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Full text of "Handbook and guide to the British mammals on exhibition in the Lord Derby Natural History Museum, Liverpool"


HANDBOOK AND GUIDE 



TO THE 



RITISH MAMMALS 



ON EXHIBITION IN 



THE LORD DERBY NATURAL HISTORY 
MUSEUM, LIVERPOOL. 



Illustrated by Six Elates. 




LIVERPOOL : 
DAILY POST' PRINTERS, WOOD STREET. 

1921. 



PRICE NINEPENCE. 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



HANDBOOK AND GUIDE 



TO THE 



BRITISH MAMMALS 



ON EXHIBITION IN 



THE LORD DERBY NATURAL HISTORY 
MUSEUM, LIVERPOOL. 



Illustrated by Six Tlates. 



k 



a 




LIVERPOOL : 
DAILY POST* PRINTERS, WOOD STREET. 

1921. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



The Plates are reproduced from photographs of 
groups on exhibition. 

Plate 1. The British Mammal Gallery . . . . Frontispiece 

2. Common Mole . . . . . . To face page 12 

,, 3. Common Badger . . . . 16 

,, 4. Common Fox . . . . . . 17 

,, 5. Seasonal change in British 

animals . . . . . . 25 

6. Fallow Deer 27 



866485 



PREFACE. 



This Guide and Handbook to the British Mammals on 
exhibition is intended to be a companion work to the Guide and 
Handbook to the British Birds. The method of exhibition by 
" habitat " groups has been largely followed, most of the species 
being exhibited so as to give the observer some idea of the conditions 
under which the animals live and the nature of the environment 
in which the functions of life are performed. The preparation 
of these habitat groups has been carried out by and under the 
direction of Mr. J. W. Cutmore, the Head Taxidermist and 
Assistant in Vertebrate Zoology in the Museum, to whom also 
must be credited a large share in the preparation of this Handbook. 

It is hoped that this work will rank with other Museum 
Guides in being of use to the visitor not only when in the Museum, 
but also for future reference. 

JOSEPH A. CLTJBB, 

Curator of Museums. 

FREE PUBLIC MUSEUMS, 

LIVERPOOL, January, 1921. 



HANDBOOK AND GUIDE 

TO THE 

BRITISH MAMMALS. 



The TERRESTRIAL MAMMALS known to have inhabited the 
British Islands during the historic period, number about 48. They 
include Bats, Inseetivores (Moles, Shrews, etc.), Carnivores or flesh- 
eating; Rodents or gnawing, and the Ungulates or hoofed 
mammals. In addition, about 26 species of AQUATIC MAMMALS 
(Whales, Porpoises, Seals, and even the Walrus) have been recorded 
on our coasts as occasional visitors. Also Britain is comparatively 
rich in FOSSIL MAMMALS, remains being found of the Mammoth, 
the Leopard, a Sabre toothed Tiger, the Hyaena, gigantic Bears, 
Rhinoceroses, the Bison and many others. 



THE BATS. 
CASE 73. 

The Bats are the only mammals endowed with the power of 
true flight. The special modification of the fore-limbs for this 
purpose at once sharply distinguishes the bats from all other 
members of the Mammalian class. 

The minute eyes of ordinary bats are of little use when the 
animal is flying swiftly at night, and to supplement this inefficiency 
bats have a marvellously delicate sense of touch seated in the 
membranes of the wings and ears and, in some instances, of the 
nose. Bats are gregarious and live during the day-time in hollow 
trees, eaves, the roofs of buildings or church steeples, where they 
remain till nightfall, usually suspended head downwards, held by 
the claws of the hind feet, which are specially adapted for this 
purpose. They are only seen out in warm weather, and they 
become torpid in very cold weather. 

All British bats are insectivorous. The cheek teeth are fur- 
nished with sharp cusps, specially adapted to seize and pierce the 
insect prey which they catch on the wing. 



10 

Bats are by nature tropical animals, and there ape only 
fifteen species recorded in the British Isles. Several of these are 
of rare occurrence and, strictly, only twelve species can be regarded 
as British. In the winter the whole of the British species hibernate. 

Of the twelve species of bats that can be regarded as British, 
nine are recorded by T. A. Coward ("Fauna of Cheshire") in this 
local area. Four are fairly common, viz., the Long-eared Bat, 
Pipistrelle, Noetule, and Whiskered Bat ; one is fairly rare, 
Daubenton's ; two are distinctly rare, Natterer's and Leisler's ; and 
two, the Lesser Horseshoe and Barbastelle, are doubtful. 

THE WHISKERED BAT (Myoti* mystacimis). 
(No. 1 in the group.) 

This Bat resembles the Pipistrelle, but is much less common. It 
takes its name from the long hairs on the face, which cover the upper 
lip Moustache Bat would be a more descriptive name. Further 
distinguishing features are that the wing-membranes take origin 
from the base of the outer toe and the lobe of the membrane, 
present in many bats near the spur of the ankle, is absent. It is 
fond of hawking over the surface of water, and it lives in hollow 
trees, roofs of buildings or caverns during the daytime. 

THE LONG-EAEED BAT (Plecotus auritus). 
(No. 2 in the group.) 

The Long-eared Bat is characterised by having ears nearly as 
long as the body. This species has a wide geographical distribution. 
It is one of the most common and is fond of the open country. In 
flight it resembles the Pipistrelle. During the day it is found in 
old buildings, steeples and the crevices of rocks; when at rest it 
folds back its big ears, and the earlets remaining erect appear to 
act as ears. 

THE PIPISTRELLE or COMMON BAT 

(Pipistrellus pipistrellus) . 
(No. 3 in the group.) 

This Bat, known also as the Flittermouse, is the smallest 
British species. It is one of the most widely distributed, being 
found throughout the British Isles. It may be seen as early as 
March and as late as November, after sunset, in the neighbourhood 
of towns and villages, over the streets of cities and in the alleys and 



11 

lanes. It flitters along like a large moth or butterfly, and is fond 
of river courses and darting under bridges. It hides during the 
day in crevices in walls and in the eaves of houses. 

NATTERER'S BAT (Myotis natter eri). 

(No. 4 in the group.) 

A small reddish grey bat, known by its light underparts and 
the fringe of hair along the edge of the membrane between the legs. 
This bat seems to be an exclusively European species, ranging from 
Ireland in the west to the Ural mountains in the east, and from 
the southern districts of Sweden in the north to the Alps in the 
south. In England, although somewhat local, it appears to be not 
uncommon in several of the southern and midland counties, but 
seems rarer towards the north. In this neighbourhood it is rare. 

THE NOCTULE, or GREAT BAT (Nyctalus noctula). 

(No. 5 in the group.) 

This is a tree-loving species, existing in some abundance in the 
southern and midland counties of Great Britain. It lives in the 
holes of trees and in buildings, and feeds on beetles, moths or 
lesser insects when on the wing. It is fairly common in this local 
area. The specimen in the group was collected at Knowsley. 

THE LESSER HORSESHOE BAT (Rhinolophus hipposiderus) . 
(No. 6 in the group.) 

This species is confined in England chiefly to the southern 
counties. It also occurs in Ireland, but is not found in this local 
area. 

THE GREATER HORSESHOE BAT 

(Rhinolophus ferrum equinam). 
(No. 7 in the group.) 

This species is found in old buildings in the southern counties, 
seldom in the Midlands, and is unknown in the north. 



Cases 74, 75 and 76 contain representatives of the group 
INSECTIVORES- the Hedgehogs, Moles and Shrews. There is 
considerable difference in the external form of the members of 
this group, yet nearly all are characterized by the projec-tion of 
the muzzle over the lower jaw. 



