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History of Animals   


In the mountain called Elaphoeis or Deer Mountain, which is in
Arginussa in Asia Minor-the place, by the way, where Alcibiades was
assassinated-all the hinds have the ear split, so that, if they
stray to a distance, they can be recognized by this mark; and the
embryo actually has the mark while yet in the womb of the mother.
The hind has four teats like the cow. After the hinds have
become pregnant, the males all segregate one by one, and in
consequence of the violence of their sexual passions they keep each
one to himself, dig a hole in the ground, and bellow from time to
time; in all these particulars they resemble the goat, and their
foreheads from getting wetted become black, as is also the case with
the goat. In this way they pass the time until the rain falls, after
which time they turn to pasture. The animal acts in this way owing
to its sexual wantonness and also to its obesity; for in summer-time
it becomes so exceptionally fat as to be unable to run: in fact at
this period they can be overtaken by the hunters that pursue them on
foot in the second or third run; and, by the way, in consequence of
the heat of the weather and their getting out of breath they always
make for water in their runs. In the rutting season, the flesh of
the deer is unsavoury and rank, like the flesh of the he-goat. In
winter-time the deer becomes thin and weak, but towards the approach
of the spring he is at his best for running. When on the run the
deer keeps pausing from time to time, and waits until his pursuer
draws upon him, whereupon he starts off again. This habit appears
due to some internal pain: at all events, the gut is so slender and
weak that, if you strike the animal ever so softly, it is apt to break
asunder, though the hide of the animal remains sound and uninjured.
30

Bears, as has been previously stated, do not copulate with the
male mounting the back of the female, but with the female lying down
under the male. The she-bear goes with young for thirty days. She
brings forth sometimes one cub, sometimes two cubs, and at most
five. Of all animals the newly born cub of the she bear is the
smallest in proportion to the size of the mother; that is to say, it
is larger than a mouse but smaller than a weasel. It is also smooth
and blind, and its legs and most of its organs are as yet
inarticulate. Pairing takes Place in the month of Elaphebolion, and
parturition about the time for retiring into winter quarters; about
this time the bear and the she-bear are at the fattest. After the
she-bear has reared her young, she comes out of her winter lair in the
third month, when it is already spring. The female porcupine, by the
way, hibernates and goes with young the same number of days as the
she-bear, and in all respects as to parturition resembles this animal.
When a she-bear is with young, it is a very hard task to catch her.
31

It has already been stated that the lion and lioness copulate
rearwards, and that these animals are opisthuretic. They do not
copulate nor bring forth at all seasons indiscriminately, but once
in the year only. The lioness brings forth in the spring, generally
two cubs at a time, and six at the very most; but sometimes only
one. The story about the lioness discharging her womb in the act of
parturition is a pure fable, and was merely invented to account for
the scarcity of the animal; for the animal is, as is well known, a
rare animal, and is not found in many countries. In fact, in the whole
of Europe it is only found in the strip between the rivers Achelous
and Nessus. The cubs of the lioness when newly born are exceedingly
small, and can scarcely walk when two months old. The Syrian lion
bears cubs five times: five cubs at the first litter, then four,
then three, then two, and lastly one; after this the lioness ceases to
bear for the rest of her days. The lioness has no mane, but this
appendage is peculiar to the lion. The lion sheds only the four
so-called canines, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower; and it

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