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able, like fishes, to remain there for any length of time ; and a seal may be drowned like any other terrestrial animal. 'Thus it seems superior in some respects to the inhabitants of both elements, and inferior in many more. Although furnished with legs, it is in some measure deprived of all the advan tages of them.(8). They are shut up within its body, while nothing appear but the extremities of them, and these furnished with very little motion,
but to serve them as fins in the water. The hind feet, indeed, being turned backwards, are entirely useless upon land ; so that when the animal is obliged to move, it drags itself forward like a reptile, and with an effort more painful. For this purpose it is obliged to use its fore feet, which, though very short, serve to give it such a degree of swiftness, that a man cannot readily overtake it; and it runs towards the sea. As it is thus awkwardly formed for going upon land, it is seldom found at any distance from the sea-shore, but continues to bask upon the rocks, and when disturbed, always plunges down at once to the bottom.
The seal is a social animal, and, wherever it frequents, numbers are generally seen together. They are found in every climate, but in the north and icy seas they are particularly numerous. It is on those shores, which are less inhabited than ours, and where the fish resort in greater abundance, that they are seen by thousands, like flocks of sheep, basking on the rocks, and suckling their young. There they keep watch like other gregarious animals; and, if an enemy appear, instantly plunge altogether into the water. In fine weather they more usually employ their time in fishing; and generally come on shore in tempests and storms. The seal seems the only animal that takes delight in these tremendous conflicts of nature. In the midst of thunders and torrents, when every other creature takes refuge from the fury of the elements, the seals are seen by thousands sporting along the shore, and delighted with the universal disorder. This, however, may arise from the sea being at that time too turbulent for them to reside in; and they may then particularly come upon land, when unable to resist the shock of their more usual element. ** As seals are gregarious, so they are also animals of passage, and perhaps the only quadrupeds that migrate from one part of the world to another. The generality of quadrupeds are contented with their native plains and forests, and seldom stray, except when necessity or fear impels them. But seals change their habitation; and are seen in vast multitudes directing their course from one continent to another.(g) On the northern coasts of Greenland they are seen to retire in July, and to return again in September. This time it is supposed they go in pursuit of food. But they make a second departure in March to cast their young, and return in the beginning of June, young and all, in great body together, observing in their route a certain fixed time and track, like
Love of MUSICAL Sounds.- The seal, tleman in the neighbourhood of Burntisland, though the ears are cropped close to the head, county of Fife, Scotland, completely suchas a most delicate sense of hearing, and ceeded in taming a seal. Its singularities delights in musical sounds: this fact was not attracted the curiosity of strangers daily. It unknown to the ancients. Laing, in his ac- appeared to possess all the sagacity of a dog, count of a voyage to Spitzbergen, states that lived in its master's house, and ate from his a numerous auditory of seals would surround hand. In his fishing excursions, this gentlethe vessel and follow it for miles when the man generally took it with him, when it violin (as was often the case) was played on afforded no small entertainment. If thrown deck. And the late Sir Walter Scott, in allu- into the water, it would follow for miles the sion to this singular trait in the nature of the track of the boat; and, though thrust back animal, says,
by the oars, it never relinquished its purpose. Rude Heiskar's seals, throvgh surges dark, Indeed it struggled so hard to regain its seat, Will long pursue the minstrel's bark?"
that one would imagine its fondness for its Among many instances of the domestica- master had entirely overcome the natural pretion of the seal, and its use in fishing, we dilection for its native element.”—Religious select the following anecdote, with which we Tract Society's NATURAL History. close our account. “ In January 1819, a gen. (g) Buffon.
(8) Krantz, vol. i. p. 129.
birds of passage. When they go upon this expedition, they are seen in great droves, for many days together, making towards the north, taking that part of the sea most free from ice, and going still forward into those seas where man cannot follow. In what manner they return, or by what passage, is utterly unknown; it is only observed, that when they leave the coasts to go out upon this expedition, they are all extremely fat, but on their return they come home excessively lean.