12 

CASE 74. 

THE HEDGEHOG OR URCHIN (Erinaceus europseus). 

This species is common in every part of England and Wales, 
the lowlands of Scotland, Ireland and the Isles of Wight, Anglesey 
and Man, but in the Scottish Islands it is absent. Its food 
consists of beetles, worms, slugs, snails and various other insects, 
and its presence in gardens is entirely beneficial. It has been 
credited with eating many other things, among them eggs, but 
it has been proved by specimens in captivity that it will not attack 
a perfect egg until the taste of a broken one has first encouraged 
it. The young, from four to eight, are born in April or May. 
A second litter sometimes appears about August or September. 
The flesh of the hedgehog is eaten in some parts of this country, 
and is considered a delicacy. It hibernates during the winter 
months, and in summer is seldom seen during the daytime, which 
it spends in hedges or in crevices of rocks or walls. It comes out 
after sunset in search of food. The young are born in a rough 
nest of dried leaves and grasses, a very bulky affair, which is also 
used as a winter retreat. 



CASE 75. 

THE MOLE (Talpa europse). (PI. 2.) 

This animal is abundant in England, Wales and Scotland, but 
unknown in Ireland. The velvet-like fur is usually black in colour, 
but colour variation is frequently seen, from dusky shades to cream, 
and occasionally piebald. The fore- limbs are very powerful, and 
with them the animal can burrow at a good speed through the 
solid soil. The eyes are like small black points hidden by the fur 
and are only just sensitive to light, and there is neither orbit or 
eyelash. The food consists chiefly of earthworms, insects and their 
larvae. The young, usually four or five, are born from the end of 
April to the middle of June. They are born blind and naked, but 
are able to follow their parents when four or five weeks old. 
Occasionally late litters are born about August. In its travels 
underground it is guided by its powerful sense of smell and hearing. 
Barrett-Hamilton, in " A History of British Mammals," gives a 
fine series of 20 drawings of Mole Encampments, Fortresses, Nests, 
etc. The group in this case shows a section of fortress with three 
nests. 



Plate 2 




COMMON MOLE. 



13 

THE SHREWS. 
CASE 76. 

The Shrews, sometimes called Shrew-mice (although they are 
not mice and not even remotely related to them), are represented by 
three British species, viz., the Common Shrew, the Pigmy Shrew, 
and the Water Shrew. 

THE COMMON SHREW (Sorex araneus). 

The Common Shrew is found throughout Great Britain, but is 
absent from Ireland. There may be an abundance of shrews in a 
locality, yet seldom are they to be seen alive because of their 
nocturnal habits; an occasional dead one may be seen on paths or 
in lanes, and the true cause of their death has never been settled. 
Probably these are few in number to those that die hidden away. 
The young are born from April to November. A litter is 
generally under ten in number. The shrew was formerly the centre 
of a whole host of extravagant superstitions which, like all ignorant 
prejudices, disappear but slowly from our midst. The animal is 
highly beneficial to the farmer and the gardener; its food consists 
largely of insects, worms and other creeping things. A moss or 
ivy-covered bank is generally the home of the Common Shrew. 



THE PIGMY SHREW (Sorex minutus). 

The smallest British mammal. This species has a wider 
distribution in the British Isles than the Common Shrew ; it is 
found in Ireland and the Hebrides. In habits it resembles the 
Common Shrew. 

THE WATER SHREW (Neomys fodiens). 

Larger than the Common Shrew, and is much darker in colour, 
generally black on the back and sometimes silver on the underparts. 
Its power in swimming is aided by a fringe of hairs along the 
underside of the tail and along the sides of the feet. It is not 
found in Ireland and the Scottish Isles. It lives in the banks of 
streams, ditches and ponds. Its food consists of fresh-water 
shrimps, snails, insect larvae, etc. The nest is placed at the end 
of a burrow, in which several litters of young are born between 
May and November. Each litter may contain from five to ten. 
The Water Shrew may sometimes be found several miles from water, 
when it lives on worms and insects. 



14 

THE WEASEL, STOAT, POLE-CAT AND PINE MARTEN. 

(Cases 77, 78, 79 and 80.) 

These, together with certain allied forms which have no 
representatives in Britain, constitute a special sub-family of the 
order Carnivora, known as the MUSTELID^E a word derived from 
Latin, and meaning weasel-like. They are terrestrial and more or 
less arboreal in their habits, and possess short and slightly webbed 
toes, with sharp, curved, and frequently retractile claws. In all 
eases the body is much elongated, while the limbs are short, and 
the relative length of the tail is subject to considerable variation. 

CASE 77. 

THE WEASEL (Mustela vulgaris). 

This is the smallest British representative of the typical group 
of the Mustelidse. The long lithe body enables it to follow mice into 
their holes. Its food consists of mice, voles, moles and rats (chiefly 
young rats). It will sometimes take the eggs of small birds, but 
it is too small an animal to take the eggs of fowls. The Weasel 
produces five or six young at a birth, and is said to have two or 
three litters in a year. It is smaller than the stoat, and has a 
shorter tail with no black at the end. It is fairly abundant in this 
local area, and is named the Mouse-Killer. This little carnivore 
ought to receive all encouragement by farmers 

CASE 78. 

THE STOAT OR ERMINE (Mustela erminea). (PI. 5). 
This animal is distinguished from the weasel by the black tip 
to the tail, as well as by its superior size. It has a wider 
distribution in the British Isles than the weasel, occurring in 
Ireland as well as Great Britain, although the Irish representative 
forms a distinct race. The stoat, changes its coat to white in the 
winter in the coldest part of the country. (See case on Upper Gallery, 
illustrating seasonal change, and PL 5.) It is most abundant in this 
local area. The British stoat is of no commercial value, owing to 
the shortness of its fur, but the longer-furred skins from Northern 
Europe and America, constituting the "ermine " of the fur trade, 
have a high value. The stoat preys on game and other birds, and 
sucks their eggs ; it is a determined enemy of rats and voles, young 
rabbits and leverets. Stoats are expert climbers, climbing trees to 
rob the bird nests. The young, usually five to eight in number, 
are born in April or May. They seem to stay with the mother till 
autumn and are full grown by the following spring. The young of 
stoats and weasels are very playful and frolicsome little animals. 



15 

CASE 79. 

THE POLECAT, FOUMAKT OB FITCHET (Putorius fcetidus). 

This creature is much larger than the stoat, formerly common 
in England, Scotland and Wales, but owing to the destruction by 
gamekeepers it has been exterminated over the greater part of the 
country. Polecats dwell chiefly in woods, copses and thicket-clad 
hills. The male is called the " Hob," the female the " Jill." It 
ejects an evil-smelling odour when handled, and its food consists of 
almost any other animal it can destroy, killing many more than it 
can devour, seeming to delight in killing. The ferret is a 
domesticated Polecat. The young are born in May or June, and 
are from four to six in number, they are generally littered in 
a rabbit warren. 

CASE 80. 

