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316 THE GIRAFFE, OR CAMELOPARD.
account of its marrow, which, as a delicacy, they set a high value on. The old travellers (we quote from the "Menagerie") often mentioned thecamelopard in the terms of exaggeration which they naturally derived from the reports of Africans. "It was a beast not often seen, yet very tame, and of a strange composition, mixed of a libard, (leopard), harte, buffiv and camel; and by reason of his long legs before and shorter behind, not able to graze without difficulty." Again: "He was so huge that a man on horseback may passe uprighte under him, feeding on leaves from the tops of trees, and formed like a camel."
Heliodorus, the Greek bishop of Sicca, gives a long and curious description of the giraffe, which he ends by saying: "When the animal appeared, it struck the whole multitude with terror, and it took its name from the principal parts of its body, being called by the people extempore Camelopardalis."
Can look Creation's volume through
And not fresh proofs, at every turn,
Of the Creator's mind discern;
The end to which His actions tend;
The means adapted to the end;
The reasoning thought, the effective skill,
And ruling all, the Almighty will!
Bishop Mant's British Months.
The sloth, unlike any other quadruped, makes its home in the trees, never leaving them except from force or accident. It does not rest upon the branches like the squirrel and the monkey, but clings to the under part of them. Many naturalists, not having studied the habits of this singular animal in its native condition, rashly thought, from the melancholy cry it uttered, and from its inability to move without great difficulty on level ground, that its life was one of constant pain. It received its present ill-deserved name from an opinion, that the animal was too indolent to stir from the tree it had chosen for its abode, until it had eaten all the leaves, and then, compelled by hunger, it rolled itself into the form of a ball and dropped to the ground, from whence with slow and awkward movements it regained another tree to strip in the like manner.
Later and more observant naturalists have shown how erroneous these opinions are. In the tropical forests which the animal inhabits, the trees touch each other in the greatest profusion, so that there is manifestly no reason why it should be at a loss for food. Mr. Water ton states that "during the many years he had ranged the forests he never saw a tree in such state of nudity; indeed, that most likely by the time the animal had eaten the last of the old leaves there would be a new crop for him to begin upon again, so quick is the process of vegetation in these countries." We may also safely rest assured that instead of leading a life of pain and misery the sloth in its natural state, enjoys existence as much as any other animal formed by the merciful hand of the Creator.
We will make some extracts from Mr. Waterton's interesting account of this curious creature. His remarks are the more valuable and pleasing, as he has studied, both in a state of nature and in captivity, the habits of a variety of animals, with