Aristotle's History of animals. In ten books online

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thrir skin, it is first of all separated from their eyes ; and to
those who do not know what is about to happen ther appear '
to be blind. After this it is separated from the head, for
first of all it appears entirely white. In a night and day^'
the whole of the old skin is separated from the commence- -
ment at the head to the tail; and when cast it is turned in- '
side out, for the serpent emerges as the infant does front''
the chorion. '^

4 Insects which cast their skins do it in the same way as ^
the silpha, empis, and the coleoptera, as the beetle. All«^-
creatures cast it after birth ; for in viviparous animals the
chorion* is separated, and in the vermiparous, as bees and "
locusts, ther emerge from a case. The grasshoppers, when ^
they east tneir skms, sit upon olives and reeds. When the ''
case is ruptured, they emei^ and leave a little fluid behind I
them, and after a short time they fly away and sing. •'« : ^


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• 5. Among marine creatures the carabi and astaci caat
.their skins either in spring or autumn, after haring depo-
sited their OTa; and cwabi hare been sometimes taken with
a soft thorax, because their shell was ruptured, while the
lower part, which was not ruptured, was hard. For the
process is not the same in them as in serpents. The carabi
remain in concealment for about Ato months. The crabs
also cast their old skin, certainly those which hate soft
shdls; and ther say that those which hate hard shells do
the same, as the maia and graus. When they haye cast
their shells, the new shells are first of all soft, and the
crabs are unable to walk. They do not cast their skins
once only, but frequently. I have now described when and
how animals conceal themselves, and what creatures cast
their skin, and when they do so.

Chapteb XX.

1. Akimals are not all in good health at the same season,
nor in the same degrees of heat and cold. ^ Their h^lth and
diseases are different at different seasons in various dasses,
and on the whole are not alike in alL Dry weather agrees
with birds, both in respect of their general health and the
rearing of their young, and especially with pigeons ; and wet
weather, with few exceptions, asrees with nsh. On the ccm-
trary, showery weather generally disagrees with birds, and
dry weather with fish ; for, on the whole, abundance of drink
does not agree with birds.

2. For the birds with crooked daws, generally speaking,
as it was before remarked, do not drink. But lleeiod was
ignorant of this ciroumstance ; for in relating the siege
of Nineveh he represents the presiding easle of the augury
drinking. Other oirds drink, but not mu^ ; neither do any
other oriparous animals with spongy lungs. The sickness
of birds is manifest in their plumage ; for it is uneven, and
has not the same smoothness as when they are weU.

8. The ^[enerality of fish, as it was ol>8erved, thrive the
most in rainy years; for not only in sudi seasons do they
obtain a grei^ iupply of food, but the wet weather agreea
with them as witn the jplants that grow on land; for
potherbs, even if watereo, do not grow so well as in w«t
weather. The same is the caee with the reeds that grow ia


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ponds ; for thejr norer groWi aa we may Bay, except in rainyl

4. And tins is the reason why so many fish migrate orery
summer into the Pontus ; for the number of rivers which "
flow into it render the water fresh, and also brin^ down a
supply of food, and many fish also ascend the nrers, and ^
flourish in the rivers and lakes, as the amia and mullet. *
The cobii also become fSit in the rivers ; and on the whole,
those places which have the largest lakes furnish the most
excellent fish.

5. Of all kinds of water, summer showers agree best with :
fish ; and if the spring, summer, and autumn have been wet^
a fine winter. And to speak generally, if the season is '
healthy for mankind, it will be uie same for fish. They do
not thrive in cold places. Those which have a stone in their
bead, as the chromis, labrax, scioona, and phagrus, suffer
most in the winter ; for the refrigeration of the stone causes
them to freeze and be driven on shore.

6. Abundant rain confers health on most fish ; but the
contrary is the case with the mullet and cephalus, which
some call marinus ; for if there is a great supply of rain
water, they soon become blind. The cephali are {>articu*
larly liable tb this disease in the winter; for their eves
become white. When captured they are lean, and at last
perish altogether. They do not, however, appear to suffer
so much from the wet as from the cold ; for in other places,
and especially in the swamps in the neighbourhood of the
Argive Nauplia, many are found blind in severe weather, and
many also are taken with white eyes.

