"In the Perissodactyla the number of toes is reduced to a minimum. Supposing, for example, we compare the foot of a horse with one of our own hands, we shall see that those parts which correspond with the thumb and little finger are altogether absent, while that which corresponds with the middle finger is largely developed, and with its hoof, the equivalent to our nail, constitutes the whole foot. The small splint bones, however, resting behind the principal bone of the foot represent those portions (metacarpals) of the second and third digits which extend from the wrist to the fingers properly so-called, and are to be viewed as traces of a foot composed of three toes in an ancestral form of the horse, which we shall discuss presently. In the tapir the hind foot is composed of three well-developed toes, corresponding to the first three toes in man, and in the rhinoceros both feet are provided with three toes, formed of the same three digits. In the extinct Paleotherium also the foot is constituted very much as in the rhinoceros."
FAMILY EQUIDAE—THE HORSE.
This family consists of the true horses and the asses, which latter also include the zebra and quagga. Apart from the decided external differences between the horse and ass, they have one marked divergence, viz. that the horse has corns or callosities on the inner side of both fore and hind limbs, whilst the asses have them only on the fore limbs; but this is a very trifling difference, and how closely the two animals are allied is proved by the facility with which they interbreed. It is, therefore, proper to include them both in one genus, although Dr. Gray has made a separation, calling the latter Asinus, and Hamilton Smith proposed Hippotigris as a generic name for the zebras.
We have no wild horse in India; in fact there are no truly wild horses in the world as far as we know. The tarpan or wild horse of Tartary, and the mustang of South America, though de facto wild horses, are supposed to be descended from domesticated forms. In Australia too horses sometimes grow wild from being left long in the bush. These are known as brumbies, and are generally shot by the stock farmer, as they are of deteriorated quality, and by enticing away his mares spoil his more carefully selected breeds. According to Mr. Anthony Trollope they are marvels of ugliness.
The Indian species of this genus are properly asses; there are two kinds, although it has been asserted by many—and some of them good naturalists, such as Blyth—that the Kiang of Thibet and the Ghor-khur of Sind and Baluchistan are the same animal.
Incisors, 6/6; canines, 1—1/1—1; molars, 6—6/6—6; these last are complex, with square crowns marked by wavy folds of enamel. The incisors are grooved, and are composed of folds of enamel and cement, aptly described by Professor Boyd Dawkins and Mr. Oakley as being folded in from the top, after the manner of the finger of a glove the top of which has been pulled in. The marks left by the attrition of the surface give an approximate idea of the age of the animal. The stomach is simple—the intestinal canal very long and caecum enormous.
NO. 426. EQUUS ONAGER. The Wild Ass of Kutch (Jerdon's No. 214).
NATIVE NAMES.—Ghor-khur, Hindi; Ghour, or Kherdecht, Persian; Koulan of the Kirghiz.
HABITAT.—Sind, Baluchistan, Persia.
DESCRIPTION.—Pale sandy colour above, with a slight rufescent tinge; muzzle, breast, lower parts and inside of limbs white; a dark chocolate brown dorsal stripe from mane to tail, with a cross on the shoulder, sometimes a double one; and the legs are also occasionally barred. The mane and tail-tuft are dark brown or black; a narrow dark band over the hoof; ears longish, white inside, concolorous with the body outside, the tip and outer border blackish; head heavy; neck short; croup higher than the withers.
SIZE.—Height about 11 to 12 hands.
The following account I extract from Jerdon's 'Mammals of India,' p. 238, which epitomises much of what has been written on the subject:—
"The ghor-khur is found sparingly in Cutch, Guzerat, Jeysulmeer and Bikaneer, not being found further south, it is said, than Deesa, or east of 75 degrees east longitude. It also occurs in Sind, and more abundantly west of the Indus river, in Baluchistan, extending into Persia and Turkestan, as far north as north latitude 48 degrees. It appears that the Bikaneer herd consists at most of about 150 individuals, which frequent an oasis a little elevated above the surrounding desert, and commanding an extensive view around. A writer in the Indian Sporting Review, writing of this species as it occurs in the Pat, a desert country between Asnee and the hills west of the Indus, above Mithunkote, says: 'They are to be found wandering pretty well throughout the year; but in the early summer, when the grass and the water in the pools have dried up from the hot winds (which are here terrific), the greater number, if not all, of the ghor-khurs migrate to the hills for grass and water. The foaling season is in June, July, and August, when the Beluchis ride down and catch numbers of foals, finding a ready sale in the cantonments for them, as they are taken down on speculation to Hindustan. They also shoot great numbers of full-grown ones for food, the ground in places in the desert being very favourable for stalking.' In Bikaneer too, according to information given by Major Tytler to Mr. Blyth: 'Once only in the year, when the foals are young, a party of five or six native hunters, mounted on hardy Sindh mares, chase down as many foals as they succeed in tiring, which lie down when utterly fatigued, and suffer themselves to be bound and carried off. In general they refuse sustenance at first, and about one-third only of those taken are reared; but these command high prices, and find a ready sale with the native princes. The profits are shared by the party, who do not attempt a second chase in the same year, lest they should scare the herd from the district, as these men regard the sale of a few ghor-khurs annually as a regular source of subsistence.'
"This wild ass is very shy and difficult to approach, and has great speed. A full-grown one has, however, been run down fairly and speared more than once."
I remember we had a pair of these asses in the Zoological Gardens at Lahore in 1868; they were to a certain extent tame, but very skittish, and would whinny and kick on being approached. I never heard of their being mounted.
It is closely allied to, if not identical with, the wild ass of Assyria (Equus hemippus). The Hon. Charles Murray, who presented one of the pair in the London Zoological Gardens in 1862, wrote the following account of it to Dr. Sclater: "The ghour or kherdecht of the Persians is doubtless the onager of the ancients. Your specimen was caught when a foal on the range of mountains which stretch from Kermanshah on the west in a south-easterly direction to Shiraz; these are inhabited by several wild and half-independent tribes, the most powerful of which are the Buchtzari. The ghour is a remarkably fleet animal, and moreover so shy and enduring that he can rarely be overtaken by the best mounted horsemen in Persia. For this reason they chase them now, as they did in the time of Xenophon, by placing relays of horsemen at intervals of eight or ten miles. These relays take up the chase successively and tire down the ghour. The flesh of the ghour is esteemed a great delicacy, not being held unclean by the Moslem, as it was in the Mosaic code. I do not know whether this species is ever known to bray like the ordinary domestic ass. Your animal, whilst under my care, used to emit short squeaks and sometimes snorts not unlike those of a deer, but she was so young at the time that her voice may not have acquired its mature intonation."
NO. 427. EQUUS HEMIONUS. The Kiang or Wild Ass of Thibet.
NATIVE NAMES.—Kiang or Dizightai, Thibetan.
HABITAT.—Thibet and Central Asia; Ladakh.
DESCRIPTION.—Darker in hue than the ghor-khur, especially on the flanks, contrasting abruptly with the white of the under-parts. It has the dark line along the back, but not the cross band on the shoulder; ears shorter.
SIZE.—About 12 to 14 hands in height.
From its larger size, shorter ears, and its shrill bray, which has been mistaken for a neigh, this animal has at times been taken for a horse, and described as such. The kiang, of which there is a living specimen in the London Zoological Gardens, inhabits the high plateaux of Thibet, ranging up to fifteen and sixteen thousand feet above the sea level. It is very swift and wary.
The late Brigadier-General McMaster, in his 'Notes on Jerdon,' page 248, says: "An excellent sportsman and very close observer, who, being a cavalry officer, should be able to give a sound opinion on the matter, assured me that the voice of the wild horse of the snowy Himalayas is 'an unmistakeable neigh, not a bray,' and that he certainly looked on them as horses. He had seen several of these animals, and killed one." Captain (now General) R. Strachey wrote of it: "My impression as to the voice of the kyang is that it is a shrieking bray and not a neigh;" and again: "the kyang, so far as external aspect is concerned, is obviously an ass and not an horse." Of this there is but little doubt. Moorcroft, in his travels, vol. i. p. 312, states: "In the eastern parts of Ladakh is a nondescript wild variety of horse which I may call Equus kiang. It is perhaps more of an ass than a horse, but its ears are shorter, and it is certainly not the gur-khor or wild ass of Sind." Further on, at page 442, he-adds: "We saw many herds of the kyang, and I made numerous attempts to bring one down, but with invariably bad success. Some were wounded, but not sufficiently to check their speed, and they quickly bounded up the rocks, where it was impossible to follow. They would afford excellent sport to four or five men well mounted, but a single individual has no chance. The kyang allows his pursuer to approach no nearer than five or six hundred yards; he then trots off, turns, looks and waits till you are almost within distance, when he is off again. If fired at he is frightened, and scampers off altogether. The Chanthan people sometimes catch them by snares—sometimes shoot them. From all I have seen of the animal I should pronounce him to be neither a horse nor an ass. His shape is as much like that of the one as the other, but his cry is more like braying than neighing. The prevailing colour is a light reddish-chestnut, but the nose, the under-part of the jaw and neck, the belly and the legs are white, the mane is dun and erect, the ears are moderately long, the tail bare and reaching a little below the hock. The height is about fourteen hands. The form, from the fore to the hind leg and feet to a level with the back is more square than that of an ass. His back is less straight, and there is a dip behind the withers and a rounding of the crupper which is more like the shape of the horse; his neck also is more erect and arched than that of the ass. He is perhaps more allied to the quagga, but without stripes, except a reported one along each side of the back to the tail. These were seen distinctly in a foal, but were not distinguished in the adults."
