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uaoer UBRAIT 


Natural History 
in Zoological Gardens 





F.R.S., F.Z.S., ETC. 

With Illustrations by 









I GIVE in the following pages an account of one hun- 
dred and seventeen kinds of animals, with shorter 
references to some others, the great majority of which 
are certain to be represented in most Zoological Gardens. 
These types of vertebrate life are placed in due relation 
to each other by some details concerning the structure and 
classification of the vertebrata, which precede in an 
orderly way the sections referring to those several 
types. The volume thus contains a sketch of verte- 
brate life which may serve as an introduction to more 
exhaustive studies. It will also, I hope, be of some 
assistance to those who desire to know something of the 
great variety of animal life exhibited in these institu- 
tions, and as a guide to the mammals, birds, reptiles, 
and amphibians therein collected together. 


October, 1904. 









THE DEERLET . . . -7 

THE POLAR BEAR .... . . no 

BIRDS ..... .151 


REPTILES . . . . . . \ .227 


INDEX .- . . . 3O3 




Gibbon To face 30 

Baboon ,. 32 

Malayan Tapir , 54 

African Rhinoceros ,, 56 

Hairy eared Rhinoceros ,, 58 

Grevy's Zebra 60 

Asiatic Wild Ass 61 

Wart Hog To face 64 

Hippopotamus ., 66 

Reindeer ,, 72 

English Wild Bull , 76 

Aurochs or Wisent . , 78 

Lama , 80 

Giraffe 82 

African Elephant , 84 

Lion , 94 

Tiger : , 96 

Leopard 98 

Snow Leopard or Ounce , 100 

Polar Bear ,, no 

Raccoon 114 

Cape Sea Lion 116 

Porcupine , 122 

Kangaroo , 140 

Hornbill 162 

"More-Pork" 166 

Snowy Owl To face 168 

Kea Parrot 173 




Cape-Crowned Crane , 181 

Screamer . 185 

Condor t . 189 

Black Swan '. 199- 

Flamingoes To face 200 

Shoe-Bill . . . ; . . '. . 203 

Cassowary :._ To face 218 

Kiwi ..,),, 220 

Rhea and Young '...,_. 222 

Ostrich 224 

Penguin . ,, 226 

Chamasleon -....,, 242 

Monitor Lizard 246 

Iguana Lizard 249 

Hatteria Lizard . . . . . ". . . . . . . 252 

Green Tree Viper 264 

Crocodiles To face 272 

Australian Green Tree Frog ' .. . 288 

Caped Clawed Frog .......... 291 

Australian Mud Fish 301 



THE large collection of living animals belonging to 
the Zoological Society v contains at any given 
time representatives of all the principal families of 
vertebrated animals, as well as a few invertebrates, 
such as insects, scorpions, and the like, which latter are 
harboured in the Insect House. The great wealth of 
that collection will give some notion of the extreme 
productiveness of Nature, and will also emphasize the 
great uniformity which underlies so much superficial 
diversity. With its wild, that is uncaged, inhabitants 
the Zoological Gardens represents in a few square yards 
the animal population of the globe. For all the great 
groups into which animated nature can be divided have 
here their representatives. Animals, in fact, fall into 
only about a dozen main groups or Phyla. At the 
bottom of the series we have the unicellular organisms, 
as a rule of minutely microscopic size and rarely visible 
at all to the naked eye ; these comprise an infinite 
variety of creatures, called by the earlier investigators 
Infusoria, since they appeared in infusions of organized 
matter. There is not a pool or even puddle in the 
Zoological Gardens which has not its population of 
Amoebae and many other of these Protozoa. The 
remaining Phyla are multicellular organisms collectively 
termed Metazoa. The first group of the Metazoa, that 
of the Sponges, may perhaps be represented by the fresh- 

Z.G. I B 


water sponge in the canal which cuts the gardens in two. 
The Jelly-fish and Sea-anemones at any rate the latter 
have constantly been on view in the Fish House. The 
Mollusca are present in the shape of slugs and snails 
upon the paths and occasionally of large tropical land 
shelled forms in the Insect House. The Appendiculata, 
including the vast series of organisms ranging from the 
earthworm and its kindred at the lowest step of the series, 
and culminating in the insects, are plainly well repre- 
sented. The Nematoidea, or thread worms, lurk as para- 
sites among the caged animals, as do also certain of the 
members of the seventh great phylum, the Platyhelmia. 
The Echinodermata (starfish, sea urchins), will not be 
found. Nor does the collection contain examples of 
two groups of marine or terrestrial " worms," the 
Chsetognatha and Nemertina. Finally the Chordata 
include the Vertebrata, with which we are concerned 
here ; and it is this group which the Zoological Society 
considers it is its business to exhibit with the greatest 
possible lavishness in variety of genus and species. It 
is worth bearing in mind that the animal life of this 
planet is constructed upon such few types while its 
variety in modifications upon these types is so enormous. 
What holds good of animal life in general is also true 
of the vertebrata alone. It will be plain from quite a 
cursory inspection of the collection that all vertebrata 
arrange themselves round at most five types, viz. 
mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. It 
behoves us, however, first all of to enquire what a verte- 
brate is ; we can then proceed to consider the various 
types of vertebrates offered for our studies in the gardens 
of the Zoological Society, and other gardens abroad. 

As the name denotes, the vertebrata have a backbone, 
a series of bones known as vertebrae, which is dorsal in 
position, and underlies as well as enwraps the brain and 
spinal cord, the central nervous system. This backbone 



is preceded and sometimes, as in the lower fishes, co- 
exists with the un jointed skeletal rod, the notochord 
whose presence characterizes the entire phylum Chordata. 
They breathe too by means of perforations fringed with 
gills which put the front end of the alimentary tract in 
communication with the outside world, or at least 
possess in the embryo traces of these breathing organs. 
The gill slits of fishes are these organs and more will 
be said concerning them on a later page. The verte- 
brata moreover possess a skull, a series of bones sur- 
rounding the brain ; they have also two pairs, and only 
two pairs, of limbs, which, however, may partly or 
entirely disappear (e.g. snakes, some lizards, etc.). 
These limbs are provided with a skeleton. The central 
organ of impulsion of the vascular system, the heart, 
is always ventral in position. No animal that is not a 
vertebrate combines these characters in itself. 

These necessarily technical details now require some 
expansion and explanation. All the vertebra ta possess 
a brain and a spinal cord, running along the back, and 
lying within the bony or gristly tube known as the 
vertebral column. The brain is enclosed in an expanded 
bony or gristly box, the skull. It is only in certain 
lowly organized fishes, such as the sharks, that the skull 
and vertebral column is entirely made of gristle or 
cartilage ; in the higher types this cartilage becomes 
bone, more completely so in the highest types, such as the 
mammalia, and less completely so in many lower types, 
such as the frog. In no creature belonging to the different 
phyla, which were originally grouped together under the 
name of Invertebrata, is there such an axial skeleton 
enclosing the whole of the central nervous system. It is 
commonly and loosely said, that in vertebrates the 
skeleton is internal, and in invertebrates if there be a 
sketeton it is external. That this is not strictly : true 
is shown by the external skeleton in the shape, of scales 



in the lizards, and by the internally placed " sternal 
plate " in scorpions, etc. The proper way to put the 
difference is that in all Chordata a supporting rod wholly 
or partly underlies the central nervous system, and 
that in all vertebrata the entire central nervous system 
is completely sheathed in a tube of bone or cartilage, 
which partly or entirely replaces that axial supporting 
rod ; and that in no " Invertebrate " is this the case. 

All vertebrates possess two pairs of limbs ; these are 
the paired (not the unpaired dorsal and ventral) fins 
of fishes and the legs and arms of frogs, reptiles and 
mammals, and of course the wings and legs of birds. 
No vertebrate possesses more than these two pairs, 
and it is nearly invariably the case that both pairs are 
present, or that, if missing, there is evidence that absence 
is due to disuse and to degeneration. Thus the whales 
have no hind limbs, but they possess in most cases 
tiny bonelets which can be identified as the rudiments of 
the missing limbs. In some snakes the otherwise entirely 
missing limbs are represented by minute fragments in the 
neighbourhood of the vent, which can also be identified 
with limbs. There is only one type of vertebrate life 
which seems to have no traces of limbs and that is the 
lampreys. Undoubtedly, these fishes lie near to the 
base of the vertebrate series, and it possible that they 
have, so to speak, not yet acquired the typical verte- 
brate limbs ; or, on the other hand, it is possible that 
they have lost them entirely, as the snakes are pre- 
sumed to have lost their fore limbs. 

Many invertebrate creatures have limbs ; the insects for 
examples. An exact comparison, however, between 
these appendages and the limbs of vertebrata is im- 
possible, and in any case the number is not limited to 
two pairs as in the group which we are considering here. 

The next point of importance is the condition of the 
respiratory organs in the vertebrata. In all the 



Chordata, which it will be remembered is the large 
group or phylum including, not only the higher vertebrata, 
but the series of lower forms which are distributed among 
the classes of Ascidia and variously lowly organized 
marine creatures, the pharynx that is the anterior part 
of the alimentary tract behind the mouth is perforated 
by a series or many series of slits, putting it into com- 
munication with the outside world, which in the forms 
where this arrangement is fully developed is always 
water. The water rushes into the pharynx by means of 
these clefts, and parts with its dissolved air containing 
oxygen to the small blood vessels which fringe the sides 
of the clefts. Thus is respiration effected. That this 
arrangement occurs in the vertebrata may be easily 
seen by the inspection of any fish, and among the dogfish 
and skates the details are plainer than in some others. 
In those fishes a row of holes is to be seen along the throat; 
and if a probe of any kind be passed through it, will be 
found to emerge in the throat cavity. Furthermore, the 
edges of the clefts are seen to be furnished with red tufts, 
which are the gills, and are practically an agglomera- 
tion of small blood vessels divided only from the water 
which washes them by a thin membrane through which 
the dissolved oxygen can pass. In vertebrates above 
fishes the gills along the clefts entirely, or nearly entirely, 
lose their function as breathing organs. It is only in 
certain Amphibia that the clefts in question remain 
throughout life, and then in diminished numbers ; but 
in the tadpoles of all of these clefts are present, and 
associated with the respiratory function. It might 
seem therefore that this important character was only one 
that applied to the lower vertebrata ; and in its full 
development it does only so apply. But the study 
of the development of animals, that is embryology, 
has shown that in reptiles, birds, and mammals, traces 
of these same gill clefts are to be seen ; and one of them, 



though dissociated from the respiratory function, 
remains for life. That cleft is the external ear hole, 
which opens internally by what is called the eustachian 
tube into the pharynx. Thus, though the gill clefts in 
the higher vertebrates are no longer used for breathing 
purposes, being replaced by the lungs, they persist for a 
time to emphasize the relationship between the higher 
and the lower vertebrates. 

The ventrally placed heart is another marked 
characteristic of the vertebrata. The beat of the heart 
in man is felt through the chest walls and not through 
the back. In all animals the heart has the same posi- 
tion ; it lies on the opposite side of the body to that which 
lodges the brain and spinal cord. In many invertebrate 
animals the position of these two important organs is 
exactly the reverse. In worms, insects and crustaceans, 
the heart, if it exists, is on the dorsal side and the 
larger portion at any rate of the central nervous system 
is on the ventral side, the side upon which the animal 
progresses, or which is turned towards the ground in 
progression as in those animals which possess legs. 

Anatomy reveals many other characteristics of 
vertebrate animals ; but the principal ones are those 
which we have just briefly sketched. The large as- 
semblage of creatures classifiable as vertebrates splits 
up readily into the five sub-groups mentioned above, 
all of which are considered in the following pages. 



Characters of the Mammalia 

INACCURATE though the term undoubtedly is (for 
all "mammals" do not possess mammae, or teats) 
in application from derivation, it is better to adhere, to 
the expression in lieu of something better, than to use or 
revert to the entirely wrong vernacular words in common 
use, viz., " Quadrupeds," " Beasts," or " Animals." 
For lizards are quadrupeds, and the converse of animal 
is clearly vegetable or mineral. " Beasts " might be re- 
tained, but that it has a somewhat insulting suggestion. 
The justification of the term, however, is less important 
than its meaning. What are we to understand by 
mammals or mammalia ? For us who are concerned 
here only with living mammals, the distinction from 
other backboned animals is quite easy and obvious, even 
without having recourse to bony and other structural 
characters. By external form and character only, if 
rightly put, it is within the power of any one to recognize 
clearly the features which enable him to assert positively 
that a given animal is or is not a mammal. It is, in the 
first place, not correct to define mammals as quadrupedal; 
most of them are so indeed, and all that especially con- 
cern us in this place. But if we attempt to make 
definitions that suit the entire " class," it is requisite to 
allow for these exceptions. To begin with, man is not 



quadrupedal except occasionally and during his young 
stages ; the whales are clearly not so ; neither are the 
manatees and dugongs ; the bats, it is true, do shuffle 
along on their " wings " as well as by the aid of their 
hind limbs ; but it would be straining the proper use 
of the term to describe them as " quadrupeds." But 
when quadrupedal, as in the vast majority of mammals, 
the fore and hind limbs lie beneath and actually support 
the body more directly than in the other quadrupedal 
group, the Reptiles. In the latter it will be noticed 
that the body is, as it were, slung between the legs like the 
body of an eighteenth-century coach between its wheels ; 
in the mammals the legs support the body as its legs 
do a chair. We may, however, legitimately say that the 
mammalia are much more generally quadrupedal than 
are the reptiles, of which (see below) so many are entirely 
or partially legless. The next point is one which abso- 
lutely distinguishes all mammals from all other verte- 
brates (and, of course, invertebrates). This feature is 
the covering of hair. To this statement there are no 
real exceptions, but several apparent exceptions, which 
we must note. The apparent exceptions, again, are of 
animals which really do not enter into the subject matter 
of this volume. A very little observation will convince 
any one that the almost naked rhinoceros has some 
vestiges of a hairy covering. But the whales, again, 
which contradict so many generalizations about the 
class mammalia, are rather more deceptive. Their 
covering of hair is reduced to a few hairs in the neigh- 
bourhood of the mouth. If these were to go it would be 
most difficult to state definitely, from external characters 
only, that a whale was not an aquatic reptile like the 
Ichthyosaurus. There are, moreover, a series of excep- 
tions on the other side. Some of the feathers of flightless 
birds, such as the Apteryx, have to the naked eye every 
appearance of hairs. Their microscopic character, and 



the way in which they develop in the embryo, can alone 
settle the fact that they are not hairs, but true, though 
somewhat rudimentary, feathers. But no practical 
difficulty arises in this case ; for on other parts of the 
body are plenty of obvious feathers which no mammal 
ever possesses. 

A third feature is also absolutely distinctive, and that 
is the presence in the female, with rudiments in the male, 
of cutaneous glands which secrete milk for the nourish- 
ment of the young when born. No other vertebrate 
possesses anything even remotely resembling the mam- 
mary glands of the mammalia. 

A rash observer might say that mammals are never 
scaly, while reptiles, fishes, and even birds (their feet) 
are always so. It is difficult, however, to distinguish 
accurately the scales upon a rat's tail from those of a 
lizard, though it is true that the scales of the pangolin, 
or scaly ant-eater of Africa and India, are not real scales, 
but merely agglutinated hairs. 

No one can look at the head of a mammal, that is of 
course of a terrestrial mammal (for here again, as in so 
many features, the whales are exceptional), without ob- 
serving how impossible it is to mistake that group for 
any of the lower lying groups of vertebrate animals. 
With a few exceptions such as the seals as well as the 
whales already mentioned and a small selection of other 
mammals external ears are present in that group, and 
often of conspicuous size. In the lizards, frogs and birds 
the external ear is absent, and there is merely the external 
auditory passage visible, covered by the tympanic 
membrane ; and even that is not always present. Coupled 
with the presence of ears is a look of alertness, quite dis- 
tinctive of the mammalia, and a more fidgetty demeanour 
than that of lower vertebrates, except of course birds. 
There is but little torpidity among mammals save in 
those few cases, such as the hedeghog, where the animal 



hibernates. They do not remain for hours in a motion- 
less condition save when asleep. 

So far as external characters are concerned the above 
observations embody the principal points in which 
the group differs from those of vertebrates lying lower 
in the series. There are, however, still remaining, a few 
characters which are highly noteworthy among the 
mammalia without being absolutely diagnostic. It 
will be readily observed in reviewing the large series of 
mammals at the Zoo, and comparing them with the 
larger series of birds, that the mammalia for the most 
part are clad in a sober livery. There is nowhere in the 
group that development of brilliant primary colours 
such as we see so very commonly among birds. There 
are no reds, greens and blues, the utmost brilliancy of 
hue being bright browns contrasting with white, and 
a few brighter colours, not of hair, but of naked skin, 
such as the muzzle and ischial callosities of some monkeys. 
If may be that correlated with this absence of striking 
coloration is the predominance of the senses of smell 
and hearing over sight. It is broadly true of the 
mammalia, that they smell and hear rather than see. 
While of birds it is equally true to say, that they see 
rather than smell. That this point of view is in the 
main correct is shown by another very characteristic 
feature of the mammalia. In various parts of the body 
glands open on to the surface ; these glands produce 
variously smelling secretions, of which musk, civet, and 
castoreum, are examples. The odoriferousness of the 
houses in which the mammalia are confined is an un- 
mistakable proof of this ; and the fact that birds are 
at least by no means so strongly smelling convinces 
us of the absence of glands in the skins of those animals. 
The same may be said of reptiles and amphibia, broadly 
considered for here as elsewhere there are exceptions. 
There are for example musky smelling glands among 



the Crocodilia. It is quite conceivable, and indeed one 
cannot help arriving at the conclusion, that mammals 
recognize each other far more by odour than by sight. 
Perhaps this physiological fact has something to do 
with the general absence of brilliant hues among the 
mammalia. There is no difficulty therefore about 
distinguishing a mammal from any other vertebrate 
by merely inspecting it in a cage. But it will be 
necessary to delve a little further into the subject, and 
to add something to the characters of this group from 
a consideration of certain anatomical features. The 
reason for this is obvious. For without reliable dis- 
tinguishing marks derived from the skeleton it would be 
impossible to place accurately the bones and teeth of 
fossil forms, of whose soft parts, including the skin, no 
trace remains in the rocks. It is true that we are not 
specially concerned here with extinct mammals or 
fossil vertebrates generally. But it would be taking 
a too limited view of zoology to completely ignore the 
fact that there were, as well as are, mammals. A very 
marked feature of the mammalian skeleton is the fact 
that the bones of the vertebral column as well as for 
the limbs are not, so to speak, in one piece. At either 
end of the vertebra, for example, is a little disc known 
as the epiphysis, which ossifies separately from the main 
body of the vertebra, and remains distinct for a long 
period. The same takes place at the ends of the long 
bones of the arm and leg and the smaller bones of those 
appendages also. 

In the skull of a mammal the lower jaw is all in one 
piece, instead of being obviously made up of a number 
of separate bones as it is in reptiles, etc., and, moreover, 
the mandible articulates with a large bone in the skull 
known as the squamosal, and not with a special small 
bone termed in reptiles and amphibia, the quadrate. 
At the end of the skull, where it articulates with the 



vertebral column, there are two projecting condyles to 
effect this articulation, whereas in reptiles there is but 
one, although that one may show signs of division. The 
practical effect of this is seen by the fact that a mammal 
cannot twist its head to look directly backwards like a 
bird can. The teeth of mammals generally (but here there 
are exceptions, such as the whales) are divisible into 
three distinct sets ; there are the small incisors in front, 
the canines follow them, and the molar or grinding 
teeth complete the series. The human jaw will illus- 
trate this mammalian feature satisfactorily, though 
the canines are in most persons not so marked off from 
the last incisor in front of them and the first premolar 
which follows. Still, many have "eye-teeth," as the 
canines are sometimes termed, which are prominent 
enough. Now in reptiles and amphibians there is 
never so marked a differentiation into series as there is in 
mammals. Furthermore (except again the whales) 
the mammal has a limited number of teeth, the very 
outside numbers being a trifle over fifty, as in certain 
marsupials, while the reptile and the lower vertebrate 
generally has frequently a large and almost indefinite 
series. It has truly a mouth full of teeth. Some 
reptiles, such as tortoises, and some amphibians, such as 
toads of various kinds, are completely without teeth, 
like the ant-eaters among mammals. But if teeth are 
present, the characters just emphasized are usually to 
be seen. These, however, are general characters ; 
practically the zoologist does not consider them, for 
the reason that he directly compares the given fossil 
bone with the nearest thing in the bones of living 
animals. For information of this kind the reader must 
consult larger treatises, or still better, make himself 
acquainted with the skeletons at museums. Even 
then, with fragmentary remains which are so often it is 
to be regretted the only vestiges of formerly existing 



animals, it is not always possible to decide whether a 
given fragment is really of a mammal or a reptile. There 
is a famous fossil, the fragment of a skull of an animal, 
which has been named Tritylodon ; it is not fully agreed 
whether this creature was a mammal or a reptile. 
In the case of such a fragment as a bit of a long bone or 
a finger bone, the problem would be still harder, and 
often insoluble. 

With living mammals and living reptiles there is no 
difficulty at all in distinguishing them by bony and other 
characters. With a skull or the entire skeleton before 
him, no one could fail to recognize the few features to 
which attention has been directed. And there are 
of course many others, to enumerate which would be 
too long a task here. 

The internal anatomy of a mammal is constructed upon 
the same general plan as is that of a reptile or an am- 
phibian, as has been already set forth in our general 
description of the vertebra ta. But there are important 
differences of minor weight which differentiate the 
mammal from all other vertebrates. The most important 
of these is the fact that in the mammal the heart and 
lungs lie in a separate chest cavity, divided off from the 
abdominal cavity, which contains the liver, intestines, 
kidneys, and so forth, by a muscular partition, known 
as the diaphragm. In all mammals this character 
holds good ; and in no animal which is not a mammal is 
there any structure exactly comparable to this dia- 


Having now got at a notion of what a mammal is as 
compared with other vertebrates, it is requisite to see 
how far the mammalia can be conveniently subdivided 
among themselves ; for it will be plain to the least 



instructed person that this large group contains some 
exceedingly diverse types. Consider for a moment a 
monkey, a bat, a whale, a horse, and a cat. It is 
plain that though all are mammals (judged by the tests 
which we have used above), they exemplify very 
extreme types, radiating, it may be, from a common 
centre. Now a proper classification is one which 
most nearly represents true relationship ; this may 
seem to be a remark hardly worth making, on account 
of obviousness. But nevertheless the history of the 
classifications of mammals and of other animals show 
that, obvious though it may be, the truth of the remark 
has not been generally laid hold of. 

Now relationship implies and is proved by a common 
descent. To apply this method to classification is of 
course a counsel of perfection not yet attainable, though 
in some cases the study of extinct forms has given us a 
fairly complete series of gradations from type to type. 
To take one example : the South American lama and 
the Old World camels can be traced back to an extinct 
form, Procamelus, which appears to combine the 
divergencies of the two, and to be thus the ancestor 
of both. The descendants of a parent form must 
clearly be related. The advance of Palaeontology will 
doubtless make other relationships clear. Further- 
more it is plain that the degree of relationship 
depends upon the nearness or remoteness of the 
common ancestor; For instance, the lama and the 
camel soon converge in an apparently common ances- 
tor ; on the other hand the two great divisions of 
the Ungulates, whose characters will be dealt with in 
succeeding pages, viz., the Artiodactyles and^ the 
Perissodactyles, retain their characters for a long 
period of time ; and it is not until the early Eocene 
period that we arrive at forms, with many intervening 
lacunae,, unfortunately, which may possibly be looked 



upon as ancestral to both. The method of Palaeon- 
tology, however, has at present to be supplemented by 
comparative anatomy. Relationship not only implies 
common ancestry but likeness of structure, which is 
more or less marked according to the degree of relation- 
ship. But here we leave the region of fact for that of 
inference. Palaeontology, in proportion to the com- 
pleteness of the records in the rocks, speaks with a 
certain voice as to, relationships. Similarity of structure 
has to be sifted and checked in various ways before it 
can be relied upon as evidence. We will take some 
cases, beginning with extremes, to illustrate the matter. 
The paca is a large brown rodent, with white spots. 
The dasyure is an equally sized Australian marsupial, 
also with a brown coat, diversified with white spots. 
Why don't we, or do we, put together these two 
animals ? We do not admit a close relationship for 
the following reasons : In the first place white spots 
on a brown or dark ground is a plan of coloration 
found in many diverse kinds of animals between which 
no intimate relationship is at all possible, which are 
of course a priori conditions between two mammals. 
Molluscs, insects, and other creatures have a host of 
representatives which possess this character. It would 
be tantamount to bracketing together green animals 
and white animals, black creatures and transparent 
creatures, a procedure which would involve too many 
obvious absurdities to be entertained for a moment. 
A second reason forbids us from laying any stress on the 
white spots. In South America, where the paca lives, 
there lives also the agouti. In the Australian continent 
and its outlying islands, where we find the dasyure, 
the Tasmanian devil is also to be met with. Now 
neither the agouti nor the Tasmanian devil are brown 
spotted with white ; and yet, in every other detail of 
external and internal structure, the Tasmanian devil 



is so closely like the dasyure, and the agouti is so like 
the paca, that we must bracket then two and two, as 
written above. So manifold are these respective points 
of likeness that even if white spots on a brown ground 
were not found in certain deer, as well as in other animals, 
they would necessarily cease to have any weight in com- 
parison with the vast preponderance of likeness over 
dissimilarity shown by the other parts of the body. In 
this case an enormous majority of points of likeness or 
difference indicates the relative closeness of the affinity. 
It is not safe, however, to trust to majorities in zoo- 
logical as in other matters, or else we might soon find 
ourselves in the position of the orator who asserted that 
if his adversary had documents, so had he, and he held 
that one document was as good as another. For one 
character is not as good as another, and arguments 
based upon any leaning towards such a view would be 
sure to be fallacious. The question is, what characters 
are we to go by ? The answer to this question is clear 
enough ; but to apply the method indicated by the 
proper answer is far from being so easy. We may take 
for granted the fact (as it has been rightly termed) of 
Evolution. Whatever may be the truth of the various 
theories, such as Natural Selection, which have been 
advanced as explanatory of evolution, there has been 
since the beginning of time as we read it in the rocks, a 
continual series of changes in animals. As already 
intimated we can trace pedigrees in a few cases with 
certainty ; in other cases intermediate steps have been 
lost or not discovered, but the broad outlines are left. 
Thus amphibians appear before reptiles, and reptiles 
before mammals. From one or other of these groups 
mammals must have arisen. It is not at present 
agreed, the evidence is not yet conclusive on the matter, 
from which group mammals have arisen ; but it is clear 
that marked traces of characters which are not distinc- 



lively mammalian but appertain to the lower lying 
amphibians and reptiles, are important indications of 
the grade of the mammal concerned. Now perhaps no 
two mammals are more diverse in outward appearance 
and even in many anatomical details than the spiny 
ant-eater of Australia, and the duck-billed platypus 
of the same continent. 

The one is spiny, toothless, long-snouted, long- 
tongued ; the other furry, " duck-billed," web-footed ; 
their skeletons and internal organs differ widely, and 
yet in both of these creatures the young are hatched 
from large eggs with much yolk, and there is no con- 
nexion between the young and the mother, the eggs 
leaving the body as eggs. Furthermore, there is a 
peculiar vein, or traces of it, which is quite like a vein 
found in the lower vertebra ta, but not represented in 
the higher mammals, and the structure of the heart shows 
an analogous state of affairs. All these points link the 
Monotremata, as the order comprising these the only 
two existent types of the order is called, together ; they 
have been arrested, as it were, before they have com- 
pletely thrown off the characters of the amphibio- 
reptile from which the mammalia have in course of time 
been evolved. We must therefore clearly set apart those 
two forms into a group by themselves. The remaining 
mammals, the vast majority of course, can hardly be 
sorted into an ascending series, getting less and less 
reptilian. Palaeontology, moreover, while explicit as to 
the relationships of certain groups, is at present cloudy 
as to the derivation of the higher mammals, or Eutheria 
as they have been termed, from the Monotremata, the 
only surviving members of the early mammals, or 
Prototheria. All the Eutheria contrast with the 
Prototheria in having minute eggs which are not " laid," 
but develop inside the body of the parent, and come 
to be attached to the tissues of the mother, deriving 
Z.G. 17 C 


their nutriment therefrom. Nor can it be said that 
any other fundamental character of equal value 
differentiates the many orders which constitute the 
Eutheria. In earliness of appearance it is plain that 
the marsupials lead the way ; but it is not plain as yet 
that they are really primitive mammals as compared 
with the rest of the Eutheria. The remains as yet 
gathered from earlier rocks is so small that it would be 
rash to invoke the aid of Palaeontology in settling this 
matter. In the meantime we can separate them off 
as a very well marked group ; and it is fair to con- 
sider that they represent an offshoot of a more typically 
Eutherian stock. The marsupials are more fully 
treated of later. There remain those mammals which 
have not got any claims at all to be of very great anti- 
quity ; the existing creatures are separated into the 
following groups, which are generally spoken of as 
" Orders," viz. Primates, i.e. man, monkeys, and 
lemurs, whose characters are fully entered into below ; 
Bats or Chiroptera, which stands apart from all other 
mammals in having the fingers of the hand enormously 
elongated and supporting, umbrella-like, a thin mem- 
brane also attached to the body which serves as a wing. 
The greater part of the bats are night-flying and insect- 
feeding creatures ; but a few, known on that account as 
" fruit bats," feed upon fruit. Of these latter bats there 
are usually a number of specimens on view at the 
Zoological Gardens. The Insectivora, or moles, 
hedgehogs, shrews, etc., are dealt with on a subsequent 
page ; so too are the Carnivora, the flesh-feeding and 
predaceous cats, dogs, bears, and seals. The Ungulates 
or hoofed mammals, are the deer, camels, rhinoceroses, 
elephant, horse, cow, sheep, and the like ; their characters 
are pointed out in due course. Of the orders Sirenia 
(manatee, dugong) Rodentia (rats, mice, porcupines, 
etc.), Edentata (sloths, ant-bears), the principal 



characters are put before the reader in the course of 
this book. The only remaining order of existing mammal 
is that of the whales, the Cetacea, of which the common 
porpoise is the only type that has ever been exhibited 
at the Zoological Gardens. We shall therefore omit 
them in the present book. 


It is not our business here to enter into psychological 
distinctions between man and the apes. That depart- 
ment of enquiry is not zoology at all. What we are 
concerned with is to show that man and apes are not 
separable into diverse orders among the mammalia, 
although it may be permissible to assign to man a 
special family for his own enjoyment. Even this 
amount of separation might be objected to, and on 
grounds by no means trivial. Let us consider what are 
precisely the differences which mark out man as dis- 
tinct from the highest apes, the orang, gorilla, and 
chimpanzee. Prof. Haeckel has pointed out that four 
characters, and four only, define men. Firstly the 
erect gait, secondly the slight structural modifications 
which have rendered necessary or are rendered neces- 
sary by this upright posture, thirdly the faculty of 
speech ; and, lastly, the faculty of reason. With the 
two latter characters we have nothing to do here ; 
they are outside the province of the zoologist. As to 
the former, the erect attitude of body is at least ap- 
proached in the anthropoid apes ; the gibbon will run 
for some distance upon its legs, and the gorilla shows 
a distinct difference from the chimpanzee, otherwise 
so nearly akin, by certain modifications connected 
with its less aboreal life. No ape, however, perpetually 
walks upon its hind limbs only ; it is to man alone that 
nature " os sublime dedit vultusque attollere ad astra." 



Connected with this carriage of the body are differences 
in the proportions of the limbs, the existence of a heel, 
and the loss of the ape-like great toe, which serves in 
them the functions of a thumb. A man in fact is short 
armed, firmly plantigrade, with a pronounced heel, and 
with no " thumb " on his feet. Besides, there are minor 
differences which we may properly insist upon as dis- 
tinctive of man. Not, however, all the commonly 
supposed differences. For example, man is not a hairless 
mammal at all. It is true that the hairy covering is not 
obvious everywhere, as it is in apes ; but an investiga- 
tion with the microscope will show that the hair follicles 
exist in reality where the hairs themselves are so fine 
as to escape, or almost to escape, detection. It is quite 
possible, moreover, that the wearing of clothes, which 
is doubtless an exceedingly ancient habit of man, is 
responsible for the not great development of hair. 
The smooth and unridged skull is a human attribute, 
and so. is the proportionately larger size of the brain 
than in the Anthropoid apes. It must be remembered, 
however, that in the smaller monkeys the brain is some- 
times proportionately large. 

The S-like curvature of the spine is a human char- 
acteristic in so far as it is more perfectly developed in 
man than in apes ; and there are, in short, a number of 
other small characters which are merely differences of 
degree and not of kind from the corresponding struc- 
tures in the monkeys. 

This group, Primates, which must therefore include 
man, is easy enough to distinguish from groups lying 
lower in the series if we extend it so as to include the 

The group is an eminently arboreal one ; in fact, the 
exceptions to this are but few. Co-related with this 
general mode of life are the opposable thumb and great 
toe, a character which is almost universal in the order, 



and which is not found in other mammals. It is to be 
noted further that, again with but few exceptions, the 
Primates have five fingers and five toes the reduction 
of digits so common in other groups, especially the 
Ungulata, not being met with here to the extent of 
more than one digit. Again, the Primates are hairy 
creatures, and are never spiny or naked. The nails 
upon the fingers and toes are to a considerable extent, 
or even entirely, flat, and as a rule not claw-like. There 
are, however, exceptions in the case of some digits in 
some Primates. The Primates have canine teeth, with 
the sole exception of the aberrant and remarkable 
Madgascar lemur Chiromys, the aye-aye, which has 
furthermore huge incisors and simulates in other ways 
a rodent animal, with which group it was in fact at 
one time confounded. It is at times to be found in 
the collection at the Zoo. 

It is plainly possible to divide the Primates into 
two divisions, viz. the Anthropoidea, or monkeys and 
man, and the Lemuroidea, or lemurs. The latter group 
connects the higher group with such lying lower in the 
scale as the Insectivora. They lack the literally straight- 
forward look of the Anthropoidea ; for the eye sockets 
in the skull are not so distinctly marked off for the 
reception of the eyes and the eyes only, as in apes and 
man. Their features, too, are foxy, and their brain is 
at a lower level than that of the higher Primates. Inter- 
mediate types, however, lately discovered in Madagascar, 
and of extinct forms, forbid a complete separation of 
the lemurs and monkeys. 


The distinguishing features of the higher Primates, 
the monkeys, have been already dwelt upon. It 
remains to consider the group a little further, in itself, 



and not so much as contrasting with the lower lying 
Lemuroidea. It is a noteworthy fact about the monkey 
tribe that, numerous and widespread as are its repre- 
sentatives, there are but slight variations from one easily 
definable type. There is no creature belonging to this 
assemblage that is not at once referable to its proper 
place in the system by the least experienced of those 
accustomed to observe. 

The singularly monotonous type of structure preva- 
lent in the Anthropoidea contrasts with the diversity 
shown by the Carnivora, the Ungulata, the Rodentia, 
the Marsupials, and indeed nearly all the orders and 
groups of the mammalia, including even the lemurs, 
the second sub-order of the Primates. This may be 
associated with an equal uniformity in way of life. 
Monkeys are essentially a climbing race, and are vege- 
tarians tempered by slightly carnivorous habits. It 
may also be associated with a high position in the series 
of mammals. Those orders which come nearer to the 
base of the series, which are, therefore, nearer to the 
primitive mammal, have clearly greater capacities for 
variation than the thinnest topmost twigs of the 
mammalian tree of life, whose characters are, therefore, 
more fixed. This suggestion may be both checked and 
enforced by the consideration that monkeys are a 
modern race, and that, may be, they have not yet had 
time to throw out feelers in various directions, some 
destined to produce a new race of descendants, others 
more comparable to sterile side branches. Uniform 
though the internal as well as external anatomy of the 
monkey tribe is, it is yet possible to sort them out into 
three divisions, which can be detected by internal as 
well as external characters, or sometimes by the former 

Broadly speaking, the mammalian inhabitants of 
South America differ from much their nearest allies 



in the continents of the old world. This is seen also 
in the monkeys. The American monkeys have the 
nostrils wide apart with a septum between them ; the 
tail, when present, is often, indeed nearly always, 
prehensile, and serves the purpose, as it has been 
termed, of a fifth hand, to enable its possessor to grasp 
additionally on to the branch of a tree. It is not clear 
that the monkeys of America are deafer than their allies 
of Asia and Africa ; but it is an anatomical fact that 
the former have not the little spout-like bone for con- 
veying sound to the internal part of the ear devoted 
to the reception and analysis of sound waves, which is 
present in the Catarrhines. The visitor to the Zoo 
will note the eager way in which monkeys will often 
cram nuts and other proffered food into their cheeks 
to be disgorged later, and eaten at leisure ; but it will 
be noted that no monkey hailing from the American 
continent ever does this ; there are indeed in the 
Platyrrhines no cheek pouches at all. Nor do those 
gaudy red callosities, so characteristic of baboons and 
other apes of the Old World, ever deck or adorn the 
monkeys of America. 

The Platyrrhine apes of America consist of two main 
groups, which are themselves further apart than are 
any two forms among the apes of the Old World, not 
excepting such apparent contrasts as the gorilla and 
the bonnet monkey. In the tiny little marmosets the 
tail is riot prehensile, and the hand is, so to speak, not 
a hand but a paw. The thumb is not opposable to the 
other fingers, and the nails upon those fingers are 
rather claws than nails ; but these characteristics are 
obviously so far not ape-like, and ally the marmosets 
to animals lower in the series than apes. These points 
can be readily verified by the visitor. 

The apes of the Old World are usually divided into two 
great groups, the Catarrhines and the Simiidae, or an- 



thropoid apes. But both of these divisions have the 
catarrhine physiognomy with narrow nostrils, and 
possess the little spout-like process spoken of as absent 
in the Platyrrhines. The Catarrhines pure and simple 
(excluding, that is to say, the anthropoids) never have 
a prehensile tail, and are occasionally without a tail 
at all ; they have, as a rule, cheek pouches. They have 
only thirty-two teeth, while the Platyrrhines have 
thirty-six, with the exception of the marmosets ; these 
however, have the thirty-two, which they possess in 
common with the old Catarrhines, rather differently 
arranged. Instead of there being two premolars and 
three molars on each side of each jaw, there are three 
premolars and two molars in the marmosets. 

The great man-like apes have no tail ; they have not 
any cheek pouches ; finally, they possess in common 
with man the doubtful advantage of a vermiform 
appendix, a structure which Nature has fortunately, 
as it appears for them, denied to any other group of 
monkeys. They have, however, the same thirty-two 
teeth of the Catarrhines. 


It may seem unnecessary to bracket together these 
two anthropoid apes. But the fact is that they have 
been not unfrequently mistaken the one for the other ; 
and in any case they are near akin, and both are in- 
habitants of tropical Africa. We shall see, however, 
presently that there is no particular reason for confusing 
them, at any rate in the living condition. As to the 
chimpanzee, the difficulty in writing about it is to limit 
the account. Probably no animal, at any rate of late 
years, has been so much written about. Paragraphs 
and articles relating to the defunct Sally of the Zoo 
would fill many goodly volumes ; while the more recent 



favourite of the public, "Consul," has achieved much 
literary notoriety. The chimpanzee is perhaps the only 
anthropoid ape of which specimens are pretty certain 
to be found in the New Ape House. Probably two or 
three will be on view to the reader of these lines. But 
the gorilla is much less patient in captivity besides 
being more hard to obtain. There have, in fact, been 
only five examples of this fierce anthropoid ever 
exhibited in Regent's Park. The first specimen of 
the chimpanzee ever exhibited appears to have been 
acquired so long ago as 1836. This chimpanzee 
created great excitement in London, and evoked verses 
from that excellent rhymester and lampoonist, Theodore 
Hook. " The folks in town," he wrote, " are nearly 

To go and see the monkey child, 

In gardens of Zoology, 

Whose proper name is Chimpanzee. 

To keep this baby free from hurt, 

He's dressed in a cap and Guernsey shirt ; 

They've got him a nurse and he sits on her knee, 

And she calls him her Tommy Chimpanzee. 

Hook (Tory, it will be remembered) goes on to describe 
visits paid to this celebrity by Lord John Palmers ton, 
and ministers generally. " Sally " who succeeded, 
longo intervallo in point of time but not popularity, 
caused almost as great a furore as did the elephant 
Jumbo on his departure. This latter ape, in fact, 
illustrated excellently well one of the main differences 
between the gorilla and the chimpanzee. The chim- 
panzee is playful, even malicious, and quite teachable. 
The gorilla is sullen, gloomy, ferocious, and quite un- 
tamable. Anyone who has ever seen a gorilla at the 
Zoo will realize this intellectual difference between the 
two men monkeys. The gorilla, as du Chaillu truly 
said, though he was contradicted by persons not knowing 
much about the matter, beats its breast when angry. 



The chimpanzee has never been observed to indulge 
in this expression of the emotions. To call the gorilla 
untamable is not perhaps quite fair to the gorilla. 
These beasts live so short a time in captivity, so far as 
experiments have shown, that there has been but 
little time to put the belief to the proof. The gorilla 
possesses the requisite physical basis for educatability. 
The brain is on the average, says Dr. Keith, larger than 
that of the chimpanzee, though the highest records 
among the chimpanzees beat the lowest record among 
gorillas. As to its complex structure, the brain of both 
differs in no essentials from the human brain, and the 
ancient controversy about the " hippopotamus minor," 
as Kingsley called it, has been laid to rest long since. 
Blackness of visage does not distinguish the gorilla, 
as was once thought when every chimpanzee with a 
black face was gravely suspected of being a gorilla 
or the result of a mesalliance between the one and the 
other. But the smaller and more refined-looking ear 
of the gorilla, somewhat like that of the eastern Anthro- 
poid, the orang-utan, contrasts with the big ears of the 
chimpanzee, and is on the whole an external mark of 
difference between them. Any one can observe for 
himself that the human ear is liable to great variations, 
and some persons are chimpanzee-like, while -others 
come nearer to the gorilla in this feature. The general 
structure of the two apes leads to the conclusion that 
the gorilla is the older type, and the chimpanzee the 
more modified. But this is not wholly true, for the 
chimpanzee has retained the undoubtedly more primi- 
tive aboreal mode of life to a fuller degree than the gorilla, 
whose likenesses in this respect to man are not so much 
an indication of special relationship as a parallel diverg- 
ence from the normal, so far as apes are concerned. 
These adaptations to an arboreal life have left their 
mark upon the outward appearance of both anthropoids. 



The hand of the chimpanzee is long and thin ; it is in 
fact convertible into a hook for hanging on to branches ; 
in the gorilla the hand is shorter and the fingers are 
webbed at the base as in the human hand, to which 
it bears considerable resemblance. It has been well 
said that if the dictum, " Ex pede Herculem " is true, 
so is the further evolution of that observation, " Ex 
calce hominem." Now the gorilla has a better heel 
than the chimpanzee ; and this again is associated 
with the frequent travels of that animal upon the ground 
in a more or less walking posture. Certain muscles 
tell the same tale. Indeed we may fairly come to the 
conclusion that the gorilla is much nearer to that 
mysterious and at present totally unknown creature, 
which first crossed ^the narrow line dividing the ape 
from the man, than is the chimpanzee. Whether the 
famous Pithecanthropus erectus of Dubois, whose bony 
fragments were found in Java, is the " missing link " 
or not, cannot be decided ; but it is unquestionably 
a suitable candidate for that position so far as the top 
of the skull enables us to form a judgment. Chimpan- 
zees have been divided into more than one kind, and 
such names as Anthropopithecus calvus, aubryi, kulu- 
kamba, have been given to these varieties. The variety 
which has the most claim to be regarded as an indepen- 
dent form is that represented by the notorious Sally, 
The species, if species it be, was brought home by du 
Chaillu, and that specimen is now in the British Museum 
at South Kensington. Sally's stuffed skin adorns Mr. 
Rothschild's museum at Tring, while her brain reposes 
in the University Museum at Oxford. The gorilla, 
too, has been lately subdivided. In fact, it used to be 
thought that both apes were limited in range to the 
gloomy forests of the Gaboon. But it is now well 
known, thanks to Emin Pasha and others, that the 
chimpanzee goes much farther east, and so in all pro- 



bability does the gorilla. It is possible, therefore, that 
we may believe in at any rate racial varieties of these 
apes. The gorilla has got its name under false pre- 
tences. It is certainly not the ape seen to pick up and 
hurl stones by the Carthaginian Hanno, author of the 
Periplous. That creature was probably a baboon, 
which does live in herds and can throw stones. 


The orang, whose scientific name is Simia salyrus, 
and whose vernacular Malayan name generally used by 
us signifies Man of the Woods, is, like the gibbon, an 
Asiatic kind of anthropoid ape. It is Bornean and 
Sumatran in range ; and in those great islands of the 
East frequents steamy forests. The orang is a large 
and heavily built ape, with a melancholy countenance, 
and a very protuberant abdomen, a feature of all the 
Anthropoids except the specially athletic gibbons. 
Its tawny yellow colour is well known, and it has been 
pointed out that while the black chimpanzee and 
gorilla share their forests with equally black man, the 
yellow Malay pursues the yellow orang. 

As with the anthropoid apes generally, the examples 
of orangs exhibited at the Zoo are invariably young 
creatures, and thus do not show all the salient characters 
of the huge ape of Borneo. For in the fully developed 
male the face is broadened by a callous expansion at the 
sides, which is eminently characteristic, and gives to 
the ape a remarkable look distinctive of it. The orang 
is more peaceable than its relatives in Africa, and is 
said to rarely dispute matters with man. Those at 
the Zoo seem to have always a friendly attitude of mind, 
which seems to fit in with their slow ways and some- 
what sad demeanour. At times, however, the orang 
can lose its temper ; Mr. Wallace reports a continued 



attack made by an orang upon a tree,consisting of showers 
of hard fruits with which it assiduously pelted its pur- 
suers. Structurally it may be noted that the orang 
differs from the other anthropoid apes in its small and 
delicately shaped ears, much like those of the gorilla, 
in the small size of, and absence of a nail upon, the great 
toe. It is curious, too, that this ape has its femur loose 
in the socket by reason of the absence of a ligament 
binding that bone to the hip bone. This may account 
for its cautious and deliberate movements when moving 
from branch to branch of its native trees. This ape 
builds a kind of nest in trees, which is not a permanent 
dwelling place, but merely a place of temporary sojourn. 
It is built of a number of branches laid together and 
covered with leaves, and is about a yard and a half 


The Hoolock and its immediate relatives, the other 
members of the genus Hylobates, or gibbons, stand a 
little below the chimpanzee, the gorilla, and the orang, 
which complete the list of living anthropoid apes. 
In intelligence they are not inferior at all ; indeed they 
seem to possess the greater sharpness often incidental 
to small size. But structurally the gibbons form a 
link, not very perfect, with the lower standing Catarrhine 

To begin with, there are in these anthropoids at least 
traces of the ischial callosities so characteristic of the 
Old World monkeys. The canine teeth, large enough 
it is true in the old male gorilla, are still larger propor- 
tionately in the Hoolock, and thus more closely approach 
such teeth in lower mammals. The brain is rather 
simpler, but perhaps this is merely a matter of smaller 
size than of affinity to the macaques and such like, 



The tail is wanting, as in the highest apes and in man ; 
and the vermiform appendix is present as in the same. 
The lower monkeys generally (but not always) possess 
a tail. So much then for the chief points in the inward 
and outward structure of the Hoolock and its congeners 
which help to fix its place in the Simian system. The 
hoolock, or at least some form of gibbon, is almost sure 
to be on view in the New Ape House at any given time. 
It will probably also appeal to another sense, that of 
hearing ; for this gibbon, like others, has a piercing 
though not unpleasant voice by means of which it utters 
a series of cries which have been variously rendered 
" Hooloo " and " Whoko." It prefers climbing to 
walking ; and when it does walk, which in nature 
appears to be practically never, it walks on two legs 
as a rule, and divaricates its big toe like unbooted 
man. Its extraordinarily long arms are used in this 
method of progression as balancing poles to aid in 
its waddling run. Placed on a tree the gibbon has no 
equal among the monkey tribe. It swings from 
bough to bough " with the unerring accuracy of a 
finished trapeze performer." It is an odd thing that 
this gibbon at any rate cannot swim, and naturally, 
therefore, never takes to the water on its own account. 
Monkeys, as a rule, can, and do voluntarily, set out to 
swim, crossing rivers in their marches, but the gibbon 
never ; and thus its range is often limited by great 
rivers such as the Irrawaddy. In this dislike of water 
it plainly resembles man, who is almost the only other 
creature that cannot swim by the light of nature, but 
requires teaching. The specimens of gibbon that 
have been on view at the Zoo are numerous, and are 
of many species. Quite recently there was on view 
an example of the very rare Hainan gibbon, an ape 
which frequents the island of Hainan, its easterly limit 
as a genus. Another rarity is the Siamang, a* gibbon 



To face p. 30] 


:n which two of the toes are united by a web ; of this 
gibbon there have been examples at the Zoo, and may 
be at the present moment. The hoolock is easily tamed, 
and is not as a rule very vicious. A female lately in- 
habiting the ape house showed a positive disHke to 
her own sex in the human species, but put up with the 
attentions of men. In India the animal appears to 
be often tamed, and will reside in a " compound " for 
years. Under these circumstances, Dr. Candler tells 
us, it seldom uses its voice, the need for this expression 
of opinion having departed with the rest of the herd. 
At the Zoo, on the other hand, the gibbon makes 
vocal the ape house, stimulated thereto, it may be 
surmised, by adjacent chimpanzees, and by the con- 
versation of the keeper and of visitors. 


This is a necessary abbreviation of the Hottentot 
word " T'chatikamma," which is really not pronounce- 
able by us, and is, moreover, a trifle difficult of correct 
spelling. The name refers to the baboon, Papio por- 
carius, which with twelve other species inhabits Africa. 
The chacma, and baboons generally, lie at the base of 
the Catarrhine series, or Old World apes. They have 
the cheek pouches, the downward looking and approxi- 
mated nostrils, and the thirty-two teeth, disposed as 
in man, and the non-prehensile tails of that division 
of apes. The baboons differ from other Catarrhines 
by their " very dog-like face," by the rather swollen 
muzzle, and by the large size of the posterior callosities. 
The males have also particularly large canine teeth. The 
tail is short. Our chacma, which is always to be seen 
at the Zoo, and has recently been placed outside instead 
of inside the stuffy monkey house, lives in the South of 
Africa in troops up to about icfo in number. This 



marauding band of apes is guarded by a few old males 
who form a rear guard. The chacma prefers rocky and 
stony localities, and is mainly a ground dweller ; but 
it can climb trees with skill. When running along this 
and all species of the lower apes tread on the palms of 
their hands, in this differing from the anthropoid apes 
who double up their hands, and progress upon the 
knuckles. The chacma can go at a good pace when 
put to it ; but it is a ferocious beast, and will stand 
up to a fight if attacked. Its chief enemy, who is the 
leopard, is sometimes severely mauled by an old fellow 
whose canine teeth and strength of muscle are hardly 
inferior to those of the aggressor. Whether the chacma 
throws stones or not, it is plain that many baboons do, 
and indeed in this they resemble some other monkeys 
who pelt the stranger with the local equivalent of the 
' 'arf a brick " of Aryan civilization. Ferocious though 
the elderly baboon may be, the young are more engaging 
in their disposition. The traveller le Vaillant indeed 
speaks well of the race. A pet chacma was of con- 
siderable use to him as a taster, such as were employed 
by mediaeval monarchs for their protection. When a 
dubious, but good-looking root was discovered, the 
chacma was encouraged to bite it ; and if it refused 
with " every symptom of disgust," the root was not 
entered on the menu. The chacma is most omnivorous ; 
it eats anything and everything, from the leaves of the 
prickly pear (especially, it is stated, the most prickly 
leaves !) up to insects. It will descend in its hordes upon 
orchards and fields, and has lately caught the trick, 
like the kea in New Zealand, of tearing open young 
lambs for the sake of the curdled milk in their stomachs. 
At least the baboon prefers the milk while the kea is 
more thorough and less specialized in his appetites. 

This baboon is diurnal, retiring to rest at night in 
the most respectable middle-class fashion, its slumbers 


To face p. 32] 


being guarded by sentinels which are posted round its 
retreats. The voice of the baboon, like the voices of 
other creatures, has been variously put into descriptive 
language. An eminent naturalist, clearly with an 
anti-Teutonic bias, compared it to the German word 
" Hoch." Various human actions have been ascribed 
to baboons. It seems probable that they were the 
origin of the story of the gorillas of Hanno, who referred 
to them as stone- throwing and living in throngs. When 
annoyed, or in an offensive mood, this baboon will open 
its mouth and as it were yawn at a neighbouring 
baboon ; it is suggested that this yawn is not so much 
ennui as a desire to prove to the other the length and 
sharpness of its canines. When still more angry the 
ape will smite the ground with its hand like an argu- 
mentative man with his perceptions and feelings 
heightened by alcohol. 

The sociable though ferocious and omnivorous 
mandrill, with its blue-ridged nose, is another member 
of the genus often represented at the Zoo. The most 
aberrant baboon is the Celebesian Cynopithecus niger, 
which is the only Eastern baboon ; it is black in hue, 
smallish in size (as compared with other baboons) and 
milder in disposition than are the large dog- faced apes 
of Africa. 


This ape, also known as the Barbary ape, Macacus 
inuus, is the only monkey that occurs now in Europe ; 
and, as is well known, it is confined to the rock of 
Gibraltar, which it haunts in very modest numbers. 
At one time so unfavourable were natural circumstances, 
or so inveterate the dislike of the inhabitants, that the 
numbers sank to so low an ebb as three individuals. 
But in 1893 the Governor of Gibraltar ascertained, and 

Z.G. 33 D 


communicated to the Zoological Society, the fact that 
no less than thirty of these tailless apes had been seen 
in one herd. The interest of the presence of these apes 
in Europe seems on the whole to have been allowed 
to overbalance the objections felt towards them on 
account of their depredations in gardens. But it is not 
quite certain how far the interest is a genuine one, 
that is to say, how far the Macacus inuus is a really 
indigenous inhabitant of African Spain, and whether 
it was not at one time deliberately introduced there 
and allowed to run wild. Be this as it may, the ape 
proved capable of establishing itself in the more'in- 
accessible parts of " the Rock." Macacus inuus belongs 
to a genus of monkeys, which is, like the baboon, a 
member of the Catarrhine subdivision. So that it is 
unnecessary to recapitulate the characters which, being 
a Catarrhine, it shares with the baboon. These monkeys 
are, with the exception of the species which we are here 
considering, entirely Asiatic in range ; and many 
members of the genus are familiar enough, for a large 
assortment is always on view in the monkey house 
and the outside monkey cages at the Zoo. The Gib- 
raltar monkey is also exceptional in that it has no tail, 
though in many of its allies for instance in the Tcheli 
monkey, that thick -furred inhabitant of the Yung Ling 
mountains of Northern China the tail is plainly on 
the way towards disappearance. On the other hand the 
common bonnet monkey and Rhesus monkey have 
longish tails. There are altogether some fifteen or 
sixteen species of macaques. The Barbary or Gibraltar 
ape has a certain historical interest in that it appears 
to have been the monkey dissected and studied by 
Galen the Greek physician. 



The macaques of Asia are represented in Africa by 
a kindred pair of genera of monkeys, known technically 
and respectively as Cercopithecus and Cercocebus, and in 
pseudo- vernacular, as Guenons and Mangabeys. They 
have always long tails, which, as has been noted, the 
macaques have not always ; and the mangabeys possess 
no laryngeal pouch capable of inflation such as is to be 
found in the macaques. The Cercopitheci are apt to 
run to bright spots of colour about the nose, and their 
fur generally is more gaily coloured than in the sombre 
macaques. The Diana monkey, Cercopithecus diana, 
is as good a type as any other of this extensive genus, 
which contains more than forty species. This monkey 
like some others of its congeners is bearded, white 
bearded, and there is a good deal of bright chestnut or 
orange colour about the body. It is like other guenons 
essentially tree dwelling and social, moving about in 
herds ; like most monkeys it is affable when young, 
but morose and treacherous when older. Like all 
others of the apes of the Old World its tail cannot grasp 
the branches which it traverses in the fashion so con- 
venient to most of the monkeys of America ; and that 
there should be this distinction is one of the remark- 
able facts about monkeys. Why a prehensile tail 
should have been developed in one half of the globe 
and not in the other in creatures which lead for all 
practical purposes identical lives, and are plainly most 
closely allied, is a mystery apparently insoluble. 
Evolution seems so to speak to have gone out of its 
way in denying this favour, which it has granted so 
widely and to so many and such varied types of animals, 
e.g. marsupials, lizards, snakes, etc., etc. Anyhow the 
long tail of the Diana monkey and its immediate allies 
is at best a balancing pole to secure a safe transit across 



a difficult part of a tree. The beard of the Diana monkey 
is not a mark of sex. It is an adornment of the female 
as well as of the male. It is stated that the monkey 
is apparently proud and careful of the well-being of this 
ornament. When drinking it will carefully hold it 
aside. This black-faced West African monkey is one 
of the species with which the Zoo is sure to be furnished. 
The visitor will also find many of the remaining forty 
or so species of Cercopitheciis. 


The Holy Apes, genus Semnopithecus, to one species 
of which, S. entellus, the name Hanuman is applied, 
are collectively known as Langurs, and inhabit the 
East, including the continent of India. They differ 
from the macaques of the same region and from the 
Cercocebi and Cercopitheci of Africa in having no cheek 
pouches in which to store superfluous food for sub- 
sequent mastication ; they always have a long tail, 
which the macaques, as has been remarked, do not 
always possess, and they have a large and complex 
stomach instead of the small and human-like stomach 
of the macaques and their allies of Africa. They attain 
also to a fair size, and a species of Rhinopithecus (hardly 
distinguished in reality from Semnopithecus , except by 
its nose) is the largest existing monkey after the great 
Anthropoids. The name Holy Ape implies the fact that 
many of these monkeys are reverenced by the native, 
and thus enjoy immunity from persecution ; this freedom 
from interference leads them to such lengths that the 
species which we are considering here more especially, 
the Indian Hanuman, visits and pilfers from shops 
with impunity and takes open exercise upon the roofs 
of houses. Like so many apes, the Hanuman is sociable, 
and moves about in clans, which occasionally meet other 



clans, and do fierce battle ; in these combats discipline and 
co-operation are apparent, an interesting foreshadowing 
of human ways. The Hanuman is exceedingly agile, 
and will bound from branch to branch, sometimes 
attaining to a leap of 20 to 30 feet measured horizontally, 
but rendered easier by a corresponding drop of 40 to 50 
feet. In spite of this astounding activity, F. Cuvier 
stigmatized the groups as " slow monkeys " ! The 
Hanuman shares with man a detestation and fear of the 
tiger ; a group or troupe of these monkeys will follow 
a tiger, making Simian remarks, and plainly indicating 
its position to the following hunters. In Siam it is held 
among various native traditions that the Semnopitheci 
are dangerous apes to the human kind ; that they play 
the part of vampires, and suck the blood of sleeping men 
in the forests. But there is no truth in this belief, the 
Semnopitheci being, as a matter of fact, vegetarian 
in the extreme even for a monkey. No insects and 
grubs of various kinds, no eggs and young birds enter 
their purely leafy, fruit, and grain diet. In captivity 
these animals are described as sedate and indolent till 
old age supervenes, which induces a more truculent 
demeanour. The nosed ape, Rhinopithecus, with a 
little upturned and pointed nose, not snout, has been 
referred to. There is another form known as Nasalis 
larvatus, which has also a longish nose quite human in 
sharpness and length . These forms are the only monkeys 
with anything comparable to the human nose. 


