Like other herbivorous quadrupeds they are, generally speaking, quiet and harmless, intent solely upon providing for their wants, and never attacking man or other animals unless provoked or when under the influence of excitement. In this latter case they make use not only of their proboscis, which they wield with great dexterity as a weapon of offence, but also of their tusks, with which they inflict the most tremendous wounds. Their speed in pursuit corresponds rather with the cumbrousness than with the magnitude of their frame, the excessive weight of which soon renders them weary, and compels them to slacken their pace; which, when urged to the utmost, is barely equal to that of a horse of moderate fleetness. They will sometimes penetrate in quest of food into the rice fields and sugar plantations, in which they commit the most extensive ravages, not so much by the quantity which they consume as by that which they destroy. The solitary individuals, which are occasionally met with separate from the general herd, indulge perhaps more frequently in these excesses than the community, which generally avoids as much as possible the habitations of man. It has commonly been imagined that these stray Elephants were the younger and weaker males, who had been driven from the herd by their more powerful fellows; but the fact that they are usually adults of the largest size completely negatives this supposition, and proves that it is of their own free will that they wander thus alone. They attain their full growth between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four, and well authenticated instances have occurred in which they have reached the age of a hundred and thirty years. Indeed there is reason to believe that their life may be sometimes prolonged to two centuries.