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This animal, of which there are several varieties, is a native of Egypt, Barbary, Palestine, the east of Siberia, and Canada. In many particulars, both of habit and conformation, it bears a striking resemblance to the kanguroo tribe, though, according to the Linnæan system, it does not class with it. Like the kanguroo, it has long hind legs, which it uses in leaping. It seldom goes on all fours; and its fore legs, which are very short, are almost wholly employed in holding its food, and in making its burrows. The hind legs are naked, similar to those of a bird, and have on each leg only three toes, of which the middle is the longest.It is somewhat less than a rat, and has large full eyes; its hair is long and soft, of a reddish colour on the back; the under parts of the body are white; across the thighs there is a large black band, in the form of a crescent; its tail, terminated with a black tuft tipped with white, is longer than its body; and, while leaping, the Jerboa stretches it out, but while standing or walking, carries it in the form of an S, the lower part touching the ground.
The motions of the Jerboa are similar to those of the kanguroo. It goes forward very nimbly on its hind feet, taking leaps of five or six feet from the ground; but, instead of proceeding straight forward, it jumps first to one side and then to the other. Such is its agility that even a greyhound can with difficulty kill it. It is a lively, harmless animal, lives entirely on vegetables, and burrows in the ground like a rabbit. The excavations which it forms are many yards long, oblique and winding, but not more than half a yard from the surface of the ground. It is fond of warmth, making its nest of the finest and most delicate herbage; and seems sensible of the approach of bad weather by wrapping itself up close iņ hay, with its head between its thighs.—It sleeps during winter, without nutriment. The Jerboa breeds several times in the summer, and usually brings forth seven or eight young ones at a litter. The flesh is reckoned one of the greatest of delicacies by the Arabs.
The Mole, of which there are seven species, is generally between five and six inches long, and is covered with glossy black hair. It is admirably formed for its habits of underground life. The snout, resembling that of a hog, is fitted for rooting in the earth in search of worms and the larva of insects, which are its principal food, and the fore feet have great strength, to enable the animal to dig its subterranean retreat. The hind feet, which are smaller than the others, are calculated to throw back the mould, while the creature is excavating. Its eyes are so small as to be scarcely discernible, but they have been ascertained to possess all the qualities necessary to distinct vision; and, though it has no external ears, it is said to possess the faculty of hearing in an eminent degree. The body is thick and round, terminated by a very short tail ; and in consequence of the legs being exceedingly short, the animal seems to lie flat upon its belly: the feet appearing as if they grew immediately out of the body.
Moles live in pairs, between which a warm attachment subsists. They are, however, said to be ferocious, and sometimes to tear and eat their own kind. Admirably fitted for a life of darkness and solitude, the Mole has no appetites but what it can easily indulge ; few enemies, excepting man, but what it can easily elude or conquer. When it has once, buried itself in the earth, it seldom stirs out, unless disturbed by violent rains in summer, or when, in pursuit of prey, it happens to come too near the surface, and thus gets into the open air. In general it chooses the looser softer grounds, beneath which it can travel with facility, and in which it finds the most ample supply of worms and insects. The worms it skins with much dexterity; stripping off the skin from end to end, and squeezing out the contents of the body.
The female usually produces four or five young ones about April. “ The habitations in which they are deposited,” says Mr. Bingley, “ are constructed with peculiar care and intelligence. The parent animals begin their operations by raising the earth and forming a tolerably high arch. They leave partitions, or a kind of pillars at certain distances; beat and press the earth; interweave it with the roots of plants; and render it so hard and solid, that the water cannot penetrate the vault. They then elevate a little hillock under the principal arch, and lay upon it herbs and leaves, as a bed for their young. In this situation they are above the level of the ground, and conse
quently above the reach of ordinary inundations. They are at the same time defended from rain by the large vault that covers the internal hillock. This hillock is pierced on all sides with sloping holes; which descend still lower, and serve as subterraneous passages for the mother to issue from her habitation in quest of food for herself and her offspring. These by-paths are beaten and firm ; they extend about twelve or fifteen paces, and issue from the principal mansion like rays from a centre.”
Small as the Mole is, it effects considerable mischief. In pastare land it annoys and injures the farmer by the hillocks which it forms, and it is still more prejudicial in recently sown nurseries of forest trees. In 1740 M. de Buffon planted sixteen acres of land with, acorns, the greatest part of which were speedily carried away by Moles. In some of their burrows no less than a bushel of acorns was found.
In Poland there are some of these animals which are perfectly white, and those of Virginia are of a black colour mixed with a deep purple.
ACCORDING to the Linnean classification, this formidable monster belongs to the order of reptiles, and stands at the head of the lizard tribe. Of all the amphibious race it is by far the most daring and ferocious. In size, too, it yields only to the elephant, the hippopotamus, and the whale; as it not unfrequently attains to the enormous length of upwards of twenty-five feet. Its appearance is in unison with its disposition, being well calculated to excite disgust and terror. As it has no lips the teeth are always bare, so that, even when it is lying quiet, it seems to be in an enraged state, and the fiery glare of its eyes, which are situated almost close together, adds to the malignity of its aspect. Yet, when it can obtain plenty of food, it does not attack man, and instances have been known, in which it has been rendered so tame as to suffer children to ride on its back, and even to beat it.
The armour with which the upper part of the body is coated, may be accounted among the most elaborate pieces of nature's mechanism. In the full grown animal it is so strong as easily to repel a musket ball; on the lower part it is much thinner and more pliable. The whole animal appears as if covered with the most curious carved work. The colour of the full grown Crocodile is blackish-brown above, and yellowishwhite beneath; the upper parts of the legs and sides are varied with deep yellow, and in some parts tinged
The tail of this animal is two-edged; the feet triangular, the fore ones having five, and the binder only four toes. Within the mouth of this beast are two rows of numerous sharp-pointed teeth, thirty or more on each side, so disposed that, when the mouth is shut, they fit in alternately above and below; its eyes are large and fiery, projecting out of the head, and secured within an osseous orbit, but immoveable, so that they can only see before them as they walk. The upper part of the snout and forehead consists of one fixed bone, reaching to the ears, which are broad, surrounded with a little border, and growing near the joint of the upper jaw, where also the largest scales begin.
It has been imagined that both jaws are moveable,