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CONTAINING A DESCRIPTION OF ANIMALS AND BIRDS.
IBY THIE I EV. F. 0, M IRRTS, B. A.,
MEMBER OF THE ASIIMOLTEAN SOCIETY.
UN:J' HUN1DEI A:i 'C iXTY COT,OUI'; D l LA' '[-.
GROOMBRIDGE AND SONS, 5, PATERNOSTER ROW.
Antelope, Harnessed 137
Bear. Grisly 245
Bear. Polar 29
Bird, Love 30:3
Bird, Lyre 191
Bird, Mocking 291
Bird of Paradise, Emarald. 131
Bird of Paradise, Superb. 87
Bird, Puff 271
Bird, Satin 259
Bird, Secretary 7
Bird, Sun 111
Bird, Weaver 75
Boatbill 1 t3
Breve, Giant 115
Bull, Wild 197
Bunting, Yellow 147
Chati .. 289
Deer, Axis 181
Deer, Musk 301
Dog, Esquimaux 105
Dog, Hyaena 273
Dog, Thibet .37
Duck, Summer 127
Duck. Wild 71
Eagle, Harpy 207
Falcon, Gyr 51
Finch, Whidah 183
Goat. Four-horned 209
Hyena, Spotted 9
.T a 11
Macaw, Blue and Yellow
Monkey, Eutillus .
Plover, Stilt .
Vulture. li:irded .
THE jaguar is a native of the southern continent of
America, being, in fact, the tiger of the new world.
In general its colour is as depicted in the plate, but
occasionally individuals are found totally black: in these,
however, the dark rings still shew through.
According to Sonnini, the celebrated traveller, the
jaguar is very expert at climbing trees. "I have seen,"
he says, "in the forests of Guiana the prints left by the
claws of the jaguar on the smooth bark of a tree from
forty to fifty feet high, measuring about a foot and a
half in circumference, and clothed with branches near
its summit alone. It was easy to follow with the eye
the efforts which the animal had made to reach the
branches. Although his talons had been thrust deeply
into the body of the tree, he had met with several slips,
but he had always recovered his ground, and, attracted,
no doubt, by some favourite object of prey, had at length
succeeded in gaining the very top."
The ordinary food of the jaguar consists of horses,
oxen, sheep, and dogs, which latter it is said to have
been known to enter houses to- carry off. Occasionally,
when imboldened by hunger, it will even devour men;
but, in general, it is a cowardly animal, and of an
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indolent disposition. It appears to fast for several days,
eating a great quantity when it can, on which it subsists
until its appetite again forces it to obtain a fresh supply.
Mr. Fennell, in his very entertaining "History of
Quadrupeds," says, with reference to these points, "So
long as the jaguar can obtain its customary meals
readily, it is indolent and cowardly, secreting itself in
the depths of the forests or caverns, and is scared by
the most trifling causes; but when imboldened by hunger
it will attack man himself. D' Azara says that during
his residence at Paraquay, the jaguars killed six men;
two of whom were even seized in the night, while sit-
ting by a blazing fire, and carried thence by these
animals. Sonnini mentions, that while journeying through
the extensive forests of Guiana, he and his party were
much annoyed by a jaguar following them in their
route, for two successive nights, evading, meanwhile, all
their efforts to destroy him. They kept up large blazing
fires to frighten him away; and he at length took himself
off, after uttering a horrid howl of disappointment.
Mr. Maine says that when once the jaguar has tasted
human flesh it will hunt for it again."
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THE BEARDED VULTURE.
THERE are many kinds of vulture, of which the one
before us is among the largest. The vultures are in
their way very useful, performing the part of scavengers,
and destroying much refuse, which would otherwise,
doubtless, become very prejudicial. This has the effect
of making themselves unpleasant; but as they enjoy
their own life, and are useful to man, it need not be
at all regarded.
The chief external mark of difference between the
vultures and the eagles is that the heads and necks of
the former are bare of feathers. Their eyes also are
placed more forward; their claws are less hooked and
shorter, not being required for the purpose of grasping
or catching their food; the way in which they stand is
less upright; their flight is not so swift and powerful;
and they are less active and bold in their manners and
The vulture has the faculty of perceiving its food at
an extraordinarily great distance, whether through the
organ of scent or some other sense entirely unknown
to us cannot be determined. Its sight also appears to
be very quick. This is thus referred to in the book of
Job:-"There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and
which the vulture's eye hath not seen."-Job, xxviii. 7.
They seem to assemble on a sudden from every quarter
of the sky, attracted to their food; and this is alluded
to in Isaiah, xxxiv. 15, where it is said, "There shall
the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate."
On one occasion it is related that a hog having been
THE BEARDED VULTURE.
killed by a hunting party in India, it was left on the
ground near the tent; within an hour afterwards, the
sky being perfectly clear, the attention of one of the
company was directed to a dark speck in the air at a
vast distance off. While they kept looking at and
watching it, by degrees it came nearer and nearer, and
increased in apparent size, until they soon perceived that
it was a vulture flying in a direct line to the dead
animal. In an hour as many as seventy vultures had
assembled together at the same spot, drawn together
from all quarters to share in the feast.
Again, Mr. Burchell, the celebrated traveller, speaking
of the useful part that these birds perform in those hot
countries where they are to be found, says, "Vultures
have been ordained evidently to perform very necessary
and useful duties on the globe; as indeed has every
other animated being, however short-sighted we may be
as to their utility. To those who have seen these birds,
it need not be remarked how well a vulture is adapted
to that share in the daily business of the earth which
has been allotted to it-that of clearing away putrid
matter, which might otherwise taint the air, and produce
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The gnu is a native of southern Africa, and is known
among the Hottentots by the name of 'wilde beaste.'
Its habitat is among the mountains to the north of the
Cape of Good Hope; where, however, it is rather a rare
Barrow observes that "the gnu possesses, in an eminent
degree, strength, swiftness, weapons of defence, acute
scent, and quick sight. When a herd of gnus are dis-
turbed, they collect together, butt each other with their
horns, bound, and perform their various gambols, and
then gallop off to a distance. Their motions are
extremely free, varied, and always elegant." Pringle,
who had abundant opportunities of observing the habits
of this singular animal in its native haunts, noticed that,
like the common bull and the buffalo, they manifest a
natural antipathy to anything of a red or scarlet colour;
"and it was one of our amusements," he says, "when
approaching them, to hoist a red handkerchief on a pole,
and to observe them caper about, lashing their flanks
with their long tails, and tearing up the ground with
their hoofs, as if they were violently excited, and ready
to rush down upon us; and then all at once, when we
were about to fire upon them, to see them bound away,
and again go prancing round us at a safer distance.
When wounded, they are reported to be sometimes rather
dangerous to the huntsman; but though we shot several
at different times, I never witnessed any instance of
this. Once a young one, seemingly a week or two old,
whose mother had been shot, followed the huntsman
home, and I attempted to rear it on cow's milk: in a
few days it was quite as tame as a common calf, and
seemed to be thriving; but it soon sickened and died.
I heard, however, of more than one instance in that part
of the colony, where the gnu, thus caught young, had
been reared with the domestic cattle, and had become
so tame as to go regularly out to pasture with the herds,
without exhibiting any inclination to resume its natural
The gnu very closely resembles the common ox, both
in appearance and in taste. It is described by Fennell
as an extraordinary animal, possessing characters which
remind us of the antelope, the buffalo, and the horse.
Its full length, from the point of the nose to the end
of the tail, is seven feet ten inches, and the height
three feet six inches. The body is of a brown colour;
on the upper part of the neck is an erect well-defined
black and white mane, extending beyond the shoulders;
a ridge of black hair, from six inches to a foot in
length, extends from the front of the chest, under the
fore legs, to the beginning of the belly; a row of black
bristly hairs, four inches in length, grows down the
middle of the face; and another row of hair, somewhat
longer, extends from the under lip to the throat. The
forehead is well protected by the rugged roots of the
horns that spread across it, leaving only a narrow chan-
nel between them; the horns project forwards twelve
inches, and then turn in a short curve backwards ten
inches; the eyes are surrounded by long white hairs,
that radiate and form a kind of star, and under the
eye is a slit. The tail is two feet long, white, bristly,
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TiE E C 1SER 1E AY B1 IRD.
THE SECRETARY BIRD.
THIS singular bird is a native of the deserts of South
Africa, where, among tracts of stunted shrubby vegetation,
on the extensive sandy plains, skirted by large forests,
it takes up its abode, preying upon the deadly snakes,
and various reptiles. The secretary has a peculiar method
of seizing upon serpents. When approaching them, it
always takes care to hold the point of one of its wings
before it, in order to parry off their venomous bites:
sometimes finding an opportunity of spurning and tread-
ing upon the serpent, or else of taking it up on its
pinions and throwing it into the air, when, by this method
its adversary is tired out; it then kills and swallows it
Mr. Smith says, "One day I saw a secretary take
two or three turns on the wing at a little distance from
the place where I was. The bird soon settled, when
I saw that it was attentively examining an object
near the spot where it had descended. After approaching
it with great precaution, the secretary extended one of
its wings, which the bird continually agitated. I
then discovered a large serpent raising its head, and
appearing to wait the approach of the bird to dart upon
it; but a quick blow of the wing soon laid it prostrate.
