History of Animals
The camel carries its young for ten months, and bears but one at
a time and never more; the young camel is removed from the mother when
a year old. The animal lives for a long period, more than fifty years.
It bears in spring-time, and gives milk until the time of the next
conception. Its flesh and milk are exceptionally palatable. The milk
is drunk mixed with water in the proportion of either two to one or
three to one.
The elephant of either sex is fitted for breeding before
reaching the age of twenty. The female carries her young, according to
some accounts, for two and a half years; according to others, for
three years; and the discrepancy in the assigned periods is due to the
fact that there are never human eyewitnesses to the commerce between
the sexes. The female settles down on its rear to cast its young,
and obviously suffers greatly during the process. The young one,
immediately after birth, sucks the mother, not with its trunk but with
the mouth; and can walk about and see distinctly the moment it is
The wild sow submits to the boar at the beginning of winter, and
in the spring-time retreats for parturition to a lair in some district
inaccessible to intrusion, hemmed in with sheer cliffs and chasms
and overshadowed by trees. The boar usually remains by the sow for
thirty days. The number of the litter and the period gestation is
the same as in the case of the domesticated congener. The sound of the
grunt also is similar; only that the sow grunts continually, and the
boar but seldom. Of the wild boars such as are castrated grow to the
largest size and become fiercest: to which circumstance Homer
alludes when he says:-
'He reared against him a wild castrated boar: it was not like a
food-devouring brute, but like a forest-clad promontory.'
Wild boars become castrated owing to an itch befalling them in
early life in the region of the testicles, and the castration is
superinduced by their rubbing themselves against the trunks of trees.
The hind, as has been stated, submits to the stag as a rule only
under compulsion, as she is unable to endure the male often owing to
the rigidity of the penis. However, they do occasionally submit to the
stag as the ewe submits ram; and when they are in heat the hinds avoid
one another. The stag is not constant to one particular hind, but
after a while quits one and mates with others. The breeding time is
after the rising of Arcturus, during the months of Boedromion and
Maimacterion. The period of gestation lasts for eight months.
Conception comes on a few days after intercourse; and a number of
hinds can be impregnated by a single male. The hind, as a rule,
bears but one fawn, although instances have been known of her
casting two. Out of dread of wild beasts she casts her young by the
side of the high-road. The young fawn grows with rapidity.
Menstruation occurs at no other time with the hind; it takes place
only after parturition, and the substance is phlegm-like.
The hind leads the fawn to her lair; this is her place of
refuge, a cave with a single inlet, inside which she shelters
herself against attack.
Fabulous stories are told concerning the longevity of the
animal, but the stories have never been verified, and the brevity of
the period of gestation and the rapidity of growth in the fawn would
not lead one to attribute extreme longevity to this creature.