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The Nile produces the hippopotamus, another wild beast, of a still greater size. It has the cloven hoof of the ox; the back, the mane, and the neighing of the horse; and the turned-up snout, the tail, and the hooked teeth of the wild boar, but not so dangerous.1 The hide is impenetrable, except when it has been soaked with water; and it is used for making shields and helmets.2 This animal lays waste the standing corn, and determines beforehand what part it shall ravage on the following day; it is said also, that it enters the field backwards, to prevent any ambush being laid for it on its return.

1 Cuvier remarks, as singular, that the descriptions given by the ancients of the hippopotamus should have been incorrect, more especially with reference to Herodotus, who had visited Egypt, and who has described some of the animals of that country with considerable accuracy; Ajasson, vol. vi. pp. 444, 445; Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 425. Pliny has copied the description of Herodotus, B. ii. c. 71, almost verbatim, and the same has been done by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. ii. c. 7. Even the Latin authors, such as Diodorus Siculus and Ælian, who might have seen the animal in Rome, continued to transcribe the account of Herodotus.—B.

2 Herodotus and Aristotle, ubi supra, assert, that his hide is so hard, that spears and other missiles are formed from it; the statement of Pliny is, however, much more correct.—B.

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