, 
The wreaths of conquest, or the vows of love ? 
Say through the clouds what compass points her flight ? 
Monarchs have gazed, and nations blessed the sight. 
Pile rocks on rocks, bid woods and mountains rise. 
Eclipse her native shades, her native skies : — 
'Tis vain ! through ether's pathless wilds she goes, 
And lights at last where all her cares repose. 
Sweet bird, thy trutli shall Harlem's walls attest, 
And unborn ages consecrate thy nest." < Rogers. 

The Carrier Pigeon is easily distinguished from the 
other varieties by a broad circle of naked white skin 
round the eyes, by the large fleshy wattle at the base of 
its bill, and by its dark blue or blackish colour. 

It would be as fruitless as unnecessary to attempt to 
describe all the varieties of the Tame Pigeon ; for human 
art has so much altered the colour and figure of this 
bird, that pigeon-fanciers, by pairing a male and female 
of different sorts, can, as they express it, " breed them 
to a feather." Hence we have the various names of 
Carriers, Tumblers, Jacobins, Croppers, Pouters, Bunts, 
Turbits, Shakers. Fantails, Owls, Nuns, &c, all of which 
may, at first, have accidentally varied from the Pock- 
dove, and these have been further improved by crossing, 
food, and climate. An actual post system, in which 
pigeons were the messengers, was established by the 
Sultan Koureddin Mahmoud, which lasted about a cen- 
tury, and ceased in 1258, when Bagdad fell into the 
hands of the Moguls. 

The Turtle Love. 


THE TURTLE DOVE. (Columba turtur.) 

Go, beautiful and gentle Dove, 
And greet the morning ray ; 

For lo ! the sun shines bright above, 
And the rain is pass d away." 


This Dove brings to the heart and mind the most 
pleasing recollections ; its name is nearly synonymous 
with faithfulness and unvariable affection. The male 
or female is so much attached to its respective mate 
that it is said, perhaps with more poetry than truth, 
that if one die the other will never survive ; however, 
the author of these observations was an eye-witness to 
the death of a female Turtle Dove, who was unfortu- 
nately killed by a spaniel, in the absence of the male ; 
the disconsolate survivor, after having in vain searched 



everywhere for his mate, came and mournfully perched 
upon the wonted trough, waiting patiently for her to 
repair thither in order to get food ; but, after two days 
of unavailing expectation, he, by spontaneous abstinence, 
pined and died on the place. Such examples are not 
common ; and we believe that, when not domesti- 
cated, the appearance of another female, in the time of 
coupling, sets at defiance all natural propensity to con- 
stancy, and puts an end to the much-famed disconsolate 
widowhood. Their general colour is a bluish grey ; the 
breast and neck of a whitish purple, with a ringlet of 
beautiful white feathers with black edges about the sides 
of the neck. Nothing can express the sensation which 
is excited in a feeling mind when the tender and sweetly 
plaintive notes of the Turtle Dove breathe from the 
grove on a beautiful spring evening : 

" Deep in the wood, thy voice I list, and love 
Thy soft complaining song, thy tender cooing; 
Oh, what a winning way thou hast of wooing, 
Gentlest of all thy race — sweet Turtle Dove ! 
Thine is a note which doth not pass away 
Like the light music of a summer's day ; 
Hushing the voice of mirth, and staying folly. 
And waking in the breast a gentle melancholy." 


The Ostrich. 


§ VI. Grallatores, or Waders. 

THE OSTEICH. (Struthio camelus.) 

This bird is a native of Africa, and is so tall that when 
it holds up its head it is seven or eight feet in height. 
The head is very small in comparison with the body, 
being hardly bigger than one of the toes, and is covered, 
as well as the neck, with a kind of down, or thin-set 
hair, instead of feathers. The sides and thighs are 
entirely bare and flesh-coloured. The lower part of the 
neck, where the feathers begin, is white. The wings 
are very short in proportion to the size of the bird, and 
in fact are too small to enable it to fly ; but when it 
runs, which it does with a strange jumping kind of 


338 Birds. 

motion, it raises its short wings and holds them quiver- 
ing over its back, where they seem to serve as a kind of 
sail to gather the wind, and carry the bird onwards. 
The speed which it will thus attain is enormous. The 
swiftest greyhound cannot overtake it ; and indeed an 
Arab on his horse cannot hope to capture an ostrich 
without having recourse to stratagem. He dexterously 
throws a stick between its legs as it runs, and so tripping 
it up, is enabled to secure it. 

In its flight it spurns the pebbles behind it like shot 
against the pursuer. And this is not their only mode of 
annoyance. They have been known to attack men with 
their claws, with which they are able to strike with ter- 
rific force. The feathers of the back in the cock are coal 
black, in the hen only dusky, and so soft that they re- 
semble a kind of wool. The tail is thick, bushy, and 
round ; in the cock whitish, in the hen dusky, with white 
tops. These are the feathers so generally in requisition 
to decorate the head-dress of ladies and the helmets of 

The Ostrich swallows anything that presents itself, 
leather, glass, iron, bread, hair, &c, but the old notion 
that the Ostrich could digest metals is certainly in- 
correct. An Ostrich in the Zoological Gardens in the 
Regent's Park was killed by swallowing a lady's parasol. 

" O'er the wild waste the stupid Ostrich strays 
In devious search, to pick a scanty meal 
Whose fierce digestion gnaws the tempered steel." 

Mickle's LrsiAD. 

They are polygamous birds, one male being generally 
seen with two or three, and sometimes with five, females. 
The female Ostrich, after depositing her eggs in the 
sand, trusts them to be hatched by the heat of the 
climate: in the Book of Job there is a beautiful 
passage relating to this habit of the Ostrich, " which 
leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in the 
dust; and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or 
that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened 
against her young ones, as though they were not hers. 

The Ostrich. 339 

Her labour is in vain ; without fear, because God hath 
deprived her of wisdom ; neither has he imparted to her 
understanding. What time she lifteth up her head on 
high, she scorneth the horse and his rider." It appears, 
however, that the female Ostrich sits upon her eggs 
like other birds, although generally at night only, and 
brings up her young. The eggs are as large as a young 
child's head, with a hard stony shell, and one has been 
known to weigh upwards of three pounds. The time ot 
incubation is six weeks. That Ostriches have great 
affection for their offspring may be inferred from the 
assertion of Professor Thunberg, who says that he once 
rode past the place where a hen Ostrich was sitting in 
her nest, when the bird sprang up and pursued him, 
evidently with a view to prevent his noticing her eggs 
or young. Every time he turned his horse towards her 
she retreated ten or twelve paces, but as soon as he rode 
on again she pursued him till he had got to a consider- 
able distance from the place where he had started her. 
In the tropical regions, some persons breed Ostriches in 
flocks, for they may be tamed with very little trouble. 
When M. Adanson was at Podar, a French factory on 
the southern bank of the river Niger, two young but 
full-grown Ostriches, belonging to the factory, afforded 
him a very amusing sight. They were so tame that two 
little blacks mounted both together on the back of the 
largest. No sooner did he feel their weight than he 
began to run as fast as possible, and carried them several 
times round the village, and it was impossible to stop 
him otherwise than by obstructing the passage. This 
sight pleased M. Adanson so much that he wished it to 
be repeated, and, to try their strength, directed a full- 
grown negro to mount the smaller, and two others the 
larger of the birds. This burden did not seem at all 
disproportioned to their strength. At first they went at 
a tolerably sharp trot, but when they became a little 
heated they expanded their wings, as though to catch 
the wind, and moved with such fleetness that they 
scarcely seemed to touch the ground. The foot of the 
Ostrich has only two toes, one of which is extremely 
large and strong. 



THE EHEA, (Rhea Americana,) 

Or American Ostrich, is about half as big as the African 
species. It has its head covered with feathers, and each 
of its feet consists of three toes. It is found on the great 
plains of South America, and, like the African Ostrich, 

The Cassowary. 


is polygamous, but the curious part of the matter is that 
the females often lay their eggs almost anywhere on the 
ground, and the male takes the trouble of collecting 
them into a sort of nest, and sitting on them until the 
young birds are hatched. When thus occupied, the 
males often become very fierce, and will attack any one 
that approaches them too closely. 

THE CASSOWARY, (Casuarius galeatus,) 

Instead of the beautiful plumes of the ostrich, has his 
wings furnished only with five stiff quills without barbs, 
which project curiously from the feathers of the body. 
His plumage is black ; his head is small and depressed, 
with a horny crown or helmet, and covered with a naked 
red skin ; the head and neck are deprived of feathers ; 

342 Birds. 

about the neck are two protuberances of a bluish colour, 
in shape like the wattles of a cock. The feathers consist 
of long, slender, separate barbs, which hang down on 
each side of the body, so that at a distance he looks as 
if he were entirely covered with the hairs of a bear 
rather than with the plumage of a bird. His height is 
about five feet. The Cassowary is as voracious as the 
ostrich, and eats indiscriminately whatever comes in his 
way, and does not seem to have any sort of predilection 
in the choice of his food. The Dutch travellers assert 
that he can devour not only glass, iron, and stones, but 
even burning coals, without testifying the smallest fear, 
or sustaining the least injury ; and it is said that the 
passage of his food is performed so speedily that even 
eggs will pass unbroken. He is a native of some of the 
Indian islands. The eggs of the female are nearly 
fifteen inches in circumference, of a greenish colour. It 
has been said of the Cassowary that he has the head of a 
warrior, the eye of a lion, the armament of a porcupine, 
and the swiftness of a courser. 

A Cassowary once kept in the menagerie of the mu- 
seum at Paris, devoured every day between three and 
four pounds weight of bread, six or seven apples, and a 
bunch of carrots. In summer it drank about four pints 
of water in the day, and in winter somewhat more. It 
swallowed all its food without bruising it. This bird 
was sometimes ill-tempered and mischievous, and much 
irritated when any person approached it of a dirty 
or ragged appearance, or dressed in red clothes, and 
frequently attempted to strike at them by kicking for- 
ward with its feet. It has been known to leap out 
of its enclosure and to tear the legs of a man with its 

The Cassowary is very vigorous and powerful ; its 
beak being, in proportion, much stronger than that of 
the ostrich, it has the means of defending itself with 
great advantage, and of easily pulling down and breaking 
in pieces almost any hard substance. It strikes in a very 
dangerous manner with its feet either behind or before, 
not unlike the kicking of a horse, at any object which 
offends it, and runs with surprising swiftness. 

The Emeu. 34* 

THE EMEU. (Dromaius Novce Hollandice.) 

The head of this bird is without any horny crest, and 
feathered, but the cheeks and throat are nearly naked. 
The general colour is a dull brown, mottled with a dingy 
grey, and the young are striped with black. In appear- 
ance it closely resembles the ostrich, next to which it is 
the tallest bird known, but is of a more thick-set and 
clumsy make, though at the same time very swift and 
strong, and able to make a formidable defence against its 
hunters and their dogs, by kicking in a very vigorous 
and dangerous manner. It is, however, very docile, and 
if taken young may be easily tamed. The flesh is con- 
sidered excellent eating, and is said to possess a flavour 
something between a sucking-pig and a turkey. The 
only sound that this biid emits is a low drumming noise, 
produced by means of a valve attached to the lungs. 
The female Emeu lays her eggs in different places, but 
they are afterwards collected by the male, by rolling 
them to one place, when he sits on them. 



THE APTEEYX. ( Apteryx Australia.) 

This curious bird, which has the shortest wings of any 
member of its class, is found only in New Zealand, where 
it is called Kivi-Kivi by the natives, in imitation of its 
cry. It is smaller than any of the species of wingless 
birds just described, and its legs are short and stout ; it 
has three strong front toes on each foot, and a short 
hinder toe armed with a very strong claw. The body of 
the Apteryx is something like that of the cassowary in 
its form; the neck is rather long, and, like the head, 
clothed with feathers ; but the most singular part of the 
bird is its bill, which is long, rather slender, and slightly 
curved, and has the nostrils situated quite at its tip. This 
curious structure of the bill is intended to enable the 
bird more readily to obtain the worms and insects upon 
which it feeds, and which it drags out of their holes in 
the ground. It runs quickly, but only at night, and 
when in motion it might easily be mistaken for a small 
dusky -brown quadruped. The plumage resembles that 
of the emeu in its texture, and the skins are highly 
esteemed by the New Zealanders, who use them for 
making cloaks. 

Among the many curious characteristics of this bird 
is its habit of leaning, when at rest, upon the tip of its 
long bill. When hunted it scrapes a hole in the sand 
with its powerful feet, in which it hides ; or it runs into 
some natural cavity, if there is any near, where access 
is difficult for its pursuers, and often makes a valiant 

The Bustard. 


THE BUSTARD, (Otis tarda,) 

Is a large and fine bird which was formerly common in 
some parts of England, but has now become so rare here 
that the capture of a specimen is looked upon as some- 
thing remarkable. It is still abundant in some parts of 
the continent of Europe. The male Bustard measures 
nearly four feet in length, and has the head and neck 
greyish, the back buff or pale chestnut, with a great 
many black bars, and all the lower part of the body 
white. From each side of the chin there springs a 
tuft of slender feathers about seven inches in length, 
standing out like a pair of stiff moustaches. The female 

346 Birds. 

is a good deal smaller than the male, or about three feet 
in length ; she is also distinguished from her partner by 
the want of the tufts on the chin, although in some cases 
these exist in the female, but shorter than in the male. 

The Bustard feeds on green vegetables and insects, 
and are also said to kill and eat small quadrupeds and 
reptiles. They are polygamous, and when the female 
has laid her two or three eggs in a slight depression of 
the ground, and commenced the business of incubation, 
the male most ungallantly deserts her, and retires to 
take his ease in some neighbouring marsh. It was 
formerly supposed that the male Bustard paid so much 
attention to his mates as to provide them with water, 
which he was said to bring to them in a large pouch, 
capable of holding nearly a gallon, situated under his 
throat. It is true that the female is without this ap- 
pendage; but modern naturalists all agree in stating 
that the male bird is never seen in company with the 
female after she has begun to sit. The use of this pouch 
is therefore still a subject of controversy. 

The female lays her eggs among clover, or more fre- 
quently in corn-fields, the nest being • merely a hollow 
scraped in the ground. The eggs are two, or sometimes 
three, in number, and their colour is a yellowish-brown, 
inclining to green. 

A peculiarity of the Bustard, noticed by most natur- 
alists, is the extreme rapidity with which they can run. 
They skim along the ground, raising the wings over the 
back in the same manner as the ostrich. It is said that 
in former times, when the breed was commoner, it was 
a practice to hunt the young birds, before they had 
acquired the power of flying, with greyhounds. 

As an article of food the flesh of the Bustard has 
always been held in great estimation. 

There are several other species peculiar both to Asia 
and Africa. 

The Crane. 


THE CRANE. (Grus cinerea.) 

Cranes frequent marshy places, and live upon small fish 
and water-insects. Their long beaks enable them to 
search the water and mud for their prey, and their long 
necks prevent the necessity of their stooping to pick up 
from between their feet the objects of their search. The 
top of the head, the throat, and sides of the neck are of a 
blackish hue ; the back, the wings, and the body are 
ash-coloured. The tertial feathers of the wings are very 
long, with loose webs, forming elegant plumes, which 
fall over the sides of the tail. They used to be common 
in the fen countries, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, 

348 Birds. 

but are not now so frequently seen in England as for- 
merly. In their flight, Cranes mount high in the air, 
but their voices can be heard even when the birds cease 
to be perceptible to the eye, and it is said that their 
sight is so keen that they discover at a great distance 
any field of corn or other food which they are fond of, 
and presently alight and enjoy it. These depredations 
they generally commit during the night, trampling down 
the ground as if it had been marched over by an army. 
They generally form themselves in the air in the shape 
of a wedge. 

" Part more wise, 

In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way, 
Intelligent of seasons, and set forth 
Their aery caravan high over seas 
Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing 
Easing their flight. So steers the prudent Crane 
Her annual voyage, borne on winds. The air 
Floats as they pass, fann'd by unnuinber'd wings." 


This bird lives to a considerable age, and as it is 
easily tamed, it has been ascertained that the Crane 
often reaches his fortieth year. Its nest is usually built 
amongst the reeds and sedges of a marsh, but sometimes 
upon a ruined building. The female lays two eggs, of a 
pale brown colour, with darker spots. 

According to Kolben, they are often observed in large 
flocks on the marshes about the Cape of Good Hope. 
He says he never saw a flock of them on the ground 
that had not some placed apparently as sentinels, to 
keep a look out while the others are feeding, who on the 
approach of danger immediately give notice to the rest. 
These sentinels stand on one leg, and at intervals stretch 
out their necks, as if to observe that all is safe. On 
notice being given of danger, the whole flock are in an 
instant on the wing. Kolben also adds that in the night 
time each of the watching Cranes, which rest on their left 
legs, hold in their right claw a stone of considerable 
weight, in order that, if overcome by sleep, the falling 
of the stone may awaken them. 

The Balearic Crane. 


DEMOISELLE, (Balearica pavonina,) 

Is originally, as the name expresses, a native of Majorca 
and Minorca, in the Mediterranean sea, which were for- 
merly called the Balearic Isles, but is chiefly found now 
in the Cape Verd Islands. The shape of its body is 
not unlike that of the common Crane, but it has a prin- 
cipal and distinctive mark on the head ; which is, a tuft 
of hairs, or rather strong greyish bristles, standing out 
like rays in all directions, from which peculiarity this 
species takes its other name of the Crowned Heron. 
They roost and feed in the manner of peacocks. 

The Demoiselle, or Numidian Crane (Anthropoides 
virgo), is remarkable for the grace and symmetry of its 
form, and the elegance of its deportment. It is rather 
larger than the species above described, and is a native 
of many parts of Africa. It frequents damp and marshy 
places, in search of small fishes, frogs, &c, which are its 
favourite food. It is easily domesticated. 



THE STORK. (Ciconia alba.) 

The neck, head, breast, and body of this bird are white, 
the rump and exterior feathers of the wings black ; the 
eyelids naked ; the tail white, and the legs long, slen- 
der, and of a red colour. Storks are birds of passage. 
When leaving Europe they assemble together on some 
particular night, and all take their flight at once. As 
they feed on frogs, lizards, serpents, and other noxious 
creatures, it is not to be expected that man should be 
inimical to them, and therefore they have been generally 
a favourite with the nations they visit. The Dutch 
have laws against destroying them : they are therefore 
very common in Holland, and build their nests and rear 
their young on the tops of houses and chimneys in the 

The Stork 351 

middle of its most frequented and populous cities, and 
may be seen by dozens familiarly walking about the 
markets, where they feed on the offal. In some places, 
the stork is supposed to be a herald of good fortune to 
the house on which it builds its nest, and the inhabi- 
tants place boxes on their roofs to induce the birds to 
take up their abode there. 

The Stork much resembles the crane in its confor- 
mation, but appears somewhat more corpulent. The 
former lays four eggs, whereas the latter lays but 
two. ' * 

It is said that Storks visit Egypt in such abundance, 
that the fields and meadows are white with them. The 
Egyptians, however, are not displeased with the sight ; 
as frogs are there generated in such numbers, that did 
not the Storks devour them, they would overrun every- 
thing. Between Belba and Gaza, the fields of Palestine 
are often rendered desert on account of the abundance 
of mice and rats ; and were they not destroyed the in- 
habitants could have no harvest. The disposition ol 
the Stork is mild and placid ; it is easily tamed, and 
may be trained to reside in gardens, which it will clear 
of insects and reptiles. It has a grave air, and a mourn- 
ful aspect; yet, when roused by example, exhibits a 
certain degree of gaiety ; for it joins in the frolics ol 
children, hopping about and playing with them. 

During their migrations, Storks are observed in vast 
quantities. Dr. Shaw saw three flights of them leaving 
Egypt, and passing over Mount Carmel, each of which 
appeared to be nearly half a mile in width ; and he says 
they were three hours in passing over. 

The Stork, like the ibis, was an object of worship 
among the ancients, and to kill them was a crime 
punishable with death. The Stork is remarkable for 
its great affection towards its young. This was re- 
markably evinced during the great conflagration of 
Delft, in Holland, during which a female Stork was 
noticed using every endeavour to carry off her young 
family, and continuing this labour of love until the 
smoke and flames prevented her own escape, and she 
perished with her brood. 




THE ADJUTANT, (Leptoptilus argala,) 

Also called the Gigantic Crane, is a bird of the stork 
kind, and a native of India, and other warm countries. 
The head and neck are bare of feathers, as in the ostrich ; 
the former looking as if made of wood ; the latter of a 
flesh-colour. The coverts of the wings and the back 
are black, with a bluish cast; the under part of the 
body whitish ; the legs are long, without feathers, and 
of a greyish hue, as are the thighs, which seem to be as 
slender as the leg. The bill is of enormous size, and 
the bird is fond of clatting the two mandibles together. 
Under the chin, there is a kind of bag or pouch which 
hangs down in front of the neck, like the dewlap of a 
cow ; in this the Adjutant stores away any provisions 
that may fall in his way, after his immediate wants are 
satisfied. He is a most voracious bird, and devours 
every kind of food, and as he has no objection to carrion, 

The Adjutant. .'5. 53 

his presence is encouraged in towns, where he assists 
the vultures, crows, dogs, and jackals, in performing the 
duties of scavengers. Indeed his rapacity is so great 
that he swallows such innutritious substances as bone 
with such eagerness and relish as to have received the 
name of " Bone-eater" or " Bone-taker." When he comes 
about the houses he requires to be carefully watched, as 
his power of swallowing is so great that a fowl, a rabbit, 
or even a leg of mutton, is disposed of at a single mouth- 
ful. Sir E. Home states that in the stomach of an Adju- 
tant were found a tortoise nearly a foot long, and a large 
black cat ; from which we may see that the Adjutant is 
by no means squeamish in his diet. 

The Adjutant is indeed a very gigantic bird. Its 
wings often measure fourteen or fifteen feet from tip to 
tip, and it is five feet high when it stands erect. 

Dr. Latham, in his " General History of Birds," gives 
some very interesting information about the habits of 
this bird. " One of them, a young bird about five feet 
high, was brought up tame, and presented to the chief 
of the Bananas, where M. Speakman lived ; and being 
accustomed to be fed in the great hall, soon became fa- 
miliar, daily attending that place at dinner-time, placing 
itself behind its master's chair frequently before the 
guests entered. The servants were obliged to watch 
narrowly, and to defend the provisions with switches ; 
but, notwithstanding, it would frequently seize some- 
thing or other, and even purloined a whole boiled fowl, 
wliioh it swallowed in an instant. Its courage is not 
equal to its voracity, for a child of eight or ten years old 
soon puts it to flight with a switch. Everything is 
swallowed whole, and so accommodating is its throat 
that not only an animal as big as a cat is gulped down, 
but a shin of beef broken asunder serves it but for two 

Another species of Adjutant (Leptoptilus marabou) is 
found in tropical Africa. It is even uglier than the 
Indian bird, which has not much beauty to boast of, but 
is valuable not only as a scavenger, but from its fur- 
nishing those beautiful plumes called marabout feathers, 
which are so much used for ladies' head-dresses. 



THE COMMON HERON. (Ardea cinerea.) 

The habits of the Heron are peculiar. Perched on a 
stone, or the stump of a tree, by the solitary current of 
a brook, his neck and long beak half-buried between his 
shoulders, he will wait the whole day long, patient and 
unmoved, for the passing of a small fish, or the hopping 
of a frog ; but his appetite is insatiable. 

This bird is about four feet long from the tip of the 
bill to the end of the claws ; to the end of the tail about 
thirty-eight inches ; its breadth, when the wings are 
extended, is about five feet. The male is distinguished 
by a crest or tuft of black feathers hanging from the 
hinder part of his head, which in chivalrous times was 

The Common Heron. 355 

of great value, and held as a peculiar mark of distinc- 
tion when worn above the plume of ostrich feathers. 

Virgil places the Heron among the birds that are 
affected by and foretell the approaching storm : 

" When watchful Herons leave their watery stand. 
And mounting upward with erected flight, 
Gain on the skies, and soar above the sight." 


The Heron, though living chiefly in the vicinity of 
marshes and lakes, forms its nest on the tops of the 
loftiest trees. It resembles the rook in its habits : a 
great number of Herons living together in what is 
called a Heronry, as rooks do in a rookery. The fe- 
male lays four large eggs, of a pale green colour; the 
natural term of this bird's life is said to exceed sixty 

In England, Herons were formerly ranked among the 
royal game, and protected as such by the laws ; and 
when falconry was in fashion, the pursuit of the Heron 
was a favourite amusement. 

" Now, like the wearied stag, 

That stands at bay, the Hern provokes their rage ; 

Close by his languid wing in downy plumes 

Covers his fatal beak, and cautious hides 

The well-dissembled fraud. The falcon darts 

Like lightning from above, and in her breast 

Eeceives the latent death : down plumb she falls, 

Bounding from earth, and with her trickling gore 

Defiles her gaudy plumage. See, alas ! 

The falconer in despair, his favourite bird 

Dead at his feet : as of his dearest friend, 

He weeps her fate ; he meditates revenge, 

He storms, he foams, he gives a loose to rage ; 

Nor wants he long the means ; the Hern fatigued, 

Borne down by numbers, yields, and prone on earth 

He drops ; his cruel iocs wheeling around 

Insult at will." Somerville. 

It is extremely dangerous to go near a wounded 
Heron, and the utmost caution is necessary in doing so. 
Though apparently almost dead, he will yet dart at his 
enemy's face, and sometimes inflict a most severe wound. 



THE BITTERN, (Botaurus stellaris,) 

Is not quite so large as the common heron ; its head is 
small, narrow, and compressed at the sides. The crown 
is black, the throat and sides of the neck red, with nar- 
row black lines, and the back of a pale red, mixed with 
yellow. The claws are long and slender, the inside of 
the middle one being serrated, the better to enable it to 
hold its prey. The bill is about four inches in length. 
The most remarkable character in this bird is the hol- 
low and yet loud rumbling of his voice ; his bellowing 
is heard at the distance of a mile, at the time of sunset, 
and it is hardly possible to conceive at first how such a 
body of sound, resembling the lowing of an ox, can be 
produced by a bird comparatively so small. The boom- 
ing noise was formerly believed to be made while the 
bird plunged its bill into the mud; hence Thomson : 

The Bittern. 357 

" So that scarce 

The Bittern knows his time, with bill ingulf d 
To shake the sounding marsh." 

And Southey also describes the peculiar noise of this 
bird in his poem of Thalaba : 

"And when at evening, o'er the swampy plain, 
The Bittern's boom came far, 
Distinct in darkness seen — 
Above the low horizon's lingering light, 
Rose the near ruins of old Babylon." 

Sometimes in the evening the Bittern soars on a sud- 
den in a straight, or, at other times, in a spiral line, so 
high in the air, that it ceases to be perceptible to the 
eye. When attacked by the buzzard, or other birds of 
prey, it defends itself with great courage, and generally 
beats off such assailants ; neither does it betray any 
symptoms of fear when wounded by the sportsman, but 
eyes him with a keen, undaunted look ; and, when 
driven to extremity, will attack him with the utmost 
vigour, wounding his legs, or aiming at his eyes with 
its sharp and piercing bill. It was formerly held in 
much estimation at the tables of the great, and is again 
recovering its credit as a fashionable dish. The flesh is 
considered delicious. In autumn it changes its abode, 
always commencing its journey at sunset. Its precau- 
tions for concealment and security seem directed with 
great care and circumspection. It usually sits in the 
reeds with its head erect ; and thus, from its great 
length of neck, sees over their tops, without itself being 
perceived by the sportsman. The principal food of 
these birds, during summer, consists of fish and frogs : 
but in autumn they resort to the woods in pursuit of 
mice, which they seize with great dexterity, and alwa}<s 
swallow whole. About this season they usually become 
very fat. 



THE SPOONBILL, (Platalea leucorodia,) 

Is a large "bird ; the colour of the whole body is white, 
and the resemblance of the bill to a spoon has caused 
the denomination of the bird. In some specimens the 
plumage inclines from white to pink colour. On the 
hind part of the head is a beautiful white crest, re- 
clining backward. The legs and feet are black. The 
wisdom of Providence is most conspicuous in the con- 
formation of the bill, which is entirely adapted to the 
habits and manner of feeding of these birds : the frogs 
and fishes, which constitute the principal food of the 
Spoonbill, may often escape the thin and narrow beak 
of the heron and other birds, but the mandibles of this 
bird are so large at the end, that the prey cannot slip 
aside. Like rooks and herons, Spoonbills build their 
nests on the tops of high trees, and lay three or four 
eggs, which are white, sprinkled with pale red, and 
the size of those of a hen. These birds are very noisy 

The Ibis. 


during the breeding season. The Spoonbill migrates 
northward in the summer, and returns to southern 
climes on the approach of winter; and is found in all 
the intermediate low countries between the Faroe Isles 
and the Cape of Good Hope. 

Tlie American or Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea Ajaja) is 
very beautiful. Its colour is white, tinged with rose, 
which deepens in the wings and tail into the richest 
carmine. The feet are half-webbed, and the bird is 
generally found on the sea- coast, where it wades into 
the sea in quest of the small shell-fish of different kinds, 
on which it feeds. 

THE IBIS. (Ibis religiosa.) 

The Ibis was regarded as a sacred bird by the ancient 
Egyptians, who used to have these birds walking about 
in their temples, and embalmed their bodies after death 
with as much care as those of their priests and kings. 
The cause of this veneration is not clearly ascertained, 
some authors supposing it to be due to the services 



rendered by the bird in destroying serpents and other 
noxious creatures ; others to a fanciful resemblance 
between the bird and one of the moon's phases ; and 
others, again, to the arrival of the birds in Egypt at or 
about the period of the annual inundation of the Nile. 
The sacred Ibis has a long, stout, curved black bill ; the 
head and neck are black and naked, and the plumage 
is white, with the tips of the wings black. Another 
species, the Glossy Ibis (Ibis falcinellus), shared the vene- 
ration of the Egyptians with the Sacred Ibis ; it has a 
more slender bill than the Sacred Ibis, and its plumage, 
which is beautifully glossy, is dark green above and 
reddish-brown beneath. This bird is common in the 
south of Europe, and specimens have been shot in Eng- 
land. The Scarlet Ibis (Ibis rubra) is a beautiful species, 
which adorns the banks of the great rivers of South 
America, in company with the Eoseate Spoonbill. 

THE CUKLEW. (Numenius arquatus.) 

" Soothed by the murmurs of the sea-beat shore, 
His duu-grey plumage floating to the gale, 
The Curlew blends his melancholy wail 
With those hoarse sounds the rushing waters pour." 

Miss Williams. 

" Wild as the scream of the Curlew, 
From rock to rock the signal flew." 

Sir Walter Scott. 

The Curlew is a large bird, weighing about twenty-four 

The Redshank. 361 

ounces ; and is found in winter on the sea-shore on all 
sides of England. The middle parts of the feathers of 
the head, neck, and back are black, the borders or out- 
sides ash-coloured, with a mixture of red ; and the lower 
part of the body white. The beak has a regular curve 
downward, and is soft at the point. This bird's flesh 
may challenge for flavour and delicacy that of any other 
water-fowl, and the people of Suffolk say proverbially : 

" A Curlew, be she white, be she black, 
She carries twelve pence on her back :" 

but it must be confessed that the quality and goodness 
of the flesh of Curlews depend on their manner of feed- 
ing, and the season in which they are caught. When 
they dwell on the sea-shore, they acquire a kind of 
rankness, which is so strong, that, unless they are 
basted on the spit with vinegar, they are not agreeable 

THE EEDSHANK. (Totanus calidris.) 

This bird has received its name from the colour of its 
legs, which are of a crimson red. In size it is between 
the lapwing and the snipe, and is sometimes called the 
Pool Snipe. The head and back are of a dusky ash- 
colour, spotted with black, the throat party : coloured 
black and white, the black being drawn down along the 
feathers. The breast is whiter, with fewer spots. The 
Kedshank delights in the fen countries, -and in wet and 
marshy grounds, where it breeds and rears its young. 



The female lays four whitish eggs, with olive-coloured 
dashes, and marked with irregular spots of black. Pen- 
nant and Latham say, that it flies round its nest when 
disturbed, making a noise like a lapwing. It is not so 
common on the sea-shore as several others of its kindred. 
We must here observe, that this bird has often been 
mistaken for others. The fact is, that several birds 
changing their plumage, and increasing or diminishing 
their size according to their age, the season of the year, 
and the climate they live in, set all nomenclators at 
defiance, and confound all classifications. 

THE GODWIT, (Limosa cegocephah,) 

Is met with in various parts of Great Britain, and is 
rather larger than the woodcock, which it much re- 
sembles in appearance. In spring and summer it resides 
in the fens and marshes, where it rears its young, and 
feeds on small worms and insects ; but in winter it seeks 
the salt marshes and the sea-shore, where it feeds upon 
the shell-fish and marine animals left by the retiring 
tide. A peculiarity belonging to this bird is the shape 
of its bill, which is a little turned upwards. The head, 
neck, and back are of a reddish brown ; the under part 
of the body white ; the legs dusky, and sometimes black. 
The Godwit is much esteemed by epicures as a great 
delicacy, and sells very high. It is caught in nets, to 
which it is allured by a stale or stuffed bird, in the same 
manner and in the same season as the ruffs and reeves. 

The Buff and, Beeve. 


THE BUFF AND EEEVE. (Machetes pugnax.) 

It is curious to see, in our observation of natural objects, 
how the creative power of Providence seems to have 
tried all forms and shapes in the composition of species. 
In the cock bird of this species a circle or collar of long 
feathers, somewhat resembling a ruff, encompasses the 
neck under the head, whence the bird has received the 
name of Buff. It is about a foot in length, with a bill 
about an inch long. There is a wonderful and almost 
infinite variety in the colours of the feathers of the males ; 
so that in spring there can scarcely be found two exactly 
alike ; but after moulting they become all alike again. 

The males are sometimes called Fighters, on account 
of their quarrelsome disposition. It is a bird of passage, 
and arrives in the fens of Lincolnshire, and other similar 
places, in the spring. Mr. Pennant tells us, that in the 
course of a single morning more than six dozen have 
been caught in one net, and that a fowler has been 
known to catch between forty and fifty dozen in a 



The female is called a Reeve, and its flesh is thought a 
great delicacy for the table. They are smaller than the 
cocks, and their feathers undergo no change. The Ruff 
and Keeve are taken in nets. They used to be seen 
in vast numbers in many parts of England, especially in 
the Isle of Ely and the Lincolnshire fens. The improve- 
ments in drainage and cultivation that have been made 
during the present century have deprived these birds of 
their accustomed haunts, and they are no longer common . 
A writer of the last century said he had seen the ground 
so covered with the nests and eggs of Plovers and Reeves 
that " one could scarce take a step without stepping on 
them." They are now most common on the shores of 
southern Scotland and of Northumberland. 

Reeves are fattened for the table by feeding them on 
boiled rice or wheat, bread and milk, hemp seed, &c. 
They are obliged to be kept in a dark room during the 
process, as the least gleam of light is the signal for a 
furious battle. 

The Snipe. 


THE SNIPE. (Scolopax gallinago.) 

" The Snipe flies screaming from the marshy verge, 
And towers in airy circles o'er the wood ; 
Still heard at intervals ; and oft returns, 
And stoops as bent to alight ; then wheels aloft 
With sudden fear, and screams and stoops again, 
Her favourite glade reluctant to forsake." Gisborne. 

Thk Snipe weighs about four ounces. A pale red line 
divides the head longways ; the chin under the bill is 
white ; the neck is a mixture of brown and red ; the 
lower part of the body is almost all white. The back 
and wings are of a dusky colour. The flesh is tender, 
sweet, and in flavour ranks next to that of the woodcock. 
Snipes feed especially upon small red worms, and 
insects, which they find in muddy and swampy places, 
on the banks of rivulets and brooks, and on the clayey 
margin of ponds. It is said that Snipes remain with us 
all the summer, and build in moors and marshes, laying 
four or five eggs ; but most of them are migratory, and, 
when forced by severe frosts to sheltered springs, are 
often seen in large flights. Mr. Daniel states that, 
about thirty years ago, Snipes were so abundant in the 
fens of Cambridgeshire, that as many were taken in 
Milton fen, by means of a lark-net, in one night, and by 
a single man, as could be contained in a small hamper. 



THE WOODCOCK, (Scolopax rusticola,) 

Is somewhat less than the partridge. The upper side 
of the body is party-coloured of red, black, and grey, 
and very beautiful. From the bill almost to the middle 
of the head it is of a reddish ash-colour. The lower 
part of the body is gre}', with transverse brown lines : 
under the tail the colour is somewhat yellowish ; the 
chin is white, with a tincture of yellow. Woodcocks are 
migratory birds, coming over into Britain in autumn, 
and departing again in the beginning of spring; they 
pair before they go, and are seen flying in braces. 

The colours of this timid bird render it difficult to 
discern him among the withered stalks and leaves of 
fern, sticks, moss, and grass, which form the background 
of the scenery, by which he is sheltered in his moist 
and solitary retreats. By habit only is the sportsman 
enabled to discover him, and his leading marks are the 
full eye and glossy silver white-tipped tail of the bird. 
The flesh is held in high estimation, and hence he is 
eagerly sought after. It is hardly necessary to observe 
that in dressing a Woodcock for the spit the entrails are 
not drawn, but are allowed to drop upon slices of toasted 
bread, and are relished as a delicious kind of sauce. 
By some late observations, it appears that several indi- 
viduals of the species remain with us the whole year. 
They frequent especially wet and swampy woods, the 
thick hedges near rivulets, and places affording them 

The Knot. 


their allotted food, which consists of very small insects 
found in the moist ground. 

" The Woodcock's early visit and abode 
Of long continuance, in our temperate clime, 
Foretell a liberal harvest." Philips. 

THE KNOT, (Tringa Canutus,) 

Is a small bird, whose head and back are of a dusky ash- 
colour, or dark grey ; while the lower part of the body 
is pure white, or white varied by black lines. The sides 
under the wings are spotted with brown. The bird weighs 
about four ounces and a half, and. generally makes its 
appearance in Lincolnshire in the beginning of winter, 
and abides there for two or three months, after which 
they fly off in flocks. They are caught in great numbers 
by nets, into which they are decoyed by carved wooden 
figures, painted to represent themselves, and placed 
within them, much in the same way as the ruff. When 
the knot is fat, its flesh is considered excellent food. It 
is also fattened for sale, and then considered equal to the 
ruff in flavour. The season for taking it is from August 
to November, after which the frost compels it to dis- 
appear. This bird is said to have been a favourite dish 
with Canute the Great ; and Camden observes that its 
name is derived from his — Knute, or Knout, as he was 
called — which, in process of time, has been changed to 



THE GREY PLOVER, (Squatarola cinerea,) 

Is about twelve inches long and twenty-four across the 
wings : the head, back, and coverts of the wings are 
black, with tips of a greenish white ; the chin white : 
the throat spotted with brown or dusky spots ; the breast 
and thighs white. The flavour of the flesh, when the 
bird is caught in the proper season, is delicate and 
savory ; at other times it is hard, and has a strong and 
rank taste. This bird is generally found in small packs, 
and is not nearly so common as the beautiful Golden 
Plover. The male becomes entirely black on the lower 
surface in the spring, or black interspersed with patches 
and spots of white. 

The Grey Plover is found in the northern parts 
of Europe, and, it is said, breeds in Egypt, Java, and 
Japan. Like the Ruff, it is an exceedingly quarrelsome 
bird, and fights fiercely in the spring. The young, 
when hatched, are covered with a thick, soft down, and 
immediately begin to follow their parents about and 
search for food. 

The Golden Plover. 



THE GOLDEN PLOVEE, (Charadrius pluvialis,) 

Is about the size of the former. The colour of the whole 
upper side is black, thick set with yellowish green spots ; 
the breast brown, with spots as on the back ; the body 
is white. The male of this species is also black beneath 
in the spring. The flesh is sweet and tender, and there- 
fore esteemed a choice dish in this and other countries. 

The Golden Plover feeds principally during the night, 
and during the day time may be seen sitting or stand- 
ing on the ground, asleep. The parent birds are very 
careful in guarding their young. When any intruder 
approaches their nest, they use all sorts of stratagems 
to divert his attention. 

The " Plover eggs," frequently seen at the tables of 
the opulent and luxurious, are not those of the Plover, 
but of the Lapwing. 




THE DOTTEEL, (Charadrius morinellus,) 

Is proverbially accounted a foolish bird, yet why so it is 
hardly possible to say. Its length is about ten inches ; 
the bill is not quite an inch long, and is black. The fore- 
head is mottled with brown and grey ; the top of the 
head is black ; and over each eye there is an arched line 
of white. The back and wings are a light brown ; the 
breast is a pale dull orange ; the middle of the body is 
black, and the rest and the thighs are of a reddish white. 
The tail is brown, black towards the end, and tipped with 
white. This bird is migratory, and makes its appear- 
ance in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and Derbyshire 
in April, but soon leaves those counties and passes on 
towards the north, breeding in the mountains of the 
north of England and Scotland. In April, and sometimes 
in September, Dottrels are seen in Wiltshire and Berk- 
shire. They are generally caught, like other birds, by 
night ; when, dazzled by the light of a torch, they are 
at a loss to know where to fly for safety, the whole place 
being in darkness, and generally select the very spot 
which they should avoid. Many ridiculous stories have 
been propagated about the gestures of this bird, and its 

The Lapwing. 371 

endeavouring to imitate the actions of the fowler, and 
thereby falling into the snare laid for him ; but they 
ought to be entirely disbelieved. 


( Vanellus cristatus.) 

This well-known bird is found in nearly all countries, 
and is of the size of a common pigeon. The female lays 
four or five eggs, of a yellow colour, varied all over with 
large black spots and strokes. Lapwings build their 
nests on the ground in the middle of some field or heath, 
open and exposed to view, laying only some few straws 
under the eggs : so soon as the young are hatched, they 
instantly forsake the nest, running away with the shell 
on their back, and following the mother, only covered 
with a kind of down, like young ducks. The parents 
have been impressed by nature with the most attentive 
love and care for their offspring ; for if the fowler, or 
any other enemy, should come near the nest, the female, 
panting with fear, lessens her call to make her enemies 
believe that she is much further off, and thereby deceives 
those that search for her brood ; she also sometimes pre- 
tends to be wounded, and utters a faint cry as she limps 
away, to lead the fowler from her nest. This bird is 
really beautiful, although it does not exhibit that gaudi- 
ness of colours of which other species of the feathered 
tribe can boast: it weighs about half-a-pound. The 
head, and the crest which elegantly adorns it, is black ; 

372 Birds. 

this crest, composed of unwebbed feathers, is about four 
inches in length. The back is of a dark green, glossed 
with blue shades ; the throat is black; the hinder part 
of the neck and the breast are white. The Lapwing, 
when in search of food, stamps with his feet upon the 
ground, and when the earth-worms, alarmed at the noise, 
appear, he seizes and devours them. His voice, on the 
swampy places along the sea-shores, heard at night, re- 
sembles the sound of peewit, or teewit, and hence his name 
in several parts of Great Britain ; he is also called the 
Great Plover by several ornithologists. This bird is one 
of those who attract the fowler's attention in winter: 

" With slaughtering gun th' unwearied fowler roves, 
When frosts have whiten'd all the naked groves ; 
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade, 
And lonely woodcocks haunt the watery glade. 
He lifts his tube, and levels with his eye ; 
Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky : 
Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath, 
The clamorous Lapwings feel the leaden death : 
Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare, 
They fall, and leave their little lives in air." Pope. 

The following anecdote, from Bewick's " History of 
Birds," exhibits the domestic nature of the Lapwing, as 
well as the art with which it conciliates the regard of 
animals materially differing from itself, and generally 
considered as hostile to every species of the feathered 
tribe. Two Lapwings were given to a clergyman, who 
put them into his garden ; one of them soon died, but 
the other continued to pick up such food as the place 
afforded, till winter deprived it of its usual supply. Ne- 
cessity soon compelled it to draw nearer to the house, by 
which it gradually became familiarised to occasional in- 
terruptions from the family. At length one of the ser- 
vants, when she had occasion to go into the back kitchen 
with a light, observed that the Lapwing always uttered 
his cry of " pee-wit," to obtain admittance. The bird 
soon grew more familiar ; as the winter advanced, he 
approached as far as the kitchen, but with much caution, 
as that part of the house was generally occupied by a 
dog and cat, whose friendship, however, the Lapwing at 


The Water-Hen. 373 

ength conciliated so entirely, that it was his regular 
custom to resort to the fireside as soon as it grew dark, 
and spend the evening and night with his two associates, 
sitting close by them, and partaking of the comforts of a 
warm hearth. As soon as spring appeared, he discon- 
tinued his visits to the house, and betook himself to the 
garden ; but, on the approach of winter, he had recourse 
to his old shelter and friends, who received him very 
cordially. Security was productive of insolence ; what 
was at first obtained with caution, was afterwards taken 
without reserve; he frequently amused himself with 
washing in the bowl which was set for the dog to drink 
out of; and while he was thus employed, he showed 
marks of the greatest indignation if either of his com- 
panions presumed to interrupt him. He died in the 
asylum he had thus chosen, being choked with something 
that he had picked up from the floor. 

THE WATER-HEN, (Gallinvla chhropus,) 

Is also called the Moor-Hen, on Moor-Coot, and the Galli- 
nide. The breast is of a lead-colour, the lower part of 
the body inclining to ash-colour, and the back dark olive 
brown. As she swims or walks, she often flirts up her 
tail. Water-hens feed upon aquatic plants and roots, 
and upon the small insects which adhere to them ; they 
grow fat about the latter end of September, and their 
flesh is then considered nearly equal to that of the teal ; 



yet it can seldom be entirely deprived of its fishy taste. 
They build their nests amongst reeds, long grass, roots, 
and stumps by the water-side, breeding twice or thrice 
in the course of a summer ; the eggs are white, with a 
tint of green, dashed with brown spots. 

There are very few countries in the world where 
these birds are not to be found. They generally prefer 
the cold mountainous regions in summer, and lower and 
warmer situations during winter. 

* The fish are leaping, and the Water-hen 
Dives up and down. A storm is coming on." 

Schiller. William Tell. 


(Ortygometra crex,) 

Is a migratory bird, appearing in England in April, and 
departing in October. At the time of its arrival it is 
very lean, but becomes excessively fat before it quits the 
island. Their favourite haunts are cold and humid 
upland districts, corn-fields in the vicinity of water, and 

The Corn-Crake. 375 

marshy grass-lands. Their cry is a peculiar roll of 
short notes, all in the same key and of the same length. 
The sound, crec, crec, crec, has been compared to the 
noise made by drawing the finger along the teeth of a 
comb. The legs of the Corn-Crake are unusually long 
for the size of the bird, and hang down while it is on 
the wing. Its flesh is greatly esteemed for its delicate 
flavour. This bird is never seen on the wing in this 
country, and is extremel}' difficult to capture ; they 
cannot be made to rise like partridges and many other 
birds, nor is it of much use to invade their cover. They 
glide through the corn, without the least perceptible 
rustle, and with wonderful rapidity, considering the size 
of the bird, and if ihe sportsman follows in the direction 
of the sound, it ceases for a while, and then, perhaps, is 
heard far in the rear ; if he follows it again, it is not 
long before the sound is heard setting in its former or 
some other direction. 

It is said by some writers that the Corn-Crake is a sort 
of natural ventriloquist, and can make his note appear 
to proceed from quite another direction than the spot in 
which he lies hid. It is probable, however, that the 
delusion arises from the astonishing swiftness with which 
the bird passes through the covers, where it is usually 
found. And as they can never be made to rise, the ob- 
server has very seldom the means of deciding whether the 
bird was in the place its cry seemed to proceed from or not. 

