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2STo. 49 

[Date of publication, December, 1926] 











Copies of North American Faunas not out of print are for sale, at the prices 
named, by the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, 
Washington, D. 0. 

No. 1. Revision of the North American Pocket Mice. By C. Hart Merriam. 
Pp. 36, pis. 4. 1889 [Out of print. \ 

No. 2. Descriptions of Fourteen New Species and One New Genus of North 
American Mammals. By C. Hart Merriam. Pp. 52, pis. 8, figs. 7. 1889. 

[Out of print.] 

No. 3. Results of a Biological Survey of the San Francisco Mountain Region 
and Desert of the Little Colorado, Arizona. By C. Hart Merriam and 
Leonhard Stejneger. Pp. 136, pis. 14, maps 5 (colored), figs. 2. 1890. 

[Out of print.] 

No. 4. Descriptions of Twenty-six New Species of North American Mammals. 
By C. Hart Merriam. Pp. 60, pis. 3, figs. 3. 1890 [Out of print.] 

No. 5. Results of a Biological Reconnoissance of South-central Idaho. By 
C. Hart Merriam and Leonhard Stejneger. Descriptions of a New Genus 
and Two New Species of North American Mammals. By C. Hart Merriam. 
Pp. 132, pis. 4 (1 colored), figs. 4. 1891 [Out of print.] 

No. 6. Not issued. 

No. 7. The Death Valley Expedition: A Biological Survey of Parts of Cali- 
fornia, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Part II. — 1. Birds, by A. K. Fisher. 
2. Reptiles and Batrachians, by Leonhard Stejneger. 3. Fishes, by Charles 
H. Gilbert. 4. Insects, by C. V. Riley. 5. Mollusks, by R. E. C. Stearns. 
6. Desert Trees and Shrubs, by C. Hart Merriam. 7. Desert Cactuses and 
Yuccas, by C. Hart Merriam. 8. List of Localities, by T. S. Palmer. Pp. 
402, pis. 15, maps 5, figs. 2. 1893 •_ [Out of print.] 

No. 8. Monographic Revision of the Pocket Gophers, Family Geomyidae (exclu- 
sive of the species of Thomomys). By C. Hart Merriam. Pp. 258, pis. 
20, figs. 71, maps 4 (colored). 1S95 [Out of print.] 

No. 9. Not issued. 

No. 10. Revision of the Shrews of the American Genera Blarina and Notiosorex. 
By C. Hart Merriam. The Long-tailed Shrews of the Eastern United 
States. By Gerrit S. Miller, jr. Synopsis of the American Shrews of the 
Genus Sorex. By C. Hart Merriam. Pp. 124, pis. 12, figs. 3. 1895. 

[Out of print.] 

No. 11. Synopsis of the Weasels of North America. By C. Hart Merriam. 
Pp. 44, pis. 6, figs. 16. 1896 [Out of print:] 

No. 12. The Genera and Subgenera of Voles and Lemmings. By Gerrit S. 
Miller, jr. Pp. 84, pis. 3, figs. 40. 1S9G [Out of print.] 

No. 13. Revision of the North American Bats of the Family Vespertilionidae. 
By Gerrit S. Miller, jr. Pp. 140, pis. 3, figs. 40. 1897 [Out of print,] 

No. 14. Natural History of the Tres Marias Islands, Mexico. General Account 
of the Islands, with Reports on Mammals and Birds, by E. W. Nelson. Rep- 
tiles, by Leonhard Stejneger. Notes on Crustacea, by Mary J. Rathburn. 
Plants, by J. N. Rose. Bibliography, by E. W. Nelson. Pp. 97, pi. (map), 
figs. 2. 1S99 [Out of print,] 

No. 15. Revision of the Jumping Mice of the Genus Zapus. By Edward A. 
Preble. Pp. 42, pi., figs. 4. 1890 [Out of print] 

No. 16. Results of a Biological Survey of Mount Shasta, California. By (1 
Hart Merriam. Pp. 179, pis. 5, figs. 46. 1899 [Out of print.] 

No. 17. Revision of American Voles of the Genus Microtus. By Vernon Bailey. 
Pp. 88, pis. 5, figs. 17. 1900 [Out of print.] 

No. 18. Revision of the Pocket Mice of the Genus Perognathus. By Wilfred K, 
Osgood. Pp. 72, pis. 4 (incl. 2 maps), figs. 15. 1900 [Out of print)] 

No. 19. Results of a Biological Reconnoissance of the Yukon River Kegion : Gerl 
eral Account of the Region ; Annotated List of Mammals, by Wilfred B 
Osgood. Annotated List of Birds, by Louis B. Bishop. Pp. 100, pis. 7 (inci 
1 map). 1900 [Out of print.] 

No. 20. Revision of the Skunks of the Genus Chincha [Mephitis]. By Arthu 
H. Howell. Pp. 62, pis. 8. 1901 [Out of print.] 

No. 21. Natural History of the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia; and 
Natural History of the Cook Inlet Region, Alaska, By Wilfred H. Osgood 
Pp. 87, pis. 7 (incl. 1 map), fig. (map). 1901— [Out of print.] 

(Continued on page 3 of cover) 

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ISTo. 49 

[Date of publication, December, 1926] 










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United States Department of Agriculture, 

Bureau of Biological Survey, 
Washington, D. C, December 11, 1925. 
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith, recommending that 
it be published as No. 49 in the series of the North American Fauna, 
a report on the biological survey of North Dakota, prepared by 
Vernon Bailey, biologist of this bureau. This report is in two parts, 
the first treating of the physiography and natural life zones of the 
State, accompanied, as in similar reports, by a map of the life zones ; 
and the second, the mammalian life, consisting of notes on the dis- 
tribution, abundance, and habits of the mammals of the State. Both 
are based on natural-history explorations conducted by the bureau 
and cooperating State organizations in North Dakota over many 
years, the work on the mammals having begun in 1887, and prelimi- 
nary reports thereon having been published in the annual report of 
this bureau in 1888, when it was known as the Division of Economic 
Ornithology and Mammalogy, and in a circular of the North Dakota 
Agricultural Experiment Station, in 1914, the latter being in the 
nature of a cooperative report of progress and an appeal for addi- 
tional local detailed information. The present report comprises a 
valuable contribution to knowledge and will be useful to farmers, 
students, and others interested in the distribution, habits, and eco- 
nomic relations of our wild-animal life. 

E. W. Nelson, 
Chief of Bureau. 
Hon. W. M. Jardine. *'. • 

Secretary ■ of AgricuUuPe. '..!•-'•••' ■ 



Introduction 1 

Paet I. — Physiography and life zones of North Dakota 3 

Changing conditions 3 

General physiographic features 3 

Glacial remains 3 

Lowered water levels 4 

Drainage systems 4 

Elevations and the Badlands 5 

Prairie 7 

Forest 7 

Life zones S 

Upper Austral Zone 8 

Mammals 9 

Breeding birds 9 

Plants 10 

Crop adaptations 10 

Transition Zone 11 

Mammals 11 

Breeding birds 12 

Plants 13 

Crop adaptations 14 

Canadian Zone 14 

Mammals 15 

Breeding birds 15 

Plants - 16 

Crop adaptations 16 

Part II. — The Mammals of North Dakota _ 17 

Introduction '. 17 

Present and former abundance 17 

Useful and harmful species 18 

Indian names of mammals 18 

Measurements and weights , T 18 

Order Art iodactyla : Hoofed animals — cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, 

and deer 19 

Family Bovidae : Cattle, sheep, and goats 19 

American bison, American buffalo _ 19 

Audubon mountain sheep 25 

Family Antilocapridae : Pronghorned antelope 27 

Pronghorned antelope, American antelope, pronghorn 27 

Family Cervidae : Moose, elk. caribou, and deer 31 

Moose 31 

Woodland caribou 32 

American elk, wapiti 33 

Plains white-tailed deer 36 

Mule deer 41 

Order Rortentia : Gnawing animals 43 

Family Sciuridae : Squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, ground 

squirrels, and marmots 43 

Pale flying squirrel 13 

Minnesota gray squirrel, black squirrel 45 

Red squirrel, chickaree , 46 

Little northern chipmunk- 47 

Pale chipmunk. Badlands chipmunk 49 

Gray chipmunk 51 



Paet II. — Mammals of North Dakota — Continued. 
Order Rodentia : Gnawing animals — Continued. 

Family Sciuridae: Squirrels, chipmunks, etc. — Continued. Page 
Striped ground squirrel, thirteen-lined ground squirrel, 

leopard squirrel 52 

Pale striped ground squirrel, pale thirteen-lined ground 

squirrel 54 

Gray ground squirrel, Franklin ground squirrel 55 

Richardson ground squirrel, flickertail- 58 

Black-tailed prairie dog 62 

Rufescent woodchuck, groundhog 67 

Canada woodchuck, groundhog 69 

Family Muridae : Old World rats and mice 70 

Brown rat, house rat, wharf rat 70 

House mouse 72 

Family Cricetidae : White-footed mice, harvest mice, grasshopper 

mice, wood rats, and voles 73 

Osgood white-footed mouse 73 

Baird white-footed mouse 76 

Northern white-footed mouse, deer mouse 77 

Badlands white-footed mouse 79 

Prairie harvest mouse 80 

Maximilian grasshopper mouse 81 

Audubon grasshopper mouse 83 

Pale bushy-tailed wood rat 86 

Red-backed mouse 88 

Eastern meadow mouse 90 

Drummond meadow mouse 92 

Bean mouse, hetunka .. 94 

Western upland mouse 98 

Little upland mouse 99 

Pale mouse 101 

Great Plains muskrat 102 

Family Castoridae : Beavers 105 

Canada beaver 105 

Missouri River beaver 108 

Family Erethizontidae : Porcupines 114 

Yellow-haired porcupine, Rocky Mountain porcupine 114 

Black-haired porcupine, Canada porcupine 116 

Family Zapodidae : Jumping mice 117 

Prairie jumping mouse 117 

Family Heteromyidae : Pocket mice, kangaroo rats 119 

Maximilian pocket mouse 119 

Dusky pocket mouse 121 

Kansas pocket mouse 123 

Richardson kangaroo rat 124 

Family Geomyidae : Pocket gophers 125 

Mississippi Valley pocket gopher 125 

Dakota pocket gopher 130 

Sagebrush pocket gopher 133 

Order Lagomorpha : Rabbitlike animals 134 

Family Leporidae : Rabbits 134 

Nebraska cottontail 134 

Black Hills cottontail 137 

Wyoming cottontail 137 

Varying hare, white rabbit, snowshoe rabbit 138 

White-tailed jack rabbit 141 

Order Carnivora : Flesh eaters 144 

Family Felidae : Cats 144 

Mountain lion, cougar, panther 144 

Canada lynx . 146 

Northern bobcat, mountain bobcat, spotted wild cat 148 

Eastern bobcat, wild cat 149 


Part II. — Mammals of North Dakota — Continued. 

Order Carnivora : Flesh eaters — Continued. I"age 

Family Canidae: Dogs, wolves, and foxes 150 

Gray wolf, buffalo wolf, lobo, loafer 150 

Northern coyote, brush wolf 156 

Plains coyote, prairie wolf 157 

Yellow-red fox 160 

Kit fox, prairie fox, swift 163 

Family Mustelidae : Weasels, minks, martens, skunks, badgers 166 

Long-tailed weasel, ermine 166 

Bonaparte weasel, short-tailed weasel 169 

Least weasel 170 

Black-footed ferret 171 

Mink 173 

Marten, pine marten, American sable 176 

Fisher, pekan, black cat 177 

Wolverene, glutton, " Indian devil " 178 

Otter 179 

Northern skunk 181 

Badger 184 

Family Procyonidae : Raccoons 1S7 

Raccoon, "coon" 187 

Family Ursidae: Bears 191 

Black bear, cinnamon bear 191 

Grizzly bear, big Plains grizzly, silvertip ' 193 

Absaroka grizzly 198 

Order Insectivora : Insect-eating mammals 199 

Family Talpidae : Moles 199 

Missouri Valley mole 199 

Star-nosed mole 200 

Family Soricidae : Shrews 200 

Hayden masked shrew 200 

Merriam shrew 202 

Richardson shrew, black-backed shrew, saddle-backed shrew. 203 

Water shrew, marsh shrew 203 

Pigmy shrew 204 

Short-tailed shrew, mole shrew 205 

Order Chiroptera : Winged mammals 207 

Family Vespertilionidae : Common bats 207 

Hoary bat, great gray bat 207 

Red bat, New York bat 209 

Large brown bat 210 

Silver-haired bat, silvery bat, black bat 212 

Little brown bat 213 

Yellowstone bat 215 

Say bat 216 

Little long-eared bat 216 

Bibliography 217 

Index 221 




Plate 1. Map of North Dakota, showing life zones Frontispiece 

2. Fig. 1. — Short grass prairie of western North Dakota. Fig. 2. — 

Prairie slough and glacial ridge of central North Dakota 4 

3. Fig. 1. — Yellow pines on buttes south of Medora. Fig. 2. — Bad- 

lands and sagebrush at Medora 5 

4. Fig. 1. — Typical lake of the Turtle Mountains. Fig. 2. — 

Typical aspen forest of the Turtle Mountains 8 

5. Fig. 1. — Red River with its forested shores, near Fargo. Fig. 

2. — Type of forest along the Red River, near Fargo 8 

6. Cottonwood timber along the Missouri River bottoms, near 

Mandan . 8 

7. Buck antelope 2S 

8: Heads of moose, northern white-tailed deer, and mule deer 32 

9. Fig. 1. — Two bull elk. Fig. 2.— Plains white-tailed deer 33 

10. Skins of pale, little northern, and gray chipmunks 4S 

11. Fig. 1. — Osgood white-footed mice in captivity. Fig. 2. — Bean 

mouse. Fig. 3. — Richardson kangaroo rat 76 

12. Kansas pocket mouse, prairie jumping mouse, and prairie har- 

vest mouse 77 

13. Fig. 1. — Grasshopper mouse. Fig. 2. — Pale bushy-tailed wood 

rat 84 

14. Pale mouse, little upland mouse, western upland mouse, Drum- 

mond mouse, bean mouse, and eastern meadow mouse 85 

15. Fig. 1. — Dusky pocket mouse. Fig. 2. — Badger 124 

16. Mississippi Valley pocket gopher : 125 

17. Fig. 1.— Yellow-red fox. Fig. 2.— Black-footed ferret. Fig. 3. — 

Varying hare, or snowshoe rabbit 1G0 

18. Fig. 1.— Plains coyote. Fig. 2.— Otters 161 

19. Fig. 1. — Common mole. Fig. 2. — Star-nosed mole 200 

20. Short-tailed, Richardson, Hayden, and pigmy shrews 201 

21. Fig. 1. — Hoary and silver-haired bats. Fig. 2. — Say bat 208 


Fig. 1. Map showing records of three species of chipmunks in North 
Dakota : Gray chipmunk, little northern chipmunk, and pale 
chipmunk 48 

2. Map showing distribution of the thirteen-lined ground squirrel 

and its pale western form in North Dakota . 53 

3. Map showing records of Franklin ground squirrel in North Dakota- 56 

4. Map showing records of Richardson ground squirrel in North 

Dakota 59 

5. Map showing distribution of prairie-dog towns in North Dakota 63 

6. Map showing localities where woodchucks are known in North 

Dakota 67 

7. Map showing records of pocket gophers in North Dakota : The 

Mississippi Valley pocket gopher and the Dakota pocket gopher_ 125 

8. Map showing records of three species of cottontail rabbit in North 

Dakota : The Nebraska cottontail, the Black Hills cottontail, 

and the Wyoming cottontail 134 


No. 49 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA December, 1926 


By Vernon Bailey 


In the preliminary survey of the wild life of North America in- 
formation has been gathered on the birds and mammals of the 
country at large, and provisional maps of the life zones of the 
continent and subdivisions of it have been published. Much of the 
general information gathered on birds and mammals has been given 
in bulletins, circulars, and annual reports. The present publication 
is prepared in accordance with the general plan of providing for 
definite subdivisions more detailed information on the natural life 
zones and on the distribution and habits of the native species of 
birds and mammals. Part I discusses the life zones of North Da- 
kota and Part II the mammals of the State. The publication of the 
report on the birds will be arranged for separately. 

The field work on which this report is largely based has been 
carried on in North Dakota by the Biological Survey at intervals 
from the year following its first organization as the Division of 
Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy in 1886. In 1912 a definite 
plan of cooperation for covering the State comprehensively by field 
work and for gathering the specimens and notes necessary for a bet- 
ter understanding of the animal life was entered into between the 
Biological Survey and organizations in North Dakota, including 
the State university, the agricultural experiment station, the agri- 
cultural and geological survey, and other State educational institu- 
tions. Under this plan field work was carried on each season dur- 
ing the subsequent four years. 1 In addition to the Biological Sur- 
vey material, the collections of specimens at the agricultural college 
at Fargo and of those at the biological laboratory at Devils Lake, 
with the many field notes and reports gathered in connection with 
these, have been freely drawn upon in the preparation of this report. 

The Flora of North Dakota, by Herbert F. Bergman (1918), pub- 
lished in the Sixth Biennial Report of the North Dakota Soil and 
Geological Survey, has been of great assistance in the preparation 
of the life-zone report and the map. Also, free use has been had of 

1 The field work of the Biological Survey was carried on with the assistance of H. E. 
Anthony, Alfred Eastgate, Stanley <!. Jewett. Remington Kellogg, J. Alden Loring, Ed- 
ward A. Preble, H. II. Sheldon, and H. V. Williams. In 1893 A. K. Fisher made a trip 
across the State and collected specimens and important mammal notes. The field work 
of the agricultural college was done by W. B. Bell, assisted by U. S. Ebner, H. V. Wil- 
liams, and other students at the college. At the State university the work was begun 
by M. A. Brannon, with the assistance of Alfred Eastgate, and later continued by 
R. T. Young. 


2 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA [No. 49, 1926] 

a manuscript report on the Geographical Distribution of North 
Dakota Plants, by O. A. Stevens, of the agricultural college. 

Important material was obtained from notes and records from 
the private collections of Morris J. Kernall, of the normal school, 
at Valley City; of Alfred Eastgate, of the fish and game commis- 
sion, at Devils Lake; of H. V. Williams, taxidermist, at Grafton; 
of O. J. and M. C. H. Murie, of Moorhead, Minn.; and of other 
local naturalists. Much valuable information has also been gathered 
from ranchers and other residents of the State, and especially from 
early settlers familiar with conditions during pioneer days. 

Of published reports consulted, there may be mentioned the fol- 
lowing: The journal of Alexander Henry, the Younger (1897), in 
charge of the Northwest Company's trading posts in the Red River 
Valley from 1800 to 1808, edited by Elliott Coues and published 
in 1897; Lewis and Clark's (1893) journals of their trip up the Mis- 
souri River through North Dakota, in 1803 and 1804, edited by 
Doctor Coues in 1893; Maximilian's (Wied, 1839-1841) journal and 
notes made during his trip up the Missouri River through North 
Dakota in 1833, his wintering at the Mandan villages, and his re- 
turn journey in 1834; John James Audubon's journals of his trip 
up the Missouri River to Fort Buford in 1843, edited in 1897 by 
his granddaughter, Miss Maria Audubon, and Doctor Coues; and 
also Audubon and Bachman's Quadrupeds of North America, in 
which many of Audubon's North Dakota notes were first published 
in 1851. 

Elliott Coues, naturalist of the Northern Boundary Survey, in 
crossing the northern part of the State in 1873, collected many 
specimens and has included his records in various monographs and 
publications. J. A. Allen (1875, pp. 33-44), as naturalist of the 
North Pacific Railroad Expedition of 1873, traveled from Fort Rice, 
on the Missouri, west to the Yellowstone River in Montana and re- 
turned by nearly the same route, and published a list of the mam- 
mals observed. Col. Theodore Roosevelt (1900, 1919), from his 
cattle ranch in the Little Missouri Badlands (1884 to 1886), gave 
a full and delightful account of the game and natural history of 
the region in his " Hunting Trips of a Ranchman," " Hunting Trips 
on the Prairie," and " Hunting the Grisly." Ernest Thompson 
Seton, in his "Mammals of Manitoba" (1886), and later in his 
"Life-histories of Northern Animals" (1909), has included many 
important notes from the State. All these publications have been 

In C. Hart Merriam's Report of the Ornithologist for 1887, there 
is a summary of Bailey's (1888) field notes of the year, taken on a 
trip from Fargo to Pembina, Devils Lake, the Turtle Mountains, 
and Fort Buford. In 1914 a brief preliminary report on the Mam- 
mals of North Dakota, by the writer (1914), collaborating with 
W. B. Bell, then of the agricultural college, and Melvin A. Brannon, 
of the State university, was published as Circular No. 3 of the 
North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. This was largely 
in the nature of an appeal for additional information on the mam- 
mals of the State. 




North Dakota, like other great prairie States, has rapidly changed 
in character from a country of native grassland and abundant wild 
life to one of rich grainfields unsuited to wild life and from which 
much of it is being banished. With the ever-increasing diversity 
of crops and livestock and with more intensive methods of agricul- 
ture, the new conditions are being advanced, and some of -he most 
desirable native species of both animals and plants are disappearing, 
while many of the undesirable are holding their own or increasing 
in numbers. These conditions are accompanied by many problems of 
animal protection and control, the wise solution of which depends 
largely upon our knowledge of the species in the past and present, 
and especially of their habits, distribution, and environment. 


The surface of the State, while generally classed as prairie or 
plains, varies from vast level stretches and rolling hills to buttes, 
badlands, and mountains. 

Glacial Remains 

In the Red River Valley, formerly occupied by the waters of 
Lake Agassiz, the prairie is comparatively level and often stretches 
away beyond the horizon without a ripple on its surface (PI. 2). 
Over much of the State, however, the prairie is irregular, hilly, and 
undulating, forming what in the common phrase of the country is 
called " rolling prairie." This hilly configuration is due to the 
enormous deposits of glacial drift made during the advance and 
recession of the great ice sheets, which at different times covered a 
large part of the State. The ridges, hills, hollows, and lake basins 
formed by the ice sheets where they dumped their moraines of soil 
and bowlders in scattered heaps and long ridges, have been subjected 
to the rounding and leveling influence of the elements until the 
surface often suggests the billowy swells of midocean. Great num- 
bers of marshes, sloughs, and lakes occupy the basins scooped out 
by the ice and often are left without possible drainage. The exten- 
sive inland lakes thus formed have disappeared in some cases and 
have left level arees of rich alluvial bottoms. 

The later ice sheets stopped before reaching the Missouri River, 
piling up great terminal and lateral moraines along the northern 
and pastern margin of the river valley, still marked by the series 
of buttes and ridges known as the Coteau de Missouri, but one of the 
earlier sheets pushed across and unloaded its bowlders and debris 


well up the valleys to the west. This sheet was evidently of no great 
duration, for the course of the river was not materially changed. 
Over most of the country west of the river there is little trace of ice 
action, and the water-carved buttes of the Badlands stand high and 
sharp, with their flat tops dating back far beyond the glacial period. 
While the great Missouri Kiver flowing through the State defied 
this early continental ice sheet, resuming its course when this re- 
ceded, and not being reached by the later ones, the streams east of 
it were greatly modified, and some were wiped out of existence by 
ice action. Those flowing northward were first blocked by the ice 
and forced to overflow to the south. Then, after deep channels had 
been cut and the sheet had receded, some returned to their old north- 
ward courses and drew back old tributaries, while others cut new 
channels in other directions or were blocked and filled until only 
chains of lakes remained. 

Lowered Water Levels 

The country east of the Missouri Kiver is generally well watered, 
but the greater part of the surface water is standing in numerous 
lakes and sloughs rather than flowing in the limited drainage system. 
Many of the smaller sloughs and marshes have been drained and 
converted into rich agricultural land and many have dried up in 
recent years. Since the cultivation of the soil a great shrinkage of 
the lakes and streams has taken place. Where formerly the water 
ran quickly from the firm prairie turf into the streams and hollows, 
both the rain and snow water are now absorbed by the mellow surface 
of the plowed land. This absorption distributes a greater quantity 
of water through the soil, and at the same time the more extensive 
evaporation surface increases the humidity of the climate. A strik- 
ing illustration of the decrease in the water levels is shown at Devils 
Lake, which at the time of the early settlement of the region in 1887, 
had a steamboat landing close to the town of the same name. In 
1920 the water had receded about 2 miles from the town, and since 
1879 the level has fallen approximately 18 feet. Many of the smaller 
lakes have disappeared, and the smaller streams are shrinking. The 
disappearance of the prehistoric glacial lakes, Agassiz (now the Red 
River Valley), Souris (now the Mouse River Valley), and Sargent 
(now the general district of the county of the same name), was due 
not to a decrease in humidity nor to absorption of rainfall, but to 
the opening of a direct drainage into Hudson Bay after the recession 
of the last ice sheet. 

Drainage Systems 

The present drainage of North Dakota lies mainly in four well- 
defined systems (see map, Plate 1) : (1) In the southwest, the Mis- 
souri River, with its main western tributaries, the Yellowstone, 
Little Missouri, Heart, and Cannonball, pouring its waters eventu- 
ally into the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico; (2) in the south- 
east, the Dakota, or James, River, which joins the Missouri in Ne- 
braska; (3) in the east, the Red River of the North with its main 
western tributaries, the Sheyenne and Pembina, flowing northward 
into Lake Winnipeg and eventually reaching the waters of Hudson 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. 

Plate 2 

Fig. I. — Short Grass Prairie of Western North Dakota, Showing 
Grainfields and Prairie Grass to the Far Horizon 

Fig. 2. — Prairie Slough and Glacial Ridge of Central North 
Dakota, Choice Breeding Grounds of Native Waterfowl and 
Home of the Muskrat 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. 

Plate 3 

Fig. I. —Yellow Pines on Buttes South of Medora 

Fig. 2. — Badlands and Sagebrush at Medora 


Bay; and (4) in the north, the Mouse or Souris Eiver, with its 
chief tributary, the Kiviere cles Lacs, making a deep loop into the 
State and then turning north and east to join the Assiniboine in 

Elevations and the Badlands 

The variation of altitude within the State is comparatively slight 
and gradual, ranging from 753 feet above sea level on the Red River 
at Pembina, in the northeastern corner, to 3,463 feet on Black Butte, 
in the southwestern corner. The Turtle Mountains, midway of the 
northern boundary, are merely high moraine-covered hills, the 
greatest altitude being about 2,500 feet, while the highest point of 
the Pembina Hills, to the east, is given as 1,660 feet. West of the 
Missouri River, with a high-water mark near Bismarck of 1,646 feet, 
the country rises to a prairie level at Dickinson of 2,411 feet; at 
Sentinel Butte, 2,711; at Beach, 2,759; and at Summit, between the 
last two localities, 2,830 feet, while numerous buttes over the surface 
of the prairie rise only a few hundred feet higher. The Killdeer 
Mountains, a group of rounded hills with timber and brush in the 
gulches, lying in the bend of the Little Missouri northeast of Medora, 
are but a part of the Badlands plateau, rising about 700 feet above 
the surrounding prairie. 

The great stretches of prairie west of the Missouri River show 
their age in the flat-topped ridges and wide sloping valleys of a 
lakeless and deep and well-worn drainage system. The greater part 
of this area is composed of level prairie or gentle slopes well suited 
to agriculture, but there are great numbers of sharp or flat-topped 
buttes or groups of buttes rising above the general surface, numerous 
deep ravines cutting through to lower levels, and brush or tree 
fringed streams tracing the bottoms of the valleys (PI. 3). For 
a long time the region was considered too arid for uses other than 
stock raising, but with the improved farming methods of recent years 
demonstrating its value for grain and other crops, it has rapidly filled 
up with enterprising farms and towns. Most of the area is good 
farmland, but there are some parts so rough and steep that they can 
never be cultivated, and these will long remain in a primitive con- 
dition. These are the " Badlands " (PI. 3). 

The Badlands of the Missouri Valley and westward are not only 
a striking feature of the landscape, but they are of interest to the 
student of wild life, as they have had a marked influence on the distri- 
bution of species. They are most conspicuous and picturesque along 
the Little Missouri River Valley, but also occur in marked form 
along the banks and bluffs of the Missouri above the mouth of the 
Little Missouri, and especially from Little Knife River westward. 

The presence of the Badlands is due to the reduced rainfall in 
this western part of the State, together with peculiar geological for- 
mations, soft rock, beds of lignite coal, the bright-colored scoria, 
and mineral-laden beds of clay with generally a dry, baked surface, 
which quickly sheds the little rain that falls. In texture as well as 
in form the land is in striking contrast with the glacier-plowed roll- 
ing prairies east of the river. Underneath the surface soil the 
older strata are generally impervious to water. 


In form, the Badlands are characterized by flat-topped or rounded 
buttes, abrupt walls, benches, terraces, and bottomland flats. In 
their most typical and picturesque form they are found along the 
steep slopes of the stream valleys, where their bare walls are carved 
and eroded into grotesque and striking shapes, suggesting ancient 
ruins. In many places the Badlands banks are too steep to be 
climbed even by mountain sheep, except on well-known and well- 
worn trails leading from shelf to shelf. When wet the alkaline 
slopes are as slippery as a piece of wet soap, and are then of necessity 
avoided by man and beast. 

The steep slopes are generally devoid of vegetation, but the 
benches and flat tops are usually covered with the finest grasses, and 
many of the gulches are filled with dense tangles of brush and 
scrubby timber. The colors in the Badlands are in places as brilliant 
as those of the Painted Desert of Arizona, ranging from broad black 
bands of lignite coal, through the grays, browns, and yellows of 
various clay formations, and the bright brick-red and pink beds of 
scoria, to the brown or gray or chalky white of sandstone and lime- 
stone cliffs. Usually from the top of the cliffs and walls the level 
prairie stretches away to the far and treeless horizon. 

Geologically the Badlands are ready-made cross sections of the 
earth's surface. For untold ages their strata were deposited in deep 
or shallow waters, along shores and estuaries, or in marshes and 
forests, layer after layer, each of which embedded and preserved 
in some form the plant and animal life of its time. Great logs and 
stumps of petrified trees crop out in places along the banks or lie 
scattered over the flats below, while fossil bones, teeth, and shells 
of ancient types of animal life are often found in abundance. Even 
at the present day the cliffs, caves, and gulches, and the sheltered 
valleys, warm nooks, and corners of these Badlands harbor many 
species of native animals that otherwise would not be found within 
the borders of the State. 

Probably no area in North Dakota is better suited for game 
refuges and parks than the Killdeer Mountains. The need is not so 
great for the present as for 20, 50, and 100 years hence. The moun- 
tains stand on the edge of the Badlands like a cool, green, rugged 
island in the midst of a great prairie region of rich soil, good farms, 
good roads, and a good beginning toward a future teeming popula- 
tion. On pleasant Sundaj^s 50 to 100 automobile parties even now 
visit the mountains for picnics in the cool shade, for drafts of pure, 
cold water, the sight of strange flowers, plants, trees, birds, and mam- 
mals, rugged climbs, and a glorious view over wide country. With 
greater attractions of native animals, well-selected picnic and camp- 
ing grounds, and trails to the points of interest, the visitors would 
to-day number thousands instead of hundreds, and in a few years 
hard-working farm people and tired city people from all over the 
State would find an easily available health and pleasure ground. 

The Turtle Mountains represent another type of country with a 
strong bearing on the distribution of animal life. Although merely 
a group of high, rough, glaciated hills, alternating with hollows and 
lakes, they stand up from the surrounding prairie dark and timbered 
in inviting contrast with the boundless open expanse. Their charm is 
not so much in height or roughness as in the oasis of forest and the 


beautiful forest-bordered lakes which they offer in the midst of a 
great prairie region (PL 4). This timber body is practically 
isolated except for a scattered and broken connection eastward along 
the streams and hills to the strip of timber along the Red River. 
Fortunately much of the land is rough, steep, and stony, and so 
covered with scrub timber that it is not likely to be cleared off in 
the near future. Its chief value is for game refuges and for fishing 
and recreation grounds. 


The one striking feature of the country is the original boundless 
grassland prairie, which at the present time is largely under culti- 
vation in almost equally boundless fields and crops. Over much of 
the State the uncultivated areas are coming to be so restricted that 
game birds have difficulty in finding suitable nesting places outside 
of the fields, while some of the mammals are equally shut out and 
others have taken up quarters within the cultivated areas, where they 
cause serious damage to crops. 


The native forest of North Dakota may be placed in three groups — 
the Minnesota type, the Missouri-River type, and the Rocky-Moun- 
tain type. 

The eastern or Minnesota type borders the streams in the Red 
River Valley, covers the Pembina Hills and Turtle Mountains, and 
skirts the snowdrift borders of the larger lakes, such as Devils Lake, 
Stump Lake, and the Sweetwater Lakes. (PI. 5.) This consists 
mainly of a moderate growth of deciduous trees, such as American 
elm, red elm, white ash, boxelder, bur oak, ironwood, basswood, 
aspen, balsam poplar, and cottonwood, and such shrubs as hazel, 
alder, serviceberry, chokeberry, pin cherry, cornel, and rose. 

The Missouri-River type is found along the Missouri and Little 
Missouri River bottoms and consists largely of the broad-leaved 
cottonwood, many willows, and scattered boxelder, elm, ash, buf- 
faloberry, shrubby dogwoods, and flowering currants. (PI. 6.) 

A trace of the third type of forest is found in the Badlands and 
over the higher buttes along the Little Missouri River, where in 
places the Rocky Mountain yellow pine and Rocky Mountain juniper 
grow in considerable abundance and the western birch and shrubby 
cinquefoil come into the Killdeer Mountains. 

Though more or less mixed, these three groups indicate types of 
climate and soil conditions that to some extent govern the distribu- 
tion of the animal life. The forest growth is very restricted, covering 
only a small part of the surface of the State, lying mainly in nar- 
row strips along the banks of streams, on the edges of lakes, in 
the gulches and on the steep slopes of the mountains and bluffs, 
where deep snowdrifts lie late into the spring. It is of great impor- 
tance, however, not only for the use of the present inhabitants, but 
for the influence it has had on animal life, in the shelter, protection, 
and food afforded, without which many of the species would have 
been excluded from the State. 


In its restricted range along the immediate stream courses and in 
gulches and valley bottoms, the native forest is often hidden, and at 
a distance is less conspicuous than the planted groves scattered over 
the prairie. At the present time the artificially planted plots far 
exceed the native forests of the State both in abundance and in value. 
These, too, are beginning to show a marked influence on the distri- 
bution of species, attracting to the vicinity of homes many birds 
and mammals that otherwise would be absent. Thus physiography, 
forest and plant distribution, soil, and climate all bear a vital rela- 
tion to the problems involved in a study of the animal life of the 


In a comparatively level prairie country there are no striking 
contrasts in the distribution areas, and the life zones blend almost 
insensibly into each other. The greater part of North Dakota lies 
in the Transition Zone, which, in crossing the continent as a broad 
band between the warm Upper Austral (Sonoran) and the cold 
Boreal Zones, spreads to its greatest width over the northern prai- 
ries of the Dakotas, Montana, and Saskatchewan. (See Plate 1.) 
It so nearly covers North Dakota that many of its species are found 
scattered over the limited areas of both the Canadian Zone of the 
Turtle Mountains on the north and the narrow tongues of Upper 
Austral Zone thrusting into parts of the Missouri River Valley from 
the south and west. These restricted areas of the Austral and 
Canadian Zones, however, are sufficiently marked to be of impor- 
tance in giving to the State a wider range of crop, timber, and ani- 
mal adaptations, and an interesting diversity of living conditions. 
For the best developmeut of a State, it is necessary that every 
climatic and physiographic advantage be fully understood. 

Upper Austral Zone 

The Upper Austral Zone, the Upper Sonoran, or semiarid sub- 
division of which penetrates only into the warmest corners of the 
State, is in no part sufficiently extensive to be marked by entirely 
characteristic mammals, birds, or plants. In its narrow strips along 
the Missouri Valley below Bismarck, down the Missouri and Yel- 
lowstone Valleys to Williston, along the Little Missouri Valley 
above the Killdeer Mountains, and on many dry, warm slopes be- 
tween these areas, it is strongly characterized. So near the edge of 
a zone, however, the slight inclination of a slope to the north 
reduces the heat received from the sun's rays sufficiently to change 
the flora and fauna in part or wholly to that of the colder, higher 
zone, while a steep slope facing the direct rays of the sun will at- 
tract many species of the warmer, lower zone above their normal 
limits. Hence, in a rough and broken country on the border of the 
two zones, conditions are so complicated and often confusing that 
the areas can be mapped in only a very general way. 

In a study of the zones in this region the slope exposure and the 
heat- absorbing qualities of the surface (surface cover) are found 
more important than actual altitude, since the gradual increase 
in base level westward does not tend to lower the zones and nowhere 
is the altitude above base level sufficient to reduce noticeably the 
general temperature except by slope exposure. 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept Agr., Biological Survey. 

Plate 4 

Fig. I. — A Typical Lake of the Turtle Mountains 

1: V* J 

WB r-i'i; 


- l 

;£:;■ 1 | 



W 'W] i 




* 1 i ■• 

1 I- p 


i \ 


I i <* 1 


I If; J 






V: i 

.li i 

1 : P& Ml 'J 


■ . ..* 

Fig. 2. — Typical Aspen Forest of the Turtle Mountains 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. 

Plate 5 

Fig. I. — Red River with Its Forested Shores, near Fargo 

Fig. 2. — Type of Forest along the Red River, near Fargo 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. 

Plate 6 




Some of the very highest parts of the State, in the extreme south- 
western corner, lie mainly within the Upper Austral Zone. The 
Little Missouri Valley above and below Medora (2,270 feet above 
sea level, and almost as high as the tops of the Turtle Mountains) 
is the nearest to pure Upper Austral and zonally the lowest point 
in the State. The aridity, causing scanty soil cover and thus al- 
lowing the greatest absorption of heat by the soil, adds to the 
purity of the zone here, as also may the warm western winds. 

Along the Missouri River Valley from Bismarck to Williston 
many Austral species have a continuous range, but seem generally 
to be secondary to the Transition Zone or neutral species. The 
broad-leaved cottonwood and the long-tailed chat have a practically 
continuous range along the river valley, but other species, such as 
the little chipmunk and dwarf lupine, seem to drop out of sections 
of it. 

Farther east local traces of Upper Austral Zone species may be 
found on the warm slopes of the sand dunes near Hankinson, and in 
the Dakota and Maple River Valleys at Ludden and Ellendale. 
These are mere traces overlapping from the zone farther south in 
the Dakota River Valley. The zone is indicated at Hankinson by 
the harvest mouse, little dusky pocket mouse, and sand cherry, and 
at Oakes and Ludden by at least the harvest mouse. 

Following are characteristic species of the Upper Austral Zone 
in North Dakota : 

Characteristic Mammals — Upper Austral Zone 

Badlands mountain sheep (Ovis cana- 
densis audiiboni). 

Eadlands chipmunk (Eutamms pal- 
lidas pallidas.) 

Pale thirteen-lined ground squirrel 
(Citellus tridecemlineatus pallidus.). 

Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys 
ludovicianus ludovicianus) . 

Osgood white-footed mouse (Pcro- 
myscus maniculatus osgoodi) . 

Badlands white-footed mouse (Pcro- 
myscus leucopus aridulus). 

Pale bushy-tailed wood rat {Neotoma 
<-in<r< a rupicola). 

Prairie harvest mouse (Reithro- 
dontomys megalotis dijchci). 

Western upland mouse (Microtus 
ochrogastcr haydenii). 

Maximilian pocket mouse (Perogna- 

thus fasciatus fasciatus). 
Dusky pocket mouse (Pcrognathus 

fiavcscens perniger). 
Kansas pocket mouse (Perognathus 

hispidus paradoxus ) . 
Richardson kangaroo rat (Perodiptts 

montanus rivhardsoni) . 
Sagebrush pocket gopher (Thomomys 

talpoides bullatua). 
Black Hills cottontail (Sylvilagits 

liuttalli grangeri). 
Black-footed ferret (Mustela ni- 

gripes). - 
Merriam shrew (Sorex merriami). 

Characteristic Breeding Birds — Upper Austral Zone 

Western mourning dove (Zenaidura 

macro ura marginella) . 
Burrowing owl (Spcotyto cunicularia 

hypugaea) . 
Poor-will (Phalaenoptilus nuttullii 

Say phoebe (Sayornis say us). 
Bullock oriole (Icterus bullockii bul- 

lockii ). 
Lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus 

'grammacus) . 
Western lark sparrow (Chondestes 

grammacus strigatus) . 

Indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) 

(also Transition). 
Lazuli bunting (Passerina amoena). 
Dickcissel (Spiza amencana) . 
Long-tailed chat (Icteria virens longi- 

Rock wren (Salpinctes obsoletus obso- 

Long-tailed chickadee (Penthestes 

atricapillus septcntrionalis) . 



[No. 49 

Characteristic Plants — Upper Austral Zone 

Broad-leaved Cottonwood (Populus del- 

Sand cherry (Prunus pumila) . 
Flowering currant (Ribes aureum). 
Skunk bush (Rhus trilobata) . 
Gray shadscale (Atriplex canescens). 
Low shadscale (Atriplex conferti- 

Nuttall shadscale (Atriplex nuttallvi). 
Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermicula- 

tus) . 
Winterfat (Eurotia lanata). 
Gray sagebrush (Artemisia cana). 
Rabbi tbrush (Chrysothanmus graveo- 

lens ) . 
Tipsin (Psoralea esculenta). 
Prairie-clover (Psoralea tenuiflora and 

Psoralea lanceolata). 
Dalea (Parosela enneandra). 
Dwarf lupine (Lupinus pusillus). 
Painted milk-vetch (Astragalus pic- 

Slender milk-vetch (Astragalus gra- 
cilis ) . 
Bird's-foot trefoil (Hosackia wnerir 


Winged abronia (Tripterocalyx mi- 

cranthus ) . 
Snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia 

marginata) . 
Mentzelia (Mentzelia decapetala). 
Bee plant (Cleome serrulata ) . 
Spiny solanum; buffalo-bur (Solatium 

rostratum) . 
Indian plantain (Plantago purshii). 
Large-flowered beardtongue (Pentste 

mon grandiflorus) . 
Prickly-pear cactus (Opuntia polya- 

Slender cactus (Opuntia fragilis). 
Spanish bayonet (Yucca glauca). 
Low evening primrose (Pachylophus 

caespitosus) . 
Sand verbena (Abronia micrantha) . 
Wild sunflower (Helianthus annuus). 
Dropseed grass (Oryzopsis micrantha 

and Oryzopsis cuspidata). 
Grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis). 
False buffalo grass (Munroa squar- 


Crop Adaptations of the Upper Austral Zone 

The variation in climate in North Dakota is so slight and grad- 
ual, and the greater part of the State lies so fully within the Tran- 
sition Zone, that the raising of a comparatively limited variety of 
crops has been customary over most of the State. The great suc- 
cess of the small grains has encouraged their production to the ex- 
clusion of many others that might be cultivated in certain sections 
with equal success. The early explorers found the Indians raising 
an abundance of corn (Will and Hyde, 1917), squashes, beans, and 
native tobacco on the fertile bottoms along the Missouri River, 
where also the comparatively mild climate rendered living condi- 
tions comfortable for these poorly equipped and half -housed people. 
Many of these long-tested and thoroughly acclimated varieties of 
vegetables have been adopted into general cultivation and have 
helped to increase the crop resources of the State; varieties from 
other parts of the Upper Austral Zone have also been found to thrive 
in these mild valleys. 

Although no attempt is made in the present report to indicate the 
particular kinds and varieties of crops adapted to the different life 
zones and their subdivisions in the State, it is evident from the dis- 
tribution of native species and the climatic areas which they domi- 
nate that certain crops will thrive in one part of the State and not 
in others. Only by careful study of local conditions and by careful 
testing of different varieties of seeds can safe recommendations be 
made and the best results obtained from diversified agriculture. 
With the increasing necessity of bringing the producing quality of 

2 This upper Missouri form is so different in characters and growth from the Carolina 
cottonwood that the necessity of calling it deltoides is regrettable. 




the land to the highest standard, and the more intelligent study be- 
ing given to farm problems, the value of a reliable map of the life 
zones and subdivisions of these zones is apparent. 

The intrusion of narrow areas of a southern zone into a northern 
one, as pointed out by Doctor Merriam (1898, p. 15) many years 
ago, adds a distinct advantage in marketing the crops by saving 
long transportation and thus increasing their value. The possi- 
bility of raising southern crops and fruits within an area of un- 
usually rich grain production is self-evident. Although not always 
the richest in soil and natural resources, the warmest sections of the 
State, with their climatic advantages, should, if wisely used, be of 
special value. 

Transition Zone 

The Transition Zone covers the whole of North Dakota with the 
exception of the Turtle Mountains and various cold slopes and 
gulches in other elevated areas, where Canadian Zone conditions 
prevail, and the warmer Upper Austral valleys of the Missouri and 
Little Missouri Rivers. Its range of climate shows no marked 
variation over the State, except for a slight decrease in tempera- 
ture northward and a gradual decrease in rainfall westward. The 
annual rainfall, as given in the Climatology Report of the Weather 
Bureau (U. S. Dept. Agr., 1919) for 1918, a nearly typical year, 
varies from 25 inches in the eastern to 15 inches in the western p s art 
of the State. The westward decrease is so gradual that no sharp 
line can be drawn between the humid eastern and semiarid western 
subdivisions of the zone. Doctor Merriam (1898, map) places the 
dividing line a little east of the one-hundredth meridian. 3 The 
change from humid to semiarid is noticeably marked by the short- 
ening of the prairie grasses and the appearance of western drought- 
resistant species. 

The humid Transition Zone covers practically all of the State 
west to and including the Dakota (James) and Mouse (Souris) 
River Valleys. It is generally characterized by a heavy growth of 
prairie grasses, by strips of timber along the streams, and by thick- 
ets of brush in protected locations. 

The semiarid Transition Zone covers most of the western 
half of the State, including the high country on both sides of the 
Missouri River Valley and much of the Badlands region. It is 
generally characterized by short-grass plains and a limited mixture 
of Rocky Mountain species of mammals, birds, and plants. 

The following lists contain the chief characteristic animals and 
plants of the Transition Zone in North Dakota : 

Characteristic Mammals — Transition Zone) 
(a) Both Eastern and Western Divisions 

Prairie jumping mouse (Zapus hud- 
S07iius canipestris). 

White-tailed jack rabbit (Lepus town- 
sendii campanius). 

Richardson ground squirrel (Citellus 

richardsoni richardsoni). 
Loring red-backed mouse (Evotomys 

gappcri loringi). 

"Reo also Fourth Provisional Zone Map of North America, by the Biological Survey, 
1910 (Included in A. O. U. Check-List of Birds). 

82242°— 2G- 



[No. 49 

Yellow-red fox (Vulpes fulva regalis) . 
Long-tailed weasel (Mustela longir 

Bonaparte weasel (Mustela cicognanii 

cicognanii) . 
Minnesota mink (Lutreola vison leti- 


Northern skunk (Mephitis hudsonica 

hudsonica ) . 
Hayden shrew (Sorex cinereus hay- 

deni ) . 
Large brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus 


(b) Eastern (Humid) Division 

Minnesota gray squirrel (Sciurus caro- 

linensis hypophaeus) . 
Gray chipmunk (Tamias striatus 

griseus ) . 
Thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Citel- 

lus tridecemlineatus trideceml mea- 
Gray ground squirrel (Citellus frank- 

Rufescent woodchuck (Marmot a monax 

rufescens ) . 
Northern white-footed mouse (Pero- 

myscus leucopus noveboracensis) . 
Baird white-footed mouse (Peromyscus 

maniculatus bairdii). 
Eastern meadow mouse (Microtus 

pennsylvaniciis pennsylvanicus) . 


Little upland mouse (Microtus minor 

■minor ) . 
Mississippi Valley pocket 

( Geomys bur sarins ) . 
Dakota pocket gopher (Thomotnys 

talpoides rufescens) . 
Nebraska cottontail (Sylvilagus flori- 

danus similis). 
Brush wolf (coyote) (Canis latrans 

Short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda 

Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus 

Say bat (Myotis subulatus subulatus) . 

(c) Western (Semiarid) Division 

Pale mouse (Microtus pallidus). 
Drummond meadow mouse (Microtus 

pennsylvanicus drummondi) . 
Northern bobcat (Lynx uinta). 
Kit fox, swift (Vulpes velox hebcs). 

Plains coyote (Canis latrans nebra- 

Yellowstone bat (Myotis lucifugus 


Characteristic Breeding Birds — Transition Zone 

(a) Both Eastern and Western Divisions 

Franklin gull (Chroicocephalus pepix- 

Forster tern (Sterna forsteri). 

Canvasback duck (Aristonetta valisi- 
neria ) . 

Redhead (Nyroca americana) . 

Ring-necked duck (Perissonetta col- 
laris ) . 

Wilson phalarope (Steganopus tri- 

Marbled godwit (Limosa fedoa). 

Upland plover (Bartramia longi- 

Ferruginous rough-leg (Buteo fer- 

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus). 
Chestnut-collared longspur (Galcarius 

Baird sparrow (Centronyx bairdii). 
Nelson sparrow (Ammospiza caudacuta 


(b) Eastern (Humid) Division 

Woodcock (Rubicola minor). 
Broad-winged hawk (Buteo platyp- 

terus platypterus). 
Yellow-bellied woodpecker (Sphyrapi- 

cus varius varius). 
Yellow-shafted flicker (Colaptes au- 

ratus luteus). 
Whip-poor-will (Setochalcis vocifera 

vocifera ) . 
Blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata bro- 


Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula). 
Vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus 

Swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgi- 

ana) . 
Chewink, towhee (Pipilo erythroph- 

thalmus erythrophthalnvus) . 
Rose-breasted grosbeak (Hedymeles 

ludovicianus) . 




(c) Western (Arid) Division 

Avocet ( Recur virostra americana) . 
Sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasi- 

Red-shafted flicker (Colaptes cafer 

collar is). 
Magpie (Pica pica hudsonia). 
Arctic townee (Pipilo maculatus arc- 


Black-headed grosbeak (Hedymeles 

melanocephalus papago). 
McCown longspur (Rhynchophanes 

Western vesper sparrow (Pooecetes 

gramineus confirm ) . 
Sprague pipit (Anthus spragucii). 

Characteristic Plants — Transition Zone 
(a) Eastern (Humid) Division 

Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa). 
Basswood (Tiliei americana). 
Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana). 
White ash (Fraxinus pennsylvaniea). 
White elm (Ulmus americana). 
Red elm (Limn* fulva). 
Hackberry (Celtis Occident alts) . 
Red maple (Acer rubrum). 
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) . 
Hawthorn (Crataegus chrygocarpa and 

Crataegus succulent a ) . 
Wild plum (Primus americana) . 
Hazel (Corylus americana). 
Alder (Alnus incana) . 
Missouri willow (Salix missouriensis). 

Cornel (Cornus femina). 

Black haw: nanny-berry (Viburnum 
lent a go). 

Sumac (Rhus glabra). 

Honeysuckle (Lonicera diowa glau- 
cescens i. 

Red raspberry (Rubus strigosus). 

Prairie rose (Rosa pratincola). 

Pale rose (Rosa blanda). 

Bittersweet (Cela.strus scandens). 

Black currant (Ribes americanum). 

Smooth gooseberry (Ribcs gracile). 

Prickly ash (Xanthoxylum america- 

(b) Western (Setniarid) Division 

Yellow pine (Pinus scopulorum) . 
Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus 

scopulorum) . 
Creeping juniper (Juniperus horizon- 

Western birch (Betula fonfinalis). 
Silver-leaf (Elaeagnus argent ea). 
Buffaloberry (Lcpargyrea argentea). 

Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). 
Silver sage (Artemisia frigida). 
Yellow willow (Salix lutea). 
Green ash (Fraxinus lanceolata). 
Shrubby cinquefoil (Potent ilia fruti- 

cosa ) . 
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-urxi). 
False lupine (Thermopsis rhombi folia ) 

Bergman (1918, p. 162) has made essentially this same division 
under mesophytic and xerophytic prairie, well characterizing each 
by its grasses and " more abundant secondary species " as follows : 

(a) Mesophytic, or Andropogon, Prairie (Eastern) 

Forked beardgrass ; Big blue-stem 

(Andropogon f ureal us ) . 
Broom beardgrass ; Little blue-stem 

{A ndropogon scoparius). 
Indian grass ( Sorgha.strum nutans). 
Porcupine grass (Stipa spartea). 
Sedge (Carcx festucacea). 
Yarrow (Achillea Immlosa). 
Gray false indigo; Lead-plant (Amor- 

pha canescens) . 
Cylindric wind-flower (Anemone cylin- 

drica i . 
Cut-leaved wormwood (Artemisia cau- 

data) . 
Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) . 
White-flowered avens (Drymocallis 


Closed gentian (Oentiana puberula). 

Maximilian sunflower (Heliawthus 
maximilianus) . 

Alum root (He itch era hispida). 

Blazing star (Lacinaria pychnostachya 
and Lacinaria searioaa). 

Lobelia (Lobelia spicata). 

Evening primrose (Meriolix serru- 

Slender beardtongue (Pentstemon gra- 
cilis ) . 

Ground cherry (Physalis lanceolata). 

Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta). 

Spiderwort (Tradescantia bracteata). 

Ironweed (Vernonia fascicularis) . 



[No. 49 

(&) Xerophyiio, or Bouteloua, Prairie (Western Short-ffrass) 

Grama grass (Bouteloua oligostachya) . 
Buffalo grass (Bulbilis dactyloides) . 
Loco plant (Aragallus lambertii). 
Silver sage (Artemisia frigida). 
Buffalo pea (Astragalus crassicar- 

Brown-eyed susan (Brauneria angus- 

Indian paintbrush (Castilleja sessili- 

Golden aster (Chrysopsis villosa). 
Treacle mustard ( Erysimum asperum ) . 
Prairie marigold (Gaillardia lanoeo- 

Scarlet gaura (Gaura coccinea). 

Yellow flax (Linum rigidum). 
Narrow-leaved puccoon (Lithosper- 

mum linearifolium) . 
Skeleton plant (Lygodesmia juncea). 
Orange-red false mallow (Malvastrum 

coccineum) . 
Yellow Indian paintbrush (Orthocar- 

pus luteus). 
Pale beardtongue (Pentstemon albi- 

Silver clover (Psoralea argophylla). 
Groundsel, paintbrush (Senecio plat- 

Yellow violet (Viola nuttallii). 

Ckop Adaptations of the Transition Zone 

The crop adaptations of the Transition Zone and its subdivisions 
make it the most important in the State because of the extent of the 
zone and the enormous quantity of its products. Every slight ad- 
vantage in variety of grain or other crop under different climatic 
conditions should be utilized so far as these conditions prevail. 
Different crops and varieties are being constantly tested and the 
more resourceful farmers are quick to adopt any that offer even a 
slight advantage in quality, yield, or price. 

Canadian Zone 

The Canadian Zone, which sweeps across the continent mainly 
north of the United States and is generally characterized by forests 
of spruce, fir, hemlock, aspen, and birch, is only lightly represented 
in a few restricted areas in North Dakota. Its largest area lies 
within the Turtle Mountains, where Canadian-Zone species domi- 
nate the flora and fauna, although by no means unmixed with 
Transition species. Other districts with still less representation of 
the zone are the Pembina Hills, the Killdeer Mountains, and nu- 
merous cold slopes and cold gulches in the high bluffs and buttes 
along the western side of the Mouse River Valley. On many steep 
northeast slopes, on high buttes, and in the Badlands, where in 
winter drifting snows fill shaded gulches to such a depth as to re- 
main until late in spring or to the beginning of summer, a trace of 
Canadian Zone species may be found. 

The aspen (PL 4, fig. 2) is one of the most widely distributed 
and abundant of the Canadian Zone trees, and from its habit of 
reproduction from myriads of widely blown, cotton-tufted seeds, it 
not only fills its zone, but lodges and grows wherever climatic con- 
ditions are possible for it. For this reason it is often found in spots 
far from its regular range, where even such local conditions as late 
snowbanks, cold springs, cold underground waters, or well-shaded 
slopes reduce the summer temperature. Thus, the aspens, with a 
few other Boreal plants and animals, often form little islands far 
out in the Transition Zone, in places even to its lower edge, that 
carry Boreal species whose presence is very confusing unless the 
conditions are thoroughly understood and the existence of the zone 


Cold slopes and gulches facing the north or northeast and missing 
much of the heat from the sun's rays are also important factors in 
carrying local traces of zones far below their real borders. Often 
cold gulches contain springs or streams of cold water in addition to 
the snow which accumulates in winter and which helps to keep their 
summer temperature low. In the Turtle Mountains the cold slones 
and gulches are practically pure Canadian Zone, as are mainly the 
moist bottomlands and all but the more open slopes facing the south. 
Although the temperature in these hills may be no lower in winter 
than that of the surrounding prairies, the more important growing 
temperature of summer is noticeably cooler than that of the open 
prairies where the sun's rays are more readily absorbed by the 
ground and returned to the surface layer of air. 

The Turtle Mountains at their highest rise less than a thousand 
feet above the prairie base level, and the actual altitude of the high- 
est hills is only approximately 2,500 feet. Although their elevation 
is not such as to lower perceptibly the general temperature, it is 
sufficient to attract an unusually heavy precipitation. This, in the 
form of rain and snow, produces not only a cooling effect on the 
surface, but a heavy growth of vegetation, largely arboreal and 
shrubby, the only extensive openings in which are lakes and marshes. 
The timber is largely aspen mingled with balsam poplar, white birch, 
and a few oaks, elms, and boxelders. The forests have been fre- 
quently swept away by fires, which fact undoubtedly accounts for 
the complete absence of conifers. Even the tamarack, which would 
find ideal conditions in the marshes, is not known to occur in this 
region. The preponderance of aspens also indicates frequent fires, 
as these trees, more than any other in this region, quickly reforest 
burned areas. Owing to the fact that heavy winter snows remain 
late in spring on the cold slopes, and to the difficulty of clearing the 
brush and timber-covered soil, the settlement of the hills has lagged 
behind that of other parts of the State. 

Though much modified, the Canadian Zone area is here of special 
importance and interest in carrying a comparatively well-forested 
area in the midst of an extensive treeless region. The forest is 
happily associated with numerous beautiful lakes, originally well 
stocked with fish. The whole region was once famous for its game 
and fur-bearing animals, and at present it affords a delightful resort 
for fishing and camping, and is steadily growing in importance as 
a summer recreation ground. 

Characteristic Mammals — Canadian Zone 

The principal Canadian Zone mammals of the Turtle Mountains 
and Pembina Hills at the present time are the red squirrel (Sciurus 
hudsonicus), northern chipmunk (Eutamias borealis), varying hare 
(Lepus americaniis) , Canada lynx {Lynx canadensis), Richardson 
shrew {Sorex richardsoni) , and silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noc- 
tivagans). Formerly there occurred also the caribou, moose, mar- 
ten, fisher, and wolverene. 

Characteristic Breeding Birds — Canadian Zone 

The typical Canadian Zone birds of this region are not strongly 
represented, but the white-throated sparrow {Zonotrichia albicoUis) 
is a common summer songster in the Turtle Mountains, and the 
slate-colored junco (Junco hyenialis) occurs and probably breeds. 



[No. 49, 1926] 

Chabactebistic Plants — Canadian Zone 

The number of species of Canadian Zone plants in North Dakota 
is not great, but the forest is dominated by a few of them, as the 
aspen (poplar), balsam poplar, and white birch. The following 
characterize the zone in the State : 

Aspen poplar (Populus tremuloides) . 
Balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) . 
White birch (Betula papyrifera) . 
Shrubby birch (Betula putnila glandu- 

Pin cherry (Prunus pennsylvanica) . 
Autumn willow (Salix serissima). 
High-bush cranberry (Viburnum opu- 

lus americana). 

Beaked hazel (C'orylus rostrata). 
Rabbitberry (Lepargyrea canadensis). 
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) . 
Canadian serviceberry (Amelanchier 

canadensis oblong if olia). 
Red currant (Ribes triste). 
Winter-lettuce (Pyrola asarifolia). 
Miterwort (Mitella nuda). 

The Killdeer Mountains, lying just south of the Little Missouri 
Kiver, about 30 miles directly west of its junction with the Mis- 
souri, are another group of high hills of a different type, but with 
only a slight trace of Canadian Zone in their cold gulches. They 
are about 900 feet higher than the surrounding prairie, with the 
main riclge about 12 miles long and from 2 to 3 miles wide. Their 
slopes are steep and rocky in places and at the southern end form 
limestone cliffs 100 feet high. The top of the ridge is a level, grassy 
plateau, but there are many deep gulches with springs and small 
streams of cold Avater. All the deep gulches and about half the area 
of the mountains are covered with a growth of deciduous trees and 
shrubs. The principal trees are oak, aspen, ash, elm, boxelder, white 
birch, and western birch ; the shrubs are mainly willow, serviceberry, 
chokecherry, red cherry, pin cherry, plum, rose, gooseberry, wild cur- 
rant, raspberrjr, thorn apple, cornel, beaked hazel, buffaloberry, rab- 
bitberry, and shrubby juniper. Of these plants the aspen, white 
birch, pin cherry, beaked hazel, rabbitberry, and shrubby juniper are 
mainly Canadian Zone species. This element, however, is not suffi- 
ciently pronounced to warrant mapping the Killdeer Mountains as 
Canadian Zone. 

Similar but even less strongly marked elements of Canadian Zone 
may be found in the deep gulches west of the Mouse River, and on 
some of the high ridges and cold slopes over the northwestern part of 
the State. 

Crop Adaptations of the Canadian Zone 

Although pure Canadian Zone is of comparatively limited agri- 
cultural value, it has other advantages, as forest, fur, and game 
production. Its representation in North Dakota is so limited and so 
mixed with Transition-Zone conditions that most of the hardy crops 
of the Transition Zone thrive in it except on pronounced northerly 
slopes or cold bottomlands. The clearing of the land gives a slight 
advantage to the lower zone conditions, especially on open areas and 
southerly slopes. The main area of the Canadian Zone lies in the 
Turtle Mountains, but even the more limited spots in the Pembina 
Hills, the Killdeer Mountains, in the gulches, and on the cold slopes 
of other elevated areas may prove of special value for timber and 
fur production. 


Present and Former Abundance 

In the economy of the area now known as North Dakota the 
mammalian fauna has played an important part, not only since the 
separate State was created in 1889, and when it was a Territory 
with South Dakota in 1868, or a part of Nebraska in 1854, or of the 
Louisiana Territory in 1804, but still earlier, before the Louisiana 
Purchase added it to the United States. The fur-bearing animals 
first attracted white men to take up shifting residence within what 
are now the borders of North Dakota, where abundance of game in- 
sured their support and lured them on to new fields of profit and 
adventure. The rich soil and the luxuriant vegetation of the 
region originally supported vast numbers of the most important 
large game animals of the country, and these naturally attracted 
many predatory species. The rivers, streams, and lakes teemed 
with beavers and muskrats, and the limited forest areas supported 
many other valuable fur-bearing animals. 

The region was exceptionally rich in the number of individuals, 
if not in the species, of large game. Of the abundance of small 
animals before the settlement of the region, there is little record, but 
probably in most cases there has been comparatively slight change. 
Many of the larger species have entirely disappeared, or have be- 
come very scarce or local in their distribution, owing to the change 
from a limited Indian population with crude weapons to the occupa- 
tion of the country by hunters, trappers, and traders, and later by 
a well-armed, well-equipped, energetic, and sport-loving people. 
Before any thought of game protection or conservation influenced 
the destructive methods of the early settlers, much of the game had 
disappeared. Only in comparatively recent years have wise and 
effective laws been enacted for the protection of the game that ie- 
mains, and there are not enough protected areas to insure the main- 
tenance of this remnant. Some of the vanished species are being 
reintroduced in areas of little value for other purposes, and it is 
hoped that still others that are no longer found within the State 
may thus be preserved for the interest of future generations. 

In many cases the disappearance of the game before the settlement 
of the country was necessary and can be regretted only on the 
ground that the methods employed were wasteful and the rate of 
depletion was unnecessarily rapid. With better control the buffalo, 
elk, deer, antelope, and mountain sheep would have lasted much 
longer, and could have been of value to great numbers of people 
for several generations, instead of being largely squandered by a few 
skin hunters. It is futile to waste time in regrets over what can no 


18 XOETH AMEKICAX FAUNA [No. 49, 1926.] 

longer be helped, but future loss to the State can be prevented by a 
fuller knowledge of the species which should be preserved and those 
which can well be spared. 

Useful and Harmful Species 

At the present time the mammals of the State may be divided into 
two groups, the useful and the harmful. The clearly useful species 
may be grouped under game animals, fur-bearing animals, certain 
rodent destroyers, and insectivorous animals. The harmful species 
may be classed broadly as predatory animals and rodent pests. 
Each of these groups has an important place in the economy of the 
State, but without a .thorough knowledge of the abundance, distri- 
bution, and habits of each it is impossible to employ intelligently 
successful methods of protection, propagation, control, or destruction 
of a species or a group of species. To supply the needed infor- 
mation, the present report has been prepared, the information being 
based on facts gathered in field work of the Biological Survey, sup- 
plemented by data from all available reliable sources. 

Indian Names of Mammals 

The Indian names given for many of the mammals have been 
collected for the sake of perpetuating those longest in use for the 
species, and in the hope that in cases where other names are not 
available or well established, some may be generally adopted. 
Names of many of the conspicuous species from several different 
tribes are found in the reports of Maximilian and other ethnolo- 
gists, but most of those used have been contributed by Melvin R. 
Gilmore, formerly curator of the State Historical Society, at Bis- 
marck, now of the Museum of the American Indian, New York City, 
who has obtained them directly from the Indians through his own 
knowledge of their language or by showing skins of the species with 
which they are familiar. Many of the Manclan names have been 
supplied by George F. Will, of Bismarck, in cooperation with Doc- 
tor Gilmore. 

The following phonetic key is used except in names from Maxi- 
milian, where the German spelling is retained : 

c, as ch in chin (k and s are used for 
the ordinary sounds of c). 

ch, as guttural ch in German ich, ach. 

sh, as z in azure. 

n (elevated) nasalizes the preceding 

Measurements and Weights 

In most cases the usual three measurements are given: Total 
length— from tip of nose to tip of tail vertebrae in a straight line; 
length of tail — from base at right angle with back to tip of skin at 
end of tail ; and hind foot — from point of heel to tip of longest claw. 
Most of the measurements are, as originally taken, in millimeters. 1 
Weights are given, when available, in grams for the smaller and in 
pounds for the larger animals. 

1 For the convenience of those not familiar with the metric scale it may be stated 
that 25 millimeters make approximately 1 inch, and 304.8 millimeters are equivalent to 
1 foot. 

a, as a in father. 
e, as e in they. 
i, as i in marine. 
o, as o in go. 
u, as u in rule. 

Class MAMMALIA: Vertebrate Animals That Nurse Their Young 

Order ARTIODACTYLA : Hoofed Animals— Cattle, Sheep, Goats, 

Antelope, and Deer 

Family BOVIDAE : Cattle, Sheep, and Goats 

Bison bison bison (Linnaeus) 
American Bison; American Buffalo 

Te of the Omahas (Gilmore) ; Pte of 
the Dakotas (Gilmore) and 
Mandans (Will) : Mite of the 
Hidatas (Matthews); Tanaha of 
the Arikaras (Gilmore). 

[Bos] bison Linnaeus, Syst. Nat., ed. 10, t. 1, p. 72, 1758. 

Type locality. — Indefinite. 

General characters. — The American buffalo, or bison, is so -.veil known as 
a feature of all western description and travel and from picture, statue, 
and the currency and coin of the Republic, as well as from the examples 
still preserved in public and private parks, that it needs no detailed descrip- 
tion. A large buffalo bull described by Audubon (1897. p. Ill), killed by one 
of the party at Fort T'nion (now Buford), in 1*43. measured from tip of 
nose to root of tail, 131 inches; tail vertebrae. 15% inches; hair on end of 
tail, 11 inches. When cut into pieces it weighed 1.777 pounds — it was not fat, 
and would have weighed 2.000 pounds if it had been in better condition. In 
his detailed description of the buffalo. Audubon (1851-1854, vol. 2. p. 44. 1851) 
says that very large bulls generally weigh about 2.000 pounds and cows about 
1,200 pounds. These approximate weights are in accord with some recent 

Early abundance. — Until the beginning of the past century, buf- 
falo ranged over all of North Dakota in vast herds. Although 
no approximate estimate of their numbers is possible, the abundance 
of the animals is attested bv vivid statements of early explorers. 
Alexander Henry (the younger) (1897, pp. 84, 162, 167, 208-209) 
recorded them in immense numbers along the Red River Valley 
in September, 1800, and on January 1, 1801, near the junction of the 
Park and Red Rivers, as in great abundance, the Plains entirely 
covered, the animals moving in a body from north to south; and 
on January 14 of the same year, he says: 

At daybreak I was awakened by tbe bellowing of buffaloes. ... On my right 
tbe Plains were black, and appeared as if in motion, . . . and on my left, to 
the utmost extent of the reach below us. the river was covered with buffalo 
moving northward. ... I dressed and climbed my oak for a better view. I 
had seen almost incredible numbers of buffalo in the fall, but nothing in 
comparison to what I now beheld. The ground was covered at every point 
of the compass, as far as the eye could reach, and every animal was in motion. 

In January, 1803, on a trip from Park River, N. Dak., to Riding 
Mountain, Manitoba, lie says "we never marched a day without 
passing herds of buffaloes;'" and men who "have lately been up 
as far as Goose River, tell me the buffalo continue in abundance 



from this place to that river and as far as the eye could reach 

On October 19, 1804, Lewis and Clark (1893, pp. 172, 174, 175, 
276, 278, 282, 286) counted 52 herds from a single point on the 
Missouri River, 11 miles above Fort Rice; the next day they saw 
great numbers on the flats just below where Bismarck now stands, 
and the following day a little farther up the river found the Plains 
covered with herds. As they journeyed toward the Mandan vil- 
lages, where they spent the winter, herds of buffalo were frequently 
seen, although during the winter the Indians had to make many 
hunting trips to bring back a meat supply. Again in the following 
April, as the expedition proceeded up the river, numerous buffalo 
herds were encountered, and great numbers of carcasses of drowned 
animals were seen floating in the current or stranded along the 
shores. On the broad flats at the mouths of the Little Missouri, the 
Muddy, and the Yellowstone, buffalo were reported in " vast 
herds " and immense quantities. In 1811 between the Arikaree and 
Mandan villages Brackenridge (1816, pp. 133-134) says, "I discov- 
ered in every direction immense herds of buffaloe ... in 
this [small] valley there appeared to be several thousand . . . 
armies of buffaloe all in motion as far as the eye could distinguish 
in everv direction." 

In 1833, Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, p. 84, 1841) found 
buffalo abundant throughout the North Dakota section of his trip 
up . the Missouri River, except near the larger Indian settlements, 
where persistent hunting kept them at times at considerable dis- 
tances. During the migrations, however, as the great herds swept 
back and forth from summer to winter range, they came close to 
the villages. While wintering at Fort Clark, Maximilian says the 
herds did not appear in the immediate vicing except when the 
weather was very severe, because they were too much disturbed by 
the numerous Indians in the neighborhood. The hunters of the 
fort were often obliged to ride 20 miles before finding them. In 
the cold snowstorms, so prevalent during the winter, the animals 
took refuge in the forests on the banks, where great numbers were 
killed and where it was almost impossible to drive them out of the 
woods. Their bones and skulls, scattered all over the ground, prove 
the immense destruction of these harmless animals. 

At Fort Union on the upper Missouri, Audubon (1851-1854, vol. 
2, p. 47, 1851) in 1843, gave a good idea of the immense numbers of 
bison on the wild prairies at that time in an account of a trip by Mr. 
Kipp, one of the principals of the American Fur Company, from 
Travers Bay on Lake Winnipeg to the Mandan Nation on the 
Missouri River. In August, "in a cart heavily laden, he [Kipp] 
passed through herds of buffalo for six days" in succession. At 
another time he saw the great prairie near Fort Clark on the Missouri 
River, almost blackened by these animals, which covered the plain 
to the hills that bounded the view in all directions." On his return 
trip down the Missouri in August, Audubon (1897, pp. 154-155) 
also saw great numbers of buffalo and said the roaring of the bulls 
was like the long continuous roll of a hundred drums, and could be 
heard for miles; while the animals were seen all over the prairies 
and river bars and many were swimming in the river, 


In 1845 Father De Sruet, (1905, p. 657) on crossing the Missouri 
River west of Fort Union, said: "the whole space between the 
Missouri and the Yellowstone was covered [with buffalo] as far as 
the eye could reach . . . During a whole week we heard their 
bellowings like the noise of distant thunder, or like the murmurs 
of the ocean waves beating against the shore." 

In "A story of 53," of the fur-trading days at Walhalla, Charles 
Cavileer states that 10,000 to 12,000 buffalo robes, worth $1.25 to 
$2.50 each, were brought in to that post each year. 

In the spring of 1862, on the Missouri River, A. H. "Wilcox (1907, 
p. 46) writes: 

At two different times oar steamboat was obliged to stop, and tie up along- 
side the shore to avoid the immense herds of buffalo that were floating down 
the river. The first drove we encountered was near where Bismarck in North 
Dakota is now located. The river was nearly half a mile wide and was filled 
nearly its entire width with live buffaloes, and they were at least half an hour 
in passing. We encountered the other drove a little above the mouth of the 
Yellowstone and it must have contained at least 20,000 animals. 

L. C. Ives, of Veblen, S. Dak., told the writer that his company of 
cavalry, the Second Minnesota Volunteers, on their return trip 
from an Indian expedition up the Yellowstone in 1863, encountered 
untold thousands of buffalo on the prairies east of the Missouri 

In July, 1866, R. M. Probsfielcl (Wilcox, 1907, p. 50) reported a 
herd on the North Dakota side of the Red River about 18 miles 
north of Fargo. He says : "There ma}- have been 10,000 or 100,000 of 
them ... as we could not see their limit either north or west." 
The next herd, only 25 in all, was seen in 1867, and another small 
herd in 1868 in the same vicinity on the east side of the river. 

Often the early travelers reported days without seeing buffalo, 
or only scattered bunches or occasional individuals, from which to 
draw their meat supply. The great numbers seen at certain times 
and places were usually the migrating bands that swept back and 
forth from north to south or east to west, according to season or 
the abundance or scarcity of food and water. But, while migratory 
in habits, the buffalo did not entirely leave the State at any time 
of year, nor apparently any considerable part of it, as the fall and 
spring herds swept in a general way north and south, those from 
farther north and farther south coming in. to replace those that 
drifted beyond its borders and to fatten on the rich summer grasses 
or to paw through the winter snow for the still abundant supply 
of well-cured prairie grass underneath. The country was well 
stocked but not overstocked. The buffalo had reached a fair equilib- 
rium behvoen natural increase and annual loss, loss from wolves, 
bears, and native hunters, and from quicksand, water, rotten ice, 
blizzards, and prairie fires. 2 

Natural cheeks on abundance. — At his winter quarters on the Park 
River, where it joins the Red River, Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 
174, 175, 177, 253, 254) writes in his journal, on March 31, 1801: 
" Rain broke up the ice . . . It continued to drift, . . . bearing 

2 For full and interesting accounts of the buffalo, see Allen, J. A. (1876). The American 
bisons, living and extinct; Ilornaday, W. T. (1889), The extermination of the American 
bison ; Seton, Ernest Thompson (1909), vol. 1, pp. 247-303, Life-histories of northern 


great numbers of dead buffalo from above, which must have been 
drowned in attempting to cross while the ice was weak." On 
April 1, he says : " The river is clear of ice, but drowned buffalo 
continue to drift by entire herds ... It is really astonishing 
what vast numbers have perished; they formed one continuous line 
in the current for two days and nights. One of my men found a 
herd that had fallen through the ice in Park River and all been 
drowned; they were sticking in the ice, which had not yet moved 
in that part." On April 18 he records " drowned buffalo still drift- 
ing down the river, but not in such vast numbers as before " ; and on 
May 1, " The stench from the vast numbers of drowned buffalo along 
the river was intolerable . . . Two hunters arrived in a skin canoe 
from Grandes Fourches with 30 beaver and 7 bear skins. They 
tell me the number of buffalo lying along the beach and on the 
banks above, passes all imagination; they form one continuous 
line, and emit a horrid stench. I am informed that every spring 
it is about the same." Similar accounts of buffalo in the Missouri 
River are found in journals of the early explorers. 

In the Hair Hills, at the source of Salt River, on November 25, 
1803, Henry saw the effects of fire on the buffalo and writes : 

Plains burned in every direction and blind buffalo seen every moment wander- 
ing about. The poor beasts bave all tbe hair singed off ; even the skin in many 
places is shriveled up and terribly burned, and their eyes are swollen and 
closed fast. ... In one spot we found a whole herd lying dead. The fire 
having passed only yesterday these animals were still good and fresh, and 
many of them exceedingly fat. ... At sunset we arrived at the Indian 
camp, having made an extraordinary day's ride, and seen an incredible number 
of dead and dying, blind, lame, singed, and roasted buffalo. The fire raged 
all night toward the S. W. 

Extermination by man. — Although natural losses among the buf- 
falo herds were at times great, they were local and irregular. With 
the advent of the white trappers and traders with powder and 
ball, and later of the skin hunters with better rifles, the long-estab- 
lished equilibrium was destroyed, and as settlements crept in the 
buffalo were crowded back or killed for local supply of meat and 
robes, and the great herds were followed and exterminated for their 
skins by gangs of men employed for the purpose. Old hunters 
have told of shooting 75 to 100 buffalo a day, from which their 
skinners would remove the hides and pin them to the ground to be 
dried and later hauled by teams to the nearest river or railway 
point for transportation. _ In the seventies the principal cargo of 
boats coming down the river from Fort Benton to Bismarck con- 
sisted of buffalo hides, more than 60,000 having been shipped down 
by one firm. Big wages were paid and big profits realized. 

The first record of the buffalo receding before the settlement of 
the area now included within the State of North Dakota was in 
1821, by Alexander Ross (1856, pp. 57, 100, 255, 257, 267), who 
reported them as becoming scarce in the vicinity of Pembina, and 
in 1826 as apparently not found without going 150 or 200 miles 
beyond Pembina. In 1840, he says the Pembino hunters went 250 
miles in the direction of the Sheyenne River for buffalo, and in 
1840 he prophesied that the end of the buffalo was fast approaching. 
Thenceforth the history of the buffalo becomes the history of their 
slaughter and rapid disappearance. On July 4, 1840, Ross records 



a buffalo hunt organized and carried to the vicinity of the Sheyenne 
River, west of Fargo. The herds were located and on the evening 
of the first day's hunt 1,375 tongues were brought into camp and 
more than 2,000 buffalo were estimated killed by the 400 mounted 

In September, 1861, Charles E. Patton and party, traveling west 
from the Red River Valley, saw the first buffalo and killed seven, 
about one day east of Devils Lake. A few days later 15 more were 
seen and 2 killed, a half day west of Sullys Hill. One day farther 
west herds of 15 and 20 were seen and the main great herd was near. 

At Devils Lake, in 1916, Frank Palmer said that in 1866, on a 
trip in Minnesota and North Dakota, the first buffalo in any abun- 
dance were encountered on the James River near the southern border 
of the State. In 1868 when he came to Devils Lake they were get- 
ting scarce near the fort and the Indians were in the habit of 
making trips to procure their meat supply. In 1869 and 1870 they 
were getting scarce all around the lake and hunting for hides had 
begun on a commercial basis. (Hornaday, 1889, pp. 507-508.) Near 
Valley City the last buffalo was killed in 1874. 3 

A surveying party in charge of George G. Beardsley in 1874 en- 
countered a herd of buffaloes numbering about 300 near the Hawk's 
Nest Buttes, not far from where Carrington now stands. The next 
year these were all killed (Wilcox, 1907, pp. 51, 53). 

In 1876 the Northern Pacific Railway reached Bismarck and 
diverted most of the cargoes of buffalo hides from the Missouri at 
that point, but only incomplete records were kept of the shipments. 
In 1881 more than 75,000 hides were shipped out from there, but these 
were mainly of animals killed in Montana (Hornaday, 1889, pp. 507- 

Mr. Holes, who settled at Fargo in 1871, told the writer that the 
nearest buffalo then were found on the prairies south of Devils 
Lake. J. A. Allen (1875, pp. 39-40) says the last buffalo killed near 
Fort Rice was in 1809, when three were killed from a herd of 10 old 
bulls which had strayed far eastward from the main herds. In 1915, 
Remington Kellogg was told that the last buffalo seen in the Goose 
River country was killed in March, 1878. 

Some of the old settlers reported in 1916 that the last buffalo was 
killed near Cannon Ball in the seventies. In June, 1882, the last 
great buffalo hunt of North Dakota took place on the headwaters of 
the Cannonball River, where 600 Indian hunters, well mounted and 
well armed, killed in a two-days' hunt 5,000 animals, as vividly de- 
scribed by Major McLaughlin '(1910, pp. 97-116), who took part in 
the hunt. 

The Fargo Record reports an old bull killed near Sykeston, in 
Wells County, in 1881, and E. E. Booth, of Minot, tells of one seen 
near Sawyer, in the same county in 1883, which was chased by horse- 
men but not caught. He says the animals were still common in the 
Dickinson country in 1882. Near Stump Lake the writer was told 
that the last buffalo ever seen in that region was a lone wanderer 
seen and chased, but not killed, in the winter of 1881-82. 

In 1913, at Fort Clark, Stanley G. Jewett learned from old hunters 
that the last buffalo in that region was killed by Joe Taylor during 

•Report by John Hailand to Morris J. Kernall in 1913. 


the fall of 1884. At Medora he was informed that the last killed was 
in the neighboring hills in 1884; and at Sentinel Butte, Lewis F. 
Crawford "told him that, so far as he knew, the last one killed in the 
State was in the country south of Dickinson in 1884. 

There may be later records for the State, but even those of 1884 
were of scattered individuals missed in the big hunts that had swept 
the main herds out of existence. 

Present-day remains. — To-day a buffalo robe or coat is rarely seen 
and the few remaining are greatly prized. A few mounted heads 
are still preserved in museums and public places. 

In 1887 when the writer first visited North Dakota, heaps of bones, 
mainly of buffalo, were commonly found at the stations along the 
Northern Pacific and Great Northern Kailways. Great piles of 
bones were often seen near the sidetrack, waiting until enough 
more were brought in to load one or more freight cars for shipment 
to fertilizer plants. Almost perfect buffalo skulls and horns were 
found in these bone piles but unfortunately the importance of saving 
series of skulls for future study was not then appreciated. 

Buffalo bones have now almost disappeared from the surface 
of the prairies, but they are still abundant under ground and under 
water. The marshy and springy places around the edges of lakes 
or along the river valleys fairly bristle with them. The shores and 
beaches of Devils Lake, Stump Lake, and the Sweetwater Lakes 
are strewn with such characteristic bones as the skulls, vertebrae 
with the long dorsal processes which supported the hump, and pieces 
of the rough black horns always distinguishable at a glance from 
those of cattle. Even the islands in the middle of Devils Lake 
are thickly strewn with buffalo bones, the unrecorded history of 
which is well understood by reading the accounts of Alexander 
Henry, Lewis and Clark, and others, of the thousands of buffalo 
carcasses found in spring floating down the rivers when the ice was 
melting and breaking up. 

Every lake and river in North Dakota seems to have trapped the 
buffalo during their abundance, while marshes, bogs, and spring 
holes drew heavily upon their numbers. The spring and fall migra- 
tions were in large part responsible for these fatal results, as rivers 
and lakes must necessarily be crossed or the migrating herds be 
checked or change their courses. For ages to come, well-preserved 
skeletons will be found embedded in the mud and silt, and still more 
perfect specimens in the oozy bogs of cold and mineral-impregnated 
water so common in the State. 

The old buffalo trails have not all disappeared. In many places 
they are still deep and well preserved in the tough prairie sod or 
on steep sidehills and Badlands buttes, where not disturbed by the 
plow or by the less hardy domestic stock. 

Buffalo wallows, little prairie basins that caught the rain and 
were used for mud baths by molting bulls with itching hides, are 
still found in great numbers not only on level areas but on hilltops 
and along the crests of ridges. Rubbing stones, great granite 
bowlders high enough to reach the itching sides of the buffalo, still 
stand on the prairie or on morainal ridges where they have been 
rubbed and polished until their sides are smooth and glossy, and 


the earth around them has been trampled and blown away, leaving 
them like inverted cups standing in deep saucers of earth. 

The survivors. — Of living buffalo, there are many in private and 
public parks, and a small national herd is maintained in the 
Sullys Hill Park, on the south side of Devils Lake. These are 
hardy and bid fair to keep the species permanently within the 
borders of the State as a reminder of the romantic days when tribes 
of wild Indians and herds of wild bison roamed at will over the 
great prairies and sought the shade and shelter of the groves on the 
margins of streams and lakes. 

Ovis canadensis auduboni Merriani 
Audubon Mountain Sheep 

Bighorn of the Badlands; Ansa-chta 
of the Mandana I Will) : Heki"sl:agi; 
(Heki n shkagi) of the Dakotas 
(Gilmore) ; Aziclitia of the Hidat- 
sas (Matthews) ; Arikusa of the 
Arikaras (Gilmore). 

Ovis canadensis auduboni Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., vol. 14, p. 31, 1901. 

Type locality. — " Upper Missouri.'" probably the Badlands between the 
Cheyenne and White Rivers, S. Dak. Type specimen supposed to have been 
collected by F. V. Hayden in 1S55. [See original description.] 

General characters. — Fully as large or larger than Oris canadensis, molars 
and .jaws much heavier. Audubon (1851-1854, vol. 2. p. 1G5, 1851) gives the 
color of July specimens as light grayish brown, rump and underparts, grayish 
white ; and the weight of a male as 344 pounds, and of a female as 240 pounds. 

Distribution, habitat, and habits. — Lewis and Clark in 1805. Maxi- 
milian in 1833, and Audubon in 1813, in their trips up the Missouri 
River, found mountain sheep on the Badlands bluffs between the 
points where the Little Knife and "White. Earth Rivers join the Mis- 
souri from the north, below the mouth of Muddy River, and near 
the junction of the Yellowstone with the Missouri. Maximilian re- 
ported them as abundant in the " Black Hills," where the Indians 
went to hunt them, and on his map includes under this name the 
Killdeer Mountains and Badlands alone; the Little Missouri River. 
At Fort Clark he (Wied 183&-1841, Bd. 2, p. 85, 18-11) said they 
were not found within 50 miles, which may have been either north 
or west, but was probably both. Apparently the original range of 
the bighorn in North Dakota included all of the very rough Bad- 
lands country along and west of the Missouri River. Howard Eaton 
in the seventies, and Theodore Roosevelt in the eighties, killed moun- 
tain sheep in the Badlands along the Little Missouri, but they were 
then no longer abundant: and at the present time there is probably 
not a live wild mountain sheep in the State, nor one of this sub- 
species in existence. 

The history of the bighorn in North Dakota is in a small way like 
that of the buffalo — a record of extermination. In 1804:, Lewis and 
Clark (1893, pp. 150, 214, 284) reported bighorns in the Badlands 
west of the Missouri River. At the Mandan villages they saw 
sheep horns among the Indians, and near the mouth of the Yellow- 
stone one of their men met several of the bighorn animals, but they 
were too shy to be obtained. 


In 1833, Maximilian, Prince of Wied (1839-1841, Bd. 1, p. 423, 
1839; Bd. 2, pp. 85, 309, 315, 1841), on his way up the Missouri to 
Fort Clark and Fort Union and thence west to Fort McKenzie and 
back to Fort Clark, where he spent the winter of 1833-34 among the 
Mandan Indians, first saw mountain sheep above the mouth of the 
Little Knife River. Later he found them below the -mouth of the 
Muddy River and near the mouth of the Yellowstone, while among 
the Mandans and Minnetarees he found beautiful shirts made of 
bighorn leather. The Minnetarees, he said, went to the Black Hills 
and other mountainous tracts to hunt, and killed a hundred or more 
sheep in a season. Among the Mandans and some of the other 
tribes he found the horns in use as bowls or ladles. 

Audubon (1897, pp. 24, 28, 40) saw his first bighorns in 1843 on 
the summit of a hill above the mouth of the Little Knife Eiver, 
quite probably, the same butte on which Maximilian had seen them 
10 years before, and he was told by the captain of the steamer that 
they had been seen there on his previous trip up the river. He 
saw others 6 miles below the mouth of the Muddy River, and near 
the mouth of the Yellowstone he saw a mixed band of 22, including 
rams, ewes, and one lamb (June 12). Many others were seen by 
members of his party, but it was with great difficulty that his hunters 
obtained enough sheep for his drawings and for a few specimens to 
be brought back. The sheep were very shy and kept on the highest 
and roughest parts of the Badlands buttes. He says, " I am told 
that the Rocky Mountain rams lost most of their young during the 
hard frosts of the early spring ; for, like those of the common sheep, 
the lambs are born as early as the 1st of March, and hence their 
comparative scarcity." This explanation suggests some more recent 
theories to account for the scarcity of game, but with wolves and 
coyotes as abundant as they were at that time, the wonder is that 
any lambs could escape to grow up, even on the very rough slopes 
that afforded the only protection to the adults. 

In 1880, J. G. Cooper (1869, p. 298) reported mountain sheep 
along the rocky bluffs bordering the Missouri River " above the 
Great Bend," but this record is indefinite, as most of his notes refer 
to the part of his trip from Fort Buford west to Fort Stanton, Mont. 

A. McG. Beede, who has had long acquaintance with the Indians 
and is familiar with their language, hunting lore, and traditions, 
says that there never were any mountain sheep near the Missouri 
at Cannon Ball, but that formerly the Indians went farther west to 
hunt them. 

Howard Eaton stated that in October, 1879, he killed two moun- 
tain sheep on Bullion Butte, a high plateau about 20 miles south of 
Medora. He also captured a live ewe on or near the butte and sent 
it to the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens, and he had killed many 
more in the Badlands of the Little Missouri. 

In the early eighties Theodore Roosevelt (1900b, pp. 73-105) 
hunted mountain sheep in the Badlands along the Little Missouri, 
and, although much hard hunting was required for the few moun- 
tain sheep seen and the one fine ram killed, he has given us the best 
account of the habits and haunts of this species to be found in liter- 



In 1913, Stanley G. Jewett, while in, the Killdeer Mountains, was 
told by Mike Caskelly, of Oakdale, N. Dak., that three mountain 
sheep were found in the Killdeer Mountains in 1888. For several 
days they were seen feeding on the ridge above his ranch, where 
the present town of Oakdale now stands. Two of these were killed 
by Caskelly's brother. In 1915, Remington Kellogg saw a mounted 
mountain sheep head at the home of Charles W. Hoffman, principal 
of the Indian School at Shell Village. It was one of the three 
killed by an Indian (Birdsbill) in 1898 from a bunch of five in the 
Badlands of the Little Missouri just outside the reservation. Later 
a photograph was obtained of this head. On Magpie Creek, 
a branch of the Little Missouri, west of the Killdeer Mountains, 
Jewett saw an old weathered horn that had been picked up a few 
years previously, and ranchmen told him that mountain sheep had 
formerly ranged over the rough hills along Magpie Creek. The last 
one known there was an old ram killed about 1905, the head of 
which was in the possession of a ranchman near Quinion. So far 
as known this is the last record for the State, although there are 
somewhat later reports of the species from the Badlands of South 

In the destructive and constructive periods of the West, as it 
passed from savage to civilized life, the bighorn of this open and 
accessible area contributed its all. Besides its most savory of wild 
meats, its magnificent head and horns offered a highly prized trophy 
not often obtained in the low country or where hunting on horseback 
was possible. Whether for sport or profit there was always a high 
price on the head of the bighorn, and this spells the doom of any 

Family ANTILOCAPRIDAE : Pronghorned Antelope 

.Antilocapra americana americana (Orel) 

Pronghorned Antelope; American Antelope; Pronghom 

(PI. 7) 

Koka of the Mandans (Will) ; Tatd- 
kana of the Dakotas (Beede) ; 
Uchi of the Hidatsas (Mat- 
thews) ; Ohka of the ' Arikaras 

Antilope americana Ord. Guthrie's Geog., 2d Amer. ed., vol. 2, pp. 292, 308, 

1815. (Reprint by S. N. Iihoads, 1894). 
Antilocapra americana Ord, Journ. Phys. [Paris], vol. 87, p. 149, 1818. 

Type locality. — Plains and highlands of the Missouri River. 

General characters— Size of a small deer, very slender, graceful, and swift. 
The striking characters are the flat-pronged and hooked horns, which are 
shed and renewed each year, the mere stump of a tail, the great white rump 
patch that is spread in a wide rosette or closed down at will, and the strongly 
contrasted buff and black and white markings. It is neither a true antelope 
nor a goat, but belongs to a family of one-pronged deciduous-horned animals 
including one species and several geographic races peculiar to North America. 

Distribution. — Antelope originally ranged over nearly all of the 
open country of North Dakota. It is doubtful that they ever pene- 
trated the timbered area of the Turtle Mountains to any extent, 

82242°— 2G 3 


and they seem to have been always absent or scarce in the imme- 
diate valley of the Red River. On his numerous trips up and down 
the Red River Valley from 1800 to 1806, Alexander Henry (1897, 
p. 191) never mentioned them except for one brought him by an 
Indian at Pembina, November 15, 1801. At Fargo, James Holes, 
one of the early settlers, said in 1912 that as long ago as 1871 there 
had been no antelope nearer than the western part of Cass County, 
where they were abundant until at least 1879. In 1887 at Pembina, 
the writer heard that they were still found in the Pembina Hills, 
34 miles west of the Red River, and all along the valley they were 
reported west of the low, flat bottom of old Lake Agassiz. Perhaps 
their range was established before the lake disappeared, but more 
probably the tall grass and rich waxy soil kept them away from 
the valley bottom. 

Early abundance. — In 1804, Lewis and Clark (1893, pp. 170, 174, 
190, 211) reported great numbers of "goats" (antelope) along the 
Missouri River. On October 16, 9 miles below the mouth of Cannon- 
ball River, they recorded great numbers on the banks and in the 
river, where they were driven by the Indians and killed with sticks 
and guns. Again, great numbers were seen on the wide flats just 
below Bismarck and about their camp above Mandan, where 100 
were caught at one time in a pen by the Indians. The explorers 
were told that the antelope were then on their fall migration west 
to the " Black Mountains " to spend the winter, but would return to 
the plains east of the Missouri in spring; and as the party continued 
up the river the following April, after wintering at the Mandan 
villages, they met the returning antelope in great numbers. 

In August, 1806, Alexander Henry (1897, p. 410) reported numer- 
ous herds of "cabbrie" (antelope) on his way from Mouse River to 
Fort Union. In 1833, Maximilian (Wiecl, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, p. 84, 
1841; 1843, p. 246) says the " cabri " or antelope (Antilocapra Ord), 
lived the whole year in the immediate vicinity of Fort Clark. In the 
summer great numbers congregated, going in the winter toward the 
mountains, where they found protection from the snow, and return- 
ing in April, when large bands of them were seen about the Missouri. 
Their migrations were by no means checked by the Missouri River, 
as bands were frequently seen swimming across, and the great prai- 
ries east and north of the river were a favorite summer range, as the 
Badlands of the Little Missouri, the Powder, and the Cheyenne 
Rivers (South Dakota) were a favorite winter resort for the ante- 
lope of that region. 

In 1873 from Fort Abraham Lincoln west to the Little Missouri 
J. A. Allen (1875, p. 40) found antelope the most abundant game 
animal, almost constantly in sight and attracting much attention for 
their grace and beauty. On his return trip a few months later a 
fatal epizootic had raged among the pronghorns over nearly the 
whole area between the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, destroying 
apparently three-fourths to nine-tenths of the animals. For the 
whole length of the Heart River, considerably over 100 miles, along 
the line of march, he says, their carcasses were thickly scattered and 
included both sexes and all ages, fawns often lying within a few 
yards of their dams. There were 10 dead seen to every live antelope, 
but the disease had apparently not extended beyond the Yellowstone 
or Missouri Rivers. 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. 

Plate 7 

Buck Antelope (Antilocapra Americana Americana) 

From photograph by II. W. Hensbaw, Wichita Game Preserve, Olda. 


Decrease in abundance. — In later years the disappearance of the 
antelope over the State has been not so much in advance of settle- 
ment as in the case of the buffalo, but has been coincident with the 
early filling up of each section of their range by settlers. Frank 
Palmer, of Devils Lake, told the writer that antelope were numer- 
ous in that part of the State up to 1872 and common to 1876, while 
a few remained into the eighties. Mr. Holes, of Fargo, reports 
" lots " of antelope seen in the western part of Cass County in 1879. 
In 1877 a herd estimated at 3,000 was seen by J. S. Weiser between 
Valley City and Jamestown. From 1878 to 1880 they were common 
about Valley City, according to John Haiiand, and as many as 200 
were seen in a bunch. In 1882 a " whole herd " of antelope was seen 
on Judge Green's farm, southwest of Valley City, by D. W. Clark, 
and in 1892, ex-Governor Frank White saw eight antelope near 
Valley City. In 1887 the animals were reported as still common in 
the Mouse River country, a few were still found in the Pembina 
Hills and country east of the Turtle Mountains, and a bunch of 14 
had wintered near Devils Lake. In 1891 and 1892 Elmer T. Judd 
killed several near Canby, but they were the last he knew of in that 
section of the State. At Stump Lake the writer was told in 1912 
that antelope were abundant over the prairies during the eighties 
and that the last few individuals had disappeared in 1909 or 1910. 
A few were reported on the prairies west of the Turtle Mountains 
in 1909, but the latest record available at Crosby, in the northwestern 
corner of the State, was of three seen in 1906, although they had been 
numerous there until about 1903. 

In 1915, Remington Kellogg was told of one recently seen near 
Lostwood Lake in the northern part of Mountrail County, but it 
is doubtful if there are at present any remaining east or north of the 
Missouri River. 

West of the river, the more arid prairies have been used as stock 
range and only in recent years have filled up with grain farms and 
close settlement, to which fact, and to the fact that the areas of 
rough Badlands country are unsuited to farming, the antelope owe 
their present though scant existence in the State. In the early 
eighties Roosevelt (1900c, pp. 72, 77-80, 97-98, 119-120) found them 
still abundant in places. On one trip with the round-up between 
the Little Missouri and the Yellowstone, he "wrote: " Antelope were 
very plentiful, running like race-horses across the level, or uttering 
their queer, barking grunt as they stood at gaze, the white hairs on 
their rumps all on end, their neck bands of broken brown and white 
vivid in the sunlight." Being detailed to get antelope meat for the 
round-up camp, he says : " There was no lack of the game I was 
after, for from every rise of ground I ceuld see antelope scattered 
across the prairie, singly, in couples, or in bands." They were 
wild and in open country, but he managed to bring in three to the 
camp that night. One December in the eighties, making a trip of 
about 20 miles from his ranch to where a band of antelope were 
wintering, he found a herd of several hundred and killed an old 
buck and a yearling to take back for meat. The others ran around 
him. but would not leave the flat for the broken country and deep 
snowdrifts beyond. He says : " Their evident and extreme reluc- 
tance to venture into the broken country roundabout made me 


readily understand the tales I had heard of game butchers killing 
over a hundred individuals at a time out of a herd so situated." 
Again, he says : " Several times I killed and brought in prong 
bucks, rising before dawn, and riding off on a good horse for our 
all-day's hunt on the rolling prairie country 12 or 15 miles away " 
[from his ranch]. 

In 1893<, A. K. Fisher reported antelope as still common within 
25 miles of Medora, where J. L. Foley had killed 13 on one trip 
the previous fall. In 1909 the farmers reported a bunch of 20 that 
had been seen a little west of Fort Clark a couple of years before. 

In 1913, Charles Converse said there were still a few antelope 
about Schafer and Alexander; and Stanley G. Jewett reported 
a few still on the rolling prairie around the Killdeer Mountains, 
where the settlers told him 'it was not uncommon to see them any- 
where in the open country north and west from Oakdale to the 
Little Missouri. At the Q-Bar ranch, on Magpie Creek, he was 
told of five antelope often seen on the hills to the east of the 
ranch house, but no others were known in that vicinity. At Medora, 
he learned that there were still a few on the plains about 30 miles 
south of there, where a doe and a fawn had recently been seen by 
a ranchman, and where four others were reported by a local sur- 
veyor. At Sentinel Butte, Mr. Crawford told him of a band of 
IT, which he had seen a few miles south of town two years pre- 
viously, and of one that was frequently seen on the hills north of 
town during the summer of 1912. In August, 1913, there were 
about 30 antelope ranging on the Dakota National Forest, some 25 
miles south of Medora, and a few on the big flats south of Bullion 
Butte. In 1915, H. H. Sheldon reported about 30 still in and around 
the national forest, and a few seen on Deep Creek, south of it, but 
said that they were being frequently killed and were apparently 
on the decrease. In August and September of 1915 Kemington 
Kellogg reported a buck seen several times in Dunn County, west of 
Elbowoods, and a few near Goodall in McKenzie County. In 
1916 the writer was told that there were still a few antelope in 
the section about Cannon Ball, and that two had been seen only a 
few miles west of the town within a few days. The great numbers 
formerly occupying that region had entirely disappeared. 

A recent report on antelope by E. W. Nelson (1925) gives their 
present numbers in the State as follows : 

Antelope have almost disappeared from North Dakota. The remaining herds 
now number only five and aggregate about 225 animals. Their future appears 
to be extremely doubtful unless a game preserve can be established wherein 
they may be safeguarded. 

The distribution of the herds [in 1924] is approximately as follows: 

1. In September, 1924, 60 antelope were reported as ranging from north- 
western Dunn County into the adjacent part of McKenzie County. 

2. A band of 9 was reported in September, 1924, in southwestern McKenzie 

3. About 75 are reported in adjacent parts of central Golden Valley and 
Billings Counties. This is the largest band reported in the State. William 
McCarthy, who owns 11,000 acres of rough, rolling land in the heart of the 
Badlands along the Missouri River, which affords a natural range for game, 
writes that when he came into possession of the range in 1910 there were 
about 15 antelope there. Much hunted, they sought §.nd were given every 
protection in his pastures, where they found running springs and flowing wells 
with an abundance of grass, and as a result have become very tame. 


4. Bands numbering 55 were reported in September, 1924, in the Badlands 
of tbe Little Missouri River in Slope County. 

5. In September, 1924, a band of 26 was reported from southwestern Bowman 

Protection for the remnant. — The few antelope still inhabiting the 
roughest and least-settled parts of the Badlands would doubtless, if 
taken in time, form the nucleus of a herd that might rescue the 
species from being wiped out of the State, if not out of existence. 
If rough land of little value except for forest production and graz- 
ing were properly fenced so that the antelope would not stray to 
unprotected areas, and if coyotes were trapped to a harmless mini- 
mum and sheep scab kept out, it would seem that antelope should 
increase as rapidly as any herd of sheep. There are often, if not 
usually, two young at a birth, and these rough Badlands buttes and 
gulches afford the shelter and protection needed from storms and 
the most severe winter weather. Native plants furnish ample food 
in short grass for summer and in choice buds and tips of bushes for 
winter. Away from their native haunts no animals are more difficult 
to raise and keep in good health; at home no domestic animals are 
so hard and able to care for themselves under all conditions of 
weather and climate. Some of the Badlands areas that have been the 
wonder and admiration of geologists and travelers since the days 
of the early exploring expeditions could well be used as a preserve 
to save the antelope. Mule deer, elk, and bison could be added to the 
preserve thus created, but it is probably too late to rescue the Audu- 
bon mountain sheep for the purpose, although they have only re- 
cently vanished from the terraces and crests of these brilliantly 
colored buttes. 

Family CERVIDAE : Moose, Elk, Caribou, and Deer 

Alces americanus americanus Jardlne 

(PI. 8) 

Orignal, of the early French voy- 
ageurs; Moose [or Muswa] of the 
Crees and Ojibways (Seton) ; We- 
sucharut of the Axikaras. (Gil- 
more) ; Ta of the Dakotas (Gil- 
more) ; Pachiiptaptach of the Man- 
dans (Will). 

Alces americanus Jardine, Nat. Libr. Mamm., vol. 3, p. 125, 1S35. 

Type locality. — Eastern North America. 

General characters. — The largest of tbe deer family, with throat pendant, 
or bell, long legs, short tail, and the dark colors of the deep forest habitat; the 
bulls with broadly palmate, deciduous horns. Measurements of a large bull 
by Seton (1909, vol. 1, pp. 145-14G), total length, 9 feet, 6% inches; tail, 2% 
inches; hind foot, 31% inches; height at shoulders, 6 feet. Weight of very 
large bulls, 1,300 and 1,400 pounds. 

Distribution and habitat. — Their long legs and wide-spreading 
hoofs enable moose to wade and swim and pass rapidly through 
marshes, swamps, and lakes, as well as through dense forests, but 
these animals avoid the open country as completely as antelope do 
the timber. From the great forests on the north and east, the moose 
in the early days entered North Dakota in the Turtle Mountains 


and along the timbered fringes of the Eed Kiver Valley. In 1S0O, 
Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 90. US) stated in his journal that they 
frequented the mouth of Park Kiver. He also said that the Pembina 
Hills made a famous country for moose and elk. In 18S7. when the 
writer was at Bottineau, moose were still reported from the Turtle 
Mountains, and in 1912. records were obtained of some killed there 
in 1888, 1899, and 1906. The country is ideal for them and the exten- 
sive area combines dense forest, thickets, and a network of marshes 
and lakes, where the tule borders half hide the floating pads and 
golden globes of the cowlily. forming a perfect moose paradise. It 
is not improbable that an occasional pair may still stray into these 
mountains, and if given sufficient protection these might remain to 
restock their old range. The mounted head to be seen in the agricul- 
tural college at Fargo is from a moose killed in 1S9S by G. X. Brown 
at Eock Lake, just east of the Turtle Mountains. At Walhalla the 
writer learned of one killed near there in 1 

In 1915. Remington Kellogg learned of a moose killed 3 miles 
south of Grafton, in 1900. and another on the Eed Eiver. 3 miles 
east of Grafton, in 1908. H. V. "Williams reported one killed near 
Glasston in 190.5. and another at Drayton, on the Eed Eiver. in 1906. 

TT. B. Bell reported the capture of a cow moose in Sargent County 
in the fall of 1913. It was kept captive at the Ellendale Industrial 
School for a time, but later was sent to a public park in Minnesota. 
A bull and cow and two calves near Mayville. in Traill County, 
were also reported to Doctor Bell the same year, but the report was 
not fully verified. 

At the Fort Totten Indian School in 1916. Mr. Zibeau. the agent, 
said that the old Indians say there used to be moose in the timber 
around Devils Lake, but the report was not confirmed by the oldest 
white settlers in that region. The woods on the Suliys Hill Park are 
well adapted to moose, and it is hoped that sometime they may be 
added to the attractions of this historic park. 

Few of our large game animals respond more satisfactorily to 
protection than do moose, as is demonstrated by their abundance 
and increase in such well-protected areas as in Maine and Xew 
Brunswick and in the Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. 
They have few natural enemies that they can not overcome: they 
are too conspicuous to be much temptation to poachers; and. like 
the other deer, they often raise two young in a season. Although one 
of the most difficult of our native animals to keep in captivity, 
owing to their peculiar habits of feeding largely on the twigs of 
shrubs and small trees and from lake bottoms, they are extremely 
hardy in their natural environment in any sufficiently cold climate. 

Eangifer caribou caribou i Gmelin) 
■Woodland Caribou 

[Cervus tarandus] caribou Gmlein. Syst. Nat.. 13th ed., vol. 1, p. 177, 1788. 

Type locality. — Eastern Canada. 

ral characters. — In size between a large deer and small elk: horns 
large, with more or less flattened prongs and forks of beams, often with broad, 
flattened brow prongs in the male : females usually with small horns : feet, 
large ; tail, short : color, dark smoky -gray, with more or less white on neck, 
feet, and underparts. 

North American Fauna No. 49. U. S. Deot Agr., Biological Survey. 

Plate 8 


Heads of Big-game Animals 

(A) Moose (Alc<s amiricana anuricana), from Rock Lake, east of the Turtle Mountains; 
it hern white-tailed deer (Odocoiltus rirginianus bortulis), from Riding Mountains, 
Manitoba; (C) mule deer (Odocoikus h<mionu4 htmionu-s), from Pembina Hills 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. PLATE 9 

I* } I 

Fig. I.— Two Bull Elk (Cervus canadensis canadensis) 

Photographed on game preserve, Niobrara, Nebr. 

