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CHAP. XXX.

THE BADGER.

The badger's legs are so short, that its belly seems to touch the ground; this however is but a deceitful appearance, as it is caused by the length of the bair, which is very long all over the body, and makes it seem much more bulky than it really is. It is a solitary, stupid animal, that finds refuge remote from man, and digs itself a deep hole with great assiduity. It seems to avoid the light, and seldom quits its retreat by day, only stealing out at night to find subsistence. It burrows in the ground very easy, its legs being short and

(The Badger.) strong, and its claws stiff and horny. As it continues to bury itself, and throw the earth behind it to a great distance, and thus forms to itself a winding hole, at the bottom of which it remains in safety. As the fox is not so expert at digging into the earth, it often takes possession of that which has been quitted hy the badger, and some say, forces it from its retreat by laying its excrements at the mouth of the badger's hole.

This animal, however, is not long in making itself a new habitation, from which it seldom ventures far, as it flies but slowly, and can find safety only in the strength of its retreat. When it is surprised by the dogs at some distance from its hole, it then combats with desperate resolution ; it falls upon its back, defends itself on every side, and seldom dies unrevenged in the midst of its enemies.

The badger, like the fox, is a carnivorous animal, and nothing that has life can come amiss to it.* It sleeps the greatest part of its time, and thus, without being a voracious feeder, it still keeps fat, particularly in winter. They always keep their hole very clean, and when the female brings forth, she makes a comfortable warm bed of hay, at the bottom of her hole, for the reception of her young. She brings forth in summer, generally to the number of three or four, which she feeds at first with her milk, and afterwards with such petty prey as she can surprise. She seizes the young rabbits in their warren, robs birds' pests, finds out where the wild bees have laid up the honey, and brings all to her expecting brood.

The young ones when taken are easily tamed, but the old still continue savage and incorrigible; the former, after a sbort time, play with the dogs, follow their master about the house, but seem of all other animals the most fond of the fire. They often approach it so closely, that they burn themselves in a dangerous manner. They are sometimes also subject to the mange, and have a gland under their tail, which scents pretty strongly. The poor of some countries eat their flesh, which, though fat, is at best but rank and ill tasted.t

• Food.—The principal food of the badger it has very small eyes and very short legs, is roots, fruits, snails, and worms. It seems and is only one foot nine inches long, with quite a mistake, their living on animal food. a tail of nine inches.

+ Tue SPOTTED BADGER.— The spotted THE AMERICAN BADGER inhabits Labrabadger is of a white colour, marked with red- dor, and the country about Hudson's Bay. dish, yellow, and dusky spots. It inhabits It has a strong resemblance to the common Europe and the north of Asia, as far as the or European badgers, but is somewhat northern provinces of Persia and China, and smaller, and the hair is longer, more soft and in Japan. The white badger is said by Bris. silky; the ears are short, and of a white son to have been brought from New York; colour, edged with black.

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CHAP. XXXI.

THE TAPIR.

THERE seems to be a rude, but inferior resemblance between many animals of the old and the new world. The cougar of America resembles the tiger in natural ferocity, though far inferior in its dimensions. The llama bears some affinity to the camel, but is far behind it in strength and utility. The tapir may be considered as the hippopotamus of the new continent, but degraded both as to its size and ferocity. This animal bears some distant resemblance in

. its form to a mule. It

(The Tapir.) has a long snout, which it lengthens or contracts at pleasure. Its ears are small, long, and pendent. Its neck and tail are short, and its claws strong and firm, of which it has four upon each foot. Its skin is thick, and covered with brown hair, and the natives make shields of it which cannot be pierced by an arrow.

This animal may in some measure be termed amphibious, as it chiefly resides in the water. It differs, however, from all others of this kind, in feeding entirely upon vegetables, and not making this element the place of its depredations. It feeds upon the pastures hy the river-side ; and as it is very timorous, the instant it hears the least noise, it plunges into the stream. They are greatly sought after by the natives, as their flesh is considered as a delicacy, and thought by some not inferior to beef.

