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Why is the harrier so called?
Because slot means the impression left by the foot of the dog in the mire. This dog was remarkable for the acuteness of his smell, tracing any wounded game that had escaped from the hunter, and following the footsteps of the thief, let the distance of his flight be ever so great. The bloodhound was in great request on the confines of England and Scotland, when the borderers were continually preying on the herds and flocks of their neighbours, and was used also by Wallace and Bruce during the civil war. Pennant says, 'there is an order dated, so late as 1616, that no less than nine bloodhounds should be kept on the Border, upon Esk and other places mentioned.'-- The hound is essentially the same as the bloodhound. The fox-hound is a smaller variety, and the harrier is still smaller. - Cuvier.
Why is the spaniel so called?
Because the race is derived from Spain; thence, épagneul, French, spaniel, English.
Why is the greyhound the first in rank among dogs? Because, by the forest laws of Canute, it was enacted, that no one, under the degree of a gentleman, should presume to keep a greyhound;' also from an old Welsh saying, which signifies that you may know a gentleman by his hawke, his horse, his grehunde.' The greyhound is feelingly alive to caresses; and, when noticed, the motions of his heart are most violent and irregular. Caius, however, on the authority of Froissart, mentions the following fact, not much to the credit of the fidelity of this species: When that unhappy prince, Richard II, was taken in Flint Castle, his favourite greyhound immediately deserted him, and fawned on his rival, Bolinbroke; as if he understood and fore
saw the misfortunes of his former master. This act of ingratitude the unfortunate monarch saw, and declared aloud to be the presage of his future death.
-Ray, Linnæus, &c, give the name of graius to the greyhound, with which, however, the ancient Greeks do not appear to have been acquainted.'Note to Blumenbach.
Why was the leviner, or lyemmer, so called?
Because of the lightness of the kind, (from levis, light) and the old word lyemme, a thong; this species being used to be led with a thong, and slipped at the game.
Why is the mastife or mastiff so called?
Because it is a species of great size and strength, and a very loud barker; whence mastiff, quasi mase thefese; it being supposed to frighten away robbers by its tremendous bark.
Caius says three mastiffs were a match for a bear, and four for a lion. It appears that Great Britain was so noted for its mastiffs, that the Roman emperors appointed an officer in this island, whose sole business it was to breed, and transmit from hence to the amphitheatre, such dogs as would prove equal to the combats exhibited at that place.
Why was the old English hound so well qualified for hunting?
Because his hearing was very perfect, and his sense of smell was the most exquisite that could be imagined.
Why does the scent in hunting vary on different days?
Because of the varied condition of the ground, and the temperature of the air, which should be moist without being wet. If both are in this state, the scent is said to be perfect. When the ground is hard and dry, there will scarcely be any scent, and it hardly ever lies with a north or an east wind. A southerly wind, without rain, and a westerly one that is not
rough, are the best; a warm day, without sun, is a perfect one. In some fogs the scent lies high; in others not at all. Notes on Science.
Why was January called by the Anglo-Saxons 'Wolf-monat'?
Because, according to Verstegan, 'people were wont always in that moneth to be more in danger to be devoured of wolves, than in any season els of the yeare; for that, through the extremity of cold and snow, those ravenous creatures could not find of other beasts sufficient to feed upon.'
Why are the wolves while in the Arctic regions? Because, probably, of the severity of the winter season, which causes their loss of colour; though the change does not occur in all cases. - Sabine. Desmarest, though he admits this change, notices the white wolf as a variety belonging to the peculiar description of animals called Albinoes.
Why is the jackal called the lion's provider?
Because, at the jackal's cry, echoed by hundreds of similar voices, through the woods and plains, the lion, whose ear is dull, rouses himself to action, to join in the pursuit of some unhappy wanderer from the herds, which has crossed the jackal's path.
Why is the jackal difficult to domesticate?
Because of the strong odour which he emits, as filthy as that of the fox; and his extreme timidity at the sight of a stranger.
Why is the jackal serviceable in hot countries? Because, like the vulture and byæna, he does not require living prey to feed upon; but wherever there is an animal body putrefying, his nose scents it at a great distance, and the air is soon freed from the effluvium.
Why does the fox seize his prey with his teeth? Because his claws are thick, short, blunt, and cannot be drawn in; so that he cannot use them like the cat, or secure his prey otherwise than by the teeth.
Why does the fox hide himself in burrows in the day, and prowl about in a clouded night?
Because he may avoid the full blaze of day-light, which, becoming painful to his eyes, compels him to close their pupils, so as to render their vision very imperfect. Much of the cunning suspiciousness of manner for which the fox is notorious, arises from this circumstance: his attitudes and motions partake of the uncertainty of his sight, and he appears to be most cunning when he is really most short-sighted. Sec. Zoolog. Soc.
Why is the cross-fox so called?
Because he has a black cross on his shoulders: in shape he differs very little from the common fox. Why is fox-hunting still kept up in England?
Because the breed is not extinct,—partly from the extreme prudence of the animal, and partly from its being considered unsportsmanlike to kill a fox, except in the chase:
Why is it considered that the three hundred foxes' to whose tails Sampson tied fire-brands, were jackals?
Because jackals assemble in large troops, so as to be taken in great numbers; whereas the fox is a solitary animal.
Why had the hyana formerly the epithet of 'laughing'? Because of a belief among the Greeks and Romans, that it imitated the human voice, and charmed shep
herds, so as to rivet them to the spot upon which they were met by the quadruped, in the same way that a serpent fascinates a bird.
THE CAT TRIBE.
Why are the characteristics of feline animals so interesting to the naturalist?
Because animals of the cat kind are, in a state of nature, almost continually in action, both by night and by day. They either walk, creep, or advance rapidly by prodigious bounds; but they seldom run, owing, it is believed,to the extreme flexibility of their limbs and vertebral column, which cannot preserve the rigidity necessary to that species of movement. Their sense of sight, especially during twilight, is acute; their hearing, very perfect; and their perception of sinell less so than the dog tribe. Their most obtuse sense is that of taste. In fact, the tongue of these animals is as much an organ of mastication as of taste; its sharp and horny points, inclined backwards, being used for tearing away the softer parts o the animal substances on which they prey. The perception of touch is said to reside very delicately in the small bulbs at the base of the mustachios.-Wilson. Why does all the cat tribe possess such great strength of jaw?
Because the opening of the mouth is of great extent in proportion to the size of the animals; the muscles which move the lower jaw are also of great bulk, and the point on which they immediately act, is brought so far forward, in consequence of the breadth and shortness of the muzzle, as to give them the highest degree of attainable force.
Why are the claws of the cat tribe always sharp? Because their edge and point is preserved by the animal withdrawing them in sheaths,enclosed within folds of skin,which cover the extremities of the toes.