Fig. 2. — Plains White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus 

Family group of buck, doe, and two fawns from Missouri Valley below Williston 


Distribution and habitat. — The eastern woodland caribou or closely 
related forms range through the Canadian Zone from the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence to the Rocky Mountains of western Canada, the lower 
edge of their recent range passing through northern Minnesota and 
central Manitoba. Their regular range is, therefore, at no great 
distance to the east and north of the corner of North Dakota, but 
apparently there are no records of their occurrence within the State 
since white men have known the region. It would not be strange, 
however, if at times during their former abundance, bands of this 
more or less wandering species should have strayed into the Red 
River Valley and the Turtle Mountain region. That this has been 
the case is shown by some fragments of old horns picked up in the 
Turtle Mountains and on exhibit at the museum of the fish hatchery 
near St. Johns. The writer has not seen these horns, but Mr. East- 
gate writes that they are unmistakably those of caribou. If they 
came from the marshes or springy bogs of that region, they may have 
been there for many years, possibly centuries; but if from the sur- 
face of the ground, they could probably not have lasted more than 50 
years at the most, and it is doubtful if they would have remained that 
length of time unless especially well protected. 

Cervus canadensis canadensis Erxleben 
American Elk; "Wapiti 

(PL 9, fig. 1) 

Wapiti of the Shawnees (Handbook 
Amer. Indians) ; Wah of the 
Arikaras (Gilinore) ; Ompa of the 
Mandans (Maximilian), O n pa 

(Will) ; A n pa n of the Omahas 

(Gilmore) ; Upa n of the Dakotas 

(Gilmore) ; Madolca of the Hid- 
atsas (Matthews). 

[Cervus elaphus] canadensis Erxleben, Syst. Regni Anim., p. 305, 1777. 

Type locality. — Eastern Canada. 

General characters. — Next to the moose the largest of our deer, adult bulls 
being estimated to weigh from 700 to 1,000 pounds ; adult cows, 500 to 600 
pounds. Bulls with long, heavy, rounded, deciduous horns, each with nor- 
mally six points in adults ; cows hornless ; tail short. General colors, dark 
brown with light-brown sides and a conspicuous white or buffy patch on the 

Distribution, habitat, and habits. — Originally elk ranged over all 
of what is now North Dakota, and were equally at home in the timber 
and over the open prairie. On his trip up the Reel River in 1800, 
Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 83-85, 108) found them abundant and 
wrote in his journal of September 5 : " Large herds were seen at 
every turn of the river and the bulls were bugling all through the 
woods. The rutting season was at its height." During the next six 
years he frequently mentioned them r and next to the buffalo they 
seem to have been the main source of meat supply for him and his 
parties of trappers in the Red River Valley and adjacent country. 

In 1804-5, Lewis and Clark (1893, pp. i72, 174, 237, 250) recorded 
elk along the Missouri River all the way through North Dakota. 
On October 19, 1804, they reported three herds seen from a point 11 


miles above the site of Fort Rice, and the next day great numbers 
on the wide river bottoms below where Bismarck now stands. At 
Fort Clark, where they wintered with the Mandans, elk meat was 
an important part of their winter provisions. On one hunting trip 
below the fort, February 21, 1805, they killed 14 elk, and on another 
trip on April 2, 21. Many herds were noted on the way up the 
river to Fort Union and beyond in the following April, and the 
Missouri Eiver Valley seems to have been the great winter resort of 
the elk of the prairie region at that time. 

In 1833, Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, pp. 18, 47, 84, 1841) 
also found elk herds abundant along the river on his trip to Fort 
Union and westward and on his return trip to Fort Clark, where 
he wintered. On September 23 and October 31 he records the loud 
bugling (floten) of the bulls from the timber along the river bot- 
toms, and the spirited drawings by his artist, Karl Bodmer, show the 
elk herds in their prime. Maximilian said that the elk might be shot 
during the winter about 18 miles from Fort Clark, but that they 
did not approach nearer because of the Indians. Their skins were of 
great value in the manufacture of Indian moccasins. 

Audubon (1897, p. 20, 157) (Audubon and Bachman, 1851, vol. 2, 
p. 88) found elk as abundant along the Missouri Eiver in 1843 as had 
his predecessors. On June 9 he sa3 7 s : " We saw three elk swimming 
across it [the Little Missouri] and the number of this fine species of 
deer that are about us now is almost inconceivable." Many were 
killed during his stay in the country about Fort Union and on his re- 
turn trip down the river they were seen and killed along the shores, 
while on August 26 the bulls were heard bugling, or " whistling," as 
he calls it. He says they were not confined to the wooded water 
courses, but roamed over the prairies in large herds. 

L. C. Ives, of Veblen, S. Dak., told the writer of seeing thousands 
of elk along the Lower Yellowstone Eiver in 1864 while on an expedi- 
tion against the Indians. At Devils Lake, Frank Palmer reported 
that in the sixties, when he first came there, elk were common all over 
the State, and especially along the timbered areas of the Sheyenne 
Eiver, and around Devils Lake, where they remained common up 
to 1879 asd 1880. But as the country filled up with settlers, they 
rapidly disappeared. 

In 1887, on the writer's first visit to North Dakota, he was told 
by an old hunter at Larimore of two elk killed near there in 1881 
or 1882, and at Devils Lake there were said to be still a few. The 
last elk of which a record was obtainable in the Turtle Mountains 
was killed that year and a few were still found in the timbered 
areas along the Missouri and Yellowstone Eivers. 

In the early eighties Colonel Eoosevelt (1900c, p. 188; 1900b, pp. 
155-156) says: "I have occasionally killed elk in the neighborhood 
of my ranch on the Little Missouri. They were very plentiful 
along this river until 1881, but the last of the big bands were slaugh- 
tered or scattered about that' time." Later he says : " They have 
now vanished completely, except that one or two may still lurk 
in some of the most remote and broken places where there are deep, 
wooded ravines. Formerly the elk were plentiful all over the 
plains, coming down into them in great bands during the fall months 
and traversing their entire extent. ... In the old days running 


elk on horseback was a highly esteemed form of plains sport." He 
(Roosevelt, 1900c, p. 184) says: "Sometimes, but rarely, fight- 
ing wapiti get their antlers interlocked and perish miserably; my 
own ranch, the Elkhorn, was named from finding on the spot where 
the ranch house now stands two splendid pairs of elk antlers thus 

In 1915, Remington Kellogg was told of six elk killed in 1883 
near Elkton, in Cavalier County. At Towner he was told by Mr. 
Lymburner that in 1884 elk horns were very plentiful in that sec- 
tion and that as late as the nineties the Sioux Indians had elk meat 
for sale that had been procured somewhere farther west. Near 
Plaza, in Mountrail County, he was told that a Mr. Hart had killed 
an elk in the summer of 1913, but no one could tell where it had 
come from. At Goodall, in McKenzie County, and near Elbo- 
woods, in McLean County, in 1915, Kellogg found a few old antlers, 
as he did also on the river flats west of Sather, in Burleigh County. 

On the flats east of Fort Clark in 1909, the writer found fairly 
well preserved pieces of old antlers, and in 1916 a few very old 
fragments near the mouth of Cannonball River, although the last 
elk there were said to have been killed 36 years before. At Stump 
Lake, in 1912, the writer also found a few fragments of old antlers, 
but could get no record of elk living there since 1881. The same 
year at the Sweetwater Lakes and in the Turtle Mountains he found a 
few old pieces, and in 1909, photographed a fairly well preserved 
pair of antlers at Mr. O'Neil's farm near Metigoshe Lake in the 
western part of the Turtle Mountains. 

To what extent the elk were migratory in this open country will 
never be fully known, but their great abundance along the river 
valleys in fall, winter, and spring would indicate that these valleys 
were their wintering grounds. With a dense cover of timber and 
undergrowth and an endless supply of choice browse, they certainly 
afforded ideal conditions for elk winter range, just as the high wind- 
swept prairies gave equally ideal summer conditions. The shed 
horns of the elk are found mainly along the valleys or in the tim- 
bered areas around the lakes. According to Lewis and Clark (1893, 
p. 170), Big Beaver Creek in Emmons County was called by the 
Indians, " "Warreconne," meaning where the elk shed their horns; 
Maximilian (Wied., 1839-1841, Bd. 1, p. 477, 1839) also speaks of 
the great numbers of shed horns along the river valley, and in 
his account of the region figures a pyramid of horns that had been 
piled up by passing bands of Indians as a landmark. As the horns 
are shed mainly during March and April, they are usually left on 
the winter grounds, but a few are carried back to the summer ranges 
and widely scattered. 

Next to the buffalo, the elk at the height of their abundance 
were the easiest to hunt and hence the most rapidly killed of the 
large game, but when much hunted they become very wild, and it 
is probable that besides the vast numbers killed in the State, many 
were driven out of its borders. 

With the possible exception of mountain sheep, elk meat is the 
most delicious of all our large game and a half year or year's 
supply of jerked elk meat has carried many an early pioneer's family 
safely over the period of " hard times " coincident with the settle- 


ment of wild land. In the open country the disappearance of elk 
before settlement was inevitable and in their going the advancement 
of civilization has been well served. Only the needless waste caused 
by skin and tooth hunters need be regretted. Among the Indians 
elk skins provided most of the moccasins, but were little used for 
other clothing. Later, together with the buffalo skins, they found 
a ready market and, like many of the noblest of our game animals, 
the elk were sacrificed by the white skin-hunters. 

Elk teeth were prized by the Indian women, to whom their use 
as ornaments was restricted. The wealth and rank of the women 
were often indicated by the number of elk teeth worn in necklaces and 
attached to various parts of their clothing. Even in recent times 
some of these treasured teeth have been worn by the older women 
and were so coveted that a price of a dollar each was put upon them. 
More recently, however, white men have adopted elk teeth as em- 
blems or ornaments and, outbidding the squaws of savage tribes in 
their price for a useless bauble, have caused the wanton destruction 
of thousands of these superb animals. The braves and chiefs of these 
savage tribes, adopting the claws of the grizzly bear, scorned elk 
teeth as feminine adornments. 

Economic considerations. — In domestication elk have proved more 
hardy and prolific than other stock and almost as easily handled 
under well-fenced range. If in the future the production of elk 
meat proves as profitable an industry as it promises, there will be 
found ideal conditions for elk pastures in many parts of western 
North Dakota, where rough and steep slopes lie close to brushy 
bottomlands, and winter browse and summer grass can be inclosed 
in single or adjoining areas. The severe winter weather which 
means suffering and loss to domestic stock without shelter is a joy 
to these native born and bred deer if a suitable and adequate food 
supply be available. Along many of the stream valleys with Bad- 
lands borders, which now lie idle or are of little use for stock, elk 
would find an abundance of their favorite food and choice living- 
conditions. The time seems ripe for adding this industry to the 
many resources of the State. 

Odocoileus virginianus macrourus i (Rafinesque) 
Plains "White-tailed Deer 

(PI. 9, fig. 2) 

Tachtsha of the Dakotas (Gilmore) ; 
Tsita-takl of the Hidatsas (Mat- 
thews) ; Mahmanaku of the Man- 
dans (Maximilian) ; Ta-paht of 
the Arikaras (Gilmore). 

Corvus [sic] macrourus Rafinesque, Amer. Mo. Mag., vol. 1, p. 436, 1817. 

Type locality. — Plains of the Kansas River. 

General characters. — Similar to the eastern Virginia deer but slightly 
larger and paler in coloration. Horns with a single beam and upright prongs ; 

* In the Red River Valley, the Pembina Hills, and the Turtle Mountains, it is quite 
probable that the large northern deer of northern Minnesota, generally referred to 
Odocoileus virginianus oorealis Miller, will be found to enter North Dakota, but until the 
group is more fully worked up the writer is referring all the white-tailed deer of the 
State to the Plains form, macrourus. 



ears, small; tail, long, bushy, pure white below and gray on upper surface; 
no light rump patch. Metatarsal glands, small and low down on the hind 
legs. General color in summer, light-yellowish or reddish-brown ; in winter, 
light gray with dark markings on face and ears; throat and underparts, 
always white. Fawns, spotted with white. 

Distribution and habitat. — Unlike the mule deer in habits, the 
white-tails are secretive and depend largely upon cover for protec- 
tion. While originally well distributed over North Dakota, they 
have always been locally restricted to the timber and brush areas 
along the stream valleys, about the lakes, or in the rough and hilly 
parts where the gulches are w^ell filled with timber and a tangle 
of undergrowth. 

Little mention was made of the deer of this region by the early 
explorers, as most of their attention was taken up by the other 
more abundant and conspicuous forms of game. Alexander Henry 
rarely mentions them in the Red River country, and their principal 
use seems to have been to provide skins for clothing. Along the 
Missouri River bottoms, however, they were so numerous in the tim- 
ber and lake regions that their numbers were often commented upon 
by Lewis and Clark (1893, pp. 174, 233, 237) on their expedition 
up the river in 1804-5. On October 20, 1801, on the great flats just 
below the present site of Bismarck, great numbers of deer were re- 
ported. At Fort Mandan and old Fort Clark, these deer furnished 
an important part of the winter's food supply of the expedition as 
it wintered among the Indians. On one trip a hunting party brought 
in 40 deer, 1-6 elk, and 3 buffalo. On another trip a few miles down 
the river, February 21, 1805, Lewis returned with 3,000 pounds of 
meat, having killed 3G deer, 14 elk, and a wolf. Many deer were 
mentioned at other localities along the river on the way to Fort 
Union (Buford). 

In 1833 while wintering among the Mandan Indians, Maximilian 
(Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, p. 84, 1841) reported the white-tail as found 
in the nearest woods not a mile from the fort, while all other game 
was kept at a much greater distance by the Indians, who were con- 
stantly hunting for meat. 

The disappearance of these deer from the greater part of North 
Dakota was coincident with the settlement of the country. While 
they were quickly destro}'ed, however, or. driven from the small 
areas of cover, the more extensive areas are still preserving them in 
some degree of abundance locally. At Fort Sisseton, just below the 
southeastern corner of the State, Doctor McChesney (1878, p. 203), 
reported them as very common 10 years before, but said that none 
had been seen in that vicinity for several years. At Valley City 
Morris J. Kernall was told by several of the early settlers that white- 
tailed deer as well as mule deer were common there from 1878 up to 
1885 or 1886, and one was reported by Frank White as killed in 
1893. At Ellendale, in the possession of Fred S. Graham, Sheldon 
found a mounted head of a deer killed in the hills 12 miles northwest 
of Forbes in 1886. 

In 1887, on the writer's first trip to the North Dakota region, he 
found no trace of white-tails in the Red River Valley, which was 
then well occupied by settlers, but they were still abundant along the 
Missouri River bottoms and were reported in the Pembina Hills and 


Turtle Mountains. At Devils Lake, Frank Palmer reported that 
white-tailed deer were more numerous about there than the mule 
deer from 1868 to the early eighties. At Stump Lake they were said 
to have been common in the early days, and in 1912 Mr. Hovey said 
that four or five had wintered in a little grove on his place near 
Tolna, a few years before. In Benson County, Remington Kellogg 
learned of two that were killed at Bald Creek in 1912, but none 
had been known in that region for so long that these were supposed 
to have been driven from Minnesota by forest fires. In 1912, the 
writer was told that there were still a few deer in the Turtle Moun- 
tains, probably an overflow, however, from the well-stocked game 
preserve just across the line in Manitoba. The same year Eastgate 
reported two that had been killed on the North Dakota side not far 
from the borders of this preserve. He said that the ground under 
the ash trees in this preserve, from which the deer had been eating 
the seeds, looked like a goat pasture. 

At Fargo, in the grounds of the agricultural college, in June, 1912, 
there was kept an interesting group of eight beautiful does, all 
raised from one pair of deer brought from the northwestern part of 
the State. They were captured when fawns on the Missouri River 
flats, about 20 miles south of Williston. The buck from this herd 
had died the previous year and was preserved in the college museum, 
but another was obtained later and the breeding of this little herd has 
continued. The mounted buck was in the long winter gray coat, 
but the does were in the full yellowish-red summer coats. When the 
herd was seen again, on August 27, 1914, there were three pairs of 
twin fawns in beautiful spotted coats. All were in the summer red 
coats and the horns of the fine young buck then with the herd were 
in the velvet. Altogether it would be hard to find a more beautiful 
group of animals. 

In 1913, careful inquiry was made for deer in the region about 
Crosby, in the northwestern corner of the State, but only two were 
heard of, seen during a heavy snowstorm at a farmhouse north of 
town 3 years before. At a livery stable, however, there was the 
mounted head of a buck which had been killed 6 or 8 miles north of 
there 10 years previously. At Williston, there were still a goodly 
number of white-tails in the densely timbered and brushy bottoms of 
the Missouri River, where, owing to several years of protection from 
hunting, they were apparently on the increase. Formerly hunters 
had been coming in in great numbers during the open season and 
by hiring men with dogs and horses to drive the deer out of the 
bottoms had killed them off to the verge of extinction; with such 
systematic hunting the last deer could easily have been destroyed in 
this their best and almost their last stronghold in the State. 

In the same year, Stanley G. Jewett found a few deer in the 
thickets along the river bottoms near Fort Clark, where fresh 
tracks were often seen. He found none in the immediate vicinity 
of Mandan, but some were still seen in the bottoms a few miles 
above. At Medora, they were reported as rare, but along the 
Little Missouri River below that point they were fairly common 
in the brushy draws and in the side gulches. South of Medora, 
along the northern edge of the l^orth Dakota Rational Forest they 
were fairly common in the thickets and draws of the Badlands 


breaks. In the horse pasture of For&st Ranger Follice, there were 
a half dozen that kept in the dense thickets along the banks of the 
river and in the gulches. When the hunting season opens, Mr. 
Follice said, they quickly leave his pasture and scatter out over the 
country ^ but usually after it ends all return to their former haunts. 
If a little more of this brushy area had been included in the national 
forest, an ideal game preserve for the white-tail, as well as for 
the mule deer and antelope, could have been established. 

In 1915, Sheldon found white-tailed deer comparatively common 
on the brushy flats near the mouth of the Cannonball River and also 
on the flats of the Missouri bottoms. Tracks were abundant and 
a number of deer were seen from August 12 to September 9. The 
following year the writer found them there in considerable numbers, 
judging by their fresh tracks and trails among the thickets of the 
river bottoms. The law protecting them was then apparently well 
observed and they were comparatively tame and unsuspicious. 

In 1915, at Towner, Remington Kellogg was told of a large doe 
that was killed seven years before by Clyde Coss from a bunch of 
three does and a buck in the forest along the Mouse River. At 
Grinnell, in the southeastern corner of Williams County, he was 
told that one buck was still left in the forest along the Missouri 
River. In a boat trip down the Missouri from Williston to Bis- 
marck, during September, 1915, he found the deer more or less 
common all along the river bottoms. At Goodali, he reported a 
few in a patch of woods on a point of the river, where they were 
slowly increasing since the law protecting them had gone into 
effect. Above Shell Village a few tracks were seen, and above 
Elbowoods there were thought to be a dozen deer in the vicinity. 
At Big Bend, he was told that 125 deer had been seen and counted 
in the spring when the ice was breaking up. At Stanton a buck 
and doe and fawn were often seen from the settlement in the evening. 
From Stanton to Washburn and down the river to Bismarck, deer 
tracks were seen near almost every patch of timber along the river. 

In September, 1919, O. J. Murie told of a deer recently lolled near 
the Red River, 15 or 20 miles north of Fargo, and at Grafton H. 
V. Williams told of two that had been soon during the month about 
5 miles north of town. At Walhalla it was reported that a few 
white-tails were still in the Pembina Hills near there, but that enough 
were killed each year by irresponsible residents to prevent any in- 
crease, even during the live-year period of protection accorded 
them by State laws. These hills, like the Turtle Mountains with 
their extensive area of timbered, brushy, rough, and sparsely settled 
country, afford a natural paradise for deer and could well support 
several thousand without detriment to anyone. 

Along the Missouri River, at Buford, Sanish, Mandan, and Can- 
non Ball in 1919, the deer were holding their own or were slightly 
on the increase and it was thought vould rapidly multiply and 
restock the timbered bottoms if they could be adequately protected. 

Protection. — Reasonable protection would keep white-tailed deer 
fairly abundant along the Missouri and Little Missouri Rivers, as 
they are less averse to disturbance by people and domestic stock 
than any other deer. Theodore Roosevelt (1900a, p. 172), in writing 
of his ranch life along the Little Missouri in the early eighties, says 


that when the cattle were first driven onto the northern plains the 
white-tailed deer were the least plentiful and the least sought after 
of all large game and that they had held their own as none of the 
others had begun to do. In certain localities they were more com- 
mon than any other kind of game and in many places were more 
so than all other kinds put together. Ranchmen along the Powder 
River, for instance, had to content themselves with white-tailed 
venison, unless they made long trips back into the hills, and the 
same was becoming true along the Little Missouri. Skin and meat 
hunters found this deer the most difficult to hunt and the least re- 
munerative to the hunter, and therefore only turned their attention 
to it when nothing else was left to hunt. In Roosevelt's long and 
interesting account of the habits and methods of hunting these deer 
he gives a good picture of their former abundance and rapid dis- 
appearance after other more easily obtained game had vanished, 
and he pays a well-merited tribute to the cunning and sagacity of 
the animals in protecting themselves, even where the country be- 
came well settled. 

General habits. — When not harassed the white-tails are active 
both day and night, feeding mainly during the evening and morning 
hours. When much disturbed, however, their activities are for the 
most part nocturnal, while during the daylight hours they keep 
closely hidden in the dense cover of brush and timber. Once con- 
vinced of man's friendly intentions, as in some of the national parks, 
they become frankly confiding and will feed in the open for hours 
at a time, lying on the sunny slopes in cold weather and in the shade 
during the warm seasons, often in plain view of passers-by. 

Food. — The food of these deer rarely includes much grass, but is 
mainly leaves, buds, and seeds of a great variety of shrubs and trees. 
Where acorns are available in fall the deer hunt over the oak-covered 
ridges in search of these rich-meated nuts, and often paw away the 
snow to obtain them from the surface of the ground. A great 
variety of other seeds and nutlets are eaten, including the pods and 
beans of many leguminous plants. In early spring, the first blades 
of green grass form an attractive food for the deer, but in the hunt- 
ing season the writer has never found a trace of grass in a deer's 
stomach. The little herd in the fenced inclosure on the campus of 
the North Dakota Agricultural College left the beautiful dense 
grass of this half-acre inclosure untouched, but not a weed of any 
kind could be found within it. Outside the dandelions and other 
weeds were numerous, and a handful of dandelion leaves pulled up 
and thrown to the deer would create a frantic rush, each deer en- 
deavoring to get as much of the dainty morsel as possible. As 
they prefer weeds to grass, a limited number of deer in every cattle 
pasture would improve the grazing by keeping down weeds and 
other plants that are of no value for ordinary stock. 

Domestication. — Naturally quiet in disposition, these deer take 
readily to domestication. In favorable situations they can be raised 
with little trouble and much profit, either in the same inclosures 
with cattle and horses or in pastures by themselves, where the 
proper food is available. The usual number of fawns at a birth is 
two, and the increase is even more rapid than with sheep. 5 In the 

B For information on raising deer and elk, see U. S. Dept. Act. Farmers' Bui. 330 
(Lantz, 1908). 


fall when in prime condition their venison is unexcelled, and in 
many States the game laws have been modified to allow its being 
placed on the market under proper regulation. 

Odocoileus hemionus heniionus (Rafinesque) 
Mule Deer 6 

(PI. 8) 

Tsitashipisa of the Hidatsas (Mat- 
thews) ; Sintc-sapana of the Da- 
kotas (Gilmore) ; Shunte-psih of 
the Mandaus (Will) : Ta-katit of 
the Arikaras (Gilmore). 

Cervus hemionus Rafinesque, Anier. Mo. Mag., vol. 1, p. 436, 1817. 
Cariacus virgultus Hallock, 7 Forest and Stream, vol. 52, p. 404, 1899. 

Type locality. — Mouth of Big Sioux River, S. Dak. 

General characters. — In size considerably larger than the white-tail, with 
forked antlers in adult bucks, very large ears, small white tail with black 
tip, and conspicuous white rump patch. The long metatarsal gland high up 
on the outside of each hind leg is one of the strongest group characters, when 
compared with the small glands low down on the white-tail's legs. 

Distribution and habitat. — Although never in such conspicuous 
numbers as the elk and the antelope, the mule deer apparently 
occupied all of North Dakota before the country was settled by 
whites. They were largely animals of the open country, however, 
and ranged freely over the prairies, keeping as much as possible on 
the roughest and highest ground. The Badlands were their favorite 
haunts; here they were most abundant and here long-range rifles 
accomplished their most deadly destruction. Of the original thou- 
sands there is to-day scarcely a remnant left in the State. 

The early explorers paid little attention to deer and rarely men- 
tioned them, as buffalo, elk, and antelope were generally more con- 
spicuous and more easily drawn upon lor the meat supply. Alex- 
ander Henry (1897, p. 274) states in his journal in March, 1806, 
that three " fallow " deer were seen and one killed by the Indians 
near Pembina, but says they were the first he had seen in that 

In 1802, LeRaye (1812, p. 180) saw these deer at the mouth of 
the Big Sioux River and wrote his description, which later fur- 
nished the foundation for Rafinesque's publication of the name 
hemionus. He also reported them as one of the principal game 
animals of the Big Heart River country, in what is now 7 North 
Dakota. Lewis and Clark rarely mention them on their way up the 
Missouri in 1804-5, and Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd/2, p. 84, 
1841) in 1833 gives only a few records along the river and distinctly 
says that they were not to be found within 20 or 30 miles of Fort 
Clark. Audubon in his journal of 1843 records only a few mule 
deer among the numerous white-tails seen and was unable to pro- 

6 The name " mule deer " was given to this species by LeRaye in 1802, 15 years before 
Rafinesque clumsily converted it into the Latin combination hemionus, and this earlier 
name should be used instead of " black-tail," which Lewis and Clark in 1805 occasionally 
applied to it, but later fixed to the " Columbia black-tail." 

7 There are no specimens from the type region of hemionus for comparison, but on 
genera] principles of geographic variation it is assumed that virgultus from northwestern 
Minnesota is not sufficiently different for separation. Until the group can be more 
thoroughly studied, it seems best to refer all the mule deer of North Dakota to hemionus. 


cure a good buck for a specimen and for drawing, so figures in his 
Quadrupeds of North America only a doe, taken near Fort Union. 

Lieutenant Hayden (1875, p. 94) in 1856, collected specimens of 
mule deer at White Earth River and Fox Ridge, which are still 
in the United States National Museum, and reported them as more 
abundant than the white-tails on the Upper Missouri. In 1873, 
J. A. Allen (1875, p. 41) reported them as ".more or less frequent 
along all the wooded streams " from Fort Rice westward. 

From his Little Missouri ranch experiences of the early eighties, 
Theodore Roosevelt (1900a, pp. 220-221), in his delightful chapter 
on the " black-tailed " deer, wrote : 

After the disappearance of the buffalo and the thinning out of the elk, the 
black-tail was, and in most places it still is, the game most sought after by 
the hunters ; I have myself shot as many of them as of all other kinds of 
plains game put together. But for this very reason it is fast disappearing; 
and bids fair to be the next animal, after the buffalo and elk, to vanish from 
the places that formerly knew it. 

At Valley City, in 1913, Morris J. Kernall gathered the following 
notes from early settlers: J. S. Weiser reported mule deer so com- 
mon in 1878 that one could not travel 5 miles without seeing them. 
John Hailand reported them common in 1878 and the last one shot 
in 1885 or 1886 ; he says : 

There was so much venison in camp during the first years that visitors' 
ponies were usually loaded down with it before they returned. There was 
no sale for venison nor for skins, they were so plentiful. Skins were used 
for mattresses; they would get damp and deteriorate during summer and 
a new supply was provided each fall for the winter's sleeping. 

In 1887, at Fort Sisseton, just below the southeastern corner of 
the State, the writer was told that the mule deer had been killed 
off three or four years before. At Pembina, in the extreme north- 
east, three mule deer had been killed that year a few miles to the 
east in the corner of Minnesota, and there were said to be still a 
few in the Pembina Hills, 34 miles west of Pembina, and still far- 
ther west in the Turtle Mountains, and along the Mouse River. 
A few also were reported in the hills back of Fort Buford. 

At Devils Lake in 1916, Frank Palmer, who came there in 1868, 
told the writer that there were a good many mule deer until the 
country settled up in the early eighties. At Cannon Ball the old 
residents and Indians reported them as once common, but said they 
had disappeared a long time ago. 

In 1896 Ernest Thompson Seton (1909, vol. 1, p. 118), in com- 
pany with Howard Eaton, on a 15-mile ride across the Badlands 
of the Little Missouri saw only three " black-tail " where ten years 
before his companion had counted 160 over the same ground. In 
1897 or 1898 Elmer T. Judd killed a mule deer in the hills south 
of Cando, and he still has the mounted head. In 1913 Mr. Allen 
reported that none had been killed in the vicinity of Mandan for 
15 years, but that some heads had been sent him for mounting from 
Medina 8 or 10 years before. 

In 1912, Eastgate reported mule deer as rare in the Turtle Moun- 
tains, but he obtained the skull of a young buck for the Biological 
Survey collection. He said that just across the line in Manitoba they 
were more common and a number were killed each year. In 1913, 
Stanley G, Jewett reported them as still fairly common in the Bad- 


lands along the Little Missouri, below Meclora, especially along 
Blacktail, Beaver, and Magpie Creeks. He saw mounted heads at 
the ranches and talked with men who had killed the deer during the 
preceding winter when they were driven down from the hills by 
deep snow. In the Killdeer Mountains, however, he found that all 
had been killed olf near the settlements, one man at Oakdale having 
killed seven in 1911 but none since that time. At Sentinel Butte he 
saw the mounted heads of several killed near there in 1901, 1910, 
and 1911, and was told by Lewis F. Crawford that they were then 
found only in the rougher parts of the Badlands and were becoming 
very scarce where they were formerly abundant. Later in the same 
season the writer learned that there were a few mule deer on the 
Dakota National Forest, south of Medora, and H. H. Sheldon in 
1915 reported a few still found there. The same year Kemington 
Kellogg learned of two near the mouth of the Little Missouri, and 
in 1919 a few were reported west of Sanish. L. F. LePage exhibited 
a mounted head of about a 4-year-old buck, taken by an Indian in 
the Pembina Hills about 7 miles west of Walhalla in 1916. It was 
the largest of a bunch of four mule deer but had not reached its 
full growth. 

At the present time there may be a few mule deer in the most 
remote corners of the Badlands and an occasional wanderer from 
the Canadian side of the Turtle Mountains and Pembina Hills but, 
if not already extinct, this finest of all native species of the smaller 
deer will soon have vanished from the State. Its disappearance, 
while greatly to be regretted, is as inevitable as that of the elk and 
the buffalo. A few in public parks or on private game farms are 
all we can hope to save in open country, but in the steep and rugged 
mountain areas farther west, where the game and recreational 
value of extensive tracts is greater than its agricultural value, a 
strong effort is being made to preserve mule deer as a permanent 
part of the wild life of the country. 

Order RODENTIA : Gnawing Animals 

Family SCIURIDAE : Squirrels, Chipmunks, Prairie Dogs, Ground Squirrels, 

and Marmots 

Glaucomys sabrinus canescens Howell 
Pale Flying Squirrel 

Glaucomys sabrinus canescens Howell, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 28, 
p. Ill, 1915. 

Type locality. — Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. 

General characters. — About twice the size of the little southern species. 8 
Wide membranes connecting the front and hind legs along each side when 
spread form a monoplane which enables the animal to soar or glide from 
tree to tree. Tail, wide and flat ; fur, very soft and silky, of a delicate cinna- 
mon-brown color over upper parts, creamy white below. Average measure- 
ments of adults : Total length, 297 millimeters ; tail, 138 ; hind foot, 37 or 38. 

Distribution and habitat. — The pale flying squirrel, a big north- 
ern member of the family, comes into eastern North Dakota along 

8 Olauco n iy8 volans volans (Linnaeus). There is still a possibility of finding this little 
flying squirrel in extreme southeastern North Dakota, as it ranges northward into central 
Minnesota and could readily extend into the Red River Valley at Wahpeton. 

82242°— 20 i 


the timber of the Red River Valley and up some of the streams to 
the west. Specimens have been examined from Pembina, Grafton, 
Portland, Grand Forks, and Fargo. These squirrels are common 
throughout the forest areas of the Pembina Hills and probably occur 
in the Turtle Mountains, although no definite records have been 
obtained. At Portland, in 1895, J. A. Loring caught one in a 
meat-baited trap set under a log in an oak grove. At Grafton, in 
1915, Remington Kellogg reported several taken during the preced- 
ing winter when the timber was being cleared from some bottom- 
land, but he was unable to obtain any specimens. He found one in 
the collection of H. V. Williams, which was examined later by 
Howell (1918) for identification while preparing his revision of 
the flying squirrels. At Manvel, in the eastern part of Grand Forks 
County, he reported a family of flying squirrels including a nest and 
six young, found by a farmer, William Brown, the preceding year; 
the nest was made of bark fibers and placed in the fork of an elm 
tree, but when Kellogg examined it it was empty. W. B. Bell told 
the writer of a family of flying squirrels found by a boy in the 
woods at Fargo, in 1912. 

General habits. — Owing to their strictly nocturnal habits flying 
squirrels are rarely seen although they are much more common than 
is supposed. In a wide range over the northern timbered country 
woodchoppers and lumbermen frequently see them leaving the hol- 
low of some falling tree and soaring on widespread membranes to a 
neighboring trunk, or sometimes, in their confusion, to the ground, 
from which they quickly seek the nearest tree. Usually their nests 
are within the hollow cavities of tree trunks, sometimes in hollow 
limbs, knotholes, or the old nest cavities of woodpeckers. Occasion- 
ally nests of moss and bark fibers are built among the branches, much 
like those of the red squirrel. Where the little animals are common 
it is not difficult to frighten them out of their nests by pounding on 
the hollow trees with an ax. A few smart raps on the base of their 
trees will usually induce them to peer out of their nests, and contin- 
uous pounding will often alarm them into making long flights to 
neighboring trees. Often one will run to the top of its tree to get 
a good start and, sailing downward until momentum is gained, go 
coasting off 50 or 75 feet and, curving gracefully upward to check its 
speed, strike lightly on the trunk of another tree much lower down 
than where it started. By running up each tree and soaring down- 
ward to the next, the squirrels pass rapidly through the woods until 
some safe retreat is found. 

They are soft, silent, owl-like animals and in the daytime seem 
sleepy and sluggish. At night their presence is mainly shown by 
their getting into traps set for fur animals and by their tracks on 
the snow between trees whose span is* too great to be bridged by 
their soaring flight. Little is known, however, of their real habits 
except that they make interesting and often mischievous pets, are 
easily tamed, and become playful and affectionate, but insist on 
sleeping through the day and carrying on most of their activities at 
night. They are frequently preyed upon by cats and owls, which oc- 
casionally leave their tails uneaten to mark the place of a nocturnal 

Food. — A great part of the food of flying squirrels consists of nuts 
and seeds of trees, shrubs, and vines. At Moorhead, in 1908, Murie 


watched several of them by moonlight feeding on the seeds of ash 
trees. He says : " They sailed about from tree to tree, stopping 
occasionally to eat some seeds. Several times I saw one turn a 
little in its flight and they turned up a little just before landing on a 
tree trunk." The woods where they occur are usually well supplied 
with acorns, basswood, boxelder, ash, elm, hackberry, ironwood, 
birch, and alder seeds and a great variety of berries, grapes, and 
other seeds, fruits, and buds that remain all winter and are easily 
obtained, so that generally these animals do not lay up stores of 
food. They are more omnivorous than most squirrels and will 
readily take bread, oatmeal, fruit, or meat used for trap bait, and 
closely related varieties are often caught in marten or weasel traps 
baited with meat, fur, or feathers. 

Economic status. — Though rarely of sufficient abundance to be of 
economic importance, flying squirrels are, so far as known, practical- 
ly harmless. Crops and cultivated fruits are rarely if ever disturbed 
by them and the tree seeds they consume are doubtless well paid 
for in the scattering and wider planting of those not eaten. As pets 
for children few animals are more gentle and attractive. 

Sciurus carolinensis hypophaeus Merriam 
Minnesota Gray Squirrel; Black Squirrel 

Sciurus carolinensis hypophaeus Merriam, Science, vol. 7, p. 351, 1886. 

Type locality. — Elk River, Minn. 

General characters. — Larger and darker colored than the Carolina gray 
squirrel, with little or no white on the underparts. Color, generally dark 
gray, often becoming dusky or black. Tail, large and bushy. Average measure- 
ments of adult specimens : Total length, 496 millimeters ; tail, 220 ; hind foot, 67. 
"Weight of adult female, 14 ounces (Murie). 

Distribution and habitat. — The large Minnesota gray tree squirrels 
barely come into the southeastern part of North Dakota along 
some of the timbered stream valleys, although they are abundant 
throughout the oak region of Minnesota. At Wahpeton, in 1015, 
an old resident said that he had killed one there 18 years before, 
but had never seen one since. Later, some squirrels had been brought 
from Minnesota and placed in a grove on the Dakota side of the 
river, but they were not protected and all were killed. At Fargo 
and Moorhead, O. J. Murie remembers them as long ago as 1906, 
and thinks they have always been there. Since 1910, they have been 
increasing and in 1919 were common on both sides of the river, and 
especially in the extensive and beautiful parks just south and north 
oi Fargo, where an abundance of old hollow trees, oak, basswood, 
elm, and ash, furnish safe homes and choice food. At Valley City, 
in 1912, Eastgate reported them as introduced in the city parks 
and slowly increasing. In Minnesota their northern limit seems 
to be in the vicinity of Crookston, and it would be strange if they 
did not occasionally extend into the Red River Valley in the neigh- 
borhood of Grand Forks. Records, however, are wanting north of 

General habits. — Besides being good game animals, these large, 
handsome squirrels are one of the popular attractions of city parks 
and protected grounds, where they readily become familiar and, with 
a little care, very tame. Constant hunting keeps them extremely 


shy and secretive in their wild state; but, for rodents, they show 
a high order of intelligence and quickly learn the protected areas, 
eagerly responding to friendly advances in the way of food, water, 
and nest boxes. In their native habitat their food consists very 
largely of acorns from the numerous species of oaks with which 
they are associated, but it also includes nuts and seeds of many other 
plants. For a successful introduction into parks or private grounds 
they must be supplied with acorns, nuts, or grain. 

Their winter homes are usually in the hollow trunks of trees, 
where in well-protected and warm nests of bark and plant fibers 
they pass the coldest winter weather in comfort. In summer they 
build large nests of leaves in the branches of the trees, covering 
them over to form comfortable, rain-proof houses, with nest cavities 
in the center, which they enter through half-concealed side doors. 
In some cases the houses are made large and warm for occupation 
throughout the winter, but usually a hollow trunk or warm box is 
preferred for a winter residence. 

The interest and delight of children in watching the squirrels, 
which in parks and private grounds become so tame that they will 
come to the hand and beg for nuts, gives them a value far greater 
than that of game and fully repays the effort to provide them with 
comfortable quarters and to plant such trees as will insure their 
permanent food supply. 

Sciurus hudsonicus hudsonicus Erxleben 
Red Squirrel; Chickaree 

Ahjiduhmo of the Ojibways (Wilson) 

[Sciurus vulgaris] hudsonicus Erxleben, Syst. Regni Anim., p. 416, 1777. 

Type locality. — Hudson Strait. 

General characters. — About half the size of the gray squirrel, with full 
bushy tail and a general reddish or rusty color over the upper parts ; a black 
line along each side in summer borders the white underparts, which in fall 
is lost in the reddish-gray winter coat. Average measurements : Total length, 
340 millimeters; tail, 140; hind foot, 50. Weight, 8% to 9 ounces (Murie). 

Distribution and habitat. — The sprightly little red tree squirrels 
are generally abundant in the timbered areas along the Red River 
Valley from Wahpeton to Pembina and along all of the streams 
which carry lines of timber into the prairie country west of the 
valley; also in the Pembina Hills and Turtle Mountains as far west 
as the Mouse River and upper timbered strips of the Sheyenne River 
near Stump Lake. In 1887 they were common near Fargo, Grand 
Forks, and Pembina, and in the Turtle Mountains. In 1912, there 
were said to be a small number in the timber around Lake Elsie, 
near Hankinson, in the extreme southeastern corner of the State, 
though they had been mostly killed off there. At Portland, 
in 1892, J. Alden Loring took a specimen, and reported them as 
common in the groves along the Goose River. In 1893, A. K- 
Fisher saw one in the timber along the Sheyenne River near Lisbon. 
In 1912 Eastgate reported a few along the Sheyenne River 3 miles 
south of Tolna. At Valley City he reported them as very common 
all along the river in the timber and occasionally in the larger 
groves around farm buildings on the prairie close to the river valley, 


and at Lisbon, farther down the river, he said they were common 
in patches of woods sufficiently large to afford them suitable homes ; 
often two or more pairs were found in a single grove, and from his 
tent in one of these groves he was able to see three occupied nests 
at one time. At Fargo they were still common in the timber along 
the Red and Sheyenne Rivers. Kellogg, in 1915, found them in good 
numbers at Grand Forks, Grafton, and Pembina; near Towner, in 
the timber along Mouse River, he reported them fairly common and 
saw many of their nests in the branches of the trees. 

General habits. — In June, 1912, while camping near the fish hatch- 
ery in the eastern part of the Turtle Mountains, the writer found 
red squirrels common throughout the timber, as they apparently 
are throughout the Turtle Mountains and Pembina Hills. At that 
season, when the females taken for specimens were still nursing 
young, they were quiet and keeping out of sight as much as pos- 
sible. Only once was a subdued barking heard. They live mainly in 
hollow trees, but a few nests of grass and bark fibers were found in 
the branches of the trees, and in places the squirrels apparently were 
occupying burrows and hollow spaces in old stumps and logs. As 
soon as the young are safely out of the nest and able to care for 
themselves the squirrels become noisy and for the rest of the year 
their sprightly chatter and scolding is heard throughout the forest. 

Their food consists of acorns, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, and occa- 
sionally birds' eggs. Their omnivorous tastes are strikingly different 
from those of the gray squirrel, and for this reason they have in- 
curred the enmity of those who appreciate the value and beauty 
of birds as well as of squirrels, and also those who have unprotected 
corncribs or grain bins to which squirrels may gain access. It is 
often necessary to reduce the numbers of these cheerful little maraud- 
ers for the protection of birds and crops, but where they are. not 
doing serious damage they are among the brightest and most at- 
tractive forms of wild life either in the forest or in parks and private 
grounds. In winter, although they spend much of the time within their 
warm nest hollows, they are active even during the coldest weather, 
visiting their food caches, to which they gain access by endless tun- 
nels in the deep snow. One of the cheeriest sounds of the forest on 
a bright winter's day is the long chr-r-r-r-r-r from the feeding 
branch of one of these squirrels as he cracks a hazelnut or eats an 
acorn above the glistening field of snow. 

Eutamias minimus borealis (Allen) 

Little Northern Chipmunk 

(PI. 10) 

Tanvias asiaticus borealis Allen, Monogr., North Amer. Rodentia, p. 793, 1877. 

Type locality. — Fort Liard, Mackenzie, Canada. 

General characters. — Readily distinguished from the larger gray chip- 
munks, with which often associated, by the series of fine longitudinal light 
and dark stripes extending over the back from head to tail, by their slender 
build, long slender tails and pointed ears, and by the generic character of five 
molars in each upper tooth row. A specimen from the Turtle Mountains meas- 
ures in total length, 223 millimeters; tail, 10G; hind foot, 33. Weight of 
adult female, 52.6 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — The little northern chipmunks are 
abundant throughout the forested and brushy areas of the Turtle 



[No. 49 

Mountains and Pembina Hills, and they have been reported in the 
forest along the Mouse River near Towner (fig. 1). H. V. Wil- 
liams, in 1912, reported them abundant in the Pembina Hills 
throughout the timbered parts, where they lived in underbrush and 
around brush piles, old stumps, and fallen trees. They were very 
tame, but when alarmed always sought protection in their ground 
burrows rather than in the trees. 

General habits. — In all parts of the Turtle Mountains the writer 
found them more or less common and often very tame and unsus- 
picious, although nervous and quick to take alarm. Their fine, 
rapid chipper or the slow chuck — chuck — chuck notes are usually 
the first indication of their presence. It is often difficult to locate 
them by their voices, which are more or less ventriloquial, but by 


-Records of three species of chipmunks in North Dakota : Squares, Gray chip- 
munk ; triangles, little northern chipmunk ; circles, pale chipmmnk 

moving cautiously one can usually find a chipmunk perched on the 
branch of a bush, on a brush heap, or on a stump or log close to its 
underground home. In a dense thicket careful search is often nec- 
essary to locate the voice, but if it does not vanish with a sharp 
chipper, one may find the little striped gray-coat perched half way 
up a willow or aspen bush, chirping and waving its tail. To the 
casual observer its actions may indicate mere curiosity, but its 
curiosity is far from idle. It involves parental care, mutual pro- 
tection, watching for enemies, and warning of danger. Although 
restless sprites, disappearing like a flash and quickly reappearing, 
at times they will sit quietly for some minutes, calling in a mo- 
notonous churp — churp — churp, much like the cry of a robin in dis- 
tress. If an enemy approaches the note often changes to a more 
rapid quit-quit-quit, finer and faster, but suggesting the note of the 
ruffed grouse when about to take wing. "When suddenly frightened 
they run with a rapid twitter, which at times becomes frantic in 
their haste to get to cover. 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept Agr., Biological Survey. PLATE 10 

Skins of Chipmunks 

(A) P;ilc chipmunk (Eutamias minimus pallidus); (B) little northern chip- 
munk (Eutamias minimus borealis); ((') piy chipmunk (Tamias striatus 
griseuis). .Slightly more thian i i; • I f natural size 


In the Turtle Mountains in August, 1887, northern chipmunks 
were found feeding extensively on the seeds of chokecherries, the 
shelled kernels of which were stuffed in their cheek pouches, evi- 
dently to be stored for winter food. Acorns and various seeds also 
were found in their pockets. Their feeding grounds show traces of 
many seeds and berries that have been eaten. They are said to do 
some mischief in gardens and along the edges of grainfields, but 
nowhere were they found a serious pest. 

In the Pembina Hills in 1919 up to October, they were busily 
storing seeds and grain. They were often seen with cheek pouches 
distended, running for their storehouses in underground cavities, 
where evidently enough food was being laid up to carry them 
through the winter, for they showed no signs of becoming fat or 
preparing for hibernation. 

Eutamias minimus pallidus (Allen) 
Pale Chipmunk 

(PI. 10) 

Sachho of the Arikaras (Gilmore) ; 
Eetkada n of the Dakotas (Gil- 
more) ; Hinudek of the Mandans 
(Gilmore) ; Kokokshi of the Hidat- 
sas (Gilmore). 

Tamias quadrivitatus var. pallidus Allen, Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist., 
vol. 16, p. 289, 1874. 

Type locality. — Camp Thorne, near Glendive, Mont. 

General characters. — Differs from borcalis mainly in lighter coloration, 
which goes with the more open and arid habitat ; the brown tones are more 
yellowish, the gray lighter, and the white markings more extensive. Adult 
specimens average in total length, 200 millimeters; tail, 91; hind foot, 31. 
A male of the year taken October 15 at Sanish measured 200, 90, and 30 milli- 
meters, respectively, and weighed 38 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — The sagebrush Badlands country along 
the Missouri River and westward is the home of the little pale chip- 
munk. (Fig. 1.) Specimens have been taken at Wade and Parkin 
on the Cannonball River, Palace Buttes, 6 miles north of Cannon Ball, 
near Sanish, Williston, Buford, Oakdale, Quinion, Medora, Sentinel 
Buttes, the former Dakota National Forest, and Marmarth. A little 
below Williston and near Grinnell and Elbowoods a few are found 
on the north side of the Missouri River, but generally they are re- 
stricted to the country south and west of the river. In 1833, Max- 
imilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, p. 49, 1841) wrote of them: "A 
few miles below the mouth of the Muddy River, these pretty little 
four-striped squirrels are in great numbers, running along the 
ground and up the trees with the fruit of rosebushes in their 
mouths." In 1843, Audubon (1897, p. 27) reported them in the very 
same place, running over the ground. In 1913, in company with 
W. B. Bell, the writer crossed the river at this point and was greatly 
interested to find the chipmunks still there in the brush and timber 
on both sides of the river. In 1910 H. E. Anthony collected a series 
at Fort Buford and found them common also on the south side of 
the river. Near the Sioux Crossing, 6 miles southeast of Buford, he 
found them abundant along brushy banks and coulees and about 
ranches where there were woodpiles or old buildings near the banks 
of ravines on the south side of the river. Some were also found in 


the heavy brush, but apparently they are partial to the more open 
country. In 1915 Remington Kellogg, on his way down the river 
from Williston to Bismarck, reported them very common near 
Grinnell, in Williams County, both in the Badlands and in the 
brush along Beaver Creek, where several were taken. At Goodall, 
in McKenzie County, they were very common along creeks, rivers, 
and in the Badlands. Others were seen along the river on the 
way down to Elbowoods, where they were most abundant on the 
west side. Near Expansion, in Mercer County, a few were found 
in the willows, and at Stanton a pair was seen in a buffalo- 
berry bush eating the ripe fruit. They are said to occur at Man- 
dan, and Russell Reid says that he has seen them on the east 
side of the river at Bismarck. In 1913 Jewett found them in the 
Badlands and gulches about Medora, near Quinion, and also in the 
Killdeer Mountains. At Sentinel Butte he collected two specimens 
among the rocks of the large buttes south of town, and they were 
found common both along the gulches about the Little Missouri south 
of Sentinel Butte and on the Dakota National Forest. At Mar- 
marth, in the southwestern corner of the State, they were found 
common in 1909, over the brushy sides of the Badlands buttes. 

General habits. — The little Badlands chipmunks are skilful climb- 
ers, but as they generally live in thickets and sagebrush their climb- 
ing is mainly through the branches of these dwarf trees and is 
largely done in search of food or to get high enough above the 
ground to watch for their enemies. Their real homes are in the 
ground or in cracks and crevices of cliffs or Badlands banks, to 
which they dart when alarmed. They are often seen running over 
the sides of banks and bare walls, from one brush patch to another, 
or from their dens to the patches of brush and weeds which furnish 
food and shelter. When alarmed they run with such speed even 
over the roughest ground that pursuit is useless, and the collector 
in search of specimens must use much patience and skill to secure 
them. At other times they are so sure of their safe retreats that 
they come out boldly to satisfy their curiosity and are easily col- 
lected at close range. 

Their voice is similar to that of many other species of small chip- 
munks, but very fine and light. It varies from the slow chip-chip- 
chip as one sits confidently near a safe retreat, to the much more 
rapid chipper of alarm as it flies for cover. At times this chipper is 
heard from the top of a bowlder, the point of a clay bank, or from 
a branch of bullberry or other bush. 

These chipmunks eat a great variety of seeds and berries and a 
little green vegetation. They seem particularly fond of the bull- 
berries, which in fall load the bushes with masses of scarlet fruit. 
The seeds of these berries are removed and either eaten on the spot 
or carried away for winter stores. Serviceberries are also a favorite 
food. The chipmunks eat the outer pulp of the rose haws as well 
as the hard seeds within and are fond of the flesh and seeds of the 
little wild currants and purple gooseberries. Their cheek pouches 
often contain the seeds of various grasses, sedges, and numerous 
other plants, which are carried away to be eaten at leisure or stored 
up for winter use. In the Killdeer Mountains Jewett says that 
acorns and hazelnuts furnish them with a choice supply of food. 


Economic status. — In places the Badlands chipmunks become very 
numerous around the edges of gardens and fields, where they do 
some mischief to growing crops. Anthony says that at one ranch 
near Buford they became so troublesome that the owner was forced 
to shoot them, killing 26 in one afternoon. They are easily trapped 
or poisoned, however, when it is necessary to thin them out, and by 
a little care their mischief can be controlled. 

Tamias striatus griseus Mearns 
Gray Chipmunk 

(PI. 10) 

Tamias striatus griseus Mearns, Bui. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 3 (1890-91), 
p. 231, 1891. 

Type locality. — Fort Snelling. Minn. 

General characters. — Large and heavily built, with broad stripes on the 
back; readily distinguished from the two species of small chipmunks by larger 
size, heavier build, more phlegmatic dispositions, more reddish-brown in the 
colors of the upper parts, and by the generic character of only four molars 
in each upper tooth row. Average measurements : Total length, 200 millimeters ; 
tail, 95; hind foot, 37. An adult female weighed 3% ounces. 

Distribution and habitat. — The grayish race of the large rusty- 
brown chipmunk is common in the timber all along the Red River 
Valley from "VVahpeton to Pembina, and westward along the timbered 
valleys as far as Lisbon, Kathryn, Portland, Larimore, Grafton, and 
throughout the Pembina Hills and Turtle Mountains (fig. 1). Ap- 
parently they do not reach the timbered area of the Devils Lake 
region. They are restricted entirely to timbered and brushy areas, 
where they live in hollow logs, stumps, trees, and underground 
burro ws. 

General h-abits. — The gray chipmunks climb trees readily, but are 
more often seen running over the ground, logs, stumps, or fences. 
Their summer nests are usually placed in hollow logs or trees, but 
their wdnter homes and food stores are mainly in burrows under- 
ground. These burrows are also used throughout the summer as 
safe retreats and for storing winter food supplies. 

The chipmunks are occupied through the spring and early summer 
with their family cares, and as soon as the half-grown young are out 
of the nests in June, the search for food, and a little later the storing 
of a winter's supply of nuts, seeds, and grain fill the daylight hours. 
Soon after frosty nights begin late in September, they enter their 
winter burrows, where they remain buried under the snow until the 
following March or April. The four to six young are born about the 
first of May. During the breeding season they are very quiet and 
shy, keeping as much as possible out of sight, but later a slow chuck — 
chuck — chuck is often heard from the woods and thickets, or a shrill 
chipper of alarm, as the startled animals rush for the nearest cover 
or up the trunk of some friendly tree. 

Their food includes a great variety of nuts, seeds, grains, berries, 
and some green vegetation, as well as occasional insects, frogs, and 
lizards. Acorns and hazelnuts are the favorite winter stores and 
often are deposited in cavities near the nest chambers, a quart or 
more in a place. Just when these food stores are used is not well 
known ; they may furnish an occasional meal throughout the winter, 


or tide over the drowsy period of entering upon and emerging from 
hibernation, or carry the chipmunks through the spring, when the 
ground is still frozen and wet and food scarce, or even through the 
breeding period. It is improbable that the stores are used up before 
spring, as hibernation seems to be complete and considerable fat is 
laid up inside the skins of the animals to carry them through the 

Economic status. — In places where they are abundant gray chip- 
munks sometimes do serious mischief along the edges of fields, dig- 
ging up the planted corn in spring and harvesting more than their 
share of the ripe grain later on. Many of the missing hills of corn 
along the edge of a brush-bordered field are due to the fact that 
these little squirrels have carried away the seed just when it was 
sprouting or earlier. Where their mischief becomes serious, it is 
easily checked by scattering poisoned grain along the fences and 
under the logs where they run. 

Citellus tridecemiineatus tridecemiineatus (Mitchill) 
Striped Ground Squirrel; Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel; Leopard Squirrel 

Tashndheca of the Dakotas ; Tshish- 
karani of the Arikaras ; Naksdtshi 
of the Hidatsas ; Mashedonikcha 
of the Mandans (all, Gilmore). 

Soiurus Mdecem-lineatus Mitchill, Med. Repos., vol. 21 (n. s., vol 6), p. 248, 

Type locality. — Central Minnesota. 

General characters. — Short ears, slender body and tail, seven dark-brown 
and six narrow buff lines on the back, and buffy underparts. The brown stripes 
are dotted and these distinguish it from chipmunks and all the other striped 
squirrels. A rather large specimen from Fargo measures in total length, 300 
millimeters ; tail, 115 ; hind foot, 39. 

Distribution and habitat. — The striped, or thirteen-lined ground 
squirrel, with its paler western form, covers the whole of North 
Dakota, and most of the specimens east of the Missouri River are 
referable to the typical dark form (fig. 2). Belonging to a widely 
distributed group, covering most of the prairie and Great Plains 
region of the United States and southern Canada, they are 
fortunately never so numerous as some of the other species of ground 
squirrel. They inhabit both the prairie and brushy areas, but usually 
are not found in heavy timber or on low, wet ground. Open grassy 
ridges and dry prairies are their favorite habitat, and here their 
numerous burrows and striped coats afford the best of protection. 

General habits. — They are true ground squirrels, spending all 
but their working hours below the surface in their well-made dens 
and burrows. 9 They are strictly diurnal and are partial to warm 
weather. Early on bright summer mornings they may be seen run- 
ning over' the prairie in search of food or mates or in playful exer- 
cise, but in cold or chilly weather they keep mainly within their 
burrows, where a supply of food is generally stored. In the tall 
grass, weeds, or brushy patches they keep out of sight for the most 

9 For diagrams and descriptions of burrows and general habits see Johnson, G. E. 
(1917, p. 261). 




part and would rarely be noticed but for their call notes, long bub- 
bling trills, given as signals of alarm or to convey other information 
among themselves. 

Breeding habits. — Breeding activities begin soon after the adults 
emerge from hibernation in March or early in April, but the actual 
dates of birth of young are not easily obtained. Females collected 
in May usually contain embryos showing various degrees of develop- 
ment, but the young do not appear above ground until June or July. 
They are then nearly half grown and able to run about and take 
care of themselves under the watchful care of their mothers. When 
first born the young are very small, naked, and helpless. Doctor 
Hoy (Kennicott, 1857, pp. 76-77), who observed them in confine- 
ment, says that they have no hair on the body before they are 20 

Fig. 2. — Distribution of the thirteen-lined ground squirrel (1), and its pale western 
form (2), in North I>:ikota 

days old, and that the eyes do not open till the thirtieth day. The 
number of young in a litter varies widely, but seems to be usually 
from 7 to 10. A female taken by Sheldon at Fairmount, on May 9, 
contained 11 embryos, and there are other records of still larger 
numbers up to 13 (Lee) and 14 (Seton). The full number of 
mammae in adult females is 12. Apparently but one litter of young 
is raised in a season, and even for that the time is short for them 
to mature and lay up sufficient fat and food to carry them through 
the six months of hibernation. 

Food habits. — Although a great part of their food consists of 
seeds, grain, and nuts, they are omnivorous in habits and take 
besides berries and some green vegetation, numerous insects, and the 
flesh of mice, birds, or any small animals which they can capture 
or find dead. Acorns and hazelnuts are eagerly gathered and stored 
for winter food, but over most of their range only the smaller seeds 
and nutlets are obtained, unless grainfields are within reach. Seeds 
and grain are stored for future use, but much soft food that will 


not keep is eaten as it is taken. The examination of the contents of 
large numbers of stomachs shows a considerable portion of grass- 
hoppers, crickets, caterpillars, beetles, ants, cocoons, insect eggs, 
and even traces of flesh, hair or small mammals, and feathers of 
birds; also green foliage, the white p'ulp of bulbs and tubers and 
the fruit of solanum, cactus, and strawberries. The contents of the 
ground squirrel's capacious cheek pouches give a good index to the 
selection of seeds and grains. The pouches are often distended with 
wheat, oats, barley, rye, or any of the cultivated grains that are 
obtainable, but also are found to contain acorns, hazelnuts, seed of 
sunflower, cactus, bindweed, goosefoot, puccoon, wild peas and beans, 
and a great variety of grass seeds. 

During late summer and fall, all work industriously, laying up 
their winter stores, quickly filling their cheek pouches and running 
to the burrows to empty them into the storage cavities near the 
winter nests. The seeds of native plants are gathered over a con- 
siderable area. Sometimes a quart or more is found in a storage 
chamber, and at the edge of a field where an abundance of grain 
can be rapidly gathered the winter's stores assume much larger 

Economic status. — In spring the planted seed is dug up and eaten 
or stored from the time it is sown until long after it has sprouted. 
Then the green stalks are eaten during the early summer, and as 
soon as the grain is headed out great numbers of the heads are 
cut off for the young kernels, from the very beginning of their 
formation. Thus, before harvest time the edges of the grainfields 
have become ragged and thin for a considerable distance into the 
field. Although depredations of these ground squirrels do not com- 
pare with those of the more abundant flickertails, their wide distribu- 
tion over North Dakota and many other States renders them one of 
the most serious of rodent pests. 

But for their natural enemies, which are legion, it would be 
impossible to raise crops within their territory. They are con- 
stantly preyed upon by many species of hawks, and some owls, and 
by foxes, weasels, skunks, and badgers, so that in spite of their 
rapid increase their numbers are usually kept somewhat within 
bounds. However, it is necessary over much of their range to 
supplement the work of their natural enemies by the systematic use 
of poison. 

Citellus tridecemlineatus pallidus (Allen) 
Pale Striped Ground Squirrel; Pale Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel 

Alhii'wakao of the Cheyennes 

[Spermophilus tridecemlineatus] var. pallidus Allen, Monogr. North Amer. 
Rodentia, p. 873, 1ST7. 

Type locality. — Plains of Yellowstone River, Mont. 

General characters. — A pale western form of the thirteen-lined ground 
squirrel, slightly smaller, and with paler tones of buff and lighter brown 
stripes. Average specimens from the type region measure in total length, 
approximately 255 millimeters ; tail, 82 ; hind foot, 34. 

Distribution and habitat. — The striped ground squirrels become 
gradually paler across the middle part of the State, but not until 
the semiarid Badlands country is reached west of the Missouri 


do the pale forms become clearly recognizable. In the part of the 
State west and south of the Missouri, they are the only ground 
squirrels, and here with the prairie dogs they occupy the short-grass 
plains country in considerable numbers. While sometimes seen in 
the open, where there is not sufficient grass to conceal them, they 
are more often found in the better cover of grass and weeds and 
low bushes. In this region they were originally one of the interest- 
ing and harmless forms of native life, but since grain farms have 
spread over it they have become one of the serious problems wil"h 
which the farmer has to contend. 

General habits. — In habits these squirrels do not differ from their 
darker relatives to the eastward, except as a change of environment 
gives them other kinds of food and local conditions which they 
seem always ready to meet. In many places some protection is 
sought for their burrows, such as grassy spots or weedy ground. 
Sometimes a piece of paper or cloth is drawn over the entrance to the 
burrow, apparently for concealment or protection. 

At Parkin, on" June 28, 1916, a burrow was found where 
fresh earth had been lately thrown out and the entrance was se- 
curely packed with sand from the inside. As the entrance to this 
burrow was opened a half-grown young of the species poked its 
head out of another entrance near by. In the tunnel, about 8 inches 
below the surface of the ground, was found a large, soft nest in a 
roomy chamber, with two doors opening out on opposite sides. The 
nest was made of dry grass, bark fibers, and bits of paper from the 
railroad track. It was soft and well matted together like a bird's 
nest, but not covered over. The young had escaped in the branching 
burrows. Evidently this was their home nest, from which they had 
not yet begun to make excursions to the world above. The closing 
of their doors from within was evidently in this case to protect the 
young from outside enemies. 

Economic status. — In many places it has been found necessary to 
poison these squirrels for the protection of grainfields and garden 
crops; the methods given for the Richardson ground squirrel, or 
flickertail, will be found to apply equally well to this species. 

Citellus franklinii (Sabine) 
Gray Ground Squirrel; Franklin Ground Squirrel 

Arctomys franldinii Sabine, Trans. Linn. Soc. London, vol. 13, p. 5S7, 1822. 

Type locality. — Carlton House, Saskatchewan, Canada. 

General characters. — Largest of the ground squirrels of this region; some- 
times mistaken for the gray tree squirrel, which it approaches in size and 
slightly resembles, but from which it differs in slender form, very short ears, 
and mueh smaller and less bushy tail. Color, dark gray with a brownish wash 
and a mottled effect in fine, wavy cross lines or scallops over the back. Adults 
measure in total length 3S8 millimeters ; tail, 136 ; hind foot, 55. 

Distribution and habitat. — Extending over a wide range in the cen- 
tral United States and Canada, from Oklahoma and Illinois to the 
Athabaska River, the large gray ground squirrels cover approxi- 
mately the eastern half of North Dakota (fig. 3) . Their greatest abun- 
dance within the State lies within the Red River Valley and west- 
ward to the- Dakota River Valley, Devils Lake, and the Mouse River. 
There is an indefinite record for Burleigh County, near Bismarck, 



[No. 49 

and another for Turtle Lake in McLean County, but the most west- 
ward authentic record is from Kenmare, in the valley of the Riviere 
des Lacs, where W. B. Bell collected a specimen in 1913. They are 
particularly animals of open timber and brush land and do not 
occupy wide stretches of prairie unless there is ample cover for con- 

General habits. — Although occasionally - seen up among the 
branches of low trees, the Franklin squirrels are strictly ground 
squirrels, living in burrows generally concealed in brush or weed 
patches, from which weii-Yv*orn trails or runways radiate to other 
burrows or feeding grounds. They are shy and secretive, keeping 
much under cover of protecting vegetation, as they are too large 
and dark colored to be inconspicuous in the open. When frightened 
they rush for their burrows, usually uttering a trill of alarm and 
warning to other members of the family. Their voice is much like 

Fig. 3. — Records of the Franklin ground, squirrel in North Dakota 

that of the thirteen-lined ground squirrel but is as much heavier as 
they are larger. It is often heard in a long bubbling trill from a 
weed patch and is almost birdlike in musical quality. 

In the timber and brush patches along the Red River Valley, 
about Stump Lake, Devils Lake, the Sweetwater Lakes, and in the 
Turtle Mountains, the squirrels are especially numerous and in such 
situations they are generally the most abundant of the three species 
of ground squirrel occupying the general region. Throughout the 
Turtle Mountains they were found along the edges of meadows, 
fields, and clearing's along roadsides, and in all the open places where 
woods and small brush served for cover. They gathered around 
camps or dwellings where there were no dogs or guns and even 
came into the writer's cabija and helped themselves from the grub 
box. They persisted in getting into traps set for others long after 
enough of them had been secured for specimens and most of the 
trails and runways attributed to other animals proved to belong 
to them. 


Their burrows were generally in groups of three or four, or 
more, not far apart and evidently connected below ground. They 
were in all sorts of situations, but a sloping bank, brush heap, old 
log, or stone pile usually provided the protection sought for their 
dens. A considerable quantity of earth is usually thrown out in 
front of one of the burrows but others open out with less conspicuous 
markings. Many old dens and burrows are located through the 
brush and woods and one seems always to be convenient when danger 
approaches. Often the animals will stop at the entrances of their 
burrows and straighten up in the picket-pin attitude, to make sure 
whether an enemy is pursuing. If approached too closely, they 
quickly dive into their burrows with a flirt of the tail and a parting 
chatter, but if all is quiet they soon reappear cautiously to 

Franklin squirrels are easily tamed and make interesting, though 
rather mischievous, pets. H. V. Williams, at Grafton, had a tame 
one for which he made a den by burying a box underground. The 
squirrel carried about a half bushel of grain into this box, and in 
fall hibernated as usual. When examined in January it was un- 
conscious, but before its awakening time in spring water ran into the 
box and it was drowned. While collecting specimens at Fish Lake 
in the Turtle Mountains, Williams fed one around his tent until it 
became so tame as to take food from his hand and come to the tent 
regularly at meal times. It finally became so bold that it would 
enter the tent and search through the baggage for food. After 
breaking and carrying off a lot of birds' eggs that had been collected 
for specimens it had to be killed to prevent further trouble. 

Hibernation. — With the first freezing weather in fall, usually in 
September, Franklin squirrels go to their nests deep underground 
and usually do not reappear until the following April. Before en- 
tering upon their hibernation they become very fat and depend upon 
this concentrated form of nutriment to carry them through the win- 
ter rather than upon the ample stores of food laid up in convenient 
chambers near their nests. Just when these stores are eaten is not 
well known, but probably before the squirrels have become entirely 
inactive in fall and again before the outside food supply is available 
in spring. 

Breeding habits. — Their half dozen young are usually born in May 
or June and by the last of July are half-grown squirrels, out of the 
burrows, and hunting for their food. 

Food habits. — Living largely upon nuts, seeds, and grain, these 
squirrels show an appetite for a wide range of food. The examina- 
tion of a large number of stomachs and cheek pouches shows their 
food to consist not only of a great variety of grains and seeds, but 
also of berries, green vegetation, roots and bulbs, beetles, caterpil- 
lars, grasshoppers, crickets, ants, and eggs and pupae of insects. 
They also eat young birds, birds' eggs, and young mice, and are said 
to kill young chickens. When caught in traps or found dead they 
are even eaten by their own kind. They feed upon grain from the 
time the seed is planted until the last bundle is removed from the 
fields. Unlike the smaller ground squirrels, they do not cut che 
standing grain, but pull down the heads and in this way destroy the 
grain even more rapidly. In their capacious cheek pouches seeds of 


[No. 49 

grain are rapidly carried to their winter storehouses. "Where a large 
number of the squirrels gather along the edge of a field they will 
often harvest considerable of the grain after having fed upon it dur- 
ing every stage of its growth through the summer. 

Economic status. — To a great extent the Franklin squirrels occupy 
the limited areas where the other two ground squirrels of the State, 
the thirteen-lined and the Eichardson, are absent or less numerous. 
In extensive areas, therefore, they are the dominant species and levy 
their toll of destruction on the grainfields and gardens that other- 
wise would be comparatively safe. In some places, however, the 
three species occupy the same ground and in combined numbers cause 
enormous losses of crops. Although larger and according to their 
numbers possibly more destructive to grain than the Eichardson 
squirrels, the Franklin ground squirrels are apparently less numerous 
in most of their habitat. They are easily poisoned and their abun- 
dance may be controlled at comparatively little expense, using the 
same methods as recommended for the Eichardson, or flickertail. 

Citellus richardsonii (Sabine) 
Richardson Ground Squirrel; Flickertail 

SotiKOta of the Arikaras ; Pinsa of 
the Dakotas ; Shopka-sop of the 
Mandans : Tsipd sopa of the Hidat- 
sas (all, Gilmore). 

Arctomys richardsonii Sabine, Trans. Linn. Soc. London, vol. 13, p. 589, 1882. 

Type locality. — Carlton House, Saskatchewan, Canada. 

General characters. — A plump little ground squirrel much resembling the 
prairie dog, but about half the size. Color, rich buffy yellow, darkened over the 
back with obscure mottling and wavy scallops. Ears, minute ; tail, short. 
Measurements of average adult : Total length, 237 millimeters ; tail, 73 ; hind 
foot, 45. Ebner gives the usual weight in fall as 16 to 17^ ounces and in 
spring as 11 to 13 ounces. 

Distribution and habitat. — From a wide range over southern 
Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Montana, Eichardson ground squirrels, 
or flickertails, cover practically all of Xorth Dakota east and north 
of the Missouri Eiver (fig. 4). They are absent from most of the 
immediate valley of the Eed Eiver and the wooded bottoms and tim- 
bered areas generally, being most abundant over the high open prairie 
of the central part of the State. For some unknown reason they seem 
to stop at the Missouri Eiver where the prairie dogs begin, although 
the ranges of the two species overlap slightly in Montana, where 
no enmity between them is noticeable. The more humid and fer- 
tile part of the country was occupied by them long before the great 
wheatfields spread over their range to supply a new and choice 
food. Of the three species of ground squirrel in the State, these 
are by far the most numerous and most destructive. 

General habits. — Originally the flickertails had a continuous dis- 
tribution over the prairies in great numbers. On some favorite 
slopes they were so numerous as to suggest a colonial tendency, but 
apparently this only showed a preference for certain kinds of ground 
yielding an abundant food supply. 

In 1887, when much of the prairie was still unbroken, they were 
living in their primitive manner on such food as the prairie afforded 
and doing practically no harm except as grainfields and crops en- 




croached upon their original range. Their greatest numbers often 
appeared to be in the areas of the shortest grass and lowest vegeta- 
tion, possibly because the grasshoppers and other insect life on which 
they fed to some extent were most easily obtained there. In places 
the prairie seemed alive with them and they could be seen scamper- 
ing about together or standing up like picket-pins, while their shrill 
whistle was heard on all sides. With each call-note their short little 
tails are flipped up and down, a farewell twinkle being given as 
they disappear down the burrow, hence the popular name of " flicker- 
tail."' In 1887 they were often seen also in the main streets of Devils 
Lake and Bottineau, which were then in their early stages of con- 
struction, and in 1916, it was most surprising to find them still 
occupying vacant lots on the edge of the city of Devils Lake. It 
was a striking illustration of their tenacity in holding to their 

Fig. 4. — Records of the Richardson ground squirrel in North Dakota 

original habitat through years of vigorous but sporadic efforts to 
destroy them. 

As soon as the grainfields spread over their range they quickly 
gathered along the edges to feast on this wonderful new and 
abundant food. They did not long confine themselves to the edges 
of the field, however, but went into the middle of large cultivated 
areas and made their burrows in the plowed ground or in the grow- 
ing grain. 

No reliable estimate of their numbers can be obtained, but a 
general idea of their abundance mav be gained from the statements 
of Elmer T. Judd, of Cando, in a letter of August 1, 1890, in which 
he says: 

Au old gentleman here killed 1,500 'gophers,' by actual count, before the 
first of June. From the first of June to the middle of July, he and a cotton 
broker from St. Louis, who spends the summer here on his farm, calculated 
that they killed over 2,500 more. One forenoon they killed 135, as shown by 
the tails they had captured. 

82242°— 26 5 


These 4,000 animals were killed on and around the outer edges of 
one section of land. 

Breeding habits. — The number of young to a litter is given by 
Ebner as 6 to 11, with an average of 7 or 8, born in the underground 
nests mainly in May. By the first of June the young are out of 
the burrows and find part of their own food while still under the 
anxious care of their mothers. Small young are occasionally seen 
much later than the first of June, and apparently the breeding 
season extends over a considerable period. It has been supposed that 
flickertails raise two or more litters in a season, but this seems improb- 
able on account of the brief period between their emerging from 
hibernation in the latter part of March or early April, and enter- 
ing hibernation in the latter part of August or early in Septem- 
ber. This is scant time for even the earliest young to get anywhere 
near their full growth and lay in sufficient fat to carry them through 
the winter. By the first of September there are always many in- 
dividuals that are still small and these are the last to hibernate, 
presumably because they have not laid up sufficient fat. Even in 
spring many of those that are seen before the young are born are 
not nearly full grown and apparently these late young of the previ- 
ous year are late in breeding. The principal mating season is early 
in the spring soon after hibernation but sometimes it is as late as 
the latter part of June. On September 1, 1914, at Bismarck, a few 
were seen but these were the young of the year, the adults having 
already gone into their winter dens. At the same time, Silver, who 
had been studying them at Garrison, for the previous week reported 
only young of the year caught. At Van Hook on October 16, 1919, 
the writer saw one out on a warm, sunshiny day after a cold wave, 
but none had been seen before for some time. 

Food habits. — During the summer much green vegetation is eaten 
by the flickertails — largely the leaves and stems of grain, grass, and 
a great variety of succulent plants — and apparently it would be 
possible for these rodents, like the prairie dogs, to subsist entirely 
upon such vegetation were no grain and seeds available. Late in 
summer and in fall, when the seeds of the prairie plants and grasses 
begin to ripen, they constitute the principal food of the squirrels. 
An important part of the summer food consists also of such insects 
as grasshoppers, crickets, and caterpillars, though these vary greatly 
with season and locality. At Crosby, in July, 1913, they were 
found feeding extensively on the little juicy striped-backed army- 
worm caterpillars, which swarmed over the roads and fields. 
Some of the squirrels examined had their stomachs half full and 
others entirely filled with the caterpillars. Where grasshoppers 
are abundant they are often fed upon extensively, but wherever 
grain can be obtained it seems to be the favorite food. One 
flickertail, shot as it ran out from under a shock of grain, had 269 
kernels of oats in its cheek pouches. One recorded by Seton had 
162 grains of oats in its pouches and another 240 grains of wheat 
and nearly a thousand grains of wild buckwheat. Their cheek 
pouches are so capacious that when well filled they often make 
the head appear more than double its natural size. The stores 
gathered are rapidly carried home to be deposited in the burrows 
and large quantities of food are thus provided for future use. No 


stores of grain have been found in the hibernating dens, however, 
and more study is needed to show when it is used. 

Destruction of crops. — The annual loss in grain crops in North 
Dakota occasioned by these ground squirrels has been estimated at 
$6,000,000 to $9,000,000 in addition to the annual expenditure of at 
least $100,000 of public and private funds to combat their. depreda- 
tions. Their tendency is to multiply rapidly in a well-settled and 
cultivated part of the country because many of their natural enemies 
are destroyed or kept at a distance, and the food supply is most 
abundant. As soon as they emerge from hibernation early in spring 
they begin digging up the seed and eating the young grain that has 
been sown in the fall, and as soon as the spring sowing starts they 
dig up the new seed and eat or carry it away. When the grain 
sprouts they dig both sprout and kernel, and after the kernels are 
entirely exhausted they feast on the young growing grain until it is 
headed out, when they begin on the young heads, cutting down the 
stalks and eating the young seed through all its gi owing stages. As 
soon as the grain is ripe they carry it away as rapidly as possible 
to their storehouses, and this is continued until the last bundle is 
removed from the fields. Four thousand of these squirrels on or 
around the edges of a section of land would remove a considerable 
portion of the crop, and it is not surprising that they are considered 
the greatest pest of the region. They seem to have no preference 
between wheat, rye, barley, oats, or flax, but take whatever is nearest 
their dens. 

Natural enemies. — The natural enemies of these ground squirrels 
are numerous, and but for them the abundance of the animals 
would be many times greater. Badgers are constantly digging them 
out and feasting upon them, from early spring until long after 
they have hibernated or until the ground becomes well frozen and 
the badgers themselves go into winter quarters. The long-tailed 
weasels enter their burrows and kill and feed upon them without the 
least trouble or hindrance and apparently destroy great numbers 
besides those merely killed for food. At the first appearance of one 
of these weasels, the squirrels give frantic alarm calls that set the 
whole prairie community in a panic. They rush to their burrows, 
but the weasel follows and helps itself to as many as it cares to 
kill for food or pleasure. This goes on as long as the burrows are 
open and probably even during the winter, when the weasels can 
gain access to the dens through the snow, as they are active all 
winter and sleeping squirrels fill their needs as well as any others. 
Skunks probably dig out a few, and foxes, coyotes, and bobcats help 
also to reduce their numbers. 

Hawks and some owls prey upon them to a greater or less extent. 
The ferruginous rough-legged hawk apparently feeds upon them 
almost exclusively where they occur in its neighborhood and brings 
them in to feed its hungry broods. The Swainson, marsh, red-tailed, 
and red-shouldered hawks feed on them extensively, and even the 
bird-catching sharp-shinned and Cooper hawks may occasionally 
take one. The little sparrow hawks, which feed mainly upon grass- 
hoppers, probably destroy some of the young ground squirrels, and 
it is likely that both the short-eared and long-eared owls capture 
many of them during early evenings or on cloudy days. Gopher 


snakes feed upon them to considerable extent, but few data are 
available in regard to some of the most important species of snakes. 
The protection of such of their natural enemies as are not otherwise 
harmful in habits is one of the most important measures for the 
control of these ground squirrels. 

Methods of destruction. — Most efficient methods of controlling these 
ground squirrels have been carefully worked out by members of 
the Biological Survey and the North Dakota Agricultural College 
and Experiment Station. In campaigns against these squirrels, the 
most economical preparation of poison that has been found to be 
effective is grain lightly coated with strychnine and starch in the 
proportions of 1 ounce of strychnine alkaloid to 1 tablespoonful 
of gloss starch made into a paste with 1 pint of boiling water and 
stirred into 20 quarts of oats. A teaspoonful of this coated grain 
placed near each occupied burrow disposes of a large percentage of 
the squirrels at the first application and the few that remain can be 
practically cleaned up at the second application. Well-organized 
and coordinated work over a large area is necessary for satisfactory 
results, as no matter how thoroughly the squirrels are cleaned out 
from one or a half dozen farms they will quickly reinfest the whole 
area from those remaining. This preparation of poisoned grain is 
equally successful with the other species of ground squirrels and 
chipmunks where it is necessary to reduce their numbers or clean 
them out of a section of country. 

Ground squirrels as pets. — On a street car from Devils Lake to 
the Chautauqua Grounds one day the writer saw a boy who had one 
of these squirrels, which he had caught with a snare earlier in the 
day. It was about half grown and had become so gentle that he 
was playing with it and handling it freely, letting it climb up his 
coat sleeve and carrying it in his pocket or in his cap on his head. 
It made no attempt either to escape or to bite, but snuggled up 
to him in a way that suggested the possibility of using these squirrels 
as pets for children, a vital need that is not well met by any of 
our domestic animals. Cleaner, neater little pets could not be 
found. Although quiet in disposition, they have sufficient vivacity 
to be very attractive. If taken young and well tamed these native 
squirrels would certainly be far more attractive, interesting, and in- 
telligent than white mice, rats, or guinea pigs, which seem to be 
the only small mammals available for this important phase of child 
development. The supply would be endless and easily obtained, and 
by using only one sex in one part of the country any danger from 
recolonization would be avoided. 

Cynomys ludovicianus ludovicianus (Ord) 
Black-tailed Prairie Dog 

Pl n spi"sa of the Dakotas ; Achks of 
the Arikaras ; Shopka of the Man- 
dans ; Si n hpa or Tsipd of the 
Hidatsas (all, Gilmore). 

Arctomys Hdoviciana Ord, Guthrie's Geogr., 2d Amer. ed., vol. 2, pp. 292, 
302, 1815. (Reprint by S. N. Rhoads, 1894.) 

Type locality. — Upper Missouri River, where discovered by Lewis and Clark. 

General characters. — Prairie dogs might be described as big, husky ground 

squirrels or little, plump woodchucks, to both of which they are related and 




between which they range in size. Although belonging to the squirrel family, 
they are compactly built for digging and for life on and under the surface of 
the ground. The ears are minute, the tail short, and the legs short and 
muscular. The color generally matches well the fresh yellow earth of their 
burrows, being a yellowish or pinkish cinnamon above and buffy below ; the 
tip of the tail is blackish, and coarse black hairs are scattered over the 
upper parts ; the fur is soft and silky in winter, coarse and harsh in sum- 
mer. Average measurements : Total length, 388 millimeters ; tail, 86 ; hind foot, 
62. 10 Weight, 2 to 3 pounds. 

Distribution and habitat. — From a wide range over the Great 
Plains from western Texas to northern Montana, these prairie dogs 
extend over that part of North Dakota west of the Missouri River 
(fig. 5). In this latitude they are all west of the Missouri River, 
but farther south they occur on both sides. Fortunately they are 
colonial in habits and have a scattered distribution, so that the 

Pig. 5. — Distribution of prairie-dog towns in North Dakota 

country is not fully occupied by them, but the colonies, or " dog 
towns," have been numerous over the part of the State which they 
occupy. In 1910, Anthony reported a few prairie dogs on the south 
side of the river not far from Buford, and many 20 miles south of 
there. In 1909, prairie-dog towns were reliably reported near 
Mannhaven, just west of the Missouri River, and on the Little 
Missouri near Marmarth in the southwest corner of the State. In 
1913 there was a considerable dog town east of Sentinel Butte. 
In 1913, Jewett reported a large colony on the flats about 
a mile west of Fort Clark, where the prairie dogs were doing 
considerable damage to crops, another colony on a piece of level 
prairie about 3 miles east of Oakdale, and many others along the 
Little Missouri River from Quinion to Medora, with exceptionally 
large Colonies at the mouth of Ash Creek and near the head of 
Magpie Creek. Most of the dog towns he found around Sentinel 
Butte had been destroyed, but a small colony still existed about 10 

10 Measurements from North American Fauna No. 40 (Hollister, 1916, pp. 16-17). 


miles east of there. A considerable dog town was located a couple 
of miles east of Medora and another along the Northern Pacific Rail- 
road between Hebron and Glen Ullin. Kellogg, in 1915, found near 
Goodall an uninhabited dog town that had covered about 400 acres. 
A small colony on the west side of the river opposite Elbowoods 
was said to be decreasing in population. About a mile north of 
Mannhaven a colony was found covering about 100 acres. At 
Stanton there had formerly been a large colony but it had been de- 
stroyed by poison. In 1915, Sheldon reported a small prairie-dog 
town on Deep Creek near the former Dakota National Forest, and 
other colonies scattered over that general region. At a point about 4 
miles northwest of Cannon Ball, he located a town containing about 
2,000 prairie dogs and covering an area of approximately 160 acres. 
Another colony was located near old Fort Rice, covering about 40 
acres and containing about 500 animals; still another about 9 miles 
south of Cannon Ball of approximately 80 acres and about 500 
animals. He was told that the Indians had kept them down by 
shooting them for food. Near Wade, in 1913, Doctor Bell reported 
them as occurring in scattered colonies. 

In 1915, U. S. Ebner, in charge of field operations in the rodent- 
control work of the Biological Survey in cooperation with the North 
Dakota Agricultural College and Experiment Station, investigated 
the prairie-dog situation over a part of the range west of the Mis- 
souri River. He reported small prairie-dog towns covering 25 to 
250 acres scattered along the Little Missouri River in Billings 
County, larger colonies of 60 to 640 acres in the northern part of Dunn 
County, a number of towns of 20 to 160 acres along Big Beaver 
Creek in the northern part of Golden Valley County, other towns 
of 25 to 500 acres in the eastern part of McKenzie County, and some 
large towns running as high as 600 acres on the Berthold Indian 
Reservation. In most of these prairie-dog towns he estimated 20 to 
40 burrows to the acre. 

Although these records show only the colonies that have been 
located, they indicate a very general distribution of prairie dogs 
over this part of the State, and a careful survey would doubtless 
show a surprising number of inhabited prairie-dog towns in a region 
that is rapidly filling up with grainfields. 

As a general thing the colonies are located on the open level 
prairie and often on the best of the grain land. In the Badlands 
they are usually on the fiats and level spaces where the best grass 
grows, always away from the brushy and barren areas. 

General habits. — Prairie dogs are highly social in disposition, 
almost invariably living in colonies. On rare occasions a new lo- 
cation is chosen where a family or a few prairie dogs have started a 
colony, but generally there is evidence of their long residence. The 
old burrows and mounds remain for many years and the sites of 
ancient prairie-dog towns are marked by little swells of grassy turf 
scattered over the prairie. 

A well-populated prairie-dog town on a bright summer morning 
is as animated as any busy village could well be. At the first ap- 
pearance of the sun the animals come out of their burrows and begin 
their breakfasts of grass and roots, most of them busily digging up 
grass and little plants for food, nibbling off the grass blades and 


plant leaves like rabbits, or sitting up holding them in their hands 
like squirrels. There are always, however, a few on sentinel duty, 
usually sitting straight up on the highest mounds, or stretching up 
occasionally to full height from the grass where they are feeding. 
Some are always scampering from one point to another, and when 
the young are out there is much playing and scuffling among them. 

A populous town of prairie dogs, all busy and many of them call- 
ing back and forth, with a few on sentinel duty, barking in steady 
little yap-yap-yap-yaps at some real or imaginary enemy, makes an 
interesting picture. If the enemy really approaches, the barking 
becomes frantic and is taken up by other members along the line, 
and there is a general scamper for the nearest burrows. If one 
walks toward them to within rifle range the panic increases and the 
nearest animals rapidly disappear clown the burrows with a farewell 
twinkle of their tails. The barking passes along farther and farther 
through the town, usually beyond where the enemy can be seen, 
every prairie dog taking notice and most of them joining in the 
alarm. Occasionally one of the guards will stretch up to its 
utmost height and throwing its head back utter a long 
C hu-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r, as if a dozen barks were crowded into one. 
This seems to be their only note besides the regular yap-yap, and a 
chuckling, scolding Chu-r-r-r-r-r, after entering their burrows, as 
if they were grumbling at having been disturbed. 

The burrows are deep and go down at steep angles, sometimes 
almost straight down, for 2 or 3 feet and then slope off gradually. 
A pebble dropped into one can be heard rolling and bounding 
down, often for 5 or 6 feet, and a prairie dog with a string tied to 
its hind foot will sometimes take down 12 or 15 feet of string be- 
fore reaching the end of the tunnel. The burrows are simple and 
almost never lead out to a second opening. 

The nest, instead of being at the lowest point, is usually in a 
chamber well protected from any rain water that may run down the 
burrow. As a further protection the earth thrown out is carefully 
placed around the entrance to form a craterlike rim that serves the 
double purpose of a watch tower and a dike to prevent the entrance 
of water from heavy rains. 

Originally the mound is built of the earth brought out of the 
burrow, but later fresh earth is scraped up from outside and brought 
back and added to the sides, and when the ground is moist after a 
rain the mound is carefully formed and patted and pushed with the 
end of the nose until externally it has the most approved slopes and 
internally the correct funnel form. A well-kept mound shows 
numerous dents and dimples where pushed and poked with the 
pudgy noses of the prairie dogs. Many old burrows with neglected 
and broken mounds are used, but the main nest burrows are always 
kept in good condition. Nest material of dried grass and soft plant 
fibers is carried into the burrows and the old material is occasionally 
brought out and scattered about the entrance. The cheek pouches of 
the prairie dogs are small and little used, and apparently no food is 

Breeding. — The 4 to 6 or 8 young are born early in May, but usu- 
ally do not appear out of the burrows until the first or middle of 
June. They are then seen in family groups around the entrance to 


their homes and always under their mother's watchful eye. At 
a signal from her they quickly rush to the burrow and disappear. 
As their experience increases they are left more to their own dis- 
cretion, but even when half grown if danger appears the mother in- 
sists on their all getting down the burrow before she will enter. 
Small young are often seen later in the year, but in the northern 
part of their range it is doubtful if more than one litter is raised in 
a season, the late young probably being the first litter of females of 
last year's brood. 

Hibernation. — In fall the adults become very fat and the young 
moderately so. They are always ready to hibernate in case of very 
cold or stormy weather or deep snow, but do not enter their dens to 
remain unless cold weather comes. In mild seasons they are some- 
times active until midwinter and may be seen foraging on warm 
days when there is no snow. In severe winters, however, they dis- 
appear for a long period and evidently pass completely into the 
state of hibernation. They are out with the first warm days of 
spring and in March, when a few sagebrush tops were the only 
visible vegetation, the writer has seen them sitting on top of 2 feet 
of snow through which they had burrowed to the surface. As soon 
as the snow is off in spring) they find plenty of food in the dry 
grasses and roots, and their store of fat helps to carry them through 
the mating season. 

Food habits. — The food of the prairie dogs consists principally of 
grass, including seeds, leaves, stems, and roots, but it includes also 
a variety of other plants, generally everything that grows over the 
surface of the ground to a considerable distance around their bur- 
rows. The short blades of grasses are not only eaten off to the 
ground, but the roots also are dug up and the tender bottoms of many 
species are eagerly eaten. Other little plants are eaten to the 
ground and those with edible roots or bulbs are dug up and extermi- 
nated. Often tall plants, grasses, and weeds that have sprung up 
in the prairie-dog town are cut down, if not for food, to keep the 
ground clear and the view unobstructed. An old and well-popu- 
lated prairie-dog town is often so completely cleared of vegetation 
that parts of it have to be abandoned, the animals moving on toward 
the best grass on the margins. In this way parts of the prairie are 
progressively denuded of vegetation. 

The stomachs of prairie dogs are relatively large, as in all grazing 
animals, and at any time of the day except early morning they are 
found well filled with finely masticated vegetation, usually showing 
a good combination of green and white pulp from the foliage, stems, 
and roots of plants, often with streaks of color from various kinds 
of flowers and seeds. Many ripening seeds are included in their 
food, and fields of grain tempt them to extend their colonies into 
this unusual food supply. When the dog towns are plowed up 
and seeded to grain the occupants cling to the old burrows with great 
tenacity, opening them up and if left undisturbed living in the 
midst of wide grainfields. 

Depredations. — An area occupied by a colony of prairie dogs may 
usually be considered stocked to its carrying capacity and of little 
or no value for grazing or agricultural purposes. It may also be 
considered that the area thus occupied is just so much withheld from 




other use, and it is only a matter of determining the area of land 
given over to these animals to know the extent of the loss in grazing. 
If a well-populated prairie-dog town is plowed and seeded, 
prairie dogs will be the ones to harvest the grain unless they are 
first destroyed. 

Destruction of prairie dogs. — Fortunately prairie dogs are easily 
poisoned by the use of oats or other grains coated with strychnine, as 
described for the Richardson ground squirrel, and a farm suffering 
severe losses may be reclaimed at comparative^ small expense. Full 
directions for preparing and using the poisons will be furnished by 
the Biological Survey on request. 

Fig. 6. — Localities where woodchucks are known in North Dakota 

Marmota nionax rufescens Howell 
Rufescent Woodchuck; Groundhog 

Marmota monax rufescens Howell, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 27, p. 13, 

Type locality — Elk River, Minn. 

General Characters. — Heavy-bodied animals, with short ears, short legs, 
and short, bushy tails. Similar in general appearance to the southern and 
eastern woodchucks, but more reddish brown above and below. Upper parts 
dark brownish gray, sides and underparts strongly washed with reddish or 
rusty brown: feet blackish; tail black or dark brown, long-haired and bushy. 
Average measurements: Total length, 548 millimeters; tail, 143; hind foot, 
s:'..' 1 Weight, about 8 to 12 pounds, but individuals have been recorded as 
heavy as 13% and is pounds. (Anon., 1900; Fellows, 1881.) 

Distribution and habitat. — From the Transition Zone of the east- 
ern United States woodchucks extend across Minnesota and into 
southeastern North Dakota as far as Devils Lake (fig. 6). In 
revising the group Howell examined specimens from Fargo, Grafton, 
and Leonard, in North Dakota; and at the biological laboratory 
in 1913 there were skins collected near Stump Lake and Devils 

11 Measurements from North American Fauna No. 37 (Howell, 1915, p. 20). 


Lake. At Wahpeton woodchucks are reported common along the 
banks of the timbered river bottoms. At Fargo and Grafton 
they are occasionally found. In 1915, Kellogg collected a half- 
grown young near Larimore and obtained a specimen at Grafton. 
While at Manvel, Grand Forks County, he saw their burrows and 
one young that had been captured. In 1919, Williams reported 
them becoming more numerous each year at Grafton. Eastgate 
says they are occasionally found in the forest near the biological lab- 
oratory at Devils Lake, but that they are by no means common. Ap- 
parently they fill the forested belts along the rivers, extending west- 
ward from the Red River Valley and thus reaching the Devils Lake 
and Stump Lake forested tracts. Although mainly restricted to 
forested and brushy locations, where no timber is available they 
will live in the open. Steep banks and sidehills are favorite situa- 
tions, but in many cases the burrows are found on level ground or 
under stumps, trees, or stones. Woodchucks are not fastidious 
as to habitat, the one requisite for their existence seeming to be an 
ample supply of green food during the summer season. 

General habits. — These largest and least squirrel-like of the squir- 
rel family have generally the burrowing habits of the ground 
squirrels and prairie dogs. They are mainly burrowing and graz- 
ing animals, occupying the region of rich plant growth rather than 
the short-grass prairie, and depending to a great extent on cover 
and concealment for protection. They are not colonial in habits, 
except as mother and young remain together during the season, but 
if undisturbed they often multiply so rapidly as to be seriously 
destructive to crops and forage. 

Their burrows are extensive, and instead of being one simple 
tunnel, usually open out in two or more directions from the central 
den. Near Larimore, Kellogg dug out a den where an old female 
and her half-grown young were living. There were four entrances 
and three nests in different chambers. The nests were made of dry 
grass and leaves and one contained some fresh-cut plants, including 
nettles. The branches of the den were respectively 6, 7, and 9 feet 
long, but apparently there were other branches not discovered, as 
the old woodchuck and her young had been seen to enter the burrow, 
but could not be found. When first seen, one of the young was up 
in a basswood tree and when alarmed ran down into the burrow. 
These woodchucks are good climbers and in places where there are 
no fences or rocks to serve as watch towers, they are often found up 
in trees where a good view can be had. They also take refuge in 
trees to escape from dogs and other enemies. A family of seven 
young is reported from Manvel, by Kellogg, and this seems to be 
about the average number for the species. 

Food habits. — The food of woodchucks consists largely of green 
vegetation, with which their large stomachs are usually filled. They 
are particularly fond of clover, alfalfa, or any of the native legumi- 
nous plants, but will eat grass and growing grain and vegetables 
with great relish. In fall, flowers, seeds, and grain furnish a richer 
food from which more rapidly to accumulate their winter fat. Ap- 
parently they do not lay up stores of food, but depend on finding 
an ample supply until time to hibernate, and in spring live on their 
store of fat until green vegetation is available. They usually come 


out in spring while the ground is still covered with melting snow. 
Doctor Bell took a specimen at Fargo on April 29, 1906. 

Economic status. — The fondness of woodchucks for almost every 
kind of garden or field crop renders them serious pests wherever 
they are numerous. Here on the border of their range they may 
never become troublesome, but they should be watched and their 
numbers kept down wherever an undue increase is noticeable. 

It is unfortunate that the habits of so many of our native animals 
conflict with the interests of man, as their presence would otherwise 
add much to the interest of life. A few woodchucks in the meadow 
and along the fences, where their loud, shrill whistle is occasionally 
heard and where they are seen sitting up in the grass or on the 
fence watching for danger, or with flopping tails scampering to 
their burrows, would add a touch of life and interest to any land- 
scape. Their depredations, however, are too serious to be taken 
lightly, and it is often necessary to destroy them. Usually they may 
be shot or trapped, or killed with carbon disulphide placed in their 
burrows, but they are not easily poisoned, as there is usually an ample 
supply of their favorite food within reach. 

Woodchucks as food. — Woodchucks have some value as food ani- 
mals ; their meat is like that of squirrels, but coarser. Many persons 
are fond of them, and in the markets they sometimes bring as much 
as a dollar each. There could be no cleaner or more exemplary 
animal in food habits and their underground dens are as clean and 
fresh as the abode of any burrowing animal. When necessary to 
destroy them their use as food should be encouraged. 

Marmota monax canadensis (Erxleben) 
Canada Woodchuck; Groundhog 1 

[Glis] canadensis Erxleben, Syst. Regni Anim., p. 363, 1777. 

Type locality. — Quebec, Quebec, Canada. 

General characters. — In size somewhat smaller than rufescens. Color, strong- 
ly rufescent. Average measurements : Total length, 513 millimeters ; tail, 10S ; 
hind foot, 76. 

Distribution and habitat. — From a range extending across Canada 
from Nova Scotia on the east to Fort Simpson on the Mackenzie, 
the small northern form of the monax group of woodchucks barely 
enters the extreme northeastern corner of North Dakota. One 
specimen collected at Pembina in 1887 was identified by Howell 
as belonging to this form. It was taken on the North Dakota side 
of the river, but after it had been seen to swim across from the 
Minnesota side. In 1915, Kellogg reported a few woodchucks at 
Pembina, but did not obtain any specimens. The river at this point 
has considerable timber along both sides, and woodchucks are likely 
to pass back and forth freely, if not during the summer, they cer- 
tainly would early in spring before the river breaks up. At Wal- 
halla they are fairly common, but by October 1, 1919, they had all 
denned up for winter. One found in the bank and later mounted 
was evidently the little dark-colored canadensis. 

General habits. — The only difference in habits between this form 
and the more southern rufescens may be attributed to climate and 
environment. With a longer winter, more snow, and a somewhat 
different set of plants from which to draw their food supply, these 


rodents readily adapt themselves to local conditions. In the shorter 
season they are still able to lay up sufficient fat to carry them through 
the long, cold winters, and in spring they come out of hibernation 
even while the snow is still deep. As early as March 18, in north- 
ern Minnesota, they sometimes come out on 4 feet of snow, 
making tracks in the soft, melting surface or on the frozen crust 
and visiting back and forth from one burrow to another, opened 
out through snow tunnels. This is the mating season, and, accord- 
ing to Seton (1909, vol. 1, p. 426), the four or five young are born 
about the end of April. Over this great northern country they 
are generally harmless, except where locally they come in contact 
with fields and gardens. 

Family MURIDAE : Old World Rats and Mice 
Rattus norvegicus (Erxleben) 
Brown Rat; House Rat; Wharf Rat 

[Musi norvegicus Erxleben, Syst. Regni Anim., p. 381, 1777. 

Type locality. — Norway, where introduced in 1762. 

General characters. — Size, variable ; ears, small ; nose, long and pointed ; tail, 
long, nearly naked, and minutely scaly ; color, dull brownish-gray above, light 
or whitish below, occasionally bluish black. Measurements of average adults : 
Total length, 415 millimeters ; tail, 192 ; hind foot, 43 ; measurements of a 
large individual, 46S, 212, and 44, respectively. Weight of large individuals, 
about 1 pound. 12 

Distribution and habitat. — The familiar house rats are not native 
to America, but came over on ships about 1775, and since then have 
spread over most of this country, except some of the arid interior. 
They follow railroads and settlements into every part of the country 
where they can find food and cover, preferring the buildings and 
habitations of man. It is safe to say that they first entered North 
Dakota with the early steamboat traffic up the Missouri River. 

In 1833, Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, pp. 72, 251, 25(3- 
257, 1841) found them a great pest among the grain stores of the In- 
dians at Fort Clark. He says that in the loft of the stores of the 
fort were 600 to 800 bushels of maize that a great number of Nor- 
way rats assiduously labored to reduce. They were so numerous 
and troublesome that no kind of provision was safe from their vo- 
racity, but their favorite food was the maize, among which they cre- 
ated much havoc, and it was calculated that they devoured 5 bushels, 
or 250 pounds, daily. The rats were brought thither by American 
ships, but as yet had not reached the Minnetaree villages. The fol- 
lowing winter, in the house which had been built for him among the 
Mandan Indians, Maximilian says: "We were molested during the 
night by numerous rats and put my little prairie fox in the loft above 
us, where some maize was kept and here he did excellent service." 

In 1887, these large rats were abundant at Fort Buford,. which was 
then the terminus of the Great Northern Railway. The old build- 
ings about the fort were filled with them and they were very de- 
structive. Even in the little adobe hotel they were racing about 
the room every night until caught in traps. At Grand Forks they 
were said to have only recently arrived and they were not known 

13 Weights of more than 2 pounds have been recorded. 



at Pembina, Devils Lake, or Bottineau. In 1909 they were com- 
mon at Bismarck and Mandan and were said to be at Devils Lake 
and Rugby Junction, but at Bottineau none had been found. In 
1912 they were abundant and troublesome about Fargo, Hankinson, 
Valley City, Lisbon, Stump Lake, and Grafton. At this time a dead 
rat was seen at a ranch near Marstonmoor. Stutsman County; Wil- 
liams reported them at Walhalla, in Pembina County ; and within a 
few years they had begun to infest the country along the eastern 
edge of the Turtle Mountains. In 1915 Sheldon found them at Fair- 
mount, where they were a great pest around barns and granaries. 
He says that the farmers who tried to raise poultry had considerable 
trouble with them, as they took the little chickens at every oppor- 
tunity. During his visit at the Hoffman farm, two of the farm 
hands, while transferring a quantity of hay from one section of the 
barn to another, killed about 100 rats in a few hours. Most of these 
were about half -grown, only 1 adult being killed. At Lidgerwood, 
in Richland County, Sheldon found them less common than at Fair- 
mount. On a trip west across the rest of the southern part of the 
State, however, he did not find any further trace of them. 

In 1915 Kellogg found them at Wahpeton, at Grafton, and a few at 
Oakes, in Dickey County ; at Towner, McKenzie County, he reported 
them as not very common. In 1913 Jewett reported that no trace of 
them could be found at Sentinel Butte and old settlers living there 
had never seen them. At Medora, also, none were found. It is prob- 
able that the rats will not find their way to the scattered farms over 
considerable portions of the western and more arid parts of the State 
for some years to come, but eventually they will undoubtedly cover 
practically the whole State. 

General habits. — So closely have rats been associated with man 
and his works and for so long a time, that they have become largely 
parasitic in habits, seeking the cover and protection of buildings and 
preying upon the food supplies produced and gathered by man. 
Their sly, filthy habits, mean appearance, and vicious dispositions 
have not only won the enmity of mankind, but have done much to 
instill a dislike for other harmless and more attractive native animals 
with which their name has become associated. To their destruction 
of property is added the even more serious menace of conveying 
disease to man. They are by far the most destructive and dangerous 
of rodent pests and warfare against them should be relentless. 

Breeding habits. — A large female rat was sent to the Biological 
Survey from Fargo by K. F. Bascom, who reported that it had con- 
tained 12 well-developed fetuses. This is not an unusual number of 
young at a birth, and the rats breed so rapidly that under favorable 
conditions of food supply and protection the rate of increase is 
enormous. Litters of young are said to be produced sometimes at 
intervals of 25 davs and the breeding season lasts for a large part of 
the year (Lantz, 1909, p. 16). 

Food habits. — Probably no rodents are more omnivorous than rats. 
They accept anything oi an edible nature from fresh or stale meat 
to young chickens, eggs, fruit and vegetables, grain, nuts, seeds, and 
even green vegetation. They revel in garbage of all sorts and will 
often find an abundance of food in city dumps, manure piles, and in 
the refuse about stables. In a grain-producing region their fondness 


for grain leads to enormous losses, as where an abundant supply is 
available they merely take the germ and ruin far more than they 
require for food. 

Control measures. — The depredations of these animals are so 
serious that it is generally found to be good economy to make build- 
ings rat-proof, or as nearly so as possible, by means of concrete, 
brick, stone, and wire mesh. Where grain and other food can be 
kept away from them their numbers can easily be controlled, but they 
are so skilful in burrowing under walls and gnawing through wood 
that special methods are necessary to exclude them. So adept are 
they in avoiding traps and poison that a combination of rat-proofing, 
poison, and traps is often necessary to prevent serious losses from 
them. The most successful methods of combating them are given in 
Biological Survey bulletins and circulars, which are available for 
free distribution. 

Mus musculus musculus Linnaeus 
House Mouse 

[Mus] musculus Linnaeus, Syst. Nat., ed. 10, t. 1, p. 62, 1758. 

Type locality. — Sweden. 

General characters. — Size small, with slender, tapering tail, pointed nose, 
and rather small ears. Color, brownish-gray above, buft'y-gray below, usually 
without any clear white. Measurements of average adults: Total length, 160 
millimeters ; tail, 81 ; hind foot, 19. Weight of adult female, 23.5 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — Troublesome little Old-World mice 
have become well established over almost every part of North 
Dakota, in fact through most inhabited parts of North America. 
So thoroughly have they become dependent on the habitations of man 
that little is known of their origin and distribution. They followed 
quickly on the heels of the first settlement of the country and gen- 
erally appeared within a few years after the establishment of a 
ranch or farm, even at a considerable distance from other habita- 
tions. At almost every place over North Dakota where field work 
has been done by the Biological Survey, these mice have been re- 
ported as common or abundant and troublesome about buildings, 
and in many cases they have been caught in the fields in traps set for 
native species. 

At Fargo, in 1912, these little mice were so numerous along the 
edges of fields and roads that it was difficult to catch other species 
until enough trapping had been done to reduce the numbers of the 
house mice. Near Williston, in 1913, they were abundant at the 
ranches and very destructive of grain in the bins and sacks. In the 
bunk house at one of the ranches the mice kept up a racket all night, 
and in the morning there were little piles of oat shells on the floor 
where grain had been brought in and eaten. Their musky odor 
was very evident in the room, leaving no doubt as to the identity of 
the species, and one was shot as it ran across the floor. At Kenmare, 
in the northwestern part of the State, they were abundant both in 
town and in the weedy bottomlands, where many were caught in 
traps. At Mandan, in 1913, Jewett found them abundant in town 
and also on rough slopes in the surrounding fields to a distance of 
2 miles from town. At Glen Ullin he caught them on the sides of 
buttes a mile from town, and also in the tall grass along the creek 


bottoms. At Sentinel Butte they were found at almost every ranch ; 
also at Fort Clark, and around Oakdale in the Killdeer Mountains. 
Specimens were also taken at Buford, Bismarck, Cannon Ball, and 
many other localities over the State. 

General habits. — House mice are generally imported in boxes and 
loads of goods where they have made their nests, and are carried 
long distances on trains or in wagons. They prefer the protection 
of buildings, but when they have become numerous overflow into 
the surrounding fields and country wherever food and cover are to 
be obtained. They breed and increase with great rapidity and but 
for their natural enemies would soon overrun the fields and render 
agriculture unprofitable. Cats are generally used to keep down their 
increase, but serve as a very limited check. The native owls, hawks, 
and weasels, however, do much to control their abundance. 

In habits the mice are often filthy, running through the dirt of 
stables and cellars and then over the food in pantries or kitchens, 
in this way not only destroying food but distributing disease germs. 