The nest is made in a hole in the ground, and is lined 
with dead leaves, moss, and other soft substances. There 
are generally ten, twelve, or fourteen eggs. The pecu- 
liar ciy by which the bird is recognised is only uttered 
during the period of incubation. 

Corn- Crakes are occasionally found to have a great 
fondness for water. An anecdote is related by Craven, 
in his "Young Sportsman's Manual," of a young bird of 
this species, in the possession of a Mr. Jervis, which had 
a remarkable partiality for water, in which it would 
dive and splash, as if unused to any other element. If 
the habits of this bird could be watched more closely, 
perhaps we should find that this fondness for water is 
not uncommon in its wild state. 



THE COOT. (Fulicaatra.) 

This bird has so many traits in its character, and so 
many features in its general appearance like the rails 
and water-hens, that to place it after them seems a 
natural and easy gradation ; and accordingly this has 
been done by Cuvier, though it was considered by 
Linnaeus to belong to a group distinct from those birds, 
and from the waders in general, on account of its being 
fin-footed, and its constant attachment to the waters, 
which, indeed, it seldom quits. The manner in which 
Coots build their nest is very ingenious. They form it 
of interwoven aquatic weeds, and place it among the 
rushes, in such a way that it may occasionally rise with, 
but not be washed away by, the stream : and if ever this 
accident happens, steady on her nest, the hen does not 
desert her brood, but follows with them the destiny of 
their floating cradle. This bird, in the figure and shape 
of its body, resembles the water-hen, and weighs about 
twenty-four ounces. The feathers about the head and 
neck are low, soft, and thick. The colour about the 
whole of the body is black, but of a deeper hue about 
the head. The sere rises upon the forehead in a peculiar 
manner, and appears as if Providence had designed it 
for a means of defence. It changes its whitish colour 
to a pale red or pink in the breeding season. Coots are 
very shy, and seldom venture abroad before dusk. When 
attacked, they defend themselves with their feet, and they 
do this so energetically, that sportsmen say, " Beware of 
a winged Coot, or he will scratch you like a cat." 

The Pelican. 


§ VII. Palmipedes, or Web-footed Birds. 

THE PELICAN, (Pelicarms onocrotalus,) 

Is in size about equal to the swan ; the colour of the 
body is white, inclining to pink ; the beak is straight 
and long, with a sharp hook at the end ; the skin of the 
lower mandible is so capable of distension, that it may 
be dilated to contain fish in large quantities. This pouch 
Providence has allotted to the bird, that he may bring 
to his eyrie sufficient food for several days, and save 
liimself the trouble of travelling through the air, and 
watching and diving so often. The legs are black, and 
the four toes palmated. It is a very indolent, inactive, 
and inelegant bird, often sitting whole days and nights 
on rocks or branches of trees, motionless and in a melan- 
choly posture, till the resistless stimulus of hunger spurs 

378 Birds. 

it on, and forces it to the sea in search of nourishment ; 
when thus excited to exertion, the Pelican flies from the 
spot, and, raising itself thirty or forty feet above the 
surface of the water, turns its head with one eye down- 
ward, and continues to fly in that position till it sees a 
fish near the surface. It then darts down with astonish- 
ing swiftness, seizes its prey with unerring certainty, 
and stores it in its pouch. Having done this, it rises 
into the air, and repeats the same action till it has pro- 
cured a sufficient stock. The Pelican is by no means 
destitute of natural affection, either towards its young 
ones or towards others of its own species. Clavigero, in 
his " History of Mexico," says, that sometimes the Ameri- 
cans, in order to procure, without trouble, a ssupply of 
fish, cruelly break the wing of a live Pelican, and, after 
tying the bird to a tree, conceal themselves near the 
place. The screams of the miserable bird attract other 
Pelicans to the place, which, he assures us, eject a por- 
tion of the provisions from their pouches for their impri- 
soned companion. As soon as the men observe this, they 
rush to the spot, and after leaving a small quantity for 
the bird, carry off the remainder. 

In America, Pelicans are often rendered domestic, and 
are so trained, that at command they go in the morning 
and return before night with their pouches distended with 
prey, part of which they are made to disgorge, while the 
rest is left them for their trouble. The bird is said to 
live sometimes a hundred years. 

Our forefathers attributed extraordinary affection to 
this bird, more than is attested by any save heraldic evi- 
dence. Thus, in several crests, it is represented in the 
act of feeding its young with its own blood, which it 
procures by striking its breast with the sharp point of 
its beak. And the ancients fully believed that in times 
of scarcity the female Pelican resorted to this means of 
supporting her brood. The nest of the Pelican is made 
with sedges and grass, close to the water's edge ; the 
female lays two or three white eggs, and the male is said 
to supply his partner with food while she is engaged in 
the work of incubation. 

The Cormorant. 379 

THE CORMORANT, (Phalacrocorax carbo,) 

Is a large water-bird, nearly allied to the pelican, pos- 
sessed with a very voracious appetite, and consequently 
of a very rapacious disposition. It lives upon all sorts of 
fish ; the fresh water and the briny waves of the sea 
both paying a large contribution to its craving stomach. 
The bill is about five inches in length, and of a dusky 
colour ; the predominant tints of the body are black 
beneath, and dark brown above ; on each thigh there 
is a white patch. The smell of these birds when alive 
is excessively rank and disagreeable ; and their flesh is 
so disgusting that even the Greenlanders, among whom 
they are very common, will scarcely eat it. They were 
formerly tamed in England for the purpose of catching 
fish, as falcons and hawks were for chasing the fleet inha- 
bitants of the air. This custom is still in practice in 
China. The birds are taken to the water in a boat, with 
leather thongs tied round their necks to prevent their 
swallowing the fish ; at the word of command they de- 
scend into the water, swim about, and dive in pursuit of 



prey, and bring whatever they capture to their owner's 
boat. Sometimes two Cormorants will unite their efforts 
to capture a large fish ; and if any of the birds neglect 
their business the man will slap on the water with a 
bamboo, as a schoolmaster does with his cane on the 
desk, to recall the idlers to a sense of their duty. This 
bird, although of the aquatic kind, is often seen, like the 
pelican, perched upon trees. Milton tells us that Satan 

On the tree of life, 

The middle tree, and highest there that grew, 
Sat like a Cormorant." 

In the year 1793, one of them was observed sitting on 
the vane of St. Martin's steeple, Ludgate Hill, London, 
and was shot there in the presence of a great number of 


(Phalacrocorax graculus,) 

Is of a dark green, with a singular tuft on the front of 

the head in the spring, 

It breeds in rocky caves on the 

The Gannet. 



(Sula bassana.) 

These birds are insatiably voracious, but are somewhat 
particular in their choice of prey ; disdaining, unless in 
great want, any food worse than herrings or mackerel. 
Xo fewer than one hundred thousand Gannets are sup- 
posed to frequent the rocks of St. Kilda ; and of these, 
including the young ones, at least twenty thousand are 
annually killed for food by the inhabitants. The Gannet 
is somewhat more than three feet in length, and weighs 
about seven pounds. The bill is six inches long, straight 
almost to the point, where it is a little bent; its edges 
are jagged, to enable it the better to secure its prey ; 
and about an inch from the base of the upper mandible 
there is a sharp process pointing forward. The general 

382 Birds. 

colour of the plumage is a dingy white, with a greyish 
tinge. Surrounding each eye there is a naked skin of a 
fine blue colour ; from the corner of the mouth a narrow 
slip of naked black skin extends to the hind part of the 
head ; and beneath the chin there is a pouch capable of 
containing five or six herrings. The neck is long ; the 
body flat, and very full of feathers. On the crown of 
the head, and the back part of the neck, is a small buff- 
coloured space. The quill-feathers, and some other parts 
of the wings, are black ; as are also the legs, except a fine 
pea-green stripe in front. The tail is wedge-shaped, and 
consists of twelve sharp-pointed feathers. 

These birds chiefly resort to those uninhabited islands 
where man seldom comes to disturb them. The islands 
to the north, Ailsa Craig, on the west coast of Scotland, 
the Skelig Islands, off the coasts of Kerry in Ireland, and 
those that lie in the North Sea off Norway, abound with 
them. But it is on the Bass Eock, in the Frith of Forth, 
that they are seen in the greatest abundance. " There is 
a small island," says the celebrated Harvey, " called the 
Bass, not more than a mile in circumference ; the surface 
is almost wholly covered during the months of May and 
June with the nests of the Solan Geese, their eggs, and 
their young. It is scarcely possible to walk without 
treading on them : the flocks of birds upon the wing are 
so numerous as to darken the air like a cloud ; and their 
noise is such, that one cannot without difficulty be heard 
by the person next to him. When one looks down upon 
the sea from the precipice, its whole surface seems covered 
with infinite numbers of birds of different kinds, swim-, 
ming and pursuing their prey. If, in sailing round the 
island, one surveys its hanging cliffs', in every crag or 
fissure of the broken rocks may be seen innumerable 
birds, of various sorts and sizes, more than the stars of 
heaven when viewed in a serene night. If they are 
viewed at a distance, either receding or in their ap- 
proach to the island, they seem like one vast swarm of 

The Swan. 


THE SWAN. (Cygnus dor.) 

" Fair is the Swan, whose majesty prevailing 
O'er breezeless water, on Locarno's lake, 
Bears him on, while, proudly sailing, 
He leaves behind a moon-illumined wake : 
Behold ! the mantling spirit of reserve 
Fashions his neck into a goodry curve — 
An arch thrown back between luxuriant wings 
Of whitest garniture, like fir-tree boughs, 
To which, on some unruffled morning, clings 
A flaky weight of winter's purest snows ! 
Behold ! as with a gushing impulse heaves 
That snowy prow, and softly cleaves 
The mirror of the crystal flood ; 
Vanish inverted hill, and shadowy wood, 
And pendent rocks, where'er in gliding state 
Winds the mute creature, without visible mate 
Or rival, save the queen of night, 
Showering down a silver light 
From heaven upon her chosen favourite !" 


The two best known species of this elegantly-formed 
and majestic bird are commonly known as the Wild and 


the Tame, or the Whooping and Mute, Swans. They 
may easily be recognised by the peculiarities of the bill : 
the Tame Swan has the bill orange-coloured, with its 
base black, and surmounted by a black knob ; the Wild 
Swan has no knob, and it is the tip instead of the base 
of the bill that is black. 

WHISTLING SWAN, (Cygnus ferus,) 

Is also a fine bird, with beautifully white plumage ; 
unlike the Tame Swan, which is nearly mute, it has 
a loud and rather melodious voice, which it utters fre- 
quently, as it flies along at a great height in the air, 
during its migrations. It is found in England in the 
winter, but resides all the year in the north of Scotland. 
Its favourite place for breeding is in the extreme north. 
The Tame Swan is the largest of our web- footed water- 
fowl, sometimes weighing about thirty pounds: the 
whole body of the full-grown Swan is covered with a 
beautiful pure white plumage, but the young ones are 
grey ; under the feathers is a thick, soft down, which 

The Wild Duck 385 

is of very great use, and often employed as an orna- 
ment. The elegance of form which this bird displays, 
when, with his arched neck and half- displayed wings, 
he sails along the crystal surface of a tranquil stream, 
which reflects, as he passes, the snowy beauty of his 
dress, is worthy of admiration. Thomson describes the 
Swan in the following beautiful manner: 
The stately sailing Swan 

Gives out his snowy plumage to the gale, 
And arching proud his neck, with oary feet, 
Bears forward fierce, and guards his osier isle, 
Protective of his young." 

Swans have for ages been protected on the river 
Thames as royal property ; and it continues at this day 
to be accounted felony to steal their eggs : by this means 
their increase is secured, and they prove a delightful 
ornament to that noble river. Latham says the estima- 
tion in which they were held, in the reign of Edward 
IV., was such, that only those who possessed a freehold 
of the clear yearly value of five marks were permitted 
even to keep any. In those times, hardly a piece of 
water was left unoccupied by these birds, as they gratified 
the palate as well as the eye of their lordly owners 
of that period : but the fashion of those days has passed 
away, and Swans are by no means as common now as 
they were formerly, being by most people accounted a 
coarse kind of food, and consequently held in little esti- 
mation : but the Cygnets (so the young Swans are called) 
are still fattened for the table, and are sold very high, 
commonly for a guinea each, and sometimes more ; 
hence it may be presumed they are better food than is 
generally imagined. 

At Abbotsbury there was generally a noble Swannery, 
the property of the Earl of llchester, where six or seven 
hundred birds were kept, but the collection has of late 
been much diminished. The Swannery belonged an- 
ciently to the abbot, and, previously to the dissolution 
of monasteries, the Swans frequently amounted to double 
the above number. 

From the whiteness of this bird, the expression of a 




" Black Swan " was used in ancient times as equivalent 
to a nonentity ; but a species nearly entirely black has 
been lately discovered in Australia. This bird is as 
large as the white Swan, and its bill is of a rich scarlet. 
The whole plumage (except the primaries and seconda- 
ries, which are white) is of the most intense black. 

Swans are very long lived, sometimes attaining the 
great age of a century and a half. 

THE WILD GOOSE. (Anser fetus.) 

" The farmer's Goose, who in the stubble 
Has fed without restraint or trouble, 
Grown fat with corn, and sitting still, 
Can scarce get o'er the barn-door sill ; 
And hardly waddles forth to cool 
Her body In the neighbouring pool ; 
Nor loudly cackles at the door, 
For cackling shows the Goose is poor. 


The Goose is very different in outward appearance from 
the last-named bird. Stupidity in her look, uncouth- 
ness in her walk, and heaviness in her flight are her 
principal characteristics. But why should we dwell 
upon these defects ? they are not such in the great scale 
of the creation. Her flesh feeds many, and is not dis- 
dained even by the great ; her feathers keep us warm ; 

The Wild Goose. 387 

and even the very pen I hold in my hand was plucked 
from her wing. 

These birds are kept in vast quantities in the fens 
of Lincolnshire ; several persons there having as many 
as a thousand breeders. They breed in general only 
once a year, but if well kept the}' sometimes hatch 
twice in a season. During their sitting, the birds have 
spaces allotted to each, in rows of wicker pens placed 
one above another; and the Goose-herd, who has the 
care of them, drives the whole flock to water twice a 
day, and bringing them back to their habitations, places 
every bird (without missing one) in its own nest. It is 
scarcely credible what numbers of Geese are driven 
from the distant counties to London for sale, frequently 
two or three thousand in a drove; and, in the year 1783, 
one drove passed through Chelmsford, in its way from 
Suffolk to London, that contained more than nine thou- 
sand. However simple in appearance or awkward in 
gesture the Goose may be, it is not without many marks 
of sentiment and understanding. The courage with 
which it protects its offspring and defends itself against 
ravenous birds, and certain instances of attachment, and 
even of gratitude, which have been observed in it, ren- 
der our general contempt of the Goose ill-founded. 

The Goose was held in great veneration among the 
Romans, as having by her watchfulness saved the 
Capitol from the attack of the Gauls. Virgil says, in 
the seventh book of the JEneid, 

" The silver goose before the shining gate 
There flew, and by her cackle saved the state." 


The colour of this useful bird is generally white ; 
though we often find them of a mixture of white, grey 
black, and sometimes yellow. The feet which are pal- 
mated, are orange-coloured, and the beak is serrated. 
The male of the Goose is called the Gander ; and the 
young ones Goslings. Geese are very long-lived, one is 
known to have lived above seventy years. 

The Wild Goose is the original of the tame one, and 
differs much in colour from her, the general tint of its 
feathers being a greyish black. Wild Geese fly by night 



in large flocks to more southern countries; and their 
clang is heard from the regions of the clouds, although 
the birds are out of sight. 

THE DUCK. (Anas bosdias.) 

The common Duck is of two kinds, the wild and the 
tame, the latter being but the same species altered by 
domestication ; the difference between them is very 
trifling, save that the colour of the Mallard, or male 
wild Duck, is constantly the same in all the individuals, 
whereas the Drakes, or tame ones, are varied in their 
plumage. The females do not share with the males in 
beauty of plumage : the admirable scarf of glossy green 
and blue, which surrounds the neck of Drakes and Mal- 
lards, being an exclusive prerogative of the male sex. 
There is also a curious and invariable peculiarity be- 
longing to the males, which consists of a few curled 
feathers rising upon the rump. 

The Eider Duck. 


Wild Ducks are caught by decoys in the fen countries, 
and in such prodigious numbers, that in only ten decoys 
in the neighbourhood of Wainfleet, as many as thirty- 
one thousand two hundred have been caught in one sea- 
son. They do not always build their nests close to the 
water, but often at a considerable distance from it; in 
which case the female will take the young ones in her 
beak, or between her legs, to the water. They have 
sometimes been known to lay their eggs in a high tree, 
in a deserted magpie's or crow's nest ; and an instance 
has been recorded of one being found at Etchingham, in 
Sussex, sitting upon nine eggs in an oak, at the height 
of twenty-five feet from the ground : the eggs were sup- 
ported by some small twigs laid cross-ways. 

The tame Ducks, reared about mills and rivers, or 
wherever there is a sufficient quantity of water for them 
to indulge their sports and to search for food, become a 
branch of trade, which proves very profitable to their 

THE EIDER DUCK, (Sornateria mollissima,) 
Which is found about the coasts of the north of England 

390 Birds. 

and Scotland, becomes more numerous as we go further 
north, and is most abundant on Iceland and the Arctic 
shores, both of Europe and America. This bird is par- 
ticularly valuable for the great quantity of down which 
it furnishes, as this is so light and elastic that beds and 
quilts made from it are preferable to any others. The 
birds line their nests with this beautiful material plucked 
from their own bodies, and it is chiefly by plundering 
the nests that the down is obtained. Each nest will 
furnish about half a pound of down in the season, and it 
is worth about four dollars a pound. 

THE WIDGEON, (Mar eca Penelope,) 

Weighs about twenty-two ounces, and feeds upon grass 
and roots growing at the bottom of lakes, rivers, and 
ponds. The plumage of this bird is much variegated, 
and its flesh esteemed a great delicacy, though not so 
highly praised as that of the teal. The bill of the 
Widgeon is black ; the head and upper part of the neck 
of a bright bay ; the back and sides under the wing 
waved with black and white ; the breast purple ; the 
lower part of the body white, and the legs are dusky. 
The young of both sexes are grey, and continue in this 
plain garb till the month of February ; after which a 
change takes place, and the plumage of the male begins 
to assume its rich colourings, in which, it is said, he 
continues till the end of July; and then again the 

The Teal. 


feathers become dark and grey, so that he is hardly to 
be distinguished from the female. 

Widgeons commonly fly in small flocks during the 
night, and may be known from other birds by their 
whistling note, while they are on the wing. They quit 
the desert morasses of the north on the approach of 
winter, and as they advance towards the ends of their 
destined southern journey, they spread themselves along 
the shores, and over the marshes and lakes, in various 
parts of the continent, as well as those of the British 
isles ; and it is said that some of the flocks advance as 
far south as Egypt. 

The Widgeon is easily domesticated in places where 
there is plenty of water, and is much admired for its 
beauty, sprightly look, and busy, frolicsome manners; 
yet it is generally asserted that they will not breed in 
confinement, or at least that the female will not make a 
nest and perform the act of incubation ; but that she will 
lay eggs, which are generally dropped into the water. 

THE TEAL, (Querquedula crecca,) 

Is the least of the duck tribe, weighing only twelve 
ounces. The lower part of the body is of a dingy white, 
inclining to a grey tint. The back and sides under the 
wings are curiously varied with lines of white and black; 
the wings are all over brown, and the tail of the same 
colour. This bird is common in England during the 
winter months, and it is still uncertain whether it does 
not breed here as it does in France. Dr. Heysham says 
it is known to breed in the neighbourhood of Carlisle. 
The female makes her nest of reeds interwoven with 

392 Birds. 

grass ; and, as it is reported, places it among the rushes, 
in order that it may rise and fall with the water. Their 
eggs are of the size of those of a pigeon, six or seven in 
number, and of a dull white colour, marked with small 
brownish spots ; but it appears that they sometimes lay 
ten or twelve eggs, for Buffon remarks that that number 
of young are seen in clusters on the pools, feeding on 
cresses, chervil, and some other weeds, as well as upon 
seeds and small insects that swarm in the water. The 
flesh of the Teal is a great delicacy in the winter season, 
and has less of the fishy flavour than any of the wild 
duck kind. It is known to breed and remain through- 
out the year in various temperate climates of the world, 
and is in the summer met with as far northward as 

THE COMMON GULL. (Laruscanus.) 

The Gulls, of which there are a great many different 
kinds, are very common birds around our coasts and at 
the mouths of rivers; they have long wings, and fly 
with great rapidity and buoyancy. Their plumage is 
thick, and they float very lightly on the surface of the 
water, but do not dive. The Gulls are very voracious, 
and not only devour great quantities of fishes, shell- 
fish, and other marine animals, but even condescend to 
feed upon the dead bodies of animals which they find 
floating on the water or cast up on the shore. Some of 
the smaller kinds come inland, and catch insects on the 
wing, in the same way as the Swallows. 

The Common Gull is rather a large species, being 
more than eighteen inches in length when full grown. 
Its plumage is pearly grey above and white beneath ; 
the largest wing feathers are black, with white tips 
and white spots near the tip ; and the bill and feet are 
greenish grey. This bird breeds in the salt marshes or 
on the ledges of cliffs. The female lays two or three 
eggs, which are olive brown, with dark brown and black 

It is a very pretty sight to watch from the top of a 
lofty cliff the multitudes of these birds that often haunt 

r»nv nnocf 

The Stormy Petrel 393 

our coasts ; gliding with beautiful ease and swiftness 
through the air, skimming the surface of the water in 
pursuit of their prey, or reposing upon its bosom. 
Even their rather harsh and discordant cry is in har- 
mony with the wild and imposing heights on which 
they love to dwell. This, however, does not protect 
them from the frequenters of our seaside towns, with 
whom seagull shooting is a favourite amusement ; an 
amusement the more to be reprehended as the flesh of 
the bird is quite useless. 

Gulls are frequently caught alive, and, after having 
their wings clipped to prevent their escape, are kept to 
satisfy their voracious appetite on snails, slugs, and 
other garden pests. 


CHICKEN. (Thalassidroma pelagica.) 

" O'er the deep ! o'er the deep ! 
Where the whale, and the shark, and the sword-fish sleep, 
Outflying the blast and the driving rain, 
The petrel telleth her tale in vain ; 
For the mariner curseth the warning bird, 
Who bringeth him news of the storm unheard ! 
Oh ! thus does the prophet, of good or ill, 
Meet hate from creatures he serveth still ; 
Yet he ne'er falters : — So, Petrel ! spring 
Once more o'er the waves on thy stormy wing." Procter. 

The Stormy Petrel is not larger than a swallow; and its 

394 Birds. 

colour is entirely black, except the coverts of the tail, the 
tail itself, and the vent-feathers, which are white : its legs 
are slender. Banging over the expanse of the ocean, and 
frequently at a vast distance* from the land, this bird is 
able to brave the utmost fury of the storms. Even in 
the most tempestuous weather it is frequently observed 
by the mariners skimming with almost incredible velo- 
city along the billows, and sometimes over their summits. 
They often follow vessels in great flocks, to pick up any- 
thing that is thrown overboard ; but their appearance is 
looked upon by the sailors as the sure presage of stormy 
weather in the course of a few hours. It seems to seek 
protection from the fury of the wind in the wake of the 
vessels ; and it is probable that for the same reason it 
often flies between two surges. The nest of this bird is 
found in the Orkney Islands, under loose stones, in the 
months of June and July. It lives chiefly on small 
fish; and although mute by day, it is very clamorous 
by night. The young of this bird are fed with an oily 
matter or chyle, which is ejected from the stomachs of 
the parents. 

Mudie, in his very entertaining work on British Birds, 
says that they are called Petrels, or "little Petrels," be- 
cause they move along the surface as if they were literally 
walking on the water. He also informs us that they are 
at times very full of oil, and that the Faroese, taking ad- 
vantage of this circumstance, convert them into lamps, 
by fixing them in an upright position and drawing a 
wick through their bodies, which thej' light at the 

The Fulmar. 


THE FULMAK, (Procellaria glacialis,) 

Is a larger kind of Petrel, which is found not uncom- 
monly on the British coasts, and is exceeding abundant 
in the Arctic seas. Here it is a regular attendant upon 
the whale-fishers when they are engaged in cutting up 
a whale. Any fragments of blubber that happen to fall 
into the water are immediately snapped by these greedy 
birds, which clamour and squabble over the feast with so 
little regard to the vicinity of the sailors, that they may 
be knocked on the head with a boat-hook. They are in 
high estimation in the countries they inhabit, on ac- 
count of the large amount of oil they contain. It is 
only rarely they are seen in England, nor do they regu- 
larly frequent any part of Great Britain, except a few 
of the northernmost islands of Scotland. Like the 
other Petrels, they feed their young with a sort of oil, 
which they have the power of exuding at will. 

396 Birds. 

THE ALBATEOSS, (Diomedea exulans,) 

Also resembles the diminutive Petrels in some respects ; 
but instead of being a pigmy it is a giant among birds. 
Its wings often measure as much as fifteen feet in extent 
and are of corresponding power, as they have to support 
the Albatross by the day together above the stormy 
waves of the great Southern Ocean. Indeed, so enor- 
mous is their strength and endurance, that they have 
been known to follow ships for whole days together, 
without once resting upon the water. From time to 
time the gigantic bird plunges down into the sea to 
capture the fishes with which he satisfies his hunger ; 
and it is said that where Albatrosses are numerous 
they will even attack sailors who may happen to fall 
overboard. From their abundance at the Cape of Good 
Hope they are often called by mariners Cape sheep. 

Albatrosses generally weigh from twenty to thirty 
pounds. The plumage is white, except some narrow 
bars upon the back, and some of the long wing feathers, 
which are black, and of the head, which is a reddish 
grey. The beak is long and powerful, and curved at 
the end, and would be a most terrible weapon if the 
owner were of a pugnacious disposition. It is, however, 
quite inoffensive, and is even sometimes attacked by 
much smaller birds, when it invariably takes to flight, 
and the immense power of its wings generally enables 
it to distance its pursuers. The Albatross, like most 
sea birds, has a most insatiable appetite, and devours 
immense quantities, not only of fish, but of other sea- 
animals, — such as molluscs. They are so greedy that 
they are caught by a line baited with a piece of flesh, 
which the ever-hungry bird swallows at a gulp, paying 
with his life for the dear repast. They are taken by 
the natives of the countries they frequent, not for their 
flesh, which is tough and insipid, but for the sake of 
their entrails, which are very large and elastic, and 
are used for a number of useful purposes. 

The Great Northern Diver. 


(Colymhus glacialis.) 
The Great Northern Diver is found most abundantly in 
the Arctic seas, but a considerable number of them dwell 
on the shores of Scotland. It has a rather long, strong, 
and sharply pointed bill ; its back and wings are black, 
ornamented with numerous white spots; its lower 
surface is greyish-white; and its head and neck are 
black, with a couple of white collars across the front of 
the neck. The Great Northern Diver is a large bird, 
measuring nearly three feet in length; its wings are 
small in proportion to its size, but^yet the bird is able 
to fly very rapidly. It is, however, in the water that 
it is most active ; it swims and dives with the most re- 
markable ease, and even under water goes as fast as a 
four-oared boat. Its food consists of fishes, and it breeds 
amongst the herbage of the sea-shore, the female laying 
two or three eggs in a neat nest made of grass. 



THE PUFFIN, (Fratercula arctica,) 

Is another short-winged water bird, but, unlike the 
Northern Diver, it visits us in the summer, and breeds 
on our shores. It is about a foot long, and has the back 
and wings black, the cheeks and all the lower parts of 
the body, except a band round the neck, white, and the 
feet orange. Its bill is very curious, and has obtained 
for it the names of Sea Parrot and Coulterneb in some 
places. This organ is large and strong, but flattened at 
the sides ; it is of a bluish colour, with three grooves and 
four ridges of an orange colour. The Puffin flies swiftly, 
and swims and dives almost as well as the Great Diver ; 
it breeds sometimes in crannies amongst the rocks, and 
sometimes in a hole which it digs in the turf or in a 

The Great Auk. 


THE GKEAT AUK, (Aim impennis,) 

Which is sometimes called the Northern Penguin, is a 
large bird, furnished with very small wings, which, 
although formed of regular feathers, like those of other 
birds, are far too weak to raise their owner into the air. 
They are, however, of use in another way. When the 
Auk dives, which it frequently does, they serve as fins, 
and, with its powerful webbed feet, enable it to swim un- 
derneath the water with even greater rapidity than on 
the surface. This bird was formerly seen occasionally 
on the northern coasts of Britain, and became more 
plentiful towards the Arctic seas ; but no specimens 
have now been met with for many years, and there 
is reason to believe that the bird is quite extinct on 
our coasts. In#the water the Great Auk, like the Diver, 
is wonderfully active, swimming on the surface or 
beneath the waves with equal ease. Mr. Bullock, when 
in the Orkneys, pursued a male bird for several honors 
in a six-oared boat without being able to kill him. 

The Great Auk is generally about three feet long, and 
changes its plumage in summer. The breeding-season 
is in June and July, when the female lays one large 
egg, of a yellowish colour, marked with black spots. 



v>: s-<W+ - 

THE PENGUIN, (Speniscus demersus,) 

Of which numerous species abound on the shores and 
islands of the great Southern Ocean, is remarkable for 
its almost incredible agility in the water ; it swims and 
dives like a^fish, and in fact is described as coming to 
the surface for air, and descending again so suddenly 
as to give rise to the impression that it is a fish jumping 
in sport. It is found in vast numbers in hiding places, 
where the females are seen sitting upright and holding 
their single egg between their legs. 

Book III. 


§ I. Cetacea, or Sea Mammalia. 


(Balama mysticetus.) 

" Nature's strange work, vast Whales of different form, 
Toss up the troubled flood, and are themselves a storm ; 
Uncouth the sight, when they in dreadful play, 
Discharge their nostrils, and refund a sea ; 
Or angry lash the foam with hideous sound, 
And scatter all the watery dust around ; 
Fearless, the fierce destructive monsters roll, 
Ingulf the fish, and drive the flying shoal ; 
In deepest seas these living isles appear, 
And deepest seas can scarce their pressure bear ; 
Their bulk would more than fill the shelvy strait, 
And fathom'd depths would yield beneath their weight." 

The Whale is not properly a fish ; since, though it lives 


402 Fishes. 

in the sea, and has fins and a tail instead of legs and feet, 
it resembles in most other respects a seal, and differs from 
fishes, properly so called, in many important points. In- 
deed, it is always included in the class Mammalia, by 
zoologists, as it brings forth its young alive, and nourishes 
them with its milk ; and hence a conceited person, who 
said he knew every fish from the shrimp to the Whale, 
was justly laughed at, as neither the Whale nor the 
shrimp are included in the fishes by zoologists. 

The general form of the Whale's body is that of a fish ; 
but the tail is placed horizontally instead of vertically, 
and the skeleton of the fins exactly resembles that of a 
hand affixed to a contracted arm, though it is covered 
with so thick a skin that no trace of the formation of the 
bones can be discovered externally. There are only two 
fins, which are very small, and close to the head. The 
Whale, however, differs from fishes most materially in its 
having warm blood ; and in its lungs, which are exactly 
the same as those of quadrupeds. Hence, though the 
Whale can remain a long time under water without 
breathing, it is compelled to come to the surface when- 
ever it does breathe, and for this purpose it is furnished 
with two large nostrils, or blow-holes as they are called. 
The blow-holes are most beautifully and curiously con- 
trived to close when the animal sinks under water ; so 
that not a drop of water can enter the lungs, however 
great the pressure may be. The Whale is also provided 
with a very thick skin, containing an immense quantity 
of liquid oil, called the blubber, which is so easily de- 
tached from the flesh, that when a Whale is killed, the 
blubber, which is sometimes two feet thick, is taken off 
by passing a common spade between it and the body. 
This thick oily skin is a non-conductor of heat, and is 
thus admirably adapted for preventing ihe warm blood 
of the Whale from being chilled by the cold of the water. 
The true fishes, which are unprovided with such a cover- 
ing, have cold blood, and are therefore not susceptible of 

The common AJhale has no teeth in either jaw, but its 
mouth is furnished with a kind of fringe of numerous 
long horny lamina^ which are what we call whalebone, 

The Common, or Greenland Whale. 403 

and which form a kind of strainer, admitting only the 
small fish on which the Whale feeds. This Whalebone 
is one of the valuable products of the whale, though the 
oil is most important. 

'* As when enclosing harpooners assail, 
In hyperborean seas, the slumbering Whale ; 
Soon as the javelins pierce the scaly side, 
He groans, he darts impetuous down the tide ; 
And, rack'd all o'er with lacerating pain, 
He flies remote beneath the flood in vain." 


Whales are taken in great numbers about Spitzbergen, 
Greenland, and other northern countries by the English, 
the Dutch, &c. Considerable fleets of ships are sent out 
every spring for this purpose. When they begin their 
fishery, each ship is fastened or moored with nose-hooks 
to the ice. Two boats, each manned with six men, are 
ordered by the commodore to look out for the coming of 
the fish for two hours, when they are relieved by two 
more, and so by turns ; the two boats lie at some small 
distance from the ship, each separated from the other, 
fastened to the ice with their boat-hooks, ready to let go 
in an instant at the first sight of the Whale. Here the 
dexterity of the A\ hale hunters is to be admired ; for as 
soon as the animal shows itself, every man is at his oar, 
and they all rush on the Whale with prodigious swift- 
ness ; at the same time taking care to come behind its 
head, that it may not see the boat, which sometimes so 
alarms it, that it plunges down again before they have 
time to strike it. But the greatest care is to be taken of 
the tail, with which it many times does very great 
damage, both to the boats and seamen. The harpooner, 
who is placed at the head or bow of the boat, seeing the 
back of the Whale, and making the onset, thrusts the 
harpoon with all his might into its body by the help of 
a staff fixed to the iron for this purpose, and leaves it in, 
a line being fastened to it of about two inches in circum- 
ference, and one hundred and thirty-six fathoms long. 
Every boat is furnished with seven of these lines, from 
the motion of which, when let run, they, observe the 
course of the Whale. 

404 Fishes. 

As soon as the Whale is struck, the third man in the 
boat holds up his oar, with something on the top, as a 
signal to the ship ; at the sight of which the man who is 
appointed to watch gives the alarm to those that are 
asleep, who instantly let fall their other four boats, which 
hang on the tackles, two at each side, ready to let go at 
a minute's warning, all furnished with six men each, 
harpoons, lances, lines, &c. Two or three of these boats 
row to the place where the AVhale may be expected to 
come up again; the others to assist the boat that first 
struck it with line ; as the Whale will sometimes run 
out three more boats' lines, all fastened to each other, for 
when the lines of the first boat are almost run out, they 
throw the end to the second to be fastened to theirs, and 
the second boat does the same to the third, and so on. 
In this manner line is supplied to such an extent that 
a large Whale has been known to carry off three miles 
of it. 

A Whale, when he is first struck, will run out above a 
hundred fathoms of line, before the harpooner is able to 
take a turn round the boat's stern ; and with such swift- 
ness that a man stands ready to throw water on the line 
to quench it, in case it should take fire, which it frequently 
does. There was, many years ago, a boat to be seen in 
the South Sea Dock at Deptford, the head of which was 
sawed off by the swiftness of the line running out. The 
harpoon would be of but little avail in the destruction of 
this animal ; but part of the rowers, either at the first 
onset, or when, in order to fetch his breath, he rises to 
the surface and discovers himself to view, throwing aside 
their oars, and taking up their very sharp lances, thrust 
them into his body, till they see him spurt the blood 
through the blow-holes, the sight of which is a sign of 
the creature's being mortally wounded. The fishermen, 
upon the killing of a Whale, are each entitled to some 
small reward. After the Whale is killed, they cut all 
the lines that were fastened to it, and then cut off the 
tail ; upon this it instantly turns on its back ; and in this 
manner they tow it to the ship, where they fasten ropes 
to keep it from sinking ; and, when it is cold, begin to 
cut off the blubber. 

The Common, or Greenland Whale. 405 

The blubber of a Whale is frequently found to be 
eighteen or twenty inches thick ; which yields fifty or 
sixty puncheons of oil, each puncheon containing seventy- 
four gallons ; and the upper jaw yields about six hundred 
pieces of whalebone, most of which are about twelve feet 
long, and six or eight inches broad ; the whole produce 
of a Whale being worth one thousand pounds, more or 
less, according to the size of the animal. Whilst the men 
are at work on the back of the Whale they have spurs 
on their boots, with two prongs, which come down on 
each side of their feet, lest they should slip, the back of 
the Whale being very slippery. 

When the Whale feeds, it swims with considerable 
velocity below the surface of the sea, with its jaws widely 
extended. A stream of water consequently enters its 
mouth, carrying along with it immense quantities of 
cuttle-fish, sea-blubber, shrimps, and other small marine 
animals. The water escapes at the sides ; but the food is 
entangled, and, as it were, sifted by the fringe of whale- 
bone within the mouth ; this kind of strainer is rendered 
necessary by the very small gullet, which in a Whale 
of sixty feet long, does not exceed four inches in width, 
The sailors say that a penny-loaf would choke a Whale. 

The Whale bellows fearfully when wounded or in dis- 
tress. Its young is called a cub. 

There is also an extensive Whale fishery in the 
Southern Ocean, carried on chiefly by the Americans. 
The Whale found in those seas is distinct from the 
Greenland Whale, and is described by naturalists under 
the name of Balcena Australis. 


The Rorqual— The Spermaceti Wliale. 407 


(Balcenoptera boops,) 

Is a very large Whale, specimens sometimes measuring 
as much as one hundred feet in length. It is distinguished 
by its smaller head, and by the existence of a sort of fin 
on the lower part of its back. The Rorqual is found in 
the northern seas, and specimens are sometimes seen off 
our coasts. It is not of much value, as it furnishes far 
less blubber than the common Whale, and the baleen or 
whalebone is so short as to be useless. 


(Physeter macrocephalus.) 

This animal has teeth in the lower jaw onl} r ; and no 
whalebone. The substance called spermaceti is extracted 
from its immense head, which is nearly half the size of 
the entire animal ; and the throat is so large that it could 
swallow a shark. 

The quantity of oil produced from the Spermaceti 
Whale is not so considerable as that obtained from the 
common or Greenland Whale, but in quality it is far 
preferable, as it yields a bright flame, without exhaling 
any nauseous smell. The substance known by the' 

408 Fishes. 

name of ambergris is also obtained from the body of 
this animal. It is generally found in the stomach, but 
sometimes in the intestines ; and, in a commercial point 
of view, is a highly valuable production. The sper- 
maceti is in a fluid state while the animal is living, and 
as soon as it is dead a hole is made in the head, and the 
liquid taken out with buckets. It becomes solid as it 
cools, and it is afterwards made into candles, &c. 

When we reflect that the same Power whose will has 
formed the immense bulk of this marine monster has 
also given animation, senses, and passions to the smallest 
of the microscopic animalcules, how lowered must be 
the pride of man, who, standing in the middle, and 
nearly at equal distance from both, is yet unable to 
comprehend the mechanism which puts them in motion, 
and much less that intelligence and power which has 
given them life, and has assigned to them their respec- 
tive stations in the universe ! Let us then exclaim, 
with astonishment and gratitude, with the Psalmist : 
" O Lord, how inscrutable are thy ways, how magnifi- 
cent thy works !" 

THE DOLPHIN. (Delpliinus delphis.) 

This animal, like the whale, is not considered a fish, 
though it lives in the water, as it has warm blood and 
suckles its young, which are born alive. It has also 
lungs instead of gills, and is therefore obliged to raise 
its head above the surface of the water to breathe. 
The Dolphin is from six to ten feet in length. The 

The Dolphin. 409 

body is roundish, gradually diminishing towards the 
tail; the nose is long and pointed, the skin smooth, 
the back black or dusky blue, becoming white below. 
It has numerous small teeth in each jaw ; a dorsal and 
two pectoral fins, and a tail in the shape of a crescent. 
The beak-like snout has probably made the French call 
the Dolphin the sea-goose. 

Several curious stones have been related of this animal, 
most of which are fabulous. The anecdote of Arion, the 
musician, who, being thrown overboard by pirates, was 
indebted for his life to one of these animals, is well 
known, and acquired great credit among ancient poets, 
as it was said to be by his music that Arion charmed 
the Dolphin. There are several other fables mentioned 
by ancient authors to prove the philanthropy of the 
Dolphin. Since the province of Dauphine in France 
has been united to the crown, the heir-apparent has 
been called " Dauphin," and quarters a Dolphin on his 
shield. Falconer, in his beautiful poem, " The Ship- 
wreck," describes the death of the Dolphin in the fol- 
lowing elegant manner : 

" Beneath the lofty vessel's stern 

A shoal of sporting dolphins they discern, 
Beaming from burnished scales refulgent rays, 
Till all the glowing ocean seems to blaze. 
In curling wreaths they wanton on the tide ; 
Now bound aloft, now downward swiftly glide. 
Awhile beneath the waves their tracks remain, 
And bum in silver streams along the liquid plain ; 
Soon to the sport of death the crew repair, 
Dart the long lance, or spread the bated snare. 
One in redoubling mazes wheels along, 
And glides, unhappy, near the triple prong. 
Ilodmond, unerring, o'er his head suspends 
The barbed steel, and every turn attends : 
Unerring aim'd, the missile weapon flew, 
And plunging, struck the fated victim through. 
The upturning points his pond'rous bulk sustain ; 
On deck he struggles with convulsive pain ; 
But while his heart the fatal javelin thrills, 
And fleeting life escapes in sanguine rills, 
What radiant changes strike the astonish d sight, 
What glowing hues of mingled shade and light ! 
No equal beauties gild the lucid west 
With parting beams all o'er profusely dressed ; 



No lovelier colours paint the vernal dawn, 
When orient dews impearl the enamell'd lawn ; 
Than from his sides in blight suffusion flow, 
That now with gold empyreal seem to glow ; 
Now in pellucid sapphires meet the view, 
And emulate the soft celestial hue ; 
Now beam a flaming crimson to the eye, 
And now assume the purple's deeper dye : 
But here description clouds each shining ray ; 
What terms of art can Nature's power display ? " 

Unfortunately for poetr} T , the beautiful colours of the 
dying Dolphin exist entirely in the fancy of the poet ; 
as the Dolphin in a dying state displays no tints but 
black and white, and it is believed that the notion so 
prevalent among the ancients of the change of colour in 
this animal was derived from a true fish, the Dorado, 
which does exhibit this phenomenon. 

THE WHITE WHALE. {Beluga leucas.) 

The White Whale, or Beluga, is included among the 
dolphins. The body is white, tinged with yellow, or 

The Wliite Whale, 


rose-colour, and its proportions are more agreeable than 
those of most of the cetacea. It measures from twelve 
to eighteen feet in length. .White Whales are gregarious, 
assembling in flocks or herds, and playing about with 
rapid and graceful movements. The female has two 
young ones at a time, over which she watches with the 
greatest apparent affection. They follow all her move- 
ments, and do not quit her till they are nearly full grown. 
This Whale is generally confined to the northern lati- 
tudes, though one was taken in the Firth of Forth in 
1815. The oil is of excellent quality, and the flesh eats 
like beef. According to some writers the flesh, when 
pickled with vinegar and salt, is as well tasted as pork ; 
and thus the body, which is generally thrown away when 
the sailors have cut off the blubber, might be used by 
them as food. The internal membranes are used by the 
Greenlanders for windows, and the sinews for thread, and 
the fins and tail, when properly prepared, are said by 
some of the old writers to be good eating. 

412 Fishes. 


THE POEPOISE. (Phoccena vulgaris.) 

The Porpoise is one of the cetacea, and nearly allied to 
the dolphin, but it has not the beaked snout of that 
animal. The length of the Porpoise, from the tip of the 
snout to the end of the tail, is from four to eight feet, 
and its girth about two feet and a half. The figure of 
the whole body is conical ; the colour of the back is 
deep blue, inclining to shining black: the sides are 
grey, becoming white below. The tail is crescent- 
shaped. There are only three fins, one on the back, 
and one on each shoulder. The eyes are very small. 
When the flesh is cut up, it looks very much like pork ; 
but although it was once considered a sumptuous article 
of food, and is said to have been occasionally introduced 
at the tables of the old English nobility, it certainly has 
a disagreeable flavour. Porpoises live on small fish, and 
appear generally in large shoals, particularly in the 
mackerel and herring seasons, at which time they do 
very great damage to fishermen, by breaking and destroy- 
ing the nets to get at their prey. Their motion in the 
water is a kind of circular leap ; they dive deep, but 
soon again rise up in order to breathe. They are so 
eager in the pursuit of their prey, that they sometimes 
ascend large rivers, and have even been seen above West- 

The Porpoise. 413 

minster Bridge. They have no gills, and blow out the 
water with a loud noise, which in calm weather may 
be heard at a great distance. They are seen nearly in 
all seas, and are very common upon the British coasts, 
where they sport with great activity, chiefly at the 
approach of a squall. 

The Grampus (Phocoena Oreo) is a species of Torpoise, 
and a decided and inveterate enemy to whales ; which 
they attack in great flocks, fastening round them like 
so many bull-dogs, making them roar with pain, and 
frequently killing and devouring them. They are 
usually from twenty to twenty-five feet in length, and 
in general form and colour resemble the common Por- 
poise ; but the lower jaw is considerably wider than 
the upper, and the body is somewhat broader and more 
deep in proportion. The back-fin sometimes measures 
six feet in length. In one of the poems of Waller, a 
story (founded on fact) is recorded of the parental 
affection of these animals. A Grampus and her cub 
had got into an arm of the sea, where, by the desertion 
of the tide, they were enclosed on every side. The men 
on shore saw their situation, and ran down upon them 
with such weapons as they could at the moment collect. 
The poor animals were soon wounded in several places, 
so that all the immediately surrounding water was 
stained with their blood. They made many efforts to 
escape; and the old one, by superior strength, forced 
itself over the shallow into the ocean. But though in 
safety herself she would not leave her young one in the 
hands of assassins. She therefore again rushed in ; and 
seemed resolved, since she could not prevent, at least 
to share the fate of her offspring. The story concludes 
with poetical justice ; for the tide coming in, conveyed 
them both off in safety ; and it is probable, from the 
great thickness of their skins, that their wounds had 
not been very deep. 

414 Fishes. 


(Monodon monoceros,) 

A marine animal, differing from all the cetacea, to which 
it belongs, in not having any teeth, properly so called, 
and in being armed with a horn of seven or eight feet 
in length, which projects from the head. This horn is 
white, spirally twisted throughout its whole length, 
and tapering to a point : it is harder, whiter, and more 
valuable than the ivory of the elephant, and was for- 
merly in high repute for its supposed medical proper- 
ties : small ones may be sometimes seen set with an 
elegant head as a walking-stick, and large specimens 
have been employed as bed-posts. The animal itself 
is from twenty to forty feet in length, and is occasionally 
found with two horns; indeed, there is always the 
genu of a second horn both in the male and female, 
though it is rarely developed in the former, and never 
in the latter, from which we may conjecture that the 
females trust entirely to the males for their defence, as 
we know is the case with several of the mammalia. 
When there is only one horn, it is always on the left 
side of the head ; and when there are two, the horn on 
the left side is always larger than the other. This 
animal chiefly inhabits the arctic seas, and its food is 
said to consist of the smaller kinds of flat fish and other 
marine animals ; its horn is useful in breaking away 
the ice when it wants to come up to breathe. The 
blubber supplies a small quantity of very fine oil, and 
the Greenlanders are very partial to the flesh. 

