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wound, they mew like a cat; and the note of triumph after a victory somewhat resembles the chirping of a cricket.—These animals are chiefly found on the islands in the vicinity of Kamtschatka, from June to September; after which they remove, some to the Asiatic, and some to the American coast. On Behrings Island they are so numerous as almost to cover the whole shore; but it is a singular fact that they only frequeut that part of it which lies towards Kamtschatka.
Ursine Seals live in families, each male being surrounded by from eight to fifty females, whom he watches with the most vigilant jealousy, and treats in the most tyrannical manner. They are of an irritable disposition, and have frequent battles. So tenacious are they of life that they will live a fortnight after receiving wounds which would be speedily mortal to other animals.
THE BOTTLE-NOSED SEAL.
This variety of the Seal is usually found in the seas around New Zealand, the island of Juan Fernandez, and the Falkland islands. The male of this species measures from fifteen to twenty feet in length, and differs from the female in having a large snout, which projects five or six inches beyond the extremity of the upper jaw, and which, when irritated, it inflates, so as to give to it the appearance of an arched or hooked nose. The quantity of blubber contained between the skin and the flesh is so great, it being at least a foot in depth in the largest, that the animal, when in motion, looks like an immense skin filled with oil. This quantity of fat probably contributes to render the Bottle-nosed Seal of so lethargic a disposition, that it is not easily to be compelled to move, and, consequently, is easily killed. It divides its time almost equally between the land and sea, and lives in herds, eath of which seems to be under the direction of a large male, which seamen term the Bashaw, from the circumstance of his driving away females from the other males, and appropriating them to himself. At a distance from each herd, some of the males are placed as sentinels, and by them the alarm is loudly given in case of danger.
THE LEONINE SEAL.
The Leonine Seal is, in general, of a reddish brown hue, and is distinguished by a large stiff curled mane and waved hair, which cover the head and neck of the male, and from which it has received the name of the Sea Lion. It has a large head and eyes; a turned up nose, somewhat like that of a pug dog; and conical erect ears. At a certain age it becomes gray. In the form of its feet it resembles the Ursine Seal. The male is often from fifteen to eighteen feet in length, and weighs sixteen hundred pounds. The female is seldom more than half of that size.—These animals reside in families, each male having from two to four females, which he treats with great affection. They do not, as has been supposed, graze on shore ; but their food consists entirely of fish, penguins, and marine animals. During the breeding season they are said to fast for a long time, and to become extremely emaciated; but, at intervals, they swallow large stones, for the purpose of keeping the stomach distended.-The flesh of the young is said to be excellent food, and their fat is as delicious as marrow. To hunt these creatures is reckoned by the Kamtschatdales one of the most honourable of occupations.
Of the Otter tribe there are eight species known, of which, however, it will be necessary for us to describe only two. Otters have six sharpish cutting teeth in each jaw, the lower of which do not range in a line with the rest, two of them being placed somewhat within the others. The cabine teeth are also longer than the others. Webbed feet are common to all the varieties of this tribe, which are likewise characterized by very long bodies and short legs.
The Common Otter is of a deep brown colour, and is usually about two feet in length from the tip of the nose to the insertion of the tail ; the head and nose are broad and flat; the mouth bears some similitude to that of a fish; the neck is short, and equal in thickness to the head; the body long : the tail broad at the insertion, but tapering off to a point, and about sixteen inches long; the eyes are very small, and placed nearer to the nose than is customary in quadrupeds. The legs are very short, but remarkably strong, broad, and muscular, and so placed as to be capable of being brought into a line with the body,
and performing the office of fins ; and each foot is furnished with five toes, connected by strong broad webs, like those of water-fowl.
These voracious animals are generally found at the sides of lakes and rivers, but particularly the former, in which they destroy so much more than they devour, that they will sometimes spoil a pond in the space of a few nights. They do equal mischief by tearing in pieces the fishermen's nets, which they infallibly do, whenever they happen to get entangled in them.-In forming its retreat the Otter displays great sagacity. It makes the entrance under water, burrows upwards, provides several cells to retire to in case of floods, and opens on the surface a small orifice for the admission of air, which orifice it contrives so as to be concealed by a thick bush.—The female goes with young about nine weeks, and generally produces four or five at a time. These are always found at the edge of the water; and, if under the protection of the dam, she teaches them on the approach of an enemy, to plunge like herself, into the deep, and escape among the weeds or rushes that fringe the stream. It is therefore, only in the absence of the dam, that the young can be taken; and in some places there are dogs purposely trained for discovering their retreats.
If taken while young, the Otter may be tamed and taught to fish for its master, and will become almost as affectionate and docile as the dog.
THE SEA OTTER.
This harmless, playful, and interesting animal is generally about four feet long, thirteen inches of which are occupied by the tail. The fur is of great value, it being soft and of a deep glossy black. It has long been exported in great quantities by the Russians, who receive eighty or a hundred rubles from the Chinese for each skin. The Sea Otter is to be found only within a very few degrees of latitude, in the North Pacific ; its range being mostly confined to the coast of Kamtschatka, the adjoining islands, and the opposite American shore.
Sea Otters are perfectly inoffensive, and so sportive that much of their time seems to be passed in playing diverting tricks. They live in pairs, and are very constant to each other. Such is their fondness for their young, that they will never abandon them; on being robbed of them, they will starve themselves to death; and will endeavour to breathe their last on the spot where their offspring were destroyed.
At the present period Beavers inhabit only the northern parts of Europe and Asia, and North America, in which latter country they are principally found; but there is the best reason to believe that, in former times, they were natives of Great Britain, in which a bigh value was set upon them. There are no animals which possess a greater share of natural sagacity than they do; a fact which is abundantly proved by a variety of circumstances.