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and that it has no tongue, but this is a mistake, the upper jaw being fixed, and the tongue being larger than that of the ox, but so connected with the sides of the lower jaw that it cannot be stretched far forward.
It is only in the water that the Crocodile can exert its full strength. There it displays a wonderful degree of agility. Conscious of this advantage, it seldom leaves the water, except when pressed by hunger, or to lay its eggs. As it swims it often makes a kind of half suppressed murmuring noise. The young are produced from eggs deposited in the sand, and hatched by the heat of the sun. The female generally lays from eighty to a hundred, and the hatching is completed in about thirty days. When the young one leaves the shell, it seldom exceeds seven or eight inches in length. The swarms would be innumerable were they not thinned by the ichneumon, the vulture,various kinds of fish, and even by the larger animals of the same species.
The Crocodile abounds in Africa, and is also a native of Asia and of the East Indian Archipelago. It was formerly worshiped in Egypt. The negroes of Africa, and some of the Asiatic tribes, eat its eggs and flesh, which they consider as delicious; but the strong musky flavour of the flesh renders it distasteful to a European palate.
The ALLIGATOR, or AMERICAN CROCODILE, which is called the Cayman by the Indians, is closely allied to the preceding species; the principal difference between them being that its head and part of its neck are much more smooth than those of the latter, and that its snout is more wide and flat, and more rounded at the extremity. The usual length of the, Alligator is seventeen or eighteen feet, but it sometimes exceeds this. This animal is a native of the warmer parts of America, in some of which it is astonishingly nume
Its voice is loud and dreadful, and its musky scent is sometimes so powerful as to be exceedingly offensive. M. Pagés tells us that, near an American river, which was thronged with Alligators, the effluvia was so strong as to impregnate bis provisions with the nauseous effluvia of rotten musk. Bertram, in his Travels through the southern states of North America, which were published in 1774, has given an amusing account of the observations which he made on the Alligators in the river St. Juan, in East Florida, and of the dangers to which he was exposed from these amphibious furies. He thus describes a battle between two of them: “Behold him rushing forth from the flags and reeds! His enormous body swells; his plaited tail brandished high, floats upon the lake; the waters, like a cataract, descend from his opening jaws; clouds of smoke issue from his dilated nostrils; the earth trembles with his thunder. When immediately from the opposite coast of the Lagoon, emerges from the deep his rival champion. They suddenly dart upon each other. The boiling surface of the lake marks their rapid course, and a terrible conflict commences. They now sink to the bottom, folded together in horrid wreaths. The water becomes thick and discoloured. Again they sink, when the contest ends at the oozy bottom of the lake, and the vanquished makes a hazardous escape, hiding himself in the muddy turbulent waters and sedge on a distant shore.”
During the hot months, in South America, these creatures bury themselves in the mud, and become torpid. M. de Humboldt, gives an amusing instance of one of them getting up from his two months nap. ing with one of his friends on a bench covered with leather, Don Miguel,” says he, “was awakened early in the morning by violent shakes, and a horrible noise. Clods of earth were thrown into the middle of the hut. Presently a young Crocodile, two or three feet long, issued from under the bed, darted at a dog that lay on the threshold of the door, and, missing him in the impetuosity of his spring, ran towards the beach to attain the river. On examining the spot where the barbacon, or bedstead, was placed, the cause of this strange adventure was easily discovered. The ground
was disturbed to a considerable depth. It was dried mud, that had covered the Crocodile in that state of lethargy, or summer sleep, in which many of the species lie during the absence of the rains amid the Llanos. The noise of men and horses, perhaps the smell of the dog, had awakened the Crocodile. The hut being placed at the edge of the pool, and inundated during part of the year, the Crocodile had no doubt entered at the time of the inundations of the Savannahs, by the same opening by which M. Pozo saw it go out.”
This animal, which is peculiar to the old world, is the only one of its species which has hitherto been discovered. It is a native of Africa, the rivers of which it inhabits. In size it equals, and sometimes exceeds, the rhinoceros : M. le Vaillant killed one in the south of Africa, which was ten feet seven inches in length, and about nine feet in circumference. It is an uncouthly made and unwieldy creature; the body being very bulky, fat, and round, the legs short and thick, the head large, the mouth extremely wide, and the teeth of vast strength and size. On the other hand, the ears, eyes, and tail are as disproportionately small. Short hair thinly set, and of a brownish hue, covers
the whole of the animal. The skin is, in some parts, two inches thick; and the Africans cut it into whip thongs, which they prefer to those of the rhinoceros hide, because they are soft and pliable. Buffon de scribes the Hippopotamus as a slow moving and timid animal, when on the land; and, indeed, its formation seems to indicate that it is not capable of rapid motion. This idea is, however, an erroneous one, as these creatures have been known to pursue persons for several hours, who escaped with great difficulty. It must not, however, be supposed, that it is of a ferocious nature. In fact, it appears never to be the aggressor except when annoyed or wounded. In the latter case, it will furiously attack boats or canoes, and often sink them by biting large pieces out of their sides.
It procures its food from both the land and the water. Three or four of them are often seen at the bottom of a river, near some cataract, forming a kind of line, and seizing upon such fish as are forced down by the violence of the stream. In that element they pursue their prey with equal perseverance and celerity; as they swim with great force, and remain at the bottom for some time without rising to take breath. When they rise, if danger be near, they raise their noses šo cautiously, and so little above the surface of the water, as to be hardly perceptible. During the night, they quit the rivers to feed on sugar-canes, rushes, millet, or rice, of which they are enormous devourers; and they sometimes rush forth with such impetuosity as to trample down every thing that stands in their way. In general, however, they move so deliberately that it is difficult to ensnare them.
The female brings forth her young upon land, and it is supposed that she seldom produces more than one at a time. The calf, at the instant when it comes into the world, will fly to the water for shelter if pursued, a circumstance which Thunberg notices as a remarkable instance of pure instinct.
In the circumstance of there being only one known species of this animal, and in its general habits, the Tapir bears a considerable resemblance to the hippopotamus; but it is a native of the new world, is much smaller than the river horse of the old, and, in some particulars reminds us of the elephant and the rhinoceros. The nose of the male is lengthened into a kind of proboscis, which it uses to grasp its food and convey it to its mouth, and with this it can pick up the smallest objects from the ground. The animal is about the size of a small
has a thick clumsy body, a slightly arched back, and short bulky legs. Its hair is of a dusky or brownish colour, and on its short thick neck there is a kind of bristly mane, which, near the head, is an inch and a half in length.
In the water the Tapir is exceedingly active, and swims and dives with wonderful facility. It can continue immersed for a long while, without rising to breathe. It sleeps in retired parts of the woods during the day; chiefly resides in dry places near the hills; and occasionally seeks its food in the savannahs. Its usual attitude is that of sitting on its rump like a dog; and its voice is a kind of whistle.
Though courageous and formidable if provoked, the Tapir is naturally gentle, and, if caught when young, may be rendered domestic, and will contract a strong attachment for those who are about it. The flesh is considered as wholesome food, and the skin makes an excellent leather, so hard, that the Indian shields, which are covered with it, are said to be impenetrable by an arrow. These animals are found in great numbers from the Isthmus of Darien to the river Ama