History of Animals
cross in the third generation; for they say that the first cross is
a savage creature. They take the bitch to a lonely spot and tie her
up: if the tiger be in an amorous mood he will pair with her; if not
he will eat her up, and this casualty is of frequent occurrence.
Locality will differentiate habits also: for instance, rugged
highlands will not produce the same results as the soft lowlands.
The animals of the highlands look fiercer and bolder, as is seen in
the swine of Mount Athos; for a lowland boar is no match even for a
Again, locality is an important element in regard to the bite of
an animal. Thus, in Pharos and other places, the bite of the
scorpion is not dangerous; elsewhere-in Caria, for instances-where
scorpions are venomous as well as plentiful and of large size, the
sting is fatal to man or beast, even to the pig, and especially to a
black pig, though the pig, by the way, is in general most singularly
indifferent to the bite of any other creature. If a pig goes into
water after being struck by the scorpion of Caria, it will surely die.
There is great variety in the effects produced by the bites of
serpents. The asp is found in Libya; the so-called 'septic' drug is
made from the body of the animal, and is the only remedy known for the
bite of the original. Among the silphium, also, a snake is found,
for the bite or which a certain stone is said to be a cure: a stone
that is brought from the grave of an ancient king, which stone is
put into water and drunk off. In certain parts of Italy the bite of
the gecko is fatal. But the deadliest of all bites of venomous
creatures is when one venomous animal has bitten another; as, for
instance, a viper's after it has bitten a scorpion. To the great
majority of such creatures man's is fatal. There is a very little
snake, by some entitled the 'holy-snake', which is dreaded by even the
largest serpents. It is about an ell long, and hairy-looking; whenever
it bites an animal, the flesh all round the wound will at once
mortify. There is in India a small snake which is exceptional in
this respect, that for its bite no specific whatever is known.
Animals also vary as to their condition of health in connexion
with their pregnancy.
Testaceans, such as scallops and all the oyster-family, and
crustaceans, such as the lobster family, are best when with spawn.
Even in the case of the testacean we speak of spawning (or pregnancy);
but whereas the crustaceans may be seen coupling and laying their
spawn, this is never the case with testaceans. Molluscs are best in
the breeding time, as the calamary, the sepia, and the octopus.
Fishes, when they begin to breed, are nearly all good for the
table; but after the female has gone long with spawn they are good
in some cases, and in others are out of season. The maenis, for
instance, is good at the breeding time. The female of this fish is
round, the male longer and flatter; when the female is beginning to
breed the male turns black and mottled, and is quite unfit for the
table; at this period he is nicknamed the 'goat'.
The wrasses called the owzel and the thrush, and the smaris have
different colours at different seasons, as is the case with the
plumage of certain birds; that is to say, they become black in the
spring and after the spring get white again. The phycis also changes
its hue: in general it is white, but in spring it is mottled; it is
the only sea-fish which is said make a bed for itself, and the
female lays her spawn in this bed or nest. The maenis, as was
observed, changes its colour as does the smaris, and in summer-time
changes back from whitish to black, the change being especially marked
about the fins and gills. The coracine, like the maenis, is in best
condition at breeding time; the mullet, the basse, and scaly fishes in
general are in bad condition at this period. A few fish are in much