Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

NOTES AND QUERIES FOR Next to the capercailzie stands the bird at the

head of our article, the black grouse, or as it is NATURALISTS.

more commonly designated, the black cock. In

its habits, it is intermediate between the caNOTES.

percailzie on the one hand, which is a strictly arborescent bird, and the ptarmigan on the other, which delights in the most barren and elevated spots. Its favourite resorts are the low birch woods, and those districts where heaths and shrubs are intermingled with each other. In our country black grouse are found abundantly in Cumberland, Wales, and Scotland, and a few still remain in the New Forest, and other districts of Hampshire, where, from the care taken to preserve them by His Royal Highness Prince Albert, they are likely to increase. Throughout the northern parts of Europe and Siberia, they are found in far greater numbers, as the population is there proportionally scanty, and they are there less hunted. No scene can be more animated than that presented by a party engaged in grouse shooting; and when we remember the excitement which must animate every one who pursues this fine bird, through tracks of country the most romantic that can be conceived, and the keen breezes, bearing health and appetite to the sportsman, we are not at all surprised at the golden harvests which our Gaelic countrymen are reaping on their barren hill-sides, by the rents they receive from our more aristocratic sportsmen. The

black cock, partly from its comparative rarity, The Black Cock, or BLACK GROUSE (Tetrao

and partly because of the demand for it as a Tetrix).

table luxury of no mean worth, generally realizes TEE

grouse of our own country furnish us with a high price in our markets. These birds, like some splendid birds, and amongst these stands most of the grouse, are monogamous, and one one at the head of its genus throughout the male secures several females for his seraglio. world, the capercailzie, or cock of the woods. The contests

for the females by the male birds are Attempts have been made to put its American exceedingly obstinate, and during these battles of congener, the cock of the plains, in competition love, they are often so regardless of danger as to with it. The latter, though undoubtedly a splen. be knocked down with a stick. Amongst the did bird, will not stand a comparison with our

various schemes resorted to in other countries for own species, which, whether we consider it in capturing them, the following, recorded by one of regard to size, contour, or plumage, is immeasura- the editors of Linnæus, is, perhaps, the most bly its superior. The capercailzie was, not half a remarkable. He says: "The people of Siberia have century since, a native of extensive pine forests a singular method for catching these birds during of Scotlaud; but the same indiscriminate slaugh- the winter. They lay a number of poles horizonter which swept from our ornithological records tally on forked sticks in the open birch forests, the bustard, the crane, and other noble birds, and set small bundles of corn on them. At a caused the extirpation of this magnificent crea

small distance they plant tall baskets shaped like ture Attempts have, however, been made, within an inverted cone, and place at the mouth of these the last few years, to re-establish the bird in a little wheel that turns freely on its axis. The Scotland, and a large number have been im- black grouse are attracted by the corn, alight on ported from Norway for this purpose. Of the the poles, and after a hasty repast, fly to the success of the experiment there can be no doubt, baskets, perch upon the rim of the wheel, which, and in a few years we hope to see the extensive giving way, precipitates them into the trap.” In forests of Scotland again inhabited by flocks of our country we are not aware of any mode of this magnificent bird.

capturing them but with the gun; their haunts

and habits being such as to defy the snares of the themselves utterly useless, are as safe among their poacher, unless, indeed, they are captured by that wise hosts as if they also possessed the luscious whimsical expedient which the Scotch poachers honey. Other ants, again, keep countless aphides, are said to resort to in the case of the common that sit on the tender green leaves of juicy plants, grouse. This consists in scattering around their as on green meadows, and suck away so lustily haunts large quantities of wheat or barley which that their delicate little bodies swell like the his been steeped in strong "small still” whiskey. udders of cows on rich spring pasture. At that Oi this the birds freely partake, and having got season the ants have to feed their young with “gloriously drunk,” fall an easy prey to the in- more delicate food than their own; they stroke genious rascal who plotted their destruction. So and caress their tiny milch cows, gather the nuat least runs the newspaper paragraph.

