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THERE are several animals distinguished by the common name of Ant-eaters, which differ much in form. They are, however, all distinguished by one characteristic; which is, that as they feed wholly on insects, they have no teeth. The tongue is the only instrument with which they seize their food, and it is long, wormlike, and covered with a glutinous moisture. From the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, the great Ant-Eater is sometimes eight or nine feet in length. It is covered with very coarse and shaggy hair. Its motions are slow, but it swims well.
This creature is a native of Brazil and Guiana, and it lives wholly on ants, woodlice, and wild bees. These it collects by thrusting its tongue into their holes, and having penetrated every part of the nest, withdraws it into its mouth loaded with prey.--Its legs are so strong, that few animals can extricate themselves from its gripe. It is said to be formidable even to the panthers of America; and sometimes fixes itself upon them in such a manner, that both of them fall and perish together; for its obstinacy is so great, that it will not relinquish its hold of an adversary even after it is dead.-It may, however, be tamed. The flesh has a strong disagreeable taste, but is eaten by the Indians.
ANIMALS of the ape, baboon, and monkey kind, are furnished with hands instead of paws; their ears, eyes, eyelids, lips, and breasts resemble those of mankind; and they altogether present a disgusting caricature of the human race. Some, however, bear the marks of our boasted form more strongly than others. In the ape kind, we see the whole external machine strongly impressed with the human likeness, and capable of the same exertions; in the baboon kind, we perceive a more remote approach to the human form, the quadruped mixing in every part of the figure; while the monkey kind are removed to a still greater distance.
The Orang-outang, which is a native of Borneo, China, the East Indies, and Africa, is the largest of the ape species, and from the similarity of its external appearance to the human form, it has sometimes obtained the appellation of the Wild Man of the Woods. It has, however, a flatter nose, a more oblique forehead, and the chin without any elevation at the base. The eyes are likewise too near each other, and the distance between the nose and mouth is much too great. A variety of essential differences have also been discovered in the internal conformation; which sufficiently evince, that notwithstanding the apparent affinity to man, the interval which separates the two species is immense: the resemblance in figure and organization, and the imitative movements which seem to result from these similarities, neither make him approach the nature of man, nor elevate him above that of the brute.
The specimens bitherto brought into Europe, have seldom exceeded three feet in height; but the largest are said to be about six feet high, very active, and of such prodigious strength, that one of them is able with ease to overpower the most muscular man. They are also exceedingly swift, and cannot be taken without much difficulty. Their colour is generally a kind of dusky brown, and their feet are bare. They go together in companies, and if they happen to meet one of the human species remote from succour, they show him no mercy. They even attack the elephant with clubs, and compel him to leave that part of the forest which they claim as their own. They feed on fruits, vegetables, and roots; and when they happen to approach the shore, will eat fish or crabs. The Orangoutang may be tamed, and he then displays much sagacity, and closely imitates the manners and actions of those with whom he resides. In this state he seems to lose all his ferocity, and even to acquire a considerable degree of affection for the human race.
The CHIMPANZEE is of the same species as the Orang-outang; but it has dark brown or blackish hair, seldom measures more than two feet and a half or three feet high, and is a native of Angola, Sierra Leona, and some parts of Asia.
This animal derives its name from the extraordinary length of its arms, which reaches to the ground when it is upright. _It is also called the Gibbon, and is a native of the East Indies, Sumatra, and the Moluccas. Its face is flat, and of a tawny colour, surrounded with a circle of gray bushy hair, which adds to the singularity of its aspect; its eyes are large and deep sunk; its ears round and naked ; and its body covered on all parts with black rough hair, except its buttocks, which are quite naked. It is three or four feet in height, of a mild, gentle, and tractable disposition, and feeds on fruits, leaves, and the bark of trees. The Gibbon always retains the erect posture.
THE MAGOT. This animal is a native of Africa. It is about three feet in height, generally walks on all fours, and sleeps sitting. In its nature it is filthy and sullen; but some of the species have been so far tamed as to be taught to dance, and to suffer themselves to be clothed.
In the forests of India, Arabia, and Africa, these animals are numerous, but they so abound in Barbary, that the trees are sometimes nearly covered with them. The face of this ape bears a resemblance to a dog's, and its cheeks are furnished with pouches. The body is of a brown colour, inclining to green, but lighter on the belly. When standing erect upon his hind legs, he is generally two feet and a half, or three feet high. He walks oftener on four than on two feet; and, when resting, supports the body on two prominent callosities, situated on his buttocks. It is of a ferocious and unaccominodating disposition, but may be tamed sufficiently to be taught to dance, and to wear clothing.
There is another of this species, called the PIGMY APE, which is much smaller, as it never exceeds the height of two feet. It is a native of Africa, goes in great troops, and sleeps in caverns in the woods. The Pigmy Ape lives chiefly on pine apples, nuts, Indian figs, melons, and various roots and vegetables; and in procuring its food it commits great havoc in the plan