FAMILY TAPIRIDAE—THE TAPIRS.
These are somewhat hog-like animals, with elongated snouts, possessing four toes on their fore-feet, and three on the hinder ones. They live in dense forests, are nocturnal in habit, and live exclusively on a vegetable diet. The Indian tapir has a more powerful and extensile trunk than the American, and its skull shows in consequence a greater space for the attachment of the muscles. The dentition is as follows:—Inc., 3—3/3—3; can., 1—1/1—1; premolars, 4—4/4—4; molars, 3—3/3—3. The outer incisors somewhat resemble canines, whilst the others are very small. The canines themselves are not large.
The tapir is not found in India proper, but the Malayan species is occasionally to be come across in Burmah, having been killed in Tenasserim.
NO. 428. TAPIRUS MALAYANUS. The Malay Tapir.
NATIVE NAMES.—Ta-ra-shu, Burmese; Kuda-ayer, Malayan; Sala-dang of the Limuns in Sumatra; Gindol of the Mannas in Sumatra; Babi-alu in Bencoolen; Tennu in Malacca.
HABITAT.—Tenasserim provinces, as high as the fifteenth degree north latitude; Lower Siam; the Malayan peninsula; Sumatra and Borneo.
DESCRIPTION.—General colour glossy black, but with the back, rump, and sides of the belly white. The young are beautifully variegated, being striped and spotted with yellow fawn on the upper parts of the body, and with white below.
Mr. Mason writes: "Though seen so rarely, the tapir is by no means uncommon in the interior of the Tavoy and Mergui provinces. I have frequently come upon its recent footmarks, but it avoids the inhabited parts of the country. It has never been heard of north of the valley of the Tavoy river."
The tapir is naturally all the world over a very shy, retiring animal, but it is capable of being tamed when taken young, and of showing great attachment.
"The skeleton of the rhinoceros viewed generally has a resemblance to that of the little hyrax, the tapir, and the horse. The skull is very much elevated at the base, being somewhat of a pyramidal form, and the nasal bones curve upwards and downwards, and are of such a size and thickness, in order to support one or more immense horns, that they are quite unparalleled for their development in any other existing quadruped. The nasal bones, together with the premaxillary and maxillary bones, form the general contour for the external apertures of the nostrils. This is peculiar, and found in no other animal with the exception of the tapir."—Prof. W. Boyd Dawkins and Mr. Oakley.
The external appearance of this animal is familiar to most—a large ungainly creature, with a long head, a massive horn on its nose, sometimes two horns; a round unwieldly body covered with an immensely thick hide arranged in heavy folds; short tail and short legs, with three toes covered with broad nails or hoofs.
The stomach is simple; the intestines about eight times the length of the body, and the caecum is large and sacculated. The horn is a mere agglutinated mass of hair or fibre superimposed on the skin, and has no bony core. The females have two inguinal mammae.
The dentition is peculiar; "the grinders are implanted by distinct roots, and in the upper jaw their crowns are traversed by two deep folds of enamel which constitute open valleys. In the lower jaw they are composed of two crescent-shaped lobes, also open. The covering of cement is thin, and never fills up the valleys, as in the case of the more complex dental system in the horse. The normal number of grinders is seven in each jaw, while the incisors, as we have already remarked, vary not only in form but also are sometimes absent, and canines are not developed in any of the living or fossil members of the family."—Boyd Dawkins and Oakley.
The Rhinocerotidae are divided into two groups—the Asiatic and the African; and the former consist of two genera—RHINOCEROS and CERATORHINUS, the former with one and the latter with two horns.
It is a moot point whether the rhinoceros is or is not the unicorn of Scripture, though it is by no means clear that the animal in question was a one-horned creature, but according to some might have been the great wild ox or urus of Macedonia. An Indian single-horned rhinoceros was sent from India to the king of Portugal in 1513, and from it various most distorted pictures were disseminated throughout Europe. It was represented as covered with a wondrous suit of armour beautifully decorated, and with a second horn on its shoulders!
The first one brought alive to England was in 1685. Parsons describes and figures one brought to Europe in 1739, and another in 1741 ('Philosophical Transactions,' xlii.).
The Asiatic rhinoceroses differ from the African in having the skin divided into shields by well-marked folds, long upper cutting teeth, the African having none, and by the produced conical nasal bones of the skull instead of broad and rounded ones. There are one or two other minor yet well-marked differences which we need not mention here.
"The skin divided into shields by well-marked folds, lumbar and neck-folds well developed; horn single, anterior; part of occipital bone near the occipital condyle and the condyles themselves prominent."—Gray.
There are two species in India, viz. Rhinoceros Indicus and R. Sondaicus, the latter being the Javan species.
For the following description of the former I have to thank Mr. J. Cockburn, who, with most unselfish kindness, kept back the article he was about to publish, and gave it to me to incorporate in this work. The following remarks on dentition are also his:—
"The normal dentition of R. Indicus is: Inc., 1—1/2—2; premolars, 4—4/4—4; molars, 3—3/3—3; but the dentition varies to a great extent; for example, in a specimen of R. Sondaicus it stood: Inc., 1—1/2—2; molars, 6—7/6—6. The first premolar in both Indicus and Sondaicus is a deciduous tooth, which is not usually replaced, and gradually drops out with age, but it may be retained till extreme old age. In the majority of cases it is either lost or worn down before the last molar is in wear. The incisors also vary greatly in the adult animal; they are 1—1/2—2, the outer pair below being the formidable dagger-shaped tushes, with which they inflict the terrible gashes they can produce. The median pair lower are usually lost or absorbed by advancing age, having no functions, and the incisive tusks themselves are subject to very rapid wear, being often worn down before the animal has reached middle age. Occasionally R. Indicus has six incisors in the lower jaw (the normal number in other mammalia), and four in the upper, but this is very exceptional."—J. Cockburn, MS.
[Footnote 30: There are some interesting notes on the dentition of the rhinoceros, especially in abnormal conditions, by Mr. Lydekker in the 'J. A. S. B.' for 1880, vol. xlix., part ii.]
NO. 429. RHINOCEROS INDICUS. (Jerdon's No. 212).
NATIVE NAMES.—Genda, Gonda, Ganda, or Genra, Hindi; Gor, Assamese.
HABITAT.—Himalayan Terai, from Central Nepal to the extreme eastern corner of the valley of Assam.
"About three centuries ago this animal existed on the banks of the Indus. The Indian rhinoceros inhabits by preference heavy grass jungle, rarely entering forest. In this respect it differs from its ally Sondaicus, which is a forest-loving species, and even frequents mountainous countries. It is still numerous in the mighty grass jungles which extend along the foot of the Eastern Himalayas from their slopes to the banks of the Brahmaputra. It is yearly becoming more scarce in the Nepal Terai, but is found there from Rohilkund to the Bhootan Doars."
DESCRIPTION.—The accompanying outline sketch, taken from Nature for April 1874, will give a better idea of the animal than a mere verbal description:—
"For convenience of description I will divide the body into five segments—the head, the cervical, the scapular, the abdominal, and the gluteal. At the junction of the head with the neck is a large deep collar or ruff or fold of skin, which gives a very peculiar appearance to the animal. Behind this is a second similar but smaller ruff, which does not hang so low down from the throat as the first. On the dorsal surface it transversely crosses the nape. It is then continued down angularly to about the centre of the anterior edge of the scapular shield, where it forms an obtuse angle with its posterior but major half. It is at the point where it forms this angle that it gives off what I call the cervical fold, which forms the boundary of the top front edge of the scapular shield, but is lost at a point in the shoulder nearly over the centre of the fore limb.
"The scapular shield is a thick cuirass-like plate of skin, studded with round projections about the size of a shilling, and bearing much resemblance to the heads of bolts by which the shield was riveted to the body, and hence called 'boiler-bolt tubercules.' This shield is often removed from the carcase of a slain rhinoceros as a trophy, 'and it is in its centre, but slightly low, that the fatal spot lies which will take him in the heart' (Pollock).
"Between the scapular and the gluteal shields lies the abdominal segment. It calls for no particular description, except that the tubercles here are very much flatter and smaller than on either segments three and four. They are here about the size of a four-anna piece, and they seem to be crowded along the centre line of the body, while the dorsal surface is nearly free from them, and smooth.
"We next come to the gluteal segment. It is in this portion that the boiler-bolt tubercles attain their greatest development, some of them being perhaps three-tenths of an inch high.
"The gluteal segment is laterally crossed by three ridges of skin. The first, which is the only one indicated in the drawing, goes right across the buttock. In some animals there is an indication of a second below this, and about fourteen inches lower down a third, which only goes about a quarter of the way across. The tail is almost concealed in a deep groove, in which lie the perineum, &c. Both the front and hind limb from the point at which they project from the body are finely covered with reticulated skin, forming pentagonal and hexagonal scales, very much as in R. Sondaicus, only much finer and less prominent.
