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Europeans have introduced the sugar-cane and indigo-plant. After passing the level of 3,100 feet, all these plants become rare, and only prosper in particular situations ; but in these, the sugar-cane grows even at the height of 7,500 feet. Coffee and cotton extend across both of these regions. The cultivation of wheat commences at 3,000 feet; but its growth is not completely established lower than 1,500 feet above this line. Barley is the most vigorous from a height of 4,800 to 6,000 feet. One year with another, it produces 25 or 30 grains for 1. Above 5,400 feet, the fruit of the banana does not easily ripen; but the plant is still met with, although in a feeble condition, 2,400 feet higher. The region comprehended between 4,920 and 5,160 feet, is also the one which principally abounds with the coca, or Erythroxylum Peruvianum, a few leaves of which, mixed with quicklime, support the Peruvian Indian in his longest journeys through the Cordillera. It is at the elevation of 6,000 and 9,000 feet, that the Chenopodium quinoa, and the various grains of Europe are principally cultivated, a circumstance which is greatly favored by the extensive plateaus that exist in the Cordillera of the Andes, the soil of which, being smooth, and requiring little labor, resembles the bottom of ancient
lakes. At the height of 9,600 to 10,200 feet, frost and bail often destroy the crops of wheat. Indian corn is scarcely any longer cultivated above the elevation of 7,200 feet ; 1,000 feet higher, and the potato is produced; but it ceases at 12,600 feet. At about 10,200 feet, barley no longer grows, and rye only is sown, although even this grain suffers from a want of heat. Above 11,040 feet, all culture and gardening cease.
9. Animals. The Jaguar (Felis onca), which is sometimes called the American Tiger, is one of the most formidable animals of the New World. He is to be found in the southern division of America, from Paraguay to Guinea ; but he does not appear to inhabit to the northward of the Isthmus of Darien. Even in the south, the race is gradually growing more rare, in consequence of the double temptation to destroy him, which is offered by the desire of getting rid of a beast so destructive to the flocks, and by the high price which is obtained for his skin. More robust and m clumsy than the leopard, he is also much superior in size, as he often measures 4 or 5 feet from the nose to the root of the tail. The jaguar is a solitary animal, residing in forests, especially near large rivers. He is an excellent swimmer, and
is equally expert at climbing. He Comparative Size of Animals of South America.
lies in ambush for his prey, on 1. Ocelot. 8. Tapir. 15. Condor.
which he pounces suddenly; and 2. Margay.
9. Red-tailed Monkey. 16. King of the Vultures. 3. Lama.
10. Brazilian Porcupine. 17. Rhea or Ostrich, his great muscular strength enables 4. Jaguar. 11. Paca. 18. Serpent
him instantly to bear it to the
19. Macaw. 6. Striated Monkey. 13. Toucan.
ground. Man he does not often 7. Peccary. 14. Harpy Eagle 21. Cayman.
attack, and never but by stealth.
Ferocious as he is in his wild state, the Jaguar, when captive, becomes tame and even mild,
and is particularly fond of licking the hands of those with whom he is familiar. The taking of the Jaguar forms a portion of the warlike features distinguishing the Indians of South America, particularly the Llaneros, or men of the plains. The Cougar is found in different parts of this country ; it has already been described under the General View of North America. The Ocelot (F. pardalis) is nearly equal in size to the lynx of Europe, but shorter in its proportions, and more graceful in its form ; it holds, as it were, a middle station between the leopard and the domestic cat. Its body, when full grown, is nearly
3 feet in length, and its tail rather more Jaguar.
than 1, while its medium height may be reckoned at about 18 inches. It is extensively spread over the American continent, being found in the widely separated regions of Mexico and Paraguay, where it abides in the depths of the forests during the day, and giving chase at night to birds and small quadrupeds. As it is an active climber, it follows the birds even to their nests. It does not eat with the same ravenous avidity which characterizes nearly all the animals of its tribe. The Margay (F. tigrina) is much smaller than the ocelot. It resembles the wild cat in the size and shape of its body ; its head only is more square, its snout longer, its ears
rounder, and its tail longer, its hair also is Ocelot.
shorter, and it has black streaks and spots on a brown ground. Its skin is fawncolored above, and whitish beneath, with longish spots of dark brown, disposed in fine lines, straight on the back, and oblique on the flanks. The shoulders are spotted with a deep reddish-brown, and bordered with a black-brown. It is very difficult to be tamed, and never loses its natural fero
city ; it varies greatly in its color, though Margay.
commonly it is such as we have described
it. This animal is very common in Brazil and Guiana. There are several other small species of the cat kind.
The Tapir or Anta (Tapirus Americanus), is of the size of a small cow, or zebu, but without horns, and with a short, naked tail ; the legs are short and thick; and the feet have small, black hoofs. His skin is so thick and hard as to be almost impenetrable to a bullet ; for which reason the Indians make shields of it. The tapir seldom stirs out but in the night, and delights in the water, where he oftener lives than on land. He is chiefly to be found in marshes, and seldom goes far from the borders of rivers or lakes. He swims and dives with singular facility. This animal is commonly found in Brazil, Paraguay, Guiana, and in all
of South America, from the extremity of Chili to Colombia. Another species has been discovered in the Andes, but is little known. The Peccary bears a strong resemblance to the common domestic hog, but is, however, of a distinct species, and differs in several striking characters. But the most remarkable distinction between it and all other
quadrupeds, appears to consist in a large gland placed immediately beneath the skin on the middle of the loins. These animals are extremely numerous in all parts of South America. There are 2 species; the Collared Peccary (Dicotyles Torquatus), and the Whitelipped Peccary (D. labiatus). The former is the smallest of the two, seldom measuring 3 feet in length. The latter not unfrequently reaches the length of 3 feet and a half. These animals subsist for the most part on vegetable food, chiefly roots; and are said to be dexterous in destroying serpents. Their peculiar grunt is heard at a considerable distance.
