In the Central provinces the gaur is found in several parts of the bamboo-clad spurs of the Satpura range. My experience of the animal is limited to the Seonee district, where it is restricted to the now closely preserved forests of Sonawani in the south-east bend of the range, and a few are to be seen across occasionally, near the old fort of Amodagarh, on the Hirri river.
It is also more abundant on the Pachmari and Mahadeo hills. On the east of the Bay of Bengal it is found from Chittagong through Burmah to the Malayan peninsula. It was considered that the gaur of the eastern countries was a distinct species, and is so noted in Horsfield's Catalogue, and described at some length under the name of Bibos asseel; but it appears that all this distinction was founded on the single skull of a female gaur, and is an instance of the proneness of naturalists to create new species on insufficient data. He himself remarks that when the skin was removed it was evident that the animal was nearly related to Gavaeus gaurus, or, as he calls it, Bibos cavifrons. Mr. G. P. Sanderson shot a fine old male of what he supposed to be the wild gayal, and he says: "I can state that there was not one single point of difference in appearance or size between it and the bison of Southern India, except that the horns were somewhat smaller than what would have been looked for in a bull of its age in Southern India;" and this point was doubtless an individual peculiarity, for Blyth, in his 'Catalogue of the Mammals of Burmah,' says: "Nowhere does this grand species attain a finer development than in Burmah, and the horns are mostly short and thick, and very massive as compared with those of the Indian gaurs, though the distinction is not constant on either side of the Bay of Bengal."
Jerdon supposes it to have existed in Ceylon till within the present century, but I do not know on what data he founds his assertion.
DESCRIPTION.—I cannot improve on Jerdon's description, taken as it is from the writings of Hodgson, Elliot, and Fisher, so I give it as it stands, adding a few observations of my own on points not alluded to by them:—
"The skull is massive; the frontals large, deeply concave, surmounted by a large semi-cylindric crest rising above the base of the horns. There are thirteen pairs of ribs. The head is square, proportionately smaller than in the ox; the bony frontal ridge is five inches above the frontal plane; the muzzle is large and full, the eyes small, with a full pupil (? iris) of a pale blue colour. The whole of the head in front of the eyes is covered with a coat of close short hair, of a light greyish-brown colour, which below the eyes is darker, approaching almost to black; the muzzle is greyish and the hair is thick and short; the ears are broad and fan-shaped; the neck is sunk between the head and back, is short, thick, and heavy. Behind the neck and immediately above the shoulder rises a gibbosity or hump of the same height as the dorsal ridge. This ridge rises gradually as it goes back, and terminates suddenly about the middle of the back; the chest is broad; the shoulder deep and muscular; the fore-legs short, with the joints very short and strong, and the arm exceedingly large and muscular; the hair on the neck and breast and beneath is longer than on the body, and the skin of the throat is somewhat loose, giving the appearance of a slight dewlap; the fore-legs have a rufous tint behind and laterally above the white. The hind-quarters are lighter and lower than the fore, falling suddenly from the termination of the dorsal ridge; the skin of the neck, shoulders, and thigh is very thick, being about two inches and more.
"The cow differs from the bull in having a slighter and more graceful head, a slender neck, no hump; and the points of the horns do not turn towards each other at the tip, but bend slightly backwards, and they are much smaller; the legs too are of a purer white. The very young bull has the forehead narrower than the cow, and the bony frontal ridge scarcely perceptible. The horns too turn more upwards. In old individuals the hair on the upper parts is often worn off. The skin of the under parts when uncovered is deep ochrey-yellow."—'Mammals of India,' p. 302.
[Footnote 40: The true bison has fourteen pairs of ribs.—R. A. S.]
The fineness of the leg below the knee is another noticeable feature, and also the well-formed pointed hoof, which leaves an imprint like that of a large deer. Mr. Sanderson states in his book that the bison, after a sharp hunt, gives out an oily sweat, and in this peculiarity he says it differs from domestic cattle, which never sweat under any exertion. This I have not noticed.
The period of gestation seems to be about the same as that of the domestic cow, and the greatest number of calves are born in the summer.
SIZE.—I cannot speak personally, for I regret now that I took no measurements in the days when I was acquainted with these magnificent animals, but the experiences of others I give as follows:—
Sir Walter Elliot gives— Ft. In. Nose to root of tail 9 6-1/2 Height at shoulder (over 18 hands!) 6 1-1/2 " at rump 5 3 Tail 2 10-1/2 Length of dorsal ridge 3 4 Height of " 0 4-1/2 Head from muzzle to top of frontal ridge 2 1-3/4 Breadth of forehead 1 3-1/2 Ear 0 10-1/2 Circumference of horn at base 1 7-1/2 Distance between the points of the horns 2 1
I give the measurements of two fine heads:— Ft. In. Ft. In. From tip to tip round the outer edge and across the forehead 6 2 6 11 Across the sweep 2 9 3 2-1/2 Circumference at base 1 7 1 5 Between tips 1 7 1 10-1/2
The following careful measurements are recorded by Mr. Blyth ('J. A. S. B.,' vol. xi., 1842, p. 588), and were furnished to him by Lieut. Tickell from the recently-killed animal, in order to assist in the setting up of the specimen in the Asiatic Museum:—
Ft. In. A string passed along the back to root of tail 8 8-1/2 From frontal ridge to tip of muzzle 2 0 Horns apart anteriorly at base 1 0-1/2 Tip to tip of horns 2 3-1/4 From nose to centre of eye 1 0-3/4 Eye to root of horn 0 4-1/4 Eye to base of ears 0 6 Humerus, &c. 1 11-1/4 Radius 2 8 Metacarpus 0 9-3/4 Pastern, &c., and hoof 0 7-1/4 Pelvis 1 4-1/2 Femur 1 7-1/4 Tibia and fibula 1 10 Metatarsus 1 4 Pastern to end of hoof 0 7-1/2 Height perpendicularly, about 5 9 Length of dorsal ridge 2 5-1/2 Tail, root to tip of hairs 3 1-3/4 Circumference of head behind horns 3 11 " " neck behind ears 4 0-1/2 " " chest 8 8 " " muzzle 1 9-1/4 " " forearm close to axilla 1 11-1/4 " " thigh close to body 3 0-3/4 " " thigh close above hock 1 6
I feel tempted to let my pen run away with me into descriptions of the exciting scenes of the past in the chase of this splendid creature—the noblest quarry that the sportsman can have, and the one that calls forth all his cunning and endurance. As I lately remarked in another publication, I know of no other animal of which the quest calls forth the combined characteristics of the ibex, the stag and the tiger-hunter. Some of my own experiences I have described in 'Seonee;' but let those who wish to learn the poetry of the thing read the glowing, yet not less true pages of Colonel Walter Campbell's 'Old Forest Ranger;' and for clear practical information, combined also with graphic description, the works of Captain J. Forsyth and Mr. G. P. Sanderson ('The Highlands of Central India' and 'Thirteen years among the Wild Beasts').
The gaur prefers hilly ground, though it is sometimes found on low levels. It is extremely shy and retiring in its habits, and so quick of hearing that extreme care has to be taken in stalking to avoid treading on a dry leaf or stick. I know to my cost that the labour of hours may be thrown away by a moment of impatience. In spite of all the wondrous tales of its ferocity, it is as a rule a timid, inoffensive animal. Solitary bulls are sometimes dangerous if suddenly come upon. I once did so, and the bull turned and dashed up-hill before I could get a shot, whereas a friend of mine, to whom a similar thing occurred a few weeks before, was suddenly charged, and his gun-bearer was knocked over. The gaur seldom leaves its jungles, but I have known it do so on the borders of the Sonawani forest, in order to visit a small tank at Untra near Ashta, and the cultivation in the vicinity suffered accordingly.
Hitherto most attempts to rear this animal when young have failed. It is said not to live over the third year. Though I offered rewards for calves for my collection, I never succeeded in getting one. I have successfully reared most of the wild animals of the Central provinces, but had not a chance of trying the bison.
NO. 465. GAVAEUS FRONTALIS. The Mithun or Gayal.
NATIVE NAMES.—Gayal, Gavi or Gabi, Gabi-bichal (male), Gabi-gai (female); Bunerea-goru in Chittagong and Assam; Mithun.
HABITAT.—The hilly tracts east of the Brahmaputra, at the head of the Assam valley, the Mishmi hills, in hill Tipperah, Chittagong, and then southwards through Burmah to the hills bordering on the Koladyne river.
DESCRIPTION.—Very like the gaur at first sight, but more clumsy looking; similarly coloured, but with a small dewlap; the legs are white as in the last species. In the skull the forehead is not concave as in the gaur, but flat, and if anything rather convex. The back has a dorsal ridge similar to that of the gaur.
The gayal is of a much milder disposition than the gaur, and is extensively domesticated, and on the frontiers of Assam is considered a valuable property by the people. The milk is rich and the flesh good. There are purely domesticated mithuns bred in captivity, but according to many writers the herds are recruited from the wild animals, which are tempted either to interbreed, or are captured and tamed. In Dr. F. Buchanan Hamilton's MS. (see Horsfield's 'Cat. Mammalia, E. I. C. Mus.') the following account is given: "These people (i.e. the inhabitants of the frontiers) have tame gayals, which occasionally breed, but the greater part of their stock is bred in the woods and caught; after which, being a mild animal, it is easily domesticated. The usual manner employed to catch the full-grown gayal is to surround a field of corn with a strong fence. One narrow entrance is left, in which is placed a rope with a running noose, which secures the gayal by the neck as he enters to eat the corn; of ten so caught perhaps three are hanged by the noose running too tight, and by the violence of their struggling. Young gayals are caught by leaving in the fence holes of a size sufficient to admit a calf, but which excludes the full-grown gayal; the calves enter by these holes, which are then shut by natives who are watching, and who secure the calves. The gayal usually goes in herds of from twenty to forty, and frequents dry valleys and the sides of hills covered with forest." Professor Garrod, in his Ungulata in Cassell's Natural History, quotes the following account from Mr. Macrae concerning the way in which the Kookies of the Chittagong hill regions catch the wild gayal: "On discovering a herd of wild gayals in the jungle they prepare a number of balls, the size of a man's head, composed of a particular kind of earth, salt and cotton. They then drive their tame gayals towards the wild ones, when the two herds soon meet and assimilate into one, the males of the one attaching themselves to the females of the other, and vice versa. The Kookies now scatter their balls over such parts of the jungles as they think the herd most likely to pass, and watch its motions. The gayals, on meeting these balls as they pass along, are attracted by their appearance and smell, and begin to lick them with their tongues, and, relishing the taste of the salt and the particular earth composing them, they never quit the place till all the balls are consumed. The Kookies, having observed the gayals to have once tasted their balls, prepare a sufficient supply of them to answer the intended purpose, and as the gayals lick them up they throw down more; and it is to prevent their being so readily destroyed that the cotton is mixed with the earth and the salt. This process generally goes on for three changes of the moon or for a month and a-half, during which time the tame and the wild gayals are always together, licking the decoy balls, and the Kookie, after the first day or two of their being so, makes his appearance at such a distance as not to alarm the wild ones. By degrees he approaches nearer and nearer, until at length the sight of him has become so familiar that he can advance to stroke his tame gayals on the back and neck without frightening the wild ones. He next extends his hand to them and caresses them also, at the same time giving them plenty of his decoy balls to lick. Thus, in the short space of time mentioned, he is able to drive them, along with the tame ones, to his parrah or village, without the least exertion of force; and so attached do the gayals become to the parrah, that when the Kookies migrate from one place to another, they always find it necessary to set fire to the huts they are about to abandon, lest the gayals should return to them from the new grounds."