"The Indian rhinoceros has the same habit as the African species of depositing its droppings in one spot till they form huge mounds, which the animal levels with its horns. It is probable that this rhinoceros was found throughout the plains of the N.W. Provinces in unreclaimed spots as late as the fifth or sixth century. According to the observation of Dr. Andrew Smith in South Africa these huge pachyderms do not absolutely require for their support the dense tropical vegetation we should think necessary to supply food to such huge beasts. This gentleman saw over fifty of them in one day in an open country covered with short grass and thorn-bushes about four feet high. From the affinities of the fauna of the N.W. Provinces, which are strongly African, it is probable that the plains of the N.W. Provinces were rather covered with scrubby open jungles and grass than with tropical primeval forests.
"Here and there belts of Dhak (Butea frondosa) were found, and in favoured spots doubtless other tree jungle, but it is improbable that primeval forest has existed since the depression of the Indo-Gangetic plain."—J. Cockburn, MS.
The rhinoceros is supposed to be a very long-lived animal. Dr. Gray ('P. Z. S.' 1867. p. 1011) states on the authority of Mr. Blyth that a pair lived in the Barrackpore Park for forty-five years. They were exactly alike in size and general appearance; they never bred. There is no difference in the horns or form of the skull in the two sexes (Blyth, 'J. A. S. B.' vol. xxxi. p. 155).
NO. 430. RHINOCEROS SONDAICUS. The Javan Rhinoceros (Jerdon's No. 213).
NATIVE NAMES.—The same as last in Hindi; Khyen-hsen, Burmese; Warak, Javanese; Badak, Malayan.
HABITAT.—"The Bengal Sunderbunds, Tipperah, the swamps at the base of the Garo, Khasia, and Naga Hills" (Pollock). "Munipurf, extending into the western provinces of China, southward into Burmah, the Malayan peninsula; Sumatra, Java, and Borneo" (J. Cockburn, MS.).
DESCRIPTION.—"Folds somewhat on the same plan as in Indicus, one marked distinction being that the lateral shoulder fold is continued upward over the back of the neck to form an independent saddle-shaped shield on the nape. The whole body covered with pentagonal or hexagonal warty insulae. Females hornless" (J. Cockburn, MS.). Males with one horn.
SIZE.—Mr. Cockburn gives the following measurements of a female, which he states is the largest recorded specimen: "Length of body (head and body?), 12 feet 3 inches; tail, 2 feet 4-1/2 inches; height, 5 feet 6 inches." Dr. Jerdon gives: "Length 7 to 8 feet; height, 3-1/2 to 3-3/4 feet;" and he calls the animal "the lesser Indian rhinoceros," whereas Mr. Cockburn's measurement gives an animal somewhat longer, though not so high as the largest recorded specimen of Indicus. Blyth again writes ('Mammals of Burmah,' see 'J. A. S. B.' vol. xliv. part ii. 1875, p. 50): "It is about a third smaller than R. Indicus, from which it is readily distinguished by having the tubercles of the hide uniformly of the same small size, and also by having a fold or plait of the skin crossing the nape in addition to that behind the shoulder-blades."
This rhinoceros seems to be found at all elevations, like the Sumatran one which was found by General Fytche at an altitude of 4000 feet; it is much more of a forester than the last. Blyth and Jerdon suppose it to be the same as the species hunted by the Moghul Emperor Baber on the banks of the Indus.
"The skin divided into shields by deep folds; the lumbar fold rudimentary, short, only occupying the middle of the space between the groin and the back; horns two, the front longer, curved backward, the hinder small; conical skull; forehead narrow, flat; the upper part of the nose on each side of the horns narrow, rounded, sub-cylindrical; the occipital region erect, the part near the condyles rather concave; the occipital condyle short, broad, oblong, placed obliquely inferior, scarcely prominent; lachrymal bone very large, irregular shaped."—Dr. Gray, 'P. Z. S.' 1867, p. 1021.
NO. 431. RHINOCEROS vel CERATORHINUS (CROSSI?) LASIOTIS. The Ear-fringed Rhinoceros.
HABITAT.—Arakan, Tenasserim provinces; one was caught near Chittagong in 1868.
DESCRIPTION.—A thinner hide than with the preceding, and not tuberculated; the folds also are fewer in number; there is one great groove behind the shoulder-blades, and a less conspicuous one on the flank, and some slight folds about the neck and top of the limbs; the horns are two in number, the posterior one being the centre of the nose behind the anterior one, and almost over the anterior corner of the eye; the body (of a young specimen) is covered with long, fine, reddish hair, and the posterior margins of the ears have very long fringes of the same; the tail is short and hairy.
A young specimen of this animal (of which there is an excellent coloured plate in 'P. Z. S.' 1872, p. 494) was captured in 1868 in Chittagong. She had got into a quicksand, and had exhausted herself by floundering about. The natives contrived to attach two ropes to her neck, and, hauling her out, managed to make her fast to a tree. Next morning they found her so refreshed and vigorous that they were afraid to do anything more to her, and so sent messengers to the magistrate of Chittagong to report the capture. The same evening Captain Hood and Mr. Wickes started with eight elephants to secure the prize, and after a march of sixteen hours to the south of Chittagong, they came up to the animal. The elephants at first sight bolted, but were brought back by considerable exertion, and the rhinoceros was made fast to one by a rope. The poor creature roared with fright, and a second stampede ensued, in which luckily the rope slipped off the leg of the rhinoceros to which it was attached. Ultimately she was secured between two elephants and marched into Chittagong, where she soon got very tame. Eventually she was sent to England, and was purchased by the Zoological Society for 1250 pounds—a very handsome price, owing doubtless to the rarity of the specimen.
NO. 432. RHINOCEROS vel CERATORHINUS SUMATRENSIS. The Sumatran Rhinoceros.
NATIVE NAMES.—Kyen-shan, Burmese; Bodok, Malayan.
HABITAT.—Tenasserim provinces; Burmah, extending into Siam; the Malayan peninsula and Sumatra.
DESCRIPTION.—A smaller animal than the preceding, with a hard, black, rough, bristly skin; a deep fold behind the shoulder; ears set closer than in the last species, and filled with black hair internally; the muzzle in front of the first horn is broader; the horns are two in number, and attain a good size, curving, but slightly, backward; the tail is conspicuously longer than in R. lasiotis, and is tapering and not tufted. There is a well drawn and coloured plate of this species in the 'Proceedings of the Zoological Society' for 1872, p. 794, as also several engravings showing the heads of the two animals in juxtaposition.
SIZE.—About 3 feet 8 inches in height at the shoulder.
At first it was considered that R. lasiotis was of this species, and as such it was described and sent to England; but on the subsequent arrival of a genuine R. Sumatrensis from Malacca it was apparent that R. lasiotis was quite distinct. The latter is of larger size, lighter colour, with wide-set ears and a tufted tail. The former is smaller, darker, with narrow-set ears and a long tapering semi-nude tail. The Society paid Mr. Jamrach 600 pounds in 1872 for the female specimen from Malacca, which settled the question of separate species. A young R. Sumatrensis was born in the Victoria Docks in London on December 7th, 1872, on board the steamship Orchis. There is a coloured sketch of the little one in the 'P. Z. S.' for 1873, and an interesting account of it and the mother by Mr. Bartlett, the Superintendent of the Society's Gardens. From the circumstances of the capture of the mother it appears that the period of gestation of the rhinoceros is about the same as that of the hippopotamus, viz. seven months.
[Footnote 31: There is a very interesting letter in The Asian for July 20, 1880, p. 109, from Mr. J. Cockburn, about R. Sumatrensis, of which he considers R. lasiotis merely a variety. He says it has been shot in Cachar.—R. A. S.]
Although the number of species of living rhinoceros is but few, there are a great many fossil species which show that the animal was more plentiful and in greater variety in prehistoric times.
Remains of the woolly rhinoceros (R. trichorhinus) have been found, like those of the mammoth, imbedded in ice; it was about eleven and a-half feet in length, and its body was covered with woolly hair. A specimen found in 1771 or 1772 was entire, and clothed with skin, but so far decomposed as to prevent more than the head and feet being preserved; remains of other fossil species are found throughout Europe, including Great Britain, and also in India. In 'A Sketch of the History of the Fossil Vertebrata of India' by Mr. R. Lydekker, published in the 'Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,' vol. xlix., 1880, will be found the names of eight species of fossil rhinoceros, inclusive of R. Indicus, which is found in recent alluvia—it is found with two others in the Pleistocene formation, and five others are from the Pleiomiocene.
We now come to the second division, and a very large one, of the UNGULATA, which in itself is again subdivided into non-ruminants and ruminants. The former comprises the pigs of the Old and the peccaries of the New World and the hippopotami; the latter contains the camels, llamas, deerlets, oxen, antelope, and deer. In the Artiodactyla the toes are even on all feet, being normally four (perfect and rudimentary) with the exception of the camel, giraffe and a few antelope, in which two only are present. To understand the subject thoroughly one must compare the fore-foot of a deer or pig with our own hand; what we call the knee of the former is merely our wrist. The bones which run through the palm of the hand to the knuckles are the metacarpals; they are five in number, corresponding with the thumb and four fingers. In the Artiodactyla—or, I should say, in the Ungulata generally—the thumb is entirely wanting; in the Artiodactyla the fore and little fingers are shorter, rudimentary, or entirely wanting, and the two centre metacarpals, the middle and ring fingers are prolonged into what we call the leg below the knee in these animals, which consist of separate or fused bones terminated by the usual three joints of the finger, on the last of which is placed the hoof.