tritious liquid that pours forth under their saga. LONGEVITY IN THE SEA-GULL.

cious treatment, and carry it, drop by drop, to One of these birds died at Redcar lately. It their nurseries." had been in the garden of Mrs. Walton, iu that AGE OF Geese (p. 27).—That the goose is a place, for the long period of 38 years. His exactlong-lived bird all naturalists agree in stating but age is not known, as he was full-grown when we do not recollect an instance being placed on caught. This probably is an instance of the longest record of its attainment of the age of a century. life of this bird on record.

The following is an account of one of these birds TURBOT.

which is, or was, not far short of this age. The One hundred and twenty of these fish were Leicester Mercury says: “Mr. Everett, farmer, caught off Guernsey in one week. They weighed of Kirby Lodge, near Rockingham, has a goose 1,800 lbs., and averaged 15 lbs a piece. Turbot which he vouches to be at least ninety-three years has been selling at 5d. per lb. in Guernsey, and old. It has been on his farm full fifty years, and whitings, weighing 5 lb. and 6 lb. each, have been passed the former part of its life on a farm adjoin selling in that island for 6d. each.

ing. It is a large, fine fowl, with a head and neck A DISH OF PARA MONKEY.

as white as snow, and has lately hatched a brood Not unfrequently the fruit of our hunting er- of goslings from its own eggs. Mr. E. has a book cursions was a monkey, and we considered this stating its age and history, which he can authen. most acceptable, as it furnished our table with a ticate. If we were to pluck a quill from this meal, delicious, although not laid down in the antiquated goose and write its biography, it might cookery books. These animals are eaten through- not be an uninteresting record. The echoes of out the province, and are in esteem beyond any the Scotch Rebellion had scarcely ceased when it wild game.-Edwards's Voyage up the River first peeped from beneath its shell into the wide Amazon.

world, and possibly its immediate ancestor smoked

at the festive board at the coronation of the third ANSWERS TO QUERIES.

George. It cackled at the Gordon Riots, and ANTS AND APHIDES (p. 27).-I believe it is hissed when Wilkes was made a state prisoner. quite true that aphides are kept by some species It was hatching with the first French Revolution, of ants in their hills, and treated as a sort of milch and screamed when Napoleon le Grand threatened cows; the fact is recorded by several distinguished to invade our shores, and also when Castlereagh naturalists.-BLANCHE A.

was made Prime Minister.

Like many other On the subject of “Ants and their Cows,” we bipeds, it has brooded over scores of addled eggs, find the following paragraph à propos to the query and grown no wiser from experience; but though of RUSTICUS :-"The cunning ants keep cows in year after year has flown by, they leave the 'giddy their stables. Almost every anthill, belonging to

goose' still.” one variety, has a beetle in it, who lives, rears a FASCINATION OF THE SNAKE (p. 27).—That the family, and dies among them, a welcome and power of fascination has been exercised by large honoured companion. When the ants meet him, serpents over human beings is, I believe, an un. they stroke and caress him with their antennæ; doubted fact, several instances being recorded of in return he offers them a sweet liquid that oozes persons who have experienced the mesmeric in out under his wings, and of which the little topers fluence of a serpent's eyes.-BLANCHE A. are passionately fond. So great is their attach- A good description of the power above alluded ment to the odd confectioner, that they seize him to, which some, if not all, venomous serpents unin times of danger, and carry him off to a place of doubtedly possess, is afforded by the following safety; the conquerors of an invaded nation spare startling story, taken from an American paper the sweet beetle, and, what is perhaps more sur- called the Commercial Advertizer :prising, his maggot and his chrysalis, though "Last fall, a woman residing in the vicinity of