The bird appeared to wait for the serpent's raising itself,
in order to repeat the blow; but this the serpent, it
seems, did not attempt, and the secretary walking towards
it, seized it with the feet and bill, and rose into the
air, whence the bird let the serpent fall on the ground,
so that it might be securely destroyed."
8 THE SECRETARY BIRD.
The secretary was so called by the Dutch, from the
plumes at the back of its head, which reminded them
of the pen stuck behind the ear of the merchant's clerk.
These birds live in pairs, and build on high trees, or
in dense thickets; the eggs are two in number, as large
as those of a goose, and spotted with reddish brown.
Their gait is a singular stalk, reminding one of a person
moving along on elevated stilts; but they run with great
swiftness, and are not easily approached by the sportsman.
It is sometimes kept tame by the colonists of the
Cape, mixing with the poultry on a very friendly footing,
and rewarding its masters by a continual warfare against
the whole tribe of reptiles, rats, locusts, and large
SPOTTED HY 11i : A.
THIs animal is very abundant in the south of Africa.
In size it is a little smaller than the striped species,
but otherwise much resembles it in general appearance.
The nose is black, the tail brown and unspotted, the
ears large, flat, and rounded, and the general colour of
the body a dingy yellow, approaching to a dull brown
on the lower parts: the spots are of the latter colour,
and they predominate on the upper parts.
The spotted hyena is called by the Cape colonists,
the 'tiger wolf.' It is particularly abundant in their
neighbourhood, and a very troublesome neighbour they
find it to be. It does not appear that the striped species
inhabits the same districts as the spotted one.
It is a general belief that the hyaena cannot be tamed,
but this is quite a mistake. It may not, indeed, be
possible to tame it after it has grown up, but when
young it may easily be tamed. It is often domesticated
at the Cape of Good Hope, and is found not only useful
for hunting, but capable of becoming faithful and attached
to its master. The hyena is not mentioned by that name
in the Holy Bible, but in the passage in the prophet
Jeremiah, xii. 9., it is thought by the learned, that the
words, 'speckled bird,' should be translated hyena. It
should, in that case, be thus rendered:-
"Mine heritage is unto me as a ravenous hyaena;
Fierce beasts of the desert are round about it."
The hyena acts the part among animals, that the
vulture does among birds; destroying all carrion and
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other such substances, which would otherwise be doubtless
prejudicial to the health of man. Mr. Pringle says, "In
a field of battle in South Africa, no one ever buries
the dead; the birds and beasts of prey relieve the living
of that trouble: even the bones, except a few of the less
manageable parts, find a sepulchre in the voracious maw
of the hyenaa"
A traveller observes, "The laugh of the hyena has a
startling effect as it steals through the still night, even
under our windows, which it approaches in search of food.
The power of imitation given to these animals is very
great; for they not only cry like the quadrupeds whom
they wish to lure within their reach, but they even
seem to utter human sounds. The commander of a
fortress on the western coast of Africa, assured a lady
that for several evenings he had been disturbed at his
dinner-hour, by the laughter of the native women, who
passed under the walls in search of water. He sent his
servant to them, who desired that they might take some
other path; and they promised to obey. The next even-
ing, however, the noise was heard again, which highly
irritated the commander; and he desired the servant to
lie in ambush on the third evening, and rushing suddenly
out on them, with a few soldiers, secure the women,
and bring them to him in the fortress. The men took
their station as ordered; the laughing re-commenced, and
out they rushed, when, to their great surprise, they only
saw three hymnas standing in the path which had been
frequented by the women; and so well counterfeiting
their voices, that they could not have been detected but
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THE jay is considered one of the handsomest of our
British birds; and, certainly, if we omit those which
are, properly speaking, foreigners, and only occasionally
visit our island, there are few others that can exceed
it in plumage.
The general colour of this bird is a reddish brown,
darker on the back parts than on the breast. The eye
is bright blue, and there is a most brilliant patch of
the same colour on the wing. The note, however, of
the jay is singularly harsh and grating; and his character
is not good, for he is a great thief, and occasionally
destroys young game. His principal food however, consists
of acorns, nuts, fruits, and various seeds.
Bewick, in his account of this species, says, "When
domesticated, they may be rendered very familiar, and
will imitate a variety of words and sounds. We have
heard one imitate the sound of a saw so exactly, that,
though it was on a Sunday, we could hardly be persuaded
that there was not a carpenter at work in the house.
Another, at the approach of cattle, had learned to
hound a cur dog upon them, by whistling and calling
his name; at last, during frost, the dog was excited to
attack a cow, when the animal fell on the ice, and was
hurt: the jay was complained of as a nuisance, and
its owner was obliged to destroy it.
They sometimes assemble in great numbers early in
the spring, and seem to hold a conference, probably
for the purpose of fixing upon the districts they are
to occupy: to hear them is truly curious-while some
gabble, shout, or whistle, others with a raucous voice,
seem to demand attention: the noise made on these
occasions, may be aptly compared to that of a distant
meeting of disorderly drunken persons."
"It is remarkable," says Bishop Stanley, "how exactly
similar are the habits and propensities of birds of the
same tribe or family, though of different species. Thus
the jays of North America are of various sorts, entirely
differing from our English jays, in parts, or in the
whole of their plumage; and yet, in their manners,
scarcely a difference is observable. We have before
remarked that these and some other birds will just keep
out of the range of gun-shot, as if they had learned,
either from experience, or by some unknown mode of
communication, from their older companions, that pro-
vided they never allowed a shooter to come within a
given distance, they were quite safe.
But the American jays we are speaking of, have
no such knowledge founded upon experience, as is fully
proved by the account of an English officer, who was
travelling in a very wild unfrequented part of North
America, where no gunners had gone before him, and
no jay could therefore have ever learned the proper
distance to keep, in order to ensure its safety. Yet,
there they were, exactly like our common English jays,
shy and cautious, as if they had been hunted by sports-
men every day of their lives, keeping at a certain
distance, with the occasional clatter and chattering so
well known to those who have patiently and persever-
ingly pursued from copse to copse, or tree to tree, a
disturbed party of these cunning birds."
THE INDIAN OX.
THE INDIAN OX.
The zebu, or Indian ox, inhabits India, China, the
island of Madagascar, the Indian islands, and the eastern
side of Africa, from Abyssinia to the Cape of Good
This animal, frequently known by the name of Brahmin
ox, is accounted sacred by the Hindoos, as being dedi-
cated to their false god, Brahmah. They therefore refuse
to shed its blood, do not put it to any labour, and the
more wealthy people often turn out the calves, on some
solemn occasions, as acceptable offerings to Siva, another
of their false gods. Bishop Heber says, speaking of
these customs, "It would be a mortal sin to strike or
injure them. They feed where they please, and devout
persons take great pleasure in pampering them. They
are great pests in the villages near Calcutta, breaking
into gardens, thrusting their noses into the fruiterers'
stalls and pastry-cooks' shops, and helping themselves
without ceremony. Like other petted animals, they are
sometimes mischievous, and are said to resent with a
push of their horns, any delay in gratifying their wishes."
Mrs. Barbauld, in one of her entertaining volumes,
gives an amusing story of a soldier, who shot a tiger
which was in the act of springing on a Brahmin; and
so saved his life. The Brahmin expressed great gratitude
for the friendly help he had received, and begged to
know what he could do in return. "I am very hungry,"
said the soldier, "you have some nice cows here-I
should like a slice of beef." The Brahmin stood aghast
at the idea of slaying one of the sacred animals:-
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THIS is a tolerably common species of British bird,
being found in all the wooded parts of the country. It
is much valued as a song bird by those who keep birds
in cages; but the true lover of nature prefers to hear them
in their free state, enjoying themselves in the open air
of Heaven, and gladdening all around them by their
The bullfinch, at least the male bird, is extremely
handsome, as will appear from the following description:
the female too, though plainly dressed, is neat and
elegant:-The upper part of the head, a ring round
the bill, and the origin of the neck is of a remarkably
fine glossy jet black, from which, in many parts of the
country, it is called the 'monk' or 'pope;' and in Scotland,
not inappropriately, the 'coal-hood,' or 'coally-hood.' The
back is a very pretty ash grey, and the breast a most
beautiful red; the wings and tail, bright black.
The female is like the male, but that the red colour
is changed for a brown, and none of her colours are so
bright. This species not unfrequently changes its plu-
mage: some have been seen entirely white; and there
is one of these varieties in the British Museum. Others
become wholly black in confinement, but this appears to
be from their having been fed with hemp-seed, which
seems to have this curious effect upon them.
This bird is not only common in every part of our
island, but also throughout the whole, of the continent
of Europe. "Its usual haunts, during summer, are woods
and thickets; but in winter, it approaches nearer to
cultivated grounds, and feeds on seeds, winter berries,
etc. In the spring it frequents gardens, where it is
usefully busy in destroying the worms which are lodged
in the tender buds. The female makes her nest in
bushes: it is composed chiefly of moss. She lays five
or six eggs, of a dull bluish white, marked at the larger
end with dark spots. In the wild state its note is very
simple, but when kept in a cage, its song, though in
an under subdued tone, is far from being unpleasant.
Both male and female may be taught to whistle a variety
of tunes They are frequently imported into this country
from Germany, where they are taught to articulate with
great distinctness, several words."
