This species appears to be peculiar to Southern Africa. In its wild state it is equally ferocious in its temper and disgusting in its habits with the common species of the North; but it has been found, as we have before mentioned, to be capable of domestication, and of rendering services to man equal to those which he derives from the dog. The pair which have just arrived in the Tower have been placed by Mr. Cops in one den with the Striped Hy?na and with the Hy?na-Dog; and this juxta-position affords an excellent opportunity for a comparison of their characters and disposition. They agree together tolerably well; but the new-comers are hardly as yet reconciled to their abode, and consequently appear shy and reserved. The Hy?na-Dog is the most lively of the group; and his playfulness appears occasionally to give no little annoyance to the Striped Hy?na, who generally returns his solicitations with a surly snarl, but does not seem disposed to resent them farther.
With the exception of the quill-feathers of the wings, which are black, the plumage of the Pelican in the Tower is throughout of an extremely light and delicate flesh-colour, varied only by occasional darker tinges. The head and upper part of the neck are clothed with a short down, except on the temples, which are naked and flesh-coloured; the upper mandible is of a dull yellow in the middle, with a reddish tinge towards the edges, and a blood-red spot on its curved extremity; and the pouch is of a bright straw-colour.
The mother and her whelps are admirably represented in the spirited group of portraits which heads the present article. The latter have all the playfulness of kittens, and are fondled by their dam in a similar manner to that in which the domestic cat caresses her young. While they were small enough she carried them from place to place in her mouth, and showed the greatest solicitude to keep them from the view of strangers; and even now that they are grown too large for this mode of treatment, she continues to pay the strictest attention to the cleanliness of their persons, and licks their fur, as they tumble about her, with all the matronly dignity and gravity of an accomplished nurse.
The Griffon Vulture is equal in size to the larger species of Eagle; his head and neck are covered with short white down, and the latter is ornamented at its base with an extensive ruff of long feathers of a clear and brilliant white. The plumage of the body is reddish gray; the quill-feathers of the wings and tail are of a blackish brown; and the beak and claws are nearly black. He is a native of the greater part of Europe and of Asia, and inhabits during the summer the more elevated regions of the two continents, building his nest in the rocks and among inaccessible precipices. In the winter he is said to migrate to warmer and more temperate climes. His habits are precisely those of the rest of the group to which he belongs.
The largest of these animals are the Kanguroos, whose generic characters we shall now proceed to describe. Their teeth are only of two kinds, the canines being altogether wanting. The incisors are six in the upper jaw, and two only in the lower; the former short, and arranged in a curved line, and the latter long, pointed, closely applied to each other, and directed forwards. The molars are separated from the incisors by a considerable vacant space, and are five in number on each side of each jaw. The most remarkable peculiarity in the external form of these animals consists in the extreme disproportion of their limbs, the anterior legs being short and weak, while the posterior are extremely long and muscular. The tail too is excessively thick at its base, of considerable length, and gradually tapering; and this singular conformation enables it to act in some measure as a supplemental leg, when the animal assumes an erect or nearly erect posture, in which position he is supported as it were on a tripod by the joint action of these three powerful organs. By means of this combination they will, when flying from danger, take a succession of leaps of from twenty to thirty feet in length and six or eight in height; but even in their more quiet and gradual mode of progression they also make use of their tail in conjunction with their four extremities. The fore feet are furnished with five toes, each terminating in a moderately strong and arcuated claw. The hinder extremities, on the contrary, have only four toes, the two interior of which are united together so as to form the appearance of a single one furnished with two short and feeble claws; the third is long, of great strength, and terminated by a large and powerful claw having the form of a lengthened hoof; and the fourth, the most external of the series, is similar in character to the third, but of much smaller dimensions. The head and anterior part are small and delicate, and appear quite disproportioned to the robust posterior half of the body; and this disproportion is equally striking, whether the animal assumes an erect position or crouches forwards upon all fours. In either case the whole extent of the soles of the posterior feet, which are of great length, is applied to the surface of the ground. Although differing from all the Rodent animals in the number of the cutting teeth of the upper jaw, the Kanguroo has the deep fissure in the upper lip, with which nearly all that order are furnished, and of which the hare offers a familiar and proverbial instance.
