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Hoofed Animals

( Originally Published 1936 )

THIS is an exceedingly important order, including a great number of mammals, differing considerably in structure, and although a few are small, many are of great size, the largest being the elephants, the bulkiest of existing mammals except the whales and the elephant seal, which are marine animals. Nearly all are vegetable-feeders; the incisor and canine teeth are sometimes present and sometimes absent in one or both jaws, and when present are frequently modified into large tusks. The number of toes varies from one to five, provided with broad, blunt and flattened nails, or hoofs. The Ungulata are divided into four sub-orders, which must be considered separately.


The curious animals belonging to this group are confined to Africa, Arabia, and Syria, and have much superficial resemblance to rodents, with which they were formerly classed. There are only two genera, Hyrax, the species of which live in rocky places, and Dendrohyrax, which live in hollow trees. The ears and tail are short, and the species measure a foot or more in length, the largest of them, the Cape Hyrax (Hyrax carpensis), which is common in mountainous districts in South Africa, attaining a length, of eighteen inches.


Syrian Hyrax (Hyrax syriacus)

The Syrian Hyrax is a brown-coloured animal, paler beneath, and is distinguished from the Cape Hyrax by its smaller size and by the long black hairs projecting from the shorter fur. The Hyraces much resemble rabbits and some of the other rodents in outward appearance, but have peculiar hoof-like claws, and the teeth are singularly like those of the rhinoceroses. See Plate 19, Fig. 95. The Syrian Hyrax is also found in Arabia and Abyssinia, and is considered to be the animal called " coney" in the Bible. The word coney in English means rabbit, but the latter term is in more general use at the present day.

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