Page images


. 10 8

3 1

the emperor of Germany, in the year 1559, but they have often been seen taine at Grand Cairo in Egypt; and I am told there are two there at present. W ben 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, ich is a 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 quadrurately measured ; and its dimensions were ped. To this curtailed trunk are attached found to be

legs of extreme length, which, if they were of From the top of the head to the bottom of the

Pt. In. the ordinary proportions, would have ren.

dered the giraffe the swiftest of animals : but From the top of the head to the root of the neck 40 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 confes. form 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 the only covered with deep and extensive forests. It sustenance afforded it while living among the may 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,

ce, the living giraffe was seen in this while deeper in the forests, elephants and hy comparatively few individuals. rhinoceroses were met with. They observed wever, and skeleton, both beau- that the giraffes were found in small numnd, are preserved in the Museum ber, that they inhabited the forests, and gical Society,—the munificent rarely appeared on the plain, when they were his present Majesty.

united in groups of three and four, two old


ancient Rome was in its splendour, Pompey exhibited, at one time, no less than ten upon the theatre. It was the barbarons pleasure of the people, at that time, to see the most terrible, and the most extraordinary animals produced in ones, and one or two young ones, but seldom care of them, and even horses or camels. more. They do not fly at the first view of ZOULOGICAL MAGAZINX. man; but if he approaches them, they sud- THE PARISIAN GIRAFFE.—That sent by denly start off in a gallop or succession of the Pasha of Egypt, and consigned to the bounds with such speed, that they leave far Jardin des Plantes at Paris, is thus debehind them the swiftest horses. However, scribed : “The queen of the garden,” says if they happen to be driven fairly into the Mr. R. Lee, “is the giraffe, to which I paid plain, they are soon run down, being much frequent visits. She is the only survivor of shorter-winded than the horse: but when the three which left Africa much about the thus fatigued, they make a sudden turn to same time, and inhabits the large round the right-about, and defend themselves vigor- building in the centre of the menagerie, called ously with their fore-feet, which they ding the Rotonde. Great care is taken to shelter out with great force: in fact, the Arabs are her from the cold, and in the winter she has unable to take the full-grown giraffes alive, a kind of hood and cape, which reach the and are obliged to kill them on the spot. length of her neck, and a body-cloth, all They eat the Hesh; and out of the skin, which made of woollen materials. She is only sufis hard and thick, they make long straps, cut fered to walk in her little park when the sun from the top of the head to the end of the shines upon it; and if care and attention can fore feet. The old giraffes are asserted by compensate for the loss of liberty, she onght the Arabs to be able to defend themselves to be the happiest of her kind. She stands successfully by kicks of their fore feet against about twelve and a half feet high, and her the most redoubtable animal of the desert. skin, with its light brown spots, shines like The lion, which learns by experience the re- satin; but I confess I was disappointed with sources opposed to him by the giraffe, and regard to its beauty. She looks best when the futility of pursuit along the plain, prefers lying down, or standing perfectly upright, in waiting near a stream where that animal which posture she is very dignified; but the drinks, or crouches in view of the grove of moment she moves, she becomes awkward, Mimosa, whose summits afford him a rich in consequence of the disproportion of the pasturage, and by a single bound falls una- hinder parts of her body, and the immense wares upon his prey, which is thus taken by length of her neck, which, instead of being surprise, and unable to put into use its natu- arched, forms an angle with her shoulders. ral means of defence. If, however, the lion When she gallops, her hind feet advance bein springing from his ambuscade miscalcu- fore those in fiont, and the peculiarity of gait lates his leap, and is unable to fix on the caused by moving the hind and fore feet hinder parts of the giraffe, the latter makes on the same side, at the same time, is very head against him, and often renders mortal striking. She has great difficulty in reach'the first blow, from the violent and rapid ing the ground with her mouth, and was Ainging out of the fore legs: should he miss obliged to make two efforts to separate her his stroke, however, and the lion succeed in fore" legs, before she could reach a cistern fixing upon him, he becomes defenceless, placed on the pavement. Her head is of reand falls a victim.