It is interesting to note that while the macaques of 
the East are represented in Africa by the closely allied 
Guenons and Mangabeys, the Semnopitheci of the East 
are also represented in Africa by a type of monkey 
closely allied to themselves but forming a distinct 



genus, viz. Colobus. This genus of monkeys has the 
same absence of cheek pouches, and the same sacculated 
stomach, but it has nearly lost the thumb, which gives 
it a certain likeness to some monkeys of the New World ; 
this likeness is a trifle increased by the rather broader 
nostrils shown in these monkeys, a broadness which 
suggests the Platyrrhine type rather than the Old 
World Catarrhine. Nevertheless, in all other particulars 
the Colobi or Guerezas do not approach the monkeys of 
America, but clearly range themselves alongside of the 
Oriental Holy Apes. It is an odd coincidence, in view 
of this now unquestioned affinity, that in Nigeria Colobus 
guereza is known to the natives by the name of "Maclam." 
The coincidence lies in the fact that this word means 
also a Mohammedan priest in the Haussa language. 
The idea of sanctity thus attaches itself to Colobus as 
well as to its near relative Semnopithecus. The black 
and white excessively long-haired skin of more than one 
species of Colobus is largely used for ornament, not 
merely in its native Africa by a warrior, but by peaceful 
persons in this country ; those long and coarse-haired 
black muffs are, or used to be, the product of the skin 
of this monkey. There is a legend to the effect that the 
Colobus, when, wounded, knowing full well the value of 
its skin, deliberately tears it with its teeth, so that it 
shall not come into the possession of its slayer. These 
apes, like the Holy Apes, go up high upon mountains in 
Africa ; and a species from Ruwenzori has the peculi- 
arity of having longer hair than any other species, a 
peculiarity which is possibly correlated with its Alpine 
existence. It is said that the bright black and white 
hues of Colobus do not invariably, as might be expected, 
render the monkey a conspicuous object, since hopping 
from branch to branch the contrast of colours is in 
harmony with dark tree trunks garlanded with white 
and grey lichens. It is not very often that members 



of this genus are to be found among the inhabitants 
of the monkey house. 


It is not necessary to go to the Zoological Gardens 
to make oneself acquainted with the capuchins ; for 
they are frequently, more frequently than any other 
kind of monkey, the companion of the peripatetic organ- 
grinder, and their mild, inquisitive faces and chirruping 
sounds must be well known to most persons. There is 
a great variety of these monkeys, which may be re- 
garded as quite the typical Platyrrhine monkeys. 
Their round face and but slightly projecting muzzle 
give them a human appearance, which is not attained 
to by the monkeys of the Old World so thoroughly. 
Their tails are not quite so perfectly prehensile as in 
many of the American monkeys in the Spider monkey, 
for instance. They are also docile and gentle, though 
it is doubtful whether this can be honestly considered 
to be any grounds for a likeness to man. The capu- 
chins are always abundantly on view at the Zoo, and 
as a rule several species are to be seen, though the 
limits of species in this genus of Platyrrhines is rather 
a matter for further study than for the present and 
dogmatic statement. Some eighteen have been allowed. 
The capuchins are determined insect eaters, as well as 
devourers of fruits ; they rob nests and eat up eggs 
and nestlings alike. At the Zoo they have an engaging 
way of holding out their hands for gifts, and this action 
is accompanied by a little plaintive whistling. They 
appear to be on good terms with each other as well as 
with the public. Tree-bred creatures as they are, the 
capuchins are naturally expert climbers and leapers ; 
huge distances are traversed by them in bounding from 
branch to branch. A jump downwards of fifty feet 



appears, according to the traveller Bates, to be easily 
accomplished by Cebus albifrons. Their agility can be 
readily studied at the Zoo, though the limited range for 
leaping and climbing renders it a little difficult to 
compare, and award the palm satisfactorily. 

The general characters of the Platyrrhine form of 
monkey can be as well studied in these monkeys as in 
any other. The widely separated forwardly and not 
downwardly directed nostrils, the prehensile tail, are 
all obvious ; but it will be hardly possible to note in 
the living monkey the thirty-six teeth, which are four 
in excess of the teeth of the monkeys of the Old World, 
including man. 


There are several kinds of spider monkey, perhaps 
ten. But they all agree in representing the Platyrrhine 
characters, or at least one of them, in a quite exaggerated 
fashion. The prehensile tail is eminently prehensile, 
its tip naked beneath to afford a securer clutch ; it is 
never at rest even when not in use as a " fifth hand " ; 
perpetually does it explore the objects lying above the 
monkey's back, like the restless tentacle of an anemone. 
The name spider monkey refers to the straddling and 
spider-like appearance presented when one of these 
monkeys is grasping various objects with hands, feet, 
and tail widely divaricated and radiating from the 
small body in the centre. The spider monkeys of the 
New World suggest the gibbons of the Old. In many 
monkeys the thumb has become somewhat rudimentary ; 
in A teles, as the spider money genus is termed, it has 
often disappeared. But the reason for this, or at least 
a reasonableness in the fact, is evidenced when it is 
considered that the hand of these and many monkeys is 
of the nature of a hook to grasp temporarily a branch 



and to allow of a ready loosening of the grip ; an oppos- 
able thumb does not aid in this manoeuvre. The 
Coaitas, as the native American name of the monkeys 
runs, are peaceful in disposition, but eminently thievish 
in habit, and therefore less suitable as pets than 
might be presumed from the great numbers that are 
kept as pets in Central America. On the other hand, 
there is at least one spider monkey which has been 
described as very fierce. The spider monkey, or at 
least a spider monkey, is roasted and eaten ; as it 
presents, when dressed for the table, a horrible resem- 
blance to a black baby, it is usual to lessen this likeness 
by cutting off the head and hands. The flavour of the 
flesh is beefy, not veal-like. The hint of cannibalism 
involved in dining off monkey is tempered by the fact 
that the creatures are very largely, but not absolutely, 
vegetarian in habit. Von Humboldt suggested that can- 
nibalism may have commenced in an evolutionary way 
with this " simiophagy," or at least that it may have 
contributed to lessen the initial shock which would be 
caused by serving up man as a piece de resistance at a 
banquet. Probably, however, cannibalism is not a 
single phenomenon ; there are, we are inclined to think, 
two kinds ; the one a religious ceremony, the other 
purely gastronomic. 


The howling monkeys are Platyrrhine, and thus 
necessarily South American monkeys which have been 
placed in the genus Mycetes, or, as it is sometimes 
called, Alouatta, a barbarous word, which is, however, 
older than the more correct .My cetes. They are called 
howlers not merely because it is their name, as in so 
many creatures with non-descriptive appellations, but 
because they do howl and awake the echoes of American 



forests by night. So far- carry ing is the howl, that the 
late Mr. Salvin found, by calculating the time that it 
took him to traverse a patch of forest from where the 
note first broke upon his ears to the base of the tree 
whereon the Mycetes howled, i.e. one hour, that the 
voice must have travelled about two miles. The 
howling is largely assisted by the modification of the 
throat bone, the hyoid of anatomists, into a deep cup 
which is a resonator ; in other characters the howler 
is quite a typical Platyrrhine ; its distinctive marks are 
that it has a naked face and usually a beard and a 
well developed thumb. The beard and face produce a 
repulsive look, and for some reason or other, when a 
beast is ill-looking, which is not infrequent, naturalists 
often dwell in an almost malignant way upon its ugli- 
ness. The howler justifies the uncomeliness of its 
features by a bad and sinful disposition, and, further- 
more, by a low intelligence which is stereotyped in the 
simple and not complexly folded brain. The howling 
seems to be a means of intimidation ; and it is a moot 
point whether like cats they howl in concert, or whether 
it is merely a big male who gives vent in this way to 
defiance of neighbouring males. In any case, those who 
have heard it compare the note to the tempest howling 
through rocky caverns, and in this case justly add that 
" it is a noise so unearthly that, heard unexpectedly for 
the first time, it would fill the mind with the most 
melancholy and fearful foreboding." The American 
forest is apt to harbour or to produce such gloomy 
noises. There is, however, another and a brighter side 
to the howler ; it appears to be good for food above 
all monkeys. 




The Lemurs : Sub-order Lemuroidea 

THESE nocturnal creatures, which have got their 
name from that way of life, stand unquestion- 
ably at a lower level than the apes, whose near relations 
they nevertheless must be regarded as being. Among 
themselves they are somewhat more diverse of habit 
than the monkeys, and show in consequence rather 
more differences of structure and appearance. The 
rodent-like Chiromys would hardly be referred to the 
same group of creatures as the tiny little " Smith's 
dwarf lemur " (Microcebus smithi] or the ambling and 
quadrupedal black and white ruffed lemur (Lemur 
varius), by any one not conversant with anatomy, and 
without the power of making just inferences as to affinity. 
All lemurs, however, have hand-like feet with an oppos- 
able great toe exactly comparable to the thumb of the 

The most remarkable fact about the lemurs is in 
reality their extraordinary geographical distribution 
in the world. The vast majority of them are absolutely 
confined to the great island of Madagascar, where they 
form the most important element in the vertebrate 
fauna. A few live in Africa, and still fewer in the east 
of Asia. No kind of lemur is common to any two of 
these three tracts of country which they inhabit. At 



the Zoo a good many species are as a rule to be seen. 
The true lemurs are commonly found represented by 
several species, such as the black lemur (Lemur macaco), 
and the crowned lemur, which mainly differ from each 
other in colour. The African galagos, with long and 
naked ears and apparently a keener sense of hearing than 
the other forms, are generally to be seen. Some of the 
smaller Madagascar species, such as Coquerel's lemur 
(Chirogaleus coquerali) and Smith's dwarf lemur, are 
often on view, while the West African potto (Perodicticus 
potto), tailless and very different in general appearance 
from its Madagascar kindred, is an animal which may be 
almost counted upon as an exhibit. So too the slow 
loris (Nycticelus tardigradus) and the other loris of the 
East, Loris gracilis. The singular Malayan Tarsius, a 
small form with large ears, a frail body, and huge staring 
eyes, has never been acquired by the Society. It is 
eminently a desideratum. 


This woolly- furred little lemur is for us the type of 
a sub-family of the lemurs which includes also the other 
loris of the East and the potto and the angwantibo of 
Africa. Like its allies, the slow loris is almost tailless, 
it has large, staring eyes, the index finger, " first " 
finger, as it is often called, is small a stage on the way 
to its disappearance, which has occurred in the pottos. 
It is a small creature not much over a foot in length. 
Its home is in the East, to wit, Assam, Malaya, Siam to 
the Philippines in the extreme East. It is naturally 
arboreal, and, as its large and soft-looking eyes denote, 
nocturnal in habit. During the day it sleeps rolled into 
a ball, the head being bowed between the legs. In spite 
of the mildness of its eye, the little loris is not to be 
handled with impunity ; its sharp teeth can leave a 



mark. Coupled with this habit of biting is a partly 
carnivorous diet. The loris will eat almost anything in 
the way of vegetables, and it is also singularly adroit 
in catching birds. A mixed diet occurs, it will be 
observed, among groups of animals which have some 
claims to be considered archaic ; thus, the venerable 
pig tribe is omnivorous. So too the Artoid carnivora, 
which are among the more ancient types di living bears, 
are mixed eaters. The slow loris has many vernacular 
names in the east ; among them are " Bashful Cat," 
" Bashful Monkey," " Wind Monkey." These names 
have all a meaning ; the first two, of course, are plainly 
to be referred to the slow and nocturnal habits of the 
little lemur. The last may be in allusion to its whistling 
note ; but perhaps it has been given to it on account 
of the belief among the Chinese sailors that its voice 
presages wind. Much other superstition has gathered 
round this certainly rather weird-looking little Primate. 
Captain Flower has discovered that a general view is 
held in Siam that if a man commits a crime which he 
did not premeditate, some one has " unbeknownst " 
buried a piece of loris under his threshold. The amount 
of legend which envelops wild animals seems to be in 
some proportion to the singularity of their physiognomy. 
Thus, the singular Madagascar lemur, the Chiromys, 
with its eager eyes and long thin middle finger, is held to 
presage good fortune, if it brings a traveller in the forest 
a pillow and places it under his head. The story re- 
minds one a little of the stone lion who wags its tail 
when it hears the clock strike twelve. The Nycticebus 
tardigradus carries its young one wrapped round its 
body like some other lemurs. It remains there, as do 
the young kangaroos in the pouch, until of large size. 
One wonders whether this habit may not be indeed a 
reminiscence of the earlier presence of a pouch in some 
ancient lemur. 



English vernacular names are not as a rule particu- 
larly full of accurate meaning, for in many cases they 
are mere translations of a scientific name of Greek 
origin which may have a dim applicability in that 
tongue to some one, and that not always a striking, 
peculiarity of the animal so named, but which are apt 
to lose that faint significance when translated. The 
lemurs which form the subject of the present article 
are known to zoologists as Hapalemur, and there are 
two species, viz. H. simus and H. griseus, both of which 
are confined to Madagascar. This " simple lemur " is 
not, however, to be altogether trusted to keep up its 
alleged gentleness of disposition. It is furnished, as 
are other lemurs, with a row of closely set projecting 
serrated and sharp teeth in the front of the lower jaw, 
a marked lemurian characteristic, which could give a 
respectable nip to any one entrusting an enquiring fore- 
finger to it. This little grey- coloured animal is nearly 
always represented at the Zoo ; at any rate, it is almost 
certain that the commoner species, H. griseus, will be 
found in one of the side cages of the monkey house. 
Not so frequently, however, the larger broad-nosed 
form. This, like other lemurs, has acquired its general 
name of lemur from its quiet and nocturnal, and, there- 
fore, somewhat ghostly, habits. Not that it is alto- 
gether silent ; indeed, H . simus is said by Mr. Shaw to 
possess at least two modes of utterance which may 
correspond to diverse feelings. It may quack like a 
duck or scream. It is vegetarian and insectivorous, 
and a constant if not a greedy feeder. The lemurs in 
general form a race which has its present headquarters 
in Madagascar, though a few forms are found in Africa 
and even in the East. But in the past epochs of the 
world's history lemurs were European and American 


also. They are a group which is somewhat inter- 
mediate between the more highly organized monkeys 
and the Insectivora (e.g. shrews, hedgehogs, etc.). 
With grasping hands and feet suitable for climbing and 
handling their food, is combined a crafty and long- 
snouted face, such as that of a fruit bat. The brain, 
that organ by which the higher Primates can be distin- 
guished from the lower, is on a level with animals 
lying lower in the scale, and is not like that of monkeys. 
The Germans appropriately enough signalize this half- 
way character of the lemurs by terming them " half- 
affen " ; and Dr. Forsyth Major has lately found the 
fossil remains of an animal which he thinks still more 
successfully bridges over the rather narrow gulf separat- 
ing lemurs from monkeys. So much then for the 
relationships of our Hapalemur and of course other 
lemurs. Extreme agility is one of the most conspicuous 
qualifications of this lemur, and of those which are 
most nearly allied to it. Its energy of muscular move- 
ments contrasts greatly with that of the more torpid 
lemurs of West Africa, and of the eastern hemisphere. 
This can be readily witnessed in the cages at the Zoo. 
This rapidity of movement will render it a little diffi- 
cult to inspect a curious peculiarity of Hapalemur, 
almost unique, so far as is known, in the lemur tribe. 
If the animal can be induced to lend itself to scientific 
observation, the visitor may note upon the wrist of the 
male a patch of black spiny structures, which are 
columnar and corn-like outgrowths of hardened skin. 
In the lady Hapalemur griseus these outgrowths are not 
present, but in the same place is a patch of black and 
naked skin. Precisely the same kind of structure is to 
be found on the foot, not on the hand, of an African 
lemur not very closely allied to this, and which is known 
as Galago garnetti. What the use of these roughened 
patches of skin may be is not known at present ; obser- 



vation will doubtless settle the point. It has been 
suggested that they are of the nature of " climbing 
irons," and aid the lemur in barking up a tree ; but 
with an excellent and delicately fashioned hand such 
adjuncts appear to be unnecessary. Besides, why 
should the structure be different in the two sexes, if it 
be of this or an analogous direct use. More probably 
it is one of those mysterious marks of sex which often 
have no ascertained uses, such as the moustaches of the 
male man and the different colours of the plumage in 
many birds. 


Horns and hoofs are the distinguishing feature of this 
large order of mammals ; they are, furthermore, 
graminivorous, or, at least, vegetarian in habit, and, 
as a rule, walk upon the tips of the toes. But an inspec- 
tion of the various Ungulates contained in the menagerie 
in London will show that some of these characters do 
not absolutely define every member of the order. The 
Hyrax, for example, walks firmly upon the sole of its 
foot, and has no horns. The elephant has no horns. 
These two animals are, in fact, representatives of 
Ungulates of a more primitive structure than the rest. 
The very earliest known members of the order, now 
extinct, had not acquired the more typical ungulate 
characteristics of their descendants of to-day. In many 
respects they showed symptoms of fading into other 
orders of mammals, particularly the Creodonta, the 
ancestors of the Carnivora of the present day. It 
remains, however, the fact that, though some Ungulates 
have not got horns, the existence of horns is absolutely 
confined to this order. In zoological classification even 
the veriest beginner soon learns that Nature draws no 
hard and fast lines, and that when an attempt to make 



nice distinction is indulged in, that attempt is often 
contemptuously refuted by Nature. The most that 
can be done is to estimate all the characters that can 
be ascertained, and then a given animal can be referred 
to its place by a series of comparisons. For example, 
the little Kanchil, which we describe later, is an Ungu- 
late, although it possesses no horns, and has strong 
canine teeth, which are often wanting in the group. 
We arrive at this conclusion by the consideration of 
the sum total of its anatomical structure. 

We find, for example, that the feet are arranged on 
the plan of those of other horned and canine-toothless 
Artiodactyle Ungulates, while the stomach has nearly 
the complexity of that of those animals. The brain 
and other organs point in the same direction ; and so, 
in spite of lack of horns and strong development of 
canine teeth, we put the Kanchil near to the deer and 
their allies. This, however, is a simple instance which 
admits of no question. It is quite otherwise with the 
whales and dolphins ; no one has yet been able to put 
before the zoological world convincing arguments as 
to the place which the aquatic mammals occupy in the 
system. In no structural feature is there irrefragable 
evidence of the whale's place in Nature, though some 
would put them near the order which we are now con- 

Besides the possession of horns and hoofs and the 
usual disappearance or rudimentary condition of the 
canines, it will be noted that the Ungulata are practi- 
cally entirely vegetable-feeding animals. It is true 
that in certain northern regions cattle are fed, when 
fodder is scarce, upon dried fish, and that there are a 
few other instances of the development of a carnivorous 
appetite in the group. But, on the whole, the Ungulata 
are a more purely vegetarian group than is any other of 
existing mammals. Related to this mode of feeding, 

Z.G. 49 E 


we find that the molar teeth, or cheek teeth, as they are 
sometimes termed, have flattened crowns suitable for 
triturating vegetable food ; this contrasts with the 
sharp -pointed molars of many carnivora, which are 
equally fitted for rending flesh. These molars get 
during the life of their possessor much worn down, and 
thus present in course of time a flatter surface than 
those of carnivorous creatures, a character which the 
Ungulates share with the nearly equally graminivorous 

A general glance at the various kinds of oxen, sheep, 
deer, antelopes and camels exhibited at the Zoo will 
impress, and rightly impress, upon the visitor two other 
features in which the Ungulates differ from other 
mammalian groups that inhabit the land. The first is 
size : Ungulates run large, while Carnivora, Rodents, 
Insectivores, Marsupials, and Edentates do not. There 
are small Ungulates, like the Kanchil, and some tiny 
antelopes not bigger than a small dog ; but, on the 
whole, the group is one which contains large-sized 
creatures. Secondly, Ungulates are eminently creatures 
who use their legs as supports as well as for running 
purposes. When at rest a lion lies down ; a horse lies 
down but seldom, and the statement is generally true 
of the whole series of Ungulates. Sheep and goats 
climb rocks, and there are one of two kinds of Hyrax 
(called on this very account Dendrohyrax) which live in 
trees ; but, as a rule, Ungulates are plain living creatures 
of considerable swiftness. On the whole, there is in 
this group of mammals a tendency to a reduction or 
even a practical loss of the hair and fur. Animals 
belonging to such diverse groups of Ungulates as the 
rhinoceros, the elephant, the hippopotamus and the 
babyrussa, have but a scanty growth of hair ; and even 
in the deer and antelopes the hairy covering is by no 
means so dense as is the fur of a cat or a rabbit. The 



thick skin of many of them led to the old name of 
Pachydermata for this group, which, however, then 
embraced some other forms. In short, if an animal is 
large, if its hair be coarse and not dense, if it walk upon 
its toes and not on the flat of the foot, if its grinding 
teeth be flattened on the grinding surface, if its canines 
are absent or insignificant, and if it possess horns, it is 
certain to be an Ungulate. The Ungulates are a large 
group, large in numbers, that is to say, as well as in size 
of individuals. They are found all over the world, 
with only the exceptions of Australia and some of the 
adjacent islands, and New Zealand. Tropical Africa 
may perhaps be regarded as their headquarters, for 
here abound antelopes of many species (but not a single 
deer), oxen, rhinoceros, elephant, hippopotamus, many 
pigs, and the hyraxes. Zebras are found here, and 
here only, and the hippopotamus is nowadays restricted 
to that continent. Next in variety of kinds come certain 
parts of Asia, where tapirs, elephants, rhinoceroses, deer, 
oxen, and antelopes are met with. 

The several names used imply a possibility of a sub- 
division of the Ungulata into smaller groups ; and this 
can be done by easily recognizable, and even quite 
external, characters. To these external characters 
correspond certain marked differences in the structure 
of the bones, of the muscles, and of the various organs 
of the body, particularly the brain, stomach, and some 
other parts of the alimentary tract. We may in the 
first place cut off from the main Ungulate body the 
hyrax and the elephant, each of which types forms a 
very distinct group of its own. The hyrax contrasts 
with all other existing Ungulates by the following 
assemblage of characters. It is of small size, with a 
short tail and rather dense fur. It is plantigrade, i.e. 
it walks upon the soles of the feet ; the hoofs are not so 
markedly hoofs as in the horses and oxen, etc., but more 



like flattened nails. It can climb both rocks and trees 
(that is, various species can), and lives in burrows, which 
Ungulates generally do not. It has very strong and 
chisel- like incisor teeth in the front of each jaw, which 
are by no means unlike those so characteristic of rodents. 
The molar teeth, however, are more like those of the 
rhinoceros. The elephants form another and an equally 
distinct group. Their characters can be readily verified 
with a little trouble. The massive form and straight 
limbs, not bent at the knee or elsewhere, and the scanty 
hair distinguish them from others ; but it must be 
borne in mind that the extinct mammoth was copiously 
clad with hair, and so may have been other extinct 
forms, with whose bones and teeth we are alone 
acquainted. The trunk is a third feature, of which, 
however, there are the beginnings in the tapir. The 
gait is partly plantigrade, and the bones show that the 
fingers and toes are the unreduced number of five to 
each limb. The enormous tusks, which are in reality 
an exaggeration of the large rodent incisors, mark out 
the elephants, and the fact that only one or two of the 
particularly large molar teeth come into use at one 
time in each jaw is another feature of the living but not 
of all the extinct elephants. 

The remaining Ungulates fall readily into two groups, 
the Artiodactyles and the Perissodactyles, names which 
we owe to the late Sir Richard Owen, which may be 
fairly grouped together in contrast to either and to both 
of the two groups which we have already characterized. 
In these Ungulata vera, as they have been termed, we 
have the furthest development of Ungulate characters. 
The gait is purely digitigrade, and in connexion with 
this is a lengthening of some of the bones of the feet 
and hands. It is in this section only that horns are 
developed, while the hoofs are more perfect as hoofs. 
The fingers and toes are always reduced from the 



original five, and only one is left in the horse and its 
allies, and two in the oxen and deer that is, in each 
case one or two perfect toes ; for there are vestiges of 
two others in each case, with certain exceptions, where 
"perierunt etiam ruince, the very rudiments are tiny." 
The Perissodactyles embrace the horses, rhinoceroses, 
and tapirs, which are sufficiently dealt with in the pages 
which follow. The Artiodactyles are first of all divisible 
into two main groups, the Bunodontia and the Seleno- 
dontia. These names are derived from the characters 
of the molar teeth, which are tubercular in the one 
upon their grinding surfaces, and with a half -moon -like 
pattern in the other. The Bunodonts are the pigs and 
the hippopotamus ; the Selenodontia are again divisible 
into four groups, viz. Tragulidae (see kanchil), 
Giraffidae (see giraffe), Camelidae (see lama), and the 
Pecora. The Pecora itself consists of the hollow-horned 
ruminants (see urus) and the solid -horned ruminants (see 
elk). The former embraces the antelopes, goats, sheep, 
and oxen, the latter the deer. The further character- 
istics of these various types is given under the descrip- 
tion of those selected for comment. 


This swarthy beast has undoubtedly a pig-like aspect. 
This is induced by its rotund form, its short legs with 
their three or four toes, the curtailment of the tail, and 
perhaps the rather small eyes. These appearances, 
however, are quite deceptive ; the nearest living allies 
of the tapir are the horse and the rhinoceros. With 
these the tapir forms a subdivision of the Ungulate 
animals known as the Perissodactyla, characterized, as 
far as external characters go, mainly by the fact that 
among the fingers and toes one median finger or toe is 
predominant and occupies the median axis of the limb, 



the others being subsidiary and arranged on either side 
of it. On the other hand, in the cow tribe, or Artio- 
dactyle, there are two fingers or toes symmetrical with 
regard to each other, and lying on either side of the 
median axis, which passes between them. Different 
though the outward form of the tapir is to both its 
living relations, a survey of extinct types of all kinds 
shows a group or groups in the past with nebulous out- 
lines fading away at the edges into both horse-like 
creature and unmistakable tapirs. The mountain cow, 
as this animal by another misnomer is sometimes 
termed, is called, after Linnaeus, Tapirus terrestris. 
The specific name terrestris had, but has not, a point. 
Linnaeus placed the tapir with the hippopotamus, and 
distinguished one as " amphibius " from the other as 
" terrestris," names signifying their varied modes of 
life. As a matter of fact, the tapir is quite at home 
in the water, and prefers marshy surroundings. De 
Buff on terms him with some reason " a dull and gloomy 
animal who never stirs out but in the night." The 
French naturalist also comments, apropos of the tapir, 
upon the poverty-stricken appearance of the fauna of 
South America, as compared with Asia and Africa. It 
is true now as it was when Buff on wrote, that no very 
large beasts haunt the forests or plains of the South 
American continent, but we no longer believe that this 
is due to " something in the air." At the Zoo the 
tapir is' a constant resident. Its mobile and even 
flexible proboscis cannot really be compared with that 
of the elephant, to which it apparently bears an exact 
resemblance, differentiated only by its smaller size. 
But the Roman-nosed " Shire " horse has a trace of a 
similar proboscis in its fleshy and arched nose, which 
overhangs more than in the Arab race. The proboscis, 
in fact, is not a mark of likeness to the elephant, between 
which and the tapir there is no relationship other than 



that implied by the fact that both belong to the great 
order of Ungulata.- The tapir's " lights," in fact, tell 
the same story as its bones. There is no ruminating 
stomach, as in the Artiodactyle type, but instead a huge 
caecum like that of the horse and rhinoceros. 

The dark hues of the American tapirs (there are about 
four to five known species in Central and South America) 
suit the dim forests in which they move. And 
accordingly, one might think that the Old World tapir, 
with its belly-band of white, would be on that very 
account a conspicuous creature to marauding tigers. 
This is, according to Mr. H. N. Ridley, not at all the 
case. The innocuous tapir, with no means of defence 
save its heels, and they for flight, trusts to its likeness 
to grey and scattered boulders, frequent along the 
streams of the Malay peninsula, which it haunts. 
" When lying down in the day," observes Mr. Ridley, 
" it exactly resembles a grey boulder." The blackness 
of the tapir is a sign of maturity. The young animal, 
as is so often the case among mammals (e.g. the deer, 
the young of the puma, etc.) are flecked and striped 
with white. Those who have observed young tapirs 
wild, say that this spotting is an excellent preventative 
of slaughter by carnivorous beasts. When quietly 
lying down, the spots and stripes harmonize with 
patches and dots of sunlight piercing the trees and 
bushes of the forest lands which they prefer, and 
readily deceive even the trained eye of the naturalist 
or hunter. But of all such cases of supposed protection 
by likeness to environment, one is compelled to suggest 
that they depend for their probability, not only upon 
tr e eye of man, who is at most only a recent foe of the 
animal world, but of other creatures who have hunted 
tapirs long before man was born into the world. In 
this case, how is it that the sense of smell, which is 
admittedly much keener among the majority of both 



hunted and hunting beasts, is negatived by the sense 
of sight ? 


This great Ungulate shows all the typical character- 
istics of the Perissodactyla which have been already and 
will be referred to. For some reason or other probably 
blackness and large size it is confounded in the popular 
mind with its very distant relative, the hippopotamus. 
It certainly occurs in Africa ; but is purely terrestrial, 
or, at most, marsh-frequenting. The rhinoceros is the 
only living Perissodactyle Ungulate which has horns 
on the forehead or anywhere. These horns, however, 
are not strictly comparable to those of goats and sheep, 
of deer and antelopes. They are to be looked upon as 
simply masses of agglutinated hairs which are borne 
upon a roughened, at most slightly raised, area of bone. 
The African rhinos have two of the horns ; some of the 
Asiatic forms have also two, the others have but one. 
Next to the presence of horns, the most salient charac- 
ters of all rhinoceroses is their thick and often folded 
skin, covered as a rule with but scanty hair. It is truly 
a " Pachyderm," and one does not wonder that Albert 
Diirer, in his celebrated drawing of the Indian form 
(Rh. indicus) represented it as armour-plated with 
indriven bolts. The strength of the rhinoceros is 
attested by the thick bars which hedge it in its cage at 
the Zoo, and its danger to human beings by the iron 
" refuges " for the keepers to escape into if hard pressed. 
But it seems doubtful whether the rhinoceros is so fierce 
as it has been asserted to be. It is true that the poet, 
ingeniously rhyming, has said 

If ever you meet a rhinoceros 
Do not linger but flee 
Up the very next tree : 
He's a match for the gods ; he can toss Eros. 



But, on the other, a naturalist in Africa related that a 
toy terrier put a rhinoceros to ignominious flight by its 
barks. The probable explanation is that the rhinoceros, 
when once set going, continues on in the same straight 
line, in obedience to the Newtonian law ; under these 
circumstances, as with Stephenson's locomotive and the 
hypothetical cow, it is so much the worse for anybody 
who happens to come in its way. It is no more ferocious, 
in fact, than a cataract or an express train. It is true 
that " Theodore," an African rhinoceros lately on view 
at the Zoo, but now no more, was irritable. But we 
cannot argue from a captive to a freely roaming beast. 
Legend has encrusted the rhinoceros as thickly as 
Nature has. Its horns make beautiful translucent 
drinking vessels, which so lately as the year 1762 were 
reputed as test of poison. " When wine is poured 
therein," wrote Dr. Brookes in that year, " it will rise, 
ferment, and seem to boil ; but when mixed with poison 
it cleaves in two, which experiment has been seen by 
thousands of people." Our second best diarist, John 
Evelyn, saw during his travels in Italy a fountain 
which was kept sweet and free from poison by a 
rhinoceros horn. It is held, too, that the branch cast 
into the waters of Marah was a horn brought with him 
by Moses from Egypt. As for unicorn legends, they are 
manifold. But it always seems to us that the rhinoceros 
was not the prototype of the " lufar unicorne." That 
fabulous beast, as every one knows, is compounded, at 
least in heraldry, of the body of a horse well maned and 
of the horn of a narwhal. To get that out of a pon- 
derous rhinoceros is difficult even for the imaginative 
natural history of the ancients. No rhinoceros could 
slumber upon a maiden's breast, unless indeed the 
maiden were of the Barnum and Bailey kind. Much 
more likely is it that the unicorn is a small and graceful 
gazelle with, as rarely but occasionally happens as a 



freak, but one straight horn. The rhinoceros has been 
seen in Europe and even in England long before the 
opening of the Zoological Society's gardens. The 
animal which was sketched by Albert Diirer was sent 
over in the year 1313 to the King of Portugal. It 
proved so intractable, or the Portuguese king appreci- 
ated it so little, that he sent it as a present to the Pope ! 
The head of the Church, however, was relieved from the 
anxiety attendant on the housing of so " fearful a 
wildfowl " by the actions of the rhinoceros itself, who, 
"in an access of fury sunk the vessel on its passage." 
In the year 1684 old John Evelyn " went with Sir 
William Godolphin to see the rhinoceros or unicorn, 
being the first, I suppose, that was ever brought to 
England. She belonged to some East India merchants, 
and was sold (as I remember) for above 2,000." The 
price of rhinoceroses did not diminish very greatly 
after the expiration of a century and a half. For the 
first specimen acquired by the Zoological Society, in 
1834, cos t no I GSS tnan I >5- Still later, in 1875, even 
more was given for a rhinoceros. The original specimen 
of a reputed new species, not now allowed as a species, 
viz., Rh. lasiotis, cost no less than 1,250. This animal 
from Assam was sent for specially, and only died the 
other day. Its remains repose in the Natural History 
Museum. The Gardens are never without more than 
one rhinoceros nowadays. A large Indian rhinoceros 
(Rh. indicus) was once the object of an interesting 
experiment in medicine. It appeared to suffer from 
simply a stomach-ache. The late Mr. Bartlett, daringly 
experimentalizing, offered it eighty drops of croton oil 
on a bun. The beast swallowed the dose, enough to 
kill ever so many men, and recovered. 



This splendid zebra, the very culmination of zebras, 
is one of the most striking exhibits in the Regent's Park. 
It is, too, one of the chief novelties which recent events 
have enabled the society to add to their menagerie. So 
lately as 1899 the first two examples were procured 
through her late Majesty Queen Victoria, who received 
them as a gift from the Emperor Menelik of Abyssinia. 
With her customary liberality, the Queen placed these 
horses in the Zoological Gardens for exhibition to the 
public. The zebra had, however, been known to us 
before that date. In 1882 the first specimen now in 
Europe was sent by the same Emperor to M. Grevy, late 
President of the French Republic, and the beast was 
described as new to science by the late Alphonse Milne- 
Edwards. It seems, however, that the fellow explorer 
with Speke, Colonel Grant, had seen and preserved an 
example of the same zebra so long ago as 1860 ; but he 
only described it later, in fact not until 1883. So 
much for the history of this the king of zebras. Equus 
grevyi can be readily distinguished from the other 
zebras, all of which, as every one knows, are purely 
African in their range, by a number of salient characters. 
It is a larger beast, and especially has a large head and 
ears, the latter being particularly hairy. The black and 
white bands are very definitely black and white as 
the variety of Burchell's zebra known as Equus Chap- 
manni. In other zebras there is a tendency to dulness 
in the black, which occasionally is even brown. The 
closeness of the stripes and their arrangement may be 
seen to differ from the mountain zebra, which perhaps 
comes nearest in striping. But this can be seen in a 
shorter time than it will take to write a description. 
It is probable, in fact, that Grevy's zebra is much more 
distinct from all other zebras, including the quagga, 



than any of these latter are from each other. The 
Somali name of this zebra is Fer'o. Captain Swayne 
found them in that part of Africa in droves of six. He 
further observed that the young animals were beset 
with a closer coat of hairs than their parents, and that 
the black of their skins was dingy and brownish. Like 
all zebras and this is the greatest source of annoyance 
to the sportsman, for the animals will mob you and 
thus warn off other game they are curious and in- 
quisitive, even impertinent in their attentions. They 
bray " like an Abyssinian mule," but they are not to be 
despised from a gastronomic point of view. This latter 
character did not impress Colonel Grant so favourably, 
for he found in their flesh a very horsey taste. 


Of wild asses there are certainly two species, if not 
more. In Asia we have the onager, and in Africa the 
parent of our donkey, the Nubian ass, Equus asinus, 
or, apparently better, E. africanus. In the Asiatic ass 
there is merely a long dorsal stripe running down the 
length of the back ; in the African ass, besides this 
stripe, a cross bar on the shoulders in legend, the 
marks of the Saviour. These two forms, which are 
really quite distinct from each other in correspondence 
to the continents which they people, are subdivisible 
into other races which may or may not have the value 
and rank of " species." In Asia we have first of all the 
hemippe (E. hemippus) of Syria, and the thick-coated 
kiang (E. hemionus) of Thibet, furred to stand the 
wintry climate of its mountainous home. In Africa 
Somaliland nourishes an ass known as the Equus 
somalicus, with stripes upon the legs, but no stripe upon 
the shoulder on each side. We have, in fact, in the 
zebras and donkeys a series of stages between plain 


To face p. 60] 



coloration and elaborate striping. The quagga, with 
its striped foreparts and plain hindparts, is a kind of 
terrestrial mermaid compounded of the forequarters of 

a Burchell's zebra, with the hindquarters of a plain 
donkey. It is intermediate between the two races, and 
the danger of lingering at a halfway house is evidenced 



by the fact that it is now, and has been since at latest 
the year 1878, extinct. Before considering the onager, 
it will be useful to enquire how far asses are to be dis- 
tinguished from horses. To differentiate the domestic 
horse from its brother in harness is easy for the most 
un-zoological of observers. But Prjewalski's wild 
" horse," and the Celtic pony, land us in difficulties. 
The wild horse has a donkey's tail for part of the year 
and the typical horse's tail haired up to the root for the 
rest of the season. The Celtic pony has the single pair 
of " chestnuts," only those of the fore limbs, which 
otherwise distinguish horses from asses ; for in the 
domestic horse and in Prjewalski's there are also chest- 
nuts on the hind limbs. Furthermore, we cannot regard 
striping as an exclusive possession of the donkey tribe, 
for traces of cross bars appear again and again in the 
most flagrantly domestic of horses, especially after 
crossing has had its influence. The onager is very 
generally, if not absolutely invariably, to be viewed at 
the Zoo, and a handsome beast it is. It is no use, as a 
rule, to satisfy oneself concerning the appearance of 
some rare beast by the observation of stuffed specimens 
only. A stuffed animal is, especially was in past days, 
apt to be as like its living descendants as the self- 
made man is to the Apollo of Belvidere or to the Faun 
of Praxiteles. 

Its hues are of the desert, and it shares them with the 
jerboa and the lion. It may be observed incidentally 
that popular notions of a desert, derived in all proba- 
bility from illustrated Bibles, of the kind that come out 
in sixpenny parts, would define it as a tract of particu- 
larly yellow sand with an oasis in the foreground and 
a clump of Arabs in the middle distance. Deserts are 
not all of this plan of coloration. Mr. Scott Elliot has 
figured an African " desert " which presents the appear- 
ance of a charming English woodland scene, not remark - 



able for sand and Arabs in the offing. In Central Asia, 
however, the desert is generally of the more popular 
character, and here it is that onagers frequent the stony 
ground and offer sport to the horseman. This sport is 
carried on, among other places, in the very appropriately 
named " Runn of Cutch," and it is said that the wild ass 
is not so fleet as legend would have it. In twenty-five 
miles the wild ass can be run down by an expert rider. 
It is not of much use economically when it is run down. 
This wild ass and its very near relative, the kiang, 
suffer from the same curiosity that marks the zebra. 
The fondness of the costermonger's donkey for thistles 
and its resolute voice need not move us to vulgar mirth ; 
we may, in fact, be as sentimental over the facts as 
Sterne. The two characters indicate in a most inter- 
esting way the past history of the domestic ass. Thistles 
are of the kind of plants which stony localities produce, 
arid and thick skinned, to preserve what little moisture 
is necessary to their existence. That the donkey pre- 
fers them now is surely a sign of former life in stony 
places. So, too, its dislike of water, and its habit of 
rolling in the dust. The voice is held to be a danger 
signal to its fellows. It always reminds us of the final 
notes in the roar of that animal whose skin the donkey 
once wore. 


To represent the pig tribe we shall select this animal, 
which is entirely African in habitat, and is to be divided 
into two distinct species of which the technical names 
are Phacechoerus aethiopicus and P. africanus (formerly 
known as P. A eliani] . The wart hog is with some justice 
described as a " superlatively ugly " animal. Its pe- 
culiarities of visage, to use a milder term, are mainly 
due to various excrescences upon the face, almost if not 
quite of the nature of horns. A pair of these in front of 



and below the eyes are especially large ; and their 
situation recalls the fable wherein Momus is made to 
criticize the bull made by Zeus on the grounds that the 
horns should have been placed below the eye so that it 
could see where to strike. The wart hog can, or, at 
. least, could ; for it uses its long and upcurved tusks 
for aggressive purposes. These tusks, like those of 
others of the pig tribe, notably the babyroussa, are 
perhaps to be looked upon as being originally of a 
pathological nature. Being found useful they were 
retained by Nature. Though the wart hog has these 
weapons ready to hand, it is not of particularly fierce 
nature ; and those at the Zoo have as a rule been placid 
and quite porcine creatures with a fondness for being 
scratched with the end of a walking stick. In Africa 
they go in herds to some extent, and live in the de- 
serted burrows and mounds made by the aard vark 
or Orycteropus. It is related that when leaving these 
burrows they turn a kind of somersault at the front 
door which is apt to be damaging to a bystander who 
is too close. It does not appear whether the wart hog 
evicts the peaceful Orycteropus, or is only an inhabiter 
of deserted houses. Like other pigs, the wart hog has, 
it can readily be observed, four toes on each of its fore 
legs, of which the larger two are in the middle and the 
smaller outside and not reaching the ground. Take 
away the outer, and nearly functionless, toes and the 
state of affairs characteristic of the deer, oxen and 
antelopes is arrived at. In fact the pigs are an ancient 
race, and this is one of the anatomical facts which 
shows it. On the fore limbs are wart-like structures 
caused by the habit of the animal of kneeling. It has 
been lately shown that these warts are not altogether 
produced during the lifetime of their possessor, in re- 
sponse to frequent kneeling, like the horny hand of 
the blacksmith ; but the young, before they have 


To face p. 64] 


had time to develop them properly, show unmistak- 
able traces of them. Now it cannot be doubted that 
we have to do here with a clear case of the inheritance 
of acquired characters. 

In South-East Africa the lengthy name of the wart 
hog is nothing less than Indhlovudawani. After this 
one may well reply to the general query of " What's in a 
name ? " with the answer, " A good deal." Though verna- 
cular names of beasts should be really vernacular and 
not pseudo- vernacular, like " the rude dog " for Canis 
rudis, there is a limit, and we propose to stick to wart 
hog in these pages. Representatives of the wart hogs 
have been exhibited in the Gardens fairly continuously 
since the year 1850 when the first example was received. 
Aelian's wart hog was apparently first shown in 1861, 
when a specimen was deposited by her late Majesty, 
which had been given to her by that rather celebrated 
potentate the King of Ashantee. It appears that 
the wart hog is not bad eating. The late Dr. Crisp 
dissected one that had died suddenly at the Zoo, and 
cut off a chop for private consumption. It is not sur- 
prising to hear that he " was werry much like pig." 
The doctor furthermore made the excellent suggestion 
on the strength of this banquet that a cross between 
the wart hog and the domestic pig might result in 
superior bacon, for the ribs of the Phacochoerus are 
especially thickly covered with meat. This and the 
other kinds of pigs possessed by the Zoological Society 
are housed in adjacent enclosures, so that their but 
slightly divergent characteristics can be readily com- 
pared by the visitor. The fat and depressed body of 
this pig contrasts with the leanish compressed body of 
the wild boar, the ancestor it is presumed of the bacon- 
producing porker. 

Z.G. 65 



Behemoth of the Book of Job is not, as most persons 
believe, the African hippopotamus in spite of the fact 
that the artist poet Blake so drew it. A recent author 
(the Rev. M. G. Watkins) has pointed out that Behemoth 
is clearly the same word as Mammoth, inasmuch 
as in the Arabic language " b " and " m " are in- 
terchangeable. Furthermore in the Book of Job 
" Behemoth " is said to " move his tail like a cedar," 
" he eateth grass as an ox," " he lieth in the covert of 
the reed and fens " and lastly, " he drinketh up a river." 
Now all these phrases of description plainly point to 
an elephant rather than to an hippopotamus, especially 
the last, which might at first sight refer to the river 
horse. For the copious draughts of an elephant are 
familiar to those who know the beast, while the aquatic 
hippopotamus is not actually seen to drink at all. 
Having settled what the hippopotamus is not, let us 
inquire what it is. Linnaeus, as we have already 
mentioned in dealing with the tapir, confused it with 
that animal, which which it has only the remotest 
relationship. The hippopotamus, in fact, belongs to 
the Artiodactyle section of the Ungulates, and is near 
to the pigs. The dwarf hippopotamus of Liberia even 
approaches in its habits to the pig tribe ; for it eschews 
the river and wanders about through the bush. The 
term river pig would thus be much more suitable than 
river horse, the name which is given to it both in Eng- 
lish and Greek. Its voice has, it is true, been compared 
to the " neigh " of a horse ; it appears to us much more 
like a gruff version of the sound made by the horse's 
poor relative. But this sound is only repeated once, a 
deep base " Hee-haw." The outward aspect of this 
huge " Pachyderm " is familiar even to those who 
have never seen the beast alive. The main points to 



be noticed about it, and which fix its place in the 
zoological system, are these. It is a great thick-skinned 
beast with but few hairs ; thickness of skin and few- 
ness of hairs are characters which are often found 
among the Ungulata, witness the elephant and the 
rhinoceros. On its bulky head the eyes, ears and 
nostrils are situate rather towards the top and at the 
same level more or less ; this is an advantage to the 
animal when floating in the water ; for it can breathe, 
hear and smell with the least possible exposure of body. 
There are four toes on each hand and foot, a point of 
likeness to its nearest allies the pig tribe. Its teeth 
are enormous and make good ivory. It has, moreover, 
a very good set of them, front teeth as well as back. 
The more typical Artiodactyles, the Ruminantia (e.g. 
deer, oxen, antelopes), have entirely lost their upper 
incisors, and mostly their canines. To reconcile the 
dangerous-looking teeth with a vegetarian existence 
requires faith in the observing powers of those who have 
studied the hippopotamus in a wild state ; but this 
faith may be safely reposed. The hippopotamus pro- 
duces at times, especially after just leaving the water, 
a remarkable secretion from the skin of a carmine 
character, which bears at least a superficial resemblance 
to the equally carmine secretion of the red kangaroo 
(Macropus nifiis). This fluid contains granules of 
the carmine-coloured pigment ; and it was first studied 
upon the original specimen of hippopotamus acquired 
by the Zoological Society in 1849. Its use .remains a 
mystery ; but it is believed to have suggested to the 
Egyptian priests their deception of the " bloody sweat." 
In the early natural history of the hippopotamus fact 
is mingled largely with fiction ; indeed, it might be more 
accurate to say that fiction is lightly salted with fact. 
Even Buffon allows that in what Aristotle said of 
the hippopotamus there were more errors than facts. 


Pliny naturally copied his master, and added to his 
errors. According to Buff on the first good account 
of the hippopotamus was given by one Frederico 
Zerenghi, who wrote in the year 1603. It must be 
admitted that in that account there is much that is 
both new and true. He observed the four toes, the 
enclosure of the teeth in the mouth when closed, the 
correct size, and noted that then, as now, whips are 
made of the thick skin, sjamboks in fact. But in 
repeating the assertions of others Zerenghi goes astray ; 
for he quotes legend to the effect that the animal feeds 
upon fish, crocodiles, and dead human bodies. He 
himself, however, noted that rice and grain were con- 
sumed by the animal, but was misled by the great 
fangs into placing credence upon its flesh-eating pro- 
pensities. There is no doubt that though the hippopo- 
tamus does eat vegetable matters its teeth are used as 
offensive weapons. Mr. Consul Petherick, who brought 
over a specimen for the Zoological Society in 1860, 
related how a hippopotamus " suddenly raising half 
its great carcass with an agility hardly to be expected 
out of the water, close under the bows, carried off my 
unfortunate cook from the gunwale on which he was 
sitting, one bite of the animal's powerful jaws sufficing 
to sever his body in two at the waist." Other travellers 
have told similar stories. The hippopotamus, being 
an aquatic creature, naturally can dive with ease and 
stay under water for some time. There has been 
some exaggeration as to its capacities in this respect. 
Sir Samuel Baker limits its endurance to ten minutes ; 
but Mr. A. D. Bartlett, the late Superintendent of the 
Zoological Gardens, found that a new born hippopota- 
mus remained at the bottom of its tank for no less 
a period than fifteen minutes, whence it was fished up 
in a perfectly lively condition. The hippopotamus will 
occasionally put out to sea, and the fact that it will 



do so is of interest in this matter. Remains of hippopo- 
tami have been found in Madagascar, which is known 
to have been for aeons separated from the African 
continent ; they must have originally got to that island 
by a marine route failing a land bridge, which latter of 
course accounts for their remains in Europe, Asia, and 
in the valley of the Thames. The same explanation 
may account for a recent and most exciting " find " in 
the island of Cyprus. Plenteous bones of a hippopo- 
tamus have been unearthed in that island, which 
clearly belonged to quite a small animal, not larger than 
an average sized pig. It is striking as a fact of com- 
parison that Malta harboured in days gone by an equally 
tiny elephant. Thus a minute environment appears 
to produce in some cases a small frame in its inhabitants. 
There was great excitement at the Zoological Society 
on December n, 1850, when a letter was read to the 
meeting announcing the sending of the first live hippo- 
potamus to the Gardens. It was presented by 
H.H. Abbas Pasha, who detached a guard of honour 
to bring the young beast into Cairo. It was there 
liberally treated with thirty quarts of milk daily. Since 
that year the Society has never been without hippo- 
potami. It is a testimony to the care bestowed upon 
wild animals at the Zoo, in the past as well as in the 
present, that the hippopotamus has bred so often at 
the Gardens. On no less than three occasions have 
young been born, one young male in 1871 and two 
females in 1872. Since then the animal has been reared 
in other Zoological gardens, for example at Amsterdam. 



The Deerlet 

A FIRST glance at the little creature known as the 
Chevrotain or " deerlet " (Tragulus meminna) 
would not establish a definite idea in the mind as to 
its exact position in the animal kingdom. It is not 
unsuggestive of one of the long legged rodents, such 
as the agouti ; it has also a slight hint of a marsupial 
about it. The hornless head seems to forbid its 
association with the group to which its feet evidently 
and certainly ally it. The fact of the matter is that 
the hesitation caused by the undeerlike aspect of 
Tragulus is perfectly reasonable, inasmuch as the 
creature is not definitely a deer though nearer to those 
animals than to any other group. It will be observed 
that the feet are four-toed, though the two middle 
toes have the preponderance and are symmetrical in 
themselves as are those of the deer. The toes, indeed, 
are perfect pig's trotters. We understand by a pig 
a beast of obese not to say ponderous build ; while 
the slenderness and agility of a deer is proverbial. In 
the person of Tragulus we have a mingling of the two 
groups, and there is little doubt that in this mammal 
we have an archaic form of ruminant preserved for us. 
Its stomach is simpler than that of a true ruminant, 
and it is clear that this animal exactly fills up the 
position to be occupied by an animal which divides 
the hoof and does not chew the cud. Its small size 
is in accord with such a placing at the base of the Artio- 



dactyle series, for we know from much evidence that 
when a group appears it comes into existence in a 
modest and shrinking way, to wax fat later in its history. 
Smallness of size is a great advantage in the battle of 
life, especially when there is not much in the way of 
defence. This animal being hornless must trust to 
size and swiftness for escape. It is said, however, to 
add to these two qualities a third, that of cunning. 
These little deer behave in the face of danger like a 
good many animals belonging to quite different groups 
of the animal world. Beetles, opossums and raccoons, 
when hard pressed, and when avenues of escape seem 
to be cut off, feign death, and then, when the danger 
has passed by, get up and run away. It is, however, 
a question whether this shamming is really a trick, 
or whether it is a genuine faint or cataleptic trance 
produced by the near proximity of the terrible. The 
mind of the beetle would seem to be too embryonic to 
have contracted an advantageous trick with a bene- 
ficial result. But on the other hand it might be urged 
that the nerves of the beetle were of iron from their 
very imperfection, so that a possible explanation is 
hemmed round on all sides with difficulty. 

A careful inspection of the cunning " Kanchil," as the 
Malays call the animal, will show that it has what 
few ruminants have, quite formidable tusks in the 
upper jaw. These tusks have led to the quite erroneous 
confusion of Tragulus with Moschus, the musk deer, a 
totally different animal, a definite deer belonging to 
the family Cervidae, though usually dignified with a 
sub- family to itself. In the Kanchil or Meminna, to use 
two of its native names, these tusks play, it is asserted, 
a somewhat novel part for tusks to play. These teeth, 
which correspond of course to the tearing canines of the 
Carnivora, are alleged, with what truth we cannot say, 
to allow the kanchil to suspend itself from the branch of 



a tree when hotly pursued by an enemy. The actual 
founder of the Zoological Society, whose bust adorns the 
Lion house, was told, and has told us, that a kanchil will 
neatly leap into a tree when fugitive and remain there 
in a state of suspense by its long canines. All we can 
say is, there are the teeth and here is the story. The 
tusks, it should be added, are an attribute of the male. 
The only living ally of the Tragulus is the African 
Hyomoschus, a shorter limbed but small deerlet, which 
is also of a brown colour with spots and stripes. One 
species of kanchil, Tragulus stanleyanus, recalls the 
memory of one of the early Presidents of the Zoological 
Society, the Earl of Derby, whose menagerie at Knowsley 
was sold in the early fifties, and the inhabitants largely 
drafted off to our Zoo. 


The reindeer, Rangifer tarandus, is unique among 
the deer tribe by reason of the fact that both sexes 
bear horns. In other deer, as is well known, the 
stags alone are horned, the does being hornless. The 
reindeer, like the elk or moose, is circumpolar ; and 
also like that animal, the American have been dis- 
tinguished from the Northern European and Asiatic 
forms. More than this indeed ; according to the most 
recent estimate of likenesses and unlikenesses nine 
distinct species of reindeer are allowed to the American 
continent and adjacent regions including Greenland. 
With the splitting of species we have nothing to do 
here save recording that it is mainly American in its 
inception, but has been eagerly followed in this 
country by some whose knowledge of animal life is 
limited to an acquaintance with the dead skin and the 
dried skull. In Europe the reindeer is not merely 
" game " ; it is used by the inhabitants of Scandinavia, 
and has been from times of antiquity, as a beast of 



draught, and as a milk and flesh producer. Indeed 
of the Laplanders and some of the reindeer keepers 
of the North, Caesar's famous remark of another race 
might be repeated : " Cibus eorum lacte caseo carne 
constat." Its outward appearance is not on the whole 
unsuggestive of its near neighbour geographically 
speaking, the moose. It has an approach to the long 
and thick upper lip of the latter, while the somewhat 
clumsy feet and legs, and the often palmated horns, add 
to the resemblance. Its feet are planted firmly upon 
the ground, firmly even to splayness ; and this is in re- 
lation to an easy transit over yielding snow and marshy 
land. It is exactly paralleled in the divaricated hoofs 
of Speke's antelope, which also inhabits swampy, and 
therefore treacherous, ground, but in Africa. Its 
young are not spotted as are those of most deer. Its 
pelage alters in colour from summer to winter as it 
also does in many other deer. As for other points in 
its structure, the reindeer is quite obviously a deer. 
Reindeer the vernacular, and Rangifer the Latin, name 
of this animal appear to be mainly derived from the 
same word ; at least it is certain that the termination 
" fer " does not mean here as that termination in Latin 
generally does mean, a carrier or bearer. It is simply 
the Latin ferum a beast, which of course is the same 
as deer in English (= Thier in German). As for 
" rein " it would seem to be Laplandish. The European 
and Siberian reindeer had in past days a wider range 
than now. In prehistoric times it of course wandered 
south through Britain and France ; and its effigies 
scrawled upon tusks by primaeval man are well known 
to everyone. But further than this the reindeer seems 
to have inhabited the extreme north of Scotland as late 
as the twelfth century, when in Caithness it was hunted 
for sport. The American reindeer are called by the 
American zoologists Caribou ; this is not an Indian 



name, as might be surmised from its sound and spelling, 
but a corruption of the two French words, " carre 
bceuf " or square ox. So Mr. Maddison Grant, the 
secretary of the New York Zoological Society, and one 
of the latest authorities upon the reindeer tells us. It 
is impossible to say much about deer without dwelling 
long upon the antlers. " Ex cornubus cervum " might 
almost, but not quite, nowadays be said. The horns 
of the reindeer-caribou are noticeable for the extreme 
development of the brow tine, which projects forward 
over the face, and is often divided into many " points." 
It has been asserted that this part of its armature is 
meant for the peaceful purpose of shovelling away the 
snow which covers its lichen foods. But more likely 
seems the view that it is a defence against blinding 
in the combats of the males in the breeding season. 
Naturally the horns of the males being used for these 
aggressive purposes are larger than those of the females ; 
and indeed in the latter sex the horns are said to be 
completely wanting in one race or at least in some 
individuals. Besides the large brow tines and the 
frequent palmation of the horns, the reindeer horns 
are remarkable for the fact that there is generally a 
large region without any branches whatsoever except 
a small tine. This great expanse of unbranched horn 
is eminently characteristic of the deer. As to " points," 
i.e. the branches of the horns, forty appears to be the 
outside number nowadays, though fifty are not quite 
to be regarded as imaginary. The definition of a point, 
according to Mr. Grant, " is a knob upon which a watch 
can be hung." 


As another example of the deer tribe we may take 
this the most striking member of that group. It is 
a beast of noble appearance though somewhat leggy, and 



it is quite the largest existing deer. The bull alone has 
horns, as is the case with most deer, the reindeer, a 
near neighbour of the elk, being the most salient excep- 
tion. It is usual to term the American elk the " moose," 
and to reserve the name " elk " for the European 
beast. But in truth the elk is, like so many northern 
animals, e.g. the brown bear, circumpolar in range. 
Like many creatures now limited to the north, the elk 
had in past times a wider range, and remains of it have 
been found even in the prolific gravels of the Thames 
valley. But the elk was never historically an inhabitant 
of these islands ; and it must of course not be confounded 
with the " Irish elk,", which is a more typical deer in 
its characters. The elk has particularly large horns 
which are " palmated " as the expression goes; that 
is to say, each horn swells out soon after its origin from 
the head into a flat expansion, from which arise the 
comparatively small tines. Of these tines there may 
be as many as sixteen, but as a rule there are fewer. 
The fact that these horns are at times non-palmated, 
like those of the red deer, for example, has led to the 
creation of various species for those individuals ; but it 
seems probable that the deficient growth of the horn 
is rather a matter of nutrition than of species distinc- 
tion. The Canadian moose has an ingenious method 
of protecting itself against wolves in the winter. It 
tramples down a definite area, which is known as a 
" moose yard," and securely entrenched in this it is 
able to defy its foes by bringing into play its heavy 
and sharp pointed horns. It is plain that a moose 
travelling through a dense thicket would be incommoded 
like the stag in the fable, and unable to deal efficiently 
with carnivorous foes. The European and Siberian 
elk may have less difficulties, and after all it seems to 
live much more in the open. The most un-deerlike 
point about the elk is its projecting and fleshy nose, 



in the possession of which it suggests the antelope 
known as the Saiga. 

The American moose is a larger animal than its 
European relative, and it is mainly on this account 
that it has been proposed to separate the two speci- 
fically. In this case the name elk is to be reserved for 
the Norway beast, and moose for the Canadian variety. 
The word moose is a native name and therefore an 
excellent vernacular word to use. It is of the Algonquin 
language and seems to signify " wood eater." 

There are frequently examples to be seen at the Zoo. 