THE PINE-MARTEN OR MARTEN CAT (Mustela martes). 
In Lakeland the Pine-Marten is called the " Sweet Mart," and 
the Polecat the "Foul Mart." It is the largest representative 
of the more typical members of the weasel tribe. Throughout the 
British Isles, wherever there were woods, the Pine-Marten was 
common in former days. Nowadays it survives only in isolated 
parts of the country, such as parts of Suffolk, North Devonshire, 
Epping Forest, and Hampshire. In the Lake District, it is, 
however, less rare ; in Scotland it is very scarce, but in North Wales 
it still lingers and occasionally crosses over into Cheshire recently 
(July, 1919) one was. caught in a rabbit trap at Worsley Hall, near 
Manchester. Mr. H. E. Forrest, in the " Fauna of North Wales," 
states that the Pine-Marten is still found in the wilder parts of 
Carnarvon and Merioneth, but in no part of Wales is the Marten 
so numerous as around Dolgelly, where the thickly- wooded valleys 
and rugged crags afford it a suitable asylum. The Pine-Marten 
probably breeds twice a year, in February and June. The average 
number of young in each litter is three. It breeds in trees, in old 
nests of birds or squirrels, or in crevices of rocks. Its food includes 
birds, rabbits, hares, rats, mice, game birds, and sometimes 
poultry. It is a very swift climber, and catches squirrels with ease. 
It will even take fruit, and if near the shore will eat shell-fish. 

CASE 81. 

THE WILD CAT (Felis catus). 

The time of the disappearance of this species is not recorded 
and it lingered in the Lake District till about the middle of the 



16 

19th century. In Scotland, though still seen, it is rapidly 
decreasing in numbers. The specimen in the case (on the left) was 
killed in Scotland a few years ago. Although existing in North 
Wales till a comparatively late period, there is no direct evidence 
as to the time when it became locally extinct. It was co-existent 
in England with the mammoth, the lion, the hyaena, the reindeer, 
and the hippopotamus. It has never been an inhabitant of 
Ireland at any time. Statements of the occurrence of the Wild 
Cat in Ireland are based on instances of domesticated cats which 
have run wild (Sir Harry Johnston, " British Mammals"). The 
same can be said of any recent records of the presence of the Wild 
Cat in England. The tail of the Wild Cat is short and thick, 
ending in something like a large brush, and is very boldly striped 
with black rings and a large black tip. This creature is, of course, 
purely carnivorous in the choice of its food, and will attack and kill 
prey as large as a roebuck fawn. It also kills and eats lambs and 
large numbers of rabbits, hares, grouse, pheasants and other birds. 
It is fierce and untamable in captivity. 



CASE 82. 

THE BADGER OK BROCK (Meles taxus). (PI. 3.) 

This species is a nocturnal animal, living in pairs. It passes 
its days securely concealed in its burrow, which is generally 
excavated in some unfrequented part of a wood or thicket. It 
conies forth to feed in the evening or during the night. The food 
consists mainly of roots of various kinds, fruits and nuts, birds' 
eggs, together with the smaller mammals, reptiles, frogs and 
insects. It is also particularly fond of the grubs of wasps, which it 
scratches out without fear of the stings of the insects, against 
which the thick fur of the Badger appears to afford an effectual 
protection. Except that it may destroy a certain number of eggs 
of game birds, the Badger is harmless alike to the game preserver 
and the farmer. The young, three to four in number, are born 
from March to June, in a large snug nest made of dry ferns and 
grass. Till comparatively recent times Badgers were very common, 
but the numbers have been greatly reduced, and in some parts the 
species is exterminated. They survive, however, in larger or smaller 
numbers in many English counties, as well as throughout 
Scotland and Ireland. They are still found in this local area, but 
are scarce. 



Plate 3 




COMMON BADGER. 



17 

CASE 83. 

THE OTTER (Lutra vulgaris). 

The Otter belongs to a sub-family of the weasel-like quadrupeds, 
and is thoroughly aquatic. At the present day this species is still 
pretty generally distributed over this country, although becoming 
scarce in the more cultivated districts where the rivers are small. 
In Cheshire it is widely distributed and not uncommon (Coward 
" Fauna of Cheshire "). In North Wales it is generally distributed 
in the lowlands and more or less common in all the counties 
(Forrest, "Fauna of North Wales"), and in the Lake District, 
which is most suitable for the Otter, it generally meets an untimely 
end by trapping, and is therefore rare in these more suitable 
haunts. The Otter feeds almost exclusively on fish, which it 
pursues, not only in rivers and lakes, but also in the open sea. 
It brings the fish out of the water to devour, and generally begins 
eating away at the shoulders, sometimes leaving the rest of the 
fish, so that fish are frequently left only partly eaten. The young, 
three to five in number, are born in March or April, either in 
a tunnel in the river bank or under a wood pile; the Otter is not 
hunted in this country for its fur as it is on the Continent. 



THE COMMON FOX (Canis vulpes). (PI. 4.) 

The Fox belongs to the dog family, and is a burrowing animal, 
living concealed during the day in " earths " under banks and 
trees, coming abroad towards the evening. The group in the case 
consists of the dog-fox returning home to his family with food. 
One of his family, too young to exhibit the usual foxy caution, 
has rushed out of the " earth " to welcome him, the vixen 
(mother), rendered anxious by the risk taken by one of her cubs, 
is also showing her face at the mouth of the " earth." A young 
fox of a previous litter, seeing his father returning to the old home, 
has ventured to follow him, where he is now an unwelcome guest. 
A pair of foxes generally occupy an " earth," which may consist 
of a series of dens, two or three in number, in one of which three 
to five young are born towards the end of the spring; the female 
exhibits great courage in defending them. A cub is easily tamed 1 
and makes a nice pet. It will live to the age of twelve to fifteen 
years in captivity. The food of foxes is the flesh of mammals, birds 
and reptiles. It may destroy lambs and certainly does partridges, 
grouse, fowls, rabbits and leverets. It is said that the Fox will 
cross with the dog. This is difficult to prove, but there is in the 
Worcester Museum an animal, killed near Ledbury, which is 



18 

considered to be a cross between a fox and a dog. The Fox is 
abundant in Cheshire, where it is preserved for sport in the 
lowlands. In North Wales it is generally distributed, except in 
Anglesey, where it is not indigenous. In the Lake District it is 
not uncommon. 



CASE 84. 

THE SEALS. 

This ease contains British representatives of the group of 
aquatic carnivores known as Seals. Although not so modified for 
an aquatic life as the whales and porpoises, they are, in fact, 
thoroughly aquatic in habits. Their movements on land are 
awkward and ungainly in the extreme. In the true Seals the 
hind-limbs are extended backwards parallel to the tail, and are 
thus incapable of taking any share in the movements which are 
concerned in what is ordinarily termed walking. The mode of 
progression is effected mainly by a kind of jumping movement of 
the body. 

The British Seals, although not numerous, include five 
representatives of three distinct genera. These are : The Grey 
Seal, the Common Seal, the Harp Seal, the Ringed Seal, and the 
Hooded or Bladder Nose Seal. 



THE GREY SEAL (Halichcerus grypus). 
(No. 1 in the case.) 

The Grey Seal inhabits the shore of the North Atlantic Ocean, 
and breeds on the British shores, taking up the Biost exposed 
situations in the Hebrides. They produce their young in September 
or October. When first born the young seal is clothed in white 
hair; the adult colour is attained when it takes to the water. The 
Grey Seal, like all other British species, has no under fur. In 1861 
a Grey Seal was caught in the Canada Dock, Liverpool; this 
specimen is still in the Museum. In June, 1908, one was procured in 
the Mersey, near Warrington Bridge, 7ft. Gin. in length, and is now 
in the Warrington Museum. On October 28th, 1909, a young Grey 
Seal was stranded on a bank off Hoylake; it was secured alive for 
the Liverpool Museum. The old adult male in the case was caught 
about 15 or 20 miles off Annalong, Co. Down, Ireland, by one of 
Messrs. Harley & Miller's fishing boats. 



19 

THE COMMON SEAL (Phoca vitulina). 
(No. 2 in the case.) 

