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walking on the ground as apes with their hands, or sloths with their hooked claws, which are calculated for climbing.
Why is a certain species of bat called a Vampyre? Because it sucks the blood of larger mammifera than itself, as well as of men when asleep, in whom it commonly attacks the toes. Blumenbach.
Why is a certain species of squirrel said to fly?
Because it has a loose membrane extended laterally between the fore and hind feet, which serves the purpose of a parachute, and enables the animal to spring from great heights. Blumenbach.
Why do the flight-like leaps of some squirrels differ from flying?
Because the provisions for the purposes of wings rather support the animal in its long and desperate leaps, than raise it in the air, and direct it towards any given object. The want of proper muscles, also, in a great measure incapacitates them from performing such offices as are dependent on volition, or will.
Why does this species of squirrel always fly from the upper parts of trees?
Because it cannot rise in its flight, so that, in proportion to the distance the tree it designs to fly to is from them, so much the higher they mount the tree they fly from, that they may reach some part of the tree, even the lowest, rather than fall to the ground.
Why does the fat dormouse remain in a torpid state throughout the winter?
Because this creature possesses so little heat, that it scarcely exceeds the ordinary temperature of the air: its torpor ceases with the cold; a few degrees of heat, about 10 or 11, will reanimate it, and if kept during winter in a warm room, it continues action, like other
animals,the whole season. When the cold approaches, it rolls itself into a ball, and in this state may be found in winter in hollow trees, clefts of rocks, or in holes in walls exposed to the south; it may be taken and rolled about without being roused-nothing, indeed, seems to awaken it from its lethargy but gradual heat. If exposed suddenly before a fire, it dies; resuscitation can only be effected by degrees. In this state, however, although deprived of the capability of movement, with the eye closed, and in an apparent state of death-like indifference, it possesses a feeling of pain, when sharply inflicted; a wound or a burn causes it to contract, and to make a slight sort of convulsive leap, which it will repeat several times.
Why have marmots been called 'haymakers ?'
Because they bite off grass, turn it, and dry it in the sun. It is said they use an old female marmot as a cart: she lies on her back, the hay is heaped her belly, and two others drag her home.-Med. Gazette.
Why were lemmings formerly said to fall from the heavens?
Because whole legions sometimes emigrate from one place to another, and their unexpected and unnoticed arrival, together with the accidental fall of those which might have escaped from the claws of birds, by which they had been taken up into the air probably gave rise to this superstition.
Lemmings emigrate in such numbers, that the country is literally covered with them; marching always in a straight direction, and never suffering any obstacle to impede them. On reaching a river, the foremost advance, and swimming across, form a kind of floating bridge, the head of each supported by the hinder part of that before it. The remainder of the
lemmings then pass rapidly over the backs of the supporters, and thus gain the opposite shore. - De Capell Brooke.
Why does the porcupine rattle its prickles?
Because it is enraged: it has not, however, the power of shooting them at its pursuers.-Blumenbach. Why are porcupines erroneously supposed to dart their quills to a distance?
Because it is probable, that being loosely attached to the animal, they are occasionally broken off, and remain fixed in substances into which they have been thrust.
Why are the spines or quills of the Canada porcupine fatal to its assailants?
Because the quills are rough with minute teeth, directed backwards, that render this seemingly weak and flexible weapon a very dangerous one. Their points, which are pretty sharp, have no sooner insinuated themselves into the skin of an assailant, than they gradually bury themselves, and travel onwards until they cause death, by wounding some vital organ
Why does the hedgehog stick its prickles into fruits? Because it may bring them to its holes, a fact which has been asserted by the ancients, and denied by the moderns; but of which, observes Blumenbach, 'I have been assured by three credible witnesses.'
Why has the water-shrew small stiff hairs on the toes? Because they render the foot excellently adapted for rowing, and serve instead of a swimming membrane. The minute shrew is the smallest mammiferous animal yet known: it weighs but half a drachm.-Blumenbach.
Why does the female opossum carry pouch on the belly?
her young in a
Because the teats are placed at the bottom of this pouch. The young ones are born small beyond all proportion, like imperfect abortions. Being carried in this pouch, and nourished by the mother's milk, until mature, and more perfectly formed, they are, as it were, born for the second time. - Blumenbach.
Why is the skunk so called?
Because of the insupportable stink, which it, like several other species of this genus, emits when enraged. Blumenbach.
Why is the ichneumon so serviceable in Egypt? Because it destroys the eggs of the crocodile, and also serpents.
Why was it said that the weasel produced her young in the mouth?
Because the mother often carries the young ones in her mouth. - Blumenbach.
Why is the pine-marten valued for its skin? Because its beautiful fur comes nearest to that of the sable.
Why has the polar bear a firm footing on the ice? Because the soles of his feet are almost entirely clothed with long hair.
Why are polar bears sometimes met with in the winter months?
Because, not having accumulated sufficient fat for their winter sustenance, they are compelled to shift for themselves during the usual period of torpor.
Why does the male polar bear retire to his winterquarters with less regularity than the female?
Because in the females this retreat is essential to the preservation and security of their offspring.
Why are the female bears more ferocious on emerging from their winter-quarters than at any other season?
Because of their extreme leanness, and the crav ings of their own appetites, combined with the necessity of providing for their young.
Why is it said that no man, either Christian or Indian, ever killed an American she-bear with young?
Because the pregnant females always conceal themselves. After numerous enquiries among the Indians of Hudson's Bay,' says Dr Richardson, 'only one was found who had killed a pregnant bear.' Why is the flesh of some bears tainted and unfit for use ?
Because they have fed much upon fish ; otherwise they are reckoned very good eating. Their tongues and paws are considered the most delicate parts, and the hams made from them are said to be not inferior to those of Westphalia.
Why do bears live through the winter without food? Because they absorb the fat accumulated in the course of the summer, from the setting in of the cold season until the return of spring.
Why does the honey bear attack bees with impunity? Because it has a shaggy fur, with an uncommonly thick and lax skin, by which it is defended alike from the stings of bees and the teeth of dogs. Why are bears said to hug their enemies?
Because, when irritated, they usually raise themselves upon their hind feet, and endeavour to engage