They are so slender that they can slip through cracks and narrow 
openings into places supposed to be proof against their entry, and 
they will also gnaw through a considerable thickness of wood to 
get at food or grain that is stored. Concrete, plaster, and fine wire 
mesh are the best protection against their inroads, but in spite of all 
efforts it is often necessary to resort to poison and trap in order to 
destroy them. Inverted boxes covering poisoned grain, with small 
openings through which larger animals can not pass, may be kept 
in buildings where mice occasionally enter and many may be de- 
stroyed in this way. Directions for preparing poisoned bait, as well 
as for trapping these pests, will be furnished by the Biological 
Survey, United States Department of Agriculture, on request. 

Family CRICETIDAE : White-footed Mice, Harvest Mice, Grasshopper Mice, 

Wood Rats, and Voles 

Peromyscus maniculatus osgoodi Mearns 
Osgood White-footed Mouse 

(PL 11, fig. 1) 
Tepa-uti" of the Ornahas (Gilmore) 

Hesperomys leucopus nebrasccnsis Mearns, Bui. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 2 

(1887-1890), pp. 285, 287, 1890 (not of Coues, 1877). 
Peromyscus maniculatus osgoodi Mearns, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 24, 
p. 102, 1911. 

Type locality. — Calf Creek. Custer County. Mont. 

General characters. — One of the smaller-sized white-footed mice, of rather 
pale buffy ochraceous color over the upper parts and pure white below ; tail 
sharply bicolor. Immature individuals are more bluish-gray above, only the 
adults being buffy ochraceous. Average measurements of adults : Total length, 
158 millimeters ; tail 64 ; hind foot, 20. "Weight of adult male, 20.5 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — The little native white-footed mice are 
abundant over the western, drier part of North Dakota east to the 
Missouri River Valley, thence grading insensibly into the darker 
eastern form bairdi. The area of intergradation is mainly east of 
the river, including such localities as Kenmare, Minot, Napoleon, 
and Linton. In the Missouri Valley the mice seem to be typical 

Ia Mice that live in the buffalo skulls, most likely this species. 


[No. 49 

of this western form. They are abundant in almost every locality 
and situation over the areas they inhabit. At Fort Buford, in 1887, 
they were found abundant, and again in 1913 about equally 
abundant over the prairies and Badlands buttes, in marshes, and 
in wooded bottoms. In 1910 Anthony reported them there as 
numerous in the brush, among the rocks, and on the hills and 
prairies. At Fort Clark, Jewett caught them in traps set over a 
wide range of country, but most commonly among rocky buttes and 
around wheatfields. Along the Little Missouri Eiver from Medora 
to Quinion he caught them wherever his traps were set, in the 
willows along the river, in the sagebrush, and on the rocks and hills. 
At Oakdale, in the Killdeer Mountains, he also caught them in traps 
set on rocky slopes, in the brush, along the creeks, and in the 
swamps around springs. At Sentinel Butte they were found on the 
open prairie, among rocks on the buttes, and in wet grassy places at 
the edges of ponds. At Glen Ullin he found them very common, liv- 
ing in burrows and among rocks all over the country. At Mandan 
he caught them in the brush, along the river, in rocks on the open 
prairie, and along fences or borders of wheatfields. At Cannon 
Ball, Sheldon reported them as inhabiting the grainfields princi- 
pally, but also the arroyos and sandy bluffs. 

These reports indicate great abundance, a continuous distribution, 
and perfect adaptation to a great variety of environment. 

General habits. — These beautiful little animals, with large eyes, 
long whiskers, and large, expressive ears, show much intelli- 
gence by adaptation to a great variety of conditions of life, but are 
nervous and timid and do not readily accept conditions of domestica- 
tion. In the woods they climb trees and are fond of living in 
hollow logs or other cavities, but in the Badlands they find safe re- 
treats among the rocks, cliffs, and clay banks, and on the prairies 
they live in natural cavities or abandoned burrows of other animals. 
They probably dig burrows for themselves when necessary, but 
usually are able to find plenty of those abandoned by pocket gophers 
and other burrowing rodents. They often live in the driest situa- 
tions and seem not to be dependent on a permanent water supply, 
although they have no objection to wet or marshy ground. Strictly 
nocturnal in habits, as is indicated by their large, dark eyes, they 
are rarely seen except when disturbed in their diurnal retreats, and 
although abundant, they are not generally well known. The plow 
often turns them out of their underground nests and they are fre- 
quently disturbed when land is cleared ; after haying and harvesting 
they are found in haycocks or grain shocks that have been standing 
for some time in the fields. Wherever they take up their abode they 
quickly make a soft nest of fine plant fibers and seem perfectly at 
home if shelter and food are obtainable. They are often so numer- 
ous as to be very troublesome to the naturalist in search of rare 
specimens, as they fill his traps night after night until they have 
been thinned out. 

Near the mouth of the Cannonball Eiver one evening while it was 
still light enough to see fairly well, a brown-backed old Peromyseus 
ran out from under a stone. It darted about nimbly from one stone 
to another, then stood still and watched for half a minute, its big 
ears and bright eyes giving it a very animated expression. This 


is one of the few times when these little mice have been seen out 
foraging of their own accord before daylight was entirely gone. 
They will often run over a person, however, while he is sleeping on 
the ground, and there is generally plenty of evidence of their pres- 
ence about camp in the morning. 

In winter on soft snow their tracks may be found leading from 
tree to tree, or bush to bush, or from one weed to another where they 
have run in search of food, but most of their tracks lead to or from 
holes in the snow which connect with tunnels under the snow or 
cavities under ground. 

At Mandan and Cannon Ball late in October, 1919, the writer 
followed many of their tracks to nest cavities in the ground, and 
dug down and caught the mice in the hands. All were in old stump 
holes, where cottonwoods had decayed and left rotten wood or 
hollow spaces deep in the mellow soil of the forested bottomland. 
At a depth of 6 inches to a foot below the surface, nests of soft 
leaves and plant fibers were found, lined with cottonwood cotton 
and rabbit fur, and in these nests from one to four of the mice were 
comfortably housed for the winter. When disturbed they came out 
to see what was the matter and they were tied in a handkerchief 
or gloves and carried home for further study. Even when the 
temperature was —15° F. and the snow 11 inches deep the mice 
were out making long lines of tracks at night, in following which 
much was learned of their food and other habits. They seemed to 
know where to go directly to every seed-laden tree, vine, bush or 
weed, and whether to climb up or dig down to get the seeds or fruit. 

Breeding habits. — The females usually bring forth four to six 
young at a litter and they apparently breed several times during the 
summer. Their increase is rapid, and but for numerous enemies 
their abundance would be far greater than at present. 

Food habits — The white-footed mice are dainty feeders. The 
contents of many stomachs examined show a mass of clean white 
material so carefully selected and finely masticated that there was 
no trace of shells or hard parts to show from what kinds of seed 
it came. Most of their food is of various seeds and grain, although 
sometimes a bit of green vegetation, some bright-colored flowers or 
berries, or a few insects are eaten. At Mandan the mice were feed- 
ing largely on the bullberries, which they gathered nightly from the 
well-laden bushes, apparently eating both the sweet pulp and seed 
kernels. There were bits of scarlet skins scattered over the snow 
and the mouse pellets neatly deposited in a cavity not far from the 
nest were mostly colored dull scarlet by the berries, while some of 
the seeds were found in mouse caches. From one cache near the 
nest a handful of seeds was saved and brought back for identifica- 
tion. Among them were seeds of chokecherry, woodbine, wild 
grape, smilax, buffaloberry, hosackia, dogwood, bindweed, two spe- 
cies of knotweed, two of pigweed, ragweed, Russian thistle, black 
henbane, sedge, barnyard grass, and dropseed grass. The mice seem 
fond of any kind of camp food, as flour, meal, oatmeal, grain, meat, 
butter, bread, or crackers. Rolled oats generally make the most 
attractive bait with which they can be tempted into traps. They 
are active throughout the year and do not put on fat to carry them 
82242°— 20 6 


through the winter, but instead store up a limited supply of seeds 
and grain for winter use or for bad weather when they can not 
come out and run over the surface of the snow in search of food. 

Economic status. — The small toll these mice take from grainfields 
would not in itself cause very serious loss, but added to that of many 
other species the constant drain on farm products is sometimes serious. 
They cut some grass in the meadows and eat the seeds of many grasses, 
thus, to some extent, retarding the forage reproduction and in places 
taking away so much seed as to form a serious check on the repro- 
duction of other vegetation. Probably more than any other animals 
they check reforestation, whether this depends upon naturally or 
artificially sown seeds. So small, so numerous, and so widely dis- 
tributed are they that they are not easily controlled, except by 
their natural enemies, which are numerous. They are favorite prey 
of all small owls and even of many of the larger owls, and form an 
important article of diet for weasels, skunks, badgers, foxes, and 
such of the other small predatory species as occur within their 
range. Seasonable protection of the species that prey upon them, 
especially the owls, forms the simplest and most effective means of 
keeping down their abundance. 

Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii (Hoy and Kennicott) 
Baird White-footed Mouse 

Mus bairdii Hoy and Kennicott, Rpt. Comr. Patents. [U. S.] 1856, p. 92, 1857. 

Type locality. — Bloomington, McLean County, 111. 

General characters. — About the size of osgoodi, but colors much darker, 
often dusky along the back, and less buffy or ochraceous; underparts, white. 
Measurements of an average specimen : Total length, 150 millimeters ; tail, 
60; hind foot, 19. Weight of adult male, from Fargo, 18.5 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — From Ohio and Oklahoma the little 
dark-colored white-footed mice (bairdii) extend over the eastern 
half of North Dakota and into southern Manitoba. In their typical 
form they do not reach west of the Missouri River, but at about the 
one-hundredth meridian they grade insensibly into the paler, more 
buffy osgoodi. There are specimens from almost every locality 
where collecting has been done in eastern North Dakota, from 
Hankinson to Pembina and westward to Linton, Towner, and 
Kenmare. They are found on the tall-grass prairies in the area of 
humidity and ample cover, where their dark color is protective in 
the grassy and weedy shadows. 

General habits. — These little mice, like their western form, osgoodi, 
are the most abundant and generally distributed mammals of their 
region. They live in a great variety of situations, from brushy 
weedy bottoms in the woods, half -dried tule marshes, and dead-weed 
rows along the roadsides to the middle of grainfields and out over the 
wide, open, grassy prairie, making nests and homes in hollow logs 
or trees, in underground cavities which are found, or if necessary, 
excavated, or under any cover that will offer a dry bed. From 
osgoodi of the drier, more open plains farther west, they differ in 
habits only in adaptation to more abundant plant growth and 
more nearly continuous grainfields. 

Where food is plentiful they congregate in great numbers, but 
where it is scanty they become scarce. At Stump Lake, in a line 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. PLATE I I 

Fig. I. — Osgood White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus 
osgoodi) in Captivity 

Slightly reduced 

Fig. 2.— Bean Mouse (Microtus pennsylvanicus wahema) 

Captive taken with store of ground beans near Cannon Ball. About two-thirds 

natural size 

Fig. 3.— Richardson Kangaroo Rat (Perodipus montanus 


North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. PLATE 12 

Skins of Long-tailed Mice 

(A) Kansas pocket mouse (Perognathus hispidus paradoxus); (B) prairie jump- 
ing mouse (Zapus hudsonius campestris); (C) prairie harvest mouse (Bei- 
thTodoniomys megalotis dychei). Half natural size 



of traps set along the sandy beach, 16 of these mice were caught 
in one night where they were finding a choice food supply in the 
cockleburs which covered the sandy ground. At Crosby the writer 
found them feeding largely on little caterpillars. At Valley City 
many were caught in the rows of tumbleweeds or Russian thistles 
along the fences, where they were feeding on the seeds of these weeds 
under the cover of which they found ample protection. Eastgate 
reported 19 caught in his line of 41 traps the first morning after 
he camped near this place. They are often found in the haycocks 
and wheat shocks in the fields, and if these are left for a consider- 
able time the mice are sure to make their nests in them and do more 
or less mischief. 

In breeding and food habits these mice are essentially the same 
as the western osgoodi. Their injury to crops is somewhat greater 
because of the more general cultivation of land over their range. 
Their enemies are practically the same and if only given a fair 
opportunity will keep down the too rapid increase of these interest- 
ing but destructive little rodents. At Fargo in the well-cleared city 
parks not a mouse could be caught, while in the uncleared woods near 
by, where weeds and bushes protected them from the little owls, 
these mice filled the traps the first night. 

Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis (Fischer) 
Northern White-footed Mouse; Deer Mouse 

[Mus sylvaticus] noveboracensis Fischer, Synop. Mamin., p. 318 (p. 14, 5.), 1829. 

Type locality. — New York. 

General characters. — Largest of the white-footed mice of North Dakota, with 
relatively long tail and dark colors; upper parts of adults, dark buffy or 
tawny-gray, with more blackish or dusky about face and ankles than in 
aridulus; underparts and lower half of tail, pure white. Young and immature, 
bluish gray or plumbeous. Measurements of adult male from Fargo : Total 
length, 185 millimeters ; tail, 78 ; hind foot, 22. Weight, 27.5 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — The northern form of the white-footed 
mouse is the common deer mouse or woods mouse of the northeastern 
United States and southeastern Canada from Nova Scotia to eastern 
North Dakota. It is largely a forest species, rarely found far from 
forest or brushland and seems not to extend over the open prairie 
country. Specimens taken at Fargo, Moorhead, and at Manvel, just 
north of Grand Forks, are fairly typical of this eastern form and 
certainly referable to it rather than to the paler aridulus of the Mis- 
souri Valley. They probably have a continuous range along the 
timber of the Red River Valley, but seem not to be abundant. 

General habits. — Deer mice are largely forest dwellers, but have 
a wide range of adaptation and will go anywhere that safe cover 
and an attractive food supply lead them. From their original 
homes in hollow trees and logs or in the ground under old trees 
and stumps they readily follow the rail fences and brushy fence 
rows around the fields, taking up their quarters under grain shocks, 
haycocks, or haystacks, or entering new buildings erected in the 
clearings. They are great climbers and will run up the trunks and 
branches of tall trees or up vines and through bushes in search of 


seeds or berries, or over walls and timbers of buildings, with ease 
and skill. 

They are strictly nocturnal and very timid, nervous little sprites, 
with long, sensitive whiskers and large, thin, delicate ears that are 
constantly changing form and expression, apparently catching the 
faintest sounds; their large, prominent black eyes are owl-like in 
their adaptation to the darkness of night. Apparently they can see 
fairly well in the daytime, but are rarely natural or at ease in the 
light and lose much of their vivacity and beauty as usually seen 
when driven out of their diurnal beds or captured and held as 
unwilling prisoners. They are among the most beautiful and ex- 
pressive of our small native rodents, to which the unfortunate name 
of " mouse " is generally applied, and but for their occasional 
mischief and nocturnal habits might be as interesting and popular 
as many of our song birds. In fact, they are not without voices, and 
certain individuals have a fine squeaking trill that might well be 
called a song. They have many little squeaks and low notes that 
doubtless mean much to them if little to us. A more common means 
of communication, however, consists of a rapid tapping with their 
finger tips on any hard surface or thin material, which produces a 
sound suggestive of the drumming of minute woodpeckers. These 
vibrations vary in length and tone and doubtless mean much to them 
in the way of communication. 

Breeding habits. — Nests containing young are frequently found 
under grain shocks or haycocks, or are plowed out of hollows below 
the surface of the ground. They are usually as soft, well built, 
and well lined as those of any bird ; and the delicate, naked young 
are found resting on silk or cotton wool from various plants or on 
feathers or fur or other equally soft materials provided by the 
parents. Usually 4 to 6 young are born at a time and apparently 
several litters are raised each year. The mammae of adult females 
are six in number, arranged in two posterior or inguinal pairs and 
a single pair of anterior or pectoral. Often when suddenly dis- 
turbed the mother rims from the nest with 5 or 6 young, each cling- 
ing securely to a nipple, as she drags them rapidly to some safe 

Food habits. — Although the greater part of their food consists 
of seeds, grain, and nutlets, deer mice also are fond of berries, 
fruit, and a great variety of such foods as the human species regards 
as its own and exclusive perquisite. This often leads to trouble, for 
the little moonlight people get into fields, gardens, granaries, and 
even cellars and pantries and help themselves, always to the best 
there is to be had. The fact that they consume large quantities of 
seeds of noxious weeds is generally overlooked and some easy 
method of lessening their abundance is sought. Unfortunately, 
this often takes the form of keeping cats, which may scare some of 
the mice away, while the cats live largely on song birds. If little 
owls could be kept instead, there would be no more trouble from 
the mice. In fact, there are usually enough little owls to keep 
down the abundance of the mice, where brush, weeds, and rubbish 
are removed so the mice will have no protecting cover. 


Peromyscus leucopus aridulus Osgood 
Badlands White-footed Mouse 

Wiyashpena M [moon nibblers] of the 
Dakota Indians (Gilmore). 

Peromyscus leucopus aridulus Osgood, North Arner. Fauna No. 28, p. 122, 1909. 

Type locality. — Fort Custer, Yellowstone County, Mont. 

General characters. — A pale buffy western form of tbe northern white-footed 
mouse quite distinct from Peromyscus osgoodi with which often associated. 
Differs in larger size, relatively larger ears and longer, less sharply bicolor 
tail, and in lacking tbe tiny wbite tuft of hair at upper anterior base of ear ; 
otherwise the color and markings of the two species are practically identical. 
The young and immature are slaty gray. Measurements of type specimen: 
Total length, 177 millimeters ; tail, 73 ; hind foot, 22. Weight of adult female, 
27 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — The Badlands white-footed mice 
probably have a wide distribution over North Dakota, but are much 
less numerous than the smaller species and have not been so thor- 
oughly collected. There are specimens from along the Missouri 
River Valley at Cannon Ball, Mandan, Sather, Fort Clark, Oakdale, 
Williston, and Buford, but to the eastward there are no more speci- 
mens of this group until we find noveboracensis in the Red River 
Valley. Typical specimens may be expected only from the Missouri 
Valley and westward. Apparently these are not prairie dwellers, 
as specimens have been taken only in timbered flats along the 

General habits. — At the mouth of the Cannonball River they are 
comparatively common and in August, 1915, Sheldon collected a 
series of 17 specimens in the forest of the river bottoms. In June 
of the following year the writer found them common there in the 
forest and caught them in traps set in thickets and at the bases of 
hollow cottonwood trees on the river bottoms. In one hollow tree, 
about 4 feet from the ground, one of the mice was found in a well- 
made nest lined with the silky down from the cottonwood seeds, and 
in another hollow cottonwood an old female was caught well up 
in the cavity of the trunk. At Mandan late in October, 1919, when 
the ground in the bottomland woods was covered with 11 inches of 
soft snow, some of these mice were tracked to their nest cavities in 
hollows where old stumps had decayed. In one of these honey- 
combed, rotten-wood cavities a nest was found about a foot below 
the surface of the ground and four of the five occupants were 
caught as they came out. There were an adult male, two adult 
females, and two immature of the year in the blue coats. They 
came out of a nest in one of the side cavities where a root had de- 
cayed, but they had free access to all parts of the porous wood 
from deep in the ground to the leaf-covered surface. Curiosity 
seemed to bring them up to see what was disturbing their home 
and they were caught and put in handkerchief and gloves and kept 

M There is some confusion as to which species of mouse this name should apply. Doc- 
tor Beede gave it as one of the names of the bean mouse (Miorotus p. wahetna, p. 94), 
but it is not the name in common use by the Dakotas and does not suggest a diurnal, 
ground-dwelling species, but rather a wholly nocturnal and partly arboreal one. The 
mice that nibble the edge of the full moon until it is all eaten up must be good climbers, 
and Doctor Gilmore thinks the name probably applies to one of the white-footed mice. 
As it is doubtful whether the Dakotas distinguished the very similar forms of Peromyscus, 
this most arboreal of their species is chosen for the beautiful name. 


for many months as interesting pets. The nest was a large, soft, 
warm ball of dry leaves and plant fibers lined with cottonwood 
cotton and was evidently the home of a family. In captivity they 
were very friendly and sociable, making a happy family in one nest 
with four of Peromyscus maniculatus osgoodi. 

Like other members of the group, Badlands mice are strictly noc- 
turnal in habits and are rarely seen except as caught in traps for 
specimens or driven out of their diurnal retreats. When seen by 
daylight, they are beautiful little animals with beady black eyes, 
large expressive ears, and long trembling mustaches, which give 
them a keen and animated expression. They are quick and agile in 
habits, running with long leaps, and climbing rapidly and skilfully 
over the trunks and branches of trees. In fall they do not become 
very fat, but lay up supplies of winter food and continue active 
throughout the coldest weather. Their delicate lines of tracks may 
often be seen from tree to tree, or from some old log to a stump or 
brush heap, or centering around a hole in the snow through which 
they have access to the surface of the ground, where their winter 
nests and stores are hidden. Over much of their range they are 
found only in limited numbers, but in certain localities are exceed- 
ingly numerous and at times become very mischievous around out- 
buildings and granaries. As they avoid the open country, they are 
less mischievous in grainfields than are their smaller and more gen- 
erally distributed relatives. They are not usually considered a 
serious pest, but locally they add their little to the constant tax of 
such rodents upon farm crops. 

Reithrodontomys megalotis dychei Allen 
Prairie Harvest Mouse 

(PI. 12) 

Reithrodontomys dychei Allen, Bui. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 7, p. 120, 1895. 

Type locality. — Lawrence, Kans. 

General characters. — A slender little mouse with large ears ; buffy brown 
upper parts, and white underparts, distinguished from the house mouse, 
which it somewhat resembles in size and color, by slenderer and not notice- 
ably tapering tail, and by pure white feet and underparts. From both the 
house mouse and white-footed mouse it is still better distinguished by a 
longitudinal groove down the front surface of each upper incisor. Average 
measurements of adults : Total length, 133 millimeters ; tail, 52 ; hind foot, 16. 

Distribution and habitat. — From the Upper Sonoran plains and 
prairie regions of the Central States the little prairie harvest mice 
come into North Dakota along the Missouri and Dakota River Valleys. 
There are specimens from Cannon Ball and Fort Clark in the Mis- 
souri Valley, Ellendale, Ludden, and Oakes in the Dakota Valley, 
and from farther east at Lidgerwood and Hankinson, and Fargo in 
the Red River Valley. At Cannon Ball, Sheldon found the mice quite 
common over the prairie and on sandy flats, but more abundant along 
the brushy borders of grainfields and even out in the fields. At Fort 
.Clark, Jewett caught four in traps set near small burrows at the 
edge of a wheatfield and on the high prairie. At Ellendale, Sheldon 
found them fairly common in the grass along the fences, in brushy 
places, and occasionally in wheatfields, and at Lidgerwood he took 


two specimens in tules at the edge of the lake. At Hankinson, 
W. B. Bell found them common in the tumbleweeds along the fences 
on sandy soil, and at Fargo Murie took four specimens on the grassy 
river bank at the edge of a field. 

General habits. — These little harvest mice live mainly on the sur- 
face of the ground under cover of grass and low vegetation. Their 
tiny runways may be distinguished from those of meadow mice by 
being narrower. The harvest mice like the open ground, but must 
have sufficient cover to protect them from a host of enemies over- 
head. In places they apparently live in small burrows, but generally 
their trails seem to terminate at neat little nest balls on the surface 
or in low bushes and weeds. The nests are rarely found more 
than 8 or 10 inches from the ground, and more often they are lightly 
placed on the surface under some ample cover. At Hankinson, a 
harvest mouse was frightened from a pretty little grass nest in a 
lock of hay ; the nest was a compact ball of fine grass lined with soft 
fibers, with a tiny opening at one side for a doorway. 

Breeding habits. — Usually four to six young are brought forth 
and cared for in these birdlike nests, but at Oakes, on June 4, East- 
gate took an old female that contained seven embryos. Appar- 
ently they breed more than once during the season, and in places 
where there is abundant food and good cover they sometimes become 
very numerous. 

Food habits. — The principal part of the food of harvest mice con- 
sists of seeds, largely of grasses, which are found cut in small sec- 
tions and drawn down until the seed-laden tops are within reach. 
The mice are fond of rolled oats and other grains used for trap bait 
and their presence in the fields indicates a fondness for the growing 
grains. They do not become fat in fall and evidently do not 

Economic status. — These little mice cover so small a part of North 
Dakota that they are of slight economic importance, but in areas 
where they are widely and abundantly distributed their inroads on 
the grain and forage production materially help to swell the total 
of rodent depredations. Although they are so small that any arti- 
ficial means of combating their mischievous tendencies would be 
futile, effective check is constantly kept on their overabundance by 
such predatory birds and mammals as small owls, hawks, and 
probably crows, jays, magpies, and butcherbirds, as well as by 
weasels, skunks, and badgers. 

Onychomys leucogaster leucogaster (Wied) 
Maximilian Grasshopper Mouse 

(PL 13, fig. 1) 

Michtika of the Mandans (Maximil- 
ian) 18 ; Michtik-tak of the Mandans 

Hypudaeus leucogaster Wied, Reise in das Innere Nord-America, Bd. 2, p. 
99, 1841. 

Type locality. — Fort Clark, Oliver County, N. Dak. 

General characters. — Somewhat resembling the white-footed mice, but rec- 
ognized at once by larger size, heavier build, short, thick, tapering tails, and 

16 This name is merely a general term for mice (George F. Will). 


smaller ears. Legs also shorter and feet heavier, to harmonize with their 
entirely ground-dwelling habits. Upper parts dark drab-brown, darkest along 
the back ; underparts and lower half and tip of tail white ; immature speci- 
mens, dark slaty gray ; occasional individuals nearly black. Average measure- 
ments of adults : Total length, 164 millimeters ; tail, 42 ; hind foot, 22. 

Distribution and habitat. — In his revision of the genus Onychomys, 
Hollister (1915, p. 434), refers all of the specimens from eastern 
North Dakota to the typical dark-colored subspecies leucogaster as 
described by Maximilian, Prince of Wied, from specimens taken by 
him at Fort Clark in 1833. The species as thus restricted covers little 
more than the eastern half of North Dakota, reaching slightly into 
western Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota and northward 
into southern Manitoba. There are specimens from Fort Clark, 
Linton, Grace, Devils Lake, Minot, Pembina, Sherbrooke, and Han- 
kinson. None has been taken in the immediate valley of the Red 
River nor in the Turtle Mountains, but apparently the species 
covers the rest of the State either in this dark form or in the paler 
western form. It is strictly a prairie animal occurring neither in the 
forest nor the dense thickets, but scattered over the open country in 
bare and exposed situations as well as under the cover of grass, 
weeds, and low scattered shrubbery. Though widely distributed it 
is never very abundant locally. 

General habits. — These anomalous little rodents, like the badger 
and other predatory animals, are apparently wanderers, to some 
extent, scattering out singly to cover their hunting grounds to the 
best advantage. Traps set at different kinds of burrows and holes in 
the ground over the prairie, under a variety of conditions, catch 
them apparently at random. Sometimes a whole family will be 
caught in a little thicket or weed patch or a few may be caught every 
night along a weedy fence row, where they evidently are hunting 
for their nocturnal prey, but there seems to be no specific place to 
look for them and rarely is there any trail, burrow, or sign found 
that can be unmistakenly attributed to them. Most of the speci- 
mens taken are caught by accident in traps set for other species. 

At Fort Clark, Jewett caught, them at small holes or the deserted 
burrows of ground squirrels and pocket gophers over the prairie, or 
along the edges of fields. At Hankinson specimens were taken 
among the sandy dunes, often on bare sand, but also in the rows of 
tumbleweeds along the fences. Some were caught in burrows of 
other animals and some in burrows that may have been made by the 
mice themselves; others in trails made by scraping with the foot in 
the sand for a distance of 8 or 10 feet ; like many other species of 
mice, they will follow such a trail and are easily caught in traps 
set across it. Often they are caught in old badger holes, where ap- 
parently they are foraging for insects. 

While mainly nocturnal they are less strictly so than the white- 
footed mice, and the writer has seen them running through the weeds 
in the daytime and on one occasion he shot one about 8 a. m. Gen- 
erally they are unknown to residents of the country, who probably 
mistake them for the common white-footed mice. Many are doubt- 
less thrown out of their burrows by the plow, but no one seems to 
have recorded anything regarding their habitations or home life. 
At night their fine, prolonged whistle, almost insectlike in pitch and 
quality, was often heard around the camps, but nearly the whole 


summer of 1887 passed before it was discovered to what form the 
voice belonged. 

Hibernation. — In fall these mice become moderately fat, but 
whether they hibernate in this climate is still a question. Farther 
south closely related species are caught at all seasons, but in a region 
well covered with snow for a large part of the winter they would 
have difficulty in procuring a food supply, as apparently they do not 
lay up stores or make any provision for winter. 

Breeding habits. — An old female caught at Grace, July 2, 1912, 
contained four large embryos, which seems to be the usual number 
of young. The mammae of the females are arranged in three pairs, 
two pairs of inguinal and one pair of pectoral, and probably like 
other species of the genus the young % are occasionally five or six in 

Food habits. — Grasshopper mice are omnivorous in their tastes, 
readily accepting rolled oats, bread, cake, cheese, seeds, or grain as 
trap bait, but show a decided preference for animal food, as indicated 
by the examination of a great number of stomachs. At Fort Clark, 
the type locality, Jewett took a fine series of specimens, both old and 
young, in traps set around the edges of wheatfields and baited with 
fresh meat or bacon. He says some were taken in meal-baited traps, 
but that they prefer meat. Grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and a 
great variety of other insects are found in their stomachs, also often 
the flesh and hair of other mice which have been caught or found 
dead. At Hankinson many of the other mice in the traps were 
eaten and the stomachs of grasshopper mice caught near by often 
proved that they had been the trap robbers. 

Economic status. — The only complaint of these mice doing any 
mischief seems to come from their discoverer, Maximilian (Wied, 
1839-1841, Bd. 2, p. 101, 1841), in 1833, at the Mandan villages, where 
he reported them as common over the prairie and in winter coming 
into the Indians' houses, where all sorts of stores were kept. He 
says the Mandans call them " mihtick," as they do all kinds of mice. 
There is no doubt that Maximilian knew the species, as his descrip- 
tion is full and perfect, but it is suspected that the mice which 
did the mischief in the Indian stores were mainly the white- footed 
species, which also were abundant there. At Fort Berthold, in 
1872-73, Doctor McChesney (1878, p. 206) reported them abundant 
and inhabiting the underground caches of the Indians. Before 
a definite statement can be made as to the destructiveness of these 
mice, more complete knowledge of their habits will be necessary. 
The great numbers of injurious insects eaten by them and their 
destruction of some other and more troublesome species of mice 
should class them among the highly beneficial mammals. A more 
detailed study of their habits is likely to prove of practical value. 

Onychomys leucogaster missourieusis (Audubon and Bachman) 

Audubon Grasshopper Mouse 

Mus missourieusis Audubon and Bachman, Quad. North Amer., vol. 2, p. 327, 

Type locality. — Fort Union (now Buford), N. Dak. 

General characters. — Very similar to leucogaster, but slightly smaller and 
much paler, the upper parts being bufl'y brown, darker in winter pelage, and 
Onderparts white; immature specimens, slaty gray. Average measurements of 
adults : Total length, 150 millimeters ; tail, 39 ; hind foot, 21. 


Distribution and habitat. — The paler form of the grasshopper 
mouse comes into western North Dakota from a wide range over the 
semiarid plains of Montana, Wyoming, and Saskatchewan. There 
are specimens from Buford, Dickinson, Glen Ullin, and Cannon Ball. 
Although few specimens have been taken, the mice undoubtedly 
cover the whole western part of the State, grading insensibly into the 
darker-colored leucogaster near the type locality of that species, Fort 
Clark. They belong to the short-grass prairie or plains of the semi- 
arid region and seem to be generally distributed over the open 

General habits. — One of these mice brought to Audubon at Fort 
Union on July 14, 1843, was figured and described in his (Audubon, 
1851-1854, vol. 2, p. 327, pi; 20-C, 1851) Quadrupeds of North 
America. Thus the species was made known and named, but nothing 
whatever learned of its habits. In 1887, with instructions to make 
a special study of the habits of this mouse, the writer visited Fort 
Buford. With such crude collecting traps as were available at that 
time a considerable number of specimens was obtained, most of them 
being caught alive in little tin box traps. They were common over 
the hills and prairies, living in burrows of other small animals, as 
pocket gophers, ground squirrels, other mice, and even in old badger 
holes. Some were caught at the burrows of the pale field mouse 
Microtus pallidus, which they were probably hunting for food. 
Some of the fresh burrows in which they were caught may have 
been of their own construction, but probably were the burrows of 
other mice, to which they were only paying visits in order to 
capturing prey. The bait first used for them was cheese and dough- 
nuts, but since then a bit of fresh meat has been found much more 

One of the mice caught in a box trap was not quite full grown 
and seemed so gentle and interesting that a cage was made for it 
and it was kept for some months. From the first it was not in 
the least alarmed and when handled never offered to bite nor struggled 
to escape, although in the cage at times it became frantic in its 
efforts to get back to its natural haunts. Unless very hungry it 
would sleep all day, but on waking up in the evening, after stretch- 
ing and gaping and blinking for a while, would become thoroughly 
roused and eager to get out and hunt for its supper. It did not 
like a bright light and would show signs of discomfort by blink- 
ing its eyes, but, with its box faced away from the light, was 
very bright and animated. At a touch on the box it would come to 
the front and eagerly take whatever food was put in between the 
wires. Any insect put inside was quickly caught, and even flies 
would rarely escape it. 

From the trap line the writer always brought back plenty of food for 
the mouse and greatly enjoyed watching it eat the different kinds of 
insects. In one forenoon it ate 16 crickets, 11 grasshoppers, 1 spider, 
1 black bug, and 1 big fly. Its favorite food seemed to be crickets, 
and it would never touch anything else while there was a cricket in 
its box. Next to crickets it liked grasshoppers or flies, but did not 
seem to care much for beetles, although it would eat any kind offered 
including some ladybugs and a small black species that was common 
under sticks and stones, and it seemed to relish a potato bug found 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. 

Plate 13 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. PLATE 14 

Skins of Short-tailed Mice 

(A) Pale mouse (Microtus pallidus); (B) little upland mouse (Microtus minor); (C) western 
upland mouse (Microtus ochrogaster haydenii); (D) Drummond meadow mouse (Microtus 
pennsylvanicus drummondi); (E) bean mouse (Microtus pennsylvanicus wahema); (F) 
eastern meadow mouse (Microtus pennsylvanicus pennsylvanicus). About half natural 


for it, as it ate all but the wings and legs. One day it ate 12 crickets 
and 1 spider in 7 minutes; and a little later, 11 grasshoppers, 4 
crickets, 1 black bug, and 1 large fly, making 29 large insects and 1 
spider eaten in about 4 hours, and it still seemed hungry. On an- 
other day the mouse ate 28 crickets, 15 flies, 8 grasshoppers, and 2 
beetles, in all 53 insects in less than 12 hours. It seemed to relish 
a common gray moth and enjoyed a black hornet until it came to 
the tail, when the stinger evidently pricked its nose. Ants were 
the only insects it ever refused and a few of these in its box would 
make it violently frantic. 

To see it eat a large grasshopper was amusing. The mouse would 
hold the grasshopper upright between its hands and begin on the 
head, when a few vigorous kicks of the grasshopper would tip it 
over backward ; but it would never let go until the head was eaten 
off and and the body devoured. The wings and legs would drop off 
as it progressed, and if the mouse was still hungry they would be 
eaten later. If a number of grasshoppers were put into its box at one 
time, it would first bite off the heads of all, so that none would es- 
cape, and then finish them at its leisure. One day the mouse killed 
and ate a small frog, but did not seem to care much for it. Only 
when very hungry would it eat seeds and green leaves of plants. 

It pounced like a cat upon a dead white-footed mouse dropped 
into its box, caught it beside the head near the ear, and began biting 
with all the ferocity of a carnivore. The bones could be heard to 
crack, and when taken out a small hole was found broken through the 
base of the skull. Its teeth had penetrated well into the brain. 
The dead mouse was returned to its captor, which began to tear and 
pull off strips of skin and flesh from the neck, shoulders, and head, 
and ate both of its eyes. Another mouse that was put into its cage 
was treated in the same way, and a song sparrow that had been acci- 
dentally killed the mouse bit through the head and then partially ate. 
It ate part of a mouse of its own kind, thus proving to be cannibal- 
istic as well as carnivorous. It was fond of bits of fresh meat and 
especially of brains that were given it while specimens were being 

The fierceness shown in attacking mice indicated a habit of cap- 
turing and killing these animals in their free state. In spite of its 
savage disposition and carnivorous tastes, it -was the gentlest rodent 
to handle, as well as one of the most interesting and attractive pets ; 
others of closely related species generally show similar dispositions. 

Breeding habits. — On May 30, 1910, H. E. Anthony caught an 
old female at Buford, containing four embryos. Little is known, 
however, of the breeding or other home habits of these mice. 

Hibernation. — One adult caught at Fort Buford in September 
was so fat as to suggest preparation for hibernation, but the fat 
was not distributed in a thick layer under the skin as is the cape 
in most hibernating mammals. The question of their hibernation in 
the North is still to be determined. 

Economic status. — Grasshopper mice make extremelv interesting 
pets and their field of usefulness seems well worth careful investiga- 
tion. They might in certain cases be used to advantage in keeping 
down insect pests in greenhouses and other buildings, and it is 
probable that their carnivorous propensities would render them 
valuable in combating other more destructive mice. 


Neotoma cinerea rupicola Allen 
Pale Bushy-tailed Wood Rat 

(PL 13, fig. 2) 

Neotoma rupicola Allen, Bui. Anier. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 6, p. 323, 1894. 

Type locality. — Corral Draw, southeast base of Black Hills, S. Dak. 

General characters. — About the size of the wharf .rat, but of very different 
appearance. Ears and eyes, large; mustache, very long; tail, bushy, almost 
squirrel-like; fur, long and soft; expression, animated. Color of upper parts, 
pale pinkish buff ; the feet and underparts, white. Young, light buffy gray ; 
tails, mostly white, not buffy. Measurements of average adults : Total length, 
349 millimeters ; tail, 144 ; hind foot, 43. 

Distribution and habitat. — Wood rats are scattered over the State 
from the Missouri River Valley westward, or throughout the Bad- 
lands region. Just where they grade into the slightly darker cinerea 
is not entirely worked out, but probably somewhat west of the line 
between North Dakota and Montana. They are nowhere abundant 
or even common, but seem to be generally distributed wherever 
there are Badlands cliffs and ledges to afford suitable homes and 
protection from their enemies. Their range can hardly be con- 
sidered continuous, but they have managed to scatter from one cliff 
to another until they have occupied almost every suitable rocky 
slope. There are specimens from Mikkelson, Oakdale, Wade, and 
the Little Missouri River near the former Dakota National Forest, 
and their unmistakable signs have been found at Marmarth, Deep 
Creek, Medora, the White House Ranch (18 miles southeast of 
Williston), and near Goodall and Parkin. A few were reported at 
Cannon Ball, and Doctor Bell caught two at Wade. In 1833, Maxi- 
milian (Wiecl, 1839-1841, Bd. 1, p. 438, 1839; Bd. 2, p. 89, 1841) re- 
ported them in the forest at Fort Union, at Cedar Island, and at 
Fort Clark. In 1869 Cooper (1869, p. 296) reported them in the 
rock bluffs that border the Missouri River above Great Bend. In 
1872, Doctor Allen (1875, p. 42) found them more or less frequent 
in the timbered portions of the streams west of Fort Rice. Their 
principal strongholds are cliffs and ledges, but they also occupy the 
cottonwood forests in the stream valleys, where hollow logs and trees 
often offer choice homes, and dense masses of bullberry brush and 
impenetrable cover afford the protection necessary for their exist- 
ence. They are quick to find and occupy buildings of any sort, and 
for this reason their presence is soon made known wherever they 

General habits. — In habits as well as appearance wood rats are 
entirely unlike the Old World rats, and it is unfortunate that they 
should have to bear the odious name. Their long mustaches and 
big ears and eyes give them an even more animated expression than 
that of the squirrels. While mainly nocturnal, they are occasionally 
seen by day when disturbed from their cozy nests in cabins or cliffs. 
They are timid animals, with practically no means of defense 
against numerous enemies except the barricades of their dwellings. 
Their favorite home is a cleft in the rocks where narrow cracks ad- 
mit them to deeper cavities or where the openings can be blocked 
with sticks, stones, and rubbish to keep out larger animals. This 
building habit has become so fixed that their first instinct is to 
gather building material wherever they are.. Even where it is not 


needed they often pile up heaps of rubbish, sometimes in front of 
their doorways, sometimes in large openings that they could never 
hope to fill. These accumulations remain for years in the caves and 
caverns, or hollow logs, trees, or cabins, where the wood rats have 
been; as also do the long black pellets of excrement. In buildings 
to which they have gained access all small articles of a convenient 
size are usually gathered into one corner to protect the nest, but 
sometimes they are piled into a box, cupboard, or stove, or heaped 
up in some doorway that the rats would like to be able to close. In 
occupied buildings they are noisy and mischievous, but may soon be 
discovered and disposed of. 

Roosevelt (1900c, pp. 66-67), on returning to his ranch on the 
Little Missouri when it had been unoccupied for some months, 
found that " within doors the bushy-tailed pack-rats had possession, 
and at night they held a perfect witches' Sabbath in the garret and 
kitchen." Half the cotton had been dragged out of a mattress and 
made into a big, fluffy nest that entirely filled the oven. In 1909 
one of their old rubbish houses was found in the rocks not far from 
Marmarth and two of the animals were said to have been caught in 
a house at the edge of town not long before. At Medora, Jewett was 
told that they occasionally came into the houses, but he could not 
find any while there, although he found signs of their characteristic 
work in the rocky ledges about 10 miles farther north, and took two 
immature specimens near Mikkelson. At Goodall, in the Killdeer 
Mountains, he was told that they rarely came into buildings, but he 
obtained two specimens in a ledge about a mile south of town. In 
the little Missouri Valley, about 25 miles south of Medora, the writer 
found their signs and old building material quite common in the 
Badlands gulches, in one of which Jewett obtained a specimen. 
South of the Missouri River, a little below Williston, old signs were 
found among the rocks in several places, but no specimens were 

Near Goodall, Kellogg reported one caught by a cat on the Good- 
all ranch, but apparently they were not common in that vicinity. 
Near Cannon Ball, Sheldon learned of several that had been caught, 
one in the cellar of an old sod building, and another near the mouth 
of the Cannonball River in the forested bottoms. At Wade, farther 
up the Cannonball River, W. B. Bell collected two specimens in a 
cave in the cedar-covered buttes, and reported them as frequently 
entering houses and stables of settlers, where they occasionally did 
considerable mischief. 

Breeding habits. — Wood rats, like the other members of the group, 
probably have two or sometimes four young, which are raised in the 
soft birdlike nests of their safe retreats. Apparently only one litter 
of young is raised in a year, so that reproduction is not rapid and 
there is little danger that these rodents will become very numerous. 

Food habits. — Examination of stomachs shows that the food of 
wood rats consists largely of green vegetation. One taken on the 
Little Missouri River had green foliage and buffaloberries in its 
stomach. About their occupied dens there are always traces of 
various plants brought in for food, and apparently these are brought 
in for the foliage more than for seeds. The rats, however, are eager 
for rolled oats, grain, fruit, or bacon used as trap bait and are easily 


caught wherever they occur. They do not become fat in fall nor 
show any signs of hibernation during the coldest winter weather. 
Generally they lay up stores of green plants, berries, and seeds, 
which become dried and well cured for winter food, the dry vegeta- 
tion forming the great bulk of the winter stores. 

Economic status. — In North Dakota wood rats are not sufficiently 
abundant to be of any great economic importance, . although related 
species in other parts of the country are very injurious to crops, 
forage, and native vegetation. Here they merely add a feature of 
interest to the picturesque cliffs of the Badlands, with which they are 
closely associated. They have a strong and not unpleasant musky 
odor which apparently comes from the glands of the skin; it in no 
way affects the flesh, which is sweet and delicate as that of young 
rabbits. Although too small to be of any value as game animals, 
wood rats are in every way suitable for food. There is a possibility 
of their serving as interesting pets for children, if properly tamed 
and kept within bounds. 

Evotomys gapperi loringi Bailey 
Red-backed Mouse 

Evotomys gapperi loringi Bailey, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 11, p. 125, 

Type locality. — Portland, N. Dak. 

General characters. — In size somewhat smaller than the meadow mouse and 
of the same general form ; ears small, nearly concealed in the long fur ; tail, 
short ; legs, short ; eyes, small. Whole back, rich chestnut brown, lighter brown 
in winter ; sides, gray ; underparts, whitish. Average measurements : Total 
length, 123 millimeters ; tail, 31 ; hind foot, 18. Weight, 18 to 22 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — Red-backed mice, which represent a 
small, pale form of a wide-ranging Boreal forest species, occupy 
the woods and thickets of the Transition-Zone plains region of 
North Dakota and central Minnesota. Specimens have been taken 
at Pembina, Grafton, Portland, Larimore, Devils Lake, Stump Lake, 
Valley City, Kathryn, throughout the Turtle Mountains and Pem- 
bina Hills, at Towner, Williston, Buford, Goodall, Elbowoods, 
Oakdale, Fort Clark, and Cannon Ball. In most of these localities 
the mice are abundant in the thickets and timber and it is probable 
that they occupy every suitable locality within the State. 

General habits. — In the Turtle Mountains red-backed mice were 
abundant throughout the woods and brush, and many were caught 
in traps set under logs, near old stumps, at the bases of trees, in 
holes in banks, and on smooth ground where the leaves were scraped 
off to make an easy runway. At Portland, Loring reported them 
common, many being caught in traps set under logs and roots of 
trees. At Stump Lake the writer found them numerous in the 
woods, along the lake shore, and in the thickets out on the prairie. 
After dark one evening, the writer entered a dense thicket and, scrap- 
ing away the leaves, set seven traps at random within a radius of 6 
feet ; the next morning five contained red-backed mice. At Cannon 
Ball he found the mice common in the forest on the river flats, and 
at Fort Clark and Oakdale, Jewett found them in similar situations. 
At the White House Ranch, 15 miles southeast of Williston, Doctor 
Bell and his party caught several among the dense growth of reeds 


(Phragmites) at the edge of the woods, and at Fort Buford, An- 
thony found them common in the brushy river bottoms. Unlike 
meadow mice, they rarely make trails or roadways, but run at ran- 
dom over the leaves and open ground in the woods and bushes, or, 
preferably, under the cover of thickets and brush, so that little 
sign of them is noticed, even where they are abundant. They are 
by no means strictly nocturnal; occasionally the little animals 
are seen rustling about in the leaves and grass and nearly as many 
specimens are caught during the day as at night. To some extent 
they burrow in the ground, but any natural cavities in or under 
logs, stumps, or trees seem to answer their purpose for homes and 

Breeding habits. — Many of the females taken for specimens are 
found to contain embryos varying in number from 4 to 6, and oc- 
casionally 8. These are found at all times through the summer, which 
would indicate that several litters are raised in a season. As the 
mice do not hibernate, the breeding season probably covers all but 
the midwinter period. 

Food habits. — The examination of stomach contents of red-backed 
mice shows usually a combination of seeds and green vegetation. 
Considerable grass and many small plants are found cut and partly 
eaten on their feeding grounds and some of these are drawn under 
the logs and brush where the animals live. They are always eager 
for rolled oats and will take almost any kind of grain or seed used 
for trap bait. At Walhalla, Williams caught one in his hands in 
the daytime, as it was eating a piece of bread crust in front of his 
tent. At Portland, Loring caught a large series of specimens by 
baiting his traps with meat, and found that occasionally they eat 
their own kind or other varieties of mice caught in traps where they 
run. For the greater part of the year, however, their principal 
food is green vegetation, which they find abundant even under the 
deep snow of winter, for they plow along the surface of the ground 
and come in contact with the tender shoots of frozen grass or roots 
under the leaf mold, or if these are not sufficient they gnaw the 
bark from bushes and small trees as high up as the snow offers con- 
cealment from their enemies above. 

There is some evidence that the red-backed mice may be one of 
the bean-storing species of the Missouri River region. In attempt- 
ing to discover what animal was really responsible for these caches of 
food which the Indians find, specimens of all of the small mice occur- 
ring at Cannon Ball were trapped, but the only evidence obtained in 
September, before the mice had begun making their winter stores, 
was the fondness shown by these mice for the mouse-beans (Falcata 
comosa) . In one bean patch seven traps set on the bare ground, each 
baited with a half of one of these large, juicy underground beans, 
caught four of the mice in one night. The eagerness of the mice 
for the beans and their abundance in the localities where the beans 
grow suggests that the species may be in part responsible for the 
stores which have been an important food of the Indians and a boon 
to many early explorers. 

Economic status. — As the red-backed mice occupy mainly wood- 
land and thickets they are of no great economic importance in the 
grainfields or meadows, but wherever they come in contact with or- 


chards and shrubbery, if present in great numbers, they are capable 
of doing considerable mischief, for trees and bushes girdled by them 
under the snow are usually killed or seriously injured. Their chief 
enemies are the small owls and hawks, weasels, skunks, and badgers, 
and these afford the principal protection we have from their depre- 

Microtus pennsylvanicus pennsylvanicus (Ord) 
Eastern Meadow Mouse 

(PL 14) 

Mus pennsylvanica Ord, Guthrie's Geogr., 2d Amer. ed., vol. 2, p. 292, 1815. 
(Reprint by S. N. Rhoads, 1894). 

Type locality. — Near Philadelphia, Pa. 

General characters. — Size rather large for a meadow mouse ; ears, tail, and 
legs, short; body, heavy and compact; fur, long and soft in winter, thin and 
harsh in summer. Colors, dark brown or blackish above, slightly paler and 
more grayish below. Average measurements of adults : Total length, 171 
millimeters ; tail, 46 ; hind foot, 21.2. An adult female from Grafton measured 
162, 34, and 19, respectively, and weighed 43.6 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — From a wide range over the northeast- 
ern United States the abundant meadow mice, 'pennsylvanicus, 
barely reach into eastern North Dakota along the upper Red River 
Valley, and even here they are becoming slightly smaller than typi- 
cal, in a very gradual gradation toward the little drummondi, which 
continues to the northwest. To this race are referred the Red 
River Valley specimens from Fairmount, Blackmer, Hankinson, 
Lidgerwood, Wahpeton, Fargo, Larimore, Grafton, and Drayton. 
Here, as in most of the range of the species, they inhabit mainly the 
marshes, but are occasionally also found on the uplands under any 
tall grass or dense vegetation. 

General habits. — As their build and color suggests, meadow mice 
are ground dwellers and spend most of their lives under the shadowy 
cover of dense vegetation. They burrow in the ground, which is 
often perforated with their little round tunnels, while over the sur- 
face they make well-defined roads or runways from one burrow 
to another or from their nests and burrows to feeding grounds, but 
always under the protecting cover of grass or other plants. They 
are partial to moist ground and prefer rough meadows where mois- 
ture is abundant and where water often stands over part of the sur- 
face. They are good swimmers and seem as much at home in water 
as on land, swimming from side to side of little streams or ponds 
and diving and swimming under water when necessary. Their 
runways often lead through wet places, but dry banks or hillocks 
are always sought for their nest cavities. In summer they frequent 
the meadows and low moist ground, but in winter they leave their 
low underground burrows and push out under the snow of the up- 
lands, extending their tunnels along the surface of the ground and 
building warm grass nests on the surface wherever they find an 
abundant food supply. In this way they often range over uplands, 
fields, and orchards in great numbers ; and when the snow goes off in 
their winter nests exposed, they burrow into the ground again and 
spring, leaving their network of winter roads, their grass piles, and 
do not all get back into the meadows until the dry weather of sum- 
mer compels their return to the moist lowlands. 


Apparently they are about as much diurnal as nocturnal, although 
they appear to be most active in the early evening hours. Some are 
caught in traps during any part of the day or night, but they seem 
to fill up the collector's trap line more rapidly during the evening 
than at any other time. They do not become fat or hibernate and are 
active throughout the year without regard to weather. 

At Hankinson, in July, 1912, they were found common in places 
where there was tall grass on the prairie, but more especially so in 
the meadows and among the tall tules on wet ground. After the 
hay was cut on the meadows they gathered under the haycocks in 
considerable numbers, and as these were loaded and hauled away 
the mice were forced out into the open stubble, where hawks or owls 
were constantly hunting them. As many of the extensive tule 
marshes in this region are never cut, they afford a safe harbor for 
the mice in which to multiply and from which to spread over the 
meadows and prairies. Similar conditions were found at Wahpeton, 
near Fargo and Grafton. 

Breeding habits. — Meadow mice are very prolific and seem to have 
no well-defined breeding season. Females taken at any time of year 
from May to October are found to contain from 4 to 6 embryos and 
sometimes 8. Occasionally even in winter small young are found 
in nests or females are found with embryos. At times they increase 
very rapidly and remain abundant for a period, after which they 
become scarce, the variation presumably being correlated with pro- 
tection from enemies and the abundance and quality of food. Their 
waves of abundance, which at times suggest migrating hordes, are 
undoubtedly due to favorable conditions for rapid reproduction. 

Food habits. — During the summer the favorite food of meadow 
mice consists of tender vegetation, as the young shoots of grass, grow- 
ing grain, clover, alfalfa, and a great variety of plants. Acceptable 
food is always abundant. Sometimes the tender bases of grasses are 
chosen, and again the seed-laden tops are drawn down within reach 
by cutting the stems into inch-long sections. Seeds and grain are al- 
ways favorite foods, when they are available late in summer and in 
fall, but in winter the mice thrive equally well on the frozen grass 
and roots that they get under the snow, or on the bark from bushes or 
trees which they gnaw off with their sharp cutting teeth, under 
cover of deep snow. 

They are particularly fond of the bark of many fruit trees, espe- 
cially apple, but will eat the bark of almost any tree or shrub that is 
not too thick and hard for them to gnaw into. Aspens and willows 
are found peeled and killed by them, but most of the larger woodland 
trees are protected by their harsh outer bark. In trapping them 
rolled oats are a favorite bait, but they will take any kind of grain or 
seeds and are specially fond of fresh meat, fat pork, or bacon. Their 
carnivorous propensities are seen in trapping, as they almost invar- 
iably eat their own kind or other mice found dead in traps. 

Economic status. — Over a wide range of rich farming country 
these are the most abundant mice in meadows, fields, timber, and 
orchards, and their total destruction of forage, hay, crops, trees, and 
shrubs annually causes an enormous loss in agricultural products. 
Among these losses nothing is more exasperating than the destruction 
of a few choice fruit trees in an orchard, or some choice shrubbery in 

82242°— 2G 7 


the yard, during the period of deep snow in winter. Orchards are 
infrequent in North Dakota, so that the few choice, hardy fruit trees 
that can be raised are of special importance, and if the bark is 
gnawed from the base, even on one side, the trees are often weak- 
ened so as to be unable to resist the severe climate to which they 
are exposed. 

In wild-grass meadows the hay is not of sufficient value for the mice 
to cause much loss, but in meadows of clover and timothy and fields 
of alfalfa their mischief is much more serious. They enter grainfields 
as soon as the growing crop is sufficiently high to afford protection, 
and cut the grain shoots for food ; then when the grain is headed out, 
they cut off the base of the stems, drawing down the heads in order 
to reach the green and ripening grain. After harvest they congre- 
gate in the grain shocks and if these are left long in the field consid- 
erable grain is eaten or shelled out and destroyed. As either these 
meadow mice or closely related species with similar habits cover all 
of North Dakota, the total loss from them is by no means insignifi- 
cant. The importance of placing every possible check on their 
increase is obvious. 

That they can be successfully poisoned when necessary has been 
demonstrated, but the expense suggests this method as a last re- 
source. The most practical method of controlling the abundance of 
such small rodents is by protecting their natural enemies, among 
which the owls and certain species of hawks are foremost. The little 
owls, during the dusk of evening and all night long, are watching for 
them and miss no opportunity to pounce upon an imwary mouse that 
exposes itself. The marsh hawk, or mouse hawk, as often called, 
sailing low over the meadow and prairie, with eyes intently fixed on 
the ground, drops suddenly into the grass and secures a mouse more 
often than it does any other prey. Many other hawks feed upon 
them extensively, as do also foxes, badgers, skunks, and weasels. But 
for these enemies the mice would overrun the farms with disastrous 

Microtus pennsylvanicus drummondi (Audubon and Bachman) 
Druinmond Meadow Mouse 

(PI. 14) 

Arvicola drunvmon&ii Audubon and Bachman, Quadr. North Amer., vol. 3, p. 
166 [1854]. 

Type locality. — Rocky Mountains, vicinity of Jasper House, Alberta, 

General characters.— Similar to pennsylvanicus, but much smaller and 
slenderer, and slightly lighter, more yellowish brown in coloration. Average 
measurements of adults : Total length, 145 millimeters ; tail, 39 ; hind foot, 17.8. 

Distribution and, habitat. — None of the North Dakota specimens 
of the little prairie or meadow mice are typical, but they are too 
small and slender-skulled to be called pennsylvanicus and can best 
be referred to drummondi, toward which they are slowly grading 
to the northwestward. The large series of specimens now available 
from many localities over the State show conclusively continuous 
range and complete intergradation between the two forms, and, 
drummondi is here placed as a subspecies of pennsylvanicus. To 


it are referred specimens from Crosby, Lostwood, Kenmare, Towner. 
Turtle Mountains, Walhalla, Pembina, Sweetwater Lakes, Devils 
Lake, Stump Lake, Portland, Valley City, Lisbon, La Moure, Oakes, 
Ludden, Napoleon, and Dawson. This carries the range over the 
high glacial-prairie region between the Red and Missouri River 
Valleys to the southern boundary of the State and marks its south- 
ern limit from a wide range over western Canada to Alaska. 

Over their part of the State Drummond meadow mice are very 
abundant and occupy the high open prairie, rich bottomlands, and 
grassy meadows. To some extent they are found in woods and 
thickets, but primarily they are dwellers in grasslands, wherever 
the low vegetation affords food and cover. In the Turtle Moun- 
tains, the writer found them abundant in marshes, meadows, banks, 
and grassy fields, and even in damp woods, but they were most 
numerous in the meadows, where the ground was perforated with 
their runways. In spots nearly half the grass had been cut down 
for food, leaving the earth strewn with the fragments. At Wal- 
halla, in the Pembina Hills, Williams reported them inhabiting 
woods, grainfields, and meadows. On Bird Island, in the aim 
of Devils Lake, where cormorants nest, the grass was full of run- 
ways. At Stump Lake the runways were found in the prairie 
grass apparently without regard to whether the ground was wet 
or dry. At Valley City East gate reported them common along 
the river valley, around the marshes, and in prairie meadows, and 
the writer caught them around some seepage springs high up on 
the side of the bluff. At Lisbon, Doctor Fisher caught one in 
a swampy thicket ; and so on over the State they have been reported 
from a great variety of localities. 

General habits. — If their habits differ at all from those of yenn- 
sylvanicus, it is only in a more ready adaptation to high open 
ground, such as the grassy prairies of their range afford. Their 
more open habitat may well account for this slightly paler color- 
ation. Their little roadways are often conspicuous through the 
prairie grass, especially where the old grass has fallen down and 
made a protecting cover over the surface of the ground. Old win- 
ter nests are found scattered over the surface, but rarely are they 
occupied during the summer; the principal nests are then in un- 
derground cavities to which the burrows lead. 

Occasionally an occupied nest is found in some old haycock or 
grain shock that has been left out over winter, and at Crosby a 
nest was found occupied by young in a heap of last-year's weeds 
by the roadside. The nest, as usual, was made of soft grass blades, 
built into a neat hollow ball, clean and fresh, and wijth a soft lining 
inside. It was placed in a slight depression in the ground, where 
it was well protected from rain and snow by the mass of matted 
vegetation overhead. The four small young inside, with their eyes 
just opened, were of a beautiful golden-brown color, quite different 
from the sooty, or slaty gray, young of pennsylvanicus of the same 

Breeding habits. — In the latter part of June, 1912, in the Tur- 
tle Mountains, great numbers of these mice were caught in traps so 
that many were thrown away after series were selected for speci- 
mens. There were all sizes and ages, from little fellows just out of 


the nest to nearly full-grown young of the year, indicating at least 
two litters of young of that season, while many of the females con- 
tained small or large embryos, usually 6, 7, or 8. The mammae are 
arranged in two posterior and two anterior pairs, so that 8 is proba- 
bly the normal maximum number of young. Apparently breeding 
continues throughout the summer, if not throughout the year, and 
reproduction is so rapid that only through a host of enemies are their 
numbers kept down to a safe limit. 

Food habits. — Grass and weed stems are found cut in little sec- 
tions near the runways and on the feeding grounds of these mice and 
over considerable areas where much of the grass has been cut by 
them. The mice are fond not only of seeds but also of grain, and 
enter fields readily and help themselves to growing crops. Although 
never fat, they are always well fed and their stomach contents show 
various mixtures of green plant tissue, white pulpy root and bulb 
tissue, and the meal or dough of finely masticated seeds and grain. 

Economic status. — Over an immense area of rich grain-producing 
land these mice swarm in greater or less abundance, varying with 
the seasons and with the abundance of their enemies. It would be 
almost safe to predict that at times, through disturbance of normal 
conditions in the agricultural development of the country, these mice 
will increase so as to do serious injury to crops. In such case it 
may become necessary to use artificial means of destroying them, but 
as with other small rodents, a wise protection of their enemies will 
generally produce sufficient check on their abundance. The destruc- 
tion of weasels for fur and too great a reduction of skunks and badg- 
ers are likely to have a marked effect on the abundance of these mice, 
while any wanton destruction of owls and mouse-feeding hawks 
would certainly be followed by an inordinate increase in the num- 
bers of the rodents. 

Microtus pennsylvanicus wahema 16 Bailey 
Bean Mouse; Hetunka 

(PI. 11, fig. 2; pi. 14) 

Hi n tu n ka of the Dakotas; Gipdpuli 
of the Hidatsas ; Sakch of the Ari- 
karas ; Biddbaho itdhu of the Hi- 
datsas (all, Gilmore). 

Microtus pennsylvanicus wahema Bailey, Journ. Mamm., vol. 1, p. 72, 1920. 

Type locality. — Glendive, Mont. 

General characters. — A pale form of pennsylvanicus, slightly smaller and 
very much paler. and grayer than the eastern meadow mouse, which it repre- 
sents in the arid Badlands region. Upper parts huffy gray ; sides clear gray, 
underparts and feet and lower surface of tail pale gray or buffy white. 
Measurements of type specimen : Total length, 178 millimeters ; tail, 43 ; hind 
foot, 20. Weight of adult female, from Cannon Ball, 30.8 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — Bean mice occupy the Badlands section 
of the Missouri River Valley and range westward over southwestern 
North Dakota and eastern Montana. There are specimens from 
near the mouth of the Cannonball River, Bismarck, Mandan, Fort 
Clark, 10 miles south of Williston on the west side of the river, Oak- 

18 Omaha name contributed by Doctor Gilmore, Itrtshunga wahema, the burying mouse, 
from its habit of storing food in the ground. 


dale, Glen Ullin, and Sentinel Butte. This indicates a continuous 
range over the Badlands and sagebrush semiarid section of the State. 
In places the mice are found in marshy bottoms, but more often in the 
long grass of draws and on grassy benches of the ridges and buttes. 
Near the White House Ranch, about 12 miles south of Williston, 
a fine typical specimen was caught in 1913, on a grassy bench near 
the top of the Badlands border of the valley. At Fort Clark Jewett 
found others on high grassy slopes back of the valley bottom, and 
at Mandan on the high ridges wherever the grass was sufficiently 
dense to hide the animals and their runways. At Oakdale he found 
them about a small marshy place near a spring, where they were 
occupying the tall grass of a limited area. At Glen Ullin he found 
them common in the tall grass on moist ground along Curlew Creek, 
where their fresh runways were abundant. At Sentinel Butte he 
took specimens high up on the grassy slopes of the large butte south 
of town and others in the grass of a small slough near the station. 
Near Cannon Ball, Sheldon took specimens on the flats near the 
mouth of the Cannonball River and also on the high buttes to the 
north. In June, 1916, the writer collected them on the river flats 
near the mouth of the river and saw abundant signs in grassy 
places over the prairie and fields ; and on October 30, 1919, took two 
of the mice at their nest and bean cache on the flats near the mouth 
of the river. 

General habits. — In habits these mice differ from pennsylvanicus 
and drummondi only as their more arid habitat places them more 
in the open, sparsely covered, and grayer soil of this semiarid re- 
gion, where they are evidently more exposed to light and to the 
numerous enemies overhead. The light-colored soils and minerals 
and general gray tone of sagebrush and prairie plants is evidenced 
in the color and, to some extent, in the habits of these little animals. 
They are less uniformly distributed over the area than are species 
in more fertile regions and in places they seem almost colonial, so 
locally are they gathered in the most favorable spots. In summer 
they were not easily caught in traps, as they seemed not to care for 
any bait that was offered them, and the few specimens taken merely 
ran through the traps set in their little runways under weeds and 

There has long been a question of whether these could be the 
bean-storing mice of the Indians of the Upper Missouri River, men- 
tioned by Lewis and Clark and other early explorers as laying up 
such ample stores of wild beans, bulbs, and tubers, for a winter's 
supply of food that they formed one of the important sources of 
food supply for both Indians and whites. To decide this question 
many specimens of these, as well as of the other species of mice 
living along the Missouri Valley, were collected in localities where 
the Indians said the mouse stores were especially abundant. Some 
of the Indians and white men, who were familiar with the mouse 
stores, picked out the present species as the one which they had seen 
running away from the beans, but others were just as positive that 
the storers were the red-backed mice, white-footed mice, harvest 
mice, grasshopper mice, and pocket mice, while some thought the 
deposits were made by pocket gophers, ground squirrels, or chip- 
munks. Even the weasel was accused of storing these winter sup- 


plies. The stores were frequently described and all seemed to agree 
as to their contents. 

With pockets filled with underground beans of Falcata comosa 
(maka ta omnicha) and long tubers of wild artichoke, Helianthus 
tuber osa (pa n gi), and the little white tender roots of wild morn- 
ing-glory, the writer was able to question the Indians intelligently 
about the stores and the way they were found and gathered and 
cooked. Although the mouse bean seemed to be the principal part 
of the stores that were sought by the Indians, the artichokes and 
morning-glory were said to be usually found with them, and one 
Indian insisted that the tipsin, Psoralea esculenta, was also sometimes 
"found in the caches. One man insists that when driven away from 
their stores the mice often climb and take refuge in trees. 

In describing the cache the Indians say that the mouse burrows 
enter the ground from several sides and the cavity where the food 
is stored often holds a peck or a pailful of beans and tubers. One 
Indian, who makes a special business of gathering these beans in the 
autumn, positively asserted that he could find enough in a day to fill a 
2-bushel sack. The method of finding the stores is by noting either 
the burrows and runways centering at a certain point, or the tracks 
of the mice in the fresh snow leading to and from them. With a 
sharp stick the ground is probed, the cavities are soon discovered, 
and the beans removed. The fresh and wholesome vegetables were 
at one time an important adjunct to the meat diet of these hunting 
Indians, but at the present time their fields of vegetables and grain 
furnish an ample variety of food and the mouse stores are sought 
only by a few. The Indians claimed that it would be impossible to 
find the stores until late in October or early in November. 

In October, 1919, six years later, the writer returned to the mouth 
of the Cannonball Kiver in the hope of being able to settle the ques- 
tion of identity, and on next to the last day of the month succeeded 
in finding his first cache of beans and capturing the mouse with them. 
The night before he had trampled down the soft snow and in the 
morning found several fresh mouse holes made during the night, en- 
tering different sides of a mass of snow and leaves. Digging in one 
of these holes with the left hand the writer saw a mouse soon pop out 
on the other side, only to be caught in the right hand, and placed in a 
glove, and carried home alive. The cavity was then carefully dug 
out and examined. A warm nest of grass and soft plant fibers was 
found about 6 inches below the surface in a cavity where an old 
stump had decayed. In another cavity near the nest was a small 
collection of the mouse beans or ground peanuts, with artichokes 
and a few roots of the wild morning-glory. As the season had been 
very dry and both mice and beans were scarce, the cache was meager, 
but the cavity, which would have held several quarts or a peck, 
showed the old skins and remains of the previous year's collections. 
The store would doubtless have been added to until the ground froze 
so hard that no more beans could be dug. Though there may be 
other mice which store these beans, this meadow mouse is the first 
one actually caught at its cache and identified. 

The Indians describe the cache as easily recognized by the little 
roads leading up to it from all sides, and tell how the mice drag 


home loads of the beans on leaves. They have many legends and 
stories relating to these mice and their stores, which have been well 
translated by Doctors Beede and Gilmore, stories telling of the re- 
spect and reverence of the Indians for their little helpers, the mice 
people, of the payment in corn or other food for the beans taken, of 
the punishment of the hard-hearted woman who took all of the 
beans and left no exchange in food, and of the threat to fight any 
white man who attempted to capture or injure the mice or take 
their stores. 

History. — The use of these ground beans evidently dates far back. 
Mr. "Will (1917, p. 66) in speaking of the mythical origin of the 
Hidatsas from a hole in the ground in the vicinity of Devils Lake, 
says: "At that time the people cultivated ground beans and wild 
potatoes, two crops that were not really cultivated at all but merely 

Apparently the first white men to mention the beans were Lewis 
and Clark (1893, p. 161, 263), in 1804, on their visit to the " Kicaras " 
(Hidatsas), when among other presents of food they were given " a 
large rich bean which they take from the mice of the prairie, which 
discover and collect it." The next spring their " Bird Woman," 
Sacagawea, gathered these food stores of the mice, which must have 
lasted over winter. 

In 1833 Maximilian (Wied, 1843, p. 276) includes this bean among 
the plants used by the Mandan Indians as food under the name 
" feverolles (Fabia minor equina), a fruit resembling the bean which 
is said to grow in the ground but which I did not see." 

Again, Father De Smet (1905, p. 655), an early missionary to the 
Indians of the Upper Missouri, as he left Fort Union in 1851 wrote 
in his journal : 

The earth pea and bean are also delicious and nourishing roots, found com- 
monly in low and alluvial lands. The above-named roots form a considerable 
portion of the sustenance of these Indians during winter. They seek them 
in the places where the mice and other little animals, in particular the ground- 
squirrel, have piled them in heaps. 

In 1855 Lieut, G. K. Warren (1856, p. 78) wrote: 

The groundnut, or Apios tuberosa, is very useful to the Indian. It grows 
very abundantly along the river bottoms, and is gathered in large quantities 
by a kind of wood-mouse for his winter store. The squaws make a business, 
during the months of October and November, of robbing these little animals, 
and I have often seen several bushels of the tubers in a single lodge. They 
are boiled with dried buffalo meat, and make a rich and palatable dish. 

Thus a long and useful career has been shown for these little ani- 
mals and we can well appreciate the feeling of regard for them still 
held by the older Indians. Now, however, that most of their range 
has become valuable grain land, their services are no longer needed 
and their inroads on grain, grass, and other crops are likely to prove 
as serious as those of other related species in agricultural areas. It 
is safe to say, however, that they will not be exterminated nor their 
numbers greatly reduced by the presence of the white man's civili- 
zation. The only danger is that under cover and stimulus of cul- 
tivated crops they may increase to such abundance as to become a 
menace, but if their natural enemies, owls, hawks, and weasels, are 
given a fair chance' any overabundance will be effectively checked. 


Microtus ochrogaster haydenii (Baird) 
Western Upland Mouse 

(PI. 14) 

Arvicola {Pedomys) haydenii Baird, Mamm. North Amer., p. 543, 1857. 

Type locality. — Fort Pierre, S. Dak. 

General characters. — A medium-sized field mouse of the subgenus Pedomys, 
with short ears, legs, and tail, the tail about twice as long as the hind foot. 
Color dull gray with a cinnamon tone, only slightly paler below. Fur long and 
lax, giving a pepper-and-salt effect of light-tipped hairs over dark underfur. 
Measurements of adult female from type locality: Total length, 180 mil- 
limeters ; tail, 47 ; hind foot, 22. 

Distribution and habitat. — The pale western form of Microtus 
ochrogaster of the central prairie States occupies the semiarid Plains 
region from Kansas to Montana, and comes into North Dakota west 
of the Missouri River. There are specimens from Cannon Ball and 
Wade, and the writer saw runways and burrows near Stanton that 
undoubtedly belong to this subspecies. Unlike the meadow mice, 
they avoid low or wet ground and usually are found on the high, 
dry prairie in rather open situations. In many places they occupy 
little thickets of rose and wolfberry bushes, but their characteristic 
runways and burrows are often found on the open ground, fully ex- 
posed to view. 

General habits. — At Cannon Ball, the upland mice were found to 
be common over the prairie and on the dry valley bottoms. In 
places they were living under a good cover of prairie grass, where 
their little roadways over the surface of the ground led to the bur- 
rows and some old surface nests that had evidently been used during 
the winter. In other situations they lived in the thin prairie grass, 
where their runways were easily followed. In some locations they 
were living near the edges of thickets, where it would have been 
an easy matter for them to gather the mouse beans had they been 
inclined to store them. Specimens were easily caught by setting 
traps across the runways, baited with rolled oats, or even set un- 
baited, as in running along their roads the mice would trip over 
the trigger and spring the traps. To a certain extent they seemed 
colonial in habits, but probably this is merely because in a good 
location the family increases until the place is well stocked before 
the members of the colony begin to scatter out. At times they be- 
come very numerous locally, but, generally, the open nature of their 
habitat exposes them to so many enemies that they do not last long. 

Food habits. — The food of this mouse is largely green vegetation, 
including the stems and leaves of grass and a great variety of little 
plants that are found cut in sections in their runways. It also eats 
the flowers and seeds of many plants, is usually eager for rolled oats 
or other kinds of grain used as trap bait, and will often eat its own 
kind found dead in traps. Preference for high and dry ground 
brings it much in contact with cultivated fields, where it finds choice 
food in the green or ripening crops. 

Breeding habits. — Females taken for specimens often contain four 
to six embryos and the mammae are arranged in two posterior and 
one anterior pairs. Apparently they breed many times during the 
season and are only a little less prolific than meadow mice. 


Economic status. — In North Dakota these mice have been so little 
observed that any injury to crops has escaped attention, but in other 
parts of their range, where farms and orchards have been of longer 
standing, they have been known to occasion serious losses by killing 
fruit trees and by destroying grain and grass in fields and meadows. 
Potentially they are dangerous occupants of any agricultural region 
and with unchecked abundance might become a serious pest. 

Microtus minor (Merriain) 
Little Upland Mouse 

(PI. 14) 

Arvicola austerus minor Merriam, Amer. Nat., vol. 22, p. 600, 1888. 

Type locality. — Bottineau, N. Dak. 

General characters. — Smaller even than (Irummondi, with short ears, short 
tail, and coarse, lax fur. Color, coarse pepper-and-salt gray, produced by pale- 
buff tips of long hairs over black underfur ; underparts but little paler. 
Adults measure in total length approximately 140 millimeters ; tail, 33 ; hind 
foot, 17. 

Distribution and habitat. — In a range extending from southern 
Minnesota to Edmonton, Alberta, the little upland mice cover ap- 
proximately the eastern half of North Dakota. There are specimens 
from Bottineau, Kenmare, Starkweather, Goodall, Devils Lake, 
Stump Lake, Valley City, Sherbrooke, Oakes, Lidgerwood, Fair- 
mount, Hankinson, and Blackmer. Over the prairie they are 
usually found on dry ridges or sandy soil, in which they delight to 
burrow. They seem to avoid low, damp ground and their habits 
as well as their fur mark them characteristic upland mice, a group 
quite apart from typical meadow mice. 

General habits. — Apparently colonial in habits, the upland mice 
are usually found abundant in favorite spots and in no others for 
long distances. Often their burrows enter the ground in groups 
of half a dozen or more and are more or less connected below the 
surface. Some of these groups suggest a family colony, and others 
are more extensive and scattered along for a considerable distance 
in irregular formation. At Bottineau, in the summer of 1887, 
these mice* were abundant over the dry prairie in small colonies, 
usually on mellow, somewhat sandy soil. At Kenmare, near the 
top of a high ridge or point of the prairie running out on the 
edge of Des Lacs Valley, their little runways and burrows 
were found numerous over the dry slope. The ground was cov- 
ered with a network of fresh trails through the short prairie 
grass and there were three sets of burrows, in each of which 10 or 
12 holes entered the ground within a radius of 2 or 3 feet. These 
seemed to be family or colony dens and several of the mice were 
caught around each group. Fresh earth was being thrown out on 
all sides and from each opening a trail led off to the feeding 
grounds or to other dens and burrows. 

A number of traps were set and in one night about 20 of the mice 
were caught. Many were 3'oung of the year and of various sizes, but 
enough adults were obtained for a good series of specimens. Mouse 
traps were sunk in the ground across their runways and baited with 
rolled oats and ripe and green wheat, all of which were eagerly 


accepted as bait. Near Blackmer, Sheldon and the writer found 
four distinct colonies in an alfalfa field and one on the prairie 
sod on the Clarey farm, not far from the station. Those in the 
alfalfa fields were the most extensive, covering from 2 to 3 square 
rods of ground each and consisting of 20 to 50 burrows and in- 
numerable trails. The ground was thickly perforated by the bur- 
rows and generally half the alfalfa had been killed over the 
range of the colony. Much was cut and eaten on the surface, but 
considerably more was killed from below, evidently by having the 
roots eaten off in winter. As pasturing kept the crop low, there was 
no trouble in finding the mice, observing their habits, and obtaining 
a good series of specimens. A pair of short-eared owls were nest- 
ing in the adjoining field, and served to keep the mice within bounds, 
but if the alfalfa had been allowed to grow to full height the mice 
coidd have increased without interference. 

At Valley City, the writer caught one on the high prairie under 
tumbleweeds, where a few of their old trails were found, though 
the mice seemed to be scarce. At Sherbrooke, Loring took six speci- 
mens in traps baited with meat and rolled oats, set along their beaten 
runways through the weeds. On the Peterson farm, 10 miles west 
of Portland, he took two in the daytime in runway traps, and at 
Portland caught others in similar manner. At Towner, Kellogg 
secured a specimen in an upland meadow, and at Goodall he found 
a colony on the sandy flats close to the river bank. 

On the short-grass prairies these mice are exposed to view from 
overhead, but on the dark prairie soil in their little roadways they 
are protectively colored, and their habit of keeping close to their 
burrows and darting quickly from one burrow to another seems to 
be their main protection against numerous enemies. 

Breeding habits. — As in other members of this subgenus 
(Pedomys) the mammae of the females are arranged in two pairs 
inguinal and one pair pectoral. Females have been taken contain- 
ing four and eight embryos, but the normal maximum number of 
young is probably not more than six. Evidently the young are born 
at irregular times throughout the season, but the length of the 
breeding season and the number of litters have not been definitely 

Food habits. — Grass stems and many prairie plants are found cut 
in sections along the runways of these mice and near the burrows, 
while in numerous places little prairie bulbs, as those of the wild 
onion and the blazingstar, have been dug up and eaten. In the 
alfalfa field at Blackmer both the green leaves and tender stems of 
alfalfa plants were eaten, and underground the roots had been exten- 
sively gnawed. The fondness of the mice for rolled oats, grain, and 
meat, used for baiting traps, indicates a wide range of food. 

Economic status. — From the nature of their habitat in fields and 
on the uplands these mice are likely to prove as injurious to crops 
as any of the other species, and under favorable conditions of food 
and cover, such as are found in extensive alfalfa fields, they might 
well become a serious pest. Where exposed to their natural enemies, 
however, they are not likely to do more than merely swell the total 
loss chargeable to small rodents. 


Microtus pallidus (Merriam) 

Pale Mouse 

(PL 14) 

Arvicola (Chilotus) pallidus Merriam, Amer. Nat., vol. 22, p. 704, 1888. 

Type locality. — Fort Buford, N. Dak. 

General characters. — Recognized by its small size, compact form, and very 
short tail, which is but little longer than its hind foot ; fine soft fur of a 
light buffy gray color over the upper parts and creamy white below ; ears and 
nose conspicuously yellow. The type, an adult female, measures in total 
length, 121 millimeters ; tail, 20 ; hind foot, 18. 

Distribution and habitat. — The rare little pale mouse (subgenus 
Lagurus) is known from only a few scattered localities from western 
North Dakota, Montana, and Alberta. Two localities only are 
represented by specimens from North Dakota — Fort Buford and 
Glen Ullin. In September, 1887, the writer first found them on a 
Badlands butte, 2 miles east of Fort Buford, where they seemed 
quite common in the half-barren ground just below the top on the 
north slope. The only reason that could be suggested for their 
choice of location on the north sides of the hills was that the twilight, 
their favorite time for activity, was longer on the shady slopes. 
The vegetation seemed to be about the same all the wa}^ around the 
summits of the hills and at best was only scantily represented. At 
Glen Ullin, Osgood collected three specimens in September, 1901. 
This is on the high dry prairie, but no report was made of the exact 
location at which they were caught. 

Apparently this is one of the rare species which occurs only at 
widely scattered localities, and may be nearing extinction. No 
mammal has been more sought for by collectors in the region where 
it occurs, and with so little success. In 1915, and 1919, the writer 
again visited the butte where the type was collected, but could find 
no trace of burrows or runways on this or any of the neighboring 

General habits. — Apparently all that is known of the habits of 
the pale mouse is the little gleaned from the few specimens collected 
at the type locality, where they were living in a colony along the 
shady slope of the butte. The little round burrows entered the side- 
hill at frequent intervals along the well-worn runways leading 
around the slope. In places the runways passed over grassy ground, 
where they were well packed by the little feet constantly using 
them. In other places they passed over naked soil and were only 
detected by the smoothly worn surface. At that time no suitable 
traps for catching such little animals were available and the mice 
seemed strangely suspicious of the clumsy box traps. Only four 
specimens were taken, although the colony was quite extensive and 
probably contained a dozen or more individuals. Rolled oats and 
traps now used had not been invented in those days and the mice 
did not care for any of the baits offered them. 

Food habits. — A large part of the food of these mice seemed at 
that time to consist of the flowers of the little silver sage {Artemisia 
frigida) and the blazing star (Liatris gramini folia) , and the stems 
and pieces left from these plants were scattered along the runways 
and about the entrances of the burrows; heads and seeds of winter- 
fat {Eurotia lanata) also were eaten. Many grasses and other plants 


had been cut, apparently for food. A partly eaten bulb of the 
blazingstar was found near a runway, where it had been dug up. 
Corn and oats, and the seeds of cactus and other plants and also 
bread, cake, and cheese, were placed around the burrows, but it all 
remained untouched. None of the specimens taken showed any 
signs of becoming fat and it is improbable that they hibernate, even 
in this northern latitude. 

As a young naturalist, for the first time away from his home 
fauna and among new and strange animals where the thrill of dis- 
covery was not infrequent, the writer recognized this mouse as some- 
thing strange and probably new, and it was with the keenest pleasure 
that a communication was received from Doctor Merriam, stating 
that he, also, had been unable to identify it as a member of any de- 
scribed species. 

Fiber zibethicus cinnamominus Hollister 
Great Plains Muskrat 

Zih-zirukka of the Hiclatsas (Maxi- 
milian) ; Si n kp6 of the Dakotas 
(Gilruore) : Shantshuke of the 
Mandans (Will) ; Citakh of the 
Arikaras (Gilmore). 

Fiber zibetlucus cinnamominus Hollister, Proe. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 
23, p. 125, 1910. 

Type locality. — Wakeeney, Trego County, Kans. 

General characters. — Size medium for a muskrat, not so large as the more 
northern nor so small as the southern species. Fur, dense and soft ; ears, short ; 
tail, long, nearly naked, flattened and rudder-like; hind feet, large and webbed; 
musk glands, well developed. Measurements of adults : Total length, about 
496 millimeters ; tail, 240 ; hind foot, 73 or 74. Weight, about 2 or 3 pounds. 

Distribution and habitat. — The bright-colored Plains form of the 
muskrat, as defined by Hollister (1911), covers the central Plains 
region from Oklahoma to Manitoba, including all of North Dakota. 
There are specimens in the National Museum collections from Fair- 
mount, Oakes, Lisbon, Valley City, Grafton, Fish Lake, Wood Lake, 
Towner, Elbowoods, Grinnell, Buford, and Dawson. It is safe to 
say there are muskrats in every suitable slough and lake, marsh and 
stream in North Dakota, in numbers ranging from a few individuals 
in the smaller ponds to thousands in some of the extensive marsh and 
lake areas. While it is impossible to obtain a reliable estimate of 
their numbers, or of the numbers taken for fur each year, they cer- 
tainly are the most abundant and valuable fur-bearing animals of the 
State, as they are of the whole United States. 

General habits. — In the lakes and extensive tule marshes near 
Hankinson, the writer found muskrats abundant in 1912, and there 
were many old muskrat houses along the shores and numerous bank 
burrows leading up from under water along the margins of the lakes. 
As usual, much trapping kept the animals down to a small part of 
the number that the lakes could profitably carry. They were com- 
mon at Wahpeton in the river and sloughs, and at Fargo, where they 
live in the Red River banks, and at Stump Lake and Devils Lake in 
the tule-bordered sloughs over the prairie ; they were scarce, however, 
in the brackish and alkaline water of the lakes. 


In the Turtle Mountains they were found in the lakes and sloughs 
with which this hilly and forested region abounds, and were espe- 
cially numerous in the beautiful clear water of Gravel Lake, where a 
novel use was found for them near the fish hatchery, and where trap- 
ping was not allowed. The lake had been stocked with trout, perch, 
and bass, and the muskrats were protected and allowed to build their 
houses along the shores in order to keep breathing holes open to 
prevent the ice from closing up so completely as to smother the fish. 
Both fish and muskrats were thriving and multiplying rapidly and 
the system seemed to be working remarkably well. The muskrats 
were comparatively tame and it was a pleasure to watch them swim- 
ming, diving, and feeding out in the water. They would often lie 
stretched at full length on the surface, eating roots which they held 
in their hands above the water. Others would sit in round furry 
balls on the ends of logs or on the edges of their half-submerged 
houses, munching the green plant stems or tender roots and bulbs, 
which they had procured from the bottom of the lake or from the 
grassy banks. 

Just across the ridge from this lake, at the fish hatchery, other 
muskrats were doing considerable mischief in the fish-breeding pond 
by tunneling through the banks and letting out the water. The 
half dozen animals that were doing this mischief could have been 
caught with very little trouble and the banks protected, but the feel- 
ing seemed to be growing that the muskrats were a great nuisance, 
fostered probably by the lake full of valuable fur just over the ridge. 
Wherever the lake banks are high enough for burrows the muskrats 
live mainly in bank dens, but in the wide tule-bordered lakes and 
sloughs, where the water is so deep that the winter ice will not reach 
the bottom, they build large winter houses out in the water. Thus 
the abundance of muskrat houses in one situation is no indication of 
a greater number of the animals than in adjoining lakes where none 
are seen. 

Around the Sweetwater Lakes muskrats are generally abundant 
in spite of much trapping, as the marshes are very extensive and 
the conditions ideal for them. About Castleton, Loring reported 
them wherever an}' water could be found. Sheldon reported them 
common along the lake shore near Dawson, and Kellogg reported 
them in Wood Lake, and especially abundant in Muskrat Lake, Sul- 
]ys Lake, along Shell Creek, in Turtle Creek, and at many points 
along the Missouri River and adjoining sloughs and streams, from 
Grinnell to Bismarck. In 1915 Sheldon found them abundant 
across the southern part of the State, from Fairmount and Oakes to 
Napoleon and Cannon Ball and the Badlands farther west. Along 
the Little Missouri River Valley, in 1013, Jewett found compara- 
tively few in the creeks and sloughs. 

Although leading mainly aquatic lives, muskrats are perfectly at 
home on dry land, and often when their stream or pond dries up will 
strike out across the prairie to find a new home. Their peculiar 
tracks, showing the large hind feet and small front feet, with a 
narrow line where the tail drags, are often seen in dusty roads and 
in trails between sloughs. They are sturdy fighters, and if cor- 
nered will combat anything that comes along, but. if taken when 
young and tamed they make gentle and interesting pets. 


They are great builders and work industriously to make the wails 
of their houses thick and firm before cold weather comes. It is 
often said that the larger the houses and thicker the walls, the colder 
the winter is going to be, but even muskrats sometimes make mis- 
takes in their forecasts. As long as open water is available under- 
neath, cold weather has no terrors for the animals in their winter 
homes ; but the thicker and icier the walls of their houses, the safer 
they are from all enemies except man and his traps. Usually two or 
more openings lead from the nest chamber in the center of the house 
down into the water, and as long as these openings are kept clear the 
animals are free to come and go as far as water extends under the ice. 
Air holes through the ice are kept open in the vicinity of the houses 
or bank burrows and apparently the animals obtain plenty of oxy- 
gen from these and the bubbles lying under the ice, or from the air 
carried in their dense coats of waterproof fur. 

Breeding habits. — The young are usually brought forth in bank 
burrows, apparently sometime in May, and in June they are first 
seen swimming about as little quarter-grown muskrats. Apparently 
six to eight to a litter are the usual numbers ; some credit them with 
two or three litters during a season. Half -grown young occasionally 
caught in fall are generally supposed to be from second litters, 
but they may be merely the first litters of late young of the previous 
year. Apparently the young of the year do not attain full size 
and weight the first fall, but by the following spring it is difficult 
to distinguish between most of the yearling and older animals. They 
are very prolific, have few enemies except man, and will quickly 
and abundantly restock suitable grounds where they are given pro- 
tection. Like other rodents, they show no signs of mating for more 
than a brief temporary period. The whole care of the family de- 
volves upon the mother, for after the young are born the male has 
no further place in the family life. Apparently the males fight for 
supremacy, as occasionally one is caught with its skin cut full of 
slits, evidently by the incisor teeth of an opponent. 

Food habits. — In summer the muskrats feed on the tender shoots 
and stems of numerous grasses, tules, cat-tails, and water plants 
along the shores, on roots and bulbs, which they take from the bot- 
toms and banks, and to some extent on mussels and other animal 
food. In July, 1893, Doctor Fisher reported that in the Sheyenne 
Eiver, near Lisbon, where they were common, he found piles of 
mussel shells at various places along the banks where the musk- 
rats were in the habit of feeding. In Apple Creek, near Bismarck, 
they were found in the same ponds with the beavers and several 
were caught in beaver traps. Many little heaps of fresh-water 
mussel shells were found along the banks where muskrats had been 
feeding, and Doctor Bell actually saw a muskrat bring up and cut open 
one of these shells. In many places where they are in the habit of 
feeding, the accumulation of grass and plant stems builds up little 
mounds or platforms on which they sit while eating their meals. 
They are said to be very fond of carrots and parsnips, which are 
often used for trap bait. 

Economic status. — Under certain circumstances muskrats do 
serious damage, as when they get into irrigation ditches, artificial 
ponds with dams or raised banks, or in roadways through marshes. 


Their burrows will quickly destroy ditch banks and dams. In 1916, 
they had nearly ruined a graded road running west from Devils 
Lake for about 2 miles through a large marsh. In about 50 places 
the}'' had burrowed into the sides of the grade and in many cases 
clear across under the road, causing the surface to break through into 
the soft mud below. They had also made hollow dens under the 
road into which passing horses had broken through. The road was 
graded only about 2 feet above the surface of the marsh, but even if 
it had been raised much higher the burrows and dens would have 
been a constant menace. It would have taken at least $100 to 
repair this road at the time it was examined, and repairs would 
have been useless as long as the muskrats were left there. This 
seemed a serious situation, but it could have been controlled with no 
expense, merely by allowing and encouraging thorough trapping, in 
this particular marsh, where every muskrat could have been caught 
at a profit. In very few places in North Dakota, however, is there 
any complaint of mischief done by muskrats, while the annual in- 
come from their fur reaches many thousands of dollars, well dis- 
tributed among the residents of the State. 

Fur farming with the muskrat in its native marshes has been suc- 
cessfully carried on in many sections of the country, as fulty de- 
scribed by Lantz (1910, 1917), in Farmers' Bulletins 396 (issued in 
1910) and 869 (issued in 1917) of the United States Department of 

Family CASTORIDAE : Beavers 

Castor canadensis canadensis Kuhl 
Canada Beaver 

Ah-mik' of the Ojibways; Ah-mistf 
of the Crees (Seton). 

Castor canadensis Kuhl, Beitr. Zool., p. 64, 1S20. 

Type locality. — Hudson Bay. 

General characters. — Beavers, largest of all our rodents (sometimes weigh- 
ing 60 pounds or more), are heavy-bodied, strong, powerful animals, with 
large, webbed, hind feet ; broad, flattened, naked, scaly tails ; dense, fine 
underfur, and long coarse outer hair of a dark chestnut-brown color ; and short 
ears and huge chisel-like incisor teeth well adapted for cutting wood. la 
fresh fall fur they are dark, rich chestnut-brown in color, which fades to 
a somewhat lighter brown before the spring molt. An adult female from 
Mouse River, near Towner, collected by Remington Kellogg, July 30, 1915, 
measured : Total length, 1,150 millimeters ; tail, 400 ; hind foot, 195 ; and 
weighed 53 pounds ; it is unusually dark brown, but otherwise seems to be 
typical of the northern beaver. The young of all ages agree closely with 
the adults in coloration. 

Distribution and habitat. — Although there is very little material 
from which to judge, it seems safe to assume that all beavers in 
the Hudson Bay drainage, including the Mouse River and Red 
River Valleys, are of the typical form {canadensis), and very 
different from those of the Missouri River drainage {missouri- 
ensis). Formerly beavers were abundant in all the streams and 
many of the lakes of North Dakota, but to-day they are restricted 
to a few scattered localities where colonies have received sufficient 
protection to enable them to regain a foothold since the days of 


In 1800 Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 117, 143, 145, 154, 175, 177, 
408) said that beaver houses were numerous along Red and Goose 
Rivers, near Grand Forks, and more numerous than elsewhere on 
the upper Sheyenne River. Two of his trappers, from a trip up 
the Red River, brought in 60 beaver skins on November 17, two 
others, 60 skins from the Hair Hills on Park River, and the next 
spring two men brought in 30 skins from the vicinity of Grand 
Forks. Two other trappers on Park River took 25 skins in two 
days, and so for six years Henry's bands of Indian trappers scoured 
the branches of Red River and trapped in the Pembina Hills 
and Turtle Mountains for the furs that were poured out through 
the waterways eastward, to be shipped to England. As a result 
of this systematic destruction, Henry, in 1806, further records that 
where formerly plentiful beavers were becoming very scarce. 
Following is a partial record of beaver skins taken by his parties 
from the Red River Valley during the years 1801-1808 : In 1801, Reed 
River, 832, Park River, 643. For the winter of 1802, Grand Forks, 
410; Hair Hills, 200. In 1803, Turtle River, 337; Hair Hills, 30 
Pembina River, 550. In 1804, Grand Forks, 356; Hair Hills, 182 
Park River, 147; Pembina River, 211. In 1805, Hair Hills, 121 
Park River, 160; Pembina River, 829. In 1806, Grand Forks, 342 
Pembina River, 776. In 1807, Pembina River, 565. In 1808, Grand 
Forks, 150; Hair Hills, 53; Pembina River, 339. Although these 
localities merely indicate the camps from which his men worked 
out in all directions, the records give a good idea of the fur harvest 
in its prime, and also of the rapidity with which the beaver was 
reduced to numbers that no longer paid the trappers for their time 
and effort. As early as 1848 David Thompson (1916, p. 249) wrote 
that the beaver had become very scarce in the Red River Valley 
near the mouth of Park River. 

The former abundance of beavers in these streams shows condi- 
tions favorable to their habits and in many instances marks the 
places where they could now be maintained in considerable numbers 
as an attractive and profitable form of livestock. 

In 1887 no trace was found of beavers along the Red River Valley 
nor were any colonies heard of on the way down the valley to Pem- 

In 1893 Doctor Fisher noted a few in the Sheyenne River, near 
Lisbon, but in 1912 Eastgate reported them as extinct there 16 years 
before, although he found old cuttings and dams. It is possible 
that there are still a few beavers along the banks of the Red River, 
but no one has been able to get any trace of them in recent times. 

In the Turtle Mountains, in 1912, only one colony of beavers was 
found, and that was carefully protected by the owner of the prop- 
erty, who was anxious to have them multiply as rapidly as possible. 
All through these mountains, however, old traces or the former 
abundance of beavers was found, while dams closing the outlets of 
ponds, marshes, and lakes showed where they had been responsible 
for retaining the richness of the land and spreading it out instead 
of having it washed away by the spring floods. The best of the 
meadows in this region are all old beaver ponds that have been filled 
up with silt. There are also numerous lakes where the beavers used 
to live in the banks, as shown by old burrows, and where to-day 


the interesting animals might live in considerable numbers without 
doing harm. If adequate protection could be afforded they would 
soon increase and restock this whole region, once a trappers' para- 

One morning before daylight in 1915, Kellogg counted 15 beavers 
about 8 miles north of Towner, where they had built a big brush 
house on the bank of the Mouse River. At this place the water was 
about 15 feet deep, but a dam had been built part way across the 
river to increase the depth. In the early days beavers had been 
very numerous along this stream, and old settlers told Kellogg that 
its course had often been changed by their dams. At the time of 
Kellogg's visit there was another colony 4 miles farther up the river. 

At Kenmare, in 1913, there were complaints of beavers doing 
great damage to property on Carl Swensen's place on Mouse River, 
about 20 miles northeast of there. On the bank of the river just be- 
low the McKinney Bridge, three or four beaver houses and the places 
where timber had been cut along the borders of the stream were exam- 
ined. Apparently there were 20 or 30 beavers occupying the half 
mile of stream examined, and they were said to be equally numerous 
below there and above to the Canadian line. C. E. Booth, a taxider- 
mist, reported later that beavers were common in the Mouse River 
near Minot, and that there were eight dams across the stream just 
above Burlington. There is considerable small timber scattered 
along the course of this river and in a great prairie region even 
small timber is highly prized. At Mr. Swensen's place the beavers 
had built winter houses along the banks of the stream by piling up 
the sticks which they had cut, often a wagonload or more, in a heap 
5 or 6 feet high, above their rooms and nest chambers in the bank 
and plastering them over with mud. During the visit the houses 
were not used to any extent, as the beavers were living mainly in 
bank burrows, but before winter all of these houses would be re- 
paired and put in good condition to protect the dens from freezing 
during the winter. 

The beavers were not cutting many trees at that time, but seemed 
to be feeding mainly on the green vegetation along the river banks 
and on willow stems and roots. Mr. Swensen showed the bank 
where they had cut trees the previous fall and the writer counted 
about 40 stumps of small ash, 2 to 6 inches in diameter, about 20 
boxelders, and a dozen elm stumps of the same general size. The 
largest ash which they had cut was about 10 inches in diameter 
and another about that size had been killed by being girdled. Seven 
boxelders 8 or 10 inches in diameter, entirely or partly girdled, 
were either dead or dying. Most of these trees were in a narrow 
strip about 40 rods long on the bank of the river opposite the ranch 
house. Mr. Swensen estimated that the beavers had killed 200 or 
300 trees for him and more for some of his neighbors. A few of 
these trees were large enough for fence posts but the greater num- 
ber were too small to be of any value except for shade and protec- 
tion from the cold winter winds. The Swensens were much inter- 
ested in the beavers and their work, but strongly objected to feeding 
so many of them on their choice trees. 

It would seem a simple matter for State officials or game wardens 
to be detailed in such cases to control the abundance of beavers 

82242°— 26 8 


where they were doing mischief, and to capture alive and remove 
any surplus to other parts of the State where they would be of value 
in stocking suitable waters. 

Castor canadensis missouriensis Bailey 
Missouri River Beaver 

Capa of the Dakotas (Gilmore) ; 
Midapa of the Hidatsas (Mat- 
thews) ; Wahrapa of the Mandans 
(Will) ; Citukh of the Arikaras 
(Gilmore) ; Zhaba of the Omahas 

Castor canadensis missouriensis Bailey, Journ. Mamm., vol. 1, p. 32, 1919. 

Type locality. — Apple Creek, 7 miles east of Bismarck, N. Dak. 

General characters. — Slightly smaller than canadensis; colors, paler and 
duller brown ; back, bright hazel brown ; sides, duller brown ; and under- 
parts, smoky gray. Young, same color as adults. Measurements of type 
(about 18 months old and not full grown) : Total length, 900 millimeters; 
tail, 270 ; hind foot, 170. Weight estimated at 35 or 40 pounds. 

Distribution, habitat, and general habits. — Apparently the light- 
brown subspecies of beaver occupies the Missouri River drainage, at 
least from Nebraska north and west to Montana. In North Dakota 
it still occupies the Missouri River and many of its tributary 
streams. A number of skulls in the National Museum were col- 
lected by Lieutenant Warren, along the Upper Missouri, probably 
in North Dakota. There is also a skull from old Fort Stevenson, 
part of a skull from the Little Missouri, and a broken skull from 
Medora, besides the type and one immature specimen from Apple 
Creek, but much more and better material is needed before a satis- 
factory diagnosis of the form can be given or the details of its dis- 
tribution fully made known. 

In 1804-5 Lewis and Clark (1893, p. 194) found beavers abundant 
along the Missouri River throughout the North Dakota section of 
their journey, even in close proximity to long-established Indian 
settlements. At the Mandan villages they speak of two French 
trappers coming into camp with 20 beavers that they had caught 
near there. Trappers were then just beginning to find this river a 
rich field for their fur harvest. 

In 1833, Maximilian reported 25,000 beaver skins bought during 
the year at Fort Union (now Buford). Among his many observa- 
tions along the Missouri River he (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, pp. 54, 
55, 1841) wrote on November 5, from just above the mouth of the 
Little Missouri : 

* * * we lay to for the night on the south bank where the forest was com- 
pletely laid waste by the beavers. They had felled a number of large trees, 
chips of which were scattered about on the ground. Most of the trees were 
half gnawed through, broken down, or dead, and in this manner a bare place 
was formed in the forest. Not far off we saw in the river a beaver den, or 
as the American sometimes call it a beaver lodge, to which there was a very 
well trodden and smooth path, which we availed ourselves of to go to and 
from our boat. Nature appears to have peculiarly adapted these remarkable 
animals to the large thickets of poplar and willow of the interior of North 
America, where the whites on their first arrival found them in countiess 
numbers and soon hastened to sacrifice these harmless creatures to their love 
of gain. 


Ten years later Audubon (1897, p. 76) at Fort Union, wrote in his 
journal about the beavers " once so plentiful, but now very scarce. 
It takes about 70 beaver skins to make a pack of 100 pounds; in a 
good market this pack is worth $500, and in fortunate seasons a 
trapper sometimes made the large sum of $4,000." 

Already the quest for rich fur harvests had swept beyond this 
region, but fortunately, where the beavers had the protection of the 
deep water and high banks of the larger rivers, it had not quite ex- 
terminated them. With characteristic tenacity they still cling to 
their old haunts or merely scatter out to establish new colonies in 
tributary streams, but the love of gain has not entirely disappeared 
from the land and these new colonies are rarety able to keep their 
coats on their backs for any great length of time. 

At Buford, in 1910, Anthony reported a few in the Missouri and 
Yellowstone Rivers, apparently about as many as were found 
there in 1887. In 1913, Doctor Bell and the writer found many 
signs of their presence along the Missouri River near "VTilliston 
and about 18 miles to the southeast, on the west side, found a dam 
where a few were living in a creek. 

At Fort Clark, in 1913, Jewett reported beavers common along the 
Missouri River and one colony located on a small creek about a mile 
south of the town. The willows had been cut for houses and dams, 
and some were also scattered along the river shores, where they had 
been used for food. In the Killdeer Mountains, Jewett reported 
beavers common in all suitable creeks in the region; there was a 
small colony on Jims Creek, 3 miles south of Oakdale, and another 
colony on Charlie Bob Creek on the east slope of the mountains. 
Their dams and houses were well protected by the owners of the 
land. At Medora he saw several fresh cuttings along the banks of 
the Little Missouri and beavers were reported to him as common in 
places above there. 

From Medora down the river to Quinion, Jewett found beavers 
in several localities along the Little Missouri and on Magpie Creek. 
In the river at the mouth of Magpie Creek a few had been caught 
the previous fall, and on Magpie Creek, near Quinion, a beaver 
dam of aspen, willow, and chokecherry bushes had been built across 
the creek. The dam was about 8 feet high and 20 feet long between 
the creek banks and had formed a pond from 5 to 8 feet deep and 
half a mile long. The colony had been there for several years 
and was well protected by the ranchers. 

In the deep ponds of the Little Missouri River, near what was 
then the North Dakota National Forest, about 25 miles south of 
Medora, Doctor Bell and the writer found where beavers had 
been cutting cottonwood trees and building houses on the banks. 
Just below the camp they had a large house on the bank of the 
river made mainly from the branches of several cottonwoods which 
they had cut down near by. The largest tree cut was about 10 inches 
in diameter, and others still larger had been cut half way through 
or the bark eaten from one side. Only cottonwoods and willows had 
been taken, and as these were abundant and of little value the beavers 
were not doing serious damage in this section. Along Deep Creek, 
on the national forest, where there was no timber and only willows 
and chokecherry bushes, the beavers had made numerous dams and 


some good-sized ponds. On Bullion Creek, south of Sentinel Butte, 
a colony had built a dam of willow and chokecherry bushes and 
maintained a large pond, which kept the creek flowing throughout 
the year where it had formerly gone dry in summer. 

In Apple Creek, just east of Bismarck, in 1914, beavers were 
reported to have destroyed $1,000 worth of timber. To get at the 
facts, a trip was made to Bismarck and their work all along the 
stream carefully examined. The beavers were not numerous at that 
time, but the half dozen old dams that had been cut and broken 
out showed that the animals had previously been there in much 
greater numbers. In a distance of about 6 miles, the writer estim- 
ated 15 to 20 beavers, including two families of young, but there had 
probably been twice as many the previous year. In all about 75 
stumps of small trees that had been cut down were found mainly 
elm and ash, but 1 oak and 1 boxelder had been cut and 1 cotton- 
wood had been girdled and killed. Most of these were not 5 inches 
in diameter, and they would average about 2 inches. Most of the 
wood, probably 3 or 4 cords, had been hauled to the ranches. The 
majority of the bushes cut were diamond willows and chokecherry, 
which are used both for food and for building dams and houses. 
The actual value of all other timber cut along this creek would not 
exceed $20. In a prairie country where timber is scarce every little 
tree has a value for shade and protection as well as for the relief it 
gives to the monotony of open county, but the beavers also add life 
and interest to the country, and in addition have a cash value 
usually greater than that of a few small trees. 

Other complaints were made of damage done at the same time 
by beavers along Sweet Briar Creek, just west of Mandan, but when 
Doctor Bell went to investigate he found a few small trees cut for 
food and building purposes, but very few beavers were left. Most 
of them had been caught and the trappers and farmers were clamor- 
ing for permission to catch the rest. In other places, however, the 
beavers are given adequate protection by residents who are inter- 
ested in having them on their farms. 

In 1915 Kellogg found traces of beavers along the Missouri 
River and Antelope Creek near Goodall, and reported a fair-sized 
colony near Expansion, a large colony below Independence, a freshly 
built dam across Deep Water Creek below Shell Village, and another 
colony on a lagoon at Armstrong. On the Knife River he found 
two beaver houses, and near Sather, in Burleigh County, a few 
houses and some fresh beaver work. Near Sawyer he reported one 
small colony, and another in a bend of the river near Painted Woods, 
while from there to Bismarck he found the houses at almost every 
bend of the river where there were groves of diamond willow and 
small cottonwoods. 

At Cannon Ball, in 1916, the residents said that there were still 
some beavers alon» the Missouri River and also along the Cannon- 
ball River, its side streams, and old sloughs and channels. At 
Parkin, about 8 miles above the mouth of the Cannonball, there were 
a number of beavers in the deep parts of the river, with dens in the 
high banks. They were cutting willows and cottonwood brush 
along the shores. One evening as it was getting almost dark a 
big old fellow came up on the bank of the river and, climbing out 


on a stump, reached up and quickly cut off a cotton wood branch 
about 6 feet long, dragged it to the water, and then swam down 
the river, towing it after him, eating it under cover of a steep bank 
below. Farther up the Cannonball, at Wade, in 1913, W. B. Bell 
reported a considerable number of beavers in both branches of the 
river and photographed a dam on the south fork just above the 
juncture of the two streams. They had done some damage here 
by cutting down cottonwood trees up to 18 inches in diameter. 
One ranchman, Mr. Twigg, estimated that 300 trees had been cut 
on his ranch. On October 23, 1910, O. N. Dvergsten wrote to the 
Biological Survey from still farther up the Cannonball, near 
Stowers, inquiring what he could do with beavers that were destroy- 
ing his little trees along the creek. A few of the animals had come 
there the previous year, built their winter home, and kept on build- 
ing and cutting his trees in spite of his efforts to discourage them. 
Their house had been torn out, but they had rebuilt it and insisted 
on remaining. 