7. The chrysophrys also suffers fWmi the cold ; the arach* .
nas from the nei^ which makes it lean. Dry seasons agree
better with the coracinus than with any other fish, and for
this reason, because it is generally warm in dry weathert'
Particular localities are favourable to different species, as
either the neighbourhood of the land, or the deep waters to
those which mily frequent one of these localities, or paiii*
cnlar places to those which freouent botiu There are
especial places in which each of tnem thrive ; but, gene*
rally spcMdng, they prefer places full of sea weed; for
those which inhabit places with plenty of food are generally^
fiMmd to be fatter; tior those that eat fnoi obtain plenty «r


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food, while those that are ctmiToroiiB find an abundant
fupplv offish.

8. They are also affected by northern and sonthem aspects,
for the long fish thrive b^t in northern situations, and
in northern places in the summer time more long fish
than flat fish are taken in the same locality. The tunny
and ziphia suffer from the CDstrus, at the rising of the do^
star, for both these fish at this season have Mneath their
fins a little worm which is called ceetrus, which resembles a
ecorpion, and is about the size of a spider ; they suffer so
mucn from this torment that the xiphias leaps out of the sea
as high as the dolphin, and in this manner frequently fidls
upon ships.

9. The tunny delights in warm weather more than any
other fish, and they resort to the sand near the sea-shore mt
the sake of the warmth, and there they float on the surface ;
the small fish are safe because they are overlooked, for large 1
fish pursue those of a moderate size. The greater portion of '
the ova and melt are destroyed oy the heat| for

whatever they touch they entirely deshoy.

10. The greatest number of fish are taken before sunrise
and after sunset, or just about sunrise and sunset, for the
casts made at this period are called seasonable. For this
reason the fishermen take up their nets at this time, for
the si^ht of the fish is then most readily deceived. During
the night they remain quiet, and at mid-day, when the

light is strong, they see very well. I

11. Fish do not appear to be subject to any of those pesti- r
lential diseases which so often occur among men and quad-
rupeds, as the horse and ox, and other animals, both domeetio i
and wild. They appear, however, to suffer from ill health, j
and the fishermen consider that this is proved by the capture

of some lean, and apparently wesk indiriduals, and others

that have lost their colour, among a number of &t onea of '

the same kind. This is the nature of sea-fish. !

12. No pestQential disease attacks river and pond fisht
though some of them are subject to peculiar diseases, astiio
glanis, firom its swimming near the surface, appears to be
starHrtmek by the dog-star, and it is stupefied by load -
thunder. The carp simera in the same way, but not so J
severely* The gknis, in shallow water, is omii des troy ed |

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by the dragon-serpent. In the ballerua and tilon a worm is
produced, under the influence of the dog-star, which makea
them rise to the surface and become weak, and when they
come to the surface thej are killed by the heat; ariolent dis-
ease attacks the chalcis, which is destroyed by a number of
lice, which are produced under its gUls ; no other fish appear
to be subject to such a disease.

13. Fishes are poisoned with the plant called mullein, toat
which reason some persons capture them by poisoning the
waters of riTort and ponds ; and the Phoenicians poison the
sea in the same way. There are two other plans which are
adopted for the capture offish ; for since fish avoid the deep
parts of rivers in cold weather (for even otherwise the river
water is cold), they dig a ditch through the land to the river,
which they cover over with grass and stones so as to resemble
a cave, with one opening from the river, and when the frost'
comes on they capture the fish with a basket The other mode
of fishing is practised both in summer and winter. In the
middle of the stream they raise a structure with faggots and
stones, leaving one part open for a mouth ; in this a basket
is placed, with which they catoh the fish, as they take away

14. Bainy years agree with all the testacea except the pur^
jrara; this is a proof of it, if placed near the mouth of a
river, they take the fresh water, and die the same day. The
purpura will live about fifty days after it has been taken.
They are nourished b v each other, for a plant like a fucus
or moss grows upon their shells. They say that whatever ia
cast to them for food is done for the sake of weighty that
they may weigh the more. .

io. Dry weather is injurious to other testacea^ for it
raiders them fewer in quantity and inferior in quality, and the
peetena become more red. In the PyrrhsanEuripusthepee^
tens perish, not only from the instrument with which the
fishermen scrape them together, but also from dry weather*
The other testacea thrive in wet weather, because it makea
the sea-water fresher. The cold of the Pontus and of the
rivers that flow into it renders bivalve shells rare. The oni*
valves, however, are cold weather. This ia the
aatafo of aquatic animala.


