Eccentricities of the Animal Creation.

Eccentricities of the Animal Creation.

Author:
John Timbs
Author:
John Timbs
Format:
epub
language:
English

%title插图%num
Author: Timbs, John, 1801-1875
Animal behavior
Animals — Anecdotes
Animals
Mythical
Eccentricities of the Animal Creation.


KING PENGUINS


ECCENTRICITIES

OF

THE ANIMAL CREATION.

BY JOHN TIMBS.
AUTHOR OF “THINGS NOT GENERALLY KNOWN.”
WITH EIGHT ENGRAVINGS.
SEELEY, JACKSON, AND HALLIDAY, 54, FLEET-STREET.
LONDON. MDCCCLXIX.
The right of translation is reserved.


CONTENTS.

INTRODUCTORY.—CURIOSITIES OF ZOOLOGY.
Natural History in Scripture, and Egyptian Records, 11.—Origin of Zoological Gardens, 12.—The Greeks and Romans, 12.—Montezuma’s Zoological Gardens, 13.—Menagerie in the Tower of London, 14.—Menagerie in St. James’s Park, 14.—John Evelyn’s Notes, 15.—Ornithological Society, 15.—Continental Gardens, 16.—Zoological Society of London instituted, 16; its most remarkable Animals, 16.—Cost of Wild Animals, 18.—Sale of Animals, 20.—Surrey Zoological Gardens, 20.—Wild-beast Shows, 21.
THE RHINOCEROS IN ENGLAND.
Ancient History, 22, 23.—One-horned and Two-horned, 25, 26.—Tractability, 25.—Bruce and Sparmann, 27.—African Rhinoceros in 1868, 27.—Description of, 29.—Burchell’s Rhinoceros, 30.—Horn of the Rhinoceros, 31, 32.
STORIES OF MERMAIDS.
Sirens of the Ancients, 33.—Classic Pictures of Mermaids, 34.—Leyden’s Ballad, 35.—Ancient Evidence, 36, 37, 38.—Mermaid in the West Indies, 39.—Mermaids, Seals, and Dugongs, 41.—Mermaids and Manatee, 42.—Test for a Mermaid, 43.—Mermaid of 1822, 43.—Japanese Mermaids, 44.—Recent Evidence, 47, 48.
IS THE UNICORN FABULOUS?
Ctesias and Wild Asses, 65.—Aristotle, Herodotus, and Pliny, 50.—Modern Unicorns, 50.—Ancient Evidence, 51.—Hunting the Unicorn, 52.—Antelopes, 53, 54.—Cuvier and the Oryx, 54.—Tibetan Animal, 55.—Klaproth’s Evidence, 55.—Rev. John Campbell’s Evidence, 57.—Baikie on, 58.—Factitious Horns in Museums, 59.—Unicorn in the Royal Arms, 60.—Catching the Unicorn, 60.—Belief in Unicorns, 61.
THE MOLE AT HOME.
Economy of the Mole, 62.—Its Structure, 63.—Fairy Rings; Feeling of the Mole, 64.—Le Court’s Experiments, 62, 65.—Hunting-grounds, 67.—Loves of the Moles, 68, 69.—Persecution of Moles.—Shrew Mole, 70.—Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, on Moles, 71.
THE GREAT ANT-BEAR.
The Ant-Bear of 1853, 72, 73.—Mr. Wallace, on the Amazon, describes the Ant-Bear, 73.—Food of the Ant-Bear, 74.—His Resorts, 75.—Habits in Captivity, by Professor Owen, 76-80.—Fossil Ant-Bear, 80, 81.—Tamandua Ant-Bear, 82—Von Sack’s Ant-Bear, 83.—Porcupine Ant-Eater, 84.—Ant-Bears in the Zoological Gardens, 84.
CURIOSITIES OF BATS.