In 1919, after two years of open season on beavers, many of the 
colonies had disappeared or had been sadly reduced in numbers. A 
few traces of their work were found along the Missouri River at 
Sanish and Bismarck, and there were said to be a few beavers still 
in Apple Creek and Burnt Creek. Near the mouth of the Cannon- 
ball River they were very scarce, although they had been fairly com- 
mon up to 1916. 

In a deep loop of the Heart River near Mandan late in October 
there was still a small colony. Here they had cut down a few 
scrubby cottonwoods and a large number of willows along the bank 
and had stacked the green branches and sections of trunks in deep 
water for winter food. The top of this mass of green wood and 
brush reached to the surface and was securely held together by sev- 
eral inches of ice. There was one beaver house on the bank and 
many burrows and dens in the steep banks, which were about 15 
feet above the water. Several vent holes opened out from 50 to 80 
feet back from the river and warm air was steaming out of them on 
cold mornings. These beavers were well located for an experimental 
beaver farm or for a wonderful city-park colony at the edge of 

Beaver houses. — Large beaver houses are .often built out in ponds 
where the surrounding water is 6 or 8 feet deep, with walls of matted 
sticks and mud rising 4 or 5 feet above the surface of the water, 
inclosing safe and comfortable living rooms. The nest chamber, 
usually just above the water level, has its only doorway leading 
down through deep water under the house to the pond outside. 

Bank houses are generally smaller but equally well-built struc- 
tures of sticks and logs well plastered with mud. They are com- 
monly built on low banks to protect the dens from outside enemies. 
In high banks the burrows generally enter water and come up well 
back in the banks into nest chambers that are unmarked by any 
external building material. 

Beaver dams. — The dams are generally built of brush, sticks, limbs, 
and trunks of trees that have been cut into sections of a convenient 
size to be carried, dragged, or floated to the desired spot, pushed into 
place, and covered with mud from above the dam. Well-built dams 


show a steep lower face of crisscross sticks and a sloping upper 
face of mud or firmly packed earth. They offer a wonderful resist- 
ance to floods and the wear of time, and many old beaver dams may 
be found to-day that have not been used for a century or' more. 

On small streams beaver dams are usually of a simple type, built 
across the channel so as to raise the water above them to sufficient 
depth for good ponds. A depth of 6 or 8 feet is required to protect 
the houses, dens, and bank burrows, and to insure a winter swimming 
pool under the ice. Much deeper water' is preferred and the beaver 
will usually leave and hunt for better quarters if a depth of a least 
6 feet can not be maintained. 

Large and rapid streams are rarely dammed, except by large 
colonies of beavers left undisturbed for a long term of years. Some 
of the old dams show great skill and industry, but the best results 
seem to be due to persistent efforts in the face of many failures, 
rather than to the high order of mentality usually attributed to 
the beavers. 

Food habits. — The food of beavers varies with the season. In 
summer it is mainly grass and other green vegetation. At Apple 
Creek, in August and September, the beavers were feeding on coarse 
water grasses and sedges along the shores of the creek. The grass 
blades were scattered over the surface of the ponds and lodged 
against the dams and in many places the banks were well cropped. 
All of this was waste material that could not be cut for hay or grazed 
by stock. The stomachs of the beavers collected contained large 
quantities of green pulp, apparently of this material, with the addi- 
tion of a little of the bark and twigs and roots of willow, and some 
other plants that could not be identified. The trees and bushes cut 
at that time had been used mainly for building material rather than 
for food. 

In fall beavers begin to cut down bushes and trees to be stored 
under water for winter food. Sometimes tons of green brush mixed 
with limbs and sections of tree trunks are sunk to the bottom in deep, 
still water, where under the ice it keeps fresh and green and is 
available all winter. The bark is eaten off the larger stems and 
the twigs and buds are browsed where they lie or are carried into 
the houses to be enjoyed at leisure. 

That willows are the principal winter food, as well as the favorite 
building material, is evident from the food stores, the remains of 
meals and structure of houses and dams. Cottonwoods and aspens 
are preferred for food where available. The hardwoods — elm, ash, 
boxelder, birch, and even oaks — are sometimes cut for building ma- 
terial, but rarely for food. On Apple Creek, some elm and ash, one 
small bur oak about 2 inches in diameter, a small boxelder, a thorn- 
apple bush, and a few hop vines had been cut, all of them evidently 
for building material, as they showed no indications of having been 
eaten. Boxelder and bullberry bushes were abundant along the 
stream, but were rarely touched by the beavers. One thorn-apple 
bush full of red fruit had been cut and placed on the dam. The 
rootlets of willows, which grow in dense masses under water along 
the banks, are also a choice food for both summer and winter, and 
in deep water, where beavers are scarce and timid, they get much 
of their food from these tender roots without exposing themselves 
on the surface. 


Breeding Tidbits. — Usually four to six young are raised at a 
time and it is doubtful if more than one litter is raised in a year. 
Increase is therefore not rapid and the young do not get their full 
growth for several years. 

Beaver parks. — Near Jamestown, in 1914, W. B. Bell visited a 
beaver colony that had been protected for a number of years and 
allowed to build a good dam across the Dakota River. The animals 
were comparatively tame and could be watched at their work on the 
dam or on the banks, or swimming about in their pond during the 
daytime, and were a source of much interest and pride to the 

The beginning of a valuable and educational zoological park was 
here developing spontaneously without any expense or trouble be- 
yond the mere protection of the animals. Unfortunately, a grain- 
field extended down to one edge of the beaver pond and naturally the 
beavers accepted the grain as a part of their food supply. Even af- 
ter the grain was cut they pulled the bundles out of the shocks and 
carried them to the water for food and building material. The loss 
of grain, though scarcely appreciable, naturally irritated the owner 
and roused a sympathetic feeling for him and against the beavers, 
until, as a result, the colony was destroyed. 

If a woven-wire fence had been placed along the river bank and 
woven wire wrapped around the bases of a few trees, the beavers 
might have remained as a harmless and delightful interest for the 
public. No more interesting or simple and inexpensive zoological 
park can be maintained by any community than a good beaver 

Beaver farming. — In many sections of North Dakota conditions 
are excellent for raising beavers under control and partial or com- 
plete domestication in small lakes or ponds or in fenced sections of 
creeks and small rivers on owned or leased land. If beavers were 
included in the list of fur-bearing animals permitted to be raised 
under special license (North Dakota, 1923, pp. 317-318), a valuable 
industry might be added to the State, and much waste and unprofit- 
able land made to yield returns to the owners. The selection of 
stock for beaver farming is of great importance, since the dark, 
richly colored animals, as found in the Hudson Bay drainage or, 
still darker, from northern Michigan and Wisconsin, have far greater 
fur value than the light-brown beavers of the Missouri drainage, 
and as far as possible should be used for breeding stock. _ 

Beaver meat. — If properly prepared, beaver meat is good and 
wholesome. In the adults it is dark, tender, rich, and of good 
flavor. There is usually a layer of fat over the surface next to the 
skin, and the tail is always of a soft, fatty tissue which if well 
cooked is especially delicious. Among the trappers beaver tail has 
always been considered a luxury equal to buffalo tongue. 

Lewis and Clark (1893, p. 276), in their journal of April 17, 1805, 
say, "Around us are great quantities of game, such as herds of 
buffalo, elk, antelopes, some deer and wolves, and the tracks of bears. 
* * * We obtained three beavers, the flesh of which is more 
relished by the men than any other food which we have." This 
is almost the unanimous testimony among trappers. 

In skinning the beaver care must be taken not to get on the flesh 
a trace of musk from the large gland located under the skin of the 


belly. The beaver should be hung up by the head and skinned with- 
out touching- the meat with the hands. It is impossible to handle 
the skin without getting the hands scented by this very clinging, al- 
though not unpleasant odor. 17 

Family ERETHIZONTIDAE : Porcupines 

Erethizon epixanthum epixanthuin Brandt 
Yellow-haired Porcupine; Rocky Mountain Porcupine 

Pahi of the Mandans (Will) ; Pahi 
of the Dakotas (Gilmore) ; Apadi n 
of the Hidatsas (Matthews) ; 
Suunu of the Arikaras (Gilmore). 

Erethizon epixanthus Brandt, Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg, t. 3 (ser. 
6), pt. 2 (Sci. Nat.), p. 390, 1835. 

Type locality. — Northwestern America. 

General characters. — Heavy, wide-bodied, short-necked, short-legged ani- 
mals with short, stout tails, long curved claws, flat, naked soles and an armor 
of quills ; upper parts densely covered with very keen barbed quills, embedded 
in black fur and partly concealed by long yellow-tipped outer hairs ; underparts 
mainly without quills. An adult male from Montana measures in total 
length 875 millimeters; tail, 314; hind foot, 112. "Weight, approximately 20 
to 30 pounds. 

Distribution and habitat. — From a wide range in the Rocky 
Mountain region the yellow-haired porcupines reach their eastern 
limit, so far as known, in North Dakota. They are fairly common 
in the Missouri Valley and westward in the State, but east of the 
river valley they are rare and scattered. A specimen collected by 
U. S. Ebner in the Turtle Mountains in 1914, and now in the collec- 
tion of the North Dakota Agricultural College, at Fargo, marks the 
easternmost authentic locality for the species. Near Warwick, just 
south of Devils Lake, in 1915, Kellogg reported a yellow-haired 
porcupine killed by two boys the previous year; at Towner on the 
Mouse River, one killed by Almond Larson in 1905, and another 
found dead by Clyde Coss in 1911. In 1913 there were reports of 
porcupines having been killed near Kenmare and Minot, but there 
was no real clue to the form represented. It was undoubtedly, how- 
ever, the yellow-haired. At Buford and all the way down the Mis- 
souri River through the State porcupines have been reported com- 
mon from 1910 to 1915 by Anthony, Kellogg, and Jewett, and ap- 
parently their numbers have not changed much since the days of 
Lewis and Clark, Maximilian, and Audubon. In 1913, Doctor Bell 
reported them fairly common at Wade, on the Cannonball River, 
where two had been recently killed near Mr. Wade's ranch and a 
skull of one obtained for a specimen. In 1919 they were found com- 
mon about Sanish, in the brushy gulches on both sides of the Mis- 
souri River. 

General habits. — Although well safeguarded by their own spiny 
armament, the porcupines often seek additional safety in the Bad- 
lands and brushy stream bottoms, in the protection of little caves 
and hollows in the banks or the dense, thorny cover of buffaloberry 
thickets. Near Williston, the writer found their characteristic oval 

17 For further information on the habits and control of heavers, see U. S. Dept. Agr. 
Bui. 1078 (Bailey, 1922) and Misc. Circ. 69 (Bailey, 1926). 


pellets in the little caves of the Badlands, which seemed to be their 
favorite dens. Often, however, the animals are met in the open and 
at night they follow trails and roads for long distances, as shown 
by their double rows of oval, flat-footed, denticulate tracks in the 

Although their ordinary gait is not much faster than that of the 
turtle, they are patient and persistent travelers and sometimes their 
tracks may be followed for miles. When met with, the porcupine 
usually attempts to escape, but if crowded, bristles up, erects its 
quills, and stands at bay awaiting attack. The quills are pointed 
out at all angles and as the enemy approaches within reach, fierce 
blows of the heavily armed and muscular tail are struck sideways 
or upward and the barbed quills thus driven into anything within 

The common belief that the quills are thrown to a considerable 
distance has no foundation in fact, although some are occasionally 
scattered on the ground if the animal is roughly handled. Porcu- 
pines evidently realize that their lower surface is unprotected, as 
any effort to turn them over is frantically resisted, and when threat- 
ened the quickness with which they will wheel and strike is surpris- 
ing in animals so clumsily built. 

Their long, very hooked claws enable them to climb trees readily, 
and the animals are as much at home on the trunks or branches as 
on the ground. They also climb about in the bushes and seem to 
enjoy the tops of the very spiny buffaloberry bushes, which prob- 
ably* give them a feeling of added protection along their own lines 
of defense. The tops of these bushes are often eaten bare of bark, 
leaves, and berries and left in a very mutilated condition. The 
writer has never seen any evidence that porcupines dig burrows, but 
quite probably they dig out or enlarge some of the cavities in which 
they dwell. 

Breeding habits. — The mating season is said to be in October and 
one or sometimes two young are born early in spring. At birth the 
young are unusually large and well developed; their eyes are open, 
and they are provided with a good set of fur, quills, and incisor 
teeth. They follow the mother until weaned and apparently before 
they are half grown each one is able to shift for itself and to begin 
its solitary life. With this slow rate of reproduction the species 
would soon disappear but for its armored protection. 

Food habits. — During the summer, porcupines feed on a great 
variety of green vegetation, accepting apparently almost anything 
that comes in their way and stuffing their enormous stomachs to the 
limit of their capacity. At Stanton, Kellogg found one feeding in 
an alfalfa field with its stomach well filled with alfalfa; he said 
they were reported to do some damage in the grainfields between 
Washburn and Bismarck. Jewett reported them as fairly common 
in the brushy gulches near Sentinel Butte, where they had gnawed 
the bark from many of the chokecherry bushes. Near Sanish they 
had eaten the bark and twigs from buffaloberry, black haw, choke- 
cherry, and rose bushes. In 1913, on the former Dakota National 
Forest, about 25 miles south of Medora, they were found fairly 
common in the Badlands gulches and on the forested ridges. Many 
of the yellow pines had been gnawed more or less extensively by 


them. On some of the forested ridges about half of the small trees 
showed peeled spots from which the bark had been eaten and some 
had been completely girdled and killed. Most of the old trees 
showed some scars from earlier gnawings. 

Still farther south, along the Little Missouri, near Marmarth, 
where yellow pines grow irregularly over the buttes, the writer 
found fully a fourth of the young trees damaged through having 
the bark gnawed from them by porcupines.' In some cases the 
bark had been eaten from the tops and branches; in others the 
trunks had been girdled, so that many of the trees were either ruined 
or killed outright. The old pines showed a long struggle with their 
enemy, the bushy tops and gnarled forms being largely due to the 
girdling of tops or branches at different times during their lives. 
Here, as in many other parts of the country, the bark of yellow 
pines seems to form the favorite food of the porcupines, at least 
during the winter season. The rough outer coating of bark is 
rejected and the tender inner growth eaten as it is scraped clean 
from the wood of the trunk. Apparently the bark from a space the 
size of a hat is required for a square meal. Any tree that happens 
to be conveniently near the porcupine's den is sure to suffer and 
may be stripped of all of its bark from top to bottom. 

Economic status. — Although most Avild carnivores have become 
sufficiently accustomed to porcupines either to let them alone or, by 
taking advantage of their unprotected bellies, to kill and eat them 
with little harm to themselves, many dogs gain their first knowledge 
of the species by sad experience. The greatest complaint of the set- 
tlers against the porcupines comes from this injury to their dogs, for 
if a dog attacks one recklessly as it would any other animal it may 
be seriously or fatally injured by the quills. The destruction of crops 
by porcupines is usually of small consequence, but their destruction 
of many species of pines and other conifers often causes great loss to 
the forests within their range. It is not improbable that they are 
largely responsible for the scarcity of timber in the Badlands region ; 
were it not for them a fair stand of pines might have spread over 
this rough country. If reforestation of these areas is attempted, it 
will be necessary to first eliminate the porcupines, as where they are 
common no young trees can reach a well-developed maturity. 

Erethizon dorsatum dorsatum (Linnaeus) 
Black-haired Porcupine; Canada Porcupine 

[Eystrix] dorsata Linnaeus, Syst. Nat., ed. 10, t. 1, p. 57, 1758. 

Type locality. — Eastern Canada. 

General characters. — Color, black and white instead of black and yellow; 
upper parts covered with white, black-tipped quills, mixed with black fur and 
obscured by long black, white-tipped hairs. Usually not so large as the yellow- 
haired porcupine from farther west. An adult male from Minnesota measures 
in total length 740 millimeters ; tail, 195 ; hind foot, 115 ; an adult female, 735, 
195, and 100 respectively. Weight of female, 16 pounds; of male, probably 
20 pounds. 

Distribution and habitat. — The black-haired porcupines occupy the 
timbered Canadian Zone area of the northeastern United States and 
Canada west to the Great Plains, where they probably meet the range 
of the yellow-haired porcupines. They are common in northern 
Minnesota, but for North Dakota there seem to be only two or three 


probable records and these unsubstantiated by specimens. M. A. 
Brannon writes that while at the university, at Grand Forks, he had 
a small black-haired porcupine for a pet, but it met with an untimely 
death and was not preserved for a specimen. It was given to him 
and was said to have come from the Red River Valley, near Pembina. 
H. V. Williams reports a porcupine of the small dark-colored type, 
almost black, killed at Hamilton, in Pembina County, on July 31, 
1916. The description fits this species, which on geographic grounds 
ought to be found there rather than the large yellow-haired species 
which has been taken no farther east than the Turtle Mountains; 
but the young of both species are blackish, so that identification 
depends in part on age. The boys at the Indian school near Wahpe- 
ton killed a porcupine on the river bank near town in 1914 and 
described it but no specific characters could be gathered from the 
description. Others will probably be found along the Red River 
Valley, and it is hoped that a specimen may be preserved to de- 
termine the species positively. 

Family ZAPODIDAE : Jumping Mice 

Zapus hudsonius campestris Preble 

Prairie Jumping Mouse 

(PI. 13) 

Zapus hudsonius campestris Preble, North Amer. Fauna No. 15, p. 20, 1899. 

Type locality. — Bear Lodge Mountains, Wyo. 

General characters. — A medium-sized mouse with very long, slender hind 
legs and feet and small front feet ; tail, very slender ttnd longer than head 
and body; ears, small. Upper parts, bright buffy yellow along sides, darker 
along the back ; underparts, pure white. Average measurements : Total length, 
222 millimeters ; tail, 135 ; hind foot, 30.5. 

Distribution and habitat. — As its name implies, the prairie jump- 
ing mouse is a plains species covering practically the whole of North 
Dakota and the surrounding prairie country. There are specimens in 
the National Museum from Wahpeton, Fairmount, Blackmer, Han- 
kinson, Ellendale, Fargo, Harwood, Lisbon, Pembina, Neche, Turtle 
Mountains, Devils Lake, Fort Totten, Valley City, La Moure, 
Ludden, Cannon Ball, Fort Clark, Grinnell, and Buford. Speci- 
mens have also been recorded in the Field Museum from Bottineau, 
Minot, and Jamestown. Although generally distributed over the 
State, these jumping mice are found mainly in thickets, weed 
patches, meadows, or tall grass areas rather than on the high open 
prairie, where the grass is short and the cover scant. 

General habits. — Under the protecting cover of bushes, weeds, and 
tall grass, these timid little jumping mice make their summer 
homes on the surface of the ground and their winter homes in 
burrows deep underground. They do not make roads or runways, 
but go through the grass with long leaps or little hops and occasion- 
ally with a slow creeping motion on all fours. When startled, they 
go bounding away with long jumps, suggesting frogs, and usually 
make two or three leaps before stopping to see if they are pursued. 
Generally, if the last leap is well noted, one can creep up cautiously 
and catch the mouse by clapping the hand over it. When caught in 
this way the mice rarely offer to bite or make much effort to escape, 


but may be handled and examined freely if held gently in the hollow 
of the two hands. Evidently they are not entirely nocturnal, as 
they are often startled from their feeding grounds in the daytime, 
but more often they are disturbed in their nests, from which they 
bound away when one steps close to them in the grass. 

The summer nests are placed on the surface of the ground, well 
concealed under grass or other vegetation; they are neat little balls 
of fine grass with a tiny opening at one side arid a soft lining in the 
central chamber. When the grain is cut and the hay mowed the 
nests are disturbed and the jumping mice go to live in the shocks 
of grain and cocks of hay, where they are discovered when the hay 
and grain are being loaded on wagons. As they bound from under 
cover to the open ground they are somewhat dazed by the light and 
can usually be watched for some time as they sit blinking in the open 
or progress by long leaps through the air. 

Hibernation. — Unlike most of the mice, these little fellows be- 
come excessively fat in autumn and with the first frosty nights re- 
tire to their warm underground nests and curl up for a long winter's 
sleep. The thin oily fat is deposited in a layer of white fatty tissue 
over the whole inside of the skin as well as over much of the surface 
of the body and fills the inside cavities until the animal is about 
twice its natural size and weight. This fat supplies sufficient nutri- 
ment and fuel for the long winter sleep and probably carries the 
animal through the early springtime of breeding activities when 
food is scarce. 

Breeding habits. — The five or six young are brought forth in the 
nests usually in May or June, and are barely full grown by the time 
their winter sleep is to begin. In this latitude it is doubtful whether 
more than one litter of young is raised in a summer. 

Food habits. — In the examination of a great many stomachs of 
these jumping mice, nothing has been found but the fine white pulp 
of carefully shelled, well-masticated seeds. Generally these are from 
grasses, although grain and a variety of other plant seeds are eaten. 
The mice are fond of rolled oats used for trap bait, and are easily 
caught in a variety of traps set where they are in the habit of run- 
ning. To obtain the seeds of grass, on which they mainly subsist, 
they cut off the tall stems as high up as they can reach, draw them 
down and cut them off again, and repeat this until the seed-laden 
tops can be taken. Little heaps of grass stems cut in sections about 
3 inches long are found through the meadows where the jumping 
mice live and are unmistakable evidence of their presence, being al- 
ways much longer than the grass cuttings of meadow mice and other 
short-legged species. Apparently these rodents do not store up food, 
but live a very care-free life in the midst of abundance while the 
summer lasts. 

Economic status. — Generally the jumping mice are not sufficiently 
abundant to do any great harm to the yield of grass and grain, but 
in places over limited areas in the meadows their cuttings might ag- 
gregate 2 or 3 per cent of the grass. They cut down and eat or de- 
stroy a small quantity of grain along the edges of some fields, but 
on the whole are far less numerous and injurious than the meadow 
mice. Still, they help to swell the total of the tax levied by rodents 
on farm products and only fail through lack of numbers to form one 


of the serious rodent pests. Their natural enemies are the same as 
those of the other nocturnal mice, chief of which are owls, weasels, 
badgers, and skunks, through the good offices of which their num- 
bers are kept within bounds. 

Family HETEROMYIDAE : Pocket Mice, Kangaroo Rats 

Perognathus fasciatus fasciatus Wied 
Maximilian Pocket Mouse 

Apapsd of the Hidatsas, Zhxzhina 
of the Dakotas (Gilmore). 

Perognathus fasciatus Wied, Nova Acta Acad. Caes. Leop.-Carol. Nat. Cur., 
t. 19, pt. 1, p. 369, 1839. 

Type locality. — Upper Missouri River near its junction with the Yellow- 
stone, northwestern North Dakota. 

General characters. — Considerably smaller than the white-footed mice, with 
small ears, slender tails, and conspicuous fur-lined pockets on the cheeks, 
opening externally and not connected with the mouth ; hair, short and glossy ; 
upper parts, olive gray; underparts. pure white, bordered by a buffy line 
along each side. Average measurements: Total length, 135 millimeters; tail, 
65; hind foot, 17. 

Distribution and habitat. — Maximilian pocket mice are scattered 
over a large part of western North Dakota and adjacent areas of 
the semiarid plains. There are specimens from Buford, Crosby, 
Minot, Dunseith, Fort Clark, Cannon Ball, Wade, Dawson, Oakes, 
Bowdon, and the Little Missouri River north of Medora, but the 
range is probably more extensive and continuous than these scat- 
tered localities indicate. They are animals of the open prairie, 
where they live in tiny burrows in the barest situations or on the 
short-grass plains, for^ unlike most mice, they avoid the cover of 

General habits. — In 1833, Maximilian, Prince of Wied (1839, p. 
373), found this anomalous little pocket mouse near Fort Union, at 
the junction of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers, and in 1839 
first described it as a new genus and species of rodent. For more 
than 50 years no more specimens were obtained, and the name was 
confused under another species and not put in its proper relationship 
until 1889, when Doctor Merriam (1889, pp. 2, 4, 11) published his 
revision of the North American pocket mice. 

In 1887 the writer visited Fort Buford and collected a small 
series of specimens that served to verify Maximilian's excellent de- 
scription of the genus and species. At that time he was unac- 
quainted with animals of their general habits and had only common 
steel traps, old-fashioned choke traps, and little tin box traps, and 
knew of no more tempting bait than cheese, bread, cake, or meat, 
none of which they would touch, so that although instructed to look 
out for them and get specimens, he then failed to catch any in 
his traps. Their characteristic little burrows were common and 
their tiny tracks recognized as undoubtedly belonging to the species, 
were found every morning about the traps, although no attention 
was paid to the bait. Other methods were evidently necessary to 
obtain specimens. 

During the dusk of evening as the writer walked over the prairie, 
sometimes one of these little mice would dart over the ground near 


him, and by dropping his gun and making a quick spring he could 
catch it in his hands. All but one of those seen were caught in this 
way, but in that one case his fingers came down on the mouse's tail 
and the rest of him escaped. This kind of hunting, though exciting 
at times, nearly ruined his shotgun, which invariably was dropped on 
the ground at the first move of the mouse, although he resolved each 
time to lay it down carefully when the next one was seen. The half 
dozen specimens obtained served to reestablish the identity of the 
species, but they did not add much to knowledge of its general 
habits. Only in later years was it learned that with modern traps 
baited with rolled oats the mice could be caught in abundance wher- 
ever they occurred; since then naturalists have been able to learn 
more of their habits. 

Their little burrows are usually found in groups of two or three 
on some dry, open spot, often at the edge of a cactus or sunflower 
patch, or close to sagebrush, and are easily recognized by their very 
small size. A little fresh earth is occasionally found thrown from 
some of the burrows, but in most cases the entrances are unmarked 
and inconspicuous. In 1910, Anthony collected specimens at Fort 
Buford and reported burrows found sparsely on the prairies and 
hilltops, usually in the sides of banks or slight elevations. One 
specimen was taken in an open space in the sagebrush near the 
river. At Crosby, in 1913, the writer caught one under some old 
Russian thistle at the edge of a flax field. At Minot, on October 
12, 1919, he tracked one over a soft snow from a strawstack to a hole 
under a furrow, and digging back about 2 feet found it in a cup- 
shaped nest of soft plant fibers, captured it alive, and kept it for 
several months for study. At one edge of the nest cavity it had a 
small collection of seeds, mainly pigeon grass and Russian thistle 
seeds, which proved its favorite food in captivity. At Fort Clark, 
Jewett found these mice fairly common about the wheatfields and 
high dry prairies back from the river, where they were readily 
taken in traps baited with rolled oats and set near the small bur- 
rows. At Cannon Ball, Sheldon found them common in the grain- 
fields on the sandy places and along the flats of the river. At Wade, 
farther up the Cannonball River, W. B. Bell collected a specimen for 
the agricultural college museum. In 1892, Theodore Roosevelt 
caught a specimen on the Little Missouri River, 40 miles north of 
Medora, which he contributed to the Biological Survey collection. 

Small, inconspicuous, and mainly nocturnal in habits these little 
pocket mice, even where most abundant, generally escape the notice 
of all but naturalists or keen observers. It has remained for a 
local naturalist, Stuart Griddle (1915), of Treesbank, Manitoba, 
to study their habits in a careful and thorough manner. In ex- 
cavating their winter burrows he learned more of them than was 
ever known before. He found their burrows penetrating as far as 
6 feet below the ground, where the winter nests and stores were well 
protected from frost. Apparently enough seeds were provided 
to carry them through the winter. Their winter stores con- 
sist mainly of seeds of noxious weeds, and Criddle's conclusions 
were that the mice are mainly beneficial in their foods habits. Such 
careful studies of mammal habits by local naturalists are of ines- 
timable value for the better understanding of native species. 


Hibernation. — These mice are rarely if ever found with suffi- 
cient accumulation of fat to suggest hibernation, but Criddle says 
that when exposed to moderately cold atmosphere they become 
very sluggish and he thinks that they spend much of the winter in 
sleep. The writer has found them active up to October 6 in Mon- 
tana, and to October 12 in North Dakota, and they have been taken 
even later farther south. A captive specimen was active well into 
the winter, but in a warm house. The question of hibernation is 
not yet fully settled. 

Breeding habits . — A female caught on May 13 contained six 
embryos, and Criddle reports one containing four. The mammae 
are arranged in two pairs of inguinal and one pair of pectoral on 
four distinct mammary glands. It seems probable, therefore, that 
six is the normal maximum number of young. There are no data 
to indicate more than one litter in a j^ear. 

Food tidbits. — In 1887 these pocket mice were found feeding mainly 
on the seeds of pigweed and knot grass, and at Crosby in 1913, they 
were living under the Russian thistle, which apparently furnished 
them food as well as cover. At Buford, Anthony reported their 
pockets filled with small angular seeds, which were probably of 
knot grass, and at Fort Clark, Jewett reported several caught at the 
edges of wheatfields with grains of wheat in their pockets. Others 
have been taken with their pockets filled with grass seeds, lambs- 
quarters, red root, and tumbleweed, and Criddle found in their homes 
and pockets seeds of grass, blue-eyed grass, bug seed, wild buck- 
wheat, and puccoon. He also discovered grasshopper eggs stored 
in their tunnels and found many places where these had been dug 
out of the ground. One of the mice that he kept in captivity pre- 
ferred meal worms to seeds. 

Economic status. — From the evidence gathered it seems that these 
mice are very slightly, if at all, harmful, while in many ways they 
are decidedly beneficial; but there still remains much to be learned 
of their habits and tastes. 

Perognathus flavescens perniger Osgood 
Dusky Pocket Mouse 

(PI. 15) 

Perognathus flavescens perniger Osgood, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 17, 
p. 127, 1904. 

Type locality. — Vermilion, S. Dak. 

General characters. — About the size of fasciatus, but more intensely col- 
ored, with the rich buff on the upper parts much obscured by a wash of 
bright black, and the underparts chiefly rich, buffy ochraceous. Measurements 
of type: Total length, 140 millimeters; tail, 68; hind foot, 17. Weight of live 
adult, 10 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — The silky little dusty pocket mice come 
into southeastern North Dakota from their range over the prairie 
country of western Minnesota, eastern South Dakota, and the adjoin- 
ing corners of Nebraska and Iowa. There are specimens from 
Hankinson, Blackmer, Lidgerwood, Napoleon, and Finley, and the 
writer picked up a dead one in the town of Parkin, about 10 miles 
above the mouth of the Cannonball River, too mangled to be saved for 
a specimen. The range of the form somewhat overlaps that of 


fasciatus, from which it is entirely distinct. Apparently this is 
merely a dark-colored prairie form of the paler flavescens of the 
semiarid Plains region farther south and west. Sandy prairie soil 
is their favorite habitat and their little burrows are usually found 
in the mellow and often barren soil among prairie grasses. 

General habits. — In the old lake-shore sand dunes, a little south 
of Hankinson, these little animals were found fairly, abundant. On 
the crests of many of the low ridges or mounds that had once been 
dunes, from one to a half dozen of their burrows or groups of 
burrows were found. There was generally a little mound of sand 
like a small gopher hill, and, whether freshly made or old, the 
entrances to the burrows were invariably closed. Often two or three 
other burrows, just large enough for the end of the finger, would 
be found near the closed one, but these were inconspicuous and 
rarely showed any trace of dirt having been thrown out. Traps 
baited with rolled oats and set at any of these holes, or across a long 
trail made by scraping the foot in the sand, readily caught the 
mice, for while they do not make trails of their own, they invariably 
follow any clear road through the grass. Often in the morning their 
tiny tracks were found over the open, drifting sand. A few speci- 
mens were taken in traps set near the tracks which led from the 
burrows to the feeding grounds. Although more easily located on 
the open sand, the mice were much less numerous there than in 
the scattered vegetation, which afforded some cover. 

At Blackmer two were caught in a sandy field where boys said 
mice were often turned out by the plow. At Lidgerwood, Sheldon 
found them common in the grainfields and a series of specimens was 
taken in traps set in the fields. At Parkin the writer found many 
of their characteristic burrows and tracks in sandy ground near the 
edge of the town that had just sprung up on the prairie and picked 
up a dead mouse in the grassy street. 

Breeding habits. — Three females collected at Elk River, Minn., 
on July 30 and August 12, 1912, contained four embryos each. The 
mammae are arranged in two pairs of inguinal and one pair of 
pectoral, which for the present constitutes our total knowledge of 
the breeding habits of this species. 

Food habits. — At Hankinson the traps were baited with a mixture 
of rolled and whole oats, but as ants carried away most of the rolled 
oats during the day the whole grain was usually the only attraction 
for the mice. Most of the specimens caught had in their pockets 
some of the whole oats, from which they had removed the hulls, and 
some had also the seeds of needle grass {Stipa spartea), while the 
pockets of others were entirely filled with these long grass seeds, 
hulled and neatly packed in little bundles. There were occasionally 
also a few seeds of bindweeds and small wild beans. Of course, their 
food varies with the time of year, and at this season, July 19 to 27, 
the abundant Stipa seeds were just falling to the ground and the 
mice were busy gathering their harvest. At Lidgerwood, Sheldon 
found that the pockets of all of those caught in wheatfields con- 
tained weed seeds, with the exception of one that had gathered up a 
few particles of cracked corn; some of them also had included a few 
kernels of oats from his trap bait. The one picked up at Parkin had 
its cheek pouches full of little bean seeds, probably of Astragalus, 


which was common there. In Minnesota the writer found where the 
mice had been feeding extensively on the seeds of sand bur, one of 
the most troublesome of weed grasses. 

In the underground winter storerooms of these mice there were 
seeds of two species of pigeon grass, a few other grasses, and wild 
buckwheat. In captivity their favorite food has proved to be first 
of all the pigeon-grass seeds from their own winter stores, then Rus- 
sian thistle seed, millet, wild sunflower, hemp, and rolled oats. They 
nibble a little cabbage, turnip, cooked potato, lettuce, celery, or 
green grass, but apparently more for the moisture than for food, 
as in a dry, furnace-heated house, they become very thirsty and 
eagerly suck water from saturated cotton or drink from a small 

None of the animals caught showed any indications of becoming 
fat as in hibernating species, but it is evident that they store up 
much food in the form of small seeds. 

Economic status. — Too scattered in their distribution to be of any 
serious consequence one way or another, the habits of these little mice 
appear to be mainly harmless. Their consumption of weed seeds 
probably counterbalances any possible mischief in grainfields. 

Perognathus hispidus paradoxus Merriam 
Kansas Pocket Mouse 

(PI. 12) 

Perognathus paradoxus Merriam, North Amer. Fauna No. 1, p. 24, 1889. 

Type locality. — Banner, Trego County, Kans. 

General characters. — Size, large; tail, long; ears, small; pelage, glossy 
but coarse and hispid ; external cheek pouches, conspicuous ; upper parts, 
yellowish-brown with scattered black hairs over the back ; sides, clear yellow- 
ish ; underparts, white. Average measurements of adults : Total length, 222 
millimeters; tail, 10S ; hind foot, 20. 

Distribution and habitat. — These large pocket mice have an exten- 
sive range from Mexico over the Lower and Upper Sonoran semi- 
arid plains region to western South Dakota, and one specimen has 
been taken in North Dakota. This was collected by Doctor Bell, in 
August, 1913, at "Wade, on the Cannonball River. The specimen is 
now in the agricultural college collection, at Fargo, and is of special 
interest as marking the northern limit of the known range of this 
species. It is a large female, measuring in total length 220 milli- 
meters, tail 114, and hind foot 27, and was caught in a trap set on 
the prairie at the edge of a sandy area on the Wade ranch. At this 
locality the species represents an element of the Upper Sonoran Zone, 
which is sparingly shown also by the native vegetation. 

General habits. — Over their wide range these mice are generally 
scattered and not abundant, but occasionally get into the collector's 
traps set in open country. They live in burrows of their own con- 
struction, which are often recognizable by their size and form, as 
they are larger than ordinary mice burrows and not so large as 
those of kangaroo rats. Moreover, they often go straight down into 
the ground like a smooth auger hole, around the entrance of which 
no trace of earth is found. Always at some place not far away, 
however, is a burrow at which considerable earth has been thrown 

82242°— 26 9 


out, showing that the unmarked openings are those that have been 
opened from below. Sometimes the burrow at which the earth is 
thrown out is closed at the entrance; at other times it is left open. 
The underground habits of the pocket mice are little known, ex- 
cept that specimens taken often have their cheek pouches well filled 
with seeds, grain, or trap bait, which they are carrying home, evi- 
dently to be stored for food. They are very fond of rolled oats and 
are readily caught in traps baited with them. A great variety of 
seeds is eaten, but the mice do not usually show any signs of accu- 
mulating fat for winter, and it is doubtful whether they regularly 
hibernate. Over most of their range farther south they may be 
caught at any time during the winter. 

Perodipus niontanus richardsoni (Allen) 
Richardson Kangaroo Rat 

(PL 11, fig. 3) 

Dipodops richardsoni Allen, Bui. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 3 (1890-91), 
p. 277, 1891. 

Type locality. — Beaver River, Beaver County, Okla. 

General characters. — Big head and short body, long brush-tipped tail, long 
hind legs and feet, small hands, and ample fur-lined cheek pouches combine 
to produce a most unique and striking appearance. Upper parts, bright 
buff y-y ell ow with a white band crossing each flank and white spot over each 
eye; underparts and stripe along each side of tail, white. Measurements of 
Montana specimen : Total length, 264 millimeters ; tail, 145 ; hind foot, 40. 

Distribution and habitat. — Richardson kangaroo rats are common 
in eastern Montana and western South Dakota, and undoubtedly 
occur in North Dakota, although no specimens have been taken and 
the only actual evidences of their presence are some groups of 
burrows described by Doctor Bell, at Wade, on the Cannonball 
River. He describes groups of large burrows on a strip of sandy 
ground on the Wade ranch, with considerable earth thrown out 
around the entrances, exactly as had been found around their dens 
at Glendive, Mont., and in other parts of their range. The species 
can only tentatively be included in the North Dakota list, but should 
be watched for and will undoubtedly be found in a few localities 
over the western part of the State. The animals can not fail to be 
recognized, and usually their burrows and the long-paired tracks 
of their hind feet are unmistakable. 

General habits. — As indicated by their large, dark eyes, the 
kangaroo rats are strictly nocturnal, and for this reason are rarely 
seen except as caught in traps or accidentally driven out of their 
burrows. They are gentle, timid little animals, depending entirely 
on speed and their deep dens for protection. In running they hop 
along on their hind feet, and when hard pressed take flying leaps 
through the air, balanced by their long, tufted tails. The little front 
feet are used as hands and rarely allowed to touch the ground. 

Food habits. — The food of this species consists of a great variety 
of seeds and grain, which are gathered and carried in the cheek 
pouches to the dens, to be eaten at leisure. Most of the rats collected 
for specimens are found with more or less food and sometimes with 
the pouches distended with various seeds or grains. 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. PLATE 15 

Fig. I. — Dusky Pocket Mouse (Perognathus flavescens niger) 

Photograph of captives kept for study. Slightly reduced 

Fig. 2. — Badger (Taxidea taxus taxus) 

"Topsy," a pet at the Agricultural College (photographed by W. C. Palmer) 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept Agr.. Biological Survey. 

Plate 16 

Mississippi Valley Pocket Gopher (Geomys bursarius 

Photographed in the act of digging a burrow in the prairie. About one-fourth 
natural size 




Economic status. — It is perhaps fortunate that these interesting 
rodents do not reach farther into the State, as in grain-producing 
country they often levy a considerable tribute on the crops. Where 
they are abundant, the quantity of grain carried away, eaten, and 
stored in their dens for future use is sometimes a serious loss. 

Family GEOMYIDAE : Pocket Gophers 

Geomys bursarius (Shaw) 
Mississippi Valley Pocket Gopher 

(PI. 16) 

Mus bursarius Shaw, Trans. Linn. Soc. London, vol. 5, p. 227, 1S00. 

Type localily. — Unknown ; somewhere in the Upper Mississippi Valley. 

General characters. — Characterized by heavy build, large front feet, and 
long, heavy, digging claws, conspicuously grooved upper incisors, and deep fur- 
lined pockets on the cheeks extending back under the skin to the shoulders ; 
eyes and ears, small ; tail, small and nearly naked at tip ; fur, short, smooth, and 
glossy. Color, light chestnut-brown above, slightly paler on the belly. Average 
measurements : Total length, 270 millimeters ; tail, 80 ; hind foot, 35. A large 
female at Grand Forks measured 290, 75, and 35 millimeters, and weighed 14 

Fig. 7. — Records of two species of pocket gophers in North. Dakota : Triangles, the 
Mississippi Valley pocket gopher; circles, the Dakota pocket gopher; dot in circle, 
type locality. The paler sagebrush pocket gopher from the extreme western part of 
the State is not shown on this map 

Distribution and habitat. — The Mississippi Valley pocket gophers 
enter eastern North Dakota and range as far west as Ludden, Oakes, 
Larimore, Valley City, 10 miles west of Portland, Manvel, Grand 
Forks, and to the vicinity of Pembina (fig. 7) . At Hankinson, in 1912, 
the writer found them abundant over the prairies, especially in mel- 
low, sandy soil. On the high clay hills south and west of Lake Elsie 
they were scarce or entirely absent from extensive areas. A fondness 
for mellow soil seems to be a potent factor in outlining the range of 
the species. At Fairmount, Sheldon found them occupying mellow 


soil along the river and a few scattered out on the wide, low prairies. 
At Oakes he found a few and at Lidgerwood they were abundant and 
very destructive to crops. At Wahpeton, Kellogg and the writer 
found them common along the river valley, and noted a few over the 
prairies, where they were doing considerable mischief in grain and 
alfalfa fields. At Lisbon, in 1912, Eastgate took a few specimens, 
but reported the animals scarce. In 1892, Loring took specimens at 
Valley City, Castleton, Wheatland, Buffalo, Erie, Portland, and 
vicinity. At Fargo, in 1912, their hills were abundant over the val- 
ley, except on some of the farms where the pocket gophers had been 
trapped. The hills were large and a long row of them across a green 
field of young wheat showed up strikingly. At Larimore, in 1915, 
Kellogg was told by the residents that these large pocket gophers 
had been the original species there, but the little gray form, Thomo- 
mys talpoides rufescens, had come in recently; at Manvel, Grand 
Forks County, he collected a specimen of Geomys and reported it as 
the common gopher of that region and especially numerous along 
railroad tracks. At Grafton only Thomomys was caught, but the 
large hills of Geomys were seen at Minto, 10 miles farther south. In 
1916, the writer took Geomys just across the Red River from Pem- 
bina, where gopher hills were common on a strip of mellow soil, and 
specimens have been taken at Emerson, just above the Manitoba line. 
Thus the range has been rather fully worked out and found to extend 
on the west little beyond the old beach lines of post-glacial Lake 

General habits. — For a distance of more than 1,000 miles, roughly 
from Pembina to El Paso, the ranges of Geomys and Thomomys 
meet without any extensive overlapping, Geomys occupying gen- 
erally the mellow soil of the fertile valley country and Thomomys 
the higher, drier, and often more sterile soils to the west. The rea- 
sons for this division of territory have caused much speculation, and 
to obtain some evidence on the question, the writer made a special 
effort to get living specimens of both to test their dispositions when 
placed together. A live Thomomys was placed in the cage with the 
larger Geomys. Without a moment's hesitation the old 14-ounce 
Geomys pounced upon the 5-ounce Thomomys and began to chew 
it up, catching it by the ribs and crushing its bones, ribs, neck, skull, 
shoulders, and legs. When convinced that it was entirely dead the 
Geomys left it and showed no further interest in the victim. Its 
bones were broken to bits, but the skin was not cut through, prob- 
ably because the teeth of the Geomys had been dulled on the wires 
of its cage. This fierce animosity seems to afford a reasonable ex- 
planation of the division of range"between the two genera, the larger 
and more ferocious occupying the choice, fertile portion of the 
country and leaving the rest to its weaker relative. 

To test further the disposition of Geomys, two that had been 
caught alive were placed near together, the old female that had 
chewed up Thomomys, and a half-grown young male caught near 
her home and quite probably one of her last spring's young that had 
been long ago sent out to dig its own way in the world. As they 
met face to face both hissed, struck out with their hands, and clashed 
their incisors together, the larger forcing the smaller one backward, 
but they did not clinch, and neither gave the other a chance to get 


a hold. Again and again they jumped at each other, hissing and 
blowing, striking or pushing with their hands, and striking their 
incisors together with loud clicks, but doing no damage. The 
smaller animal was constantly forced backward and evidently would 
have retreated into its burrow had it been within reach. They were 
separated before any damage was done, but not until they had fully 
demonstrated the fact that they are not sociably inclined. 

Later, while in a cold room in a little hotel, the writer placed a 
meadow mouse, Microtus drummondi, in the glass bowl with the 
smaller Geomys. Both were chilly and it was hoped they would 
keep each other warm. At first " Mike " jumped at " Geo " and bit 
and squeaked at him, but did not stir up any trouble, so he went over 
to one side of the bowl and made aWst for himself in the grass. It 
was thought they were going to be friendly and would be company 
for each other, but later in the evening Mike was heard to squeal ; 
when the writer reached him Geo was making his bones crack. It 
was too late to intervene, and when Geo let go Mike was limp and 
dead. He was left to see what would happen, and in the morning 
the victim's bones were found broken to bits, although his skin was 
intact and no attempt had been made to eat him. While the Micro- 
tus may have started the trouble, for its disposition is not amiable, 
this further demonstration of the unsociable nature of Geomys is 
worth recording. 

Later, after Geomys had become perfectly tame and was no longer 
interested in eating the writer nor in running away from him, its 
real nature and disposition were more apparent. It had no objection 
to being picked up and petted, but if startled would throw up its 
head as if ready to bite, so that it seemed safer to avoid its nose. 
If not startled, it would take food and climb into the hand to be 
taken up and carried about. 

It would make a large, warm nest in its nest box by carrying in 
grass, paper, cotton, or any soft material until the box was well 
filled, then going in would stuff the doorway full and remain buried 
in its nest, sometimes for 12 or 24 hours at a time. It would sleep 
longer and eat less in cold weather than in warm. 

When awake it would insist on strenuous exercise, eating, chewing 
up nest material, digging, scratching, and gnawing, or, if out of its 
box, running around the room for an hour' or more at a time at a 
steady, rapid trot. At first it would butt into every object encoun- 
tered as it followed the walls around and around, but later seemed 
to recognize and avoid every obstacle. Finally it became so familiar 
with the room that it would run in a large circle, missing all the fur- 
niture, unless something was moved into its path, when it would 
promptly bump into it. Its eyes were generally kept open while 
running, but in a lighted room they seemed to be of little help. In 
the dark it seemed to see well at close range, and when a nut was 
held in the fingers well inside its nest door it would take the nut 
gently without touching the fingers with its teeth. This, however, 
may have been due to the sensitiveness of its abundant short mus- 
tache more than to sight. 

Its hearing seemed very dull, except for certain sounds. A touch, 
scratch, or jar on his house or its nest box would rouse the animal 
instantly from sleep and put it on the alert, while loud talking, 


music, or open-air sounds seemed to make no impression on it. At 
first a puff of air or a door being opened across the room would 
attract its attention, and it could be stopped in its headlong race 
across the room by a quick puff of the breath. 

Mentally it seemed dull and apathetic, although physically power- 
ful and energetic. It has never shown any play instinct, but was 
probably too old when captured. 

The animal was unable to swim. When put in a bathtub half full 
of water it floated with its head and back well out, but kicked or 
tried to run with its usual one-foot-at-a-time gait, and made no 
progress whatever. Apparently pocket gophers are unable to swim, 
and this may account for some peculiarities in their distribution in 
other parts of their range. 

Pocket gophers have been supposed to have no voice. When caught 
in a trap or held in the hands against their will they make a hiss- 
ing or blowing sound by forcing the breath rapidly out and in. This 
was supposed to be their only sound, but the tame pet on several 
occasions when hurt or troubled made a low, throaty chur, chur, chur 
in a complaining tone that seemed to be a real voice. 

These powerful little burrowing animals live solitary lives almost 
entirely below the surface of the ground, and most of the time in 
total darkness behind closed and well-packed doorways. Their 
eyes and ears are of little use to them and have become almost rudi- 
mentary, but their tails, with sensitive tips, serve an important 
function in guiding their retreats in their shuttlelike motions back 
and forth through their extensive tunnels. 

With their powerful claws thejr dig up the earth and push it 
before them to some point where a temporary opening is made 
through which it is thrust to the surface of the ground. The little 
mounds, or gopher hills, that dot the fields and prairies where they 
live are rapidly made. Load after load of the loose earth is pushed 
in front of the hands and breast to the entrance and thrown out with 
a little toss until the gallery is cleaned, and the last few loads are 
firmly packed in the entrance to close the burrow. Sometimes a few 
quarts and sometimes a bushel of earth are thrown out in one heap, 
but there is always the little circular dent, where the last load was 
pushed up and left in the mouth of the burrow, and often the direc- 
tion of slope to the burrow below may be known from the greater 
quantity of earth on one side of the doorway. Later another door- 
way is opened up to the surface 10 or 20 feet away and another hill 
thrown up, and so on, day after day, until a long line of Mils is 
formed, or a group if the burrows wind about and among each 

In 1887, the writer counted the fresh hills thrown up by three 
pocket gophers 12 days after a rain, and the number of mounds that 
had not been rained upon were 28, 35, and 40. These hills averaged 
about 6 quarts of earth each, or approximately 17 quarts a day 
thrown out by one pocket gopher. 

In summer the tunnels are about 10 inches or a foot below the 
surface, but in winter they run deeper and probabty keep below the 
frozen earth, except at the entrance, where many are kept open 
to the surface. From these openings the animals push their way 
through the snow along the surface of the ground, leaving tunnels 
that later are filled with the loose earth from their burrows. 


Pocket gophers do not become fat or actually hibernate, but they 
store up food to some extent, probably for winter use. 

Breeding habits. — Long and widely known as these animals have 
been, it seems strange that there is so little information available 
regarding their breeding habits. Once on a Minnesota farm, two 
naked young were found in a nest chamber in the burrow. Their 
eyes were closed, their skin was delicate, pink, and hairless, and 
their little round heads and fat chubby hands were almost baby- 
like. The number of young, as shown by embryos in females col- 
lected for specimens, is 2 to 6, with apparently 4 the most common. 
The mammae of the females are arranged in two pairs of inguinal 
and one pair of pectoral. Only the small young are found in the 
burrow with the mother. As soon as they are old enough to dig for 
themselves, and before half grown, they branch off into new gal- 
leries, which finally become closed behind them when their solitarj' 
careers begin. Most of their lives are solitary, but in the mating 
season in spring a male and female are occasionally caught in the 
same burrow. The male soon leaves, however, and takes no further 
interest in the family affairs. Their reproduction is not rapid, but 
they are so well protected from enemies above that they increase 
steadily unless their abundance is controlled by artificial means. 

Food habits. — The food of pocket gophers consists entirely of 
vegetable matter, largely roots encountered in their underground tun- 
nels but also a great variety of green plants from above ground. 
"When the opening is first made to the surface, the pocket gopher 
examines the plants close by and usually cuts them and fills its 
pockets before throwing out the earth, sometimes making several 
trips back to empty its pockets and fill them again before it throws 
out the earth and closes the doorway. Thistles, dandelions, clover, 
alfalfa, and leguminous plants generally are favorite foods, but 
grass, grain, and a variety of other plants are taken as encountered, 
and the pockets are often stuffed with leaves and stems intended for 
food or nest material. The many little bulbs, as wild onions, lilies, 
and the tuberous roots of native plants, are sought for food, but the 
soft and tender roots of many other plants are eaten, as well as the 
bark from even the woody roots of shrubs and trees. The contents 
of stomachs of pocket gophers usually show a combination of 
green plant tissues and the finely chewed white or light-colored pulp 
of roots and bulbs. At times ripe grain is eaten, but generally green 
food seems to be preferred, or is more easily obtained. 

Economic status. — In many localities pocket gophers are among 
the most destructive of rodent pests, as they prefer many of the 
cultivated crops to wild food and steadily gather into fields where 
potatoes, turnips, or other root crops are raised, and also into fields 
of clover and alfalfa and the best ot tame-grass meadows. In grain- 
fields they do extensive damage, but are partly kept out by the plow- 
ing of the land and by the long period of scant food in the stubble. 
In orchards and dooryards they also do much damage, eating the 
roots from fruit trees and ornamental shrubs, and often killing many 
of the choicest varieties. Their destruction is imperative in any well- 
kept agricultural land, and in limited areas this is not difficult. 
They are easily trapped or poisoned, and detailed methods for their 


most economical destruction have been worked out by the Biological 
Survey. Circulars or leaflets giving the best methods can be had on 

Thomomys talpoides mfescens Wiecl 
Dakota Pocket Gopher 

Machiohpka of the Mandans (Max- 
imilian) ; Mdnica of the Dakotas 
(Gilmore) ; Cipans of the Arikaras 
(Gilmore) ; Eipapude of the Hi- 
datsas (Gilmore). 

Thomomys rufesccns Wied, Nova Acta, Acad. Caes. Leop.-Carol. Nat. Cur., 
t. 19, pt. 1, p. 378, 1839. 

Type locality. — Fort Clark, N. Dak. 

General characters. — Smaller and slenderer than the Mississippi Valley 
pocket gopher, which comes into eastern North Dakota. Upper incisors, not 
noticeably grooved except in a fine line near inner edge of each tooth ; large 
fur-lined cheek pockets on each side of face reaching back under skin to 
shoulders ; front feet and claws, large ; hind feet, comparatively small ; tail, 
nearly naked at tip; fur, short, smooth, and glossy. Color of upper parts, 
dull brownish-gray ; underparts, buffy-gray, often with white markings on 
chin, throat, and breast. Measurements of adults : Total length, about 240 
millimeters ; tail, 70 ; hind foot, 31. Weight of adults, 5 or 6 ounces. 

Distribution and habitat. — The Dakota pocket gophers cover the 
greater part of North Dakota and extend into eastern South Dakota 
and southwestern Manitoba. Their range covers practically the 
whole State except the low part of the Red River Valley, south 
of Grafton, and the western edge of the State, where a slightly 
different form occurs at the junction of the Yellowstone and Mis- 
souri, and probably along the Little Missouri River Valley. The 
eastern border of their range in the State is marked by Pembina, 
Drayton, Grafton, Larimore, Portland, Valley City, and a point 
4 miles southeast of Ellendale, in an irregular line following closely 
the old shore line of Lake Agassiz, and also marking the western 
edge of the range of the larger Mississippi Valley pocket gopher, 
Geomys bursarius. The cause for this limitation of range may be 
due to antipathy of the two species, or to combination of factors; 
nowhere do the two overlap to any great extent. The fact that 
Thomomys avoids low or wet ground and is partial to high, dry 
prairies may be one of the determining factors of this border line. 

Over all the high open prairie country and often in the timbered 
areas of the Turtle Mountains and Pembina Hills, these pocket 
gophers are found in dry meadows, fields, clearings, openings in 
brushy land, and sometimes even in scattered timber. At Pembina, 
in 1887, the writer found them common everywhere, except in the 
thickest growths of trees along the river, and took specimens on both 
sides of the river as well as on both sides of the border line. A 
few were found in fields, but they were most abundant over the 
unbroken prairie, where their favorite food plants were growing. 
In 1892, Loring succeeded in trapping a specimen at Portland, but 
in six days' subsequent trapping found no others, so that evidently 
this was somewhat beyond their regular eastern limit. At Larimore 
he found them abundant 4 miles west of town, but none farther 
east, and at Sherbrooke he found them common, as also at Valley 
City and Jamestown. In the northwestern corner of the State, 


about Kenmare and Crosby, pocket gophers were comparatively 
scarce in 1915, as their characteristic little mounds were noticed 
only in scattered localities. 

At the type locality of the species, which was visited in 1909 to 
obtain specimens for determining the validity of Maximilian's 
name, the pocket gophers were common over prairie and river 
flats on both sides of the river, occupying both the dry, sandy 
bottomlands and the high heavy-soiled prairie. Later in 1913, 
Jewett also found them common over that part of the valley, in the 
Killdeer Mountains, and farther south in the vicinity of Glen 
Ullin and Mandan. In 1893, Fisher reported them very common at 
Bismarck. In 1915, Sheldon traced them across the southern part 
of the State, from a point 4 miles southeast of Ellendale, westward 
continuously to Napoleon, Dawson, and Cannon Ball. The same 
year Kellogg traced them across the northern part of the State 
from Grafton to Devils Lake, Towner, the Missouri River at Oak- 
dale, and thence down the river to Bismarck. Thus the reports 
cover practically the whole State and indicate fairly definitely the 
range and abundance of the species. 

General habits. — In many places throughout their range these 
pocket gophers will average one or more to the acre and their total 
numbers over the State are enormous. Their presence can always be 
recognized by the little mounds of earth heaped up in the prairie 
grass and containing usually from 2 quarts to a peck of earth. Many 
of these mounds, however, are enlarged by repeated excavations until 
they contain a bushel or more, and some measured at Pembina, in 
1887, were 3 by 3 feet, and 7 inches high ; 4 by 4 feet, and 10 inches 
high ; 4 by 5 feet, and 6 inches high ; and 4 by 5 feet, and 7 inches 
high. These, however, were all composite mounds where the earth 
had been thrown out several times on successive days. 

Practically the whole life of the animals is spent underground, 
where they burrow continuously from point to point, usually 6 inches 
to a foot below the surface of the ground, bringing out the loose 
earth by pushing it to the surface in the familiar little mounds, 
then securely closing the doorways, so that no enemy can enter 
their homes. Sometimes the row of mounds stretches away for 50 
to 100 yards in almost a straight line; they are usually G to 8 feet 
apart, but sometimes 10 to 20 feet, while between some of the larger 
hills a space of 27 feet has been measured. More often the tunnels 
wind about and they sometimes form groups, where one of the 
animals has worked all summer on a few square rods of ground, 
so that the lines of old and new mounds crisscross and overlap. 

The burrows pass through ground that is full of choice food in 
the form of roots, bulbs, and tubers. Some green food is gathered 
and tucked into the pockets at the entrance of their burrows, but 
aside from this the animals rarely come out on the surface of the 
ground unless for a few seconds at a time when they are throwing 
out the earth. The earth is pushed out in front of them in little 
loads about half the size of their bodies, and so quickly that it has 
the appearance of being thrown from them. Most of the people 
living in the country where they are abundant never see them, and 
often their rightful name of pocket gopher is misapplied to the 
ground squirrels. In winter they go deeper so as to escape the 


frost, but keep their burrows open to the surface and often come 
out under the snow and tunnel long distances to obtain green 
vegetation, afterwards filling these surface tunnels with earth from 
below. They do not become very fat and evidently are active 
throughout the winter. 

Breeding habits. — Apparently but one litter of young is raised 
in a season and judging from the immature specimens caught in 
July and August these are born some time in June. A record of five 
embryos, about one-third developed, taken at Carberry, Manitoba, 
June 29, 1892, by Ernest Thompson Seton (1909, vol. 1, p. 567), 
seems to furnish the only positive data available for this subspecies, 
although records for other forms of the same group, with the same 
arrangement of mammae, two pairs of inguinal, two pairs of ab- 
dominal, and one pair of pectoral, indicate a normal litter of sis 
young. Practically nothing is known of the nest and underground 
habits of these animals, and the small young seem not to have been 
recorded. Few animals are more solitary in habits, and only during 
the mating season in spring are a male and female occasionally 
trapped from the same burrow. The male soon leaves, however, 
and probably never sees the young. The mother cares for her family 
until they are about half grown, when they start burrows of their 
own and are soon shut off from parental care, each beginning a life 
that is to be mainly solitary. Although breeding but once a year, 
their increase is comparatively rapid, as they are unusually well pro- 
tected from enemies. 

Food habits. — These pocket gophers live almost entirely on roots 
and green vegetation, and although they are very partial to certain 
species of plants, they will eat almost anything that comes in their 
way if better food is not available. The prairie clover (Psoralea 
argophylla,), prairie turnip (Psoralea esculent a) , and wild licorice 
bush (Glycyrrhizale'pidota) are apparently their favorite wild foods 
over much of the prairies, and their mounds often become very 
numerous where these plants are abundant. In their pockets are 
found the leaves and stems of a great variety of other plants, in- 
cluding grass, lupines, and other legumes, and occasionally roots and 
tubers, but apparently these are not often brought to the surface. 
Sometimes the pockets are found stuffed so full of green vegetation 
that they more than double the apparent size of the animal's head. 
They are used only for carrying food and not, as is sometimes re- 
ported, for carrying earth out of the burrows. To what extent 
roots, tubers, and bulbs are stored for winter food is not well known, 
but occasionally well-filled storage cavities are found along the 
lines of the tunnels. 

Economic status. — Next to the ground squirrels, these gophers 
are generally the most destructive rodent pests of the region where 
they live. Although for ages they have been industriously plowing 
and mellowing the prairie soil, burying the surface vegetation and 
enriching and improving the land, they at once become the farmer's 
enemy when occupying the ground with his crops. Even on the 
prairies they destroy or consume much of the choice grass that 
would otherwise be available for stock, and cover up and prevent the 
economical cutting of much of the wild hay on the prairie and the 
best parts of the dry meadows. 


In fields, gardens, and orchards, however, they do the most harm. 
Entering through their safe tunnels, they find choice food in the 
clover and alfalfa fields, and if nothing better can be found will 
live all summer on the green stems, leaves, and heads of grains. In 
vegetable gardens they are even more destructive, cutting the peas 
and beans above the ground and drawing them into their burrows 
to be eaten, or, without the risk of appearing at the surface, 
taking the onions and turnips or following a row of potatoes 
and cleaning the tubers from each hill in succession. Nowhere is 
their mischief more exasperating than in a clean and well-kept 
orchard, where, lacking other food, they often eat the bark from 
the roots of the trees and leave them to die, or even cut off so many 
of the roots that the trees dry up and tip over with the first wind. 

Fortunately, pocket gophers are easily controlled, and it is only 
necessary to know how to poison or trap them in order to protect 
crops and trees. "Where only a few are doing mischief, the simplest 
method is to trap them by merely opening their doorways and set- 
ting traps that will catch them as. they come out to close the 
openings. Armed with a few modern traps and an old table knife, 
anyone can, with a little practice, catch all the pocket gophers 
in an ordinary garden or orchard without much loss of time. Where 
the mischief is on a larger scale, poison is a more rapid and eco- 
nomical control measure. Simple directions can be obtained from 
the Biological Survey for the most effective methods of administer- 
ing poison. 

Although excellent food and in every way perfectly suitable 
as a food animal, pocket gophers are not large enough to be of 
importance as gamp. In places where it is necessary to catch con- 
siderable numbers of them, however, they can be used to advantage 
as food, and if properly dressed and cooked are as good as rabbit 
or squirrel. 

Th.omom.ys talpoides bullatus Bailey 
Sagebrush. Pocket Gopher 

Thomow.ys talpoides bullatus Bailey, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 27, 
p. 115, 1914. 

Type locality. — Povrderville. Mont. 

General characters. — Very similar to rufesccns but noticeably lighter and 
brighter colored, with conspicuously larger audital bullae. Measurements of 
type specimen; total length, 238 millimeters; tail, 72; hind foot, 30. Weight of 
female, from Buford, 5 ounces. 

Distribution and habitat. — The arid sagebrush-valley form of 
pocket gopher occupies mainly the Yellowstone and Missouri Valleys 
of Montana, but comes into North Dakota at Buford and is probably 
the form occupying the Badlands part of the Little Missouri Valley, 
as specimens have been referred to it from the valley just below the 
southwest corner of the State. In an arid, open habitat, often with 
sandy or light-colored soils, these pocket gophers have become 
adapted to their environment in coloration, but in general habits 
show only such differences from rufescens as are occasioned by the 
conditions under which they live. Over the open range country they 
are of little economic importance, but as many of the valleys are 
brought under irrigation with intensive cultivation, they become of 
serious consequence and their destruction is necessary to satisfactory 
returns from the cultivated areas. 



[No. 49 

Order LAGOMORPHA : Rabbitlike Animals 

Family LEPORIDAE : Rabbits 

Sylvilagus fLoridanus similis Nelson 

Nebraska Cottontail 

Wahhoos of tbe Chippewas (Wil- ■ 
son) ; Ma n shti n -sapana of the 
Dakotas (Gilmore) ; Mo n stinga 
of the Omahas (Gilmore), gen- 
eric term. 

Sylvilagus fLoridanus similis Nelson, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 20, p. 
82, 1907. 

Type locality. — Valentine, Nebr. 

General characters. — Rather compact, with relatively short ears and short 
legs. Colors essentially similar in summer and winter. Upper parts, rusty 
gray, darkened by numerous long, black-tipped hairs ; rump, clear dark gray ; 
throat, belly, and under surface of tail, pure white. Adult measurements : 
Total length, approximately 408 millimeters ; tail, 52; hind foot, 99; ear from 
notch, 50. An adult male taken at Fargo by O. J. Murie on November 7, 1919, 
measured 405, 52, 98 millimeters, and weighed 2 pounds 1% ounces. 

Fig. 8. — Three species of cottontail rabbit in. North Dakota : Circles, the Nebraska cotton- 
tail ; triangles, the Black Hills cottontail ; squares, the Wyoming cottontail 

Distribution and habitat. — Over the central Great Plains from 
Kansas to near the Canadian line Nebraska cottontail rabbits occupy 
the stream valleys and thickets of a mainly prairie region (fig. 8). 
In North Dakota there are specimens from Fairmount, Oakes, Fargo, 
Kathryn, Portland, Valley City, Larimore, Grafton, Hawks Nest, 
Dawson, Stump Lake, Sweetwater Lakes, Towner, Oakdale, Stanton, 
Fort Clark, Deapolis,. Bismarck, Cannon Ball, and Winona. _ These 
are mainly brush rabbits, not commonly found at any great distance 
from the wooded or brushy bottoms. Apparently they have not yet 
reached the Turtle Mountains, although since the settlement of the 
country their range seems to be slowly extending northward in the 


State. In 1887 there was found no trace of them in North Dakota, 
nor nearer than Fort Sisseton, S. Dak., and Browns Valley, Minn. 
Eastgate says they first reached Larimore in 1900. 

In 1913 Mr. Booth, a taxidermist, reported that cottontails were 
abundant at Minot, and had first arrived about 1890. No trace of 
them was found farther north, at Kenmare, Crosby, or Bottineau. 
In 1912, on a wagon trip from Linton, in the vsouthern part of the 
State, to Stump Lake, no trace of cottontails were found until Hawks 
Nest Butte was reached, where a specimen was obtained and tracks 
were seen in the timber, and on the south side of Stump Lake the 
rabbits were common in the timber. In 1919, at Walhalla, Eugene 
D'Heiley told the writer that cottontails came there in 1912, but 
soon disappeared, though they were still found at Neche, 20 miles 
farther east. In 1913 Jewett collected a specimen at Fort Clark and 
one at Oakdale in the Killdeer Mountains, and reported them as 
fairly common in the thickets and brushy gulches. In 1915 Kellogg 
took specimens at Larimore and reported them common at Manvel, 
Grand Forks County, and at Grafton, Walsh County. He was told 
that they were common at Drayton, Pembina County, although he 
did not find any. At Towner he took one immature specimen in the 
meadow and saw several others, and he reported the species com- 
mon along the Missouri Kiver from Stanton to Bismarck. 

General Tidbits. — These little short-legged rabbits are such an 
easy prey to dogs, wolves, and foxes that it is necessary for them 
to keep within the protecting cover of thickets or dense vegetation. 
Usually where they occur their roadways or trails may be found in 
every thicket or leading from one thicket to another. At Hankin- 
son, they were found abundant in the woods and brush patches 
around the lake shores and in the thickets among the sand dunes. 
On the Hankinson ranch cottontails were frequently seen in the 
dooryards and about the buildings, in spite of several dogs and 
cats which were constantly hunting them. A family of half -grown 
cottontails living in some burrows under the roots of a tree gave 
the dogs a great deal of exercise in chasing them to cover and digging 
and barking at their burrows. The rabbits did not seem to care and 
were getting the best kind of training for life on the ranch. 

At Fairmount, Sheldon reported them as frequenting farms and 
deserted buildings. At Lisbon and Valley City, Eastgate reported 
them as very common in the thickets and in both the natural timber 
and planted groves. As the country fills up with farm buildings, 
orchards, and garden shrubbery, these rabbits seem to increase in 
abundance and extend their range on the open prairie, where 
formerly it was impossible for them to exist because of numerous 
native enemies. 

In the older, more settled parts of the State they are conspicuously 
most abundant. Along the Missouri River bottoms, Avhere the 
thickets are dense and often thorny, they find the most perfect pro- 
tection and satisfactory conditions of environment. At Washburn, 
in 1909, the writer found them abundant all over the brushy river 
bottoms, where in summer they had the added protection' of hosts 
of mosquitoes, which rendered hunting almost impossible. At Fort 
Clark, in 1913, Jewett reported them common in the wooded and 
brushy bottomlands, to which they were closely restricted; on a 


short walk along the river-bottom roads in the evening, he would 
usually see five or six. At Cannon Ball, in 1916, they were found 
very common in the brushy bottoms along the Missouri and Cannon- 
ball Eivers, and at Parkin, a few miles up the Cannonball, they 
were common in the wooded and brushy bottoms. One was^ living 
in a lumber pile in the middle of the new town just starting up 
on the prairie, and a bulldog spent much of his. time chasing _ it 
from one lumber pile to another, but the rabbit seemed to realize 
its advantages and not to worry over the noisy demonstrations of 
the dog. 

Breeding habits. — Cottontails are prolific breeders and usually 
raise several litters of young in a season. At Fairmount, on May 28, 
Sheldon collected a female which was nursing young. On the 
Sheyenne River, north of Valley City, Eastgat© took one on May 
17, 1912, which contained seven embryos; and at Grafton, on May 
10, 1912, Williams took one containing six small embryos; one col- 
lected by Jewett at Fort Clark, on July 22, 1913, contained five 
small embryos. Although born in a naked, blind, and helpless con- 
dition, the young develop rapidly and are soon able to shift for 
themselves, leaving the mother to resume her parental duties with a 
new family. 

Food habits. — Babbits are mainly grazing animals, and their list 
of food plants includes in large proportion both native and culti- 
vated vegetation. They take the leaves and tender blades from 
grasses, clovers, and most of the wild leguminous plants with which 
they come in contact, and are especially fond of the cultivated 
clovers, alfalfa, and most garden vegetables. They also eat the 
bark and buds of many shrubs and small trees in summer and in 
winter depend largely upon browse and bark for their food. At 
Kathryn, in Barnes County, Eastgate reported them feeding in the 
evenings along the edges of the grainfields, where it was common to 
see six or eight at a time. They always find an abundance of food 
and as one kind of vegetation dies or dries up, other plants are ac- 
cepted in its place. 

In times oi deep snow the rabbits forage out from their well- 
protected burrows and pick buds and green tips and branches from 
the shrubs and such plants as are exposed above the snow, eveiy 
increase in the depth of snow lifts them to a fresh supply. Their 
runways in the snow are always packed and frozen, so that a rapid 
retreat to safe cover is assured, and as more food is needed the run- 
ways are extended farther out through the brush or from one thicket 
to another. 

Economic status. — Numerous inquiries among farm residents made 
it evident that these rabbits are not generally considered a pest, 
although where abundant they occasionally do considerable mis- 
chief. The small quantity of grain that they cut along the edges 
of a field, the forage crops eaten, and the fruit trees and shrubbery 
occasionally killed or damaged, is readily forgiven them because 
of their value as food and game. To many of the country boys they 
furnish the only available hunting, and usually before the winter 
is far advanced they have become so scarce as to leave barely enough 
to restock the country the following spring. In this northern 
clime they accumulate considerable fat during the fall, and are 


among the choicest rabbits for food, being especially healthy, plump, 
tender, and well flavored. They have also a market value, and if 
the}* ever become overabundant, ample protection against damage 
to crops and trees may be had by extending the hunting season. In 
rare cases it may be necessary to poison those around orchards and 
gardens. Full directions for destroying them in this way will be 
furnished by the Biological Survey on request. 18 Generally, how- 
ever, the few individuals that are doing mischief can be shot and 
utilized for food. The young of the year are especially delicious, 
broiled or fried, while the old individuals, well stewed with a little 
bacon or fat pork, afford an acceptable variety for any table. 

SyTvilagus nuttailii grangeri (Allen) 
Black Hills Cottontail 

Nis of the Arikaras, and Itak- 
shipisha of the Hidatsas (Gil- 
more ) . 

Lepus sylvaiicus grangeri Allen, Bui. xliner. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 7, p. 264, 1895. 

Type locality.— Hill City, S. Dak. 

General characters.— About the size of similis, but lighter gray, with slightly 
longer ears and distinctive skull characters. Slightly smaller than bailey i, 
with shorter ears and feet. Very similar in color, but brighter rusty on nape 
and legs. Average measurements : Total length, 3S5 millimeters ; tail, 46 ; 
hind foot, 95; ear (measured dry), 56. 

Distribution and habitat. — The little pale-gray Black Hills rabbits 
barely reach into extreme western North Dakota from their wide dis- 
tribution over the arid interior of Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Mon- 
tana (fig. 8). There are 5 specimens from Buford, 2 from Goodall, 2 
from Medora, and 1 from Mikkelson on Roosevelt Creek, 23 miles 
north of Medora. They occup3'' the same Badlands country with 
baileyi but appear to confine themselves mainly to the dense thickets 
along the stream courses. At Medora, Jcwett reported them as not 
common, but a few were found in the banks of the Little Missouri 
River, where a female was shot on January 15 as she sat in front 
of her burrow. Only three were seen in this locality. Farther down 
the river a few were seen usually in thick growths of buffaloberry 
bushes. In other localities the writer has found them taking shelter 
among rocks and in IioIIoav banks, but more often under dense 
growths, as sagebrush or thorny thickets of bullberry bushes. The 
three distinct species of cottontails of North Dakota have amicably 
or otherwise divided the ground among themselves, in a way that 
seems best to fit the needs of each, grangeri taking the place of similis 
in the arid brushy bottoms, while baileyi occupies the rougher and 
more open uplands. 

Sylvilagus audubonii baileyi (Merriam) 
Wyoming Cottontail 

Lepus baileyi Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 11, p. 14S, 1897. 

Type locality. — Spring Creek, Bighorn Basin, Wyo. 

General characters. — Size about the same as .si in His, but with oars and legs 
conspicuously longer and colors lighter. Upper parts, light gray with a buffy 
tinge, neck clear buffy: uuderparts, white; tail, large and puffy and three- 

18 See Farmers' Bui. 702 (Lantz, 1916). 


quarters white, with relatively narrow stripe of gray above. Measurements 
of adult male, from Little Missouri River : Total length, 399 millimeters ; tail, 
48; hind foot, 102; ear (measured dry), 67. Measurements of type specimen, 
418, 50, 100, and 94. 

Distribution and habitat. — The long-eared Wyoming cottontails 
come into extreme western North Dakota along the Little Missouri 
Valley (fig 8). There are specimens in the Biological Survey col- 
lection from Marmarth, the former from North Dakota National 
Forest, Sentinel Butte, and the Little Missouri Eiver, 25 miles north 
of Medora, and one in the agricultural college collection, at Fargo, 
collected by Doctor Bell, at Wade, on the Cannonball River. _ At 
Parkin, near the mouth of the Cannonball, the writer recognized 
these long-eared rabbits as common in 1916 around the Badlands 
buttes, and Sheldon reported one seen at the Palace Buttes a little 
north of the mouth of the river. 

General habits. — To a great extent these are Badlands cottontails, 
and instead of keeping to the brushy bottoms they are more often 
found along the broken slopes and among the rock piles and Bad- 
lands gulches of the roughest parts of the country. At Parkin the 
writer found them along the steep slopes of the high butte near town, 
running from one rock pile to another and taking refuge under the 
rocks and in washed-out cavities of the Badlands slopes. Their long 
ears, big white tails, and yellow-gray color mark them at once as 
different from the short-eared and more compact little Nebraska or 
Black Hills cottontails of the brushy bottomlands. Along the north- 
ern edge of the North Dakota National Forest early in August of 
1913 they were found abundant in the banks of the river valley 
and in the rough gulches of the rocky slopes of the Badlands, where 
they would quickly gain cover in some rock pile or washed-out hol- 
low in the banks or else take refuge in an impenetrable jungle of 
buffaloberry bushes or tangle of brush that offered equally good pro- 
tection. About 8 miles south of Sentinel Butte Jewett obtained a 
specimen at the entrance of a deep crevasse in a rocky gulch on 
the side of the big butte. In an open country, where life frequently 
depends on getting quickly to safe cover, these rabbits have devel- 
oped long ears and long legs for quick hearing and rapid flight. 
In other ways they have the general habits of most cottontails. As 
food they are equally as good as the brush-inhabiting species and as 
game generally more difficult to shoot. 

lepus americanus americanus Erxleben 
Varying Hare; White Rabbit; Snowshoe Rabbit 

(PI. 17, fig. 3) 

[Lepus] americanus Erxleben. Syst. Regni. Anim., p. 330, 1777. 
Lepus bishopi, Allen, Bui. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 12 (1899), p. 11, 1900; 
type from Mill Lake, Turtle Mountains, North Dakota. 19 

Type locality. — Fort Severn, Keewatin, Canada. 

General characters. — About midway in size between jack rabbits and cotton- 
tails. Ears and legs, moderately long ; tail, small ; feet, large and hairy, 
especially in winter. In summer upper parts dark buffy gray, with blackish 
on tips of ears and top of tail ; feet, buffy brown ; chin and middle of belly, 

19 This form, based on an abnormal skull in the type and only specimen available at 
the time of its description, appears on examination of a good series of specimens from the 
type region to be typical americanus. 



whitish ; lower surface of tail, gray. In winter pure white, except black 
narrow border of ear, and dark eyes. Fur, very long and soft ; on soles of feet, 
long, dense, and coarse. During change from white winter coat to gray 
summer coat, after loss of the long white cover-hairs and before gray summer 
coat comes to the surface, there is a short time when the yellow underfur is 
exposed ; also during the fall change from gray to white the color is much 
mixed and often patched. Average measurements of adult specimens from 
North Dakota: Total length, 451 millimeters; tail, 34; hind foot, 125; ear 
from notch (measured dry), 60. Weight, 3 to 3% pounds (Seton). 

Distribution and habitat. — Snowshoe rabbits, which turn from gray- 
in summer to white in winter, are more or less common in the forested 
areas of the Turtle Mountains, Pembina Hills, around Devils Lake, 
and along the wooded parts of the valleys of the Red, Mouse, and 
Missouri Rivers. There are specimens in the Biological Survey col- 
lection from Grafton, 20 the Turtle Mountains, Devils Lake, Stump 
Lake, Elbo woods, and Buford. Throughout the timbered and brushy 
areas of the Turtle Mountains they are especially abundant and 
specimens have been collected near Metagoshe Lake, Fish Lake, 
Diansley, Birchwood, and Mill Lake. On January 21, 1913, W. B. 
Bell reported one collected near Fargo and mounted for the agri- 
cultural college collection, and in 1919, Murie reported them as 
occasionally found there. In 1887, the writer was told that they 
were found in the woods near Grand Forks, and at Pembina he 
found them common. At Kenmare, in 1913, he found them common 
in the thickets and woods of the side gulches along the Des Lacs 
Valley, where their trails and signs were abundant and several of 
the rabbits were seen. C. E. Peck said that in the fall and winter 
the boys killed them there by dozens in the thickets of aspens and 
other northern trees and shrubs. Mr. Booth, a local taxidermist, 
was certain that they were common in the woods along the Mouse 
River near Minot. At Buford, in 1910, Anthony reported them 
common in the brushy river flats, where their well-beaten runways 
and patches of peeled willow brush were conspicuous and where 
several were seen and one specimen obtained. At Elbowoods, in 
1915, Kellogg collected one specimen and reported them as quite 
common in the forest along the river bottoms. At Stanton and 
Sather he reported them scarce. At Cannon Ball, in 1916, the 
writer found their unmistakable signs and trails in the thickets 
along the river bottoms and was told by -the residents that they 
were not very common. At a spot wdiere one had been killed and 
eaten and its fur scattered about, the writer collected the tail as 
positive proof of the species. At Devils Lake, in 1916, Kellogg 
found one of these rabbits dead on Sullys Hill and saved the skull 
for a specimen. The following year a young one w r as taken on the 
north shore of the lake about a mile from the town of Devils Lake 
and signs of them were found throughout the woods along the 
north and south shores. Williams reports them abundant at Grafton 
at times. 

20 Two specimens collected at Grafton on March 30, by IT. V. Williams, are in the 
yellow spring coat after the disappearance of most of the white outer fur. In one of 
these a spot of the new summer coat is shown and this agrees with the buffy-gray color 
of americanus rather than with the warm brown of Lrpus amrricanus phaconotus Allen 
of Minnesota. Although the type locality of phaeonotus is just across the Red ttivcr 
Valley at Hallock, Minn., the specimens from Grafton are evidently nearer to the typical 
subspecies than to the Minnesota varying hare. 

82242°— 20 10 


General habits. — The varying hares are strictly woods rabbits, de- 
pending on dense forest and thickets for cover, protection, and food. 
They rarely come into the open, except along the edges of brush 
patches, where they can quickly dash back out of sight into their 
well-beaten trails and runways, which carry them under the brush 
in perfect safety from most of their enemies. In summer their 
dusky-gray colors render them invisible in the brushy shadows, and 
as they sit with ears low on their backs they seem fully aware of the 
advantage of their protective coloration and often allow passersby 
almost to step on them before bounding away into the thickets. 
Though mainly nocturnal in habits, they are usually seen in the eve- 
ning or early morning sitting in the roads or trails that wind 
through the forest, and in a good rabbit year, when their numbers 
are at the maximum, a late or early drive along the wood roads 
usually sends them hopping out of the way at frequent intervals. 
At times they become very scarce, and often for a period of several 
years are seldom seen. Many theories have been advanced to ac- 
count for the waves of abundance and scarcity, which seem to be 
more or less periodic, but much remains to be learned by close and 
continuous observation of the real causes. A very full account of 
their fluctuations through the north country is given by Preble 
(1908, p. 199), in North American Fauna No. 27; Seton (1909, vol. 1, 
pp. 621-652) also gives an interesting account of their habits in 
his Life-histories of Northern Animals. 

Breeding habits. — On June 18, 1916, some one found a very young 
rabbit that had been killed by a dog in a patch of silver-leaf bushes 
on the shore of Devils Lake, about a mile from town. It was 
not so large as one's fist and had evidently been dug out of the nest 
or hollow in the leaves of the little brush patch, and as it had just 
been killed it made an excellent specimen and showed the beautiful 
long crinkly, coarse gray fur of the juvenal coat. Although appar- 
ently not a week old, its fur was very long, soft, and full, and the 
color even more highly protective than in the adults. Apparently 
the dog had eaten or carried away the other members of the family, 
so the number in the litter could not be determined. Usually with 
this species there are 3 or 4 young at a birth, and farther north in 
Canada Preble records 2 to 6 embryos. A female examined at Fort 
Clark by Maximilian in 1833 contained 4 embryos. The species is 
generally supposed to raise 2 or 3 litters of young during a sum- 
mer, but data on this point are meager. 

Food habits. — In summer these rabbits feed on a great variety of 
green vegetation, including grasses, grains, many of the wild and 
cultivated clovers and leguminous plants, and some buds and leaves 
of shrubbery. In winter they depend mainly upon the bark and 
buds of a great variety of shrubs and eat higher up as the snow 
becomes deeper. In spring the bushes neatly clipped at various 
levels show the depth of snow from which the rabbits fed at differ- 
ent times during the winter; often these clippings reach 4 or 5 feet 
above the surface of the ground. The large chisel-like incisors of the 
rabbits will cut bushes up to the size of lead pencils as smoothly as 
if done by a knife, and they also serve to remove the bark from 
fallen branches and even the trunks of small trees when other food 
is not abundant. Sometimes whole thickets of willow and aspen 



are denuded of bark as high as the rabbits can reach, and even some 
of the young forest trees are thus injured or killed. Except in years 
of unusual abundance the rabbits find an ample food supply in the 
buds and tender tips of the winter browse without doing much 
harm. They are usually plump and sometimes show considerable 
fat even during the coldest of winter weather. 

Economic status. — In newly settled sections of wooded country 
where the snowshoe rabbits are abundant they sometimes do consid- 
erable harm in cutting the young trees and shrubbery in winter, and 
may take a small portion of the growing crops in summer. Their 
value as food and game animals, however, is sufficient to outweigh 
by far the little damage they occasionally do. In many parts of 
the country where once common, they have been practically ex- 
terminated" from extensive areas by persistent hunting. There is 
great danger that, without reasonable protection in restricted areas 
of their range, such as that about Devils Lake and in the scattered 
timber patches along the Mouse River, and even in the brushy bot- 
toms along the Missouri, they may be killed off to the point of ex- 
termination. Among all the rabbits of the State they are the most 
desirable as food and game and from their habit of keeping entirely 
within the brush they are less likely to do serious harm to crops. 
Except in years of extreme abundance, their seasonal protection 
with that of other game would seem a wise precaution. At any time 
when their numbers become too great the protection could be re- 
moved and they would soon be reduced by local and market hunters. 

Lepus townsendii canipanius Hollister 
White-tailed Jack Rabbit 

Warchu of the Arikaras, and 
M<i"Hii"ska of the Dakotas Gil- 

Lepus townsendU campanius Hollister, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 28, 
p. 70, 1915. 

Type locality. — Plains of Saskatchewan, probably near Carlton House, 

General characters. — A large, heavy -bodied jack rabbit with long ears and 
legs and large white tail. Color in summer, light buffy gray above, back of 
ears white with black tips; tail, large and usually pure white or with an 
obscure gray line down the top; underparts, except throat, white or grayish 
white. In full winter coat, usually pure white all over except black tips of 
ears and dark eyes, but sometimes with a buffy tinge on feet, face, and back. 
Average measurements of adults from North Dakota : Total length, 648 
millimeters; tail, 108; hind foot, 154; ear (measured dry), 95; Seton (1909, 
vol. 1, p. 654) records specimens weighing from 6 to 12 pounds. H. V. 
Williams, of Grafton, gives the average weight of 12 specimens as 8 pounds, 
and the greatest weight as 14 pounds. A large old female shot near Medina 
in June weighed l\i pounds. 

Distribution and habitat. — The big white-tailed jack rabbits are 
generally distributed over the plains and prairie region from New 
Mexico to Saskatchewan and from Iowa to the Continental Divide, 
including all of North Dakota except the forested areas, into which 
they do not penetrate to any great distance. There are specimens 
from Lidgerwood, Ludden, Forbes, Valley City, Lisbon, Napoleon, 
Dawson, Harrisburg, Devils Lake, Towner, Buford, Mandan, 
Medora, Grinnell, Cannon Ball, and Sentinel Butte. They have 


been reported from almost every locality in the State where field 
work has been carried on, except in the wooded part of the Turtle 
Mountains; at Little Prairie, an open area in the midst of the 
forest, Eastgate says they are common. In the smaller strips of 
forest they often gather in winter storms to feed on the bushes 
and escape the blizzards, but usually they are found on the wide, 
open prairie. Generally they are not numerous, and only occa- 
sionally is one seen to spring from its grassy form and go bounding 
over the wide expanse. Their big tracks are conspicuous in the dusty 
trails and roads, and their well-worn trails can often be followed for 
a long distance through the 'grass. Their abundance can also be 
estimated from the numbers of large round flattened pellets found 
scattered over the prairie. Some years they become much more 
numerous than others, but never multiply into the great numbers 
of the southern black-tailed jack rabbits. They hold their own well 
as the country settles up and are as much at home in the grainfields 
as on the prairie. 

General habits. — These jack rabbits are animals of the open coun- 
try, where speed and protective coloration save them from their 
enemies. As they sit crouched low in their shallow forms, even in the 
short prairie grass, they are so nearly invisible as to be rarely seen 
until they move. Depending on their invisibility, they will often lie 
close until almost stepped upon, then spring into the air and bound 
away at full speed with a startling flash of white tail, legs, and 
ears. Usually, they run with long, high leaps, head and ears held 
high as if in play, tail cocked on one side, patting the ground 
lightly with their feet, and at first often appearing to limp or run 
on three legs. It is only when badly frightened or closely pursued 
that they get down to real speed and stretch put in low, long form, 
with ears laid back as they glide close over the surface of the ground. 

From a passenger train the writer once watched an interesting 
race with one that a dog had chased across the prairie directly toward 
the middle of the train. As it turned parallel with the train it 
raced along for about a mile, straining every nerve, stretching long 
and low and occasionally making two or three long leaps, then 
stretching out again at its best speed. As nearly as could be esti- 
mated, the train was going at about 40 miles an hour and for at least 
two minutes the rabbit held its own. The dog had given up the 
chase and finally the rabbit turned back into the prairie and with 
a few long, high bounds went over the top of the nearest swell. 
With an automobile on good roads, the speed of these rabbits could be 
measured, but no opportunity has been presented to give it a fair 
test. It is probable that these animals are excelled in speed only 
by good greyhounds. In their white winter coats, on big, furry 
feet, they run over the top of the snow in perfect safety from all 
pursuers except those with wings. 

As the snow becomes deep they burrow underneath and usually 
sit fully concealed in their snow tunnels, where they are safe from 
even the large hawks and eagles. In the shallow snow they_ will sit 
nose to the wind on the open prairie or in plowed fields, as_ invisible 
as a speck on the great white snowfield. Speaking of their winter 
habits, H. V. Williams, of Grafton, says : 


Plowed fields are their favorite places in winter. One of their peculiar 
habits, which usually warns a hunter of their presence, is that of zigzagging 
before digging a form and lying clown. It is a sure sign that the rabbit is 
not far away when the trail begins to zigzag or the tracks turn back over 
themselves; one will often follow down a furrow, then turn and backtrack 
for 30 or 40 yards and make a long leap to one side before lying down within 
a few yards of the trail. Then as the hunter follows the trail past them 
they will get up behind him and get a good start before being seen. 

Breeding habits. — At Buford, Anthony took a female on May 31, 
1910, which contained 5 full-haired fetuses. The number of young 
is usually given as 3 to 6. The mammae are arranged usually in 4 
pairs, generally considered 1 pair inguinal, 2 pairs abdominal, and 
1 pair pectoral. "While nursing young there is a copious supply of 
milk and the young up to quarter grown are found with a mixture 
of curd and green vegetation in their stomachs, but by the time they 
are half grown they seem to be entirely independent, relying on their 
ears, eyes, and legs for protection. Apparently in the northern part 
of the range but one litter is raised in a year, and these are born 
in May or June and are practically full grown at the beginning of 
winter. Seton (1909, vol. 1, p. 664) gives an interesting account of 
two fetuses taken from a mother that had been shot. They were 
found to have their eyes open and to be very active, and when set 
on the ground they ran about so quickly as to be hard to catch. 
They were taken home and raised by spoon feeding and became per- 
fectly tame and very playful pets, living until ZV2 months old, when 
they were accidentally killed. The young are usually found in some 
shallow burrow or concealing cavity in the ground, and up to the 
time when they are half grown and able to distance most of their 
pursuers they often run to a badger hole and disappear in its depths. 
If no burrow is near they often run to the nearest brush or weed 
patch and squat close under the protecting cover, but even on the 
short-grass prairie they absolutely disappear from view when squat- 
ted flat with ears laid low and tail tucked in. 

Food habits. — In summer the white-tailed jack rabbits feed largely 
on grass, growing grain, and the prairie plants. They are very fond 
of clover, alfalfa, and many garden vegetables, as well as the tender 
shoots of growing grain. In winter their food is largely buds and 
browse, including the tips, branches, and bark of a great variety of 
shrubs and small trees. Young fruit trees" and berry bushes aftord 
favorite winter food. Until the ground is buried in snow they find 
an abundance of food among the dry winter plants, and as the snow 
becomes deep they hunt for thickets or brush patches where buds and 
branches are always within easy reach. Often they gather around 
hay or straw stacks, or follow the roads for scattered straws, which 
have been dropped by passing teams. 

Economic status. — Unlike the southern black-tailed jack rabbits, 
which are often excessively numerous and of comparatively little 
value for food or game, these big northern hares are generally con- 
sidered valuable game animals. In North Dakota they are rarely so 
abundant as to do am r serious mischief, and their toll in forage is 
largely compensated for by their furnishing good sport and whole- 
some meat during fall and early winter. In orchards, groves, and 
yards they sometimes cause considerable loss and annoyance by cut- 
ting off or eating the young trees and bushes, but in most cases this 


can be prevented by shooting the spoilers or by encouraging hunting 
in the vicinity. At Grafton, in 1912, Williams reported that they 
were hunted for food and sold a great deal in the markets. In the 
Sheyenne River Valley, in 1912, Eastgate wrote that during the 
winter many were shot and sold to be shipped abroad. Some years 
they were shipped by hundreds to commission merchants in St. 
Paul, Minn. In winter great numbers find their way to the markets 
of eastern cities, where they sell at a good price. Locally also they 
have considerable importance as game, and from midsummer on, 
when other fresh meat is scarce and expensive, the half-grown 
young form many delicious meals on the farms and ranches. They 
seem to be holding their own over the State surprisingly well. 

In covering a good deal of JSTorth Dakota in 1912, the writer 
found these rabbits fully as common as when he first crossed the 
State in 1887. Even near the larger places, as Fargo, Grand Forks, 
Devils Lake, Bismarck, and Williston, they were almost as common 
as in the less settled sections, but in 1919 they were noticeably scarce 
in the Red River Valley. In some places many are shot at night 
in the roads as they run in front of automobile lights. One man 
told of shooting 16 in front of his machine one night "just for fun." 
If this unsportsmanlike practice should become general, it might 
seriously diminish the numbers of these useful animals, but gen- 
erally they need little protection other than their own alertness 
and speed. 

In rare cases where they become overabundant as they did in 
1923 and 1924 in western Hettinger County, their numbers are 
reduced by organized hunting parties. Lewis F. Crawford sent a 
photograph of 7,550 of these great white hares in one pile at New 
England, N. Dak., killed in December, 1924. They were hunted 
with guns, dogs, and automobiles over an area of 20 to 30 miles 
square, both in the daytime and by the light of the moon. If 
rightly used the food value of the rabbits is a safeguard against 
any overabundance of the species. 

Order CARNIVORA: Flesh Eaters 

Family FELIDAE : Cats 

Felis hippolestes Merriarn 

Mountain Lion; Cougar; Panther 

Inmu-tanka of the Dakotas (Gil- 
more) ; Shunt a-ha n ska of the Man- 
dans (Will) ; Itupa-ichtia of the 
Hidatsas (Gilmore) ; Wachtas of 
the Arikaras (Gilmore). 

Fells hippolestes Merriarn, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 11, p. 219, 1897. 

Type locality. — Wind River Mountains, Wyo. 

General characters. — Largest of the mountain lions ; body, long, light, and 
powerful ; tail, long and slender ; color, reddish brown, darkest along the back, 
and darkening at tip of tail to black; underparts, with areas of soiled white. 
Measurements of type specimen, adult male, taken from well-made skin: Total 
length, 2,600 millimeters ; tail, 930, hind foot, 270 ; in feet and inches, approsi- 
mately S feet 6 inches, 3 feet and 10.6 inches, respectively. A large male 
measured by Colonel Roosevelt in Colorado was 8 feet in total length and 
weighed 227 pounds ; a large female was 6 feet 9 inches in total length and 
weighed 124 pounds. 



Distribution and habitat. — Mountain lions undoubtedly ranged 
over all of North Dakota, as they have over practically all of the 
United States, but apparently they have always been scarce in this 
open prairie country. There seems to be no definite record for 
the State east of the Missouri River Valley. Even Alexander 
Henry, with his bands of trappers in the Red River country from 
1800 to 1808, makes no mention of them. Maximilian (Wied, 1839- 
1841, Bd. 2, pp. 87, 302, 1841; Bd. 1, p. 395,1839) in 1833 says in his 
journal, " Der panther (Felis concolor) ist jetzt am Missouri selten," 
and apparently he did not find any trace of them himself, although 
their skins were frequently mentioned among the Indians at Fort 
Clark and other places along the Missouri River. In one place he 
speaks of a Minnataree chief (Yellow Bear), who had a beautiful 
ornamented quiver made of panther skin. Again he speaks of a 
party of Crow Indians visiting Fort Clark on horseback, with beau- 
tiful panther skins for saddles. Farther west he found the Black- 
feet Indians also using their skins for saddle cloths, but these were 
obtained from the Rocky Mountains. A high price was often paid 
for the skins, sometimes a good horse or even several horses, and 
seldom less than the equivalent of $60. This may in part account 
for the evident scarcity of the panthers along the Missouri River 
Valle}', which was well occupied by tribes of hunting Indians. 

Audubon, in 1843, on a trip up the Missouri River to Fort Union, 
does not mention them, but later one collected at Fort Buford, 
by A. Culbertson, was deposited in the National Museum. Roosevelt 
(1900a, p. 48), in 1883, at his ranch on the Little Missouri River, 
says : " The cougar is hardly ever seen round my ranch ; but toward 
the mountains it is very destructive both to horses and to horned 

At Cannon Ball, in 1916, Beede, who had lived among the Sioux 
Indians at that place until thoroughly familiar with their language 
and traditions, told the writer that the Indians say there have been 
no mountain lions in that region for many years. He says they 
showed him the spot in some of the buttes west of the town of 
Cannon Ball where an Indian boy was killed and eaten by one 
about 100 years ago. The boy had gone out in the buttes to fast 
and go through the test to become a brave. On the third night 
some of the young men who were watching for his return heard 
cries and in the morning they found only his bones that had been 
left by the big cat. The story is fresh and vivid in their history, 
which has been carefully kept for generation after generation ever 

In 1889, W. B. Mershon (1925), in his hunting trips on the Little 
Missouri beyond Dickinson, reported mountain lions common and 
killing many deer, of which he saw the remains. 

In 1913, Mr. Crawford, of Sentinel Butte, told the writer that 
there were still a few mountain lions in the Badlands region along 
the Little Missouri. In the same year Jewett, while in the Killdeer 
Mountains, was told by some of the old settlers that the animals 
once did considerable damage to stock in that section, but that they 
were then believed to be extinct. At Goodall, in McKenzie County, 
in 1915, Remington Kellogg was told that several were killed by 
Bill Black in 1895, and that in 1899 one had killed a colt of Mr. 


Goodall's. In 1914, the writer saw a fine mounted specimen of 
moimtain lion in the Leland Hotel, at Minot, and after making in- 
quiries, wrote to the manager, Clarence EL Parker, then at San 
Antonio, Tex., asking for information in regard to its capture. 
The following reply was received from him: 

The mountain lion which you write about I killed November 20, 1902, about 
25 miles down the Missouri River from Williston on the south side of the river. 
I had killed lots of bobcats and some lynxes along the same grounds previous 
to the shooting of this lion. This is the only lion ever killed by anyone in the 
State to my knowledge. My father, who trapped the winter of 1887 on this 
same ground, says there were some grizzly and silver-tip bears, lots of bob- 
cats and lynxes, but he never saw any sign of mountain lions in that country. 
The day previous to killing this lion I followed the tracks of three lions, and 
the next day shot this big fellow. He measured 9 feet 5V 2 inches, 21 his weight 
being about 143 pounds one week after he was killed. I did not see anything 
of the tracks of the other two for a few days after and then ran across them 
farther down the river. I followed them one day, but the animals kept in the 
thick cover and were hard to get at. That same winter an old trapper by 
the name of Yankee Robinson caught another lion and later a rancher trapped 
the young one. Yankee Robinson made a raft and floated down the Missouri 
to St. Louis, taking with him the two lions. He exhibited them at the 
World's Fair and afterwards sold them to a show company. The winter these 
lions were in this point the deer were scarce, and the following winter they 
were very plentiful. It has always been a question as to where these lions 
came from, but I figured they came over from the Little Missouri River, which 
is a very rough country about 50 miles south of the Missouri River. I was 
hunting in that country the winter of 1900 and saw a few lion tracks. 

At Elbowoods in 1915 Kellogg was told of a pair of mountain 
lions seen at Sullys Lake in 1907, but they only staid there a short 
time. It is not improbable that a few may still lurk in the very rough 
Badlands country in the western part of the State, but it is more 
probable that the last record for the State has been made. Much 
interesting information is probably still available among the early 
settlers in regard to these big cats, and it is very desirable that more 
of it be placed on record before too late. 

Lynx canadensis canadensis Kerr 
Canada Lynx 

Inmu-chota of the Dakotas (Gil- 
more) ; Wach of the Arikaras (Gil- 
more) ; Sihtachache of the Hidat- 
sas (Maximilian). 

Lynx canadensis Kerr, Anim. Kingdom, Mammalia, p. 157, 1792. 

Type locality. — Eastern Canada. 

General characters.— A large cat with long legs, large feet, short tail, 
tasseled ears, and crested cheeks. In winter, upper parts light hoary gray; 
underparts whitish with dark mottling on middle of belly; whole tip of 
tail, edges of ears, ear tassels, and part of cheek crests black. In summer, 
general color brownish gray more strongly marked with black. Readily 
distinguished from bobcats by the big feet, long legs, and solid black tip 
of tail. Owing to the long legs and long fur they look much larger than 
the bobcat, but often are not so heavy. A large individual measured by 
Preble near Fort Simpson, Mackenzie, was in total length 950 millimeters ; tail, 
100; hind foot, 250. A large one caught in Glacier Park, Mont., weighed 28 

21 These measurements must have been taken from the skin, as the animal was not 
very large, judging by the weight and the appearance of the mounted specimen. 


Their fur when prime is one of the most beautiful to be found — ■ 
long, light, silky, and pale blue-gray of a peculiar frosted appear- 
ance. It is often used for capes and muffs, with the long flank 
hairs at the edge, where they rise and fall in beautiful undulations. 
Choice skins are always ranked among the valuable furs. 

Distribution aiid habitat. — Some years the Canada lynx is common 
over the northern part of North Dakota and occasionally one is 
found wherever timber and brush offer cover and hunting grounds. 
The main range, however, lies in the Canadian Zone north of the 
border and south into the mountainous districts. From 1800 to 1801, 
Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 184, 198, 221, 245, 259) records in his 
journals, among other furs brought in by trapping parties in the 
Red River Valley country, 9 lynx skins from Reed River, 19 from 
Park River, 28 from Pembina River, 13 from Turtle River, 59 from 
the Hair Hills, 4 from Salt River, and 15 from the Grand Forks 
region. These undoubtedly included a few bobcats, but were all 
listed under the generic name "Lynx." Charles Cavileer in his 
" Story of '53," gives the highest number of lynx skins taken by 
the fur company in a good rabbit year as 4.000. In 1839 Max- 
imilian (Wied, 1839-1811, Bd. 1, pp. 431, 432, 1839) reported 
1,000 to 2,000 lynx skins, brought in to the fur trader at 
Fort Union (now Buford). These were listed separately from the 
bobcat skins, which were given as approximately the same num- 
ber. In 1850, Mr. Culbertson collected a skin at Fort Union, 
later recorded in Baird's Mammals of North America. In the 
early eighties Roosevelt (1900c, pp. 173, 192) recorded lynxes 
from the Little Missouri country. Clarence H. Parker, of Minot, 
writes under date of March 13, 1914, that previous to 1902 he had 
killed many bobcats and some lynxes on the Missouri River bottoms 
below YViliiston, and that his father had trapped numbers of both 
on the same ground in 1887. 

In 1878 they were reported by Doctor McChesney (1878, p. 201) at 
Fort Sisseton, just beloAY the southeastern corner of the State. In 
1909 they were said to be fairly common in the Turtle Mountains, 
and in 1912 Eastgate reported two killed near the boundary line, 
though he did not see the skins and so could not be sure whether 
they were Canada lynxes or bobcats. A mounted specimen in 
the agricultural college collection, at Fargo-, was killed at Arrow- 
wood Lake, May 26, 1907. At Devils Lake in 1916, Mrs. Falger told 
the writer of one that had been killed just south of the lake the pre- 
vious winter. At Buford, in 1910, Anthony reported a few occasion- 
ally taken in winter, and at Sentinel Butte, in 1913, Mr. Crawford 
said that one was occasionally taken in that part of the country. In 
1913 Jewett was told by a trapper living on Spring Creek, west of 
Oakdale. in the Killdeer Mountains, that he had caught four lynxes 
during the winter of 1912-13. In 1915 Sheldon obtained from E. F. 
Underhill, at Cannon Ball, a skin from one that had been caught on 
July 25 by an Indian, Jerome Elk, about 6 miles south of town. In 
1915 Kellogg reported one killed at Lakota on July 25, 1915, by Fred 
Hensey and Charles Trounicek, and another seen in the timber near 
Larimore that year. At Grafton he was told of one killed by Frank 
Welch, 3 miles east of there, in 1909, and of one killed 8 miles west 
of the town in 1911. At Towner he heard thajt tracks were often seen 


and that in 1914- a pair had been in the timber near there. He also 
obtained a general report of their having been known in the country 
south of Devils Lake, but without any definite record, and was also 
told of a few seen near Elbowoods. At Kenmare and Minot, in 
1913, the writer was told that many had been captured from that 
part of the State in 1908 and 1909, apparently when wandering in 
search of new hunting fields. Trappers caught numbers of them 
and many were brought into the taxidermist shop to be mounted. 

General habits. — Over a wide range in Boreal zones, Canada 
lynxes are stealthy forest hunters, keeping mainly within the shelter 
of timber and brush, where the snowshoe rabbits are most abundant 
and furnish their principal game. In the open country they may be 
considered accidental and wandering, and they are often seen and 
captured, while in their brushy haunts they are rarely seen except 
when taken in traps. In summer their dull-gray fur melts into the 
brushy shadows and in winter their frost-colored coats are almost 
as difficult to see on the shadowy surface of the snow as those of the 
white rabbits. Their big woolly-bottomed feet enable them to run 
over the surface of the snow almost as lightly as the snowshoe rabbits, 
and their big, round tracks are more often mistaken for those of the 
mountain lion than for those of their nearer relative, the bobcat. 

In the far north the Canada lynx is one of the important fur ani- 
mals, and large numbers are taken in traps and snares each season, 
although some years they are much more abundant than others. In 
North Dakota, on the thin edge of their range, they are not in suffi- 
cient numbers to be of much importance, and it is, perhaps, fortunate 
that they are not. Their serious inroads on game birds and mammals 
are more than suspected, although they are so stealthy that they are 
rarely caught in the act. 

Lynx uinta Merriam 
Northern Bobcat; Mountain Bobcat; Spotted Wild Cat 

Itupa-pilzi of the Hidatsas ; .Mantdka 
of the Mandans; Bidabaho Pusika 
of the Hidatsas (all, Gilmore). 

Lynx uinta Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 15, p. 71, 1902. 

Type locality. — Bridgers Pass, Carbon County, Wyo. 

General characters. — More than twice the size of the common house cat, with 
short tail, tasseled ears, and crested cheeks, and readily distinguished from 
the Canada lynx by its smaller feet and legs and by the white tip of the 
tail. Upper parts yellowish gray, obscurely mottled, striped, or specked ; 
most of underparts white, heavily spotted with black or brown or throat, 
belly and legs ; back of ears with light gray patch, bordered by black, which 
runs into the black-tasseled tips ; tail, white below and at the extreme tip, 
gray above with one to three black bars near the end. The type, a large 
old male, measured in total length 1,030 millimeters; tail, 165; hind foot, 200; 
and weighed 31 pounds. Few individuals, however, are so large. 

DistribvMon and liabltat. — In the western part of the State, along 
the Missouri Kiver Valley and in the Badlands, the northern bob- 
cats are fairly common, but good specimens are lacking to show 
positively which form is represented. A few mounted specimens 
seen at Williston and some skins at ranches, as well as specimens 
collected in eastern Montana, indicate the large, yellow-spotted 
uinta as the bobcat of this region. At Buford, in 1833, Maximilian 


(Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 1, pp. 431-432, 1839) recorded 1,000 to 2,000 
skins of bobcats among the furs brought into the trading post in the 
course of a year. In 1910 Anthony was told by the trappers there that 
they were still a part of the yearly catch. At Williston, in 1913, 
the writer was told that there were a few, and the same year Jewett 
reported four caught by one trapper on Magpie Creek, a branch 
of the Little Missouri River, near where, in 1883, Roosevelt (1919, 
p. 106) recorded a raid on his chicken house by bobcats. On a trip 
down the Missouri River in 1915 Kellogg reported three killed at 
Goodall two years before by Frank Crane; he saw the skin of one 
which had been killed near Elbowoods and made into a rug, and 
was told of one that had been killed at Stanton five years before, 
and near Sather of one that had been seen a few years before. Shel- 
don and the writer obtained reports of northern bobcats being at 
Cannon Ball, but neither of them could get any specimens or def- 
inite records. One was killed at Parkin in 1915 and sold to some 
taxidermist, but the writer could not trace it the next year. On 
the North Dakota National Forest, about 25 miles south of Medora, in 
1913, bobcat tracks were found common along the Little Missouri 
River and in the sandy trails of the Badlands gulches of the na- 
tional forest. Two years later Sheldon found tracks fairly common 
on Deep Creek along the southern border of the forest, but was 
unable to obtain specimens. A record (Bailey, 1888, p. 432) 
obtained from the Turtle Mountains in 1887, is now considered 
doubtful, as many of the residents do not distinguish between the 
bobcat and the Canada lynx. The rough Badlands country and the 
brushy bottoms of the western part of the State furnish excellent 
hunting grounds, cover, and protection to these cats, which are 
rarely found in the open country of the prairie. 

