페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

The Governor of all, Himself to all

So bountiful, iu whose attentive ear

The unfledged raven and the lion's whelp

Plead not in vain for pity on the pangs

Of hunger unassuaged,—inspires some dumb

And helpless victims with a sense so keen

Of injury, with such knowledge of their strength,

And such sagacity to take revenge,

That oft the beast has seemed to judge the man.

[ocr errors]

THE LLAMA.

Camelus Llama.

The llama, which has been called the American camel, is a native of the mountainous regions of Peru, Chili, and other districts of South America. When the Spaniards first invaded Peru and Chili they found the llama domesticated, at once the camel and sheep of the natives. It was their only beast of burden; the flesh was their food, the skin was prepared by them into leather, and the wool manufactured into cloth. Large flocks of these animals were reared by mountaineers of various tribes, subject to the Incas. There are several species of these wool-bearing animals, so hardy in their natures, so valuable as to the quality of their fleeces, and at the same time so gentle in their dispositions, that they are at the present time engaging much of the attention of scientific men

and of agriculturists in general, who (as we shall presently mention) have endeavoured to prove the possibility of rearing them in this country, and thus obtaining a home supply of their valuable wool. A llama of the largest kind is about four feet and a half in height, and in length, from the neck to the insertion of the tail, nearly six feet. Its usual weight is about 300lbs.* The llama, like the camel, is destitute of horns, and instead of a hunch on the back, like that animal, it has a protuberance on the breast; it has callosities on the limbs, though the legs resemble those of the common stag, and are slender and well formed. The neck is long, arched, and graceful, the head small, the eyes large and animated; the ears are about four inches long, pointed and moved by the animal with great quickness. The nostrils of the llama consist of a mere slit in the skin, which is opened and shut at pleasure; the lips are thick, the upper one divided, and the lower hanging down a little; they are capable of being opened to a great extent. The feet are not like the camel, formed of a single sole, but divided into two toes; the horn of each toe is about an inch and a half long, black and smooth on the outside, but flat underneath, and admirably adapted for the mountain life of the animal.

* Captain Fitzroy mentions a specimen that was shot by the officers, that weighed upwards of 300 lbs., and also one of more than 200 lbs.— Voyage of Adventure and Beagle.

The llama chews the cud like oxen, sheep, deer, &c.; but it differs from other animals of the same kind in the number of its teeth. The wool of the llama is as soft as silk, greyish mouse colour on the head and ears, brown on other parts. Some remarkably fine animals were exhibited in London in 1816 and 1817. Of these the fore-parts of the body were pure white, the hinder parts of a rich purple brown. On the chin, neck, and throat was fine soft hair, which hung down below the knees like an apron, and had a beautiful silvery lustre. On the other parts of the body the fleece was more compact and woolly. These animals were exhibited under the names of alpacas, but their large size, and the callosities on the limbs, led afterwards to the opinion that they were llamas. In a state of domestication the wool of the animal becomes much finer and more silky.

The guanaco (as the llama is called in its wild state) is more slender and agile than the domesticated animal. When in their native mountains they associate, on the highest and steepest parts, in immense herds. Here they frequently climb rocks, along which no man can follow them; and while the remainder are feeding, one of them is stationed as a sentinel on the point of a rock; so watchful and attentive is he, that he never drops his head even to feed. When this animal observes any one approaching he gives a kind of neigh, and the herd, taking the alarm, run off with amazing speed. They gallop to a considerable distance, then stop, turn round, and gaze at their pursuers, till they come near, and immediately set off again. In the account of the llama given by Mr. Darwin ("Voyage of the Beagle") he says, "Although preferring an elevated site, these animals were also seen in great numbers on the plains of Southern Patagonia. If a traveller comes suddenly on a solitary guanaco, the animal will gene

« 이전계속 »