Sir William Parsons, who was himself a great mu-
sician, has recorded an interesting story of one of these
birds. When he was a young man he had a piping
bullfinch, which had been taught to sing 'God save the
King.' Having occasion to go abroad, he left the bullfinch
in charge of his sister, with strict injunction to take the
greatest possible care of it. On his return, he at once
visited his sister, when she told him that his favourite
little bird had been for some time in feeble and declin-
ing health, and at that very time was extremely ill.
Sir William, much concerned for it, went to the room
where the cage was, and having opened the door, put
his hand in, and spoke to the bird. It remembered his
voice, shook its feathers, hopped faintly on to his finger,
piped for the last time, like a loyal bird, as it must
have been, 'God save the King,' and immediately after
fell down dead.
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THERE are several species of civet, and they are
natives of Africa; as also, according to some authors,
of Asia. They are very voracious animals, resembling
the cat tribe more than any other, in their carnivorous
propensities, which they follow out by night in a san-
guinary manner. They also resemble them in their eyes,
which are capable of being contracted from a circle almost
into a line. The feet have five toes, which are partly
retractile, and are more or less raised in walking.
The common civet is between two and three feet in
length, besides the tail, which is nearly half the length
of the body. The hair on the back to the end of the
tail is very long, forming on the upper part of the former
a sort of mane, which the creature has the power of
raising or depressing at pleasure.
The colour of the civet is a brownish grey, interspersed
with many transverse interrupted bands, of a blackish
or dusky colour.
In its wild state it is naturally ferocious, living, as it
does, by rapine. It is extremely nimble and agile, poun-
cing on the small birds and animals, which are its food:
it surprises them at night, as does the cat, in preference
to attacking them openly by day: it has been known to
carry off poultry from the farm-yard. The voice of the
civet resembles that of an angry dog.
In Holland, numbers of tliese animals are kept for
the sake of the drug procured from them, and which
therefore goes by their name. The civet thus produced
ia Amsterdam, is esteemed more highly than that which
18 THE CIVET.
is imported from the Levant, or India; being considered
to be less adulterated. It sells for as much as two pounds
ten shillings an ounce, on the average; but, like camphor,
and other such articles, is liable to fluctuations in value.
This drug used, in former times, to be much valued as
a medicine, but, at present, it is chiefly made use of for
imparting its scent to different pomades. It has some-
times been confounded with musk, but in its odour it
more resembles amber. Its medicinal properties also are
somewhat different. It used also to be thought to have
a soothing effect upon the mind; and in Shakspeare's
time it was thought indispensable to the toilet.
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IG EO N.
THE CROWNED PIGEON.
THIS remarkable and beautiful bird is a native of Java,
New Guinea, and the Moluccas. In size it exceeds a
large fowl, measuring, in total length, twenty-eight inches.
Several living specimens have been brought to this
country, some of which have been kept in the menagerie
of the Zoological Society. In its manners it resembles
poultry, and walks about with firm and stately steps,
and with its beautiful crest expanded. In India and
the islands it is sometimes kept tame in the court-
yards among other poultry; and Sir George Staunton,
in his "Embassy to China," notices it under the title
of 'crown bird,' and states that it is very familiar. Its
voice, though plaintive, is loud and sonorous; and the
cooing of the male is said to be accompanied by a noise
somewhat like the 'gobble' of a turkey-cock.
By the Dutch it is frequently brought to Europe from
the East Indian possessions, but being of a delicate
constitution, and not able to bear the cold, it seldom
long survives in the damp and chill temperature of
Holland. In consequence, all attempts to domesticate
or render it available in the poultry yard in cold climates,
have hitherto failed, which is greatly to be regretted,
not more on account of its beauty and stately appear-
ance, than for its excellent flavour as a wholesome and
This bird is stated to build its nest in trees, the eggs
being two in number. Its food consists of grain and
The nest of the pigeon, built in trees, is little more
THE CROWNED PIGEON.
than a flat platform of twigs, laid crossways over each
other, the lower layer consisting of larger twigs, the
uppermost smaller and finer; and on this platform, which
varies in thickness, the eggs are laid. Some species,
as the rock-dove, the origin of our domestic race, breed
in the holes and on the shelves of precipitous rocks,
making a bed of a few sticks and twigs. The female
lays twice or thrice a year, and generally two eggs at
a time, on which she sits alternately with the male,
who takes her place for several hours during the day
while she is absent in search of food. When the young
are first hatched, they are unfledged and blind, and
consequently unable to provide for themselves. This
task the parents fulfil, disgorging a portion of their
half-digested food into the mouths of their nestlings,
over whom they watch with the most unremitting
In Persia, and other parts of the East, pigeons are
kept in multitudes, for the sake of the manure produced:
towers are built on the outskirts of the towns for them,
and vasts clouds of these birds may be seen coming
from them, returning to them, or wheeling in the air
round their pinnacles.
THis is a well-known little animal, and common in
all parts of the country in which large fir woods are to
be found. Its agility is very great, and extremely inter-
esting to witness, jumping, as it does, from bough to
bough, with the most unerring certainty. Even if it
were by some extraordinary chance to miss its hold of
the bough it aimed at, it would be sure to catch hold
of another long before it reached the ground, and would
suffer no inconvenience or hurt by its slip. Its long
bushy tail, generally curled up over its back, gives it a
singular appearance; and it is a very pretty sight to
see it thus sitting upright on the branch of a tree, and
holding a nut in its fore paws to nibble at. It is also
very alert on the ground, and runs fast: it then generally
carries its tail straight behind it.
Squirrels are easily tamed, and are often kept in cages,
to which is attached a circular or oblong wire part, which
it turns round and round by running on. It is, however,
a great pity to keep this or any other harmless wild
animal in such confinement. How much better to see
then in their natural state, in which alone they can be seen
to advantage, and in which alone they can enjoy
The length of the squirrel, from the end of the nose
to the tip of the tail, is about one foot two inches and
three quarters on the average. The tail itself is about
eight inches and a half long. The whole of the back
and sides is of a reddish brown colour, and the under
parts white; the ears are terminated by a tuft of hair.
Mr. Blyth has observed of the squirrel, that "in sum-
mer its fur is coarse, shining, and of a bright rufous
colour, and the ears are deficient of the ornamental
tufts, which grow in autumn, while the animal is reno-.
vating its coat, and continue, usually, till about the
beginning of July; the time varying somewhat in different
individuals. In winter, its fur is much finer in quality
and texture, considerably longer, thicker and more glossy,
and nearly of a greyish brown hue. The first young
ones, which are produced very early in the season, push
forth the winter garb, which, I believe, they retain
throughout the summer; whereas, the second race of
young ones, which, for the most part, make their appear-
ance about midsummer, are first clad in the summer
dress, which is exchanged before they have become half-
grown for that of winter."
Varieties of the squirrel are of not very rare occurrence.
One is mentioned by Blumenbach, of a black colour, and
also another, which was spotted with black and white;
and an albino, which had red eyes. Pennant, the British
Naturalist, has said that in Wales there is a variety with
a 'cream-coloured tail.' So also the Rev. W. Herbert
relates that in North Hampshire, many squirrels have 'white
tails;' and Mr. Jesse, the author of the "Gleanings in
Natural History," mentions that several such have been
observed in the park of Stanford Court, in Worcestershire,
the seat of Sir Thomas Winnington, Bart.; also in that
of Sir R. Phillips, in Pembrokeshire; and that one with
a 'grey tail' was shot at Pain's Hill, near Cobham, in
T iT T OU C AN.
THIS family of birds is particularly distinguished by
the enormous size of the bill, which in some of the
species is nearly as long and as large as the body itself,
but is light, filled with cells, and the edge irregularly
notched. The tongue is also of a very singular form,
being long, narrow, and barbed at the tip. The toucans
are only found in tropical America, where they live in
small flocks, in the recesses of the forests. They sub-
sist on fruits and insects, and during the nesting season,
on the eggs and young of other birds. Their feet are
rather short, their wings of moderate length, and their
tail rather long, which, when the bird is at rest, it
commonly holds erect. They nestle in the trunks of
trees, and generally produce two pure white eggs, of a
In the first volume of the "Zoological Journal," is
an interesting account of a toucan, which was kept in
a state of domestication in this country for many years.
"As the dusk of the evening approached, he finished his
last meal for the day; took a few turns, as if for exercise
after his meal, round the perches of his cage, and then
settled on the highest perch, disposing himself in a
sleeping posture, almost at the moment he alighted on
it; his head drawn in between his shoulders, and his
tail turned vertically over his back."
We are told in Mr. Edward's entertaining "Voyage
up the Amazon," that there are many varieties of toucans
appearing there at different seasons, but the red-billed
and the ariel are the largest and most abundant, seen
at every season, and towards autumn particularly, in vast
numbers throughout the forest. Their large beaks give
them a very awkward appearance, more especially when
flying; yet in the trees they use them with as much
apparent ease as though they were to our eyes of a more
convenient form. Alighted on a tree, one usually acts
the part of a sentinel, uttering constantly the loud cry
-Tucdno, whence they derive their name. The others
disperse over the branches, climbing about by aid of
their beaks. and seize the fruit. We had been told that
these birds were in the habit of tossing up their food
to a considerable distance, and catching it as it fell;
but as far as we could observe, they merely threw back
the head, allowing the fruit to fall down the throat. We
saw at different times tamed toucans, and they never
were seen to toss their food, although almost invariably
throwing back the head. This habit is rendered neces-
sary by the length of the bill, and the stiffness of the
tongue, which prevents their eating as do other birds.
