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    Of the mode in which this operation is effected, a detailed description is contained in Macleod’s Voyage of His Majesty’s Ship Alceste; and an excellent account has been subsequently given by Mr. Broderip in the second volume of the Zoological Journal from actual observation of the specimens now in the Tower. The vivid description of the latter almost brings before the reader’s eye the lightning dash of the serpent; the single scream of its instantly enfolded victim, whose heaving flanks proclaimed that it still breathed; and its last desperate effort, succeeded by the application of another and a deadly coil. With equal force and fidelity it sketches the continuation of the scene, when the serpent, after slowly disengaging his folds, placed his head opposite[236] to that of his victim, coiled himself once more around it to compress it into the narrowest possible compass, and then gradually propelled it into his separated jaws and dilated throat; and finally presents a disgusting picture of the snake when his meal was at an end, with his loose and apparently dislocated jaws dropping with the superfluous mucus which had been poured forth.


    1.The Elephants belong to the Pachydermatous order, in which they constitute a family readily distinguishable from the other enormous beasts which form part of it, the Hippopotamus and the Rhinoceros, by a combination of characters of the most remarkable description. To the immense size and clumsy figure of the two last named animals, which indeed they commonly surpass in both those particulars, they add the following distinctive[165] zoological characters. Their teeth consist of two formidable tusks, which, occupying the place of the incisors of the upper jaw, project forwards in a nearly horizontal direction, generally with a slight curvature upwards; and of one or occasionally two cheek teeth of considerable magnitude on each side of each jaw, formed of vertical layers of bony matter surrounded by enamel, and connected together by a third substance called cortical. These latter are not, as in almost all the other Mammalia, renewed for one only time and at a certain age by the growth of others to supply their places from the cavity of the jaw beneath them; but, on the contrary, are pushed forwards by the advance of those which are destined to replace them from behind, and are renewed, according to the statement of Mr. Corse, no less than eight times at different periods of the animal’s existence. On each successive change the number of lamin? of which they are composed is increased, the earliest not offering more than four, while the later ones frequently exceed twenty; and it is in consequence of the new teeth generally making their appearance for some time prior to the total failure of their predecessors that their number occasionally appears to be double its proper and more usual amount. The tusks on the contrary admit but of a single displacement and renewal; the first or milk pair seldom exceeding two inches in length, and falling out between the first and second year. The permanent ones which succeed are much larger and more powerful in the adult male than in the female, and not unfrequently project as much as two feet. They are well known as furnishing one of the most beautiful and ornamental productions which the animal kingdom[166] affords, as well as a valuable article of commerce, in the pure and polished ivory of which they are formed. They have been known to weigh as much as one hundred and fifty pounds, but their usual average is from fifty to seventy.
    3.If the Boas furnish the most terrible examples of the tremendous powers of destruction possessed by a few of that division of the Serpent tribe, whose bite is unattended with the effusion of venom, the Rattlesnakes afford a no less remarkable instance of the dreadful malignity of the poison with which others of the tribe are so abundantly supplied. This poison is secreted by a gland of considerable size situated beneath the eye, the excretory duct of which terminates on each side at the base of a long and tubular fang in the upper jaw, which is concealed while the animal is at rest in a fold of the gum, but is capable of being instantaneously[240] erected when he is irritated, and affords at the same time the means of inflicting the wound and of insinuating into it the deadly fluid with which it is charged. In the Rattlesnakes these two fangs are the only visible teeth implanted in the upper jaw; but behind each of them are several rudiments of others by which they are from time to time replaced. Their other distinguishing characters consist in the whole of the transverse plates which cover the under surface of the body and of the tail being simple, and in the singular apparatus by which the latter is terminated, and which is formed of a series, more or less numerous according to the age of the individual, of flattened rings loosely attached one within the other in such a manner as to produce a peculiar rattling sound when the tail is moved with any degree of quickness. The number of rings commonly varies from five to twelve; but in very old specimens it is said to have been found to exceed forty.
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