The females in our climate bring forth in winter, and rear their young upon some sand-bank, rock, or desolate island, at some distance from the continent. When they suckle their young, they sit up on their hinder legs, while these, which are at first white with woolly hair, cling to the teats, of which there are four in number, near the navel.(8) In this manner the young continue in the place where they are brought forth, for twelve or fifteen days; after which the dam brings them down to the water, and accustoms them to swim and get their food by their own industry. As each litter never exceeds above three or four, so the animal's cares are not much divided, and the education of her little ones is soon completed. In fact, the young are particularly docile; they understand the mother's voice among the numerous bleatings of the rest of the old ones; they mutually assist each other in danger, and are perfectly obedient to her call.* Thus early accustomed to subjection, they continue to live in society, hunt and herd together, and have a variety of tones, by which they encourage to pursue, or warn each other of danger. Some compare their voices to the bleating of a flock of sheep, interrupted now and then by the barking of angry dogs, and sometimes the sbriller notes of a cat.(8) All along the shore, each has its own peculiar rock, of which it takes possession, and where it sleeps when fatigued with fishing, uninterrupted by any of the rest. The only season when their social spirit seems to forsake them, is that when they feel the influences of natural desire. They then fight most desperately; and the male that is victorious, keeps all the females to himself. Their combats on these occasions are managed with great obstinacy, and yet great justice: two are never seen to fall upon one together; but each has its antagonist, and all fight an equal battle, till one alone becomes victorious.
We are not certainly informed how long the females continue pregnant; but if we may judge from the time which intervenes between their departure from
* DOMESTICATION OF ANIMALS.--It appears earth. After other illustrations, the writer that what we call the domestication of ani- concludes, that all domestication is founded mais, consists in our becoming members of on the propensity which animals have to live the society which these animals form among together in herds, and to attach themselves themselves. Man becomes the chief of its to one another. “We obtain it only by enherd; from the moment that an animal ad- ticement, and principally by augmenting mits man as a member of its society, it is their wants, and satisfying them. But we domesticated, -" as a mau could not enter could only produce domestic individuals, and into such society without becoming the chief not races, without the concurrence of one of of it.”. Applying these principles to wild the most general laws of life, the transmisanimals, the apes and monkeys, notwith- sion of the organic or intellectual modificastanding their social instinct and intellect, tions by generation. Here one of the most are yet so violent and irritable, as to be inca- astonishing phenomena of nature manifests pable of all useful subjection. Among carni. itself to us, the transformation of a fortuitous vorous animals, the seals, together with the modification into a desirable form; of a fugivarious species of the dog tribe, would be the tive want into a fundamental propensity; of best adapted to attach themselves to us, and an incident habit into an instinct. This serve us. M. Cuvier suggests, that the seal subject is assuredly worthy of exciting the might be trained for fishing, as the dog is attention of the most accurate observers, and for hunting. Several animals peculiar to of occupying the meditations of the most South America, having but very feeble means profound thinkers. --ARCANA OF SCIENCE, of defence, will, as that country is peopled, 1829. gradually disappear from the face of the (8) Coeunt in littore resupinata femina.-Lin. Syst.
(8) Linnæi Syst.
the Greenland coasts and their return, they cannot go above seven or eight months at the farthest.*
The seal is taken for the sake of its skin, and for the oil its fat yields. The former sells for about four shillings; and, when dressed, is very useful in covering trunks, making waistcoats, shot-pouches, and several other conve
* PROROSCIS SKAL.-Numerous herds of same circumstance, and adds, that towards these seals inhabit the land of Kerguelen, the the latter end of their fast, when they have Island of Georgia, and the land of the States, become extremely emaciated, they swallow a where the English habitually maintain their considerable quantity of stones, to keep their fishery of these animals. They exist in great stomachs distended. The growth of the numbers on the Island of Juan Fernandez. young is extremely rapid ; at the end of eight It is probable that the small fresh-water lakes days it weighs 100lbs. So considerable an in which these seals delight to bathe, may increase can only take place at the expense induce their preference for particular spots; of the parent, for she does not repair by any but from all the observations that have hither- kind of food the loss of the nutritious sub. to been made, these powerful animals are stance which she has supplied. Hence she confined between the 35th and 55th degrees visibly grows lean; some have even been obof south latitude, inhabiting the Atlantic and served to perish during this painful lactation : the great Southern Ocean.
