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John Mason Good: Panthologia 1813

Pantologia: A New Cyclopaedia, Comprehending a Complete Series of Essays, Treatises, and Systems, Alphabetically Arranged; with a General Dictionary of Arts, Sciences and Words ... Illustrated with Engravings, Those on History Being from Original Drawings by Edwards and Others - John Mason Good, Olinthus Gregory, Newton Bosworth
Kearsley, 1813

Castor. Beaver. A genus of the class mammalia, order glires. pore-teeth appear truncate, hollowed in a transverse angle; lower transverse at the top; grinders four in each jaw; tail long, depressed, scaly; clavicles perfect. Two species. See Nat. Hist. PI. XLV.

J. C. fiber. Common beaver. Tail ovate, flat, naked. Another variety, white; tail horizontally flat; in both, half the length of the body ; about a fourth part from the body hairy, the rest scaly; feet live-toed; hind- feet palmate; eves small; ears short, covered with fur; neck thick, short; back convex, strong; hair short, soft, dusky, varying by climate to darker or lighter, and sometimes s|otted; salivary glands large; stomach at the right side of the upper orifice furnished with glands discharging into it through eighteen orifices a peculiar fluid; near the genital?, or rather inguens, two large glands wilh cellular follicles secreting the sebaceous matter calle ' castor; of which each animal will sometimes produce two ounces.

Inhabits the northern parts of Europe, Atia, and America, or the woody banks of rivers and unfrequented lakes; feeds on the bark aud leaves of such trees as have not a resinous juice, but not on fishes or flesh; walks slowly; swimsdexterously ; sleeps profoundly; is very cleanly; eats sitting on its haunches; conveys the food to its mouth by the forepaws; cuts down trees with its teeth; erects convenient houses; lives in families; from which the indolent are banished, whobecome solitary, and are called hermits. The female has four teats; gravid four months; produces commonly two, rarely three, though sometimes four, young at a litter. In the structure of its house it far exceeds the ingenuity of all other quadrupeds, preparing in concert with others of its own species a kind of arched caverns or domes, supported by a foundation of strong pillars, and lined or plastered internally with an astonishing degree of neatness and accuracy. This talent of the beaver does not appear to have been known to the ancients, though they were acquainted with the animal, as we learn from their describing it on account of its medical secretion. The American beaver, however, seems to surpass in its powers of architecture all the rest of the genus, whose habitations are by no means to be compared with those of the former. The account of constructing their mansions in general is given in a very clcpant and pleasing manner in the Count de Button's Natural History, to which we refer the reader, and of which we see no reason to doubt the accuracy. In truth, this account appears to have been drawn up under the special superintendence of M. Daubenlon, whose practical knowledge of natural history has never been exceeded, and very rarely equalled.

The beaver, when taken voting, may readily be tamed, and in such state seems to be an animal of a gentle disposition, but docs not appear to exhibit any symptoms of superior sagacity. In Europe the favourite food of the beaver is the bark cf the poplar, the aspin, the birch, and other soft woods. In America the magnolia glauca and the fraxinus Americana are said to be particularly grateful to it.- It also feeds on various roots, and especially on those of the acornu calamus, or calamus aromaiicus.

2. C. huidobrius. Chilese beaver. Tail compressed, lanceolate, hairy ; fore-feet Iobcd, hind-feet palmate; head nearly square; snout obtuse; eyes small; ears short, round; hair double like c. fiber; the undermost liner than a rabbit's, and hence valued by furriers; on the back cinereous; belly whitish.

Inhabits Chili in the deepest parts of lakes and rivers; fierce; feeds on fishes, on crabi chiefly; remains long under water; is without the wonderful architecture, and castor of c. fiber; produces from two to three young; length about three feet. The soft or short hair very fine, and, like that of c. fiber, used in the manufacture of hats, and certain cloths which have the softness of velvet. In Chili the animal is denominated guillino.

CASTOREUM RUSSICUM. {castoremm, from xxxxx the beaver, quasi xxxxxx from the, the belly.) The substance called castor being supposed formerly to-be taken from the belly of this animal.

Castoreum. Russian castor. The name of castoreum is given to two bags, situated in the inguinal regions of the male braver, which contain a very odorous substance, soft, and; almost fluid, when recently cut from the animal, but which dries, and'assumes a resinous consistence in process of time. Iris the larger bag only of each groin that gives u» real castor. The smaller contains a-softer and more unctuous fatty matter of the same kind of smell as that of castor.; and is used by the hunters as a decoy for foxes and: other wild beasts of prey which pursue the beaver by the scent. Sec Castor.

This substance has an acrid, hitter, and nauseous taste; its smell is strong, aromatic, and even fetid. It is used medicinally- as a powerful antispasmodic in hysterical and hypochondriacal affections, and in convulsions. It has also been successfully administered in epilepsy and tetanus. Yet it is probably the resin of the castor in which its whole virtue resides; and this appears to be in almost aery respect analogous to that of the bile.

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