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of timber, to which they bear a striking resemblance. The general form of these two animals, the alligator and crocodile, are very much alike; therefore, the description of the former will very well serve to give the reader an idea of both, the difference in their conformations being too trivial to deserve a place here. We shall here subjoin the description of one of the common size, as given us by the Jesuits at Siam, as being the most authentic and correct.

“ This animal, it appears, was eighteen feet and a half, French measure, of which the tail was five feet and a half, and the head and neck about two feet and a half long. The fore legs, both internally and externally, had the same parts and form as the arms of a man. The paws resembled a man's hands, and had five fingers (if they may be so called) on each, the two last of which were destitute of nails, and terminated conically. The hinder legs, including the thighs and paws, were two feet two inches long. The paws from the joints to the extremities of the longest claws, were above nine inches long; they were divided into four toes, of which three had large claws, the longest of which was an inch and a half; and these toes were united by membranes like those of web-footed fowls, but of a much stronger substance. The head was long, and had a small rising on the top; and it was covered by a skin, which adhered firmly to the skull and jaws. The skull was rough, and indented in several places; and about the centre of the forehead were two bony crests, two inches high. The skull, between these two crests, was musket proof; for, on trial, a ball marked it but slightly. The eye was very small in proportion to the rest of the body, and was so placed within its orbit, that the exterior.

part, when the lid was shut, was only one inch long. It was protected by a double lid. The iris was very large, in proportion to the globe of the eye, and of a yellowish grey colour. Above the eye was placed the ear, which opened downwards, as if by a kind of spring, by means of a solid thick cartilaginous substance. The nose was placed in the middle of the upper jaw, nearly an inch from the extremity, and was perfectly round and flat, being nearly two inches in diameter, of a black soft spongy substance, not unlike the nose of a dog ; and the jaws seem to be locked one within another. Nothing can be farther from the truth than the generally received opinion that the lower jaw is incapable of motion : whereas it moves like the under jaw in all other animals, while the upper one is fixed to the skull, and remains perfectper immoveable. This animal had twenty-seven cutting teeth in the upper jaw, and fifteen in the lower, with several interstices between them ; they were thick at the root, but sharp towards the point, being all of different sizes, except ten large hooked ones, six of which were in the lower jaw, and four in the upper. The mouth was fifteen inches long, and where broadest, eight and a half. The distance between the two jaws, when fully extended, was fifteen inches and a half, a space wide enough to admit the entire body of a

The colour of the body was of a dark brown on the upper part, and of a whitish citron below, with large spots of both these colours on the sides. The shoulders and back, to the very extremity of the tail, were covered with fifty-two large square scales, disposed like parallel girdles; but towards the tail, the distance between these circles increased. The creature was not only covered with these, but also with a coat of ar


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mour; which, however, was not proof against a musket ball, as has been generally believed ; yet it must be confessed that the attitude in which the animal was placed might contribute to render it more vulnerable; for, probably, had the ball struck obliquely against the shell, it would have turned off. Those parts of the girdles which were beneath the belly had a wbitish bue, and were composed of scales of various shapes, but not so hard as those on the back."

From this general account of this tremendous animal, its destructive powers may be easily conjeetured. Whether attacked on the offensive or defensive, it is almost wholly invincible. Its teeth are very sharp and tenacious; as are also its claws. The proper element of this animal is the water, where it mostly delights, in which it takes up its usual abode, and where it is most destructive. When in this element, and swimming upon the surface of the water, it has frequently been known to overturn a canoe by one stroke of its tail. It has often been known to seize a man, from a canoe, when any part of his body has been so far out of the canoe as to be within his reach. In this attitude of floating on the water, it seizes upon lesser animals of almost every description, and immediately plunges down with them to the bottom of the river, where it devours them at its leisure. When pressed by hunger, or when it meets, not with sufficient food in the water, it will make incursions on the banks of rivers, where he will lie concealed among the sedges for several hours, and sometimes days, remaining almost motionless, when some unwary animal coming to drink, it immediately becomes the victim of its fury; for in this situation it generally conceals its head and tail, and it then appears not much unlike part of the trunk of a tree, covered with a rough dry bark. It sometimes happens, however, that this animal encounters with one as fierce as itself, as is the case when it meets with the tiger, when a dreadful combat ensues, which, however, generally ends in the favour of the alligator, who, plunging itself with its prey into the water, thus gains a decisive victory, by drowning the victim. The alligator will also, in times of inundations, make inroads into the country, half a mile or a mile from the banks of the river, and enter cottages, and seize the infants and young children. It will also pursue its prey on land, if it happen to escape from it.

In Siam, where these creatures mostly abound, the natives have a method of catching them with nets, made of a strong texture. They place four or five of these nets at proper distances from one another, so that if one break, the animal is caught in one of the others': and when the animal is entangled in the net, they pierce it with lances till it becomes enfeebled through loss of blood. In some African rivers it is also caught by the natives, as the Europeans catch the sharks, viz. by fixing a piece of beef to a hook, with a strong line, which the animal swallows, when it is also pierced with lances as before.

The flesh of this animal is but very indifferent food, being strongly tinctured with musk, though it is often eaten by the natives of Africa; but the most desirable part for food is their eggs, which are eagerly sought after and devoured by the natives of those parts. These eggs, where the animal much abounds, are found in great numbers, for she always lays her eggs in the sand, in the banks of some fresh water river or lake; laying from eighty to a hundred each day, for three suc

cessive days, carefully covering the sand over them each time; and so careful is she in providing for their security, that the presence of a man, an animal, or even a bird, is sufficient to prevent her from depositing her eggs at that time. The eggs being slightly covered with sand, the heat of the sun soon vivifies them, and at the expiration of thirty days, the young begin to burst their enclosure, when the dam, instinctively knowing they require her assistance, goes and uncovers them, when they immediately take to the water, some running thither themselves, and the more weakly ones ascending the back of the female, and are carried thither by her.

The chief enemy to the alligator is the vulture, a carnivorous bird, which is always found in great plenty on the shores of those rivers where alligators abound. These birds secure themselves from sight in the thick trees, near the shore where the alligator lays her eggs, carefully watching her till she has deposited her quantity, when the vulture descends, generally accompanied with others of his own species, tear up the sand, and feast upon the hidden treasure. This bird is wisely appointed by providence for the destruction of this animal, which otherwise would soon overrun the world with its numerous progeny.

Providence Mysterious but Merciful.
God moves in a mysterious way,

His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps on the sea,

And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never-failing skill,

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