* New SpeciES OF TAPIR.-M. G. Cuvier M. Roulin has lately discovered a second lately made a report to the Academy of Sci- species of South American tapir, making the ences of France, on the memoir of Dr. Roulin, third species of the genus. having for its object the natural history of the During several months' journey along the tapir, and particularly that of a new species of course of the Andes, the attention of M. that genus, which the author has discovered Roulin appears to have been drawn towards in the high regions of the Cordilleras of the the probability of discovering a peculiar speAndes. The new tapir, according to Cuvier, cies of tapir in the lofty regions of the mounhas a much greater resemblance to the Palæ- tains, by the vague yet universal reports of otherium than to any of the two species for the native Indians and Spanish settlers, who merly known. The memoir, besides having confound under the title of pinchaque (phanadded to the catalogue of animals a large tom or spectre), at least two animals either quadruped, belonging to a genus which for a real or imaginary; one of which M. Roulin long time contained but a single species, believes to be his new species of tapir; and throws light upon a fact which relates to the the other, it is surmised by Cuvier, may poshistory of the antediluvian animals; for it sibly prove to be the mastodon, if that giganhad even been advanced by some authors, tic link between the fossil and the recent that a genus of these animals, the mastodon, world be indeed still in existence. probably still exists in the higher valleys of It was, however, in the province of MariThe Cordilleras.-Arcana or SCIENCE, 1830. quita that our author was led more especially to seek for the living representative of the whereas the other species, which fully share half-fabulous pinchaque ; and he pursued his the high temperature of a tropical climate, inquiries with the greater hope of success, as are almost bare of fur. Its size is inferior to many of the ancient Spanish chroniclers, par- the others; the largest of the specimens seen ticularly Oviedo and P. de Agueda have men- at Bagota, measuring in length, from the tioned the existence of a tapir of a brownish muzzle to the point of the tail

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, only 5 feet black colour, and furnished with thick hair, 6% inches; and in height, at the shoulders, which has been considered as an erroneous 2 feet 9 inches. The head differs froin that description. The accounts of these old wric of the common species of South America, not ters were, however, confirmed by the modern only in its general outline, but in its details : natives, particularly the Cargueros, who inha- the muzzle varies a little in its forın, and the bit the valley of Cauca, &c., at the foot of the proboscis does not present upon its sides Paranno de Quindiu: these people informing those ridges which indicate a habitual conthe traveller, that a large species of tapir, an- traction of that organ. On the chin is situaswering to the description of Oviedo, inhabited ted a white patch, which is prolonged from the forests which skirt the eastern declivities the angle of the mouth, and includes nearly of the Cordilleras, in the province of Mari- half the upper lip. The ear is deficient of quita, 500 or 600 mètres above the plains; the white margin; and the remarkably erect the ordinary species being found only upon crest, which iu the ordinary American species the latter, and in the valleys.

commences above the eyes, and is continued, At the village of Bagota, M. Roulin had like a hogged mane, along the ridge of the the gratification of seeing two specimens of neck to the withers, is also wanting; the the long-sought animal, which had been killed neck being perfectly round, and the hair on the Paramo de Suma Paz, a mountain with which it is covered of the same length more elevated than that of Quindiu; and he as, and lying in a direction similar to, that of afterwards was fortunate enough to obtain a the rest of the animal. On each side of the head, which being conveyed to Paris, has been crupper is situated a large, naked, but not subjected to the inspection of Baron Cuvier. callous spot, about twice the size of the palm The examination of this great zootomist has of the hand. Above the division of the toes revealed a very anomalous and unexpected the fetlock is margined with a narrow white fact, namely that the cranium of the new spe- band, as in the common American tapir. On cies approaches much more nearly in charac- this species its describer has bestowed the ters to that of the Indian, thau of the previously name of Tapir Pinchaque ; thus identifying known American tapir, and still more closely it with the traditionary histories of the natives to that of the Palæotherium, an extinct genus, of its habitat ; and, under that denomination, the remains of which are found in the tertiary Cuvier has given it a place in the new edition beds of the Paris basin. Attached to his me of the Regne Animal; but neither that able moir, M. Roulin has presented figures of the systematist, nor its discoverer, has furnished crania, and thus enumerates their similitudes it with a Latin specific appellation.--ARCANA and differences :- The principal resemblances or Science, 1833. between the skulls of the new species and of the ORIGIN OF THE Grifyin.-M. Roulin, in Sumatran tapir, consist in the general shape the memoir on the tapir, just quoted, offers of the forehead, the defect of the projection the following explanation of the origin of the of the parietal crest, the dimension of the griffin of the Greeks. nasal bones, and finally the form of the lower The Greeks who trafficed across the Black jaw, the inferior margin of which is straight, Sea, came in contact with the Scythians, and (in the Cayenne or South American species, they, on their part, traded with the Argipeans, it is strongly curved.) The differences lie- a Tartar people, with long chins, flat noses, tween the cranium of this animal, and of the and shaved heads, who inhabited the valleys Palæotherium, are principally remarked in at the foot of the Ural Mountains, the rich the forehead and nasal bones, which are mines of which, no doubt, formed a constant more depressed in the former; and in the theme of intelligence from the Scythians to lower jaw, the posterior angle of which is the Greeks. In those early and superstitious more obtuse; the teeth are smaller, and the ages every treasure was supposed to possess grinders do not so closely approach the ca. its peculiar guardian ; and from obvious monines.