General habits. — Catlike, the bobcats are silent, stealthy hunters, 
always prowling in search of rabbits, ground squirrels, pocket 
gophers, mice, or any other small game that comes handy, pouncing 
upon it in the brush or giving chase when necessary. Unfortunately 
they do not confine their hunting to such small game, but include 
game birds, poultry, and the young and often adults of many of the 
species of large game. In places they become almost as destructive 
as the coyote to the herds of domestic sheep, killing not only lambs 
but adults freely, and undoubtedly taking -many fawns and deer 
where they are to be obtained. Fortunately they are easily hunted 
with dogs and are quickly treed or run to cover, so that their num- 
bers are readily controlled in a well-settled country. They are also 
easily caught in traps, but their fur is of relatively low value, 
although when prime it is full and soft and makes very light and 
warm coats and clothing. They are not likely to survive much 
longer in this open country nor to prove serious pests. 

Lynx rufus rufus (Scbreber) 
Eastern Bobcat; Wild Cat 

Fells rufa Scbreber, Siiugtbiere, pi. 109b, 1777. 

Type locality. — New York Shite. 

General characters. — Slightly smaller than tbe Rocky Mountain form, darker, 
more uniformly gray, loss strongly marked witb spots and stripes. In summer 
rusty instead of yellowisb gray. Measurements of large male from Green- 
bank, W. Va. : Total length, 915 millimeters; tail, 153; bind foot, 178. 


In eastern North Dakota bobcats are scarce and the only speci- 
men seen is one mounted in the Williams collection at Grafton, 
killed at Minto, January 11, 1908. It is an adult in full fresh 
winter coat, plain gray with little trace of spotting, and should 
certainly be referred to the eastern form. Other rather indefinite 
records of bobcats from Grand Forks County, Fargo, and Hankin- 
son probably represent the same form, as may also those reported 
from Stump Lake, McHenry, and Towner. 

Family CANIDAE ; Dogs, Wolves, and Foxes 
Cards rnexicanus nubilus Say- 
Gray Wolf; Buffalo Wolf; Lobo; Loafer 

Shu n g-tokeca of the Dakotas (Gil- 
more) ; Harrata of the Mandans 
(Will) ; Tshesha of the Hidatsas 
(Matthews) ; Stshirita-kusa of the 
Arikaras ( Gilmore ) . 

Canis nubilus Say, Long's Exped. Rocky Mountains, vol. 1, p. 169, 1823. 

Type locality. — Engineer Cantonment, near present town of Blair, Nebr. 

General characters. — The size of a very large dog with heavier, more power- 
ful teeth than any dog ; ears, erect and pointed ; mane, over shoulders, long, 
and capelike ; tail, bushy with black tip ; color normally light gray, produced 
by the black tips of the long hairs, through which the white under color is 
more or less conspicuous. The black and white varies in different individuals, 
in extreme cases, from entirely black to entirely white. Measurements of adult 
male: Total length 1,6SU millimeters; tail, 480; hind foot, 320 22 ; in inches 66, 
18.9, 12.6, respectively ; width of nose pad in adults, approximately 1% inches ; 
width of heel pad of front foot, 1% inches; greatest diameter of canine 
tooth at base, % inch ; average weight of full-grown males approximately 100 
pounds, but extremely large individuals as heavy as 150 pounds have been 
recorded; females average considerably lighter. 

Distribution, habitat, and abundance. — The group of large wolves, 
which originally covered almost the whole of North America, con- 
tains a number of well-marked geographic forms, but until the 
present time the areas occupied by the different forms have not been 
fully worked out. The species which originally covered the whole 
of North Dakota and at present are represented in the western part 
of the State can undoubtedly be referred to typical nubilus, the large, 
light-colored, northern plains wolf. According to the records of 
early explorers wolves were extremely abundant over all of North 
Dakota, but after the disappearance of the buffalo they were 
poisoned and trapped in such great numbers that they rapidly 
disappeared from most of their old haunts. From 1800 to 
1808 Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 184, 198, 221, 245, 259, 281, 422, 
440) recorded in his journal the number of skins brought in each 
year by his trappers along the Red River Valley, from Pembina and 
the Pembina Hills to Grand Forks, among them being the following 
numbers of wolfskins: In 1801, 194; 1802, 190; 1803, 582; 1804, 275; 
1805, 563 ; 1806, 843 ; 1807, 127; and 1808, 68. These figures undoubt- 
edly include coyotes as well as wolves, as no distinction was made 

22 Measurements from a large black male collected by E. A. Preble at Fort Simpson, 
on the Mackenzie River, in 1903. An old pure-white female from the Missouri River, 
recorded by Maximilian in 1833, measured in total length 56.5 inches, tail 14.5 (17 to 
tip of hairs). A large male from near Arvada, Wyo., measured by H. P. Williams, was 
67, 15, and 12 inches. 


in his records, but apparently in the buffalo days the large wolves 
were more abundant than the coyotes. Wolves were frequently men- 
tioned in his journal on his trips back and forth between trappers' 
camps and the stations over which he had supervision. On Feb- 
ruary 28, 1801, he (Henry, 1897, pp. 171, 90, 86, 89, 175, 133) says, 
"Wolves * * * are very numerous, feeding on the buffalo car- 
casses that lie in every direction. Wolves are numerous and insolent 
at mouth of Park River. Large droves of wolves seen. Wolves fre- 
quently seen and not much afraid — one shot within a few yards. In- 
dians were ' digging young wolves out of their holes ' on September 
C." On April 9 he says, " one of the men found six young wolves in 
a hole in the ground; another brought in three young on the 7th, 
which were very tame and kept for the train." On November 2, 
1800, at his winter quarters near where Grafton now stands, he wrote 
in his journal : 

Last night the wolves were very troublesome ; they kept up a terrible howl- 
ing about the fort, and even attempted to enter Maymiutch's tent. A large 
white one came boldly into the door and was advancing toward a young child, 
when he was shot dead. Some of them are very audacious. I have known 
them to follow people for several days, attempt to seize a person or a dog, 
and to be kept off only by firearms. It does not appear that hunger makes 
them so ferocious, as they have been known to pass carcasses of animals, which 
they might have eaten to their fill, but they would not touch flesh ; their object 
seeming to be that of biting. The Canadians swear that these are mad wolves, 
and are much afraid of them. 

On March 5, 1801, at Pembina, Henry (1897, pp. 194, 322) says: 
" A large wolf came into my tent three times, and always escaped 
a shot. Next day, while hunting, I found him dead about a mile 
from the fort ; he was very lean and covered with scabs." 

On his trip to the Missouri River and the Mandan villages in 1806, 
on the high bluffs east of the Missouri, opposite the mouth of the. 
Knife River, Henry found deep pits which the Indians had dug for 
catching wolves and foxes. Some were 10 feet deep and 30 feet wide 
below, but only as wide as the path above and about 5 feet long. 
They were made in the trails where the wolves were in the habit 
of running and the opening was covered over with dry grass. Every 
morning, he says, these pits were found to contain some of the 

On October 20, 1804, Lewis and Clark (1893, pp. 174, 280) on 
their journey up the Missouri recorded great numbers of buffalo 
on the flats just below Bismarck with their usual attendants, "the 
wolves, which follow their movements and feed upon those which 
die by accident or which are too poor to keep pace with the herd." 
Later they saw the wolves pursue and catch a buffalo calf that was 
not able to keep up with the herd. In many places on their journey 
up the river they spoke of the abundance of wolves. 

On June 23, 1811, Brackenridge (1816, pp. 114-110, 135) while 
near the spot where Mandan now stands wrote : 

Great numbers of wolves were now seen in every direction ; we could hardly 
go 40 yards from the buffaloe, before a half a dozen would shew themselves. 
It was amusing to see them peeping over hillocks, while we pelted them with 

Of the dogs at the Arikara Indian village he said : 

The dogs, of which each family has 30 or 40, pretended to make a show of 
fierceness, but on the least threat, ran off. They are of different sizes and 


[No. 49 

colors. A number are fattened on purpose to eat, others are used for drawing 
their baggage. It is nothing jnore than the domesticated wolf. 

In 1833 Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, pp. 86, 55, 279, 1841) 
reported the varied wolf {Cards variabilis) very common along the 
whole of the upper Missouri, and said that it varied in color from 
wolf gray to pure white. Again, he says : 

I obtained many wolves from the quite white to -the perfectly gray common 
variety which the Indians sold for two rolls of tobacco apiece. 

On the night of November 6, 1833; just below the mouth of the 
Little Missouri, while camped near the bank of the river, he wrote : 

The night was dark and the loud howling of the wolves was our never- 
ceasing music. 

On the previous night, he said : 

Numerous tracks of animals of all kinds, elk, bears, and wolves were ob- 
served ; wolves prowl around us at no great distance, and at 10 o'clock, when 
I had the watch, they came between our bright fire and the boat, which was 
only 40 paces distant, being attracted by the smell of meat. In winter these 
animals are nearly famished and extremely lean. They closely follow the 
herds of buffalo, and many sick, young, or weak animals become their easy 
prey ; and when the hunters are abroad, there is a rich harvest for the wolves. 
They even bite and devour each other, yet they did not meddle with the dead 
wolves we left on the prairie ; possibly they might not have been so ravenously 
hungry just then. They distinguish the report of a gun so well that they 
hasten to the spot almost immediately after the shot has been fired. The same 
is the case with the ravens, and the Indian hunters affirm that the wolves 
watch these birds in order to ascertain the direction in which the prey is to 
be found. If a poor animal has only been wounded, they are on the alert, 
and instantly pursue it and it inevitably becomes their prey. In cold winters 
they are often so bold that they come into the villages and approach the 
people's dwellings. 

He (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, pp. 55, 86, 259, 261, 294, 1841) also 
spoke of the wolf pits in which the Indians were in the habit of 
trapping these animals. At Fort Clark, in November, 1833, he 
writes : 

One of the Indians was afraid to proceed on this path because he suspected 
a wolf pit or trap might be in the way, but the patron, or chief, wishing to 
shame him went before and actually fell into such a pit with sharpened sticks 
at the bottom, by which he was killed. 

Again, he says: 

We had here an opportunity of seeing the wolf pits in which the Indians 
fixed sharp sticks and the hole is so covered with brushwood, hay or dry 
grass, that it can not be perceived. 

In January, 1834, while he was wintering with the Mandans at 
Fort Clark, Maximilian tells ns that during the extreme cold of 
winter a wolf attacked three Indian women, who fought it off with 
their hatchets. The Indian dogs, however, proved to be more 
troublesome and dangerous than the wolves. At Fort Clark, Maxi- 
milian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 1, p. 396, 1839) found great numbers 
of dogs in the Mandan village on his arrival, January 18, 1833, and 
500 or 600 in the Crow Camp of 70 tepees near by. These, he says, 
were wolflike, but of all colors, and it was with difficulty they were 
kept off by throwing stones. 

In 1843 Audubon"(1897, pp. 20, 2^, 26, 159, 160) found the wolves 
still abundant about Fort Buford and along the Upper Missouri 


River. He saw and heard many at various points along the river, 
both from the steamer's deck and from his camps and hunting trips 
on shore, and a number were shot on the way up the river. At Fort 
Clark on June 8, he wrote in his journal : 

Bell fired at a bird, and a large wolf immediately made its appearance. 
This is always the case in this country; when you shoot an animal and hide 
yourself, you may see, in less than half an hour from 10 to 30 of these hungry 
rascals around the carcass, and have fine fun shooting at them. 

On June 10, he said: 

Two buffaloes were shot, and at the report of the guns, two wolves made 
their appearance. 

Again he wrote : 

These animals are extremely abundant on the Missouri River and in adja- 
cent country. Some days we saw from 12 to 25 wolves. 

Just below the mouth of Cannonball River he reported eight wolves 
in one gang, four of them white. At Fort Union, where Audubon 
remained during the summer of 1843, the wolves were a daily 
source of interest not only on his hunting trips but at the fort, 
where they could be seen early in the morning and even during 
the daytime, prowling about or sneaking close around the build- 
ings for any food that could be obtained. Many were shot, run 
down with horses, or caught in traps in the immediate vicinity of 
the trading post, He noted a great variety of colors among the 
wolves and it seems probable that they were more or less mixed 
with the wolflike dogs of the Indians and Canadian trappers. 

In 1856, Lieut. G. K. Warren collected a large series of wolf 
skulls at Fort Union, which are now in the United States National 
Museum. This series includes some that evidently are not full- 
blooded wolf, as both the form of the skull and the doglike molar 
teeth indicate hybrid animals. Many stories have been current 
of the ferocity of these hybrid wolf-dogs, and it is not improbable 
that their tameness and lack of fear of man, even in Audubon's 
time, was in part due to their mixture with domestic animals. At 
the present time and for at least 30 years past, wolves have been 
among the most wary and rarely seen of our large carnivores. 
"Where most abundant they are rarely seen, even by hunters and 
trappers, and can be caught in traps by only the most skilful 

Elliott Coues (1875, p. 153), in his trip across the northern part 
of North Dakota in 1873, said that wolves did not appear to be 
numerous in summer, at least in that region, and Doctor Allen 
(1875, p. 37) reported them rare east of the Little Missouri River. 
In an old number of the Fargo Record, is found a note to the effect 
that in 1858 George W. Northrup, while trapping on the south > 
side of Devils Lake, poisoned 700 wolves and obtained many beavers, 
otters, foxes, and minks. In some notes from Valley City, furnished 
by Morris J. Kernall, is one of John Hailand, who settled there in 
1878. At that time he says timber wolves were seen occasionally, 
though they were not numerous. He saw one killed there that he 
thought must have weighed more than 100 pounds. 

In the early eighties, Roosevelt (1900c, p. 66), on returning to 
the house at his ranch on the Little Missouri River when it had 


been closed for many months, found in the dusty trails in the ravines, 
many tracks of the timber wolves. "Once or twice in the late 
evening we listened to their savage and melancholy howling." Even 
then the great numbers of wolves had gone with the buffalo either 
to the skin market or farther west. In 1894 Roosevelt sent the 
skulls of two old and four young wolves, killed 20 miles south of 
Medora, to the Biological Survey. 

In 1887 the wolves were practically gone from most of the country 
across the State, and even at Fort Buford, which was then the ter- 
minus of the Great Northern Railway, they were very scarce. In 
1910 Anthony was told that they were still found in the country 
south of the river, but no definite records were obtained. In 1913, 
at Minot, the writer was told that a few wolves were still to be 
found in that part of the country, and the same year Jewett reported 
them rare in the Killdeer Mountains, but all too plentiful in the 
Badlands section along the Little Missouri from Quinion to Medora, 
and he was told of several colts that had been killed by them during 
the summer. In the vicinity of the former North Dakota National 
Forest it was stated that the large wolves were then getting scarce 
but that a few years previously they had killed many calves. The 
same year at Wade, on the Cannonball River, Bell reported a few T 
although they had been pretty thoroughly trapped out by profes- 
sional wolf trappers employed for the purpose by the stockmen's 
association. In 1915, Kellog reported one wolf that had been fol- 
lowed for three days by a trapper near Warwick, south of Devils 
Lake. At Elbowoods he saw the skin of one that had been killed 
on the Indian Reservation, where a drove of sis were said to be still 
at large. Farther down, at Painted Woods, he saw two cross the 
river and a few tracks on the east side. At Cannon Ball, in 1916, the 
writer was told that a few large wolves were still in the country a 
little farther west, but that the great numbers of the animals had 
disappeared with the buffalo. Doctor Beede told the writer that the 
old Indians, in talking of hunting trips when the buffalo were still 
abundant, claim that three wolves would pull down and kill any buf- 
falo, even an old bull. 

On January 1, 1922, a large wolf w T as shot by Mr. Bennett near 
Harwood, about 10 miles north of Fargo, and the skin, which was 
said to be 7% feet long, was tanned for a rug and kept by the hunter. 
The wolf had been tracked for two days by dogs and hunters from 
the vicinity of Breckenridge, Minn., but was shot on the North 
Dakota side of the river. 

At the present time there are probably a few wolves left in the 
least-settled parts of the rough Badlands region west of the Mis- 
souri River, but it is to be hoped that a very few years will see the 
last of these destructive animals in this State. 

General habits. — Few animals show greater intelligence and re- 
sourcefulness than wolves in adapting themselves to such conditions 
of climate and environment as will afford them a sufficient supply of 
food. From the Arctic barrens to the steaming swamps of Florida 
they have been at home wherever game was abundant, but nowhere 
more numerous than over the Plains in the days of the great buffalo 
herds. In habits they are hunters and rovers and often to a con- 


siderable extent migratory, although in their home life they are 
domestic and as closely restricted to their home grounds as any car- 
nivore could well be. The breeding dens, which in this prairie 
country usually consist of burrows in banks and sidehills, are the 
home centers from which the faithful parents make regular excur- 
sions for food until the 3 7 oung are old enough to leave the den and 
accompany them on hunting trips. Then they are freebooters until 
the next breeding season, when the adults generally endeavor again 
to occupy the old den or dig another in its vicinity. The fact that 
the old wolves pair for the breeding season is thoroughly proved, 
and there is much evidence to indicate that the pairing is for life 
or for as long as the two are able to keep together. While the young- 
are small and as long as they remain in the den, the male is alwa} 7 s 
on guard or foraging for food to bring home for its mate and young, 
and as soon as the young leave the den it leads the pack and appar- 
ently does much of the killing. The wolf pack usually consists of a 
family, the two adults, and 6 to 10 young of the year, but there are 
apparently authentic accounts of larger wolf packs where presum- 
ably two or more families have temporarily joined. 

Breeding habits. — Wolves do not breed until 2 years old, but the 
family pack keeps together until about midwinter or later. The 
young are generally born in March, although there are records of 
pups late in February, and a few late litters are born in April. The 
young vary normally from 6 to 10, but there are records of 11, 12, 
and 13 in a den. At first they are dull black in color, but by the 
time they are a month old and begin to appear at the entrance of 
the den they have faded to a dull clay color or yellow gray. Usually 
they do not leave the den until July or August, when nearly half 
grown and able to accompany their parents on hunting trips and 
take care of themselves in case of emergency. A pack of growing, 
hungry young wolves in fall and early winter requires a large 
supply of meat which is obtainable only from large game or 
domestic stock. 

Economic status. — Apparently a considerable time intervened 
between the destruction of the buffalo herds and the introduction 
of domestic cattle in sufficient abundance to provide an easy food 
supply for the wolves. This scarcity of food, together with the 
activity of those trapping and poisoning wolves for their skins, 
reduced the number of wolves and made the cattle industry possible 
over most of the open plains country. The last of the wolves, how- 
ever, took up their residence in the roughest and least occupied 
sections, where they are extremely difficult to dislodge, and with 
their natural intelligence and long years' experience with man and 
his traps, guns, and poisons, they have become one of the most 
difficult animals to capture or destroy. In some sections of the 
country they had shown their ability actually to increase in the 
face of all human efforts and inventions for their destruction until 
the recent concerted efforts of Federal and State wolf hunters 
proved too much for them. One wolf was known to kill 125 head 
of cattle in 10 months, valued at the time at $5,000. In Custer 
County, of the adjoining State of South Dakota, one wolf killed 
$25,000 worth of cattle in seven years. Although it is probable that 

82242°— 26 11 


the wolves can never be exterminated over much of the northern 
forest area of the continent, it has been clearly demonstrated that 
they can be practically eliminated from the open stock range of the 
Western States. 

Canis latrans latrans Say 
Northern Coyote; Brush Wolf 

Mes-ta-chd-gan-es of the Gjibways (Seton) 

Canis latrans Say, Long's Exped. Rocky Mountains, vol. 1, p. 16S, 1823. 

Type locality. — Engineer Cantonment, near Blair, Washington County, Nebr. 

General characters. — Largest of the coyotes ; ears, erect and pointed ; 
conspicuous capelike mane over shoulders ; fur, long and soft in winter, short 
and harsh in summer ; color, light brownish-gray, darker and more fulvous in 
summer ; underparts, whitish, tail tipped with black. Measurements of female 
from Elk River, Minn.: Total length, 1,219 millimeters; tail, 394; hind foot. 
179 ; weight of adult male from Beemer, Nebr., 36 pounds ; of one from Fort 
Dodge, Iowa, 40 pounds. 

Distribution and habitat. — In the absence of specimens from the 
type region of Canis latrans it has been customary to refer to this 
original form of the group, the large brush wolves of Iowa, Wis- 
consin, and Minnesota. In 1897 Merriam made a study of the coyotes 
with the material then available, which was not sufficient to establish 
the matter of intergradation between latrans and nebracensis of the 
plains region farther west. The great quantity of material since col- 
lected seems to establish this connection, but the definite outlines of 
areas occupied by each form remains to be worked out in a compre- 
hensive study of the group as a whole. Specimens from near Grand 
Forks and Grafton indicate that these brush wolves come into east- 
ern North Dakota, but how far west they extend is not at present 
known. The wolf skins collected by Alexander Henry and his trap- 
pers along the Red River Valley from 1800 to 1808 probably included 
many of these large coyotes or brush wolves. 

At Hankinson in 1912 there were said to be a few coyotes, but 
they were seen only at rare intervals. In the region about Fargo the 
same year they were said to be very scarce. At Wahpeton in 1915 
Kellogg reported them as common, and was told of a litter of five 
dug out of a den 2>y 2 miles south of town on May 30. At Larimore, 
in Grand Forks County, he reported them as fairly plentiful, and 
near Grand Forks he reported one killed during the previous winter 
and a bunch of six seen at one time; at Grafton a few killed each 
winter, and at Drayton, Pembina County, as not very common, but 
a few killed each winter. Near Grand Forks during the winter of 
1918-19 they were reported as unusually common and destructive to 
stock. At Grafton H. V. Williams, in a letter of March 21, 1919, 
says that several were killed during the winter. In the Turtle Moun- 
tain region they have been reported as common by Williams and 
Eastgate, and while there is some doubt as to which form occurs 
there, in the absence of specimens the writer is inclined to consider 
them as probably the large northern form. Some of the residents 
describe them as a large coyote or small wolf and others says that 
they are small and pale, but the relative characters can not be re- 
liably determined without actual specimens for comparison. A skull 
of a small female collected at Valley City by Morris J. Kernall in 
1913 is apparently intermediate between latrans and nebracensis t 


as it does not show decided characters of either. Coyotes are still 
found over practically all the State, but the specimens from the west- 
ern part seem to be all referable to the smaller, paler nebracensis. 

General habits. — These large coyotes generally inhabit a partly 
timbered, partly open country, but readily adapt themselves to either 
type where game or livestock furnish a satisfactory food supply. 
In habits they differ little from other species of coyotes except in 
adapting themselves more readily to forest conditions and in de- 
pending more on game and livestock for their food. They are most 
persistent in the destruction of sheep and calves, and have long 
rendered impracticable the keeping of small herds of sheep on farms 
over much of their range. Just how much they have had to do with 
the destruction of deer and other large game will never be known. 

Canis latrans nebracensis Merriaru 

Plains Coyote; Prairie "Wolf 

(PI. IS, fig. 1) 

Mica or Mieaksica of the Dakotas 
(Riggs and Williamson) ; Mikasi 
of the Omahas (Gilniore) ; Sche'kd 
of the Mandans (Will) ; ll6tsa 
of the Hidatsas (Matthews) ; 
Stshirits pitkatsh of the Arikaras 

Canis pallidus Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 11, p. 24, 1S97. 
Canis nebracensis Merriam, Science, vol. 8 (n. s.), p. 782, 1S98. (Substituted 
for pallidus, which was preoccupied.) 

Tiipe locality. — Johnstown, Brown County, Nehr. 

General characters. — Slightly smaller than latrans, with lighter denti- 
tion and paler colors ; upper parts, light buffy gray, back of ears buffy ; tail 
with black tip ; underparts whitish. Unfortunately there are no measure- 
ments or weights available from the type region, nor of any specimens that 
may be considered typical of this form. One measured by Kellogg at Fort 
Totten was as follows: Total length, 1.193 millimeters; tail, 380; hind foot, 205, 
but the specimen was not obtained. In distinguishing a coyote from a wolf, the 
nose, foot, and tooth measurements are always sufficient. In the coyote the nose 
pad measures approximately seven-eighths of an inch wide, the heel pad of 
front foot, 1 inch wide, and the greatest diameter of canine tooth at base, 0.3 

Distribution and habitat. — At the present time plains coyotes 
are distributed over practically all of North Dakota and are es- 
pecially common over the western half of the State. Apparently 
they have held their own and even increased since the destruction 
of game herds, for filling the country with domestic livestock and 
poultry gives them a food supply often more easily obtained than 
the original wild game. In the early days of trapping and explora- 
tion, little mention is made of coyotes, and apparently they were 
less common or less conspicuous than the large wolves. Alexander 
Henry, in the beginning of the eighteenth century, does not mention 
them, but possibly he did not discriminate between them and the 
larger wolves. Lewis and Clark, in 1805, rarety mentioned them 
on their trip up the Missouri River, while they frequently spoke 
of the wolves seen and killed. On April 24, 1805, at a point about 
13 miles above the mouth of the Muddy River (1893, p. 280), they 
spoke of the hunters returning " with four deer, two elk, and some 
young wolves of the small kind." In 1833 Maximilian (Wied, 1839- 


1841, Bd. 2, pp. 97, 98, 278, 307, 1841) frequently refers to them and 
gives the Indian names used by the Mandans, Minnetarees, Arikarees, 
Dakotas, and Blackfeet. He says, " The prairie wolf is numerous 
over the prairies and in winter comes occasionally into the Indian 
villages to pick up whatever he can in the way of refuse." Again, 
in December, he writes, " During the night we heard the barking 
of the prairie wolves {C arils latrans Say), which prowled about 
looking for any remains of provisions." On February 26, 1834, he 
notes, " The prairie wolves now prowl about in couples." 

In 1843 Audubon (1897, p. 160), on his trip up the Missouri River 
to Fort Union, made little mention of coyotes, but reported one seen 
at Fort Union and one shot by Harris, on September 3, below the 
mouth of the Cannonball River. A series of skulls from the upper 
Missouri River in North Dakota, collected by F. V. Hayden in 1850, 
are still in the National Museum collection. Roosevelt (1900c, p. 63), 
at one of his hunting camps in the Little Missouri River country, in 
the eighties, enjoyed the " wild, mournful wailing of the coyotes. 
They were very plentiful round this camp ; before sunrise and after 
sundown they called unceasingly." At Valley City, Major White told 
Morris J. Kernall that the coyotes were more abundant there in 1882 
than in 1913, and John Hailand, who settled at Valley City in 1878, 
told him that they were then more numerous than in 1913. In 1887 
coyotes were reported as common at many localities over the State, 
and in 1893 Doctor Fisher, in stopping off at various localities from 
Bismarck to Fargo, reported them more or less common at all places 
visited. In 1912 Eastgate reported them at Tolna, on the south side 
of Stump Lake, along the Sheyenne River, 30 miles north of Valley 
City, in the sand hills near Kathryn in Barnes County, and that a 
few were shot every winter near Lisbon, in Ransom County, where 
they did considerable damage to sheep and poultry. 

In 1909 the writer found them common about Marmarth, in the 
southwestern corner of the State, and in 1912 was told that at Tolna 
one man had brought in 50 scalps during the winter for the bounty, 
and that a den of young had been found a year before near Stump 
Lake. At Kenmare, in 1913, they were said to be fairly common 
over that general region. At Minot, Mr. Booth said that they had 
been scarce in that vicinity until the sheep industry developed in 
1890, when they became unusually numerous. Since the country has 
settled up, however, few sheep are kept and the coyotes are becoming 
comparatively scarce. At Crosby the writer was told that they 
were scarce, but that a man living there, hunting with a couple of 
wolf hounds, occasionally brought in one. At WiUiston and Buford, 
in the same year, they were said to be fairly common and a consider- 
able number of tracks were seen. In the Killdeer Mountains, in 
1913, Jewett reported them in numbers over the entire region, as 
also along the Little Missouri River south to Medora. He also 
found them common about Fort Clark, where they were heard bark- 
ing nearly every evening in July, and their tracks were found in 
the mud along the river flats. At Mandan they were reported com- 
mon, and a few skins were seen. At Glen Ullin, in July, Jewett. 
heard them barking near the town. At Sentinel Butte he found 
them fairly numerous all over the region, but doing little damage 
on the farms, which were mainly devoted to raising grain. On June 


5 he located a den containing young in a rocky slope on the side of 
Sentinel Butte, but was unable to get the animals, which were the*n 
well grown. On the former North Dakota National Forest, about 25 
miles south of Medora, in 1913, coyotes were found abundant, as 
also along the Little Missouri River near there, where their tracks 
were seen and the animals heard barking and howling every night. 
At "Wade, on the Cannonball River, in August, 1913, W. B. Bell 
reported them abundant. 

In 1915, Sheldon reported them as fairly common at Cannon Ball, 
Dawson, and Ellendale, and Kellogg reported them at Tokio, on the 
Sullys Hill National Park, at Towner, Grinnell, and all the way 
down the Missouri River to Bismarck. At a point several miles 
above Shell Village he saw six at one time running up a steep slope 
of Badlands. Near Elbowoods he saw five one evening, and while 
camping heard them every evening at dusk on both sides of the 
river. At Elbowoods he saw one looking at him through the wil- 
lows, and at Stanton found them hunting rabbits, which they dug 
from the burrows. Near Sather he reported them common and 
doing considerable damage by killing turkeys at the farms. At 
Cannon Ball, in 1916, Mr. Underhill said that they were common 
and had troubled him a good deal by killing his chickens at his 
farm on the river flats. At Devils Lake in June, 1916, the writer 
found coyotes common in the timber of Sullys Hill Park and all 
around the lake. Mrs. Falger told him that they howled every 
night around the dump heaps near the Chautauqua grounds, and 
their tracks were found everywhere on the sandy patches. On the 
south side of the lake they were common in and around the park, 
which was then being fenced. 

General habits. — Unlike the large wolves, coyotes adapt them- 
selves readily to conditions of civilization, and if a food supply is 
available they seem to thrive as well in a thickly settled country as 
on the open range. They are always ready to match their wits 
against dogs, traps, and guns, and usually have no trouble in holding 
their own and increasing if enough poultry, sheep, pigs, young 
stock, and dead animals can be found for food. They are not 
entirely dependent on such food, however, as they will get along 
comfortably on ground squirrels, pocket gophers, mice, rabbits, game 
birds, eggs, grasshoppers, and fruit. They are sly and to some 
extent foxlike in their habits, will come close to buildings at night, 
and usually are not permanently deterred by being chased away by 

Breeding habits. — Coyotes are prolific breeders, usually producing 
five to nine young in a litter. They often live in close proximity to 
farms and ranches, raising their young successfully, unless hunted 
with unusual persistence by one familiar with their habits. A few 
miles south of Ellendale, in the spring of 1915, Sheldon reported 
nine young captured by a farmer. On May 12, 1913, an old coyote 
and nine pups with eyes not yet open, were taken from a den about 
20 miles west of Valley City. The old one was killed and two of 
the pups were kept alive in the Valley City Normal School grounds, 
where they were seen when they were about half grown. Two of the 
young and the skull of the mother were saved for specimens by 
Morris J. Kernall. 


The young are born in burrows or cavities among rocks or in the 
sides of Badlands buttes, where they find abundant safe retreats 
until old enough to venture out in pursuit of game under the leader- 
ship of their parents. At Parkin, a little way up the Cannonball 
River, in June, the writer found a family of nearly half -grown pups 
living in the brushy gulches on the side of one of the big buttes just 
east of town. While exploring the sides of the butte for chip- 
munks, the writer suspected the presence of young when one of the 
old coyotes began barking and howling in plain view at midday in 
the open valley. He soon found the tracks of the half -grown pups 
in one of the rocky gulches and saw where they had wallowed clown 
the grass under the brush near the den. The anxious parents fol- 
lowed and would appear on first one side and then the other, at 
every turn doing their best to attract attention and lead away from 
the family. 

During the latter part of summer and the fall, coyotes usually 
hunt in family parties, but by the beginning of winter they have 
mainly scattered out singly or in pairs. Unlike the wolves, they 
seem to begin breeding when 1 year old, and, late in January, when 
the mating season begins, they are usually found in pairs. 

Economic status. — During the past coyotes have not reduced the 
number of injurious rodents sufficiently to protect the crops, and it 
has become necessary to resort to artificial means instead of depend- 
ing upon coyotes as a natural aid. Hence their value in this respect 
may be overestimated. On the other hand, their destruction of live- 
stock and game is in many localities so great as to make the raising 
of small herds of sheep impracticable, except where protected by 
wolf -proof fences, while the loss of other stock, poultry, and game 
which they destroy over the State, is very serious. In States like 
Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, where stock rais- 
ing is one of the most important industries, the annual loss from 
coyotes is estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. 
The bounty system has long ago proved worse than ineffective, but 
the present system of cooperation between the State and the Federal 
authorities in employing expert trappers promises satisfactory re- 
sults. The full cooperation of residents throughout the coyote-in- 
fested regions is of the utmost importance in keeping down the 
numbers of the pests. The dens should be located and the young 
captured whenever possible. It is not probable that coyotes will 
ever be exterminated over the whole country, but their control over 
extensive areas can certainly be predicted. 

Vulpes fulva regalis Merriam 
Yellow-red Fox: 

(PL 17, fig. 1) 

EhchokuscM of the Hidatsas (Maxi- 
milian) ; Hir&tt-sa of the Mandans 
(Maximilian) ; Hirutse (Will). 

Vulpes regalis Merriam, Proc. Washington Acad. Sci., vol. 2, p. 672, 1900. 

Type locality. — Elk River, Sherburne County, Minn. 

General characters. — Slightly larger than the eastern red fox; slender 
and light, with erect, sharp ears, slender muzzle, and long tail. Winter fur, 
very long, full, and soft; tail, very large and fluffy; summer fur, short and 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. PLATE 17 

Fig. I. —Yellow-red Fox (Vulpes fulva regalis) 

Mounted in Agricultural College collection. Much reduced 

Fig. 2. — Black-footed Ferret 
(Mustela nigripes) 

Mounted specimen from Fort Rice. Much 



Fig. 3. — Varying Hare, or 
Snowshoe Rabbit (Lepus 
americanus americanus) 

Mounted specimen in winter coat. 
Much reduced 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. PLATE I! 

Fig. I. — Plains Coyote (Cams latrans nebracensis) 

A captive at Mandan 

Fig. 2. — Otters (Lutra canadensis canadensis) 

Captives in National Zoological Park, Washington, D. C. 


thin; tail, slender. Color in winter, rich orange yellow, paler and more straw 
yellow over face, back, sides, and legs; underparts whitish, tip of tail always 
white, back of ears, feet, and ankles black. In summer coat darker, richer 
orange. Young blackish, soon fading to yellowish brown or yellowish gray, 
with tip of tail white. Measurements of tyne of species, adult male from Elk 
River, Minn. : Total length, 1,117 millimeters ; tail. 420 ; hind foot, 170. Of adult 
female collected at Oakes, N. Dak. : Total length, 990 millimeters ; tail, 381 ; hind 
foot, 165. Seton (1909, vol 2, p. 707) gives the weight of one taken at 
Carberry, Manitoba, as 10 pounds. The darker forms of this fox, called 
cross-fox, silver fox, and black fox, seem to be of rare occurrence in the 
prairie country, but they are merely different degrees of melanism occasionally 
found among red foxes, and are more common farther north and west. 

Distribution and habitat. — The group of red foxes has not been 
sufficiently worked up to show the limits of range of the various 
forms, but all of the specimens available from North Dakota seem 
to be referable to the large yellow-red fox described from southern 
Minnesota, and apparently covering a great part of the northern 
Plains country. While probably never very numerous over the 
State, foxes were evidently much more so in the earlier trapping 
days than at present. In 1801 Alexander Henrv (1897, pp. 184, 
198, 221, 245, 259, 281, 422, 440) reported, among" other furs taken 
in the Red River Vallev, 82 red-fox skins from Reed River and 
102 from Park River; in 1802, 20 from Grand Forks and 29 from 
the Hair Hills ; 1803, 23 from Pembina River, 61 from Turtle River, 
and 78 from the Hair Hills; 1804, 8 from Grand Forks, 38 from 
Hair Hills, 4 from Park River, and 12 from Pembina River. In 
1805 he reported 5G red, cross, and silver foxes from the Hair Hills, 
91 from Salt River, and 31 from Pembina River; in 1806, 171 from 
Grand Forks, 256 fromJPembina River; in 1807, 34 from Pembina 
River; in 1808, 2 from the Hair Hills, 6 from Grand Forks, and 
28 from Pembina River. In 1833 Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 
1, pp. 431^32, 1839) stated that about 2,000 red-fox skins, 200 
to 300 cross foxes, and 20 to 30 silver foxes were brought annually 
to the fur traders at Fort Union. On February 15, 1805, Lewis 
and Clark (1893, p. 235) mentioned a large red fox killed at their 
winter quarters among the Mandans at what is now Fort Clark. 

Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, pp. 86-87, 98, 1841), in 1833, 
while at Fort Clark, wrote in his journal: "The red fox (Canis 
fulvus) is very handsome and at the same time common, though by 
no means so numerous as the w r olves." He compared many specimens 
and found them in general very similar, although "the fur dealers 
make a different species out of every slight variation." Generally 
they are lighter and brighter colored than the European fox and 
from their beautiful fur might well be called " goldfuchs." He 
further says: "The black or silver fox {Canis argentatus) is met 
with 60 or 70 miles farther north, but it is occasionally seen here, 
and its skin is highly prized, being sold for $60." 

In 1856 F. V. Hayden (1875, p. 91) collected three skulls of these 
foxes from Fort Union, and reported the different varieties as cross, 
silver, and black, which he said were well known among the traders 
"and are much valued. A skin of the Silver variety . . sellinc 
for $100." 

At Valley City John Hailand told Morris J. Kernall that red 
foxes were numerous when he came there in 1878. In 1887 the 
writer was told that they were common about Devils Lake and on 


the prairie near Bottineau. In 1912 Eastgate collected an old female 
near Oakes, and nine young, about a month old, were found in the 
den. The same year the writer was told that there were a good 
many red foxes about Hankinson, where they were considered one 
of the standard fur animals. At Fargo there were said to be still 
a few in that part of the valley, and at Valley City they were re- 
ported as common, many being caught in winter. . At Stump Lake 
there were said to be a few, and in the Turtle Mountains they were 
reported common, but mainly on the surrounding prairie. At Ken- 
mare in 1913 they were said to be rather scarce, although a few 
were caught in winter. At Minot Mr. Booth, the taxidermist, said 
that they had been numerous in the early nineties, but that the 
great increase in coyotes since sheep were brought into the coun- 
try had apparently resulted in a corresponding decrease among the 
foxes. At Crosby in 1913 the writer was told that a few were to be 
found in the glacial hills to the south, but that they were rather 
scarce. South of Medora, on the Little Missouri River, they were 
said to be scarce, and there seemed to be some doubt of their being 
there at that time. From Grafton on April IT, 1914, Williams sent 
the skin of a fox pup a day old from a litter of five born in cap- 
tivity; again in 1917 he sent seven young, only 4 days old; in 1919 
he reported red foxes fairly common and several killed every winter 
in the vicinity. In 1915 Kellogg found them fairly common at 
Wahpeton and reported a few skins taken each year by hunters. 
A litter of three was dug out on the farm of J. Brandt, 7 miles 
west of town, on May 23. At Larimore, Kellogg reported a few red 
foxes, and stated that a number of skins were taken each year at 
Manvel. At Drayton, in Pembina County, he reported a number 
trapped each year and two tame young ones kept in captivity. At 
Fort Totten he was told that red foxes had been common in that region 
30 years before, but were then scarce. At Towner no records were 
obtained, nor at Lostwood, on the Missouri River. At Fairmount in 
1915 Sheldon reported them as abundant at one time, but of late 
years rarely seen, although occasionally one was trapped or shot by 
some of the farmers. In 1916 there were said to be still a few in the 
country about Cannon Ball. 

General habits. — The yellow foxes typify all that is sly, cunning, 
and crafty, with a peculiar combination of timidity and boldness. 
They are skilful hunters, but by farmers are often looked upon as 
cunning thieves, because of their excessive fondness for poultry. 
To the fur trapper they are the acme of all that is difficult and 
inspiring in his craft. In keen senses, alertness, and intelligence 
they are excelled by few wild animals. For most of the year they 
are hunters, depending for subsistence on mice, ground squirrels, 
pocket gophers, rabbits, and birds, which they are usually able to- 
capture in abundance. At times they find grasshoppers and other 
insects acceptable, and in the blueberry season they almost live upon 
these delicious berries. They also eat a great variety of other berries 
and fruit. Although the animals are mainly nocturnal, their catlike 
eyes are well adapted to both night and day, and on rare occasions 
a fox may be seen prowling over the prairies or meadows watching 
for mice or small game in broad daylight. Generally, however, dur- 
ing the day they remain in their burrows or curl up on a knoll where 


they can see on all sides, and at night range far and wide in search 
of food. 

Breeding habits. — The young are generally from five to nine in 
number, and are brought forth in the breeding burrows prepared by 
the parents, or sometimes in hollow logs or trees. Near Oakes, East- 
gate saw nine young about a month old that had been dug out of 
their den on June 5, 1912. Williams reported five and seven young 
in the litters of his tame foxes at Grafton. Alexander Henry reports 
five young caught by one of his men at Park Kiver, October 18, 1800, 
but these may not have been the full litter, as at that season they 
would be large enough to be separated. The young when first born 
are dull black, with a conspicuous white tip of the tail extending 
up from a half to three-quarters of an inch. Their eyes are said to 
open in eight or nine days, and by that time the black has begun to 
fade and the yellow-gray is appearing over the head. About the 
time they begin to run about, when three or four weeks old, they are 
usually of a dirty gray color, unless destined to represent the darker 
cross, silver, or black forms, in which case they retain the dark black 
and shoulder stripes of the cross fox or the entirely dusky fur of 
the future silver or black. In all cases, however, the white tip of 
the tail and the black posterior surface of the ears distinguish them 
from young coyotes, dogs, or kit foxes. Both parents are very 
attentive to the young, the male taking its full share in hunting 
and guarding the den. Apparently the young do not follow their 
parents in the hunt, even when well grown, as more than one fox 
track is rarely seen at a place in any season. Their methods of still 
hunting are more likely to be successful singly than in groups. 

Economic status. — The destruction by these foxes of game, poultry, 
and lambs is often discounted by the value of their skins and the 
interest they offer in hunting and trapping. They are known to be 
very destructive to lambs, however, in Michigan doing great damage 
among them. Apparently their fur value is sufficient to keep their 
numbers down to a minimum, or they might otherwise prove a pest 
and a serious check on the abundance of many species of small game. 
Their value in fur farming has not yet been fully determined, but 
the best grades of silver and black are among the most remunerative 
of fur animals to be raised under domestication. Many reports, and 
even books, have been published on the subject of fox farming, and 
experiments along this line indicate that in the future much of our 
choicest fur will be that produced under domestication. 

Vulpes velox hebes Merriam 
Kit Fox; Prairie Fox; Swift 

Ihoichka of the Hklatsas (Gilmore) ; 
Ohcha of the Mandans (Maxi- 
milian) ; 8o n gina of the Dakotas 
(Gilmore) ; Ciuaku of the Ari- 
karas (Gilmore). 

Vulpes velox hehes Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 15, p. 73, 1902. 

Type locality. — Calgary, Alberta. Canada. 

General characters. — A very small fox with a rather short black-tipped tail, 
long, dense winter fur, and short, harsh summer hair. In winter the color 
is mainly dark buffy gray with orange sides, legs, and lower surface of tail, 
and light buffy belly. Tip of tail black and patches on sides of nose blackish. 


In summer the upper parts are more reddish gray. The type, adult male, 
measures in the flesh, in total length, 844 millimeters ; tail, 312 ; hind foot, 
130. The weight, as given by Audubon (1851-1854, vol. 2, p. 14, 1851), is 
8V 2 pounds. Seton (1909, vol. 2, p. 700) gives 4% pounds as the weight of an 
adult from Saskatchewan. 

Distribution and habitat. — Apparently the kit foxes of the north- 
ern Plains at one time covered the whole of the prairies of North 
Dakota, but at present they are restricted to the western part of the 
State, and even there they have become very scarce. In 1800 they 
were one of the common fur animals of the Red Elver Valley. 
Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 184, 221, 245, 259), in his journal, 
recorded, among other skins taken by his trappers in the spring of 
1801, 9 kit foxes from Reed River and 7 from the Park River; in 
1803, 1 from the Turtle River and 23 from the Hair Hills; in 1804, 
17 from the Hair Hills; and in 1805, 26 from Hair Hills and 31 from 
the Salt River. In " A Story of '53," which describes the fur-trading 
station at Walhalla, Charles Cavileer says 400 to 600 skins of 
kit foxes were obtained in a season, but none have been seen since the 
buffalo disappeared. In 1805, Lewis and Clark (1893, p. 271), on 
their journey up the Missouri River, spoke of the Assiniboine Indian 
camp, 25 miles above the mouth of the Little Missouri River, where 
the Indians w y ere trading dried meat, grease, and skins of wolves 
and small foxes to British traders for liquor. In 1833, Maximilian 
(Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, p. 51, 1841) , while at Fort Clark, reported 
prairie foxes frequently seen. Just below the mouth of the White 
Earth River he speaks of finding traces of large bears and seeing 
the prairie fox come out of its burrow ; and later he obtained speci- 
mens that were kept alive and furnished material for interesting 
study. Audubon (1851-1854, vol. 2, pp. 15-16, 1851) recorded them 
a little north of Fort Clark in 1843, and again at Fort Union, where 
specimens were obtained. He brought back a live one from Fort 
Clark to his home in New York. In 1862, F. V. Hayden (1862, 
p. 142) reported 50 to 100 caught every winter near each of the 
trading posts along the Missouri River. 

There are a few specimens in the National Museum collection, 
taken by Culbertson in 1850 at Fort Union, and others taken by 
Coues in 1873 on the Souris River, where he reported them common. 
At Grafton, in 1915, Remington Kellogg was told that the last kit 
fox caught in that region had been taken by Olaf Dahal in 1876. 
At Minot, in 1909, the writer saw several skins at a taxidermist's 
shop, brought in to be mounted during the previous winter, and 
was told that there were still a few swifts in that region, but that 
they were so scarce that those caught were usually preserved as 
curiosities. A mounted specimen in the Williams collection at Graf- 
ton was taken near Williston, December 16, 1911. In 1913, a few 
mounted specimens and several skulls were examined in the col- 
lection of Mr. Allen, the taxidermist, at Mandan, who said that 
none had been brought in in recent years. At Sentinel Butte, Mr. 
Crawford said that kit foxes used to be common, but had become very 
scarce since the country had settled up. In 1915 Kellogg reported 
them as very scarce in the vicinity of Goodall in McKenzie County, 
where they had formerly been common. He said that they were 
very easily trapped, poisoned, or caught by dogs, so that they did 
not last long after the country became settled. 


General habits. — At Fort Union (Buford), on October 16, 1833, 
Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, p. 37, 1841) wrote in his 
journal : 

The little prairie fox is so hungry and therefore so tame that it often visits 
the environs of the fort, and we found these pretty little animals among the 
circles of turf which were left on the removal of the Indian tents. Here they 
remain in the daytime and at nightfall collect and look for the remains of 
provisions in the neighborhood of buildings. Our dogs frequently pursue 
them, but their extreme swiftness enables them to escape and to retreat to 
their burrows, where easily caught by setting snares. 

On his return trip down the Missouri River to Fort Clark, in 1833. 
he (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, pp. 256-258, 1841) brought one of these 
little foxes with him as a pet and gave an interesting account of its 
habits. At one time, he says : 

During the night we were disturbed by great numbers of rats, and I placed 
my little tame prairie fox in the loft where the corn was kept and there he 
did excellent service. * * * This pretty and very tame little fox afforded 
us much amusement during the long winter evenings. He was nearly a year 
old but always glad to play with anyone. Would scratch or pat one on the 
clothing with his paw as he came quickly by and then make great bounds into 
the air as if he were pouncing upon a mouse or rat. He was very cunning 
and noticed everything and was delighted to be petted and stroked. He would 
often take some object in his mouth and shake and carry it about, dash away, 
hide it, look roguishly with head on one side, then come bounding back with 
all sorts of antics. We taught him to shake hands like a little dog, and he 
always offered his paw when he wished to be rubbed and petted. To rest 
he would roll up in a heap and cover his nose and face with his bushy tail. 
In cold weather he would get so close to the fire that he burned off much of 
his fur. He ate little, but drank often, though only a little at a time. He 
was very fond of rats and mice, and as with all such animals, caught them 
by the head. He usually chewed like a cat on one side of his mouth, using 
the sharp-edged molars, then licked his lips and usually one little paw. When 
no longer hungry he would bury the rest of his prey in the ground or in a 
corner, push it down with his nose, and cover it exactly as do others of the 
dog kind. His voice was a very loud bark, repeated three or four times in suc- 
cession. It is very similar to that of the European fox, but louder and rougher. 
It has a wonderful ring to it, and one is astonished to hear such a loud voice 
from such a tiny animal. 

Late in the fall (October 31) Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 
2, pp. 47-49, 1841) reported an abundance of buffaloberries, which 
after the frosts were very palatable. "With this fruit we refreshed 
our bears and mj little fox, to which they offered an agreeable 
variety in their food." The wild grapes, however, he says were 
very poor and did not suit the taste of even the little fox. 

In 1845, at Fort Union, Audubon (1897, pp. 116, 130), while rid- 
ing over the prairie, saw a swift dart from a hole under the feet 
of Harris's horse. Harris gave chase and gained upon the beautiful 
animal with remarkable quickness, overtaking it and firing at it 
several times, but to no purpose as it doubled and cut about in 
such a manner that it escaped into a ravine. A few days later 
Harris succeeded in shooting one, which was saved for a specimen. 
At Fort Clark a captive kit fox was given to Audubon, (1851-1854, 
vol, 2, p. 16, 1851), who carried it back to his home near New 7 York. 
It had been kept for some months in a loft without food other than 
the rats and mice which it caught there. In its new home it was 
fed on birds, squirrels, the flesh of other animals, and any kind of 
fresh meat, and grew fatter every day. This probably accounts 
for the weight of 8y 2 pounds, which seems much for this little 


animal in its wild state. Seton's (1909, vol. 2, p. 700) weight of 4% 
pounds for an adult specimen from Saskatchewan seems nearer the 
probable average weight of wild individuals. 

These dainty little foxes are among the most graceful and 
sprightly of native carnivores. They glide over the prairie as 
lightly and smoothly as passing shadows and are so quick in their 
motions as to have inspired fabulous stories, of their speed. They 
are said to be tamed easily and to make interesting pets, but they 
are of relatively small value in the fur market. 

Seton records several dens, in each of which a pair of kit foxes 
were found guarding five young. There is much to be learned in 
regard to their hunting, feeding, and breeding habits. As they are 
easily hunted, trapped, and poisoned, they are rapidly disappear- 
ing over a large part of their range and if doomed to extinction it 
is important that a closer study be made of their home life before 
it is too late. 23 

Family MUSTELIDAE: Weasels, Minks, Martens, Skunks, Badgers 

Mustela longicauda longicauda Bonaparte 
Long-tailed Weasel; Ermine 

Ohsisa of the Hidatsas, and Malich- 
pach-piraka of the M a n d a n s 

Mustela longicauda Bonaparte, Charlesworth's Mag. Nat. Hist., vol. 2 (n. s.), 
p. 38, 1838. 

Type locality. — Carlton House, Saskatchewan, Canada. 

General characters. — One of the largest of our weasels, with slender body 
and long tail. In summer, upper parts, yellowish brown, darker on face, with 
tip of tail black ; underparts and usually feet and toes, yellow, varying from 
rich buff to deep orange. In winter pure white, except for the black tip of 
tail and usually a light-yellowish wash or stain on the belly, hind legs, and 
tail. Measurements of an average-sized male from Crosby, N. Dak. : Total 
length, 445 millimeters ; tail, 150 ; hind foot, 50 ; of an average female from 
Lostwood : 369, 121, and 40, respectively. A male from Treesbank, Manitoba, 
measured 457, 163, 49, and weighed 13 ounces. 

The change from summer brown to winter white comes usually in November 
or with the first permanent snows. A male collected at Jamestown, November 
1, and another at Castleton, November 3, 1892, are nearly white, with only a 
mixture of brown hairs over the back sufficient to produce a brownish gray. 
In the agricultural college collection at Fargo an adult male taken October 24, 
1912, has the back, top of head, neck, and tail brown, and the sides and under- 
parts, including the lower surface of tail, white, while an adult female taken 
November 2, 1912, is pure white, except for the black tip of the tail. A 
female taken at Valley City on November 13 is pure white with only a trace of 
sulphur yellow on the tail. Three specimens collected at Valley City, by Morris 
J. Kernall, on October 27, 1912, show three stages in the fall change ; one 
has the back mostly brown, with sides, belly, and tail mostly white ; another 
is mainly white, with a little brown on the back; and the third is in the full 
white winter coat. The spring change from white to brown comes approxi- 
mately with the normal disappearance of the winter snow, but is not repre- 
sented in the North Dakota series of specimens. 

23 Gray fox (Urocyon cinereoarjenteus) (Schreber). There is only one record for the 
State and this seems doubtful. In 18SS, at Fort Clark, Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, 
Bd. 2, p. 86, 1841) wrote: "The gray fox (Cams cinereo argent&u-s) and the cross fox 
(Canis decussatas) are likewise found here." This record seems very questionable, as no 
other report of their occurrence is to be found so far north in the prairie country. It 
seems probable that Maximilian confused the silver-gray fox of the genus Vulpes with 
this species, or merely applied the wrong name to the silver-gray. Perhaps the note 
refers to furs traded by the natives at Fort Clark, but really brought from points farther 
south. The northern edge of the Black Hills in South Dakota is. the nearest point at 
which gray foxes are known to occur. 


Distribution and habitat. — The long-tailed weasels cover the 
northern Plains country and are the most common of the weasels 
over practically all of North Dakota. They are common all over 
the prairie part of the State, and the forest of the Turtle Mountains 
region is sufficiently open to attract them. They are prairie dwell- 
ers, ranging over the wide open expanse of country and making 
their homes in the burrows of the numerous rodents on which they 

General habits. — These large weasels may often be seen over the 
prairie, running rapidly from one to another of the ground squir- 
rels' burrows, and when alarmed taking refuge in the burrow nearest 
at hand. In 1833 Maximilian found their skins among those much 
prized by the chiefs of the Indian tribes along the upper Missouri 
River, but in those days they seemed not to have been included 
among the marketable furs of the white trappers. In 1887 the 
writer took specimens of this weasel at Devils Lake and Bottineau 
in traps set for pocket gophers and ground squirrels, and again while 
at Devils Lake in 1914 was surprised to see one thrust its head out 
from under a board sidewalk where crowds of people gather to 
take the electric car for the lake. In 1892 Loring collected speci- 
mens at Castieton, Valley City, Larimore, and Jamestown, taking 
most of them in traps set in the burrows of pocket gophers. In 
1909, while riding over the prairie near Lemon, in the southwestern 
part of the State, the writer saw one running from one burrow to 
another of the 13-lined ground squirrels. The squirrels were greatly 
excited and were calling shrilly back and forth over the surround- 
ing prairie, evidently passing along the word of great danger. At 
Buford, in 1910, Anthony reported the weasels quite common, some 
of them making themselves at home among the ranch buildings 
for several days. At Lisbon, in 1912, Eastgate reported them fairly 
common, but rarely seen. During the summer, living where the 
pocket gophers and ground squirrels are thickest, they destroy 
large numbers of these rodents, rarely entering poultry yards or 
killing chickens. Many are trapped during the winter. At Valley 
City, in 1912, one of these weasels came close to the writer in its 
pursuit of ground squirrels, running quickly from one burrow to 
another. On seeing him it stood erect, tall, and straight, as a snake 
will often raise its head to look over the top of the grass. It then 
ran into a badger hole, but, full of curiosity, soon reappeared and 
raised its head and neck in full view to watch. It was needed for a 
specimen, and the writer hoped to find out what it was eating, but 
its stomach was empty. At Crosby, in the northwestern corner 
of the State, while driving over the prairie, a large weasel was seen 
running from burrow to burrow, while the ground squirrels from far 
and near were uttering shrill whistles in a panic of fright. To 
obtain it for a specimen, it was only necessary to frighten it down 
a burrow and then wait a moment until it reappeared and raised 
its head and neck from the grass for inspection. 

As usual, its stomach and intestines were entirely empty, in spite 
of the fact that it was evidently engaged in killing squirrels. In 
1915, Sheldon collected a very large, dark-colored male near Oakes, 
in Dickey County, and reported the weasels fairly common through- 
out that part of the State. The same year Kellogg reported them 


common all across the central part of the State, and down the 
Missouri Eiver Valley from Goodall to Bismarck. 

At Hankinson and Wahpeton it was said that a good many weasels 
were caught each winter for fur, and at Grand Forks Kellogg 
reported many brought in to the fur market, where they sold 
for $1.25 each. He also reported considerable numbers of them taken 
for fur at Drayton, Towner, and other points along his route across 
the State. In the Turtle Mountains the writer was told that weasels 
were considered by the trappers as one of the important fur animals. 
At Wade Bell reported them fairly common and was told that one 
trapper had caught 46 during the previous winter. 

Breeding habits. — Of the breeding habits of these weasels there 
seems to be little definitely known. At Manvel, Grand Forks 
County, Kellogg was told of a litter of 11 young found by William 
Brown, but this seems a large number for any weasel to have at one 
time. Apparently they do not multiply very rapidly, as their 
abundance seems never to increase beyond a few scattered individ- 
uals found over the country. 

Food habits. — The actual determination of the food of weasels is 
difficult, as examination of stomach contents rarely shows a trace 
of any food and generally the whole intestinal tract seems to be 
empty. The weasels when seen are usually chasing ground squirrels 
or putting their heads out of the burrows of squirrels or pocket 
gophers, which they enter freely, and where they find the occupants 
helpless against their attacks. From their well-known habit of 
killing many more animals than they can eat and the ease with 
which they can capture the ground squirrels and pocket gophers, 
it is evident that they are killing for the sheer lust of it as well as 
for a little blood, which they take from each individual and which 
is quickly digested. 

In places where a weasel remains for some time, the ground squir- 
rels and pocket gophers usually disappear, but generally the weasels 
are great wanderers, covering new hunting grounds every day. 

In winter, when the burrows are filled with snow, the weasel 
tracks show that mice are the principal game sought. Open spaces 
under logs and brush or fallen grass are entered through the snow 
and often the tracks reappear on the surface a considerable distance 
away. In soft snow the weasels often force their way down to the 
surface of the ground and plow tunnels through the snow, evidently 
in pursuit of mice and small game. 

If game is not to be found in sufficient abundance, they will feed 
on any frozen meat or old carcass that is available, and on rare 
occasions they find their way into henhouses and sometimes do 
serious mischief before they are discovered and checked. It is not 
improbable that they kill some wild birds and possibly eat the 
eggs, but there is little evidence of their doing so in a country where 
ground squirrels, pocket gophers, and mice are abundant. 

Economic status. — Ordinarily many weasels are caught in traps 
set for other fur-bearing animals such as minks, martens, and foxes, 
but where these large weasels occur in considerable numbers and 
bring a good price, the trappers seem to devote their attention 
especially to catching them. This is easily done, as they are en- 
tirely unsuspicious and are easily attracted by bait of fur or feathers 


scattered around or above the trap. It seems a great mistake, how- 
ever, in a region of numerous rodent pests to destroy the greatest 
enemy of such animals. Even if it is possible to destroy by arti- 
ficial means all of the ground squirrels and pocket gophers over a 
considerable extent of country, the mice and smaller rodents still 
remain in abundance, and if their increase goes unchecked serious 
losses of crops are sure to follow. 

The occasional mischief done by weasels in the poultry yard can 
usually be prevented by a little care in making the buildings tight 
and secure by wire mesh. The value of weasel fur, winch is sold 
as " ermine," is in most cases far less than the economic value of the 
animals as rodent destroyers. 

Mustela cicognanii cicognanii Bonaparte 
Bonaparte Weasel; Short-tailed Weasel 

Mach-schipka of the Mandans (Maximilian). 

M[ustela] cigognanii [sic] Bonaparte, Charlesworth's Mag. Nat. Hist., vol. 2 
(n. s.), p. 37, Jan., 1838. 

Type locality. — Northeastern North America. 

General characters. — A medium-sized weasel with moderately short tail. 
In summer, upper parts light brown ; underparts white, usually tinged on belly 
with sulphur yellow ; winter coat, pure white or slightly tinged on belly, hind 
legs, and tail with sulphur yellow ; tip of tail, always black for about an inch 
at end. Measurements of large adult male, from Walhalla : Total length, 
338 millimeters ; tail, 9S, hind foot, 44. Weight, 6 ounces. Female much 
smaller, one from New York State measures 260, 72, and 31 millimeters, 

Distribution and habitat. — A specimen of the Bonaparte, or short- 
tailed, weasel from North Dakota was collected by H. V. Williams 
at Stump Lake on May 6, 1913. Another specimen examined in the 
collection of the biological laboratory at Devils Lake in 1914 was 
taken near there by Eastgate. A specimen listed under richardsoni 
in the catalogue of the Field Museum from Minot is undoubtedly 
also this species (Elliot, 1907, p. 449). In 1833, Maximilian (AVied, 
1839-1841, Folio, Tab. 13), at the Mandan villages, had a drawing 
made by his artist, Carl Bodmer, of one of the Mandan chiefs, 
Mato-Tope, dressed in full regalia and wearing many skins of both 
large and small species of white weasels with black-tipped tails. 
In December, 1912, Eastgate, on a trip from Bottineau to St. Johns, 
along the edge of the Turtle Mountains, reported both the large and 
small weasels very common and says : " I was never out of sight of 
their tracks in the soft snow and saw many skins of the larger 
kinds with the trappers' furs. The trappers did not bother to skin 
the small weasels." 

General habits. — The writer's experience with these weasels has 
been mainly in Minnesota, where in the early eighties they were 
common and often came about the buildings m winter during the 
time of deep snow, and got into mink traps set along the streams 
and lake shores. Their tracks were found everywhere, but mostly 
in the woods or along fence rows and through thickets. On the 
meadows they would run from one haystack to another, or along 
the creek banks, where they would find or make openings to the 
surface of the ground under fallen grass or reeds. Here they were 


always hunting mice and the small animals that remained active 
under the snow during the winter. In places where the weasels 
were most abundant the mice always became noticeably scarce before 
spring, and when the snow disappeared the mouse crop seemed 
always to be at its lowest ebb. 

In the early pioneer days of log barns and rough buildings these 
weasels would occasionally make their homes, in the barns and out- 
buildings for a time during the deep snows, and remain as long as 
there were rats and mice for them to feed upon. Occasionally they 
would get into the poultry houses and clean out the mice without 
doing any damage to the poultry, and when the mice were gone they 
would leave the building and go to the woods or find other hunting 
fields. There are, however, many authentic reports of their destroy- 
ing large numbers of chickens and apparently killing them for sport 
as well as for food. Generally, however, the larger weasels are 
much more destructive to poultry where it is unprotected. The 
small size of these weasels, especially of the females, seems to limit 
their prey largely to mice and small rodents, and the number killed 
by one of these tireless, bloodthirsty little animals during the course 
of a year must be enormous. 

Economic status. — The snowy white skins of these weasels in 
winter make some of the choicest ermine, but their small size for- 
tunately limits their value, and many of those caught in traps set 
for minks, martens, and other animals are not even saved by the 
trappers. Their value as mice and rodent destroyers seems far to 
outweigh their fur value and greatly to overbalance the relatively 
small amount of damage done to poultry and game. In most parts 
of the country it would seem advisable to protect the weasels, al- 
though they are generally hardy animals, well able to protect them- 
selves unless the price of their skins runs high enough to induce 
trappers to make special efforts to get them. 

Mustela rixosa rixosa (Bangs) 
Least Weasel 

Hitu n ka-sa n (white mouse) of the Dakotas (Gilmore) 

Putorius rixosus Bangs, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 10, p. 21, 1896.. 

Type locality. — Osier, Saskatchewan, Canada. 

General characters. — Smallest of all native weasels, full-grown individuals 
measuring about 6 or 8 inches in length. The tail is very short, without black 
tip at any time. In summer the upper parts are dark brown, underparts, 
white ; in winter the whole animal is pure white. An adult male from Grafton, 
N. Dak., measured in the flesh : Total length, 202 millimeters ; tail, 39 ; hind 
foot, 25. A smaller male from Bowdon measured 155, 34, and 21 millimeters ; 
and an adult female from Alaska, 165. 18, 21 millimeters, respectively. 

Distribution and habitat. — The tiny least weasel occupies the 
Boreal Zones of much of the northern part of the continent. There 
is one specimen in the Biological Survey collection from North 
Dakota, taken by H. V. Williams at Grafton, October 24, 1913. An- 
other specimen in the Williams collection was examined by Reming- 
ton Kellogg in June, 1915. Kellogg also reported a specimen in the 
collection of the State university, taken at Fort Totten, July 21, 
1913, and he was told that the species is trapped occasionally in 
the timber around Devils Lake. At Manvel, Grand Forks County, 


he was told by trappers that a very small weasel was occasionally 
caught, but was not saved, as its fur had no value. At Fort Buf ord 
Anthony reported a small weasel that might be of this species. At 
Tolna, near Stump Lake, Eastgate reported the species as "said to 
occur." At Bowdon M. C. H. Murie took an adult male in brown 
summer fur July 27, 1918. 

In 1833 Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, p. 98, 1841) collected 
a specimen which was evidently of this species at Fort Clark, but 
unfortunately it was lost on the return journey. His measurements 
of Qy 2 inches for total length, 1*4 inches for tail, and 7y 2 lines for 
hind "foot, and his statement that in winter it becomes " ganzlich 
weiss " seem to identify it beyond question. Apparently these little 
weasels are very scarce even in the midst of their range, and it is 
not surprising that so few have been taken in North Dakota on its 
extreme border. 

General habits. — Apparently least weasels are strictly mouse hunt- 
ers, and their small size enables them to follow the runways and 
underground burrows of almost any mouse. The specimens taken 
by collectors are usually caught in mouse traps. They are such in- 
conspicuous animals, either in the dark-brown summer coat or pure- 
white winter coat, that it is not surprising that they pass unnoticed; 
but the fact that with all the trapping for the different small rodents 
few of these weasels have been found seems unquestionable evidence 
of their rarity. Occasionally fine tracks are seen in the snow that 
may have been made by this species, but these probably in many cases 
may be attributed to the very small females of the short-tailed weasel. 
In habits they do not differ from other weasels, except as limited 
by their diminutive size. 

Economic status. — Although too small to do any serious harm to 
poultry or to be of any value for fur, these little animals certainly 
serve as a valuable check on the increase of mice. Studies in south- 
ern Manitoba by Stuart Criddle (1926) have demonstrated their 
effectiveness in controlling the colonies of Microtus minor, and they 
are undoubtedly equally beneficial in other parts of their range, and 
with other species of mice. If they could be domesticated, it seems 
probable that they might be of value in destroying mice around 
buildings, and that poultry and other animals would be safe from 
them. If a family of young could be obtained for breeding purposes, 
it might be well worth while to test their usefulness. 

Mustela nigripes (Audubon and Bachman) 
Black-footed ferret 

(PL 17, fig. 2) 

Etopta sapa of the Yankton Sioux; 
Xazi of the Mandans ; Tahu akii- 
kahak napish of the Hidatsas (all, 

Putorius mqripcs Audubon and Bachman, Quadr. North Amer., vol. 2, p, 
207, 1851. 

Type locality. — Fort Laramie, Wyo. 

General characters. — A large, heavy-bodied weasel with rather large ears, 
short tail, and short fur. Color, creamy yellow with a wash of brown over 

82242'— 26 12 


middle of back and top of head; feet, legs, tip of tail, and mask across face 
and around eyes, blackish. An adult male measured by Osgood, total length, 
529 millimeters ; tail, 130 ; hind foot, 65 ; and adult female from Quinion, 
measured by Jewett, 510, 128, and 61, respectively. 

Distribution and habitat. — The black-footed ferret, like the black- 
tailed prairie dog, has a wide range over the Plains country from 
Texas to Alberta. A few have been taken in western North Dakota, 
west and south of the Missouri River. In 1910, the late Howard 
Eaton told Gary of a ferret skin which he had bought at a Crow 
Indian fair, and said to have come from the Little Missouri River 
near Medora, where he has since reported them near his old ranch. 
In 1912 one was snared by some Indians near Fort Rice and given 
to H. C. Fish, curator of the Historical Society Museum, at Bis- 
marck, and later was given to Bell for the agricultural college col- 
lection at Fargo. On June 20, 1913, Jewett collected a fine' adult 
female near Quinion between the Killdeer Moimtains and Medora. 
Describing the incident, he writes: 

While driving along the road through a large prairie-dog town about 2 
o'clock in the afternoon, I saw a ferret's head disappear into a prairie dog's 
burrow only a few yards distant from the horses' feet. I jumped out of the 
wagon without stopping the team and almost immediately the head of the 
ferret reappeared and I shot it. It proved to be an adult female, evidently 
with young, as the mammae contained milk. I had been told by old settlers 
that there were no ferrets in this region, and when I showed the specimen 
to several no one knew what it was, so they are evidently quite rare in this 
part of the State. 

In 1915, at Stanton, Kellogg saw a mounted specimen in a taxider- 
mist's shop, which was said to have been killed near there. 

General habits. — At his ranch on the Little Missouri River in the 
eighties, Roosevelt (1900c, pp. 85-86) writes of the ferret: 

It makes its home in burrows, and by preference goes abroad at dawn and 
dusk, but sometimes even at midday. It is as blood-thirsty as the mink itself, 
and its life is one long ramble for prey, gophers, prairie dogs, sage rabbits, 
jack rabbits, snakes, and every kind of ground bird furnishing its food. I 
have known one to fairly depopulate a prairie-dog town, it being the arch 
foe of these little rodents, because of its insatiable blood lust and its capacity 
to follow them into their burrows. Once I found the bloody body and broken 
legs of a poor prairie hen which a ferret had evidently surprised on her nest. 
Another time one of my men was eye-witness to a more remarkable instance 
of the little animal's blood-thirsty ferocity. He was riding the range, and 
being attracted by a slight commotion in a clump of grass, he turned his 
horse thither to look, and to his astonishment found an antelope fawn at. 
the last gasp, but still feebly struggling, in the grasp of a ferret, which had 
throttled it and was sucking its blood with hideous greediness. He avenged 
the murdered innocent by a dexterous blow with the knotted end of his 

Most of the records of the black-footed ferret throughout its 
range are from prairie-dog towns, where ferrets are almost invari- 
ably found running from burrow to burrow or taking refuge in 
the underground retreats. Evidently their principal prey consists 
of prairie dogs, although so far as is known they have never been 
seen actually catching and killing one. While apparently very 
useful in destroying prairie dogs, they are so rare that little impres- 
sion is made upon the population of extensive prairie-dog towns. 
With the abundance of easily procured food it seems strange that they 
should remain so scarce. It is possible, however, that this very 
abundance has in some way pauperized the species until reproduc- 
tion is restricted. 


As in other weasels, the mammae are arranged in 3 pairs well 
back, 2 of these pairs close together in the inguinal region, and 1 
pair a little farther out on the posterior part of the abdomen. Ap- 
parently nothing is known of the breeding habits or of the number 
of young at a birth. 

Lutreola vison letifera (Holiister) 

DokslWca of the Dakotas (Riggs and 
Williamson) ; Daktsua of the Hi- 
datsas (Matthews). Naksua (Gil- 
more) ; Monika sunt ike of the Man- 
dans (Will), Mini-gasundek (Gil- 
more) ; Eruch of the Arikaras 

Mustela vison letifera Holiister, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., vol. 44, p. 475, 1913. 

Type locality. — Elk River, Minn. 
- General characters. — Size, medium, not so dark as the average of minks 
from farther north. In prime early-winter fur the color is a rich dark brown, 
darkening to blackish on the tail, with usually a white patch on chin, throat, 
or breast. Later in the winter and in spring the color fades out to a paler 
brown and in summer the short, harsh fur is yellowish brown. Measure- 
ments of large adult male from Lake Irwin, North Dakota : Total length, 697 
millimeters ; tail, 230 ; hind foot, 81. Of adult female from same place. 561, 17S, 
and 67. Weights of the two, 3 pounds 12 ounces, and 2 pounds 5 ounces, 

Distribution and habitat. — Until the minks have been thoroughly 
revised the limits of range of the different forms will necessarily 
remain somewhat in doubt. There are so few specimens from North 
Dakota that it is not possible to say whether more than one form 
is represented in the State, nor to determine the extent of the range 
of letifera,. It is quite probable that specimens from the northern 
part of the State could be referred to the larger, darker lacustris 
described by Preble from Manitoba, Canada. In the Biological 
Survey collection there is a female collected at Stanton, on October 
6, 1915, and an immature male from Fargo, taken December 27, 
1918. In the National Museum collection are four skulls taken by 
Coues on the Souris River in 1873, and there is a specimen in the 
agricultural college collection at Fargo, taken on Apple Creek, 
near Bismarck, in 1914. 

Although never numerous, minks seem to have been fairly common 
along most of the streams in the State. In 1801, Alexander Henry 
(1897, pp. 184, 198, 221, 245, 259, 281, 422, 440) reported 68 skins 
irom Reed River and 29 from Park River; in 1802, 6 skins taken at 
Grand Forks; in 1803, 39 taken on the Pembina River, 3 on the 
Turtle River and 8 in the Hair Hills; 1801, 13 at Grand Forks, 
2 in the Hair Hills, and 2 on Pembina River; 1805, 14 in the Hair 
Hills, 5 on Salt River, and 41 on Pembina River; 1800, 35 at Grand 
Forks, and 141 on Pembina River; 1807, 21 on Pembina River; and 
in 1808, 7 in the Hair Hills, 18 at Grand Forks, and 63 on Pembina 
River. At Fort Union, in 1883, Maximilian (Wied, 1839-41, Bd. 
1, pp. 431, 432, 1839) reported a few thousand mink skins brought 
in by the trappers each year. In 1873 Coues (1877, p. 175) reported 
many minks taken on the Mouse River. In 1887 they were reported 


common at Harwood, Grand Forks, Pembina, Devils Lake, and in 
the Turtle Mountains. 

In 1912 the writer was told that a good many were caught around 
the lakes in the vicinity of Hankinson each winter and that in the 
Turtle Mountains they were considered the most important fur ani- 
mal of the region. At Stump Lake and along the Sheyenne River, 
Eastgate reported them as occurring in limited numbers, and at 
Kathryn, in Barnes County, he reported six caught by one trapper 
during the winter of 1912. At Lisbon, Eansom County, he reported 
them as rather rare, but found on every river and creek, and on 
many of the deeper sloughs and lakes. At Fairmount, in 1915, 
Sheldon reported them as becoming rare, although a few were 
trapped each winter along the Bois de Sioux Kiver. At Wahpeton 
a few were said to be caught along the river each year. At Larimore 
and Manvel, in Grand Forks County, Kellogg reported quite a num- 
ber trapped each year. At Grafton he reported them fairly common 
along Park Kiver, where many were trapped in winter, and at Dray- 
ton, "in Pembina. County, a good many trapped by the half-breeds 
in winter. At Devils Lake he says they were not very common, but 
a few were taken each year, and at Towner he saw the tracks of 
one on the banks of Mouse River and learned that a few were trapped 
in winter. At Goodall he reported them quite common along the 
creeks and river, and near Elbowoods an Indian had caught six on 
Shell Creek during the preceding winter. At Stanton he took one 
specimen on Knife River and along the river near Sather and 
Wogansport he saw a few tracks, but considered the animals rather 
scarce. At Bismarck, in 1914, the writer caught one in a beaver 
trap set on Apple Creek, and at Wade, on the Cannonball River, in 
1913, Bell reported them as fairly common. In 1919, Murie reported 
them in fair numbers along the Red River near Fargo and a few on 
the James River and near Bowdon, and the writer found tracks along 
the Heart River near Mandan, in the Pembina Hills, and along the 
Red River near Grand Forks. Wherever there are streams or exten- 
sive lakes, minks seem to be holding their own fairly well over the 
State and will probably never be entirely exterminated even by per- 
sistent trapping and a rather high value on their skins. The days of 
the professional trapper seem nearly at an end, and if the minks 
have been able to withstand his skill for more than a hundred years 
they will doubtless persist for a long time with only local trappers 
to contend with. 

General habits. — Minks are semiaquatic animals, usually found 
near streams, where they do much of their hunting for small game, 
both in the water and on the banks. They are great hunters, with 
some of the bloodthirsty ferocity of the weasel, always eager to kill 
whatever they claim as game. Eastgate reports digging out a mink 
den at Sweetwater Lake, where he found 9 full-grown muskrats, 4 
ducks, 5 coots, several smaller birds, some mice, and one small jack 
rabbit, that had been killed and brought in for food. This was 
undoubtedly a breeding den, as it is only during the breeding season 
that the mink remains in one locality long enough to bring in such 
stores of food. For most of the year minks are wanderers over 
somewhat extended hunting grounds. In winter, when their habits 
can best be observed by watching their tracks, the same mink usually 


makes its round every few days with the varying regularity of a 
free lance. An abundance of safe retreats are found in the hollow 
banks of streams and lakes, often in muskrat burrows or houses, the 
owners of which have been killed or driven out in terror of their 
lives. A hollow tree or log is often used as a refuge or resting place. 

Minks climb trees readily when hard pressed by dogs and on sev- 
eral occasions while hunting raccoons the writer has shaken a mink 
out of the topmost branches of a tree for the waiting dogs below. 
Even then the dogs are not sure of their game, as the mink is wea- 
sel-like in its quickness at dodging and avoiding enemies. But if 
cornered, minks never refuse a fight with anything that comes their 
way and often terrify a dog by their savage screams as with light- 
ninglike motions they fasten their keen teeth into his nose or lips. 
Their pungent odor, from an amber-colored liquid carried like that 
of the skunk in two glandular sacs surrounding the anus, is used 
as a method of defense, and though quite different from that of the 
skunk it is equally offensive to man or beast. 

Breeding habits. — The five or six young are usually born in May 
and zealously cared for in the den by the mother mink until old 
enough to follow her on her hunting trips. Before the trapping sea- 
son begins in early winter they are practically full grown. The 
male has no part in the family affairs after the brief mating season, 
and as soon as the young are large enough to capture their prey 
the family disperses, and each is thereafter a solitary hunter. 

Food habits. — The natural food of minks consists mainly of ro- 
dents, birds, fish, and crustaceans. Among the rodents the muskrat 
is one of the favorites, and empty muskrat houses with a small round 
hole in one side usually indicate a family that has been destroyed by 
a mink. Sometimes a small pond will be entirely depopulated of 
muskrats before the mink leaves the vicinity, but in larger bodies 
of water the muskrats appear to escape to other houses or burrows 
and do not return until the mink has departed. Meadow mice ap- 
parently furnish considerable food for minks. Rats and rabbits are 
also captured for food, and wild ducks and other waterfowl, small 
birds, game, and poultry are equally acceptable. In places small fish 
furnish a large part of the food of minks, which often capture 
fish as large or larger than themselves. Crawfish and other crusta- 
ceans are greatly sought wherever they can be found and in many 
places form the principal food, as shown by the scattered droppings 
along the trails or about the dens. Frogs are eaten, but are evi- 
dently not a favorite food. At times dead animals, and especially 
frozen carcasses, are eaten when other food is not available, but 
live game that they can kill for themselves seems always to be pre- 
ferred to all else. In captivity they will eat bread or cereals soaked 
in milk and many table scraps, but only when fresh meat and blood 
are not to be had. 

Economic status. — Locally the minks have been known to do con- 
siderable damage to poultry. At Willows, N. Dak., in December, 
1886, David H. Herman wrote to the Biological Survey that a mink 
killed all of his hens one night and the next night spent its time 
trying to climb up the sides of the house to get at those hung up 
from the previous night's kill; the third night it came back and 
killed the rooster, the only remaining bird of the flock, and was 


found breakfasting on it in the morning. One of Mr. Herman's 
neighbors also lost 51 fowls in one night, the mink being killed with 
a stick in the henhouse the following morning. In 1912 Eastgate 
reported minks at Lisbon as doing some damage to poultry dur- 
ing fall and winter. So serious is this occasional damage that near 
streams or lakes it is generally necessary to protect poultry houses 
with some kind of mink-proof structure. 

The destruction of game, and especially waterfowl, is probably far 
more serious than is generally supposed, but the guilt is not easily 
divided between minks, weasels, skunks, and foxes. On the other 
hand, considerable credit is due the minks for destruction of rats, 
mice, and other troublesome rodents. Their fur value usually as- 
sures them protection during the season when fur is not prime. In 
the absence of statistics of annual fur values it seems safe to assume 
that minks alone contribute many thousands of dollars a year to 
the local trappers over the State. Although minks are easier to 
trap than foxes, the boy who can catch his half dozen in a season 
without devoting undue time to his trap line can take considerable 
satisfaction in his skill. 

Sufficient information has not been obtained to determine the 
practicability of domesticating minks, but with proper handling they 
have in some instances proved successful on a small scale. Consider- 
able has been written on their management in captivity, but further 
tests are necessary to show that they can be produced economically. 

Martes aniericana americana (Turton) 
Marten; Pine Marten; American Sable 

[Mustelal americanus Turton, Linnaeus, Syst. Nat, vol. 1, p. 60, 1806. 

Type locality. — Eastern North America. 

General characters. — About the same size as the mink, with longer legs, 
larger ears, longer and softer fur, and more bushy tail. Color usually lighter, 
more yellowish brown than the mink, varying from dull orange to dark chest- 
nut ; throat usually light yellow to deep orange. Measurements of adult male 
from Montana : Total length, 615 millimeters ; tail, 200, hind foot, 93 ; of adult 
female, 565, ISO, and 83, respectively. 

Distribution and habitat. — At present there are probably no 
martens in North Dakota, but in 1801 Alexander Henry (189T, pp. 
184, 198, 245, 259, 281, 422, 440) recorded among others taken, 26 
marten skins from Reed River and 36 from Park River ; in 1802 he 
reported 13 from the Hair Hills; 1803, 9 from Pembina River, 26 
from the Turtle River, and 47 from the Hair Hills; 1804, 21 from 
Grand Forks, 3 from the Hair Hills, 1 from Park River, and 5 from 
the Pembina River; 1805, 6 from the Hair Hills and 3 from the 
Pembina River; 1806, 4 from Grand Forks and 271 from Pembina 
River ; 1807, 75 from Pembina River ; 1808, 2 from the Hair Hills, 
6 from Grand Forks, and 69 from Pembina River. In his " Story 
of '53 " regarding the fur trade at Walhalla, Charles Cavileer 
says 700 martens were taken one winter. 

In 1833 Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 1, pp. 431-432, 1839) 
gave a list of the approximate number of furs bought at Fort Union 
during the year, and among these, marten skins numbered 500 or 
600. These, however, were undoubtedly brought down the river 
from wooded country farther north and west. Apparently martens 


were originally fairly common in the timbered sections of north- 
eastern North Dakota, but the beauty and value of their fur caused 
the early destruction of the species in that part of the State. 

General habits. — Martens are timber-loving animals and are 
rarely found away from forests or the vicinity of trees. They are 
not only Boreal in range, but largely arboreal in habits, seeking 
much of their prey under cover of brush and trees and pursuing 
squirrels and chipmunks up tree trunks and among the branches. 
They are rarely found along streams, but range at large through the 
woods, where their winter tracks may be distinguished from those 
of the mink by larger feet and longer reach. There is nothing 
recorded of their food habits in this region, but in other parts of 
the country their natural food consists largely of mice, squirrels, 
rabbits, and birds ; they are also known to eat berries, insects, and a 
variety of animal and vegetable foods. 

Economic status. — It is not probable that martens, even with 
careful protection, would ever return to restock the limited forest 
areas of North Dakota, but in captivity they give some promise of 
becoming of practical value for fur farming. In the northern part 
of the State, especially the forest area of the Turtle Mountains and 
Pembina Hills, their fur should become dense and fine, as the Boreal 
climate represents their original habitat. If the experiments being 
carried on in raising martens prove successful, North Dakota should 
be found well adapted to the industry. 

Martes pennanti pennanti (Erxleben) 
Fisher; Pekan; Black Cat 

[Mustela] pennanti Erxleben, Syst. Regni Aniin., p. 470, 1777. 

Type locality. — Eastern Canada. 

General characters. — About twice the size of tbe marten, -with relatively 
long legs, long tail, and coarse fur. Colors, blackish with a grizzled cape 
over top of head, neck, and shoulders. A large male measured in total 
length 1,020 millimeters ; tail, 400 ; hind foot, 143 ; a female, 835, 343, and 115, 

Distribution and habitat. — Fishers belong to the Boreal Zone 
forests of the northern part of the continent, and in the early trap- 
ping days reached into northeastern North Dakota. On September 
26, 1800, Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 103,- 122, 184, 198, 221, 245, 
259, 281, 422, 440) reported one seen at the mouth of the Park 
River, and on October 19 wrote in his journal at the same locality 
that some fishers were brought in daily by the trappers. In the 
spring of 1801 he recorded 108 fisher skins from the Reed River and 
70 from the Park River; in 1802, 23 from Grand Forks and 57 from 
the Hair Hills; 1803, 69 from the Pembina River, 98 from the 
Turtle River, and 111 from the Hair Hills; 1804 ? 36 from Grand 
Forks, 30 from the Hair Hills, 16 from the Park River, and 21 from 
the Pembina River; 1805, 74 from the Hair Hills, 14 from the Suit 
River, and 25 from the Pembina River ; 1806, 59 from Grand Forks 
and 140 from the Pembina River; 1807, 78 from the Pembina River; 
1808, 46 from the Hair Hills, 14 from Grand Forks, and 29 from 
the Pembina River. Apparently the animals were not uncommon 
then, as the number of skins usually ran higher than that of mink 
and marten and many of the other fur bearers that were being 


taken. In 1853 Charles Cavileer, at Walhalla, reported 400 fisher 
skins a year as not an unusual number obtained by the fur company 
of which he was agent, but many of them doubtless came from 
beyond the borders of the State. 

In 1833 Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 1, pp. 431-432, 1839) , 
in listing the approximate number of skins annually brought in to 
Fort Union (now Buford), gives the fisher as 500 to 600. Some 
of these may have come from the Turtle Mountains, Souris, and 
the Mouse River country, but probably more of them were brought 
down the Missouri and Yellowstone from farther west. At the pres- 
ent time there are certainly no fishers within the State and there 
seem to be no authentic records of their occurrence since the early 
trapping days. 

General habits. — Fishers, like martens, are mainly forest-dwelling 
animals, seeking their prey of small mammals, rabbits, squirrels, 
and birds among the trees and brush and wandering at large over 
the woodland areas. They are expert climbers and pursue and 
capture squirrels in the treetops. The common name applied to 
them is an evident misnomer, as they are not known to catch fish 
or to frequent streams or bodies of water. The names " black cat " 
and " pekan " are also used for them, but less commonly than that 
of " fisher." 

Economic status. — The fur of the fisher, although hidden by long, 
coarse hairs, is full, soft, and durable, and the general effect of 
prime skins made into wearing apparel is very pleasing. They are 
counted among the more valuable furs, and have always brought a 
high price in the fur market. For this reason the animals have dis- 
appeared or become scarce over much of their original range, but 
are still taken in some numbers in northwestern United States, 
Alaska, and Canada. 

Gulo luscus (Linnaeus) 
"Wolverene; Glutton; "Indian Devil" 

Eh-tupah of the Hidatsas, Mato-ka of 
the Mandans (Maximilian). 

[Ursus] luscus Linnaeus, Syst. Nat., ed. 12, t. 1, p. 71, 1766. 

Type locality. — Hudson Bay. 

General characters. — A heavily built little animal with short ears, short 
legs, and short, bushy tail. Fur soft and light, covered with long coarse 
overhairs. Color dark brown, or blackish, with a yellow gray band along sides 
and across rump, and more or less gray over top of head and shoulders ; throat, 
breast, and sometimes belly usually with irregular white spots. A very large 
male from Alaska, collected by Charles Sheldon, measured in total length, 
1,070 millimeters ; tail, 218 ; hind foot, 190 ; and weighed 36 pounds ; an adult 
female from northern Mackenzie, measured by Preble, 920, 200, and 175 milli- 
meters, respectively. 

Distribution and habitat. — The wolverenes are Boreal animals ex- 
tending across the northern part of the country and southward into 
the high mountain region. In North Dakota they apparently occu- 
pied at least the northeastern part of the State in the early trapping 
days and possibly the north weastern part. In 1801 Alexander Henry 
(1897, pp. 184, 198, 221, 245, 259, 281) reported, among other skins 
taken by his trappers, 2 wolverenes from the Reed River and 3 from 
the Park River; in 1802, he reported 3 from the Hair Hills; 1803, 


4 from the Pembina Kiver ; 1804, 3 from Grand Forks, 1 from the 
Park River, and 2 from the Pembina River ; in 1805, 1 from the Hair 
Hills and 5 from the Pembina River ; in 1806, 1 from Grand Forks 
and 10 from the Pembina River. They were not mentioned by Maxi- 
milian among the skins brought in at Fort Buford in 1833, but in 
1842 Harris included them in his list of mammals of the upper Mis- 
souri territory from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union. A specimen 
brought from Fort Union by Mr. Culbertson in 1850, for the National 
Museum collection, probably, as Baird (1857, p. 182) says, was 
brought to Fort Union from some of the posts toward the Rocky 
Mountains. The fact that both the Minnetaree and Mandan Indians 
have names for this animal is suggestive of its occasional occurrence 
in the upper Missouri region of North Dakota. Howard Eaton wrote, 
under date of June 19, 1919, that while he never saw one during 
his residence in the Little Missouri country in the seventies, a hunter 
named Henry Bennett told him of poisoning one at the mouth of 
Cherry Creek, near the Killdeer Mountains. Apparently there are 
no recent records of occurrence in the State. 

General habits. — Wolverenes are found mainly within timbered 
sections of the country, but are great wanderers and at times may 
strike out over open country in search of new hunting grounds. 
They are omnivorous hunters and scavengers and have the reputa- 
tion of being gorging gluttons, a fact which has given them one of 
their common names. Although valuable as fur animals, they are in 
bad repute with the trappers from their habit of robbing traps and 
breaking into caches of food and supplies. 

They are said to have from two to four young, and like most of 
the family they have three pairs of mammae arranged close together 
on the posterior part of the abdomen. Their underfill- is soft and 
lax, of a gray-brown color, mainly obscured by the long, glossy 
outer hairs, which in prime skins have a well-spaced and pleasing 
effect aside from the beautiful and striking pattern of coloration. 
Prime skins usually bring a high price in the fur market, partly no 
doubt from their rarity, but mainly from their intrinsic beauty and 
durable quality. 

Lutra canadensis canadensis (Schreber) 

(PL 18, fig. 2) 

Pta n of the Dakotas (Riggs and Wil- 
liamson) ; Pehtakd of the Mandans 
(Will) ; Midapoka of the Hidatsas 
(Matthews); Citapat of the Ari- 
karas (Gilmore). 

Mustela lutra canadensis Schreber, Siiugthiere, pi. 126b [1778]. 

Type locality. — Eastern Canada. 

General characters. — Body, long and slender; tail, tapering and muscular; 
legs, short ; feet, webbed ; ears, small ; fur, dense and glossy. General color, 
rich dark brown slightly lighter below and with grayish brown on throat and 
cheeks. Measurements of adult male from Canada: Total length, 1.220 milli- 
meters; tail, 482; hind foot, not given (Audubon, 1851-1854, vol. 2, p. 4, 1851) ; 
in inches, 48, 19, respectively; of female, 1.150, 408, and 137 millimeters, 
respectively. Judging from a medium-sized female from Idaho which weighed 
19 pounds, the weight of a large male may be estimated at 25 pounds. 


Distribution and habitat. — A few otters are still found along all 
the principal streams in North Dakota and around some of the 
larger lakes. Although never very abundant, they were evidently 
much more so in the early trapping days than at present. Owing 
to their peculiar habits and disposition they hold their own better 
than many of the more common fur bearers and will undoubtedly 
remain for generations a part of the North Dakota fauna. In 
1801-1808 Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 184, 198, 221, 245, 259, 281, 
422, 440) reported 60 otter skins from Keed River, 49 from Park 
River, 117 from Grand Forks, 24 from the Hair Hills, 322 from 
Pembina River, 34 from Turtle River, and 12 from Salt River. In 
1833 Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. l,pp. 431-432,1839) reported 
200 to 300 skins brought in annually at Fort Union, and he fre- 
quently speaks of the use of otter skins or otter tails for decorations 
among the Indians. Henry (1897, p. 85) speaks of shooting four 
otters from the canoes in one day near the mouth of Park River on 
his way up the Red River, and evidently they were in considerable 
abundance in the Red River Valley at that time. Lewis and Clark 
(1893, pp. 175, 272), on October 21, 1804, obtained an otter near 
the mouth of Heart River, and another was seen and shot at about 
30 miles above the mouth of the Little Missouri River on April 
14, 1805. 

A skull from Fort Berthold in the United States National Mu- 
seum collection was mentioned by Doctors Allen and Coues, but 
seems to be no longer in the museum. Audubon (1851-1854, vol. 2, 
p. 11, 1851), on his trip up the Missouri River in 1843, says: "We 
did not capture any otters during our journey up the Missouri to 
the Yellow Stone River, but observed traces of them in the small 
water courses in that direction." In 1913 John Hailand told Morris 
J. Kernall that there were still a good many otters at Valley City 
when he settled there in 1878. In 1887 the writer found otter tracks 
along the northern shore of Devils Lake, and in the Turtle Moun- 
tains was told that the animals were still fairly common. In 1912 
he could get only indefinite reports of their occurrence in the Turtle 
Mountains, but a more ideal country for them could hardly be imag- 
ined than this region of numerous lakes and streams well stocked 
with fish. In 1910 Anthony reported a few otters still caught along 
the Missouri River near Buford, and in 1912 Eastgate reported 
them from the Sheyenne River, 3 miles south of Tolna. In 1915 
Kellogg reported one seen at the mouth of Antelope Creek near 
Goodail by Jess VvKlsome two years previously, and at Elbowoods a 
pair recently seen on a lake at the headwaters of Shell Creek, where 
they had been common a few years before. 

General habits. — Otters are largely aquatic in habits, traveling 
with great ease and speed on or underneath the surface of the water, 
where much of their food is captured. On land they are slow and 
awkward except when they " toboggan " over the country on soft 
snow with considerable speed and evident pleasure. On dry land 
they are rarely found away from the shores of streams or Jakes, but 
on deep melting snow they often make long journeys from one stream 
or lake to another, progressing rapidly in short jumps and long 
slides on their glossy bellies. They are powerful animals and savage 
fighters. Few dogs can handle one on land and they will quickly 
dispose of any dog that they can get into the water. They are 


intelligent and, unlike the weasel tribe, have pleasant dispositions 
and are said to make affectionate and interesting pets. They have 
few enemies except man, and as more than ordinary trapping skill 
is required to catch them, they are able to maintain themselves and 
remain scattered throughout the settled parts of the country in spite 
of a high price on their beautiful fur. 

Breeding habits. — The young are usually two to four in number 
and while small are kept in burrows along the banks. Later they 
follow the mother on hunting trips until nearly full grown, when 
they scatter out and each one becomes thereafter a solitary hunter. 

Food habits. — Apparently the greater part of the food of otters 
consists of fish, which they pursue and catch in the water. They are 
rarely found along streams and lakes where fish are not plentiful, 
but evidently a great part of the fish taken are of the smaller and 
slower species or the sick or crippled individuals, which fall an easy 
prey. Crawfish and frogs are also eaten, and it is probable that 
many waterfowl are captured under favorable conditions. In winter 
otters travel long distances under the ice, through which they cut 
holes to the surface when they wish to come out. They are usually 
in good condition and often covered with a layer of fat like a white 
blanket under the skin, which serves to protect them from the cold 
and renders them very difficult to skin for fur. 

Economic status. — Otter is one of the more valuable and most 
beautiful of our native furs. It is very durable, especially in the 
unplucked form, with the glossy overhairs protecting the dense, 
silky underfill*. Although the price is relatively low for actual 
value, usually ranging from $10 to $25 for prime skins, it is sufficient 
to tempt the fur farmer to experiment with raising otters in cap- 
tivity. As the habits of the animals are becoming better known it 
is found to be possible to breed them in captivity, and several 
broods of young have been raised in zoological parks. Further ex- 
periments and intensive study will be necessary before otters can be 
recommended for the production of fur in captivity. 

Mephitis hudsonica Richardson 
Northern Skunk 

Ma"ka of the Dakotas (William- 
son) : Su"kte of the Mandans 
(Will); Choka of the Hidatsas 
(Matthews) ; Ho Jiff a (Gilrnore) ; 
Nichicit of the Arikaras (Gilrnore). 

Mephitis americana v:ir. hadsonlca Richardson, Fauna Boreali-Americana, pt. 
1, p. 55, 1829. 

Type locality. — Plains of the Saskatchewan. 

General characters. — Low, heavy-bodied, bushy-tailed animals with planti- 
grade feet, naked soles, and long digging claws. The most striking pecu- 
liarity consists of the pair of anal scent glands, which secrete a yellow fluid 
with a powerful odor. This northernmost and largest form of the genus 
Mephitis has a very long and busby tail; the color is glossy black with a 
white stripe between the eyes and a white triangle on the back of the neck 
connecting across the shoulders with two broad white stripes along the sides 
of the back and tail ; upper base, lower surface, and tip of tail usually black 
or washed with black over the surface. The relative amount of black and 
white varies greatly in different individuals. An adult male from Cannon Ball 
measures in total length, 710 millimeters ; tail, 300 ; hind foot, 80 ; a female from 
Towner measures 780, 273, and 91, respectively. Weight of a large adult from 
the Yellowstone Park, 8% pouiuls. (Seton, 1909, vol. 2. p. 968.) 


Distribution and hatitat. — The large northern skunks range over 
most of the northern Plains country and extend south in the 
mountains to New Mexico. They are found over practically all of 
North Dakota, ranging alike over the prairie and into the open 
forest, but are most abundant along the brushy borders of streams 
and lakes and in the thickets of the gulches. They are much trapped 
and their abundance varies constantly, but they quickly increase 
where trapping is relaxed for a short time. So unsuspicious and 
easily caught are they that by persistent effort any amateur can get 
most of them in his vicinity. None were reported by the fur trappers 
of the early pioneer days, evidently because skunk fur was not then 
considered marketable. Hence no companion can be made of their 
past or present abundance. In 1878, when John Hailand came to 
Valley City, skunks were numerous. In 1887, the writer found 
them common at Pembina, Devils Lake, in the Turtle Mountains, 
and at Fort Buford. In 1909 D. D. Streeter reported them at 
Medora, and in 1910 Anthony reported a few at Fort Buford. In 
1912 Eastgate reported them at Stump Lake, Valley City, Lisbon, 
Kathryn, and Bottineau. One trapper near Bottineau had 77 skins 
and another at Lisbon claimed to have taken 178 during the previous 
winter. The same year the writer found skunks fairly common in 
the country about Fargo, Stump Lake, Valley City, and in the 
Turtle Mountains, where they were said to be one of the principal 
fur-bearing animals caught in both fall and spring. In 1913 he 
was told there were a few about Kenmare and along the Mouse River 
farther west. At Fort Clark, Jewett reported them rather scarce, 
although a few tracks were seen on the river bottoms near there. 
In the Badlands, 25 miles south of Medora, a few tracks were 
found. In 1915 Sheldon reported them as common about Fairmount, 
Oakes, Dawson, and Cannon Ball across the southern part of the 
State, and Kellogg reported them common at Wahpeton, Larimore, 
Manvel, Grafton, Drayton, south of Devils Lake, Towner, Grin- 
nell, and along the Missouri River at Lostwood, Elbowoods, Good- 
all, Stanton, and Sather. At many of these localities they were re- 
garded as the principal fur-bearing animals taken by the trappers, 
and at Drayton, in Pembina County, Kellogg says that with the 
mink and muskrat they form the means of support for a large 
number of persons during the winter months. 

General habits. — Owing to their confidence in their peculiar de- 
fensive powers, skunks appear fearless and independent. As a mat- 
ter of fact they have no other recourse, as their short legs bar escape 
and their rather weak bodies are unfitted for combat. When met 
in the path or in the bushes or grass they usually stand their ground, 
stamp their feet, and with erect and bristling tail make themselves 
as conspicuous as possible, on the assumption that they will be given 
plenty of room. Generally their right of way is undisputed, but if 
closely pressed they about face or throw the body forward and with 
a quick contraction of the muscular bands surrounding the scent 
gland force the amber-colored fluid through one or both of the 
nipplelike ducts to a distance of 10 to 15 feet. The spray is often 
so fine as to be unnoticed, except by the powerful odor, which at 
once fills the air and almost stifles one in close proximity. So far 
as possible, the animals avoid getting the fluid on themselves, and 


when undisturbed they usually have little, if any, trace of the odor. 
Even when caught in traps they rarely discharge their scent unless 
approached or clumsily handled when killed. If shot so as to break 
the spinal column or if struck a sharp blow with a club just back 
of the shoulders, the posterior muscles are paralyzed so that the scent 
will not be discharged and the animals may be skinned with no un- 

Skunks generally make their homes in burrows, which they dig 
in banks or brush patches, or even occasionally in the open. They 
are mainly nocturnal, but usually leave their dens early in the evening 
and are often seen abroad before dark and after daylight. They 
are great hunters, and notwithstanding their short legs often travel 
long distances in search of food. In fall they become very fat, and 
usually with the first snows enter the burrows that have been pre- 
pared for winter use and curl up for the winter's sleep of four or 
five months. Generally they are out before the last snows are gone 
in March, and often their tracks are found in the soft, wet snow in 
spring. Much of the winter's fat is carried over and is needed for 
the spring mating season or until the supply of insects and other 
summer food becomes available. 

Breeding habits. — A female taken by Sheldon on May 11, 1915, 
at Fairmount, contained 4 well-developed embryos showing per- 
fectly the characteristic white stripes. This was evidently the first 
litter of a young breeding animal, as usually the number of young 
is 6 to 10. Nine skunks which Kellogg reported dug out of one 
burrow, near Wahpeton, in the winter of 1915, probably represented 
a family that had not been broken up — the mother skunk and 8 
young. The mammae in breeding females are usually arranged in 
7 pairs, 2 pairs of inguinal, three of abdominal, and 2 of pectoral, or 
in 2 long rows of 7 each, rather evenly spaced along each side of the 
ventral region. 

Food habits. — Apparently the largest part of the food of skunks 
consists of grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, and other insects and insect 
larvae, which they catch in the grass or dig up from underground 
or under decayed vegetation or rotten logs. Their stomachs are 
large and are usually found well filled with material that is easily 
identifiable. They eat some mice, especially tlje young of mice and 
other rodents which they dig out of the nests. To what extent they 
feed on young and old ground squirrels in North Dakota has not 
been well determined, but undoubtedly they get some of these among 
other rodents. They are fond of eggs and the stomach of one taken 
\>y Sheldon at Fairmount on May 11 contained egg-shells of prairie 
chickens, as well as remains of five young meadow mice. Eastgate 
says they are destructive to young chickens during early summer, 
and to prairie chickens, sharp-tailed grouse, and wild ducks during 
the breeding season. Along the borders of the Sweetwater Lakes in 
June, 1916, skunks were found unusually numerous and in the 
evenings they were often met galloping along the trails at the edge 
of the lake or climbing about through the reeds and tules where the 
ducks were nesting, evidently searching for nests containing eggs or 
young birds. The fact that many of the old ducks had small broods 
of young and others none may have been attributable to these nest 
robbers, although minks and other animals may have been in part 


responsible. The regular breeding grounds of ducks and other water 
birds should be protected from skunks and such animals by very- 
thorough trapping during the fur season and, if necessary, during 
the breeding season of the birds. 

Economic status. — Skunks are one of the most valuable, because 
one of the most abundant, of the fur-bearing animals in North 
Dakota. There are no statistics as to the number taken in the 
State, but the total number of skunk skins sold in London in 1911 
was more than 2,000,000. The average price at that time was $2 each. 
In 1921, 824,599 skunk skins were dressed by one association, 
which handles about 90 per cent of the fur dressed in America. 
The recent average price of raw skins in New York City was $3. 
This gives only an incomplete record of the skunk fur crop, of 
which North Dakota furnishes her full share. 

In many sections, however, the fur of skunks is not their greatest 
value, as their insect and rodent-destroying habits render them 
extremely useful adjuncts to agriculture. An overabundance of 
skunks would not be advantageous in most localities, and in certain 
areas their numbers should be restricted as much as possible. 
Their abundance should be Avell controlled by suitable trapping- 
laws with provision for local modifications. Many of the States 
have a close season protecting skunks, except when the fur is prime, 
during late fall, winter, and early spring. There is little danger 
of their extermination even locally, but their numbers could often 
be so controlled as greatly to increase their value for fur and other 

For fur farming, skunks have been thoroughly tested and in 
many cases successfully raised in confinement, but the low value 
of their fur prevents any large returns from the industry. Farmers' 
Bulletin 587, of the United States Department of Agriculture 
(Lantz, 1914), gives much practical information on the breeding of 
skunks for fur. 

Taxidea taxus taxus (Schreber) 

(PI. 15, fig. 2) 

Choka of the Dakotas (Riggs and 
Williamson) ; Mate - of the Man- 
dans (Will) ; Amaka of the Hi- 
datsas (Matthews), Aicaga (Gil- 
more) ; Sunuh-katuh (flat porcu- 
pine) of the Arikaras (Gilmore). 

Ursus taxus Schreber, Saugthiere, Theil. 3, p. 520, 1778. 

Type locality. — " Labrador and Hudson Bay " (probably really from Mani- 
toba or Saskatchewan). 

General characters. — A heavy-bodied, low, wide, powerfully built animal of 
the weasel family, with short, muscular neck, short ears, short legs, and 
short tail ; fur, long and light, especially on the sides, which heightens the 
effect of the wide body. Color of upper parts buffy or brownish gray, top 
of head and nose blackish with white stripe from nose to back of neck, 
white markings on cheeks connected with white or creamy throat ; under- 
pays, plain buff or soiled whitish ; feet and legs, black. Measurements of 
adult male from Oakes : Total length, 788 millimeters ; tail 133 ; hind foot 120. 
Of female from Lidgerwood, 730, 150, and 114, respectively. Weight of male 
from Wisconsin, 23 pounds 6 ounces. (Jackson, 1908, p. 2S.) 


Distribution and habitat. — Badgers range over most of the west- 
ern United States and from southern Mexico to Saskatchewan, and 
several well-marked forms are recognized. Those ranging over the 
whole of North Dakota may undoubtedly be referred to the original 
species. Apparently there is no considerable area in North Dakota 
where they are not occasionally found. Although most abundant 
over the prairies, they penetrate into open forested country and 
even in the Turtle Mountains are found occasionally throughout the 
more or less scattered timber. Over the prairie country their great- 
est abundance usually coincides with the abundance of ground squir- 
rels, which form their principal prey. In the more thickly settled 
parts of the State they are disappearing, as they are practically de- 
fenseless and easily destro} r ed by man unless they can escape into 
convenient underground burrows. As the time will doubtless come 
when these useful animals will be very scarce, it seems worth while 
to give detailed record of their present distribution. 