Worcester was picking blackberries in a field near applied his stick lastily, killed the intruder her house, having with her her only child, a bright instantly, and the spell-bound pheasant got imeyed little fellow of less than a year old. The babe mediate relief; she then flew several times round sat upon the ground, amusing himself with grasp- | the head of her benefactor, uttering some gentle ing at clumps of yellow weed that grew within but unintelligible language." reach, and eating berries brought him from time THE VENOM OF SERPENTS (p. 27). - Dr. J. to time by his mother. The latter, at length, in- Gilman arrives at the following conclusions : tent upon gathering the fine fruit, passed round a 1. That the venom of all serpents acts as a poison rock, which hid her child from view. She was in a similar manner. 2. That the venom of some about to return to him, when, hearing him laugh- varieties is far more active than that of others. ing and crowing in great glee, and thinking he 3. That a variety of the coluber, known as the must be safe as he was so happy, she remained a “cotton mouth,” is the most venomous serpent in little longer where she was. Suddenly the little Arkansas. 4. That the venom of serpents de. voice ceased; and, after another moment's delay stroys all forms of organized life, vegetable as the young mother stepped upon the rock and well as animal. 5. That alcohol, if brought looked over, expecting to see her babe asleep, and into contact with the venom, is, to a certain exinstead of which he was sitting perfectly motion- tent, an antidote. 6. That serpents do possess less, his lips parted, and his wide open eyes fixed the power of fascinating small animals. 7. That with a singular expression upon some object, the blood of small animals destroyed by the which at first she was unable to discern. Who venom of serpents bears a close resemblance to can judge of her horror when, on closer scrutiny, that of animals destroyed by lightning or hydroshe perceived, some four or five feet from her in- cyanic acid ; it loses its power of coagulation, fant, a rattlesnake, with its glittering eyes fastened and cannot be kept long from putrefaction. upon his, and nearing him by an almost imper- HORSE versus WOLF OR BEAR (p. 27). - I ceptible motion. The sight of her darling's peril believe a bear is a much more formidable adverso nearly paralyzed her that, for an instant, she sary for a horse than either a lion or tiger, as he half believed the dreadful fascination had extended is not so easily daunted in the attack, and is in a to herself; but the certainty that unless she was great measure defended from the horse's heels by the instrument of salvation to her child he was his thick haggy skin. On the other hand, a inevitably lost, in some degree restored her pow. single wolf would have but little chance opposed ers. She glanced wildly round for something that to a vigorous horse. In South America, where immight be used as a weapon, but nothing appeared; mense herds of horses run wild, the wolves never and already the venomous reptile had passed over venture to assail any horses but those who are half the space which divided him from his victim separated from the rest. If a herd of wild horses Another moment and all would be lost! What espy a wolf near their haunts, the stallions rush could be done? In her hand she held a broad tin furiously upon him, and soon despatch the unpan; and springing from the rock, quick as lucky intruder with their hoofs and teeth.. thought. she covered the snake with it, and stood BLANCHE ALSINGTON. upon it to prevent its escape. The charm was THE BEAR AND THE HORSE.-Another alleged brokeu: the child moved, swayed to one side, and proof of the bear's sagacity is, that when he has. began to sob. At the same time the mother re

seized a horse, and the terrified prey in his agony covered her voice and screamed for aid, retaining drags his foe after him, the bear, in order to stop i her position until it arrived, when the cause of the headlong speed of the affrighted horse, reher terrible fright was despatched.”

tains his hold of one paw, while with the other he It

may not be out of place here to relate another firmly grasps the first tree they pass — when, anecdote having reference to the power of fas- owing to the enormous strength of his enemy, cination possessed by the snake, although in the poor horse is at once brought up, and at his this instance it was not exercised on a human mercy. It sometimes happens, however, that if being :

