9 (p. 58). Although their ears are thus to a large extent protected, yet they often get much torn in old male cats during their mutual battles. The same movement is very striking in tigers, leopards, &c., whilst growling over their food in menageries. The lynx has remarkably long ears; and their retraction, when one of these animals is approached in its cage, is very conspicuous, and is eminently expressive of its savage disposition. Even one of the Eared Seals, the _Otariapusilla_, which has very small ears, draws them backwards, when it makes a savage rush at the legs of its keeper.

When horses fight together they use their incisors for biting, and their fore-legs for striking, much more than they do their hind-legs for kicking backwards. This has been observed when stallions have broken loose and have fought together, and may likewise be inferred from the kind of wounds which they inflict on each other. Every one recognizes the vicious appearance which the drawing back of the ears gives to a horse. This movement is very different from that of listening to a sound behind. If an ill-tempered horse in a stall is inclined to kick backwards, his ears are retracted from habit, though he has no intention or power to bite. But when a horse throws up both hind-legs in play, as when entering an open field, or when just touched by the whip, he does not generally depress his ears, for he does not then feel vicious. Guanacoes fight savagely with their teeth; and they must do so frequently, for I found the hides of several which I shot in Patagonia deeply scored. So do camels; and both these animals, when savage, draw their ears closely backwards. Guanacoes, as I have noticed, when not intending to bite, but merely to spit their offensive saliva from a distance at an intruder, retract their ears. Even the hippopotamus, when threatening with its widely-open enormous mouth a comrade, draws back its small ears, just like a horse.

Now what a contrast is presented between the foregoing animals and cattle, sheep, or goats, which never use their teeth in fighting, and never draw back their ears when enraged! Although sheep and goats appear such placid animals, the males often join in furious contests. As deer form a closely related family, and as I did not know that they ever fought with their teeth, I was much surprised at the account given by Major Ross King of the Moose-deer in Canada. He says, when "two males chance to meet, laying back their ears and gnashing their teeth together, they rush at each other with appalling fury."[33] But Mr. Bartlett informs me that some species of deer fight savagely with their teeth, so that the drawing back of the ears by the moose accords with our rule. Several kinds of kangaroos, kept in the Zoological Gardens, fight by scratching with their fore-feet and by kicking with their hind-legs; but they never bite each other, and the keepers have never seen them draw back their ears when angered. Rabbits fight chiefly by kicking and scratching, but they likewise bite each other; and I have known one to bite off half the tail of its antagonist. At the commencement of their battles they lay back their ears, but afterwards, as they bound over and kick each other, they keep their ears erect, or move them much about.

[33] `The Sportsman and Naturalist in Canada,' 1866, p. 53. p. 53.{sic}

Mr. Bartlett watched a wild boar quarrelling rather savagely with his sow; and both had their mouths open and their ears drawn backwards. But this does not appear to be a common action with domestic pigs when quarrelling. Boars fight together by striking upwards with their tusks; and Mr. Bartlett doubts whether they then draw back their ears. Elephants, which in like manner fight with their tusks, do not retract their ears, but, on the contrary, erect them when rushing at each other or at an enemy.

The rhinoceroses in the Zoological Gardens fight with their nasal horns, and have never been seen to attempt biting each other except in play; and the keepers are convinced that they do not draw back their ears, like horses and dogs, when feeling savage.

The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals Page 47

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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