In 1887 the writer found them common at Harwood, Grand Forks, 
Pembina, Devils Lake, Bottineau, Rugby Junction, and Fort Bu- 
ford. In 1892 Loring reported them common about Sherbrooke and 
Jamestown. In 1909, they were found fairly common both in and 
around the Turtle Mountains. In 1910 Anthony reported a few 
burrows around Fort Buford, but the badgers were more abundant 
on the other side of the Missouri River. In 1912 they were more or 
less common at Hankinson, Fargo, Valley City, and Stump Lake, 
and a few in the Turtle Mountains; and Eastgate reported them 
about Stump Lake, Kathiyn, and Lisbon. In 1913 the writer found 
them common at Kenmare, Crosby, and on the Dakota National 
Forest, south of Medora. Jewett reported a few along the Little 
Missouri River from Medora to Quinion and many of their bur- 
rows in the country about Sentinel Butte. In 1915 Sheldon found 
them fairly common across the southern part of the State at Fair- 
mount, Lidgerwood, and Oakes. In the same year it was said that 
there were still a few near Wahpeton, and Kellogg saw the remains 
of one in the road near Larimore. At Manvel, in Grand Forks 
County, he reported a number of burrows found in almost any field 
where the badgers had been digging out ground squirrels. Near 
Grafton he reported one killed on the Munson farm. At Drayton, 
in Pembina County, he found where one had been working on the 
farm where he staid, but it had recently disappeared. Along the 
south side of Devils Lake he found a number of places where the 
badgers had been working, but saw none of the animals. At Towner 
he collected a specimen and reported the animals quite numerous and 
doing some damage to the roads as well as killing a great many ground 
squirrels. In one place he counted 18 burrows within a radius of 20 
feet. At Grinnell, on the Missouri River, he reported two badgers seen 
and at Lostwood he considered them fairly numerous, judging by 
the number of burrows. At Elbowoods, farther down the river, he 
was told that they were plentiful, and at Goodall quite a few were 
found. At Stanton he reported them as fairly plentiful over the 
prairie and one occasionally found on the river bottoms. From 
Washburn to Bismarck he was told that they were occasionally 
found. At the Sweetwater Lakes in 1910, Mrs. Bailey saw three 
alive and one that had been killed. 


General habits. — Badgers are preeminently burrowing animals, and 
they depend on their claws not only for unearthing a large part of 
their game, but also for the construction of both their summer and 
winter homes. They seem to prefer open country, where they can 
see to considerable distances and either escape the approaching enemy 
by retreating to some near-by burrow or, if necessary, by quickly 
digging a hole in the ground deep enough to protect all but their 
vicious jaws, which few animals care to approach. Within a few 
minutes they will sink their burrows until they are out of sight 
and then pack the earth behind them as they continue to tunnel 
through the ground to greater depths. A person on foot can easily 
overtake one as it lopes away on its short legs, but if unarmed or 
without even a stick or stone, the tables are quickly turned, and he 
has to run his best to escape having his legs severely bitten. With 
a camera one can usually obtain good pictures by chasing a badger 
until it turns and then backing about over the prairie as it comes 
on in animated pursuit. Occasionally one is seen lying in the sun 
on the mound in front of the burrow from which it has unearthed a 
ground squirrel, or loping across the road in its short, floppy gait. 
Dogs usually pursue, but keep well out of reach of the savage jaws 
of the badger, and there are very few dogs that do not get the worst 
of an encounter with one of these strong- jawed, thick-hided animals. 
In summer the badgers spend most of their time and energy in dig- 
ging out the various rodents on which they feed, and even after the 
ground squirrels have denned up for winter continue to unearth and 
feed upon them for a month or six weeks, until the ground begins 
to freeze, when they seek their own winter quarters and, well en- 
sconced in deep burrows, curl up for a long sleep. At this time of 
year they are always fat and covered with a heavy coat of long fur. 
From the middle of October to the middle of March they are rarely 
seen above ground, but with the melting of snow they appear and, 
still fat and with a still heavier coat of fur, start out on their hunt- 
ing and mating expeditions. 

Breeding habits. — Surprisingly little is known of the breeding 
habits of badgers. The young are apparently brought forth and 
kept within the burrows until well grown, as few persons have 
seen a badger outside less than half grown. The mammae are 
usually in 4 pairs, 2 pairs of inguinal and 2 of abdominal, and the 
young are usually four in number. Near Stump Lake, on July 23, 
1912, a family of four not fully grown young were found in the 
prairie grass. They were followed to the nearest burrow, where the 
]ast of the four was struggling to get inside. It was caught by the 
tail and then by both hind legs and given a wide swing over the 
prairie grass to a considerable distance from the burrow. With the 
camera the writer followed around, teasing and keeping it engaged 
while taking as many photographs as were wished before it was 
allowed to return to the burrow where its brothers and sisters had 

Food habits. — In North Dakota the favorite food of the badger 
seems to be the Richardson ground squirrel, and where the squirrels 
are most abundant so also are the badgers. Other ground squirrels 
are dug out and eaten wherever found, as also are pocket gophers, 
prairie dogs, mice, and other burrowing rodents. Occasionally 


badgers will feed on some old carcass, and usually they will take any 
kind of meat with which traps are baited. On rare occasions one will 
dig under a chicken coop and kill some of the poultry, but this hap- 
pens so rarely and is so easily prevented as to be of little economic 

Economic status. — In North Dakota, as in other parts of the 
country, badgers are generally killed on sight by the residents on 
the pretext that they catch poultry, kill lambs, and are a danger to 
horses, which sometimes step in their burrows and, if running, 
possibly break their legs or injure their riders; or that they make 
burrows in roads, causing serious bumps to passing automobiles. 
All of these claims have some foundation in fact, but they are 
generally over-emphasized to warrant the wanton destruction of 
a conspicuous and rather ferocious little carnivore that is not swift or 
skilful enough to protect itself. 

Or Mie other hand, the badger spends almost all of its time digging 
out and devouring the most injurious rodent pests of the region, thus 
saving a large quantity of grain and other crops from destruction. 
It is unquestionably one of the least harmful and most completely 
beneficial of the native mammals in the State, and even when the 
ground squirrels are poisoned and under good control there will 
still be ample employment for the badgers in digging out pocket 
gophers, mice, and other small rodents which must be held in check 
to prevent serious loss to crops. 

Only recentty have badger skins come into general use as fur. 
While very durable, warm, and when in prime condition, rather at- 
tractive, they are certainly worth more to the State when worn by 
the badger than when made into robes, coats, or muffs. In some 
States the value of the badger is recognized and the animal is 
protected by law, but a protection through popular sentiment based 
on a full knowledge of its useful habits would be much more effec- 
tive than a legal statute not well enforced. 

Family PIIOCYOX1DAE : Raccoons 

Procyon lotor lotor (Linnaeus) 
Raccoon; " Coon " 

Wica of the Dakotas (William- 
son) ; Mikd of the Omahas (Gil- 
more) ; Isat of the Arikaras (Gil- 
more) ; Shunte-pusa of the Mandans 
(Gilmore) ; Sida-buzhe of the Hid- 
atsas (Gilmore) ; Asebun of the 
Ojibways ( Wilson ) . 

[Ur8us] lotor Linnaeus, Syst. Nat., ed. 10, t. 1, p. 48, 1758. 

Type locaMtjf. — Eastern United States. 

General character*. — A thick-set, furry little animal with pointed nose, 
prominent ears, round, furry tail, long naked soles, and strong curved claws. 
Color, yellowish or silvery gray, with light gray ears, face, and feet ; gray 
more or loss darkened with black-tipped hairs over the back; a black mask 
across face, black spots back of ears, and five black rings around tail; long 
woolly underfur light brown. Measurements of a large male taken near 

82242°— 26 13 


Fargo, by Murie : Total length, 880 millimeters ; tail, 265 ; hind foot, 125. 
Weight, 24 pounds. A large and very fat male at Elk River, Minn., weighed 
30^ pounds. 

Distribution and habitat. — In the early trapping days raccoons 
were abundant in the Red River Valley and apparently scarce in 
the western part of the State. On September 16, 1800, Alexander 
Henry (1897, pp. 88, 90, 112, 122,' 136, 155, 171) on a canoe trip 
along Red River, tells us in his journal that his " people saw many 
raccoons in the course of the day, and shot four." On October 5, at 
the mouth of the Park River, his party caught 5, and on October 6, 3, 
and on October 18, 20. After that he records some brought in daily by 
the trappers ; many of them were very fat, and when stripped of the 
fat and roasted made excellent eating. On November 7, he wrote: 
" My men took great numbers of fat raccoons in their traps ;" and 
on November 18, no more taken, as they had all denned up for the 
winter. At Park River, on November 30, he reports seven raccoons 
taken from one hollow tree where they were evidently hibernating. 
On March 5, 1801, he says : " The snow is gone and raccoons begin to 
come out in the daytime." During the trapping seasons from 1800 
to 1809, he (Henry, 1897, pp. 184, 198, 221, 245, 259, 281, 440) re- 
ported among others, 37 raccoon skins taken at Red River, 163 at 
Park River, 144 at Grand Forks, 57 in the Hair Hills, 158 on the 
Pembina River, 63 on the Turtle River, and 15 on the Salt River. 
Apparently they were one of the commonest fur-bearing animals of 
that region. 

In 1887 the writer found them common near Fargo and at Devils 
Lake, and in 1895 Loring reported them common at Portland, where 
he saw skins of some that had been taken in that vicinity. In 1912, 
in the Turtle Mountains, a resident trapper said that he knew of 
only three instances of raccoons having been taken in the hills and 
he considered them decidedly rare. The same year Eastgate re- 
ported three killed just north of Dion Lake on November 27. East- 
gate also reported a few on the Sheyenne River, south of Stump 
Lake, and was told that they were formerly common at Lisbon, but 
that of late years they had become very rare, only three or four 
skins being brought in each winter. In 1913, a few coons were 
reported along the Mouse River, east of Kenmare; and at Minot, 
Mr. Booth, the taxidermist, said that there were still a few at that 
time, but that they used to be very common when he first came there 
in the early eighties. On the Missouri River no mention is made 
of raccoons by Lewis and Clark, Maximilian, or Audubon, while 
Hayden (1875, p. 92) in his report on the upper Missouri region for 
1855, 1856, and 1857, reports them abundant at Council Bluffs; but 
the highest point on the Missouri River at which he observed them 
was about the mouth of the Niobrara River. The fact that Maxi- 
milian found a name for them among the Minnetaree Indians on 
the Upper Missouri would indicate that they were not entirely ab- 
sent from the region at that time. At Fort Clark in 1913 Jewett 
reported fresh tracks in muddy places along the Missouri River. 
In 1914 the writer found tracks along Apple Creek, just east of 
Bismarck, where the animals had been feeding on crawfish and 
mussels along the creek. 


In 1915, raccoons were found common along the river at Wahpeton, 
where many of the old hollow trees were well scratched up by their 
claws, and where there were great numbers of frogs in the marshes 
and an abundance of acorns, all of which offered a feast for them. 
In the same year Kellogg reported them at Grafton, where he saw 
three very large dark skins in the Williams collection. At Drayton, 
in Pembina County, he reported one occasionally captured, and 
around Devils Lake he found them common in the woods. At 
Grinnell, on the Missouri River, he reported a few caught, and at 
Goodall, he saw tracks along the river and was told that two had 
been taken by trappers two years before. At Elbowoods he saw a 
few tracks along the river, and near Sather he followed their tracks 
from the river to a cornfield, where they had been eating the corn 
and had destroyed entirely two rows. On his way from Washburn 
down the river to Bismarck he reported a few in the wooded sections 
of the river bottoms and was told of two trappers who had sold 75 
skins taken around Chanta Peta Creek, south of Bismarck. In 
1919, Mr. Allen, a taxidermist at Mandan, said that there had 
always been a few raccoons along the rivers there and one was 
brought in to be mounted the year before. No records were obtained 
from the Little Missouri country and the areas west of the immediate 
Missouri valley. 

General habits. — In general habits, as well as to a slight extent in 
appearance, the raccoons resemble the bears. They are very in- 
telligent and resourceful animals, adapting themselves to almost any 
environment where food is abundant and the climate not too severe. 
They are excellent climbers and usually make their homes in hollow 
trees or logs, but in the absence of such protection they often occupy 
caves and hollow spaces in banks or cliffs, where they find dark 
retreats for the daytime and safe dens for their long winter sleep. 
They are mostly nocturnal in habits, but on rare occasions will 
come out in the daytime when disturbed or move from one place 
to another in search of mates in the breeding seasons. 

Although not very swift runners, they can usually outdistance a 
man, but are quicklv overtaken by dogs, which are often used in 
hunting them at night. When pursued, if no hollow tree or rocky 
retreats are within range, they usually seek protection by climbing 
up the nearest tree. They are savage fighters and will generally 
get the best of a dog of approximately their own size. 

In fall they become very fat, and soon after the first snows fall 
enter their dens for hibernation and remain until the early spring 
thaws rouse them to renewed activity. 

Breeding habits.— Audubon (1851-1854, vol. 2, p. 77, 1851) gives 
a number of young of the raccoon as four to six, generally brought 
forth in May. The mammae are usually arranged in two pairs of 
abdominal and two pairs of pectoral. The young are kept well 
secreted in hollow trees or caverns and are rarely seen until about 
half grown, when they begin to follow their mother in search of 
food. In fall they are still in family parties and if so fortunate as 
to escape the dogs and trappers until November, they enter hiberna- 
tion together, the mother evidently selecting a suitable hollow for 


their winter's sleep. In spring the males are out with the first few 
warm days, making long journeys from tree to tree in search of 
mates. Occasionally in early spring a male and female are found 
together in a hollow tree or hollow log, but for the rest of the year 
the animals are mainly solitary, except for the mother and young. 

Food habits. — In tastes raccoons are highly omnivorous, accepting 
almost any food in the way of fish, flesh, or fowl, fruit, nuts, or corn. 
In this northern country they feed in summer very largely on craw- 
fish, mussels, frogs, and fish, and on such birds, eggs, or small mam- 
mals as they can find or catch. They are especially fond of ripe 
blueberries, serviceberries, and any kind of sweet fruit. In fall 
they usually fatten on acorns where these are obtainable, and the 
northern limits of their range are almost coincident with the north- 
ern limits of oaks. Often at this season their large stomachs con- 
tain nothing but the finely masticated pulp of acorn meats and a few 
shells, and the fattening properties of these rich nuts seem not to be 
lessened by their bitter and astringent flavor. They are also very 
fond of unripe corn, and at night will make long trips to cornfields, 
where they pull down the ears and strip them of their milky kernels. 
Once started on the green corn, they usually continue to feast on 
it from the early milky stages until it has become fully ripe. 

Economic status. — On rare occasions raccoons find their way into 
poultry yards or houses at night and kill some of the fowls or rob 
the nests of eggs. It is probable also that they destroy eggs and 
young of game and other birds occasionally, but there is little mis- 
chief that can be proved against them. Their raids on cornfields are 
often of considerable extent, but usualty the animals are discovered 
and captured by a night hunt with dogs before they have done 
serious damage. 

On the other hand, their value as one of the standard fur-bearing 
animals is usually sufficient far to outweigh the losses from their 
occasional depredations. Their fur is thick, warm, and light, and 
the skins, while light, are very strong and durable and specially 
well adapted for overcoats, robes, caps, and driving gloves. The 
fur is also used for women's capes and muffs, and when plucked is a 
fair imitation of plucked beaver fur, although longer and less dense. 
It is usually one of the rather low-priced furs, but gives good value 
in warmth and wear. 

Many people are very fond of the flesh of raccoons, and when 
fattened on acorns or beechnuts in the north the meat is of good 
flavor and wholesome. The fat makes a thin oil that is much prized 
for use on leather. In the pioneer days it was the principal oil for 
domestic purposes and even for machinery in the frontier settle- 
ments. Generally the raccoon is considered a valuable fur and game 
animal and its depredations are easily overlooked. Many of the 
skins are of little value because taken early in the fall before they 
have become heavily furred and prime. The young do not get their 
full growth before entering hibernation in fall, and only a very 
short season should be allowed for trapping before they den up for 
the winter. In North Dakota an open season from November 15 to 
March 15 would probably insure prime fur. 


Family URSIDAE: Bears 

Ursus americanus amcricanus Pallas 

Black Bear; Cinnamon Bear 

Wasabe of the Omahas (Gilmore) ; 
Wachank-shica of the Dakotas 
(Williamson) ; Konuch-katit of the 
Arikara (Gilmore), Watu — tame 
bear; Haschida of the Hidatsas 
(Maximilian) ; Ischidda of the 
Mandans ( Maximilian ) . 

Ursus americanus Pallas, Spicilegia Zool., fasc. 14, p. 5, 1780. 

Type locality. — Eastern North America. 

General characters. — A heavily built, powerfully muscled animal, not half so 
clumsy as it looks when fat and in long fur. Eyes, small and not very keen 
sighted, but the ears prominent and as sensitive to sound as the nose is keen 
to scent. Tail, short; feet, rather large and plantigrade with naked soles; front 
and hind claws, short, curved, and sharp for climbing. Color, mainly black, with 
usually a yellow-brown muzzle and occasionally a white spot on the breast or 
throat. Occasionally these bears are entirely brown, normally of a cinnamon 
color, but varying from yellow-brown to dark brown. Measurements of adult 
male, from Montana : Total length 1.6S0 millimeters ; tail, 105 ; hind foot, 275 ; 
in feet and inches, 5.5 feet, 4.1 inches, 10.8 inches, respectively. In Minnesota, 
where probably the same form occurs, the weight is estimated usually at about 
300 pounds for a fully adult male. One killed by A. H. Wilcox ( 1907. p. 100 ) , 
at Detroit, Minn., weighed 299 pounds. Seton (1909, vol. 2, p. 1052) gives the 
weight of a large male killed near Winnipeg, Manitoba, as 205 pounds. 

Distribution and habitat. — In the early days black bears evidently 
ranged over practically all of Xorth Dakota, but were most abundant 
along the Red River Valley, in the Turtle Mountains, Pembina Hills, 
and on the wooded streams of the eastern part of the State. There 
are a few records of them for the Missouri Valley, but apparently 
they were never common over the open prairie country or in the Bad- 
lands farther west. Their greatest abundance seems to have been 
in the Red River Valley, where from 1800 to 1808 Alexander Henry 
(1897, pp. 184-440) records them in such numbers as have rarely been 
known in any part of the country. In September, 1800, near the 
mouth of Park River, he reported 4 bears killed on the 14th, 6 on 
the loth, 1 on the lGth, 2 on the 20th, 3 on the 24th, 1 on the 25th, 
and 1 on the 2Gth of the month, and 40 skins taken by one party of 
trappers. For the next eight years he reported, among the fur 
bearers taken in the Red River Valley, 52 black and 20 brown bears 
on the Reed River, 148 black and 25 brown on the Park River, 64 
black and 3 brown at Grand Forks, 131 black and 2G brown from the 
Hair Hills, 302 black and 75 brown on the Pembina River, 28 black 
and 12 brown on the Turtle River, and 18 black and 2 brown on the 
Salt River, making in all 900 bears from this region. At the mouth 
of the Park River, on September 22, 1800, Henry (1897, p. 101-102) 
says in his journal : 

Bears make prodigious ravages in the brush and willows; the plum trees 
are torn to pieces, and < very tree that bears fruit has shared the same fate; 
the tops of the oaks are also very roughly handled, broken, and torn down, to 
get the acorns. The havoc they commit is astonishing; their dung lies about 
in the woods as plentiful as that of the buffalo in the meadow. 

Over the rest of the State the records are few and scattered. 
Along the Missouri River bears were not mentioned by most of the 


early explorers, although Audubon (1897, p. 133), in 1843, reported 
the killing of a black bear on the White Earth River, about 60 miles 
from its mouth, where he says a few are occasionally shot. In 1878, 
McChesney (1878, p. 202), from Fort Sisseton, S. Dak., just below 
the southeastern corner of North Dakota, reported them as once very 
common, but not seen of late years within 50 or 60 miles of the post. 
At Valley City, J. S. Weiser gave Morris J. Kern all a record of a 
black bear found near there in 1878. In 1887, there were said to be 
still a few black bears in the Devils Lake timbered areas, and in 
the Turtle Mountains they were said to be common. A few were 
also said to occur in the country about Fort Buford, but not on 
authority that seems very reliable. At Wade, on the Cannonball 
River in 1913, W. B. Bell reported black bears seen by Mr. Wade, 
who had lived there for 41 years. At the mouth of the Cannon- 
ball, in 1916, the writer was told that a few black bears had been 
found along the river bottoms up to comparatively recent times. 
Beede, who had lived among the Sioux Indians there, said that the 
Indians did not hunt them unless in dire need of food, as the bears 
were to them semisacred. When one was killed, he saj^s, a bit of its 
skin was left on a bush or tree as an offering to the spirit world. 

At the present time there are a few black bears in the Turtle 
Moimtains and Pembina Hills, where one is occasionally killed, and 
in the Red River Valley one may sometimes wander in from the 
heavy woods of northern Minnesota. At Grafton, Kellogg reported 
two killed by Andrew Monsebroten, five miles Avest of the town, in 
1884; two young bears killed by Arthur Blomquist, in 1910, about 
six miles north of Drayton on the Minnesota side of the river ; and 
another killed in Pembina County, in 1894, by Jim Spanglo, " the 
latest record I could get for the county." At Devils Lake, in 1916, 
Mr. Palmer told of a small brown bear killed near the lake only two 
years previously. It had been seen in several localities and evi- 
dently had wandered from the Turtle Mountains. 

General habits. — The black bears are timber-loving species, de- 
pending largely on the cover of thickets, swamps, and dense forests 
for protection, and to some extent also upon the trees for food 
and winter quarters. They are great wanderers, however, and do 
not hesitate to strike across wide stretches of open country when 
in search of a new supply of food, or when driven out of their 
regular haunts by hunters. Usually, however, their wanderings 
are along the lines of streams and wooded or brushy patches, where 
both food and cover are to be found. 

Food habits. — Few animals are more nearly omnivorous than 
the black bears, and as they are hearty eaters a great quantity of 
food is required to satisfy them, especially in fall, when they are 
preparing for their long 'winter sleep. Acorns, berries, and fruit 
form a great part of their food in this northern country, but they 
readily accept any meat or carcass that can be found, such insects 
as can be procured from ant hills, rotten logs, or overturned stones, 
and many plants and roots and much succulent vegetation. In 
summer they gorge themselves on blueberries and serviceberries, 
the abundant sweet fruit of which seems to appeal strongly to their 
appetites. In fall, wherever oaks are to be found, bears search 
for the acorns and gather them, first from the treetops by draw- 


ing in and breaking the branches until every acorn can be reached, 
often making the top of the tree look like an eagle's nest before they 
have finished with it. Later, as the ripe acorns fall to the ground, 
the}*- gather them up and eat them to the exclusion of almost every 
other food. These puckery but rich little nuts rapidly supply 
the heavy coating of fat necessary for carrying the bears comfort- 
ably through the long, cold winter hibernation. 

Hibernation. — In 1800, Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 157, 252-253, 
87, 135, 136, 117) wrote in his journals that " bears den in hollow trees 
along the Red River, but in the Hair Hills on higher ground in 
holes in the banks. They are hunted by the Indians in the trees." 
On November 13, 1804, at Pembina, he writes, " My tame bear is 
making a hole to take up his winter quarters in." On September 
6, 1800, he says, " one bear killed up a tree." In another place 
he records one bear killed November 5 and 10 skins brought in 
from the Hair Hills, November 6; and on May 1 following, he 
records 37 bear skins brought in from Grand Forts (p. 177). These 
dates, however, do not indicate reliable records of the beginning 
and end of hibernation, as apparently the Indians were in the habit 
of killing the bears in their winter dens. Usually the bears in 
northern Minnesota den up with the first heavy fall of snow and 
cold weather early in November, reappearing with the first warm 
days late in March or early in April. Their fur is not prime until 
about the time of hibernation and usually is in the best condition 
when they come out of their dens in spring. A large number of 
the skins taken are in almost worthless condition because the bears 
were killed too early in fall or too late in spring. 

Economic status. — Over much of the country black bears are 
now considered one of the valuable game animals and given pro- 
tection as such in the game laws. In a forested area like the Turtle 
Mountains it would seem well worth while to protect them until 
past danger of extinction. With the abundance of wild land, for- 
est, and lakes, and ample food in the berries and acorns, there is 
little probability of their doing any serious mischief to crops or 
livestock in that region. 

Ursus horribilis horribilis Ord 
Grizzly Bear; Big- Plains Grizzly; Silvertip 

Mato or Mato-chota of the Dakotas 
(Gilmore) ; Mato of the Mandans 
(Maximilian) ; Mato unknapininde 
of the Mandans (Will) ; Laeh- 
pitzi of the Ilidatsas ( Maximilian ) ; 
Kthiuch of the Arikaras (Maximil- 
ian), Konuch-tarauHs (Gilmore). 

UrsuH horrioilus Ord, Guthrie's Geogr., 2d Amer. ed., vol. 2, pp. 291, 300, 1815. 
(Reprint by S. N. Rhoads, 1894.) 

Type locality. — Missouri River above the mouth of Poplar River, north- 
eastern Montana. 

General cliaracterK. — Size, very large ; skull, long and massive with very 
heavy molar and canine teeth ; front claws, long and only moderately curved. 
Fur, long and loose with well-marked mane or crest over "hump" of shoulder. 
Color, variable from light yellow to dark brown, the lightest individuals even 
called white by Lewis and Clark and other writers familiar with them. 
Audubon (1851-1854, vol. 3, p. 149, 1854) says: "We have skins in our pos- 


session collected on the Upper Missouri, some of which are nearly white, while 
others are nearly of a rufous tint, and one that was killed by our party, of 
which we also have the skin, was a dark brown one." 24 Maximilian (Wied, 
1S39-1841, Bd. 1, pp. 490, 493, 1839) writes: An old bear and two cubs were 
killed. The mother was " a pale yellowish color ; one of the cubs, which was 
brought on board alive, was whitish about the head and neck and brownish 
gray on body; the other was dark brown." Another killed on July 18 was 
reported as dark brown, with new hair of light gray with yellow tips already 
appearing; another killed farther up the river on July 21, 1833, was at first 
supposed to be a black bear, but when shot proved to be dark brown, and as 
Maximilian suggests, may have been another species of grizzly. 

Measurements of a small male collected by Maximilian (Wied., 1839-1841, 
Bd. 1, p. 488, 1839) and supposed to be about 3 years old were: Tip of nose 
to tip of tail, 6 feet 2 inches 2 lines. A large one measured by Lewis and 
Clark (1893, p. 298) in northeastern Montana, apparently the type of the 
species, measured from tip of nose to extremity of hind foot, 8 feet 7% inches, 
length of front claws, 4% inches. A still larger one killed by the party was said 
to measure 9 feet from tip of nose to tip of tail, with front claws 6% inches 
in length. Skull of large male : Basal length, 351 millimeters ; zygomatic 
breadth, 247; in inches 13.8 and 9.6, respectively. (Merriam, 1918, p. 19.) 
There seem to be no reliable weights for the adults of this Plains grizzly 
available, but Lewis and Clark (1893, p. 29S) estimated the weight of a large 
one as 500 or 600 pounds. 25 

Distribution, habitat, and general habits. — At the coming of the 
white man these large grizzlies were apparently common over prac- 
tically all of North Dakota. In 1800 Alexander Henry (1897, pp. 
121, 145, 184, 245, 259, 281, 440), while in the Eed River Valley, 
wrote in his journal : 

Grizzly bears are not numerous along Red River, but more abundant in 
the Hair Hills. At Lac du Diable [Devils Lake], which is about 30 leagues 
W., they are very common — I am told as common as the black bear [Ursus 
americanus] is here, and very malicious. Near that lake runs a principal 
branch of Schian [Sheyenne River], which is partially wooded. On the banks 
of this river I am informed they are also very numerous, and seldom molested 
by the hunters, it being the frontier of the Sioux, where none can hunt in 
safety ; so there they breed and multiply in security. 

Again, in speaking of the Sheyenne River, he says : " Grizzly 
bears are to be seen in droves." On his return from a trip to the 
Shej^enne River to his winter quarters at the mouth of the Park 
River, near where Grafton now stands, he records : 

During my absence the hunter had killed a large grizzly bear [Ursus Jior- 
riMlis] about a mile from the fort. He had seen two males and a female, 
but the latter escaped. My people having cooked and eaten some of the 
flesh were taken very ill, and most of them threw it up. This bear had 
been wounded in the fore leg some time before by an arrow, the iron head of 
which stuck fast in the bone, and was beginning to rust. 

During the first trapping season 1800-1801, his men obtained 
four grizzly-bear skins at the Reed River and two at the Park River. 
In 1S04 he reports one grizzly bear from the Park River and in 1805, 
four from the Hair Hills, four from the Salt River, and two from 
the Pembina River, and in 1806, three from the Pembina River. 
Meanwhile of the 113 skins of brown bears recorded, it is very prob- 

24 Possibly two species. 

26 The type specimen of Ursus horribilis collected by Lewis and Clark is lost, but a 
fine old male skull from near the type locality in eastern Montana, gives reliable char- 
acters of the species. There is still one skull of a 3-year-old male from Port Buford in 
the National Museum collection, taken by J. P. Kimball, in 1868. This is the only 
specimen representing the species from North Dakota and we can only assume that the 
grizzlies extending across the State were all the same. Old skulls from any part of 
the State would be of great interest and value as contributions to the National Museum 

1926] MAMMALS 01" NO&TH DAKOTA 195 

able that some were of the grizzly group. Henry (1897, pp. 422, 
221) also reported one grizzly-bear skin in the catch from the 
Sandhill River, Minn., in 1807, and one from Portage la Prairie, 

On their way up the Missouri River in 1804, Lewis and Clark 
(1893, pp. 157, 174,251,274,288-289,298) often referred to the white, 
yellow, and gra}^ bears. On Fox Island, S. Dak., they saw the tracks 
of a " large white [grizzly] bear." On October 20, while camped 
an the river bottom just below where Bismarck now stands, they say : 
" ^Ve also wounded a white bear, and saw some fresh tracks of 
those animals, which are twice as large as the track of a man." 
From Mandan they sent back, among other skins, those of the 
" yellow bear." The following spring, on the way up the river after 
wintering at the Mandan villages, they saw one black and two 
white bears about 30 miles above the Little Missouri, and observed 
tracks along the river at other places. Near the junction of the 
Yellowstone with the Missouri River, on April 29, 1805, Captain 
Lewis, who was on shore with one of the hunters about 8 o'clock, 
met two white bears. He writes : 

Of the strength and ferocity of this animal the Indians had given us dread- 
ful accounts. They never attack him but in parties of sis or eight persons, 
and even then are often defeated with a loss of one or more of their party. 
Having no weapons but bows and arrows, and the bad guns with which the 
traders supply them, they are obliged to approach very near to the bear ; 
as no wound except through the head or heart is mortal, they frequently fall 
a sacrifice if they miss their aim. He rather attacks than avoids a man, and 
such is the terror which he has inspired, that the Indians who go in quest 
of him paint themselves and perform all the superstitious rites customary 
when they make war on a neighboring nation. Hitherto those bears we had 
seen did not appear desirous of encountering us; but although to a skillful 
rifleman the danger is very much diminished, yet the white bear is still a 
terrible animal. On approaching these two, both Captain Lewis and the 
hunter fired, and each wounded a bear. One of them made his escape ; the 
other turned upon Captain Lewis and pursued him 70 or SO yards, but being 
badly wounded the bear could not run so fast as to prevent him from reload- 
ing his piece, which he again aimed at him, and a third shot from the hunter 
brought him to the ground. He was a male, not quite full grown, and weighed 
about 300 pounds. The legs are somewhat longer than those of the black 
bear, and the talons and tusks much larger and longer. ... Its color 
is a yellowish-brown ; the eyes are small, black, and piercing; the front of 
the fore legs near the feet is usually black, and the fur is finer, thicker, and 
deeper than that of the black bear. Added to -which, it is a more furious 
animal, and very remarkable for the wounds which it will bear without 

A few days later, May 5, Captain Clark and one of the hunters 
killed a large grizzly, said to weigh 500 or 600 pounds, and to 
measure 8 feet 7% inches, from the tip of the nose to the extremity 
of the hind foot. His front claws measured 4% inches, and his color 
was of a reddish or bay brown. This specimen, with measurements 
and description, formed the principal basis of Ord's later description 
and name of the species; neither skin nor skull can now be found. 

In 1833, Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 1, pp. 419-420, 1839) 
notes in his journal on June 22: Near the great bend of the Missouri 
(just 3bove the mouth of the Little Missouri River), a large grizzly 
seen on the prairie on the north bank of the river, and "soon after 
two others were seen, one whitish, the other of a dark color." From 
this place on, in their journey up the river, the gray bears become 


more and more common. Above the mouth of the Knife River 
at the village of the Minnetarees, many of the Indians wore the 
large, valuable necklaces made of long bears' claws, and their hand- 
somely painted buffalo robes were fastened around the waist by a 
girdle. A few days later Maximilian met a chief of the Assiniboines 
wearing a necklace of bears' claws, blue glass beads in his ears, and 
a red flannel shirt. At Fort Union he (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, 
pp. 39, 302, 213, 215, 1841) mentions several distinguished men of 
the Assiniboines who arrived at the post on October 20, among whom 
was one Manto-Uitkatt (The Mad Bear). At the village of the 
Minnetaree Indians, about 30 miles above Fort Clark, he found an 
old chief, Lachpitzi-Sihrisch (The Yellow Bear), of whom he has 
much to say later. At the Knife River he gives the name of another 
Minnetaree chief as Lachpitzi-Wah-Kikihrisch (The Bear Hunter). 
Mato-Tope (Four Bears) was one of the most famous of the Mandan 
chiefs and a staunch friend of Maximilian. His son was named 
Mato Berocka (Male Bear). In the folio of plates accompanying 
Maximilian's Reise in das Innere Nord- America, many of the 
Indians shown are chiefs or famous hunters wearing grizzly-claw 
necklaces, among them Sioux, Mandan, Minnetaree, and Crow, who 
had won the right to wear these trophies of the hunt. In Plate 36 
of the folio, Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Folio, pi. 36) shows his 
hunters attacking two grizzlv bears as described in the text of his 
journal. On July 18 he (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 1, pp. 487-489, 
1839) says: 

The hunters had seen several bears and on the ISth they saw two bears run- 
ning about on a sand bar in the river. One of these was shot and when 
mortally wounded rolled over, uttering fearful cries. It was a male about 
3 years old and not of the largest size, but was 6 feet 2 inches and 2 lines 
from tip of nose to tip of tail, and from tail to tip of hairs, 8 inches. His 
color was dark brown with the points of the hair of a rusty color, but new 
hair already appearing which was lighter gray with yellow tips. This bear 
is known to be a very dangerous beast of prey and is willingly avoided by the 
hunters. . . . It is certain that many white men and Indians have been 
torn to pieces by these dangerous animals, especially in former times, when 
they were very numerous and lived to a great age. 

At Fort Clark, where he spent the winter with the Mandan 
Indians, he (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 2, p. 85, 1841) says: 

The grizzly bear approaches to within 4 miles of the fort because the Indians, 
who do not like to hunt them, leave them undisturbed. They are, however, 
very fond of the flesh of the young bear and the claws are much valued by 
them for the manufacture of their necklaces. 

On returning down the river in October, Maximilian (Wied, 
1839-1841, Bd. 2, pp. 47-49, 1841) brought with him, among other 
live animals, some young bears in cages. Near the mouth of the 
Muddy River, on October 31, he found along the shores an abundance 
of buffaloberries, which were fed to the caged bears and proved an 
agreeable variety in their food. Since no game had been killed for 
several days, the live animals, which would not eat salt pork, were 
half famished, and the bears especially made an incessant growling, 
which was in every respect highly disagreeable. The next day an 
elk was shot and he says: " The "lamentations of my hungry ani- 
mals were put a stop to." Generally, however, the bears were found 
feeding on buffalo carcasses, which were often plentifully distributed 
in the quicksand or along the river banks by floods and breaking ice. 


Apparently the Missouri River Valley with its great abundance and 
variety of large game, wild fruit, and berries, bulbs, tubers, roots, 
and underground beans, was a paradise for those bears before the 
days of the rifle. 

In regard to the breeding habits of the grizzlies, Maximilian (Wied, 
1839-1841, Bd. 1, p. 510, 1839) says that only 2 or 3 young are 
generally raised, but 2 to 4 were sometimes recorded and some of 
the Indians even claimed that one group of 8 young had been found, 
but this he considered an exaggeration. 

In 1843, Audubon (1897, pp. 155-156, 41, 51, 64, 75, 86, 117, 122, 
146) on his trip up the river to Fort Union, found the grizzly bears 
apparently as common as had Maximilian and Lewis and Clark 
over the same ground 10 and 39 years earlier. Just above Bismarck 
he found many of their tracks, and near the mouth of the Little 
Missouri, on August 22, he and his companions killed one and saved 
it for a specimen. They had seen many tracks the previous day and 
on the following day saw another bear. In the vicinity of Fort 
Union he found many tracks around the three conical hills called 
the Mammalles. On June 19 a grizzly bear was seen just across the 
river, on June 22 another near there, and others were seen on June 
27, July 5, 13, 27, and 30, and August 12, which gives some idea of 
their abundance at that time. Audubon describes a man at Fort 
Union who had been attacked by a grizzly in the Black Hills; his 
face was badly mutilated, one eye had been torn out, and his arm and 
side were literally torn to pieces, but he lived for years afterward. 
There are many accounts of bears attacking both Indians and whites, 
and often without provocation. Audubon (1851-1854, vol. 3, pp. 
145-146, 1854) records an attempt to kill an old bear and capture 
her two young, discovered near the shore from one of the steamers of 
the American Fur Co. The old bear was wounded and charged the 
hunters with such fury that they dropped their guns, jumped into 
the river, and hurriedly made their way back to the steamer. He 
relates another incident of an attendant at Fort Union picking peas 
in the garden when he suddenly discovered a large grizzly gathering 
peas at the other end of the row. He dropped his bucket and fled, 
and when the hunters arrived they found the bear eating peas out 
of the bucket. He paid no attention to them as they approached 
and was shot dead. 

In 1856, F. V. Hayden collected specimens of the grizzly bear near 
Fort Clark and a skeleton at Fort Union. 

At Devils Lake, in 1916, Frank Palmer, who had lived in North 
Dakota since 1867, told the writer that he had never known of any 
grizzly bears east of the Missouri River Valley. He said that the 
Sioux in their own language called some hills near old Fort Ransom, 
in Ransom County, where the Sheyenne River turns north, "The 
Bears' Den." Some of the Indians from near Devils Lake used to 
go clown there and hunt buffalo and Mr. Palmer was with them on 
one of these trips when he learned the name of these hills. In 1867, 
he says there were many grizzly bears on the river bottoms about 
Fort Buford, and also above and below there, and farther west in 
Montana. While carrying mail from Fort Buford west he often 
siiw them along the Missouri River bottoms, and they would not 
always get out of his way. 


In the Killdeer Mountains, in 1913, Jewett was told by the old 
settlers that grizzly bears were formerly common over all the country 
east and north of the Little Missouri River. Frank Donoyer, a 
veteran buffalo hunter, told of killing several of these bears in the 
Killdeer Mountains between 1864 and 1870. Dave Warren, assisted 
by a boy, killed two grizzlies in a gulch near Oakdale in the fall of 

From his ranch on the Little Missouri, Roosevelt (1900, pp. 55-56) 
writes : 

In the spring and early summer of 1888, the bears killed no cattle near 
my ranch ; but in the late summer and early fall of that year a big bear, 
which we well knew by its tracks, suddenly took to cattle-killing. This was 
a brute which had its headquarters on some very large brush bottoms a dozen 
miles below my ranch house, and which ranged to and fro across the broken 
country flanking the river on each side. It began just before berry time, but 
continued its career of destruction long after the wild plums and even buffalo 
berries had ripened. 

Again, he tells of bears attacking his cattle, killing white-tailed 
deer, attacking one of his cowboys, and killing an Indian near his 
ranch, and of numerous instances of bears killed under thrilling cir- 
cumstances during his ranching days on the Little Missouri. 

In 1887, when the writer visited Fort Buford, there were still 
a few grizzly bears in the river bottoms in that vicinity, but they 
were growing scarce. In a letter dated March 30, 1914, Clarence 
H. Packer, of Minot, states that his father trapped along the river 
bottoms, 25 miles south of Williston, in 1887, and at that time there 
were some grizzly or silvertip bears there. 

In 1889 William B. Mershon (1923, 1925), on a hunting trip along 
the Little Missouri, reported bear tracks everywhere, the sand bars 
literally tracked up by them, some of enormous size. He measured 
one track that was 8 by 14 inches. 

At the present time there is certainly not a grizzly bear left in the 
State of North Dakota, and it is doubtful if there is anywhere a 
living representative of this original species of the grizzly group 
that was first given a scientific name and status in literature. Its 
destruction, however, was more inevitable than was that of the 
buffalo or the other large game animals of the Plains, because, 
aside from its commercial value and its appeal to the most vigorous 
sportsmen as a worthy antagonist among large game, its presence 
in an agricultural and stock-raising region could not be tolerated. 
Like some of the savage tribes with which it was associated, it has 
in passing left behind a thrilling record of savage bravery of sur- 
passing interest to red-blooded Americans. 

Ursus absarokus Merriam 
Absaroka Grizzly 

Ursus absarokus Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 27, p. 181, 1914. 

Type locality. — Near head of Little Bighorn River, northern end of Big- 
horn Mountains, Mont. 

General characters. — Large, but smaller than Ursus IwrribiUs, with much 
smaller molar teeth. Color from skin of head and neck only, " Muzzle pale 
brown, changing to grizzled dark brown on head and face ; a large patch 
of dark brown free from grizzling on side of face extending from eye to 
angle of jaw; chin and gular region dark brown (except anterior part of 


chin, which has not yet molted the pale old coat) ; top and sides of neck and 
doubtless body also, strongly grizzled." (Merriam, 191S, p. 93.) Measure- 
ments of skull of adult male : Basal length, 322 millimeters ; zygomatic 
breadth, 218; in inches, 12.7 and 8.6, respectively. 

Distribution and habitat. — Doctor Merriam (1918, p. 93) gives 
the range of this grizzly as " Laramie and Bighorn Mountains, 
eastern Wyoming, Black Hills region, South Dakota, and north- 
ward along Little Missouri to Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers." 
He says it appears to be a mountain species, while horribilis appar- 
ently was a Plains species. 

The only North Dakota specimen consists of a skull with accom- 
panying skin of head and neck presented to Doctor Merriam for 
the National Museum collection by Howard Eaton, of Wolf, Wyo. 
This bear was killed by Mr. Eaton on October 27, 1880, at the 
mouth of Bear Creek, which empties into the Little Missouri River 
from the east, opposite Bullion Butte. Apparently its range over- 
lapped that of the Plains grizzly to some extent, which may account 
for the supposed discrepancy in color of that species. Evidently 
this was a darker, browner bear than Ursus horribilis. 

Order IXSECTIVORA : Insect-eating Mammals 
Family TALPIDAE : Moles 

Scalopus aquaticus (machrinoides?) Jackson 
Missouri Valley Mole 

(PI. 19, fig. 1) 

Scalopus aquaticus machrinoides Jackson, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 27, 
p. 19, 1914. 

Type locality. — Manhattan, Kans. 

General characters. — Rather large for the common mole ; a compact little 
animal with beaklike naked nose, no functional eyes, minute ears, large spade- 
like front feet with five rigid claws, small hind feet, short, nearly naked tail, 
and dense plushlike fur of a brassy brown color. Measurements of average 
adults : Total length, 172 millimeters ; tail, 30 ; hind foot, 22.2. 

Distribution and habitat. — The northernmost form of the common 
mole of the eastern United States ranges from Arkansas up through 
Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota to Elk River, and has been reported 
from Ottertail County, near Fergus Falls, and from Crookston. 
There is no definite record for North Dakota, but at Hankinson, 
in the southeastern corner of the State, some of the residents re- 
ported that mole ridges had been seen on the sandy soil in that 
region. Doctor Bell and the writer were unable to find any trace 
of moles or ridges, however, and but for their close proximity along 
the eastern border of the State, little weight should be given to the 
report. Until specimens are actually obtained from the State this 
must be considered as a hypothetical species and the identity of 
the form occurring there doubtful. The characteristic ridges along 
the surface of the ground, pushed up by these moles in extending 
their tunnels, are so unmistakable and so well known to those who 
have lived where they are abundant, that the presence of moles is 
easily recognized. It is often difficult to obtain specimens, as the 
moles are not easily trapped, Once discovered in the act of pushing 


up their ridges, however, they are easily caught by simply pressing 
down the earth back of them and then quickly scraping them out 
with hands, feet, or shovel. It is hoped that if the species does 
occur in North Dakota, specimens may be obtained to add this inter- 
esting and very useful little animal definitely to the list of the mam- 
mals of the State. 

Condylura cristata (Linnaeus) 
Star-nosed Mole 

(PL 19, fig. 2) 

[Sorex] cristatus Linnaeus Syst. Nat., ed. 10, t. 1, p. 53, 1758. 

Type locality. — Eastern Pennsylvania. 

General characters. — Starlike disk of sensitive filaments on tip of nose, and 
no visible eyes or external ears ; front feet wide, flat, and spadelike, but not 
so large as tbose of the common mole ; bind feet, slender ; tail, large and 
slightly bairy, usually swollen toward the base. Color, black or dusky, nearly 
uniform all over. Measurements of average specimens : Total length, 202 
millimeters; tail, 78; hind foot, 28. 

Distribution and habitat. — The star-nosed moles are wide-ranging, 
Canadian and Transition Zone animals of eastern Canada and the 
northeastern United States, reaching their previously known western 
limit of range in central Minnesota and southeastern Manitoba. 
Seton (1909, vol. 2, p. 1137) records them from the vicinity of Win- 
nipeg, on the authority of W. R. Hine, who assured him " that 
specimens have been brought to his taxidermist shop in Winnipeg; 
unfortunately, they were not kept." This record from Winnipeg 
on the north and report of occurrence at Fort Ripley, central Min- 
nesota, mark a close approach to the State line on the east. The 
animals undoubtedly occur in the Red River Valley and Turtle 
Mountain country. At Towner, in 1915, Kellogg was told by James 
Lymburner of an animal answering the description of the star-nosed 
mole, which had on several occasions been found in his meadow. 
One was taken to the house and kept in a glass jar for a while as a 
curiosity, but no specimens were saved. Mr. Lymburner described 
it as having a long, pointed nose with a ring of soft, fleshy, finger- 
like projections. Its body was 2 or 3 inches long and its color a 
bluish black, which would indicate an immature animal. Kellogg 
says that several other persons described the same animal, but al- 
though traps were placed all over the meadow where the moles had 
been seen, none were caught. This seems to be the only available 
record for the State of this very useful little insectivorous animal, 
and while it adds the species tentatively to the State list, it only 
increases the importance of procuring specimens to substantiate the 

Family SORICIDAE : Shrews 

Sorex cinereus haydeni Baird 
Hayden Masked Shrew 

(PI. 20) 

Sorex haydeni Baird, Mamm. North Amer., p. 29, 1857. 

Type locality. — Fort Union (now Buford), N. Dak. 

General characters. — A tiny shrew with slender pointed nose, minute eyes, 
concealed ears, and slender tail about half as long as its body and three 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. PLATE 19 

Fig. I. — Common Mole (Scalopus aquaticus machrinoides) 

Photograph of fresh specimen. Half natural size 





Fig. 2. Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristatai 

Photograph of fresh specimen. Half natural size 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. 


Skins of Four Shrews 

(A) Short-tailed shrew (Marina brevicauda brevicauda); (B) Richardson shrew (Sorexarcticus); 
(C) .Hayden shrew (Sorex cinereus haydeni); (D) Pigmy shrew (Microsorex hoyi). About 
natural size 


times as long as its hind foot. Fur, soft and fine ; color of upper parts, sepia 
brown, underparts, ashy gray. Measurements of an average adult, from Ken- 
mare : Total length, 95 millimeters ; tail, 33 ; hind foot, 11. An adult female 
at Walhalla measured 98, 3S, and 12 millimeters, respectively, and weighed 3.6 
grams ; two others each weighed 3.3 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — The Hayden masked shrew is a barely 
recognizable prairie form of the wide-ranging species cinereus (for- 
merly known as personatus) which with its various subspecies covers 
most of the northern part of the continent. The subspecies haydeni 
covers North and South Dakota and the prairie country of most of 
the surrounding States and Provinces. In North Dakota there are 
specimens from Buford, from near Williston and Lostwood, and 
from Kenmare, Bottineau, Birchwood, Walhalla, Grand Forks, 
Portland, Fairmount. Blaclaner, Oakes, Steele, Cannon Ball, and 
Selfridge, all in the National Museum collection. There is one from 
Minot in the Field Museum collection, and specimens from Fargo 
and Grafton in the agricultural college collection, at Fargo. Al- 
though rarely seen, they occupy practically every meadow, brush 
patch, and grove, and are found under rich vegetation almost any- 
where on the prairie. 

General habits. — These little masked shrews live on or under the 
surface of the ground, mainly under the cover of old leaves, grass, 
and fallen vegetation, where they make endless runwaj^s and tiny 
tunnels over and through the surface of the mellow soil, keeping 
almost as completely hidden from view as do moles and pocket 
gophers. Their long, flexible, sensitive noses apparently take the 
place of eyes in their dark tunnels and burrows, for their eyes have 
become mere specks, with apparently very limited range of vision. 
On rare occasions a shrew is uncovered in turning over a board or 
log or in loading hay that has stood long on the meadows. More 
often one is found dead in some trail where killed by a cat, weasel, 
or little owl, and found too musky for food. 

On soft snow in winter their tiny double lines -of tracks are fre- 
quently seen, and often little ridges the size of one's finger show 
where they have plowed tunnels close under the surface of the snow 
for passageways from place to place. When caught alive in the 
hands they struggle and fight with surprising strength and vigor, 
although their tiny teeth can do no harm and their vain struggles 
are like those of some vigorous insect. 

The little that is known of their habits comes mainly from trap- 
ping them either in their own little runways or burrows or catching 
them in traps set for meadow mice, whose larger runways they 
habitually follow. They are usually caught in small traps baited 
with fresh meat, bacon, or fat pork, and set under logs and in open 
places scooped out under the leaves and grass~ Traps set for mead- 
ow mice and baited with rolled oats also catch them, either because 
they accidentally run against the trigger or in some cases apparently 
because they stop to feed on the bait. 

Food habits. — The principal part of their food, as shown by the 
stomach contents consists of insects, earthworms, and the small ani- 
mal life found over the surface of the ground. They ravenously 
devour any kind of fresh meat, whether it be a meadow mouse or 
woods mouse, or one of their own kind, found in a trap, or a bit 
of bird meat or beef placed on the trap trigger to attract them, 


and in winter they will gather in numbers if a piece of frozen meat, 
lard, or tallow is left under a log for them to gnaw. They un- 
doubtedly catch many of the small rodents, and especially the young, 
for food, as they are capable of killing animals larger than them- 
selves. They apparently never accumulate any fat and are active 
throughout the year, evidently finding an abundance of frozen in- 
sects and other food along their tunnels on or below the surface 
of the ground. 

Breeding habits. — Very little is known of the breeding habits of 
shrews, but Stuart Criddle, of Treesbank, Manitoba, sent to the 
Biological Survey for identification eight half -grown young of this 
shrew taken on October 14, 1924. They were found dead in a grass 
nest under a sheaf of brome grass, and near them the head of a 
partly eaten shrew, probably their mother. So little is known of 
the habits of shrews that such scraps of information are important. 

Economic status. — Fortunately these bloodthirsty little animals 
are not large enough to do any damage to game or domestic poultry. 
In camps, cabins, and cellars in the wilderness they often gather in 
winter and become as numerous as some of the wild mice, and in 
some cases do slight damage by gnawing and soiling meat left 
within their reach. Any damage along this line, however, is so 
insignificant as to be negligible, while their constant destruction of 
insects and probably also their destruction of many small rodents, 
mark them as beneficial animals. There is still much to be learned 
of their habits and of the actual species of animals which furnish the 
bulk of their food. 

Sorex merriaini Dobson 
Merriam Shrew 

Sorex merriami Dobson, Monogr. Insectivora, pt. 3, fase. 1, pi. 23, fig. 6, 1890. 

Type locality. — Little Bighorn River, about IV-j miles above Fort Custer, 

General characters, — About the same size as haydeni, but readily distin- 
guished by buffy-gray upper parts and white underparts, feet, and lower 
half of tail. The skull characters show that it belongs to a very distinct 
group, but external characters are sufficient for easy recognition. Measure- 
ments of type specimen, preserved in alcohol : Total length, 90 millimeters ; 
tail, 36 ; hind foot, 11. 

Distribution and habitat. — The Merriam shrew is known only 
from the type specimen collected near Fort Custer, Mont., in 1884, by 
Major Bendire, and an imperfect specimen picked up by Jewett near 
Medora, on June 30, 1913. The latter was found on top of a dry 
Badlands butte, where evidently it had been caught by a hawk or a 
weasel and the head eaten off. Fortunately the skin was saved and 
the white underparts and the sharply bicolor tail served to identify 
it as this species. Apparently it is closely associated with the Bad- 
lands country and additional specimen will undoubtedly be taken 
in this semiarid region when more naturalists are on the lookout 
for rare species. Although a great deal of collecting of small mam- 
mals has been done in that general region, the scarcity of these shrews 
may be only apparent and due to some peculiarity of habits not yet 
learned by naturalists. Specimens should not only be saved, but 
any clue to their habits recorded, so that some light as to whether 
they are really scarce or merely escape observation may be obtained. 


Sorex arcticus Kerr 
Richardson Shrew; Black-backed Shrew; Saddle-backed Shrew 

(PL 20) 

Sorex arcticus Kerr, Animal Kingdom, p. 206, 1792. 

Type locality. — Severn Settlement, mouth of Severn River, Ontario, Canada. 

General characters. — Size, rather large ; tail, of medium length ; nose, long 
and pointed ; eyes, minute ; ears, concealed. In winter, whole back dark brown 
or black sharply contrasted with buffy brown sides and gray-brown belly. In 
summer back dull brown but still strongly contrasted with lighter sides and 
underparts. Measurements of average specimens : Total length, 112 milli- 
meters ; tail, 40 ; hind foot, 14. 

Distribution and habitat. — A specimen of the black-backed shrew, 
now in the National Museum collection, was taken at Pembina by 
Charles Cavileer in 1855, and another by Robert Kennicott in 1861. 
One was taken at Fort Sisseton, just below the southeastern corner 
of the State, in 1877, by C. E. McChesney. Eastgate took one at 
Stump Lake in 1912, the writer took one at Kenmare in 1913, and 
Kellogg one at Fort Totten and another at Lostwood in 1915. There 
is one specimen in the Morris J. Kernall collection, taken at Valley 
City in 1912, and Kellogg reports one in the H. V. Williams collection 
taken at Grafton in 1915. This carries the range of the species diag- 
onally over the northeastern half of the State. 

It is a wide-ranging species, extending from the Mackenzie, through 
the Canadian Zone forests, to northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and 
Minnesota. In North Dakota the records are mainly from forested 
valleys, marshes, or lake shores. At Grafton, Williams reported 
catching these shrews on the edge of a marsh near town. Near the 
east end of Stump Lake Eastgate took one in some cold spring 
marshes, and at Kenmare the writer caught one in a trap set for 
meadow mice in a runway under the grass at the lower end of the 
Upper Riviere des Lacs, not far from cold gulches occupied by aspens 
and snowshoe rabbits. Usually there is a trace of Canadian Zone 
conditions where they are found. 

General habits. — Like most of the shrews, these more conspicuous 
saddle-backs are known mainly from specimens taken in traps set 
for small rodents under fallen grass in the meadows or under leaves 
and dense vegetation or old logs in the woods. Cold, damp places 
seem to be their favorite haunts in the southern part of their range, 
where the conditions of Boreal habitat are most nearly approached. 
These shrews are readily caught in traps baited Avith meat and set 
across the runways which they follow, but the few specimens taken 
indicate that they are by no means a common animal in this region. 
In food, habits, and habitat they seem not to differ from most of the 
other small shrews. 

Neosorex palustris (Richardson) 
Water Shrew; Marsh Shrew 

Sorex palustris Richardson, Zool. Journ., vol. 3, p. 517, 1828. 

Type locality. — Marshy places from Hudson Bay to the Rocky Mountains. 

General characters. — Largest of the long-tailed shrews in the region, with 
tail about as long as body, hind feet, large and fringed for swimming ; nose, 
long and pointed ; eyes, minute, and ears hidden in the fur. Upper parts, vel- 

82242°— v20 14 


vety black, with sometimes a trace of brownish or gray ; underparts, silvery 
white, often clouded with gray or smoky. Measurements : Total length, 160 
millimeters ; tail, 70 ; hind foot, 20. 

Distribution and habitat. — Specimens of water shrews collected at 
Fort Sisseton, just below the southeastern corner of North Dakota, 
and from Winnipeg, would imply that this species has a general 
distribution along the Red River Valley and in eastern North Da- 
kota, although no specimens are at present available from the State. 
They belong to a wide-ranging group of species occupying the 
Canadian Zone practically across the continent from Nova Scotia 
to Alaska, but generally associated with the marshes of the forest 
region. The Fort Sisseton record is apparently the only outlying 
prairie locality for the species. 

General habits. — Although named for the marshes where they are 
usually found, these shrews are more than palustrine in habits. As 
their structure indicates, they are expert swimmers and apparently 
spend much of their time and obtain much of their food in the 
water. At Elk River, Minn., where the writer collected them from 
1884 to 1887, they were generally taken along the banks of the 
creek which flowed through the meadow. Traps set at little bur- 
rows under fallen grass on the creek banks, just above the edge of 
the water, would occasionally contain one of these shrews, and in 
winter a few were taken under the ice when the water had fallen 
and left an air space between two layers of ice. In no locality has 
the writer ever found them common, or in numbers sufficient to 
yield more than an occasional specimen among the many other 
shrews and meadow mice taken in the trap line. In the spring of 
1886 a neighbor brought one that he had caught while it was swim- 
ming about in a small pond of snow water. He said it darted about 
through the water like a fish and when under the surface seemed 
coated with silver and even more fishlike. The stomachs and in- 
testines of those taken are usually found to contain particles of 
insects and small animals so well masticated that the species are not 
easily recognized. Of the breeding and other habits little is known. 

Microsorex hoyi hoyi (Baird) 
Pigmy Shrew 

(PI. 20) 

Borex hoyi Baird, Mamm. North Amer., p. 32, 1857. 

Type locality. — Racine, Wis. 

General characters. — Smallest of all North Dakota shrews and until a 
slightly smaller and closely related species was discovered and described by 
Preble in 1910, from near Washington, D. C, it was credited with being the 
smallest mammal in North America. In general proportions it approaches 
merriam/i and haydeni, but averages a little smaller than either. Upper parts, 
sepia brown ; underparts, ash gray ; tail, somewhat bicolor, brown above, 
whitish below. Measurements of specimens from Elk River, Minn. : Total 
length, 81.7 millimeters; tail, 30.7; hind foot, 10.7; weight, 2.9 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — The pigmy shrew, with its several 
recognized forms, apparently fills the Canadian Zone across the 
northern part of the continent, but specimens are few and from 
widely scattered localities. The one record for North Dakota is 
based on a specimen found dead in a road on the north side of Devils 



Lake in 1887. Unfortunately it was in such condition that only the 
skull could be saved ; but it proves to be Microsorex instead of Sorex 
personatus, as given in the writer's report for 1887. With all the 
collecting since done in the State, it seems remarkable that no others 
have been taken. The nearest localities outside of the State from 
which specimens are recorded are the Red River Settlement (Winni- 
peg), Manitoba; and Elk River, Minn. 

General habits. — Of the habits of these little shrews practically 
nothing is known except that they are caught in traps with other 
species in woods, clearings, or meadows. In Ontario, Miller (1897, 
p. 37) recorded them as invariably found in dry clearings and 

Blarina brevicauda brevicauda (Say) 
Short-tailed Shrew; Mole Shrew 

(PI. 20) 

Sorex brevicaudus Say, Long's Exped. Rocky Mountains, vol. 1, p. 164, 1823. 

Type locality. — West bank of the Missouri River, near Blair, Nebr. 

General characters. — A large heavy-bodied shrew with the usual small 
eyes, sharp nose, concealed ears, and short tail. The fur is short, soft, and 
velvety, varying in color from glossy plumbeous to almost black, with under- 
pays but slightly paler than the upper parts. The color is unmarked and 
almost uniform over the body. Measurements of adult male, from Wahpeton : 
Total length, 137 millimeters ; tail, 30 : hind foot, 17 ; of a female from same 
place : Total length, 136 ; tail, 28 ; hind foot, 16 ; measurement of a large male 
from Walhalla: 127, 25, and 19 millimeters, respectively; weight, 23 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — There are specimens of the short-tailed 
shrew from Wahpeton, Fairmount, Oakes, Valley City, Portland, 
Fargo, Harwood, Grafton, Pembina, Walhalla, Turtle Mountains, 
Sweetwater Lakes, and Fort Berthold. From a wide range over the 
Transition and Upper Austral Zones of the northeastern United 
States and eastern Canada, these large shrews reach their north- 
western limit of range in North Dakota, extending commonly as far 
west along the stream and lake valleys as the eastern timber reaches. 
Over the open prairie and the drier western part of the State they 
seem not to occur, although an alcoholic specimen in the National 
Museum is supposed to have been taken in 1856 by F. V. Hayden, at 
Fort Berthold, on the Missouri River. At Wahpeton they were very 
common and a number were caught in traps set in meadow-mouse 
runways along the river and slough banks. At Hankinson the 
writer caught one in a patch of dense grass under a fence, but it was 
so badly damaged that it was not saved for a specimen. At Fair- 
mount, Sheldon found them common along the river banks, where 
a number of specimens were taken. At Oakes he reported them as 
fairly abundant along the James River, where they were found in 
the damp soil along the banks of the stream and also in patches of 
snowberry bushes. At Larimore, in Grand Forks County, Kellogg 
reported them, but did not collect specimens; at Manvel he also re- 
ported them as found about old strawstacks; at Drayton, in Pem- 
bina County, he was told by the farmers that during harvest they 
were often seen under shocks of grain. In the Turtle Mountains, 
near Fish Lake, in Roulette County, the writer caught two in the 
woods, one in a damp place on low ground and another under an old 


log near the lake shore. At the Sweetwater Lakes two specimens 
were taken in a dry marsh in the woods back of the lake shore, where 
they were living in the meadow-mouse runways under heavy fallen 
grass. At Portland Loring caught seven under logs and stumps in 
the woods. 

General habits. — Most of our specimens were taken in mouse traps 
baited with small pieces of meat or set in runways where bait was 
not necessary. The shrews eat many of the mice caught in traps and 
often leave only a piece of skin and a few bones to show what the 
trap had caught. In such cases they soon return and are almost cer- 
tain to get into the trap when it has been reset. They are savage 
little brutes and very strong and muscular for their size. When 
caught in small box traps or cans sunk in the ground, they are 
usually found dead after a few hours, apparently because they are 
unable to live without an almost constant supply of food. They are 
caught as readily in the daytime as at night, and at Wahpeton Kel- 
logg watched one digging a burrow in the ground about noon. 
Usually, however, they are not seen except as caught in traps or 
uncovered in moving logs or hay or grain that has been lying long on 
the ground. They burrow through the mellow soil and make run- 
ways between the fallen grass and leaves and the surface of the 
ground. Usually they are in moist, rich places where insect life is 
abundant, and where they have an ample supply of food while well 
concealed from enemies whose eyes are keener than theirs. 

Breeding habits. — Little is known of the breeding habits of these 
shrews, but an interesting note was obtained by Sheldon at Fair- 
mount, where on old female, which contained nine embryos, was 
taken May 28. Immature specimens are often caught in traps, but 
the very young have rarely been found and little is known of the 
nest or home conditions. 

Food habits. — Their principal food consists of insects, earth- 
worms, mollusks, and the various forms of animal life found on 
or near the surface of the ground, but these shrews are always eager 
for any kind of fresh meat. They devour many more desirable 
species of small mammals caught in traps where their runways are 
located. The number caught in traps set for meadow mice suggests 
that they deliberately follow the mouse runways for the purpose 
of capturing their prey. Even if not able to catch and overpower 
the full-grown meadow mice, which are nearly twice their size, they 
will certainly catch, kill, and eat many of the young and immature 
individuals. Their stomachs and intestines are usually well filled 
with food, but are never found distended, as are those of rodents, 
especially mice, after hearty feeding. They are never fat and are 
active throughout the year, in winter evidently getting their food on 
or under the surface of the ground, although occasionally coming 
to the surface of the snow and making long lines of their peculiar 
little double rows of tracks. They burrow in and out of the snow 
at will and in midwinter are easily lured to a food supply of frozen 
meat placed under logs, hay, or fallen vegetation on the surface of 
the ground. When once in the habit of coming to a food supply 
they are easily caught in considerable numbers. 

Economic status. — There are no injurious habits of any conse- 
quence chargeable to these shrews, although they often come into 


cellars and storage places on the farm, and if meat or milk is left 
within their reach will gnaw and soil the meat and eat the cream 
around the edges of the milk pans. Conditions where they can do 
such mischief are, however, rare and unnecessary. Their destruc- 
tion of insects and great numbers of worms and other small animals 
inhabiting the richest soils goes on continuously throughout the year 
and their destruction of small, injurious rodents is undoubtedly of 
great benefit to agriculture. While many of our small mammals 
must be considered enemies and destroyed in every possible way, 
fortunately some, as the shrews, may be classed as wholly beneficial 
and their presence welcomed on the farm. Of all the small mam- 
mals, perhaps the shrews with their voracious and often cannibalis- 
tic natures are least lovable, but they can all be accepted as very 
useful allies. 

Order CHIROPTERA: Winged Mammals 

Family VESPERTILIONIDAE : Common Bats 

Nycteris cinerea (Beauvois) 
Hoary Bat; Great Gray Bat 

(PI. 21, fig. 1) 

Vespcrtilio cinereus Beauvois, Catal. Peale's Mus. [Philadelphia], p. 15, 1796. 

Type locality. — Philadelphia, Pa. 

General characters. — Teeth, 32 ; size, large ; spread of wings, about 16 
inches ; ears, short and rounded with black naked rims ; top of feet and tail 
membranes, furry ; fur, full and soft ; color, yellowish brown, frosted with 
white above and below ; throat and wing linings, bnffy. Measurements of 
adult male, from North Dakota specimen : Total length, 130 millimeters ; tail, 
60 ; hind foot, 13 ; forearm, 51. 

Distribution and habitat. — From a wide Boreal range across the 
northern part of the continent and southward in the mountains, and 
a winter migratory range to the southern border of the United States, 
the big hoary, or gray, bats cover at one time or another all of North 
Dakota. They are undoubtedly far more common than the few 
scattered records seem to imply, as their nocturnal habits conceal 
them from common observation. In 1833, at Fort Clark on the 
Missouri River, Maximilian (Wied, 1839-1841, Bd. 1, pp. 403-104, 
1839) collected an adult female, which he described in much detail 
as to the color and measurements. About 1861, F. V. Hayden (1875, 
p. 95) collected a specimen at Fort Union (now Buford) and re- 
ported them as found " all over the United States east of the Rocky 
Mountains." In 1887 the writer recognized one of these bats on the 
wing at Pembina, August 3, and saw several about the woods on the 
north side of Devils Lake, August 6, but obtained no specimens. A 
specimen from Minot, N. Dak., was recorded in the catalogue of the 
Field Museum. (Elliot, 1907, p. 514.) A specimen collected June 20, 
1913, was sent to the Biological Survey for identification by Daniel 
Freeman, of the agricultural college at Fargo, and in 1914, Bell and 
the writer shot four specimens in the little forest area between the 
lakes on the Hankinson farm near Hankinson. At Wahpeton, in 
1915, the boys described a large gray bat which they had found hang- 
ing in the leaves of a tree, which was undoubtedly this species. At 


Grafton, Kellogg found one dead in a cow path, but it had been so 
trampled by cattle as to be worthless for a specimen. At Towner 
he reported two seen one evening and perfectly identified by their 
large size, but before he could get his gun they had disappeared. 

General habits. — These great gray bats are powerful and rapid 
fliers ; they usually appear rather late in the dusk of evening and are 
rarely noticed except by bat hunters. During the day they hang 
head downward in clusters of leaves, usually at the ends of branches 
of trees. This habit restricts them to the forested areas or to 
country about ranches, where they can find sufficient foliage for 
roosting sites. At the Hankinson ranch, where the fine old elms, 
oaks, ashes, basswoods, and boxelders form heavy foliage and deep 
shade, they were found to be one of the common species. As they 
darted swiftly across the narrow spaces between the trees, the 
collectors had much trouble in shooting four specimens among the 
considerable number of smaller bats taken during the twilight. 
Their large size, however, made it possible to obtain all of those 
killed, while many of the smaller bats were lost in the grass and 
weeds. Some of these specimens were evidently young of the year, 
but practically full grown, and probably were born in this particular 
grove, although strong enough to have flown from a considerable 
distance. These bats are migratory, and as the cold weather ap- 
proaches and insect life becomes scarce they move southward at 
least to the southern border of the United States and probably be- 
yond for the winter season. Their breeding range has not been well 
worked out, but apparently they breed mainly in the cooler zones 
of the Northern States, Canada, and the high mountain areas. 

Food habits. — Little is known of the food habits of the hoary bats 
except that they are insectivorous and capture their prey on the wing 
in swift zigzag flight, most baffling to the collector. At times they 
seem to be gleaning among the branches of the trees and at other 
times they circle high over the forest, apparently snapping up the 
insects that swarm far overhead. 

Breeding habits. — The specimen collected at Fort Clark by Max- 
imilian on June 12, 1833, was an adult female containing two large 
well- developed embryos, which he describes as quite naked, with 
wings folded over their noses. The specimen from the agricultural 
college was a female taken June 20, 1913, which contained two large 
embryos, now also preserved in alcohol. Other specimens have been 
recorded containing two embryos, and mother bats have been shot 
while flying about in the evening with two young clinging to their 
sides. There are two mammae close together on each side of the 
breast, located in a subaxillary position, and when the mother hangs 
head downward in the foliage they are just above the two fur-lined 
cradles formed by the hollows of her folded wings. Apparently the 
young cling to the body of the mother during her flight and are thus 
always with her until old enough to use their own wings. The 
young are surprisingly large at birth and it seems probable that 
they grow rapidly and do not long burden the parent. If born after 
June 20 and practically full grown by July 22, their growth and 
development must be very rapid. 

Economic status. — Besides being in every way harmless and unob- 
jectionable, these bats are, through their insectivorous habits, of un- 

North American Fauna No. 49, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey. 

Plate 21 


Fig. I. — (A) Hoary Bat (Nycteris cineria); (B) Silver-haired Bat 
(Lasionycteris noctivagans) 

About two-thirds natural size 

Fig. 2. 

-Say Bat (Myotis subulatus subulatus) 

About two-thirds natural size 


questionable value to man. The extent of their destruction of noc- 
turnal pests and their importance to the welfare of the forests and 
other products of the country will not be known until a thorough 
study of their food has been made. 

Nycteris borealis borealis (Miiller) 
Red Bat; New York Bat 

Vespertilio borealis Miiller, Natursyst., Suppl., p. 20, 1776. 

Type locality. — New York. 

General characters. — Teeth, 32; size, medium; expanse of wings, about 12 
inches ; ears, short and rounded, mainly naked inside and on rims ; top of tail 
membranes and feet well furred; color, bright rusty or pinkish yellow with 
slight frosting of white over back and breast. Measurements of large female, 
from Grinnell, N. Dak. : Expanse, 330 millimeters ; length, 117 ; tail, 52 ; hind 
foot, 10; forearm, 41; a smaller female from the same place measures 298, 
104, 45, and 9, millimeters. 

Distribution and habitat. — There are specimens of the red bat 
from Devils Lake, Grinnell, the Yellowstone River (probably 
Buford), and "Chantee Hills." At Wahpeton some boys reported 
that they often found a very pretty red-colored bat hanging in the 
plum trees when they were gathering plums. Across the river from 
Fargo, Murie often found them hanging in plum trees in July and 
August, and Williams has one taken near Grafton on August 23, 
1919. At Hankinson these yellowish-red bats were accurately 
described and were said to be often found hanging in the leaves. At 
Stump Lake, where the wind blew so incessantly that the writer was 
not able to get any bats, people said that two kinds were found, one 
red and the other dark brown. At Beaver Creek, 4 miles west of 
Grinnell, where the Missouri makes its first big bend to the south- 
ward, Kellogg reported red bats common in the woods and found two 
hanging in the leaA T es of branches. The " Chantee " or " Chartee " 
Hills the writer has not been able to locate; and another specimen 
collected by Hayden has no positive locality other than the Yellow- 
stone River. The red bats are abundant over the eastern United 
States, mainly in the Austral Zone, and the few specimens from North 
Dakota may be wanderers after the breeding season or scattered 
individuals beyond their normal breeding range. 

General habits. — At least in the northern part of their range these 
bats are migratory and with the beginning of cold weather move 
southward until suitable hibernation quarters or a comfortable cli- 
mate and an ample food supply are found for the winter. In the 
daytime they hang head downward among the leaves of trees or 
bushes. In July, 1887, in a little grove on the north side of Devils 
Lake, the writer picked five specimens from the leaf clusters of box- 
elder trees, where they were hanging at about the height of the head 
above the ground. They were well concealed by the leaves, but after 
the first one was noticed there was no trouble in finding others. 
Their bright yellow color contrasted sharply with the dark green 

In places where common these bats often come out of their diurnal 
roosts rather early in the dusk of evening and occasionally one is 
seen flying about on a cloudy day or even in bright sunlight, doubt- 
less when it has been disturbed or the sunlight has penetrated to its 


sleeping quarters. They have a quick and erratic flight and when 
darting back and forth among the trees in the dusk of evening are 
no easy target for the shotgun. As most of the specimens are ob- 
tained by evening shooting, it is not so remarkable that they are 
scarce in collections even where fairly common outside. 

Food habits. — Little is known of the food habits of the red bat, 
except that it seems always busy catching insects while on the wing, 
and the stomachs of those collected for specimens are usually dis- 
tended with a mass of finely masticated insects of great variety, 
mainly unidentifiable. 

Eptesicus fuscus fuscus (Beauvois) 
Large Brown Bat 

Aprd/pMaa, of the Mandans ; Ishwa- 
tdshia of the Hidatsas ; Eupdhu- 
waki'kadakena of the Dakotas (all, 

Vespertilcti [sic] fuscus Beauvois, Catal. Peale's Mus. [Philadelphia], p. 14, 1796. 

Type locality. — Philadelphia, Pa. 

General characters. — Teeth, 32 ; size, rather large ; expanse of wings, about 
a foot; ears, prominent and pointed; membranes of ears, wings, and tail, 
naked ; fur, long and lax ; color, glossy light hair-brown, slightly paler below ; 
ears and membranes, black or blackish. Measurements : Spread of wings, 
324 millimeters ; total length, 117 ; tail, 50 ; foot, 11 ; forearm, 44. 

Distribution and habitat. — A series of five specimens of these large 
brown bats taken by Kellogg at Grinnell (where the Missouri River 
turns southward), August 29 and 30, 1915, and six taken by Sheldon 
at Cannon Ball, September 2, 1915, give, for the first time, a good 
representation of this species from the State. The old specimen 
collected by Hayden at " Fort Union, Nebr." (now Buford, N. Dak.), 
about 1861, was the only certain previous record on which to admit 
the species to the State list, although Maximilian in 1833 recorded 
what was probably this species under his Vespertilio ursinus. In 
1912 Kellogg also reported two skins seen in the State university 
collection, taken at Stump Lake. At Grafton, Williams reports 
having killed a large brown bat a number of years ago, but no 
later records have been obtained. At Hankinson, in 1912, the 
writer saw several bats which he believed to be the species flying 
among the trees, but did not obtain a specimen. One was also 
recognized in the evening at the Sweetwater Lakes, but not procured. 
At Buford, in 1910, Anthony shot a large brown bat that he sup- 
posed to be of this species, but it fell in the brush on the river banks 
and could not be found. Having a transcontinental range extending 
north into the edge of the Boreal Zone, these bats undoubtedly 
cover the whole of North Dakota in considerable numbers. The 
specimens from Grinnell and Cannon Ball are decidedly pale and 
appear to be shading toward the western form, Eptesicus fuscus 
pallidus Young, but are not sufficiently marked to be referred to it. 

General habits. — At Cannon Ball Sheldon found these brown bats 
between the walls of old buildings, and specimens taken 4 miles west 
of Grinnell by Kellogg were found around a house in the Badlands. 
Like many other species of bats, they spend the daylight hours 
hidden away in cracks and dark cavities in walls, roofs, or cornices 


of buildings, in hollow trees, under bark, and less commonly in the 
clefts of rocks. In the rather late dusk of evening they come out 
and after quenching their thirst at the nearest pond or stream begin 
their nightly hunt for winged insects. Usually they are found fly- 
ing rapidly about buildings and trees or through the open spaces in 
forests and groves. Their flight is swift and erratic as they snap 
up one flying insect after another, and it is only an occasional speci- 
men that can be brought down with fine shot as they zigzag against 
the twilight sky. Where they are at all common, bat shooting may 
become very exciting, both from the effort and dexterity required to 
bring down specimens and also from the possibilit}^ of getting rare 
species. In some places only one species will be abundant, while 
others are rare or entirely absent, and in other localities several 
species and genera will be found equally abundant and hunting over 
the same ground. 

Hibernation. — In fall these large brown bats become excessively 
fat, with a heavy layer of very oily tissue lying under the skin and 
filling the body cavities. Although probably in part migratory, 
they seem to hibernate throughout their range, disappearing with 
the first frosty nights, occasionally reappearing on warm evenings, 
but again entering their permanent hibernation before the real cold 
weather begins. They crawl away into the cracks and walls of 
buildings or any sufficiently sheltered place where they can spend 
the winter without too much exposure to cold. Occasionally dur- 
ing the most severe weather, when houses are overheated, some of 
these bats are roused from their winter sleep in the walls and ap- 
pear inside the rooms, flying about in good condition, apparently 
under the misapprehension that summer has arrived. Such speci- 
mens are usually found to be exceedingly fat, but with empty 
stomachs. In spring they are one of the first bats to appear with 
the warm days, the time of beginning plant and insect activity. 

Migration. — To what extent these bats migrate is not known, but 
like other species they probably make considerable flights to and 
from their favorite winter quarters. In the mountains, where they 
range high in the Canadian Zone late in summer, they undoubtedly 
return to lower milder levels to find winter quarters. It is doubt- 
ful whether an extensive north-and-south migration is common to 
the species. 

Breeding. — The mating season is late in July or early in August, 
and the young are born in June of the following year. In June the 
males and females are usually found in separate localities or, if 
in the mountains, at different levels. By June 20, females are usual- 
ly found carrying one or two large embryos, which at birth are 
very large for the size of the parent. The two mammae are located 
on the sides back of the wing bases, so that when the mother hangs 
head downward the suckling young are neatly cradled in the fold 
of the wing. As with other species of bats, the young are probably 
carried clinging to the mother's body until able to fly and catch their 
own food. Their development is evidently rapid, for by July 26 
the young are flying, and immature specimens have been collected as 
early as July 24. 

Food habits. — Not much is known of the species of insects on which 
the brown bats feed, but there seems always to be an abundant sup- 


ply, and soon after the bats have begun flying their stomachs are 
found distended with a finely ground mass of insect remains. In 
some localities traces of various beetles are detected in the stomachs. 
Little is known of the species but it is certain that a vast number 
of insects are consumed by each bat. 

Economic status. — The comparative value of different species 
of bats can not be determined until their food habits have been 
thoroughly studied and their choice of food and the species of in- 
sects consumed more fully determined. In general, however, their 
usefulness can be well compared with that of insectivorous birds, 
for many of the most destructive insects are active only at night 
and if by day they escape the birds, they are devoured in millions 
by these aerial guardians of the night. 

Lasionycteris noctivagans (LeConte) 
Silver-haired Bat; Silvery Bat; Black Bat 

(PI. 21, fig. 1) 

V[espertilio~\ noctivagans LeConte, Cuv. Anim. Kingdom, McMurtrie ed., vol. 
1, p. 431, 1831. 

Type locality. — Eastern United States. 

General characters. — Teeth, 36 ; size, medium ; spread of wings, about a 
foot ; ears, medium, nearly quadrate, about as broad as long, naked ; upper 
base of tail membrane, hairy; fur, long and soft; color, dark brown, sooty, 
or black with white-tipped hairs over back and belly ; ears, wings, and feet, sooty 
or black. Measurements of adult female, from Grafton: Spread of wings, 
301 millimeters ; total length, 105 ; tail, 42 ; hind foot, 9 ; forearm, 42. 

Distribution and habitat. — With a breeding range apparently 
over the Transition and Canadian Zones across the continent, these 
bats cover at least all the forested parts of North Dakota during 
the breeding season and the months of greatest insect activity. There 
are specimens from Fort Union, Bottineau, Minot, Fargo, Grafton, 
and Stump Lake. A specimen in the National Museum, collected 
by F. V. Hayden at Fort Union, has no date but was entered in 
the catalogue in 1863. On August 23, 1887, the writer found two 
of these bats under a piece of loose bark on a dead tree in the edge 
of the Turtle Mountains near Bottineau. On May 12, 1913, Wil- 
liams took an adult male at Stump Lake; and on July 22, 1915, he 
collected a less than half grown young at Grafton. It was brought 
to him alive, and flew about the room before it was killed. An 
adult female was taken by Kellogg in a pile of fence posts at Graf- 
ton on June 11, 1915, and one recorded in the Field Museum cata- 
logue was taken by W. E. Snyder at Minot. A specimen sent to 
the Biological Survey for identification by Professor Freeman, of 
the agricultural college, was collected on September 12, 1914. At 
Wahpeton the writer was told that a black bat was found there. 
These meager records for the State do not so much indicate the 
rarity of the species as the difficulty of obtaining specimens and 
information regarding the habits of a strictly nocturnal species 
which can not be caught in traps. In reality, these bats are prob- 
ably common at one season or another in every patch of woods over 
the State. 

General Tidbits. — More than most species the black bats are forest 
dwellers, apparently very largely depending on the cover of loose 


bark and hollow trees for their diurnal roosts and keeping mainly 
among the trees in their nocturnal flight. They usually appear 
lather late in the evening and, after quenching their thirst at the 
nearest water, begin their rapid flight between and around the 
branches of trees. The lateness and swiftness of their flight render 
them especially difficult to shoot and apparently as many specimens 
are picked up in their hiding places as are obtained with the shotgun. 

Food habits. — Like other bats, they are eager in their pursuit of 
night-flying insects, but the particular species chosen or rejected are 
not known. Their habit of hunting among the trees would indicate 
their especial value in forest protection. 

Breeding habits. — The mammae in these bats are one pair, ar- 
ranged on the sides just back of the wing base. The young, as 
indicated by embryos, are usually two, but sometimes only one. The 
female taken by Kellogg at Grafton on June 11 contained two em- 
bryos, and the young taken by Williams on July 22 was apparently 
not more than 2 or 3 weeks old. In his Mammals of the Adirondack 
Region, New York, Merriam (1884, p. 190) states that females killed 
during the latter part of June were heavy with young, and that up 
to July 1 not one had given birth to offspring, but that all killed 
after July 4 were then suckling their young. He also records the 
discovery of an old crow's nest which contained embedded in the 
sticks and litter 13 young bats, with their eyes not yet open. 
Although not positively identified, they were supposed to be the 
young of this species. Merriam also says that these bats begin to 
fly when 3 weeks old, those killed on the first evening weighing only 
about half as much as their parents. 

Migration and hibernation. — The black bat is one of the species 
with a well-established record for migration, appearing in fall and 
winter far south of its summer range and possibly moving far 
enough south to avoid the necessity of hibernation. More probably, 
however, it is prepared to creep away under cover and become 
dormant for a period of cold weather and scant food supply even 
in the southern part of its winter range. As with the hoary bat, its 
migratory habits may well explain the uniformity of characters of 
the species over a wide range across the continent. 

My otis lucifugus lucifugus (LeConte) 
Little Brown Bat 

V [caper tilio] lucifugus LeConte, Cuv. Aniin. Kingdom, McMurtrie ed., vol. 1, 
p. 431, 1831. 

Type locality. — Georgia ; probably Rieeboro. 

General character. — Teeth, 38; size, very small with small, pointed, naked 
ears, which laid forward, do not roach to the tip of the nose; wing and tail 
membranes, naked and dark brown ; fur, soft, glossy hazel brown, bright buffy 
below. Measurements by Doctor Mearns of specimen from Fort Snelling, 
Minn. : Expanse, 2G0 millimeters ; total length, 94 ; tail, 41 ; hind foot, 9 ; fore- 
arm, 38 ; ear from notch at base, 13 millimeters. A very fat male at Elk River, 
Minn., measured as follows : Expanse, 260 ; total length, 96 ; tail, 37 ; and hind 
foot, 10 millimeters, and weighed 12.68 grams. 

Distribution and habitat. — The little brown bats with their sev- 
eral subspecies cover all but the extreme northern part of North 
America, but the ranges of the different forms have not been deter- 
mined and are somewhat indefinite. The type species, lucifwgus, 


covers the eastern United States and apparently reaches its western 
limit in eastern North Dakota, grading into carissima toward the 
western part of the State. The only specimens that seem to be typ- 
ical of this little dark form are from Hankinson and Fargo, although 
specimens from Stump Lake, Devils Lake, and Esmond Lake are 
evidently intermediate in character and could be referred to either 
lucifugus or carissima. Those from the western part of the State at 
Towner, Goodall, Cannon Ball, and Bismarck are referred to caris- 
sima, although not fully typical of that paler western form. Appar- 
ently one form or the other is common all over the State wherever 
there are buildings, water, and mosquitoes, without much regard to 

General habits. — The little brown bats are mainly cave, cliff, or 
house dwellers, spending the daylight hours hung up in dark 
crevices, caverns, and rooms, where well protected from the daylight. 
From their dark retreats they come out at the dusk of evening and 
after visiting the nearest open water, where their thirst can be 
quenched as they skim over the surface, they begin hawking after 
insects, around and around the buildings, under and among the 
branches of the trees, or over the ponds and marshes wherever insect 
life is abundant. If the wind is blowing, the bats work in the shelter 
of buildings or trees or get inside of buildings where insects also 
take refuge from the wind. They are quick, crooked fliers and by no 
means an easy mark for the collector, unless they can be silhouetted 
against the western light for sufficient distance to allow time for a 
double shot. At Hankinson this seemed to be the most common 
of the small bats that flew in considerable numbers about the 
buildings on warm evenings, and the fact that few specimens were 
taken was due to the limited spaces between the buildings and the 
treetops. Near Fargo they were numerous over the surface of the 
river in the evenings, but were usually flying so low among the 
trees that no clear shots could be obtained against the light portions 
of the sky. After drinking, they usually left the river to circle 
about the buildings in town or on the farms, where shooting was not 
permitted. It is always a great exasperation to a field naturalist to 
see unknown species of bats circling about buildings and over the 
streets of towns where he can have no hope of obtaining specimens 
unless one strays into his room at night and can be captured with 
a towel. Occasional specimens are thus obtained, but in most cases 
our meager information of the distribution and habits of bats is 
very slowly accumulated. 

Breeding habits. — In these bats the embryos are usually, and per- 
haps always, one, and the single pair of mammae are on each side 
back of the wing bases. Of the habits and care of the young so 
little is known that a most interesting field for close observation 
remains almost untouched. 

Food habits. — About the buildings where these bats are usually 
most numerous the insect life often seems to consist largely of mos- 
quitoes, flies, and nocturnal beetles and moths. The actual species 
eaten are not well known, but the bats are certainly industrious 
gleaners and in a few minutes after they have begun to fly their 
stomachs are found filled to capacity. 


Myotis lucifugus carissima Thomas 
Yellowstone Bat 

Myotis (Leuconoc) carissima Thomas, Aim. and Mag. Nat. Hist., vol. 13 (ser. 
7), p. 383, 1904. 

Type locality. — Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park. 

General characters. — Teeth, 3S; ahout the size of typical lucifugus; ears, 
small and pointed ; fur, glossy ; colors, light hazel brown above, buffy below ; 
ears and membranes, dark brown or blackish ; tail membranes, edged with 
gray ; young of the year, darker, without gray edges on tail membranes. Meas- 
urements of typical specimen, from Yellowstone Park: Expanse of wings, 260 
millimeters ; total length, 94 ; tail, 40 ; hind foot, 10 ; forearm, 38. 

Distribution and habitat. — This northern Rocky Mountain form of 
Myotis ranges at least from western Montana to the Black Hills and 
over western North Dakota. Specimens from Towner, Goodall, Bis- 
marck, and Cannon Ball, while not typical, are nearer this species 
than to the eastern little brown bat, while some of those from the 
Devils Lake country show intermediate characters. Apparently the 
intergradation between the two forms is gradual across the middle 
part of the State. 

General habits. — On the Mouse River, 8 miles north of Towner, 
Kellogg collected 28 specimens of these bats on August 2, 1915. 
They were found behind a barn door and all of the 9 adults were 
females; of the 17 dark-colored but full-grown young of the year, 
8 were males and 9 females. This was evidently a breeding colony 
from which the adult males were keeping a respectful distance. On 
September 4 Kellogg collected an adult male at Goodall, at the edge 
of the forest along Antelope Creek. At Fort Totten on July 15 he 
collected a male at the edge of the forest and on July 17 a female 
as it was flying around buildings in the evening. On November 19, 
1919, Russell Reid found one dead hanging on the wall of a house in 
Bismarck. It evidently had been dead for some time, as the tem- 
perature had been 10° F. as early as October 26. At Cannon Ball, 
on August 20, Sheldon collected four adult females, part of them in 
the eaves of an old building, while others were shot in the evening 
as they flew about, after it had become so dark that it was hard to 
find them. In the Yellowstone Park, where the subspecies was 
first discovered, they occupy a large warm cave, called the Devil's 
Kitchen, in great numbers through the summer, but apparently leave 
for cooler caves in which to hibernate during the cold season. In the 
Bitterroot Valley, western Montana, a large breeding colony was 
found in a bridge over the Bitterroot River; they returned each 
spring from their winter quarters and many of the old and young 
were taken for specimens. 

Breeding habits. — In a large number of specimens examined 
only one embryo was found in each. The mammae, as in other 
species of the genus, are two in number, one on each side back of 
the wing base. Little is known of the breeding habits other than 
that some females were shot while flying about with the young cling- 
ing to them, and others collected had evidently left the young at 
home while hunting for their food. 

Migration and hibernation. — In fall these bats disappear with 
the first cold nights and consequent reduction in the abundance of 
insect life. Some may hibernate in buildings, but apparently most 
of them resort to caves, the location of which they seem to be 


familiar with, and here they hang during the winter and remain 
dormant in the cool, but not freezing, air. In a level prairie country 
like North Dakota, it may be necessary for them to make long jour- 
neys in search of winter quarters, but their migration is as imper- 
fectly known as their other habits. 

Myotis subulatus subulatus (Say) 
Say Bat 

(PL 21, fig. 2) 

Vlespertiliol subulatus Say, Long's Exped. Rocky Mountains, vol. 2, p. 65, 1823. 

Type locality. — Arkansas River, near La Junta, Colo. 

General characters. — Teeth, 38 ; small and very similar in appearance to lucif- 
iigus, but readily distinguished by its longer ears, which reach, when laid for- 
ward, well beyond the tip of the nose. From the larger-eared evotis it is distin- 
guished by darker color of fur and narrower, more pointed ears; ears and 
membranes, naked and dark brown ; fur, soft and lax ; color, yellowish- 
brown, slightly paler below. Measurements : Expanse of wings, 247 milli- 
meters ; total length, 95 ; tail, 41 ; hind foot, 9 ; forearm, 37 ; ear from notch 
at base, 16. 

Distribution and habitat. — Miller gives the range of the Say bat 
as North America, east of the Rocky Mountains, but its distribution 
is irregular; and although abundant in many places, it is often 
locally scarce, or absent. Over a wide strip of prairie country from 
the Gulf of Mexico to Manitoba there are very few records of its 
occurrence, while to the eastward and westward in rough country 
where caves are more numerous, the map shows many records. The 

collected long ago 
per Missouri." 
These few, collected by Hayden, Carpenter, and Rothhammer, are 
in the National Museum collection. Specimens have been taken 
south, west, and east of the State and may be found at any locality 
over it, but they are more likely to be found in the western Bad- 
lands country in close proximity to cliffs and caves. Their presence 
near Buford is probably accounted for by the many little caves or 
openings in the rocky cliffs bordering the Missouri Valley. Some 
of the many small bat's seen along the Little Missouri at Medora, and 
others along the river south of Bullion Butte, may also have been in 
part of this species. They are known to roost and hibernate in caves, 
but of their specific habits our knowledge is very indefinite. 

Breeding habits. — Examination of females taken for specimens 
indicates two as the usual number of young of this species, although 
the mammae are of the same number and position as in other species 
of the genus Myotis, one on each side back of the wing base. 

Myotis evotis (H. Allen) 
Little Long-eared Bat 

Vespertilio evotis H. Allen, Monogr., Bats North Amer., p. 48, 1864. 

Type locality. — Monterey, Calif. 

General characters. — Teeth, 38 ; size rather small ; ears, strikingly large, 
naked, black ; wing and tail membranes, dusky or black ; fur, soft and lax ; 
color, glossy buft'y yellowish above, buffy or whitish below. Measurements of 
an adult male taken near Grinnell by Kellogg: Expanse of wings, 292 milli- 
meters ; total length, 90 ; tail, 42 ; hind foot, 9 ; forearm, 39 ; ear from notch at 
base (measured dry), 18. 

Wlieie UaVCS ttlo IIIUIC UlUIlCluua, inc map on^vvo iiiciiij j 

only specimens from North Dakota are a few collec 1 
and labeled "Fort Union." "Fort Buford," or the "Upp 


Distribution and habitat. — The little long-eared bat is found in 
western United States and Mexico, mainly in the Austral and 
Transition Zones. A single specimen from Beaver Creek, 4 miles 
west of Grinnell, is the only record of the species for North Dakota 
and this is a considerable extension of its known range eastward, 
Loveland, Colo., being its previously known easternmost locality. 
The specimen, an adult male, found by Kellogg in his room on 
August 26, 1915, was clinging to the side of a smooth plastered wall. 
It may represent a stray wanderer in this Badlands region of cliffs 
and caves, or it may have been within the regular range of the 
species. If the latter is the case, additional specimens should be 
obtained from other places. 


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82242°— 26 15 


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1839. tJber einige Nager mit ausseren Backentaschen aus dem westlichen 
Nord-America. Nova Acta Acad. Caes. Leop.-Carol. Nat. Cur., 
t. 19, pt. 1, pp. 367-384, 1839. 
1839-41. Reise in das Innere Nord-America in den Jahren 1832 bis 1834. 

Bd. 1, illus., 1839; Bd. 2, illus., 1841; folio. Coblenz. 
1843. Travels in the interior of North America, 1832-1834. Part II. 
London ed. (Reprint in R. G. Thwaites's Early Western Travels, 
1748-1846, vol. 23. Cleveland. 1906.) 
Wilcox, A. H. 

1907. A pioneer history of Becker County, Minnesota. 757 pp., illus. St. 
Will, G. F., and G. E. Hyde. 

1917. Corn among the Indians of the Upper Missouri. 323 pp., illus. 
St. Louis. 


Abronia niicrantha, 10. 
Abronia, winged, 10. 
Acer rubrum, 13. 

saccharum, 13. 
Achillea lanulosa, 13. 
Alces americanus americanus, 31-32. 
Alder, 7, 13. 
Alnus incana, 13. 
Alum root, 13. 
Amelanchier canadensis oblongifolia, 

Ammospiza caudacuta nelsoni, 12. 
Amorpha canescens, 13. 
Andropogon furcatus, 13. 

scoparius, 13. 
Anemone cylindrica, 13. 
Antelope, American, 27. 

pronghorned, 27-31. 
Anthus spragueii, 13. 
Antilocapra americana americana, 27- 

Antilocapridae, 27. 
Antilope americanus, 27. 
Apios tuberosa, 97. 
Aragallus lambertii, 14. 
Arctomys franklinii, 55. 

ludoviciana, 62. 

richardsonii, 58. 
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, 13. 
Aristonetta valisineria, 12. 
Artemisia cana, 10. 

caudata, 13. 

frigida, 13, 14, 101. 

tridentata, 13. 
Artiodactyla, 19. 
Arvieola austerus minor, 99. 

drummondii, 92. 

haydenii, 98. 

pallidus, 101. 
Ash, 7, 16. 

green, 13. 

white, 7, 13. 
Aspen, 7, 16. 
Aster, golden, 14. 
Astragalus, 122. 

crassicarpus, 14. 

gracilis, 10. 

pictus, 10. 
Atriplex canescens, 10. 

confertifolia, 10. 

nuttallii, 10. 
Avens, white-flowered, 13. 
Avocet, 13. 

Badger, 184-187. 
Bartramia longicauda, 12. 
Basswood, 7, 13. 
Bat, black, 212. 

great gray, 207. 

hoary, 207-209. 

large brown. 12, 210-212. 

little brown, 12, 213-214. 

little long-eared, 216-217. 

New York, 209. 

red, 209-210. 

Say, 12, 216-217. 

silver-haired, 15, 212-213. 

Bat — Continued. 

silvery, 212. 

Yellowstone, 12, 215-216. 
Bear, black, 191-193. 

cinnamon, 191. 

grizzly, 193-198. 
Bearberry, 13. 
Beardgrass, broom, 13. 

forked, 13. 
Beardtongue, large-flowered, 10. 

pale, 14. 

slender, 13. 
Beaver, Canada, 105-10S. 

Missouri River, 108-114. 
Bee plant, 10. 
Betula fontinalis, 13. 

papyrifera, 16. 

pumila glandulifera, 16. 
Birch, shrubby, 16. 

western, 7, 13, 16. 

white, 16. 
Bison, American, 19-25. 
Bison bison bison, 19-25. 
Bittersweet, 13. 
Black-cat, 177. 
Black haw, 115. 
Black-eyed susan, 13. 
Black-footed ferret, 171-173. 
Blarina brevicauda brevicauda, 12, 

Blazing star, 13, 101. 
Blue-stem, big, 10. 

little, 13. 
Bobcat, eastern, 149-150. 

mountain, 148. 

northern, 12, 148-149. 
Bobolink, 12. 
Bos bison, 19. 
Bouteloua gracilis, 10. 

oiigostachya, 14. 
Bovidae, 19. 
Boxelder, 7, 16. 
Brauneria angustifolia, 14. 
Brown-eyed susan. 14. 
Buffalo, American, 19. 

berry, 7, 13, 16, 115. 

bur, 10. 

grass, false, 10. 

pea, 14. 
Bulbilis dactyloides, 14. 
Bunchberry, 16. 
Bunting, indigo, 9. 

lazuli, 9. 
Buteo ferrugineus, 12. 

platypterus platypterus, 12. 

Cactus, prickly-pear, 10. 

slender, 10. 
Calcarius ornatus, 12. 
Campanula rotundifolia, 13. 
Canada lynx, 146-148. 
Canidae, 150. 
Canis latrans latrans, 12, 156-157. 

latrans nebracensis, 12, 157-160. 

mexicanus nubilus, 150-156. 

nubilus, 150. 

pallidus, 157. 




[No. 49 

Carex festucacea, 13. 
Cariacus virgultus, 41. 
Caribou, woodland, 32-33. 
Carnivora, 144. 
Castilleja sessiliflora, 14. 
Castor canadensis canadensis, 105- 

canadensis niissouriensis, 108-114. 
Castoridae, 105. 
Celastrus scandens, 13. 
Celtis oceidentalis, 13. 
Centrocercus urophasianus, 13. 
Centronyx bairdii, 12. 
Cervidae, 31. 
Cervus canadensis canadensis, 33-36. 

elaphus canadensis, 33. 

hemionus, 41. 

tarandus, 32. 
Chat, long-tailed, 9. 
Cherry, choke, 7, 16, 115. 

pin, 7, 16. 

red, 16. 

sand, 10. 
Chickadee, long-tailed, 9. 
Chickaree, 46. 
Chilotus pallidus, 101. 
Chipmunk, Badlands, 9. 

gray, 12, 51-52. 

little northern, 47-49. 

northern, 15. 

pale, 49-51. 
Chiroptera, 207. 
Chokecherry, 7, 16, 115. 
Chondestes grammacus grammacus, 9. 

grammacus strigatus. 9. 
Chroicocephalus pepixcan, 12. 
Chrysopsis villosa, 14. 
Chrysothaninus graveolens, 10. 
Cinquefoil, shrubby, 7, 13. 
Citellus franklinii, 12, 55-58. 

richardsoni, 11, 58-62. 

tridecemlineatus pallidus, 9, 54-55. 

tridecemlineatus tridecemlineatus. 
tus, 12, 52-54. 
Cleome serrulata, 10. 
Clover, prairie, 132. 

silver, 14. 
Colaptes auratus luteus, 12. 

cafer collaris, 13. 
Condylura cristata, 200. 
Coon, 187. 
Cornel, 7, 13, 16. 
Cornus canadensis, 16. 

femina, 13. 
Corvus macrourus, 36. 
Corylus americana, 13. 

rostrata, 16. 
Cottontail, Black Hills, 9, 137. 

Nebraska, 134-137. 

Wyoming, 137-138. 
Cottonwood, 7. 

broad-leaved, 7, 9, 10. 
Cougar, 144. 
Coyote, 12. 

northern, 156-157. 

Plains, 12, 157-160. 
Crataegus chrysocarpa, 13. 

succulenta, 13. 

Cricetidae, 73. 
Currant, black, 13. 

flowering, 7, 10. 

red, 16. 

wild, 16. 
Cyanocitta cristata bromia, 12. 
Cynomys ludovicianus ludovicianus, 
9, 62-67. 

Dalea, 10. 

Deer, mule, 41—13. 

Plains white-tailed, 36-41. 
Dickcissel, 9. 

Dipodops richardsoni, 124. 
Dogwood, shrubby, 7. 
Dolichonyx oryzivorus, 12 
Drymocallis arguta, 13. 
Duck, canvasback, 12. 

redhead, 12. 

ring-necked. 12. 

Elaeagnus argentea, 13. 
Elk, American, 33-36. 
Elm, 7, 16. 

American, 7. 

red, 7, 13. 

white, 13. 
Eptesicus fuscus fuscus, 12, 210-212. 

fuscus pallidus, 210. 
Erethizon dorsatum dorsatum. 116-117. 

epixanthum epixanthum, 114-116. 

epixanthus, 114. 
Erethizontidae, 114. 
Ermine, 166. 
Erysimum asperum, 14. 
Euphorbia marginata, 10. 
Eurotia lanata. 10, 101. 
Eutamias borealis, 15. 

minimus borealis, 47-49. 

minimus pallidus, 49-51. 

pallidus pallidus, 9. 
Evening primrose, 13. 

low, 10. 
Evotomys gapperi loringi, 11, 88-92. 

Fabia minor equina, 97. 
Falcata comosa, 96. 
False indigo, gray, 13. 

lupine, 13. 
Felidae, 144. 
Felis hippolestes, 144-146. 

rufa, 149. 
Ferret, black-footed, 9, 171-173. 
Fiber zibethicus cinnamominus, 102- 

Fisher, 177-178. 
Flax, yellow, 14. 
Flicker, red-shafted, 13. 

yellow-shafted, 12. 
Flickertail, 58. 

Flying squirrel, pale, 43-45. 
Fox, gray, 166. 

kit, 12, 163-166. 

prairie, 163. 

swift, 12. 

yellow-red, 12, 160-163. 
Fraxinus lanceolata, 13. 

pennsylvanica, 13. 




Gaillardia lanceolata, 14. 
Gaura coccinea,14. 

scarlet, 14. 
Gentiana puberula, 13. 
Gentian, closed, 13. 
Geomyidae, 125. 
Geomys bur.sarius, 12, 125-130. 
Glaucomys sabrinus canescens, 43-45. 

volans volans, 43. 
Glis canadensis, 69. 
Glutton, 178. 

Glyeyrrhiza, lepidota, 132. 
Godwit, marbled, 12. 
Gooseberry, 16. 

smooth, 13. 
Grass, buffalo, 14. 

dropseed, 10. 

grama, 10. 14. 

Indian, 13. 

needle, 122. 

porcupine, 13. 
Grasshopper mouse, Audubon, 83-85. 

Maximilian, 81-83. 
Greasewood, 10. 
Grizzly, Absaroka. 198-199. 

big Plains, 193. 
Grosbeak, black-headed, 13. 

rose-breasted, 12. 
Ground cherry, 13. 
Groundhog, 67, 69. 
Groundsel, 14. 
Ground squirrel, Franklin, 55. 

gray, 12, 55-58. 

pale striped, 54-55. 

pale thirteen-lined. 9, 54. 

Richardson, 11. 58-62. 

striped, 52-54. 

thirteen-lined. 12. 
Grouse, sage, 13. 
Gull, Franklin, 12. 
Gulo luscus, 178-179. 

Hackberry, 13. 

Hare, varying, 15, 138-141. 

Harebell, 13. 

Harvest mouse, 9. 

prairie, 9, 80-81. 
Haw, black, 13. 
Hawk, broad-winged, 12. 

ferruginous roughleg, 12. 
Hawthorn, 13. 
Hazel, 7, 13. 

beaked, 16. 
Hedymeles ludovicianus, 12. 

melanocephalus papago, 13. 
Helianthu.s annuus. 10. 

maximilianus, 13. 

tuberosa, 96. 
Hesperomys leucopus nebrascensis, 73. 
Heteromyidae, 119. 
Hetunka. 94. 
Heuchera hispida, 13. 
High-bush cranberry, 16. 
Honeysuckle, 13. 
Hosackia americana, 10. 
Hypudaeus leueogaster, 81. 
Hystrix dorsata, 116. 

Icteria virens longicauda, 9. 

Icterus bullockii bullockii, 9. 

galbula, 12. 
Indian devil, 178. 

names, 18. 
Insectivora, 199. 
Ironweed, 13. 
Ironwood, 7, 13. 

Jack rabbit, white-tailed, 11, 141-144. 

Jay, blue, 12. 

Jumping mouse, prairie, 11, 117-119. 

Junco hyemalis, 15. 

Junco, slate-colored, 15. 

Juniper, creeping, 13. 

Rocky Mountain, 7, 13. 

shrubby, 16. 
Juniperus horizontalis, 13. 

scopulorum, 13. 

Kangaroo rat. Richardson. 9. 124-125. 

Lacinaria pychnostachya, 13. 

scariosa, 13. 
Lagomorpha, 134. 

Lasionycteris noctivagans, 15. 212-213. 
Lead-plant, 13. 
Lepargyrea argentea, 13. 

canadensis, 16. 
Leporidae. 134. 
Lepus americanus, 15. 

americanus americanus, 138-141. 

americanus phaeonotus, 139. 

baileyi, 137. 

bishopi, 138. 

sylvaticus grangeri, 137. 

townsendii campanius, 11, 141-144. 
Leuconoe carissima, 215. 
Liatris graminifolia, 101. 
Licorice, wild, 132. 
Limosa fedoa, 12. 
Linum rigidum, 14. 
Lithospermum linearifolium, 14. 
Loafer, 150. 
Lobelia, 13. 
Lobelia spicata, 13. 
Lobo, 150. 
Loco plant, 14. 
Longspur, chestnut-collared. 12. 

McCown. 13. 
Lonicera dioica glaucescens, 13. 
Lupine, dwarf, 10. 
Lupinus pusillus, 10. 
Lutra canadensis canadensis. 179-181. 
Lutreola vison letifera, 12, 173-176. 
Lygodesmia juncea, 14. 
Lynx, Canada, 15. 
Lynx, canadensis, 15. 

canadensis canadensis, 146-148. 

rufus rufus, 149-150. 

uinta, 12, 148-149. 

Magpie, 13. 

Mallow, orange-red false, 14. 
Malvastrum coccineum, 14. 
Maple, red, 13. 

sugar, 13. 
Marigold, prairie, 14. 
Marmota monax canadensis, 69-70. 

monax rufescens, 12, 67-69. 



[No. 49 

Marten, 176-177. 

pine, 176. 
Martes americana americana, 176-177. 

pennanti pennanti, 177-178. 
Meadow mouse, Drummond, 12, 02-94. 

eastern, 12, 90-92. 
Melospiza georgiana, 12. 
Mentzelia, 10. 
Mentzelia decapetala, 10. 
Mephitis americana hndsonica, 181. 

hudsonica, 181-184. 

hudsonica hudsonica, 12. 
Meriolix serrulata, 13. 
Microsorex hoyi hoyi, 204-205. 
Microtus minor, 99-100. 

minor minor, 12. 

oehrogaster haydenii, 9, 9S-9D. 

pallidus, 12, 101-102. 

pennsylvanicus drummondi, 12, 92- 

pennsylvanicus pennsylvanicus, 12, 

pennsylvanicus wahema, 94-98. 
Milk-vetch, painted, 10. 

slender, 10. 
Mink, 173-176. 

Minnesota, 12. 
Mitella nuda, 16. 
Miterwort, 16. 
Mole, Missouri Valley, 199-200. 

star-nosed, 200. 
Moose, 31-32. 
Mountain lion, 144-146. 
Mountain sheep, Audubon, 25-27. 