The Common Seal is distinguished from the preceding genus 
by the relatively smaller and more pointed teeth, and by those of 
the cheek series having accessory cusps with mostly double root!:. 
The head also is rounded, instead of flattened, and the muzzle 
naked and not truncated, while the brain cavity of the skull is 
proportionately larger. The Common Seal is smaller than the 
Grey Seal, reaching only 5ft. in length, and unlike the Grey Seal 
is essentially gregarious, congregating in herds of two to three 
dozen. It feeds on fishes and is said to live largely on flounders 
when in the sea; it is especially fond of salmon and sea-trout, but 
in captivity we find that this seal prefers herrings to any other 
kind of fish. The young, one or occasionally two, in number are 
born in June. The young, as in the Grey Seal, has a coat of white 
hair, which is replaced by the adult coat in two or three weeks' 
time. It breeds on the British coasts and islands off Scotland. The 
Common Seal, sometimes seen on the Lancashire coasts, is an 
occasional wanderer to the estuaries of the Mersey and Dee, and 
is not uncommon on the Welsh coast. The range of this species 
includes both sides of the North Atlantic and North Pacific. 



THE HARP SEAL (Phoca greenlandica). 
(No*. 3 in the case.) 

The Harp Seal inhabits the Arctic Ocean and the shores of the 
North Atlantic and the North Pacific. It is only a casual visitor 
to the British Isles. It is also known as the Greenland Seal. In 
January, 1868, a specimen 6ft. long was captured in Morecambe 
Bay, and is preserved in the Kendal Museum. 

THE HOODED OK BLADDER-NOSE SEAL 
(Cystophora cristata). 
(No. 4 in the case.) 

This Seal inhabits the colder regions of the North Atlantic. It 
is migratory in its habits, occurring in South Greenland from April 
to June, straggling as far south as Iceland, North Scandinavia 
and sometimes to the coasts of Britain and France. The chief 
food of this seal is stated to consist of cod and flounder. This seal 
spends the greater part of its life on the ice, upon which its young 



20 

are born in the spring. The first British specimen recorded was 
taken in the River Orwell in 1847, and is now in the Ipswich 
Museum ; a second specimen was killed at St. Andrews in 1872, and 
others are reported to have been taken on the Scottish coasts. The 
specimen in the case (No. 4) was captured alive on the Mersey 
shore at Frodsham Marsh on the 3rd of February, 1873, and was 
exhibited at Widnes, where the then Curator of this Museum (the 
late Mr. T. J. Moore) saw it alive and made sketches from it. It 
was large and powerful, being about 6ft. in length and in very 
fine condition. A full description of this specimen is given in the 
Proceedings of the Liverpool Biological Society, Vol. III. 



Cases 85, 86 and 87 contain representatives of the British 
spseies of the Gnawing Mammals (Rodentid). The possession of a 
single pair of chisel-like incisor teeth in the lower jaw, which grow 
continuously throughout life, and are opposed by a similar pair 
of upper teeth, is a character which distinguishes the rodents from 
all other mammals- In number of species the rodents exceed any 
other order, and they have, likewise, a wider geographical dis- 
tribution, being found even in Australia. Although divided into a 
very large number of families, only four are now represented in 
the British Islands. Within the historic period the Beaver family 
was represented by its typical member (the Beaver) within this area. 

CASE 85. 

THE BRITISH VOLES. 

THE FIELD VOLE (Microtus agrestis). 

THE BANK VOLE (Arvicola glareolus). 

THE ORKNEY VOLE (Microtus orcadensis). 

THE WATER VOLE (Arvicola amphibius). 

The Field Vole or Short-tailed Field Mouse (the three adults 
and three young specimens on the raised centre of the group) 
ranges all over England and Scotland, including the Hebrides, 
although it is unknown in Ireland. It is the most mischievous of 
all the rodents to the farmer. It occasionally appears in great 
numbers, and in the absence of its natural enemies, such as the 
owls, hawks, crows, weasels and stoats, it may increase to almost 
incredible swarms so as to destroy grass land and spoil the corn 
harvest. Plantations of young birch trees have been destroyed by 
their gnawing of the bark. The Field Vole is very gregarious, 
they multiply with extreme rapidity, the young are born from 



21 

April onwards, four to eight in number, in nests built of fine 
grass or hay and moss; the nest is found in meadows, lanes, or 
edges of fields in any position from the surface under a sheltering 
tuft of grass to twenty-four inches below the surface. The female 
may produce four to six litters during the year. The Field Vole 
or Short-tailed Field Mouse is common in this district, and is on 
the increase in consequence of the destruction of owls and kestrels. 
Few people realise the harm done by the destruction of these 
birds, but museum workers and taxidermists know that a great 
number of owls and kestrels are killed by thoughtless and foolish 
persons. 

The ORKNEY VOLE. While the Field Vole of the Hebrides 
is not specifically distinct from the one inhabiting the mainland, 
the Orkneys have two species of their own, the Orkney Vole 
(Microtus orcadensis), of which five adult and five young specimens 
are shown in the case near the end of the group, and the Sanday 
Island Vole (Microtus sandayensis) (not shown in the case). The 
Orkney Vole is larger than the mainland species. 

The BANK VOLE, or Red Field Mouse (the two specimens on 
the edge of the bank in the group), is about the size of the 
Short-tailed Field Vole, but the colour of the back is chestnut, 
the flanks grey and the under parts nearly white. The tail is 
longer and there is an important difference in the cheek teeth, 
which develop roots in the adult, whereas those of the Field Vole 
do not. On this account the Bank Vole has been placed in a 
separate genus. It is common in this local area, although seldom 
seen on account of its nocturnal habits, but a nipper trap baited 
with bread and placed in a run on any ivy-covered bank will reveal 
its presence. In general habits the Bank Vole resembles the Field 
Vole, but it prefers hedge banks and other sheltered positions. It 
is equally destructive and does much damage in gardens. 

The WATER VOLE, or Water Rat, is the largest of the British 
Voles, and the least harmful. It feeds almost entirely on water 
plants and roots. It is found in suitable situations in large numbers 
throughout England and the greater part of Scotland, and lives 
in burrows on the banks of rivers and streams. It is the least 
prolific member of its tribe, producing one single litter of five or 
six young each year. The Water Vole is abundant in this local 
area, and black varieties of the species have been frequently seen. 
A colony of fifteen was collected by a member of the Museum Staff 
at Leasowe a few years ago. The black variety has been confused 
frequently with the old English black rat, but this rat belongs 



to a different group altogether. A specimen of the black variety 
of the Water Vole, or Water Eat, can be seen in the Introductory 
Room on the Upper Gallery in the case of Albino and Melanic 
varieties of birds and mammals. 

CASE 86. 

THE COMMON SQUIRREL (Sciurus vulgaris). 
THE DORMOUSE (Muscardinus arvdlanarius). 
THE HARVEST MOUSE (Mus minutus). 
THE WOOD MOUSE (Mus sylvaticus). 
THE RABBIT (Oryctolagus caniculus). 

The COMMON SQUIRREL has an extensive range across Europe 
and Asia. Throughout the whole of England, in suitable localities 
it appears to be pretty generally distributed, also in Ireland, where 
it has been introduced by man. It is plentiful in Cheshire, common 
in wooded districts of North Wales, but rarer in the Lake District. 
It is rare in the woods around Liverpool. The Squirrel is arboreal 
in its habits. Its food consists of nuts of various kinds, fungi, 
and it will also eat the eggs and young of birds. It does not 
hibernate, but lays up a store of provisions for winter use. The 
Squirrel differs considerably in general appearance at different 
seasons of the year, as can be seen by the specimens in the case. 
The short reddish fur is the summer coat, and the long greyish fur 
with tufts to the ears is the winter coat. The winter coat makes 
its appearance about November, and the summer coat in May. The 
" drey " or nest is placed in a fork of a tree and has a roof, as 
seen in the specimen exhibited in Case 86A. In the spring three 
or four young are born ; duplicate nests are said to be built for the 
purpose of removing the young from one to the other at any sign 
of danger. The squirrel makes an interesting pet if taken young. 

