It is on this account that we feel it incumbent upon us, notwithstanding all that has been written on the subject, to dwell with some little detail on the natural history of this singular animal; but we shall nevertheless endeavour to compress our observations within the smallest possible compass. We shall commence as usual with his zoological characters, and shall then take a glance at his habits, such as they appear in a pure state of nature, unfettered by any laws but those of necessity, and uncontrolled except by the inevitable influence of the circumstances in which he is placed. And lastly we shall view him when under the control of man, and reduced to that half-domesticated condition to which even his stubborn nature is bowed by the application of those means which man alone can employ, and by which he maintains his ascendancy as undisputed lord of the creation over the mightiest even more effectually than over the meanest of its works.
THE SECRETARY BIRD.
It is rarely that the Lion of the Cape district ventures to attack a man, unless provoked, or impelled by urgent hunger. The colonists, however, who are very great sufferers (especially in their horses, for whose flesh he seems to have a peculiar taste) by his frequent visits, are his most determined and deadly foes, and omit no opportunity of wreaking their vengeance upon him for the injuries which he has inflicted upon their property. The frontier boors in particular, who are more exposed to his ravages, and who, being well trained to hunting, are most of them excellent marksmen, appear to take a peculiar pleasure in attacking the Lion, even when they meet him almost singly. They, however, more frequently make up parties for the chase, which is unquestionably attended with no little danger, even when the huntsmen are numerous and experienced; for although the Lion on such occasions almost always takes to his heels, and endeavours to make his escape without confronting his pursuers; yet, when he finds that flight is in vain, he turns upon them with a fierceness and determination that nothing could withstand, were it not for the well proved superiority possessed by them in the formidable rifle, which, on such an emergency, they know how to direct with a steady and almost unerring aim.
In size the Spotted Hy?na, the Hy?na Crocuta of naturalists, is somewhat inferior to the striped. Its muzzle, although short, is not so abruptly truncated; and its ears, which are short and broad, assume a nearly quadrilateral figure. Its ground colour is yellowish brown; and the whole body is covered with numerous spots of a deeper brown, tolerably uniform in size, but sometimes not very distinctly marked, and occasionally arranging themselves in longitudinal rows. Its hair is shorter than that of the Striped Hy?na, and although longer on the neck and in the central line of the back than elsewhere, does not form so distinct and well furnished a mane as in the latter animal. The tail is blackish brown, and covered with long bushy hair.下载