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(Warm-blooded.) Člass I.-MAMMALIA, or suck-giving animals, such as man, monkey, bat,
whale, dog, &c.
Animals which are destitute of skull and vertebral column.
Jointed Animals. Spiders and scorpions; insects, as beetles, crickets, dragon-flies, bees, butterflies
and moths, bug, gnat, flea, &c. Crustacea, those which have a covering similar to that of the water-flea, the
crab, lobster, &c. Barnacles and acorn-shells, worms and leeches.
Rayed Animals. Star-fishes and sea-urchins, jelly-fishes, zoophytes, internal worms, infusory
animalcules, minute chambered shells, sponges.
The pupil will now be able, without much assistance, to know the group, and the class of Group I., which is the most important of the four, to which any animal he may read about belongs. The department of zoology which treats of the dwelling-places of living creatures, is called the geographical distribution of animals.- From Constable's Series,' Sixth Book.
NATURE'S PROVISION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF ANIMALS.
We find that every species of animal is provided with the instruments best suited for obtaining, and devouring, and digesting, the food which its nature requires, and is also furnished with the means of self-defence.
Animals, such as cattle, which feed on grass and grain (hence called graminivorous animals) have broad, flat teeth, with alternate ridges of bone and enamel, suited for grinding their food. Those of them which ruminate* have several stomachs adapted for that purpose; but as their food lies beneath their feet they do not require the assistance of their limbs to lay hold of it: their legs and feet are therefore formed only to support and move about their bodies, though the hoof sometimes serves as a weapon of defence, as 'with the horse. Some ruminant animals have horns for their defence, others butt with the head.
The claw of the beast of prey is admirably formed for seizing and holding his prey, while he has sharp and strong teeth for tearing and crushing it. If you have seen a cat (which, though it looks so meek and mild, is of the tiger and lion kind) fall on a poor little mouse, you may imagine how the tiger seizes on a deer or goat.
Animals such as hares, and rabbits, and mice (the rodentiat tribe), have teeth suited for nibbling, which is their mode of feeding. The snout of the pig and tapir is formed for burrowing, and digging up the roots they feed on. You all know what quick havoc a pig will make in a potato ground.
These are a few examples of the provision for the support and protection of animals which has been made by Providence in the formation of their bodies.
But it would be all of no avail if they were not also endowed with intelligence. Cattle would in vain be provided with teeth to grind, and stomachs to digest, and food beneath their feet to eat, if they had not sense to choose the wholesome, and reject the unwholesome, herbs of their pasture. Beasts of prey would in vain be supplied with claws to seize and teeth to tear, if they had not sagacity to direct them how to take their prey. This intelligence or sagacity which brutes possess is called instinct.
The instinct of beasts of prey, such as the lion and tiger, directs them chiefly in the capture of their food. This food being flesh, and often the flesh of animals superior in size to themselves, they do not trust altogether to their own strength, but they lie in wait for their prey in the dusk of the evening; or they crouch down in the day-time near some piece of water where they know that cattle and deer come down to drink, and suddenly spring upon them, perhaps from a distance of twenty feet.
* That is to say, "chew the cud."
+ The rodentia are gnawing animals.
Sometimes the instinct of the lion leads him to terrify his victims by that roar which is so well known, or by a still more awful growl which he makes, putting his head on the ground so that the sound is conveyed along the earth, and rouses up the cattle and deer who are feeding in the plain, and to whom it is so terrible that they run to and fro in their fright, and become an easy prey.
The instinct of some beasts of prey leads them to hunt by the scent. Dogs, wolves, and jackals do this. They hunt in packs, by which means they have a great advantage over enemies much stronger than themselves.
But there is an instinct for self-defence, as well as for attack. Cattle and deer know how to protect themselves from their enemies. At any alarm they assemble, and form a band against the invader. The instinct of the horse leads him to kick with his hind legs, and he has often thus come off victorious against the lion himself. The instinct of the deer leads them to take to the water in extremity of danger, and crouch in it with only their noses above: thus the scent is lost to their pursuers.
The hare doubles and winds in a most ingenious manner when she runs from her enemies, in order to conceal her track, which they would follow by the scent. The rabbit pops his little head out of his hole, to peer for danger, before he ventures abroad.
