In the number and form of his teeth, in the asperity of his tongue, in the conformation of his organs of sense, and in the number of his claws, he accurately corresponds with the legitimate species of the genus Felis. The principal character in which he differs from them consists in the slight degree of retractility of these latter organs. Instead of being withdrawn within sheaths appropriated for the purpose, as in the whole of the cats properly so called, the claws of the Hunting Leopard are capable of only a very limited retraction within the skin, and are consequently exposed to the action of the ground on which they tread, their points and edges being thus rendered liable to be blunted by the constant pressure to which they are subjected, almost to the same extent as in the dogs. The slightest consideration of the uses to which the claws are applied by the whole of the feline tribe, in whom they are, in fact, in consequence of their extreme power and sharpness, organs of offence if possible more deadly and more destructive than the teeth, will teach us that the modification which has just been described in so important a part of their organization, must of necessity be accompanied by a corresponding change in manners and habits; and that convenience alone, and the want of analogous structure in any other animal, could justify us in continuing to class the Chetah among the cats, from whom he differs in so essential a particular.
THE DEEP BLUE MACAW.
Three supposed species have been described; but naturalists in general are at present inclined to admit of no more than two; and even with regard to these we have yet no sufficient proof that they are really more than strongly marked varieties. The one from which our figure was taken belongs to the brown kind, which is distinguished from the other chiefly by its darker colour both above and below, and by the blackness of the sides of its snout. The tails of both species are usually encircled by rings alternately black and fulvous; and each has the eye surrounded by three white spots.
Closely allied to the Lion, whom he resembles in size, in power, in external form, in internal structure, in zoological characters, in his prowling habits, and in his sanguinary propensities, the Tiger is at once distinguished from that king of beasts, and from every other of their common genus, by the peculiar marking of his coat. On a ground which exhibits in different individuals various shades of yellow, he is elegantly striped by a series of transverse black bands or bars, which occupy the sides of his head, neck, and body, and are continued upon his tail in the form of rings, the last of the series uniformly occupying the extremity of that organ, and giving to it a black tip of greater or less extent. The under parts of his body and the inner sides of his legs are almost entirely white; he has no mane; and his whole frame, though less elevated than that of the Lion, is of a slenderer and more graceful make. His head is also shorter and more rounded.
But there is also a third class which springs into existence in the warmer climates of America, some of whose representatives almost equal the Tiger in magnitude, in vigour, and in ferocity, while others rival the Leopard in the beauty and sleekness of their fur, and in the agility and gracefulness of their motions. Foremost of these, and holding the highest rank among the most formidable animals of the New World, stands the Jaguar, or, as he is sometimes called, the American Tiger. Superior to the Leopard in size as well as in strength, he approaches very nearly in both respects to the Lionesses of the smaller breeds: he is, however, less elevated on his legs, and heavier and more clumsy in all his proportions. His head is larger and rounder than that of the Leopard; and his tail is considerably shorter in proportion, being only of sufficient length to allow of its touching the ground when the animal is standing, while that of the Leopard, as we have before observed, is very nearly as long as his whole body. This disproportion between the length of their tails affords perhaps the most striking distinction between the two animals, offering, as it does, a constant and never-failing criterion; whereas the difference in the marking of their furs, although sufficiently obvious on a close examination, depends almost entirely on such minute particularities as would probably escape the notice of a superficial observer, and were in fact for a long time so completely neglected, even by zoologists, that it is only within a few years that we have been again taught accurately to distinguish between them. These particularities we shall now proceed to point out.
The generic characters of this well known group, comprehending not only the various races of the Dog, the Wolf, and the Jackal, but also the numerous species of Foxes, which differ from the rest only in the form of the pupils of their eyes (which are round in the former, and transversely linear in the latter) may be shortly enumerated as follows. They are all furnished in the upper jaw with six sharp incisors and two canine teeth in front, and with six molars on each side; the same number of each description is also to be found in the lower, with the addition of a seventh grinder. Their tongue is perfectly smooth, the papill? which cover it being soft and velvety to the touch, instead of rough and pointed as in the Hy?nas and Cats. They have five toes to each of the fore feet, of which only the four outermost touch the ground, the fifth being always more or less elevated. On the hind feet the number of the toes is no more than four, for although the rudiment of a fifth is distinctly visible in the skeleton, it is rarely observable in the living animal. On these toes they constantly support themselves in walking, the soles of their feet, or rather that part of the legs which corresponds to the soles of plantigrade animals, never being applied to the surface of the ground on which they tread. Their claws are blunt, strong, but little curved, and not at all retractile; and their use is evidently limited to turning up the earth. Their muzzle is more or less elongated to afford space for the ample series of lateral teeth; and the strength of their jaws, as well as the extent of opening between them, is by this means much diminished. In most of these particulars they exhibit a striking contrast with the more perfect of the carnivorous races, and afford grounds for expecting an equally manifest falling off from their ferocious and sanguinary propensities. The dogs are in fact by no means equally carnivorous with the cats; and their teeth, especially the grinders, are fitted as well for the demolition of vegetable as of animal substances.