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The liver measures in one direction three feet and a half, the heart is eighteen inches long, and as many wide, and the kidneys are about the same size. It must, therefore, be admitted, that the idea of power and high animal energy are as much suggested by the interior structure as by the external form.
The food of the rhinoceros consists wholly of vegetable matter, so that its vast powers are not exerted for the destruction of life. Thus two of the largest animals on the globe, the rhinoceros and the elephant, are vegetable feeders, and not associated with ideas of destruction and carnivorous fury. We must not, however, infer that the temper of the rhinoceros is gentle, or his spirit easily tamed. Few animals are more dangerous when thoroughly excited. There is, however, no doubt that the absence of the carnivorous disposition renders this quadruped capable of some degree of subjugation, though its spirit is too fierce to win the regard so often bestowed upon the elephant. Were an African lion or Bengal tiger left in an enclosure, without any more obstacle to its escape than the rails which surround the dwelling-place of the rhinoceros in the Zoological Gardens, few persons would venture to approach the spot. Either of those carnivora would doubtless often take the liberty of parading the walks, and feasting upon some of the monkeys, or even delight themselves by a general attack upon the assembled company. We may be sure that no such enclosure would secure the wild beasts in their localities. But how different is it with the rhinoceros, which seems to look upon all surrounding quadrupeds and bipeds with a profound contempt, which doubtless prevents him from being irritated by the thousands of gazing Londoners who disturb his privacy.
The Indian Rhinoceros.- The figure placed at the head of this chapter represents this species, as the reader will readily perceive by observing the one horn on its nose. This is the variety to which reference is usually made when the rhinoceros is mentioned, and which first became known to modern Europe. One peculiarity seems worthy of notice in these animals; we allude to the singular massive folds of the skin, which resemble heavy plates of armour, with the edges of the one placed over the other. This arrangement of the skin-folds is not found in both varieties, being the property of the Indian species only. It is thus singular that one horn and a folded skin should be connected in these animals, and that the double horn should be united with a smooth hide. We do not see what influence one or two horns can have on the folds of the skin. We cannot certainly say that the one horn is the cause of the wrinkles in the hide; nor is it a whit more reasonable to suggest that the rough hide prevents the growth of two horns. All that can be said is, that certain states of the skin co-exist with a peculiar development of the horn-system in the rhinoceros; why they are so combined, is a mystery which few will undertake to explain.
The favourite diet of this species is rice mixed with sugar ; but it can subsist upon various vegetables, and has been kept in this country upon clover, biscuits, and greens. Does the reader inquire whát quantity of food will suffice for the rhinoceros ? We must inform him that no less than twenty-five pounds of clover, and the same weight of biscuit, will satisfy the appetite of the creature in the space of twenty-four hours. One of these quadrupeds cost his keepers 10001. in one year; but this was fed upon rice and sugar, two rather expensive articles of diet for such a beast; and the cost of the voyage from India is included. The regions in which this creature abounds are the countries beyond the Ganges, where, in the shadows of deep forests, and along the banks of solitary rivers, these giants of the deserts take their pastime. There they sometimes meet with the elephants, and engage in deadly strife with their rivals. The reader must not, however, suppose that such battles frequently occur; for there is no proof of any natural animosity between the two animals, as they have existed in a state of captivity together without having evinced any warlike tendencies.
No doubt when two such powerful beasts do meet in battle, the most severe wounds must be inflicted; for a stroke from the elephant's tusk, or a blow from the horn of the rhinoceros, is capable of producing lacerations of a singularly extensive nature. Perhaps some reader, who has seen the rhinoceros in the Regent's Park, may doubt the powers of the horn to do much mischief, as it appears too blunt and short to produce a deep laceration; but this metropolitan animal has worn away its horn by incessant rubbing against hard substances, until it has become reduced to a mere protuberance, bearing little resemblance to the formidable weapon of the wild animal.
The Two-horned, or African Rhinoceros.—We have retained the name African rhinoceros, usually given to this species, although there is reason to believe that some of the two-horned varieties are found in the Asiatic islands, especially in Sumatra. One species found in this island has, beyond doubt, the double horn, though the second or hinder one is very short; but it is, nevertheless, sufficiently evident. This Sumatran species has four of the skin-foldings so observable in the Indian rhinoceros; and in the true African variety the hide is perfectly free from such irregularities. This latter animal has also the second horn more fully developed than the species discovered in Sumatra ; indeed in one variety (the Rhinoceros keittoa) the hinder horn is equal in length to the other, and both together furnish most formidable weapons of attack. These animals appear indigenous to Africa; and the traditions of the natives represent them as springing from the earth at the same time that the first men were produced.
