The Samboo Deer, as the present species is called by his keepers, belongs to the Rusa group, which are distinguished from the rest of the genus by their horns being provided with a single antler at the base, and with a lateral snag which forms a kind of bifurcation towards the extremity. They are usually of large stature and nearly uniform colours, and are, for the most part, furnished with a rough and shaggy mane, a broad and expanded muzzle, and sub-orbital openings of considerable size. The handsome Stag now before us is dark cinereous brown above, nearly black on the throat and breast, and light fawn, intermixed with dirty white, on the inside of the limbs. His eyes are surrounded by a fawn-coloured disc, and patches of the same colour occupy the fore knees, and a space above each of the hoofs in front. His nose, which is black, is enveloped in an extensive muzzle; his ears are nearly naked on the inside, and marked by a patch of dirty white at the base externally; and his mane, which spreads downwards over the neck and throat, is remarkably thick and heavy. His tail is black above, and light fawn beneath; and a disc of the latter colour occupies the posterior part of the buttocks, having on each side a blackish line which separates it from the lighter tinge of the inside of the thighs. His horns, when properly grown, consist of a broad burr, from which the pointed basal antler rises almost perpendicularly to the extent of nine or ten inches; of a stem, which is first directed outwards, and then forms a bold curve inwards; and of a snag, or second antler of smaller size, arising from the stem near its extremity on the posterior and internal side, and forming with it a terminal fork, the branch however being shorter than the stem, and not exceeding five or six inches in length. The entire length of the horns is about two feet; they are of a dark colour, very strong, and deeply furrowed throughout.
For the zoological characters of the latter genus the reader is referred to the following article: at present we shall confine ourselves to the description of the remarkable animal before us, pointing out, as we proceed, the marks by which it differs from both the groups to which it has hitherto been referred, and those by which it is assimilated to either the one or the other. In the shape and elevation of its body it is at first sight distinguished from them both, its legs being considerably longer in relation to its size, and the trunk of its body, as will be seen by the portrait prefixed, being very different in form and proportions. It is entirely destitute of the mane of the Hy?na, and its tail is very similar to that of certain dogs; but, on the other hand, its head approximates very closely, or rather bears a most striking resemblance, to the broad and flattened forehead, and the short and truncated muzzle, which characterize the former genus. It is this latter circumstance no doubt that has induced many naturalists, both popular and scientific, to identify the Wild Dog, as he is called by the settlers at the Cape, with a group of animals from which in every other particular of outward structure, excepting one, it is remarkably and obviously distinct. The only other point of agreement between them consists in the number of its toes, which, like those of the Hy?na, are only four to each foot. This peculiarity, combined with the form of the head, unquestionably affords some ground for placing these animals in close apposition; but is by no means so important, in the absence of other and more essential characteristics, as to warrant their union into a single group. Taken together, however, and in connexion with other features of distinction, these characters may fairly be regarded as sufficiently striking to sanction the separation of the animal now under consideration from the dogs. With the latter it corresponds most completely in the number and form of its teeth, and in the general structure of its skeleton, which differs remarkably from that of the Hy?na.
Nothing in fact can exceed the terror which this formidable animal inspires in those countries which are liable to his devastations. More restricted, however, in this respect than the Lion, he is entirely unknown in Africa, and is rarely, if ever, to be met with in Asia on this side the Indus. In the south of China, and in the larger Asiatic Islands, such as Sumatra and Java, he is unhappily but too common; but it is said, we know not with what degree of truth, that in the last mentioned locality he is less ferocious than in the Peninsula of Hindostan. This is truly the cradle of his existence and the seat of his empire, in which he disputes dominion even with the Lion himself, who is comparatively rare in the Indian jungles, and with whom the Tiger has been sometimes known to join in deadly and successful struggle for the mastery. Endowed with a degree of force, which the Lion and the Elephant alone can equal, he carries off a buffalo in his tremendous jaws, almost without relaxing from his usual speed. With a single stroke of his claws he rips open the body of the largest animals; and is said to suck their blood with insatiable avidity. Of the correctness of this latter statement, at least in its full extent, there is however strong reason to doubt. The Tiger does not, according to the most credible accounts, exhibit this propensity to drinking the blood of his victims in any greater degree than the rest of his carnivorous and blood-thirsty companions. In this, as in other instances, fear has drawn largely on credulity, and the simple and sufficiently disgusting fact has been amplified and exaggerated with all the refinements upon horror which the terrified imagination could suggest.
Author: Edward Turner Bennett
The present species of Antelope is spread over the whole of the Peninsula of Hindoostan and a part of Persia; but it is questionable whether it has been found in Africa, as is commonly asserted. They are said to bound with apparent ease over a distance of from twenty-five to thirty feet, and mounting to the height of ten or twelve. It is consequently useless to attempt to chase them in the common mode with hounds; and their pursuit is restricted to the higher nobility, who employ for the purpose either hawks, who pounce upon their quarry and detain it until the dogs can come up, or Chetahs, who attack them by surprise in the manner before described.