THE AFRICAN SHEEP.
In comparing the moral qualities of these two formidable animals, we shall also find that the shades of difference, for at most they are but shades, which distinguish them, are, like their external characteristics, pretty equally balanced in favour of each. In all the leading features of their character, the habits of both are essentially the same. The Tiger, equally with the Lion, and in common indeed with the whole of the group to which he belongs, reposes indolently in the security of his den, until the calls of appetite stimulate him to look abroad for food. He then chooses a convenient ambush, in which to lie concealed from observation, generally amid the underwood of the forest, but sometimes even on the branches of a tree, which he climbs with all the agility of a cat. In this secret covert he awaits with patient watchfulness the approach of his prey, upon which he darts forth with an irresistible bound, and bears it off in triumph to his den. Unlike the Lion, however, if his first attack proves unsuccessful, and he misses his aim, he does not usually slink sullenly back into his retreat, but pursues his victim with a speed and activity which is seldom baffled even by the fleetest animals.
Two male individuals of this breed are now exhibiting at the Tower: the one whose portrait illustrates the present article, and who, although scarcely more than two years and a half old, already rivals his adult Asiatic neighbour in size and majesty, while he exceeds him in grace and agility; and a second, of about ten months old, apparently belonging to the pale variety, and who is just beginning to exhibit the first faint outline of the mane. The former of these is remarkably beautiful and docile: he became an inmate of the Tower in May, 1827; and was, during his voyage from the Cape, being then very young, so tame and domesticated as to be allowed to run about the deck like a dog.
Nasua narica. F. Cuv.
This species appears to be peculiar to Southern Africa. In its wild state it is equally ferocious in its temper and disgusting in its habits with the common species of the North; but it has been found, as we have before mentioned, to be capable of domestication, and of rendering services to man equal to those which he derives from the dog. The pair which have just arrived in the Tower have been placed by Mr. Cops in one den with the Striped Hy?na and with the Hy?na-Dog; and this juxta-position affords an excellent opportunity for a comparison of their characters and disposition. They agree together tolerably well; but the new-comers are hardly as yet reconciled to their abode, and consequently appear shy and reserved. The Hy?na-Dog is the most lively of the group; and his playfulness appears occasionally to give no little annoyance to the Striped Hy?na, who generally returns his solicitations with a surly snarl, but does not seem disposed to resent them farther.