There is some reason for supposing that the Romans were acquainted with the existence of the two-horned rhinoceros; which is not surprising, when we remember the intercourse kept up between Italy and Africa : the fact is proved by a figure of this animal stamped on a small brass coin struck in the time of the Emperor Domitian;' and also by a passage in the poet Martial, in which a two-horned rhinoceros is described fighting with a bear, and taking this animal on its powerful horns. Both the coin and the verses rather puzzled the naturalists and scholars of former times; for as they were not aware of the existence of such a rhinoceros, numerous ingenious conjectures were called to the aid of the bewildered speculators. While, however, we must admit that some idea of this quadruped had reached the Romans from their African possessions, and that some individuals of the species had arrived in Italy, we do not suppose that any extensive knowledge was then possessed respecting an animal which is but little known even at the present period. Not one of these quadrupeds have been brought to Europe in modern times; so that we are compelled to rely for all descriptions of their appearance on the reports of travellers who have seen this singular species in its native regions, whether in Asia or Africa. These accounts are, however, entitled to our confidence, being delivered by eyewitnesses who shew all the characteristics of trustworthy writers : we may, therefore, whilst reading these few lines, feel as certain of the existence of the two-horned as of the one-horned rhino
Here ends this account of a genus in the animal kingdom, which, though useless to man, is of course not useless in the wide realm of nature, however its fitness to accomplish certain results may be hidden from our scrutiny. Its beauty cannot attract our contemplations, for to most it appears rather disgusting than otherwise; but it is well to remember that thousands of such giant creatures find, in the solitudes of forests unvisited by man, the means of subsistence, and therefore of happiness. The luxuriant vegetation of such tropical wilds is thus consumed by animals fitted to enjoy such vast stores of otherwise useless food.
To the notices of the elephant and rhinoceros, which have been already placed before the reader in this and the preceding chapter, we cannot refrain from adding a concluding paragraph on the Tapir, a genus of animals allied to both the elephant and rhinoceros. The annexed figure of this beast will convey some idea of its size and power, whilst the peculiar-formed snout may induce some to regard it as a kind of imperfect trunk. These
| This emperor died 96 A.D.
quadrupeds are found in America and the Asiatic islands, and are sometimes eight feet long; those of Sumatra being deemed the largest. It was not till recently that one of the Asiatic species reached England, and this died in a year. In Sumatra the natives call it by a name which signifies hippopotamus; and it is able to move with the greatest ease under water, walking on the bottoms of rivers and lakes.
The American species is better known than the Asiatic, and has been exhibited in England. They are spread over the whole of South America, from the Isthmus to Patagonia, and are sometimes hunted for their hides; but their great strength renders the pursuit not only difficult but perilous. In the centre of vast forests the traveller sometimes perceives a road bearing for miles through the underwood, which the natives tell him has been formed by the tapirs forcing their way through the woods by their weight and strength. They are all vegetable feeders, like the elephant and rhinoceros, and are said to be harmless unless attacked.
The trunk is flexible, and moved by powerful muscles ; but no comparison can be made between this organ and the curiously elaborated structure of the same member in the elephant.
This animal may fitly engage our attention next to the elephant, for, though not equal to the latter in size, it is of even more value to man. What would have become of human intercourse in the burning and sandy regions of Africa and Asia without the patient camel, which well deserves its appropriate name, “the ship of the desert?” The lands situated on the opposite sides of these vast arid wastes must have remained for ever without the blessings and impulses of mutual intercourse, save for the camel, which keeps up the communion of distant nations across those almost trackless wilds. The partial civilisation found in Africa must be partly ascribed to the aid given by this quadruped to man; a fact which presents another instance of the influence exercised upon human happiness by the animal creation. The camel must therefore be numbered with such beneficial animals as the dog and the horse, and holds indeed a much higher place than the elephant, if we regard usefulness only.
These creatures are admirably fitted for the regions in which