Badlands, 9. 
Mourning dove, western, 9. 
Mouse, bean, 94-98. 

deer, 77. 

house, 72-73. 

pale, 12, 101-102. 

red-backed, 88-92. 
Munroa squarrosa, 10. 
Muridae. 70. 
Mus bairdii, 76. 

bursarius, 125. 

missouriensis, 83. 

musculus musculus, 72-73. 

norvegicus, 70. 

pennsylvanica, 90. 

sylvaticus noveboracensis. 77. 
Muskrat, Great Plains, 102-105. 
Mustard, treacle, 14. 
Mustela ainericanus, 176. 

cicognanii cicognanii, 12, 169-170. 

cigognanii, 169. 

longicauda, 12. 

longicauda longicauda, 166-168. 

lutra canadensis, 179. 

nigripes, 9, 171-173. 

pennanti, 177. 

rixosa rixosa, 170-171. 

vison letifera, 173. 
Mustelidae, 166. 
Myotis carissima, 215. 

evotis, 216-217. 

lucifugus carissima, 12, 215-216. 

lucifugus lucifugus, 12, 213-214. 

subulatus subulatus, 12, 216-217. 

Nanny-berry, 13. 
Nebraska cottontail, 12. 
Neosorex palustris, 203-204. 
Neotoma cinerea rupicola, 9, 86-88. 

rupicola, 86. 
Nycteris borealis borealis, 209-210. 

cinerea, 207-209. 
Nyroea americana, 12. 

Oak, 16. 

bur, 7, 13. 
Odocoileus hemionus hemionus, 41^13. 

virginianus macrourus, 36-41. 
Onychomys leucogaster leucogaster, 

leucogaster missouriensis, 83-S5. 
Opuntia fragilis, 10. 

polyacantha, 10. 
Oriole, Baltimore, 12. 

Bullock, 9. 
Orthocarpus luteus, 14. 
Oryzopsis cuspidata, 10. 

micrantha, 10. 
Ostrya virginiana, 13. 
Otter, 179-181. 

Ovis canadensis auduboni, 9, 25-27. 
Owl, burrowing, 9. 

Pachylophus caespitosus, 10. 
Paintbrush, 14. 

Indian, 14. 

yellow Indian, 14. 
Panther, 144. 
Parosela enneandra, 10. 
Passerina amoena, 9. 

cyanea, 9. 
Pedomys haydenii, 98. 
Pekan, 177. 
Penthestes atricapillus septentrionalis, 

Pentstemon albidus, 14. 

gracilis, 13. 

grandiflorus, 10. 
Perissonetta collaris, 12. 
Perodipus montanus richardsoni, 9, 

Perognathus fasciatus fasciatus, 9, 

flavescens perniger, 9, 121-123. 

hispidus paradoxus, 9, 123-124. 
Peromyscus leucopus aridulus, 9. 79- 

leucopus noveboracensis, 12, 77- 

maniculatus bairdii, 12, 76-77. 

maniculatus osgoodi, 9, 73-76. 
Phalaenoptilus nuttallii nuttallii, 9. 
Phalarope, Wilson, 12. 
Phoebe, Say, 9. 
Physalis lanceolata, 13. 
Pica pica hudsonia, 13. 
Pine, Rocky Mountain yellow, 7. 

yellow, 13. 
Pinus scopulorum, 13. 
Pipilo erythrophthalmus erythroph- 
thalmus, 12. 

maculatus arcticus, 13. 
Pipit, Sprague, 13. 




Plantago purshii, 10. 
Plantain, Indian, 10. 
Plover, upland, 12. 
Plum, 16. 

wild, 13. 
Pocket gopher, Dakota, 12, 130-133. 
Mississippi Valley, 12, 125-130. 
sagebrush, 9, 133-137. 
Pocket mouse, dusky, 9, 121-123. 
Kansas, 9, 123-124. 
Maximilian, 9, 119-121. 
Pooecetes gramineus confinis, 13. 

gramineus gramineus, 12. 
Poor-will, 9. 
Poplar, aspen, 16. 
balsam, 7, 16. 
Populus balsamifera, 16. 
deltoides, 10. 
tremuloides, 16. 
Porcupine, black-haired, 116-117. 
Canada, 116. 
Rocky Mountain, 114. 
yellow-haired, 114-116. 
Potentilla fruticosa. 13. 
Prairie dog, black-tailed, 9, 62-67. 
Prairie-clover, 10. 
Prickly ash, 13. 
Procyon lotor lotor, 187-190. 
Procyonidae, 187. 
Pronghorn, 27. 
Prunus americana, 13. 
pennsylvanica. 16. 
pumila, 10. 
Psoralea argophylla, 14, 132. 
esculenta. 10, 96, 132. 
lanceolata, 10. 
tenuiflora, 10. 
Puccoon, narrow-leaved, 14. 
Putorius nigripes, 171. 

rixosus, 170. 
Pyrola asarifolia, 16. 

Quercus macrocarpa, 13. 

Rabbitberry, 16. 
Rabbitbrush, 10. 
Rabbit, snowshoe. 138. 

white, 138. 
Raccoon, 187-190. 
Rangifer caribou caribou, 32-33. 
Raspberrv, 16. 

red, 13. 
Rat, brown, 70-72. 

house, 70. 

wharf, 70. 
Rattus norvegicus, 70-72. 
Recurvirostra americana, 13. 
Red-backed mouse, Loring, 11. 
Reithrodontomys dychei, 80. 

megalotis dychei, 9, 80-81. 
Rbus glabra, 13. 

trilobata, 10. 
Rhynchophanes mccownii, 13. 
Ribes americanum, 13. 

aureum, 10. 

gracile, 13. 

triste, 16. 

Rodentia, 43. 
Rosa blanda, 13. 

pratincola, 13. 
Rose, 7, 16, 115. 

pale, 13. 

prairie, 13. 
Rubicola minor, 12. 
Rubus strigosus. 13. 
Rudbeckia hirta, 13. 

Sable, American, 176. 
Sage, silver, 13, 14, 101. 
Sagebrush, 13. 
gray, 10. 
Salix lutea, 13. 

missouriensis, 13. 
serissima, 16. 
Salpinctes obsoletus obsoletus, 9. 
Sand cherry, 9. 
Sarcobatus vermiculatus, 10. 
Sayornis sayus, 9. 
Scalopus aquaticus machrinoides, 199- 

Sciuridae, 43. 

Sciurus carolinensis hvpophaeus, 12, 
hudsonicus, 15. 
hudsonicus hudsonicus, 46-47. 
tridecemlineatus, 52. 
vulgaris hudsonicus, 46. 
Sedge, 13. 

Senecio plattensis, 14. 
Serviceberry, 7, 16. 

Canadian, 16. 
Setochalcis vocifera vocifera. 12. 
Shadscale, gray, 10. 
low, 10. 
Nuttall, 10. 
Shrew, black-backed, 203. 
Hay den, 12, 200-202. 
marsh, 203. 
Merriam, 9, 202. 
mole, 205. 
pigmy, 204-205. 
Richardson, 15, 203. 
saddle-backed, 203. 
short-tailed, 12, 205-207. 
water. 203-204. 
Silver-leaf. 13. 
Silvertip. 193. 
Skeleton plant. 14. 
Skunk, northern, 12, 181-184. 
Skunk bush, 10. 
Snow-on-the-mountain, 10. 
Solanum rostratum, 10. 
Sorex arcticus, 203. 
brevicaudus, 205. 
cinereus haydeni, 12, 200-202. 
cristatus, 200. 
haydeni, 200. 
hoyi, 204. 
merriami, 9, 202. 
palusti-is, 203. 
richardsoni, 15. 
Sorghastrum nutans, 13. 
Soricidae, 200. 
Spanish bayonet, 10. 



[No. 49, 1926] 

Sparrow, Baird, 12. 

lark, 9. 

Nelson, 12. 

swamp, 12. 

vesper, 12. 

western lark, 9. 

western vesper, 13. 

white-throated, 15. 
Speotyto cunicularia hypugaea, 9. 
Spermophilus tridecemlineatus pal- 

lidus, 54. 
Sphyrapicus varius varius, 12. 
Spiderwort, 13. 
Spiny solanum, 10. 
Spiza americana, 9. 
Squirrel, black, 45. 

leopard, 52. 

Minnesota gray, 12, 45-46. 

red, 15, 46-47. 

thirteen-lined, 52. 
Steganopus tricolor, 12. 
Sterna forsteri, 12. 
Stipa spartea, 13, 122. 
Sumac, 13. 
Sunflower, Maximilian, 13. 

wild, 10. 
Swift, 163. 
Sylvilagus audubonii baileyi, 137-138. 

floridanus similis, 12, 134-137. 

nuttalli grangeri, 9, 137. 

Talpidae, 199. 

Tamias asiaticus borealis, 47. 

quadrivitatus pallidus, 49. 

striatus griseus, 12, 51-52. 
Taxidea taxus taxus, 184-187. 
Tern, Forster, 12. 
Thermopsis rhombifolia, 13. 
Thomomys talpoides bullatus, 9, 

talpoides rufescens, 12, 130-133. 
Thorn apple, 16. 
Tilia americana, 13. 
Tipsin, 10, 96. 
Towhee, 12. 

Arctic, 13. 
Tradescantia bracteata, 13. 
Trefoil, bird's-foot, 10. 
Tripterocalyx micranthus, 10. 
Turnip, prairie, 132. 

Ulmus americana, 13. 

fulva, 13. 
Upland mouse, little, 12, 99-100. 

western, 9, 98-99. 
Urocyon cinereo-argenteus, 166. 
Ursidae, 191. 
Ursus absarokus, 198-199. 

americanus americanus, 191-193. 

horribilis horribilis, 193-198. 

lotor, 187. 

luscus, 178. 

taxus. 184. 

Verbena, sand, 10. 
Vernonia fascicularis, 13. 
Vespertila fuscus, 210. 
Vespertilio borealis, 209. 

cinereus, 207. 

evotis, 216. 

lucifugus, 213. 

noetivagans, 212. 

subulatus, - 216. . 

ursinus, 210. 
Vespertilionidae, 207. 
Viburnum lentago, 13. 

opuius americana, 16. 
Viola nuttallii, 14. 
Violet, yellow, 14. 
Vulpes fulva regalis, 12, 160-163. 

regalis, 160. 

velox hebes, 12, 163-166. 

Wapiti, 33. 

Weasel, Bonaparte, 12, 169-170. 

least, 170-171. 

long-tailed, 12, 166-168. 

short-tailed, 169. 
Whip-poor-will, 12. 
White-footed mouse, Badlands, 9, 7980. 

Baird, 12, 76-77. 

northern, 12, 77-78. 

Osgood, 9, 73-76. 
Wild cat, 149. 

spotted, 148. 
Willow, 16. 

autumn, 16. 

Missouri, 13. 

yellow, 13. 
Wind-flower, cylindric, 13. 
Winterfat, 10, 101. 
Winter-lettuce, 16. 
Wolf, brush, 12, 156. 

buffalo, 150. 

gray, 150-156. 

prairie, 157. 
Wolverene, 178-179. 
Woodchuck, Canada, 69-70. 

rufescent, 12, 67-69. 
Woodcock, 12. 

Woodpecker, yellow-bellied, 12. 
Wood rat, pale bushy-tailed, 9, 86-88. 
Wormwood, cut-leaved, 13. 
Wren, rock, 9. 

Xanthoxylum americanum, 13. 

Yarrow, 13. 

Yellow-red fox, 160-163. 
Yucca glauca, 10. 

Zapodidae, 117. 

Zapus hudsonius campestris-, 11, 117-119. 
Zenaidura macroura marginella, 9. 
Zone, Canadian, 14-16. 

Transition, 11-14. 

Upper Austral, 8-11. 
Zonotrichia albicollis, 15. 


(Continued from page 2 of cover) 

No. 22. A Biological Investigation of the Hudson Bay Region. By Edward A. 

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ISTo. oO 

[Actual date of publication, June 30, 1927] 













Introduction 1 

Geographic distribution of Synaptomys 1 

Habits : 1 

Material examined and desired 3 

Explanation of measurements and color terms 3 

Genus Synaptomys Baird 4 

History „ 4 

Probable relationships 5 

Characters :_ 6 

Variation • 9 

Key to the subgenera of Synaptomys 9 

List of species and subspecies with their type localities 9 

Subgenus Synaptomys Baird 9 

Key to subspecies 12 

Subgenus Mictomys True «. 19 

Key to subspecies 21 

Bibliography of Synaptomys 31 

Index 3S 


Pl. 1. Skulls (dorsal views) of subgenus Synaptomys. Synaptomys 

cooperi cooperi, S. c. stonei, S. c. helaletes, S. c. gossii 30 

2. Skulls (dorsal views) of subgenus Mictomys. Synaptomys borealte 

innuitus, S. b. sphagnicola, S. b. chapmani, S. b. icrangeli 31 


Fig. 1. Map showing approximate distribution, of^. genus Synaptomys — 2 

2. Map showing distribution oi sul>genus ; Synaptomys 10 

3. Palate of subgenus Synaptomys ' 11 

4. Enamel pattern ol aiolars of subgenus Synaprornys. 11 

5. Incisors of sulv-.enas fcyiiaptoiny'^ — ^1j:_^._^ — 11 

6. Map showing approximate distribution of subgenus Mictomys— 20 

7. Palate of subgenus Mictomys 20 

8. Enamel pattern of molars of subgenus Mictomys 21 

9. Incisors of subgenus Mictomys 21 

10. Map showing distribution of western forms of subgenus Mic- 

tomys 23 

11. Map showing distribution of eastern forms of subgenus Mic- 

tomys 28 

No. 50 NORTH AMERICAN FAUNA June 30, 1927 


(Genus Synaptomys) 

By A. Bbaziek Howell 


The genus Synaptomys, comprising those rodents generally known 
as lemming mice, is confined to North America and is most closely 
related to the true lemmings, genus Lemmus of the section Lemmi, 
subfamily Microtinae. The present revision, based chiefly upon the 
material in the Biological Survey collection, was undertaken early 
in 1923. Care has been taken to present all available information 
that should prove of real help to students, without the inclusion of 
minute descriptions and unnecessary details. 


The genus Synaptomys is locally distributed throughout most of 
the Hudsonian and Canadian Zones of Canada; it enters the United 
States in the extreme northwestern portion, and eastward is found 
sparingly throughout the Canadian and in the humid sections of the 
Transition and certain parts of the Upper Austral Zones, south into 
Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. (Fig. 1.) 


Synaptomys is not common in collections, but it is by no means 
certain that it is not more numerous in nature than is generally sup- 
posed. Except in a very few places, or in years of unusual abun- 
dance, lemming mice have proved exceedingly difficult to obtain in 
numbers. Because they are usually confined to bogs and tracts of 
swampy land, they are rarely if ever of economic importance. 

The habits of lemming mice are almost unknown. The members 
of the genus Synaptomys belong at the present day definitely to a 
boreal fauna, and in the north, although usually found in moist sit- 
uations, they also occur in dry patches of grass and other low cover, 
as well as in, bogs. In the districts farther south, however, they have 
evidently been able to survive only because of the presence or occa- 
sional cold sphagnum bogs, to which they are almost entirely con- 
fined in the lower latitudes of the Eastern States. Near Lake 
Drummond, Va., however, and at Horseshoe Lake, Mo., in Indiana, 



[No. 50 

and at several other places the genus has been found in grassland, 
both moist and dry. 

Observations on food habits have been confined practically to the 
recording of the presence of cut green grasses in the runways, but 
judging from the habits of related rodents, these animals may occa- 
sionally feed upon a variety of bulbs and even insects, as well as 
succulent herbage. Examination in the Biological Survey of 11 
stomachs from Kansas and 1 from Minnesota also showed contents of 
finely ground grass and sedge leaves and a few insignificant traces 
of other green vegetation. Further observations on the food habits 
of Synaptomys are greatly needed. 

Fig. 1. — Approximate distribution of the genus Synaptomys 

Well-defined runways are maintained, and burrows are constructed 
in the ground or through beds of sphagnum. Nests are occasionally 
placed in tussocks of grass or amid other surface cover, according to 
published reports (Hahn, 1909a, p. 570). * 

Collectors, mostly those of the Bureau of Biological Survey, have 
trapped females containing from four to six embryos, from March 11 
to October 7. This indicates that litters are only of moderate size. 
Probably several litters are borne each year, the period of greatest 
reproductive activity being largely confined to the warmer months. 

1 Literature citations in parentheses refer to the bibliography beginning on page 31. 



The present revision is based on a study of 593 specimens, chiefly 
in the United States National Museum, in which are all the speci- 
mens listed for the various groups, unless otherwise stated. 2 In 
the case of most of the races here recognized, the material is adequate, 
but some of the type specimens present problems. Of the 15 forms 
that have been named, the types of 7 are markedly unsatisfactory, 
being skulls without skins or skins with fragmentary skulls, and 
the types of 3 others are immature. In addition, topotypes of 
several have never been collected. 

Need for additional material. — Lemming mice are so rarely ob- 
tained that collectors are likely to seek them whenever possible. 
Further material from certain critical localities is badly needed, 
however, and it is hoped that field parties will make special efforts 
to procure such desiderata. Until more specimens are obtained fur- 
ther progress in the proper understanding of the relationships of 
several races can hardly be expected. 

Specimens of the subgenus Synaptomys are most needed from the 
area immediately north and west of the Great Lakes, southwestern 
South Dakota, Arkansas, and all the New England States. In addi- 
tion, more material illustrating various degrees of intergradation 
between Synaptomys c. cooperi and S. c. stonei is much to be desired. 

Specimens of the subgenus Mictomys are greatly needed from the 
vicinity of Fort Chimo, Ungava, and the coast of southern Labrador, 
and nothing is known with certainty regarding the subgenus in 
the interior of eastern Canada as far west as Lake Winnipeg. Speci- 
mens from immediately south and west of Hudson Bay might prove 
exceedingly important. 

Because of excessive cranial variation among the few adult topo- 
types of Synaptomys b. borealis, more material should be had from 
the vicinity of Fort Franklin, Mackenzie, as well as from one or two 
points between that place and the Yukon boundary. Topotypes of 
S. b. dallij from Nulato, Alaska, and from the lower stretches of the 
Yukon River are greatly desired. Special search should be made 
for the genus in southwestern British Columbia and extreme north- 
western Washington, and intensive trapping in the sphagnum bogs 
at the base of the Olympic Peninsula of the State of Washington 
is desirable. 


All measurements given are in millimeters. With the exception 
of the type of Synaptomys b. inmiitus. all external measurements 
listed were taken by collectors in the field from specimens in the 

2 For unrestricted access to the collections under his charge, the writer is much 
indebted to G. S. Miller, jr., of the U. S. National Museum. For the loan of pertinent 
material thanks are tendered the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (18 specimens), through 
Joseph Grinncll ; the American Museum of Natural History (103 specimens), through 
H. E. Anthony; tlie Field Museum of Natural History (28 specimens), through W. H. 
Osgood; the Museum of Comparative Zoology (23 specimens), through G. M. Allen; the 
Royal Ontario Museum of Zoology (2 specimens), through John R. Dymond and L. L. 
Snyder; the National Museum of Canada (~t specimens), through R. M. Anderson; the 
Provincial Museum (1 specimen), through Francis Kermode ; the Academy of Natural 
Sciences of Philadelphia (26 specimens), through Witmer Stone; Washington State 
College (12 specimens), through W. T. Shaw; G. L. Kirk, Rutland, Vt. (1 specimen); 
W. E. Saunders, London, Ontario (10 specimens) ; Charles F. Batchelder, Cambridge, 
Mass. (7 specimens) ; and Donald R. Dickey, Pasadena, Calif. (8 specimens). 


flesh. For the reason that there is usually slight difference in ex- 
ternal size (and such as is indicated by the figures is often not 
substantiated upon direct comparison of the specimens), the impor- 
tance of field measurement is not stressed. 

The following measurements of adult crania were taken by the 
writer with vernier calipers registering in tenths of a millimeter : 

G ondylobasilar length. — Distance from the posterior border of the 
condyle to the posterior edge of the alveolus of the incisor on the 
corresponding side of the skull. 

Rostral length. — Distance measured from a line passing through 
the anteriormost portions of the zygomatic process of the maxillae 
to the anterior tip of the nasals. 

Rostral breadth. — Greatest breadth of rostrum measured across 
anterior borders of the anteorbital foramina. 

Interorbital breadth. — Shortest distance between the orbits. 

Zygomatic breadth. — Distance across the zygomatic arches at their 
widest point. 

Lamibdoidal width. — Greatest width of posterior portion of cra- 
nium measured across the lambdoidal ridges. 

Incisive foramina. — Greatest length of incisive foramina. 

Height. — Height of skull measured from a plane passing from 
the inferior surface of the bullae to the crown of the third molar. 

Color terms. — Because of the mixture of shades to be found in any 
one specimen of lemming mouse, such color names as are applied, 
including those of Ridgway, 3 must be considered only approximately 
correct. For the same reason minute color descriptions of the dif- 
ferent races are not included in the present work. 


Synaptomys Baird, Mamm. North Amer., p. 558, 1857. Type, Synaptomys 
cooperi Baird. 


The genus Synaptomys was described and named by Baird in 
1857, but material accumulated very slowly, and for many years 
each instance of the discovery of the genus in a new locality was 
recorded over and over again. The first species of lemming mouse 
described was borealis, by Richardson in 1828, but it was referred 
by him to the genus Arvicola [=Microtus] , and for a long time its 
proper relationship was a puzzle to systematists. In fact, it was not 
until 79 years after this specimen was named that the fragments of 
the skull were removed from the skin and the generic affinity defi- 
nitely established. 

When Baird named Synaptomys he also described the species 
cooperi, which he made the generic type, but unfortunately his 
single imperfect specimen was from an unknown locality. The race 
gossii was designated by Coues in 1877, but without a description, 
and only a list of measurements saved the name from becoming a 
nomen nudum. It was not until 19 years later that a description of 
this Kansas race was published, by Merriam, who selected a skull 
without skin as the type, none having been designated by Coues. 

3 Ridgway, R. color standards and color nomenclature. 43 p., illus. Washington, 
D. C. 1912. 


Rhoads described stonei from New Jersey in 1893; and in the fol- 
lowing year True named innuitus from Fort Chimo, Ungava, the 
type being an alcoholic specimen. Merriam named helaletes, datti, 
" truei" and wrangeli in 1896, only the first one of which was de- 
scribed from a first-class adult specimen; in the same year Bangs 
characterized " fatuus." S< sphagnicola Preble, from New Hamp- 
shire, appeared in 1899, and medioximiis Bangs, from Labrador, a 
year later. Preble described " bulletins " from the Mackenzie region 
in 1902, but the determination of the generic identity of Richard- 
son's type of borealis, confirmed by the capture of a series of speci- 
mens at the type locality by Preble in 1903, relegated this name to 
synonymy. Finally, " andersoni " and chapma?ii y both from British 
Columbia, were described by Allen in 1903. 

True in 1894 proposed Mictomys as a full genus, but the degree 
to which it differs from Synaptomys is certainly not greater than 
subgeneric, judged by present standards. Two years later Merriam 
(1896) revised the genus, recognizing eight of the nine forms that 
had at that time been named, but, with few exceptions, his material 
was scanty and unsatisfactory. For other history of the subject 
perhaps mention need here be made only of Genera and Sub- 
genera of Voles and Lemmings, by Miller (1896). 

The last new race of this genus was proposed just 20 years before 
the present study was undertaken, and the material subsequently 
accumulated has not justified the naming of another. Of the 15 
races thus far named — all but one of them as full species — 11 are 
now recognized as valid under the two species, S. borealis and 
S. cooperi, the remaining four (" truei" " fatuus" " bullatus" and 
" cmdersoni " ) being placed in synonymy. The subgenus Synaptomys 
here comprises the races of S. borealis and the subgenus Mictomys 
the races of S. cooperi. 


No fossil remains of the genus Synaptomys have been found either 
in this country or abroad, as far as known, so it is of little use to 
speculate as to where it originated. As it is now confined to the 
New World, it is at least fairly certain that it is a product of North 
America, but all the evidence does not necessarily corroborate such 
a hypothesis. Late in Tertiary and possibly even early in Quar- 
tenary times the lemmings are believed not to have been so strictly 
confined to a boreal habitat as at present. In those days, before the 
appearance of many of the higher and more adaptable species of 
the Microtinae (at least in western Europe and possibly in America 
as well), they encountered milder competition, but at present they 
have mostly retired into habitats to which Microtus is not so partial. 

That Synaptomys as a genus, but not necessarily as individuals, 
is adaptable in some respects is indicated by the considerable variety 
of habitats in which it occurs throughout its range. The evidence at 
hand, however, indicates that it has a marked intolerance for the 
immediate presence of other genera of Microtinae, although, of 
course, it can seldom or never procure for itself complete isolation 
in this respect. In the warmer parts of its range its presence may 
be expected only where there is an occasional cold sphagnum bog, 


now small and dwindling, to which it may be confined throughout a 
considerable stretch of territory. 

Externally Synaptomys is certainly much less specialized than 
either of the other two American genera of lemmings (Lemmus and 
Dicrostonyx), and in this respect the genus is more primitive. The 
hypsodont condition of the molars is an advanced modification, 
but its exact significance is difficult to interpret, for it is impossible 
now to be sure whether such tooth development in Synaptomys, ,and 
its lack in Phenacomys, constitutes a case of a single advanced 
character forging ahead of others in the first instance, or of a 
primitive character lagging behind in the second. The equal thick- 
ness of the enamel on the concave and the convex surfaces of the 
prisms is somewhat primitive, as has often been considered the 
presence of grooves on the upper incisors. The actual enamel pat- 
tern is considered most generalized in Lemmus, less so in the sub- 
genus Synaptomys, and more specialized in Mictomys, because in 
the lower molars of the last named the buccal triangles, undoubtedly 
present in some ancestral form, have entirely disappeared. The 
crania of the less specialized forms of the genus Synaptomys are 
also more primitive in a number of respects than are those of the 
other two lemmings, which are of an incipient fossorial type, a 
development not shared by Synaptomys. 

In summary, judging as well as possible without the aid of 
fossil material by which decision might be further influenced, the 
evidence seems to indicate that on the whole Synaptomys is the most 
primitive of the North American members of the supergeneric group 
Lemmi, and although the facts are susceptible of different interpre- 
tations, according to the relative importance accorded the several 
indices of evolutional modification, it is evidently more primitive 
in some ways than many of the lower Microti, such as Phenacomys, 
in spite of its having a type of molariform dentition of a higher 
order than occurs in the latter. 


Generic diagnosis. — The characters whereby the genus Synaptomys 
may be most readily distinguished from all other Microtinae are 
its grooved upper incisors and the extreme shortness of the rostrum 
(about 25 per cent of the total length of the skull). The molars 
are rootless, with persistent pulp, as in Microtus, and the mandibular 
incisors have their roots on the lingual side of the molars. The re- 
entrant angles are excessively deep on the buccal side of the max- 
illary molars, and on the lingual side of the mandibular ones, 
and the third upper molar consists of four simple, transverse loops, 
peculiarly arranged. The tail is slightly longer than the hind foot. 
The feet are not especially modified, but the nail on the first digit 
of the forefoot is flat and strap shaped. The hind foot has six 
tubercles on the sole. 

External characters. — Externally there is little or nothing by 
which the genus may invariably be distinguished, but the shortness 
of the tail is sufficient to separate it from all but a very few species 
of American Microtus. In appearance its members are robust, with 


massive heads, in this respect somewhat resembling the other lem- 
mings, but in the main the superficial appearance is that of voles 
and meadow mice. 

Old males may be distinguished from females and from other 
genera by the color of the hairs overlying the hip glands. These 
are apparently absent in females, but are well developed in fully 
mature males. In the latter, some of the hairs growing from the 
center of the glands are a dingy white, these usually, though not in- 
variably, extending to the surface of the pelage. These white patches 
are better developed in the subgenus Mictomys than in Synaptomys. 

The dorsal coloration does not serve to distinguish the present 
genus from Microtus, but in several races it averages somewhat richer 
and more chestnut than the usual meadow mouse, with coarser and 
somewhat longer coat. Sometimes the anterior portion of the body 
is slightly grayer than the posterior. The ventral surface is some 
shade of plumbeous, the exact tint depending upon the degree to 
which the lighter tips of the hairs have been abraded. In examples 
in new pelage, the underparts may have a faint suggestion of cream- 
colored overtone. 

The feet are dark, the precise color being largety influenced by the 
quantity of grease present in the dried skin. The very short tail is 
indistinctly bicolor and for a microtine is moderately well haired. 

Alcoholics available in such condition that the plantar tubercles 
can be clearly distinguished number 11 and consist of 5 specimens 
of stonei, 1 of cooperi, 1 of innuitus, and 4 of gossii. All have six 
well-developed tubercles, the three anterior ones of which — especially 
the outer — are unusually large. 

There are said to be eight mammae in Mictomys and only six in 
true Synaptomys, but the full number are not always functional in 
young mothers with small litters. 

The winter coat differs from the summer one only in that it is 
longer and denser, and newly acquired pelage is usually, but not 
always, rich in coloration. Wear is manifested by the abrasion or 
breaking off of the tips of the hairs, resulting in the proximal colora- 
tion showing through to a greater extent. The brighter or richer 
tips to the new hairs of the adults are largely lacking in very young 
animals, and hence the color of the young averages darker and more 

Unfortunately, both winter and summer pelages from any single 
northern locality are not available, and it is difficult to gain an 
understanding of the precise changes and sequences of pelage. Molt 
is gradual over the whole animal, there never being anj r well-defined 
zones or divisions between the old and the new coats, but the old 
hairs are replaced uniformly over the whole surface. Specimens 
that seem to be in perfectly fresh coat are available, however, taken 
during every month of spring, summer, and fall. For this reason 
it is difficult to be sure whether there is one or two annual molts. 
The changes of pelage, however, are somewhat irregular, especially 
in younger animals, and depend fully as much upon the age of the 
individual as upon the precise march of the seasons. In other words, 
it seems that a young animal may shed its juvenile coat at some defi- 
nite stage of development and that temperature has but a partial 
influence upon such change. In addition, it is not by any means 

40440—27 2 


certain that the changes of coat are precisely the same for all races 
in different climates. 

External size is remarkably uniform in Mictomys, but is slightly 
more variable in Synaptomys. The sexes do not differ in this 

Skull. — In this genus the skull varies from moderately light to 
exceedingly massive, but it is less robust than in other American 
lemmings. The rostrum is considerably depressed and is very short, 
comprising about 25 per cent of the total length of the skull, and 
the zygomatic processes of the maxillae are proportionately heavy, 
as in the other Lemmi, and very deep, but the arches are not widely 
flaring. The brain case is rather long, the postorbital border quite 
sharp, and its outline almost right-angled. The interparietal is nar- 
row in relation to its height. There is practically no ridging upon 
the brain case, but the interorbital ridges are usually prominent in 
adults. The pterygoids are short and thickened, and the palate not 
greatly unlike that of Microtus. 

Teeth. — The maxillary incisors of Synaptomys are grooved on 
their anterior surfaces, m young as well as in old individuals, and 
worn into deep pits on their posterior faces by the narrower lower 
incisors. The roots of the mandibular incisors terminate at a point 
slightly anterior to the posterior portion of the third molar and lie 
wholly on the lingual side of the molars. 

The molars are rootless and hypsodont, growing throughout life 
from a persistent pulp. The enamel pattern is characterized by the 
extreme depth of the reentrant angles on the lingual side of the 
lower teeth and the buccal side of the upper ones, and are of a style 
essentially different from all other genera except Lemmus. The 
enamel is of equal thickness on the concave and convex edges of the 
prisms, and the reentrant angles contain a moderate quantity of 
cementum. The upper molars are practically the same in both 
subgenera. The outer reentrant angles extend to the opposite side 
of the molars, but the inner ones only halfway toward the buccal 
side. The first and second upper molars are not otherwise peculiar, 
the former consisting of five closed enamel spaces, and the latter of 
four. The third molar has three transverse loops directed outward, 
and in addition, a fourth situated posteriorly and directed inward, 
separated from the others by a deep inner reentrant angle. Its 
shape is distinctive, and its pattern possible of confusion only with 
Lemmus. The lower molars are described under the subgenera. 

The question of whether the anterior molariform teeth of the 
Microtinae are true molars or premolars is not considered in the 
present study, but the more conservative terminology — first, second, 
and third molars — is used. 

The molars, although hypsodont, never project so far beyond the 
alveoli as do those of most other genera of microtines with hypso- 
dont dentition, and hence there is less provision made for rapid wear. 
Therefore, the teeth must be unusually resistant, or else the food 
is less abrasive than is that of most voles. Of these two theoretical 
explanations, the former is considered unlikely. The facts as known 
seem to justify the conclusion that the molars grow at a less rapid 
rate than in most other genera of the subfamily and hence are of 
a less pronounced order of hypsodontism. 



The material now available indicates strongly that the genus 
Synaptomys contains only two species, one to each subgenus. These, 
in turn, are further divisible, with tendencies for variation as men- 
tioned under the subgenera. 

Key to the Subgenera of Synaptomys 

Mandibular molars with triangles on outer side Synaptomys. 

Mandibular molars without triangles on outer side Mictomys. 

List of Species and Subspecies, with Their Type Localities 

Synaptomys cooperi cooperi Baird Type locality unknown. 

cooperi stonei Rhoads Mays Landing, N. J. 

cooperi helaletes Merriam Lake Drummond Dismal 

Swamp, Ya. 
cooperi gossii Coues Neosho Falls, Kans. 

Subgenus MICTOMYS 

Synaptomys oorealis oorealis (Richardson) Fort Franklin, Mackenzie, 


oorealis dalli Merriam Nulato, Alaska. 

oorealis chapmani Allen Glacier, British Columbia, 


horealis wrangeli Merriam Wrangell, Alaska. 

oorealis innuitus (True) Fort Chimo, Ungava, Canada. 

oorealis medioximus Bangs L'Anse au Loup, Labrador. 

horealis sphagnicola Preble Fabyuns, N. H. 

Subgenus SYNAPTOMYS Baird 

Synaptomys Baird, Mamm. North Amer., p. 55S, 1857. Type Synaptomys 
cooperi Baird. 

Geographic distribution. — Canadian Zone in eastern Canada west 
probably through Ontario; thence south through the Upper Austral 
Zone along the eastern border of the Plains into Arkansas: on the 
Atlantic slope occurring southward into North Carolina. (Fig. 2.) 

Essential characters. — Mandibular molars with closed triangles 
upon the outer sides, and outer reentrant angles well developed. 
Mandibular incisors relatively robust, not usually excessively pointed. 
Mammae, 6. 

Subgeneric diagnosis. — Skull, especially rostrum, in all but one 
race, very heavy, with maxillary incisors correspondingly so, their 
outer edges never noticeably unworn nor prolonged into sharp splin- 
ters of enamel. Mandibular incisors rather short and relatively 
stout, their tips not being sharply and narrowly pointed. Mandibu- 
lar molars with closed triangles and well-developed reentrant angles 
upon the buccal side. Palate (fig. 3) but little different from that 
of some species of Microtus. Foramen rotundum and foramen ovale 
practically always separate and distant. Mammae, 6. No hairs at 
base of ears appreciably brighter than remainder of pelage. White 
patch upon the hip glands of old males seldom showing conspicuously. 



[No. 50 

Skull. — The skull of the typical race (cooperi) is no larger (smaller 
than in some forms) nor is the rostrum heavier (although propor- 
tionately shorter) than in the case of Mictomys, contrary to the usual 
statement. The skulls of the remaining three subspecies of the 
present subgenus are larger, however, and the rostra and incisors 
decidedly heavier. The crown of the first upper molar is situated 
considerably above a plane passing from the inferior border of the 
bullae through the crown of the third molar. The interorbital sulcus 
is seldom obliterated in old age. The inferior surface of the cranium 
has very few characters of any value in diagnosis. 

Fig. 2. — Distribution of the subgenus Synaptomys. Open circles indicate type local- 
ities; solid spots, other specimen records. A, 8. c. cooperi; B, 8. c. stonei; C, 
8. o. gossii; D, 8. c. helaletes 

Teeth. — Maxillary molars exactly as described under the genus. 
Of the mandibular teeth (fig. 4), the first molar consists of an ante- 
rior space, corresponding to the usual microtine trefoil, with an 
incipient triangle (widely open) upon its outer side. In addition, 
there are three inner loops and a median outer triangle. The second 
molar consists of two median loops, an irregular, narrower, enamel 
space anterior to these, and a median outer triangle. The third 
molar is composed of three triangular spaces — one of them upon the 
outer side — and a posterior loop. The outer reentrant angles of 
these molars are well developed, although not to so great an extent 
as the inner ones. 

The incisors (fig. 5) are of a deep orange color. The upper 
ones have the grooves very close to the outer borders, and the 




Fig. 3.— Palate of 
the subgenus Syn- 
aptomys — S 1 . coop- 
eri helaletes 
(Dismal Swamp, 
Va., No. 95876, 
U. S. Nat. Mas.). 

corners are usually noticeably worn. The mandibular incisors 
are short and heavy, with tips not excessively slender 

Remarks. — Taking the average of cranial char- 
acters, skulls of Synaptomys may be distinguished 
from those of Mictomys by their proportionately 
smaller bullae, shorter incisive foramina, more 
Microtus-like palates, relatively shorter rostra, less 
attenuate terminations of the ascending branches 
of the maxillae, the fact that the foramen rotundum 
and foramen ovale are always separated by a sub- 
stantial osseous partition, by the greater or lesser 
tendency of the interorbital ridging to join, by the 
difference in tilt of the upper molar series, and by 
the mandibular enamel pattern. 

The subgenus Synaptomys as now understood contains but a single 
species, divided into four exceedingly well-marked geographical 
races. It is considered that further subdivision, based upon the 

material now avail- 
able, would be en- 
tirely unjustified. 

There has been 
much uncertainty ex- 
pressed by various 
authors regarding 
the identity of speci- 
mens from many lo- 
calities, an uncer- 
tainty doubtless 
caused by the ques- 
tion of the proper 
status of the type 
of cooperi and by the fact that the existing material, some- 
times scanty or in other ways unsatisfactory, was widely scattered. 
The characters of most use in differentiating the subspecies of the 
subgenus Synaptomys comprise general size of the 
skull, shape of the brain case, the width and length 
of the rostrum, width of incisors, and, to a lessor ex 
tent, the shape of the incisive foramina and zygo- 
matic arches. Although there may be some indi- 
vidual variation in these characters, they are usually 
reliable. There are no differences in tooth pattern, 
nor in the relative size of the bullae. Immaturity 
is indicated chiefly by lack of the normal amount 
of interorbital ridging, but there are also the other 
signs of youth usual in the Microtinae. 

There are no external characters whereby the four 
races of this subgenus may surely be distinguished; 
As far as can be told by the dried study skins, the ex- 
ternal differences are relatively trifling, often inap- 
preciable, and net at all commensurate with the range 
of size and development exhibited by the crania. 

'Ill" mammae are said to be six in number, inguinal, 1:1, pectoral 
2:2, and this seems to be the maximum. Young females may have 
a smaller number than this actually functional. 

Fig. 4. — Enamel pattern of molars of the subgf-nns Synap- 
tomys — £. cooperi stonei (Roan Mountain, N. C, No. 
47821, U. S. Nat. Mus.). Enlarged, after Miller, 1896 

Fig. 5.— Front view 
of incisors of Hie 
subgenus Synap- 
tomys — 8. cooperi 
In lull ten (Dismal 
Swamp, Va., No. 
95876, V. s. Nat. 
Mus.). Kni. i r. : ed 

12 NORTH AME^I^O" FAUNA [No. 50 

The tooth pattern of this subgenus is less advanced in type than 
that of Mictomys, but the skull, in most forms, is much more special- 
ized, though it is difficult to say for just what purposes. The north- 
ernmost race of the subgenus has the simplest skull, but those to 
the southward, inhabiting lower zones and living amid surroundings 
that may logically be assumed to be considerably different from what 
is normal for the genus, have developed very robust crania and 
massive dentition, most pronounced in the two southernmost sub- 

Key to the Subspecies of Synaptomys cooperi (Subgenus Synaptomys) 

(Based on adults) 

a 1 Maxillary incisors very narrow (about 1.1 mm.) ; condylobasi- 
lar length averaging under 24 ; zygomatic breadth under 

16 8. c. cooperi (p. 12) 

a 2 Maxillary incisors wider (over 1.5 mm.) ; condylobasilar length 
averaging over 24.5 ; zygomatic breadth over 16.5. 
ft 1 Incisive foramina short (averaging 4.7) ; condylobasilar 
length under 26. 
c 1 Skull not broad for length; rostrum moderate (width 

under 6) Sf. c. stonei (p. 14) 

cr Skull very broad for length ; rostrum stubby and massive 

(width over 6.1) S. c. helaletes (p. 17) 

o 2 Incisive foramina long (averaging 5.7) ; condylobasilar 

length about 27 8. c. gossii (p. 18) 


Cooper Lemming Mouse 
(Plate 1, A) 

Synaptomys cooperi Baird, Mamm. North Amer., p. 556, 1857. 

Synaptomys fatuus Bangs, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 10:47, 1896. Type 
from Lake Edward, Quebec, Canada. Female adult ; No. 3857, coll. E. A. 
and O. Bangs : collected by O. Bangs, September 28, 1895 ; original num- 
ber 3. 

Type. — Type locality, unknown; immature; No. \ | g fr, U. S. Nat. 
Mus. ; from Wm. Cooper. 

Geographic distribution. — Canadian and upper part of Transition 
Zones in North American east of the Plains from Nova Scotia to 
Godbout, Quebec, and thence westward to the territory immediately 
north and west of Lake Superior; south to central Wisconsin and 
Michigan and in the Catskill Mountains to southern New York. 
(Fig. 2.) 

General characters. — A small race with light rostrum, small in- 
cisors, weak brain case, and little or no interorbital ridging. 

Color. — As in the subgenus, dorsally somewhat close to the cinna- 
mon brown of Eidgway. Below, the skins with least worn pelage 
show a distinct tinge of cream, while the others are of the usual 

Skull. — The cranium is the smallest of any race of the subgenus 
and may readily be distinguished by the small size of the incisors 
(width, 1.1 mm.) and by the narrowness of the rostrum, making" 
the latter appear longer in comparison with the rest of the skull 
than in the other races. Interorbital and temporal ridges prac- 


tically absent in characteristic specimens. Brain case weak and 
rather long for its width. Zygomatic arches weak and but slightly 
developed at the supero-inferior expansion of the jugals. 

Measurements. — Average of collectors' measurements of five largest 
individuals from Quebec: Total length, 118; tail, 16.5; foot, 18. 
Average of four adult skulls from Quebec: Condylobasilar length, 
23.1; rostral length, 6.1; rostral breadth, 5; interorbital breadth, 3; 
zvgomatic breadth, 15.1; lambdoidal width, 11.9; incisive foramina, 
4^3; height, 8.6. 

Remarks. — In the original description of the species, Baird stated 
that the type is "probably from the New England States, or New 
York; possibly from Iowa or Minnesota." He must have had some 
reason for making such a statement instead of presuming, as have 
most of his successors, that the type came from near the Hoboken, 
N. J., home of Mr. Cooper, from whom it was 6btained. The 
type is without the head and feet and is torn in many places, and 
the single paratype is in even worse condition. The posterior por- 
tion of the skull of the type is missing, only the rostral region, the 
right zygomatic arch and postorbital border remaining intact, but 
this is entirely adequate to show that the specimen is subadult, 
and that it certainly can not be identified with the material from 
the Central Atlantic States heretofore called cooperi. Among the 
lemming mice now available it can be exactly matched only by 
certain examples of the " fatuus " of authors from Ontario, Quebec, 
and New York State. Hence, fatuus must now be abandoned, as 
a pure synonym of cooperi. The type locality of the latter can prob- 
ably never be fixed with exactitude, but it may well be considered 
as situated somewhere in the northern or western portion of the 
New England States, or in western New York, as Baird suggested. 
So far as the present material indicates, skulls from western New 
York are practically indistinguishable from those taken in Quebec, 
and the characters of the latter are now considered in greater detail 
for the reason that the material from this area is the most satisfactory 
of any available. 

The chief characters whereby cooperi may be distinguished are 
the small size of the skull coupled with the narrowness of the ros- 
trum and almost total lack of ridging, the two latter points being 
especially diagnostic. The increase in the width of the incisors as 
the range of stonei is approached is sometimes of great value in an 
understanding of the degree of intergradation existing in various 
areas. The measurements given indicate a shorter foot for cooperi, 
but comparison of skins fails to show an appreciable difference in 
this respect. 

Along the southern border of its range this race approaches 
stonei in varying degree, especially where the Great Lakes do not 
impose a physical barrier between the two. Such variants are not 
always uniform as regards minor characters, but these differences 
are, as a rule, relatively minute. Specimens from northern Wis- 
consin and Ann Arbor, Mich., show a slight increase in the size 
of the brain case and a stronger indication of interorbital ridging 
than is usual in Canadian examples, and the same may be said of 
the specimens from Minnesota. The latter are unusually bright in 
coloration, but this may be due to the fact that they were taken 


early in March, a season during which there are almost no specimens 
of this race available for comparison. It is considered best to allo- 
cate such with cooperi, even though some of them, with equal pro- 
priety, might be considered by others as referable to stonei. 

Rather unexpectedly the single skull from the Catskill Moun- 
tains must be called cooperi, although it is not typical. 

Two specimens from Vermont are intermediate in character and 
might as well be referred to stonei as to the present race. Those from 
Essex County, N. Y., vary to some degree, especially in the slightly 
larger incisors, toward stonei, but only one of these specimens is 
adult. The skull from Mount Mansfield, badly damaged, is espe- 
cially questionable as to its identity because of the rostrum. 

The skull accompanying one of the skins labeled Canoe River, 
British Columbia, proves to be a true Synaptomys, but this sub- 
genus has never before been taken west of the prairies, and six 
other specimens taken at the same time are without skulls. If this 
example really came from the locality indicated it would almost 
certainly be perfectly distinct from anything now known, but in 
many ways it is close to cooperi, although undeniably larger. It 
was taken by a reliable collector, but because there has very likely 
been some sort of subsequent confusion in the case of this skull, as 
occasionally happens in spite of utmost care, it is no more than 
mentioned here. 

Specimens examined. — Total number, 88, as follows : 

Locality unknown: 2 (type and paratype). 

Maine: Mount Madawaska, 2 4 ; east branch Penobscot River, 1; Sebec 

Lake, 1. 
Michigan: Ann Arbor, 12. 
Minnesota: Burntside Lake, 2; Elk River, 4. 
New Brunswick: Near Bathurst, 4 5 ; Tobique Point, l. 6 
New Hampshire: Mount Moosilauke, l. 4 
New York: Alfred Center, 1 ; Catskill Mountains, 1 ; Keene Heights, Essex 

County, 4 4 ; Wanakena, 1. 
Nova Scotia: Digby, 5. 7 

Ontario: Bryanston. 2 8 ; London, 8"; Macdiarinid, Lake Nipigon, l. 10 
Quebec: Godbout, 3"; Lake Edward, 10 (including type of "fatuus") 1 *; 

St. Rose, 5. 
Vermont: Leicester, l 13 ; Mount Mansfield, 1. 
Wisconsin: Oonover, 3"; Lac Vieux Desert, l 14 ; Lakewood, 1; Lake St. 

Germain, 4 ; Long Lake, 2 ; Mercer, 1 ; St. Croix Falls, 1 ; Sayner, 1 " ; 

Solon Springs, 1." 

Stone Lemming Mouse 
(Plate 1, B) 
Synaptomys stonei Rhoads, Amer. Nat. 27 : 53, 1893. 

Type. — Collected at Mays Landing (on Egg River), Atlantic 
County, N. J., by S. N. Rhoads, December 2, 1892. Female subadult; 

i C. F. Batchelder coll. 
B Nat. Mus, Canada. 

6 Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 

7 Mus. Comp. Zool. 

8 Nat. Mus. Canada, 1 ; W. E. Saunders coll., 1. 

9 W. E. Saunders coll. 

10 Royal Ontario Mus. Zool. 

11 U. S. Nat. Mus., 2 ; Royal Ontario Mus. Zool., 1. 

12 Mus. Comp. Zool., 7 ; Field Mus. Nat. Hist., 3. 

13 G. L. Kirk coll. 
"Field Mus. Nat. Hist. 


No. 7567, Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia (formerly No. 567, coll. S. N. 

Geographic distribution. — Lower portion of Transition and north- 
ern half of the Upper Austral Zones in the United States east of the 
Plains, from central Wisconsin and Illinois east to the Atlantic 
coast; occurs as far north as Massachusetts and south in the moun- 
tains into North Carolina. (Fig. 2.) 

General characters. — A race with moderate-sized, well-ridged skull 
with well-developed zygomatic region. Rostrum somewhat inter- 
mediate in size between the extremes of development as exhibited by 
cooperi, on the one hand, and helaletes, on the other. Incisors wide 
(1.7 millimeters). 

Color. — The coloration of New Jersey specimens is indistinguish- 
able from that of animals from Quebec. Maryland skins average a 
shade brighter. 

Skull. — Adult crania from southern New Jersey are of medium 
size with well-developed interorbital ridges, which meet in the case 
of animals of advanced age. Brain case rather long, its length being 
especially accentuated in thoroughly typical specimens by the nar- 
rowness of the interparietal. The rostrum is much heavier than in 
cooperi, as are the incisors, and the zygomatic arches flare strongly, 
with jugals quite deep supero-inferiorly. The incisive foramina are 
variable, but are usually relatively long. 

Measurements. — Average of collectors' measurements of four largest 
specimens from southern New Jersey: Total length, 127; tail, 21; 
foot, 20. Average of four adult skulls from the same area : Condy- 
lobasilar length, 24.9 ; rostral length, 6.4 ; rostral breadth, 5.9 ; inter- 
orbital breadth, 3.1; zygomatic breadth, 16.7; lambdoidal width, 13; 
incisive foramina, 4.7; height, 9.9. 

Remarks. — As the name cooperi is found to belong to the northern- 
most race of the subgenus, the form occurring in the Middle Atlantic 
States will have to take Rhoads's name stonei. The type specimen of 
this is not adult and the cranial points that may be considered most 
characteristic of the animals in the vicinity of the type locality are 
not so well developed as could be desired. 

This race is in many ways intermediate between the light-skulled 
cooperi, on the one hand, and helaletes and gossii, with their heavy 
crania, on the other, yet being well defined and rather constant over a 
wide area, it can not be considered as an intergrade. This inter- 
mediateness in skull characters is entirely sufficient to distinguish it 
from the three other races. The larger skull and heavier rostrum, 
including incisors, in connection with the well-developed ridging, 
distinguish it from cooperi, and its smaller size and narrower or 
smaller rostrum, from the remaining two forms. Its foot seems to 
be a shade longer than that of cooperi, but not sufficiently so for 
this character to be of practical value in diagnosis. 

In the northern portion of its range stonei approaches cooperi in 
varying degree, and there is some little geographic fluctuation of 
characters in several places, as may only be expected of an animal 
inhabiting bogs that must often be separated by considerable intervals 
of country unsuited to the needs of the genus. Such fluctuations, 
however, are usually slight and on the basis of the material now 

40440—27 3 


available seem not to be sufficiently pronounced or constant to admit 
of further subspecific division. 

Specimens from southern Maryland definitely vary toward hela- 
letes, having the large brain case and stout zygomatic region of that 
race, but with the rostra more as in stonei, with which they should 
clearly be placed. 

The individuals from Roan Mountain, N. C, have slightly weaker 
skulls, narrower zygomata and wider interparietals than typical, but 
these differences are not sufficiently pronounced to merit separation. 

An old female from Wareham, Mass., is certainly closer to stonei, 
although with a rather weak rostrum, while the three other skulls 
from this locality are entirely intermediate between this race and 

The individual from Cassopolis, Mich., taken during January, is 
excessively gray, especially laterally. 

There is a type of variant in central Wisconsin the skulls of which 
are no larger than those of cooperi, but fully as stout and ridged, pro- 
portionately, as are those of stonei. This is most accentuated in in- 
dividuals from Elkhart Lake and Kilbourn, and these might possibly 
be considered worthy of subspecific separation if it were not for the 
fact that the animals from Kelly Lake, Wild Rose, and Rib Hill, 
all to the north of the two localities first mentioned, have skulls much 
larger and close to typical stonei. Such being the case, it seems wiser 
to consider them merely intermediate, to different degrees, between 
stonei and the cooperi type of lemming mouse occurring in the 
northern part of the State. 

The Indiana animals have, at one time or another, been referred to 
gossii, but in view of the adequate series of the latter form now avail- 
able, such a decision can not be sustained. Material from the south- 
ern half of the State is clearly stonei, while two skulls from Hebron 
and Roselawn, in the northwest section, although undeniably large 
and with stout rostra, are not sufficiently developed in these respects 
for inclusion with the Kansas race. 

Specimens examined. — Total number, 160, as follows : 

Indiana: Bascom, 8; Bicknell, 1; Brookville, 6; Hebron, 1; Mitchell, 4; 
Roselawn, 1 ; Salamonia, 5. 15 

Maryland: Hyattsville, 8; Prince George County, 6. 

Massachusetts: Wareham, 4. 10 

Michigan: Cassopolis, l. 18 

New Jersey: Bear Swamp, Sussex County, 1"; Greenwood Lake, 2"; 
Mays Landing, 4 18 ; Port Norris, 3 " ; Tuckahoe, 1." 

North Carolina: Magnetic City, 1; Roan Mountain, 25 10 ; Weaverville, ll. 80 

Ohio: Ravenna. 2. 21 

Pennsylvania: Bushkill Creek, near Cresco, 1"; Krings Station, 5"; 
Lake Lehigh, 1 * ; Round Island, 2." 

Tennessee: Rogersville, 1. 

Virginia: Campbell County, 13 a ; Mount Rodgers, 5." 

West Virginia: Cranberry Glades, 1; Pocahontas County (head of Cran- 
berry River), 5; Travellers Repose, 4; White Sulphur Springs, S. 82 

Wisconsin: Camp Douglas, 1; Elkhart Lake, 2; Kelly Lake, 9; Kilbourn, 3; 
Rib Hill, 2 ; Wild Rose, 7. 

" Field Mus. Nat. Hist. 

16 Mus. Conip. Zool. 

"Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. 

18 Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 3 (including type) ; U. S. Nat. Mus., 1. 

19 U. S. Nat. Mus., 19 ; Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 6. 
a" Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., 10 ; Field Mus. Nat. Hist., 1. 
a Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 

23 Field Mus. Nat. Hist., 1 ; Mus. Comp. Zool., 2. 


Dismal Swamp Lemming Mouse 
(Plate 1, C) 
Synaptomys helaletes Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 10 : 59, 1896. 

Type. — Collected at Lake Drummond, Dismal Swamp, Norfolk 
County, Va., by A. K. Fisher, October 14, 1895. Female adult; 
No. 75172, U. S. Nat. Mus. (Biol. Surv. coll.) ; original number 

Geographic distribution. — Extreme southeastern Virginia and 
northeastern North Carolina. (Fig. 2.) 

General characters. — A race with large, heavy skull and broad, 
stubby rostrum. Brain case wide and relatively short, and zygo- 
matic arches much bowed. Incisors very broad (1.9 mm.) (Fig. 5), 
and incisive foramina rather short. 

Color. — Evidently averaging a shade brighter and lighter (only 
winter and early spring specimens available) than the two pre- 
ceding forms, but many individuals are indistinguishable from them. 

Skull. — The rostrum of the present form is excessively broad with- 
out any compensating increase in length, and the zygomatic arches 
are strongly bowed. The interorbital ridging is moderate, with 
the sulcus almost, though not quite, obliterated in old age. The 
brain case is very broad and hence appears rather short, and the 
interparietal is moderately wide. The incisive foramina are usually 

Measurements. — Average of nine adult topotypes: Total length, 
129; tail, 21.4; foot, 20. Average of six skulls of adult topotypes: 
Condylobasilar length, 25.5; rostral length, 6.6; rostral breadth, 
6.3; interorbital breadth, 3.3; zygomatic breadth, 17.2; lambdoidal 
width, 13.4; incisive foramina, 4.7; height, 10.1. 

Remarks. — The present form may be most readily distinguished 
from typical stonei by the much broader, though no longer, rostrum, 
and correspondingly broader incisors. The zygomatic arches are 
more strongly bowed and the brain case is considerably wider. 
The incisive foramina are also, as a rule, shorter. In reality the 
ridging is less developed in helaletes, the skull gaining its ap- 
pearance of ruggedness by its great breadth. The feet of this 
lemming mouse, although no longer, are apparently appreciably 
stouter than those of its neighbor. 

As previously mentioned, specimens from southern Maryland, al- 
though referable to stonei, definitely vary in the direction of 
helaletes. At the present day, bogs suitable for the presence of 
this genus are undergoing shrinkage throughout the region in ques- 
tion, and there may now be a definite hiatus between the ranges 
of the two forms, but there are not sufficient grounds for consider- 
ing the Dismal Swamp animals as being more than subspecifically 

The two skins from Chapanoke are very light, but the single 
skull from this locality is entirely typical. 

Specimens examined. — Total number, 24, as follows : 

North Carolina: Chapanoke, 2. 23 

Virginia: Lake Drummond, 22 (including type). 

23 U. S. Nat. Mus., 1; Acad. Nat. Sci. .Philadelphia. 1. 



Goss Lemming Mouse 

(Plate 1, D) 

Arvicola (Synaptomys) gossii Coues, Monogr. North Amer. Rodentia, p. 235, 


Type. — Collected at Neosho Falls, Woodson County, Kans., by 
B. F. Goss, 1866. _ Male adult (skull only) ; No. 6915, U. S. Nat. Mus. 

Geographic distribution. — The west-central Mississippi Valley 
country, mostly in the Upper Austral Zone, from northeastern 
Arkansas and southern Illinois into Iowa and extreme southeastern 
South Dakota (fig. 2). 

General characters. — A large, rather bright-colored Synaptomys 
with long, heavy skull having a wide, though long, rostrum. 

Color. — Dark examples are indistinguishable externally from the 
other races, but the majority of adults are of a somewhat brighter, 
richer shade, most noticeable in the case of the series from Rosiclare, 

Skull. — Long and heavy in all parts, but its width hardly propor- 
tionate to the length. Rostrum heavy but long, with massive incisors 
(width, 2 mm.). Interorbital ridging moderately pronounced but 
never meeting entirely in old age. Temporal ridges weil developed 
both anterior to the parietals, and in the interparietal-lambdoidal 
region. The zygomatic arches, although heavy, are relatively un- 
expanded, thus adding to the appearance of length of the cranium. 
The incisive foramina are narrow but very long. 

Measurements. — Average of three adults from Kansas: Total 
length, 134; tail, 21; foot, 20. Average of four adult skulls from 
Kansas: Condylobasilar length, 27.1; rostral length, 6.3; rostral 
breadth, 6.1; interorbital breadth, 3.5; zygomatic breadth, 17.7; 
lambdoidal width, 13.3 ; incisive foramina, 5.6 ; height, 10.9. 

Remarks. — In the original citation, Coues gives this name as above, 
observing that it had been written by Baird upon the labels of the 
Kansas specimens, and giving a list of these with their measurements. 
Such a citation may be considered a valid characterization, and hence 
Coues is sponsor for the name rather than Merriam (1896, p. 60). 
Coues, however, designated no type, and this was later selected by 
Merriam, as above. 

The present race may be distinguished from stonei by its larger 
size and heavier ridging on the posterior portion of the brain case. 
The zygomatic arches are proportionately less flaring, and the in- 
cisive foramina longer and narrower. The feet of this form, as 
well as of helaletes, seem to be wider and stouter, though no longer, 
than those of the lighter cooperi and stonei. 

The trend of development of both gossii and helaletes has been 
toward an increase in the size of the cranium, but with this excep- 
tion, large size, the skulls of the two are not particularly similar, 
and even were their ranges contiguous, there would be no reason for 
considering them closer to each other than to stonei. The Kansas 
race has a long type of skull with rostrum not proportionately very 
broad, and long incisive foramina, while helaletes has a short, broad 
type of skull with very wide rostrum and usually short incisive 


Specimens from Rosiclare, in extreme southeastern Illinois, are 
referred to gossii because of color, but the skulls are intermediate 
between that and stonei (indicating the true relationship of the 
Kansas race), and they might almost as well be called one as the 

Although not typical, the series from Horseshoe Lake, Mo., must 
be called gossii, but the skulls, as long as Kansas ones, have propor- 
tions a trifle suggestive of stonei. 

The affinities of the Hillsboro individual are undoubtedly with 
gossii, but those from Lake City and Odin are too young to be iden- 
tified with certainty, and they are assigned to this race upon geo- 
graphic grounds. 

Hahn states (1909b, p. 522) that he took lemming mice on the Mis- 
souri River in southeastern South Dakota, which he called gossii 
because they were " much larger and clumsier, with larger and heav- 
ier skull " than Indiana examples. The writer has not succeeded 
in locating this material, but presumes that Hahn was correct in 
his diagnosis. 

Specimens examined. — Total number, 47, as follows: 

Arkansas: Lake City, 1. 

Illinois: Odin, 1 ; Rosiclare, 11." 

Iowa: Hillsboro, 1; Knoxville, 1; Marion, l. 26 

Kansas: Lawrence, 1 M ; Leavenworth, 7"; Neosho Falls, 7. w 

Missouri: Horseshoe Lake, 16. 

Subgenus MICTOMYS True 

Mietomys True, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. 17 : 242, April 26, 1894. (Advance sep- 
arate.) Type Mietomys innuitus True. 

Geographic distribution. — Canadian and Hudsonian Zones of 
Alaska and British America, barely entering the extreme north- 
western part of the United States, and in the east extending south- 
ward into New Hampshire. (Fig. 6.) 

Essential characters. — Mandibular molars without closed triangles 
upon the outer sides, and practically no outer reentrant angles. 
Mandibular incisors relatively slender and sharply pointed. Mam- 
mae, 8. 

Subgeneric diagnosis. — Neither skull nor rostrum is especially 
heavy. The maxillary incisors often have the outer corners notice- 
ably unworn and prolonged into sharp splinters of enamel, after 
the manner commonly seen in the genus Lemmus. This may be ac- 
companied by deep pitting upon the oral surface of the upper 
incisors, the whole formed by the action of the comparatively long 
and slender, sharply pointed, lower incisors working against the 
very much wider upper ones. Mandibular molars are without closed 
triangles or distinct reentrant angles upon the buccal sides. 
Palate (fig. 7) with a sharply pointed median projection directed 
backwards — not Microtus-like. Foramen rotundum and foramen 
ovale usually, though not always, joined, forming a single vacuity. 
When separated, the osseous partition is exceedingly thin and frag- 

M Field Mus. Nat. Hist. 

28 Mus. Comp. Zool. (no skull, identity inferred). 

w Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 

57 U. 8. Nat. Mus., 6 ; Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., 1. 

28 U. S. Nat. Mus., 6 (including type) ; Mus. Comp. Zool., 1. 



[No. 50 

ile. Mammae, 8. A few hairs at the base of the ears distinctly 
brighter, with a bright rusty tinge, and hairs upon the hip glands 
of old males usually conspicuously whitish. 

/Skull. — The skull of Mictomys is smaller and lighter than all 
but one of the subspecies of the subgenus Synaptomys, and the 

Fig. 6. — Approximate distribution of the subgenus Mictomys 

rostrum is lighter and relatively longer, but the interorbital ridges 
join, thus obliterating the median sulcus, at a rather early age. The 
bullae are comparatively larger, the incisive foramina longer, the 
terminations of the ascending branches of the maxillae average 
more attenuate, the foramen rotundum and the foramen ovale are 
usually joined into a single vacuity, or else the intervening osseous 
partition is very fragile, and the median projection 
of the palate is spinous in character. The crown of 
the first upper molar is about on a level with a 
plane passing from the inferior border of the bullae 
through the crown of the third molar. 

Teeth. — The maxillary molars are as in the genus. 
The mandibular molars (fig. 8) are formed entirely 
of transverse, wedge-shaped loops, four in the first 
(including anterior " trefoil ") , and three in the sec- 
ond and third. These differ in pattern from the sub- 
genus Synaptomys in the absence of an outer tri- 
angle from each tooth, and in having the buccal 
borders crenulate, with outer reentrant angles 
barely indicated, except in the third molar, where one is slightly 

The incisors (fig. 9) are pale in color, especially upon the outer 
edges, relatively light, and the grooves of the upper ones are not 
so close to the outer borders as in the subgenus Synaptomys. The 
lower incisors are very long, slender, and exceedingly sharply pointed, 
these terminations fitting into unusually well-defined pits upon 
the oral surface of the much broader upper incisors. The latter are 

Fig. 7. — Palate of 
the subgenus Mic- 
tomys — &. borea- 
li8 c h a p m an i 
(Smoky River, Al- 
berta, No. 17437, 
U. S. Nat. Mus.). 




Fig. 8. — Enamel pattern of molars of the subgenus 
Mictomys — 8. borealis innuitus (tvpe, Fort Chimo, 
Ungava, No. 24729, U. S. Nat. Mus.). Enlarged, 
after Miller, 1896 

usually somewhat unworn upon their outer corners, and there often 
results a very sharp splinter of enamel that projects at this point. 
Remarks. — There is really remarkably little geographic variation, 
both externally and cranially, in the subgenus Mictomys, and 
although its range can 
not, as yet, be demon- 
strated to be uninter- 
rupted, there is indicated 
so much continuity in 
the fluctuation of char- 
acters that the various 
forms are likely no more 
than subspecifically dis- 
tinct. The chief handi- 
cap to a proper under- 
standing of the interre- 
lationship of the races is 
the dearth of topotypical 
material, and it will probabty be many years before this condition 
can be entirely remedied. 

External characters are more satisfactory than in the subgenus 
Synaptomys, but there is slight difference in external size, such, 
whenever indicated by collectors' measurements, usually proving 
unreliable when a direct comparison of specimens 
is made. 

The characters of most value in diagnosing the 
various races of this subgenus consist of size of 
skull; height and proportion of the brain case; 
length and width of the rostrum (but seldom of 
the nasals), incisive foramina, and occasionally 
the bullae; and length of the pterygoid fossae. 
Some of these characters, however, may be found 
to fluctuate, especially in regions of diverse faunal 
tendencies. Immaturity is indicated chiefly by the 
lack of pronounced interorbital riding. 

The mammae are said to be 8 in number, inguinal 
2 : 2, pectoral 2 : 2, and such seems to be the case, as 
well as could be told from dried specimens. Young 
females may develop a fewer number. 
As previously mentioned, the tooth pattern of Mictomys is con- 
sidered more specialized than that of the subgenus Synaptomys, and 
the skull is simpler. 

Key to Subspecies of Synaptomys borealis (Subgenus Mictomys) 

o ' Races ranging chiefly east of the mountains of western Canada 
and Alaska. 
& 1 Coloration dark — rich mahogany; pterygoid fossae short; 

Athabaska-Mackenzie region 8. b. borealis (p. 22). 

b * Coloration duller or paler ; pterygoid fossae longer ; eastern 
North America, 
c * Skull very small — condylobasilar length 23 : color not 

known 8. b. innuitus (p. 28). 

v* Skull larger — condylobasilar length over 24. 
d 1 Color pale and bright (adult skull unknown) 

8. b. tnedioximus (p. 29). 
d 2 Color darker; condylobasilar length over 25_ 8. b. sphagnicola (p. 30). 

Fig. 9. — Front view 
of incisors of the 
subgenus Micto- 
mys — 8. borealis 
chapmani (Shovel 
Pass, Alberta, 
No. 3352, Nat. 
Mus. Canada). 


[No. 50 

a 2 Races ranging chiefly west of the Athabaska-Mackenzie region 
of Canada. 
& 1 Coloration usually bright: incisive foramina short. 
c" Skull high (9.3) : condylobasilar length about 24 or more. 

8. 6. dalli (p. 24). 
o 2 Skull low (8.7) and flat: condylobasilar length averaging 

less than 24 8. &. wrangeli (p. 26). 

6 a Coloration dull, with little chestnut: incisive foramina 

longer 8. 6. chapmani (p. 25). 


Richardson Lemming Mouse 

Arvicola borealis Richardson, Zool. Jour. 3 ; 517, 1828. 

Synaptomys (Mictomys) oullatus Preble, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 15; 

181, 1902. Type from Trout Rock, near Fort Rae, Great Slave Lake, 

Mackenzie, Canada. Male adult; No. 110032, U. S. Nat. Mus. (Biol. 

Surv. coll. ) ; collected by Edward A. Preble, August 17, 1901 ; original 

number 4511. 

Type. — Collected at Fort Franklin, Mackenzie, Canada, by John 
Richardson. ^ Male; No., British Mus. 

Geographic distribution. — The Athabaska-Mackenzie region of 
Canada from Great Bear Lake south to near Edmonton, and east- 
ward (provisionally) to Lake Winnipeg (fig. 10). 

General characters. — A dark, richly colored race, with foot some- 
what short. Skull rather small, and pterygoid fossae short and 

Color. — The dorsal coloration of this race is very rich and dark, 
close to the Argus brown of Bidgway, and plentifully mixed with 
black-tipped hairs. This richness of color is most pronounced on 
the rump, the anterior portion of the body often being duller, 
slightly grizzled, and a trifle paler. The plumbeous of the under 
surface of the specimens at hand is rather dark and without 
appreciable tinge of buff. The tail is distinctly bicolor and the 
feet vary from grayish to almost black. 

Skull. — The skulls of the few adult topotypes at hand are rather 
small, with rostrum tapering hardly at all, and high brain cases. 
The incisive foramina, while not long, are usually quite wide, espe- 
cially posteriorly. The pterygoid fossae are short and crowded and 
the pterygoid plates heavy. 

Measurements. — Average of collectors' measurements of four adult 
topotypes: Total length, 129; tail, 26; foot, 18. Average of three 
skulls of adult topotypes: Condylobasilar length, 24; rostral length, 
5.9; rostral breadth, 4.9; interorbital breadth, 3.2; zygomatic breadth, 
15.2; lambdoidal width, 12.1; incisive foramina, 4.9; height, 9.6. 

Remarks. — The identity of Richardson's Arvicola borealis was a 
puzzle for many years, and it was variously ascribed to Arvicola, 
Microtus, or Phenacomys. Therefore, when E. A. Preble obtained 
a series of Synaptomys from the Mackenzie region in 1901, apparently 
differing from anj^thing before characterized, he named it " bullatus" 
not suspecting the true identity of the species borealis. During 1903 
he again made a trip to this region and visited Fort Franklin espe- 
cially for topotypes of some of Bichardson's species. A series of 
eight Synaptomys was obtained, and when reporting upon these, 
Preble (1908, p. 184) stated his conviction that they constituted the 




Arvicola borealis of Richardson. In the interval between Preble's 
rediscovery of the species and the publication of his report, the frag- 
mentary skull of the type of borealis in the British Museum had 
been removed and examined by Osgood (1907, p. 49) who found 
that it is indeed a Mictomys. Hence, the name bulletins was placed 
in synonymy by its describer. 

Synaptomys b. borealis is not sufficiently differentiated from the 
more eastern races of Mictomys for the interrelationship to be con- 
sidered more than subspecific in degree, and the future will probably 
show the range of the subgenus to be practically continuous between 

Via: 10. — Distribution of the western forms of the subgenus Mictomys. Open circles 
indicate type localities; solid spots, other specimen records. A, 8. b. borealis ; B, 
8. b. dalli ; (', Ef. b. chapinani ; D, .s'. b. urrangeto 

the two regions. Skins in unworn pelage of borealis as here recog- 
nized may be distinguished from available ones of medioximus and 
sphagnicola by the darker, richer color and slightly shorter foot, 
but there is much variation in the crania, even among the few topo- 
types. A skull from Echimamish River, just north of Lake Winni- 
peg, is practically indistinguishable from the type of the small race, 
■innuitus, except "for slightly greater height. Until something more 
than a single typical skull or the latter is available, however, it is 
unwise to extend its range too greatly. At any rate, this Echi- 
mamish River specimen is not at all typical borealis and if not 


innuitus, may be a type of variant, or even another subspecies, in- 
habiting the country just to the westward of Hudson Bay. 

Some of the examples of borealis from the vicinity of Athabaska 
Landing show a slight tendency toward this small type of skull 
with light rostrum, while others, notably from Smith Landing, indi- 
cate such a close approach to the dalli- chapmani type of cranium 
that the state of affairs can hardly be explained otherwise than by 
assuming that intergr a elation occurs at some point slightly to the 

Specimens examined. — Total number, 54, as follows : 

Alberta: Athabaska Landing (Athabaska), 3; 5 miles above Athabaska 
Landing, 2 ; 30 miles above Athabaska Landing, 18 ; Battle Lake, 
1 ; Peace River Landing, 1 w ; 50 miles above Pelican Rapid, Athabaska 
River, 2 ; Slave River, 25 miles below mouth of Peace River, 1 ; Smith 
Landing (Fitzgerald), 3; Swift Current. 3. 

Manitoba : Echimamish River, 1 ; Norway House, 1. 

Mackenzie: Fort Franklin, 8; Fort Providence, 1; Fort Rae, 6 (including 
type of "bullatus"); Grandin River, 1; Lake St. Croix. 1; Sarnhk 
Lake, 1. 


Daix Lemming Mouse 

Synaptomys (Hictomys) dalli Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 10:62, 

Synaptomys (Mictomys) andersoni Allen, Bui. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 19:554, 

1903. Type from Level Mountain, northern British Columbia, Canada. 

Female immature ; No. 20467, Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. ; collected \>j M. P. 

Anderson, September 11, 1902 ; original number 736. 

Type.— Collected by W. H. Dall, February, 1867, at Nulato, 
Yukon River, Alaska. Male immature; No. fgjgf , U. S. Nat. 
Mus. (Skull and skeleton only.) 

Geographic distribution. — Hudsonian Zone in Alaska and south 
to central British Columbia to the eastward of the coast district 
(fig. 10). 

General characters. — A rather bright-colored race, with skull of 
moderate size. 

Color. — In the case of Yukon animals, the dorsal coloration is 
close to the Brussels brown of Ridgway, with the usual admixture 
of blackish hairs. Tail, quite sharply bicolor. 

Skull. — Of moderate size. Incisive foramina fairly short, and 
bullae rather small. There is some variation in the length of the 
pterygoid fossae, those of Yukon examples being shortest. 

Measurements. — Average of collectors' measurements of three 
adults from the general vicinity of Fortymile, upper Yukon River 
Total length, 131; tail, 19; foot, 19. Average of four adult skulls 
from the same region : Condylobasilar length, 24.1 ; rostral length, 
6.1; rostral breadth, 4.9; interorbital breadth, 3.1; zygomatic 
breadth, 15.5; lambdoidal width, 11.9; incisive foramina, 4.9; height, 

Remarks. — The type of dalli is not only too immature for salient 
characters to have appeared, but the skin seems not to have been 
preserved. Hence, it is necessary to assume that the available ma- 

20 Nat. Mus. Canada. 


terial from Charlie Creek, Fortymile, and Eagle, on the upper 
Yukon River, is typical. In comparison with topotypes of borealis 
there is little average cranial difference, but skulls of the latter are 
inclined to have slightly longer rostra, wider brain cases, wider in- 
cisive foramina, and shorter pterygoid fossae. Skins of dalli, how- 
ever, are paler and lack the rich mahogany tone of true ~borealis. 

A large series of specimens from about the base of the Alaska 
Peninsula exhibit much individual variation, and several of the 
skulls are very large, with robust rostra. Others from the same or 
contiguous localities, however, are smaller than what is believed 
to be typical of dalli, and little can be done toward an exact under- 
standing of the animals of this general region until both topotypes 
of dalli, and specimens from the lower Yukon, have been obtained. 

Contrary to the statement of the describer, " andersoni " proves to 
be decidedly immature, with skull too young to have developed 
diagnostic characters of value, and coloration perfectly comparable 
with that of dalli. At the time of its original description, the type 
specimen seems to have been compared only with wrangeli and not 
with dalli, under which name it is now placed. 

- Intergraduation with chapmani probably occurs somewhere in 
the mountains of northern British Columbia, but there are too few 
specimens from the region to allow this statement to be made with- 
out qualification. 

The skulls of the three examples from Great Glacier are not very 
satisfactory, but upon their careful consideration the writer is con- 
vinced that they may more logically be placed with dalli than with 

Specimens examined. — Total number, 135, as follows: 

Alaska: Barabori, Kenai Peninsula, 2 30 ; Bettles, 7; Caribou Camp, Kenai 
Peninsula, 5 3 ': Charlie Creek, 1; heart Chulitna River, 1; mountains 
near Eagle, 3 ; Hope, 1 ; Kenai Peninsula, 1 30 ; Kokwok River, 1 ; Lake 
Aleknagik, 1 ; Lake Clark, 12 ; Lake Iliamna, 5 ; MeKinley fork of 
Kuskokwim River, 1; Moose Camp, Kenai Peninsula, 7 80 ; Nulato, 1 
(the type) ; Nushagak River, 6; Prince William Sound, 9 31 ; Seldovia, 
38 3a ; Sheep Creek, Kenai Peninsula, ll 30 ; Tanana, 1. 

British Columbia: Atlin, l 33 ; Great Glacier, Stikine River, 3 3l ; Klappan 
River, 1; Level Mountain. 1 (type of "andersoni") 30 ; McDame Post, 
1; Rapirt River. 1 ; Telegraph Creek, 1. 

Yukon: Chandindu River, 1; mouth Coal Creek, 1; Fortymile, 1; Lake 
Lebarge, 2; forks Macmillan River, 5; Rink Rapids, 1; Thirtymile 
River, 1. 


Chapman Lemming Mouse 

(Plate 2, C) 

Synaptomys (Mictomys) chapmani Allen, Bui. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 19: 555, 

Type.— Collected by F. M. Chapman, July 20, 1901, at Glacier, 
Selkirk Range, British Columbia, Canada. Male adult; No. 16908, 
Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. ; original number 7. 

' i<r. Mus. Nat. Hist. 
« Mus. Vert. Zool. 

82 Field Mus. Nat. Hist, 2 ; Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., 36. 
33 Provincial Mus. 


Geographic distribution. — Evidently the Canadian Zone of the 
eastern portion of the southern half of British Columbia, and ad- 
jacent mountainous slopes in extreme western Alberta. (Fig. 10.) 

General characters. — A dark but dull-colored race with but slight 
dorsal tinge of chestnut. Incisive foramina and rostrum long. 

Color. — Skins from Shovel Pass, the Moose Pass country, and 
from near Henry House, as well as the type, are very dull and gray. 
Anteriorly, a number of these skins are decidedly grizzled gray 
with hardly any brown at all, though in the middle of the rump 
there is considerable snuff brown of Ridgway, which almost dis- 
appears upon the sides. The feet are dark gray or brown, and tail 
indistinctly bicolor. 

Skull. — Of moderate size with rather narrow brain case and long 
rostrum. Incisive foramina inclined to be long, but this character 
is quite variable, as is the width of the nasals. Bullae, small. 

Measurements. — Average of collectors' measurements of five adults 
from the Rocky Mountains west of Henry House : Total length, 131 ; 
tail, 25; foot, 18. The skull of the type measures: Condylobasilar 
length, 24.3; rostral length, 6.3; rostral breadth, 4.7; interorbital 
breadth, 3.2; zygomatic breadth, 15.5; lambdoidal width, 11.6; 
incisive foramina, 5.2; height, 9.3. Average of four adult skulls 
from near Henry House: Condylobasilar length, 24.4; rostral length, 
6.1; rostral breadth, 4.8; interorbital breadth, 3.1; zygomatic breadth, 
15.6 ; lambdoidal width, 12.2 ; incisive foramina, 5.2 ; height, 9.6. 

Remarks. — The type of chapmani can be matched exactly by sev- 
eral specimens from the Henry House and Moose Pass sections. 
Cranially, this race differs from clalli in very slight degree, having 
longer incisive foramina, smaller bullae, rostrum inclined to be 
longer and more slender, brain case narrower, and interorbital con- 
striction extending for a shorter distance. These differences, how- 
ever, are only average and too slight, in many cases, to prove of 
practical value in the usual diagnoses of a few random specimens. 
Typical chapmani, though, is always much duller and grayer than 
dalli (and to a proportionately greater degree, than boreaHis), and 
this constitutes the most reliable character for differentiation. 

The Canoe River examples are rather bright for chapmani, but as 
they are without skulls, they are so identified provisionally on geo- 
graphical grounds. 

Specimens examined. — Total number, 41, as follows: 

Alberta: Mount Forgetmenot, l 34 ; Rocky Mountains, 25 miles west of 

Henry House, 12; Shovel Pass, 10 M ; Smoky River, 5; Stony River, 2. 

British Columbia: Canoe River, 6 33 ; Glacier, 1 (the type) 36 ; Moose Pass, 4. 


Wrangell Lemming Mouse 
(Plate 2, D) 

Synaptomys (Mictomys) wrangell Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 10: 63, 

Synaptomys (Mictomys) truei Merriam, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 10: 62, 

1896. Type from Skagit Valley, Skagit County, Wash. Immature; No. 

t%H| , U. S. Nat. Mus. ; collected by C. B. R. Kennerly, August 6, 1859. 

34 Nat. Mus. Canada. 

85 Nat. Mus. Canada, 5 : W. E. Saunders coll., 1. 

30 Arner. Mus. Nat. Hist. 


Type. — Collected at Wrangell, Alexander Archipelago, Alaska, by 
C. P. Streator, September 6, 1895. Male immature ; No. 74720, U. S. 
Nat. Mus. (Biol. Surv. coll.) ; original number 4871. 

Geographic distribution. — Coastal strip in the Canadian Zone from 
the Alexander Archipelago southward to the northern border of the 
United States. (Fig. 10.) 

General characters. — A race that is quite variable in coloration, 
with very low, flat brain case, rather slender rostrum, and anterior 
nasal aperture very much arched. 

Color. — In coloration, ranging from skins that are a perfect match 
for the brightest, brownest dalli, to others that can not be told from 
gray and grizzled specimens of chapmani, but the warmer tone of 
color seems to be somewhat the more prevalent and to be more tj^pical 
of the unworn condition of pelage. 

Skull. — Skull apparently rather small. Brain case very flat and 
relatively broad, with postorbital borders square. Eostrum inclined 
to be slender, with anterior nasal aperture much arched. Zygomatic 
arches inclined to be weak and palatal pits shallow. Outer reentrant 
angle of last lower molar usually shallow. 

Measurements. — Average of measurements in the flesh of four 
adult topotypes: Total length, 133; tail, 25; foot, 16. Average of 
the four largest skulls: Condylobasilar length, 23.6; rostral length, 
5.9; rostral breadth, 4.8; interorbital breadth, 3.1; zygomatic breadth, 
15 ; lambdoidal width, 11.8 ; incisive foramina, 5 ; height, 8.7. 

Remarks. — The race wrangeli is rather weakly defined, the chief 
and only reliable criterion for its identification being the lowness 
and flatness of the brain case, although the squareness of the post- 
orbital borders, the inclination toward slenderness of the rostrum, 
and high arching of the anterior nasal apertures are of additional 
aid in distinguishing this race from its neighbors. All topotypical 
skulls are undeniably small, but there seems to be no individual 
among them that is really old and fully mature. As previously 
mentioned, coloration is not of diagnostic value. The type is de- 
cidedly immature and its skull narrower and relatively higher than 
that of any topotype at hand. 

The race wrangeli certainly can not be considered as confined to 
Wrangell Island. An adult from Anan Creek, on the adjacent main- 
land, has the characters of wrangeli more sharply defined than in the 
case of any topotype available, although the skull is somewhat 
larger. At any rate, the type locality is hardly sufficiently segre- 
gated from the mainland for the existence of a purely insular race 
of a genus that is not particularly plastic. 

Specimens from the coast of British Columbia opposite Queen 
Charlotte Islands, as well as most of the individuals from the main- 
land of Alaska, are too young to be identified unqualifiedly. 

The writer has debated long concerning the advisability of recog- 
nizing " truei" and believes it likely that, with perfectly satisfactory 
material, average differences would be found that would conceivably 
justify its separation from lorangeli, but not on the basis of speci- 
mens now available. /S. wrangeli is a weak race and variable, even 
in the case of topotypes, and nothing can be gained by adding an- 
other and even weaker race to the southward. 



[No. 5C 

The slmll of the type of " truei " is a juvenile smashed to bits, and 
there is nothing left of any value except parts of the mandible and 
the teeth. The original description states that it may be distin- 
guished by the fullness of the molar loops and by the depth of the 
reentrant angle upon the outer side of the last lower molar. The 
former case is quite usual in the case of young animals, and 

the latter is no differ- 
ent from conditions 
in several skulls of 
both dalli and chap- 
mani, nor are the other 
Washington specimens 
peculiar in this re- 
spect. The posterior 
part of the brain case 
of these last is a trifle 
less flat than is the 
average in wrangeli, 
but the sum of other 
cranial characters, in- 
cluding the incisive 
foramina, places the 
skulls closer to this 
race than to chapmani. 
In the case of one 
specimen from Mount 
Baker, Wash., the col- 
oration is of the bright 
type that is somewhat 
more prevalent in wrangeli, but the others are duller than chapmani, 
this being chiefly due to the fact that the pelage is shorter and 
more worn. 
Specimens examined. — Total number, 33, as follows: 

Alaska: Anan Creek, l 37 ; Chickarnin River, l 38 ; Port Houghton, 1 37 ; 

Port Snettisliain, 1 M ; Quadra Lake, 1 37 ; Sumdum Village, 1 37 : Thomas 

Bay, 1 3S ; AVrangell, 8 (including type) 39 . 
British Columbia: Metlakatla, 4 40 ; Port Simpson, 1. 
Washington: Mount Baker, 12"; Skagit Valley, 1 (type of "truei"). 

Ungava Lemming Mouse 
(Plate 2, A) 
Mictomys innuitus True, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. 17: 243, 1S94. 

Type. — Collected at Fort Chimo, Ungava, Canada, bv L. M. 
Turner in the spring of 1884.— Female adult; No. ff-Hf-, U. S. 
Nat. Mus. 

Geographic distribution. — Known only from Fort Chimo (fig. 11). 

General characters. — Skull very small and flat, with short and 
narrow rostrum. 

Fig. 11. — Distribution of the eastern forms of the sub- 
genus Mictomys. Open circles indicate type localities ; 
solid spots, other specimen records. A, 8. 6. innuitus; 
B, /!?. b. medio ximu s ; C, S. 6. sphagnicola 

87 D. R. Dickey coll. 
3S Mus. Vert. Zool. 
89 U. S. Nat. Mus.. S 
40 U. S. Nat. Mus., 3 ; 

Washington State College. 

D. R. Dickey coll., 3. 
Nat. Mus. Canada, 1. 


Color. — Not dependable, as the type has been in alcohol ever since 

Skull. — The skull of the type, long since removed from the 
alcoholic specimen, is very small and flat with brain case relatively 
long. The rostrum is narrow and tapering, and the interparietal 
moderately developed. The interorbital ridging is sharply defined 
with median sulcus obliterated, thus indicating that it is fully 
adult. Molars, very narrow and pale. 

Measurements. — Skull of type: Condylobasilar length, 23; rostral 
length, 5.8; rostral breadth, 4.8; interorbital breadth, 3.3; zygomatic 
breadth, 15.1; lambdoidal width, 11.6; incisive foramina, 4.7; 
height, 8.7. 

Remarks. — The type of innuitus maj' be distinguished from adults 
of any other race of Mictomys by its very small size, short, narrow 
rostrum, and small incisors, and from all other forms except 
wrangeli, by the lowness of the brain case. The paleness of the 
teeth may well be due to the action of the preservative. Of course, 
no safe conclusions can be drawn from the body distorted by alcohol, 
and it can merely be assumed that the characters exhibited by the 
skull of the type will prove to hold good for all the individuals of 
the region. 

/Specimens examined. — One (the type). 


Labrador Lemming Mouse 

Synaptomys (Mictomys) innuitus medioxhnus Bangs, Proc. New Eng. Zool. 
Club 2 : 40, 1900. 

Type. — Collected at L'Anse au Loup, Labrador, by E. Doane, 
April 15, 1899. Male subadult; No. 8852, E. A. and O. Bangs 
coll.; original number 7. 

Geographic distribution. — Known only from the coast district of 
southern Labrador (fig. 11). 

General characters. — Coloration bright. The skull is intermediate 
in size between those of innuitus and sphagnicola. 

Color. — The type, in very full pelage, is quite bright dorsally. 
Anteriorly the coloration is slightly darker, because, in large 
measure, of the more plentiful admixture of black-tipped hairs. Feet 
and tail dark, the latter scarcely bicolor. Underparts, without buff. 

Skull. — The immature skull of the type has practically no indica- 
tion of interorbital ridging. The rostrum is moderately long, 
slightly tapered, and the nasals have no median constriction, their 
posterior terminations being wide. The interparietal is moderately 
wide and somewhat paraboloidal in outline. 

Measurements. — Collector's measurements of the type in the flesh: 
Total length, 120; tail, 22; foot, 21; ear, 13. Of the skull of the 
type: Condylobasilar length, 24.5; rostral length, 6.2; rostral 
breadth, 5.1; interorbital breadth, 3.5; zygomatic breadth, 15.4; 
lambdoidal width, 12.2; incisive foramina, 5.1; height, 8.5. 

Remarks. — The bright coloration of the type serves to distinguish 
it from all other eastern specimens of Mictomys available, but it is 
the only one in perfectly unworn pelage, and hence this difference 
must be considered with caution. The type is an immature animal 


and there are so few existing specimens of the eastern races of the 
subgenus that it is impossible to predict with any certainty just 
what the chief characters of adult medioximus will prove to be. It 
is certain, however, that it has a larger skull, with better-ridged 
interorbital constriction than has the type, and it would not be 
surprising if it is finally shown to be extremely close to sphagnicola. 
It may be easily told from innuitus by its larger size, greater height, 
proportionately larger incisive foramina, and slightly longer and 
less tapering rostrum. The lateral margins Of the nasals are also 
straighter and their posterior ends wider, but these details may not 
prove to hold constant. The foot is actually longer than in borealis. 

The Hamilton Inlet example is too young for proper identifi- 

Specimens examined. — Total number, 2, as follows: 

Labrador : Hamilton Inlet, 1 ** ; L'Anse au Loup, l. 42 


Pkeble Lemming Mouse 

(Plate 2, B) 

tfynaptomys (Mictomys) sphagnicola Preble, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 13: 43, 

Type. — Collected at Fabyans, near base of Mount Washington, N. 
H., by E. A. Preble, June 29, 1898. Male adult; No. 96543, U. S. 
Nat. Mus. (Biol. Surv. coll.) ; original number 2402. 

Geographic distribution. — Canadian Zone in the northern New 
England States from the type locality north to include New Bruns- 
wick and the portion of Quebec east and south of the St. Lawrence 
Kiver (fig. 11). 

General characters. — A race with large, well-ridged skull, long 
rostrum, and narrow interparietal. 

Color. — Dorsal coloration close to the Prout brown of Bidgway, 
which is most intense upon the rump ; anteriorly duller, grayer, and 
more grizzled. Tail, distinctly bicolor. 

Skull. — Large and high with narrow interorbital sharply ridged, 
the ridges of the type being joined for a distance of 4 millimeters; 
interparietal narrow and rectangular. The rostrum is long, tapering 
very little, and the nasals, slightly constricted medianly, are quite 
narrow posteriorly. The incisive foramina are long and wide. 

Measurements. — Collector's measurements of the type in the flesh 
Total length, 132; tail, 24; foot, 20. Of the skull of the type 
Condylobasilar length, 25.8; rostral length, 6.8; rostral breadth, 4.9: 
interorbital breadth, 2.8; zygomatic breadth, 16; lambdoidal width, 
12.4; incisive foramina, 5.T; height, 9.3. 

Remarks. — The supposed differences in external measurements be- 
tween this race and medioximus are too slight to be used in diagnoses 
until series of both are available. The difference in coloration may 
or may not hold when individuals in the same stage of pelage can be 

Adult skulls of sphagnicola are distinguishable by their large size 
and length of rostrum, proportionately wide at the tip. It is hard to 

42 Mus. Comp. Zool. 

North American Fauna No. 50, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey 

Plate 1 

Skulls (dorsal views) of Subgenus Synaptomys 

A. Synaptomys cooperi cooperi. Lake Edward, Quebec, Canada. Male adult. (No. 3855, 

Mus. Com j). Zool.) 

B. Synaptomys cooperi stonei. Poi-1 Norris, Cumberland County, X. J. Male adult. (No. 

10685, Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila.) 

C. Synaptomys cooperi helaletes. Chapanoke, X. C. Female adult. (Xo. 8755G, U. S. 

Nat. Mus., Biol. Surv. coll.) 
\). Synaptomys cooperi gossii. Fort Leavenworth, Kans. Male adult. (Xo. 974G3, U. S. 
Xat. Mus., Biol. Surv. coll.) 
All twice natural size 

North American Fauna No. 50, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey 

Plate 2 

Skulls (dorsal views) of Subgenus Mictomys 

A. Synaptomys (Mictomys) borealis innuitus. Type. Fort Chimo, Ungava, Canada. 

Female adult. (No. 24729, U. S. Nat. Mus.) 

B. Synaptomi/s (Mictomys) borealis sphagnicola. Type. Fabyans, N. H. Male adult. 

(No. 96543, U. S. Nat. Mus.. Biol. Surv. coll.) 

C. Synaptomys (Mictomys) borealis chapmani. Type. Glacier, British Columbia, Canada. 

Mala adult. (No. 16908, Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.) 

D. Synaptomys (Mictomys) borealis wranqeli. Wrangell, Alaska. Male subadult. (No. 

3238: D. R. Dickey coll.) 
All twice natural size* 


predict what will be found to constitute the most valuable cranial 
characters in distinguishing this race from adult medioximus. The 
discernible differences now are in the shape of the interparietals, 
rostral characters, and interorbital differences that will probably not 
hold good when animals of the same age are compared. 

Externally, specimens of sphagnicola may be told from borealis by 
the former being grayer (less brown) anteriorly, and by the longer 
foot. The most valuable cranial differences are the longer skull, in 
the case of the eastern race, and the proportionately longer rostrum. 

The only one of the St. Rose specimens that is adult matches the 
type exactly. The example from near Bathurst is not adult and 
has a damaged skull, so is identified provisionally. All other 
specimens are too young for positive diagnosis. 

Specimens examined. — Total number, 8, as follows: 

Maine: Mount Katahdin, 2. 
New Brunswick: Near Bathurst, l. 43 
New Hampshire: Fabyans, 1 (the type). 
Quebec: St. Rose, 4. 


The following list is believed to include most of the important 

gapers published in English containing references to the genus 

Allen, J. A. 


tork state. Bui. Auier. Mus. Nat. Hist. 6 : 359-364. 
First record of Synaptomys from New Brunswick, p. 359-360. 



Nat. Hist. 19: 521-567. 

Original descriptions of Synaptomys (Mictomys) andersoni and Synap- 
tomys (Mictomys) chapmani, p. 554—555. 


TION of 1003. Bul. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 20: 273-292, illus. 

Synaptomys dalli recorded from several stations on Kenai Peninsula, 
p. 281-282. 

Anderson, R. M. 

1917. Canadian arctic expedihon, io lc — zoology. Canada Geol. Survey 
Summary Rpt. 1916 : 374-384. 

Synapf&mys species ? recorded from Port Epsworth Harbor, Coronation 
Gulf, Northwest Territories, Canada, p. 383. 

Audubon, J. J., and J. Bachman. 

[1854.] the quadrupeds of north America, v. 3, illus. New York. 

General account of Arvicola borealia [= Synaptomys borealis] based 
entirely on Richardson, p. 134-136. 

Bailey, V. 

1888. REPORT on some of the results of a trip THROUGH PARTS OF MIN- 
NESOTA and dakota. Rpt. Commr. Agr. [U. S.] 1887: 426-454, 

Synaptomys coopeiH recorded from Elk River, Minn., p. 445. 


Proc. 10: 93-101. 

Records specimens of Synaptomys cooperi [=S. c. stonci] from Hyatts- 
villc, Md., p. 07. 

* 3 Nat. Mus. Canada. 


Bailey, V. — Continued. 

1923. mammals of the district of Columbia. Biol. Soc. Wash. Proc. 
36: 103-13S. 

Records specimens of Synaptomys cooperi cooperi [= S. c. stonei] from 
several points in Maryland, p. 118. 

Baird, S. F. 

ROAD routes, part i. mammals. War Dept. [U. S.] Rpts. Explor. 
and Surveys, 1853-56, v. 8. 

Original description of the genus Synaptomys and of the species 
Synaptomys cooperi, p. 556—558. 

Bangs, O. 


this species. Biol. Soc. Wash. Proc. 9 : 99-104. 

Synaptomys cooperi [ = 8. cooperi stonei] recorded from Wareham and 
Plymouth, Mass. 


Biol. Soc Wash. Proc 10: 45-52. 

Original description of Synaptomys fatuus [== S. cooperi cooperi], p. 


Biol. Soc Wash. Proc 11 : 235-240, illus. 

Synaptomys (Mictomys) innuitus [= S. oorealis medioximus] recorded 
from Hamilton Inlet, Quebec, p. 238. 

1898. a list of the mammals of Labrador. Amer. Nat. 32 : 489-507. 

Synaptomys (Mictomys) innuitus [= S. oorealis innuitus] recorded 
from Fort Chimo and Rigolet, p. 494. 


Club Proc 2: 35-41. 

Original description of Synaptomys innuitus medioximus [= S. o. me- 
dioximus], p. 40-41. 

Brooks, F. E. 


habits of all our known NATrvE species. W. Va. State Bd. Agr. 

Rpt. (1910) 20: 9-30. 

Synaptomys cooperi [= S. c. stonei] recorded from several localities 
in West Virginia, p. 19. 

Brown, C. E. 


especial reference to essex county. 53 p., illus. Salem. Mass. 
Specimens mentioned from Plymouth and Wareham, Mass., p. 26. " 

[Butler, A. W.] 

1894. preliminary list of Indiana mammals. Ind. Acad. Sci. Proc 1893 : 

Synaptomys cooperi gossii and S. c. fatuus [ = S. cooperi cooperi cooperi] 
in Franklin County, p. 126-127. 

Cory, C. B. 

1912. THE MAMMALS OF ILLINOIS AND WISCONSIN. 502 p., illUS., Chicago. 

(Field Mus. Nat. Hist. [Chicago], Pub. 153, Zool. Ser., v. 11.) 
Synaptomys cooperi gossii and S. o. fatuus [ = S. cooperi cooperi] 
recorded from several localities, p. 233-238. 


1874. synopsis of the MURLTLE of north America. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. 
Proc 1874: 173-196. 

Detailed description of type of Synaptomys cooperi and specimens sup- 
posedly referable to it recorded from various North American localities, 
p. 192-194. 

Coues, E., and J. A. Allen. 

1877. monographs of north American rodentia. 629 p., illus. Wash- 
ington. TJ. S. Geol. Survey Ter. Rpt., v. 11. 

Original description of Arvicola (Synaptomys) gossii, p. 228-236. 


Dice, L. R. 



Synaptomys dallA [ = 8. borwwlis dalli] recorded from Tanana, and the 
McKinley Fork of the Kuskowim, p. 23. 


4: 107-112. 

Synaptomys dalli [=8. borealis dalli] recorded from Tanana, and the 
Kans., p. 110. 

Dutcher, B. H. 

1903. MAMMALS OF MT. KATAHDIN, MAINE. Biol. SOC. Wash. PrOC. 16 I 63-71. 
Synaptomys (Mictomys) sphagnicola recorded, p. 68. 

Elliot, D. G. 

AND QUEBEC, CANADA, IN THE SUMMER OF 1900. 29 p., Chicago. 

(Field Columb. Mus. [Chicago], Pub. 54, Zool. Ser., v. 3.) 
Three specimens taken at Lake Edward, p. 23. 

BIAN .MUSEUM. 694 p., illus. Chicago. (Field Columb. Mus. [Chi- 
cago], Pub. 115, Zool. Ser., v. 8.) 

Specimens of <S. cooperi {==S. cooperi stonei] recorded from White Sul- 
phur Springs, W. Va., and of S. fatuus [=S. coopeii cooperi] from Lake 
Edward, Quebec, p. 305. 

Hahn, W. L. 


Proc 32: 455-464. 
Synaptomys coopeii ston-ei recorded from several localities, p. 460—461. 


Proc 35: 545-581. 

Notes on occurrence and habits of S. cooperi stonei, p. 570-571. 

Ann. Rpt. (1908) 33: 417-653, illus. 

Synaptomys cooperi stonei recorded from eight localities within the State, 
p. 522-523. 

Heller, E. 


prince william sound region. Calif. Univ. Pubs., Zool. 5:321-360, 


Synaptomys dalli \=8. borealis dalli] recorded from Port Nell Juan and 
Hinchinbrook Island, Alaska, p. 343. 

Herrick, C. L. 


of their features and habits. Minn. Geol. and Nat. Hist. Sur- 
vey Bui. 7, 299 p., illus. 

Synaptomys cooperi [ = S. c. stonei] recorded from Benton County, 
p. 207. 

Hollister, N. 

1912. mammals of the alpine club expedition to the mount robson 
region. Canad. Alpine Jour., Spec. No., p. 1^4, illus. 

Synaptonii/x borealis chapmani recorded from Moose Pass, British Co- 
lumbia, and Moose Pass Branch of Smoky River, Alberta, p. 19-20. 

Howell, A. H. 

1910. notes on mammals of THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI valley, with de- 
scription of a new woodrat. Biol. Soc. Wash. Proc. 23 : 23-33. 
Synaptomys gossi [=S. c. yossii] recorded in numbers from Horseshoe 
Lake, Mo., p. 30-31. 

Johnson, C. E. 

1916. a brief descriptive list of Minnesota mammals. Fins, Feathers, 
and Fur 8 : 1-8, illus. 

Synaptomys cooperi fatuus [=8. cooperi cooperi] stated to occur in 
northern Minnesota, p. 5. 


Johnson, C. E. — Continued. 


Jour. Mammal. 3:33-39, illus. 

Synaptomys fatuus [=S. cooperi cooperi] recorded from northern Lake 
County, p. 37. 

Kirk, G. L. 

1916. the mammals of Vermont. Vt. Bot. and Bird Clubs Joint Bui. 2: 

Synaptomys fatuus [ = 8. cooperi cooperi] recorded from Leicester and 
Mount Killington, p. 30, 34. 

Knox, M. V. B. -"-.,'■ 

1875. kansas mammalia. Kans. Acad. Sci. Trans. 4 : 18-22. 

Synaptomys cooperi [=S. c. gossii] recorded from Neosho Falls, p. 21. 
Langdon, F. W. 

1881. the mammalia of the vicinity of Cincinnati. Jour. Cincinnati Soc. 
Nat. Hist. 3 : 297-313. 

Synaptomys cooperi [=£. cooperi stonei] recorded as abundant near 
Cincinnati, p. 307. 

Lantz, D. E. 

1905a. kansas mammals in their relation to agriculture. Kans. Agr. 

Expt. Sta. Bui. 129, p. 331-404, illus. 

History and general status of genus Synaptomys in Kansas, p. 366-367. 

1905b. a list of kansas mammals. Kans. Acad. Sci. Trans. 19: 171-178. 

Synaptomys helaletes gossii [=S. c. gossii] recorded from Neosho Falls 
and Topeka, p. 175. 

Linsdale, J. 

1927. notes on the life history of synaptomys. Jour. Mammal. 8 : 51-54. 
Based mainly on study of Synaptomys helaletes gossii [=£. o. gossii] 
near Lawrence, Kans., &. fatuus [=S. cooperi cooperi] recorded from 
Douglas Lake, Mich. 

Lyon, M. W., Jr., and W. H. Osgood. 

1909. catalogue of the type-specimens of mammals in the united states 
national museum, including the biological survey collection. 
U. S. Natl. Mus. Bui. 62, 325 p. 

Type specimens of nine forms of Synaptomys catalogued, with annota- 
tions covering place of publication, all known data, and current condi- 
tion, p. 77-79. 

Mearns, E. A. 


Natl. Mus. Proc 21: 341-360, illus. 

Synaptomys fatuus [=£. cooperi cooperi] recorded from Hunter Moun- 
tain, N. Y., p. 348. 

Merriam, C. H. 


in the Atlantic states. Biol. Soc. Wash. Proc 7'. 175-177. 

Brief history of species. Specimens of S. cooperi [=S. c. stonei] recorded 
from Munson Hill, Va. ; Roan Mountain, N. C. ; and Alfred Center, N. Y. 

1896. REVISION OF the lemmings of the genus synaptomys, with de- 
scriptions of new species. Biol. Soc Wash. Proc. 10: 55-64. 

Original descriptions of Synaptomys helaletes, S. (Mictomys) dalli, S. 
(Mictomys) truei, S. (Mictomys) wrangeli. S. helaletes gossii described 
as new subspecies. 

Miller, G. S., Jr. 

1896. genera and subgenera of voles and lemmings. North Amer. Fauna 

No. 12, 84 p., illus. 

Discussion of genus Synaptomys, and its subgenera Synaptomys and 
Mictomys, p. 32— 3G. 

1897. notes on the mammals of Ontario. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. Proc. 

28: 1-44. 

Synaptomys fatuus [==S. cooperi cooperi] recorded from North Bay 
and Peninsula Harbor, p. 11-13. 

1899. preliminary list of the mammals of new york. N. Y. State Mus. 
Bui. 6: 273-390. 

Histories of Synaptomys cooperi [= S. c. stonei] and S. fatuus 
[= <S. cooperi cooperi], as known within the State, p. 275, 328-329. 


Miller, G. S., Jr. — Continued. 


State Mus. Bui. 8: 61-160. 

General distribution of Synaptomys cooperi [= S. cooperi stonei] and 
S. fatuus [= S. cooperi cooperi] in the region, p. 99-100. 

TIONAL museum, 1911. U. S. Natl. Mus. Bul. 79, 455 p. 

Currently recognized species and subspecies of Synaptomys listed, with 
type localities, p. 204-206. 


Bul. 128, 673 p. 

Currently recognized species and subspecies of Synaptomys listed, with 
type localities, p. 204-206. 

Nash, O. W. 


Synaptomys cooperi [= S. cooperi cooperi] recorded as " found sparingly 
in western Ontario," p. 21. 

Osgood, W. H. 


North Amer. Fauna No. 19 : 1-45, illus. 

Synaptomys dalli [= S. borealis dalli] recorded from several localities 
on the upper Yukon, p. 37. 


Fauna No. 21: 51-81, illus. 

Synaptomys dalli [= S. borealis dalli] recorded from Hope, Cook Inlet, 
Alaska, p. 66. 


North Amer. Fauna No. 24, 86 p., illus. 

Records Synaptomys dalli [■= S. borealis dalli] from several localities 
about base of Alaska Peninsula, p. 35-36. 


Biol. Soc. Wash. Proc. 20: 43-52. 

Establishes that "Arvicola borealis " of Richardson is a Synaptomys, 
p. 49. 


Amer. Fauna No. 30, 96 p., illus. 

Synaptomys borealis dalli recorded from Charlie Creek and Seward 
Creek, Alaska, p. 26 ; Coal Creek, Yukon, p. 50 ; and Russell Creek, Yukon, 
p. 79. 

Preble, E. A. 


new Hampshire. Biol. Soc. Wash. Proc. 13 : 43-45, illus. 
Original description of Synaptomys (Mictomys) sphagnicola. 

1902a. a biological investigation of the Hudson bay region. North Amer. 
Fauna No. 22, 140 p., illus. 

Synaptomys bullatus [=8. borealis borealis] recorded from 1 Norway 
House and Echimainish River, Manitoba, p. 54. 

1902b. descriptions of new species of synaptomys and phenacomys FROM 
Mackenzie, Canada. Biol. Soc. Wash. Proc. 15 : 181-182. 

Original description of Synaptomys (Mictomys) bullatus [=8. borealis 

1908. A biological investigation of the athabaska-mackenzie region. 

North Amer. Fauna No. 27, 574 p., illus. 

Records Synaptomys from many localities in the region, including cap- 
ture of first topotypes of Arvicola borealis of Richardson \_=Synaptomys 
b. borealis], p. 183-186. 

Quick, E. R., and A. W. Butler. 

1885. the habits of some arvicolin^e. Amer. Nat. 19 : 113-118, illus. 

Occurrence and habits of Synaptomys cooperi [=S. cooperi stonei] as 
observed at Brookville, Ind., p. 113-115. 


Rhoads, S. N. 

1893. a new synaptomys from new jersey. Amer. Nat. 27 : 53-54. 

Original description of Synaptomys stonei [=S. c. stonei], 



Phila. Proc. 1894:282-288, illus. 

Discussion of status of Arvicola oorealis [=Synaptomys o. borealis] • 
specimen figured is apparently Microtus operarius. 


VANIA. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. Proc 1894:387-396. 

Record of capture of Synaptomys cooperi [—Synaptomys c. stonei], on. 
Big Bushkill Creek, p. 391. 


Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. Proc 1896 : 175-205. 

Synaptomys cooperi [=S. c. stonei] recorded from Roan Mountain, 
N. C, p. 183-184. 


Nat. Sci. Phila. Proc. 1897 : 204-226. 

Synaptomys cooperi \_=*S. c. stonei] from several localities, p. 211. 


these states. 266 p., illus. Philadelphia. 

Discussion of Synaptomys cooperi and S. c. stonei in these States, 
p. 106-108. 

Rhoads, S. N., and R. T. Young. 


north Carolina. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. Proc. 1897: 303-312. 

Synaptomys cooperi helaletes recorded from Chapanoke, N. C. Discussion 
of characters and ranges of various subspecies, p. 305-307. 

Richardson, J. 

1828. short characters of a few quadrupeds procured on capt. frank- 

lin's late expedition. Zool. Jour. 3 : 516-520. 

Original description of Arvicola oorealis [=Synapt07nys b. oorealis], 
p. 517. 

1829. fauna boreali-americana. part i, the quadrupeds. 300 p., illus. 


General account of type specimen of Arvicola oorealis [=Synaptomys 
oorealis], p. 127, 128. 

Saunders, W. E. 

1905. cooper's lemming mouse. Ontario Nat. Sci. Bui. 1: 24-25. 

Recorded from London, Ontario. 

Seton, E. T. 

1909a. fauna of Manitoba (mammals and birds). A handbook to Win- 
nipeg and the Province of Manitoba, p. 183-227, illus. Winnipeg. 
Synaptomys oorealis included on strength of probability, p. 187. 

1909b. life-histories of northern animals, an account of the mam- 
mals of Manitoba, v. 1, illus. New York City. 

General account of Synaptomys oorealis, p. 558-560. 



Jour. Mammal. 4: 244-252. 

Synaptomys fatuus [—S. cooperi cooperi] included in list on strength 
of general range, p. 246. 

Stone, W. 

1908. the mammals of new jersey. Ann. Rept. N. J. State Mus. 1907: 

Synaptomys cooperi [ = S. c. stonei] recorded from various localities in 
New Jersey, p. 66-67. 

Stoner, D. 

1918. the rodents of iowa. Iowa Geol. Survey Bui. 5, 172 p., illus. 

Status of Synaptomys cooperi ffossii in the State, p. 106-108. 


Todd, W. E. C. 


Bausman, J. H., History of Beaver County, Pa., and its centen- 
nial celebration, v. 2, p. 1195-1202, New York. 

Synaptomys cooperi [=S. c. stonei] stated to be uncommon, p. 1197. 

True, F. W. 


7: 587-611. 

Synaptomys cooperi, as then understood, recorded from various States 
and Alaska, p. 596. 


(1894) 17: 241-243. 

Original description of Mictomys as a genus, and of M. inmiitus. p. 

Van Hyning, T., and F. C. Pellett. 


Acad. Sci. Proc. 17: 211-218. 

Probability of occurrence in State indicated, p. 213. 

Wood, F. E. 


State Lab. Nat. Hist. Bui. 8 (art. 5) : 501-613, illus. 

Synaptomys cooperi [=S. cooperi stonei] recorded from Urbana, p. 

Wood, N. A. 


Zool. Occas. Papers 4, 13 p. 

Synaptomys cooperi [=S. c. stonei] recorded from several localities 
within the State, p. 7. 


Arvicola borealis, 22. 

gossii, 18. 
Bibliography, 31. 
Lemmi, 6. 
Lemming mouse, Chapman, 25-26. 

Cooper, 12-14. 

Dall, 24-25. 

Dismal Swamp, 17. 

Goss, 18-19. 

Labrador, 29-30. 

Preble, 30-31. 

Richardson, 22-24. 

Stone, 14-16. 

Ungava, 28-29. 

Wrangell, 26-28. 
Microti, 6. 
Microtus, 6. 
Mictomys, 5, 19-22. 

andersoni, 24. 

bullatus, 22. 

chapmani, 25. 

dalli, 24. 

innuitus, 19, 28. 

innuitus medioximus, 29. 

sphagnicola, 30. 

truei, 26. 

wrangeli, 26. 
Phenacomys, 6. 
Skull, 10. 


Synaptomys, 4-12. 

andersoni, 5, 24. 

borealis, 4, 5. 

borealis borealis, 22-24. 

borealis chapmani, 25-26. 

borealis dalli, 24-25. 

borealis innuitus, 28-29. 

borealis medioximus, 29-30. 

borealis sphagnicola, 30-31. 

borealis wrangeli, 26-28. 

bullatus, 5, 22. 

chapmani, 5, 25. 

cooperi, 4. 

cooperi cooperi, 12-14. 

cooperi gossii, 18-19. 

cooperi helaletes, 17. 

cooperi stonei, 14-16. 

dalli, 5, 24. 

fatuus, 5, 12. 

gossii, 4, 18. 

helaletes, 5. 

innuitus, 5. 

innuitus medioximus, 29. 

medioximus, 5. 

sphagnicola, 5, 30. 

stonei, 5, 14. 

truei, 5, 26. 

wrangeli, 5, 26. 
Teeth, 10. 








(Continued from page 2 of cover) 

No. 22. A Biological Investigation of the Hudson Bay Region. By Edward A. 

Preble. Pp. 140, pis. 14 (incl. 1 map). 1902 [Out of print.] 

No. 23. Index Generum Mammalium : A List of the Genera and Families of 

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No. 24. A Biological Reconnaissance of the Base of the Alaska Peninsula. By 

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No. 25. Biological Survey of Texas : Life Zones, with Characteristic Species of 

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No. 26. Revision of the Skunks of the Genus Spilogale. By Arthur H. Howell. 

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No. 27. A Biological Investigation of the Athabaska-Mackenzie Region. By 

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No. 28. Revision of the Mice of the American Genus Peromyscus. By Wilfred 

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No. 29. The Rabbits of North America. By E. W. Nelson. Pp. 314, pis. 13, 

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No. 30. Biological Investigations in Alaska and Yukon Territory : 1. East-cen- 
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No. 31. Revision of the Wood Rats of the Genus Neotoma. Bv Edward A. 

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No. 32. A Systematic Synopsis of the Muskrats. By N. Hollister. Pp. 47, pis. 

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No. 33. A Biological Survey of Colorado. By Merritt Cary. Pp. 256. pis. 12 

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v> Ot 


No. 51 

[JULY, 1928] 











Copies of North American Faunas not out of print are for sale, at the prices 
named, by the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, 
Washington, D. C. Numbers marked with an asterisk [*] are out of print. 

*No. 1. Revision of the North American Pocket Mice. By C. Hart Merriam. 
Pp. 36, pis. 4. 1889. 

*No. 2. Descriptions of Fourteen New Species and- One New Genus of North 
American Mammals. By C. Hart Merriam. Pp. 52, pis. 8, figs. 7. 18S9. 

*No. 3. Results of a Biological Survey of the San Francisco Mountain Region 
and Desert of the Little Colorado, Arizona. By C. Hart Merriam and 
Leonhard Stejneger. Pp. 136, pis. 14, maps 5 (colored), figs. 2. 1890. 

*No. 4. Descriptions of Twenty-six New Species of North American Mammals. 
By C. Hart Merriam. Pp. 60, pis. 3, figs. 3. 1S90. 

*No. 5. Results of a Biological Reconnoissance of South-central Idaho. By 
C. Hart Merriam and Leonhard Stejneger. Descriptions of a New Genus 
and Two New Species of North American Mammals. By C. Hart Merriam. 
Pp. 132, pis. 4 (1 colored), figs. 4. 1891. 
No. 6. Not issued. 

•No. 7. The Death Valley Expedition: A Biological Survey of Parts of Cali- 
fornia, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Part II. — 1. Birds, by A. K. Fisher. 
2. Reptiles and Batrachians, by Leonhard Stejneger. 3. Fishes, by Charles 
H. Gilbert. 4. Insects, by C. V. Riley. 5. Mollusks, by R. E. C. Steams. 
6. Desert Trees and Shrubs, by C. Hart Merriam. 7. Desert Cactuses and 
Yuccas, by C. Hart Merriam. 8. List of Localities, by T. S. Palmer. Pp. 402, 
pis. 15, maps 5, figs. 2. 1893. 

*No. 8. Monographic Revision of the Pocket Gophers, Family Geomyidae (exclu- 
sive of the species of Thomomys). By C. Hart Merriam. Pp. 258, pis. 20, 
figs. 71, maps 4 (colored). 1895. 
No. 9. Not issued. 

*No. 10. Revision of the Shrews of the American Genera Blarina and Notioso- 
rex. By C. Hart Merriam. The Long-tailed Shrews of the Eastern United 
States. By Gerrit S. Miller, jr. Synopsis of the American Shrews of the 
Genus Sorex. By C. Hart Merriam. Pp. 124, pis. 12, figs. 3. 1S95. 

*No. 11. Synopsis of the Weasels of North America. By C. Hart Merriam. 
Pp. 44, pis. 6, figs. 16. 1896. 

*No. 12. The Genera and Subgenera of Voles and Lemmings. By Gerrit S. 
Miller, jr. Pp. 84, pis. 3, figs. 40. 1896. 

*No. 13. Revision of the North American Bats of the Family Vespertilionidae. 
By Gerrit S. Miller, jr. Pp. 140, pis. 3, figs. 40. 1897. 

*No. 14. Natural History of the Tres Marias Island, Mexico. General Account 
of the Islands, with Reports on Mammals and Birds, by E. W. Nelson. 
Reptiles, by Leonhard Stejneger. Notes on Crustacea, by Mary J. Rath- 
bun. Plants, by J. N. Rose. Bibliography, by E. W. Nelson. Pp. 97, pi. 
(map), figs. 2. 1899. 

*No. 15. Revision of the Humping Mice of the Genus Zapus. By Edward A. 
Preble. Pp. 42, pi., figs. 4. 1890. 

*No. 16. Results of a Biological Survey of Mount Shasta, California. By C. Hart 
Merriam. Pp. 179, pis. 5, figs. 46. 1899. 

*No. 17. Revision of American Voles of the Genus Microtus. By Vernon Bailey. 
Pp. 88, pis. 5, figs. 17. 1900. 

*No. 18. Revision of the Pocket Mice of the Genus Perognathus, By Wilfred H. 
Osgood. Pp. 72, pis. 4 (inch 2 maps), figs. 15. 1900. 

*No. 19. Results of a Biological Reconnoissance of the Yukon Region; General 
Account of the Region. Annotated List of Mammals, by Wilfred H. Os- 
good. Annotated List of Birds, by Louis B. Bishop. Pp. 100, pis. 7 (inch 
1 map). 1900. 

*No. 20. Revision of the Skunks of the Genus Chincha [Mephitis - ]. By Arthur 
H. Howell. Pp. 62, pis. 8. 1901. 

*No. 21. Natural History of the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia ; and 
Natural History of the Cook Inlet Region, Alaska. By Wilfred H. Osgood. 
Pp. 87, pis. 7 (inch 1 map), fig. (map). 1901. 

r *No. 22. A Biological Investigation of the Hudson Bay Region. By Edward A. 
Preble. Pp. 140, pis. 14 (inch 1 map). 1902. 

*No. 23. Index Generum Mammalium : A List of the Genera and Families of 
Mammals. By T. S. Palmer. Pp. 984. 1904. 

(Continued on page 3 of cover) 

North American Fauna No. 51, U. S. Dept. Agr., Biological Survey 

Plate 1 




ISTo. 51 

[JULY, 1928] 





















Introduction 1 

Distribution and habitat 2 

Habits 5 

Food and economic status 10 

Young 11 

Weight 11 

Explanations 12 

External measurements 12 

Cranial measurements 13 

Maturity of skulls 13 

Teeth 14 

Colors 14 

Groups 15 

Material examined 16 

The family Soricidae 16 

Subfamilies 17 

Pelages and molts 17 

Time of molting 17 

Manner of molting 18 

Variations 18 

Geographic variation 18 

Individual variation 19 

Sexual variation 20 

Age variation 21 

Seasonal variation 21 

History 21 

List of generic names used for American long-tailed shrews 26 

Key to genera and subgenera of American long-tailed shrews 27 

List of American genera, species, and subspecies of long-tailed shrews, 

with type localities 27 

3enus Sorex 30 

Subgenus Sorex t 31 

Key to subspecies 32 

Sorex cinereus group 37 

Sorex fmneus group 60 

Sorex arcticus group 66 

Sorex pribilofensis group 76 

Sorex merriami group 78 

Sorex sclateri group 82 

Sorex longirostris group 83 

Sorex dispar group 88 

Sorex trowbridgii group 92 

Sorex vagrans-obscurus group 101 

Sorex stizodon group 147 

Sorex veraepacis group 147 

Sorex saussnrei group 153 

Sorex ornatus group 163 

Subgenus Neosorex 175 

Subgenus Atophyrax 192 

Jenus Microsorex 200 

iterature cited _ Z ~~~ I 211 

fndex ZJZZJIJIJZZi.JlJl !___ 233 



[Plate 1, frontispiece; plates 2-13, following page 218] 

Pl. 1. White-lipped water shrew (Sorex palustris albibarbis). 

2. Skulls (dorsal view) of Sorex cinereus, 8. fontinalis, 8. lyelli, S. preblei, 

S. fumeus, S. arcticus, S. tundrensis, S. pribilofensis, 8. merriami, S. 
leucogenys, 8. sclaterl, S. longirostris, S. dispar, 8. trowbridgii, 8. 
vagrans, S. durangae, and 8. obscurus. 

3. Skulls (dorsal view) of Sorex obscurus, S. yaquinae, 8. pacificus, S. 

stizodon, 8. veraepacis, S. macrodon, S. saussurei, S. emarginatus, 
8. ventralis, 8. oreopolus, S. ornatus, S. sinuosus, S. trigonirostris, 8. 
juncensis, 8. myops, S. nanus, and 8. palustris. 

4. Skulls (dorsal view) of Sorex palustris, S. alaskanus, 8. bendirii, and 

Microsorex hoyi. Skulls (ventral view) of Microsorex hoyi, Sorex 
cinereus, S. fontinalis. 8. fumeus, 8. arcticus, 8. tuxdreusis, S. pribilo- 
fensis, S. menHami, S. leucogenys, 8. sclateri, and £. dispar. 

5. Skulls (ventral view) of Sorex longirostris, S. trowbridgii, 8. ragran-s, 

8. durangae, S. obscurus, S. yaquinae, S. pacificus, S. stizodon, S. 
veraepacis, 8. macrodon, 8. saussurei, S. ornatus, S. palustris, S. 
alasJcanus, and 8. bendirii. Skulls (lateral view) of Sorex cinereus, 
8. fontinalis, S. lyelli, S. preblei, S. fumeus, S. arcticus, 8. tUndrensis, 
and 8. pribilofensis. 

6. Skulls (lateral view) of Sorex merriami, 8. leucogenys, 8. solateri, 

S. longirostris, S. dispar, S. trowbridgii, S. vagrans, 8. durangae, 8. 
obscurus, S. yaquinae, S. pacificus, S. stizodon, S. veraepacis, 8. saus- 
surei, 8. ornatus, S. tenellus, S. myops, S. palustris, S. bcr.dirii, and 
Microsorex Jwyi. 

7. Rostra and upper teeth (lateral view) of Sorex cinereus, S. fontinalis, 

S. lyelli, 8. fumeus, 8. arcticus, 8. tundremls, 8. araneus, 8. pribilofenr 
sis, S. merriami, and 8. leucogenys. 

8. Rostra and upper teeth (lateral view) of Sorex sclateri, S. longirostris, 

8. dispar, 8. troicbridgii, 8. vagrans, S. durangae, S. obscurus, 8. 
yaquinae, S. pacificus, and S. stizodon. 

9. Rostra and upper teeth (lateral view) of Sorex veraepacis, S. macrodon, 

S. saussurei, 8. emarginatus, S. ventralis, 8. oreopolus, S. ornatu,s, 
S. tenellus, and 8. nanus. 

10. Rostra and upper teeth (lateral view) of Sorex palustris, 8. alascensis, 

8. bendirii, and Microsorex hoyi. 

11. Upper teeth (ventral surface) of Sorex cinereus, S. fumeus, 8. arcliais, 

8. pribilofensis, S. merriami, 8. longirostris, fif. dispar, S. troirbridgii, 
S. obscurus, S. veraepacis, S. saussurei, S. ornatus, 8. palustris, S. 
bendirii, and Microsorex hoyi, 

12. Lower teeth (lateral view) of Sorex cinereus, S. fumeus, S. arcticus, 8. 

tundrensiS, 8. pribilofensis, 8. merriami. S. longirostris, S. dispar, 8. 
troicbridgii, 8. vagrans, S. obscurus, 8. yaquinae, S. stizodon, and 
S. veraepacis. 

13. Lower teeth (lateral view) of Sorex saussurei, S. ornatus, 8. palustris, 

8. bendirii, and Microsorex hoyi. Lower teeth (dorsal surface) of 
Sorex obscurus and Microsorex hoyi. Second and third upper nni- 
cuspids (ventral surface) of Microsorex hoi/i. 




Fig. 1. Skull of Sorex showing cranial measurements 13 

2. Teeth of Sorex showing principal cusps 15 

3. Geographic range of the species and subspecies of the Sorex 

cinereus group 39 

4. Geographic range of subspecies of Sorex fumeus 61 

5. Geographic range of subspecies of Sorex arcticus and the species 

S. tundrensis 6T 

6. Rostrum of Sorex hydrodrorrms 75 

7. Geographic range of species of the Sorex merriami group 79 

8. Geographic range of subspecies of Sorex lorvgirostris 84 

9. Geographic range of species of the Sorex dispar group 89 

10. Geographic range of subspecies of Sorex trowbridgii 93 

11. Geographic range of subspecies of Sorex vagrans and the species 

S. durangae 102 

12. Geographic range of the species Sorex obscurus 116 

13. Geographic range of five subspecies of Sorex obscurus 118 

14. Geographic range of eight subspecies of Sorex obscurus 129 

15. Geographic range of Sorex yaquinae and of subspecies of S. 

pacificus 141 

16. Geographic range of subspecies of Sorex veraepacis and the 

species S. macrodon 148 

17. Geographic range of subspecies of Sorex saussurei and the species 

S. emarginatus 154 

18. Geographic range of Sorex sclateri, S. stizodon, S. ventralis, and 

S. oreopolus 161 

19. Geographic range of species and subspecies of the Sorex ornatus 

group 164 

20. Foramina magna of Sorex obscurus and S. ornatus 165 

21. Geographic range of species and subspecies of the Sorex palustris 

group 177 

22. Geographic range of subspecies of Sorex bendirii 193 

23. Geographic range of subspecies of Microsorex hoyi 201 

24. Dorsal view of right third upper incisors of Sorex araneus, S. 

cinereus, and Microsorex hoyi 201 




By Hartley H. T. Jackson 


No other group of American mammals having a wide distribution, 
and in many localities an abundance of individuals, is so little known 
to the nonprofessional mammalogist as the long-tailed shrews belong- 
ing to the genera Sorex and Microsorex. Neither are the individuals 
of any other group of common mammals so seldom seen in life by 
the professional field mammalogist, nor are the habits of such indi- 
viduals less known to him. And probably no other group of mam- 
mals offers so many difficulties and problems in the way of taxonomic 
study. These arise from numerous features, no one of which may be 
peculiar to shrews, but the combination occurs in no other large 
group of mammals. The small size of shrews makes slight errors of 
measurements, external or cranial, large proportionally, and makes 
necessary the constant use of the microscope for the study of cranial 
and dental characters. The absence of color pattern, and a definite 
color variation between species that in many cases seems scarcely more 
than individual, makes identification by color alone possible only in 
a comparatively few instances. The early anastomosis of the separate 
cranial bones into one compact whole, which occurs while the animal 
is yet juvenile, makes comparison of the various individual bones of 
the skull impossible; all outlines of the individual cranial bones are 
lost in adult shrews. The simple dentition of shrews offers little 
opportunity for differentiation of form or cusps. Variability of 
skulls and teeth due to age of the individual is excessive, so much so 
that the skull of an adult animal may appear entirely unlike the 
skull of a young animal of the same subspecies; great care must there- 
fore be exercised in making comparisons to be certain that the indi- 
viduals are of corresponding age and development. Finally, there 
is a wide range of individual cranial variation, particularly in the 
size of the skull ; shrews seem more prone to produce " runty " skulls 
or abnormal dentition than most other mammals. 

In popular parlance the American long-tailed shrews might super- 
ficially be divided into four groups, namely, the long-tailed shrews 
proper, the saddleback shrews (the arcticus group), the water shrews 
{palusti'is group), and the marsh shrews (bendirii group). So little 
are shrews known to the layman that when actually seen they are gen- 
erally confused with mice, though in reality as closely related to 


wolves or foxes as to mice. Occasionally, however, they are distin- 
guished by modifying terms, as in sections of Alaska, where O. J. 
Murie reports that they are known as " sharp-nosed mice " ; or in the 
Gallatin country of Montana, where C. W. Richmond says they are 
called " dormice," or in the Jackson Hole region of Wyoming, where, 
according to Alexander Wetmore, the water shrews are known locally 
as " fish-mice." In many localities shrews are known as moles " or 
" young moles," and the water shrew as " water mole." One of the 
most peculiar local names is reported by A. K. Fisher, who says 
that in Dismal Swamp, Va., Sorex longirostris fisheri is called " smell 
fast." Shrews are known to some of the Indian tribes, who have 
special names for them; thus, the Chippewas of northern Wisconsin 
and Minnesota know the little animals as " oke-pa-ku-kue " or " oke- 
pa-kue-kue " ; the Klamath Indians call S. vagrans " shu-zhi " ; Ver- 
non Bailey (manuscript notes) reports that the Taos Indians of 
New Mexico recognize the shrew under the name " pah-ka-che-una "; 
and the Kwakiool name for the mole or shrew in British Columbia is 
" kiap-kepu-s " (Dawson, 1888, p. 93). The common shrew of eastern 
Canada (S. cinereus) was known to the Labrador Eskimos as the 
ukounavik (Packard, 1866, p. 266). According to Nelson the long- 
tailed shrew was known to the Alaskan Eskimos as the " u-gu-gi- 
nuk," and when it was found strayed out on the sea ice by them, it 
was the subject of a curious superstition. 

They claim that there is a kind of water shrew living on the ice at sea 
which is exactly like the common land shrew in appearance, but which is 
endowed with demoniac quickness and power to work harm. If one of them 
is disturbed by a person, it darts at the intruder and burrowing under the 
skin, works about inside at random and finally enters the heart and kills 
him. As a consequence of this belief the hunters are in mortal terror if they 
chance to meet a shrew on the ice at sea, and in one case that I knew of a 
hunter stood immovable on the ice for several hours until a shrew he hap- 
pened to meet disappeared from sight, whereupon he hurried home, and his 
friends all agreed that he had had a very narrow escape. (Nelson, 1887, p. 271.) 


The genus Sorex is distributed throughout a large portion of the 
continents of Europe, Asia, and North America. It is absent from 
the extreme southern and torrid sections and more abundant both in 
species and individuals in the north-temperate and boreal parts. 
In North America the range of the genus extends over the entire 
northern part of the continent from the Arctic Ocean south to 
northern Florida and Alabama in the eastern United States ; Indiana, 
Illinois, and Nebraska in the middle United States; and in the 
higher elevations of the mountains of the West to Guatemala. The 
range of the water and marsh shrews (subgenera Neosorex and 
Atophyrax) extends from southern Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, 
southern Northwest Territories, northern British Columbia, and 
southeastern Alaska, south to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minne- 
sota in the eastern United States, to Arizona and New Mexico in the 
Rocky Mountains, to the Mount Whitney region, California, in the 
Sierra Nevada, and along the Pacific coast to northern California. 
The range of the genus Microsorex extends from northern Quebec, 
northern Ontario, and central and western Alaska south to the 
northern United States. 


The characteristic habitats of long-tailed shrews are moist situa- 
tions with an abundance of vegetation, such as mossy and grassy 
banks along streams, meadows, sphagnum bogs, and damp woods, 
particularly of coniferous trees. There is, however, considerable 
variation in the dominant habitats among the various species, while 
certain of the common forms seem less restricted in habitat and may 
be found at times in associations that could hardly be considered 
characteristic of the particular species. For example, the species 
cinereus is of wide distribution and ordinarily may be expected in 
the normal shrew habitat of damp woods, mossy banks of streams, 
coniferous swamps, and sphagnum bogs; yet there are numerous 
records of specimens of this species taken in houses and other build- 
ings, particularly in the far north, and of other individuals in dry 
woods and meadows in the eastern United States. The species 
fumeus is most frequently reported from hemlock woods, but may 
occasionally occur in meadows near timber. 

As a general rule, Sorex vagrant prefers damp meadows and S. 
obscurus the mossy banks of streams; at any rate, in many regions 
where the two species occur, as, for example, S. v. amoenus and 
S. o. obscurus in the Sierra Nevada, a majority of each species is 
trapped in the respective habitats indicated above. In regard to 
the trapping of a specimen of S. o. obscurus in the Manzano Moun- 
tains, N. Mex., J. H. Gaut remarks in his field report : 

A gopher trapped in a tunnel made by the animal was discovered to have a 
small opening in its side with parts of the intestines gone and immediately 
upon discovering this fact I removed the specimen and replaced it with a 
small trap baited with some of the remaining portions of the intestines. An 
hour later the trap was visited and found to be holding fast one of these little 
shrews. The hole in which the trap was placed was thoroughly covered with 
dirt, in such manner that no animal could possibly have entered at that 
particular place. 

In the coast region of Washington it is known that S. o. setosus 
frequently inhabits the runways of moles (Scapanus). The species 
obscurus is also occasionally found in buildings, but such cases must 
be considered exceptional. 

Habitat records of the rare Sorex dispar would indicate that the 
species usually lives among rocks. It is said that the type specimen 
was trapped among some large, angular rocks at the head of a wooded 
talus of loose rock just below low cliffs, which shaded the spot and 
kept it cool, and that a second specimen was taken in a crevice be- 
tween some rocks on the bare, open summit of Mount Marcy, N. Y. 
(Batchelder, 1896, p. 133.) Mearns also records the species as being 
trapped in hollows under mossy stones, usually in wet balsam or 
spruce woods, or in weedy swamps, in the Catskill Mountains, N. Y. 
(Mearns, 1898, p. 356); and at Mount Grejdock, Mass., Copeland 
caught one specimen under a rock at the edge of a moist grassy clear- 
ing surrounded by woods, and another near a small brook in swampy 
woods of spruce, hemlock, and scattered birches thickly carpeted with 
sphagnum (Copeland, 1912b, p. 162). The first known specimens 
of S. gaspensis were all caught near small streams. One was trapped 
among dead tree stumps that were lying partly submerged and almost 
surrounded by water and shaded by overhanging spruce trees. A 
second was procured in a trap set in such a position at the foot of a 
low cliff facing a stream that the animal must have passed through 


shallow water to reach the trap; a dark, damp forest spread on all 
sides; deep moss covered the ground and obscured the stream in 
places, and many trees bore hanging moss. The third specimen was 
caught along a small stream that came through a narrow canyon on a 
cool, north slope covered with a forest of spruce and balsam ; the trap 
was set among driftwood and wet leaves between bowlders. (An- 
thony and Goodwin, 1924, p. 1 ; Goodwin, 1924, p. 252.) 

One of the western species, Sorex trowbridgii, may be found in the 
regulation damp, mossy habitat of long-tailed shrews, but it also dis- 
plays a marked preference for the drier woods, and in parts of 
western Washington and Oregon it is frequently most abundant in 
dry fir timber. 

The two closely related species Sorex merriami and S. leucogenys 
have an unusual habitat for shrews, in that they have been found only 
in an arid sagebrush association. The type and only known specimen 
of /S. tenellus was also collected among loose rocks on a dry hillside 
a long distance from water. 

The water shrews (subgenus Neosorex) are seldom found at any 
great distance from water, which may be a lake or pond, a brook, 
or merely a pothole in a swamp, bog, or forest. They seem to prefer 
a more or less wooded habitat and are rarely found in marshes 
devoid of bushes or trees. They tend to be more boreal than mem- 
bers of the subgenus Atophyrax and in the western United States 
are usually found at the higher altitudes in the Canadian Zone. 
Nevertheless, in March, 1920, G. G. Cantwell collected three specimens 
at an altitude of about 300 feet at Rockport, Skagit County, Wash. 
The streams in which these specimens were caught, however, came 
down from mountains 4,000 to 6,000 feet high not more than 2 miles 

The marsh shrews (subgenus Atophyrax) seem to be less truly 
aquatic than the members of the subgenus Neosorex, and although 
found in damp woods and other habitats such as are frequented by 
Neosorex, they also occur in tule or sedge marshes. At Lake Cush- 
man, Wash., in the midsummer of 1894, C. P. Streator caught three 
specimens in traps baited with rolled oats and set on an ^ld beaver 

Shrews of the genus Microsorex do not seem to differ particularly 
in their habitat preference from certain members of the genus Sorex. 
as, for example, cinereus. Such reports as are available indicate 
that the pigmy shrews are most frequently found in damp woods, 
sometimes of deciduous trees. But they are also found in tamarack 
swamps and muskegs, and occasionally in marshes and even in dry 
woods. The type specimen of Microsorex h. washingtoni was found 
dead in a trail in dry pine woods. E. A. Preble reports one of this 
genus taken January 4, 1904, in the potato cellar of a dwelling house 
at Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, Canada. Of the first two 
specimens of M. h. wirmemana) collected, one (type specimen) was 
captured in the decayed interior of a fallen log in mixed woods of 
maple and other deciduous trees and the other was found in the 
decayed heart of a dead chestnut tree on a dry hillside some dis- 
tance from water. The third specimen of wiw/nemama was captured 
by G. W. J. Blume, who sent it to Wirt Robinson, who in turn pre- 


sented it to the United States National Museum. In a letter to 
Colonel Robinson Mr. Blume states : 

As I recall the capture of the shrew, I noticed movements in the leaves on 
one of- the hillsides on my place at Alta Vista, Va., and thinking it to be a 
mole plowing the surface as they sometimes do in gravelly or very rooty 
ground, I started'to scratch among the leaves to catch it. The shrew started to 
run and I caught it in my hands. I think there was a rock pile not far 
distant which was probably its home. It was in dry. wooded land, probably 
not over 100 yards from running water but not close to a swamp. There was 
no dense underbrush, but plenty of natural concealment afforded by the leaves, 
rocks, old logs, etc., in the vicinity. 


Long-tailed shrews are such elusive midgets and such meager defi- 
nitely planned research has been done on their life history that com- 
paratively little is known about their habits. That the various species 
have certain general habits more or less in common is self-assertive, 
but that the different species also have specialized habits varying 
to meet their different habitats and environments is also evident. 
For example, one could hardly assume that the habits of the semi- 
desert species, Sorex merriami, would be similar in detail to those of 
S. dispar, which inhabits the comparatively cool, humid coniferous 
forest region of the eastern United States. Yet almost nothing is 
known about the specialized habits of either of these species. Shrews 
are the active, vicious, voracious little imps of the mammal world. 
They are largely nocturnal, but are not infrequently active during 
the daytime, particularly under the snow in winter or during cloudy 
weather at any season of the year. They are apparently active during 
the entire winter and do not hibernate, although they have small 
hibernating glands, and it has been erroneously written that they 
do hibernate. (Arnback-Christie-Linde, 1907, p. 466.) They live for 
the most part in little burrows and runways underneath logs, rocks, 
leaves, and grass, where they hunt insects and worms. These run- 
ways may be made by the shrews themselves or by various species 
of mice or other shrews. At Tuckerton, N. J., in the summer of 
1892, E. A. Preble captured five specimens of S. cinereus under one 
of several small haystacks scattered over the meadow's. Some of 
these were kept alive in a deep can for several hours. They con- 
stantly moved their long snouts in every direction, apparently 
depending more on the sense of touch and smell than on sight. Resi- 
dents stated that during especially high tides at this place these 
shrews would be drowned out of their retreats and would fairly 
swarm on the driftwood. (Preble manuscript.) 

Long-tailed shrews are exceedingly quick and active and move with 
a queer, jerky, trotlike run, starting and stopping abruptly. They 
may be considered almost strictly terrestrial, although they occasion- 
ally climb small branches of very low bushes, fallen trees, or herbs. 
Morris M. Green writes (manuscript) that while watching a deer 
runway on the north branch of Moose River in the Adirondacks, 
N. Y., during the summer of 1894, he saw a little shrew no bigger 
than a thimble, which climbed up a fern stock within 5 feet of him. 
Another shrew went through his pail of fishworms and ate every one 
of them. Though in no sense aquatic (except the subgenera Neosorex 


and Atophyrax), they are good swimmers when occasion demands it 
of them, Long-tailed shrews evidently have a wide local range, as is 
witnessed by Nelson's observations in Alaska. 

After snow falls they travel from place to place by forcing a passage under 
the snow, and frequently keep so near the surface that a slight ridge is left 
to mark their passage. On the ice of the Yukon I have traced a ridge of this 
kind over a mile, and was repeatedly surprised to see what a direct course 
the shrews could make for long distances under the surface. These minute 
tunnels were noted again and again crossing the Yukon from bank to bank. 
(Nelson, 1887, p. 271.) 

These little animals are exceedingly savage and voracious and will 
fight and devour one another upon least provocation. Merriam's 
account of how he confined three of them under a tumbler is familiar 
to many students : 

Almost immediately they commenced fighting, and in a few minutes one was 
slaughtered and eaten by the other two. Before night one of these killed and 
ate its only surviving companion, and its abdomen was much distended by the 
meal. Hence in less than eight hours one of these tiny wild beasts had at- 
tacked, overcome, and ravenously consumed two of its own species, each as 
large as itself. (Merriam, 1884a, p. 76; 1884c, p. 174.) 

Over considerable periods of time, these little gluttons, when in 
captivity, have been known to eat their own weight in meat on an 
average of once every three hours. Early in the summer of 1900, 
W. H. Osgood caught two shrews in the same trap on Vancouver 
Island, British Columbia. One of them, not killed by the trap, 
proceeded to devour the other and had nearly accomplished it when 
Osgood visited the trap. H. H. Sheldon reports (manuscript) an 
instance in August, 1919, at Ogema, Wis., in which the entire tail 
of a shrew {Sorex c. dnereus) was all that remained in a trap, and 
about a foot away he found one dead with tail intact but with its 
head bruised and part of the skin torn from the nose and jaws. 
This one had evidently fought the one in the trap, the latter losing its 
tail but winning the fight. George G. Cantwell, in his field report 
from the Mount Rainier region, Wash., for the summer of 1919, 
states that on one occasion while he was setting traps beside a small 
stream a trap on the opposite side containing a freshly caught mouse 
was visited by a shrew (S. vagrans), which at once started feeding on 
the mouse. On account of its poor eyesight, the shrew failed to 
detect the observer only a few feet away, but as a twig snapped the 
little animal at once dodged into a hole in the bank and did not 
appear again. In a letter dated July 17, 1889, at Plover Mills, 
Ontario 2 R. Elliott writes that on May 21, 1888, he captured one 
(tS. c. anereus) under a small log among dry leaves. He placed it 
in a large bottle with plenty of air and gave it two earthworms, 
each of which it took by the " tail " and rapidly nipped through and 
through to the head and left it dead. The shrew afterwards ate 
part of one of the worms. Mr. Elliott then gave the shrew a May 
beetle, which it instantly attacked viciously. The sharp feet of the 
insect seemed to irritate the shrew to an inordinate degree, and at 
the end of two or three minutes the beetle was torn and entirely 
eaten. Ten minutes afterwards it was given another May beetle, 
which, too, was almost entirely eaten, the head and elytra alone 
remaining. About half an hour later the shrew died. 

Very little is known in regard to the nests and home life of long- 
tailed shrews. They build nests of grass and leaves under logs, in 


stumps, and similar situations, but few of these have been found, 
much less critically studied. On October 14, 1924, Stuart Griddle 
found eight young of Sorex cinereus haydeni several days old dead 
in a nest made of brome-grass leaves, with a few ground-cherry 
leaves on the outside, situated under a brome-grass sheaf near Trees- 
bank, Manitoba. In the nest there was also the anterior part of the 
skull of an adult. Judging from the dates of collection of pregnant 
specimens, the height of the breeding season is June, July, and 
August, although a few have been taken as late as the last of Septem- 
ber that had been nursing, and others contained embryos as early 
as March 29 in Inyo County, Calif., and the middle of May on 
Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. 

From the data available as based upon the number of fetuses in 
specimens trapped, as recorded by collectors, it would appear that 
the number of young varies in different species. From these records 
Sorex cinereus appears to have the largest litters, with an average 
of 12, for 8 specimens, the minimum being 4 and the maximum 10. 
The average for 5 specimens of S. palustris navigator is 6 fetuses, 
minimum 5, maximum 7. In 8 litters S. vagram has a minimum of 

3 and a maximum of 9, with an average of 5.8. Sixteen records for 
S. obscurus show an average of 5.4 per litter, with a minimum of 

4 and a maximum of 8; of these 16 litters one-half were of 5 each. 
A single specimen of S. arcticus had 6 embryos, as did also one of 
S. ornatus. Three embryos were found in a specimen of S. t. trow- 
bridgii, and 4 in one oi S. t. mariposae. The smallest number of 
fetuses recorded is 2 from the specimen of S. Jeucogenys from Mount 
Magruder, Esmeraldo County, Nev. This lone record may give a 
clue to one of the possible causes for the apparent scarcity of shrews 
of the merriamd group. 

Long-tailed shrews are preyed upon by numerous species of ani- 
mals, although comparatively few of their enemies will eat them 
except in cases of extreme hunger. It is well known that domestic 
cats kill numbers of shrews but seldom eat them, and in olden times 
it was believed that shrews were poisonous to cats. Fragments of 
shrew skulls and bones are frequently found in owls' pellets; the 
only record of Sorex longirostris in Alabama is a complete animal, 
now in alcohol, taken from the stomach of a barred owl. This same 
species of shrew has been taken from the esophagus of a hooded 
merganser. (Audubon and Bachman, 1854, p. 250.) Hawks also 
are known to prey upon shrews occasionally, and one has been re- 
corded from the stomach of a bear. (Osgood, 1907, p. 63.) Certain 
fishes, particularly trout, may at times catch them, and A. H. 
Twitchell in a letter dated September 18, 1917, at Flat, Alaska, re- 
ports finding during August of that year the remains of six shrews, 
probably S. tundrensis, in the stomachs of three graylings. 

Aside from the numbers killed by natural enemies, long-tailed 
shrews seem to have an unusually high mortality rate, as compared 
with many mammals, as many of them are accidently trapped in 
ditches, springs, and wells. It is not at all unusual to find several 
dead shrews in an uncovered well or spring, and such accidental 
deaths have been responsible for several specimen records. Although 
members of the genus Sorex are pugnacious and physically strong 
in proportion to their size, they seem sensitive to any external 


shock or stimulus, and individuals are not infrequently found dead 
on the surface of the ground. Undoubtedly some of these are 
killed by other animals and abandoned as unfit for food, but many 
show no signs of injury and appear to have perished merely from 
nervous shock, extremes of temperature, or the like. O. J. Murie 
in a field report states that a Mr. Quinn, of McGrath, Alaska, while 
traveling in the vicinity of Rainey Pass one winter during a con- 
tinued severe cold spell, found numerous shrews frozen along the 
trail. The writer recalls a case late in August, 1919, at Ogema, 
"Wis., when one of the field men in his party, who chanced to come 
upon a specimen of Sorex arcticus laricorwn, which was running 
across a road, dropped a felt hat over the animal. He then carefully 
raised the brim of the hat, expecting to capture the shrew alive, 
but to his surprise the animal was dead, though apparently not 
touched by the hat. An interesting account of sensitiveness in a 
shrew has been described by Gillman (1876) as follows: 

In the heavily timbered forest in the neighborhood of Cheboygan, Mich., on a 
cold day in October, 1875, I caught a characteristic full-grown specimen of 
Thompson's shrew (Sorex Thompsoni Baird). 1 The pretty little creature had 
been busy about an old decayed stump, where it seemed to have its home. It 
uttered no audible cry, though at first it made several hostile demonstrations, 
endeavoring to escape, and, seizing my fingers in its mouth, tried to bite them, 
but the delicacy of its teeth rendered the attempt futile. Having no suitable 
place in which to deposit it, I carefully wrapped it in paper, allowing its head 
to protrude, and held it in my hand. Some sportsmen were out shooting on 
the bay about a mile off, and the reports of their guns came to us from time 
to time, generally so much muffled by the distance as to be barely distinguish- 
able, yet the shrew invariably responded to each detonation with a quick, spas- 
modic movement, evidently of alarm. Holding the animal as I did, the move- 
ment was immediately perceptible. Though aware that the acuteness of the 
auditory organs of these animals and their allied genera is most wonderful, I 
was hardly prepared for so unequivocal a proof of its extreme sensitiveness, 
which, under the circumstances, I was enabled to test repeatedly in this 
individual Sorex. 

It was my intention to preserve the animal alive, and take it with me on 
my return home for further experiment and study of its habits ; but, to my 
regret, on unfolding the paper on my way to the house at which I was staying 
I found the shrew had died. I have little doubt that its death was caused 
by fright, as I handled it most carefully so as not to hurt it. 

Long-tailed shrews seldom use a call note and, as a rule, are not 
noisy animals. The writer has heard Sorex c. cinereus utter a series 
of sharp squeaks and also a weak purrlike grunt. Charles W. Rich- 
mond in his field report states that he observed a shrew (probably 
S. o. obscurus) in Gallatin County, Mont., and says that it frequently 
stopped to sniff the air suspiciously and occasionally uttered a 
" little snort." When fighting, either against members of their own 
species or other enemies, they frequently indulge in much squeaking 
and make a considerable noise for such mites. In the Mount Hood 
region, Oreg., in the spring of 1919, George G. Cantwell caught a 
S. t. trowbridgii in his hand from under a flake of bark. The shrew 
fought vigorously " with much squealing " and finally squirmed out of 
the grasp of its captor and disappeared like a ghost, for no con- 
spicuous hole or apparent cover was in the vicinity to afford 

1 This name is a synonym of Microsorex hoyi thompsoni (Baird), but Gillman's animal 
was probably Sorex cinereus cinereus Kerr. 


The habits of the water shrews (subgenus Neosorex), so far as 
known, do not differ essentially from those of other shrews, except 
in adaptations to a more aquatic habitat. Water shrews rank high 
among the best swimmers of the nonmarine mammals, although op- 
portunities for observing them in the act of swimming are rarely 
presented. They can swim, dive, float, run along the bottom of a 
pool or creek, or actually run on the surface of the water with the 
greatest ease. In a bog near Rhinelander, Wis., in August, 1906, the 
author saw one run a distance of about 5 feet across a small pool, the 
surface of which was glossy smooth. • The body and head of the 
animal were entirely out of water, the surface tension of the water 
supporting the shrew, and at each step the animal took there ap- 
peared to be held by the fibrillae on the foot a little globule of air, 
which was also discernible in the shadow at the bottom of the pool, 
exactly as one might notice in the case of the water strider {Gerris 
remigis). (Miall, 1903, p. 12, 349.) It is probable, however, that 
this water-walking feat can be accomplished by water shrews only 
when the water is very still and quiet, and in running or rough water 
it would seem that the animals would be required to swim. 

Walter P. Taylor in his field report for Cat Creek, Clallam County, 
Wash., states that on the evening of September 5, 1921, he saw a 
Sorex pahistris navigator, which he at first mistook for a frog, in a 
shallow " running " creek. He noticed that it was walking rather 
jerkily through the water, at first in water not so deep but that it 
could touch the rocks beneath, but soon in water that must have been 
beyond its depth. It did not sink, but remained half exposed, 
" walking " rapidly along on top of the water. The animal had a 
dry, fluffy appearance. 

Edward A. Preble saw one running on the water, July 27, 1910, 
in a small creek some 25 miles east of Telegraph Creek, British 
Columbia. He noted that the shrew followed the edge of the stream 
close to the bank and seemed scarcely to sink at all below the water 
line but gave the impression rather of running on the water film, 
progressing at a good rate and making only very slight ripples. 

At the Three Sisters, Oreg., in July, 1914, Vernon Bailey caught 
a /S. p. navigator in his hands, tied a string to its leg, and put it in 
the water. At first it fluffed out its fur and " sat on top of the water 
like a duck." Lowering itself into the water, it swam rapidly, 
though using but one foot, to a log, upon which it climbed. Then it 
would dive and dart about under water like a silver fish, going to the 
bottom and under logs and sticks, apparently seeing or knowing its 
way and just where to hide. According to Bailey, it swam with 
relatively greater speed and skill than the otter, which always seemed 
to him the most wonderful mammal in the water. 

George G. Cantwell observed one in the Mount Rainier region, 
Wash., in the summer of 1919, which ran rapidly through the shal- 
low water of a swift mountain stream, and swam or dived through 
the deeper pools with great speed, using all four feet in swimming 
with the same motions it used in running over the ground. While 
under water the thick coat of fur of the animal was surrounded by 
a silvery layer of air, and when the animal came to the surface again 
it appeared to be dry. 


A. Brazier Howell (1924, p. 27) states in regard to an individual of 
S. p. navigator that "it dived and swam under a bank so quickly 
that I had opportunity to be sure of nothing except that while swim- 
ming it kicked both hind feet in unison after the manner of a frog." 
This method of swimming is at variance with the observations of 

An interesting note on this same species made by the late Theodore 
Roosevelt is extracted from a letter (manuscript) of his dated No- 
vember 26, 1888 : 

I was near Kootanei Lake, in British Columbia, and while taking lunch near 
a small rapid brook I saw a Water Shrew swimming down it. While swim- 
ming its body looked like a flattened disc studded with silvery bubbles. It 
ran along the bottom and over the rocks very fast, and swam and dived well. 
I saw it catch a very minute fish and eat it on a wet, water-washed stone. At 
last by an under grab I caught it. Its tail was conspicuously longer than its 
head and body, and it was, without doubt, a Neosorex. I skinned it with my 
pocket knife and put a little hoop in the reversed skin, but as I was traveling 
very light, had to put it in my pocket. That afternoon I shot a bear and 
camped by it, being very hungry. I put the little Shrew skin out on a log and 
turned away a moment, and to my horror, in the interval the Indian who was 
with me threw the log into the fire, and of course the skin vanished. I was 
really very sorry. 


Shrews are chiefly insectivorous in their food selections, but they 
will eat other flesh and occasionally vegetable matter. Stomach ex- 
aminations of true Sorex, including representatives of the species 
cinereus, fumeus, longirostris, vagrans, obscurus, and trowbridgiiy 
have shown the following among the contents: Hymenoptera, Cole- 
optera, Diptera (both larval and adult), caterpillars, crickets, spiders, 
hair and flesh of shrews and mice, and moss, seeds, and other vege- 
table material. That shrews are not entirely averse to certain vege- 
table food is attested by the manner in which they will eat rolled oats 
placed on baited traps. Their food probably does not vary much 
with the seasons, for shrews, being active in winter and feeding as 
they do mostly in burrows in the ground and in runways under the 
leaves, obtain dormant and pupating insects during the colder months 
of the year. Shrews are known to eat earthworms, although stomach 
examinations have not shown earthworms in the contents. The food 
of the water shrew (subgenus Neosorex) does not appear from stom- 
ach examinations to differ much from that of other shrews. The 
water shrew is known to eat small fish, however, and is also reported 
to feed upon fish eggs. It seems probable that a detailed study of its 
food would show the insects consumed to be more of aquatic species 
than those taken by other shrews. Also the stomach examinations of 
marsh shrews (subgenus Atophyrax) show no marked differences 
from those of other shrews, although 35 per cent of the contents of 
one stomach was snails. Nothing is known of the food of the mem- 
bers of the genus Microsorex. 

Since shrews are such voracious eaters and feed principally upon 
insects with an occasional dessert of young mice, they are of consid- 
erable economic value in holding down certain pests of agriculture 
and forestry. Unfortunately, they are usually mistaken for mice by 
the layman and killed on sight. In parts of the extreme north, par- 


ticularly in Alaska, long-tailed shrews are sometimes reported, as a 
nuisance on account of their climbing into caches of fresh meat or 
fresh or dried fish, some of which they eat and the remainder ruin 
with their filth. In these same regions they may also become a nuis- 
ance in houses during winter. Water shrews, also, are occasionally 
reported to do damage in fish ponds and trout streams by destroying 
fish and fish eggs, but these shrews are not plentiful enough to do any 
serious damage except locally, and then but rarely. On the whole, 
shrews are among the most beneficial mammals. 


Only scant information is available on the young of the genera 
Sorex and Microsorex. The litter of eight of Sorex cinereus haydeni 
collected by Stuart Criddle, at Aweme, Manitoba, and already re- 
ferred to {antea, p. 7), are the youngest long-tailed shrews that 
the writer has seen. Although of indeterminable age, they are un- 
doubtedly at least 10 or more days old and more than half the size 
of adults. They are covered with very short hair, and the tails are 
proportionately somewhat shorter than in adults. In all probability 
shrews are born blind, hairless, and, relatively speaking, but slightly 
developed. Following birth, however, it would seem that develop- 
ment and growth is comparatively rapid, although they remain in 
the nest until well along toward maturity. It is this habit of re- 
maining in the nest until so nearly mature that makes young shrews 
so scarce in collections. 

In the Criddle specimens the partly developed molariform teeth 
and first incisors appear above the alveola, while the unicuspids are 
still covered by the dermis, and difficult to detect in gross 

The only other young examined is a litter of five Sorex longirostris 
fisheri collected in May, 1905, by W. L. Ralph and J. W. Daniel, jr., 
in Dismal Swamp, Va. The young in this litter appear to be a few 
days older than those in the litter of S. cinereus haydeni, and offer 
no juvenile peculiarities not shown in the other litter. 


Among the species of long-tailed shrews are the smallest of 
American mammals, and even the larger forms are no bigger 
than some of the smaller species of mice. The smallest American 
shrew is Microsorex hoyi winnemana, which may also be the smallest 
mammal known. There are no weights available for this subspecies, 
however, nor for any others of the pigmy shrews (Microsorex), ex- 
cept two male specimens of M. h. hoyi collected by Bernard Bailey at 
Elk River, Minn. One of these, taken on March 25, 1926, weighed 
2.1 grams; the other, collected two days later, weighed 2.9 grams. 
Neither of these was fat nor was the stomach of the latter so full as 
that of the first, although the latter weighed more. 

Two females of Sorex cinereus haydeni weighed by Vernon Bailey 
at Walhalla, N. Dak., each weighed 3.3 grams, while a third collected 

74285—28 2 


at that time weighed 3.6 grams. Bailey also weighed specimens of 
jS. c. cinereus at Michigamme, Mich., late in the summer of 1923, the 
weights ranging from 3.5 to 5.5 grams. In the Stikine River region 
of British Columbia, in 1919, Joseph Dixon weighed several speci- 
mens of S. c. cinereus, 15 adults of which averaged 4.5 grams, with 
a minimum of 2.8 grams and a maximum of 6,1. Part of these speci- 
mens were approaching S. c. streatori, which is a larger subspecies 
than typical cinereus. Two males of JS. c. cinereus collected and 
weighed by O. J. Murie at Fairbanks, Alaska, January 19, 1922, 
balanced at 2.7 and 2.8 grams, while a female October 14, 1921, from 
the same locality weighed 2.84 grams. Another female of this same 
subspecies collected by Murie February 18, 1922, on the South Fork 
of the Kuskokwim River, Alaska, weighed 2.85 grams. 

Two males of Sorex v. vagrans collected at Puyallup, Wash., July 
4, 1914, were weighed at 7 grams each by T. H. Scheffer. Eighteen 
specimens of S. o. obscurus from the Stikine region of British Co- 
lumbia, as weighed by Joseph Dixon in the summer of 1919, aver- 
aged 6.9 grams, with a minimum of 4.8 grams and a maximum of 
8.7 grams. 

Seventeen western water shrews {Sorex palustris navigator) col- 
lected by parties from the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University 
of California, in various parts of the Sierra Nevada, but chiefly from 
the Yosemite region, California, averaged 12.3 grams, the minimum 
being 9.1 grams and the maximum 19.5 grams. A single individual 
of the marsh shrew {S. b. bendirii), a female collected October 14, 
1914, at Puyallup, Wash., was found by T. H. Scheffer to weigh 
12 grams. 

The above data must not be taken for more than their actual 
value, for the weighing of a few specimens in the field is unsatis- 
factory for comparative use. Certain individual specimens may be 
fat, others lean or emaciated ; some may be heavy with young, others 
worn and of light weight from the care of young; young and old 
may offer different weights; some individuals may be gorged with 
food, others empty ; even the molting process might affect the weight 
of the animal. For purposes of comparative weights of different 
species it is therefore essential to weigh individuals that are in every 
respect in corresponding physical condition, and large series of them. 
The foregoing weights are therefore merely suggestive of the com- 
parative weights of a few species. 



External measurements of shrews, unless otherwise stated in the 
text, are in millimeters and are those made by the collector from the 
animal in the flesh. The following have been used : 

Total length. — Tip of nose to end of terminal tail vertebra. 

Tail vertebrae. — Base of tail at superior surface to end of terminal 
tail vertebra. 

Hind foot. — Posterior border of heel to apex of longest claw. 





Cranial measurements, unless otherwise stated, were made by the 
author with a vernier caliper. The following (fig. 1) have been 
employed : 

Gondylobasal length. — Antero-posterior diameter of skull from 
anterior median point between bases of first upper incisors to most 
posterior point of occipital condyle. 

Palatal length. — Greatest antero-posterior diameter of palate in 
median line. (This measurement was taken by use of fine-pointed 
dividers on vernier caliper.) 

Cranial breadth. — Greatest lateral diameter of skull. 

Fig. 1. — Skull of Sorex bendirii palmeri. showing cranial measurements 
employed. Enlarged three diameters 

Cranial breadth, G-G'. 
Condylobasal length, A-H. 
Interorbltal breadth, E-E'. 

Palatal length, A-F. 
Maxillary breadth, C-C. 
Maxillary tooth row, B-D. 

Interorbital breadth. — Least lateral diameter of skull measured just 
posterior to maxillary processes. 

Maxillary breadth. — Greatest lateral diameter of skull through 
maxillary processes. 

Maxillary tooth row. — Antero-posterior diameter of upper tooth 
row between anterior border of second incisor and posterior border of 
last molar measured at alveolar border. 


On account of the great differences in the skulls of shrews of differ- 
ent ages it is essential in making comparisons to have specimens of 
approximately the same maturity. There are, of course, no sharp 


age-division points in the life of the animal, but in making compari- 
sons skulls have been classed as those of animals that were immature, 
young adult, adult, and old adult. Skulls of immature and old adult 
animals show more individual variation than those of the young adult 
and adult and are therefore less satisfactory for taxonomic purposes. 
In general terms these four classes of skull maturity may be defined 
as follows : 

Immature. — Brain case usually moderately high, and unflattened, 
with sutures not distinctly closed; no sagittal or lambdoidal ridge; 
teeth usually not fully developed, unworn; first upper incisors pro- 
truding much beyond premaxillae anteriorly. 

Young adult. — Brain "case usually high and unflattened, with 
sutures closed ; sagittal ridge absent or weakly developed, lambdoidal 
ridge absent ; teeth fully developed, unworn ; first upper incisors pro- 
truding much beyond premaxillae anteriorly. 

Adult. — Brain case usually slightly flattened, with sutures closed; 
sagittal ridge moderately developed, lambdoidal ridge absent or 
weakly developed; teeth fully developed, usually unworn or slightly 
worn, sometimes moderately worn; first upper incisors protruding 
slightly beyond premaxillae anteriorly. 

Old adult. — Brain case flattened, with sutures closed; sagittal and 
lambdoidal ridges both usually well developed; teeth usually much 
worn ; first upper incisors scarcely protruding beyond premaxillae. 


Unless otherwise specified, comparisons of relative sizes of uni- 
cuspidate teeth are as they are viewed from an extero-lateral aspect, 
while comparisons of relative sizes and shapes of molariform teeth 
are as the upper molariform teeth 'are viewed from an inferior aspect 
(that is, looking dorsad). In the detailed examination of teeth a 
binocular microscope was used, the most satisfactory magnification 
being obtained with No. 1 oculars and a 40-millimeter objective. 

The nomenclature of the tooth cusps and other principal elements 
of the molariform teeth can be determined from the accompanying 
diagram. (Fig. 2). * 


The names of colors used throughout the text are those of Ridg- 
way (1912). In some cases, where it has been impossible to match 
the colors of specimens exactly with those of Ridgway, other modi- 
fying or comparative terms are used. 

In making comparative studies of the color of mammals, especially 
those with glossy or iridescent fur, it is essential always to view each 
specimen from approximately the same angle and to have the light 
rays from an approximately constant angle. In the author's color 
studies of moles, the animal was viewed from the anterior end. 
(Jackson, 1915, p. 20.) In making color observations upon shrews 
the animal has' been viewed from the posterior end. Diffused day- 
light from a window was allowed to strike the shrew at an agle of 
30° to 45° anterior to a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis 
of the animal. The shrew was then viewed at varying angles, 
usually slightly laterally, from the light rays but always posteriorly 




to the animal and in the same plane as the reflected light rays; that 
is, in the plane at an angle of 30° to 45° posterior to a plane perpen- 
dicular to the longitudinal axis of the animal. 


As a matter of convenience for other workers in the study and 
identification of specimens, the writer has divided the American long- 
tailed shrews into assemblages of one or more species, which he calls 


A B 

FIG. 2. — Teeth of Sore-r bendtrii bendirii. showing principal cusps. En- 
larged about 10 diameters. A, left upper teeth; B, left lower teeth 

jne= metacone. 

ms= mesostyle. 

mts = metastylc. 

pa= paracone. 

ps= parastyle. 

hy= liypocone. 

pr= protocone. 


nied= rnetaconid. 
pad = paraconid. 
hyd= hypoconid. 
prd= protoconid. 

groups. The author is fully cognizant of the fact that the term 
" group " as thus used does not, and should not, have any status in 
the nomenclature of zoological classification and is employed solely 
for convenience. Nevertheless he has endeavored to bring within 
each group closely related forms, and, therefore, each group repre- 
sents more or less a taxonomic unit. Furthermore, an effort has been 
made to arrange the groups and species in phylogenetic sequence 
from the more simple morphologically to the more complex, and to 
arrange subspecies in accordance with intergrading forms. Strict 


adherence to such a method, however, has not been possible, since 
linear arrangement can not express what may actually be radial, 
parallel, or possibly, in the case of subspecies, even partly concen- 
tric. Although " groups," as previously stated, have been made as a 
matter of convenience, genera, subgenera, species, and subspecies 
have been recognized on the strength of structural characters and 
zoological relationships regardless of convenience in classification. 


The present revision recognizes 89 forms of 39 species of American 
long-tailed shrews and is based upon a study of 10,431 specimens, 
mostly skins accompanied by skulls. Of this number, the genus 
Sorex comprises 10,293 (subgenus Sorex, 9,369; subgenus Neosorex, 
721; subgenus Atophyrax, 203); and Microsorex, 138. Type speci- 
mens or essentially topotypes of all described forms except Sorex 
hydrodromus Dobson have been examined. In some groups and 
species the material has been fairly adequate for a thorough inves- 
tigation. In others the number of specimens available has been 
entirely too small for satisfactory conclusions. And always more 
juvenile specimens Avere needed. The study has been based primarily 
upon specimens in the collection of the United States National 
Museum, including therein the Merriam collection and the large and 
important collection of the Bureau of Biological Survey. Without 
the cooperation of other institutions and individuals, however, this 
revision in its present completeness could not have been accom- 
plished. 2 


The family Soricidae, exclusive of fossil forms, is composed of 
some 24 currently recognized genera. The family ranges throughout 
North America, extreme northern South America, and the the trop- 
ical and temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is a 
compact, rather homogeneous group, the members of which are small 
to medium-size mouselike animals, with minute eyes, sharp-pointed 
snouts, and small ears, the ear conch always being present, though 
inconspicuous in certain genera. 

a The author expresses his gratitude and appreciation to each of the following for the 
loan of specimens or for various other courtesies : Joseph Grinnell, of the Museum of 
Vertebrate Zoology, University of California ; H. E. Anthony and G. G. Goodwin, of the 
American Museum of Natural History ; Wilfred H. Osgood, of the Field Museum of Nat- 
ural History ; Samuel Henshaw and Glover M. Allen, of the Museum of Comparative 
Zoology of Harvard College ; R. M. Anderson, of the National Museum of Canada ; Witmer 
Stone, of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia ; Manton Copeland, of Bowdoin 
College ; A. G. Ruthven and Lee R. Dice, of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michi- 
gan ; George Wagner, of the University of Wisconsin ; W. T. Shaw, formerly of the State 
College of Washington ; M. H. Spaulding, of the Montana State College ; C. D. Bunker, of 
the Kansas University Museum of Natural History ; S. A. Barrett, of the Public Museum 
of the City of Milwaukee ; O. A. Peterson, of the Carnegie Museum ; J. D. Figgins, of the 
Colorado Museum of Natural History ; L. L. Snyder, of the Royal Ontario Museum of 
Zoology ; Clinton G. Abbott and Lawrence M. Huey, of the Natural History Museum, San 
Diego, Calif. ; Francis Kermode, of the Provincial Museum, British Columbia ; Philip Cox, 
of the Miramichi Natural History Society and the Provincial Museum, New Brunswick ; 
Frank Smith, of the Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History ; W. L. Burnett, of Colo- 
rado State College ; Donald R. Dickey, Pasadena, Calif. ; Stuart Criddle, Treesbank, Mani- 
toba ; C. F. Batchelder, Cambridge, Mass. ; Stanley G. Jewett, Portland, Oreg. ; A. Brazier 
Howell, Washington, D. C. ; D. E. Brown, Seattle, Wash. ; A. S. Pope, Chicago ; J. Dewey 
Soper, Ottawa, Canada ; D. E. Kent, Rutland, Vt. ; George I. Kirk, Rutland, Vt. ; E. R. 
Warren, Colorado Springs, Colo. ; Alex Walker, Tillamook, Oreg. ; Harley B. Sherman, 
Gainesville, Fla. ; Bernard Bailey, Elk River, Minn. ; and G. G. Cantwell, Palms, Calif. ; 
and to Oldfield Thomas, of the British Museum (Natural History), who has supplied 
many notes on specimens in that museum ; and to Gerrit S. Miller, jr., who has allowed 
absolute freedom in the division of mammals of the United States National Museum. 


The clavicle is long and slender; humerus relatively long and 
slender (length more than twice width) ; pelvis relatively broad 
(width more than one-third length) ; no os falciforme on the fore 
foot; terminal phalanges of fore foot simple, not bifurcate. 

The skull is somewhat conoidal, relatively long and narrow, the 
individual bones anastomosed into one compact whole with but 
little indication of the sutures; the zygomatic arch is absent, but 
represented by a rudimentary zygomatic process of the maxilla; 
audital bullae absent, the tympanic bone annular and not connected 
with the skull by osseous tissue; exterior pterygoid region angular 
and not inflated, no exterior pterygoid plate; mandible with double 

First upper incisor large, elongated, projecting anteriorly, two- 
lobed, the anterior lobe the larger; first lower incisor greatly elon- 
gated, extending anteriorly in line of mandible, the upper edge with 
two or more slightly developed lobes ; remaining incisors and canines, 
both upper and lower, and first and second upper premolars if pres- 
ent, simple unicuspidate ; crowns of upper molars low, W-shaped in 
inferior outline; crowns of lower molars low, M-shaped in superior 


The family Soricidae is usually divided into three subfamilies, 
namely, Soricinae, Crocidurinae, and Scutisoricinae. The last two 
are not represented in the American fauna. Soricinae is represented 
in America by five genera, namely, Sorex, Microsorex, Blarina, 
Cryptotis, and Notiosorex. The present revision includes only the 
two genera Sorex and Microsorex, which, however, represent a 
greater part of the American species. 


The hair of long-tailed shrews is fine, soft, and silky, but not of 
such velvet-like texture as is found in moles, though it approaches 
such a degree in the subgenera Neosorex and Atophyrax and some- 
times in immature individuals of any species. The pelage of shrews 
seldom shows the high gloss common to that of moles, nor, except in 
a few localized races, does it display the metallic iridescence char- 
acteristic of some species of moles in certain pelages. 

It is usual for mammals to have two types of hairs; one type is 
short, fine, and numerous, and forms the underfill- ; the other is 
longer, coarser, stiffer, and comparatively sparse, and forms a pro- 
tective covering, the overhair. In the long-tailed shrews there is no 
sharp distinction between underfur and overhair, either in texture 
or length, although in some individuals a few scattered hairs seem 
slightly heavier than the majority. Shrews are primitive mammals 
in many respects, and this lack of hair specialization may be another 
indication of primitive characters. 


So far as known, every species of long-tailed shrew has two molts 
annually, one in spring and one in fall. Although there is some 
variation in the time of molting among the different species, particu- 


larly in the spring, nevertheless individuals of nearly any species may 
be found in process of molt during May and early in June, and with- 
out exception of any species the autumnal molt may be looked for 
late in September or during October, apparently with slight regard 
to altitude or latitude. The spring molt of Sorex veraepacis seems 
to be earlier than in other forms, and S. cinereus may also molt as 
early as early April, while S. bendirii is not apt to begin molting 
before June. The time of molting is considered in more detail in the 
discussion under each species in the text following. 


In general, during the spring molt the first appearance of the new 
fur is on the crown and nape, from where it gradually replaces the 
old on the head. The molt line then passes caudad over the shoul- 
ders and back, and ventrad over the sides, in the earlier stages moving 
more rapidly dorsally than ventrally, but in the later stages appar- 
ently more rapidly on the ventral parts, since often the entire under- 
pays are in fresh pelage before the fur on the posterior part of the 
back has molted. In fact, during spring the rump is nearly always 
the last part of a shrew to retain the old hair. Often, in the early 
stages of molting the old fur over the entire body is underlaid with 
the new, short hairs. Occasionally the mid-dorsal region will molt 
before the nape and the region over the shoulders do, but such cases 
are exceptions and seem to occur more frequently in the water and 
marsh shrews (subgenera Neosorex and Atophyrax) than in true 

The characteristic autumnal molt almost reverses the sequence of 
that of spring. Usually the first new fur in the fall appears on the 
rump and posterior half of back; the molt then works cephalad and 
ventrad, gradually covering the entire animal, the head usually being 
the last part to change pelage. Sometimes, however, molt may start 
earlier on the head, leaving the shoulders and anterior portion of the 
back the last to molt. 



Geographic variation in long-tailed shrews manifests itself chiefly 
in variations of paleness or darkness, in size both external and 
cranial, in tail length, and in general shape of the skull, partic- 
ularly in degree of deflation of brain case, in breadth of rostrum 
and brain case, and in size of teeth and, correlated with it, length of 
molar tooth row. Geographic variations when constant in character 
and of commensurate degree may be recognized nomenclatorially as 
subspecific characters, particularly when such characters occur over 
a definite geographic area. 

As a rule there is comparatively little geographic variation in long- 
tailed shrews, and individual subspecies usually have an extensive 
geographic range. This is especially noticeable in such forms as 
Sorex c. cinereus, which ranges nearly across the North American 
Continent from east to west and has a north and south range from 
extreme northern Canada to the northern United States; and in 
S. o. obscurus, which is found with scarcely any variation from north- 


central Alaska to northern New Mexico. As in all groups of mam- 
mals, there are certain forms' with restricted ranges apparently de- 
pendent upon peculiar environmental factors or upon more or less 
complete geographic isolation, but such forms, although superfi- 
cially similar, are usually specifically distinct from their nearest 

There are several reasons for 'this lack of pronounced geographic 
variations in long-tailed shrews. The members of the family Sori- 
cidae are all comparatively simple colored grays and browns without 
distinct patterns. As the skull structure and the dentition are also 
very simple, there is little opportunity for variation in chromatic, 
cranial, or dental characters. In other words, the mere simplicity of 
the mammal tends to limit the possibilities for variations. Probably 
a more important factor in limiting these variations, however, is the 
plndogenetic age of the group. Shrews are geologically among the 
oldest of true placental mammals, and as such their characters are 
deep-seated and fixed. As an example the western water shrew 
{Sorex palustris navigator) , which inhabits the boreal elevations of 
many of the mountains of the western United States, might be cited. 
These shrews from the different ranges are very constant in char- 
acters and show comparatively little variation, yet their habitats on 
the. different mountains are often separated by broad expanses of 
desert or arid plain, which to this species has been an absolute barrier 
for possibly millions of years. 


The general shape and proportions of skulls of any form of long- 
tailed shrew, if of corresponding maturity and from the same locality, 
are seemingly very constant, yet when placed upon percentage basis 
the variation may amount to as much as 5 per cent from an average. 
Variation in actual size of skull, based upon any of several measure- 
ments, such as condylobasal length, greatest length, or breadth of 
cranium, may be even greater and in rare instances in large series 
has amounted to 7.5 per cent from the average. There is also a cor- 
respondingly great variation in the external measurements of total 
length, tail length, and hind foot, as computed from measurements 
taken by collectors in the field. 

There is a tendency for certain skulls of shrews to be " runty," or 
to have an abnormally shortened rostrum, or abnormal dentition. 
This does not occur in any great number of specimens, but neverthe- 
less appears to be more frequent than in most other families of Mam- 
malia. Thus a skull of Sorex c. cinereus (No. 150083. U. S. Nat. 
Mus.) from Mount Washington. N. H., has an abnormally shortened 
rostrum and interorbital region. A specimen of 8. v. vagrans (No. 
833087, U. S. Nat, Mus.) from Bear Prairie, Mount Rainier, Wash., 
has the third upper incisor (second " unicispid ") on the right side 
bicuspidate. In a specimen of S. />. pcu /feus (No. 9G48. Field Mus. 
Nat. Hist.) from Eureka, Calif., the left upper first premolar (fifth 
unicuspid) has two distinct cusps, one directly caudad to the other. 
A specimen of S. o. obscurus (No. 988, Nat. Mus. Canada) from the 
mouth of Salmon lliver, British Columbia, has a supernumerary uni- 
cuspidate tooth interposed between the third and fourth unicuspids; 


the accessory tooth is smaller than either of the normally third or 
fourth unicuspids, and considerably smaller than the fourth. Two 
skulls of JS. o. longicamda (Nos. 74702 and 100570, U. S. Nat. Mus.) 
from Wrangell, Alaska, have each only four unicuspids on each side 
in the upper tooth row; the first premolar (fifth unicuspid) is evi- 
dently the one lacking. 

One of the most peculiar dental abnormalities occurs in a skull of 
Microsorex h. hoyi (No. 373, collection of Stuart Criddle, Treesbank, 
Manitoba) from Aweme, Manitoba. In each of the upper tooth rows 
one of the unicuspids is lacking, apparently the first one (second 
incisor), though it may possibly be the second (third incisor). The 
tooth row is compact, the space that would normally have been occu- 
pied by the missing tooth being taken up by a slight increase in the 
postero-anterior diameter of each of the other unicuspids. The in- 
crease in the size of the unicuspids is particularly noticeable in the 
case of the third. In normal individuals of Microsorex this tooth is 
so thin in postero-anterior diameter as to be a mere plate, but in the 
aberrant specimen this diameter is nearly half the lateral dimension. 
The two tooth rows are symmetrical with each other and present a 
striking anomaly. 

Except for some fading or " rusting," due to wear, the color of 
shrews of a given species from the same locality and in the same 
pelage is fairly constant. The fresh pelage is usually a trifle darker 
and more grayish than the old, and this sometimes gives the appear- 
ance of actual color variation. Shrews seldom exhibit abnormal color 
phases, such as melanism and albinism. The author has never seen a 
melanistic long-tailed shrew. A specimen of Sorex o. obscurus (No. 
932, Prov. Mus. British Columbia) collected February 13, 1917, at 
Okanagan, British Columbia, seems to be a partial albino. This 
specimen is white on the chin and upper throat, the white extending 
ventrad and caudad on the left almost to the left fore leg. The color of 
the eyes of this specimen was not indicated by the collector. Another 
specimen of JS. o. obscuriis (No. 22060, Mus. Vert. Zool., Univ. Calif.), 
a male collected July 21, 1915, at an altitude of 10,800 feet at the head 
of Lyell Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Calif., has a general tone 
of color over the entire animal of pale ochraceous Duff, the underparts 
being paler and more whitish ; the base of hairs is pale smoke gray. 
A skin without skull (No. 241190, U. S. Nat. Mus.) of what is appar- 
ently JS. tundrensis, received at the National Museum on February 18, 
1926, from H. O. Brown, of Shungnak, Alaska, is entirely white, 
although the color of the eyes is unknown. 


So far as known, there is no sexual variation of color, size, o: 
proportions in any of the American long-tailed shrews. The adul 
males of all species have a relatively long and narrow gland on each 
flank, which develops conspicuously during the breeding season. 
The relative size of this gland varies with the different species, and in 
the genus Microsorex it is particularly large in proportion to the 
size of the animal, being about 9 millimeters long or nearly equal to 
the length of the hind foot ; it is small in Sorex cinereus, being only 
about 2 or 3 millimeters long; in JS. obscurus and JS. arcticus it is 


about half the length of the hind foot, or about 6.5 millimeters in the 
former and 7 millimeters in the latter (Preble, 1908, p. 243-249). 
The use of this gland as a taxonomic character, however, is not satis- 
factory, since not only is its use as such limited to less than half the 
specimens available, but also the gland is exceedingly difficult to 
measure accurately because of its position in the hair and the varying 
degrees of stretching it receives in different skins as made by different 


Externally, shrews display little variation with age. As a rule, 
younger animals appear slenderer than adults and have their tails 
a trifle more hairy and sometimes slenderer. 

Cranially, long-tailed shrews display great variation from the 
juvenile to the senile stage. The brain case flattens and appears to 
broaden with advancing age; the sutures of the cranium close; the 
sagittal and lambdoidal ridges develop ; the first incisors gradually 
grow anteriorly, then inferiorly, producing an entirely different 
aspect in old age from that of young; and the unicuspids seem to 
become somewhat swollen and broadened with age. These variations 
are described in more detail under the heading " Maturity of Skulls," 
page 13. 


The only pronounced seasonal variation in the long-tailed shrews is 
in color and length of pelage. In nearly all species the winter pelage 
is longer and the color at that season is decidedly more grayish than 
in summer. The color difference between summer and winter fur 
is very marked in some species, as Sorex cinereus, S. fumeus, S. 
vagrans, and S. ornatus, in all of which the winter fur not only is 
more grayish but tends to be actually paler than is summer. In S. 
arcticus the winter pelage is darker than in summer, producing a 
more noticeable saddleback effect. The marsh and water shrews (S. 
bendirii and S. palustris) and S. trowbridgii, species already gray in 
summer pelage, have paler color in the winter coat. 


The earliest reference in literature to a long-tailed shrew inhabit- 
ing America is that of Forster, who recorded a specimen sent in by 
Mr. Graham from the settlement on Severn River, Hudson Bay, 
under the name /Sorex araneus Linn. (Forster, 1772, p. 370, 380). 
Forster's specimen was of the species known to-day as S. arcticus 
Kerr, a shrew superficially like the European S. araneus, but which 
did not receive a scientific name until 20 years after its discovery, al- 
though Forster actually noticed differences between the two forms. 
Forster also had two other specimens of shrews from the same region, 
which he did not identify (op. cit., p. 381) and which belonged to 
the species now known as /S. cinereus Kerr. A few years later Pen- 
nant (1784, p. 139) redescribed the three Forster specimens, virtuallv 
copying Forster's descriptions, and placed them under "Foetid? 
shrew, a common name for S. araneus Linn. Forster and Pennant, 
however, used no Latin binomials. It remained for Kerr (1792, p. 
206), basing his descriptions upon Pennant, to give valid names to 


both of Forster's species ; the first one he calls " Labradore Shrew — • 
Sorex arcticus "/ the second species he named " Gray Labradore 
Shrew — Sorex arcticus cinereus" (vide Jackson, 1925a, p. 55). 

In November, 1826, Isidor Geoffroy St. Hilaire read an account 
of this same shrew, which had been named Sorex arcticus cinereus 
by Kerr, before the Societe d'Histoire JSTaturelle at Paris, and, about 
two months later, published a description of the animal under the 
name Sorex personatus (Geoffroy, 1827a, p. 319), a name used for 
many years for the common long-tailed shrew of the eastern United 
States and Canada, always erroneously dating, however, from a re- 
description by Geoffroy published late in the same year (Geoffroy, 
1827b, p. 122). 

In 1828, Richardson was responsible for another name for Sorex 
arcticus cinereus Kerr, when he described Sorex forsteri (Richardson, 
1828, p. 516). In this same paper, moreover, Richardson described 
the first American water-shrew known, under the name Sorex 
palustris (Richardson, 1828, p. 517). Thus, at this date, April, 1828, 
only three species of shrews had been described from the American 
continent. This is not so suprising, when one recalls the difficulties 
of collecting small mammals, particularly shrews, in those days when 
there were no small-mammal traps and when the capture of any 
small mammal was more or less chance or the result of the hard labor 
of digging for nests, setting snares, or making deadfalls. 

Probably the first contribution to the knowledge of the American 
shrews, which in any way could be dignified hj the title of a revision 
or review of the group, was that of Bachman in 1837. Bachman 
listed and described 13 species of shrews, 7 of which were long-tailed 
ones. Of the 7, 4 were described as new, only 1 of which, his Sorex 
longirostris (Bachman, 1837, p. 370), stands to-day. His name Sorex 
richardsonii (op. cit., p. 383), now a synonym of S. arcticus Kerr, 
was for many years used for the common saddle-backed shrew of 
America. Bachman also named Sorex cooperi (op. cit., p. 388) and 
Sorex fimbripes (op. cit., p. 391), both now sjmonyms of S. cinereus 
Kerr. He also listed Sorex palustris Richardson (op. cit., p. 396), 
which he had not seen, and Sorex forsteri Richardson (op. cit., 
p. 386) and Sorex personatus I. Geoffroy (op. cit., p. 398), the last 
also not seen, both synonyms of S. cinereus Kerr. 

One year after Bachman's paper appeared, Gray (1838) classified 
the family into two major divisions, namely, land shrews and water 
shrews. Under his land shrews were three genera, Corsira, Myosorex, 
and Sorex. Only Corsira was represented by American species, 
where he placed Sorex forsteri, S. longirostris, S. cooperi, and S. 
richardsonii Bachman. Gray also first used the name Blarina, as a 
subgenus of Corsira, where he placed all the American short-tailed 
species of shrews then known, and also S. personatus [S. c. cinereus~\ 
(op. cit., p. 124). Under his water shrews were two genera, Amphiso- 
rex and Crossopus ; of American species, S. palustris Richardson was 
included under Amphisorex (op. cit., p. 125) ; and S. fimbripes Bach- 
man, under Crossopus (op. cit., p. 126). Gray was confused in the 
actual relationships of many of the species, and his paper added 
little new, except his attempted arrangement of the species into 
genera and subgenera. 


In 1842, the genus Otisorex was named, with Otisorex platyrhinus 
the type species (De Kay, 1842, p. 22), a name, however, which is a 
synonym of Sorex cinereus Kerr. De Kay also included Bachman's 
species Sorex longirostris in the genus Otisorex (op. cit., p. 23.) This 
same year Duvernoy described Amphisorex lesueurii from Indiana 
(Duvernoy, 1842a, p. 33). a synonym of S. c. cinereus Kerr, and in 
another contribution dwelt in considerable detail upon the structure, 
development, and function of shrews' teeth (Duvernoy, 1842b). This 
latter paper was supplemented the following year (Duvernoy, 1843), 
and an essentially modified and revised edition of the whole work 
with the addition of illustrations was published a few vears later 
(Duvernoy, 1846). 

Sundevall, in a synopsis with brief descriptions of the shrews, 
divides the genus Sorex into three subgenera, the second of which, 
Sorex proper, he classifies into divisions 1 and 2 (Sundevall, 1843). 
In the first division he includes the American short -tailed shrews; 
under the second (" Oorsira Gray, Amphisorex Duvern.") he lists 
(" omnes mihi ignotae ") five species, namely, S. richardsoni Bach- 
man, S. forsteri Rich., S. lesueurii Duvernoy, S. personatus Is. 
Geoffry, and S. longirostris Bachm. (Sundevall, 1843, p. 182-183). 
The third subgenus recognized by Sundevall is Crossopus, where he 
allocates S. palustris Rich., but remarks " Non vidi." (Op. cit., p. 
187.) Under the heading " Sorices incerti," Sundevall lists among 
several other species S. fimbripes Bachmah. (Op. cit., p. 188.) 
Although Sundevall had apparently never seen a specimen of an 
American shrew, his grouping of the species was probably the best 
that had been presented up to that time. 

In 1848 Pomel classified the insectivores into families, tribes, 
genera, and sections, each with a name and description. He used 
Hydrogale as a section name under the genus Sorex, but raised it to 
generic rank in the remark " si ce caractere se confirmait, ce type pour- 
rait otre erige en un genre distinct: II. fimbripes, l'espece est le 
sorex fimbripes Bachm." (Pomel, 1848, p. 248.) He also described 
the genus Galemys (not of Kaup, 1829) and placed therein the 
American species Sorex palustris under the section Crossopus (op. 
cit., p. 249.) Pomel placed S. longirostris Baehman in the genus 
Musaraneus Brisson and in the section Crocidura, thus: [Mu-^ar. 
(Croc.)] Bachmani (longirostris junior Bachm.) (Op. cit., p. 249.) 
Pomel's sections were in reality subgenera. 

A few years later Baird's epoch-marking work on the mammals of 
North America appeared in which he recognized 13 species of long- 
tailed shrews. (Baird, 1857, p. 7-56.) Baird described the genus 
Neosorex with Neosorex navigator the type species. (Op. cit., p. 
11.) He also described as new 7 other species, namely: Sorex trow^- 
bridgii, S. vagrans, S. suckleyi, S. pachyurus, S. haydeni, S. hoyi, and 
S. thompsoni. In spite of the inadequacy of the material with which 
Baird worked, of the 8 new specific names that he proposed all 
except suckleyi and pachyurus are applicable to forms recognized to- 
day. Baird, however, recognized S. forsteri, S. platyrhinus, S. 
cooperi, and S. personatus, all of which are synonymous. He listed 
S. palustris Rich, and S. fimbripes Baehman, species of which he had 
not examined specimens. (Op. cit,, p. 55.) 


In 1867 and 1868 Mivart published a somewhat detailed account 
of the osteology of the Insectivora (Mivart, 1867, p. 68) and divided 
the order into seven families, the family Sorices being represented by 
a single genus Sorex (op. cit., p. 141). Mivart made many com- 
parisons between Sorex and other genera, but inasmuch as he desig- 
nated no species in these comparisons the value of his work is 

Almost simultaneously with the appearance of the last part of 
Mivart's osteological work appeared the first part of the account of 
the shrews of the world by Fitzinger (1868). He recognized 10 
species of American long-tailed shrews, 6 of which, however, are 
synonymous among his other 4 species as known to-day. He de- 
scribed as new Sorex wagneri (Fitzinger, 1868, p. 512), a synonym 
of S. longirostris Bachman. Fitzinger evidently did not consult the 
important contribution of Baird (1857), since he listed none of the 
species described as new in Baird's work. 

The results of the important investigations of E. Brandt on the 
dentition of shrews was published in three sections, which appeared, 
respectively, in 1869, 1871, and 1874. This study was based upon 
specimens of nine species of shrews belonging to 5 genera, the denti- 
tion of which are described in detail. Although Brandt included no 
American species, his work is valuable in its general application to 
certain American species and for comparative purposes. Previous 
to the German issue of this publication (Brandt, 1869-1874) there, 
had been an edition in Russian (Brandt, 1865). 

In his " Synopsis of Insectivorous Mammals," Gill (1875) classi- 
fied the order into families, subfamilies, and genera, giving detailed 
descriptions of families and subfamilies and a review of the more 
important works to that date. Gill recognized two genera of Ameri- 
can long-tailed shrews, namely, Sorex Linnaeus and Hydrogale 
Pomel, using the latter name to replace that of Neosorex Baird (Gill, 
1875, p. 111). Two years later appeared the important studies on 
American insectivorous mammals by Coues (1877), in which he 
recognized two genera of American long-tailed shrews, Neosorex and. 
Sorex, and as a subgenus of Sorex named Microsorex, with the type 
species Sorex hoyi Baird. Coues did not discuss or list the various, 
species and subspecies, but described two new species of long-tailed, 
shrews (op. cit., p. 650), one, Sorex pacificus from Baird MS., a 
valid species; the other, Sorex sphagnicol-a, now a synonym of S.. 
arcticus. Later in this same year, Alston (1877) described the first- 
known long-tailed shrew from Central America under the name 
Sorex verae-pacis, although the animal had been known to Gray- 
(1843, p. 79) many years previously. 

In 1884, Merriam described as a new genus and species Atophyrax 
bendirii (Merriam, 1884b, p. 217), a large marsh shrew from Klamath- 
County, Oreg. Shortly afterwards there appeared an important 
anatomical paper by Parker (1885), in which was described and 
beautifully illustrated the development of the skull of Sorex vulgaris- 
es, araneus), not an American species, but one directly comparable,, 
as far as ontogeny is concerned, particularly with S. arcticus Kerr. 

The problematical Sorex hydrodromus from Unalaska Island,. 
Alaska, was described by Dobson in 1889 in a paper in which he also- 
remarks upon the uselessness of retaining Neosorex as a distinct; 


genus. (Dobson, 1889, p. 374.) At the time this paper appeared 
Dobson was working upon the part on the Soricidae of his mono- 
graph of the Insectivora, the first number of that part appearing in 
May of the following year (Dobson, 1890). Unfortunately Dobson's 
ill health and death prevented him from completing the momentous 
task, so that all that was published on the Soricidae was the fascicle 
of six plates, and these bear evidence in misnamed figures of not 
being proof-read by their careful and able author. In this work, the 
interesting American species, Sorex merriami, is named and figured. 
(Dobson, 1890, pi. 23, fig. 6.) 

During the next three years in three papers Merriam (1890, 1891, 
and 1892b) described six new forms of Sorex. It was not until 1895, 
however, when the revisions by Miller and Merriam were published, 
that a clear presentation of the relationships of the American species 
as understood at that time was had. Miller's contribution was a 
review of the members of the genus Sorex (including subgenera 
Sorex, JVficrosorex, and Neosorex) occurring east of the Great Plains 
of the United States. He had examined in the British Museum the 
original specimens of /Sorex palustris, S. forsteri, and S. parvus 
described by Richardson, which enabled him to describe more ac- 
curately these specimens and clarify questions of their relationships. 
He recognized seven species from the eastern United States, one of 
which, S. fumeus, he described as new (Miller, 1895, p. 50). Mer- 
riam's synopsis (1895) comprises the most complete account pub- 
lished of the long-tailed shrews of the entire region of North America 
and Central America. Merriam recognized 41 species and subspecies, 
which he included in the single genus Sorex, divided into four sub- 
genera ; 33 species and subspecies were placed in the subgenus Sorex, 
1 in the subgenus Microsorex, 4 in the subgenus Neosorex, and 3 in 
the subgenus Atophyrax. In this revision, Merriam described 21 new 
species and subspecies, all of which are recognized in the present 
revision. And of the 41 forms recognized by Merriam, all except 
S. sphagnicola (=S. arcticus) and S. vagrans dobsoni (=S. v. 
monticola) are recognized in the present work, although his S. per^ 
sonatus here appears under the name S. ci/iereus, and his S. richard- 
soni as S. arcticus. Merriam's contribution was a big stepping-stone 
in the climb toward a knowledge of this difficult, group. 

In 1896 Batchelder described an interesting and distinctive species 
of shrew from New York under the name Sorex maerurus, which 
being preoccupied he later renamed Sorex dispar (Batchelder, 1911). 
During the 30 years following the revisions by Miller and Merriam 
(1895), there appeared numerous other descriptions of new speciea 
or subspecies of American long-tailed shrews bv Merriam (1897, 
1899, 1900, 1902), Bangs (1899), Elliot (1899, 1903b), Osgood (1901a, 
1901b, 1909), Preble (1902, 1910), Nelson and Goldman (1909), 
Bailey (1913), Jackson (1917, 1918, 1919, 1921b, 1922, 1925a, 1925b, 
1925c, 1926), and Anthony and Goodwin (1924); there were also 
published several papers treating upon the distribution or habits of 
A-merican forms. During this period, however, only four contribu- 
tions stand out above the others as needing special mention here. 
The first of these is an anatomical paper by Arnback-Christie-Linde 
(1907), which treats in some detail of the muscles of S. pygmaeus and 
S*. vulgaris, European forms, the latter not far removed from S., 


arrcticus. In this account, also, the side glands are mentioned as 
occurring only in males, and the investigator considers that the mem- 
bers of the family Soricidae hibernate because they are provided 
with " Winterschlaf drusen oder braunem Fettgewebe," a case where 
present knowledge of habits apparently does not substantiate a 
supposed structural adaptation. 

Hollister's paper (1911) was a brief review of the Sorex of the 
Eastern United States, in which was described the new species /Sorea 
fontinalis. Hollister recognized five species from the region. He 
considered Amphisorex lesueurii Duvernoy to be a synonym of S. 
longirostris Bachman, and S. fimbripes Bachman to be unidentifiable ; 
he identified S. acadicus Gilpin with S. personatus Geoffro}^ 

Grinnell (1913a) discussed the characters, relationships, and dis- 
tribution of six species and subspecies of Sorex from west-centra] 
California. Three new forms Avere described, all of which art 
recognized in the present monograph. 

Glover M. Allen (1915) described as new Neosorex palustrii 
acadicus (=S. p. glover alleni Jackson), carefully compared it Witt 
related forms, and listed all the other known subspecies with ar 
outline of their respective geographic ranges. 



Amphisorex Duvernoy, Mem. de la Soc. Mus. d'Hist. Nat. Strasbourg, tome S 
sig. 5, p. 23, 1835. Type species Sorex hermanni Duvernoy, the animal o 
which is Sorex araneus tetragonurus Hermann and the skull, Neomy 
fodiens fodiens Schreber (vide Miller, 1912a, pp. 29, 42, 70). Used generi 
cally for Amphisorex lesueurii Duvernoy qui Sorex cinereus cinereus Ken 

Atophyrax Merriam, Trans. Linn. Soc. New York 2 : 217, August, 1884. Typ 
species Atophyrax oendirii Merriam. A subgenus of Sorex Linnaeus. 

Corsira Gray, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, part 5, 1837, p. 123, May, 1838. Typ 
species Sorex vulgaris Linnaeus. A synonym of Sorex Linnaeus to whic 
Gray referred Sorex forsteri Richardson qui Sorex cinereus cinereus Ken 

Crocidura Wagler, Isis von Oken 25 : 275, 1832. Earliest available name for th 
Old World genus of which Sorex leiwodon Hermann is the type specie: 
Used generically in synonymy for several species of American Sorex b 
Fitzinger (1S68), who refers to Reichenbach. 

Croscopus ? Fitzinger, Sitzungber. Kaiserl. Akad. Wissensch., math.-natiirwi; 
sensch. Classe, Wien, Band 57, Abt. 1, p. 632, 1S6S. Misprint for Crossopu 
Wagler. Used in synonymy under Crossopus fimbripes qui Sorex cineren 
cinereus Kerr. 

Crossopus Wagler, Isis von Oken 25: 275, 1832. Type species Sorex fodieri 
Beckstein =Sorex fodiens Schreber. A synonym of Neomys Kaup. Firs 
used for an American species as Crossopus palustris Reichenbach (1847, ] 
161), qui Sorex palustris palustris Richardson. 

Galemys Pomel, Archives Sci. Physiques et Nat., Geneve 9 : 249, Novembe 
1848. Included Brachysorex Duvernoy, Crossopus Wagler, and Pachyur 
de Selys-Longchamps. Not Galemys Kaup (1829), which is a genus ( 
Talpidae. Included Sorex palustris Richardson. 

Hydrogale Pomel, Archives Sci. Physiques et Nat., Genewe 9 : 248, Novembe 
1848. Type species Sorex fimbripes Bachman. Not Hydrogale Kaup, 182 
qui Neomys Kaup. Used to replace Neosorex Baird by Gill (1875, p. Ill 

Microsorex Coues, Bui. U. S. Geol. and Geogr. Surv. Territories 3 : no. 3, p. 64 
May 15, 1877. Earliest available name for the genus of which Sorex 
Baird is the type species. Described as a subgenus by Coues from B 
manuscript. Raised to rank of genus by Elliot (1901a, p. 377). 

Musaraneus Brisson, Regnuni Animale, p. 126, 1762. A synonym of Sorex 
naeus. Pomel placed Sorex longirostris Bachman in this genus and in 
" section " Crocidura under the specific name oachmani, thus : " [M 
(Croc.)] Bachmani (longirostris junior Bachm.)." 


Neosorex Baird, Report Pacific Railroad Survey, vol. 8, part 1. Mammals, p. 11, 

1857. Type species Neosorex navigator Baird. A subgenus of Sorex 

Otisorex DeKay, Zoology of New York, part 1, Mammalia, p. 22, and plate 5, 

fig. 1, 1842. Type species Otisorex platyrhinus DeKay, qui Sorex cinereus 

Kerr. A synonym of Sorex Linnaeus. DeKay also included Sorex longiros- 

trig Bachman in the genus. 
Sorax Hollister, Proc. U. S. National Museum 40 : 378, April 17, 1911. Misprint 

for Sorex. 
Sorex Linnaeus, Systema Naturae, edition 10, vol. 1, p. 53, 1758. Available name 

for the genus of which Sorex araneus Linnatus is the type species. 


a 1 . Unicuspids 5, in superficial lateral view appearing to be only 3, 
the third and fifth being scarcely, if at all, visible; third uni- 
cuspid disklike, antero-posteriorly flattened; primary (an- 
terior) lobe of first upper incisor relatively long and narrow, 
the length more than twice the width and more than twice ' 

the length of secondary lobe Genus Microsorex (p. 200) 

a 1 . Unicuspids 5, in superficial lateral view appearing to be 5, the 
fifth sometimes minute and indistinct; third unicuspid not 
disklike, not antero-posteriorly flattened; primary (an- 
terior) lobe of first upper incisor relatively broad, the 
length less than twice the width and usually less than twice 

the length of secondary lobe Genus Sorex (p. 30) 

b 1 . Size smaller; hind foot less than 18; and if hind foot is over 

16, color distinctly brown Subgenus Sorex (p. 31) 

b 2 . Size larger; hind foot 18 or more; color grayish, never dis- 
tinctly brown. 
c 1 . Rostrum shorter and little down-curved; anterior end of 
premaxilla scarcely narrower dorso-ventrally than 
middle portion; dorso-ventral diameter of rostrum 
measure! at third unicuspid equal about half the diam- 
eter between anterior border of infraorbital foramen 
and posterior border of first incisor; posterior end of 
interior cutting edge of anterior portion of internal basal 
shelf of first and second upper molars usually without 
cusplike lobe; hind foot distinctly fimbriate. 

Subgenus Neosorex (p. 175) 
c 2 .. Rostrum relatively longer and distinctly down-curved; an- 
terior end of premaxilla much narrower dorso-ventrally 
than middle portion; dorso-ventral diameter of rostrum 
measured at third unicuspid Less than half the diameter 
between anterior border of infraorbital foramen and 
posterior border of first incisor; posterior end of interior 
cutting edge of anterior portion of internal basal shelf 
of first and second upper molars usually with distinct 
cusplike lobe; hind foot slightly fimbriate. 

Subgenus Atophyrax(p. 192) 



Sorex cinereus cinereus Kerr Fort Severn, Ontario (p. 40) . 

cinereus miscix Bangs Black Bay, Labrador (p. 50). 

cinereus haydeni Baird Fort Buford, N. Dak. (p. 51). 

cinereus streatori Merriam Yakutat, Alaska (p. 53). 

cinereus hollisteri Jackson St. Michael, Alaska (p. 55). 

fontinalis Hollister Near Beltsville, Md. (p. 56). 

lyelli Merriam Mount Lyell, Calif, (p. 57). 

■preblei Jackson Jordan Valley, Oreg. (p. 58) . 

74235—28 3 



Sorex fumeus fumeus Miller Peterboro, N. Y. (p. 63). 

fumeus umbrosus Jackson James River, Nova Scotia (p. 



Sorex ardicus arcticus Kerr Fort Severn, Ontario (p. 68). 

arcticus laricorum Jackson Elk River, Minn. (p. 71). 

tundrensis Merriam St. Michael, Alaska (p . 72) . 

hydrodromus Dobson Unalaska Island, Alaska (p. 74) . 


Sorex pribilofensis Merriam St. Paul Island, Pribilof Group, 

Alaska (p. 76). 


Sorex merriami Dobson Fort Custer, Mont. (p. 78). 

leucogenys Osgood 3 miles east of Beaver, Utah (p. 



Sorex sclateri Merriam Tumbala, Chiapas, Mexico (p. 



Sorex longirosiris longirostris Bachman Cat Island, mouth of Santee 

River, S. C. (p. 85). 

longirostris fisheri Merriam Lake Drummond, Dismal 

Swamp, Va. (p. 87). 


Sorex dispar Batchelder Beedes, N. Y. (p. 89). 

gaspensis Anthony and Goodwin Mount Albert, Quebec (p. 91). 


Sorex trowbridgii trowbridgii Baird Astoria, Oreg. (p. 94). 

trowbridgii humboldtensis Jackson Mad River, Calif, (p. 96). 

trowbridgii montereyensis Merriam Monterey, Calif, (p. 97). 

trowbridgii mariposae Grinnell Yosemite Valley, Calif, (p. 98). 


Sorex vagrans vagrans Baird Shoalwater Bay, Wash. (p. 104). 

vagrans Vancouver ensis Merriam Goldstream, British Columbia 

(p. 106). 

vagrans nevadensis Merriam Reese River, Nev. (p. 107). 

vagrans halicoetes Grinnell Palo Alto, Calif, (p. 108). 

vagrans amoenus Merriam Near Mammoth. Calif, (p. 109) . 

vagrans moniicola Merriam San Francisco Mountain, Ariz. 

(p. 110). 
vagrans orizabae Merriam Mount Orizaba, Puebla, Mexico 

(p. 113). 
durangae Jackson El Salto, Durango, Mexico (p. 

obscurus obscurus Merriam Lemhi Mountains, Idaho (p. 


obscurus neornexicanus Bailey Cloudcroft, N. Mex. (p. 123). 

obscurus parvidens Jackson Bluff Lake, San Bernardino 

Mountains, Calif, (p. 124). 


Sorex obscurus shumaginensis Merriam Popof Island, Alaska (p. 125). 

obscurus alascensis Merriam Yakutat, Alaska (p. 126). 

obscurus malitiosus Jackson Warren Island, Alaska (p. 128). 

obscurus elassodon Osgood Moresby Island, Queen Char- 
lotte Islands, British Colum- 
bia (p. 130). 

obscurus longicauda Merriam Wrangell, Alaska (p. 131). 

obscurus prevostensis Osgood Prevost Island, Queen Char- 
lotte Islands, British Colum- 
bia (p. 133). 

obscurus isolatus Jackson Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, 

British Columbia (p. 134). 

obscurus setosus Elliot Happy Lake, Olympic Moun- 
tains, Wash. (p. 135) 

obscurus permiliensis Jackson Mount Jefferson, Oreg. (p. 137) . 

obscurus bairdi Merriam Astoria, Oreg. (p. 139). 

yaquinae Jackson Yaquina Bay, Oreg. (p. 140). 

pacificus pacificus Coues Fort Umpqua, Oreg. (p. 142). 

paciftcus sonomae Jackson Gualala, Calif, (p. 143). 


Sorex stizodon Merriam San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico 

(P. 147). 


Sorex veraepacis veraepacis Alston Coban, Guatemala (p. 149). 

veraepacis chiapensis Jackson San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mex- 
ico (p. 150). 

veraepacis mutabilis Merriam Reyes, Oaxaca, Mexico (p. 151). 

macrodon Merriam Orizaba, Vera Cruz, Mexico (p. 



Sorex saussurei saussurei Merriam North slope of Sierra Nevada de 

Colima, Jalisco, Mexico (p. 

saussurei veraecrucis Jackson Xico, Vera Cruz, Mexico (p. 156). 

saussurei oaxacae Jackson Mountains near Ozolotepec, 

Oaxaca, Mexico (p. 157). 

saussurei cristobalensis Jackson San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico 

(p. 157). 

saussurei godmani Merriam Volcan Santa Maria, Guatemala 

(p. 158). 

saussurei salvini Merriam Calel, Guatemala (p. 159) . 

emarginatus Jackson Sierra Madre near Bolanos, Ja- 
lisco, Mexico (p. 159). 

ventralis Merriam Cerro San Felipe, Oaxaca, Mex- 
ico (p. 160). 

or eopolus Merriam North slope Sierra Nevada de 

Colima, Jalisco, Mexico (p. 


Sorex ornatus ornatus Merriam Mount Pinos, Calif, (p. 166). 

ornatus calif or nicus Merriam Walnut Creek, Calif, (p. 168). 

ornatus lagunae Nelson and Goldman La Laguna, Sierra Laguna, 

Lower California, Mexico (p. 

trigonirostr is Jackson Ashland, Oreg. (p. 170). 

sinuosus Grinnell Grizzlv Island, near Suisun, 

Calif, (p. 171). 

juncensis Nelson and Goldman Socorro, Lower California, Mex- 
ico (p. 172). 

tenellus Merriam Lone Pine Creek, Alabama Hills, 

near Lone Pine, Calif. (p. 172). 

myops Merriam Pipers Creek, White Mountains, 

Calif, (p. 173). 

nanus Merriam __. Estes Park, Colo. (p. 174). 



Sorex palustris palustris Richardson Between Hudson Bay and Rocky 

Mountains, Canada (p. 178). 

palustris hydrobadistes Jackson Withee, Wis. (p. 180). 

palustris atbibarbis (Cope) Profile Lake, Franconia Moun- 
tains, N. H. (p. 181). 

palustris gloveralleni Jackson Digby, Nova Scotia (p. 183) 

palustris navigator (Baird) Near head of Yakima River. 

Cascade Mountains, Wash, 
(p. 184). 

alaskanus Merriam Point Gustavus, Glacier Bay 

Alaska (p. 189). 


Sorex bendirii bendirii (Merriam) Eighteen miles southeast of Fori 

Klamath, Oreg. (p. 194). 

bendirii palmeri Merriam Astoria, Oreg. (p. 197). 

bendirii albiventer Merriam Lake Cushman, Olympic Moun- 
tains, Wash. (p. 198). 


Microsorex hoyi hoyi (Baird) Racine, Wis. (p. 202) . 

hoyi thompsoni (Baird) Burlington, Vt. (p. 204). 

hoyi winnemana Preble Bank of Potomac River, 4 mile; 

below Great Falls, Fairfa: 
County, Va. (p. 206) . 

hoyi intervectus Jackson Lakewood, Wis. (p. 206). 

hoyi alnorum (Preble) Robinson Portage, Manitobi 

(p. 208). 

hoyi eximius (Osgood) Tyonek, Alaska (p. 208) . 

hoyi washingtoni Jackson Loon Lake, Wash. (p. 209) . 

Genus SOREX Linnaeus 

Sorex Linnaeus, Systema Naturae, ed. 10, vol. 1, p. 53, 175S. 

JWusaraneus Brisson, Regnum Animale, p. 126, 1762. 

Oxi/rliiii Kaup, Skizzirte Eiitwickelungs-Geschich. und natiirl. Systeir 

europaischen Thierwelt, p. 120, 1829. 
Amphisorex Duvernoy, Mem. de la Soc. Mus. d'Hist. Nat. Strasbourg 2, sig. 5 

p. 23, 1S35. 
Corsira Gray, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, part 5, 1837, p. 123, May, 183S. 
Otisorex, DeKay, Zoology of New York, part 1, Mammalia, p. 22 and pi. 5, fig 

1, 1842. 
Hydrogale Pomel, Archives Sci. Phvsiques et Nat. Geneve 9 : 248, November 


Neosorex Baird, Rept. Pacific Railroad Survey 8, part 1, Mammals, p. 11, 1857 
Atophyrax Merriam, Trans. Linnaean Soc. New York 2 : 217, August, 1884. 
Eomalurus Schulze, Schriften des Naturwissenschaft. Yereins des Harzes 

Wernigerode, 5: 28, 1SD0. 

Type species. — Sorex armieus Linnaeus. 

Geographic range of American species. — From the Arctic Ocean 
south through Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Quebec, anc 
Labrador, to central South Carolina, northern Florida, Alabama, anc 
southern Illinois in the eastern United States, to central Nebraska 
•in the Great Plains region, to southern Utah and southern Nevada ii 
the Great Basin region, to southern Lower California on the Pacifi 
coast, and in the mountains of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, anc 
Arizona, and south through the mountains of Mexico to westen 

Generic characters. — Size small, form murine ; pelage soft and velvetlike 
tail more or less completely covered with hairs, moderately long, in mos 
species about three-fourths length of head and body, but varying from one 
half length of head and body (Sorex tundrensis) to about equal length o 


head and body (<S'. trowbridgU) ; ears small, moderately haired, nearly con- 
cealed by the fur, the auditory meatus covered by a lobe from the antitragua 
and a fold of the inner side of the conch ; eyes minute ; snout acute, extending 
well beyond incisors anteriorly ; hind feet of relatively medium size, varying 
from scarcely to heavily fimbriate, the soles naked, with normally 6 tubercles ; 
mammae, 6 : abdominal, 1:1; inguinal, 2 : 2. 

Skull somewhat conoidal, rather elongate, not much deflated, relatively weak, 
vet compact, the separate bones anastomosing very early and the sutures dis- 
appearing before maturity; moderately broad brain case; considerably con- 
-tr.cted interorbitally. Zygomatic arch absent, represented by a rudimentary 
zygomatic process of the maxilla. Rostrum moderately long, more or less 
triangular in superior outline, broad posteriorly, narrow and greatly attenuated 
anteriorly. Anterior nares opening at an anterior-superior angle. Infraorbital 
foramina large and prominent. Foramen magnum oval, comparatively large. 
Mesopterygoid space moderately elongate, relatively narrow, the sides nearly 
parallel but slightly converging posteriorly. Palate long and narrow, abruptly 
converging anterior to first molariform tooth. Posterior border of palate 
truncate, .straight, slightly thickened into a noticeable ridge. Palatine foramina 
small, scarcely distinguishable. Horizontal ramus of mandible moderately 
heavy and nearly straight, being but slightly curved ventrad medially; angle 
of mandible long and slender; coronoid long, moderately heavy, tapering 
gradually toward tip. 

Dentition simple. First upper incisor large, elongate, two-lobed, the anterior 
(primary) lobe relatively broad, the length less than twice the width and usually 
less than twice the length of secondary lobe. The five teeth following the first 
upper incisor, namely, second and third upper incisors, canine, and first and 
second premolars, are simple peglike teeth, essentially unicuspidate in all species 
and actually so in most species, and are designated as " unicuspids." Second 
and third upper incisors with or without distinct ridge from apex to inner border 
of cingulum, sometimes in certain species with a very slight cusp near terminus 
of ridge; ridge from cusp of second or third incisor not distinctly and sharply 
curved caudad toward terminus and not with a pronounced secondary cusp near 
terminus of ridge on cingulum. Canine essentially like second incisor in shape, 
possibly variable in size inn never noticeably antero-posterioiiy Battened. First 
and second premolars essentially like other unicuspids, variable in relative size, 
tending to be less cuspidate and loss pigmented. Third premolar (first "molari- 
form tooth") more or less triangular in ventral surface outline, broad poste- 
riorly, narrower anteriorly, posterior border emarginate; metacone well de- 
veloped, the mesostyle and parastyle practically obsolete. First and second 
molars relatively large, squarish in ventral surface outline, emarginate poste- 
riorly; parastyle. para. '(me. mesostyle, metacone, metastyle, and protoconule 
well developed; hypocone moderately developed. Third upper molar small, 
somewhat triangular, broad anteriorly, acute exteriorly, abruptly narrowing 
posteriorly; paracone, metacone, and protoconule moderately developed, para- 
style and niesasiyle only slightly developed. 

Lower incisor < longate and narrow, in line with horizontal ramus of mandible, 
the cutting edge with three lobes. Canine unicuspidate, somewhat flattened 
laterally. Premolar simple, slightly larger than canine and relatively broader, 
with secondary cusp and longitudinal groove. First and second lower molars 
moderate in size, truncate posteriorly, gradually rounded on exterior of anterior 
half to become acute anteriorly; protoconulid, hypoconid, paraeonid, metaconid, 
and entoconid well developed. Third lower molar similar in outline to second, 
somewhat smaller, with the hypoconid ami entoconid somewhat reduced. Bases 
of lower incisor and premolar not closely approximated, separated by space 
nearly equal anteroposterior d