All the time while feeding, a hoarse chattering is kept
up, and at intervals they unite with the noisy sentry,
and scream a concert that may be heard a mile. Having
appeased their appetites, they fly towards the deeper
forest, and quietly doze away the noon. Often in the
very early morning, a few of them may be seen sitting
silently upon the branches of some dead tree, apparently
awaiting the coming sunlight before starting for their feed-
ing-trees. Toucans, when tamed, are exceedingly familiar,
playful birds, capable of learning as many feat" as any of
the parrots, with the exception of talking. When turning
about on their perch, they effect their object by one sudden
jump. They eat almost anything, but are particularly
fo?)d of meat."
G .- 0
THE monkey tribe is divided into the three principal
divisions of apes, baboons, and monkeys, and as the
distinctions between them are frequently, and indeed
most commonly lost sight of, I introduce the following
observations of Mr. Fennell on the subject:-"The terms
ape, monkey, and baboon, are very indiscriminately applied
to quadrumanous or four-handed animals, by the gene-
rality of writers; but here, as in all other matters of
science, it is very important that some precision in
nomenclature should be observed. I shall therefore, as
I proceed, particularize some of the most obvious cha-
racters by which apes may be readily distinguished from
the other two groups.
The apes have neither tails nor cheek-pouches; organs
which are, separately, absent, or nearly so, in some
baboons and monkeys, but not absent altogether. Another
very great distinction consists in the peculiar circum-
stance of their arms being disproportionately long in
comparison with the legs: the arms of some species
being so long indeed, that when standing upright, they
can touch the ground with the fingers. They are most
admirably adapted for a life among woods and forests,
and they climb and swing from tree to tree with astonishing
In a state of nature they feed on wild fruits, bulbous
roots, small reptiles, insects, birds, and eggs; but in
confinement, they will eat cooked beef or mutton. In
the latter state their favourite beverage is milk or water;
and though at first they reject wine or spirits, yet, like
the savages of America and Australia, they soon lay
aside the habits of temperance, and learn to enjoy
In the Tower Menagerie, now broken up, there
was a large specimen of an animal of this genus "which
exhibited an extraordinary resemblance to humanity in
form, appearance, and manners. The right arm especially
might have been at first sight mistaken for that of a
brawny blacksmith or pugilist, had it not been for
its hairy covering, and the somewhat unusual length of
the fingers. His attentions to a dog which used to
visit his cage, were in the best style of dignified
patronage: nor did the dog recognize any difference
between the pat of his hand, and that of a man. Like
many dignified folks, however, his habits were not very
refined, and his greatest enjoyment consisted in immo-
derate potations of porter. Indeed his porter carried
him to his bier, for he died from excessive drinking,
in the year 1828."
THERE are different species of oriole, but this is the
only one which is ever found in these kingdoms, and
it only very rarely; but a few instances are on record
of its having found its way across the Channel. In
France, this bird is not uncommon, and it breeds there.
The nest is of a curious shape, being somewhat in the
form of a purse; it is fastened to the outermost bran-
ches of tall trees, placed in the cleft between two, and
is composed of stalks and fibres of hemp or straw,
or the fine dry stalks of grass, and lined with moss and
other soft materials. The female is strongly attached
to her eggs and young, and will, it is said, suffer herself
to be taken off the nest sooner than leave them.
The golden oriole is about the size of a thrush,
being about nine inches and a half in length. The
bill is brownish red; the iris or eye, red. The general
colour of the plumage is a bright golden yellow, whence
the obvious name of the bird: there is a streak of
black between the bill and the eye. The quill feathers
of the wing are black, overhung with some of the
yellow of the back, and there is a patch of the same
in the middle of the wing: the two centre feathers of
the tail are black, inclining at the base to olive; the
tips yellow; of the remainder, the basal half is black,
the rest yellow; the legs lead-colour; the claws black.
The note of this species is in general loud and shrill,
but Bechstein, the author of the "Cage Birds," says
that two young ones which he had, were able, in addi-
tion to their usual song, the one to whistle a fanfare,
28 GOLDEN ORIOLE.
and the other a minuet; and he considered the tones
of their voice to be very melodious and agreeable.
According to the same author also, in Germany these
birds usually resort to the outskirts of the forest, where
they haunt the umbrageous recesses of the underwood
among old and lofty trees, in which it is naturally difficult
to see or disturb them. In the summer time they
repair to the orchards and gardens, where they feast
upon the cherries. In the month of August they migrate
from thence in families, and return again to the scene
of their birth in the following May.
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POLAR B A R.
OF the bear there are three kinds; the common brown
bear, found among the Alps, and in other parts of Europe;
the black bear of North America, which is smaller in
size; and the huge Greenland, white, or polar bear.
The last-named species feed on fish, seals, and dead
whales, which abound in those Arctic regions which are
their native country. Their flesh consequently is rank
and unpleasant, but of the other kind, the hams are
considered good eating, and even a delicacy.
When our sailors first land upon the unfrequented
shores of some of those extreme northern countries, where
perhaps the foot of man has never trodden before, the
white bears come to gaze upon them in a sort of igno-
rant astonishment; but they soon become but too well
acquainted with the destructive nature of the fire-arms
they carry; and if wounded, they either endeavour to fly,
or make a desperate resistance, until finally overpowered
by the superior force and skill of their assailants. "It
often happens, that when a Greenlander and his wife are
paddling out at sea, by coming too near an ice floe, a
white bear unexpectedly jumps into their boat, and if
he does not overset it, sits calmly down, and like a
passenger suffers himself to be rowed along. It is
probable that the poor little Greenlander is not very
fond of his new guest; however he makes a virtue of
necessity, and hospitably rows him to shore."
One would naturally be disposed to imagine that the
bear, or any other warm-blooded animal, would suffer
from the cold in the dreadfully severe climate which
prevails in those dreary regions of perpetual ice and
snow in which his lot is cast; but it is far from being
so: he seems to rejoice in the winter when he is sur-
rounded on all sides by ice; and those which have been
brought alive to this country, captured when young,
suffer only from any degree of heat or warmth; and
it is very pleasing to see them diving into the water
placed for their recreation, and indeed for the support
of their life, for without it they would soon perish;
gambolling in it like kittens, and amusing themselves
with every possible contortion of their bodies in the
element which is so congenial to them, and in which
they are so perfectly at home.
It is curious to the observer of nature, to see how
different is the kind of food preferred by different
animals, even of the same genus. Thus the polar bear,
as before observed, feeds on the products of the ocean,
and is fond of fish; the brown bear feeds on both
animals and vegetables; he is fond of sweet fruits, and
also of honey, but it is said that when he is surfeited
with the sweetness of it, he rectifies the taste by taking
a mouthful of ants, which are extremely acid and
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THIS well-known bird is one of the least of those
which inhabit our country, weighing only about two
drachms and a quarter. Its length is about four inches
and a quarter; the bill is about half an inch in length,
or a little over, slightly curved, and of a dusky brown
colour; the eye is dark brown; all the upper parts of
the body, as also the head and the neck, are of a
deep russet brown, thickly, but faintly, marked with
transverse dusky lines: over the eye is a light-coloured
streak. The tail is dusky brown; the feathers of the
wing are of the same colour; the under parts are light
rufous brown; the sides the same, but crossed with
darker lines; the under tail coverts, obscurely spotted
with black and white, and the legs pale brown.
The wren is a constant resident in England, and is
a general favourite, somewhat in the same way as the
robin and the swallow. Inl the winter, when the snow
is deep, they not unfrequently are found dead, the cold,
and the difficulty of procuring food being fatal to them.
They retire for warmth to the eaves of hay and corn
stacks, and any sheltered place.
The wren builds generally 'in ivy, but also in various
other situations, such as trees, bushes, and the thatch
of cottages. The nest is composed of hay or moss, and is
lined with feathers. The eggs are seven or eight in
number, and, as may be supposed, very small, weighing
only twenty grains; they are white, dotted with red,
chiefly at the thicker end.
"The flight of the wren is performed in a straight
line, fluttering incessantly its short rounded wings. It
seldom performs any longer flight than from bush to
bush, or across an open grass-plot, and usually near
the ground, as if conscious of its imperfect powers.
The wren sings occasionally at all seasons, but least
in the autumn. Early in the spring, its lively song may
be heard suddenly to break forth in a clear and cheer-
ful strain. Its voice is very strong for so small a bird,
more than equalling in strength that of the redbreast.
It appears usually to sing one stated succession of notes,
or at most, exhibits but little variety. In the performance
of its song, the whole body of the little vocalist vibrates,
the bill is raised and opened wide, the throat enlarged,
and the wings drooping. While singing, the little bird
frequently sits on the upper branch of a hedge or bush,
and when the song is ended, precipitately descends.
"To shew," says Meyer, "how small in bodily
substance this little bird is, we mention the following
fact:-We once captured a wren, and wishing to observe
its manners, designed to keep it for a few days, in a
large wire cage. Accordingly, we introduced the little
creature in at the door: it had scarcely released itself
from our hand, when we heard it strike itself against
a window at the other end of the room. Hardly
believing that it could so readily have escaped through
the wires of the cage, we repeated the experiment: the
result was the same, and we found that this little
creature could fly through a cage, whose wires were
placed at the distance of only five lines, or little more
than the third of an inch from one another, without
appearing to be even obstructed by them."