In some of the smaller animals their instinct leads them to lay up food for the winter store, just as a provident man would do. The squirrel and several others are examples of this.
The instinct of beavers is very remarkable. They form dams, and build their little villages for mutual protection and society.
In all animals there is an instinct which leads them to protect their young from injury. The lion and lioness will defend their cubs with their lives. The tigress, like the cat, will sometimes destroy her own offspring, but she will always protect them from others.
The gentler animals, especially cattle, take great precautions, when in a wild state, for the safety of their young. The cow will conceal her calf in a thicket, while she watches with jealous care the approach of danger to her young one.
Those who know much of dogs see in them an instinct which approaches still nearer to reason; and the same may be said of elephants: capable of strong attachment, their instinct leads them to protect their master or his children. You will find, in the course of your reading, stories which set forth this instinct of faithfulness.
There is a wide difference between reason and instinct. Take a brute out of his instinct, and you will find him often deprived of understanding. For example, with what caution does a hen provide herself a nest in a suitable place! When she has laid her eggs, what care she takes of them! When she leaves them to take her food, how punctually she returns before they have time to cool!-often sitting till she is quite exhausted for want of food! With how much attention does she help the chicken to break its shell! How carefully does she then protect it from the weather, and teach it to pick up food! Not to mention that she will forsake the nest, if the young one does not make its appearance at the proper time! But with all this seeming ingenuity, the hen, considered in other respects, is without the least glimmering of thought or common sense. She mistakes a piece of chalk for an egg, and will sit upon it in the same manner; she is insensible of any increase or diminution in the number of eggs she lays; she does not distinguish between her own young ones and those of another species, but will cherish a stranger for her own.-Dr. Oliver Goldsmith.
THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.
To furnish every possible link in the grand procession of organized life, is the aim of the science of zoology. Its professors have explored the wilds of Africa, and have penetrated far into the interior of South America; have endured the last extremities of hunger and thirst to catch some curious humming-bird; have been consumed by fevers to the very socket of life, in order to pin an unknown beetle, or to procure some rare and gorgeous-coloured fly. The passion for this science seems to have long dwelt in the English race: our love of field sports, and keen relish of rural life, coupled with a habit of minute observation, have all had a tendency to foster an acquaintance with
the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and scarcely a village but boasts of some follower of White or Waterton. This taste we carry with us to our vast colonial possessions, and to that chain of military posts whose morning guns echo round the world. With such splendid opportunities for observing and collecting animals, we have succeeded in gathering together a menagerie which is by far the first in existence, and which includes typical forms of most living things—from the chimpanzee, in whose face and structure we trace the last step but one of the highest form of mammal,* to the zoophyte, f which shakes hands with the vegetable world.
Ancient Rome, it is true, in her degenerate days, witnessed vaster collections of animals, and saw hippopotami, ostriches, and giraffes, together with the fiercer carnivora,f turned by hundreds into the arena; but how different the spirit with which they were collected! With the debased and profligate Roman emperors the only object of these bloody shows was to gratify the brutal appetite of their people for slaughter; with us the intention is to display the varying wonders of creation.
Many of our readers in the full flush of summer have leaned over the balustrade of the carnivora terrace. From this elevated situation the whole plan of the south side of the grounds is exposed. To his right, fringing a still pool whose translucent waters mirror them as they stand, the spectator sees the collection of storks and cranes: more immediately in front of him softly tread the llamas and alpacas—the beasts of burthen of the New World: farther, again, we see the deer in their paddocks; and beyond, the sedgy pools of the water-fowl, set in the midst of graceful shrubberies which close the Gardens in from the landscape of the Regent's Park. Passing over to the northern side of the terrace he sees the eagle aviary,tenanted by its royal and solitary-looking occupants; the otters swimming their merry round, and perchance the seal flapping beside his pool; while the monkeys, with incredible rapidity and constant chatter, swing and leap about their wire enclosure. Immediately beneath him the Polar bears pace to and fro, or, swaying their heads, walk backwards with a firmness which a lord chamberlain might study with advantage; and close at hand the long neck of the “ship of the desert" || is seen sailing out from the
* Mammals or Mammalia, is the name given to that class of animals which suckle their young. It includes man. t Zoophytes are bodies which partake of the nature both of an animal and a vegetable. Animals which eat flesh.
A place where birds are kept.