Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/502

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For the information of the curious in these matters, I may mention that the food of the larger of the hippopotami now in the Regent's Park Gardens, when first shipped at Alexandria in 1850, and when yet comparatively a "baby," consisted of the milk of two cows and three goats. This quantity, however, until supplemented with Indian corn-meal, was found insufficient to satisfy his voracity. On his arrival at the gardens, "oatmeal was substituted for Indian corn; and the change, with an extra supply of milk, seemed to give the gigantic infant great satisfaction." By degrees, vegetable diet was supplied instead of milk; and at the present day the animal is fed on clover, hay, corn, chaff, bran, mangle-wurzel, carrots, and white cabbage. The three last-named vegetables constitute his most favorite food. On this (1 cwt. being his daily allowance) he thrives wonderfully, a proof of which is, that since his arrival (he then weighed about one thousand pounds) he has increased more than a ton in weight.

The flesh of the hippopotamus is highly esteemed, and with justice, for it is very palatable. The tongue is reckoned a delicacy, and the fat ("speck," as it is termed by the colonists) is very excellent, and forms a capital substitute for butter. In general, both flesh and fat of wild animals have a peculiar and often strong flavor, but that of the hippopotamus is an exception.

The hide is also in much request, and forms no mean article of commerce in the Cape Colony. As already mentioned, it is chiefly converted into "shamboks." In Northern Africa the hide is used as whips for the dromedary, as also for punishing refractory servants. The ancient Egyptians employed it largely in the manufacture of shields, helmets, javelins, &c.

But the most valuable part of the hippopotamus is its teeth (canine and incisors), which are considered greatly superior to elephant ivory, and when perfect, and weighty—say from five to eight pounds each—have been known to