This sullen and forbidding-looking animal, the most ravenous and ferocious that infests the more temperate regions of the earth, of many parts of which he is the terror and the scourge, is distinguished from the humble, generous, and faithful friend of man, the domestic dog, by no very remarkable or striking character; and yet there is something in his physiognomy, gait, and habit, which is at once so peculiar and so repulsive, that it would be almost impossible to confound a Wolf, however tame, with the most savage and the most wolflike of dogs. For the separation of the two species, Linn?us, as we have seen in the preceding article, had recourse to the tail; and having determined that that of the dog was uniformly curved upwards, he attributed to that of the Wolf a completely opposite direction, that is to say, a curvature inwards; assigning, at the same time, a straight or a deflected position to those of all the other animals of the group. The deflected, or down-pointing, direction is, however, equally common in the Wolf with the incurved; and this petty distinction, which has little to do with structure, and still less with habits, is hardly deserving of serious attention. More obvious and more essential differences will be found in the cast of his countenance, which derives a peculiar expression from the obliquity of his eyes; in the breadth of his head, suddenly contracting into a slender and pointed muzzle; in the size and power of his teeth, which are comparatively greater than those of any dog of equal stature; in the stiffness and want of pliability of his limbs; in his uniformly straight and pointed ears; and in a black stripe which almost constantly, and in nearly every variety of the species, occupies the front of the fore leg of the adult. His fur, which differs considerably in texture and colour, from the influence of climate and of seasons, is commonly of a grayish yellow, the shades of which are variously intermingled; as he advances in age it becomes lighter, and in high northern latitudes frequently turns completely white, a change which also takes place in many other animals inhabiting the polar regions.
The other individual at present in the Tower is a Tigress of great beauty from Bengal, scarcely a twelvemonth old, who also promises to become an exceedingly fine animal. During her passage from Calcutta she was allowed to range about the vessel unrestricted, became perfectly familiar with the sailors, and showed not the slightest symptom of ferocity. On her arrival, however, in the Thames, the irritation produced by the sight of strangers completely and instantly changed her temper, rendering her irascible and dangerous. Her deportment was so sulky and savage that Mr. Cops could scarcely be prevailed on by her former keeper, who saw her shortly afterwards, to allow him to enter her den: but no sooner did she recognise her old friend, than she fawned upon him, licked him, and caressed him, exhibiting the most extravagant signs of pleasure; and when he left her she cried and whined for the remainder of the day. To her new residence and her new keeper she is now perfectly reconciled.
Vultur fulvus. Linn.
In size the Spotted Hy?na, the Hy?na Crocuta of naturalists, is somewhat inferior to the striped. Its muzzle, although short, is not so abruptly truncated; and its ears, which are short and broad, assume a nearly quadrilateral figure. Its ground colour is yellowish brown; and the whole body is covered with numerous spots of a deeper brown, tolerably uniform in size, but sometimes not very distinctly marked, and occasionally arranging themselves in longitudinal rows. Its hair is shorter than that of the Striped Hy?na, and although longer on the neck and in the central line of the back than elsewhere, does not form so distinct and well furnished a mane as in the latter animal. The tail is blackish brown, and covered with long bushy hair.