Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā

Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen

Canis lupus pallipes 

zusammengestellt von Alois Payer

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Carakasaṃhitā: Ausgewählte Texte aus der Carakasaṃhitā / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- Anhang B: Tierbeschreibungen. -- Canis lupus pallipes.  -- Fassung vom 2010-12-10. -- URL:    

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Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung SS 2007

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"THE INDIAN WOLF (Canis pallipes).

As already mentioned, there has been much discussion as to whether the Indian wolf is distinct from the common species. According to Mr. Blanford, it is distinguished from the common wolf by its smaller size and slighter build, as well as by its shorter fur, which has little or no woolly under-fur. The length is about 3 feet, exclusive of the tail ; and the general colour of the fur is a greyish fulvous, usually with a brownish tinge, and sometimes with more or less black on the back. Occasionally, however, a more or less strongly marked rufous tint may be observed. Mr. Blanford states that all the skins that have come under his notice are browner than is usually the case with the common wolf, and are of an earthy-grey colour.

The Indian wolf is confined to India south of the Himalaya. It is rare in Lower Bengal, and unknown on the Malabar coast ; and it appears to be replaced by the common species to the west of the Indus, although a few examples are occasionally seen in the Trans-Indus districts. The young are born in holes or caves among rocks during the months of October, November, and December, the number in a litter varying from three to eight.

Its habits are very similar to those of the common species; but, although somewhat gregarious, these wolves do not associate in large packs, six or eight being the largest number that have been seen together. Moreover, it appears to be a rather silent animal, rarely, if ever, howling like the common wolf, but, according to Jerdon, sometimes barking like a pariah dog. Its food includes such mammals and birds as it can kill, but sheep, goats, and antelopes appear to be the chief favourites. On occasion these wolves will attack adult human beings, for which purpose two or more will combine together; and in certain districts a large number of children are annually carried off by them from the villages. In the South Mahratta country, Sir W. Elliot writes that he has seen a small pack "steal round a herd of antelope, and conceal themselves on different sides till an opportunity occurs of seizing one of them unawares, as they approach, whilst grazing, to one or other of their hidden assailants. On one occasion three wolves were seen to chase a herd of gazelles across a ravine in which two others were lying in wait. They succeeded in seizing a female gazelle, which was taken from them. They have frequently been seen to course and run down hares and foxes, and it is a common belief of the peasants that in the open plains, where there is no cover or concealment, they scrape a hole in the earth, in which one of the pack lies down and remains hidden, while the others drive the herd of 'antelopes over him. Their chief prey is, however, sheep."

[Quelle: Lydekker, Richard <1849-1915>: The royal natural history / edited by Richard Lydekker ; with preface by P.L. Sclate. -- London ; New York : F. Warne, 1893-96. -- 6 Bde. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm. -- Bd. 1. -- S. 449f.. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-27]


"Canis pallipes. The Indian Wolf.

Canis pallipes, Sykes, P. Z. S. 1831, p. 101 ; Blyth, Cat. p. 39 ; Jerdon, Mam. p. 139.
Canis lupus, Elliot, Madr. Journ. L. S. x, p. 101 ; Blyth, J. A, S. B. xi, p. 596.

Bherija, Gūrq, Hondār, Nekra, Bighāna, H. ; Bagyār, Sindhi ; Lāndgā, Gond and Dakhini ; Tola, Can. ; Toralū, Tel.

Structure generally similar to that of C. lupus, but the animal is smaller and slighter, and the fur shorter, with little or no woolly underfur. Mammae 10.

Colour. Greyish fulvous, usually with a brownish tinge, sometimes much mixed with black on the back ; some have a reddish tinge, and occasionally it is said that a thoroughly rufous individual is met with. All I have seen are, however, browner than C. lupus generally is, and of an earthy grey colour. Hair of varying shades of light brown from the base to near the end ; tips black on the back. Coarse white hairs are mixed with the finer fur near the skin. The hairs on the tail have generally black tips. Lower parts dingy white. The young are sooty brown, with a milk-white chest-spot, which disappears about the sixth week from birth, when a dark collar appears below the neck, but is lost at maturity.

Dimensions. Head and body about 3 feet, tail with hair 16 to 17 inches. Skull of an adult male from Sambhar 6.85 inches in basal length, 4.4 broad. Weight of a female 42 lbs.

Distribution. The Indian Peninsula south of the Himalayas, especially in open plain country ; rare in wooded districts and amongst hills. I have never heard of this species occurring on the Malabar coast. Rare in Lower Bengal. Unknown further east : not found in the Himalaya, and apparently replaced by C. lupus beyond the Indus, though occasionally seen west of the river. No wolf has been recorded from Ceylon.

Habits. Very similar to those of C. lupus, except that the Indian wolf, although somewhat gregarious, is not known to associate in large packs (I have never heard of more than six to eight together). It is also rather a silent animal, but sometimes, Jerdon says, it barks like a pariah dog. It is rarely, if ever, heard to howl.