For a good many years past the Zoological Society 
have been in possession of examples of the British wild 
bull : and so satisfactory are the conditions obtaining 
in the cattle sheds at the Zoo, that these animals have 
regularly bred, and the calves reared to maturity. 
The ox is white and should have red ears and a black 
muzzle. Black ears occur ; and it is thought that 
white is not the primitive character. Indeed white 
is not as a rule a colour found in Nature though many 
examples can be at once quoted of its occurrence, such 
as the pelican, the bell bird, etc., etc. These animals, 
semi-domestic in the parks of Chillingham, Cadzow, 
and elsewhere, are in all probability the real and 
comparatively unaltered descendants of the primitive 
wild ox of Great Britain and the continent of Europe. 
They appear, however, to be smaller than the original 
and wild Bos primigenius. We know the latter of 
course by its sub fossil remains in fens and peat-bogs. It 
seems that in very early times, at any rate in those 
which we call " Neolithic," the urus was tamed by 
man and kept for the sake of its milk and beef. Caesar's 
description of the Gauls would seem to apply to 
Neolithic man in this country ; he no doubt was of those 


whose food consisted of milk, cheese and flesh. This 
inference is drawn from the curious fact that the remains 
of calves are particularly abundant ; it is supposed that 
the calves were at least killed if not eaten, the killing off 
of the calves being a necessity to prevent their suckling 
too long. Beef is suggested from the rinding of the 
skull of an urus transfixed by a Neolithic flint weapon. 
In later periods than the Neolithic, these fine cattle 
" tossed high their manes of snow " over the whole 
country, and approached even the gates of London 
so lately as the year 1174. Their occurrence as wild 
animals even in the later days of mediaeval times is 
testified to by references in literature. Thus James 
the First of Scotland in The Kingis Quhair writes of 
" The bugill drawar by his hornis grete," by which, 
however, he may mean a domestic ox : less doubtful is 
the line of Dunbar in The Thrissill and the Rois, who 
makes dame Nature order the wild ox thus 

And lat no bowgle, with his busteous hornis, 
The meik pluch-ox oppress, for all his pryde, 
Bot in the yok go peciable him besyd. 

The contrasting of the Bowgle (from Latin Buculus) 
with the meek plough ox is clearly suggestive of a 
wild form at most imperfectly domesticated. It has 
been pointed out that wild traits survive in the oxen 
of Chillingham and elsewhere. 

That the bulls are fierce and that it is unwise to go 
too near them is not of course an argument in this 
direction, though it is a fact. We know well enough 
that the most flagrantly domestic bull of the common 
farmyard is not the beast to tackle from the wrong 
side of the gate. A feature born of wildness is the 
way of feeding of the Chillingham cattle. They do 
not browse openly like an ox of the pasture, but feed 
as it were by stealth and at night or in the evening. 
Then, too, the cows when they calve propagate in the 



dim obscurities of the wood. The domestic cow realizes 
that man is a better nurse for her offspring than she 
herself, and takes no pains to hide her offspring from him. 
When the herd moves to and fro it moves in the way 
of wild gregarious animals ; the young are placed in 
the centre and an old and experienced patriarchal bull 
leads the van. It appears that the name " aurochs," 
often applied to the European bison, a creature exactly 
like the American bison, now getting equally rare, 
but by which the prairies were once blackened, should be 
retained for the urus ; the two names are plainly the 
same in origin. The Bos bonasus of the forests of 
Lithuania and of the Caucasus should be called by its 
name of Wisent, which is the same word as bison. 
It may occasionally be seen at the Zoo. So, too, the 
American bison and a host of other bo vines. 


The " gawd-forsaken oont " of the East and of 
Africa is represented in the New World by the lamas, 
huanacos, alpacas, and vicunas. These diverse names 
really apply to only two species of animal. We may 
term the wild stock df the Lama huanacos, huanacos, 
and the two domesticated forms of the same, lamas 
and alpacas. The vicuna is a distinct species, Lama 
vicugna. It is unnecessary to anyone who has once 
seen the beast to inform him that the lama is a camel. 
It has the same smile compounded of superciliousness, 
cruelty, and stupidity that characterises its humpy 
relative of the Old World. It is treacherous and 
ferocious ; and a vindictive male possessed by the 
Zoological Society was a little bit terrifying as it pursued 
within its enclosure the steps of the passing visitor 
and made, fortunately fruitless, endeavours to leap the 
iron railings that secured the public. For a lama has 
many weapons of offence when it is really annoyed, 


and not merely, as Buffon said, the power of spitting. 
Spitting, it may be observed, is the merest euphemism 
for what the lama really does do. It ejects the whole 
contents of its stomach upon the offending one. It 
will also bite and kick, and can do both effectively. 
When inclined to be " nasty " it lays back its ears in 
an equine manner. In spite of this obvious ill-temper, 
the Chilian naturalist Gay (no relation to the poet and 
fabulist, though some of his statements would seem to be 
efforts of the imagination) described the lama in good 
Castilian as " suave, familiar, timido y muy curioso." 
This is inadequate. We require more evidence than 
disposition and outward appearance for the assertion 
that a lama is a camel. It is a member of the family 
Camelidse or group Tylopoda by virtue of the facts 
that (i) the limbs are not and have not the least trace 
of the fourth and fifth toes of which rudiments exist 
in other Artiodactyles ; (2) the less complicated nature 
of the stomach ; (3) the presence of incisor teeth in the 
upper jaw which occupy the place of the callous pad 
of the ruminants against which the lower incisors bite. 
There are of course other anatomical facts which 
separate this group from the remaining Artiodactyles, 
but the three mentioned will suffice for us. The lama, 
like the camel, has been, and is, used as a beast of 
burden. Strings of lamas carried down gold from 
the mines of Potosi in Peru at the order of the Incas 
of Peru. The Spaniards when they discovered and 
conqured Peru thought of introducing the lama into 
Spain and made efforts in that direction. But appar- 
ently the lama will not thrive away from its native 
mountains. They also provide cloth and mutton and 
even bezoar stones. 

Bezoar stones are concretions found in the stomach, 
and are thus very analogous to the ambergris of the 
sperm whale, which is also a biliary concretion. The 



true bezards, as they are sometimes called, apparently 
come from the wild goat Capra cegagrus. The use of 
these stones was the important one that they were 
believed to be antidotes to poison. In old days, when 
aqua tofana was a more generally used means of in- 
heriting property than now, bezards had a corresponding 
value. It is said that even so recently as 1847 these 
antidotes were in use in Chili. The " Allocamelus," 
as the scholar J. C. Scaliger, and Gesner, following him, 
called the lama, was a beast which was of course un- 
known to Europeans until the sixteenth century ; the 
first example as it appears that was ever exhibited in 
Europe was in 1558. In this year a contemporary 
woodcut exhibited the lama as a beast of colossal size 
in accordance with a custom which has not yet and 
never will die out, of representing anything unknown as 
large " omne ignotum pro magno " we might better ren- 
der a common saying. This specimen came from the 
" Terra gigantum," by which is undoubtedly meant 
Patagonia. Others have thought Peru the natural 
home of the lama, as is claimed by the postal authorities 
of that explosive republic. Everyone, in this case 
literally " every schoolboy," knows of the beautiful 
Peruvian stamps, green in colour and with lamas figured 
upon them. As a matter of fact, Palaeontology seems 
to show that the lamas sprang into being in the north 
and wandered over the isthmus of Panama into South 
America, where they flourished until to to-day, dying 
out in the less congenial north. A singular fact in the 
life history of the lama has been commented upon by 
Mr. W. H. Hudson. It appears that lamas select not 
exactly burying grounds, but places wherein to die. 
When a lama feels that it is not much longer for this 
world, it seeks such a place and turns its face to the 
wall. In this way piles of bones accumulate ; and it 
may be that " bone beds " of past times which abound 



in the remains of extinct animals were similar ceme- 


To term this animal the " camel leopard/ 1 as is 
sometimes done, is a grave misreading of the derivation 
of the word, which implies of course a combination of 
the camel and the pard, as Horace says, " Diversum 
confusa genus panthera camelo." Leopard itself is 
another such " portmanteau " word. For it in its 
turn implied a kind of hybrid between the lion and the 
pard. To the ancients such monsters were not in- 
credible. We know that animals so remote will not 
breed together. The Romans apparently first knew 
the giraffe from examples exhibited in the days of 
Julius Caesar. Pliny, who is responsible for this piece 
of information, also thought the giraffe as mild as a 
sheep in disposition. It is rather timid and nervous 
than mild. The least surprise frightens it greatly ; 
and the late Mr. A. D. Bartlett informed the present 
writer that he never thought of suddenly appearing 
in the giraffe house without giving previous warning 
by shuffling of feet and other less terrifying and intro- 
ductory noises, lest the giraffes should bolt and break 
their legs. It is not mild, for it will kick and try to bite. 
At one time the Zoological Society were as successful 
in breeding giraffe as the Dublin Zoo are now in breeding 
lions. In 1836 the first specimens arrived at the Zoo 
at five o'clock in the morning, as witnessed by the 
late Sir Richard Owen. They were conducted thither 
from Blackwall by M. Thibaud and four Africans " in 
native costume," and for about sixty years the stock 
of giraffes derived from these and from others acquired 
subsequently flourished exceedingly. Then they died 
out, and the Mahdi appeared upon the scenes, effectu- 
ally preventing for some time the importation of other 
Z.G. Si G 


specimens, as Khartoum was the centre of the animal 
trade in the part of Africa whence giraffes were generally 
acquired. Now there are prospects of a further con- 
tinuation of the giraffe stock. 

The giraffe has an aspect which is so familiar as to 
need no special description. But a few points must be 
referred to as marking its rather isolated position in the 
Ungulate series. There is in the first place no manner 
of doubt that it belongs to the deer-antelope section, 
the Artiodactyla, as evinced by its paired hoofs and by 
its complex ruminating stomach. The horns, however, 
are of a different kind to those of other Artiodactyles, 
except the newly discovered ocapi, which is of course 
a short necked giraffe, to speak crudely. The horns 
are in all as many as five, of which one is median and 
unpaired. The others are paired and as a rule only 
one pair is very distinct. These horns are bony pro- 
minences in the adult animal which are covered with 
quite unaltered skin. They are not shed. 

The lengthy neck is interesting as illustrating the 
permanence of type in animal structure. It might 
be supposed that the neck of the giraffe and that of 
the hippopotamus, to take two of the greatest con- 
trasts in neck that occur among mammals, were 
lengthened or shortened by the omission or addition 
of vertebrae. But nothing of the sort occurs. The 
giraffe*s long neck is produced by a pulling out of each 
individual vertebra while the same are shortened in 
the hippopotamus. In both beasts, as in nearly all 
mammals, there are but seven of these neck bones. 
Its spots and length of neck are said to advantage the 
giraffe greatly in the " struggle for existence." The 
spots, at first sight appearing to render it particularly 
obvious to any marauding lion or leopard, are said 
by those who have come into view of the giraffe in its 
own forests, to absolutely aid in hiding it. The spots, 



To face p. 82] 


in fact, break up the large body into less conspicuous 
patches. As for the long neck, its presence has been 
interpreted in two ways. On the one hand it is sug- 
gested that length of neck is favourable to the cropping 
of the branches of high trees ; on the other, the head 
perched upon so high a look-out tower enables the animal 
to keep a wary gaze upon the surrounding neighbour- 
hood. It is remarkable that in two African animals, 
the ostrich and the giraffe, and to a less extent in an 
antelope (Lithocranius), which all frequent grassy 
country with scattered bushes, the same elongation of 
the neck occurs. Giraffes seem to be divisible into 
two well marked varieties. But so few individuals 
comparatively speaking have been examined that it 
is a little dangerous to assert that these are constant 
species. In the northern form the red brown blotches 
are sharply marked off at their edges, so that the white 
bands are equally conspicuous and divide the skin in 
a reticulate fashion. This kind of giraffe has, more- 
over, a particularly well developed median unpaired 
horn. In the southern form the median horn is a low 
elevation, and the demarcation between the brown and 
white is not so sharply marked, so that the animal is 
blotched rather than reticulate. Other varieties have 
been named. 


The elephants are a dwindling race in numbers, 
though hardly indeed in size. At the present day there 
are but two different species, the African and the 
Indian. In former periods of the earth's history there 
were large numbers of different kinds with a much 
more extensive range. Several of these lived in England. 
Nowadays the elephant is a purely tropical beast. 
Apart from the resident staff, the elephant is the only 
creature at the Gardens which stands up resolutely 



and upright upon its pillar-like legs. In other beasts 
there is a bend, or there are bends, in the limbs between 
their origin from the trunk and their implantation 
upon earth. The elephant is also the only living 
ungulate animal, except the hyrax, which has retained 
many toes. In other ungulates one or more have dis- 
appeared upon both hind and fore limbs. Its scanty 
covering of hair betrays the ungulate as does also the 
thick skin. The elephant is as pachydermatous as 
the rhinoceros. Though divested for the most part of 
a hairy covering, the newly born elephant is much more 
liberally provided with hair, a fact which recalls 
the mammoth of antiquity. That the trunk is an essen- 
tial of an elephant everyone knows, though it is not a 
matter of universal knowledge that this organ is merely 
the prolonged snout plus the upper lip. Hence it is 
not merely a long nose as caricaturists would some- 
times have us believe. The nostrils are at the end 
of this lithe trunk, which is also a tactile and prehensile 
organ of value to its possessor. The tusks are of course 
the principal cause of the commencing rarity of the 
elephant, particularly the African species. They are 
really great persistent incisor teeth, entirely com- 
parable to those of rodents, since they grow perpetu- 
ally through the life of the animal. The Chinese have 
a legend concerning the fossil ivory met with in nor- 
thern Asia, that the teeth are the remains of a gigantic 
and underground rat. The legend has so far a basis in 
truth that the long and persistently growing teeth of 
the two animals are the same kind of teeth. The two 
kinds of elephants are always to be seen at the Zoo. 
The notorious Jumbo and his helpmeet Alice were 
African elephants, which grow to rather a larger size, 
and are to a certain extent a more primitive type of 
elephant, than the Eastern form ; they range from 
India through some of the larger islands of the Malay 


archipelago. The African elephant has a retreating 
forehead which contrasts with the wise and bulbous 
forehead of the Indian beast furrowed in the middle. 
The trunk has two finger-like tips at the end. The 
ears are enormous and flap back over the shoulders. 

The Indian elephant is really, relatively speaking, 
of course, a small-eared elephant. Within its extremely 
thick skull lies concealed a brain, which is reputed 
in the elephant tribe to be particularly effective as a 
brain. As a matter of fact elephant stories have 
suffered both from exaggeration and inaccuracy. It 
is always tempting to read into the actions of an animal 
purely human motives. Revenge seems to be as sweet 
to elephants as to women, and tales are told of the 
nursing of wrath through long periods. Judged by 
the numerous specimens at the Zoo, the intelligence of 
the elephant does not appear to be much superior to 
that of many other beasts. Ungulates generally are not 
remarkable for brain power, and all that is done by an 
elephant in obedience to the mahout is also done by 
trained horses at a circus. As to longevity, that too 
has been exaggerated vastly. Probably after all 
Aristotle was not far out when he assigned 200 years 
as the utmost limit. Long before the Zoo existed, in 
fact so far back as 1257, an elephant was exhibited in 
the Tower Menagerie, a royal foundation which as will 
be seen antedated the Zoo by some centuries. The 
Zoological Society possess in their house in Hanover 
Square a quaint cut of an elephant exhibited in the 
sixteen hundreds. The elephants at the Zoo are, as is 
well known, used for riding purposes. Their gait under 
those circumstances is not fast, neither can the elephant 
ever go at a really fast pace. It has shuffling move- 
ment which is incompatible with swiftness. 



The name coney is familiar enough, principally be- 
cause it occurs in the Psalms : but Dasje is not so 
familiar, and when made use of is usually and inaccur- 
ately spelt " dassie." The word in fact is analogous 
to " kopje," about which we used to hear so much a 
few years ago, and is a diminutive, in this case from a 
word signifying badger. Neither coney nor dasje is 
at all indicative of the real nature of this most interest- 
ing animal, Hyrax (or Procavia) capensis. It has nothing 
whatever to do with either rabbits or badgers ; and is 
in fact, an ungulate animal not directly related to any 
living form nor indeed, so far as present knowledge leads, 
to any extinct form, but none the less a true ungulate. 
Even its outward form, when rightly considered, be- 
trays the ungulate. The nails on the feet are rather 
hoofs than claws ; the fingers and toes are reduced 
to four on the front limbs and three on the hind limbs, 
such a reduction being a common feature of the ungu- 
lata. The scalpel at once settles the point. For there 
is no collar bone, and a portion of the shoulder blade 
known as the acromion is absent, while the molar teeth 
have a pattern which is decidedly like that of the 
rhinoceros. They have, however, undoubtedly a like- 
ness to rodents. To this contributes the small size 
(for modern ungulates are unusually big), the much 
reduced tail, and the squatting attitude generally 
adopted. So impressed was de Buff on with these 
matters that he wrote of the hyrax under the name of 
" Marmotte du Cap." As the Psalmist rightly says, 
" The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats and the 
rocks for the coneys." This is, doubtless, one of the 
earliest allusions to the coney. They are spoken of, as 
everyone knows, in other parts of the Scriptures as 
" a feeble folk," though " exceeding wise." But to 



say that the hyrax " cheweth the cud but divideth 
not the hoof " is clearly incorrect. Canon Tristram, 
however, has ingeniously explained the latter state- 
ment by pointing out that these animals have a habit 
of working the jaws about which might have given 
rise to the idea. One of the earliest of African explorers, 
Bruce, kept a coney to see if it did chew the cud, and 
came to the conclusion that it really did ! Coneys are 
only found in Africa, and in some parts of Arabia and 
Palestine. As a rule they prefer rocks and stones as 
an environment ; but some are arboreal, and the special 
name of Dendrohyrax has been applied to these climbing 
coneys. When on the ground the dasjes lurk in crannies 
and cracks and clefts, not building for themselves any 
habitation. The traveller Bruce did not only dis- 
tinguish himself by the inaccurate observation just 
referred to ; he noted that the animal, which he 
described under the Abyssinian name of Askoko, could 
climb inaccessible cliffs by merely hanging on like a 
fly on a wall, and came at least very near the truth in 
his explanation of the singular phenomenon in the life 
of so comparatively speaking heavy a mammal. It 
will be noted from an examination of the live animal at 
the Zoo that the soles of the feet are fleshy, and that the 
fleshy part extends beyond the hoofs in front. Coupled 
with this are creases and folds on the lower surface 
and a great abundance of sweat glands, which are stated 
to be fifteen times as numerous as those upon the sole 
of the human foot. The lubricated under surface of 
the feet, aided by the contractions of suitable muscles, 
allow of the foot being closely approximated to a smooth 
rocky surface, or to an angular one, and atmospheric 
pressure does the rest, as in the case of the foot of the 
gecko. The under surface of the foot is simply resolved 
into a series of suckers like those upon the arms of the 



The dugongs and manatees are the only mammals, save 
the cetacea, which possess paddles instead of ambulatory 
fore limbs, and in which the hind limbs have disappeared 
that is to say which possess this combination of 
characters, for the seals and sea lions may be fairly 
said to move by paddles. They can be readily dis- 
tinguished from the whales and dolphins by their 
much less markedly fishlike aspect ; the skeleton 
and anatomy generally is indicative of a beast which 
has more recently taken to the purely aquatic life than 
have the whales. Dr. Semon truly remarked of the 
dugong, that it appeared to the eye " more fishlike 
than seals, and more mammal-like than whales." The 
hairy covering of the body has entirely disappeared 
in whales save for a few hairs upon the snout in some 
cases. In the Sirenia, though the body is practically 
naked, there are yet traces here and there over the 
general body surface of hairs. Besides the manatee and 
the dugong there was, until the close of the eighteenth 
century, a huge thirty foot long sirenian known as 
Rhytina upon the shores of Behring's straits. 


The fact that on the rare occasions when a manatee 
is exhibited in the gardens it is accommodated in the 
reptile house is no slur upon its Zoological position, 
but only due to the necessity of providing for a tropical 
animal a tropical temperature. The manatee, aquatic 
and " finned " though it is, is a mammal, and belongs 
to an order which has been called with unnecessary 
poetry the Sirenia. The name embodies, however, 
the legend that these creatures are responsible for the 
origin of the Sirens. The manatee and still more 
its Eastern ally the dugong though by no means 
" mulier formosa superne," undoubtedly " desinit in 



piscem." The tail is quite fishlike, especially the 
forked tail of the dugong, and the hind limbs being 
absent the resemblance is heightened. The corre- 
sponding legends of beautiful and marine maidens in 
temperate climes must be mothered upon seals. Indeed 
the amount of " combing " done by the seal with the aid 
of its flippers is possibly the explanation of the invari- 
able possession of a comb by a mermaid. The looking- 
glass is not so easy to account for. The manatee is a 
black- coloured animal with but little hair on the body, 
and with a pair of flippers which bear no nails in a form 
that has been on two occasions exhibited at the Zoo, 
and which on that very account is known to zoologists 
as Manatus inunguis. The hind limbs have gone save 
for rudiments beneath the skin. There is no beauty 
in its countenance ; this is hindered by a curiously 
split upper lip, which allows the animal to manipulate 
its vegetable food, which it crops in submarine pastures. 
" Merpig " would be really a more suitable name for 
this creature, as it undoubtedly comes nearer to the 
ungulates than to any existing group of mammals. 
It has not, it is true, " the inn'ards of a Christian," 
which for some reason or other the pig is regarded as 
possessing. Its stomach is perhaps more like that of 
a cow, inasmuch as it is complicated by division into 
several chambers, as is indeed not infrequent in vege- 
table feeding animals. The chief internal feature of 
the manatee is its huge lungs, which perhaps are " con- 
trived a double debt to pay " lungs when above, and 
a swimming bladder when below the water. The 
manatee has no engaging ways and tricks to attract 
the visitor ; it simply grazes with bovine stolidity. 

It is hardly possible to mistake the members of this 
order of the mammalia. Their claws are sharp and 


compressed, not at all like hoofs or nails, though, of 
course, all these structures are absolutely of the same 
essential nature, and even intergrade in some groups. 
This character alone is, however, not sufficient to dis- 
tinguish the carnivora. Various rodents and insecti- 
vores possess claws which are more or less sharp. But 
no rodent possesses what the carnivora always possess, 
and that is long and strong canine teeth for seizing 
their living prey. Here again is a character which 
does not, in conjunction even with the last, absolutely 
mark off the carnivora from all other mammals, for 
the insectivora possess the same canines, which are 
in many cases quite as strongly developed as in the 
carnivora. By two external characters it is always 
possible to distinguish between carnivora and in- 
sectivora, though the otter-like insectivorous creature, 
the West African Potamogale, is very " carnivorous " 
in appearance, and only possesses one of these char- 
acters, and that in not a very marked degree. In the 
insectivora the upper jaw and nose projects as a rule 
beyond the lower, and thus forms a kind of proboscis. 
Again, the skin of the insectivorous mammal has a 
distinct tendency to run to spines. No carnivore has 
a proboscis, and none are at all spiny. Finally, while 
the insectivora are all small, and often quite small, the 
carnivora are, with the exception of the weasel, at least 
moderate-sized, and often rather big, as is the case with 
bears, lions, and tigers. There is at least one obvious 
internal character which absolutely distinguishes all 
the living members of the two orders. The carnivora 
have a better developed brain than the insectivora ; 
indeed, in the latter it is at a very low ebb, being almost 
smooth, and the cerebral hemispheres are small. 

Now that we have got at a definition of the carnivora, 
which includes all of the diverse animals which con- 
stitute the order, it will be necessary to consider their 



characters a little more in detail. In the first place 
we must distinguish two kinds of carnivora : there are 
the land forms, the tiger, bears, raccoons, weasels, and 
so forth ; and secondly, there is the remarkable group 
of the seals, sea lions, and walrus. The latter are purely 
aquatic creatures, with feet converted, so to speak, 
into fins by the aid of which they can swim, and are 
on that account termed pinnipedia ; the land forms 
have been called by the corresponding name of Fissi- 
pedia. The former group is dealt with later under the 
heading " Sea Lion." As to the land carnivora, the 
Zoological Gardens always contain a large assortment 
of various forms. The land carnivora are spread all 
over the world, with the exception of New Zealand, 
and are chiefly to be found in the tropics of both worlds. 
Strictly perhaps we ought to except Australia from 
the list of those countries which contain carnivora, for 
the only representative of the order occurring therein 
is the dingo dog, concerning whose origin and habita- 
tion of Australia there is some dispute. It has been 
held that that dog is not an indigene, but has accom- 
panied the black man in his travels. The carnivora 
are somewhat diversified in their habits, as is natural 
with so extensive a group. There are, in the first place, 
purely slaying and killing carnivora, such as the lion, 
tiger, leopard, jaguar, cheetah, and several cats. These 
are solitary, or at times go about in families. The 
pack-hunting wolves, more entirely ground living than 
the cat tribe, form another assemblage. But while 
many carnivores live largely in trees, there is no type 
known which has become modified in the direction of 
" flight," such as is seen among the arboreal rodents 
and marsupials. Nor is there any underground Car- 
nivora. The aquatic forms among the usually ter- 
restrial fissipeda are not very many. We have the 
otters of our own rivers, and those of other parts of the 



world ; and there is even an otter (Enhydris) which lives 
by the sea shore, and makes excursions therein for its 
food, a way of life which is occasionally copied by the 
usually fluviatile otters of the genus Lutra. Bears and 
the bear tribe generally are not as a rule so purely 
carnivorous as the cats ; some of them, however, such 
as the weasels and stoats and the South American 
tayra, are as bloodthirsty as the fiercest of cats. 

Apart from fossil forms, which tend to fill up gaps 
and destroy clear and sharply cut classifications, the 
carnivora are separable into three divisions, all of 
which are abundantly in evidence at the Zoo at any 
time. We have, first of all, the carnivora par excellence, 
in which the carnivorous type of structure has arrived 
at the greatest perfection and specialization that is 
the Aeluroidea, or cats and civets. These animals are 
generally spotted or striped, or both. The civets are 
on the whole, less specialized than are the more fully 
developed cats. Their claws are not so retractile, or 
are not so at all : they are all smaller beasts than the 
true cats, which include such giants as the lion and 
tiger. The civet tribe includes not only the civets 
and genets, but also the little African suricates, which 
sit up on their hind quarters like prairie dogs, the 
curious slothful binturong, and a variety of forms 
known as palm civets, of all of which, as well as of a 
few other forms mentioned in the ensuing pages, ex- 
amples are to be seen in the Zoo. The hyaenas, includ- 
ing the Proteles, are another branch of the Aeluroidea. 
The second great division of the fissipede carnivora 
is that of the dogs, which includes the large number of 
wolves, foxes, and jackals, of which again a compre- 
hensive assortment is invariably to be seen in the dog- 
kennels near to the lion house. These have not retrac- 
tile claws, but they walk, like the cat tribe generally, 
upon their toes, and not upon the soles of the feet. 



Neither these nor the remaining section of the car- 
nivora, the great tribe of Arctoidea, are prevalently 
spotted or striped in coloration. The Arctoidea in- 
clude not only the true bears, of which the European 
bear, the grizzly, the Syrian bear, and the polar bear, 
as well as some others inhabit the bear dens in plenty, 
but a variety of small creatures, which are referable 
to two distinct families, the mustelidoe and the pro- 
cyonidce. The former contains not only the weasels 
and stoats and polecats, but also the badgers, glutton, 
the American grison and tayra, the martens and sables, 
the ratel with its grey back, black under-surface and 
hurried walk, the skunk or " essence pedlar " of North 
and South America, and the otters. The procyonidae 
is a family made for the reception of the raccoons, the 
prehensile-tailed kinkajou, also of South America, the 
coati with its pig-like snout and ringed tail, and 
the panda of the Himalayas. The Arctoidea are less 
decisively Carnivora than the Aeluroidea or Cynoidea. 
The teeth are largely flat- crowned, and suitable for 
crushing rather than tearing, a fact which goes, as has 
been already said, with an often principally vegetable 
diet ; they walk upon the soles of their feet instead of 
upon the toes, and there are other anatomical char- 
acters, which show that the group is one which is, so 
far as the living representatives are concerned, to be 
sharply marked off from other carnivora. 


We have constantly met with persons who have the 
impression that while the tiger is an undoubted cat, 
the lion has more of the dog nature. This quite 
erroneous idea is probably to be traced to the mane, 
and to the certainly leonine but also almost New- 
foundland-dog-like head. The lion, however, is quite 
a diagrammatic cat, with the usual retractile claws, 



and the sharp, long and strong canines of that eminently 
carnivorous race. Much legend and many mis-state- 
ments have clustered round a little bit of hard and 
horny skin at the end of the lion's tail. It has been 
said to lash itself into a fury by means of this " nail." 
The lion is now Asiatic and African in its habitat : 
but within the historic period it inhabited Europe as 
far west at any rate as Greece. Hercules and the 
Nemean lion, of course, hardly prove this ; but there 
are more historical accounts. Even now it seems to 
occur so near to Europe as the eastern confines of Asia 
Minor, which after all is, so far as its animals are con- 
cerned, Asiatic by courtesy. The so-called maneless 
lion of Gujerat seems to be a myth in one sense ; that 
is to say, there are doubtless maneless lions in Asia, but 
they are young ones. Painters and poets have largely 
caused the respect in which the lion is held as the king 
of beasts. In Africa a different view is officially held, 
and it is legally " vermin." The roar of the lion is not 
unimpressive in the lion house, where echoes add to 
its apparent volume. The lion howls in concert like 
any nocturnal cat. Opinions seem to differ as to the 
majestic tones of this kingly caterwauling in a state of 
nature. Livingstone thought but little of the lion's 
roar, but Mr. Selous thinks that there is no more 
magnificent sound in nature. The lion does not appear 
to be so considerate to the jackal as fable would have 
us believe. Those who know the lion and his ways 
assert that he has an unkingly love of carrion, and that 
the dead body of an elephant has more allurements 
for him than the finest herd of zebras or antelope. 
There are constantly lion cubs born at the Zoo, but it 
is an odd thing that they generally suffer from cleft 
palate, which does not, of course, conduce to their 
longevity. The young lion seems to be born with its 
eyes open, unlike the kitten. It is notorious that the 



Zoo at Dublin has been for years famed as a manu- 
factory of lions, which breed with the greatest success. 
Even in travelling menageries the same success has 
been attained, which is, to say the least of it, unex- 
pected. It is unnecessary to say that the visitor will 
find at least half a dozen lions at any given time in the 


The tiger (Felis ligris) is undoubtedly the largest of 
living cats, and even equals the great cave lion and the 
sabre tooths of antiquity. It shows what is rare among 
cats, transverse striping instead of spots ; and so 
firmly fixed in the tiger race is this plan of colour that 
the newly born young show the same striping as their 
parents. Often, as has been pointed out in the case 
of the puma, the young of the carnivora show a different 
mode of coloration to that of their parents. A careful 
study of the stripes of the tiger shows that they are 
not so remote from the prevailing feline spotting as 
might appear at first sight. In many cases the bar 
has a white or rather tawny centre, and thus suggests 
a large spot pulled out lengthwise. The colour of the 
Royal Bengal tiger is so very well known that it needs 
no further comment. But there is one point of some 
little interest to which comparatively little attention 
has been paid. When the tiger is sleeping with its 
head on its front paws, and its ears turned rather 
forwards, it will be observed that there is a bright white 
spot, with a black rim upon each ear. The effect of 
this is to give the sleeping beast a look of alertness, for 
the spots are not unsuggestive of eyes. The common 
cat has something of the same kind, which has been 
often referred to, and has been also figured. When the 
eyes are closed the arrangement of the pattern of colour 
above them gives the impression of a watchful and 



unwinking eye. It is possible that these contrivances 
have a value to the beast, and prevent some molesta- 
tion. " The fery tigere full of felonye " has a purely 
Asiatic range, and, like the puma, is indifferent to heat 
or to cold. But in the north it puts on a thicker coat. 
It is a good swimmer, and regularly crosses over the 
strait to Singapore ; it swims the Amur in northern 
Asia, and there are thus but few obstacles to its roam- 
ing. It is strong above all carnivorous beasts of the 
field. A big tiger, it is alleged, can seize a bullock and 
chuck him ten or fifteen yards as can a terrier a rat. 
But it is only proper to observe that this is ridiculed 
by Sir Samuel Baker. It growls "like a waggon going 
fast over a wooden bridge," and has also a somewhat 
plaintive cry, a kind of querulous mew, generally to 
be heard in the lion house at the Zoo. The tiger in 
India almost takes the place of the wolf in this country. 
Just as we have Wolverton, Wolfslee, and other names 
associated with the name of the canine carnivore, so in 
India are analogous equivalents of tiger town, and so 
forth, commemorating the huge Asiatic feline. More- 
over, in this country there were werewolves, men who 
had changed into wolves ; in India the tiger has given 
rise to exactly the same kind of legend. 


Like the lion, the eyra, a lean somewhat mongoose- 
like cat, and the caracal, the puma is what is called 
" self-coloured " : that is, it is of uniform colour more 
or less throughout. It is tawny, tending to brown or 
grey at the two extremes, and whiter below. Its 
young, however, are as spotted as any pard, and would 
not be thought to be of puma parentage by any one 
who was ignorant of the fact and shown the skins. 
This would appear to argue that the puma, desert 
coloured though it is at the present day, has descended 


from a type following the more prevailing cat fashion. 
The puma is limited to America, and, like the tiger, it 
can bear with impunity the extremes of heat and cold ; 
it is at home in the wintry north, and lurks in the damp 
and heated forests of the south. The puma has the 
usual intent look of the feline race, and has the reputa- 
tion of being a mild and peaceful animal where man 
is concerned. It is held to be as innocuous to the 
weaned child as is the cockatrice, and has even been 
called, according to Mr. Hudson, " amigo del cris- 
tiano." But it is a ferocious beast where deer, domestic 
animals and vizcachas are concerned. Ineffective as 
its lithe form would appear to be for any purpose save 
swift running, it can leap upon a deer and break its 
neck with the ease of heavier beasts, like the tiger. 
To most naturalists, at any rate in Europe, there is but 
one puma, Felis concolor. But in America there are 
different opinions, and the pumas have been split up 
into a considerable number of races, or even distinct 
species. In the south of the United States the 
puma is spoken of as the mountain lion. Another 
name is the native " Indian " cougar. The name of 
" lion " appears to have, or at least to have had, a 
certain amount of justification. It is not, as might be 
thought, derived from the loose application of a word 
in common use to anything that it might or might not 
fit ; but the first Europeans who examined the puma 
thought that they had before them merely the maneless 
females, and came to the conclusion that the ferocious 
males were not to be caught or slain by the compara- 
tively unarmed natives. -If anything were wanting to 
prove the cat-like nature of the puma, the fact that it 
purrs in captivity when pleased, and even utters a 
sound approaching to a mew, would settle the matter 
to the satisfaction of everybody. In nature the cries 
of the puma are weird and mournful. But it is on the 
z G. 97 H 


whole a silent animal. With an absence of prejudice 
befitting so great a naturalist, Darwin banqueted off 
puma during his travels, and found it excellent. Even 
in this country canine teeth have been recorded from 
what bore the name of jugged hare, and was at least 
a dark- coloured and well-flavoured viand. 


Panther and leopard, or pard, are really quite syn- 
onymous. But that mighty hunter, the late Sir Samuel 
Baker, proposed to restrict the use of the name 
" panther " to leopards of seven feet and upwards in 
length. The leopard is Asiatic and African in range. 
It is a perfectly typical cat, and, like so many others, 
spotted. The nature of the spots enables the leopard 
to be distinguished at once from the South American 
jaguar, to which it bears not a little resemblance, 
though it is true that the latter, being a more perfectly 
arboreal animal, has shorter legs. The spots in the 
leopard are in the form of rings of black, where best 
developed, the centre of the ring being of the same 
tawny ground colour as the intervals between the 
spots. In the jaguar the ring-like markings enclose 
a central black spot. The spotting has been thought 
by an ingenious speculator in zoology to be a vestige 
of a former armoured condition. He held that the 
spotted carnivora were the immediate descendants of 
creatures with heavy plates imbedded in the skin, like 
an armadillo or a glyptodon. The last trace of these 
was to be seen in the black spotting of to-day. But 
there is really very little to be said for this view. The 
leopard, like so many other animals, shows at times 
the phenomenon known as " melanism." That is, the 
colouring is so generally darkened as to produce black- 
ness. These black leopards have the reputation of 
greater ferocity than their paler brethren. Melanic 


To /ac* ^. 98] 



leopards are said to be most common in damp and hot 
localities, such as the steaming forests of the Malay 
peninsula. Even then the leopard does not entirely 
change its spots, for in the proper light the spots can 
be recognized by their pattern, just as the pattern of 
a white damask tablecloth can be recognized in spite 
of the absence of differentiation of colour. The 
ancients held that the leopard had a fragrant breath, 
which is unexpected in so carnivorous a creature. 
The idea not only crops up in Pliny, whose works are 
a heap of confusion, where anything in the nature of 
legend may be shot and subsequently utilized, but in 
an Anglo-Saxon poem. Even Dryden was not above 
the naturalists of antiquity in this belief. " The 
pantere like unto the smaragdyne " seems to be an 
equally inept description of this cat, unless indeed 
the eyes alone are referred to. 


It is only rarely that this beautiful feline has been 
on view at the Zoo. In fact until very recently it was 
quite unknown in that collection. Since then, how- 
ever, there have been several examples. The ounce 
is not, as it might be thought to be, simply a pale and 
rather woolly variety of the common leopard. It is 
a perfectly distinct form, and is limited to Thibet and 
the highlands of Central Asia, like the kiang. It is 
certainly of a furry aspect, as is also the kiang, and as 
befits an inhabitant of a cold climate. The skin has 
a paler ground colour than in the leopard, and is 
sprinkled over with spots, which are rather less denned. 
The tail is particularly thick and long, and this indeed 
is the most obvious character of the beast. The tail 
is so long that it is actually longer than the head and 
body together in some, though not in all, specimens 
that have been carefully measured. 



In its native mountains the ounce attacks wild 
sheep and goats, and it prefers, like its prey, lofty 
altitudes. The cat is usually found at such heights 
as 9,000 feet, but in winter descends rather lower. 
Like the puma, but unlike its nearer relative the 
leopard, the ounce^apparently will not fall foul of man. 
At any rate there appears to be no positive record of 
its ever having done so. In the Caucasus dwells a 
leopard-like creature which has been confounded with 
the ounce. But it has been shown that the " leopard " 
of the Caucasus is a true leopard, though differing a 
good deal from the African and Indian beasts. Its 
paleness of hue approaches that of the ounce, but it 
is not so pronounced. Felis tulliana, as it is called, 
is apparently a " good " species of leopard, and is not 
the same as Felis uncia. 


Felis catus of Britain and Europe generally is one 
of those creatures which are distinctly on the wane ; 
that is to say, so far as concerns this country. On the 
Continent in wild forests, such as those of Transylvania 
and in many parts of Europe, the wild cat still lives 
and multiplies. A defunct one floating down the 
River Adige allowed a witty onlooker to term it the 
"poor cat i' the adage." In Regent's Park the 
cats chiefly observable are kept for the purpose of 
thinning the rats and mice which revel there in un- 
accustomed plenty, and do not belong to Felis catus, 
as sdme people still think. The genuine wild cat, how- 
ever, with which we are here concerned is often on view 
in the Zoo. There was until lately a fine one, pre- 
sented by that eminent zoological observer, the late 
Lord Lilford. This cat spoke at times, and with no 
un certain sound ; its loudness was indisputable, and 
an excellent sympathizer with beasts who wrote in the 



Saturday Review thought that he was able to interpret 
its utterance as a protest against captivity. What 
was proved, however, is the power of caterwauling in 
a voice not inferior in variety of tones to that of domestic 
pussy. To the casual onlooker the true wild cat of 
Europe does not differ widely from many specimens of 
domestic cats. It is difficult, indeed, to distinguish with 
absolute certainty some so-called domestic cats from 
a genuine wild specimen. This does not in the least 
prove that the tame cat and the wild cat are the same 
speices ; that idea admits of disproof, which we shall 
set forth presently. What it undoubtedly does prove 
is the close interbreeding for many generations of the 
two stocks. So intertwined nowadays are the two 
races that it is better to speak of both, and not limit 
ourselves to one. As to the real wild cat, it has been 
extinct in England since, at any rate, 1843 ; indeed, 
some put its final disappearance much earlier. The 
late Rev. H. A. Macpherson considered that historical 
evidence placed the death of the last wild cat in the 
Lake district, which would naturally have harboured 
cats for a longer period than more cultivated tracts, 
as long ago as 1754. Pennant, so well known as the 
correspondent of Gilbert White, termed the animal the 
" British tiger," a name well earned by its ferocity, 
and perhaps by its size relative to the domestic cat. 
The amount of spitting and swearing which will prob- 
ably greet a prolonged attention to a caged cat at the 
Zoo, will amply bear out the justice of Pennant's name. 
Not an atom of white hair is ever to be found about the 
true wild cat ; but other positive differences, owing to 
the repeated crossings already referred to, are prac- 
tically wanting. 

It may be asked, however, how it is that if cats have 
been common in this country in the past though rare 
now, our domestic variety is not an offshoot from 



Felis catus. It may seem to some so elaborate a diver- 
gence from obviousness to seek a foreign origin for a 
beast so exactly like a wild creature actually inhabiting 
these islands. The proof is largely antiquarian in its 
nature. If wild cats were really domesticated, how 
is it that we hear so little about them in the past ; and 
how is it that when legend or history does tell us any- 
thing, it is to emphasize their scarcity and value. 
Witness, for example, the story of Dick Whittington. 
His cat brought him a fortune. The very name " puss " 
is an indication of exotic origin. Some think it is an 
abbreviation of " Persian," and that in consequence 
we are to look upon Persia as the ancestral home of 
our fireside friends. Not so thinks the author of that 
most readable work, Gleanings from the Natural History 
of the Ancients. For Mr. Watson the name is a cor- 
ruption of Bubastis or Pasht, and suggests an Egyptian 
origin, which fits in well with the habitat of a wild cat 
Felis maniculata, and with the probable course of 
civilization and cats from Egypt along the Mediter- 
ranean to these shores of ours. Perhaps the " poor 
cat " who " amat pisces, sed not vult tingere plantas," 
has retained its dread of water from a previous dwell- 
ing in a hot, sandy, and waterless desert. That there 
is no inherent dislike of water in the cat tribe is clearly 
shown by the fact that the tiger will swim across the 
river Amur in its northward wanderings, and to the 
island of Hong Kong in search of pigs, or perhaps 
coolies, while the East harbours also a carnivore which 
is actually known from its habitats as the " Fishing 
cat." That the domestic cat has not been long 
" civilized," relatively speaking, is shown by its reten- 
tion of many of the habits of a wild animal. An able 
and ingenious writer, Dr. Louis Robinson, has lately 
discerned in the ways of tabbies many such traits. 
The fondness for sleeping coiled up and on an exposed 



though often remote situation suggests a fear of 
enemies, and also a kind of imitation of the serpent. 
To imitate a serpent, however, seems to be needless. 
If there is anything in the world sharper than a serpent's 
tooth it is a cat's claw. A wild cat can look after 
itself without, so to speak, borrowing from the attitudes 
of the serpent, and endeavouring to delude its foes 
into the notion that they are to deal with the " vengeful 
snake." Still, the aloofness of pussy is probably a 
trait of wildness, as is her frequent habit of escaping 
for weeks from comfort, and leading a wild and hunting 
life in neighbouring game preserves. 


About twice the size of a common cat with a long tail 
and of an uniform sandy or tawny hue, is the Fossa of 
Madagascar, an island which does not nourish many 
bloodthirsty beasts of prey. It appears, however, 
that what it wants in quantity it makes up for in 
quality ; for the Cryptoprocta, as its specific name 
suggests, is reputed to be one of the most ferocious of 
hunting mammals. The unprejudiced visitor to the 
Zoo will probably not be of that opinion. For the 
specimens that have been on view at that institution 
present the appearance of mildness rather than ferocity 
of disposition. But place a Cryptoprocta handy to a 
farmyard and the bloodthirstiness comes into evidence ; 
it will kill and slay indefinitely. In this it is like its 
not near relative the weasel, ferocity of disposition 
being often in wild beasts disproportionate to size. 
This fossa must not be confounded with another 
Madagascar carnivorous animal, Fossa daubentoni, 
which is more definitely a civet, though lacking the 
odoriferous pouch of those beasts. To avoid confusion 
the latter animal is spoken of as the fossane. The exact 
position which Cryptoprocta occupies in the carnivorous 



series is a matter of some dispute. There is no doubt, 
of course, that it belongs the the Aeluroid or cat-like 
division of that tribe ; but there are those who dwell 
upon its civet-like features, while others urge its greater 
likeness to the true cats of the family Felidae. A third 
opinion remains, which is that Cryptoprocta is a slightly 
altered descendant of the creodonta, an extinct race 
of carnivorous mammals from which possibly all the 
existing groups have been derived. The fossa has the 
retractible claws of the cats, coupled with an almost 
plantigrade gait ; the latter quality, of course, not cat- 
like, but a point of resemblance to the Viverridae, or 
civets. The tawny colour of the Cryptoprocta cannot 
be put down, like that of the lion, to a fondness for a 
desert environment. And cases like this raise a doubt 
as to how far colour in such instances is the result of an 
adaptation to natural surroundings. Apparently no- 
thing is known of the new-born young of the Crypto- 
procta. It will be noticed that the fossa has the normal 
number of five toes upon each limb, and that it has the 
elongated muzzle of the viverrines, and not the shortened 
face of the much modified cats. 


The mungoose (the name is a corruption of a " native " 
word, and has of course nothing to do with " goose ") 
is rather interesting on account of what it does than 
what it is. It is, as a matter of fact, one of the Viver- 
ridae, or civets, the apparently more archaic relations 
of the cats. It has the primitive character that many 
of the viverrids have of five toes on each hand and foot. 
The feet are moreover plantigrade and the claws are not 
retractile into sheaths as they are in all true cats, belong- 
ing, that is to say, to the genus Felis. The colour is 
usually a speckled "pepper and salt"; but the hues 
vary according to the species, of which this genus 



Herpestes contains about twenty. The mungoose is 
Herpestes ichneumon ; and the beast is often spoken of as 
the ichneumon. It has been also called, the Cat of 
Pharaoh, and also by a somewhat remarkable change the 
mouse of Pharaoh. It is found in northern Africa, in 
Palestine and Asia Minor, and creeps into Spain. 

The mungoose is cat-like in its pursuit of rats and mice, 
but nothing comes amiss to it in the way of animal life. 
Buff on remarks that " its courage is equal to the sharp- 
ness of its appetite, being neither intimidated by the 
anger of the dog, nor the malice of the cat " an 
excellent distinction between the characters of those 
carnivores. The mungoose shares with the secret an? 
vulture, the hedgehog, and the pig, some immunity 
against the bite of venomous serpents. But it is not 
so certain whether the immunity is not more due to the 
activity of the creature is escaping the strokes of its 
enemy than to any subtle physiological character. In 
any case mungooses have been imported into Sta. 
Lucia for the purpose of confronting the deadly Fer de 
Lance. Legend holds that if the ichneumon is bitten 
it immediately runs off, and eats the leaf of a particular 
plant. It was thought also by the ancients that the 
animal covered itself before engaging in these encounters 
with a coat of mud, so as to render itself impervious to 
the vengeful snake. The Rev. Mr. Topsell related in 
the sixteenth century the story of these combats. 
" When the aspe espyeth her threatening rage, presently 
turning about her taile, provoketh the ichneumon to 
combate, and with an open mouth and lofty head doth 
enter the list, to her own perdition. For the ichneumon 
being nothing afraid of this great bravado, receiveth the 
encounter, and taking the head of the aspe in his mouth 
biteth that off." The introduction of these creatures 
into the West Indies was no doubt useful in the slaughter 
of a few trigonocephali, and more rats, but the carnivore 



developed a taste for the hen-roosts and the last stage 
of the island was worse than the first. It is ever thus 
when we attempt to interfere with the due course of 


The aard wolf, Proteles cristatus, is one of the scarcer 
visitors to the Zoo, only two examples altogether having 
been exhibited there. The animal is hyaena-like in 
aspect, and is in fact a kind of weakened and slightly 
degenerate hyaena. The huge teeth of the latter which 
can crack a marrow bone as easily as a man will a nut, 
are dwindled into tiny and inefficacious organs of 
mastication. But it is striped like one species of hyaena, 
and has a mane like that cowardly and yet ferocious 
carnivore. The aard wolf, or " earth " wolf as the 
phrase is to be translated, is a nocturnal creature that 
lives in deserted or unappropriated dwellings of the aard 
vark or earth pig, the " Edentate " Orycteropus. The 
Swede Sparrman, who first gave a proper account of this 
feeble relation of the hyaenas, called it " viverra," and as 
a matter of fact, it has rather more affinities to the 
Viverridae, or civet tribe, than have the hyaenas, though 
the latter come nearer to that group of cat-like animals, 
than to the cats proper. The ineffective teeth of the 
hyaena-like Proteles are readily explained when its food 
is taken into account. The stomachs of no less than 
fifty individuals have been examined (it is hoped that the 
creature is now on the " protected list "), and in all of 
them nothing but termites (white " ants ") were found. 
At the Zoo, a mixture of finely chopped meat and milk 
and bread does duty, or rather did duty, in the case of 
this animal and the ant-eaters, for the real article of diet. 
It would seem, however, that Proteles has copied the 
objectionable habit of the chacma baboon (see page 32), 
and has taken to killing lambs for the sake of the curdled 



milk in their stomachs. So that what with this habit 
and the zeal for science exhibited in returning the com- 
pliment by examining its stomach, the days of Proteles 
will probably not be long in the land. Like most 
carnivora Proteles has glands secreting a strongly 
flavoured liquid at the root of the tail. In the case of 
the skunk, these glands, well-known in that animal, are 
doubtless for aggressive purposes. Most probably, as it 
appears to us, the variety of flavours which these 
glands produce in different animals are " recognition 
odours," a more effective way, one would think, for 
individuals of a species to recognize each other than the 
white patches, and other recognition marks, seeing 
that in mammals generally the sense of smell is superior 
to that of sight. 


Dogs are usually gregarious animals as everyone 
knows,"and the hunting of wolves in packs occurred 
as an incident, or used to occur, in every juvenile book 
of adventure, rightly impressing upon the mind this 
fact in Natural History. The Lycaon pictus shows its 
dog-like characters by the fact of its similar mode of 
hunting, and not only by its anatomical structure. As 
to the latter, it is important to note some of the features 
which distinguish the dogs which form a distinct group 
of the carnivora, from the cat-like and bear-like carni- 
vores. As to colour, dogs do not, as a rule, produce spots 
or stripes while cats do very generally, and the members 
of the bear tribe frequently have ringed tails. It is true 
that there are spotted dogs ; but these where not signs 
of conviviality are artificial breeds. Dogs are digiti- 
grade like the cats, but they have not retractile claws, 
and they do not use their comparatively blunt claws 
for tearing and scratching like the cat. Unlike the " cat 
i' the adage," they do not dislike water. Cats are 

107 ' 


solitary ; dogs as already mentioned, are friendly to 
each other and gregarious. Indeed, the fondness of the 
dog for man is held to be a mistake on the part of the 
dog who considers his master to be a superior kind of dog, 
ready for country excursions and the pursuit of game. 
Bears, it will be remembered, are plantigrade, i.e. they 
walk upon the palms of the hands, and the sole of the 
feet. They may have a prehensile tail, which a dog never 
has. Their intestine is not furnished with a blind 
appendage, the caecum. The intestines of both cat 
and dogs are so provided. There are points in the skull 
and the teeth which differentiate the three groups which 
the late President of the Zoological Society, Sir William 
Flower, called respectively, Aeluroidea, Cynoidea, and 
Arctoidea. Lycaon hunts in packs, whence its vernacular 
name. These associations consist of some fifteen on an 
average ; but as few as four, and as many as sixty have 
been noted in one pack. They pursue their prey with 
skill and unanimity : so quick are they in their move- 
ments that the quarry is sighted (or smelt), caught, and 
eaten before the indignant farmer or sportsman can come 
come up with the depredators. The colour of this dog 
is one of the most remarkable features. The ground 
colour is a buffish yellow marked with irregular blotches 
of dark brown. It has so distinct a likeness to an hyaena, 
that the naturalist who first described and named this 
dog, actually placed it with the hyaenas. It has only 
four toes instead of the usual canine five. Its voice is 
various ; it barks, chatters like a monkey, and says 
" ho, ho," like " the second note of a cuckoo." 


The blue fox of commerce and of the Arctic regions is 
the summer form of the white fox of the same quarter of 
the globe. But it appears that this change of fur on the 
approach of winter is by no means universal ; and some 

1 08 


have even gone so far as to assert that the change is 
rare or never occurs, and that in consequence the two 
forms are two forms, and not merely seasonal varieties. 
There is no doubt, however, that the change does take 
place ; for foxes at the Zoo have been known to put off 
one coat and take on the other. In Spitzbergen, and in 
all such very northerly latitudes, the change takes place ; 
but in Iceland, the southernmost land inhabited by this 
fox, there is no change in winter, a case which is paralleled 
by the polar hare of this country, which changes to 
white in winter in Scotland, but not in the damper, and 
thus warmer, Ireland. Though now limited to the 
frozen north, this fox in former days wandered farther 
south, as its fossil remains in this country show. The 
same is true of many animals now definitely confined to 
polar latitudes, such as the polar bear and the reindeer. 
This fox feeds upon ptarmigan or any birds that it can 
get, and upon cast up carcasses of seals and whales ; it 
is also fond of shell- fish and of eggs. In the winter 
of the north it is difficult for it to get any food at all, 
and it has been suggested that it stores up food when 
there is a surplus for a rainy or, better perhaps, a snowy 
day. But the exact observation wanting to confirm such 
a story appears to be lacking so far. It is described as 
uttering a " yapping bark." It is called a fox mainly 
because of its small size and long tail. The dogs, 
wolves, j ackals and foxes, form in reality a highly uniform 
assemblage of carnivores. By certain small skull 
characters it is possible to separate a fox-like series from 
a wolf-like series. Viewed in this way, Azara's fox of 
South America is a wolf and a jackal is a wolf ; but the 
Reynard of England, as well as its arctic ally, is a fox. 
To those who have not had the opportunity of examining 
the bones the jackals suggest a fox rather than a dog or 
wolf. But probably no one would doubt the fox-like 
nature of Canis lagopus, the arctic fox. 




The Polar Bear. 

THE bear tribe in the strict sense, that is the 
family Ursidae, differ from the other bear-like 
creatures, which we have considered, by their larger 
size and massive build. Even the little and very spry 
Malay bear is big when compared with e.g. a glutton, 
one of the largest of the non-ursine Arctoidea. Al- 
though bears can dig, they cannot, or at any rate do 
not, burrow holes for themselves like others of their 
allies, such as the badger. The polar bear differs 
from its congeners mainly in its very large size and 
white fur. The Zoological Society have exhibited in 
the past fairly large polar bears, and it will have been 
noticed by those who saw some of those animals that 
the fur was not of that brilliant whiteness with which it 
is wont to be represented in works upon Natural history. 
To set down this loss of pure colour to the " smuts " 
prevalent even in Regent's Park would be incorrect ; 
for the polar bear is really only pure white when young. 
It gets brown with age, and the sailors who know it in 
its haunts call it " Brownie." Darkening with age is a 
common phenomenon in animals, and is even noticeable 
in ourselves before, of course, the ultimate whitening of 

This bear has been also nicknamed the " farmer " 
owing to its leisurely and agricultural gait. The 
polar bear, " alone and palely loitering," in very 



truth, for as a rule the males and females go about in 
solitary walks, is one of those animals which go right 
round the pole. It is found in Greenland and Spitz- 
bergen and other places within the arctic circle ; in past 
times it extended its range farther south probably 
when the climatic conditions were more severe over 
northern Europe than they are at present ; for its 
remains have been found in the neighbourhood of Ham- 
burg. The underside of the feet of this bear are partly 
covered with fur and not naked and horny merely as in 
other bears. It seems clear that this furriness can be 
put down to a need for progressing with safety upon 
slippery ice. It eats seals and dead whales, but es- 
pecially seals. It has been known also to clear off a 
series of eider duck's eggs. This bear does not seem to 
be particularly fierce unless provoked. The general 
impression of ferocity which a large carnivore inspires 
has no doubt led to some exaggeration of its aggressive- 
ness. At the Zoo, polar bears are as a rule noteworthy 
for their affability to the general public. One of the 
triumphs of longevity at the Zoo was a bear of this 
species, who lived in those gardens, for no less than 
thirty-seven years. The polar bear does not give that 
hug for which bears are so notorious ; it contents itself 
with biting. 


The glutton or wolverene is as handsome a beast as is 
any of the fur-bearing animals of the north. It is cir- 
cumpolar, as are so many creatures of the north, and 
though now not found in Europe at a lower range than 
Norway, it was German a few centuries ago. More 
centuries ago still, in fact thousands of years since, the 
glutton dwelt in this island, as its remains in Norfolk 
show us. In spite of its regrettable habits, upon which 
we propose to enlarge immediately, the glutton is a 



handsome beast. It has rich glossy brown fur and is 
of respectable size, and quite one of the largest of the 
Musteline carnivores which are closely related to the 
bears but still more nearly to the lithe stoats, and the 
aquatic otter. 

It walks about on the soles of the feet in the true bear 
fashion, and this walk is in captivity agitated and rapid 
as is the way with many captive carnivora, especially 
the little ratel Mellivora, its near neighbour at the 
Zoo, though not in Nature, as it is African and Indian. 
The latter complicates its rapid walk to and fro by an 
occasional somersault. The glutton has a short tail, 
which is largely hidden by the thick fur, a truly bear- 
like attribute. Like the polar bear, and perhaps for 
similar reasons, our wolverene has hairy palms and 
soles. Like other carnivora, especially of course the 
American " essence pedlar " or skunk, the glutton 
is provided with glands which secrete an abominably 
smelling fluid, which can be shot to a distance, and is 
probably a better safeguard than its teeth and claws, 
against invasion of its rights. For though stories are 
current of a highly spiced nature, it seems that the 
ferocity of the glutton is much exaggerated. Not so, 
however, its voracity, and its very name both in English 
and in Latin (Gulo) is a testimony to accurate public 
opinion. In his Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus 
Olaus Magnus, Archbishop of Upsala, in the fourteen 
hundreds, spoke concerning the glutton with no un- 
certain note. " This animal," observed the archbishop 
(in Latin), " is most voracious. When a body is dis- 
covered it eats with such rapidity that its belly becomes 
distended like a drum." Later on a freeish translation 
is perhaps more advisable. The Latin may be thus 
rendered: "The creature seeks some conveniently close 
tree trunks between which it squeezes itself like an 
orange and is then ready to commence anew. This 



alternate procedure lasts as long as does the carcass ; 
after it is eaten up to the last morsel, the glutton sets 
out in quest of another." It suggests, as occurs to 
Olaus Magnus, the ancient Romans who, " vorando 
bibendoque vomunt redeuntque ad mensam." Like 
many eaters of carcasses the glutton also pursues and 
kills living food. 

It is said to bring great cunning to bear upon its 
predatory expeditions and to observe, and select in 
accordance with its observations, a tree whose bark 
has been scored by the horns of the expected deer, and 
then to spring with one fierce bound upon its neck and 
crunch it to death. In any case it has been indisputably 
seen running hard after a hare. It is much more likely 
that the glutton is mainly devoted to carrion, but 
that now and then, by way of a variety, it succeeds in 
overpowering some weakly but living creature. This 
" vulture among quadrupeds," as it has not ineptly 
been called, is nevertheless tamable. Audubon and 
Bachman, who are among the principal natural historians 
of the animals of North America, relate that a Gulo was 
so adequately tamed that it sat up on its haunches and 
smoked a pipe. It is an odd fact, exemplified also in 
the chimpanzee " Consul," that the imitation of smoking 
is always gloried over and " par'd " as a human attribute 
much more than such genuine human qualities as the 
capacity for counting and other really intellectual 
achievements on the part of monkeys and others. It is 
true that the " learned pig " appears to confute this 
suggestion. But it is gravely to be suspected that that 
favourite of some decades since also held a pipe and re- 
ferred to a tall glass. The late Dr. Elliot Coues, the 
American ornithologist, was struck by the magpie-like 
curiosity of the glutton, a characteristic which it shares 
with the raccoon, its ally. An individual stole from a 

Z.G. 113 I 


camp, blankets, knives, and indeed all removable para- 
phernalia. The glutton when dead is much better than 
a living dog. Its skin is of course immensely valuable. 
In mediaeval medicine the glutton, like the beaver, the 
toad, and the woodlice, in fact the animal creation 
generally, figured in prescriptions. The blood when 
diluted with hot water is recommended to the hunter 
who desires success, mingled with honey it is a sine qua 
non for the lover who would gain his ends. 