The two halves are always symmetrical, and from this we may affirm that it is the thumb and not the little finger which is absent, for we know that, counting from the knuckles, our fingers have three joints, whereas the thumb has only two; so in the digits of the Artiodactyla are three joints at the end of each metacarpal. In the pig the metacarpals of the fore and little fingers are produced from the carpus or wrist, or, as is popularly termed in the case of these animals, the knee. They are more attenuated in the chevrotians or deerlets, of which our Indian mouse-deer is an example; in the Cervidae they are more rudimentary, detached from the carpus, and are suspended free and low down, forming the little hoof-points behind; and a little above the proper hoofs in these the two large metacarpals are more or less joined or fused into one bone, and they are still more so in the camel, in which the fore and little finger bones are entirely absent. In the giraffe and prong-horn antelope they are also wanting. The hind feet are similarly constructed.
[Footnote 32: See notes in Appendix C.]
Of the non-ruminantia we have only the Suidae—the peccaries belonging to America, and the hippopotami to Africa.
FAMILY SUIDAE—THE HOGS.
These have incisors in both jaws, which vary in number, the lower ones slanting forward. Their canines are very large and directed outwards and upwards in a curve, grinding against each other to a sharp edge and fine point. Their metacarpal bones are four in number, and are all distinct, in which respect they differ from the peccaries, in which the central metacarpals and metatarsals are fused into a solid bone. The hogs have a prolonged snout, flexible at the end, with a firm cartilaginous tip, with which they are enabled to plough up the ground in search of roots. They have also a very keen sense of smell. The normal dentition of the true hogs is as follows:—
Inc., 6/6; can., 1—1/1—1; premolars, 4—4/4—4; molars, 3—3/3—3 = 44.
The hogs, unlike other pachyderms, are noted for their fecundity.
Incisors, 4/6 or 6/6; the lower ones slanted; the canines large and curved outwards and upwards; molars tuberculate; four toes on each foot—that is, two major and two minor, each hoofed.
NO. 433. SUS SCROFA. The European Wild Boar.
NATIVE NAMES.—Guraz or Kuk, Persian.
HABITAT.—Persia and the Thian Shan mountains near Kashgar.
DESCRIPTION.—Body dusky or greyish-brown, with a tendency to black, with black spots; large mouth with long projecting tusks; the hairs of the body coarse, mixed with a downy wool; bristles on the neck and shoulders. The young are marked with longitudinal stripes of reddish colour.
The wild boar of Europe apparently extends to the limits sometimes reached by Indian sportsmen. It is found in Persia, and specimens were brought back from Kashgar by the Yarkand Mission in 1873-74. The only divergence which these specimens showed from the European boar was the darker colour of the feet and legs, which were nearly black.
NO. 434. SUS INDICUS. The Indian Boar (Jerdon's No. 215).
NATIVE NAMES.—Soor or Suar, Bura-janwar, or Bad-janwar, Barha, Hindi; Dukar, Mahratti; Paddi, Gondi; Pandi, Telegu; Handi, Mikka, Jewadi, Canarese; Kis of the Bhaugulpore hill-tribes; Tan-wet, Burmese; Walura, Singhalese.
HABITAT.—Throughout India, from a considerable elevation (12,000 feet according to Jerdon) down to the sea level. It is also common in Burmah and in Ceylon.
DESCRIPTION.—The head of the Indian wild boar differs considerably from the German one. Sir Walter Elliot says: "The head of the former is larger and more pointed, and the plane of the forehead straight, while it is concave in the European, the ears of the former are small and pointed; in the latter larger and not so erect. The Indian is altogether a more active-looking animal, the German has a stronger, heavier appearance."
Jerdon, who has in some measure adopted these remarks, adds that the tail is more tufted, and the malar beard is well marked.
The colour of the full-grown animal is brownish-black, sparsely clad with black hair; the ears are scantily covered with black hairs externally, but more abundantly inside. A crest of stiff black bristles extends from the occiput over the neck and shoulders and down the back; the bristles of the throat and breast are reversed, growing forwards instead of backwards, the tips being sometimes white; the limbs, which are well covered with bristly hair outside, are nearly naked within, and the tail is short, slightly hairy, and with a flat tip fringed with lateral bristles set like the barbs of a feather. The young are more hairy, and are striped with brown and fulvous yellow.
SIZE.—Head and body, about 5 feet; tail, 1 foot; height, from 30 to 36 inches.
This species is so well known to residents in India, not only from personal experience but from the numerous accounts of its chase—one of the most exciting of Indian field sports—that it would be almost superfluous to add anything more to the already redundant porcine literature, so I will confine myself to the habits of the animal in the jungles. It is gregarious, living in herds, usually called sounders, the derivation of which has often puzzled me as well as others; but McMaster says it is to be found in Bailey's English Dictionary, of which the fifteenth edition was published in 1753 as (among hunters) a herd or company of swine. An old boar is generally the chief, but occasionally he gets driven from the herd, and wanders solitary and morose, and is in such a case an awkward customer to tackle. An old boar of this kind is generally a match for a tiger; in fact few tigers, unless young and inexperienced, would attack one. I have known two instances of tigers being killed by boars; one happened a few miles from the station of Seonee, to which place we had the animal carried. (See Appendix C.) On another occasion, whilst on tour in the district, a deputation from a distant village came into my camp to beg of me to visit them, and shoot a large boar which had taken possession of a small rocky hill, and from it made his nightly forays into their rice fields, and was given to attacking those who approached him. I went and got the boar out and shot him, but lost a tiger, which also sneaked out and broke through a line of beaters; these two were the sole occupants of this small isolated knoll, and lived evidently on terms of mutual respect. The boar was the largest I had ever seen or killed, but, as the sun was getting fierce, and I had far to ride to camp, I regret I left him to the villagers without taking any measurements. It is allowable to shoot hogs in some hilly parts of India where riding is out of the question, otherwise the shooting of a boar in riding country is deservedly looked upon as the crime of vulpecide would be in Leicestershire—a thing not to be spoken of. The boar possesses a singular amount of courage; he is probably the most courageous of all animals, much more so than the tiger, but unless irritated he is not prone to attack at first sight, except in a few cases of solitary individuals, like the one above mentioned. I was once rather ludicrously and very uncomfortably held at bay by a boar who covered the retreat of his family. One evening, after dismissing my amlah, I took up a shot gun, and, ordering the elephant to follow, strolled across some fields to a low scrub-covered hill where I thought I might pick up a few partridges or a peafowl before dusk. On entering the bush which skirted the base of the hill I was suddenly brought up by a savage grunt, and there in front of me stood an old boar with his bristles up, whilst the rest of his family scampered off into the thicket. I remembered Shakespeare's (the poet's—not the gallant shikari general's) opinion:—
"To fly the boar before the boar pursues Were to incense the boar to follow us,"
and therefore stood my ground, undergoing the stern scrutiny of my bristly friend, who cocked his head on one side and eyed me in a doubtful sort of way, whilst he made up his mind whether to go for me or not, whilst I on my part cogitated on the probable effect at close quarters of two barrels of No. 6 shot. However, he backed a bit, and then sidled to the rear for a few paces, when he brought up with another grunt, but, finding I had not moved, he finally turned round and dashed after his spouse and little ones. (See also Appendix C.)
Colonel (now General) Shakespear winds up a thrilling account of a fight with one with the following paragraph, which will give a good idea of the endurance of these creatures:—
"There he was with a broken spear in his withers, the shaft sticking up a foot and a-half from the blade, knocking over a horseman and wounding his horse; receiving two bullets—ten to the pound each—the first in his neck and throat, a very deadly part in all animals; the second breaking his jaw, and fired within a few feet of the muzzle; making good his charge, cutting down his enemy like grass, wounding him, knocking over a second man armed with a spear, defying the dogs, and then, when in the act of charging again, shot to the brain and dying without a groan."
Although I had not intended giving any shikar stories, I cannot resist quoting one from General McMaster's 'Notes on Jerdon.' He writes:—
"In further proof of the savage courage of a boar I may mention the following instance which is recorded in the 'Hunt Annals' of the 25th December, 1869. A large unwounded boar had succeeded in getting into some thick bushes. On being bullied by a terrier he charged the nearest hunter, and ripped the horse very badly. Two other sportsmen who were not riding then tried to tempt the boar to charge, one by firing No. 10 or quail shot into the bush, the other by riding a camel into it. The last was successful, for, charging straight at the camel's legs (receiving some shot in his face on his way) he completely routed the whole arrangement, knocked over and ripped the camel, which broke its leg in falling, and then made away across the fields; he was followed and twice speared, but he was as cunning as courageous, and managed to give his pursuers the slip in some long grass and thick bushes. This boar's savage charge at the camel was within a few yards of all of us, for every one was trying to entice him to come forth; after his headlong rush out of the bush he reared so upright in his attempt to reach his clumsy disturber, which was quite frantic from deadly fear, that he succeeded in ripping it in what in a horse would be termed the stifle joint. The poor brute rolled over in its agony, smashed one of its legs in the fall, and was of course shot. Luckily the rider, one of the best known among the Nagpore Hunt, was not hurt."
