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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 203 pages of information about New National Fourth Reader.

gram’p us, a kind of fish.

re sumed’, started again; took up again.

hid’e ous, horrid to look at.

de struc’tion, death; entire loss.

re sist’, stand against.

des’per ate, without hope or care.

ex cur’sions, journeys; rambles.

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THE RHINOCEROS.

Next to the mighty elephant, the rhinoceros is the largest and strongest of animals.  There are several species of the rhinoceros, some of which are found in Asia, and others in different parts of Africa.

In the latter country there are four varieties—­the black rhinoceros, having a single horn; the black species having two horns; the long-horned white rhinoceros; and the common white species, which has a short, stubby horn.

The largest of the African species is the long-horned, white, or square-nosed rhinoceros.  When full-grown, it sometimes measures eighteen feet in length, and about the same around the body.  Its horn frequently reaches a length of thirty inches.

The black rhinoceros, although much, smaller than the white, and seldom having a horn over eighteen inches long, is far more ferocious than the white species, and possesses a wonderful degree of strength.

The form of the rhinoceros is clumsy, and its appearance dull and heavy.  The limbs are thick and powerful, and each, foot has three toes, which are covered with broad, hoof-like nails.

The tail is small; the head very long and large.  Taken altogether, there are few—­if any—­animals that compare with the rhinoceros in ugliness.

The eyes are set in such a manner that the animal can not see any thing exactly in front of it; but the senses of hearing and smelling are so keen that sight is not required to detect an enemy, whether it be man or beast.

The skin of the African rhinoceros is smooth, and has only a few scattering hairs here and there.  It is, however, very thick and tough, and can resist the force of a rifle-ball unless it is fired from a very short distance.

The largest known species of the rhinoceros is found in Asia.  It lives chiefly in the marshy jungles, and on the banks of lakes and rivers in India.  Some of this species are over live feet in height, and have horns three feet in length and eighteen inches around the base.

Unlike the African rhinoceros, the skin of the Asiatic species is not smooth, but lies in thick folds upon the body, forming flaps which can be lifted with the hand.

The food of the rhinoceros consists of roots, and the young branches and leaves of trees and shrubs.

It plows up the roots with the aid of its horn, and gathers the branches and leaves with the upper lip which is long and pointed, and with which the food is rolled together before placing it in the mouth.

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