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a peculiar kindness of heart and great attention to their happiness and comfort. "When," says Mr. Waterton, " we consider attentively the form and habits of the sloth, it will appear that he cannot be at ease in any situation where his body is higher or above his feet. His fore-legs, or more properly speaking his arms, are apparently much too long, while his hind-legs are very short, and look as if they could be bent almost to the shape of a corkscrew. Both fore and hind legs, by their form and by the manner in which they are joined to the body, cannot support the animal on the earth by the legs, as the bodies of other quadrupeds are. Now if he could support himself like other animals, he would be in pain, for he has no soles to his feet, and his claws are very sharp, long, and curved. Were the floor of glass, or any polished surface, the sloth would be actually stationary; but as the ground is generally rough, with stones, or roots of grass, &c, this just suits the sloth, and he moves his fore-legs in all directions in order to find something to lay hold of, and thus he pulls himself forward, but travels in so tardy and
awkward a manner as to acquire the name of Sloth. Indeed his looks and his gestures evidently betray his uncomfortable situation, and as a sigh every now and then escapes him, we may be entitled to conclude that he is actually in pain; the sloth, in fact, is as much at a loss to proceed on his journey upon a smooth and level ground, as a man would be who had to walk a mile in stilts upon a line of feather beds. One day, as we were crossing the Essequibo, I saw a large two-toed sloth on the ground upon the bank; how he had got there nobody could tell. The Indian said he had never surprised a sloth in such a situation before; he would hardly come there to drink, as the branches of the trees touched the water, and afforded him an easy and safe access to it. Be this as it may, though the trees were not above twenty yards from him, he could not make his way through the sand time enough to escape before we landed. As soon as we got up to him he threw himself on his back and defended himself in gallant style with his fore-legs. 'Come, poor fellow,' said I to him, 'if thou hast got into a hobble to-day, thou shalt not suffer for it. I'll take no advantage of thy misfortune; the forest is large enough for thee and me to rove in; go thy ways up above, and enjoy thyself in those endless wilds. So fare thee well!' On saying this, I took up a long pole which was lying there, held it for him to hook on, and then conveyed him to a high and stately Mora. He ascended with wonderful rapidity, and in about a minute he was almost at the top of the tree. He now went off in a side direction, and caught hold of the branch of a neighbouring tree; he then proceeded towards the heart of the forest. I followed him with my eye till the intervening branches closed in betwixt us, lost in amazement at his singular mode of progress; and if you had seen him pass from tree to tree, as I did, you would never think of calling him a sloth. I observed when he was climbing that he never used his arms both together, but first one and then the other, and so on alternately. There is a saying amongst the Indians, that * when the wind blows, the sloth begins to travel.' In calm weather he remains tranquil: probably not liking to cling to the brittle extremity of the branches, lest they should break with him in passing from one tree to another; but as soon as the wind arises, the branches of the neighbouring trees become interwoven, and then the sloth seizes hold of them and pursues his journey in safety. There is seldom an entire day of calm in these forests. The tradewind generally sets in about ten o'clock in the morning, and thus the sloth may set off after breakfast, and get a considerable way before dinner. The sloth does not hang head downwards like the vampire. When asleep he supports himself from a branch parallel to the earth. He first seizes the branch with one arm and then with the other, and after that brings up both his legs one by one to the same branch; so that all four are in a line; he seems perfectly at rest in this position. Now had he a long tail he would not know what to do with it; were he to draw it up within his legs it would interfere with them; and were he to let it hang down, it would become the sport of the winds. Thus his deficiency of tail is a benefit to him; it is merely an apology for a tail, scarcely exceeding an inch and a half in length.
"There is a singularity in his hair, different from that of all other animals; it is thick and coarse at the extremity, and gradually tapers to the root, where it becomes fine as the spider's web. His fur has so much the hue of the moss which grows on the branches of the trees, that it is very difficult to make him out, when he is at rest. He is a scarce and solitary animal, and being good food is never allowed to escape destruction by the Indians, though it is said his piteous moans make the tiger relent and turn out of the way. Do not, then, level your gun at him, or pierce him with a poisoned arrow;—he has never hurt one living creature. A few leaves, and those of the commonest and coarsest kind, are all he asks for his support. His looks, his gestures, his cries, all conspire to entreat you to take pity on him. These are the only weapons of defence which nature hath given him."
The sloth is exceedingly tenacious of life. It has been seen to move its legs even after the heart has been taken from the body. The Indians use