The Manatee, 


THE MANATEE, (Manatus Australis,) 

Also called the Sea Cow, is a great deal smaller than 
the other cetacea just described, and differs from them 
in its diet, which consists entirely of marine plants. 
It haunts the coasts and estuaries of South America, 
and measures nine or ten feet in length ; its head is 
comparatively small, its jaws are furnished only with 
grinding-teeth, of which it has thirty-two, its skin is 
provided with a good many scattered bristles, and its 
nippers, 'or fins, with four small nails. This animal 
not un frequently raises its head and shoulders out of 
the water, when it is said to have some resemblance to 
a human being, and it is probable that the distant view 
of a nearly related species, the Lamantin, which inhabits 
the shores of Africa, may have given the ancients their 
first notion of the Mermaid. The Manatee is captured 
with harpoons, and its flesh is said to be very good 
eating. When salted and dried it will keep for a year. 
It also furnishes an excellent oil, and its skin is used 
for making harness and whips. The Dugong (Halicore 
Dugong) is a very similar animal, inhabiting the eastern 
seas. It grows to a length of eighteen or twenty feet. 

416 Fishes. 

II. Cartilaginous Fishes. 

THE STURGEON, (Acipenser sturio,) 

Sometimes grows to the length of eight or ten feet, and 
has been found to weigh five hundred pounds. It has 
a long, slender, pointed nose, small eyes, and a small 
mouth destitute of teeth, placed beneath and unsup- 
ported by the maxillae ; so that when the animal is dead, 
the mouth remains always open. The body is covered 
with five rows of large bony tubercles, and the under 
side is flat ; it has one dorsal fin, two pectoral, two ven- 
tral, and one anal. The upper part of the body is of a 
muddy olive colour, and the under part silvery. The 
tail is bifurcated, the upper part being much longer 
than the under. Sturgeons subsist principally on insects 
and marine plants, which they find at the bottom of the 
water, where they mostly resort. 

The Sturgeon annually ascends our rivers in the sum- 
mer, particularly those of the Eden and Esk ; and when 
caught, as it sometimes is, in the salmon-nets, it scarcely 
makes any resistance, but is drawn out of the water 
apparently lifeless. One of the largest Sturgeons ever 
caught in our rivers was taken in the Esk a good many 
years ago : it weighed four hundred and sixty pounds. 
This fish is found in most of the rivers in Europe ; it is 
also common in those of North America, and especially 
in the lakes and rivers of Northern Asia. 

The flesh of the Sturgeon is delicious ; and it was so 
much valued in the time of the Emperor Severus, that it 

The Shark. 417 

was brought to table by servants with coronets on their 
heads, and preceded by music. In London, every Stur- 
geon that is caught in the Thames is presented by the 
Lord Mayor to the Sovereign. The roe, when preserved 
with salt and oil, is called caviar, and is a favourite dish 
with many persons ; the best is made in Eussia. The 
flesh is also pickled or salted, and sent all over Europe. 
So prolific is this fish, that Catesby says the females fre- 
quently contain a bushel of spawn each ; and Leeuwen- 
hoek found in the roe of one of them no fewer than one 
hundred and fifty thousand million eggs ! 


(Squalas carcharias, or Carcharias vulgaris.) 

" Increasing still the terrors of the storms, 
His jaw3 horrific arm'd with threefold fate, 
Here dwells the direful Shark/' 

The Shark differs from the whale in not being one of 
the mammalia. - It is cold-blooded, and does not suckle 
its young. It has no lungs, and its mode of breathing 
is like that of other fishes, except that its gills are fixed, 
and the water escapes by five apertures on each side. 
The body of the Shark is elongated, and tapers gradually 
from the head to the tail, or is very slightly dilated, in 
the middle. Its muzzle or nose is rounded, and projects 
very much over the mouth, the nostrils being situated 


418 Fishes. 

on the under side. The male shark is smaller than the 
female, and differs from it in appearance, in possessing 
two elongated appendages, one of which is attached to 
the hinder edge of each of the ventral fins. The purpose 
which these appendages are intended to serve is not known. 
Some of the Sharks produce their young alive, and others 
lay eggs contained in horny cases of an oblong shape, 
with long tendrils at each of the four corners. After the 
young Sharks are hatched, these curious cases are often 
washed on shore, and are called mermaids' purses. 

The bones of the Shark are like gristle, and very dif- 
ferent from those of most other fishes. Hence all the 
fishes with bones similar to those of the Shark are placed 
in a separate order, and called cartilaginous fishes. 

The White Shark is sometimes found weighing nearly 
two thousand pounds. The throat is often large enough 
to swallow a man; and a human body has sometimes 
been found entire in the stomach of this tremendous 
animal. He is furnished with six rows of sharp tri- 
angular teeth, which amount in all to a hundred and 
forty-four, serrated on their edges, and capable of being 
erected or depressed at pleasure, owing to a curious 
muscular mechanism in the palate and jaws of the Shark. 
The whole body and fins are of a light ash-colour ; the 
skin rough, and employed to smooth cabinet work, or 
to cover small boxes or cases. His eyes are large and 
staring, and he possesses great muscular strength in his 
tail and fins. Whenever he spies, from the deepest re- 
cesses of the sea, a man swimming or diving, he darts 
from the place, up to his prey, and if unable to take in 
the whole, or snatch away a limb, he follows for a long 
time the boat or vessel in which the more nimble swim- 
mer has found a safe and opportune retreat": but seldom 
does he let any one escape his jaws, and get off entire. 
Sir Brook Watson was swimming at a little distance 
from a ship, when he saw a Shark making towards him. 
Struck with terror at its approach, he cried out for 
assistance. A rope was instantly thrown; but even 
while the men were in the act of drawing him up the 
ship's side, the monster darted after him, and, at a single 
snap, tore off his leg. 

The Shark. 419 

We are told that, in the reign of Queen Anne, some 
of the men of an English merchant-ship, which had 
arrived at Barbadoes, were one day bathing in the sea, 
when a large Shark appeared, and was rushing upon 
them. A person from the ship called out to warn them 
of their danger ; on which they all immediately swam 
to the vessel, and arrived in perfect safety, except one 
poor man, who was cut in two by the Shark, almost 
within reach of the oars. A comrade and intimate 
friend of the unfortunate victim, when he observed the 
severed trunk of his companion, was seized with a 
degree of horror that words cannot describe. The in- 
satiate Shark was seen traversing the bloody surface in 
search of the remainder of his prey, when the brave 
youth plunged into the water, determining either to 
make the Shark disgorge, or to be buried himself in the 
same grave. He held in his hand a long and sharp- 
pointed knife, and the rapacious animal pushed, furiously 
towards him ; he had turned on his side, and had 
opened his enormous jaws, in order to seize him, when 
the youth, diving dexterously under, seized him with 
his left hand, somewhere about the upper fins, and 
stabbed him several times in the belly. The Shark, 
enraged with pain, and streaming with blood, plunged 
in all directions in order to disengage himself from his 
enemy. The crews of the surrounding vessels saw that 
the combat was decided : but they were ignorant which 
was slain, until the Shark, weakened by loss of blood, 
made towards the shore, and along with him his con- 
queror ; who, flushed with victory, pushed his foe with 
redoubled ardour, and, by the aid of an ebbing tide, 
dragged him on shore. Here he ripped up the bowels 
of the animal, obtained the severed remainder of his 
friend's body, and buried it with the trunk in the same 
grave. This story, however incredible it may appear, 
is related in the History of Barbadoes, on the most 
satisfactory authority. 

Had nature allowed this fish to seize his prey with 
as much facility as many others, the Shark tribe would 
have soon depopulated the ocean, and reigned alone in 
the vast regions of the sea, till hunger would have forced 



them to attack and ultimately destroy each other ; but 
the upper jaw of this devouring animal, is so constructed 
as to offer, by its prominency, an impediment to the 
Shark's easily seizing his prey ; and consequently when 
on the point of catching hold of anything, he is obliged 
to turn on one side, which troublesome evolution often 
gives the object of his pursuit time to escape. The 
flesh of this fish is of a disagreeable taste, and cannot 
be eaten with any kind of relish, except the part near 
the tail. 

Twenty different species of this family are known, 
and the number of different families of the Shark tribe 
is very great. 

THE GREENLAND SHARK, (Selachus maximus,) 

Is another very voracious species ; and one extremely 
difficult to kill. It is the great enemy of the whale, 
and devours the bodies of those left by the fishers. Its 
teeth are very small, pointed, and numerous. The 
snout is short. It is sometimes known as the Basking 


Are so excessively voracious, that they are altogether 

The Hammer-headed Shark. 421 

fearless of mankind. They follow vessels with great 
eagerness, seizing with avidity everything eatable that 
is thrown overboard ; and have sometimes been known 
to throw themselves on fishermen, and on persons bath- 
ing in the sea. As, however, they are much smaller 
and weaker than most of the other Sharks, they do not 
always attack their enemies by open force, but generally 
have recourse to stratagem. They, consequently, con- 
ceal themselves in the mud, and lie in ambush, like the 
ray or skate-fish, (also one of the cartilaginous fishes,) 
until they have an opportunity of successfully attacking 
their prey. On the coasts of Scarborough, where had- 
docks, cod, and Dog-fish are in great abundance, the 
fishermen universally believe that the Dog-fish make a 
line or semicircle to encompass a shoal of haddocks and 
cod, confining them within certain limits near the shore, 
and eating them as occasion requires : they are there- 
fore considered very destructive to this fishery. The 
flesh of the Dog-fish is hard and disagreeable ; its skin, 
when dried, is made into the well-known shagreen, and 
from the liver a considerable quantity of oil may be 
extracted. Shagreen is also made from the skin of other 
cartilaginous fishes. 

THE HAMMER-HEADED SHARK, (Zygoma malleus,) 

Is a very curious kind, having a transverse head like 
that of a hammer, with an eye at each extremity ; and the 
Fox-Shark, or Thresher (Carcharias vulpes), is remarkable 
for the enormous length of the upper lobe of its tail, 
with which it is able to strike with tremendous force. 
This fish is one of the great enemies of the whale. 

422 Fishes. 

THE SKATE, (Baia batis,) 

Is a species of the Kay, which was long disregarded in 
this country as a coarse, bad- tasted food, but which now 
appears upon our best tables. It is still, however, dis- 
regarded in Scotland and the north of England, where 
its flesh is principally used as a bait for other fish. On 
some parts of the continent, where these' fish are caught 
in great abundance, they are dried for sale. The best 
season for Skate is the spring of the year. The body is 
broad and flat, of a brown colour on the back, and white 
on the lower side : the head is not distinct from the 
body, so that this fish and all belonging to this genus 
are apparently acephalous, or without a head. The 
peculiar form of this fish is owing to the large size of 
the pectoral fins, which extend from the head to the 
base of the tail, and are very wide in the middle, and 
so, combined with the sharpness of the snout, give the 
fish the shape known as rhomboidal. Dr. Monro has 
remarked, that in the gills of a large Skate there are 
upwards of one hundred and forty-four thousand sub- 
divisions, or folds ; and that the whole extent of this 
membrane, whose surface is nearly equal to that of the 
whole human body, may be seen by a microscope to be 
covered with a network of vessels, that are not only 
extremely minute, but exquisitely beautiful. The tail 
of the Skate is long, and generally prickly. The mouth 
is, as it were, paved with teeth, which are flat, and nearly 
square in shape. In the full-grown male the centre 
teeth are pointed, at least in some species. The eggs 

The Skate. 423 

deposited by the female Skate are very similar to those 
laid by the shark, being in the shape of a square bag, 
with two horns at each end as here represented. 

In this horny case the embryo is contained, and grows 
till it has acquired strength enough to burst through its 
prison. The colour of the bag is maroon, and the sub- 
stance like thin brown parchment or leather. The 
female begins to drop these singly in the month of May, 
and continues to do so for several months, to the num- 
ber of two or three hundred. In some parts of Cum- 
berland they are called, by the common people, Skate- 
barrows, on account of their resemblance to the barrows 
which are carried by two men, and used for the convey- 
ance of goods, &c. 

The Skate sometimes attains a very large size. Wil- 
loughby speaks of one so huge that it would have served 
one hundred and twenty men for dinner. Some natural- 
ists are of opinion that these fishes are the largest in- 
habitants of the deep, and that only the smallest of them 
come near the surface of the water, the biggest remain 
ing flat at the bottom of the sea, where an unfathomable 
deep secures them against the wiles of man. 

Nine species of the Skate or Kay are found on the 
British coasts. 



THE THOKNBACK, (Raia clavata,) 

Resembles the Skate in its general appearance ; the prin- 
cipal difference consists in the latter having sharp teeth, 
and a single row of spines upon the tail, while the former 
has blunt teeth, and several rows of spines both upon 
the back and tail. A Thornback was caught near the 
island of St. Kitt's, in the year 1634, which measured 
twelve feet in length, and nearly ten in width. It is 
sometimes eaten in England, but as its flesh is inferior 
to that of the Skate, it is generally sold at a low price. 
The young ones, however, which have the denomination 
of Maids, are delicate eating. 

The Torpedo. 



(Torpedo vulgaris.) 

This curious fish is capable of giving a violent shock, like 
that produced by the electrical machine, to the person 
who handles it. The body is nearly circular, and thicker 
than any other of the Ray kind, and is sometimes so large 
as to weigh between seventy and eighty pounds. The 
skin is smooth, of a dusky brown colour, and white under- 
neath. The ventral fins form on each side, at the end of 
the body, nearly a quarter of a circle. The tail is short, 
and the two dorsal fins are near its origin. The mouth 
is small, and as in the other species, there are on each 
side below it five breathing apertures. 

The shock imparted by the touch of the Cramp-fish, as 
the Torpedo is vulgarly called, is often attended with a 
sudden sickness at the stomach, a general tremor, a kind 
of convulsion, and sometimes a total suspension of the 
faculties of the mind. Such power of self-defence has 
Providence allowed this lumpish and inactive fish. 
Whenever an enemy approaches, the Torpedo emits from 
its body that benumbing shock, which incapacitates the 
other instantly, and it thereby gets time to escape. Nor 
is it merel} r a means of defence, but an advantage in 
other respects, for the Torpedo thus benumbs its prey, 
and easily seizes upon it. The animals thus killed are 
also supposed to become more easy of digestion. 

426 Fishes. 


{Squatina Angelus,) 

Is very voracious, and feeds upon all kinds of flat fish, 
as soles, flounders, &c. It is often caught on the coasts of 
Great Britain, and of such a size as to weigh sometimes 
a hundred pounds. This fish seems to he of a middle 
nature between the rays and sharks, and is called by Pliny 
the Squatina ; a name which seems to bring this species 
near that of the skate. Its head is large ; the mouth has 
five rows of teeth, which are capable of being raised or 
depressed at pleasure. The back is of a pale ash-colour ; 
the belly white and smooth. The shores of Cornwall are 
often frequented by this fish, but its flesh does not deserve 
to be praised, being hard, and of a very indifferent 

It is supposed to have acquired the name of Angel-fish, 
from its extended pectoral fins bearing some similarity to 
wings, certainly, as Mr. Yarrell has remarked, not for its 
beauty ; and of monk-fish, from its rounded head, appear- 
ing as if enveloped in a monk's hood. The skin is rather 
rough, and is used for polishing, and other works in the 
arts. Mr. Donovan says that the Turks of the present 
day make shagreen of it. 

The Lamprey. 


THE SAW-FISH. (Tristis antiquorum.) 

This fish is found in the European and Atlantic seas. 
Its body is flattened anteriorly with four or five branchial 
openings below on each side ; two spiracles behind the 
eyes ; no anal fin ; the head prolonged into a depressed 
bony beak, with strong pointed spines on each side ; the 
lips are rough and sharp like a file, supplying the place of 
teeth. With its formidable weapon, which resembles a 
toothed saw, this fish attacks the largest whales, and in- 
flicts very severe wounds. The colour of its body is 
of a grejnsh brown above, and paler below; its length 
about fifteen feet, the saw being about a third of the 

THE LAMPREY. (Petromyzon mminus.) 

The Lamprey belongs to the last family of cartilaginous 
fishes, and is one of the lowest in the scale of vertebrated 
animals. It grows to the length of about three feet, 
although the British species, with which we are best ac- 
quainted, seldom exceeds twelve inches. To avoid the 
constant muscular exertions necessary to prevent their 
being carried away by the current, they attach them- 
selves by the mouth to stones or rocks, and hence are 
called Petromyzon, Stone-suckers. The Lamprey, although 

428 Fishes. 

no longer maintaining its ancient repute, is still con- 
sidered a delicacy ; those taken in the Severn being pre- 
ferred to all others. Henry the First, as is well known, 
died of a surfeit of them ; and in the reign of Henry the 
Fourth their importation was encouraged by immunities. 
The Koman epicures prized this fish so highly, that they 
bestowed the utmost care, and expended enormous sums 
in rearing them. Pliny tells us that Lucullus formed 
a fish-pond of such extent, that the fish it contained 
were, at his death, sold for four million sesterces. These 
polished barbarians sometimes threw a slave into the 
ponds where they kept their Muroence, or Lampreys, and 
considered that by this means they fattened the fish and 
gave them a superior flavour. 

THE HAG-FISH, (Myxine glutinosa,) 

A cartilaginous fish, which in its general appearance 
bears a near resemblance to the Lamprey. Its colour is 
dusky bluish above, and reddish towards the head and 
tail ; its length from four to six inches. The Hag-fish is 
remarkable for its total want of eyes ; its mouth is of an 
oblong form, with two beards or cirri on each side, and 
on the upper part four. On the top of the head is a 
small spout-hole, furnished with a valve, by which it can 
be closed at pleasure. A double row of pores extends 
beneath the body, from one extremity to the other, which 
on pressure exude a quantity of viscid fluid, which, when 
attacked by large fish, the Hag throws out, so as to cloud 
the surrounding element in such a manner as to render 
itself invisible to its assailants. " The habits of this 
fish are highly singular : it will enter the bodies of such 

The Pilot-Fish. 429 

fishes as it happens to find on the fishermen's hooks, and 
which consequently have lost the power of escaping its 
attack ; and gnawing its way through the skin, will de- 
vour all the internal parts, leaving only the hones and 
the skin. If put into a large vessel of sea-water, it is said 
in a very short space to render the whole water so glu- 
tinous that it may easily be drawn out in the form of 

§ III. Bony Fishes. 

THE PILOT-FISH. (Naucrates dudor.) 

The body of this fish is long, the head compressed, 
rounding off in front, without scales as far as the oper- 
culum. The mouth is small, the jaws of equal length, 
and furnished with small teeth ; the palate has a curved 
row of similar teeth in front, and the tongue has teeth all 
along. The colour varies in several species. The Pilot- 
fish will frequently attend a ship during its course at sea 
for weeks, or even months together ; and there are many 
curious stories told respecting its habits, in occasionally 
directing a shark where to find a good meal, and also in 
warning him how to avoid a dangerous bait. Whether 
this be true or not will be difficult to determine ; but it 
is certain that this little fish is generally found in com- 
pany with the shark, and picks up the smaller pieces of 
food which his predatory master drops, either by accident 
or design. 

430 Fishes. 


(Eclieneis Bemora,) 

Resembles the herring ; its head is thick, naked, de- 
pressed, and marked on the upper side with a curious 
sucker composed of numerous transverse, movable, ser- 
rated plates. The fins are seven in number ; the under 
jaw is longer than the upper, and both furnished with 
teeth. This fish is provided by nature with a strong ad- 
hesive power, and,- by means of the grooved space on its 
head, can attach itself to any animal or body whatever. 
We might suppose that a small fish with seven acting fins, 
armed like a galley with oars, would have a great power 
of motion in the water, but, for some reason unknown to 
us, Providence has contrived for him an easier way of 
travelling, by enabling him to fix himself to the hull of 
a ship, and even to the body of a larger animal than him- 
self, as the whale, the shark, and others. Our forefathers 
believed that, small as he is, this fish had the power of 
arresting the progress of a ship in its fastest sailing by 
adhering to the bottom. 

" The Sucking-fish beneath, with secret chains, 
Clung to the keel, the swiftest ship detains. 
The seamen run confused, no labour spared, 
Let fly the sheets, and hoist the topmast yard. 
The master bids them give her all the sails, 
To court the winds and catch the coming gales. 
But, though the canvas bellies with the blast, 
And boisterous winds bend down the cracking mast, 
The bark stands firmly rooted in the sea, 
And will, unmoved, nor winds nor waves obey : 
Still, as when calms have flatted all the plain, 
And infant waves scarce wrinkle on the main. 
No ship in harbour moor'd so careless rides, 
When ruffling waters tell the flowing tides ; 
AppallVl, the sailors stare, through strange surprise, 
Believe they dream, and rub their waking eyes." 

The Sea-Wolf. 431 


(Anarrhichas lupus,) 

Is often caught in the European seas ; and is ahout five 
or six feet in length, and has a larger and flatter head 
than the shark. The back, sides, and fins are of a bluish 
colour; the body is nearly white ; the whole skin is smooth 
and slippery, without any appearance of scales. It is of 
a very voracious nature, and has a double row of sharp 
and round teeth, both in the upper and lower jaw. Its 
appetite, however, does not lead it to destroy fishes 
similar in shape to itself, as it is supposed to feed chiefly 
on crustaceous and molluscous animals, whose shells it 
breaks easily with its teeth. It is sometimes found in 
the northern seas exceeding twelve feet in length, and 
owes its name to its natural fierceness and voracity. The 
fishermen dread its bite, and endeavour as speedily as 
possible to strike out its fore-teeth, which are so strong, 
that they are capable of leaving an impression on an an- 
chor. The fins nearest the head spread themselves, when 
the animal is swimming, in the shape of two large fans, 
and their motion contributes considerably to accelerate its 
natural swiftness. The flesh is good, and as it bears salt- 
ing well it is an important article of food to the Icelanders, 
in whose seas this fish occurs in great abundance and of 
large size. 




(Silurus, or Ageneiosus militarist 

Grows to a large size, weighing sometimes three hundred 
pounds, and measuring eight to ten feet in length, and 
two in breadth. It has a broad, flat, thin head ; and the 
horns, which are on each side of the upper lip, are armed 
with short crooked spines, like teeth. A remarkable pe- 
culiarity in this fish is the dorsal fin, which is close to 
the head, and is long, stiff, dentated like the horns, and 
is, no doubt, an instrument of defence. In colour it re- 
sembles the eel, and has no scales ; only one small fin on 
the back, and a forked tail ; its flesh is esteemed next to 
that of the eel, and has a similar flavour. This fish is a 
great depredator, and makes considerable havoc among 
the smaller inhabitants of the rivers and lakes which it in- 
habits. It is a native of the fresh waters of Asia. The 
Danube, and several other rivers of Germany, and the 
lakes of Switzerland and Bavaria contain numerous 
specimens of Silurus. 

The Father Lasher^-The Sword-Fish. 433 

THE FATHER LASHER. (Coitus scorpius.) 

The whimsical denomination of Father Lasher, given to 
this fish, cannot be easily accounted for ; perhaps it may- 
be ascribable to the quick and repeated lashings of its 
tail, when the fish is caught and thrown upon the sand. 
The length is about eight or nine inches, and it is usually 
found under stones, on the rocky coasts of our island. In 
Greenland these fish are so numerous, that the inhabit- 
ants depend largely upon them for their food. When 
made into soup, they are nutritive and wholesome. The 
head is large, and armed with spines, by which this 
fish combats every enemy that attacks it, swelling out its 
cheeks and gill-covers to an unusual size. Its colour is 
a dull brown, mottled with white, and sometimes mixed 
with red ; the fins and tail are transparent, and the lower 
part of the body a shining white. 

THE SWORD-FISH, (Xiphias gladius,) 

Which belongs to the mackerel family, has received its 

2 F 

434 Fishes. 

name from its long snout resembling the blade of a sword. 
It sometimes weighs above one hundred pounds, and is 
fifteen or even twenty feet in length. The body is of a 
conical form, black on the back, white under the body ; the 
mouth large, with no teeth ; the tail is remarkably forked. 
The Sword-fish is often taken off the coast of Italy, in the 
Bay of Naples, and about Sicily. The}' are struck at by 
the fishermen, and their flesh is considered as good as 
that of the sturgeon by the Sicilians, who seem to be 
particularly fond of it. Other European seas are not 
destitute of this curious animal. 

The Sword-fish and the whale are said never to meet 
without coming to battle ; and the former has the repu- 
tation of being always the aggressor. Sometimes two 
Sword-fishes join against one whale ; in which case the 
combat is by no means equal. The whale uses his tail in 
his defence ; he dives deeply into the water, head foremost, 
and makes such a blow with his tail, that, should it take 
effect, it kills the Sword-fish at a single stroke ; but the 
latter is in general sufficiently adroit to avoid it, and im- 
mediately rushes at the whale, and buries its weapon in 
his side. When the whale discovers the Sword-fish dart- 
ing upon him, he dives to the bottom, but is closely pur- 
sued by his antagonist, who compels him again to rise to 
the surface. The battle then begins afresh, and lasts until 
the Sword-fish loses sight of the whale, who is at length 
compelled to swim off, which his superior agility enables 
him to do. In piercing the whale's body with the 
tremendous weapon at his snout, the Sword-fish seldom 
inflicts a dangerous wound, not being able to penetrate be- 
yond the blubber. This animal can drive its sword with 
such force into the keel of a ship, as to bury it wholly 
in the timber. A part of the bottom of a vessel, with 
the sword imbedded in it, is to be seen in the British 

The Flying Scorpion. 



How admirable is Nature ! how extensive her power 
and how various the forms with which she has sur- 
rounded the united elements of animated matter ! From 
the uncouth shape of the wallowing whale, of the un- 
wieldy hippopotamus, or ponderous elephant, to the 
light and elegant form of the painted moth or fluttering 
humming-bird, she seems to have exhausted all ideas, all 
conceptions, and not to have left a single figure untried. 
The fish represented above is one of those, in the out- 
lines and decorations of which appear the discordant 
qualities of frightfulness and beauty. Armed cap-a-pie, 
surrounded with spines and thorns bristling on his 
back, and fins like an armed phalanx of lance-bearers, 
and decorated on the body with yellow ribands, inter- 
woven with white fillets, and on the purple fins of 
his breast with the milky dots of the pintado, the Sea 
Scorpion presents a very extraordinary contrast. His 
eyes, like those of which poets sang when celebrating 
the Nereids and Naiads, consist of black pupils, sur- 
rounded with a silver iris, radiated with alternate 
divisions of blue and black. The rays of the dorsal fin 
are spiny, spotted brown and yellow, conjoined below 
by a dark brown membrane, and separate above; the 
ventral fins are violet with white drops, and the tail 
and anal fins are a sort of tesselated work of blue, 
black, and white, united with the greatest symmetry, 

436 Fishes. 

and not unlike those ancient fragments of Roman pave- 
ments often found in this island. 

This variegated fish is found in the rivers of Amboyna 
and Japan ; its flesh is white, firm, and well tasting, like 
our perch, but it does not grow so large ; it is of a very 
voracious disposition, feeding on the young of other 
fish, some of which, two inches in length, have been 
found in its craw. The skin has both the appearance 
and smoothness of parchment. To the tremendous 
armour of its back, fins, and tail, this fish owes the 
name of Scorpion. 


(jCydopterus lumpus.) 

Tins odd-shaped fish derives its name chiefly from the 
clumsiness of its form ; it is also called the Cock Paddle. 
Its colour, when in the highest perfection, combines 
various shades of blue, purple, and rich orange; the 
abdomen is red ; it has no scales, but on all sides sharp 
black tubercles, in shape like warts ; on each side are 
three rows of sharp prickles, and on the back two 
distinct fins. The great resort of this species is in the 
Northern seas, about the coast of Greenland ; it is also 
caught in many parts of the British seas during the 
spring season, when it approaches the shore for the 
purpose of depositing its spawn ; and in the month of 
March it may be seen at the stalls of the London mar- 
kets. This unseemly fish is usually about a foot in 
length, and ten or more inches in breadth, and some- 
times weighs seven pounds. The flesh is but indifferent. 

The Ocellated Sucker. 


The Lump-sucker is very remarkable for the manner 
in which its ventral fins are arranged. They are united 
by a membrane so as to form a kind of oval and concave 
disc, by means of which it is enabled to adhere with 
great force to any substance to which it fastens itself. 
Pennant says, that, on throwing an individual of this 
species into a pail of water, it adhered so firmly to the 
bottom that, on taking the fish by the tail, the whole 
pail was lifted up, though it held some gallons. 

In the Northern seas great numbers of the different 
species of Lump-suckers are devoured by the seals, who 
swallow all but the skins, quantities of which thus 
emptied are seen floating about in the spring months ; 
it is said that the spots where the seals carry on their 
depredations can be readily distinguished by the 
smoothness of the water. 


(Lepadogaster cornubicus,) 
Another Malacopterygious fish, a relative of the Lump- 



sucker, and chiefly remarkable for the singular append- 
age observable on its head. It possesses similar tenacity 
of suction. The utility of this faculty to animals inha- 
biting the rocky shores and turbulent seas of Greenland 
is sufficiently obvious. 

THE ANGLER. (Lopliius piscatorius.) 

This extraordinary fish is occasionally met with on our 
coasts, and is commonly known by the names of the 
Fishing Frog, Toad Fish, and Sea Devil. In shape it is 
the most uncouth and unsightly of the piscatory tribe, 
resembling the frog in its tadpole state. It grows to a 
large size. A specimen taken in the sea, near Scar- 
borough, was between four and five feet in length, the 
head considerably larger than the body, round .at the 
circumference, flat above ; the mouth is of a prodigious 
size, being a yard in width, and armed with sharp teeth. 
It lives, as it were, in ambush at the bottom of the 
sea, and by means of its fins stirs up the mud and sand, 
so as to conceal itself from other fishes on whom it 
preys* The manner in which it procures its prey is 
very extraordinary, the peculiarity of its construction 
forbidding the possibility of rapid movement. Two long 
tough filaments are placed above the nose, each of them 
furnished with a thin appendage, closely resembling 
a fishing-line when baited and flung out. The back 
is provided with three others, united by a web, and 
forming the first dorsal fin. Pliny notices these remark- 
able appendages, and explains their use. " The Fishing 

TJie Four-homed Trunk Fish. 


Frog," says he, " puts forth the slender horns situated 
beneath his eyes, enticing by that means the little fish 
to play around till they come within his reach, when 
he springs upon them." But it is not only the lesser 
inhabitants of the water that the Angler ensnares ! 
Codfish of good size are often found in his stomach, and 
he occasionally seizes upon fishes as they are beiug 
drawn up by the line. Mr. Yarrell mentions an in- 
stance of an Angler attacking a conger-eel under these 
circumstances : the eel wriggled through the branchial 
aperture of his captor, and both were drawn up to- 

Cicero also notices this extraordinary creature, in his 
Treatise on the Nature of the Gods. He observed its 
wonderful construction when musing on the shores of 


(Ostracim quadricornis.) 

These singular fishes are distinguished from most others 
by the bony covering which envelopes them. The head 
and body are covered with plates of bone, forming an 
inflexible cuirass, and leaving exposed only the tail, 
fins, mouth, and a portion of the gill opening. They 
have no ventral fins, and the dorsal and anal are placed 
far back. Their liver is large, and abounds with oil. 
The Trunk-fish is a native of the Indian and American 
seas. Some of the species are considered excellent 

440 Fishes. 

THE GLOBE FISH, (Tetraodon Mspidus,) 

Is an oblong fish, inhabiting the seas of Carolina, and 
endowed with an extraordinary power of swelling its 
nnder surface into a large globe. This sudden' enlarge- 
ment not only alarms the enemies of the Tetrodon, but 
prevents them from making good their hold, by pre- 
senting to their grasp little more than an inflated bag. 
It is also covered with spines, which merely adhere 
to the skin, and are capable of being erected on any 
sudden emergency ; thus giving to an innocent and de- 
fenceless creature a most formidable appearance. 

\\ hen inflated, they roll over on their backs, floating 
in this position, without any power of directing their 
course. Some species are reckoned poisonous. One is 
electrical, (Tetraodon lineatus,) and is found in the Nile ; 
when left on shore by the inundations, it always inflates 
its body, becomes dried in this condition, and is then 
picked up by the children, and used as a ball. 

The Sun Fish. 


THE SUN FISH, (Orthagoriscus mola,) 

Appeaks like the fore part of the body of a large fish, 
which has been amputated in the middle. The month 
is small, with two broad teeth only in each jaw. Its 
nearly circular form, and the silvery whiteness of the 
sides, together with their brilliant phosphorescence dur- 
ing the night, have obtained for it very generally the 
appellations of sun or moon fish. While swimming, 
it turns round like a wheel, and sometimes floats with 
its head above water, when it appears like a dying fish. 
It grows to a large size ; sometimes being four or five 
feet in length, and weighing from three to five hundred 
pounds. The back of this curious marine animal is of a 
rich blue colour. It frequents the coasts of both the 
ancient and new continent, and has been found on the 
shores of England. 




(Hippocampus brevirostris.') 

This is a small fish, of a curious shape. The length 
is from six to ten, and sometimes twelve, inches : the 
head bears some resemblance to that of a horse, whence 
originates its name. A series of longitudinal and trans- 
verse ridges run from the head to the tail, which is 
spirally curved and prehensile. 

The following account of two specimens taken alive 
at Guernsey, in June, 1835, by F. C. Irakis, Esq., is ex- 
tracted from Yarrell's " British Fishes." These creatures 
were kept about twelve days in a glass vessel, and their 
actions were equally novel and amusing. " An appear- 
ance of search for a resting-place induced me," says Mr. 
Lukis, " to consult their wishes, by placing seaweed and 
straws in the vessel : the desired effect was obtained, 
and has afforded me much to reflect upon in their habits. 
They now exhibit many of their peculiarities, and few 
subjects of the deep have displayed, in prison, more sport 
or more intelligence. 

"When swimming about, they maintain a vertical 
position ; but the tail is ready to grasp whatever meets 
it in the water, quickly entwines in any direction round 
the weeds, and, when fixed, the animal intently watches 
the surrounding objects, and darts at its prey with the 
greatest dexterity. 

The Flying Fish of the Ocean. 


" When the animals approach each other, they often 
twist their tails together, and struggle to separate or 
attach themselves to the weeds : this is done by the 
under part of their cheeks or chin, which is also used 
for raising the body when a new spot is wanted for the 
tail to entwine afresh. The eyes move independently of 
each other, as in the chameleon, and this, with the bril- 
liant changeable iridescence about the head, and its blue 
bands, forcibly reminds the observer of that animal." 


(Exoccetus volitans.~) 

This fish has a slender body, a projecting under-lip, and 
very large and prominent eyes. The ventral fins are 
small, but the pectoral fins are so long and wide as 
to answer the purpose of wings, and aided by them the 
fish is enabled to rise out of the water, and support itself 
in the air. It must not be supposed, however, that the 
Flying-fish can soar like a bird ; on the contrary, it can 

444 Fishes. 

only spring from the water to a considerable height 
(sometimes as much as twenty feet), and fly about a 
hundred and fifty, or two hundred yards; most com- 
monly, however, it does not rise above two or three feet 
from the water, and remains fluttering over the surface 
for about a hundred yards, when it again drops into its 
native element. There is another Flying-fish (Exoccetus 
exiliens) in the Mediterranean. 

THE GUENAED. (Triglot cuculus.) 

This genus is divided into several species. The Eed 
Gurnard has fins and body of a bright red colour ; and 
the head is large, and covered with strong bony plates. 
The eyes are large, round, and vertical ; the mouth is 
large; and the palate and jaws are armed with sharp 
teeth. The gill-membrane has seven rays. The back 
has a longitudinal spinous groove on each side. There 
are slender articulate appendages at the base of each 
pectoral fin. This fish is not unfrequently met with on 
the southern shores of England ; and is often seen ex- 
posed in the fish-markets of the maritime towns of 
Dorset and Devonshire, as well as in Cornwall. It is a 
pleasant-tasting fish, when properly stuffed and baked, 
the flavour being similar to that of the haddock. 

Whilst in the water, the colours of the Eed Gurnard 
are almost inconceivably brilliant and beautiful, particu- 
larly in the broad glare of sunshine, as they then vary, 
in the most pleasing manner, with every motion of the 

The Gurnard, 445 

The Grey Gurnard (Trigla gurnardus) usually measures 
from one to two feet in length. The extremity of the 
head, in front, is armed on each side with three short 
spines. The forehead and -the covers of the gills are 
silvery ; the latter being finely radiated. The body is 
covered with small scales ; the upper parts are of a 
deep grey, spotted with white and yellow, and some- 
times with black ; and the lower parts silvery. About 
the months of May and June, the Grey Gurnards ap 
proach the shores in considerable shoals, for the pur- 
pose of depositing their spawn in the shallows ; at other 
times they reside in the depths of the ocean, where they 
have a plentiful supply of food in crabs, lobsters, and 
other shell-fish, on which it is supposed they for the 
most part feed. They are occasionally found on the 
shores of Great Britain and Ireland, in the spawning 

The Lucerna is caught in the Mediterranean Sea, and 
is of a very curious shape ; its fins about the gills being 
so large, and spreading so much like a fan on each side, 
that they appear somewhat like wings. The tail is 
bifid, and the scales very small. The flesh is esteemed 
among the Italians, and the Lucerna is often seen in the 
fish-markets of Naples, Venice, and other towns on the 
sea-shore. This fish much resembles the Father Lasher 
and the Gurnard ; and it is called Lucerna because it 
shines in the dark. 

The Flying Gurnard (Dadyloptera M editerranea), which 
is the commonest flying-fish of the Mediterranean Sea, is 
about a foot long ; it is brown above, reddish below, 
and has blackish fins spotted with blue. The pectoral 
fins with which it supports itself in the air are of im- 
mense extent. On each operculum there is a long and 
pointed spine, with which the fish can inflict severe 

446 Fishes. 

THE JOHN DORY. (Zeusfaber.) 

It would be an inexcusable neglect to pass this fish 
unnoticed, not on account of its disputing with the had- 
dock the honour of having been pressed by the fingers 
of the apostle, nor of its having been trodden upon by 
the gigantic foot of St. Christopher, when he carried on 
his shoulders a divine burden across an arm of the sea, 
but for the excellence of its flesh. It has been for some 
years in such favour with our epicures, that one of 
them, a comedian of high repute (Quin), took a journey 
to Plymouth merely to eat this fish in perfection. Its 
body presents the shape of a rhomboid, but the sides are 
much compressed ; the mouth is large, and the snout 
long, composed of several cartilaginous plates, which 
wrap and fold one over another, in order to enable the 
fish to catch its prey. The colour is a dark green, 
marked with black spots, with a golden gloss, whence 
the name originated. They inhabit the coasts of Eng- 
land, and particularly Torbay, whence they are sent to 
the fish-markets of London. 

When the Dory is taken alive out of the water, it is 
able to compress its internal organs so rapidly that the 
air, in rushing through the openings of the gills, pro- 
duces a kind of noise somewhat like that which, on 
similar occasions, is emitted by the gurnards. 

The Blepharis — The Opah. 


THE BLEPHAEIS. (Blepharis ciliaris.) 

This species of the Dory is of a bright silver colour, 
with a cast of bluish- green on the back. Several of the 
last rays, both of the dorsal and anal fin, extend beyond 
the membrane, reaching even farther than the tail itself. 
It has been supposed that the smaller kind of fishes may 
be attracted with these long flexible filaments, and mis- 
take them for worms, while the Zeus, concealed among 
the sea-weeds, lies in wait for its prey. It is a native of 
the Indian seas. 

THE OPAH, OE KING FISH. (Lampris guttatus.) 

This is a most splendid fish, of a fine green colour on 
the back, and yellowish green on the belly. The back 
and sides exhibit brilliant purplish and golden tints, the 
whole surface is covered with numerous white spots, and 
the fins are of a beautiful vermilion colour; so magnifi- 
cent is its costume, that it has been justly remarked that 
it looks " like one of Neptune's lords dressed for a court 
day." The King Fish is found apparently in the seas 
of all parts of the world ; it is nowhere common, but 
seems to be more abundant in warm climates. 

448 Fishes. 

THE COD-FISH, (Gadus morrhm,) 

Is a noble inhabitant of the seas ; not only on account of 
its size, but also for the goodness of its flesh, either fresh 
or salted. The body measures sometimes above three, 
and even four feet in length, with a proportionable thick- 
ness. The back is of a brown olive colour, with white 
spots on the sides, and the lower part of the body is en- 
tirely white. The eyes are large and staring. The head 
is broad and fleshy, and esteemed a delicious dish. 

The fecundity of all fishes must be an object of the 
greatest astonishment to every observer of nature. In 
the year 1790, a Cod-fish was sold in Workington market, 
Cumberland, for one shilling : it weighed fifteen pounds, 
and measured two feet nine inches in length, and seven 
inches in breadth ; the roe weighed two pounds ten 
ounces, one grain of which contained three hundred and 
twenty eggs. The whole, therefore, might contain, by 
fair estimation, three million nine hundred and four 
thousand four hundred and forty eggs. From such a 
trifle as this we may observe the prodigious value of the 
fishing trade to a commercial nation, and hence draw a 
useful hint for increasing it ; for, supposing that each of 
the above eggs should arrive at the same perfection and 
size, its produce would weigh twenty-six thousand one 
hundred and twenty-three tons ; and consequently would 
load two hundred and sixty-one sail of ships, each of 
one hundred tons burden. If each fish were brought 
to market, and sold as the original one, for one shilling, 
the produce then would be one hundred and ninety-five 
thousand pounds; that is to say, the first shilling would 
produce twenty times one hundred and ninety-five thou- 
sand, or three million nine hundred thousand shillings. 

In the European seas, the Cod begins to spawn in 

The Haddock 449 

January, and deposits its eggs in rough ground among 
rocks. Some continue in roe until the beginning of 
April. Cod-fish are reckoned best for the table from 
October to Christmas. The air-bladders, under the name 
of sounds, are pickled, and sold separately. 

The chief fisheries for Cod are in the Bay of Canada, 
on the great bank of Newfoundland, and off the isle of 
St. Peter, and the isle of Sable. The vessels frequenting 
these fisheries are from a hundred to two hundred tons 
burden, and will each catch thirty thousand Cod, or more. 
The best season is from the beginning of February to 
the end of April. Each fisherman takes only one Cod 
at a time, and yet the more experienced will catch from 
three to four hundred in a day. It is a fatiguing work, 
owing particularly to the intense cold they are obliged 
to suffer during the operation. 

Cod frequently grow to a very great size. The largest 
that is known to have been caught in this kingdom was 
taken at Scarborough, in the year 1775 ; it measured five 
feet eight inches in length, and five feet in circumference, 
and weighed seventy-eight pounds. The usual weight of 
this fish is from fourteen to forty pounds. 

THE HADDOCK, (Gadus ceglefinus,) 

Is much less in size than the cod-fish, and differs some- 
what from it in shape ; it is of a bluish colour on the 
back, with small scales ; a black line is carried on from 
the upper corner of the gills on both sides down to the 
tail ; in the middle of the sides, under the line a little 


450 Fishes. 

beneath the gills, is a black spot on each shoulder, which 
resembles the mark of a man's finger and thumb ; from 
which circumstance it is called St. Peters fish, alluding, 
to the fact recorded in the seventeenth chapter of St. 
Matthew : " Go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take 
up the fish that first cometh up ; and when thou hast 
opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money ; that 
take, and give unto them for me and thee." And while 
St. Peter held the fish with his fore-finger and thumb, it 
is fabled, that the skin received, and preserved to this 
day, the hereditary impression. 

Haddocks migrate in immense shoals, which usually 
arrive on the Yorkshire coast about the middle of winter. 
These shoals are sometimes known to extend from the 
shore nearly three miles in breadth, and in length from 
Flamborough Head to Tynemouth Castle, a distance of 
fifty miles ; and, perhaps, even farther. An idea of the 
number of Haddocks may be formed from the following 
circumstance : three fishermen, within a mile of the har- 
bour of Scarborough, frequently loaded their boat with 
these fish twice a day, taking each time a ton weight of 
them ! 

The flesh of the Haddock is harder and thicker than 
that of the whiting, and not so good; but it is often 
brought upon the table, either broiled, boiled, or baked, 
and is by many much esteemed. The Haddocks caught 
on the Irish coast, near Dublin, are unusually large, 
and of a fine flavour, and unite to the firmness of the 
turbot much of its sweetness. They are in season from 
October to January. 

The Whiting — The Ling. 



(Gadus Merlangus, or Merlangus vulgaris,) 

Is seldom more than twelve inches. in length, and of a 
slender and tapering form. The scales are small and 
fine. The back is silvery, and when just taken out of 
the sea reflects the rays of light with great lustre and 
gloss. The flesh is light, wholesome, and nourishing ; 
and is often recommended to sick or convalescent pa- 
tients, when other food is not approved of. The Whiting 
is found on the coasts of England, and is in its proper 
season from August to February. 

THE LING, (Lota molva,) 

Is usually from three to four feet in length, though sonic 
have been caught much larger. The body is long, the 
head flat, the teeth in the upper jaw small and nume- 
rous, with a small beard on the chin ; its dorsal and anal 
fins are very long. 

These fish abound on the coasts of Great Britain and 
Ireland, and great quantities are salted for home con- 

452 Fishes. 

sumption and exportation. On the eastern coasts of 
England they are in their greatest perfection from the 
beginning of February to the end of May. They spawn 
in June : at this season, the males separate from the 
females, who deposit their eggs in the soft oozy ground 
at the mouth of large rivers. 

In a commercial point of view, the Ling may be con- 
sidered a very important fish. Nine hundred thousand 
pounds weight are annually exported from Norway. In 
England, these fish are canght and cured in somewhat 
the same manner as the cod. Those which are caught 
off the shores of America are by no means so much es- 
teemed as those which frequent the coasts of Great Bri- 
tain and Norway; and the Ling in the neighbourhood 
of Iceland are so bad, that the inhabitants are unable to 
find a sale for them in any country except their own. 
The roe and air-bladders, or sounds of the Ling, are 
pickled, and sold separately. 

THE HAKE, (Gadus merluccius,) 

Is a coarse fish, nearly allied to the Ling, and is caught 
in great abundance on the Devonshire and Cornwall 
coast. It is also found on the coasts of Ireland and 
Scotland, where it is called stock-fish, and is often con- 
founded with cod. 

The Mackerel 


THE MACKEREL, {Scomber Scomber,) 

Is taken aiid well known in all parts of the world. It is 
usually about -a foot or more in length ; the body is thick, 
firm, and fleshy, slender towards the tail ; the snout sharp, 
the tail forked, the back of a lovely green, beautifully 
variegated, or, as it were, painted with black strokes ; 
the under part of the body is of a silvery colour, reflect- 
ing, as well as the sides, the most elegant tints of the 
opal and the mother-of-pearl. Nothing can be more in- 
teresting and pleasing to the eye than to see Mackerel, 
just caught, brought on shore by the fishermen, and 
spread, with all their radiancy, upon the pebbles of the 
beach, at the first rays of the rising sun ; but when 
taken out of their element, they quickly die. 

Mackerel visit our shores in vast shoals ; but, from 
being very tender and unfit for long carriage, they are 
found less useful than other gregarious fish. The usual 
bait is a bit of red cloth, or a piece of the tail of the 
Mackerel. The great fishery for them is in some parts 
of the south and west coasts of England : this is of such 
an extent as to employ, in the whole, a capital of nearly 

454 Fishes. 

two hundred thousand pounds. The fishermen go out to 
the distance of several leagues from the shore, and stretch 
their nets, which are sometimes miles in extent, across 
the tide during the night. A single boat has been known 
to bring in, after one night's fishing, a cargo that has 
been sold for nearly seventy pounds. The roes of the 
Mackerel are used in the Mediterranean for caviar. In 
Cornwall, and also in several parts of the continent, 
Mackerel are preserved by pickling and salting ; and in 
this state possess a flavour somewhat like that of the 
salmon. Their voracity has scarcely any bounds ; and 
when they get among a shoal of herrings, they will make 
such havoc as frequently to drive it away. Mackerel 
are in season from March to June. 

