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    Like both the cats and the dogs, the Hy?nas are[72] completely digitigrade; that is to say, they walk only on the extremities of their toes: but these toes are only four in number on each of their feet, and are armed with short, thick, strong, and truncated claws, which are not in the least retractile, and are evidently formed for digging in the earth, a practice to which they are impelled by a horrid and hateful propensity, which we shall have further occasion to notice in describing their habits and mode of life. Their body, in shape much resembling that of the wolf, to which they also approach very nearly in size, is considerably more elevated in front than behind, owing partly to their constant custom of keeping the posterior legs bent in a crouching and half recumbent posture. Beneath the tail, which is short and dependent, they are furnished with a pouch, in the interior of which is secreted a peculiar matter of a very strong and disagreeable smell. Their head is large and broad, flattened in front, and terminating in a short, thick, and obtuse muzzle. Like most carnivorous animals, they are armed in each jaw with six cutting teeth, and two canine, the latter of which are of considerable size and strength. The outermost pair of incisors in the upper jaw are much larger and stronger than the rest, and closely resemble the canine in form. The number of the molar or cheek teeth is five on each side in the upper jaw, and four in the lower; and all of them are remarkable for their extreme thickness and strength in comparison with those of the dogs and cats. Their tongue is similar to that of the latter animals in the roughness which it derives from the sharp and elevated papill? with which it is covered.


    1.In the daytime, when pressed by hunger, the Lion[21] takes his secret stand among the reeds and long grass in the neighbourhood of springs and rivers, and watches with unwearied patience for such animals as may, for the purpose of quenching their thirst, pass sufficiently near him to ensure the success of his attack. This is generally made in one enormous bound of fifteen, twenty, or even, it is said, thirty feet, and with a force capable of bearing to the ground and completely disabling the most formidable opponent. At times, however, he will pursue his prey somewhat more openly, and by quickly repeated springs; but this is an exertion which he is unable to continue for any considerable length of time, and which, consequently, any animal of moderate fleetness, that has fairly got the start of him, is certain to outstrip. Of this the Lion appears to be fully aware; for, if not successful in the commencement of the chase, he generally relinquishes it at once, and retires gradually, and step by step, to his place of ambush, to watch for a better opportunity and a more certain prey.
    2.The Puma figured above is a female, about three years old, exceedingly sleek in her fur and lively in her colours, and equally mild and good-tempered with any of her race.
    3.The very terms of the specific character by which Linn?us attempted to distinguish the domesticated from the other dogs, “the tail curved upwards (towards the left),” may be regarded as affording in themselves a sufficient proof of the difficulty of the task, when so great a naturalist, after taking a complete review of all the particulars of their organization, was compelled to rest contented with a distinction drawn from so trifling and apparently insignificant a remark. It would in fact appear to be absolutely impossible to offer in any form of words whatever a character sufficiently comprehensive to combine the almost infinite varieties of this Protean race, and at the same time to separate them from those other races from which they are generally believed to be specifically distinct. To this observation of Linn?us almost the sole addition that has been made by later zoologists consists in a remark of M. Desmarest, that whenever a spot of white is found upon any part of the[86] tail of a domestic dog, the tip of that very variable organ is also constantly white; so that we are still driven to recur to the tail alone for the only uniform physical characteristics that have been pointed out to distinguish an animal, which every one recognises at first sight, and which indeed it is impossible to mistake.
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