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of various colours. The extremity of the upper part of the bead is black, as are likewise the neck and shoulders, but the rest of the body is reddish, intermixed with small black spots of various figures, as far as the tail, which is not above half an inch long. The eyes are little and black, the ears round and inclining towards the back, the legs before are short, and those behind longer, which gives it a great degree of swiftness. But what it is much more remarkable for than its figure are, its amazing fecundity and extraordinary migrations.
In wet seasons, all of the rat kind are known to propagate more than in dry; but this species in particular is so assisted in multiplying by the moisture of the weather, that the inhabitants of Lapland, sincerely believe that they drop from the clouds, and that the same magazines that furnislı bail and snow, pour the lemming also npon them.* In fact, after long rain, these animals set forward from their native mountains, and several millions in a troop deluge the whole plain with their numbers. (8) They move, for the most part, in a square, marching forward by night and lying still by day. Thus, like an animated torrent, they are often seen more than a mile broad covering the ground, and that so thick that the hindmost touches its leader. It is in vain that the poor inhabitant resists or attempts to stop their progress, they still keep moving for. ward; and, though thousands are destroyed, myriads are seen to succeed and make their destruction impracticable. They generally move in lines, which are about three feet from each other, and exactly parallel. Their march is always directed from the north-west to the south-east, and regularly conducted from the beginning: Wherever their motions are turned, nothing can stop them; they go directly forward, impelled by some strange power; and, from the time they first set out, they never once think of retreating. If a lake or a river bappens to interrupt their progress, they all together take the water and swim over it; a fire, a deep well, or a torrent, does not turn them out of their straightlined direction; they boldly plunge into the flames, or leap down the well, and are sometimes seen climbing up on the other side. "If they are interrupted by a boat across a river while they are swimming, they never attempt to swim round it, but mount directly up its sides; and the boat-men, who know how vain resistance in such a case would be, calmly suffer the living torrent to pass over, which it does without further damage. "If they meet with a stack of bay or corn that interrupts their passage, instead of going over it they gnaw their way through; if they are stopped by a house in their course, if they cannot get through it, they continue there till they die. It they are interrupted in their course, and a man should imprudently venture to attack one of them, the little animal is no way intimidated by the disparity of strength, but furiously flies up at its opponent, and, barking somewhat like a puppy, wherever it fastens does not easily quit the hold. If at last the leader be forced out of its line, wbich it defends as long as it can, and be separated from the rest of its kind, it sets up a plaintive cry different from that of anger, and, as some pretend to say, gives itself a voluntary death, by hanging itself on the fork of a tree. bounded to it alone, but the reign of intelli- respects it is a stupid animal, altogether gence extends beyond the dominion of the under the empire of circumstances in which senses.
it may be placed.-GRIFFITH. The hamster, presents a curious example * VULGAR CONJECTURB. — It was once of extended instinct and boundless intelli- believed that these animals fell from the gence. For man alone the future exists in clouds at particular seasons, and some have the present. No other animal is capable of affirmed that they have seen a lemming in foresight, or of conforming his actions by its descent: but an accident of this kind is anticipated knowledge to future contingen- easily accounted for, on the supposition of a cies. 'Other animals exist but in the present, lemming escaping now and then from the and they appear in fact, to have little or no claws of some bird which had seized it, and perception of time. The hamster lays in thus falling to the ground; a circumstance magazines more than its wants require, and which is said not unfn quently to take place thus it is enabled to wait the return of spring, when the animals are scized by crows, gulls, and the maturity of the harvest. In other &c.—Shaw.
(8) Phil. Trans. vol. ii. p. 872.
An enemy so numerous and destructive would quickly render the countries where they appear utterly uninhabitable, did it not fortunately happen that the same rapacity that animates them to destroy the labours of mankind, at last impels them to destroy and devour each other. (g) After committing incredibl devastations, they are at last seen to separate into two armies, opposed witb deadly hatred, along the coasts of the larger lakes and rivers, The Laplanders, who observe them thus drawn up to fight, instead of considering their mutual animosity as a happy riddance of the most dreadful pest, form ominous prognostics from the manner of their arrangement. They consider their combats as a presage of war, and expect an invasion from the Russians or the Swedes, as the sides next those kingdoms happen to conqner. The two divisions, however, continue their engagements and animosity until one party overcomes the other. From that time they utterly disappear, nor is it well known what becomes of either the conquerors or the conquered. Some suppose that they rush headlong into the sea, others that they kill themselves, as some are found hanging on the forked branches of a tree, and others still that they are destroyed by the young spring herbage. But the most probable opinion is, that, having devoured the vegetable productions of the country, and having nothing more to subsist on, they then fall to devouring each other; and, having habituated themselves to that kind of food, continue it. However this be, they are often found dead by thousands, and their carcasses have been known to infect the air for several miles round, so as to produce very malignant disorders. They seem also to infect the plants they have gnawed, for the cattle often die at afte wards feed in the places where they passed.
