The Lion is distinguished from other cats by the uniformity of his colour, which is pale tawny above, becoming somewhat lighter beneath, and never, except in his young state, exhibiting the least appearance of spots or stripes: by the long and flowing mane of the adult male, which, originating nearly as far forward as the root of his nose, extends backwards over his shoulders, and descends in graceful undulations on each side of his neck and face; and by the tuft of long and blackish hairs which terminates his powerful tail. These constitute what is termed his specific character, or that which is peculiar to the species or race; connecting the individuals together by marks common to them all, and at the same time separating them from the other animals of the same group or genus.
This sullen and forbidding-looking animal, the most ravenous and ferocious that infests the more temperate regions of the earth, of many parts of which he is the terror and the scourge, is distinguished from the humble, generous, and faithful friend of man, the domestic dog, by no very remarkable or striking character; and yet there is something in his physiognomy, gait, and habit, which is at once so peculiar and so repulsive, that it would be almost impossible to confound a Wolf, however tame, with the most savage and the most wolflike of dogs. For the separation of the two species, Linn?us, as we have seen in the preceding article, had recourse to the tail; and having determined that that of the dog was uniformly curved upwards, he attributed to that of the Wolf a completely opposite direction, that is to say, a curvature inwards; assigning, at the same time, a straight or a deflected position to those of all the other animals of the group. The deflected, or down-pointing, direction is, however, equally common in the Wolf with the incurved; and this petty distinction, which has little to do with structure, and still less with habits, is hardly deserving of serious attention. More obvious and more essential differences will be found in the cast of his countenance, which derives a peculiar expression from the obliquity of his eyes; in the breadth of his head, suddenly contracting into a slender and pointed muzzle; in the size and power of his teeth, which are comparatively greater than those of any dog of equal stature; in the stiffness and want of pliability of his limbs; in his uniformly straight and pointed ears; and in a black stripe which almost constantly, and in nearly every variety of the species, occupies the front of the fore leg of the adult. His fur, which differs considerably in texture and colour, from the influence of climate and of seasons, is commonly of a grayish yellow, the shades of which are variously intermingled; as he advances in age it becomes lighter, and in high northern latitudes frequently turns completely white, a change which also takes place in many other animals inhabiting the polar regions.
Macrocercus Ararauna. Vieill.
The horns, which form the most distinguishing character of the genus, are perfectly solid throughout their whole extent. Their form varies very considerably in the different races; but they are constantly uniform in the same species, unless accidentally or artificially perverted from their natural growth. In some they are simple at the base and terminate in a broad and palmate expansion, which is variously lobed and divided; in others they are more or less branched, giving off antlers in different directions; and in some few they are short and nearly simple. They fall off and are renewed annually in all the species which inhabit the northern and temperate regions of the earth, and in those in which they attain any considerable size; but Sir T. Stamford Raffles was of opinion, and his opinion has been in some measure confirmed by the observations of Major C. Hamilton Smith, that several of the tropical species with small and nearly simple horns are exempted from this general law. The horns are smaller and less developed in the young than in the full grown and adult animal, and diminish again in size, and frequently become irregular, as he advances in age. In one species alone, the Rein-Deer of the North, the female wears the same palmy honours with the male; but they do not in her reach the same enormous extent.下载
Like other herbivorous quadrupeds they are, generally speaking, quiet and harmless, intent solely upon providing for their wants, and never attacking man or other animals unless provoked or when under the influence of excitement. In this latter case they make use not only of their proboscis, which they wield with great dexterity as a weapon of offence, but also of their tusks, with which they inflict the most tremendous wounds. Their speed in pursuit corresponds rather with the cumbrousness than with the magnitude of their frame, the excessive weight of which soon renders them weary, and compels them to slacken their pace; which, when urged to the utmost, is barely equal to that of a horse of moderate fleetness. They will sometimes penetrate in quest of food into the rice fields and sugar plantations, in which they commit the most extensive ravages, not so much by the quantity which they consume as by that which they destroy. The solitary individuals, which are occasionally met with separate from the general herd, indulge perhaps more frequently in these excesses than the community, which generally avoids as much as possible the habitations of man. It has commonly been imagined that these stray Elephants were the younger and weaker males, who had been driven from the herd by their more powerful fellows; but the fact that they are usually adults of the largest size completely negatives this supposition, and proves that it is of their own free will that they wander thus alone. They attain their full growth between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four, and well authenticated instances have occurred in which they have reached the age of a hundred and thirty years. Indeed there is reason to believe that their life may be sometimes prolonged to two centuries.
The Griffon Vulture is equal in size to the larger species of Eagle; his head and neck are covered with short white down, and the latter is ornamented at its base with an extensive ruff of long feathers of a clear and brilliant white. The plumage of the body is reddish gray; the quill-feathers of the wings and tail are of a blackish brown; and the beak and claws are nearly black. He is a native of the greater part of Europe and of Asia, and inhabits during the summer the more elevated regions of the two continents, building his nest in the rocks and among inaccessible precipices. In the winter he is said to migrate to warmer and more temperate climes. His habits are precisely those of the rest of the group to which he belongs.
It has been generally remarked, that lions in captivity have certain constant and stated times for roaring: this observation is not, however, strictly true with regard to those now in the Tower. It may nevertheless be observed that in the summer time, especially when the atmospheric temperature is considerable, they uniformly commence roaring about dawn, one of them taking the lead, and the others joining in the concert in succession; and Mr. Cops has frequently had occasion to remark that whenever any one of them fails in accompanying the rest in their by no means harmonious performance, the cessation from the customary roar is an infallible symptom of actual or approaching illness. At no other time is there that regularity in their roaring which has been so frequently stated; although the chorus which has just been described is sometimes repeated after feeding, and also when they have been left alone for any length of time; hence it occurs particularly on Sundays, a day on which they have no company except from the occasional visits of the keepers.