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History of Animals   


the other. In Pordoselene there is a public road one side of which the
weasel is found but not on the other. In Boeotia the mole is found
in great abundance in the neighbourhood of Orchomenus, but there are
none in Lebadia though it is in the immediate vicinity, and if a
mole be transported from the one district to the other it will
refuse to burrow in the soil. The hare cannot live in Ithaca if
introduced there; in fact it will be found dead, turned towards the
point of the beach where it was landed. The horseman-ant is not
found in Sicily; the croaking frog has only recently appeared in the
neighbourhood of Cyrene. In the whole of Libya there is neither wild
boar, nor stag, nor wild goat; and in India, according to Ctesias-no
very good authority, by the way-there are no swine, wild or tame,
but animals that are devoid of blood and such as go into hiding or
go torpid are all of immense size there. In the Euxine there are no
small molluscs nor testaceans, except a few here and there; but in the
Red Sea all the testaceans are exceedingly large. In Syria the sheep
have tails a cubit in breadth; the goats have ears a span and a palm
long, and some have ears that flap down to the ground; and the
cattle have humps on their shoulders, like the camel. In Lycia goats
are shorn for their fleece, just as sheep are in all other
countries. In Libya the long-horned ram is born with horns, and not
the ram only, as Homer' words it, but the ewe as well; in Pontus, on
the confines of Scythia, the ram is without horns.
In Egypt animals, as a rule, are larger than their congeners
in Greece, as the cow and the sheep; but some are less, as the dog,
the wolf, the hare, the fox, the raven, and the hawk; others are of
pretty much the same size, as the crow and the goat. The difference,
where it exists, is attributed to the food, as being abundant in one
case and insufficient in another, for instance for the wolf and the
hawk; for provision is scanty for the carnivorous animals, small birds
being scarce; food is scanty also for the hare and for all frugivorous
animals, because neither the nuts nor the fruit last long.
In many places the climate will account for peculiarities;
thus in Illyria, Thrace, and Epirus the ass is small, and in Gaul
and in Scythia the ass is not found at all owing to the coldness of
the climate of these countries. In Arabia the lizard is more than a
cubit in length, and the mouse is much larger than our field-mouse,
with its hind-legs a span long and its front legs the length of the
first finger-joint. In Libya, according to all accounts, the length of
the serpents is something appalling; sailors spin a yarn to the effect
that some crews once put ashore and saw the bones of a number of oxen,
and that they were sure that the oxen had been devoured by serpents,
for, just as they were putting out to sea, serpents came chasing their
galleys at full speed and overturned one galley and set upon the crew.
Again, lions are more numerous in Libya, and in that district of
Europe that lies between the Achelous and the Nessus; the leopard is
more abundant in Asia Minor, and is not found in Europe at all. As a
general rule, wild animals are at their wildest in Asia, at their
boldest in Europe, and most diverse in form in Libya; in fact, there
is an old saying, 'Always something fresh in Libya.'
It would appear that in that country animals of diverse
species meet, on account of the rainless climate, at the
watering-places, and there pair together; and that such pairs will
often breed if they be nearly of the same size and have periods of
gestation of the same length. For it is said that they are tamed
down in their behaviour towards each other by extremity of thirst.
And, by the way, unlike animals elsewhere, they require to drink
more in wintertime than in summer: for they acquire the habit of not
drinking in summer, owing to the circumstance that there is usually no
water then; and the mice, if they drink, die. Elsewhere also
bastard-animals are born to heterogeneous pairs; thus in Cyrene the
wolf and the bitch will couple and breed; and the Laconian hound is
a cross between the fox and the dog. They say that the Indian dog is a
cross between the tiger and the bitch, not the first cross, but a

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