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In Dargola, a narrow strip of country lying on both sides the Nile, the harpoon with which the natives attack the hippopotamus terminates in a flat, oval-shaped piece of iron, three-fourths of the outer rim of which are sharpened to a very fine edge. To the upper part of this iron one end of a long, stout cord is fastened, and the other is tied to a thick piece of light wood. The hunters attack the animal either by day or by night, but they prefer the former, as it enables them better to escape the assaults of their furious enemy. One part of the rope, with the shaft of the harpoon, the hunter takes in his right hand; in the left he holds the rest of the rope and the piece of wood. He now cautiously approaches the animal when he is asleep during the day on some island in the river, or he looks for him at night, when the hippopotamus is likely to come out of the water to graze in the corn fields.
When the huntsman is about seven paces from the beast he throws the spear with all his might, and, if he is a good marksman, the iron pierces through the thick hide, burying itself in the flesh deeper than the barbed point. The animal generally plunges into the water; and, though the shaft of the harpoon may be broken, the piece of wood which is attached to the iron floats on the surface, and shows what direction he takes. There is great danger should the hippopotamus spy the huntsman before he can throw his spear. He then springs forward with the utmost fury, and crushes him at once in his wide, open mouth.
As soon as the animal is fairly struck, the huntsmen, in their small canoes, cautiously approach the floating wood, and, after fastening a strong rope to it, they hasten with the other end toward the large boat which contains their companions. The huntsmen now pull the rope, when the animal, irritated by the pain, seizes the boat with his teeth, and sometimes succeeds in crushing and overturning it. Meanwhile his assailants are not idle; four or five more harpoons are plunged into him, and every effort is made to drag the beast close up to the boat, so as to give him less room to plunge about in. Then they try to divide the strong ligament that holds the head in its place, with a sharp weapon, or to pierce his skull. Since the body of a full-grown hippopotamus is too bulky to be pulled out of the water without a great number of hands, they generally cut him up in the river, and bring the pieces to land.
Story of an Imported Hippopotamus.
In May, 1850, the good ship" Ripon" steamed up to her berth in the Southampton Water, and various strange sights did she present to inquiring eyes. The most striking was an aged Arab of noble bearing, but by
no means clean, looking calmly out of one of the ports; and, next in interest, a young one, who outdid all the boys on the quay could do, by drawing out of his ragged dress a splendid cobra, whose hiss, and the spreading of whose hood, had no. chance of a parallel. A dark-skinned Nubian, who went by the name of Hamet, had arrived with the first hippopotamus that had reached Europe since the Emperor Commodus.
"OBAYSCH"-FIRST HIPPOPOTAMUS TRANSPORTED TO EUROPE. slaughtered five of these huge animals in the Flavian Amphitheatre at Rome.
His Highness Abbas Pasha, with great liberality, had the animal brought to Cairo at his own expense, from the White Nile; a lieutenant
and a party of ten Nubian soldiers formed his escort; a boat had been built on purpose for him.
Hamet, whose services had been engaged at Cairo, from his experience. and skill in the care and management of animals, had some amusing incidents to relate as to his extraordinary charge. It was clear, for instance, that he had attracted to himself, and that most deservedly, the warm affections of Obaysch, the name given to the animal from the place where he was captured. Thus, Hamet slept side by side with him at Cairo, and in the same way he slumbered during the first week of the voyage. But as the weather grew warmer, and Obaysch larger and larger, though 'poverty makes us acquainted with strange bedfellows," the charge of a hippopotamus did not necessarily, it was thought, render such an inconvenience imperative. Hamet had, therefore, a hammock slung from the beams immediately over the place where he used to sleep-just over, in fact, his side of the bed, his position being raised some two or three feet. Assuring Obaysch, not only by words, but by extending one arm over the side so as to touch him, Hamet got into his hammock and fell asleep, when he was suddenly awaked by a jerk and a hoist, only to find himself close by the side of his companion. Another experiment at separate sleeping was attended by the same successful movements on the part of Obaysch, and, till they arrived at Southampton, Hamet desisted from any further trial, as he avoided, in all ways, any irritation of the animal.
Recently, a female hippopotamus, was safely deposited in the gardens of the Zoological Society. It was ascertained, during the voyage, that she was not insensible to music, for, when any one of the musicians on board played his instrument near her, she invariably raised her head in the attitude of listening. The keeper, also, an Arab snake-charmer, was in the habit of exciting the attention of his charge by a kind of musical call, which she answered by vibrating her great bulk to and fro, with evident pleasure, keeping time to the measure of the keeper's song. At the date just mentioned she was about four months old, and weighed above a ton. She was fed by her keeper opening her mouth with his hand, which he thrust down her throat, covered with milk and corn-meal
REMARKABLE TYPES OF ANIMAL LIFE.