tives of policy, such warders were chosen as The principal external peculiarity which would appear not less redoubtable in their distinguishes the new tapir from both its power than repulsively frightful in their apcongeners, is one that is strictly accordant pearance; and hence arose the compound with its locality in the temperate, or rather images of the winged serpent, the dragon, cold altitudes of the lofty mountain range and the griffin, with the beak of an eagle, which it inhabits. The body is entirely and the claws of a lion. This last figure, covered with long hair, of a blackish brown our author conceives, was originally the guarcolour, darker

qoints than at the roots ; dian monster of the treasures of the Ural

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Mountains, the Cordilleras of the Argipeans, tapir, when bent down in its usual position, and that its representation and its fabulous bears no little similitude to the beak of that history, were conveyed to the Grecians by the bird. intervention of the Scythians, mingled with The sculptors, who considered the griffin the traditions respecting the richuess of the in a picturesque point of view, employing it gold mines, in a manner conformable with in their arabesque ornaments, again coutrithe spirit of the times.

buted to alter its original form. To bestow This animal, as it is evident by the illus- additional gracefulness to its neck, they surtrations of M. Roulin's memoir, which we mounted it with a mane like that which have copied, possesses, in its general outline, decked their horses ; making the hairs short, a close resemblance to the tapir in a sitting straight, and erect; or it is not impossible attitude (6); and that learned naturalist thus that they might, in reality, have retained the accounts for its possession of the various ad- genuine mane of the tapir. Afterwards, to denda of wings, crest, and tail :- It is evi- render still more fantastic a being which was dent, says he, that the original image of the already interinediate between a quadruped griffin, when introduced into Greece, was de- and a bird, they converted this crest into the stitute of wings; as Herodotus, the oldest likeness of the dorsal fin of a fish. author who describes it, does not mention The division of the toes of the tapir caused, them, and his very important silence upon with the Greeks, the same error as with the that point, is a sufficient proof of the fact. Chinese in the fabrication of their mé; and But the more ancient dragons of the caverns accordingly, they substituted for them those of Greece, were nearly all furnished with of a lion. As to the tail, it was almost certain those inembers; and, therefore, upon the that they would attempt to supply that appenintroduction of a new monster, it would dage; and whilst some merely gave to the naturally appear requisite, according to the animal one conformable with its feet, others, preconceived notions of the people, to add desiring to make the figure wholly imagithem to its figure; and it was no very great nary, bestowed upon it a spiral scroll, aud streich of imagination to accord the wings of ornamented it with the leaves of the acan. an eagle to an animal which seemed already thus.— ARCANA OF SCIENCE, 1833. to possess its head; for the proboscis of the

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CHAP. XXXII.

THE RACOON.

The racoon, which some authors have called the Jamaica rat, is about the size of a small badger; its body is short and bulky; its fur is fine, long, and thick, blackish at the surface, and grey towards the bottom; the nose is rather shorter, and more pointed than that of a fox; the eyes large and yellow, the teeth resembling those of a dog, the tail thick, but tapering towards a point, regnlarly marked with rings of black, and at least as long as the body; the fore feet are much shorter than the hinder, both armed with five sharp claws, with which, and his teeth, the animal makes a vigorous resistance. Like the squirrel it makes use of its paws to hold its food while eating; but it differs from the monkey kind, which use but one hand on those occasions, whereas the racoon and the squir

(The Racoon.) rel use both, as wanting the thumb, their paws singly are unfit for grasping or holding. Though this animal be short and bulky, it is, however, very active; its pointed claws enable it to climb trees with greater facility; it runs on the trunk with the same swiftness that it moves upon the plain, and sports among the most extreme branches with great agility, security, and ease; it moves forward chiefly by bounding, and though it proceeds in the oblique direction, it has speed enough most frequently to escape its pursuers.

This animal is a native of the southern parts of America, nor have any travellers mentioned its being found in the ancient continent. But in the climates of which it is a native, it is found in noxious abundance, particularly in Jamaica, where it keeps in the mountains, and where it often descends to feed upon the plantations of sugar-cane. The planters of these climates consider these animals as one of their greatest miseries; they have contrived various methods of destroying them, yet still they propagate in such numbers that neither traps nor tire-arms can set them free, so that a swarm of these famished creatures are found to do more injury in a single night than the labours of a month can repair.

But though when wild they are thus troublesome, in a state of tameness no animal is more harmless or amusing; they are capable of being instructed in various little amusing tricks. The racoon is playful and cleanly, and is very easily supported; it eats of every thing that is given it, and if left to itself, no cat can be a better provider; it examines every corner, eats of all flesh, either boiled or raw, eggs, fruits or corn, insects themselves cannot escape it, and if lett at liberty in a garden, it will feed upon snails, worms, and beetles; but it has a particular fondness for sweets of every kind, and to be possessed of these in its wild state, it incurs every danger. Though it will eat its provisions dry, it will for choice dip them in water if it happens to be in the way: it has one peculiarity which few other animals have been found to possess, it drinks as well by lapping, like the dog, as by sucking like the horse.

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