NO. 466. GAVAEUS SONDAICUS. The Burmese Wild Ox.
NATIVE NAME.—Tsoing, Burmese; Banteng of the Javanese.
HABITAT.—"Pegu, the Tenasserim provinces, and the Malayan peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and Java; being domesticated in the island of Bali" (Blyth).
DESCRIPTION.—This animal resembles the gaur in many respects, and it is destitute of a dewlap, but the young and the females are bright chestnut. The bulls become black with age, excepting always the white stockings and a white patch on each buttock.
SIZE.—About the same as the last two species.
This animal has bred in captivity, and has also interbred with domestic cattle. Blyth says he saw in the Zoological Gardens of Amsterdam a bull, cow, and calf in fine condition. "The bull more especially has an indication of a hump, which, however, must be specially looked for to be noticed, and he has a broad and massive neck like the gaur, but no raised spinal ridge, nor has either of these species a deep dewlap like the gayal" ('Cat. Mamm. Burmah'). The banteng cow is much slighter in build, and has small horns that incline backwards, and she retains her bright chestnut colour permanently.
GENUS POEPHAGUS—THE YAK.
Somewhat smaller than the common ox, with large head; nose hairy, with a moderate sized bald muffle between nostrils; broad neck without dewlap; cylindrical horns; no hump or dorsal ridge, and long hair on certain parts of the body. Requires an intensely cold climate.
NO. 467. POEPHAGUS GRUNNIENS. The Yak or Grunting Ox.
NATIVE NAMES.—Yak, Bubul, Soora-goy, Dong, in Thibet; Bun-chowr, Hindi; Brong-dong, Thibetan.
HABITAT.—The high regions of Thibet and Ladakh, the valley of the Chang Chenmo, and the slopes of the Kara Koram mountains (Kinloch).
DESCRIPTION.—"In size it is somewhat less than the common or domestic ox. The head is large, and the neck proportionally broad, without any mane or dewlap, having a downward tendency; the horns are far apart, placed in front of the occipital ridge, cylindrical at the base, from which they rise obliquely outward and forward two-thirds of their length, when they bend inward with a semi-circular curve, the points being directed to each other from the opposite sides; the muffle is small; the border of the nostrils callous; the ears short and hairy. At the withers there is a slight elevation, but no protuberance or hump, as in the Indian ox. The dorsal ridge not prominent; body of full dimensions; rump and hinder parts proportionally large; limbs rather small and slender; hoofs smooth, square, and well defined, not expanded as in the musk-ox; anterior false hoofs small, posterior large; tail short, not reaching beyond the houghs, naked for some inches at the root, very bushy, lax, and expanded in the middle; colour black throughout, but varying in tint according to the character of the hairy covering; this, on the anterior parts, the neck, shoulders, back, and sides, is short, soft, and of a jet-black colour, but long, shaggy, pendulous, and shining on the sides of the anterior extremities, and from the medial part of the abdomen over the thighs to the hinder parts" (Horsfield, 'Cat. Mam. Ind. Mus.').
GENUS BUBALUS—THE BUFFALOS.
Horns very large, depressed and sub-trigonal at the base, attached to the highest line of the frontals, inclining upwards and backwards, conical towards the tip and bending upwards; muffle large, square. No hump or dorsal ridge; thirteen pairs of ribs; hoofs large.
NO. 468. BUBALUS ARNI. The Wild Buffalo (Jerdon's No. 239).
NATIVE NAMES.—Arna (male), Arni (female), Arna-bhainsa, Jangli-bhains, Hindi; Mung, Bhagulpore; Gera-erumi, Gondi; Karbo of the Malays; Moonding of the Sundanese.
HABITAT.—In the swampy terai at the foot of the hills from Oude to Bhotan, in the plains of Lower Bengal as far west as Tirhoot, in Assam and in Burmah, in Central India from Midnapore to Rajpore, and thence nearly to the Godavery; also in Ceylon.
DESCRIPTION.—This animal so closely resembles the common domesticated buffalo that it seems hardly necessary to attempt a description. The wild one may be a trifle larger, but every one in India is familiar with the huge, ungainly, stupid-looking creature, with its bulky frame, black and almost hairless body, back-sweeping horns, and long narrow head.
SIZE.—A large male will stand 19 hands at the shoulder and measure 10-1/4 feet from nose to root of tail, which is short, reaching only to the hocks. Horns vary greatly, but the following are measurements of large pairs: In the British Museum are a pair without the skull. These horns measure 6 feet 6 inches each, which would give, when on the head, an outer curve measurement of nearly 14 feet. Another pair in the British Museum measure on the skull 12 feet 2 inches from tip to tip and across the forehead, but these horns do not exactly correspond in length and shape.
The buffalo never ascends mountains like the bison, but keeps to low and swampy ground and open grass plains, living in large herds, which occasionally split up into smaller ones during the breeding season in autumn. The female produces one, or sometimes two in the summer, after a period of gestation of ten months.
Forsyth doubts their interbreeding with the domestic race, but I see no reason for this. The two are identically the same, and numerous instances have been known of the latter joining herds of their wild brethren; and I have known cases of the domestic animal absconding from a herd and running wild. Such a one was shot by a friend of mine in a jungle many miles from the haunts of men, but yet quite out of the range of the wild animal. Probably it had been driven from a herd. Domestic buffalo bulls are much used in the Central provinces for carrying purposes. I had them yearly whilst in camp, and noticed that one old bull lorded it over the others, who stood in great awe of him; at last one day there was a great uproar; three younger animals combined, and gave him such a thrashing that he never held up his head again. In a feral state he would doubtless have left the herd and become a solitary wanderer. Dr. Jerdon, in his 'Mammals of India,' says: "Mr. Blyth states it as his opinion that, except in the valley of the Ganges and Burrampooter, it has been introduced and become feral. With this view I cannot agree, and had Mr. Blyth seen the huge buffalos I saw on the Indrawutty river (in 1857), he would, I think, have changed his opinion. They have hitherto not been recorded, south of Raepore, but where I saw them is nearly 200 miles south. I doubt if they cross the Godavery river.
"I have seen them repeatedly, and killed several in the Purneah district. Here they frequent the immense tracts of long grass abounding in dense, swampy thickets, bristling with canes and wild roses; and in these spots, or in the long elephant-grass on the bank of jheels, the buffalos lie during the heat of the day. They feed chiefly at night or early in the morning, often making sad havoc in the fields, and retire in general before the sun is high. They are by no means shy (unless they have been much hunted), and even on an elephant, without which they could not be successfully hunted, may often be approached within good shooting distance. A wounded one will occasionally charge the elephant, and, as I have heard from many sportsmen, will sometimes overthrow the elephant. I have been charged by a small herd, but a shot or two as they are advancing will usually scatter them."
The buffalo is, I should say, a courageous animal—at least it shows itself so in the domesticated state. A number of them together will not hesitate to charge a tiger, for which purpose they are often used to drive a wounded tiger out of cover. A herdsman was once seized by a man-eater one afternoon a few hundred yards from my tent. His cows fled, but his buffalos, hearing his cries, rushed up and saved him.
The attachment evinced by these uncouth creatures to their keepers was once strongly brought to my notice in the Mutiny. In beating up the broken forces of a rebel Thakoor, whom we had defeated the previous day, I, with a few troopers, ran some of them to bay in a rocky ravine. Amongst them was a Brahmin who had a buffalo cow. This creature followed her master, who was with us as a prisoner, for the whole day, keeping at a distance from the troops, but within call of her owner's voice. When we made a short halt in the afternoon, the man offered to give us some milk; she came to his call at once, and we had a grateful draught, the more welcome as we had had nothing to eat since the previous night. That buffalo saved her master's life, for when in the evening the prisoners were brought up to court martial and sentenced to be hanged, extenuating circumstances were urged for our friend with the buffalo, and he was allowed to go, as I could testify he had not been found with arms in his hands; and I had the greatest pleasure in telling him to be off, and have nothing more to do with rebel Thakoors. Jerdon says the milk of the buffalo is richer than that of the cow. I doubt this. I know that in rearing wild animals buffalos' milk is better than cows' milk, which is far too rich, and requires plentiful dilution with water.
There is a very curious little animal allied to the buffalo, of which we have, or have had, a specimen in the Zoological Gardens at Alipore—the Anoa depressicornis; it comes from the Island of Celebes, and seems to link the buffalo with the deer. It is black, with short wavy hair.
* * * * *
Before passing on to the true Cervidae I must here place an animal commonly called a deer, and generally classed as such—the musk-deer according to some naturalists. There is no reason, save an insufficient one, that this creature should be so called and classed, there being much evidence in favour of its alliance to the antelopes. In the first place it has a gall bladder, which the Cervidae have not, with the exception, according to Dr. Crisp, of the axis ('P. Z. S.'). On the other hand it has large canine tusks like the muntjacs, deerlets, and water-deer, and, as these are all aberrant forms of the true Cervidae, there is no reason why the same character should not be developed in the antelopes. Its hair is more of the goat than the deer, and the total absence of horns removes a decided proof in favour of one or the other. The feet are more like some of the Bovidae than the generality of deer, with the exception, perhaps, of Rangifer (the reindeer), the toes being very much cloven and capable of grasping the rocky ground on which it is found. A very eminent authority, however, Professor Flower, is in favour of placing the musk-deer with the Cervidae, and he instances the absence of horns as in favour of this opinion, for in none of the Bovidae are the males hornless. There are many other points also, such as the fawns being spotted, some intestinal peculiarities, and the molar and premolar teeth being strictly cervine, which strengthen him in his opinion. (See article on the structure and affinities of the musk-deer, 'P. Z. S.' 1879, p. 159.)
GENUS MOSCHUS—THE MUSK DEER.
