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History of Animals   


and not to be stanched by bandage or sponge; the treatment for such
a wound is the same as that for the bite of a dog.
The thos, or civet, is fond of man's company; it does him no
harm and is not much afraid of him, but it is an enemy to the dog
and the lion, and consequently is not found in the same habitat with
them. The little ones are the best. Some say that there are two
species of the animal, and some say, three; there are probably not
more than three, but, as is the case with certain of the fishes,
birds, and quadrupeds, this animal changes in appearance with the
change of season. His colour in winter is not the same as it is in
summer; in summer the animal is smooth-haired, in winter he is clothed
in fur.
45

The bison is found in Paeonia on Mount Messapium, which
separates Paeonia from Maedica; and the Paeonians call it the monapos.
It is the size of a bull, but stouter in build, and not long in the
body; its skin, stretched tight on a frame, would give sitting room
for seven people. In general it resembles the ox in appearance, except
that it has a mane that reaches down to the point of the shoulder,
as that of the horse reaches down to its withers; but the hair in
its mane is softer than the hair in the horse's mane, and clings
more closely. The colour of the hair is brown-yellow; the mane reaches
down to the eyes, and is deep and thick. The colour of the body is
half red, half ashen-grey, like that of the so-called chestnut
horse, but rougher. It has an undercoat of woolly hair. The animal
is not found either very black or very red. It has the bellow of a
bull. Its horns are crooked, turned inwards towards each other and
useless for purposes of self-defence; they are a span broad, or a
little more, and in volume each horn would hold about three pints of
liquid; the black colour of the horn is beautiful and bright. The tuft
of hair on the forehead reaches down to the eyes, so that the animal
sees objects on either flank better than objects right in front. It
has no upper teeth, as is the case also with kine and all other horned
animals. Its legs are hairy; it is cloven-footed, and the tail,
which resembles that of the ox, seems not big enough for the size of
its body. It tosses up dust and scoops out the ground with its hooves,
like the bull. Its skin is impervious to blows. Owing to the savour of
its flesh it is sought for in the chase. When it is wounded it runs
away, and stops only when thoroughly exhausted. It defends itself
against an assailant by kicking and projecting its excrement to a
distance of eight yards; this device it can easily adopt over and over
again, and the excrement is so pungent that the hair of hunting-dogs
is burnt off by it. It is only when the animal is disturbed or alarmed
that the dung has this property; when the animal is undisturbed it has
no blistering effect. So much for the shape and habits of the
animal. When the season comes for parturition the mothers give birth
to their young in troops upon the mountains. Before dropping their
young they scatter their dung in all directions, making a kind of
circular rampart around them; for the animal has the faculty of
ejecting excrement in most extraordinary quantities.
46

Of all wild animals the most easily tamed and the gentlest is
the elephant. It can be taught a number of tricks, the drift and
meaning of which it understands; as, for instance, it can taught to
kneel in presence of the king. It is very sensitive, and possessed
of an intelligence superior to that of other animals. When the male
has had sexual union with the female, and the female has conceived,
the male has no further intercourse with her.
Some say that the elephant lives for two hundred years;
others, for one hundred and twenty; that the female lives nearly as
long as the male; that they reach their prime about the age of
sixty, and that they are sensitive to inclement weather and frost. The

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