the bush tree grasped is only slightly imbedded “A short time since, a person of the name of Cor- in the soil, it is torn up by the roots--when, for a rie had his attention attracted by the melancholy second or two, at least, the horse, the bear, and cries of a pheasant, perched upon a tree in one of the the tree may be seen careering together through preserves belonging to Mr. Grierson, of Tinwald, the forest. Though in general horses, when atDumfries-shire. Prompted by curiosity, he went tacked by the bear, make no resistance, but trust over the dyke into the plantation, when he beheld to their heels for safety, some are found who will a large adder leaning against a tree at full stretch, stand gallantly on the defensive, and not unfregazing intensely on the bewildered bird. Corrie / quently beat off the assailant. This was the case

with a certain mare in Wermeland, which was before, that the horn had been filled with stones, known to have come off victorious in numerous the oil was gone, and the clay was covered with conflicts. But this animal exhibited extraordi- impressions evidently from the feet of rats."nary courage as well as wouderful sagacity; for American Paper. instinct telling her that her own soft heels would “During the hay harvest in July last, the men have but little effect on Bruin's iron carcase, she who were mowing in one of my fields captured a would not, after passing the winter in the stable, mouse of a very peculiar kind. Its sides were of betake herself to the woods in the spring, until a light-blueish gray, whilst a white streak ex. duly provided with shoes. But when the black- tended down the whole length of the back, and smith had performed his part, feeling she was also over the head; the neck was surrounded by then prepared to meet the enemy on equal terms, a broad white streak, giving it the appearance of she would trot off gaily to the depths of the a collar. The mouse was thought so great a forest. I have also read of a mare at Wuollerim, curiosity that it was preserved alive, and placed in Jockmock's Lappmark, that was celebrated for in a box such as stuffed birds are kept in, with a thus combatting wild beasts. For the mere fun glass side, and a compartment at one end to serve of the thing, indeed, she would at times become as a sleeping-room, and furnished with a trapthe assailant. On one occasion she slaughtered door, in order to secure the mouse whilst itz three wolves which were prowling in company on dining-room was being cleaned out. The little a newly-frozen lake. Though I have never seen fellow soon became perfectly reconciled to his the horse in conflict with the bear or wolf, I can new abode, and apparently very much pleased by well understand that he at times proves a formid- | being noticed. A few weeks ago his box was able antagonist; for, independently of his heels, cleaned out, the mouse, as usual, being shat ap which with management may perhaps be avoided, in his bed-room. It so happened that the traphis fore-legs are most destructive weapons. About door was forgotten, and the poor mouse remained two years ago, a horse thus attacked a valuable in confinement a day and a night. When his mase pointer of mine-a maneuvre possibly learnt in was discovered, and the communication with his his combats with wolves-in the most savage dining-room once more opened, his delight was manner. No dancing master could have brought unbounded: he soon, however, set to work and his legs into play with more agility; and it was dragged his bed-composed of some loose toronly by a miracle that the poor dog escaped de out of his bed-room, in order that a similar misstruction.-Scandinavian Adventures.

chance might not again befall him-a degree of SAGACITY OF RATS AND MICE (p. 27).-A forethought which would well become the ma. volume might be filled with well authenticated nagers of some of our railroads."— Correspondent instances of the sagacity of these animals, espe- of Church and State Gazette. cially of the former of them. The two which follow are fresh to us, and in the latter will be

QUERIES. found an answer to the query of our corre- Wire-Worm.-"A Gardener," who “ does not spondent:

see why we should not make our 'Notes and “We have heard of numerous and striking in. Queries' as practically usetul as they are enterstances of the sagacity of rats, but we don't cheap recipe for the destruction of the above

taining and instructive,” asks for a good and remember any more extraordinary than the fol- named pest of cultivators. Will any of our lowing, which has been communicated to us by a readers favour us with the result of their expegentleman connected with the Peak Forest Canal rience in this matter? Company: The workmen of the Crist Quarry, at between the creatures so designated, or are these

