Andrew Smith was a Scottish surgeon, explorer, ethnologist and zoologist.


Illustrations of the zoology of South AfricaEdit

English originalEdit

While in the neighbourhood of the Tropic, we heard of two other species of the genus, which exist still farther to the northward ; but, unfortunately, could not obtain any very circumstantial evidence concerning them, as the persons who had seen them were only on a visit in the country they inhabit. One of them was stated to approximate the Keitloa; the other was described as very different to any species previously seen by them, and to have only one long horn towards the forehead. Now, though descriptions of objects furnished by such persons are often inaccurate, from the circumstance of their not having been favourably situated for making correct observations, as well as from a deficiency of language calculated to convey the information they actually possess, I have always remarked that even a hasty examination seemed to supply the savage with more accurate notions of the general characters of animals than it did the civilized man, and therefore I do not despair of species such as they mentioned being yet discovered.

It is in regard to the species with the single horn, that we experience the greatest hesitation in receiving their evidence as credible, and, therefore, it is agreeable to have it corroborated by the testimony of a man from a very different part of the country, as obtained and published by a missionary of great research who resided a long time in Madagascar. The individual who furnished Mr. Freeman with the account of the Ndzoo-dzoo, was a native of the country northward of Mozambique, and if we admit certain portions of the descriptions to be tainted with errors, we can recognise in the remainder the genuine habits of a Rhinoceros, and probably one of the species, with which our informants were slightly acquainted.

"It appears," observes Mr. Freeman, "that the Ndzoo-dzoo is by no means rare in Makooa. It is about the size of a horse, extremely fleet and strong. It has one single horn projecting from its forehead, from twenty-four to thirty inches in length. This is flexible when the animal is asleep; it can be curled like the trunk of the Elephant, but becomes perfectly firm and hard when the animal is excited, and especially when pursuing an enemy. Its disposition is extremely fierce, and it universally attacks man if it sees him. The usual method of escape adopted by the natives is, to climb up a dense and high tree, so as to avoid, if possible, being seen. If the animal misses his sight of the fugitive, he immediately gallops off to his haunt; from whence it may be inferred that he is not endowed with the power of a keen scent. Should he, however, espy his object in the tree, woe to the unfortunate native, — he begins to butt with his horns, — strikes and penetrates the tree, and continues piercing it till it falls, when his victim seldom escapes being gored to death. Unless the tree is of a large girth, he never fails in breaking it down. Having killed his victim, he leaves him without devouring the carcase. The male only is provided with the horn. The female has not anything of the kind."[1]

  1. South African Christian Recorder, Vol. i. p. 33.

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