category:Racing racing


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    These characters are derived, first, from their completely[117] plantigrade walk, the whole sole being at all times closely applied to the surface on which they tread; secondly, from their claws, of which they have five on each foot; thirdly, from the extreme shortness of their tail; and lastly, from the form and arrangement of their teeth. These consist of the usual number of incisors and canines, the latter being in general very robust, and of a series of molars, which, when complete, amount to six on each side in each jaw; the posterior three having flat and expanded surfaces surmounted by broad and blunted tubercles, and lying closely in contact with each other. Between them and the canines exists a considerable space, which is or should be occupied by three smaller and obtusely pointed teeth; but this number is seldom found entire, one or more of them being generally absent, and the series being thus rendered incomplete.


    1.In a wild state, however, they subsist themselves principally by preying upon the inferior animals, feeding with nearly equal relish upon the warm and palpitating fibres of a fresh and almost living victim, and upon the mangled carcass which taints the air with its unsavoury exhalations. Their habitation is in the depths[85] of the forest, where the larger species form themselves dens in the close and thick underwood, while the smaller burrow in the earth for shelter. Their lengthened muzzle and the great extent to which all the cavities connected with the nose are dilated, are admirably fitted for giving to the organ of smell the fullest developement of which it is capable. It is the perfection of this organ, combined with the general lightness and muscularity of their frame and the firm agility of their elongated limbs, which renders many of the species such excellent hunters, by enabling them to scent their prey at an immense and sometimes almost incredible distance, and to run it down in the chase with indefatigable swiftness and unrelaxing pertinacity.
    2.The high degree of domestication to which this latter species has been brought, and the invaluable services which it renders to the Laplander, added to the tranquil content which most of the deer manifest in a state of captivity, afford sufficient proofs that there is nothing in the constitution of the group repugnant to their being tamed and familiarized with man; but from none of the other races have any real or essential advantages been as yet derived. The quiet confidence, mixed with a certain air of cautious timidity, which they exhibit in their half-restricted state, in the park or the chase, where they are kept more for ornament than use, is perfectly indicative of their general character. But the very mildness of their disposition has been turned to their disadvantage, and one of the gentlest of animals, because endowed by nature with a high degree of fleetness, with some sagacity, and with a certain share of timidity, has been marked out by man as the chosen victim of his cruelty, disguised under the captivating name of sport.
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