Aristotle's History of animals. In ten books online

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also differ according to their diapoeition and their food.
For alrooet all animals present traces of their moral dis-
poeitionsy though these distinctions are most remarkable
m man. For most of them, as we remarked, when speaking
of their Tarions parts, appear to exhibit gentleness or
ferocity, mildness or cruelty, courage or cowardice, fear
or boldness, Tiolence or cunning ; and manj oi them ez«
hibit something like a rational consciousness, as we re-
marked in spctfuung of their parts. For they differ from
man, and man from the otbjer animals, in a greater or less
degree ; for some of these traits are exhibits strongly in
man, and others in other animals.

2. Others differ in proportion. For as men exhibit art,
wisdom, and intelligence, animals possess, by way of com-
pensation, some other phjrsical power. This is most con*
spicuous in the examination of in&nts, for in them we see,
as it were, the Tcstiges and seeds of their future disposition ;
nor does their soul at this period differ in any respect from
that of an animal; so that it is not unreasonable for animala
to present the same, or similar, or analogous appearances.
Katoe passes so gradually from inanimate to animate things,
that from their oontinuity thev boundary and the mean be-
tween them is indistinct. The race of plants succeeds imme-
dii^ly that of inanimate objects ; and these differ from each
other in the proportion of life in which they participate;
for, compared with other bodies, plants i^pear to possess
life, though, when compaied with.animals^ they appear in-

3. The change from plants to animals, howerer, is gta-
dual, BB I briure o b s cf fe o . For b person might queatioii to

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which of these dasseB some marine objects belong ; fcfr man
of them are attached to the rock, and perish as soon as the
are separated from it. The pinna are attached to the rocki
the solens cannot live after they are taken awaj from thei
localities ; and, on the whole, all the testacea resemble nlanti
if we compare them with locomotiye animals. Some oi then
appear to hare no sensation ; in others it is yery dull. Th<
body of some of them is naturally fleshy, as of those which an
called tethya ; and the acalcjphe and the sponge entirely re

: sembla plants ; the progress is always mdual by which on^
appears to have more life and motion than another.

^ 4. In the yital actions also we may obserye the same man<
ner. For yegetables which are produced from seed ap«
pear to haye no other work beyond reproduction ; nor ac
some animals appear to haye any other object in their exist
ence. This object then is common to them all ; bat as sen-
sation advances, their manner of life differs in their haying
pleasure in sexual intercourse, in their mode of parturition
and rearing their young. Some of them, like plants, simply
accomplish their pccuuar mode of reproduction at an ap-
pointed season, and others are diligent in rearing their
young; but as soon as this is accomplished they separate
from them, and have no farther communication ; out those
that are more intelligent, and possess more memory, use
their offspring in a more civilizea manner.

6. The wonc of reproduction is one part of their life, tiie
work of procuring food forms another. These two occupy
their labour and their life. Their food differs in the sub-
stances of which it consists, and all the natural increase of the
body is derived from food. That which is natural is pleasant,
and all animals follow that which is pleasant to their nature.

Chaftxb n.

1. AiriHALS are divided according to the locajitks which
they inhabit ; for some animals are tmrestrial, otiiers are
aquatic They also admit of a ternary division, those that
breathe air and those that breathe water, one of these dasses
is terrestrial, the other is aquatic ; the third dass does not
breathe either air or water, but they are adapted by nature
to receive refreshment from each of these elements ; and sone
of tiiese are called terrestfialiothen are aquatie, though they

o i


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196 THE HI6T0BT 07 AKIMAL8. [b. TITI.

lather breathe air or water ; and there are other animaki
which procure their food and make their abode in either of
these elementB. For many that breathe air, and produce
their young upon the land, procure their food from the water,
where they generally make their abode ; and these are the
only animals which appear to be doubtful, for they may be
arran^d either as terrestrial or aquatic animals.

2. Of those that breathe water, none haye feet or wings,
nor seek their food on land ; but many of those that are ter-
restrial, and breathe air, do so ; some of them so much so, that
thej^ cannot liye when separated from the water, as those
which are called marine turtles, and crocodiles, and hippo*
potami, and seals, and some of the smaller creatures, as the
water tortoise and the frog tribe ; for all these are suffocated
if their respiration is suspended for any length of time. They
produce their young and rear them on dry land ; others do
flo near the dry land, while they reside in the water.

