Which leaveth her eggs in the earth
Lays them and leaves them there. Aelianus, agreeably to this, says F23, that it builds a low nest in the ground, making a hollow in the sand with its feet; though he seems to be mistaken as to the number of its eggs, which he makes to be more than eighty; more truly Leo Africanus F24, who reckons them ten or twelve; which, he says, it lays in the sand, and each of them are of the size of a cannon ball, and weigh fifteen pounds, more or less. Hence, with the Arabs, it is called
``the mother of eggs,''because of the large eggs it lays; and with them it is a proverb,
``meaner, or of a lesser account, than the eggs of an ostrich,''because its eggs are neglected by it F25;
and warmeth them in the dust;
not that she leaves them to be warmed by the hot sand, or by the heat of the sun upon them, by which they are hatched, as has been commonly said, for thereby they would rather be corrupted and become rotten; but she herself warms them and hatches them, by sitting upon them in the dust and sand: and for this the above historian is express, who says F26, the female lighting on these eggs, whether her own or another's, sits on them and heats them. Concerning the ostrich hatching its eggs, Vansleb F1, from an Arabic manuscript, relates what is incredible, that they are hatched by the male and female with their eye only; that one or other of them keep continually looking at them until they are all hatched; and this I observe is asserted also by another writer F2.
F23 De Animal. l. 14. c. 17.
F24 Ut supra. (Descriptio Africaae, l. 9. p. 766.)
F25 Hottinger. Smegm. Orient. l. 1. c. 7. p. 128.
F26 Descript. Africae, ut supra. (l. 9. p. 766.) Vid. Aelian. l. 4. c. 37.
F1 Relation of a Voyage to Egypt, p. 64.
F2 Coelius, l. 10. c. 5. apud Sanctium in loc.