The French anatomist de Blainville aptly called this 
small carnivore " Subursus," a name which exactly ex- 
presses its relationship to other carnivora. For it 
belongs to the bear tribe in a wide sense, though pre- 
senting us with many points of difference to the true 
bears. Its general aspect is not unbear-like ; but the 
long ringed tail is a character which no real bear in 
the restricted sense possesses. Like the bears, too, the 
raccoon walks flatfootedly ; it is plantigrade instead of 
walking on the toes, as do the cats and dogs. Its limbs, 
moreover, are very long for an animal of this group, 
which gives to it when walking a curious bunched up 
appearance. The word " coon," as most persons know, 
is but a corruption of raccoon, and raccoon itself, as 
fewer persons know, is again a corruption from the 
Indian name for this animal, viz. Arathcon. It is a 
purely American beast, and the " washing " raccoon as 
it has been termed, Procyon lotor, is an inhabitant of 
North America. The crab-eating raccoon, P.cancri- 
vorus, is from the South. A number of other names 
have been given ; for instance one form has been called, 
after the historian of South American natural history, 
Procyon Hernandezi. Our English Pennant, the corre- 
spondent of Gilbert White, and historian of London as 
well of as beasts, wrote of the 'coon that it is " very good- 


To face p. 114] 



natured and sportive, but as unlucky as a monkey." 
He furthermore described it as very inquisitive, and 
alleges that it will, if the opportunity arise, " like Roger 
the monk, get excessively drank." The American 
Aubudon, with his colleague Bachman, called it 
" cunnning, easily tamed, and makes a pleasant monkey- 
like pet." It is indeed a very Paul Pry among non-human 
mammals. This renders it not so desirable as a pet ; 
for it will uncork bottles, open doors, and generally put 
its nose and fingers where they should not be. In a state 
of nature the Procyon is " sly, dey-vilish sly." The 
beast watches, we are told, the turtle when about to 
deposit her eggs, and " sometimes by the margin of a pond 
or crouched among tall reeds and grasses, grimalkin- 
like, the raccoon lies still as death waiting with patience 
for some ill-fated duck that may come within its reach." 
All or nearly all is fish that comes to the raccoon's net. 
Poultry, mice, eggs, insects and fruit form the staple of 
its diet ; and it will turn over stones in its search for 
crayfish. The southern species is so called on this very 
account. " The habits of the muscles (sic) that inhabit 
our freshwater rivers are better known to the raccoon 
than to most conchologists," wrote Audubon and 
Bachman. And there are legends to the effect that in 
its quest of oysters, the raccoon sometimes gets a paw 
shut in the shell of the angry mollusc, and thus fast 
trapped is drowned by the rising tide. This, however, is 
a tale which has been naturally viewed with suspicion. 
It is clear, notwithstanding, that the raccoon is very 
universal in its choice of food, a circumstance 
which is always to the advantage of an animal 
with so wide a taste. Omnivorousness is also writ large 
upon its teeth, the molars being wide crowned and 
tubercular, not thin and with cutting edges as in the 
purely carnivorous cat tribe. It seems to be generally 
believed that the raccoon handles and washes its food 


before eating it ; we certainly have noticed something of 
the kind among the numerous specimens that have been 
exhibited at the Zoological Gardens. Yet Audubon, who 
knew his beasts and especially his birds well, distinctly 
says that he never saw anything of the kind. Living as 
it does in a climate which varies greatly from summer to 
winter it is natural that the raccoon should hibernate. 
But apparently this habit is not universal in the race. 
For they have been seen at large in the winter, braving 
the extreme cold of North America. This being the 
case it is not surprising to learn that the hibernation is 
a very perfunctory affair as compared with the prepara- 
tions indulged in by some other mammals. The 'coon 
makes for itself no special home for the winter, but lies 
coiled up in the hollow trunk of a tree, or even upon 
the branches of the same. It is in fact mostly an 
arboreal creature, though it can swim and capture fish. 
It makes its home in trees and carries on its business 
elsewhere. This is one of the animals concerning which 
it can safely be said that there is sure to be at least a 
single specimen on view at the Zoo, and probably of 
both the " common " and the " crab-eating " species. 


The Patagonian sea lion, Otaria jubata, is, as its name 
suggests, a native of the sea coasts of the extreme south 
of the American continent, and of certain adjacent groups 
of islands. The term sea " lion, " and the scientific 
name of the species " jubata," mark a distinctive char- 
acter of this species, which is the possession of a name 
not visible in the animal unless its fur has got dry 
through basking in the sun. To the several other 
species of " otaries " (for example the Cape otary which 
is figured herewith), the name sea bear is given, a nan?e 
which has distinct merits in that it is perhaps to the 
bear tribe among the fissipede carnivora that the Pinni- 



To lace p. 1 1 6] 


pedia are most nearly allied. An alternative name to 
otary as applied to the whole group is eared seal ; both 
these names embody a fact which is of considerable 
importance for the discrimination of these aquatic 
carnivora from seals and walruses. They possess 
indeed a tiny external ear, the conch as it is called, 
which is completely absent in the seals. The seals and 
walruses have to get along with a mere hole in the, side 
of the head, and are in the position of a seventeenth 
century political or religious offender, who has had his 
ears cropped. The persistence of this external ear is 
one of several features in which the otaries have retained 
more of the characteristics of a land-living ancestor than 
have the seals. Other points which can be readily seen 
in the living examples at the Zoo are the following. The 
fore and hind flippers are not merely flippers as they are 
in the seal ; indeed in the latter animal, the hind 
flippers are, as it were, soldered to the tail, and form 
with it a single steering apparatus. In the sea lions and 
sea bears the flippers have still got some independent 
movement and their possessors can shuffle along on the 
land in a successful if awkward fashion, while the seal 
can merely wriggle along as would a man whose legs 
and arms had been tied to his body. More than this, 
the nostrils are at the end of the snout in otaries, and on 
the upper surface in seals, a position which is more 
convenient in an aquatic animal whose aim in life 
it is to respire at the surface of the water with as little 
as possible of the body showing. These various features 
lead us to the not unnatural inference that the true seals 
have been for a longer period adapted to a purely 
aquatic existence than have the sea lions. The more 
obvious neck contrasting with the " bull neck " of seals 
is a fact to be urged as pointing in the same direction, 
while the claws on the hands and feet, though also to be 
regarded as survivals, are to be met with in the seals, 



and thus do not place the two families relatively. 
There are several kinds of sea lions and sea bears, 
probably at least eight, though the exact numbers are 
still a matter of uncertainty. From a well known and 
northern kind, Otaria ursina, is obtained the sealskin 
of commerce. The paradox is therefore true that seal- 
skin is not the skin of a seal. These fur-bearing sea 
bears are often spoken of as fur seals in contra-distinc- 
tion to those which have no fine under fur, but only 
coarse hair, and which are therefore called hair seals. 
But no anatomical characters, other than this, allow us 
to distinguish two groups in the family. Although this 
sea lion, and hair seals in general, do not furnish coats 
and waistcoasts for the rich and cold, there are other 
hair seals who are by no means on this count free from 
alarms. Thus Steller's sea bear almost takes the place 
among the natives of the Aleutian islands that the rein- 
deer does with the Laps. The flesh, fishy, and unap- 
petising as it might well be to ourselves, is eaten, and 
of course, is said to resemble veal, as all strange meats 
are. Its abundant fat is the local substitute for coal and 
gas. For the storing of this fuel the animal's stomach 
forms a convenient receptacle. The skin is used to 
cover boats. The gullet becomes the boots of the hunts- 
man or occupant of the boat, and the intestines sewn 
together afford him a nondescript and waterproof 
garment. Nothing in short is wasted by him except 
the skeleton, and even this is sought after by others, for 
museums. Sea lions congregate together in herds upon 
rocks, which temporary dwelling places are termed 
" rookeries," though " Why rookeries ? " we may well 
exclaim with Miss Betsy Trotwood. This friendliness, 
tempered, however, in the wild state by acts of discipline 
on the part of the large males, does not extend to individ- 
uals of different species ; and in the large pond at the Zoo, 
if there is more than one sea lion an arrangement of 



the nature meted out to Box and Cox is adopted. While 
one beast sports in the water the other gazes enviously 
from the interior of a shed, and separated by a gate ; 
otherwise misunderstandings might arise. Sea lions are 
fish eaters in a wide and non-zoological sense ; for they 
are partial to crustaceans as well. An ingenious ' ' dodge.' ' 
was adopted at the Zoo by the late Mr. A. D. Bartlett 
some years since to tempt the appetite of a sickly sea 
bear, which had been left for its health's sake by a 
travelling menagerie. The otary was turned into the 
pond in company with some live eels ; and the pleasures 
of the chase induced it to make a hearty meal. The 
intelligence of a sea lion is on a fairly high level, and most 
persons have seen its dexterous catching of morsels of 
fish and its obedience to the commands of its keeper ; 
there will be some too, who remember Leconte, the 
old Frenchman who long presided over the sea lions at 
the Zoo. 


There is no difficulty whatever in recognizing a rodent, 
and in distinguishing it from any other group of existing 
mammals. There are only two living creatures which 
might cause confusion, and they are the Magadascar 
lemur, Chiromys, and the ungulate, Hyrax. But we have 
seen that there is no need to perplex ourselves over their 
correct placing. In all rodents the canine teeth are 
entirely absent, and in all of them there are but one pair 
of efficient incisor teeth in each jaw which are long and 
chisel-shaped and allow the rodent to perform its 
typical function, that of gnawing. It is true, that in the 
hares and rabbits there is a minute supplementary 
pair in the upper jaw ; but these are so small that they 
do not impair the general rodent-like aspect of the animal. 

There is an extraordinary variety of rodents, scattered 
practically over the whole surface of the world. They 



are more abundant in generic and specific types than 
any other existing order of mammals ; and the reason 
for their abundance and variation may perhaps be sought 
for in their small size and retiring ways. They skulk, 
burrow, hide in holes, secrete themselves in leafy 
retreats, dive under the water, and generally shun obser- 
vation. Besides the few forms of rodents which will be 
noticed in the following pages, a good many forms are 
usually on view in the Zoological Gardens. There are, 
for instance, commonly to be seen beavers, once, and 
that within the historic period, a denizen of the British 
Islands ; squirrels of many kinds, besides the so-called 
" flying " squirrels with a parachute stretching from arm 
to leg ; the marmot of the Alps, and that of India ; many 
rats of diverse kinds ; the South American agouti, 
and its ally the guinea pig (really Guiana pig) ; the hopping 
jerboa of the East, so like a small kangaroo, and 
related Cape jumping hare (Pedetes cafer) ; the little 
sandy coloured gerbilles and other rat- like creatures. 


South America, which fosters the muff-producing 
chinchilla, also is inhabited by the vizcacha or Lagostomus 
trichodactylus, a smallish rodent of the same family, 
Chinchillidae. The tail is long and the colour is dark, 
agreeably diversified by white patches on the cheeks and 
below. Unlike the chinchilla, the vizcacha dwells on 
the Pampas, and constructs there burrows in the soil, 
which are associated in number to form veritable cities, 
the so-called " vizcacheras." Like many of the cur- 
sorial rodents, the Lagostomus has its toes reduced to 
four on each front limb, and three on each hind limb. 
The underground cities which the vizcachas build and 
inhabit, consist of many burrows which intercommuni- 
cate, so that if an enemy enters by one door the viz- 
cacha can bolt by another, like a pickpocket through 



those convenient houses modified for his benefit. Like 
the burrowing marmot of North America miscalled the 
prairie dog, the vizcacha harbours, apparently not 
unwillingly, a varied assortment of lodgers. They belong 
to many classes of the animal kingdom. A fox is the 
largest of these boarders, and though he and his vixen 
devour the young vizcachas, it is apparently regarded 
merely as " churchyard luck " by the parents, who 
exhibit no particular symptoms of animosity against 
vulpes. A weasel also lives almost entirely with the 
vizcachas, and in his sheer innocence of intent it is hard 
to believe. Quite harmless are two species of swallow 
which build their nests upon the sides of the burrows 
like sand martins at home. Various wasps and beetles 
complete the list. In North America the rattlesnake 
and the burrowing owl live with the prairie dog in har- 
mony. In South America the same owl visits the 
vizcacheras occasionally, and sits outside. This seems 
to be pure sociability on the owl's part, for the bird 
does not apparently make any use of its acquaintance. 
The chief foes of the vizcachas are the jaguar and the 
puma ; the domestic dog they do not care about, but 
baffle his frantic attempts to catch them, by coolly, 
. but with an exact appreciation of the moments necessary 
for the action, dive into their burrow just before his jaws 
close upon them. Mr. Hudson, who is the chief 
authority upon the habits of this sociable little rodent, 
doubts if there is " any other four-footed beast so 
loquacious or with a dialect so extensive " as is the 
vizcacha. Being a white-fleshed rodent who does not 
lead too active a life the meat of the vizcacha is good to 


Such terms as " the sharp quilled porpentyne " and 
the " werely porpapyne," though bewildering in their 



spelling, and tending to the concealment of the origin 
of its name, illustrate the principal external feature of 
this large rodent. You cannot, however, tell the " war- 
like porcupine " by its quills ; for such thick, solid and 
sharp hairs, they are nothing else, are common, not 
only among rodents, but in the insectivora, and even 
in the spiny anteater of Australia, which is a representa- 
tive of the most ancient type of mammal known. How 
then is a porcupine to be distinguished from an over- 
grown rat, a magnified representative of the spiny 
mice ? For one thing, it has spines on its tail, which the 
spiny mice have not. But to be absolutely certain, 
recourse must be had to bony and other internal char- 
acters. The porcupines are also larger than any other 
spiny rodent, and there is of course no possibility of 
confusing them with sharp-nosed and sharp-toothed 
hedgehog, or Centetes. The tail will betray the mouse 

Show him a mouse's tail and he will guess 
With metaphysic swiftness at the mouse 

and at the Porcupine. The spines have of course 
given its name to the Porcupine. But it is not certain 
whether the derivation from '* Pore Epic," i.e. pig- 
spine, is correct, or the more probable " Porte Epic," 
i.e. spine bearer. As to the pig alternative, the fond- 
ness for calling beasts pigs with a qualification, is uni- 
versal. The porpoise is the pig fish ; the " Porcus 
marinus " of the ancients was a beast of some kind, 
but one does not know what. The only claim which 
the porcupine puts forth to this derivation is that, 
according to the Indian naturalist, Jerdon, the flesh 
of t the porcupine resembles roast pig, with a dash 
of veal, however, a flavour that seems, according to 
travellers and gastronomic experimenters, to be the 
flavour of almost everything new to the palate. The 
spines enter largely into the genuine natural history of 
the porcupine, as well as into legend. They are plainly 




a protective armature, and it will be noticed at the Zoo 
that, if a porcupine is alarmed or threatened, it instinc- 
tively bristles out its spines and turns its back upon the 
quarter whence threatens the supposed aggression. 
Yet it is clear that these fixed bayonets are not inex- 
pugnable. For we are told that the tiger will make a 
meal of a porcupine. As to legend, there is of course 
the story that the porcupine shoots its quills. This 
legend is utilised in the coat of arms of the French king, 
Louis XII., who bore armorially a porcupine with the 
motto " Comminus et eminus," i.e. prepared for enemies 
close at hand and at a distance. There is a pig-like 
suggestion too in the legend that the porcupine is especi- 
ally infuriated by, and will savagely attack, venomous 
serpents ; for it is well known that a pig will encounter, 
trample to death, and munch up the fierce Fer de Lance 
of the West Indies. The porcupine is alleged to roll 
upon the snake and transfix it with its spines, just as the 
purely insect- eating hedgehog of this country is alleged 
to roll over fallen apples in the orchard and bear them 
off to its lair. If the common porcupine of Asia, Africa, 
and even of certain parts of Southern Europe, be watched, 
the origin of the legend concerning the shooting off of its 
spines will be clear to the onlooker. It has the habit 
when annoyed of rustling its spines, and in the effort of 
rustling some of the spines will fall to the ground, or 
even be shaken to a little distance away. To such a 
small cause is the archery of the porcupine reduced. It 
is a remarkable fact that the porcupines of north and 
South America are arboreal, and that those of South 
America, which have a long tail, have that tail pre- 
hensile. There is thus an exact parallel between the 
monkey of the two hemispheres and the porcupines of 
the Old and New Worlds. Of the Canadian Urson and 
of the South American tree porcupines (Synetheres or 
Coendou), at any rate, of the latter, there are often, if 



not usually, specimens at the Zoo. It is a curious fact 
that a peculiar long-tailed porcupine of the Old World 
has such a habit of ridding itself of that tail by mis- 
adventure, that the original specimen was ineptly called 
Tricky >s lipura. 


There are several kinds of lemmings, at fewest two, 
which are circumpolar in range, and are found in the 
extreme of North America and Greenland, in Siberia and 
the north of Europe. They are little rodents, especially 
closely allied to the real water-rat, or vole, and belonging 
like that rodent, to a great family Muridae, which em- 
braces anything and everything that can be really 
termed a rat. The most familiar kind of lemming is the 
little animal which lives in the central highlands of 
Norway, and whose migrations are referred to in every 
book on popular zoology. It has been an inmate of the 
Zoo, though at the moment of writing there are no ex- 
amples of it. So associated is this little beast with its 
restless and persevering habits, that but a trifle is known 
about it when really at home in central Norway. The 
migrations seem to be associated with hunger ; unusual 
fertility produced lemmings in excess of available food. 
It is exactly the same thing that occasionally occurs with 
other rodents, more particularly with the field vole, of 
which there were phenomenal swarms in Scotland a few 
years back. When this event occurs, which is at quite 
irregular intervals, the lemmings put their best foot 
forward and set forth on their journey. So suddenly, and 
in such hordes, do they appear, that in old days they 
were held to be rained from the skies, as many persons 
believe with regard to frogs at the present day. They 
cross streams, descend and ascend cliffs, on their journey- 
ings, and in fact are impeded by no obstacle surmount- 



able or apparently insurmountable. This perseverance, 
however, leads to nothing ; for from these exodus no 
lemming ever returns. Like the Crusaders of old, they 
die from various causes on their travels. From falling 
into water, from fights with one another, and a vast 
quantity of them fall a prey to wolves and gluttons, 
buzzards and ravens, who haunt their route and take 
abundant toll of the migrants. Occasionally during a 
lemming year a fever arises along the route among the 
human inhabitants, which is called lemming fever. This 
is due to the numerous putrefying corpses left along the 
way, and is a testimony to their multitudes. The 
rapidity with which lemmings multiply is well put by 
Dr. Brehm, who says, " All the young of the first litter 
of the various lemming females thrive, and six weeks 
later at the most these also multiply. Meanwhile the 
parents have brought forth a second and a third litter, 
and these in their turn bring forth young." In past 
times lemmings lived in this country, and the interesting 
observation has been lately made of quite fresh-looking 
skeletons, with skins attached, in Portugal. It seems 
possible that lemmings still lurk among the fastnesses of 
the Iberian peninsula. 


Apart from the mysterious, and until this year almost 
fabulous Dinomys, of which the first and only example 
known until lately was met with casually wandering 
round the courtyard of a house in a remote Peruvian 
town, without visible means of subsistence or ascertain- 
able residence, the capybara, or carpincho, is the largest 
existing rodent. There was once upon a time literally 
" when pigs were swine," for the Suise were of a general- 
ized type, and could be better called swine than pig, 
which denotes the Chinese domestic variety a rodent 



obviously termed Megamys, with a body as big as an ox. 
The capybara is contented with the bulk of a sheep. It 
is a rodent whose nearest living allies are the Patagonian 
cavy, which looks like a weird long-legged hare, and of 
which there are always examples in the Gardens, and of 
the restless cavy, better known, when domesticated, as 
the Guinea pig. It might be thought that the name of 
the latter forbade any close alliance with the American 
carpincho. But Guinea in this case is merely a corrup- 
tion of Guiana. All the members of this family of rodents 
are in fact limited to the southern half of the American 
continent. The capybara, whose scientific name is Hydro- 
choerus capybara, which of course the generic name 
that is signifies water hog, is much addicted to water, 
and has distinct points of likeness to the ungulates gen- 
erally, if not to the pigs in particular. The skin is thick, 
and rather sparsely haired, with coarse hairs as com- 
pared to such a rodent as the squirrel, or even its ally, 
the Guiana pig. The toes are reduced in number, which 
is, as we have seen, an ungulate character ; their nails 
are approaching towards hoofs in character ; and finally 
the last molar tooth is of great length, as in the wart hog 
and, indeed, the elephant. Being largely aquatic it is 
not surprising to find that the hind toes are to some 
extent webbed. These creatures are sociable and fre- 
quent banks of rivers, whence they constantly plunge 
into the water, in which element they are adept swimmers. 
They delight in wallowing in mud like other thick- 
skinned beasts. Their gait is a clumsy gallop, and is 
compared by Mr. Aplin with that of the Guiana pig. 
The step of the carpincho in fact betrays the cavian. 
The blundering way in which these heavy rodents 
charge when disturbed is a source of terror to horses, 
who will not face them. They are literally thick skinned ; 
but in recompense they have the most complicated and 
furrowed brain of all rodents. 




Some of the characters of this archaic group have been 
already referred to under the carnivora. Others will be 
found below. 


Madagascar is a kind of common lodging-house for 
weird and ancient beasts who have found sanctuary in 
its impenetrable forests, unfrequented by many carni- 
vorous animals, and have thus escaped the extinction 
which their relatives have suffered elsewhere. Thus it is 
in Madagascar that the vast majority of the lemurs, those 
archaic forerunners of the monkey tribe, are to be found. 
The more modern types, such as the monkeys them- 
selves, and the bears and antelopes and feline carnivora, 
have never, as it appears, even gained access to Mada- 
gascar, which was cut off, it is believed, from the African 
continent some ages since. Among the peculiar beasts 
of that great island is the hedgehog-like Centetes, which 
belongs to the insectivora, a group which represents, as 
it would seem, an archaic state of affairs. Like the 
rodents, the insectivores have habituated themselves to 
almost every kind of life ; they burrow like the moles, 
swim like certain shrews, and the West African " otter " 
Potamogale, even fly, when we remember that the 
Colugo, Galeopithecus, is at leastn ot very remote from 
this group ; they especially favour a lurking existence, 
slinking in the underwood, and dwelling in holes ; in 
fact they do everything except lead an open and raven- 
ing life. It is perhaps for these reasons, coupled with 
their small size, that the insectivora, as a group, have 
persisted, and are indeed so numerous in their varied 
kinds. Centetes is not oy any means unlike a hedgehog 
in general aspect. It is a small brownish creature with 
a long snout, and with hairs which are stiff and yet are 
called hairs. A different name will be given by any one 



who handles the Centetes incautiously. It is really not 
far inferior to the hedgehog in spininess. In young 
stages it has definite bands of long spines down the body. 
Spines of course are a common feature of the whole race 
of insectivorous animals. They have, too, sharp teeth 
and well-developed canines. The bite of Centetes is a 
serious matter. It feeds upon earthworms chiefly. The 
Tendrec, Tanrec or Tenrec, as its various native aliases 
run, is one of the most prolific of mammals. It is said 
to produce twenty- one young at a birth. It has no tail 
and a very small brain, so small, indeed, that it is no 
larger in comparison to the skull than the extremely 
minute brains of certain extinct animals of the dim past 
belonging to quite other groups, and whose disappear- 
ance is perhaps partly to be explained by their lack of 
cunning. Measured by this standard the Tenrec is not 
long for this world. Few insectivores are to be seen at 
the Zoo. They do not readily lend themselves to cap- 
tivity. It is clear that moles and shrews are not suit- 
able exhibits. The Tupaia, however, a Malayan insec- 
tivora that seems to mimic a squirrel, is one of the few 
types that has been at the Zoo. 


This is a heterogeneous assemblage of peculiarly weird- 
looking beasts of doubtful relations to other mammals, 
and indeed to each other. Though it is plain enough 
from anatomical considerations, and from the analysis 
of extinct forms, that the sloth, American anteaters, and 
armadillos, form a closely related assemblage, it is not at 
all plain that these have any relation whatever to the 
Manis and the Orycteropus of the Old World, or that the 
two latter are in any way related to each other. Why 
then, it may fairly be asked, are all those creatures placed 
in one order, Edentata. The reasons in truth are of a 
negative character, and are simply an expression of the 



present powerlessness of zoologists to do any better. 
They fit in nowhere else, and in the meantime the group 
Edentata may be retained as an assemblage of creatures 
which admittedly require sorting out when we are able 
to do it. 


One of the most remarkable types of animal life which 
frequent the gloomy forests of South America is the 
great ant-bear, Myrmecophaga jubata, the maned ant- 
eater as it might be better called, in deference to its 
Linnaean name. Claws, tail and tongue, are its most 
striking attributes, and are most intimately concerned 
with its mode of life. It is a large and not uncomely 
beast, of a greyish black colour, with a conspicuous stripe 
over the shoulder, a small head at the end of a longish 
neck, and with a great bushy tail, which is carried in an 
arched fashion. Including this tail the ant-bear gets to 
be as long as seven feet, and the two sexes are of the same 
build and colour. The claws are so long and stout that 
the beast has to walk upon the sides of them. Their 
massive character is in association with the fact that the 
animal tears open the high ant-hills inhabited by the 
termites, or white ants of South America, which are 
often constructed with great solidity. The emerging 
ants are then licked up by the extraordinarily long and 
thin tongue, aided by a copious secretion of saliva. In 
most mammals the salivary glands are limited to the 
head and throat. But in Myrmecophaga these glands 
extend right over the breast, and are thus in a position 
to produce an enormous quantity of the necessary bird- 
lime for the capture of its prey. Like Manis of the East, 
Myrmecophaga has a mouth as toothless as that of the 
crone. But what it lacks in offensiveness in the mouth 
it makes up for by its claws, which can rip open any dog 
in a stroke or two. Their more effective use as an instru- 

Z.G. 129 K 


ment and as a weapon is arrived at by the exaggeration 
of one of them, the middle claw ; this has grown at the 
expense of the rest, and has thus been able with the same 
available material to reach a larger size and strength 
than if the material were distributed fairly through the 
hand. It will be just as well not to investigate in the 
Zoo the nature and uses of these claws. An individual 
possessed by the idea that the umbrella of commerce 
was an implement of use in the study of zoological pro- 
blems, proceeded to roke out an ant-bear. The ant-bear 
retaliated, and the result was that there was no evidence 
on the umbrella, but only in the paws of the bear, that 
it had ever had a silk cover. The long and bushy tail has 
a use that was at first scouted as improbable, but is now 
upheld. During sleep and in stormy weather, Myrme- 
cophaga winds its tail round its head and body in such 
a way that they must be protected from the weather. 
This ant-bear is never arboreal. But South America 
nourishes two allied genera, viz. Tamandua and Cyclo- 
Ihurus, which both live in trees. The former is not-un- 
frequently to be seen at the Zoo. 


An exceedingly dependent animal is the sloth. It 
lives in a continual state of suspense, as Sidney Smith 
remarked, like a curate distantly related to a bishop. 
The same reverend and witty author furthermore added 
that the uses of a sloth hanging from the branches of a 
Brazilian forest were not obvious ; but that on the other 
hand it might be fairly asked, " What was the use of a 
gentleman in Bond Street ? " We need not now ask 
such a question concerning the sloth ; there are other 
and more pressing queries. There is no better instance 
in the whole animal kingdom of a creature which is 



exactly suited to its mode of life. Cut down forests and 
sloths must inevitably disappear. It is as purely 
arboreal as the whale is aquatic. But while many partly 
or wholly arboreal beasts (for example, the tree kangaroo, 
described later) are much like their immediate relatives 
which live upon the ground, the sloth is so constructed 
that it differs absolutely from its nearest allies ; its closely 
approximated and bent claws can only serve as hooks 
for suspension. Nevertheless, the sloth can progress 
upon the ground, but only with difficulty and pain. 
Waterton relates in his Wanderings, that he kept a tame 
sloth ; but, indeed, the term tame as applied to perhaps 
the most peaceful even among vegetarian creatures, 
seems unnecessary. And upon this sloth he made obser- 
vations as to its walking powers. The melancholy, and at 
the same time slightly comic, aspect of the sloth, incited 
M. de Buffon to the following singular series of remarks 
in his natural history. The life of the sloth being res- 
tricted, and its general circumstance untoward, the visage 
of .the animal has retained their impress ; for " all these 
circumstances announce their wretchedness and call to 
our mind those imperfect sketches of Nature, which, 
having scarcely the power of existence, only remained a 
short time in the world, and were then effaced from the 
list of beings." It was further the great French natura- 
list's opinion that some animals, like some men, seem to 
be created only for sadness. De Buffon had to write 
with a vigilant and aggressive clergy in his mind and 
was compelled to adopt these somewhat hypocritical 
sentiments. But in spite of this, which was at the time 
the orthodox view of the animal creation, the sloth is by 
no means an animal to be pitied. No creature that is 
perfectly in accord and harmony with surrounding 
nature, inanimate as well as animate, can be distressful. 
The visitor to the Zoo will note at once two distinct 
features about the sloth ; firstly, its close and shaggy 


covering of long and coarse hair : secondly, the im- 
mensely long and hooked claws, which are two in the 
fore limbs in the case of the two- toed sloth, Choice pus, 
and three in Brady pus. 

It has no fingers to crook to retain its hold upon a 
branch ; nature has already hooked them for it in a per- 
manent fashion. It can only clutch. The long, wiry 
hair droops over its body, and forms an excellent shelter 
against a tropical downpour. As to this hair, it has been 
pointed out that it fadges well with the sloth's habits. 
Instead of lying in different directions in different regions 
of the body, as is so generally the case with the mam- 
malia, the hair " flows " only downwards ; it cannot 
therefore get wet. But a third danger remains besides 
the chance of falling, and of getting a soaking. The 
sloth has tender flesh, and is an appetizing morsel to 
tree-frequenting beasts of prey ; and South America 
harbours one of the largest of these, to wit, the jaguar. 
Defenceless as the sloth is against such attacks, nature 
has provided it with the means of apparently circum- 
venting probable foes. It will very possibly be noticed 
in examining carefully the hair of the sloth, that this has 
often a distinctly green colour. Now it was ascertained 
a good many years ago that this green colour was not in 
the least due to an actual green colour of the individual 
hairs, but to the presence within them of minute green 
plants similar to those which colour so vividly the 
weather side of trees, to microscopic algse in fact. This 
gives to the pelage of our sloth a not unstriking likeness 
to lichens, which is borne out by its bunched-up body, 
not unlike a tree stump. There is, in fact, in one sloth at 
least there are several species of sloth a mark in the 
middle of the back which suggests a broken end of a 
branch. Thus we see that the wind is tempered to the 
shorn lamb, if, indeed, so very shaggy a creature may 
be used as an illustration of this dictum. 




The " little knight in armour " of South America, 
and of that continent only, is perhaps about as unlike 
the " dreaming sloth of pallid hue " of the same con- 
tinent as any two beasts can well be, that are admittedly 
both mammals. And yet, while some of the other types 
the Manis and the Orycteropus which are by some 
placed in the same order, that of Edentates, are really 
unlike the armadillo, there are numerous facts in the 
structure of the sloth which show it to be akin. In no 
other part of the world than in America are there, or 
have there been ever, so far as our knowledge enables us 
to state, animals belonging to these three types, the 
sloths, armadillos and anteaters. The unique structural 
peculiarity which they share is that the vertebrae of the 
back are fastened together successively by joints addi- 
tional to those which exist in other mammals. It is 
curious that the opinion of the zoologist is reinforced by 
that of a practical hunter, who thought of a rare kind of 
armadillo, remarkable for possessing its bony skin plates 
only along the side and not on the back, that it was an 
hybrid between the armadillo and the ant-bear. Funda- 
mentally related though the armadillo and the Myrmeco- 
phaga are, they are obviously most diverse in external 
form and feature. The immovable stolidity of the sloth 
and its comical face, the stately gait of the ant-eater and 
its huge bushy tail, contrast with the cheerful pattering 
waddle of the armadillo, sheathed in its thick armour. 
The armadillo or, rather, the armadillos, for there are 
at least six distinct genera, many of which contain several 
species has the unique peculiarity among mammals 
both living and extinct (with the single exception of 
certain armoured whales of great antiquity) of possessing 
a defensive armature composed of bony plates imbedded 
in the skin. But these bony plates do not make it a 
tortoise any more than the scales of the Manis make it a 



lizard. They clash with a vast series of important facts 
which differentiate mammals from animals lying lower 
in the series, which have been already enumerated, and, 
quite apart from the fact that they differ in many details 
from the carapace of the tortoise or turtle, no more 
affinethetwo than does the beak of the tortoise, or the 
Ornithorhynchus, bridge over the gulf between those 
creatures and the bird. The huge, and we may almost 
say, " therefore," extinct, Glyptodons, which were allies 
of the armadillos, were boxed up in their carapaces ; 
the modern armadillos enjoy a freedom of movement 
within theirs, since the bony pieces are often distributed 
in bands. A species often to be seen at the Zoo, and 
known as Tolypeutes tricinctus, has its chest protected, 
as ought his to be who first crosses the seas, by a triple 
band, not of brass, but of bone. In others again there 
are six bands ; and the tiny Chlamydophorus (which will 
probably not be seen at the Zoc) has a point of likeness 
to the effete Glyptodonts, in having a rigid box envelop- 
ing it without jointing. So thoroughly movable are 
these bands as a rule, that the armadillo can roll up into 
a ball like its namesake, the armadillo woodlouse, and 
thus be with impunity played at ball with by a hungry 
jaguar, intent rather on solid food than playful trifling. 
Nor could the jaguar easily solve the difficulty by swal- 
lowing the armadillo like a pill. In its own choice of 
food the armadillo is decidedly a carrion lover, and ap- 
proaches its food after the devious fashion of a burying 
beetle. Instead of openly making for the carcass, the 
armadillo circuitously tunnels underground and comes 
up underneath it. We are told that on the pampas a 
carcass is rarely found that has not beneath it a tunnel 
formed by some epicurean armadillo intent on luxury. 
At the Zoo this taste is severely restricted, and a diet of 
pap and chopped meat offered in its place. Mr. Hudson 
relates another way the armadillo has of providing itself 



with meat. It will attack, and literally saw in two with 
the sharp edges of its carapace^ a living snake. 


The pangolin is a corruption of the Malay word, 
" Tagiling," which is the vernacular name for an animal 
known to zoologists by the scientific name of Manis, and 
to us in general, as the scaly ant-eater. The genus 
Manis, of which there are some seven species, inhabits 
both Asia and Africa. It looks, as it has been well ex- 
pressed, " like an animated spruce fir cone." The scales 
in fact with which it is thickly beset are brown and 
withered-looking, and loosely attached at the base in 
quite a vegetable fashion. They suggest that a good 
shake will scatter them. Nevertheless, the scales are 
very firm, and offer a double protection to their possessor. 
When harried and worried by a dog or other carnivore 
searching a meal, the scaly ant-eater rolls itself up into 
something like a ball, and presents a hard smooth surface 
to the enemy. Should the latter attempt a nearer in- 
vestigation of the Manis, the scales contract still closer 
to the body, and often carry with them a fragment of 
flesh from the aggressor's nose, pinched off by their sharp 
edges. In two parts of the world, namely in Japan and 
in the Malay countries perhaps, indeed, the legend has 
spread from the one place to the other the Manis is 
believed to make another use of its scales. It erects 
them and then pretends to be dead. The inquisitive 
ant, in the fashion which everybody knows, wanders in 
multitudes over the body, and creeps between the scales. 
When a sufficient number of ants have thus begun to 
investigate the Manis, the latter closes his scales, and 
entering the nearest piece of water again erects his scales, 
and laps up the ants as they float out. The food of this 



animal is entirely ants ; like the American ant-eaters, 
but unlike the African Orycteropus, the Manis has no 
teeth in its mouth, though the tongue is long and helped 
by large salivary glands. Like the American ant-eater, 
the Manis has a stomach which may be almost compared 
to a bird's gizzard. That is its walls are much thickened 
with muscle, and small pebbles seem to be also swallowed 
to help in crushing the food which in other animals is 
accomplished by the molar teeth. Though toothless as 
any hag the Manis triumphs over nature by adventitious 
help. It is said, however, to be a particularly stupid 
animal. When kept in confinement it wanders on at 
night in a straight line, like a Roman making a road, and 
if a chair happens to be in the way, climbs over it and 
falls down on the other side. All these ant-eaters are not 
purely ground-living creatures, like the aard vark. 
Many are, it is true ; and burrow therein to a very great 
length and depth. An Indian species makes a tunnel 
shelving downwards of twelve feet in length, and term- 
inates it with a comfortable chamber of six feet circum- 
ference, to rest in. Some pangolins, however, climb ; 
and in these the toes are turned inwards and downwards 
as they are in the great American ant-eater. The largest 
Manis is six feet long ; and one species, which obviously 
had to be called Manis macrura, has the distinction of 
being one of not more than three animals which have 
the longest tails. In this animal the tail is nearly twice 
as long as the body. The same doubt surrounds the 
origin of the Manis as does that of the aard vark. Its 
birth is " wrop up in a mistry." And here again no 
fossils can be appealed to, to help us out of the impasse. 
The brain is not so helpful as it appears to be in the 
aard vark. There are, however, rather more grounds 
in this case than in that for linking on the Manis to the 
American ant-eaters, though, as already said, they are at 
present not entirely trustworthy. 




A sight of this undoubtedly one of the strangest of 
the mammalia will convince the observer of the justice 
of the Dutch name for it, viz. the " earth hog." It is 
also distinctly like the figure of the Devil in Albert 
Diirer's picture of Sintram. The piggish appearance 
is mainly due to the soft snout broadened and flattened 
at the end with the nostrils on the flattened region. 
The long ears, the " piggisneyes " and the somewhat 
sparse covering of hairs add to the likeness, and con- 
tribute towards the building up of a beast that, if it 
were figured as a " restoration " of some extinct form, 
would cause jeers at the expense of the draughtsman. 
Nature in fact in constructing the aard vark seems 
at first sight to have blundered. That will not be the 
view of anyone who has had the opportunity of watching 
the aard vard on its native Karoo. It buries itself 
in the earth with such rapidity, that it can only be 
followed by digging ahead in the presumed direction 
in which it is going. The Orycteropus is an under- 
ground creature living in burrows of its own excavation, 
which are thoughtfully and conveniently placed in the 
neighbourhood of the tall hills erected by the white 
ants upon which this ant-eater of the Cape preys. 
The body is eminently suited for burrowing for it 
dwindles at the two ends ; the tail is but little distinct 
from the body, and has been correctly described as " a 
tapering of the body to a point." The deficient hairy 
covering is more than matched in another African and 
burrowing creature, the little rodent Heterocephalus. 
It appears that for burrowing animals the two ex- 
tremes of hairiness are the most suitable. At one 
extreme we have Heterocephalus and the armadillos, 
and at the other the mole ; but in the latter beast the 
fur is so dense and close that it presents an even surface 
comparable to nakedness. The reason for the extreme 



is thus seen. Orycteropus feeds upon ants and it is said 
to impatiently thump with its heavy tail before com- 
mencing operations upon an ant hill ; this throws the 
small inhabitants into such a panic that they run 
hither and thither in their confusion and pour out into 
the jaws of their foe. As it feeds on ants it is not sur- 
prising to find that Orycteropus has a particularly long 
and viscid tongue like the tongue of other formicivorous 
creatures. It is surprising, however, to find in its 
mouth, besides a long tongue, an extensive range of 
teeth. Other ant-eating creatures, for instance the 
anteater, have no teeth. One is disposed to wonder 
if this unexpected array of teeth is not an inheritance 
from the not very remote days when the Orycteropus, 
so to speak, chewed the cud like an ox. The mystery 
of its origin is one upon which but little light has been 
thrown. While the discovery of numerous fossil links 
bind together other groups of mammals, no such con- 
nexions are forthcoming in the case of our aard vark. 
It is an isolated and friendless type declining to be 
allied even to its neighbour, the Manis or pangolin. 
The old idea that it came near to the ant-eater of America 
has long since been exploded. Probably it is not an 
exaggeration to say that no two mammals are further 
apart than these two. The only hints that we seem 
able to get are in the brain. The nervous system 
generally among animals is an exceedingly conserva- 
tive system, changing but slightly with other changes, 
and then showing up unexpected likenesses in beasts 
apparently remote. It has been pointed out that the 
brain of the Orycteropus is singularly like that of an 
ungulate animal ; and it is perhaps to these creatures 
that Orycteropus shows the most likeness. In the 
meantime there are at least two distinct species of 
aard vark found in Africa, a northern and a southern 
form, while in former times, as shown by its fossil 



remains, the Orycteropus was an inhabitant of the 
land of Samos and the kingdom of Persia. 


The name marsupial indicates the most salient 
external feature of this order of mammals, viz. the 
possession of a pouch. Constantly it will be possible 
to observe this pouch in the case of kangaroos which 
happen to have young ones ; for the infant kangaroo 
can be seen peering out of the maternal pouch. The 
reason for this pouch, or at any rate a fact which accom- 
panies the possession of this pouch, is the very imper- 
fect condition of the newborn young ; they are tiny 
blind and naked creatures, not longer than the little 
finger. To the eye of the visitor this pouch is about 
the only visible character which links together the 
marsupial tribe. In other external features they 
differ "very widely indeed. The long-legged, thick- 
tailed, leaping kangaroos with their long ears, and 
donkey-like face, are extraordinarily different from 
the fat marmot-like wombat, or from the comparatively 
recently discovered marsupial mole, the golden coloured, 
burrowing Notary ctes. The fierce Tasmanian wolf, 
Tasmanian devil, and ursine Dasyure, represent another 
type of this most diverse order, carnivorous in habit 
and with a smaller pouch backwardly directed instead 
of forwardly as in the kangaroos. The Phalangers of 
Australia and the Koala or " native bear " are soft- 
furred arboreal marsupials, quite as different in external 
appearance from any of the types that have been 
mentioned, as are the latter among themselves. The 
American opossums are different again ; and another 
extreme of this curiously diverse order is realized by 
the tiny " flying " forms which skim from branch to 
branch like the flying squirrels of the order Rodentia. 



All these marsupials possess also a pair of bones diverging 
from each other like a " V ", which support the walls 
of the pouch, and are not found in any of the higher 
mammals. These can be easily felt through the skin ; 
and though it has been said that the dog possesses a 
similar pair of structures, it is not by any means clear 
that there is a real correspondence. It will be noticed 
that these bones, although they support the wall of the 
pouch, are not in the least developed to that end ; for 
they occur in the male as well as in the female. With 
the exception of the American opossums and a small 
creature known as " Raton runcho," or technically as 
Ccznolestes, the marsupials are at the present day only 
found in Australia and some of the islands to the north 
of that continent as well as in Tasmania in the south. 
They do not get to New Zealand, which is an island with- 
out indigenous mammals at all except a bat or two. 


One of the principal improvements at the Zoo of late 
years has been the formation of a respectable paddock 
for the enjoyment of the leaping kangaroos, who can now 
show us something of their strength and agility. For- 
merly the cooped up series of backyards in which they 
vegetated gave no chance to realize that a kangaroo 
can clear at a single leap a space of some twenty feet. 
The kangaroo is certainly like no other animal, except, 
of course, its own immediate relatives the other kan- 
garoo-like genera. Its rather small head with long 
ears is not unsuggestive of that of a donkey ; it has a 
mild look which is not an index of its nature, for the 
kangaroo when at close quarters and with its back 
against a wall is not by any means a mild antagonist. 
The body with its huge tail, powerful hind legs, and 
diminutive fore limbs is only paralleled by the jerboa 


To face p. 140] 


and the jerboa-rats of Australia, and by the Cape 
jumping hare (Pedetes caffer) of Africa. To be agile, 
to traverse arid wastes in the search for water or for 
herbage, with rapidity, is a sine qua non with all these 
creatures which have a partiality for plains, and arid 
ones at that. It is interesting and most .instructive 
to note how differently in such cases the feet have been 
constructed for the due carrying of their owners over 
the ground. In the ungulates either the middle toe 
or the third and fourth has or have been especially 
strengthened to meet the demand. In the jerboa 
the Perissodactyle type of foot has been, we must 
suppose, quite independently acquired ; for in them 
digit number three is in the middle and strikes the 
ground first. In the kangaroos, on the other hand, it 
is the fourth toe which is predominant ; and it is, as 
may be easily seen in the living animal, particularly 
strong and furnished with a huge nail. In bipedal 
man it is the innermost toe, the first, which mainly 
bears the weight of the body. There is thus nearly 
every possible arrangement, which varies according 
to the group. In the kangaroo the peculiarly tiny 
third and fourth toes will be noticed to be tied up in a 
common integument. How thick blood is among the 
marsupials is shown by the fact that in the phalangers, 
arboreal creatures quite unlike the kangaroos in general 
aspect, the same toes are similarly swathed in skin. 
There are between twenty and thirty kinds of kan- 
garoos, including the so called wallabies which are not 
now distinguished from the kangaroos ; the only differ- 
ence that ever existed was merely one of size. 


The idea of a kangaroo up a tree suggests a purely 
metaphorical use of the term to most persons for whom 



kangaroos are essentially ground-hopping creatures. 
Nevertheless there is a whole genus of kangaroos 
known by the technical name of Dendrolagus, which 
name, it will be observed, expresses the fact of their 
arboreal proclivities, whose life is spent hopping along 
branches and not bounding over the grass. There are 
about three different species of these tree kangaroos, of 
which a new one has been lately found and named after 
the traveller Lumholz. The build of the kangaroo does 
not seem at first sight to be suitable to nice balancing 
and clambering upon branches. Yet it is highly 
interesting to notice how, with the minimum expenditure 
of energy in the way of alteration, Nature has been able 
to convert a purely terrestrial animal into one which 
is as distinctively arboreal. The long tail remains ; 
but it is furry throughout and of somewhat more 
slender dimensions ; it is no longer wanted as a prop 
for the animal when progressing slowly along the 
ground. It rather serves the Dendrolagus as a balancing 
pole to aid in its successful leaps from branch to branch. 
And for this purpose it need not be quite so massive 
and so comparatively short-haired as in kangaroos and 
wallabies. The toes also, which have greatly prolonged 
nails in the leaping kangaroo, have these nails much 
shorter in the tree-frequenting beast. The fore limbs, 
too, are rather longer in proportion than those of kan- 
garoos ; otherwise there is but little change in habit. 
Dendrolagus has the mild somewhat asinine features of 
kangaroos, the same two projecting under incisors 
like French caricatures of the English " Mees," which 
it is to be presumed can work upon each other like the 
blades of a pair of scissors ; they can at any rate in 
the common kangaroo, a fact which was shown a good 
many years ago. In short, there is nothing of far 
reaching importance either externally or internally, 
that differentiates this creature from other kangaroos. 




The Zoological Gardens are rarely, if ever, without 
these fat somewhat uncouth marsupials, suggestive of 
an overgrown marmot. They are coarsely hairy, and 
waddle when unexcited, though when needs must they 
can run with some rapidity. The stumpy tail heightens 
the likeness to the European marmot, as do also the 
strong and rodent-like incisor teeth in the front of 
the jaws. In fact, as has been often pointed out, the 
wombat is an excellent example of what is known as 
convergence ; starting from a totally different place in 
the order of nature it has arrived at much the same 
goal as has the marmot or some such burrowing rodent. 
It walks heavily on the flat of the feet, and eats roots 
for which it digs. In the burrows there is some degree 
of sociability exhibited ; and this again is a rodent- 
like character. One has only to recall the prairie mar- 
mots, and the vizcachas of North and South America. 
It has, however, the pouch of the ordinary marsupial 
pattern ; and its young are doubtless born in imper- 
fection as those of other marsupials, though that matter 
is for the present shrouded in some obscurity. Although 
nocturnal in their native Australia and Tasmania, the 
wombats at the Zoo show themselves during the day 
like other nocturnal beasts do in that institution. Like 
many other marsupials, the " pouched mouse," to trans- 
late its scientific name of Phascolomys is for the most 
part silent ; it is not without interest that silence 
is apt to be an attribute of primitiveness and chatter 
due to higher specialization. We all of us know the 
silent man whose few recorded words were not in- 
dicative of great brain power. Anyhow newts are silent 
and so are reptiles and many of the older types of birds, 
while the marsupials and rodents and insectivores carry 
on the generalization into the mammals. At times, 
however, the wombat hisses ; one species is said to 



give vent to a " groan." In captivity it is as a rule 
amiable, the amiability being possibly associated with 
stupidity. Sir Everard Home, however, the famous 
surgeon and anatomist of the end of the eighteenth 
and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, thought the 
wombat not unintelligent though he agreed from per- 
sonal observation as to its amiability. 


The vulpine phalanger is not especially fox-like 
in aspect though it has somewhat of the sharp-snouted 
eagerness of that animal, toned down, however, by 
marsupial stupidity. Trichosurus vulpecula (between 
this name and Phalangista vulpina choice may be 
made) has departed considerably from, or rather has 
not nearly arrived at, the kangaroo type of structure. 
Still there are numerous facts which show it to be allied 
to the kangaroos. For instance the second and third 
toes are bound together in a common integument as in 
the leaping and long-tailed Diprotodont ; and it has 
the same strong lower incisors which, however, it is 
alleged, do not meet, and move upon each other in the 
scissors-like way that has been recorded in the grazing 
kangaroos. Trichosurus, in fact, is purely arboreal, 
though it will at times descend to the ground ; on 
these occasions it walks in a flat-footed and archaic 
way. It is, however, most suited to a life in trees, and 
it has as an aid to effective climbing, a prehensile 
tail, so common a feature in tree-dwelling animals. It 
chiefly affects the blue gum tree of its native Australia 
and eats the leaves and shoots of that tree, occasionally 
varying its diet, as is the way with many vegetable- 
feeding animals marsupial and otherwise, with animal 
food. In captivity small birds are enjoyed by it. It 
is often called " opossum," but it has of course nothing 
to do with the opossums of North and South America, 



save the bare fact that it is, like them, a marsupial. 
The real and genuine opossums belong to the carnivorous 
section of the marsupials, the Polyprotodonts. They 
are, however, tree climbers and have the same pre- 
hensile tail and sharp claws which distinguish our 
Trichosurus. The pouch of Trichosurus only harbours 
at most two young ones and more usually one only. 
It has not the often enormous philoprogenitiveness 
of the "'possum." In Australia and Tasmania it is 
hotly pursued on account of its moderately valuable 
fur. This is its attraction to the white man. The 
black man thinks less of the fur than of the flesh be- 
neath it, and regards Trichosurus, in spite of its rank- 
ness in the European nostril, as desirable meat. 


We must not leave the diprotodont marsupials 
without a reference to the flying forms of which the 
present representative (also called Petaurus breviceps) is 
often to be found at the Zoo. It is a small, soft-furred, 
mousy-looking creature of grey colour with a black 
stripe down the back. It is not more than eight inches 
long and has a bushy tail of about the same length. 
The term " flying " as applied to these phalangers must 
not of course be taken literally. They cannot soar 
upward like a bird ; the most that can be done is a series 
of skims from bough to bough, the distance to the ground 
being lessened at each effort. The flying, such as it 
is, is effected by a parachute-like membrane attached 
along the sides of the body between the limbs. It 
seems to be likely that all kinds of flying really originated 
from some such mechanism, which gradually became 
restricted to the fore-limbs in the more perfectly flying 
birds and bats. A loose fold of skin at the sides is 
sufficient for a beginning ; this becomes intensified, 
and then the " patagium " in birds is limited to the 

Z.G. 145 L 


front of the fore limbs, a trace of the primitive lateral 
membrane being left in what is called in those animals 
the metapatagium. There is a kind of a hint that 
in the earliest known bird, Archczopteryx, a lateral 
feathered membrane existed besides the special patagium 
with its feathers in front of the fore limb. A remarkable 
fact about these small flying phalangers is that the 
power of flight appears to have been independently 
produced more than once in the group. For we find 
several types of them each of which is separately re- 
lated to a non-flying form ; we suppose, therefore, 
that each has been evolved separately. The same 
conclusion can be come to with regard to the flying 
squirrels, real squirrels that is to say, for the marsupials 
which we are now considering are sometimes termed 
flying squirrels. In Sciuropterus and Anomalurus, of 
which the former is often to be seen at the Zoo, we 
have parachuted squirrels not nearly akin to each 
other, and therefore possibly to be derived from different 
forms of merely arboreal squirrels. The carnivorous 
polyprotodont marsupials have not as yet produced 
any flying forms. 


This wolf-like creature is not a wolf but a repre- 
sentative of the polyprotodont section of the marsupials, 
called polyprotodont because the lower incisors are 
numerous instead of reduced to two as in the vegetable- 
feeding diprotodonts. The thylacine and its polypro- 
todont allies show another feature, not found in any 
other mammals, except the whales, and that is that the 
total number of the teeth exceed the normal forty- four. 
This is the original number of teeth, as it appears, in 
the higher mammals, as testified to by various extinct 
forms ; from this perfection of tooth numbers most 
living mammals have degenerated. Another feature 



about this and of course other marsupials is the exist- 
ence of a pouch ; but the thylacine is remarkable in 
the fact that the male has very considerable traces of 
this pouch, which are not, however, large enough to 
render it a functional organ for the protection of the 
newly born young. The name thylacine signifies, of 
course, pouched dog. The inhabitants of Tasmania 
call it also tiger and hyaena, these names being suggested 
by the transverse stripes upon the body. It is more 
like a dog than anything else ; its head is long with a 
long muzzle, and the skull at first sight is so like that 
of Canis that it was frequently used as a " catch " in 
examinations. The proper marsupial characters are 
there, but masked by superficial resemblances. The 
thylacine is now limited to Tasmania, and it has been 
suggested that the advent of the dingo dog, which 
accompanied as is thought the Australians in their 
wanderings, is partly responsible for its disappearance 
from the mainland of Australia, where it once lived. 
Its days will probably not be long in the land where 
it now abides ; for it has the pernicious habit of sheep 
stealing and the further habit of killing a new sheep 
each time that it feels in want of a snack. So the 
Tasmanian farmers, probably influenced more by 
economic than zoological considerations, will see to it 
that the thylacine does not multiply excessively. It 
has, however, this advantage in battling for life with 
the colonists, that it apparently can produce four young 
at a birth. We have spoken of the superficial likeness 
which the thylacine bears to a dog. This likeness is 
more apparent in stuffed animals than in the live 
Tasmanian wolf. The spry alertness of the dog is re- 
placed in life by a gloomy, distrustful, and unintellectual 
appearance, which is most unsuggestive of any dog. 
The thylacine has a curious habit which has been lately 
adverted upon. When standing at ease it plants down 


its tail firmly so that it forms a support for the body. 
This is quite analogous to the support given to the 
kangaroo by its tail. 

It has been remarked that the thylacine shows a pre- 
ference for mutton over any other article of diet. Be- 
fore Van Diemen's land was discovered there were 
plenty of thylacines but no mutton. In those days it 
had to content itself with marsupials only ; an observer, 
however, has stated that nowadays its palate has been 
so vitiated by civilization that it will not satisfy a 
healthy appetite by devouring the wombat, which often 
occurs in plenty near to its haunts. But on the other 
hand a spiny ant-eater (Echidna) was once dug out of 
the stomach of a thylacine, showing that when pressed 
for food it is not particular. The first specimens ever 
acquired by the Zoological Society came over in the 
year 1850. They were shipped in company with 
twelve fat sheep to serve them on the voyage. The 
next thylacines were procured in 1863, and then until 
1883 there were no specimens of this animal procured for 
the Zoo. Since that date, however, there have been 
several ; and it is possible always at any given time 
to find in the Gardens this the largest of existing poly- 
pro todont marsupials. It is more likely, however, 
that several of its allies, such as the dasyure and the 
American opossums will be on view. 


In the general sketch of mammalian organization 
we have dealt with this group, which occupy most cer- 
tainly the lowest position among the mammalia and 
still retain more than one early and non-mammalian 
character in their anatomy. 




This animal is undoubtedly Australian and is also 
an eater of ants, and yet the name seems ill chosen, for 
it suggests a comparison with the ant-eaters of America 
and of the Old World. Echidna has nothing whatever 
to do with those Edentates since it belongs to a quite 
different order whose general characters have been 
sketched out. Of Echidna aculeata there is as a rule, 
or at least often, a specimen to be seen at the Zoo. Its 
general characters mark it out as distinct from any other 
mammal, from which indeed it can readily be differen- 
tiated without having recourse to its skeleton. The 
long and toothless snout recalls the Myrmecophaga and 
the Old World Manis ; and a long and viscid tongue 
protrudes itself in the same way from these toothless 
jaws. But the body is covered with a dense covering 
of sharp spines, mingled with hairs, in a fashion more 
like that of the hedgehog than of any other mammal. 
The ways of the Echidna, when in search of termites, 
are much those of its ant-eating representatives in other 
countries. Its stout claws are able to make a breach 
in the walls of the fortress manned by the ants, and 
into this breach it thrusts its long tongue and waits 
until the exploratory and indignant ants have limed 
themselves thereon. In default of ants the Echidna 
will put up with worms, and larvae, which it extracts 
by means of the same long and thin tongue, which can 
be inserted into crevices and can draw therefrom the 
lurking insect. Nature has tempered the wind to this 
exceedingly unshorn lamb by endowing it with a 
nocturnal way of life, and with a liking for concealment 
in thick scrub. But even this does not entirely free it 
from persecution. For in spite of its spines the thyla- 
cine, as we have already said, has been known to swallow 
a spiny ant-eater whole, just as the leopard in India 
will grapple with the equally spiny porcupine. The 



Echidna moves with a shuffling gait and walks badly 
upon the sides of its feet. This is precisely the way in 
which the Myrmecophaga walks, and in both cases the 
habit has at least the result of preserving unimpaired 
the sharp claws so necessary to dig down the foundations 
of ant-hills. Everybody knows nowadays that this 
mammal lays eggs. And furthermore as in other egg- 
laying vertebrates, the young, when ready for hatching, 
has a knob on its snout which enables it to break the 
shell and emerge into the world. When it does emerge 
it is still taken care of by the mother, who keeps it in her 
pouch for certain time, and afterwards allows its out 
for a run and at stated intervals picks it up again and 
puts it in the pouch to be fed. When the mother in- 
tends to rove far she thinks of her infant and places 
it securely in a burrow dug for the purpose. It is a 
very interesting fact that an abundance of termites 
in various parts of the world has resulted in the modi- 
cation of such diverse types of animals for their en- 
joyment. The Echidna was made for the termites, not 
the termites for the Echidna. 





