« ZurückWeiter »
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 hyaena 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.
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
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 of its resemblance to its cry.
Why do cats see in the dark?
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 — as 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 even