Puslapio vaizdai

paum River in New Holland. It is about as large as a medium sized dog, and its thick body, short head, small ears, and stout limbs, all of nearly the same length, give it very much the appearance of a small bear. Its hair is long, thick, and coarse, of a clear chocolate brown above, and white beneath. This almost unknown animal passes a part of its life on trees, probably in pursuit of insects. It is partial to fruits, but we are doubtful whether it can subsist on them alone, in a country where they are so very rare; though it may eat leaves, as do the kangaroo and the potorou.

In a neighboring genus we find the spotted Couscous, an animal about the size

of a large cat. It is found in the East India Islands. Its coat varies with age and sex, but it is usually whitish, spotted with brown. The couscous is a nocturnal animal, slow, lazy, and stupid, as are also all its congeners. Its large, prominent eyes wear the expression of imbecility, while its movements indicate more of laziness than of inability to act, and even anger will hardly produce animation. In the latter case, however, it growls like a cat, and tries to bite, but is not otherwise pugnacious. In captivity it shows a mournful, gentle disposition; hiding itself in the most obscure corners during the day, because the excessive light pains its eyes. By night it comes out and feeds

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on bread and flesh. It laps in drinking, and rubs its paws and face incessantly to clean them. It seems to be fond of unrolling its tail and sitting upright on its haunches.

While the traveler is passing through the immense forests of New Guinea and the Moluccas, the olfactories are sometimes struck with a strong and excessively disagreeable odor, announcing the presence of this animal concealed in the foliage. This odor proceeds from a glandular apparatus situated around the anus. In spite of this detestable odor the natives feed on its flesh with great gusto, and hunt the animals incessantly. The natives of Pras

lin, in New Ireland, have a singular preference for the flesh of the couscous, roasting it upon the coals, and rejecting only the intestines.

They make girdles and other ornaments of its teeth, and so great is their abundance that strings of them have been seen many yards in length, showing the great destruction made of the animals. It is said that an unarmed native can bring down one of these climbers by a glance of the eye, and, if we may credit Buffon and Cuvier, the thing is thus explained. The couscous, which spends most of the time in the trees in the pursuit of fruits and insects, is so surprised at the sight of a man

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that, suspending itself to a branch by its tail, it continues gazing at him. Whether this be from lassitude, or a sort of fascination resulting from fear, it is ended by the dropping of the creature to the ground, where it becomes an easy prey to the hunter.

The Kangaroo is the largest of the marsupials, and, according to the elegant description of Shaw, its general size is at least equal to that of a full-grown sheep. The upper parts of the animal are small, while the lower are large, yet such is the elegance of gradation that the kangaroo may justly be considered one of the most picturesque of quadrupeds. The head bears some resemblance to that of the deer, and the visage is mild and placid. The ears and eyes are large, and the mouth rather small, the neck thin and finely proportioned.

The kangaroo is found in wooded countries, in the vast forests of New Holland, but it will do well and propagate in other countries if at all cared for.

These singular animals were first obtained by Captain Cook, in 1779. When some of the party went out to shoot pigeons for the sick, they saw an animal as large as a greyhound, of slender make, of a mouse color, and exceeding swift. We may readily imagine the anxiety of the explorers to get a nearer view of this new species of animal, for among the party was the illustrious Banks, whose

name is closely linked with more than one department of natural history. A delay of weeks brought doubt to some, but only added to the ardor of others, and then a few more of these beautiful animals were seen in the distance, as if they had appeared purposely to dispel the doubts of the former and increase the ardor of the latter. At length the perseverance of the party was rewarded and flushed with victory; their eyes wandered over the panting form of this wonderful stranger. There at their feet, with its large eyes turned pleadingly toward them, it lay pouring out upon the savage soil its heart's blood, the first tribute of its race to the genius of all conquering science.

Its fore feet are very small, furnished with five fingers, each armed with a sharp, strong claw. They do not appear to be much used in walking, but serve as hands to convey food to the mouth, after the manner of the squirrel. The paws of their hind legs are very long, having four long fingers, of which the second external is much the largest, and has, for a nail, a veritable hoof. Its conformation shows the vertical position to be the most natural, and in this position it rests not only upon its long limbs, but upon its strong triangular tail, which also gives the spring in leaping. The hoof on its hind foot is a weapon offensive and defensive, but in their combats with each other they use their fore feet, and give quite severe wounds

with their claws. The kangaroos confined in menageries have sometimes been known to attack their guardians in this manner when they have been maltreated by them.

The leap is said to be their natural gait, but Quoy and Gaimard assert that when followed by dogs through the bush they go on all fours, and only leap when they come to obstacles which they wish to clear. They are said to clear thirty feet at a bound.