THE most uninitiated can recognize without the 
faintest difficulty the characters that distinguish 
birds from other animals. But it must not be assumed 
at once that to define them as feathered bipeds is quite 
enough. For, to begin with, birds are scaly as well as 
feathered, thus showing a glimpse, externally visible, of 
their unquestioned relationship to the lower lying 
reptiles. The feet are always scaly, in parts at least, 
and generally entirely so. Anyhow, no creature that 
is not a bird has feathers or even anything at all 
approaching to feathers, in nature ; and per contra, no 
bird is without feathers. More than this, all birds 
possess wings, even the wrongly called Apteryx, which 
has tiny wings concealed beneath its feathers. The 
term wing here, it will be observed, does not necessarily 
mean an organ of flight. Though all birds possess 
wings, all birds cannot fly. Besides the Apteryx, the 
ostrich tribe generally are purely cursorial, and so are 
certain rails and one or two other birds. What is meant 
by wing in this sense is a fore limb, actually and accur- 
ately comparable to the arm of man or the forelegs of 
a cat, in which the number of fingers is reduced from 
five to three, and the proportions of the remaining 
bones is somewhat altered from what is found in reptiles 
and mammals. This being the case, all birds are bipedal, 
which is another distinguishing character, though it is 



very faintly discounted by the fact of the " quadru- 
pedal " movements of the young of the Hoatzin and a 
few others. No birds have teeth ; that is, no living 
birds, for a few now extinct forms had these structures. 
Every bird has a horny beak, which in some sense stands 
in lieu of teeth. It is noticeable that birds have an 
erect and alert attitude, which contrasts with that of 
the gloomy reptile. The eyes are clear and open, not 
closed, except, indeed, during actual sleep, in a 
drowsy fashion. Hearing as well as sight is well 
developed, and, indeed, the only sense in which birds 
are as a rule rather deficient is that of smell ; but some 
experiments have gone far toward showing that after 
all, birds can detect varying odours rather more accu- 
rately than has been supposed. In external form birds 
are most obviously built upon one common plan. This 
is recognized in popular parlance by the fact that a 
given bird is apt to be spoken of merely as a bird, while 
a mammal is more usually classified roughly ; it is 
spoken of as a cat, or an elephant, etc. The flight of 
birds, as well as their lightness of movement when 
hopping upon the ground or among trees, is a character- 
istic of the group, and is associated with air spaces 
which ramify among the organs of the body and in the 
substance of the bones. These air spaces are outgrowths 
of the lungs ; and while they assist in producing a light 
frame suitable for flying, must also, one would imagine, 
improve the respiration of the creatures by bringing air 
into contact with the entire system. No living reptile 
or mammal has anything approaching to this aeration 
of the body. It is possible, however, that certain 
extinct reptiles, particularly the flying Pterodactyles, 
had something of the kind ; so too had, in the opinion of 
most, the hopping and often gigantic Dinosaurs of the 
past. Associated with, and perhaps due to, this is the 
hotbloodedness of birds. Their temperature is higher 



than that of mammals, and the older authors saw in 
this physiological likeness a reason for associating 
together birds and mammals. Every fact of structure, 
however, contradicts such an association, which is now- 
adays held by no one acquainted with the facts. But, 
on the other hand, the nearness of the sprightly, intelli- 
gent bird to the sullen and unintelligent lizard has been 
perhaps a little overrated. The group of birds, in fact, 
is a group which is 'quite equivalent to that of reptiles on 
the one hand and to mammals on the other ; but the 
two first are rather nearer to each other than either are 
to birds. In fact, the common starting point of both 
birds and reptiles was, as far as we can see, something 
in the nature of a very simply organized reptile. To 
return, however, to our living birds, with which alone 
we are concerned here. It will be noticed, particularly 
well in the case of a long-legged bird such as a crane or 
stork, that when a bird is standing upright it stands 
upon its toes only. Above the toes, which are either 
three or four in number, with a few exceptions, such as 
the ostrich, is a long bone which is not, as might be 
supposed, the equivalent of our shin bone. This long 
bone is in reality the ankle bones, plus what are techni- 
cally termed the metatarsals, i.e. those bones which in 
ourselves lie between the ankle bones proper and the 
phalanges or bones of the toes themselves. In the human 
foot the phalanges are the separated toes, while the 
metatarsals occupy the greater part of the foot. Birds, 
therefore, have this region of the foot enormously 
elongated. But the feature is not absolutely distinctive 
of them, since even in mammals which walk upon their 
toes, like the horse, the metatarsals are also long. There 
are other instances of the same elongation of the middle 
part of the foot. 

All birds, so far as is known, lay eggs, from which are 
hatched in due course young birds that resemble their 



parents much more closely than do the newly hatched 
young of the majority of the Amphibia. No bird is 
ovoviviparous, as are some reptiles. Moreover, as a 
very general rule the eggs of birds are not merely dropped 
promiscuously, but laid, sometimes even in a regular 
position, in definite nests ; these nests are often com- 
plex structures of some architectual pretensions. The 
eggs are for the most part coloured, while the eggs of 
reptiles are never coloured, but always white. A good 
many birds also lay white eggs. While a reptile emerges 
from the egg in the likeness of its parents, the young 
bird does show some differences from its parents, though 
these are never of a kind such as to justify the use of the 
term larva for a newly hatched bird. The only sugges- 
tion of a larval form among birds is perhaps the Hoatzin, 
where the mobile fingers with well developed claws at 
the ends are organs modified for the purposes of the 
nestling, and thus just come under the category of 
what is meant by a larva. All these facts, except per- 
haps the last, are familiar enough to every one ; but it 
is just as well to emphasize them in order to point out 
the distinctions between birds and other vertebrated 
animals. Newly hatched birds differ in different cases. 
In some species they are completely nude and devoid of 
feathers. In others they are covered with down, which 
is shed by being thrust up upon the tips of the subse- 
quently produced nestling plumage, which itself gives 
way later to the final and annually deciduous plumage. 
The twittering and " cheeping " of the young is 
succeeded in many birds by a most elaborate voice, 
produced by the movement of a vibrating membrane 
at the junction of the two bronchi, into which the at 
first single air tube (trachea), leading to the lungs, 
divides. More is said of the bird's voice later. In the 
meantime, it is as well to note that the possession of 
a voice of the kind which reaches its maximum for 



beauty and variety in the nightingale, is a character of 
birds which is not found in any reptile or indeed in any 
other vertebrate, in spite of Mr. Ruskin's singing ser- 
pents ! There are more kinds of birds in the world 
than of any other group of vertebrated animals, very 
many more. They are the insects among vertebrates 
by reason of these numbers, and of their gaudy hues, 
also unequalled in generality of occurrence and in 
variety among other vertebrates. 

In spite of their general uniformity, the " aery cara- 
van " can be divided up into a number of distinct groups, 
which, however, have by no means the value of the 
major, or even of the minor, subdivisions of the mammalia 
or of the reptiles. The range of structural variation 
among birds is possibly about equal to that of the 
lizards among reptiles, or of the frogs and toads among 
Amphibians. We may acknowledge the following 
groups, to which we shall not apply the term orders, as 
that would suggest an equivalence with the orders in 
the mammalia : (i) Passer es, all the small perching 
birds, such as crows, thrushes, wagtails, birds of para- 
dise, swallows, etc., etc. ; (2) Pici, that is, woodpeckers, 
barbets, and toucans ; (3) Alcedines, including king- 
fishers only ; (4) Colii, an assemblage of very limited 
extent, confined to the African mouse birds or colies ; 

(5) Trogones, the American and Afro-Asiatic trogons ; 

(6) Coracia, i.e. rollers, bee-eaters, motmots, todies, 
puff birds ; (7) hornbills and hoopoes constitute the 
group Bucerotes ; (8) Macrochires, humming-birds and 
swifts ; (9) Caprimulgi, goat suckers ; (10) Striges, or 
owls ; (n) Psittaci, or parrots ; (12) Cuculi, cuckoos ; 
(13) Musophagi, touracous ; (14) Opisthocomi, the 
Hoatzin only ; (15) Galli, the gallinaceous birds, phea- 
sants, curassows, turkeys, megapodes, guinea fowls, 
quails, etc. ; (16) Columbce, pigeons ; (17) Pterocletes, 
sand grouse ; (18) Turnices> the quail-like birds Turnix 



and Pedionomus ; (19) Ralli, rails and coots ; (20) 
Otides, bustards ; (21) Limicolce, snipes, plovers, curlews, 
etc. ; (22) Alcce, auks, guillemots ; (23) Grues, cranes, 
the New Caledonian kagu, the American cariama, the 
trumpeters and the sun bird Eurypyga ; (24) Colymbi, 
divers and grebes ; (25) Sphenisci, penguins ; (26) 
Steganopodes, pelicans, cormorants, etc. ; (27) Hero- 
diones, herons and storks ; (28) Tubinares, albatross and 
petrels ; (29) Palamedece, screamers ; (30) Anseres, 
ducks, geese, and swans ; (31) Accipitres, eagles, vul- 
tures, hawks ; (32) Tinami, tinamous ; (33) Struthiones, 
ostrich tribe. In the following pages will be found 
accounts of birds belonging to the majority of these 


The enormous preponderance of Passerine birds over 
all others is shown by the fact that in the list of animals 
published by the Zoological Society, no less than 516 
species out of a total of 1,676 are members of the 
Passerine group, which are, or have been, on view in 
the Society's menagerie. This being the case, we cannot 
hope to give an adequate idea of their endless variety 
of colour and, though to a much less extent, of form, 
but must content ourselves with saying something 
about one or two types only. Passerine birds do not 
run large. The biggest is the raven ; but they are 
some of them excessively small, though the humming 
birds seem to include the smallest members of the bird 
creation, and the humming birds are not Passerine, but 
members of a distinct group. In the Passerines the 
organ of voice, or the syrinx, to use Prof. Huxley's 
term, reaches its highest complications in the way of 
structure and consequent efficiency as an organ of sound- 
production. A larger number of muscles, each moving 
the sound-producing membrane and the cartilages to 



which it is attached in a slightly different fashion, and 
thus ensuring variability of sound, exists in the Passerines 
than in any other birds. The birds that come nearest 
to them are the parrots, with whose powers of varied 
utterance every one is familiar. It is curious that per- 
fection of voice organ does not go hand in hand with 
variability of voice. The hoarse crow and the melodious 
nightingale have a practically identical syrinx. But 
then, after all, the voice of the prima donna is more 
flexible and varied than that of the itinerant vendor of 
cat's meat, though both have a voice-producing organ 
of identical structure. Externally the Passerinea are to 
be detected by the four toes, of which the hind toe is 
very prominent and turned backwards, and by the 
fewness of the scales upon the legs. With this much by 
way of a preface we shall consider a typical Passerine 
bird, the cow bird, or more correctly the cow-pen bird, 
so called on account of its fondness for visiting cow- pens. 
This bird, known to science as Molothrus (or, more 
correctly, as it appears, Molobrus, the former name 
having been originally a misprint) bonariensis, is black 
in hue throughout, and is naturally also called the 
blackbird. It is of about the same size as the blackbird 
of this country, and is like it, a typical Passerine, with 
the same voice organ and structure in general. It is, 
indeed, the habits and not the structure of this bird 
which are so interesting and unexpected. Every one 
knows of the parasitic way of life of the immoral cuckoo, 
who entrusts to strangers the rearing of its young, and 
who, besides thus evading the duties as well as the 
pleasure of maternity and paternity, is, when young 
and in the foreign nest, a bloodthirsty tyrant to its 
fellow nestlings ; these, the rightful owners of the nest, 
it turns out and leaves to die upon the hard ground 
beneath. This very same habit is inherent in the 
Molothrus bonariensis, and in some of the other species 



of the genus. Moreover, just as a criminal will practise 
upon his own class, just as there is no honour among 
thieves, but thief will rob thief, so one species of Molo- 
thrus, viz., M. rufo-axillaris, will lay its eggs in the 
nest of M. badius, a form which is not itself parasitic. 
Nature has aided and abetted this iniquitous mode of 
life in many and varied ways. These have been care- 
fully studied upon the spot by Mr. W. H. Hudson, from 
whose account of the same in the Proceedings of the 
Zoological Society we shall quote. The cow bird appears 
to have adopted the habits of the cuckoo at a later 
period in the history of its race than that bird, for it 
often makes rather serious mistakes. For example, 
Molothrus has been known to drop its eggs on the 
ground, omitting to remove them carefully and subse- 
quently in its bill to some adjacent nest, as does the 
cuckoo. Its instincts are as yet so primitive and 
uncultured that the bird will lay its eggs in an old 
and deserted nest, or fail to hit the right time for egg 
laying, when its young, being born too late, perish of 
neglect at the hands of their foster parents. This latter 
error, however, appears to be remedied by the fact 
that the young are hatched especially early, and are 
also peculiarly strong. Molothrus, when it does success- 
fully lay its eggs in a stranger's nest, is apt to make 
assurance doubly sure by pecking at and destroying 
the legitimate eggy occupants of the nest ; in doing 
this, it will occasionally peck at its own eggs, or rather 
those of another Molothrus who has been beforehand 
with it. This danger to future generations of Molothri 
is to some extent evaded by the very hard nature of the 
shell, which resists pecking more efficiently than do the 
eggs of the unconsulted hosts. The cuckoo's eggs, as a 
matter of quite common knowledge, are varied in hue, 
so as to give them a better chance of escaping unnoticed 
in the nests of their unwilling hosts. Precisely the 



same variation in colour characterizes the eggs of 
Molothrus bonariensis, which range from pure white 
through a spotty condition to eggs of a fine red through- 
out. Another fact which seems to show the compara- 
tive recentness of the parasitic habit is that Molothrus 
occasionally builds nests for itself, and inspects and 
shows a general interest in the nests of other birds, 
sometimes even altering their structure and adding a 


The last compartment of the Western Aviary has for a 
long series of years always contained examples of the 
bower bird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus), and, as a rule, at 
least some attempt is made every year by these birds 
to construct the " bowers " which are known, by name 
at least, to most persons. This and the other kinds of 
bower birds are Passerine birds with no special features 
of structural interest except the difference, so marked, 
in the coloration of the two sexes. In the present 
species the male is a glossy violet shot black, while the 
female is a speckly greenish. It is the minds, however, 
rather than the bodies of these birds which are of such 
great interest, and so hard to understand. It is in- 
variably the case that when there is a considerable 
difference of appearance between the two sexes, when 
sexual dimorphism, as it is called, occurs, that the male 
bird is the more brilliant in its hues of the two, and that 
its brilliancy of hue is emphasized by various antics 
which are performed in the breeding season ; this 
behaviour is, it is thought, for the delectation of the 
hen, and as an attempt to gain her favours at the ex- 
expense of a less ably performing and duller-hued rival. 
As a matter of fact, such performances are not exclu- 
sively indulged in at the breeding season by all these 
diversely coloured birds. With the bower bird this 



behaviour is complicated by a course of action which 
was first made known by that well equipped ornitho- 
logist, the late Mr. Gould, who went to Australia in 1837 
for the joint purpose of collection and observation. 
The male builds with some little, but not much, assist- 
ance from the female, whose main role is to look on and 
admire, "a kind of archway or bower made upon a plat- 
form of twigs by other twigs, interlaced where they 
meet at the top. Round and in this are scattered 
attractive objects, coloured, or startling by their white- 
ness. Bleached bones and gaily coloured shells and 
pebbles combine to form an aesthetic playing ground. 
Round and through this the male rushes in amorous 
play, delighting the female by his beauty and activity. 
It is thought that the love of the little jackdaw for the 
cardinal's ruby ring is a germ of the same, and in the 
bower bird more fully developed, habit. The nest, it 
should be remarked, has nothing to do with the bower ; 
it is constructed for business purposes only, and is plain 
and unadorned. 


Woodpeckers are numerous, wherever there are trees, 
in nearly all parts of the world ; but they do not occur 
in Australia, or in that peculiarly peopled island, 
Madagascar. Woodpeckers are apt to be gay in colour, 
and of all colours. Green, red, yellow, pure white, and 
more dingy hues ornament the birds. Our own green 
woodpecker (Gecinus viridis) is a good type of the race 
to consider more closely ; and, indeed, one woodpecker 
is as good as another, or nearly so, to illustrate the 
peculiarities of this rather sharply marked off group of 
birds. A thick strong bill and (save in one or two kinds) 
four toes, of which two are turned forwards and two 
backwards, thus affording a strong grip upon the bark 

1 60 


of a tree, characterize these birds. The green wood- 
pecker, which the Nature writer genially calls " Yaffle," 
is a denizen of most parts of England, and is one of our 
handsomest birds, green, with a yellow patch upon the 
back and red streaks on the head. It frequents trees, 
as do other woodpeckers, and extracts from crevices 
by means of an extraordinarily elongated tongue (another 
character of the family Picidse, but not of the rest of 
the group Pici) insects, upon which it feeds. The " tap, 
tap " of the woodpecker which, as a matter of fact, 
seems to be usually the nuthatch, not the woodpecker 
is, in spite of Henry Kirke White, not applied to 
" the hollow beech tree." It has been justly pointed 
out that this is the one tree not at all suitable to wood- 
peckers, for the bark clings tight and does not furnish 
crevices wherein may lurk insects. The variant " hollow 
elm tree " of the undertaker in David Cop per field is 
better. The bill as an instrument serves the wood- 
pecker for another purpose besides dislodging insects. 
With this heavy combined hammer and chisel the bird 
excavates a hole for its nest. In the hole are laid the 
white eggs which characterize this, as they do so many 
birds which deposit their eggs in concealed situations. 
The woodpecker exhibits the truth of the oft-quoted 
half line, " Sic vos non vobis," for, after the woodpecker 
has arduously excavated a suitable cavern, a pair of 
starlings at once take possession of it tor their nursery. 
The somewhat mocking cry of the green woodpecker 
has been rendered " glu-glu-glu-gluk." It seems that 
there are about 350 known species of woodpeckers in 
the world, but only three of these live regularly in this 
country, though the number may of course be in- 
creased by casual visitors. Anatomically the wood- 
peckers seem to come nearest to the toucans and 
barbets. But they are a very clearly marked family, 

Z.G. l6l M 


In the East, where alone they live, the hornbills are 
often called toucans, which is an unnecessary con- 



fusion between two perfectly distinct kinds of birds. 
The exclusively American toucans have, it is true, 



prominent bills like the hornbills of India and Africa ; 
but their feet have the toes in twos, one pair behind and 
one in front ; they are like the cuckoos and some other 
arboreal birds, " zygodactyle." The hornbills have a 
foot which is efficient for grasping purposes, but three 
toes closely applied look forwards and only one back- 
ward. Still, the two families of birds are not very 
remote, and the one takes the place of the other in 
forests of the tropics of New and Old Worlds. You can 
tell a hornbill, as its very name denotes, by its huge 
bill. This would seem to necessitate an unusually 
strong head to sustain it. As a matter of fact, additional 
resistant power is arrived at in these birds by a complete 
fusion between the two first vertebrae of the neck, 
which are in nearly all other birds separate and move- 
able, the one upon the other. Besides, the conviction 
of impossible top-heaviness forced upon the uninformed 
mind by the look of a hornbill is dissipated when the 
dried skull of one of these birds is inspected. It is then 
seen to be formed of the most delicate bony substance, 
arranged in a loose network of bony thread. To watch 
a hornbill hop lightly from bough to bough finally sets 
the mind at rest, and shows that Nature here, as else- 
where, has known what she was about in framing the 
hornbill. The bizarre suggestion of the bill, with its 
superincumbent casque (not present, however, in all 
hornbills), is not borne out by an acquaintance with 
the way of life of the bird. It lives largely upon fruits, 
which a long bill enables it to wrench off from their 
native branches, the leverage being thereby increased. 
Large though these birds are, they are exceedingly 
light, and for reasons revealed to the anatomist. When 
a hornbill is dissected, it is only necessary to remove 
the skin from the leg, when all the muscles, nerves, and 
vessels stand out as if separated by painstaking use of 
the scalpel. The reason for this is that the flesh is dry, 


like that of a hare or an antelope, and air spaces traverse 
the body throughout. The bodies of all birds are 
aerated by expansions of the lung ; but the hornbills 
are particularly so, and the absence of fat conduces to 
this spareness of appearance. Their flight appears 
heavy in spite of this, and they make a great deal of 
noise, especially at getting off, which has been compared 
by Dr. Russell Wallace to the puffing of a steam 
engine. It is not all hornbills that lead an arboreal 
life. In Africa are at least two different species of 
ground hornbills, which are rightly placed in a distinct 
genus and termed Bucorax and Bucorvus. Their beak 
is not quite so huge as in the more exaggerated form in 
which it is found in Buceros and its allied tree dwellers. 
But it is still of respectable dimensions. Bucorvus 
sidles and prances with some stateliness, and, instead 
of living upon fruits, catches reptiles. It is not unraven- 
like in aspect, and is distinctly intelligent, to judge 
from the numerous specimens which have been on view 
at the Zoo in late years. The gait of this bird has pro- 
duced some alteration in the structure of the foot. It 
is still of the pattern of its tree- frequenting relatives ; 
but the inner toe of the three forwardly- directed ones 
has a much more massive formation than that of 
Buceros, and is of greater length. It is noteworthy that 
the same effect has been produced here as in man com- 
pared with the arboreal apes. Our great toe is the 
strongest of the toes, and bears most of the weight of 
the foot. So in the Bucorvus it is the physiological 
equivalent of the great toe 'which .is correspondingly 
increased, for the real big toe is turned back. Now in 
ungulate animals which are also digitigrade, pressure 
upon the foot is associated with the disappearance of 
the outer toes and the predominance of the middle toe 
or toes. It is in some of its breeding habits that the 
hornbill is so remarkable and different from other birds. 



Buceros and its allies lay white eggs and deposit them in 
a hole in a tree. It has been pointed out that birds 
that lay white eggs generally deposit them in a situation 
remote from the light. But this is by no means univer- 
sally true. Some exceptions referred to in the present 
book are certain cuckoos and the podargus ; there are 
others. Still, the hornbills conform to this partial 
generalization. When the time has arrived for egg- 
laying and incubation,. the male bird carefully plasters 
up his wife within her dwelling and takes upon himself 
the care of feeding her. He remarks, in effect, that she 
must attend to her family and not gad about ; but at 
the same time does not spare himself, for males in the 
breeding season are frequently in a miserable physical 
condition. They are merely, as it has been expressed, 
a bag of rattling bones. On the other hand, the newly 
hatched young are little lumps of fat and jelly, feather- 
less, and impotent to help themselves. This careful 
guarding of the family may be a defence against the 
prowling and marauding cat, as well as other carnivores 
and snakes. It is certain that the visitor will find 
several hornbills at the Zoo. There are in Nature more 
than sixty species at present known. 


Aristophanes made birds talk, and so too did Chaucer. 
This practice is continued by those who in modern times 
have invented pseudo-vernacular names for birds based 
upon their supposed utterances. Some of the remarks 
thus put into the mouths of the feathered creation have 
a point, others have not. As an instance of the latter is 
a weird-looking bird of which there have been several 
examples at the Zoo, the last but one of which was 
harboured in the insect house. This bird, Podargus 
cuvieri, is one of the churn owls or goatsuckers, and is a 



native of Australia. The goatsuckers, or Caprimulgidae, 
show characters which are magnified in the Podargus. 


1 66 


They have enormous mouths, which are carried agape 
in their flight and catch innumerable insects. The bill 
is small, since it is not needed as an assistance to feeding 
or fighting, the two principal occupations of the " lower " 
animals. The plumage of Podargus is, as is that of other 
goatsuckers, a soft mixture of browns and greys, a 
" crepuscular " hue, in fact, which assorts well with a 
nocturnal life. The " More-Pork " looks something 
like a caricature of a bird by Lear. Its head is enor- 
mous, and its body shrunken. A pair of large yellow 
eyes complete a picture which is ludicrous. One speci- 
men at the Zoo was fed with new-born mice, which were 
gulped with ease down its huge throat. In Australia 
it feeds on insects. The proper name of this bird 
appears to be Podargus strigoides, and the name is 
suggestive of the resemblances of the bird. Since the 
owls have been by almost universal consent divorced 
from the hawks, their likeness to the goatsucker tribe 
has been all the more commented upon. They have the 
same retiring shades of browns in their plumage, they 
fly softly like aerial Agags or moths, and they are noc- 
turnal. All this, of course, is hardly enough to prove 
a close alliance. But the facts may be slight indications 
which will be confirmed by later studies of the birds. 
It is curious, too, and not unsuggestive, that in New 
Zealand the name " More-Pork " is applied to an owl. 
Our bird is naturally considered to be a bird of ill-omen 
on account of its really ghastly looks, and its habit of 
sitting upon tombstones confirms the popular view. 
Its near ally, the oil-bird, or guacharo, of South America, 
shares its ill-omened reputation, which is enhanced by 
a living in caves. The Podargus is remarkable among 
goatsuckers for building a nest on branches. The others 
l a y e gg s n the ground. The tribe generally does not 
lend itself to confinement, and it is unlikely that the 
visitor will meet with more than one example of the 



Caprimulgidae in the large collection of birds at the 
Zoo ; and that will doubtless be a Podargus. 


It is true that visitors to the Zoological Gardens are 
not so much in search of British animals as of unfamiliar 
exotics ; but the snowy owl (Nyctea nived) may be fairly 
taken as an example of the owl tribe, though it does 
occasionally creep, intrude, or climb into the fold of 
British birds. It cannot, however, be really considered 
to be a British bird in the full sense of the adjective, 
inasmuch as it is at most a rare straggler. As its 
plumage really tells us, the snowy owl is a fowl of cir- 
cumpolar range, though some ornithologists have 
differentiated an American from an European form. 
These birds prefer the desolate and snowy tracts of the 
extreme north, and " there," as Isaiah said, " shall the 
great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather 
under her shadow." The late Dr. Stanley, in his 
well-known book upon birds, even went so far as to say 
that the snowy owl, when surprised in more temperate 
latitudes, as it has been on more than one occasion, 
hopped from snowy patch to snowy patch, and avoided 
the snowless intervals, where it would be more con- 
spicuous. The bird is, in fact, one of those polar crea- 
tures, like the white bear, which appear to be coloured 
in relation to their normal surroundings, and in which 
this white colour is borne winter and summer alike. 
Nyctea, however, is not wholly white, but spotted with 
black. This owl is typically owl-like in its form ; in- 
deed, the group of Strigidae is one which is sharply 
marked off from other birds ; there is never any doubt 
whatever about a given bird as to whether it is or is not 
an owl. It is also one of the largest of owls, and dispels 
in its own person a common belief about owls, i.e. that 
they are not only nocturnal, but cannot bear to look upon 

1 68 

To face p. 168] 



the sun. The snowy owl, which lives, during summer 
at least, in a country of perpetual daylight, would fare 
but badly were it to be nocturnal or even crepuscular. 
The popular belief in the night-loving habits of owls is, 
of course, accurate in so far that the majority of owls 
do, as a matter of fact, hunt at night. But that is quite 
a different thing from saying that no owl can suffer the 
day. The names Heliodilus, " sun-fearer," and Photo- 
dilus, " light fearer," serve only to perpetuate this 
inaccuracy. These names are those of two Madagascar 
genera of owls. The snowy owl does not share in a 
curious defect of organization which mars many owls. 
The earholes, particularly large, do not show either 
superficially or in the underlying skull an asymmetry 
which is a common feature of strigine architecture. 
Like others of its kind, Nyctea nivea (or scandiaca ; it 
has several names, like most birds that have been long 
known) is rapacious in mode of life, a characteristic 
which involves adequate beak and claw, and has been 
largely responsible for placing the owls with the hawks, 
eagles, and vultures, and separating them only from 
those birds as nocturnal Rapaces. On the other hand, 
the noiseless flight, the dull greys and browns of colour 
have led some to associate these birds with the tribe of 
goatsuckers ; a likeness of plumage and flight which may 
be, after all, not so delusive as a test of affinity as some 
such resemblances are apt to be. All that one can say 
at present with even moderate certainty is that the 
Striges are not hawks ; they are not by any means to 
be placed in the same division with the Accipitres. 
What they are exactly is left to future enquirers ; at 
present the anatomical knowledge, and also the absence 
of intermediate types which show a leaning, forbids 
any dogmatism. The snowy owl pursues birds, and has, 
as have most carnivorous creatures, a distinct partiality 
tor the wounded and therefore defenceless birds. It is 



said also to fish. Though the snowy owl is no longer 
to be reckoned an inhabitant of Great Britain, its 
absence from this country of late years is probably to 
be looked upon as due to amelioration of climate. For 
the discovery of bones, or, to be accurate, a single bone, 
in the celebrated cavern, Kent's Hole, near Torquay, 
shows unmistakably that the snowy owl in former and 
colder periods was a genuine dweller in the south of 
England. In relation to the colour of this owl and its 
habitat, it is interesting to note that the Virginian 
eagle owl (Bubo virginianus], a bird also to be found in 
the Gardens), is whiter as it approaches nearer to the 


New Zealand has only a few kinds of parrots to boast 
of, unlike the neighbouring Australia. There are not 
more than half a dozen species or so, but two at least 
of these are of extreme interest ; these two are the owl 
parrot or kakapo (Strigops habroptilus], a flightless form 
with the face of an owl, as its name denotes, and of 
peculiar structure, and the kea and its ally, the kaka, of 
which we shall speak here. This bird, which is known 
by the scientific name of Nestor notabilis, is of a dull 
olive-green hue for the most part, the feathers being 
tipped with black. The rump and the inside of the wing 
are red. It has a long bill and is a good-sized parrot 
altogether. It used to be classed with the Australian 
and Eastern lories ; but Dr. Garrod, at one time Prosec- 
tor of the Zoological Society, proved that it is not akin 
to those brush- tongued parrots, although the tongue is 
slightly frayed out at the end. He thought it to be a 
near ally of the typical parrots represented in almost 
every house in this country by the familiar and African 
grey parrot. Others have thought that it should be 
raised to the dignity of a special family among the 



parrots, and in that position we shall leave it without 
further comment. The general aspect of the bird will 
leave no doubt upon the mind of the visitor that he is 
looking at a parrot ; but it will probably not occur to 
him that this bird is a murderous fowl, which has as it 
were deliberately trodden the Accipitrine path and 
deserted the innocent and frugivorous ways of most of 
the parrot tribe. Inasmuch as there are, or were, some 
ornithologists who regarded the parrots in general as 
modified hawks, this revived taste for flesh seems to 
have a meaning ; but, on the whole, it is to be pointed 
out that the parrot tribe, whatever their real affinities 
are, are not to be placed anywhere near to the eagles, 
vultures, and hawks, in spite of their hooked beak and 
cere at the nostril. Probably they are to be looked 
upon as nearer to the plantain-eaters of Africa and to 
various allies of those. In days gone by the kea was a 
vegetarian, or at most an insect-eating bird. But 
with the colonization of New Zealand came in due course 
mutton, and the kea adopted the habit of loafing round 
sheep-killing establishments and nibbling at garbage. 
From this comparatively harmless taste the kea found 
it but a short step to murder, and nowadays a herd of 
keas will surround and kill a live sheep, particularly 
perhaps a weakly one. So successful did these raids 
become that the government was invoked to protect 
the farmer and the slaughterer. It seems to have taken 
some time for the kea to develop fully this noxious and 
carnivorous habit. For the facts of its depredations 
were only published for the first time in a scientific 
journal so lately as 1871 ; and the advent of specimens 
at the Zoo have never failed to elicit from the daily 
press further comments on what is indeed a genuinely 
remarkable fact. It is frequently remarked in such 
communications that the goal of the kea's bill is the 
kidney fat. It is true that the lumbar region is the one 



generally attacked, and a well-known surgeon exhibited 
some years since a preparation of a sheep so treated, in 
which the bird had performed the operation of " colo- 
tomy," or cutting into the large intestine. But it is 
now certain that the kea actually prefers lean to fat, 
like our old friend Jack Sprat, but, unlike that gentle- 
man, will eat both substances. One might think 
possibly that this change of feeding habits which may 
ultimately be responsible for a change in at least the 
digestive organs of subsequent keas, and be thus a most 
excellent example of the influence of man upon faunas 
having been acquired would be fixed, and that animal 
food would now be a necessity. This, however, is not 
so. Specimens at the Zoo have been fed on ordinary 
parrot food, and have thriven thereon and showed 
no symptoms of pining for unnatural mutton chops. 
Nevertheless, mutton chops have often been freely sup- 
plied to these birds when in the parrot house. The cap- 
acity for an entire change of diet gives the philosopher 
room " furiously to think,'' for it seems likely that many 
kinds of beasts in the past have disappeared from the 
face of nature through inability to adopt such liberal 
opinions, and it is a fact that omnivorous creatures, 
who need therefore place but little dependence upon the 
vagaries of Nature, are often of primitive and long 
existent kinds. This parrot, like others, has a voice. 
Sir Walter Buller asserts that it mews like a cat, and 
that it also utters a " whistle, a chuckle, and a sup- 
pressed scream," a round of noises which is unsurpassed 
in the bird tribe. This flexibility of voice (and it may 
be added that the kea can be instructed in the art of the 
usual parrot unpolite conversation) depends partly in 
these birds upon the complicated structure of the voice 
organ. That organ has several muscles pulling different 
ways, and thus allowing of much change in the shape of 
the air column, which causes the vocal chords to vibrate 



and thus sound. It lives a good deal on the ground, as 
might be supposed from its propensities to convert 
sheep into mutton. And when on the ground it hops in 
a corvine fashion instead of adopting the more usual 
psittacine waddle. Nestor meridionalis is the only 
other living species, and its Maori vernacular name is 


Kaka. This Nestor does not appear to have as yet taken 
to a diet of mutton ; it feeds upon insects, and is more 
arboreal than its ally. Both species may be seen at the 
Zoo from time to time. Both also nest in crevices of 
rocks, and of course, as all parrots do, lay white eggs. 
The laying of white eggs is correlated with a concealed 
nest, but the correlation does not amount at all to any- 
thing like cause and effect. For eggs placed in exposed 



nests are sometimes white, and coloured eggs are often 
secretly hidden from prying pard and other egg eaters. 
The New Zealand archipelago once nourished two other 
species of Nestor, both of which are now quite extinct, 
so far as we know, though the recent occurrence of the 
supposed extinct rail, Notornis mantelli, makes us careful 
in making too clear a statement on the point. It seems 
unlikely, however, that we shall ever see again either 
Nestor productus or Nestor norfolcensis. 


As a representative, and that a very typical one, of 
the .cuckoo tribe we shall select the Oriental koel (Eudy- 
namis orientalis, or honorata as the name apparently 
more correctly runs). This bird, like other cuckoos, 
has what is called a zygodactyle foot ; that is, the toes 
are arranged in twos, one pair being turned forwards 
and the other backwards. The " great " toe and the 
fourth toe are those which are turned backwards, and the 
result of this is an effective grasping organ, from which 
alone it might be safely inferred that the cuckoos are 
arboreal birds. And yet this generalization is marred 
by the fact that there are cuckoos which pass at least 
a great deal of their time upon the ground, such as the 
American Roadrunner (Geo coccyx}. That originally 
cuckoos were typical " insessores " seems however to 
be clear. The koel is at least often to be seen at the 
Gardens, and it is one of the few cuckoos in which the 
two sexes vary greatly in colour. In fact the variation 
in plumage from the cock to the hen is as great as in 
any bird. The cock bird is black and the hen brown, 
with white spots and bars. In our common cuckoo, 
Cuculus canorus, a careful examination shows slight, 
but very slight, differences of colour in the two sexes. 
It has a good strong curved beak and yet, unlike our 
cuckoo, who seems to take a delight in the most bristly 



and " warningly coloured " of caterpillars, the koel 
is a pure vegetarian. This bird in its several species 
is widely ranging in the East, but belongs entirely to 
the eastern hemisphere. Its name is plainly onomato- 
poeic. Its voice is melodious, and we are informed that 
it is used by the youthful oriental as a comparison 
standard of the voice of his beloved as is its plumage 
of her beauty. But on the other hand it is black of 
heart like other cuckoos, and leaves to others the care 
of bringing up its offspring. This cuckoo lays its eggs 
for choice in the nests of the Indian crow (Corvus 
splendens), and it is remarkable that the wiliest among 
Indian birds does not frustrate its unbidden guest. 
Its eggs, too, are like those of the crow in colour, though 
smaller ; it is said that the newly hatched cuckoo ejects 
its foster brethren in the good old fashion of the British 
cuckoo. It diverges from its ally in this country in 
the fact that it is not migratory, and is entirely stay-at- 
home. Some would write the name cuckoo " cuckow," 
a reversion to an older, but not in our opinion " more 
scholarly," method of orthography. For as the word 
is, like the word " koel, " distinctly formed in imitation 
of the note of the bird itself, other old transliterations 
might be invoked. Thus we might insist upon calling 
the bird " Gukgo," and indeed that word is a trifle more 
suggestive of the bird when he " alters his tune " in 
June. There are at least two remarkable facts about 
the cuckoo tribe, with the outlines of which every one 
is acquainted, and about which it is necessary to say 
something. The parasitical habits have been known 
from the remotest antiquity. The knowledge of the 
same has gradually accumulated, but there are still 
problems that require solution. It is always mentioned 
as a curiosity of the history of Natural History, that 
the habits of the cuckoo were largely elucidated by the 
discoverer of vaccination, Jenner. What the cuckoo 



actually does is broadly this. The eggs are produced 
rather continuously, so that the bird could not very 
well place them all in one nest and then proceed to the 
duties of incubation. The process would be too long 
for the life of the parent. Thus it has had recourse 
to its well-known habit. In accordance with the varied 
hospitality upon which the cuckoo insists, the eggs vary 
greatly in colour ; but whether there is always a cor- 
respondence between the nest selected and the colour 
of the eggs laid therein is not so certain. It has been 
suggested that individual cuckoos acquire the habit of 
laying their eggs in the nests of a given species, or even 
for a series of seasons in the nests of the same individual. 
That therefore the eggs, by a process of elimination, 
get to be like those of the adopted foster parent, and 
that the variety of egg coloration in the cuckoo is a 
matter of individual cuckoos, and not individual eggs 
of the same cuckoo. It is furthermore plain that the 
young cuckoo is stronger and more muscular than its 
fellow nestlings and that it actually does forcibly eject 
them. But this predatory instinct on behalf of its 
young is not universal in the cuckoo tribe. All the 
immediate allies of the Cuculus canorus'oi our islands 
are parasitic. But Eudynamis is the one exception 
apparently among the group of cuckoos to which it 
belongs that shows this characteristically cuculine habit. 
This shows of course that the habit is but a recent one, 
a point of view that is supported by the rare occurrence 
(one case at any rate has been authenticated), of 
common cuckoos building a nest of their own, and 
attending to their own offspring The lark-footed 
cuckoo (Centropus), usually to be seen in the Zoo, is not 
parasitic. Now it is interesting that this cuckoo, like 
some others which are equally independent of the 
assistance of other birds, lays a white egg. The para- 
sitic species have apparently all of them spotted and 


blotched eggs, so that they are more or less like the 
average bird's egg. 

Another matter of interest concerning cuckoos is the 
frequently close likeness which many of them bear to 
other birds of quite different groups. This " mimicry " 
is to be seen in our own cuckoo, whose likeness to a hawk 
was commented upon by Aristotle. That small birds 
share in the deception seems to be shown by the fact 
that they will " mob " a cuckoo, apparently under the 
impression that they are annoying their hereditary 
enemy. The Indian " brain fever bird " (Hierococcyx), 
is still more like a hawk, and it has deceived into a state 
of excitement small birds at the Zoo. The advantage 
of such a likeness may be held to be proved in these 
cases where a superficial resemblance may protect a 
feeble bird from assaults on the part of ravening, but 
timid and suspicious, fowls. There are, however, other 
cases somewhat different in their nature. A large 
Sumatran ground cuckoo (Carpococcyx radiatus) lately 
exhibited in the Insect House at the Zoo, had the swag- 
gering strut of that " miles gloriosus " among birds, 
the " game bird." It may be that here the aspect of the 
cuckoo suggested to the hawk that under the swaggering 
gait lay an armature of spurs. The cuckoo to which 
we have already referred, viz. Centropus, includes a 
species which is named " phasianus," a name which 
suggests precisely the same kind of similarity. 


The touracous with their brilliant colours, often red 
and green, are common occupants of the cages at the Zoo. 

These beautiful birds are African, and only African, 
in range. They are eminently tree- frequenting birds, 
and the outer toe is reversible in order that it can enable 
the bird to grapple with different needs as it moves 
from branch to branch. It is generally held that the 

Z.G. 177 N 


touracous come nearest to the cuckoos in systematic 
position. But it is clear that, after all, they are a 
somewhat isolated race. The principal fact of interest 
about them is the red colouring matter of the wing 
feathers. In considering the peacock, it is pointed out 
that colours in birds' feathers may or may not depend 
upon the presence in the feather of a pigment of that 
particular hue. In the peacock the bright metallic 
tints are the product of the feather structure and of a 
blackish pigment below. In the touracou, on the con- 
trary, the red feathers contain a red pigment, which 
can be dissolved out, and which shows in solution the 
same fine colour that it shows when embedded in the 
substance of the feathers. Some characteristics of this 
pigment have given rise to what must be regarded as 
rather a legendary history. It has been noticed that 
in wet weather these birds confine themselves to the 
densest shades of their native thickets, a proceeding 
on their part which is not at all unusual for a bird. But 
a special reason for this was alleged in the case of the 
touracou. The red pigment was held to be dissolved 
out by the warm tropical rain, leaving the feather 
blanched. It was furthermore added, with perhaps an 
eye to paradox and effect, that when the bird was shot 
and happened to fall into water, it dyed the stream 
red, not with its own blood, but with the dissolved 
crimson pigment. The actual facts upon which these 
statements have been based is that the colour can be 
removed from the feathers by steeping them in alkalis. 
And furthermore that ordinary tap water, which is as a 
rule slightly alkaline, will be tinged to a perceptible 
extent after a feather has been steeped in it, particularly 
if the water be warm. It is, however, doubtful whether 
a touracou is bleached by exposure to a tropical or 
any downpour. The name turacin has been applied 
to this pigment, and it is characterized, a somewhat 


rare occurrence among animal pigments, by having a 
spectrum with absorption bands. It furthermore con- 
tains copper. It is a highly interesting fact in view of 
the supposed relationships of the Musophagidce, as the 
family is termed, to the cuckoos, that the same pigment 
has been found in a cuckoo. 


This bird, the handsomest though not the largest of 
the cranes, sensu stricto, is one of those birds which may 
certainly be found in one of the outside paddocks of 
the Zoo. In fact, cranes generally are a strong feature 
in the Gardens, and nearly all the known species have 
been exhibited. A great many may usually be seen 
at any given time, and thus the visitor can note the 
points in which this crane differs from its allies. It has, 
as in cranes generally, a sharp and longish beak, though 
not so long as in the typical cranes of the genus Grus ; 
its legs again are long, but not so long as in the typical 
cranes. It has, however, what no other crane has, a 
tuft of golden coloured feathers, consisting merely of 
the stems of the feathers without their lateral branches, 
the barbs, upon the crown of the head, whence of course 
its popular name. The cranes, as a race, could only be 
confounded with the storks, to which their long and 
pointed bills ally them. But this apparent likeness, 
as well as the fact that both groups of birds have long 
legs, is not a sufficient reason for placing them near 
together in the face of certain profound differences. 
Even by external characters it is easy to draw a line 
between the storks and cranes. The latter have a 
small hind toe, and the nostrils are far forward on the 
beak ; in storks the hind toe is large and the nostril 
is at the base of the beak. Internally there are im- 
portant differences, especially in the skull. In the 
stork tribe the bony palate is continuous across the 



mouth, while in the cranes a soft interval is left in the 
middle line. Cranes, moreover, do not as a rule perch 
high up in trees or upon buildings ; while both herons 
and storks do. Our particular crane is a native of 
Africa only, in which continent it is represented to-day 
by two species, to which the scientific names of Balearica 
chrysopelargus and B. pavonina are applied. Balearica 
suggests another habitat ; but apparently the occurrence 
of either species of crane away from Africa is extremely 
rare. It has, however, been alleged to have been, 
in the eighteenth century, an inhabitant of the Bale- 
aric islands. This evidence however, when duly sifted, 
appears to amount to a statement by a Spanish gentle- 
man who died in 1784, that he had heard it said that a 
specimen was found in those islands in the year 1780. 
Its rarity in Europe and Northern Africa and its occa- 
sional wanderings into these countries, coupled with 
its beautiful crown of gold, may perhaps be at the 
bottom of the phoenix stories. Tacitus tells how in 
the consulship of Fabius and Vitellius, " Post longum 
saeculorum ambitum avis phoenix in ^Egyptum venit." 
Now so rare is the crowned crane in Egypt that the late 
Mr. Blyth could find no record of its occurrence in 
that country. Thus a rarely appearing bird, unfamiliar 
therefore, and with a flame-like and radiating crown of 
feathers, would strike an imaginative people as some- 
thing odd ; and out of these actual facts one hardly 
knows what superstructure may have been built. 
There is a pretty tall one if the phoenix has anything 
to do with this bird. Barring the eagle's beak, the crowned 
crane would serve as an excellent replica of the phoenix 
in the so-called Life Assurance Corporation's advertise- 
ment. We are, however, concerned here with a living 
and very real, and not with a fabulous, bird. In the 
skull of the crowned crane is a curious feature which is 
not a little deceptive. Underneath the crest the fore- 





head shows a pair of elevations of the bone which suggest 
exactly the bony horn basis in certain mammals. It 
seems to us very probable that if nothing were known 
concerning this crane save its skull-cap, it would have 
gone down to posterity as a horned bird. And very 
likely the tiny horn on the head of the horned screamer 
(Palamedea cormita), a close ally of the screamer Chauna, 
as we note on another page, would have been quoted as 
the last vestige in a living bird of a former horned race. 
But the crane is not horned, only crested. The deep 
note of cranes, of intense loudness, is familiar to all 
visitors to the Zoo, and is especially to be heard at evening. 
It is aided by the long windpipe, which is coiled like a 
trumpet and adds of course by this increase of length 
to the volume of the sound produced. This special 
arrangement is not found in our crowned cranes, who 
are thus less specialized and more primitive representa- 
tives of the crane tribe than the remaining forms. 


South America is the home of many waning races 
of birds and beasts ; in its dense forests there lurk repre- 
sentatives of whole groups, which once flourished abun- 
dantly upon the the land, but are now reduced to scarce 
waifs and strays, the flotsam and jetsam of a previous 
order of things. There is one living " diprotodont " 
marsupial, the sole remnant of the otherwise extinct 
family Epanorthidce ; the rail-like Heliornis or Podoa 
forms, with two allies in Africa and the East, the sole 
remains of a group of birds possibly antecedent to the 
widely spread rails and water hens of the rest of the 
world ; the mysterious Guacharo or oil-bird is of a type 
peculiar to itself at present, and the " Four-footed " 
bird of the northern parts of the South American con- 
tinent (Opisthocomus cristatus) has not a single close ally 
living anywhere else. Among this wreckage are to be 



placed the birds known as Screamers or Kamichis, 
known to us by three species, usually referred to two 
distinct genera, viz. Chauna and Palamedea. The 
Derbian or the crested screamer (Chauna derbiana and 
C. cristata) is a bird which looks like nothing else in the 
bird way. It has the head of a fowl attached to the body 
of a good-sized goose, the whole surmounted upon 
longish legs with straddling toes. The long legs suggest 
wading, and the large " feet " with divaricated toes safe 
progression upon treacherous and marshy soil. The 
bird is in fact at least partly aquatic ; and the likeness 
to a goose is not wholly a matter of outward appear- 
ance. But it cannot be definitely placed in that large 
order, which includes the geese, swans and ducks ; 
rather is it to be looked upon as the vestige of a group 
which perhaps produced, as a mere side issue, the anati- 
form birds. The main stem with its archaic characters 
has come down to us in these three desolate birds which 
form the subject of the present article. 

The chaunas have a puffed out and even gouty appear- 
ance about the legs. Coupled with a slowish gait this 
suggests overfeeding, a complaint which is not un- 
known at the Zoo through the unnecessary kindness of 
visitors. It is, however, merely a conspicuous expres- 
sion of a state of affairs which characterizes birds in 
general and not the screamers only. These birds, 
like others, are literally " puffed out with wind and the 
rank mist they draw " in order to lighten their some- 
times cumbrous bodies. The lungs of birds are not 
simply bags more or less subdivided into multitudin- 
ous chambers as in ourselves and other animals ; but 
they communicate with a complex system of ramifying 
air cavities spread through the body and permeating 
even their very bones. There is hardly a portion of the 
bird's body which is free from air- containing spaces, a 
state of affairs which obviously aids it in spurning the 



dull earth. But curiously enough, in view of the fact 
that in nature the coat seems to be invariably cut accord- 
ing to the cloth, the amount of aeration is not precisely 
correspondent with the capacity for flight. So thoroughly 
is the body of the screamer lightened in this way that 
when the skin is pressed it absolutely crackles with 
exploding bubbles. The chauna, however, though 
largely a ground bird, can fly and soar to a great height. 
Mr. W. H. Hudson described it as circling upwards like 
the lark and uttering continuously its melodious sounds 
from the topmost air. The visitor will perhaps hardly 
agree with the author of that delightful and instructive 
work, The Naturalist in la Plata in considering the 
screams of the chauna as tuneful ; but Mr. Hudson asserts 
that in captivity the original melody is lost ; and in any 
case a distance and rarefied air may produce a softening 
of the ear-piercing-shrieks of the captive bird more 
reminiscent of the lark than one is disposed to admit 
after a visit to the Zoo. For when a pair of these birds, 
aided by the friendly rivalry of the cariama, the other 
screamer, really lay themselves out for a prolonged 
conversation, the noise is almost insupportable. Far 
out in the wilds of Regent's Park this awful din can 
be heard, farther away than any of the multitudinous 
sounds inherent in the menagerie. The Palamedea 
differs in a number of points from Chauna. The most 
striking unlikeness is in its possession of a single and 
small horn upon the forehead. It cannot be very ser- 
viceable either for defensive or offensive purposes, on 
account of its weakness and flexibility. Besides, if 
Palamedea, or for that matter Chauna too, feel any 
desire for aggression, and they often do, each wing has 
a hard and exceedingly serviceable horny outgrowth 
with which a formidable wound can be inflicted. These 
latter spurs are found in some other birds, for instance 
in the appropriately named " Spur- winged Goose." 


The horn on the head must therefore be either a sexual 
adornment or a relic from the past. In the latter 
case it may perhaps be looked upon as an inheritance 
from those long since defunct and bird-like reptiles, 
the Dinosaurs ; and like an armorial bearing of a military 
kind, be rather a mark of aristocracy than an indication 
of a pugnacious and offensive character. We have 


intimated that the screamers are of ancient lineage. 
That conclusion is accepted on account of the fact that 
they cannot be definitely referred to any existing group 
of birds, coupled with certain traces of reptilian con- 
ditions in their organization. The most noteworthy of 
these is the character of the ribs, which have not, as 
have all other existing birds without exception, certain 


little hook-like processes upon them, which serve for the 
firm anchoring of certain muscles. These " uncinate " 
processes, as anatomists term them, are also wanting 
in that undoubtedly archaic and " mediaeval " bird, 
Archceopteryx. Another ancient character has been 
shown by the secretary of the Zoological Society, Dr. 
Mitchell, who has justly likened the coils of the intestine 
to those of a crocodile. It is an odd thing, as showing 
how those who interpret extinct animals may fall into 
unwitting error, to note that the median horn of 
Palamedea leaves no traces of its presence upon the 
skull ; whereas the skull of an entirely hornless bird, 
the Cape crowned crane (Balearica), which we have 
described on another page, has a bony excrescence or 
rather a pair of them on the skull ; this would lead the 
naturalist, were he only acquainted with the skull, 
to gratuitously present to the Cape crowned crane a 
pair of rather large horns, and to descant with ap- 
parently well justified inference upon a descendant of 
horned Dinosaurs. As we see, the precise reverse of 
the indications offered by the skull exist. The Pala- 
medea is horned, while Balearica is not. 

These clamorous inhabitants of the Zoo are, as a rule, 
to be found in the well filled Eastern Aviary. But 
in the summer months they are sometimes moved for a 
change farther west into open paddocks suitable in size 
for walking exercise. In such a situation and in the 
year 1904 the Chauna bred and reared three young. 
This event happened for the first time in the history of 
the Society, though many pairs have been exhibited. 


The condor, together with the king vulture, the 
" turkey buzzard," and the Calif ornian vulture, form 
an assemblage of birds which are collectively known 
by the general term of " the American vultures," 



which only explains that they are inhabitants of America 
and that they are vultures. A deft name introduced 
by the late Mr. Seebohm, viz. Mimogypes, emphasizes 
the now widely received view, that these birds are not 
near allies of the vultures proper, i.e. those of the 
Old World, but that they are vulturine in habit though 
belonging to quite a different group of birds. No one 
looking at the great condor of the Andes would come 
to any other conclusion than that it is a vulture ; and 
yet even externally, it may be distinguished from its 
carrion-loving allies of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The 
feet in the first place are decidedly feebler than those of 
vultures, strictly speaking. The bill is less developed, 
and it would be noticed after a short time that the condor 
has no scream, or indeed voice of any kind, to raise the 
echoes such as is possessed by the birds of prey of this 
side of the Atlantic Ocean. It can, in fact, only hiss. 
The reason for this is quite the same kind of reason as 
that which forbids to the true storks the capacity for 
uttering their sentiments. The bird has not a " syrinx, " 
as the avian voice organ is termed. The windpipe or 
trachea passes without change of character into the 
two tubes, the bronchi, which supply with air the two 
lungs. No modification of the cartilaginous rings at the 
bifurcation, no muscles for altering the approximation 
of these rings, are there to aid in the production of a 
definite voice, even if only one capable of expressing 
itself in a scream, which is the hawk-like mode of ex- 
pression. The condor, too, and its immediate allies, 
do not possess what so many birds do possess, i.e. two 
blind tubes, the caeca, arising from the intestine. In 
the hawks, eagles and vultures of the Old World these 
caeca are always present, though very tiny ; in Sar- 
corhamphus even the very vestiges have gone. There 
is no trace of the blind appendages. Other anatomical 
features which differentiate these birds need not be gone 



into ; but they exist, and are of importance. Anatomy 
forbids us to place the American vultures quite close 
to the accipitrine scavengers of the Old World. 

The condor with its black plumage, except on the 
wings where it is grey, and the tips of the big wing 
feathers which are white, the white ruff like a lady's 
feather boa round its neck, its naked throat and the 
wattle which rises on the head of the cock bird, is one 
of the largest of flying fowls : it has an expanse of wing 
which is hardly surpassed in the " aery caravan." A 
specimen in the Zoo had a stretch of wing of 7 feet 
6 inches, and the bird is said to reach so great a span 
as 9 feet. But even then it is equalled by the Marabou 
stork, which expands its wings to precisely the same 
length, at any rate so far as concerned a large individual 
at the Zoo. The condor, which measured seven feet and 
a half, had a body weight of 131 lb. 9 oz. But a rela- 
tionship between weight and expanse of wing is not 
by any means always accurate in the bird tribe. A 
lammergeier, for example, of 10 lb. in weight had a 
wing expanse of 8 feet 8 inches. Nevertheless, there 
is no doubt about the fact that the condor is a powerful 
flyer, and its soaring capacity is a matter of universal 
knowledge. It is precisely " every schoolboy " who 
does know this fact, for the condor figures largely in 
tales of adventure. That it will attack persons, or at 
least threaten to do so, seems to be a fact. When thus 
attacking it has the cunning to take advantage of sun- 
light, and only to attack in brilliant weather, when it can 
swoop down with its back to the sun, whose rays dazzle 
the swooped-upon one. It delights in the fastnesses 
of the Andes of Peru, and prefers to live at an altitude 
of from 9 to 16,000 feet. The " scenting " of prey by 
this and other vultures is a matter of common notoriety ; 
but the causes of such keenness are not thoroughly 
agreed upon. It seems to be useless to attribute the 

1 88 


instinct of the bird for offal to the sense of scent. The 
brain of the bird shows that it can have but little power 
of smell. For the olfactory lobes, those regions of the 


brain which are largely developed in keen-scented 
creatures, are exceedingly inconspicuous. The real 
explanation appears to be vision. A condor hard by 
the corpse detects it with ease while circling in the air 



above. A condor a trifle farther off observes the interest 
shown by its companion, and so on to the uttermost 
verges of Peru. The condor is sure to be on view at the 
Zoo, it is so very excellent a bird for menagerie pur- 
poses a statement which would appear to be unlikely 
if there were no facts to support it. But they live long, 
and in the year 1889 died an old bird which was purchased 
so long ago as 1856. The very first specimen ever 
acquired was bought in 1853. Besides the common 
condor known as Sarcorhamphus gryphus, is another 
form, the " condor pardo," which is through life of 
a brown colour, a hue which belongs to the young of 
the common species. 


This handsome long-legged hawk is practically always 
on view at the Zoo. Its grey body with black wings, 
its stilt-like legs, and the tuft of feathers on the head 
which have suggested the name, mark it out as an 
abnormal form of the Falconid tribe. Its deeper lying 
structures show it to be not very far removed from the 
eagle tribe, but still to form a very distinct group of its 
own, which is thought by some to be nearer to the root 
of the rapacious birds than any existing form. The 
bird is purely African, and ranges from north to south. 
On the west it has been given a different name. Its 
range in that continent is not at all unlike that of the 
crowned crane. The name of secretary bird is thought 
by some to have been derived from the tuft of feathers 
on the head, which suggest a bunch of pens carried by 
a clerk. Others again have held they are like arrows, 
and that the name is a corruption of Sagittarius. Ser- 
pentarim reptilivorm is its scientific appellation. The 
bird is one to be fostered, and it is indeed on the 
protected list ; for it attacks and gets the better of the 
numerous venomous serpents of Africa. Its mode of 



fighting is to use one wing as a defence, and to buffet 
with the other, until the puff adder or cobra is wearied 
of the strife, when it is swallowed. Sometimes, though 
rarely, the serpent is the victor, and it is said that if the 
snake bites a feather the secretary bird will immediately 
pull it out. Considering the points of likeness which the 
secretary bird does bear to the crane tribe, from which, 
according to the opinion of at least two bird anatomists, 
it is perhaps to be derived, it is significant that its voice 
" precisely resembles the call of the Stanley crane." 
Its feet and beak, however, proclaim it a hawk. So 
too, its eggs, which are white blotched with red ; but 
then eggs are not so decisive as marks of affinity, 
and crane's eggs are after all not so very dissimilar. 
The energy of the secretary bird in pursuing reptiles 
is attested to by the traveller le Vaillant, who withdrew 
from the stomach of one of these birds twenty-one small 
tortoises up to two inches in length, eleven lizards of 
seven to eight inches, three serpents as long as the arm, 
and a multitude of grasshoppers. In confinement it is 
apt to take toll of the fowl run ; but in a state of nature 
it does not seem to care for birds. The bird builds a 
huge nest which is used year after year, and is even added 
to. Therein are deposited two eggs. The secretary 
bird establishes spheres of influence, like the robin over 
here. It is apt, like mankind, to be much occupied 
with boundary questions, and will not tolerate aggression. 


