The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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The lion in its wild state' is a very different animal from the lion of menageries and wild-beast shows. The latter has probably been born in captivity, reared by hand, and kept a prisoner in a narrow cage all its life, deprived not only of liberty and exercise, but of its proper food. The result is a weak, thin, miserable creature, with an unhappy furtive expression, and a meagre mane, more like a poodle than the king of beasts in a savage state.
The lion of South Africa differs in many points from that of Algeria, of whom we are going to speak. In Algeria there are three kinds of lions the black, the tawny, and the grey. The black lion, more rarely met with than the two others, is rather smaller, but stronger in build. He is so called from the colour of his mane, which falls to his shoulder in a heavy black mass. The rest of his coat is the colour of a bay horse. Instead of wandering like the other two kinds, he makes himself a comfortable dwelling, and remains there probably all his life, which may last thirty or forty years, unless he falls a victim to the hunter. He rarely goes down to the plains in search of prey, but lies in ambush in the evening and attacks the cattle on their way down from the mountain, killing four or five to drink their blood. In the long summer twilights he waits on the edge of a forest-path for some belated traveller, who seldom escapes to tell the tale.
The tawny and grey lion differ from each other only in the colour of their mane; all three have the same habits and characteristics, except those peculiar to the black lion
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