but it is, of course, uncertain whether an in. Besides choosing some islands by prefer- ternal malady might not have been the cause. ence, these seals also change their residence At the end of fifteen days the milk teeth at particular seasons; they are in fact migra- appear, and are completed in four months. tory animals. Equally obnoxious to extreme The stages of growth follow so rapidly, that heat as to severe cold, they advance with the in three years the young animals have acwinter season from the south to the north, quired a length of from eighteen to five and and return with summer in the contrary di- twenty feet, which is the ordinary limit of rection. It is in the middle of June that their growth in this direction; they afterthey perform their first migration, covering, wards increase only in breadth. At this in countless multitudes, the shores of King's period the young males first acquire the Island, which sometimes, the English sailors proboscis. say, are blackened by them. The same mi- At the age of six or seven weeks the young gratory movements have been remarked by ones are conducted to the water; the shores Rogers and Steller in other species of seals, are then abandoned for some time, the whole which they have compared, in that respect, herd row together, if we may so express ourto swans, wild geese, &c.
selves. The manner of swimming of these A month after their arrival, the females mammalia is rather slow; they are forced, at bring forth ; at this period they are sur- very short intervals, to come to the surface of rounded by the males, which prevent their the water to breathe the air, which is essenreturn to the sea, and even compel them to tial to their existence. It is observed that remain on shore, until the period of suckling when any of the young seals separate from the their young is ended. Nay, it is asserted herd, they are immediately pursued by some that when the mothers, wearied of this con- of the old ones, who compel them, by biting, finement, endeavour to drive away their off to return to the family group. spring, the males bite the young ones, and After having remained three weeks or a compel them to return. The female has but month at sea, both to familiarize the young one young, which measures, when born, from ones with that element, and to repair the four to five feet in length, and weighs about powers that have been exhausted by a long seventy pounds; the males are already larger abstinence, the sea-elephants return a second than the females.
time to the shore, and the work of reproducThe mother turns on her side to give suck tion recommences. to the young. Lactation lasts seven or eight At this period the males have furious and weeks, during which period the females, bloody combats, but always individual against guarded as above mentioned, neither eat nor individual. Their manner of fighting is come down to the sea. This strange absti- remarkable. The two colossal rivals drag pence did not escape the observation of the themselves heavily along; they meet, muzzle unfortunate Alexander Selkirk, who informed to muzzle; they raise the whole of the fore Captain Rogers, that towards the end of the part of the body on their flippers; they open month of June these animals visited his soli- wide their enormous mouth; their eyes are tary abode, bringing forth their young about inflamed with fury: thus prepared, they drive a musket-shot from the sea, and staying to themselves furiously against each other, and the end of September, without shifting their falling together with the shock, teeth to teeth, place, or taking any kind of nourishment and jaw to jaw, they reciprocally inflict severe during all that time. Forster relates the lacerations ; sometimes the eyes are torn ou! niencies. The flesh of this animal formerly found place at the tables of the great. At a feast provided by Archbishop Nevill, for Edward the Fourth, there were twelve seals and porpoises provided, among other extraordinary rarities. *
of their sockets in this conflict; still more of its keeper as perfectly as the most faithful frequently they loose their tusks; blood flows dog. When he entered at one end of its long abundantly; but the obstinate combatants, apartment, it raised its body from the water. without appearing to feel their wounds, con- in which it was injudiciously too constantly tinue the fight until their powers are com- kept, supporting itself erect against the bar pletely exhausted. It is rare to see one left of its inclosure, and wherever he moved, keepdead on the field of battle, for their wounds ing its large dark eyes steadfastly fixed upon are observed to heal with inconceivable promp- him. When desired to make obeisance to titude. The English sailors attribute this to visiters, it quickly threw itself on one side. some peculiar qualities of the blubber, the and struck the opposite one several times in natural salve; but it probably results from quick succession with its fore foot, producing the obvious influence this substance must a loud noise. The young seal, again, which have in excluding the air from the wounds, was kept on board the Alexander, in one of and in arresting the bleeding.
