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NATURAL HISTORY NOTES.

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NATURAL HISTORY NOTES. « WHAT A JUMP! A flea can jump over a barrier 500 times his own height. At that rate a man could 11 jump over a wall nearly a mile high. EIG CATERPILLARS. Caterpillars from ten to twelve inches long are said to be not uncommon in Australia, while species which vary in length from six to eight inches are stated to be numerous. THE BUTTERFLY. The butterfly does not eat, it has no mouth, but simply a curled up proboscis suited only for sipping liquid sweets; its two eyes, very large for the size of the insect, are composed of at least twenty thousand convex lenses, each supposed to be a distinct and effective eye THEY "hLJJ NOT TOUCH CASTOR OIL. No sort of bird, beast, or creeping thing will touch a castor oil plant. It seems to be a rank poison to all the animal world. Even a goat wiil starve before biting off a leaf, and a horse will sniff at it and turn up his upper lip as though it bad the most detestable odour on the face of the earth. Army worms and the locusts will pass it by, though they may eat every other green thing in sight, and there is no surer way to drive moles away from a lawn than to plant a few castor oil beans here and there. Even the tobacco worm will refuse to be fed on its leaves. There is hardly another instance in natural history of a plant being so universally detested by the animal world. THE HORSE AND ITS TEETH. At five years of age a horse has 40 teeth- 24 molar or jaw teeth twelve incisors, or front teeth; and four tusks, or canine teeth,: between the molars and incisors, but usually wanting in the mare. At birth only the two nippers, or middle incisors, appear, and when a year old the incisors are all visible of the first or milk set. Before reaching the third year the permanent nippers have come through; a year later the permanent dividers, next to the nippers, are out. A t I five the mouth is perfeot, the second set of teeth having been completed. At six the hollow under the nippers called the "mark" has disappeared from them and diminished in the dividers, and at seven the mark has dis- appeared from the dividers, and the next teeth, or corners, are level, though showing the mark; at eight the mark disappears alio- i gether. SPIDERS' THREADS. Three kinds of thread are spun by spiders. One is of great strength, of the radiating or 11 spoke lines of the web. The cross lines, or what a sailor might call the ratlines, are finer and are tenacious-that is, they have upon them little specks or globules of a very sticky gum. These specks are put on with even I interspaces. They are set quite thickly along the line, and are what, in the first instance, catch and bold the legs or wings of a fly. Once caught in this fashion, the prey is held secure by threads flung over it somewhat in the manner of a lasso. The third kind of silk is that which the spider throws out in a mass of flood, by which it suddenly envelopes any prey of which it is somewhat afraid, as, for example, ft wasp. A scientific experi- menter once drew out from the body of a single spider 3,480 yards of thread or spider silk-a length little short of two miles. THE STUPIDITY OF SHEEP. An experienced sheep-raiser affirms that no animal who walks on four legs is as big a fool as a sheep. We have to watch them every minute, and if vigilance is relaxed for an instant the entire flock is likely to practically commit suioide. If caught in a storm on the plains they will drift before the wind and di of cold and exposure rather than move one hundred yards to windward, to obtain shelter in their oorral. To drive sheep against the wind is absolutely impos- sible. I onoe lost over one thousand head because I could not drive them to a corral not 200ft. away. In the corral they are still more foolish. If a storm comes up they all move down wind until stopped by the fence. Then begins the proceeding, so much dreaded by sheepmen, known a& I piling.' The sheep will climb over each other's backs until they are heaped up 10ft. high. Of oourse, all those at the bottom are smothered. Not one has sense enough to seek shelter under the lee of the fence, as a horse or a dog would do. Again, if a sheep gets into a quicksand, its fate teaohes nothing to those that come immediately after, but the whole flock will follow ita leader to destruction. No more exasperatingly atupid brute than a sheep exists." THE RIVAL IN THE MIRROR, Who has not laughed to see a cat face her- self in the mirror ? Miss Puss puts her back up, ruffles her fur, may be spits a little, but always in the end gives up the problem as beneath her contempt, and goes to sleep. Not so the monkey. His ire may not be so great, but his curiosity is not thus easily satisfied. At a zoological garden recently a gentleman passed into the monkey house a live oent mirror, with a tinfoil back. lit was seized by a long-tailed monkey with ecru points and Watteau plaits around his ears. Immediately he looked in he got mad. It was the first time he had ever seen himself, and he did not oatch on. The