I believe a wild pig will charge at anything when enraged. I had an elephant who, though perfectly staunch with tigers, would bolt from a wild boar. The period of gestation is four months, and it produces twice a year; it is supposed to live to the age of twenty years, and, as its fecundity is proverbial, we might reasonably suppose that these animals would be continually on the increase, but they have many enemies, whilst young, amongst the felines, and the sows frequently fall a prey to tigers and panthers. Occasionally I have come across in the jungles a heap of branches and grass, and at first could not make out what it was, but the Gonds soon informed me that these heaps were the nests or lairs of the wild pigs, and they invariably turned them over to look for squeakers. These are funny little things, of a tortoiseshell colour, being striped reddish yellow and dark brown. There is an old writer on Indian field sports, Williamson, who makes some correct observations on the habits of the wild hog, although much in his book (now, I fancy, out of print) is open to question. He writes: "The wild hog delights in cultivated situations, but he will not remain where water is not at hand, in which he may, unobserved, quench his thirst and wallow at his ease; nor will he resort for a second season to a spot which does not afford ample cover, whether of heavy grass or of under-wood jungle, within a certain distance, for him to fly to in case of molestation, and especially to serve as a retreat during the hot season, as otherwise he would find no shelter. The sugar-cane is his great delight, both as being his favourite food and as affording a high, impervious, and unfrequented situation. These hogs commit great devastation, especially the breeding sows, which not only devour, but cut the canes for litter, and throw them up into little huts, which they do with much art, leaving a small entrance which they stop up at pleasure. Sows never quit their young pigs without completely shutting them up. This is, indeed, requisite only for a few days, as the young brood may be seen following the mother at a round pace when not more than a week or ten days old." The fields of urhur or ruhur dal (Cajanus Indicus) also afford good shelter to pigs. They feed chiefly at night, and in Central India numbers are shot by native shikaries in moonlight nights over water and favourite crops or in particular runs. Many castes of Hindus, who would turn with abhorrence from the village pig, will not scruple to eat the flesh of the wild boar. On the whole it is probably a cleaner feeder, but it will not hesitate to devour carrion if it should come across a dead animal in its wanderings.
NO. 435. SUS ANDAMANENSIS. The Andaman Island Pig.
HABITAT.—Andaman islands; Nicobars (?)
DESCRIPTION.—Much smaller than the last. "The concavity of the cheeks in front of the orbit deeply concave." Tail short, a mere tubercle in fact; the body well clad with somewhat shaggy black hair, probably allied to Sus Papuensis.
Dr. Gray was of opinion (see his article on the Suidae, 'P. Z. S.' 1868) that the skull of this species is more allied to the Babirussa than any others of the pigs, the front of the canines being rather more produced than in other species, but not nearly so much so as in Babirussa.
NO. 436. SUS MOUPINENSIS.
A description of this, which I have not by me at present, will be found in Professor Milne-Edwards's 'Recherches sur les Mammiferes,' p. 377.
Head conical, moderate; ears small, erect, hairy; cheeks without any tubercles; tail very short, rudimentary; cutting teeth 6/6, the two upper front largest, the lateral lower small; intermaxillary moderate, not produced; canines small, scarcely elevated above the other teeth, the upper one rather spread out, but not reflexed; premolars, 4—4/4—4 (Gray); molars, 3—3/3—3; the fourth toe on all the feet small and unequal. Jerdon observes: "This genus, it will be remarked, makes an approach to the American peccaries in the non-excerted canines, the short tail, and the small fourth toe." Hodgson's dental formula shows one premolar less, viz. teeth: 6/6, 1—1/1—1, 6—6/6—6.
NO. 437. PORCULA SALVANIA. The Pigmy Hog of the Saul Forests (Jerdon' s No. 216).
NATIVE NAMES.—Sano-banel, Nepalese; Chota-suar, Hindi.
HABITAT.—The Saul forests of the Sikim and Nepal Terai.
DESCRIPTION.—According to Mr. Hodgson "the pigmy hog is about the size of a large hare, and extremely resembles both in form and size a young pig of the ordinary wild kind of about a month old, except in its dark and unstriped pelage. The likeness of the limbs and members to those of the common hog is so close that every purpose of general description of the pigmy hog is served by pointing to that resemblance, desiring only that heed should be taken by the observer of the shorter jaws, and eye consequently placed midway between the snout and ear; of the much shorter tail, nude, straight, and not extending so far as the bristles of the rump, and lastly of the smallness of the inner hind toe. The ears also are quite nude, and the abdominal surface of the neck, as well as the insides of the limbs and the belly, are nearly so, but the upper and lateral external parts are covered thickly with bristles, even longer and more abundant than those of the wild or tame hog—save upon the ridge of the neck, where the common hog has more or less of, and generally a conspicuous mane, but the pigmy hog little or none"—"the colour of the animal is a black brown, shaded vaguely with dirty amber or rusty red."
SIZE.—Head and body, from 18 to 20 inches; height, 8 to 10 inches; weight, 7 to 10 lbs.
This little animal, according to Hodgson's account of it (a most interesting one, which will be found in the 'Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal,' vol. xvi. May 1847), seems to have the disposition of the peccary as well as the resemblance; it goes, he says, in herds, and the males fearlessly attack intruders, "charging and cutting the naked legs of their human or other attackers with a speed that baffles the eyesight, and a spirit which their straight sharp laniaries renders really perplexing, if not dangerous."
These differ materially from the foregoing section of the Artiodactyla by the construction of their digestive organs. Instead of the food being masticated and passed at once into the stomach, each mouthful is but slightly bruised and passed into the paunch, whence at leisure it is regurgitated into the mouth to be chewed. For such an operation the machinery is of course more complicated than in other animals, and I must therefore attempt to describe briefly and as clearly as I can the construction of the ruminating stomach. Taking the ox as a typical specimen, we find four well-defined chambers varying in size. The first of these is the rumen or paunch, in which the unmasticated food is stored; it is a large sac partly bent on itself, and narrowing towards its junction with the oesophagus or gullet, and the entrance into the second chamber. It is lined with a mucous membrane, which is covered with a pile or villous surface, and this membrane is what is sold in butchers' shops as tripe. From this bag (the paunch) in the act of rumination a certain portion of the food is ejected into the second chamber, which is termed the reticulum (i.e. a little net) from the peculiar arrangement of its inner or mucous surface, which is lined with a network of shallow hexagonal cells. The functions of this receptacle are probably the forming of the food into a bolus, and by a spasmodic contraction the forcing of it back through the gullet into the mouth for mastication. Here it is well chewed, and, being thoroughly mixed with saliva passes back; on being swallowed in a soft pulpy state it passes the groove or valve communicating with the chamber from which it issued, and goes straight into the psalterium or manyplies, as the third chamber is called. This is globular, but most of its interior is filled up with folds like the leaves of a book, more or less unequal. It is not quite clear what the peculiar functions of this chamber are, but the semi-liquid food, passing through it, goes into the proper stomach (abomasum or reed) and is here acted upon by the gastric juice. Professor Garrod thus describes the probable order of events in the act of rumination: "The paunch contracts, and in so doing forces some of the food into the honeycomb bag, where it is formed into a bolus by the movement of its walls, and then forced into the gullet, from which by a reverse action it reaches the mouth, where it is chewed and mixed with the saliva until it becomes quite pulpy, whereupon it is again swallowed. But now, because it is soft and semi-fluid, it does not devaricate the walls of the groove communicating with the manyplies, and so, continuing on along its tubular interior, it finds its way direct into the third stomach, most of it filtering between the membrous laminae on its way to the fourth stomach, where it becomes acted on by the gastric juice. After the remasticated food has reached the manyplies, the groove in the reticulum is pushed open by a fresh bolus, and so the process is repeated until the food consumed has all passed on towards the abomasum or true digestive stomach."
The ruminants are peculiar also in their dentition; in the so-called true ruminants there are no incisors or cutting teeth in the upper jaw, but the teeth of the lower jaw are opposed to a hard callous pad; the herbage is cropped by being nipped between these teeth and the pad, and detached by an upward motion; in some few, such as the musk deer, Chinese water deer and the rib-faced deer or muntjac the upper canines exist, and are largely developed.
The camels and llamas possess two cutting teeth in the upper jaw, and in this respect they differ from the true ruminants, as also in some internal features.
The grinding teeth are six on each side of the jaw, and are composed of alternate convolutions of enamel, dentine and cement, which wear unequally by the lateral motion of grinding, and so form the necessary inequality of surface.
The centre metacarpal bones in the Ruminantia are fused into one common bone, except in the deerlets, which also have the two outer fore and little finger metacarpals distinct, whereas they are but rudimentary in the rest of the true ruminants, and totally absent in the camels.
