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CHAP. XXIV.

THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.

bren lappie pulamus is an animal as large and not less formidable than the rhinoIssa liniegs are shorter, and its head rather more bulky than that of the aniThana has been bed. We have had but few opportunities in Europe of examining intek 10. doble creature minutely; its dimensions, however, have been pretty We webwued by a description given us by Zerenghi, an Italian surgeon, who pewn werd one of them to be killed on the banks of the river Nile. By his ac

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(The Hippopotamus ) count, it appears that this terrible animal, which chiefly resides in the waters of that river, is above seventeen feet long from the extremity of the snout to the mertion of the tail; above sixteen feet in circumference round the body, and above seven feet high: the head is near four feet long and above nine feet in circumference. The jaws open about two feet wide, and the cutting-teeth, of which it has four in each jaw, are above a foot long.*

Its feet in some measure resemble those of the elephant, and are divided into four parts. The tail is short, filat, and pointed; the hide is amazingly thick, and

Size of the HIPPOPOTAMUS.—The head and stands above seven seet high. It runs of a hippopotamus has recently been brought with astonishing swiftness for its great bulk to England, with all the flesh about it, in a at the bottom of lakes and rivers, but not high state of preservation. This amphibious with as much ease on land. When excited, animal was harpooned while in combat with it puts forth its full strength, which is prodiA crocodile, in a lake in the interior of Africa. gious." I have seen,” says a mariner, as we The head measures near four feet long and find it in Dampier, “ one of these animals

set in circumference: the jaws open open its jaws, and seizing a boat between its

?e, and the cutting-teeth, of which teeth, at once bite and sink it to the bottom.

each jaw, are above a foot long I have seen it on another occasion place itselt es in circumference. Its ears under one of our boats, and rising under it, i than a terrier's, and are much overset it with six men who were in it, but ne shape. This formidable and who, however, happily received no other in. ure. when full-grown, measures jury.” At one time it was not uncommon in 'n feet long from the extremity the Nile, but now it is no where to be found

insertion of the tail, above in that river, except above the cataracts.nference round the body, Mag. Nat. Hist.

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though not capable of turning a musket-ball, is impenetrable to the blow of a sabre; the body is covered over with a few scattered bairs of a whitish colour. The whole figure of the animal is something between that of an ox and a hog, and its cry is something between the bellowing of the one and the grunting of the other.

This animal, however, though so terribly furnished for war, seems no way disposed to make use of its prodigious strength against an equal enemy; it chiefly resides at the bottom of the great rivers and lakes of Africa; the Nile, the Niger, and the Zara; there it leads an indolent kind of life, and seems seldom disposed for action, except when excited by the calls of hunger. Upon such occasions, three or four of them are often seen at the bottom of a river, ncar some cataract, forming a kind of line, and seizing upon such fish as are forced down by the violence of the stream. In that element they pursue their prey with great swiftness and perseverance; they swim with much force, and remain at the bottom for thirty or forty minutes without rising to take breath. They traverse the bottom of the stream, as if walking upon land, and make a terrible devastation where they find plenty of prey. But it often happens that this animal's fishy food is not supplied in sufficient abundance; it is then forced to come upon land, where it is an awkward and unwieldy stranger: it moves but slowly, and, as it seldom forsakes the margin of the river, it sinks at every step it takes; sometimes, however, it is forced by famine up into the higher grounds, where it commits dreadful havoc among the plantations of the helpless natives, who see their possessions destroyed, without daring to resist their invader. Their chief method is by lighting tires, striking drums, and raising a cry to frighten it back to its favourite element; and as it is extremely timorous upon land, they generally succeed in their endeavours. But if they bappen to wound, or otherways irritate it too closely, it then becomes formidable to all that oppose it: it overturns whatever it meets, and brings forth all its strength, which it seemed not to have discovered before that dangerous occasion. It possesses the same inoffensive disposition in its favourite element, that it is found to have upon land ; it is never found to attack the mariners in their boats, as they go up or down the stream; but should they inadvertently strike against it, or otherwise disturb its repose, there is much danger of its sending them, at once, to the bottom. “I have seen,” says a mariner, as we find it in Dampier, “one of these animals open its jaws, and seizing any boat between its teeth, at once bite and sink it to the bottom. I have seen it upon another occasion, place itself under one of our boats, and rising onder it, overset it with six men which were in it; who, however, bappily received no other injury.” Such is the great strength of this animal ; and from hence, probably, the imagination has been willing to match it in combat against others more fierce and equally formidable. The crocodile and shark have been said to engage with it, and yield an easy victory ; but as the shark is only found at sea, and the hippopotamus never ventures beyond the mouth of fresh-water rivers, it is most probable that these engagements never occurred; it sometimes happens, indeed, that the princes of Africa amuse themselves with combats on their fresh-water lakes, between this and other formidable animals; but whether the rhinoceros or the crocodile are of this number, we have not been particularly informed. If this animal be attacked at land, and finding itself incapable of vengeance froin the swiftness of its enemy, it immediately returns to the river, where it plunges in head foremost, and after a short time rises to the surface, loudly bellowing, either to invite or intimidate the enemy; but though the negroes will venture to attack the shark, or the crocodile, in their natural element, and there destroy them, they are too well apprized of the force of the buppopotamus to engage it; this animal, therefore, continues the uncontroled master of the river, and all others fly from its approach, and become an easy prey.