The DORMOUSE resembles a miniature squirrel, both in form 
and habits, sitting up on its haunches and grasping its food with 
its paws in true squirrel-like fashion. Although it resembles the 
squirrel in its habits, it is structurally allied to the mice it is a 
tree mouse. The Dormouse builds its nest in holes in trees, in 
hedgerows, and in thick grass; a specimen nest in a gorse bush is 
shown in Case No. 86A; sometimes a bird's nest is adapted by 
roofing it over. The young are born about May or June onwards, 
four or five in number. The nests are built of grass and leaves. 
The Dormouse hibernates from October continuously to April. 
The food consists of fruit, nuts, corn and insects. The Dormouse 



23 

makes a nice pet and readily produces young in confinement. It has 
lived three years in captivity, but from one to two years is the usual 
length of its life under such conditions. The length of life in its 
natural state is unknown. The Dormouse appears to spread over 
the southern and central districts of England, although much more 
abundant in somei localities than others. In the North of 
England it is generally very thinly distributed. In Wales it is 
generally distributed, common in the east, rare in the west (Forrest, 
" Fauna of North Wales "). In Cheshire it is rare has only been 
observed occasionally in recent years (Coward, " Fauna of 
Cheshire "). 

The HARVEST MOUSE is the smallest British mouse. It is 
distributed over the greater part of Europe, and is an inhabitant of 
most districts in England, although much more abundant in some 
than in others. In the Lake District it appears to have been 
only observed on two occasions. Very rare in Cheshire, it has not 
been noticed within recent years (Coward, '' Fauna of Cheshire"). 
In North Wales it is reported in various scattered localities, but no 
certain record (Forrest, " Fauna of North Wales "). Unknown in 
Ireland. The Harvest, or Corn Mouse, lives in the cornfields, builds 
a nest supported between three or four cornstalks after the fashion 
of the Reed Warbler. The material used is dry coarse grass. The 
young vary from five to> nine in number, and like all the mice and 
rats are born blind, naked and helpless, but grow rapidly and soon 
reach maturity. The Harvest Mouse weighs about one-fifth of an 
ounce next to> the Lesser Shrew it is the smallest British mammal. 
The WOOD MOUSE, or Long-tailed Field Mouse, is larger than 
the House Mouse, has a longer tail, and is reddish in colour with 
white underparts. It is found all over the British Islands. It inhabits 
hedgerows, cornfields and gardens. Its food includes corn of all 
kinds, bulbs, nuts, acorns, seeds, insects, and grubs. This mouse 
is a serious pest to farmers and gardeners. It produce several 
litters of young during the summer, and in winter does not 
hibernate, but continues its ravages all the year round. The Wood 
Mouse hoards up food for winter use. The natural enemies of this 
destructive pest are the kestrel, owl, stoat, and weasel. 

The RABBIT, or Coney. Whatever may have been its origin, 
it is now the most vigorous, prolific and abundant mammal in these 
Islands. The Rabbit is a defenceless creature, surroiznded by a 
legion of enemies, including Man, who kills for sport, for food and 
fur. The fur is used chiefly for felting hats and is also dyed, 
clipped and sold as an imitation (Coney Seal) of the pelts of 
other more valuable animals, such as the fur Seal. Although it 
c 



24 

thrives best on dry rich pastures, the Eabbit may be expected 
wherever a blade of grass can grow ; and from Cornwall to Caithness 
it holds its own in face of the most relentless persecution, not only 
by Man, but many animals. It is found in cultivated fields, 
sheltered woodlands and on the barren wind-swept sand dunes. The 
group in the case represents a family in a locality resembling the 
last-named. When the doe is about to give birth to her young she 
leaves the general burrow and digs a short one, known as a ' ' stop ' ' 
or " stab," a few feet long, at the end of which she makes a warm 
nest of grass or moss, lined with fur from her own belly. This 
burrow is often placed some distance from the warren. It has 
only one entrance, and this the mother covers with earth when 
she leaves it. The young are from three to six or eight in number, 
and several litters are produced yearly. 

CASE 87. 

THE COMMON HARE (Lepus europseus). 

THE MOUNTAIN HARE (Lepus timidus). 

THE BLACK RAT (Rattus r. rattus). 

THE ALEXANDRINE RAT (Rattus r. alexandrhnis). 

THE TREE RAT (Rattus r. frugivorus}. 

THE COMMON BROWN RAT (Rattus norvegicu*}. 

The COMMON HARE is found throughout England and Wales 
and the Lowlands of Scotland, but is unknown in Ireland. The 
Hare feeds on vegetable substances, such as grass, clover, turnips, 
and the bark of young trees. It advances by leaps, and as its 
hind legs are much longer than the front ones it runs with more 
ease up hill than down. During the day it crouches in its " form/' 
which is a secluded spot in the cornfield or among grass or ferns. 
Its hearing is extremely acute. The eyes, being placed directly on 
the sides of the head, take a wide range. The Hare has no 
burrow to which it may retreat, but trusts to vigilance and 
extraordinary speed to enable it to elude its numerous enemies. 
Young Hares are called levei ets ; they are born with the eyes open , 
covered with hair, and capable of running. There are generally 
two born to each litter, and they are born in the open, without tha 
shelter of a burrow. 

The MOUNTAIN HARE (see PL 5) occurs both in Scotland and 
Ireland. It is inferior in size to the Brown or Common Hare, with a 
relatively smaller head, shorter ears, hind legs and tail. This species 
differs further in having the upper parts uniform buff, sprinkled 



25 

with black, whereas in the Common Hare the upper surface presents 
the appearance of being coarsely necked with black, portions of the 
individual hairs extending higher up. The Irish Hare (Lepus 
hibernicus) is larger and redder than the Scotch, and generally 
does not exhibit any appreciable difference in colour. Scotch 
Mountain Hares, on the other hand, become greyer at the approach 
of winter, the bleaching process going on until the whole coat except 
the black tips to the ears becomes white. (See PI. 5 and the Case 
illustrating seasonal dimorphism, or the change of appearance of 
animals according to season, on the Upper Gallery.) 



BRITISH EATS. Four different kinds ofj rats inhabit 
this country, and are here shown in the group, viz., 
the Black Rat, the Alexandrine Rat, the Tree Rat, and 
the Common Brown Rat. None of them are original inhabitants 
of this country, but have at some time been brought 
here in ships. The first arrived during the 15th century. It is 
known as the old English Black Rat. It differs from the Common 
Brown Rat chiefly by its smaller size, the average length being, head 
and body, 7 inches, tail 9 inches, and thej^eight 7 ounces. Its ears 
are thinner and larger, the head more pointed and the tail longer 
than the Common Brown Rat. There are two other rats closely 
allied to this species one a brown rat with slatey under parts, the 
Alexandrine Rat from Europe, Egypt and Palestine, and the 
other the Tree Rat, a reddish brown rat with white or cream under 
parts, from India, Ceylon and Burmah. These rats are found 
chiefly on ships and in seaport towns near the docks, in houses and 
warehouses. The black rat had a much wider distribution in this 
country before the arrival of the big brown rat. The average size 
of this rat is, head and body 9 inches,*tail 7 inches, and weight 
15 ounces, but it is sometimes found weighing over 20 ounces. It 
is mere carnivorous in its habits than the rat t us group and shows 
less desire for green vegetable food. In Ireland a black variety of 
Rattus norvegicus is found, and is cal^d the Irish Rat (Rattut 
JiibernicusJi It has frequently a white chest spot and white 
fore-feet. 