Canines in both sexes, very long and slender in the male; no horns; feet much cloven, with large false hoofs that touch the ground; the medium metacarpals fused into a solid cannon bone; in the skull the intermaxillaries join the nasals; hinder part of tarsus hairy; fur thick, elastic, and brittle; muffle large; no eye, feet, or groin-pits; a large gland or praeputial bag under the stomach in the males, which contains the secretion known in commerce as "musk."
NO. 469. MOSCHUS MOSCHIFERUS. The Musk Deer.
NATIVE NAMES.—Kastura, Hindi; Rous, Roos, and Kasture, in Kashmir; La-lawa, Thibetan; Rib-jo, Ladakhi; Bena in Kunawur (Jerdon); Mussuck-naba', Pahari (Kinloch).
HABITAT.—Throughout the Himalayas at elevations above 8000 feet, extending also through Central and Northern Asia as far as Siberia.
DESCRIPTION.—It is difficult to describe the colour of this animal, for it so constantly changes; and, as I do not know the creature personally, I think it better to give the recorded opinions of three writers who have had personal experience. Markham describes it as a dark speckled brownish-grey, nearly black on the hind-quarters, edged down the inside with reddish-yellow; the throat, belly, and legs lighter grey. Leith Adams ('P. Z. S.' 1858, p. 528) says: "Some are very dark on the upper parts, with black splashes on the back and hips; under-parts white or a dirty white. Others are of a yellowish-white all over the upper parts, with the belly and inner sides of the thighs white. A brownish-black variety is common, with a few white spots arranged longitudinally on the back—the latter I found were young." Kinloch writes: "The prevailing colour is brownish-grey, varying in shade on the back, where it is darkest, so as to give the animal a mottled or brindled appearance."
SIZE.—Length, about 3 feet; height, 22 inches.
The musk-deer is a forest-loving animal, keeping much to one locality. It bounds with amazing agility over the steepest ground, and is wonderfully sure-footed over the most rocky hills. It ruts in winter, produces one or two young, which are driven off in about six weeks' time by the mother to shift for themselves. They begin to produce at an early age—within a year. The musk bag is an abdominal or praeputial gland which secretes about an ounce of musk, worth from ten to fifteen rupees. It is most full in the rutting season; in the summer, according to Leith Adams, it hardly contains any. The musk does not seem to affect the flavour of the meat, which is considered excellent.
Of the horned ruminants these are the most interesting. In all parts of the world, Old and New, save the great continental island of Australia, one or other kind of stag is familiar to the people, and is the object of the chase. The oldest writings contain allusions to it, and it is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures.
"Like as the hart desireth the water brooks,"
sang David. It is bound up in history and romance, and the chase of it in England is to this day a royal pastime.
However, to come back from the poetry of the thing to dry scientific details, I must premise that the two main distinctions of the Cervidae, as separating them from the Bovidae, are horns which are not persistent, but annually shed, and the absence of a gall bladder, which is present in nearly all the Bovidae. The deer also, with one exception (the reindeer, Rangifer tarandus) have horns only in the males.
Regarding the shedding of these horns, it is supposed that the operation is connected with the sexual functions. It is a curious fact that castration has a powerful effect on this operation; if done early no horns appear; if later in life, the horns become persistent and are not shed.
Captain James Forsyth (in his 'Highlands of Central India'), was of opinion that the Sambar does not shed its horns annually, and states that this also is the opinion of native shikaris in Central India. This, however, requires further investigation. I certainly never heard of such a theory amongst them, nor noticed the departure from the normal state.
There have been several classifications of the Cervidae, but I think the most complete and desirable one is that of Sir Victor Brooke (see 'P. Z. S.' 1878, p. 883), which I shall endeavour to give in a condensed form. Dr. Gray's classification was based on three forms of antlers and the shape of the tail. But Sir Victor Brooke's is founded on more reliable osteological details. As I before stated in my introductory remarks on the Ruminantia, the first and fourth digits, there being no thumb, are but rudimentary, the metacarpal bones being reduced to mere splints; the digital phalanges are always in the same place, and bear the little false hoofs, which are situated behind and a little above the large centre ones, but the metacarpal splint is not always in the same place; it may either be annexed to the phalanges, or widely separated from them and placed directly under the carpus. The position of these splints is an important factor in the classification of the Cervidae into two divisions, distinguished by Sir Victor Brooke as the Plesiometacarpals, in which the splint is near the carpus, and the Telemetacarpals, in which the splint is far from the carpus, and articulated with the digital phalanges. All the known species of deer can be classified under these two heads; and it is a significant fact that this pedal division is borne out by certain cranial peculiarities discovered by Professor Garrod, and also, to a certain extent, by an arrangement of hair-tufts on the tarsus and metatarsus. In the Old World deer, which are with few exceptions Plesiometacarpi, those which have these tufts have them above the middle of the metatarsus, and those of the New World, which are, with one exception, Telemetacarpi, have them, when present, below the middle of the metatarsus.
There is also another character in addition to the cranial one before alluded to, which was also noticed by Professor Garrod. The first cranial peculiarity is that in Telemetacarpi, as a rule, the vertical plate developed from the lower surface of the vomer is prolonged sufficiently downwards and backwards to become anchylosed to the horizontal plate of the palatals, forming a septum completely dividing the nasal cavity into two chambers. In the Plesiometacarpi this vertical plate is not sufficiently developed to reach the horizontal plate of the palatals. The second cranial peculiarity is that in the Old World deer (Plesiometacarpi), the ascending rami of the premaxillae articulate with the nasals with one or two exceptions, whereas in the New World deer (Telemetacarpi), with one or two exceptions, the rami of the premaxillae do not reach the nasals. It will thus be seen that the osteological characters of the head and feet agree in a singularly fortunate manner, and, when taken in connection with the external signs afforded by the metatarsal tufts, prove conclusively the value of the system. In India we have to deal exclusively with the Plesiometacarpi, our nearest members of the other division being the Chinese water-deer (Hydropotes inermis), and probably Capreolus pygargus from Yarkand, the horns of a roebuck in velvet attached to a strip of skin having been brought down by the Mission to that country in 1873-74.
Now comes the more difficult task of subdividing these sections into genera—a subject which has taxed the powers of many naturalists, and which is still in a far from perfect state. To all proposed arrangements some exception can be taken, and the following system is not free from objection, but it is on the whole the most reliable; and this system is founded on the form of the antler, which runs from a single spike, as in the South American Coassus, to the many branches of the red deer (Cervus elaphas); and all the various changes on which we found genera are in successive stages produced in the red deer, which we may accept as the highest development; for instance, the stag in its first year develops but a single straight "beam" antler, when it is called a "brocket," and it is the same as the South American brocket (Coassus). On this being shed the next spring produces a small branch from the base of this beam, called the brow antler, which is identical almost with the single bifurcated horn of the Furcifer from Chili. The stag is then technically known as a "spayad." In the third year an extra front branch is formed, known as the tres-tine. The antler then resembles the rusine type, of which our sambar stag is an example. In the fourth year the top of the main beam throws out several small tines called "sur-royals," and the brow antler receives an addition higher up called the "bez-tine." The animal is then a "staggard." In the fifth year the "sur-royals" become more numerous, and the whole antler heavier in the "stag," whose next promotion is to that of "great hart" of ten or more points. The finest heads are found in the German forests. Sir Victor Brooke alludes to some in the hunting Schloss of Moritzburg of the 15th to 17th century, of enormous size, bearing from 25 to 50 points—50 inches round the outside curve, 10 inches in circumference round the smallest part of the beam, and of one of which the spread between the coronal tines is 74 inches. Professor Garrod mentions one as having sixty-six points, and states that Lord Powerscourt has in his possession a pair with forty-five tines. The deer with which we have to deal range from the elaphine, or red deer type, to the simple bifurcated antler of the muntjac, which consists of a beam and brow antler only. We then come to the rusine type of three points only—brow, tres, and royal tines, and of this number are also the spotted and hog deer of India, but the arrangement of the tines is different; and following the rusine type comes the rucervine, in which the tres and royal tines break out into points—the tres-tine usually bifurcate, and the royal with two, three or more points. The arrangements of the main limbs of the horns is strictly rusine—that is to say, the external and anterior tine is equal to or shorter than the royal tine, whereas it is the reverse in the axis (spotted deer), and therefore this genus should come between the two. Even in the sambar and axis there is a tendency to throw out abnormal tines. There are many examples in the Indian Museum, and I possess a magnificent head which bears a large abnormal tine on one horn, and a faint inclination in the corresponding spot on the other horn to do likewise. I have no doubt, had the animal lived another year, the second extra tine would have been developed. Professor Garrod has three phases of the rucervine type, which he calls the normal, the intermediate, and the extreme. The first has both branches of the beam, tres and royal of equal size (ex. Schomburgk's deer); the second has the tres-tine larger than the royal (ex. our swamp deer); and the extreme type is that in which the royal is represented merely by a snag, the whole horn being bent forward (ex. the Burmese Panolia Eldii). The true cervine type of horn I have already described in its progress from youth to age. The Kashmir and Sikim stags are the representatives of this form in India. In Japan there is an intermediate form in Cervus sika which has no bez-tine.
Deer have large eye-pits, but no groin-pits; feet-pits in all four, or sometimes only in the hind feet. The female has four mammae.
At the time of reproduction of the antlers a strong determination of blood to the head takes place, enlarging the vessels, and a fibro-cartilaginous substance is formed, which grows rapidly, and takes the form of the antler of the species. The horns in their early stage are soft and full of blood-vessels on the surface, covered with a delicate skin, with fine close-set hairs commonly called the velvet.
"As the horns ossify the periosteal veins become enlarged, grooving the external surface; the arteries are enclosed by hard osseus tubercles at the base of the horns, which coalesce and render them impervious, and, the supply of nutriment being thus cut off, the envelopes shrivel up and fall off, and the animals perfect the desquamation by rubbing their horns against trees, technically called 'burnishing.'"—Jerdon.
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We now begin with the simplest form of tine we have, viz. with one basal snag only.
GENUS CERVULUS—THE MUNTJACS OR RIB-FACED DEER.
Of small size, slightly higher at the croup than at the shoulders; short tail; large pits in hind feet; no groin-pits; no tuft on the metatarsus. This genus is specially characterised, according to Sir Victor Brooke, by the absence of the lateral digital phalanges on all four feet; the proximal ends of the metacarpals are however present; horns situated on high pedicles of bone, covered with hair, continued down the face in two longitudinal ridges, between which the skin is ridged or puckered; horns small, composed of a single beam with a basal snag; skull with a very large, deep sub-orbital pit; forehead concave; large canine tusks in the upper jaw; moderate, moist muffle.
NO. 470. CERVULUS MUNTJAC vel AUREUS. The Muntjac or Rib-faced Deer (Jerdon's No. 223).