Virgil’s Harpies, 85.—Pliny on the Bat, 85.—Rere-mouse and Flitter-mouse, 86.—Bats, not Birds but Quadrupeds, 87.—Sir Charles Bell on the Wing of the Bat, 87.—Vampire Bat from Sumatra, 88.—Lord Byron and Vampire, 89.—Levant Superstition, 89.—Bat described by Heber, Waterton, and Steadman, 90.—Lesson on Bats, 91.—Bat Fowling or Folding, 91, 92.— Sowerby’s Long-eared Bat, 92, 96.—Wing of the Bat, 96.—Nycteris Bat, 97.—Kalong Bat of Java, 98.—Bats, various, 100, 101.
THE HEDGEHOG.
Hedgehog Described, 102.—Habits, 103.—Eating Snakes, 105.—Poisons, 105, 106.—Battle with a Viper, 105.—Economy of the Hedgehog, 106, 107.
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS IN ENGLAND.
Living Hippopotamus brought to England in 1850, 108.—Capture and Conveyance, 111.—Professor Owen’s Account, 111-115.—Described by Naturalists and Travellers, 115-118.—Utility to Man, 118-119.—Ancient History, 119.—In Scripture, 120.—Alleged Disappearance, 121.—Fossil, 122.
LION-TALK.
Character, 123.—Reputed Generosity, 125.—Burchell’s Account, 125.—Lion-Tree in the Mantatee Country, 127.—Lion-hunting, 128.—Disappearance of Lions, 130, 131.—Human Prey, 132.—Maneless Lions of Guzerat, 134.—A Lion Family in Bengal, 135, 136.—Prickle on the Lion’s Tail, 137-139.—Nineveh Lions, 139.—Lions in the Tower of London, 140, 141.—Feats with Lions, 142.—Lion-hunting in Algeria, by Jules Gerard, 144.—The Prudhoe Lions, 144.
BIRD-LIFE.
Rate at which Birds fly, 145, 146.—Air in the Bones of Birds, 146.—Flight of the Humming-bird, 147.—Colour of Birds, 148.—Song of Birds, 149.—Beauty in Animals, 150.—Insectivorous Birds, 151.—Sea-fowl Slaughter, 152.—Hooded Crow in Zetland, 154.—Brain of Birds, 154.—Danger-signals, 155.—Addison’s Love of Nature, 156, 157.
BIRDS’ EGGS AND NESTS.
Colours of Eggs, 158.—Bird’s-nesting, 159.—Mr. Wolley, the Ornithologist, 159, 160.—European Birds of Prey, 161.—Large Eggs, 162, 163, 164.—Baya’s Nest, 164.—Oriole and Tailor-bird, 165, 166.—Australian Bower-bird, 167.—Cape Swallows, 168.—”Bird Confinement,” by Dr. Livingstone.
THE EPICURE’S ORTOLAN.
Origin of the Ortolan, 172; described, 173, 174; Fattening process, 175, 176.—Prodigal Epicurism, 177, 178.
TALK ABOUT TOUCANS.
Toucan family, 179.—Gould’s grand Monograph, 180.— Toucans described, 180-182; Food, 183; Habits, 184.—Gould’s Toucanet, 187.
ECCENTRICITIES OF PENGUINS.
Penguins on Dassent Island, 188.—Patagonian Penguins, 189.—Falkland Islands, 189.—King Penguins, 190, 191.—Darwin’s Account, 192.—Webster’s Account, 193.—Swainson’s Account, 194.
PELICANS AND CORMORANTS.
Pelicans described by various Naturalists, 195, 196.—The Pelican Island, 197.—Popular Error, 199-200.—Cormorants, and Fishing with Cormorants, 201-204.
TALKING BIRDS, INSTINCTS, ETC.