The COMMON BROWN RAT is found in barns, warehouses and 
sewers; it is also a field rat, and is sometimes called a water rat 
because of its fondness for drains, ditches and ponds. It settled 
in this country some time after 1750, and it destroys the black rat 
whenever they meet. The tame rat is an albino variety of the 
common brown rat. 



2U 

CASE 88. 

ROE DEER fCfipreolug 

This case contains representatives of a tribe of Ruminants, 
which differs from the oxen tribe in that the appendages of the 
head (which when present are almost without exception restricted 
to the male) take the form of antlers, usually more or less branched, 
and invariably shed every year. In the Roe Deer the antlers are 
small, simple and rounded, less than twice the length of the head, 
usually with only three tines each, of which the front one springs 
from the anterior surface of the upper half of the antler and has 
an upward direction. They are comparatively small animals, and 
vary somewhat in colour according to the season. The group 
consists of four specimens, male and female and fawn with a male 
showing the antlers in velvet. At one time the Roe Deer was 
generally distributed over Great Britain, but now it is mainly 
restricted to Scotland. It is a forest-loving species and non- 
gregarious, usually found in small parties only, of from two to 
four, the sexes remaining together throughout the year. It feeds 
chiefly in the morning and evening. It can show great speed when 
pursued, and can with ease leap a wall 6 feet high. The doe 
usually produces two fawns at a birth. They are born in May or 
June, and remain with their parents till the winter, by whom 
they are most zealously protected from danger. The first 
antlers of the bucks are in the form of simple spikes ; those of the 
second winter are forked ; while in the third season the three tines 
of the adult are developed. The flesh cf the Roe Deer is very dark 
coloured and somewhat dry. 

CASE 89. 

RED DEER (Cerru* elnjthu*). 

This case contains specimens of the Red Deer, the largest of 
the British Deer. The antlers rise somewhat slantingly and 
divergently from their bases on the top of the skull, above and a 
little behind the orbits cf the eyes. Just above the "coronet" 
(the burr or folding of bone where the antler joins the pedicle on 
the skull) arises the brow tine. Above and close to the brow tine 
is the bez or second tine, followed at a little longer interval by 
the trey or third tine. In well-developed antlers the beam or 
portion above the trey broadens and increases greatly in girth and 
then divides into a variable number of prongs, in the centre of 
which is the " cup," sometimes actually a hollow. It is in the 
development of this cup that the Red Deer differ from all other 
deer. The Red Deer is a member of a group comprising several 



27 

closely allied species or varieties, spread over Northern Europe, 
Asia and America, and is also represented in Northern Africa. 
When Great Britain was covered with almost continuous forest, 
the Red Deer ranged throughout the whole country. To-day, Red 
Deer survive in a wild state in the Scottish Highlands, the Island 
of Mull, the Hebrides, Devonshire and Somersetshire, while in a 
state of semi-domestication they are kept in many parks. In some 
of the wilder parts of Ireland wild Red Deer survive, and in earlier 
times they were numerous there. Antlers from the river and lake 
deposits of England and Ireland indicate larger stags than any 
wild British Red Deer now living. The male is called a stag and the 
female a hind. The stags generally shed their antlers in February or 
March and begin to grow the new ones in April, becoming fully 
developed by August. During growth the antlers, as in other 
deer, are covered with a velvet-like skin, which serves to protect 
the underlying blood-vessels (see specimen of Roe Deer in Case 88). 
When the growth is completed, the velvet gradually peels off, its 
removal being hastened by the stag rubbing the loosened skin 
against trees. By September the last traces of the velvet have 
disappeared and the stags proceed in search of the hinds, at which 
season they not only fight among themselves but, when in packs, 
are dangerous to approach. For the greater portion of the year 
the sexes live apart in herds, the stags on the higher ground and 
the hinds on the lower. The fawns are born in May or June; 
generally one at a birth. Their feeding time is chiefly morning 
and evening, the middle of the day being spent in repose and 
cud -chewing among the heather. Both in sight and hearing the 
Red Deer is one of the most acute of animals; it can also swim 
well. The flesh of the Red Deer is less highly esteemed than the 
Fallow Deer. 

CASE 90. 

THE FALLOW DEER (Cervus damci). (PI. 6.) 

The Fallow Deer belongs to a totally different group of the 
genus to that containing the Red Deer, and is readily distinguished 
from it by the form of the antlers (as will be seen on comparison 
with the specimens in Case 89). There is a greater variation in 
the colour of the Fallow Deer, it is also smaller than the Red 
Deer. Like the Rabbit and the two species of Rats, it does not 
belong to the British fauna, only so far as it has been introduced 
from the Mediterranean countries. The dark variety was long 
considered to have been imported from Norway by King James I., 
but Mr. Harting has shown that it existed long before his time. 



28 

The period of changing its coat varies in most parks according to 
the nature of the season. The brown variety loses its spots in 
winter. The antlers are shed in May, and the new ones begin to 
sprout in about ten days afterwards. The fawns are born early 
in June, generally one but sometimes two at a birth. Their food, 
like the rest of the deer family, is varied; the Fallow Deer, 
however, shows a special partiality for chestnuts. 

The case contains an adult male (or buck) with the summer 
coat of yellowish fawn above with rows of large white spots on 
the back and sides and white underparts; a young male (or buck) 
with the darker winter coat; and a female of the almost black 
breed, without spots at all seasons. The antlers of the bucks 
increase in size and complexity up to the sixth year. 



CASE 91. 

COMMON POEPOISE (Phocaena communis). 
COMMON DOLPHIN (Ddphinus delphis}. 

The Porpoise is the smallest and most common of the Cetaceans 
(Aquatic Mammals) found in the seas around the British Isles. 
It is sociable and gregarious in its habits, being usually seen in 
small herds. It feeds on fishes, such as mackerel, pilchards and 
herrings, of which it devours large quantities ; and in following 
the shoals of fish the Porpoise is often caught by fishermen in the 
nets. The very young specimen in the case, 18 inches in length, 
was brought to the Museum on March 22nd, 1888, by Mr. John 
Hanmer, who brought it up in a shrimp-net after being submerged 
for two hours, but it lived only about ten minutes after. The 
same fisherman reported that he had observed, within ten yards 
of his boat, a shoal of porpoises which he estimated to extend fully 
three miles. The Porpoise produces a single young at a birth. 
The length of an adult is from four to five feet. The Common 
Porpoise ranges over the greater part of the North Atlantic, but 
is rarely found in the Mediterranean. 

The Dolphin, differing from the porpoise by the beak-like 
snout, is also larger, the length of the adult being five to eight 
feet. It is found in the Atlantic, but is more common in the 
Mediterranean. The skeleton in the case is that of a specimen 
found on the shore afc New Brighton on the 12th February, 1879, 
minus its tail, evidently cut off by collision with the screw of a 
steamship. 



29 

No. 92. 

THE PILOT WHALE (Globicephalus melas). 

This specimen was stranded with 40 others in the River 
Humber on June 9th, 1862. The Pilot Whale has a world-wide 
distribution. It is a frequent visitor to the Faroe Islands, as well 
as to the Orkneys, and more rarely to the Hebrides. It is easily 
distinguished by its nearly uniform black colour, rounded head, 
low triangular back-fin, and the great length and narrowness of 
the nippers. The Pilot grows to about 20 feet in length, and is a 
sociable and inoffensive animal, feeding chiefly on cuttle-fishes and 
squids. When a " school " is attacked, all the members crowd 
together, and can thus be easily driven ashore by boats, so that 
in the Faroes hundreds are frequently captured at a time in this 
manner. 

