The true Civet-cat is the Viverra civetta, a native of North Africa and Eastern Asia. It is a small nocturnal animal, which climbs trees with facility, and feeds chiefly upon small mammals, reptiles, and birds, but also upon roots and fruits. It furnishes the greater part of the "civet" of commerce, which was formerly in great repute both as a perfume and as a medicinal agent. It is a pomade-like substance, with a strong musky odour, and is secreted by a deep double pouch beneath the anus. The Genette (Viverra genetta) is very closely related to the preceding, and is a native of Africa and Southern Europe, being not uncommonly domesticated and kept like a cat. The anal pouch in the Genette is much reduced in size, and has hardly any perceptible secretion. Another nearly-allied form is the Ichneumon (Herpestes), one species of which is kept as a domestic animal in Egypt, and lives upon Snakes, Lizards, the eggs of the Crocodile, and small Mammals.

Among the numerous other forms which are referred to the Viverridae may be mentioned the Paradoxurus of the Indian province; the prehensile-tailed "Benturongs" (Arctictis) of India, and Sumatra and Java; the web-footed Cynogale of Borneo; the "Mangue" (Crossarchus)of Western Africa ; the "Suricate" (Rhyzaena) of South Africa ; and the curious Cryptoprocta of Madagascar.

Forming a transition between the Viverridae, and the Felidae is the family of the Hyaenidae, distinguished by the fact that, alone of all the Carnivora, both pairs of feet have only four toes each. The hind-legs are shorter than the fore-legs, so that the trunk sinks towards the hind-quarters, and the tail is short. The tongue is rough and prickly. The head is extremely broad, the muzzle rounded, and the muscles of the jaw extremely powerful and well developed. The claws are non-retractile. All the praemolars and molars are trenchant except the last upper molar, which is tuberculate. The upper carnassial has an internal tubercle (fig. 434), and the lower carnassial is wholly trenchant. The. dental formula is:

i

3 - 3

; c

1 - 1

; pm

4 - 4

; m

1 - 1

=

34

3 - 3

1 - 1

3 - 3

1 - 1

All the known species of Hyaena are confined to the Old World. The striped Hyaena (H. striata) is found in North

Fig. 434.   Crown of the left upper carnassial of the striped Hyaena (H. striata), of the natural size.

Fig. 434. - Crown of the left upper carnassial of the striped Hyaena (H. striata), of the natural size.

Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, and Persia, ranging into India. The spotted Hyaena (H. crocuta) occurs all over Africa south of the Sahara; and the Brown Hyaena (H. brunnea) is also found in the south of Africa.

Closely allied to the Hyaenas is the curious Aardwolf (Pro-teles), of South Africa, sometimes raised to the rank of a distinct family (Protelidae), which has decided affinities with the Civets. It has the fore-feet pentadactylous, and the hind-feet tetradactylous (as in the Dogs). It is a nocturnal burrowing animal, about as large as a Fox, and of a yellowish-grey colour, with black stripes on the sides, and it feeds on White Ants and carrion.

Fig. 435.   Dentition of the Wolf (Canis lupus): p4 Upper carnassial; m1 Lower carnassial.

Fig. 435. - Dentition of the Wolf (Canis lupus): p4 Upper carnassial; m1 Lower carnassial.

The next family is that of the Canidae, comprising the Dogs, Wolves, Foxes, and Jackals. The members of this family are characterised by having pointed muzzles, smooth tongues, and non-retractile claws. The fore-feet have five toes each, the hind-feet have only four. A large caecum is present (being small in the Cats and absent in the Bears). The snout is prolonged, and there is a numerous series of teeth (fig. 435), the dental formula of the Dog being:

i

3 - 3

; c

1 - 1

; pm

4 - 4

; m

2 - 2

=

42.

3 - 3

1 - 1

4 - 4

3 - 3

Some of the anterior praemolars, and especially the first, may disappear in late life, and the carnassial teeth are of large size. Both of the upper molars and the last two of the lower molars on each side are tuberculate.

The true Dogs (i.e., the Dog and Wolf) have round or oblique pupils, and a tail which is of moderate length and rarely very hairy. The Foxes (Vulpes) have very long bushy tails, and the pupil contracts to a mere line.

The Dog (Cants familiaris) is only known to us at the present day as a domesticated animal. Such wild dogs as there are, are probably merely derived from the domestic dog; and the original stock, or stocks, from which our numerous varieties of dogs have sprung, is still uncertain. It is worth while remembering, however, that all our varieties of dogs are capable of interbreeding ; and there is a strong probability that the Wolf is the parent stock of at least some of our domestic breeds. The Dog, in fact, will interbreed with both the Wolf and the Jackal. The "native dog" (Cams dingo) of Australia is generally supposed to be only a variety of the Canis familiaris, and this is certainly the case with the so-called "native dog " of New Zealand.

The genus Cam's, besides the Dog, contains the well-known Jackal (Canis aureus) and the Wolf (Canis lupus), and many writers place the Foxes in the same genus. The Foxes, however, are better considered as forming a separate genus (Vulpes), of which there are many species, all more or less like the common Fox (Vulpes vulgaris). One of the most remarkable species is the Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus), which abounds in the Arctic regions, and changes its colour with the season, being brown or bluish in summer, and white in winter. The soles of its feet are hairy. Other well-known Foxes are the Red Fox (V. fulvus) of North America, the Deccan Fox (V. Bengalensis) of India, and the Caama (V. Caama) of Africa.

The Jackals have a round pupil, a long muzzle, and a dental formula like that of the Dogs. They inhabit Asia and Africa, are gregarious, hunt in packs, and burrow in the ground. Other species are found in South America.