Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon eBook

J. Emerson Tennent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 590 pages of information about Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon.



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Its Structure.

Vast numbers in Ceylon

Derivation of the word “elephant” (note)

Antiquity of the trade in elephants

Numbers now diminishing

Mischief done by them to crops

Ivory scarce in Ceylon

Conjectures as to the absence of tusks

Elephant a harmless animal

Alleged antipathies to other animals

Fights with each other

The foot its chief weapon

Use of the tusks in a wild state doubtful

Anecdote of sagacity in an elephant at Kandy

Difference between African and Indian species

Native ideas of perfection in an elephant

Blotches on the skin

White elephants not unknown in Ceylon



* * * * *

Its Habits.

Water, but not heat, essential to elephants

Sight limited

Smell acute


Hearing, good

Cries of the elephant


Booming noise

Height, exaggerated

Facility of stealthy motion

Ancient delusion as to the joints of the leg

Its exposure by Sir Thos.  Browne

Its perpetuation by poets and others

Position of the elephant in sleep

An elephant killed on its feet

Mode of lying down

Its gait a shuffle

Power of climbing mountains

Facilitated by the joint of the knee

Mode of descending declivities

A “herd” is a family

Attachment to their young

Suckled indifferently by the females

A “rogue” elephant

Their cunning and vice

Injuries done by them

The leader of a herd a tusker

Bathing and nocturnal gambols, description of a scene by Major Skinner

Method of swimming

Internal anatomy imperfectly known

Faculty of storing water

Peculiarity of the stomach

The food of the elephant

Sagacity in search of it

Unexplained dread of fences

Its spirit of inquisitiveness

Anecdotes illustrative of its curiosity

Estimate of sagacity

Singular conduct of a herd during thunder

An elephant feigning death

Appendix.—­Narratives of natives, as to encounters with rogue



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Elephant Shooting.

Vast numbers shot in Ceylon

Project Gutenberg
Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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