As the hippopotamus lives upon fish and vegetables, so it is probable the flesh of terrestrial animals may be equally grateful : the natives of Africa assert, that, it has often been found to evour children and other creatures that it was

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wipine upon land; yet it moves but slowly, almost every creature Bela comuon share of swiftness, is able to escape it; and this animal, Mitwie, w loro ventures from the river side, but when pressed by the neces pose in munger, or of bringing forth its young.

ma lemale always comes upon land to bring forth, and it is supposed that we loin produces above one at a time; upon this occasion, these animals He particularly timorous, and dread the approach of a terrestrial enemy; the

dit the parent hears the slig btest noise, it dashes into the stream, and the koung one is seen to follow it with equal alacrity.

The young ones are said to be excellent eating; but the negroes, to whom nothing that has life comes amiss, find an eqnal dehcacy in the old. Dr. Pococke has seen their flesh sold in the shambles, like beef; and it is sait, that their breast, in particular, is as delicate eating as veal. As for the rest, these animals are found in great numbers, and as they produce very fast, their desh might supply the countries where they are found, could those barbarous reywoos produce more expert huntsmen; it may be remarked, however, that this creature, which was once in such plenty at the mouth of the Nile, is now wholly unknown in Lower Egypt, and is no where to be found in that river, except above the cataracts.

CHAP. XXV.

THE CAMELOPARD.

Were we to be told of an animal so tall, that a man on horseback could with ease ride under its belly, without stooping,we should hardly give credit to the relation; yet of this extraordinary size is the camelopard, an animal that inhabits the deserts of Africa; and the accounts of which are so well ascertained that we cannot deny our assent to their anthority. It is no easy matter to form an adequate idea of this creature's size, and the oddity of its formation. It exhibits somewhat of the slender

(The Camelopard.) shape of the deer, or the camel, but destitute of their symmetry, or their easy power of motion. The head somewhat resembles that of the deer, with two round horns, near a foot long, and which, it is probable, it sheds as deer are found to do; its neck resembles that of a horse ; its legs and feet those of the deer, but with this extraordinary difference, that the fore legs are nearly twice as long as the hinder. As these creatures have been found eighteen feet high, and ten from the ground to the top of the shoulders, so allowing three feet for the depth of the body, seven feet remains, which is high enough to admit a man mounted upon a middle-sized horse. The binder part, however, is much lower,

that whien the animal appears standing, and at rest, it bas somewhat the pearance of a dog sitting, and this formation of its legs gives it an awkward La laborious motion; which, though swift, must yet be tiresome. For this ason the camelopard is an animal very rarely found, and only finds refuge in he most internal desert regions of Africa. The dimensions of a young one, as

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they were accurately taken by a person who examined its skin, that was brought from the Cape of Good Hope, were found to be as follow: the length of the bead was one foot eight inches; the height of the fore leg, from the ground to the top of the shoulder, was ten feet; from the shoulder to the top of the head, was seven ; the height of the hind leg was eight feet five inches ; and from the top of the shoulder to the insertion of the tail, was just seven feet long.