The Cabiai or Capibara (Hydro
chærus cabybara), is an amphibious animal, living on fish, fruits, corn, and sugar
It is of a reddish-brown color and web-footed. It is quiet and gentle, and seldom stirs out but at night. Its size is that
of a pig of 18 months' growth. It is common in Guiana, Brazil, and all the low districts.
The Llama (Camelus Glama), is about 4 feet high ; its body, comprehending the neck and head, is 5 or 6 feet long ; its neck alone is near 3 feet. Peru is said to be the true
native country of the Llama; they are conducted into other provinces, but this is rather for curiosity than utility ; but in Peru, from Potosi to Caraccas, these animals are in great numbers, and make the chief riches of the Indians and Spaniards, who rear them. Their flesh is excellent food; their hair, or rather wool, may be spun into beautiful clothing ; and they are capable of carrying heavy loads over the most rugged and dangerous ways ; the strongest of them will travel with 200 or 250 pounds' weight on their backs; their pace is but slow, and their journey is seldom above 15 miles a day ; but then they are sure, and descend precipices and find footing among the most craggy rocks, where even men can scarcely accompany them; they commonly travel for 5 days together, when they are obliged to rest,
which they do, of their own accord, for 2 or The Llama.
3 days. They are chiefly employed in carrying the riches of the mines of Potosi. Boli
var affirms that, in his time, above 300,000 of these animals were in actual employ. These animals differ in color ; some are white, others black, but most of them are brown. The above engraving is drawn from a white Llama in the London Zoological Gardens.
The Vicuna (C vicugna), the wool of which is very valuable, is smaller than the Llama ; its limbs are more nearly formed, and it has no protuberance on the breast. It is of a reddish-brown on the upper part of the body, and whitish on the lower.
The Paca (Calogenus fulvus), is about the size of a hare, or rather larger, and in figure somewhat like a sucking-pig, which it also resembles in its grunting and manner of eating. It is generally seen along the banks of rivers, and is only to be found in the moist and warm countries of South America. Of the Sloth there are 2 different kinds, distinguished from each other by their claws; the
one, which in its native country is called the Unai (Bradypus didactylus), having only 2 claws upon the fore feet, and being without a tail; the other, which is called the Ai (Acheus ai), having a tail and 3 claws upon each foot. The hair of the Sloth is thick and coarse at the extremity, and gradually tapers to the root, where it becomes fine as the finest spider's web.
His fur has so much the hue of the moss which grows on the branches of the trees, that it is very difficult to make him out when he is at rest. The Sloth, in its wild state, spends its whole life in the trees, and never leaves them but through force or accident; and what is more extraordinary, he lives not upon the branches, but suspended under them. His formation prevents him from moving without much difficulty, along the ground. “ The Sloth,” says Waterton," is as much at a loss how to proceed on his journey upon a smooth and level foor, as a
inan would be who had to walk a mile on stilts upon a line of feather-beds." Leaves and wild fruits constitute the principal food of this animal.
The Coati (Nasua rufa), in some respects resembles the raccoon, but is of a smaller size ; its legs are shorter and its feet longer ; but like the raccoon, its tail is diversified with rings, alternately black and fulvous. Its snout, which is movable in every direction, turns up at a point. The Agouti (Chloroinys acuti), is about the size of a hare ; and as it has the hair of a hog,
so also it has the voracious appetite of that animal. It eats indiscriminately of all things ; and when satiated, it hides the remainder, like the dog or the fox, for a future occasion. Its sight is excellent; its hearing equals that of any other animal ; and whenever it is whistled to, it stops to hearken. The Ant-eater
(Myrmecophaga) is a singular animal, with a long snout, small mouth, and no teeth ; its tongue, of a round form, is remarkably
long ; and with it, it catches the ants, which are its principal The Agouti.
food. On coming to an ant-hill, the animal scratches it up with its claws, and then protudes his slender tongue, which has the appearance of an exceedingly long earth-worm. It is covered with a viscous saliva. To this the ants adhere, and by retracting
it he swallows thousands of them. There are 3 species of this animal. The smallest, (M. Didactyla) is not much larger than a rat ; the next, (M. tamandua) is nearly the size of a fox ; and the third, (M. jubata) a stout and powerful animal, measuring about 6 feet from the snout to the end of the tail. The description given above applies chiefly to the last, which is also called the ant bear, from its mode of defence resembling that of the bear. When attacked by a dog, it seizes him between its powerful fore-legs, and squeezes him to death, or strikes severe
blows with its strong, sharp claws. The 2 The Ant-eater.
last-named species have prehensile or holding tails, and live on trees. The race is peculiar to South America, and is extremely useful in diminishing the countless swarms of ants which infest the country.
The Armadillo (Dasypus Peba), which is peculiar to this country, is protected by a crust resembling bone, which covers the head, the neck, the back, and the tail, to the very extremity. There are several species of this animal. They are perfectly harmless, and burrow in the sand-bills like rabbits. The Chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera), is a species of field-rat, in
great estimation for the extreme fineness of its wool, if a rich fur as delicate as the silken webs of the garden spiders may be so termed. It is of an ash-gray, and sufficiently long for spinning. The little animal which produces it is six inches long, from the nose to the root of the tail, with small pointed ears, a short muzzle, teeth like the house-rat, and a tail of moderate length, clothed with a delicate fur. It lives in burrows under ground in the open country of Chili, and other parts of South America.