markable beauty, and the expression of her The giraffe in a state of captivity, when full black eyes is mild and affectionate. Her teased or offended, manifests his natural tongue is long, black, and pointed. She is mode of defence by striking out with his fore extremely gentle, yet full of frolic and animalegs, and sometimes by kicking with the tion, and when walking in the menagerie, hinder ones like a horse ; but he has never her keeper is obliged to hold her head to prebeen observed to butt, or to make any de- vent her biting off the young branches of monstration with his horns, but on the con. trees. Her great delight, however, is to eat trary always keeps his head raised as high as rose-leaves, and she devours them with the possible when he is disquieted or afraid. greatest avidity. The African cows, with

The Arabs assert that the only chance humps on their shoulders, which supplied her of taking the giraffe alive is while he still with milk during her passage to Europe, are suckles ; and even then it most frequently as gentle as their nursling and when feed happens that in their struggles to free them- ing her, they come and softly push your elbows selves they break some of their limbs, or dis- to have a share. The keeper, whose name locate their neck; at other times they refuse is Ati, and who is from Darfur, is a tall, wellall sustenance, pine away, and die. if, how- proportioned black, and at his own request, ever, they chance to be preserved for a few a little gallery has been erected for him in days, they then become tranquil and soon fa- the stable of his charge, where he sleeps and miliar, readily following those who have the keeps all his property. When in attendance, CHAP. XXIII.


[ocr errors]

Next to the elephant, the Rhinoceros is the most powerful of animals. It is usually found twelve feet long, from the tip of the nose to the insertion of the tail; from six to seven feet high; and the cir. cumference of its body is nearly equal to its length. It is, therefore, equal to the elephant in bulk; and if it appears much smaller to the eye, the reason is, that its legs are much shorter. Words can convey but a very confused idea of this animal's shape; and yet there are few so remarkably formed: its head is furnished with a horn, growing from the snout, sometimes three feet and a hall long: and but for this that part would have the appearance of the head of a bog; the upper lip, how

History Of THE RHINOCEROS.-If the The first rhinoceros of which any mention moderns are able to boast of a more extended is made in ancient history, was that which knowledge of animated nature than was pos. appeared at the celebrated festival of Ptolesessed by the ancients, it must be acknow. mæus Philadelphus, and which was made to ledged that it is rather the result of their march the last of all the strange animals exgeographical discoveries, than of the zeal of hibited at that epoch, as being apparently the their governments or commercial companies most curious and rare. It was brought from for its promotion. And it is humiliating to Ethiopia. think that the nations, among which a pure The first which appeared in Europe graced love of science is most widely diffused, still the triumph and games of Pompey. Pliny should be debarred the contemplation of those states that this animal had but one horn, rarer species of quadrupeds inhabiting the and that that number was the most common. Old World, which in ancient Rome were re- Augustus caused two to be slain, together peatedly exhibited to gratify a tyrant's love with a hippopotamus, when he triumphed of ostentation, and a people's lust for the after the death of Cleopatra : and these, also, cruel combats and wholesale slaughter of the are described as having each but one horn. Amphitheatre.

Strabo very exactly describes a one-horned The history of the remarkable quadruped rhinoceros, which he saw at Alexandria, and with which the present work commences (the mentions the folds in its skin. But PausaGiraffe) in some measure exemplifies this nias gives a detailed account of the position anomalous fact, and the rhinoceros is a still of the two horns, on a species having that stronger proof of it. This quadruped, which number, which he terms the Ethiopian Bull. is second in bulk to the elephant alone, is Of this latter kiud two appeared at Rome peculiar to the Old World ; yet of the five or under Domitian, and were engraved on some six distinct species which inhabit Africa and of the medals of that emperor; these occaAsia, only one has been exhibited in modern sioned some of the epigrams of Martial, which Europe, and that at rare and distant intervals; modern commentators, from ignorance of the while the knowledge of the rest has been species with two horns, found so much difh. chiefly acquired in our own times.

culty in comprehending.


ever, is much longer in proportion, ends in a point, is very pliable, serves to collect its food, and deliver it into the mouth; the ears are large, erect, and pointed; the eyes are small and piercing ; the skin is naked, rough, knotty, and lying upon the body in folds, after a very peculiar fashion : there are two tolds very remarkable ; one above his shoulders, and another over the rump:

