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History of Animals   


have heard other birds singing; and a mother-nightingale has been
observed to give lessons in singing to a young bird, from which
spectacle we might obviously infer that the song of the bird was not
equally congenital with mere voice, but was something capable of
modification and of improvement. Men have the same voice or vocal
sounds, but they differ from one another in speech or language.
The elephant makes a vocal sound of a windlike sort by the mouth
alone, unaided by the trunk, just like the sound of a man panting or
sighing; but, if it employ the trunk as well, the sound produced is
like that of a hoarse trumpet.
10

With regard to the sleeping and waking of animals, all creatures
that are red-blooded and provided with legs give sensible proof that
they go to sleep and that they waken up from sleep; for, as a matter
of fact, all animals that are furnished with eyelids shut them up when
they go to sleep. Furthermore, it would appear that not only do men
dream, but horses also, and dogs, and oxen; aye, and sheep, and goats,
and all viviparous quadrupeds; and dogs show their dreaming by barking
in their sleep. With regard to oviparous animals we cannot be sure
that they dream, but most undoubtedly they sleep. And the same may
be said of water animals, such as fishes, molluscs, crustaceans, to
wit crawfish and the like. These animals sleep without doubt, although
their sleep is of very short duration. The proof of their sleeping
cannot be got from the condition of their eyes-for none of these
creatures are furnished with eyelids-but can be obtained only from
their motionless repose.
Apart from the irritation caused by lice and what are nicknamed
fleas, fish are met with in a state so motionless that one might
easily catch them by hand; and, as a matter of fact, these little
creatures, if the fish remain long in one position, will attack them
in myriads and devour them. For these parasites are found in the
depths of the sea, and are so numerous that they devour any bait
made of fish's flesh if it be left long on the ground at the bottom;
and fishermen often draw up a cluster of them, all clinging on to
the bait.
But it is from the following facts that we may more reasonably
infer that fishes sleep. Very often it is possible to take a fish
off its guard so far as to catch hold of it or to give it a blow
unawares; and all the while that you are preparing to catch or
strike it, the fish is quite still but for a slight motion of the
tail. And it is quite obvious that the animal is sleeping, from its
movements if any disturbance be made during its repose; for it moves
just as you would expect in a creature suddenly awakened. Further,
owing to their being asleep, fish may be captured by torchlight. The
watchmen in the tunny-fishery often take advantage of the fish being
asleep to envelop them in a circle of nets; and it is quite obvious
that they were thus sleeping by their lying still and allowing the
glistening under-parts of their bodies to become visible, while the
capture is taking Place. They sleep in the night-time more than during
the day; and so soundly at night that you may cast the net without
making them stir. Fish, as a general rule, sleep close to the
ground, or to the sand or to a stone at the bottom, or after
concealing themselves under a rock or the ground. Flat fish go to
sleep in the sand; and they can be distinguished by the outlines of
their shapes in the sand, and are caught in this position by being
speared with pronged instruments. The basse, the chrysophrys or
gilt-head, the mullet, and fish of the like sort are often caught in
the daytime by the prong owing to their having been surprised when
sleeping; for it is scarcely probable that fish could be pronged while
awake. Cartilaginous fish sleep at times so soundly that they may be
caught by hand. The dolphin and the whale, and all such as are
furnished with a blow-hole, sleep with the blow-hole over the
surface of the water, and breathe through the blow-hole while they

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