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Chaptbb XXL

1. AicoKG qnadrapedfl, twine miffer from three diaeaseSy one
of these is called sore throat, in which the parts abore the
jaws and the branchia become inflanied ; it may also occur in
other parts of the body, and frequently seises upon the foot,
and sometimes the ear. The neighbouring parts then be-
come putrid, until it reaches the lungs, when the animal dies ;
the disease spreads rapidly, and the animal eats nothing from
the period of the commencement of the disease, be it where
it will. The swineherds haye no other remedy but the
excision of the part before the disease has spread far,

2. There are two other diseases which are ^'>th called
craura. One of them consists in a pain and weight in the
head, with which many of them are afflicted ; the other is
an excessive alvine discharge. This appears to be incurable.
They relieTO the former by the applicj^on of wine to the
nostrils, and washing them with wine. BecoTcry from this
disease is difficult, for it generally carries them off on the
third or fourth day.

8. They suffer particularly from sore throat, when the
summer bears abundantly, and they are fat. The fruit of
the mulbeny is good for them, and abundant washings
with warm water, and scarification beneath the tongue.
If the flesh of swine is soft, it is full of small lumps
(chalazas) about the legs, neck, and shoulders; for in these
parts the chalazie are most frequent. If there are but a few,
the ffesh is Jiweet ; if many, it becomes ?eiT fluid and soft.
: 4. Those which hare these ohalaus are easuy distinguished ;
for they exist in the greatest numbers under the tongue,
and if the hair is plucked from thmr mane it appears
bloody underneath. Those which haye chalaxs cannot xeep
their hind Ion stilL They are not thus affected as long as
they suck. The grain caUed tipha, which also forms exceU
lei^ food, is the remedy for the chalasB. Vetches and figa
are useful both for &ttening and rearing pigs; and on the
whole their food should not l^ all of one sort, but yaried;
<br swine, like other animals, derire adiantage flrom a
diange in their food; and they say that at the same time
their food ought to inflate them, and to coyer them both
with £ak and iat. Aeoms ace good for their food, but


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make their flesh watery ; and if they eat too many while
pregnant, they produce abortions, as sheep also do ; for
these animals evidently suffer this from eating aroms*
The swine is the only creature that we know of which
has chalasA in its flesh.

chaftbb xxn.

1. Dogs suffer from these diseases which have receired these
names, Irtta, crjmanche, podagra. The Irtta produces mad-
ness, an<{ thev infect eyery creature which they bite, ezcnpt
mankind, with the same disease* This disease is fatal to
dogs and to any other animal they may bite except man.
The cjmanche also is fatal to dogs ; and there are compara-
tirely few which recorer from the podagra. Camels also are
seized with lytta. (The elephant does not appear to suffer
from any other infirmity except flatulency.)

3. Oregarious oxen suffer from two diseases, one called
podagra^ the other craurus. The podagra affects their feet ;
out it is not fatal, nor do they lose their hoofs. They derive
benefit from their horns being smeared with warm pitch.
"When attacked with craurus, their breathing becomes warm
and thick* Fever in mankind is the same as craurus in cattle.
It is a sign of this disease, when they hanff down their ears
and will not eat It soon proves fatal, and when dissected,
their lungs appear putrid.

Chaptsb XXIII.
1. HoBSis when grazing are free from all diseases except
podagra ; from this they suffer, and sometimes lose their
noofs, which grow again as soon as theyare lost, and the loss
of the hoof usually takes place as soon as the first recom-
mences its growth. It is a sign of the disease when the
right testicle throbs, or when awrinkled hollow place appears
a Utde below the middle of the nose. Horses that are brought
up in a domestic state suffer from several other diseases ;
thej are attacked with a disorder in their bowels, and it is
a sijpi of the disease when they drag their hind legs up to
thcor fore legs, and keep them under in such a wav that they
almost strike together: if they go mad after naving a&
stained from toSi for several days, they are relieved by
Ueeding and castration.'
2. Tbs tetanus is another disease of horses, which is thus
^ Xhs ptmgs k •lt4)geth«r cormpl*


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B.Tin.] THB HI8T0BT OF AlOMALS. |228