the northern expeditions, became so much During these murderous conflicts, the fe- attached to its new mode of life, that after males remain indifferent spectators to the being thrown into the sea, and it had become rage they have excited, and submit to the tired of swimming at liberty, it regularly reconqueror, who assumes the mastership of turned to the side of the boat, to be retaken the herd. The sailors call him the Bashaw, on board. Such examples might be greatly comparing him to the jealous and despotic multiplied ; and I cannot help stating, that master of a Turkish harem.
aware of this disposition to become familiar, The suy now approaching the antarctic and this participation in the good qualities hemisphere, the heat increases, and the of the dog, it is astonishing that mankind whole herd resumes the route to the south- have not chosen this intellectual and finely orward, there to remain till the return of frost ganized quadruped for aquatic services scarcely compels them again to resort to the more less important than some of those in which the temperate coasts of the Isle of King. Some dog is employed on the surface of the land. individuals, however, are observed to stay The benefits which the inhabitants of there throughout the summer; but whether frigid regions derive from seals are far too detained by infirmity, or loss of strength numerous and diversified to be particularized, necessary for an extensive navigation, or by as they supply them with almost all the consome other disposition which renders a greater veniences of life. We, on the contrary, so degree of heat essential to them, is uncertain. persecute this animal, as to destroy hun.
The great migrations of the sea-elephant, dreds of thousands annually, for the sake however remarkable they may be, are not pe- of the pure and transparent oil with which culiar to this species; the habit probably the seal abounds : 2ndly, for its tanned skin. obtains with every tribe of seals. Influenced which is appropriated to various purposes by by the same wants, these voyages take place different modes of preparation; and 3rdly, in both hemispheres at analogous periods, we pursue it for its close and dense attire. and in this respect the conformity of habits In the common seal, the hair of the adult is is so great between the seals of the north ob- of one uniform kind, so thickly arranged and served by Steller, and those we have been imbued with oil, as to effectually resist the describing, as to render it probable that these action of water; while, on the contrary, in migrations are the same in all the amphibious the antarctic seals it is of twu kinds: the mammalia.—PERON ET LE Sueur.
longest, like that of the northern seals; the * HABITS AND USES OF Seals.- The brain other, a delicate, soft fur, growing between of this animal, observes Dr. Harwood, (at a the roots of the former, close to the surface recent meeting of the Royal Institution,) is, of the skin, and not seen externally; and this I think, doubtless, of greater proportionate beautiful fur constitutes an article of very magnitude than any other quadruped, and, increasing importance in commerce; but not not only does it exhibit in its countenance, only does the clothing of the seal vary matethe appearance of sagacity, but its intelli- rially in colour, fineness, and commercial gence is in reality far greater than in most situation, in the different species, but not land quadrupeds : hence its domestication is less so in the age of the animal. The young rendered much easier than that of other ani. of most kinds are usually of a very light co mals, and it is susceptible of more powerful lour, or entirely white, and are altogether attachment. The large seal, which was ex- destitute of true hair, having this substituted hibited some time ago at Exeter Change, by a long and particularly soft fur.–ARCANA appeared to me to understand the language or Science, 1828.