No. 93. 

SKELETON OF THE PILOT WHALE. 

No. 94. 

THE WHITE-BEAKED DOLPHIN (Lagenorhynchusalbirostris'). 

The White-beaked Dolphin takes its name from its white lips. 
The mounted skin and the skeleton are from the same beast. Its 
capture is thus recorded in the " Proceedings of the Liverpool 
Biological Society," Vol. III., by the late T. J. Moore, the then 
Curator of this Museum : 

"On the 29th of December, 1862, at daybreak, a fresh 
wind blowing from W.S.W., and the tide being about quarter 
ebb, a cetacean was discovered stranded at Little Hilbre, one 
of two closely contiguous islands at the mouth of the River 
Dee. It was observed by Mr. Barnett, Inspector of Buoys, 
who resided on the larger island, and who had noticed others 
off the shore a few days previously. I had urged Mr. Barnett, 
on the occurrence of such creatures, to endeavour to secure 
examples for the Liverpool Museums, and he was, in 
consequence, kind enough to immediately proceed to the 
mainland for a suitable conveyance, into which it was carefully 
removed and brought to Birkenhead Ferry and thence across 
the Mersey to the Museum. The creature was still living, 
spasmodically breathing at irregular intervals; the body was 
warm to the hand, and tear-like moisture oozed from its eyes 
as it lay quiescent in the cart. It died at the moment when 
a tank was ready to receive it. Its total length from snout 
to cleft of tail was nine feet." 



This Dolphin is a rare species inhabiting the North Atlantic, 
and was first recorded in Britain in 1848 by Brightwell. This 
specimen described by Mr. Moore was evidently the second recorded 
as British. The next recorded occurrence was at Cromer in 1866. 
Of its habits nothing definite is known. 

No. 95. 

SKELETON OF THE WHITE-BEAKED DOLPHIN. 

No. 96. 

SKELETON OF THE BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHIN 

(Tursiops tursio). 
Mr. T. J. Moore, in his report of the capture of this Dolphin 

(" Proceedings of the Liverpool Biological Society," Vol. III.), 

says: 

"Into the northernmost of the two bays formed by the 
railway embankment connecting Holyhead with Anglesey, a 
small shoal of cetaceans found their way on April 14th, 1866, 
and proceeded so far that they got stranded near Valley, on 
the Anglesey shore. The workmen of Valley foundry waded 
into the water and succeeded in killing and capturing fifteen 
or sixteen of the animals. I arrived on the spot ten days 
after, just in time to make a few notes before the remains 
were all dispersed. All the heads and most of the bodies had 
already been purchased for the Cambridge and London 
Museums, but I managed to secure for the Liverpool Museum 
one of the decapitated bodies and the head to' match. The 
largest of the batch measured 11 feet 8 inches." 

On the 20th of August, 1918, a member of the staff of the 
Museum examined a male of this species cast ashore at Leasowe. 
It measured 12 feet in length and 80 inches in girth, and the 
general colour of the upper parts was black, gradually shading into 
white beneath. The Bottle-nosed Dolphin is a rare visitor to the 
British Coast. Its distribution ranges from the Mediterranean to 
the North Sea. 

No. 97. 

THE HUMP-BACKED WHALE (Megaptera loops}. 

On June 17th, 1863, this whale was slranded on a sandbank 
in the Mersey opposite Speke. It was examined in the flesh and 
described by Mr. T. J. Moore, the late Curator of this Museum, 
in his Report on the Seals and Whales of the District in the 



" Proceedings of the Liverpool Biological Society," Vol. III. The 
dimensions taken at the time were : ' ' Total length in a straight 
line from snout to cleft of tail, 31ft. 4in. ; length of gape, about 
8ft. ; from snout to eye, 8ft. ; length of eye, Sin. ; from the snout 
to the commencement of the pectoral fin, 10ft. ; extreme width of 
tail at the tips, lift. ; from the snout to the commencement of the 
dorsal fin or hump, 18ft.; length of the dorsal fin, 3ft. Sin.; from 
snout to cloaca, 21ft. Quantities of shrimps were found in the 
stomach." The genus ILtyaptera is distinguished from the genus 
Bahena, or whalebone whales, by the presence of a dorsal fin or 
hump. The belly is plaited or deeply grooved, and the plates of 
baleen (whalebone) are broad and short, which characters agree 
with this specimen. The longest plate of the baleen measures 
about 2 feet long by 5| inches at the base, and the plates are close 
together, counting 38 to a foot. The creature was quite black, 
except the belly, which was mottled and streaked with white, and 
the pectoral fins were milk-white, except a black blotch here and 
there. The usual length attained by this species ranges between 
45 and 50 feet, the female being superior in size to the male. 
Humpbacks are widely distributed over the Atlantic and Pacific 
Oceans, although they rarely visit the British Seas. They are 
remarkable for their sportive habits, frequently throwing them- 
selves out of the water. 

No. 98. 

THE MEGACEROS OR GIGANTIC DEER (Cervus giganteus). 
. (Also incorrectly known as the Irish Elk.) 

This magnificent creature, now extinct, the males of which stood 
at least six feet high at the shoulder, is little else than a gigantic 
development of the fallow deer type, greatly as it differs in 
appearance from the fallow deer^of our parks. Although there were 
European types of this deer, the grandest development took place in 
Britain and Ireland. Cervus giganteus typicus, the typical 
Megaceros or Gigantic Irish Deer, was probably developed first in 
England, from whence it spread to the N.W. of Scotland. From 
here it passed over to Ireland, where, no doubt, partly owing to 
the absence of great Carnivores, such as the Lion and Sabre-tooth, 
it had the whole island or the Hibernian Peninsula to itself, and 
reached the acme of magnificent development. 

This specimen measures 10 feet from tip to tip of antlers. 
Mr. Rowland Ward's book on big game measurements gives 11 feet 
6 inches and 11 feet 3 inches as the greatest recorded measurements 



32 

of the horns of the Gigantic Irish Deer from tip to tip. The 
females were hornless. The vertebrae of the neck, in the male 
especially, were greatly enlarged and strengthened to bear the 
burden of these massive antlers. 

The Megaceros in England was certainly co-existent with the 
earliest types of man that arrived in Britain, but it disappeared 
soon after their arrival, 110 doubt in consequence of the attacks 
made upon it for food purposes, and also because at that time 
there existed in Britain enormous lions, and one, if not two, forms 
of sabre-toothed felines. In Scotland its remains have only been 
found in Ayr and that portion of Scotland which approaches 
nearest to Ireland, and where the last land bridge existed which 
connected Ireland with Great Britain. The greater number of 
remains are found in the shell-marl underlying the peat in Ireland. 
Remains are met with in most of the cavern deposits, brick-earths, 
and river gravels of England. 



CASE 99. 

EXTINCT BRITISH MAMMALS. 

ANTLERS OF RED DEER. 

Mr. Millais is of opinion, in his classic work on " British Deer 
and their Horns," that there has been a gradual degeneration in 
antlers amongst British Deer. It certainly seems like it when the 
present-day antlers are compared with the skull and antlers of the 
Red Deer found on the Leasowe shore (submerged forest) exhibited 
in this case. 

SKULL OF BRITISH BEAVER (Castor filer). 

