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Why has the lion been styled 'king of the beasts?" Because, in strength, he surpasses all other animals. His generosity and courage are more doubtful. Mr Burchell, the African traveller, says: 'when men first adopted the lion as an emblem of courage, it would seem that they regarded great size and strength as indicating it; but they were greatly mistaken in the character they have given to this indolent, skulking animal, and have overlooked a much better example of true courage, and of other virtues also, in the bold and faithful dog.'
Why is the lion safely attacked while sleeping?
Because of the dullness of his sense of hearing, the difficulty of awakening him,and his want of presence of mind if he be so awakened. Thus, the bushmen of Africa are enabled to keep the countrytolerably clear of lions, without encountering any great danger.
Why has the lion a terrific roar?
Because of the great comparative size of his larynx, or that part of the throat which forms the upper part of the windpipe; the principal organ of voice in all animals. The absolute size of the larynx of the whale and the elephant is the largest, but relatively, the larynx of the lion has a still greater circumference.
Why is the bone of the lion's fore leg of remarkable hardness?
Because it contains a greater quantity of phosphate of lime than is found in ordinary bones; so that it may resist the powerful contraction of the muscles. The texture of this bone is so compact, that the substance will strike fire with steel.
Why does the lion draw in his claws when in quest of prey?
Because by this means, and the soft cushions of his feet, or fur upon which he treads, he is enabled to
move towards his victim with greater stillness. The claws can, however, be instantly extended to seize the prey.
Why is the lion extremely strong in the fore-leg? Because the muscles of that leg are unusually firm, as are also those of the thigh of a fighting cock. Home.
Why has the lion superior firmness and pliancy of limb?
Because his joints are knit together by the remarkable strength of the muscles.
Why is the weight of the lion's body very remarkable as compared with his size?
Because of the extraordinary density of his muscles, and the compactness of his principal bones. Why has the lion but little sense of taste?
Because his lingual, or tongue, nerve, is not larger than that of a middle-sized dog. Desmoulins.
Why should we discredit stories of lions licking the hands of men without injuring them?
Because the lion's tongue has sharp and horny points, inclining backwards, so as not to be able to lick the hand without tearing away the skin.
Why does the lion, when irritated, strike his sides with his tail?
Because he may excite himself by a prickle or spur at the extremity of the tail, and concealed in the tuft of long black hairs there. This circumstance is noticed by Homer, and Blumenbach some years since verified the existence of the prickle; but the fact was unnoticed by naturalists, till last year, when it was further corroborated, on the death of two lions in the Menagerie Royal at Paris. The prickle adhering only to the skin by the circumference of its base, is very easily detached.
THE DOMESTIC CAT.
Why is it evident that cals have been domesticated from the most remote antiquity?
Because the mummies of the cat found in the sopulchres of Thebes, and the figures sculptured on monuments bearing the names of the Pharaohs, concur with the Sacred Scriptures to prove, that in the earliest ages, the cat existed in Egypt and Palestine, in the domestic state.
Why is the cat in China called 'Mao' or 'Miao'?
Because the external rays of light, of which there is some in most dark places, after being concentrated by those parts which are called the cornea and the crystalline lens, are reflected in a brilliant concave mirror at the bottom of the eye, called the tapetum.— (Home.) This effect may be constantly seen in the domestic cat. In the strong light of the day, the iris is so contracted, that a very small quantity of light is admitted to this mirror; but in the twilight the iris opens, and then the mirror being completely exposed, the eye glares in the manner with which we are all familiar. The construction, therefore, of the eye of the cat tribe enables them to collect in one focus whatever light may be found; - and few places are so dark but that some light may be found we know when we have gone into a cellar, where the darkness at first appears impenetrable, but where, even with our differently constructed organ of vision, we soon distinguish objects without difficulty. Lib. Ent. Knowl.
Why does the pupil of the cat's eye serve to mark time? Because it is like a thread at eleven at night, eleven in the morning, and five in the morning; like a jujubier nut at one in the morning, one in the afternoon, seven in the morning, and seven in the even13*
ing; and like the full moon at three in the morning, at one, nine, and eight in the evening. The tip of its nose is always cold, excepting on the day of the summer solstice, when it becomes lukewarın. -Japanese Encyclopædia.
Why does a cat shrink on the whiskers of her upper lip being pulled?
Because the whiskers are attached to a bed of close glands under the skin; and each of these long and stiff hairs is connected with the nerves of the lip. — (Cuvier.) The slightest contact of these whiskers with any surrounding object is thus felt most distinctly, although the hairs themselves are insensible.
Why does the cat lick herself?
Because the tongue is the chief instrument incleaning herself, and is constructed somewhat like a currycomb, or rather a wool-card, being bent with numerous horny points, bent downwards and backwards, and which serve several important purposes, such as lapping milk, filing minute portions of meat from bones, and especially, keeping the fur smooth and clean; and cats are by no means sparing in their labour to effect this. The female cat is still more particular with her kittens than herself, and always employs much time in licking their fur smooth. Mr Rennie. in Journ. Royal Instit.
Why does the cat destroy mice?
Because its ruling passion is for animal food, or rather the desire to destroy a living animal. Hence, also, the cat devours insects, as flies, beetles, cockroaches, &c.
Why do cats bury their excrement?
Because of an instinct of distrust resulting from their wild state, which revolts against the feeling of domestication, because the strong smell of their excrements might reveal their retreat, and the abode and asylum of their young, which are to remain
concealed. Thus, it is not from cleanliness, as generally supposed.
Why is it commonly thought that cats will always fall upon their feet?
Because of the facility with which they balance themselves when springing from a height; which power of balancing is in some degree produced by the flexibility of the heel, the bones of which have no fewer than four joints.
Why do cats alight softly on their feet?
Because in the middle of the foot there is placed a large ball, or pad, in five parts, formed of an elastic substance; and at the base of each toe is a similar pad. It is impossible to imagine any mechanism more calculated to break the force of a fall.
Why is the sloth slow in his movements, and in a state of pain, when confined in a menagerie?
Because his feet are not formed for walking on the ground; they cannot act in a perpendicular direction; and his sharp and long claws are curved. He can only move on the ground by pulling himself along by some inequalities on the surface, therefore on a smooth floor he is wretched. He is intended to pass his life constantly suspended by his four legs from under the branches of trees, thus travelling from branch to branch, and sleeping when he is satisfied.
Why is the camel used for travelling in the deserts of hot countries?
Because its feet are formed to tread lightly upon a dry and shifting soil; its nostrils have the capacity of closing, so as to shut out the driving sand, when the whirlwind scatters it over the desert; and it is provided with a peculiar apparatus for retaining water in its stomach, so that it can march from well to