Sounds by various Birds, 204.—Umbrella Bird, 206.—Bittern, 207.—Butcher-bird and Parrots, 208.—Wild Swan, Laughing Goose, Cuckoo, and Nightingale, 209.—Talking Canaries, 210.—Neighing Snipe, 213.—Trochilos and Crocodiles, 216.—Instinct. Intelligence, and Reason in Birds, 217-219.—Songs of Birds and Seasons of the Day, 219.
OWLS.
Characteristics of the Owl, 221.—Owl in Poetry, 222.—Bischacho or Coquimbo, 224.—Waterton on Owls, 225, 226.—Owls. Varieties of, 227-230.
WEATHER-WISE ANIMALS.
Atmospheric Changes, 231.—Stormy Petrel, 233.—Wild Geese and Ducks, 235.—Frogs and Snails, 237.—The Mole, 240.—List of Animals, by Forster, the Meteorologist, 241.—Weatherproof Nests, 247.—”Signs of Rain,” by Darwin, 248.—Shepherd of Banbury, 249.
FISH-TALK.
How Fishes Swim, 250.—Fish Changing Colour, 251.—”Fish Noise,” 252.—Hearing of Fish, 253.—The Carp at Fontainebleau, 254, 255.—Affection of Fishes, 256.—Cat-fish, Anecdote of, 257.—Great Number of Fishes, 258.—Little Fishes Eaten by Medusæ, 259.—Migration of Fishes, 261.—Enormous Grampus, 262.—Bonita and Flying-fish, 263.—Jaculator Fish of Java, 264.—Port Royal, Jamaica Fish, 266.—The Shark, 267.—California. Fish of, 268.—Wonderful Fish, 269.—Vast Sun-fish, 271.—Double Fish, 272.—The Square-browed Malthe, 274.—Gold Fish, 275.—The Miller’s Thumb, 276.—Sea-fish Observatory, 276.—Herring Question, 278.—Aristotle’s History of Animals, 279-280.
FISH IN BRITISH COLOMBIA.
Salmon-swarming, 281.—Candle-fish, 282.—Octopus, the, 283.—Sturgeon and Sturgeon Fishing, 283-287.
THE TREE-CLIMBING CRAB.
Locomotion of Fishes, 288.—Climbing Perch, 288.—Crabs in the West Indies, 289.—Crabs, Varieties of, 289-292.—Robber and Cocoa-nut Crab, 292-301.—Fish of the China Seas, 301.
MUSICAL LIZARDS.
Lizard from Formosa Isle, 303.—Its Habits, 304-306.
CHAMELEONS AND THEIR CHANGES.
The Chameleon described by Aristotle and Calmet, 307, 308.—Change of Colour, 309.—Reproduction of, 310, 311.—Tongue, 311.—Lives in Trees, 312.—Theory of Colours, 313.—The Puzzle Solved, 315.—Mrs. Belzoni’s Chameleons, 317.—Lady Cust’s Chameleons, 321.—Chameleon’s Antipathy to Black, 322.
RUNNING TOADS.
Dr. Husenbeth’s Toads at Cossey, 327.—Frog and Toad Concerts, 327.
SONG OF THE CICADA.
Greeks’ Love for the Song, 329.—Cicada in British Colombia, 329.—Tennyson and Keats on the Grasshopper, 330.
STORIES ABOUT THE BARNACLE GOOSE.
Baptista Porta’s Account, 331.—Max Müller on, 331.—Gerarde’s Account, 332.—Giraldus Cambrensis, 332.—Professor Rolleston. Drayton’s Poly-olbion, 333.—Sir Kenelm Digby and Sir J. Emerson Tennent, 334.—Finding the Barnacle, 334.
LEAVES ABOUT BOOKWORMS
Bookworms, their Destructiveness, 336, 337.—How to Destroy, 338.—The Death-watch, 339.—Lines by Swift, 340.
BORING MARINE ANIMALS, AND HUMAN ENGINEERS.
Life and Labours of the Pholas, 341.—Family of the Pholas, 342.—Curious Controversy, 343.—Boring Apparatus, 342.—Several Observers, 347, 348.—Boring Annelids, 348.