As a variety of this animal, we may mention the Sea Lion, described in Anson's Voyages. This is much larger than any of the former ; being from eleven to eighteen feet long. It is so fat that, when the skin is taken off, the blubber lies a foot thick all round the body. It seems to differ from the ordinary seal, not only in its size, but also in its food : for it is often seen to graze along the shore, and to feed upon the long grass that grows up along the edges of brooks. Its cry is very various, sometimes resembling the neighing of a horse, and sometimes the grunting of the hog. It may be regarded as the largest of the seal family.*
* Nose OF THE SEAL.—The nose of the them. He rises on his fins, shows his tusks, seal is considered by physiologists to be the and makes a horrible noise, but all in vain; most perfect nose belonging to the class of his weight renders his strength useless, and quadrupeds. Sir B. Harwood has computed the fishermen pierce him with their spears in that the smelling surface in the nose of a sin- the breast. If at first he does not fall, findgle seal amounts to the enormous quantity of ing himself wounded, he covers the wound 240 square inches.--ARCANA OF SCIENCE,1830. with a fin, going backwards till he dies. The
SEA ELEPHANTS AND Sea Lions.-The females crowd together, and as they offer no * amphibious animals of South America have resistance, the business of death is soon over been hitherto the only production which fo with the whole group. The fat is found reigners have turned to advantage. Among between the skin and the flesh, and is somethese the sea-elephant ought to have the first times six inches thick; and the blubber is place. The male of that species, when it has extracted by frying the fat. The skin is of attained its full bulk, is from seven to seven no use whatever. Some elephants have and a half varas in length, and from five to yielded as much as two pipes of blubber. five and a half in circumference. The females The sea-lion, or pelucon, is from four to never exceed four varas in length, with pro- five varas in length, with a head more bulky, portionate thickness. Its formation is like in proportion, than the elephant. The males that of the rest of the phoca genus, differing have a mane; and as they are infinitely more only in the head, which is smaller in propor- nimble than the elephants, and it is dantion. The large males go out on the beach gerous to attack them with spears, they are in August, September, and October, sooner or generally killed with fire-arms. In their later, according as the spring has been more manner of living they resemble the elephants or less cold. At their cry the females assem- last mentioned; only with this difference, that ble in a gang around the strongest male; they go more frequently into the sea. As and, if any rival comes, they fight terribly, the sea-lions have but very little fat, and until the one overcome again betakes himself their skin is of inconsiderable value, they are to the sea. The females produce on land, not persecuted, and are, therefore, very numeduring these months, one, but rarely two Some of them go from the sea to the young, which at first are black, and retain smooth headlands on the banks of the North; that colour three weeks or a month, during but their principal rendezvous is on the shores which time they suck. Afterwards they of the South, in the vicinity of San Antonio change their hair to dark grey; they are and San José. then abandoned by their mothers, who rut, The sea-wolf, with two kinds of hair, is a become with cub again, and betake them- vara and a half in length; and has a dark selves to the sea, as well as the large males. grey fur, long and coarse, which The young ones go in gangs of from fifty to other that is very fine ; and it is this that sixty, and always remain two months on the makes it valuable. Their manner of living shore. The males and females of a year old is the same as that of the lions. They are quit the sea in November and December, killed with sticks; but, having been very change their hair, and remain a month, or a much persecuted, they have become extremely month and a half on shore. During the rest fierce; and on the least alarm they plunge of the year, some of them quit the sea, but into the sea, not rising again for the distance in small numbers, and in general lean. It of more than half a league. At present there is worthy of remark, that while these animals are some of them in the bay of Buenos remain out of the sea, which sometimes is Cables, to the North of the river Negro, and for the space of from two months and a half in some places between San Antonio and to three, they eat nothing.
San José. The killing of these animals commences The sea-wolf, with one kind of hair, is with the first, which leave the sea in Sep- somewhat larger than the former : it has only tember. The fishermen, armed with spears, one sort of fur, very ordinary and dark grey. approach a gang. The females, which are As they are of no value, they are left unmosometimes at a distance from the males, draw lested, and are therefore not so fierce as the near to him, in order that he may defend others. - Account or Rio De La Plata.