The specimen now in the Menagerie is a young female about three years and a half old. She was a present to his Majesty from the Emperor of Morocco. During some tempestuous weather, which occurred on her passage, the male who accompanied her was killed, and she herself met with an accident, from the falling of a spar, by which she was curtailed of her fair proportions, and deprived of the greater part of her tail. The disfigurement thus caused is, however, trifling, and she is still a very fine animal.
Canis domesticus. Linn. Var.
Endowed with such tremendous powers it is no wonder that this formidable animal is regarded with terror by the inhabitants of the countries which he infests. He seldom, however, attacks the human race; although he does not appear to shun it with any peculiar dread. His onset is always made from behind, and in the same treacherous manner as that of all his tribe; of a herd of animals or of a band of men passing within his reach, he uniformly singles out the last as the object of his fatal bound. When he has made choice of his victim he springs upon its neck, and, placing one of his paws upon the back of its head while he seizes its muzzle with the other, twists its head round with a sudden jerk, which dislocates its spine and deprives it instantaneously of life and motion. His favourite game appears to be the larger quadrupeds, such as oxen, horses, sheep, and dogs, whom he attacks indiscriminately and almost always successfully, when urged by the powerful cravings of his maw. At other times he is indolent and cowardly, secretes himself in caverns, skulks in the depths of the forest, and is scared by the most trifling causes.
In this arrangement, which brought animals truly digitigrade, with retractile claws, tongues covered with sharp papill?, canine teeth of great power, and molars formed for tearing flesh, consequently in a high degree sanguinary and carnivorous in their habits, into close and intimate contact with others, which are positively plantigrade, with exserted claws, smooth tongues, and teeth of little power and evidently incapable of lacerating animal food, and which are therefore in all cases more or less, and in several instances wholly, vegetable eaters, it was impossible for naturalists long to coincide. The genus thus formed presented so heterogeneous a combination, that the difficulty was rather where to stop in the dispersion of the dissimilar materials of which it was composed, than where to commence the necessary operation; and in consequence nearly a dozen genera, not hanging together in one continued series, but scattered through various parts of the system, and most of them essentially distinct, have been the result of the dismemberment of this single group.