As to the rest, the male is larger and more beautifull spotted t an the female. They are extremely prolific; and what is extraordinary, their breeding does not hinder their march; for some of them have been observed to carry one young one in their mouth, and another on their back. They are greatly preyed upon by the ermine, and, as we are told even by the rein-deer. The Swedes and Norwegians, who live by husbandry, consider an invasion from these vermin as a terrible visitation ; but it is very different with respect to the Laplanders, who lead a vagrant life, and who, like the lemmings themselves, if their pro visions be destroyed in one part of the country, can easily retire to another. These are never so happy as when an army of lemmings come down amongst them; for then they feast upon their flesh; which though horrid food, and which, though even dogs and cats are known to detest, these little savages esteem very good eating, and devour greedily. They are glad of their arrival also upon another account, for they always expect a great plenty of game the year following, among those fields which the lemmings have destroyed.
THẾ MOLE – To these minute animals of the rat kind, a great part of whose lives is past in holes under ground, I will subjoin one little animal more, no way resembling the rat, except that its whole life is spent there. As we have seen some quadrupeds formed to crop the surface of the fields, and others to live upon the tops of trees, so the mole is formed to live wholly under the earth, as if Nature meant that no place
(Mole.) should be left wholly untenanted.
This animal, so well known in England, is, however, utterly a stranger in other places, and particularly in Ireland. For such, therefore, as have never seen it, a short description will be necessary. And, in the first place, though somewhat of a size between the rat and the mouse, it no way resembles either, being an animal entirely of a singular kind, and perfectly unlike any other quadruped whatever. It is bigger than a mouse, with a coat of fine, short, (8) Dictionnaire Raiso.inée, vol. ii. P:
glossy, black hair. Its nose is long and pointed, resembling that of a hog, but much longer. Its eyes are so small that it is scarce possible to discerni them. Instead of ears it has only holes in the place. Its neck is so short that the head seems stuck upon the shoulders. The body is thick and round, terminating by a very small, short tail, and its legs also are so very short, that the animal seems to lie flat on its belly. From under its belly, as it rests in this position, the four feet appear just as if they immediately grew out of the body. Thus the animal appears to us at first view as a mass of flesh covered with a fine, shining, black skin, with a little head, and scarce any legs, eyes, or tail. On a closer inspection, however, two little black points may be discerned, that are its eyes. The ancients, and some of the moderns, were of opinion that the animal was utterly blind; but Derham, by the help of a microscope, plainly discovered all the parts of the eye that are known in other animals, such as the pupil, the vitreous and the crystalline humours. The fore-legs appear very short and strong, and furnished with five claws to each. These are turned outwards and backwards, as the hands of a man when swimming. The hind legs are longer and weaker than the fore, being only used to assist its motions; whereas the others are continually employed in digging. The teeth are like those of a shrew-mouse, and there are five on both sides of the upper jaw, which stand out; but those behind are divided into points. The tongue is as large as the mouth will hold.
The smallness of its eyes, which induced the ancients to think it was blind, is, to this animal, a peculiar advantage. A small degree of vision is sufficient for a creature that is ever destined to live in darkness. A more extensive sight would only have served to show the horrors of its prison, while Nature had denied it the means of an escape.
As the eye is thus perfectly fitted to the animal's situation, so also are the
* BLINDNESS OF THE MOLE.—The.Greeks, tected by long hairs, which crossing each as has been generally assumed, described the other, form a thick and strong bandage. mole as blind, an error which modern zoo Such an eye ought to be destined to see. But logists have piqued themselves in detecting; anatomists do not find the optic nerve. What M. Olivier, however, has shown that this use could an eye be of, deprived of a nerve, wonderful people, whose mental faculties shot which in other animals transmits the visual forth as it were a meteor through the sur- sensations to the braip? This consideration rounding density, and anticipated the pro- naturally tends to restore the opinion of Arisgress of human art and intellect by many totle and the Greeks, and to induce the belief tedious ages, were not so idle in their obser- that the mole does not see, and that its eye vatiuns, or incautious in their conclusions. is only a rudimental point, without use. The artalag of the Greeks was, doubtless, Direct experiments, however, made at the the animal now under consideration, which request of G. St. Hilaire, show most inconwas indigenous in their country or around testibly that the mole makes use of its eyes, them, whereas the mole was an exotic in since it turns to avoid obstacles placed in its Greece. The Romans may, however, bear way. But if the mole sees, how is this acthe blame of having led us into this error, by complished without an optic nerve. M. Serres rendering the word aoradat into talpa, and was of opinion that the place of this nerve applying that word to the mole of Europe. was supplied by a superior branch of the fifth GRIPYITH.
pair, analogous to the opthalmic branch of
Willis. + VISION OF THE MO1e.-- Does the mole According to Geoffroy St. Hilaire, this see ? Aristotle and all the Greek philosophers, change of function in a nerve, which is not thought it blind. Galen, on the other hand, naturally destined to perform, does not exist. maintained that the mole saw. He affirmed The mole sees by aid of a particular nerve, that it has all the known means of sight. being unable, on account of the too great The question has been resumed in modern extension of the olfactory apparatus, to follow times. Naturalists have found the eye of the direction which it takes in other animals, the animal. It is very small--not larger than towards the tubercula quadrigemina, takes a millet seerd; its colour is an ebony black; another direction, and anastomoses, in the it is hard to the touch ; and can scarcely be nearest point (au plus pres,) with the nerve depressed by squeezing it between the fingers. of the fifth dair ARCANA OF SCIENCE, Besides the eyelid which covers it, it is pro- 1832.