Indian wolves prey on all mammals or birds they can kill, but especially on sheep, goats, and antelopes. Instances are not rare of their attacking man, two or more combining for the purpose; and they, in some parts of India, carry away a large number of children yearly, usually taking them from villages. They course and run down hares and foxes, and occasionally attack cattle. They not unfrequently kill dogs.

Like all wild canines, these animals are very intelligent and cunning, and many of the stories told of the stratagems they employ to secure their prey appear to be well authenticated. One plan, vouched for by several observers, is that of part of the pack driving antelopes or gazelles across a spot where others of the pack are lying in ambush, either in ravines or in hollows scratched by themselves in the ground. Some wolves, too, are said to lie in wait hidden until antelopes approach them while feeding. A remarkable story is related by a writer in the 'Asian,' who states that he saw a wolf rolling on its back with its legs in the air, whilst some antelopes that were attracted to approach by curiosity advanced to within sixty or seventy yards ; then they were accidentally disturbed, and two other wolves, that had been lying in ambush 100 yards apart in advance of the third, jumped up. It is also said that when wolves attack sheep, part of the pack attack and keep the dogs in check, whilst others carry off the prey. A somewhat similar story is related by Forsyth, except that the victims were children. In the Dumoh district of the Central Provinces an old she-wolf and a full-grown cub haunted a patch of bushes and grass near a village standing on the slope of a hill, down which ran the main street, where children were always at play. The smaller wolf hid amongst bushes between the village and the bottom of the hill, whilst the larger animal went round to the top, and, watching its opportunity, ran down the street, carrying off a child on the way. At first the people used to pursue, and sometimes made the marauder drop his prey ; but in that case the companion wolf usually succeeded in carrying off another of the children in the confusion, whilst the child first seized was generally so injured as to be beyond recovery. In this, as in many other similar cases, a very wide-spread superstition prevented the villagers from hunting down and killing the animals; and Forsyth actually found it difficult to get men to assist him in shooting the brutes, in which he fortunately succeeded. The story illustrates both the cunning and the boldness of the Indian wolf. I myself saw one run out of a village in the middle of the day with a young goat and escape with it in spite of the villagers' pursuit. The great aversion to killing a wolf that exists in many parts of India is due, I am told by Mr. Theobald, to a widely spread belief that the blood of a wolf, if shed upon the lands of a village, renders them unfruitful.

The Indian wolf has both speed and endurance, and has very rarely, if ever, been run down and speared from horseback, though the feat has often been attempted. McMaster, after briefly describing an unsuccessful attempt, very appropriately quotes Byron's lines in ' Mazeppa' about wolves :

" With their long gallop, which can tire
The hound's deep hate and hunter's tire."

If hunted with greyhounds a wolf generally, after going for some distance, turns upon the dogs and chases them back to the huntsman. Instances of this are given by both Jerdon and Forsyth ; but the latter relates how in one case a wolf that had chased back two greyhounds met his match in a bull mastiff. Jerdon states that a wolf once joined his greyhounds in hunting a fox.

In the Indian desert between Rajputana and Sind wolves are said by Sir B. Frere (Journ. E. Geogr. Soc. 1870, p. 204) to be dug or smoked out of their dens amongst the sand-hills. This is generally done about midday in the hottest part of the hot season ; the men engaged protect their feet with folds of raw hide, and if the wolves are not clubbed or speared at once they are easily run down, as the hot sand blisters their feet and disables them.

I was told by Mr. Le Mesurier, formerly chief engineer of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, that he succeeded in capturing many wolves in a pitfall consisting of a circular trench with perpendicular sides, and too deep for the animal to jump out of. On the ground left at the original level in the middle of the circular trench, a goat was tethered, and the trench was thinly covered with sticks and straw, that gave under the wolf's weight.

Indian wolves breed in holes or in caves among rocks. Dr. Bonavia, in a letter published in ' Nature ' for 1875 (vol. xii, p. 67), states that the young vary in number from three to eight, and are born from October to December, chiefly in the latter month. He adds that they are born blind and with drooping ears. The young are easily tamed, and they have all the habits of dogs ; indeed, the common Indian dogs may be in part descended from wolves, although they are probably chiefly derived from jackals. There is some evidence to show that the Indian wolf occasionally breeds with the village dogs; whilst Sir B. Frere (Journ. E. Geogr. Soc. 1870, p. 205) mentions that in the Indian desert a pariah bitoh was known to associate with a pack of wolves.

Stories about wolf-reared children are common in Northern India, especially in Oudh. Particulars of several supposed cases were collected by Colonel Sleeman, and several are recorded by Sir B. Hutchison (A. M. N. H. 2, viii, p. 153) and Mr. Ball (P. A. S. B. 1873, p. 128, and ' Jungle Life,' pp. 455-466). It is doubtful how far any are authentic. All the children were boys, and all appear to have been idiots."

[Quelle: Blanford, W. T. <1832 – 1905>: Mammalia. -- 1888 - 1891. -- (Fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma). -- S. 137 - 140. -- Online: -- Zugriff am 2007-09-06]