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History of Animals   


they both prey on the same animal.
In regard to the instinct of hedgehogs, it has been observed
in many places that, when the wind is shifting from north to south,
and from south to north, they shift the outlook of their
earth-holes, and those that are kept in domestication shift over
from one wall to the other. The story goes that a man in Byzantium got
into high repute for foretelling a change of weather, all owing to his
having noticed this habit of the hedgehog.
The polecat or marten is about as large as the smaller breed of
Maltese dogs. In the thickness of its fur, in its look, in the white
of its belly, and in its love of mischief, it resembles the weasel; it
is easily tamed; from its liking for honey it is a plague to
bee-hives; it preys on birds like the cat. Its genital organ, as has
been said, consists of bone: the organ of the male is supposed to be a
cure for strangury; doctors scrape it into powder, and administer it
in that form.
7

In a general way in the lives of animals many resemblances to
human life may be observed. Pre-eminent intelligence will be seen more
in small creatures than in large ones, as is exemplified in the case
of birds by the nest building of the swallow. In the same way as men
do, the bird mixes mud and chaff together; if it runs short of mud, it
souses its body in water and rolls about in the dry dust with wet
feathers; furthermore, just as man does, it makes a bed of straw,
putting hard material below for a foundation, and adapting all to suit
its own size. Both parents co-operate in the rearing of the young;
each of the parents will detect, with practised eye, the young one
that has had a helping, and will take care it is not helped twice
over; at first the parents will rid the nest of excrement, but, when
the young are grown, they will teach their young to shift their
position and let their excrement fall over the side of the nest.
Pigeons exhibit other phenomena with a similar likeness to the
ways of humankind. In pairing the same male and the same female keep
together; and the union is only broken by the death of one of the
two parties. At the time of parturition in the female the
sympathetic attentions of the male are extraordinary; if the female is
afraid on account of the impending parturition to enter the nest,
the male will beat her and force her to come in. When the young are
born, he will take and masticate pieces of suitable food, will open
the beaks of the fledglings, and inject these pieces, thus preparing
them betimes to take food. (When the male bird is about to expel the
the young ones from the nest he cohabits with them all.) As a
general rule these birds show this conjugal fidelity, but occasionally
a female will cohabit with other than her mate. These birds are
combative, and quarrel with one another, and enter each other's nests,
though this occurs but seldom; at a distance from their nests this
quarrelsomeness is less marked, but in the close neighbourhood of
their nests they will fight desperately. A peculiarity common to the
tame pigeon, the ring-dove and the turtle-dove is that they do not
lean the head back when they are in the act of drinking, but only when
they have fully quenched their thirst. The turtle-dove and the
ring-dove both have but one mate, and let no other come nigh; both
sexes co-operate in the process of incubation. It is difficult to
distinguish between the sexes except by an examination of their
interiors. Ring-doves are long-lived; cases have been known where such
birds were twenty-five years old, thirty years old, and in some
cases forty. As they grow old their claws increase in size, and
pigeon-fanciers cut the claws; as far as one can see, the birds suffer
no other perceptible disfigurement by their increase in age.
Turtle-doves and pigeons that are blinded by fanciers for use as
decoys, live for eight years. Partridges live for about fifteen years.
Ring-doves and turtle-doves always build their nests in the same place
year after year. The male, as a general rule, is more long-lived

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