The following is the classification at present adopted: SUB-ORDER Ruminantia, containing two sections, viz. True Ruminants and the Camels (Tylopoda). SECTION True Ruminants, containing two divisions, viz. Horned Ruminants and Hornless Ruminants, such as the chevrotians or deerlets (Tragulidae). DIVISION Horned Ruminants, containing two groups, viz. Hollow-horned Ruminants (Bovidae), and Solid-horned Ruminants (Cervidae). The deerlets possess no psalterium or third stomach, except in a rudimentary form, and their feet approximate to those of the pigs, and they are destitute of horns. The hollow-horned ruminants are those which bear a persistent sheath of horn on a bony core; the others bear solid antlers which are periodically shed, and grow afresh.
FAMILY BOVIDAE—HOLLOW-HORNED RUMINANTS.
In these there is an elongated process of bone on the frontals, termed the "horn cores," which are covered with a horny sheath which is never shed, but continues to grow till full adult life, and probably whilst life lasts, the growth being from the base. In some of these the females are horned, but the majority are hornless. These have all the typical organs of rumination and digestion, and they consist of the goats, sheep, antelope, oxen, and buffalos.
SUB-FAMILY CAPRINAE—GOATS AND SHEEP.
These are noted for having, as a general rule, horns in both sexes, though of varying quality; they are usually compressed, triangular, rugose, with transverse ridges, and curving backwards or spirally; no canines. Feet pits in some; sub-orbital gland small or absent.
GENUS OVIS—THE SHEEP.
Horns in both sexes; in the male very large, angular, deeply wrinkled, turned downwards in a bold circle, with the point curved outwards; the nasal bones are arched; small feet pits; two mammae.
NO. 438. OVIS POLII. Marco Polo's Sheep.
NATIVE NAMES.—Rass or Roosh on the Pamir; Kuch-kar (male), Mesh (female), in Wakhan.
HABITAT.—Thian Shan mountains, north of Kashgar, and Yarkand, at elevations exceeding 9000 feet.
DESCRIPTION.—During winter light greyish-brown on the sides of the body, with a dark line down the middle of the back, white below. In summer the grey changes to dark brown. The horns describe a circle of about one and a quarter when viewed from the side, and point directly outwards. One of the finest specimens I have seen, which was exhibited at a meeting of the Asiatic Society in December 1879, and is now in the Indian Museum, measures over sixty-seven inches from base to tip along the curve, with a circumference at base of sixteen inches and a width from tip to tip in a straight line of fifty-three inches; one in the British Museum measures sixty-three inches, but is wider in its spread, being fifty-four inches across at the tips. Major Biddulph, who presented the head to our museum, remarked that the strength of the neck muscles must be enormous to allow of so great a weight being easily carried, and it was doubtless owing to this weight that the Ovis Polii and other great sheep that he had observed had a very erect carriage, which has also been noticed by others of the Ovis Ammon.
I have never seen this animal in the flesh, and can only therefore give what I gather from others about it, which is not much, as it is not very well known.
SIZE.—Stands nearly four feet at the shoulder.
In the article on Asiatic sheep by Sir Victor Brooke and Mr. B. Brooke in the 'Proceedings of the Zoological Society' in 1875, there is an excellent series of engravings of horns of these animals, amongst which are two of Ovis Polii. The description of the animal itself appears to be faulty, for it is stated that around the neck is a pure white mane, whereas Mr. Blanford wrote to the Society a few months later to the effect that he had examined a series of skins brought from Kashgar, and found that none possess a trace of a mane along the neck, as represented in a plate of the animal, there being some long hair behind the horns and a little between the shoulders, but none on the back of the neck. The animal has a very short tail also—so short it can hardly be seen in life. According to M. Severtzoff there is a dark line above the spinal column from the shoulders to the loins; a white anal disc surrounds the tail; this disc above is bordered by a rather dark line, but below it extends largely over the hinder parts of the thighs, shading gradually into the brown colour of the legs. The light greyish-brown of the sides shades off into white towards the belly.
He gives the following particulars concerning its habits: "It is not a regular inhabitant of the mountains, but of high situated hilly plains, where Festuca, Artemisia, and even Salsolae form its principal food. It only takes to the mountains for purposes of concealment, avoiding even then the more rocky localities. It keeps to the same localities summer and winter. Its speed is very great, but the difficulty in overtaking wounded specimens may be partly attributed to the distressing effect of the rarefied air upon the horses, which has apparently no effect whatever on the sheep. The weight of an old specimen killed and gralloched by M. Severtzoff was too much for a strong mountain camel, the animal requiring four hours to do four versts (2.6 miles), and being obliged to lie down several times during the journey. He reckons the entire weight of a male Ovis Polii to be not less than 16 or 17 poods (576 to 612 lbs.); the head and horns alone weigh over two poods (72 lbs.)."
[Footnote 33: It must be remembered that at such great elevations a camel is unable to bear a very heavy load.]
I have before me a beautiful photograph by Mr. Oscar Malitte, of Dehra Doon, of a very large skull of this sheep, with the measurements given. The photograph is an excellent one of a magnificent head, and I should say if the measurements have been correctly made, that the horns are the longest, though not the thickest, on record.
The dimensions given are as follows:—
Inches. Round the curve 73 From tip to tip 48 Girth at base 14
The next largest head to this is the very fine one in the Indian Museum, presented by Major Biddulph:—
Inches. Round the curve 67 From tip to tip 53 Girth at base 16
There is another in the British Museum:—
Inches. Round the curve 63 From tip to tip 54 Girth at base 16
From the above measurements it will be seen that the horns in the photograph before me are of greater length, but not so massive as the other two. They are also more compressed in their curvature than the others, and so the tip to tip measurement is less. The skull appears to be that of a very old animal; the horns are quite joined at the base, and from the incrustation on the bones I should say it had been picked up, and was not a shikar trophy. Anyhow it is a valuable specimen.
[Footnote 34: See notes to Ovis Polii in Appendix C.]
NO. 439. OVIS HODGSONI. The Argali or Ovis Ammon of Thibet.
NATIVE NAMES.—Hyan, Nuan, Nyan, Niar, Nyaud or Gnow.
HABITAT.—The Thibetan Himalayas at 15,000 feet and upwards.
DESCRIPTION.—The following description was given by a correspondent of the Civil and Military Gazette in the issue of the 21st October, 1880: "The male dark earthy brown above, lighter below; rump lighter coloured; tail one inch; white ruff of long hairs on throat and chin; hair of body short, brittle, and close-set. The female darker coloured than the male, and may often be distinguished, when too far to see the horns, by the dark hue of the neck." Both male and female are horned; the horns of the former are very large, some are reported as being as much as four feet long, and 22 inches in circumference at the base. Dr. Jerdon quotes Colonel Markham in giving 24 inches as the circumference of one pair. They are deeply rugose, triangular, and compressed, deeper than broad at the base, forming a bold sweep of about four-fifths of a circle, the points turning outwards, and ending obtusely. The horns of the female are mentioned by various writers as being from 18 to 22 inches, slightly curved; but the correspondent of the Civil and Military Gazette above quoted gives 24 inches as his experience.
SIZE.—From 10 to 12 hands, sometimes an inch over.
A very interesting account of this animal, with a good photograph of the head, is given in Kinloch's 'Large Game-shooting in Thibet and the North-west.' He says: "In winter the Ovis Ammon inhabits the lower and more sheltered valleys, where the snow does not lie in any great quantity. As summer advances, the males separate from the females, and betake themselves to higher and more secluded places. They appear to be particular in their choice of a locality, repairing year after year to the same places, where they may always be found, and entirely neglecting other hills which apparently possess equal advantages as regards pasturage and water. Without a knowledge of their haunts a sportsman might wander for days and never meet with old rams, although perhaps never very far from them. I have myself experienced this, having hunted for days over likely ground without seeing even the track of a ram, and afterwards, under the guidance of an intelligent Tartar, found plenty of them on exactly similar ground a mile or two from where I had been. The flesh of the Ovis Ammon, like that of all the Thibetan ruminants, is excellent; it is always tender, even on the day it is killed, and of very good flavour, possibly caused by the aromatic herbs which constitute so large a portion of the scanty vegetation of those arid regions.
"No animal is more wary than the Ovis Ammon, and this, combined with the open nature of the ground which it usually inhabits, renders it perhaps the most difficult of all beasts to approach. It is however, of course, sometimes found on ground where it can be stalked, but even then it is most difficult to obtain a quiet shot, as the instant one's head is raised one of the herd is nearly sure to give the alarm, and one only gets a running shot.
"Ovis Ammon shooting requires a great deal of patience. In the first place, unless the sportsman has very good information regarding the ground, he may wander for days before he discovers the haunts of the old rams; and, secondly, he may find them on ground where it is hopeless to approach them. In the latter case all that can be done is to wait, watch them until they move to better ground, and if they will not do this the same day, they must be left till the next. Sooner or later they will move to ground where they can be stalked, and then, if proper care is exercised, they are not much more difficult to get near than other animals; but the greatest precautions must be taken to prevent being seen before one fires. Some men may think this sort of shooting too troublesome, and resort to driving, but this is very uncertain work, and frightens the animals away, when, by the exercise of patience, a quiet shot might be obtained."