The osprey treated of here has of course nothing what- 
ever to do with the plumes of feathers known to the 
" trade " by that name. The latter are the spray-like 
crests of the white egret, one of the herons. The osprey 
of this book is a hawk which gets its livelihood in a way 
which is rare among rapacious birds, that is by fishing. 
Its name is believed to be a corruption of Ossifraga, i.e. 



bone-breaker, a name which is now applied to certain 
petrels. The origin of the name from its destructive 
qualities is quite analogous, as has been pointed out, 
to the connexion between the words hawk and havoc, 
and between raven and ravine. The osprey is a fish- 
eater, but it catches its fish as a hawk does, and not as a 
kingfisher does, for example ; it strikes the fish in fact 
with its talons as if it were a partridge. The older 
type of ornithological handbook used invariably to be- 
gin with the Accipitres, as if taking to heart Chaucer's 

The fowles of ravine 
Were highest set and than the fowles smale, 

and continued with the Passerine birds. There is no 
reason for placing the osprey and its kindred either at 
the head or at the base of the avian series, as might be 
implied by such a placing. But what their precise 
place in the system should be is a matter for inquiry 
rather than for ex cathedra statement. That they are 
rather perfected birds in their way is shown by the com- 
plete closure of the roof of the mouth. All birds seem 
to start life with the maxillopalatine bones, as they are 
termed, in non-juxtaposition, which leaves a gap in the 
bony mouth of the roof. This condition is persisted in 
in the Limicoline and many other birds ; but in a great 
variety, which are not necessarily nearly akin thereby, 
the bones have grown inwards, and met to form what 
Prof. Huxley called a desmognathous palate. And the 
hawks, as well as such obviously dissimilar birds as 
the hornbills and the toucans, are of this number. The 
hawk tribe, which embraces a vast number of forms, 
such as the vultures of the Old World, the eagles, the 
falcons an hawks, the kites, and the caracaras of 
America, has not merely this character ; but they all 
agree in the powerful talons, with strong legs to match 
the strong and hooked bill, the cruel flat head upon which 



Michelet descants in L'Oiseau, the fact that the gape of 
the mouth reaches, but does not pass, the eye, and the 
slight webbing between the outer front toes. The osprey 
has not the latter character, which, as well as a few 
others, produces a certain likeness to the owl tribe, 
which are known to be not nearly related to the hawk 
tribe. On account of these few facts, Pandion haliaetus, 
the osprey, has been given a separate place in the 
Accipitrine phalanx, which however it hardly deserves. 
A glance at the living bird, which is frequently to be 
found at the Zoo, will show this. It is unmistakably 
and thoroughly a hawk. The long-legged caracaras, 
and still more perhaps the less known Polyboroides of 
Africa, have a. suggestion of the secretary bird, which is 
unquestionably an " aberrant " hawk. They may remind 
the visitor, too, of quite a distinct form, the cariama, 
which ornithologists now hold to be not far off from 
the cranes, by their habit of throwing back the neck 
when uttering their prolonged cry. But the remaining 
assemblage can only with difficulty be split up into 
" families," and even the carrion-loving ways of the 
vulture are successfully imitated by that "noble" bird 
the golden eagle, who will stoop readily from sailing 
with supreme dominion through the azure deep of air 
to settle upon a festering sheep's carcass. The osprey 
seems to be free from this ghoulish taste. This fish 
hawk, as it is often called, is world wide in range ; it 
extends much farther than from China to Peru, viz. 
from Japan to Brazil, and from Alaska to New Zealand. 
It catches fish in the sea or in lakes ; with us it is a 
rarity, though it has been ascertained to breed here, 
or rather in Scotland. And very rightly, as evidence of 
the proper importance to be attached to the matter, the 
Zoological Society awarded some years back a medal 
to certain gentlemen who had been instrumental in 
cherishing the nests and home of the osprey.. 
Z.G. 193 o 



The Painted Snipe 

THIS gaily coloured Indian and African bird will 
serve as an instance of a not very common phe- 
nomenon among birds, that is the predominance of 
the female over the male sex. As a rule it is the male 
who is gorgeous or gaudy ; he is the ornamental part 
of the household, and ruffles it abroad with his fellows, 
while the dowdily plumed hen stays at home and attends 
to her domestic cares. The painted snipe, however, 
belongs to a matriarchal species, where it is the female 
who is predominant in size and colouring, the cock bird, 
it is said, attending to the duties of incubation. A 
curious structural character emphasizes this reversed 
relation of the sexes. In many birds belonging to quite 
different groups the windpipe, instead of passing straight 
down to its entrance into the lungs, deviates into the 
substance of the breastbone, or under the skin, and 
there becomes variously coiled, the anatomical fact 
being followed by a more strident voice. Where the 
sexes differ in this it is the rule for the female to have a 
straight trachea without convolutions. Now in Rhyn- 
chcea capensis, as the painted snipe is known to ornith- 
ologists, it is the female who has a slightly coiled trachea, 
while that of the male is perfectly uncoiled. The term 
snipe is a misnomer when applied to this fowl, although 
it undoubtedly does belong to that great group of wading 



birds, the Limicolae, which embraces the true snipes. 
The Indian sportsman knows that it neither behaves nor 
tastes like a snipe. The anatomist tells precisely the 
same tale. It is perhaps rather to the jaganas, those 
extraordinary long-toed birds, which walk upon the 
leaves of aquatic plants both in the Old World and 
the New, that the Rhynchcea approaches most nearly 
in structure. It has too, according to Mr. F. Finn, a 
skulking and furtive gait like that of a rail. The first, 
and so far the only, specimens brought to the Zoo were 
sent over by the same gentleman in 1902. The bird is 
unmistakably of the Limicoline order. It has the long 
bill of the majority of that tribe. Its colours are striking 
and yet are held to be " protective " ; the back is olive 
green with yellow stripes. The behaviour of this bird 
has been carefully studied by Mr. Finn. During 
courtship they spread their wings and crouch down, 
something after the fashion of the ruff ; they utter co- 
inciden tally a sound " like that produced by plunging 
a hot iron into water." The same attitudes and actions 
are, however, produced by dismay, and are thought to 
be alarming to enemies. At any rate, Mr. Finn saw a 
golden plover which seemed to be frightened by this 


In many respects this is one of the finest of the gull 
tribe. It is at least one of the largest. As a rule a 
specimen may be seen in the enclosure devoted to the 
gulls at the Zoo. The glaucous gull is not strictly a 
British species ; it is like many forms which inhabit 
the northern regions, circumpolar in habitat. Its 
occasional inclusion in the fauna of this country is due 
to infrequent visitations to these islands. The only 
equal of the glaucous gull in size is the great black- 
backed gull (Larus marinus), which is also a bird to be 



frequently seen at the Zoo. The glaucous gull has a 
paler plumage. The gulls are a group of birds found 
more or less everywhere, and are of a fairly uniform 
coloration. The prevalent hues are grey, black and 
white, mingled in a way that everybody must have 
noted ; a good many varieties of gull, comprising the 
more common forms, are always on view in their own 
special pond, and also in other enclosures at the Zoo. 
An exceptionally coloured gull is the beautiful ivory 
gull (Pagophila eburnea), which is brilliant white with 
black legs. It is an occasional visitant to our shores, 
and, though not willingly, to our Zoo. The greys and 
whites of the gulls is believed to assist in rendering the 
bird obscure on account of a harmony with frothing 
waves, over the tops of which the gull skims, or on the 
tops of which it rides. This may be so ; but the young 
gull has a different plumage, which lasts for a long time, 
and is of a speckled brown. What is sauce for the goose 
ought to be sauce for the gosling ; if the old bird needs 
this protection of invisibility, it might be thought that 
the young needed it more, or at least as much. But 
the colour of the young gull is not without significance 
if we bear in mind those close allies of the gulls,the skuas. 
Of these birds also examples are fairly certain to be 
visible in one or other of the enclosures devoted to birds. 
The prevailing hue of the skuas is brown. It is from 
these birds rather than from the gulls perhaps that the 
slang term "gull" is derived. For the skuas, though 
powerful enough and agile enough to do their fishing 
and food collecting generally for themselves, prefer to 
worry and harass some other fishing bird, until they 
make it drop its recently captured prey in sheer ner- 
vousness or fright. The older ornithologists, unduly 
impressed by webbed feet, put the gull near to the ducks 
and other aquatic birds. They have, however, nothing 
in common structurally except these webbed toes. 



Curious though it may appear, when mere outward 
look is considered, the gulls come nearest to the Limi- 
colae than to all other existing groups of birds. The 
Limicolae is that extensive assemblage of birds which 
includes the snipes, plovers, and their manifold kindred. 
One rather singular type of Limicoline (not infrequently 
to be seen at the Zoo) is an antarctic bird of white 
plumage, known as Chionis, or in English as sheath-bill. 
It is an almost ideally intermediate form. It has the 
aspect and marine habits of a gull ; but in some other par- 
ticulars agrees more closely with the land representa- 
tives of this group Limicolae. Another bird, British 
this time, offers a second bridge to connect the gulls 
with the plovers and the rest. The phalaropes are apt 
to be quite gull-coloured in their winter plumage ; a 
delicate grey upon the back being contrasted with a 
white under-surface. But the phalaropes have not 
properly webbed feet like the gulls. The feet are in fact 
lobate, with expansions of skin at intervals as in the 
coot. The noises of gulls are varied and cheerful. The 
" countless laughter of the sea " is due to the hilarious 
jocularity of many gulls ; one species has been named 
Larus cachinnaus, the laughing gull. 


It seems to be almost impossible to mention the black 
swan without quoting Virgil's " rara avis in terris," etc. 
At any rate, no writer of natural histories has ever avoided 
this obvious opportunity. There is, however, a kind of 
appropriateness in finding in Australia a negation of this 
kind, a sort of topsy-turvydom in colour which hangs 
together with mammals that lay eggs, with kingfishers 
that do not fish in streams but upon the dry land, and 
for reptiles, with weird-looking creatures that are appar- 
ently rabbits and wolves, but are really neither. The 



black swan, in any case, is a precise contrast to swans in 
general. All the European forms, and those of North 
America, about seven species in all, are white. On the 
other hand, Cygnus atratm of Australia is approached, 
through longo intervallo, by the black-necked swan of 
South America (Cygnus nigricollis), which is white with 
the exception of its black neck. The real black swan is 
not altogether black. Animals that are either white or 
black are seldom perfectly so. Few are so black as 
popular works and general opinion paint them, even 
inhabitants of more torrid climes than Australia. About 
the wings are a few white feathers ; and the rich crimson 
skin about the beak and face is well known. It is note- 
worthy that this redness of visage accompanies the 
darkening of the general hues. The white swans of the 
Old World have for the most part yellow patches of naked 
skin about the face. With the blackening of the feathers 
is a concomitant darkening of this yellow into red. That 
there is nothing really remarkable about the black swan 
of Australia except its blackness, is shown by the fact 
that its cygnets are exactly of the usual ugly duckling 
coloration, a dingy grey. This bird is also in every 
other respect a true swan. A swan is a little difficult to 
define. The swans, ducks, and geese form a highly 
natural assemblage of birds which hardly need charac- 
terization, so plainly can they be identified as such by 
the veriest tyro. Furthermore, every one knows for all 
practical purposes which are swans and which are ducks, 
though to tell geese, not from swans, indeed, but from 
ducks, is not so easy a task. But when we come to 
write down in cold and logical black and white the dis- 
tinctions between a swan and a duck, there is really 
little besides length of neck which can be used. If it 
were not so grave an anachronism, one might suppose 
that the poetical remembrance of the song of the dying 
swan might have come from this Australian bird, which 



has, as a matter of fact, a finer and more melodious 
voice than many of its kindred in Europe. 

The voice of the black swan ought to be more often 
heard in the land. It has been acclimatized here for 


years. In the very first list of animals recorded by the 
Zoological Society as having been acquired, issued in the 
year 1831, this bird figures. Since that date it has 
always been in stock, and has bred in most years. Sir 
Robert Heron pointed out to the Zoological Society in 
1833 that individuals kept by him sometimes even bred 
twice a year, and that, if only once, January was their 
favourite month, which corresponds of course to mid- 
summer in Australia. At present the months of breed- 
ing at the Zoo are various. The bird is, moreover, not so 



particular as are some birds. A late President of the 
Society, the Earl of Derby, recorded that in 1843 a black 
swan bred with a common European swan, and produced 
parti-coloured offspring. Finally, its advantages as an 
addition to our ornamental water-fowl is not lessened by 
its comparative longevity. It has been stated to live in 
captivity for no less than fifteen years, plus a consider- 
able number of months. There is not the least doubt 
that the reader of these lines will find himself able to 
examine more than one black swan in the Society's 
Gardens at any time. 


Although no one would be likely to confuse the 
flamingo with any other bird, it may be just as well to 
set down definitely the various features by which it is to 
be separated from birds in general. Its neck is long and 
the legs are long. The bill has lamellated edges as in 
ducks, but the lower half of the bill is heavier than the 
upper part, and the whole bill is bent in the middle at 
right angles. The three front toes are webbed ; the big 
toe is quite small and useless as a toe. As to whether 
the flamingo is a long-legged duck or a duck-billed stork 
opinions differ. Professor Huxley called its group by 
the non-compromising name of Amphimorpha, implying 
a midway position, in which safe mediocrity we shall 
leave it. It seems to be clear that when an animal gets 
long legs it has also to have a long neck, or else like the 
elephant a trunk : for otherwise it cannot reach the 
ground. This seems almost an unnecessary pair of 
changes, the resultant being merely a doubling, as it 
were, of the original condition. It is almost like speak- 
ing of one half as two-fourths. The length of neck in 
birds, it may be remarked, is not, like that of mammals, 
accomplished without increase of the neck vertebrae. 
The flamingo has more neck vertebrae than a sparrow. 



As might naturally be supposed, these long legs imply a 
marsh haunting existence, and the bill is formed for 
dabbling in the mud and fishing out nutritious particles. 
In captivity the flamingoes are a very argumentative 
race, continually " cawing " at each other, and bestow- 
ing mild pecks as the argument waxes warm. The 
strange form of the bird has given rise to legend : it has 
been asserted that the flamingo straddles over its high 
nest of mud ; but in reality it sits down to incubate like 
any other bird. The flamingo that is met with in 
Europe lacks the almost universal red of the American 
Phcenicopterus ruber. It is noteworthy that the spoon- 
bill of America is also much redder than its European 
ally. All these very red birds fade in captivity. Pos- 
sibly the diminution of brilliancy is due to the impossi- 
bility of providing them with the exact food to which 
they are accustomed in nature. This red colour is, of 
course, the source of the name of the bird, which, by the 
way, it would be far better to call by the English name 
of flammant than by the Portuguese name flamingo. 

THE SHOE-BILL (Balaniceps rex) 
This great bird, found along the Nile, and lately 
shown by Sir Harry Johnston to frequent also the 
shores of Victoria Nyanza, will very likely be on view 
in the Zoo by the time that these notes reach the reader. 
It has been once exhibited ; but that was so long ago as 
1860, when a pair were brought over by Mr. Consul 
Petherick. Their remains now grace the collection of 
animals at the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. 
The shoe-bill is named on account of the shape of its 
great beak, and partly in translation of its Arabic name, 
which is Abu-Markhub, or father of a slipper. Others 
have called it the whale-headed stork ; but " stork " begs 
the question of its likenesses and unlikenesses, of which 
we shall have something to say here. The bird stands 



five feet high ; it has " a gaunt grey figure," with curly 
tufts of feathers on its head ; it is characterized by " the 
scowling expression of its eyes," and by the bill to which 
we have referred. Captain Flower observed that it was 
like a heron in its motionless attitude, its solitariness, 
and in that when flying it suggested very much the large 
Goliath heron (Ardea goliath}. Balczniceps frequents 
morasses, and spears fishes and water serpents. It does 
not seem to possess much in the way of a voice, but 
snaps its bill as do storks. It nests either on the ground 
or on low bushes near its haunts. Sir Harry Johnston, 
after allowing one or two specimens to be procured for 
the British Museum, at once put the bird on the Pro- 
tected List ; so that this extraordinary creature, doubt- 
less a relic of the past, has a future before it. When it 
was first described so long ago as 1851, by the late John 
Gould, the historian of the Birds of Australia, it was 
recorded by him as a variety of the pelican type, prob- 
ably on account of its bill. But this bill is really very 
like that of the South American Cancroma, or boat-bill 
(of which specimens are generally to be seen at the Zoo), 
a most undoubted heron. There is, in fact, not the 
shadow of a doubt that it is either a heron or a stork ; 
but the question is, which ? The same uncertainty of 
characters attaches to this bird as to Scopus, dealt with 
on another page. The late Mr. A. D. Bartlett, that 
excellent observer of birds, and superintendent of the 
Society's Gardens, discovered a very significant fact 
about the Balceniceps, which seemed at the time to 
settle its place in the bird world. He found that it does 
not possess those tufts of curious feathers which are 
bunched in masses, and from which a powder is con- 
tinually given off owing to the constant breaking off of 
their tips, the " powder down patches " as they are 
termed. These modified feathers occur among many 
groups of birds, especially the herons, where it has been 



suggested that they are phosphorescent and lure the 
little fishes to their destruction at the beak of the heron. 


In the absence of these characteristic powder downs, the 
Bal&niceps clearly approaches the storks. In one rather 
decisive point, therefore, Balceniceps is not a heron but a 



stork. In another decisive point it is distinctly a heron. 
Its " syrinx," the voice organ situated at the junction of 
the two bronchi, to form the trachea or windpipe, is 
heron-like in form, but it lacks the pair of muscles which 
those birds have. Nevertheless, the muscle is repre- 
sented by a vestige, a small ligamentous band, which 
seems to show that in this feature, at any rate, the 
Balceniceps is a heron on the down grade. Other points 
taken collectively seem to argue that this bird is the 
type of a quite separate family, showing likenesses to 
both storks and herons. And there we must leave it 
until more is known about its anatomy. 


The tufted umbre (Scopus umbrella] belongs to that 
group of birds which we may accurately term plagi- 
arising from, and misquoting a trifle, Mr. Rudyard 
Kipling " Storkie & Co." It is in fact one of the 
Ciconiiformes, as naturalists sometimes term this group. 
The group contains not only our umbrette, but also all 
the storks and herons and bitterns, and that slightly 
aberrant bird, the great " Whale head," or Balczniceps, 
of Africa. Scopus is a bird which is usually to be found 
at the Zoo, and, when there, in the Eastern Aviary. It 
is about the size of a raven and of a brown colour. It 
has the long and strong bill of its allies, and a rather 
crested head. Like herons in particular, the tufted 
umbre has a melancholy demeanour ; it is addicted to 
watching patiently with downcast head and eyes for 
fishes, appearing as if brooding with sad reflection, as 
Michelet has put it, over the past glories of its family. 
This gloomy demeanour is at times relaxed, and Scopus 
indulges in a wild and fantastic dance with outspread 
wings, reminiscent of that of the cranes, who may be 
frequently, especially towards evening, observed to 
skip in similar dances at the Zoo. The bird is African 



and extends to Madagascar. It has the reputation of 
being a bird of evil omen. In Africa it is held to be 
sacred and to possess the power of witchcraft. There 
is indeed something portentous and solemn about the 
behaviour of all these herons and bitterns, which easily 
accounts for the origin of such legends. Scopus is 
mainly crepuscular in habit, and is known to utter a 
croaking cry, which is significant, as will be seen pre- 
sently, of its place in the ornithological temple. It 
feeds upon fish, frogs, lizards, and insects, and appears 
to enjoy an aesthetic sense not possessed by its immedi- 
ate allies, but paralleled in other groups of birds ex- 
celled, of course, in the well-known bower birds. It 
adorns its nest in fact with buttons, fragments of pot- 
tery, bits of glass, and any other bright-looking objects 
which happen to come in its way. The nest itself is 
eminently worthy of note. It is huge in size, and com- 
plicated in design. Instead of being content with one 
compartment alone, in which all the offices of nest life 
are performed, Scopus requires no less than three sepa- 
rate chambers, all included in the vast dome situated 
upon the fork of a tree which it inhabits. This is an 
unheard-of luxury in the bird world, especially as the 
umbre does not take in any lodgers, such as cuckoos. 
It is only recently that this bird has been acquired by 
the Zoological Society. The first specimen was ex- 
hibited in 1880. To most persons the outward appear- 
ance of Scopus suggests a stork. And it is a fact that in 
a large number of points Scopus is decidedly stork-like. 
On the whole its skeleton recalls those birds. But in 
other features of its anatomy the bird is as distinctly 
inclined to the heron build, and, in short, it is a perfect 
instance of a bird which is intermediate between two 
distinct families ; and this is one, and that not a bad 
reason, for putting together the storks and herons, as is 
usually, but not always, done by ornithologists. If 



they are not put together, where is poor Scopus to go ? 
It is neither one nor the other with sufficient definite- 
ness to please the exigeant systematist who wants cut- 
and-driedness. Mention has been made of the voice of 
the umbre. The voice is not melodious ; but the chief 
thing is that it is a voice. Now, the true storks are 
voiceless, though they make a most efficient din by 
clattering their bills. Yet this is no more a voice than 
the chattering and gibbering of a ghost. To produce a 
voice, a voice organ must exist ; and Scopus has one as 
good as that of any screaming or even some singing 
birds. Storks, on the other hand, only show in rare 
cases, such as the African Abdimia, an approach to a 
proper voice organ. As a rule, the windpipe divides 
into its two bronchi without modifying itself to form 
that assemblage of rods of cartilage movable by a pair 
of muscles which constitutes the organ of song or speech 
in birds. Then, again, Scopus does not possess that 
curious muscle, so useful in perching, because it flexes 
certain tendons of the foot, which is nearly universally 
found in storks and more universally absent in herons 
and bitterns. 


There are a good many species of sand grouse ; but 
one, viz. Syrrhaptes arenarius, is the most interesting to 
us, inasmuch as it is that bird which at times migrates 
in countless hordes from its Asiatic home and invades 
Europe even to the confines of the'.West. The name 
sand grouse is derived in the first place from its pre- 
dilection for sandy spots, and in the second from the 
fact that it was originally confused with the grouse 
mainly on account of the feathered feet. The colour 
betrays the desert-loving ways of the bird ; it is dull 
yellow, mottled and speckled with darker shades. The 
general look of the bird is^dove-like, but the flight has 



been compared rather with that of the plover. The 
anatomy of the bird, according to Professor Huxley, is 
almost exactly intermediate between that of pigeons 
and that of the gallinaceous birds, such as grouse. The 
name sand grouse might therefore, according to that 
anatomist, profitably be altered to " pigeon grouse," a 
name which would stamp upon the memory the charac- 
teristics of the bird. This view, however, like most 
other views in ornithology, has undergone some altera- 
tion ; and Dr. Mitchell, the Secretary of the Zoological 
Society, rather considers the sand grouse to be nearer 
to the doves, and both of them to be allied to the plovers. 
Be this as it may, the main fact about the bird of uni- 
versal interest is the migratory instinct already referred 
to. The knowledge of this only dates from the year 
1848, when a single example was met with in Russia. 
" In 1888," remarks Professor Alfred Newton in his 
Dictionary of Birds, " occurred an irruption in quite 
incalculable numbers." Even Parliament was moved 
to pass an Act for the protection of these immigrating 
strangers ; but, characteristically, the Act did not come 
into force until 1889, when the colonisers had already 
dwindled. In this country the birds breed, though not 
freely ; and it was found, as had been noted previously, 
that the young were hatched from the egg in down 
plumage, and were not little naked " pipers " like the 
young of the pigeon tribe. These chicks arise from eggs 
which are laid in shallow holes in the ground, and are 
coloured. In this the sand grouse evidently shows 
characters like those of the plover tribe rather than the 
pigeons, which lay white eggs in nests made upon trees. 


The peacock, the Miles gloriosus, or swaggering soldier 
of the ornithological world, belongs to the pheasant 
tribe, and, like them, shows a great difference in the 



plumage of the two sexes ; the gorgeously clad male 
contrasts with the dowdily hued female ; and with this 
difference we regret to have to associate polygamy. A 
polygamist has to be a good fighter, so accordingly we 
find that the peacock, like his immediate relatives the 
pheasant and the barn-door fowl, is armed with trench- 
ant spurs upon the legs. The peacock being a swag- 
gerer, and a handsome swaggerer, has achieved for him- 
self a place in the bird world which is rather above his 
deserts. The author of The Thistle and the Rose repre- 
sents dame Nature as ordering the eagle, crowned by 
her king of fowls, to be 

" Als just to awppis and owlis, 
As unto Pacokkis, papingais, or crennis." 

This association was evidently considered to be due to 
the bird imported by Solomon, and the favourite of 
Juno. In modern times the peacock has lost in repute ; 
he has even been falsely epitheted in order to convey 
greater contempt ; " a turned-up nosed peacock " is 
the unornithological remark to which we refer. To 
Gilbert White the screech of the peacock was " grating 
and shocking to the ear." " The yelling of cats," he 
adds, " and the braying of an ass are not more disgust- 
ful." To our mind the call of the peacock in the dis- 
tance is far from unpleasant. Gilbert White made, 
apparently for the first time, an interesting observation 
upon the structure of this bird. He noted that the 
train of the peacock, which stands stiffly radiating out- 
wards from the body in periods of excitement, was not 
produced by a lengthening of the true tail feathers 
the rectrices, as their technical name runs but from 
the feathers covering these above, the upper tail coverts 
in fact. It is inaccurate, therefore, to speak of the pea- 
cock's tail, if, that is to say, a comparison is implied 
with the tail of say a jackdaw. In long-tailed birds it 



is as a rule the rectrices that are elongated. The plu- 
mage of " the gaudy Indian bird " is clearly its most 
striking peculiarity. It serves as an excellent instance 
to illustrate the way in which the colours of birds' 
feathers are sometimes produced. It will be noticed if 
a peacock's feather be held out and gradually moved 
round from one hand to the other that the shades change 
in hue. It will be furthermore noticed, that if the 
feather be rudely bruised the beautiful iridescent tints 
are lost. Finally, an examination of one of the green or 
blue feathers under the microscope shows merely a 
dingy brownish or black coloration. The gorgeous 
colouring disappears like that of " the purple jar." The 
explanation of these facts is that the metallic colours of 
the peacock's feathers are what have been termed 
" optical " colours. They are not, that is to say, due 
to the presence in the feather of pigments of a green or 
blue hue, but upon a pigment of black the various 
sculpturing of the outer part of the feather produces the 
greens and blues, just as a slice of mother-of-pearl shows 
different hues not present in the shell in the shape of 
pigment. There are, of course, many colours found 
among birds which are due to the existence in the 
feathers of corresponding pigments. Thus the red of 
the touracou, of which we speak on another page, is a 
definite red pigment. Both the common peacock and a 
variety or different species as some think it, viz. Pavo 
nigripennis, are to be seen at the Zoo. The interest of 
the latter bird is largely that it suddenly appeared as a 
distinct form, and since then has " bred true." It 
seems to be a genuine example of evolution by leaps and 
bounds ! The pheasant tribe, to which the peacock, as 
already stated, belongs, is an Asiatic race mainly found 
in the tropical parts of that continent. The Argus 
pheasant, with its enormous train of eyed feathers, is 
perhaps the nearest ally of the peacock among the 
Z.G, 209 p 


Phasianidae. But the differences which distinguish all 
the pheasants, Callus bankiv.j, the origin of the domestic 
fowl, turkeys, partr'dges, and grouse, are but small. 


With a perversity which characterized some of the 
earlier ornithologists, the Australian mound-builder 
(Talegalla lathami) was regarded as a vulture ; and it 
was not until Sir Richard Owen explained its anatomy 
to the Zoological Society in the " forties " that its true 
place among the gallinaceous birds was fully established. 
And yet no bird bears upon it the outward marks of a 
" scratcher " more plainly than does Talegalla. " Brush 
Turkey " is so obviously more suitable, as an appellation 
than " New Holland vulture," even to the least expert 
of bird observers, that one can have no pity for the 
stupidity which confused its relations with other mem- 
bers of the bird world. Its strutting and scratching 
alone betray it. In appearance the brush turkey or 
mound builder is not conspicuous, sooty brown being 
the main element in its colouring. It is rather from 
what it does than what it is that this bird is worthy of 
our attention. As a rule, there are examples at the 
Zoo : and also as a rule they construct their huge 
mounds of dead leaves and rubbish in which to place 
their eggs. Unlike the bird tribe generally, this fowl 
lays its eggs in common in such a heap, and leaves them 
to be hatched by the heat of the sun, aided no doubt 
by heat-producing fermentation within the mass. " Sic 
vos non vobis nidificatis aves " might well be said of 
this bird. For its nest is merely a nursery and no 
dwelling-house for the assiduous parents. It is a 
nursery, too, more on the lines of a creche ; for many 
families live together in one mound and leave their 
common home almost as soon as they are hatched ; 
for in accordance with the " reptilian " mode of leaving 



the eggs to hatch themselves, the young birds can fly 
when born, instead of emerging either as fluffy balls 
without proper feathers, like the common fowl, or naked 
and featherless lumps of fat, like the young hornbill. 
This extraordinary habit of nest building in common 
seems to us to be the extreme of the gregarious nest 
building of some other birds, such as the rook. Place 
the nests closer together and they fuse into a common 
dwelling. An intermediate state of affairs is offered by 
the sociable weaver bird, which builds a great " hive " 
with separate compartments for each pair of birds. The 
megapode is the last stage in the evolution of com- 
pound nest building, and the very mass of vegetable 
matter got together to form this common nest solves 
the problem of common brooding, for it renders it un- 
necessary. It is just possible that a stage still further 
on, and on the downward path, speaking in an evolu- 
tionary sense, is offered by the extinct solitaire of Rodri- 
guez. This bird, according to Leguat, who knew it 
living three centuries since, erects a heap of palm leaves 
a foot and a half high, and sits thereon and upon a 
single egg. Perhaps this huge and inadequately con- 
structed nest, implying great labour at the most critical 
period of the bird's life, has been its ruin, and it has 
really died out in consequence of diminished fertility 
and want of co-operation. Leguat speaks of the quarrel- 
someness of the birds during the incubation period, 
which loss of temper may have led to the separation of 
the birds at the nesting season, the only relic of a former 
co-operation being the unformed heap which does duty 
for a nest, and which plainly recalls the mounds of the 
mound builders of Australia and the islands of the East. 
It has been intimated that the Megapodidae are Galli- 
naceous birds. It would seem from certain points in 
their structure, particularly from the fact that the hallux 
or great toe springs from the foot on a level with the 



other toes, instead of higher up, as in the barn-door fowl, 
that the nearest allies of the megapodes are the South 
American Cracidae, or curassows. Such at least was the 
opinion of Professor Huxley, who described, nearly forty 
years ago, their osteology. 


To include the hoatzin (Opisthocomus cristatus) among 
the list of birds to be seen at the Zoo is only, we are con- 
vinced, " an intelligent anticipation of events " ; for it 
can only be a question of time before the energy of the 
authorities will submit to the public one of the most 
singular of living birds. It has been the subject of much 
scientific research, and of many highly " descriptive " 
paragraphs in newspapers. Its claims to notoriety are 
based upon the behaviour of the nestlings ; they possess 
in an unusual fashion the capacity for scrambling about 
aided by the claws at the ends of two of the three fingers 
which constitute the wings of this, as of all other recent 
birds in which those appendages are not reduced (as in 
the kiwi). It has been termed on this account the " four- 
footed bird," a title which is clearly fully deserved in one 
sense ; for it has, as have all birds, two pairs of limbs ; 
but it is not so well earned in another sense, for all birds 
when very young are plainly unable to fly, and use to 
some extent their wings to aid in a confused movement, 
which may be called " scrambling." The hoatzin has, 
however, a legitimate interest, since it is one of those 
ornithological nuts which are extremely hard to crack. 
No one has as yet demonstrated to the satisfaction of 
every one else what is the precise niche to be occupied by 
Opisthocomus in the ornithological temple. It has been 
pushed about from pillar to post of that temple since De 
Buffon directed attention to its resemblance to the South 
American curassows. The balance of opinion allies it to 
the Gallinaceous birds, with a considerable touch of rail. 



That is just what might be expected of an isolated type 
like the hoatzin, which seems to be a vestige of a for- 
merly existing group. That it has been called " rep- 
tilian " by that distinguished authority upon bird 
anatomy, the late Professor Parker, F.R.S., is another 
way of expressing what are undoubtedly inferences to be 
drawn from its structure. An unpleasant but still 
accurate name for this South American bird is " stink 
Pheasant." It derives its characteristic and formidable 
odour from the berries of a certain shrub upon which it 
largely feeds. It builds upon these or other shrubs in 
suitable localities through the northern part of the 
South American continent. These shrubs overlook 
water, in which the hoatzin, both young and adult, is an 
expert swimmer. This is not so extraordinary as might 
appear. The saying of the hen with her foster ducklings 
is not by any means so neat a contrast between diver- 
gent habits of life as has been imagined. Professor 
Lloyd Morgan has found that a newly-hatched chick of 
the fowl will swim, and that in a regular and " hand- 
over-hand " fashion, not to be compared to a confused 
struggle for existence in an unexpected medium. Phea- 
sant-like though it is (but here it is perhaps expedient to 
bear in mind the " dash " of rail), the hoatzin will swim 
and dive as one to the manner born. The hoatzin 
possesses at least two unique peculiarities of internal 
structure. Most birds all except the struthious birds 
and a very few others possess a deep " keel " to the 
sternum or breast bone, associated with the attachment 
of the enormous pectoral muscles, which pull down the 
wing in flight. In the hoatzin this keel, instead of fading 
away posteriorly as is common among birds, is deficient 
anteriorly, and this deficiency of keel is furthermore 
associated with, or any at rate combined with, a huge 
and baggy and muscular crop which rests upon this part 
of the sternum, and the whole upon the branch of the 



tree upon which the bird is perching. One cannot but 
think with Dr. Gadow, that the undoubted inheritance 
of these characters is in favour of the transmission of 
acquired characters, that bone of contention among 
zoologists. It is as well to be particular even in de- 
scribing a disagreeable odour. But statements by 
actual observers differ greatly as to the substance most 
generally known with which this odour is best to be 
compared. Mr. Quelch says : " Musk combined with 
wet hides." M. Deville said : " A cow-house." We 
incline to the cow-house view. 


Pelicans are among the birds which do best in cap- 
tivity, at any rate in captivity at the Zoo. This is 
shown by their extreme longevity in that institution. 
One individual, hoary with age, died only a year or two 
ago, having been inspected by the public since the year 
1868. We do not know, of course, that this is not ex- 
ceptional in another way ; the pelican may have been 
cut off in the flower of its youth ! The pelican is 
distinctly not of the wilderness, but of water courses, 
where it can swim and fish. No one can easily confuse 
a pelican with any other bird. Its large size, unwieldy 
proportions, and huge beak with dependent baglike 
throat for the storage of fish, betray it even to the non- 
expert eye. The top half of the bill has a little bend 
just at the tip to pinch effectively the slippery prey. 
The feet are webbed, very thoroughly webbed. All 
four toes are connected by webbing ; and this is one, 
and indeed the chief, reason for uniting the pelican with 
the cormorant, the gannet, the tropic bird, the darter, 
and the frigate bird, to form the group Steganopodes ; 
Professor Huxley called them Dysporomorphae on 
account of the fact that the nostril is almost, or some- 
times, as it appears, quite choked up by growths of 



both bone and beak. This very odd state of affairs 
is unparalleled in any other living bird. There are 
certainly half a dozen species of pelican, perhaps more ; 
they are white, black and white, or even as in Pelecanus 
fuscus, dark brown in colour, and occur in most parts 
of the world. The " pelican in its piety " is a well 
known heraldic device ; it forms for instance the arms 
of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Under these cir- 
cumstances the pelican is represented as drawing blood 
from its own breast to feed its young. As a matter 
of fact the legend may rest upon the yellow to reddish 
tinge of the neck developed at the breeding season, 
which faintly suggests a stain of blood. This, coupled 
with the habit which all birds have of pecking at and 
fidgeting with their feathers, just as human beings 
bite their nails, may be responsible for that legend. 
There are no pelicans in England, though specimens 
escaped from captivity have been noted at times. But 
there once were pelicans ; for subfossil bones have been 
found in the fens of Cambridgeshire. 


Of darters there are four kinds, viz. Plotus anhinga 
of South America, P. nova-hollandice of Australia and 
adjacent islands, P. lev.iillanti of Africa, and finally P. 
melanogaster of India, China and Madagascar. The 
bird any of these species that happens to be on view 
at the Gardens will strike the visitor as a somewhat 
exaggerated cormorant. Its neck is longer, its head 
is smaller, but its plumage is distinctly cormorant- 
like, as is the general aspect and behaviour of the 
bird. It would seem to have even a more than cor- 
morant-like appetite, for a specimen that died in 
the Gardens some few years since was killed by swallow- 
ing in rapid succession a dozen small fishes. It is note- 



worthy, however, that the darter cannot suffer much 
from the pangs of indigestion ; for when the lining of 
the stomach gets somewhat defective it is simply shed 
en bloc, and a new one provided. This convenient 
method of restoring an impaired and dyspeptic stomach 
is at least not common in the animal world. The like- 
ness of the darter to the cormorant is not deceptive, and 
it is more than skin deep. There is no doubt that it 
belongs to the same assemblage of birds as are 
characterized by their webbed feet, the webbing in- 
cluding the " big toe," or hallux to be more technical 
in diction. They are all fish eaters, but the darter 
seems to be unique among them for the way in which 
it pursues what in journalese would be termed its 
finny prey. Plotus swims and dives with extreme 
facility and rapidity. Its movements under water are 
as apt as those upon the surface, and as a consequence 
the bird has no difficulty in catching its prey, which 
it transfixes with the very sharply pointed beak. Ris- 
ing to the surface it then tosses the fish into the air 
and neatly catches it as it descends. In order the more 
effectively to retain its hold upon the slippery and 
newly caught fish, the beak of the darter is furnished 
with minute denticulations directed backwards. 
Plotus, when on land and at rest, is seen to have an 
eagerly bent neck craning forwards as if on the look- 
out. This impression is produced by a kink in the 
neck, due to a sudden change in the direction of the 
several vertebrae after a certain point. The muscular 
mechanism attached to the kinked part enables the 
beak to be shot out forwards with great velocity, and 
is the means whereby the darter spears its prey. When 
swimming as opposed to diving beneath the waves, 
the darter closely resembles the cormorant ; for its 
long neck appears above the water while the body is 
nearly completely submerged. 



There is really no such thing as the cassowary at 
present, but there was so long ago as the very beginning 
of the seventeenth century, when the first live bird of 
this genus Casuarius was brought home and exhibited 
alive in Amsterdam. We now know of quite eight 
" good " species, and systematists would increase, as 
is their wont, even this respectable number to twenty in 
all, including those dubious creations of the naturalist, 
" sub-species." A fine series of cassowaries has been 
on view at the Zoo for some years past, the collection 
being due to the energy of the Hon. Walter Rothschild, 
to whom most of the birds belong. The veriest tyro 
would rightly place these birds in the neighbourhood 
of the ostrich, the emu, and the rhea among the 
struthious birds in fact ; and that is unquestionably 
their place in the system. Their nearest ally 
is the emu, and the two genera were at one time con- 
founded. Now we regard them as distinct. The 
cassowaries differ from the emu by the horny black 
casque upon the head, by the enormously lengthened 
nail of the innermost of the three toes, and by the 
stiff spine-like feathers of the wing, which are ordinary 
feathers devoid of barbs, and finally by the very gay 
colours, red, yellow, blue, purple, and green, about the 
head and neck. Besides, the cassowaries are not 
Australian birds exactly since only one species is 
found in that island continent, and then only in the 
north ; they inhabit New Guinea and such islands in 
the neighbourhood as Ceram, New Britain, etc. Un- 
like the ostrich, the cassowary is a forest living fowl, 
and it has been said that its casque is of use in this 
habitat. Rushing wildly through the bush the head is 
held down and the entrapping brambles glide off the 
polished surface of the helmet. The black feathers of 
the adult bird are preceded by brown feathers in the 



immature, and by a striped back in the very young, 
bird. The gaudy colours of the neck are sometimes con- 
tinued into one median and one or two laterally placed 
wattles, which are shaped like the bands of a " clerk," 
and the presence of which have given rise to two specific 
names of cassowaries ; these are distinguished, accord- 
ing to the presence of one or two of these wattles, as 
C. uni-appendiculatus and C. bi-carunculatus. It is 
easy enough to say that the brilliant hues of the naked 
skinned throat are due to sexual selection ; but there 
is no doubt that they now occur. in both sexes, and so 
they have been at any rate transferred from one sex 
to the other, and can no longer be reckoned as sex 
attractions. Cassowaries are quite diurnal birds and 
sleep peacefully during the night. Their voice has been 
described as " a curious sort of snorting, grunting and 
bellowing." They have no proper voice organ com- 
parable to the syrinx of other birds. In disposition 
the cassowary has the reputation of being " sullen 
and treacherous," and there is no doubt that it had 
better be approached at the Zoo with due circumspec- 
tion. For the bill is strong and so are the toes. Its 
food is mostly vegetable, though insects are apparently 
not scorned. It is a good swimmer, which may account 
for its occurrence on widely separated islands. The 
large dark green eggs are known to everybody ; but 
everybody may not be aware that they are excellent 
eating. The bird itself is not altogether despicable 
from the gastronomic point of view. There is one 
story related of the cassowary which may be true, but 
does not bear the generally recognized hall mark of 
truth, repetition. A traveller in Australia observed 
one of these birds to enter the water and to squat down 
for a few moments. It then deliberately waded to the 
bank and shook from out its wings a multitude of small 
fishes, which it proceeded to devour. The suggestion 



To face p. 218] 


is that the fishlets mistook the waving feathers of the 
bird for water-weed, and nestling there fell a prey to 
their deception. 


The peaceful kiwi gave rise some years ago to a 
rather warm controversy between the leaders of zoolo- 
gical opinion. To Sir Richard Owen it appeared to 
be the long wanted link between the equally warm 
blooded mammals and birds, which that anatomist 
bracketed together in the series on account chiefly of 
the warmth of their blood. The slightly higher tem- 
perature of the blood in birds was thought by him, and 
so far naturally, to be less of a bar to their association 
with mammals, than the pure cold-bloodedness of 
the sullen reptile, to an association with the birds. 
Professor Huxley, however, insisted upon the close 
alliance of birds and reptiles and plainly showed that 
certain supposed resemblances between the apteryx 
and the mammal in the midriff or diaphragm had no 
real existence, and that the apteryx was typically 
ornithic. Now a middle position between these two 
extremes is held. We do not consider the bird as in any 
way near to the mammals ; but we consider them to be 
quite remote from the reptiles and not to be placed 
with them in one great group. Nevertheless, we admit 
a closer position to reptiles than to mammals. The 
apteryx is one of those birds which it will be difficult 
for the visitor to get a peep at. It is quite nocturnal 
in habit, and snuggles down during the day in such 
retirement as is provided for it. At night it sallies 
forth, and in New Zealand, where it alone occurs, 
devotes itself to extracting earthworms from the soil. 
With great deliberation does it drag these wriggling 
creatures from their holes, as if realizing that earth- 
worms like beefsteak thrust into the pocket must " be 



humoured not drove." In harmony with its crepuscu- 
lar and nocturnal life the kiwi is coloured of sad browns 
and greys, a mode of coloration which we meet with 
in owls and goatsuckers, equally nocturnal as a rule in 
habit. The name apteryx is quite a misnomer. The 
kiwi has wings, though they are very minute and hidden 
by its long feathers ; these lack the firmness of the 
feathers of other birds by reason of the fact that the 
branches of the main axis of the feather, the barbs, 
lack those secondary branches hooked together called 
the barbules. The bones of the wing are, however, 
like those of other birds, save for the fact that only one 
of the three fingers found in the wings of other birds 
is at all well developed. The long bill of the kiwi and 
its relationship, as it is thought, to the ostriches, has 
led to the apt German vernacular name of " Schnepfe- 
strauss," or " snipe ostrich," an appellation which is 
clearly more descriptive than apteryx. It is this long 
bill which is used in probing for earthworms, and it has, 
contrary to what is found in other birds, the two nostrils 
situated quite at the end. This allows the bird to 
snuff down into the hole it is probing for the earth- 
worm, and it appears indeed that the kiwi has a better 
sense of smell than most birds. Smell, indeed, is a sense 
in which birds generally are apt to be deficient ; they 
make up for it by extreme keenness of vision. The 
apteryx is one of those birds, and here it agrees with 
other ostrich-like birds, in which the female is the 
more agressive of the sexes, while the male is more re- 
tiring and attends to the duties of incubation. The 
nest is a scooped out hole in the ground and in it are 
deposited, or rather is deposited, the enormous egg. 
It is a fact that proportionately the egg of the apteryx 
is the largest known, being not even exceeded by that 
of the roc or Aepyornis, or, more paradoxically, by the 
smallest egg in actuality in the bird series, i.e. that of 


To face p. 220] 



the humming birds. The mysterious nature of the kiwi 
is emphasized by its weird silence even when attacked 
by beasts or handled by man. For it can cry and does 
during the breeding season, the cry being, as it is sup- 
posed, a means of communication between the two 
sexes. The female has the louder and a husky voice, 
the male has a more piping call, the voice difference 
being in accord with the reversed relative positions of 
the male and female bird. The reserved character 
of the kiwi has led to the supposition that it was rarer 
than is actually the case, and has given rise to myths. 
One of these legends concerns its mode of incubation. 
It was held that the apteryx fell in with the general 
topsy-turviness of things antipodean, and after building 
a nest incubated the young from below. This fable 
was disproved by the nesting of a pair at the Zoo a good 
many years ago. 


The South American ostrich is coloured of an agreeable 
grey with black wings, a plan of colour which is, in 
fact, not widely different from that of the hen ostrich 
of Arabia and Africa. It is, however, quite a distinct 
bird with no more than general points of resemblance 
to its Old World relative. As the two birds are as a rule 
to be seen side by side in enclosures at the Zoo, 'their 
points of difference as well as of likeness can be easily 
appreciated. The ostrich has a larger body, but rather 
more feeble wings ; its toes are but two, and the difference 
between the two sexes is at once apparent ; the male has 
the fine black and white plumes so desirable in com- 
merce. The rhea has quite good wings for a ratite 
bird, so good that it could almost fly if the feathers 
were not of the usual limp character of those of the 
ratite or struthious birds. It has also a more per- 
fectly framed organ of voice than its struthious allies, 



though whether this is of much advantage is doubtful, 
considering its silence. In any case these facts seem to 
point to a shorter period of Sightlessness in this than 
in the other members of the great ostrich-like birds, 
which culminated in the huge moas of New Zealand 
and the roc or Aepyornis of Madagascar. There are 
three different kinds of rhea, and it is interesting to notice 
that one of these, called after Darwin, Rhea darwini, has a 
rather spotted plumage suggestive on one colour theory 
of greater antiquity. It has often been pointed out 
that stripes and spots are not only found in the young of 
many creatures which are unspotted and without stripes 
in the adult condition, but that low forms of animals 
are more variegated in this way than higher types. 
Like the struthious birds generally, with the exception 
of the apteryx, whose claims to be associated with 
them are less, the rhea is by no means invariably a 
mild- tempered fowl. As is so common with the animate 
creation, the excitement of the breeding season finds a 
vent in continued hostility to any approaching man or 
beast. Mr. Hudson considers that it is positively 
dangerous to come within the range of vision of a cock 
rhea who is engaged in watching the laying of eggs by 
his numerous suite. Though ferocious to strangers, 
the cock bird performs himself the severe duties of in- 
cubation, a procedure in which he resembles other 
ratites. At other times the rheas seek the society 
of other beasts, and are reported to occur among herds 
of deer with which they are on terms of amity. It has 
been pointed out that in this the rhea simulates the 
ostrich, which has a similar fondness for frequenting 
herds of zebras. 

GOLD CRESTED PENGUIN (Eudyptes chrysocome) 
This bird, like others of its tribe, is limited to the 
Antarctic region. The penguins inhabit the shores of 



the various islands of the Antarctic ocean, from the 
Falklands in the west to New Zealand in the east, and 
as far north only as to the Cape of Good Hope. They 
are almost alone in their limitation to this region of 
the globe. Within this cold and inhospitable, though 
fish-teeming, expanse, the penguins are represented by 
a considerable number of forms, which have been 
arranged into at any rate five different generic types. 
These are Aptenodytes, Spheniscus, Eudyptes, Eudyptula 
and Pygosceles. Our particular type and five or six 
of the rest have been frequently on view at the Zoo, 
where they attract great attention from their grotesque 
form and their easy and lithe movements under water. 
On shore, and at the brink of their pools at the Zoo, 
they waddle or hop awkwardly ; a small penguin which 
was some years ago in the renovated Fish House was 
clad on occasions by the keeper with a little coat, and 
hopped more energetically than, but with something 
of the air of, an elderly and obese gentleman. In 
fact the first observers of penguins took them, from their 
upright position and from being drawn up in lines, to be 
soldiers prepared to repel an invasion of their fast- 
nesses. Far from being so prepared, the bulk of penguins 
are or were, for they may be in places a little more 
sophisticated, stupidly unaware of intended harm, 
and they could be knocked over by thousands with a 
stick. Obese penguins always are, as their very name, 
which is supposed to be connected with the Latin 
" pinguis," denotes. Some ingenious commentators 
have sought in Pen Gwin, i.e. " white head," a deriva- 
tion of the pseudo-vernacular name by which every- 
body knows them now. The penguin is not a good goer 
upon dry land. His legs, rather swaddled up in skin, 
do not permit of an easy stride or even an efficient 
hop. But as the bird never goes away far from the sea, 
its proper home, this unfitness is not a serious matter 



for the future of the penguin. Furthermore, the barren 
shores which they haunt do not breed fierce carnivorous 
creatures to assault them when on the nest. In the 
water the penguin swims with the greatest elegance 
and with a peculiarly buoyant motion that suggests a 
positive flight ; this, if the water be clear enough, will 
certainly be the delusion of the onlooker. Black to 
brown above and with a white belly is the prevailing 
hue of the penguin tribe, and the species which we select 
here, as well as some of its immediate allies, have a 
streak of yellow feathers upon the head, which relieves 
this dull coloration. Swimming in the water with the 
paddles extended, the black back, with occasional 
views of the white underparts, quite suggests, when 
the animal is seen from above, one of the dolphin tribe, 
to which the long beak and the abbreviated tail adds not 
a little in the way of resemblance. Further, the yellow 
about the head is repeated in some dolphins, while the 
flippers of the bird are by no means widely different 
to outward view from the swimming fore limbs of 
the dolphin. It has been pointed out, too, that this 
penguin will at times spring clean out of the water, and 
when a flock, if we can apply the term flock to anything 
that does not live in air or on land, rise out of the waves 
in rapid succession the appearance of a shoal of por- 
poises is distinctly simulated. So aptly constructed 
are the penguins for a life on the ocean wave that one 
hears with surprise a story to the effect that the shores 
of certain parts of New Zealand are sometimes littered 
with the corpses of the small penguin, Eudyptula minor, 
which have perished in the surf. Besides its paddles, 
its short neck, its generally whale-like outline, and its 
strong swimming feet, the penguin is eminently fitted 
for a submarine life by its unusual fatness, and by the 
close coating of feathers which decks its body. In 
almost all other birds a careful examination will show 


To lace p. 224] 



that the feathers are disposed in definite tracts, whose 
arrangement varies from bird to bird, and often affords 
valuable evidence of affinity : between these tracts are 
either naked spaces or spaces sparsely covered with scat- 
tered small feathers. The penguin, on the other hand, 
has a " pterylosis," which is continuous all over the body, 
save, as it appears, for a small region on the under 
surface, which is pressed upon the eggs when the bird 
is sitting on its nest. In this way the eggs get more of 
the heat of the body ; for, as is well known, feathers are 
bad conductors of heat, and are thus useful for keeping 
a bird warm, and us when we use feather muffs, duvets, 
etc. It is a remarkable fact that this little bare patch 
only occurs in the female, and yet both sexes sit upon 
the eggs. Perhaps it argues that the share of the 
father in the well being of his offspring is only a recent 
occurrence, and that formerly the hen alone performed 
this important function. This feathering of the pen- 
guin is supposed by some to indicate the retention of 
an archaic character. And if the feathers of a bird 
may be derived directly from the scales of some reptile 
forefather, an uniform feathering would naturally be 
the original condition. Speaking of the scales of some 
reptilian ancestor, it is a most noteworthy fact that the 
difference between a scale and a feather is reduced 
to an apparently irreducible minimum in the paddle. 
Flat, closely depressed and unbarbed " feathers " cover 
that member, and it was discovered by the late Mr. 
A. D. Bartlett that the skin of the fore arm is shed 
in a piece, like the skin of a snake, instead of being 
moulted in bits like the feathering of a fowl. Another 
ancient character (at least in the opinion of some), 
which the penguin shows is the fact that the three 
bones in the foot known as the metatarsals, those 
bones which lie between the ankle and the commence- 
ment of the bones of the toes, are slightly separated 
Z.G. 225 Q 


from each other instead of being fused into a single 
piece, as in other birds. The penguin, when at home 
on shore, dwells in " rookeries." These differ from the 
rookeries of rooks by being situated on the ground, 
though the individual nests are carefully made by each 
bird out of plants. These " nurseries " are placed 
away from the common dwelling places of the rest. 
The rookeries, like those of old London, are a pande- 
monium of noise at times, which is described as being 
like the barking of myriad dogs in many keys. The 
penguin has also the weird habit of rising out of the 
water and saying " Whaat " in a sepulchral tone. The 
largest penguin is the great Aptenodytes pennanti, 
called after Gilbert White's correspondent, known as 
a naturalist, but better as an historian of London. 
This bird reaches a total length of three feet. But 
it was eclipsed by a giant, now extinct, of five feet in 
length known as Palceospheniscus, which once in 
habited New Zealand. It is useless to tempt the 
penguin with buns. Fish is its only food, which it 
pursues living and catches with ease and in a somewhat 
different way to the darter, who transfixes the prey 
when caught and catches it again. 



To face p. 226] 




THE reptiles are the only vertebrates which are 
cold-blooded and which without exception 
breathe by lungs and never at any period of their 
lives breathe by gills, as do the fishes always and the 
amphibia for a portion of their lives. They have also 
invariably a scale-covered skin, in which also there may 
be supplementary bony structures, such as the bony 
part of the " box " of the tortoise, and the strong 
plates in the skin of crocodiles. They possess neither 
feathers nor hairs. The skull is fixed on to the suc- 
ceeding vertebral column by one rounded joint or con- 
dyle as in birds, while the mammals and the amphibia 
have two of these, one on each side. It is from the 
amphibia that it is most difficult to divide reptiles, a 
fact which is embodied in the confusion of the two into 
one group, called " reptiles " by some of the older 
authors, and " amphibia " by some others. In past 
times, as is natural on any theory of evolution, the 
reptilia and the amphibia gradated into one another, 
and no very hard and fast line can be drawn. The 
living representatives of these groups can, however, 
be distinguished by the characters already enumerated. 
There are other anatomical characters into the con- 
sideration of which we shall not enter here. The most 
obvious character of the reptile is its complete covering 
of scales. Some extinct groups, such as the Ichthyo- 



saurs, seem to have had smooth scaleless skins, but no 
living reptile is without this tesselated armature. The 
existing reptiles are to be divided into five orders, 
but their numbers to-day are much below their numbers 
in past times. The reptilia are clearly a waning race as 
a whole, though of the existing orders most are more 
numerous now than they ever have been so far as the 
geological evidence at our disposal enables as to say. 
As to their numbers to-day, Dr. Gadow asserts that 
there are about 3,500, so that there are more reptiles 
than mammals, but considerably fewer than there are 
fish and birds ; for of the latter we know some 10,000, 
and of fishes some 8,000, while there are something like 
2,700 mammals and about 1,000 amphibians. The 
enormous majority of living reptiles belong to the 
groups of lizards, snakes, and tortoises. There are 
but few crocodiles, and Hatteria is the only living 
example of its own group. 


The only other reptiles with which the lizards could 
be possibly confounded are the crocodiles, snakes, and 
the New Zealand Hatteria, which is the sole living 
representative of an otherwise extinct order, Rhyncho- 
cephalia. The turtles and tortoises are so distinct that 
there is no danger of confusion for the most ignorant 
of Natural History. From the crocodile tribe the 
lizards are to be distinguished by a variety of characters, 
which are, however, deep seated, and thus not easily 
appreciable to one examining the animals in a menagerie. 
As to purely external characters, it is most difficult 
to draw a line. In the crocodile tribe the nostrils are 
very plainly on the upper surface of the snout and 
protrude somewhat, which is of course in relation to 
the aquatic life of these creatures. The vent is a 
longitudinal orifice and not a transverse one as in 



lizards and snakes. The size is greater than that of 
any lizard ; but it must be remembered that a large 
monitor lizard comes not far behind a smallish croco- 
dile. Crocodiles are invariably aquatic, lizards are 
very rarely so. We must necessarily mention a few in- 
ternal characters to emphasize the separation of lizards 
and crocodiles. In the latter the teeth are always 
confined to the upper and lower jaws ; in lizards they 
stray on to the bones of the palate in many cases ; 
furthermore each tooth of a crocodile is implanted in 
its own particular socket, while in lizards the teeth 
are attached side by side to the bones which bear them 
without lying at some distance apart and each like 
a peg in a hole in these bones. The heart of the croco- 
dile is more completely four- chambered than is that 
of the lizard, in some of which, however, there is a 
tendency in the same direction. On the whole the 
lizard tribe is on a lower level of organization. Lizards 
are excessively numerous and occur in almost all parts 
of the world, except in very cold regions, such as the 
extreme north. They chiefly abound in the tropics. 
The general aspect of a lizard is familiar to every one. 
But it is not so easy as it seems to differentiate a lizard 
from a snake. For among the lacertilia there is a 
distinct tendency to lose the limbs, an event which 
has occurred in many of the families into which the 
order is divisible, and thus produces a likeness to a 
snake which is after all superficial. Nevertheless, the 
two orders, the Lacertilia and the Ophidia, are very 
nearly akin. Some differences between them will be 
dealt with later. 


Of lurid coloration is the Arizona heloderm, or " gila 
monster " as it is often termed in the United States, 
in the southernmost of which it lives. There would 



appear to be two distinct kinds of heloderma, viz. 
H. suspectum and H. horridum. One epithet is good, 
the other bad. It is truly " horrid " in the applied 
as well as in the literal sense of that adjective, for 
the skin is roughened with warty scales underlain by 
bony nodules. " Suspectum " is too dubious an ad- 
jective ; for this lizard is not merely suspected but 
known to be poisonous, being in fact the only lizard 
which has this qualification. It was thought some 
little time ago that the rare Lanthanonotus of Borneo 
was also poisonous ; but recent study has proved that, 
while related to Heloderma, it lacks the grooved teeth 
of the latter. Experiments tried with Heloderma as 
the main actor with the subsidiary parts played by 
various frogs and guinea pigs has satisfied every one 
that this lizard does bite with a poisoned effect ; more- 
over the salivary glands, or rather some of them, are 
furnished with several ducts which open in close apposi- 
tion to the grooved teeth ; along the grooves run the 
poison which is thus necessarily injected into the wound 
made by the teeth. In fact, the gila monster poisons 
precisely in the same fashion as the venomous colubrines, 
those non-viperine snakes which are poisonous. On 
the other hand, the courageous Dr. Shufeldt allowed 
himself to be bitten by one of these lizards, but ex- 
perienced no serious inconvenience " beyond the ordi- 
nary symptoms that usually follow the bite of an 
enraged animal." Like most lizards this animal is 
lethargic and melancholy in appearance in captivity. 
It seems indeed to have fewer and shorter repetitions of 
those periods of briskness which even the most seden- 
tary of lizards show at times. It can, however, be 
roused, and then its wrath is terrible. Under these 
circumstances, observes Dr. Shufeldt, " the animal 
quickly rears its body from the ground by straightening 
out its limbs, wheels about, opens its mouth widely, 



snaps its tongue in and out, and gives vent to a 
threatening blowing sound." Further provocation in- 
volves bite or bites ; but the lizard is on the whole 
of the general opinion with regard to the tempering of 
valour by discretion ; for it takes as early an oppor- 
tunity as possible of continuing its retreat. The helo- 
derm has a nauseous odour, which it as a rule scatters 
about at night, being as it is nocturnal for the main 
part. Its colour demands some attention. The 
sullen and gloomy aspect of the beast is largely due to 
the pitchy black of its skin relieved, or rather heightened, 
by patches of orange, which orange changes at times 
to a salmon pink. This startling contrast of yellow 
and black is one of those especial plans of coloration 
which have been termed " warning colours." It is 
exactly paralleled by the variegated salamander of 
Europe, by the wasp and the hornet, and by the cater- 
pillar of the " cinnabar " moth. All of these last- 
mentioned creatures have some disagreeable habit, such 
as stinging or tasting nasty. Many persons, putting 
twos and twos together, have arrived at the conclusion 
that the vivid and easily recognizable colours are an 
advertisement of this ferocity or inedibility, and may 
be translated into the phrase " Noli me tangere." 
Nor is this due to a kindly altruism on the part of the 
yellow and black ones. It is simply this ; a conflict 
with an enemy would doubtless result in the defeat of 
the enemy, or its poisoning by the nasty taste ; but at 
the same time the salamander or the heloderm would 
get mauled in the gastronomic attempts of the attacking 
bird or reptile. It therefore suggests by its colour 
that to be severely let alone is on the whole the best 
way of procedure. The heloderm eats all kinds of 
things in the animal line, worms, insects, and even eggs. 
It doesn't appear to be a cannibal, which is saying a 
good deal for a carnivorous reptile. 



