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The enmity of these animals to mankind is partly ridiculous and partly formidable. They seem, says Le Comte and others, to have a peculiar instinct in discovering their foes ; and are perfectly skilled, when attacked, in mutually defending and assisting each other. When a traveller enters among these woods, they consider him as an invader upon their dominions, and join all to repel the intrusion. At first they survey him with a kind of insolent curiosity. They jump from branch to branch, pursue him as he goes along, and make a lond chattering, to call the rest of their companions together. They then begin their hostilities by grinding, threatening, and flinging down the withered branches at him, which they break from the trees: they even take their excrements in their hands, and throw them at his head. Thus they attend him wherever he goes; jumping from tree te tree with such amazing swiftness that the eye can scarce attend their motions.
The curiosity of the Europeans has, in some measure, indaced the natives of the places where these animals reside to catch or take them alive by every art they are able. The usual way, in such case, is to shoot the female as she carries her young, and then both, of course, tumble to the ground. But even this is not easily performed; for, if the animal be not killed outright, it will not fall but, clinging to some branch, continues, even when dea its former grasp, and remains on the tree where it was shot until it drops off by putrefaction. In this manner it is totally lost to the pursuer; for to attempt climbing the tree, to bring either it or the young one down, would probably be fatal, from the number of serpents that are kid among the branches. For this reason the sportsman always takes care to aim at the head; which, if he hits, the monkey falls directly to the ground, and the young one comes down, at the same time, clinging to its dead parent.
The Europeans, along the coast of Guinea, often go into the woods to shoot monkeys; and nothing pleases the negroes more than to see these animals drop, against which they have the greatest animosity. They consider them, and not without reason, as the most mischievous and tormenting creatures in the world; and are bappy to see their numbers destroyed upon a double account—as well because they dread their devastations, as because they love their flesh. The monkey, which is always skinned before it is eaten, when served up at a negro feast, looks so like a child that an European is shocked at the very sight. The vatives, however, who are not so nice, devour it as one of the highest delicacies, and assiduously attend our sportsmen to profit by the spoil.
The negroes consider these animals as their greatest plague; and, indeed, they do incredible damage when they come in companies to lay waste a field of Indian corn or rice, or a plantation of sugar-canes. They carry off as much as they are able, and they destroy ten times more than they bear away. Their manner of plandering is pretty much like that of the baboons, already mentioned, in a garden.
The chief food of the monkey tribe is fruits, the buds of trees, or succulent roots and plants. They all, like man, seem fond of sweets; and, particularly, the pleasant juice of the palm-tree and the sugar-cane. With these the fertile regions in which they are bred seldom fail to supply them; but when it happens that these fail, or that more nourishing food becomes more agreeable, they eat insects and worms; and, sometimes, if near the coasts, descend to the sea-shore, where they eat oysters, crabs, and shell-fish.(3)
(8) Habits or MONKEYS.-Their manner that animal takes refuge, and the crab fastenof managing an oyster is extraordinary ing upon it, they withdraw it with a jerk, and enough, but it is too well attested to fail of thus pull their prey upon shore. This habit our assent. As the oysters in the tropical of laying traps for other animals makes them climates are generally larger than with us, very cautious of being entraped themselves; the monkeys, when they go to the sea-side, and I am assured, by many persons of credit, pick up a stone and clap it between the open- that no snare, how nicely baited soever, will ing shells : this prevents them from closing, take the monkey of the West Indian Islands; and the monkey then eats the fish at his for, having been accustomed to the cunning ease. They often also draw crabs from the of man, it opposes its natural distrust to water by putting their tail to the hole where human artifice.
