Chinyanja - Ndudzi.
Chingoni - Njosi.
Approximate weight, ♂
Good average length, ♂
Very numerous all over this country, inhabits bush country and goes into the open to hunt at night. It is very fond, as most carnivorous animals are, of walking along native paths, where it can go quietly.
Kills small antelopes, and likely catches many fawns and hares. The skins are prettily spotted, with fairly long light hair under the belly. The natives kill numbers when hunting with dogs, so it would seem that, like the cheetah, the serval is short-winded when followed far. Although the claws are retractile they are not so to the same extent as lions and leopards, as in muddy ground I have often seen them in the spoor. When startled, all retractile clawed animals shoot out their claws, probably to take a better grip of the ground in dashing off. In a sandy nullah in India I once saw the pugs (tracks) of a tiger that had chased a bullock at close quarters, and each pug showed the front cut of the long claws. In moments of excitement the claws are shot out, and cats do it when watching a bird near at hand.
Chinyanja - Mbizi.
Chingoni - Lidua, sometimes Chimbeti.
Approximate weight, ♂ ......... 600lb.
Very common in most parts of Central Africa and only one variety is found here, although there may be slight differences seen, such as some of the animals being brown coloured on the nose, instead of black ; and the striping of some beasts is more distinct just above the hoofs, round the fetlocks, than it is in others.
These very slight variations mean little, I think, and certainly do not contribute a difference great enough for the classification of a variety. One might as well group Englishmen, for instance, into groups, because some happen to have black hair, others brown, and others flaxen hair. A light skinned lion may give birth to two cubs, one black maned and another light maned ; and such differences mean little or nothing.
Zebras are found in herds up to thirty or more animals, and they are a charming ornament to a wild country, but a great nuisance when hunting other game, for they make a tremendous rattle and clatter in running away if disturbed on hard, stony ground. This puts more valuable game on the qui vive, so, like reedbuck, which whistle loudly, they should not be frightened, and it is better to make a detour to get round them.
Quite recently I weighed a large old zebra mare I shot, and, without the contents of the stomach and entrails, it gave a weight of 5251b., so a large stallion alive would certainly weigh quite 6oolb.
A zebra skin, being very thick, is useless as a trophy for placing on the floor, although a good taxidermist could likely thin it down and tan it soft, when it would be pretty and useful. The young have very pretty skins, and, being thin, they make pretty rugs.
A zebra I shot in British East Africa—Chapman's variety, I think—seemed very similar to those I have seen in Central Africa. The only difference I noticed was that the skin seemed paler and more bleached, and it lacked the rich, whitish-yellow and black velvet colours of the Central African type.
Zebras are not more different to see than any other game, although closet-naturalists aver that they are protectively coloured; but as their natural enemy, lions, do not hunt them by sight but by smell, this can be no protection at all. In some lights they look dark, in others almost white, and it all depends on what side the sun is. When standing in timber and bush, they betray their presence by the constant flapping of their tails or by the movement of their ears. Zebra are not difficult to kill with small-bore rifles when hit well forward, and, being thickset, cobby animals, they offer an easy mark for a shot. Their hoofs are often cracked all round the edges, doubtless caused by sharp stones, as they often live on rough hills, where they probably go for coolness and to get away from the flies. Many animals which are usually found on fairly flat ground have this habit of ascending hills.
When zebras are seen, it will be noticed that they generally all face in one direction, and prefer to feed up-wind. In running away from danger, game will often run down-wind for some way, and then they will gradually work round, so as to get the wind in their faces.
Approximate weight, ♂
Good average upper tush, ♂
This ugly, though inoffensive, animal used to be much more plentiful than it is, as the natives kill great numbers by hunting them with dogs and spears, and they seem to have little difficulty in getting up to them. I have shot a large number of warthogs, and never found them dangerous, and have only seen three, one boar and two sows, that seemed to wish to resent their injuries, and as they are very easily killed, there is no risk in shooting them. They are certainly not so plucky as bushpigs or the Indian variety, which is usually willing to stand and put up a fight for its life. A common sight is to see a family of warthogs with the two parents and a litter of from six to ten youngsters, and one of the latter is quite good eating when cooked like a sucking pig at home.
The older beasts are tough, the flesh tastes rather strong, and it is darker than pork, and of course not so fat.
A big boar, with his yellowish-white ivory and warty lumps on his face, is a weird-looking animal, and he has no pretentions to good looks, for in washing himself he likes his water dirty, delighting to wallow in mud holes during the heat of the day.
Here is the weight of one I weighed in sections, and he was a big, heavy boar :—
Head (with skin on)
Four legs (cut off at the joints)
Skin with entrails enclosed
Another 61b. to 10lb. should be added for loss of blood and matter in cutting up, and as this pig was shot in the lungs he dropped a lot of blood before he fell, so it may be assumed that an exceptionally large boar would reach 200lb. in weight.