NATIVE NAMES.—Kakur, Bherki, Jangli-bakra, Hindi; Maya Bengali; Ratwa, in Nepal; Karsiar, Bhotia; Siku or Suku, Lepcha; Gutra, Gutri, Gondi; Bekra or Baikur, Mahrathi; Kankuri, Canarese; Kuka-gori, Telegu; Gee, Burmese; Kidang, Javanese; Muntjac, Sundanese; Kijang, Malayan of Sumatra; Welly or Hoola-mooha, Singhalese.
HABITAT.—India, Burmah, Ceylon, the Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Hainan, Banka and Borneo.
DESCRIPTION.—Between the facial ridges the creases are dark brown, with a dark line running up the inside of each frontal pedestal; all the rest of the head and upper parts a bright rufous bay; chin, throat, inside of hind-legs, and beneath tail, white; some white spots in front of the fetlocks of all four legs; fore-legs from the shoulder downwards, the legs under the tarsal joints, and a line in front of hind-legs, dark blackish-brown. The doe is a little smaller, and has little black bristly knobs where the horns of the buck are.
SIZE.—Head and body, about 3-1/2 feet; tail, 7 inches; height, 26 to 28 inches. Jerdon gives the size of the horn 8 to 10 inches, but in this he doubtless included the pedicle, which is about 5 inches, and the horns, from 2 to 5 inches. Of the only specimen I have at present in my collection the posterior measurement from cranium to tip of horn is 6-1/2 inches, of which the bony pedicle is 3 inches.
It is a question whether we should separate the Indian from the Malayan animal. The leading authority of the day on the Cervidae, Sir Victor Brooke, was of opinion some time back (see 'P. Z. S.,' 1874, p. 38), that the species were identical. He says: "In a large collection of the skins, skulls, and horns of this species, which I have received from all parts of India and Burmah, and in a considerable number of living specimens which I have examined, I have observed amongst adult animals so much difference in size and intensity of coloration that I have found it impossible to retain the muntjac of Java and Sumatra as a distinct species. The muntjacs from the south of India are, as a rule, smaller than those from the north, as is also the case with the axis and Indian antelope. But even this rule is subject to many exceptions. I have received from Northern India perfectly adult, and even slightly aged, specimens of both muntjac and axis inferior in size to the average as presented by these species in Southern India. These small races are always connected with particular areas, and are doubtless the result of conditions sufficiently unfavourable to prevent the species reaching the full luxuriance of growth and beauty of which it is capable, though not sufficiently rigorous to prevent its existence." In a later article on the Cervidae, written four years afterwards, he seems, however, to qualify his opinion in the following words: "This species appears to attain a larger size in Java, Sumatra, and Borneo than it does on the mainland; and I think it not improbable that persistent race characters may eventually be found distinguishing the muntjac of these islands from that of British India."
The rib-face is a retiring little animal, and is generally found alone, or at times in pairs. Captain Baldwin mentions four having been seen together at one time, and General McMaster mentions three; but these are rare cases.
It is very subtle in its movements, carrying its head low, and creeping, as Hodgson remarks, like a weasel under tangled thickets and fallen timber. In captivity I have found it to be a coarse feeder, and would eat meat of all kinds greedily.
Its canine teeth are very long and sharp, and have a certain amount of play in the socket, but I am unable to state whether they are ever used for any purpose, whether of utility or defence. Its call is a hoarse, sharp bark, whence it takes its name of barking deer. What Jerdon says about the length of its tongue is true; it can certainly lick a good portion of its face with it.
For excellent detailed accounts of this little deer I must refer my readers to Kinloch's 'Large Game Shooting,' and a letter by "Hawkeye," quoted by McMaster's 'Notes on Jerdon.' My space here will not allow of my quoting largely or giving personal experience, but both the above articles, as well as Captain Baldwin's notice, nearly exhaust the literature on this subject in a popular way.
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The next development of antler is the rusine type, in which the main beam divides at the top into two branches, making with the basal tine a horn of three points only.
GENUS RUSA—THE RUSINE DEER.
Antlers with a brow tine, the beam bifurcating into a tres and royal tine; muffle large; lachrymal fossa large and deep; ante-orbital vacuity very large; rudimentary canines in both sexes, except in the hog deer; tail of moderate length; no feet-pits. The males heavily maned.
NO. 471. RUSA ARISTOTELIS. The Sambar (Jerdon's No. 220).
NATIVE NAMES.—Sambar or Samhar, Hindi; Jerai and Jerao in the Himalayas; Maha in the Terai; Meru, Mahrathi; Ma-oo, Gondi; Kadavi or Kadaba, Canarese; Kannadi, Telegu; Ghous or Gaoj, Eastern Bengal, the female Bholongi (Jerdon); Schap, Burmese (Blyth); Gona-rusa, Singhalese (Kellaart).
HABITAT.—Throughout India from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin; through Assam round to the east of the Bay of Bengal, down through Burmah to the Malay peninsula; it is also found in Ceylon.
DESCRIPTION.—The sambar stag is a grand animal, with fine erect carriage, heavily maned neck, and with massive horns of the rusine type. In size it is considerably larger than the red deer, and, though its horns are not so elegant, it is in its tout ensemble quite as striking an animal. In colour it is dark brown, somewhat slaty in summer; the chin, inside of limbs and tail, and a patch on the buttocks yellowish or orange yellow. The head of the sambar is very fine; the eye large and full, with immense eye-pits, which can be almost reversed or greatly dilated during excitement. The ears are large and bell-shaped, and the throat surrounded by a shaggy mane—truly a noble creature. The female and young are lighter.
SIZE.—A large stag will stand 14 hands at the withers, the length of the body being from 6 to 7 feet; tail about a foot; ears 7 to 8 inches. The average size of horns is about 3 feet, but some are occasionally found over 40 inches. Jerdon says: "some are recorded 4 feet along the curvature; the basal antler 10 to 12 inches or more." A very fine pair, with skull, in my own collection, which I value much, show the following measurements: right horn, 45 inches; left horn, 43 inches; brow antler from burr to tip, 18-1/4 inches circumference; just above the burr, 9 inches; circumference half-way up the beam, 7-1/4 inches. On the right horn underneath the tres-tine is an abnormal snag 9 inches long. The left horn has an indication of a similar branch, there being a small point, which I have no doubt would have been more fully developed had the animal lived another year.
I have had no experience of deer-shooting in the regions inhabited by the Kashmir and Sikim stags, which are approximate to our English red deer; but no sportsman need wish for a nobler quarry than a fine male sambar.
As I write visions of the past rise before me—of dewy mornings ere the sun was up; the fresh breeze at daybreak, and the waking cry of the koel and peacock, or the call of the painted partridge; then, as we move cautiously through the jungle that skirts the foot of the rocky range of hills, how the heart bounds when, stepping behind a sheltering bush, we watch the noble stag coming leisurely up the slope! How grand he looks!—with his proud carriage and shaggy, massive neck, sauntering slowly up the rise, stopping now and then to cull a berry, or to scratch his sides with his wide, sweeping antlers, looming large and almost black through the morning mists, which have deepened his dark brown hide, reminding one of Landseer's picture of 'The Challenge.' Stalking sambar is by far the most enjoyable and sportsmanlike way of killing them, but more are shot in battues, or over water when they come down to drink. According to native shikaris the sambar drinks only every third day, whereas the nylgao drinks daily; and this tallies with my own experience—in places where sambar were scarce I have found a better chance of getting one over water when the footprints were about a couple of days old. An exciting way of hunting this animal is practised by the Bunjaras, or gipsies of Central India. They fairly run it to bay with dogs, and then spear it. I have given in 'Seonee' a description of the modus operandi.
When wounded or brought to bay the sambar is no ignoble foe; even a female has an awkward way of rearing up and striking out with her fore-feet. A large hind in my collection at Seonee once seriously hurt the keeper in this manner.
Those who have read 'The Old Forest Ranger,' by Colonel Campbell, have read in it one of the finest descriptions of the stalking of this noble animal. I almost feel tempted to give it a place here; but it must give way to an extract from a less widely known, though as graphic a writer, "Hawkeye," whose letters to the South of India Observer deserve a wider circulation. I cannot find space for more than a few paragraphs, but from them the reader may judge how interesting the whole article is:—
"The hill-side we now are on rapidly falls towards the river below, where it rushes over a precipice, forming a grand waterfall, beautiful to behold. The hill-side is covered with a short, scrubby rough-leafed plant, about a foot and a-half high. Bending low, we circle round the shoulder of the slope, beyond the wood. The quick eye of the stalker catches sight of a hind's ears, at the very spot he hoped for. The stag must be nigh.
"Down on all-fours we move carefully along, the stalker keenly watching the ears. A short distance gained, and the hind detects the movement of our heads. At the same moment the upper tines of the stag's antlers are in sight; he lies to the right of the hind, about 120 yards distant, hidden by an inequality of the ground. Be still, oh beating heart! Be quiet, oh throbbing pulse! Steady, oh shaky hand, or all your toil is vain! Onward, yet only a few paces! Be not alarmed, oh cautious hind! We care not for you. Crouching still lower, we gain ground; the head and neck of our noble quarry are in sight; the hind still gazes intensely. Presently she elongates her neck in a most marvellous manner. We still gain. On once more we move, when up starts the hind. We know that in another moment she will give the warning bell, and all will vanish. The time for action has arrived. We alter our position in a second, bring the deadly weapon to bear on the stag; quickly draw a steady bead, hugging the rifle with all our might, and fire! The hinds flash across our vision like the figures in a magic lantern, and the stag lies weltering in his couch."
Horns of the rusine type, but with the tres-tine longer than the royal or posterior tine; beam much bent; horns paler and smoother than in the sambar; large muffle and eye-pits; canines moderate; feet-pits in the hind-feet only; also groin-pits; tail of moderate length; skin spotted with white; said to possess a gall-bladder.
NO. 472. AXIS MACULATUS. The Spotted Deer (Jerdon's No. 221).
NATIVE NAMES.—Chital, Chitra, Chritri-jhank (the male), Hindi; Chatidah in Bhagulpore; Boro-khotiya, Bengali at Rungpore; Buriya, in Gorukpore; Saraga, Canarese; Dupi, Telegu; Lupi, Gondi (Jerdon); Tic-mooha, Singhalese (Kellaart); Sarga, Jati, Mikka, Canarese (Sanderson).
HABITAT.—Throughout India, with the exception of the Punjab; nor is it found, I believe, in the countries east of the Bay of Bengal. It is however obtained in Ceylon, where it has been classed by Kellaart as a distinct species, A. oryzeus.
