RHINOCEROS

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RHINOCEROS. This is a large animal, belonging to the order of pachydermata, having each foot divided into three toes, and furnished with one or more horns on the snout. There are several species,' the best known of which are the Indian, or onehorned, and the African, or twohorned. Onehorned rhinoceros. This species is a native of India, particularly of that part beyond the Ganges. It is a clumsy and deformed looking animal: a single black horn, placed near the end of the nose, makes its specific character. The upper lip is very large, and overhangs the lower: it is furnished with strong muscles, and is employed by the animal somewhat as the elephant uses his trunk. The ears are large, erect and pointed. The skin is naked, rough, and extremely thick; about the neck it is gathered into large folds ; a fold also extends between the shoulders and fore legs, and another from the hinder part of the back to the thighs. The tail is slender, flat at the end, and furnished at the sides with very stiff, black hairs. The legs are very short. This animal was well known to the ancients, and was introduced into the games of the circus by Pompey; in all probability it is the reem (unicorn) of the Bible. From the time of the fall of the Roman empire, however, it was lost sight of so completely, that, prior to the sixteenth century, naturalists vvere of opinion, that it had never existed, or, if so, that it was extinct. When the Portuguese, however, doubled the cape of Good Hope, and opened the way to India, these animals again became known, and many were introduced into Europe. The first that appeared in England was in 1684. The rhinoceros lives in shady forests adjoining rivers, or in the swampy jungles with which its native country abounds. Though possessed of great strength, and more than a match for either the tiger or the elephant, it is quiet and inoffensive unless provoked. The female produces one at a birth. The growth of the young is very gradual, as, at the age of two years, it scarcely attains half its height. The sight of the rhinoceros is by no means acute, but, on the contrary, its senses of smelling and hearing are very vivid. Its chief food is canes and shrubs. It was for a long time supposed that the tongue was hard and exceedingly rough ; but recent observations have shown that it does not present these peculiarities. The flesh somewhat resembles pork in taste, though of a coarser grain and stronger taste.Twohorned rhinoceros. This species is a native of Africa, and resembles the preceding in many particulars, but differs in being provided with an additional horn, of a smaller size, situated nearer the forehead ; the skin also is not thrown into the folds so remarkable^in the Indian species ; at least, this is the account given by Sparrman, whilst Bruce represents it as having them. The twohorned rhinoceros was better known to the ancients than the lastmentioned kind, and is represented on many of their coins, especially those of Domitian. The rhinoceros is greatly in ferior to the elephant in docility, and has never been made sociable to man. The skin is used for whips and walkingcanes, and of the horns drinkingcups were made, which were highly esteemed by the East Indians, as they imagined that if poison were put into them, the liquoj would ferment till it ran out of the vessel Martial informs us, that Roman ladies used these horns as cases to hold their essence bottles and oils. The skin of the rhinoceros is also used by the Javanese for shields.