presumed rival was so handsome that he was seized with a pang of jealousy, and he went on a still hunt. Holding the glass very still, he suddenly jerked it down and looked—no rival in sight. Then he ducked his head, but the rival ducked, too. lie grew cunning, and peeped in slyly; it was of no avail. He put up his paw, scratched his head, and then tried to grab hia lordship from behind the glass. No game. He now put the glass on the floor, but there was the rival as large as life. He pointed his finger, so did the other, and that raised his temper to the danger pitch. If he grinned, frowned, or chattered, the other did the same. Ah now he had it. That monkey must be between the tinfoil and the glass. He picked at it as it rested against its breast. That fetched him. The monkey showed up with a gash straight across his nose. Another The pit of his stomach was gone. All four fingers at onoe. The monkey was riddled and the victory was won. The ecru monkey was happy once more, and almost wept with joy as he hung from his perch by his lovely blue tail. DEADLY TARANTULAS. It is a fact not generally known that there are two varieties of tarantulas in Arizona and New Mexico, This probably accounts for the conflicting reports about the deadly nature of the tarantula poison. The so-called Texas tarantula is by no means an agreeable bed- fellow, but his bite is by no means fatal. The venomous Texan tarantula, in spite of all dis- cussions to the contrary, does build and live in the trapdoor spider nest. There seems to be a current idea that the trapdoor spider is harmless, which is certainly erroneous. It uses no web net, easily capturing its prey by extraordinary springs. Those who have seen this araohnulan by daylight can have little jdea of its power and fleetness. During the jay it moves slowly and clumsily in the daz- light, but ivheri darkness comes it can move with case and oertaiaty. Credible acoouats have appeared stating that the tarantula can ¡ leap 16ft., says the Ilorence Companion. Re- peated statements have credited it with leaps of 3ft. or more. In 1870, or near that date, three men disturbed several tarantula nes ts near San Diego. They were immediately at- tacked by the huge spiders and had to run for their lives, taking refuge in the water of the bay. On the other band, the poison of the Mygale species is of a fearful nature—more dreaded than that of a rattlesnake—and unless only slightly scratched, and heroic measures used, the result is fatal. Many deaths are on re- cord caused by these spiders, The most pro- longed suffering was that of a San Diego woman. A tarantula sunk its fangs in her hand during the night. The flesh was cut away with a razor, and medical assistance summoned at once. Her life was prolonged for a time, as well as her suffer- ings. For three months she lingered under the effects, her hands constantly creeping and crawling along the bedding in horrible imita- tion of the motions of the tarautula. The Mygale sometimes spreads over six inches square, but more frequently four or five inches. The writer has at the present time a stuffed specimen that extends about six inches and a half. A shaggy coat of hair covers the surface of the great spider. It is supplied with six strong, bony legs and two dangerous pedipalps or strikers, each armed with a sharp sting and poison sac. The strikers are frequently mistaken for two front legs, and from this arises the idea thit the creature has stings on its feet. Two powerful projections, resembling j-ws, protrude from the head. Under each of these is a curved poison fang, similar to a cat's claw, but longer (exactly like those of a rattlesnake), which may be lifted, ex- tended, and hooked into the victim. person thus stung (or bitten?) must cut the tarantula away at once, for the spider does not seem willing to uuhook its fangs. Tarantulas are considered deadly foes to each other, and are seldum found in company. When imprisoned together there is a tight, one succumbs and is eaten by the victor. Nature has done a service in making the tarantula so hideous and formidable a looking object. Indeed, it is owing to this repulsive- ness that no greater number of persons are stung. The sight of the great hairy spider crawling near by will cause a cold, creeping sensation down the back of almost any one. j he deadly foe of Mr. Tarantula is the tarantula hawic. These giant blue wasps, with their fiery wings, are deadly foes to the tarantula, and should be encouraged in every locality. They seem never to rest for a moment, and with tireless energy fly and walk rapidly along the ground, running into every crevice and hole, and examining every suspicious object, after the tarantula. The fate of the great spider when dis- covered by the hawk is certain, and attended with fascinating horror. The winged insect hovers over the victim until it finds a good opportunity to sting. The poison acts in a peculiar manner, the tarantula becoming paralysed. In this state the eggs of the hawk are laid in the spider, who remains alive to be slowly de- voured by the hungry larvte.

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