Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/378

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twenty defiling past me, though beyond reach. The cause of so unusual a number being seen together was as follows: In the early part of the night, one or two were approaching the water, but, having winded me, they kept walking restlessly round the place, grunting and snorting most viciously. This had the effect of putting those who arrived later on guard, and they soon joined company.

Of all the South African animals, not the least curious, perhaps, is the rhinoceros. He inhabits a large portion of the African continent—such localities, at least, as are suitable to his habits. Formerly, as before mentioned, he was common even in the immediate vicinity of Cape-Town; but, owing to constant persecution, is now rarely met farther to the southward (I speak of the West Coast) than about the twenty-third degree of latitude. In the interior, however, the tribe is still very numerous. "On one occasion," says Captain Harris, in a private letter, "while walking from the wagons to bring the head of a koodoo that I had killed about a mile off, I encountered twenty-two rhinoceroses, and had to shoot four of them to clear the way."

The rhinoceros is, moreover, an inhabitant of Bengal, Siam, China, and other countries of Asia; also of Java, Sumatra, and Ceylon. But the three species[1] indigenous to this quarter of the globe would seem to be quite different from any yet found in Africa. Almost all the Asiatic species have an exceedingly coarse hide, covered with large folds, not unlike a coat of mail, while that of the African species is comparatively smooth. Two of the Indian rhinoceroses have only one horn, whereas all the African are provided with two.[2] The third Asiatic species, which is found in the isl-

  1. Rhinoceros Indicus, Rhinoceros Sondaicus, and Rhinoceros Bicornis Sumatrensis.
  2. I have met persons who told me that they have killed rhinoceroses with three horns; but in all such cases (and they have been but few), the third, or posterior horn is so small as to be scarcely perceptible.