DESCRIPTION.—General colour like that of the English fallow deer, yellowish or rufous fawn, spotted with white; the spots on the sides low down assuming an elongated shape, forming lines; a dark dorsal stripe from nape to tail; head brownish, unspotted; muzzle dark; ears dark externally, white within; chin, throat, and under-parts whitish, as also the inside of limbs and tail; the horns frequently throw out snags on the brow antler.
SIZE.—Length, 4-1/2 to 5 feet. Height at shoulder, 36 to 38 inches. I regret I cannot give accurate measurements just now of horns, as I am writing on board ship, with all my specimens and most of my books boxed up, but I should say 30 inches an average good horn. Jerdon does not give any details.
This deer is generally found in forests bordering streams. I have never found it at any great distance from water; it is gregarious, and is found in herds of thirty and forty in favourable localities. Generally spotted deer and lovely scenery are found together, at all events in Central India. The very name chital recalls to me the loveliest bits of the rivers of the Central provinces, the Nerbudda, the Pench, the Bangunga, and the bright little Hirrie. Where the bamboo bends over the water, and the kouha and saj make sunless glades, there will be found the bonny dappled hides of the fairest of India's deer. There is no more beautiful sight in creation than a chital stag in a sun-flecked dell when—
"Ere his fleet career he took The dewdrops from his flanks he shook; Like crested leader, proud and high, Toss'd his beam'd frontlet to the sky; A moment gazed adown the dale, A moment snuff'd the tainted gale, A moment listen'd to the cry That thicken'd as the chase drew nigh; Then, as the headmost foes appeared, With one brave bound the copse he clear'd."
Here I may fitly quote again from "Hawkeye," whose descriptions are charming: "Imagine a forest glade, the graceful bamboo arching overhead, forming a lovely vista, with here and there bright spots and deep shadows—the effect of the sun's rays struggling to penetrate the leafy roof of nature's aisle. Deep in the solitude of the woods see now the dappled herd, and watch the handsome buck as he roams here and there in the midst of his harem, or, browsing amongst the bushes, exhibits his graceful antlers to the lurking foe, who by patient woodcraft has succeeded in approaching his unsuspecting victim; observe how proudly he holds himself, as some other buck of less pretensions dares to approach the ladies of the group; see how he advances, as on tiptoe, all the hair of his body standing on end, and with a thundering rush drives headlong away this bold intruder, and then comes swaggering back! But, hark—a twig has broken! Suddenly the buck wheels round, facing the quarter whence the sound proceeded. Look at him now, and say, is he not a quarry well worth the hunter's notice?
"With head erect, antlers thrown back, his white throat exposed, his tail raised, his whole body gathered together, prepared to bound away into the deep forest in the twinkling of an eye, he stands a splendid specimen of the cervine tribe. We will not kill him; we look and admire! A doe suddenly gives that imperceptible signal to which I have formerly alluded, and the next moment the whole herd has dashed through the bamboo alleys, vanishing from sight—a dappled hide now and again gleaming in the sunlight as its owner scampers away to more distant haunts."
Jerdon is a follower of Hodgson, who was of opinion that there are two species of spotted deer—a larger and smaller, the latter inhabiting Southern India; but there is no reason for adopting this theory; both Blyth, Gray, and others have ignored this, and the most that can be conceded is that the southern animal is a variety owing to climatic conditions. Multiplication of species is a thing to be avoided of all naturalists—I have, therefore, not separated them. McMaster too writes: "I cannot agree with Jerdon that there are two species of spotted deer." And he had experience in Southern India as well as in other parts. He states that the finest chital he ever came across were found in the forests in Goomsoor, where, he adds, "as in every other part of Orissa, both spotted deer and sambar are, I think, more than usually large."
NO. 473. AXIS PORCINUS. The Hog Deer (Jerdon's No. 222).
NATIVE NAMES.—Para, Hindi; Jerdon also gives Khar-laguna, Nepal Terai; Sugoria also in some parts. Nuthurini-haran in some parts of Bengal; Weel-mooha, Singhalese (Kellaart).
HABITAT.—Throughout India, though scarce in the central parts; it is abundant in Assam and Burmah, and is also found in Ceylon, but is stated not to occur in Malabar.
DESCRIPTION.—"Light chestnut or olive-brown, with an eye-spot; the margin of the lips, the tail beneath, limbs within, and abdomen, white—in summer many assume a paler and more yellow tint, and get a few white spots, and the old buck assumes a dark slaty colour; the horns resemble those of a young spotted deer, with both the basal and upper tines very small, the former pointing directly upwards at a very acute angle, and the latter directed backwards and inwards, nearly at a right angle, occasionally pointing downwards" (Jerdon). McMaster says: "I can corroborate Jerdon's statement that the young of this deer are beautifully spotted; but, although I have seen many specimens, dead and alive, and still more of the skins while I was in Burmah, I do not remember having remarked the few white spots which he says many of them assume in summer." The fawns lose their spots at about six months.
SIZE.—Length, 42 to 44 inches; tail, 8 inches; height, 27 to 28. Average length of horns, 15 to 16 inches.
This animal is seldom found in forest land; it seems to prefer open grass jungle, lying sheltered during the day in thick patches, and lies close till almost run upon by beaters or elephants. Its gait is awkward, with some resemblance to that of a hog carrying its head low; it is not speedy, and can easily be run down by dogs in the open. McMaster writes: "Great numbers of these deer are each season killed by Burmans, being mobbed with dogs." The meat is fair. Hog deer are not gregarious like chital; they are usually solitary, though found occasionally in pairs.
The horns are shed about April, and the rutting season is September and October. This species and the spotted deer have interbred, and the hybrid progeny survived.
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The next stage from the rusine to the cervine or elaphine type is the rucervine. In this the tres-tine, as well as the royal tine, throw out branches, and in the normal rucervine type the tres and royal are equal as in Schomburgk's deer, but in the extreme type, Panolia or Rucervus Eldii of Burmah, the tres-tine is greatly developed, whilst the royal is reduced to a mere snag. The Indian swamp-deer (Rucervus Duvaucelli) is intermediate, both tres and royal tines are developed, but the former is much larger than the royal. In none of the rucervine forms is the bez-tine produced.
Horns as above; muzzle pointed. Canines in males only.
NO. 474. RUCERVUS DUVAUCELLI. The Swamp-Deer (Jerdon's No. 219).
NATIVE NAMES.—Bara-singha, Hindi; Baraya and Maha in the Nepal Terai; Jhinkar in Kyarda Doon; Potiyaharan at Monghyr (Jerdon); Goen or Goenjak (male), Gaoni (female), in Central India.
HABITAT.—"In the forest lands at the foot of the Himalayas, from the Kyarda Doon to Bhotan. It is very abundant in Assam, inhabiting the islands and churs of the Berhampooter, extending down the river in suitable spots to the eastern Sunderbunds. It is also stated to occur near Monghyr, and thence extends sparingly through the great forest tract of Central India" (Jerdon's 'Mamm. Ind.'). I have found it in abundance in the Raigarh Bichia tracts of Mundla, at one time attached to the Seonee district, but now I think incorporated in the new district of Balaghat. In the open valleys, studded with sal forest, of the Thanwur, Halone, and Bunjar tributaries of the Nerbudda, may be found bits reminding one of English parks, with noble herds of this handsome deer. It seems to love water and open country. McMaster states that it is found in the Golcondah Zemindary near Daraconda.
DESCRIPTION.—Smaller and lighter than the sambar. Colour rich light yellow or chestnut in summer, yellowish-brown in winter, sometimes very light, paler below and inside the limbs, white under the tail. The females are lighter; the young spotted.
SIZE.—Height, about 44 to 46 inches; horns, about 36 inches. They have commonly from twelve to fourteen points, but Jerdon states he has seen them with seventeen.
Like the spotted deer this species is gregarious; one writer, speaking of them in Central India, says: "The plain stretched away in gentle undulations towards the river, distant about a mile, and on it were three large herds of bara singhas feeding at one time; the nearest was not more than five hundred yards away from where I stood. There must have been at least fifty of them—stags, hinds, and fawns, feeding together in a lump, and outside the herd grazed three most enormous stags" ('Indian Sporting Review,' quoted by Jerdon).
NO. 475. RUCERVUS vel PANOLIA ELDII. The Brown Antlered or Eld's Deer.
NATIVE NAMES.—Thamin, in Burmah; Sungrai or Sungnaie, in Munipur, Eastern Himalayas, Terai, Munipur, Burmah, Siam, and the Malay peninsula.
DESCRIPTION.—In body similar to the last, but with much difference in the horns, the tres-tine being greatly developed at the expense of the royal, which gives the antlers a forward cast; the brow-tine is also very long. In summer it is a light rufous brown, with a few faint indications of white spots; the under-parts and insides of ears nearly white; the tail short and black above. It is said to become darker in winter instead of lighter as in the last species.
SIZE.—Height from 12 to 13 hands.
This deer, which is identical with Cervus frontalis and Hodgson's Cervus dimorpha, and which was discovered in 1838 by Captain Eld, has been well described by Lieutenant R. C. Beavan. The following extracts have been quoted by Professor Garrod; the full account will be found in the 'Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.' The food of this species seems to consist of grass and wild paddy. "In habits they are very wary and difficult of approach, especially the males. They are also very timid and easily startled. The males, however, when wounded and brought to bay with dogs, get very savage, and charge vigorously. On being disturbed they invariably make for the open instead of resorting to the heavy jungle, like hog deer and sambar. In fact the thamyn is essentially a plain-loving species; and although it will frequent tolerably open tree-jungle for the sake of its shade, it will never venture into dense and matted underwood. When first started the pace of the thamyn is great. It commences by giving three or four large bounds, like the axis or spotted deer, and afterwards settles down into a long trot, which it will keep up for six or seven miles on end when frequently disturbed."
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The next phase of development of which we have examples in India is the true cervine or elaphine type of horn in which the brow-tine is doubled by the addition of the bez; the royal is greatly enlarged at the expense of the tres-tine, and breaks out into the branches known as the sur-royals.
Horns as above, muzzle pointed, muffle large and broad, with a hairy band above the lip; hair coarse, and usually deep brown, with a light and sometimes almost white disc or patch round the tail, which is very short; eye-pits moderate.
NO. 476. CERVUS CASHMIRIANUS. The Kashmir Stag (Cervus Wallichii of Jerdon, No. 217).
NATIVE NAMES.—Hangul or Honglu in Kashmir; Barasingha, Hindi.
HABITAT.—Kashmir. Jerdon also gives out that it is found throughout great part of Western and Central Asia, as far as the eastern shores of the Euxine Sea, and that it is common in Persia, where it is called maral; but according to careful observations made by Sir Victor Brooke the maral is a distinct species, to which I will allude further on. In Kashmir it frequents the Sind valley and its offshoots; the country above also.
