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History of Animals   



Jag-toothed animals drink by lapping, as do also some animals
with teeth differently formed, as the mouse. Animals whose upper and
lower teeth meet evenly drink by suction, as the horse and the ox; the
bear neither laps nor sucks, but gulps down his drink. Birds, a
rule, drink by suction, but the long necked birds stop and elevate
their heads at intervals; the purple coot is the only one (of the
long-necked birds) that swallows water by gulps.
Horned animals, domesticated or wild, and all such as are not
jag-toothed, are all frugivorous and graminivorous, save under great
stress of hunger. The pig is an exception, it cares little for grass
or fruit, but of all animals it is the fondest of roots, owing to
the fact that its snout is peculiarly adapted for digging them out
of the ground; it is also of all animals the most easily pleased in
the matter of food. It takes on fat more rapidly in proportion to
its size than any other animal; in fact, a pig can be fattened for the
market in sixty days. Pig-dealers can tell the amount of flesh taken
on, by having first weighed the animal while it was being starved.
Before the fattening process begins, the creature must be starved
for three days; and, by the way, animals in general will take on fat
if subjected previously to a course of starvation; after the three
days of starvation, pig-breeders feed the animal lavishly. Breeders in
Thrace, when fattening pigs, give them a drink on the first day;
then they miss one, and then two days, then three and four, until
the interval extends over seven days. The pigs' meat used for
fattening is composed of barley, millet, figs, acorns, wild pears, and
cucumbers. These animals-and other animals that have warm
bellies-are fattened by repose. (Pigs also fatten the better by
being allowed to wallow in mud. They like to feed in batches of the
same age. A pig will give battle even to a wolf.) If a pig be
weighed when living, you may calculate that after death its flesh will
weigh five-sixths of that weight, and the hair, the blood, and the
rest will weigh the other sixth. When suckling their young,
swinelike all other animals-get attenuated. So much for these animals.
7

Cattle feed on corn and grass, and fatten on vegetables that
tend to cause flatulency, such as bitter vetch or bruised beans or
bean-stalks. The older ones also will fatten if they be fed up after
an incision has been made into their hide, and air blown thereinto.
Cattle will fatten also on barley in its natural state or on barley
finely winnowed, or on sweet food, such as figs, or pulp from the
wine-press, or on elm-leaves. But nothing is so fattening as the
heat of the sun and wallowing in warm waters. If the horns of young
cattle be smeared with hot wax, you may mold them to any shape you
please, and cattle are less subject to disease of the hoof if you
smear the horny parts with wax, pitch, or olive oil. Herded cattle
suffer more when they are forced to change their pasture ground by
frost than when snow is the cause of change. Cattle grow all the
more in size when they are kept from sexual commerce over a number
of years; and it is with a view to growth in size that in Epirus the
so-called Pyrrhic kine are not allowed intercourse with the bull until
they are nine years old; from which circumstance they are nicknamed
the 'unbulled' kine. Of these Pyrrhic cattle, by the way, they say
that there are only about four hundred in the world, that they are the
private property of the Epirote royal family, that they cannot
thrive out of Epirus, and that people elsewhere have tried to rear
them, but without success.
8

Horses, mules, and asses feed on corn and grass, but are
fattened chiefly by drink. Just in proportion as beasts of burden
drink water, so will they more or less enjoy their food, and a place
will give good or bad feeding according as the water is good or bad.

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