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by rufus merrill.
Start of Story
Age Rating 6 to 8.
Is the biggest of all land animals. He is more than five times as big
as an ox. But he is a harmless creature, for all that. When he is
wild, and lives in the woods, he will run away, if you attempt to go
near him. When he is tame, he will take a piece of cake out of your
pocket, and let you ride upon his back.
The Ourang Outang is a species of the ape; it has long arms and hands,
with very long fingers. It is much larger than the ape, and some have
been found about six feet high, when standing erect. It is capable of
walking nearly erect; but the usual gait on the ground is like a
cripple who supports himself on his hands, and draws his body forward.
Its home, like the monkey family, seems to be on the trees. The hair
is of a brownish red color, and covers his back, arms, legs, and the
outside of his hands and feet. The face has no hair except whiskers on
its side. He inhabits Malacca, Cochin China, and particularly the
island of Borneo.
The Opossum is an American animal, having a head like the fox, and
large eyes. The head is mostly white, and the body is covered with
long black-and-white hairs. He climbs up trees with great facility,
hides himself in the leaves to catch birds, or hangs himself by the
tail from a branch. It seeks its food in the night, and lives on
fruit, insects, and birds' eggs. Its teeth are fifty in number. The
most remarkable circumstance in the natural history of this animal is
the pouch which is formed under the belly of the female, in which it
carries its young ones when they are small. If the little creatures
are frightened when absent from their mother, they scamper to this
asylum as soon as possible.
Of this numerous tribe of animals, there is perhaps no species so
truly elegant in its appearance as this, and although it is one of the
most common, yet its habits are but little known. It is very numerous
in all the northern parts of Africa. In size, it is rather smaller
than the fallow deer. Its color is a dusky brown, mixed with red; the
tail is short; the horns, which are about sixteen inches long, are
black, distinctly annulated almost to the top, and have three curves.
The brachia, or sides of the lyre, were frequently made of these
horns, as appears from ancient gems. The female is destitute of horns,
and has a white stripe on the flanks.
The Rabbit is a very pretty animal, and loves to live about the house
and barn, in a state of friendship with all around it. It has no
defence, but to run away; and so harmless and innocent is it, that
nobody can have the heart to do it injury. It feeds upon clover,
apples, and other fruits, and will often sit for hours in some snug
covered place, quietly chewing its cud, with the greatest
satisfaction. There is another kind of rabbit, which runs wild in the
woods and fields. He is remarkably swift of foot, and no dog can
overtake him in a race, but a grey-hound. His fur is very soft, and is
used in making coarse hats.
THE MUSK DEER
These animals are found in the Alpine mountains of Asia and Siberia.
Their favorite haunts are the tops of mountains covered with pines,
where they delight to wander in places the most difficult of access.
They are hunted for the sake of their well-known perfume, which is
contained in an oval bag about the size of a small hen's egg, hanging
from the abdomen. This receptacle is found constantly filled with a
soft, unctuous, brownish substance, of the most powerful and
penetrating scent, and which is the perfume in its natural state. When
close, and in large quantities, the smell is very powerful and
The Polar Bear is distinguished for his tremendous ferocity. They are
very numerous in the polar seas. There it is seen not only on land and
fixed ice, but on floating ice several leagues out at sea. At sea, the
food of this animal is fish, seals, and the carcases of whales; on
land, it preys upon deer and other animals, and will, like the Black
Bear, eat many kinds of berries. In winter, it beds itself deeply
under the snow or eminences of ice, and awaits, in a torpid state, the
return of the sun.
The Black Bear lives in the woods of the United States, and is not as
large as the Polar or Brown Bear, but lives very much like the Polar