The monkey generally brings forth one at a time, and sometimes two. They are rarely found to breed when brought over into Europe ; but of those that do, they exhibit a very striking picture of parental affection. The male and female are never tired of fondling their young one. When in a state of domestic tameness, these animals are very amusing, and often fill up a vacant hour when other amusement is wanting. There are few that are not acquainted with their various mimickries, and their capricious feats of activity. But it is generally in company with other animals of a more simple disposition that their tricks and superior instincts are shown: they seem to take a delight in tormenting them; and I have seen one of them amusing itself for hours together in imposing upon the gravity of a cat.(g)
As of all savages those of Africa are the most brutal, so, of all countries, the monkeys of Africa are the most expert and entertaining. The monkeys of America are, in general, neither so sagacious nor so tractable, nor is their form so nearly approaching that of man. The monkeys of the new continent may be very easily distinguished from those of the old by three marks. Those of the ancient continent are universally found to have a naked callous substance behind, upon which they sit, which those of America are entirely without: those also of the ancient continent have the nostrils differently formed, more resembling those of men, the holes opening downward; whereas the American monkeys have them opening on each side: those of the ancient world have pouches on each side the jaw, into which they put their provisions, which those of America are without; lastly, none of the monkeys of the ancient continent hang hy the tail, which many of the American sorts are known to do. By these marks the monkeys of either continent may be readily distinguished from each other, and prized accordingly. The African monkey, as I am assured, requires a longer education, and more correction, than that of America; but it is at last found capable of more various powers of imitation, and shows a greater degree of cunning and activity. Buffon,
who has examined this race of imitative beings with greater accuracy than any other naturalist before him, makes but nine species of monkeys belonging to the ancient continent, and eleven belonging to the new. To all these be gives the names which they go by in their respective countries; which, undoubt. edly, is the method least liable to error, and the most proper for imitation.*
THE MAKI.— The last of the monkey kind are the Makies ; which have no other preteusions to be placed in this class, except that of having hands like the former, and making use of them to climb trees or to pluck their food. The first of this kind is the Mococo; a beautiful animal, about the size of a common cat, but the body and limbs slenderer, and of a longer make. It has a very long tail, at least double the length of its body; it is covered with fur, and marked alternately with broad rings of black and white. But what it is chiefly remarkable for, besides the form of its hands and feet, is the largeness of its eyes, which are
(8) ANECDOTE – Erasmus tells us of a place; and the disappointed weasel was too large monkey, kept by Sir Thomas More, much fatigued to renew its operations. that, one day diverting itself in his garden, * VARIETIES OF THIS SPECIES.-of the where some tame rabbits were kept, played great number of species, upwards of one hun. several of its usual pranks among them, while Åred which are now known and characterized, the rabbits scarce well knew what to make of very few are distinguished from their immetheir new acquaintance. In the mean time, diate fellows by striking and strongly-marked a weasel, that came for very different purposes characters, either physical or moral. Th than those of entertainment, was seen peering groups, too, are connected by such gradua about the place in which the rabbits were fed, and easy transitions, that although the typica and endeavouring to make its way by remov- forms of each, isolated from the mass and ing a board that closed their hutch. While placed in contrast with each other, unquesthe monkey saw no danger, it continued a tionably exhibit many broadly-distinguishing calm spectator of the enemy's efforts ; but peculiarities, yet the entire series offers å just when, by long labour, the weasel had chain so nearly complete and unbroken as effected its purpose, and had removed the scarcely to admit of being treated of in any board, the monkey stepped in, and, with the other way than as one homogeneous whole. utmost dexterity, fastened it again in its GRIFFITH.
Bewick illustrates one in his work, from a living specimen, wbich he says was remarkably gentle, tame, and familiar; and seemed to have some attachment to those with whom it was acquainted. Its length was eighteen inches; tail about two feet. It was fed with bread, roasted meat, and fruit of all kinds, of which t was particularly fond.
THE OPPOSSUM, AND ITS KINDS.to these four-banded animals of the ancient continent, we may add the four-handed animals of the new, that use their hands like the former, as well as their tails, and that
(The Mona Monkey.) fill up the chasm between the monkey tribe and the lower orders of the forest.
The first and the most remarkable of this tribe is the Oppossuin, an animal found both in North and South America, of the size of a small cat. The head resembles that of a fox; it has fifty teeth in all; but two great ones in the midst, like those of a rat. The eyes are little, round, clear, lively, and placed upright; the ears are long, broad, and transparent, like those of the rat kind; its tail also increases the similitude, being round, long, a little hairy in the beginning, but quite naked towards the end. The fore legs
(The Virginian Oppossum.) are short, being about three inches long, while those behind are about four. The feet are like hands, each having five toes or fingers, with white crooked nails, and rather longer dehind than before. But it is particular in this animal that the thumb on the ninder legs wants a nail; whereas the fingers are furnished with clawed nails as usual.