This homely little creature will serve as a type of 
those numerous lizards which have deserted the straight 
road of reptilian development, and gone and lost their 
legs as if they were mere snakes. It is seldom that the 
Reptile House is without the slow- worm or blind-worm as 
it is usually called ; it must be remembered that in 
terming it a worm nothing contemptuous or even 
wormy in the ordinary sense of the word is intended 
or implied ; the word worm is good Scandinavian for 
snake, and the name thus perpetrates a zoological 
error of a lesser kind. Why the worm under debate 
is not a snake is a question that many would find it 
hard to answer. And why " blind " is a further question 
much to the point. The blindness is here with the 
observer who first gave it the name and not with the 
lizard. It has good, even particularly good, eyes, sharp 
in their outlook, and provided, as are the eyes of nearly 
all lizards, with movable lids. Here, then, is the first 
reason why the Anguis fagilis is not a snake ; for no 
snake has eyelids. If the slow- worm be fed it will be 
noted that it eats in the usual lacertilian fashion, and 
does not divaricate its distensile jaws, getting outside 
its food as a snake does ; in fact the two lower jaws 
where they meet are firmly united and not merely j oined 
by a lax ligament as they are in all except a very few 
kinds of snakes. Other and satisfying reasons for 
placing the slow-worm among lizards can be seen only 
after an anatomical examination. Snake-like lizards 
have at least vestiges of limbs, which are completely 
wanting among snakes except the merest traces in 
some few forms, the boas and their immediate allies. 
No snake has a breast bone or sternum. These are 
some of the reasons there are plenty of others why 
the slow-worm is a lizard and not a snake. The slow- 
worm is perhaps the commonest of British reptiles. But 



it is not so frequently seen as the more active common 
lizard Lacerta agilis, on account of its retiring habits. 
Unfortunately for itself the slow-worm does not dislike, 
indeed it seems to prefer, the neighbourhood of human 
habitations ; this is unfortunate, for the animal has 
succeeded in gaining a most terrific reputation for 
poisonous properties, of which it has not the slightest 
hint. It has thus suffered much persecution by hob- 
nailed boots. It is true that the slow-worm will bite 
at times, especially during the breeding season, which 
seems to be productive of irascibility in the animal 
world generally. But its tiny teeth will not scratch, 
let alone bite, the human skin to any purpose. It has 
been pointed out, however, that this reptile has some 
of its teeth grooved. Now that is a character of the 
only known poisonous lizard Heloderma, and of certain 
snakes known as venomous colubrines. But there is no 
developed salivary gland in association with these 
grooved fangs, which are, however, sufficient to retain 
a hold of slugs, which the slow- worm particularly affects 
as food. Anguis fragilis occurs nearly all over Europe, 
avoiding the colder northern regions ; like most other 
reptiles it is not to be found in Ireland. It brings forth 
its young alive like many lizards, but this process 
must not be confounded with the mammalian method 
of gestation. For in the snake the eggs are merely 
retained in the oviduct until they are hatched ; there 
is not any connexion by growth with the parent as 
in the mammalian foetus. The family to which Anguis 
fragilis belongs, the anguidse, contains a number of 
other forms of which some are legless, and others possess 
the normal complement of three appendages. The 
large grass snake of Russia and Morocco, often to be 
seen at the Zoo, grows to three feet or so in length and 
is much like an enlarged edition of the slow-worm ; 
but it has, which the slow- worm has not, a deep groove 



along each side, of which the use is problematical. It 
has the reputation of being tamable and intelligent. 
Lizards generally show a tendency to lose their limbs. 
There are many other families in which some members 
have reduced themselves to the condition of grovelling 
along upon their bellies. Always, however, there is 
some trace recognizable by the anatomist of the other- 
wise missing appendages. The most thoroughly snake- 
like of living lizards are the amphisbaenas, a race 
which is chiefly American and African. But even here 
there is one genus in which the fore limbs are retained. 
There are not uncommonly amphisbaenas to be seen 
at the Zoo. The name is at most as ridiculous as that 
of blind-worm, and has been given to them on account 
of their short tail and blind face, rendering thus a 
confusion between anterior and posterior possible, 
except to the careful observer. The tropical American 
Amphisbcena is especially fond of taking up its quarters 
with ants, for choice the sauba ant. The ants, as a 
rule a bloodthirsty race, apparently regard these crea- 
tures with affection, or at least do not interfere with 
them. But then ants have queer hospitable notions 
towards various creatures of the animal world, and an 
ant-hill generally contains an odd assortment of beetles 
living under their protection, and apparently incapable 
of living anywhere else. The ants are, like the brigands 
of the transpontine melodrama, bloody and fierce as 
a rule, but occasionally yielding to the softer emotions. 
Their apparently bidden guests, so varied in character 
and kind, remind one of the curious assemblage, the 
cat, the black servant Frank and blind Miss Williams, 
collected beneath his roof by Dr. Johnson. As to the 
Amphisbcena, Mr. Bates remarks that it is exceedingly 
sluggish and remains within the ant-hill all day, and 
only comes forth at night. Naturally the native 
thinks the Amphisbcena poisonous ; he also states that 



if the lizard be forcibly abducted from the ant-hill the 
ants will leave in chagrin and found another colony. 
In the south of Europe lives Blanus, an ally of Amphis- 
bczna which prefers manure heaps, where it finds and 
eats earthworms, to ant-hills. 

That so many different families of lizards should show 
an equal capacity for more or less completely losing 
their limbs makes the transition between a snake and 
a lizard easy to imagine ; and also shows us that 
the snake may be a quite composite group perhaps 
derived from different groups of lizards. 


This, the great house gecko of the East, is commonly 
on view at the Zoo, where it may be recognized and 
distinguished from other geckos by its large size, measur- 
ing as it does a foot or more in length, and by its marked 
and not unpleasant coloration ; this coloration con- 
sists of red spots and marks upon a greyish green 
ground. Geckos as a rule are not big lizards, indeed 
their capacity for running up vertical walls, and even 
crossing ceilings suspended head downwards, would 
seem to forbid a great bulk ; even as it is their attitude 
seems to show a striking variance from the laws of 
gravitation. They stick, however, by a peculiar 
mechanism quite analogous to that by which a piece of 
glass may be made to adhere to another piece of glass 
by simple pressure. The toes of the gecko are covered 
with fine folds lying in parallel rows ; these when firmly 
pressed down upon a smooth surface drive out the under- 
lying air, and as a consequence atmospheric pressure 
assists the foothold of the lizard. This mechanism, 
so essential to the house-loving ways of the gecko, 
is not, however, peculiar to these lizards ; other lizards, 
such as species of the genus Anolis, allied to the Iguana, 
whose peculiarities have been treated of on another page, 



which habitually walk about on smooth and slippery 
leaves and branches, have the same lamellae upon the 
toes. This statement by no means exhausts the 
peculiarities of the gecko tribe, which includes some of 
the most remarkable among lizards. Outwardly they 
are quite unmistakable lizards : but of the majority 
it will be noticed that they stare with a protracted 
gaze unbroken by a wink. This is due to the absence 
of eyelids and the covering over of the eye by a trans- 
parent membrane, which gives to the look of the reptile 
the unwavering and coldly unsympathetic glance of 
the snake. Like some other lizards, the geckos fracture 
their tails, or rather allow them to be fractured, with 
the greatest impunity. This is a great boon to them, 
for a waggling tail is clearly that part of the animal 
which is most likely to be bitten at by a bird in pursuit. 
The easy breakage of the tail and the ease with which 
it is subsequently repaired by its former possessor, 
enables the gecko to successfully brave many dangers 
incidental to an exposed and reptilian life. There 
are certain features in the skeleton, which imply an 
ancient history for the geckos ; for instance, the noto- 
chord, that softish gristly rod which is the forerunner 
of the vertebral column, and which persists largely 
or entirely in fishes, is also largely persistent in these 
geckos. The tokay itself is found in many parts of 
the East, and, like other geckos, and unlike lizards in 
general, it has a voice which is described by Captain 
Flower as consisting of the word " tokay " pro- 
nounced several times " after a preliminary cackle." The 
native of Siam uses this voice as a means of gambling ; 
bets are taken upon the number of times that the word 
" tokay " is pronounced by the lizards, which is usually 
seven or eight, but sometimes as many as eleven. The 
tokay can also puff and hiss, and is so far merely lacer- 
tilian and not geckonine. It lives in houses and is 



bold, occurring in the most frequented rooms of those 
houses. Geckos, like most lizards, are carnivorous in 
habit. This giant form, relatively speaking, eats 
insects, small birds, and is even at times a cannibal. 
So firmly can it adhere to surfaces that it is used in 
the pastime of fishing for hats with felonious intent ; the 
gecko is let down on to the hat of some unsuspecting 
passer by, and is hauled up together with the hat, just 
as the remora or sucking fish is used to fish for turtles. 
Geckos are very numerous in species ; nearly three 
hundred exist, and they are found all over the world in 
its warmer parts. The nearest point to this country 
where they occur is the south of France, where lives 
Tarentola mauritanica, a smaller species than that which 
we have been considering. The visitor to the Zoo 
will not have the opportunity of seeing so large a num- 
ber of species, for something under twenty is the total 
number of different forms which have been on exhibit 
in that institution. 


As the frilled lizard, Chlamydosaurus kingi, has up 
to the present been only once exhibited at the Zoological 
Gardens, it is possible that this chapter may not be of 
great use to the visitor ; on the other hand the reptile 
seems, according to Mr. Savile Kent, to be not un- 
common in Queensland and some other parts of tropical 
Australia, and it is always possible, therefore, that 
there may be specimens on view in Regent's Park 
Gardens. It is in fact frequently the case at the Zoo 
that an animal reputed rare has subsequently turned 
up in greater numbers, so as to be no longer a rarity 
at the menagerie. The frilled lizard belongs to a 
family known as Agamidae, concerning which we shall 
have something to say by way of an appendix to the 
account of the representative of the family which has 



been selected to exemplify it. This agamoid is a foot 
or so in length, exclusive of the long and whip-like 
tail. It is of a brownish colour generally but its most 
prominent feature, the frill, more than Elizabethan or 
Jacobaean in size, which encircles the neck, is splashed 
and spotted with vivid red. This fiery and glowing 
fringe seems to lead into an equally glowing mouth 
armed with teeth and with a lurid yellow tongue, the 
sum total of these peculiarities being not unalarming 
to the pursuer. This frill or rather mantle opens in 
an umbrella-like fashion ; the skin of which it is com- 
posed is strengthened by a " rib " derived from the 
hyoid or tongue bones. When not in use it depends 
elegantly over the shoulders. No special action on the 
part of the reptile is needed to expand the frill ; it has 
merely to open its mouth and the very act of opening 
the mouth divaricates the ribs, and expands the mantle. 
This process reminds one of the poison fangs of the 
viper, which are brought into position for biting by 
the mere action of opening the mouth ; when the mouth 
is closed the fangs lie in a harmless longitudinal posi- 
tion. As for the frill itself, the most obvious thing to 
compare it to is the hood of the cobras, which with 
it is indeed precisely analogous as far as we can judge. 
It is a " scare organ " intended, so at least it is pre- 
sumed, to warn off aggressors by a show of violence, 
which might forbid more effective measures of retaliation 
These methods of indicating rage and determination 
are not uncommon in the animal kindgom ; but at times 
they are not much more than bluff. In the present 
case the reptile can carry out its threats to some 
extent. It not only bites but lashes in a stinging 
fashion with its long and lithe tail, a kind of pugnacity 
also shown by the iguana. There is more, however, that 
is worthy of note in the Chlamydosaurus than this 
mantle, which gives to it its scientific name. Lizards 



are, as a rule, eminently quadrupedal ; they progress 
as we have already observed, slung between their fore 
and hind limbs like an eighteenth- century coach be- 
tween its hind and fore wheels. When bounding 
over level ground the frilled lizard abandons the use 
of its fore limbs, and hops kangaroo-like for yards 
together before coming to rest. This odd mode of 
progression is normal, remarks Mr. Savile Kent, " when 
the animal is traversing level ground for any distance." 
and the distance so travelled may be as much as thirty 
or forty feet without a stop. It then rests for a bit 
on all fours and afterwards resumes its leaping progress. 
It has been justly pointed out that in this the Chlamy 
dosaurus reminds us of the extinct Dinosaurians, a race 
of reptiles of all sizes from eighty feet or so to a foot or 
two, which flourished in long bygone ages, and have 
left no living trace of themselves to-day. But the 
recollection of the similar mode of progression of some 
of these dinosaurs must not lead to the view that the 
Chlamy dosaurus is their long lost heir. The modern 
group of lizards has not much in common with those 
great reptiles of the past, who are much more nearly 
related among living animals to the crocodiles and to 

The family of the agamidae, to which this lizard 
belongs, represent as it were the iguanas of the New 
World in the Old, and they are especially common in 
Australia. There are over 200 species of them placed 
in many genera of which several are usually on view at 
the Zoo. Uromastix, with its spiny tail, is perhaps 
the one most commonly to be seen ; but the Australian 
Amphibolous, the "Jew lizard," with its "Newgate 
fringe " of thick spines, is also at times accommodated 
in the Reptile House. The agamidae are, as has been 
mentioned, by no means unlike the iguanas, and it 
is at least a curious coincidence that in both families 



there should be a type which has contracted the most 
striking likeness to a chamaeleon. The agamoid 
chamaeleon is Lyriocephalus scutatus, the iguanoid 
mimic Chamceleolis. The latter has been an inmate of 
the Reptile House but not the former. 


The scientific name of this South American lizard, viz. 
Tupinambis teguexin, is due to a curious error. The 
traveller, Marcgrave, speaking of the lizard, remarked 
that it is named Teyu-guaco, and, among the Topin- 
ambos, Temapara ; after reading this, Seba, the collector 
of " curiosities," jumped at the conclusion that what 
Marcgrave meant by Topinambos was the name of the 
lizard itself. The name got into zoology, and the rule 
in zoology is a stern one as to priority ; so we must per- 
force give to the lizard the name of the tribe, thus revers- 
ing what sometimes happens when an Indian individual 
or tribe is called by the name of an animal. The Teguex- 
ins or Tupinambis are a group of lizards containing a vast 
number of species all confined to America, and most of 
them to South America. There are usually to be seen 
at the Zoo examples of the two species, Tupinambis 
teguexin and Tupinambis nigro-punctatus. They grow 
to some size, and are bluish, variegated with yellow 
marks. For some reason or other they have been con- 
founded with the monitors of the Old World to which 
they have not the very faintest structural resemblance. 
In fact, no two groups of lizards are further apart than 
these two. However, they both love the water, and are 
somewhat fierce. In fact, the Tupinambis is said to 
emulate the bull-dog in the tenacity with which it will 
hold on to any aggressor. The name of " safeguard ' ' has 
been applied to these lizards, on the supposition that 
like the monitors they will warn of the proximity of a 
crocodile. They are strong and swift, and lash out with 



their tails like many other lizards, and like crocodiles. 
At the Zoo, like most other lizards they slumber much, 
and do not suggest any great activity either of mind or 
body. But they are big and impressive in appearance. 


The " reptilian vicar of Bray," as the late Mr. Grant 
Allen termed this lizard, has got an unjust reputation 
for capacity of colour change, mainly due to a well-known 
ballad, where these changes lead to misunderstanding 
on the part of some who have not been present to witness 
the whole series. As a matter of fact the chamaeleon 
does change its colour, and incidentally and at the same 
time, unlike the leopard, its spots. But these changes are 
not precisely what they are in popular imagination, 
which will accordingly be disappointed when the Cha- 
maeleons at the Zoo can begot to " perform." Popular 
imagination in this, as in other matters, has raced well 
ahead of the facts, and has assigned to the chamaeleon 
the entire chromatic scale. Its actual performance falls 
far short of this, and is limited to greens, yellows, browns, 
greys, and almost blacks. Some colours are beyond 
their powers. Nor can they entirely blanch or blacken. 
The faculty of colour change, though characteristic 
enough of these singular lizards, is by no means confined 
to them ; it is a common attribute of many lizards, some 
of which even excel the chamaeleon in their variety and 
rapidity of change. The chamaeleon, however, is a 
fairly quick change artist. Apparently rage is the most 
potent factor in inducing alterations, and a chamaeleon, 
when pinched gently, becomes spotty with wrath. Sun- 
shine blackens them, and death leaves them black or 
pale straw colour. In fact, anger, heat, cold, and death, 
would seem to be the main factors in turning their coats. 
That chamaeleons are lizards is probably known to most, 
but in almost every feature they differ from the more 

Z.G. 241 R 


typical and nimble, scaled, creatures that are called by 
that name. To watch a chamseleon in the Reptile House 
side by side with a lacerta for example, will bring out so 
long a series of differences, that it seems almost necessary 
to establish another order for these divergent creatures. 
Their prehensile tail is unique among limbed reptiles, 
and its very prehensility is remarkable, for it only works 
downwards : the toes are bound together in threes and 
twos, three on one side of hand and foot, and two on the 
other. This is suggestive of a bird, and especially of 
the woodpeckers, where, however, there are but four 
toes altogether, grouped in twos. The independently 
moving eyes above the grinning mouth are weird in the 
extreme and not reptile-like ; they are indeed like no- 
thing except a human being with an inordinate squint, 
and like the eyes of such a being they move independ- 
ently. Then too the tongue, nearly as long as the body 
of its possessor when fully extruded, is an extraordin- 
ary organ, unparalleled in the reptilian series and only 
partially paralleled by the ant-bear, the woodpecker and 
the echidna. The chamaeleon when it detects its prey, 
an insect for choice, literally " gives tongue " to the 
extent of six inches or so. To watch a chamaeleon 
shows that profound mental differences accompany these 
structural differences from the remaining crowd of 
lizards. Its movements are characterized by an almost 
judicial deliberation. It is elephantine in its slowness. 
The reptile is in fact not by any means unlike in these 
particulars to its fellow-dweller upon tree-tops the 
American sloth. Finally, the lean and really emaciated 
form of the chamaeleon mark it out as something greatly 
different from the ordinary run of lizards, who are plump 
in comparison. This leanness, however, has its uses. 
The chamaeleon has, somewhat rashly for so small a 
creature, an ungovernable temper ; it literally swells 
with anger, grunts, bites and flashes changes of colour. 



To face p. 242] 


If all this fails and the enemy is not to be daunted by 
bluff, the chamaeleon relies upon its scragginess in this 
way. Its lean sides, like those of a tiger, can by con- 
traction of the muscles lying between the ribs become 
still more attenuated. This accomplished, the chamae- 
leon prudently, but in another sense to the usual one, 
turns its back upon its foe, and remains perfectly quiet. 
The leanness reduces its dimensions to those of a straight 
line, which has no breadth, and seen in profile, the cham- 
aeleon escapes unwelcome attention. Viewed internally, 
the chamaeleon is quite as different from its Lacertilian 
relatives as it is externally. The most prominent fea- 
ture revealed by the dissecting knife is the curious tags 
or blind outgrowths of the lungs, which spread through 
the body and permit the animal to " visibly swell," as 
has been already pointed out, when its emotions are 
roused. That the lungs should have these connected 
sacs, which do not perform a respiratory function at all, 
for they have no blood-vessels, is a point of approxima- 
tion to the air sacs of birds ; and constantly in consider- 
ing the structure of reptiles do we come across points of 
resemblance to their really near, but apparently so 
widely different, fellow-countrymen the birds. We 
have spoken hitherto of the chamaeleon ; but in truth, 
there are very many different kinds of chamaeleons, 
though the remarks made in the foregoing lines apply, 
with the exception of a few points, to all of them. There 
are at least sixty species of chamaeleons which exist only 
in the Old World, and in that hemisphere live mostly in 
Africa and Madagascar. 

As they have all the same kind of habits the differences 
between the various species are not very striking, except 
for a half a dozen or so of species which belong to two 
separate genera known as Brookesia and Rhamphokon, 
which have the merest stumpy apology for a tail. The 
difference is quite analogous to the long and prehensile 



tailed monkeys of the New World and to the tailless or 
stumpy tailed forms among the monkeys of the Old 
World. But in the case of the chamaeleons all are Old 
World. Male and female chamaeleons often show exter- 
nal differences, some of which are quaint and exagger- 
ated. The common chamaeleon, which is African, and 
just extends into Europe and Asia Minor, shows the 
slightest difference of this kind ; in the male, the casque, 
as we may term the posterior projecting end of the head, 
is longer than in the female. Several species, appropri- 
ately named " Calcarifer " and " Calcaratus " on this 
very account, have a kind of spur on the hind legs just 
above the ankle, which spurs are again peculiar to the 
males. But the most extraordinary difference of the 
kind is to be seen in a few forms, of which a species found 
high up at an altitude of 6,000 feet on Mount Ruwenzori, 
in tropical Africa, forms an example. This chamaeleon, 
which was named after Sir Harry Johnston, presents us 
with three long horns upon the forehead, which give to 
this reptile a most truculent aspect. Another species 
from the same mountain has in front of the nose a for- 
wardly directed bony outgrowth. No chamaeleons are 
very large. Brookesia and Rhampholeon, just alluded 
to, are quite tiny, three inches or so. So, too, is the 
",dwarf chamaeleon," a South African species, charac- 
terized by its green colour and by a patch on the side of 
a beautiful brick red. On the other hand, the giant of 
the tribe, Chameleon parsoni, is a couple of feet or so in 


Varanus niloticus is the full-dress name of a large 
lizard whose habitat is indicated by it s name, but which 
also strays into other parts of Africa. It is one of a 
genus of lizards entirely confined to the Old World, which 
has been variously termed Monitor, Varanus, Regenia, 



Hydrosaurus, and some few other appellations, but which 
are all of the same genus ; this genus forms a family all 
to itself, occupying a very isolated position in the lizard 
series. To the casual eye, however, uninstructed in the 
technicalities of zoology, the monitor is a very average- 
looking lizard, distinguishable chiefly by its greater size, 
and by its rather long neck. But there is a good deal 
more in the monitor than meets the eye of the mere 
observer. Recourse must be had to the scalpel to em- 
phasize the divergences of the monitor from other lizards. 
It will be readily understood without a comprehensive 
knowledge of zoology, that it stands on a higher plane 
than most of its relatives by reason of the more compli- 
cated structure of the lungs ; for this added complexity 
means more efficient breathing and thus better aeration 
of the blood, and the effects may be felt in every part of 
the body. A long neck, too, is evidence of advance, for 
the lower creatures, frogs, fish, and most lizards, are 
quite apoplectic as to neck, and as a consequence their 
hearts are in their throats. The heart of Varanus is 
placed farther back, and it is thus more like the higher 
animals, such as birds and mammals. But these details 
are mentioned in order to illustrate the fact that it is 
rash in zoology to judge entirely by external appear- 
ance ; they show that two creatures much alike to out- 
ward view, may be profoundly different in reality. There 
are about thirty-four or -five different species of 
monitors, of which we figure here, V. gouldi ; the largest 
is not the lizard of the Nile, but a huger beast even 
seven feet in length which inhabits certain parts of 
tropical Asia, and whose name is Varanus salvator. 
Most of these creatures are of a " subfusc " hue, but get 
brighter in certain places, an added yellowness being the 
chief alteration. There is certainly one form which is 
variegated by bright green. Being ground-living crea- 
ture a ^ so a ddicted to water, the dusky hues are more 



useful to them than greater brilliancy of colour. They 
are all of them fiercely carnivorous, and they do not 
despise carrion ; even the remains of mortals who have 
undergone tree " burial " in the East are apt to be de- 
voured, while small mammals and other creeping things 
are readily eaten. The monitor of the Nile is particularly 


fond of crocodiles' eggs. The examples at the Zoo are 
often given eggs, which they swallow cleverly without 
breaking the shell and spilling the contents. For the 
name monitor several explanations have been given ; 
the one most in favour is perhaps that it is due to a mis- 
understanding of the Arabic word for the lizard. Another 
is, that it gives notice of the approach of a crocodile. In 
connexion with this legend, it is remarkable that the 



same idea has fixed itself to quite another kind of lizard, 
inhabiting South America. This lizard, formerly placed 
in the near neighbourhood of the monitor, is known as 
the Teguexin, and is referred to on another page. Both 
ilzards have got the reputation, apparently entirely unde- 
served, of being a friend to the human race, by giving 
notice of a prowling alligator. It would be interesting 
to know whether the idea was conveyed to the natives 
of South America by white men acquainted with the 
Old World monitor and its reputation, or whether it is 
part of an original stock of legends carried from the east 
to the west or vice versa by migrating tribes, who colon- 
ized the one half of the world from the other. 


The whole family of lizards to which Iguana belongs 
are, with a very few exceptions, American in range, and 
they are for the far greater part denizens of the central 
and southern parts of that continent, and of the adjacent 
West Indies, which, zoologically considered, are part of 
America. The family is a very large one ; but the genus 
Iguana itself, which has given the name to the family, is 
a very small one, and, indeed, consists of at most three 
different species. The one most familiar to those visit- 
ing the Zoo is undoubtedly Iguana tuberculata, which is 
green in colour, diversified with brown in part, and has 
an extremely long and, at the end, thin tail. Along the 
head are a series of tooth-like crests, and under the chin 
hangs a dewlap like that of an Indian zebu. The iguana 
lives in trees ; and this habit of living at some altitude 
seems to beget thoughtfulness, which takes the form in 
our specimens at the Zoo of extreme immobility. For 
hours perhaps if we were there to see we should find it 
to be days the iguana sits and does nothing. It is a 
lizard that has, for a lizard, the uncommon habit of being 
vegetarian. There are others which share this mode 



of life ; but vegetarianism in reptiles is not at all common. 
The crests along the back and the general attitude of the 
iguana, evidently suggested to the late Mr. Waterhouse 
Hawkins the pose for the Iguanodon in the grounds of 
the Crystal Palace. That extinct creature an idea of 
which can be better gained by an inspection of a plaster 
cast, now on view in the Natural History Museum at 
South Kensington, of one of the magnificent Bernissart 
iguanodons in the Museum at Brussels was named 
by a certain likeness which its teeth show to that of the 
iguana, a likeness very possibly to be accounted for by 
the fact that both are, or were, vegetable -feeding reptiles. 
However, our iguana has nothing whatever to do with 
its semi-namesake. It is a true lizard and not a Dinosaur 
as is the Iguanodon. This lizard grows to several feet 
in length, of which the tail forms a considerable propor- 
tion. Being a plant eater, its flesh is succulent and 
sought after, and is said to taste like chicken. It is 
hunted with dogs, before whose keen noses the protec- 
tive colours of the iguana are useless to it. The common 
iguana occasionally varies from the typical appearance, 
and some of the scales upon the nose grow out into horny 
excrescences. " Rhinolopha " is the appropriate name 
given to this variety which is, however, not a variety in 
the sense that is it a distinct form unconnected by inter- 
mediate grades with the typical Iguana tuber culata. 
Every intermediate condition occurs, and thus we see 
that there can be no question of two species. The 
iguana of Santa Lucia in the West Indies (referred to a 
different genus) grows to five or six feet in length, and 
appears to be of a brighter green when young than when 
full grown, a fact which is in accord with the greater need 
for protection of the young against their many foes. 
The full grown iguana is by no means an easy prey to 
those creatures which attack it, and the late Mr. P. H. 
Gosse observed of it that it " directs its eye to the object 



of attack with a peculiar sinister look " ; the sinister 
character of this offensive gaze seems to be due to the 
fact that the reptile does not move its eyes at all, but 
turns its head with decision and deliberation towards 


the foe, following his movements with a fiercely prepared 
aspect. When it does attack the attack is often made 
with the tail, the serrated crest of which causes it to cut 
like a saw. Arboreal though the iguana is for the greater 
part of its days, it does occasionally leave its tree. This 
occurs_especially during the breeding season, when the 



iguana deposits its eggs in the sand of the seashore in 
such localities as enable it to reach the sea. Oddly 
enough it is said that though the iguana can swim with 
ease, it objects to sea water, which, in view of the locality 
chosen by it for egg laying, is curious. An ally of the 
iguana, the marine lizard, Oreocephahis of the Galapagos, 
does not share this distaste for sea water ; it is an inter- 
esting fact that even iguanas can be submerged for a 
long time in water without being drowned ; and it will be 
remembered that Darwin tried, and in vain, to drown 
an Oreocephalus. The dewlap under its chin is not an 
inflatable structure, as some have thought or at least 
asserted ; but a very near ally of Iguana, known as 
Metopoceros cornutus, has a really dilatable throat pouch 
with which to express anger and perhaps also convey 
terror. This last iguana is black where our iguana is 
green ; and yet it is also arboreal. 


For hours together this reptile will sit like Saturn, 
" quiet as a stone," with hardly a blink of eyelid to indi- 
cate that it is not intended, like the chamois of Mark 
Twain, to fulfil obligations towards the visitor. The 
quiet atttude is not, however, an attribute of Sphenodon 
(or Hatteria) punctata only. It is common to the reptile 
tribe who live often two lives in sharp contrast. At 
times the eye can hardly follow the brisk movements of 
a small lizard ; at other times it is as if carved or stuffed. 
The tuatera presents no features which mark it out to 
the uninstructed eye as anything unlike the average of 
lizards. And, indeed, if all we had to judge by were 
external form and habits, Hatteria would be most un- 
questionably relegated without doubt to the Lacertilia. 
It has blackish olive hues, which are not unknown in the 
lizard tribe. The close-set crest along the back is to be 
seen in the iguana ; even the " parietal eye," so con- 



spicuous in this animal as a clear mark on the top of the 
skull, is equally well shown in Iguana. There is nothing 
odd about the limbs or the tail. In short it is not sur- 
prising that, until its interior arrangements were made 
out, the Hatteria was considered to be, what it certainly 
is not, a quite typical lizard. The fact is, that if we are 
to use the term lizard, that word must be decidedly put 
into inverted commas, as a token that its use is a con- 
cession to popular language. As a matter of fact there 
is no vernacular word which will express just exactly 
what the Hatteria is. Zoologists regard it as an early 
offshoot from the stem which produced not only lizards 
and snakes, but possibly, also, some other now existing 
types of reptiles. But we cannot call it either a pro- 
Lacertilian or a pro-reptile, though to the mind of the 
present writer it is mostly Lacertilian. We must content 
ourselves with calling it for the present simply by its 
name. The bony characters which distinguish Hatteria 
from lizards pervade the whole skeleton, and would 
require a little too much technical exposition for their 
due setting forth. But everyone can appreciate the 
fact that the lungs have not yet undergone the modifica- 
tions that they have in the true lizards and snakes. In 
the lizards, and much more in the snakes, the end of the 
lung farthest away from the entrance of the windpipe 
into it has partly or entirely ceased to have a respiratory 
function. Its walls are here thin and not so markedly 
honeycombed in structure as is the rest of the lung. 
Furthermore, in very many lizards the lung is com- 
pletely or partially divided into two or more compart- 
ments. In Hatteria the lung is an efficient lung through- 
out, and is a simple undivided sac. We are acquainted 
with a good many extinct relatives of Hatteria which 
carry us back to very early geological times. Its allies 
then flourished in Europe and in other parts of the world. 
Now the sphenodon is confined not only to New Zealand 



but to certain small islands off the main islands. They 
are particularly common apparently in Stephen's island, 
where their breeding habits have been observed. At the 
Zoo they have been given every chance to let us into 
these mysteries, but without avail. The reptile lays 
eggs in a burrow which it inhabits in perfect amity with 


various birds, like several other burrowing animals that 
we deal with in this book, such as the American prairie 
dog and vizcacha. In these burrows it deposits its eggs, 
carrying them in in its mouth after actually " laying " 
them outside. Why this elaboration of instinct should 
have been evolved does not seem easy of explanation. 



The young when they leave the egg are not coloured like 
their parents, a common occurrence among animals ; 
they also illustrate another common feature in the col- 
oration of young creatures, which is that they are 
striped. The young pig and the young tapir are other 
examples of this same phenomenon. And it has been 
attempted to be proved by these and other causes, that 
animals in the course of their development go through a 
regular series of colour changes which are necessary 
accompaniments of that evolution. The tuatera can 
bite, and that effectively, since it possesses what few 
lizards do, an additional set of teeth upon the palatine 
bones which form part of the roof of the mouth, addi- 
tional, that is to say, to those upon the upper and lower 
jaws. Its native name of tuatera seems to mean " pos- 
sessing spines," and refers to its crest. 

Although the limbless lizards, such as the blind-worm 
and the European scheltopusik (Ophisaurus apus), dealt 
with on a previous page, run the snakes rather close in 
outward appearance, it is really not difficult to distinguish 
by external appearance and behaviour the Ophidia from 
the Lacertilia. The limbless, and so far, snake-like 
lizard has a milder look than the true snake, whose re- 
lentless and unwinking eyes produce even in the harm- 
less kinds that feeling of repulsion which is apt to be felt 
for the serpent. The mildness of the lizard is due to the 
fact that it has movable eyelids, while the eyes of the 
snake have no such eyelids, but are covered with a single 
and transparent scale ; this is removed when the snake 
sheds its skin and comes off with it in the form of a watch 
glass. That the geckos have not for the most part eye- 
lids does not lead to any confusion, for the blind-worms 
which offer the most difficulties have. The movements 
of the legless lizards have not that finished ease which 



attends the gliding of the snake. The former suggest 
forcibly that they want practice in the art of walking 
without limbs. When the snake feeds it engulphs its 
food in a way totally different to that of the lizard. The 
two halves of the lower jaw, instead of being bound to- 
gether by solid bony union, as in the lizards, for the most 
part, are only connected by softish ligament, and thus 
can be stretched and allow their possessor to manage a 
very big morsel. The lizards are compelled to exercise 
greater moderation in the size of their prey. Were a 
python a lizard, it would have to be content with rats 
instead of being able to get outside a goat. A flickering 
bifid tongue is a character of the snakes, and though it is 
found in lizards it is not by any means universal in that 
group. For the rest, snakes have, like lizards, the same 
alternation between extreme alertness and sluggish 
laziness. Snakes are entirely animal feeders and devour 
living prey, with the exception of two egg-eating snakes, 
of which one, the African Dasypeltis scabra, is often to 
be seen at the Zoo. Lizards vary their diet more, and 
they not only eat living prey and eggs, but also are in 
the case of some species, vegetarians. When we come 
to internal characters there are more means of distin- 
guishing between the two orders. The principal one, and 
it is one that is not usually so much dwelt upon in books 
contrasting the anatomy of the two groups, is seen in 
the way in which the internal organs are packed in the 
body. In all lizards the stomach, intestines, liver, and 
so forth, lie in a spacious cavity known to anatomists as 
the ccelom. In snakes the ccelom is still there ; but, 
instead of forming one large cavity, with plenty of room 
for more organs than already lie in it, it is divided up 
into a series of more restricted cavities, in each of which 
lies some special organ. Thus, the long and narrow 
liver is enveloped in two sacs meeting in its middle line 
and showing incidentally that the apparently single- 



lobed liver is really made up of two lobes, though they 
are closely adpressed. In the same way other organs 
are contained in other compartments. The lizards' 
body cavity and viscera suggest a scantily filled and 
loosely packed portmanteau ; that of the lizard a full 
and closely packed box. 

Snakes are quite as numerous as lizards, and have 
much the same range ; they are, like the lizards, parti- 
cularly abundant in the tropics. Iceland, as we all 
know, has no snakes, and generally speaking, as with 
lizards, they wane in numbers towards the north. The 
three British snakes, viz. the grass snake (Tropidontus 
natrix), the smooth snake (Coronella aiistriaca), and the 
viper (Viper a berus), are almost, if not quite, always on 
view at the Zoo. As with lizards, there are terrestrial, 
arboreal, aquatic, and even marine snakes. But the 
marine snakes are much more marine than is the iguan- 
oid lizard, Oreocephalus, which lives largely in the sea 
off the Galapagos. Such genera as Distira, Hydrus, 
Platyurus, are, with a few exceptions, purely marine and 
pelagic, living at the surface of the ocean and preying 
upon fish. These snakes are hardly likely, from the 
nature of the case, to be seen at the Zoo. Besides these 
marine snakes a large number of serpents of various kinds 
spend a large part of their time in freshwater ponds, 
ditches, etc. For example, the North American water 
viper (Ancistrodon piscivorus), and even the common 
grass snake. At the opposite extreme is the desert- 
haunting Cleopatra's asp (Cerastes cornuta), with the 
projecting and horn-like scale above each eye. Though 
whether the Egyptian queen did not avail herself of the 
African cobra (Naia haje) is a moot question. These 
desert snakes are, like the desert-loving lizards and 
mammals, and even birds, clad in desert colours. Ar- 
boreal snakes are exemplified by the boas, and by such 
types as the green viper, dealt with later. There are 



also harmless and green snakes, which frequent trees. 
Snakes are divisible into a considerable series of families. 
The most important of these are the Boidae, the Colu- 
bridae and the Viperidae. The Boidae are, as the names 
suggests, the Boa constrictor and its allies, the pythons, 
anaconda, and the European and Old World genus, 
Eryx, besides some less known forms. 

The greatest interest attaching to these snakes is that 
they stand at the base of the Ophidian series ; they have 
not so completely lost the characteristics of the more 
lizard-like form from which snakes, as we think, must 
have been derived. For they possess what no snakes, 
except certain immediate allies of their own, belonging 
however to other families, possess, distinct rudiments of 
the hind limbs, which are even visible externally, as a 
small claw on either side of the vent. They have also 
two lungs, whereas in the more modified snakes the lungs 
have dwindled down to a single one and, at the most, a 
tiny rudiment of the other. This reduction of the lungs 
is also seen in the limbless lizards, but it is not so fully 
carried out in all of them as it is in the modified vipers 
among snakes. Otherwise the pythons and boas are 
typical snakes to all outward appearance, and have no 
essential peculiarities externally, which mark them off as 
something distinct from other snakes, save only the 
hooks already mentioned. Allied to the Boidae are 
several families of small and burrowing snakes, such as 
the Typhlopidae, Ilysiidae, and Uropeltidae, of which 
representatives are not, as a rule, to be seen at the Zool- 
ogical Gardens. 

The Colubridae, or Colubrine snakes embrace the vast 
majority of species of the snake tribe, and the family 
includes some of the most deadly of their kind. People 
used to group together the venomous as opposed to the 
non-venomous serpents ; but it is now seen that this 
physiological attribute is not sufficient to outweigh real 



anatomical distinctions between various snakes. So 
that the poisonous vipers are not nowadays placed 
with poisonous cobras. These Colubridae, which are 
poisonous, are usually grouped together into two series, 
named in accordance with the fact that the poison fangs 
are anterior or posterior. In the " Proteroglypha " it is 
some of the anterior teeth in the upper jaw which are 
grooved and transmit the deadly venom. In the " Opis- 
thoglypha' ' it is on the contrary, the posterior. The fangs 
of the viper are dealt with under the description of the 
tree viper below. The essential difference between the 
venomous colubrine and the venomous viper is the 
reduction of the poison fangs, and the maxillary bone 
which bears them, in the latter, and the fact that the 
teeth are not merely grooved for the transmission of the 
ducts of the salivary glands which secrete the poison, 
but actually perforated at the base as well as grooved 
further up. 


The first of the two above names is the best one to use 
for this, the largest of the snake tribe. For it is actually 
an " Indian " word in use in South America, whereas 
anaconda is apparently Ceylonese in origin. Another 
vernacular name is Water Camoodie, in contrast to 
Camoodie, which refers in British Guiana to the boas, 
including the well-known Boa constrictor. Eunectes muri- 
nus is the technical name of the best known species of 
anaconda, for of these snakes there are more than one 
kind. They inhabit only tropical South America, and 
would seem to be undoubtedly the largest living serpent. 
Thirty-three feet has been registered, and others say 
thirty-seven, or even over forty. But skins will stretch 
and imaginations also. Still it is big, and its size may 
be the cause, taken into conjunction with its habitat, 
of part of the sea-serpent legends. There seems to be 
Z.G, 257 S 


every probability that this mythical beast is compounded 
of many elements. The sucuruju is both aquatic and 
arboreal, so that its chances of being washed out to sea 
in an unusual spate are more than those of some other 
large snakes. Given an unusually large anaconda and 
a mariner cheered by a double allowance of grog, twi- 
light and a stormy sea, and we have a good sea-serpent 
basis at once. The anaconda (after all, " sucuruju " is 
a tiresome word to say and to spell) grows very thick ; 
and its head, which is large, is divided from its body by 
a slender neck, instead of running into it as in the Euro- 
pean allies of the anaconda, the snakes called Eryx. 
It may seem absurd to say that this serpent has a parti- 
cularly short tail ; for serpents seem to be either all 
neck or all tail. But as a matter of fact, on the whole 
serpents differ from lizards by the fact that they have a 
short tail, while lizards have a long one. The tail is 
marked in the anaconda by a pair of short recurved 
claws, which, with some adjacent bonelets, are the re- 
mains of the hind pair of limbs present also in all the 
pythons and other immediate allies of the anaconda, 
but absent in other snakes, such as the vipers and colu- 
brines. The colour of this serpent is olive brown, with 
black marks along the back. Like the great pythons of 
Asia and Africa, the anaconda often, especially just 
after it has shed its skin, and gotten a new one shows 
beautiful iridescent hues. It brings forth its young 
alive, as do the vipers. The anaconda is one of the 
" constricting " snakes, that is, it crushes the life out of 
its prey by winding round it before proceeding to eat it. 
Much has been written about the deadly fascination 
exercised by this and other snakes upon their intended 
prey, which have been said to approach gradually to 
their foe, allured by its brilliant eyes and steady stare. 
As a matter of fact these legends of fascination appear 
to be based upon two facts. Firstly, the flickering 



tongue of the snake, so constant in its motions, naturally 
attracts, as would any moving object, the attention of 
small creatures suitable for food. Secondly, a state of 
catalepsy, due to nervous shock and terror, is a common 
event in the lives of various creatures. It is not the 
fascination of the snake, but an overpowering sense of 
dread that overcomes the bird or mammal upon which 
the anaconda is steadily advancing. Another legend 
concerning the snake is, that it lubricates its prey before 
swallowing it. This is sheer invention. The actual 
swallowing takes place without any such lubrication, 
which indeed, with the small salivary glands at the dis- 
posal of the snake, would be impossible. But it occa- 
sionally happens that after swallowing, the object 
swallowed is disgorged by fear or other emotion. Then 
it emerges into the daylight, covered of course with the 
viscid secretions of the oesophagus or stomach, a circum- 
stance which may readily have given rise to the com- 
monly held view. The anaconda feeds principally upon 
reptiles, fishes, and mammals in fact, upon anything 
that comes handy. A catholic taste in meat is the pre- 
vailing fashion among snakes, there being but rare ex- 
ceptions, such as the egg-eating snake of Africa, Dasy- 
peltis scabra. Its habit of lurking in or by streams, is 
well suited to its tastes ; for all mammals must come and 
drink at times. The murky backwaters of South 
America do not lend themselves to clear vision ; and it is 
therefore not surprising to learn that in the anaconda 
the sense of sight does not help it so much in detecting 
its prey as the sense of hearing and then touch. It 
is said that when rats are introduced into a cage con- 
taining this serpent it does not begin to " take notice " 
until the rats begin to squeak. Their dolorous notes 
arouse the attention of the snake ; it pricks up its ears 
so to say, and on the first contact with the exploring 
rodents winds its deadly coil round them. Like the 



famous snapping- turtle of the Bongaultier ballads, the 
anaconda eats alligators. That this is an actual habit 
of the snake was discovered, to his cost, by a German 
gentleman, who purchased examples of both and left 
them together through stress of accommodation. To 
tackle an alligator, even for an anaconda, is a serious 
matter. Mr. Quelch relates that a fight between the 
two reptiles, ending in victory for the snake, took two 
days. It all depends, as with wrestlers, upon the way 
in which the snake succeeds in laying hold of the alli- 
gator. When in an advantageous position from the 
snake's point of view, victory is assured. Besides alli- 
gators, the anaconda devours teguexin lizards, for 
which it appears to have a partiality ; it has been known 
to swallow such large beasts as peccaries and wood deer. 
Oddly enough, its specific name of " murinus " has been 
given to it on account of the fact that its small young 
eat mice. It is a moot point whether the anaconda will 
attack human beings. There is a general belief that it 
will do so, and a consequent dread of the Ophidian in 
many parts of South America. And there are cases of 
anacondas having seized hold of a human being. A boy 
washing rice in a stream was laid hold of by one of these 
snakes but liberated by his father. In this case it is 
thought that the mere movement of the water led the 
snake to the wrong impression that some convenient fish 
was in the neighbourhood. So bathing where there 
are anacondas is not certainly dangerous, though an 
accidental nip would not be a pleasant thing to occur, 
and is rather uncanny to contemplate. Naturally, the 
anaconda has 'given rise to legend. Anything big al- 
ways does. Along the Amazons Mr. Bates relates that 
this serpent is the origin of a legend of a huge freshwater 
sea-serpent, to speak Hibernically, named Mai d'Agoa, 
mother or spirit of the water. There is also the Min- 
hocao, an equally fabulous beast who tunnels the mud 



and overthrows trees as they stand in its path. But 
this creature has probably grown out of an activating 
Lediposiren, or even, as some say, an unusually large 
earthworm ! There are always, or nearly always, 
anacondas at the Zoo, and those of fair proportions. 

Rather lurid in colour and very ferocious in habit 
is this, the largest of all poisonous serpents. It is a 
native of the torrid East, and extends pretty well all the 
way from India to Sumatra. Considering its con- 
spicuous size, it is not a little odd that it should have 
been first made known to science so recently as the year 
J837, when Dr. Cantor described it. But the visitor 
to the Reptile House will soon gather why this long 
and venomous snake should have been overlooked. 
It is really extremely like a cobra, as indeed its ver- 
nacular name or, better, one of its many vernacular 
names, suggests. The same smallish head with clear 
scaling, brownish to blackish hues, elegant and taper- 
ing body, that are seen in the cobra mark the hama- 
dryad. There is even a legend that the earliest repre- 
sentative of this species to reach the Zoological Gardens 
was inadvertently placed in a case with a family of 
cobras, and that being hungry after a long voyage it 
ate up 50 worth before its full identity was thoroughly 
established. Anyhow, the hamadryad bears a great 
superficial likeness to the spectacled cobra, so great a 
likeness, indeed, that some systematists, influenced 
entirely by superficialities, as systematic zoologists 
are unfortunately apt to be, have bracketed it with 
the cobra in the same genus, Naia. More far-seeing 
was Dr. Cantor, who separated it, a conclusion which 
recent investigations into its internal arrange- 
ments, particularly the structure of the windpipe, 
have fully justified. 1837 was the year which wit- 



nessed the first disentangling of the hamadryad from 
the cobra as a distinct serpent. It was not until 1875 
that the first live specimen ever reached Europe. This 
individual arrived at the Zoological Gardens in that 
year, and survived for no less than twelve years. From 
that time to the present there have been many, and 
some of them large ones. Length in a serpent is a matter 
which is apt to be exaggerated. The one thing which 
a serpent has got to be is to be long. But with all the 
stretching in the world the hamadryad cannot be 
pulled out to more than fifteen feet, and twelve feet 
is perhaps a better estimate of its extreme length. 
With misleading pedantry the British Museum catalogue 
of snakes calls it 3,900 millimetres ! No creature that 
is not enclosed in a hard box like a tortoise or an insect 
can be measured with such absolute accuracy. The 
colour above is brown to black, with a whitish belly, 
and in young examples there are yellow bands. It has 
been pointed out in the case of the cobra that legend 
has it that the blacker specimens are the more ferocious. 
Melanism, or a darkening of normal hues, is a not 
uncommon phenomenon in the animal world ; but to 
associate it .with a correspondingly increased fierceness 
is perhaps making the creature out to be blacker than 
Nature has painted it. Nevertheless, we learn from 
the poet that the dark-coloured South is " fierce and 

The name hamadryad is plainly to be derived from 
the tree-frequenting habits of Ophiophagus bimgarus, 
as the full scientific name runs. From this " bad 
eminence " the serpent is said to look out for a coolie, 
and then to descend upon him in an unexpected shower 
of writhing coils. Exaggeration apart, it does seem 
to be proved that during the breeding season, that 
time of fierce irritability in many beasts and birds, the 
hamadryad is more apt to lose its temper, and to 



attack with little or no provocation. The second of 
the better known " popular " names, i.e. King Cobra, 
is a name which has possibly been referred to the hama- 
dryad from the cobra itself. Legend again in snake 
natural history there is much that is legendary to use 
a non-provocative expression, relates that a large 
snake was observed to utter a peculiar note, and that 
from neighbouring thickets out came a crowd of 
smaller snakes, who prostrated themselves before the 
monarch ; he, however, selected a fat one for imme- 
diate consumption. But there is this basis of truth 
recorded in the scientific name that the Ophiophagus 
is a snake-eater by choice ; specimens at the Zoo are 
fed upon common English grass snakes, which they 
eat almost after the fashion of an Englishman devour- 
ing a stick of asparagus. 

The older naturalists put together all the poisonous 
snakes, and separated them from the harmless varieties, 
and in this way associated the vipers and the cobras. 
But we now know that one set of poisonous snakes is 
not very nearly related to the other. In the vipers the 
poison teeth have the characters that we have already 
dealt with, and which we need not therefore recapitu- 
late. In this snake the hinder series of teeth are merely 
grooved, and the poison pours along all or any of them 
with indifference to reach the wound which they have 


The snake is apt to be as wily nowadays as he was 
in the Garden of Eden some time since ; but his guile 
takes a different form. The aim of the modern serpent 
is the honest and straightforward one of securing as 
much food as possible, and of escaping his enemies. 
In order to accomplish these two aims resource is had 
to varied forms of deception. Sheer strength, and 
even the possession of formidable fangs with poison 



bags attached, is not enough to ensure success in life 
for any of the punier snakes of to-day. We find 
therefore, a variety of ways in which these creatures 
confront their foes in the struggle for existence. The 
viper in question, Lachesis gramineus, is certainly one 
of, if not the most beautiful serpent in existence. Its 


whole body is of an exquisite grassy green ; its pro- 
portions are elegant, and the diamond-shaped head, 
so characteristic of vipers, only adds to the graceful- 
ness of its outline. It has avoided the coarse puffiness 
of the rattlesnake and the somewhat scraggy pro- 
portions of the British viper. Like all vipers, it is 
provided with one or two fangs on each side of the 
upper jaw, which are replaced by others when they 
are worn out or dropped ; and, as in other vipers, these 
teeth are tubes leading from the duct of the poison 



gland to the wound which their sharp end has made 
in some hostile or edible creature. The reduction of 
the poison fangs and their tubular, not merely grooved, 
structure is a mark of the viperine dentition. More- 
over, this particular viper has a little pit on the side 
of the face, as has the rattlesnake, from which char- 
acter it is known as a pit viper, a distinction from the 
common viper of this country and its allies, which are 
perfect as vipers, but have no pit. This snake haunts 
the leafy branches of trees, and, as we suppose, in 
accordance with that habit, its uniform hue hides it 
when motionless. This same shade of green is not 
uncommon among reptiles. It is to be seen, for ex- 
ample, in the European green lizard, and in a very 
beautiful gecko from Madagascar, which has the name 
of Phelsuma madagascariensis, in various chamaeleons, 
and in other forms. The green is of the same timbre 
in all of them. This little viper is therefore doubly 
armed to hold its own. It can escape observation by 
its harmonious colouring, harmonious, that is to say, 
with leafy or grassy surroundings, and it can give a 
thoroughly good account of itself if detected. 


The tortoises and turtles form an assemblage about 
the limits of which there can be no possible mistake. 
They are encased more or less completely in a bony 
box, which is generally overlaid by epidermic scales, 
quite comparable with those of lizards. The bony box 
is produced by ossifications within the skin, and has, 
of course, nothing to do with the skeleton proper, 
although its bones are often fused with bones of the 
true skeleton. The Chelonia also have toothless jaws, 
the want of teeth being to some extent compensated 
by the existence of a horny sheath to the jaws, which 
is exactly comparable to the bird's beak. 



It is to be noticed, however, that the skin skeleton 
of the tortoise tribe is not absolutely sui generis. In 
detail, of course, nothing like it is found in any other 
reptile at present known. But the dorsal part of the 
box or carapace is, of course, to be compared with 
the dorsal bony skin shields of crocodiles, while the 
same comparison holds good with regard to the ventral 
plastron, which is, moreover, comparable to the thin 
ossifications found on the ventral surface of Hatteria, 
and in that reptile termed abdominal ribs. Toothless- 
ness happens not to be an attribute of any living group 
of reptiles except the Chelonia ; but there are extinct 
families, though not orders, which are in the same 
way without teeth. Here, as elsewhere in Nature, 
hard and fast lines of demarcation do not exist. The 
selection of tortoises at the Zoo is a considerable one 
at any time. 


This tortoise is actually the largest living repre- 
sentative of the giant tortoises of the world. Large 
tortoises do not differ from small ones, such as the 
Testudo grceca of southern Europe, and of our streets 
in London at certain times. That is to say, they are 
anatomically not separable, though vastly exceeding 
them in size, and also characterized by a varying 
number of small external and other features, which 
allow us to place the large tortoises in several species. 
At present we only find very large tortoises on small 
islands. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the 
smaller the island the larger are its tortoises. This is 
very unexpected, because, among the mammalia at 
any rate, beasts seem to require a spacious environ- 
ment to attain to any bulk. Madagascar, for example, 
has small mammals, while in the forests of the neigh- 



bouring continent of Africa range the elephant and the 
rhinoceros. The Indian elephant and the Indian 
species of rhinoceros do not flourish in the smaller 
islands of the Eastern Archipelago. With the tor- 
toises it is otherwise. The Mascarene islands and the 
Galapagos Archipelago are the spots haunted by the 
biggest existing tortoises, of which the species 
T. daudini, from the south island of Aldabra, has fur- 
nished us with the largest living tortoise ; that speci- 
men was until recently alive at the Zoo. The puzzle 
as to how they got upon these islands is like that of the 
flies in amber or the apples in the dumpling. We can 
only infer, and inference has been of two kinds. It 
has been held that the Mascarene islands and the 
Galapagos are the last vestiges of submerged conti- 
nents, from which other inhabitants have dwindled 
away in correspondence with the shrinking of terra 
firma ; only the tortoises remained, and finding the 
locality congenial and competition scarce, they waxed 
fat and grew in bulk. Viewed in this way the presence 
of these giants is a clue to formerly existing continents. 
On the other hand, it is not so certain that they may 
not have reached the islands, when they were islands, 
by sea transit. Heavy though the colossal tortoises 
of the Galapagos are, they will breast the waves of the 
pond in their enclosure with some success, and float 
in quite a feathery fashion upon its bosom. If one 
tortoise, heavy with eggs, were safely piloted across 
the waves, a colony would be formed, and this event 
repeated once a century would account for all the facts. 
The success when once arrived at is not difficult of 
understanding ; it is the mode of arrival which puzzles 
us. The great Testudo daudini, once at the Zoo, and 
to which reference has been made, measured fifty-five 
inches along the shell. To this has to be added some- 
thing for length of neck, and some of these big tor- 



toises, like the smaller ones, can crane their necks to 
the extent of a good many inches. This particular 
beast forms an excellent instance of the longevity of 
cold-blooded tortoises. At first sight there seems to 
be no particular reason why they should not be posi- 
tively immortal. They can reduce breathing, feeding, 
and the other necessities of life to their lowest terms, 
and thus exist torpidly for months together. Why 
should they not husband out life's taper indefinitely ? 
It was asserted to be at any rate 150 years old, and 
observations have been made upon other species and 
specimens, tending to prove the fact that they can 
survive for many years. The word Galapagos is good 
Castilian for tortoise, and is analogous to Robben 
Island, so named on account of its sea lions, and Puffin 
Island on our own coasts. It was there that Darwin 
rode triumphantly upon a great reptile, though the 
task is not so easy as might seem, for, in spite of its 
apparent lethargy, the animal can perform the testu- 
dinian equivalent of shrugging its shoulders, and one 
is apt to be dislodged in the process. All these tor- 
toises, however, pale their ineffectual fires before a 
great fossil of the Siwalik hills, described to the Zoo- 
logical Society in 1844 by Dr. Falconer and Capt. 
Cautley. Colossochelys atlas, appropriately so named, 
had a carapace of over twelve feet in length, according 
to the estimate from its fragmentary remains. This 
tortoise, according to Indian cosmogony, sustained 
an elephant, and that elephant in its turn the world. 
That it could have sustained an elephant upon its 
broad back is quite probable. These legends seem to 
show that the tortoise, or one like it, lived down to 
human times. In any case, the remains of extinct and 
giant tortoises are found in many places, but the only 
living giants come from the localities which we have 



The turtle, i.e. that of the Atlantic Ocean and of 
aldermen, of green fat and of tortoiseshell, has been 
from time to time on view at the Zoo. Indeed, fairly 
big specimens have been acquired to show to the public. 
It is not, however, from the nature of the case, a beast 
which shows great longevity in Regent's Park. 
This Chelonian, and its immediate allies, are to be dis- 
tinguished from the land and aquatic tortoises by the 
fact that the limbs are much more perfect swimming 
organs. They have acquired the paddle form of the 
fish fin and of the whale's flipper. In accordance with 
this they are purely marine, and only go on shore to 
lay their eggs. Like the testudinidae, to which they 
are anatomically most nearly allied, they are vegetable 
feeders. Like other animals that inhabit the sea, the 
green turtle is very widely spread. That is a good 
thing for the banqueting halls of London, but (to 
quote a writer of some sixty years since) " it would be 
quite superfluous to descant on the enthusiastic venera- 
tion in which turtle soup is held by our wealthy and 
discerning fellow-citizens." It may, however, be per- 
missible to point out that turtle is a modern luxury. 
In the year 1754, on " Saturday, July 13, the Right 
Hon. the Lord Anson made a present to the gentlemen 
of White's Chocolate House of a turtle which weighed 
300 pounds weight." And again, in 1753, there occurs 
this paragraph : " Friday, Aug. 31, a turtle weighing 
350 pounds was eat at the King's Arms Tavern, Pall 
Mall ; the mouth of an oven was taken down to admit 
the part to be baked." These journalistic notes in- 
dicate that turtle was not a very common article of 
diet with our great-great-grandfathers. Turtles are 
caught in nets, with harpoons, and by the help of the 
sucking fish, Remora. When the reptiles come to 



shore to lay their eggs and are helpless, they are turned 
over, and then removed at leisure. It is said that the 
jaguar imitates man in this mode of catching turtles, 
and that he scoops out the succulent flesh then and 
there. The product known as " tortoiseshell " has 
been mentioned. This, as a matter of fact, comes 
more especially from the near ally of the green turtle, 
Chelone midas, Ch. imbricata, the hawk's bill turtle. 
Although useless for the purposes of Calipash and 
Calipee, the hawk's bill turtle is much hunted for its 
tortoiseshell. The pursuit of the turtle for its tortoise- 
shell is as old as the Egyptians, who traded with the 
Romans. The substance is, of course, made of the 
epidermic scales exactly comparable to those of lizards 
and snakes, which overlie the bony plates of the 


Macroclemmys temminckii may be fairly regarded 
as the prototype of the celebrated " snapping turtle " 
of the Bongaultier ballads, finally put to rout by Rufus 
Daws, and at whose approach alligators bounded up 
the trees like squirrels. It is, in fact, called the alligator 
terrapin, though not from its association with the 
ballad referred to. It is so named by reason of fierce 
and slightly alligator-like head, by its ridged tail, and 
by reason of its carnivorous habits. These water 
tortoises, in fact, are not vegetarians like the testu- 
dinidae of the land. They attack fish, and feed gene- 
rally upon living animals of such kinds as their bulk 
and agility will allow them to capture. The difference 
between this and other water tortoises and the land 
tortoises is, that the limbs and tail, as well as the head, 
are too large and stout to be withdrawn into the shelter 
of the carapace. They are obliged, therefore, to trust 



to themselves, and not to their " shell " for protection 
in the hour of need. The Testudo grceca, for instance, 
has only to retire into its shell, and wait patiently until 
the enemy has rolled by, even if it rolls over the tor- 
toise on its way. The fiercer terrapin can resent any 
attack by a sharp bite ; it has no more teeth than its 
pond relatives, but the beak is more hooked, and with 
sharper edges. In spite of its ferocity, and Prof. 
Louis Agassiz said that these tortoises " are as 
ferocious as the wildest beast of prey," a large speci- 
men at the Zoo appeared to remain quiescent for weeks 
together. So quiet indeed was it that a copious growth 
of green algae had collected upon its shell. It lay at 
the bottom, often with its mouth open, in which 
flickered little tags of skin, which possibly act as an 
allurement to little fishes to wander in and to meet 
with their death. Many animals are betrayed by 
their eyes ; the puzzle is in this terrapin to find the 
eyes at all, for they have an apparently unusual forward 
position, and are coloured like the skin. A relentless 
and gazing eye might be supposed to warn off prey ; 
the glittering eyes of a snake, for instance, might be 
held to be of the nature of a " warning coloration," 
to small birds and mammals. When urged to " Gouge 
him, gouge him, darn ye, gouge him," the hero of the 
snapping turtle incident might have well been unable 
to comply. It is dangerous to generalize from single 
cases, and the ancient Greeks, or at least the sculptor 
Phidias, would not have placed the tortoise at the feet 
of Venus as the symbol of gentleness had he been 
acquainted with this martial beast. 


The principal features of this Order are described 
on the following pages. 