DESCRIPTION.—Brownish-ash, darker along the dorsal line; caudal disk white, with a dark border; sides and limbs paler; ears light coloured; lips and chin and a circle round eyes white. The male has very long and shaggy hair on the lower part of the neck. The colour of the coat varies but little; at times it is liver-coloured or liver-brown, sometimes "bright pale rufous chestnut," with reddish patches on the inner sides of the hips. Jerdon says: "The belly of the male is dark brown, contrasting with the pale ashy hue of the lower part of the flanks; the legs have a pale dusky median line. In females the whole lower parts are albescent."
SIZE.—Length, 7 to 7-1/2 feet; height, 12 to 13 hands; tail, 5 inches. The horns are very large and massive, with from ten to fifteen, or even more, points. Jerdon states that even eighteen points have been counted, but such cases are rare. Dr. Leith Adams says the largest he ever measured were four feet round the curves. "A. E. W." in his interesting papers on Kashmir game, published in The Asian, gives the following measurements of two heads:—
Inches. Inches. Length of horns. 47 46 Girth above brow antler. 7-3/4 8 Divergency at tips. Greatest. 56 50 Least. 29 32 Where obtained. Sindh Valley Sindh Valley
I once saw a beautiful head at a railway-station, the property of an officer who had just come down from Kashmir, the horns of which appeared to me enormous. The owner afterwards travelled with me in the train, and gave me his card, which I regret I lost, and, having forgotten his name, I was never enabled to write to him, either on the subject of the horns or to send him some papers he wanted on Asiatic sheep.
Dr. Leith Adams writes: "They (the horns) are shed in March, and the new horn is not completely formed till the end of October, when the rutting season commences, and the loud bellowings of the stags are heard all over the mountains." Of this bellowing Sir Victor Brooke says it is just like the voice of the Wapiti stag, which this animal closely resembles, and is quite different from that of the red deer. "In the former it is a loud squeal, ending in a more gutteral tone; in the latter it is a distinct roar, resembling that of a panther." Sir Victor Brooke also points out another peculiarity in this deer: namely, that "the second brow antler (bez) in Cervus Cashmirianus, with very rare exceptions, exceeds the brow antler in length; a peculiarity by which the antlers of this species may be distinguished from those of its allies."
The female gives birth in April, and the young are spotted.
The points on which this stag differs from the maral are the longer and more pointed head of the latter.
NO. 477. CERVUS AFFINIS vel WALLICHII. The Sikhim Stag (Jerdon's No. 218).
NATIVE NAME.—Shou, Thibetan.
HABITAT.—Eastern Himalayas; Thibet in the Choombi valley, on the Sikhim side of Thibet.
DESCRIPTION.—Jerdon describes this stag as "of very large size; horns bifurcated at the tip in all specimens yet seen; horns pale, smooth, rounded, colour a fine clear grey in winter, with a moderately large disk; pale rufous in summer." Hodgson writes of the horns: "Pedicles elevate; burrs rather small; two basal antlers, nearly straight, so forward in direction as to overshadow the face to the end of the nasal; larger than the royal antlers; median or royal antlers directed forward and upwards; beam with a terminal fork, the prongs radiating laterally and equally, the inner one longest and thinnest." Jerdon adds: "Compared with the Kashmir stag this one has the beam still more bent at the origin of the median tine, and thus more removed from C. elaphus, and like C. Wallichii (C. Cashmirianus)." The second basal tine or bez antler is generally present, even in the second pair of horns assumed. Moreover the simple bifurcation of the crown mentioned above is a still more characteristic point of difference both from the Kashmir barasingha and the stag of Europe.
Regarding the nomenclature of this species there seems to be some uncertainty. Jerdon himself was doubtful whether the shou was not C. Wallichii, and the Kashmir stag C. Cashmirianus. He says: "It is a point reserved for future travellers and sportsmen to ascertain the limits of C. Wallichii east and C. affinis west, for, as Dr. Sclater remarks, it would be contrary to all analogy to find two species of the same type inhabiting one district."
Sir Victor Brooke writes: "Should Cervus Wallichii (Cuvier) prove to be specifically identical with Cervus affinis (Hodgson), the former name, having priority, must stand."
SIZE.—Length, about 8 feet; height at shoulders, 4-1/2 to 5 feet. Horns quoted by Jerdon 54 inches round curve, 47 inches in divergence between the two outer snags. Longest basal tine, 12 inches; the medians, 8 inches.
* * * * *
An allied stag, Cervus maral, is found in Circassia and Persia. Sir Victor Brooke mentions a pair kept for some years in one of his parks, which never interbred with the red deer, and kept apart from them. "The old stag maral, though considerably larger in size, lived in great fear of the red deer stag." Another very fine species, Cervus Eustephanus, was discovered by Mr. W. Blanford inhabiting the Thian Shan mountains. As yet it is only known from its antlers, which are of great size, and in their flattened crowns closely resemble Wapiti horns.
TRAGULIDAE—THE CHEVROTIANS OR DEERLETS.
Animals of small size and delicate graceful form, which are separated from the deer and oxen by certain peculiarities which approximate them to the swine in their feet. They are, however, ruminants, having the complex stomach, composed of paunch, honeycomb-bag and reed, the manyplies being almost rudimentary; but in the true ruminants the two centre metacarpals are fused into a single bone, whilst the outer ones are rudimentary. In the pig all the metacarpal bones are distinct, and the African Tragulus closely resembles it. The Asiatic ones have the two centre bones fused, but the inner and outer ones are entire and distinct as in the swine. The legs are, however, remarkably delicate, and so slight as to be not much thicker than an ordinary lead pencil. The males have pendant tusks, like those of the musk and rib-faced deer.
Has the hinder part of metatarsus bald and callous.
NO. 478. TRAGULUS NAPU. The Javan Deerlet.
HABITAT.—Tenasserim and the Malay countries.
DESCRIPTION.—Above rusty brown, with three whitish stripes; under-parts white, tail tipped with white, muzzle black.
* * * * *
Tragulus kauchil is another Malayan species yet smaller than the preceding; it may be found in Tenasserim. It is darker in colour than the last, especially along the back, with a broad black band across the chest.
Hinder edge of metatarsus covered with hair.
NO. 479. MEMINNA INDICA. Indian Mouse Deer.
NATIVE NAMES.—Pisuri, Pisora, Pisai, Hindi and Mahratti; Mugi in Central India; Turi-maoo, Gondi; Jitri-haran, Bengali; Gandwa, Ooria; Yar of the Koles; Wal-mooha, Singhalese.
HABITAT.—In all the large forests of India; but is not known, according to Jerdon, in the countries eastward of the Bay of Bengal. It is common in the bamboo forests of the Central provinces, where I obtained it on several occasions.
DESCRIPTION.—"Above olivaceous, mixed with yellow grey; white below; sides of the body with yellowish-white lines formed of interrupted spots, the upper rows of which are joined to those of the opposite side by some transverse spots; ears reddish-brown" (Jerdon). The colour however varies; some are darker than others.
SIZE.—Length, 22 to 23 inches; tail, 1-1/2 inches; height, 10 to 12 inches. Weight, 5 to 6 lbs.
The above measurements and weight are taken from Jerdon. Professor Garrod (Cassell's Nat. His.) gives eighteen inches for length and eight inches for height, which is nearer the size of those I have kept in confinement; but mine were young animals. They are timid and delicate, but become very tame, and I have had them running loose about the house. They trip about most daintily on the tips of their toes, and look as if a puff of wind would blow them away.
They are said to rut in June and July, and bring forth two young about the end of the rainy season.
TRIBE TYLOPODA—THE CAMELS.
This name, which is derived from the Greek [Greek: tulos], a swelling, pad, or knot, and [Greek: pous], a foot, is applied to the camels and llamas, whose feet are composed of toes protected by cushion-like soles, and not by a horny covering like those of the Artiodactyli generally. The foot of the camel consists of two toes tipped by small nails, and protected by soft pads which spread out laterally when pressed on the ground. The two centre metacarpal bones are fused into one cannon bone, and the phalanges of the outer and inner digits which are more or less traceable in all the other families of the Artiodactyli are entirely absent.
The dentition of the camel too is somewhat different from the rest of the Ruminantia, for in the front of the upper jaw there are two teeth placed laterally, one on each side, whereas in all other ruminating animals there are no cutting teeth in the upper jaw—only a hard pad, on which the lower teeth are pressed in the act of tearing off herbage.
The stomach of the camel is the third peculiarity which distinguishes it. The psalterium or manyplies is wanting. The abomasum or "reed" is of great length, and the rumen or paunch is lined with cells, deep and narrow, like those of a honeycomb, closed by a membrane, the orifice of which is at the control of the animal. These cells are for the purpose of storing water, of which the stomach when fully distended will hold about six quarts. The second stomach or reticulum is also deeply grooved.
The hump of the camel may also be said to contain a store of food. It consists of fatty cells connected by bands of fibrous tissue, which are absorbed, like the fat of hibernating bears, into the system in times of deprivation. Hard work and bad feeding will soon bring down a camel's hump; and the Arab of the desert is said to pay particular attention to this part of his animal's body.
There are two species of true camel, Camelus dromedarius, with one hump only, most commonly seen in India, and C. bactrianus, the two-humped camel, a shorter, coarser-looking, and less speedy animal.
There never was a creature about whom more poetical nonsense has been written. He has been extolled to the skies as patient, long-suffering, the friend of man, and what not. In reality he is a grumbling, discontented, morose brute, working only under compulsion and continual protest, and all writers who know anything of him agree in the above estimate of his disposition. The camel is nowhere found in a wild state.
These are animals without teeth, according to the name of their order. They are however without teeth only in the front of the jaw in all, but with a few molars in some, the Indian forms however are truly edentate, having no teeth at all. In those genera where teeth are present there are molars without enamel or distinct roots, but with a hollow base growing from below and composed of three structures, vaso-dentine, hard dentine and cement, which, wearing away irregularly according to hardness, form the necessary inequality for grinding purposes.
The order is subdivided into two groups: Tardigrada, or sloths, and Effodientia or burrowers. With the former we have nothing to do, as they are peculiar to the American continent. The burrowers are divided into the following genera: Manis, the scaly ant-eaters; Dasypus, the armadillos; Chlamydophorus, the pichiciagos; Orycteropus, the ant-bears, and Myrmecophaga, the American ant-eaters.
Of these we have only one genus in India; Manis, the pangolin or scaly ant-eater, species of which are found in Africa as well as Asia.
