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History of Animals   


the genital sperm unless it be hindered, and for this reason it is
usually beaten after such intercourse and chased about. It casts its
young in the twelfth month. It usually bears but one foal, and that is
its natural number, occasionally however it bears twins. The ass if it
cover a mare destroys, as has been said, the embryo previously
begotten by the horse; but, after the mare has been covered by the
ass, the horse supervening will not spoil the embryo. The she-ass
has milk in the tenth month of pregnancy. Seven days after casting a
foal the she-ass submits to the male, and is almost sure to conceive
if put to the male on this particular day; the same result, however,
is quite possible later on. The she-ass will refuse to cast her foal
with any one looking on or in the daylight and just before foaling she
has to be led away into a dark place. If the she-ass has had young
before the shedding of the index-teeth, she will bear all her life
through; but if not, then she will neither conceive nor bear for the
rest of her days. The ass lives for more than thirty years, and the
she-ass lives longer than the male.
When there is a cross between a horse and a she-ass or a jackass
and a mare, there is much greater chance of a miscarriage than where
the commerce is normal. The period for gestation in the case of a
cross depends on the male, and is just what it would have been if
the male had had commerce with a female of his own kind. In regard
to size, looks, and vigour, the foal is more apt to resemble the
mother than the sire. If such hybrid connexions be continued without
intermittence, the female will soon go sterile; and for this reason
trainers always allow of intervals between breeding times. A mare will
not take the ass, nor a she ass the horse, unless the ass or she-ass
shall have been suckled by a mare; and for this reason trainers put
foals of the she-ass under mares, which foals are technically spoken
of as 'mare-suckled'. These asses, thus reared, mount the mares in the
open pastures, mastering them by force as the stallions do.
24

A mule is fitted for commerce with the female after the first
shedding of its teeth, and at the age of seven will impregnate
effectually; and where connexion has taken place with a mare, a
'hinny' has been known to be produced. After the seventh year it has
no further intercourse with the female. A female mule has been known
to be impregnated, but without the impregnation being followed up by
parturition. In Syrophoenicia she-mules submit to the mule and bear
young; but the breed, though it resembles the ordinary one, is
different and specific. The hinny or stunted mule is foaled by a
mare when she has gone sick during gestation, and corresponds to the
dwarf in the human species and to the after-pig or scut in swine;
and as is the case with dwarfs, the sexual organ of the hinny is
abnormally large.
The mule lives for a number of years. There are on record
cases of mules living to the age of eighty, as did one in Athens at
the time of the building of the temple; this mule on account of its
age was let go free, but continued to assist in dragging burdens,
and would go side by side with the other draught-beasts and
stimulate them to their work; and in consequence a public decree was
passed forbidding any baker driving the creature away from his
bread-tray. The she-mule grows old more slowly than the mule. Some
assert that the she-mule menstruates by the act of voiding her
urine, and that the mule owes the prematurity of his decay to his
habit of smelling at the urine. So much for the modes of generation in
connexion with these animals.
25

Breeders and trainers can distinguish between young and old
quadrupeds. If, when drawn back from the jaw, the skin at once goes
back to its place, the animal is young; if it remains long wrinkled
up, the animal is old.

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