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The extreme youth of these Lions at the time of their capture, and the constant control to which they had been accustomed from that early period of their existence, rendered them peculiarly tame and docile, insomuch that, for twelve months after their arrival, they were frequently[9] suffered to walk in the open yard among the visitors, who caressed them and played with them with impunity. The Duke of Sussex, in particular, was highly delighted with the unusual spectacle of a Lion and a Lioness bounding about him at perfect liberty, and with all their natural grace and agility. It must, however, be observed that they were not then fully grown, and that it was afterwards thought necessary to place them under greater restraint; but more with the view of guarding against possible mischief, than in consequence of any positive symptoms of rebellion. Of the change which has taken place in the character of the female, we shall have occasion to speak hereafter: the male still continues perfectly docile, and suffers himself to be treated with the greatest familiarity by his keepers and those to whom he is accustomed.

But there is also a third class which springs into existence in the warmer climates of America, some of whose representatives almost equal the Tiger in magnitude, in vigour, and in ferocity, while others rival the Leopard in the beauty and sleekness of their fur, and in the agility and gracefulness of their motions. Foremost of these, and holding the highest rank among the most formidable animals of the New World, stands the Jaguar, or, as he is sometimes called, the American Tiger. Superior to the Leopard in size as well as in strength, he approaches very nearly in both respects to the Lionesses of the smaller breeds: he is, however, less elevated on his legs, and heavier and more clumsy in all his proportions. His head is larger and rounder than that of the Leopard; and his tail is considerably shorter in proportion, being only of sufficient length to allow of its touching the ground when the animal is standing, while that of the Leopard, as we have before observed, is very[43] nearly as long as his whole body. This disproportion between the length of their tails affords perhaps the most striking distinction between the two animals, offering, as it does, a constant and never-failing criterion; whereas the difference in the marking of their furs, although sufficiently obvious on a close examination, depends almost entirely on such minute particularities as would probably escape the notice of a superficial observer, and were in fact for a long time so completely neglected, even by zoologists, that it is only within a few years that we have been again taught accurately to distinguish between them. These particularities we shall now proceed to point out.

First in majesty as in might, the monarch of the brute creation asserts an undisputed claim to occupy the foremost place in our delineation of the inhabitants of this Royal Menagerie. Who is there to whom his stately mien, his unequalled strength, his tremendous powers of destruction, combined with the ideas generally entertained of his dauntless courage, his grateful affection, and his merciful forbearance, are not familiar as household words? When we speak of a Lion, we call up to our imaginations the splendid picture of might unmingled with ferocity, of courage undebased by guile, of dignity tempered with grace and ennobled by generosity;[2] in a word, of all that combination of brilliant qualities, the imputation of which, by writers of all ages, has placed him by universal consent above other beasts, and invested him with regal attributes.

In outward form, however, notwithstanding his more slender make, the difference between them is by no means great. His head, although more elevated and prominent in front, exhibits the same broad lateral expansion, caused by the thick mass of muscle which acts so powerfully upon the short and dilated jaws of the cats, and imparts to them that tremendous force and effect for which they are so remarkable. His legs, notwithstanding their increased length and slender proportions, retain all the elastic springiness, by means of which the Leopard or the Tiger are enabled to bound with so much vigour and velocity upon their unsuspecting prey. His air and manners, too, are unquestionably those of the cats; and his mode of colouring, which we shall next proceed to describe, although exhibiting very peculiar and marked distinctions, offers so close an analogy to that of the Jaguar and the Leopard, that, were we to regard this character alone, it would be impossible to arrange him in a different group from that which comprehends those beautifully spotted, but ferocious, beasts. His fur, however, it must be remarked, has little of the sleekness which characterizes those[64] animals, but exhibits, on the contrary, a peculiar crispness which is not to be found in any other of the tribe.

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2023-06-01 18:08:11 [常州市网友]

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2023-06-01 18:08:11 [嘉峪关市网友]

2023-06-01 18:08:11 [泉州市网友]

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Such are the outward and physical characteristics of this beautiful animal; in his moral and intellectual qualities he differs still more widely from that compound of unteachableness, malice, and mistrust, which is the necessary result of the low degree of intelligence possessed by the remainder of the group of animals with which he is at present associated. Of his habits in a state of nature we have no certain information; but in his tamed and domesticated condition he has been rendered, in some countries at least, auxiliary to man, by the successful cultivation of his mental faculties, which have been trained into a degree of subservience to the commands of his master, that can only be surpassed by the superior sagacity of the hound. Chardin, Bernier, Tavernier, and others of the older travellers had related that in several parts of Asia it was customary to make use of a large spotted cat in the pursuit of game, and that this animal was called Youze in Persia, and Chetah in India; but the statements of these writers were so imperfect, and the descriptions given by them so incomplete, that it was next to impossible to recognise the particular species intended. We now, however, know with certainty that the animal thus employed is the Felis jubata of naturalists, which inhabits the greater part both of Asia and of Africa. It is common in India and Sumatra, as well as in Persia; and is well known both in Senegal and at the Cape of Good Hope; but the ingenuity of the savage natives of the latter countries has not, so far as we know, been exerted in rendering its services available in the chase in the manner so successfully practised by the more refined and civilized inhabitants of Persia and of Hindostan. In Senegal it[66] is valued only on account of its skin, which forms an important article in the commerce of that colony; while at the Cape, where it is known to the Dutch settlers by the misapplied name of Luipard (Leopard), it seems to be entirely neglected even in a commercial point of view. In the neighbourhood of the latter colony, it should be added, the animal appears from the testimony of travellers to be of rare occurrence; and Professor Lichtenstein, in particular, mentions an instance in which the skin of one was worn by the chief of a horde of Caffres as a badge of peculiar dignity and distinction.

2023-06-01 18:08:11 [辽宁网友]

All that we know of their habits in a state of nature may be comprehended in the single fact, that, in addition to the vegetable substances, and more particularly fruits, which form the principal part of their subsistence, they feed on the eggs of birds, and even on the birds themselves, their agility and the structure of their claws affording them the means of reaching the tops of the tallest trees with quickness and facility. In captivity they are easily tamed, and even appear susceptible of some degree of attachment; but they never entirely lose their sentiment of independence, and are consequently incapable of complete domestication. When placed[114] under a certain degree of restraint they appear contented and happy, are fond of play, and take pleasure in the caresses of their friends, and even of strangers; but however long this kind of domestication may have continued, and how much soever they may seem reconciled to their confinement, the moment the restraint is withdrawn and they feel themselves again at liberty, the love of freedom prevails over every other consideration, and they become as wild as if they had never been reclaimed. In eating, they commonly support themselves on their hind legs, and carry their food to the mouth between their fore paws, having first plunged it in water, if the liquid element, of which they are remarkably fond, is within reach. This singular peculiarity, the object of which is not very obvious, but from which the animal derives his specific name, does not, however, appear to be constant and uniform, being frequently entirely neglected. The same may be said of their fondness for shell-fish and mollusca, for which they are generally stated to have a great partiality; some of them, like the handsome pair now living in the Menagerie, displaying the greatest address and dexterity in opening the shell of an oyster, and extracting its contents, while others absolutely refuse to touch it.

2023-06-01 18:08:11 [鹰潭市网友]