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CHAP. 44. (30.)—THE HYÆNA.

It is the vulgar notion, that the hyæna possesses in itself both sexes, being a male during one year, and a female the next, and that it becomes pregnant without the co-operation of the male; Aristotle, however, denies this.1 The neck, with the mane, runs continuously into the back—Bone, so that the animal cannot bend this part without turning round the whole body. Many other wonderful things are also related of this animal; and strangest of all, that it imitates the human voice among the stalls of the shepherds; and while there, learns the name of some one of them, and then calls him away, and devours him. It is said also, that it can imitate a man vomiting, and that, in this way, it attracts the dogs, and then falls upon them. It is the only animal that digs up graves, in order to obtain the bodies of the dead. The female is rarely caught: its eyes, it is said, are of a thousand various colours and changes of shade. It is said also, that on coming in contact with its shadow, dogs will lose their voice, and that, by certain magical influences, it can render any animal immoveable, round which it has walked three times.

1 Aristotle, De Gener. Anim. B. iii. c. 6, and Hist. Anim. B. vi c. 32, accounts for the vulgar error, by stating that the hyæna has a peculiar structure of the parts about the anus, which might, to an unpractised eye, give the idea, that it possesses the generative organs of both sexes. Ælian, Anim. Nat. B. i. c. 25, and Oppian, Cyneget. B. iii. c. 289, have adopted this erroneous opinion. What is said respecting the hyena, in the remaining part of this Chapter, is mostly without foundation.—B.

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