THE GAK-FISH, (Bebne vulgaris,) 

Of which the figure above is an exact representation, is 
of a very extraordinary form. The body, in shape and 
colour, is not unlike that of a mackerel, but is much more 
elongated, and the jaws are protracted into a kind of 
lance, nearly half as long as the rest of the body. It is 
vulgarly supposed that this fish leads the phalanxes of 
mackerel through the regions of the deep ; and, like a 
faithful and experienced pilot, traces their journey, points 
out their dangers, and conducts them to their destina- 
tion. A. curious singularity of this creature is, that its 
bones are of a bright green colour ; the flesh is not so 
firm nor of so good a flavour as that of the mackerel, 
but it sells pretty well whenever it comes to market. 

The Herring. 


mfJ: ^"wm 

THE HERRING. (Chpea Earengus.) 

This fish is somewhat like the mackerel in shape, as well 
as in delicacy of taste, although it differs much in 
flavour. It is about nine or ten inches long, and about 
two and a half broad, and has blood-shot eyes ; the scales 
large and roundish ; the tail forked ; the body of a fat, 
soft, delicate flesh, but more rank than that of the 
mackerel, and therefore less wholesome. Yet some 
people are so very fond of it, that they call the Herring 
the King of Fishes. They swim in shoals, and spawn once 
a year, about the autumnal equinox, at which time they 
are the best. They come into shallow water to spawn, 
like the mackerel ; and hence they periodically visit our 
coasts, retiring again to the deep waters when the spawn- 
ing season is over. 

The fecundity of the Herring is astonishing. It has 
been calculated that if the offspring of a single pair of 
Herrings could be suffered to multiply unmolested and 
undiminished for twenty years, the}' would exhibit a 
bulk ten times the size of the earth. But, happily, Pro- 
vidence has contrived the balance of nature by giving 
them innumerable enemies. All the monsters of the 
deep find them an easy prey ; and, in addition to these, 
immense flocks of sea-fowl watch their outset, and spread 
devastation on all sides. 

In the year 1773, the Herrings for two months were 
in such immense shoals on the Scotch coasts, that it 

456 Fishes. 

appears from tolerably accurate computations, no fewer 
than one thousand six hundred and fifty boat-loads were 
taken in Loch Torridon in one night. These would, in 
the whole, amount to nearly twenty thousand barrels. 

This fish is prepared in different ways, in order to be 
kept for use through the year. The white, or pickled 
Herrings, are washed in fresh water, and left the space 
of twelve or fifteen hours in a tub full of strong brine, 
made of fresh water and sea-salt. AYhen taken out, 
they are drained, and put in rows or layers in barrels, 
with salt. 

Red Herrings are prepared in the same manner, with 
this difference, that they are left in the brine double the 
time above mentioned ; and when taken out, placed in a 
large chimney constructed for the purpose, and contain- 
ing about twelve thousand, where they are smoked by 
means of a fire underneath, made of brushwood, for the 
space of twenty-four hours. 

THE SPRAT, (Clupea Sprattus,) 

A well-known fish, between four and five inches in 
length, the back fin very remote from the nose ; the 
lower jaw longer than the upper, and the eyes blood- 
shot, like those of the herring, to which it is nearly 
allied. Sprats arrive yearly in the beginning of Novem- 
ber in the river Thames ; and generally a large dish of 
them is presented on the table at Guildhall, on Lord 
Mayor's Day, November 9th. They continue through 
the winter, and depart in March. They are sold by mea- 
sure, and yield a great deal of sustenance to poor people 
in the winter season. It is reported that they have been 

The Pilchard. 457. 

taken yearly about Easter-time in a lake in Cheshire, 
called Kostern Mere, and in the river Mersey, in which 
the sea ebbs and flows seven or eight miles below the 

The Sardine (Clupea Sardina) is caught on the southern 
shores of France, where it is held in great repute ; and 
from its abounding in the neighbourhood of the island 
of Sardinia, it is called the Sardine. It is sent here 
pickled in the same way as herrings, and packed in 

THE PILCHAED. (Clupea Pilchardus.) 

The chief difference between this fish and the herring 
is, that the body of the Pilchard is more round and 
thick ; the nose shorter in proportion, turning up ; and 
the under jaw shorter. The back is more elevated, and 
the belly not so sharp. The scales adhere very closely, 
whilst those of the herring easily drop off. It is also, in 
general, of considerably smaller size. 

About the middle of July, Pilchards appear in vast 
shoals off the coast of Cornwall. These shoals remain 
till the latter end of October, when it is probable they 
retire to some undisturbed deep, at a little distance, for 
the winter. 

The Pilchard fishery is an important branch of com- 
merce. From a statement of the number of hogsheads 
exported each year, for ten years, from 1747 to 1756 in- 
clusive, from the four ports of Fowy, Falmouth, Pen- 
zance, and St. -Ives, it appears that Fowy exported 
yearly one thousand seven hundred and thirty-two hogs- 
heads; Falmouth, fourteen thousand six hundred and 
thirty-one ; Penzance and Mount's Bay, twelve thousand 
one hundred and forty-nine ; St. Ives, one thousand two 
hundred and eighty-two : in all, twenty-nine thousand 
seven hundred and ninety -four hogsheads. Every hogs- 
head, for ten years last past, together with the bounty 
allowed for exportation, and the oil made out of it, has 
amounted, one year with another, at an average, to the 
price of one pound thirteen shillings and three pence ; 
so that the cash paid for Pilchards exported has, at a 

.458 Fishes. 

medium, annually amounted to the sum of forty-nine 
thousand five hundred and thirty -two pounds. The 
above was the state of the fishing several years ago ; at 
present it is still more extensive, the average annual 
produce of the Cornish fisheries amounting to about 
twenty-one thousand hogsheads, which contain no less 
than sixty millions of Pilchards. 

THE WHITEBAIT. (Clupea alba.) 

This beautiful little fish is a pure white, without spots 
on either side. Immense quantities are caught from 
the beginning of April to the end of September, in the 
Thames; but they are so delicate as scarcely to bear 
carriage, and are therefore thought best when eaten as 
near as possible to the place where they were taken ; 
and hence the custom of having Whitebait dinners at 
the taverns at Greenwich and Blackwall. It was long 
supposed that the Whitebait was the fry of the shad, 
but it is now proved to be a distinct species. 

THE ANCHOVY. (Engraulis encrasicolus.) 

Like the herring and sprat, these fish leave the depths 
of the open sea, in order to frequent the smooth and 
shallow places of the coast, for the purpose of spawning. 
The fishermen generally light a fire on the shore, for 
the purpose of attracting the Anchovies, when they fish 

The Turbot. 459 

for them in the night. After they are cleaned, and 
their heads cut off, they are cured in a particular way, 
and packed in small barrels for sale and exportation. 
Anchovies are occasionally found both in the North Sea 
and in the Baltic ; but they are in much greater number 
in the Mediterranean than in any other part of the world. 
They have sometimes, though rarely, been caught in the 
river Dee, on the coasts of Flintshire and Cheshire. The 
upper jaw of this fish is longer than the under ; the 
back is brown ; the sides silvery ; fins short ; the dorsal 
fin, opposite the ventrals, transparent; the tail fin- 
forked. Its length is about three inches. 

THE TUEBOT. (Bhombus maximus.) 

The Turbot is a well-known fish, and much esteemed 
for the delicate taste, firmness, and sweetness of its 
flesh. Juvenal, in his fourth Satire, gives us a very 
ludicrous description of the Roman emperor Domitian 
assembling the Senate to decide how and with what 
sauce this fish should be eaten. The Turbot is some- 
times two feet and a half long, and about two broad. 
The scales on the skin are so very small that they are 
hardly perceptible. The colour of the upper side of the 
body is a dark brown, spotted with dirty yellow ; the 
under side a pure white, tinged on the edges with a 
somewhat flesh-colour, or pale pink. There is a great 
difficulty in baiting the Turbot, as it is very fastidious 
in its food. Nothing can allure it but herrings or small 
slices of haddocks, and lampreys ; and as it lies in deep 

460 Fishes. 

water, flirting and paddling on the ooze at the bottom of 
the sea, no net can reach it, so that it is generally caught 
by hook and line. It is found chiefly on the northern 
coasts of England, Scotland, and Holland. 

THE PLAICE, (Platessa vulgaris,) 

A well-known English fish, nearly allied to the turbot. 
It has smooth sides, an anal spine, and the eyes and six 
tubercles are placed on the same side of the head. The 
body is very flat, and the upper part of the fish of a 
clear brown colour, marked with orange-coloured spots, 
and the belly white. Plaice spawn in the beginning of 
February, and when full-grown assume something like 
the shape of a turbot ; but the flesh is very different, 
being soft and nearly tasteless. 

When near the ground they swim slowly and horizon- 
tally, but if suddenly disturbed they change the hori- 
zontal to the vertical position, darting along with 
meteor-like rapidity, and then again quickly resuming 
their inactive habits at the bottom of the water. Plaice 
feed on small fish and young Crustacea, and have some- 
times been taken on our coasts weighing fifteen pounds, 
but a fish half that weight is considered very large. The 
finest kind, called Diamond Plaice, are caught on the 
Sussex coast. These fish are in considerable demand as 
food, though by no means equal to the turbot and sole. 
Those of a moderate size are reckoned the best eatinjr. 

The Flounder—The Sole. 



THE FLOUNDEK. (Phtessa flesus.) 

The principal distinction between the plaice and the 
Flounder consists in the former having a row of six 
tubercles behind the left eye, of which this fish is en- 
tirely destitute ; it is also a little longer in the body, 
and, when full-grown, somewhat thicker. The back 
is of a dark olive colour, spotted. In taste, they are 
reckoned more delicate than the plaice. They live long 
after being taken out of their element, and are often 
cried in the streets of London, but they seldom appear 
on the tables of the rich and dainty. They are common 
in the British rivers, and in all large rivers which obey 
the impression of the tide, and they feed upon worms 
bred in the mud at the bottom of the water. 

THE SOLE, (Solea vulgaris,) 

Is well known as a very excellent fish," whose flesh is 
firm, delicate, and of a pleasing flavour. Soles grow to 
the length of eighteen inches, and even more, in some of 
our seas. They are often found of this size and supe- 
riority in Tor bay, whence they are sent to market at 
Exeter and several other towns in Devonshire and the 



adjacent counties. They are found also in the Mediter- 
ranean and several other seas, and, when in season, are 
in great requisition for the most luxurious tables. The 
upper part of the body is brown ; the under part white ; 
one of the pectoral fins is tipped with black, the sides 
are yellow, and the tail rounded at the extremity. It is 
said that the small Soles, caught in the northern seas, 
are of a much superior taste to the large ones, which the 
southern and western coasts afford. 

This fish has also the quality of keeping sweet and 
good for several days, even in hot weather, and is 
thought to acquire a more delicate flavour by being thus 
kept. On this account it is that Soles in the London 
markets are frequently more esteemed than those which 
are. cooked immediately after they are taken out of the 

In the economy of flat fish we have an account of one 
circumstance which is very remarkable : among various 
other marine productions, the}^ have been known to feed 
on shell-fish, although they are furnished with no appa- 
ratus whatever in their mouth which would seem to be 
adapted for reducing these to a state calculated for 



This brilliant little fish is the smallest of the salrno7iidce, 
and is only found in rivers frequented by salmon ; for 
whenever a river becomes deserted by them, the samlet 
also disappears. This fish is considered to be the fry 

The Salmon. 


of the true salmon, and Mr. Young, in a recent essay, 
has, we think, fairly established the fact; but Mr. 
Yarrell and other naturalists assert it to be a distinct 

THE SALMON, {Salmo solar,) 

Is the boast of large rivers, and one of the noblest inha- 
bitants of the sea, if we esteem it by its bulk, colour, 
and the sweetness of its flesh. Salmon are found of a 
great weight, and sometimes measure five feet in length. 
The colour is beautiful, a dark blue dotted with black 
spots on the back, merging to silvery white on the sides, 
and white with a little shade of pink below. The fins 
are comparatively small. These fish, though they live 
principally in the sea, come up the rivers at the spawn- 
ing season, to a considerable distance inland, where the 
female deposits her eggs. Soon after, both she and the 
male take an excursion to the vast legions of the sea, 
and do not visit any of the land streams again till the 
next year, when they return for the same purpose. They 
are so powerfully impelled by this natural impulse, that, 
if they are stopped when swimming up a river by a fall 

464 Fishes. 

of water, they spring up with such a force through the 
descending torrent, that they stem it till they reach the 
higher bed of the stream ; and on this account small 
cascades on the Tweed and other rivers are often 
called Salmon-leaps. The Salmon is in a great measure 
confined to the northern seas, being unknown in the 
Mediterranean, and in the waters of other warm cli- 
mates. The flesh is red when raw, rather paler when 
salted or boiled ; it is an agreeable food, fat, tender, and 
sweet, and excels in richness all other fresh-water fish : 
however, it does not agree with every stomach, and is 
often injurious when eaten by sick persons. 

In the river Tweed, about the month of July, the 
capture of Salmon is astonishing : often a boat-load, and 
sometimes nearly two, may be taken at a tide ; and in 
one instance more than seven hundred fish were caught 
at a single haul of the net. From fifty to a hundred at 
a haul are very common. Some of these are sent to 
London by the railway ; but part are slightly salted and 
pickled, in which state they are called kipper. The 
season for fishing commences in the Tweed in February, 
and ends about old Michaelmas-day. On this river 
there are about forty considerable fisheries, which ex- 
tend upwards, about fourteen miles from the mouth ; 
besides many, others of less consequence. These, se- 
veral years ago, were let at an annual rent of more 
than ten thousand pounds ; and to defray this expense, 
it has been calculated that upwards of two hundred 
thousand Salmon must be paught there, one year with 
another. The principal Salmon fisheries in Europe are 
in the rivers, or on the sea-coasts adjoining the large 
rivers of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The chief 
English rivers in which they are now caught are the 
Tyne, the Trent, the Severn, and the Tweed. They 
were formerly found in the Thames, but none have been 
taken there for many years. The Salmon fry go down 
the river to the sea in April. A young Salmon under 
two pounds in weight is called a Salmon Peel, and a 
larger one a Grilse. Salmon cannot be eaten too fresh, 
and is very unwholesome when stale. 

The Salmon Trout. 



TROUT, (Salmo Trutta,) 

Also called the Bull Trout, or Sea Trout, is thicker in 
the body than the common trout, and weighs about 
three pounds ; it has a large smooth head, which, as 
well as the back, is of a bluish tint, with a green gloss ; 
the sides are marked with numerous black -spots, and 
the tail is broadest at the end. It is said that in the 
beginning of summer the flesh of this fish reddens, and 
remains this colour till the month of August ; which is 
very probably owing to their being on the point of 
spawning. Like the salmon, this fish inhabits the sea ; 
but in the months of November and December it enters 
the rivers, in order to deposit its roe ; and consequently, 
in the spawning season, it is occasionally found in lakes 
and streams, at a great distance from the sea. It is very 
delicate, and much esteemed on our tables. Some people 
prefer this fish to salmon; but they are both apt to 
cause illness when eaten in too great a quantity. 




THE TEOUT. (Salmo-fario.) 

This fish, in figure, resembles the salmon ; it has a short 
roundish head, and a blunt snout. Trouts are fresh- 
water fish, and they breed and live constantly in rivers 
and small pellucid streams which sparkle over clean 
pebbles and beds of sand. 

They feed on river flies and other water insects, and 
are so fond of them, and so blindly voracious, that an- 
glers deceive them with artificial flies made of feathers, 
wool, and other materials, which resemble very closely 
the natural ones. In Lough Neagh, in Ireland, Trouts 
have been caught weighing thirty pounds ; and we are 
told, that in the Lake of Geneva, and in the northern 
lakes of England, they are found of a still larger size. 
It holds the first place among the river fish, and its flesh 
is very delicious, but difficult of digestion when old, or 
kept too long. They spawn in the month of December, 
and deposit their eggs in the gravel at the bottom of 
rivers, dykes, and ponds. Unlike most other fish, the 

The Trout. 467 

Trouts are least esteemed when near spawning. They 
are properly in season in the months of July and August, 
being then fat and well-tasted. 

The beautiful silvery Trout is the most voracious of 
fresh-water fish, and will devour every living thing 
which the water produces — even its own spawn in all 
its stages, and will lie upon the bed or hill, watching to 
seize its young fry, as they become vivified and rise 
from under their gravelly birthplace. Neither does he 
confine himself to any given sort of fish, but luxuriates 
his rapacious stomach upon all the varieties, from in- 
stinct occasionally changing his food to larvae, caddis, 
ephemera, worms, and even the young of the water- 
snail, all of which act as alteratives. Owing to his 
large fins and broad tail, his movements are extremely 
rapid, and, from his muscular power and pliability, he 
seldom misses his prey. His habits are solitary, being 
only accompanied by one, and that at some distance 
from him, in the summer season; and as the autumn 
approaches, when larvae, &c, are diminishing, he keeps 
entirely alone until the pairing season returns. The 
period of spawning differs in various rivers from natural 
causes, such as snow, cold rains, or inclement weather ; 
for, as Trout, like salmon, spawn on gravel beds in shal- 
low water, the cold readily affects them. When they 
cannot reach the spot prepared for the deposit of their 
eggs, they frequently abstain from spawning for weeks. 
The younger Trout generally hill, as it is termed, ear- 
lier than those of larger growth. They begin to throw 
up their bed early in December, when the female and 
male may be seen working together, the former mostly 
in advance. By constant labour they dig a hollow in 
the gravel, throwing it up on each side, and at last 
forming a heap, which is called a hill, or bed. At this 
period they are very shy and stupid, and even the sha- 
dow of a cloud will frighten them from their hill, when 
they retreat into deeper water; but iipon finding all 
quiet they return. This preparation generally occupies 
two or three weeks ; and frequently the hill is shared 
both in labour and occupation by several pairs of Trout. 
It often measures many feet in diameter, and is two or 

468 Fishes. 

three feet higher than the bed of the stream. From the 
middle of December to the end of January the Trout is 
in full spawning operation ; when the fish deposit their 
eggs in the hollow, and afterwards work the gravel over 
them to the depth of about three inches. If the tem- 
perature of the water is not altered during the period of 
incubation, the young make their appearance on the 
fiftieth day; never earlier, frequently later. Nature 
has endowed the young fry with so much instinct of 
self-preservation, that for many days they keep under 
the gravel, and it is curious to see the shoal hiding 
together under large stones* to protect themselves from 
danger : this they continue to do until the eggshell, in 
which they remain partially enveloped, falls off from 
their delicate frames. This shell, which adheres to them 
for fourteen days, contains a proportion of fluid necessary 
for their support during this period of helplessness. 
After this they resort to the shallows and scours to avoid 
the larger fish, where they remain solitary for a year, 
during which time, in good keep, they attain the weight 
of three to four ounces ; the second 3 7 ear, eight to ten 
ounces ; after which they begin to breed. A fish, like 
every animal, becomes fat when it has abundance of 
food with little or no exertion ; so that the growth is 
entirely regulated by the relative proportion of food and 
labour. I have observed this difference in the same 
brood of Trout, artificially bred upon my system : the 
one brood being placed in water well supplied with 
food, the other in a spring-stream where little food 
existed ; the former, at ten months old, were four inches 
long, and three and a half ounces in weight, while the 
latter were only an inch and a half long, and less than 
an ounce in weight. Although Trout are not migratory, 
yet, when they become large, they run up stream to 
purer water. The small Trout are carried down the 
stream against their habit, by the flushes of water or 
floods during the autumn months, being unable to stem 
the thickened torrent, which fills their gills with allu- 
vial deposit, and hinders their respiration, whence they 
become weak and sickly. In this state of water all fish 
sicken more or less, and it destroys vast numbers in the 

The Char. 


very young state. I have known thousands destroyed 
by the overflowing of a river, as well old as young. The 
cause of all our rivers falling off in the quantity of fish, 
is from the increasing impurity of the water, as fish 
especially require pure water. 

The above interesting notice of the Trout has been communicated to 
the publisher by Mr. Boccius, who devotes himself professionally to the 
increase offish in rivers and ponds, and has performed marvels. 


(Salmo salvelinus,) 

Is not unlike the trout ; the scales are very small ; the 
colour of the body marked with numerous spots and 
points of black, red, and silver, mixed with yellow, and 
without a circle ; the back tinged with olive-green ; the 
belly white, the snout bluish. Alf the fins, except 
those of the back, are reddish, and the adipose one is red 
on its edge. This fish is about twelve inches in length, 
and is esteemed very delicate as an article of food, espe- 
cially by the Italians. It is abundant in the Lago di 
Garda, near Venice ; and is also found, not only in our 
northern lakes in Westmoreland and Scotland, but also 
in the large sheets of water at the foot of the mountains 
in Lapland. The potted Char enjoys a high and de- 
served reputation in several parts of the Continent, as 



well as in England. The Char is a fresh-water fish, and 
is generally found in the deepest parts of lakes ; it is 
never taken by the angler, only by the net. 

THE GRAYLING. (Sdmo thymdlus.) 

This fish never exceeds fifteen inches in length, and 
seldom arrives at three pounds weight. The back and 
sides are of a silvery grey, and when the fish is first 
taken out of the water, slightly varied with blue and 
gold. The coverts of the gills are of a glossy green, and 
the scales are large. 

The Grayling is a fresh-water fish, and delights 
chiefly in clear and not too rapid streams, where it 
affords great amusement to the angler, as it is very 
voracious, and rises eagerly to the fly. They are bolder 
than trout, and even if missed by the hook several 
times successively, they will still pursue the bait. They 
feed principally on worms, insects, and water-snails ; and 
the shells of the latter are often found in great quanti ies 
on their stomachs. They spawn in the months of April 
and May. The largest fish of this species ever heard 

The Smelt 


of was one caught in the Severn, and weighed five 

Ancient writers strongly recommended this fish as 
food for sick persons, as they considered it peculiarly 
wholesome and easy of digestion. 

THE SMELT, OR SPARLING. (Osmerus eperlanus.) 

This fish is in length about eight or nine inches, and 
nearly one in breadth ; the body is of a light olive green, 
inclining to silver white. The smell, when the fish is 
fresh and raw, is not unlike that of ripe cucumbers, but 
it goes off in the frying-pan, and the Smelt then yields a 
tender and most delicious food. Smelts are sea-fish, and 
inhabit the sea-coast and harbours ; but they are often 
taken in the Thames, the Medway, and other large rivers, 
which they ascend in the spawning season. The skin of 
this fish is so transparent, that with the help of a micro- 
scope, its blood may be seen to circulate. 

Smelts are found on the coasts of all the northern coun- 
tries of Europe, and also in the Mediterranean. They 
vary considerably in size. Mr. Pennant states that the 
largest he had ever heard of measured thirteen inches in 
length, and weighed half a pound. 



THE PIKE. (Esox Indus.) 

The body of this fish is a pale olive-grey, deepest on 
the back, and marked on the sides by several yellowish 
spots or patches ; the abdomen white, slightly spotted 
with black ; its length is from one to eight feet, and its 
weight from one or two to forty or fifty pounds. The 
flesh is white and firm, and considered very wholesome ; 
the larger and older it is, the more it is esteemed. 
There is scarcely any fish of its size in the world that in 
voracity can equal the Pike.* It lives in rivers, lakes, 
and ponds ; and in a confined piece of water will soon 
destroy all other fish, as it generally does not feed upon 
anything else, and often swallows one nearly as big as 
itself ; for through its greediness in eating, it takes the 
head foremost, and so draws it in by little and little at a 
time, till it has swallowed the whole. A gudgeon of 
good size has been found in the stomach of a large Pike, 
the head of which had already received clear marks of 
the power of digestion, whilst the rest of the fish was 
still fresh and unimpaired. 

" I have been assured (says Walton) by my friend 
Mr. Seagrave, who keeps tame otters, that he has known 
a Pike, in extreme hunger, fight with one of his otters 
for a carp that the otter had caught, and was then 
bringing out of the water." 

* Mr. Boccius has, however, shown that the Trout is even moro 
voracious. \ 

The Pike. 473 

Boulker, in his Art of Angling, says, that his father 
caught a Tike, which he presented to Lord Cholmon- 
deley, that was an ell long, and weighed thirty-six 
pounds. His lordship directed it to be put into a canal 
in his garden, which at that time contained a great 
quantity of fish. Twelve months afterwards the water 
was drawn off, and it was discovered that the Pike had 
devoured all the fish, except a large carp that weighed 
between nine and ten pounds, and even this had been 
bitten in several places. The Pike was again put in, 
and an entire fresh stock of fish for him to feed on : all 
these he devoured in less than a year. Several times he 
was observed by workmen who were standing near, to 
draw ducks and other water-fowl under water. Crows 
were shot and thrown in, which he took' in the presence 
of the men. From this time the slaughtermen had orders 
to feed him with the garbage of the slaughter-house; 
but being afterwards neglected, he died, as is supposed, 
from want of food. 

In December, 1765, a Pike was caught in the river 
Ouse, that weighed upwards of twenty-eight pounds, 
and was sold for a guinea. When it was opened, a watch 
with a black riband and two seals were found in its 
body. These, it was afterwards found, had belonged to 
a gentleman's servant, who had been drowned in the 
river about a month before. 

The Pike is a very long-lived fish. In the year 1497, 
one was caught at Heilbrun, in Swabia, to which was 
affixed a brazen ring, with the following words engraved 
on it in Greek characters : " I am the fish, which was 
first of all put into this lake, by the hands of the gover- 
nor of the universe, Frederick the Secoud, the fifth of 
October, 1230." 

474 Fishes. 

THE PEECH, (Perca fluviatilis,) 

Seldom grows to any great size ; yet we have an account 
of one which is said to have weighed nine pounds. The 
body is deep, the scales rough, the back arched, and the 
side-lines placed near the back. For beauty of colours, 
the Perch vies with the gaudiest inhabitants of the 
waters ; the back glows with the deep reflections of the 
brightest emeralds, divided by five broad black stripes ; 
the abdomen imitates the tints of the opal and mother- 
of-pearl; and the ruby hue of the fins completes an 
assemblage of colours most harmonious and elegant. It 
is a gregarious fish, and is caught in several rivers of 
these islands ; the flesh is firm, delicate, and much 

It is generally believed that a pike will not attack a 
full-grown Perch : he is deterred from so doing by the 
spiny or dorsal fin on the back, which this fish always 
erects at the approach of an enemy. Perch are so vora- 
cious, that, if an expert angler happens to find a shoal of 
them, he may catch every one. If, however, a single 
fish escape that has felt the hook, all is over ; as this 
fish becomes so restless, as soon to occasion the whole 
shoal to leave the place. Perch are so bold, that they 
are generally the first fish caught by a young angler; 
they will also soon learn to take bread thrown into the 
water to feed them. A large-sized Perch weighs about 
three pounds ; but generally the Perches caught in 
ponds do not exceed eight or ten ounces in weight. 

The Basse. 


THE BASSE, OE SEA PERCH, (Labrax lupus,) 

Is found in abundance on our southern coasts, and is 
still more common in the Mediterranean. It has one 
long dorsal fin, like the ruffe. The flesh of this fish is 
highly esteemed. 

The Climbing Perch, (Anabas scandens,) a native of 
the fresh waters of India, possesses a very singular ap- 
paratus for enabling it to quit the water, and pass a 
considerable time on dry ground. This consists of a 
curiously folded portion of thin bone on each side of the 
head near the gills, in the cavities of which a good deal 
of water is contained; this keeps the gills in a moist 
state while the fish is out of the water, and thus enables 
it to breathe in the air. This fish is said to employ its 
singular power of quitting the water for the purpose of 
climbing trees, although what it expects to gain by so 
doing is quite unknown. Its power of climbing has 
been denied by some naturalists, but Daldorf says that 
he once caught one which had clambered to a height of 
six feet on the stem of a palm, and was in the act of 
going still higher. 



THE POPE, OR RUFFE. (Acerina cernua.) 

The Pope is very like a small perch, but with a curiously 
formed single dorsal fin : the colour of the back is a 
dusky olive green ; the sides light brownish green and 
copper colour; and small brown spots are spread over 
the dorsal fin, the back, and tail. The pectoral, ventral, 
and anal fins are pale brown. This fish rarely exceeds 
six inches in length ; but it is nearly as good as a perch 
of the same size, which it resembles, both in its haunts 
and habits ; it spawns in April, and feeds on small fry, 
worms, or aquatic insects. 

Cuvier assigns the credit of the first discovery of this 
fish to an Englishman of the name of Caius, who found 
it in the river Yare, near Norwich, and called it Aspredo, 
a translation of our name Ruffe, (rough,) which is well 
applied to it, on account of the harsh feel of its denticu- 
lated scales. 

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THE CAEP, (Cyprinus carpio,) 

Is famous for the sweetness of its flesh, when of moderate 
size, that is, when measuring about twelve to fifteen 
inches in length, and weighing about three pounds. The 
scales are large, with a golden gloss upon a dark green 
ground. These fish sometimes grow to the length of 
three or four feet, and contain a great quantity of fat. 
The soft roe of the Caip is esteemed a great delicacy 
among epicures. In the canals of Chantilly, formerly 
the seat of the Prince of Conde, Carps have been kept 
for above one hundred years, most of them appearing 
hoary through old age, and so tame that they answered 
to their names when the keeper called them to be fed. 
This fish has large molar teeth only, situate at the back 
part of the head or throat, and a broad tongue ; the tail 
is widely spread as well as the fins, which are inclined 
to a reddish tint. Carp that live in rivers and running 
streams are preferred for the table, as those which inhabit 
pools and ponds have generally a muddy and disagree- 
able taste. Though so cunning in general as to be 
called the River Fox, yet at spawning time they suffer 
themselves to be tickled and caught without attempting 
to escape. It is said that Carp were first brought to 



England about three hundred years ago. They are very 
tenacious of life, and at the inns in Holland are often 
kept alive a month or six weeks, by being fed with 
bread and milk, and laid on wet moss in a net, which is 
hung from the ceiling in an airy place. The moss is kept 
moist, and water is thrown over the fish twice a day. 

Carp is always considered a delicacy for the table, 
especially when stewed in port wine ; and it appears to 
have been long held in high estimation on that account, 
as we find, from the privy purse expenses of Henry 
VIII., that the bluff king was exceedingly fond of 

THE TENCH, (Cyprinus tinea,) 

Like the carp, is remarkably tenacious of life. Its body 
is thick and short, and seldom exceeds twelve inches in 
length, or four pounds in weight. The eyes are red; 
the back, dorsal, and ventral fins dusky ; the head, sides, 
and abdomen of a greenish hue, mixed with gold ; and 
the tail very broad. The Tench delights in still water, 
in the muddy parts of ponds, where it is the most secure 
from the voracious ramblings and fierce attacks of the 
tyrant pike, and from the hook of the angler; here it 
lives nearly motionless, lurking beneath flags, reeds, and 
weeds. This inactive life has enabled some individuals 

The Gold-Fish. 479 

of this species to attain an extraordinary bulk. We have 
read, as a well-authenticated fact, that in the northern 
part of England, in a piece of water, which having been 
long neglected, was filled with timber, stones, and rub- 
ish, two hundred Tench, and as many perch of good 
size were found ; and that one fish in particular, which 
seemed to have been shut up in a nook, had not only 
surpassed all the others in size, but had also taken 
the form of the hole in which it had been accidentally 
confined. The body was in the shape of a half-moon, 
conforming in the convexity of its outlines to the con- 
cavity of the dungeon where this innocent sufferer had 
been immured for a number of years ; it weighed eleven 


(Cyprinus auratus,) 

Was originally brought from China, and first introduced 
into England in 1661, but is now become quite common, 
and will breed as freely in ponds as the carp. The 
average size is about five inches, and it scarcely ever 
exceeds seven and a half. Gold-fish are highly prized 
in China, and are extensively introduced in the orna- 
mental waters of our own countr}\ Nothing is more 
pleasing than to see them glide along and play in the 
transparent crystal, whilst their broad and glittering 
scales reflect the rays of the sun. They are often kept 
within the small compass of a glass bowl, where they 
become tame and docile, and after a short time seem to 
recognise their feeders. 

480 Fishes, 

The smallest fish are preferred, not only from their 
being the most beautiful, but because a greater number 
of them can be kept in a small circumference. These 
are of a fine orange red colour, appearing as if sprinkled 
over with gold-dust. Some, however, are white, like 
silver ; and others white, spotted with red. 

When Gold-fish are kept in ponds, they are often 
taught to rise to the surface of the water at the sound of 
a bell, to be fed. 

THE GUDGEON, (Cyprinus gobio,) 

A well-known fresh-water fish, generally found in 
gentle streams, on gravelly scours. The average length 
of this fish is from six to eight inches, and its weight 
is from two to three ounces. The back is brown, the 
abdomen white, and the sides tinged with red ; the tail 
is forked. It is beautified with black spots both on the 
body and tail. Gudgeons spawn early in summer, and 
feed upon worms and aquatic insects. Their flesh is 
white, of excellent flavour, and easy of digestion. In the 
months of September and October these fish are taken 
in the rivers of some parts of the Continent in great 
abundance ; and the markets are well supplied with 
them. They are not uncommon in the river Thames, 
where persons are frequently to be seen fishing for them 
from punts. As these fish bite with great eagerness, 
large numbers are often taken in this manner. They 
are also caught in nets, as well as with hooks and lines. 

The Chub. 481 

THE CHUB, (Cyprinus cepMus,) 

Is of a coarse nature, and full of bones ; it seldom ex- 
ceeds the weight of live pounds. The body is of an 
oblong shape, nearly round ; the head, which is large, 
and the back, are of a deep dusky green ; the sides 
silvery, and the abdomen white ; the pectoral fins are of 
a pale yellow, the ventral and anal ones red ; and the 
tail brown, tinged with blue at its extremity, and 
slightly forked. This fish frequents the deep holes of 
rivers, but in the summer, when the sun shines, it rises 
to the surface, and lies quiet under the shade of the 
trees, that spread their foliage on the verdant banks; 
but yet, though it seems to indulge itself in slumber, it 
is easily awakened, and at the least alarm dives rapidly 
to the bottom. Although a leather-mouthed fish, it takes 
every species of food, including small fish, the same as a 
trout, though it is not so voracious. In March and April 
this fish may be caught with large red worms ; in June 
and July, with flies, snails, and cherries ; in August and 
September, with cheese pounded in a mortar, mixed with 
saffron and butter. When the Chub seizes a bait, it 
bites so eagerly that its jaws are often heard to chop 
like those of a dog. It, however, seldom breaks its hold. 
and, when once struck, is soon tired. 



THE BARBEL. (Cyprinus Barhus.) 

The Barbel is readily distinguished from the other carps 
by the four barbs or wattels attached to its mouth. Its 
upper jaw is very considerably extended beyond the 
lower jaw. The Lea, the Thames, and various other 
rivers in the neighbourhood of London, abound in this 
fish, which affords excellent sport to the angler. " During 
summer," says Mr. Gorrell, "this fish, in shoals, fre- 
quents the weedy parts of the river ; but as soon as 
the weeds begin to decay in autumn it seeks the deeper 
water, and shelters itself near piles, locks, and bridges, 
which it frequents till the following spring." It is 
sometimes found to weigh from fifteen to eighteen pounds, 
and to measure three feet in length, but its usual length 
is from twelve to eighteen inches. The flesh is coarse 
and unsavory, and held in no estimation. 

THE DACE, (Cyprinus leuciscus,) 

Resembles the chub in its form, but is smaller, and of a 
lighter colour ; it is gregarious and remarkably prolific. 
It is seldom more than ten inches in length ; the back is 
of a dusky colour, tinged with yellow and green, and the 
sides have a silvery cast. 

The Boach—The Bleak 


Dace spawn in March, and are in season about three 
weeks afterwards. They improve, and are good about 
Michaelmas ; but in February they are best. The flesh 
is, however, at all times woolly and insipid. They are 
very lively creatures, and, if kept in ponds, may live a 
considerable time. 

THE KOACH, (Cyprinus rutilus,) 

Belongs also to the 'carp family, and is remarkable for 
its numerous progeny. It is a deep yet thin-made fish, 
in shape somewhat resembling the bream, but approach- 
ing the carp in the breadth and shape of its scales, which 
are large and deciduous. The soundness of the flesh is 
become proverbial, and pleases the taste by a peculiar 
delicacy of flavour. The ventral fins are, like those of 
the perch, of a bright crimson, and the irides of the eye 
sparkle like rubies and garnets. The length of the Eoach 
is commonly between nine and ten inches, but sometimes 
much greater. 

THE BLEAK, (Cyprinus alburnus,) 

Is nearly allied to the roach. It is a small glittering fish, 
familiar to. most persons from its playing about on warm 

484 Fishes. 

summer evenings on the surface of rivers in chase of flies, 
bread-crumbs, &c. The scales are employed in making 
artificial pearls. 

THE BREAM, (Cyprinus Brama,) 

Is a flattish fish, not unlike the carp in several points, but 
much broader in proportion to its length and thickness. 
Its head is truncated, the upper jaw a little projecting; 
the forehead a bluish black ; cheeks yellowish ; body 
olive, paler below ; fins obscure, with an oblong conical 
process at the base of the ventral fins ; twenty-nine rays 
in the anal fin ; its greatest length is about two feet. 
The scales are large, and of a bright colour ; the tail has 
the form of a crescent. It frequents the deepest parts 
of rivers, lakes, and ponds. These fish spawn in May, 
secluding themselves at that time so carefully in the 
ooze at the bottom of the water that they are seldom 
found with either soft or hard roe in them, so that in 
some countries the name is often used to denote sterility. 
The flesh is not comparable to that of the carp. 

The White Bream never exceeds a pound in weight, 
and is consequently much smaller than the Common 
or Carp Bream, which frequently weighs seven or eight 

In some of the lakes of Ireland great quantities of 
Bream are taken, many of them of very large size, some- 
times weighing as much as twelve or even fourteen pounds 

The Minnow. 485 

each. A place conveniently situated for the fishing is 
baited with grain, or other coarse food, for ten days or 
a fortnight regularly, after which great sport is usually 
obtained. The party frequently catch several hundred- 
weight, which are distributed among the poor of the vici- 
nity, who split and dry them with great care, to eat with 
their potatoes. 

THE MINNOW. (Cyprinus phoxinus.) 

The body of the Minnow is of a blackish green, with 
blue and yellow variegations ; the abdomen silvery ; 
scales small ; ten rays in the ventral, anal, and dorsal 
fins ; tail forked, and marked near the base with a dusky 
spot. Its length is about three inches. 

This beautiful and well-known fish is gregarious, and 
is frequent in clear gravelly streams and rivulets in many 
parts of Europe. In Britain it appears in March, and is 
seldom seen after October. It spawns in June, and is, 
indeed, found in roe during the greater part of the 
summer. It is easily tamed : and, in captivity, may be 
taught to pick flies or filaments of beef from the hand. 

The flesh of the Minnow is extremely delicate, but 
the fish is so small that it would take a great number 
to make a dish, and consequently it is seldom used for 
human food. Its chief value is as a bait for catching 
other fish. In some parts of England it is so abundant 
as sometimes to be used as manure. 



THE LOACH, (Cobitis barbatula,) 

Which also belongs to the family of the carps, is a small 
fish, with six barbs at the mouth. It inhabits small, 
gravelly streams, and lies at the bottom among the stones ; 
it is easily caught with a small worm. 

It is considered an extremely well-flavoured fish, 
though, on account of its small size, and the difficulty 
of catching a sufficient quantity, seldom seen at table. 
The Loach is very sensitive to atmospheric changes, 
which it shows by its restless movements. They have 
sometimes been kept alive in glass vessels, in which 
state they indicate the approach of storms with almost 
the accuracy of a barometer. 


{Cottus gobio,) 

Is found in clear brooks and livers in most parts ot 
Europe. It is from four to five inches long ; the head is 
large in proportion to the body, broad and depressed : the 
gill fins round, and beautifully notched. The mouth is 
large and full of small teeth ; the general colour of the 
body is a dark brownish black. This fish is remarkably 
stupid, and may be caught with ease by the most in ex- 

The Stickleback. 487 

perienced angler, even with a bent pin and coarse thread. 
Its hiding-places are among loose stones, under which 
the peculiar flattened form of its head enables it to thrust 
itself. Its popular name seems to have suggested itself 
from the resemblance the head of the fish is supposed to 
bear to the form of a miller's thumb, the peculiar con- 
formation of which is produced by his mode of testing 
samples of meal. 

THE STICKLEBACK, (Gastuostius aculiatus,) 

Is one of our smallest fishes, and appears to live indiffer- 
ently in fresh and salt water. It is exceedingly common 
in every pond, and may be caught easily, either with a 
hand-net, or by fishing for it with a small worm tied to the 
end of a piece of cotton ; he bites at this so boldly that 
he may be drawn out of the water without the aid of a 
hook. His name of Stickleback is given to him from his 
having thin spines on the back instead of a fin ; the 
sides of his body are covered with thin bony plates, and 
his ventral fins consist of single, strong, and sharp spines, 
which constitute formidable offensive weapons. 

The Stickleback, although so common, is one of the 
most interesting of fishes, on account of the singularity 
of its habits in the breeding season. Instead of deposit- 
ing its eggs in the sand or mud, and leaving them to 
take care of themselves, the Stickleback builds a curious 
nest of fragments of vegetable matter, and defends this 
most valiantly against all intruders until the hatching 
of the young ; the parental solicitude does not cease until 
the young Sticklebacks have grown too big to be any 
longer controlled. One curious feature in the business 
is, that it is the male that takes all this trouble ; he builds 
the nest, exposes himself to every danger in its defence, 
and watches anxiously over the vagaries of his young 
progeny, the female having nothing to do but to deposit 
her eggs in the already prepared nest. 

The Stickleback is an extremely pugnacious fish. 
The males fight together furiously, and the colours of 
their bodies become much more brilliant while they are 
so occupied than at any other time. 

48S Fishes. 

THE ELECTRICAL EEL. {Gymnotus Electricus.) 

This very remarkable fish is about five or six feet in 
length, and twelve inches in circumference, in the 
thickest part of the bodj' . The head is broad, flat, and 
large ; the mouth wide and destitute of teeth ; the ros- 
trum obtuse and rounded ; the eyes small and of a bluish 
colour ; the back of a darkish brown, the sides grey, and 
the abdomen of a dingy white. Across the body there 
are several annular divisions, or rather ridges of the skin, 
which give the fish the power of contracting or dilating 
itself at pleasure. There is no dorsal fin, and the ventral 
fins are also wanting, as in all the Eels. It is able to 
swim backwards as well as forwards. 

Mr. Bryant mentions an instance of the shock from one 
of these fish being felt through a considerable thickness 
of wood. One morning, while he was standing by, as a 
servant was emptying a tub, in which an Electrical Eel 
was contained, he had lifted it entirely from the ground, 
and was pouring off the water to renew it, when he re- 
ceived a shock so violent as occasioned him to let the 
tub fall. He then called another person to his assist- 
ance, and they lifted up the tub together, each laying 
hold only on the outside. When they were pouring off 
the remainder of the water, they received a shock so 
smart that they were compelled to desist. 

Persons have been knocked down with a stroke. One 

The Electrical Eel 489 

of these fish having been taken from a net and laid upon 
the grass, an English sailor, notwithstanding all the per- 
suasions that were used to prevent him, would insist on 
taking it up ; but the moment he grasped it he dropped 
down in a fit ; his eyes were fixed, his face became livid, 
and it was not without difficulty that his senses were 
restored. He said that the instant he touched it " the 
cold ran swiftly up his arm into his body, and pierced 
him to the heart." 

Humboldt tells us that when the Indians wish to catch 
these Eels they drive some wild horses through the pools 
which the fish inhabit; and that when the Eels have 
exhausted their electrical power upon the horses, the 
Indians take them without difficulty. He relates an in- 
stance in which he says that the horses, stunned with 
the shocks they received, sank under water, but most of 
them rose again, and gained the shore, where they lay 
stretched out on the ground, apparently quite exhausted 
and without the power of moving, so much were they 
stupefied and benumbed. In about a quarter of an hour, 
however, the Eels appeared to have exhausted them- 
selves, and, instead of attacking fresh horses that were 
driven into the pond, fled before them. The Indians 
then entered the water and caught as many fish as they 

This most singular fish is peculiar to South America, 
where it is found only in stagnant pools, at a great dis- 
tance from the sea. 

* See a very animated account of the capture of this fish, in Hum- 
boldt's " Views of Nature," page 16 (Bohn's Edition). 



THE EEL. (Anguilh vulgaris.) 

The Eel resembles a serpent in its form, though no two 
animals can be more different in every other respect. 
Eels are fresh-water fish ; but as they are very suscep- 
tible of cold, those which inhabit rivers go down every 
autumn towards the sea, which is always warmer than a 
river, and return in spring. They are said also to spawn 
in the sea, and great numbers of young Eels are seen in 
spring ascending tidal rivers. Mr. Edward Jesse, in 
his edition of " Walton's Angler," says : " A column of 
them has been traced in the Thames from Somerset 
House to Oxford, about the middle of May, and I have 
watched their progress with much interest. No impedi- 
ment stops them. They keep as much as possible close 
alongshore, and as they pass watercourses, open ditches, 
and brooks, &c, some of them leave the column and 
enter these places, along which they eventually make 
their way to ponds, smaller rivers, &c. So strong is the 
migratory instinct in these little eels, that when I have 
taken some in a bucket and returned them to the river 
at some distance from the column, they have imme- 
diately rejoined it without any deviation to the right or 

The Eel 491 

left. On the banks of the Thames the passage is called 
Eel-fare. Two observers, watching their progress at 
Kingston, calculated that from sixteen to eighteen hun- 
dred passed a given line per minute. Rennie saw (on 
the loth of May) a column of young eels of uniform 
size, about as thick as a crow-quill, and three inches 
long, returning to the river Clyde, in almost military 
order, keeping within parallel lines of about six inches. 
He traced it lor several hours without perceiving any 
diminution." Those that live in ponds seek the deep 
water for their winter quarters, and sometimes bury 
themselves in the mud at the bottom. They are very 
tenacious of life, and will live for a long time out of 
water; they are even sometimes found on the grass, 
passing from one pond to another, in search, it is said, 
of food. 

They are voracious feeders, eating frogs, snails, and 
other molluscous animals, worms, the fry of fishes, and 
the larvae of various insects, as well as grass and aquatic 
weeds. Mr. Jesse states that he has known them to eat 
young ducks, and even water-rats. 

The Eel is caught in many different ways. As- it sel- 
dom stirs during the day, the best method is found to be 
by setting night-lines. The baits most commonly used 
are lob-worms, loach, minnows, small perch, with the 
fins cut off, or small pieces of any fish ; but such is the 
voracity of this animal that it will take almost any bait. 

Spearing for Eels is a method very commonly resorted 
to during the winter, when Eels imbed themselves in a 
state of torpidity in the muddy banks of streams and 
ponds. Eel-spears have usually six or seven prongs, 
with long handles. The process consists merely in 
plunging them into the mud in likely places, and pull- 
ing them out again. 

There seems to be no reason for supposing, as is 
commonly done, that Eels are viviparous ; parasitic 
worms have sometimes been mistaken for the young 

The common Eel often weighs upwards of twenty 
pounds. The flesh is tender, soft, and nourishing, but 
does not agree with all stomachs. 