^'recognised ; all the veins, and the head and neck aie extended,

^ and their legs are stiff when thej walk ; the horses also become

full of corrupt matter. The^ are also attacked br another

' disease in which they are said to have the crithia ;^ the soft-

. ness of the roof of the mouth, and heated breaUii are tha

signsof this disease, which is incurable, unless it stays of

its own accord. Another disease is cdled nymphia,' which

is relieved bv the sound of a finte ; it causes them to hang

: down their heads, and when anyone mounts they rush for*

ward until they run against something. The horse is alwaj^

dejected if afflicted with madness ; this is a sien of it| if

it lays down its ears unon its mane, and then £«ws them

. forward, and pants and oreathes hard.

8. These also are incurable if the heart is afibcted. It is

a sign of this disease if the animal suffers from relax-

ation. And if the bladder alters its position, difficulty in

making water is a sign of this disease ; it draws up the lKK>ik

' and loins. It is also fatal for the horse to swallow the sta«

philinus, which is of the same size as the spondyla. The

bite of the shrew mouse is injurious to other animals also ;

it causes sores, which are more severe if the creature is preg^

nant when it bites, for the sores then break. If they are not

,'. pregnant, the animal does not perish. The creature called

chalkis by some persons and sygnis bv others, inflicts either

a &tal or very painful bite. It resembles a small lizard, and

, is of the same colour as the serpent called the blind worm.

4. And, on the whole, those who understand horses say
^ that both these animak and aheep suffer from all the in-
firmities with which mankind is afflicted. The horse, and
\ every other beast of burden, is destroyed by the poison of
. sancuurach.* It is dissolved in water and strained* The
I pregnant mare casts her young with the smell of a lamp ffoing
' outl This also happens to some pregnant women. This is
the nature of the diseases of horses.

6. The hippomanes, as it is called, is said to be produced
upon the foals ; the mares when they have bitten it off lick the
foal and cleanse it. The fables on this subject have been in-
tented by women and charmers. It is, however, amed that
mares bcdTore parturition eject the substance called polion.
6. Horses recognise again the voices of any with wUdk

' IndigwtMm osvaed bv Mtinff Wley wb«D husttd.
* PhrtiMj. * tUd tuJ^hwrti of simiQ.


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they may hare fought. They delight in meadows and
manhea, and drink dirty water ; and it it is clean, they fint
disturb it with their hoof, and then drink and^ wash them«
■elves. And on the whole, the horse is an animal fond of
water, and still more fond of moisture; wherefore, also,
the nature of the river-horse is thus constituted. In this
respect the ox is very different from the horse, for it will
not drink unless the water is dean, cold, and unmixed.

Chapteb XXIV.

1. Asses only suffer from one disease, which is called melis,
which first attacks the head of the animal, and causes a
thick and bloody phlegm to flow from the nostrils. ^ If the
disease extends to the lungs, it is fatal ; but that which first
attacks the head is not so. This animal cannot bear cold,
for which reason there are no asses in the vicinity of the
Fontus and in Scythia.


1. Elbphakts suffer from fiatulent diseases, for which
reason thev can neither evacuate their fiuid or solid excre-
ments. If they eat earth they become weak, unless usod
to such food. If it is accustomed to it, it does no barm.
Sometimes the elephant swallows stones. It also suffers
from diarrhcBa. When attacked with this complaint, they are
cured by giving them warm water to drink, and hay dipped
in honey to eat ; and either of these remedies will stop the
disease. When fatigued for want of sleep, they are cured
by being rubbed on the shoulders with mlt and oil, and
warm water. When they suffer from pain in the shoulders,
ther are relieved by the application of roasted swine's
fiesQ. Some elephants will drink oil, and some will not;
and if any iron weapon is struck into their body, the oil
whidi they drink assists in its expulsion; and to those
whioii win not drink it, thej give wme of rice cooked with
oil This, then, is the nature of quadrupeds.