No animal, either from its disposition, or its formation, seems less fitted for a state of natural hostility ; its horns are blunt, and even knobbed at the ends; its teeth are made entirely for vegetable pasture; its skin is beautifully speckled with white spots upon a brownish ground; it is timorous and harmless, and notwithstanding, its great size, rather flies from, than resists the slightest enemy; it partakes very much of the nature of the camel, which it so nearly resembles; it lives entirely upon vegetables, and when grazing, is obliged to spread its fore legs very wide, in order to reach its pasture ; its motion is a kind of pace, two legs on each side moving at the same time, whereas in other animals they move transversely. It often lies down with its belly to the earth, and, like the camel, has a callous substance upon its breast, which, when reposed, defends it from injury. This animal was known to the ancients, but has been very rarely seen in Europe.* One of them was sent from the East to

* The Girappe.—The history of the gi. since Julius Cæsar's time, (when I think raffe atfords one of the most striking exam- there were two of them at Rome,) I imagine ples of the slow and uncertain progress of its drawing, and a more certain knowledge natural history, and strongly points out the of its reality, will not be disagreeable to you. necessity of unwearied research and repeated As the existence of this fine animal has been observation to ensure its advancement. In- doubted by many, if you think it may afford vleed it appears scarcely credible that the any pleasure to the curious, you will make quadruped which exceeds every other in its what use of it you please." He goes on to lofty stature, which bears so remote a resem- say, that a party of men sent by the Governor blance to any in its extraordinary proportions, of the Cape of Good Hope on an inland disand is equalled by so few in the beauty of its covery, found two of these creatures; but colouring, should have remained till within they caught only the young one, from which sixty years of the present time so obscurely the drawing was taken, and the skin of known as to have had its very existence cast which was sent to Holland as a confirmainto doubt. But the descriptions of this ani- tion of the fact." mal which appeared in the middle ages having Ten years after this announcement of the been overlooked, the more ancient notices, actual existence of the giraffe, the skin of a vague and imperfect as they in general were, fine male specimen was brought to this counwhile they seemed to ascribe to the camelo- try by Lieut. Paturson, by whom it had been pardalis a combination of the characteristics shot in the interior of Caffraria. This skin of a ferocious beast of prey with those of the was presented to the celebrated John Hunter, harmless ruminant, began at length to be re- and still forms part of his collection pregarded with the same degree of distrust as served at the Royal College of Surgeons. It the fabulous narratives of the unicorn and was the first example of the remains of the sphinx.

camelopardalis ever brought into England, In the year 1770, after three centuries and and excited the greatest interest at the time. a half had clapsed without any example of Since that period, however, fresh specimens the giraffe, dead or alive, having appeared in have been rapidly added to the different EuEurope, this impression seems to have be- ropean collections of natural history, the come so general, that the Royal Society results of exploratory journeys in the interior thought it proper to publish in their Trans- of Africa, effected by modern zeal and enteractions the simple recital of a traveller who prise; but it was only within a very few years had himself seen and procured a representa- that the habits and gait of this extraordinary tion of the living giraffe. Capt. Carteret, in species could in modern Europe be again his communication to that learned body, says, contemplated in the living animal. “ Inclosed I have sent you the drawing of a The Pasha of Egypt having learnt that the camelopardalis, as it was taken off from the Arabs of the province of Sennaar in Nubia life, of one near the Cape of Good Hope. I had succeeded in bringing up two young gishall not attempt here to give you any parti- ratles with camel's milk, caused them to be cular description of this scarce and curious brought to Cairo; and after resting for three animal, as it is much better known to you months in his gardens, to prepare them for a than it can be to me; but from its scarcity, journey of greater difficulty and hazard, they as I believe none have been seen in Europe were embarked in boats and conveyed down

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the emperor of Germany, in the year 1559, but they have often been seen tame at Grand Cairo in Egypt; and I am told there are two there at present. Wben the Nile to Alexandria, where they were con- The full-grown male giraffe is reported to signed to the English and French consuls, as be sometimes nearly twenty feet high, from presents from the Pasha to their respective the summit of the head to the sole of the foot. sovereigns.