The emperors Antoninus, Heliogabalus, the latter are wholly deficient. The Abysand Gordian, severally exhibited the rhino- sinian traveller Bruce has given a vague ceros: aud Cosmus expressly speaks of the indication of a two-horned thinoceros, which Ethiopian species as having two horns: there exhibits the plaiting of the hide peculiar to is abundant evidence, therefore, that the the Indian species; and some naturalists ancients possessed a degree of knowledge have supposeel it probable, from the form of respecting these animals, of which the mo- the horns, that this may ultimately be found derns were for a long period destitute. to be a true and distinct species. More

The first rhinoceros which was exhibited recently, again, the accurate and scientific in Europe after the revival of literature, was traveller Burchell has announced the exista specimen of the one-horned species. It ence in the interior of the southern promonwas sent from India to Einmantiel, king of tory of Africa, of a rhinoceros double the Portugal, in the year 1513. This sovereign size of the ordinary Cape species, which, made a present of it to the Pope ; but the like it, has also two horns, and a skin withanimal being seized during its passage without hairs or folds, but which differs in having a fit of tury, occasioned the loss of the vessel the lips and nose thickened, enlarged, and as in which it was transported. A second rhino- if flattened. ceros was brought to England in 1685; a An interesting memoir from the pen of third was exhibited over almost the whole of M. Frederic Cuvier, has appeared in the Europe in 1739; and a fourth, which was a splendid work published by him conjointly female, in 1741. That exhibited in 1739 with M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, on the animals was described and figured by Parsons, in the in the menagerie in the Garden of Plants at Philosophical Transactions (vol. xlii. p. 583), Paris. It relates to the rhinoceros lately who mentioned also that of 1685 and of living in that establishment, and from which 1741. A fifth speciinen arrived at Versailles the figure was taken which serves to illus in 1771, and it died in 1793 at the age of trate the present account.--ZOOLOGICAL Mag. twenty-five or twenty-six years. The sixth “This rhinoceros was but young at the time was a very young rhinoceros, which died in that the figure was taken ; and, contrary to this country in the year 1800: some account the commonly received opinion, was habituof its anatomy was published by Mr. Thomas, ally of a very gentle disposition, obedient to in the Philosophical Transactions for that his keeper, and receiving his care and atten. year. Lastly, a seventh specimen was living tion with a real affection. However, he a few years ago in the Garden of Plants at would occasionally be seized with fits of fury, Paris. All these specimens were one-horned, during which it was not prudent to come near and all from India. So that the two-horned him. No cause could be assigned for these rhinoceros has never been brought alive to violent paroxysms: one might say that a modern Europe, and it was long before even blind impulse or desire to regain a state of an accurate description of it was given by liberty, (which he had never enjoyed,) extravellers; its existence was known only by cited him to break his chains, and escape specimens of the horns adhering to the skin from the bondage in which he was retained. of the head, which were preserved in different Bread and fruits, however, always pacified

As these specimens were from him; and the claims of hunger always siAfrica, and as the first authentic accounts of lenced those of liberty ; so that this resource the living animal of the two-horned species against his fury was always kept in reserve. were derived from the histories of African He knew those persons who most indulged travellers, a general notion prevailed that him in his gourmandise, and they were reAsia afforded the one-horned species only, ceived with the liveliest manifestations of and that the two-horned kind was peculiar to affection: the moment he saw them he Africa. However, in the year 1793, Mr. stretched towards them his long upper lip, William Bell, a surgeon in the service of the opened his mouth, and drew in his tongue. East India Company, discovered a species of The narrow stall in which he was confined rhinoceros in the Island of Sumatra, which did not allow him to manifest much intelli. had also two horns, whose skin, like the gence; and his keeper took no other pains African two-horned species, did not exhibit than to induce him to forget or misconceive those folds which are so peculiar to the hide his own strength, and to obey : but from the of the ludian rhinoceros. This species, how. attention which he paid to every thing which ever, differed from the African rhinoceros in was passing around him, and from the readipossessing incisive or front teeth, which in ness with which he distinguished individuals


the skin, which is of a dirty brown colour, is so thick as to turn the edge of a scimitar, and to resist a musket-ball: the belly bangs low; the legs are short, strong and thick, and the hoofs divided into three parts, each pointing forward.