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

  Page
KING PENGUINS Frontispiece
THE TWO-HORNED AFRICAN RHINOCEROS 28
SEAL AND MERMAID 40
THE GREAT ANT-BEAR (ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY’S) 76
FRASER’S EAGLE OWL, FROM FERNANDO PO 228
SQUARE-BROWED MALTHE AND DOUBLE FISH 274
THE TREE-CLIMBING CRAB 288
CHAMELEONS 318

ECCENTRICITIES
OF
THE ANIMAL CREATION.


INTRODUCTORY.—CURIOSITIES OF ZOOLOGY.

CURIOUS creatures of Animal Life have been objects of interest to mankind in all ages and countries; the universality of which may be traced to that feeling which “makes the whole world kin.”
It has been remarked with emphatic truth by a popular writer, that “we have in the Bible and in the engraven and pictorial records the earliest evidence of the attention paid to Natural History in general. The ‘navy of Tarshish’ contributed to the wisdom of him who not only ‘spake of the trees from the cedar of Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall,’ but ‘also of beasts, and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of fishes,’ [1] to say nothing of numerous other passages showing the progress that zoological knowledge had already made. The Egyptian records bear testimony to a familiarity not only with the forms of a multitude of wild animals, but with their habits and geographical distribution.”
The collections of living animals, now popularly known as Zoological Gardens, are of considerable antiquity. We read of such gardens in China as far back as 2,000 years; but they consisted chiefly of some favourite animals, such as stags, fish, and tortoises. The Greeks, under Pericles, introduced peacocks in large numbers from India. The Romans had their elephants; and the first giraffe in Rome, under Cæsar, was as great an event in the history of zoological gardens at its time as the arrival in 1849 of the Hippopotamus was in London. The first zoological garden of which we have any detailed account is that in the reign of the Chinese Emperor, Wen Wang, founded by him about 1150 A.D., and named by him “The Park of Intelligence;” it contained mammalia, birds, fish, and amphibia. The zoological gardens of former times served their masters occasionally as hunting-grounds. This was constantly the case in Persia; and in Germany, so late as 1576, the Emperor Maximilian II. kept such a park for different animals near his castle, Neugebah, in which he frequently chased.
Alexander the Great possessed his zoological gardens. We find from Pliny that Alexander had given orders to the keepers to send all the rare and curious animals which died in the gardens to Aristotle.
Splendid must have been the zoological gardens which the Spaniards found connected with the Palace of Montezuma. The letters of Ferdinand Cortez and other writings of the time, as well as more recently “The History of the Indians,” by Antonio Herrera, give most interesting and detailed accounts of the menagerie in Montezuma’s park. The buildings belonging to these gardens were all gorgeous, as became the grandeur of the Indian prince; they were supported by pillars, each of which was hewn out of a single piece of some precious stone. Cool, arched galleries led into the different parts of the garden—to the marine and fresh-water basins, containing innumerable water-fowl,—to the birds of prey, falcons and eagles, which latter especially were represented in the greatest variety,—to the crocodiles, alligators, and serpents, some of them belonging to the most venomous species. The halls of a large square building contained the dens of the lions, tigers, leopards, bears, wolves, and other wild animals. Three hundred slaves were employed in the gardens tending the animals, upon which great care was bestowed, and scrupulous attention paid to their cleanliness. To this South American zoological garden of the sixteenth century no other of its time could be compared. [2]
More than six centuries ago, our Plantagenet kings kept in the Tower of London exotic animals for their recreation. The Lion Tower was built here by Henry III., who commenced assembling here a menagerie with three leopards sent to him by the Emperor Frederic II., “in token of his regal shield of arms, wherein those leopards were pictured.” Here, in 1255, the Sheriffs built a house “for the King’s elephant,” brought from France, and the first seen in England. Our early sovereigns had a mews in the Tower as well as a menagerie:—

“Merry Margaret, as Midsomer flowre,
Gentyll as faucon and hawke of the Towre.”—Skelton.