492 . Fishes. 

THE CONGER, OR SEA EEL, (Conger vulgaris,) 

Is very large and thick. Its body is dusky above, and 
silvery below ; the dorsal and anal fins are edged with 
black ; and the lateral line is dotted with white. Its 
flesh is firm, and was much esteemed by the ancients. 
It is still eaten by the poorer classes, especially in sea- 
side towns, but would be considered coarse and tasteless 
by most people in the present day. 

The voracity of the Conger Eel is very great, and it is 
one of the most powerful enemies with which the fisher- 
men of the British islands have to contend. Being usually 
caught by a hook and line, it requires some care to land 
and kill the large ones without danger. We are informed 
that, on such occasions, they have been known to en- 
twine themselves round the legs of a fisherman, and fight 
with the utmost fury. They are almost incredibly 
strong and tenacious of life. When pulled up by the 
line and landed in a boat, they make a loud, hoarse, 
grating sound, almost resembling the angry snarling 
of a dog, which often terrifies the amateur fisherman. 
Unless seized with great care, they bite most severely. 
It is even said that men have occasionally been per- 
manently maimed by them. A Conger, six feet in 
length, was caught in the Wash, at Yarmouth, in April, 
1808 : but not without a severe contest with the man 
who had seized it. The animal is stated to have risen 
half erect, and to have actually knocked the fisherman 
down before he could secure it. This Conger weighed 
only about sixty pounds : but some of the largest exceed 
even a hundredweight. 

Book IV. . 

1. Serpents, or Ophidian Reptiles, 


Serpents are characterised by an elongated body, clothed 
in scales and destitute of limbs, but furnished with a 
tail. They move by lateral undulations of the body ; 
and in this manner they glide with equal ease along the 
bare ground, through entangled thickets or water, and 
up the trunks of trees. They possess the power of fast- 
ing a great length of time, and when they feed always 
swallow their prey whole, which they are enabled to 
accomplish by their faculty of dilating their bodies to an 
enormous size. This power is carried to such an extent 
that a Boa Constrictor can swallow a bullock whole, 
suffering no other inconvenience than that of lying in a 
state of torpor while digestion is proceeding. Serpents 
generally roll themselves up when in a state of repose, 
with the head in the centre ; and when disturbed raise 
the head before they uncoil the body. The Serpent is 
often made a subject of poetry ; and as it was the form 
adopted by the arch fiend to seduce Eve, it is generally 
considered the emblem of insinuation and flattery : 

" on his rear, 

Circular base of rising folds that tower'd 
Fold above fold, surprising maze, his head 
Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes. 

494 Reptiles. 

With burnish'd neck of verdant gold, erect 
Amidst his circling spires that on the grass 
Floated redundant ; pleasing was his shape 
And lovely .... Oft he bow'd 
His turret crest and sleek enamell'd neck, 
Fawning, and lick'd the ground whereon she trod." 

Paradise Lost. 

The ancients paid great honours to Serpents, and some- 
times called them good genii : they frequented sepul- 
chres and burying-places, and were addressed like the 
tutelary divinities of these places. We read, in the fifth 
book of the iEneid, that when the Trojan hero sacrificed 
to his father's ghost, a Serpent of this kind made his 
appearance : 

and from the tomb began to glide 

His hugy bulk on seven high volumes roll'd; 

Blue was his breadth of back, and streak'd with scaly gold. 

Thus riding on his curls he seemed to pass 

A rolling fire along, and singe the grass ; 

More varkms colours through his body run, 

Than Iris when her bow imbibes the sun. 

Between the rising altars and around, 

The sacred monster shot along the ground ; 

With harmless play among the bowls he pass'd, 

And with his lolling tongue assay'd the taste : 

Thus fed with holy food, the wondrous guest 

Within the hollow tomb retired to rest." Dryden. 

This animal was exalted to the honour of being an 
emblem of prudence, and even of eternity ; and is often 
represented as the latter in Egyptian hieroglyphics, 
biting his tail, so as to form a circle. Serpents are very 
numerous in Africa ; and Lucan, in his "Pharsalia," gives 
us a very extraordinary account of the different species, 
which he seems to have drawn partly from ancient 
Greek authors, partly from actual traditions. He says : 

" Why plagues like these infect the Libyan air ; 
Why deaths unknown in various shapes appear ; 
Why, fruitful to destroy, the cursed land 
Is temper'd thus by Nature's secret hand ; ! 
Dark and obscure the hidden cause remains, 
And still deludes the vain inquirer's pains.'* 

Kowe's " Lucan." 

The Viper. 


Serpents differ very much in size. We are told of 
Serpents in the Isle of Java measuring fifty feet in 
length ; and in the British Museum there is a skin of 
one thirty-two feet long. 

Ik ^ 

THE VIPER, OK ADDER, (Vipera berus,) 

Is a venomous species of serpent that seldom exceeds 
the length of two or three feet, and is of a dull yellowish 
brown colour with black, spots, the abdomen being en- 
tirely black ; the head is nearly in the shape of a lozenge, 
and much thicker than the body. The Yiper is vivi- 
parous ; yet it is ascertained that the eggs are formed, 
though they are hatched in the body of the mother. 

The Reverend Mr. White, of Selborne, in company 
with a friend, surprised a large female Yiper, as she lay 
on the grass, basking in the sun, which seemed very 
heavy and bloated. As Yipers are so venomous that 
they should be destroyed, they killed her ; and after- 
wards, being curious to know what made her so large, 
they opened her, and found in her abdomen fifteen 

496 Reptiles. 

young ones, about the size of full-grown earth-worms. 
This little fry issued into the world with the true Viper 
spirit about them, showing great alertness as soon as 
they were disengaged from the body of their parent. 
They twisted and wriggled about, set themselves up, and 
gaped very wide when touched with a stick ; exhibiting 
manifest tokens of menace and defiance, though as }*et 
no fangs could be discovered, even by the help of glasses. 

Vipers attain their full growth in seven years ; they 
feed on frogs, toads, lizards, and other animals of that 
kind, and it is even asserted that they catch mice and 
small birds, of which they seem very fond. They cast 
their skin every year. The two front teeth in the upper 
jaw of the Viper are furnished with a small bladder 
containing poison. There is no doubt but this poison, 
which appears to have been infused into the jaws of the 
Viper and other serpents by Providence, as a means of 
revenge upon their enemies, is so harmless to the animal 
itself, that when swallowed by it it only serves to ac- 
celerate its digestion. These venomous teeth or fangs 
stand, each by itself, upon a small movable bone ; this 
arrangement enables the creature to fold down its fearful 
weapons in the mouth, and to erect them instantly when 
it has occasion to make use of them. The Viper is very 
patient of hunger, and may be kept more than six months 
without food. When in confinement, it refuses all sus- 
tenance, and the sharpness of its poison decreases in 
proportion : when at liberty, it remains torpid through- 
out the winter ; yet, when confined, it has never been 
observed to take its annual repose. 

The Viper is a native of many parts of this island, 
chiefly the dry and chalky counties. Its flesh was for- 
merly used for broth, and much esteemed in medicine, 
particularly to restore debilitated constitutions. It was 
also used as a cosmetic, being supposed to render the 
complexion fair. It was probably from the use made 
by the ancients of, this animal in medicine that Escula- 
pius is represented with a serpent. The best remedy 
against the bite of the Viper is to suck the wound, which 
may be done without danger, and after this to rub it 
with sweet oil, and poultice it with bread and milk. 

The Homed Viper. 


THE HORNED VIPER. {Cerastes Hasselquistil) 

This species of Viper is nearly allied to the asp, and has 
a pointed and solid horny substance on each eyelid, 
formed of two projecting scales : its body is of a pale 
yellowish or greyish colour, with distant sub-ovate 
transverse brown spots ; and in length it is from one to 
two feet. 

This species is often mentioned by the ancients. 
Pliny tells us that " the serpent Cerastes hath many 
times four small horns, standing out double ; with 
moving whereof she amuseth the birds, and traineth 
them unto her for to catch them, hiding all the rest of 
her body." 

It is found in the sandy deserts of Egypt and the 
neighbouring countries, and is believed to be the Asp 
with which Cleopatra eluded the disgrace of becoming a 
prisoner to her Roman conqueror. 

2 K 

498 Reptiles. 

THE RATTLE-SNAKE, (Crotalus horridus,) 

Is a native of the New World, and grows to five or six, 
and sometimes to eight feet in length, and is nearly as 
thick as a man's leg. It is not unlike the viper, having 
a large head and small neck, and inflicting a very dan- 
gerous wound. Over each eye is a large pendulous 
scale, the use of which has not yet been ascertained ; the 
body is scaly and hard, variegated with several different 
colours. The principal characteristic of this justly 
dreaded serpent is the rattle, a kind of instrument re- 
sembling the curb-chain of a bridle, at the extremity of the 
tail; it is formed of thin, hard, hollow bones, linked 
together, and rattling on the least motion. When dis- 
turbed, the creature shakes this rattle with considerable 
noise and rapidity, striking terror into all the smaller 
animals, which are afraid of the destructive venom that 
this serpent communicates to the wounded limb with his 
bite. The wound the Rattle-snake inflicts, through the 
uncommon sharpness and rapid fluency of the poison, 
generally terminates the torment and life of the unhappy 
victim in the course of six or seven hours. 

A snake of this kind exhibited in London at a mena- 
gerie of foreign animals, in the year 1810, wounded a 
carpenter's hand, who was repairing its cage, and seeking 
for his rule. The man suffered the most excruciating 
pain, and his life could not be saved, although medical 
assistance was immediately applied, and every effort 

The Haje. 499 

made to prevent the dire effect of the poison. The pro- 
prietor was condemned to pay a deodand for the injury 
done by the serpent. 


The Haje, or Egyptian Asp, is from three to six feet in 
length ; it has two teeth longer than the rest, through 
which the venom flows. The body is covered with 
small round scales, and is of a greenish colour, bordered 
with brown ; its neck is capable of inflation. The jug- 
glers of Egypt, by pressing this Asp on the nape of the 
neck with the finger, throw the animal into a kind of 
catalepsy, which renders it stiff and immovable ; when 
they say that they have changed it into a rod. The 
habit which this species has of raising itself up when 
approached, induced the ancient Egyptians to believe 
that it guarded the fields where it was found ; and it is 
sculptured on the gates of their temples as an emblem 
"of the protecting divinity of the world. 



CAPELLO, (Naja tripudians,) 

Called by the Indians the Nagao, is from three to 
eight feet long, with two long fangs in the npper jaw. 
Tt has a broad neck, and a mark of dark brown on the 
forehead ; which, when viewed frontwise, looks like a 
pair of spectacles ; but behind, like the head of a cat. 
The eyes are fierce and full of fire ; the head is small, 
and the nose flat, though covered with very large scales, 
of a yellowish ash-colour : the skin is white, and the 
large tumour on the neck is flat and covered with oblong 
smooth scales. This serpent is extremely dreaded by 
the British residents in India, as its bite has hitherto 
been found to be incurable, and the sufferer generally 
dies in half an hour. 

The Snake. 501 

Of this kind are the dancing-snakes, which are carried 
in baskets throughout Hindoostan, and procure a main- 
tenance for a set of people, who play a few simple notes 
on the flute, with which the snakes seem much delighted, 
and keep time by a graceful motion of the head; erect- 
ing about half their length from the ground, and follow- 
ing the music with gentle curves, like the undulating 
lines of a swan's neck. It is a well-attested fact, that, 
when a house is infested with these snakes, and some 
other of the coluber genus, which destroy poultry and 
small domestic animals, as also by the larger serpents 
of the boa tribe, the musicians are sent for ; who, by 
playing on a flageolet, find out their hiding places, 
and charm them to destruction : for no sooner do the 
snakes hear the music, than they come softly from their 
retreat, and are easily taken. I imagine these musical 
snakes were known in Palestine, from the Psalmist 
comparing the ungodly to the deaf adder, which stop- 
peth her ears, and refuseth to hear the voice of the 
charmer, charm he never so wisely. 

THE SNAKE, (Coluber natrix,) 

Is the largest of all English serpents, sometimes exceeding 
four feet in length. The colour of the body is variegated 
with yellow, green, white, and regular spots of brown 
and black. They seem to enjoy themselves when bask- 
ing in the sun, at the foot of an old wall. This animal 
is perfectly innoxious, although many reports have been 
circulated and believed to the contrary ; it feeds on 



frogs, worms, mice, and various kinds of insects, and 
passes the greater part of the winter in a state of 
torpidity. In the spring they re-appear, and at this 
season uniformly cast their skins. This is a process 
that they also seem to undergo in autumn. Mr. White 
says: "About the middle of September we found in a 
field, near a hedge, the slough of a large snake, which 
seemed to have been newly cast. It appeared as if 
turned wrong side outward, and as if it had been drawn 
off backward, like a stocking or a woman's glove. Not 
only the whole skin, but even the scales from the eyes 
were peeled off, and appeared in the slough like a pair 
of spectacles. The reptile, at the time of changing his 
coat, had entangled himself intricately in the grass and 
weeds, in order that the friction of the stalks and blades 
might promote this curious shifting of his exuvia." 


This immense animal is often twent}^ feet in length, and 
sometimes even thirty-five ; the ground colour of its skin 
is yellowish grey, on which is distributed, along the 
back, a series of large chain-like, reddish brown, and 
sometimes perfectly red, variegations, with other smaller 
and more irregular marks and spots. It is a native of 

The Amphisbtena. 503 

South America, where it chiefly resides in the most re- 
tired situations in woods and marshes. 

The bite of this snake is not venomous, nor is the 
animal believed to bite at all, except to seize its prey. It 
kills its prey by twining round it and crushing its bones. 

The Python and the Anaconda, which are at least as 
large as the Boa Constrictor, are found chiefly in the 
Indian Islands : they are very similar both in form and 
colouring to the Boa, and have exactly the same habits. 

These monsters will attack and devour the largest ani- 
mals, of which the following is an instance : A Boa had 
for some time been waiting near the brink of a pool in 
expectation of its prey, when a buffalo appeared. Having 
darted upon the affrighted beast, it instantly began to 
encircle him with its voluminous twistings, and at every 
twist the bones of the buffalo were heard to crack as loud 
as the report of a gun. It was in vain that the animal 
struggled and bellowed ; its enormous enemy entwined 
it so closely that at length all its bones were crushed to 
pieces, like those of a malefactor on the wheel, and the 
whole body was reduced to one uniform mass : the serpent 
then untwined its folds in order to swallow its prey at 
leisure. To prepare for this, and also to make it slip 
down the throat more smoothly, it licked the whole body 
over, covering it with a mucilaginous substance. It 
then began to 'swallow it, at the end that afforded the 
least resistance, and in the act of swallowing, the throat 
suffered so great a dilation as to take in a substance that 
was thrice its own ordinary thickness. 

THE AMPHISB^NA. (Amphisbama fuliginosa.) 
This name is now applied only to a genus of South 

504 . Reptiles. 

American reptiles, which are of a harmless nature, being 
destitute of those fangs which prepare the venom in 
poisonous serpents. It is indeed doubtful whether the 
Amphisbaenas are really snakes, and by many naturalists 
they are arranged amongst the lizards, although they 
have no limbs. The head is so small, and the tail so thick 
and short, that at first sight it is difficult to distinguish 
one from the other ; and this circumstance, united to the 
animal's habit of proceeding either backwards or forwards 
as occasion may require, gave rise to the supposition 
throughout the native regions of the Amphisbaana, that 
it had two heads, one at each extremity, and that it was 
impossible to destroy one by simple cutting, as the two 
heads would mutually seek one another and reunite ! 
The colour of the commonest species is a deep brown 
varied with patches of white. The body is ornamented 
by more than two hundred rings, and the tail by 
about twenty-five. The eyes are almost concealed by 
a thick membrane, and this, together with their small 
size, has given rise to the idea that the Amphisbaana is 
blind. It grows to the length of eighteen inches or two 
feet. Its food consists of worms and insects, and espe- 
cially ants, in the mounds of which it generally con- 
ceals itself. The ancients gave the name of Amphisbsena 
to what they considered a two-headed serpent ; but it 
is not known with certainty which of the serpent tribe 
they meant, as their Amphisbasna is described by Lucan 
as venomous, though in his lines elegance of language, 
beaut} 7 of versification, and liveliness of fancy, have 
perhaps a greater claim than truth to the admiration of 
the reader : — 

" "With hissings fierce, dire Amphisbsenas rear 
Their double heads, and rouse the soldier's fear. 
Eager he flies : more eager they pursue ; 
On every side the onset quick renew ! 
With equal swiftness face or shun the prey, 
And follow fast when thought to run away. 
Thus on the looms the busy shuttles glide, 
Alternate fly, and shoot at either side." 

The Frog. 
§ II. BatracMan Reptiles. 



THE FEOG. (Bana temporaria.) 

"When this reptile issues from the egg it is merely a black, 
oval mass, with a slender tail. This tadpole, as it is then 
called, is the embryo of the Frog, and when it has at- 
tained a certain size its body gradually acquires the form 
of that of the Frog, its legs sprout from its sides, and 
finally its tail is cast off. This metamorphosis is one of 
the most curious in nature, and deserves our observation. 
Like other reptiles, it is not necessary for it to breathe 
in order to put its blood into circulation, as it has a 
communication between the two ventricles of the heart. 
It lives during spring in ponds, brooks, muddy ditches, 
marshy grounds, and other watery places, in summer in 
corn-fields and pasture land. Its voice proceeds from 
two bladders, one on each side of the mouth, which it 
can fill with wind. When it croaks, it puts its head out 

506 Reptiles. 

of the water. The hinder legs of the Frog are much 
longer than the fore ones, to help it in its repeated and 
extensive leaps. The whole of the body bears a little 
resemblance to some of the warm-blooded animals, prin- 
cipally about the thighs and the toes. The Frog is ex- 
tremely tenacious of life, and often survives the abscission 
of its head for several hours. It is supposed that Frogs 
spend the whole winter at the bottom of some stagnant 
water in a state of torpidity. 

There are several species of the Frog ; they are all 
oviparous, and the eggs are gelatinous. The Edible Frog 
is the species used in France and Germany for food ; it 
is considerably larger than the common kind, and though 
rare in England, is very plentiful in France, Germany, 
and Italy. Its colour is olive green, marked with black 
patches on the back, and on its limbs with transverse 
bars of the same. From the tip of the nose three distinct 
stripes of pale yellow extend to the extremity of the 
body, the middle one slightly depressed, and the lateral 
ones considerably elevated. The upper parts are of a 
pale whitish colour, tinged with green, and marked with 
irregular brown spots. These creatures are brought 
from the country, thirty or forty thousand at a time, to 
Vienna, and sold to the great dealers, who have frog- 
geries for them, which are pits four or five feet deep, 
dug in the ground, the mouth covered with a board, and 
in severe weather with straw. In the year 1793, there 
were but three great dealers in Vienna, by whom those 
persons who brought them to the markets ready for the 
cook were supplied. Only the legs and thighs are eaten, 
and these are always skinned. They are rather dear, 
being considered a great delicacy. The Edible Frogs 
are caught in various ways, sometimes in the night, by 
means of nets, into which they are attracted by the light 
of torches that are carried out for the purpose, and some- 
times by hooks, baited with worms, insects, flesh, or 
even a bit of red cloth. They are exceedingly voracious, 
and seize everything that moves before them. 

The Toad. 



THE TOAD, (Bufo vulgaris,) 

Whose very name seems to carry with it something of 
an opprobrious meaning, is not unworthy the attention 
of the observer of nature ; for, though prejudice and 
false associations have affixed a stigma on certain 
species of animals, none of the works of our Creator 
are despicable, but all, the more minutely they are ex- 
amined, the greater claim they are found to have to our 
admiration. Somewhat like the frog in the body, it also 
resembles that animal in its habits ; but the frog leaps, 
while the Toad crawls. It is an error to suppose the 
Toad to be a noxious and venomous animal ; it is as 
harmless as the frog, and, like some of the human kind, 
only labours under the stigma of undeserved calumny. 
Several stories have beeA related of its spitting poison, 
or knowing how to expel the venom it may have re- 
ceived from the spider or any other animals ; but- these 
fables have been long exploded. A curious and yet in- 
explicable phenomenon is that Toads have been said to 
be found alive in the centre of large blocks of stone, 
where they must have subsisted without food and respi- 
ration for a number of years. The following are recorded 
examples: In the year 1719, M. Hubert, professor of 
philosophy at Caen, was witness to a living Toad being 
taken from the solid trunk of an elm -tree. It was lodged 
exactly in the centre, and filled the whole of the space 
that contained it. The tree was in every other respect 
firm and sound. Dr. Bradley saw a Toad taken from 
the trunk of a large oak. In the year 1 733, a live Toad 
was discovered b}' M. Gray burg in a hard and solid block 

508 Beptiles. 

of stone which had been dug up in a quarry in Goth- 
land. On being touched with a stick upon the head, he 
informs ns, it contracted its eyes as if asleep, and when 
the stick was moved gradually opened them. Its mouth 
had no aperture, but was closed round with a yellowish 
skin. On being pressed with the stick on the back, a 
small quantity of clear water issued from it behind, and 
it immediately died. A living Toad was found in a 
block of marble at Chillingham Castle, belonging to 
Lord Tankerville, near Alnwick, in Northumberland. 

Some of these cases are related in a manner which 
renders it difficult to doubt that the observers described 
what they thought they saw; but the occurrence of the 
phenomena, as described, seems to be so utterly im- 
possible that we are forced to suppose that those writers 
have been misled in some way. That there is some foun- 
dation for many of the stories in question we can have 
no doubt, but we must look forward to further observa- 
tions for their explanation ; as Mr. Bell says : " To believe 
that a Toad, inclosed within a mass of clay, or other 
similar substance, shall exist wholly without air or food, 
for hundreds of years, and at length be liberated alive, 
and capable of crawling, on the breaking up of the 
matrix, now become a solid rock, is certainly a demand 
upon our credulity which few would be ready to 
answer." * 

With regard to the length of life of these animals, it 
is impossible to state anything decisive, but several facts 
prove that some of them have been gifted with astonish- 
ing longevity. 

A correspondent of Mr. Pennant's supplied him with 
some curious particulars respecting a domestic Toad, 
which continued in the same place for thirty-six years. 
It frequented the steps before the hall-door of a gentle- 
man's house in Devonshire. By being constantly fed, it 
was rendered so tame as always to come out of its hole in 
the evening when a candle was brought, and to look up 
as if expecting to be carried into the house, where it was 
frequently fed with insects. An animal of this descrip- 
tion being so much noticed and befriended excited the 
curiosity of all who came to the house, and even females 

The Surinam Toad. 509 

so far conquered the horrors instilled into them by their 
nurses as generally to request to see it fed. It appeared 
most partial to flesh-maggots, which were kept for it in 
bran. It would follow them on the table, and, when 
within a proper distance, would fix its eyes and remain 
motionless for a little while, apparently to prepare for 
the stroke which was to follow, and which was instan- 
taneous. It threw out its tongue to a great distance, and 
the insect, stuck by the glutinous matter to its tip, was 
swallowed by a motion quicker than the eye could fol- 
low. After having been kept more than thirty- six years 
it was at length destroyed by a tame raven, which one 
day at the mouth of its hole pulled it out, and 
so wounded it that it died. 

THE SURINAM TOAD, (Pipa Americana,) 

Which is one of the ugliest of all Toads, is remarkable 
for the mode in which the young are developed. The 
female, like that of the common Toad, deposits her eggs 
at the edge of the water, but instead of leaving them 
there, the male takes the mass of eggs and places them 
on the back of his partner, pressing them down into 
a number of curious pits, which are produced in that 
part at the breeding season. When each of the pits has 
received its egg, the orifice becomes closed by a sort of 
lid, and the young animal goes through all its changes 



from the tadpole to the perfect Toad in this rather con- 
fined space. This curious Toad is found in Guiana ; it 
frequents the dark corners of the houses, and, notwith- 
standing its intense ugliness, is eaten by the natives. 

THE COMMON NEWT. (Triton aquaticus.) 

Besides the frogs and toads, which have no tails when 
arrived at their perfect form, there are several Batrachian 
Eeptiles in which this appendage is permanent. The 
best known of these are the Newts, of which two kinds 
are very common in ponds during the spring. The 
common Newt is three or four inches in length, and is of 
a pale brown colour above, and orange with black spots 
below. It has four little webbed feet and a flattened 
tail. In swimming, the legs are turned backwards to 
lessen resistance, and the animal is propelled princi- 
pally by the tail. Their progression at the bottcm of 
the water and on land is performed creepingly with 
their small and weak feet. These animals live during 
the autumn and winter under stones and clods of earth, 
and come down to the water in February or March for 
the purpose of depositing their eggs there. The eggs 

The Great Newt. 511 

are carefully inclosed by the parents in the leaves of 
aquatic plants. The young, when first hatched, are in 
the form of tadpoles ; the legs afterwards sprout from 
the sides of the body, but the tail is not cast off, as in 
the frogs. The old Newts remain in the water until 
July or August. 

THE GKEAT NEWT. {Triton palustris.) 

This, the largest British species of the Newt, is by no 
means uncommon in our ponds and ditches. It is about 
six inches in length; its back is dark, and its under 
side is orange-coloured, sprinkled with small black 
spots ; altogether it is darker and richer in colour than 
the common species. During the breeding season the 
males of both species, but especially those of the larger 
one, are adorned with membranous crests, and their 
colours become much more vivid. Their tenacity of 
life is very great ; when mutilated, they will reproduce 
the lost parts, and they may be frozen into a solid lump 
of ice without losing their vitality. With regard to its 
habits, this animal is a most voracious creature, and 
devours unsparingly aquatic insects, and, in fact, any 
small animal which happens to come in its way. For 
tadpoles it seems to have a special predilection, and its 
greediness is such that it has not escaped the charge of 
cannibalism. These Newts have more than once been 
taken in the act of devouring individuals of the smaller 
species, but of such a size that there seems to have been 
considerable difficulty in swallowing them. 


§ III. Saurian Beptiles. 

THE LIZAED. {Lacerta vivipara.) 

This is a British species, and is one of the very few 
reptiles found in Ireland. Its movements are most grace- 
ful. It comes out of its hiding-place during the day to 
bask in the sun, and when it sees an insect it darts like 
lightning upon it, seizing it with its sharp little teeth, 
and soon swallowing it. The young are produced in 
eggs, which are generally hatched the moment they are 
laid, the skin of the egg being so thin that the young 
Lizard can be seen through it. 

The Green Lizard {Lacerta viridis) is a beautiful 
creature. Its colours are more brilliant and beautiful 
than those of any other European species, and exhibit 

The Iguana. 513 

a rich and varied mixture of darker and lighter green, 
interspersed with specks and marks of yellow, brown, 
black, and sometimes even red. The head is covered 
with large angular scales, and the rest of the upper parts 
with very small ones. The tail is generally much longer 
than the body. Beneath the throat there is a kind of 
collar, formed by scales of much darker colour than the 
rest of the animal. 

The Lizard seems occasionally to lay aside its natural 
gentleness of disposition, but no further than for the 
purpose of obtaining food. Mr. Edwards once surprised 
a Lizard in the act of fighting with a small bird, as she 
sat on her nest in a vine against a wall, with newly- 
hatched young. He supposed that the Lizard would 
have made a prey of the latter, could it have driven the 
old bird from her nest. He watched the contest for 
some time ; but, on his near approach, the Lizard 
dropped to the ground, and the bird flew off. 

THE IGUANA, (Iguana tuberculata,) 

Which is found commonly in the tropical parts of Ame- 
rica, is a large kind of lizard, often measuring four or 
five feet in length. It has a crest of long teeth, looking 
like a comb, along its back ; its tail is long, tapering, 
and slender ; and beneath its throat it has a sort of 
pouch which it can dilate considerably. The colour of 
this lizard is greenish, with brown bands on the tail. 
The Iguana is found in trees, and feeds chiefly on fruits 
and other vegetable substances. It is usually caught 
when reposing upon a branch, and by a very simple 
process: the hunter approaches it whistling, and the 
animal is stupid enough to sit still, no doubt enjoying 
the music, until a noose, attached to the end of a stick, 
is passed over its head. It is captured for the sake of 
its flesh, which is regarded as very delicate. 

An Iguana, which was kept for some time in a hothouse 
at Bristol, was fed on the leaves of kidney bean plants, 
which it devoured eagerly, after refusing every other 
kind of food that had been offered it. It seems certain 
that Iguanas in their natural state are not entirely herbi- 

2 L 

514 Reptiles. 

vorous, but feed on insects, the eggs of birds, and other 
animal matter, as well as on plants. They will occa- 
sionally take to the water, and seem to swim with ease. 
Notwithstanding its repulsive and even frightful appear- 
ance, the Iguana is perfectly harmless and inoffensive. 


(Draco vohns.) 

The Flying Dragons, those terrible creatures described 
by the older naturalists, are undoubtedly fabulous and, 
indeed, impossible creatures, and either entirely pro- 
ducts of the imagination of the vulgar, or founded upon 
specimens manufactured for the express purpose of 
taking in the naturalist, who, in old times, was a little 
too ready to believe in wonders of this kind. The wings 
of a bat attached to a body and legs made up from half 
a dozen animals would furnish a capital Dragon in 
former times. Modern naturalists apply the name of 
Dragon to some little lizards inhabiting the East Indies, 
and which have none of those terrible qualities ascribed 
to the fabled monsters of antiquity. They are related to 
the Iguanas, but have on each side of the body a mem- 
branous expansion, stiffened by the prolongation into it 
of the first six false ribs ; this acts as a sort of parachute, 
and enables the little creatures, not to fly, but to leap or 
glide through the air to considerable distances' between 
one tree and another. They live entirely in trees, and 
feed on insects. 

The Chameleon 


THE CHAMELEON. (Chamoeleo vulgaris.) 

** A lizard's body, lean and long, 
A fish's head, a serpent's tongue ; 
Its foot with triple claw disjoin'd ; 
And what a length of tail behind ! 
How slow its pace ! and then its hue !" 


The Chameleon is a small animal, about ten inches 
long, and its tail nearly the same length. Its body is 
covered with small compressed scaly granules ; its back 
is edged, and its tail round, long, and tapering. Its 
feet have each five toes, which are situated three one 
way and two another, in order to enable it to lay firm 
hold of the branches : but wherever it happens that 
these are too large for the animal to grasp with its feet, 
it coils round them its long, prehensile^ tail, and fixes its 
claws strongly into the bark. When walking on the 
ground, it steps forward in an extremely cautious man- 
ner, seeming never to lift one foot until it is well assured 

516 Beptiles. 

of the firmness of the rest. From these precautions, its 
motions have a ridiculous appearance of gravity, when 
contrasted with the smallness of its size, and the activity 
that might be expected from an animal so nearly allied 
to some of the most lively in the creation. Though the 
Chameleon is repulsive in its appearance, it is perfectly 
harmless. It feeds only on insects, for which the struc- 
ture of its tongue is well adapted, being long and pro- 
trusive, and furnished with a dilated, glutinous, and 
somewhat tubular tip. With this it seizes on insects 
with the greatest ease, darting it out and immediately 
retracting it, with the prey thus secured, which it swal- 
lows whole. The strange notion that Chameleons were 
able to feed on air, seems to have arisen merely from 
the circumstance of these animals, like all others of 
the lizard family, being able to subsist for a great length 
of time without food. The eyes of the Chameleon have 
the singular property of looking at the same instant in 
different directions ; one of them may be seen to move 
when the other is at rest, or one will be directed for- 
ward, whilst the other is attending to some object behind, 
or in a similar manner upward and downward. It has 
the power of inflating its body to double its ordinary 
size, and at these times it is transparent. It can un- 
doubtedly change its colour, but it is not true that it 
takes that of any object it may be near. On the con- 
trary, its change of colour depends on its being exposed 
to a very strong light; and it only changes from its 
natural dull grey to a beautiful green, spotted unequally 
with red. Africa is the native country of the Chame- 
leons, of which there are fourteen species ; but two of 
them are found also in different parts of Asia and New 
Holland, and one (G. vulgaris) in the south of Europe ; 
but this animal has never been found in any part of 

The Crocodile of the Nile. 517 


( Crocodilus vulgaris . ) 

This animal is frequently thirty feet long. The female 
lays its eggs in the sand, where they are hatched by the 
heat of the sun ; and the mother is said to take no care 
of the young ones. The head of this species, as of all 
the true Crocodiles, is twice as long as it is broad ; the 
snout is pointed and unequal, and the eyes, which are 
small, are placed verj'- far asunder. The colour is a 
greenish bronze, speckled with brown, and of a yellow- 
ish green underneath : six rows of nearly equal-sized 
plates run along the back. This Crocodile is less fero- 
cious than some of the other kinds, and, when taken 
young, may be tamed, It is common in Senegal and 
other parts of Africa, as well as in the Nile. 

The method which the African adopts to kill this for- 
midable creature displays considerable ingenuity and 
courage. Having wrapped a thick cloth round his arm, 
and provided himself with a long knife, he proceeds to 
the known haunt, usually a reedy swamp or river. The 



moment the Crocodile perceives him it rushes at him 
with open mouth, but is coolly received by its antago- 
nist, who thrusts his covered arm between its jaws. The 
teeth cannot pierce through the thick folds of the cloth, 
so that his arm only gets a smart squeeze, and before 
the creature can disengage itself, he adroitly cuts its 

The Gavials have very long, slender snouts, and their 
hind feet are webbed to the ends of the toes. These 
animals grow to the length of twenty-five feet, and when 
large are as dangerous and destructive as the Nilotic 
Crocodile. They are found abundantly in the Ganges, 
and in the fresh waters of most parts of India and its 

A short time before M. Navarette was at the Manillas, 
he was told that, as a young woman was washing her 
feet at one of the rivers, an Alligator seized and carried 
her off. Her husband, to whom she had been but just 
married, hearing her screams, threw himself headlong 
into the water, and, with a dagger in his hand, pursued 
the robber. He overtook and fought the animal with 
such success as to recover his wife ; but, unfortunately 
for her brave rescuer, she died before she could be 
brought to the shore. 


(Alligator lucius.) 
The habits of the Alligator are much the same as those 

The Alligator. 519 

of the crocodile. The principal mark of distinction is, 
that the former has its head and part of the neck more 
smooth than the latter, and the snout is considerably 
more wide and flat, as well as more rounded at the ex- 
tremity. The largest of these animals do not usually 
exceed eighteen feet. Alligators are natives of the 
warmer parts of America, and are the dread of all living 
animals. Their voracity is so great that they do not 
spare even mankind. 

The voice of the Alligator is loud and harsh. They 
have an unpleasant and powerful musky scent. M. Pages 
says, that near one of the rivers in America, where they 
were numerous, their effluvia was so strong as to impreg- 
nate his provisions, and even to give them the nauseous 
taste of rotten musk. This effluvium proceeds chiefly 
from four glands, two of which are situated in the groin, 
near each thigh, and the other two at the breast, under 
each fore leg. Dampier informs us that, when his men 
killed an Alligator, they generally took out these glands, 
and, after having dried them, wore them in their hats 
by way of perfume. 

The following anecdote of the voracity of this animal 
is related by Waterton, in his "Wanderings in South 
America": — " One Sunday evening, some years ago, as I 
was walking with Don Felipe de Ynciarte, governor of 
Angustura, on the bank of the Oroonoque, ' Stop here a 
minute or two, Don Carlos,' said he to me, ' while I re- 
count a sad accident. One fine evening last year, as the 
people of Angustura were sauntering up and down here, 
in the Alameda, I was within twenty yards of this place, 
when I saw a large Cayman rush out of the river, seize 
a man, and carry him down, before anybody had it in 
his power to assist him. The screams of the poor fellow 
were terrible, as the Cayman was running off with him. 
He plunged into the river with his prey : we instantly 
lost sight of him, and never saw or heard him more.' " 

520 Beptiles. 

§ IV. Chelonian Reptiles. 


(Testudo Grceca.) 

This animal has a small head, four feet, and a tail, which 
it can gather within the shell in such a way that the 
top and under part meet together, and so closely, that 
the greatest strength cannot separate them. The eye is 
destitute of an upper lid, the under one serving to de- 
fend that organ. The upper shell, composed of thirty- 
seven compartments, is convex, and so strong, that a 
loaded cart can pass over it without injuring the crea- 
ture inside. In winter, Tortoises are said to bury them- 
selves in the ground, or retire to some cavern or hole, 
which the}^ line with moss, grass, and leaves, and where 
they pass in safe and solitary retirement the whole of 
this season. The Tortoise is very tenacious of life, and 
is no less remarkable for its longevity, as it is ascertained 
that one lived upwards of one hundred and twenty years 
in the garden of Lambeth Palace. 

This animal is found in most of the countries near the 
Mediterranean Sea, in Corsica, Sardinia, and some of the 
islands of the Archipelago, as well as in many parts of 
the north of Africa. 

The Green Turtle. 


THE GREEN TURTLE. (Chelonia midas.) 

Most of the Turtles are considered very delicate food, 
especially the green species. Some of them are so large 
as to weigh from four to eight hundred pounds. Dam- 
pier mentions an immensely large one that was caught 
at Port Royal, in the Bay of Campeachy. It was nearly 
six feet long, and four feet broad. A son of Captain 
Roch, a boy about ten years old, went in the shell, from 
the shore to his father's ship, which was about a quarter 
of a mile distant. 

Turtle generally ascend from the sea, and crawl on 
the beach, for the purpose of laj'ing their eggs (which 
are as large sometimes as those of a common hen), some- 
times to the number of fifty or sixty at a time. The 
young ones, as soon as they are hatched, crawl down to 
the water. Turtles are caught, when sleeping on land, 
by turning them on their backs ; for as they cannot turn 
themselves over again, all means of escape is denied 
them. The lean of the Green Turtle tastes and looks 
like veal, without any fishy flavour. The fat is as green 



as grass, and very sweet. The introduction of Turtle as 
an article of food into England, appears to have taken 
place within the last eighty or ninety years. They are 
common in Jamaica, and in most of the islands of the 
East and West Indies. Green Turtles are sometimes 
.caught on the shores of Europe, driven thither by stress 
of weather. In the year 1752, one, six feet long and 
four feet broad, weighing between eight and nine hun- 
dred pounds, was caught in the harbour of Dieppe, after 
a storm. In 1754, a still larger one, upwards of eight 
feet long, was caught near Antioche, and was carried to 
the Abbey of Longveau, near Vannes, in Brittanj T ; and 
in the year 1810, a small one was caught amongst the 
submarine rocks near Christchurch, in Hampshire. 

The reader will remember how delighted Eobinson 
Crusoe was to find a large Turtle which, he says, con- 
tained three score eggs. Behold him dragging it home. 

The Hawlcs-Ml Turtle. 523 

THE HAWK'S-BILL TURTLE, (Chelonia imbricata,) 

Has received its name from the peculiar formation of 
the upper jaw, which terminates in a curved point, like 
the beak of a bird of pre} 7 . It is smaller than the Green 
Turtle, the largest specimens being about three feet in 
length. Its flesh is a very indifferent, if not unwhole- 
some, article of food ; but the horny plates with which 
its back is covered, and which lie over one another like 
the slates on the roof of a house, are beautifully mottled, 
and constitute the well-known tortoiseshell of commerce, 
which is so much used for making combs and various 
ornamental articles. It is only the best kind of tortoise- 
shell, however, that is taken from the Hawk's-bill Turtle. 
The shell that is usually seen is taken from commoner 
kinds. A very large quantity of tortoise-shell is im- 
ported into Europe every year, and the traffic in it forms 
a very important part of the trade of those countries in 
which turtles abound. 



THE LEATHERY TURTLE, (SpJiargis coriacea,) 

Has its back covered with a sort of leathery skin, 
instead of the horny plates of the other turtles. It is 
a very large species, measuring eight feet or more in 
length, and weighing as much as a thousand pounds. 
It is chiefly found in the Mediterranean ; it is, however, 
occasionally found on the other coasts of Europe, and a 
few specimens, some of them weighing seven or eight 
hundred pounds, have been caught in England. The 
flesh is not considered good, and in some cases great 
suffering has been occasioned by eating it. In 1748, a 
Leathery Turtle, which had been caught near Scar- 
borough, was purchased by a gentleman, who invited 
several friends to taste it. Though warned that the 
flesh was unwholesome, one of the guests ate some, but 
was seized soon after with dreadful sickness. This 
should be a warning to the curious to be careful how 
they " eat strange flesh." 

Book V. 

§ I. Bivalves, or those having two shells. 

THE PEABL OYSTER. (Avicula Margaritifera.) 

Who that sees the beauty and delicacy of pearls would 
imagine that they were the production of disease ? 
Such, however, is the case, as they are either formed in 
the body of the oyster which inhabits the shell ; or they 
rise from cracks in the shell itself, the delicate, silvery, 
half-transparent lining of which forms the substance 
generally called Mother-of -Pearl, or Nacre. Their for- 
mation is generally caused by the introduction of some 
foreign body between the mantle or skin of the animal 
and its shell ; the irritation thus produced causes succes- 
sive coats of pearly matter to be deposited on the in- 
truding object, and thus the pearl is formed. The best 
pearls are those which are fairly imbedded in the sub- 
stance of the mantle. These shells are found in the 

526 Mollusca. 

Persian Gnlf and at Ceylon, where they form an impor- 
tant article of commerce. 

The Chinese form pearls by casting into the shell of a 
certain kind of muscle artificial beads, which at the end 
of a year become covered with a pearly crust, in such a 
manner that they cannot be distinguished from the 
natural pearl.* 

THE COMMON OYSTER, (Ostrea edulis,) 

Has long been in favour with man for its delicacy as an 
article of food ; the Lucrine lake used to be as much in 
renown among the Romans for the choicest kind of 
Oysters, as Cancalle Bay with the French, and the Col- 
chester beds with us. The two shells of the Oyster are 
generally unequal in size; the hinge is without teeth, 
but furnished with a somewhat oval cavity, and gene- 
rally with lateral transverse grooves. Oysters sometimes 
grow to a very large size ; in the East Indies they are 
said sometimes to measure nearly two feet in diameter. 

The principal breeding season of oysters is in the 
months of April and May, when they cast their young, 
which are enveloped in slime, and in this state called 
spats by the fishermen, upon rocks, stones, shells, or any 
other hard substance that happens to be near the place 
where they lie; and to these the spats immediately 
adhere. Till they obtain their film or crust, they are 
somewhat like the end of a candle, but of a greenish 
hue. The substances to which they adhere, of whatever 

* For a very interesting article on this subject, see Bockmann's 
" History of Inventions." vol. i. p. 259. (JBohn's Standard Library. | 

The Common Cockle. 527 

nature, are called cultch. From the spawning time till 
about the end of July, Oysters are said to be sick ; but 
by the end of August they become perfectly recovered ; 
from May till August they are out of season and un- 
wholesome. The Oyster-fishery of our principal coasts 
is regulated by a court of admiralty. In the month 
of May the fishermen are allowed to take the Oysters, in 
order to separate the spawn from the cultch, the latter 
of which is thrown in again, for the purpose of preserv- 
ing the bed for the future. After this month it is felony 
to carry away the cultch, and otherwise punishable to 
take any Oyster, between whose shells, when closed, a 
shilling will rattle. The reason of the heavy penalty 
on destroying the cultch is, that when this is taken 
away, muscles and cockles will breed on the bed ; and, 
by gradually occupying all the places on which the 
spawn should be cast, will destroy the Oysters. 

The Oyster has been represented, by many authors, 
as an animal destitute not only of motion, but of every 
species of sensation. It is able, however, to perform 
movements which are perfectly consonant to its wants, 
to the dangers it apprehends, and to the enemies by 
which it is attacked. The gills, through which the 
Oyster breathes, are what is commonly called the beard, 
and are very indigestible. The scallop is nearly allied 
to the Oyster. 

THE COMMON COCKLE. (Cardium edule.) 

Few of our shell-fish are more common, in inlets and 
bays near the mouths of rivers, than these. In such 
situations they are usually found immersed at the depth 
of two or three inches in the sand, the place of each 
being marked by a small, circular, depressed spot. 
When they open their shells, the entrance into them is 
protected by a soft membrane, which entirely closes up 
the front, except in two places, at each of which there is 
a small, yellow, and fringed tube ; by means of which 
they receive and eject the water which conveys to their 
body the nutriment necessary for their support. 

Cockles are in great request as food among the labour- 



ing classes, and are caught chiefly in the winter months. 
Their size varies from five or six inches to half an inch 
in diameter. The shell is generally white ; it has 
twenty-six longitudinal ridges, is transversely wrinkled, 
and has somewhat imbricated striae. The foot of these 
animals is largely developed, and is to them a most im- 
portant organ, as they use it not merely for progression, 
but in the excavation of hollows in the sand or mud in 
which they dwell. 

The Chama, which is akin to the cockle, was used by 
the ancients to engrave various figures upon, from which 
circumstance those small bas-reliefs, so valued now, 
have obtained among the Italians and collectors the 
name of Cameos. The shells of some of these arc 
decorated with red or yellow stripes, diverging from 
the hinge, and spreading to the edges. The Giant 
Chama has been found to weigh more than five hundred 
pounds, and the oyster-like animal within was large 
enough to furnish a meal for twenty men. The animals 
which inhabit these shells are sometimes called Clams. 
The shells are often used in Catholic countries for 
containing holy water. 

THE PHOLAS. (Pholas dactylus.) 
This is a shell of a rather elongated form, gaping at both 

The Pholas. 529 

ends, and terminated in front by a point ; it is while 
and chalky in its appearance, and the anterior end is 
roughened by numerous sharp spines and tubercles. 
The animal which inhabits this shell bores deeply into 
the rocks of the sea-shore, forming cylindrical holes, in 
which it lives ; and the water which it requires for its 
food and respiration is conveyed to and from the 
interior of the shell by a pair of tubes which reach to 
the outer orifice of its dwelling-place. It is supposed 
that the Pholas is enabled to bore into the hard rock by 
means of its large and strong foot, but this is still a 
matter of dispute. 

There are many other boring shells, most of which 
are related to the Pholas. Some of them burrow in 
rocks, others in wood, and some indifferently in either 
material. Of the wood-borers, the most remarkable is 
the Ship Worm (Teredo navalis), which penetrates deeply 
into floating or submerged timber, and lines the cavity 
of its burrow with a coating of shell. In this way the 
Teredo has often done much injury to piles and other 
woodwork exposed to the sea, and in 1731 and 1732 it 
excited so much alarm in Holland by attacking the piles 
of the great dikes, that even statesmen condescended to 
study its natural history. We must remember, however, 
that in the grand economy of nature even this destruc- 
tive creature has its use ; by penetrating in every direc- 
tion through any floating mass of timber it promotes the 
breaking up of the latter, and prevents the surface of 
the sea from being encumbered with quantities of 

2 M 



1. THE MUSSEL. (Mytilus edulis.) 

Like the oyster, the Mussel inhabits a bivalve shell, to 
which it adheres by a strong cartilaginous tie. The 
shells of several of the species are beautiful. The 
Mussel possesses the property of locomotion, which it 
performs with the member called its tongue, by which 
it gets hold of the rock, and is enabled to draw itself 
along ; it has also the property of emitting a kind of 
thread, called the byssus, which, fixing the sides of the 
shell upon the ground, answers the purpose of a cable, 
to keep the body of the fish steady. 

§ II. Univalves. 


One of the cone-shells, the inhabitant of which is a kind 
of snail, with a very distinct head. If nature has taken 
a delight in painting the wings of birds, the skins of 
quadrupeds, and the scales of fishes, she seems not to 
have been less pleased in pencilling the shells of these 
inhabitants of the deep. The variety, brightness, and 
versatility of the colouring have long been deservedly 
the object of man's admiration ; and we cannot help 
being astonished at the richness which a cabinet of 
well-selected shells presents to the eye. 