In captivity the Black Bear is distinguished from the brown only by the less degree of docility and intelligence which he evinces: and the habits of the latter are so universally known that it would be useless to dwell upon them here. The specimen figured at the head of this article was presented to the Menagerie, in 1824, by Sir George Alderson, and is remarkably tame and playful. He has, until very lately, shared his den with the Hy?na, with whom he maintained a very good correspondence, except at meal-times, when they would frequently quarrel, in a very ludicrous manner, for a piece of beef, or whatever else might happen to furnish a bone of contention between them. The Hy?na, though by far the smallest of the two, was generally master; and the Bear would moan most piteously, and in a tone somewhat resembling the bleating of a sheep, while his companion quietly consumed the remainder of his dinner.
Almost in the same degree that the Lion has been exalted and magnified, at the expense of his fellow brutes, has the Tiger been degraded and depressed below his just and natural level. While the one has been held up to admiration, as the type and standard of heroic perfection, the other has, with equal capriciousness of judgment and disregard of the close and intimate relationship subsisting between them, been looked upon by mankind in general with those feelings of unmingled horror and detestation which his character for untameable ferocity and insatiable thirst of blood was so well calculated to inspire. It requires, however, but little consideration to teach us that the broad distinction, which has thus been drawn, cannot by possibility exist; and the recorded observations of naturalists and travellers, both at home and abroad, will be found amply sufficient to prove that the difference in their characters and habits, on which so much stress has been laid, is in reality as slight and unessential as that which exists in their corporeal structure.
But especially are his best thanks due for numerous suggestions and much valuable assistance to his friend N. A. Vigors, Esq. A.M. F.R. and L.S., the zealous and talented Secretary of the Zoological Society. To that distinguished zoologist, whose extensive and intimate acquaintance with the animal kingdom at large, and particularly with its feathered tribes, is universally acknowledged, and to other leading Members of the Society to which he devotes his talents and his time, a work like the present appeared not ill adapted to advance the good cause in which they are engaged, the diffusion of knowledge. Under their auspices it was commenced, by their countenance it has been fostered, and it is with the sanction of their approval that it is now submitted to the public eye.
For the zoological characters of the latter genus the reader is referred to the following article: at present we shall confine ourselves to the description of the remarkable animal before us, pointing out, as we proceed, the marks by which it differs from both the groups to which it has hitherto been referred, and those by which it is assimilated to either the one or the other. In the shape and elevation of its body it is at first sight distinguished from them both, its legs being considerably longer in relation to its size, and the trunk of its body, as will be seen by the portrait prefixed, being very different in form and proportions. It is entirely destitute of the mane of the Hy?na, and its tail is very similar to that of certain dogs; but, on the other hand, its head approximates very closely, or rather bears a most striking resemblance, to the broad and flattened forehead, and the short and truncated muzzle, which characterize the former genus. It is this latter circumstance no doubt that has induced many naturalists, both popular and scientific, to identify the Wild Dog, as he is called by the settlers at the Cape, with a group of animals from which in every other particular of outward structure, excepting one, it is remarkably and obviously distinct. The only other point of agreement between them consists in the number of its toes, which, like those of the Hy?na, are only four to each foot. This peculiarity, combined with the form of the head, unquestionably affords some ground for placing these animals in close apposition; but is by no means so important, in the absence of other and more essential characteristics, as to warrant their union into a single group. Taken together, however, and in connexion with other features of distinction, these characters may fairly be regarded as sufficiently striking to sanction the separation of the animal now under consideration from the dogs. With the latter it corresponds most completely in the number and form of its teeth, and in the general structure of its skeleton, which differs remarkably from that of the Hy?na.