In the elegant symmetry of their form and the light and graceful agility of their motions, the Antelopes are superior even to the Deer, whom, however, they closely resemble, not merely in outward shape, but also in internal structure. Like them, in addition to the coincidence of a slightly made and beautifully proportioned figure, they are frequently furnished with a naked muzzle, and with the same remarkable sinus beneath the inner angle of the eye; and their ears are generally of considerable size, erect, and pointed. But they are strikingly distinguished from them and from all the other animals of the order by the peculiar character of their horns, which are formed of an elastic sheath enclosing a solid nucleus, and are for the most part common to the females as well as to the males. They have no canine teeth, and exhibit no appearance of a beard such as is seen in the Goats. The horns vary greatly in the different races; they are sometimes straight and upright, at other times slightly curved, and frequently spirally twisted with the most beautiful regularity: they are usually surrounded by elevated rings or by a spiral ridge, are constantly of the same form in the same species, and are not subject to an annual falling off and renewal, as in the Deer, from which they differ also in their mode of growth, the horns of the latter group lengthening at their apices, while those of the former receive their increase at the base.
THE INDIAN ANTELOPE.
The animals of the part of New Holland from which these birds are derived appear in general to suffer little from their transportation to the climate of England. The Emeus, like the Kanguroos, have become to a certain extent naturalized in the Royal Park at Windsor, where they breed without difficulty and with no extraordinary precautions. Here they have assigned to them a sufficient space of ground to take ample exercise; and this circumstance contributes not a little to the thriving condition in which they are met with. They are perfectly harmless unless when irritated or pursued, in which case they sometimes strike very severe blows with their beaks, which are extremely hard. The pair in the Tower were obtained from this establishment, where they were bred.
They are frequently divided into two great sections; the one, which is by far the most numerous, comprehending all those in which the poison-fangs are wanting, and which are consequently dangerous only in proportion to the extent of their muscular force; and the other consisting of those in which the fangs are present, and the bite of which is accompanied with the pouring out of a venomous secretion. At the head of the first of these divisions rank the Boas, which in the Linnean arrangement comprehended all those snakes, whether venomous or not, whose under surface was covered with narrow transverse plates, and whose tail was destitute of rattle. Later zoologists have, however, confined that appellation to those among the Linnean Boas, which are without poisonous fangs and have claws near the vent, and have regarded as a distinct genus the snakes which in addition to these latter characters have the scales of the under surface of the tail so arranged as to form two distinct rows. To the latter, which inhabit the Old Continent exclusively (while the former are all of them natives of America), they have assigned the name of Python.
The feet of the Camels and of the Llamas are very different in form from those of all the other Ruminants. They are, it is true, deeply divided, like those of the latter, into two apparent toes; but cannot be said, like them, to part the hoof, for they have no real hoof, and the extremities of their protruded toes are armed only with short, thick, and crooked claws. These toes are in the Camels united posteriorly by a horny process, which is wanting in the Llamas. The teeth of both are nearly similar: they consist of six incisors in the lower jaw and two in the upper; of two canines in each; and of six molars in the upper, and five in the lower, on each side. None of the other Ruminants exhibit the least appearance of cutting teeth in the upper jaw. The nostrils of both consist externally of mere fissures in the skin, which may be opened and closed at pleasure, and which are surrounded by a naked muzzle; and their upper lip is divided into two distinct portions, which are very extensible, and capable of much separate motion.
Canis nubilus. Say.
The characters of the genus to which this curious little animal belongs resemble so closely in the most important particulars those of the other plantigrade Carnivora, that it will here be sufficient to explain those points alone in which the Coatis differ from their immediate affinities. From the Bears they are essentially distinguished by the general form of their body, which in some measure approaches that of the viverrine group; by their physiognomy, which is altogether peculiar, and by their elongated tail, which is nearly equal in length to their body. From the Racoons their generally lengthened form, and especially that of the snout, which is in fact their most obvious and striking characteristic, are fully sufficient to distinguish them. In the Coatis this organ is produced in a most remarkable degree; and it is terminated by a muzzle so extremely flexible that, when the attention of the animal is excited, it is kept in constant action and moved about in all directions.