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OF DORMICE IN GENERAL
TAESE animals have two front teeth in each jaw; the upper ones are wedge-shaped, the lower compressed; and in each jaw are four
grinders. The whisE PIP) kers are long. The
tail is cylindrical, wird. Sy hairy, and thickest
towards the end. The fore and hind legs are of nearly equal length; and the fore feet have each four toes.
All the species of Dormice live in holes in the ground, where they continue in a state of torpor during the winter. Their pace is a kind of leap, in which, like the Jerboas, they are as
sisted by their tail. They feed entirely on vegetables, and eat only in the night. In this act they sit upright and carry their food to their mouth with the paws. When they are thirsty, they do not lap, (like most other quadrupeds,) but they dip their fore feet, with the toes bent, into the water, and drink from them.
THE COMMON DORMOUSE.
This animal is about the size of a mouse; but in proportion, more bulky. It is of a tawny red color, with a white throat. Its eyes are full, and black
The nest of the Dormouse is usually formed of interwoven moss, dead leaves, and grass, in the hollow of some low tree, or near the bottom of close shrubs. It is about six inches in diameter, and has a small orifice near the top, for the ingress and egress of the animal. In this, about the month of May or June,
the female produces her offspring, which are usually four or five in number.
Dormice have not the sprightliness of the Squirrel; but, like that animal, they collect together little magazines of nuts, acorns, and other food, for their winter provision. The consumption of their hoard, during the rigor of winter, is but small; for retiring into their holes
TIE COMMON DORMOUSE.
THE SIBERIAN JERBOA.
on the approach of the cold, and rolling themselves up, they lie torpid nearly all that gloomy season. Sometimes they experience a short revival in a warm sunny day; when they take a little food, and then relapse into their former state.
OF THE JERBOAS IN GENERAL
THEY have two front teeth above, and two below; the fore legs are short, and the hind ones very long; and they have clavicles, or collar bones. The Jerboas seem,
in many respects both of conformation and habit, much allied to the Kangaroos; but an adherence to arti. ficial system will not allow them to be arranged together. They use their long hind legs in leaping, seldom go on all-fours; and, with their fore legs, they both carry the food to their mouth, and make their holes in the ground. They are inhabitants principally of warm climates.
THE SIBERIAS JERBOA.
This animal is of a pale yellowish fawn color on the upper parts, and white beneath. The length of its body is about eight inches: and of the tail ten. It very much resembles the Egyptian Jerboa ; except in the hind feet, each of which has five instead of three toes.
Dry, hard, and clayey ground is that which the Jerboas prefer for the place of their habilation. In this they dig their burrows very speedily, not only with their fore feet, but with their teeth; and fling the earth back with their hind feet, so as to form a hillock at the entrance. The burrows are many yards long; and run obliquely and winding, but are not above half a yard in depth below THX BIBERIAN JERBOA the surface. They end in a large space or
rest, the receptaclo of the purest herbs. These holes have usually but one entrance; yet, by a wonderful sagacity, the animals work from their nest another passage, to within a very small space from the surface, which, in case of necessity, they can burst through and so escape.
The sands and rubbish which surround modern Alexandria are much frequented by Jerboas. They live there in troops; and, in digging the ground, are said to penetrate even through a stratum of softish stone, which is beneath the layer of sand. Though not actually wild, these animals are exceedingly shy and restless: the slightest noise, or the appearance of any strange object, makes them retire to their holes with precipitation.
It is almost impossible to kill them, except when taken by sur. prise. The Arabs have the art of catching these Jerboas alive, by stopping up the outlets to the different galleries belonging to the colony; one excepted, through which they force them to issue from the ground.
Though animals of a chilly nature, they keep within their holes in the day-time, and wander about only duriny the night. They come
THE EGYPTIAN JERBOA
out about sunset, and remain abroad till the sun has drawn up
the dews from the earth.