P CA Y.
THERE are two species of peccary, the white-lipped and
the collared. Both kinds inhabit the vast forests of
South America, and, although they are alike in some
respects, resorting for shelter to the burrows that other
animals have forsaken, or to the hollows of trees, yet,
in others of their habits, and in their disposition, they
widely differ, as well as in their external appearance.
The white-lipped peccary is considerably larger than
the other species, frequently measuring three feet and a
half in length, and sometimes attaining the weight of a
hundred pounds. In form and proportions it is thicker
and stouter, with shorter legs and a longer snout: its
colour is also darker. The hairs on the body are black,
with a few brownish rings, which are most conspicuous
about the head. The whole of the under lip, the sides
of the mouth, and nose, are white, whence the name; and
the mane and hair about the head are so long as nearly
to conceal the ears.
The length of the collared peccary is about three
feet, but some are not quite so long: the weight is
about fifty pounds.
The white-lipped peccaries congregate in numerous
bands, sometimes amounting, it is said, to more than a
thousand. It will fight courageously with beasts of prey.
The jaguar is its mortal enemy, and frequently loses its
life in engaging a number of these animals, which assist
each other, and surround their enemy. M. de la Borde
relates that being one day engaged with some others in
hunting a drove of peccaries, they were surrounded by
them, and obliged to take refuge upon a piece of rock;
and, notwithstanding they kept up a constant fire among
them, the creatures did not retire till a great number
of them were killed.
The food of the peccaries consists of bulbous and
other roots, in search of which they turn up the ground;
and are also fond of sugar-canes, potatoes, maize, and
manihot, among which they often commit great damage.
They also eat fish and reptiles, which they are said to
be expert in catching, and to be more than a match
even for the deadly rattlesnake.
These animals emit a strong scent, considered by
some to resemble musk, and to be pleasant; but by
others to be very disagreeable, which is not extraor-
dinary, considering that many persons are extremely
fond of the smell of musl itself, while others cannot
bear it; and on some it produces very powerful effects.
"The females of both species produce only two
young ones in a year. If a young one be captured,
it will become nearly as tame and familiar in confinement
as the common hog, but its flesh is said to be inferior
to pork in flavour and fatness, and to partake of the
strong smell, unless the gland has been removed immedi-
ately after death."
How wonderful indeed are the various endowments
with which God has gifted His creatures, many of them
obvious to us as to their utility, but others often entirely
hidden from us as to any such, yet, doubtless, all
useful to their possessors in some way or degree or
other. How far would even the idea of many of them be
from coming into our thoughts, if not presented to us
in the way that they are.
THERE are a great variety of species of woodpecker,
but only four or five are natives of this country: all are
curious and handsome birds, and some of them extremely
beautiful. The habits of all of them are alike, and their
name is descriptive of what one may call the distin-
guishing trait in their character. The largest kind that
is found in Great Britain, excepting, indeed, the great
black woodpecker, which is, however, an extremely rare
bird, is the green woodpecker, a very handsome species,
and not uncommon in some parts of the country. It is
otherwise called the woodspite, poppinjay, ecle, hew-hole,
and various other vernacular names.
The following is the account given by Montagu:-
"The formation of the whole of this tribe is admirably
adapted to their mode of life. The bill, which is strong,
and formed like a wedge at the point, enables them to
force their way through the sap of a tree, when, by
instinct, it is discovered to be decayed at the heart.
With this instrument it dislodges the larvae of a numerous
tribe of the coleopterous insects, as well as that of the
goat moth. The tongue is no less wonderfully formed,
for insinuating into all the smaller crevices, to extract
the hidden treasures, by transfixing the larger insects,
or, by adhesion withdrawing the smaller; for, like the
wryneck, it is furnished with a glutinous substance for
that purpose. Nor can we less admire the short and
strong formation of the legs, and the hooked claws, so
well calculated to enable them to climb and affix them-
selves against the body of a tree, either to roost, or
perforate a hole; to assist which, the stiff tail is of
Woodpeckers are commonly seen climbing up a tree,
but never down, as some have asserted. The hole which
they make is as perfect a circle as if described by a
pair of compasses. For the places of nidification, the
softer woods are attacked, the elm, ash, and, particularly
the aspen, but rarely the oak. These are only perforated
where they have symptoms of decay; and the excavations
are frequently deep, to give security to their eggs. This
species lays four or five white eggs, weighing about two
drachms, which are placed on the rotten wood, without
any nest. The young birds have the appearance of
crimson on their heads, but not so bright as in adults.
Ants and their eggs are a favourite repast of this
species, for which they are frequently seen on the ground
searching the emmet hills. The tongue is here made
use of instead of the bill, similar to that of the wryneck.
Its note is harsh, and its manner of flying undulated."
HIT EET DOG.
THE first traveller that appears to have given to
the public any account of these dogs, is Captain Turner,
who says that while near the seat of the Rajah of
Bootan, he noticed "a row of wooden cages, containing
a number of large dogs, tremendously fierce, strong,
and noisy. They were natives of Thibet; and whether
savage by nature, or soured by confinement, they were
so impetuously furious, that it was unsafe, unless the
keepers were near, even to approach their dens. Entering
a Thibet village, and being indolently disposed, and
prompted by mere curiosity, I strolled alone among
the houses, and seeing everything still and quiet, I
turned into one of the stone enclosures, which serve as
folds for cattle. The instant I entered the gate, to
my astonishment, up started a huge dog, big enough, if
his courage had been equal to his size, to fight a
lion. He kept me at bay with a most clamorous
bark, and I was a good deal startled at first, but
recollecting their cowardly disposition, I stood still;
for having once had one in my possession, I knew that
they were fierce only when they perceived themselves
feared. If I had attempted to run, he probably would
have flown upon me, and torn me in pieces, before
any one could have come to my rescue. Some persons
came out of the house, and he was soon silenced."
His late Majesty, King William the Fourth, presented
a pair of dogs of this kind, to the collection in the
Gardens of the Zoological Society in the Regents Park,
London. They had been brought from the neighbour-
hood of Diggarchee, the capital city of Thibet, by Dr.
Wallich, the celebrated botanist. They were larger than
the largest English mastiff. "Their colour was a deep
black, slightly clouded on the sides; their feet, and a
spot over each eye alone, being of a full, tawny, or
bright brown. They had the broad, short, truncated
muzzle of the mastiff, and lips still more deeply pen-
dulous. In fact, there appeared, throughout, a general
looseness of the skin; a circumstance which M. Desmarest
has pointed out as characteristic of his 'dog of Thibet,'
of which, however, he gives no particular description."
Speaking of this same pair Dr. Wallich says, that they
were very gentle; and he further writes of them that
"these noble animals are the watch-dogs of the table
land of the Himalayan Mountains about Thibet. Their
masters, the Bhoteas, to whom they are most strongly
attached, are a singular race, of a ruddy copper-colour,
indicating the bracing air which they breathe; rather
short, but of an excellent disposition. Their clothing
is adapted to the cold climate which they inhabit, and
consists of fur and woollen cloth. The men till the
ground and keep sheep, and at certain seasons come
down to trade, bringing borax, tincal, and musk, for
sale: they sometimes penetrate as far as Calcutta.
On these occasions the women remain at home with
the dogs, and the encampment is watched by the latter,
which have an almost irreconcilable aversion to Europeans,
and in general fly ferociously at a white face:" out of
their own immediate country, however, they seem, as
imparted by the previous statement, to lose nearly all their
energies, and to degenerate very much.
I I 0 G 0 N.
No species of this beautiful family of birds occurs in
this country, or even in Europe. The following account
of them is necessarily borrowed:-"The trogons," says
Linnaeus Martin, "constitute a family of birds, the members
of which are peculiar to the hotter regions of America,
and of India, and its adjacent islands-Ceylon, Java,
Borneo, Sumatra, etc.; one species only having as yet
been discovered in Africa. Among the most conspicuous
of the feathered tribes for beauty and brilliancy of plumage,
the trogons stand confessedly pre-eminent. The metallic
golden green of some species is of dazzling effulgence;
in others less gorgeous: the delicate pencillings of the
plumage, and the contrasted hues of deep scarlet, black,
green, and brown, produce a rich and beautiful effect.
It is difficult to convey the idea of a bird, or indeed
of any natural object, by description solely; the pictorial
specimen, however, will render the details connected
with the family features of the present group easily
The trogons are zygodactyle, that is, they have their
toes in pairs-two before, and two behind, like the parrots
and woodpeckers; the tarsi are short and feeble, the
beak is stout, and the gape wide; the general contour
of the body is full and round, and the head large; the
plumage is dense, soft, and deep; the wings are short
but pointed, the quill feathers being rigid; the tail is
long, ample, and graduated, its outer feathers decreasing
in length; in some species the tail feathers are elongated,
so as to form a pendent plumage of loose feathers.
Of solitary habits, the trogons, (or courocous,) fre-
quent the most secluded portions of dense forests,
remote from the abodes of man. For hours together
they sit motionless on some branch, uttering occa-
sionally, a plaintive, melancholy cry, especially while the
female is brooding on her eggs. Indifferent during the day
to every object, listless or slumbering on their perch, they
take no notice of the presence of an intruder, and may indeed
be often so closely approached as to be knocked down by a
stick. The bright glare of the sun obscures their sight, and
they wait for evening, the dusk of twilight being their
season of activity.