In the reign of Charles I., a sort of Royal Menagerie took the place of the deer with which St. James’s Park was stocked in the days of Henry VIII, and Queen Elizabeth. Charles II. greatly enlarged and improved the Park; and here he might be seen playing with his dogs and feeding his ducks. The Bird-cage Walk, on the south side of the Park, had in Charles’s time the cages of an aviary disposed among the trees. Near the east end of a canal was the Decoy, where water-fowl were kept; and here was Duck Island, with its salaried Governor.
Evelyn, in 1664, went to “the Physique Garden in St. James’s,” where he first saw “orange trees and other fine trees.” He enumerates in the menagerie, “an ornocratylus, or pelican; a fowle between a storke and a swan; a melancholy water-fowl, brought from Astracan by the Russian ambassador; a milk-white raven; two Balearian cranes,” one of which, had a wooden leg “made by a soulder:” there were also “deere of severall countries, white, spotted like leopards; antelopes, an elk, red deer, roebucks, staggs, Guinea goates, Arabian sheepe, &c.” There were “withy-potts, or nests, for the wild fowle to lay their eggs in, a little above ye surface of ye water.”
“25 Feb. 1664. This night I walk’d into St. James his Parke, where I saw many strange creatures, as divers sorts of outlandish deer, Guiny sheep, a white raven, a great parrot, a storke…. Here are very stately walkes set with lime trees on both sides, and a fine pallmall.”[3]
Upon the eastern island is the Swiss Cottage of the Ornithological Society, built in 1841 with a grant of 300l. from the Lords of the Treasury: it contains a council-room, keepers’ apartments, steam-hatching apparatus; contiguous are feeding-places and decoys; and the aquatic fowl breed on the island, making their own nests among the shrubs and grasses.
The majority of Zoological Gardens now in existence have been founded in this century, with the exception of the Jardin des Plantes, which, although founded in 1626, did not receive its first living animals until the year 1793-1794. Hitherto, it had been a Garden of Plants exclusively.
We shall not be expected to enumerate the great Continental gardens, of which that at Berlin, half an hour’s drive beyond the Brandenburg gates, contains the Royal Menagerie; it is open upon the payment of an admission fee, and generally resembles our garden at the Regent’s Park. Berlin has also its Zoological Collection in its Museum of Natural History. This collection is one of the richest and most extensive in Europe, especially in the department of Ornithology: it includes the birds collected by Pallas and Wildenow, and the fishes of Bloch. The best specimens are those from Mexico, the Red Sea, and the Cape. The whole is exceedingly well arranged, and named for the convenience of students. Still, our Zoological Collection in the British Museum (to be hereafter removed to South Kensington) is allowed to be the finest in Europe.
The Zoological Society of London was instituted in 1826, and occupies now about seventeen acres of gardens in the Regent’s Park. Among the earliest tenants of the Menagerie were a pair of emues from New Holland; two Arctic bears and a Russian bear; a herd of kangaroos; Cuban mastiffs and Thibet watch-dogs; two llamas from Peru; a splendid collection of eagles, falcons, and owls; a pair of beavers; cranes, spoonbills, and storks; zebras and Indian cows; Esquimaux dogs; armadilloes; and a collection of monkeys. To the menagerie have since been added an immense number of species of Mammalia and Birds; in 1849, a collection of Reptiles; and in 1853, a collection of Fish, Mollusca, Zoophytes, and other Aquatic Animals. In 1830, the menagerie collected by George IV. at Sandpit-gate, Windsor, was removed to the Society’s Gardens; and 1834 the last of the Tower Menagerie was received here. It is now the finest public Vivarium in Europe.
The following are some of the more remarkable animals which the Society have possessed, or are now in the menagerie:—
Antelopes, the great family of, finely represented. The beautiful Elands were bequeathed by the late Earl of Derby, and have bred freely since their arrival in 1851. The Leucoryx is the first of her race born out of Africa. Ant-eater. Giant, brought to England from Brazil in 1853, was exhibited in Broad-street, St. Giles’s, until purchased by the Zoological Society for 200l. Apteryx, or Kiwi bird, from New Zealand; the first living specimen brought to England of this rare bird. The Fish-house, built of iron and glass, in 1853, consisting of a series of glass tanks, in which fish spawn, zoophytes produce young, and algæ luxuriate; crustacea and mollusca live successfully, and ascidian polypes are illustrated, together with sea anemones, jelly-fishes, and star-fishes, rare shell-fishes, &c.: a new world of animal life is here seen as in the depths of the ocean, with masses of rock, sand, gravel, corallines, sea-weed, and sea-water; the animals are in a state of natural restlessness, now quiescent, now eating and being eaten. Aurochs, or European Bisons: a pair presented by the Emperor of Russia, in 1847, from the forest of Bialowitzca: the male died in 1848, the female in 1849, from pleuro-pneumonia. Bears: the collection is one of the largest ever made. Elephants: including an Indian elephant calf and its mother. In 1847 died here the great Indian elephant Jack, having been in the gardens sixteen years. Adjoining the stable is a tank of water, of a depth nearly equal to the height of a full-grown elephant. In 1851 the Society possessed a herd of four elephants, besides a hippopotamus, a rhinoceros, and both species of tapir; being the largest collection of pachydermata ever exhibited in Europe. Giraffes: four received in 1836 cost the Society upwards of 2,300l., including 1,000l. for steamboat passage: the female produced six male fawns here between 1840 and 1851. Hippopotamus, a young male (the first living specimen seen in England), received from Egypt in May, 1850, when ten months old, seven feet long, and six and a-half feet in girth; also a female hippopotamus, received 1854. Humming-birds: Mr. Gould’s matchless collection of 2,000 examples was exhibited here in 1851 and 1852. Iguanas, two from Cuba and Carthagena, closely resembling, in everything but size, the fossil Iguanodon. The Lions number generally from eight to ten, including a pair of cubs born in the gardens in 1853. Orang-utan and Chimpanzee: the purchase-money of the latter sometimes exceeds 300l. The orang “Darby,” brought from Borneo in 1851, is the finest yet seen in Europe, very intelligent, and docile as a child. Parrot-houses: they sometimes contain from sixty to seventy species. Rapacious Birds: so extensive a series of eagles and vultures has never yet been seen at

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