The distribution of the European Beaver at the present day is 
limited to a few limited areas on the Rhine (where they are nearly 
extinct), on the Rhone (but not elsewhere in France), here and 
there in the Elbe Basin, especially in Bohemia and on the Lower 
Danube. The Beaver still lingers on some of the rivers of Western 
and Arctic Russia, in Poland, and on a few of the Siberian rivers. 
In the British Islands the Beaver existed well into the historic 
period. It was finally extinguished- (in Scotland) during the 
sixteenth century. The specimen of a Skull in the case was found 
in the Fens near Soham, Norfolk. Remains have been found in 
all parts of England. 



SKULL OF THE BROWN BEAU (Ursus arctot). 

Bears were also at one time common in this country, as is seen 
by the skull of the Brown or European Bear exhibited in this Case. 
It was found in the North Dock excavations at Bootle. The remains 
of the Cave Bear in absolutely extraordinary quantities are found 
also in all the fossil holding caves of England, France, Germany, 
Belgium, Poland, Italy, Algeria, the Balkan Peninsula, and South 
Russia, which would seem to show that this enormous bear used 
caverns as its home and lair, dragging its prey to be devoured in 
these retreats where, its hunger satisfied, it abandoned the remains 
to spotted hyaenas of great size. Remains of a bear found in 
Ireland seem to resemble more nearly the grizzly bear of North 
America than the ordinary brown bear of Europe. Traces of the 
grizzly bear type are also found in England. 

SKULLS OF FOSSIL OXEN. 
Bos taurus (primigenius) and Bos Ion ffi front. 

The skull of the Bos taurus here shown was found at the 
bottom of Wallasey Old Pool and the single horn at 
Lease we. This ox is extinct as a wild species, but it 
inhabited Great Britain (not Ireland) during the Pleistocene 
and Pre-historic Periods, lingering perhaps down to the commence- 
ment of the historical age, when it merged into the existing breeds 
of feral cattle. With it may be classed Bos taurus longifrons (skull 
here shown was also found in the Wallasey Old Pool). This may 
have been an early domestic race of the aurochs. Bos taurus 
longifrons is the ancestor of several breeds of cattle, and its remains 
are found in Great Britain and Ireland (Sir Harry Johnston, 
" British Mammals "). 

CAST OF SKULL OF A FOSSIL RHINOCEROS 
(Rhinoceros (or Diceros) leptorhinus). 

The original is in the British Museum and was found in brick 
earth at Ilford, Essex. The Slender-nosed Rhinoceros, now 
extinct, inhabited central and southern England and Wales in the 
Pleistocene Period. Bones of it are also exhibited in the same case. 

THE RIGHT LOWER JAW OF THE MAMMOTH 

(Elephas primigenius) . 

The Mammoth, now extinct, was found over all England and 
Wales, in the southern and lowland regions of Scotland, and all 
over Ireland. It entered Great Britain during the Pleistocene 
Period and lingered in Ireland almost to the verge of historical 
times. 



34 

HEAD OF WOLF (Cam's lupus). 

The head of the wolf is to show the type that was formerly 
distributed all over Great Britain and Ireland, but is now extinct. 
Mr. Harting (" Extinct British Mammals ") brings much evidence 
to bear to show that wolves were not exterminated in England till 
the close of the fifteenth century, during the reign of Henry VII. 
The last wolf -was probably killed in Scotland about 1743, and in 
Ireland (Kerry) as late as 1766. 

WILD BOAK'S HEAD (,SVx .svro/V/). 

The Wild Boar's Head represents the type that inhabited 
Great Britain and Ireland through Pleistocene and Pre-historic 
Periods, and only became finally extinct in Britain during the 
seventeenth century. 

CASE 100. 

DOMESTICATED DOGS. 

This case contains a few examples or types of the varieties of 
Domesticated Dogs. Although many different views have been, 
and still are, entertained with regard to the mutual relationship 
and origin of the various breeds of domesticated dogs, most 
naturalists are agreed that in the first instance all, or at least 
most of them, were derived from wolves or jackals, or from both 
together. In outward appearance the most wolf-like of all the 
domesticated breeds is the Eskimo Dog of Arctic America, and it 
crosses readily with the wolf. The nearest to this type in the case 
is the Chinese Dog, or Chow-chow, a type resembling the larger 
Pomeranians. It is evident from the structure of their skulls that 
their origin is not far from the fox, but in favour of the wolf or 
jackal, and that they are not from the Dholes or Wild Dogs of 
Asia is evident from the latter having onei molar tooth less in the 
lower jaw. Domesticated dogs readily cross with the wolf, but 
rarely with the fox. The " Dingo," or Wild Dog, of Australia is 
considered to have originated from some of the domesticated dogs 
of Asia. 

There are about 185 varieties of domesticated dogs, divided 
up by Mr. R. Lydekker (" Harmsworth Natural History ") into 
six groups: 1st Division includes the Eskimo, Chcw-Chow, 
Pomeranian, Sheep-dogs and Collies. 2nd Division : All the 
Greyhound types. 3rd Division : The Spaniels, Newfoundland 
and Retriever. 4th Division : The Bloodhound, Foxhound, Beagle, 
Otterhound and Dachshunds. 5th Division : The Mastiff, Bulldog, 
Pug and St. Bernard. 6th Division: The Terrier Group Fox 
Terrier, Irish, Scotch and Yorkshire Terriers, and the Poodles. 



35 



Index and Reference List of British Mammals on Exhibition, with 
their Common Names arranged alphabetically. 



I 


fo. of 




( 


Zase. 


Page. 


Badger 


82 


16 


Bat, Common 


73 


10 


,, Great 


73 


11 


Greater Horseshoe 


73 


11 


,, Lesser Horseshoe 


73 


11 


,, Long-eared 


73 


10 


Xatterer's 


73 


11 


,, Whiskered 


73 


10 


Bear, Brown, skull of 






(fossil) 


99 


33 


Beaver, British, skull of 






(fossil) 


99 


32 


Boar, Head of Wild . . 


99 


34 


Deer, Fallow 


90 


27 


Gigantic (fossil) . . 


98 


31 


Red 


89 


26 


Red, Antler of 






(fossil) 


99 


32 


Roe 


88 


26 


Dogs, Domesticated . . . 


100 


34 


Dolphin, Common .... 


91 


28 


Bottle-nosed.. 


96 


30 


White-beaked. 


94/95 


29/30 


Dormouse . . 


86 


22 



Fox, Common 83 



17 



Hare, Common .... 

Mountain. . . . 

Hedgehog 



87 24 
87 24 
74 12 



Mammoth, Lower Jaw 

of (fossil) 99 33 

Mole 75 12 

Mouse, Harvest 86 23 

Wood . . 86 23 



Otter 83 

Oxen, Skulls of (fossil) . . 99 



No. of 
Case. Page. 
17 



33 



Pine Marten 80 15 

Polecat 79 15 

Porpoise, Common 91 28 

Rabbit, Common 86 23 

Rat, Alexandrine 87 25 

Black 87 25 

Common Brown.. 87 25 

,, Tree '87 25 

Rhinoceros. Cast of skull 

of (fossil) 99 33 

Seal, Common 84 19 

,, Bladder-nosed or 

Hooded 84 19 

Grey 84 18 

Harp 84 19 

Shrew, Common 76 13 

Pigmy 76 13 

Water 76 13 

Squirrel 86 22 

Stoat 78 14 

Vole, Bank 85 21 

., Field 85 20 

Orkney 85 21 

Water 85 21 

Weasel 77 14 

Whale, Hump-backed.. 97 30 

Pilot 92/93 29 

Wild Cat 81 15 

Wolf, Head of . . . .99 34 



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