But that which distinguishes this animal from all others, and what has excited the wonder of mankind for more than two centuries, is the extraordinary conformation of its belly, as it is found to have a false womb, into which the young, when bronght forth in the usual manner, creep, and continue for some days longer to lodge and suckle securely. This bag, if we may so call it, being one of the most extraordinary things in natural history, requires a more minute description. Under the belly of the female is a kind of slit or opening, of
• Pouched AnimALS. — This race was pletely in general organization, as well as in known at first only in America: all the spe- this peculiar conformation of the genitals, cies found on that continent agree so com- that Linnæus found in them the elements of about three inches long : this opening is composed of a skin, which makes a bag internally, which is covered on the inside with hair, and in this bag are the teats of the female, and into it the young, when brought forth, retire, either to suckle or to escape from danger. This bag has a power of opening and shutting at the will of the animal; and this is performed by means of several muscles, and two bones, that are fitted for this purpose, and that are peculiar to this animal only. These two bones are placed before the os pubis, to which they are joined at the base; they are about two inches long, and grow. smaller and smaller to their extremities. These support the muscles that serve to open the bag, and give them a fixture. To these muscles there are antagonists, that serve, in the same manner, to shut the bag; and this they perform so exactly, that in the living animal the opening can scarcely be discerned, except when the sides are forcibly drawn asunder. The inside of this bag is furnished with glands that exude a musky substance, which communicates to the flesh of the animal, and renders it unfit to be eaten. It is not to be supposed that this is the place where the young are conceived, as some have been led to imagine; for the oppossum has another womb, like that of the generality of animals, in which generation is performed in the ordinary inanner. The bag we have been describing may rather be considered as a supplemental womb. In the real womb the little animal is partly brought to perfection ; in the ordinary one it receives a kind of additional incubation ; and acquires at last strength enough to follow the dam wherever she goes. We have many reasons to suppose that the young of this animal are all brought forth prematurely, or before they have acquired that degree of perfection which is common in other quadrupeds. The little ones, when first produced, are in a manner but half completed; and some travellers assert that they are at that time not much larger than flies. We are assured, also, that, immediately on quitting the real womb, they creep into the false one, where they continue fixed to the teat until they have strength sufficient to venture once more into the open air, and share the fatigues of the parent. Ulloa assures is that he has found five of these little creatures hidden in the belly of the dam tbree days after she was dead, still alive, and all clinging to the teat with great evidity. It is probable, therefore, that, upon their first entering the false womb, they seldom stir out from thence; but when more advanced they venture forth several times in the day; and, at last, seldom make use of their retreat, except in cases of necessity or danger, Travellers are not agreed in their accounts of a single genus, which he called Didelphis, or it. M. d'Aboville then determined to seize double wombed.
and examine her : the pouch, the aperture of Afterwards, from the East Indies, and still which had widened before, was now nearly later from the regions of Australasia, animals closed; a slimy secretion moistened the hairs arrived, equally distinguished by the posses- on its circumference. On the fifteenth day, sion of the abdominal pouch.
a finger was introduced into the pouch, and At first, an opinion arose that the young of a round body about the size of a pea was these animals were actually produced in the plainly felt at the bottom. This examination abdominal pouch beside the maminæ of the was made with difficulty, on account of the mother. This notion is also common in Vir- impatience of the mother, who had before this ginia even among physicians. Beverly says been always very mild and tranquil. On the that the young oppossum exists in the false seventeenth, she permitted a further examibelly, without ever entering the true, and are nation, and M. d'Aboville discovered two developed on the teats of the mother. Two bodies about the size of a pea. There was, oppossums, male and female, were domesti- however, a great number of these young ones. cated in the house of M. d'Aboville, in 1783; On the twenty-fifth day, they moved very these animals copulated, and the effects were perceptibly, yielding to the touch; on the for. attentively observed by that gentleman. In tieth, the pouch was sufficiently open for them about ten days the edge of the orifice of the to be plainly distinguished; and on the sixpouch grew thicker--a phenomenon which tieth, when the mother lay down, they were afterwards grew more perceptible. As the seen hanging to the teats, some outside the pouch increased in size, the orifice widened. pouch, some inside. The nipple is about two. On the thirteenth day, the female did not eighths of an inch in length; but it soon quit her retreat except to eat, drink, and eva- dries up, and at last drops off, after the man. cuate : on the fourteenth she did not stir from ner of the umbilical cord.—CUVIER.