A writer in The Asian, whose 'Sportsman's Guide to Kashmir and Ladakh' contains most valuable information, writes thus in the issue of August 30, 1881, of the keen sense of smell possessed by this animal, and I take the liberty of quoting a paragraph:—
"The Ovis Ammon is possessed of the sense of smell to a remarkable degree, and, as every one who has stalked in Ladakh is aware, the wind is treacherous. If the stalker feels a puff of wind on his back when within 700 or 800 yards of the game, he well knows that it is 'all up.' On the tops of the mountains and in the vicinity of glaciers these puffs of wind are of frequent occurrence; often they will only last for a few seconds, but that is sufficiently long to ruin the chance of getting a shot at the Ovis. Except for this one fact, we cannot admit that the nyan is harder to approach than any other hill sheep."
NO. 440. OVIS KARELINI. Karelin's Wild Sheep.
NATIVE NAMES.—Ar or Ghuljar (male), Arka (female), Khirghiz; Kulja, Turki of Kashgar.
HABITAT.—Mountains north-west of Kashgar, and thence northwards beyond the Thian Shan mountains on to the Semiretchinsk Altai.
DESCRIPTION (by Sir Victor Brooke and Mr. Brooke, translated and abstracted from Severtzoff, see 'P. Z. S.' 1875, p. 512).—"The horns are moderately thick, with rather rounded edges; frontal surface very prominent, orbital surface rather flat, narrowing only in the last third of its length. The horns are three times as long as the skull. The basal and terminal axis of the horns rise parallel with each other; the median axis parallel with the axis of the skull. The neck is covered by a white mane, shaded with greyish-brown. The light brown of the back and sides is separated from the yellowish-white of the belly by a wide dark line. The light brown of the upper parts gets gradually lighter towards the tail, where it becomes greyish-white, but does not form a sharply marked anal disc. On the back there is a sharply marked dark line running from the shoulders to the loins. I did not find any soft hair under the long winter hair in October."
SIZE.—Height at the shoulder, 3 feet 6 inches; length of the horns, from 44 to 45 inches.
The following is a description by Dr. Stoliczka of this animal, which he took to be Ovis Polii, and described it as such, in the 'P. Z. S.' for 1874, page 425. In the same volume is a plate which, however, is shewn by Mr. Blanford ('Sc. Res. Second Yarkand Mission,' p. 83) to be inaccurate:—
"Male in winter dress.—General colour above hoary brown, distinctly rufescent or fawn on the upper hind neck and above the shoulders, darker on the loins, with a dark line extending along the ridge of tail to the tip. Head above and at the sides a greyish-brown, darkest on the hind head, where the central hairs are from four to five inches long, while between the shoulders somewhat elongated hairs indicate a short mane. Middle of upper neck hoary white, generally tinged with fawn; sides of body and the upper part of the limbs shading from brown to white, the hair becoming more and more tipped with the latter colour. Face, all the lower parts, limbs, tail, and all the hinder parts, extending well above towards the loins, pure white.
"The hairs on the lower neck are very much lengthened, being from five to six inches long. Ears hoary brown externally, almost white internally. Pits in front of the eye distinct, of moderate size and depth, and the hair round them generally somewhat darker brown than the rest of sides of the head. The nose is slightly arched and the muzzle sloping. The hair is strong, wiry, and very thickly set, and at the base intermixed with scanty, very fine fleece; the average length of the hairs on the back is 2 to 2-1/2 inches. The iris is brown. The horns are subtriangular, touching each other at the base, curving gradually with a long sweep backwards and outwards; and, after completing a full circle, the compressed points again curve backwards and outwards; their surface is more or less closely transversely ridged.
"The colour of full-grown females does not differ essentially from that of the males, except that the former have much less white on the middle of the upper neck. The snout is sometimes brown, sometimes almost entirely white, the dark eye-pits becoming then particularly conspicuous. The dark ridge along the tail is also scarcely traceable. In size, both sexes of Ovis Polii appear to be very nearly equal, but the head of the female is less massive, and the horns, as in allied species, are comparatively small: the length of horn of one of the largest females obtained is 14 inches along the periphery, the distance at the tips being 15 inches, and at the base a little more than one inch. The horns themselves are much compressed; the upper anterior ridge is wanting on them; they curve gradually backwards and outwards towards the tip, though they do not nearly complete even a semicircle. In young males, the horns at first resemble in direction and slight curvature those of the female, but they are always thicker at the base and distinctly triangular.
"The length of the biggest horn of male along the periphery of curve was 56 inches, and the greatest circumference of a horn of a male specimen at the base 18-1/2 inches.
"Mr. Blyth, the original describer of Ovis Polii, from its horns, was justified in expecting, from their enormous size, a correspondingly large-bodied animal; but in reality such does not appear to exist. Although the distance between the tips of the horns seems to be generally about equal to the length of the body, and although the horns are very much larger, but not thicker or equally massive, with those of the Ovis Ammon of the Himalayas, the body of the latter seems to be comparatively higher. Still it is possible that the Ovis Polii of the Pamir may stand higher than the specimens described, which were obtained from the Tian Shan range.
"Large flocks of Ovis Polii were observed on the undulating high plateau to the south of the Chadow-Kul, where grass vegetation is abundant. At the time the officers of the Mission visited this ground, i.e. in the beginning of January, it was the rutting season. The characters of the ground upon the Pamir and upon the part of the Tian Shan inhabited by these wild sheep are exactly similar."
The following remarks on the habits of this species are from Sir Victor Brooke's abstract of Servertzoft's description: "Ovis Karelini, like other sheep, does not live exclusively amongst the rocks, as is the case with the different species of Capra. It is not satisfied, like the latter, with small tufts of grass growing in the clefts of the rocks, but requires more extensive feeding grounds; it is, therefore, more easily driven from certain districts than is the case with Capra. In the neighbourhood of Kopal, for instance, the goats are abundant in the central parts of the steppes of Kara, whilst the sheep have been partially driven from these places, only visiting them in autumn.
"On the southern ranges of the Semiretchinsk Altai, in the vicinity of the river Ili, wherever good meadows and rocky places are found, Ovis Karelini occurs at elevations of from 2000 to 3000 feet; at the sources of the rivers Lepsa, Sarkan, Kora, Karatala, and Koksa it goes as high as 10,000, and even to 12,000 feet in the neighbourhood of the Upper Narin. In winter it is found at much lower elevations."
In a paper by Captain H. Trotter, R.E., read before the Royal Geographical Society on the 13th of May, 1878, on the geographical results of the mission to Kashgar under Sir Douglas Forsyth ('Journal R. G. S.' vol. xlviii., 1878, p. 193), I find the following account refering to this sheep, there mentioned under the name of Ovis Polii: "For twenty-five miles above Chakmak the road continues gently ascending along the course of the frozen stream, passing through volcanic rocks to Turgat Bela, a little short of which the nature of the country alters, and the precipitous hills are replaced by gently undulating grassy slopes, abounding with the Ovis Polii.
"These extensive grassy slopes, somewhat resembling the English downs, are a very curious feature of the country, and not only attract the Kirghiz as grazing grounds for their cattle, but are equally sought after by the large herds of guljar, in one of which Dr. Stoliczka counted no less than eighty-five."
[Footnote 35: Ovis Heinsi and Ovis nigromontana are doubtful species allied to the foregoing, and are not found within the limits assigned to this work.]
The Chakmak and Turgat Bela spoken of are on the southern slopes of the Thian Shan mountains, which form the boundary between Russia and Eastern Turkestan, separating the provinces of Semiretchinsk and Kashghar. The Turgat pass, about 12,760 feet, lies between the Kashgharian fort of Chakmak and the Russian fort Naryn or Narin. Captain Trotter mentions in a foot-note that these sheep, as well as ibex, abound in these hills in such large quantities that they form the principal food of the garrisons of the outposts. At Chakmak they saw a large shed piled up to the roof with the frozen carcases of these animals. (A most valuable map of the country is published in the 'Journal' with this paper.)
The chief difference between this species and Ovis Polii consists in the much greater length and divergence of horns of the latter and the longer hair on the neck.
NO. 441. OVIS BROOKEI. Brooke's Wild Sheep.
HABITAT.—Ladakh, or probably the Kuenluen range north of Ladakh.
DESCRIPTION.—This species is founded on a single specimen, which, in the opinion of Mr. Blyth, Mr. Edwin Ward, F.Z.S., Sir Victor Brooke and others, differed materially from all other wild sheep, but, as they had only a head to go upon, further investigation in this direction is necessary. It is not even certain where the animal was shot, but it is believed to have been obtained in the vicinity of Leh in Ladakh. It is apparently allied to the O. Ammon of Thibet, which Sir Victor and Mr. B. Brooke term in their paper O. Hodgsonii, but it differs in its much smaller size, in its deeply sulcated horns, the angles of which are very much rounded, and the terminal curve but slightly developed. It differs also from O. Vignei and O. Karelini. The orbits project less, with greater width between them, the length of the molar teeth also exceeds the others. There are two wood-cuts of the skull and horns in the 'P. Z. S.' 1874, page 143, illustrating Mr. Edwin Ward's paper on the subject.
The following are the dimensions of the specimen:—
Inches. Length of skull 11 Smallest breadth between orbits 4-5/8 Length of horns, round curve 33-1/2 Circumference of horns 13-3/8
NO. 442. OVIS VIGNEI. Vigne's Wild Sheep.
