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The Cat - Family Felidae
The largest and most important group of the Carnivora is the Cat family, all the members of which are essentially flesh-eaters, marvellously adapted by nature to prey upon other creatures.
In point of size there is not much difference between the Lion and the Tiger, though the male lion appears larger on account of the heavy mane which covers his head, neck, and shoulders. This begins to grow about the end of the first year, and reaches its full length in three or four years more.
The Tiger is the largest of all the cats, and is generally considered the most beautiful on account of its splendid colouration. The upper parts of the body are a brilliant orange colour, crossed at irregular intervals with black stripes, the under parts white, relieved by large patches or blotches of black, and the tail is ringed with black bands.
Next in size to the Lion and Tiger of the Old World, comes the largest and most ferocious of the American cats, the Jaguar.
The skin of the Snow Leopard is in great demand on account of its beautiful fur, especially in Persia and the countries round about, where it is used by the royal families for robes, saddle-bags, and other purposes.
The Puma is rather intelligent, and is quite easily tamed, but is a very nervous cat, and for that reason seldom figures in shows of trained animals.
The Lynx is found in all the continents of the World except Australia and South America. The common European Lynx is the largest species, measuring sometimes as much as forty inches in length, including its short tail.
Clouded Leopard
This beautiful, but little known, species is slightly smaller than the common leopard. The tail, how-ever, is extremely long and somewhat heavier in form than that of the true leopard. The markings are quite marvellous, rendering the animal the most brilliant and strikingly coloured of any of the Felidae.
Of still smaller size, but closely allied in form to the Ocelot, is the Margay (Felis tigrina) found in certain parts of South America.
This remarkable Cat, which is found as far north as Texas and whose range extends into South America, is one of the strangest forms of its order. For many years the creature known as Felis Eyra was considered to be a different species, although closely allied; but it has been recently proved by the best authorities that the Eyra and the Jaguarondi are but varieties of the same animal.
European Wild Cat
The Wild Cat is a great foe to birds, and also to rabbits and poultry, among which it creates great havoc.
Domestic Cat
The Domestic Cat hunts by stalking and catches mice and birds in exactly the same method employed by the tiger in its pursuit of deer and antelope. Its muscles are very pliable, combining extreme elasticity with the maximum of strength, so that it can turn and twist in almost any direction.
The Cheetah is also less catlike in disposition than any of the other species, and is often used as a dog might be to hunt game. The animal is hooded, placed in a cart, and driven to within as short a distance as possible of a herd of black buck, or Indian antelope, without startling them.
The Primates include Man, the Apes and Monkeys, and the Lemurs.
The Great Apes
The great Apes are those which most nearly resemble man, and include the four genera that are represented by the Gorilla, the Chimpanzee, the Orang-utan, and the Gibbon.
This sub-family, the last of the Quadrumana of the Old World, is easily distinguished by the long tail, the legs longer than the arms, and the absence or very slight development of cheek-pouches. We have figured representatives of three of the principal genera.
The Marmosets agree with man, with the Old World apes and the monkeys in the number of teeth, but have true claws, not nails, on their feet, and their tails are rather large and bushy, but not prehensile.
The true Lemurs are confined to Madagascar, allied species, however, being found in Africa and various parts of India and neighbouring islands. They feed on fruits and insects, but will also eat lizards and small birds.
THE second order of mammals includes the Bats, or Chiroptera, literally hand-winged animals, of which it is estimated that there are between four and five hundred species.
Flying Lemurs
THE singular animals of this order were formerly classed as Lemurs, and are often spoken of as Flying Lemurs, though they are now either placed in a separate order, Dermoptera, or skin-winged animals, or are treated as a sub-order of the Insectivora.
THE Insectivora are mammals of small size that derive their name from the fact that they live chiefly upon insectS, the order including Hedgehogs, Moles, and Shrews, and other allied but less well-known forms.
Civets and Ichneumons
The Civets represent a rather primitive type of the carnivora, animals of a very similar character being found among the fossil remains in various parts of the world.
Hyaenas are large, ungainly animals, repulsive in appearance and habits. The front legs are somewhat longer than the hind ones, giving a backward slope to the animal, the body is clothed with coarse, bristly hair, the tail is comparatively short and bushy.
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