Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Aristotle
Pages of History of Animals



Previous | Next
                  

History of Animals   


full-grown, he leads them away and settles them along with himself
in a hive or nest. With regard to their sexual unions, and the
method of their reproduction, nothing is known from actual
observation. Among bees both the drones and the kings are stingless,
and so are certain wasps, as has been said; but anthrenae appear to be
all furnished with stings: though, by the way, it would well be
worth while to carry out investigation as to whether the anthrena-king
has a sting or not.
43

Humble-bees produce their young under a stone, right on the
ground, in a couple of cells or little more; in these cells is found
an attempt at honey, of a poor description. The tenthredon is like the
anthrena, but speckled, and about as broad as a bee. Being epicures as
to their food, they fly, one at a time, into kitchens and on to slices
of fish and the like dainties. The tenthredon brings forth, like the
wasp, underground, and is very prolific; its nest is much bigger and
longer than that of the wasp. So much for the methods of working and
the habits of life of the bee, the wasp, and all the other similar
insects.
44

As regards the disposition or temper of animals, as has been
previously observed, one may detect great differences in respect to
courage and timidity, as also, even among wild animals, in regard to
tameness and wildness. The lion, while he is eating, is most
ferocious; but when he is not hungry and has had a good meal, he is
quite gentle. He is totally devoid of suspicion or nervous fear, is
fond of romping with animals that have been reared along with him
and to whom he is accustomed, and manifests great affection towards
them. In the chase, as long as he is in view, he makes no attempt to
run and shows no fear, but even if he be compelled by the multitude of
the hunters to retreat, he withdraws deliberately, step by step, every
now and then turning his head to regard his pursuers. If, however,
he reach wooded cover, then he runs at full speed, until he comes to
open ground, when he resumes his leisurely retreat. When, in the open,
he is forced by the number of the hunters to run while in full view,
he does run at the top of his speed, but without leaping and bounding.
This running of his is evenly and continuously kept up like the
running of a dog; but when he is in pursuit of his prey and is close
behind, he makes a sudden pounce upon it. The two statements made
regarding him are quite true; the one that he is especially afraid
of fire, as Homer pictures him in the line-'and glowing torches,
which, though fierce he dreads,'-and the other, that he keeps a steady
eye upon the hunter who hits him, and flings himself upon him. If a
hunter hit him, without hurting him, then if with a bound he gets hold
of him, he will do him no harm, not even with his claws, but after
shaking him and giving him a fright will let him go again. They invade
the cattle-folds and attack human beings when they are grown old and
so by reason of old age and the diseased condition of their teeth
are unable to pursue their wonted prey. They live to a good old age.
The lion who was captured when lame, had a number of his teeth broken;
which fact was regarded by some as a proof of the longevity of
lions, as he could hardly have been reduced to this condition except
at an advanced age. There are two species of lions, the plump,
curly-maned, and the long-bodied, straight maned; the latter kind is
courageous, and the former comparatively timid; sometimes they run
away with their tail between their legs, like a dog. A lion was once
seen to be on the point of attacking a boar, but to run away when
the boar stiffened his bristles in defence. It is susceptible of
hurt from a wound in the flank, but on any other part of its frame
will endure any number of blows, and its head is especially hard.
Whenever it inflicts a wound, either by its teeth or its claws,
there flows from the wounded parts suppurating matter, quite yellow,

Previous | Next
Site Search