The Cape Lion is seldom taken alive; his utter destruction and extermination forming the primary object of his pursuers. Occasionally, however, when a Lioness has been shot, and the hunters have been fortunate enough to trace out her den, the cubs are brought away, and in some measure domesticated, at least for a season, and until they acquire sufficient force to become dangerous. Up to this period some of the colonists will even suffer them to remain almost at large in their dwellings; but they have frequently occasion to rue the mercy they have shown, and are at length compelled, by the unequivocal manifestations of that ferocity which never fails to make its appearance when the animals have attained a certain age, to destroy the creatures whom they have nourished and caressed.
THE BENGAL LION.
The true Civets, to which the genus Viverra is now restricted, yield in the extent of their carnivorous propensities to the cats alone, whom they approach very closely in many points of their zoological character, as well as in their predatory, sanguinary, and nocturnal habits. In addition to the six incisors and two canines, which are common to the whole of the true Carnivora, they have on each side and in each jaw six molars, one of which is peculiarly adapted for lacerating flesh, while the rest are more or less of the ordinary form. Their tongues are furnished with the same elevated and pointed papill? which give so remarkable an asperity to those of the cats; and their claws are half retractile. The toes are five in number on each of the feet, and their extremities alone are applied to the ground in walking; the animals are consequently completely digitigrade. But the most distinctive character of the group consists in an opening near the tail, leading into a double cavity of considerable size, furnished with glands and follicles for the secretion of the peculiar odoriferous substance so well known as the produce of the Civet, and from which the animal derives his name.
The very peculiar structure from which the Marsupial animals derive their name has been regarded by almost every naturalist who has written on the subject as so essential a deviation from the common type, that, setting aside all considerations of form or habits, and regardless even of those technical characters on which so much reliance is usually placed, they have for the most part agreed in uniting under the same family designation every animal in which it occurred. This peculiarity consists in a folding or doubling of the skin and its appendages beneath the lower part of the belly in the females, in such a manner as to form an open pouch or bag, in which the young are contained from a very early period, in which the process of suckling takes place, and in which, even for some time after they have acquired sufficient size and strength to leave it, the little ones continue to take refuge.
A native also of the northern division of America, and more particularly of that extensive tract of country which constitutes the newly erected State of Missouri, the Grizzly Bear differs in many striking points, both of character and habits, from the subject of the preceding article, as well as from every other animal of the very natural group of which he forms part. By his elongated, narrowed, and flattened muzzle, added to the slight elevation of his forehead, he is closely connected with the Black Bear of America, and as remarkably distinguished from the common Brown Bear of Europe, and from the White Bear of the polar regions, which last, in size and general form, offers perhaps the nearest approximation to the present species. But his enormous magnitude, which may be stated as averaging twice the bulk of the Black Bear; the greatly increased size and power of his canine teeth; and, above all, the excessive length of his talons, on the fore feet especially, afford characteristic differences so obvious and so essential, that it is difficult to conceive how they could have been so long overlooked by naturalists as well as travellers, who have all, until within little more than twenty years of the present time, passed him over without even a casual hint that he presented any claims to be considered as distinct from the common species of his country.
Larger in size and more robust in stature than the Coatis, and approximating still more closely in their physical characters to the Bears, which may be considered as the typical group of the plantigrade Carnivora, the Racoons naturally occupy an intermediate station between the playful, timid, and harmless little creatures just noticed, and the powerful, clumsy, and dangerous animals next to be described. Like both Bears and Coatis they have in each jaw six sharp incisors, two strong canines, and twelve cheek teeth, six on each side. But these latter differ from those of the Bears, inasmuch as the whole six form a regular series, the three anterior ones of which are small and pointed, and the three posterior broad and surmounted by prominent and blunted tubercles; while in the Bears the three anterior appear rather to form a supplemental appendage, being placed irregularly and at unequal distances, and not unfrequently falling out altogether as the animal advances in age: the tubercles on the crowns of the posterior ones are also much less strongly marked. The Coatis exhibit nearly the same mode of dentition as the Racoons; but striking marks of distinction between them are afforded by the comparative length of the tail, which in the latter is scarcely half as long as the body; and by that of the snout, which, instead of being prolonged into an extensible muzzle, capable of being moved about in all directions, as in the Coatis, is scarcely produced beyond the lower lip, and has very little motion. The strongly marked difference in physiognomy arising from this circumstance is increased by the width of the head posteriorly, which is so great as to give to the general outline of the face of the Racoons the form of a nearly equilateral triangle. Their ears are of moderate length, upright and rounded at the tip; their legs strikingly contrast in their slender and graceful form with the strong and muscular limbs of the Bears; and their nails, five in number on each of the feet, are long, pointed, and of considerable strength. The whole body is clothed with long, thick, and soft hair; and its general shape, notwithstanding its intimate connexion with the Bears, and its short and thickset proportions, is not without a certain degree of elegance and lightness.