The Porcupine is a native of Africa and the south of Europe; he chooses for his abode the most arid and solitary situations, and passes the daytime secluded in the burrows which he digs for his habitation, quitting them only at night to provide his subsistence, which consists entirely of vegetable substances. He is a remarkably timid animal, and never makes use of his formidable weapons except in self-defence; if alarmed, his spines immediately become erected, and woe be to the enemy who should dare to attack him open-mouthed when in that posture.
In the daytime, when pressed by hunger, the Lion takes his secret stand among the reeds and long grass in the neighbourhood of springs and rivers, and watches with unwearied patience for such animals as may, for the purpose of quenching their thirst, pass sufficiently near him to ensure the success of his attack. This is generally made in one enormous bound of fifteen, twenty, or even, it is said, thirty feet, and with a force capable of bearing to the ground and completely disabling the most formidable opponent. At times, however, he will pursue his prey somewhat more openly, and by quickly repeated springs; but this is an exertion which he is unable to continue for any considerable length of time, and which, consequently, any animal of moderate fleetness, that has fairly got the start of him, is certain to outstrip. Of this the Lion appears to be fully aware; for, if not successful in the commencement of the chase, he generally relinquishes it at once, and retires gradually, and step by step, to his place of ambush, to watch for a better opportunity and a more certain prey.
The individual figured at the head of the present article is a female; a fact which was proved by the remarkable circumstance of her producing in May last, after having been more than two years in the Menagerie, a cluster of eggs, fourteen or fifteen in number, none of which, however, were hatched, although the mother evinced the greatest anxiety for their preservation, coiling herself around them in the form of a cone, of which her head formed the summit, and guarding them from external injury with truly maternal solicitude. They were visible only when she was occasionally roused; in which case she raised her head, which formed as it were the cover of the receptacle in which they were enclosed, but replaced it again as quickly as possible, allowing to the spectator only a momentary glance at her cherished treasures.下载
Their food consists of about five pounds of beef per day for each: this the keeper generally tosses up in front of their den, at the distance of nearly two feet from the bars, and to the height of six or eight feet from the floor. The animals, who are on the alert for their dinner, immediately leap towards the bars, and, darting out their paws with incredible swiftness, almost uniformly succeed in seizing it before it falls to the ground. If, as it sometimes happens, the meat is thrown up at too great a distance, so as not to be fairly within reach, they remain perfectly stationary and make no attempt to spring upon it, but watch it with anxious avidity, apparently calculating and comparing the distance of the object and the extent of their own grasp. When they have, in this way, secured their meal, instead of ravenously falling to, like the other carnivorous animals in the collection, they stand growling over it for some minutes, leering upon each other with the most frightful contortions. This growling attitude of mistrust in feeding was constantly maintained by the female, even before she had a companion in her captivity, and when consequently there existed no immediate object for the excitement of her selfish or envious feelings.