The Tiger Cowry— The Whelk. 531 

THE TIGER COWRY. (Gypraa Tigris.) 

The Cowries or Porcelain shells are amongst the most 
beautiful of the univalves. The shells are generally of 
an elegant oval form, with no visible spire ; the mouth 
is a long slit on the middle of the lower surface, with 
two nearly equal lips toothed along their margins ; the 
surface is most beautifully polished, and generally 
adorned with rich colours, arranged in varied and 
elegant patterns. The Tiger Cowry, which is one of 
the commonest, is rather broad, and very convex ; it is 
of a white colour, covered with numerous dark brown 
spots. It is usually four or five inches in length, and 
inhabits the seas of India. The Money Cowry (Cyprcea 
moneta) is a little Indian species, which is used in place 
of money in some countries, especially the interior of 
Africa. It is imported into England for exportation to 
Africa in large quantities ; as much as 300 tons having 
been landed at Liverpool in one year. 

THE WHELK, (Buccinum undatum,) 

Is a common British shell-fish of considerable size, 
which is obtained in large quantities by dredging, and 
used as food. In London it is sold commonly at stalls 
in the streets, we believe in a pickled state. The 
mouth of this animal is furnished with a powerful 
rasping proboscis, by means of which it is able to bore 
through the shells of other mollusca. 



THE SNIPE SHELL, (Murex haustellus, or cornutus,) 

So called on account of the length, of a prominency 
coming out of the shell. It is surrounded with blunt 
prickles, and the colour of the whole is elegantly varie- 

THE PERIWINKLE, (Littornialittorea,) 

Is too well known to require any description. It is 
found in incalculable numbers all round the European 
coasts, and captured in immense quantities as an article 
of food. 

THE LIMPET. (Patella.) 

The shape of this shell is pyramidal ; it adheres to the 
rock with such strength, that it can only be removed 
by means of a knife or a strong blow. The apex of the 
shell is sometimes sharp, sometimes obtuse, and often 
surrounded with points and sharp prickles. When 
thoroughly cleansed the shell is generally of a beautiful 
purple tint of great brilliancy, though the animal that 

The Garden Snail. 


lives under this magnificent roof is a kind of snail, dis- 
agreeable to the eye and insipid to the palate. They 
are found on the rocks, which are incessantly beaten by 
the surges and breakers, on the sea-shores of almost 
every country in the world. It is not by any glutinous 
liquid, as it has been asserted, that this fish adheres so 
strongly to the rock ; but by the simple process of pro- 
ducing a vacuum between its foot and the rock to which 
it affixes itself. 

The variety which is thrown into the sum of animated 
beings is so wonderfully great, that naturalists have 
reckoned more than a hundred and twenty-nine Species 
of Limpets, and nearly allied genera; the difference 
arising principally out of the diversity of the shells in 
form and colour. 

THE GARDEN SNAIL, {Helix aspersa,) 

Is furnished with four tentacula, two of which are 
smaller than the others ; at the end of these tentacula, 
which the animal pushes out or draws back, like tele- 
scopes, are blackish knobs, which are the eyes. The 

534 Mollusca. 

snail lays eggs, which are about the size of small peas, 
semi-transparent, and of a soft substance. By closely 
examining with a magnifying lens the eggs which a 
Water Snail, kept in a bottle of water, had deposited 
against the glass, the young Snail was seen in the egg, 
with its embryo shell on its back ; two have also been 
observed in one egg, each of them with the rudiments 
of the shell. 

The Garden Snail is extremely tenacious of life, and 
remains in a state of torpor during the winter. It is 
said, indeed, that it can remain in this state for many 
years, and the following instance is probably without 
parallel in any other animal : — Mr. S. Simon, a merchant 
of Dublin, whose father, a Fellow of the Eoyal Society, 
and a lover of natural history, left him a small collection 
of fossils and other curiosities, had, among them, the 
shells of some Snails. About fifteen years after his 
father's death, he gave to his son, a child of ten years 
old, some of these Snail-shells to play with. The boy 
placed them in a flower-pot, which he filled with water, 
and the next day put them into a basin. Having occa- 
sion to use this. Mr. Simon observed that the animals 
had come out of their shells. He examined the child 
respecting them, and was assured that they were the 
same which had been in the cabinet. The boy said he 
had a few more, and brought them. Mr. S. put one of 
these into water, and, in an hour and a half afterwards, 
observed that it had put out its horns and body, which 
it moved but slowly, probably from weakness. Major 
Valiancy, Dr. Span, and other gentlemen, were after- 
wards present, and saw one of these Snails crawl out ; 
the rest being dead, probably from their remaining 
some days in the water. Similar observations have 
since been so frequently repeated, that there is now no 
doubt that Snails of various kinds may retain their 
vitality for years when preserved in a dry state. 

THE SMALL GREY SLUG, (Umax cinereus,) 

Resembles a Snail in all points except that it has 
no shell, consequently the brown skin of the back is 

The Sepia. 


rougher and stronger than that of the Snail. Its pro- 
gress on the ground may easily be traced by the slime 
which it leaves in its track. Few animals are more 
destructive to vegetation than these. 

THE BLACK SLUG, {Avion ater,) 

Is a well-known inhabitant of our fields and meadows, 
during the summer season. The country people con- 
sider its appearance as an indication of approaching 
rain ; but this is rather to be accounted for by the 
moisture of the ground and plants. Indeed, it very 
seldom appears abroad during dry weather. The Black 
Slug feeds on the leaves of different kinds of plants. 

THE SEPIA, OR CUTTLE-FISH. (Sepia officinalis.) 

The structure of these animals is very remarkable. 
Their body is nearly cylindrical, and, in some of the 

536 Mollusca. 

species, entirely covered with a fleshy sheath ; in others 
the sheath reaches only to the middle of the body. 
They have eight arms, or rather legs, and in general 
two feelers, much longer than the arms. Both the 
feelers and arms are furnished with strong circular cups 
or suckers. The mouth is hard, strong, and horny, 
resembling in texture the beak of the parrot. The 
body is of a jelly-like substance, and usually covered 
with a coarse skin, having the appearance of leather. 
This skin contains cells of different colours, which are 
capable of changing their relative position, so that the 
Cuttle-fish is able to change the colour of its skin. By 
means of the numerous circular cups or suckers with 
which the arms are furnished, they seize their prey, 
and firmly attach themselves to the rocks. Their 
adhesive power is so great, that it is generally more 
easy to tear off the arms than to separate them from the 
substance to which they are affixed : if the arms happen 
to be broken off, they are soon reproduced. The size to 
which this creature grows has been variously stated; 
and, although evidently exaggerated by some authors, it 
undoubtedly attains to a very considerable magnitude. 
When attacked in its own element, it has been known 
to overcome a large dog. Its jaws are extremely strong 
and powerful, and with its beak it can crush in pieces 
the shells of the fish on which it feeds. In the body is 
a bladder filled with a dark inky fluid, which it emits 
when alarmed, and which not only tinges the water so 
as to conceal its retreat, but is so bitter as immediately 
to drive off its enemies. This inky fluid, when dried, 
forms a very valuable colour, used by artists, and 
known as Sepia. 

The bone, or calcareous plate of the Sepia Officinalis, a 
species common on our coasts, is a well-known substance, 
and is much employed in the manufacture of tooth- 
powder ; and by silversmiths for moulds, to cast their 
small work, such as rings, &c. It is also converted into 
that useful article of stationery, called pounce. 

The Poulpe — The Argonaut. 


THE POULPE, (Octopus vulgaris,) 

Has only eight arms, the two long tentacles of the Sepia 
being absent. It is found on our coasts, and is especially 
abundant in the Mediterranean, where it is regularly 
brought to market as an article of food. 


Is a kind of Poulpe, in which only six of the arms 
present the ordinary form, the other pair being ex- 
panded into broad, flat organs. It was supposed by 
the ancients, and, indeed, until very recently, that these 
expanded arms were used by the animal as sails ; it was 
described as floating at the surface of the sea, with the 
back of the shell downwards, the six arms sticking into 
the water like so many oars, and the two broad members 
elevated to catch the breeze ; but it is now known that 
the so-called sails are used to embrace the shell when 
the animal is swimming backwards, in the same way as 
its allies, and it also appears that it is by these arms 
that the shell is enlarged. The Argonaut is found in 
the Mediterranean. 




(Nautilus Pompilim,) 

Is a very different creature, and instead of the eight 
arms of the Argonaut has its head surrounded by 
numerous ringed and sheathed tentacles. It is remark- 
able for the structure of its shell, the cavity of which is 
divided into numerous chambers by transverse parti- 
tions : these chambers, of which the outermost alone is 
occupied by the animal, are filled with air, but a narrow 
tube passes through the whole of them, and communi- 
cates with the cavity of the body. By this arrangement 
the Nautilus is enabled to alter his specific gravity so as 
either to rise to the surface or sink to the bottom of the 
water. The few existing species of Nautilus are all 
found in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans. 

Book VI. 

§ I. Annelida, or Binged Animals. 

Sis\.V>^ »•— 

WOEMS. (Vermes.) 

These creatures constitute a class by themselves, under 
the name of Annelida, in the works of modern naturalists. 
They are distinguished from the caterpillar and maggot, 
by undergoing no change, and crawling by means of the 
annular structure of their bodies. 

The Earth Worm has neither bones, eyes, or ears ; it 
has a round, annulated body, with generally an elevated 
fleshy belt near the head. Though considered a great 

540 Articulated Animals. 

nuisance by gardeners, Earth Worms perforate, and 
loosen the soil, and render it pervious to rains and the 
fibres of plants, by drawing into it straws and the stalks 
of leaves: and chiefly by throwing infinite numbers of 
lumps called worm-casts, which form a fine manure for 
grass and corn. They are, however, very injurious to 
plants in pots. 

THE LEECH, (Sanguisuga officinalis,) 

Is about three inches in length, and in its exterior form 
somewhat resembles the worm, when extended, but 
often contracts itself greatly in length, at the same time 
expanding in thickness. It has a small head, a black 
skin, with six yellow lines above, and spotted with 
yellow below. The mouth of the Leech is of curious 
construction ; it has three jaws, each of which is armed 
with two ranges of very fine teeth, with which it pierces 
the skin ; and then draws up, as through a siphon, the 
•blood, upon which it feeds. The progressive movement 
of the Leech is effected by sticking, by suction, its 
mouth to a certain spot, then bringing its tail, which 
also has the property of sticking, in the same manner 
as the head, and then advancing its head further on, 
quickly followed by the tail, and so on. The common 
Leech is very often met with in brooks and rivulets. 
Its uses in medicine are well known, as by its means 
the blood can be extracted from diseased parts, to which 
the lancet cannot be applied. 

The blood which the Leech sucks out of the wound 
it makes supplies it with nutriment for so great a 
period of time, that a Leech, after having been satisfied 
with blood, has been known to live three years without 

The Leech. . 541 

any food. It is usual, however, to make them disgorge 
the greater part of the blood they have swallowed by 
sprinkling them with salt ; as otherwise they would 
not bite again till the blood they had taken was fully 

Leeches lay eggs, which are covered with a kind of 
membrane, which serves to protect them when they are 
deposited in the clay and holes in the sides of ponds. 
They appear to live on the eggs of fish or frogs, but 
eagerly attach themselves to the legs of human beings, 
horses, or cows, whenever they have an opportunity. 
As there is a prejudice among the country people that 
Leeches never breed well till they have tasted blood, 
it is said that they drive their horses and cows into the 
water inhabited by the Leeches, and consequently that 
the Leech districts are remarkable for their wretched- 
looking horses and cattle. Leeches must be five years 
old before they are fit for medical purposes ; and they 
are caught in shallow water in spring by people going 
in with naked feet and ankles, to which the Leeches 
adhere, when they are picked off and put in baskets 
provided for the purpose. In summer a raft is made of 
twigs, and the waters being disturbed with a stick, the 
Leeches rise to the surface, and get entangled in the 
raft. When caught, they are washed in water with a 
very little salt in it, and packed in wet linen cloths, 
which are put into a barrel with a canvas cover, and 
sent away for sale. London used to be chiefly supplied 
from the fenny districts of Lincolnshire, but the con- 
sumption of these useful worms has been so great that 
most of our Leeches are now imported through Hambro' 
from the east of Europe. Some years since Dr. Pereira 
stated that the number of Leeches imported by the four 
principal dealers in London amounted to 7,200,000 
annually. They are also, when kept in a glass bottle 
with water, a good barometer, as they always come up 
to the neck of the bottle when rainy weather is ap- 
proaching, remain at the bottom in dr}>- weather, and 
move anxiously up and down when the weather is 
stormy. Horse-Leeches are larger than the common 
species, more voracious, and narrower at each extremity. 


§ II. Crustacea. 

THE LOBSTEK, (Astacus marinus,) 

Has a cylindrical bod}'', long antennae, and a broad tail. 
Its large claws enable it to seize on its prey, to fix itself 
on the small prominences of rocks in the sea, to resist 
the motion of the waves, and to defend itself against its 
enemies. When the Lobster wants to spring off the 
rocks, it makes a fulcrum of its tail, which has the 
action of a powerful spring. Its gait is awkward, as in 
all the Crustacea. Besides its claws, it has four small 
legs on each side, to assist it in its movements. Under 
the tail the hen Lobster preserves her eggs till they are 
hatched. They are extremely prolific. Dr. Baxter 
says he counted twelve thousand four hundred and 
forty-four eggs under the tail of a female Lobster, be- 
sides those that remained in the body undeveloped. 
Like the rest of their tribe, they cast their shells an- 
nually, previous to which they appear languid and 
restless : they acquire an entirely new covering in a 
few days. 

The Crayfish-The Crab. 


THE CRAYFISH, (Astacus fluviatilis,) 

May be called the lobster of fresh water, and its pre- 
sence is generally esteemed an evidence of the goodness 
of the water. Crayfish are considered a very strength- 
ening food. They are caught in shallow brooks, hid 
under large stones, out of which they crawl backwards 
to seek for their prey, which consists of small insects ; 
the hooks employed to catch them are baited with liver 
or flesh, which they nibble most greedily. 

THE CRAB. (Cancer pagurus.) 

Crabs are of various sizes, some weighing several pounds, 
and others only a few grains, all of different species. 
They do not move forward, but sideways. They have 
a small tail closed on the body ; which forms a con- 

544 Crustacea. 

siderable and essential difference between them and the 
lobsters, prawns, shrimps, and crayfish. , 

The most remarkable circumstance in the history of 
these animals is the changing of their shells and the 
renewal of their broken claws. The former, as it is 
stated, take place once a year, and usually between 
Christmas and Easter. During the operation they retire 
among the cavities of rocks, and under great stones. 
Crabs are naturally quarrelsome amongst themselves, 
and frequently have serious contests, by means of those 
formidable weapons, their great claws. With these 
they lay hold of their adversary's legs ; and wherever 
they seize, it is not easy to make them forego their 
hold. The animal seized has, therefore, no other al- 
ternative but to leave part of the leg behind in token 
of victory. 

An experiment was tried to prove the extremely 
tenacious disposition of the Crab. By irritating it, a 
fisherman made a Crab seize one of its own small claws 
with a large one. The animal did not distinguish that 
it was itself the aggressor, but exerted its strength, and 
soon cracked the shell of the small claw. Feeling itself 
wounded, it cast off the piece in the usual place, but 
continued to hold it with the great claw for a long time 

The Violet Land-Crabs of the Caribbee Islands aro 

The Soldier Crab. 545 

most singular in their habits ; they descend in annual 
and regular caravans from the mountains, their natural 
abode, to the sea-shores, in order to deposit their spawn, 
after which they again return to the mountains. These 
Crabs form, in their procession, a body of fifty paces 
broad, and three miles in length. This battalion moves 
slowly, but with regularity and uniformity, either when 
they descend or ascend the hills. They abound in 
Jamaica, w r here they are accounted a great delicacy by 
the natives, and are common in the adjacent islands. 


(Paguru.s bempardus,^) 

Is a curious animal, and ought to be noticed here for its 
singular habits. It is somewhat like a lobster divested 
of its shell ; it is about four inches in length, and has 
no shell on the hinder part, but is covered down to the 
tail with a rough skin ; it is also armed with strong 
hard nippers. This Crab has not been provided by 
nature with a shell, and is obliged to seek for one 
which has been deserted by its legitimate tenant ; but 
as this covering cannot grow of course proportionally 
with him, he is forced out of it by his increasing size, 
and finds himself under the necessity of looking out for 
a new one : it is curious to see him when in want of a 
new house, crawling from one empty shell to another, 
examining and trying his new habitation. Sometimes, 
when two competitors happen to eye the same premises, 
a great contest arises, and of course the strongest gets 
the manor. 




1. THE SHEIMP. (Crangon vulgaris.) 

The Shrimp is a well-known small crustaceous animal, 
nearly allied to the lobster, which it resembles in shape. 
Its length is rather more than two inches ; in colour it 
is greenish-grey, dotted with brown. It has long slender 
feelers, between which are two projecting laminae ; ten 
feet and five fins, but no claws. This animal breeds 
on all the sandy shores of Great Britain: it is fre- 
quently found in harbours, and even in the ditches and 
ponds of salt marshes; it is also very common on the 
French coast. During life the body is semi-transparent, 
and so much resembles sea-water that the animal is 
distinguished with difficulty. Its ordinary motion con- t 
sists of leaps. Its flavour is very delicate. 

2. THE PKAWN. (Pala>mon serratus.) 

The Prawn is not unlike the shrimp, but exceeds 
it considerably in size, its length being between three 
and four inches. It has a projecting ridge down the 
back, furnished with sharp teeth. Its natural colour 
is greyish, with small red and brown spots, but when 
boiled it assumes a most beautiful pink tint. The flesh 
is very delicate, although perhaps inferior in flavour to 
that of the shrimp. 

Prawns are very common on the coasts of France and 
England; they are chiefly found among sea- weed, and in 
the vicinity of rocks, at a little distance from the shore. 

The Prawn. 547 

They seldom enter the mouths of rivers. They feed on 
all the smaller kinds of marine animals, which they 
seize and devour with great voracity. In their turn, 
they are the prey of numerous species of fish, although 
the sharp and serrated horn in front of their head con- 
stitutes a powerful weapon of defence against the attacks 
of all the smaller kinds. At the side of the head there 
is frequently to be observed a large and apparently 
unnatural lump. This, if examined, will be found to 
contain, under the thoracic plate, a species of parasitic 
animal, which occupies the whole cavity, and there 
feeds and perfects its growth. The same tumour or 
lump may also be observed on the shrimp. 

Being in great request for the table, both shrimps 
and Prawns are eagerly sought for by fishermen, who 
catch them either in osier baskets, similar to those em- 
ployed in catching lobsters, or in a kind of net called a 
Putting-net. These, which are well known to all fre- 
quenters of the sea-coast, are five or six feet in - width, 
and flat at the bottom ; and are pushed along in the 
shallow water, upon the sandy shores, by a man who 
walks behind. There is a great number of other species 
belonging to the same family as the shrimp and prawn, 
but they are for the most part inhabitants of foreign 
seas, and what other British species exist are rare in 
comparison to the two we have described. 

Fossil crustaceans, which are apparently members of 
the same family, have also been found in France and 



§ III. Arachnida. 

This order, according to Lamarck, and other modern 
zoologists, contains the Spiders, Scorpions, and Mites, 
which do not undergo any metamorphoses. These 
creatures differ from the true insects in the number of 
their feet, which are generally eight, while those of the 
true insects never exceed six. 

THE GARDEN SPIDER. (Epeira diadema.) 

All the Spiders are distinguished by having no antenna, 
eight legs, and generally eight eyes; mandibles termi- 
nated by a movable claw, which sometimes emits poison ; 
and an abdomen without rings, furnished at its point with 
four or six spinnerets, from which the Spider emits the 
threads used in spinning its web. This web is wonderful 

Spiders. 549 

in its formation. It consists of a number of stout threads 
radiating from the centre to various objects in the neigh- 
bourhood, and crossed by a great quantity of finer threads 
arranged in a close spiral, so as to produce the impres- 
sion of a number of concentric circles. These fine threads 
are braided and glutinous, so that any unfortunate fly 
that comes in contact with them adheres readily : 

" The Spider's touch, how exquisitely fine ! 
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line." Pope. 

The Spider sits in the middle, and at the least motion 
caused by a fly or other insect pressing against it, rushes 
on his prey, and sucks its juices ; if, however, it should 
appear at all formidable, the Spider carefully encloses it 
in a shroud of web, which, of course, quite disables it ; 
and then feasts on it at his convenience. The most diffi- 
cult part of the business is to eject the remains, which 
is often attended with great detriment to the net. The 
female generally lays from nine hundred to a thousand 
eggs, which are contained in a kind of bag, and thus an 
immense number of Spiders are hatched every year, 
which would soon become troublesome from their num- 
bers, if they were not kept in check by the numerous 
birds which prey upon them. The silk which the Spider 
produces is not strong enough to be employed for any 
useful purposes, though, out of curiosity, gloves and stock- 
ings have been woven out of it. A great difficult}', 
however, arises in the pugnacious habits of Spiders, as, 
when a number of them are kept together, they fight so 
dreadfully, that in a short time only a very few are left 
alive ; and a great number would be required, as twelve 
Spiders do not produce so much silk as a single silk- 
worm. Spiders resemble the Crustacea in having the 
power of reproducing the legs which they lose. 

THE HOUSE SPIDEB, (Tegenaria domestica,) 

Is a very different species from the Garden Spider. It 
dwells in the dark corners of houses and. outbuildings, 
forming a dingy web of irregular threads, all of which 
communicate with a concealed chamber or den in which 
the Spider lurks. 



THE DIVING SPIDER, (Argyroneta aquatica,) 

Is another kind, which forms a sort of tent by stretch- 
ing its threads between the stems of aquatic plants far 
below the surface. In this den it dwells, and here it 
devours the prey which it captures during its excursions ; 
and in order to provide a stock of air for its respiration, 
it carries down successive small portions entangled 
amongst the hairs of its abdomen. This process is 
exactly similar to that by which diving-bells used to 
be supplied with air, and indeed the dome-like habi- 
tation of this Spider is constructed precisely on the 
same principle as the diving-bell. 

There are also several kinds of Water Mites, the most 
abundant of which is of a rich red colour, and grows to 
nearly the bulk of a pea. It may commonly be seen 
swimming among the plants in pools and ditches. 


THE TAKANTULA. (Lycosa Tarantula.) 

This Spider is a native of the South of Europe. It lives 
iu fields, and its dwelling is about four inches deep in the 
ground, half an inch wide, and closed at the mouth with 
a net. They lay about seven hundred and thirty eggs, 
which are hatched in the spring. These Spiders do 
not live quite a year; the parents never survive the 

The Tarantula. 551 

Inflammation, difficulty of breathing, and sickness, are 
said to be the inevitable consequences of the bite of this 
animal. Dr. Mead, and other medical men, have coun- 
tenanced the popular story of these effects being coun- 
teracted by the power of music. It is, however, now well 
known, that this singular mode of cure was nothing 
more than a trick frequently practised on credulous 
travellers, who were desirous of witnessing it. Mr. 
Swinburne, when he was in Italy, minutely investigated 
every particular relative to the Tarantula. The season 
was not far enough advanced, and it was pretended that 
no persons had as yet been bitten that year : he, how- 
ever, prevailed upon a woman, who had formerly been 
bitten, to dance the part before him. Several musicians 
were summoned, and she performed the dance, as every- 
one present assured him, to perfection. At first she 
lolled stupidly on a chair, while the instruments played 
a dull strain. They touched at length the chord sup- 
posed to vibrate to her heart ; and up she sprung with a 
hideous yell, staggered about the room like a drunken 
person, holding a handkerchief in both hands, raising 
them alternately, and moving in very true time. As 
the music grew brisker, her motions quickened, and 
she skipped about with great vigour, and in a variety 
of steps, every now and then shrieking very loud. The 
scene was unpleasant, and, at his request, an end was 
put to it before the woman was tired. 

He informs us, that, whenever they are to dance, a 
place is prepared for them, hung round with bunches of 
grapes and ribbons. The patients are dressed in white, 
with red, green, or yellow ribbons ; on their shoulders 
they have a white scarf; they let their hair fall loose 
about their ears, and throw the head quite back. He 
says that they are exact copies of the ancient priestesses 
of Bacchus. The introduction of Christianity abolished 
all public exhibitions of heathenish rites ; but the women, 
unwilling to give up their darling amusement, in per- 
forming the frantic character of Bacchantes, devised 
other pretences ; and he supposes that accident led them 
to the discovery of the Tarantula, of which they took 
advantage for that purpose. 

552 Insects. 

THE CHEESE MITE. (Acarus siro.) 

These destructive little creatures differ from spiders in 
having the thorax and abdomen united and covered with 
the same skin, though it is contracted in one part. They 
have also, when j T oung, only six legs, though the two 
others appear afterwards ; and their feet are armed with 
strong hooks, which enable them to retain hold of the 
cheese or other food, in which they take up their abode. 
Their bodies are covered with hair, and their mouths 
are furnished with strong mandibles, with which they 
soon hew down huge rocks and mountains of cheese. 
The eggs of these Mites are so small, that it has been 
computed that a pigeon's egg would contain thirty mil- 
lions of them. It must be observed that this Mite is 
only found in dry cheese, in which it looks like reddish 
dust. The cheese-hopper, found in moist rotten cheese, 
is the maggot of a kind of fly. (Piophila Casei.) 

§ IV. Insects. 

Insects have all six legs and two antennas or feelers ; 
and though the transformations they undergo differ 
slightly in the different kinds, the following is the order 
in which they occur : — The perfect insect lays eggs, 
which when hatcheM produce larvae ; and which are called 
grubs when they belong to beetles, maggots to flies, and 
caterpillars to butterflies and moths. These larvae eat 
voraciously ; and as they rapidly increase in size, they 
generally moult, that is, change their skins, two or three 
times. When the larvae are full grown, they go into the 
pupa state, in which they remain torpid and without 
food for a considerable length of time, sometimes first 
spinning a loose covering for the pupa called a cocoon. 
The pupa is generally called a chrysalis ; but it is also 
sometimes called a nymph, and sometimes an aurelia. 
The last transformation is when the insect breaks from 
its covering in a perfect form, when it is called the 

Coleoptera, or Beetles. 553 

imago. There are, however, some insects which are 
active throughout their lives, and in these the larvae and 
pupae are very similar to the perfect insect. The perfect 
insect is divided into three segments, or parts, called the 
head, the thorax, and the abdomen. 

Order I. Coleoptera, or Beetles. 

The larva of the beetle is a grub, which often continues 
in that state three or four years, eating voraciously 
during the whole period. When full grown it in most 
cases either descends into the ground, where it under- 
goes its transformations, first into a nymph, or pupa, and 
then into a beetle ; or it makes itself a rough cocoon of 
bits of stick and dead leaves, in which it changes into a 
pupa, and afterwards into a beetle. The wood-eating 
beetles undergo their transformations in the tree on 
which they feed. The pupa of the beetle is termed in- 
complete, because all the parts of the insect are visible 
in it, instead of being enclosed in one thick covering, as 
in the moths and butterflies. The head of the beetle 
is furnished with two compound eyes; two antennae 
(differing in shape in the various species, but having 
usually eleven joints); and a mouth, consisting of a 
labrum, or upper lip, a labium, or under lip, two man- 
dibles, or upper jaws, and two maxillae, or under jaws. 
There is also the mentum, or chin, and a part called the 
clypeus, to which the upper lip is attached. 

The thorax is the part which supports the legs and 
wings. The legs are divided into five portions, of which 
the part terminated by the claw is called the tarsus. 
There are two membranous wings, covered by two 
hardened wings or wing-cases, called the elytra, which 
generally open by a straight line down the back ; and 
hence the name of Coleoptera, which signifies wing in 
a case : the abdomen is simply the body. 

The number of beetles is very great, and indeed Mr. 
Westwood informs us that more than thirty thousand 
species have been described, of which about three thou- 
sand five hundred are natives of Britain. 

554 , Insects. 

THE COCKCHAFER. (Melolonthx vulgaris.) 

The Cockchafer is one of the lamellicorn beetles. The 
female lays her eggs in the ground, and the grubs, when 
hatched, are soft, thick, and whitish. It is from its 
white appearance that the grub of the Cockchafer is 
called le ver blanc by the French. These grubs, some- 
times in immense numbers, work between the turf and 
the soil in the richest meadows, devouring the roots of 
the grass to such a degree that the turf rises, and will 
roll up with almost as much ease as if it had been cut 
with a turfing knife ; the soil underneath appearing, for 
more than an inch in depth, like the bed of a garden. 
In this the grubs lie, on their backs, in a curved position, 
the head and tail uppermost, and the rest of the body 
buried in the mould. It is also said that a whole field 
of fine flourishing grass has become, in a few weeks, 
withered, dry, and as brittle as hay, in consequence of 
these grubs devouring the roots. 

In the year 1G88 great numbers of Cockchafers ap- 
peared on the hedges and trees of the south-west coast 
of the county of Gal way, in clusters of thousands, cling- 
ing to each others' backs, in the manner of bees when 
they swarm. During the day they continued quiet, but 
towards sunset the whole were in motion ; and the 
humming noise of their wings sounded like distant 
drums. Their numbers were so great that, for the space 
of two or three square miles, they entirely darkened the 
air. Persons travelling on the roads, or who were abroad 
in the fields, found it difficult to make their way home, 
as the insects were continually beating against their 
faces, and occasioned great pain. In a very short time 

The Dor. 555 

the leaves of all the trees, for several miles round, were 
destroyed, leaving the whole country, though it was near 
midsummer, as naked and desolate as it would have 
been in the middle of winter. The noise which these 
enormous swarms made, in seizing and devouring the 
leaves, was so loud, as to be compared to the distant 
sawing of timber. Swine and poultry destroyed them 
in vast numbers ; waiting under the trees for the clus- 
ters of insects to drop, and then devouring such swarms 
as to become fat upon them alone. Even the native 
Irish, from the insects having eaten up the whole pro- 
duce of the ground, adopted a mode of cooking them, 
and thus used them as food. Towards the end of the 
summer they disappeared so suddenly that in a few days 
there was not one left. 

Eooks are very fond of eating these grubs, and often, 
when they are seen in a newly-sown field, apparently 
devouring the grain, they are, in fact, rendering the 
greatest service to the farmer, by destroying his great 
enemy, the white worm. 


(Geotrujpes stercorarius.) 

This well-known insect, which is sometimes also called 
" the shard-borne beetle," has been often noticed by the 
poets. Amongst others, Shakespeare makes Macbeth 

" Ere to black Hecate's summons 
The shard-borne beetle, with its drowsy hum, 
Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done 
A deed of dreadful note." 

This beetle, which is a British insect, lays its eggs in 
a mass of cow-dung, which it afterwards buries in the 
earth. It makes a dull drowsy noise when it flies, and 
often strikes itself against any person or object it may 
meet, as though it were blind. It has also the habit of 
stretching out its limbs and pretending to be dead when 

556 Insects. 

THE STAG BEETLE. (Lucanus cervus.) 

" See the proud giant of the beetle race ; 
What shining arras his polished limbs encase ! 
Like some stern warrior, formidably bright, 
His steely sides reflect a gleamy light : 
On his large forehead spreading horns he wears, 
And high in air the branching antlers bears ; 
O'er many an inch extends his wide domain, 
And his rich treasury swells with hoarded grain." 


This insect is the largest, and most singular in shape, of 
any in this country. It is known by two horn-like 
mandibles, projecting from its head, and resembling 
those of a stag, with which it is able to pinch very 
severely. These mandibles are strongly dentated from 
the root to the point. The wing-cases have neither 
streaks nor spots. The whole insect is of a deep brown. 
It is sometimes found in hollow oaks and beeches, near 

The larvae, or grubs, lodge under the bark, or in the 
hollow of old trees ; which they bite and reduce to fine 
powder. The larvae are supposed to exist three or four 
years before they form their cocoons. These insects are 
mostly found in Kent and Sussex. In Germany there 
is a popular but idle notion, that they sometimes, by 
means of their jaws, carry burning coals into houses ; 
and that, in consequence of this mischievous propensity, 
dreadful fires have been occasioned. The Stag Beetle is 
one of the lamellicorn Coleoptera. 

The Elephant Beetle. 557 


(Scarabceus, or Dynastes Elephas,) 

Is found in South America, particularly in Guiana and 
Surinam, as well as near the river Orinoko. It is one of 
the largest beetles of its kind ; it is black, and the whole 
body is covered with a very hard shell, quite as thick 
and as strong as that of a small crab. Its length, from 
the hinder part to the e} 7 es, is almost four inches ; and 
from the same part to the end of the large horn on the 
head (from the resemblance of which to the proboscis of 
an elephant, and its great size, the beetle has obtained 
its name) four inches and three quarters. The trans- 
verse diameter of the body is two inches and a quarter ; 
and the breadth of each case, for the wings, upwards of 
an inch. The horns are about an inch long, and termi- 
nate in points. The head-horn is an inch and a quarter 
long, and turns upwards, making a crooked line termi- 
nating in two horns, each of which is nearly a quarter of 
an inch long. Above the head is a prominence, or small 
horn, which, if the rest of the trunk were away, w r ould 
cause this part to resemble the horn of a rhinoceros. 
There is, indeed, a beetle named after that animal, whose 
lower horn resembles this : its scientific name is Oryctes 

558 Insects. 


(Cerambyx mosehatus, or Aromia moschata.) 

This is one of the longicorn beetles. It is a very beau- 
tiful insect, of a glossy bluish-green colour, with a cast 
of shining gold ; the under part of the body is bluish. 
It is about an inch and a half in length, and is elongated 
in form, its breadth being small in proportion to its 
length ; the wings under the case are black ; the legs 
are of the same bluish-green colour, only somewhat 
paler; and the breast is pointed at each extremity. 
Between these points are three little tubercles near the 
wings, and three smaller towards the head. The cases 
of the wings are oblong, and somewhat in the shape of a 
lance, with three ribs a little raised, and running length- 
wise. The feelers are as long as the body, composed 
of many joints, which grow smaller near the ends. 
This Beetle is very common in the south of England, 
and is chiefly to be found on old pollard willows. It 
emits a strong and agreeable odour, which is not unlike 
attar of roses. It certainly has not the slightest resem- 
blance to musk, though those who named it appear to 
have thought that it had. 


THE GROUND BEETLE. (Carabus chthratus.) 

The Ground Beetle is not only one of the largest, but 
the most beautiful and brilliant that this country pro- 
duces. The head, breast, and wing-cases are of a cop- 

The Glowworm. 559 

pery green ; the latter having three longitudinal rows of 
oblong raised spots. All the under part of the insect is 
black. Having only very short wings beneath the cases, 
Nature has providentially supplied it with such legs as 
enable it to run with amazing swiftness. This insect is 
frequently found in damp places, under stones and heaps 
of decayed plants in gardens. There are several spe- 
cies, one of which (Cardbus violaceus) is of a beautiful 

The larvae live under ground, or in decayed wood, 
where they remain until metamorphosed to their per- 
fect state, when they proceed to devour the larvae of 
other insects, and all weaker animals that they can 

The Ground Beetles are found as early as the begin 
ning of March, in paths and near old walls, where the 
sun warms the earth with its vivifying beams. Many of 
the large species have been found between the decayed 
baik and wood of willow trees. 

THE GLOWWORM. (Lampyris noctiluca.) 

It is only the female Glowworm which produces the 
beautiful light for which the insect is so well known, 
and she frequently communicates this light to her eggs. 
She is without wings or wing-cases, and possesses no 
beauty when seen by daylight. The male has wings, 
and leathery elytra. The larva is a very ugly and very 
voracious grub, which feeds greedily on snails and 

560 Insects. 

THE DEATH-WATCH. (Anobium tesselatum.) 

This creature is called the Death- Watch, from a super- 
stitious notion that, when its beating is heard, it is a 
sign that some one in the house is going to die. The 
insect lives in wood, and the noise is produced by its 
striking its head against whatever is near it. These 
insects, in the larva state, do a great deal of mischief to 
old furniture, in which they perforate numerous round 
holes. To enable them to do this they are furnished 
with two maxilla3 formed like two cutting pincers, with 
the help of which they bore the holes so neatly that the 
French call them vrillettes, from vrille, a gimlet. They 
also perforate books in the same way, and thus do much 
damage in old libraries : 

" Insatiate brute, whose teeth abuse 
The sweetest servants of the muse ! 
His roses nipt in every page, 
My poor Anacreon mourns thy rage ; 
By thee my Ovid wounded lies ; 
By thee my Lesbia's sparrow dies ; 
Thy rabid teeth have half destroyed 
The work of love in Biddy Floyd ; 
They rent Belinda's locks away, 
And spoiled the Blouzelind of Gay ; 
For all, for every single deed, 
Relentless justice bids thee bleed. 
Then fall a victim to the Nine, 
Myself the priest, my desk the shrine." Pahnell. 

Sometimes two of these insects maybe heard ticking, 
answering each other ; and sometimes the Death- Watch 
may be made to tick by tapping with the finger-nail 
upon a table. These creatures imitate death with great 
exactness when they are caught, or when they think 
themselves in danger. 

The Spanish Fly— The Corn-Weevil. 561 

(Cantharis vesicatoria.) 

These insects are found but rarely in this country ; they 
are more common in France, but Spain, Italy, and Russia 
seem to be their favourite localities. They make their 
appearance in July, and are generally found upon ash 
trees, the leaves of which form their food. They are of 
great commercial importance, for they are found very 
useful in medicine on account of their remarkable blister- 
ing powers. They have a very disagreeable smell, and 
emit a fluid of so corrosive a nature that many persons 
have suffered greatly from gathering them ; and it is said 
to be extremely dangerous to sleep under a tree infested 
by them, as their smell produces a lethargic sleep, which 
frequently terminates in death. They are generally 
caught by laying linen cloths under the trees they 
infest, and beating the boughs ; they are then put into 
hair sieves, and held over vessels of boiling vinegar, 
till the vapour kills them. After this they are dried 
in ovens, or on hurdles, exposed to the sun, and then 
packed up for sale. When dried, fifty of them hardly 
weigh a drachm, but they do not lose their medicinal 
properties by age unless allowed to get damp. Though 
bearing the name Spanish Flies, the greatest quantity 
is obtained from St. Petersburg, the Russian insects 
being considered the best. 

They are of a highly poisonous nature, and there are 
many instances, some even recent, of their producing 
violent haemorrhage and death. 

THE CORN-WEEVIL. (Calandra granaria.) 

This is a little beetle about an eighth of an inch in 
length, of a reddish-brown colour, with a slender pro- 


562 Insects. 

boscis projecting from the front of the head, at the ex- 
tremity of which the mouth is situated. As this pro- 
boscis is not thicker than a fine needle, our readers may 
form some notion of the minute size of the jaws with 
which the mouth is furnished ; nevertheless, they are 
sufficiently powerful to enable the little creature to eat 
corn and biscuit. In the larva state they are exceedingly 
destructive to corn in granaries, sometimes abounding to 
such an extent in a heap of grain as to leave nothing of 
it but the husks. 

There are an immense number of Weevils, all of which 
have the front of the head elongated into a proboscis or 
beak. A very common one is the Nut- Weevil (Balaninus 
micum), which has a very long and slender beak ; with 
this the female eats into the soft shells of young nuts, 
and deposits her eggs in the hole ; the grubs devour the 
kernel of the nut, and leave nothing but dust in the in- 
terior of the shell. 


(Coccinella septem-punctata.) 

Thp: larva of this well-known and beautiful little beetle 
is disagreeable and almost disgusting in its appearance ; 
but to compensate for this it is extremely useful in de- 
stroying the aphis, or green fly. Jn the perfect insect 
the elytra are scarlet, beautifully spotted with black ; 
some species having seven, and others five spots, and 
one of the most beautiful, eighteen. The head is very 
small, the antennas and legs very short, and the body 
nearly round. This beetle is generally regarded with 
much favour in almost all countries, and in Catholic 
times was in a manner dedicated to the Virgin Mary. 
Hence its name of Ladv Bird. 

The Earwig. 563 

Order IT. Orthoptera. 
In this order the elytra, or wing-cases, are much softer 
and more flexible than in the beetles ; they are frequently 
membranous or webbed, and when closed they do not 
form a straight line down the back. The mouth is also 
different ; the maxillae being terminated by a horny, 
toothed piece called the galea. There is also a kind of 
tongue, and the metamorphosis is incomplete. 

THE EAKWIG. (Forficula auricularia.) 

Unlike most other insects, the female Earwig watches 
over her eggs until they are hatched, and afterwards 
attends upon her young progeny for some time. At the 
beginning of the month of June, M. de Geer found, under 
a stone, a female Earwig, accompanied by many little 
ones, evidently her young. They continued close to her, 
and often placed themselves under her body, as chickens 
do under a hen. 

This little animal is very nimble, and perfectly harm- 
less, except to flowers, notwithstanding the fabulous 
charge which was so long believed against it, of its en- 
tering the human ear, and depositing its eggs there, 
which were said to cause intolerable pain when hatched, 
and the young began to gnaw the inside of the ear. The 
Earwig possesses wings, which, when extended, cover 
mearly the whole insect. The elytra, or wing-cases, are 
short, and do not extend along the whole body, but only 
over the breast. The wings are concealed beneath these, 
and are somewhat of an oval shape. There is great ele- 
gance in the manner in which the insect folds its wings 
beneath its elytra. 

(Blatta Orientalis,) 

So common in London kitchens, is nearly allied to the 



THE LEAF MANTIS. (Emjpusa gongyhdes.) 
This insect is remarkably shaped. The head is joined 
to the body by a neck, longer than the rest of the body. 
It has two polished eyes, and two short feelers. This 
neck consists of the first segment of the waist or thorax. 
The wing-cases, which cover two-thirds of the body, are 
veined and reticulated, or netted. The wings are veined 
and transparent. The hinder legs are very long, the 
next shorter ; and the foremost pair of thighs are termi- 
nated with spines : the others have membranous lobes, 
which serve them as wings in their flight. The top of 
the head is membranous, shaped like an awl, and di- 
vided at its extremity. This animal is one of the innu- 
merable instances which Nature affords of the infinite 
wisdom of the Creator ; for, whenever an animal is found 
to deviate in shape from the general system, it is still 
formed to answer the design of its existence. Thus this 
insect, having such long legs, could never have sustained 
itself in the air had not Providence bestowed on the legs 
themselves a species of wings to balance their weight. 
These are instances with which Nature teems ; and which 
would make the atheist tremble did he but contem- 
plate the admirable design and system with which they 
are characterised as 

" Parts of one stupendous whole ; 
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul." 
These insects are partly of a pale yellowish green, 
and partly brown ; so that they look like dead leaves, 

The Walking Leaf. 


whence their English name. They are found in the 
East Indies and China. 

The ordinary Mantides, or Praying Insects, as they are 
sometimes called, from their apparently devotional atti- 
tudes, resemble the species just described in their general 
structure, but are seldom furnished with so long a neck 
and so leaf-like a body. They carry the head erect, 
and the long fore-feet, which shut together like a clasp- 
knife, are used in catching their prey ; it is while thus 
engaged that their postures have been considered to 
resemble an attitude of devotion. 

THE WALKING LEAF, (Phyllium siccifolium,) 
Has a shorter neck than the Mantis, and its fore-legs are 

566 Insects. 

not constructed as claspers, but the body is very flat and 
leaf-like, and the wing-cases are veined so as to look exactly 
like a leaf ; indeed, if seen adhering motionless to the 
branch of a tree, it would certainly be mistaken for a leaf. 
They are found in the East Indies. It is curious that while 
these creatures present such a deceptive resemblance to 
leaves, there are some near relatives of theirs which are 
equally similar to sticks and twigs, so that the semblance 
of a leafy branch might easily be made by fixing the 
former upon the latter. Some of these Walking Sticks 
are eight or nine inches in length, and the whole body 
and legs are of precisely the colour and texture of bark. 

THE GEASSHOPPEE, (Locusta flavipes,) 

Is of a green colour* with the wing-cases brown, and the 
head somewhat resembling that of a horse ; the corselet 
is armed with a strong buckler. Of its six legs the 
hinder two are much longer than the others, to assist the 
insect in leaping. The male makes a chirping noise, 
which is caused by the thighs being rubbed against the 
sides of the wing-cases : if handled roughly, the Grass- 
hopper bites very sharply. 

Toward the end of autumn the female deposits her eggs 
in a hole, which she makes in the earth for the purpose. 
These eggs sometimes amount to a hundred and fifty ; 
they are about the size of caraway-seeds, white, oval, and 
of a horny substance. The female, having thus performed 
her duty, soon languishes and dies. In the beginning of 
May following a small white larva issues out of each 
egg. The creature passes about twenty days under this 
humble form ; after which, having assumed the pupa 

The Locust. 567 

shape, while all the rudiments of the future Grasshopper 
are concealed under a thin outward skin, it retires under 
a thistle or a thorn-bush, most likely in order to be more 
secure ; and there, after a variety of laborious exertions, 
writhings, and palpitations, the temporary covering di- 
vides, and the insect jumps out of its exuuice. 

THE LOCUST. (Locusta migratoria.) 

The Bible, which was written in a country where the 
Locust made a distinguished figure among natural pro- 
ductions, has given us several very striking images of 
these animals' numbers and rapacity. It compares an 
army to a swarm of locusts : it describes them as rising 
out of the e/irth, where they are produced ; as pursuing 
a settled march to destroy the fruits of the earth ; and as 
the frequent instruments of Divine indignation. 

The native countries of the Locust are Central Asia 
and the North of Africa, but they migrate every year to 
Europe, where they destroy every green thing they meet 
with. Other species of Locusts are met with in various 
parts of the world, which, like the true migratory Lo- 
cust, pass from place to place ,jn vast flocks, causing 
immense damage wherever they take up their temporary 

When the Locusts take the field they have a leader 
at their head, whose flight they observe, and to whose 
motions they pay a strict attention. They appear at a 
distance like a black cloud, which, as it approaches, 
gathers upon the horizon, and almost hides the light of 
the da} T . It often happens that the husbandman sees 
this imminent calamity pass away without doing him any 

568 Insects. 

mischief; and the whole swarm proceed onward, to settle 
upon the labours of some less fortunate country. But 
wretched is the district upon which they fix ; they ravage 
the meadow and the corn land ; strip the trees of their 
leaves, and the gardens of their beauty ; the visitation 
of a few minutes destroys the expectations of a year ; and 
a famine but too frequently ensues. In their native cli- 
mates they are not so injurious as in the south of Europe, 
for in Syria and Palestine, though the plain and the forest 
be stripped of their verdure,' the power of vegetation is 
so great, that an interval of three or four days repairs 
the calamity ; but our verdure is the produce of a season ; 
and we must wait till the ensuing spring repairs the 
damage. Besides, in their long flights to this part of the 
world, the Locusts are famished by the tediousness of 
their journey, and are therefore more voracious wherever 
they happen to settle. But it is not by what they devour 
that they do so much damage as by what they destroy. 
Their very bite contaminates the plant, and injures its 
future vegetation. To use the expression of the husband- 
man, they burn whatever they touch, and leave the marks 
of their devastation for two or three years ensuing. And 
if so noxious while living, they are still more so when 
dead ; for wherever they fall they infect the air in such 
a manner that the smell is insupportable. 

