The entire continent of North America, or perhaps it might be more correct to say, that immense portion of its surface which still remains uncultivated and desolate, furnishes an abode to this species of bear, which is consequently as widely dispersed as any of his tribe. As his fur is of some value in commerce, although not so much sought after at the present day as it was formerly, his race has become an object of the cupidity of man, by whom they are frequently hunted for the sake of their skins. This chase is principally followed by the Indians, who are also attracted by the flavour of his flesh, of which, and especially of the fat, they partake with an avidity truly disgusting. Travellers, however, who have been reduced to the necessity of having recourse to this sort of food, speak of it as by no means despicable: the fat yields moreover a quantity of oil, which is often extremely serviceable. The Indians will sometimes attack these animals single-handed; and if they can manage to keep beyond the reach of their powerful grasp, which is almost irresistible, are sure of gaining the victory; as the bears, in the rampant posture which they always assume in self-defence, unconsciously expose their most vulnerable parts to the attack of the hunter. Snares are sometimes laid for them; but these are most frequently unsuccessful; that extreme caution, which is so strongly portrayed in their actions and demeanour, rendering them mistrustful of every thing. Nevertheless their gluttony will sometimes get the better of their prudence, and the bait of honey offers too tempting an allurement to be always resisted. At other times a whole tribe of Indians will assemble for the chase, and after having performed a variety of superstitious observances, beat the entire country for their game, drive a great number of them into a spot selected for the purpose, and deal forth upon them wholesale destruction. They will also trace them to their retreats in the season of their lethargy, which occupies several of the winter months, and during which the bears are incapable of offering any effectual resistance.
THE BEARDED GRIFFIN.
Anodorhynchus Maximiliani. Spix.
The Deer constitute a numerous and beautiful group of Ruminants, which are readily distinguished by the graceful symmetry of their form, by their long and slender, but firm and sinewy, legs, by their broad and pointed ears, and by the comparative shortness of their tails; but more especially by the generally large and branching horns which ornament the heads of the males. Like all the ruminating animals, with the exception of those mentioned in the preceding article, they are furnished with eight cutting-teeth in the lower jaw, opposed to a callous and toothless surface in the upper; and with expanded, flat, and deeply bifurcated hoofs, constituting two distinct and apparent toes, above which they have also the rudiments of two others. Some of the species have canine teeth in the upper jaw, generally in the males alone; and they have all six molars on each side. In the greater number of them the nostrils are surrounded by a naked muzzle; and most of them are also provided with a sinus or sac, of greater or less extent, immediately beneath the inner angle of the eye, called the sub-orbital sinus, the larmier of the French zoologists.
The structure of the trunk is entirely muscular, and the fibres of which it is composed are arranged in such a manner that it is capable of being inflected in almost any direction; but to twist itself spirally inwards appears to be its most natural action. In this manner it will grasp with the utmost firmness, for its strength is fully equal to its flexibility, whatever it may seize; and it is by this means that the Elephant conveys his food to his mouth. Being purely herbivorous, but encumbered with a head and appendages so weighty as to require all the support to be derived from an excessively short and almost unyielding neck, it would be utterly impossible for him to browse upon the herbage from which his sustenance is chiefly derived, and he would consequently run no small risk of absolute starvation, were it not for this admirable provision, by means of which he collects and enfolds his food, and conveys it to his mouth with as much ease and precision as a Monkey would execute the same motions with his hands. In drinking too the trunk offers the same facilities and performs the same useful and necessary office. Placing its extremity in the fluid which he is about to drink, the Elephant pumps up, or rather inhales, a sufficient quantity to fill its cavities, and then transferring it to his mouth pours its contents quietly down his throat. When his thirst is satisfied he will frequently continue the same process of filling his trunk for the purpose of discharging the liquid contained in it over his body, an indulgence in which he appears to take no little pleasure; and will even sometimes amuse himself by directing the fluid to other objects.