But there is also a third class which springs into existence in the warmer climates of America, some of whose representatives almost equal the Tiger in magnitude, in vigour, and in ferocity, while others rival the Leopard in the beauty and sleekness of their fur, and in the agility and gracefulness of their motions. Foremost of these, and holding the highest rank among the most formidable animals of the New World, stands the Jaguar, or, as he is sometimes called, the American Tiger. Superior to the Leopard in size as well as in strength, he approaches very nearly in both respects to the Lionesses of the smaller breeds: he is, however, less elevated on his legs, and heavier and more clumsy in all his proportions. His head is larger and rounder than that of the Leopard; and his tail is considerably shorter in proportion, being only of sufficient length to allow of its touching the ground when the animal is standing, while that of the Leopard, as we have before observed, is very nearly as long as his whole body. This disproportion between the length of their tails affords perhaps the most striking distinction between the two animals, offering, as it does, a constant and never-failing criterion; whereas the difference in the marking of their furs, although sufficiently obvious on a close examination, depends almost entirely on such minute particularities as would probably escape the notice of a superficial observer, and were in fact for a long time so completely neglected, even by zoologists, that it is only within a few years that we have been again taught accurately to distinguish between them. These particularities we shall now proceed to point out.
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.
Like both the cats and the dogs, the Hy?nas are completely digitigrade; that is to say, they walk only on the extremities of their toes: but these toes are only four in number on each of their feet, and are armed with short, thick, strong, and truncated claws, which are not in the least retractile, and are evidently formed for digging in the earth, a practice to which they are impelled by a horrid and hateful propensity, which we shall have further occasion to notice in describing their habits and mode of life. Their body, in shape much resembling that of the wolf, to which they also approach very nearly in size, is considerably more elevated in front than behind, owing partly to their constant custom of keeping the posterior legs bent in a crouching and half recumbent posture. Beneath the tail, which is short and dependent, they are furnished with a pouch, in the interior of which is secreted a peculiar matter of a very strong and disagreeable smell. Their head is large and broad, flattened in front, and terminating in a short, thick, and obtuse muzzle. Like most carnivorous animals, they are armed in each jaw with six cutting teeth, and two canine, the latter of which are of considerable size and strength. The outermost pair of incisors in the upper jaw are much larger and stronger than the rest, and closely resemble the canine in form. The number of the molar or cheek teeth is five on each side in the upper jaw, and four in the lower; and all of them are remarkable for their extreme thickness and strength in comparison with those of the dogs and cats. Their tongue is similar to that of the latter animals in the roughness which it derives from the sharp and elevated papill? with which it is covered.