In the year 1690 clouds of Locusts were seen to enter 
Russia in three different places ; and thence to spread 
themselves over Poland and Lithuania in such astonish- 
ing multitudes, that the air was darkened, and the earth 
covered with their numbers. In some places they were 
seen lying dead, heaped upon each other to the depth of 
four feet ; in others they covered the surface like a black 
cloth : the trees bent beneath their weight, and the dam- 
age which the country sustained exceeded computation. 
In Barbary their numbers are formidable, and their visits 
frequent. In the year 1724 Dr. Shaw was a witness of 
their devastations in that country. Their first appearance 
was about the latter end of March, when the wind had 
been southerly for some time. In the beginning of April 
their numbers were so much increased, that in the heat 
of the day they formed themselves into large swarms, 

The Mole Cricket. 569 

which appeared like clouds, and darkened the sun. ^ In 
the middle of May they began to disappear, retiring into 
the plains to deposit their eggs. In the next month, 
being June, the young brood began to make their ap- 
pearance, forming many compact bodies of several hun- 
dred yards square; which, marching forward, climbed 
the trees, walls, and houses, eating everything that was 
green in their way : 

To their general's voice they soon obeyed 

Innumerable. As when the potent rod 
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day, 
Waved round the coast, upcalled a pitchy cloud 
Of Locusts, warping on the eastern wind, 
That o'er the plains of impious Pharaoh hung 
Like night, and darkened all the land of Nile ; 
So numberless were those bad angels seen, 
Hovering on wings, under the cope of Hell, 
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires." 


THE MOLE CKICKET. (Grylbtalpa vulgaris.) 

The two fore-feet of this insect, placed very near the 
head, are short and broad, and, like those of the mole, are 
contrived to help the insect in burrowing under ground. 
The Mole Cricket is very destructive in gardens, as it 
attacks the roots of young plants, and causes them soon 
to rot and die. The female forms a nest of clammy earth, 
in which she lays from two to four hundred eggs. The 
nest is carefully closed up on every side, to secure the 
brood from the incursions of grubs and other subter- 
raneous depredators. The song of the Mole Cricket is 
a low, dull, jarring note, which is continued for a long 
time with great pertinacity. 

570 Insects. 

THE CRICKET. (Acheta domesticata.) 

Thh: domestic Crickets generally inhabit houses, select- 
ing for their place of retirement the chimneys or backs of 
ovens ; and feeding upon anythirig that comes in their 
way, flour, bread, meat, and especially sugar, of which 
they seem to be particularly fond. The chirping noise, 
which they make nearly without intermission, proceeds 
only from the males, who produce it by rubbing the 
bases of their wing-cases one over the other. 

Crickets are generally of a brown rusty colour, and the 
organ of vision appears in them to be very weak and im- 
perfect, as they find their way much better in the dark 
than when dazzled by the sudden light of a candle. The 
Field Cricket (A. campestris) has the same form, but is of 
a different species to # the House Cricket, and is black, 
with a fine gloss. Its noise is heard at a great distance, 
and is so similar to that of the grasshopper, that it is 
difficult to distinguish one from the other. 

Order III. Remijptera. 

These insects have neither mandibles nor maxillae, but 
in lieu of them they have a tubular articulated rostrum, 
adapted for suction. Insects thus formed are called 
haustellated. The four wings are all membranous, but 
the outer ones are leathery at the base. Some of the 
species are without wings. The antennae are often 
small, and sometimes scarcely perceptible. The meta- 
morphoses of these insects are incomplete. 

The Lantern Fly — The Cochineal Insect. 571 

THE LANTERN FLY. (Fulgora laternaria.) 

This Lantern Fly is a nocturnal insect, with a hood or 
bladder on the head, which is semi-transparent, and very 
curiously ornamented with red and green stripes. By 
some writers it has been affirmed that this part of the 
insect shines brilliantly at night, so that it is even pos- 
sible to read by it. No modern entomologist has, how- 
ever, witnessed this phenomenon, and it is generally 
believed that the supposed luminosity of the Lantern 
Fly exists only in the stories of the natives of South 
America. The wings and whole body are elegantly 
adorned with a mixture of red, green, yellow, and other 
splendid colours. 

THE COCHINEAL INSECT. (Coccus cacti.) 

The Cochineal Insect is of the same genus as the scale 
insect on the vine, which looks like a little bit of wool 
attached to the branch, but which, when pressed, stains 
the fingers with a red liquid. The Cochineal Insect in 
the like manner affixes itself to the leafy stems of the 
nopal-tree, a kind of opuntia, or prickly-pear, common 
in Mexico and South America, whence the Cochineal 
used in Europe is principally imported. 

572 Insects. 

When the Mexicans have gathered the Cochineal In- 
sects, they put them into holes in the ground, where 
they kill them with boiling water, and afterwards dry 
them in the sun ; or they kill them by putting them 
into an oven, or laying them upon hot plates. From 
the various methods of killing them arise the different 
colours in which they appear when brought to us. 
While they are living, they seem to be sprinkled over 
with a white powder, which they lose when the boiling 
water is poured upon them, but preserve when killed in 
an oven. Those dried upon hot plates are the best. 

The quantity of Cochineal annually exported from 
Mexico and South America is said to be worth more than 
five hundred thousand pounds sterling — a vast sum to 
arise from so minute an insect ; and the present annual 
consumption of Cochineal in England has been esti- 
mated at about one hundred and fifty thousand pounds 
weight. The Mexicans think so highly of their trade 
in this insect, that the republic has adopted the nopal- 
tree as part of its arms. 

It is for dyeing scarlet that Cochineal is chiefly in 
demand ; but, although a peculiarly brilliant dye is now 
obtained from it, this substance gave only a dull crim- 
son colour until a chemist of the name of Kuster, who 
lived at Bow, near London, about the middle of the 
seventeenth century, discovered the art of preparing it 
with a solution of tin. Cochineal, if kept in a dry place, 
may be preserved without injury for a great length of 
time. An instance has been mentioned of some of this 
dye, one hundred and thirty years old, having been 
found to produce the same effect as though it had been 
perfectly fresh. 


The Aphides are sometimes viviparous, and at other 
times oviparous, according to the season of the year. 

The Plant Louse, or Green Fly. 573 

Those of the rose-tree have been particularly noticed, 
and of ten generations produced in one spring, summer, 
and autumn, the first nine were viviparous, and the last 
oviparous. The first nine generations consisted of 
females only ; but in the tenth' there were males. In 
this singular aberration from the common laws of nature 
this insect is a remarkable anomaly. They multiply at 
such an extraordinary rate — the whole ten generations 
within three months — that from a single Aphis ten 
thousand million millions may be produced in that short 
period, and it has been calculated that the progeny of a 
single Aphis during a single summer, supposing its mul- 
tiplication to be subject to no check, might exceed in 
weight the entire human population of China. 

The moss-rose, the hop, the vine, the apple-tree, the 
bean, the willow, and privet, are all particularly liable 
to be infested with this insect ; the various species of 
which take their names according to the plants on which 
they are usually found. The red tumours, commonly 
called galls, which are seen on the surfaces of leaves, 
especially on those of the willow, varying from the size 
of a ladybird to that of a pigeon's egg, are produced by 
Aphides, and contain thousands of small lice. From a 
pair of small tubes placed near the end of the body of 
these insects exudes a saccharine fluid, of which ants 
are very fond; and it is this fluid dropped upon the 
adjacent leaves, or the extravasated sap flowing from 
the wounds caused by the punctures of the insects, 
which is known under the name of honeydew. 

After a mild spring, most of the species of Aphis 
become so numerous as to destroy all the young shoots 
of the plants on which they are found. No successful 
mode of destroying them has yet been discovered, but 
the best remedy against them is to wash the infested 
shoots with tobacco water or soap lees ; and to repeat 
the operation when any Aphides are seen. 

574 Insects. 

Order IV. Neuroptera. 

These insects have four transparent wings, strongly 
and beautifully varied, so as to resemble net-work. The 
mouth has mandibles and maxillas. The abdomen of the 
female has neither ovipositor nor sting. 

THE ANT-LION. (Myrmeleon formicarium.) 

This insect is hatched from, an egg laid in soft moving 
ground, or sand ; the larva soon increases in size, and 
assumes the shape of a small spider — with this differ- 
ence, that the legs are constructed in such a way that 
it can only proceed backwards or sideways. The abdo- 
men is very large and fleshy ; and the head, which is 
small, is armed with two long jaws like horns, some- 
what resembling those of the stag-beetle. What must 
create our utmost admiration is, that this insect, which 
can only move in a retrograde direction, is doomed by 
nature to feed upon flies and ants, the quickness and 
agility of which would at all times deprive him of his 
prey were he not endowed with an uncommon instinct, 
which prompts him to the following stratagem : — He 
makes a kind of funnel-shaped hole in the loose earth or 
sand, and, placing himself at the bottom of it, waits 
there with the utmost patience, till an incautious ant or 

The Ant-Lion. 575 

giddy fly falls into the deathful pit. Then all his skill 
is put in requisition ; he throws out, by the shaking of 
his large jaws, a great quantity of sand upon the insect, 
to prevent its climbing up the steep sides of the hole ; 
and when the prey appears strong and nimble, he gives 
such a general commotion, that the whole construction 
crumbles down, and the unfortunate insect, overwhelmed 
with the ruins, falls into the jaws of the Ant-lion, which 
open like a pair of forceps. When the Ant-lion has 
sucked out the blood and inside of his prey, he takes it 
upon his head, and, by a sudden jerk, throws the car- 
case to a distance from his abode. When the larva has 
attained its full size, it spins for itself a cocoon of white 
shining silk, with an external covering of sand. In 
about three weeks there bursts from this pupa case 
a slender-waisted winged insect, which, after fluttering 
about for a few weeks, and depositing eggs in the sand, 
resigns its life. The winged insect resembles a beau- 
tiful dragon-fly ; it has a head of a chestnut colour ; the 
body is of a pearly grey, the legs short, and the wings, 
which resemble the finest lace, are beautifully marked 
with dark lines and spots. This fly is often seen flutter- 
ing about the sides of roads and dry banks exposed to 
the east, in the months of June and July ; it continues 
for a little time, and then entirely disappears. The Ant- 
lion is not found in this country ; but in the south of 
France and Italy there is not a bank on the sides of a 
public road, or a sandy ridge at the foot of an old wall, 
which does not harbour a great number of these insects. 



THE GREAT DRAGON FLY. (Libellula grandis.) 

This genus of insects is well known to every one. The 
larva lives in the water, and wears a kind of mask, 
which it moves at will, and which serves to hold its 
prey while it devours it. The pupa closely resembles 
the larva in its form, except that at the sides of the body 
the wings are seen enclosed in thin cases. The period 
of transformation being come, the pupa goes to the 
water-side, and fixes on a plant, or sticks fast to a piece 
of dry wood, in which position it remains for some little 
time, when the skin of the nymph splitting at the upper 
part of the thorax, the winged insect issues forth gra- 
dually, throws off its slough, expands its wings, flutters, 
and then flies off with gracefulness and ease. The ele- 
gance of its slender shape, the richness of its colours, 
the delicacy and resplendent texture of its wings, render 
it a beautiful object. It is in length about four inches. 

The female deposits her eggs in the water, from which 
spring the larvas, which afterwards undergo the same 

The Day Fly (Ephemera), so called on account of the 
shortness of its life, is a small insect originating from a 
larva residing in rivers. After remaining several months 
in the creeping state, a nymph is formed, from which 

The Bees. 577 

the perfect insect changes, three or four hours after mid- 
day, into the fly form, and dies soon after. This fly has 
the singular characteristic of casting off its entire skin 
very soon after it has attained its perfect state ; and 
the empty coat may often be seen lying about after its 
occupant has deserted it. 

Order V. Hymenojptera. 

In this order the wings are neither so large nor so 
strongly veined as in the previous one. The mouth is 
furnished with mandibles, maxillae, and an upper and 
lower lip ; and the abdomen of the female is terminated 
either with an ovipositor or a sting. The metamor- 
phosis of these insects is complete. 

This order contains the Bees, of which there are hun- 
dreds of different species. The most interesting of 
these is the common Hive Bee, from whose industry we 
obtain wax, and by whose provident habits we are sup- 
plied with honey. The inhabitants of a hive are of 
three kinds : one Queen, a few hundred drones or males, 
and several thousand workers. The Queen, or Parent 
Bee, is the soul of the community ; to her all the rest 
are so attached, that they will follow her wherever she 
goes. She has the power of quelling any disturbance 
which may arise among her subjects by making a pecu- 
liar humming noise. She is so prolific as to lay fifteen 
or eighteen thousand eggs, which produce about eight 
hundred males or drones, four or five Queen Bees, and 
the rest Working Bees or Neuters. The combs of a hive 
consist of a number of cells, formed of wax,' a substance 
which is secreted by the Working Bees after gorging 
themselves with honey. These cells are for the habita- 
tion and breeding of the young Bees, and are also used 
as stores for honey, and bee- bread, or the pollen of 
flowers. The royal cells, in which are laid the eggs 
of future Queens, are the largest, and shaped like the 
cup of an acorn. All the other cells are of a beautiful 
hexagonal form, and of two kinds, one larger than the 
other : the larger for the young drones, the smaller for 


578 Insects. 

the workers. In two or three days the eggs are hatched, 
when the Neuters nurse the young grubs, whom they 
feed most tenderly with bee-bread and honey. After 
twenty-one days, the young Bees are able to form cells 
with such indefatigable activity that they will then do 
more in one week than during all the rest of the year. 
No more than one Queen is ever permitted to inhabit a 
hive. When a young Queen is about to be hatched, the 
old one leads away a swarm from the old colony to form 
a new one. If the Queen die or is lost to the hive by 
accident, and there be no young Queens in the royal cells, 
the Bees can repair their loss. They choose a grub of 
the Neuter species, enlarge its cell by adding to it three 
or four adjacent ones, feed the young grub on royal food, 
and it is then developed into a Queen. Sometimes there 
are Bees who, less laborious than the others, support 
themselves by pillaging the hives of the rest; upon 
which a battle ensues between the industrious and the 
despoiling insects. Their foes are the wasp, the hornet, 
and various kinds of birds. 

The Bee collects the honey by means of its proboscis, 
or trunk, which is a most astonishing piece of mecha- 
nism, consisting of more than twenty parts. Entering the 
hive, the insect disgorges the honey into cells, for winter 
subsistence ; or else presents it to the labouring Bees. 

The combs of cells formed by these industrious in- 
sects are constructed with an instinctive ingenuity which 
must always be regarded as one of the most marvellous 
things in nature. Each comb consists of two sets of 
hexagonal cells placed back to back, and not only do 
the insects adopt this form which enables them to con- 
struct the greatest number of cells of the requisite 
size within the smallest possible space, and with the 
least possible amount of material, but each cell on one 
side of the comb is placed opposite to the junction of 
three cells on the opposite side, so that its centre may 
be deepened without interfering with the latter, the 
three diamond-shaped pieces forming the bottom of each 
cell belonging to three distinct cells of the opposite side 
of the comb. By all these contrivances the Bees manage 
to get the greatest possible amount of accommodation in 

The Wasp. 


the smallest possible space ; and it has been found, by 
mathematical calculation, that if it were desired to con- 
struct a series of cavities of a given size within the 
smallest possible space and with the smallest possible 
amount of materials, we should have to adopt precisely 
the same plan, even to the forms of the sides of the cells 
and the angles at which they are attached to each other, 
that has been instinctively adopted by the little Bee. 
At the entrance of every cell the Bee architect places a 
flange of wax, which fortifies the aperture, and prevents 
the injuries it might receive from the frequent ingress 
and egress of the Bees. 

Bees produce honey, which they lay up for winter 
consumption ; wax, of which they form their cells ; and 
a substance called bee-bread, which they extract chiefly 
from the pollen of flowers, and which they use for feed- 
ing their young. 

Above are given representations of, first, the Queen 
Bee, placed on the left-hand side ; second, the Drone ; 
and, third, the Working Bee. 

THE WASP, (Vespa vulgaris,) 

Is a very fierce, dangerous, and rapacious insect ; it is 
much larger than the bee, and furnished with a powerful 
sting. The abdomen is striped with yellow and black. 



All kinds of Wasps make curious nests ; some attach 
them to the beams of a bam or other building, or place 
them in the hollow of a large tree, but the common Wasp 
digs a hole in the ground. Wasps do not construct 
their combs with quite the same care and accuracy as 
the bee ; nevertheless, their nests are often very in- 
geniously made, and the material employed by most of 
them is curious, being a sort of paper or card made from 
fibres of wood masticated between the jaws of the 
insects. As they do not lay up a store of honey for their 
support during winter, they mostly die at that season ; 
and the few that live remain in a torpid state till spring. 
Their sting is very large ; and the poisonous liquor of 
it, when introduced into the human bod}% excites inflam- 
mation and creates very considerable pain. 


THE ICHNEUMON FLY. (Pimpla persuasoria.) 

The mouth of this insect has jaws, but no sucking tongue. 
The antennae contain more than thirty joints ; and the 
abdomen is joined to the body by a slender pedicle. The 
ovipositor is enclosed in a cylindrical sheath, composed 
of two valves. 

One distinguishing and striking characteristic of all 
the species of this kind of fly is the almost continual 
agitation of their antennae. The name of Ichneumon has 
been applied to them from the service they do us by 
destroying caterpillars, plant-lice, and other insects ; as 

The Ichneumon Fly. 581 

the Ichneumon or Mangouste destroys the crocodile in 
the East. The tip of the abdomen of the females is 
armed with an ovipositor, visible in some species, though 
not in others ; and this instrument, though so fine, is 
able to penetrate through mortar and plaster. The 
female fly uses it to deposit her eggs in the body of 
other insects when in the egg, caterpillar, or pupa state ; 
so that the young as soon as they are hatched may fesd 
upon the caterpillar, penetrating to its very entrails. 
These larva?, however, contrive to suck out the nutri- 
tious juices of their prey without attacking its vitals ; for 
the caterpillar continues to live for a long time, so as to 
afford them food till they have attained their full size. It 
is not uncommon to see caterpillars fixed upon trees, as if 
they were sitting upon their eggs ; when it is afterwards 
discovered that the larvae, which were within their bodies, 
have spun their threads, with which, as with cords, the 
caterpillars are fastened down, and so perish miserably. 

" A friend of mine," says Dr. Derham, " put about 
forty large caterpillars, collected from cabbages, on some 
bran and a few leaves in a box, and covered it with 
gauze to prevent their escape. After a few days we saw, 
from the backs of more than three-fourths of them, about 
eight or ten little caterpillars of one of the Ichneumon 
flies come out and spin each a small cocoon of silk ; and 
in a few days the large caterpillars died." 

The Ichneumons performed great service in the j'ears 
1731 and 1732, by multiplying in the same proportion as 
the caterpillars, and their larvae destroyed more of these 
destructive creatures than could any efforts of human 

They are found of all sizes, suitable to the various 
insects they are parasitic upon, and in their ceaseless 
rummaging about in every hole and corner, millions of 
destructive larvae are discovered and destroyed by them, 
which would otherwise have reached maturity, and left 
a progeny to renew their ravages in the ensuing summer. 
Even those larvae which feed in concealment are readily 
discovered by the Ichneumons destined to live upon 
them, and the farmer is often made aware of the presence 
of his enemies by observing the activity of his friends. 

582 Insects. 


(Formica rufa.) 

The colour of the Ant is in general a dark red or brown, 
with a fine gloss on the abdomen. They are like the 
bees, divided into three kinds — males, females, and neu 
ters. The females and neuters are furnished with stings 
for their defence ; the males are wholly destitute of them. 
The males and females are in proper season furnished 
with wings, but the neuters have none, and they are 
doomed always to labour and drudgery on the hill. This 
hill is constructed with considerable art and labour ; it 
is composed of leaves, bits of wood, sand, earth, and 
gum from the trees, which are all united into a mass, 
perforated with galleries to give access to the numerous 
cells which it contains. From this hill there are several 
paths, worn by the constant passing and repassing of 
these creatures ; and it is worthy the admiration of the 
naturalist to consider how busy the whole legion appears 
in bringing bits of straw, dead bodies of other insects, 
or. in carrying away their eggs, if any danger threatens 
their republic. Their sense of smell is very keen, and 
they discover at a great distance any food they may be 
in search of. 

Order VI. Lepidoptera. The Moths and Butterflies. 

The insects included in this order are all remarkable for 
their beauty. Their wings are membranous and veined, 
like those of the dragon flies and their allies, but instead 

The Emperor Moth. 


of being naked they are covered by close-set scales of 
the most delicate texture and most brilliant colours. The 
mouth is furnished with a spiral trunk or tongue, by 
which nectar is sucked from the flowers : but in other 
respects it only differs from the mouths of the masticating 
mandibulated orders in the smallness of its parts. The 
antennae vary in the different kinds : but those of all the 
diurnal lepidoptera, or butterflies, are terminated by a 
small inflation or knob ; while those of the nocturnal 
species, or moths, taper to a point, and are often feathery, 
or comb-shaped. The transformations of the species 
belonging to this order are all complete. 

Over the larvse of this order the ichneumons reign 
with undisputed sway ; attacking all indiscriminately, 
from the minute insect that forms its labyrinth within 
the thickness of a leaf, to the giant caterpillar of the 
hawk moth. The most useful of all, however, the silk- 
worm, appears, at least with us, to be exempted from this 
scourge. De Geer, out of fifteen larvse that were mining 
between the two cuticles of a rose-leaf, found that four- 
teen were destroyed by one of these insects. 


The larva of all the lepidoptera is a Caterpillar composed 
of twelve ring-like segments, exclusive of the head, which 
is harder than the other parts, and always of a deeper 

584 Insects. 

colour than the body. Each Caterpillar has nine breathing- 
holes on each side ; and each of the three segments nearest 
the head is furnished with a pair of short legs, ending in 
a kind of claw, which are the true legs of the insect. 
The Caterpillar has, however, eight or ten other legs on 
the hinder segments of its body. The head has twelve 
eyes, and two very short conical antennae ; and the mouth 
is furnished with two strong mandibles, two maxillae, a 
labrum, and four palpi. 

The habits of Caterpillars differ : some, which are 
called Geometers, or Loopers, advance by a succession 
of steps, first extending the body to its full length and 
adhering by the fore legs, then drawing up the hinder 
part of the body close to the forepart so as to form a loop, 
and then again repeating this process ; these Caterpillars, 
when at rest, often adhere by their hinder feet, and ex- 
tend the body stiffly, like a little dry twig ; others, which 
are furnished with more prolegs, adhere by these to the 
branch or leaf, and raise the forepart of the body a little, 
an attitude which induced Linnaeus to give the name of 
Sphinx to the moths in whose Caterpillars this habit pre- 
vails ; some small .species live between the upper and lower 
surfaces of leaves, in which they excavate mines ; others 
dwell in small cases, which they manufacture of various 
materials ; whilst others, dwelling in large societies, spin 
for themselves a sort of silken tent, in which they take 
their repose, and from which they issue daily in search of 
food in a regularly marshalled procession. Many make 
themselves cocoons ; but others have no other covering 
in the pupa state than a smooth shining skin, or a dark 
mummy-like cerement. The chrysalis of a butterfly is 
generally angular, and that of a moth cylindrical. 

Tortoise-shell Butterfly. 




(Vanessa urticce.) 

The Caterpillar, which feeds on the nettle, is about an 
inch in length, covered with bristles, and of a reddish 
brown colour. After having changed its skin three times 
when in the shape of a Caterpillar, it crawls up to a 
branching part of the stalk ; and, hanging itself by the 
hinder part or tail, swells and bursts in such a curious 
way, that the Caterpillar's skin drops to the ground, 
and the chrysalis, or aurelia, remains suspended; till 
after a fortnight of torpor it bursts its skin again, and 
escapes into the air, under the beautiful form of a 
variegated Butterfly. The golden line which shines 
through the pupa case of this Butterfly is supposed to 
have suggested the words chrysalis and aurelia, both of 
which signify golden. The wings of the perfect insect 
are about two inches in extent, of a deep orange colour 
above, and their base and hinder margin black, with a 
series of blue crescents. These Butterflies, which are 
very common in England, appear in spring, and at the 
end of June and beginning of September. 




(Pontia, or Pieris Brassicce.) 

When the cole wort and cauliflower are nearly mature, the 
perfect insect of this Caterpillar is found depositing her 
eggs upon the leaves. The heat of the sun soon vivifies 
them and brings forth the Caterpillars, which imme- 
diately proceed to consume the vegetables on which 
they received being. They bear the heat of the sun 
without inconvenience, but cannot endure long rains, 
and in wet weather they soon disappear. There are 
several species of this Butterfly, but the common white, 
with a black spot on each of the under wings, is the 
earliest seen in our gardens. It lays its eggs in May ; 
and its Caterpillars, which are soon hatched, feed together 
till the end of June, when they go into the pupa state, 
from which the perfect Butterfly appears in July. The 
eggs laid by the second brood of Butterflies produce 
Caterpillars which feed during the remainder of the 
summer, and remain in the pupa state all the winter, to 
be hatched the following spring. 

From the astonishing fecundity of these insects, it may 
be wondered that they do not, in the course of time, com- 
pletely overspread the face of the earth, and totally con- 
sume every green plant. This would certainly be the case 

The Magpie, or Currant Moth. 


if Providence had not provided a check to their progress. 
One of the kinds of the ichneumon fly deposits her eggs 
within the caterpillar of this Butterfly, and they are there 
hatched. In their larva state they continue preying on 
the vitals of the animal ; they then pass to the pupa 
condition, and eventually emerge as perfect insects. So 
greatly are we indebted to this apparently contemp- 
tible little parasite, for keeping down the increase of an 
insect which would otherwise become a serious and 
alarming evil. 


(Geometra, or Abraxas grossulariata.) 

The Caterpillar of this Moth is one of the kind called 
loopers, and is very destructive. The chrysalis is naked 
and shining ; and its colour is a bright yellow with black 
bands. The Moth is white, spotted with black, and hence 
its name of Magpie. 

The black and white caterpillar of this Moth is very 
destructive to currant and gooseberry bushes, and in 
some seasons particularly so. Mr. Kirby especially 
cites the devastations at Hull in the spring of 1814. He 
also confirms Boerhaave's assertion, that the severity of 
winter has no effect in destroying the larvae of those in- 
sects, as these abounded even more after a winter when 
Fahrenheit's thermometer stood at zero, than after a 
winter which was remarkably mild. 





(Geometra, or Cheimatobia brumata.) 
The Caterpillar delights in newly-opened leaves ; it is 
not so ravenous as many others, making long intervals 
between its meals, but it seldom quits a leaf until it has 
entirely consumed it. The colour is very elegant. The 
upper part of the body is of a fine yellowish green ; but 
it is by no means so beautiful after as before feeding, its 
skin being so thin as to transmit the hue of whatever food 
it eats. They are also called looper Caterpillars, because 
when they crawl they draw their hind and fore feet to- 
gether, so as to form their bodies into a loop. They go 
into the pupa state towards the end of June, burying 
themselves for that purpose in the earth ; and in Novem- 
ber or December the perfect insect is brought forth. 

It is evident that they possess great muscular power, 
and hence their positions during repose are very striking. 
Fixing themselves by their hinder feet alone, they extend 
their bodies in a straight line, holding it in that posi- 
tion for a long time. This, together with their obscure 
colours, and the warts on their bodies, render it often 
difficult to distinguish them from the twigs of the trees 
on which they feed. When alarmed, these Caterpillars 
have the instinct to drop from the leaves, and suspend 
themselves by a thread, which enables them to remount 
when the danger is over. 

The Silkworm. 589 

THE SILKWORM. (Bombyx mori) 

Without entering into a very minute description of this 
Caterpillar, we shall confine ourselves to what we think 
will be at once more interesting and more useful. As 
the Silkworm is an insect of universal service, and not of 
singular beauty, we are induced to prefer giving an ac- 
count of its utility, rather than any elaborate description 
of its figure or colour. 

This larva feeds on the leaves of the mulberry tree, 
and when first produced is extremely small, and entirely 
black. In a few days it appears in a new habit, which 
is white, tinged with the colour of its food ; and before 
it goes into its chrysalis state it changes its skin several 
times. When full grown it spins its cone of silk, which 
is its cocoon, in the same manner as other insects. The 
Moth possesses no beauty. The Silkworm is a native of 
China, whence the greater part of our silk is still imported ; 
but the insect was introduced into the south of Europe 
during the reign of the Emperor Justinian, and is now 
reared in large quantities both in France and Italy. 

The art of manufacturing silk was known to the an- 
cients. We are informed that, in the third century, the 
wife of the Roman emperor Aurelian entreated him to 
give her a robe of purple silk, which he refused on 
account of its enormous price. 

It is not certain at what precise period the manufac- 
ture of silk was first introduced into England ; but in 



the year 1242, we are told that part of the streets of 
London were covered or shaded with silk, for the recep- 
tion of Richard, the brother of Henry III., on his return 
from the Holy Land. In 1454 the silk manufactures of 
England are said to have been confined merely to rib- 
bons, laces, and other trifling articles. Queen Elizabeth, 
in the third year of her reign, was furnished by her silk- 
woman with a pair of black knit silk stockings, which 
she is stated to have admired as " marvellous delicate 
wear;" and after the using of which she no longer 
had cloth ones as before. James L, whilst king of 
Scotland, requested of the Earl of Mar the loan of a pair 
of silk stockings to appear in before the English am- 
bassador, enforcing his request with the cogent appeal, 
" For ye would not, sure, that your king should appear 
as a scrub before strangers." 


THE CLOTHES MOTH. (Tinea pdlionella.) 

The larva of this little Moth is well known from the 
damage it commits in woollen cloth and furs. These 
substances constitute the principal support of the Cater- 
pillar, and therefore the parent is, by its natural instinct, 
directed to deposit its eggs in them. As soon as it quits 
the egg, the Caterpillar begins to form for itself a nest : 
for this purpose, after having spun a fine coating of silk 

Diptera, or Flies. 591 

immediately around its body, it eats the filaments of the 
cloth or fur, close to the thread of the cloth, or to the 
skin. This operation is performed by its jaws, which act 
in the manner of scissors. The pieces are cut into con- 
venient lengths, and applied, with great dexterity, one 
by one, to the outside of its case ; and to this it fastens 
them by means of its silk. Its covering being thus 
formed, the little Caterpillar never quits it but on the 
most urgent necessity. When it wants to feed, it puts 
out its head at either end of its case, as best suits its 
conveniency. When it wishes to change its place, it 
puts out its head and its six fore legs, by means of which 
it moves forward, taking care first to fix its hind legs 
into the inside of the case, so as to drag it along. After 
having changed within its case into a chrysalis, it issues, 
in about three weeks, a small, winged, mealy-looking 
Moth, of silvery drab colour, too well known to almost 
every mistress of a family. The best mode of destroying 
this insect, when in the cloth, is to place a saucer of oil 
of turpentine with the articles affected in a close place, 
when the vapour raised by the warm air will imme- 
diately destroy it. Should the Caterpillar be old and 
strong, it may be necessary to brush the clothes with a 
brush, the points of which have been dipped in turpen- 
tine. Camphor wrapped up with furs will protect them 
from the Moth. 

Order VII. Diptera, or Flies. 

This order is characterised by having only two wings, 
which are transparent, and which have two little mov- 
able bodies, called halteres or balancers, placed close 
behind them. The head is almost covered with a pair 
of enormous eyes ; and the mouth is furnished with a 
proboscis or sucker. The legs are long in proportion to 
the body, and are in many species terminated by two or 
three small cushion-like expansions, which, it is sup- 
posed, enable them to walk on glass. Each foot has also 
two hooks or claws. 

592 Insects. 

THE HOUSE FLY. (Musca domestica.) 

This insect lays its eggs in sinks, dunghills, or any other 
place where there is decaying vegetable matter tolerably 
moist. The larvae, or maggots, are thick and fleshy, with- 
out legs, but having the mouth furnished with hooks, by 
means of which they drag themselves along when they 
wish to move. They go into the pupa state without 
throwing oif the skin of the maggot ; and when the per- 
fect insect appears, it forces off a kind of cap from one 
end of the pupa case, in order to make its escape. The 
Blue Bottle flies (Musca eryihrocephala and Vomitoria) are 
only too well known from their habit of depositing their 
eggs upon our meat in summer. In the Flesh fly (Musca 
or Sarcophaga carnaria) and some allied species, the eggs 
are hatched within the body of the parent, which thus 
deposits living larvae upon the decomposing animal 
matter that constitutes their food. These flies are so 
prolific and their larvae so voracious that Linnaeus says 
the progeny of them would devour a horse as quickly as 
a lion could do it. 

THE GNAT. (Culex pipiens.) 

This is an insect which deserves the observation of the 
naturalist, not only for the very curious conformation of 
its proboscis (which so quickly and powerfully pene- 
trates into our skin, and through which it sucks our 
blood into its body), but also for the several metamor- 
phoses it undergoes before it arrives at its winged state. 
The Gnat deposits its eggs upon the surface of stagnant 
water, and sets them upright one against another, in the 
form of a small boat : after floating upon the water for 
several days, as soon as the time of hatching arrives the 

The Gnat. 593 

larvse, which the eggs contain, escape into the water in 
which they swim about with vigorous jerking move- 
ments. They are compelled to visit the surface to take 
in a supply of air, and for this purpose the tail is fur- 
nished with a short tube, surrounded at its extremity with 
a star of bristles, which, when spread out, prevent the 
water from flowing into the air tube. The change to 
the pupa state is a curious one. In this condition the 
insect exhibits a rather slender body with a bulky an- 
terior extremity, in which the head, wings, and limbs are 
enclosed ; the tail is furnished with a pair of leaves or 
membranous plates, the matting tube has vanished from 
this part and in place of it we find two tubes situated on 
the sides of the thorax : having passed about ten days in 
this state, its increase being at an end, it keeps longer 
near the surface, and at last the outer skin bursts, and 
the winged insect, standing upon the exuvice it is going 
to leave behind, smooths its new-born wings, springs 
into the air, and begins its depredations. The fecundity 
of the Gnat is so remarkable, that in the course of one 
summer they might increase to the amazing number of 
five or six hundred thousands, if Providence had not 
ordered that they should become the prey of birds, who 
by this means prevent their multiplying more than they 
generally do. These insects are very annoying from their 
blood-sucking propensities ; and as the sucker is horny 
at the tip, it inflicts a severe wound, into which the insect 
emits a small quantity of poison, which occasions the pain 
and inflammation always felt from a Gnat bite. 


594 Insects. 

Order VIII. Sudor ia. 

These insects are without wings. The mouth is fur- 
nished with a trunk or beak, formed to wound as well as 
to suck. 

THE FLEA, (Pulex irritans,) 

Is one of those little creatures with which want of clean- 
liness in mankind is punished. It is one of the most 
annoying insects that infest the human race, as, by its 
leapings, it often escapes being caught. It is oviparous, 
and the egg, which is hardly discernible with the naked 
eye, contains at maturity a small white worm., beset with 
hairs. This worm soon spins for itself a little silk co- 
coon, from which the perfect insect issues. The Flea is 
an active, troublesome, blood-thirsty insect ; it has a small 
head, large eyes, and a roundish, but compressed body, 
which is covered with a kind of armour resembling the 
tortoise shell in colour and transparency. The plates of 
which this skin is composed are also armed with spines 
or bristles. It has six legs, two of which are much longer 
than the others, in order to enable the insect to make 
such wondrous leaps, as to raise the body above two 
hundred times its diameter. The great strength and 
agility of the Flea are well known, from the exhibition 
of the industrious Fleas. 

Book VII. 


THE STAK-FISH. (Asterias, or Uraster rubens.) 

This animal is often found adhering to rocks on the sea- 
shores. The common species is furnished with five rays, 
and is of a yellow or red colour. It has a slow progres- 
sive motion, and is often found on the beach among sea- 
weeds after a storm. 

Mr. Bingley describes an animal of this kind, which 
he kept by him for some time alive ; it had more than 
four thousand tentacula on the under sides of the rays. 
These it frequently retracted, and again pushed out, as a 
snail does its horns ; and by means of them it was ena- 
bled firmly to adhere to the dish containing the salt-water 
in which it was kept. Whenever he touched the tenta- 
cula with his finger, all those of that ray or limb were 
gradually withdrawn, but those of the other rays were 
not in the least affected by it. 

There are many other kinds of Star-fishes, especially 
in warm climates. Amongst our native species we may 
notice the Great Sun Star (Solaster pajpjposa) with a large 
disc and thirteen short rays; the Luidia fragilissima with 
five long rays, which it usually casts off' immediately on 
finding itself in danger, so as to render it a most diffi- 
cult matter to obtain perfect specimens of this species. 
The Feathered Star (Comatula rosacea) is also deserving of 
mention. — This is a small species, with the arms distinct 
from the body as in the last species and jointed, but fur- 
nished with numerous slender jointed tentacles which 
give them the appearance of plumes. There are ten of 
these arms and the number of little calcareous joints 
contained in them is most astonishing. The small cup- 
like body of the Feather Star bears other slender jointed 
appendages, by means of which- the creature clings to 
the rocks with its mouth and arms directed upwards ; 
and in the young state it is even supported on a jointed 
stalk, from which it eventually casts itself free. 

596 Badiata. 

THE SEA-URCHIN. (Echinus miliaria.) 

This animal, which lodges in the cavities of rocks just 
beneath low-watev mark, on most of the British coasts, is 
nearly of a globular shape, not much unlike that of an 
orange, having its shell marked into ten partitions, with 
rows of projections like beads, which divide it. On the 
outside of the shell there are a great number of sharp, 
moveable spines, of a dull violet and greenish colour, 
curiously articulated, like balls and sockets, with tuber- 
cles on the surface, and connected by strong ligaments to 
the skin or epidermis with which the shell is covered. 
The mouth is situated in the under part, and is armed 
with five strong and sharpened teeth. The animal can 
move from place to place by means of its contractile 
tubular feet and its spines ; but its movements are slow 
and laborious. So tenacious of life are the Sea-urchins, 
that the ancients, according to Appian, believed that the 
body retained life even when cut to pieces. 

" If in the sea the mangled parts you cast, 
The conscious pieces to their fellows haste- 
Again they aptly join, their whole compose, 
Move as before, nor life nor vigour lose." 

In Marseilles, and some other towns on the continent, 
the Sea-urchin is exposed for sale in the markets, as 
oysters are with us, and is eaten boiled as an egg. The 
Eomans adopted it as food, and dressed it with vinegar, 
mead, parsley, and mint. 


Zoophytes were long supposed to hold a middle station 
between animals and vegetables. Most of them, deprived 
altogether of the power of locomotion, are fixed by stems 
that take root in the crevices of rocks, among sand, or in 
such other situations as Nature has destined for their 
abode ; these, by degrees, send off branches, till at length 
some of them attain the size and extent of lar^e shrubs. 

The Bed Coral 


The Zoophytes were placed by Linnaeus in two divisions. 
The stony branches of the first division, which have the 
general appellation of coral, are full of hollow cells, which 
are habitations of the animals. The next division con- 
sists of such Zoophytes as have softer, flesh}*, or horny, 
sterns, and in which the individual polypes are, as it were, 
amalgamated with their common plant-like habitation. 

Magnified branch, exhibiting the Animals. Gorgonia Nobilis. 


The Coral, or Gorgonia, is a hard, stony, branched, and 
cylindrical substance, which is formed at the bottom of 

598 Badiata. 

the sea by animals called polyps, or, to use the Latin and 
now established term, polypi. The whole form a living 
mass, or polypidom, all the polypi in which are united 
under one skin, and have one common stomach. Each 
of these polypi resides in a distinct cell; they are generally 
dormant during winter, and like the blossoms of plants, 
push forth buds, and expand in the summer season. The 
steins and branches of the Gorgonise, which are of a some- 
what horny and flexible nature, may be considered as the 
true skeletons of the nests of the sea polypi, being covered 
with a fleshy or pulpy substance, the surface of which is 
porous. These pores are the mouths or openings of the 
cells, in which the polypi are lodged; and it is the 
number, disposition, and varied structure of these, in ad- 
dition to the general aspect of the plant-like nest of 
habitations, that constitute the distinguishing difference 
of the species. 

The bone of the Red Coral constitutes that beautiful 
and much esteemed production, the true or red coral of 
the jewellers. It is found in the Mediterranean, Adriatic, 
and Red Sea, and appears to be nowhere more abundant 
than in the seas about Marseilles, Corsica, Sicily, the 
coasts of Africa, and in the vicinity of Barbary ; where 
the Coral fisheries are carried on with great spirit, and 
prove very lucrative. It is equal in hardness and dura- 
bility to the most compact marble ; and these qualities, 
in addition to its beautiful texture and colour, have 
rendered it valuable in all ages. Thus in the book of 
Job, " No mention shall be made of corals, or of pearls ; 
for the price of wisdom is above rubies." 

Travellers in tropical lands often speak of the exqui- 
site beauty of the coral beds that lie at the bottom of 
the ocean. The water is so clear in those regions, that 
these wonderful formations are clearly visible at a great 
depth, growing like stony forests, mingled with waving 
seaweeds of many brilliant dyes. 

The mode of obtaining Coral is by a very simple ma- 
chine, consisting of two strong bars of wood or iron, tied 
across each other, with a weight suspending from their 
centre of union. Each of the bars is loosely surrounded, 
throughout its whole length, with twisted hemp ; and, at 

The Red Coral 599 

the extremity, there is a small open net. The machine 
is suspended by a rope, and dragged along those rocks 
where the Coral is most abundant : and such as is broken 
off either becomes entangled in the hemp, or falls into 
the nets. 

Coral is bought by weight, and its value increases 
according to its size. Beads of large size are worth 
about forty shillings an ounce, whilst small ones do 
not sell for more than four shillings. Large pieces 
of Coral are sometimes cut into balls, and exported to 
China, to be worn as insignia in the caps of officers of 
state. These, if perfectly sound and of good colour, and 
upwards of an inch in diameter, have been known to pro- 
duce in that market, as much as three to four hundred 
pounds sterling each. There are extant many beautiful 
pieces of sculpture in coral, as this substance has in all 
ages been considered an admirable material on which to 
exhibit the artist's taste and skill. Probably the finest 
specimen of sculptured Coral yet known is a chess-board 
and men in the palace of the Tuileries. 

The Chinese have, within the last few years, succeeded 
in cutting coral beads of much smaller dimension than 
has hitherto been effected by any European artist. These, 
which are not larger than small pins' heads, are called 
Seed Coral, and are now imported from China into this 
country, in very considerable quantity for necklaces. 
There are modes by which Coral may be so exactly 
imitated, that without a close inspection, it is sometimes 
impossible to detect the counterfeit. 

600 Radiata. 


The Red Coral, just described, belongs to the section of 
zoophytes called Asteroida by Cuvier, in which the 
surface of the polypidom is fleslvy, and each polypus has 
only eight arms. The polypi which form the massive 
stony corals of the tropical reefs, are furnished with 
numerous tentacles, and resemble in their general confor- 
mation the Sea Anemones which are so well known now- 
a-days as inhabitants of aquaria. The coral consists of 
a deposit of carbonate of lime, and each polypus dwells in 
a cell which exhibits a number of thin stony rays nearly 
meeting in the middle. The masses of coral differ ex- 
ceedingly in size, some consisting of the habitations of 
only two or three polypi, whilst others are the gradual 
production of a vast and constantly succeeding popula- 
tion ; some form branched trees and shrubs of the most 
various and elegant forms, others grow in solid masses, 
but all, when living, present a most beautiful appearance 
from the charming and often brilliant diversity of colours 
with which they are adorned. 

In the Pacific Ocean several of the coral reefs are 
extremely beautiful, and the voyager is astonished with 
the curious and fantastic forms of the various marine pro- 
ductions of which they are composed. ^ heat-sheaves, 
mushrooms, cabbage leaves, with innumerable plants and 
flowers, are vividly represented by different kinds of 
Coral, and glow beneath the water in brilliant tints of 
brown and purple, white or green ; each with a peculiar 
form and shade of colouring, equal in richness and 
variety to the most beautiful productions of the vege- 
table world. Corals and fungi start from between the 
fissures of the rocks ; while large portions of the former, 
in a dead state, connected into a solid mass, of a dull 
white colour, compose the stone-work of the reef. Solid 
masses, termed negro heads, of different dusky hues, and 
generally dry and blackened by exposure to the weather, 
are also occasionally conspicuous. Even these are not 
without ornament, for nature delights in the variety of 

Stony Corals. 601 

her decorations. They are studded with small shells, 
and beautifully marked with outlines expressive of their 
origin. The edges of the reefs, particularly those ex- 
posed to the waves, partake of a considerable degree of 
lightness, and form .small coves and caverns, the resort 
of live corals, sponges, sea-eggs, and trefangs, or sea 
traces, (valued in China, for their invigorating quality,) 
and enormous cockles, which are scarcely to be distin- 
guished from the rock, excepting when they suddenly 
close their shells, and discharge living fountains, which 
rise to the height of four or five feet. 

With regard to the formation of coral reefs, it has been 
conjectured, from the appearance of the low islands in 
some parts of the South Sea and Indian Ocean (where 
they occur in rows or groups, while they are totally absent 
in other parts of the same seas), that Coral animals rear 
their habitations on marine shoals, or, to speak more 
properly, at or near the top of sub-marine mountains. 
As it is known, however, that the polypes can only build 
their coral within a small distance of the surface of the 
sea, and the water is often of immense depth close to the 
coral reefs, it has been supposed that in the Pacific 
Ocean, where the greater part of the Coral reefs and 
islands are met with, the bottom of the sea has been 
gradually undergoing changes, deepening in some places 
and becoming shallower in others, and by this supposi- 
tion most of the peculiarities of the Coral reefs and 
islands may easily be accounted for. Where reefs are 
formed the bottom is generally sinking ; islands indicate 
that the bottom is stationary or rising. In the latter 
case, when the Corals approach close to the surface, 
floating substances of every kind are caught by their 
stony tree-like fabrics, till at length a solid mass of rock 
is formed, which gradually advances to the surface of the 
water. The deposits of the ocean no longer tenaciously 
adhere, but remain in a loose state, and form what is 
termed by mariners a key upon the summit of the reef; 
while the sea, by throwing up sand and mud on the top 
of these animal rocks, progressively raises them above 
its level. The new island, for such it may now be called, 
is soon visited by sea-birds ; plants successively appear, 



and carpet the sterile soil with a luxuriant covering. 
As these decay, vegetable mould is gradually deposited ; 
cocoa-nuts, or some floating seeds, flung on shore by the 
impetuosity of the waves, take root, and soon begin to 
grow ; land-birds, attracted by the verdant appearance of 
the bank, fly thither in quest of provisions, and deposit 
the seeds of shrubs and trees ; every high tide and every 
gale adds some new treasure : the appearance of an island 
is gradually assumed, and at length man comes to take 


1. Coral of the A strea annanas. 4. Animal and dwelling of the Cellepora 

2. Animal of the Caryophyllia folitaria. hyaliva. 

3. Animal of the Tubipora mmica. 5. Animal and central axis of the Gorgonia 






Sponge is a substance of a soft, light, porous, and elastic 
nature, which is found adhering to rocks at the bottom 
of the sea, in several parts of the Mediterranean, and 
particularly near the islands of the Grecian Archipelago ; 
and which, in its natural state, is filled with animal jelly. 
The general uses of Sponge, arising from its ready 
absorption of fluids, and distension by moisture, are well 
known and of great importance. It is colled ed from 
rocks, in water five or six fathoms deep, chiefly by divers. 
When first taken from the sea, it has a strong and fishy 
smell, from the animal matter it contains, of which it is 
divested by being washed in clear water. No other pre- 
paration than this is requisite previously to its being 
packed up for exportation and sale. The growth of 
Sponge is so rapid, that it is frequently found in perfec- 
tion on rocks, from which, only two years before, it had 
been entirely cleared. 