Small animals from two to nearly five feet in length; elongated cylindrical bodies with long tails, covered from snout to tip of tail with large angular fish-like scales, from which in some parts of India they are called bun-rohu, or the jungle carp; also in Rungpore Keyot-mach, which Jerdon translates the fish of the Keyots, but which probably means khet-mach or field-fish—but in this I am open to correction. The scales overlap like tiles, the free part pointing backwards. These form its defensive armour, for, although the manis possesses powerful claws, it never uses them for offence, but when attacked rolls itself into a ball.
In walking it progresses slowly, arching its back and doubling its fore-feet so as to put the upper surface to the ground and not the palm. The hind-foot is planted normally—that is, with the sole on the earth.
The tongue is very long and worm-like, and covered with glutinous saliva; and, much of this moisture being required, the sub-maxillary glands are very large, reaching down under the skin of the neck on to the chest.
The external ear is very small, and internally it is somewhat complicated, there being a large space in the temporal bone which communicates with the internal ear, so that, according to Professor Martin-Duncan, one tympanum is in communication with the other.
These animals are essentially diggers. The construction of their fore-arms is such as to economise strength and the effectiveness of their excavating instruments. The very doubling up of their toes saves the points of their claws. The joints of the fore-fingers bend downwards, and are endowed with powerful ligaments; and in the wrist the scaphoid and semi-lunar bones are united by bone, which increases its strength. As Professor Martin-Duncan remarks: "Every structure in the creature's fore-limbs tends to the promotion of easy and powerful digging, and, as the motion of scratching the ground is directly downwards and backwards, the power of moving the wrist half-round and presenting the palm more or less upwards, as in the sloths and in man, does not exist. In order to prevent this pronation and supination the part of the fore-arm bone, the radius, next to the elbow, is not rounded, but forms part of a hinge joint." He also notices another interesting peculiarity in the chest of this animal, the breast-bone being very long; the cartilage at end large, with two long projections resembling those of the lizards. There is no collar-bone.
NO. 480. MANIS PENTADACTYLA vel BRACHYURA. The Five-fingered or Short-tailed Pangolin (Jerdon's No. 241).
NATIVE NAMES.—Bajar-kit, Bajra-kapta, Sillu, Sukun-khor, Sal-salu, Hindi; Shalma of the Bauris; Armoi of the Kols; Kauli-mah, Kauli-manjra, Kassoli-manjur, Mahratti; Alawa, Telegu; Alangu, Malabarese; Bun-rohu in the Deccan, Central provinces, &c.; Keyot-mach, in Rungpore; Katpohu, in parts of Bengal; Caballaya, Singhalese.
HABITAT.—Throughout India. Jerdon says most common in hilly districts, but nowhere abundant. I have found it myself in the Satpura range, where it is called Bun-rohu.
DESCRIPTION.—Tail shorter than the body, broad at the base, tapering gradually to a point. Eleven to thirteen longitudinal rows of sixteen scales on the trunk, and a mesial line of fourteen on the tail; middle nail of fore-foot much larger than the others. Scales thick, striated at base; yellowish-brown or light olive. Lower side of head, body, and feet, nude; nose fleshy; soles of hind-feet dark.
SIZE.—Head and body, 24 to 27 inches; tail, about 18. Jerdon gives the weight of a female measuring 40 inches as 21 pounds.
This species burrows in the ground to a depth of a dozen feet, more or less, where it makes a large chamber, sometimes six feet in circumference. It lives in pairs, and has from one to two young ones at a time in the spring months. Sir W. Elliot, who gives an interesting detailed account of it, says that it closes up the entrance to its burrow with earth when in it, so that it would be difficult to find it but for the peculiar track it leaves (see 'Madras Journal,' x. p. 218). There is also a good account of it by Tickell in the 'Journal As. Soc. of Bengal,' xi. p. 221, and some interesting details regarding one in captivity by the late Brigadier-General A. C. McMaster in his 'Notes on Jerdon.' I have had specimens brought to me by the Gonds, but found them very somnolent during the day, being, as most of the above authors state, nocturnal in its habits. The first one I got had been kept for some time without water, and drank most eagerly when it arrived, in the manner described by Sir Walter Elliot, "by rapidly darting out its long extensile tongue, which it repeated so quickly as to fill the water with froth."
The only noise it makes is a faint hiss. It sleeps rolled up, with the head between the fore-legs and the tail folded firmly over all.
The natives believe in the aphrodisine virtues of its flesh.
NO. 481. MANIS AURITA. The Eared Pangolin (Jerdon's No. 242).
HABITAT.—Sikhim, and along the hill ranges of the Indo-Chinese frontier. Dr. Anderson says it is common in all the hilly country east of Bhamo.
DESCRIPTION.—Tail shorter and not so thick at the base as that of the last; the body less heavy; smaller and darker scales; muzzle acute; ears conspicuous; scales of head and neck not so small in proportion as in M. pentadactyla.
SIZE.—Head and body of one mentioned by Jerdon, 19 inches; tail, 15-1/4 inches.
NO. 482. MANIS JAVANICA. The Javan Ant-eater.
HABITAT.—Burmah and the Malayan peninsula; also Tipperah.
DESCRIPTION.—To be distinguished from the two preceding species by the greater number of longitudinal rows of scales, M. pentadactyla having from eleven to thirteen, M. aurita from fifteen to eighteen, and M. Javanica nineteen. Taking the number of scales in the longitudinal mesial line from the nose to the tip of the tail in M. pentadactyla, it is forty-two; in aurita forty-eight to fifty-six; in Javanica as high as sixty-four; on the tail the scales are: M. pentadactyla, fourteen; M. aurita sixteen to twenty; M. Javanica thirty.
* * * * *
I am indebted to Dr. Anderson's 'Zoological and Anatomical Researches' for the following summary of characteristics:—
"M. pentadactyla by its less heavy body; by its tail, which is broad at the base, tapering gradually to a point, and equalling the length of the head and trunk; by its large light olive-brown scales, of which there are only from eleven to thirteen longitudinal rows on the trunk, and a mesial line of fourteen on the tail; and by its powerful fore-claws, the centre one of which is somewhat more than twice as long as the corresponding claw of the hinder extremity. M. aurita is distinguished from M. pentadactyla by its less heavy body; by its rather shorter tail, which has less basal breadth than M. pentadactyla; by its smaller and darker brown, almost black scales in the adult, which are more numerous, there being from fifteen to eighteen longitudinal rows on the trunk, seventeen rows being the normal number, and sixteen to twenty caudal plates in the mesial line; and by its strong fore-claws, the middle one of which is not quite twice as long as the corresponding claw on the hind foot.
"M. Javanica is recognised by its body being longer and more attenuated than in the two foregoing species; by its narrower and more tapered tail; by its longer and more foliaceous or darker olive-brown scales, of which there are nineteen longitudinal rows on the trunk, and as many as thirty along the mesial line of the tail; and by the claws of the fore-feet being not nearly so long as in M. aurita, and being but little in excess of the claws of the hind-feet."
FAMILY MYOXIDAE—THE DORMICE.
These small rodents approximate more to the squirrels than the true mice; but they differ from all others intestinally by the absence of a caecum. They have four rooted molars in each upper and lower jaw, the first of each set being smaller than the other three, the crowns being composed of transverse ridges of enamel. In form they are somewhat squirrel-like, with short fore-limbs, and hairy, though not bushy, tails. The thumb is rudimentary, with a small, flat nail; hind-feet with five toes.
The common English dormouse is a most charming little animal, and a great pet with children. I have had several, and possess a pair now which are very tame. They are elegant little creatures, about three inches long, with tails two and a-half inches; soft deep fur of a pale reddish-tawny above, pale yellowish-fawn below, and white on the chest. The eyes are large, lustrous, and jet-black. The tails of some are slightly tufted at the end. They are quite free from the objectionable smell of mice. In their habits they are nocturnal, sleeping all day and becoming very lively at night. I feed mine on nuts, and give them a slice of apple every evening; no water to drink, unless succulent fruits are not to be had, and then sparingly. The dormouse in its wild state lives on fruits, seeds, nuts and buds. In cold countries it hibernates, previous to which it becomes very fat. It makes for itself a little globular nest of twigs, grass, and moss, pine-needles, and leaves, in which it passes the winter in a torpid state. "The dormouse lives in small societies in thickets and hedgerows, where it is as active in its way amongst the bushes and undergrowth as its cousin the squirrel upon the larger trees. Among the small twigs and branches of the shrubs and small trees the dormice climb with wonderful adroitness, often, indeed, hanging by their hind feet from a twig, in order to reach and operate on a fruit or a nut which is otherwise inaccessible, and running along the lower surface of a branch with the activity and certainty of a monkey" (Dallas). This little animal is supposed to breed twice in the year—in spring and autumn. It is doubtful whether we have any true Myoxidae in India, unless Mus gliroides should turn out to be a Myoxus. The following is mentioned in Blanford's 'Eastern Persia': Myoxus pictus—new species, I think; I regret I have not the book by me at present—also Myoxus dryas, of which I find a pencil note in my papers. Mouse-red on the back, white belly with a rufous band between; white forehead; a black stripe from the nose to the ears, passing through the eye.
The above illustration was by accident omitted from the text.
NOTES ON SOME OF THE FOREGOING SPECIES.
The Slow Loris, No 28.—This creature sometimes assumes the erect posture, though in general it creeps. The following illustration shows an attitude observed and sketched by Captain Tickell, as the animal was about to seize a cockroach. When it had approached within ten or twelve inches, it drew its hind feet gradually forward until almost under its chest; it then cautiously and slowly raised itself up into a standing position, balancing itself awkwardly with its uplifted arms; and then, to his astonishment, flung itself, not upon the insect, which was off "like an arrow from a Tartar's bow," but on the spot which it had, half a second before, tenanted.
Trade Statistics of Fur-skins, Mustelidae.—The Philadelphia Times, in an article on furs, says that the best sealskins come from the antarctic waters, principally from the Shetland Islands. New York receives the bulk of American skins, which are shipped to various ports. London is the great centre of the fur trade of the world. In the United States the sea-bear of the north has the most valuable skin. Since 1862 over 500,000 have been killed on Behring Island alone. In 1867 there were 27,500 sea-bears killed; in 1871 there was a very large decrease, only 3,614 being killed. There were 26,960 killed in 1876; and in 1880 the number killed was 48,504, a large increase. Sea-otter fur is about as expensive as any, and some 48,000 skins are used yearly. Over 100,000 marten or Russian sable skins are annually used. Only about 2,000 silver foxes are caught every year; and about 6,500 blue foxes. Other fox skins are used more or less. About 600 tiger skins are used yearly, over 11,000 wild cat skins, and a very large trade is being carried on in house cat skins. About 350,000 skunk and 42,000 monkey skins are utilised annually. The trade in ermine skins is falling off, as is also the trade in chinchilla. About 3,000,000 South American nutrias are killed every year, and a very large business is carried on in musk-rat skins. About 15,000 each of American bear and buffalo skins were used last year. There are also used each year about 3,000,000 lamb, 5,000,000 rabbit, 6,000,000 squirrel, and 620,000 filch skins; also 195,000 European hamster, and nearly 5,000,000 European and Asiatic hares.
