Homes Without Hands: Being a Description of the Habitations of Animals, Classed According to Their Principle of Construction

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Longmans, Green and Company, 1892 - 632 pages

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Page iii - HOMES WITHOUT HANDS; a Description of the Habitations of Animals, classed according to their Principle of Construction.
Page 404 - ... space, if the two edges of the band meet ; or a semi-cylindrical space, if they only imperfectly meet. This inimitable mechanism enables each filament to take up and firmly grasp, at any point of its length, a molecule of sand ; or, if placed in a linear series, a row of molecules. But so perfect is the disposition of the muscular fibres at the extreme...
Page 235 - ... flew to the face of the rock, which was thickly clothed with soft dry moss, and hovering on the wing, as if before a flower, began to pluck the moss, until she had a large bunch of it in her beak; then I saw her fly to the nest, and having seated herself in it, proceed to place the new...
Page 154 - ... at first, namely, disappear under the bird and scrape away the earth until the hole is large enough to allow the bird to sink into the required position. The time occupied in the transaction necessarily varies, according to the size of the buried object and the condition of the beetle ; but on the average an ordinary finch, or a mouse, can be buried in the course of a day. When the task is completed, a number of eggs are laid upon the buried animal, and then the beetles emerge, cover it with...
Page 524 - The rook, however, remains in society the year throughout. In flocks it builds its nest, in flocks it seeks for food, and in flocks it retires to roost. About two miles to the eastward of this place are the woods of Nostell Priory, where, from time immemorial, the rooks have retired to pass the night. I suspect, by the observations which I have been able to make on the morning and evening transit of these birds, that there is not another roosting-place for, at least, thirty miles to the westward...
Page 416 - The lodges are nearly circular in form, and much resemble the well-known snow houses of the Esquimaux, being domed, and about half as high as they are wide, the average height being three feet and the diameter six or seven feet. These are the interior dimensions, the exterior measurement being much greater, on account of the great thickness of the walls, which are continually strengthened with mud and branches, so that, during the severe frosts, they are nearly as hard as solid stone. Each lodge...
Page 125 - The third order of workers is the most curious of all. If the top of a small, fresh hillock, one in which the thatching process is going on, be taken off, a broad cylindrical shaft is disclosed, at a depth of about two feet from the surface. If this be probed with a stick, which may be done to the extent of three or four feet without touching bottom, a small number of colossal fellows will slowly begin to make their way up the smooth sides of the mine.
Page 6 - MOLE is entitled to take the first place in our list of burrowers. This extraordinary animal does not merely dig tunnels in the ground and sit at the end of them, but forms a complicated subterranean dwelling-place, with chambers, passages, and other arrangements of wonderful completeness. It has regular roads leading to its feeding-grounds ; establishes a system of communication as elaborate as that of a modern railway, or to be more correct, as that of the subterranean network of metropolitan sewers...
Page 330 - Kolobeng, that the bird comes forth when the young are fully fledged, at the period when the corn is ripe ; indeed, her appearance abroad with her young is one of the signs they have for knowing when it ought to be so. As that is about the end of April, the time is between two and three months. She is said sometimes to hatch two eggs, and, when the young of these are full-fledged...
Page 236 - Acoucagua, inhabiting a zone of very great elevation, seldom being seen less than ten thousand feet above the level of the sea. With the exception of a bright emerald-green gorget, it is rather a dull-coloured bird, the prevailing hue being brown. The nest is shaped something like a hammock, not unlike that of the...

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