8. Of all animals the most remarkable in this particular
is the dolphin, and some other aquatic animals and cetacea,
which are of this habiti as the whale and others which haye
a blowhole ; for it is not easy to arrange them either with
aquatic or terrestrial animals, if we consider animals that
breathe air as terrestrial, and those that breathe water as
aquatics, for they partake of the characters of both classes ;
f<n* ihej reoeiye the sea and eject it through their blowhole,
and air through their lunes, for they haye this part, and
iMceathe through it. And the dolphin, when captured in nets,
is often suffocated, firom the impossibility of breathing. It
will liye for a long while out of water, snoring and groaning
like other breathing animals. It sleeps with its snout aboye
the water, in order that it may breathe through it.

4. It is thus impossible to arrange it under both of these
cootrary diyisions, but it would appear that the aquatic ani-
inals must be fiurther subdiyided; for they breathe and
eiect water for the aame reason as others breathe air, for
the sake of coolness. Other animals do this for the sake
of food ; for those animals which obtain their food in the
water, must also, at the same time, swallow some of the
fluid, and haye an organ b^ which thejr can eject it. Those
cre a t u res which use irater instead of air for breathing haye
gilla; those that use it for food haye a blowhole. IlMe



B.'Tni.] THl IU8T0ET OF AKnCALt. 197

crefttures are nogfuineout. The nature of the malaria and
nudacoetraca if the same; for theee swallow water for

5. Thoee animals which breathe air, but lire in the water,
and those which breathe water, and have cills, bat go out .'
upon dry land and take their food there, befong to two diri* I
sions of aquatic animals. This last division is represented \
br a single animal called the cordjlus ^water newt) ; for i
this animal has no lungs, but gills ; and it goes on dry land ]
to procure its food. It has four feet, so that it appears na- J
tund that it should walk. In all these animals natnre ap- ;
pears to be. as it were, turned aside, and some of the males *
appear to be females, and the females hare a male i^pear- ;
mnce ; for animals which hare but small diversity in particular \
parts, exhibit great variations in the whole body. i

6. This is evident in castrated animals ; for if a small !
portion only of the body is destroyed, the animal becomes ^
a female ; so that it is plain that if a very minute portion '
in the original composition of an animal becomes chan^d,

if that portion belongs to the origin of the species, it might <

become either male or female ; or, if taken away altogether, I

the animal might be neuter. And so, either wav, it might I

become a land or aquatic animal, if only a small chan^ took *

plaoe. .... it h^pens that some become terrestrial and |

others aquatic animals, and some are not amphibious which i

others are, because in their original generatioii i^ received «

some kind of substance which they use for food. For that \

which is natural is agreeable to every animal, as I have said i


1. Wnzir animals are divided in three wavs into aquatie
and land animals, because they either breathe air or water,
or from the composition of ttieir bodies ; or, in the tiiixd
place, from their food, their manner of life will be finmd to
agree with these divisions. For some follow both the eoni*
position of their bodies and the nature of Am food, and
their respiration of either water or air. Others only agree
with theur composition and food.

2. The testacea which are immoveable live by a floid
which percolates through the dense parts of the iea^'aiid,

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being digested because it is Ughter than the sea water, thasN
returns to its original nature. That this fluid exists in the >
sesi and is capable of infiltration is manifest, and maj be
prored by experiment; for if anjone will make a thin
waxen ressel, and sink it emptj in the sea, in a night
and a day, it may be taken up full of water, which is

8. The acalephe (actinia) feeds upon any small fish which
mar fall in its way. Its mouth is placed in the centre of its
body. This or^ is conspicuous in the larger indinduals :
like the ovster, it has a passage for the exclusion of its food, '
which is placed above. The a<»lephe appears to resemble the
internal part of the oyster, and it makes use of the rock, aa
the oyster does of its shell (The patella also is free, and
wandbrs about in search of food.)

4. Among the locomotive testacea, some are camiTorous,
and live on small fish, as the purpura, for this creature is
carnivorous, it is therefore caugiit with a bait of flesh:
others live upon marine plants. The marine turtles
live upon shell-fish, for which purpose they have a very
powertiil mouth ; for if any of them take a stone or any*
thing else, they break and eat it. This animal leaTea toe
water and eats grass. Thenr often sufilBr and perish, when
they are dried up as they float on the iurfiMe, Tor tiiey are
not able to dive readOy.

6. The malacoetraca are of the same nature, fixr they eat
ererythinff ; they feed upon stones and mud, seaweeds and
dung, as the rock crabs, and are also camiTorous. The spiny
lobsters also overcome large flshes, and a kind of retribution
awaits them in turn, for the polypus prevails over the lobster,
for they are not inconvenienced Inr the shell of the lobster,
so that if the lobsters perceire tnem in the same net widi
them, ther die from fear. The spiny lobsters overcome the •
congers, m their roughness prevents them from faUing ofll
The congers devour tiie polypi which cannot adhere to them
on account of the smootonees of their surface ; aU the mt^
lada are caniiTorous.

6. The spiny lobsters also live on small flsh,which they hunt
for in their holes, ht they are produced in such parts of the
sea as are rough and stony, and in Aoee places make their
hahiiatiiins; whatever they ciyture^ they wing to their mottth


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, as the crabs do. When not fright- \

k forward^ hanging their horns down t,

alarmed they retrokt backwards, and i

I a great distance. They fight with f

with their horns, raising them and •.

hey are often seen in numbers as if f

lead this kind of life. Among the S
d sepia prevail over the large fish,
collects shells which it empties of
9eds upon them, so that those who
ir holes by the shells that are scat-
port that they eat each other is a |
ave the tentacula eaten off by pe i

chaptxb rv. i

sason of oviposition livo upon ora ; «,

d thej are not all so weU agreed, for j

camiYorous, as the selachos, conger, If

IX, sinodon, amis, orphus, and mn* [|

ipon fuci, shell-fish, and mud ; it is {

» oephalus lives on mud, the dasdllus f
le scarus and melanums on sea-weed,
fud, it will also eat the plant called
aly fish that can be caught wiUi the

e cestreus, eat one another, especially
lalus and the cestreus alone are not

ft proof of it. They are never cap- [

of the kind in their stomach, nor are f

bait made of flesh, but with bread ;
I fed upon sea-weed and sand. One
i some persons call chelone lives near
sailed pensas. This last feeds upon
luous, for which reason it is always
lus lives upon mud, wherefore they
They certainly never eat fish, on
dlling in mud; they often emem
Aselvea firom the slime. Neither will
ov% so that they increase rapidly^


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200 THS HI8T0XT Of AKIMALS; [b. Till.

and when they increase they are devoured by other fish, and
especially by the achamus. ^

8. The cestreus (mullet) is the most greedy and insatiable
of fish, so that its abdomen is distended, and it is not good for
food unless it in poor. When alarmed it hides its head, as if
its whole body were thus concealed; the sinodon also is car>
nivorous, and eats the nudacia. This fish and the channa
often eject their stomachs as they pursue *small fish, for
their stomach is near the mouth, and they have no oesophagus.
8oroe are simply carnivorous, as the dolphin, sinodon, chnr*
sophrys, the selache and malacia; otners, as the phycis,
cobius, and the rock-fish, principally feed upon mud and
fuci, and bryum, and what is called caulion, and any matter
which may be produced in the sea. The phycis eats no
other flesh than that of the shrimps. They also frequently eat
each other, as I before remarked, and the greater devour the
less. It is a proof that they are carnivorous, that they are
captured with bait made of fleslu

4. The amia, tunny, and labrax generally eat flesh,
though they also eat sea-weed. The sargus feeds after the
trigla when the last has buried itself in the mud and
departed, for it has the power of burying itself, then the
sargus comes and feeds and prevents all those that are
weaker than itself from approaching. Tiie fish called
Bcarus is the only one which appears to ruminate like quad-
rupeds. Other fish appear to hunt the smaller ones with
their mouths towards tbem, in this way they naturally swim ;
but the selachea, dolphins and cetacea throw themselves on'
their back to capture their prey, for their mouth is placed
below them, for this reason the smaller ones escape, or if
not they would soon be reduced in number ; for the swiftness
of the dolphin and its capacity for food appear incredible.

5. A few eels in some places are fed upon mud, and any ^
kind of food which may be cast into the water, but gene-
rally, they live upon fmh water, and those who rear eels"
tfJce care that the water which fiows off* and on upon the
phallows in which they live may be clear, where they make '
the eel preserves. For they are soon suffocated if the water-
ifl not dean, their gills beinjo^ very smalL For this reason';
those who seek for them disturb the water. In the 8trr<^^
jnon thej are taken about tiie time of the rising of tba^


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B. mi.] THS HI8T0BT OT AVDIAL8. 201

Tleiiides. For the water is disturbed at this season bj the

mud which is stirred up b^ contraij winds, otherwise it is

useless to attempt to obtain them. When dead, eels do

not rise and float on the sur&ce, like other fishes, for their

stomach is small ; a few of them are fat, but this is not ^

usuallr the case. '!

6. When taken out of the water, thej will live fivo or six

days ; if the wind is in the north thej will live longer than ^

if it is in the south. If thej are remored from the ponds k

to the eel preserves during the summer thej perish, but 3

not if removed in the winter ; neither will th^ bear violent j

changes, for if the^ are taken and plunj^ed into cold water, i

thej often perish m great numbers, fhey are suffocated 1

also if kept in a small quantity of #ater. This takes place tl

also in other fish, which are suffocated if kept in a small !t

quantity of water which is never changed, like animals l!

which breathe air when enclosed in a smaJl quantity of k

air. Some eels live seven or eight jears. Fresh-water fish ^;

make use of food, and devour each other, as well as plants jl'

and roots, or anything else that they can find in the mud ; !

they generally feed in the night, and during the day dwell {{

in deep holes. This is the nature of the food of fish. j

CnAPm V. I

1. All birds with crooked claws are carnivorous, nor are ir

they able to eat com even when put in tbeir mouths. All t

the eagles belong to this class and the kites, and both the t

hawks, the pigeon hawk namely, and the sparrow hawk. I

These differ in size from each other, and so does the trior-
ches. This bird is as large as the kite, and is visible at all
seasons of the year ; the osprey and vulture also belong
to this class. The osprey is as large as the eagle, and ash-
coloured. There are two kmds of vultures, one small and
whitish, the other large and cinereous.

2. Some of the night birds also have crooked daws, as
the nycticoraz, owl, and bryas. The biyas resembles an
owl in appearance, but it is as large as an eagle ; the eleoe,
ngolius, and scops also belong to this dass. The decs is
laiger than a domestic fowl, tM egolius is about the siae of
thj^ bird* thej both hunt the jay. The scops is les^thail


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202 THX HI8T0BT OF AimCALS. [b. TUI. T

the owl ; all three of these are aimilar in form, and cami-» i
Torous. Some that have not crooked daws are camiTorous, ?
as the swallow. >

8. Some birds feed on worms, as the finch, the sparrowi y
batis, chloris, titmouse. There are three kinds of titmouse ;
the spizites is the largest, it is as large as the finch.
Another is called the orinus, because it dwells in mountains ;
it has a large tail. The thinl resembles them in eyerything ^
except its size, for it is yery smalL The sycalis also, the
megalocorTphus, pjrrhulas, erithacus, hypoUus, OBstms, tj«
rannis are of this class. The last of these is the least, it
is not much larger than a locust ; it has a purple crest» and is
altogether a gr^^eful and well-formed bird. The bird called
anthus also, which is of the size of the finch ; the orospizus is
like the finch, and nearly of the same size, it has a blue stripe
on its neck, and lives in mountainous places. The wren .
also lives upon seeds. All these and such like birds either
partly or entirely live on worms.

4. These birds, the acanthis, thraupis, and that which is
called chrysometris, all live upon thorns, but neither eat
worms or any other living creature, and they both roost and
feed in the same places. There are others which feed on
gnats ; these live chiefiy by hunting for these insects, as the-
greater and lesser pipe, both of which are by some per-
sons called woodpeckers. They resemble each other in
their cry, though that of the larger bird is the louder,
«nd thejT both feed by flying against trees, ^Hie celeos
also, wluch is as lai^ as a turtle dove, and entirely
yellow ; its habit is to strike a^^ainst trees ; it generally Uvea'
upon trees, and has a loud voice. This bird genendly in-
habits the Peloponnesus. There is also another called
cnipologus, which is small, about the size of the aeanthyllis %
its colour is cinereous and spotted, and its voice is weak;
tins bird also pecks trees.

6. There are other birds which live upon fruit and grasses,
as the phaps, phatta, peristera, cenas, and trygon.^ 13id
phatta and penstera are always present^ the trjoon only in
•ummer time; in the winter it is not seen, for it nidea itself
in holes. The conas is generally seen and captured in the
MitanuL This conas is as large as the peristera but leas than
! IKfinBl tptoiat of pifMos sad dovsi.


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tliepli»p8. It is generaUr captured as it is driDldng; it*
comes to this country when it has young. All the rest
come in the summer, and make their nests here, and all,
except the pigeon tribe, live upon animal food.

6. All birds, as far as food is concerned, are either ter-
restrial or live in the neighbourhood of rivers and ponds,
or near the sea. Those that have webbed feet pass the
irreater part of their time on the water ; those with divided
feet near the water. Some of these dive for their food,
such as live upon plants and do not eat flesh ; others, as the
h^ron and white heron, live in ponds and rivers. The latter
of these is smaUer than the former, and has a flat large bill.
' 7. The pelargus also, and the gull, the latter is ash*co-
loured, ana the schoonilus, cinclos, pygarcus, (and tryngas)
this last is the largest of these small birmi, for it is of the
same size as the tlmish ; all these birds wag their tails. The
calidris also, this bird is variegated and ash-coloured. The
kingfisher also lives near the water ; there appear to be two
kinds of this bird, one of which utters its cry as it sits
upon the reeds, and the other, which is larger, is silent ;
they both have a blue back. The trochilus also, and the
kingfisher and cerylus also live near the sea. The corona
also lives upon animals which are cast on shore, for it ia
omnivorous. The white gull also, the oepphus, »thyia» and

8. The heavier web-footed birds inhabit the neighbour-
hood of rivers and ponds, as the swan, duck, phalaris, colum-
bis, and the boscas, which is like a duck, but smaller; and
the bird called corax, which is as large as the pelargus, but
its legs are shorter, it is web-footed and a swimmer, its
colour is black ; this last bird perches upon trees, and is
the only one of this class that builds its nest in such places.
The great and small goose also, the latter is grenurious, and
cheiullopez,theaix,andthepenelops. The sea ea^e also lives
near the sea, and fishes in the waters (flakes, iiany birds
are omnivorous ; those with crooked daws seise upon other
animals which they can overcome, and upon birds. They do
iiot, however, devour their own congenerSi as fiahfreqnenUr
do^ all the tribes of birds drink very little, those with
crooked claws do not drink at all, or only a few of thenit
and these but seldom; of these the eenehris drinks A«


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most ; the idto rarelj drinks, though it has been observed
to do so.

Chapteb VI.

1. Akiuals covered with scalj plates, as the lizard and
other quadruneds and serpents, are omnivorous, for they eat
, both flesh ana grass, and serpents lick their prey more than
any oth^ animal ; all these creatures, and indeed all with
spongy lungs, drink very little, and all that are oviparous are
of this kind, and have but little blood. Serpents are all
Tery fond of wine, so that they hunt the viper by placing
vessels of wine in the hedge-rows, and they are captured
when intoxicated. Serpents devour any animal that they
nay have captured, and when they have sucked out the
juice, they reject all the remainder ; nearly all such animals
do this, as also the spiders. But the spiders suck the juice
without swallowing the animal. Serpents suck the juice

2. The serpent swallows any food which may be presented
to it, for it will devour both birds and beasts, and suck eggs.
When it has taken its food it draws itself up, till it stands
. erect upon its extremity, it then gathers itself up and con«
tracts itself a little, so that when stretched out the animal
it has swallowed may descend in its stomach ; it does this
because its oesophagus is long and thin. Fhalangia and
serpents can live a long while without food, this may be
seen in those that are kept by dealers in medicine.

Chapteb VII.

1. Ahoko Tivipsrous quadrupeds, those that are wild and
have pointed teeth are all carnivorous, except some wolves*
which, when they are hungry, will, as they say, eat a certain
kind of earth, but this is the only exception. They vriU not
eat ^;rass unless they are sick, for some dogs eat grass and
Tomit it up again, and so are purified. The solit^ wolves
are more eager for human fle«h than those which hunt in

2. The animal which some persons call the glaaus and
others the hynna, is not less tuan the wolf, it has a mane
like a horse, but the hair all along its spine is more harsh
and thicL It also secretly attadcs men* and hunts Xhsuk


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Online LibraryAristotleAristotle's History of animals. In ten books → online text (page 20 of 39)