Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/385

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377
HORNS—HEARING—SMELL—SIGHT—DISPOSITION.

At the age of two years the horn is said to be not more than an inch long; at six years old it is nine or ten inches long, and grows, as seen in the white species, to the length of three or four feet.

The rhinoceros is a very affectionate mother, and guards her offspring with the tenderest care. The young, in its turn, clings dotingly to its dam, and, even for a day or two after the latter has been killed, the calf is frequently found alongside the carcass. Several instances of the kind have come under my personal notice, and many others are to be found in the records of African travelers and hunters.

The sense of hearing and smell of this animal is most acute. I have had numerous opportunities of testing both these qualities. Even when feeding, lying down, or obeying any passing demand of nature, he will listen with a deep and continued attention until the noise that has attracted his attention ceases. He "winds" an enemy from a very great distance; but if one be to leeward of him, it is not difficult to approach within a few paces.

His sight, on the other hand, is not good. From the peculiar position of his eyes, which are deep set in the head, and his unwieldy horns, he can only see what is immediately before him.

The "black" species, as before said, are of a very sullen and morose disposition. They are, moreover, subject to sudden paroxysms of unprovoked fury, rushing and charging with inconceivable fierceness animals, stones, bushes—in short, any object that comes in their way.

Seen in his native wilds, either when browsing at his leisure, or listlessly sauntering about, a person would take the rhinoceros to be the most stupid and inoffensive of creatures; yet, when his ire is roused, he becomes the reverse, and is then the most agile and terrible of animals.

Colonel Williamson speaks of a rhinoceros in India whose ferocity was such as to render the roads impassable by at-