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History of Animals   


hands, for if, when a thunderstorm comes on, a ewe stays behind
without closing in, the storm will kill it if it be with young;
consequently if a sudden clap or noise is made, they close in together
within the sheepfold by reason of their training.
Even bulls, when they are roaming by themselves apart from the
herd, are killed by wild animals.
Sheep and goats lie crowded together, kin by kin. When the sun
turns early towards its setting, the goats are said to lie no longer
face to face, but back to back.
4

Cattle at pasture keep together in their accustomed herds, and
if one animal strays away the rest will follow; consequently if the
herdsmen lose one particular animal, they keep close watch on all
the rest.
When mares with their colts pasture together in the same field,
if one dam dies the others will take up the rearing of the colt. In
point of fact, the mare appears to be singularly prone by nature to
maternal fondness; in proof whereof a barren mare will steal the
foal from its dam, will tend it with all the solicitude of a mother,
but, as it will be unprovided with mother's milk, its solicitude
will prove fatal to its charge.
5

Among wild quadrupeds the hind appears to be pre-eminently
intelligent; for example, in its habit of bringing forth its young
on the sides of public roads, where the fear of man forbids the
approach of wild animals. Again, after parturition, it first
swallows the afterbirth, then goes in quest of the seseli shrub, and
after eating of it returns to its young. The mother takes its young
betimes to her lair, so leading it to know its place of refuge in time
of danger; this lair is a precipitous rock, with only one approach,
and there it is said to hold its own against all comers. The male when
it gets fat, which it does in a high degree in autumn, disappears,
abandoning its usual resorts, apparently under an idea that its
fatness facilitates its capture. They shed their horns in places
difficult of access or discovery, whence the proverbial expression
of 'the place where the stag sheds his horns'; the fact being that, as
having parted with their weapons, they take care not to be seen. The
saying is that no man has ever seen the animal's left horn; that the
creature keeps it out of sight because it possesses some medicinal
property.
In their first year stags grow no horns, but only an excrescence
indicating where horns will be, this excrescence being short and
thick. In their second year they grow their horns for the first
time, straight in shape, like pegs for hanging clothes on; and on this
account they have an appropriate nickname. In the third year the
antlers are bifurcate; in the fourth year they grow trifurcate; and so
they go on increasing in complexity until the creature is six years
old: after this they grow their horns without any specific
differentiation, so that you cannot by observation of them tell the
animal's age. But the patriarchs of the herd may be told chiefly by
two signs; in the first place they have few teeth or none at all, and,
in the second place, they have ceased to grow the pointed tips to
their antlers. The forward-pointing tips of the growing horns (that is
to say the brow antlers), with which the animal meets attack, are
technically termed its 'defenders'; with these the patriarchs are
unprovided, and their antlers merely grow straight upwards. Stags shed
their horns annually, in or about the month of May; after shedding,
they conceal themselves, it is said, during the daytime, and, to avoid
the flies, hide in thick copses; during this time, until they have
grown their horns, they feed at night-time. The horns at first grow in
a kind of skin envelope, and get rough by degrees; when they reach
their full size the animal basks in the sun, to mature and dry them.

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