NATIVE NAMES.—Sha or Shapoo.
HABITAT.—Little Thibet; Ladakh, from 12,000 to 14,000 feet.
DESCRIPTION.—General colour brownish-grey, beneath paler; belly white; a short beard of stiffish brown hair; the horns of the male are sub-triangular, rather compressed laterally and rounded posteriorly, deeply sulcated, curving outward and backward from the skull; points divergent. The female is beardless, with small horns. The male horns run from 25 to 35 inches, but larger have been recorded.
This sheep was for some time, and is still by some, confounded with the oorial (Ovis cycloceros), but there are distinct differences, as will be seen further on, when I sum up the evidence. It inhabits the elevated ranges of Ladakh, and is found in Baltistan, where it is called the oorin.
NO. 443. OVIS CYCLOCEROS. The Punjab Wild Sheep (Jerdon's No. 236).
NATIVE NAMES.—Oorial or Ooria, in the Punjab; Koch or Kuch, in the Suleiman range.
HABITAT.—The Salt range of the Punjab; on the Suleiman range; the Hazarah hills; and the vicinity of Peshawar.
DESCRIPTION.—General colour rufous brown; face livid, side of mouth and chin white; a long thick black beard mixed with white hairs from throat to breast, reaching to the knees; legs below knees and feet white; belly white, a blotch on the flanks; outside of legs and a lateral line blackish. The horns of the male are sub-triangular, much compressed laterally and posteriorly; in fact one may say concave at the sides, that is, from the base of the horn to about one half; transversely sulcated; curving outwards, and returning inward towards the face; points convergent. The female is more uniform pale brown, with whitish belly; no beard, and short straight horns.
SIZE.—About 5 feet in length, and 3 feet high; horns from 25 to 30 inches round the curve. The marked distinctions between the two species may be thus briefly summed up:—
Ovis Vignei. Horn rather compressed laterally. Rounded posteriorly. Curving outward and backward. Points divergent. General colour, brownish-grey. Beard short, of stiffish brown hairs.
Ovis cycloceros. Horn much compressed laterally. Much compressed posteriorly. Curving outward and inward. Points convergent. General colour, rufous brown, with blotch on flanks and lateral line blackish. Beard profuse, reaching to knees, black intermixed with white hairs.
[Footnote 36: See also Appendix C.]
Mr. Sclater, with reference to the two in his paper on the Punjab Sheep living in the Zoological Society's Garden in 1860 ('P. Z. S.' 1860, page 126), says: "On comparing the skull (of O. cycloceros) with that of the shapoo we observe a general resemblance. But it may be noted that the sub-orbital pits in the present species are smaller, deeper, and more rounded; the nasal bones are considerably shorter and more pointed, and the series of molar teeth (formed in each skull of three premolars and three molars) measures only 2.85 instead of 3.20 inches in total length."
There is a fine coloured plate of this animal in that magnificent folio work—Wolf's 'Zoological Sketches,' showing the male, female, and lambs; and in that valuable book of Kinloch's, 'Large Game-shooting in Thibet and the North-west' is a very clear photograph of the oorial's head, from which I give the above sketch. He gives the following account of its habits: "The oorial is found among low stony hills and ravines, which are generally more or less covered with thin jungle, consisting principally of thorny bushes. During the heat of the day the oorial conceal themselves a good deal, retiring to the most secluded places, but often coming down to feed in the evening on the crops surrounding the villages. Where not much disturbed, they will stay all day in the neighbourhood of their feeding grounds, and allow sheep and cattle to feed amongst them without concern; but where they have been much fired at they usually go a long distance before settling themselves for the day. They are generally found on capital ground for stalking, the chief drawback being the stony nature of the hills, which renders it difficult to walk silently. When fired at, oorial usually go leisurely away, stopping to gaze every now and then, so that several shots may often be fired at one herd."
Dr. Leith Adams says regarding it, that it "frequents bleak and barren mountains, composed of low ranges intersected by ravines and dry river courses, where vegetation is scanty at all seasons, and goats and sheep are seldom driven to pasture. It is found in small herds, and, being fond of salt, is generally most abundant in the neighbourhood of salt mines. Shy and watchful, it is difficult to approach, and possesses in an eminent degree the senses of sight and smell. It is seldom seen in the day-time, being secreted among rocks, whence it issues at dusk to feed in the fields and valleys, returning to its retreat at daybreak.
"When suddenly alarmed the males gives a loud shrill whistle, like the ibex. This is an invariable signal for the departure of the herd, which keeps moving all the rest of the day until dusk. Their bleat is like that of the tame species; and the males fight in the same way, but the form of the body and infra-orbital pits simulate the deer, hence it is often called the 'deer-sheep.' It equals the deer in speed and activity. The female gestates seven months. The rutting season is in September."
According to Captain Hutton the flesh is good and well-flavoured, "while the horns are placed as trophies of success and proofs of skill upon tombs and temples."
This sheep has bred in the Gardens of the Zoological Society in London. (See notes to Oorial in Appendix C.)
NO. 444. OVIS BLANFORDII. Blanford's Wild Sheep.
HABITAT.—Central hills of Khelat.
DESCRIPTION.—The horns of this species are longer and more slender than those of Ovis Vignei, O. cycloceros, or O. Gmelini. Mr. Hume says ('J. A. S. B.' 1877, p. 327): "In all these three species, as far as I can make out, each horn lies in one plane, whereas in the present species the horn twists out in a capital-S fashion. There is, in fact, much the same difference between the horns of the present species and of O. cycloceros, that there is between those of O. Kareleni and O. Hodgsoni. The lower part of the forehead at the nasal suture, and the whole of the frontals, are more raised and convex than in either O. cycloceros or O. Vignei.
"The frontal ridge between the bases of the horns is less developed in O. Blanfordii, and in this latter the posterior convex margin of the bony palate is differently shaped, being more pointed, and not nearly semi-circular as in O. cycloceros."
The dimensions of the skull are given in detail by Mr. Hume in the paper above quoted, out of which I extract those of the horns:—
Inches. Length along curve 35.75 Circumference at base 9.0 Width from tip to tip 16.5 Greatest breadth of horn at base 2.25 Greatest depth of ditto 3.25
The horns of a specimen of O. cycloceros of about the same age were 29.5 in length and 10 inches in circumference at base, so that the greater length and slenderness of the horns of Ovis Blanfordii are apparent. Mr. Hume writes to me that there is a living specimen of this sheep at present in the London Zoological Gardens.
NO. 445. OVIS NAHURA vel BURHEL. The Blue Wild Sheep (Jerdon's No. 237).
NATIVE NAMES.—Burhel, Buroot, in the Himalayas; Napu, Na, or Sna, Thibet and Ladakh; Nervati, in Nepal. Wa' or War on the Sutlej.
HABITAT.—This animal has a wide range; it is found from Sikim, and, as Jerdon says, probably Bhotan, right away through Thibet, as Pere David found it in Moupin, and it extends up to the Kuenluen mountains north of Ladakh, and in Ladakh itself, and it has been obtained by Prejevalski on the Altyn-Tagh, therefore the limits assigned by Jerdon must be considerably extended.
DESCRIPTION.—General colour a dull slaty blue, slightly tinged with fawn; the belly, edge of buttocks, and tail, white; throat, chest, front of fore-arm and cannon bone, a line along the flank dividing the darker tint from the belly; the edge of the hind limbs and the tip of the tail deep black; horns moderately smooth, with few wrinkles, rounded, nearly touching at the base, directed upwards, backwards and outwards, the points being turned forwards and inwards. The female is smaller, the black marks smaller and of less extent; small, straight, slightly recurved horns; nose straighter. The young are darker and browner.
SIZE.—Length of head and body, 4-1/2 to 5 feet; height, 30 to 36 inches; tail, 7 inches; horns, 2 to 2-1/2 feet round the curve; circumference at base, 12 to 13 inches.
An excellent coloured plate is to be found in Blanford's 'Scientific Results of the Second Yarkand Mission' and a life-like photograph of the head in Kinloch's 'Large Game-shooting.' According to the latter author the burrel prefers bare rocky hills, and when inhabiting those which are clothed with forest, rarely or never descends to the limits of the trees. "The favourite resorts of burrel are those hills which have slopes well covered with grass in the immediate vicinity of steep precipices, to which they can at once betake themselves in case of alarm. Females and young ones frequently wander to more rounded and accessible hills, but I have never met with old males very far from some rocky stronghold. The males and females do not appear to separate entirely during the summer, as I have found mixed flocks at all seasons, though, as a rule, the old males form themselves into small herds and live apart. In my opinion the flesh of the burrel surpasses in flavour the best mutton, and has moreover the advantage of being generally tender soon after the animal is killed."
According to Jerdon the burrel is fattest in September and October. In the 'Indian Sporting Review' a writer, "Mountaineer," states that in winter, when they get snowed in, they actually browse the hair off each other, and come out miserably thin.
The name Ovis nahura is not a felicitous one, as it was given under a mistake by Hodgson, the nahoor being quite another animal. I think Blyth's name of Ovis burhel should be adopted to the exclusion of the other, which, however, is in general use.