1902 Encyclopedia > Arabia > Arabia - Animals (cont.). Wild Animals. Deer.

(Part 16)


(16) Arabia - Animals (cont.). Wild Animals. Deer.

Wild Animals in Arabia

Wild animals are not very numerous in any part of Arabia proper, a fact which is sufficiently accounted for by the want of running streams and open pools, as also by the thinness of cover and forest growth; yet the records of the country make mention of the existence of some kinds of beasts which have subsequently disappeared altogether. Thus the long-maned lion, and it would appear, a large kind of ape resembling the African gorilla, often mentioned by the early writers, are no longer to be found in the peninsula. But a small tiger, formidable from its ferocity even to man, is still met with in the wild hilly regions north of Nejra, and again in the inland recesses of the Oman mountains; while the "fahd," or panther, belongs to no particular province; it haunts the neighborhood of villages, and devours the smaller stock. Lynxes have been seen in the Hejaz and Nejd; wolves are common in the mountains, and sometimes descend to attack the flocks in the open plains. There are foxes too, but small and grayish in colour. The Arab hyaena is large and fierce; it is said, when pressed with hunger, to be dangerous even to men, and figures in many a story of Arab adventure. Jackals are more numerous in the northern than in the southern districts. Small black-faced long-tailed monkeys are to be met with by herds in Yemen, and even, though less often, in Nejd. A pretty little beast, the "yerbooa," jerboa, or kangaroo-rat, burrows in the sand, and comes out to look with great curiosity on passers-by; its hind legs, long, and provided with equally long feet and toes, are out of all proportion to the shortness of its fore-paws; its motion, especially when pursued, is like that of the kangaroo, and it performed with the help of its long sinewy tail. Its colour, partly fawn, partly white, is very agreeable to the eye. The Arabs eat its flesh, which resembles that of the rabbit.

Deer in Arabia

Of the deer tribe the gazelle is the most common; it abounds not only in the open grounds, but even among the villages and near the towns. It is sometimes, but not often, hunted by the natives. Chase is more often given to the mountain goat, partly on account of its flesh, which is excellent, partly for the sake of its long recurved horns, which are like those of the Alpine steinbock, only larger. But the hare, which is coursed with dogs, and which resembles the European animal in every respect except size, for it is smaller, is the favourite game of the Arabs, who, unlike the Persians and Turks, have no scruple as to the use of the meat.

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Arabia - Table of Contents

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