The highest specimen, however, in the BriThese young giraffes were both females; tish museum, (which is beautiful malo but as there was some difference in their size, brought over by Mr. Burchell,) measures the consuls of each nation drew lots for them, seventeen feet six inches; the remainder do when the shortest and weakest fell to the lot not exceed sixteen feet. The greatest pecuof England. The giraffe destined for our liarity in this animal, and what most strikes sovereign was conveyed to Malta under the the eye of the observer, is the remarkable discharge of two Arabs, and was from thence proportion of the different parts of its frame. forwarded to London in a merchant vessel, The head and the trunk are of extreme and arrived on the 11th of August 1827. shortness, especially when compared with the The animal was conveyed to Windsor two neck and legs, which are as disproportiondays after in a spacious caravan, and was ately elongated. The trunk, for example, is lodged in a commodious hut, with the range divided into three equal parts, the fore and of a spacious paddock, in the late king's hind quarters having respectively the same private menagerie at Sandpit Gate. Shortly length as the intermediate division,-a cirafter its arrival at this place it was accu- cumstance which occurs in no other quadrirately measured; and its dimensions were ped. To this curtailed trunk are attached found to be

legs of extreme length, which, if they were of

Ft. In. the ordinary proportions, would have renFrom the top of the head to the bottom of the

dered the giraffe the swiftest of animals : but hoof From the top of the head to the root of the neck 4 0 the contrary is, in some measure, the result; Length of the back

for while the fore and hind pair of legs are From the croup to the bottom of the hoof

too closely approximated, they are also of unLength of the head

equal length, and this inequality is so disIt was at that time exceedingly playful; posed as to retard swiftness of motion. The but as its growth proceeded, which was rapid, hare and the greyhound have the hinder legs (having increased eighteen inches in less the longest; and as these are the principal than two years,) it became much less active; propellers in locomotion, hence results ihe its health evidently declined; its legs almost peculiar and proverbial swiftness of these lost their power of supporting the body; the quadrupeds; but in the giraffe, the proporjoints seemed to shoot over; and at length tions of the extremities are reversed, and the weakness increased to such a degree, that consequently, when compelled to flight, alit became necessary to have a pulley' con- though from his superior stature, he can, for structed, which, being suspended from the a short distance, outstrip his pursuers, yet he ceiling of the animal's hovel, was fastened soon grows weary, and becomes incapable of round its body, for the purpose of raising it sustaining a prolonged chase. on its legs without any exertion on its own With respect to the habits of the giraffe part. From the harmless disposition and uni. in a state of nature, our knowledge is confesform gentleness of this animal

, the interest sedly vague and general. The Arabs who which it had excited in his late Majesty was accompanied the two young females from very great; but notwithstanding every atten. which the preceding description has been tion, it died in the following year. Its food drawn, asserted that they were taken at a was barley, oats, split beans, and ash leaves. distance of eight or ten days' journey of the It was never observed to drink any other fluid caravans, to the south of Sennaar, not far than milk, its preference for which probably from a district which was mountainous, and arose from that fluid being so long ihe only covered with deep and extensive forests. It sustenance afforded it while living among the inay be presumed that this country is near Arabs.

to where the Nile and its tributary streams Owing to the distance from town at which begin to leave the mountains of Abyssinia to this animal was kept, and the state of con- flow along the plains; and here the Arabs finement which its weakly condition rendered stated that ostriches, gazelles, antelopes, a indispensable during the latter period of its small species of lion and panthers abounded,

?', the living giraffe was seen in this while deeper in the forests, elephants and

comparatively few individuals. rhinoceroses were met with. They observed wever, and skeleton, both beau- that the giratfes were found in small numi, are preserved in the Museum ber, that they inhabited the forests, and rical Society, -the munificent rarely appeared on the plain, when they were Liis present Majesty.

united in groups of three and four, two old

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