Until the year 1870 alligators were believed to be 
purely New World Crocodilia, though crocodiles were 
known to extend their range from East to West, indeed 
from China to Peru. In 1870 this view was partly 
proved to be inaccurate, and entirely so in 1879, wh en 
the Chinese alligator, Alligator sinensis, was definitely 
described from the Yang-tse-Kiang. To the visitor 
to the Reptile House there will appear to be no great 
facility for distinguishing Crocodiles from alligators. 
And yet there are several points in which these two 
divisions of the existing crocodilia can be observed to 
differ from each other. The true alligators have the 
fourth tooth on each side of the lower jaw fitted into 
a pit in the upper jaw when both are closed, while in 
the crocodiles this same tooth fits into a notch at the 
corresponding spot in the upper jaw. Judged by this 
standard the Chinese crocodilian is unquestionably 
not a crocodile, but an alligator. The differences 
which mark this Flowery Land alligator from others 
of America are but slight, and both crocodiles and 
alligators are linked so closely together that anatomy 
is somewhat hard put to it to separate them by any 
than the most trivial characters ; so that the general 
features of the crocodile tribe can be as well illustrated 
by the type we have selected as by any other. Other- 
wise it might have seemed a little perverse to select for 
the type of this group a creature which is not certainly 
to be seen by vis'tors to the Zoo. It has, however, 
been on view, and very possibly will be again. 

The crocodile tribe can hardly be mistaken for any 
other Saurians. And yet the very name alligator, a 
corruption of the Spanish Una Lagarta, testifies to the 
confusion which may spring in the non-zoological 
mind. That the crocodiles and alligators are con- 
fined to water only, leaving their streams and pools 



to bask upon the shore, or to make short excursions in 
quest of other pools, is not a feature which absolutely 
differentiates the group from the lizards, for there are 
many aquatic forms to be found there ; but it is a 
feature which is characteristic of all crocodilians. 
These reptiles do not follow the lacertilian plan of 
shedding their skin in conspicuous bits ; the wear and 
tear of the outer covering of the body is like that in our- 
selves ; it is constant and imperceptible. Underneath 
the scales are bony plates, which are mostly to be 
found only upon the back, though in the caimans of 
South America there are ventral scutes, as these 
armoured plates are termed, in addition to those upon 
the back. No lizard has so extensive a series of plates 
of this kind, though there are corresponding, but only 
slightly developed, plates in some forms. Many of 
these plates, and the bones of the head also, are irregu- 
larly pitted and honeycombed, a characteristic which 
can be readily seen in crocodiles. The nostrils, it will 
be noticed, are at the top of the snout, and the animal 
can lie nearly submerged, with only the nostrils and 
eyes projecting. An ingenious apparatus, not found 
in lizards, enables crocodiles and alligators to swallow 
their prey beneath the surface without running the 
risk of choking themselves. The internal nostrils open 
into the throat far back, and a soft downhanging pro- 
cess shuts them off from the proper mouth cavity, 
which can be thus opened and closed without admit- 
ting water into the lungs. In internal anatomy the 
differences which distinguish this group of reptiles are 
numerous and profound. 

Although the Chinese alligator was not known to 
Europe forty years ago, the Chinese writers were well 
acquainted with it, and heaped it round with much 
legend and mystery. The N'Go or To, as this animal 
is named, is said to attain to an extremely green old 
Z.G. 273 T 


age ; indeed, its capacity for longevity has given rise 
to a proverbial expression comparable to Methusaleh 
or Old Parr among ourselves. The Chinese zoologists, 
or curiosity-mongers, to use a more descriptive term, 
variously termed the N'Go a fish, a dragon, and a 
tortoise. They prized it in medicine, and Marco Polo 
himself was gravely of opinion that its merits were 
high ; the gall he recommended as a cure for the bite 
of a mad dog. But its usefulness is by no means con- 
fined to this disease, for, like certain much-advertised 
drugs among ourselves, there appears to be no ill that 
Chinese flesh is heir to that the carcass of this beast 
will not furnish remedies for. As alligators and croco- 
diles go, this Chinese representative of the family is 
not large ; it is a dwarf beside the twenty-foot long 
crocodiles, and still more so when compared with the 
huge extinct Siwalik crocodilian, which measured 
fifty feet from snout to end of tail. Of other croco- 
diles and alligators plenty of examples are certain to 
be in the Reptile House. 




Amphibia and Fishes 

THE amphibia, those cold-blooded and reptile-like 
creatures, really stand midway between the 
reptiles proper and the underlying fishes. A study even 
of those characters which can be seen without recourse 
to the scalpel help in fixing pretty definitely the place 
of the amphibia in the scheme of Nature. It will be 
convenient to emphasize the relationships and differ- 
ences between the amphibia and the reptiles by taking 
two representative types, one of each, and then com- 
paring them character by character. Later the results 
can be amended by the consideration of exceptions, so 
as to apply to the whole group in either case. We may 
select for our comparison the North American Meno- 
branchus, of which there are practically certain to be 
examples in the Reptile House, and any lizard among the 
large assortment contained in the same house ; let us 
say either of the common British species, Lacerta vivi- 
para or agilis. The newt-like amphibian is purely 
aquatic, while the lizard is as eminently terrestrial, 
selecting indeed especially the driest of sandy localities. 
The Menobranchus loves coolness and darkness ; the 
lizard rejoices in the day and in warm sunlight. The 
skin of the menobranch is soft and slimy ; not only are 
there no scales of any kind, but the epidermis is 
everywhere developed into slime-producing glands, 
which cover the body with their secretions. In the 



lizard the body is dry and hard, the epidermis being 
converted into regularly arranged scales, while there 
are no glands in the skin except at the beginning of the 
thighs, where a row of pores void on to the exterior 
the secretion of the femoral glands. The limbs of the 
amphibian are short and only four- toed, rot much 
used in locomotion. Those of the lizard are five- toed 
and longer, and very much used in locomotion. On 
the neck of the menobranch will be noticed three 
pairs of fringed red outgrowths of the body, which 
are the gills ; by means of these the animal at least 
partially breathes. It has also lungs. Close to the 
gills are, on each side of the neck, two perforations 
which lead into the pharynx ; these are the so-called 
gill clefts. In the lizards we find not the slightest trace 
of these last two structures. The animal has only 
lungs, with which alone it breathes. If we dive into 
the anatomy of the two animals we shall emerge with 
other characters, which completely distinguish them. 
The skull of the Menobranchus is fixed on to the vertebral 
column by two joints or condyles while there is but 
one median condyle in the lizard. The heart is three- 
chambered in both ; but in the amphibian the origin of 
the aorta from the ventricle is dilated into a thicker 
walled tube, in which are several series of valves regulat- 
ing the flow of the blood when it leaves the heart to 
pass through the arterial system. In the lizard there 
is no such dilated " conns arteriosus" and the persist- 
ence of this conus in the amphibian is a mark of its rela- 
tionship to the lower lying fish, where such a conus always 
exists. The menobranch has no sternum or breast-bone 
formed by the union of the ribs ventrally ; there is such 
a sternum in the Lacerta. The Menobranchus lays eggs 
as does the Lacerta ; but the eggs of the former are smaller 
than those of the latter, and do not contain nearly so 
much yolk. Moreover there is no hard shell such as 



covers the eggs of the lizard. The young lizard emerges 
from the egg a fully formed lizard ; the young meno- 
branch is not so identical with its parents, and is there- 
fore hatched at an earlier stage and therefore again 
sooner. It has a tadpole-like form and is a larva, the 
definition of which term will be dealt with presently. 

Excepting for a general similarity in form, every point 
almost in external structure, not to mention internal 
structure, differentiates the Menobranchus from the 
Lacerta ; and if all lizards and other reptiles showed the 
same differences from all other amphibians there would 
obviously be no difficulty in denning the two groups. 
But when we go farther afield, we shall find that most 
of the points of difference break down. To amend the 
diagnoses we will recur to the characters used in exactly 
the same order. While most amphibians are mostly 
aquatic, there is one group, that of the Ccecilians, 
which are worm-like creatures burrowing in the soil, 
and the tree-frogs spend at least most of their time, 
as their name denotes, upon trees and other plants, 
while toads are mostly land dwellers. Per contra the 
crocodiles among reptiles are aquatic, as are more en- 
tirely so the marine turtles. Certain lizards, such as 
the Australian Leseuer's lizard (Physignathus] spend a 
large portion of their time in water. Plenty of other 
examples might be urged in proof of the impossibility 
of separating reptiles and amphibia by their aquatic or 
terrestrial habit. Nor can diurnal or nocturnal habits 
be utilized. Both reptiles and amphibians furnish us 
with examples of nocturnal and diurnal creatures. 
The soft body of the amphibian, on the other hand, is a 
character which is very widely spread, as is the scaly 
body of the reptile. But here again there is not an 
absolute line of demarcation. The underground and 
burrowing lizard Amphisbczna has a softish body, though 
it is true that it does not possess the numerous slime 



glands of the amphibian. On the other hand, the also 
burrowing Ccecilians already referred to have scales. 
But though the Coecilians have scales they have also 
the mucous glands of other amphibia. It is doubtful, 
however, whether some of the heavily armoured am- 
phibia of remote antiquity, the Labyrinthodonts and 
their allies, could have possessed much in the way of 
slime-producing glands. 

As to the nature of the limbs, which certainly dis- 
tinguish so far as their characters go, the Menobranchus 
and the Lacerta, there is no possibility whatever of 
drawing by their help a hard and fast line between 
amphibia and reptilia generally. In both groups we 
have reduction of number of digits and of the limbs 
themselves, culminating in both divisions alike in com- 
pletely apodous forms. When however we come to 
the respiratory apparatus, we find at once a difference 
which holds good throughout the whole reptilian and 
amphibian series with insignificant exceptions. We 
may safely state that no reptile ever breathes by means 
of gills, and that in no reptile is there ever any perman- 
ence of the gill clefts. On the other hand in amphibia 
there may be a sharing of the respiratory functions for 
life between gills and lungs, and at some time of its life 
the amphibian breathes only by gills. Moreover there 
is often a persistence of the gill clefts up to mature life, 
a feature which the amphibian clearly shares with the 
fish ; in which these clefts, putting the outside world 
into communication with the pharynx, always persist. 
In the fish these clefts are divided by bars of cartilage 
which bear vascular tufts which are the gills. In all the 
higher vertebrates the embryo shows traces of these 
clefts ; but in the amphibia only do they ever persist 
into adult life. This leads us to the consideration of the 
development of the amphibia as compared with that 
of the reptilia. In the latter the egg is always large 



and with abundant yolk. Correlated with the large 
size of the egg the young when hatched from it is prac- 
tically adult. Beyond a slight tooth developed upon the 
snout for the purpose of breaking the eggshell it is like 
its parent. There is nothing at all comparable to the 
larval forms of the amphibia. In these latter animals 
the eggs are not large and have not abundant yolk. 
Correlated with this is a condition unlike that of the 
reptilia. The young are born in an earlier condition ; 
and inasmuch as in that earlier condition of necessary 
incompleteness the young would be unable to lead an 
independent existence, they have been provided with 
certain organs which are of use to them only as young 
and which disappear when they reach maturity. To 
the young of an animal which leaves the egg in an im- 
mature condition, but which has special organs suited to 
a free life in that condition which later disappear, the 
term " larva " is applied. Many groups of the animal 
kingdom go through a larval stage. For instance the 
butterfly leaves the egg as a caterpillar, which is a larva. 
The caterpillar is not merely an imperfect butterfly. 
It has special organs of its own. Its jaws for example 
are not imperfect jaws which later develop into the 
trunk and so forth of the butterfly. They are complete 
as biting jaws and disappear when the adult condition 
is assumed. So, too, the tadpole of our common frog, 
being hatched at a stage antecedent to the appearance 
of the later developed lungs, breathes by means of 
external processes of the skin, which are the gills and 
peculiar to the larvae, disappearing when it metamor- 
phoses into a frog. Below the jaw is a sucker which 
allows it to moor itself to water plants. This structure 
is not the immature form of any structure which occurs 
in the frog. It is an organ only found during the tad- 
pole stage ; it is in fact a larval organ and its existence 
is one of the reasons for terming the tadpole a larva. 



So with the gills, however long they may last. It is now 
believed that they are not, so to speak, retentions of the 
fish gills, but gills peculiar to the larva of the amphibian. 
To take a third feature in the anatomy of tadpoles : 
they are most of them furnished with an elaborate 
series of horny teeth within the mouth ; these " teeth " 
are not later developed into the proper teeth of the frog, 
nor do they persist when the tadpole leaves the water 
and begins to croak. They are purely and simply larval 
organs. In a few amphibians this nearly universal dis- 
tinction between the two groups under consideration 
is not to be met with. But if in a given tree-frog the 
young frog is hatched at once from the egg as a frog, 
without passing through the preliminary tadpole and 
tree living stage, it does not follow that that tree-frog 
must be removed from all other tree-frogs almost 
exactly like it, and placed with the reptilia. In zoo- 
logical classification we constantly come across examples 
of animals most clearly affined to other animals and yet 
lacking one or more of their important characteristics. 
So much then for the difference between amphibia 
and reptiles. There is no doubt that the amphibia 
stand on a lower level than the reptiles, and that there 
are distinct points of likeness to the fishes, some of which 
have already been touched upon. In addition to those, 
is the rather important fact that among the amphibia, 
at least in the larval stages, is a representative of the 
so-called " lateral line " of fishes. In any fish it can 
be easily noted that a marked line runs along the sides 
of the body often dividing the darker colour of the back 
from the more silvery hues of the belly. This line is 
formed of a series of sense organs of the nature of touch. 
In spite of these various points of likeness between the 
fishes and amphibians, there are profound differences. 
The most profound is of course that all amphibians 
agree with the animals lying higher than themselves 



in the series in possessing hands and feet, with fingers 
and toes not exceeding five in number. In no fish, that 
is or that was, is there the faintest trace of this penta- 
dactyle limb . the fins are of a totally different nature, 
and there is nothing that is in the least degree inter- 
mediate between what has been termed the " icthyop- 
terygium " or fish's fin and the " cheiropterygium " or 
hand of the higher types. In this particular a verte- 
brate animal is either a fish or it is not a fish. Further- 
more, though some amphibians, the common English 
newt for example, may appear to be like a fish in pos- 
sessing fins along the back and so forth, there is this 
important difference between the amphibian and the 
fish fin, that the latter are supported by horny gristly 
or bony rays which do not exist in the amphibian 

The existing amphibia may be readily divided into 
three groups. Of these practically only two concern us 
here, so that the third group may be summarily dealt 
with. That group is the Apoda, and it consists of worm- 
like amphibians which bear not a little resemblance 
to the amphisbaenians among the lizards, and to the 
typhlopidae among snakes, in that they burrow under- 
ground and live upon worms and such like small game. 
They are not suited for a life in menagerie, and have 
never been on view at the Zoo. The two remaining 
groups are known technically as the Urodela and the 
Anura, and more popularly as frogs and newts the 
tailless frogs being on that very account termed Anura. 

The Urodela are always well represented at the Zoo, 
and we later draw attention to a number of different 
types. We are here concerned merely with certain 
generalities about the group. The most remarkable 
fact about them perhaps is the tendency which 
so many of them have to retain throughout life certain 
of the characters of the larva. But as this matter is 



treated of under Axolotl it need not be further referred 
to for the moment. They are, as their name denotes, 
provided with tails ; and they are also almost entirely 
aquatic. There are a few exceptions, such as one of our 
British newts, which is found on occasion without 
visible means of subsistence in cellars and areas, and 
such like remote spots, and is as a rule denominated 
a " reptile " by the finders thereof. The Urodeles are 
furthermore, with very rare exceptions, impatient of 
great heat, and are almost limited to the north tem- 
perate region. A few stray into Mexico and even South 
America. There are plenty in Europe, and the most 
notorious of these is perhaps the white and blind dweller 
in the caves of Adelsberg, known as Proteus. That animal 
may be often seen at the Zoo. So, too, a variety of 
newts in the strictest sense of that term. With some 
other forms we deal immediately. As to the Anura or 
frogs and toads, there is an immense variety ; infinitely 
more than there are of Urdeles. With this astounding 
variety of different genera and species the frogs retain 
the typical frog form, and no one can doubt for an 
instant as to whether an amphibian is an Anuran or 
is not. The Anura are as a rule not so purely aquatic 
as are the Urodeles ; but there are exceptions, such as 
the Cape clawed frog, with which we deal later. There 
is not so much variation in the habits of this group as 
might perhaps be expected from their large numbers. 
The supposed flying frog of the East is, as it appears, 
a bit of a fraud. In successive illustrations of that 
amphibian the webbing between the toes, which is 
believed to act as a parachute and allow of flying leaps, 
seems to have grown in amount. It is merely a tree 
frog which can leap above the average. Or to put it 
more accurately, a tree-living frog, not a member of the 
real tree-frogs or Hylidae, but of the terrestrial frogs or 
Ranidae. The chief variation in habit is really the 



more or less completely aquatic life. The frogs are more 
aquatic than many toads. In external appearance 
these amphibians differ mainly in colour, and in the 
degree of wartiness or smoothness which they show. 
It is plain that the most salient mark of difference from 
the Urodela is the restricted tail and the fact that they 
never possess in the adult condition either gills or gill 
slits. Their fingers and toes, moreover, are never reduced 
in number, and never, of course, vanish altogether as 
they do in some of the snake-like Urodeles. 


One of the very oddest productions in the frog line 
is the Pipa americana. It is so flat that it seems almost 
to consist of matter arranged in two dimensions only. The 
head is small and the front edge of it garnished with 
many little papillae. The toes end in star-shaped pro- 
cesses, and the hind feet are webbed with unusual con- 
spicuousness. The toad has got no teeth at all ; but 
it makes up for this incapacity for offence by a consider- 
able capacity for defence. Its body is covered with many 
little poison glands, with which are sometimes associated 
little spikes. Most persons have seen a young dog 
rashly take into its mouth a common toad, and then 
rapidly drop it ; this sudden change of intent is due 
to the secretion by the toad of a poisonous liquid. The 
Surinam toad possesses the same properties in a higher 
degree. The flatness of this amphibian shows that it 
is intended for a purely aquatic life ; and as a matter 
of fact it does not leave the water. It is harboured in 
pools in Guiana and perhaps in other parts of South 
America. It has a method of attending to its young 
that in all its details is unequalled in the frog tribe. 
The common frog of this country, when it goes a- wooing, 
leaves its offspring in the form of those masses of eggs 
embedded in jelly which are familiar to everybody. 



The Surinam toad has not this light-hearted habit of 
deserting its offspring, and leaving them to the chances 
of wind and weather. The eggs when produced are 
piously spread over the body of the female frog by the 
male, and they are there received into pits which gradu- 
ally deepen, and are even furnished with a lid, the origin 
of which is rather uncertain. In these cradles the eggs 
become tadpoles, and the tadpoles in due course frogs, 
and after a time they desert the maternal back for a 
roving life in the surrounding waters of their pool. 
This paternal and maternal care of the young is known 
to exist in other frogs ; and such domesticity is not what 
might be expected from the cold-blooded and small- 
brained amphibian. But the formation of separate 
pits in the skin is a feature peculiar to Pipa. In other 
frogs there are pouches of various kinds developed. 
Since the young frogs are so carefully looked after 
during their youth, it is perhaps rather remarkable 
that they go through a tadpole stage outside the egg at 
all. For in analogous cases the eggs become frogs at 
once. Whether these tadpoles ever go for a swim on 
their own account is uncertain, as are many details 
concerning the domestic economy of Pipa. These sin- 
gular habits were originally and partly related by 
Madame Merian, whose statements upon South 
American natural history were received with an in- 
credulity which subsequent investigations show them 
not to have deserved. It was this same lady who told 
of vast bird-eating spiders and of many " curiosities of 
natural history," which actually occur or exist. This 
Pipa displayed its breeding habits at the Zoo some few 
years back. But whether it was that the mother was 
disquieted by the crowds that vulgarly stared in upon 
her domestic privacy, or that the water was deeper than 
was suitable to the proper aeration of the tadpoles in their 
nursery, they all failed to develop except a single tad- 



pole ; the life of this tadpole was cut short by alcohol, 
and it now reposes as a " specimen " in a glass bottle 
of spirits of wine. It ought to be added that the Pipa 
is tongueless as well as toothless, and that on this 
account it is referred to a group of frogs which are 
scientifically termed the Aglossa. It is probably not 
unrelated to the Plaathande or Cape clawed frog, 
Xenopus, with whose peculiarities we deal on another 


Had the New World been discovered when ^Esop 
wrote his fables, and anything known of its inhabitants, 
there is no doubt that that fabulist would have selected 
this toad to illustrate his fable of the Frog that would 
be an Ox. For it is not only of considerable size, 
quite as big as a blacksmith's fist, but it puffs itself 
out under certain circumstances productive of annoyance 
until it is perfectly rotund, and still further increased 
in size. Ceratophrys is a genus of amphibians with 
several species, all of which inhabit South America. 
There are always examples at the Zoo, so that their 
characters can be studied at any time. Externally 
they present the appearance of toad, that is they have 
a peculiarly evil aspect, and are lethargic in gait, sitting 
for the most motionless esconced in a " form " which 
they excavate or rather push into. The term toad as 
opposed to frog is somewhat difficult of definition, and 
indeed cannot be used. The more edentulous members 
of the group may perhaps be called toads ; for the 
common toad as compared with the common frog 
of this country, is edentulous, having no teeth on the 
upper or lower jaws. Or a squat form with a warty 
skin may be selected as the test. But in this case some 
of the family Bufonidae, the toads par excellence, will 
have to be excluded. On the whole the term toad had 



better be kept for the common toad and its immediate 
allies, and the rest of the Anurous Amphibians, or 
Batrachia, as their technical name goes, be called frogs. 
The Ceratophrys derives its name from the horn which 
in most of them surmounts the upper eyelid and adds 
to the fierceness of their aspect. The size of its mouth 
is exaggeratedly amphibian ; and well it may be, for 
the beast is extremely partial to its own kind and even 
to its own species. It will gulp down quite a large frog 
without winking, or rather, to be more accurate, with 
that slow closure of the eye which is a necessary con- 
sequence of the structure of its throat and head. As 
the Ceratophrys is, as a rule and when undisturbed, toad- 
like in its equanimity, it is well for it that its hues assim- 
ilate so conveniently to the hues of a marshy environ- 
ment. Squatting down at rest in a shallow depression 
which conceals its " inglorious belly," the mottled green 
and brown of the back suggests a lump of earth partly 
overgrown with Confervae. Thus the frog has only to 
sit tight and the revolving hours must bring within its 
unerring grasp some wandering insect or reptile. These 
are seized and bitten with a very sharp and strong 
dental apparatus at the front of the mouth, which 
can also inflict a painful bite upon the human subject. 
The Ceratophrys is at times a peculiarly irritable 
amphibian. If handled disrespectfully it puffs itself 
out vastly, then gives vent to a sound not by any means 
unlike a sharp bark. That bark is not worse than its 
bite by any means ; it is indeed the prelude to a forward 
jump combined with a snap. To outward appearance 
this frog is not widely different from other frogs. It is 
perhaps a little more apoplectic in its contours. Head 
merges into trunk with even less suggestion of a neck 
than in others of its race. Internally some of the species, 
including Ceratophrys ornata, present us with an inter- 
esting survival from past times, as we perhaps assume 



it to be. Under the skin of the back is a bony plate, 
which is to be looked upon, as far as our present know- 
ledge goes, as a relic of the largely developed skin 
armature of some extinct forms of amphibians belonging 
to the well-known Labyrinthodonts. The green colour 
is quite an amphibian green ; it might be termed perhaps, 
according to a classification of greens that we have 
seen recently, neither light nor dark, but " pleasing." 
Specimens have been on view at the Zoo at any rate 
since the year 1859. 


It is a common belief that all tree-frogs are green. 
This is not the case ; some are mottled brown and of the 
general Batrachian colour. But a good many are green ; 
and, as is the case with green tree-snakes and green tree- 
lizards, it is probable that they suck some profit there- 
out. The invisibility, however, is due to colour and 
not to form. Flat and adpressed to the leaf or stem 
though the frog sits, it is said that a photograph at once 
betrays its presence. Nature or a water-colour drawing 
may be deceptive ; not so the camera. With the excep- 
tion of three species, of which one, that concerning 
which we shall have something to say here, is European 
and Asiatic, the tree-frogs are confined to America and 
to Australia. Since they are not always green, it be- 
comes important to be able to say what a tree-frog is 
by some other method than a mere inspection of colour. 
The Hylidae, called after the youth beloved of the Naiads, 
but who declined to dwell with them in fountains, 
differ from most other frogs in the adhesive pads de- 
veloped upon their fingers and toes which allow them 
to sit tight upon smooth surfaces, and the existence of 
teeth in the upper jaw. The former character alone 
is not enough. The common tree-frog, Hyla arbor ea, 



ranges from the south of France to Japan by way of 
southern Europe and Asia Minor. Its northernmost 
haunt is the south of Sweden. The little frog is not more 
than two inches long, and indeed tree frogs as a rule 
are small. This particular species, though it lives in 
trees, descends to ponds to lay its eggs, from which 
emerge in due course tadpoles. One Hohenheim, who 
modestly styled himself Aureolus Theophrastus Bom- 


bastes Paracelsus, and is better known by the last of his 
four invented names, thought or more probably only said, 
that frogs exist in the firmament from which others 
arise, and are thrown down by the impact of tempest ; 
that they also produce seed in May which falls upon the 
ground and from which tree-frogs are produced. This 
is one of the oldest versions of the old " shower " theory 
of the birth, or at least migration, of frogs ; it is of course 
to be explained by the simultaneous hatching of in- 
numerable frogs which " wander at will o'er the 
meadows " in search of suitable trees. So Rose! von 
Rosenhof, a historian of the frogs of Germany in 1750, 



tells us. Tree-frogs gulp down their prey, stuffing it 
into their mouths with their hands. They do not flash 
out a tongue causing the fly to instantaneously dis- 
appear like other frogs and toads. And for the good 
reason, that their tongue is but slightly protrusible. 
Hyla arborea can, like most frogs, change its colour. 
There are more tree-frogs of this group than there are 
members of any other group of amphibians. The Zoo 
constantly harbours examples of a large Australian 
form, Hyla ccerulea, (which is represented in the accom- 
panying figure), a badly applied name since it is 
green with bright white flecks. These white flecks have 
been held to suggest to the pursuing snake spots of 
mildew or spots of sunlight, and thus to ctissuade 
him from attempting to devour something so obviously 
inanimate. Inese frogs, like the European tree-frog, 
lay their eggs in water. As a matter of fact the breeding 
habits of tree-frogs are most varied ; some carry the 
eggs about attached to their bodies in various ways. 
Others make nests of greater or less elaboration even upon 
trees. A species in Japan, apparently of this group, 
constructs something that looks like a hornet's nest, 
which is full of eggs, and, later, tadpoles, which would 
after a time seem to drop into water lying beneath. 

But this bird-like fashion of making nests in trees 
and then laying eggs in them is not confined to the 
Hylidae. Nor, of course, is the mode adopted by some 
of carrying the eggs about the person, even as in Noto- 
trema, where a sac developed for that purpose exists in 
the skin of the back. We have already considered the 
strange case of Pipa, which does the same thing. 

It is odd that the tree-frog, like the Irishman, keeps 
dry during a storm of rain by getting into a pond. Of 
course one explanation is that/the leaves get rather too 
slippery for the frog conveniently to adhere to them. 
It is frightfully noisy, and is possibly the frog which 

Z.G. 289 u 


has gone down to posterity as having kept Horace awake 
during his journey to Brundusium. 


The examples of Pipa in the Zoological Gardens were 
separated from some frogs in another and neighbouring 
case by a tank, in which a few tortoises disport them- 
selves. The two frogs are also separated in nature by a 
more considerable tank, also full of turtles, the Atlantic 
ocean. On the American side lives the Surinam toad, 
and on the African the plaathande of the Dutch colo- 
nists, known to science as Xenopus or Dactylethra Icevis, 
the " smooth-clawed frog." The two frogs and a third 
and less known genus are commonly associated together 
into a group called Aglossa, on account of the absence of 
a tongue, and by virtue of other peculiarities which give 
them an isolated place among frogs and toads. Like 
Pipa, Xenopus rarely leaves the water, and our illustra- 
tion shows its characteristic pose when doing nothing in 
particular, a form of action in which it is a proficient. 
It has a flat back when it can be induced to sprawl awk- 
wardly about upon dry land, and does not sit up in the 
perky fashion of Rana, or even of the lugubrious Bufo. 
The latter present an appearance of a breakage in the 
back, which is really due to the projection forwards of 
the bones of the hip girdle. While most frogs are noisy, 
Xenopus does not by any means make the welkin ring. 
No sleep would be averted by these marshy frogs. The 
very ghost of a croak, described as " Tick-tick," and not 
the virile " Brek : ek-ek-ek coax coax " of Southern 
Europe, of to-day as well as in Aristophanes' time, is all 
that they produce. And even this requires the tender 
passion for its excitement. It is only in the breeding 
season that the frogs make vocal the neighbouring 
glades. Another characteristic of the lower amphibia 
shown by the Plaathande is its habit of laying eggs not 



in the stalwart balls familiar to us here, but in a nig- 
gardly way, by twos and threes. Being so purely 


aquatic, it is not surprising to find that many parts of 
the structure of this frog are eminently suitable for a 



life in the pond wave. Their hind feet are most obtru- 
sively webbed, and along the sides of the body are a 
row of what look like rather careless stitches ; the baggy 
and ill-fitting appearance of the frog suggests an amateur 
attempt at repair. These stitches are in reality the 
organs of the lateral line, a structure found in the lower 
amphibia and in fishes, a sense organ probably of 
the nature of touch. The absent tongue is also ap- 
parently to be looked upon as the result of an aquatic 
life, where food slips into the mouth and is not 
manoeuvred thereto by the prehensile organ of the 
buccal cavity. The lungs are assisted in their contrac- 
tions by a very complicated system of muscles, as are 
those of Pipa. This is exactly analogous to the in- 
creased diaphragm in whales and in other aquatic 
mammals, and is a very remarkable instance of how 
Nature attains to the same result without the manu- 
facture of a special organ. A new one is simply made 
use of, and, if need be, increased and altered. An im- 
perfect representative of the Xenopine and Pipine 
" diaphragm " exists in Rana. There is nothing pecu- 
liar in the breeding habits of Xenopus, such as occurs in 
its ally Pipa. It lays eggs in the ordinary amphibian 
way, and therefrom emerge tadpoles. These tadpoles 
are quite as interesting in their way as are their parents. 
Some few years back there were swarms of them at the 
Zoo, a pair of the frogs recently brought back from 
Zanzibar having laid eggs. They have not bred since, 
but there is always the chance of their doing so. The 
home-bred tadpole is familiar enough to everyone by 
its imp-like aspect and alluring wrigglings. The tadpole 
of Xenopus is about as different as it can be and yet 
remain a tadpole. It is clear and glassy in colour, with 
only a faint amount of pigment here and there ; and it 
has a fascinating way of standing upon its head at the 
bottom of the tank and wriggling its tail violently. 



These tadpoles are very carnivorous, and feed upon 
minute water crustaceans. The black tadpoles of the 
British puddle eats decaying vegetation, though on 
occasions it will become a pure cannibal. At the sides 
of the mouth of the Plaathande tadpole are a pair of 
very long feelers, which must be tactile, and when first 
described led the describer to place the animal as an 
adult creature in the neighbourhood of some of the 
Siluroid fishes, whose heads are beset with such ten- 
tacles. In the Xenopus tadpole the tentacle gets less 
and less important with advancing days, and finally 
remains in the adult as a small process under the eye, 
which can be recognised in the illustration. 


Since the year 1876, when the first example was 
received, there have been always, or at any rate gene- 
rally, specimens of this newt-like and American creature 
in the Zoological Gardens. The siren (Siren lacertina), 
eel-like though it appears, belongs to the great group of 
the amphibia ; like the Japanese newt (Megalobatrachus), 
like the little English newt, and the axolotl it belongs 
to that division of the amphibia known as the Urodela, 
from the fact that they have tails, which the frogs and 
toads have not. All these tailed Batrachia are inhabi- 
tants of the temperate regions, only just getting into 
South America, not reaching tropical Africa, and totally 
absent from Australia and its adjacent and heated 
islands. It is not indeed too much to say that they 
represent in cooler waters the tropical mud-fishes, Cera- 
todus, Lepidosiren, and Protopterus. Where there are 
Dipnoi there are no tailed amphibians and vice-versa. 
As it is not unreasonable to trace the origin of the tailed 
amphibians, which are clearly the most primitive of 
existing amphibians, from some dipnoid form, these 



facts are not without interest. Why this black and 
slimy newt should be called Siren is not clear. They do 
not chirp or sing, and indeed are voiceless, like other 
newts. They are not enchantresses and do not play on 
cords. On the contrary, they are black and evil-looking, 
not alluring except indeed to the naturalists, to whom 
they present many points of interest. This animal 
grows to about two feet in length, and lives exclusively 
or at least very nearly entirely, in muddy ditches, where 
it finds its animal prey. The accurate John Hunter 
was the first to detect the real nature of the siren, and 
placed it between amphibians and fishes. A retrograde 
step was taken by Camper the Dutchman, who called it 
a mursena, or eel, an error which is perpetuated to-day 
by its vernacular name of " Mud-eel," The siren has 
external fringed gills like the axolotl. But there is no 
reason to suppose that it is, like the axolotl, a larval 
form ready to blossom out into a more fully formed and 
gill-less newt when forced to leave its streams. For in 
the first place its degradation is shown by the missing 
hind limbs, and in the second place it has a set of larval 
gills which give place to the therefore permanent gills 
of the adult. It has had its chance as a larva, and has 
failed to take advantage of it. As with other aquatic 
creatures, it is .the hind limbs which have gone. Thus 
the whales have not a trace of these : and in the seal 
and sea-lions they are more or less bound up with the 
tail, and clearly on the wane. In terrestrial animals 
which have undergone degeneration, it is rather the 
fore limbs that go first, as witness the snakes and many 
tail-less lizards. 


There is nothing more interesting at the Zoo than the 
swarthy American newts, called axolotls, unless it be 



the white axolotls, often to be seen in adjoining tanks. 
As in the case of many other creatures, albinism occurs 
not infrequently ; and the milk- while albinos, with their 
red gills, are of striking appearance. In many years a 
series of experiments, conducted, though without a 
licence, upon living animals, are undertaken upon the 
corpora vilia of these axolotls. The experiments con- 
sist in gradually reducing the depth of the water at one 
end of the tank by means of a shelving board. Up this 
board it is hoped with unrewarded persistence that these 
axolotls will creep, and having arrived at dry land will 
cease to be axolotls at all and become amblystomas. 
The axolotl, in fact, is a creature that has discovered 
the secret of perpetual youth. But this desirable dis- 
covery is tempered by the pains and cares of maternity. 
For the axolotl is simply an unwieldy and overgrown 
tadpole ; but a tadpole which has abandoned some of 
the frivolity of youth and assumed family responsibili- 
ties by the laying of eggs, which duly hatch out into 
fresh series of axolotls. It was discovered a good many 
years ago that the gills of the axolotl are directly com- 
parable to the gills of tadpoles, and that the growth of 
the newt was usually, and for a long period sometimes, 
indefinitely arrested at the tadpole stage ; but that 
under certain circumstances, especially the drying up of 
the surrounding water, the gills withered away and 
other changes took place ; these changes convert the 
water-living axolotl into a land-living newt of, as was 
once thought, quite a different genus, viz. Amblystoma. 
It is a fact that the progress and growth of the axolotl 
must be encouraged, not forced. The newts must be 
induced to take to a land life by cutting short their 
supply of water. It is no use trying the violent method 
of snipping away their gills ; for the only result of that 
is that they grow again, and a more obstinate axolotl 
is produced. But it has been shown that an artificial 



restriction of watery environment will often make 
AmUystomas out of axolotls. The case of the axolotl 
is not so unique as was once thought. " Neoteny," as 
this extension of childhood is scientifically called, both 
occurs normally, and can be produced in various am- 
phibia. Even in frogs, the tadpoles can in the case of 
some species be compelled to remain tadpoles for a long 
if not indefinite period of time, behaving, however, pre- 
cisely as tadpoles, though swollen in bulk ; the two 
frogs of this country, viz. Rana temporaria and R. escu- 
lenta, are instances to the point. But these tadpoles, if 
they do not ultimately become frogs, die as tadpoles 
without begetting fresh tadpoles. The axolotl and the 
common newt of this country, as well as other newts in 
the strict sense, that is to say, of the genus Triton, not 
only retain their larval characters, but are able, as we 
have seen, to breed as such. These facts lead us to 
some highly interesting conclusions. It used to be a 
common idea, which had the advantage of seeming 
quite philosophical, that the existence of external 
arborescent breathing organs in such amphibians as 
the axolotl and the Japanese salamander, were proofs 
of the antiquity of these forms. The retention of the 
fish-like mode of breathing by gills seemed to argue a 
basal position in the amphibian world. Not so, how- 
ever, do we now think. For it is clear that some at 
least of the gilled forms are merely precociously de- 
veloped young, which, taking time by the forelock, 
commence breeding before structural maturity, and 
that others, like the Japanese salamander, may be 
(here we can only guess for the present) entirely similar 
in origin. Hence it is clearly a recent modification 
which we are dealing with ; and therefore the types 
which, like the frog, have not given rise to a persistent 
and sexual larval form are the older. 

Cortez, when he descended from his " peak in Darien," 


saw the axolotl in the lake of Mexico, and very probably 
ate it upon toast. Anyhow, the descendants of his 
followers do at this day. 


" A monstrous eft," wrote Tennyson, was lord of all 
in past aeons. At the present moment a distinctly 
monstrous eft is lord of a smaller portion of the earth's 
surface, of certain streams, that is to say, in Japan. 
This animal, known as Megalobatrachus japonicus, or 
Sieboldia maxima, has been frequently exhibited at the 
Zoo, since the year 1860, when the first example was 
obtained. The specimens at the Gardens do not, as a 
rule, indicate the colossal size to which this, the largest 
of existing amphibians, attains. But recently, at any 
rate, an individual of very fair proportions was alive ; 
this newt measured about four feet. The " outside " 
length appears to be as much as five feet. The illus- 
trious German naturalist, von Siebold, brought back 
from Japan the very first specimen ever exhibited in 
Europe, so long ago as 1829 ; and the animal there 
were originally two, but the larger devoured his mate 
lived until the year 1881. To anyone familiar with 
the aspect and general demeanour of this great newt, 
its longevity will not come as a surprise. It passes its 
days, and, so far as one knows, nights, in a state of 
almost lethal repose. So little agitation is there of the 
body and mind that the difficulty is to understand why 
it should die at all ; and it is plain that if a specimen 
of unknown age lived in captivity and therefore pre- 
sumably under disadvantageous conditions for fifty 
years, its normal life might be indefinitely stretched 

In its native Japan the eft is termed " Hansaki," 
" Hazekoi," or " Anko." It inhabits mountain streams 



in the mountains of Iga and Hiruze ; as a rule the larger 
the streams which the eft inhabits, the larger the eft 
itself, precisely as in the case of other freshwater crea- 
tures. It will be noticed that the animal has not, what 
some others of the Urodele amphibians have, any 
vestige of external breathing organs, the gills or branchiae. 
Nor is there the least trace of a cleft which is associated 
in other amphibians with such gills. In this it differs 
from the very closely allied, though smaller, North 
American Menopoma, or " Hellbender," as its singular 
vernacular name runs. Both animals are often together 
at the Zoo, and in adjacent tanks, so that they can be 
easily compared. Our salamander has a great flat head, 
a warty body of a brownish olive to almost black in hue. 
The limbs are fully developed, which is not always the 
case in its allies, and terminate in the usual five but 
stumpy fingers and toes. It nourishes itself in its native 
haunts upon little fishes and other aquatic creatures, 
which it hardly pursues with effort, but simply snaps 
up when they are so imprudent as to venture within 
reach of its jaws. The only time when this lethargic 
inhabitant of the waters shows any activity is the breed- 
ing season in August and September ; it then moves 
about with more frequency and rapidity, and, like our 
crested newt, assumes a slightly brighter coloration. 
These amphibians have never bred at the Zoo ; but 
lately they have at Amsterdam ; and Dr. Kerbert, of 
the Zoological Society of that city, has been able to 
watch them and report upon their behaviour. It is 
quite possible that such a happy occurrence may occur 
at our Zoo ; for no particular help in the way of run- 
ning water or larger accommodation seems to be neces- 
sary. This newt, like others, and even after the fashion 
of some frogs and toads, deposits its eggs not in a mass, 
such as we are all familiar with in pools in this country 
in the early spring, the work, of course, of the common 



frog, but in festooned ropes, consisting of a single row of 
eggs, which are connected by glutinous matter, and 
moored by it to handy rocks and stones. This provi- 
sion of nature is very intelligible in view of the localities 
in which Megalobatrachus dwells. For in rapidly- 
moving streams the eggs, if laid singly and without 
this viscous protection, would be liable to be carried off 
and destroyed in the sea. As it is they remain anchored 
safely until the appearance of the young. The lady 
salamander, having done her duty in producing the eggs, 
leaves the equally important task of watching over them 
to her mate, who is so assiduous that he will not even 
allow the mother to visit her progeny, but at once drives 
her away. The little salamanders when they leave the 
egg are about an inch long, and they have, like the 
larvae of other amphibians, external branching out- 
growths, which are the gills. 


The mud fish of Australia, Ceratodus forsteri, is one 
of the latest additions of importance to zoological litera- 
ture. Before the year 1870 it had inhabited unremarked 
its native rivers ; in that year it was for the first time 
described, and to the Zoological Society. It is pecu- 
liarly appropriate therefore that the first living speci- 
mens to reach Europe were those acquired by the 
Zoological Society and deposited in the Gardens a year 
or two back. The pair now in the Reptile House are 
believed to be a pair, that is, a male and female ; but 
they have shown no anxiety to prove this view by lay- 
ing eggs ; this, however, is a matter for less regret at 
the present moment, since the breeding habits of the 
fish and the nature of its hatched-out larvae have been 
made known to us by Dr. Semon, who voyaged to the 
remote spots, selected by Ceratodus as a dwelling-place, 



in order to ascertain the facts. It is only in Queens- 
land that Ceratodus is met with. In the Mary and 
Burnett rivers it occurs in deep quiet pools, which are 
full of water in wet and dry seasons alike. Some per- 
sons, impressed doubtless with the real likeness which 
this " fish " bears to the amphibia, have asserted that 
it basks in a crocodile-like fashion upon logs. The 
Ceratodus, however, cannot leave its native streams ; 
and instead of showing the least trace of an amphibious 
way of life, it dies with peculiar ease when removed 
from the water. It is probable, thinks Professor Bald- 
win Spencer, that a large water lizard, common in and 
along the banks of the same rivers, is responsible for 
the stories of the Ceratodus basking upon tree trunks. 

With the laudable view of preserving so far as possible 
this interesting survival from a bygone age, steps have 
been taken in Australia to transfer this fish to other 
rivers, where it apparently does well. Our descendants 
may find that if these experiments continue to be suc- 
cessful, the Ceratodus may lose some of its peculiarities. 
At present the rivers in which it swims are not quite 
ideal as fish reservoirs. During the hot weather ill 
weeds grow apace, and also decay : there results a foul- 
ing of the water and a concomitant lack of pure air, 
and an increased difficulty for the Barramundi to 
breathe. Nature, however, though a strict economist, 
invariably permits, or rather insists upon, the wind 
being tempered to the shorn lamb. The dyspnoeic 
Ceratodus has, in consequence of these difficulties, 
acquired a swim bladder which performs the offices 
of a lung, instead of being merely, as in other fish, a 
hydrostatic apparatus The lung has its own special 
artery and vein exactly as in other creatures with lungs, 
and the fish comes to the top of the water to inhale air, 
just as any land-frequenting but occasionally aquatic 
and diving animal does. In addition to this, it has the 




gills of the fish, which are adequate enough in favourable 
conditions. It is in fact exactly in the condition of a 
rather elderly tadpole. The very young tadpole has 
merely gills like a fish ; later on, the lungs appear, 
while the gills persist ; later still, the gills vanish and 
the lungs alone remain : it is, however, now a frog. 
Ceratodus remains for its whole life in the tadpole con- 
dition. It would not be a gross exaggeration to describe 
it as a huge scaly tadpole. 

The Australian mud fish is one of those " friendless " 
creatures, a survival from past times, when creatures 
were apt to be a little less decided as to their relation- 
ships than at present. It is a link between fishes and 
amphibians. Ceratodus itself has not a tadpole ; but 
its near allies, the African mud fish, Protopterus, and 
the South American Lepidosiren, have newly-hatched 
larvae which are immensely like young tadpoles. Every- 
body must have noticed the way in which the tadpoles 
of our common frog hang on to the leaves of aquatic 
plants by their chin, which they press firmly thereto 
as the Red Queen pressed her chin upon the shoulder 
of Alice. A sucker achieves this anchorage, and the 
same sucker is present in the young mud fishes of 
America and Africa. The Paraguayan mud fish, once 
so scarce that it was represented in European museums 
by about three specimens, has long furnished a succu- 
lent meal in certain regions of South America. It has 
been brought home in abundance and carefully studied 
by Professor Graham Kerr ; it is therefore not by any 
means unlikely that the visitor to the Zoo will have the 
opportunity of seeing side by side this creature and its 
Australian relative. In any case he will be practically 
certain to have the chance of seeing Protopterus of 



Aard vark, 137 
Aard wolf, 106 

Abdimia, 206 

Aeluroidea, 92 

Aepyornis, 220 

Agamidae, 239 

Agouti, 1 20 

Alligators, 260 ; Chinese, 272 

Alligator Terrapin, 270 

Alouatta, 41 

Alpaca, 78 

Amblystoma, 295 

Amphibia, 275 

Amphibolurus, 239 

Amphisbaena, 232, 277 

Anaconda, 257 

Anguis fragilis, 232 

Angwantibo, 44 

Anolis, 235 

Anomalurus, 146 

Ant bear, 129 

Anteater, American, 129 ; Aus- 
tralian, 17, 148 

Antelopes, 50 

Anthropoidea, 21 

Anthropopithecus, species of, 

Anura, 281 

Apes, 21 

Aptenodytes pennanti, 226 
Apteryx, 151, 219 
Archaeofteryx, 186 
Arctoidea, 93 
Ardea goliath, 202 
Argus pheasant, 209 
Armadillo, 133 
Artiodactyla, 14, 52 
Ass, wild, 60 
A teles, 40 
Aurochs, 78 
Axolotl, 299 
Aye-aye, 21 

Baboon, 31 
Babyroussa, 64 
Badger, 93 
Balaeniceps rex, 20 1 
Balearica, species of, 180 
Barbary ape, 33 
Barbet, 161 
Batrachia, 286 
Bats, 1 8 
Bear, polar, no 
Beaver, 120 
Behemoth, 66 
Belideus breviceps, 145 
Bezoar stones, 79 
Binturong, 92 



Birds, general characters of, 

157 ; groups of, 155 
Bison, 78 
Black swan, 197 
Blanus, 235 
Boa constrictor, 257 
Boar, wild, 65 
Boatbill, 202 
Bonnet monkey, 34 
Bos, species of, 76, 78 
Bower birds, 159 
Brady pus, 132 
Brush turkey, 210 
Bubo virginianus, 170 
Bucorax, 164 
Bucorvus, 164 
Bunodont, 53 

Caenolestes, 140 

Camel, 14, 78 

Camelopard, 81 

Cancroma, 202 

Canis lagopus, 109 

Cape clawed frog, 290 

Cape crowned crane, 180 

Capra aegagrus, So 

Capuchin monkey, 39 

Capybara, 125 

Caracal, 96 

Cariama, 184, 193 

Caribou, 73 

Carnivora, 89 

Carpincho, 125 

Cassowaries, 216 

Casuarius, species of, 218 

Cat, domestic, 101 ; wild, 100 

Catarrhines, 23 

Cavy, Patagonian, 126 

Cebus albifrons, 40 

Centetes, 122, 127 

Centropus, 176 ; C. phasianus, 


Ceratodus, 293 ; C. forsteri, 299 
Ceratophrys, 285 
Cercocebus, 35 

Cercopithecus, 35 ; C. diana, 35 
Cetacea, 19 
Chacma baboon, 31 
Chamaeleolis, 240 
Chamaeleon, 241 ; species of 

and genera, 243 
Chauna, species of, 183 
Chelonia, 265 
Chelone, species of, 270 
.Cheetah, 91 
Chevrotain, 70 
Chillingham cattle, 77 
Chimpanzee, 24 
Chinchilla, 120 
Chionis, 197 

Chirogaleus coquereli, 44 
Chiromys, 21,4.3, 44 1 1 9 
Chlamydophorus, 134 
Chlamydosaurus kingi, 237 
Choloepus, 132 
Civets, 92, 103 
Coati, 93 
Coaita, 41 
Cobra, 261 
Coecilians, 278 
Coendou, 123 
Colobus, 38 
Condor, 186 
Coney, 86 
" Consul," 25, 113 
Cormorant, 216 
Corvus splendens, 175 
Cowpen bird, 156 
Creodonta, 48, 104 
Cranes, 179 
Crocodiles, 229, 273 



Cryptoprocta ferox, 103 
Cuckoo, 174 
Cuculus canorus, 174 
Curassow, 212 
Cyclothurus, 130 
Cygnus, species of, 198 
Cynopithecus niger, 33 

Dactylethra laevis, 290 
Darter, 215 
Dasje, 86 

Dasypeltis scdbra, 259 
Dasyure, 15 
Deer, 53 
Deerlet, 70 
Dendrohyrax, 87 
Dendrolagus, 142 
Diana monkey, 35 
Dinomys, 125 
Dinosaur, 152, 185 
Diprotodonts, 145 
Dogs, 109 ; hunting, 107 
Ducks, 198 
Dugong, 88 

Eagles, 192 

Echidna, 148 ; E. aculeata, 149 

Edentata, 128 

Egg-eating snake, 259 

Elephant, 83 

Elk, 74 ; Irish, 75 

Emu, 216 

Enhydris, 92 

Equus, species of, 59, 60 

Eryx, 258 

Eudyptes chrysocome, 222 

Eudyptula minor, 224 

Eudynamis, 176 

Eunectes murinus, 257 

Felis, species of , 93, 96, 97, IOO, 


Fishes, 275 
Fissipedia, 91 
Flamingo, 200 
Flying frog, 282 
Flying squirrel, 120 
Fossa daubentoni, 103 
Fossane, 103 
Fox, arctic, 108 
Frilled lizard, 237 
Frogs, 281 
Frigate bird, 214 
Fur seals, 118 

Galago, 44 ; G. garnetti, 47 
Gallinaceous birds, 207 
Callus bankiva, 210 
Galeopithecus, 127 
Gannet, 214 
Gecinus viridis, 160 
Geckos, 235, 253 
Geese, 183, 198 
Geococcyx, 174 
Gibbon, 29 
Gibraltar ape, 33 
Gila monster, 229 
Giraffe, 81 
Glass snake, 233 
Glaucous gull, 195 
Glutton, in 
Glyptodon, 134 
Goat, wild, 80 
Goatsuckers, 165 
Gorilla, 24 
Grouse, 207, 210 
Guacharo, 167, 182 
Guenon, 35 
Guereza, 37 
Guinea pig, 126 




Gulls, 195 
Gulo, 112 

Hamadryad, 261 

Hanuman, 36 

Hapalemur, species of, 46 

Hare, Cape jumping, 120, 140 
polar, 109 

H atteria, 228, 250, 266 

Hawks, 192 

Hedgehog, 123 

Heliodilus, 169 

Heliornis, 182 

Heloderm lizard, 229 

Herons, 201 

Herpestes ichneumon, 105 

Heterocephalus, 137 
Hierococcyx, 177 
Hippopotamus, 66 
Hoatzin, 154, 182, 212 
Holy ape, 36 
Hoolock gibbon, 29 
Hornbill, 162 
Horse, Prjevalsy's, 62 ; Shire, 


Howler, 41 
Humming birds, 156 
Hyaena, 92, 106 
Hydrochoerus capybara, 125 
Hyla, species of, 287, 289 
Hylobates, 29 
Hyomoschus, 72 
Hyrax, 86, 119 

Ichneumon, 105 
Iguana, 235, 247 
Iguanidae, genera of, 250 
Insectivora, 127 

Jerboa, 140 
Jew lizard, 239 
" Jumbo," 84 

Kaka, 173 

Kamichi, 193 

Kanchil, 49, 71 

Kangaroo, 140 ; Red, 67 

Kea, 170 

Kiang, 60 

Kinkajou, 93 

Kites, 192 

Kiwi, 219 

Koala, 139 

Koel, 174 

Lacerta, 276 ; L. agilis, 233 ; 
L. vivipara, 275 

Lacertilia, 228 

Lachesis gramineus, 264 

Lagostomus trichodactylus, 120 

Lama, 14, 78 

Langur, 36 

Lanthanonotus, 230 

Larus, species of, 195, 197 

Lemming, 124 

Lemurs, 43 

Lemur, species of, 43, 44 
Leopard, 98 ; Snow, 99 
Lepidosiren, 293, 302 
Leseuer's lizard, 277 
Lion, 93 
Lithocranius, 83 
Lizards, 228, 273 
Loris, 44 
Lutra, 92 
Lycaon pictus, 107 
Lyriocephalus scutatus, 240 

Jackal, 92 
Jaguar, 98, 270 

Macacus inuus, 33 
Macaques, species of, 34 



Macroclemmys temmincki, 270 
Macropus rufus, 67 
Mammals, characters of, 7 
Mammoth, 66 
Man, 19 
Manatee, 88 
Manatus inunguis, 89 
Mandrill, 33 
Mangabey, 35 
Manis, 135 
Marmoset, 23 
Marmot, prairie, 121 
Marsupials, 139 
Marten, 93 
Megamys, 125 
Megalobatrachus japonicus,2g^, 


Megapodidae, 211 
Mellivora, 112 
Meminna, 71 
Menobranchus, 276 
Menopoma, 298 
Mermaids, 89 
Merpigs, 89 

Metopoceros cornutus, 250 
Microcebus smithii, 43 
Molothrus, species of, 157, 158 
Monitors, 244 
Monkeys, 21 
Monotremata, 148 
Moose, 75 
More- pork, 165 
Moschus, 71 
Mouse, Pharaoh's, 105 
Mound builder, 210 
Mudfish, 298 
Mungoose, 104 
Musk deer, 71 
Musophagidae, 179 
Mustelidae, 93 
Mycetes, 41 

Myrmecophaga jubata, 129 

Nestor, species of , 170, 173, 174 
Newts, 281, 293, 296 
Notornis mantelli, 174 
Notary ctes, 139 
Nyctea nivea, 168 

Ocapi, 82 
Ophidia, 253 
Ophisaurus apus, 253 
Opisthocomus cristatus, 182, 


Ophiophagus bungarus, 262 
Opossum, 139 
Orang Utan, 28 
Oreocephalus, 250, 255 
Ornithorhynchus, 148 
Orycteropus, 64, 106, 137 
Osprey, 191 
Ostrich, 83, 221 
Otaria, species of, 116, 118 
Otter, 93 
Ounce, 99 
Owls, 1 68 
Oxen, 50, 76 

Paca, 15 

Pachydermata, 50, 66 
Pagophila eburnea, 196 
Painted snipe, 194 
Palaeospheniscus, 226 
Palamedea cornuta, 182 
Pandion haliaetus, 193 
Pangolin, 135 
Panther, 98 
Papio porcarius, 31 
Parrots, 70 
Pavo nigripennis, 209 
Peacock, 207 
Pecora, 53 



Pedetes caffer, 120, 141 
Pelican, 214 

Penguin, 222 ; genera of, 223 
Perissodactyla, 14, 52 
Perodicticus, 44 
Petaurus breviceps, 145 
Phacochoerus, species of, 63 
Phalanger, 144 ; flying, 145 
Phalangista vulpina, 144 
Phalarope, 197 
Phascolomys, 143 
Pheasants, 209 
Phelsuma madagascariensis, 


Phoenix, 180 
Phoenicopterus ruber, 201 
Photodilus, 169 
Physignathus, 277 
Pig, 53,63 
Pigeons, 207 
Pinnipedia, 91, 116 
Pipa, 284 

Pithecanthropus erectus, 27 
Plaathande, 290 
Platypus, 17 
Platyrrhines, 23 
Plotus, species of, 215 
Plovers, 197 
Podargus, 165 
Podoa, 182 
Polecat, 93 
Polyboroides, 193 
Polyprotodonts, 145, 146 
Porcupine, 121 
Porpoise, 19 
Potamogale, 90, 127 
Potto, 44 
Prairie dog, 1 2 1 
Primates, 19 
Procamelus, 14 
Procavia, 86 

Procyon, species of, 114 
Proteles cristata, 106 
Proteus, 282 
Protopterus, 293, 302 
Pterodactyles, 152 
Ptilonorhynchus violaceus, 1 59 
Puma, 96 

Quagga, 6 1 

Raccoon, 114 

Rana, 292 ; species of, 296 

Rangifer tarandus, 72 

Ratel, 112 

Raven, 156 

Red deer, 75 

Reindeer, 72 

Reptiles, characters of, 227 

Rhea, 221 

Rhesus monkey, 34 

Rhinoceros, 56 

Rhinoceros bird, 162 

Rhinopithecus , 36 

Rhytina, 88 

Rhynchaea capensis, 194 

Road runner, 1 74 

Roc, 220 

Rodentia, 119 

Rook, 21 1 

Ruminants, 53 

Sable, 93 
Salamander, 297 
Saiga antelope, 76 
" Sally," 24, 27 
Sandgrouse, 206 
Sarcorhamphus, 187 
Sciuropterus, 146 
Scopus umbretta, 204 



Screamer, 182 

Sea bear, 118 

Seals, 117 

Sea lions, 116 

Sea serpent, 258 

Secretary bird, 190 

Semnopithecus entellus, 36 

Selenodent, 53 

Serpenlarius reptilivorus, 190 

Siamang, 30 

Shoe bill, 201 

Simla satyr us, 28 

Siren lacertina, 293 

Sirenia, 88 

Skunk, 93 

Sloth, 130 

Slow Loris, 44 

Slowworm, 232 

Snakes, 253 ; genera and 

species of, 255 
Snapping turtle, 270 
Snipe, 195, 197 
Solitaire, 2 1 1 
Speke's antelope, 73 
Sphenodon (see Hatteria) 
Spider monkey, 40 
Spiny anteater, 149 
Squirrel, 120 
Steller's sea bear, 1 18 
Stoat, 93 
Storks, 201 
Suricate, 92 
Surinam toad, 283 
Swans, 198 
Sy nether es, 123 
Syrrhaptes arenarius, 206 

Tadpoles, 280, 293 
Talegalla lathami, 210 
Tamandua, 130 
Tapir, 53 

Tarentola mauritanica, 237 

Tarsius, 44 

Tasmanian devil, 1 5 ; wolf, 


Tayra, 93 
Teguexin, 240 
Tenrec, 128 
Testudo daudini, 266 ; T. 

graeca, 266 
Thylacine, 146 
Tiger, 95 
Toad, 283, 285 
Tolypeutes tricinctus, 1 34 
Tortoises, 265 ; fossil, 268 
Toucan, 161, 162 
Touracou, 177 
Tragulus, species of, 70, 72 
Tree frog, 287 
Tree kangaroo, 141 
Tree porcupine, 123 
Tree viper, 263 
Trichosurus vulpecula, 144 
Tricky s lipura, 124 
Triton, 296 
Tufted umbre, 204 
Tupaia, 128 

Tupinambis, species of, 240 
Turkey, 210 
Turkey buzzard, 186 
Turtles, 265 

Ungulata, characters of, 14, 48 

Unicorn, 57 

Urodela, characters of, 281 

Uromastix, 239 

Urson, 123 

Urus, 76 

Varanus, species of, 45 
Vertebrates, characters of, 2 
Vicuna, 78 



Vipers, 255, 263 Whales, 19 

Viverridae, 104 Wild ass, 60 

Vizcacha, 120, 143 Wild boar, 65 

Vole, 124 Wild cat, 100 

Vulpine Phalanger, 144 Wild oxen, 70 

Vulture, 1 86 Wisent, 78 

Wolf, 96, 109 

Wallaby, 141 Wolverene, in 

Walrus, 117 . Wombat, 143 

Wait hog, 63 Woodpecker, 160 
Water Chevrotain, 72 

Water rat, 124 Xenopus laevis, 290 
Weasel, 93 

Weaver bird, 211 Zebras, 59 

Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London 

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