Sketches of the natural history of Ceylon: with narratives and anecdotes illustrative of the habits and instincts of the mammalia, birds, reptiles, fishes, insects, &c. : including a monograph of the elephant and a description of the modes of capturing and training it with engravings from original drawings
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Page 30 - I started off by myself through the jungle, leaving orders for my men, with my surveying instruments, to follow my track by the notches which I cut in the bark of the trees. On leaving the plain, I availed myself of a fine wide game track which lay in my direction, and had gone, perhaps, half a mile from the camp, when I was startled by a slight rustling in the nilloo...
Page 483 - One circumstance regarding these land leeches is remarkable and unexplained ; they are helpless without moisture, and in the hills where they abound at all other times, they entirely disappear during long droughts ; — yet re-appear instantaneously on the very first fall of rain ; and in spots previously parched, where not one was visible an hour before ; a single shower is sufficient to reproduce them in thousands, lurking beneath the decaying leaves, or striding with rapid movements across the...
Page 244 - In some of the, unfrequented portions of the eastern province, to which Europeans rarely resort, and where the pea-fowl are unmolested by the natives, their number is so extraordinary, that, regarded as game, it ceases to be "sport" to destroy them; and their cries at early morning are so tumultuous and incessant, as to banish sleep, and amount to an actual inconvenience.
Page 192 - ... about it in a way that showed a thorough relish for it, as an agreeable pastime. Their caution was as remarkable as their sagacity ; there was no hurrying, no confusion, they never ran foul of the ropes, were never in the way of those noosed ; and amidst the most violent struggles, when the tame ones had frequently to step across the captives, they in no instance trampled on them, or occasioned the slightest accident or annoyance. So far from this, they saw intuitively a difficulty or a danger,...
Page 193 - When reluctant they shoved them forward, when violent they drove them back ; when the wild ones threw themselves down, the tame ones butted them with head and shoulders, and forced them up again. And when it was necessary to keep them down, they knelt upon them, and prevented them from rising, till the ropes were secured. At every moment of leisure they fanned themselves with a bunch of leaves, and the graceful ease with which an elephant uses his trunk on such occasions is very striking. It is doubtless...
Page 382 - It was not one sustained note, but a multitude of tiny sounds, each clear and distinct in itself; the sweetest treble mingling with the lowest bass. On applying the ear to the wood-work of the boat, the vibration was greatly increased in volume.
Page 140 - ... head, I managed to scramble up to a branch. The elephant came directly to the tree and attempted to force it down, which he could not. He first coiled his trunk round the stem, and pulled it with all his might, but with no effect. He then applied his head to the tree, and pushed for several minutes, but with no better success. He then trampled with his feet all the projecting roots, moving, as he did so, several , times round and round the tree. Lastly, failing in all this, and seeing a pile...
Page 46 - Pengolin *, a word indicative of its faculty, when alarmed, of " rolling itself up " into a compact ball, by bending its head towards its stomach, arching its back into a circle, and securing all by a powerful fold of its mail-covered tail. The...
Page 47 - Kandy, about two feet in length, was a gentle and affectionate creature, which, after wandering over the house in search of ants, would attract attention to its wants by climbing up my knee, laying hold of my leg with its prehensile tail. The other, more than double that length, was caught in the jungle near Chilaw, and brought to me in Colombo. I had always understood that the pengolin was unable to climb trees ; but the one last mentioned frequently ascended a tree in my garden, in search of ants,...
Page 192 - More than once when a wild one was extending his trunk, and would have intercepted the rope about to be placed over his leg, Siribeddi, by a sudden motion of her own trunk, pushed his aside and prevented him ; and on one occasion, when successive efforts had failed to put the noose over the leg of an elephant which was already secured by one foot, but which wisely put the other to the ground as often as it was attempted to pass the noose under it, I saw the decoy watch her opportunity, and when his...