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Sir Stamford Raffles in Java, the smallest of all the living species, and quite distinct from the Indian one-horned rhi
The characters which these several species possess in common, and which distinguish them from all other quadrupeds, are the following. Both sexes are armed with one or two horns, of an uniform fibrous texture, placed on the nose, and always situated on the middle line of the head. They have three toes on each foot, and each toe is inclosed in a thick rounded hoof. These, therefore, constitute the true generic character of the rhinoceros.
In their large size, bulky body, and thick legs, they resemble the elephant, have a hide even thicker than that animal, and are rendered further peculiar in some of the species by being thrown into deep and extensive folds. The surface of the skin is rough, and devoid of hair : the snout is elongated in some of the species, while in others it is remarkably blunted, and as if cut off: the eyes are very small, like those of the hog: the ears elongated, but much shorter than the head, and supported, as it were, on a sort of pedicle or stalk : the lips project beyond the mouth, and the upper one especially is very moveable : the tail is short, and its extremity bears a number of very stiff and large bristles set on at the sides, and projecting in two opposite directions. The number of nipples are two, and situated on the groin. Some species possess, while others are deficient in, incisive or front teeth; the canine teeth are wanting in all; the grinding or cheek teeth are seven in each jaw on each side.
It is our intention, in succeeding Numbers, to give the most accurate figures and accounts that can be obtained of the several species above indicated. In the present Number the one-horned species of India (Rhinoceros Indicus, Cuv.) will be described. As this is the only
species which, in modern times, has been brought alive to Europe, it has been most commonly figured. A sketch was taken from the animal sent to Portugal in 1513, which was engraved by Albert Durer. This sketch, as it was improved and embellished by the celebrated painter of Nuremberg, came afterwards into the possession of Sir Hans Sloane; and to it was attached a German inscription, of which the following appears in the Philosophical Transactions for 1744, as a close translation.' “In the year 1513, upon the 1. day of May, there was brought to our king at Lisbon such a living beast from the East Indies that is called Rhinocerate: therefore, on account of its wonderfulness, I thought myself obliged to send you the representation of it. It hath the colour of a toad,
and is close covered over with thick scales. It is in size like an elephant, but lower, and is the elephant's deadly enemy: it hath on the fore-part of its nose a strong sharp horn; and when this beast comes near the elephant to fight with him, he always first whets his horn upon the stones, and runs at the elephant with his head between his fore-legs; then rips up the elephant where he hath the thinnest skin, and so gores him. The elephant is terribly affraid of the Rhinocerate, for he gores him always wherever he meets an elephant, for he is well armed, and is very alert and nimble. This beast is called Rhinocero in Greek and Latin, but in Indian, Gomda.”
The animal which was sent to England in 1739, is described by Dr. Parsons as being “very broad and thick. His head, in proportion, is very large, having the hinder part next his ears extremely high in proportion to the rest of his face, which is flat, and sinks down suddenly forward towards the middle, rising again to the horn, but in a lesser degree. The horn stands on the nose of the animal as upon a hill. I have seen the bones of the head of one of these in Sir Hans Sloane's museum; and the part on which the horn is fixed rises into a blunt cone, to answer to the cavity in the basis of the horn, which is very hard and solid, having no manner of hollow or core like those of other quadrupeds. That part that reaches from the fore part of the horn towards the upper lip may be called the nose, being very bulky, and having a kind of circular sweep downwards towards the nostrils : on all this part he has a great number of wrinkles running cross the front of it, and advancing on each side towards his eyes. The nostrils are situated very low, in the same direction with the opening of the mouth, and not above an inch from it. His under lip is like that of an ox, but the upper more like that of the horse, using it, as that creature does, to gather the hay from the rack, or grass from the ground; with this difference, that the rhinoceros has a power of stretching it out above six inches to a point, and doubling it round a stick or one's finger, holding it fast; so that as to that action, it is not unlike the proboscis of an elephant.
“As to the tongue of the rhinoceros, although it is confidently reported by authors that it is so rough as to be capable of rubbing a man's flesh from his bones, yet that of our present animal is soft, and as smooth as that of a calf; whether it may grow more rough as the beast grows older, we cannot say
“ His eyes are dull and sleepy, much like those of a hog in shape, and situated nearer the nose than that of any other
quadruped I have ever seen, which he very seldom opens entirely. His ears are broad and thin towards the tops, much like those of a hog, but have each a narrow round root with wrinkles about it. His neck is very short, being that part which lies between the back edge of the jaw and the fold of the shoulder : on this part there are two distinct folds which go quite round it, only the fore-one is broken underneath, and has a hollow flap hanging from it, so deep, that it would contain a man's fist. From the middle of the hinder of these folds arises another, which, passing backwards along the neck, is lost before it reaches that which surrounds the forepart of the body.
“His shoulders are very thick and heavy, and have each another fold downward that crosses the fore-leg, and almost meeting that of the fore-part of the body just mentioned ; they both double under the belly close behind the fore-leg.
“His body in general is very thick, and juts out at the sides like that of a cow with calf. His belly hangs low, being not far from the ground, as it sinks much' in the middle. From the highest point in his back, the fold of the loins runs down on each side between the last ribs and the hips, and is lost before it comes to the belly; but above the place of its being lost, another rises and runs backward, round the hind legs, a little above the joint: this I call the crural fold, which runs up behind till it meets another transverse one which runs from the side of the tail forward, and is lost before it reaches within two inches of that of the loins.