Such is the general outline of an animal that appears chiefly formidable from the horn growing from its snout; and formed rather for war, than with a propensity to engage. This horn is sometimes found from three to three feet and a balf long, growing from the solid bone, and so disposed as to be managed to the greatest advantage.* It is composed of the most solid substance; and

and recognised those circumstances which with a herd of seven of them, led, as it apseemed the preliminaries of his receiving peared, by one larger and stronger than the something agreeable to him, one can readily rest. When the large rhinoceros charged the judge that his intelligence would have ac- hunters, the leading elephants, instead of quired greater developement under favour- using their tusks or weapeous, which in ordiable circumstances. But his immense force, nary cases they are ready enough to do, and the apprehensions constantly entertained wheeled round, and received the blow of the that in one of his fits of passion he would rhinoceros's horn upon their posteriors; the break down his apartment, insured for him blow brought them immediately to the the most indulgent treatment; nothing was ground with their riders; and as soon as required of him without a reward ; and the they had risen, the brute was again ready, little degree of motion which was allowed and again brought them down; and in this him, was an additional reason for requiring manner did the contest continue until four from him no other actions than to open his out of the seven were killed, when the rest mouth, turn his head to the right or to the made good their retreat. left, hold up his leg, &c.”— ZOOLOGICAL Mag. " By comparing the tenor of these short

TractABILITY OF THE RHINOCEROS.—The observations of them in their wild condition learned Bishop Heber confirms the supposi- and in a state of confinement, we may gather tion of Frederic Cuvier, as to the tractability sufficient data on which to form a tolerable of the rhinoceros. In his journey through estimate of the character of these animals. India, he observes : " At Lucknow there Endowed with amazing powers of body,were five or six very large rhinoceroses, thu powers which can repel, if not overcome the first animals of the kind" I ever saw, and of active ferocity of the lion and the ponderous which I found that prints and drawings had strength of the elephant, but at the same given me a very imperfect conception. They time seeking their sustenance not by the deare more bulky animals, and of a darker co. struction of animal life, but in the profuse lour than I had supposed, and the thickness banquet of the vegetable kingdom, they of the folds of their impenetrable skin much might naturally be expected to avail thensurpasses all which I had expected. These selves of their physical power principally in at Lucknow are quiet and gentle animals, self-defence. Accorilingly we find that to except that one of them has a feud with the first aggressor the rhinoceros is a terrible horses. They seem to propagate in captivity enemy; but if left to the ordinary bent of his without reluctance, and I should conceive own inclination, if unmolested, 'in short, he might be available to carry burthens as well does not wantonly seek occasion to exercise as the elephant, except that as their pace is his strength to the injury of other creatures." still slower than his, their use could only be - ZOOLOGICAL MAGAZINE. applicable to very great weights, and very * Tus UNICORN.— There is every reason gentle travelling. These have sometimes to believe that the graceful Unicorn of heraldhad howdahs op them, and were once fas- ry had no other foundation in truth, than the tened in a carriage, but only as an experiment, uncertain description given by early travelwhich was never followed up." -- vol. ii. lers, of the clumsy figure of the above ani

And in the third volume he observes: "In mal. Mr. Edward Ruppell, who has resided passing through the city I saw two very fine during six successive years in the northhunting tigers in silver chains; and a rhino- eastern regions of Africa, has published ceros, (the present of Lord Amherst to the several numbers of a work illustrative of the Guicwar,) which is so tame as to be ridden by natural history of these regions. To our a mohout quite as patiently as an elephant.” knowledge of the giraffe he has added con

The able translator of Cuvier's Animal siderably. He obtained in Nubia and Kor. Kingdom observes : “ The power of this spe. dofan five specimens, two of which were cies is frequently displayed to a surprising males and three females. He regards the degree when hunting it. A few years ago, a horns as constituting the principal generic party of Europeans with their native atten. character, they being formed by distinct dants and elephants, when out on the dan. bones, united to the frontal and parietal gerous sport of hunting these animals, met bones, by a very obvious suture, and having

« PreviousContinue »