Fruits, insects and their larva, constitute their food.
Formed, most of them at least, for rapid but not pro-
tracted flight, they watch from their perch the insects
flitting by, and dart after them with surprising velocity,
returning after their short chase to the same point of
observation. Some, however, are almost exclusively
frugivorous. Many species are certainly migratory.
Like the parrots and woodpeckers, the trogons breed
in the hollows of decayed trees, the eggs being deposited
on a bed of wood-dust, the work of insects; they are
three or four in number, and white. The young, when
first hatched, are totally destitute of feathers, which do
not begin to make their appearance for two or three
days; and their head and back appear to be dispropor-
tionably large. These birds are said to rear two broods
in the year."
iL/ J _i
THIE chinchilla is well known by name, being that
little animal whose peculiarly soft fur is so much used
for making tippets, and other articles of winter wearing
apparel for ladies. Great numbers of skins are imported
into England every year, for the manufacture of these; and
great numbers of chinchillas are therefore killed, for the
supply of this and other countries. The fur, as Father
Acosta observes, in his "Natural and Moral Historie of
the East and West Indies," translated by D. G., London,
1664, (the original edition was written in Spanish, and
published at Barcelona, in the year 1591,) being "so
wonderful smooth and soft, that the natives wear the
skin as a healthful thing to comfort the stomach, and
those parts that have need of a moderate heat." Accor-
ding to Schmidtmever's "Travels into Chili, over the
Andes," London, 1824, in its wild state onions constitute
the chief food of this little animal; but those specimens
which have been brought to England, have thriven well
upon several other kinds of food, such as hay, clover,
various kinds of grain, and succulent roots, such ai
potatoes, parsnips, turnips, and carrots.
"The chinchilla inhabits the alpine valleys of Chili and
Pern. Its length from the nose to the end of the tail
is about one foot two inches. It is greyish or ash-colour
above, and paler on the under parts; all the feet have
four toes, and short claws, which are nearly hidden by
It usually sits upon its haunches, but can raise itself
up and stand on its hin l feet." "When feeding, it sits
up, and conveys the food to its mouth with its paws."
Another member of the chinchilla family, the viscacha,
commonly lives in communities on the naked rocks,
where a dry and scanty vegetation is rarely to be seen.
They quit their abodes, which are amongst the loose
pieces of rock, shortly after sunrise, and rather before
sunset; and then display the most extraordinary activity,
leaping from rock to rock; in a moment, as it appears,
they may be seen to ascend an almost precipitous rock of
twenty or thirty feet in height; and if fired at, they
disappear as if by magic, having retreated to the holes
and crevices. The sunshine they generally avoid, and it
is therefore only in shaded spots that they are seen, unless
the day be cloudy. Their fbod consists of grasses, dry
roots, and mosses, and to procure this, they often have
to wander far from their homes.
The viscacha has one very singular habit; namely,
dragging every hard object to the mouth of its burrows.
Around each group of holes many bones of cattle,
stones, thistle stalks, and other things, are collected
into a heap, which frequently amounts to as much
as would fill a wheelbarrow. A gentleman, when riding
on a dark night, dropped his watch; he returned in
the morning, and by searching in the neighbourhood
of every viscacha hole on the line of road, as he
expected, soon found it. This habit of picking up
whatever may be lying on the ground near its habitation,
must cost much trouble. For what purpose it is done
it is impossible to conjecture: it cannot be for defence,
as the rubbish is placed above the mouth of the
burrow, which enters the ground at a very small
-=~--;L --- -
-- --- 9
THERE are several species of grouse, three or four
of which inhabit Great Britain. Of these the red grouse,
otherwise called the moor-game, or moor-fowl, is pecu-
liar to these islands, being found, so far as is known,
in no other part of the world. It is a thoroughly wild
and game bird, never approaching the habitations of man,
but inhabiting the most desolate parts of the country-
the wild and dreary moors and mountains, where alone
it finds the berries on which it subsists. Nevertheless,
when kept in confinement, they have been known to
lay eggs and bring out their young.
"In severe winters," says Rennie, "moor-game comes
lower down the mountains in Scotland, and they flock
together in prodigious numbers: in 1782 and 1783,
according to Thornton, three or four thousand assembled.
The same author, in his "Sporting Marches," encamped
at the source of the Dalmon, at the foot of an
immense hill, called Croke Franc. "The game on
those moors," says he, "is innumerable. In a mile
long, and not half a one broad, I saw at least one
thousand brace of moor-game."
"The mountains of Wales are now the most southern
parts these birds are found in; they are not uncommon
in Yorkshire, and from thence northward upon the
moorlands, but nowhere so plentiful as in the Highlands
of Scotland, where the moors are unbounded.
It is also found on the Western Islands, and in the
mountains and bogs in Irelaud; but it is remarkable
that these birds should seem to be confined to these
kingdoms. Linnaeus did not seem to be acquainted
with the species, and Gmelin has given it as a variety
of the ptarmigan. Buffon speaks of a white variety,
which he names L'Altagas blanc, and says it is found
about the mountains of Switzerland, and those of Vicenza.
But there is little doubt this is the ptarmigan.
The moor-fowl never resort to woods, but confine
themselves wholly to the open moors, building their
nests, if a few withered stems placed carelessly together
deserve that appellation, in a tuft of heath; they feed
on the mountain and bog berries, and, in defect of
these, on the tops of the heath.
It lays from eight to fourteen eggs, much like those
of the black cock, but smaller. The young keep with
the parent birds till towards winter, and are called a
pack or brood; in November they flock together in
great numbers, sometimes thirty or forty, where they
are plentiful, at which time they are extremely shy,
and difficult to be shot.
We never remember but one instance of its being
found at a distance from the moors. This was a female,
taken alive near Wedhampton, in Wiltshire, in the winter
of 1794, and communicated by the late Edward Poore,
Esq., who shewed us a part of the bird. By what
unaccountable accident it should have been driven to so
great a distance from its native moors, is difficult to
say, as the nearest place to this which they are known
to inhabit, is the south of Wales, a distance, in a
straight line, not less than sixty miles."
;3 i -
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.~ 't_ -"-- -a.
THIE hedge-hog is not uncommon in England, but is
fast becoming far less frequent than in former times,
owing to the spread of cultivation, which naturally
destroys the shelter otherwise afforded to wild animals.
The following account of this harmless and inoffensive
little animal, is given by Mr. Fennell:-"The hedge-hog
inhabits most of the temperate countries of Europe. It
is found throughout England; in Donegal, and probably
other counties of Ireland. Mr. George Duncan says it is
found in Renfrewshire, in Scotland; but a well-known
newspaper, edited by a Scotchman, stated, some few
years ago, that the hedge-hog is seldom seen so far north
as Elgin, and then only in caravans."
"It is about eleven inches long, from the nose to the
end of the tail, which is so concealed by its spines or
bristles, as to be scarcely visible; the whole upper part
of its body and sides are closely covered with strong sharp-
pointed spines of an inch in length; its mouth is small,
but well furnished with teeth; its eyes are small, and
placed high in the head; and its ears are short, broad,
and rounded. Dr. Farrar says, that many sportsmen and
gamekeepers have assured him that the hedge-hog's sense
of hearing is very acute; but adds, that when they have
been closely pressed, as to whether or not its alarms
are received through the organs of vision or hearing,
they seem doubtful. Mr. John Denson, Sen., says, how-
ever, that one evening, when his hedge-hog was running
about the room, his clock commenced striking the hour,
and with considerable intervals between each stroke. Al
the sound of the first stroke the hedge-hog contracted
itself, as if in fear; before the next stroke was sounded
the hedge-hog had partly relaxed itself; but at the sound
of the stroke it again contracted; and so on with the
The hedge-hog generally lies concealed during the
day, among the grass or fallen leaves at the bottom
of hedge-rows or thickets, which it leaves at night for
the purpose of seeking food and society. Shakspeare,
whose immortal works are replete with zoological obser-
vations, is probably the first writer who notices that
the hedge-hog utters a whining cry at night-time:-
"When they shewed me this abhorred pit,
They told me here, at dead time of the night,
Ten thousand urchins,
Would make such fearful and confused cries,
As any mortal body hearing it,
Should straight fall mad, or else die suddenly."
(TITus ANxroNIcts, ii. 3.)
And he makes one of the witches in Macbeth (iv. 1,)
remark that "the hedge-pig whines" at midnight. This
appears to be correct, for persons who have kept tame
hedge-hogs, assure me that they run about at night
uttering sharp cries: and Mr. Denson says he has been
informed that the wild ones also whine by night, fre-
quently and at short intervals, and so audibly as to alarm
the lonely pedestrian, who may be unfamiliar with its
voice. When assailed by enemies, the hedge-hog erects
its sharp and formidable prickles, and by means of
very powerful muscles it clasps its extremities closely
together in the shape of a ball, only exposing to view
such parts of its body as are well protected."
THIS interesting little bird is found in the most
secluded parts of the country, being attached to the
mountain streams, which furnish it with retirement and
with food. The following is the description of the bird:-
"The bill is three-quarters of an inch long, nearly straight,
and black; the upper mandible a little turned down at the
points; irides, hazel; upper part of the head and neck,
deep brown; the eyelids, chin, fore part of the neck,
and breast, white; beneath which is a band of rufous
brown; the rest of the upper parts, the belly, vent,
and tail, are black; the tail much shorter than is usual
in the thrushes.