Viper and Adder.-Is there really any difference Buggsworth, which belongs to the Canal Com- but two names for one and the same reptile? I pany, have a horn in which they keep oil for the read that there is but one venomous snake in axles of their waggons, &c., which they have been England, and yet I am told that both the viper in the habit of placing on the ground in an

and adder are venomous. How is this?-İN

QUIRER. upright position. To their great surprise, they The Puff Adder.- This is, I believe, a reptile of have several times recently found the horn filled South Africa, about the intensity of whose venom to the brim with very small stones, and nearly wonderful stories are told. Will you furnish me the whole of the oil gone. This circumstance with some account of it?-A READER. puzzled them exceedingly; and in order to dis amused by watching in our aquarium the move

The Water Spider. I have been lately much cover the way in which the oil had been extracted, ments of a Water Spider; and as I like to know they placed the horn, containing a quantity of as much as possible about the habits of the living oil, in its old position, and covered the ground creatures which come under my notice, shall feel with soft clay. The next morning they found, as

much obliged if you will give me some account of this.-JOHNNY.

CHAPTER THE SECOND.

с

THE PHYSIOLOGY OF HEALTH

in a part of their skeleton ; but if we esAND DISEASE.

amine the teeth of fishes, we shall find that they do not arise from the skeleton, but from the membrane of the mouth. They are precisely of the same character as the spines seen on the scales of the back of

some sharks and rays. These teeth, then, ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE TEETH, originate in a structure similar to the skin, GULLET, STOMACH, &c.

and are called dermal or skin teeth. They ONE of the most striking facts in the are, however, occasionally very powerful structure of all animals, is the relation of organs, but they are used almost entirely one part of their organization to every as organs of prehension; they are not other. It was the discovery of this fact attached to a moveable bone, as is the that gave so much importance to the geo- case in the true teeth, and hence they logical researches of Cuvier. He showed cannot be used for the purpose of masthat it was not necessary, in order to know tication. the structure and habits of an animal, that If we examine the teeth of the human you should either see the living animal, or jaw (Fig. 6), we shall find that they are have even the whole of its remains. He pointed out that a certain structure of the

ba foot required a particular condition of the leg, the pelvis, the spine, and thus on throughout the whole body: The practical value of these researches has been of the most decided kind in deciphering the history of the ancient world. Amongst the remains of animals which have been handed down to us in the greatest number and the highest state of preservation, are their teeth. This has arisen from their dense structure more readily resisting the action of decomposing agencies than any other part of the body. This may be regarded as a fortunate incident for geologs, as of all parts of the body the teeth are most decidedly distinctive of the character of the animal. The reason of this arises from the adaptation of the teeth to the peculiar food on which an animal lives. The nature of the food, to a great extent, influences the whole habits of

Fig. 6. the animal. How different must be the representatives of the principal classes of organization of creatures obliged to pursue teeth that we find developed in the lower living animals as their prey, from those animals. They are of three kinds :- First, which browse on the grass, or feed on the the large teeth behind, with broad, flat fruits of trees! But the teeth, being adapted surfaces, and which, on account of their to the food, at once suggest the whole struc- functions, are called 'grinders (a); they are ture of the animal. Thus single teeth of technically named molars, or molar teeth. animals have been found, and the whole They are altogether twelve in number in structure of the animals and their habits the adult jaws, being three on each side of have been suggested by their examination. both upper and lower jaw. The last of

It is to the teeth, then, that we wish now these teeth are called wisdom-teeth in to draw attention, as organs connected with man, from the fact that they do not appear the preparation of food in man. The com- till from the eighteenth to the thirtieth parative anatomist distinguishes two kinds year of his age. These are followed, on of teeth; for, on examination of some of the each side of both jaws, with two teeth lower animals, he finds that they possess whose surfaces are less broad, and which, organs which perform some of the same having two sharp projections on each, are functions, and having a similar structure to called bicuspids-two-pointed (6). The sixth those in higher animals, yet having a very tooth on each side is called the eye-tooth (c): dissimilar origin. The teeth of man and it has but one point, or projection, hence the higher animals originate in the bone, these teeth are called cuspidate (pointed).

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »