Aristotle's History of animals. In ten books online

. (page 21 of 39)
Online LibraryAristotleAristotle's History of animals. In ten books → online text (page 21 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

down ; it hunts dogs also by Tomiting like men ; it also
breaks open graves for the sake of this kind of food.

8. The bear is also omnivorous, for it eats fruit, and on
account of the softness of its body it can climb trees ; it
eats leguminous seeds also ; it also overturns hives and eats
the honey, and it feeds upo» crabs and ants, and is car-
nivorous, for its strength enables it to attack not only deer,
but wild hogs, if it can fall upon them secretly, ana oxen.
Por when it meets the bull face to face, it falls upon its back,
and when the bull attempts to throw it, seizes its homn
with its fore-legs, and biting upon the shoulder of the bull,
throws it down. For a short time it can walk upright on
its hind le^. It eats flesh after it has become putrid.

4. The lion, like all other wild animals with pointed teeth,
is carnivorous ; it devours its food greedily, and swallows
large pieces withont dividing them ; it can afterwards, from
its repletion, remain two or three days without food. It
drinks very little. Its excrement is small, and is not made
more than once in three days or thereabouts, and it is dry
and hard like that of a dog. The wind from its bowels has
an acrid smell, and its urine is nowerfully scented, for which
reason dogs smell to trees, for toe lion, like the dog, lifts its
leg to make water. It produces also a strong smell when
it oreathes upon its food, and when its bowds are laid open
th^ emit a strong scent.

6* Some quadrupeds and wild animals seek their food in
the neighbourhood of ponds and rivers, but none of tliem
except tlie seal live near the sea; of this class are the crea-
ture called beaver, and the satherium, the satyrium, the
otter, and that which is called latax. This creature is
broader than the onydris, and has strong teeth, for it often
goes out in the night and with its teeth gnaws ofi^ the osiers.
The enydris also will bite men, and they say will not leave
its hold, till it hears the noise o{ its teeth against the boiie>
The latax has rough hair, the nature of which is between
that of the seal and that of the deer.

Chaptbb YIIL

1. AmuAiM with pmnted teeth drink by lapping, and

that have not pointed teeth, as mice. Ihose whidi hare i

I snx&ce to their teeth draw in the water as benee end


by Google

206 THB HI8T0BT OF AJnUAJM. [B. Vni.

oxen ; the bear neither draws in the water nor laps it, but
gulps it down. Some birds draw in the water, out those
which have long necks imbibe it at intenrals, lifting up their
heads; the porphyrion alone gulps it down. All homed
animals, botn domestic and wild, and those that haye not
pointed teeth eat fruits and grass, and are incapable of en-
during hunger, eicept the dog, and this animal eats fruit *
and grass less than anj other.

2. The hog eats roots more than other animals, because
its snout is well adapted for this operation, it is more
adapted to yarious kinds of food thim other animals. In
proportion to its sise its fat is developed rerj fast, for it be«
comes fat in sixty days. Those who occupy themselyes in
fatting hogs know how fast they fatten by weighing them
when lean *, they will become fat after stanration for three
days. Almost ul other animals become fat, after preyious
starvation. After three days those who fatten hogs feed
them well.

8. The Thracians fatten them by giving them drink on
the first day, then at first they omit one day, afterwards two,
three, or four, till they reach to seven days. Tliese creatiu^es
are fattened with barlej, millet, figs, acorns, wild pears, and
cucumbers. Both this and other animals with a warm
stomach are fattened in idleness, and the sow also by wal-
lowing in the mire. They prefer different kinds of food at
different ages. The hog and the wolf fiffht together, a sixth
part of its weight when alive, consists of bristles, blood, and
ut. Sows and all other animals grow lean while suckling
their young. This then, is the nature of these animals.

Chaptsb DL

1. OzsK eat both fruits and grass. They become fat on
flatulent food, as vetches, broken beans, and stems of beans,
and if any person having cut a hole in the skm inflates them
and tiien feeds the older cattle, they &tten more rapidly,
and either on whole or broken barley, or on sweet food, as on
figs and grapes, wine, and tiie leaves of the elm, and especially
in the sunshine and in warm waters.. The horns of the calf,
if anointed with wax, may be directed in any way that is de*
nred, and they suffer less in the feet if their horns ire
rubbed with wax, or pitch, or oiL -


by Google

^ B. mi.] THl HUTOBT OV AXIMISM. 207

h 2. Herds of cattle suffer lees when moved in fipost than
(in snow. They grow if they are deprived for a lone ^me
: of sexual intercourse ; wherefore the herdsmen in ISpirua
I keep the Pyrrhic cattle, as they are called, for nine years
C without sexual intercourse, in order that thejr may grow.

They call such cows apotauri. The numher of these crea-
: tures reaches four hundred, and they are the property of

the king. They will not live in any other country, tiiough

the attempt has been made.

), Chafteb X.

1. The horse, mule, and ass feed upon fruit and grass, but

• they fatten especially on drinking, so that beasts of burden

• eujoy their food in proportion to the quantity of water
which they drink, and the less difficultv there in of obtain-
ing drink, the mora they profit by abundance of grass,
nnen the mare is in foal, sreen food causes her hair to be
fiae, but when it contains nard knots it is not wholesome.
The first crop of Medic grass is not good, nor if any stinkuig
water has come near it, for it gives it a bad smell. Oxen
require pure water to drink, but horses in this respect re*
semble camels. The camel prefers water that h dirty and
thick ; nor will it drink from a stream before it has dis-
turbed the water. It can remain without drinking four

• days, after which it drinks a great quantity.

Chaptxb XI.

1. The elephant can eat more than nine Macedonian me*
. dimni at one meal, but so much food at once is dangerous ;
it should not have altogether more than six or seven m^
dimni, or five medimni of bread, and five mares of wine,
the maris measures six cotyla. An elephant has been known
. to drink as much as fourteen Macedonian measures at once,
and eight more again in the evening. Many camels live
thirty years, and some much more, for they have been known

• to live an hundred vears. Some say that the dephani
lives two hundred, and others three hundred years.


1. Sbbiv and goats live upon crass. Sheep pasture tat a
kNig while in one place without leaving it^ but goats change


by Google

208 THs nisTOBT or Aimuin. [B.Tin.^.

tYieir places verj soon, and onlj croi) the top of the grass*
The sneep fatten rapidly with drinking, and for this reason '
during summer they give them salt, a medimnus to each hun« -
died sheep ; for in this manner the flock becomes more
healthy and fat, and frequently they collect and bring them
together for this purpose, that they may mix a great deal of
'salt with their food; for when thirsty thejr drink the more, .
And in the autumn they feed them with gourds which
ther have sprinkled with salt, for this makes them nremore
milk. When driven about in the heat of the day they drink '
more towards evening. If fed with salt after parturition, "
the udder becomes larger.

2. Sheep fatten on green shoots, vetches, and all kinds of
grass, ana they fatten more rapidly when their food is
salted. They fatten more rapidly if previously starved for '
three days. During autumn northern water is better for
sheep than southern, and pastures towards the west are
pood for them. Lon^ journeys and weariness make them
lean. Shepherds distinguish the strone sheep during winter
bjr the frost adhering to their wool, which is not Uie case
with those that are sick; for those that are not strong
move about in their weakness and shake it off.

8. The flesh of all quadrupeds which feed in marshy
grounds is inferior to that of those which live on high
ground. Sheep with wide tails endure the winter better ^
than those with long tails, and short wooUed-sheep better/
than long-wooUed, and those witli curly wool tee more
mfiected by the cold. Sheep are more healthy than goats,
though ffoats are the stronger. The fleece and the wool of "^
sheep which have been devoured by wolves, and garments ^
made of such wool are more subject to vermin than others. '^

Chaptbb xm.

1. Thosb insects which have teeth are omnivorous, but those *
whidi have a tongue onljr live upon fluids, which tiiey collect/
from all sources with this organ. Some of these are omni* '^
yorous, for they feed upon dl kinds of fluids, as the fly;*
Others only suck blood, as the myope and oBstrus. Others, *
again, live upon the juices of plants and fruit. The bee is
tbs only insect that never touches anything pntrid. Itr-^


by Google

B. nil.] THE UI8T0BX Ot AHIUALM. 2C9

no food that has not a iweet taste. Thej ako take reiy
sweet water, whererer they fall upon any that is pure. The
different kinds <tf aninuds then use these kinds otfood.

CHijm XIY.

nimals are employed either in sexual
)g their young, or in procuring food
roviding against ezcessiTe heat and
of the seasons. For ther all have
IS respecting heat and cola, and, like
hange their abodes in cold weather,
) estates, pass their summer in cold
ter in warm ones ; so animals, also, if
place to place. Some of them find
ustomed localities, others are migra-
inal eqoinox. escape at the approach
ntus and other cold pitt4/^ ; and in
ore the approach of summer from hot
ey are amud of ezcessiTe heat. Some
ilose at hand, and others from the

(, for they trarel from Scythia to the
parts of Egypt, fi^m which the ^ile
place where the Pygmies dwell; and
lere is really, as it is said, a race of
lorses, which lead the life of tro^lo-
10 are migratory, and leare the nrer
where they rear their young. They
i, and those that are before wait for
ing orer the mountains those behind

lie same manner, migrate either from
in winter they leave the deep water
armth of the shore, and in summer
Mit by migratin|^ from the shore ioto
^irds, also, in winter and fit)sty wea-
mountains to the plains, for the sake
i summer thej return again tp the

I most delicate are the first to make
reme of beat and eold, such as ibm



by Google

210 THl HItTOBT or ASIUALB. [b. Tin

mackerel migrate sooner than the tmmies, and the quails than
craoes ; for some migrate in August, othera in September.
They are always fatter when they migrate from cold coun-
tries, than when they. leave warm countries, as the quail is
more fat in the autumn than the spring : and so it happens
that they migrate alike from cold countries and from warm
seasons. Their sexual desires are also more violent in the
spring, and when they leave warm countries.

5. Among birds, as it was previouslv remarked, the crane
migrates from one eztremi^ of the earth to the other,aDd they
fly against the wind. As for the story about the stone, it is a
fiction, for they sav that they carry a stone as ballast, which
is useful as a touchstone for cold, after they have vomited it
up. The phatta and the peleias leave us, and do not win*
ter with us, nor does the turtle ; but the pigeon stays
through the winter The same is the nature ot the quail,
unless a few individuals both of the turtle and quail remain
behind in sunny spots. The phatta and turtle assemble in
lar^ flodui when they depart, and aeain at the season of
their return. The quails, when thev commence their
flight, if the weather is fine and the wind in the north, go in
pain, and have a successful voyage. If the wind is south
it goes hard with them, for their flight is slow, and this
wind is moist and heavy. Those that hunt them, therefore,
pursue them when the wind is in the south, but not in fine
weather. They fly badly <m account of their weight, for
their bodjr is large. They therefore make a noise as they
fly, for it is a toU to them.

6. When they come hither they have no leader, but when
they depart hence, the glottis, ortygometra, otus, and cy-
chramus, which caUs them together at night, accompany
them ; and when the fowlen hear this sound, they Imow
that they will not remain. The ortygometra in form resem-
bles the birds which inhabit marshes. The glottis has a
tongue which it projects to a great len^h. The otus rssem-
blea an owl, and has small feathera at its ears. Some per-
sons call it the nyoticoraz, it is mischievous and imitative^
it is taken like the owl, as it dances from side to side, one
or other of the fowfera compassing it about. On the whole,
birds with crooked claws htve short necks, broad tonsues,
«iid a capacity for. imitation. And so baa the Indian nidf


by Google


» have a Um^e like a man. It
18 when intoxicated. The crow, the
imall gooee^ are giegarioua binla.

lpteb XV. j

erved that fish migrate from tiie
and from the coast to the deep
^excesaefl of cold and heat. Thoeo
urhood of the coast are better than

the feeding grounds are better
vrhereyer the sun strikes the plants
erior, and more delicate, as m gar-
reed grows near the land, and the
} uncultivated plants. The neigh-
> more tem{)erate, both in heat and
lea ; for which reason the flesh of
yre is more compact, while that of
y and soft. The sinodon, cantha-
estreus, trigla, cichla, draeon, calli-

rock fish live near the shore. The

congers, the channa, eiythrinns,
vater. The phagrus, scorpins, the

and coccyx occupy either situa-

erent places ; as in the neighbour-
nd all the rock fish are fat. The
again after Arcturus, for it is not
.fter that period ; for which reason
le summer. In lakes near the sea

of fish, as the salpa, chrysophiyns,
rest. The amia also is found in
ricinitj of Alopeconnesus, and in
ire many fish. Many of the colia
; but they pass the summer and
Dpontis, and winter in the^gesn.
d amia enter the Pontus in the
ler there, and so do nearly all the
i fish. Many fish are gregarioosy

leader of the shoaL

Pontus for the sake of the food

bundant and fttpeziori on aeeounl

t a


by Google


of tbo fresh water), and for fear of the large creaturesi'
which are smaller there; and except the phocona and dol-
phin, there is no other found in the Pontus ; and the dolphin
IS small, but when we leaye the Pontus we find a larger
dolphin. They enter this sea for the sake of food and rear-
ing their young ; for the situation is better for this purpose,
and the fresh sweet water nourishes the young fry. When
they have r^ired their young, and the fry begin to grow^
they migrate immediately after the Pleiades* If the south
wind blow during the winter, they leave the fUee more
slowly ; but with a north wind they swim faster, for then
the wind helps them along. The small fry is captured in
the neighbourhood of Byaantium, for they make no long
atay in the Pontus.

4. The other fish are seen both in their egress and ingress*
The trichia is only seen as it enters, and is not obserred to
leare again ; and if one is captured at Bysantium, the fisher^
men purify their nets, for it is unusual for them to return.
The reason is this : these are the only fish that swim up into
the Ister, and when this river divides they swim down into
the Adriatic. The following is a proof; for the converse
happens here, and they are never captured entering the
Aonatic, but as they leave it.

6. The tunnies, as thejjr enter, swim with their right side
to the shore, and leave with their left side to the*shore ; and
some persons say that thev do this because they see better
with their right e^e, and their sieht is naturally dim. The
rhyades move during the day, and in the nieht remain quiet
and feed, unless the moon is bright, in whicn case ther eon^
tinue their joumey and do not rest themselves. Ana some
persons engaced about the sea say that after the winter
solstioe they do not move, but remain quiet wherever they
may be tiU the equinox.

6. The coli» are taken as they enter, but not as they
return. The beet are taken in the Propontis before tlie
breeding season* The other rhyades are captiured more
frequently as they leave the Pontus, and are then in perfep^
tion. Those that swim near the shore are the fattest when
captured; and the fiurther they are away , the mine lean they*
are; and frequently, when the south wmd blows, they swim
mJb m company with the ooU» and mackerel, and are takeii


by Google


lower down rather than at B/zantium. Thia ia the nature
of their migrationa.


1. Lakd animala hare also the aame diapoaition for eon*

oealment. For in winter they all hasten to conceal them«

aelrea, and appear again when the aeaaon becomes warmer.

Animals conceal themselves to goard againat the excesses

of temperature. In some the whole race ia concealed ; in

' others onlj a part of them. All the testacea conceal them-

aelves, aa those which are marine, tiie purpura, whelk, and

all that class ; but the state of concealment is more con«

spicuous in those which do not a^ere to rocka ; for these

»lvea, as the pectens. Some have an

* exterior, aa the land snails ; and the

tat are not free is inconspicuous. They

hemselves at the same period ; for the

ring the winter, the purpura and whelk

r the dog star, and the pectens at the

t of them conceal themselvea in Tery


sets become torpid, except those which
ions of men, ana those that periah and
I year. They are torpid in tne winter.
lelTes for a good while, others only in
the bees, for these also conceal them-
rn by their not touching the food which
a ; and if any of them creep out, Hkey
and plainly baye nothing in their sto*
at rest from the setting of the Pleiadea
jiimala pass their torpid state in warm
Dta they are aoouatomed to inhabit

animals become torpid, as those whidi *
ales, the serpent, fisard, gecko, and
ring the four winter montha in which
tier serpenta conceal themselTes in the
ies hidden among stones. Many fiah
especially the hippurua and coraeinQa
IT these alone are neyer taksn but at


by Google


certam seMons, which nerer yarj. Almost all the rest are
taken at all seasons. The Umprej, orphus, and con^r con« ^
ceal themselves. Hie rock fish conceal tbemselTes in pairs,
as the cichia, cott^phus, and perca, the male with the fevnale, -
in which waj also they prepare for their yonng.

2. The tunny conceals itself during winter in deep
places, and they become fattest at this season. The season
of capturing them commences with the rising of Pleiades,
and continues to the end of the setting of Aroturus. All
the rest of their time they remain quiet in concealment. A
few of these are taken durine the period of their eoncealmenty
and so are some other hybemating creatures, if they are;
disturbed by the warmth of their abode or the unusual
mildness of the season. For they come out a little from
their holes to feed, and also when the moon is fulL Most
iish are better tasted during the period of concealment. The
primades bury themselyes in the mud. This is shown by
their not bein^ taken, or their seeming to have a great deid
of mud on their backs and their fins pressed down.

8. In spring, however, they becpn to move and come to
the shore to copulate and deposit tiieir ova. At this season^
the^ are captured full of ova, and then also they appear to
be in season, but are not so good in autumn and winter^-
At the same season also the males appear to be full of
melt. When their ova are small they are taken with diffi -
cnlty ; but as they grow laiqger many are taken when they
are infested by the ODstrus. > Some fish bury themselves in'>
sand, others in mud, with only their mouths above the Burfiu».
Fishes usually conceal themselves only in the winter. The
malacostraca, the rock fishes, the batus, and selache only in
the most severe weather. This is shown by the difficulty of
capturing them in cold weather.

4. Some fish, as the glaucus, conceal themselves in sum-
mer time; for this fish hides itself for sixty da^ in the
summer time. The onus and the chrysophrys hide them-
selves. The reason for supposing that the onus hides itself
for a long while appears to be uiat it is captured at long
intervals; and the influence of the stars upon them; and
especially of the dog-star, appears to be the cause of their
hioing tnemselves in summer time, for the ^ea ia then iiB*-
tmbeo. tDui is most conspieuoua. in the Bosphorus; fixr>


by Google


the mad is thrown up, and the fish are thus brought to the

J surface ; and they saj that, wheu the bottom ia diaturbed,

/ more fish are often taken in the same cast the second than

the first time; and after much rain animals make their

appearance which before were either not seen at all or but


Chafteb XVIII.
1. Makt kinds of birds also conceal themselres, and thej
do not all, as some suppose, migrate to warmer climates ;
but those which are near the places of which the^ are
permanent inhabitants, as the kite and swallow, migrate
thither; but those that are farther off from such places do
not migrate, but conceal themselres; and many swallowa
have b^n seen in hollow places almost stripped of feathers ;
and kites, when they first showed themselves, have come
from similar situations. Birds with crooked daws, and
those also with straight daws, conceal themselves indiscri«
minately ; for the stork, blackbird,^ turtle dove, and lark hide
themselves, and hj general agreement the turtle dove most
of all, for no one is ever said to have seen one during the
winter. At the commencement of hybernation it is veiy fat,
and during that season it loses its feathers, though they
remain thick for a long while. Some of the doves conceal
themselves ; others do not, but migrate along with theswal*
lows. The thrush and the starling also cental themselves,
and among birds with crooked claws the kite and the owl are
not seen for a few days.

Chapteb XIX.
1. AuoKe viviparous quadrupeds the porcupines and bean
bybemate. It is evident that the wild bears conceal them*
selves ; but there is some doubt whether it is on account of
the cold or from any other cause, for at this season both the
males and females are so fat that they cannot move easfly.
The female also produces her young at this season, and hides
. herself until the cubs are of an age to be led forth. This
she does in the spring, about three months after the solstice^
and she continues invisible for at least forty days. During
fourteen days of this period they say that she does not move
at alL For more than this period afterwards she remains

I K4iTvf«C» Tardus menaft,5ifrfle*,UMkbird, Vol prabsblfBMffsUMa
SM kind of bM k iadikbd imdsr Uis tMM BSM. Oompsis 8^ ML &


by Google

216 THE HI8T0BT OF AimLIJj; [b. TUt;

inTinble, but moTes about and ia awake. A pregnant bear
haa either nerer or very rarelj been captured; and it lA
quite nlidn that thej eat nothing during the whole of this
pmoa ; for thej nerer come out ; and if they are captured,
their stomach and entrails appear to be empty $ and it ia
said that, because nothing is presented to it, the intestine
sometimes adheres to itself; and, therefore, at their first
emergence, they eat the arum, in order to open the entrail
and make a passage through it.

2. The dormouse hybemates in trees and is then very
fat, and the white rontic mouse. (Some hybemating
animals cast their old age, as it is called. This is the outer
skin and the coTcrings at the period of birth.) It has al*
ready been obsenred, that among viyiparous animals with
feet there is some doubt as to the cause of the hybernation*
of bears ; but almost all animals with scales hyhemate and
cast their old age; that is, all that have a soil skin and no
shell, as the tortoise ; for both the tortoise and the eroys
belong to the class of animals with scales ; but all such as
the gecko, lizard, and especially the serpents, cast their*
skins ; for they do this both in the spring, when they first
emerge, and again in the autumn.

8. The viper also casts its skin both in the spring and
autumn, and is no^ as some persons say, the only serpent
that does not cast its skin. When serpents begin to cast ^

Online LibraryAristotleAristotle's History of animals. In ten books → online text (page 21 of 39)