As they are never designed to move from their places 
of abode, the surface of the Sponges is covered with innu- 

604 Badiata. 

merable small apertures or pores, communicating with a 
network of fine canals, which permeate every part of the 
substance and convey to the minute and simple creatures 
which form the living part of this curious compound 
animal, the food and water necessary for their support 
and respiration. These fine canals unite into larger 
passages, leading to orifices of considerable size usually 
placed on prominences of the surface ; from these the 
water streams forth with such force, according to some 
observers, as to be perceptible by the eye. 

The inherent chemical properties of this curious Zoo- 
phyte are very remarkable. When a Sponge has been 
immersed for fourteen or sixteen days in nitric acid 
(diluted with three parts of distilled water) it becomes 
nearly transparent, and when touched with ammonia, 
assumes a deep orange colour, inclining to a brownish 
red. But if much softened by the acid, the whole fabric 
immediately disappears, on being immersed in ammonia, 
and forms a deep orange-coloured solution. A Sponge, 
when boiled, gives out a considerable portion of animal 
jelly. The infusion of a small quantity of oak bark 
causes this to fall to the bottom of the vessel, as a sedi- 
ment, and so entirely changes the nature of the Sponge, 
that, when dry, it crumbles between the fingers ; and, 
when moist, it may be torn like wetted paper. In this 
state we should naturally conclude that it is entirely 
useless : but no ; the operations of chemistry resemble 
a magic wand. Boil the same in water, with caustic 
potash, its latent qualities will be called forth; and, 
behold, a deposition of animal soap ! 

MARINE ALLIES. (Bydroida.) 

These are two species, which will fully illustrate the 
nature of the whole tribe. They are found in clear 
waters, and may generally be seen in small ditches and 
trenches of fields, especially in the months of April and 
May. They affix themselves to the under-parts of leaves, 
and to the stalks of such vegetables as happen to grow in 

The Fresh-Water Polypi. 605 

the same water ; and feed on the various species of small 
worms and other aquatic animals within their reach. 
When any of these pass near a Polyp, the latter sud- 
denly catches it with its arms, and dragging it to its 
mouth, swallows it by degrees, much in the same man- 
ner as a snake gorges its prey. Two Polypi may 
occasionally be seen in the act of seizing the same worm 
at different ends, and dragging it in opposite directions 
with great force. It sometimes happens, that while one 
is swallowing the end it has seized, the other is employed 
in the same manner ; and thus they continue swallow- 
ing, each his part, until their mouths meet. They then 
rest for some time in this situation, till the worm breaks 
between them, and each goes off with his share. But 
sometimes when the mouths of both are thus joined 
together a combat ensues, and the largest Polyp usually 
swallows his antagonist; the animal thus swallowed, 
however, seems to be a gainer by its misfortune, as after 
it has lain in the conqueror's body for about an hour it 
issues unhurt, and often in possession of the prey that 
had been the original cause of contention. The remains 
of the animal, on which the Polyp feeds, are evacuated 
at the mouth, the only opening in the body. The species 
are multiplied by a kind of vegetation, one or two, or 
even more young ones, emerging gradually from the sides 
of the parent animal ; and these young ones are fre- 
quently again prolific before they drop off; so that it is 
no uncommon thing to see two or three generations at 
once on the same Polyp. But the most astonishing fact 
respecting this animal is, that if a Polyp be cut in 
pieces, it is not destroyed, but is multiplied by dissection. 
It may be cut in every direction that fancy can suggest, 
and even into very minute divisions, and not only the 
parent stock will remain uninjured, but every section 
will become an animal. Even when turned inside out, 
it suffers no material injury ; for, in that state it will 
soon begin to take food, and to perform all its other 
natural functions. 

M. Trembley, of Geneva, ascertained that different 
portions of one Polyp could be engrafted on another. 
Two transverse sections brought into contact will quickly 



unite and form one animal, though each section should 
belong to a different species. The head of one species 
may be engrafted on the body of another. When one 
Polyp is introduced by the tail into another's body, the 
two heads unite and form one individual. Pursuing 
these strange operations, M. Trembley gave scope to his 
fancy by repeatedly splitting the head and part of the 
body ; he thus formed hydras more complicated than ever 
struck the imagination of the most romantic fabulist. 

Though so difficult, to destroy by division, all the 
Polyps, even those which form the corals, may be easily 
killed by depriving them of moisture, when they soon 
shrivel up, and the tissue of their skins is completely 

Of these Fresh-water Polypi, only a few kinds are 
known, but the sea nourishes a multitude of species 
which closely resemble the Hydras in their structure, 
from hence called Hydroid Polyps by Cuvier and many 
other naturalists. Most of these are compound creatures, 
of the kind shown in the above engraving, of which 
many species may be found on all our shores. A horny 
tube runs branching over the surface of a seaweed, or 

The Sea Anemones. 


some other object, and from this, at intervals, rise slen- 
der stalks, often branched in the most elegant manner. 
Upon the delicate branches we find little horny cups, 
each of which is the habitation of a tiny Polyp, fur- 
nished with a mouth and stomach, and with a circlet of 
slender arms to enable it to capture its prey. Other 
species are enclosed only in a soft membrane, but all 
rise from creeping roots. 


Besides the Polypi just mentioned as nearly related to 
the fresh-water Hydra and those forming the different 
kinds of Corals, the sea produces a vast number of other 
Zoophytes, the commonest kinds of which are well 
known as Sea Anemones. These animals are found 
adhering to rocks on all shores ; they consist of a rather 
thick column, the base of which forms an adhesive disc, 
while its summit, which is also a disc, shows a puckered 
mouth in the centre surrounded by several rows of 

608 Badiata. 

tentacles. The tentacles are sometimes short and stout, 
sometimes long and slender ; they are generally adorned 
with vivid or delicate colours, often disposed in rings 
and contrasting beautifully with the colours of the stem 
and disc. In their expanded state they present a close 
resemblance to a flower, and indeed vie with many 
flowers in beauty ; hence the name of Animal Flowers was 
given to them formerly, and has now given place to that 
of Sea Anemones, although they are rather to be com- 
pared with those composite flowers in which numerous 
petal-like flowerets radiate from a central disc. When 
contracted, the Sea Anemones resemble soft knobs or 
buttons, with a depression at the top. 

In describing the Stony Corals, the fact has been 
mentioned that the Polyps, which may be regarded as 
the architects of those extraordinary structures, are very 
similar to the Sea Anemones. In the latter, the cavity 
surrounding the central stomach is partially divided into 
chambers, by partitions, which run inwards from the 
circumference towards the centre : in the Coral Polyps 
each of these partitions produces a stony plate. in its 
substance, and these plates form the rays which occupy 
the interior of the Polyp-cell. 

The Sea Anemones move slowly along by the action 
of their adheiing disc, somewhat in the same way that 
a snail or slug crawls upon the ground. Their food is 
obtained by means of the tentacles which give them their 
beautiful flower-like character, and to render them effi- 
cient organs for this purpose they are endowed with a 
singular provision. The skin of the tentacles, and, 
indeed, of most parts of the Sea Anemone is filled with 
little cells or vesicles, each containing a spiral thread, 
which when touched instantly darts forth, and penetrates 
the body coming in contact with it. In this way, if a 
worm, a small fish, or any other soft animal touches the 
tentacles of an Anemone, it is instantly transfixed with 
innumerable delicate darts, which not only assist the 
tentacles in holding the destined prey, but also seem to 
exercise a sort of numbing influence upon the victim, 
deadening his struggles and rendering him an easy 
conquest. He is then speedily passed by the tentacles 

Jelly Fishes. 609 

to the orifice of the mouth, and swallowed without 

One of the commonest kinds of these Polyps is the 
Mesembryanihemum (Actinia Mesernbryaniliemum), a large, 
usually liver-coloured species, with a row of blue warts 
round the margin just outside the tentacles. It is found 
abundantly on the rocks of our Southern coast especially. 
The Thick-korned Anemone (Actinia or Brusodes crassi- 
cornis) is another large and fine species, usually of a red 
colour, with very thick tentacles, which are generally 
white with pinkish bands. — The Sea Cereus (Anthea 
Cereus) has long slender tentacles, which are not retracted 
in the same way as those of the Sea Anemones generally. 
The tentacles are usually tipped with a pink or purple 
tint ; they are constantly waving about in the water in 
search of prey, and instantly seize upon any creature 
that passes over them. — The Parasitic Anemone (Actinia 
parasitica) and the Cloak Anemone (Adamsia palliata) 
always attach themselves to univalve shells which are 
occupied bv Hermit Crabs. 


The animals commonly known as Jelly Fishes are free- 
swimming Eadiata ; they were described by Cuvier and 
most succeeding naturalists under the name of Acalephce, 
from a Greek word signifying " nettles,''' because many of 
them produce a stinging sensation when they come in 
contact with the skin. Their name in several languages 
signifies "Sea Nettles." The Acalephae of Cuvier are 
now regarded as belonging to the same class as the 
Hydroid Polyps. 

The common Medusa (Medusa amitd), which may serve 
as an example of this group, is found in great abundance 
round our coasts ; it is of a circular form, convex above, 
concave beneath, like an umbrella, the stick of which is 
represented by a thick stalk, containing the mouth and 
stomach, and terminated by four long arms for seizing 
the animal's food. The skin of these, and of the body 
and its appendages generally is full of the thread-cells 


610 Badiata. 

described as occurring in the Sea Anemones, and it is to 
these that the stinging power of the Medusae is due. 
The motion of the Medusas through the water is effected 
by the alternate expansion and contraction of its um- 
brella, which is slightly inclined in the direction towards 
which the creature is moving, and it is a most beautiful 
sight to look down upon a fleet of these animals, all 
advancing in the same direction at a depth of two or 
three feet in the water, as may often be seen in fine 
weather at the mouths of our rivers. 

At first sight it may be thought that the Medusae have 
but little in common with the Hydroid or any other 
Polyps, but it has been fully proved by late researches 
that the young animal produced from the egg of the Me- 
dusa is a regular Polyp, which adheres by its base, and 
obtains its food by the agency of a crown of tentacles sur- 
rounding its mouth ; nay, it even propagates in this form 
by pushing out buds exactly in the manner described in 
the case of the fresh-water Hydra. In course of time, 
however, the body of this Polyp becomes elongated, 
and its surface is marked into rings, the grooves sepa- 
rating which gradually become deeper until the whole 
body breaks up into a number of saucer-like segments, 
each of which becomes a Medusa. How fully does this 
extraordinary mode of reproduction show that the won- 
ders of the Creator are no less striking in the lowest 
than in the highest of his creatures, and that for all, 
from the highest to the lowest, the same prescient care 
has been exercised, the same goodness evinced. Verily, 
we may follow the pious example of the great Linnaeus, 
and exclaim with the Psalmist, " O Lord, how manifold 
are thy works ! in wisdom hast thou made them all." 




Our object in the previous pages has been to combine 
interest with amusement, and to present truth unmixed 
with fable. Yet considering that some fictitious animals 
are conventionally recognised in poetry and painting, we 
have thought it desirable to subjoin an account of them. 
The Sphinx, the Dragon, the Unicorn, Pegasus, and the 
Centaur, are so familiar to us, both in sculpture and fable, 
that some notice of these mythological creations seems 


Providence has ordered, that as the plains of Egypt are 
not visited by showers, they should be fertilized by the 
overflowing of the Nile, which takes place annually, 

612 Fabulous Animals. 

a little after the summer solstice. This phenomenon, the 
source of unfailing fertility in the vales of the Delta np 
to Memphis, and around the bases of the majestic and 
venerable pyramids, was of the greatest importance to 
the people of Misraim, from the far-famed Pharos to 
the frontiers of Ethiopia. It was therefore their interest 
to calculate correctly the season, the month, and nearly 
the hour, when the flood should begin ; the more so, as 
the sudden invasion of the waters was dangerous to the 
inhabitants of the low lands, the meadows, and the fens, 
and often destroyed the cottages, and drowned the flocks 
and the improvident villagers. The star Sirius was 
remarked to emerge from the blazing halo of the sun 
about the time of the rising of the Kile ; it was a warning, 
and was accordingly called the Dog-star, as if barking 
from the heavens to apprise the inhabitants of the valleys 
of the impending rise of the waters. The Egyptian 
astronomers, to mark the period, combined the signs of 
the zodiac answering to the two months during which the 
overflowing took place. These signs happening to be 
Leo and Virgo, the mystical fancy of the ancient Egyp- 
tians united them in one, and thus formed the figure of 
the Sphinx, which has the head and breast of a woman, 
and the body of a lion. This was a great enigma to the 
Greeks and Phoenicians who travelled to Egypt ; they 
saw the monster, but could not comprehend its meaning. 
On returning to their respective countries, they invented 
the fable of the Sphinx offering riddles at the gates of 
Thebes, and destroying those who could not unravel them ; 
having probably been told by the supercilious sages of 
that nation, that they who could not guess the meaning 
of the Sphinx were to forfeit their life in atonement for 
their ignorance. Long afterwards, the real sense of the 
symbol was forgotten, and Egypt in her superstition 
began to worship the emblem, of which innumerable 
figures still exist in that once flourishing country. 

The Sphinx has been introduced in heraldry to adorn 
the gorgets of those general officers who distinguished 
themselves against the French on the banks of the Nile ; 
it has also been adopted as an ornament in various decora- 
tions ; and two specimens, exquisitely wrought, are seen 

The Dragon. 


on the front wall of Syon House, at Brentford, the seat 
of his Grace the Duke of Northumberland. 

This chimerical figure is generally represented as sit- 
ting and at rest ; a graceful attitude adopted by Egyptian 
sculptors, and imitated by the Greeks and Romans. 


This fabulous animal, which figures largely in ancient 
romances, was supposed to be the tutelary genius of 
fresh-water springs in the bosom of dark forests and 
enchanted rocks. Dragons were harnessed to the car of 
Ceres ; they were the guardians of the golden apples of 
the Hesperides, and of the golden fleece of Colchis ; and 
in several parts of the world set as protectors to the car- 
buncles and other precious stones hidden at the bottom 
of wells and fountains. They are represented as scaly 
serpents, with webbed feet, and with wings similar to 
those of a bat ; having been, it seems, originally a hiero- 
glyphic emblem of the dangerous influence of an undue 
combination of air and water. Thus the serpent Python 
was the allegory of a pestilence, originating from a union 
of mephitic air and moisture. They have been long 
supporters to the arms of the city of London, as if the 
guardians of the wealth which commerce brings hither 
from all the parts of the world. Four of them are placed 
in fanciful attitudes, and beautifully carved, on the pe- 
destal of the monument of London. 


Fabulous Animals. 


This fabulous animal somewhat resembles the dragon, 
only that, instead of four, it has two legs, which are 
webbed, and armed with claws. There is no doubt that 
this imaginary being was originally conceived in the 
brains of the poets and romancers, in times of chivalry, 
when the Crusaders overran the plains of Palestine and 
Assyria. The heat of the climate in some vales at the 
foot of the mountains, which intersect the deserts of those 
countries, was favourable to the breeding of all sorts of 
serpents, some of an immense size. The European sol- 
diers of Godfrey and Richard, unaccustomed to such 
sights, were easily frightened, whenever they met those 
monsters on the sedgy banks of small lakes, under the 
shade of cedars and palm-trees, where they appeared as 
if posted to guard the sacred waters, so precious in so 
hot a country ; and magnified in their idle tales, when 
inactive in camps, the bulk of the serpent they had seen. 
The castle of Lusignan, in the province of Poitou, was 
supposed to contain one of those winged serpents. It is 
a very ancient armorial bearing, and now stands as sup- 
porter to the arms of several illustrious houses. 

The Cockatrice, or Basilisk. 



The fruitful imagination of man knows hardly any bounds. 
The animal which bears the name of Basilisk was ori- 
ginally supposed to be a serpent, with a sort of comb or 
crown on its head : but that was not sufficiently marvel- 
lous. It was supposed also to be hatched from a cock's 
egg, upon which a snake had performed the office of in- 
cubation ; and the animal had the head of a cock, and 
the wings and tail of a dragon. Hatched near a spring 
of water, the common resort of serpents, it was asserted 
that, frightened at his own extraordinary shape, he soon 
precipitated himself to the bottom, whence, by the mortal 
look from his fiery eyes, he had the power of killing 
whoever dared to gaze at him. There are no less than 
four kinds of basilisks mentioned by various authors. 
One burnt up everything near him, and reduced the 
place he lived in to a complete desert ; another kind had 
the power of producing a stony rigidity in whoever 
looked at them, which was followed by death ; or the 
gazers' flesh fell from their bones. The basilisk was said 
to be killed by carrying a mirror to its lair ; and the 
creature encountering the reflection of its own baleful 
glance, was killed with its own weapons. 


Fabulous Animals. 


Was originally an emblem of life. It was used to adorn 
funeral monuments and sepulchres. The upper part of 
this allegorical animal resembles the eagle, the king of 
the birds, and the rest the lion, the king of beasts ; which 
is said to imply that man, who lives upon the earth, can- 
not subsist without air. In later times it was supposed 
that the Gryphon was posted as a jailor at the entrance 
of enchanted castles and caverns where subterraneous 
treasures were concealed. Milton compares Satan in 
his flight to the Gryphon, in the following beautiful 
passage : 

" As when a Gryphon through the wilderness, 
With winged course o'er hill or moory dale, 
Pursues the Arimaspian, who, by stealth, 
Had from his wakeful custody purloined 
The guarded gold ; so eagerly the fiend, 
O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare. 
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, 
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies." 

The Arimaspians were Asiatic wizards, who, by magic, 
used to obtain a knowledge of the .places where treasures 
lay hidden. Their incessant wranglings with the Gry- 
phons about gold-mines are mentioned by Herodotus and 
Pliny. Lucan says that they inhabited Scythia, and 
adorned their hair with gold ; that they had but one eye 
in the middle of the forehead, and lived on the banks of 
the gold-sanded river Arimaspes. 

The Phoenix — The Mermaid, or Siren. 617 

Virgil, in his eighth Pastoral, mentions this animal as 
if really existing, but does not give us any description of 
it ; and Claudian, in his Epistle to Serena, alludes to the 
supposed fact of their keeping watch over masses of gold 
in the bosom of northern mountains. 


Herodotus, Pliny, and nearly sixty other classical authors, 
have related marvellous stories of this bird, all of which 
are of course fabulous. The Phoenix, they say, inhabits 
the plains of Arabia, and is about the size of an eagle, 
with gorgeous plumage of purple and gold. He is the 
only one of his kind in the world. At the approach of 
death, he builds himself a nest of aromatic herbs, and on 
it yields up his life. From his marrow proceeds a worm, 
which shortly becomes a young Phoenix, whose first duty 
is to discharge the obsequies of his sire. For this pur- 
pose he collects a quantity of myrrh, which he moulds 
into the shape of an egg, as large as he can conveniently 
carry, and then scooping it out, he deposits the body of 
his sire in the inside. Having stopped it up again 
with myrrh, he carries it to the Temple of the Sun in 
Egypt, where he devoutly places it on the altar. This 
is the only time that he is seen during his life, which 
lasts five hundred years. According to others, after pre- 
paring a funeral pile of rich herbs and spices, he burns 
himself, but from his ashes revives in all the freshness 
of youth. 

From late mythological researches it is conjectured 
that the Phoenix is a symbol of five hundred years, of 
which the conclusion was celebrated by a solemn sacri- 
fice, in which the figure of a bird was burnt. His being 
restored to youth signifies that the new springs from 
the old. 


The existence of this animal, half a woman and half a 
fish, has long been talked of, believed, disbelieved, and 
doubted. Homer is the first who speaks of such beings, 

618 Fabulous Animals. 

which he styles Sirens ; but we do not find that he gives 
any description of their shape ; however, it was soon as- 
serted that the Sirens were, as Horace, in his "Art of 
Poetry," describes them : 

" Above, a lovely maid ; a fish below." 

The Sirens were three sisters, whose voice was so de- 
lightfully harmonious and enticing, that no resistance 
could be made against its powerful charms ; but " 'twas 
death to hear," for they led the navigators and their ships 
to certain destruction among the rocks that bordered the 
dangerous coasts which they inhabited, near the shores 
of Italy. 

The belief in the existence of Mermaids has been cur- 
rent at different periods ; indeed, some years ago, several 
persons made depositions before a magistrate, that they 
had seen Mermaids come out of the sea and play on the 
rocks, but that they sprang into their element before they 
were able to secure them. 

A creature, said to be a dried Mermaid, was exhibited 
in London about the year 1828 ; but it was afterwards 
discovered to be the body of a monkey artfully attached 
to the dried tail of a salmon. 


This creature is another fabulous inhabitant of the sea. 
It is said to be three or four miles in breadth, and to live 
generally at the bottom of the sea, on the Norway coast. 
When it moves the commotion of the sea is so violent that 
it upsets boats and even small ships ; and when it comes 
to the surface, it is generally mistaken for an island. 

The Dolphin — The Unicorn. 



This is the Dolphin of heraldry, and as fabulous an ani- 
mal as any here mentioned, as may be seen by comparing 
it with the figure of the real Dolphin, given with the 
description in a former part of this work. This fish was 
said to curl up his back to carry his favourites over the 
seas without, wetting them ; and to assume the most bril- 
liant colours in dying, changing from a bright blue to as 
bright a yellow, and then to red and green, &c. &c. 



This is another offspring of the lively and fruitful fancy 
of man. It is represented as a compound of the horse 
and stag, the head and body belong to the former, and 
the hoofs to the latter, while the horn, the tufts, and the 

620 Fabulous Animals. 

tail are anomalies. This animal holds a high rank in 
heraldry, and is one of the supporters of the royal arms 
of England. 

The Unicorn is often mentioned in the Scriptures, and 
by many commentators is supposed to he the rhinoceros. 
From the book of Job we learn that it was not only an 
animal of considerable strength, but also of a very fierce 
and intractable disposition — " Will the Unicorn be will- 
ing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Canst thou bind 
the Unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he har- 
row the valleys for thee? Wilt thou trust him, because 
his strength is great ? or wilt thou leave thy labour to 
him ? Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home 
thy seed, and gather it into thy barn ? " Ch. xxxix. ver. 
9 — 11. In the book of Psalms, xcii. ver. 10. " My horn 
shalt thou exalt like the horn of a Unicorn." 


Another liberty has been taken with the horse. My- 
thology has added wings to its elegant figure, and called 
it Pegasus. This animal, it is said, sprang from the blood 
of Medusa, when Perseus had cut off her head ; and im- 
mediately afterwards flew upwards towards heaven, but 
stopped short, and alighted on Mount Helicon, where he 
struck the ground with his foot, and instantly the fountain 
Hippocrene burst from the ground. During his residence 
on Mount Helicon, Pegasus became a great favourite with 
the Muses, who resided occasionally on that lofty moun- 
tain; and still, when any one attempts extravagant flights 
of poetry, he is said to have mounted on his Pegasus, as 
it was difficult to approach the Muses when raised so 
high. On the contrary, the Castalian fountain on Mount 
Parnassus was more accessible, and inspired poetry of 
a gentler nature. But to return to Pegasus ; he was 
at length tamed by Neptune, or Minerva, and lent by 
the latter to Bellerophon, to enable him to conquer the 
horrid monster called the Chimera, which was always 
shifting its place, and vomiting forth flames and smoke. 
After the victory was achieved, Bellerophon attempted 

The Centaur—The Satyr. 621 

to fly up to heaven ; but Pegasus threw his rider, and 
flying up to heaven without him, was changed into the 
constellation of stars which still bears his name. Pegasus 
is sometimes confounded with the Hippogriph, or Ippo- 
grifo of Ariosto, which is often seen in coats of arms. 


Like the Sphinx, this creature is a compound of the 
brute and human form, exhibiting the body of a man 
united to that of a horse, the former rising from the chest 
of the latter. Absurd as such a combination must appear 
to the anatomist, and ill adapted as it seems for agility, 
it is not wholly devoid of grace, and is very frequently 
met with in antique sculpture. According to Grecian 
mythology, these beings inhabited Thessaly ; and poetry 
has celebrated their combats with Hercules, Theseus, 
and Pirithous, the latter of whom was the leader of the 
Lapithse, a people who vanquished the Centaurs. Their 
fabulous existence had its origin in that love of the mar- 
vellous, which is always found to exist in the earlier 
stages of society. Hence the natives of Thessaly being 
distinguished for their skill in horsemanship, at a time 
when their neighbours were unacquainted with the art of 
riding, they would be described as combining the powers 
both of the human and the equine race ; in the same 
manner as some of the American tribes, when they first 
beheld the Spaniards mounted on horses, mistook them 
for a different race of beings from themselves, supposing 
them to be half men and half quadrupeds. It is by such 
errors that fiction, whether poetry or painting be its 
vehicle, Creates those fanciful beings and shapes which 
delight the imagination. 


Although the Satyr of the ancient poets can hardly be 
termed an animal, as the human form predominates, he 
may be introduced here as our final example of fabulous 

622 Fabulous Animals. 

creatures. Satyrs and Fauns are represented as men with 
goats' legs and horns, and were supposed to be the 
attendants of Bacchus, with whose worship they are ge- 
nerally connected. The idea of such beings was probably 
derived from some of the larger species of apes. They 
are described as inhabiting woods and forests, of which 
they were regarded as the protecting deities. Probably 
they were partly personifications, intended to express the 
debasing influence of animal propensities and sensual 
indulgence : and as nothing tends more than intoxication 
to reduce man to a level with the brutes, since it de- 
prives reason of all control over the passions, the form 
of the Satyr may have been ingeniously intended as a 
visible representation of the degraded state of those who 
surrender up the noblest prerogative of man. Whether 
such was really or not the idea of those who first 
feigned the existence of such creatures, we may very 
rationally adopt this explanation, and thereby deduce an 
important moral lesson from what is in itself an extrava- 
gant fiction. 


Abraxas grossulariati 
Acarus siro 
Accipiter nisus 
Acerina cernua 
Acheta campestris 
• — > — domesticata 
Acipenser sturio 
Actinia crassicornis 


parasitica . 

Adamsia palliata 




Ageneiosus militaris 

Ai . 

Alauda arborea 


Alca impennis 
Alcedo ispida . 
Alligator (lucius) . 
Amphisbaena (fuliginosa) 
Anabas scandens . 

Anarrhichas lupus . 
Anas boschas. 
Anchovy . 
Angel fish 

Anguilla vulgaris 
Anobium tesselatum 
Anser ferus 
Anthea cereus . 

Ant-eater, great 
Antelope (cervicapra) 

Dorcas . 

Gnu . 






Anthropoides virgo 



. 574 


Aphis . 



Apteryx (Australis) 

. 344 


Aquila chrysaetos 



Arctic Fox 

. 39 


Arctomys Marmotta 



Ardea cinerea 

. 354 


Argali . 




. 537 

i 609 

Argyroneta aquatica 



Arion ater . 

. 535 





Aromia moschata . 

. 558 


Arvicola amphibia 



Asp, Egyptian 

. 499 





Astacus fluviatilis . 

. 543 





Asterias rubens 

. 595 


Astur palumbarius 



Ateles paniscus . 

. 182 


Auchenia glama 



Auk, Great 

. 399 


Avicula Margaritifera 




. 163 






. 122 


Babirussa alfurus 




. 178 





. 53 


Balaninus micum 



Balaena Australis . 

. 405 





Balaenoptera boops 

. 407 


Balearica pavonina 



Barbary Ape 

. 177 






. 615 


Basse . 




. 80 


| , Kalong . 






Bat, Long-eared 


Bulteo vulgaris 


Vampyre . 


Butcher-bird, Great 

. 217 

Bear, American (Black) 


, Little 


, European (Brown) 


Butterfly, Cabbage 

. 586 

, Grisly 


, Tortoiseshel 

I 585 

, Malayan . 



. 197 

, Polar 




Beaver . 





Beetle, Black . 




, Blind 


Calandra granaria . 

. 561 


Camel, Arabian 


, Ground 


, Bactrian 

. 168 

, Musk . 


of America 


, Stag 


Camelopardalis Giraffa 

. 164 

Belone vulgaris 


Camelus Bactrianus 


Beluga (leucas) 



. 170 

Billy Biter 


Canary Bird . 


Bird of Paradise 


Cancer pagurus 

. 543 

Bison (Bonasus) 


Canis aureus . 


, American 



. 23 





Blackbird . 


■ lupus 

. 40 

Black Cap 
Black Cock. 


. 561 

Cantharis (vesicatoria) 

Blatta orientalis 






Capra hi reus 

. 147 

Blepharis (ciliaris) 




Blue Ox 


Caprimulgus Europasu 

3 . 244 

Boa Constrictor 


Carabus clathratus 


Boar, Wild 


violaceus . 

. 559 

Bom by x mori . 






Carcharias vulgaris 

. 417 

Bos Bonasus 


. 143 

. 527 

Cardium edule 



Carduelis canaria 


Botaurus stellaris . 

. 356 

. 24 

Bower- Bird 


Carp . 


Bradypus tridact)lus 


, Golden 

. 479 



Carrion Crow . 



. 484 


. 341 

Brusodes crassicornis . 


Castor Fiber . 


Bubalus Caffer 


Casuarius galeatus 

. 341 

Bubo Maximus. 




Buccinum undatum 



. 442 

Budytes flava . 


Cavia Cobaya . 


Bufo vulgaris 



. 518 

Buffalo, African 


Cebus Capucinus 





. 621 

, Brahmin . 


Cerambyx meschatus 


. Wild . 

. 137 

Cerastes Hasselquistii 

. 4.(7 



Cercopithecus Diana 


Bullhead . 


Certhia familiaris 

281, 282 

Bunting, Yellow 


Cervus Alces 

. 160 







Cervus Canadensis 




Tarandus . 


Chaffinch . 


Chamaeleo vulgaris 



Charadrius morinellus 


Char . 
Cheese Hopper 



Cheimatohia brumata 
Chelonia imbricata 


Chinchilla lanigera 
Chub . 
Ciconia alba 
Cinclus aquaticus 
Circus cyaneus 
Civet . 

■ , Oriental 

Clam . 
Clupea alba 


Pilchardus . 

• Sardina 



Cobitis barbatula . 

Cobra di Capello 

Coccinella septem-punctata 

Coccus cacti . 

Cochineal Insect 


Cockatrice . 





Coluber natrix 

Columba senas 

livia . 



Colymbus glacialis 
Comatula rosacea 






Conger vulgaris 

Coracias garrula 
Coral, Red. 

, Stony 

Cormorant . 

, Crested 

Corn Crake 


Corvus corone 

Corax . 

frugilegus . 


Cottus scorpius 


Coturnix dactylisonans 



Cow Bird 

Cowry, Money 

■ , Tiger . 


, Violet land 

, Soldier, or hermit 

Crane . 

, Balearic 

, Gigantic 

■ , Numidian 

Crangon vulgaris 



, Wall 



Crocodile of the Nile 
Crocodilus vulgaris 
Crotalus horridus 

, American 

Cuculus canorus 

Culex pipiens . 


Curruca atricapilla 



Cyclopterus lumpus 



Cygnus ferus . 


Cypraea moneta 


Cyprinus alburnus 


. 376 

. 597 

. 379 

. 374 

. 268 

. 269 

. 433 

. 318 

. 136 

. 531 

. 543 

. 545 

. 349 

. 349 


. 543 

281, 282 

. 283 

. 570 

. 517 

. 261 

. 290 

. 290 

. 360 

. 330 

. 436 

. 179 

. 383 

. 531 





Cyprinus auratus . 


bra ma 

— carpio 

cephalus . 

go bio 

leuciscus . 




Cypselus apus 

Dace . 

Dactyloptera Mediterranea 
Dasypus sexcinctus 
Deer, Fallow . 

, Musk 

Delphinus Delphis 

Demoiselle . 

Dicotyles labiatus 

Didelphis Virginiana 

Didus ineptus . 

Diomedea exulans . 


Dipus iEgyptius 









Mastiff . 


Pointer . 


Spaniel . 


Water Spaniel 


■ — of mythology 

Dormouse . 


Dove, Ring 

, Rock 

, Stock 

, Turtle 

Draco volans 












































Dragon . . .613 

Dragon-fly, Great . 576 

Dromaius Novae Hollandiae 343 
Dromedary . . 170 

Duck . . .388 

, Eider . . 389 

Duck-billed Platypus . Ill 

Dugong . . 415 

Dynastes elephas . . 557 

Eagle, Black . . 192 

, Golden . . 185 

, Sea, or White-tailed 188 

, White-headed or Bald 189 


Echeneis remora . 

Echidna hystrix 

Echinus miliaris 


— , Conger, or sea . 

, Electrical . 

Flectric Ray 

Elephas Africanus . 

Elk . 

Emberiza citrinella 



Empusa gongy lodes 

Engraulis encrasicolus 

Enhydra Lutris 

Epeira diadema 

Ephemera . 

Equus Asinus . 

Burchel.ii . 

cabal lus 

Hemionus . 

Zebra . 

Erinaceus Europseus 

Erythacus rubecula 
Esox lucius 
Exocaetus exiliens . 




, Peregrine 












Falco nisus 


Gadus morrhua 

. 448 


Gallinula chloropus 


peregrin us 


Gallus domesticus . 

. 324 

peregrin a tor 



■ giganteus 




. 381 





Felis Canadensis 



. 454 



Garrulus glandarius 


— — Catus 


Gastuostius aculiatus 

. 487 








. 150 

■ jubata 


. 15 

Genet . 



Geometra brumata 

. 588 




i 587 



Geotrupes stercorarius 

. 555 


. 17 

G erfalcon 


Pardalis . 



. 164 



Globe Fish 




Electrical . 

. 440 





Fern Owl 



. 592 



Gnu . 


Fiber Zibethecus 



. 147 

Fieldfare . 


Goat Chaffer . 


Fitchet, or Foumart . 



. 244 







Gorgonia nobilis . 

. 597 





Flying Dragon 


Gold-fish . 

. 479 


. 443 

Goose, wild 




. 176 

Forficula auricularia 

. 563 



Formica rufa . 


Grampus . 

. 413 

Fowls, Bankiva 

. 326 

Grand Promerooks 





. 566 

Jago, or Paduan 

. 327 





Great Northern Diver 

. 397 



Green Fly 


— — , Arctic 


Griffin, or Gryphon 

. 616 

Fratercula arctica . 


Grisly Bear 


Fringilla coelebs 


Grouse, red 

. 320 

canaria . 



. 347 

Grus cinerea 



Gryllotalpa vulgaris 



Guinea Fowl . 

. 480 


. 505 

, edible 



. 98 

Fulgora laternaria . 


Gull . 


Fulica atra 



. 444 



, Flying 



, Grey 

. 445 

Gymnotus electricus 


Gadus seglefinus 


Merlangus . 









Hag-fish . 

Haje . 

Hake . . 


Haliaetus albicilla . 


Halicore Dugong . 

Hare . 


Hawk, Fishing 

Hedgehog . . . 

, Australian . 

Helix aspersa 

Hen Harrier . . 


Herpestes, griseus 


Javonicus . 


Hippocampus brevirostris 
Hippopotamus amphibius 
Hirundo rustica 


Hog, domestic 
Honey- Buzzard 
Hooded serpent 
Horned Silure 

Viper . 




Hyaena, striped (Striata) 

spotted (Crocuta) 


Hydroida . 
Hystrix cristata 

prehensilis . 



Ibis falcinellus 



Ichneumon Fly 
Ichneumon, or Egyptian 

Mangouste . 
Iguana tuberculata 
Inuus sylvanus 


Jacchus Rosalia 










Jelly Fishes 


John Dory 

Jungle Fowl 






Kite . 


Knot . 



Labrax lupus 
Lacerta viridis 


Lady Bird, or Lady 
Lagopus Scoticus 


Lamantin . 
Lampris guttatus 
Lampyris noctiluca 
Land Kail . 
Lanius collurio 


Leaf Mantis 

, Walking . 


Leipoa ocellata 
Lemming . 
Lemur albifrons 



Lepadogaster cornubicus 
Leptoptilus argala 


Lepus cuniculus 

iimidus . 

Libellula grandis 
Limax cinereus 
Limosa aegocephala 










. 451 





Medusa amita 


Linota cannabina - 

. 253 

Megapodius tumulus 




Meleagris Gallo-Pavo . 


Lioness and Cubs . 


Meles Taxus 


Littornia littorea 


Melolontha vulgaris . 



. 512 

Melopsittacus undulatus . 


T^liTinrr inrl (*V( 

>en 514 
. 172 

Menura Alberti 



■- superba . . 



Mephitis Americana . 



. 542 

Merlangus vulgaris 




Merle . 


Locusta migratoria 

. 567 



. 438 




Lophius piscatorius 

Miller's Thumb 

Lota molva 


Milvus regalis 


Loxia curvirostra . 

. 261 







Lucanus cervus 

. 556 

Mite, Cheese 




, Water . 


Luidia fragilissima 

. 595 



Lump-sucker . 


Mole . 



. 68 

, Cricket 


vulgaris . 


, Water . 


Lycosa tarantula . 

. 550 

Mongoos . 


Lynx, common 


Monkey, Capuchin 


Lyre-Bird of Australia 

. 284 

, Diana 



, Oustiti 


, Marikina 



, Proboscis 


, Scarlet 

. 300 



Machetes pugnax . 

. 363 

Monodon monoceros 






Macrocercus aracanga 

. 300 

Moor Cock 




Hen, or Coot 


Macropus giganteus 

. 84 

Morunga proboscidea 


Magot . 


Morse . 



272, 587 

Moschus moschiferus 


Maid . 

. 422,424 

Motacilla boarula 



. 415 

Moth, Clothes 


Manatus Australia 


, Emperor 



. 179 

, Magpie, or Currant 


Mangouste, Egyptian 


, Winter. 


Mantis, Leaf 

. 564 

Mother Cary's Chicken 


Mareca Penelope 


Mound-Bird of Australia . 


Marikina Monkey . 

. 183 





, Field 


Marmozet . 

. 183 

, Harvest 


Marten, Common or B< 

;ech 65 



, Pine or y ellow-l 

reasted 66 

Murex haustellus, or cor- 

Martes foina 

. 65 





Musca domestica . 



. 241 

Mus decumanus 


, Black . 






Mus musculus . 


Musk Rat 


Mustela Abietum 









Myodes Lemmus 
Myoxus avellanarius 
Myrmecophaga jubata 
Myrmeleon formicarium 
Mytilus edulis 
Myxine glutinosa 


Naja Haje 


Nasalis larvatus 
Nasua narica . 
Naucrates due tor 
Nautilus, Paper 

, Pearly 



, Great . 


Numenius arquatus 
Numida Meleagris 
Nuthatch, or Nutjobber 
Nyl Ghau 



Octopus vulgaris 


Opah . 

Opossum, Virginian 

Ornithorhynchus paradoxus 

Orthagoriscus mola 


, English . 

Ortygometra crex 
Ortyx Californicus 


Oryctes rhinoceros 


























Osmerus eperlanus 


Osprey . 


Ostracion quadricornis 


Ostrea edulis 




, American . 


Otis tarda 




, Sea 




Ouistiti Monkey 


Ourang Outan 


Ouzel, Ring 


, Water 


Ovis Aries 


Owl, Brown 


, Great Snowy 


, Horned 


, White, Barn, or Screech 216 

Oyster, Pearl 


, Common 



Pagurus Bempardus . 


PalaBornis Alexandri 


Pal3gmon serratus 


Pandion haliaetus . 




Par ... 


Paradisea apoda 


Paroquet, Ground . 


, Ring 


, Warbling Grass 


Partridge, common 


, Red-legged 


Parrot, Green . 



, urey 

Parus caeruleus 


■ caudatus 


Passer domesticus 




Pavo cristatus . 










Pelicanus onocrotalus 






Perca fluviatilis 




, Climbing 


, Sea 


Perdix cinerea 








Pearled Hen 

. 308 

Pope . 




Porcelain shells 


Pernis apivorus 

. 199 



Petrel, Stormy 




Petromyzon marinus 

. 427 



Phalacrocorax carbo . 


Praying insects 


. 380 

Prawn . 




Procellaria glacialis 


Phalangista vulpina 

. 87 

Procyon lotor 


Pharaoh's Rat . 


Promerooks, Grand 

. 289 

Phasianus colchicus 

. 313 

Psittacus Amazonicus . 




— ■ x>yctnemerus 


. 314 

«»»it*-V^ g\ *%*i n 




Ptarmigan . 


Pheasant . 

. 313 

Pteromys volucella 


— , Australian . 


Pteropus edulis 


, Gold 

. 314 

Ptilonorhynchus holoseri 





- ■ , Oliver . 

Philomela luscinia . 

. 228 

Puffin . 


Phoca vitulina 


Pulex irritans 


Phocasna orca 

. 413 

Puma . 




Pyrrhcorax graculus 


Pholas dactylus 

. 528 



Phyllium siccifolium . 


Phyllostoma spectrum 

. 82 


Physeter macrocephalus 
Pica caudata . 
Picus viridis . 
Pieris Brassicae 

. 272 

. 586 

Quail . 

, American 

, Californian 


Pigeon, carrier 


, Chinese 


, wood 

Pike . 

. 330 

Querquedula crecca . 



. 457 


Pilot Fish 


Pimpla persuasoria 

. 580 

Rabbit, wild . 




, domestic . 


Piophila casei 

. 552 



Pipa Americana 


Raia batis . 


Pipistrelle . 

. 81 

clavata . 


Plaice . 




Plant Louse 

. 572 

, Wallachian 


Platalea Ajaja 


Rana temporaria 



. 358 

Rangifer Tarandus 


Platessa flesus 




■vii 1 r r tiT*ii 

. 460 

, Alpine 


Platypus, duck-billed . 


, Musk . 


Plecotus auritus 

. 81 

, Water 


Plover, golden 


Rattle Snake 


> grey 

. 368 

Raven . 


Plyctolophus galeritus 


Red Game . 


Polar, or White Bear 

. 50 





Redshank . 

. 361 


. 604 



Pontia Brassiest: 




Pool Snipe . 


Regulus cristatus 




Rein-Deer . 

Rhamphastos tucanus 
Rhea Americana 
Rhinoceros unicornis 
Rhombus maximus 
Ring Dove 



River Fox 


Roach . 

Robin, or Redbreast 



Roller . 



Ruff and Reeve 

Ruffe . 

Sable . 

, American 


, Pink 

Salmo fario 

. salar 


thymallus . 

Trutta . . 

Sanguisuga officinalis 

Sarcorhamphus papa . 


Satin Bower Bird 


Saw Fish 

Saxicola aenanthe . 


Scarabeus elephas . 
Sciurus vulgaris 
Scolopax gallinago 


Scomber Scomber . 

Seal . 

Sea Anemones 

, Cloak . 

, Mesembryan- 

themum . . 609 

, Parasitic . 609 

, Sea Cereus 609 

, Thick-horned 609 

Sea-Bat . . 431 

Sea-Cow . . 72,415 

Sea-Elephant . . 71 






Sea-Horse . . .442 

Sea-Nettles . . 609 

Sea-Owl . . . 436 

Sea-Parrot . . 398 

Sea-Unicorn . .414 

Sea-Urchin . . 596 

Sea-Wolf . . .431 

Secretary Bird . 21 1 

Selachus maximus . . 420 

Sepia officinalis . 535 

Serpentarius reptilivorus 211 

Serpents . . .493 

Shag ... 380 

Shaheen . . .207 

Shark . . . 417 

, Fox . . 421 

, Greenland, or Basking 420 


-, Wild, of Asia 

Ship Worm 
Shrew . 

, Water 

Shrike . 
Silurus militaris 
Simia satyrus . 


Siren . 

Sitta Europaea 

Skate . 


Skunk . 




Slug, small grey 

, black 

Smelt . 

Snail, Garden 

Snake, Common 



Solan Goose 

Solaster papposa 


Solea vulgaris . 


Sorex araneus . 


Sornateria mollissima 
Spanish Fly 






. 400 

. 611 

. 550 

. 549 


. 358 

American or Roseate 359 

. 456 

Sparrowhawk . 
Speniscus demersus 
Sphargis coriacea 

Spider, Diving 

, Garden 

, House 



Squalus carcharias 

Squatarola cinerea 

Squatina Angelus 


, Flying 

, Ground 

Stag . 

Stare . . 







St. Peter's Fish 

Strix flammea 

Struthio camelus 


Sturnus vulgaris , 

Sucker, ocellated . 


Sula bassana 


Surnia nyctea 

Sus scrota 


, Window 

Swift . 
Sword-fish . 
Sylvia trochilus 
Synetheres prehensilis 
Syrnium aluco 


Talegalla Lathami 
Talpa Europea 
Tapir, American 

, Malayan 



Tegenaria domestica . 


. '238 


383, 384 


. 433 

. 106 







Tench . . . 478 

Teredo navalis . . 52> 

Testudo Grseca . 520 

Tetrao tetrix . . 322 

urogallus , 323 

Tetraodon hispidus . 440 

lineatus . 440 

Thalassidroma pelagica . 393 

Thornback . . 424 

Thresher . . . . 421 
Thrush, Song, or Throstle 221 

, Missel . . 221 

Tichodroma muraria . 283 

Tiger . . .9 

Tiger Cat . . 15 

Tiger Wolf . . 44 

Tinea pellionella . 590 

Titmouse . . . 248 

Tit, Long-tailed . 248 

Toad . . .507 

, Surinam . 509 

Tomtit . . .248 

Torpedo vulgaris . 425 
Tortoise, Common, or Greek 520 

Totanus calidris . 361 

Toucan . . .297 

Trichechus Rosmarus . 72 

Trigla cuculus . . 444 

gurnudus . 445 

Tringa Canutus . . 367 

Tristis antiquorum . 427 

Triton aquaticus . . 510 

palustris . 511 

Trochilus colubris . . 287 

Troglodytes gorilla . 176 

■ — niger . . 174 

vulgaris . 232 

Trout . . .466 

, Alpine. . 469 

, Salmon, Bull, or Sea 465 

• , Silvery . 467 

Trunk-fish . . .439 

Turbot . . 459 

Turdus iliacus . , 222 

Merula . 220 

musicus . . 221 

pilaris . 223 

polyglottus . 225 

torquatus . 224 

viscivorus . . 221 

Turkey . . 306 

, Brush . . 312 

Turtle, Green . . 521 

, Hawk's-bill . 523 

, Leathery . 524 

2 T 




Unau . 
Upupa epops . 

■ superba 

Uraster rubens 
Ursus Americanus 
Arctos . 


Malay anus 

maritimus . 


Vampire Bat . 
Vanellus cristatus . 
Vanessa urticae 
Vespa vulgaris 
Vespertilio auritus 



Vipera berus 


































Viverra Civetta 





Vultur gryphus 

monachus . 



Wagtail, Grey . . 236 

•-, Pied . 237 

, Yellow Shepherdess 237 

Walking Leaf . . 565 

Wall Creeper . . 283 

Walrus . . .72 

Wapiti . . 157 

Wasp . . . 578 

Water Hen . . 373 

Mites . . 550 

Ouzel . . 219 

Weevil, Corn . 

, Nut 

Whale, Fin-backed 

, Greenland . 

, Spermaceti 

, White 





White-headed Eagle 



Window Swallow . 

Winter Moth . 

Wivern, or Wolverine 

Wolf . 

Woodcock . 




Worm, Earth 

Wren . 

, Golden-crested 

, Willow 



Xiphias gladius 


Yellowhammer, or 

Bunting . 
Yellow Shepherdess 
Yunx torquilla 


, Burchell's 

Zebu, or Brahmin Bui! 
Zeus faber 
Zygsena malleus 








Loudon, Jane (Webb J 

Mrs* Loudon 1 s 
Entertaining naturalist 
A new ed., rev. and enl 

& Medical