Tigers, No. 201.—Since writing on the subject of the size of tigers I have received the following extract from a letter addressed to the editor of The Asian. Both the animals were measured on the ground before being skinned, and in the presence of all whose names are given:—
"Tiger shot on the 6th of July, 1882. Party present: C. A. Shillingford, Esq.; J. L. Shillingford, Esq.; F. A. Shillingford, Esq.; A. J. Shillingford, Esq. Length of head, 1 ft. 8-1/2 in.; body, 5 ft. 6-1/2 in.; tail, 3 ft. 6-1/2 in.; total length, 10 ft. 9-1/2 in. Height at shoulder, 3 ft. 7 in.
"Tiger shot on the 17th of March, 1883. Party present: The Earl of Yarborough; A. E. Fellowes, Esq.; Col. R. C. Money, B.S.C.; Capt. C. H. Mayne, A.D.C.; Lieut. R. Money; J. D. Shillingford, Esq. Length of head, 1 ft. 8 in.; body, 5 ft. 7 in.; tail, 3 ft. 5-1/2 in.; total length, 10 ft. 8-1/2 in. Height at shoulder, 3 ft. 8-1/2 in.; girth of head round jaw, 3 ft. 1-1/2 in.; girth of body round chest, 4 ft. 7 in.
"The latter animal, though not so long as the former, was the larger animal of the two, being more massively built, and by far the finer specimen of a tiger. He was shot by Mr. Fellowes while out shooting in the Maharajah of Darbhanga's hunt in the Morung Terai."
The following is an extract from a letter lately received by me from General Sir Charles Reid, K.C.B., with reference to an enormous tiger killed by him:—
"I had a tiger in the Exhibition of 1862, and which is now in the museum at Leeds, which was the largest tiger I ever killed or ever saw. As he lay on the ground he measured 12 feet 2 inches—his height I did not measure—from the tip of one ear to the tip of the other 19-1/2 inches. I never took skull measurements, nor did I ever weigh a tiger. I had another in the International Exhibition, which measured 11-1/2 feet fair measurement as he lay on the ground. The one at Leeds 12 feet 2 inches, as before mentioned, is not now more than 11 feet 6 inches. Mr. Ward was not satisfied with the Indian curing, and had it done over again, and it shrunk nearly a foot. The three tigers mentioned are the largest I ever killed—all Dhoon tigers."
[Footnote 41: The third tiger is one which Sir Charles Reid has had set up, and is now in his house; it measured, as he lay on the ground, 10 ft. 6 in. He then goes on to say that his father-in-law had killed in the Dhoon four or five tigers over 11 feet, and that the late Sir Andrew Waugh told him he had killed one in the same place 13 feet. He says: "I believe the Dhoon tigers are the largest and finest beasts that are found in any part of India." Their coats are longer and thicker also.]
Elephants, No. 425—The two Indian elephants now in the Zoological Society's Gardens, in Regent's Park, are interesting examples of the growth of these animals in captivity. I regret extremely that I have not been able to get accurate statistics regarding them before leaving England; I was obliged to put off several proposed visits to the Gardens in consequence of ill health, and am now correcting the final proof-sheets of this work on board ship, preparatory to posting them at Suez, so I must trust to memory for what I heard concerning them.
The large male, Jung Pershad, must be close upon nine feet high, and the female, Suffa Kulli, at least seven feet; and I was astonished to find that they were the same that I had seen as little things in the Prince of Wales's collection in 1876. Suffa Kulli's age is not more than fifteen, yet she has been in a fair way of becoming a mother. There was no doubt as to the possibility, and she seemed to show some signs of it, but it ended in disappointment; however it is hoped that she will yet prove that these noble animals may be bred in captivity.
Osteology of the feet in Ruminantia, Artiodactyla—The following illustrations were inadvertently omitted from the text in the section on the Artiodactyla.
Wild Boar, No. 434.—A few days before leaving England, I called to say good-bye to an old friend well known in Calcutta and Lower Bengal, Dr. Charles Palmer. He asked me whether I had ever heard of a boar killing a tiger, and, on my answering in the affirmative, he told me he had just heard from his son, who had witnessed a fight between these two animals, in which the boar came off victorious, leaving his antagonist dead on the field.
Ovis Polii, No. 438.—Mr. Carter in one of his letters to me says: "I see that you make the biggest horns of Ovis Polii 53 inches from tip to tip. In a photo of one brought down by the Yarkhand Expedition, which had a foot rule laid close, so as to scale it, the distance from tip to tip is nearly five feet."
I do not know which particular head is referred to, but two out of the three measurements given by me were of the finest heads brought down by the Expedition. There may have been a smaller pair with a wider spread, as the 73-inch horns I also mention, and which Sir Victor Brooke, to whom I sent a photograph, tells me is the finest head he has heard of, has only a spread of 48 inches.
Ovis cycloceros, No. 443.—I gave from 25 to 30 inches as an average size for the horns of this species, but Captain W. Cotton, F.Z.S., writes to me that he sent home a pair of ovrial horns from Cabul, 35-1/2 inches, and that there is a pair in the R.A. mess at Attock 38-1/2 inches, but very thin. They were looted in the Jowaki campaign. This sheep has bred freely in the Zoological Society's Gardens, and two hybrids have been born there from a male of this species and the Corsican mouflon, Ovis musimon.
I mentioned that there is in the Gardens a specimen of Ovis Blanfordi. I see by the Society's list that this was presented by Captain Cotton; the habitat given is Afghanistan.
The Wild Goat of Asia Minor, No. 448.—Mr. Carter writes to me: "In one of your letters you mention the Scind ibex, which is a wild goat. I have a photo of a head 31 inches round curve, but Mr. Inverarity, barrister, Bombay, says he has seen one 52-1/2. The animal is not much bigger than the black buck." This last agrees with the estimate I formed from the specimens in the Indian Museum, Calcutta.
Tetraceros sub-quadricornutus, No. 463.—It is doubtful whether Elliot's antelope should stand as a separate species; Blyth was against it, and Jerdon followed him, and I incline to think that it is only a variety. Dr. Sclater, to whom I mentioned the subject, appeared to me to agree in this view, but I see he includes it in his list of the Society's mammals. Being adverse to the multiplication of species, I gave it the benefit of the doubt, and included it with T. quadricornis; but, as I have received one or two letters from writers whose opinions are entitled to consideration, I mention them here, merely stating that I still feel inclined to doubt the propriety of promoting sub-quadricornutus to the dignity of a species. Dr. Gray was certainly of opinion it was separate; but then, great naturalist as he was, his peculiar foible was minute sub-division.
The claims of Elliot's antelope to separate rank are: absence of the anterior horns, or with only a trace; smaller size; lighter colour; but even the larger, darker quadricornis is sometimes without the anterior horns; and, unless some other marked difference is found in the skull, it is hardly sufficient to warrant separation. However, I will give what others say on the subject.
"I can scarcely agree with you as to Elliot's antelope not being a good species, I have therefore taken the trouble of having a most accurate and full-size sketch of the skull of one made, and if you will compare it with those of the ordinary quadricornis I think you will see a well-marked difference. Dr. Gray wrote to me, and said that there was the recognised species of sub-quadricornutus."—Letter from Mr. H. R. P. Carter, "Smoothbore" of the Field.
The following is an extract from a letter signed "Bheel," addressed to the editor of The Asian, which appeared in that paper:—
"In the jungles of Rajputana, especially about the Arravelli Range, I have shot repeatedly very small, exceedingly shy deer, called by the Bheels and shikaries in this part 'bhutar.' They are very much smaller than the four-horned antelope, having very sharp thin horns about two inches in length, which are perfectly smooth, as if polished, and black. The colour of the skin is light brown, somewhat like a chinkara, white inside the limbs and under the belly. The hair on the skin is short, smooth and glossy. The feet are exceedingly small, about one-third in size smaller than that of the four-horned antelope. They are very retiring little creatures, and very difficult to bag. They run, or, more appropriately, bound with amazing swiftness when disturbed, and disappear like some passing shadow. These little deer live on the lower spurs of the hills, and are generally found in pairs. They are very plump, and appear to be always in good condition. The last one I shot was last year. The females are hornless.
"The four-horned antelope is described accurately by Mr. Sterndale, only that, in my humble opinion, I do not consider it to be the smallest of the ruminant species. The 'Bheel' name for this creature is 'fonkra.' It is found in the thick jungles at the foot of the hills. It selects some secluded spot, which it does not desert when disturbed, returning invariably to its hiding-place when the coast is clear. I noticed this very particularly. The hair of the 'fonkra' is comparatively much longer than the bhutar's, and the colour is a great deal darker. Could Mr. Sterndale kindly let me know the Latin name for the 'bhutar'? I am sure it can't be Cervulus aureus (kakur, or barking deer), because the colour given of this deer is a beautiful bright glossy red or chesnut, while, as I have mentioned above, the colour of the bhutar is light brown."
"Bheel's" "bhutar" is evidently Elliot's sub-quadricornutus.
The Gaur, No. 464.—Jerdon doubted the existence of this animal in the Himalayan Terai, according to Hodgson's assertion; but Hodgson was right, for I have a letter before me which I received some time back from Dr. W. Forsyth, stating that a few days previously a companion of his shot a large solitary bull (6 feet 1 inch at the shoulder) in the Terai, and he himself knocked one and lost another the day before he wrote. The local name is gauri-gai.
I also received a letter through the columns of The Asian from "Snapshot," vouching for the existence of the gaur in the Darjeeling Terai.
Another correspondent of The Asian writes regarding the naming of this species:—
"In referring to Mr. Sterndale's descriptions of the gaur and gayal, in your issues of the 28th March and 11th April, I trust that that gentleman will not be offended by my making a few remarks on the subject, and that he will set me right if I am in the wrong. I see that he has perpetuated what appears to my unscientific self a mistake on the part of the old writers—Colebrooke, Buchanan, Trail, and others, who I fancy got confused, and mixed up the animals. The local name for the Central Indian ox is over a large tract of country the gayal, or gyll; and this, being the animal with the peculiar frontal development, was most probably named bos, or Gavaeus frontalis, whilst the mithun, or Eastern Bengal animal, was the gaur. It seems to me, therefore, that the names should be transposed. Will Mr. Sterndale consider this, if he has not already done so; and, if I am wrong, tell me why the animal with peculiar frontal development, and called the gayal locally, should not have been named frontalis, whilst the animal called mithun, with nothing peculiar in his frontal development, is so called?