Here, Though The Water Was Perfectly Inaccessible To Elands,
Large Numbers Of These Fine Animals Fed Around Us; And, When Killed,
They Were Not Only In Good Condition, But Their Stomachs Actually Contained
Considerable Quantities Of Water.
I examined carefully the whole alimentary canal, in order to see
if there were any peculiarity which might account for the fact
that this animal can subsist for months together without drinking,
but found nothing.
Other animals, such as the duiker (`Cephalopus mergens')
or puti (of the Bechuanas), the steinbuck (`Tragulus rupestris')
or puruhuru, the gemsbuck (`Oryx capensis') or kukama,
and the porcupine (`Hystrix cristata'), are all able to subsist without water
for many months at a time by living on bulbs and tubers containing moisture.
They have sharp-pointed hoofs well adapted for digging,
and there is little difficulty in comprehending their mode of subsistence.
Some animals, on the other hand, are never seen but in the vicinity of water.
The presence of the rhinoceros, of the buffalo and gnu (`Catoblepas gnu'),
of the giraffe, the zebra, and pallah (`Antilope melampus'), is always
a certain indication of water being within a distance of seven or eight miles;
but one may see hundreds of elands (`Boselaphus oreas'),
gemsbuck, the tolo or koodoo (`Strepsiceros capensis'),
also springbucks (`Gazella euchore') and ostriches, without being
warranted thereby in inferring the presence of water
within thirty or forty miles. Indeed, the sleek, fat condition of the eland
in such circumstances would not remove the apprehension of perishing by thirst
from the mind of even a native.
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