The mother and her whelps are admirably represented in the spirited group of portraits which heads the present article. The latter have all the playfulness of kittens, and are fondled by their dam in a similar manner to that in which the domestic cat caresses her young. While they were small enough she carried them from place to place in her mouth, and showed the greatest solicitude to keep them from the view of strangers; and even now that they are grown too large for this mode of treatment, she continues to pay the strictest attention to the cleanliness of their persons, and licks their fur, as they tumble about her, with all the matronly dignity and gravity of an accomplished nurse.
With regard to the sub-orbital sinus, which in this and all the neighbouring species is of very considerable size, its uses are evidently connected with the function of respiration, and probably also with the sense of smell. It is denoted externally by a longitudinal fissure, placed beneath the inner angle of each of the eyes, and leading into a sac or cavity, which in some cases communicates internally with the nose; and its inner surface is lined by a membrane abundantly supplied with follicles for the secretion of mucus, which is sometimes produced in very large quantities. This latter circumstance has induced some naturalists to regard these openings as mere cuticular appendages. That they really, in some species at least, communicate with the nostrils, is proved by the observations of Mr. White of Selbourne, who states that in consequence of this communication the Fallow-Deer are enabled to take long-continued draughts with their noses deeply immersed in the water, the air in the mean time passing through the sub-orbital slits. So singular a statement was naturally enough doubted and called in question; but it has never, so far as we know, been impugned on ocular testimony; while it has received the fullest confirmation from other observations made upon the very species now under consideration, in which the air passing from the sub-orbital sinus, while the animal drinks, may be felt by the hand, and even affects the flame of a candle. Another proof of the connexion of these cavities with the nose is derived from the fact that the animals which are provided with them frequently apply their orifices, equally with those of the nostrils, to the food which they are about to take, opening and shutting them with great rapidity.
His ground-colour is a bright yellowish fawn above, and nearly pure white beneath, covered above and on the sides by innumerable closely approximating spots, from half an inch to an inch in diameter, which are intensely black, and do not, as in the Leopard and others of the spotted cats, form roses with a lighter centre, but are full and complete. These spots, which are wanting on the chest and under part of the body, are larger on the back than on the head, sides, and limbs, where they are more closely set: they are also spread along the tail, forming on the greater part of its extent interrupted rings, which, however, become continuous as they approach its extremity, the three or four last rings surrounding it completely. The tip of the tail is white, as is also the whole of its under surface, with the exception of the rings just mentioned; it is equally covered with long hair throughout its entire length, which is more than half that of the body. The outside of the ears, which are short and rounded, is marked by a broad black spot at the base, the tip, as also the inside, being whitish. The upper part of his head is of a deeper tinge; and he has a strongly marked flexuous black line, of about half an inch in breadth, extending from the inner angle of the eye to the angle of the mouth. The extremity of the nose is black, like that of the dog. The mane, from which he derives his scientific name, is not very remarkable: it consists of a series of longer, crisper, and more upright hairs, which extend along the back of the neck and the anterior portion of the spine.下载
On the whole upper surface of the body of the Jaguar the fur, which is short, close, and smooth, is of a bright yellowish fawn; passing on the throat, belly, and inside of the legs, into a pure white. On this ground the head, limbs, and under surface are covered with full black spots of various sizes; and the rest of the body with roses, either entirely bordered by a black ring or surrounded by several of the smaller black spots arranged in a circular form. The full spots are generally continued upon the greater part of the tail, the tip of which is black, and which is also encircled near its extremity by three or four black rings. So far there is little to distinguish the marking of the Jaguar from that of the Leopard; we come now to the differences observable between them. The spots which occupy the central line of the back in the former are full, narrow, and elongated; and the roses of the sides and haunches, which are considerably larger and proportionally less numerous than in the Leopard, are all or nearly all marked with one or sometimes two black dots or spots of smaller size towards their centre: an apparently trifling, but constant and very remarkable distinction, which exists in no other species. By this peculiarity alone the Jaguar may at once be recognised; and this external characteristic, together with the extreme shortness of his tail, his much greater size, his comparatively clumsy form, and the heaviness of all his motions, not to speak of the peculiarity of his voice, which has the sharp and harsh sound of an imperfect bark, are unquestionably fully sufficient to sanction his separation from a race of animals, from which, however much he may resemble them in general characters, he differs in so many and such essential particulars. That this separation has been made more complete by the hand of Nature herself, who has interposed the wide ocean between him and those of his fellows with whom alone there is any probability of his being confounded, is an additional proof, if any confirmation were wanting, of the soundness of the distinction which has been drawn between them.
It can scarcely fail to have been remarked by those who have perused the preceding pages with moderate attention that the species of cats described in them, including the largest and most formidable of the whole genus, are exclusively natives of the Old World, and confined to the hot and burning climates of Southern Asia and of Africa. A second and more numerous class, of which, however, no example exists at present in the Tower Menagerie, and which, consequently, it does not fall within our province to illustrate, occupy the colder and northern regions of both hemispheres. These belong principally to the same subdivision with the Lynx (being, like him, distinguished by the pencils of long hairs which surmount their ears), and to that which comprehends the domestic cat; and are all of diminutive size and trifling power when compared with those monstrous productions of the torrid zone, the Lion, the Tiger, and the Leopard. The reader is not, however, to imagine that the smaller species exist only in the vicinity of the pole and in the temperate regions of the earth: he will find, on the contrary, that many of them are natives of more southern climes, and commit their petty ravages under as fierce a sun as that which fires their more dreaded competitors in the career of rapine and of blood. Of one of these, the true Lynx of antiquity, we shall have occasion to treat in a subsequent article.