They walk only on their hind legs, the fore legs being very short; and at the approach of danger, they immediately take to fight, in leaps six or seven feet high, which they repeat so swiftly, that a man mounted on a good horse can scarcely overtake them. They do not proceed in a straight line; but jump first to one side, and then to the other, till they find either their own burrow, or some neighboring one. In leaping, they carry their tails stretched out; but in standing or walking, they carry them in the form of an S, the lower part touching the ground. If surprised, they will sometimes go on allfours; but they soon recover their attitude of standing on their hind legs, like a bird. When undisturbed, they use the former posture; they then rise erect, listen, and hop about like a crow. In digging or eating, they drop on their fore legs; but in the latter action, they often sit upright like a Squirrel.
The Arabs of the kingdom of Tripoli, teach their Greyhounds to hunt the Antelope, by first instructing them to catch the Jerboas; and so agile are these little creatures, that Mr. Bruce has often seen, in a large court-yard or enclosure, the Greyhound employed a quarter of an hour before he could kill his diminutive adversary; and had not the Dog been well trained, so as to make use of his feet as well as his teeth, he might have killed two Antelopes during the time that he was occupied in killing one Jerboa.
In their wild state these animals are fond of tulip roots, and of nearly all the edible plants; but in confinement, they do not refuse raw meat. It requires no difficulty to tame them, but it is necessary that they should be kept warm. They are so susceptible of cold, as to foretel bad weather by wrapping themselves close up in their cage before its commencement; and those that are abroad, always, on these occasions, stop up the mouths of their burrows. They sleep during the winter; but a warm day sometimes revives them. On the return of the cold, they always retreat again to their holes.
M. Sonnini, while he was in Egypt, fed, for some time, six of these animals, in a large cage of iron wire. The very first night they entirely gnawed asunder the upright and cross sticks of their prison ; and he was under the necessity of having the inside of the cage lined with tin. They were fond of basking in the sun; and the moment they were put into the shade, they clung close to each other, and · seemed to suffer much from the privation of warmth. They did not usually sleep during the day. Though they had great agility in their movements, gentleness and tranquillity seemed to form their character. They suffered themselves to be stroked with great composure; and never made a noise nor quarrelled, even when food was scattered among them. No distinguishing symptoms of joy, fear, or gratitude, were discoverable in their disposition; and their gentleness was by no ineans either amiable or interesting; it appeared the effect of a cold and complete indifference, approaching to stupidity. Three of these animals died, one after another before M. Sonnini left Alexandria,
Two died on a rough passage to the island of Rhodes; and the last, he supposes, was devoured by Cats when he was in that island.
He says the Siberian Jerboas are so tender, that it is very difficult to transport them into other climates: but, as an indispensable precaution to those who attempt it, he advises that they be closely shut up in strong cages, or in other conveniences, without any possibility of escape; for their natural disposition inciting them to gnaw what. ever comes in their way, they inay occasion considerable damage to a ship in the course of her voyage; and, being able to eat through the hardest wood, may even endanger her sinking.
These animals, which are natives of various parts of the eastern deserts of Siberia, and also of Barbary, Syria, and some parts of Tartary, breed several times in the summer, and usually produce seven or eight young ones at a litter. The Arabs eat them, and as articles of food, esteem them among the greatest delicacies of their tables.
T'he gtavric character of the Hares consist in their having two front teeth, both above and below, the upper pair duplicate ; two small in terior ones standing behind the others: the fore feet with five, and the hinder with four toes.
These animals subsist entirely on vegetable food. They are all remarkably timid. The habitations of most of the species are burrows, formed under the surface of the ground. Some of them collect into flocks, consisting of five or six hundred, or even more, and migrate in these numbers from place to place, frequently to a great distance, in search of food.
In northern latitudes, where the frosts of the winter are very intense, and where snow lies for several months on the ground, all the Hares, at the approach of that season, change their color, and become white They are thus enabled, in a great measure, to elude the pursuit 'ot their enemies.