. Kangaroos live in a small troop, or rather family, conducted by an old male, who leads the party, looks out their feeding grounds, watches against danger, and gives the signals for repose or for flight. The females have never been found accompanied by more than one little one at once, so it is supposed that this is the usual number of a birth. At first it is very small, and is placed in the pouch, and nourished in precisely the same manner as the offspring of the opossum. It remains there until large enough to graze, which it does by putting its head out of the pouch while the mother is grazing. Herbage is the natural food of this animal, but it does not refuse other aliment, and has been known to eat not only flesh, but old leather, and one

individual in a domesticated state drank wine and brandy.

It is quite remarkable that the animals of New Holland, inhabiting a country quite meagerly supplied with alimentary substances, are nearly all omnivorous in spite of their dental conformation.

All the species of this genus are very gentle and timid, and scarcely think of defending themselves against the dogs in the hunt, until their flight is entirely cut off. Then the animal leaps upon a rock or stone, three or four feet high, and balancing itself upon its tail and one foot, it tries to ward off its enemies by powerful blows with the other foot. But this show of courage avails little; two or three dogs can easily pull it to the ground. Kangaroo flesh is quite savory, somewhat resembling venison. This species is the largest animal in New Holland.

To illustrate the striking similarity which in many respects exists between some of the marsupials and other animals of quite another class, we introduce one or two species of the Jerboa. In its general conformation, and especially in the relative size and use of its feet, this creature strongly resembles the kangaroo. It belongs to the class Rodentia.

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The Jerboa (Dipus Jerboa) inhabits the sandy places and deserts of Barbary, Arabia, and Syria, and is called Jerbuah by the Arabs. It is a timid, restless little creature, very gentle, and yet capable of only a small degree of domestication. Its fore legs are so very short as to be rarely used for walking, except when climbing along very steep declivities. Ordinarily it leaps, clearing at the farthest ten feet, though it is commonly satisfied with three or four.

Few things are more curious than the sight of this little animal when surprised in a field of tall grain, appearing and disappearing like a puppet, yet fleeing with such agility that the best hunter cannot overtake it. Its fore legs laid close to the stomach, its body bent forward, and its long legs stretching out behind, give to the creature a very singular appear


Jerboas live in troops, and burrow like rabbits, storing away a good quantity of provisions against the time of storms. During the winter they are torpid. They eat grain and grass, but little tuberous roots, and the bulbs of liliaceous plants, which they dig with great readiness, are their favorite food. They eat in the same manner as the squirrels, carrying their food to their mouth with their fore paws. In repose the latter are pressed so close to the stomach as not to be visible. They are nocturnal in their habits. During the

fine weather of autumn they are busy in cutting the fine dry grass and moss, which compose their winter couch. As soon as the cold winds commence they retire, and only come out as necessity compels them.


The Alactaga, (Dipus Jaculus,) another species of jerboa, is about seven inches long, and the tail about eleven inches. has often been confounded with the preceding, but differs from it in having less yellow in its coat, a longer head, and two little lateral fingers on the hind feet. The alactaga is found in the deserts of Tartary, the Crimea, and Tabriz. It hibernates twice in the year; in the winter, when it takes the precaution to seal its burrow with a little moistened earth, and in the summer during the great heats. It amasses no provisions, but contents itself with a little hay and moss for its winter bed.

Like others of the genus, it is nocturnal in its habits. It feeds on grass, leaves, and roots, and sometimes insects and small birds, when it can catch them. It is a ferocious creature, and has been known to throw itself upon individuals of its own species and devour them.

It multiplies rapidly, the female producing several large litters during the year. Its natural gait is a leap. It clears quite a space at a bound, and according to Pallas its leaps are so quickly repeated that the best horseman can scarcely overtake it.

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THY fruit full well the schoolboy knows,

Wild bramble of the brake!

So, put thou forth thy small white rose;
I love it for his sake.

Though woodbines flaunt and roses glow
O'er all the fragrant bowers,
Thou need'st not be ashamed to show

Thy satin-threaded flowers;
For dull the eye, the heart is dull
That cannot feel how fair,

Amid all beauty, beautiful
Thy tender blossoms are!

How delicate thy gauzy frill!

How rich thy branchy stem!

How soft thy voice, when woods are still, And thou sing'st hymns to them!

While silent showers are falling slow

And, 'mid the general hush,
A sweet air lifts the little bough,

Lone whispering through the bush!
The primrose to the grave is gone;

The hawthorn flower is dead; The violet by the moss'd gray stone

Hath laid her weary head;

But thou, wild bramble! back dost bring,
In all their beauteous power,

The fresh green days of life's fair spring,
And boyhood's blossomy hour.
Scorn'd bramble of the brake! once more

Thou bidd'st me be a boy,

To rove with thee the woodlands o'er,
In freedom and in joy.

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