“ The legs of the rhinoceros are thick and strong; those before, when he stands firm, bend back at the knee a great way from a straight line, being very round and somewhat taper downwards. The hinder legs are also very strong, bending backwards at the joint at an obtuse angle, beneath which the limb grows smaller, and then becomes gradually thicker as it approaches the foot; so also does that part of the leg. About the joint of each of his legs there is a remarkable fold when he bends them in lying down, which disappears when he stands.
“The tail of this animal is very inconsiderable, in proportion to his bulk, not exceeding seventeen or eighteen inches in length, and not very thick. It has a great roughness round it, and a kind of twist or stricture towards the extremity, ending in a flatness, which gave occasion to authors to compare it to a spatula. On the sides of this flat part a few nairs appeared, which were black and strong, not short. It is further to be observed, that the hairs on the left side grow out a great way up towards the root of the tail, whereas on
the right side they grow no higher than the flat part. There is no other hair on this young rhinoceros, except a very small quantity on the posterior edge of the upper part of the ears. I have observed a very peculiar quality in this creature, of listening to any noise or rumour in the street; for though he were eating, sleeping, or under the greatest engagements nature imposes on him, he stops everything suddenly, and lifts
up his head with great attention till the noise is over. “The skin of the rhinoceros is thick and impenetrable. In running one's fingers under one of the folds and holding it up with the thumb at the top, it feels like a piece of board half an inch thick. It is covered all over, more or less, with hard incrustations like so many scabs, which are but small on the ridge of the neck and back, but grow larger by degrees downwards toward the belly, and are largest on the shoulders and buttocks, and continue pretty large upon the legs, all along down; but between the folds the skin is as smooth and soft as silk, and easily penetrated; of a pale flesh colour, which does not appear to view in the folds except when the rhinoceros extends them, but is always in view under the fore and hinder parts of the belly, but the middle is incrusted over like the rest of the skin.
“As to the performance of this animal's several motions, let us consider the great wisdom of the Creator in the contrivance that serves him for that purpose. The skin is entirely impenetrable and inflexible; if, therefore, it was continued all over the creature as the skins of other animals, without any folds, he could not bend any way, and consequently not perform any necessary action ; but that suppleness in the skins of all other quadrupeds, which renders them flexible in all parts, is very well compensated in this animal by those folds; for since it was nécessary his skin should be hard for his defence, it was a noble contrivance that the skin should be so soft and smooth underneath, that when he bends himself any way, one part of this board-like skin should slip or shove over the other, and that these several folds should be placed in such places of his body as might facilitate the performance of every voluntary motion he might be disposed to.”
The rhinoceros utters a note like the grunt of a boar; it increases to a shrill sound when he becomes enraged. It will consume 124 pounds of vegetable food in the course of the day, and drink in proportion. The animal described by Dr. Parsons was fed with rice, sugar, and hay; "of the first he ate seven pounds to about three pounds of the sugar; they were mixed together, and he ate ihis quantity every day, divided into three meals, and about a truss of hay in the week, besides
greens of different kinds, which were often brought to him, and of which he seemed fonder than of his dry victuals, and drank large quantities of water at a time,-being then, as I was informed by his keeper, two years old. It was said by those who took care of hin, that from the time of his being first taken, to the time of his landing in England, his expenses amounted to one thousand pounds sterling."
In a state of nature the rhinoceros commonly lives in solitude, moves slowly, with the head hanging down, and often ploughs the earth with his horn, uprooting vegetables, and casting behind him very large stones. When he runs, the tail is stiffly extended like that of a bull. As the rhinoceros consumes an immense quantity of vegetables and of water, he can only exist in places where they abound. The animal which was preserved at Versailles used frequently to enter and roll about in the water of his bath. In their native haunts these animals, notwithstanding the thickness of their bide, are tormented by the stings and bites of numerous insects; therefore, as a means of defence, they roll in the mud and slime, which, hardening in the sun, forms a sort of cuirass to the naked skin.
The flesh of the rhinoceros, though coarse and fibrous, is said to be similar in its flavour to pork, and better than that of the elephant.
The horn of the rhinoceros is much esteemed by the Asiatics: they make drinking-cups of them, believing them to be antidotes against poison : they are capable of a high polish, and are sometimes sculptured with considerable taste and delicacy. The hide is commonly employed to make whips.
An interesting memoir from the pen of M. Frederic Cuvier, has appeared in the splendid work published by him conjointly with M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire, on the animals in the menagerie in the Garden of Plants at Paris. It relates to the rhinoceros lately living in that establishment, and from which the figure was taken which serves to illustrate the present account.
“This rhinoceros was but young at the time that the figure was taken; and, contrary to the commonly received opinion, was habitually of a very gentle disposition, obedient to his keeper, and receiving his care and attention with a real affection. However, he would occasionally be seized with fits of fury, during which it was not prudent to come near him. No cause could be assigned for these violent paroxysms: one might say that a blind impulse or desire to regain a state of liberty, (which he had never enjoyed,) excited him to break