This species is a retired and solitary bird, rarely seen
but on the banks of rapid rocky rivers, or streams of
water, particularly in the mountainous parts, as in Scotland
and Wales: it is not unfrequent in Devonshire.
In these places it breeds, and continues the whole
year. The nest is very large, formed of moss and water-
plants externally, and lined with dry oak leaves: in shape
it resembles that of the wren, but is not so deep, with
a dome or covering: it is usually placed in some mossy
bank impending the water, in which situation we have
frequently found it. The eggs are five or six in number,
of a semi-transparent white: the tinge of bluish colour
which they are said to have, is occasioned by the yolk,
and disappears when they are blown. They are con-
siderably less than those of the blackbird; their weight
being rather more than one drachm.
A pair of these birds, which had for many years built
under a small wooden bridge in Caermarthenshire, we
found had made a nest early in May: it was taken,
but had no eggs, although the bird flew out of it at
the time. In a fortnight after, they had completed
another nest in the same place, containing five eggs, which
was taken; and in a month after, we took a third nest
under the same bridge, with four eggs; undoubtedly the
work of the same birds, as no others were seen about
that part. At the time the last nest was taken the
female was sitting, and the instant she quitted her nest
she plunged into the water, and disappeared for a
length of time; at last she emerged at a considerable
distance down the stream. At another time we found
a nest of this bird in a steep projecting bank, over a
rivulet clothed with moss: the nest was so well adapted
to the surrounding materials, that nothing but the old
bird flying in with a fish in its bill, would have led to
a discovery. The young were nearly full-feathered, but
incapable of flight; and the moment the nest was dis-
turbed, they fluttered out and dropped into the water, and
to our astonishment instantly vanished, but in a little
time made their appearance at some distance down the
stream; and it was with difficulty two out of five were
taken, as they dived on being approached."
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C -"T.. -- ..
THIS animal inhabits the forests in the whole of the
eastern division of South America, from Surinam to
Paraguay, and formerly existed in some of the West India
They inhabit burrows, which they excavate, but so
superficially, that they are apt to give way beneath the
foot of a person passing over them, no less to his annoy-
ance than that of the animal, which thus suddenly finds
itself in open daylight. These burrows have, as it is
asserted, three openings, which the animal conceals with
dry leaves and branches. In order to capture the paca
alive, the hunter stops two of these apertures, and proceeds
to work at the third, till he arrives at the chamber to
which the avenues lead. Driven to an extremity the paca
makes a desperate resistance, often inflicting very severe
When not disturbed, the paca often sits up and washes
its head and whiskers with its two fore paws, like a cat.
Though heavy and corpulent, it can run with a good deal
of activity, and often takes lively jumps. It swims and
dives with great adroitness, and its cry resembles the grunt-
ing of a young pig. The pacas are very cleanly creatures
in all their habits, and keep their underground dwelling
in a state of the utmost purity.
Cuvier observes that when the paca is offended, it throws
itself violently at the object which has displeased it, and
then makes a kind of grumbling, which at length breaks
out into a sort of bark. The greater part of the day it
passes in repose, delighting in a soft bed, which it forms of
straw, hay, and similar materials, collecting the materials
with its mouth, and making a little heap, in the centre
of which it lies down. M. Buffon gives a detailed account
of one of these animals, which he kept alive in his
house for some time, and which was gentle and very
Its general colour is dusky, with a deeper shade on
the back, and a tinge of greyish white on the under
parts. From the shoulders to the haunches extend four
or five longitudinal rows of oblong whitish spots.
It eats herbs and fruits principally, but the sugar
plantations occasionally suffer from its devastations. The
damage it commits is partly recompensed, however, by
the savoury dish afforded by its flesh, which is a staple
article of food in many parts of South America.
THIS is one of the largest and handsomest of the
British species of falcon, and being a very spirited bird,
was formerly in great esteem in the art of hawking.
When young, the plumage is beautifully mottled with
black and white, but old birds become entirely white.
The gyr, or jer-falcon, is a very rare bird in this
country, and is only met with as a straggler; it is
therefore as much prized now, when dead, as an addition
to the museum, as it was, in ancient times, when living,
for the falconer's use.
The range of the jer-falcon seems to be the more
northern districts of Europe and America. Iceland was,
and is, one of its famed strongholds-the capital, so
far as the sporting world was concerned-and furnished
at a large amount, the sorts which were in most esteem
in the countries where this ancient sport was pursued.
It spreads also along the precipitous coasts of Norway
and Sweden, Greenland, and all those ranges of ice-bound
shores which verge upon the Arctic latitudes. Dr.
Richardson mentions it as a constant resident in the
Hudson Bay territories, and has ascertained it reaching
as far south as fifty-two degrees; and Mr. Audubon
found several pairs breeding on the coast of Labrador.
In Britain an occasional specimen is killed, and, perhaps,
finds its way to some public or private collection. Thus,
in England, it is extremely rare, and north of the Tweed
almost as much so; even in Orkney and Shetland Mr.
Lowe considers it as a visitor, and we are not aware
of any instance of the nest being found. It is equally
so in Ireland, the late John Templeton records a single
specimen; and a letter addressed to Mr. Thompson,
of Belfast, so late am February, 1837, from J. Stewart,
Esq., mentions a specimen killed in a rabbit-warren
close to Dmnfanaghy. It is truly a northern and maritime
species, maritime, most probably, from the abundance
of food which is generally found around the rocky shores
of its principal range-the breeding resort of numberless
The manners, flight, and cry, approach very closely
to those of the peregrine; it is even a more daring bird,
and, like it, delights to have its eyrie on some precipitous
cliff, overhanging the sea. The nest, according to Mr.
Audubon, is composed of sticks, sea-weeds, and mosses,
but the eggs seem not yet authentically known, though
we have some descriptions of them as resembling those
of the ptarmigan. Upon any one approaching the nest,
it becomes very clamorous, descending on the aggressor
in sudden swoops. Dr. Richardson writes, "A pair of
these birds attacked me as I was climbing in the vicinity
of their nest, built on a lofty precipice, on the borders
of Point Lake. They flew in circles, uttering loud cries
and harsh screams, and alternately stooping with such
velocity, that their motion through the air produced a
loud rustling noise: they thrust their claws within an
inch or two of my head."
Their food is both the small animals and sea-fowl
in their vicinity, but they also make more extended
excursions inland, where the grouse and other game
form a favourite and much sought-after repast; and,
in the fur countries, they follow the partial migrations
of the ptarmigan.
:TW -HCRNEE RHINOCEROS.
a ,, -
THERE are, in all, seven or eight species of the
animals of this genus; three of them natives of Asia,
and, either three or four, of Africa.
When full-grown, the length of this creature is about
twelve feet, and it is of abott the same circumference.
Its colour is a dark greyish brown, and its hide is
extremely thick and hard, resembling the rough bark
of a tree. In the "Account of the Menageries," we
find the following statement respecting it:-"The rhi-
noceros is more rapid in its movements than its comparatively
clumsy and massive appearance would, at first sight,
induce one to expect." "The Onamese," Lieutenant
White tells us, "speak with great energy of its irresistible
strength and velocity. Speaking of this animal one day
to the viceroy, he observed, 'you now see him here
before you in Saigon,' and snapping his fingers, 'now he
is in Canjeo.'"
However hyperbolical these accounts appear to be, we
may yet infer from them, that the rhinoceros can exert
great strength and speed. In a state of nature the
rhinoceros leads a calm but indolent life; sluggish in
habitual movements, he wanders along with a heavy
measured step, carrying his huge head low, so that his
nose almost touches the ground, and stopping at intervals
to uproot, with his horns, some favourite food, or in
playful wantonness to plough up the ground, throwing
the mud and stones behind him. As he passes through
the tangled coverts, every obstacle gives way before his
strength, and his track is said to be often marked by
a line of devastation in his rear. Inoffensive, but fearless,
he is, when roused, a most tremendous antagonist; and
such is the keenness of his sense of smell and hearing,
that except by very cautiously approaching him against
the direction of the wind, it is almost impossible to
take him by surprise. On being thus disturbed, he
usually endeavours to retreat in peace, though instances
are on record in which he has furiously advanced to
"A few years ago," says the translator of "Cuvier's
Animal Kingdom," "a party of Europeans, with their
native attendants and elephants, went out to hunt
rhinoceroses, and met with a herd of seven, led as it
seemed, by one larger and stronger than the rest.
When the large rhinoceros charged the hunters, the
leading elephants, instead of using their tusks, which in
ordinary cases they are ready enough to do, wheeled
round, and received the blow of the rhinoceros's horn
upon their posteriors; the blow brought them immedi-
ately to the ground with their riders, and as soon as
they had risen the brute was again ready, and again
brought them down; and in this manner did the contest
continue, until four out of the seven were killed, when
the rest made good their retreat."
We are not to infer from this account that there is
a natural antipathy between the elephant and the rhi-
noceros, though Pliny asserts such to be the case, an
error rejected by other writers. The fact is, that there
are seasons in which the rhinoceros becomes excessively
furious, and upon any animal large enough to attract
his notice, which intrudes within the precincts of its
haunt, he rushes with impetuous violence.