The American Puma-Killing Prey for the Sake of Killing-Two Hunters in the Catskills-A Sportsman's Shocking Death-Singular Encounter with a PumaPower of Gentleness upon the Brute Creation-The Great Grizzly Bear-A Clumsy Creature-Blind Bears Regaining Sight-The Famous Jungle Bear-Claws of Unique Construction-Hunters' Ingenious Methods of Capture-How the "Jungler" Acts in Captivity--The Bear's Song-The Hedgehog-A Prickly Covering--A Long Winter's Sleep-The Hedgehog Proof Against Poison-The Eternal Foe of Serpents-The Brazilian Porcupine-A Creature with an Extraordinary Armor-Classic Legends Concerning the Porcupine-An Animal that Lacks Brains-Common Porcupine--Method of Showing Anger-A Quadruped Rolled up like a Ball-The Armadillo-A Thick Coat of Mail--A Rapid Digger in the Earth--A Bone-Covered Ball-Tumbling Unhurt Down a Precipice-A Sense of Wonderful Acuteness-The Scaly Ant-Eater-A Toothless Animal— Scales like those of a Fish-The Agile Kangaroo-Curious Pouch for Carrying Young-A Long Leaper-Hard Fighters-American Opossum-A Lover of Barn-yards-Odd Method of Transporting Little Opossums.
HE puma, sometimes called the couguar, has a very extensive. range over both North and South America. The total length of the adult is from four feet to four feet and a half, that of the tail from two feet to two feet and a half. The females are somewhat less. The fur is thick and close, of a reddish-brown, approaching nearly to the color of a fox on the back. It lightens on the outsides of the limbs and on the flanks, and on the belly becomes of a pale reddish white. The muzzle, chin, throat, and insides of the legs, are grayish-white, and on the breast the color becomes more marked, and is almost pure white. The part from which the whiskers spring, and the lips and the backs of the ears, are black; the whiskers themselves white. On the face and flanks of the young animal there are some indications of stripes or brindling; but when the puma reaches maturity these are lost, and the color becomes entirely uniform, except where it shades into a paler tint.
Though very active in climbing, this animal seems more to frequent the grassy plains of the southern part of America and the marshy meadow lands bordering the rivers, than the forest, and is found in a country so open as to be frequently taken by the lasso, when attacking the herds. In the northern districts it inhabits the swamps and prairies, living chiefly on
different species of deer, on which it is said to drop down from a tree, which it had ascended to watch their path; or it makes inroads on the bogs of the squatter, who has gone to the unopened country. Other kinds of food, are sought after and taken without much discrimination.
Unlike most of the other animals of the tribe, it is not satisfied with the seizure of a single prey, but, when meeting with a herd of animals, will kill as many as it can, sucking only a small portion of the blood from each. It is thus extremely destructive among sheep, and has been known to kill fifty in one night. Active means are therefore constantly required for its destruction, and it is either hunted, speared, or shot.
Fatal Encounter in the Catskills.
Two hunters went out in quest of game on the Catskill Mountains, in New York, each armed with a gun and accompanied by his dog. It was agreed between them that they should go in contrary directions round the base of the hill, and that if either discharged his piece, the other should cross the hill as expediously as possible, to join his companion in pursuit of the game shot at. Shortly after separating, one heard the other fire, and, agreeably to their compact, hastened to his comrade. After searching for him. for some time without effect,he found his dog dead and dreadfully torn. Apprised by this discovery that the animal shot at was large and ferocious, he became anxious for his friend, and assiduously continued the search for him; when his eyes were suddenly directed, by the deep growl of a puma, to the large branch of a tree, where he saw the animal crouching on the body of a man, and directing his eyes towards him, apparently hesitating whether to descend and make a fresh attack on the survivor, or to relinquish his prey, and take to flight.
Conscious that much depended on celerity, the hunter discharged his piece, and wounded the puma mortally, when it and the body of the man fell together from the tree. The surviving dog then flew at the prostrate beast; but a single blow from his paw laid him dead by his side. Finding that his comrade was dead, and that there was still danger in approaching the wounded animal, he retired, and, with all haste, brought several persons to the spot, where the unfortunate hunter and both the dogs were lying dead together. The skin of this animal was preserved in the Museum of New York, as a memorial of the story.
Curious Adventure With a Puma.
The following curious encounter with a puma is related by Sir E. Head, in his "Journey Across the Pampas: " The fear which all wild animals in America have of man is very singularly seen in the Pampas. I often rode towards the ostriches, crouching under the opposite side of my