explain the striking phenomena of luminescence, hybridization, of eels surviving desiccation for fourteen years, post-matrimonial cannibalism, Nature's vast chain of unities, the suicide of lemmings, why water animals cannot get wet, transparency of animals, why the horned toad shoots a stream of blood from his eye when angry. If you are able to explain these things to humanity, you will be classed second only to Solomon. Yet the average scientist explains them away, with the ignorance and loquaciousness of a fisher hag.
By a thorough application of psychological principles, it is possible to show that man himself is merely a machine to be explained in terms of neurones and nervous impulses, heredity and environment and reactions to outside stimuli. But who is there who does not believe that there is more to a man than that?
Animals have demonstrated long ago that they not only have as many talents as human beings, but that under the influence of the same environment, they form the same kinds of combinations to defend themselves against enemies; to shelter themselves against heat and cold; to build homes; to lay up a supply of food for the hard seasons. In fact, all through the ages man has been imitating the animals in burrowing through the earth, penetrating the waters, and now, at last, flying through the air.
When a skunk bites through the brains of frogs, paralysing but not killing them, in order that he may store them away in his nursery-pantry so that his babes may have fresh food; when a mole decapitates earth-worms for the same reason and stores them near the cold surface of the ground so that the heads will not regrow, as they would under normal conditions, only a deeply prejudiced man can claim that no elements of intelligence have been employed.
There are also numerous signs, sounds and motions by which animals communicate with each other, though to man these symbols of language may not always be understandable. Dogs give barks indicating surprise, pleasure and all other emotions. Cows will bellow for days when mourning for their dead. The mother bear will bury her dead cub and silently guard its grave for weeks to prevent its being desecrated. The mother sheep will bleat most pitifully when her lamb strays away. Foxes utter expressive cries which their children know full well. The chamois, when frightened, whistle; they might be termed the policemen of the animal world. The sentinel will continue a long, drawn-out whistle, as long as he can without taking a breath. He then stops for a brief moment, looks in all directions, and begins blowing again. If the danger comes too near, he scampers away.
In their ability to take care of their wounded bodies, in their reading of the weather and in all forms of woodcraft, animals undoubtedly possess superhuman powers. Even squirrels can prophesy an unusually long and severe winter and thus make adequate preparations. Some animals act as both barometers and thermometers. It is claimed that while frogs remain yellow, only fair weather may be expected, but if their colour changes to brown, ill weather is coming.
There is no limit to the marvellous things animals do. Elephants, for example, carry leafy palms in their trunks to shade themselves from the hot sun. The ape or baboon who puts a stone in the open oyster to prevent it from closing, or lifts stones to crack nuts, or beats his fellows with sticks, or throws heavy cocoanuts from trees upon his enemies, or builds a fire in the forest, shows more than a glimmer of intelligence. In the sly fox that puts out fish heads to bait hawks, or suddenly plunges in the water and immerses himself to escape hunters, or holds a branch of a bush over his head and actually runs with it to hide himself; in the wolverine who catches deer by dropping moss, and suddenly springing upon them and clawing their eyes out; in the bear, who, as told in the account of Cook's third voyage, "rolls down pieces of rock to crush stags; in the rat when he leads his blind brother with a stick" is actual reasoning. Indeed, there is nothing which man makes with all his ingenious use of tools and instruments, of which some suggestion may not be seen in animal creation.
Great thinkers of all ages are not wanting who believe that animals have a portion of that same reason which is the pride of man. Montaigne admitted that they had both thought and reason, and Pope believed that even a cat may consider a man made for his service. Humboldt, Helvitius, Darwin and Smellie claimed that animals act as a definite result of actual reasoning. Lord Brougham pertinently observes, "I know not why so much unwillingness should be shown by some excellent philosophers to allow intelligent faculties and a share of reason to the lower animals, as if our own superiority was not quite sufficiently established to leave all jealousy out of view by the immeasurably higher place which we occupy in the scale of being."
From the facts enumerated in this book I find that animals are possessed of love, hate, joy, grief, courage, revenge, pain, pleasure, want and satisfaction—that all things that go to make up man's life are also found in them. In the attempt to establish this thesis I have been led mentally and physically into some of Nature's most fascinating highways and hedges, where I have had many occasions to wonder and adore. I will be happy if I have at least added something to the depth of love and appreciation with which most men look upon the animal world.
New York, April, 1918.
THE HUMAN SIDE OF ANIMALS
ANIMALS THAT PRACTISE CAMOUFLAGE
"She was a gordian shape of dazzling line,
Vermilion-spotted, golden, green and blue;
Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard,
Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr'd,
And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed,
Dissolved, or brighter shone, or interwreathed
Their lustres with the glorious tapestries...."
—Keats (on Lamia, the snake).
The art of concealment or camouflage is one of the newest and most highly developed techniques of modern warfare. But the animals have been masters of it for ages. The lives of most of them are passed in constant conflict. Those which have enemies from which they cannot escape by rapidity of motion must be able to hide or disguise themselves. Those which hunt for a living must be able to approach their prey without unnecessary noise or attention to themselves. It is very remarkable how Nature helps the wild creatures to disguise themselves by colouring them with various shades and tints best calculated to enable them to escape enemies or to entrap prey.
The animals of each locality are usually coloured according to their habitat, but good reasons make some exceptions advisable. Many of the most striking examples of this protective resemblance among animals are the result of their very intimate association with the surrounding flora and natural scenery. There is no part of a tree, including flowers, fruits, bark and roots, that is not in some way copied and imitated by these clever creatures. Often this imitation is astonishing in its faithfulness of detail. Bunches of cocoanuts are