EIi R A
THIS well-known and familiar bird is a universal
favourite, not only in this country, but also, it appears,
in others. He seems to have comparatively but little
dread of man, and comes so near his dwelling, nay,
sometimes, indeed, into it, that his confidence demands
some return of kind feeling, and this is for the most
part accorded to him. Among themselves, however,
robins are very quarrelsome, and are pugnacious against
many other birds. Rennie observes, "The statement
given in most books of natural history, that the redbreast
during summer, flies from the habitation of man, which
he has haunted during winter, to nestle in wild and
solitary places, is far from being strictly correct. I
readily admit that many of these birds may be found
in woods and forests, but I am equally certain that
a great number do not go farther from their winter
haunts than the nearest hedge-row. Even in the vicinity
of London, in Copenhagen fields, Chelsea, Battersea fields,
Kennington, Bermondsey, Peckham, Deptford, Greenwich,
wherever indeed there is a field and a few trees, I
have heard redbreasts singing during the whole summer:
one has been in song all the summer, not a gunshot
from my house at Lee, where this paragraph was written;
and I have remarked another singing fbr several months,
among some elms at Lewisham Bridge, though there are
houses all around, and the bustle of the public road
The redbreast does not indeed usually come to the
cottage for crumbs during summer, because then insects
are plentiful, and this may have given rise to the
common opinion. I once saw an instance, however, at
Compton Basset, in Wiltshire, in which a redbreast
made a daily visit, in summer, within a cottage door,
to peck up what he could find. It is worthy of remark,
that Grahame's poetical sketch of the redbreast is much
more true to nature than the statements of our professed
"High is his perch but humble is his home
And well concealed, sometimes within the sound
Of heartsome mill clack, where the spacious door,
White dusted, tells him plenty reigns around;
Close at the root of brier bush that o'erhangs
The narrow stream, with shealings white,
He fixes his abode, and lives at will;
Oft near some single cottage he prefers
To rear his little home; there pert and spruce
He shares the refuse of the good wife's churn;
Nor seldom does he neighbour the low roof
Where tiny elves are taught."
The redbreast is a very early builder, and usually
selects for its nest a shallow cavity among grass or moss
in a bank, or at the root of a tree; sometimes in the
hole of a tree, in a wood or secluded lane, frequently
far distant from its winter haunts, about the cottage
door or the farm-yard.
ONLY two species of the genus Auchenia, peculiar to
South America, are now found wild, namely the huanaco
or guanaco, and the bicugna. They inhabit, in numer-
ous herds, the lofty Cordilleras, their range extending
considerably below the line of perpetual snow; and it is
remarkable that they do not inhabit Quito, Santa Fe,
Caraccas, etc., although the climate of the mountains
in those parts is like that of high Peru, where they live
and multiply abundantly, the llama and alpaca are not
found in a wild state, and are only known as beasts
of burden employed by the Peruvians. Hernandez speaks
of llamas in New Spain, Mexico, but there they are
scarce, and only kept as curiosities, and neither of the
wild species extends its range to that distance.
Into Chili the alpaca was probably introduced, and it
is the only species the country possesses. The llama
is the largest, strongest, and stoutest species, and anciently
was the most valuable beast of burden the Peruvians
possessed. Its ordinary height is from four to four feet
and a half, sometimes five feet. It is generally light
brown, but sometimes dun, grey, or even inclined to
purple, and very seldom black or party-coloured; under
the belly it is uniformly white. The hair is long, of a
texture between silk and wool, but not curled. The
alpaca is less than the llama, its ordinary height being
four feet. It appears twice as corpulent, owing to its
possessing a much longer and more profuse clothing of
hair, which is sometimes from eight to twelve inches
in length on the sides, rump, and breast. It partakes
of more colours, is often party-coloured, and more fre-
quently white than the three other species.
The Peruvians are careful not to overload either of
these animals, whose burden is generally one hundred
pounds weight, though for a short distance, on good roads,
they occasionally carry twelve or fifteen pounds more.
They are usually gentle and willing. If provoked they
express their anger by turning back their ears, and spitting
into the face of their offender, even if he be four yards
off. Their food is never prepared for them, but when
unemployed, they are suffered to graze on their native
mountains, often pasturing in the company of the wild
species; but they are so much accustomed and apparently
attached to mankind, that they never exchange servitude
for freedom. They very seldom drink for weeks or even
months together, and only a little, being mostly satisfied
with the moisture they express from their green food;
and it even exceeds the camel in its abstinence and
endurance of thirst. The voice of the llama resembles
the shrill neighing of the horse.
The long silky hair of all the species, but more
especially that of the alpaca, is spun into blankets,
friezes, and coarse woollens, which are warm and durable,
and admit of a good dye. As it is perfectly clean,
and free from smell, it does not require any preparatory
process with Fuller's earth. The flesh of all the species
is eaten. Owing to a scarcity of fire-wood, the dung
is used as a substitute for fuel, in the mountain cottages
and mines, and it emits a clear, strong, and lively
THE crossbill is a .bird that is not commonly seen
in this country, owing to its frequenting woods, when
it comes among us, but, nevertheless, it may be met
with every year, and sometimes in large numbers in
various parts of the kingdom. That they have done so
in ancient times, as well as in modern, is evident from
the following statement in Matthew Paris:-"In 1254,
in the fruit season, certain wonderful birds, which had
never before been seen in England, appeared, chiefly
in the orchards. They were a little bigger than larks,
and ate the pippins of the apples, but no other part
of them, on which account they were extremely preju-
dicial, as they deprived the trees of their fruit. They
had the points of the beak crossed, by which they
divided the apples, as with a forceps or knife."
The crossbill is a singular bird, about the size of a lark,
but rather more bulky, and remarkable for the peculiar
construction of its bill, both mandibles having hooked
points, and the lower crossing the left side of the other.
The muscles on the right side, for closing the lower jaw.
Dr. Fleming remarks, are much larger than those on the
left-a singular example of compensation for the loss of
power occasioned by the oblique position and motion of
the lower jaw.
The general colour of the body is a reddish orange,
which changes with age into a yellow and ashy hue; the
tail is forked, and, with the wings, is of a dusky shade.
It breeds early in spring, in the north of Europe, in the
pine forests, fixing its nest in the clefts of the branches,
nnd has four or five greenish grey eggs, with a circle of
brown spots or rays at the larger end. Its food consists
chiefly of the seeds of the fir, which it extracts from
the pine cones with great dexterity; and it is said that
it will divide an apple with one stroke of its bill, to get
at the seeds. It has been tamed, and its motions in a
cage resemble those of a parrot, climbing from the lower
to the upper bars by means of its bill.
In North America, while sojourning in their winter
quarters, they appear in large flocks, feeding on the
seeds of the hemlock and white pine; have a loud,
sharp, and not unmusical note; chatter as they fly;
alight during the prevalence of deep snows before the
door of the hunter, and around the house, picking off
the clay with which the logs are plastered. At such
times they are so tame as only to settle on the roof
of the cabin when disturbed, and a moment after descend
to feed as before.
Though the colour of the crossbill is in general as
described above, yet scarce any two of these birds are
exactly alike in plumage, but they are of almost all
shades of red, green, and yellow, and this without any
distinctness of marking in the several specimens. The
males and females also assume very different hues
respectively, according to the season of the year. They
are very singular-looking birds, and cannot be mistaken.
EA R, AR MOUSE.
MICE belong to the same general family as the rats,
and succeed immediately to the marmots and the squirrels
in the scientific arrangement of nature.
There are many kinds of mice, among which, in
addition to the species so commonly, and often so
injuriously known in this country, we may mention the
long-tailed field mouse, the short-tailed field mouse,
and the Barbary mouse, the one at present under
consideration. Then comes the hamster, sometimes called
the German marmot, the Canadian musk-rat, otherwise
known by the name of the ondatra, or musquash, the
water-vole, and several other kinds.
Of the Barbary mouse, Mr. Fennell remarks, "this
species, the prettiest and most elegant of all, was first
described by Linnaeus, in the addenda to the twelfth
edition of his "Systema Naturae." For a long period
after that publication, it entirely eluded the observation
of zoologists, until of late, when a litter of five young
ones was obtained at Barbary, and three of them having
survived the passage to England, were placed in the
Regent's Park Zoological Gardens, in 1828. Mr. Bennett,
describing them when they had been in the collection
above a year, says, "They are intermediate in size to
the common rat and common mouse, while Linneus
describes his to have been smaller even than the latter;
but, perhaps, he had seen none but smaller individuals,
which supposition is in some degree strengthened by
his adding, that they were occasionally marked by a
scarcely perceptible line between the lateral stripes; a
62 BARBARY MOUSE.
circumstance which not unfrequently occurs in the young
of striped animals, and slight vestiges of this original
marking were visible in the society's specimens. In
every other respect the coincidence was complete.
Their ground colour was dark brown, marked on each
side with five or six yellowish stripes, about half as
broad as the intervening space, extending along the whole
length of the body, and becoming confused towards
the under parts, which are nearly white. On the fore
feet only three toes were at first sight observable, but
on closer inspection, the rudiments of a thumb and also
of a fifth toe were detected. The teeth were precisely
similar to those of the other rats. During their captivity,
these animals appeared healthy and lively, and, with
reference to the habits of the genus, were moderately
tame, though shy and timid."
/ / '
SCARLET TANAGE RI