The present species of Antelope is spread over the whole of the Peninsula of Hindoostan and a part of Persia; but it is questionable whether it has been found in Africa, as is commonly asserted. They are said to bound with apparent ease over a distance of from twenty-five to thirty feet, and mounting to the height of ten or twelve. It is consequently useless to attempt to chase them in the common mode with hounds; and their pursuit is restricted to the higher nobility, who employ for the purpose either hawks, who pounce upon their quarry and detain it until the dogs can come up, or Chetahs, who attack them by surprise in the manner before described.
In internal and anatomical structure, on which modern naturalists are agreed that the greatest reliance ought to be placed in the distinction of closely approximating species, there is in the various races of Wolves no deviation from the common type of sufficient importance to warrant their separation from each other; neither does their outward form, excepting only in size and in the comparative measurement of parts, differ in any remarkable degree. In colour it is true that the most striking variations are observable, their hair exhibiting almost every intermediate shade between the opposite extremes of black and white. But it must be obvious that on this character, taken by itself, it would be absurd to insist as a ground of specific distinction, when we reflect on the influence which climate and other external accidents must necessarily exercise on animals so extensively dispersed, and so variously circumstanced.
The elegant Albino now in the Tower was brought from Bombay by Captain Dalrymple of the Vansittart, and remained for a considerable time at Sand Pit Gate, where it was an especial favourite with his Majesty, as well on account of the gentleness of its disposition, as for its rarity and beauty. It bears its confinement in the Menagerie with perfect resignation, and is remarkable for the mildness and tranquillity of its deportment.
In size and stature these beautiful animals considerably exceed any that have been seen in this country of late years. They are truly, as may be judged from their portraits, an elegant and graceful pair, having, when led out into the yard in their couples, very much of the air and manners of a brace of greyhounds. When noticed or fondled they purr like a cat; and this is their usual mode of expressing pleasure. If, on the other hand, they are uneasy, whether that uneasiness arises from cold, from a craving after food, from a jealous apprehension of being neglected, or from any other cause, their note consists of a short, uniform, and repeated mew. They are extremely fond of play, and their manner of playing very much resembles that of the cat; with this difference, however, that it never, as in the latter animal, degenerates into malicious cunning or wanton mischief. Their character, indeed, seems to be entirely free from that sly and suspicious feeling of mistrust which is so strikingly visible in the manners and actions of all the cats, and which renders them so little susceptible of real or lasting attachment. The Chetahs, on the contrary, speedily become fond of those who are kind to them, and exhibit their fondness in an open, frank, and confiding manner. There can, in fact, be little doubt that they might with the greatest facility be reduced to a state of perfect domestication, and rendered nearly as familiar and as faithful as the dog himself.下载
Gypogeranus serpentarius. Illig.下载
It is evident then that in the general outline of his habits, and even in most of the separate traits by which his character is marked, he differs but little from the Lion. His courage, if brute force stimulated by sensual appetite can deserve that honourable name, is at least equal; and as for magnanimity and generosity, the idea of attributing such noble qualities to either is in itself so absurd, and is so fully refuted by every particular of their authentic history, that it would be perfectly ridiculous to attempt a comparison where no materials for comparison exist. It may, however, be observed that in one point the disposition of the Tiger appears to be more cruel than that of the Lion; inasmuch as it is related, that he is not at all times satisfied with a single victim, but deals forth wholesale destruction, without mercy and without distinction, upon whatever may chance to be within the reach of his murderous talons. This, however, is by no means his constant or usual practice; his instinct being in general sufficient to teach him that his purpose is as effectually answered by one fatal bound as by the most extensive devastation; for neither he, nor any of the more powerful of his tribe, return to their prey after the first meal, but leave its mangled relics for the ignoble beasts which follow in their train.