Chaptbb XIVI,

1. IVBXOTs genendly thrive when the year is of the same,
kind aa the season in which they were bom, such aa thei
■pring^ moist and irarm. Certain creatorea are prodnced*


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in beeUvef , which destroy the eombe, and a little spinning
Worm, whidi destroys tto waz« It is called cleras, or by
some persons pjraustes. This creature produces a spider^
like animal like itself^ which causes sicuiess in the hiye,
snd another creature like the moth, which flies round the
candle. This produces a creature fflled with a woolly sub-
stance. It is not killed by the bec«, and is onl^ driren out
by smoking it A kind of caterpillar also, which is called
teredo, is produced in the hires. The bees do not drive it
awar. They suffer most from diseases when the woods
produce flowers infected with rust, and in dry seasons. All
insects die when plunged in oil, and most rapidly if their
head is oiled, and they are placed in the sun.

Chapteb XXVII.
1. AimcjLLS also differ in their localities : for some are en-
tirely absent from some loonlities which exist in oth^s,
though small and shortlived, and not thriving. And fre-
quently there will be a great difference even in adjoining
places, as the grasshopper is found in some parts of Milesia,
and is absent from those in the immediate vicinity. And in
Cephalenia a river divides the country, on one side of which
the grasshopper is found, and not on the other.

2. In Poroselene a road divides the eountrv, on one side
of which the weasel is found, and not on the other. In
Bceotia there are many moles in the neighbourhood of
Orchomenus, but in the adjoining Lebadian district there {

are none, nor if they are imports, are they willing to bur- t^

row. If hares are taken into Ithaca they will not live, ^

but are seen dead on the sea coast, turned in the direction |:|

in which they were brought. In Sicily the hippomyrmex f

is not found, and in Cyiene there were formerly no croak- tj

ing frogs. ,|!

8. In all Libya there is neither wild boar, nor stag, nor
wild goat. And in India, Ctesias, who is not worthy of
credit, says, there are neither domestic nor wild swine ; but
the ezsanguineous and burrowing tribes are all large. In
the Pontus there are no makcia, nor all the kinds of tes-
tacea, except in a few jphees ; but in the Bed Sea all the
testacea are of a mat sue. In Syria there are sheep with
tsils a cubit in width, and the ears of the goats are a span



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226 Tax msTOBT of jjavALs. [b. tiii.

and four fingers, and some of them bring their ears down
to the ground : and the oxen, like the camels, have a mane
upon the point of the shoulder. In Lycia the goats are
shorn as the sheep are in other places.

4. In Libja the homed rams are bom at once with horns,
and not the males onl j, as Homer sajs, but all the rest also.
In the part of Scjthia near the Pontus, the contraiy is the
case, for they are bom without horns. And in Egypt some
of the cattle, as the oxen and sheep, are larger than in
Greece, and others are smaller, as the dogs, woWes, hares,
foxes, ravens, and hawks. Others are nearly of the same
size, as the crows and goats. This difference oridnates in
the food which is abundant for some, and scarce for others.
For the wolves, hawks, and camivorous creatures food is
scarce, for there are but few small birds. For the dasypus
and others which are not carnivorous, neither the hard nor
soft fruits are of any long continuance.

5. The temperature is also very influential; for in IIl^-
ria, Tlirace, and Epirus, the asses are smalL In Sqrthia,
and Celtic countries, they do not occur at all, for in these
places the winter is severe. In Arabia the lizards are more
than a cubit long, and the mice are much larger than those
which inhabit our fields, their fore legs being a span long,
and their hind legs as long as from the fint jomt of the
finger • • . •

6. In Libya, the serpents, as it has been already remarked,
are very Urge* For some persons say that as they niled
along the coast, they saw the bones of many oxen, and that j
it was evident to them that they had been devoured by the '
serpents. And as the shins passed on, the serpents attacked
the triremes, and some or them threw themselves upon one
'of the triremes and overtumed it. There are more lions in
Europe, and especially in the country between the Ache-
lous and the Nessus. In Asia there are leopards whidi
are not found in Europe.

7. On the whole, the wild animals of Ana are the fiercest,|
those of Europe the boldest, and those of Libya the most'
varied in fbrm ; and it has passed into a proverb that Libyaj
is always producing something new. For the want of
water brings many heterogeneous animals together at the''
driiddng places, where they <copttlate and produce young, if


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their periods of gestation happen to be the same, and their
size not Terj different. The desire of drinking makes them
gentle to each other, for the^ differ from the anmials of other
countries, in wanting to dnnk more in winter than in sum-
mer ; for on account of the great want of water during the

Online LibraryAristotleAristotle's History of animals. In ten books → online text (page 22 of 39)